24th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Sir John McLeay) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Mr. NELSON presented a petition from certain members of the Legislative Council for the Northern Territory praying that the House of Representatives, in Parliament assembled, should debate and redress the grievances set out in the Remonstrance made by the Legislative Council for the Northern Territory on 23rd August, 1962.
Petition received and read.
– I ask the Prime Minister: Is it a fact that a number of leading educationists and other responsible community leaders have again referred to -the acute shortage of properly trained teachers and of teaching facilities within the primary, secondary and technical educational institutions of the States? Has the position deteriorated to such an extent that British educational authorities have recently withdrawn automatic professional recognition of Australian-trained teachers? Will the Prime Minister reconsider his attitude to the making of special grants to State educational authorities as a matter of urgency and to the appointment of a special committee to inquire into the needs of primary, secondary and technical education in Australia?
– I have no information on the second point mentioned by the honorable member, in respect of which he suggests that some action has been taken in Great Britain; I have not been advised of that. But, of course, I am very well aware of the various representations that are made on these matters, and in this House I have repeatedly made my answer to them. It seems a very ill thing to cast me in the role of a man who is hostile to education, when I am not. We have done a great deal about education. I have nothing to add to what I have said previously.
– I refer the Treasurer to a statement made recently by the Associated Banks, to the effect that they intend to increase their charges to clients holding cheque accounts. Is the Treasurer in a position now to make a statement on this question? If so, will he say whether the proposed charges will apply also to the Commonwealth Trading Bank?
– I was asked some questions on this matter yesterday and I undertook to get such information about it as I could. It appears that no formal or official announcement has been made by the trading banks on the matter, but I understand that a statement will be made shortly. Discussions have been taking place among the trading banks for some time about the introduction of a new system of bank charges, based on the principle of charging according to the services rendered, in substitution for the inland exchange system. Under the Banking Act of 1959, the only charges made by banks that are subject to the direct jurisdiction of the Reserve Bank are rates of interest and discounts. The view of the Reserve Bank has been that, within broad limits, the determination of specific bank charges, other than in the field of interest rates, is a matter for the banks themselves.
For a number of years the Reserve Bank has accepted in principle that it would be desirable for the inland exchange system to be replaced by some other system of charges which causes less inconvenience to the public and is more closely related to the actual costs of providing bank services. The trading banks have been aware of this point of view, but the initiative of making a change rests entirely with the trading banks. From the point of view of this Government the determination of bank charges would appear to be essentially a matter of banking administration, in which questions of Government policy do not arise.
– 1 wish to ask the PostmasterGeneral a question. I would like to preface the question by saying that some two years ago I asked the Minister a question about the inadequate accommodation available at the Glebe Post Office. Can the Minister say whether his department has now reached agreement with the Church of England to purchase three houses and also a laneway between the post office and those houses? If such is the case, will he give special consideration to the provision of suitable facilities for pensioners on payment days? At the present time they are required to go round the corner into the next street to collect their pensions, and have to climb ten stone steps to reach an out-of-the-way hall. Finally, will the Minister have a suitable clock placed on the outside of the building when renovation takes place?
– I know that certain discussions have been taking place for a considerable time about the matter referred to by the honorable member for West Sydney. I do not have in my mind at the moment the details of the matter he has raised, but I will certainly see what information I can obtain for him and will supply it to him as soon as possible.
– Has the Minister for Supply considered the advisability of having safety belts fitted to Commonwealth cars under the control of the Department of Supply?
– I think the honorable member is aware that there is still a good deal of misunderstanding in the public mind as to the effectiveness or otherwise of safety belts. There are several types of safety belts available. Quite recently my department set up a committee to look into the whole question. In the upshot, the committee recommended that the use of safety belts in Commonwealth cars should not be made mandatory for the drivers, and that we should have some experience before accepting or rejecting the use of the belts. The committee’s recommendation, which has been accepted, is that about 100 of the department’s cars be fitted with safety belts. After observing the use of belts in those cars the department will be able to formulate a policy in respect of the rest of its fleet.
– Is the Minister for Labour and National Service aware that a takeover initiated by the Lincoln Mills (Australia) Limited has resulted in the closing down of the Alexandria Spinning Mills in Sydney? Is the honorable gentleman aware that as a result 270 full-time employees and 180 part-time employees have lost their jobs? Will he take steps to find suitable work for those people?
– As the honorable member and, I think, all other honorable members are aware, the Commonwealth Employment Service has the responsibility of doing all it can to place people quickly in employment. I am not aware of the matters referred to by the honorable gentleman, but I shall refer them to the Sydney office of the Commonwealth Employment Service. I remind the House that the Commonwealth Employment Service is now registering job vacancies at the rate of 9,100 a week. That is a near-record figure for the month of July. At the same time, the service is placing about 6,900 people a week in jobs. That figure also constitutes a record. So, with the economy moving ahead steadily, as it is now, if the honorable gentleman’s statements are correct, we would hope to place these people in employment fairly quickly.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for National Development. I preface it by saying how proud I am that Australia’s first flow oil has been discovered in my electorate of Maranoa. That discovery confirms my long-held belief that oil exists in Queensland. In view of the latest flow at Moonie No. 6 well at the week-end, confirming that oil exists in commercial quantities on the Moonie field, I ask whether the Department of National Development intends to speed up oil exploration in the Maranoa area?
– I shall refer the honorable member’s question to the Minister for National Development and see that a reply is furnished. All I can say is that a record amount for oil search is provided in this year’s Budget.
– I ask the Minister for Trade a question. Has the right honorable gentleman seen a report that the TransTasman Shipping Conference has increased freights from Australia to New Zealand by 5s. a ton and from New Zealand to Australia by 2s. 6d. a ton? Why is the increase in the rate applying to freight from Australia to New Zealand twice as much as the increase applying to freight from New Zealand to Australia? The recent 50 per cent, reduction in freight rates from Japan to New Zealand gave the Japanese steel industry an advantage over the Australian industry. Are Australian exports further to be priced out of world markets by this new increase in freights? Has the Government any plan to counter the exorbitant freight charges on Australian exports?
– Dealing with the latter part of the honorable member’s question, on several occasions in the House I have stated what the position is. As to the other parts of the honorable member’s question, I shall ascertain the facts and let the honorable member have my comments.
– I ask the Treasurer a question relating to the report of the Taxation Committee of Inquiry. My attention has been directed to the genuine handicap suffered by a private company anxious to develop an export market in South-East Asia. The handicap takes the form of the present restrictive provisions of the law relating to retention allowances. No doubt this handicap is suffered by other companies. Since this matter and other matters covered by the committee’s report, which was tabled twelve months ago, are important and urgent, will the right honorable gentleman say when he hopes to present legislation based on the report?
– Earlier in this session I made some comment on the situation as we find it at present. We have in front of us the task of preparing legislation, and indeed, before that, of coming to decisions in Cabinet on some very complex matters which are still being examined in the office of the Commissioner of Taxation and in the Department of the Treasury. The best I can hope for on present indications is that the legislation will be ready for the session of next autumn. The honorable gentleman has referred particularly to the retention allowances for private companies. The Government has in fairly recent times done something to improve the position of the private companies. What we must not lose sight of is the relationship between private company earnings and those taxation rates which would have to be paid by private individuals and partnerships. This is only one phase of the general question. I have not been able to bring the date further forward, but it is a matter of human limitations rather than any lack of desire to get on with the job.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry. Does the Division of Agricultural Economics publish periodicals on the situation in practically every major primary industry, such as wool, other fibres, wheat, coarse grains, beef, dairying and eggs? Why does it not publish periodicals on the situation in the canned and dried fruits industries, which will be the worst affected industries if Britain joins the Common Market and has to cancel the present preference?
- Mr. Speaker, the division publishes periodicals surveying the situation of certain industries. With regard to the canned and dried fruits industries which the honorable member mentions, I point out that I have already tabled the annual reports of the relevant authorities which give full particulars. Therefore, the details of those industries are available to honorable members.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Will he allow me, on behalf of the Municipality of Manly, to issue to him a most cordial invitation to be present at 10 o’clock next Saturday when the municipality will be tendering a civic welcome to Miss Tania Verstak on her return to Australia and her home town? If by any chance he is unable to be present, will he arrange for somebody to be present as his representative on this most significant and happy occasion?
– Mr. Speaker, I will be in Canberra on Saturday getting ready for my work overseas, and therefore I cannot be in some other place. I will be very glad to look into the other suggestions made by the honorable member.
– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry a question supplementary to that asked by the honorable member for Darling. I hope the Minister will pardon me for suggesting that he misunderstood the honorable member’s question. The Minister referred to the annual statutory reports which have to be made to the Parliament by the various export marketing boards, whereas the honorable member asked him a question concerning periodicals such as “ The Wool Situation “ and “ The Wheat Situation “ and others which are produced by the Division of Agricultural Economics within his department. I now ask him: Why is it that the division has not produced as yet periodicals entitled “The Canned Fruits Situation” or “The Dried Fruits Situation “, when these are just the industries which are most vulnerable in the negotiations proceeding between Britain and the Common Market countries?
– I still think that my answer was sufficient for the occasion. The periodicals are published after surveys have been made by the division itself. No surveys have been made of the industries referred to, and no requests for surveys have been made to the department. The number of surveys that can be undertaken is limited by the personnel available and the time in which the surveys can be made. Surveys of the industries for which periodicals have been issued have been continued over a number of years, and information is available to the division when further surveys are made. The results of these surveys are published. I do not know of any request being made by the dried fruits industry for a survey of this type. However, I will see whether I can obtain any further information for the honorable member.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Social Services. A certain church organization has established a number of homes for the aged under the appropriate Commonwealth act. They are within a reasonable distance of each other, but only one of the homes has a sick bay for the medical and nursing care of inmates. Therefore, I ask: Can inmates of the homes without sick bays be transferred to the home with a sick bay for attention? If not, what can be done to overcome what appears to be an anomaly?
– Under the Aged Persons Homes Act, it is possible for an approved organization to qualify for a grant for a building which provides a sick bay for the accommodation of permanent residents of pensionable age who may need medical and nursing care from time to time. It is obvious that a sick bay of this kind could not provide accommodation for people outside the home for the aged and, to that degree, it would be exclusive to the permanent residents of the home. So long as the general conditions are observed, the Department of Social Services never interferes with the internal administration of a home. In the particular case mentioned by the honorable member, the situation could be met by extending premises to provide for sick bays where they are required. If he cares to give me detailed information, I will be happy to advise him what to do.
– I ask the Prime Minister: Did he hear the King of Thailand, in a noble utterance, expound the splendid concept to which expression has been given in his country, where a gong stands and whoever strikes it will have his claim for justice heard? Will the right honorable gentleman have such a gong installed outside his office in Parliament House? Since the Government seems deaf to pleas for the use of other methods, will he adopt this method so that at least the mothers of Australia, who alone among all sections of the community have had no adjustment of their social service payments, in the way of child endowment, during twelve inflationary years, will have their claim for justice at last heard and heeded? I assure him that, if they strike the gong and he hears it, it will be kept sounding for many days.
– This proposal seems to be completely inconsistent with my doing any work in my office. Therefore, I reject it.
– My question is directed to the Treasurer. I remind him that when requests for the removal of sales tax are made from time to time, he usually asks to be told of some other source of revenue that could be tapped to reimburse the Treasury. May I ask that the sales tax be removed from all food products and be replaced by a tax that was suggested this week - that is, a sales tax on advertising and luxury hotel accommodation and meals. This would transfer a burden from many who cannot afford to pay sales tax to people who would charge it to their expense accounts anyway.
– The honorable gentleman has made some suggestions relating to matters of policy. 1 have no doubt these will be given suitable consideration when the Government next reviews the whole taxation field. We are always interested to have constructive suggestions, although we realize that they do not all evoke the same reception from people who have different interests to serve. I take it that what the honorable member has put to us regarding an alternative source of revenue might not be received with the same enthusiasm by those who would be affected, but I assure him that the matter will be kept under review.
– Is the Treasurer aware that although recent amending legislation increased loans to applicants for war service homes from £2,750 to £3,500 there is no corresponding increase in the total appropriation for war service homes expenditure in the current Budget? Is the right honorable gentleman aware also that there is an existing lag of twenty months for applicants for war service homes, and that the Government’s failure to increase the total appro priation of £35,000,000- it has stood at that figure for five years - means that 2,750 fewer war service homes will be erected in this financial year? How does the Government expect to stimulate the economy and reduce unemployment when it has made provision for the construction of fewer homes?
– The honorable gentleman, who began his question by dealing with a particular matter, enlarged it to embrace the whole area of housing policy. When one turns to that field, it is apparent that in this Budget, the Government has made very substantial provision which should assist the housing programme greatly in the current financial year. A total of more than £90,000,000 flows from this Budget towards housing needs. In addition, as I have said earlier in this place, we have encouraged the savings banks to step up their lending for housing purposes. We have also asked the trading banks to give preference to housing in their lending policy. In the aggregate, therefore, very considerable sums will be made available.
From what I can gather from official publications, Australia has just about the highest availability of rooms per head of population to be found in any country of the world. It is true that there are people who are still wanting a home but cannot get one; but by and large, we have a record that I believe is unsurpassed in any other country. Certainly, no one can accuse this Government of any lack of interest in that direction. As to war service homes, it is true that we have kept expenditure at £35,000,000 for some years, but this is a very high figure, far in excess of anything which honorable gentlemen opposite thought to be necessary when they had the opportunity during their own period of office to deal with a much more pressing problem of providing war service homes. The Government will continue to watch the housing position closely and will relate its policies to what it believes to be an adequate housing programme for the community as a whole.
– Has the Minister for External Affairs seen recent reports that the United States of America and the United
Kingdom have put forward new proposals for ending nuclear tests? Has the Soviet Union rejected these proposals? Has the Minister any other information on this matter that he can give to the House?
– The House will remember that a few days ago I replied to a question by the honorable member in relation to nuclear testing. It is a fact that the Western powers at Geneva tabled two proposed test ban treaties. One was for a comprehensive test ban and included, of course, provisions for on-site inspections with respect to underground tests. The other was for a ban on atmospheric and outer space tests. This did not call for inspections, because of the ability to detect these explosions without on-site inspections. The Soviet Union has rejected both treaties. Indeed, they were rejected out of hand. One hopes that the Soviet authorities will have second thoughts, because I am sure that all of us are most anxious that, at the very least, there will be a treaty in relation to the banning of atmospheric tests.
The House might well take note of the positive action which the Western powers have been taking and of their constant and patient efforts to secure Russian agreement to a test ban. I think a lot of people in this country who are very prone to direct their advocacy of a test ban at the West, might well take note of the Russian attitude and realize whose bomb they have in mind when they talk about bans.
– I direct my question to the Treasurer. He will be well aware that during the last three years the Commonwealth Government has provided amounts totalling £68,000 for survey work and preliminary investigations in connexion with the standardization of the gauge of the railway between Port Pirie and Broken Hill. Why has the Government not included any amount in this year’s Budget for a continuance of this survey work?
– I am not sure that 1 understand the honorable gentleman’s question correctly. He said that we had made provision earlier for a survey of the Port Pirie to Broken Hill railway and he asked why this Budget contained no provision for a continuance of that work. In the absence of notice, I can only assume that the survey work has been completed. However, I shall explore the position to see whether I can give the honorable gentleman any further details of the matter.
– My question is addressed to the Attorney-General. Have the tests of the constitutional validity of certain parts of the Marriage Act been disposed of? If so, can the AttorneyGeneral indicate when the act is likely to be proclaimed and to come into effect?
– The House will know that the Marriage Act contained a part which dealt with the legitimation of children. The Victorian Government challenged the constitutional validity of this part in the High Court of Australia and, after lengthy proceedings, the High Court decided fairly recently that all the substantial provisions of the act relating to legitimation are valid. One section, the validity of which was not fully debated, has not been determined finally to be valid, but it is of no moment to the substance of the act. The actual work of preparing the act for proclamation has been proceeding steadily in the interim. A large number of administrative arrangements have to be made with the States. As yet these are not complete. I cannot say with certainty that they will be completed by the end of this year but I have real hope that I shall be able to proclaim the act on 1st January of next year, although intervening events may prevent me from doing so.
– My question which is addressed to the Minister for Trade, relates to a statement he made two months ago in which he called for an international conference to discuss the European Common Market and its effects on world trade. What action has he taken to convene such a conference? What success has he achieved to date?
– This is a matter on which I have spoken in this House and, publicly, in other places. Spokesmen for
Australia in negotiations overseas have encouraged the same proposal. In recent months there has been a gathering world opinion in favour of world conferences on international commodities. Arising from the Common Market negotiations, in the first place, the Gatt countries convened a conference on cereals which commenced last February and which has been deferred. It is intended that it should be succeeded by a conference on other basic commodities. In the meantime, there have been proposals by various international groups. The instrumentality of the United Nations known as “ Ecosoe “ has proposed an international conference. A gathering of nations at Cairo has proposed an international conference; and, 1 think, one other group also has proposed such a conference. The honorable member can rest assured that this suggestion, which originated in Australia, is now well accepted as a necessity throughout the world.
– I wish to ask the Treasurer a question which is supplementary to that asked by the honorable member for Banks. Has there been sufficient time to inquire into the reasons why building costs have risen excessively compared with the index figures for other costs? I understand that some building costs have increased by as much as 600 per cent. If an inquiry has been made into this matter, has it been ascertained whether higher building costs are due to rising freight costs, to the scarcity of materials or to the fixing of a darg on the laying of bricks, for instance, at an extremely low figure? What are the factors which have increased building costs out of proportion to the inflationary tendencies to which the honorable member for Banks referred?
-I have no doubt that many factors contribute to the situation described by the honorable member for New England. I recall making a speech some time ago to a building industry congress in which I sought to analyse the situation in order to produce the kind of information which the honorable gentleman now requests. I shall see whether I can obtain an up-to-date statement which will provide him with at least some of the information that he seeks.
– I ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether a petition in the form of a remonstrance has been presented to you by the Clerk of the Legislative Council of the Northern Territory. If you have received such a petition will you state whether you intend to table it in the Parliament for the information of honorable members?
– The answer to the first part of the honorable member’s question is, “ Yes “. As to the latter part of the question, I ask the honorable member to contain himself for a little while.
– I wish to ask the Minister for Trade a question relating to the one asked earlier by the honorable member for Kingston in relation to projected international trade agreements. What is the compass of the proposal put forward by the United Nations organization, to which the Minister referred, and by the countries which met in Egypt? What countries have been proposed as potential parties to such an agreement?
– There have been several proposals which differ considerably from one another. In some cases, the suggestion has been that there should be a world conference which, I take it, would be designed to include all countries. In some instances, the proposition has included the Communist countries. It has been proposed that the countries should confer on the desirability of having a world agreement on bulk commodities covering a whole variety of factors including prices, production and surpluses. That is the broadest view of the proposal. On the narrowest view, the proposal which originated, I think, from the Common Market discussions, is that the countries which are principally concerned in the world trade in wheat, to take an example, meet and confer. Those are the principal importing countries throughout the world and the principal exporting countries of the free world. As this outline explains, there is a wide variety of approaches.
I think the significant thing is that there is now apparent world-wide agreement on the desirability of international meetings to discuss these matters in an effort to stabilize international trade in the bulk commodities.
– I address a question to the Minister for Immigration. Is the honorable gentleman in a position to advise the House on the value of State government missions, such as the Western Australian mission at present abroad, seeking overseas skilled migrant tradesmen for specific industries? Also, is it considered that private companies can helpfully supplement the work of our migration officers by their own advertising for tradesmen in the press of European countries?
– Obviously, the Government welcomes very warmly the cooperation both of State governments and private enterprise by the means of which my honorable friend from Swan has just spoken. I have some knowledge of the mission sent abroad by the Western Australian Government and I have tried to help it in ways within my power. I can assure the honorable member that the officers of the Department of Immigration at our missions throughout the world will co-operate to the fullest extent of their powers. I think that all honorable gentlemen may be pleased to know of the very energetic and enthusiastic attitude taken by the Western Australian Government in recent months towards this whole problem of immigration. As honorable members may realize, the demand for migrants in Western Australia is so great as to have made it necessary for me to sanction the re-opening of the migrant accommodation centre at Northam which is called “ Holden “. I know of no better example of the strength of immigration in that part of Australia than the need for us to take this action.
– I address a question to the Minister for Defence. The Minister said, before leaving on his recent trip abroad, that he did not intend to get mixed up in any arguments about West New Guinea while he was in Indonesia. The honorable gentleman said, on his return, that his hosts had been too courteous to raise the question of West New Guinea. As the Minister claimed yesterday that, as a result of his visit, Indonesia re-opened negotiations with the Dutch, can he explain how he was able to achieve this remarkable result if he, himself, or the Indonesians did not raise the question of West New Guinea during his visit?
– What I tried to convey yesterday was that the clothes I wore did not matter. It did not matter very much whether they were army uniform, as charged, although that was not true. The thing that does matter is that an issue that looked like causing a war on our doorstep has been resolved by the two parties concerned. They have now met around the conference table, as was suggested in the Australian Government’s policy throughout, and they have reached a general measure of agreement between themselves.
– My question is addressed to you, Mr. Speaker. You will recall that, when objections were made to honorable members reading their speeches in this House, it was said that the appropriate standing order would be reviewed by the Standing Orders Committee. The committee’s report on the proposed revised Standing Orders has now been presented, but there is no amendment-
– Order! The honorable member will have an opportunity to raise that matter when the report of the Standing Orders Committee comes before the House officially.
– I address to the Minister for Trade a question concerning the possibility of the United Kingdom entering the European Common Market subject to a reduction of Commonwealth preferences - whether gradually or otherwise. Will the Minister intimate whether the Government has considered parallel action in respect of tariffs on goods imported by Australia from the United Kingdom, with the object of thereby giving
Australia an opportunity to buy in more advantageous markets with a consequent saving of foreign currency to this country?
– This is the kind of problem which is in the minds of members of the Government all the time. The 1956 review of the trade treaty between Australia and the United Kingdom brought about some reduction of United Kingdom preferences in this country in order to achieve a balance of advantage between the two countries and to enable Australian buyers to purchase at better advantage or to permit Australia to negotiate a reduction of tariffs on commodities from some other countries on the basis of value received in commercial terms. This is the kind o£ thing that is constantly in the thoughts of the Government and the Department of Trade, but I am sure that the Government would not wish, in the atmosphere of negotiations which prevails to-day, to anticipate a particular state of affairs and to say, for example, “ If this happens, we shall do that by reducing tariffs on goods from other countries “. That could easily be misconstrued. Instead of being regarded as a commercial proposition, it could be thought to have the appearance of a threat. In these negotiations between Australia and the United Kingdom, there is no room for any threat.
– I inform the House that I have received from the Legislative Council for the Northern Territory a document entitled “The Remonstrance”, the terms of which were the subject of a resolution agreed to by the Council on 23rd August, 1962. For the information of honorable members, I am arranging for the document to be placed on the table in the Parliamentary Library.
Motion (by Mr. Davidson) proposed -
That Government business shall take precedence over general business to-morrow.
.- Mr. Speaker, I should like some explanation by the Government about the business with which it intends to proceed to-morrow. Everybody is aware that to-morrow will be the last day on which this Parliament will sit for some time. To prevent honorable members from discussing important notices of motion which appear in their names on the notice-paper is seriously to infringe the rights of individual members, and such a thing should not be regarded lightly by the Parliament. There is too much of a tendency for this Government to prevent the rankandfile or back-bench member from having his say and raising matters which he regards as being of importance and which he wishes particularly to have discussed. We shall be unable to determine whether this motion ought to be carried unless we are advised by the Government what business it considers to be more important than the motions of which notice has been given by members of this House. They are entitled under the Standing Orders to give notice of motions and they are entitled to expect that the motions will be discussed at some stage. The Government should give some indication of the nature of the business which it regards as so urgent that it is prepared, on the last day of the present series of sittings of the Parliament, to take away the right of private members to discuss motions which have appeared on the notice-paper for a considerable time.
– Frankly, Mr. Speaker, I am surprised that the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), apparently speaking in the capacity of a spokesman for the Labour Party for this purpose, has revealed some ignorance in this matter. It was my understanding that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) maintained close contact with the executive of the Labour Party on proposals for the conduct of the business of the House. There should be no room for misunderstanding what is happening now or for believing that in any way it cuts across what the Labour Party would wish to see done.
Some time ago, the programme proposed for these sittings was discussed with the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. In that programme, a certain amount of time was set aside for the general debate on the Budget and also for discussion of the Common Market issue, which is perhaps the greatest peace-time issue in the history of this Parliament. Subsequently it was put to me that more members of the Opposition than had been expected wished to speak on the Budget. Trying to meet the wishes of the Opposition, I agreed that we should increase the number of hours available for the Budget debate and that, instead of setting aside two days for the Common Market debate, as had originally been proposed, we should take one full day, beginning immediately after question time on Thursday morning and going on without interruption. I agreed that we should take a vote on the general debate on the Budget to-night.
That programme has been varied, not by the Government, but by the Opposition. Having agreed that the whole of Thursday should be available for the Common Market debate, and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition having indicated that, in those circumstances, he would not resist the postponement of general business-
– There was no agreement.
– The honorable member for East Sydney says there was no agreement. I do not know how he describes the arrangements that are made in these discussions. There was a variation of those arrangements, made at the request of the Opposition. It certainly cuts across the argument that the honorable member tries to advance about general business. The Opposition has decided to move for the discussion of an urgent matter of public importance to-morrow, that discussion taking priority over general business.
– Why should we not?
– You cannot have it both ways. On the one hand, you are asking what is more important than the motions which are on the notice-paper. On the other hand, we are told that it is an urgent matter of public importance that the Opposition wishes to discuss to-morrow. We have agreed-
– We have not agreed at all. There is no agreement.
– We have agreed that there shall be three speakers from each side in the urgency discussion to-morrow. That will cut into the time which had been set aside earlier for the Common Market debate but, in order to try to meet the wishes of members of the Opposition - I always try to be fair-minded and reasonable in these matters - we have agreed to vary the earlier programme to produce this result for the Opposition.
I do not think the honorable member for East Sydney can take exception to that. Quite frankly, I think this procedure of telling us that the Opposition cannot agree to the arrangements that are made for the conduct of the business of the House is about as childish a procedure as one could imagine. This House, with more than 120 members, can function satisfactorily only if there can be broad agreement between representatives of the Government and of the Opposition as to the conduct of business and the amounts of time that should be allotted for the discussion of particular items.
– Wait until we are the Government.
– The honorable member gives us a somewhat grim idea of how the Parliament would function if the Labour Party were to take office again. We can assume, from what he tells us, that there would be no scope for any agreement between the Government and the Opposition. It would be for the Government to determine exactly what should be done in the Parliament, and the Opposition would not count.
– That is what is happening now.
– The Opposition is given every consideration in this Parliament. It has had every opportunity to put forward its views. As far as the time available has permitted we have met the requests which have been made to us. I am not aware of any complaints having come from the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. I can only interpret this as a usurpation of the function of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition by the honorable member for East Sydney.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
In Committee of Supply: Consideration resumed from 28th August (vide page 777), on motion by Mr. Harold Holt -
That the first item in the Estimates, under Division No. 101 - Senate - namely, “ Salaries and allowances £34,400”, be agreed to.
