24th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Sir John McLcay) took the chair at 2,30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to ask the Treasurer a question. Is it a fact that after the last meeting of the Australian Loan Council the Government announced a figure for public loan raisings for 1962-63 which was approximately £30,000,000 below the total loan raisings for 1961-62? Was this decision made because of uncertainty about the domestic loan market and difficulties in raising loans on the London and New York markets in the same period? If these are facts, will he, in the light of his announcement that the first Commonwealth loan for this financial year has been over-subscribed by £30,000,000 chiefly because of the depressed state of private loan raisings, and his further announcement that there are good prospects for floating loans in both New York and London, revise the loan programme so that the States may receive a greater allocation in each instance with which to finance development in the public sector of the economy, and so that in turn the private sector may be stimulated according to stated Government policy?
– It is a fact that, following the meeting of the Australian Loan Council, and in my Budget statement, details were given of the estimated total loan raisings for this year from domestic and overseas sources. I point out that, apart from last year, which was an all-time record year for loan raisings, I think the amount estimated would have represented a record total compared with other years. The loan raisings last year were inflated by abnormally heavy subscriptions from the trading banks, which, finding themselves highly liquid at that time and with less than the normal demand for their services, placed a very considerable amount of their funds in Commonwealth bonds. We did not expect that there would be the same degree of bank participation this year. Indeed, one of the interesting features of this latest loan was that there was less investment by the trading banks than there had been last year. On the other hand, there were considerable investments from savings banks, superannuation funds and various other official sources.
The position of the States hardly comes into the picture at this point, because the total amount to be provided for the State governments was greatly in excess of what we had estimated we would” have been able to raise by way of loans, and the balance would come from the revenues of the Commonwealth. As matters stand, if we were able to obtain this financial year by way of loan raisings very much more than we had expected, that would reduce the amount which the Commonwealth would have to find from revenue, and, to that extent, would reduce the total estimated deficit. I think it is much too early to consider any review of the total provision which otherwise would have been made for the States.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Trade. Is he aware that Australia has neither trade nor diplomatic representation in Formosa? In view of the announced intention of the Nationalist Chinese Government to establish official trade representation in Australia, will the Minister consider establishing reciprocal trade representation in Formosa? Further, will he confer with his colleague, the Minister for External Affairs, to see whether it is practicable to combine representation by both the Department of Trade and the Department of External Affairs?
– I shall be glad to consider the suggestion made by the honorable member.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Repatriation. I ask: What is the cause of the delay in the appointment of apprentices in Commonwealth artificial limb and appliance centres as recommended some time ago for the centres in all States by the Victorian apprenticeship authorities? If it is not planned to push ahead .with this programme, how is it intended to provide future craftsmen for this highly skilled work of manufacturing artificial limbs and appliances for ex-servicemen and civilians?
– I answered a similar question asked by the honorable member for Isaacs only a few weeks ago, when I intimated that the proposal for an apprenticeship scheme in artificial limb and appliance centres in all States had been very carefully considered. On examination, it was found that the total number of persons required for staffing in future years would not be sufficient to warrant the introduction of such a scheme. This decision was made after consultation with the Department of Labour and National Service and also with the technical education authorities in New South Wales and Victoria. There is already in operation in the artificial limb and appliance centres a scheme under whch artisans who are working there can be trained in the skills needed for their work. In addition to that, we hope to extend the training scheme in order to allow the younger people coming in to be trained in the artificial limb and appliance centres themselves.
– Will these trainees be treated and recognized as tradesmen?
– Yes. We have made representations to the Public Service Board for the admission of these people for training, and I hope that the proposal will be approved in the very near future. I assure the honorable member that the problem has been very carefully examined. We feel that, in the circumstances, the scheme I have outlined provides the best solution of it.
– My question is directed to the Minister for the Interior. Has his attention been directed to a news item in to-day’s “Sydney Morning Herald”, purporting to emanate from the New South Wales Minister for Housing, to the effect that land at Bradfield Park, where 1,100 emergency home units have been provided, is owned by the Commonwealth Government, and that until the units are demolished within the next three years the future use of the land is not certain? Can the Minister for the Interior say whether in fact a decision has been made about the use of this land and whether any steps have been taken to implement such a decision?
– I did notice with some interest a statement by the New South Wales Minister in relation to Bradfield Park. The New South Wales Government occupies the land in question on a rental basis from the Commonwealth although the State Government owns the buildings on the land. The last occasion on which we could obtain a definite date from the State Government for the vacating of the land was in 1961, when we were told that it would be available to us in about five years. I am happy to say that the projected date seems to have been advanced a little. The New South Wales Government has been removing houses gradually from the area which we plan to use for purposes of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.
– This is a Dorothy Dix-er.
– The honorable member for East Sydney seems to be having a little soliloquy.
– Order! The honorable member will remain silent.
– The Minister set him off.
– He does not take much setting off. The C.S.I.R.O. is engaged at present on a plan to develop the whole of the site, and it is hoped that the organization will be able to commence building on the area already vacant as soon as funds are available.
– I direct my question to the Treasurer. Do Australian manufacturers make very large annual payments of fees for licences to produce goods of overseas design? What is the approximate amount of such annual payments? Is it a fact that many licences are obtained for designs of goods already produced in abundance in Australia? In view of the considerable drain on foreign exchange which is represented by design licence-fees, will the Government consider establishing an official system to supervise design licences?
– I do not have the information sought and I do not know whether it would be available in the form required by the honorable gentleman, but I shall make inquiries to learn whether I can satisfy his curiosity.
– Has the attention of the Minister for Primary Industry been directed to the delay by the New South Wales Labour Government in enacting legislation to control strictly the production of margarine? As this delay constitutes a serious threat to the dairy industry, is there any way in which the Minister can induce the New South Wales Government to honour the agreement, to which it was a party, reached at the meeting of the Australian Agricultural Council?
– My understanding is that after this matter was discussed at the Australian Agricultural Council meeting the State Ministers agreed unanimously that certain action would need to be taken to remedy the weakness existing in the control of margarine. I have not had any information to suggest that New South Wales will not proceed with the proposal. I know that the State Government has been considering the matter, and I would not like to suggest that it will not honour the arrangement. At least I hope that it will abide by the understanding reached by the Ministers.
– Will the Minister for Primary Industry inform the House whether there is a difference of approximately 7s. 4d. per lb. between the price paid to the producers of pig meat and the retail price of ham and bacon? Is it a fact that retail circles have accused bacon factories of having created a monopoly wholesale price structure on bacon and ham? Will the Minister cause an investigation to be conducted into the prices paid to the producers of pig meats and the retail prices charged to the consumers to determine why the price of ham and bacon is beyond the purchasing power of the average Australian worker and why these commodities are being priced off his table?
– I think that the honorable member knows that in no sense does the control of prices of any commodity come within the jurisdiction of my department or of the Commonwealth Government.
– Can the Treasurer state what progress is being made by the banks in the new field of term loans under the term lending arrangements which were agreed to by the Government and the banks earlier this year? In particular, what proportion of the loans so far made has been granted to rural industries?
- Mr. Speaker, naturally some time elapsed in making the administrative arrangements for setting up the term loan fund with the Reserve Bank. The fund has a total availability of £57,000,000. I understand, Sir, that all banks have been granting loans for some months from this fund. The latest published figure for the total amount advanced - the figure for the end of August - is about £3,000,000, but loans have been approved well in excess of that amount. It is rather too early to draw significant conclusions from the proportion of loans made available to any particular section of industry. From the information in my possession, it seems clear that rural borrowers have received a substantial proportion of the total amount lent.
– Will the Minister for Trade inform the House whether it is true that the existence of licences, franchises and agreements is proving an embarrassment to or presenting difficulty in the export programme with which the Government is associated? Whether this is so or not, will the Minister consider making a statement or in some other way providing information about these licences, franchises and agreements, both as to their number and their effect upon the export of primary produce and secondary produce from Australia?
– There is a varied experience in this field. Some Australian companies which are subsidiaries of overseas companies have restricted franchises.
Others have not. It has been made very clear to all companies that it is the desire of the Government that Australia should not be put at a disadvantage by the existence of restrictive franchises. No arbitrary action has been taken in this regard. I shall endeavour to assemble such information as is available and will either make a public statement on it or convey the information to the honorable member direct.
– Is the Minister for Immigration aware that it has been reported that Miss Tania Verstak, Australia’s Miss International, has accepted a position with Qantas and will work as Australia’s representative at overseas fairs? Will the Minister tell the House whether at any time an offer has been made by his department to Miss Verstak, seeking to enlist her services as an oversea representative of his department in order to carry out the kind of work which is so vital to the encouragement of migrants to come to this country and in which work Miss Verstak has from time to time publicly indicated she would like to participate in appreciation of the opportunities which have been afforded her through migration to Australia?
– I think that, on more than one occasion in reply to my honorable friend and in other public statements, I have made it clear that if Miss Tania Verstak were to offer her services to my department we would certainly consider most favorably any suggestion that she put forward. But I understand that it was Miss Verstak’s intention to complete her university course and get her degree at the University of Sydney before engaging in work of that nature. I can only say in reply to the honorable gentleman that I, too, read in the newspaper this morning the announcement that she was considering taking a position in relation to Qantas and would work abroad. I think the honorable gentleman would agree with me that in any sort of promotional activity on behalf of Australia Miss Verstak would do well for our country. If Miss Verstak, on thinking things over, has yielded to the blandishments of my colleague, the Minister for Civil Aviation, rather than myself, well, quite frankly, I am not hurt because I feel sure that such an attractive and talented young woman, in whatever she does in the service of Australia, will be a great advertisement for this country and, in her work abroad for Qantas, indirectly she will unquestionably be a great stimulus to our immigration programme.
– My question is directed to the Treasurer. As the Christmas festive season is fast approaching and the various municipal councils in New South Wales are in a position to arrange for special relief work for age pensioners for approximately one week during the Christmas period, would the Treasurer give earnest consideration to making a special grant available for the purpose of assisting the various councils to relieve the hardship of aged persons in their municipalities at this time?
– I think it is well known in the House that the finances of the municipalities are related to the activities of State governments and their own capacity for the raising of funds by rates and other means. This would not be regarded as an appropriate matter of Commonwealth policy.
– I address a question to the Minister for Immigration. I refer to the existing categories of family relationship which restrict migration from southern European countries. I ask the honorable gentleman: In view of the Government’s announced desire to welcome an intake of new settlers substantially higher than our current achievement, will he recommend to the Government the necessary policy changes to permit more distantly related kinsfolk to join families already established in this country?
- Mr. Speaker, I can very well appreciate the great interest of my friend the honorable member for Swan in this matter. I am sure that in the representations made to him by constituents and by other people he has these ideas put to him from time to time. For myself I would say that there is nothing hard and fast - nothing perpetual - in the categories that the Government proclaims for migrants coming to Australia. These matters are constantly the subject of review, and in at least one of the countries in which I know the honorable gentleman is interested, and with which negotiations for a new migration agreement are now taking place, this is one of the questions which are now being discussed, and it will certainly be considered by myself.
– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry: Has the Government decided to pigeon-hole the report of the Wool Marketing Committee of Enquiry of February this year? If it has not, and if it decides to implement that section in which it is proposed that an Australian wool industry commission or authority be set up to handle marketing, &c, will the Australian Primary Producers Union be invited to be represented, along with the Australian Woolgrowers and Graziers Council and the Australian Wool and Meat Producers Federation, in view of the fact that this union has in its membership 25,000 growers of wool and the other two organizations a total of 68,000?
- Mr. Speaker, much consideration has been given to prospective legislation to cover the recommendations in the committee’s report. Discussions are still going on and the honorable member will have his curiosity satisfied when I am ready to announce the decision of the Government.
– I address a question to the Minister for Trade. I refer to the proposed import duty on cereals, including wheat, entering the various countries of the European Economic Community. As the duty will be based on the price of wheat purchased, will the Minister inform the House what effect this will have on Australian wheat should a country try to unload wheat at a price below the Australian price?
– The existing policy of the present Common Market countries in respect of cereals is designed to ensure that after payment of levies no wheat from outside the Common Market area is landed in a Common Market country at a cost lower than that which is determined for the home produced wheat of that country. At the present time there are different wheat prices for France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, but it is intended that over a period - I think by 1970 - there shall be what is called a harmonizing or equalizing of the price. In the meantime the practice is that the commission of the European Economic Community, sitting at Brussels, determines from week to week, or if necessary at shorter intervals, the levy which will be applied to imported wheat in order to make its landed cost not less than and, in fact, higher than the price of domestic wheat. In respect of West Germany, for instance, this system would operate to attract to Australian wheat a levy of, I think, about 100 per cent, of the prevailing f.o.b. price. If the wheat were going to other countries the levy would be less. The lowest levy, I think, would be in respect of the Netherlands where the domestic protected price is much lower than that in Germany. Finally, the arrangement does not appear to operate in respect of every cargo sent by a particular country. A levy is calculated in respect of the lowest priced wheat from external sources, and is applied until altered to wheat imported from any country.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. In view of the great shortage of skilled labour in Australia, and also in view of the large number of school leavers becoming available in the next few years, will the Minister consider the institution of a scheme, somewhat of the nature of the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme, for the purpose of giving these school leavers the opportunity to acquire special skills?
– As the honorable gentleman has said, there is a growing demand for skilled workers in this country, particularly in the metal and electrical trades and the building and construction trades.
– Everywhere. Also, the number of job vacancies that are opening up for this type of skilled worker is continuing to increase. For that reason my department and I have taken a very great interest in the problem of obtaining skilled tradesmen. However, I think that the honorable gentleman will know that this is a problem more for the States than for the Commonwealth. Although we initiated in the department some action with regard to it, we found that we were prevented from continuing with it due to the fact that the metal trades employers had lodged an application with the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission for a variation of the metal trades award which would permit different kinds of training of apprentices. That meant that we, having no jurisdiction in the matter, could not go ahead while the application was before the court. Mr. Justice Kirby suggested that the parties might consult and agree to my convening a conference to deal with the kind of problem that the honorable gentleman has mentioned. I am personally prepared to look at any suggestion made to help us to overcome the shortage of skilled workers. I believe that the suggestion made by the honorable gentleman is sound, and it is one that I will be only too happy again to investigate.
– Is the Minister for Labour and National Service aware that in Its monthly report for August the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority directed attention to the fact that in addition to there having been breaches by the employers in the performance of stevedoring operations 7,098 man-hours were lost and 28 vessels were delayed due to defective gear or breaches of the Navigation Act regulations in respect of safety measures? Is the Minister also aware that this is the greatest number of cases and the largest number of man-hours lost ever reported to the authority in one month? If so, will he say whether the Government intends to impose the same penalties on the shipowners as it has frequently imposed on waterside workers for delaying work on the Australian waterfront? If this is not his or the Government’s intention, will he explain the reason for this discriminatory attitude?
– I read a report of the authority’s statement about delays due to the lack of safety measures and failure to observe provisions of the Navigation Act. Prior to that, and quite recently, I wrote to the shipowners directing their attention to what had been previously said and what had been reported to me by my colleague, the Minister for Shipping and Transport, and asked them whether they would take up this problem of safety and of noncompliance with the act. I will have another look at what the honorable gentleman has said and will discuss it with the department in order to see whether it is considered that any further action should be taken.
– Can the Minister for Primary Industry say whether it is correct that the University of New South Wales has invented a new jet wool scour technique which is expected to save millions of pounds in the wool top-making industry? In view of the importance of this discovery to the whole wool industry can he say what is being done to ensure that the process is being adopted as speedily as possible both in Australia and overseas?
– The initial laboratory tests of this invention which, as the honorable gentleman has said, has been produced at the University of New South Wales, have been successful, but large-scale commercial tests of it have not yet been undertaken. However, everything in relation to this invention promises well, and we hope that the promise will be realized.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Trade. Is the Minister aware that the Australian timber industry is still in the state of stagnation into which it was forced by the removal of import restrictions and the other economic measures taken in 1960? With a view to long-term rehabilitation of the timber industry, which could provide an increasingly important source of employment, will the Government consider the adoption of measures such as the granting of subsidies for private forest activities, the training of saw-mill employees, the extension of assistance towards research, and taxation measures designed to enable the Australian industry to compete with imports?
– It is well known, of course, that the Australian timber industry suffered a set-back, due principally to a falling off of local demand, and due also, in part, to importations of timber. When it became apparent that the industry was in difficulties, the matter was referred to the Special Advisory Authority, which made certain recommendations which the Government approved. They included quantitative restriction of imports of timber. Then, in accordance with the law, the matter was forthwith referred to the Tariff Board for a full report. The Tariff Board is conducting its inquiry at the present time. As to what other measures might be taken to aid the timber industry, I do not know whether the honorable member’s suggestions are practical, but I will consider them.
While we are on the subject, let me suggest that the honorable member should make representations to the Labour Government of New South Wales with a view to having rail freights for timber and royalties on timber reduced. One of the most serious disabilities under which the industry is labouring in the honorable member’s own State has been caused by the extraordinarily high rates of rail freight charges and the extraordinarily high rate of royalty imposed by the Government of New South Wales.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Primary Industry. It arises from a statement issued by the Minister after a conference of Commonwealth and State Fisheries Ministers held recently in Sydney. The Minister said that the Ministers’ conference had discussed the necessity for uniform regulations for the management of fisheries, and that special attention was given to the south-eastern crayfishery. The Minister went on to say that the conference agreed that a special meeting of representatives of New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia, the Commonwealth . Scientific and Industrial Research Organization and the Department of Primary Industry should direct its attention to the measures neces sary to achieve this uniformity. As Western Australia carries out more extensive operations than any other State in this very important dollar-earning industry of crayfishing, why has that State not been represented at this special conference, which could very well reach decisions not in the best interests of this very valuable industry in Western Australia?
– The committee to which the honorable member refers was appointed at the instance of the Victorian Government. The suggestion that the committee be formed was made because of the different management methods adopted for the carrying out of conservation proposals in different parts of the south-eastern area of Australia, where fishermen who move from place to place have different practices. So that the adoption of proper conservation methods might be assured this committee was appointed, and representation on the committee was decided upon at the instance of the Victorian Government. I may say to the honorable member that Western Australia was well and capably represented by its own Minister at the conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers, and no request was made by him for representation on this committee, because its functions did not cover activities in Western Australian waters. We know that Western Australia would, of course, have a direct interest in the results achieved by the committee, but Western Australia made no special request to be represented on the committee.
