24th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Sir John McLeay) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– Is the Prime Minister aware of the recently announced figures for unemployment in this country and, in particular, of the increase in the number of those registered for unemployment benefit by 3,266? If the Prime Minister is aware of those figures, is he satisfied with them? If not, will he make an announcement regarding any steps that might be taken to improve the employment position and the economic position in general?
– The honorable member has referred to figures which, over the last three months, have shown a very notable improvement.
– Are you satisfied with them?
– I am satisfied with nothing; but this has been a very notable improvement. I understand why the honorable member regrets it, but it still has been a very notable improvement. It is all the more notable because the results of measures taken in February cannot yet, by any means, have been fully seen. Therefore, we must expect some further progress to- continue steadily and strongly to the great satisfaction of the country and the great discomfiture of the honorable member for Yarra.
– I ask the Minister for Trade whether any of the importing countries which have subscribed to previous international wheat agreements have failed to comply with their contractual obligations in regard to the quantity of wheat that they agreed to import. If so, which countries failed to comply with those obligations and in what circumstances? What means were available to exporting countries and what means were actually applied to ensure that importing countries complied with their obligations under the agreement?
– I have been informed that all the importing countries complied with their obligations during the period of the last international wheat agreement. Their obligations were different from those which they had previously had. In earlier years there was an obligation to buy a certain tonnage. Under the recent agreement, which is now in its last stages, the obligation is to buy a certain percentage of the country’s wheat imports within the terms of the agreement. This has been done - so I am advised - in all cases. In the case of some quite important importers, such as the United Kingdom, Japan and West Germany, there has been a substantial increase above the obligation.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation. Last Sunday night, quick thinking on the part of the pilot of an Ansett-A.N.A. Viscount landing on the short run-way at Kingsford-Smith Airport probably prevented a most disastrous accident. Having reached the end of the short run-way before the plane could stop, he wheeled the plane to one side in order to avoid a collision with road traffic in General Holmes Drive. Is it possible for the Minister to intervene at the inquiry to ensure that the pilot does not get the blame for the incident, which could not have occurred if the work on the extension to the run-way had been even partially completed?
– I will convey the honorable member’s question to my colleague in another place. All I know of the accident is that the aircraft ran off the strip. I understand that at the time it was dark and there had been heavy rain. It could well be that the aircraft landed a little too far up the strip or that the brakes did not hold1, or something of that sort. I have noticed that in all investigations of accidents by the Department of Civil Aviation, emphasis is put on the pilot’s position and never is a pilot blamed unless he really is to blame. I appreciate the honorable member’s concern for the pilot, but I am sure the pilot’s position will be adequately safeguarded.
– I address a question to the Minister for External Affairs. I refer to a statement purported to have been made by the West German Chancellor, Dr. Adenauer, at a recent meeting of the Berlin Branch of the Christian Democratic Party, in which he referred to the United Kingdom’s negotiations to join the European Economic Community. Dr. Adenauer is reported to have said -
I am fed up with the babble about the Commonwealth.
Will the Minister ascertain whether the report is accurate? If it is accurate, will he seek to remind the German Chancellor that the Commonwealth played a modest part in reviving the political integrity of West Germany and that the people of the Commonwealth are reluctant to risk injury to an organization before making the most exhaustive inquiries, though some minds may regard the inquiries as mere babble?
– I will most certainly inquire whether the report is accurate. When I have the accurate report, I will then consider what reply, if any, should be made.
– My question is directed to the Treasurer. Has he read in the report of the Commissioner of Taxation the decision to cease publishing the names of people who have been penalized for not submitting proper taxation returns? The reason given is that as these people have been fined, as it were, by the penalty placed upon them, the publication of their names imposes a further penalty. Does the commissioner not realize that when a person is taken before a police court and heavily fined or sent to gaol, his name is always published in the press and so made known to the public? Why is it that such different treatment should be given to those referred to by the Commissioner of Taxation?
– I did see a reference in the report of the commissioner to the practice of publishing names. I have not yet had an opportunity to study this matter closely. I am looking to the period of parliamentary recess in order to do so. I shall then consider the detail of the honorable member’s question.
– I address my question to the Minister for Defence. Can he advise the House whether any responsible American authorities have expressed the opinion that Australia’s expenditure on defence is insufficient to meet her possible commitments under Anzus or Seato?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is an unequivocal, “ No “. I have had a lot of dealings with the defence and service ministers in the United States, as well as with their chiefs of staff. Never at any time have they intimated to me anything but their satisfaction with the Australian effort. We all know that allies would always like- each other to do a little more, but never at any time have the United States authorities intimated to me that they are dissatisfied. On the contrary, they have been quite complimentary.
– I direct a question to the Postmaster-General. In view of the increasing demands upon educational facilities in this country, and the need to employ the most modern methods of instruction, will the Minister reserve channels in the television broadcasting band for educational purposes exclusively? Does the Minister agree that the need to make this reservation is being continually accentuated by the increasing numbers of immigrants, both adults and children, who wish to take advantage of educational facilities? Does he not also agree that the use of television in education would make the task of assimilating these immigrants easier, and that it would improve our educational facilities generally?
– The honorable member has raised a matter of very great importance. I agree with his observations on the great potential educational value of television. The possible use of this medium in the educational field has not been neglected by those who are interested in education. I can tell the honorable member that for a considerable time discussions have been in progress and representations have been made on this matter by various bodies, such as university councils and similar organizations. The matter has been carefully considered by the Australian Broadcasting Commission, which could have a particular function to perform in any educational television programme, and by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. All these bodies have been taking part in discussions, not simply on the possible use of television in education, but on the best way in which the medium can be used. It is only recently that I received what might be called an interim report from the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, but it is much too early yet to give any firm programme. I am sure the honorable member realizes that this is a matter which must be carefully considered. All the interests involved must be taken into account, and a proper assessment must be made of all possible ways in which the medium could be used, so that when a scheme is finally evolved it will provide the greatest possible advantage. The honorable member asked whether a channel could be reserved for educational television. I point out that the Government, in its wisdom, decided that five channels would be reserved in each of the major cities of Australia. Of these, four have been allocated, and in each city one channel remains available. In other words, provision for such a development as the honorable member has suggested has already been made.
– My question is directed to the Treasurer. I preface it by reminding him of the numerous representations made to the Government by primary producers’ organizations for exempting from tax any petrol used in primary production, and of the rejection of the various requests, mainly because of difficulty in policing any such provision. I now ask the right honorable gentleman whether, in preparing the next Budget, he will consider making an allowance of £30 a year to the users of petroldriven tractors, to recompense them for the payment of tax on petrol used in agricultural production?
– The honorable member shows by his question that he realizes the complexity of this matter. It involves questions of policy, and it has been examined previously. However, I shall see that it is examined again in the light of the honorable member’s observations, and in conjunction with other Budget provisions.
– I direct a question to you, Mr. Speaker. I ask you whether a decision has yet been reached along lines that I have frequently advocated regarding the installation of a clock or device in this chamber which will give honorable members clear warning when the time limit for their speeches is about to expire, in order to save you from the indignity of having to cry out, “ Time, gentlemen, please “, or words of like import, and to preserve honorable members from the reproach of seeming ambitious to orate beyond the last moment of the permitted time.
– The answer is, “ Yes “. It is hoped that the clock will be installed after the House rises.
– My question, directed to the Treasurer, refers to the conference that is being organized by the Australian Productivity Council in Sydney from 23rd to 25th May, and which is to be opened by the Treasurer Is it a fact that productivity specialists from West Germany and Japan will lecture at this conference? If so, will the Treasurer endeavour to have the full text of the speeches by these specialists on this most important subject made available to members of this House?
– As the honorable gentleman will appreciate, the Australian Productivity Council is not a Government organization. It is a fact that I have been invited to give one of the addresses which will form the programme of the conference, and I understand that there will be speakers at the conference from other countries. I imagine that I shall have an opportunity of raising with the sponsors of the conference the suggestion that has been made by the honorable gentleman. I think the conference would certainly be of interest to persons other than those who participate, and that those in that wider circle would be interested to have more detail than is contained in press reports. I am sure we shall all be interested in the views of spokesmen from other countries who will have their own special productivity problems to guide them in what they say at this conference and to assist us in our study of these matters.
– I direct a question to you, Mr. Speaker, with reference to the activities last month of the Australian Broadcasting Commission television technicians in filming, for documentary purposes, scenes in Parliament House. I ask you, Sir: Do you not agree that any film purporting to cover the activities of the Parliament would be incomplete without the filming of sittings of the House of Representatives? In view of the desire of a great many Australians - many of whom are unable to travel to Canberra - to see the Parliament in session, will you, Mr. Speaker, give permission for the filming of one session of question time so that the medium of television might bring a greater knowledge of the parliamentary system into the homes of many Australians?
– I think the answer to the honorable gentleman’s question is, “ No “.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Territories concerning the Minister’s announcement that he is to set up a committee to inquire into the liquor laws of Papua and New Guinea. In view of some recent reported remarks by a judge or the Northern Territory on the liquor laws there, would it be possible for the one committee to inquire into the laws of both Territories? If not, will the Minister consider setting up a committee to inquire into all aspects of the liquor laws in the Northern Territory?
– I would suggest to the House that there is no resemblance between the conditions in the Northern Territory and those in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea; so the answer to the second part of the question is, “ No “.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Social Services. When the Budget is being framed, will the Minister consider restoring the medical cards which were taken from pensioners receiving more than £2 a week income from any source in 1955? Is the Minister aware that such pensioners have to pay £1 10s. for each visit to a doctor, 5s. to a chemist for each prescription and, in addition, never less than 10s. to 15s. for the medicine? Will the Minister make any rise in pensions retrospective to 1st July?
– May I be permitted to remind the honorable member that the pensioner medical service is provided under the National Health Act, and for that good and sufficient reason, his question might have been addressed more appropriately to the Minister for Health.
– My question to the Minister for Labour and National Service is supplementary to that asked of the Prime Minister by the honorable member for Yarra. Can the Minister inform the House what was the reduction in the number of unemployed’ in the month of April? Was the result obtained a good one when compared with the average for April in past years? Do the latest monthly returns show the number of job vacancies in various industries?
– The actual reduction in the number of registrants for employment during April was about 2,500. That is a good figure when you remember that, based on experience of the last ten or fifteen years, normally we expect a reduction in April of about 500 or 600. In addition, reference to the “ Financial Review “, which is published by one of the very well known Sydney journals, the “Sydney Morning Herald”, indicates that if we take seasonal factors into consideration the actual reduction in the number of registrants would be substantially greater than the 2,500 I have mentioned.
As to the second part of the honorable gentleman’s question, I did announce to the House a week or so ago that future monthly returns would divide job vacancies and registrants for employment into various occupational and industrial groups. This has been done for the first time in the current monthly returns. I am sure the information will be interesting to honorable members because it indicates clearly the kind of training that is necessary if our unemployed are to be absorbed. It also shows the categories of people who are available to fill the job vacancies in the various industries.
– My question is also addressed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. Is the Minister aware that dismissal notices have been given to twenty employees of Walkers Limited, in Maryborough, Queensland, further reducing the work force, which eight years ago was 800, to less than 400? As the majority of the dismissed men are tradesmen who may be lost to the city, and as this position is general in Queensland coastal towns, will the Minister say what steps the Government proposes to take to alleviate the position?
– I was not aware that there had been a reduction of twenty employees at Walkers shipyard in Maryborough, but I think I can say to the honorable member, as the Prime Minister has stated already, that as yet the economic measures which the Government announced in February and March have not had their full impact. More money was allocated to Queensland than to any other State, and in addition, seasonal influences in Queensland will begin to improve the prospects of increased employment there towards the latter part of next month. With those two influences - the beginning of the meat and sugar seasons and the effect that the Commonwealth and State governments’ economic measures will have - we hope for a substantial improvement in the employment position in Queensland commencing, say, at the end of next month.
– I direct my question to the Prime Minister. Is it a fact that the New England New State Movement in New South Wales has approached him with a view to having the recommendations of the Constitutional Review Committee implemented as early as possible, seeing that there was an unsatisfactory result to a request to the New South Wales Government for a referendum on whether a new State should be established in that area? Would it be possible to implement the recommendations in the forthcoming months? I also ask whether the Government has given consideration to the implications of the Immigration Act of the United Kingdom and of the European Common Market in relation to the Constitution of this Commonwealth. Further, has consideration been given to the appointment of an expert committee with a view to referring to the electors such proposals as may seem most urgent, having regard to the recommendations of the Constitutional Review Committee?
– As the honorable member quite rightly says, I myself received a deputation from the advocates of the new State movement. They asked, among other things, that there should be an opportunity to have a discussion in this House of the relevant parts of the recommendations of the all-party committee. I arranged that that should be done and, as the honorable member knows, because he took a leading part in it, there was a debate on the matter. The Government, as such, has not since then had an opportunity to consider this matter, but I will direct its attention to what the honorable member has said.
– I ask the Minister for Trade whether he is correctly reported as having said, “ The United States of America Secretary of State did not seem to understand Australia’s viewpoint on the future of its preferences in Britain “. Does this mean that Australia’s viewpoint has not been presented forcefully enough, or does it mean that Mr. Dean Rusk has not been capable of grasping Australia’s viewpoint? Alternatively, does it mean that our viewpoint is being deliberately misrepresented by the Secretary of State of the United States of America?
– I do not carry in my mind the precise words to which I was referring when I made the comment, but, speaking broadly, as I remember it, there was attributed to Mr. Rusk the statement that an extension to the Common Market area as a whole of the preferences which we now enjoy in Britain would inhibit the opportunities of the United States of America to sell in that area. I made the comment that this appeared to reveal a failure to comprehend the point that Australia was making, namely, that we did not seek to expand in quantity the items being protected-
– You have softened down quite a lot.
– I did not expect to be obstructed by the Labour Party when I was trying to explain Australia’s interest in this matter. The point is that Australia’s request, as presented at Brussels, was that we should enjoy in the Common Market area the same level of preference as we now enjoy in the United Kingdom for the same quantity of the various items that we now export to the United Kingdom. That does not represent any restriction of anybody else’s trading opportunities.
– In addressing a question to the Minister for Immigration, I refer to the restriction placed upon advertising for migrants by Australia in some European countries, and ask whether it is a fact that Australia’s most valuable propaganda is the personal recommendation of the migrant already here and happily settled in the community. Has the Minister’s attention been directed to the fact that these people could put to much wider use the news sheet entitled the “ Good Neighbour “ if controlled English were used in that publication, thus making it more readable overseas?
– The honorable member has made an interesting suggestion about the circulation of the “ Good Neighbour “. I have always thought that it was a wellproduced1 news sheet with quite attractive photographs and good print, and I have never thought that the English used was particularly recondite or abstruse. However, I shall bear the honorable gentleman’s ideas in mind and, if it is possible to simplify the language and to disseminate this publication in the countries of recruitment in Europe, I shall certainly consider doing so. We may well be able to put the suggestion to very good advantage.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Labour and National Service. I ask: What is the percentage of unemployment in Queensland? Is it a fact that the percentage of unemployment there is the worst in the nation? If this is correct, does the Minister agree that it indicates this Government’s lack of interest in Queensland, and its failure to give practical support and encouragement to that State?
– The answer to the last part of the honorable gentleman’s question is, “ Certainly not “. I am sure that the Premier and the Treasurer of Queensland, after the recent discussions with this Government about that State’s economic problems, and after receiving our assurance of the help that would be given to the Queensland Government, went away satisfied with what was proposed and confident that within a reasonable time those measures would establish a high level of employment in Queensland.
As to the other parts of the question, registrations for employment are 3.8 per cent. That is the highest figure in Australia at present. But the honorable gentleman will know that early in July both the meat season and the sugar season commence, and that the demand for labour in .Queensland will then substantially increase. As I have said previously, with the public works programmes that are now in hand and the seasonal employment that will then be available, we shall find a substantial improvement in the employment situation in that State.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Supply. Recently, I asked the Minister whether he would make investigations to ascertain the quality of galvanized iron being supplied to tank-makers in Victoria. In refusing, he said that the Government could deal only with that purchased by the Government. I now ask: Will the Minister make investigations to ascertain the quality of galvanized iron being supplied to the Government under contract, as I am anxious that the quality shall be excellent?
– The honorable member did ask me to investigate the quality of galvanized1 iron being supplied to private purchasers. I did not refuse. I pointed out to him that the Government had no control over the quality of galvanized iron being so supplied. If the honorable gentleman wants me to inquire into the quality of the material being supplied on government contracts, I can tell him that no piece of material or equipment is ever bought for the Government without the most rigid inspection.
– I wish to direct a question to the Minister for Trade. Can the Minister inform the House of the present position concerning the application by the citrus industry panel for temporary protection against the import of Californian citrus juices into Australia? The right honorable gentleman will no doubt be aware that, on 3rd April, I first asked a question on this matter, which was later supplemented by questions asked by other honorable members, and I was then told that the application would receive prompt attention. I now ask the Minister: Is the delay which has occurred considered to represent prompt attention, keeping in mind the fact that the citrus industry is in a depressed condition?
– I undertake to give the honorable member an answer to-morrow on the points that he has raised.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Repatriation. For some time in the past, has it been the practice of the Repatriation Commission to arrange for the periodical medical examination of Australian ex-servicemen who had been prisoners of war? Is this practice to continue? If it is not to be continued in a general way, can former prisoners of war arrange without difficulty with the Repatriation Department for medical examination and, if so, what procedure should be adopted?
– I answered a question similar to this a couple of weeks ago. At the time I explained that some years ago a full-scale survey was undertaken throughout all States and about 12,000 Australian ex-prisoners of war were medically examined. A trial survey was first held in about three of the States and a number of ex-prisoners of war were examined to determine whether a full-scale survey was necessary. The results of the full-scale survey have been tabulated and two medical publications have been prepared and distributed throughout all repatriation general hospitals and institutions. They have also been made available to other members of the medical profession. Since then a continuous study has been made of the medical condition of ex-prisoners of war. This study has been interrupted by the death of Dr. Nye, who was responsible for the work. We are hoping that shortly another doctor will take his place. The work will then continue and a report will be made. No further full-scale survey will be made, although the situation will be reviewed when the report is received. If individual exprisoners of war require, or feel they require, medical attention to establish claims, they have available to them in all centres local medical officers whom they can approach for examination. If the honorable member has in mind some individual cases and refers them to me, I shall see that the medical examinations are made.
– I direct my question to the Minister for External Affairs. Has he been able to establish, from the statements of representatives at the 18-nation disarmament conference, whether the recent nuclear tests in the Pacific have obstructed discussion?
– I should say they have not.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Repatriation, and I preface it by referring to the fact that an exserviceman at the age of 60 can receive a service pension which, in effect, is an age pension payable five years earlier than it would be to a civilian. However, if a service pensioner is in receipt of a war pension, it is set off against his service pension. Will the Minister consider having that set-off abolished when the ex-serviceman reaches 65 years when he would be entitled by circumstances of age, even if he were a civilian, to the age pension, so that his war pension, which is compensation for disabilities he has suffered, is not taken from him by virtue of the award of the service pension?
– The honorable member has always taken a very keen interest in repatriation matters, and I appreciate the suggestion that he has made. As he has said, a war pension is a pension for a war disability and is not subject to any means test, whereas a service pension, which is payable to an ex-serviceman as from the age of 60 years, is subject to a means test. In the case of an ex-serviceman receiving both a war pension and a service pension there is a ceiling limit on the total in pension that he may receive. In addition to pensions there are benefits to which an ex-serviceman is entitled, such as the availability, free of charge in a repatriation hospital, of medical treatment for the accepted disabilities for which he is receiving a pension. As a service pensioner such a man may also have medical treatment free for a wide range of disabilities that are not war-caused. The ceiling limit in respect of the payment of both war and service pensions to a person on reaching the age of 65 is a matter which will have to be considered in relation to the Budget proposals. We shall be examining such matters, and I can assure the honorable gentleman that his suggestion will be considered.
– My question, which is directed to the Postmaster-General, is based on repeated representations made by me concerning1 the unsatisfactory television reception in a wide area of the Macquarie electorate. I ask the honorable gentleman: What does he intend to do to provide adequate service for the people in the fringe area of television reception? Has he considered the use of booster stations, or does he intend to rely on the third metropolitan licensee in Sydney to meet those requirements? Will the Minister say when the national station for the central west of New South Wales will commence operation?
– The question posed by the honorable member for Macquarie is one with which I have already dealt several times in this House. I have told him - and I repeat now - that it was realized when the third and fourth phases of television were planned that there would be some areas, including the area of which he speaks, in which we would not be entirely sure of the degree of reception that would be obtained from stations which have since begun operation. I said that this matter would be carefully watched, and that any remedial measures which experience of the operation of the new stations showed to be necessary would be taken. That could be done by way of booster stations or otherwise; but until such time - and it should not be far ahead now - as we have had sufficient experience of reception in this phase of television I have nothing to add to what I previously told the honorable gentleman. As regards the opening of the national station in the central west of New South Wales, I shall look up the date that is planned and let the honorable gentleman know of it.
– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry: Has the Wheat Research Committee decided on the location of the wheat research institute which is to be established in Victoria? If not, can the Minister say when this important decision is to be made?
– So far as I can recall, there has been no recommendation to me, as Minister, concerning the site of the wheat research institute in Victoria, nor do I know when that recommendation will be made. I will ascertain the position and let the honorable member know of it.
– My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Trade. Is it true that during the last thirteen years Australia bought from the United States of America about £500,000,000 worth of goods and merchandise more than the United States of America bought from Australia? Also, is it true that our indebtedness to the United States of America during that period increased by a sum approaching £1,000,000,000? Is the right honorable gentleman now frantically pointing out to the Government of the United States of America that that country should buy more goods and merchandise from Australia? Are not the right honorable gentleman’s present attitude to, and the remarks he is making about, the statement of Mr. Rusk, the Secretary of State of the United States of America, a vigorous condemnation of thirteen years of unbalanced trade with the United States of America?
– I do not know whether I should attempt to answer the honorable member’s question or thank him for the information conveyed in the figures that he has cited. The policy of the Government has never been to seek to establish a bilateral balance of trading with any one of its trading partners. The policy of the Government is to seek to have an overall satisfactory trading position for Australia and to argue vigorously, bilaterally or multilaterally, about our rights and opportunities to sell. Insofar as the United States of America is concerned, We have pointed out, time and time again, publicly and directly and in international negotiations, that there are some items of trade in respect of which we believe we should have fairer access to the United States markets. That is the policy of the Government. We have a long public record that illustrates what we have in mind and the force of the arguments that we bring along. We will stand on that record.
– I wish to inform the House of the following appointments of senators and members to be members of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory: -
Senators McCallum, Vincent and Wood have been appointed by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and Senators O’Byrne and Toohey have been appointed by the Leader of the Opposition in that House.
Mr. England and Mr. Fox have been appointed by the Prime Minister, and Mr. J. R. Fraser and Mr. Coutts have been appointed by the Leader of the Opposition in this House.
– I move - That the bill be now read a second time.
The main object of this bill is to give the force of law within Australia to a convention, supplementary to the Warsaw Convention, for the unification of rules relating to international carriage by air. This convention was agreed to at a diplomatic conference held at Guadalajara in Mexico in September, 1961.
To understand the effect of the present bill, it is desirable to refer to the provisions of the Warsaw Convention. This convention, which was signed in 1929, unifies the rules relating to international carriage by air. It has been ratified by some 56 countries, including Australia and all other countries which operate major international air services. Australia gives effect to the Warsaw Convention by the Carriage by Air Act 1935. The principal effects of that convention were, broadly, to provide persons injured or whose luggage or cargo had been lost or damaged in the course of international air travel with the right to recover damages, up to fixed limits, without proof of fault or negligence on the part of the carrier. The limit on the amount of damages did not apply if the passenger established wilful misconduct on the part of the carrier or his servants. In addition, the convention facilitated the recovery of damages by provisions enlarging and defining the jurisdictions within which actions for damages could be brought.
In 1955, an international conference at The Hague agreed to a protocol to amend the Warsaw Convention in two main respects, firstly to double the limit of the amount of damages recoverable for death or personal injury from approximately £A. 3,750 to £A.7,500, and secondly to extend the benefit of the limits under the Warsaw Convention to servants and agents of the carrier. The Hague Protocol was ratified by Australia .pursuant to the authority to do so given by Parliament in the Civil Aviation (Carriers’ Liability) Act 1959. This protocol will not come into force until ratified by 30 states. To date 22 states have ratified the convention and it appears likely that the necessary number of ratifications to bring it into force will be received by the end of this year.
The Warsaw Convention in terms applies to “ successive carriers “, that is to say where the carriage of the passenger is performed by a number of carriers in succession, if the carriage has been regarded as a single operation by the parties. In these circumstances, each carrier is liable for damage occurring during the carriage which he performs. However, the convention makes no provision for any other case where the contract for the carriage is made by the passenger or consignor with one carrier, but the whole or part of the carriage is performed in fact by another carrier. It has always been a matter of great uncertainty as to whether in such circumstances the references in the Warsaw Convention to “ the carrier “ were to the contracting carrier, the actual carrier, or both carriers. Such cases of charter and hire of aircraft were rare in 1929, when the Warsaw Convention was drafted, but have become increasingly common in recent years. One example is the recent operation by the Italian airline, Alitalia, of services between Italy and Australia with aircraft owned by the French airline T.A.I, and flown by T.A.I, crews.
The object of the diplomatic conference at Guadalajara was to arrive at a convention, to be supplementary to the Warsaw Convention, which would clarify this doubt as to the application of the Warsaw Convention to “ successive carriers “. The subject had been under consideration for some years by the legal committee of the International Civil Aviation Organization, which prepared a draft convention which was the basis for the discussions at the Guadalajara conference. Representatives of 40 countries, including Australia, were present at the conference as well as observers from the International Air Transport Association, the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Federation of Airline Pilots Associations and the International Law Association. The conference succeeded in drawing up a convention to carry out the objects for which it met. This convention will no doubt be known generally as the Guadalajara Convention and is referred to in those terms in this bill. The main object of the bill is to provide for the convention to have the force of law in Australia as soon as it comes into force.
The general scheme of the bill is to insert in the Civil Aviation (Carriers’ Liability) Act 1959 a new Part IIIa. relating to the Guadalajara Convention, and to set out the terms of that convention in a schedule.
In this respect the bill follows the same pattern as the act in relation to the Warsaw Convention and the Hague Protocol. The formal provisions of the bill are to come into force upon the bill receiving the Royal Assent. The provisions which give to the Guadalajara Convention the force of law in Australia will come into operation on a date to be fixed by proclamation. This date will be subsequent to the convention coming into force after the deposit of five instruments of ratification, as provided for by Article XIII. of the convention.