Upon which Mr. Whitlam had moved by way of amendment -
That the first item be reduced by £1.
.- Mr. Chairman, there are many proposals in this Budget for money to be expended during the coming year to achieve the end of national development. We are particularly concerned about balanced development. I refer not only to a balance of primary and secondary industries and attention to the correct growth of service industries, but also to a balanced development of population and industry in a geographical sense. I intend to make some comments on the position as it now stands in this regard, to explain what has brought us to this position, to mention some of the advantages, disadvantages and dangers of the present position and to point out what has been done in the past to rectify the disadvantages and dangers and to find out what can be done to correct the existing trend. I do all this against the backdrop of the current Budget proposals. What is the position as it now stands in this country? As has been said here many times before, more than half of our population is concentrated in our six capital cities. If we include Newcastle, Port Kembla, Wollongong and Geelong, we find that by far the greater proportion of our people are living in very closely concentrated areas. Most of our secondary industries, particularly our heavy industries, are located close to our seaboard. Many factors have contributed to the development of these areas close to the coast. One is the existence of ports for the importation of raw materials and the export of the finished goods. Other factors are the proximity of coal power, the availability of water in large quantities for heavy industries and a more equitable climate for the people. Another attraction is the proximity of capital cities to these areas. Another factor that has influenced the drift of population from country areas is the mechanization of farming techniques and the consequent reduction in the rural work force. The extreme efficiency of our primary industries has contributed to the reduction in the rural work force. In this regard our primary industries are far ahead of industries in countries such as the United States of America and England.
Another major contributing factor to this trend, and one which does not receive the attention that it warrants, is our political system, because under that system centralized large departments are placed under the control of a Minister and a single departmental head. It is interesting to compare our system with that which prevails in England, the United States of America, Canada and New Zealand. People in those countries, through locally elected authorities, take a greater part in the administration of such matters as education, hospital care, transport and harbours and ports. In Australia those matters are substantially under the control of the State governments. I have heard it said that our troubles commenced 150 years ago when our first administration was a military governorship with centralized control. The next step in our progress was the establishment of a legislative council. It is significant that in its early stages quite a number of the elected representatives on that council were military men. The next step was the granting of the right to establish a legislative assembly in this country. It may be said that in Australia we have achieved democracy in reverse. England, which is the home of democracy, is, despite its great population and its high degree of industrialization, a magnificent example of decentralization. England’s democratic system stems from local government. Boroughs and shires were the first bodies to elect representatives to the House of Commons. England has adhered to a policy of local administration through small elected local authorities. It is interesting to compare our methods with those which have been adopted in England.
We talk a good deal about the three levels of government. I want to keep government close to the people. In this country forces are attempting to destroy that system. More and more restrictions are being placed on the already very limited authority of local government. Pressure is being applied to have the Commonwealth step into spheres that are rightly the responsibilities of the States. Let us preserve and nourish our three levels of government as an effective buffer against centralization. [Quorum formed.] We must be careful lest we break the hearts of many men who are voluntarily giving their services to Australia. 1 can see certain advantages in the present situation. I concede that people have a right to live wherever they wish to live. 1 can appreciate their reasons for moving together. I am dead against any form of coercion or control to tell people where they may live, but I am all for practical incentives to reverse the current trend. The advantages of concentrations of population are far outweighed by the disadvantages and dangers that such concentrations involve. Some of the dangers are military in character. Concentration of population is against all accepted principles of war. It is utter folly for the populace to ignore or disregard those principles. Indeed, responsible authorities which ignore them are virtually guilty of criminal negligence. One requires little imagination to visualize what would happen to our large concentrations of population in the event of an attack by a ruthless and hard-hitting enemy. As we were reminded at the banquet we attended last night, distance is becoming less and less a factor in world affairs to-day.
With almost all of our secondary industries established on the coast, with the bulk of our population on the seaboard and with the greater part of our administrative forces and our more advanced medical facilities in those same areas, the situation would be dire indeed in the event of military attack. Such an attack would inevitably lead to chaos and a rapid collapse of resistance.
A side effect of the movement of population from country areas is the lack of variety of employment in country towns. I have in mind the people whom I see working in my electorate - the skilled meat worker in the abattoir, the shop assistant, the head of a department in a country store and the skilled operator of heavy mechanical equipment. For them there is possibly only one job in any one town; there is no other avenue of employment open to them if they wish to leave their present job. In the more densely populated areas a man wishing to change his job may need only to go to the next block or to the next suburb, but the country man may be forced to uproot his family, sell his home and dislocate the education of his children.
The lack of amenities from which people suffer through these small groups is something which should not be overlooked. They are deprived of some of the more gracious things of life which all parties in this chamber claim to fight for and which, in this modern mechanical age, every one is entitled to. I think of some of the things that are needed in areas away from the high concentrations of population. There is a need, for instance, for more highly specialized medical facilities of all types. Although the advanced medical services in our provincial cities are good, in our country towns they are missing. There should be more ready access to the arts and drama; there should be more and varied and better facilities for sport. The absence of all these things is a disadvantage.
There is an important corollary of this situation. The more people there are in any one area the greater is the political representation for that area; the greater the political representation, the more there is done for the area. It is a fact that we are up against human nature here. The more attractive an area becomes the more people will go to live in it, and so the vicious circle goes on.
When we look at this against a backdrop of the present proposals for a redistribution of federal electorates, it is no wonder that people in rural areas are beginning to sit up and take notice of the position as it now exists. What effect has this imbalance produced on individual men and women? It varies, of course. Some do not care. Some move on; some put up a bit of a fight, and of those who do fight some are disheartened by a very discouraging future outlook. Some towns give up the ghost completely, as those who represent electorates away from the seaboard will have seen. Others have the spirit to hold on and fight back, and some even go ahead, but oh so slowly when compared with the rate of development and increase of population, particularly from migration, in our more highly populated areas.
We ask the questions: What can be done? What has been done? I think the attack on this problem must definitely come from four fronts. First of all there is the individual front - people themselves, including businessmen. We constantly see examples of this in men who band together in their councils, their development leagues and chambers of commerce. I know that in my own area there are such organizations as the Mitchell Regional Development Committee and the Lachlan Valley Development League. Members of those bodies are giving their time free of charge in the interests of the country district to which they are so attached.
The second front of attack is the local government front, and already we have seen instances of what can be done. A very good example is the appointment by the provincial City of Orange of a committee, which it calls its Industrial Development Committee, consisting of businessmen, bankers, manufacturers, retailers, and so on. One act of this committee, which is an example of the fight it is putting up, was to advance money to a consulting engineer to go overseas with the idea of attracting to country areas small overseas firms that may have an interest in setting up business in this country. This business consultant has been to Japan, Eastern Asia, South Africa, Italy, France, Greece, Germany, Holland, Britain and the United States of America. He was empowered to make offers on behalf of the Orange City Council for the provision of factory premises, built to the manufacturer’s design, and made available on lease. He was empowered to offer assistance in staff training, assistance in negotiations with the State Government concerning satisfactory freight rates, assistance in the provision of capital for plant, housing for key personnel, and so on. As yet it is too early to judge the practical effect that this will have, but negotiations are proceeding and definite proposals from individuals overseas are being examined. That is an example of an attack on the local government front.
On the State Government front I can speak only of the Government of which I know a little, that is, the Government of New South Wales. For some time that Government has been setting up a division of industrial development and decentralization which already has produced some results in the way of freight concessions on plant moved to the country and bulk elec tricity rates. I do not know whether anything will be done about a standard price for petrol throughout the State. In a small way the New South Wales Government has made some move to decentralize administration, but I am afraid that has been far overshadowed by a centralization of administration in other ways. Since the last New South Wales election, a Ministry of Development and Decentralization has been set up. For that the State Government is to be commended. I would point out that that is just something that my party has been howling about for a long time. It is a great thing to see, even now, that the Labour Government thinks sufficient of the idea to set up this new ministry. The State Government talks of its aim to stabilize country population. I think that is a pretty negative way of tackling this problem. I think the straightout aim should be to increase the country population at least as quickly as it is increasing in other areas. There is room for great advances along those lines, and we shall wait and see just how genuine the State Government is in its use of the new ministry.
One thing that I suggest would have a great effect on the development of country industry and population is further attention to water conservation. On that subject I would say there should be a more efficient use of the capital that is being applied to water conservation. At present, this capital is being dissipated by a lack of continuity of construction and a consequent increase in interest charges on amounts spent. This prevents existing schemes from being made rapidly productive, and of course this, in turn, reduces the earning capacity of the nation. These lost earnings could otherwise be ploughed back into new works.
The fourth front of attack is that by the Federal Government, and I think it is interesting to look at the Budget in this regard. We see there expenditure which is deliberately aimed at the development of areas away from the coastline, and the result of that will undoubtedly be some increase of population in those areas. There is to be an increase of expenditure on the Snowy Mountains scheme. This will increase by £8,100,000 to £24,000,000. In Queensland - this ground has already been covered and I shall merely recapitulate - £11,800,000 is to be spent on railways, roads, coal-loading facilities at Gladstone and brigalow lands development. In Western Australia, £6,700,000 is to be spent on railways, roads and jetties. In the Northern Territory another £1,000,000 is to be spent on cattle roads. All that money is being spent away -from the highly concentrated areas. Then there is a goldmining subsidy of £300,000. The oil search subsidy is £5,000,000, and while speaking on this subject may I say that I view with some concern a report in the newspapers to the effect that a new refinery is being planned for Brisbane. That refinery will take the oil from our only productive oil-field in this country. There may be some circumstance in the oil industry which makes that completely necessary, but, from a defence point of view and from the point of view of decentralization, I query whether Brisbane is the proper place to put such a refinery. The Commonwealth Aid Roads Grant is up by another £4,000,000 to £54,000,000. Practically the whole of the £1,300,000 increase in the allocation for the expansion of broadcasting and television services will go to the establishment of television stations in country areas.
A significant move by the Government is its attempt to decentralize administration. The Department of Social Services has set up regional offices throughout the country. This is of benefit from two points of view,
First, it provides better service and is a far more personal approach. Secondly, it encourages the growth of population in country centres. More opportunities are thus given to children leaving school who may seek jobs. In this respect, the Department of Labour and National Service, with its Commonwealth Employment Offices in country areas, has done good work. The Commonwealth Development Bank has also helped to encourage decentralization. Although the bank is interested in development wherever it may occur, most of its funds have been advanced to rural borrowers. We intend to ensure that this instrumentality does not suffer for want of capital.
Now let me make some suggestion as to what may be done in the future. The Commonwealth Government can do more to encourage decentralization by providing taxation concessions. Incentives must be given. People will not move away from the densely populated areas because they are asked to do so nicely. They must be given some incentive. The present zone allowances for taxation purposes could well be examined and improved. This concession could be granted on the basis of residential qualification, irrespective of income or the manner of earning the income. Probate is also a problem for the country people. At first sight, this may seem strange, because people pay probate at the same rate wherever they are. However in one important respect, people engaged in primary industries are hit harder than are those engaged in other industries. Far more capital is needed to make the same living from primary industries as can be made from other industries. The accepted return on capital in primary industries is 2i per cent. I am referring here to pastoral and agricultural industries. The more capital involved, the higher the probate. Some relief from the comparatively high amount of probate should be given to those engaged in primary industries, and I suggest that something akin to the English system be adopted. This would put people who are earning a living from primary industries on the same footing as those engaged in other industries.
The Postmaster-General’s Department should also help to foster decentralization. Gradually, industries are being decentralized. For instance, we now have the country killing of meat. I know something of the telephone bills involved here. Meat works are being pushed to the country and people have to travel a long distance to sell the meat. If a secondary industry with a head office in the city has branches or factories in the country, it will have large telephone bills to meet. It could well be given discounts on these costs. Industries are being penalized for attempting to establish branches or factories in country areas. Instead, they should be given some incentive. These firms could be given some discount when their accounts with the Postmaster-General’s Department exceed a certain amount.
I think that we can go further than we have with the decentralization of administration. I have already commended the
Department of Social Services. I think that the Taxation Branch should work along the same lines. I can see no reason why a great colossus should be established in each capital city to handle all taxation matters. I suggest that the Government in the future consider building Commonwealth offices in the major country towns, at least. It could perhaps work in conjunction with the States. Qualified officers should be available at these centres to attend to matters that are of concern to people who live in the country. The National Capital Development Commission works on the basis that for every employee in the government service, an additional eight or nine people will be added to the population of that area. If the Government establishes an office with twenty employees at various country centres, it will ensure that the population of these centres is greatly increased.
I should have liked to have dealt with water conservation, which I think is an important means of attacking this problem. Whenever I raise this subject, I am told that we should not produce more, because we are having trouble now in disposing of the commodities we grow. That is a shortsighted policy. We are told that in the year 2000 - 38 years hence - the population of the world will be double the population of two years ago. If we now tackle the problem of water conservation in a big way, as a national policy, we will only start to feel the benefits in the year 2000. I believe that, although water conservation is a State problem, we should develop a national outlook and we should undertake some dynamic development. For those people in the country who are interested in decentralization and who look for some practical evidence of sympathy and help in this matter, the Budget has some bright spots and I commend it.
.- I rise to support the amendment moved by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam). Before dealing with the matters I wish to raise, I want to refer to the concluding remarks of the honorable member for Calare (Mr. England). He spoke of the urgent need for irrigation and water conservation in country areas, but he went on to say that this was a matter for the States. Water conservation is a matter of considerable importance in this vast country of ours; but the honorable member obviously wanted to remove the responsibility for this matter from the Government he supports. It is a matter of such magnitude that the Commonwealth Government should accept responsibility for it. The honorable member is well aware of the importance of water conservation. He represents a rural electorate. He has obviously read the booklet issued by the Federal Inland Development Organization. In this booklet we are told that 4,000 head of cattle die each year in the northern part of Australia because of the lack of water. Yet the honorable member for Calare says that water conservation is a State problem. I say that it is a Com.monwealth matter, and it will remain a Commonwealth matter, as far as I am concerned personally, as long as I am a member of the Parliament. A programme of water conservation will be put into effect when the Australian Labour Party returns to the government benches in the not too distant future.
The Australian Labour Party held the view that the Snowy Mountains hydroelectric scheme was a matter of national importance and should be the responsibility of the Commonwealth Government. The Australian Labour Party, in its forthright way, took the initiative and commenced the scheme. If anybody can batter me down on these things, I am prepared to listen if he is fair dinkum about it. I do not want him to talk the professional politician’s language when he is dealing with things that matter to this country.
I believe that Australia faces problems of extreme urgency and importance. We are a young country of approximately 3,000,000 square miles and with a population of approximately 10,500,000. We have vast areas still undeveloped. We are living on the fringe of Asia. Asian countries are now awakening. They realize that they must awaken and improve the living standards of their people or another political power will overrun them. This is part of the great revolution of our time.
– Are you referring to Thailand?
– Yes, but I will deal with that country later and give my opinion. The Asian people constitute about half the world’s population and they produce about half the world’s industrial output. They import millions of pounds’ worth of Australian goods annually. Many Asian countries are dedicated to massive developmental programmes. This is a new world and Australia has to realize that it must live in this world and work and trade with these nations.
Quite recently I read a forthright statement published by leaders of religious organizations in Australia. This was published in the “ Newcastle Herald “ of 24th April when Bishop Burgmann, an Anglican bishop who is well known in Australia, expressed the opinion that Australia should endeavour to develop friendly relations with all the peoples of Asia including those of the People’s Republic of China. The learned bishop said Australia was in an ideal position to break through the bamboo curtain. I agree with Dr. Burgmann. A fortnight later, a visiting Anglican bishop, the Right Reverend Henry Baines, expressed a similar opinion. He said that Australia had no future unless it developed friendly relations with the people of China.
– According to the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) that would make him a Communist.
– The honorable member for Moreton held those views prior to the last general election, but he has been very silent on that score since. However, I do not want to rub salt in his wounds. Apart from being a bitter tory, the honorable member is not a bad fellow in himself. He is learning from the Labour Party, and in the inner serenity of his heart he knows that his affection for the Labour Party is growing more intense from day to day.
– What did the honorable member call me?
– I would sooner tell you when we are alone because I might be pulled up for using unparliamentary language.
– Order! I suggest to the honorable member that he might be pulled up inside the Parliament if he does not address the Chair.
– Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I know you will be just as impartial with the honorable member for Moreton the next time he interjects. This Government is purported to be dedicated to the development of Australia. The Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) in delivering his Budget Speech painted a rosy picture. He said the Budget would aid the development of Australia and that the country would expand as a result. The people of Australia have been misled for too long by this Government, and, despite what the Treasurer and his tory colleagues have said about the future, I believe that the amount allotted for development is a mere drop in the ocean and will not cure the economic ills from which this country is suffering.
When one thinks of the problem of development against the background of Australia’s future in the world, what is the value of the £26,000,000 that is allotted for development in the Budget? It sounds a lot of money, but it is composed largely of money that will be made available to assist projects the States have undertaken. It is intended mainly to cure the unemployment problem, but I have grave doubts about that. The Government’s proposals are not part of a great plan for the development of Australia such as I would like to see. There is no blueprint. I believe we should have a plan to be put into effect in stages of five to ten years. We should have a planned economy which would give some hope for the unemployed and those who, from day to day, fear unemployment and all the evils that go with it.
We know some of the effects of unemployment such as the repossession of household goods, including radios, vacuum cleaners and refrigerators. Many unfortunate people are summoned before a small debts court because they are unable to meet their commitments or pay their rent regularly as they would like to do. Obviously, the Government is still trying to recover the lost confidence of the Queensland people. What the Queensland people feel about this Government was indicated at the last general election when the Government lost nine seats in that State. This Government is still smarting from the wounds inflicted upon it at the election, particularly by the Queensland people. That is why the Government is making special provision for Queensland by assisting in the construction of beef roads.
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), who is now ill, has pointed out on many occasions in this chamber the urgent need for the development of northern Australia. He assured the people of Australia in his policy speech at the last general election that the Labour Party, if given the reins of government, would set up a ministry for northern development to assist in a practical way the development of northern Australia. The construction of a beef road or two, a railway from the coast to Mount Isa, the development of the brigalow lands and a few improvements in port facilities in Queensland is not the Labour Party’s idea of what it would do in the way of development if it were returned to office.
I would like to see great dams built and rivers diverted in the northern part of Australia to conserve the water resources of that area. We need scientific and technical know-how to store the water that falls in certain months of the year. The Federal Inland Development Organization to which I have referred stated in its pamphlet that 4,000,000 head of cattle died in the northern part of Australia each year mainly from lack of water. That problem has not been tackled. When people to the north of Australia are dying from lack of proteins and proper foods, when 4,000,000 head of cattle are dying each year in the north of Australia, the Government should take some action to remedy the position - not next year, not the year after, but now. If this Government were measuring up to its responsibilities it would get on with the job of looking after the interests of the community.
If this Government faced the people in the immediate future I am confident that it would be put out of office. The Liberal and Country Parties have lost the confidence of the people, as was indicated recently in the Broadmeadows by-election in Victoria. Labour’s candidate won by the overwhelming majority of about 3,000 votes. The Government parties have admitted defeat in the Batman by-election even before the byelection has been held. They are not submitting any candidate for election to the seat, which was held by my former colleague, the late Alan Bird, who sat beside me in this chamber. The Government knows that it has lost the confidence of the people but it has not the courage to admit that, to resign and to give the Labour Party the opportunity to put the country back on its feet just as the Labour Party has done on previous occasions when the Liberal and Country Parties have led the country into a sorry mess. During the First World War and during the Second World War the people called the Australian Labour Party to power to get the country out of trouble and also to steer it through the post-war periods.
In my electorate of Hunter boys who left school after obtaining the Leaving Certificate are unable to find jobs. An added tragedy is that many of their fathers have been retrenched from the coal mines and are also unemployed. In their anxiety to give their children a better education than they themselves were able to obtain they have kept their children at school so that they may obtain the Intermediate or the Leaving Certificate. The children are over sixteen years of age but are not eligible to receive social service benefits, although a boy who left school without aspiring to obtain his Intermediate or Leaving Certificate would be eligible to receive assistance as soon as he reached the age of sixteen. I hope that the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton), who is at the table, will absorb what I have said and will try in the not too distant future to recognize this serious economic problem, which results from the anomalies in the social services legislation. If a boy over the age of sixteen years leaves school instead of hanging on for a few months to obtain the Leaving Certificate he can get the dole, but if he remains at school to further his education his parents do not receive any assistance. That is a tragic state of affairs. The Minister for Social Services should invest his many highly skilled senior officers with, if I may use the phrase, the royal prerogative, and allow them to use their common sense and discretion as to whether or not a schoolboy sixteen years of age in an area where youth unemployment is very serious should not be given the dole while remaining at school.
– That would be common justice.
– Yes, common justice, common sense and common decency.
– Are you sure that these are facts?
– I have never misled this House or any one else. I can assure the honorable member for Hindmarsh that they are facts. If it would not humiliate these unfortunates to a greater extent than they have been humiliated to date I would disclose their names, but they have suffered enough humiliation at the hands of this Government. I shall not subject them to any more by disclosing their names.
– Do you think it would be of any use to approach the Minister?
– It might be, but I would not like to state my real opinion on that openly. So long as this Government continues in office, so long as capitalism and private ownership control the means for essential production, these economic ills will remain uncured.
– Does that mean that you are a socialist?
– Yes, I am a Christian socialist, and I am not afraid to admit it. One day you will be one too or, if not you, your children.
While on the subject of the effects of private ownership of the means of production and the economic crises which have resulted, I should like to read a short extract from the booklet “ Economics for Workers “ which was published in October, 1961. It is in these terms -
The first economic crisis struck the capitalist world in 182S, followed by others in 1836, 1847, 1857, 1873, 1890, 1900, 1907, 1920, 1929 and 1937.
What pattern followed those crises? They were generally followed by war, boom, slump, depression and then war again! Honorable members on the Government side are doing nothing to change this pattern, because they are the sponsors of big business.
– Cut it out!
– The honorable member for Moreton has told me to cut it out, but I repeat that he and his colleagues opposite are the sponsors of big business. The honorable member now has prompted me to go further with my submissions to the House in the hope that some honorable members opposite who have fair judgment and honesty will accept what I have to say. I have in my hand the April, 1962, edition of “ Outlook “. One article in this magazine is headed “ Menzies’ Big Business Interests “.
– What is the name of the magazine?
– I have stated it once and you are intelligent enough to have understood what I said. I shall not refer to you in my remarks because you are only a small capitalist, although I would not mind having a loan of your Mercedes Benz car to travel about in.
– Order! 1 suggest that honorable members on both sides of the chamber allow the honorable member for Hunter to make his speech unassisted.
– Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The article to which I have referred states -
Mr. Menzies undoubtedly sacrificed the prospect of great wealth when he abandoned the Bar for politics but it must not be imagined, as is claimed in some quarters, that he exists only on his parliamentary salary.
Although Mr. Menzies has not practiced at the Bar for many years he did appear before the controversial Royal Commission on Mineral Oils and Petrol, 1933-35, as counsel for the Shell Company of Australia Limited. At the time he was successively Victorian and Federal AttorneyGeneral, having graduated from State to Federal politics in 1934. This behaviour occasioned a debate in the House of Representatives on 30th November, 1934, in which Labour member Doctor W. R. N. Maloney declared that the AttorneyGeneral had placed himself in a position which involved a serious conflict of interests. Dr. Maloney continued: “. . . no man should be allowed to take money from his country, and, at the same time take money, in the form of fees … to fight against the interests of his country on behalf of any combine or oil company.”
In the inter-war period, Mr. Menzies held a number of directorships, all of which he resigned before becoming Prime Minister in 1939. Nevertheless, he was a company director from 1934 to 1938, a period in which he also held a seat in
Federal Cabinet. Australian governments, unlike British, have never really faced up to the problem of Ministers’ outside interests. Mr. Menzies was a director of County of Bourke Permanent Building and Investment Society, 1933-39, Commercial Union Assurance Company of Australia Limited, Melbourne Board, 1935-38, and The Equity Trustees Executors and Agency Company Limited, 1936-39. During the previous decade he had been a member of the board of New Zealand Perpetual Forests Limited (1926-29).
This Government acts in the interests of big powerful monopolies and big business. I feel that I am entitled to accuse it of being a pro-capitalist government. This article continues -
However, over-riding all these in importance were Mr. Menzies close ties with the important Capel Court Group of Investment Companies, in which he was a director of the following companies: Australian Foundation Investment Co. Ltd. (1929-38), National Reliance Investment Co. Ltd. (1929-38), Capel Court Investment Co. (Aust.) Ltd. (1936-38), and Jason Investment Co. (Aust.) Ltd. (1937-38). While submitting evidence before the ‘ Secret Funds ‘ Royal Commission in 1941 the chairman of the Capel Court companies, Melbourne stockbroker Staniforth Ricketson of J. B. Were and Son, declared that he was ‘a friend of Mr. Menzies and the centre of a group of men closely interested in Mr. Menzies.” (S.M.H., 16 October, 1941.)
Sir Arthur Fadden, who resigned from this Parliament a short time ago, is now a director of about six major companies in Queensland. So I repeat that I am perfectly justified in alleging that this Government is the mouthpiece of big business and of powerful monopoly capitalists. It is committed to international capitalism. It follows the same pattern as the Tories in the United Kingdom as depicted in the book “ Tory M.P.”, by Simon Haxey. This book states that the Tories control the munitions factories and big business in the United Kingdom. A similar state of affairs exists here. Is it any wonder that when the people in my electorate hear that I am coming to Canberra they say, “ You are going back to Wimbledon “. I say, “ Why do you call it Wimbledon? “ They reply, “ Because it is all balls and rackets “. This Government has sold 50,000 .303 rifles to an international gun cartel in the United States of America.
– How much did the Government get for them?
– The Government received 9s. 6d. for each of them. The Minister for
Supply (Mr. Fairhall) recently refused to disclose the price at which the Government had sold these rifles. I challenge the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and any Government supporter to contradict me when I say that the .303 rifles were sold for approximately 9s. 6d. each. I still have a few informants. I know that the rifles were sold for just over 9s. 6d. each.
– What did they cost?
– They cost about £10 each. The Minister for Supply said it would not be fair to disclose the price at which the guns were sold, because the purchaser was interested in making a reasonable profit. Of course! A government that sponsors big business, racketeering and capitalism cannot be expected to give such information to the community. This act illustrates one of the major differences between the Labour Party and the Liberal Party. The Labour Party considers that in certain circumstances there should be control of profit.
– How much profit was made on these rifles?
– I would not know what the Yanks would do; you should have a better idea than I in that respect. Those concerned would not let me into their racket because they know I would expose them. I shall continue to expose matters of this kind as long as I remain in this Parliament.
The Budget has not made provision for the educational needs of the country. Many public-spirited schoolteachers, some of them from my district of Hunter, assembled in the King’s Hall to-day in an endeavour to impress on the Government the urgency of improving our educational system. As is well known, the Soviet Union is now training more scientists than are all countries of the Western world because it considers an improved system of education to be of primary importance. The United States of America is one of the richest countries in the world. It has more millionaires than any other country. I have in my hand a document which states -
Although the United States is considered one of the world’s most advanced countries, it was reported this year by Wilbur J. Cohen, Assistant Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, that there were 2,850,000 adults living in the country who could neither read nor write.