– I address my question to the Minister for Air. Will he advise the House of the contents of any report he may have received relating to the collision between two Royal Australian Navy Sea Venom aeroplanes whilst performing aerobatics over the city of Sydney yesterday? Did one aeroplane plunge into Sydney Harbour, narrowly missing a ferry, and in the vicinity of a residential area? In view of this very dangerous happening, I ask the Minister to take action which will result in the banning of further such aerobatic displays over populated areas, involving as they do unnecessary risks to the lives of young service pilots and the residents of populated areas.
– The aircraft referred to by the honorable gentleman were naval aircraft and not under the control of the Royal Australian Air Force. I will have his question referred to the Minister for the Navy in another place and get him to reply.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Repatriation. Have arrangements been made for the Repatriation Department to provide some medical assistance for the Commonwealth Games to be held in Perth during next November? If this has been done, has the organizing committee intimated that the proposed arrangements will be helpful and satisfactory?
– I am pleased to inform the honorable member that some arrangements have been made which are quite satisfactory to the organizing committee. As you are aware, Mr. Speaker, at the request of the Prime Minister some time ago, Commonwealth departments undertook to assist where possible in the organizing of the Commonwealth Games. My department agreed to assist the organizing committee by providing the services of a medical officer to advise on the medical arrangements for the games. We also agreed to provide ten beds for males and five for females in the Repatriation General Hospital at Perth, provided, of course, that the beds were not required for repatriation patients at that time. I am confident that the beds will be available and will be provided for athletes and staff associated with the games. A nominal charge will be made to the organizing committee. It is only a nominal charge and has been accepted as quite satisfactory.
– I desire to ask the Minister for Immigration a question. Will he take up with the Government the question of the appointment of a parliamentary committee to investigate the circumstances of a number of illegitimate half-caste Japanese children who are said to have been deserted by their fathers, who in turn are reputed to be Australian ex-servicemen?
– The question that the Leader of the Opposition raises, as I think he will realize from his own great experience when he occupied my portfolio, is one involving many complexities and difficulties, and particularly questions of great principle. However, I shall certainly consider carefully what the honorable gentleman has said.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry. Is it a fact that recent trade missions to countries in the Middle East have disclosed that there is an unsatisfied demand for mutton in those areas? If so, can the Minister say what action is being taken to exploit the demand?
– Trade missions to the Middle East and Mediterranean countries have revealed that there is a potential market there for mutton. The Australian Meat Board was represented on the missions, and its findings were given adequate publicity. Some success in interesting importers in these markets was achieved. However, I would like to say to the honorable member that the keen demand for our mutton by America and Japan means Australian exporters must decide really where they are to place our supplies. We have not adequate mutton supplies to meet demands much in excess of those now made upon us by our existing markets.
– by leave - I take this early opportunity to reply to the question put to me yesterday by the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Stewart) in relation to bank officers and staff supervision by the Commonwealth Banking Corporation. I had some inquiries made, and Mr. Richardson, the managing director of the corporation, has provided some advice. I shall read the information as it has come from him. It is as follows: -
As is the normal practice in the banking industry and in many other organizations, the Commonwealth Banking Corporation keeps staff records for all employees and these records include reports on individual officers submitted by branch managers and other senior executives as is appropriate. These reports are essential to proper staff management and the placement and promotion of officers throughout the corporation service. It is a requirement of reporting officers that they inform an officer of any shortcomings evident in his services and that they discuss with him means by which improvement can be brought about. Reporting officers are also required to obtain an officer’s written acknowledgment that his shortcomings have been so discussed in cases where deficiencies are likely to adversely affect his normal progress.
Whilst it is considered essential to the effectiveness of the reporting system that these reports should be of a confidential nature, the interests of officers are amply safeguarded against unfair reporting standards. Discussion with an officer of his services is actively encouraged by the corporation and the construction of the report form in use and the various headings under which the staff are assessed are freely available for perusal by each officer at all times.
That is the end of the information from Mr. Richardson. I merely add that under the Commonwealth Banks Act, the terms and conditions of employment in the corporation are, of course, purely a matter for the corporation.
– Pursuant to section 70 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1904-1961, I lay on the table of the House the following paper: -
Conciliation and Arbitration Act - Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission - Sixth Annual Report by President, for year ended 13th August, 1962.
It is pleasing to note that the president is able to report that the objects of the act have been substantially achieved over the period covered. There were no amendments to the act during the period and the president has not found it necessary to recommend any. This is, I think, a reliable indication that the machinery continues to work well.
– In accordance with the provisions of section 18 of the Tariff
Board Act 1921-1962, I lay on the table of the House the following paper: -
Tariff Board Act- Tariff Board- Report for year 1961-62, together with Summary of Recommendations.
The report is accompanied by an annexure which summarizes the recommendations made by the board and shows the action taken in respect of each of them. It is not proposed to print the annexure.
That the report be printed.
– I should like to make a personal explanation, Mr. Speaker. I have been misreported in to-day’s issue of the Sydney “ Daily Telegraph “ which states -
Mr. Cope (Labour, New South Wales) said there was “ a considerable abuse “ of travelling allowances and out-of-pocket expenses.
He said members of Parliament should not extravagantly travel about the country.
Nor should they travel from State to State to attend parties or festive occasions.
I said nothing of the sort. I was like the honorable member for North Sydney: I had a silent day yesterday.
– I move -
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1960, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report: - Construction of Traeger Park School, Alice Springs, Northern Territory.
The proposal provides for the construction, in two stages, of a primary and infants’ school, at an estimated cost of £325,000. The building will be constructed in loadbearing cement brick, with concrete floors and steel roof decking. It has been designed with a single-story section to accommodate the infants’ school and a two-story section to accommodate the primary school. I table preliminary plans of the proposed building.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
In Committee of Supply: Consideration resumed from 2nd October (vide page 1050).
Proposed Vote, £12,463,000.
– Mr. Chairman, I am indeed glad that the
Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) is in the chamber listening to this debate on the estimates for the Prime Minister’s Department. I am hopeful that to-day he will be in a position to announce some change in the Government’s policy, particularly on this vexed question of education, which has been before the committee and has engaged so much of its attention during this debate. This is a complex problem, not a simple one. For that reason, I think that at this stage one should advocate Commonwealth participation in a conference to decide the correct policy, rather than rush in and prejudge the issue. This is not a simple issue. There is no doubt that the Government is technically correct when it lays emphasis on the fact that, under our Constitution, education is a matter for the States. The Government is technically correct in being reluctant to engage in this field and to participate in expenditure in a way which would undoubtedly run the risk of the Commonwealth intruding into the State sphere.
I can well appreciate, because they are matters of moment and quite considerable weight, the considerations which hitherto have made the Commonwealth Government reluctant - properly reluctant - to take any action in this field. This Government, however, has already participated in university education. Here I think we should note in passing that the Government has done to primary and secondary education a service which is not always fairly acknowledged in this House and by the Opposition. One of the great shortages in education is teachers, and the Commonwealth’s intervention by the subvention for the universities has had the very good and substantial effect of increasing the supply of teachers lower down the line. So I think that the Commonwealth Government was perfectly correct in looking at university education first, because this was the key to remedying the crucial shortages in primary and secondary education.
At the present time, as honorable members well know, the Commonwealth Government is sponsoring a committee on tertiary education. We all support this. Is there a case to be made out for something further? I believe that there is. In 1961, the Premiers came together and unani mously asked the Commonwealth to participate in a conference on primary, secondary and technical education. I think that the idea, if I gathered it aright, was that this should be a conference of representatives of the States with a Commonwealth representative as chairman. It is perfectly competent for the States, as, I think, the honorable member for Macarthur (Mr. Jeff Bate) mentioned earlier in this debate, to hold a conference themselves without Commonwealth participation by the provision of a chairman. But it seems to me that a proper function of the Commonwealth Government is to provide a chairman for such a meeting when the States request such participation. After all, the States all have their individual difficulties and idiosyncracies. All their systems are different, and every State representative would stand up for the particular aspects of his own State’s system of education. It is for the Commonwealth to bring to bear on these problems the arbitrament of a detached and independent judgment and to help the States to solve the problems.
Particularly, I think that this is a proper problem for the Commonwealth to interest itself in, because it is an important national problem. I think it would be correct to say that the Government of the United States of America has as little direct constitutional responsibility for education as the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia has. Yet the United States Government has shown an interest by participating in the solution of the problems of the American States in the educational field. I hope to return to the importance of this problem and deal with it more fully later if I have time.
I can well understand a proper reluctance on the part of the Commonwealth to provide a chairman for a conference on education, because it feels that it may, by implication, involve itself in some monetary outlay and take on responsibility in a field which it would like to avoid. There are many responsibilities which we would like to avoid, but, in a national matter, can any Commonwealth government properly take such a line? I think that we must also realize that, although the problems before the States in the educational field may - and, I think, do - involve the outlay of cash, they are not problems only of cash.
For example, we have the problem of apprenticeship, which Mr. Justice Kirby mentioned last week, and about which he made most constructive suggestions which must be tied up with our whole system of secondary education. We have heard numerous statements - absolutely true statements - made by Ministers in this place to the effect that there is a shortage of skilled labour even when there is a redundancy of unskilled labour. In this field of technical education, co-ordination of the educational system with our own entire national system of employment obviously is desirable. Apprenticeship and technical education are national matters.
Then there is the question of the methods of teaching. For example, in the United States, Great Britain and on the Continent of Europe visual methods - the use of closed circuit and even open circuit television - language laboratories and things of that character are being introduced and are making obsolete many of our present practices in schools. A good deal of change is required, but there will be some obstruction to such change by vested interests throughout the whole of State educational systems. That is understandable. This is a position in which the Commonwealth can properly interest itself with the idea of removing these impediments.
Then there is the question of parent cooperation. This is something which, perhaps, is not fully developed in Australia in spite of the excellent work which has been done in New South Wales, and I dare say in other States, by parents’ and citizens’ associations. These bodies form excellent foundations on which further structures can be erected. I believe that parents’ and citizens’ associations, with the very greatest goodwill, can be brought more effectively into the educational picture. For all these reasons, and since things must be done in order and it is wrong to try to do too much at once, I feel that the Commonwealth at this time might well interest itself in secondary and technical education and leave primary education aside for the time being.
We all know that there is a shortage of teachers, although, as I have pointed out, the Commonwealth has done a very great deal, which has not always been acknow- ledged, towards helping to increase the supply of teachers. There are shortages of classrooms and equipment, but above all there is a lack of a sense of purpose in schools and on the part of the pupils themselves. This is not a problem peculiar to Australia, but I think we all realize that many children at school do not themselves have any great sense of purpose in what they are learning. This argues that some fundamental reforms are overdue. Some finance is required.
Let me consider for a moment the figures relating to groups concerned in the field of secondary education and let me take in particular the thirteen to seventeen years age bracket to which we have been referring. Five years ago in Australia there were 750,000 children in this group. To-day, in round figures, there are 950,000, representing an increase of something like 40,000 a year. Projecting the figures forward, as we very well can do with the aid of demographic bulletins, we see that for the next two years the increase is likely to be of the order of 30,000 a year and then, funnily enough, we shall come to a plateau because the number in that age group will bc virtually stationary for five years.
These figures on the age distribution of our population do not tell the whole story because, with the higher school leaving age and increasing tendency for parents themselves to keep their children at school to the leaving certificate or equivalent standard, there is a growing proportion of the children in the age group in question seeking secondary and technical education. So I think that the number for whom we shall have to cater will be considerably, in fact drastically, greater than the increased number which one might conclude from the proved figures in the age groups which I have mentioned.
In these circumstances surely in the last two years we should have been doing something about secondary schools. Surely with our idle resources of building materials and labour - we have had idle resources of building materials and labour over the last two years - we should have had the foresight to see this problem arising and have made adequate provision for it as a special problem because, as I have said, the plateau of five years is ahead of us. At present we are really only looking at what is a fairly transitory but very vexatious problem. If we had had a better understanding of this matter in the past perhaps we would have done something better about it during the last two years. But all this is water under the bridge. Let us forget about the past and look to the future.
This is a national problem. The real capital wealth of Australia is not only land, buildings and factories; the greatest part of our real capital is in our Australian people. The training that we give them to produce the means of a good life is surely one of the great tasks of a National Government. It is true that education administration is decentralized in the States, but surely the responsibility for the overall planning comes back to the National Government, particularly at a time such as the present when the deficiencies of the status quo are evident enough. As I have said previously in this place, this is a problem which cannot wait. Children are young only once. Whatever the technicalities of the constitutional position, they are not of very great consequence when compared wilh the healthy development of a whole generation. I appeal to the Prime Minister for some change in government outlook.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– The debate on the proposed vote for the Prime Minister’s Department has become really a debate on education; but there are some difficulties in discussing this matter because the Commonwealth Government’s educational activities are in fact divided between the Prime Minister’s Department, the Department of Territories and the Department of the Interior. The Commonwealth Office of Education and the universities come within the ambit of the Prime Minister s Department. The Commonwealth itself has a very large and growing number of children of school age. In fact there are more school children in the Commonwealth’s territories than there are in Victoria, for instance. But the Commonwealth has no teacher’s college in which to train its teachers. One must respect the Commonwealth’s educational effort in New Guinea as far as it has gone, but one sees a tremendous need for teachers. This all adds up to the need for a teacher’s college, under the aegis of the Prime Minister’s Department, for the training of teachers to meet Commonwealth purposes. The States are reluctant to release teachers to the Commonwealth in adequate numbers.
The honorable member for New England (Mr. Drummond) raised the question of aid for denominational schools. The Commonwealth is already involved to a considerable extent in denominational aid. In New Guinea, for instance, every qualified European teacher attached to the missions receives £400 a year from the Commonwealth. It is a partial payment of salary and for maintenance. In the Northern Territory, the corresponding amount is £950. That is a substantial contribution. In the Australian Capital Territory, grants are made towards the cost of interest on the capital outlay on denominational schools. The pressure for aid to denominational schools is undoubtedly a consequence of the enormous increase in investment in State schools by State governments.
Many honorable members have stressed the increased appropriation for education in the aggregate throughout Australia. Of course, this heavy investment in the governmental sector of education has placed the private schools under great pressure to emulate the governments and they are having very great difficulties in raising funds. It seems to me that as the Commonwealth, in its own territories, is fully involved in this, it ought to go all the way in the Australian Capital Territory especially when it is creating problems of over-crowding by moving departments to Canberra.
As far as the States are concerned, the Australian Labour Party programme is actually attached to the Commonwealth constitutional provision of benefits to students. That is to say, the Labour Party believes in the extension of Commonwealth scholarships downwards into the secondary field of education, those scholarships to be tenable at public and private schools. The grants should be payable to the student, not to the institution, and the parents should be able to decide whether the child concerned shall attend a public or private school. The Commonwealth, in my view, would be bound by State action for denominational aid if the States made that part of their educational structure. I understand, for instance, that the State of Queensland does make some grant per capita towards the cost of educating students in private schools. No doubt that money comes from the Commonwealth in reimbursements since this is part of the State’s educational structure. I believe that if the States made this aid part of their educational structure the Commonwealth would be morally obliged to assist if it has a policy of assisting the States and helping them to meet their legitimate costs of government.
It seems to me that, in debating denominational aid, we are constantly forgetting the real question. I do not accuse the honorable member for New England of forgetting the real question. The real question is posed by the fact that there are thousands of Australian children - it is irrelevant whether they be Baptists, Catholics, Anglicans or anything else - especially those in private primary schools, who are not now getting the educational opportunities that they should be getting because of over-crowding and other unsatisfactory features. There are in the secondary aspects of the private sector enormous expenses of technical education and scientific education which are now, in part, being met by grants from private companies to private schools. The companies concerned have been seised of the need for more scientific and technical education but the assistance given does not really meet the needs of the private schools.
Every educational activity of the Commonwealth, apart from those in its own territories, is financed by way of State grants which, 20 or 30 years ago, were not accepted in the community as being a responsibility of the Commonwealth. Universities began to be accepted as a responsibility of the Commonwealth in the post-war reconstruction period under the previous government and assistance to universities has been enormously expanded under the present Government. But the aid to universities goes by way of State grants legislation. Aid to denominational colleges in the universities which all denominations seem able to accept, although they find differences of principle if the assistance is at a lower level of education, goes by way of State grants legislation also.
It seems to me that the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) has made a case for looking, in conjunction with the States, at the needs of the lower levels of education to see whether something can be done by way of States grants legislation for them also. The honorable member for Mackellar has stressed the fact that the extension of university education as proposed did nothing for teachers’ colleges. We have had a good deal of evidence in the Labour Party education committee that the expansion of universities has drawn a lot of the most skilful staff away from teachers’ college into the, perhaps, freer academic atmosphere of the universities. That has had a serious effect on teacher training. This is an aspect of tertiary education which is suffering from the increased attraction of university education. I feel that this is a matter that the Commonwealth might look at in establishing, for instance, its own teachers’ college. There is a vicious circle here. If you draw the highly skilled people from the teachers’ colleges and make the training of teachers more difficult you will affect the lower levels of education from which university students are recruited.
.- Mr. Temporary Chairman, I have been disturbed of late by the increasing number of petitions and round-robins that have called on the Commonwealth Government to give financial assistance where the responsibility belongs to the States. I think that this is brought about by one of the weaknesses of uniform taxation under which the Commonwealth Government is responsible for collecting all income tax and returning it to the States. When uniform taxation was first introduced the States were given certain responsibilities. It was quite clear what those responsibilities were and the States agreed to accept them. But we have found, of late, a greater tendency to expect the Commonwealth Government to contribute more and more towards the cost of State responsibilities. This is because we have to carry the sole responsibility for taxation.
When the States are accused of not spending enough money on a particular project the standard reply is, “ The Commonwealth does not give us enough money “. It is a form of buck-passing.