I turn now to the provisions of the convention as set out in the schedule to the bill. Broadly, the effect of these provisions is that, in the cases to which the convention applies, both the “ contracting carrier “ and the “ actual carrier “ are made subject to the rules of the Warsaw Convention - in the case of the contracting carrier, for the whole of the carriage contracted for, and in the case of the actual carrier, only for the part of the carriage which he actually performs. The terms “ contracting carriers “ and “ actual carriers “ are used in the senses which I have already indicated, and are defined in precise terms in Article I. of the convention. “ Contracting carrier “ is defined as a person who as a principal makes an agreement for carriage governed by the Warsaw Convention, either in its original form or as amended by the Hague Protocol, with a passenger or consignor. “ Actual carrier “ is defined as a person, other than the contracting carrier, who by virtue of authority from the contracting carrier performs the whole or part of the carriage contemplated by the contract made by the contracting carrier, but is not a successive carrier within the meaning of the Warsaw Convention.
The key provision of the convention is Article II. This article provides that where an actual carrier performs- the whole or part of such carriage, both the contracting carrier and the actual carrier are subject to the rules of the Warsaw Convention, the former for the whole carriage contemplated in the agreement, the latter solely for the carriage which he performs.
The effect of Article II. may best be illustrated by an example. A person in Sydney books with Qantas to travel or to ship cargo by that airline from Sydney to
London via San Francisco. Qantas finds itself unable to continue the carriage past San Francisco in its own aircraft and arranges for the passenger or cargo to be carried from there to London by a Pan American aircraft. In these circumstances, if the passengers were injured or the cargo damaged or lost during the flight from San Francisco to London, the passenger or consignor would have a right of action under the Guadalajara Convention against both Qantas and Pan American. His rights would be governed by the terms of the Warsaw Convention at the present time, but if the Hague Protocol were in force his rights would be governed by the Warsaw Convention as amended by the Hague Protocol. This is made clear by the definition in Article I. of “ the Warsaw Convention “.
Articles III. to X. of the convention contain ancillary and consequential provisions arising from the key provisions in Article II. In relation to the carriage which the actual carrier performs, Article III. provides that the acts and omissions of the actual carrier and his servants and agents within the scope of their employment are deemed to be also those of the contracting carrier, and vice versa. Article IV. provides that complaints or orders required to be made or given under the Warsaw Convention may generally be given to either the contracting carrier or the actual carrier. Under Article V. a servant or agent of either carrier may avail himself of the limits of liability applicable to his employer, unless it is proved he acted in a manner which under the Warsaw Convention prevents the limits of liability from being invoked. This occurs if the passenger or consignor proves that the loss or damage was caused by the wilful misconduct of the servant or agent.
Articles VII. and VIII. of the convention contain provisions as to the bringing of actions where damage has occurred during the carriage performed by the actual carrier. An action for such damages may be brought against either the actual carrier or the contracting carrier or both together or both separately. The jurisdictions in which such actions may be brought are dealt with by Article VIII. This provides that the person suing has an option as to where he brings his action. He may do so at the place where the actual carrier is ordinarily resident or has his principal place of business. Alterna tively, he may sue in a court in any of the places where an action could be brought against the contracting carrier in accordance with Article 28 of the Warsaw Convention. These places are the place where that carrier is ordinarily resident or has his principal place of business or has an establishment by which the contract has been made, or the place of destination of the carriage in question. Thus the convention gives the plaintiff a very wide choice of venue for his action, which should enable him in all cases to bring his case before a court in a country which is reasonably accessible and convenient in the circumstances. Any provision in the contract of carriage altering these rules as to jurisdiction is made null and void by Article IX. of the convention.
That article also prohibits any contractual provision which would tend to infringe the rules of the convention as to the applicable law, to relieve either carrier from liability under the convention, or to fix a lower limit than those applicable under the convention. These limits are at present, in round figures, £A. 3,750 for death of or injury to a passenger, £7 10s. per kilogramme for cargo or registered baggage, and £150 for hand baggage. When the Hague Protocol comes into force, the limit of liability for personal injury or death will be increased to £7,500 approximately. The other limits are not altered by the Hague Protocol.
Article X. provides that the convention does not affect the rights and obligations of the carriers as between themselves except that if an action is brought against one only of the carriers, he has the right to have the other carrier joined in the proceedings in accordance with the law of the country hearing the case.
While the new convention covers a relatively limited set of’ circumstances, it is a useful and necessary supplement to the widely accepted rules of the Warsaw Convention. The United Kingdom Government has already introduced legislation to ratify the convention and to give it the force of law within Great Britain. It appears certain that the required number of ratifications will be lodged within the next few months, and that the convention will come into force in the remarkably short period of less than a year after its signature. Qantas Empire
Airways Limited, as Australia’s designated overseas airline, has been consulted, both before and after the Guadalajara Conference, as to the desirability of an international convention of this nature. That company has expressed the view that removal of the doubt as to the meaning of “ carrier “ in the Warsaw Convention is a very definite advantage to the company, as well as to passengers and shippers. Its pooling arrangements with other carriers involve its entering into charter arrangements from time to time, and the new convention will clarify the rights of interested parties. The company’s considered view is that the convention should be ratified by Australia as soon as practicable.
Clauses 6 and 9 of the bill amend the Civil Aviation (Carriers’ Liability) Act in some minor respects not related to the Guadalajara Convention. Section 16 of the act deals with the situation where the carrier who is sued for damages under the Warsaw Convention as amended by the Hague Protocol proves that the damage was caused by or contributed to by the negligence of the passenger or consignor. The section also applies to actions for damages during carriage to which the Warsaw Convention, without the Hague Protocol, applies, by virtue of section 24 of the act. The effect of section 16 is that the court hearing the case first determines the damages recoverable as if there were no contributory negligence and no limit on the amount of those damages. The court is then required to reduce those damages to such an extent as it thinks just and equitable having regard to the share of the passenger or consignor in the responsibility for the damage. If the damages as so reduced exceed the limit fixed by the Hague Protocol or the Warsaw Convention, whichever is applicable in the particular case, the damages must be further reduced to the amount of that limit.
The object of the amendment set out in clause 6 of the bill is to add a new subsection which makes it clear that where the trial of the action for damages takes place before a jury, as will generally be the case in State courts, it is the jury and not the judge which determines the damages in the first place and the amount by which those damages should be reduced by reason of the contributory negligence of the person suing.
Clause 9 of the bill provides for a similar amendment to section 39 of the act. This section is applicable to actions against a carrier under Part IV. of the act. It will be recalled that Part IV. of the act applies to certain types of carriage of passengers within Australia the general principles of the Warsaw Convention of liability of the carrier up to a specified maximum amount of damages - £7,500 for death or personal injury - without proof of fault or negligence on the part of the carrier. Section 39 provides for a reduction of damages in the event of contributory negligence on the part of the injured passenger, in similar terms to section 16. Clause 9 of the bill adds a new sub-section to provide that where the action is tried with a jury, the jury shall determine the damages and the amount of the reduction to be made because of the contributory negligence of the plaintiff before the provisions of Part IV. limiting the total damages recoverable to £7,500 are applied. I commend the bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Whitlam) adjourned.
– I move-
The customs tariff proposals which I have just tabled are consequent on a recommendation of the Special Advisory Authority, Sir Frank Meere, whose report I shall table later this day.
Temporary additional duties are imposed on phthalic anhydride from all countries, pending examination of the need for protection of the industry by the Tariff Board.
– I lay on the table of the House a report by the Special Advisory Authority on phthalic anhydride.
Ordered to be printed.
Debate resumed from 2nd May (vide page 1832), on motion by Mr. Fairhall -
That the bill be now read a second time.
.- The bill before the House is a very small one, covering about one and a half pages of printed matter. It provides for an increase in the rate of bounty on continuous filament acetate rayon yarn from 6d. per lb. to 9d. per lb. That rate of bounty is to remain in operation for three years.
The first bounty payable in relation to this product was introduced in 1954. Further bounty provision was made in 1956, and again in 1959, and now we have this latest measure before us.
Continuous filament acetate rayon yarn is spun at Tomago, in New South Wales, and I think that in normal circumstances about 500 people are employed at that centre. The thread is spun from acetate flake, which is manufactured by the chemical section of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited, and in respect of which a bounty of 7d. per lb. is payable, and will be payable until 1964. The Parliament can see, therefore, that this industry is fairly substantially supported by the Australian people against competition from imported products.
It is true that the legislation provides that the bounty payment to Courtaulds (Australia) Limited shall not exceed £130,000 per annum, and that there is also a provision that the payment of bounty shall cease if the firm achieves a profit rate of 10 per cent, or more. It is rather unfortunate that a company of the magnitude of Courtaulds (Australia) Limited should find, after having invested a huge amount of capital in Australia, that the economics of production in this country, as compared with those in other countries, render it necessary to seek this tariff protection in order to keep the industry going. It is a valuable industry to Australia and to the people of this country, and, I take it, the penalty is worth paying.
I do not pretend to be an expert on the industry with which we are dealing. I understand that my friend, the honorable member for St. George (Mr. Clay), who is an expert, will have some remarks to make about the measure. The Opposition supports this bounty payment. As a general rule we support bounty payments, because we believe that we must strengthen this country by establishing in it as many manufacturing industries as we can carry, so that there will be ever-increasing opportunities for employment for our expanding population, to say nothing of the defence advantage to be gained by being selfsufficient in the manufacture of as many fabricated goods as possible.
.- As the honorable member for Lalor said, the purpose of this bill is to increase from 6d. to 9d. per lb. the bounty payable on fibre spun from acetate flake. Customs duty is also imposed on this material, at the rate of 10 per cent. British preferential, and 221 per cent, most-favoured-nation. The board felt that a combination of bounty and duty was more suitable than a straight-out duty, which would increase the cost of the yarn, and consquently increase the cost of the piece goods manufactured from it, making their competitive position more difficult.
The set-up in the industry is as stated by the honorable member for Lalor. The cellulose comes from North America and is made up by the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited into acetate flake. On this production the company receives a bounty of about £68,000 a year. Courtaulds (Australia) Limited then takes over, and, with the assistance of this bounty, which, it is estimated, will now amount to about £130,000 a year, produces the fibre. The piece goods manufacturer then makes up the yarn into piece goods. There is no bounty payable in this section of the industry, but it is protected by a duty of 2s. 8id. a square yard, as well as by a high rate of emergency duty, which is on a sliding scale, and for which it is difficult to give an ad valorem equivalent. The total assistance to these three sections of the industry, a bounty on production of the flake and the yarn and tariff protection on piece goods, amounts to about £4,000,000 a year. This amounts to more than £1,600 for each of the 2,500 people employed in the industry. In other words, we would be better off if we paid each employee £30 a week and allowed him to stay home watching his television set.
We should also realize - and this is an important point that people are inclined to forget - that a very large number of employees are engaged in making piece goods into garments. In this industry 70,105 people are employed in 3,705 factories. They are engaged in all kinds of garment manufacturing. We should remember that if the piece goods could be imported at lower prices, more employment opportunities would become available, because more people would be employed in the industry in which piece goods are made into garments. This should be borne in mind when we talk about the employment now generated in the production and weaving of the artificial fibres in Australia.
The industry - and I say this with some sorrow - must be one of those that are naturally uneconomic, and in this case there seems to be some justification for the suggestion that a Tariff Board inquiry should be held before an industry is established. That suggestion has been made, of course, by the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen). There are many arguments against such a proposal, but this is one case in which it could be useful.
Like the honorable member for Lalor, I do not know the industry well. However, I understand that the various factories are efficient and well designed technically for the jobs they do. The basic cause of the troubles of the industry is that the market is not big enough. This is not helped by having high tariffs on the goods which merely switch the demand to other types of material.
I suppose the real trouble is in the feminine mind. If only women were content to wear uniforms, then the industry would be really economic. The machines then could be employed to spin the same yarn and weave in the same pattern, material and design week after week. I would recommend this to the Minister for Supply (Mr. Fairhall), who is at the table. If he really wants the industry to fit into our economic life, all he has to do is to persuade the women of Australia to wear the same kind of clothes. Those of us who are husbands or who hope to become husbands know the angry glittering glance with which our womenfolk greet another woman who has the temerity to wear even a somewhat similar dress.
It will not be easy for the Minister to do as I have suggested, but perhaps he might be able to do something with the garments which are invisible. My natural delicacy forbids me pursuing this subject, but surely this would be an interesting exercise in ministerial discretion and I commend it to the Minister. Surely it would not be too difficult for him to draw up a 1962 model for each intimate fragile garment. Surely it would give him a sense of satisfaction - even a sense of power - as he strode down Pitt-street feeling that he was the only man in Australia who knew what the ladies were actually wearing underneath. If he lived that long, he would have the additional satisfaction of knowing that he made it pos sible for the artificial fibre industry to be really economic. It is in the hope that the Minister will take kindly to that suggestion that I have much pleasure in supporting the bill.
.- Lately, I seem to be in the position of following the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Kelly) in debates, generally on tariff matters, and I appreciate the extent of the knowledge he has acquired by devoting himself to various matters and, on this occasion, to the problems of the textile industry. What the honorable member has to say is well worth hearing. However, I think the House should know that even Japan, with the lowest cost structure in the world, has found it necessary to impose protective duties on acetate yarn. Such is the extent of the almost vicious competition resulting from the eternal war of the fibres between the manufacturing nations of the world. Although Japan has found it necessary to impose protective duties from time to time, apparently that country deems it necessary and advisable to have an acetate yarn industry, not only for the purposes of its export trade but also for internal consumption.
I appreciate the reference by the honorable member for Wakefield to women’s fashions and to the tastes of women in selecting the various fibres from which their more intimate garments are fashioned. If I might digress for a moment, I recall that from time to time the manufacturers of nylon have endeavoured to satisfy the needs of the ladies by producing stockings fine enough to satisfy their wishes but also having some wearing qualities. To that end, they devised the twin-thread 9-denier nylon which gives 18-denier hosiery. It does not find a very large sale, yet it is only 3-denier heavier than what is regarded as the finest hosiery sold to-day in Australia, and is quite good wearing and of admirable appearance. If a woman gets a snag in one thread, the other may not be affected, so there is always a second thread to fall back upon if only one is damaged. I know that great difficulties are associated with any endeavour to satisfy the ladies with the fibres provided for their garments.
The Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) is a member of the Australian Country Party and as such has in his hand the destinies of our manufacturing industries. 1 have learned to expect that if a fair and reasonable case is presented to him he is willing to lend a receptive ear. I think that in the interests of the 1,200 persons who are now employed at Courtaulds Tomago factory, something should be done. The 1,200 employees include 950 males and 250 females. Practically all these people have been directly or indirectly associated with the coal industry which has been adversely affected by mechanization. It is now in the interests of the Newcastle district in particular and of Australia in general that some means should be contrived to provide employment for persons in the coal-mining areas who are displaced.
With admirable foresight, Courtaulds of England decided as far back as 1953 that they would try to establish an acetate spinning factory at Tomago and also a viscose spinning section for tire cord in the same plant. To-day they have an enormous building there. It would take a visitor a couple of hours to walk around it if he wanted to see what it contains. As I have said, the industry employs a large number of people. The average wage is about £21 a week and of this amount £4 10s. represents incentives. It is very important to remember that an incentives scheme is operating almost from end to end of that factory. An incentive scheme has been instituted wherever it has been humanly possible to establish it. Shift work is maintained round the clock, and in some cases it goes on for 365 days a year because, like a steelworks, once the plant starts to move and produce yarn it can be stopped only at very great expense. As a consequence, it is necessary - as it is in a steelworks - to work shifts round the clock seven days a week. The company has spent £7,000,000 on getting the plant into motion. When the plant was begun in 1953 - and I was present at the opening - it was expected that by 1962, about 7,000 employees would be engaged, not perhaps only in the manufacture of acetate and viscose yarns but also in the ancillary industries which usually establish themselves around and about the acetate and viscose spinning industries in other parts of the world. But we find unfortunately that in 1962 practically no expansion has taken place and the industry is much the same as it was when it was first opened in 1953.
It is important to remember that 70 per cent, of this company’s capital is owned in Australia and only 30 per cent. is owned by the parent company. What a difference exists between the structure of this company and the structure of another company with whose operations we in this House are all too painfully familiar! I refer to General Motors-Holden’s Proprietary Limited. The entire stock of that company is owned by American interests and the entire profits, if the company so desires, may be exported from Australia. Last year nearly one-half of its profits left this country. What a difference between the two companies!
With the large percentage of the capital of Courtaulds owned in Australia it becomes obvious that even if the company does make a substantial profit - it never has - only a small fraction will leave this country. The original investors must be very sorely disappointed to find that despite the expense involved in getting this project started, the highest profit that the company has made on its operations is 5 per cent. I shall mention the profits made over the last few years to demonstrate that they have not been excessive. In 1954-55, the year after the company began producing, no profit was made on the ordinary stock. In 1955-56 a profit of 2 per cent. was earned; in 1956-57 it was4½ per cent.; in 1957- 58 it was again 4i per cent.; in 1958- 59 it was 5 per cent., the highest profit ever; in 1959-69, as a result of the credit squeeze, no profit was made, and in 1960-61 the profit was2½ per cent. The prospects for the current financial year appear to be fairly bright.
Let me point out that if the company does make a profit - as I have revealed, profits have been very low to date - company tax must be paid. If the profit were to reach 10 per cent., company tax would reduce it to 6 per cent. out of which dividends would have to be paid and reserves and funds for development and expansion provided”. Obviously, there can be no development or expansion and no increase in employment with a profit of 6 per cent. As I indicated at the beginning of my remarks, it was confidently expected in 1953 that by this time there would have been 7,000 or 8,000 people employed in the ancillary industries established around the company. This company deserves to prosper, not only in the interests of employment in the Newcastle district, but also so that it can expand into the manufacture of other yarns. One such yarn is acetate which has a molecular texture something similar to tri-acetate. The yarn has qualities that will permit its ready adaptation to Australia’s requirements if the opportunity to do so is given, but unless the company is able to expand, it scarcely can be expected to move into the production of tri-acetate and other fibres, as I believe it would like to do. If it is given the opportunity to expand, it will provide additional employment in a district which is crying out for employment. Wool interests should realize that acetate yarn is not necessarily the enemy of wool. It can be made to walk hand-in-hand with wool if there is true co-operation between the interests controlling the two fibres.
Let me now mention some of the difficulties which the company has had to face. From the beginning of its operations, one of its principal difficulties has been the low duty on fine viscose yarns - a competitive fibre. There are three kinds of rayon. There is cupramonium yarn, acetate yarn and viscose yarn. The cost of producing acetate yarn and viscose yarn is very similar and to me it seems utterly futile to expect this company to prosper while a competitive yarn of about the same cost and with much the same qualities is admitted free under British preferential tariff and with a duty of 12i per cent, under the most favoured nation tariff. While that continues the acetate yarn industry cannot receive what we in Australia choose to call a fair go. Let us suppose that the company had set out to manufacture fine viscose yarns instead of acetates. It would have been in exactly the same trouble unless some protective duties had been imposed on imported acetate fibres. I maintain, without fear of contradiction, despite anything that the Tariff Board may have said, that higher duties should have been imposed on fine viscose yarns which are responsible for the unfair competition.
I can honestly say, as can any one who has studied the history of Courtaulds in Australia, that at no time can the charge of cooking its books be levelled against it. We all know of instances of companies earning little or nothing if they show a loss on their operations in Australia. The honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) mentioned one last week, Nestle’s That company does not worry whether it shows a profit because a loss can usually be manipulated in such a way as to avoid taxation somewhere else. In fact, a company such as that might prefer to show a loss rather than a profit. Let me compare the behaviour of Courtaulds with the behaviour of General Motors-Holden’s when government policy cut back car sales in 1960. General Motors-Holden’s was very swift to act. It promptly dismissed several thousand employees and it used its actions as a kind of blackmail on the Government. Perhaps this was one of the reasons why sales tax on motor vehicles was reduced, so enabling the motor vehicle industry to recover its position. However, when Courtaulds was adversely affected some years ago by government policy it produced £1,000,000 worth of stock before it even contemplated sacking one man. 1 do not know whether the Minister for Trade realizes what it means to the textile industry when skilled employees have to be dismissed and are lost to the industry because they find work in some other more reliable occupation. The cost of training new employees is fantastic, and sometimes the damage done to processes or yarns by unskilled employees is very great. So it is a matter of great concern to Courtaulds if it becomes necessary to dismiss any staff. As I have indicated, Courtaulds, unlike General Motors-Holden’s, has exhibited always the utmost reluctance to dismiss any one.
It is timely to point out to the House that it is a matter of great consequence to Australia that the acetate yarn industry should be established here and given the opportunity to prosper. It is true that before the industry was established in Australia, if we wanted yarn we could get it from anywhere in the world, but usually a wait of several months was necessary. Now it is possible to satisfy in Australia most of our requirements of fine deniers although I know that we do not produce a very wide range of deniers Now, with the plant established at Tomago, it is merely a matter of placing orders and, within days, sometimes within hours, the demand is met. Not only is there prompt delivery of yarn, but there is less chance of damage being done to the yarn on its way to the consumer. I used a lot of this yarn at one time, and I can remember occasions when yarn which came from as far away as Great Britain was damaged in delivery and it was necessary to wait sometimes for months for replacements. The Tariff Board has recommended that the limitation of a net 10 per cent, of profit from that section of the plant devoted to the manufacture of acetate yarn be lifted. Hitherto, there has been a limitation of 10 per cent, net on the profit made by that section of the plant used for the manufacture of acetate yarns which have been sold locally. The fact that the Minister has stated in his speech that the Government does not agree with that recommendation by the Tariff Board would indicate to me - I sincerely hope that I am wrong - that the Government does not wish this important industry to flourish. If it did desire the industry to flourish in Australia, it would agree with the Tariff Board’s recommendation. I do not necessarily agree with all the recommendations of the Tariff Board. For instance, I know that it has been decided that for the next three years the bounty shall be £130,000 - an increase from £100,000 - but this is only consequential because the bounty is being raised from 6d. to 9d. per lb. of manufactured yarn, but when I compare the value of 6d. to-day with its value at the time when that rate was fixed, I say unhesitatingly that the rate of bounty to-day should be not 9d. but ls. per lb. of manufactured yarn if the company is to be accorded the protection that it needs and richly deserves.
Sometimes I ask myself: “ What does a company have to do in this country to get a fair deal? Does high efficiency mean anything? “ After all, there is no more efficient company in Australia than Courtaulds (Australia) Limited. Because of its policy of offering incentives, the company’s employees have become highly skilled. I have seen them at work, and I know that every one of them does his utmost to earn the fullest possible wage packet. By its policy of incentives, this company gives its own employees every opportunity to prosper. Sometimes, too, I ask myself, “Does common decency mean anything? “ I was prompted to ask that when I remember that at a time when General Motors-Holden’s dismissed thousands of its employees, this company retained all its workers. When I looked at the prices of Courtaulds shares only a few days ago - they have risen slightly in the meantime - I wondered why there had not been an attempt to take over the company. It was wide open for a take-over by somebody provided the necessary funds could be raised, and I suggest that this Government’s attitude towards Courtaulds is the reason why no such take-over has been attempted.
One of the things that I had hoped the company would do if it had been allowed to expand was to conduct further experiments into the extrusion of wool, and in referring to this subject I speak to the members of the Australian Country Party in particular. This company is possessed of a tremendous amount of know-how, and it could be encouraged to carry out experiments in connexion with the extrusion of wool. I do know that it has already conducted experiments in connexion with the treatment of the Australian eucalypt. As a result of the experiments it carried out in South Africa, the company discovered that the Australian eucalypt could be used for the manufacture of cellulose acetates. At the moment, the spruce trees of the Scandinavian countries and Canada are used because their molecular structure makes them eminently suited to this purpose. Being springy and tough in their molecular structure, these trees give the same qualities to acetate yarns, and Courtaulds has discovered from its experiments that the Australian eucalypt could be used in lieu of imported spruce because it, too, has a similar molecular structure.
The Tariff Board is not infallible. We all know that all humans can make mistakes, and I conclude by repeating that the bounty should be ls. per lb., because only by lifting it to that figure can we make the bounty equal in value to what it was when it was first fixed at 6d. per lb. If it is restored to ls. the acetate spinning industry will have restored to it the full amount to which it is entitled. Further, adequate protection must be accorded the production of fine viscose yarns. I am fully aware of the fact that the
Tariff Board has said that Australian manufacturers cannot meet Australia’s requirements of acetate yarns because their productive capacity is not great enough, but I believe that as Courtaulds have indicated that they are prepared to expand, if necessary, then it should be given the opportunity it so richly deserves. I firmly believe that the Government should implement the Tariff Board’s recommendation that the limit of 10 per cent, be removed from the profit made by that part of the plant used for the making of acetate yarn. The company does offer incentives to its employees, and I think the time is rotten ripe for the Government to offer Courtaulds some incentives.
.- Anybody knowing the background of the honorable member for St. George (Mr. Clay) will appreciate the speech he has just made in connexion with this particular matter. He has had great experience in this field, he has a vast knowledge of the subject and I am sure everybody who knows that will pay great attention to what he says. I believe that he has made a very strong case for the implementation of recommendation No. 4 of the Tariff Board’s report. 1 have discussed this matter personally with the honorable member for St. George, because I know that he is a man of vast experience in this field, and because I know of his association with the industry in the past.
When the industry submitted its case to the Tariff Board, it stressed the fact that a net profit of 10 per cent, on funds employed was quite inadequate for the maintenance of a progressive and modern industry. After all, 10 per cent, becomes only 6 per cent, after taxation, and this 6 per cent, is expected to cover the provision of essential reserves, the provision of funds for development and expansion, and the distribution of a certain amount to shareholders. In its report, the company said -
There is a range of new fibres which can be produced in Australia and Courtaulds (Australia) Ltd. has the “know-how” rights to many of them. But a company with such a restriction on its profits has no hope of interesting new capital for such ventures, or indeed of finding funds for expansion.
The fourth recommendation of the Tariff Board reads -
The provisions in the Rayon Yarn Bounty Act 1954-1959 whereby the bounty payable is reduced if the net profit of a producer derived from the production and sale of rayon yarn during a period to which the Act applies exceeds profit at the rate of 10 per centum per annum on the capital used in the production and sale of rayon yarn be omitted from the Act.
Sir, I say quite frankly that I think the Government and the Cabinet have made a grievous mistake in not accepting this recommendation by the Tariff Board. I sincerely ask that it be considered further and that, if necessary, this bill be amended in another place.