What a shocking thing! Yet the United States is spending much money on means of killing people. It should use that money to provide means of feeding and educating them.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- Mr. Chairman, having listened to the very happy speech of the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James), delivered in his usual happy way, I feel that we must come down to earth and deal with subjects which relate to the Budget. During this debate honorable members opposite have persisted in their attempts to discredit the Government. I am pleased to have the opportunity to make my contribution to the excellent argument put forward from this side of the chamber. I support the Budget; it has been framed by men of great integrity and great courage and by men who, obviously, are dedicated to the interests of their country. I challenge anybody to deny those facts.
The Budget has been drawn up by members of the Cabinet after very careful consideration of all aspects of the nation’s financial position and, what is very important, after consultation with business leaders and other important sections of the community. I pay a tribute to the members of the Cabinet. I believe that rarely in the history of Australian governments has there been an occasion so pregnant with reasons for introducing a votesnaring and pandering budget. The Menzies Government, with its honest intentions and its desire to do only the right thing for Australia, has thrown aside the temptation to acquire popularity and has placed before the community and the nation an honest, expansionary budget, using the technique of deficit budgeting on the firmly established basis of price and cost stability, which, in itself, is a desirable goal.
Over the last eighteen months, the common people have been able to buy their pound of butter at a price which has not increased during that period. That fact is of great importance to them. We no longer have the situation which existed under the administration of the Labour Government - a situation in which the basic wage went up every three months.
That process went on until 1953. In my association with members of unions, I have been told repeatedly how very much concerned they were about this constant uncertainty over what the basic wage would be from one quarter to another.
The Menzies Government, guided by its honest intentions and its wish to do only the right and proper thing for the Australian people, has produced a Budget which is of real value and which is honest in purpose. The Government has pandered to nobody. I suppose, that, if members of the Cabinet had liked to respond to all the pressures on them, they would have had to find £1,000,000,000 more. Obviously, the Cabinet had to select the measures best calculated to promote the development of a country so wonderful as that which we have. The Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), in his Budget speech, said that it is the determination of the Government to follow through with its expansionary programme until the economy is operating at the highest level of activity we can sustain. In that statement, the Government made it clear that it still regards the development of Australia as its major responsibility - a responsibility which it will not forsake, despite all the adverse criticism and vented spleen of Opposition members. We know that such development and expansion will bring the economy to a high level of activity - the highest which the country can sustain. The Government, by budgeting for a deficit of £118,328,000, is continuing its financial stimulus of the economy with very commendable vigour.
Opposition members have tried to emulate the stock-in-trade of publicity firms by repeatedly tabbing this Budget with terms such as “ stay-put “, “ stagnation “, “ fails to give the economy a much-needed stimulus “ and other worn-out and unrealistic expressions. I submit very strongly that this Budget is anything but stay-put and anything but a budget of stagnation. In true essence, it is a budget which, in my view, is indicative of action and vigour. It is a budget designed to maintain Australia’s prosperity and high standard of living.
After days of debate on the Budget, it is reasonable to assume that practically every figure worth citing in support of the arguments of the respective parties has been stated, perhaps over and over again. I suggest that I would only be repetitive if I merely cited figures and percentages and talked in terms of increases. That would be of no consequence and would be particularly irksome to honorable members. Instead, I want to mention some matters which I believe are particularly pertinent to this discussion of the Budget, because they show honorable members opposite as misleaders and betrayers and particularly as apostles of gloom. I say this with due deference to some of my friends on the other side of the chamber.
First, I mention the good old hobbyhorse - I use the term quite objectively - of unemployment, to which every Opposition member has clung and about which he has built his speech. Opposition members would make it appear, by their ranting and raving and their adoption of an air of pious sincerity, that they would like full employment to exist under the administration of the Menzies Government. This, of course, is unadulterated hypocrisy. The last thing that the Labour Opposition wants is a situation of full employment under the administration of this Government. I suggest that the heart of every member of the Australian Labour Party has been filled with anguish and despair over the last decade, during which Australia has enjoyed such wonderful prosperity and such record periods of full employment under the administration of the Menzies Government. The existence of such a situation over the last decade cannot be denied, because it is on record.
Tn my view, the contention by certain honorable members opposite that this Government is opposed to full employment and aims at having a permanent pool of 100,000 unemployed as a means of subduing turbulent agitators, by drawing on the pool to fill a labour gap during disputes, is both libellous and contemptuous. I believe that men who are out of work and who, with their families, live in misery are regarded by some Opposition members with a great sense of satisfaction and, indeed, with a feeling of jubilation, because those honorable members consider that such a situation possibly presents a chance for them to take over the government. Unemployment and misery, however, are the last things that the 62 members on this side of the chamber want. We want every man and woman who is fit for work and available for work to have a job. We shall achieve the objective of jobs for all who are able to work and available for work by our economic policies, to which this Budget is designed to give effect.
It would be useless for any one to claim that I am unsympathetic towards people who are out of work, Mr. Chairman, but I submit that the citing of unemployment figures by honorable members opposite paints an unreal, very gloomy and even stark picture of the employment situation which is far different from the real picture. Much is made by honorable members opposite of the statistics of the maximum numbers unemployed issued by the Department of Labour and National Service. Opposition members cite these figures because the whole object of their arguments in this chamber is to condition the minds of the people of Australia. To some extent, honorable members opposite have conditioned the minds of the people by distorting the unemployment figures.
The last return issued by the Department of Labour and National Service showed that on 27 July 90,091 persons were registered for employment. That sounds rather a fearsome figure, but it must be appreciated that, in a balanced economy such as ours, about 1.5 per cent, of the total work force, or approximately 65,000 individuals, or their own volition engage in seasonal or casual employment. Nevertheless, they are included in these registration figures. It follows, therefore, that the number about whom we must really be concerned is some 25,000, not approximately 90,000. In my view, there is very much difference between the two figures. Honorable gentlemen opposite have cited the larger one, however, and made a great mouthful of it. The registration for employment of approximately 65,000 people engaged in seasonal or casual work suggests to me that there are available sufficient workers to fill the jobs on hand. However, I concede that, when the number registered gets beyond 65,000, there is a shortage of jobs in relation to the number in excess of that figure. There is, of course, a problem, but the picture is not as bad aa that painted by honorable members opposite and by other critics of the Government. Employers tell us that, despite advertisements for labour and inquiries from labour bureaux, they are unable to fill their vacancies. If one takes the trouble, as I suppose honorable members opposite do, to look at the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ and other newspapers, one sees long lists of positions vacant. I think this is a good indication that labour is wanted.
The honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) tried to bolster his argument concerning unemployment by calling attention to the substantial sum of money set aside in the Budget for unemployment relief. Surely he is not so naive as not to know that it is good budgeting to make the maximum possible provision for such an item, because the actual expenditure is unpredictable. No one will be so foolish as to suggest that it is not. Unemployment is a problem in a developing country such as ours, and it cannot be taken lightly, but I do not think that the problem now facing us in this respect is as serious as has been claimed by members opposite. They have played it almost to death in order to discredit the Government and its fiscal policy. I would like to know for just how long men have been out of work and whether they have been subjected to real hardship. I have been told by members of the Opposition that the Labour Party has a plan for reducing unemployment - a plan different from that put forward by the Liberal Party and Country Party coalition. It is to put men into employment on public works. Of course, that is the way in which Labour would do it. In a socialistic scheme, the only way in which employment can be provided for people who are out of work is to put into operation a system under which men must be regimented. After all, this regimentation of men and women is the ultimate intention of socialism. Let us think in terms of the people who like casual or seasonal employment. Under socialism, they would not have the freedom to choose to remain casual or seasonal workers. They would have to go to the jobs to which they are directed by a socialist government. That is what would happen if the Opposition were in power. The opportunities at present available to all men and women in this country to pick and choose their jobs would be taken from them.
I listened to the honorable member for Hunter referring to the fact that in the area that he represents many young people, leaving school at the age of sixteen years, have been unable to find jobs and also are not entitled to the dole, as he calls it. In the cases of some young people, the fact that they cannot immediately get jobs may be of benefit to them, because it may prevent them from going into dead-end jobs. Under a system of regimentation, people are often forced into dead-end jobs. They become merely ciphers, and are not allowed to use their initiative. I contend that that is the situation which would be brought about if the Labour Party again came into office.
I would like to see a full inquiry into unemployment in Australia. An inquiry of this kind was held in England - I think in 1961 - and it was found that many of the people who were registered for employment could not, for varying reasons, appropriately be employed. I believe that such an inquiry would reveal a somewhat similar position here. A man who came to see me recently is 64 years of age and is registered for employment, but he cannot be found appropriate employment because of his age. It is possible that many other unemployed people are in a similar position. As I have said, I would like to see a full inquiry into unemployment in Australia. If my argument is right, Labour members would be proved wrong in their use of labour statistics.
Appropriately enough, honorable members opposite have not said how they would go about employing the men who are now without work, other than to say that we should develop our public works programmes so that unemployment could be overcome. They completely disregard the fact that the best type of employment - with the private employer - would then be unavailable. People registered for employment would be sent to public works and would not have an opportunity to go to private employers. That is the situation in which we would find ourselves if the Labour Party’s intentions regarding socialization came into force.
In answer to a question this afternoon, the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) said that records were being achieved in the placement of men in work. While he was giving that answer I took the opportunity to look at the faces of honorable members opposite. They were very gloomy, because that is not the kind of answer they like. They would rather hear that the department was having difficulty in placing the unemployed. When out of office, members of the Labour Party glory in inflation, because they know that continuing inflation must inevitably result in high costs, bringing businesses to a close and throwing men and women on the employment scrapheap. Honorable members opposite, tied as they are to the trade union movement - which includes unions, militant in the extreme, that do everything they can to wreck the Australian economy - are the guilty men. They are guilty to the extent that at times when inflationary trends become apparent they support claims for obviously unjustifiably high wages and reductions in the standard hours of work, for all of which excellent cover has already been provided under awards or agreements. Perhaps honorable members opposite will try to excuse themselves by saying that the trade unions act of their own accord and are not responsible to any central authority, certainly not to Labour members of this Parliament. However, the Labour members of this Parliament are men who hold high positions in the trade union movement; otherwise they would not be here. They could, particularly in the collective sense, influence trade unions which are making exorbitant demands and creating embarrassment for the economy. Does one ever hear or read of the Leader of the Opposition, the Deputy Leader of tire Opposition, members of the Opposition’s shadow cabinet or any honorable member opposite, in the interests of the nation, counselling the unions to act reasonably and with good conscience in respect of wage and other claims? Of course not! Has any honorable member opposite ever told unionists that they should not strike but should, instead, put their case before the arbitration tribunal? Honorable members opposite are silent on those matters. They believe in the right to strike.
– All three of them.
– It is a pity that more Labour supporters are not in the chamber. Honorable members opposite believe in the right of the workers to act in concert and to withhold their labour in order to enforce their demands. Honorable members opposite believe that it is a good policy to buck the Constitution - the Constitution which they, as responsible parliamentarians, should uphold. They believe in industrial intimidation, industrial anarchy and in the law of the jungle. If they did not countenance futile strikes but, instead, supported the determination of grievances by the proper processes of conciliation and arbitration, this country would be much better off, and our economy would be even sounder than it is to-day.
– Is this a brief for the shipowners?
– My remarks have nothing to do with the shipowners. I make those remarks having regard to a situation that has become very apparent to me since I entered the Parliament following last year’s elections.
I imagine that honorable members opposite will fully support the postal workers in their agitation for a five-day working week. I know that this is a delicate subject, but it is also a very serious subject. Honorable members opposite should urge the postal workers to continue Saturday morning work and not to seek to deprive millions of people of a vital service on Saturday mornings.
– Similar things were said when the banks closed on Saturdays.
– The banks have nothing to do with this matter. The Post Office caters for millions of people and if it is closed on Saturday mornings those people, many of whom honorable members opposite represent, will suffer hardship and embarrassment.
The honorable member for Hughes (Mr. L. R. Johnson) said something a moment ago about shipowners. I think honorable members opposite have been cowardly in not supporting Charlie Fitzgibbon. Last September, October or November, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) said that the Labour Party would support
Fitzgibbon, but since Fitzgibbon^ election to general secretaryship of the Waterside Workers Federation he has been thrown to the wolves by the Labour Party. How wonderful it would be if the Leader of the Opposition, or the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron), who is interjecting, were to decry the illegal stoppages on the waterfront. How wonderful it would be if they were to support Fitzgibbon - that is, of course, if Fitzgibbon believes in arbitration and the processes of arbitration.
– But, as I support some of their strikes, how can I decry them?
– That is a shocking thing to say.
– I support many of their strikes.
– The honorable member for Hindmarsh is an elected member of the Parliament and is here to support constitutional processes. Apparently he does not believe in constitutional processes. The ony strike that I would support would be one in which the men concerned believed that by continuing to work they were placing themselves in danger. That is the only condition under which men should strike. The honorable member for Hindmarsh, if he had a sense of responsibility, would say that these strikes should not be allowed and that the workers should resort to the proper processes of the law. But he welcomes strikes.
– We of the Labour Party believe in the right to strike.
– Ever since I entered the Parliament a comparatively short time ago attention has been directed by honorable members on this side of the chamber to the many and varied strikes over employment conditions, particularly on the waterfront. Honorable members opposite have shown no concern about those strikes taking place in direct conflict with constitutional procedures which provide a proper means for grievances to be aired and determined justly. Why do not Labour supporters give the proper lead to trade unionists? Why do they not counsel them to obey the laws of the land? Are honorable members opposite too frightened to express themselves in this way or do they enjoy seeing militant unions take the law into their own hands, holding industry and the community to ransom and, either in large measure or small measure, stabbing the national economy in the back? That is the effect of strikes.
I should like now to refer to an editorial that appeared in the Sydney “ Daily Telegraph “ of 6th August last-
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- The attitude adopted by the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Cockle) is not surprising. His attitude in this Parliament is on all fours with the attitude he adopted when he was secretary and industrial advocate of the shipowners’ organization. In claiming that no concern should be felt about the unemployment situation he demonstrates clearly his attitude to the workers of this country. He has complained about Labour supporters refusing to deny workers the right to strike. I would never deny workers the right to strike for any good reason. The honorable member for Warringah would deny them the right to strike but he would not deny the employer the right to put off large numbers of men without any reason.
While listening to the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) delivering his Budget speech on 7th August last I noted the expressions on the faces of honorable members on both sides of the chamber. On this side of the chamber one saw members who, while expecting the worst, were hoping that occasionally a bright light would appear through the gloom. But, as we all know, there was no bright light of any consequence. In fact, as the Treasurer proceeded, the gloom deepened and the expressions on the faces of Labour supporters turned to ones of disgust. Normally I have a kindly disposition. As the Treasurer was speaking I almost developed sympathy for Government supporters. They endeavoured to look completely satisfied with the Budget speech. They endeavoured to give the impression that everything was satisfactory. However, as the Treasurer read his dull, dreary and dismal document, Government supporters, particularly those in the Country Party corner, who could see that country people would get no benefit from the Budget, could not disguise their real feelings. They could see as the Treasurer went on that very slowly, but very certainly, the nails in their political coffins were being driven very firmly home. I think it would have been a very kindly gesture on the part of the Treasurer had he arranged to deliver his speech at some time when it would not have been broadcast. This would have saved the listeners, particularly the unemployed and the pensioners, a great deal of disappointment, a great deal of suffering, and a great deal of heartbreak. The Budget must have been a tremendous shock to the pensioners and the unemployed, who naturally expected some relief, and I can well imagine that those who were able to get to a radio sat and listened in the hope that at last the Government had recognized their plight and proposed to do something about it. But again it has failed to help them and I say that it has failed quite deliberately. This Budget has shown these people very clearly and completely that the Government has absolutely no concern for the plight and suffering of the unemployed and their dependants, and of the pensioners.
It is very easy, and very touching, for Government supporters, particularly Ministers, to talk about reducing unemployment and to express concern about whether pensioners are receiving an amount adequate for them to live on reasonably well, but the real test of their sympathy and of the honesty of their expressions is shown by the provisions of the Budget. That is the document that gives the true expression of the feeling of Government supporters. It shows their real attitude, and it contains no tangible evidence of the sympathy that they expressed previously. No one could read into this Budget an honest endeavour on the part of the Government to bring about a condition of full employment. No one could find in it evidence of an honest determination to bring about even a substantial reduction in the number of unemployed, and, much to the dismay and consternation of the pensioners, and of people who have an honest desire to see the pensioners placed in a more favorable position, this Budget has done absolutely nothing to improve the provisions of the Social Services Act.
The Government, quite obviously, is also of the opinion that child endowment, although unaltered since 1950, should not be increased. Apparently the Government sees no merit in adjusting it to meet the change in purchasing power since 1950. The Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton) must be either too lazy, too tired, or too utterly contemptuous of the needs and appeals of ordinary people. I am rather inclined to think the last must be true - otherwise he would do something about investigating and improving these glaring anomalies. But of course the Minister is not entirely to blame for the failure to bring child endowment to a level where it would have the same purchasing power as in 1950. The blame must be laid at the feet of the Government as a whole. Every member on the Government side must accept some blame for the position. The 5s. child endowment was introduced when the basic wage was £4 16s. To have the same purchasing power to-day, child endowment would need to be 15s. rather than 5s.
I want to refer now to gold-mining, and here I give credit where it is due. I was very pleased to see that the Government’s policy has given some recognition to the requirements of the gold-mining industry, but I must point out that still nothing has been done to stimulate prospecting. That must be done because, as the present mines gradually exhaust their ore supplies, we must have new mines to take their place. The only way to be sure of that is to increase prospecting activity.
I was also very disappointed to find that nothing had been done to bring within the provisions of the Gold-Mining Assistance Act those people treating tailings not originally produced by them. They also should come within the field of assistance. I hope to have the opportunity of saying something on this score when the amending bill is introduced, but 1 do want to say at this stage that I hope the bill will contain a provision preventing companies in receipt of assistance from increasing their dividends. That will ensure that any increased profits will be ploughed back into the mines, thereby increasing their life, increasing employment, and adding to our gold export income. Those are the reasons for this assistance to gold mines but its benefits may be nullified if dividends are increased. I also ask the Government to ensure that the act will make provision to extend the legislation to mines which, although they have been closed down for many years, could be re-opened if they came within the scope of this additional assistance.
Out of this debate have come some peculiar statements, and also some rather insulting ones. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) said in the course of his speech that you have to be pretty miserable to vote for the Labour Party. I do not know whether he meant miserable in attitude or in circumstances but if he meant miserable in circumstances he must accept the blame for putting people in those miserable circumstances. Surely nobody would suggest that pensioners and unemployed could be feeling anything but forlorn and miserable at the treatment they have received from this Government. If the Prime Minister meant miserable in attitude, then I say to him that he should remember that his sneer and insult are at the majority of the electors of Australia, because the majority of electors of Australia voted for the Australian Labour Party. This Government represents only a minority.
The Minister for Social Services took very strong exception to being verbally thrashed by the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley). Admittedly the honorable member for Fremantle did have the Minister and his followers squirming and cringing in their chairs, unable to stand up to the withering attack he delivered at them. But I fail to see why that should give the Minister any reason to feel that the Labour Party should not have in its midst a man with the education and ability of the honorable member for Fremantle. Of course it is obvious why Government members are upset. They know that after the next election, irrespective of whether it is held this year, next year or the year after, the Labour Party will occupy the treasury bench. They know also that because of the ability and competence of members on this side of the chamber, both on the front bench and on the back benches, once
Labour does have the reins of government, the Liberal Party will be in the political wilderness for many, many years to come.
The Minister for Social Services said that the speech of the member for Fremantle left him cold. That is a laugh. He has always been cold - stone cold in his attitude to people receiving social services. If he were any colder he would freeze to death.
Government members have tried, unsuccessfully, to create a feeling that the Labour Party is not concerned with the problems of the farming communities, but they know very well that more and more farmers are supporting the policy of the Labour Party. The farmers realize only too well that the policy of this Government will never rectify the real problems of the farmer. Country Party members are laughing, but they know this to be true. The problem of the purchasing power of the farmer’s income is much more urgent than it was several years ago. We on this side of the chamber are very much concerned with, and very conscious of, the position of the average farmer, because we realize very fully that the farming community is of vital importance to this country. We realize also that the average farmer is very dissatisfied with the treatment he is receiving from this Government. He has every right to be dissatisfied. Total farm incomes have increased by only approximately 6 per cent, since this Government came into office twelve years ago. When honorable members realize that there has been an increase in the number of farming properties, and also that the goods a farmer could buy in 1949-50 for £100 now cost him nearer to £175, they must see that the individual farmer is actually worse off than he was in 1949-50.
The other problem of the farmer is that the money he is forced to borrow, to develop his property or to tide him over bad seasons, is terrifically dear because of the high interest rates charged by institutions outside the banks - institutions that he is forced to approach because it is so difficult, in fact sometimes impossible, to procure loans through normal banking systems. The farmer is entitled to adequate credit from the banks at a reasonable interest rate, and a Labour government would see to it that it was available to him.
Government members have referred also, with great pride, to the increase in motor car sales over the past two or three months. They say now that this is an excellent indication of the growing confidence in the economy. A few months ago the same trend was claimed to be one of the main causes of inflation. We were told that it could not be allowed to continue and severe action was taken to reduce sales of motor cars. The action of the Government certainly had the effect that the Government wanted. Not only were sales of motor cars reduced, but the number of unemployed was considerably increased. The Government’s method of clamping down on excess spending is to put as many people as possible out of work so that they will not have anything to spend anyway. If sales of motor cars continue to increase, can we expect another dose of corrective medicine from the Government? Will further thousands of men be thrown out of work? With the way that the Government is shuffling about and changing its policy, a condition of increased unemployment must be considered as being very possible.
Nothing was done by the Government to abolish the sales tax on foodstuffs. Foods which during the war were considered to be luxuries, to-day are part of the normal diet of ordinary people. I refer to such items as cornflour, custard powder, crystalized and dried fruits and biscuits. Sales tax on these items is unfair to the people with a small income and should bc removed. These people would not merely put aside the money they saved on these items; they would spend it on other items, and so the money would remain in circulation.
The back somersault of the Government in regard to motor car sales is again seen in its change of policy in budgeting for a deficit of fi 18,000,000. When the Australian Labour Party, late last year, declared that it would budget for a deficit of £100,000,000, the Prime Minister and his henchmen ran around the country throwing up their hands in horror and imploring the people not to vote for such an impossible policy. They claimed it would bring about inflation of such magnitude that the country would collapse and as a result unemployment would reach high levels that had never been envisaged by any one. They cried out, “ Where will the money come from? “ All honorable members will remember them asking this question. They claimed that a party with such a policy must be completely incompetent and irresponsible. That was the reaction of Government supporters when the Australian Labour Party said it would budget for a deficit of £100,000,000. But the other night, the Prime Minister, in referring to the proposed deficit in this Budget of £118,000,000, said-
Too few people realize that a cash deficit of £120,000,000 . . . will of itself have a most expansionary effect. We shall pay out to the citizens £120,000,000 more than will be collected from them . . . this is adventurous finance.
While last year it was a criminal and irresponsible action on the part of the Australian Labour Party to propose a deficit of £100,000,000, this year to budget for a deficit of £118,000,000 is an action of adventurous finance and one to be highly commended and supported because the Liberal Party decided upon it. While it could be that the Prime Minister last year, by his cries and moans and lamenting voice, may have fooled quite a few people, they will not remain fooled. His words about the expansionary effect and adventurous finance will prove to the people that what they have been thinking now for several months is true, and that is that once again the attitude of the Australian Labour Party was correct.
Now I want to deal more fully with unemployment. The honorable member for Warringah was very critical when he dealt with this subject. Government members either deliberatly ignore the true position or are unaware of the real facts when they claim that the position is being adequately and efficiently handled. It cannot be denied, although Government supporters attempt to do so, that the actual number of unemployed is considerably higher than the number of registered unemployed. Everybody knows, even though some will not admit it, that many people do not register for employment or for unemployment relief for reasons best known to themselves. Some do not register because they are not willing to hang around a town when it quickly becomes apparent that there is very little likelihood of procuring work. In other instances, through lack of facilities and quite often through lack of application forms in post offices, men and women living in country areas and unable to get a job do not register. This applies especially to young people.
The Goldfields is another area where men do not register for work at the Commonwealth Employment Office. This is because most of them are seeking work with the mines, and it is very seldom that the mining companies seek labour through the Commonwealth Employment Office. They do this only when there is an acute labour shortage, and of course, we have not had that position for many years, unfortunately. Many people out of work have not registered for employment. However, I will deal only with the number of people who have actually registered to show that the reduction of unemployment is really insignificant when one realizes what has actually happened and what must happen in the future.
The other night, the Prime Minister said -
It is true that in January of this year 131,000 people were registered for employment, but last month that figure was down to 90,000. That is a magnificent reduction in that period of time. That process of reduction will continue.
I want honorable members to remember that he said the process of reduction would continue. He very carefully, as usual, drew comparisons that are completely out of keeping with the true position. It is a false position to compare the January figure of 131,496 registered unemployed with last month’s figure of 90,091, and say that the position has improved considerably over that period by a reduction of 41,405. That is completely wrong, for the simple reason that the January figure included a very large number of school leavers who registered for work but who subsequently, because work was not available, returned to school. This also applies to the November and December figures, and to a lesser extent to the February figures. During November and December, the schools were reaching the end of the school year and by the end of February and early March, they were back in full swing again.
When we look for comparisons, we should look at the figure for October, 1961. The number of registered unemployed in October was 96,552. As I said just now, that figure does not include school leavers. Comparing the October figure with last month’s figure of 90,091, we find that the reduction in the number of unemployed over the past nine months was only 6,461. Is that a magnificent reduction? The Prime Minister said that the same rate of reduction would continue. If that is so, it will take ten years to absorb the present number of persons registered for employment. If my colleague, the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), is somewhere near correct - he usually is very near the mark - in his estimate of a further 50,000 unemployed who have not registered, it will take a further six years to absorb these people in employment. The best we can look for under the policy of this Government is that the present unemployed could all be employed in sixteen years’ time, perhaps!
– That will be the position until the next election.
– I said under the policy of this Government. I quite appreciate that it will not be in office for very much longer. The figures I have given would not include the large number of school leavers who, being unable to find work, went back to school. We have to provide employment for them. Therefore, it will be at least twenty years before we will be in a position of reasonably full employment.
Let us examine the real position in Western Australia. I want to do this because many members on the Government side of the chamber have tried to put a prop under the Brand-Court Liberal Government of Western Australia. They have claimed that great works have been commenced and that huge amounts of money have been invested.
– You cannot deny that.
– That is not the correct position. There has been nothing of the sort. The number of registered unemployed in Western Australia last month of 5,582 was higher than the figure for the previous four months. The honorable member for Swan (Mr. Cleaver) is laughing uproariously. I ask him to answer this: If we disregard the figures for December, January and February, we find that last month’s number of unemployed was the highest since August last year. If we look at the October figure as a comparison, as I did in regard to the unemployment throughout Australia, we find that there are now more unemployed in Western Australia than there were in October. So, how can any one suggest, as the honorable member for Swan did, that we are catching up in that State?