At the Premiers’ Conferences, the State governments make unlimited demands upon the Commonwealth Government to start with, knowing full well that they will be refused. They are refused but the Premiers agree to accept what they get. Then they return to their own States and, by skill and cunning, build up an impression that the Commonwealth has been so niggardly or mean to them that they have not been able to carry out certain projects that people want to have carried out. The fact that the Commonwealth is responsible for collecting taxes tends to cause wastlefulness on the part of the States. It tends to result in a lack of prudence in the States’ handling of their financial affairs because they are not directly responsible to the taxpayers. In other words, they become more or less delinquent in the handling of their finances. They are able to do things which will be politically popular, yet irresponsible, by giving extra benefits to the workers and the spending of money in different ways. This increases the liability of the State but the people of the State do not associate their increased taxation payments with that liability because the payments are made to the Commonwealth.
It should be the first duty of all members of Parliament to look after the public purse and handle it as wisely and shrewdly as they can without any wastefulness. When they have to spend money it should be spent to the maximum benefit. If a State government does not have to collect its funds from the taxpayers then it is not so particular about how it spends them. It has only to go back to the Commonwealth Government and ask for more money and the Commonwealth Government has to bear the odium of increased taxation. We have seen that, no matter what it is for, the States to-day say that Commonwealth assistance should be given. A number of members have said in this chamber that more assistance should be given for education and that we should make special grants for roads and hospitals. When grants are given for those purposes we are immediately undermining the sovereign rights of the States and taking away their powers. There are many who believe that people who are pushing the sort of thinking that the Commonwealth should give more aid to the States are unificationists who want to see federalism abandoned because they know that every time the States are weakened more and more control is placed in the hands of the Commonwealth Government. I know that it is Labour philosophy to abolish the States and have one government for this country.
– I think the honorable member is getting a little away from the estimates for the Prime Minister’s Department.
– This all comes within the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister. The Premiers’ Conferences are within his responsibility. The Commonwealth Government has been extremely generous in its financial relations with the States. In 1950 the Commonwealth Government completely waived its claim to 20 per cent of the money raised by the Australian Loan Council, which normally would have been used by the Commonwealth. In addition to that, to help the States with some of their responsibilities the Commonwealth has underwritten and more orless subsidized the Loan Council to an amount of £800,000,000 in the last ten years. Tax reimbursements, revenue grants and other grants to the States have increased since 1948-49, the last year the Labour Party was in office, from £78,473,000 to £394,000,000 in 1961-62. That is a tremendous increase. People might say that the population has increased and the cost of living has gone up, but I have taken the figures a little further and have calculated as a percentage of the gross national product the amount that the Commonwealth gives to the States. In1948-49 the Commonwealth gave 3.4 per cent of the gross national product to the States by way of tax reimbursement grants. In 1961-62 the percentage was 5.4.
– I suggest that that is a matter for the estimates of the Department of the Treasury rather than the Prime Minister’s Department.
- Mr. Temporary Chairman, this comes within the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister’s Department. All the requests for assistance for education and for other things as matters of policy come within the scope of the Prime Minister’s Department, and I think the subject of my remarks vitally concerns that department.
Although the uniform taxation system may have certain merits in that people have only one form to fill in and there is only one central authority to collect the money, which means more efficiency, it does tend to breed lack of prudence on the part of the States, which in turn leads to financial delinquency. It causes people to come and ask the Commonwealth Government for more and more money, and every time they do so they put another nail in the coffin of federalism. Time and time again the Australian people have shown that they do not want unification. Twenty-six issues have been put to the people of Australia at referendums, but only four have been agreed to. That shows the reluctance of the Australian public to confer more power on the federal government. The people who ask for more Commonwealth assistance do not realize that they are weakening the very structure of the State governments, and if the Commonwealth does give more money for these purposes it will be overriding the functions of the States.
We have given grants to the States, for many purposes, and I agree that they should have been given. We have given grants to the universities, which was never done in Labour’s day; we have given grants for national disasters; for long-service leave for persons employed in the coal-mining industry; for extensions of agricultural advisory services; for the maintenance of tuberculosis hospitals; for mental hospitals and many other things. These are all new types of assistance with which I agree, because all these grants are on a national basis. But to ask the Commonwealth Government to make special grants for what are State responsibilities and obligations will tend to weaken our federal system of government, a system which is certainly supported by all members on this side of the chamber and, I believe, by the people of Australia as a whole.
.- Mr. Chairman, I want to discuss that section of the estimates of the Prime Minister’s Department relating to education. In doing so I join with my colleagues who have spoken of what they recognize as the need for a far greater financial contribution by the Commonwealth for education, particularly at the primary, secondary and technical levels.
Possibly much of what has been said by the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) is true, and undoubtedly there will always be some difficulty in regard to Commonwealth-State financial relations, but we, as the Opposition, believe a need exists for a far greater participation by the Commonwealth in the field of education. This is probably the fifth year - it may be even longer - that the Opposition has directed the attention of the Government to the needs of education throughout the Commonwealth. Since the immediate post-war years the question of Commonwealth participation in education has become increasingly important. The Commonwealth has entered the field of education principally at the tertiary level. Nevertheless, a principle was established and the Commonwealth has entered this field.
During the debate on this subject in other years Government members have answered the criticism which has been levelled from this side of the chamber by saying that no State had requested financial assistance from the Commonwealth for education generally. That argument no longer has any basis, because only recently all State Premiers at the Premiers’ Conference requested that further financial assistance be accorded the States to assist primary, secondary and technical education throughout the Commonwealth of Australia. I am sure it was recognized by the Premiers at that conference that the need for Commonwealth assistance was urgent, and certainly that need has been recognized not only at the governmental level but at all levels throughout Australia where there are people who are prepared to take some interest in matters of education.
I have been a member of a Parliamentary committee established by the Labour Party, which has interested itself in this question of education for some years. That committee has had the opportunity to visit at least some of the States, and in every State in which the committee has had an opportunity to discuss the situation with people concerned with an education department or those interested as members of parents’ and friends’ councils or with university training, the same story has been told to the committee - that the States are no longer able to meet the needs of education because of a lack of adequate finance. As the result of discussions by this committee in most States of the Commonwealth over a number of years we have now been able to write into the policy of the Australia Labour Party a platform that we believe will meet the needs of education. As I indicated a few moments ago, the Prime Minister, during previous Estimates debates has claimed that no State Premier had requested financial assistance from the Commonwealth for education. As I have pointed out, however, at a recent Premiers’ Conference all the Premiers were unanimous that further assistance would be required from the Commonwealth if the States were to be able to provide the facilities that are now required for the purposes of education. At the Premiers’ Conference in June, 1961, the Premier of New South Wales, the Honorable R. J. Heffron, M.L.A., submitted to the Prime Minister a statement on behalf of all six Premiers and, in referring to this subject generally had this to say -
Turning to another aspect of the statement, I would say that the most common experience of all the States is a rising tide of enrolments. The great increase in the child population of this country, both from Australian births and from the influx of migrant children of school age, has become one of the commonplaces of administration. There is a danger that, like other commonplaces, this might be taken for granted. At present the wave of school enrolments has passed the primary school level and is being felt in secondary schools. For some time this will continue to be the case.
As the result of this statement submitted by the Premier of New South Wales it was agreed that a resolution should be submitted asking the Commonwealth to provide greater co-operation in the sphere of education. The Premier of New South Wales went on to say -
I would ask at this stage that the Commonwealth accept the principle of assisting the States in these directions and agree to establish a committee to investigate and make an up-to-date assessment of the needs of primary, secondary and technical education on a national basis and to suggest a long term basis of assistance.
Such an inquiry would necessarily take some time, and in view of the urgency of the present situation, I would also ask that the Commonwealth agree to make available some special assistance as an interim measure.
I think that sums up the attitude of all the States on the question of education. So it is no longer accepted by the Opposition or, I believe, by interested parties outside this Parliament, that the Commonwealth Government can refuse to accept at least a measure of responsibility in this important aspect of our national life because the States have not requested financial assistance for education. Each of the other Premiers supported the statement of the Premier of New South Wales and requested that the Commonwealth Government immediately give consideration, in the first instance, to the establishment of a committee of inquiry and secondly, as an immediate measure, to some measure of financial assistance. The Opposition has for some years been presenting this case in the federal Parliament during the debate on the Estimates and it has also raised the issue on at least three occasions in urgency motions.
I believe that on all occasions when this matter has been discussed in the Parliament reference has been made to the speech delivered here by the Prime Minister, then Leader of the Opposition, as far back as 1945 when, in effect, he suggested the same Commonwealth assistance to the States as we are suggesting now. Any one who has had an opportunity to study the needs of education in each of the States will know that in all of them there is a shortage of trained teachers largely due, I believe, to the greatly increased population. Secondly, there is a shortage of equipment and an abundance of obsolete schools. To overcome these problems the States, parents and friends’ organizations, and teachers have all suggested that a far greater measure of financial assistance will be necessary.
There is no uniformity in primary, secondary and technical education throughout the States of the Commonwealth today. In Tasmania the school leaving age is 16 years. In New South Wales it is 15 years and in the remaining States it is 14 years. I understand that in all those remaining States the necessary amending legislation has been prepared to raise the school leaving age to 15 years, but that, because of a shortage of finance, it has not been practicable to pass that legislation. So to-day we are in the unfortunate position that only one State has an adequate school leaving age.
There should be some uniformity of educational standards throughout the Commonwealth, but this cannot be achieved unless this Government is prepared to accept the arguments that have been advanced, not only by education departments generally, but also by the interested organizations to which I have referred, and particularly by the State Premiers.
I am probably fortunate in representing an electorate in a State which has given a great deal of consideration to education generally. Standards of equipment and school buildings in Tasmania are probably superior in many respects to those in the other States. But because Tasmania has applied itself so thoroughly to education generally, it has quite naturally had less money to expend on other essential public utilities. Nevertheless we have at least aimed at a standard and we believe that the standard which is now largely applicable to Tasmania is also possible of achievement in the other States, lt would be completely wrong in principle for the Commonwealth to suggest that it has no responsibility in this matter. One has only to point, for example, to the fact that the great increase in population that has taken place in this country since the immediate post-war years has meant added responsibility for the State education departments. It might well be argued - I suppose with some truth - that through the tax reimbursement formula the Commonwealth has accepted a measure of responsibility for the increase in population; but we know that, although the taxation formula may largely take care of the increase in adult population, it certainly does not meet the needs of the States so far as school children are concerned. Although the adult population of a State may be increasing, for example, by 2i per cent, per annum, the school population may be increasing by as much as 5 per cent, per annum.
So the States have this great difficulty of meeting the educational needs arising from this great increase of population. The Opposition has consistently requested in this Parliament that the Government consider establishing a committee of inquiry to deal with this matter. I am one member of this Parliament who believes that the
Government should have full credit for what it has done about tertiary education. I have said before during this debate that I believe that a great deal has been achieved at the tertiary level, and no doubt the Government is entitled to credit in that respect.
Order! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
.- The honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) set out to prove that at the Premiers conference the Premiers requested increased grants for education. The honorable gentleman seems to conclude that if he proves his point it necessarily follows that the Commonwealth should either provide more finance for education by way of special grants or, alternatively, should enter the field of education directly. That seems to me to have no merit in logic whatsoever as an argument because even if it is accepted that all the State Premiers did ask for more money, where does that lead? You are still in the same position as you were before, except that it would be possible to ask the Premiers now why, if they could adopt this common line at the last Premiers Conference, they had shown different points of view earlier on.
I think that the true rationale, there, is that all the State Premiers were asking for more money for education at that conference in order that they could pursue a political line - that is to say, in order that they could say to the people of their States, “ You cannot blame us for any shortcomings, but must look elsewhere for the culprit “. Had they not pursued this line at the conference they would have been on weaker ground when pursuing their political line.
It is true, as the honorable member for Bass has said, that there is no uniformity in the school leaving age in Australia. Unlike the honorable member for Bass, I find nothing terrible in the lack of uniformity in the school leaving age as between, for instance, Victoria and the other States, nor do I find anything terrible in the lack of uniformity in the curricula of the various State educational systems. I went to school in Western Australia, and I confess I spent only two years in secondary school. Had I gone on with my education I would have done five years in secondary school. My children, who go to school in Victoria, will do six years in secondary school if they continue with their schooling that far. I see nothing wrong in the lack of uniformity, and I do not think that that lack can be properly put forward as an argument for the intrusion of the Commonwealth into a field where, quite frankly, 1 do not want to see the Commonwealth intrude. That is another factor with which I will deal in a moment.
The honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) referred to the shortage of skilled labour which was highlighted by a statement made by Mr. Justice Kirby in the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. I think that my friend from Mackellar misunderstood the nature of His Honour’s suggestion. The matter arose in the court as a result of the differences that have evolved between employers on the one hand and the employees on the other hand in relation to training for industry. I think it is reasonable to say that the trade unions hold that traditional means of training for skilled work in industry lies in the apprenticeship system which, they say, is the system that should be followed; the employers, on the other hand, say that there ought to be adult training in industry, and they have served a log of claims on the unions for provision to be made in the metal trades award to that effect. It is in connexion with this matter that Mr. Justice Kirby wants the parties io consult with a view to having the Minister for Labour and National Service convene a conference that might be able to resolve the obstacles that beguile the issue.
Then the honorable member for Mackellar talked about the demographic structure. Demographic information is as available to the States as it is to the Commonwealth or, in fact, as it is to the honorable member for Mackellar himself. There is no copyright on this information, and I should have thought that on the demographic ground the honorable member for Mackellar would have based an argument for the continuation of the control of education by the State governments and for the continued making of decisions in relation to education by the State governments. I say that, because it has already been seen that it is not sufficient to look merely at the demographic structure. You must also look very closely at the local geographic distribution. We have already seen a situation occurring in certain parts of Australia - I speak particularly of my own electorate - where a great number of people enter an area and closely settle it. They are of an average age level and they have a certain average number of children and they represent a certain age structure. They live in this general geographic area and they require, in the first place, certain provision for primary education and certain provision for secondary education. It is not sufficient to look at the demographic structure of the whole of Australia and say: “ This is where the problem lies. All you need to do is to plan this thing centrally “, and then proceed to say that there should be so many primary schools here and so many secondary schools there, and so on. That is not enough. The people close to the local demographic structure are the State governments and the State departments of education, which are better able to foresee the needs in education. I should think that the demographic structure aspect is more an argument for the continuation of the system of educational control as we know it in Australia to-day.
It is no secret that in Australia, because of the federal nature of our Constitution, the move is towards more power in the centre. I am sure that all political philosophers share the view which the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) himself referred to in the Southey Memorial Lecture which he delivered at the University of Melbourne about two years ago. It is true that in any federation you will have two forces at work. One is the centrifugal force, which tends outwards to put the control and the power in the organs of federation itself; the other is the inward tending, the centripetal, force which tends to put the power in the central government. In Australia to-day the force at work is the inward force, which is tending to give power to the Federal Government. This is a fact which we can see around us. Whether we like it or not this is what is occurring. I think it is also true that the longer the period in which the force exists the greater is the rate of movement of the force. So I think it is fair to say that, given that this is the situation in Australia, it would appear inevitable that in time the Federal Government will be clothed with greater and greater powers. It may well be that clothing it with these greater powers will result in the Federal (government moving into education in the secondary and primary fields. I do not know whether this is inevitable. On some theses it is, but on others it is not.
I think it may be inevitable that ultimately the Commonwealth will have a greater control of the finance for education; but, after all, the Commonwealth to-day has this control, because it is responsible for the collection of the money used for education and for other governmental purposes in Australia. Having collected the money it distributes it among the States in accordance with an agreement between it and the States as parties. The States themselves then decide how they will spend their shares. Whether or not it is inevitable that the Commonwealth will move completely into the field of education, as foreseen by the honorable member for Bass, I do not know. 1 would prefer that that did not happen. If it is inevitable, which I doubt, then I would like to see it postponed as long as is humanly possible.
The difficulty, of course, is that the State governments themselves are precipitating the entry of the Commonwealth Government into the field, because they are reacting to pressure groups which are directing their arguments along one line while, in fact, seeking to achieve a different purpose. The State governments are falling for this kind of guile and so are precipitating the entry of the Commonwealth Government into the field. I regret that the State governments do this, because I believe they have a very fine record in education. I remember my own school days in Perth, when I sat in a room, the windows of which were at a height of about 10 feet. None of us could see out of the windows once we entered the classroom. There were big classes in my day, certainly as big, I think, as the classes in the little State school that my children attend, a school called Norwood, at Ringwood. If I walk along the footpath outside that school I can see the children through the windows. The class rooms are light and airy and the kids love school. I cannot say that I loved school in my day.
As for accommodation in schools, surely there must be occasions on which temporary accommodation must be provided. This is most unfortunate for the particular children who have to use that temporary accommodation. But “ temporary “ is the operative word. Within a matter of two or three years of the provision of temporary accommodation, a new school rises phoenix-like from the ashes. In Victoria, the State Government certainly has a very fine record to which it can point. It can say with pride, “This is the education system that we have developed by exercising our own discretion as to what we will spend on education “.
Various arguments are advanced in favour of the proposition that the Commonwealth should enter this field. Let us think of some of them. It is said that we in Australia should greatly increase our output of educated people. This argument is usually put forward in respect of a suggested need for more technologists and technicians. I have said in this House on previous occasions that the other fields of learning, the other disciplines, are just as important as the technical field. We should not delude ourselves into believing that the most important requirement is to turn out technologists and technicians. The truth is that we must give considerable attention to the other disciplines as well.
Those who advocate the entry of the Commonwealth Government into these fields of education frequently point to the United States of America and to Soviet Russia and say, “Look how many more engineers they are turning out “. Without wishing to give offence to the United Stales, I think we are all aware of the rating that we give to degrees conferred on graduates by certain of the educational institutions in that country. I would much rather have a degree from the University of Melbourne, for instance, than from one of many of the colleges in the United States.
– Russia is full of engineers.
– Yes, Russia is full of engineers, as the honorable member for
Barker reminds me, but many of the engineers in other countries do not have qualifications that are possessed by our own engineers who graduate from, for instance, the University of Melbourne.