I have had a long association with the company concerned. I have seen it operating, and I agree with the honorable member for St. George that it is one of the most efficient enterprises that I have seen. It has a particularly happy relationship between management and employees, and its staff, on the personal relations side, is doing a magnificent job. Here we have a company that was prepared to, shall I say, take the risk and establish itself in this area. Ever since the company began, it has faced tremendous difficulties. Indeed, I think it is a wonder that many of its shareholders remain faithful to it. Now, at a time when the company appears likely to be able to fight its way out of the difficulties that have confronted it throughout, I believe that the Government should give it all the encouragement that it can.
The company can make a tremendous contribution, as it has already done, to the area in which it is situated. We talk in this place many times about the establishment of industries in rural areas. Here we have a company that was prepared to establish an industry in a country district. Because of the way in which the factory has been established and conducted, I believe that this company deserves all the encouragement that it can be given. It certainly needs encouragement.
We say, perhaps, that members of the Tariff Board are not infallible. But surely there are good and justifiable reasons why the experienced members of the board made a recommendation such as they have made after due and earnest consideration of a matter presented to them. As I have already said, I strongly urge the Government to consider the matter further and to amend the bill in another place.
I wish to say one final thing, Sir. I know that it is said that the Minister for Customs and Excise has discretionary powers and that he can average the profits of the company and so, over a period, adjust the situation. I think that is valuable, and I hope that, if there were no other way, the Minister would use his discretionary powers and enable the company not only to complete its present programme of development, but also to develop further in the future. However, I do not think that the matter should be left to the discretionary power of the Minister.
– in reply - Mr. Deputy Speaker, the Government welcomes the support that the Opposition has given this bill. I am rather grateful to the honorable member for St. George (Mr. Clay) for bringing forward the points that he made regarding the history of the company concerned. Like my friend, the honorable member for Lyne (Mr. Lucock), I have had some association with this company, which is on the border of my electorate and which provides employment for quite a number of people, who, I hope, are faithful constituents of mine. I am also pleased that the honorable member for St. George raised the question of the joint ownership of the undertaking by Australian and British investors. I hope that the sort of ownership established in this industry will be a pattern which will be followed as new influxes of overseas capital come to Australia.
Anything that I may say, Mr. Deputy Speaker, will, I know, not be interpreted as criticism of the firm of Courtaulds (Australia) Limited. I share the views expressed by honorable members this afternoon about the general efficiency of this undertaking and the excellent manner in which it has been conducted and its relationships with its employees, its customers and, indeed, with the people of Australia generally. But there comes a point at which the decision to establish an industry in Australia, involving, as it must always do, some risk, lays that risk on the entrepreneur. As I have intimated, I do not want my remarks to be interpreted as meaning that the company took a risk and that, because matters did not come out quite as it hoped, it must carry the baby. That is not the point at all. The point that I am trying to make is that there must always be some limitation on the extent to which the public purse can be called on to support a company which finds conditions rather difficult in an industry which the country needs.
This, obviously, is the picture here: Courtaulds (Australia) Limited, in the situation that it faces, illustrates the enormous difficulties which confront not only this industry but also many others in Australia because of the size of our domestic market. This is a matter to which the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Kelly) has directed attention. But, as I recall it, the honorable gentleman had something to say a little while ago about quantitative restrictions on imports. Those restrictions were designed rather to secure to the Australian manufacturer a greater share of the home market. This, of course, lines up with what my honorable friend from St. George had to say about competing yarns. Only as we secure to the Australian manufacturer a greater share of the home market, during the formative years not only of the industry itself but also of Australia as a market, shall we be able to support these industries which appear, as somebody has said, to be always uneconomic.
However, Sir, I come back to this question of the degree of assistance. I think that I ought to remind my honorable friend from Lyne that it is not quite true to say that the Government is not accepting the recommendation by the Tariff Board. As appears at page 10 of the report, the board stated -
The Board does not consider that the level of bounty it has recommended, taking into account the limit to total bounty payment of £130,000, will allow Courtaulds more than a return of 10 per cent, per annum on funds employed in the production of acetate yarn.
So it is not that the Tariff Board thought to remove any restriction on profit. It merely said that, under the conditions which its own recommendations would produce, the proposition that the company could earn more than 10 per cent, was almost unthinkable. Therefore, the board did not propose to write in the 10 per cent, limitation. But it had a clear understanding, as is indicated by its decision, that the profit of the company should not exceed 10 per cent. The board therefore concluded that there is no need for profit limitation. The board’s assessment may be right or it may be wrong. After all, its assessment was designed to provide for next year and 1964.
I think that I should direct the attention of the House to the fact that it is quite normal to include a profit limitation in bounty legislation. The Government has consistently supported the view that there should be a limit on the profits which a company may make if it is being financially assisted from the public purse, and this is the important aspect of this matter. So the debate this afternoon has turned largely on the question of what is a reasonable level of support from the public purse for an industry of this kind, which is essential to the national economy so far and yet which seems doomed to be not always a good economic proposition because of a variety of difficulties such as competition by other yarns and the limited size of its domestic market. The Tariff Board has clearly said that the profit ought not to be more than 10 per cent., although it has refrained from suggesting that the Government write in such a limitation. Therefore, the Government is not departing from the spirit of the board’s recommendation when it writes into this measure that which is written into almost every piece of bounty legislation - a stipulation that there shall be a profit limitation of 10 per cent. This does not in any way impose a limit on the profits which Courtaulds (Australia) Limited may make. But it does impose a limit on the profit that the company may make while it receives bounty payments from the Government.
There I think I may let the matter rest, except to say that I wonder why the courage of the honorable member for Wakefield expired so quickly and why he put on me the job of investigating women’s fashions and their desires in relation to fabrics and so on. I suppose that he does not want to get into trouble with his fellow wool-growers and therefore he wants to put on my shoulders the responsibility for making this rather dangerous investigation.
Sir, the Government rests its case.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed from 29th March (vide page 1116), on motion by Mr. Fairhall -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– When introducing this bill, which is of a machinery kind, the Minister said -
At present the only authority to make refunds and remissions of excise duty is contained in the Excise Regulations. As an authority of this nature in the regulations only is of questionable validity, it is proposed by this bill to place the matter beyond doubt by incorporating the basic powers in the Excise Act.
We on this side of the House support the amendment in the name of constitutional propriety. The only query one might raise is, how long have these payments been made in such an irregular fashion? It points to some neglect on the part of the House that such practices can continue. This House always claims with pride that it is responsible for the control of revenue, and thus as much control presumably is necessary over refunds of revenues improperly collected as should be maintained over the imposing of excise in the first place. From memory I should think that excise, which is principally collected on tobacco, beer, wine and spirits, raises about £200,000,000 a year. Inevitably there are occasions when, as is envisaged in this bill, breakages are returned to factories or faults are found in an article on which duty has been applied. When such goods are returned to the factory for replacement, instead of two lots of duty being paid, a refund is payable on the spoiled article. In the aggregate I do not suppose it amounts to a great deal; probably it is not of any great significance. However, we think it wrong that such refunds as have been made have not been confirmed by direct statute but have relied on regulations for validity. This measure purports to clear up the position and we on this side of the House offer no objection to remedying this deficiency and applying, at least in the future, the proper constitutional safeguards.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 6 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.
Proposed new clause 7.
.- I move -
That the following new clause be added to the bill:- “ 7. Refunds of excise duty made on or after the twenty-fifth day of July, One thousand nine hundred and sixty, and before the commencement of this Act in respect of -
tobacco that was returned to the factory in which it was manufactured and again subjected to processes of manufacture; or
cigarettes or cigars that were returned to the factory in which they were manufactured and the tobacco in which was used in the manufacture of other cigarettes or cigars, shall be deemed to have been lawfully made.”.
Though the bill in its present form, together with proposed regulations, will authorize payment of refunds in future, the new clause is necessary to validate certain refund payments made in the past. These refunds relate to tobacco products returned to the factory for further processing and have been the subject of query by the Auditor-General in that it is not considered that the existing excise regulations authorize such payment. The date included in the proposed clause is the date on which the first of this type of refund was made. An amendment to the title of the bill will also be necessary because of the proposed new provision.
New clause agreed to. Title.
A bill for an act to amend the Excise Act 1901-1958.
Amendment (by Mr. Fairhall) agreed to -
At the end of the title, add the words “, and to Validate certain Refunds of Excise Duty”.
Title, as amended, agreed to.
Bill reported with an amendment, and with an amended title; report - by leave - adopted.
Bill - by leave - read a third time.
Debate resumed from 3rd May (vide page 1929), on motion by Mr. Menzies -
That the bill be now read a second time.
.- When the Prime Minister introduced this measure last week he divided it into two parts, one relating to an old feature, the grants to the universities through the States, with which we have become familiar over the last few years, and the other, which is a new feature, the grants to the universities by way of grants to the teaching hospitals in respect of the teaching costs incurred in training medical students. Though the Opposition is supporting this measure, it is disappointed that one old feature of this universities legislation is to continue. It is disappointed also in one aspect of the new feature, the grants to the teaching hospitals. The old feature with which we are disappointed is the continuance of Commonwealth pressure on universities away from free universities. The House will recall that the Commonwealth grants £1 for every £1.85 that the universities receive from the States and through fees. Therefore, the universities have an incentive to charge fees. The more revenue they obtain in this way, the higher the grant they attract from the Commonwealth. This may not mean very much to most honorable members of this House, but to any one from Western Australia it has meant the disappearance of something that the State valued very highly - a free university. Although the department administered by the Minister for Immigration, in its advertisements in Australia House, London, still speaks of a free university in Western Australia, there is, in fact, no free university in Western Australia now. The fees charged by the university of Western Australia are identical with the fees charged by universities in other States. Therefore, if you attach an increasing Commonwealth grant partly to the revenues which a university itself obtains from fees, quite clearly the nature of Commonwealth law constitutes some pressure on universities to charge fees. The Opposition believes in the restoration of free universities in Australia. We believe that if a university is free there is no impediment to ability - that the field from which a university draws its students is likely to include the ablest students in the country.
The measure before us does not tackle the problem of the recurrent costs of the teaching hospitals. It is quite generous in its grants - Commonwealth and State - of something like £3,500,000 for the capital costs of the teaching hospitals to enable them to carry out medical teaching in hospitals in association with the various universities. The Prime Minister, in what was a very brief speech, did not fully explain the origin of this Committee on Teaching Costs of Medical Hospitals, whose report is partly embodied in this legislation. The report of the Australian Universities Commission for the year 1960, which was published in October, 1960, says at page 15-
COMMITTEE ON THE TEACHING COSTS OF MEDICAL HOSPITALS.
The appointment of this Committee had its origin in a conference between the Prime Minister and representatives of the several State Health Ministers held in Canberra on 9th April, 1959. The State Ministers sought financial assistance from the Commonwealth Government for teaching hospitals on the grounds that the provision by a hospital of facilities for clinical teaching involves the hospital in expenditure additional to the salaries and fees of the teaching staff. Mention was made by the Prime Minister that the Murray Committee had singled out medical education as a problem which would require very careful consideration and discussion in the near future. He further expressed the view that medical instruction in hospitals was a subject which properly falls within the university concept and was not appropriate to Commonwealth/State hospital relations.
In other words, the Prime Minister encouraged the universities to go ahead and examine this question of the costs that were being borne by the teaching hospitals. The report goes on -
The Prime Minister referred the matter to the Commission in August, 1959, and in early December he appointed a Committee with the following terms of reference: -
to inquire into the recurrent and non recurrent costs incurred by teaching hospitals, which are directly attributable to the instruction of medical students;
to submit for the consideration of the
Commission recommendations on the magnitude and urgency of the assistance to such hospitals which would be appropriate to their special costs.
In the course of his speech last week the Prime Minister referred to this body as a very powerful committee. If honorable members look at the membership of the Committee on Teaching Costs of Medical Hospitals, shown at page 76 in Appendix 1 of the report of the Australian Universities Commission for 1960, they will see immediately that it is indeed a very powerful committee. That is what makes it rather disappointing that one very important aspect of the committee’s recommendations has not yet been accepted by the Government.
The committee consists of, as chairman, Sir Leslie Martin, who is also chairman of the Universities Commission; Dr. V. L. Collins, Professor D. P. Derham, Mr. J. Griffith, Mr. L. B. Hamilton, Mr. P. J. Kenny, Mr. A. Lendon, Dr. J. H. Lindell, Dr. G. A. Pennington, Sir Herbert Schlink and Professor S. Sunderland. These men are deeply versed in the accountancy and costs of the teaching hospitals, the administration of the teaching hospitals, or the teaching of many aspects of the practice of medicine, or are associated in other ways with the work of the Australian Universities Commission. They advocated in their report a complete departure from what has been the Commonwealth practice up to the present time as far as recurrent expenditure was concerned. They advocated what the Commonwealth has not so far accepted - unmatched grants - and they did so for a special reason which I think they themselves make clear in their recommendations as at page 31 of their report. With regard to the matter of recurrent expenses which the Prime Minister referred to them they said this -
Because teaching hospitals differ in organization, size, and the number of students they take for varying periods, difficulties arise when an attempt is made to evaluate accurately running costs incurred in clinical teaching. However, the Committee’s inquiries indicated that the costs incurred in sixteen items by each clinical student for each university’s group of teaching hospitals were roughly comparable. They amount to approximately £625 per annum. For this reason the Committee decided to recommend a grant based on the total numbers of clinical students enrolled in each faculty of medicine and an average cost of £625 per student per annum.
Under the States Grants (Universities) Act 1960, the grants for recurrent purposes are shared on the basis of £1 from the Commonwealth for every £1.85 received by a university in fees and State grants. Similar machinery might be appropriate for the payment of grants to universties for recurrent expenses of teaching hospitals. However, because of the present machinery for financing hospitals the Committee foresees that unless special provision is made the grants recommended for recurrent costs might be used simply to reduce hospital deficits. This would be contrary to the Committee’s intention. If the full amount recommended could be made available by way of an unattached Commonwealth grant, there can be no doubt that a real and valuable contribution would be made towards resolving the present difficulties associated with medical teaching.
However, the recommendations that have been accepted by the Commonwealth Government are not those in relation to the recurrent grants. They are those in relation to the capital costs of building and equipment. The Opposition rejoices over the generosity of the scale of those grants for buildings and equipment, even though we await with interest the final decision with regard to the other aspect of these costs. The committee’s investigations with regard to buildings and equipment, in the committee’s own words - led to the conclusion that many of the building and equipment items sought by universities on behalf of their teaching hospitals covered normal hospital needs as distinct from teaching needs.
May I say here that this, of course, is the great difficulty that the Commonwealth is finding in regard to recurrent grants. It is very difficult to find out what pertains to a hospital qua hospital, and what pertains to a hospital in relation to its function as a teaching institution. The committee went on in its report -
From a study of Table No. 8 it is clear that the Committee’s recommendations are directed towards providing new buildings and supporting modifications of existing buildings with the specific object of improving the efficiency of clinical teaching within the hospitals.
Already, of course, the grants to certain hospitals which are associated with teaching are very large and will lead to very extensive building operations. The result is that other hospitals which are not teaching hospitals have some confusion in their minds that a favoured few hospitals have been singled out for special Commonwealth assistance. There have been some indications of resentment. That has been due to a misunderstanding of the position. The report goes on -
For instance, many of the proposals concern the provision of clinical teaching buildings, libraries, student ward laboratories, tutorial rooms, improvements to existing lecture theatres, and student living-in and other amenities1. The committee recognized the rights of patients to privacy by recommending simple modifications to existing structures, especially out-patients’ clinics, which would improve the conditions under which student groups could receive clinical instructions at the bedside of patients.
It is very clear, I think, that the committee which has been appointed by the Commonwealth to try to find its way through the difficulties of determining the distinction between ordinary hospital func tions and the functions of hospitals as teaching institutions associated with universities has done very fine work. It has set out very clear principles under very difficult circumstances. For that reason, we on the Opposition side hope that the committee’s proposal concerning unmatched grants as far as current expenses are concerned will be looked at sympathetically by the Commonwealth.
Leaving the aspect of the bill that deals with medical hospitals, I want to make a reference to another aspect of the matter. I do not believe that we are really yet getting a clear picture of what proportion of the national resources of this country ought to be spent on university education. I do not think we have moved very far beyond a hand-to-mouth, day-to-day, or, if you like, a triennium consideration of the urgent needs of universities. I do not know what proportion of the national income ought to be spent on universities. I think we have not yet made a determination whether we are to be like the United Kingdom and have about one-third the present number of students going to universities and make the hurdles of entry into the universities very high, insisting on excellence, and on the basis of smaller student bodies making our grants to universities, or whether we should move towards the United States position of having a large number of universities, not necessarily at a high standard, in the belief that a wide section of the population having some advanced education is an asset to the nation. At the moment, I think we are somewhere between the United Kingdom position and the United States position in our philosophy on this matter. But whatever position we are going to take up, I think that we will need to have a clear picture of the proportion of our resources that we are prepared to devote to university education and, I suppose, to other aspects of tertiary education as well.
That, I think, we are not so far getting from the Australian Universities Commission. I think we are still living, in a sense, from hand to mouth, however great these advances are; and the Opposition will await with interest anything that the Government may do at the moment to work out in its own mind what proportion of the nation’s resources it should devote to university education and what decisions it is prepared to make to meet the recommendations of this committee on teaching costs in medical hospitals as far as recurrent expenses are concerned. The Opposition will also be interested to learn whether the Government has any views on the idea of free universities.
.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, I was glad to hear from the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) that the Opposition is supporting this bill even with the reservations to which he referred. As he said, this bill deals with two entirely separate subjects. The first is the basic rate of professional remuneration. I do not propose to say anything on that question. I want to address my remarks to the second half of the bill which deals with grants to teaching hospitals. I believe that this is an extremely welcome move by the Government on an extremely difficult problem. I have been, for some time, concerned about the need for increasing grants to teaching hospitals.
The honorable member for Fremantle talked about the attitude of some hospitals to the way in which a favoured few had been singled out for grant. I also have heard similar remarks. I think that the teaching hospitals, in many ways, have had financial difficulties very much greater than those of other hospitals. Certainly, that is true in Victoria. This has been particularly due to the fact that they have been trying to pay for their normal clinical services to patients and pay for the additional services for teaching students out of the same vote. It has not been possible to meet the costs of the two services out of the one vote. The Government’s proposal represents an endeavour to sort out the position. I think that, above all things, the report of the committee on teaching costs in medical hospitals, enables us to realize what very high expenses are involved in training each medical student in Australia. It is quite obvious that the cost has risen a great deal in the last fifteen years and that it will rise a great deal more in the future.
Dealing with the last part of the honorable member’s remarks about our final goal with regard to universities, possibly there is some difference between the English system which tries to get the very best teaching for a favoured few and the American system which aims at a more general standard for a larger number of students. I think that there can be no doubt about what we want to do in teaching doctors. We want to make certain that every doctor is trained to the highest degree of medical knowledge possible. It is not possible to have two types of doctor - one at the very highest level and one a bit lower down. Therefore, when we speak of teaching doctors we must go for the highest possible standard and go for the English system.
This bill will take some of the load of teaching hospitals off the health services and place it on the universities where it belongs. Some people have asked: Why this larger need for recurrent capital and grants to teaching hospitals? As those who have read the report to which I have referred can see quite definitely, the conditions under which medical students have been working in the teaching hospitals have been pretty lamentable and the time is certainly overdue for better facilities to be provided. It was made clear to me by some members of the committee to whom I have spoken that we are making this move only just in time because although there has not been a tremendous shortage of doctors during the last few years, without any doubt, there will be an increasing shortage in the next few years. There has not been a shortage, because it has been possible for us to call on the services of doctors who have migrated to Australia. It has been fairly easy in the past to recruit doctors from the United Kingdom and, to a certain extent, from central Europe. Those sources now appear to be unable to meet our needs and it is pretty obvious that we will not be able to recruit as many doctors from overseas in the next ten years as we did in the last ten years. Further, new employment avenues ate being followed by doctors. These are found in industry and in medical research. Although the demand for doctors will be growing, the sources from which we can get doctors will not be available to us. Therefore, it is urgent that the action recommended in the report should be taken.
There is another aspect that we should consider. In the next few years, we must play our part in training doctors from SouthEast Asia. Already, a number of students comes to us from India and other parts of
South-East Asia for medical training, but at present the numbers are extremely limited. We are not able to train nearly as many students as we are asked to train. Over the next few years, we must aim to play a bigger part in training doctors for countries where the needs for medical experts are even greater than they are in Australia.
The recommendations in the report provide only part of the story. As the honorable member for Fremantle has pointed out, the bill deals with only capital costs for certain teaching hospitals and for undergraduate training. Naturally, we welcome these provisions. However, we must realize that the members of the committee would have liked to have seen included in the report many things that have not been included in it. First, there is no provision in the bill for recurring expenditure. As the honorable member for Fremantle pointed out, the direct cost of training a medical student is at least £600 per annum. So far, the problem of meeting that cost has not been resolved and we welcome the assurance of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) that a bill dealing with this aspect will be introduced early in the next sessional period.
The task of dividing the costs between clinical work in the teaching hospitals and teaching is difficult. The £600 - or more exactly £625 - that has been recommended relates only to direct costs of which there can be no doubt incurred in teaching. Many other costs in teaching hospitals are inflated because they undertake teaching as well as clinical work. This is made clear in the report and we need only to think of such matters as X-rays, pathology, clinical photography and medical records. All these sections of a teaching hospital must be much larger than they need be for only clinical work. I am certain that the figure of £625 is very much smaller than the actual cost borne by a teaching hospital in respect of each student.
The next point that arises is that the honorary medical service provides much of the teaching done in teaching hospitals. Over the past ten years, the honorary medical service has found greater and greater difficulty in carrying out the tasks allotted to it. Part of the teaching work in many of the universities is being done now by paid full-time professors. This trend is bound to increase, because I do not think that in the next ten years we will be able to rely entirely on the honorary medical service to shoulder the full burden of teaching in our teaching hospitals. I wish it were possible to ensure that this would happen, but in view of what has happened in the past ten years, I believe there will be changes, and we must accept this. Let us face the fact that we have had a great deal of the teaching of our medical students over the past few years at a very small cost to the community, because this service has been given freely by the honoraries. This may not be so in the next few years, and again the costs that must be met by the Commonwealth and the States will be increased.
This leads me to the question of postgraduate training. I am sorry that the report makes no mention of post-graduate training, but the terms of reference did not include such training. However, I do not think that under-graduate training and post-graduate training can be separated in teaching hospitals, because the two are tied together If there are to be paid professors and the number of students is to increase, I believe the professors must look not only at undergraduate teaching but also at post-graduate teaching, and provision must be made accordingly. More post-graduate training in medicine is now being undertaken in Australia than was undertaken before the war. Before the war, almost every post-graduate student went overseas to obtain a fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons. To-day, the course can be undertaken in Australia and nearly all post-graduate degrees, fellowships and diplomas can be obtained in Australia. That is at it should be. But again, facilities on the post-graduate side are just as lacking as they are on the under-graduate side.
Because sufficient scope for post-graduate teaching is not available in Australia, many of our very best doctors have gone overseas to accept teaching posts. In a report to the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Downer), Major-General Sir Kingsley Norris stressed the fact that at present 124 very experienced Australian doctors are serving in university posts in the United Kingdom. Australia needs these people here at this time, but because of the limited scope and inadequate salaries, the services of these men are not available to us. We should see to it that over the next ten years we increase the sphere of activity available to doctors of this high calibre.
Many doctors in the Colombo Plan area, in countries such as India, Pakistan and Malaya, wish to come here for post-graduate training, but we cannot meet the demands that are made on us. It is important that Australia should shoulder its responsibility and provide facilities for the training of these people. Many of these students now go to the United Kingdom, but it is right and fitting, I think, that they should be turning more and more to Australia as the place where they can obtain this advanced medical training. We should be able to meet their requests. At the same time, I believe that sometimes they would like to obtain degrees, or other qualifications, of a somewhat lower standard than those that are granted in this country. When one looks particularly at special diploma courses, one finds that the standards required for diplomas in South-East Asia and in the United Kingdom are not as high as diploma standards in this country. I hope that during the next few years, when we are considering post-graduate medical education, we will try to see how we can fit our diploma courses and fellowship courses to the demands of those coming from overseas. We should be able to provide the kind of training that these people desire.
Finally, it is fairly obvious to all of us that medical teaching can reach a high standard only if it goes with research. Research and teaching must march together. One cannot divorce one from the other. We see in this report that the responsibility for medical research is that of the National Health and Medical Research Council, and yet the responsibility for teaching lies with the Prime Minister’s Department and the universities. It seems to me that we are getting the two aspects widely separated, and that we should try to bring them together again. We cannot have good research without good teaching, and the statement applies with equal force in reverse.
There is one other matter that I would like to mention. This report refers to certain teaching hospitals. These are what have been commonly regarded as the teaching hospitals. There is an interesting position developing in regard to teaching hospitals. The major hospitals, such as the Royal Melbourne Hospital, are so specialized, and provide such remarkably high standards of specialist services, that an ever-increasing proportion of the beds in those hospitals are taken up by patients suffering from special kinds of diseases and requiring special operations. The more common kinds of operations tend to be performed not at the major teaching hospitals, but at the outlying hospitals, such as Footscray and Box Hill, in Melbourne. However, the medical student needs to know much more about the common kinds of operation than about the specialized kinds of operations. I foresee that in the future many students who want to study the more common operations will have to get away from the specialized hospitals, which are the ones that are being assisted by this bill, and go to the suburban hospitals or other base hospitals to see the more common kinds of operations such as appendectomy. I suggest that in the next triennium we should try to arrange for grants not only to the major teaching hospitals but also to other hospitals which at present are not recognized as teaching hospitals but will be so recognized, I hope, in the future. . :
New methods of teaching are recommended in this report, such as closed television circuits which would enable greater numbers of people to watch particularly interesting operations. It becomes obvious as we read the report that the costs of medicine and medical training are increasing constantly. The teaching of a doctor must become more complicated as the general health of the nation improves. The Parliament should realize that this is only the first of many such bills that it will have to consider during the next ten years. Having entered this field of teaching hospitals, we must realize that we have only just started to uncover the problem. The question of capital cost is an important one, but it is only part of the very big problem that will be uncovered as we go through the present triennium and the next one that is shortly to be considered. While we are considering this bill, therefore, we should also ask the Government to consider the wider tasks that have not been covered by this committee. I hope that the Government will give attention to these wider tasks when it comes to look at the next triennium during the next few months.
Having expressed those remarks, I give my support to the bill.