With regard to juniors, the figures show very clearly that in Western Australia there were many who wanted to start work but could not find it and were forced to return to school. The number of unemployed or registered unemployed juniors in Western Australia fell by 537 between March and May, but since then the numbers have been reduced by only one - 1,505 in May and 1,504 in July. It is estimated that 80,000 school children will be seeking work at the end of the school term this year. Even if the rate of reduction in the number of adult unemployed continues at the same rate as it has since school resumed this year, we will still have the best part of 80,000 adult registered unemployed at early December. To this number will be added the flow of school leavers so we can expect at the best to have a repetition of the figures of last January. Honorable members on the Government side are interjecting. This is a sore point with them, but the fact is that we can expect at least 130,000 unemployed by next January.
The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has said that the present process of reduction will continue. That means that under this Government we must expect to have just over, or just under, 100,000 unemployed throughout the years. Is that the magnificent progress that this Government boasts about? 1 turn my attention now to social services. Quite obviously, the Government considers that age, invalid and widow’s pensions are sufficient for pensioners to live on in reasonable fashion. Either Government supporters really think that, or they do not care what happens to the pensioners. I am prepared to give honorable members opposite the benefit of the doubt. But what I want to know is: What is the Government’s idea of a reasonable living for a pensioner? Surely Government supporters must agree that even a pensioner is entitled to three good meals a day seven days a week. Surely a pensioner is entitled to a good, warm bed each night. Surely pensioners are entitled to electric power for their ordinary requirements, if it is available. They should be entitled to a daily newspaper, to a smoke or two each day and to an occasional glass of beer if they are so inclined. They are entitled to some entertainment, at least at odd intervals, and surely they are entitled to be decently clothed.
If Government supporters consider that the pensioners are entitled to a simple, meagre living such as that, will one of them tell me how pensioners can manage on the present rates of pension that the Government is prepared to allow them? I do not want to hear the old story that pensioners are permitted to have an extra income of £3 10s. a week. That does not mean a thing to those who cannot earn anything or who have no other income whatsoever. It does not put anything in the cooking pot to know that they can have £3 10s. a week income when they also know that they cannot get such an income. Anyway, even the amount of permissible income has not kept pace with the increased cost of living. In 1955 the Government of the day decided on an amount of £182 a year. It is still £182. If the permissible income had increased commensurately with the cost of living it would not be approximately £218 a year, an increase of some 13s. lOd. a week.
I have heard it argued that the pension to-day, as compared with some other year and as related to the basic wage, is an improvement. Those arguments mean exactly nothing to me. The simple fact is that the pension has never been sufficient. Nobody would suggest surely that when the basic wage was £4 lis. a week an age pension of £1 5s. was a fair and reasonable amount to expect a pensioner to live on. No one with any sense of respect for these unfortunate people would suggest that the amounts paid to pensioners to-day are sufficient, even though on a percentage basis they may be better than they were in 1942.
Let us take the invalid with a dependent wife. In most cases the wife cannot work work because it is practically a full-time job looking after the invalid husband. At the best, the wife can take employment for only a few hours each day, and jobs of that sort are simply not available. Unless a woman is extremely fortunate she cannot find one, as honorable members know. So we find that a man and woman in those circumstances have to try to live on £7 12s. 6d. a week. Apparently it is agreed that a couple, both of pensionable age, require at least £10 10s. a week to live on. Why put the invalid with a dependent wife on a different basis? Surely they also should receive an amount on which they can live reasonably well. The position of a widow with children can be even worse, yet this Government apparently is not prepared to do anything about it.
When honorable members on the Opposition side try to tell the people the true position concerning unemployment and pensions, and the other failures of this Government, supporters of the Government call us calamity howlers.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- A well-known philosopher who seldom made a speech in public once got annoyed and said, “ I can no more remain silent “. I, Sir, am not a philosopher, but I cannot remain silent after listening to speeches made by many of the Labour prophets of gloom on the Opposition benches. In the first place, I should like to thank honorable members on both sides of the House for the moral support they have given me. I believe that the electors of North Sydney would wish me to compliment the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) and his Cabinet colleagues on the wisdom they have displayed in the construction of this Budget. This I now do. My firm belief is that the bright horizon created by the Budget proposals as a whole will be a real stimulus to all who wish to take part in the vigorous growth of our young nation.
Before going on to those things which lie ahead I think it appropriate to make one or two references to the growth that has taken place over the past twelve years in Australia. In the first Budget presented by the Menzies-Fadden Government in 1950 the total estimate of expenditure was £738,000,000. This year, under the
Menzies-McEwen Government, the expenditure estimated is £2,091,000,000, or nearly three times as much as was estimated in 1949-50. Payments from the National Welfare Fund, from which age, service and other pensions are paid, amounted to £93,000,000 in 1949-50. This year they totalled £388,000,000, representing more than a four-fold increase. In 1950-51 payments to or for the States amounted to £111,000,000. This year the amount has leaped to £423,000,000, almost a four-fold increase.
The three sets of figures which I have cited surely must underline the vast added responsibilities associated with the modern requirements of government in a rapidly expanding economy. One would need to be either blind or dishonest not to recognize the tremendous progress we have made as a country since 1949. Before we came to office the people of Australia were fed up with shortages of all kinds, rationing, blackouts, controls and black marketing. They threw out the Labour government which had tolerated such things for so long after the end of the war.
The development of Australia since the advent of the Menzies Government has been, and is, the object of admiration in every part of the world. Due to the conditions of sound development which have been created by this Government, Australia has attracted over 1,500,000 migrants. The objectives of economic growth and stability and industrial peace aimed at by this Government have attracted vast overseas investments. Without these, this young and growing nation could not hope to develop its resources to the extent that it has. As all honorable members know, the economic picture of a country is composed of numerous elements. Any one may refer to the official figures which are published by the Commonwealth Statistician. I recommend a study of the figures relevant to 1948-49, when Labour was in office, and the figures relevant to 1961-62, during the term of office of the Menzies-McEwen Government. At this stage I do not propose to do more than mention a few of the basic elements which will prove my point.
– Give it to them!
– Mr. Chairman, I think any one who is making a maiden speech should be heard in silence. During the period we have been in office our population has grown at the rate of 200,000 a year and the work force has increased by approximately 100,000 a year. Last year our export earnings reached the record sum of £1,070,000,000. That is the result of this Government’s action in sending trade commissioners to 39 posts throughout the world to increase our exports. The production of our basic industries such as steel and coal has reached record levels. The value of our mineral production for 1961-62 was not less than £245,000,000. At this point let me remind honorable members that in 1950 we were importing coal.
It is fair to say that the progress of a nation is reflected in the standard of living of its people. I believe that the constantly improving standard of living in Australia is hardly matched by that in any other country in the world. Consider the number of owner-built and owner-occupied houses in Australia. I am sure that 75 per cent, of our people own or are paying off their own homes. This is a great credit to the people themselves and to this Government in particular. I shall mention later the vast increase in the number of motor cars, radios, washing machines and television sets which the people own, but the important factor, I believe, is the ever-growing number of savings bank deposits and the number of new savings accounts being opened every day. While on the subject of savings bank accounts, let me express a view which I have long held. The growth in the number of savings bank deposits convinces me that, generally speaking, the average family to-day has a higher standard of living than it has ever had. To the average suburban family, ownership of a savings bank account means, again in general terms, that the money so deposited is what is left over after meeting the usual costs of running the home. In view of the growing number of savings bank accounts, surely an increasing number of people, in relation to the total population, now find that they have that little bit left over. Instead of hoarding it, the people are putting it in the bank. This, need I add, is all to the good.
This Budget is not a hand-out budget in the accepted form, but neither is it a stayput budget. It is an expansionary budget - a go-ahead budget - and I believe that under its provisions the Australian people will go ahead to bigger and better things. The main accent of the Budget is on the promotion of growth by, among other things, putting millions of pounds into the creation of services such as standard-gauge railways, coal port loading facilities in New South Wales, beef cattle roads in the north of Australia, dieselization of railway rolling stock and so on. All of these things, and others, will enable Australia to make its next great leap forward. Another outstanding feature of the Budget is the Government’s emphasis on costs and prices. Stability in both spheres is a main ingredient for expansion. Just imagine what a difference there would be if Labour were in office!
Examining the Opposition’s line of approach to the problems which have confronted Australia since 1960, 1 tried honestly to find the purpose behind the speeches of Opposition members. What line and tactics have been adopted by Labour to solve our problems? Torn between right and left wing factions, the Opposition has been forced to adopt an approach which answers the question I have posed. The Opposition’s line of approach, or tactics - call it what you will - is negativism and defeatism. As an Australian - even though a new Australian of 50 years’ standing, of which I am very proud - I am ashamed of the Labour Party. For some time we have been hearing honorable members opposite trying to tell the people of Australia that this Government has adopted Labour’s policies. If that is true, one wonders why the Opposition now is howling and criticizing these so-called Labour measures. I feel that Labour politicians to-day, Sir, have lost their sense of responsibility. Their only stock in trade is a constant attempt to create an atmosphere of depression and gloom.
Had the fortunes of an over-strained economy been in the hands of Labour over the past two years Australia would have gone backwards. Instead, this Government has stabilized the economy and has set a pattern of overall development that must be the envy of many other countries of the world. I honestly believe that this socialist
Opposition is aware, in its own heart, that the economy of Australia is on a sound basis for healthy growth. But with an overriding ambition for power at any price Labour goes on trying to panic the people, whose welfare and the future of Australia are of only secondary importance in their eyes. Honorable members opposite want power.
I mentioned earlier the vast additional responsibilities of modern government. I should like to highlight one aspect which I feel sure will awaken the average Australian to the financial problems which confront the country in relation to the ever-increasing demands of social services and pensions. We have heard a lot about social services and pensions in this debate, but the only thing I should like the Government to take note of is the position of single pensioners. Whereas in 1949-50, of every £1 paid by individuals in income tax, 9s. 6id. was expended in social service benefits, in the year just concluded, 13s. 7d. of every £1 collected in income tax was used to meet social service commitments. The Treasurer has estimated that during the current year, 14s. 4d. of each £1 collected in income tax will be used in this way. The stability of the price and cost structure which has been achieved by the Government is of tremendous importance to the whole nation. This Budget is designed to maintain economic stability and by doing so it will increase purchasing power, particularly that of persons on fixed incomes. At the same time, it is a budget for expansion and enterprise.
– Tell the Treasurer what you said about him last year.
– The Treasurer has no need to worry. I can outlast Opposition members who are interjecting. I have many years in front of me in this Parliament. I am sorry the electoral commissioners altered the boundary of my electorate, although the alteration will have the effect of adding about 9,000 votes to my majority and will thus make North Sydney an XX blue-ribbon Liberal seat. The following report appeared in the “Sydney Morning Herald” of 24th August: -
There was no longer any reason for lack of business confidence, the president of the Employers Federation of N.S.W., Mr. L. T. Ostergren, said yesterday. “ Too many critics are still creating a fear complex in our economy by exaggerating difficulties,” he said. “This is damaging our reputation and prospects abroad. Australian industry is now in the strongest position since November, 1959, to achieve sound, steady growth. Businessmen feel that this improvement will continue.”
Mr. Ostergren, who was making a quarterly review of business trends, said tight trading conditions in recent months had led to greater business efficiency, stricter cost control and improved productivity. The benefits were now being passed on to the public in the most stable prices for many years.
The Treasurer will be glad to hear that. The report continued -
Rising employment and improved trading were confidently predicted by a wide cross-section of industry and commerce.
Now I come to the vital point on which the Opposition has been playing - unemployment. The report continued -
Mr. Ostergren said unemployment, at 90,000, was still too high-
The Government realises that -
However, it was not generally realized that because of seasonal and other problems, 50,000 to 60,000 “statistical” unemployed was normal in Australia even in times of full employment. Mr. Ostergren said recent economic talks between the Federal Government and industry had been helpful, but tended to emphasize sectional interests. “What is still badly needed is a national approach which is only possible through the establishment of a permanent economic advisory council,” he said.
In the same issue of the “Sydney Morning Herald “ appeared a report concerning savings bank deposits which have gone up by leaps every week for the last two years.
I now wish to provide honorable members with further evidence of progress made by this country under this Government. Whereas in the financial year 1949-50, the gross national product of Australia amounted to £2,715,000,000, in 1960-61 it amounted to £7,208,000,000. Total investment in 1949-50 was £653,000,000, whilst in 1960-61 it was £1,913,000,000. In 1960-61, the level of primary production was 52 per cent, above the level of 1949. Whereas in 1949 there were 40,059 factories in Australia, in 1960 there were 56,644. In 1949, there were 890,232 factory employees, and in 1960 there were 1,131,572. Our mineral production rose from £74,000,000 in 1949 to £245,000,000 in 1961-62. Dealing with the standard of living, which is one of the greatest factors in life in any country,
I point out that whereas in 1949 there was one car for every 12.2 persons in Australia, by 1961 there was one car for every 5.5 persons. In 1949 there was one telephone for every 10.1 persons whilst in 1961 there was one telephone for every 4.7 persons. I am sure that if the PostmasterGeneral (Mr. Davidson) could see his way clear to boost the rate of installation there would be one telephone for each home in Australia. Mr. Chairman, I thank all honorable members for their attention. I conclude by commending this Budget to the people of Australia as a vigorous-growth budget - a budget designed, not only for present-day requirements, but for the future of a truly expanding nation.
.- Mr. Chairman, I congratulate the honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Jack), first of all, on breaking his silence. I congratulate him, secondly, on having been able to persuade nearly all members of the Ministry to come to the chamber to listen to his oration, and also on the fact that he apparently had the full backing of members of both the Liberal Party of Australia and the Australian Country Party. There was also a very strong and representative gathering of members of the Australian Labour Party present to listen to him. I know that Ministers and back-bench members on the other side of the chamber came in to listen to the honorable member because they were anxious to see whether he would be able to pull the Government’s chestnuts out of the fire. Since this Budget was presented, the honorable member for North Sydney has talked with his constituents and learned just how unpopular the Government is. He participated in this debate because he realized that he had to say something, for, in the political world, too, self-preservation is the first law of nature.
I support the amendment proposed by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam). The speech made every year by the Treasurer when presenting his budget is always regarded as being akin to a statement made by the board of directors of a company, on the presentation of a balance-sheet, to tell the shareholders how their enterprise is faring. On this occasion, many adverse comments were made after the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) had delivered his Budget speech. All the comments that I read or heard were, to put it mildly, adversely critical. We heard this Budget described as the stay-put Budget, the do-nothing Budget, the Budget of tired and frightened men and the uninspired Budget. This debate is now in its closing stages. The case made by the Treasurer, and the statements in support of it made by honorable members opposite, have been answered in trenchant terms by honorable members on this side of the committee. However, I should like to make some observations on one or two matters in particular.
This Budget has been presented by a government which panicked two years ago and brought down a little budget, imposed a credit squeeze and caused misery, unemployment, business losses and the complete destruction of confidence. The Treasurer used the phrase “ lack of confidence “ in his Budget speech. The Government’s measures of two years ago destroyed confidence in every section of the community. In the early part of the Treasurer’s Budget speech, we find reference to lack of confidence, lack of stability and unemployment. As reported at page 14 of “ Hansard “, the right honorable gentleman said -
To-day, honorable members received copies of the annual report of the Reserve Bank of Australia for the financial year 1961-62. At page 4, the report states -
When the year began, production and employment were still falling, unemployment was high, stocks were excessive and there was still a feeling of financial stringency. There was some reason to believe that recovery would not be long delayed but confidence was weak and not to be quickly restored. Early signs of increasing activity were short-lived. It was not until early in the second quarter of the year that a turning point in activity was reached.
At page 5, the report observes -
By the end of the year, expenditure was growing, employment rising and unemployment had been substantially reduced. But the danger of excess demand did not appear great. There was still a substantial amount of unemployment; there was still a capacity for greater production within industry; and expenditure on plant and equipment had failed to revive. The demand for liquidity continued and it remained doubtful whether expansion plans in process would prove adequate to restore earlier rates of growth.
In other words, the Reserve Bank, in this report, answers the statement by the Treasurer that expansion appears to be proceeding steadily. At the end of the financial year-
– What did the report say about the end of the financial year?
– I read to the committee what the bank had to say about the early part of the financial year, the middle of it and the end of it. The public and the members of this place can decide who expressed the better opinion on this matter.
Owing to the credit squeeze, and the stopandgo policies of the Government, which amount to a lack of definite policy, there has been over the last two years a dead loss of production estimated at £700,000,000. That is a loss which the country will never make good. The Treasurer stated, as appears at page 14 of “ Hansard “, that the Government was pursuing an expansionary programme and was determined to follow through with it. This reminds me of the little boy who walked through the cemetery whistling to keep up his courage. Obviously, the Government cannot forget the conditions of November, 1960. It is afraid of expansion and afraid that it may have to take action similar to that which it took in November, 1960. As appears at page 15 of “ Hansard “ the Treasurer said -
Naturally we do not want another boom like that of 1960.
Already, more than 90,000 people are registered for employment. In a few months, thousands more will be added to the army looking for employment. Yet the Treasurer talks about not wanting a boom like that of 1960! This indicates that he is afraid to step up expansion because he fears that he may have to meet a situation like that of 1960. In every-day life, welearn by experience, Mr. Chairman. Surely the Government has learned by its experience subsequent to November, 1960! It ought to know now that its recollection of the conditions of 1960 should not be allowed to damp down any enthusiasm for expansion that it may have. It should know that it ought to do something about the 90,091 people who are already out of work and all the young people who will leave school and join the ranks of the unemployed at the end of this calendar year.
As I have said, the Government is frightened of expansion. It is afraid to put the unemployed to work. It is afraid of another boom. Obviously, it is afraid to face the electors, because it has not the courage to put a candidate in the field at the by-election for the Batman seat next Saturday in order to test the popularity of its policies.
I turn now to another statement made by the Treasurer -
Confidence is vital. . . .
This Budget will make no change. I ask: How can it help confidence if it provides only for a continuation of the conditions and the policies which have prevailed during the past twelve months? The observations made in the annual report of the Reserve Bank which I have just read to the committee indicate that the improvement which may have been manifest in the early part of the last financial year had lost its impetus and force by the end of the financial year. The bank was doubtful, at the end of June, whether expansionary plans in hand would prove adequate to restore earlier rates of growth. This Budget will do nothing to restore confidence.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– Prior to the suspension of the sitting I was dealing with the speech made by the Treasurer when bringing down his Budget. During this speech the Treasurer said that confidence was vital, but the Budget contains no proposals for a change from the position which prevailed during the last financial year. I want to know what there is in this Budget which will give an impetus to the economy. The Treasurer says that confidence is vital, but the Budget contains nothing that will make a contribution to the restoration of the confidence about which the Treasurer had so much to say. Mr. Verco, President of the Associated Chambers of Commerce, talking of the deficit provided for in the Budget, said -
The deficit is likely to be passive in its influence on business confidence, as any stimulus it provides will come mainly from the second round effects of increased public spending.
How will this Budget give an impetus to the restoration of confidence, particularly among the business community, the workers and the 90,000 people who to-day are registered as unemployed?
Prior to the recent re-opening of the Parliament, I met in Brisbane two public relations officers of major companies engaged in the wholesale trade, with business activities and associates in Queensland. These men had come to Queensland to find out what was happening in that State because earlier in the year this Government had made available to the Queensland Government moneys which had to be spent between March and June, the last three months of that financial year, for the purpose of stimulating employment. After travelling extensively through Queensland, these men found that there had been a temporary lift in employment but that by July, when I talked to them, that lift had disappeared. The findings of these men have been confirmed by the report of the Reserve Bank which we received to-day, and which says -
Early signs of increasing activity were shortlived.
It was not until early in the second quarter of the year that a turning point in activity was reached … By the end of the year . . . it remained doubtful whether the expansion plans in process would prove adequate to restore earlier rates of growth.
In other words, the earlier rates of growth - the rates of growth when the money was being spent - had diminished by July, as is confirmed by the report of the Reserve Bank for the year ended 30th June last. That was the finding of the two public relations officers I have mentioned, and it is also the opinion of the Reserve Bank.
Workers who are unemployed have no spending power. Many families buttoned up their purses because the wives realized that if their husbands became unemployed it would be difficult for them to get other jobs. As soon as the workers cut their spending a recession takes place, as we know. If the Government wants to restore the confidence which the Treasurer says is so vital, the only way in which to do it is to provide employment for the workers, because they are the spenders and the people who keep the business community going. If the Government wants to stimulate and give an impetus to the economy, it should immediately take the steps necessary to do all that the Opposition wants it to do, and once again implement a policy of full employment.
This is a young country crying out for development. We hear many statements about the vast potentialities and the great resources of Australia. It is true that some money is being spent in north Australia, but it is not enough. We are reconditioning a railway in Queensland - something for which the Queensland people will have to pay - and we are spending £1,000,000 a year on beef roads. That is all very good, but Queensland wants major works - works akin to the Snowy Mountains hydro-electric scheme, works of a real developmental nature - which will make a contribution to the policy of full employment. All that we have had from this Government is, as the chairman of the Associated Chambers of Commerce said, a budget that is passive in its effect. To my way of thinking, it is a negative thing and provides no real foundation for an expansion of the economy. Even the Reserve Bank said in its report that it remained doubtful whether the expansion plans in process would prove adequate.
This country will have to face a challenge when Britain enters the Common Market. There is no question that she will enter it. No matter what are the activities of the Government at the moment in trying to find markets elsewhere than in Britain for our products, they will have to be stepped up. The onus will be thrown on this Government, which controls Australia’s trade offices throughout the world, to step up those activities. If that is not done, the standard of living in this country will inevitably go down. Australian industries have shown that they can produce the goods and Australian salesmen have shown that they can sell the goods. An expanding economy will mean the creation of the necessary work to put the 90,000 people who are now unemployed back to work. That will create additional spending power and an internal demand for extra production. We will then have the confidence to which the Treasurer referred during the course of his speech.
The Minister for Trade, addressing 140 businessmen in Brisbane, told them they would have to hot-up their pace, but he did not tell them how they were to do that, at any rate according to the press report. He did not say how the Government would assist them to hot-up their pace. What the whole of the community is asking for is the implementation by this Government of policies which will give business people, as well as the workers, confidence. In November, 1960, this Government destroyed the confidence of the people. You cannot destroy the confidence of a community overnight and expect to retrieve it within the course of the next 24 hours, or to retrieve it by bringing down a Budget such as this, which gives no incentive for the restoration of confidence, particularly in the ranks of the consumers.
Looking at another statement made by the Treasurer during his Budget speech, 1 think this Government is afraid of expansion. The Treasurer said -
We do not want another boom like that of 1960.
Nobody wants conditions like those of November, 1960, to hit this country again, but we do want to see 90,000 men who today are unemployed back in employment. I have here a report of a statement made by Sir Douglas Copland, the economist who is well known to us all. On Friday, 10th August, only three days after the Budget was introduced, the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ published an article which stated that Sir Douglas Copland said that Australia needed stimulus for the economy more than it needed stability. The Treasurer made a great mouthful out of the word “ stability “ during the course of his speech. The report in the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ reads -
Australia needed stimulus for the economy more than it needed stability, Sir Douglas Copland, the economist, said to-day.
He said Australia needed to increase its rate of growth to cope with the great expansion in the number of young people in the years ahead.
Sir Douglas said the economy was now facing the task of absorbing nearly 100,000 unemployed while trying to provide employment for the biggest increase in the work force since the war, in the next two years.
That increase in the work force will be caused by young people leaving school. The report continues -
To meet this position, a growth rate of 4 per cent, would be needed merely to absorb the work force at current levels of productivity.
But there was every reason ,o assume that productivity would continue to increase at a rate of l.S per cent, a year.
Therefore a growth rate should be of the order of 5.5 per cent, a year or 1 per cent, above the rate of the average of the decade of the 50’s.
That is the opinion of Sir Douglas Copland. In his Budget speech, the Treasurer said that the Government expected a net increase of 85,000 persons in the work force in 1962-63. But employment figures show that in the two years ended 30th June, 1962, the work force increased by only 40,000 persons. What will happen to migrants coming to Australia in this financial year? What will happen to people leaving school later this year? In addition to the jobs that must be found for migrants and school-leavers, we must find work for the 90,000 persons who are to-day registered for employment.
The problem of school-leavers has actuated the mind of the Reserve Bank of Australia. In its report for the year ended 30th June, 1962, the bank states -
There remains the task of bringing back into effective production our remaining unused resources and of ensuring a rate of growth sufficient to employ the growing work force.
The growing work force comprises migrants and school-leavers. In Queensland almost 2,000 of the young people who left school last year are still without work. The problem as it affects the parents of those children is serious. The number of persons unemployed has risen not just in the last two years but in the last six years. A report in the “ Australian Financial Review “ of 14th August last reads -
Under the Menzies Government there has been a rising trend in the incidence of employment.
In the period July, 1946, to July, 1950, when Labour Government economic policies were predominant in their effects, the average level of registered unemployed applicants in July (excluding the 1949 strike-affected July) was 20,632.
In the next six years of the Menzies Government, there was a rise in the average level of unemployed in July to 30,088.
But it was in the subsequent six years - the years 1957 to 1962 inclusive- that the full effect of policies of monetary stability-
That is the phrase used by the Treasurer in his speech - on the level of unemployed had their effect.
In those six years the average level of unemployment in July was more than double that in the first six years of the Menzies Government and more than three times the normal average level in the first five post-war years.
That article gives the answer to the honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Jack), who cited figures relating to unemployment. In July in Queensland the meat works are operating and seasonal workers are engaged in the sugar industry, so employment figures should be better then than in other months. The figures that I have given to the committee indicate that the monetary stability policy which the Treasurer lauds has contributed to the steady increase in the army of unemployed. What of the Government’s policy of full employment? The Treasurer made only passing reference to it in his Budget speech. The Government has the audacity to claim that it subscribes to a policy of full employment but the figures that I have quoted reveal that its monetary stability policy has contributed largely to the present unemployment situation.
Honorable members have recently received copies of the White Paper on National Income and Expenditure. Not long ago the United Nations Organization conducted an economic survey of Europe. According to that survey, which covered 1960 and 1961, the industrialized countries of Europe achieved an average rate of growth of 5i per cent, in the gross national product during those two years. The White Paper compiled by the Government shows that in the two years 1960-61 and 1961-62 there was practically no increase in Australia’s gross national product. In 1959-60, the value of our gross national product was £6,890,000,000. In 1960-61, the value of our gross national product was £6,969,000,000. During the first eighteen months of those two years boom conditions were operating. In 1961-62, the value of our gross national product was £7,01 1 ,000,000. That period was the period which the Treasurer claimed in his speech was one of expansion.
I propose to quote now from another report published in the “ Australian Financial Review “ of 14th August last. It deals with an up-to-date survey into national output made by Dr. Pick, an American economist. The report, which shows that Australia should not be complacent about its living standards, reads -
On Dr. Pick’s figures, Australia is now only in sixth place in comparative world living standards as measured by the conventional yardstick of national production per head of population.