Mention has been made of unqualified teachers. Surely honorable members opposite realize how the population of Australia has increased. When the Second World War ended we had about 7,250,000 people. Now, just a few years later, our population is approaching 11,000,000. It should also be remembered that the structure of our population has undergone an extraordinary change. We now have a much younger population. As the average age of our people declines, we find that there are fewer people to provide for more people. There are fewer teachers, for instance, to care for more pupils. We must, therefore, use the capacities and skills of the people who are available to us to the best possible advantage. If a teacher is untrained, in the strict sense of the word, let us not be scornful of him. Let us remember that we have to use his capacities to the best possible advantage in order to overcome a specific problem that confronts us at the moment, and which is brought about by the very high proportion of young people in the community.
It has also been said that because the Commonwealth has entered the field of universities it should likewise enter the fields of primary and secondary education. I can only characterize such a contention as rubbish. AH of us know that the universities have a history far different from that of our primary and secondary schools. They have a history of jealously-guarded independence and self-determination. The university field is one that I think the Commonwealth can enter without it ever being suggested that it is exceeding its proper constitutional power, because the institutions that receive the money have their own spending powers, their own selfdetermination and complete independence. But if the Commonwealth sought to enter the primary and secondary education fields in a similar way, I am afraid we would run head-on into a first-class constitutional wrangle, which I would not like to see.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I would not like to let this opportunity pass without making some observations about Commonwealth scholarships. Commonwealth scholarships, like all other scholarships, are obtained under the examination system, and the examination system is a pretty roughandready means of determining whether people have mastered the subjects which they have been studying. My mind goes back to the Leaving Certificate examination that was held in the year before last. Three girls at a leading Sydney girls’ high school took the examination in modern history. It was predicted that one of them would obtain second-class honours, that another would obtain first-class honours, and that the third would fail. When the results came out it was found that the one who was expected to get first-class honours obtained only a B pass, the one who was expected to get second-class honours obtained an A pass, and the girl whose failure was predicted also obtained an A pass.
I do not suggest that one example of this kind is sufficient to determine the effectiveness of the examination system, but I do say that this is a fairly representative result. This is the kind of consequence to be expected when young people go into the examination room. We must remember that these scholarships are awarded on the basis of the students’ ability to satisfy examiners that they have mastered the subjects for which they have sat.
But what I particularly wish to refer to this afternoon is the number of Commonwealth scholarships available. In 1951 in Australian universities 7,601 new students were enrolled. In that year no fewer than 3,000 Commonwealth scholarships were available. Nine years later, in 1960, the number of new students enrolled was 15,833, but there were still only 3,000 scholarships available. It can be seen at a glance that the chances of a student getting a scholarship in 1960 were about half as favourable as they were in 1951. In 1961 the Commonwealth Government decided that the number of Commonwealth scholarships should be increased, but the number was raised not by several thousands, as I had hoped it would be, but by only 1,000. So 4,000 scholarships were available in 1961. This year, 16,263 new students were enrolled, but still only 4,000 Commonwealth scholarships were available to go around. It must be instantly perceptible to anybody examining these figures that it is a much more difficult problem for a student to obtain a scholarship nowadays than it was when the scheme was inaugurated.
There has been talk in a number of Australian universities about a return to the quota system. We can only deplore such talk and hope that no Australian university will ever have to return to a quota system, with large numbers of anxious and aspiring students being informed that it is regretted that there is no room for them. Last year a lecturer in the faculty of medicine at the University of Sydney informed her section that irrespective of how well all the students did only half would be permitted to go on to the next year. This would seem to indicate that vast as has been the assistance given by the Commonwealth to Australian universities, still more remains to be done. Like, I suppose, every other member, I know quite large numbers of parents who have children who are students at Australian universities, and I guess nearly every honorable member is aware of the enormous financial sacrifice being made by the parents in order that the children may graduate in. some faculty. Frequently the mother of a student aged seventeen, who also has younger children, is obliged by sheer force of circumstances and the desire that her student child shall do well, to seek employment outside the home, in addition to performing all of those duties that naturally fall upon a housewife and mother. I am sure that no honorable member can, deep down inside, regard such a situation with any feeling of equanimity.
I emphasize for the benefit of the Prime Minister, because the estimates for his department are under discussion, that many parents are suffering great hardships in the hope that their children will become graduates in some faculty of Sydney University. It is not my desire to repeat the figures contained in the Prime Minister’s reply on 29th August, 1962, to a question asked by the honorable member for Barton, and with the concurrence of honorable members I incorporate them in “ Hansard “. The reply read -
In 1958 there were 12,717 matriculants, 11,429 applicants for scholarships, and only 2,928 scholarships granted. The picture grows appreciably gloomier with each passing year. In 1962 there were 18,648 applicants for scholarships and 4,096 scholarships were granted. It will be noted that this is a shade more than 4,000. Apparently provision is made for the number to be slightly over or slightly below 4,000, where the examination results of a number of people are very close.
One thing becomes apparent from the figures. It is increasingly difficult for young people to satisfy their thirst for more knowledge. It is certain that, with greater knowledge, they become of greater value to this, their country. If the number of scholarships is increased, so must there be a corresponding increase in the wealth of this country in the years to come. The benefits of education are not immediately apparent. It frequently takes a decade for a country to reap the value of young people who have acquired greater knowledge and greater know-how. After all, wherein does the real wealth of a country lie? I think that it lies principally in knowledge and knowhow. I have been to Switzerland, where I saw a country with only a few million people and scarcely one raw material of any significance contained within its boundaries. It is an importer of practically every raw material. Yet, because its people have enormous know-how, it is one of the most
successful exporting countries in the entire world. By contrast, let us take a look at one of the Asiatic powers. Take, for example, India. It has vast natural resources but it is deficient in knowledge and knowhow. When we compare the living conditions of the people of Switzerland with those of the people of India, it will be immediately perceived that the real wealth of a nation lies in the knowledge and knowhow of its people.
This year, together with several other members, I had the opportunity to hold conversations with the vice-chancellors of several Australian universities, and I was most impressed by the remark of one that it is not always the brightest and most successful matriculants from high schools who become the most successful graduates. Quite large numbers of students who perform brilliantly in high school examinations, and as a consequence show every prospect of a successful university career, do not fulfil the expectations that arise from their examination results. The vice-chancellor to whom I have referred was insistent that there should be greater opportunities for the people who do not do so well in examinations but at least have an intense, ardent desire to study and make progress, because from such people often come the most successful scientists, engineers and doctors.
I want to conclude with an appeal to the Government at least to double the number of Commonwealth scholarships. Even if this were done, there would still be only half as much chance of a scholarship for a student this year as there was in the inaugural year of such scholarships. The Parliament may be assured that in the years that are not so very far away, the real growth of this country will be immeasurably increased if the number of Commonwealth scholarships granted is at least doubled now.
.- Whilst I recognize the profound importance of greater federal aid to the States for educational purposes - I compliment my colleagues on the splendid case they have presented - I believe that no argument I could add would be likely to influence the Government if it has not been influenced by the case already presented by the Opposition. I can anticipate the Government’s answer. It will say that it is very sympathetic on this question of increased expenditure on education but because of lack of finance it is unable to do any more at this stage than it has been doing in cooperation with the States. Therefore, in the time at my disposal I shall direct attention to what I must regard, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, as largely wasteful expenditure on a useless service under the control of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). We are never given any details about the activities of this service or the work upon which it is engaged, but I have certain evidence, which I will submit before I conclude, to show that in my opinion it is being uselessly employed on work that normally is performed by the State police services. I am referring to the Australian Security Intelligence Organization.
All that we are given on page 16 of the Estimates is the bald statement that this year £705,000 is to be provided for this service. It is just a round figure. We are not told how it is to be expended, how much will go in the payment of the salaries of the members of the security service, how much will go in the payment of agents and so forth. Not even that information is furnished to the Parliament. We are simply asked to vote this large sum of money. This is £44,000 more than was expended on the service last year. Surely we are entitled to some explanation, if for no other reason than to establish why the extra £44,000 is required in this year.
Let me relate some of the blunders that have been committed by this organization. Every member of the Parliament is aware that it was originally established by a Labour government. Every honorable member will be fully aware also of the circumstances under which it was established and of the fact that at the time it was established the Labour government of the day, recognizing the great danger that there was in this secret organization, appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of South Australia to preside over it and to ensure that it did not get out of hand. In latter years, of course, under this Government it has developed into a semi-military organization and no information is presented to the Parliament on any occasion about its activities or the manner in which its funds are expended. I want to show only briefly that it is not even an efficient organizataion and that it makes many blunders and mistakes which on occasion have held this country up to ridicule throughout the world.
Not so long ago, Professor Gluckman was refused permission to enter the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. It will be said by the Prime Minister, no doubt, that this was the decision of the Administrator of the Territory. Honorable members will remember the circumstances. Professor Gluckman came to Australia at the invitation of the Australian National University. He was a renowned world scholar and anthropologist. He wanted to go into our Territory for three weeks to continue his studies, at the request of the Australian National University. Suddenly, without any explanation being given, he was prevented from doing so. We were merely told repeatedly that it was within the power of the Administrator to do this, but it is well known that the Administrator acted on a report submitted by the security service. No one in this Parliament even now knows the reason why Professor Gluckman was refused permission to enter the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. However, we do know that the Dutch authorities, who controlled the other portion of New Guinea at that time, were quite willing to admit him. This shows that some other governments did not accept the viewpoint of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization.
Then we had the case of Dr. Russel Ward - he is no relation of mine - who was an applicant for a lectureship at the University of New South Wales. He had been selected by the university authorities and was regarded as quite qualified for the position. At one stage, the authorities evidently had raised no objection to his appointment; as a matter of fact, they wanted him appointed. Suddenly, they were compelled to reverse their decision, again merely on a report submitted by the Australian Security Intelligence Organization.
If we proceed a little further, we will recall what was known as the Australian and New Zealand Congress for International Co-operation and Disarmament. This was a public meeting, not only of Australian citizens but also of eminent people from outside Australia, who came here to attend the meeting. Observers and representatives of the Australian Labour Party attended it. There was a public discussion on the important world question of disarmament generally. Professor Stout, amongst a number of other prominent citizens, was publicized as being one of the sponsors of the conference. He was the head, and I believe still is the head, of the Department of Moral Philosophy at Sydney University. None other than the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) secured the services of Brigadier Spry, who called on Professor Stout with a view to getting him to withdraw his sponsorship of the congress. Unfortunately, after Professor Stout had received this lecture on moral philosophy from Brigadier Spry, he changed his mind and did not attend the initial stages of the conference. I do not know whether he attended the later stages, but he certainly withdrew his sponsorship.
We all recollect that some years ago, when the Prime Minister introduced the Communist Party Dissolution Bill into the Parliament, he gave a number of names of people prominent in the trade union movement whom he declared to bc members of the Communist Party. Obviously, he did not obtain his information from any quarter other than the Australian Security Intelligence Organization. Within 48 hours, he was obliged to come into the Parliament again and correct his list. He had to admit that in a number of important instances he had been wrong. This shows conclusively that this organization is not the infallible body that the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) frequently attempt to make us believe it is.
Let me turn to some other activities of the organization. I am glad to say that at least one Minister in the Government is prepared, when he believes this organization to be wrong, to disregard its recommendations. I refer to the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Downer). Unfortunately, he takes notice of the organization’s recommendations too frequently, but there have been occasions when he has disregarded them. In certain cases where naturalization certificates had, on the recommendation of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization, been refused to people who had been resident in this country for very many years, the Minister, after examining the facts and all the available information, decided to disregard the report of the security organization, and I say all credit to him.
This also applies to entry permits. It has been charged in the British Parliament by members of the House of Commons that a political surveillance is made of applicants for entry into Australia. We know that people are questioned not merely as to whether they are members of the Communist Party or have ever been members of it, but also as to whether they have been active in trade unions and what their associations in general life have been. This information is examined and on it the Minister and the Government have acted on a number of occasions.
I said that I had some evidence recently of the activities of the organization to show that it was not fully and usefully employed. When I say “ usefully employed “ I am talking about the work on which one would expect a security service to be engaged. I think that, if a security service were engaged in protecting defence secrets or protecting the country against enemy sabotage or enemy agents not a member of the Parliament, and certainly very few Autralian citizens, if any, would object to it. But that is not what the Australian Security Intelligence Organization does to-day. It is now a political police force, and we find its representatives attend Labour meetings and meetings of trade unions, lt has its agents spying on trade union activities; it is tapping telephones.
We all recollect an incident in which it sent representatives to a public meeting. Certainly, it was not a meeting of what Government supporters frequently refer to as a Communist-controlled trade union, but a meeting of the New South Wales Public Service Administrative and Clerical Officers Association. The association had called a public meeting in Wynyard-square. There was no secrecy about it. The members of the association wanted to discuss their ordinary industrial conditions and a complaint they had received about some of the conditions under which they were employed. Security officers were in attendance taking notes of what was said by the respective speakers. After their presence was noted and protests had been made by officers of the association and by representatives of the Australian Labour Party in this Parliament, the security officers apologized. They said the notes would be destroyed and would not be used on any occasion against those who had made the speeches at this meeting.
Recently the A.L.P. convened a peace rally in the Sydney Town Hall. It was a public meeting; anybody interested could attend. The president of the New South Wales branch of the Labour Party presided and every speaker at the meeting was a member of the A.L.P. Yet scattered in the audience we found members of the security service. What were they doing at this meeting? What was their purpose in being there? It was like any ordinary public meeting that the police can attend. If there is any breach of the law or disorder, they can cope with it. Yet we were able to see these security officers studded about a Labour meeting. I say quite definitely that there is no evidence that this great expenditure is justified, and no explanation has been given to the Parliament to justify it. I and some of my colleagues have tried to find out in the past how the security service engages its agents, what they are paid and the type of men who are engaged as security agents. It is most important to know their types when we consider that they are attending trade union meetings and public meetings convened by the Australian Labour Party.
In the few minutes left to me I want to refer to one other matter that comes under the control of the Prime Minister. I refer to the frequent overseas ministerial visits. I know that on many occasions there are important conferences where Government representation is required; but I certainly believe it has become a habit in recent years for Ministers to trip overseas on all sorts of pretexts. Strangely enough, many of their overseas visits coincide with important international sporting events and social functions. Recently Ministers from Australia went overseas at public expense claiming that many important and difficult questions had to be dealt with and it was imperative that they go. Then we picked up the daily press and saw that Ministers who were supposed to be engaged in important national work were at Newport. They were the guests of the President of the United States on a destroyer to witness the series of races for the America’s Cup, which is recognized as the world yachting championship event. If people happened to be in the vicinity at the time and had a few minutes to spare and wanted to witness the yachting, I would have no objection, but these men were flown from one side of America to another, from the place where they were supposed to be engaged in national work, to witness this sporting event.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– I do not propose to delay the committee at any length. There has been as usual during the debate on the Estimates a very interesting discussion on education. Time after time I have stated our position on this matter, and I do not propose to state it again because, as I said a day or two ago in the House, I have in preparation a factual statement about the Commonwealth in relation to education which will provide in itself a pretty powerful answer to most of the things that have been said in the course of this discussion.
It never ceases to surprise me that this should be the annual opportunity of seeking to convey to people that this Government is’ indifferent to education. This Government has a record in the field of education unequalled by any other Commonwealth government in the history of federation. The Australian Labour Party cannot talk to my Government about what the Commonwealth ought to do in the field of education. We have been doing it more and more and more; starting from scratch year by year. I venture to say that I am entitled to some considerable pride in what we have been able to do. I will elaborate in this White Paper the arguments I have previously put. However, I will elaborate them not as arguments but as cold statements of fact in relation to these matters.
There is a good deal of exaggeration engaged in. Even the new member for Phillip (Mr. Einfeld), if he will allow me to say so, engaged in a little exaggeration. He thought the States were falling behind in dealing with this problem. I think I ought to point out to him that school enrolments - I am now talking about the States en bloc - are increasing now at less than 3 per cent, per annum. The rate was 7 per cent, per annum ten years ago. On the other hand, State governments’ expenditures on education - out of funds to a large measure found from here - have been rising for some years now at 12 per cent, per annum. In the face of these facts, it is idle to exaggerate this problem. I know something about it. I know something about State schools because I have been through them. I know something about scholarships. I had to win them when there were twenty for a State - not thousands. I know something about these things; and I venture to say it does no good service to the problem of education in Australia to represent it as being something which is falling rapidly year by year into a state of chaos. I do not believe that it is doing that, and when the facts emerge wholly, I think I shall be able to produce proof of what I say. I just want to say that when this white paper is produced, I myself will welcome an opportunity to give honorable members a chance to debate it in the light of the information that will be contained in it.
Before I sit down, I want to glance at the last speech that was made in this debate by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward). The honorable member always seems to me to be like what was called in the nineteenth century “ a resurrection man “. He is always exhuming the corpses of his old hatreds, his old misstatements - shall I say, to put it politely - and his old passions; and as we all know, one of his great passions is a passion against the Australian Security Intelligence Organization. The security organization stands between the people of Australia and Communist activities and Communist espionage. It has enjoyed the hatred of the honorable member for East Sydney for a long time. Whether it is for that reason or not, who am I to say?
The honorable member is very fond of digging up these rather miserable bones of his. He goes back year by year. It must be said for him, but it is true, that he can never resist the temptation to go back to the time when I read out a list of people engaged in Communist activities. There were two errors in it, and very properly I came into the House as soon as I discovered them to correct those errors. “ Ah,” the honorable member says, “ this is what happens under the military security organization. This is what has been happening since you got that man, Spry. We had a judge. We had a judge so that there would be no errors of that kind. But, when you put this brass hat in, this kind of thing happens.” I am sorry to disappoint the honorable member - not for the first time - but the list that was provided for me on that occasion was provided when Mr. Justice Reed was director of the security organization.
– There is still a security risk.
– The honorable member switches now. At first, he loved Mr. Justice Reed and hated Brigadier Spry. Now he has decided that it is a pity about that, and he hates the security organization. Of course, he is fully prepared to rise in this place and invent stories about meetings being studded with security officers. How does he know?
– You can smell them.
– Would the honorable member care to name the security officers? I would not have thought that he could smell anybody who was close to him. ,
– Did the Prime Minister saythat there were no security officers at the meeting?
– This is puerile, Sir. The honorable member asks whether I said that there were no security officers present. 1 have never heard of them being there.
– I say that they were there.