.- I would like to tell the House a little about the way in which the money provided under the previous legislation has been spent in north Queensland. We have up there a university college which has been in operation for about twelve months. I believe that a case can be made out for the ultimate establishment of a full-scale university in north Queensland. We have a site which is well suited for university purposes and is large enough to meet requirements for a long time. It can be expected that the number of students attending the university will increase at a fairly rapid rate. This was not fully realized when the college was opened. We thought that it would probably languish because of insufficient students, but the opposite has been the case.
In predicting a rapid increase in numbers of students I have taken into account the fact that children at present attending the university college would have been subseniors in 1961, the first year of operation. The group from which a great number of students will come will consist of those who previously left school at junior standard. Because of the great distances that it was necessary to travel, many people have previously thought it not worth while to go past the junior standard. I feel, therefore, that we will have more students available for university training in the next year or so.
It is very desirable that students should be able to complete full courses in Townsville instead of having to go to Brisbane for the latter part of their courses. One of the greatest expenses involved in doing so is in travel, which entails at least three return trips per annum, which would be made by air because of the distances involved, and would require an expenditure of about £120 a year.
From the general view of the development of north Queensland, the establishment of a university is very important. It would assist materially in retaining universitytrained personnel in the north to assist in the development of primary and secondary industries. This has been one of our prob lems in the past. After students have completed their training they have drifted away and we have not seen them again.
As an example of what the university can do for north Queensland, I refer honorable members to a recent conference of teachers which was sponsored by the university college. It was attended by teachers from primary, secondary and denominational schools, and 110 were present. They paid their own expenses to attend the conference, which lasted for more than three days. The principal lecturers were Professor Bassett, Dean of the Faculty of Education of Queensland University, and Dr. Wyllie, Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Sydney. The emphasis was on primary education. Such a conference would never have been held had we not had a university college in north Queensland.
I make these points because it is only a short time since the university college was established, and this is the first such college that we have had outside the metropolitan area. I do believe that within the next ten years it will have to be given the status of a full-scale university. Honorable members should know what is going on outside the metropolitan areas.
The university college in Townsville is situated on 35 acres of land, but this is only a temporary arrangement. The City Council has bought about 1,000 acres of land on which eventually the main university will be located. The present buildings consist of four two-story wings of reinforced concrete, with wide verandahs on the northern side, with extensive use of glass and aluminium louvres. All buildings are fitted with slowrotation fans, which, in my opinion, give better conditions than air-conditioning installations. The buildings are rather different from the generally accepted kinds of university buildings. They were mainly designed for tropical conditions.
The university college at the present time has limited objectives. It caters for the first year of the courses of a number of faculties, including arts, science, engineering, medicine, dentistry, veterinary science and agricultural science. At the end of their first year, students in all faculties except arts, science and engineering, transfer to the parent university in Brisbane. I have already referred to the great problem posed by travel expenses. However, at the beginning of this year, additional lecture rooms and laboratories have been provided so that second-year courses in arts, science and engineering are provided at the university college. At the present time, the possibilities of providing some third-year courses in arts, science and engineering are being investigated. It is hoped that, for the prestige of the new university college, finance will be available for at least some courses so that some young people of the north may graduate from the University College of Townsville at the end of 1963. The subjects provided in the Faculty of Arts include English, French, history, education, geography and mathematics. In the Faculty of Science, the subjects are physics, chemistry, botany, zoology and mathematics. In the Faculty of Engineering, all subjects for the first and second years of the engineering course are provided.
The university college has been particularly fortunate in attracting a highly qualified academic staff. In many cases, the calibre of the applicants for Townsville positions was higher than that of applicants for similar positions advertised at the same time in the capital city. One of the reasons was probably the challenge to young people to be associated with a new venture of this kind. There was also the fact that promotion would probably come more quickly in a new and growing university college. Most of the lecturers are very young and they are also well qualified. In the early planning, it was thought that the initial enrolment would probably be about 25. The fact is, however, that the first-year enrolment was 170, of whom 95 were full-time day students and 75 evening students. In 1962, there was an overall increase of 100 per cent, in total enrolments. The number of day students is 160, of whom 120 are first-year and 40 are second-year full-time day students. There are 154 evening students.
The people of north Queensland have supported the university college and have raised £35,000 to establish hostels. There are two halls of residence. These are “ Duncragan “, the hall of residence for women, and the other is the hall of residence for men at Stuart. A former Royal Australian Air Force camp and a migrant hostel have been converted into an attractive residential college for men students. The £35,000 raised by the people has been subsidized by the State Government. The provision of amenities at the university college began slowly, but there are plans to develop two football fields, a hockey field, tennis courts and basket-ball courts.
Research facilities have been provided to enable the academic staff to proceed with its activities. This is essential because research is the life blood of any university and the work of lecturers at the frontier of knowledge is regarded as the best stimulus to effective and inspired teaching. An advisory council of 29 members representing the leaders of the civic, religious, commercial, industrial and educational aspects of the community has been established. This council works through a series of committees which deal with buildings, grounds and development, research, library and public relations and lectures. Already the council has made valuable recommendations to the Senate on the future development of the University College. Throughout the northern area, there is tremendous support for the establishment of the University College and a scheme is being devised to ensure that full use will be made of the fact that this is the only university college in the tropics in Queensland serving an allEuropean community. There have been suggestions that the University College of Townsville should develop strong schools of marine biology, health engineering such as sanitation and water supply in a tropical area, wet tropical agriculture and studies particularly related to man’s adaptation to life in the tropics.
In conclusion, I would say that the college has had a good start and I hope that the Government will provide more money to help it along. This University College should have an important bearing on the development of northern Queensland, and I commend the Government for introducing the bill before the House. I know that the Queensland Government is looking forward to receiving this grant to assist in the purchase of land in north Queensland.
.- The bill before the House is rather interesting because it implies for the first time practical recognition of the value of teaching hospitals. The honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Harding) made an interesting speech on the development of the University College of Townsville and said that it was the first outside a capita! city. 1 wish to correct him by saying that he is 25 years behind the times, but I d’o congratulate him and the people of north Queensland on the excellent progress that has been made with this new institution. It is a step that is long overdue and it is in the right direction. Obviously, an institution must pass through a certain stage before it develops not only sufficient students but also sufficient corporate faculties to enable it to discharge the wider responsibilities of a university.
I listened with great interest to the speeches of members on both sides of the House, particularly to that of the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley), who has studied this subject thoroughly. I have been impressed by the fact that there is no doubt of the support that is accorded this measure. We must «not lose sight of the fact that since this Government has been in office and the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has had personal oversight of the development of universities, there has been a tremendous improvement in the outlook on universities and the services they render and in the assistance that is provided for their development. If it had not been for the Martin committee in the first place and the report of the Universities Commission in the second place, no doubt we would still be lagging far behind where we are now in that respect. I use the word “ lagging “ advisedly because once you get behind in university education - and we were a long way behind scratch - it is difficult to make up ground. It is necessary not only to keep up with current growth but also desperately to try to overtake the backlog. We were a long way behind, particularly after the Second World War when there was a surge of students, and we had many new responsibilities. Before the Second World’ War, universities were not given proper consideration, and during the war we were taken up too much with other things.
The proposal contained in the measure before the House is interesting because to a certain extent it is retrospective, lt deals with the year 1960-61 which is past, with 1961-62 which is the current financial year and is almost finished, and with thi. finan cial year 1962-63 which is about to commence. To that extent, the bill has an impact on requirements that may be overlooked when we are assessing the value of what has been done. From the remarks of one honorable member, I rather felt that there was a tendency to overlook the fact that the major hospitals in New South Wales, so far as my knowledge goes, have practically always been teaching hospitals in the sense that they were hospitals where newly registered doctors had to go through a certain course before they were set loose upon the public as private practitioners. They carried out that work under the supervision of top rank men in their own specialized field.
I was greatly impressed to read a statement by a noted authority on medical matters, who had arrived in Australia two or three days earlier, to the effect that one of the most urgent needs in the community was a greater number of general practitioners. Over recent years there has been far too much specialization far too soon. Unless a doctor has the background of general knowledge of the whole man he cannot specialize in any branch of either surgery or medicine. Unless he knows, from practical experience, the psychology as well as the physiology of people, there will be a serious gap in his capacity to diagnose and interpret. Socrates found on one occasion that every man thought in terms of his own specialization when comparatively simple propositions of construction were put to them. In other words, the ironworker thought in terms of iron, the woodworker in terms of wood and the stonemason in terms of stone. That is the great danger. Unless we have a solid body of general practitioners from which our specialists can be drawn, we shall suffer.
Without looking too closely at the details of the matter, it appears that under our national health scheme we are spending the best part of £40,000,000 a year on social services such as medical and hospital benefits, payments to tuberculosis sufferers and assistance to mental hospitals. Although the health scheme cannot be all that people hope for or require, I congratulate the Government upon taking, through this measure, an important step towards the improvement of curative work generally and the training of surgeons. As I have watched the mounting costs of hospital treatment and medical services - the work of restoring people to health and eliminating disease - I have felt for a long time that we are not devoting, and have not devoted in the past, sufficient funds to research into means of preventing people becoming ill. There has not been enough research into the reasons why so many people require so much money to be spent on them while others go through their life without making practically any calls upon the services of doctors or hospitals. Many people have scarcely more than a very minor complaint in their lifetime although others are stricken almost from the beginning of life.
I have mentioned on previous occasions an extraordinarily interesting experiment in Great Britain prior to the war. This experiment was conducted by a group of doctors who had no other purpose than to try to fulfil the main purpose of being a doctor, that is, to prevent people from becoming ill. Young married couples and those about to be married came within the ambit of the experiment. No one else was included. There was a most spectacular result in a small way. If that so-called Peckham experiment had been publicized more and if the spirit in which those doctors applied themselves to considering the whole man in their treatment so that young couples and their children could avoid many diseases had spread through the medical profession generally, a great deal of the medical treatment that is sought to-day would not be necessary, the nation would be better and stronger, and our finances would be sounder.
It often is most spectacular to discover some way to cure either a common complaint which is so bad that something must be done about it, or an obscure disease. Such a discovery may make a great reputation, but it is through preventive medicine that the most valuable contribution can be made to a nation’s well-being and to the good health which is man’s most priceless possession. This is the most important task to which a country can devote its scientific energy in the field of medicine. It is not my province to speak upon this matter at any great length. The main thing is to pass the measure, to get the work started and to find out how much more assistance may be necessary.
I have a final note to strike. It is well established - I need not emphasize the fact - that bad teeth are one of the main causes of disablement in people from childhood to old age, through arthritis and other forms of rheumatism which poison the system. We are desperately short of dentists in New South Wales. Let me illustrate my point. In New South Wales is the City of Tamworth. I discussed there with a dentist, now retired, the matter of dental services. He said: “ We have nine dentists here for 20,000 people. When I commenced practice we had eight dentists and the population was between 5,000 and 6,000”. At that time there was at least one dentist in each of three adjacent minor towns, so there were no fewer than eleven dentists in the area. To-day there are no dentists in the minor towns - a most grievous matter - and only nine in the entire area. I have discussed this matter with another dentist whom I have known all my life. He said, “ It costs me £3,600 a year- £70 a weekbefore I start to make one penny “. That man practises in a country town of about 2,000 people, with a fair surrounding district. He has to earn £3,600 a year to pay his staff and to obtain materials before he earns one penny for himself. It is not much wonder that we are having difficulty in keeping dentists in Australia. They seem to be flitting over to the United Kingdom and elsewhere to obtain more lucrative practices. This problem must be tackled because bad teeth, particularly in young people, is the foundation of ill-health and much misery in later life.
I have nothing further to say except that I commend the measure before the House. When I commenced my remarks I said that because the Prime Minister himself has taken an interest in the development of universities we have progressed steadily. As a counsellor of the University of New England I pay my tribute to the tremendous assistance that has been given as a result of recommendations of successive committees and commissions which have dealt with the problems of development there and elsewhere. I commend the bill to the House, and I hope that it will receive the unanimous support of honorable members.
.- This is a very important bill. It provides that the Commonwealth shall contribute approximately £1,700,000 towards the capital cost of teaching hospitals in Australia, subject to the condition that a similar amount shall be provided by the States. Under this measure, and concomitant legislation by the States, a total of approximately £3,500,000 is to be provided for teaching hospitals. This amount is approximately £167,000 less than that recommended by the Australian Universities Commission. But I shall not quibble on that small score. I am quite prepared to take the gift and to pay tribute to the far-sightedness of those responsible for this provision. I do not think that the full significance of the bill is to be gleaned solely from what it seeks to do. A little later I shall refer to what seems to me to be a principle that it establishes, a principle that I hope will be extended in the not too distant future.
After making those complimentary remarks, I must say that, having perused the commission’s report closely, I have a strong suspicion that financial limitations were placed upon the commission. It seems to me that at least five limitations were placed on it. First, only direct costs involved” in connexion with the provision of teaching hospitals were to be considered. I am prepared to concede that possibly the fact that the report was wanted within a limited time might have prevented the commission or its agents and the State committees from searching into what are called hidden costs, and it is possible that these costs could be considered later.
Secondly, the inquiry seemed to concern itself almost solely with what has been described as urgently needed assistance. In one part of the report, it is stated that inquiries were not to be made into what could be construed as the ideal situation, but were to be confined to the basic fundamental necessities of teaching hospitals. Thirdly, there seemed to be a reminder to the commission that the States would have to match the contributions that the Commonwealth Government was going to make. Fourthly, the report stated that the inquiry was to be limited to a consideration of the present triennium, namely, 1961 to 1963. That provision had a practical consequence in at least one notable direction. That was, I think, the Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney, where it was expected that a whole new building would be wanted very early in the new triennium. That has been postponed. The fifth important limitation was that the commission was restricted to a consideration of undergraduate clinical teaching, and did not inquire into research or post-graduate studies.
Within that compass, I notice that the Australian Universities Commission had to send questionnaires back to the various vicechancellors and their advisory committees three times to get their financial requirements scaled down to what could be regarded as a reasonable thing. In reply to the first broad questionnaire the chancellors and their advisers set out requirements which, as the report says, ran into many millions of pounds. One can quite understand that in dealing with a new situation like this it is necessary to refine the instrument of inquiry as the inquiry progresses. That certainly seems to have been the case in this matter. It is also significant that the bill now being considered is only intended to deal with capital costs, and not with recurrent costs. We have been promised that, in the not too distant future, provision will be made for recurrent costs. The Universities Commission does recommend something like £625 per student as an equitable amount for recurrent costs, but the Prime Minister has said that this matter has been referred back to the Treasury and his own department, and I think back to the commission itself for consideration.
I have just described some of the limitations of the bill, which is quite laudable in many respects. I am glad to have an intimation from the Prime Minister that the Australian Universities Commission was not told that there was a prescribed limit on the financial involvement of the Commonwealth Government, but it certainly seems quite clear that the commission went to some pains to scale down the cost. As to capital costs, I might mention that the commission recommended that 5 per cent, of the cost of new clinical buildings be put aside for the furnishing of those buildings. I have been unable to ascertain why the bill does not seek to implement that recommendation. I notice that no such provision is made in connexion with the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital or the Sydney Hospital. I dare say that if I carefully studied the fifth schedule of the bill I would find no agreement anywhere with this recommendation of the commission. I hope the Prime Minister, or somebody on his behalf, will say why this provision has been omitted from the bill. The absence of any such provision relating to furnishings principally accounts for the sum of approximately £167,000 by which the commission’s recommendations exceed the amount provided for in this bill. I shall be very interested to know why this recommendation is not being implemented.
After carefully reading the bill, I cannot establish on what basis the prescribed limitations are made. Certainly the report does not indicate why they should be made. For instance, on page 7 of the report which was furnished to the Prime Minister, it is provided that, with regard to nurses, an arbitrary assessment of 1 per cent, of the total cost of their salary is to be ascribed to the teaching costs of the hospital. There is also to be an arbitrary assessment of 6 per cent, for anaesthetists, and for radiologists it is to be 5 per cent. I notice also that there is a limitation with respect to medical libraries within hospitals for the use of the teaching staff. In this bill the Commonwealth Government is committing itself to only 50 per cent, of the cost up to £1,000 per annum, but the report states that inadequate provision is made at the present time for hospital libraries. I believe it is also stated in the report that the cost of these libraries could be anything up to £6,000. In other words, although the provision to be made for libraries by the Commonwealth and the States between them will be approximately £2,000, the actual cost is more likely to be about £6,000. So it does seem to me that, despite the fact that there has been a commendable approach to some matters, this bill has its limitations.
I am not in any way apologetic in saying that I give this bill only qualified commendation. After all, we in this Parliament have been pretty generous and liberal in our comments about the provision made for universities in Australia, but we have been confronted in the last few weeks by the public statements made by eminent people like Professor Roberts, ViceChancellor of the University of Sydney, who has gone on record as saying that his university faces disaster in 1963 unless its funds can be substantially increased. He has directed attention to the fact that only 3 per cent, of our graduates are going on to post-graduate study, compared with 16 per cent, in the United Kingdom. Professor Robert has directed attention to the fact, also, that we have such inadequate provision for post-graduate study in Australia. We have the further instance of the resignation of the chief librarian of the Fisher Library at the University of Sydney in recent weeks. He resigned in disgust at the grossly inadequate provision made for the library at that university. This sort of thing has been going on pretty continually for a fair while. I had practical and personal experience of it some years ago. Apparently, this situation has not been fully taken into account.
I would be rather parsimonious if I did not say that I acclaim the great and noble new buildings that go up on the campus at the University of Sydney, and on that of the University of New South Wales, at Kensington. They are very commendable. What I am trying to say is that we should not be complacent about this. We should not feel too self-satisfied. I acclaim what has been done, but I remind the House that newly emerging nations in countries which are less well developed than is Australia are making tremendous efforts to develop their tertiary educational institutions, just the same as we are. Some of them are even surpassing our efforts.
– Which ones?
– I think the honorable member will acknowledge that the contribution to tertiary education made by a newly emerging nation like Indonesia is considerable in relation to its standard of living and its gross national product. Asian countries such as Malaya and African countries such as Nigeria are making highly commendable efforts in relation to their state of development and the existing degree of illiteracy.
– Order! I suggest that the honorable member not allow interjectors to draw him too far away from the subject of the bill.
– I am not trying to detract too greatly from the contribution that has been made in the provision for tertiary education. I am only saying that all in the garden is not lovely. There is still a long way to go.
The report of the Australian Universities Commission mentions that the arbitrary 1 per cent, of nurses’ salaries that is to be apportioned as a teaching cost is probably a gross under-estimate of the contribution that nurses make to the teaching function. I am not alone in saying these things, of course. One can pick up almost any of the academic journals in this country and find qualified remarks, in the first place, about the recommendations made by the Universities Commission and, in the second place, about the financial provision made by this Government. The report of the commission on Australian universities for the period from 1958 to 1963, which was presented in 1960, directed attention to the very unreal recommendations in respect of the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne, which were based on the desirability of the student intake being limited, while at the same time announcing a principle of non-restriction.
– Order! I hope that the honorable member will not open up a general debate on universities. This is a very restricted bill which relates to capital grants and the problem of salaries, and I suggest that the honorable member relate his remarks to the subject-matter of the bill.
– Mr. Speaker, I think that the bill will be of some help in the provision that it makes with respect to teaching hospitals generally and the provision with respect to salaries, of which you have rightly reminded me. The bill proposes an increase of £250 per annum in the notional amount taken into account for the salaries of university professors. I am trying to intimate that, in my opinion at any rate - I am quite forthright in saying this - what is being done represents only a step towards what is needed, although one may even describe it as a further step if one likes. A number of steps need to be taken before universities in Australia will be in anything like the situation that we hope will be brought about.
– Is that a situation of high salaries?
– I think the higher salaries may be part of it. There are many people who would support that idea, and not only people with the same vested interests that university staffs have. The simplefact is that the universities, it is said, will have to double their staffs between 1959 and 1966. The required increase is far from accomplishment at this stage.
I am pleased to see that the University Commission’s report intimates that the St. George District Hospital, which is in my electorate, is likely to become a teaching hospital in the very near future. I have pleasure in noting this, but I wonder whether this bill makes any provision for that. What provision is intended for any of these new teaching hospitals that, apparently, have or will come into existence within the period about which we are talking? I wonder whether the bill takes proper account of the hospitals attached to the universities, just as I wonder whether it takes proper account of the universities themselves.
Mr. Speaker, I hope that I shall not be thought to be trespassing too much on your indulgence if 1 say that I hope that the provision made for the teaching function in hospitals will be extended to include postgraduate studies and research facilities in the hospitals. As was quite properly observed by, I think, the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Howson), I think that it is impossible to separate research and teaching. Each reinforces and enriches the other.
I am not sure whether the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) will acquiesce in this, but I would like to think that the distinction, if I may so describe it, between teachertraining and training in the teaching hospitals will be removed and that provision will be made for teacher-training institutions to have a link with the universities. I had the pleasure and privilege of undertaking postgraduate study for a diploma in the Sydney Teachers College. The tuition in the college was provided directly on behalf of the University of Sydney and the post-graduate award of the diploma itself was in fact made by the university. It seems to me that this sort of thing is no further removed from the proper province of the Australian Universities Commission than is the question of teaching hospital education. I am hopeful, as, I know, are many authorities in teachers’ colleges, that, in the not far distant future, teachers’ colleges will be absorbed by or more closely linked with the universities and that they will come within the functions of the Universities Commission.
However, I probably will not be allowed to trespass further by pursuing that line of argument. I raise the matter because it seems to me to be very important. I have to listen to the complaints of lecturers at teachers’ colleges that some of the best members of their staffs are being taken by the universities and that the colleges are being denuded of staff who can provide the best training facilities in our teachers’ colleges. I hope that we shall ultimately be able to provide for all teachers an opportunity to go to universities and ultimately qualify for post-graduate courses which will fit them to join university staffs, but I do not think that we can dissociate the functions and needs of the teachers’ colleges and the universities. I am hopeful that the absorption of all teachers’ colleges by universities ultimately will make it possible for the most successful students of the teachers’ colleges to qualify for a degree and that the colleges will then properly come within the scope of this triennial inquiry which will help to co-ordinate much better than we can at present, in my opinion, the needs of all kinds of tertiary educational institutions in Australia.
.- Mr. Speaker, I would like to supplement the remarks made by the honorable member for Barton (Mr. Reynolds). I believe that although this measure represents a step in the right direction it is indicative of the general piecemeal approach that the Government adopts towards the problems of the universities in Australia. It is indicative also of procrastination on the Government’s part. Almost three years, I think, have passed since this problem of the universities was first raised. I see in the report with which we have been presented that, on 9th April, 1959, the consideration of this matter was originated in discussions with the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the State Ministers in charge of health matters. A large number of people have been deprived of the opportunity to obtain university education in accordance with the requirements of their professional activities, because the Government has taken three years to make its judgment and take the steps now proposed. That is the first point that I would like to make.
– Order! I direct the attention of the honorable member, as I directed that of previous speakers, to the fact that the scope of this bill is very limited. We do not want a general discussion on universities.
- Mr. Speaker, I refer you to the ruling which you gave at the second-reading stage of the War Service Homes Bill 1962. As reported at page 808 of “Hansard”, of 14th March, 1962, you ruled in these terms -
Debate is not strictly limited to the contents of the bill and may include reasonable reference to matters relevant to the bill, the necessity for the proposals, alternatives to the provisions, the recommendation of objects of the same or similar nature, and reasons opposed to the bill’s progress . . .
– As long as the honorable member realizes what the term “ reasonable reference “ means.
– Yes, Sir. I have spent a long time studying under you and I agree with that. But I am sure you will agree that it is relevant to this discussion to say that this proposal is inadequate and is indicative of a piecemeal approach by the Government to university education.
– Order! The honorable member is now going too far. I suggest that he come back to the purposes of the bill - salaries and capital for university teaching.
– I assume that it would be out of order for me to disagree with your ruling at this stage-
– Order! Such a course is in order at any time.
– I shall leave further remarks until a later date.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Sitting suspended from 5.57 to 8 p.m. .
Debate resumed from 5th April (vide page 1382), on motion by Sir Garfield Barwick -
That the following paper: -
Disarmament and Nuclear Tests - Ministerial Statement - 5th April, 1962 be printed.
Motion (by Mr. McMahon) - by leave - agreed to -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) making his speech without limitation of time.
– The statement which the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) presented to the House on disarmament and nuclear testing on 5th April arose out of the request which I made to the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) on 7 th March for a Government statement on “ the urgent necessity for an international agreement with adequate safeguards to end the testing of nuclear weapons by all nations and to provide for universal disarmament “. I requested the Prime Minister to submit a resolution to the House in similar terms to the one adopted by the Prime Ministers of the Commonwealth of Nations at the last Prime Ministers’ Conference when they met in London on 17th March, 1961. In reply, the Prime Minister stated that he and the Minister for External Affairs had discussed the matter and would take the steps necessary to allow an effective debate in this House. The statement made by the Minister for External Affairs was the consequence of my request and the Prime Minister’s undertaking.
In my request of 7th March I made specific reference to the resolution reached at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference. I did so because the Prime Ministers had, in their deliberations in London, considered the complex question of disarmament and nuclear testing with considerable thoroughness and later issued a statement which provides a clear outline of the problems involved and expresses with precision the hopes and aspirations of the peoples of the Commonwealth for world peace through disarmament.
The Prime Ministers recognized, and explicitly stated, that the problem of disarmament was the most important question facing the world to-day. They considered that a favorable opportunity was then at hand - that is, in March, 1961 - for a fresh initiative towards a settlement. They agreed that the aim should be to achieve general and complete disarmament subject to effective inspection and control, and that every effort should be made to secure rapid agreement to the permanent banning of nuclear weapons by all nations and to arrangements for verifying the observance of the agreement. The Prime Ministers also drew attention to the dangers arising from the likelihood that other nations would soon be in a position to build or obtain nuclear weapons. The Prime Ministers said in their communique -
An agreement is urgent since otherwise further countries may soon become nuclear powers, which would increase the danger of war and further complicate the problem of disarmament.
The Prime Ministers well expressed the feelings of the world when they also said -
In view of the slaughter and destruction experienced in so-called conventional wars and of the difficulty of preventing a conventional war, once started, from developing into nuclear war, our aim must be nothing less than the complete abolition of the means of waging war of any kind.
As the Minister for External Affairs said in his statement, the question of disarmament has been under discussion for a very considerable time. He drew attention to the fact that two sets of negotiations are proceeding at present - one on disarmament and the other for a nuclear test ban treaty. The Minister’s statement contained a review of the problems associated with the efforts over the past sixteen years to secure agreement on disarmament and nuclear testing. The Minister tabled a document which reviewed the most important developments in disarmament and nuclear testing discussions over the last year or so, and this and other relative information which was also tabled was incorporated, with the concurrence of honorable members, in “ Hansard “.