In Europe, Australia’s £545 sterling gross national product per head is exceeded by Sweden with a g.n.p. per head of £680 sterling and Switzerland with a g.n.p. per head of £600 sterling.
Against these figures it is worth nothing that Sweden in 1961 achieved a 4.7 per cent, growth in g.n.p. compared with no growth in Australia . . .
Despite that, the Government has the audacity to talk about expansion and to claim that Australia is progressing under its financial policy. The only result that has flowed from this Government’s financial policy has been widespread unemployment. We want to see the jobless put back to work; we want to see full employment restored in Australia. Then all sections of the community, including farmers and businessmen, will share in Australia’s prosperity. Sir Douglas Copland has suggested that a stimulus is needed. The Labour Party agrees with Sir Douglas Copland that a stimulus is necessary if-
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– Mr. Chairman, I have listened to-night with a great deal of interest to the remarks of the honorable member for Kennedy (Mr. Riordan) and I concede that I felt a little sympathy with him because of the speech he had to deliver. I felt it must have been a rather difficult speech for him to make. For the last three weeks in the debate on the Budget we have listened to speeches from the opposite side of the chamber which obviously were designed to spread a feeling of gloom and despair over the community. The task has not been easy for honorable members opposite, nevertheless that has obviously been their determined policy. I suppose the reason for it is that Opposition members feel that they must attempt to persuade the people of Australia that they have no future under the Government’s present policies. The honorable member for Kennedy has tried to pursue that course in his remarks to-night.
The honorable member stated that we must set out to give an impetus to industry and that we must inspire confidence in the community. That is exactly what the Budget is designed to do, and that is exactly what it will do. It is because the Opposition knows that this will be the result of the Budget that the honorable member for Kennedy and others who spoke before him talked as they did.
It interested me very much indeed when the honorable member for Kennedy said that recently he had been talking to certain representatives of industry in Queensland and that, although some little time previously they had expressed a feeling of confidence in the future of Queensland, they were now cooling off. That was, more or less, what he said. I could not help thinking of the money that has been put into Queensland recently by private enterprise. I shall deal later with what has been done by this Government. Private enterprise has invested in the new oil installations that are being provided near Brisbane and further up the Queensland coast. Does that suggest a lack of confidence in the Queensland Government or in this Government? There has never been investment like this before. Then there is the money for coal development that is being poured into Queensland by private enterprise. The Government knows about that, and the honorable member for Kennedy knows about it too. That investment involves millions of pounds.
Does the honorable member think that money from overseas would be coming in unless there was now a feeling of confidence in the federal and State governments? The interests that are prepared to invest their capital in these developments realize that our government is on a sound basis. What about the Weipa development? What about the oil exploration money that is being invested in Queensland and in other States? Does that suggest a lack of confidence in what the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments are doing? Certainly not. The position is that in the last few years there has been a greater investment by private enterprise in the development of Queensland than ever before. That has happened since government policies have begun to take effect, and particularly since the present State Government’s policies have begun to take effect.
I said at the beginning of my remarks that I had rather a kindly feeling for the honorable member for Kennedy because I know he is in a difficult situation. Being a Queensland member, he knows that this Government has done more for that State in the last two or three years than was done during any other period in its history. He cannot say that assistance should be given at Mount Isa, at Weipa, to the coal interests, or for development of the brigalow country. He wants to decry what has been done, but has to be careful as he is in a rather difficult situation. He says we have not spent enough in north Queensland. He says the Mount Isa railway loan has to be repaid. Why not? That is the basis upon which the Queensland Government first introduced the proposal. The loan can be repaid because of the development that will occur, the greater wealth that will be produced and the greater return that will accrue to the Queensland Government as a result of the improved railway facilities. Of course the Mount Isa railway will pay for itself; it should pay for itself. That is the basis of private enterprise, and that is the basis of this Government’s policy. This Government does not believe in giving handouts; it gives assistance that will enable projects to be developed so that they can pay for themselves and will not be simply a charge on the public purse.
The honorable member for Kennedy said we want major works in Queensland, something akin to the Snowy Mountains scheme. That rang a bell in my mind because I recall the project at Nathan Gorge, which can be regarded as being akin to the Snowy Mountains scheme. That has been under discussion for many years. I am sure the honorable member knows what I am talking about when I refer to the Nathan Gorge project. He will know that when I came into this Parliament in 1946 the then Labour Government of Queensland had been toying with the Nathan Gorge scheme for a number of years. The project offers great possibilities for irrigation and for the production of electricity. It will help to develop the whole of central Queensland. Yet between 1946 and quite recently, absolutely nothing was done! The Country PartyLiberal Government of Queensland now has a plan which, in association with the development of the Fitzroy basin, will enable this scheme to be brought to fruition to give Queensland something of the nature of the Snowy River scheme. I think the honorable member for Kennedy made a bit of a mistake in talking about the Snowy River scheme when preceding me in the debate because I know what I am talking about.
I wish to conclude my remarks on the honorable member’s speech by saying that this is the first time since I have been in this House that proposals have been put forward by a Queensland State government which are sound and worthy of support. Other proposals advanced have been a complete failure, and as an example I cite the Burdekin River scheme. To-day there is co-operation between the Queensland Government and this Government. We are giving the State Government the support it has been seeking. As a result the development of both Queensland and the Commonwealth will go ahead.
At the beginning of my remarks I said that I deplored the attitude of the Opposition in decrying what has been done and portending gloom, apparently with the object of spreading a feeling of no confidence in our nation. From what has been said by the Opposition it would appear that there is nothing right with the current Budget proposals. Honorable members opposite are saying “ Hear, hear! “ I expected them to. I trailed my coat. But I must say, Mr. Chairman, that if the Labour Party ever became the Government, the alternative proposals set out in some detail by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam), and expounded further by subsequent Opposition speakers, would, in a very short space of time, lead us to a situation which I can only describe as being a rendezvous with despair. There is one essential to the survival of a standardized and a stabilized free enterprise system, and we stand for a free enterprise system. We all know - not only those of us in this chamber but also those in industry - that in order to ensure the continuation of a stabilized free enterprise system, we must know that it will survive into a future that steadily becomes larger and larger and stronger and stronger.
For many years past, there have been some “ knockers “ and some defeatists who have told us that our economic structure is doomed to death, and so on. But if we look back into history, we will see that such statements have been shown by the results to be wrong. We have been going ahead steadily to an even higher and more stabilized standard of living. However, I do not say that history alone is the answer to the gloomy predictions of our friends opposite. We have the answer to these predictions in every State, in every city, in every town and on every farm. We have the answer to the gloomy predictions of stagnation and lack of confidence. We have the man-power, we have shown that we have the natural resources and we have the genius to invent and develop. In addition, we have the industrial skill to create an ever-flowing stream of new equipment and new ideas. If we have confidence - I am sure there is confidence in the community - our increased productivity will solve the problems that lie ahead. I do not say to the people generally, “ Look at the past “. I do not say, “ Close your eyes and be confident “. I say, “ Open your eyes, look at the present and the future and you will be convinced that there should be no lack of confidence in us “.
Now let me turn to some of the Opposition’s proposals. According to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, who put the case for the Opposition, the be-all and end-all of prosperity in Australia rests with the Government. That is a fallacious statement.
– Yes, planning; but the be-all and end-all of prosperity does not rest only with the Government. It does not rest with the giving of a hand-out here and a hand-out there from the public purse. That does not cure any economic ills that may exist. I say advisedly and deliberately that if we are to preserve our economic stability, we just cannot, in seeking popularity, make more and more payments, say, from the National Welfare Fund, with which I will deal in a few moments, and so indulge in monstrous deficit financing. In the public interest, this cannot be tolerated. We have turned our faces against it. There is only one source of real money and real stability in a community such as ours and that is in the operations of private enterprise. Let us remember that always. It is not a matter of the Government giving hand-outs; it is a matter of the Government stabilizing the economy, giving confidence and then relying on private enterprise to come along and do the rest. Our primary task, therefore, is to create the conditions under which private enterprise can go to work. We know this, and it has been the object of our policy for some time past. It is the object of this Budget. We want to create a feeling of confidence and to give to private enterprise the confidence to go forward and do the job. Our economic measures are directed to this end.
Let us look at the picture to-day. We have come through a pretty difficult situation in the last year or so. We know what the position was in February of last year. We worked through a situation of inflation until our November measures, when we took pretty stringent action. Then we had our February measures and now we have the Budget. In November, we made probably one of the most unpopular decisions that any government in our history has been compelled to make. But our action has been proved to be right. We put on the clamp in order to bring back into proper perspective an inflationary boom. Many who criticized us at the time, looking back now, acknowledge that we were right. Perhaps that is all that is worrying our friends on the other side of the chamber. They now realize that we were right, but they cannot acknowledge it. They are trying to find some way around the need to acknowledge that we were right.
We stabilized the economy and we stabilized our overseas balance of payments. How can any one, comparing the position of our overseas balances now with the situation when they were only about £300,000,000, say that our policies have not stabilized that basic feature of our economy? That is where the restoration of confidence amongst people in private enterprise comes into the picture. They can see that we have a stabilized economy and that they can safely invest in various enterprises. This is not a matter of trying to work some slick monetary scheme. It is a matter of knowing that if we give enterprise, great and small, a chance, it will generate employment, it will generate new purchasing power and it will continue with virility to create a surging flow of new ventures. So I say that any one - we have had a lot of this from the Opposition in the last three weeks - who preaches a doctrine of defeatism or lack of confidence in this chamber is doing a great disservice to this young country in which we all have a stake.
Now let me deal for a moment with the alternative Budget proposals made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. He said that the Opposition would budget for a deficit of £160,000,000. That is very strange in the light of some earlier statements made by the Opposition. As has already been pointed out by my colleague, the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick), Opposition members before the last election spoke about a deficit of £100,000,000 for a period of four months. The assertion that the Opposition would, if it were in office, budget for a deficit of £160,000,000 for a period of twelve months shows that there is no consistency whatever in the Opposition’s thinking.
In his speech on the Budget, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition said -
In proposing a greater amount of deficit financing than the Government in the current year, the Labour Party is then merely showing its sense of responsibility to the community.
What rot! What a sense of responsibility! The Deputy Leader of the Opposition went on to talk about increased child endowment and pensions. He said that this would probably add about £42,000,000 to the Budget, and that there would be other amounts which would be charged against National Welfare Fund. I point out that proposed payments out of this fund in 1962-63 already total £387,000,000. Mark you, these proposals by the Opposition are made at a time when there has been no increase in the cost of living. It has been stable for twelve months and there is no reason on that basis for increasing pensions. We have shown that we are prepared to provide for the needs of recipients of social services, but at a time like this, when stability is essential, we must put every £1 we can afford into productive development and development for export. To put another £42,000,000 into an unproductive proposal like this, is unrealistic and unworthy of any party that aspires to the treasury bench.
Strangely enough, having said blithely that another £42,000,000 would have been provided for unproductive work, the Deputy
Leader of the Opposition said, “ We would not increase taxation and we would lower the long-term yield on bonds”. If that is so. just where would the money come from? It does not grow on bushes. This plan is completely unrealistic and I do not think for one moment that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition believed that it could be carried out. But no doubt it sounded well over the radio. Having made some estimate of costs, I say that if the Labour Party had been returned to power, its proposals would have added £250,000,000 and not £160,000,000 to the Budget. However, let us pass that by because the Labour Party will never be in a position to put its proposals into effect.
I have dealt briefly with pensions. This Government has a perfect realization of its deep obligation to the aged and the sick, but it also has a great realization of its obligations to develop Australia. I will go on record as saying - I do not care what it costs me - that if I could see another £40,000,000 in the economy available this year for purposes other than those specified in the Budget, I would put an increase in pensions and other such social services last on the list following developmental proposals. I go on record to say that, and honorable members opposite can use it as they like. I am looking ahead and I say it definitely.
– That is not good in an election year.
– I do not care whether it is an election year or any other year. This Budget stands for stability. Other honorable members have said that, but it needs to be driven home because this is a Budget for the stability of Australia.
– For stagnation!
– Stagnation? How can you say that in view of the evidence against such a statement. The Budget means steady, sustained development. It means an all-round sustained stimulus to our economy. It means permanency in our road to prosperity. We have the economy to-day on an even keel. The Budget will keep it on an even keel and will enable us to out-sell some of our competitors in other fields.
The Opposition has been rather curiously silent on the practical development plan we have prepared. Perhaps I have spent too much time on generalities so I want to touch upon the development plan that the Budget puts into effect. These have been referred to by honorable members on this side of the chamber and I shall refer to them brieflyThe Government is providing £1,300,000 to develop the brigalow lands. I have referred to the Nathan Gorge scheme. Here is a mighty concept. I know it well and I know that the honorable member for Kennedy (Mr. Riordan) also realizes its great possibilities. Recently, the Premier of Queensland said -
Queensland has good reason this week to rejoice in the Commonwealth’s decision to provide £1,750,000 towards exploiting the development of the brigalow areas.
I am interested in this because it happens to concern my electorate and I have given some attention to these matters. This is a vast scheme and I am pleased indeed to find after discussions with the Queensland people that the Queensland Government is now preparing a scheme for the development of these areas. This, together with the Commonwealth grants, will provide the opportunity for men with know-how and capacity to go in and take up holdings. These men will be required to have a certain amount of equity in their land. It will not be simply handed out. The Queensland Government has said that, as development occurs, it will be prepared to grant freehold of this land so that those who put their money into it will be able to work on a solid and clear basis. I am pleased to see that. In addition, in Queensland, the Commonwealth will contribute £1,480,000 towards the cost of constructing beef roads, with an additional amount of £250,000 for the sealing of roads included in the programme. Over £8,000,000 will be contributed towards the cost of the Mount Isa railway rehabilitation project to make a total of nearly £12,000,000 provided in two years.
I wonder whether honorable members have realized the significant impact that both the beef roads schemes and the Mount Isa rail project have had and will continue to have on the employment situation in Queensland! In common with Western Australia, Queensland has little industrial development outside its capital city. From the point of view of employment, it is important that industries should be established. But of course, the developmental plans in this Budget apply not only to Queensland. The Government is providing £4,300,000 to be spent this year on the Kalgoorlie-Kwinana standard-gauge railway. There is a provision of £1,432,000 towards the cost of the development of the north-east of Western Australia. I have a close kinship with my Western Australian friends in these matters. These are not just pipe dreams but a practical and determined approach by this Government to the development of northern Australia.
Add to these figures the £700,000 to be made available for cattle roads in Western Australia together with £1,000,000 for the same purpose in the Northern Territory and £300,000 towards the construction of a new jetty at Derby, and we see that the Budget presents an ambitious programme for the development of northern Australia.
I turn now to coal loading facilities. We are providing £685,000 in this financial year for the improvement of coal loading facilities at certain ports in New South Wales, compared with an expenditure of £284,000 last year. In addition, there will be a grant of £415,000 for that purpose from the coal industry fund of the Joint Coal Board, compared with £172,000 last year. There has been some criticism of our attitude to South Australia, but our overall plan caters for the whole of Australia. We are to finance the purchase for South Australia of twelve diesel-electric locomotives.
– Order! The Minister’s time has expired.
.- It is amazing that the Postmaster-General (Mr. Davidson) should have the audacity to stand in this place to-night and criticize the proposals of the Labour Party and the speech made by the honorable member ‘ for Kennedy (Mr. Riordan). I stress that he is the Postmaster-General. I should have thought that he would have devoted some of his time this evening to telling the Parliament and the nation what he intended to do about the shortage of telephones; about the shortage of exchange buildings; about those people who have been waiting upwards of three years for telephones; about employees of the Post Office who are working in dilapidated and overcrowded buildings; about the shortages of post offices throughout the Commonwealth; about the delay in providing national television stations in the country areas; about his failure to ensure the provision of first-class television programmes; about his failure to ensure that Australian artists, writers and actors are given an adequate share of time on Australian television stations; and about the plans he has in mind to curtail television advertising, which occupies too much of the time of some programmes.
We have listened to a Minister who, perhaps, in the time he has been a Minister of the Crown has had more trouble, inefficiency and maladministration in his department than has any other Minister. In his speech to-night he said that the Labour Party is spreading a gospel of doom. In fact, the Labour Party has complete confidence in the economy. The Labour Party has complete confidence in the people and the industries of Australia. The only reason for our despair is that this Government is in office and has been in office for too long.
The Minister would have spent his time in a much better way had he told us whether the administration of his department in Queensland has picked up. He would have spent his time in a much better way had he told us about the plans he proposes to implement and the actions he proposes to take to clear up the starting-price betting scandal in the post offices in Victoria. But the Minister was making a speech in which he did not believe. He was making the speech because he felt that it was his duty to do so. He realizes that as soon as the electoral redistribution proposals come into being he is likely to join the ex-Minister for Supply, who now is in political oblivion. The Minister should act smartly if he is to solve some of the problems which exist in his department. If he does not want to leave the Parliament with the reputation of being perhaps the worst Postmaster-General who has ever held the portfolio, he should be trying at this stage to do something about the shortage of telephones, the shortage of exchange buildings, the shortage of post offices and the other matters which I have mentioned.
The Postmaster-General devoted some of his time to telling us about the money that is being spent on prospecting for oil in
Queensland. It is appropriate, Mr. Chairman, that you should be reminded that Australians hold only a 20 per cent, interest, through the Australian Oil and Gas Corporation Limited, in the successful oil strike at Moonie. Many of the shares in that company have been purchased by overseas investors. Here is a national asset. This is the first time that we have found oil in Australia, but that national asset will be controlled and developed by overseas interests. The Minister would have spent his time in a much better way had he told us of the Government’s proposals to preserve this great asset which has been found in Queensland.
If the Minister is so pleased with the policies which the Government has adopted, perhaps he could have given us some reasons why the Government neglected to nominate a candidate for the Batman byelection. Why has the Government squibbed the fight in Batman? The seat was held for Labour only because of the strong personal following of the late Mr. Alan Bird. The Government has run away from the challenge. It has run away from the opportunity to go on the hustings and explain its policies to the electors of Batman, to see whether they believe that those policies are the ones that they want to be adopted. The Senate vote in the Batman electorate indicated that, but for the personal following of the late Mr. Alan Bird, the Government could have won the seat. But because the Government has no confidence in its policies and because its supporters do not believe the words they utter in this Parliament, the Government is fighting the battle by proxy. It is sending to the area a man from New South Wales who is regarded in a poor light in political circles. If the Government felt so strongly about its policies it should at least have had the courage to face up to the Batman byelection. But it has not.
In the last three or four years the Government has not had the courage to face up to the problems confronting our nation in the economic field - problems which it has created by its stop and go policies, by its horror budgets of 1953, 1956 and 1960, by its alterations in policy, by imposing a heavier sales tax on motor vehicles and then removing it 86 days later and by imposing a credit squeeze on building and other developmental works. These policies have caused widespread unemployment in this great nation of ours. This Government has created every one of the problems which confront us to-day. It still has not the courage to advance any proposals which are likely to solve those problems. It is praying that something will turn up. It is hoping that the Australian people, particularly those in industry - workers and management - will pull it out of the fire by their own efforts. It is apparent that they will receive no support from the Government.
One factor which should be pointed out at this stage - it was pointed out last week by the honorable member for Phillip (Mr. Einfeld) - is that the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) is not. prepared to implement policies which he feels might be beneficial to the country generally, because the Liberals are unable to trust their coalition partners. It is becoming increasingly obvious each day that the two Government parties have very little in common. The Liberal Party is afraid to stand up to the Country Party. In fact, it is a case of the tail wagging the dog. The redistribution proposals, which will not benefit the Country Party to any great extent, have been the cause of criticism in this place by the honorable member for Gwydir (Mr. Ian Allan) and by the Leader of the Country Party, the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen). It is even being suggested around the lobbies that the Liberal Party is disinclined to continue with the proposals because it is afraid that its partner in the Government will double-cross it on the floor of the House.
The honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Bury) was sacked from his position as Minister for Air on the demand of the Leader of the Country Party because the honorable member had the audacity to express his own opinion. We have heard time and time again in this Parliament that every member of the Liberal Party has the right to speak against any policy proposals. The Labour Party is ridiculed because it insists upon party discipline. As is usually the case with members of the Liberal and Country Parties, it is a matter of do as I say, not do as I do. They speak and act in entirely different ways. The honorable member for Wentworth made a speech which was opposed to the attitude adopted b.y the Country Party, and the Leader of the Country Party insisted that the honorable member be sacked from the Ministry. If the Liberals believed in the right of each member to express his point of view then the honorable member for Wentworth should not have been sacked from the Ministry.
Other grave differences between the two Government parties relate to the European Common Market, wheat sales to China and the handling of the West New Guinea situation. All these things are causing disunity between the two parties. The time is not far distant when we will be back to the good old days when the United Australia Party, as the Liberal Party then was, and the Country Party were at each other’s throat. I recall a remark made by Sir Arthur Fadden about the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) after the former had taken certain action. Sir Arthur Fadden said that criticism then voiced by the Prime Minister was just another stab in the back in a long line of such betrayals. We are very close to another such situation. Mr. Chairman, how can you have good, stable government by two parties which are at each other’s throat and cannot trust each other? Until the Government is defeated we will not have any policy put into operation that will engender confidence in the community.
The Treasurer, in his Budget speech, talked a great deal about stability and the need for confidence. He said that the Government’s policy had been wonderful in relieving unemployment and helping to put the economy back on its feet. It is interesting to look at some of the statements made by such authorities as the National Bank of Australasia Limited which, in its monthly summary for August, said -
Outside the fact that the Government has budgeted for a deficit of £100,000,000 no concession has been given to any one. There has been no attempt to put drive back into the economy and confidence back into industry and the people.
The whole of the report of the Reserve Bank of Australia for 1962 is written in a critical vein. It states -
The official policies of the first half of 1961-62 would have been adequate, perhaps more than adequate, for conditions of buoyant expectations. They proved insufficient in the face of continued hesitation.
A further statement reads -
There was still a substantial amount of unemployment; there was still a capacity for greater production within industry; and expenditure on plant and equipment had failed to revive. The demand for liquidity continued and it remained doubtful whether expansion plans in process would prove adequate to restore earlier rates of growth.
The report also stated -
There remains the task of bringing back into effective production our remaining unused resources and of ensuring a rate of growth sufficient to employ the growing work force.
Further, the report stated -
If the opportunities for continued expansion of some types of manufacturing activity characteristic of the last decade seem less, then a possibility is presented to develop other avenues of expansion (e.g., expanding export industries) and to carry out some of those tasks - both national and private - which have had to be postponed in past years.
A further statement was -
The rate of increase in civilian employment in the second half of the year was high but the rise over the year as a whole was not rapid by post-war standards.
Those quotations show that even the Reserve Bank of Australia is not satisfied with the policies adopted by the Treasurer. I understand that the Treasurer is to follow me in this debate. I feel that his re-entry into the debate after having spent an hourandaquarter in delivering the Budget speech indicates that many questions have been raised by the Opposition which still have to be answered. However, the Treasurer, even in his most able moments, will not prove capable of answering the arguments that have been levelled against the Government’s policy by the National Bank of Australasia Limited, the Australia and New Zealand Bank Limited, the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) and by many newspapers and business people throughout Australia. I ask the Treasurer to attempt to show that the figures which have been cited are not correct.
The “ Monthly Economic Letter “ of the First National City Bank, New York, has published figures relating to the depreciation of money in 44 countries. Australia appears twenty-eighth on the list. An index figure of 100 has been adopted for a base year of 1951. By 1956, the index figure for
Australia had fallen to 75 and by 1961 it had fallen to 67. The countries which are listed below Australia as having had a greater rate of depreciation include Greece, Mexico, Colombia, Iran, Peru, Turkey, Brazil, Argentine, Chile and Bolivia. So, it can be seen that Australia is not regarded as having a very stable economy. The Government has a lot to answer for. Despite the protestations of the Postmaster-General that the Labour Party is preaching a gospel of gloom, I believe that until the Government is prepared to implement an adventurous plan and make money available for consumer spending, for the States and for vast developmental works, it will not be necessary for any one to preach a policy of despair or gloom because the people realize that nothing but despair and gloom lie ahead of them while this Government remains in office.
I pass now to the subject of the relationship between Australia and Indonesia. It is now almost an established fact that Indonesia will control West New Guinea in the very near future. It is most important that close and friendly ties and a better understanding should be established between the two nations. Far too few Australians know anything about Indonesia and I feel that very few Indonesians know anything about Australia. Indonesia will have a joint border with us in New Guinea, and the problems of the development of that region will be common to both nations. It is essential that Australia and Indonesia should work in close harmony. We must get to know each other better and understand each other’s problems. I suggest that the Government should consider sponsoring a visit to Indonesia by a delegation consisting of representatives of women’s organizations, trade union representatives, employers and members of this Parliament. These people could see at first hand some of the problems that confront Indonesia. They could see the transport system in Indonesia, the health facilities, the educational facilities, the housing facilities and the general problems that confront that growing nation. To see these things at first hand would be much better than reading about them. Such a delegation would return to Australia with a much better understanding of Indonesia and its people. Such a tour would be of ines timable value. I suggest, also that an approach should be made for a similar visit by a delegation from Indonesia consisting of representatives similar to those whom we would send from Australia.
The Government, in this Budget, has neglected social services entirely. It has completely neglected age and invalid pensioners and widows and has given no concessions at all to those who receive repatriation pensions. Above all, it has neglected child endowment. This is a subject that I have raised here on numerous occasions, and I intend to raise it again and again until this Government does something about it, because I consider that the plight of the larger-than-average family becomes more serious every day. You, Mr. Chairman, well realize that no change has been made in the rates of child, endowment since 1950. Indeed, there has been no change in the rate applicable to second and subsequent children since 1948. In November, 1948, child endowment represented 8.4 per cent, of the basic wage of £5 19s. a week. Child endowment now represents 3.4 per cent, of the present basic wage of £14 8s. a week. The proportion of the basic wage that child endowment represents has never been lower since endowment was introduced 21 years ago. The Australian Labour Party, for a great number of years, has advocated substantial increases in the scale of child endowment This proposal was contained in our policy speech for the 1961 general election. But this Government still fails to increase the child endowment paid to the parents of our children.
This evening, I want to mention the proposals made by the National Catholic Welfare Committee in a booklet entitled “ A Case for Graded Child Endowment and Increased Maternity Allowances “. The committee suggests that endowment be paid on a graduated scale, with an increase of 5s. a week for the third child, 10s. for the fourth child, 15s. for the fifth child, and £1 for the sixth and subsequent children. It suggests, also, an increase of £1 a week for children in institutions. The committee considers that the basic wage generally provides for the needs of a husband and wife and one or perhaps two children. The basic wage and the present scale of child endowment are inadequate for the needs of families with three or more children. The larger the family is in numbers, the greater are the purchases of clothes, beds and bedding, furniture and food, and the more is paid in fares. Generally, expenditure increases greatly as the number in the family increases. The National Catholic Welfare Committee suggests that its proposals for increases in child endowment on a graduated scale would cost only £19,315,402 a year. It considers that the graduated scale would assist the largerthanaverage families that most need assistance.