– It is easy for the honorable member for East Sydney to say that. He hates the security organization and would hope to destroy it if a Labour government came into office. He would do his best to destroy this organization, because its enemies are not his. He goes on like this, full of hatred and full of malice. I am happy to say that the security organization goes on, enjoying the confidence of this Government and, I am sure, of the overwhelming number of the people of Australia.
.- Mr. Chairman, before I deal with the remarks made about education by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), I should like to add something to the observations made so eloquently last evening by the honorable member for Cunningham (Mr. Kearney) about the Federal Government’s grant to life-saving organizations. The honorable member, quite rightly and quite properly, strongly appealed to the Government on behalf of the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia. 1 should like to bring to the notice of the committee the fact that this Government makes a grant of £12,000 also to the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia.
For the benefit of those people who are not acquainted with the distinction between the two bodies, I point out that, obviously, surf life-saving clubs, which are controlled by the Surf Life Saving Association, are concerned with the patrolling of surf beaches and with other activities related thereto. The Royal Life Saving Society has two major responsibilities. First of all, it is responsible for the protection of life at what are called still-water pools. These are not necessarily only swimming pools such as one finds in country areas. They include, also, places such as the beaches on the shores of Botany Bay, which are not surf beaches. In my electorate, there are beaches of this kind at Brighton-le-Sands,
Ramsgate, Sans Souci, Doll’s Point, Carss Park and Connell’s Point. All these beaches can be dangerous, and safety demands the protective surveillance of the Royal Life Saving Society.
This body has another major function apart from the provision of life-saving facilities for the protection of people who swim at places such as I have mentioned. That other major function is the training of life-savers. The 68th annual report of the New South Wales branch of the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia, for the financial year 1961-62, reveals that 96,558 awards were made to people who had qualified as life-savers. This function of training life-savers is most important for those of us who frequent beaches and for our children who do likewise. I hope, along with the honorable member for Cunningham, that the Government will get around to making a much more realistic contribution to our life-saving bodies than it makes at present. I am reminded that the Royal Life Saving Society is the organization principally engaged in research into lifesaving techniques. Some of my constituents had the proud honour to receive a royal decoration for their bravery in lending themselves to these research activities which, in conjunction with the work of hospital authorities, gave rise to the modern method of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. This method of resuscitation has application not only to life-saving in the water but also to other forms of life-saving concerned with other dangers.
I turn now to other matters, Mr. Chairman. The Prime Minister has reiterated the view that all is well with education in Australia. At least, he has made the point that a lot has been done, and he has suggested to the Australian community that all the comments and criticisms about grave deficiencies in education made by responsible authorities in the community are unfounded. I remind the right honorable gentleman of the situation in his own State, Victoria. Let us not talk about New South Wales for a moment. Let us turn to Victoria, where one professional body of teachers - the Victorian Secondary Teachers Association - saw fit to spend part of it3 own funds on advertising, in the Victorian newspapers, the unfortunate effects of the’ present situation on the education scene in Victoria.
– All they want is higher salaries for themselves.
– This has nothing to do with higher salaries. The association that I have mentioned takes a very realistic view and brings to our notice the fact that in Victoria in 1962 more than 50,000 pupils in secondary schools are being taught by unqualified and untrained teachers. If the Prime Minister wants a more dispassionate or more objective evaluation of the educational scene in this country, he may be prepared to study a book written by Professor R. W. B. Jackson, a Canadian who visited this country a couple of years ago and who subsequently wrote a book entitled “ Emergent Needs in Australian Education “. He wrote -
Finally, it is surely high time that educators in Australia, and those in Canada too, put all the cards on the table to give the public the facts in full, unpleasant as they may be. Schools have been operating under emergency conditions for at least a decade, they are at present attempting to function under almost intolerable conditions and Strain, and, owing to steadily and rapidly increasing enrolments, they face a continuing crisis for the full extent of the foreseeable future.
Those are not the words of somebody who has a vested interest in Australia. They are the very dramatic words of a visiting Canadian expert on education, and they indicate, I think very properly, the actual position in Australia.
It is true that a lot has been done, of course. It has been done, however, at considerable expense to other services that the Australian community needs. The fact that the New South Wales Government this year will spend 40 per cent, of its budget on education is something to be applauded by all people who prize education. But let us remind ourselves that, as a result of devoting to education this extremely high proportion of its funds, the New South Wales Government will not be able to do all the things that it would like to do in the fields of rail and road transport. That Government will not be able to do all that it should be doing to provide health services for the community. It will not be able to do what it wants to do for country areas by way of water conservation and irrigation. Unless the Federal Government comes to the rescue, the States will not be able to cope with the problem. They are making their present efforts at coping with the problem, as I have pointed out, at the expense of other services that are vital to the community.
The Prime Minister pointed out, properly, that the rate of increase in enrolments in the schools is beginning to decline. We are now getting beyond the peak of the postwar boom in births. That is true, but as I tried to say here last night, and as others have said before, that decline in the rate of increase from something like 4 per cent, to about half that percentage is being offset by other factors. The notable fact, of course, is that children not only are enrolling in increasing numbers but are staying at school much longer. A much greater percentage of our pupils is staying on at school to complete the whole course of secondary education. With the implementation of the Wyndham committee’s report in New South Wales, nearly every branch of industry is going to demand that persons seeking employment have at least the school leaving certificate which, in the future, will be issued at the end of four years’ secondary education.
As I have indicated, within a very few years the percentage of 16-year-olds staying on at school has almost doubled. Social pressures, social aspirations and economic demands all are having the effect of keeping children at school for longer periods. So, even if it is true that the rate of increase in enrolments is declining, the trend to stay at school longer is offsetting the decline. When we remember that the cost of keeping a fourth year or fifth year student at school is four times the cost of keeping a lower primary school student at school, we begin to get this question in its proper perspective.
There is not only the trend for students to stay on at school, but there is also the fact that dramatic changes are taking place in the demands on education. Some people say loosely that the standards are declining and that school children cannot now read and spell as well as they did in earlier years. Let them have a look at the Leaving Certificate papers to-day and compare them with the papers that were set when they sat for the examination years ago. As an ex-school teacher, I say that I could not cope with the mathematics that my youngster is doing. The demands have increased considerably, not only in scientific and technical fields but also culturally. When I went to school, not so many years ago, there was one leaving certificate paper in English. To-day there are two.
The matters that I have mentioned are only some of the criteria of the changed demands on education. Technology and science are making demands for more equipment in our schools. Teachers with higher qualifications are required. At the same time, industry also is making demands. Our education authorities are not able to match the demands of industry. Our States cannot provide the kind of salaries that will attract top-ranking scientists into our secondary schools. We cannot even attract them to our universities. I do not care what kind of so-called objective figures the Prime Minister brings before the Parliament in the next day or two; he cannot ignore the. fact that there are serious shortages in our Australian educational system and that we shall have to pay the penalty for those shortages if we do not wake up and do something about them. Surely it is not necessary for a professor from a Canadian university to come here and tell us that that is so. We have only to walk about the country to see that it is so.
My colleague, the honorable member for St. George (Mr. Clay), quite rightly referred to the fact that it is now becoming much harder to obtain a Commonwealth scholarship to one of our universities. Let me give some figures which were provided to me by the Prime Minister on 29th August last. They relate to open entrance scholarships. In 1958, there were 11,429 applicants for scholarships. Of those, 25.6 per cent, received scholarships. This year, there were 18,648 applications, or more than half as many again as there were in 1958, but only 21.9 per cent, of the applicants received scholarships, despite the fact that in the interim the number of scholarships had been increased from roughly 3,000 to 4,000. So it is true, as my colleague has said, that it has become much harder for our youngsters to obtain Commonwealth scholarships.
In addition, exclusions of other kinds are operating. Universities are imposing quotas. Practically every university in the land is doing so. Another exclusion is being imposed because fees at universities and technical colleges are being jacked up. Students who are not able to go on to a university have to turn to the higher technical institutions in order to receive technical training. This means that the burden is transferred from the Commonwealth to the already over-burdened States. There are not enough Commonwealth scholarships and not enough places in our universities, so students have to enter the departments of our technical colleges and teachers colleges, so that the whole burden descends on the States. Is it any wonder that professional bodies and public-spirited organizations in the community are telling the Government that there is a crisis in our education system?
Let us look for a moment at the incidence of taxation so far as education is concerned. The award of a Commonwealth scholarship debars the parents of the scholar from claiming him as a dependant for taxation purposes. While the scholarship provides him free with a place at a university, it does not keep him. It is not a living allowance. Nevertheless, the parents of such a student are not able to claim him as a dependant under our taxation law, despite the fact that if he were still going to secondary school, where there is so-called free education, they could do so.
We do not allow as a taxation deduction fees paid by part-time students. The parents of technical college students, apprentices and the like, have to pay for the equipment the students use. The cost cannot be claimed as a deduction under the taxation law. The expenses of full-time students who stay on at school beyond the age of 21 years are debarred from consideration under our taxation law. While we say that one of the critical problems of the universities to-day is that not enough honours .students are coming forward to qualify for the lecturing staff and also to fill other important positions, we do not allow education expenses to be claimed as taxation deductions.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- The honorable member for Barton (Mr.
Reynolds) is a self-confessed school teacher and, as such, should know something about the processes of logic. I invite him to bear with me for a few moments while I take him on an exercise in logic and examine one aspect of this matter of education. I should like to examine the bona fides of the Australian Labour Party in criticizing this Government on education. Before being elected to the Parliament, not so long ago, I held the view that this Government had a magnificent record in the field of education. After my election I examined, in some detail, the figures and the Government’s record in this respect, and that view has been confirmed.
It is becoming increasingly tiresome to hear the continuous bleatings of the Opposition on this question. In this exercise of logic, in which I invite the honorable member for Barton to take part, I ask whether it is fair, when one party to a discussion criticizes the other party and censures him, to examine the bona fides of the critic and censurer. The acid test in this matter, 1 suggest, is to consider what the Labour Party says we should do and to compare that with what it did when it had the chance. It is rather difficult to find the relevant figure because it is so small, but let us take one avenue of expenditure, that of expenditure on tertiary or university education. The Labour Party spent under £1,000,000 in its last year in office. Before we compare that amount with the expenditure by this Government, let us be fair and try to convert that £1,000,000 to suit present-day circumstances.
Let us assume that the cost of living has doubled in the last ten years. I do not concede that it has, but that is a statement which is often thrown down by the Opposition, particularly by its leader. That would mean that Labour would spend £2,000,000 to-day. Then let us build into that figure an amount to cover the increase of children of university age. Here again, I shall be generous and say that the increase during the last ten years has been 20 per cent. On those standards, the Labour Party would spend to-day £2,400,000 on tertiary education. This year, the Government is budgeting for approximately £16,000,000 for university and tertiary education, or almost eight times as much as the Labour Party would spend, if we can measure its expenditure by its record when it was in office. So I ask, is it not hypocrisy for the honorable member for Barton and his colleagues to stand in this place time and time again bleating about this Government’s record in education? It is rather a trick of the Labour Party to criticize a government for not doing something which Labour itself did not do when it had the opportunity.
The second matter to which I wish to refer is much more fundamental. Here again I should like to relate it to my criticism of the Labour Party’s insincerity. The self-appointed champions of education on the Labour side of this Parliament, including the honorable member for Barton, the honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant), the honorable member for Hughes (Mr. L. R. Johnson), and the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren), inevitably leave out of any remarks that they make about education one of the most important, fundamental and distressing aspects of this subject. They claim to be concerned because the education system at the State level is breeding badly educated Australians and so on, but never do we hear from them any mention of the over 300,000 children who are in Catholic schools to-day. I believe that I can deal with this delicate problem objectively because I do not belong to the particular religious persuasion to which I have just referred. I am concerned because I too am interested in the education of young Australians. In my view these 300,000 children in Catholic schools are being badly educated because, through no fault of their own, they have neither the facilities nor the teachers, either in numbers or in quality.
If honorable members desire some evidence of this - and I can produce plenty - let me refer them to a survey conducted by Mr. P. W. Hughes, lecturer in education at the University of Tasmania, which brought to light some frightening statistics of graduation rates at that university. For the purpose of his survey Mr. Hughes considered four faculties, law, science, arts and engineering, and he traced final graduates in those four faculties to three origins, namely, private schools - in Victoria we call them public schools - State high schools, and Catholic schools. Of those who came from private schools 72 per cent graduated; of those who came from State high schools 69 per cent graduated, and of those who came from Catholic schools 43 per cent graduated. Surely this indicates, prima facie, that there is a fundamental problem in our education system which the honorable member for Barton and other members of Labour’s education committee should consider. But never do we hear one word from them about that. Why? Because it is bad politics and because it does not win votes! In fact, it loses votes.
Never do we hear any mention by Opposition members of this distressing state of affairs to the nation. The estimated proportion of Catholics in the community now ranges up to 27 per cent., yet the fact that so many Australian children are being badly educated is not being faced, or even mentioned, by the Labour Party. I hope that if the time comes - my friend the honorable member for Bruce (Mr. Snedden) has warned that it may - when the Commonwealth Government is impelled to intrude into the field of secondary and primary education, this aspect of the problem will not be overlooked. Motion (by Mr. Fairbairn) put -
That the question be now put.
The committee divided. (The Chairman- Mr. P. E. Lucock.)
Majority . . . . 1
.- I thank the Parliament for giving me the opportunity to deal with some of the inaccurate statements made by the honorable member for Higinbotham (Mr. Chipp). I would like to refer particularly to three points raised by the honorable member. The first point concerns those people who do not attend State schools. What is the honorable member’s Government doing for them? What has he done for those people through official channels? What has the Victorian Liberal Government done about this matter? The Labour Party’s policy on this matter is clear.
– Order! There is too much audible conversation.
- Mr. Chairman, after voting to hear me speak one would think that honorable members opposite would at least hear me in silence.
– I remind the honorable member for Wills that some members of his own party are rather noisy.
– They have heard my speech before. The honorable member for Higinbotham issued a challenge to the Opposition on this matter of education. The Australian Labour Party, at both
Federal and State levels, looks upon education as an important matter. It has given serious consideration to the wastage that occurs on the higher levels of our secondary education system. Last year the Labour Party included in its policy a programme of special aid to secondary school students. It undertook, if elected to office, to provide scholarships for secondary school students no matter what school they attended. We promised to double child endowment. We promised to pay child endowment for scholars up to the age of eighteen years. The Labour Party was prepared to support the family and the scholar. It recognizes the importance of the individual in the community. Labour’s policy, if given effect to, would have been of tremendous assistance to many people, but unfortunately the electors did not see fit to return us to power.
The honorable member for Higinbotham belittled Labour’s record in education. He referred to expenditure on university education by the Chifley Government. Let me remind the honorable member that it was a Labour government that introduced the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Training Scheme. Labour is proud of its record. I would have thought that the honorable member for Higinbotham and many of his colleagues would be aware of the great contribution made to Australian education by the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Training Scheme. Many honorable members on both sides of the chamber have had the benefit of training under that scheme. During the depression years I was denied the opportunity of going to university, but when I returned from the war I was glad to be able to train under the scheme inaugurated by a Labour government. Thousands of other Australians also benefited under the scheme. To-day thousands of professional people owe their training to the scheme. Its establishment was a dramatic development in Australian education. The scheme’s contribution to Australia’s development cannot be denied. Associated with the scheme were the establishment of the Commonwealth Office of Education, the Australian National University and the Commonwealth scholarships scheme. The Chifley Government laid the foundations of those enterprises. The Labour Party contends that this Government has failed to meet the education needs of our community. This Government has been very remiss as far as education is concerned, even in its own Territories.
Let me refer briefly to the Commonwealth scholarship scheme. If the honorable member for Higinbotham reads the answer provided to a question asked by the honorable member for Barton (Mr. Reynolds) and the statements made by the honorable member for St. George (Mr. Clay) with regard to Commonwealth scholarships he will see that so competitive have the scholarships become that they are failing in their mission of opening the doors of our universities to students. I have been informed by an expert that because of the intensive competitive spirit associated with Commonwealth scholarships, in order to win one a student next year will need a couple of first-class honours at matriculation. The Government does not need to pass a law in order to deal with this matter. It may deal with it by regulation. By the stroke of a pen to-night the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) could double the number of scholarships awarded next year, but he will not do that. In its university planning the Government has failed to allow for the increasing number of students in the next four or five years. In the next four years 30,000 additional places will be needed in our universities.
What is happening in the Territories? Let us look at the position in Papua and New Guinea. The education system that has been established there by the Government is meagre in the extreme. Education in Papua and New Guinea was probably one of the greatest challenges facing Australia, but the Government has failed to establish an adequate teacher training service in the Territory, lt has failed in its duty.
There are many other ways in which the Commonwealth has failed to give leadership. It is one of the misfortunes of Australian education that a Ministry of Education, such as would be established by a Labour Government, has not been established by this Government and that education comes under the administration of the Prime Minister. Consequently, when the State Ministers for Education meet there is no equivalent Commonwealth Minister to meet them. So, generally speaking, the representatives of the Commonwealth Office of Education are more or less on the outer. These are some of the deficiencies of this Government’s record in respect of education. There are countless others.
I suggest that honorable members opposite should take a good look at the schools in their own electorates. The honorable member for Higinbotham is in one of the better endowed areas of Melbourne. The honorable member for Bruce (Mr. Snedden) must have hundreds of children in his electorate who go to schools in inadequate accommodation. Most of us know of dozens of State schools which are a discredit to the nation. The children in them are first class. The teachers in them are dedicated to their duty. The parents are behind the schools. But the buildings and the conditions under which the children are taught are a disgrace to the nation. I suggest that honorable members opposite should discard their complacent attitude and go around and look at the surroundings in which children are educated. It is not a question of protecting State rights. There is nothing in State sovereignty that transcends the rights of the children of Australia. With their attitude to education, honorable members opposite are attempting to shed the responsibility of this Parliament and in doing so I believe that they are denying their duty to the nation.
Motion (by Mr. Fairbairn) proposed -
That the question be now put.
– The Chair cannot accept the motion. It is less than a quarter of an hour since a similar proposal was negatived.
.- The honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant) said that we ought to have a good look at the schools in our own electorates. I propose to tell the committee what has happened in trie electorate of Macarthur in the last ten years.
– That is under a Labour government.