Most honorable members will find little to disagree with where the Minister speaks as a narrator of events, while the theme of his argument and his method of presentation contain very little to which objection could be taken either. Whatever differences may exist in the minds of honorable members would be, I should think, differences of expression rather than of principles. As an illustration of what I mean in this regard, let me quote from the Minister’s speech as follows: -
The ultimate objective of disarmament negotiations is general and complete disarmament. This means the abolition of armed land, sea and air forces, weapons, armaments, military aircraft, naval vessels, delivery vessels of all nations throughout the world, with of course the exception of forces and weapons needed for police purposes. I call this the ultimate objective because clearly it must be a very complex operation, which will take a long time to implement even after the terms and conditions have been agreed on - and experience has shown that that takes long enough.
Because a completely disarmed world cannot, even in the most promising circumstances, be achieved in the immediate future, much thought has been given to partial measures of disarmament which could be rapidly agreed on and promptly carried out. These partial measures can be regarded as the first positive steps in the actual process of disarmament. But they can also be seen as steps towards lowering tension and building up a climate of confidence which would make the next steps easier. They would also help in the process of disarmament by providing first-hand experience of what is involved in the operation.
He continued -
Such partial measures can take many forms. Some of them merge into proposals which are not so much measures of disarmament as measures to prevent the further spread of armaments. An example is the Irish proposal adopted at the last session of the General Assembly to prevent the wider dissemination of nuclear weapons. Australia supported this proposal.
The negotiations for a nuclear test ban treaty bring us to yet another category. A test ban treaty is not, strictly speaking, a disarmament measure at all: it would not necessarily reduce armaments or even keep them at their present levels or with their present distribution. But it could make a most valuable contribution to the achievement of disarmament. In the first place it could slow down the arms race by seriously impairing the ability of the nuclear powers to develop new and more powerful categories of weapons. It could also help prevent the emergence of new nuclear powers. In this way a test ban treaty could help contain the disarmament problem. It is also a field in which it should be possible for both sides to give evidence of sincerity and good faith in their efforts to reach agreement on disarmament. In entering into such an agreement neither side would be required to reduce or even to stop increasing its defensive capability; and the safeguards involved should not interfere with the legitimate interests of any party. The successful conclusion of a test ban treaty would, therefore, help to produce a climate of confidence, something basic to progress towards disarmament.
I further quote what the Minister said -
I do not want to leave the House with the impression that Australia rejects out of hand all measures for partial disarmament; such an impression would be quite wrong. What I have tried to emphasize is that it is necessary, even when considering partial measures, to keep the overall picture in view and to ensure that the partial measures under consideration would not significantly disturb the overall balance - leave us and ours to the mercy of the Soviet Bloc’s conventional strength. Provided this is done, there are a number of partial measures and first steps which can profitably be pursued.
There is surely nobody who would disagree with those views. It seems quite obvious that we cannot expect to secure total disarmament except through partial disarmament.
The statement lacks value in that it does not deal first with the Antarctic Treaty or with the possibility of negotiating an agreement among its signatory powers to extend the nuclear-free zone, which the treaty guarantees from the South Pole to the 60th parallel of latitude, to the equator. I might mention in passing that Hobart is less than 1,000 miles north of the Antarctic nuclear-free zone. The preamble to this treaty recognizes that “ it is in the interest of all mankind that Antarctica shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord”. Article I. of the treaty prohibits any measures of a military nature, such as the establishment of military bases and fortifications, the carrying out of military manoeuvres and the testing of any type of weapons. Article V. prohibits nuclear explosions and the disposal of radio-active waste in Antarctica. The contracting parties are permitted to appoint observers, with freedom of access to all areas, and they agree to a system of unrestricted aerial observation.
It is, I think, not irrelevant to the general question of disarmament that the nations of the world should have reached an agreement which guarantees the peaceful development of a large, if isolated, portion of the globe. That treaty, which met with the wholehearted approval of both sides of this House, was a milestone along the road to peace and international goodwill. As my colleague, the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) remarked when he led for the Opposition in the debate on the Antarctic Treaty Bill in October, 1960 -
Here at least is one place where the cold war will not be warmed up. In this frigid area of Antarctica, we have achieved the supreme ideal of man, and “ peace “ is not a dirty word, but has become the avowed objective of twelve signatory nations. If this spirit is to prevail, it is a pity that the head-quarters of the United Nations are not to be in Antarctica, if a new home is to be sought for that organization.
Our grand aim must be to extend the spirit of that treaty to all dealings between the nations, and our objective, in geographical terms, must be to extend the peaceful areas until they cover the great globe itself.
We of the Labour Party deplore the breach of the three years’ moratorium on nuclear tests and the resumption of tests without any end in sight. I think it is desirable that all the facts should be assembled on this question and made part of the record. When Russia decided to break the three-year ban on tests I made a press statement on 23rd October last year in which I announced my intention of asking the Prime Minister to enable honorable members to discuss the action of the Soviet in proposing to explode a 50-megaton hydrogen bomb. The next day I asked the following question: -
Will the Prime Minister submit a motion to this House before it goes into recess on Thursday next expressing on behalf of all honorable members - and I hope, too, of the Australian people - our great concern at the action of the Russian Government in exploding megaton bombs, whether of 30 or SO megaton strength, because such explosions can, as they certainly are expected to, damage human health and create fear and suspicion among nations, as well as being a possible cause of war? If the Prime Minister will submit such a motion - which I hope the House will carry - will he strongly urge the Soviet leaders to heed world opinion and desist from these explosions?
The Prime Minister replied as follows: -
The resumption by the Soviet Union of testing of nuclear weapons is a matter on which I spoke very plainly in this House immediately after the tests were resumed. I had thought at that time that what I had to say represented the views of members of this Parliament. I confess to a little surprise that I should have to read in the newspapers this morning that the Leader of the Opposition thinks that a formal motion should be put down in this House. Really, I should have expected that if he felt that the views which I had expressed quite clearly should be reinforced by the vote of the House he would have spoken to me about it instead of allowing me to understand that this was tome kind of demonstration outside the House.
No one in this Parliament, 1 hope, has the slightest doubt that this last explosion, coming on top of the twenty or more which have preceded it, is designed by the Soviet Union to terrorize the people of the non-Communist world. That is the Soviet Union’s clear design, and whether the testing is done in a fashion which injures or may injure the health of many thousands of people, is apparently of no consideration to it. But if there is any doubt about the attitude of honorable members of this House - I had thought there was none - in regard to the plain statements which I made on this matter, I shall consider the question of whether I may perhaps set down a motion upon which all honorable members can vote.
That same day my colleague, the honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant), with my full approval and support, presented a letter of protest against Russia’s resumption of tests to the Soviet Embassy in Canberra. The letter was signed by himself and by the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns), and by a dozen or so representative highly respected Melbourne citizens. I repeat, in reply to honorable members opposite who are interjecting, that they were highly respected citizens. I hope that nobody doubts my word in that regard.
– Name them.
– I will. One was the Archbishop of Melbourne, the Most Reverend Dr. Frank Woods. Another one was the Reverend Dr. A. H. Wood, Principal of the Methodist Ladies College. Another one was Sir John Medley, a former Vice-Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, a gentleman who was knighted upon the recommendation of this Government and a man who has filled many responsible positions. Another was a former leader of the Liberal Party and a former Chief Justice of Australia, Sir John Latham. The letter of protest pointed out that the Soviet Government’s action in resuming tests was in sad contrast with its initiative in abandoning tests in 1958. It also said -
We cannot accept as valid the claim made in “ Soviet News “ published by the Press Department of the Soviet Embassy in London on August 31st, 1961, that “the policy of the leading NATO powers - the United States, Britain, France and the Federal Republic of Germany - and of the aggressive NATO bloc as a whole, leaves the Soviet Union no other choice “.
No motion was ever submitted and so the House had no opportunity to express its collective opinion. I think this was unfortunate. I think it is equally unfortunate, too, that no notice was taken by anybody in the
Parliament, on either side, of the fact that France exploded its first nuclear device on 13th February, 1960, and has followed that up with other explosions in the Sahara. This has added to the risk of a future nuclear war, but it may have had some bearing on Russia’s attitude to resuming testing. The United States and the United Kingdom never wanted France to have the bomb, but Russian suspicions that it was otherwise could have never been allayed. That does not excuse the Russian breach, but it emphasizes the difficulties of the problem. The current American and combined AmericanBritish tests will be followed by more Russian tests. And who can say that China will not explode her own bomb in a year or two and that membership of -the nuclear club will not continue to grow? It is the contemplation of this thought that is worrying and distressing humanity everywhere in the world. Therefore, our immediate aim must be to limit the spread of nuclear arms.
In his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on 25th September last year, President Kennedy laid particular stress on the need for preventing those nations not already possessing nuclear weapons from obtaining them. With a view to halting the arms race, the President proposed -
I think it is worth while bearing these proposals by President Kennedy in mind because they underline the importance the United States places on the need to limit the possession of nuclear arms to as few countries as possible The difficulties associated with control of testing, even when possession of nuclear weapons is limited to four powers, is demonstrated in the actions of France. France was not a party to the three-year moratorium agreement, and apparently felt that her national interests, as she saw them, entitled her to override the wishes of her Nato allies, not to mention public opinion in the world generally.
As I have said, the Labour Party believes that the spirit of the Antarctic Treaty serves as a light to guide us along the road to fulfilling our aspirations of world peace. The signatory nations of the treaty include the four powers who already possess nuclear weapons, as well as Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, Japan, New Zealand, Norway and the Union of South Africa. The Labour Party believes that the Australian Government should call upon the treaty nations, together with China, India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Burma, Malaya, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Viet Nam, the Philippines, Indonesia, and all countries in Africa and South America to meet together in conference with a view to extending the nuclear-free zone beyond the 60 degrees south latitude, the present limit of the Antarctic Treaty, so as to include the whole of the Southern Hemisphere. Can it be doubted that such a proposition is worth the serious attention of this Government and of the world powers? Can it be doubted that the people of Australia would support the Government if it took the initiative in bringing such a conference- about? Can it be doubted that such a conference, with such an objective in view, would of itself have a healthy effect in reducing international tensions and suspicions?
In discussions about disarmament it is impossible, if we have the peace of the world and the security of this nation at heart, to overlook the special importance of China. In his statement of 5th April, the Minister for External Affairs himself pointed out the dangers arising from the possibility of that nation obtaining nuclear arms. But the Minister failed to carry his argument to any conclusion. The conclusion seems to me to be crystal clear. It is that Communist China must be brought into the disarmament negotiations. This was certainly implied by the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference resolution, when they referred to the need for all nations to disarm, and by President Kennedy himself, when he referred to the need to prevent the transfer of nuclear arms to any nation not now possessing them. How can wc have any hope of preventing China from becoming a nuclear power unless she becomes a party to international agreements and accepts the responsibilities imposed by such agreements?
The phrase “ unilateral disarmament “ has been bandied about in discussions in Australia, usually by uninformed people, and sometimes without a very clear understanding of what it means or of its relevance to the Australian situation. In the United Kingdom, there is a considerable, and very vocal, body of opinion which favours the immediate abandonment of nuclear arms by Britain. This view is not shared by the British Government or by the British Labour Party. It should be emphasized that the British situation is very different from the Australian, if only because Britain has the bomb and Australia has not. I do not advocate or support “ unilateral disarmament “ and I know of no responsible citizen who does. The people of various callings and political faiths who have been holding public meetings in Australia in’ recent times to discuss nuclear tests and disarmament are not “ unilateralists “ because the resolutions they have sponsored and approved contain the following words which are a paraphrase of the words used in the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference resolution - “ to achieve total world-wide disarmament, subject to effective inspection and control “.
If the term “ unilateral disarmament “ is taken in a wider sense to mean that the Western alliance should renounce nuclear weapons, irrespective of what the other side might do, it is clearly a concept that takes no cognisance of the actual or possible behaviour of nations. Nobody on this side of the House has ever urged such a course upon the United States, although a certain Sydney newspaper, in its corrosive hatred of Labour, has tried to create just that impression. We recognize that the United States has a dual responsibility in the world to-day. First, the United States must look to its own security and has a right to maintain that security in the way its elected leaders consider best. Secondly, her position as leader and protector of the Western alliance imposes upon the United States a heavy responsibility for the security of her allies and, indeed, the maintenance of the peace of the world. Recognizing this, the Labour Party has always supported the American view that any nuclear arms ban must be part of a general programme of total and complete disarmament, made through and backed by the authority of the United Nations and containing adequate safeguards.
At the same time, we have always recognized that Australia has its part to play in the Western alliance; and that implies our right, or rather duty, to defend ourselves in the event of war by whatever means circumstances may dictate. The policy of the Labour Party on defence contains planks which reads as follows: -
Maintenance of Australia as an integral part of the British Commonwealth of Nations.
Complete co-operation with other units of the British Commonwealth of Nations in order to ensure joint action against aggression.
Co-operation within the British Commonwealth of Nations in support of the United Nations Organization for the purpose of maintaining international peace and security.
The mobilisation of the entire resources of the nation in the event of attack.
Equally, we say that as a member of an alliance we have a right to make our voice beard within the councils of the alliance and in the councils of the world generally. Australia has signed no treaty which commands our silent acquiescence on matters which we deem to affect the security of the nation or the welfare of its people. Nor have we, of the Labour Party, ever subscribed to the view that we must watch with uncritical approval every action of our friends, even those of our great and powerful friends with whose distinguished leaders the Prime Minister is, as he has so often told us, so utterly familiar. There is little in the voting record of Australia at the United Nations to indicate that this Government has ever recognized the difference between independence and neutralism, or sees more virtue in the one than in the other.
Our policy speech for the 1961 elections contains certain declarations which are clear, forthright and unequivocal. With the concurrence of honorable members, I incorporate them in “ Hansard “. They are as follows: -
World War II. ended in 1945, but peace still eludes us. Since then mankind has lived under the threat of another and more terrible war. Mankind yearns for peace, and the Labor Party shares this hope. It believes that every effort must be made to resolve all the problems that divide peoples and nations through the United Nations Organization by negotiation, and in accordance with principle.
The free world must be ever ready to negotiate, but can never surrender to threats or blackmail. My colleagues and I have expressed our abhorrence at Russia’s action in conducting the recent series of nuclear tests with a callous disregard of the effects of fall-out in the atmosphere, and with a contempt for world opinion on the dangers to world peace that such a course might create. The condemnations of Mr. Nehru, Tenku Abdul Rahman, Marshal Tito and the leaders of the neutralist powers at the Belgrade Conference of these wanton acts had our strong support.
The Labor Party believes in Summit meetings of the leaders of the most powerful nations to help in the solution of the immediate and compelling problems of disarmament and the banning of nuclear tests. The future of Germany and Berlin are bound up and related to these questions, but, important as they are, they are not as important as universal disarmament. We are all in favor of disarmament and the ending of all nuclear tests.
The three years ahead will be years of anxiety and concern for all Australians and for all mankind. The danger of war may be lessened in that time, and this is our prayerful hope. The possibility of mutual destruction is now so great that this in itself should be sufficient to prevent war. It does, at least, strengthen us in our belief that another world war will be averted.
If, however, war should be forced upon the free world, Australia, whether we wish it or not, will be involved. In those circumstances we who belong to the free world will stand with the free world and will give wholehearted support to its cause. There could be no other course for those who cherish freedom and believe in democracy. We of the Labor Party have always been found on the side of liberty because we hate tyranny and abhor oppression.
I wish to stress that portion of the concluding paragraph which reads -
If, however, war should be forced upon the free world, Australia, whether we wish it or not, will be involved. In those circumstances we who belong to the free world will stand with the free world and will give wholehearted support to its cause. There could be no other course for those who cherish freedom and believe in democracy.
The question of the manufacture and stockpiling and the use of atomic weapons has been uppermost in the minds of every Government and all its citizens ever since the explosion of the first bomb on Hiroshima in 1945. There is not one party in any democratic assembly or any government in any democratic or totalitarian country that has not given serious and weighty consideration to these questions. The Australian Labour Party, for its part, like its British counterpart, has made declarations in general terms, and on occasions in more specific language, about them and I wish to quote the following passage from a resolution on international affairs and world peace which was adopted at the 22nd Commonwealth Con ference of the Australian Labour Party held at Brisbane on 11th March, 1957: -
The development of atomic weapons has reached such dimensions that the people of the world are now faced with the stark and terrifying spectacle of a possible atomic world war, causing a danger to the very fabric of the earth, its atmosphere, and all its inhabitants, which is so real that distinguished scientists refer to the prospect with a sense of “ desperation “. This desperation is partly due to the vacillation and delay in arranging high level political talks aiming at the effective prevention of the use of atomic and hydrogen bombs by any nations, whether for purposes of war or experimental purposes.
Conference therefore directs the Federal Parliamentary Labour Party to press for effective action directed towards these great ends. We are convinced that in years to come a nation’s true greatness will come to be measured by its courageous approach to the solution of these tremendous problems here and now.
Later, the resolution made five years ago said -
Our defence depends upon the rapid development and peopling of Australia and its territories. In particular, the Australian Labour Party pledges itself to an adequate plan of national defence of the northern areas of the continent and the territories.
The Labour Party supports the view of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers in March, 1961, that every effort should be made to secure rapid agreement to the permanent banning of nuclear weapons tests by all nations and to arrangements for verifying the observance of the agreement.
We believe that unless this happens a nuclear war with all its devastating possibilities may occur. And it could happen in a variety of ways. Once it happened our very civilization could be destroyed. And so not as just one continent but as part of one world we live and have our being in a twilight of death while ever bomb tests continue. What could well be the awful prelude to final destruction, to utter destruction, is being staged in two hemispheres - first in the ice and snow of the Arctic tundra and now over the waters of the Pacific. The gap that separates the two greatest and most powerful nations in the world capable of conducting these bombing tests, the United States and Russia, must be bridged. It is idle to recriminate. Considerable progress has already been made but the final act of settlement of the issues that divide them is not yet in sight. It may never be, but the conscience of mankind demands that it shall be.
How can such tests continue, endangering man’s very existence, and how can the enormous expenditure involved, amounting to thousands of millions of pounds annually, continue to be spent on such death-dealing weapons while two-thirds of the people of Asia and Africa go to bed hungry every night, without an outbreak of world revolution? And then there are the terrible problems of housing, food, markets and unemployment, while the seemingly insoluble diseases and evils of cancer, blood diseases, malnutrition and neuroses rank as comparatively unimportant.
Yet there is no suggestion or offer of any contribution comparable to that being spent on nuclear weapons by the nations involved and their allies so that the causes of these diseases and physical and social ills can be cured. Instead we have great pylons of nuclear bombs labelled sardonically “ Ours “ and “ Theirs “ standing in the East and the West. These are the “ Stockpiles of Death “; they represent the final arbiter of our fate after 2,000 years of civilization. We who are charged with great responsibilities in this Parliament for the management of the affairs of this nation may have little influence in the United Nations because Australians are so few, but we have a voice and we have the courage of our convictions. We know that a great moral principle is involved and we must express our support for that great principle. Mankind can live in peace if only agreement can be reached by all nations through the United Nations with proper safeguards to ban nuclear tests and promote world disarmament. The task is a heavy one and it will not be achieved quickly. Let us accept our moral responsibilities and do what we can where we can influence world thought to bring about world peace and international amity and understanding. We must not give way to despair, nor to fear, and no matter how often our efforts might be rebuffed or seem to fail, we must act as our consciences dictate and try to change the thinking of governments everywhere by invoking the ideals of all people everywhere.
– Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) has read us, very carefully, a long statement, and I must say that throughout the first 90 per cent. of it I wondered whether he had any point on which to criticize the statement that had been made by the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick). However, in the last bit, if I may so describe it, he went through the motions of warming up, and this produced suitable applause from his, until then, bemused followers. But one thing that he said - and I have had the advantage of reading this paper - was this -
Vet there is no suggestion or offer of any contribution comparable to that being spent on nuclear weapons by the nations involved and their allies so that the causes of these diseases and physical and social ills can be cured.
That is, of course, what might be described as a distributive allegation. It is put forward as an allegation as much against the United States of America and the United Kingdom, the Western Powers, as against the Soviet Union. I fear, Sir, that the honorable gentleman has forgotten that if anybody cared to examine the contributions made in the field of health, in the field of research, in the production of the great antibiotics in the positive combating of disease, he would find that the Western world has an unchallenged position in those fields. He would also find that there are millions of people who can gaze from time to time on the sputniks and other things that may be put into the sky by the Soviet Union, who would not be there to see them if it had not been for the devoted scientific and medical research of the free world. Therefore, the honorable gentleman falls into error, if I may be allowed to say so, in distributing these allegations as if they applied with equal force to both sides in this great and unhappy conflict.
I want to try to direct the attention of the House to the real problems that we have to consider. The honorable gentleman has made, I am happy to say, several references to the communique of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers, issued at the time of the last conference in March of last year. I know something about this, because I was one of those Prime Ministers. I also know that no communique emerges from a Prime Ministers’ Conference unless it refers to matters upon which unanimous agreement has been reached. That is something that honorable members should note - nothing is included in such a communique unless it has been unanimously agreed that it should be included. Therefore, on the occasion in question all the Prime Ministers agreed to the statement made with regard to atomic tests. These are the precise words of it -
Every effort should be made to secure rapid agreement to the permanent banning of nuclear weapons tests by all nations and to arrangements for verifying the observance of the agreement. Such an agreement is urgent, since otherwise other countries may soon become nuclear powers, which would increase the danger of war and further complicate the problem of disarmament. Moreover, an agreement of nuclear tests, apart from its direct advantages, would provide a powerful psychological impetus to agreement over the wider field of disarmament.
I think those words are well worth quoting. We - and I speak as one of the parties - heartily supported that statement, and we supported it for the simple sake of humanity. The profound cause of humanity required, in our mind, that a statement of this kind should be made.
There were talks about disarmament. There were conferences about it. They were abortive. You can go on talking about disarmament, in general, for a long time. But here, in our view, was a specific matter on which we thought, or at any rate we hoped, that sensible people of all nations could agree. We hoped that they could all agree to stop further testing of nuclear weapons, and we said so, the Prime Minister of Great Britain amongst us. And what happened? It was not more than a few months thereafter when the Soviet Union, which had itself undertaken to conduct no further tests pending agreement on their abolition, and at the very time when the powers were meeting in Geneva to discuss not only the general principle of abolishing tests, but also the essential correlative of effecting inspection, so that we might not be misled, simply broke up the discussions, walked out, and within 48 hours began a series of at least 30 nuclear tests, preparations for which had obviously been made long before.
That is the kind of problem that the world is dealing with. We need not live in a world of abstract phrases. We are living in a most terribly difficult world. We are living in a world of stark realities, and unless we admit the existence of these realities we will walk into danger.
That was the position, and our distinguished visitor of the other night - I am not going to discuss any other matters in connexion with his visit because honorable members are quite entitled to their views about everything that he said - made this statement -
While we were still negotiating, they-
The Soviet Union - broke the moratorium on testing with a long and, obviously long prepared, series of tests. Nevertheless, we-
The United States of America - stood on our offer to conclude a test ban treaty, and with an inspection arrangement that would have involved an international inspection team looking at less than l/2000th of the territories of the Soviet Union in any given year.
Honorable members on both sides of the House will recall that one of the pretences of the Soviet Union was that it could not have inspection because this would involve espionage inside its borders. The statement went on -
But as the Soviets were still unwilling to agree, President Kennedy felt obliged to resume our own testing and for the security of the free world. As you know, he reached that decision most reluctantly. And we stand prepared to stop testing at any moment that the Soviets agreed to a test ban treaty with essential international verification.
That is a pretty plain statement by the man who, as second to the President of the United States, occupies one of the most responsible and powerful positions in the world.
He went on -
But the President of the United States will not accept the responsibility for allowing people who want their kind of world order to move ahead of the free world in this nuclear field.
I wonder who disagrees with that? I wonder if there is anybody in this House - I do not really believe there is - who believes that, after all, this series of tests by the Soviet Union which will add enormously to the Soviet Union’s knowledge and technology in this field, the United States of America should have said, “ Well, you can have it; we will do nothing about it. We are prepared to stabilize the knowledge of the free world in this field while you go on year after year, month after month, so that you will have the power to impose on the world what is to us your rotten system of government.” Really, Mr. Speaker, I would have thought it hardly admitted of debate.
Now, there are practical issues here, and I think that unless they are resolved by unanimity in this House, they ought to be analysed frankly on both sides of the chamber. The first of them is involved in what I have just said: Should the Western nuclear powers cease testing whatever the Soviet does? When I say that, let me elaborate a little. I feel that there is a great assumption in many minds that all these tests are tests of weapons to be deposited on the enemy and to destroy or to blast his cities. But we have got to a stage when a great deal of testing in the world is of what are called the anti-missile missiles. These tests are devoted to discovering how to defend a country and how to defend hundreds of thousands of innocent people against an attack from the air.
You cannot have one of these things done and forget about the other. You cannot have the Soviet Union perfecting its means of attack, and perhaps developing its means of resistance by special experiments in the nuclear field, and say to our own side - and do not let us forget that, alive or dead, it is our side - “ You are not to do it. You stop where you are.” All these experimentations that go on have not only a relevance to attack but also a relevance to defence. Therefore, I propound my question and I would like to think that it reached the people of Australia: Should the Western nuclear powers cease testing nuclear devices whatever the Soviet Union does? The clear answer to that in the name of humanity is, “ No “.
The second issue is this: Can there be any effective cessation of testing which could give to the world a feeling that there was a calm in the storm or a hope for ordinary humanity, unless we have inspection or verification - whatever the word might be? Are we so naive in the free world - we are not really, as we have a long history of practical wisdom and experiment - as to say to the prospective enemy - the country which is the great and only threat to the peace of the world: We will take your word for it. We do not want anybody to go near your country to see whether you are conducting tests or not. Can anybody imagine such a thing? The United States of America, the great western nuclear power, and the other western powers have gone to great lengths, as we were reminded the other night, to reduce their demands for verification to a mere minimum. Are they to abandon those demands? Would we sleep more comfortably if they did? Would the ban-the-bomb processionists sleep more comfortably if they knew that on our side tests had ceased and development had come to an end, and that we were relying upon the punic faith of the authorities in the Kremlin? I do not believe it. We say: No. I do not know what other people might say, but we say. No.