I recall reading in “ Hansard “ the speech made by the present Treasurer when, as Minister for Labour and National Service, he moved the second reading of the measure which, in 1941, provided for the introduction of child endowment. In that speech, the right honorable gentleman took great credit for the fact that the first Menzies Government was introducing child endowment and said that it would benefit families considerably. The present Government has done nothing about child endowment since it introduced endowment for the first child at the rate of 5s. a week in 1950. Was the Treasurer sincere in 1941 when he eulogized the system of child endowment on its introduction? If he was, can he give the committee any reason why his attitude on child endowment has changed so considerably in the years since?
I consider that we are confronted with a great number of problems that could be effectively dealt with by this Government if it attacked them in a spirit of enterprise and initiative. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition, who is acting as Leader of the Opposition, in his speech on the European Common Market as well as in his speech on this Budget, spoke, as a man with great confidence in the future of Australia and its people and as one with a high regard for the welfare of Australians. He made truly Australian speeches. The Treasurer should take a leaf out of my colleague’s book and have confidence in the industries and the workers of Australia. If he did this, he would have the courage to introduce legislation that would effectively restore the economy, which is so depressed throughout Australia.
Mr. Chairman, never in the history of the Australian nation has it been more important that Government policies be designed to engender confidence, restore full employment, increase productivity and lower costs. Yet the Budget for 1962-63, which we are now considering, fails in every one of these respects. This Budget will do nothing to achieve any of the aims expressed by the Treasurer in high-sounding phrases such as “ the determination of the Government to follow through with its expansionary programme until the economy is operating at the highest level of activity we can hope to sustain “, and “ confidence is vital “, and in the statement that the Government’s approach to our economic problems “ is, predominantly and in the truest sense, forward-looking and constructive “. Similar phrases and sentiments have been expressed time and time again by the Treasurer, the Postmaster-General and other members of this Government, but unemployment is still at the level of more than 90,000, industry is operating below peak level and the public is completely baffled by the stop-and-go policies adopted by the Government. It is time for a change, and the sooner the opportunity is given to the Australian people, the sooner the change will be made.
Mr. HAROLD HOLT (HigginsTreasurer [9.17]. - Mr. Chairman, we have h=d a long debate on the Budget for 1962- 63, and that debate is now nearing its close. It has not been very exciting or dramatic, despite the fact that the Opposition has gone through the motions of proposing a motion of censure in the traditional form in which censure is directed at a government when it presents its budget to the Parliament. From the outset, it was apparent that the Opposition neither expected nor, I suspect, wished its motion to be carried. Certainly, the atmosphere of this debate has given no hint that the Opposition expected or wished the motion to be accepted.
This debate has thrown great responsibility on the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam), who is at present acting as Leader of the Opposition, in his new role. Those of us who hoped for some constructive and helpful contribution from him towards the solution of the difficult economic problems which face Australia, subject as it is to the vagaries of the seasons and the economic influence of overseas prices and al] the other factors which work against the steady expansion that we all wish for, were quickly disappointed.
– Did not the Minister hear the Deputy Leader of the Opposition’s speech?
THE CHAIRMAN. - Order ! The honorable member for Wilmot must come to order.
– The Minister is a humbug.
THE CHAIRMAN.- Order! The honorable member will withdraw that remark.
– I withdraw the remark.
– In an equally Christian spirit, Mr. Chairman, I accept my friend’s withdrawal.
As I have said, Sir, those of us who hoped for a constructive contribution to this debate were quickly disappointed. However, 1 do not want to spend much of my time in personal comment on the remarks made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. My colleague, the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick), I think, summed up the reaction of most members on this side of the chamber when he said that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition’s speech was smart, slick and shallow. It contributed nothing to our better understanding of the problems confronting this country. Certainly, it contributed nothing of assistance to a government faced with the difficulties which I have outlined - difficulties which would face any Commonwealth government whatever its political complexion might be.
I am indebted to my colleagues of the Cabinet for the way in which they have dealt so objectively, with the various criticisms which have been raised by the Opposition as the debate has proceeded. I do not want to go over that ground again. I am indebted also to my colleagues of the Government parties for the support which they have given to me and, through me, to the Government on the proposals we have put forward. When we bring a budget involving expenditures of some £2,000,000,000 before this Parliament, we do not expect that everybody will be in complete agreement with us on every detail. Indeed, when we meet in Cabinet to frame a budget we have to reconcile the competing claims of more than twenty departments of state and fit them into the resources that we see available to us. When one has regard to that consideration and to the fact that supporters of this Government in the Parliament who are not in the Ministry did not have an opportunity of contributing to those earlier discussions, it is a heartening thing to find the unity and strength of support behind us that we have known on this occasion.
I am glad - I will give evidence of it in a moment - that the assessment which the Government made in its Budget and in the policies it has brought forward has been confirmed by all the available indicators which have come to our notice since the Budget was presented. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition in moving his amendment on behalf of the Opposition, gave Labour’s analysis of the current economic situation and an outline of the policies which a Labour government would pursue. It has been obvious for a long time that the two sides of this Parliament see Australia’s situation in very different terms. The Government sees the economy as soundly based and moving steadily forward. The Opposition professes to see it in a state of recession and stagnation. We cannot both be right in our diagnosis. The vital question to be answered is: Which of us takes the correct view of the Australian situation? This is no mere matter of debate or of political kudos. The measures which each of us proposes relate to our judgment of the situation and its needs. If the Labour Party’s assessment is correct, our measures are likely to be proved inadequate. If our view is correct, Labour’s policies, even if they were unobjectionable on other grounds - I can find plenty to object to in terms of principle in some of the policies which the Opposition has put before us - would go too far on the assessments that members opposite have made.
I believe most fair-minded Australians will agree with me that it can be confidently asserted that all available economic indicators which have emerged since the Budget was introduced confirm the correctness of our Budget assessment. The honorable member for Lang (Mr. Stewart) quoted extensively from various people but I will not take up my time in giving second-hand views. I will, however, make one brief reference. If there is one daily journal that is respected by honorable members on both sides of this chamber for its objectivity and realism, it is the Melbourne “Age”. I think that will be conceded even by our critics on the other side of the chamber. On Monday of this week, the Melbourne “ Age “, commenting editorially and referring to the latest indications of economic development in Australia, said -
The claim by the Treasurer in his Budget speech that “ generally expansion seems to be proceeding steadily” begins to acquire an air almost of understatement.
That is a judgment which all of us would now be disposed to make, and certainly it is one which thoughtful people around Australia will endorse, so I give a round-up of the latest economic indicators which support that view. Industrial production for July last showed a marked increase over that for July, 1961. I am referring now to data which were not available to us when I delivered my Budget speech. Retail sales in July last - excluding motor vehicles, petrol and other matters related to the motor industry - showed an increase of 4.2 per cent, over those for the corresponding month in 1961. Motor registrations for July last totalled 28,866, the highest July registrations ever recorded and a figure previously exceeded only in October and November, 1960. The outstanding balance of instalment credit financing of retail sales amounted to £375,000,000 at the end of July. This was an increase of £6,000,000 since the low point reached at the end of May, At the end of July savings bank deposits had reached the record total of £1,756,000,000, showing an increase of £86,000,000 over the figure for the end of March. Trading bank advances, regarded as a symptom of increasing buoyancy, increased by £89,000,000 between MaTch and July. Building approvals in July last were well above those of a year earlier and, in respect of non-residential building, well above those even of July, 1960. July produced a further drop, by more than 3,000, in unemployment registrations. Imports are showing a rising trend, reflecting, no doubt, the increase in the tempo of business activities.
Measured against those facts, Labour’s diagnosis is shown to be hopelessly astray. There is no novelty in this. I recollect the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) predicting that our overseas reserves would fall by £200,000,000 over a period in which they actually rose by £150,000,000. We remember his alarmist forecast of the likely level of unemployment registrations, and this proved to be 66,000 in excess of the actual figure. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition told us he would rather overshoot the mark than undershoot it. For our part, we would rather be right on the mark. As I will show as I go along, if given his head on the programme outlined in his speech, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition would quickly find himself, not only overshooting the mark, but also well out into outer space.
I want now to say something, even at a little length, on the subject of employment and the Government’s policy in relation to it. This was done admirably, as one would expect, by my colleague, the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon). If I come back to this theme, it is for two important reasons. One is that this has been made the cardinal feature of Labour’s campaigning, not only against this Budget but in all its political campaigns for some time. The second reason is that my own position and attitude have been brought into suspicion by the line of Labour propaganda which has been developed.
Let me, without wanting to labour this matter time and time again, put on record and beyond doubt where I stand and where I have always stood on this important issue. As usual, the Opposition has tried to squeeze every ounce of political advantage out of the state of unemployment. It does so regardless or reckless of the effect these tactics have on business confidence or on the prospects of those whom the Opposition tells us it wants to help. The Opposition says we have abandoned our full employment objective. Let me remind the Opposition that the printed official federal platform of the Liberal Party of Australia - this policy is, of course, supported by our colleagues of the Country Party - sets out our policy in clear terms. Under the passage headed “ Employment and industry “ we state our policy as -
Full employment at good wages to all willing and able to work.
Far from abandoning that policy, I would like honorable gentlemen opposite to know that I acted as chairman of the committee that adopted it and drafted it. Our printed industrial charter, which is available to any critic, whether he belongs to the Opposition or not, and which I also had a hand in compiling, summarizes the industrial aims of the Liberal Party and states our employment aim as -
Full and useful employment with wages and conditions of employment at the highest level the economy can sustain.
My attitude on this matter may be found recorded in “ Hansard “ from my earliest days in this place. I came into the Parliament impelled by what I saw of the needless economic waste and the distress and social degradation from chronic unemployment in those depression years when the Australian Labour Party had shown itself hopelessly incapable of meeting the economic difficulties of the time. The first cause I sponsored in this Parliament - I sponsored it in the teeth of trade union opposition - was a plan for the technical training of youths who had missed their employment opportunities in those unhappy depression days. I was Minister for Labour and National Service and Minister for Immigration during the critical post-war years when full employment and a continuing migration policy became firmly established as foundations of Australian growth. I have never lost sight of the importance of full employment, nor have I lost sight of the need to work persistently in order to achieve and sustain a state of full employment.
In my speech in February on the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply - one should not have to go over the same ground time after time in this place - I referred to this matter at some length. I set out then the goals that we have pursued persistently since we took office. Those goals include national development, industrial growth, migration sustained on a large scale, full employment for our people, improving social standards, a reasonable provision for national security and adequate housing, We have endeavoured to achieve those goals in association with stability of costs and prices. In my speech last February I dealt specifically with the unemployment problem. I pointed out that of every 100 average Australians in the work force, 97 were employed at good wages and under good conditions. I said that the Government was not indifferent to the plight of the remaining three, and I expressed the hope that the measures then announced would speedily increase opportunities for persons seeking work. In many cases that has been the result. The figure of 97 persons employed out of every 100 persons seeking work has become 98 persons employed out of every 100 seeking work. Those 98 persons are earning good wages and are working under good conditions. The Government is striving to improve the prospects of the remaining two persons in every 100.
What does the Opposition mean by full employment? I can tell honorable members what the Government means by full employment. We mean that one of the basic objectives of national policy - indeed of national economic policy - should be to ensure that a job opportunity is available for all who are willing and able to work. That does not mean, of course, as Mr. Chifley recognized when he put Labour’s views publicly on this matter, that a job can always be made available in the place and of the kind which the job-seeker would choose. If full employment is to be realized the job-seeker has obligations to the community to keep himself fit for employment and as skilled as he can make himself. One of the problems that we have had to face - having been Minister for Labour and National Service for so many years, I am very conscious of this fact - is that we usually reach a situation of over-full employment in the skilled and semi-skilled occupations before we can fully absorb persons in the unskilled category. That is the situation in much of Australian industry to-day. If honorable gentlemen opposite want to help in these matters, let them join with us in facing these problems positively. In a free society there will always be economic fluctuations affecting the level of employment demand. The terms of trade, reflecting as they do the prices secured overseas for our products, the effects of seasonal factors and the psychological attitudes of businessmen and consumers are but a few examples of the factors that affect the demand for labour.
Even in regimented societies fluctuations in employment can and do occur. I was vividly reminded of this at the International Labour Conference in 1957 when I heard representatives of socialist governments, including at least one from the Soviet bloc, speaking of their unemployment problems.
Throughout its term of office this Government has sought to maintain the economic conditions necessary for full employment. We have succeeded in doing so far beyond the expectations which Labour spokesmen voiced shortly after the war. At that time a 5 per cent, level of registrations for employment seemed to the Australian Labour Party to be a realistic target. I am not taunting honorable members opposite or criticizing them for that view. At the time 5 per cent, of unemployment seemed a realistic target. Some countries, the United States of America and Canada being conspicuous examples, have difficulty in bettering that percentage to-day. Rarely in our term of office have registrations for employment exceeded 2 per cent, of the work force, and for the most part they have been below that figure. No Australian government in the history of this country can point to a better employment record. Where does the Opposition stand? Does it seriously put forward, as its Deputy Leader has, at least by implication and, I would say, quite directly from time to time, that a nil registration of people seeking work represents the goal of full employment? The Deputy Leader of the Opposition said that a certain number of people were available for employment. He then made an arithmetical calculation to ascertain how much extra production we would achieve if all of those people were employed, and he claimed that at present Australia was missing out on that production.
If those remarks do not mean, by implication, that Labour’s goal is a nil figure of registrations for employment, then I do not know what they do mean. Does the Leader of the Opposition seriously make that submission? The Australian economy, with its wide range of seasonal and constructional work, could not function without some availability of labour. Mr. Monk, President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, has frankly acknowledged that fact; and in their hearts honorable gentlemen opposite know it to be true. The unemployment situation is not the result of a government striving to maintain a pool of unemployed; it is the natural play of economic forces. A man who has been engaged on a building project that has come to an end registers for employment while getting ready for his next job. The same argument applies to the shearer whose work cuts out, to the fruit-picker, and to the cane-cutter in northern Queensland. When their work finishes they register for employment in order to be ready for their next jobs. So, at any point of time, even when the economy is most bouyant, in an industrialized and widely scattered economy such as ours, you find a certain number of persons registered for employment. Do honorable gentlemen opposite acknowledge that and accept it as a fact of life?
The time is long overdue for honesty from the Labour Party on this issue. The time is long overdue for the Labour Party to cease making a party political football of unemployment. No political party has a monopoly of interest in the welfare of the Australian wage-earner. No member of this Parliament lacks a genuine sympathy for any person needing work and being unable to secure it. No member of the Parliament lacks the determination to do what can be done to help the unfortunate members of our community. If honorable members opposite had 2d. worth of economic wisdom they would realize that this Budget is directed towards achieving a state of full employment in this country. The lack of realism on the part of Opposition members is apparent from the remarkable omission in the speech of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition of any recognition of, or indeed any reference to, the role of primary industries in this country. It is almost incredible that a man speaking for the alternative government and given unlimited time in which to deliver a speech, which not only was an analysis of the Budget but also, as any observer would agree, set out to expound Labour policy, should fail to make any reference to the farmer, to the primary producer or to rural production. The honorable gentleman made no reference in his speech to the role that adequate production and marketing of our primary resources plays in achieving full employment in this country. Yet, Sir, I would have thought a child would have known that without the competitive strength for entry into world export markets there can be no means of paying the import bill necessary to supply and service Australian manufacturing and transport industries, and, therefore, no income adequate to provide the employment opportunities necessary if a full employment objective is to be attained.
If Opposition members are so blind, small wonder they do not understand the way in which this Budget is designed to preserve employment and prosperity by sustaining those industries on which the prosperity and employment must rest. Either the Labour Party is blind to these things, or it has a shabby preference for using employment as a political sledgehammer, regardless of the damage it may then inflict on those it may claim to represent. Despite its worst efforts, I have every confidence that while this Government holds office its policies will continue to stimulate the work opportunities necessary for a rapidly growing Australian community.
After the Deputy Leader of the Opposition had made his speech on the Budget I made a brief public comment. In this I described his attack on the Budget as revealing reckless amateurism and a dangerous disregard of the vital importance of preserving Australia’s competitive position in export markets. I have already said something about the vital association between an adequate export income and our objective of full employment. Let me give some examples of the honorable gentleman’s reckless amateurism.
At one critical stage of his speech he told us that a Labour Government would - . . request the Reserve Bank to bring presure on the bond market to lower the longterm yield on bonds. This measure could be expected to have some mild effects in reducing saving and increasing consumption.
Has he, or any of those who sit with him, the slightest conception of what is involved in the kind of operation he recommends? Using the Reserve Bank to bring pressure on the bond market in order to raise prices and, therefore, to reduce yields of bonds would require the injection of enormous amounts of central bank credit into the economy. He was not specific as to how far the rate should be lowered, but Labour speakers frequently refer to a 4 per cent, or even lower rate as being desirable. Our current long-term bond rate is 5 per cent. Can I take it that anything above 4 per cent, would be regarded by the Opposition as excessive? I invite honorable members opposite to say so. In their silence let us assume that the intention was to reduce long-term bond yields to 4 per cent, from the present 5 per cent. To achieve this result the central bank would have to buy sufficient securities on the market to force up prices on the £2,000,000,000 worth of securities held in non-official hands by amounts ranging up to 15 per cent, at the long-term end of the market. It is not possible to estimate how much continued buying would be required to achieve this and to hold prices there. Current bond holders would undoubtedly find the proposition very attractive and flock to take advantage of it, but the potential effect would clearly be highly inflationary.
While the Government has budgeted for strong and continuous expansion, it has set its face against immoderate inflationary plans of this kind. The history of peacetime attempts at forced reductions in bond yields has not been a happy one, and the Deputy Leader seems to have forgotten the lesson learnt by Dr. Dalton, the Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer in England immediately after the last war. When forces of expansion are strong, and particularly when the economy is not regimented, there is a tendency for interest rates to rise because of the competing claims for funds, and any attempt to hold down interest rates artificially is as certainly doomed to failure as was King Canute’s attempt to hold back the tides.
Dr. Dalton publicly announced his intention to reduce the long-term bond rate by about 1 per cent. By injecting nearly £1,000,000,000 sterling of central bank credit into the economy he did succeed in reducing the long-term bond rate by nearly i per cent., but this action so aggravated the problems of inflationary pressure and balance of payments deficits, and reduced loan subscriptions, that the operation ended in enormous failure by 1947 and the longterm bond rate returned to its previous level.
To enable the completion of State works, which is only part of the story, and the completion of housing programmes, the Commonwealth has from its own resources supplemented loan reserves every year since 1951-52 to the now massive total of £800,000,000, and the Budget estimates imply further assistance of £51,000,000 in 1962-63. If there were to be a substantial reduction in the bond rate there would naturally be an immediate reduction in Commonwealth loan subscriptions, accentuated by the reduced saving in the community which the Deputy Leader has said he expects would occur. In fact he would operate to secure it. The Commonwealth’s cash deficit, which can only be met by drawing on central bank credit, could then be very much higher than the £160,000,000 which he has suggested is appropriate for this financial year.
I now turn to semi-government and local authority rates. These are geared to the Commonwealth bond rate. A substantial reduction in these rates would certainly mean uncompleted loan programmes, inability to finance current and planned essential works, and a general disruption in the public works programmes of these authorities. A substantial reduction in interest rates could also have adverse effects on our balance of payments position. If interest rates were to be reduced in Australia without any corresponding reductions in other countries, it is axiomatic that shortterms funds used in international commerce would tend to move away from Australia. For example, payments for Australian imports would be accelerated because of cheaper short-term borrowing opportunities in Australia, and purchasers of Australian exports would tend to delay their remittances wherever possible. This is not merely academic theory; it is one of the hard facts of economic life. Several Western countries have found this to their cost recently when their internal interest rates have fallen below those of other countries with which they have strong commercial ties.
The Deputy Leader went on to say that this measure -
No such general stimulus to investment is needed, and certainly not as a long-term measure, which is presumably what is contemplated. In practice it would involve, as I have explained, an excessive and dangerous resort to central bank financing and there could, in addition, be serious short-falls in Commonwealth, semigovernment and local authority loan raising programmes. There is no guarantee that a fall in the long-term bond rate would quickly produce general reductions in the interest rates offered elsewhere by institutions which compete with the Commonwealth for the limited amount of funds available for investment.
If, as is almost certain, inflationary processes and trends were to reappear as a result of extensive central bank market purchases, the result would be increased costs and prices and damage to the very people that the measure is claimed to assist. The Deputy Leader also said -
Under the Menzies Government alone in the Western world, interest rates are not flexible, they always rise. They are the highest in the Western world.
The Prime Minister dealt very effectively with this. The first statement is patently false. The long-term bond rate was reduced by no less than i per cent, as recently as February, 1962, by the play of the market at that time, not by any special action on our part. One reason for the increases in the Australian long-term bond rate over the last ten years is that in a rapidly developing country where there are many outlets for investable funds interest rates tend to rise as a result of competition. In addition, and contrary to what the Deputy Leader of the Opposition asserts, there has been a general pattern of rising interest rates in the Western world over the past decade. Australia cannot insulate itself entirely from these trends. Had Australian rates not risen to some extent in sympathy with overseas rates, much less overseas capital would have been attracted to private and governmental fixed interest securities and our balance of payments position would have been so much less favorable.
His wild assertion that Australian interest rates are the highest in the Western world is so easily disproved as to confirm the judgment that this has been a recklessly slap-dash approach on his part. There are many countries with long-term bond rates equal to or higher than those ruling in Australia. These include the United Kingdom, where the long-term rate approached 7 per cent, about a year ago and currently is around 6 per cent.; Canada, where longterm securities are yielding in excess of 5i per cent.; France, where the present rate is about 5 per cent, but has been higher; Italy, where the present rate is more than 5 per cent.; Germany, where the present rate is 6 per cent.; South Africa, where the present rate is 5i per cent.; Japan, where the present rate is about 7 per cent.; and New Zealand, where the present rate is about 5i per cent. Indeed, there are few large Western countries, apart from the United States of America, where the longterm bond rate is below the Australian rate. In the United States, relatively little longterm new cash borrowing is undertaken, primarily because it is difficult to attract funds at the ceiling rate laid down by Congress back in 1918, which then prescribed a rate of 44- per cent. This is quite unrealistic in current circumstances, and so there is very little, if any, long-term borrowing attempted by the authorities. Nearly one-half of United States marketable securities are due to mature within one year.
Switzerland, The Netherlands, Sweden and Belgium have lower rates than Australia. But they are small, wealthy and highly developed countries where the savings pf the community lend to exceed the demands for funds for investment - so much so, that Switzerland and The Netherlands, in particular, have been substantial exporters of capital.
I have spoken on this matter at some length, because it is a topic not often discussed in this chamber and because I believe ite facts reveal the leading spokesman for the Australian Labour Party in this debate as a dangerous dabbler in quite impractical doctrine and policy.
What the Deputy Leader of the Opposition appears to hanker for, and proposes to restore, is the condition of things that prevailed in the middle months of 1960. To him, apparently, that was the final state of economic bliss. To be sure, employment was then running high, although, may it be noted, a? the end of June, 1960, despite the strength of labour demand and 32,000 recorded vacancies, there were still 47,000 registered applicants for jobs. This gives point to the comment I made earlier. But let a few other facts about the position be recalled. Speculation in real estate and stocks and shares was running rife. The home-seeker was being forced to pay inordinate prices for a house or land on which to build a house. The share market was soaring at a rate which few believed could long be sustained.
Both the public and large sections of the business community were getting deeper and deeper into debt. Hire-purchase debts alone rose in 1959-60 by £67,000,000, or 19 per cent. It was largely by this means that the so-called prosperity of the period was produced and supported. Prices and costs were rising strongly, to the disadvantage of consumers and producers alike. I have not heard a word in this debate from the Opposition about the great boon that has come to us with stable costs and prices. Opposition members have attacked us about inflation; they have conveniently, ignored the fact that we inherited an economy in which inflation was running at 10 per cent, towards the end of 1949.
In 1960, exports were flagging. They were £153,000,000 less in 1959-60 than they were last year, the year of alleged stagnation. Great quantities of goods otherwise exportable were being diverted to meet the inflated home demand. Imports were coming in at an insupportable rate. In the June quarter, they were coming in at a rate of over £1,000,000,000 a year; in the September quarter, at a rate of over £1,100,000,000 a year. This again was mainly a response to inflated domestic demand. Our overseas reserves were running down fast. In the last six months of 1960, they fell by £136,000,000. We were, in effect, drawing heavily upon our bank of resources abroad to feed an untenably high level of demand within Australia.
It is against this year, 1959-60, a year of high inflation, that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition chooses to base his chief comparisons with last year, 1961-62, a year of steady growth. It is an old device, but it deceives no one who has a real understanding of these matters. It is on this comparison, too, that he erects his myth of lost production- the £700,000,000 of additional goods and services which, we are invited to believe, the community could have had. It is not entirely a new story. We have had it in other versions from elsewhere, chiefly from the beatnik fringes of the financial press. It is time the myth was exploded.
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition does not provide much detail of his calculations, but they can fairly reasonably be inferred from what he does say. It seems likely that he has taken a figure for the total value of production in 1959-60 and has increased it by some factor - he mentions 4 per cent. - to get what he claims would have been possible in the two succeeding years. As a piece of argument, this is rotten to the foundations, and the foundations themselves are rotten. The arguments embody the assumption that not only could the level of activity in mid-1960 be continued, but that it could be increased indefinitely at a high rate. There are various physical reasons why the level of activity in mid-1960 could not have been kept up, let alone increased at that stage. Industry was right up against the limit of resources. A great deal of overtime was being worked. Key types of labour were scarce and becoming scarcer. Key types of material, like steel, were also scarce and becoming scarcer. There is nothing that slows down the general production effort more surely than shortages such as these. But there is a further decisive reason why the condition of activity in mid- 1960 could not have been sustained.
To achieve it, we had drawn heavily on overseas reserves. The greater part of the increased flow of imports in that period comprised materials, components and plant for production and transport. This was costing us reserves. We were also diverting for home use large supplies of steel and other products which would otherwise have been sold abroad as exports. This also involved a loss of reserves. It has been mentioned that reserves in the second half of 1960 fell by £136,000,000. They would have fallen by much more had not a great many imports been sent here on extended credit terms. But that could not have gone on for long.
The fact is that had the level of demand and industrial activity of mid-1960 continued, we would have run out of chips to pay for the supplies necessary to keep industry going. It is no use saying that we could have re-imposed import licensing to save foreign exchange. Any saving that would have been made would not have staved off the trouble for long. The truth is that in these matters we are by no means entirely our own masters. There are conditions limiting what can be achieved - conditions quite outside the control of this or any other government. Without doubt, therefore, the story that some £700,000,000 worth of production has been lost is largely, if not wholly, a fabrication.
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition at least appears to concede that we did as well last year in point of production as we did in the boom year for which he has such nostalgia. The point is, however, that if we did as well last year as in the boom year of 1960 we did it without any of the attendant evils of inflation. We did it with stable prices instead of inflated prices and without detrimental effect on our internal resources. We did it while the people were adding £150,000,000 to their savings bank deposits and so raising them to an all-time record level and while the people were reducing their hire-purchase debt by £40,000,000 instead of increasing it by £67,000,000 as they did in 1959-60.