– It is under a Labour government, is it? That is something new! I thought you were attacking the Commonwealth Government because education had not gone ahead. In other words, education is all right in New South Wales, is it? I. thought that the honorable member for Barton (Mr. Reynolds) had a different opinion. Who is right? The honorable member for Wills says that education is good in New South Wales because of the Labour Government. The honorable member for Phillip (Mr. Einfeld) had an almost maudlin story to tell. He spoke about the lavatories in all the schools in his electorate. This is the sort of nonsense that we hear. The honorable member for Wills said that conditions are all right in New South Wales because it has a Labour government but it is in Victoria that there is trouble. What sort of nonsense do we hear?
– Mr. Chairman, the honorable member for Macarthur has misquoted me. Can that be prevented, Sir?
– The honorable member for Wills has been a member long enough to know the correct procedure to be followed under the Standing Orders and the steps to be taken in regard to that matter.
– I have been charged with misquoting the honorable member for Wills. I think it will be admitted, even by him, that he said, “ Have a good look at the schools in your own electorates “.
Mr. JEFF BATE__ We now have somewhere from which to start. I have had a good look and this is the story: New high schools have been opened in the electorate of Macarthur this year from funds obtained directly from the Commonwealth. Under the existing arrangements, the State has been spending a higher percentage of those funds, which are themselves much higher, upon education. Consequently, new high schools have been opened at St. Mary’s, Picton, Camden, Dapto, Campbelltown, Nowra and Kiama. In addition, £330,000 has been made available for expenditure on the high school at Port Kembla.
– We know all about this.
– All right. These are the facts. It is quite obvious from the way in which the Opposition is behaving that its members have been putting up a smoke screen. They have worked out some sort of campaign, because they have had a survey made and have found that people are interested in education. So they are deliberately working up this campaign. Of course, this is false. In the history of Australia, education has never gone ahead so fast as it has in the last ten years. The statements of members of the Opposition are nonsense. They are trying to make something out of nothing. Their statements have been untrue. Their argument has been rigged up. It is a smoke screen and a camouflage. In fact, there is solid achievement in education in Australia. You can see when you look at the faces of Opposition members that they are putting up a Joey for the people of Australia. Who is behind the campaign? Look at the people who are present at conferences on education. Opposition members know very well who are pushing this matter. What the Communists say to-day the Labour Party say to-morrow. The Communists had to be removed from the control of the Teachers Federation and they had to be put out of the parents and citizens’ councils. The Communists are putting up this matter. Honorable members opposite know as well as anybody that they are like a monkey on a pole, being jiggled by the Communist Party. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) always relaxes into derisive laughter when he hears this sort of thing, but his statements and statements in the “ Tribune “ are compatible.
As I have said, there has been a concerted campaign to attack the Commonwealth Government because of pretended deficiencies in education. The Opposition is not even certain of its own position. When I said that things were going well in my electorate the honorable member for Wills said that such conditions occurred under a Labour government. I hope that he will admit that he said so. In other words, taking the most generous view of what he meant, he said that under a Labour Government conditions in New South Wales are different from those in Victoria.
– Hear, hear!
– All right! In what way are they different? Does this mean that education is better under a Labour government?
– Then what happens’ to the statements of the honorable member for Barton and the honorable member for Phillip?
– I do not retract anything I said.
– The honorable member for Phillip read an account of a purported survey of a lot of schools. In some schools he found that there was a back room for some children. In other schools some lavatories were not quite right. He got quite emotional about it. This is nonsense that we have been hearing. In fact, a very impressive job is being done in education in Australia. I should like to read the speeches that some honorable members from New South Wales have made at the opening of schools, praising the advances in education. Let us look at what is said when they go to these places and pay compliments to the teachers. They speak of the “ new look “ in education, of the introduction of “ eastern rooms “, and of overseas people who speak in the magnificent halls. At Cessnock there is a new air-conditioned assembly hall and the stage alone cost £44,000. I suppose that in some weeks it would be used for only one hour.
This is very different from the story that wc have been hearing from the Opposition. Of course, that has been a put-up job. It has been part of a campaign. There has been an attempt to gain some political advantage from the situation. That advantage is not being gained because the truth is plain, the schools are there to see and the new curriculums are there to see. The teachers are there to see and so also are new buildings which have cost an enormous amount of money. These are the results of the work that some of us have done.
In 1954 the New South Wales Teachers Federation and the Parents and Citizens Association in New South Wales supported a campaign for more Commonwealth assistance for education. They wrote to federal members asking why more money could not be voted for education. I took the opportunity to write to the then Premier of New South Wales, Mr. Cahill. I pointed out to him that an examination of the State Budget would show that, if an adjustment were made for social service payments, the percentage expenditure on education in 1954 was lower than the percentage expenditure under the Stevens and Mair governments. The Premier replied, stating that his Government had asked for more money. I wrote back to him and said, “ If you are asking for more money, does this mean you are, in effect, handing over your education powers, or do you wish to remain directly responsible for education in New South Wales?” The Premier, in his reply, stated that I was only labouring the obvious and that the State Government was directly responsible for education. That, of course, was the obvious answer for him to give.
If the New South Wales Government chooses not to spend money on education, but to spend it on an opera house or, as in the case of the Glenbawn dam, on a project that costs sixteen times as much as was estimated, that is its responsibility; it has the money to spend. But when a Liberal member of this Parliament points out that the expenditure on education in New South Wales, on a percentage basis, was actually less in 1954 than in 1937, we begin to see the position. The New South Wales Government has been caught doing the wrong thing.
Motion (by Mr. Fairbairn) put -
That the question be now put.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. P. E. Lucock.)
Majority . . . . 1
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Sitting suspended from 5.58 to 8 p.m.
Department of External Affairs. Proposed Vote, £11,551,000.
.- I should like to speak for the brief time allowed under Standing Orders, about our work at the United Nations, and to voice, almost angrily, my regret that we have lost all the prestige that we formerly held as a dynamic country with a point of view to put at the United Nations. Remember our history. We were not daunted by the fact that we were a small country, and we always have had, in the deliberations on peace, both iri . the United Nations to-day and in the League of Nations in the past, a dynamic part to play. The problem we face to-day is that the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) has a policy something like an iceberg in the Atlantic - nine tenths of it are under water. That policy does not come up here and, very definitely, it does not come up in the United Nations.
We want to ask some pertinent questions here to-night as to what sort of representation we are getting at the United Nations and as to whether that representation actually represents what the Australian is feeling, be he a Labour voter, a Liberal voter, or a man who has no fixed opinions but votes as he considers the situation demands.
If honorable members look at our own history they will see that we have always, until this Government came to office, had very powerful figures representing us in foreign affairs. One of the reasons that the Labour Party cannot go along with a bipartisan foreign policy is that the Menzies Government has had a succession of weak Ministers for External Affairs who have not spoken up for Australia in the United Nations on the things that are vital to Australia. We must remember that away back in the days after World War I. the late William Morris Hughes dominated the old League of Nations, and plugged a line that was essentially Australian. It was dynamic; it was down to earth; and it was understood and eventually appreciated by the European countries. On one classic occasion the Prime Minister of France, Poincaré, who was trying to press - the way Europeans do - the European mind on the people from outer space, such as Australia, William Morris Hughes took his earpiece out of his ear and sat patiently while the delegates at the Versailles Conference hurled tirades in French and all the Tower of Babel tongues upon him. But he won his point, and that point was the situation in regard to New Guinea - a vitally strategic island in those days. That is the sort of thing we must return to.
Honorable members know of Dr. Evatt and his dynamism in the United Nations. When he spoke the world listened, because tie was, indeed, representing us in this country. His was the prominent, almost the dominating voice in the United Nations deliberations, and we did know in this Parliament, as we did in the days of Hughes, just where we stood in regard to great affairs touching peace, our defence and our future in the South-West Pacific.
But to-day we know nothing. We get a limited number of documents thrown on the table and we have some documents put into the National Library, but there seems to be no drive and no dynamism in the policy overseas. We are stooging along behind the big countries. Surely, apart from the very great matters of major importance, there must be points on which Australia differs. But if you search the records you do not find them. So we are asking here to-night, from the Labour side of the chamber, that some of these questions be answered.
The people outside have become very conscious of foreign affairs. They are conscious that there are questions of life and death: What happens about the bomb? What happens about the Afro-Asians? What happens about the wall in West Berlin? What happens about a variety of things when we have a world in armament, instead of disarmament? - and that is a day-by-day anxiety. It is no longer an exercise in polite reading or discussion, and we are getting no leads on it from the United Nations through the Government. The Minister may be blameworthy - I am not saying he is - or it may be the Government, but one or other is responsible for the dead-pan attitude to these completely worrying and carking problems.
Have we ever heard in this chamber any declaration from a young and vigorous country about the shocking things happening in Angola? The Government is too timid to say that it is wrong to murder natives, that it is wrong to be the last colonial power which is making desperate inroads upon the lives of the people in Angola and Mozambique. Have we raised our voice in protest? Of course we have not! It is not polite; it is not the thing we do. We pay lip service to the AfroAsians and wish them well, except in their very lives and future. We will do nothing about those things.
Then we move to the Congo. Has any voice been raised in this chamber in regard to the shambles in the Congo? Has anybody taken on the United Nations and said, “ What sort of a mess is this? “ when, in the area taken over by the United Nations, apart from Katanga, there is 50 per cent, unemployment and the dream of liberty of the people there is a reality of poverty and darkness and despair. Nobody has told us about these things, except through the dreary roneoed pages thrown on the table from time to time.
The same thing applies to other matters. It seems that we must, on all occasions, not offend anybody. Recently there was a discussion about Cambodia. Cambodia is seeking to be as neutral as Laos. We remember that when we defended the attitude of having a neutralist Laos it was the Government here which said that we were going “ Commo “, that we were taking the Communist line; but suddenly, when the Government’s big mates in the United Nations switched and said it was the best of all possible solutions, the Government went quietly.
The same thing is now blowing up in regard to Cambodia. What directions are we getting here? Are we being informed of the position in Cambodia, which wants to be preserved from its neighbours? It wants to have a neutrality which will amount to a permanent alliance in that it will be protected by the great powers, as is the kingdom of Laos under the new arrangements.
Then we get nearer home. The Foot report is thrown on the table. I do not know when we will be debating that. We have the problem of West New Guinea. I do not disagree with the final decision, but it was like Finnegan’s train - off again, on again, off again, on again, until eventually some solution was arrived at. It was not the solution of this Government. It did not come from the dynamism of people with beliefs forcing their big allies to do something. The Government went weakly along with the decisions that were made right under its nose, and in the course of doing that it executed a volte-face - it changed completely over.
I want to know what is happening in regard to Indonesia. We had the Prime Minister making his yearly forays into
Europe. He probably has flown over Indonesia at least twelve times. He descended, in great glory, on one occasion only. The Minister has done better; he has recently been to Indonesia. Here is a point nearer home. We, as Australians, have to do something about the Indonesians. We have to become their candid friend, instead of living in a sort of stupid isolation, but we will not admit that the world has changed, that the winds of change have swept into the hemisphere in which we live. We have to get some plans about, and some understanding of, these people.
Twelve or fourteen years ago, when Dr. Evatt was Minister for External Affairs, the Indonesians were extremely friendly to us because, as chairman of the Good Offices Committee, he went through the job of attempting - and successfully so - to bring the Indonesians their homeland again when the Dutch, in the terms of the United Nations decision and the peace treaty, had to vacate that territory. But our relations with the Indonesians have deteriorated, simply because there has been no honest attempt to get their point of view, and I think we have a role to play again. They made an appeal to us.
– Sabre rattling! ‘
– You would not know a sabre, but you would certainly know a rattle. There is no sabre-rattling by me. The point I am making, whether or not it will permeate the mind of the honorable member, is that we have to have friendship with these countries near us. We have to have understanding, and surely the Minister himself will agree that we have to be a candid friend. We do not have to be sycophantic, but we have got to get a basis on which we will understand each other, because the position which has developed within the last twelve months is permanent in our time.
Those are the things we have to consider, and in the brief time available to me I can merely touch upon them. What has the Minister told us about the South-East Asian Treaty Organization? Seato was denounced as a treaty that had no teeth - not by the Chinese, not by the Asians, but by a select committee which was put to the task by none other than President Kennedy himself, and asked whether this was a workable treaty. That committee came down most solidly with the statement that the treaty had no spirit or fire in it whatsoever. There is a new world in the making. Has the Minister told us anything about that? Not in any way. There are many other matters of foreign policy about which we should like to hear. The Minister should step up to the table, throw away his brief, and give us a talk from his knowledge. He has been to meetings of the United Nations on several occasions. He should enlighten us on the Afro-Asian problem and other matters and give to foreign affairs the beat that we have always expected. We Australians need not be the stooges of anybody. We have had a mind of our own and we should strive to have our opinions accepted. When we on this side of the chamber were in government we made it clear that the Australian Labour Party, representing the Australian people, had a point of view on matters of foreign policy, and that was accepted, but now Australia does not amount to a row of beans at the United Nations. We get wearily into a pack-saddle and gallop across the Nullarbor Plain to vote the way the big boys want us to vote. We have no voice of our own. This is completely un-Australian, and it is a detestable attitude.
I would have expected that long before this the Minister would have given us an opportunity to have a full-dress debate on what is known as the decade of development. Here is the answer to the problems of the world - not the meanness of the Common Market but an attempt to lift the standards of the Afro-Asian peoples by spending our money on developing their countries so that in the long run they will go easily to bed at night; so that they will be able to have the food that they deserve; so that they will not die from malnutrition at the age of 32 years; and so that there will not be a population explosion.
To my mind, the Asian Acting SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations, U Thant,, is close to a genius. Many of his declarations not only are beautifully expressed but also carry the essence of humanity. His declarations and the statement of the economic council on the decade of development should be debated by us in this chamber. There is a call to all the industrial countries, all the successful countries, all the countries which conjointly spend 153 billion pounds a year on armaments, to have a thought for the man who works a tenhour day for a loaf of bread for his family. If there is any tension that will create war, whether between black and white or between coloured peoples, it is the tension caused by poverty, oppression and the feeling of people that they do not belong to this world.
If the United Nations is to survive, the Minister should tell us why it is broke and where its money has gone. We have been generous contributors to it. Some other countries have not contributed so well. The United Nations must survive. We must find money for it. We must approach the welloff democracies, the comfortably off democracies, and ask them to assist in this stupendous, world-wide programme to develop the Afro-Asian countries. We have to ask for merely 1 per cent, of the national income of the highly industrialized countries to support the magnificent agencies of the United Nations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, Unesco, the financial agencies including the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the scientific and industrial agencies. They are all ready to go ahead with development which eventually will ensure the peace of the world. But we do not hear a word about these matters in this chamber. I have found out about them in the Library and in my correspondence from overseas. We should have a full-scale debate on them at the earliest opportunity.
I think the Minister realizes that he has been remiss in regard to remarkable happenings in the United Nations. We are just tootling along behind the van instead of making our own declarations. This question of the decade of development requires some new thought, a new breeze in the minds of men, a willingness to spend our own money to lift up a fallen comrade. All we have to do - G. D. H. Coles propounded this many years ago - is ensure that the money will effect a production increase. Production in Asia to-day can be increased by about 3 per cent, per annum under every goad, including the goad of mass production and the goad of long hours. The Asians cannot achieve more than that without assistance, but, in order to have any chance of survival, they must within ten years reach a production increase of 5 per cent, per annum. The matter is as simple as that. We can assist by providing one-hundredth of our national income. Instead of supporting rather sectionalized schemes such as the Colombo Plan, we should pour 1 per cent, of our national income into a scientific plan by which we can rejuvenate the dying soil of Asian industries and build them up to a stage where the people will get something out of them. This is a marvellous scheme and the declarations on it made by U Thant should long be remembered.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- Mr. Chairman, I do not wish to answer all the statements that the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) has just made. I shall just comment on some of the more extraordinary things he said. He referred to the calibre of the Ministers for External Affairs during the term of office of this Government. We have been very fortunate, Sir, in the Ministers who have occupied this portfolio. I have had the opportunity to visit a number of countries during the last ten years and in them I have found friendship and high regard for Australia. The credit for that position is due to the Ministers who have occupied the External Affairs portfolio during this Government’s term of office.
Australia is also fortunate in having good representatives in the diplomatic service. I believe that this is the appropriate time for those of us who have close contact with, and sometimes work with, officers of the Department of External Affairs, to record our appreciation of the work that they are doing for Australia. That expression of appreciation applies as much to the people who are carrying out their duties at home as it does to our representatives abroad and I include the senior and junior members of the missions as well as our ambassadors and high commissioners.
The honorable member for Parkes said that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) had not visited Indonesia. That, of course, is not true. The Prime Minister paid an official visit to Indonesia in December, 1959. That visit lasted for a little more than a week. The honorable member for Parkes said that our relations with Indonesia are deteriorating rapidly. May I remind the honorable gentleman that only to-day the Deputy Foreign Minister of Indonesia is reported as saying that Indonesia has very friendly relations with Australia. He said, “ We are friends of Australia “. I make those comments on the remarks made by the honorable member for Parkes to show that what he said to the committee was not in accordance with the facts.
On the domestic side of the Department of External Affairs, it is very pleasing to know that the department is now able to make a language allowance available to its officers. This means that the department will pay the fees of an officer who is learning a foreign language. Should he pass the appropriate examination his salary is increased while he serves in a country in which that language is spoken. In addition, if he maintains his ability to speak that language, although not being posted to a country in which it is spoken, he continues to receive an allowance. That allowance is about half of the increment payable whilst he is serving in a country in which the language is spoken. On a wider scale, I believe that these arrangements will make a big contribution to our representation in other countries by promoting close personal contacts. Later I shall refer to the need to increase such contacts.
Before referring to other matters, I want to describe certain events which form a background to my subsequent remarks. During a debate in this chamber in August last year, I said that I believed the United Kingdom would join the European Economic Community. That belief was confirmed during the visit that I had the opportunity to make as a delegate to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference organized by the United Kingdom branch of the association in London in July. Honorable members will recall that the subject on the agenda for that conference which received the greatest attention was the implications of the Common Market for the Commonwealth. Britain’s membership of the European Economic Community will mean a change in the form of the Commonwealth, I believe, but it will not necessarily weaken the Commonwealth. A large part of this change will be political. In the earlier weeks of this session we discussed both the political and trade aspects of Great Britain’s proposed entry into the Common Market, but the Department of External Affairs will have a big responsibility in helping to maintain Australia’s place within the Commonwealth of Nations.