In the third place there is an issue that perhaps scarcely emerged in what my honorable opponent had to say but it is clearly implicit in certain things that have happened. It is this: Should Australia, not a nuclear power herself - remember that in .ill these matters - permanently contract herself out of permitting nuclear weapons to be used in war or defence or in the grave arbitrament of war on her soil? Because I did hear suggestions that when the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) said we were not prepared to give a permanent undertaking to that effect, he was under criticism. Under criticism! Have we reached the very ecstasy of suicide in Australia? Are we prepared to say that come war, come peace, come any circumstances, nobody shall bring a nuclear weapon on our soil or discharge a weapon of that kind there? Are we bent on selfdestruction, or are we prepared to sit up and wake up to the fact that those nuclear powers which are on our side in the contest of freedom, cannot protect us if we warn them off the premises in perpetuity.
These are the three questions. All must have considerable difficulty in understanding how there could be more than the one clear answer to any of them. There is certainly nothing in what the honorable gentleman has said that, in form, cuts across what I have been saying in these matters; but if there is a feeling in this Parliament anywhere that this attitude is wrong, let us for the sake of our own self respect, for the sake of our standing in the world and for the sake of our capacity to talk to the other countries of the world, learn it now. Let them stand up and be counted.
.- The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has made virtually a new statement on the subject of disarmament and nuclear tests. I do not think there is anybody in this place who would not condemn the Russian breach of the three years’ moratorium six months ago. I do not think there is anybody in this place who would not believe that the United States of America would not have resumed testing if Russia had not resumed testing. The only difference would have emerged in what the Prime Minister called his third question. Therefore, I think it is essential to get clear a few basic facts.
Russia has not imparted nuclear weapons to any other country. The United States has not imparted nuclear weapons to any other country. Neither Russia nor the United States of America has ever exploded a nuclear weapon or tested a nuclear device in our hemisphere. The only difference that can be seen between the speech of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) and the speech of the Prime Minister to-night would be in relation to what contribution Australia can make to this question. I would assert - as the Leader of the Opposition did - that it is in Australia’s interest, and it therefore should be Australia’s job, to do all it can to see that no more nations get nuclear weapons and that no new areas get nuclear weapons. Australia’s defence is in no way jeopardized if the southern hemisphere becomes a nuclear-free zone. America’s role in her own defence and in defence of the Western world, of which Australia is one of the most loyal parts, is in no way jeopardized if the southern hemisphere is declared a nuclear-free zone. Russia’s ambitions or defences are in no way promoted if the southern hemisphere becomes a nuclear-free zone. There are no bases and no weapons of either of those countries in the southern hemisphere. The targets which each country has in mind in its opponent’s territory or in the territory of its opponent’s allies are all in the northern hemisphere.
I should have thought that both sides of the House could have agreed with 90 per cent, of what the Prime Minister said, just as he said that he could have agreed with 90 per cent, of what the Leader of the Opposition said. However, we believe on this side that Australia is not doing enough to ensure that nuclear weapons are confined to those who already have them and to the areas in which they are already located.
It has been asserted outside that Australia would be falling down in its job of defending itself and letting down its principal ally, America, and its secondary ally, Great Britain, if it were to join in an appeal to make the southern hemisphere a nuclear free zone. America has never offered nuclear weapons to Australia or to any other country. Congress has expressly forbidden it. America has no bases, and seeks no bases, in this hemisphere. America has never exploded, and does not seek to explode, any nuclear weapons or other devices in this hemisphere. So the balance of deterrents between America and the Soviet remains exactly as it is if the southern hemisphere becomes a nuclear free zone, but Australia’s defence is promoted if the southern hemisphere becomes a nuclear free zone.
The Prime Minister has asked rhetorically whether Australia should permanently contract out of nuclear armaments. That question has not arisen. He seeks an answer to a hypothetical and academic question, because no country in the southern hemi.phere has, or has sought, nuclear weapons, and the only country on whose territories nuclear weapons have been exploded or devices tested is Australia. That was done by Great Britain several years ago. Britain no longer seeks to test nuclear devices or to explode atomic weapons. Britain, to her credit - perhaps it is possible for her to take credit in these matters, being a smaller power than America and the Soviet - has done her very best, by example and precept,, to see that nuclear weapons are not extended to other parts of the world and that no new nuclear country emerges.
The Leader of the Opposition has stated already that a statement was sought from the Government when the three-year moratorium was ended by the Soviet six months ago. The Leader of the Opposition sought a further statement on the general subject when the House met two months ago. We are debating that statement now. It is a long statement covering some sixteen pages. It is headed, “ Disarmament and Nuclear Tests “. First, to use the Minister’s own words, it gives “ only the barest outline of the problems raised by disarmament “. There can be no cavil at the Minister’s analysis of the scope and complexity of the problems. Then, as the Minister said -
Negotiations for a nuclear test ban treaty deserve particular attention.
On this second aspect the Minister deals with the two specific matters which have come for decision to the Australian Government. The first is the reply which the Australian Prime Minister gave to the British Prime Minister who had asked the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand to state their attitude on the use of the British Christmas Island by America to test weapons as a consequence of the Russian breach of the three-year moratorium. The second is the reply which the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) gave to the Acting Secretary-General of the United Nations following the Swedish resolution asking what our attitude would be to the question of renouncing the manufacture, acquisition and reception of nuclear weapons. As the Minister himself acknowledged, there is a difference between the reply which the New Zealand Prime Minister gave and the reply which the Australian Prime Minister gave to the question of the use of Christmas Island. Our Prime Minister was quite brief and blunt on it. His first statement in this House in reply to a question by the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) was -
The position is that before the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom made his statement on this matter, he communicated with me and with the Australian Government, and we told him, as the fact is, that we had no objection to the course he proposed.
That may be. Perhaps it was not our job to object to the course which Britain proposed, but the New Zealand Prime Minister took a more cautious attitude. He said that he did not welcome the decision. Later he said that there were only two final solutions to the balance of terror upon which America and Russia were embarking. One was catastrophe and the other was a binding international agreement on disarmament whether complete, covering all arms or, as a first step, banning further nuclear tests. He pointed out that this was the only real solution and that the quest for it must be pushed ahead with the utmost urgency. A couple of weeks after the Minister for External Affairs made his statement to this Parliament, the New Zealand Prime Minister again stated that his country had long and strenuously advocated in the United Nations that the only solution to this problem was a test ban treaty. It is plain from a reading of the New Zealand Prime Minister’s statements that he gave much more cautious approval to Mr. Macmillan’s request than did our Prime Minister. He regretted, but accepted, the inevitability of the tests. He understood the reasons why America had to resume them. However, our Prime Minister washed his hands of the matter.
More importantly, there is the reply which the Minister for External Affairs sent to the Acting Secretary-General of the United Nations in which he claimed that in the last General Assembly Australia had supported the initiative of Ireland in seeking a ban on the extension of nuclear weapons. I want to trace the Government’s attitude on this matter to show how little leadership it has given. In his reply the Minister for External Affairs quoted the Prime Minister’s statement in 1957 that Australia did not have, and for the time being did not seek, nuclear weapons. He went on to say -
The views expressed in the Australian Prime Minister’s statement of 1957 which I have just quoted predate the initiative in the United Nations of the Government of the Republic of Ireland-
That is the term which Australia alone, among the members of the United Nations, uses to describe Ireland- to prevent the wider dissemination of nuclear weapons. Australia’s policy and the reasons for it remain as stated by the Prime Minister in 1957. This position has been reaffirmed in the speeches and votes of the Australian Delegations to successive Sessions of the United Nations General Assembly and most recently at the Sixteenth Session of the General Assembly.
Ireland first raised the subject at the United Nations in 1958 when it proposed to the First Committee that a committee should be set up to study the dangers inherent in the further dissemination of nuclear weapons. The resolution was carried in the First Committee by 37 votes to nil, but 44 countries abstained from voting. Australia was among them. In 1959 Ireland again sponsored a motion which suggested that the ten nations disarmament committee should consider means whereby the powers producing nuclear weapons would refrain from handing over the control of such weapons to any nation not possessing them, and whereby the powers not possessing such weapons would refrain from manufacturing them. Australia supported the resolution on that occasion. Contemporaneously, there was a resolution expressing the grave concern of the General Assembly over the intention of the Government of France to conduct nuclear tests, and requesting France to refrain from such tests. That resolution was overwhelmingly carried by many other countries, including New Zealand. Australia abstained from voting.
The matter came up a third time in 1960, when again Ireland sponsored a resolution calling upon all governments to make every effort to achieve permanent agreement on the prevention of the wider dissemination of nuclear weapons, and calling upon the powers producing such weapons, to refrain as a temporary and voluntary measure pending negotiation of such a permanent agreement, from relinquishing control of such weapons to any nation not possessing them, and from transmitting to it the information necessary for their manufacture. Australia again abstained, but New Zealand supported it.
– So what?
– I just cite those cases to show how, on the first three occasions when these matters came up before the United Nations, our Government prevaricated and equivocated. The only time when our Government supported a proposal for limiting the nuclear nations was in the last session when the resolution was carried unanimously. The Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) did not accurately state to U Thant the attitude of this Government in past times-
– What is your attitude?
– You were in the House, and I thought you were following what was said. You gave every appearance of following it and absorbing it. We say that the number of nations which has nuclear weapons should be limited to the present number, and that the areas where nuclear tests have taken place should be left as they are. More specifically, we say that the initiative of all the nuclear nations in declaring the area from the South Pole to 60 degrees south a nuclear-free zone should be extended to cover the whole of this hemisphere. If any other country in this hemisphere manufactured or acquired or received nuclear weapons, admittedly Australia would have to consider its position; but Australia should not be the first country in the southern hemisphere to manufacture or acquire or receive nuclear weapons. Nobody suggests that we can manufacture nuclear weapons before China, say, gets them, or maybe some few other countries. But it would be possible for us to acquire nuclear weapons, as we did in the past. We know that Britain was carrying out tests between 1952 and 1957, but Britain no longer seeks to carry out tests at Maralinga, or Emu Field, or in the Monte Bellos Britain is not asking us to do it now. We ought to take the initiative in expanding this nuclear-free zone to cover the rest of this hemisphere.
The Minister for External Affairs said that to establish nuclear-free zones would give the Soviet an advantage since it is only the Western nuclear deterrent which holds in check the Soviet bloc’s undoubted superiority in conventional forces. He went on to say that such proposals would weaken or neutralize the nuclear deterrent without reducing Communist strength in conventional weapons. I reiterate what I said earlier - if the whole of the southern hemisphere were a nuclear-free zone, it would in no way jeopardize American or Western defence. It would in no way promote or facilitate anti-Western aggression. Australia’s defence would be promoted if other countries were to accept such a proposal, and declare the rest of this hemisphere nuclear-free.
We are in the best position to take the initiative because we are the only country in the southern hemisphere which has set off nuclear bombs or which has tested nuclear devices. No other country in this hemisphere has tried to do so or is seeking to do so. The position as it is now, and as it will be in the foreseeable future, is that there are and will be no other countries with these weapons in the southern hemisphere and we, as the only country which has ever had them in the past - nobody is asking us to have them now - are in the best position to give a lead. This is not a question of unilateral nuclear disarmament. You do not have disarmament unless you give up some arms which you already have; and you do not have unilateral disarmament unless you give up some arms which you have had and which other people would still have if you gave up yours. It is not a question of nuclear disarmament because nobody in this hemisphere has nuclear arms, and we are the only people who have ever had them.
Our hands have not been clean in this matter up till now, because we are the only people who have tested nuclear weapons. America is not asking us to take these arms. Congressional laws would prevent her from giving these weapons to us, and America has never sought to explode a weapon or test a device in this hemisphere. The targets which America must keep in mind can be better reached from the northern hemisphere than from the southern hemisphere. Ii we were to accept those weapons now, we would be provoking our neighbours into taking the same measures which we would have to take if they accepted the weapons. We have not had clean hands in the past, and we cannot wash our hands of the future. We cannot divest ourselves of responsibility henceforth. We should take the initiative. Whereas in the past we have abstained twice from voting on, and only once supported, proposals for restricting the ownership and testing of nuclear weapons, every other country in the southern hemisphere has supported such proposals consistently. In the Antarctic Treaty every existing nuclear power has set an example which we should now take a lead in extending.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– Nuclear military capacity is a grim and awesome fact of our contemporary experience. Every one in this Parliament is unhappily conscious of its extent. None of us can shut his mind to the problems it creates for us. No politician worthy of the trust placed in him by his election to the National Parliament can shirk the responsibility of facing the issues involved. In the time available to me I shall not be able to cover the very wide ground of all the issues raised in the statement presented by my colleague, the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick), but there is one aspect on which I do wish to concentrate. Before doing so, let me just say that we do abhor war, that we are all determined to do what we can to avert its horror. We can understand and share the emotional reaction of our people to the terrible consequences of nuclear war in our time. But governments and parliaments have a responsibility to face realistically and squarely the issues which affect so directly the national security and the continuance of world peace. Binding ourselves now, as I gather that many members of the Opposition would have us do, to a policy that at no time in the future, and no matter what new situations may arise, shall we ever obtain nuclear weapons would involve a gamble with the future security of this country which no responsible government could accept. Nuclear assistance by our allies, or, in the course of time, nuclear capability in our own hands, may be vital to our security. Australia, with its relatively small population and resources, cannot afford to discard the possible use of tactical nuclear weapons which might offset the man-power masses which could be directed against us or an invasion fleet which could not be resisted by other means.
– Who said that?
– This debate has provided an opportunity for the Australian Labour Party to tell us just what it says. All that I can go on, Sir, is what has been published, and not contradicted in its detail, in the press of this country, and which, here to-night, the Opposition had an opportunity to re-state in authoritative form. But what has the Opposition done? We have had from the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) a windy smokescreen. They have tried to cover in a mass of verbiage the fact that they have no policy on these matters. Listening to this debate to-night, one could never have imagined that here was an issue on which the executive of this Federal Parliamentary Labour Party was divided, as we understand, by seven votes to six - that here are issues on which the Labour caucus in this Parliament is so incapable of giving any decision as to feel bound to refer the matter of a decision to the federal conference of the Australian Labour Party. Where has any hint of that emerged from the speech which we have heard from the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition this evening? As they went blandly on their way, one would have assumed that this was just a debating exercise - that one just makes bland statements and that is all there is to it.
Sir, involved in the matter before this Parliament to-night are some of the most vital and most compelling issues that this Parliament will ever have to face in our time, and we shall do no credit to this Parliament if we allow it to adjourn without having the Labour Party tell us where it stands on the vital issues that are now before us. The Labour Party has failed to declare itself, not because of any lack of discussion on the one matter on which I am concentrating. On 90 per cent, of what stands in the statement made by my colleague, the Minister for External Affairs, we are in agreement. But we have a concrete test - the sort of thing that governments have to face, not only week by week, but almost day by day. There are difficult, unpopular and testing decisions to be made.
Here, that kind of decision arises from the request which was put to us by U Thant, the Acting Secretary-General of the United Nations, pursuant to a resolution of that organization, asking us where we stood on the question of whether we would permit the use of nuclear weapons in our defence, and whether Australia would ever be permitted to become a base for the use of nuclear weapons in our defence. That was a straightforward request by the Acting SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations. That was the sort of thing which we as a government have had to look at and face up to.-
Honorable gentlemen opposite, knowing that we had declared ourselves on this issue, had to face up to it, too, because they were bound, when there was a resumption of this debate, to state where Labour stood on these matters. So they came to the issue in the executive of the Federal Parliamentary Labour Party, and there has been no lack of discussion on these matters. They were discussed there and the Opposition found that its members were hopelessly divided. It was only, apparently - I await contradiction on this point if I am wrong - on the casting vote of the Leader of the Opposition himself that the executive could resolve the matter within its own ranks by a vote of seven to six. Then these matters were taken to the caucus. The Opposition watered down the resolution and included a few comforting paragraphs. The resolution which the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), who leads for the Opposition in these matters, is alleged to have presented to the caucus - and, again, I invite contradiction from honorable gentlemen opposite in good faith - contained a number of passages which can be quoted. However, I have not the time to do all that, and I take one particular passage which stands on its own. The resolution referred to the attitude of the Australian Labour Party and stated -
It declares its opposition to nuclear tests at any time by any nation and believes that the Government:
Should assure the United Nations that Australia, in its desires to make the Southern Hemisphere a nuclear-free zone, will renounce nuclear tests, stock-piling and bases on Australian soil.
That is an understandable viewpoint, Sir.
I do not for one moment lack respect for the depth of feeling and the sincerity of many gentlemen on the opposite side of the House, some of whom have given their service to this country in war. But, as a result of the abhorrence of war which they have thus developed, they have become pacifist in outlook and resistant to this kind of thing. I can respect that sincerity. If there is an honest difference of opinion held by members of this Parliament who are elected by the people to serve and give expression to their views, this is the place in which such a matter should be determined. If these matters go to the caucus and are fought out there, a resolution being either adopted or rejected, and that decision, in whatever form it finally emerges from caucus, comes to this Parliament, we and the people of Australia know where Labour stands.
But what was the fate of the resolution in this instance, Sir? Here was a direct issue on which the executive of the parliamentary party had concentrated its attention. Finally, it took the matter to the Labour caucus in the form of a resolution of which it could approve. Here again, I invite contradiction if I have the facts wrong. We understand that by 50 votes to 27 the Parliamentary Labour Party decided not to decide a policy. It did not decide to refer the determination of a policy to a body of people freely elected by the
Australian community and answerable to the community - accountable by their votes in this place to the Australian community. Instead, it said, “ We shall refer this matter for decision to the federal conference of the Australian Labour Party”.
Who are the members of the federal conference, Sir? They are not accountable to the electorate. They are not known to the electorate. Are they to determine the policies which will guide the destinies of this nation and determine vital consequences for the security of this country? That, I believe, Ls an even more important issue facing us to-night than what is inherent in the substance of what has been put before the Parliament by the Minister for External Affairs. Here we have a great issue of national security. That, of course, is tremendously important. Also of importance to the Australian people is the decision on how we are, by democratic process, to reach a determination on matters touching the security and welfare of the Australian people.
– Tell us what your party did.
– I shall tell the honorable member what the Liberal Party of Australia did. The Liberal Party, without one dissenting vote or voice, has supported the statement made by the Minister for External Affairs on our behalf. That is the concrete statement which split in two the executive of the Federal Parliamentary Labour Party and which split the Labour caucus to the extent that it cannot come to a decision on these matters.
This is an evenly divided House. The Government has an effective majority of only one. Two adverse by-elections could mean that Labour would govern this country. Had two seats gone the other way at the last elections Labour would be in office. I want my fellow Australians to perceive the significance of this caucus decision. Suppose the Labour Party had been elected to office - not a very wild supposition, as I have said, when our majority is considered - and the resolution of U Thant had come to a Labour government. I do not want a lot of laughter, jeering and interjections, because this matter is vital to many people in this country. Suppose a Labour government had been in office-
– There was one during the last war.
– Yes; and I remember that, too.
– It was game to do the right thing then; you were not.
– The leadership of the Labour Party at that time was very different from what it is to-day. (Opposition members interjected) -
– Order! I call the House to order and ask Opposition members to extend to the Treasurer the same courtesy as has been extended to other honorable members.
– Make the Treasurer keep to the motion instead of talking about caucus.
– I am right on the point, and that is what is making Opposition members uncomfortable. They know I am directly on the point. This is the test which the Australian people are entitled to apply. If Labour had been in government and U Thant’s letter had arrived, what would the Labour government have done by way of reply to that letter? Would it have said, “ Sorry, we cannot give you an answer to this until we have referred the matter to our federal conference “? After all, that is what the Labour Party is telling the Australian people now. Or, would it have said, “ We shall face up to this one “? Who would have faced up to it? Would it have been the federal executive of the Labour Party, which of course is Labour’s shadow cabinet, for it comprises the men who would be the senior cabinet ministers of any Labour government formed from members on the other side of the House?
If those men had been called upon to face up to that issue, they would have found that on a matter so vitally affecting the security of Australia they were divided in the proportions of seven to six. Of course Labour’s cabinet would be bigger than that, but would not that same proportion carry through into their cabinet? Then, having come to a decision after such a sharp division inside their own cabinet, they would perforce have taken that - because that is the way the Labour Party works - to their caucus. How would the Labour caucus, which says to-day that it cannot decide this matter and must refer it to its federal conference, have faced up to this test of responsible government. Would caucus members have revealed themselves, as I sincerely believe they would, to be as hopelessly divided on this issue in government as they have shown themselves to be in Opposition. No one can argue that they have not the authority to make this kind of decision. The Leader of the Opposition had no hesitation in telling the Australian people that the Labour Party, if elected, would not give effect to the socialist programme in the ensuing three years. That seemed to him to be a desirable assurance to be given at election time. He told us subsequently, and his colleagues have emphasized it, that the Parliamentary Labour Party has the responsibility, in between federal conferences, of interpreting the policy of the party. The Opposition is in an even stronger position in this matter, because in 1955 the federal conference of the Labour Party, in effect, placed the responsibility upon the Federal Parliamentary Labour Party of deciding problems which arise out of nuclear war capacity. I shall quote from a conference decision made in Hobart on 14th March, 1955. lt is in these terms -
Conference directs the Federal Parliamentary Labour Party to press for effective action directed towards these great ends.
This was the great end of deciding where the party should stand on problems associated with nuclear war. The Opposition talked earlier of vacillation and lack of courage. In the long history of this Parliament I have not seen a more abject or humiliating retreat from responsibility than that shown by the federal Parliamentary Labour Party upon these issues. What they are inviting the Australian people to support is government by remote control. I have nothing against Mr. Chamberlain, Mr. Colbourne or any one else associated with the federal conference. However, they have not been elected by the Australian people. Opposition members have been so elected and they have the responsibility of deciding issues affecting the security, the strength and the welfare of the Australian people. They cannot dis charge that responsibility by handing it over to some remote body which will prop them up from behind.
We have all heard the fable of the ostrich that buried its head in the sand. Here we find an Australian Labour Party which not only buries its head in the sand, but waits for the ostrich keeper to come along, shake its tail feathers, kick it from behind and tell it where it should go. The Australian people deserve something better than that. Government is a difficult business. It involves the problem of facing up to decisions that call for courage and resolution day by day, week by week, month by month, and it is no good honorable members opposite, just because these are uncomfortable, dangerous, difficult decisions, deciding that they can serve the Australian people best by shirking those decisions and handing them over to some remote body which is not answerable to the Australian people.
We have not merely a great issue in the field of nuclear capacity before Parliament; we have before it the issue whether the Australian Labour Party, as at present constituted, can provide a body to govern - a body firm, resolute and courageous enough to meet the perilous problems which face the nation. On the evidence Labour has failed the country on this great issue and it is not entitled to the confidence or the support of the people.
.- This debate began in a calm atmosphere that befitted the occasion, for the House is discussing one of the most agonizing problems confronting civilization to-day. However, it did not take the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) five minutes to break it down to the level of a bar-room brawl. The reason is that he knows nothing about the subject. So, instead of saying something which might help prevent men, women and children from being banished from the face of the earth by the effects of nuclear tests or warfare, he launches a phony attack upon the Labour Party over what it has said and done. As he knows nothing about this subject and even less about the Australian Labour Party, he can be answered in a very few minutes. First, he asked why the Labour Party would brawl about this matter, why its members would argue about it. But is it not democratic to discuss these things? Is it not good that we have violent feelings in our party over this matter? This is not a trifling issue. It is a great issue; it is a monumental issue; it is the greatest moral issue we have faced in this House.
The Treasurer said that federal executive voting on this issue was seven to six. What a tribute it is to the Labour Party that with some men strong enough to take one view, and others to hold another, the matter was taken peacefully, through a democratic process, to caucus! Not being able to get a decision there, the Opposition went to the conference, which is the top deliberative body of our party. We all know that, although the Minister does not understand it. The longer this subject is thrashed out, the keener it is fought, and the more people that are brought into it, the happier I shall be, and so will the Australian Labour Party, for we have many things to prove against the Government. The Treasurer spoke about the Opposition having rows and having differences of opinion.
Ever since this Government came to power, after it was drawn to the edge of the precipice and saved by one vote - and the Communist preferences did that - it has done nothing but brawl. There is the war between the private members on the Government side and the Government itself over defence. That filled the newspapers for weeks. I will not bother the House by reading out the reports of that war, but we had the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Forbes), the honorable member for Macarthur (Mr. Jeff Bate) and others pressing the Government savagely and constantly on this matter. Yet you say to us, “ You should not argue about those things”. Then there is the question which has been raised time and time again by the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) and the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes), who are on the outer in regard to government matters, and who have created a minor and very ineffective cave in the Government parties. Finally, what about the brawl going on between the Liberals and the members of the Australian Country Party over the European Common Market? The Liberals stood there and dropped the Union Jacks on the floor while they elevated “ Old Glory “, and the Country Party members looked as glum as all-get-out, as they say in the United States of America. There is a sharp division.
There is division between the Prime Minister and his deputy, yet you people opposite talk to us about divisions in the Labour Party. This matter of division was brought up here, and it should not be argued in a debate of this nature, but some of the statements made have to be answered here. The Treasurer asked, “ What would happen if the Labour Party were in power and U Thant’s letter came to it?” Well, we would not do what the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) did. He sat down and wrote his own reply to the letter and did not bring it into the Parliament until forced to do so - and that was one of the most important letters ever to come to this Parliament. He did not bring it here until it was dragged in as a result of a speech made on the motion for the adjournment by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward). Then the Minister came rumbling in and put annexures, additions and everything else into “ Hansard “ to cover himself up. 1 would much prefer to go to the federal conference of my party than do what the Minister did, using the external affairs power and using his constitutional authority to write direct to U Thant, the Acting Secretary-General of the United Nations, on the most vital issue that we have had before us - non-nuclear and nuclear clubs. He elected to do that - the little bantam dictator that he is - and would not bring the letter to this House until forced to do so. So when you ask for answers, we give them, and they are complete answers. The Treasurer himself, realizing that he had no case to argue, tried to make a fight of it - an ordinary election fight. This is too big for that.
Now we come back to the big man. We have a look at the drooping prose of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) - the same old stuff year in and year out which says nothing at all about those problems which, as I said, are agonizing to the people outside. The real questions are: Where do we stand? Where is the moral issue brought into this? What do you do about nuclear testing on either side? It does not matter whether it is Khrushchev or Kennedy that is letting off the bombs. Surely you are not suggesting that the bomb let off by one side is full of death and disaster while the other side’s bomb is full of oil shares and chewing gum. They are both the most horrible devices of all time, and if you have not the moral courage to stand up to-day in this matter you gentlemen opposite do not deserve your places in this Parliament.