But the important and relevant thing is not merely what happened in 1961-62 as a whole compared with 1959-60 or any other year but what has been happening recently and is happening now. I have given the facts to show that the latest indicators clearly demonstrate the correctness of the Government’s analysis and how hopelessly astray is the analysis of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.
There is a nice question of judgment, of course, as to how far we should go in order to maintain the forces of production in the economy and take up any slack that may exist. I think that on all the evidence that has come our way since the Budget was introduced the thoughtful people in this country will agree with what was said by the Melbourne “Age”. They will agree that expansion is proceeding steadily; that what I said in my Budget speech is, if anything, an understatement of where we are going; and that if they had a choice between the solid, substantial, practical policies of this Government and the fanciful policies of the opposition, tainted as they are with a stale aroma of socialism and the regimentation so clearly implicit in what the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has pui to us, they would be just as emphatic in recording their decision on this Budget as I am quite certain every honorable member will be when the vote is taken later to-night.
We set out to make an accurate and realistic assessment of the programme for the financial year 1962-63. A motion of no confidence in that programme has been moved by the Opposition. Nothing that has occurred since we introduced our analysis and our programme gives one ounce of support to the charges of the Opposition and there is no doubt that this will be recognized not only throughout the country but inside this chamber. We leave the Budget to the judgment of this committee.
.- The Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) has had his second thoughts and we have heard his second speech on the Budget, but we have not yet had his supplementary budget. No doubt that will come early next year. I would have thought that the Treasurer would use his arguments in the electorate of Batman. That seems to be the most appropriate place in our democracy to test the popularity of the Budget and of the Government at the present time.
The Treasurer went back over the years. One would have thought that he would have kept to the text of what is happening in Australia to-day, and that the sad story of the dismissal of the non-Labour parties from the treasury bench when Labour was called to office during the wa/ would not have been brought into this debate. The anti-Labour parties at that time were unequal to the responsibilities of war. They were unable to preserve a stable economy and they presented to the nation only disunity and disharmony.
The Treasurer referred to unemployment and tried to make it appear that when his Government came to power there was mass unemployment in Australia. But of course everybody knows that this is not so. When the non-Labour parties were returned to office there were only 700 on the unemployment benefit in Australia, and only 12,000 people were registered as unemployed. The right honorable gentleman also referred to the bond rate and tried to score some points on the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) whose telling speech in submitting the motion of no confidence in this Government obviously hurt supporters of the Government. Indeed, it rankled to such an extent that the Treasurer felt obliged to enter the chamber to-night and speak for about 45 minutes. First we had his prepared Budget speech and his interpolations in that speech. Then we had his comments on Opposition speeches, and to-night we have had his amendments and second thoughts.
Everybody knows how the £1 has lost its value over the years that this Government has been in office. We all know that the £1 to-day is worth only 7s. or 8s. Every one who had a war bond or anything of the kind knows to his cost the depreciation in the value of the £1. When it comes to the question of dear money, I remind the committee that, despite the words of the Treasurer, it is well known that overdraft rates have increased by more than 50 per cent, since this Government was elected to office.
The Treasurer referred to the problems of his Government in 1960. Let me say to the committee that what was happening to Australia in 1960 was the direct result of the actions of that Government and the direct responsibility of the Treasurer. If an evil situation developed in the economy in 1960, it was not the responsibility of those who sit on your left hand, Mr. Chairman; it was the direct responsibility of the Treasurer and of the Government parties. Yet the Treasurer came forth to say that a terrible situation had developed in this nation; that evils of all kinds were destroying the fabric of the economy. The Government did something about those alleged evils and to-night the Treasurer asked this committee to offer some congratulation to those who, having been responsible for the evils, had discovered a satisfactory counter to them!
What was the form of this satisfactory counter? It was the creation of an army of 131,000 unemployed. It was mass unemployment. One honorable member on the Government side described mass unemployment as an emotional term. If the honorable member himself were out of work he would be emotional. We had 131,000 breadwinners out of work. That is the sort of solution this Government offers. Australia has had some serious problems. The Treasurer knows that, yet he has tried to make it appear to the committee that he has some independent witnesses who can testify that all is well. How can this committee accept the word of the Treasurer or the Government on economic matters?
As the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has rightly said, we have had four budgets and four other major economic plans in the last three years. Before that we had the horror budget, the little horror budget and numerous financial statements. No longer can industry and the community accept the Budget as a financial plan for twelve months. No industry or business can gear its affairs to the Budget because nobody knows from day to day or from week to week when a supplementary financial statement will be presented to alter the Budget completely. Nobody knows when there will be a right about turn in the financial affairs of this country. The Government has advanced this specious plan to do two things. The first is to give us stability - in fact, it will put our economy into a castiron band so that it cannot expand - and the second is to stimulate our economy for expansion. In this Government’s hands, the economy is like a stationary steam engine with eccentric control. It does not run smoothly. It does not proceed from one spot to another; it remains fixed in one position. It may gather momentum. It may go quickly and it may go slowly, but it does not get anywhere. We of the Australian Labour Party want our country to advance along the lines indicated by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. We have a plan for the continued progress and development of our country. We propose to gear our economy so that the biggest and the smallest businesses in the community will know just where we are going.
I was astonished that the Treasurer did not call as witnesses the authorities controlling the Reserve Bank of Australia, because the chairman, Dr. Coombs, and the deputy chairman, Mr. Phillips, of the bank board, as well as Sir Roland Wilson, the Secretary to the Treasury, had something to say about the economy in the board’s recent report. They said -
There was still a substantial amount of unemployment; there was still a capacity for greater production within industry; and expenditure on plant and equipment had failed to revive. The demand for liquidity continued and it remained doubtful whether expansion plans in process would prove adequate to restore earlier rates of growth.
That is a statement by the persons who control the Reserve Bank of Australia. I could continue quoting their words to support our contention that the financial proposals which have been presented by the Treasurer are inadequate to meet the existing situation.
Now let me come to the real punch-line in the Treasurer’s Budget speech. He said -
We are not ruled by fear of a boom.
A short time ago we heard him discussing the problem of booms. He claimed that the Government was not afraid of a boom. As far as he is concerned, there is not likely to be any worth-while stimulus to the economy and there is not likely to be any progress. Consequently, I suppose, he feels justified in making that statement. If we need independent witnesses to support Labour’s case, let us call upon the Associated Chambers of Commerce of Australia and the other side of the business life of this country, the Chamber of Manufactures of New South Wales. Here are the terrible twins who rarely agree with each other and who almost invariably disagree with Labour. On this occasion, both the Chambers of Commerce and the Chamber of Manufactures have expressed their concern and disappointment at the Budget. The “ Sydney Morning Herald” of 20th August, 1962, published this report -
Job lift may be delayed, says Chambers of Commerce. The 1962-63 Budget might take longer than expected to give the required fillip to employment in private enterprise, the Associated Chambers of Commerce of Australia said to-day.
On 24th August the same newspaper carried the following statement: -
Positive Government action would be needed by February to stimulate national growth and restore a dynamic economy, the president of the Chamber of Manufactures of New South Wales, Mr. H. N. Herford, said yesterday.
Undoubtedly he expects a supplementary budget to be introduced.
As for the problems of the nation, it is well known that the economy is sick. Our overseas balances have continued to fall and our position has been sustained only by an inflow of capital and because we have borrowed from every country in the world which has been prepared to lend us anything. The honorable member for Scullin (Mr. Peters), who has a keen interest in the development of our secondary industries and of the country generally, has made a number of probing inquiries into this matter. In reply to one of his questions to the Treasurer, he received the following statement: -
Over the period 1948-49 to 1960-61 Australia’s balance of payments on current account showed a deficit of £1,734,000,000 with the United Kingdom, £1,114,000,000 with the United States of America and £255,000,000 with Canada. It showed a surplus of £1,218,000,000 with other countries. Separate figures are not available for the balance of payments with Communist countries over this period.
That statement shows clearly how our balance of payments is in constant jeopardy. If the inflow of capital were to cease, as it might well do at any time, there is no doubt that we would become internationally bankrupt. Inevitably the time must come when overseas resources will dry up and when it will be impossible for this Government to borrow overseas and engage in the kind of destructive campaigning which we have seen in our international affairs.
Another interesting situation exists in relation to our exports. Between 1948-49 and 1960-61 we exported to the United Kingdom £3,434,000,000 worth of goods and bought £4,191,000,000 worth, leaving us with a deficit of £757,000,000. In the same period we exported to the United States of America £853,000,000 worth of goods and imported from that country £1,299,000,000 worth, leaving us with a deficit of £446,000,000. We exported £157,000,000 worth of goods to Canada in the period under review and bought from that country £295,000,000 worth, leaving us with a deficit of £138,000,000. We exported £377,000,000 worth of goods to Communist countries and imported £102,000,000 worth, giving us a surplus of £275,000,000. We earned another surplus of £1,730,000,000 by reason of exporting £5,776,000,000 worth of goods to other countries and importing £4,046,000,000 worth from them. The figures which I have cited show the continuing deterioration of our trade with the United Kingdom. Although the Government is satisfied, the present unhappy state of our trade with Great Britain must be overcome by positive action. Our plight is not the result of action by the European Economic Community. This cancerous economic problem in relation to our trade with the United Kingdom is a result of this Government’s policies. In 1957-58 we imported from the United Kingdom 41.2 per cent, of our total imports. In the last six months of 1961 this percentage dropped to 28.9 per cent. Over recent years our exports to the United Kingdom have fallen from 27.2 per cent, to 19.5 per cent, of our total exports.
In the course of his remarks the Treasurer said that he had many witnesses to support the Government’s policies. Certainly one of his witnesses is not the Taxpayers Association of New South Wales, which is most dissatisfied with the Government’s actions. The Treasurer twitted the Deputy Leader of the Opposition with having said nothing in relation to the farmers of this country. Let the committee remember that the Treasurer made not one remark about the farmers and rural industry. There is a very good reason why the Treasurer has remained silent and has not replied to farmers concerning the loss of population from country districts to the cities. The largest armies of unemployed in this country are in the country districts. This position is worse to-day than it was twelve months ago.
In the last year of the Labour Government farm income amounted to £455,000,000, representing approximately one-fifth of a national income of £2,188,000,000. In the following year the boom in wool prices occurred and farm income rose to a quarter of national income. I am taking these figures from the document concerning national income and expenditure which has been supplied by the Treasurer. In 1953-54, farm income amounted to £526,000,000 which represented one-seventh of national income of £3,700,000,000. In 1961-62, farm income amounted to £462,000,000 which represented one-twelfth of the national income of £5,647,000,000. Whereas in Labour’s day farm income amounted to one-fifth of national income, to-day it is one-twelfth. Farm income for the year ended 30th June, 1962, was only £7,000,000 higher than farm income in 1949-50.
These figures constitute irrefutable evidence of the lack of interest of this Government in the problems of the man on the land. He has been exploited by the shipping companies and has had to pay high interest rates. He has had to pay more for his machinery, tractors, vehicles and other farm equipment. He has been exploited because of the monopolies and restrictive trade practices which flourish in this country. Is it possible to get the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) to take any action in this direction? Of course not. The “ Quarterly Review of Agricultural Economics” shows that, taking a base figure of 100 in 1950, the index figure for prices received for all products in September, 1961, was 176 and the index figure for prices paid by rural people was 230. This shows conclusively that the cost of all kinds of farm equipment has continued to rise in the course of the years. These figures cover the whole range of rural production including wool, meat, dairy products and all crops and live-stock. The farmers are being exploited through the increased charges which they are compelled to pay. They are not receiving any protection in regard to prices. Whose responsibility is that? When a Labour Government put the question of prices control to the people at a referendum the present Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the present Treasurer led a campaign against prices control. They were opposed to protection for the farmers and for the family. We have seen crocodile tears shed by the Treasurer whose horizon is Collins-street, Melbourne. He has no horizon beyond the commercial life of that city.
The overseas trade report for 1960-61 indicates rapidly increasing imports of general foodstuffs. In 1960-61, £1,142,000 worth of these were imported. The Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) has said to the United States of America, “ Please get out of our hair. Let us run our own affairs in our own way.” If the right honorable gentleman is concerned about the United States of America, there is an effective way of dealing with that country. There is no need for him to use the brave, emotional words that he is reported to have! used. The Government should do to America what that country has done to us in connexion with silver and lead. It has imposed quantitative restrictions. It has a heavy tariff to prevent our wool from entering that country. With its strong farm support programme, the United States of America will not admit other Australian primary products that may hurt American industries. Yet we are importing foods that can be produced in this country or won from the sea. Fish is an example. This country should develop its fisheries. On imported fish £9,693,238 was spent in 1961-62, and £13,337,968 was spent on imported meats, dairy products and fish foods, generally. On imported biscuits £267,659 was spent. Peas are produced in this country in every primary producing area - in the electorates of Braddon, Wilmot, Eden-Monaro and in my own electorate. Yet, in 1961-62, £1,023,875 was paid for imported peas.
The farmers are finding it most difficult to make ends meet. These peas are being imported not because peas are not cheap enough in this country but because it suits the particular game of monopolies. The importation of beans and other foods is a disgrace. Even tomatoes are imported. Yet this Government professes to be concerned about the man on the land. It professes to be concerned about the small farmers in the electorate of the honorable member for Mitchell (Mr. Armitage) who has constantly voiced concern about these matters. The facts that I have cited indicate that the Government is not concerned about the man on the land and that it has done nothing to try to help him in any way. The Government ought to approach these matters in a reasonable way. This country cannot go forward while our people are unemployed and our farmers are subjected to such scandalous treatment.
I direct the attention of the committee to the great number of unemployed. I have heard reports concerning country districts in New South Wales including Newcastle, Broken Hill, Armidale, Lismore, Kempsey, Dubbo, Albury, Tamworth, Lithgow, Leeton, and Murwillumbah. Unemployment is higher in those country cities and towns tt an it was in the corresponding period of last year. The Government ought to face its responsibilities and do the right thing. Youth employment is an important matter. Here is one of the saddest matters to which this committee should give attention. The Minister for Immigration (Mr. Downer) has expressed concern about getting skilled artisans and technicians from overseas. We have heard the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) discuss this matter. For how long are we to obtain our skilled tradesmen from overseas? The Minister admitted that the Government has not found employment for all the young people who left school last year. In another three or four months a further 85,000 young people will leave school and join the ranks of those who are out of work. The Government could do one thing. If it will not pay child endowment in respect of a child after the age of sixteen, that child should not be allowed to become unemployed and idle. The Government would do far better to pay the equivalent of the child endowment so that the young person could be given technical training and found employment. What an absurd state of affairs we have reached - unemployment benefit for idleness but nothing for technical training or to provide work! Representations have been made on this matter repeatedly. I have made representations about it to the Prime Minister, but I have received only the sort of reply that one becomes so accustomed to receiving from him in these matters.
In considering this Budget, I think particularly of the Government’s attitude to national development. We hear a great deal about what the Government would like to do and about its fragmentary programme for a short road here for the transport of beef cattle and some wharf facility there. But we hear nothing about a major plan for real development. We should have in northern Australia a project of the magnitude of the Snowy Mountains hydro-electric scheme. All the taxpayers of Australia help to pay for that great project in the south-eastern part of this country. A scheme of similar magnitude should be undertaken for the development of northern Queensland, the Northern Territory and the north-west of Western Australia. If we adopted such a plan, we would be doing something effective and acknowledging our responsibility to populate the north and develop the resources of this country. But we cannot expect that sort of planning from this Government. In 1960-61, this Government allowed imports of £54,517,000 worth of iron and steel. It has exported our very best coking coal and our very best iron ore. While it worries about the balance of payments, it permits the spending of £54,517,000 overseas on iron and steel that could be produced in this country!
The honorable member for Leichhardt (Mr. Fulton), who represents the Cairns district, and his Queensland colleagues have constantly advocated the development of the north and discussed it in this chamber. An election reverse for the Government and the persistent advocacy of Labour members of this Parliament were needed to get any action on development projects in Queensland. I am reminded here of the great work of the non-Labour Government of Queensland and the non-Labour Government that we have here - the closing of the Cooktown-Laura railway, which was 67 miles in length. It was sold for £5,000 for dismantling. But floods came and, according to the Brisbane “ Courier-Mail “, 45 residents of the Laura district were isolated without supplies of kerosene and of potatoes and other foods. The contractors for the dismantling of the railway had to operate the old locomotive over the line again to succour those people and afford them relief. That is the sort of development that the people of this country see under the administration of the present Government!
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– Mr. Temporary Chairman, the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Luchetti) tried in some small measure to make up for the failure of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) to mention to any worth-while degree the problems and achievements of the rural industries over the last ten or twelve years. However, the honorable member for Macquarie could have served the rural industries better, as could his colleagues, including his leader, if he and they had not opposed in this chamber every measure that this Government has adopted to stabilize the costs of the exporting section of the community. If honorable members opposite wished to serve the rural industries well, they would give the Government more support in the implementation of measures designed to help the rural industries.
The honorable member for Macquarie quoted from the annual report of the Reserve Bank of Australia for 1961-62 and said that the bank had stated that it remained doubtful whether expansion plans in progress would prove adequate to restore earlier rates of growth. The honorable gentleman did not mention that this report was prepared before 30th June. The report, quite clearly, referred to expansion plans that were in hand before 30th June last. As honorable members should know, the Budget that we are now discussing provides for much greater expansionary plans that will cost some £118,000,000. These plans clearly will provide the additional stimulus which the Reserve Bank, in its report, suggested may be necessary. I believe that the bank’s report, far from criticizing the Government’s measures, would support the measures that have been announced and taken since the report was prepared and signed.
Earlier in this debate, Mr. Temporary Chairman, the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) made it quite plain that the Opposition’s fight over this Budget was a sham one. After the general election, we heard that the Opposition would move a motion of censure on the Government in the autumn sessional period. When that censure motion was lost, the Opposition lost heart and said: “ Very well, then.
We shall beat the Government in the Budget sessional period. We shall mount our best attack in the spring”. However, the Opposition has not done this. The honorable member for Yarra made it quite plain that he expects this Government to stay for its full three-year term of office. Anyone who reads the honorable members speech will understand that. Therefore, I say that the Opposition is putting up a sham fight. It expects to go on losing the votes in this Parliament as it has lost them for the last twelve or thirteen years.
The Opposition has adopted two main lines of attack over the last two or three weeks. It has asserted that the budgets presented by this Government, including the present one, have led to stagnation in the economy, and that the Government has no plans and no method in its approach to the problems of Australia. I emphatically deny the first charge, Mr. Temporary Chairman, and I deny the second insofar as plans should be made. The Government plans where plans are necessary, but it certainly does not embark on doctrinaire socialist plans which should not be made, and, I hope, never will be made, in this community.
I should like to discuss the first point very briefly. Earlier this evening, this was dealt with effectively by the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), who showed that the recent figures of production, consumption, savings and employment all point to a quickening tempo in economic activity. They all give the lie to the suggestion that there is any stagnation in the community at the present time. Production of many things has doubled over the last twelve months. Home-building is one of the sensitive industries. The production of bricks, timber, hardboard and floor coverings has increased very greatly, as is shown by statistics recently made available. The production of acids for industry has increased. The production of tinplate has doubled. The production of motor car bodies last month was very nearly double that of the same month of last year. The output of cotton yarn increased from 2,600,000 lb. in July of last year to 4,700,000 lb. in July of this year. Many examples of similar increases throughout the whole field of industry can be given. It is quite remarkable that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean), who is generally thorough in his research, had not noticed any of these things. He said quite plainly that the manufacturing industries were not taking up any of the slack and were not increasing their output, and he implied that there was no impetus to the economy resulting from increased manufacturing activity. This implication, plainly, is not correct.
When we turn to consumption, Mr. Temporary Chairman, we find that the value of retail trade was £30,000,000 greater in the June quarter of 1962 than in the June quarter of 1961. Sales of motor cars, also, were £30,000,000 greater in the June quarter of this year than in the June quarter of last year. [Quorum formed.]
Savings have increased dramatically in recent years. In the financial year before last, savings bank deposits increased by £55,000,000. In the last financial year, they increased by £159,000,000. More significantly in the last two years very nearly 1,000,000 new savings bank accounts were opened, and 540,000 of these were opened in the last financial year.
Honorable members on this side of the committee have admitted that employment has not improved as rapidly as the Government would have wished. I believe there are three reasons for this. Representatives of the Chamber of Manufactures went to Europe to examine how the Common Market might affect Australian manufacturing industries, and some of them, when they came back, said that Britain’s accession to the Treaty of Rome would gravely affect our manufacturing industries. It is difficult to understand how this could be so, because we do not export many manufactured goods to Europe. However, this statement has led to hesitancy on the part of business men and they have not planned for the future with the confidence with which they might otherwise have planned. In addition, quite clearly over the last eighteen months many firms have shaken a bit of excess fat off their bones. Some of them admit openly that they are performing more work better with fewer employees. This means that while production increases, employment does not increase to the same extent. The factors affecting the propen sity or desire of the average individual to save have also altered to some extent. Whereas previously a person might have spent a little more, now 1 believe he is saving more, and this leads to a lessening of the demand for goods and services. The change in savings bank deposits lends support to this view.
However, depite these three factors, there are over 80,000 more people in employment now than at the same time last year. The reduction in the number of people seeking work in July of this year was a record reduction for that month. The good company reports that are coming forward and the consumption figures which have been quoted this evening, together with the deficit of £118,000,000 provided for in this Budget, must surely have a pretty heavy impact on the remaining unemployment. It is clear that the Opposition does not speak with one voice on this matter, because the honorable member for Shortland (Mr. Griffiths) said that statistics showed that, by comparison, Canada was better off than Australia. If the honorable member doubts what I have said, he can read his own speech as reported at page 620 of “ Hansard “. If the honorable member were like some of his colleagues and did not do his home work satisfactorily or did not do his research well, I could have understood his making that statement. Some of his colleagues might not know that the rate of unemployment in Canada at the moment is 8.7 per cent. The honorable member, however, who is very thorough in everything he does, must have known that that was the position. If he did know that, why did he say that Canada was better off economically than Australia?
In this Budget the Government has pursued the twin objectives of stability and expansion. Industrial production is up. The value of our exports in the last year was a record- £1,080,000,000. If we had received for those exports the prices that obtained in 1953-54, the value would have been £1,620,000,000. This gives some indication of the achievement of rural industries over the last ten years.
It is interesting to note that newspapers that were the bitterest critics of this Government and said that we were leading the country to stagnation seem recently to have been contradicting themselves. The “ Financial Review “ of 9th August carried the headline, “Deep freeze Budget holds industry at standstill”. In the issue of 21st August there was a reference to confidence crumbling, and in the issue of 23rd August it was said that business was still hesitant. In the last issue but one of the “ Financial Review “ there were several headlines which completely contradicted those earlier editorial comments. One was, “ Another boom in motors? “, and another was, “ Building at record level “. Another headline was, “ Record car industry growth demands long-term plan “, and another was, “ Growing demand strains generating plant”. Such a growing demand comes only with expanding industrial activity, with a greater demand for electricity.
Since the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has held his present position and has taken a leading part in the affairs of the Australian Labour Party he seems to have cast himself in the role of one who wants to put at rest the fears which many people have, quite rightly, of the irresponsibilities and excesses of doctrinaire socialism. As he knows, the greatest obstacle to his success in this field is the party he is trying to lead at the moment. Every now and then he must deliver some Edwardian-type statement to allay the suspicions of his unenthusiastic left flank. In conformity with the role he has given himself, he tries to give ah appearance of respectability to Labour’s financial proposals.
It was for this reason that he said that the deficit for which the Labour Party would have budgeted if returned to power would have been only £42,000,000 more than the deficit at present budgeted for. But when we look at the proposals of the Labour Party we find that its deficit would have been much greater than that in actual fact. As has been pointed out, an increase of 5s. in child endowment would cost £34,000,000 and an increase of 5s. in pensions would cost £9,000,000. This is the total he mentioned. But then we come to education, on which Labour would spend an unnamed amount. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition said also that if Labour were in power there would be major changes in the transport system, in health services and in defence. The honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) said that the Labour Party would establish an export bank and a Commonwealth insurance corporation. The honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) said that the establishment of a national overseas shipping line was a matter of immediate concern and would be immediately established by a Labour government. These things would all have had to be encompassed within this further deficit of £42,000,000. Clearly the proposals of the Opposition involve a much greater deficit than that which was announced, and this is not evidence of responsibility in the speech of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. He said that Labour proposed to increase our deficit by only £42,000,000, but Labour’s proposals would in fact have increased it by some vast unnamed amount above that figure.
The other field in which the Opposition, throughout the last two or three weeks, has tried to attack the Government is that of planning. There seems to be a cult of planning in the community at the moment. This obviously is a philosophy which falls very well into line with socialist desires and with the doctrinaire beliefs of the Australian Labour Party, but no one has tried to analyse what is meant by “ planning “. Does it mean an overall national growth target of 4 per cent., 5 per cent, or 6 per cent., or a growth target for individual industries? Businessmen in particular should ask themselves what is meant by the kind of planning that the Labour Party espouses. A national growth target has little relationship to individual industries and is therefore very largely meaningless. It is for this reason that most responsible advocates of target planning say that you should plan for individual industries. But if you do that you are going a long way on the road to socialism and to the complete control of individual industries. Once targets are set, the prestige of the planners and of the government is dependent on the attainment of those targets. Many things could and would upset the original planning, but they would tend to be pushed aside. Consumer demand could change and technology could change. For example, if a government planned for a particular industry to double its capacity in five years and if technical changes rendered that planning completely false, such a government would feel obliged to provide markets for that industry. Planners would find themselves struggling against a course of events which would lead to a tendency to enforce government decisions over the individual decisions of various companies and industries.
In addition, target planning of this kind, with growth as the main element in the planning, ignores other factors. The most economic site for a factory may clash with the national interest in relation to some historic building which many people in the community may want to preserve. A new farm settlement programme may clash with the will of many people to have national parks established in certain areas.
A plan or a target which involved growth and little but growth would not necessarily produce the best results for the nation. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition said that a Labour government would fit its plans into the plans of the community, but in fact the reverse would be the case. A Labour government would make its plans and would then fit the plans of individual industries into its plans.
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition implied that there was no planning or method in what this Government had done. I suggest that the Government’s record in this regard is much better than Labour’s record. The Government has planned for better roads, including beef roads. It has planned to improve port facilities, to standardize and improve our railways and to maintain our immigration programme. It has planned in relation to the Snowy Mountains scheme. It has planned to improve universities. In planning those things the Government has taken the comprehensive view. All of those matters have been well planned. The choice presented by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition was not one of planning or no planning but rather the kind of planning.
Businessmen should beware of the attractions of target planning which they think would avoid losses in times of recession. Such plans would also control profits, which are the lifeblood of expansion and invention in both primary and secondary industries. If anybody had any doubts that the
Opposition would carry out its socialistic policies to the full, those doubts must have been dispelled when the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser) interjected during the speech by the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Forbes) and said “ Hear, hear!” when the honorable member for Barker said that when the Labour Party spoke of planning it meant socialized planning in the full sense of the term. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro interjected very enthusiastically. There can be no doubt about what Labour means by planning.