Another important change within the Commonwealth is foreshadowed by the proposal to form a new Malaysian federation. This proposal was originated by the Prime Minister of the Federation of Malaya. This, in itself, is a reversal of policy by Malaya. When I was there, in 1959, the Prime Minister of Malaya, Tunku Abdul Rahman, announced that he was strongly against the inclusion of Singapore in the federation. Now, he and his government are making arrangements so that Singapore and the Borneo territories of North Borneo, Brunei and Sarawak can join the federation. Outside the Commonwealth, but in our part of Asia, West New Guinea is no longer administered by the Netherlands, but is now to be administered by our neighbour, Indonesia. Australia is intimately concerned in stopping the Communist objective of expanding in SouthEast Asia.
In the last few days the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) has directed our attention to the problem of the United Nations. He has reminded us that if Russia and some other countries continue to refuse to make their full financial contribution to the United Nations that organization will not be able to fulfil its role of providing an international force for keeping the peace of the world. These examples are sufficient to show the need for the Department of External Affairs to continue to aid the progress of Australia and also to have flexibility within itself - room to manoeuvre. These Estimates which we are discussing to-day, and the Estimates for next year, which we will no doubt be considering in our minds very soon, should make it possible for the Department of External Affairs to move as quickly as it can to meet these everchanging conditions. May I give one or two examples?
I have already mentioned Malaya. In our present representation in that area we have a High Commissioner and his staff at Kuala Lumpur and a High Commissioner in Singapore, who is also responsible for our representation in the Borneo territories.
Now, because of proposals for the formation for the Federation of Malaysia it is quite possible that our form of representation in those areas will change. I am not saying that it is necessary to expand our representation there or to what degree it should be changed, but it is quite possible that it will be changed. My own view is that Australia should take more interest in the objectives of Malaysia. It will be recalled that a distinguished Australian was nominated by us, at the request of the incoming Malayan Government, to be a member of the Malayan Constitutional Commission to advise on the Constitution of the present Federation of Malaya; and that was understandable. Both countries are within the Commonwealth of Nations and their futures are intimately linked with that of SouthEast Asia. We are a federation of States, which the Malays were seeking to be.
But I give now the example of Viet Nam. For a number of years we have been able through our Department of External Affairs to render some assistance to the Vietnamese in their fight against Communism infiltration. Unfortunately, the attack on Viet Nam by Communists from the north has increased, and I believe Viet Nam is the present target for Communist expansion in South-East Asia. Our assistance to that country has been good in past years, but it has been small. I am glad to note that even in recent months we have been able to increase our assistance to Viet Nam and have sent military personnel there for the first time to help in the resistance to Communism. But I believe it will be necessary for Australia in these changing circumstances which I have enumerated to take an even greater part in our responsibility for the defence of this part of the free world. We know of the great contribution that the United States of America is making in this regard, supplemented by that of Great Britain, but I think we ourselves will find it necessary to take an even greater part than we are taking at the present time. There is a great need for each country to know more about the problems, achievements and objectives of other countries.
Could I give as an example, once again, my experience at the recent London conference, where I found the lack of appreciation of what Australia is doing in Papua and
New Guinea quite worrying. Very few countries realized that the Territory of Papua was indeed Australian territory and that we have, to all intents and purposes, administratively amalgamated the Mandated Territory of New- Guinea with it and that we were advancing its progress at the same time. I found that there was very little knowledge of Australia’s restricted migration policy, which too many people referred to as the so-called “White Australia policy “. Very few people knew, for example, that non-Europeans could become naturalized Australians, the difference, as you know, Sir, being in the residential qualifications. A residential qualification of five years is required for Europeans as against fifteen years for the non-Europeans.
During the course of his speech the honorable member for Parkes asked, “ What has happened to the bomb? “ I think that was his phrase. To show that this problem of the exchange of information is not restricted to Australia could I take the honorable member for Parkes up on that point and ask him to consider the misunderstanding among the peoples of the free world of the policy for disarmament which is advanced by the big majority of their governments? This Government’s policy is to have continual disarmament as regards nuclear weapons and what I call conventional weapons at the same time. The policy of the Communist Party is to try to arrange some form of disarmament of nuclear weapons first, as they say. Of course this policy is no good to the free world because the potential aggressor has such a big superiority in conventional weapons that, having achieved disarmament of the nuclear deterrent, Russia, the aggressor, would have the power to conquer the rest of the world. I am therefore sorry that the Australian Labour Party, in this peace council, to which the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) referred under a different heading this afternoon, had as its objective nuclear disarmament in the southern hemisphere, because this runs in line with the Communist policy.
We have the Commonwealth News and Information Bureau and there is also a number of non-government organizations which can undertake the task of presenting
Australia to the world. I believe the Department of External Affairs should take the lead in this matter and co-operate with the other departments concerned and arrange a continuous programme in the widest sense and present to the world more about Australia so that there will be a greater knowledge not only of our objectives but also of what we have already achieved. This should be followed by a series of visits to promote closer personal contacts in the sense to which I have referred. I believe it is necessary for us to continue the Ministerial visits which the present Minister for External Affairs has conducted so successfully; and these could be followed by visits by other organizations.
.- The honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Dean) seems to have the idea that the foreign affairs problem is very easy of solution, and can be resolved by dividing the world into two parts - the Communist bloc and the free world. I should say that even the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) will agree that the solution is not as simple as that. The honorable member for Robertson seems to believe that everything hinges on anti-communism. I believe that basing everything on anti-communism Wil not solve any of the problems connected with foreign affairs. The proper method of attacking the question is not by basing everything on anti-communism but by devoting all our efforts to eliminating poverty, want and despair.
We of the Labour Party want to lift up the Asian people. We want to assist them to raise their dignity, to uphold their rights, to achieve their aspirations and to develop their own country. We want to assist them without attaching any strings to the assistance we give. We should expand the aid which we give to Asia under the Colombo Plan or any other plan. At the moment the amount of money we are giving for this purpose is but a minute sum. In nearly ten years, we have spent only £45,000,000 by way of Colombo Plan aid and in the same period we have spent over £2,000,000,000 on so-called defence- I use the word “ fear “. I should like to see a greater amount spent on assistance to under-developed countries to help free them from want, poverty and disease, for I think that is the more positive way of tackling the problem.
We have heard much talk about the great record of our Ministers for External Affairs. I think they have been most disastrous Ministers. This Government has an appalling record with relation to foreign affairs. So appalling has been its record that in the United Nations Australia’s name is not respected. For instance, this Government alined itself with the South African Government’s apartheid policy, and on the question of colonialism we find ourselves lined up with backward Portugal. In the United Nations Organization Australia is placed among the backward nations.
I have mixed feelings about the present Minister for External Affairs. I feel that he did a very fine job in connexion with Indonesia. Indeed, I say he successfully dealt with a very delicate situation. I certainly do not say that the Government should be exonerated for the part it played, but, after all, we know that the present Minister for External Affairs took office about twelve months ago and we cannot blame him for what happened in the past. At least he did guide us through a delicate situation very well. The one thing he has done has been to help build up friendship between Australia and Indonesia. Every Australian should stand behind him and the Government, or anybody else who endeavours to build up goodwill between our nation and Indonesia, our near neighbour with a population of between 90,000,000 and 100,000,000, because our future will be bound up with that of those people. We must live with them in friendship and understanding. I lived with those people as a prisoner-of-war for over twelve months during the war and I saw some of the hardships they suffered, and I want to extend my hand of friendship to the Indonesian people. But I must condemn the Minister for External Affairs for the statement he made recently when rejecting outright a request from U Thant, the Acting Secretary-General of the United Nations, to outline the conditions under which Australia would join the non-nuclear club. On that occasion, he adopted a negative attitude as is clear from the following statement by him: -
In formulating this national defence policy, the Australian Government, by reason of Australia’s geographical position and political beliefs, must take account of the emergence in the area of east Asia and the western Pacific of a military power of great dimension and some ambition. This power is convinced of the inevitability of war and consciously working for the elimination of the type of society of which Australia is part.
It already has massive conventional forces, which it has used against the forces of the United Nations, and has nuclear weapons potentialities which may be close to fulfilment. It has indicated that the production of nuclear weapons is indeed its aim.
I say to the Minister for External Affairs that he is only adopting a negative attitude to refuse to make Australia part of a nuclear-free zone. Everybody knows that the Australian Labour Party has stated its policy in a forthright manner. The party has stated quite clearly that it intends to give moral leadership on this issue, and I ask for leave to incorporate in “ Hansard “ the Labour Party’s policy on the matter.
– Is leave granted?
– There being an objection, leave is not granted.
– As the committee has refused me permission to incorporate it in “ Hansard “, and as it is too lengthy to read in full, I content myself with quoting only this part of the Australian Labour Party’s policy -
It declares its opposition to nuclear tests at any time by any nation and believes that the Australian Government should take all necessary steps to initiate a conference of Antarctic Treaty Powers, China, Japan, India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Burma, Malaya, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and all countries in Africa and South America directed towards making the Southern Hemisphere a nuclear-free zone.
The Government should assure the United Nations that Australia, in its submissions to the conference to make the Southern Hemisphere a nuclear-free zone, would declare that it would agree not to manufacture, acquire or receive nuclear weapons.
I believe that is a great moral lead. When we say that we are opposed to the testing of nuclear bombs or nuclear weapons by any nation, we mean that we are opposed to the testing of nuclear bombs whether it be by the Soviet Union, America, Britain or France, and we hope that no other power will ever become a nuclear power. We feel that to be a positive step. We feel that the proper step to take is not to encourage China to become a nuclear power, but to admit China to the United Nations.
Let me deal briefly with this subject. The 700,000,000 people of China should be recognized by the people of Australia. We should bring them into the United Nations so that we may discuss round a table with them their problems and our problems and in this way get to know each other better. I have been to China and I am confident that we need have no fear that China will become an aggressive power. I ask the Minister to examine this matter carefully. It is true that China has massive forces with conventional weapons, and that she has a militia army of something like 250,000,000, but the truth is that China’s armed forces are defensive, not offensive, forces. It is my firm belief that the main interest of China’s leaders lies in doing everything possible to develop China in the best interests of the Chinese. We know that, despite the fact that in the past four years China has suffered four severe droughts, the people of China avoided dying from starvation by rationing available food supplies and importing grain from Canada and Australia. I am firmly convinced that China will not be an aggressive force because there is too much to be done by way of development work within China itself. China’s great interest is the development of China. I have seen the development work being done there and I know that the great aim is to develop and govern the country in the best interests of the Chinese.
We would do well to look at our past attitude towards China. We know that 100 years before liberation all the colonial powers in the world sought to steal the heart of China. They bled China of its wealth. At one stage, 70 per cent, of China’s wealth was owned by overseas interests. Now, it is controlled by Chinese interests and administered in the best interests of the Chinese people. I feel that those in control of affairs in China will develop that nation in the best interests of its people, and that belief is supported by many of the great church leaders who have been to China. I refer to such great men as Archbishop Mowll and others who have a great background of experience in China.
Does any one think that he had been brain washed? I know that the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes), who is seeking to interject, has accused members of the Australian Country Party on many occasions of taking bloodstained money from China. I know there is a division in the Government ranks on the question of China. But the fact is that this Government is trading with China. To-day China is Australia’s fifth largest customer. Only the other day a statement was made by Sir William Gunn, the chairman of the Australian Wool Bureau, that he believed that in the near future China would become the greatest purchaser of Australian wool.
We know that trade missions from China have visited Australia. We know that there have been negotiations between leaders of industry in Australia and their counterparts in China. We know that groups of intellectuals have gone from this country to China. Trade union leaders have gone from Australia to China. We want to trade with China and we must trade with China. I believe that the future of Australia will be bound up, to a very great extent, with that of China. We know how the British market for our goods has diminished. Whereas we used to sell about 50 per cent, of our exports to Britain, we are selling to that country to-day only about 19 per cent. - and this is before Britain’s entry into the European Economic Community.
What we must appreciate is that Australia is an Asian nation. The natural trend of our trading and other relationships will be towards Asian countries. I want to see goodwill built up between Australia and all Asian countries. There is much that we can do for the peoples of countries to the near north. We can give them a great deal of assistance. I refer not only to China but also to all the Indo-Chinese countries, to Malaya, India, Burma, Indonesia and the Philippines. I believe also that the relationships between Australia and Japan can become closer and closer as the years go by.
Our future and destiny lie within Asia, and we do ourselves no service by bringing up red bogies. I know that some Government members want to trade with China, but they do not want to recognize China. Let us be frank and honest about this matter. Members of the Government want to ignore the fact that a Conservative government in Britain has recognized China. They want to forget that fact because on this issue they want to follow the United States of America, which has turned a blind eye to the facts. I suggest that it is the duty of the Minister for External Affairs to talk to the American Government and try to infuse some sanity into its considerations, because America and China must become friends if we are to have peace in this world.
We know that disarmament can be achieved only if we bring China into the family of nations. We cannot discuss world disarmament without bringing China into the discussions. This Government would ignore 25 per cent, of the world’s population as if those people did not exist. Have you ever heard such foolishness! Since 1955 the Australian Labour Party has been saying that we must bring China into the family of nations. Friendship can be built up and distrust broken down.
There is much that I would have liked to talk about. I would have liked to speak of the problems of South Viet Nam and of Thailand, and of the failures of Seato. However, time does not permit me to do so. I say to the Minister: Let us not be smug about this question, because it is a very important one and cannot be ignored. A quarter of the population of the world is involved. We must bring those people into the United Nations. The Australian Government should talk realistically to the United States Government. I suggest that the Minister might take advice from the Melbourne “ Age “, that conservative newspaper that loyally supports the Government.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– We have heard Opposition speakers addressing themselves to the estimates for the Department of External Affairs, amounting to some £11,500,000. We have heard two speakers for the Opposition, both of whom have been visitors to red China and have been thoroughly indoctrinated, to the extent of their mental capacities, expressing their views in this committee on the question of recognition of red China. I do not want to say very much about their speeches, because I believe this is not the kind of debate in which such views should be expressed. What we should be discussing is the advisability of the expenditure of this amount of money by the Department of External Affairs.
I know quite well that the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) has very strong ideas on this subject, because he has been entertained by the Communist people of red China, and it is quite obvious from every statement he has made in this place that the effects of his visit have been penetrating and deepseated. I would suggest to the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Stewart), who on a previous occasion in Formosa made a statement regarding the aspirations of red China to control Formosa, that he should get alongside his colleague from Reid and have a discussion on this point. I am quite sure that there is a strong element in the Opposition that would reject the sentiments expressed to-night by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) and the honorable member for Reid.
However, I think we should get back to the subject before the committee, which is, of course, the justification or otherwise for the expenditure in the coming year of £11,500,000 by the Department of External Affairs. We in Australia have had, over a period of years, to develop our own relations with overseas countries. No longer can we rely on the Mother Country to look after our interests, particularly in that part of south-east Asia with which we are very deeply concerned. So we have had, in the post-war period, the task of developing a very extensive department, and I believe we have been extraordinarily fortunate in having been able to attract to the service of that department men of great capacity, men of education and men who have represented Australia extremely well in the posts that they have occupied. They have had the interests of their country at heart. They have also had what is a delightful Australian trait - I say it advisedly - that of being able to get alongside people and talk to them, and in the process to convey their views very successfully and to influence the opinions of the people to whom they speak.
After all, diplomacy is the first line of national defence. I think we are inclined to forget this. We are inclined to accept the idea that overseas representation is entirely for the purposes of trade promotion. Trade obviously forms a very important part of our relations with overseas countries but, I repeat, basically our diplomatic representation overseas forms our first line of defence. The advice that our overseas representatives give to the Government, as well as the advice that they give to the countries in which they are accredited, is of great significance in the furtherance of Australia’s peaceful and prosperous relations with the countries to which we send representatives.
It is extremely difficult to assess in pounds, shillings and pence the value of overseas representation to a country like Australia. We have been used to thinking in terms of the past, when we were not obliged to provide our own representatives, and we relied entirely on representatives of the United Kingdom. In a kind of little brother fashion we have said, “ They will look after us “. Those days have gone for ever. To-day we are, I believe, well equipped. We have overseas very effective and well informed representation.
Another point that is worth the consideration of the committee is the importance of the presentation of Australia’s views in the United Nations and of the influence that our representatives will have on the countries to which they are accredited, so that the views expressed by those countries might be in support of Australia’s views or at least not opposed to them, when decisions are made at the United Nations. Whatever our views might be about the efficacy of the United Nations and the role that it is to play in future one thing is crystal clear - that is, that we would fly in the face of world opinion if we were to disregard the votes of the United Nations and say that they did not matter, and if we were not to take every step open to us to influence any vote that crucially affected our interest. Therefore. I say again that it is most important that we should have in that sphere of activity the very best representation that we can have, and I believe that we have been very fortunate in that respect.
Now, Sir, I wish to turn to the financial side. Any honorable member who has taken the time to read through the Estimates will realize that we have overseas 44 posts, including embassies, legations, high commissions, a commission, consulates, certain other posts such as the External Affairs post in London, which is associated with the High Commissioner’s office, and representation in Hong Kong. We also have a very important, but perhaps less known, delegation to the United Nations Commission for the Unification an l Rehabilitation of Korea. The cost of these various offices ranges between £325,800 in the case of our representation in Washington, United States of America and £4,050 in the case of the office in Hong Kong.
Another point worth bringing to the attention of the committee is that out of the total proposed vote of £11,501,000, an amount of £5,618,500 is to be devoted towards what we describe generally as international development and relief, of which Australia’s Colombo Plan donations amount to nearly £5,000,000. Also, there are certain other substantial contributions to United Nations activities, including the International Children’s Emergency Fund, the Red Cross, and the resettlement of refugees. We must, therefore, realize that the cost of representation is only a small proportion of the total amount expended.