This moral issue that we are debating to-night would not have come to this House if the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) had not forced the debate and if we had not, by our discussions during the last few days and last week, brought the matter to a head. That is so, because the Government sneaked away from the thing by issuing a statement. Who reads the weary handouts of the Department of External Affairs? Hidden in them are some vague conclusions. Had things been left at that we would not have had this matter brought into the House. A statement would have been read and a statement would have been tabled, and a desultory debate would have taken place. But we have made an issue of this matter, and we want to pin down the Prime Minister, with all his rhetorical flourishes and his utter lack of sincerity, and ask him: Can the world to-day live on the balance of terror? Can it live on the question of how much the Americans have got and how much the Russians have got? Are you going to ask the women and the kiddies of this country to live in an atmosphere of the balance of power - whether our friends or our alleged enemies are greater? We have got to bring this moral issue to this place and ask, “ Do you or do you not believe in atomic tests? Do you or do you not believe that this is the greatest and most terrible tragedy to arise out of science and militarism in this world? “ If you are not game enough to fight this you should not be in this House.
I say - and I say it with conviction - that I believe that the Government thinks the same as we do about the horror of atomic tests and the risk of atomic warfare. But the Government has completely abdicated its responsibility. It just says, “ Our friends are all right, so we are all right”. That is where we disagree with the Government. There are plenty on my own side who disagree with my views on this, but surely this whole thing is so important that we ought to fight, not in the atmosphere created by the Treasurer in his speech, but in the atmosphere of the splendid statement made by the Leader of the Opposition. There must be a moral issue. The Liberals run away from moral issues, and there must be another voice apart from those who support the bomb droppers. On this side of the House we say that both Khrushchev and Kennedy are wrong. They lost moral opportunities of tremendous value to world friendship between the nations. If you are going to have an argument with a man you have to listen to what he says before the argument is resolved. “ Ostrich-like “ the Treasurer said - and you could apply the term to his own colleague, who said in relation to this, “ We accepted. It was the only possible thing.” What a Uriah Heep attitude! What an extraordinary admission from a Minister! It could not be right.
Now I want to argue about this protest all over the world. The socialists are divided, the Communists are divided, the Christians are divided and the Liberals are solid, as the Minister said, because they are solid from top to toe, and for that reason they have no case here. They burked the moral issue. They burked the question of what could be done about those things. Parliament cannot abdicate its responsibility in this matter, and I think that it is to the eternal credit of the Labour Party that it brought up this issue. We do not say that we are united. We have different points of view. But what we are united in is the desire to save the world for the peoples of the world, and we will go to any lengths that are consonant with our dignity and our desire for peace. The honorable member for Chisholm is interjecting. He is the old China hand who gets his handouts from Formosa every week and churns out the same old stuff. He should listen to what the people outside are saying. He should heed the thrust from the universities. You cannot say that the people who support the ban on atomic testing are reds or rat-bags. You cannot say that they are beatniks or bearded boys. They are people, and they are worried, and their concern will drift to this Parliament.
Let me tell the House that if it were not for the Labour Party - soon to be in office - this issue would never have come here except negatively, buried in the prosy speeches of the Minister for External
Affairs. But we have brought this matter forward as a vital issue, and we will go through with it man by man if you extend our speaking time to-day, to-morrow and tomorrow and to-morrow, until you come to a decision about it. But what are they going to do, those brave heroes who say, “ Let us stand on one side and let us look at this objectively. We on this side will sit as long as you like to debate it.” But you are going to gag us before the midnight hour has struck. The point is that you have not given any responsible lead. What has been said by the Prime Minister is just so much support of his own cause - and our cause, I suppose - but do we leave it at that? After all, he is the leader of the nation, and he should be responsible. There is a moral responsibility on us to work for the complete banning of bomb tests. If you say, “ Our side is correct and the other side is wrong”, you get nowhere, and you create nothing except hatred. There has to be a different attitude taken. The matter had to be brought to the House in the way that I said, because we cannot abdicate our responsibility. I am glad that there has been a debate on the bomb. Is the Australian political scene so dead, or so frightened that it cannot take a point of view on this most astounding horror in history? Is it so dead or so frightened that it is afraid to discuss the thing except on party lines? I think that the Prime Minister’s speech was shocking, and the speech by the Treasurer was ill-informed and completely out of character in an argument such as this, which we must drive home with great force, but surely not with aggravated insults to either side.
The case made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) is unassailable. We have the Antarctic Treaty, which provides that the whole of the Antarctic Territory - twice the size of Australia - is to be free from atomic tests of all sorts. So immunity will be given to 5,000,000 square miles of frozen ice and the tundra of the Antarctic but it will not be extended to Tasmania or Macquarie Island, or Australia or the Indonesians or the people of the north.
As the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has said, we are asking for something for which we feel responsible. We are asking for the southern hemisphere - our hemisphere - our world - to be declared free of atomic bombs. It is our responsibility. That is the point. As the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has said, we feel justified in calling in other countries whether they have a bias towards communism, or towards guided democracy if, perhaps, they are people who are struggling to become free. It is not a question of party politics but of survival. In each case we were careful to enumerate every country south of the equator to help us in the fight. It is necessary to have a different thought on atomic testing to help us do something. Is not that what the Asian nations are doing at Geneva? The Asians, and the Afro-Asians at Geneva and the neutralists are doing something that we should be doing. They are not atomic powers but eight of them are represented at Geneva. They are building a bamboo bridge across the hatred of Europe and Asia and against the hatred of Russia and the United States. If they pass a resolution in favour of banning the atomic bomb we shall have to thank these people who have thought in the same way as the Australian Labour Party has thought about this problem.
It is no use saying that this party is wrong or that party is wrong. I said before and I will say quite distinctly again that any Government and any responsible leader who approves of testing bombs which are capable of wiping out humanity completely has missed the moral value of his office whether his name is Khrushchev or Kennedy. I will say further that if it had not been for de Gaulle who attempted through Nato to get bombs and who experimented in the Sahara we might not have lost the moratorium that we held. It is also to be said that when the balance was against Russia it had accepted this moratorium, but the U2 spy plane incident and other things accentuated the issue and resulted in trouble. Honorable members opposite know that as well as I do. We are not discussing that.
What do we do when we come to this situation? The Government says, “ We are right. We would hate to think we would be wrong. We are going to stay with the strong whatever happens “. It proceeds to talk about defence. Quite validly, defence can be mentioned in this connexion. It is asked, “ What would happen if we decided not to test bombs and the others did not? “
But how do we reach a conclusion to that intolerable situation and a new view? How do we get back to the time when we were able to have a moratorium? What has been done before can be done again. The Government has made no case at all. Its foreign policy has been disastrous because it is a complete carbon copy of something that has been sent to it from Washington, London or Bonn. The Government takes what trickles over to us on this side of the world and it causes great anxiety that it has no thinking of its own.
The honorable member for La Trobe (Mr. Jess), who is interjecting, does not get past the question of unity tickets in Victoria when he wants to get on to a very high level of discussion on international affairs. The only hope in this matter is for the United Kingdom and Australia to have a new policy on bomb testing. The Labour Party has attempted to do something about this. We have been sneered at because we have had an agony of decision to make. I think we came out of it brilliantly, without any fights between each other despite very sharp divisions of opinion. I have the honour to be the chairman of the Labour Party’s committee on foreign affairs so the resolution adopted by the committee was not moved by me although I applauded it. It was a unanimous decision. If honorable members opposite try to solve the bomb situation by talking low grade politics they will get nowhere. It is quite obvious that the Government has no claim. The Prime Minister has followed a sort of rhetorical line but has given no complete answer to this problem.
– Give us your policy.
– I could say a lot to the Minister for the Army but I had better not, because I want to keep this speech on the high level on which I started it. This is the argument: You cannot leave the question of the bomb outside of the democratic testing of the Australian people. You cannot ignore men, women and children who go out in processions and walk the cobbled streets and say that they are against the bomb. They cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand by the Liberal Party, claiming that they are Communists or rat-bags. Look at the names of those who have been concerned in such demonstrations. As an instance of what happens when some one is galvanized into activity, I invite honorable members opposite to look at the signatures on the message that the honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant) took to the Soviet and other legations when the Russians dropped a bomb. On this matter, the Opposition has an infinitely better performance than the Government parties, because we have decided to do something about it. AH that honorable members opposite have given is the empty ha-ha - the bucolic laugh - right back to the dairy industry. I thought that we had dealt with that bill two days ago.
It is necessary to make a sincere attempt to build bridges between the two great contestants in regard to atomic testing. It is necessary to keep an eye fixed on what is happening in Geneva and to hope and pray that better decisions will be made and better counsels will prevail. But if the Government decides to aline itself in one area or another it is veritably the immortal ostrich of all time. The final point that I want to make is in regard to the validity of the Australian Labour Party’s attempt to reach a decision on the question of a neutral zone. Surely some one in this country somewhere has been touched by the efforts we are trying to make to get a neutral-free zone - to have a zone of freedom away from all atomic testing in our own atmosphere. Where is the crime in that? Where is the bolshevism? Does that indicate an attitude which leans to some power other than our own country? I am not a moralist and I am no Horatius standing on the bridge talking or morality. But if the Government wants to get anywhere in regard to this matter it cannot be the stooge of any nation, great or small.
There are 10,000,000 people in this nation who want a lead. What sort of leaders of the Australian people are we when they lead us? Honorable members opposite should get out to their electorates and talk to their people and ask them what they think about this matter. Whether those people are Liberal, Labour or indeterminate in their policy, it will not be long before they talk about bomb testing and the bomb threat. The Government says that it thinks the position is all right. Then we get an attack from the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), who tries to make the matter a party brawl, which, essentially, it is not. We have tried to keep it on a level at which we can consider our propositions which are still valid. I believe that when the atomic bomb is banned for all time by the peoples of the world, the people will think much more of the courage of the Australian Labour Party and the agony of our decision in taking it to the top people of our party. What has happened to the Liberals? They have no policy and no desire to make any decision.
-Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, I considered it very unfortunate to hear the views of the Australian Labour Party - the alternative government - on such a vital question as nuclear weapons. Obviously, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) was very unhappy in making his remarks. He realized that he had a party behind him which was completely divided on this issue. He endeavoured to placate members of his party, as my friend from Richmond (Mr. Anthony) suggests, by proposing that we should ban the bomb in the southern hemisphere. In other words, he would placate those members of his party who- are for banning the bomb. We heard the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam), who did not do very much better. I feel that we have reached a very low ebb with the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) because he showed that the Labour Party is not capable of taking a strong stand on this vital question.
– Where do you stand?
– You will hear in a moment. I believe that the honorable member for Parkes is a spokesman for the ban-the-bomb boys. One can imagine his leading these peace processions and peace conferences. However, what is so very strange is that subterfuges are used to take the attention of the community from Labour’s weak policy. The Leader of the Opposition mentioned Antarctica and said that overall world agreement was obtained to ban nuclear testing in the Antarctic. It would be just as easy and just as effective to ban beer in the Simpson Desert, because obviously there is no requirement for it.
The honorable member for Parkes has introduced an issue which I believe is vital to this subject, and that is the moral issue. However, my approach is different from his approach. It is the moral issue that is so very important, because it stems from the very basis of our Western philosophies and our Western civilization. It is as old as our classical civilization, and we must not lose sight of it. We are concerned with horrible nuclear weapons, and we wonder whether there will be anything worth having if there is a thermo-nuclear war. This concerns the individual who builds a fall-out shelter. Happily these shelters are not so prevalent in this hemisphere, but they are very prevalent in the northern hemisphere. The individual wonders whether, if he does survive a nuclear war, anything worthwhile will be left.
I suppose we justify war from the theological point of view, amongst other criteria, by saying that it is a just war if the means employed are commensurate with the result. But when we come to the moral issue, which is the very basis of our thinking, we find a great deal of confusion. The honorable member for Parkes mentioned prominent university people, and I think every member of this House has had circulars from them. But it all boils down to whether it is better to be red than dead or better to be dead than red. It is as simple as that. I hope to show that these moral issues are vital. We look at this matter from the viewpoint of whether our Western civilization would survive a nuclear war. For us in the West, with our background and our philosophies, survival is not the main issue. But for communism, it is a vital issue, for the world of communism exists only in history. No spiritual values exist in communism.
When the honorable member for Parkes was making his peroration, I recalled a quotation from Aristotle. At the risk of being condemned for being pedantic, I looked up the quotation. Aristotle’s quotation of more than 2,000 years ago is as follows: -
It is not life as such, or under any conditions, that is of value, but the good life. The free man is one who in a certain situation refuses to accept life if it means spiritual degradation. The man who declares that survival at all costs is the end of existence is morally dead.
– Who said that?
– Aristotle. That was the basis of our philosophy. Of course, the Opposition would not understand it. It does not like what I am saying, but this is one of the basic issues. If we accept the suggestion of these very eminent, intellectual university people, and if we run away from these moral issues and become Russian reds, how do we know that the Chinese will not start a nuclear war and we will end up being both red and dead? I do not think we would win, anyway. All these moral issues are, I repeat, the basis of our Western philosophies. They have existed through all our history. In our early Christian period, men died for their beliefs. They died for moral issues in the early history of the Christian Church. In the history of the Reformation, they died for varying Christian beliefs, but they died for what they believed in. The sacrifice of those men made our world worth living in to-day. We probably lose sight of these facts. Our life to-day is very easy indeed.
– Speak for yourself.
– I am speaking for myself. The people to whom I have referred forget the very basis of our civilization, and I am sorry to learn that the Labour Party does not understand this basis.
The Leader of the Opposition suggested, amongst other things, that we might have partial bans on these weapons. How on earth can we have partial bans? I believe we will avoid nuclear war, but we will avoid it only if the Russians realize that we have a tremendous nuclear supremacy and that we are prepared to use” these nuclear weapons in matters that we believe are vital. I believe we will avoid a nuclear war, but we will avoid it only on those terms. If we run away from this situation and give way to pacifist thinking - this misguided thinking of the Australian Labour Party - we will end up with the world dominated by communism and all the evils associated with it. If we run away from the situation I have mentioned, we will place a frightful blot on the history of the world, if there is any history afterwards.
Some people suggest that nuclear weapons should be banned. In other words, they say we must rely on conventional weapons. What is the difference? In the last war, 40,000,000 people died as a result of the use of conventional weapons. Quite apart from the millions of people who died from starvation and as a result of political policies during the war, 40,000,000 people died as a direct result of the use of conventional weapons. What would be the difference if the weapons that killed them had been nuclear weapons? That even one man should die in war is indefensible, and we can avoid the possibility that millions will die only by being fully prepared for war and for the use of the latest nuclear weapons, and by having the world of darkness, the Communist world, firmly believe that we will use these weapons if we believe their use to be vital to our existence.
.- The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) is to be complimented on taking steps to initiate this debate. It has been a most revealing debate. I was interested to hear the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) say that every member on the Government side, approved wholeheartedly of the statement made by the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick). This means, in effect, that the Government unanimously rejects the idea of the discontinuance of bomb tests. As a matter of fact, it is against nuclear disarmament, and it is against general and total disarmament throughout the world, as I hope to prove before I finish my speech.
In this debate we have witnessed the unique spectacle of three men leading the debate on the Government side who might be classified as chaps who would hope to God that they were twenty years younger, because none of them has served in any of the wars in which this country has been involved when they were young enough to serve and who now speak in this Parliament on this important subject as if the threat of nuclear war was not of very great concern to the Australian community. We should all realize that if we are to preserve world peace, and to bring about nuclear disarmament, there are only two great powers in the world who can achieve these aims, the United States of America and the Soviet Republic. If those two great powers fail to reach agreement and the arms race continues, then a nuclear war is inevitable, with the consequent destruction of humanity itself. Honorable members opposite must surely realize that a nuclear war will be no question of victors and vanquished. It is a question of the survival of all humanity, and so it is of the utmost importance that Australia, not a great military power, but an independent nation, should be raising its voice wherever it can be heard in an effort to influence the powers that possess nuclear weapons to reach a peaceful settlement of the differences that now divide them.
Let us examine for a moment some of the extraordinary statements made by the Minister for External Affairs, so that I may prove the assertions that I made at the beginning of my remarks. The honorable gentleman said he doubted the effectiveness of regional agreements. He said he did not think they were of any use at all. As has already been pointed out by earlier speakers on this side of the House, this country in 1959 was one of the signatories to a regional pact which guaranteed a demilitarized and de-nuclearized zone in the Antarctic. Then let us turn to the question of the Russian attitude to these matters. The Minister for External Affairs said -
There is in the first place mutual distrust and the clash of interests.
Of course there is. That is admitted. The honorable gentleman also said -
The Russians say they will accept controls such as are suggested by the West once disarmament has been completed. But they will not agree to inspection and verification arrangements whilst disarmament is actually going on.
That is a completely dishonest statement, because the Russians have already tabled for the consideration of the disarmament conference now being conducted in Geneva a proposal which suggests control and verification arrangements in the various stages as disarmament proceeds. Of course, the Russians are claiming in respect to a suggested agreement to ban bomb tests that what the Western powers require is a system of control and investigation which, in their opinion, would result in espionage within Russian territory. Strangely enough, the very person who uses an argument to support the Russian viewpoint is the Minister for External Affairs himself. Listen to this extract from his speech -
The insulation of the Russian State from outside influences of course gives the Soviet Union a military advantage which the West, with its open society, cannot have to the same degree. It is this advantage which a refusal to permit inspection, at least in part, is designed to protect.
This means that according to the Minister what the Soviet is aiming to protect is the advantage which it now possesses because of the secrecy of its arrangements, while those of the Western powers are open to the world’s gaze. Taken at its face value, the Minister’s statement amounts, in effect, to a justification for the attitude that has been adopted, in this instance, by the Russians on the matter of control and verification. The Minister further said -
Nuclear war could wipe out overnight all the industrial gains, all the achievements of the Russian revolution, as well as tens of millions of their people.
Of course it could, and it is to be hoped that the Russians realize it. It is also to be hoped that the Government of the United States of America realizes that the cities and people of that country would be exposed to the same kind of destruction should a nuclear war eventuate.
The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) said on 19th September, 1957-
There is advantage for the world in having nuclear weapons in the hands of the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, and in no other . . .
I share that view. I could wish that no nation possessed these terrible weapons of destruction, but as things are at present it is far better to keep them restricted to a few world powers that to-day have them than to make them freely available to all, because the more nations that become possessed of these destructive weapons the greater will be the danger that they will be used and that humanity will be destroyed.
Let us turn to what is happening in other parts of the world to-day. We now have a re-militarized West Germany. In that country the Federal Republic’s Ministry of War and its general staff undertook a research project to find out whether West Germany was capable of producing its own nuclear bombs and the means of delivering them. The investigation showed that West Germany has the necessary financial, industrial, scientific and technical capacity to build a stock-pile of hydrogen bombs and other nuclear weapons within five years. Any reasonable or sensible person must see that we are approaching the time when other nations will not only be capable of producing these bombs but will be setting out to do so. Franz Joseph Strauss, the West German Minister for War, assured 200 of his generals called together at Mainz that the Bonn Government is determined to obtain a nuclear partnership for the federal republic in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, of which it is a member nation.
I agree with one statement made by the Minister for External Affairs. He said -
Yet another problem is that of ensuring that all important military powers are covered by a disarmament agreement.
If this Government and the Minister really believe that, surely they must appreciate the fact that you cannot achieve world disarmament while you exclude any of the great military powers from discussions on this subject, and while you refuse to recognize them and to admit them to membership of the United Nations Organization. Let me turn briefly to the question of nuclear-free zones. The Minister for External Affairs said this -
Most proposals for establishing nuclear-free zones or banning nuclear weapons would give the Soviet an advantage since it is only the Western nuclear deterrent which holds in check the Soviet bloc’s undoubted superiority in conventional forces.
So it is quite obvious that if the opportunity for total nuclear disarmament presented itself, the Minister for External Affairs would be opposed to it because he argues that the Soviet bloc has great superiority in conventional forces, and therefore unless the Western powers get total and complete disarmament in the world, they must retain their nuclear weapons.
The Minister said that the question of adequate inspection was holding up agreement on the banning of bomb tests. Let me tell honorable members on the Government side what I read recently in an authoritative British journal. It stated that British scientists to-day contended that there was no need for teams of inspection to enter the territory of any country to detect these explosions, whether they took place in the atmosphere or underground, if they were of any size whatever. When the Swedish proposal was put to the United Nations asking those nations which did not manufacture oi did not posses nuclear weapons to join what was termed “ a non-nuclear club “ - and according to the Prime Minister’s earlier statement these terrible weapons should remain the monopoly of the three great powers, namely, Soviet Russia, the United States of America and Great Britain - this Government abstained from voting. It did not even have an opinion on this matter. When it replied to U Thant, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, this Government decided it would have nothing to do with the Swedish proposal. In my opinion, the Government was in error in the decision it made.
Let us have a look at some of the extraordinary actions of this Government before the United Nations. In November, 1961, some of the African nations put forward a proposal that Africa be declare a nuclearfree zone. On that occasion, Australia abstained from voting. In the same month of the same year, a proposal was put forward by a number of African and Asian nations who submitted this resolution for the decision of the United Nations -
The use of nuclear weapons to be a crime against humanity and a direct violation of the United Nations Charter.
Fifty-five nations voted in favour and twenty, including Australia, voted against it. This Government was not even prepared to declare that the use of nuclear weapons was a crime against humanity or to declare that the use of these weapons was a violation of the United Nations Charter. This is what the Australian representative had to say of the resolution in the debate - it did not take account of the realities of international life … It did not condemn equally horrifying and devastating weapons.
So because the resolution did not include the whole field of weapons, the Government was not prepared to outlaw nuclear weapons. It said that what Australia sought was the elimination, not of a particular weapon, but of war itself. That is the objective of all of us - the elimination of war. But when you have the opportunity of making a declaration against the use of nuclear weapons, surely one would expect the Australian representative to support it. According to the Minister for External Affairs -
All these proposals would weaken or neutralize the nuclear deterrent without reducing Communist strength in conventional weapons.
Let us pass to another aspect of the speech made by the Minister. I turn to the question of bomb tests. According to some of the speakers on the Government side, one would imagine that if you oppose the continuance of bomb tests, it is an act of treachery - as the Prime Minister said - against our side, meaning the Western Powers. There are many scientists in the Western world who declare that bomb tests are unnecessary. If we are to take any notice of the declarations made by the Soviet leaders and by the leaders of the Western nations that they have already stockpiled sufficient weapons to destroy each other, what is the purpose of further tests? If you are able to annihilate your opponent completely - and both sides have declared that they have the capacity to do that - obviously a continuance of these tests is unnecessary and endangers the lives and health of many people who are obliged to live in areas in comparatively close proximity to where the tests are conducted. According to the Minister for External Affairs - and this answers the point as to whether the Soviet Union gained any advantage from the recent tests -
The United States does not consider that the Soviet Union has a developed system of missile defence, and does not accept Soviet claims to superiority in nuclear power . . .
Now, the question has arisen as to who broke the moratorium. I say that Russia is to be condemned for having resumed testing these dreadful weapons, but if one comes to the point of who was first to break the moratorium, the tests conducted by France in the Sahara Desert must be considered. It is perfectly true that France was not a signatory to the agreement, but France is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and in my opinion the Western partners of France in Nato were not strong enough in their actions to condemn or prevent France joining the powers who were testing these dreadful weapons.
Let me turn to the Government’s policy. I say that this Government is a war-minded government. It thinks only in terms of war because the Minister said in his speech - and this shows that the Minister for External Affairs does not believe in total disarmament and according to the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) they all agree with the Minister -
Even if these matters were resolved-
The Minister was referring to the difficulties in negotiating an agreement on total disarmament -
We cannot assume that general and complete disarmament would remove the basic problems and disputes between East and West or other sources of international friction. In a disarmed world there would still be economic and ideological pressures, political rivalries and the pressures of population.
So it is quite obvious from the Minister’s own speech that he does not want total disarmament because he does not regard that as a means of resolving the matters in dispute in the world to-day. He thinks - as do all members of the Liberal Party and the Australian Country Party - that the only way to resolve these matters is by recourse to arms. I say that is a policy of despair and contains no hope for Australia or other world communities. According to the Minister -
Both sides agree that even in a disarmed world nations would need to retain armed forces for internal security. In the free democracies these forces might not need to be large. But some countries with more impressive regimes could be expected to demand security forces of considerable size, equipped with weapons which we would regard as more appropriate to military rather than police operations. In a “ disarmed “ world such forces would pose an obvious threat to small neighbouring states.
So it is quite obvious that the Minister does not want total disarmament. He still believes that certain nations, by the use of forces retained for internal security, would still be able to dominate neighbouring countries. Every responsible statesman in the world recognizes that if we have total disarmament and are to outlaw war for all time as the means of resolving international disputes, there must first be a police force to maintain internal order and security in every country. Secondly, there must be an international force powerful enough, and acting under the direction of all nations through the United Nations, to see that no nation is able to impose its will on another by recourse to force of arms.
Finally, let me say that the Treasurer attempted to use this debate to show that there was disunity in the Labour Party and that therefore the people of Australia should not entrust it with government. I have been in this Parliament long enough to remember when an anti-Labour government, of which he was a member, absolutely collapsed in a period of national emergency and the only party in this country which proved itself capable of forming a stable government was the party to which 1 belong, the Australian Labour Party.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) addressed himself exclusively to the Opposition benches. This is not surprising because there can be little doubt that the Opposition is completely divided on this issue. I congratulate the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) upon making a statement which sought to patch over this enormous chasm which divides honorable members opposite. However, let us return to the central issue in this matter. The debate has wandered in various directions, and I want to come back in very simple terms to the real issue before us.
The United States has found it necessary to resume nuclear tests. The simple issue for us to decide is whether we support that action or whether we do not. The matter is as simple as that, but it has to be put in its full context and that is what I propose to do before returning to the central point. What is the full context? Ever since the end of World War II. we have been engaged in a cold war, not of our seeking and not of our making, but a cold war forced upon us by the Soviet Union and its friends. This is cold history. It is perhaps worth recalling that at the end of the war when only the United States possessed the secret of manufacturing nuclear weapons and when Russia did not possess that secret, the United States offered to ban nuclear weapons. Russia refused to accept the offer. Nothing could have been more generous than that offer. Nothing could have better ensured some peaceful ending to World War II. But the Russians, as we know now, were seeking to acquire this secret through spies, and did in fact acquire it.
The Soviets have to-day, and have had at all material times since the war, an enormous preponderance of power in conventional weapons, and therefore their object has been - the whole of their policy can be seen in the light of this - to try by some means or other to strike from the hands of the West that one weapon which the Americans and the West had, namely, the nuclear weapon. The Soviets could not do this by direct means but they have sought to do it by every indirect means conceivable. Above all, they have emphasized the horror of this new weapon. Their allies in all parts of the world - some of them knowing what they were doing, others simply dupes - have tried to force the West to abandon what has been, in fact, its sole shield and buckler in the post-war world. This is the context in which a number of people on the other side of the House, no doubt with the best of intentions, are joining with the fifth column which is seeking to prevent the West from using the one weapon that protects it, namely, its nuclear equality or superiority, without which it would be helpless in the face of the enormous conventional power possessed by the Soviet Union and its friends.