There are many wider implications than those to which I have referred. If expansion of an industry is not catered for in a particular plan that industry will not expand, regardless of changes in technology, knowledge or the skill of its managers, because to announce a change in a plan would imply criticism of planners and of the government. Since governments are not in the habit of criticizing themselves, such changes would not occur. Target planning would lead to rigidity and enforcement along some chosen path. This has been recognized by people who are reported to be socialist economists. Professor Arndt has said -
Once, however, the need tor enforcement through direct controls is conceded, there is an obvious temptation to use them for much more comprehensive implementation of a wide range of social and economic policies - a temptation which socialists would welcome as an opportunity and opponents of socialism suspect as an ever-present risk.
Professor Lydall has said -
For my part, I do not believe that it is possible to introduce specific output target planning into the whole of the rest of the community unless we are prepared to introduce complete socialism . . .
– From what are you reading now?
– The “ Australian Financial Review”. I cannot believe that Australian businessmen would want to sell their initiative and effort - initiative and effort that has enabled us to increase our population by almost 3,000,000 in thirteen years, to provide 650,000 more jobs and to build about 18,000 more factories - for the alleged safety, certain mediocrity and controls that would follow overall government planning. Businessmen have done pretty well since 1949. They should not forget that they have done pretty well under a free enterprise system.
I would like to make two further brief points. The June, 1962, report on the economy, published by the Treasury, seems to indicate that the Treasury thinks that an overall target plan would be more appropriate for a mature economy than for a rapidly developing or immature economy. I disagree with that view. I believe that a mature economy can use the base of free enterprise on which to expand without comprehensive planning much better than an economy such as India’s may be able to do. An economy such as India’s, or the economies of other countries of South-East Asia, without. a sound base of free enterprise on which to build, may need much more specific planning than would an economy such as Australia’s. The second point is this: Those who speak of planning seem to think that the people to do the planning are the economists. It is always an economist who is saying that we must have a plan for this and a plan for that. If an economist is not saying it, a socialist politician is doing so. But in addition to an economist you need some one who is an expert in technology and who has a knowledge of politics and sociology as it affects consumer demand and, not the least, a knowledge of history. If any person has a knowledge of all those things he certainly would not be a planner in the socialist sense.
The Budget has been carefully planned by the Treasurer and the Government. It is an expansionary Budget, built around a deficit of £118,000,000. If industry plays its part, as I believe it will, the slack in the economy will be taken up. Many people may regret that the Budget does not contain particular concessions. We all have interests dear to our hearts, but we must admit that the Budget is a responsible and courageous document. It is designed to maintain the stability that is so vital to our export industries and, through them, to our secondary industries, whose continued expansion is dependent on the exports of our primary industries. The Budget deserves the support that it will undoubtedly get not only in this Parliament to-night but throughout the country when the people become aware of the benefits that will accrue from it.
Question put -
That the item proposed to be reduced (Mr. Whitlam’s amendment) be so reduced.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. P. E. Lucock.)
Majority . . 2
Question so resolved in the negative. (The general debate being concluded)-
First item agreed to.
Motion (by Mr. Fairhall) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.- Mr. Speaker, during the course of the Budget debate in the last three weeks frequent reference has been made by members on this side of the House to the need for an Australian overseas shipping line. A number of deputations have interviewed the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr. Opperman) about the loss of employment to Australian seamen. There is obviously a great need for Australia to concentrate on the export of foodstuffs and other commodities to Asian countries. For some years this country, very creditably, has been making gifts of foodstuffs to under-developed countries. At present in Australia seven River-class vessels are laid up, three of them at Sydney. Each of these vessels is capable of carrying cargoes overseas. We have had the problem, of the stay-put crew on the “ Boonaroo “ trying to direct the attention pf this Government to the need to assist Australian seamen to get employment.
The Government has decided this week to dispatch to Ceylon a gift of 4,500 tons of flour. Despite the deputations to which I have referred and the vast need to help our seamen, the Government has chartered a ship which is not an Australian vessel to carry this cargo. One would think the people of Colombo would expect an Australian vessel to arrive with the gift from the Australian people, but the Government has scoured the world to find a ship. The ship chartered is the “ Aristides “, which is registered in Liberia. Work on the vessel commenced in Brisbane yesterday, but after it had been in progress for two hours, upon representations from the men working on the ship, officers of the Department of Navigation and the Department of Health boarded the vessel. The Department of Navigation condemned every hatch and nearly 75 per cent, of the gear. The ship will be unworkable for loading purposes until next Monday at least. The Department of Health officers found that the ship’ was in a disgraceful condition and they ordered fumi- gation of it. An eye witness reports that never in the history of visits by these tramp vessels to Australia has he seen a vessel in such a disgraceful condition. When the hatches were opened, millions of beetles and moths came out. The ship is full of weevils. It has to be cleaned up and this will take at least four days, working round the clock.
We have Australian ships suitable for carrying this cargo and we also have men to man them but the men and the ships are idle. This Government, after months of deputations and representations through its instrumentalities, finds one of these Liberian ships belonging to the Greek millionaire, Aristotle Onassis, to take our cargo. Only three weeks ago one of these tramp vessels arrived in India with a cargo of wheat, which was stowed right next door to a compartment of poison. This wheat was condemned in India. Unless the Goverment takes care in the exportation of our food-stuffs to south-east Asian nations, the people of those countries will develop a fear that our products are dangerous and not up to world standard. The paradox is that when we exported wheat to China the government instrumentality saw fit to shake the barrels of 22 nations to find 52 vessels to take that wheat to China. Those vessels came to Australia, carried the product to China, and presumably went empty to the other side of the world. Why in heaven’s name were not the bulk carriers which are tied up all around1 Australia used to carry the wheat to China? Why are overseas bulk carriers leaving every week to carry coal to Japan? Why cannot Australian ships carry this coal? The cost has been mentioned. Many things are subsidized. Surely some consideration can be given to getting Australian products to consumers in the best possible condition and to creating employment for Australian people.
The Government should be roundly condemned. Men are staying on board a ship in Sydney to try to direct the attention of this indifferent Government to the circumstances of Australian shipping, yet the Government dredges the harbours of the world to find and bring to this country a ship named “ Aristides “ for Australian workmen to work on and be killed. Every hatch condemned and 75 per cent, of the gear rejected! It is the worst type of ship ever to come into an Australian port. It was completely covered with all sorts of beetles and weevils, yet it is to carry 4,500 ton of bagged flour to Ceylon as a gift from Australia. Any other country that was making such a gift would have delivered it in one of its own ships. We could have proudly displayed an Australian ship in Colombo, given the cargo to the Ceylonese people, and let Australians mingle with them and build up the good relations that this country needs.
I can only reiterate the numerous pleas of my colleagues on this side of the House to the Government and to the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr. Opperman), who I am pleased to see in the House, to give earnest consideration to the use of Australian ships now lying idle for the export of some of these bulk cargoes. In 1954, 1955 and 1956, all the River class ships traded overseas, carrying Australian wheat and bringing back asphalt. That can be done to-day. The “ River Murray “ was sold for scrap. It came back two months later as the “ Sze Feng “, and traded five times to Australia. Another River class vessel came back as the “ Tung Feng “ and it is trading to Australia. Now more River class vessels are to be sold, again for a mere £220,000 each. After a cheap survey in Hong Kong by the tramp buyers, the vessels will be worth from £750,000 to £1,000,000 on the world market.
Why in heaven’s name can we not take our cargoes overseas in our own ships? Why must we use vessels registered in ports of convenience where there are no regulations? The “ Aristides “ is a Liberty ship, which was supposed to have been built only for the war. It is falling apart. This is the dirty tramp ship that is to go to Colombo with a gift of 4,500 tons of Australian flour. My only hope is that this cargo will not be condemned as was the 1,100 tons of wheat that went to India. Quite obviously the concern is on this side of the House, because jeers and interjections are coming from the other side, showing once again the callous indifference and lack of imagination in the Government that we have to-day.
– I rise to direct attention to the plight of soldier settlers on Kangaroo Island, whose” problems have so far been completely ignored by their Liberal Party representative in this Parliament, the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Forbes), and by their representative in the South Australian Parliament, the Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Brookman. Only recently the honorable member for Adelaide (Mr. Sexton) and I had occasion to visit Kangaroo Island for the purpose of investigating the complaints of these unfortunate soldier settlers. We found that men are being forced to meet an increase in rents from £313 a year to an average of £475 and, in some cases, as much as £520. These are men who cannot possibly live and meet their family obligations while paying the rents that are already being charged. They are being compelled by the Adelaide Steamship Company Limited to pay exorbitant freight charges, and all efforts by them to get some help from their Liberal Party representatives in both State and Commonwealth Parliaments in regard to the exorbitant freight charges by the Adelaide Steamship Company Limited have fallen on deaf ears. If time will permit, I shall tell the full story and expose the real reason why their Liberal Party representatives are not able, not free, and not game to expose the exorbitant charges of the Adelaide Steamship Company Limited.
It is a remarkable thing that until the honorable member for Adelaide and I visited Kangaroo Island recently, the South Australian Minister for Lands, Sir Cecil Hincks, had expressed complete satisfaction with the way that the soldier settlement scheme there had gone. The honorable member for Barker had been silent, and the Liberal member for Alexandra in the State Parliament had also been silent. But when the honorable member for Adelaide and I visited Kangaroo Island and formed a subbranch of the Labour Party, consisting of some 150 members, then and only then did these representatives bother to get off their tails and do anything about the problems from which these people are suffering.
The settlers were told that their rentals would be fixed on a basis of productivity or on the capital cost of the scheme, whichever was the lesser. I maintain, Sir, that the new charges that the Land Settlement Board is levying against these soldier settlers on Kangaroo Island has no relationship to productivity and can therefore be related only to capital cost. The Commonwealth Government and the State Government are equally culpable in forcing these unfortunate people to pay for the mistakes of those governments. If time permits, I shall show what I mean by that. Altogether, the settlers are allowed the magnificent sum of £1,140 a year to meet living and working expenses. The average working expenses amount to £440, made up of fuel and motor spirit, £90; crutching, £90; drenching, £25; inoculation, £25; tractor fuel and oil, £50; telephone and stationery, £30; insurance, workers compensation, house and household effects, £30; and minor running repairs on plant, vehicles, &c, £100.
This leaves a balance of £700 with which these unfortunate people have to clothe, educate and raise their families on Kangaroo Island, where the costs are exorbitant compared with the costs in other parts of Australia. These people receive the sum of £13 9s. a week with which to meet the costs of bringing up their families. They have to work up to twelve hours a day and, in many instances, seven days a week. We can compare this £13 9s. a week, which this Government of exservicemen forces these unfortunate people to live on, with the basic wage in South Australia of £14 3s., or £14 8s. at Whyalla. The basic wage is paid for a 40-hour week and to a person who has absolutely no technical skill or knowledge.
I do not know whether the House realizes that the average settler on Kangaroo Island buys about 60 tons of superphosphate a year. This costs £12 13s. a ton at the factory, and another £3 17s. a ton is paid to the Adelaide Steamship Company Limited and other firms to transport the superphosphate from the factory to the farms. Superphosphate alone costs these people £990 a year. If the Australian Labour Party had been elected at the last election, its policy of paying a subsidy of £3 a ton on superphosphate would have benefited these soldier settlers to the extent of £180 a year.
When one looks at the freight charges that are being met by these people, one cannot help but ask whether the Liberal Party and the shipping companies and their subsidiaries are not hand in glove in allowing this robbery of these people to take place. Freight costs are 77s. a ton on superphosphate. It costs 9s. 9d. to transport a sheep from Kangaroo Island to the abattoir. Let me quote from a statement rendered by Elder, Smith and Company Limited. A settler sold a total of 90 lambs, for which he received £154 16s., but he had to pay to the Adelaide Steamship Company Limited in freight, charges and cartage no less than £50 lis. 4d. I have another statement from Goldsbrough Mort and Company Limited, which shows that another settler sold 540 sheep, for which he received a total of £606, but £284 of this was taken in commission, charges and freight.
It is interesting to ascertain the names of those associated with these companies. Prominent members of the Liberal Party in South Australia are directors of Goldbrough Mort and Company Limited. They are Sir Keith Angas, at one time president of the Liberal Party; Sir Walter Duncan, at one time President of the Legislative Council of South Australia and for many years a Liberal member for that Legislative Council; Mr. Ian Hayward, a friend of yours, Sir, and also a prominent member of the Liberal Party and at one time a president of the Liberal Party in South Australia; and the Honorable A. C. Hookings, M.L.C., another Liberal Party member of the Upper House in South Australia.
The charge made for transporting a bale of wool from Kangaroo Island to the wool store is no less than £1 8s. 6d. The average settler pays to the Adelaide Steamship Company Limited, for transporting his product from Kangaroo Island to the mainland and for bringing goods from the mainland to Kangaroo Island, no less than £750 a year. In other words, the Adelaide Steamship Company Limited is receiving more each year from each settler than the settler is allowed by this Government and its allies in the South Australian Parliament. But with the money he receives, the settler must house his wife and family, educate and clothe them and try to give them a reasonable standard of living.
Regarding the charges, I think I should point out that the Coast Steamships Limited, which is the company that owns the little ship that transports goods between Kangaroo Island and the mainland, is itself controlled by six prominent members of the Liberal Party. Five of these are Mr. R. G. Hawker, Sir Tom E. Barr Smith, a relative of the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Downer) - there is a link between all these people who are associated with the companies exploiting the man on the land - Mr. H. H. Lloyd, Mr. A. M. Simpson and Sir Fred C. Drew. This is a remarkable name. Sir Fred C. Drew was the Under-Treasurer to the Playford Government for many years. When he retired, be immediately found himself appointed to the Adelaide Steamship Company Limited, the Electricity Trust of South Australia and the State Bank of South Australia, three organizations that are actively associated with the costs involved in maintaining rural life in South Australia.
The Adelaide Steamship Company Limited, which finds it necessary to impose these exorbitant charges upon the soldier settlers of Kangaroo Island, on 9th November, 1959, was able to hand out a free one-for-one bonus issue of shares costing £2,325,135 to its shareholders out of accumulated profits. This was not done until H. C. Sleigh Limited had made a takeover bid of £4 10s. for each £1 share. Then and only then did the company make the free bonus issue to its shareholders. When we look at the directors of the Adelaide Steamship Company Limited, we also look at people who are held-
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- Mr. Speaker-
Motion (by Mr. Fairhall) 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 11.32 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
r asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1 to 4. The entry into the United States of the following products from Australia and other countries is subject to quantitative restriction in addition to the relevant customs duties: - butter, cheese and certain other dairy products; wheat and wheat products; sugar; lead and zinc; peanuts; cotton; stainless steel table flatware; and books (in excess of 1,500 copies for which United States copyright has been obtained). Quantitative restrictions apply also to imports of certain cotton textiles from Hong Kong only.
Butter - Australia competes with six other countries for an annual quota of 163,000 lb.
Cheddar Cheese - Australia has an annual quota of 16,910 lb.
Sugar - In 1961 Australia received (for that year) an allocation of 90,000 tons of raw sugar. Recently, Australia was allotted a quota of 15,053 tons for the second half of 1962. Australia has been allotted an annual quota of 39,884 tons for 1963 and 1964. In addition, Australia is entitled to compete with other countries for a share of a global quota. For the second half of 1962 the amount which, to date, has been set aside as global quota is 541,734 tons.
In 1947 Australia negotiated through the G.A.T.T. reductions in United States customs duties on a number of products chiefly beef, veal, mutton andlamb, butter and wool. Since then, Australia’s exports of meat to the United States have increased substantially; exports of butter to the United States remain subject to the quota restriction referred to above; and exports of wool to the United States have fallen significantly. The value of Australia’s total exports to the United States has increased from £47,000,000 in 1946-47 to £102,000,000 in 1961-62. In the same period the value of Australia’s exports to the United States as a percentage of exports to all sources has fallen from 16 per cent. to 10 per cent.
In the United States Trade Expansion Bill the President is seeking authority -
In introducing this bill the President indicated that the legislation was aimed at -
Providing negotiating authority which would enable United States products to gain wider access to the European Economic Community.
Accelerating the economic growth of the United States and improving the United States balance of payments position.
Countering the Communist aid and trade offensive.
Assisting the less developed countries of the world to strengthen and expand their economies.
Period 1947-51.- Nil.
Period 1952-56. - (i) Filberts (now removed), (ii) peanuts, (iii) flax seed, linseed oil and peanut oil (now removed).
Period 1957-62. - (i) Rye flour and meal ( now removed), (ii) almonds (now removed), (iii) tung oil and nuts (now removed), (iv) picker lap cotton, (v) lead and zinc, (vi) cotton textiles (from Hong Kong), (vii) stainless steel table flatware.
m asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice -
On what matters and dates in the last financial year has (a) the Minister made a reference to the
Tariff Board, (b) the Board held an inquiry, (c) the Board made a report or (d) the Minister acted on a report?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
e asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice -
How many age, invalid and widow pensioners are debarred from receiving medical and pharmaceutical benefits due to the means test on income?
– The Minister for Health has furnished the following reply: -
At 30th June, 1962, there were 710,163 persons in receipt of age, invalid, widow or service pensions or tuberculosis allowances enrolled in the Pensioner Medical Service. The corresponding figure at 30th June, 1955, was 560,879. Under the present means test, which was introduced on 1st November, 1955, an age, invalid, widow or service pensioner is eligible for enrolment in the Pensioner Medical Service if his income apart from pension does not exceed -
In the case of a widow or single pensioner - £2 per week.
In the case of a married couple -
Where both are pensioners - £4 per week.
Where only one is a pensioner - £5 per week.
There were 93,602 persons in receipt of age, invalid, widow and service pensions at 30th June, 1962, who had not been issued with Pensioner Medical Service entitlement cards. Separate figures for age, invalid and widow pensioners are not available.
e asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice -
What was the total amount paid in respect of freights and insurance on imports during the year ended on 30th June, 1962?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: - .
The Commonwealth Statistician has advised that the total amount payable, in respect of freight and insurance on imports, whether payable overseas or in Australia, is estimated at £126,000,000 for the year ended 30th June, 1962.
e asked the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice -
What was the value of imports into Australia during the year ended on 30th June, 1962, of each of the following: - Cigarettes and tobacco, spirituous liquors, confectionery, biscuits, tinned vegetables, frozen peas, tinned fruits, citrus fruits, citrus juices, tinned ham, tinned chicken?
– The Minister for Customs and Excise has furnished the following answer to the honorable member’s question: -
e asked the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice -
What was the (a) value and (b) volume of green pea exports, both processed and raw, for the years 1959-60, 1960-61, and 1961-62?
– The Minister for Customs and Excise has furnished the following answer to the honorable member’s questions: -
Imports of fresh peas other than fresh frozen are not recorded separately.
e asked the Minister represent ing the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice -
– The Minister for Customs and Excise has furnished the following answer to the honorable member’s questions: -
China (Mainland). - Tea, bristles, tung oil, textiles and textile goods, magnesite.
Union of Socialist Soviet Republics. - Furred skins, zinc and zinc base alloys, lead and lead base alloys, machines and machinery.
Poland. - Unbleached kraft paper, textiles and textile goods.
Hungary. - Textiles and textile goods, spices, metal working lathes.
Czechoslovakia. - Textiles and textile goods, power-operated knitting machines, articles of cut glass, goblets, tumblers, &c, imitation jewellery.
Roumania - Carpets, olive oil.
Bulgaria. - Cheese, dried onions, carpet.
Yugoslavia. - Mercury, hops, mechanical wood pulp for paper manufacturing.
n asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. I have frequently stated that full employment is the cardinal principle of Government policy. The Commonwealth Government has in the Budget and the February measures stated its policy to achieve its purpose.
y asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
Of the persons registered as unemployed in Australia, how many (a) males and (b) females are in the age groups of 16 to 20 years, 21 to 30 years, 31 to 40 years, 41 to 50 years, 51 to 60 years and over 60 years?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
Of the 90,091 persons in Australia who claimed when registering with the Commonwealth Employment Service that they were not employed and who were recorded as unplaced at 27th July, 1962, 48,419 were adult males, 10,458 were junior males under 21 years, 18,323 were adult females, and 12,891 were junior females under 21. More detailed statistics of the age composition of those registered are not available.
d asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows: - 1 and 2. The statistics of persons registered for employment prepared by my department relate to district employment office areas of the Commonwealth Employment Service. In Western Australia, district offices are situated at Perth, Victoria Park, Fremantle, Midland Junction, Albany, Bunbury, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie and Northam.
s asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
Royal Inter-Ocean Lines. - This company operates seven services from Australia. The areas served by each of these services from Australian ports are: Hong Kong and Japan, Netherlands New Guinea/Philippines/Hong Kong/Mainland China, Singapore and Malaya, Singapore/Malaya/ Ceylon/India/Pakistan, Borneo/Thailand/ Sarawak, Mauritius/South and East Africa, South and West Africa. These services include a number of inducement and optional ports of call.
Australia South America Line. - Main Australian ports to Rio de Janeiro and Santos (Brazil), Montevideo (Uruguay), and Buenos Aires (Argentina).
Boomerang Cargo Line. - Main Austraiian ports to Valparaiso (Chile), Callao (Peru), Guayaquil (Ecuador), Buenaventura (an optional call) and Cartagena (Colombia), La Guaira (Venezuela), Port of Spain (Trinidad), Bridgetown (Barbados), Georgetown (British Guiana), Paramaribo (Surinam) and Kingston (Jamaica).
s asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
s asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
Is the Minister able to say how many private homes and flats have been built in each Stats during each of the past ten years with money borrowed at (a) a flat rate of interest and (b) interest payable on a reducing balance at each of the following rates: - (i) less than 4 per cent., (ii) 4 per cent, to less than 5 per cent., (iii) 5 per cent, to less than 6 per cent., (iv) 6 per cent, to less than 7 per cent., (v) 7 per cent, to less than 8 per cent., and (vi) 8 per cent, and’ over?
– The Minister for National Development has furnished the following answer to the honorable member’s question: -
No. Statistical information is not available which would enable this question to be answered.
b asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has furnished the following answers: -
b asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has furnished the following answers: -
ser asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The Minister for Health has furnished the following replies: - 1, 2 and 3. No such research has been undertaken or is proposed by the Commonwealth Department of Health or the National Health and Medical Research Council.
n asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The Minister for Health has furnished the following information: -
National Biological Standards Laboratory, Canberra.
The Laboratory controlled by the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Sydney.
The Commonwealth Laboratory, Department of Customs and Excise, Melbourne.
The Commonwealth Serum Laboratories, Melbourne.
y asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The Minister for Health has furnished the following reply: -
n asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows: -
The Government is in favour of the establishment of an art gallery and museum in Darwin. Some time ago a decision was made that when a new residence for the Administrator was built, the historic stone building and grounds now occupied as Government House should be set aside for that purpose. At present, however, having regard to many works of higher priority, the building of the new residence for the Administrator is not on the design list. At Alice Springs, the old Telegraph Station reserve and buildings are being transferred to the Reserves Board and plans are being developed for their use as a historical museum. Apart from these projects the Government will give sympathetic consideration to any specific proposals that may be advanced for the establishment of an art gallery either in Darwin or Alice Springs.
d asked the Minister for Supply, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
s asked the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice -
– The Minister for Customs and Excise has supplied the following information: -
As some of the information sought, for example, the identity of the importers and therefore the reasons why the refunds are necessary, is confidential between the importer and the Department of Customs and Excise, I am unable to disclose it publicly. I am informed that, to list all refunds or even all those over a certain amount, would involve a great deal of work in each State. Some idea of the work involved may be gauged from the fact that there were nearly 38,000 refunds involving approximately £6,000,000 processed in 1961-62. In view of the immense amount of clerical work entailed in producing such a statement, I am not prepared to ask the department to do it unless the honorable member is more specific and lets me know exactly what he wants.
g asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
n asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
The figures for years up to and including 1960-61 are those published by the Commonwealth Statistician; the 1960-61 estimate is still subject to revision. The 1961-62 figure is a preliminary estimate by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics.
The annual percentage changes in the volume of rural production in the last five years are estimated as follows: -
The latter set of figures (except that for 1961-62) are calculated from the Commonwealth Statistician’s “ Index of the Quantum of Farm Production “. The 1961-62 figure is again based on a preliminary estimate by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics.
ser asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
y asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
s asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
s asked the Minister for Externa] Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. At a press conference on 1st August, President Kennedy discussed recent modifications in the United States attitude towards control measures for a nuclear weapons test ban treaty. He referred to recent work by United States and British scientists leading to a significantly increased technical capacity to distinguish between nuclear and other seismic explosions and to the possibility of establishing an internationally monitored and supervised system of national control posts. This announcement follows a period of intensive study of data acquired only since June this year from “ Project Vela “ and a number of other research programmes concerned with seismology and the detection and identification of seismic disturbances. Following President Kennedy’s statement, Mr. Arthur Dean announced on 8th August, 1962, at the current Geneva disarmament negotiations, that the United States believed that the number of control posts which would be necessary for an effective world-wide nuclear detection system can be reduced from 180 to 80.
d asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1, 2 and 3. Australia is represented in the Republic of Ireland by a charge d’affaires ad interim in charge of an embassy. The question of appointing an Australian Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland depends in the first instance on solving certain problems connected with the form of accreditation. This matter is kept under examination.
n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
s asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– I assume that the questions refer to open entrance scholarships which are awarded on the results obtained by an applicant in examinations qualifying for matriculation in the various States. In addition to open entrance scholarships there are later year scholarships and mature age scholarships, both of which are awarded on an applicant’s academic record. In 1962, 780 later year scholarships and 100 mature age scholarships were offered. On this basis the answers to the questions are as follows: -
s. - On 15th August the honorable member for Kingston (Mr. Galvin) asked the following questions without notice: -
Did the Public Service Board approve of the action taken by the Department of Supply in contracting with a firm of business consultants for the streamlining of the procedure, organization and working methods of that department at a cost of £15,000? Have the Prime Minister and the Government lost confidence in the Organization and Methods Sections of the Public Service Board which has trained the Commonwealth Public Service and brought it to a peak of efficiency which is the envy of private enterprise? Will the right honorable gentleman state what the position will be if the Government wishes to introduce these new training methods into other Commonwealth departments? Will a charge of £15,000 for each department be met, or will officers of the Public Service Board be trained in the Department of Supply so that they may implement the scheme elsewhere if required?
The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
Approval was in fact given for the employment of a firm of consultants, but this does not imply a loss of confidence in the Organization and Methods Sections of the Public Service Board. It is highly necessary that from time to time Public Service ideas on efficiency should be fertilized from outside. There is a close collaboration between all departments and the Public Service Board on matters of this nature. In this instance the Department of Supply informed the board of its intention and the board concurred in the proposal. There would be cause for concern if the Public Service were not keeping abreast of modern techniques for improving clerical procedures. This particular contract is providing an opportunity for applying and assessing certain American copyrighted techniques for improving clerical processes, which may only be obtained in Australia through this particular firm of business consultants. The arrangements entered into by the Department of Supply carry the right to have a number of analysts trained in the particular technique by the business consultants and to receive from them material in the form of copyrighted manuals. These analysts and this material can be used subsequently in any way within the Public Service. It is heartening to note the honorable member’s appreciation of the work of the Public Service Organization and Methods Sections.
n asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 29 August 1962, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1962/19620829_reps_24_hor36/>.