This is the situation. The balance of terror remains but it may be upset if one side gains technical superiority in the production of this weapon. This is what the Soviets have sought to do. It has been the object of their recent tests. If the West does not carry out its tests to keep up, technically, with its opponents, the balance of terror will be upset. This will be exploited by the Soviets, which, since the war, have pursued us unremittingly with their hostility. They have never made the slightest secret about it and they have at all times and in all ways fought against us. These are our enemies - our selfproclaimed enemies. These are the people whom the Opposition is inviting us to trust.
It is not only a matter of history that the Soviets have been perfidious from first to last; it is a matter of philosophy as well. They proclaim that any weapon may be used, including deception and bad faith. What they have done is not something simple. It is a method that they proclaim. And these are the people whom we are invited to trust! If one seeks for some recent evidence of their perfidy - though Heaven knows why there is any need to look for further evidence than we have had for the past fifteen years or so - we will find it in the progress of the talks on nuclear disarmament which have been going on in Geneva for something like two years. After many months and after Russia had undertaken not to be the first to resume nuclear tests, its representatives walked out of the meeting and tests were resumed. It is clear that to prepare these tests would have taken twelve or eighteen months, so the whole of the time that Russia’s representatives were talking about disarmament Russia was preparing for the tests which it later conducted. I do not know that there is any need to seek further evidence of Russia’s perfidy than we have had over the past fifteen years, but it may be found in the very circumstances relating to the matter which we are now discussing.
America’s record’ is a particularly good one. It made that very generous offer when it alone possessed the secret of the nuclear bomb. Before the United States resumed the recent tests, President Kennedy agreed to cancel them in exchange for a treaty with the Soviets to ban such tests provided, of course, that an adequate protection system were agreed upon. That was a pretty fair offer. Although at that stage it was evident that the Russians had the technical lead in this field President Kennedy was prepared to forgo further tests if a treaty were concluded in which there were proper safeguards.
– The Soviets have never had the technical lead at any time.
– I shall be saying a few words about that, too, before I resume my seat. It is nice to know that the Russians have never had the technical lead. I understand that is what the honorable gentleman has said.
Why have the Americans felt themselves compelled to resume testing? What have the Russians discovered which gives them the lead at this time? When tests are being conducted’ it is possible for scientists to determine with some degree of accuracy from instruments and no doubt from intelligence sources what is going on. The Russians demonstrated spectacular improvement in their weight-yield performance on which the superiority of the United States nuclear technology largely rested. This enables them to place more powerful warheads on smaller missiles. The Russians could easily refine the device into a 100- megaton warhead for one of their giant and crude intercontinental ballistic missiles, which are known to the United States intelligence men as the “ Beast “. The second largest Soviet explosion did not test a device, but a full-fledged warhead that yielded some 25 megatons and weighed only 10,000 lb. It could be hung on the “ Beast “ and sent for a full range of 6,000 miles. By comparison, the biggest United States missile yield is less than 10 megatons for Titan II. The Soviet concentration in the 1 megaton and 2 megaton range was probably designed to develop warheads for the plentiful Russian intermediate range missiles that now threaten Western Europe. In their fission triggers for thermo-nuclear weapons, the Russians approached the theoretical maximum efficiency, which is something the United States has not got near. The Russians are already substantially ahead of the United States in the antiintercontinental ballistic missile field and, according to present estimates, will have a workable system before the United States. In the face of such facts, the United States obviously has no choice but to resume atmospheric testing. Do we or do we not support the tests which the Americans are carrying out, having regard to the tests which the Russians carried out in breach of an agreement they had undertaken after talking for months and months about a treaty for nuclear disarmament? Can we trust people whose record of perfidy obviously makes it impossible for any people who have the welfare of their country at heart to place any reliance whatever on their word?
The Opposition has put forward certain proposals which, I think, are designed to patch up the breach in its ranks on the question whether its members should agree to any sort of testing by the Americans. This they hope to do by suggesting certain partial moves towards nuclear disarmament. In particular, the Opposition has proposed that Australia should take the lead in the creation of a nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere. What is the southern hemisphere? The only countries in it are those in South America, besides South Africa and Australia. So apparently we would agree with the South Americans and the South Africans that we will have nothing to do with nuclear testing, and that we will not develop any nuclear devices.
The proposal looks fairly innocuous, but let us have a look at it. Suppose we were to give this great advantage of a nuclearfree zone in the southern hemisphere where it probably could not matter less, except in one respect, about which I shall say something in a moment. If this excellent example were followed in, say, Europe, or some other area where it might be necessary for our friends the Americans to station nuclear devices, it might be extremely damaging to the Western cause and to us. Is it, therefore, an example that we should set? Should we say, “ It is a splendid idea to have a nuclear-free zone “, at a time when perhaps the range of the Russian weapons is greater than that of ours and when, therefore, if our example were followed, we would find ourselves without an answer to the Russians? The question is not quite as simple as it appears to be at first sight.
Again, if we were to take this step, what would our American friends think of it? Would they think of it as a friendly gesture that we should give an example of this kind that might be extremely damaging to the Western cause? After all, I suppose it is of some importance to Australia that we should continue to have the friendship of the Americans and the valuable help from them upon which we can rely.
What does “ Nuclear-free zone “ mean? Does it mean that we should have no part in the testing of devices associated with nuclear weapons such as those at Woomera, for instance? At Woomera they might not actually be nuclear devices that are explosive, but would this nuclear-free zone preclude us from carrying out any research at Woomera in connexion with nuclear devices? If it would, then surely that would weaken the Western world. If, at Woomera, we have the means with which to play our part, are we to abandon this power that we desire to have in order to do something in association with our allies for our own protection? Again, does it mean that we are opposed to testing in any part of the southern hemisphere? It may be that testing will be carried out in places in the northern hemisphere other than where it has been carried out in the past, but is it inconceivable that at some time, for some technical reason, it might be desirable to carry out some tests in the southern hemisphere? Are we to deprive our allies of that opportunity?
It appears to me that the Opposition would have us say: “We are abandoning our friends; we want to be free from all these things; we want to stay neutral in this conflict; we want to be right out “. The Opposition would have us say, “ We do not mind what happens to you, George, we are all right”. Anybody who recalls the circumstances of the last war will remember the futility of that attitude. For instance, the people in the Low Countries thought they could stay out. The Belgians did not want to allow British troops to go through Belgium. But no country can stay out of war. It is not for them to choose. They are involved, whatever happens, and we cannot adopt the attitude that we are staying out of this, that we are in a nuclearfree zone and will have nothing to do with it. Such an attitude is not only cowardly, but impossible into the bargain.
I understood the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) to say that the Russians were justified in carrying out tests because the French had undertaken tests.
– He did not say that at all.
– He definitely doubted whether it was really all the fault of the Russians that these tests were undertaken, and he referred to tests conducted by the French. In any case, the French tests appeared to be in a very rudimentary stage; but, apart from that, the French had the fear that any country might have that if they were attacked with nuclear weapons by the Soviet the United States might not be willing to risk a counter attack on their cities by coming to the aid of the French with American nuclear weapons. That is what lies behind what the French have done.
I could not agree more that the spread of nuclear capabilities, whether to the French or any other country, represents a great danger to the free world, and I would think that if there is any possibility of agreement between the Russians and the West it would be because the Russians realize precisely these things As was rightly said by the honorable member for East Sydney, the Russians have much to lose by the destruction of their industrial strength and the standards that they have built up over the years. No doubt, too, the Soviet people themselves want peace. And those are the only bases on which any agreement can be contemplated. There is nothing whatever in the attitude of Russia that could give us any hope for peace; but the fact that the Russian people probably want peace, the fact that the Russians would have much to lose from a nuclear war, and the fact that they face the same dangers as we do from the spread of nuclear capabilities to other nations are the only real reasons why it is sensible to continue negotiations. But we cannot hope to prevent the spread of nuclear capabilities except by all-round agreement by the Russians as well as ourselves. There are people in the Communist bloc who could carry out tests, people to whom this knowledge could spread, just the same as there are on the Western side, and this spread must be prevented all round. It is of no use whatever our preventing friends of ours from doing these things if the Russians do not prevent their friends from acquiring nuclear capabilities, or from arming their friends in the way that we are invited to prevent the Americans from arming their friends.
This has to be a matter of all-round agreement, and it is worth pursuing these negotiations for the reasons that I have mentioned. But they have not borne fruit. In the meantime, we are confronted with the fact that the Russians have made a great advance in the techniques in relation to these weapons. Unless the United States of America catches up with Russia, we shall be caught at a disadvantage.
– Order! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
– Mr. Speaker, the honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Turner) seems to be labouring under the happy delusion that fall-out, strontium 90 and all the rest of it will refrain from touching the electors of Bradfield. He, as, indeed, the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) and the honorable member for Mcpherson (Mr. Barnes), has completely avoided the point. The discussion in which this House is engaged is not about whether the United States of America ought not to explode nuclear bombs or about whether
Russia ought not to explode nuclear bombs. This discussion concerns the question: What can this country, led by this Government, do to stop the continuance of this nonsense? Mr. Turner. - You can do nothing.
– The honorable member may be able to do nothing, but we on this side of the House speak in concert with the millions of people in the world who demand that something be done.
The honorable member for Bradfield, again, seemed to labour under the happy delusion that we ought to have complete and absolute faith in the United States, but that France was reasonable in not having faith in the United States and in proceeding on this assumption that the Americans would not come to her aid. This is the kind of illogical statement which we find comes through all the speeches of honorable members opposite on this question. The honorable member for Bradfield, like other members opposite, in his questions about the techniques of nuclear weapons and the need for the United States to take up testing anew, ignored some of the facts of the case. All the evidence points to the fact that the United States of America is still miles ahead of Russia in the actual construction of nuclear bombs. Honorable gentlemen opposite may not always agree with the politics of the journal, “ New Statesman and Nation “, but I think they will agree that it invariably has the facts right. That journal recently reported that, in a carefully worded statement, the Director of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency had implicitly conceded that the recent Soviet series still left the United States ahead. The intention of the projected United States tests, he said, would be to restore the original margin of America’s lead.
– The honorable member for Bradfield talked about missiles.
– The honorable member for Bradfield, of course, was talking about missiles, but these are not what the Americans are testing at present. They are testing nuclear bombs. It is this lack of logic, or this failure by Government supporters to apply themselves to the problem which humanity faces, which puts the whole of Australia and the whole of the world in peril. This Government fails to face up to its manifest duty to all humanity. That is why we are concerned about what it is doing and why the people of Australia are concerned. Honorable members opposite, in their isolation, think that the people of Australia feel as they do in this matter.
On the question of tests and the balance of terror, and the question of who has tested > the most, the arithmetic of the situation is that the United States, up to the present series of tests, had conducted 171, plus the two wartime explosions. There have been eleven tests in the current series, which makes a total of, say, 184 for the United States. Britain has conducted some 22 tests. The Russians have conducted about 105 - 55 up to last year, and 50 in last year’s series. The French have exploded some six or seven nuclear weapons. So, on the balance of terror and the balance of testing, there is no need for us to feel that we are in any great danger and that the balance of power and the balance of terror lie with the other side.
The belief that the balance of those things does lie with the other side, of course, is typical of the lack of logic in the views of Government supporters. They are trying to put Australia in a position in which it will give absolute and implicit support to United States foreign policy. They are attempting to make this a debate between Russia and the United States on foreign policies. That is a nonsensical attitude to take, Mr. Speaker. This is not a debate between Russia and the United States. It is a debate in which we have to try to resolve between ourselves, as the representatives of the people of Australia, the role that Australia ought to play. We have to try to show some leadership to the rest of the world and to take an influential place among the nations.
There are only two roles that Australia can play. Its role can be one of influence or one of sacrifice. If we stand mute before the decisions of these nations which have decided to continue testing nuclear weapons, we shall become victims of a great human sacrifice. But if we accept the great tradition of history of which the honorable member for McPherson attempted to tell us something this evening, we shall play our part among the nations of the world. It has not always been the big battalions which have led or influenced the nations. The honorable member for McPherson was tender with his Greek history, and he quoted Aristotle and all the rest. The Greeks were a tiny group of people on a tiny area of the earth’s surface. But, down 2,000 years, their architecture and philosophy have endured to the present day. The very language which we speak in this House has been influenced by the Greeks, and the philosophy of the Greeks of which the honorable member for McPherson spoke is part of our background. The same may be said of the British people themselves and of their tiny dot of an off-shore island near the coast of Europe. Some 300 years ago, only about 4,000,000 people spoke the English language. Yet the influence, the philosophy, the politics and the whole system of government and the way of life of the British people have permeated this planet.
Therefore we say that the lessons of history show that when people stand in the councils of the nations, it will not be the weight of battleships which will carry the day; the persuasive influence of a people’s attitude of mind and the trust and faith that are put in that people’s integrity will carry the day. We believe that this Government, since 9th December, 1949, has done everything possible in the councils of the world to prejudice Australia’s integrity in the eyes of the people of the world. We call on the Government to go forth and do something sensible. I believe that the policy of mute and uncritical acceptance of the lead of others has been disastrous. With almost sickening sycophancy, this Government has toed the American line. I am not attacking the United States of America as a nation. But the United States Government is the same as all the rest of the present governments and the governments of history, as indeed is the Russian Government. I believe that in this matter both the United States and the Russian Governments are playing a bad role and have been false to the trust which the world ought to be able to place in them. Somehow, we ought to bring influence to bear in this matter.
One of the points on which honorable members opposite have attempted to delude us is that of unilateral disarmament, whatever that may mean. In other words, they assert that we say that Australia ought to stand defenceless before all the world and say: “ We have done it. You go now and do likewise.” In the matter of nuclear weapons, Mr. Speaker, that is utter rubbish. The facts of life, of course, are that only four of the 100 nations which are members of the United Nations have nuclear weapons. A total of 96 of the members of that organization have not nuclear weapons. Our first objective ought to be to get those 96 nations together in co-operation to exercise whatever influence they may have on the other four nations, and especially on the two principal ones, to prevent them from coming to blows.
The great mass of humanity is not represented by Russia or the United States. It is represented by all the other countries. Of the world’s total population of about 3,000,000,000 people, only some 400,000,000 live in Russia and the United States. So 2,600,000,000 people are represented by the other nations. It is with those other numerous nations, I believe, that our influence should lie. I believe that it was tragic, disastrous and an abdication of our duty to the nations of the world when we responded to U Thant, the Acting SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations, in the terms which I find enshrined in “ Hansard “. I wish the people of Australia could see set out in “ Hansard “ the terms of the reply by the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) to the communication which he received from U Thant. The Minister gave the impression, as, indeed, other honorable members on the Government side have done, that the resolution of the United Nations asked us to accept uncritically some already determined position. But that, of course, is not the case. The letter which the Acting SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations sent, as reported at page 1380 of “Hansard” of 5 th April last, stated - 1 also have the honour to draw your attention to the fourth preambular paragraph and the first operative paragraph, which request the SecretaryGeneral to make an inquiry: “… as to the conditions under which countries not possessing nuclear weapons might be willing to enter into specific undertakings . . .”
In fact what he asked this Government to say was, “ Now please give earnest consideration to this question and say under what terms you think we should come to some kind of agreement”. What did the Minister for External Affairs reply? In a long and wordy description of what is the long cold war, he poured a great douche of cold water upon the aspirations of all humanity as expressed in the United Nations resolution. I believe he betrayed all of us. By replying in that way, he betrayed his duty to this country, for Australia should be one of the leading members of the United Nations. I suggest to Government supporters that they read “Hansard” of 5th April from page 1381. They will see there paragraph after paragraph of non-specifics, generalities and cliches, in which the Minister for External Affairs made it clear to U Thant that Australia, so far as the Government is concerned, does not think there is any hope of doing anything. In fact he made it look as though the Government could not care less.
What sort of an attitude is that? All that we ask is that the Government bring to the councils of the world not a decision from which we are not prepared to move, but an attitude of mind from which we can negotiate. This, of course, is one of the matters about which everybody is talking. We should go forth and do something. I believe the general public outside believes that nuclear tests ought to be abandoned. You do not have to be a terribly dangerous character to believe that they ought to be abandoned. This is exactly what Mr. Kennedy himself said. He advocated an immediate ban on nuclear tests signed by all nations. Last year, as the Leader of the Opposition has pointed out, 1 took this matter to the Russian Embassy and the American Embassy and brought it to the notice of the Prime Minister himself. There was surprising unanimity of view on nuclear tests. These are the words of the Prime Minister -
You will be aware that the Government views with serious concern the action of the Soviet Union in breaking the moratorium on nuclear tests.
And this is the reply from the American Ambassador, the Hon. William J. Sebald -
I am sure that responsible members of society all over the world deplore the recent action taken by the Government of the U.S. S R. to resume nuclear testing in the atmosphere.
His Excellency the Ambassador for the
Soviet Union said -
This decision has been taken with an aching heart.
Well, they all have aching hearts; they are all sorry about it. What we on this side of the House want is for this Government to adopt a more positive attitude on world affairs and to try to use its influence to have something done. For heaven’s sake do not say that it is impossible to exercise that sort of influence. Australia in days past has done so.
– What about in the meantime?
– In reply to the honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull), may I say that we do not claim that the task is not difficult. We admit that it is difficult; but it is the hopeless defeatism of the Government that offends me and, I think, all Australians. I speak for hundreds upon hundreds of my constituents, who are just simple folk living down the street. I have presented petitions from them in this House asking the Government to take positive action to secure full-scale disarmament in co-operation with the other nations of the world. That is the hope of the ordinary people in the cities of Australia. I think we are right in demanding that this Government should do something. So I believe that when the Government talks about multilateral disarmament it is avoiding the issue. That is not the issue at all. Australia has no nuclear weapons, and the Government admits in its treatise that it has no proposal at the moment to use them. We do not contend that we should step forth and say, “ We renounce this for ever “. We say that in the present situation we would not use nuclear weapons and that we do not want other people to use them. The same applies, of course, to our relations with other nations. Indonesia, India and Malaya have no nuclear weapons; neither have the South American nations. All we ask is that they shall say together, “ Unless the situation takes a turn for the worse, we shall not use them and we shall undertake not to co-operate with anybody else who uses them “. We have already agreed on this as regards the Antarctic area. All we ask is that the agreement be gradually extended all over the planet. That is all we of the Opposition have to say about this, and that is what the Government should have written in reply to U Thant. The Government should have said, “ We believe it is possible for nations to come together in this way. We deplore the testing that has been held.” As honorable members have pointed out here to-night, France is in a particularly guilty position in this matter. The leaders of all the leading nations, including the British Prime Minister, Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Khrushchev, have said that they do not want anybody else to have nuclear weapons. However, the honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Turner), the Treasurer and the Prime Minister seem to be on the verge of saying, “ We are prepared to establish nuclear bases on Australian soil “. I believe that the Australian people would reject that out of hand for, as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition pointed out, the moment we accept these weapons on Australian soil, the moment we take action to make Australia a nuclear base, we provoke our neighbours to do likewise. We shall have broken the barrier that prevents the smaller nations of the world from obtaining these dreadful weapons. Surely these matters are simple and clear-cut. The honorable member for McPherson (Mr. Barnes) may go off where he will and steep himself in his philosophy, but it will not do him any good when he is clouded in strontium 90 and all his horses have turned to ashes.
This is what we must do; we must exercise influence on the nations of the world, and we must do it with a sense of responsibility to the nation and to the world itself. This does not appear to me to be a tremendously difficulty undertaking. It appears to me the kind of instruction that the Minister for External Affairs would issue to his officers at the United Nations. If the Americans would stop hating the Russians and the Russians would stop hating Americans, then we might start to get somewhere. This is the challenge that faces the world, but honorable members opposite do not seem to be able to turn their attention to these great problems. The problems of the world are not just space travel. The problems of the world are the 2,000,000,000 hungry, impoverished, under-privileged people, lt is one of the mysteries of presentday life that while the Americans and the Russians can plant rockets on the moon they cannot send bread and butter across their frontiers to the hundreds of millions of starving people living not many thousands of miles away.
This is the challenge that faces us, but this Government has a miserable, black record at the United Nations in every field. We have consistently associated ourselves with the reactionary forces of the world. We have been the last friend of Portugal. We were the last friend of South Africa. This is one of the great moral issues of the day, but we stand silent on it. This is a challenge that we must face. I hope that Government supporters will, before they come back from the recess, will give second thoughts to the role that their leaders, the Minister for External Affairs and the Prime Minister, have played. I would disregard altogether the miserable attitude which to-night the Treasurer brought to an important issue such as this. I hope, too, that Government supporters will exercise whatever influence they have for a more positive, constructive and hopeful attitude to be brought to the world’s councils from that side of the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Turnbull) adjourned.
The following bills were returned from the Senate without amendment: -
Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assessment Bill 1962.
Sales Tax Assessment Bill (No. 1) 1962. Pay-roll Tax Assessment Bill 1962. Wool Tax Assessment Bill (No. 2) 1962. Tobacco Charges Assessment Bill 1962. Stevedoring Industry Charge Assessment Bill 1962.
Coal Loading Works Agreement (Queensland) Bill 1962.
Message received from the Senate intimating that it had agreed to the amendments made by the House of Representatives in this bill.
Motion (by Mr. Opperman) proposed - That the House do now adjourn.
.- Mr. Speaker-
Motion by (Mr. Opperman) put -
That the question be now put.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Sir John McLeay.)
Majority . . . . 3
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 11.5 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
Land Settlement of Ex-servicemen. Mr. McNeill asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -
Has he studied the effect of the judgment of the High Court in the case known as Gilbert’s Case?
What effect will the judgment have on the option to freehold of war service land settlers who have not yet received final valuations?
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
y asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
s asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
Forces Retirement Benefits Act 1948-1959 are onehalf or five-eighths of the male rate of pension, according to the basis upon which contributions were paid. Pensions in respect of children under sixteen years of age are at the rate of £52 per annum if there is a surviving widow and £156 per annum if both parents are deceased, (c) The Judges’ Pensions Act 1948-1961 provides for widows’ pensions equal to one-half of the male rate of pension plus allowances of £1 per week in respect of children under sixteen years.
a asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
What percentage of Australia’s gross national product was spent on defence in Australia during each year from and including 1950?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
Net expenditure on goods and services for defence in each of the years 1949-50 to 1960-61, expressed as a percentage of gross national product, has been as follows: -
son asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
– The Minister for National Development has supplied the following information: -
The use of the term “leases” in the question needs to be clarified. In petroleum legislation throughout the Commonwealth three types of tenements are generally recognized, two of which cover the exploration phase of operations, and the third, the lease, covers the exploitation or developmental phase. Nowhere in Australia has the search for oil reached the third or lease stage, and existing tenements only refer to the exploration phase.
The name of each company holding a petroleum tenement in Australia is given in the schedule accompanying the petroleum tenement map prepared by the Bureau of Mineral Resources from information supplied by States and Territories. This map is available on the table of the Library.
The area of each petroleum tenement is given in the schedule referred to in the answer to the first question. The formal documents covering the conditions of tenure of individual tenements in each State and Territory are confidential and are held by the respective Departments of Mines and are not available. However, the general conditions of tenure covering all types of petroleum tenements throughout the Commonwealth are presented in a tabulation prepared by the Bureau of Mineral Resources and available on the table of the Library.
n asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
d asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
t asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
Sydney-Port Moresby (1,719 miles) and Sydney-Samarai (1,453 miles) - 250s. per ton.
Sydney-Rabaul (1,852 miles), Sydney-Madang (2,074 miles) and Sydney-Lae (1,853 miles) - 260s. per ton.
Sydney-New Zealand (1,260 miles)- 206s. lOd. per ton.
Sydney-South Africa (5,836 miles)- 262s. p ton.
Sydney-India (6,021 miles)- 272s. 8d. per ton. Sydney-Singapore (4,306 miles) - 312s. 2d. per ton.
Sydney-Hong Kong (4,123 miles) and SydneyJapan (4,321 miles)- 328s. Hd. per ton.
Sydney-Canada (6,844 miles)- 388s. lid. per ton.
Sydney-United Kingdom (11,542 miles) and Sydney-Europe (11,848 miles)- 268s. 8d. per ton.
t- On 10th April, the honorable member for Brisbane (Mr. Cross) asked me a question without notice on the daily time of commencement of duty of officers employed in banks controlled by the Commonwealth Banking Corporation in Queensland. I pointed out at the time that this was an administrative matter within the competence of the Commonwealth Banking Corporation Board, but nevertheless I undertook to see what information I could obtain for him.
The managing director of the Commonwealth Banking Corporation has now supplied the following information on this matter: -
In trading conditions for banks which are now in force in the majority of the mainland States, business which was previously conducted over five and one-half days is concentrated into five days - on one day of which the banks remain open to the public until 5 p.m.
The effect of these changed conditions on working arrangements was closely examined by the corporation and it was clear that generally later finishing times for the staff would result.
Unlike other organizations in which staffs observe a fixed finishing time, the daily ceasing times of bank employees vary considerably according to business pressures. As a matter of good staff organization, the corporation has encouraged the policy of staff leaving the office as early as practicable each day, and in order that a reasonable finishing time might continue to be observed in the shorter number of working days per week, the hours of duty of the staff have been re-arranged so that work now commences at 8.45 a.m. daily in lieu of 9 a.m. This arrangement, which has been introduced in all States in which five-day banking applies, is a change which the corporation believes operates in the best interests of all concerned.
For some time, the corporation has assessed the staffing organization in each branch and in each department on a basis which permits work completion within a working week approximating 38 hours on the average. The introduction of the 8.45 a.m. commencement time has not altered this arrangement and any suggestion that members of the corporation staff are now required to work an extra hour and a quarter each week is incorrect.
In the legislation which has been passed in the various States and recently in the Australian Capital Territory to permit banks to close on Saturdays, there was no intention, expressed or implied, that employees in the banking industry would automatically achieve a shorter working week.
d asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
t asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
t asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows: -
Inquiries have been made both in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea and in Australia but it has not been possible to obtain the information.
n asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
s asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
Commonwealth Offices Building, cnr. Spring and Latrobe streets, Melbourne. “ Chancery House “ Building, 485 Bourkestreet, Melbourne. 373 Elizabeth-street, Melbourne.
Refuelling of Portuguese Warship at Darwin.
t asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 15 May 1962, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1962/19620515_reps_24_hor35/>.