I suggest to the committee that, whatever its feelings might be on the political level, it is crystal clear, first, that to-day we must have effective representation overseas and make situations available for the cream of our population to enter the foreign service. Secondly - this is equally important - it is clear that the results of the work of our representatives overseas so far have been most valuable. I think that most honorable members will support that statement, although there will always be a certain amount of criticism from disgruntled people who perhaps have not had the red carpet laid out when they have visited a certain place. We are being extremely well represented in places where we have postings. That, I think, is probably the most important part of the activities of the Department of External Affairs, apart from its ability to provide the government of the day with information on political trends in the various countries in which we have representation, and the capacity of its officers to insinuate into those countries a sense of the importance of Australia and to establish a goodwill with the people with whom they are associated. Possibly most important for the future is the fostering of Australia’s relations with the countries that really count with us, namely, those directly to the north.
So, whilst it might appear to those people who think purely in terms of pounds, shillings and pence - that is a natural feature of human nature - that this expenditure is heavy, when we relate an expenditure of ?11,551,000 on the Department of External Affairs to the colossal expenditure involved in the defence effort of this country we realize - if there is agreement with my contention that diplomacy is our first line of defence - that that money is being extremely well spent.
.- In relation to the proposed vote for the Department of External Affairs, which we are discussing to-night, I wish to comment upon a statement made by the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) on his return from abroad which, while very important, appears almost to have been lost sight of. It referred to what he said might be the collapse of the United Nations. If that should happen, of course, the event would not only startle the world but would also bring us back to the law of the jungle and international chaos. To-night I intend to read the statement attributed to the Minister and to ask whether, if possible, in the course of his reply he will elaborate on it, so important is the matter and so important is the survival of the United Nations to those who believe in it and hope for world peace. I quote from a report in the Sydney “ Sun “ of last evening - I think it was - headed “ Funds Running Out. End of U.N. feared by Barwick “. The report reads -
Sir Garfield Barwick said today he believed that lack of funds might cause the end of the United Nations Organization by 1964. The organization was so seriously embarrassed by lack of money that it might be forced to stop its peacekeeping operations soon, he added.
Sir Garfield, Minister for External Affairs, said this at Kingsford-Smith airport when he returned from U.N. headquarters in New York to-day. “ The United Nations has been told by the International Court of Justice that its costs in the
Congo should be shared by all members, but several nations have refused to contribute “, he said. “ The question before the General Assembly now is will it adopt this opinion of the court. This raises a great difficulty. If it adopts it, the Russians have said they won’t pay. “ By 1964 the question will arise whether Russia will be allowed to vote. If they don’t vote that might end the organization. That’s why Russia has come out in advance with a very uncompromising statement. “ If the Assembly does not adopt the court’s opinion, then it cannot be expected that member nations who do contribute will continue to pay, and pay more, while others refuse to pay. Unless the finances are put in order it might mean the end of the organization. “ In the immediate future, unless the United Nations can call on nations to pay their share of the peace-keeping operations, these will have to stop. Keeping the peace is one of the primary purposes of the United Nations. “ I made it clear that Australia will pay its way. I also made it quite clear that I thought the opinion of the court should be adopted. Russia has announced its decision not to pay, before any discussions, with a view to frightening some nations from adopting the court’s opinion “.
Sir Garfield will report to Parliament on the U.N. position next week.
That statement is possibly one of the most important made in respect of the United Nations for a long time, and I am wondering whether the Minister was giving a considered, opinion on what might happen to the United Nations. To my mind, so important is the United Nations to world peace, that any hint of its collapse is in the nature of an international tragedy and must be avoided, as there is at this stage no alternative to it for the maintenance of world peace. I might say that the Australian Labour Party’s policy on the United Nations is quite clear and definite. I quote from that policy, under the heading “ International Affairs “ -
Steady and unwavering support for the United Nations and for the purposes and principles declared in the United Nations Charter.
Countless Labour leaders have given expression, in this Parliament and in other places, to the opinion that it is essential that the United Nations should continue, if there is to be any chance of maintaining world peace and preventing what has happened to the world in previous great conflicts. That is why I raise this question to-night. I am surprised that we have not yet had some further comment on this important statement made by the Minister. The “ Sydney
Morning Herald “, in commenting on the speech by the Minister, stated -
Article 19 of the Charter provides explicitly that a member State shall have no vote in the General Assembly “ if the amount of its arrears equals or exceeds the amount of the contributions due from it for the preceding two full years”.
The newspaper also stated -
If the United Nations reaches the point where it no longer can intervene actively when peace is threatened its usefulness will diminish and its purpose will be lost to such an extent that the value of its existence must be called seriously into question.
There, to my mind, lies the importance of this matter. In the words of the Minister for External Affairs, we face the complete collapse of the United Nations Organization. Earlier to-night, my colleague, the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), mentioned the work that could be done through the magnificent agencies of the United Nations. He referred to many works that could be done in Asia and other parts of the world to bring to the people of the countries concerned not only a hope for peace but some of the prosperity that we enjoy in our democracies. But if the United Nations organization collapses, these magnificent agencies will go with it and there will be no opportunity to spread the goodwill that is implicit in the principles of the United Nations. Any one who seeks to discount the statement of the Minister as an idle statement should ponder on what may happen if the United Nations disappears and we go back to the law of the jungle with nuclear warfare and all the horrors associated with it.
I ask the Minister for External Affairs to tell the Parliament what money is owed to the United Nations by the various countries that are affiliated with it. I should also like to know the cost of administration of the United Nations. I am sure the Parliament and all who believe in the principles of the United Nations would like to know what countries have defaulted in their payments and how Australia stands with its contributions generally to the United Nations. Quite frankly, I do not think we would be in arrears, because I note on page 19 of the Estimates that many allocations of funds are being made to cover our expenses and contributions for the various purposes of the United Nations.
However, I would like to know the position of Australia in this important matter.
The most important point for us to consider in this: What action does the Government intend to take in a firm and positive way to prevent the collapse of the United Nations in 1964, as has been predicted, if certain countries do not pay the money that is owing? It is no good the Government saying that it hopes this and that will be done. The Government must have a positive approach and must decide what it will do to maintain the United Nations, in which we all believe and which we all recognize as the one bulwark against future world conflict. It is the one means of maintaining peace. These are important questions. I was amazed to learn that there is a possibility of collapse. As a trade unionist, I believe that people who do not pay their fees and so become unfinancial are not entitled to the consideration of the organization to which they belong. That principle should be applied in the United Nations. Member nations should make their full contributions so that the organization can continue its work for the principles that are embodied in its charter.
– Do you think member nations that do not pay their contributions should be allowed to vote?
– My approach is that these contributions should be paid. I am surprised to know that this matter has gone so far and that the United Nations may collapse because some of the member nations are unfinancial. Any one who is in an organization should support it, whether the organization be national or international, local or widespread. Any one who is democratic must believe in the principle of majority rule. If decisions are taken in the interests of world peace, which is one of the major aims of the United Nations, and financial commitments are undertaken, under Article 19 all member nations of the organization are called upon to contribute. The fact that some nations are not contributing should be reported to the Parliament and I sincerely trust that while these estimates are being discussed to-night, the Minister will give us his views instead of waiting until the end of the week. We should be told who is at fault and what nations are involved. The questions I have put to-night should be answered. Above all else, we in this Parliament should be told what the approach of the Minister and of the Government will be when this question is discussed. What is the Government doing to ensure that the United Nations will not collapse?
Without being too political or too personal, let me say that there was a lot of criticism of the United Nations Organization by honorable members opposite in its early stages when it was being sponsored and supported by a Labour government in Australia. We as Labour men had some fears that members of the present government parties would not be enthusiastic about the United Nations because of the their utterances when the organization was being formed. However, their views changed to some extent when they attained office. But at the same time we cannot help feeling a little uneasy as to whether the Government is sufficiently concerned with the United Nations Organization, the principles for which it stands, and the great benefits that it gives to the peoples of the world. 1 hope that the magnificent agencies about which the honorable member for Parkes spoke will not be lost and that the Government will have a positive and definite approach that will help to prevent the collapse of the organization. If the organization collapses, inevitably we will return to the international jungle, chaos amongst the nations of the world, the destruction of all the goodwill that has been created and the complete collapse of any hope we may have of all the nations meeting in this great forum to discuss world problems.
I say quite sincerely that the United Nations is not a perfect organization. It has many imperfections and probably many weaknesses. But no one - neither this Government nor the government of any other nation - has presented any suitable alternative that would meet the purposes for which the United Nations was founded. We have an obligation to maintain the United Nations Organization, as has been outlined in Labour’s policy. We must give the organization our unwavering support. I sincerely trust that before this debate concludes to-night the Minister will tell us what the Government intends to do to maintain this great organization and to prevent the collapse that he prophesied on his return to Australia a short time ago.
.- The deterioration of the situation around Australia over the last few years, and even the last few months, has been very marked. The experiment in democratic government in Burma, for instance, appears to have failed. What the West African States have called the wrong of a United Nations capitulation before threats has taken place in West New Guinea. The West African States have rightly said that self-determination should take place before a transference of sovereignty, not after it. The essence of the settlement in West New Guinea we are told is that the indigenous people of West New Guinea will be given the right of selfdetermination at some time in the future after Dutch sovereignty has been transferred to Indonesia. The West African States have rightly said that selfdetermination should have taken place before the transference of sovereignty and the reason why this correct procedure was not followed was because of threats of armed force. They say that if that is the situation that the United Nations is prepared to accept, the world has reached a serious position.
India is in a territorial dispute with Communist China - a quite serious dispute which India would not think it worth while to refer to the United Nations. In China, the Communists have declared the possession of nuclear weapons and the testing of nuclear weapons by Communist powers to be right and by others to be aggression - a position which, if persisted in, means that attempts at disarmament must prove fruitless. There is evidence of a campaign throughout the Communist world on the subject of Australian aborigines, aimed at weakening the ideological standing of Australia in the world and especially in Asia and Africa.
Outside the technologically advanced countries of the West there has been a steady deterioration in the standard of living. Food production in India and Communist China is precarious. Whatever the reason, Australian trade policy ends up giving more effective assistance to China as a nation in need than to anybody else. Underlying the instability of whatever Australia is trying to achieve in the world is the simple fact that adequate investment is not going to the 70 per cent, of the world which needs it most. If you think of the United Kingdom and Western Europe, Canada and the United States of America, Australia and New Zealand and the Europeans of South Africa, you have something like 15 per cent, of the world’s population; and they possess over 70 per cent, of the world’s wealth. Those nations including our own in the world to-day constitute an aristocracy, and there is perhaps a greater disparity between the standard of living of the Australian basicwage earner and the Indian peasant than there was between a Russian aristocrat and a Russian peasant at the time of the Russian revolution.
In spite of everything that is being said, the gap between the technologically advanced countries and the rest of the world is not narrowing but widening. India was better fed in 1939 than it is to-day. Investment, largely motivated by the objective of getting a profit, naturally keeps moving back into the technologically advanced societies and making them still more technologically advanced. Outside this Western group - and I am leaving out for the moment the Communist world - the only exception to the trend I have delineated is Japan. Japan’s 90,000,000 people produce more than the 1,500,000,000 of the rest of Asia in secondary industrial production. That is a very clear indication of the importance of education, since Japan has an educated and relatively technologically advanced population although Japan’s resources are not great. The importance of education is evident when one compares Japan’s position with that of some countries of Asia which have greater resources but an immense backlog in the need for training and education.
The World Bank is investing in some of these backward areas, but we have only to look at our own country to see the trend that I have mentioned. The World Bank, for instance, recently invested 100,000,000 dollars in the Snowy Mountains scheme. I know of no investment of the World Bank in New Guinea. New Guinea is a backward area; Australia is not. There is this constant tendency of investment to gravitate to the technologically advanced areas making them more technologically advanced. As a consequence, the area of instability outside the small world aristocracy I have mentioned is increasing.
I do not think there is any point in standing up and making this a series of negative criticisms. It is a statement of fact of the situation in the world to-day. There are some answers, but they do not lie within the possession of this country. We have not got the resources to give the answers, but we could throw our weight behind whatever schemes there are to answer the problem. First and foremost, we should look again at the rejected objectives of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the immediate post-war years. Some of the aims of the F.A.O. cut across trading interests and were hastened off the scene, but many of the people of the world have a need for them. It might be worth while looking at some of those F.A.O. objectives to see whether reviving them would not be a sensible policy.
We need to be sensitive to what is going on in the minds of the Asian peoples, especially their legitimate aspirations. We need to be prepared to make some sacrifices for economic advancement elsewhere. Finally, I believe we ought to remove those insensitivities in Australia, especially in questions of race, which are ideological liabilities for Australia in the world and are being used against it.
.- There are two items I would appreciate touching on in this section of the debate. In the first place, I would direct attention to the Communist youth festivals which have been held in recent years. The last was held in July last. The point I want to stress particularly is a request to the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) and to the Department of External Affairs that wherever possible helpful guidance and information be given to Australian youth organizations as to the significance and the danger of these youth festivals. I believe, Mr. Chairman, that our Australian youth organizations are the target constantly for Communist propaganda of this kind. Many of our youth in Australia are enticed to these festivals in countries of Europe and return deeply regretting that they accepted the invitation and were present. I believe that we can give guidance in a sensible way to our Australian youth and direct their loyalty and allegiance to the World Assembly of Youth which is, of course, the democratic world association of youth in contrast to the World Federation of Youth which is a Communist-front body.
I am sure the committee will be interested to observe several points about the last festival. I am suggesting that the organizers of this world youth festival in Helsinki surely under-estimated the extent of the opposition which came from the local youth of Finland. The first youth festival in the capital of a neutral nation was held in Vienna in 1959, and had there been a retreat from a policy of holding the festivals in neutral nations, I am sure this would have been accepted across the world as a definite gain to the two world youth bodies - the International Union of Students and the World Federation of Youth. These festivals having been held in the neutral nations were purported to have been supported widely by non-Communist countries. But despite the Communist claims that this occasion in Helsinki was truly representative, T want to direct particular attention to the fact that this year’s participants were drawn almost entirely from Communistdominated countries. Much publicity was given in the early stages of organization to the participation of some 1,600 Africans. They were actually expected to arrive at the festival but barely 50 per cent, of that anticipated number attended as delegates, and it is very significant that no expected delegates actually arrived from Ghana.
On the opening day in Helsinki, more than 2,000 young Finns gathered in the centre of the city to demonstrate in support of the opposition of most of their country’s youth organizations who objected to this Communist festival being held in their city and country. I am suggesting, therefore, that the influence of this conference - the eighth that was held - is waning. There is a definite decline in support and interest, and I believe we should put this fact on record. We must recognize the embarrassment to the organizers who must try to justify the expense and effort involved. The most lavish festival was the one held in Moscow in 1957 when some 34,000 participated. But then the 1959 Vienna festival had only 17,000 participants and on this occasion in Helsinki the number fell, I understand, to 14,000. I believe that this decline in the influence of these festivals reflects an attitude which we support. Again, I say that if the Department of External Affairs highlights a report of this nature in various ways it will do a very constructive thing for Australian youth, because of the insidious propaganda which, as most of us are aware, is constantly directed at youth groups.
I turn now, Sir, to the other matter which I wanted to discuss. It arises out of the thirty-fourth session of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, which met in July and August of this year. We all should be interested to observe the fact that Australia this year is a member of Ecosoc, together with seventeen other nations. The programme for discussion at the thirtyfourth session, to my interest, dealt with three major problems, and I should like to mention these briefly in the limited time available to me. These three problems are of great significance. The first is the action programme for the development decade, which, I think, a speaker on the Opposition side of the chamber mentioned earlier this evening. The second is the proposal for a United Nations trade conference. The third is the economic and social consequences of disarmament.
I do not think that I have been impressed more by any other United Nations proposal than I have been by what I have read about the proposals for this development decade. This programme arises, I understand, out of American initiative exercised at the 1961 session of the United Nations General Assembly. We should be aware that the idea is that, throughout the 1960’s, there shall be a sustained and concentrated effort by the nations which are members of the United Nations, by all governments and particularly by the specialized agencies of the United Nations, to promote the economic and social development of the under-developed countries of the world. The eventual objective of the decade is that, by the end of it, these under-developed countries shall be made self-supporting and brought to a stage at which their rate of development will be increasing by 5 per cent, per annum.
This seems to me to be a positive programme. lt is objective and visionary, and I believe that the major countries of the world, many of which have already played a commendable part in extending technical and economic assistance to under-privileged countries, should be sustained by the plan now presented in this way. I believe that every country should be challenged to do even more than it has done in the past. But my attention has been directed also to the fact that even a commendable programme like this has its dangers, because it can conceivably present too great an objective to some of the under-developed countries. It can give them an exaggerated idea of the progress which they may register. I think that we, as a committee, should therefore take note of this grand objective. We should ensure that, as a nation, we readily play the part which our delegate has already intimated that we are prepared to play.
The second of the three matters which I have mentioned is the proposal for a United Nations trade conference. This represents another broad objective. It stems from previous discussions at meetings of Ecosoc and I find that there is genuine concern at the basis of the proposal. On the one hand, it reflects the growing difficulties of the under-developed countries in marketing their produce. On the other hand, it raises the concern of other nations over the possible consequences of the European Common Market proposals to which we in this Parliament have been giving so much attention recently. I think that we ought to note that at the last session of Ecosoc there was made a decision that this trade conference shall be convened under the auspices of the council and that the preparatory committee shall meet next year, with the idea that the conference shall take place in 1964. It was decided that the agenda shall be determined by Ecosoc, subject to any intervention by the General Assembly of the United Nations.
The conference seems certain to embrace not only the problems of marketing the primary commodities of the under-developed countries, but also the problems of the marketing of the export products of the developed countries. So, I place on record, Mr. Temporary Chairman, my impression that this will be another conference of major consequence to be held ia the next few years. The Australian delegate at the thirty-fourth session of the Economic and Social Council, in my opinion very wisely, pointed out that in considering this proposal one must bear in mind the effects of Common Market decisions. The agenda and actual timing of the international trade conference, of course, may be affected accordingly.
Finally, I turn to the economic and social consequences of disarmament, which were debated at the thirty-fourth session of Ecosoc in July and August last. The discussions at the council meeting naturally were limited by the frustration over the failure to achieve political and technical agreement on disarmament procedures. But it was agreed that the report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations should be widely distributed throughout the world, and particularly to member nations, so that the contents of the report might be fully studied. This committee, I am sure, will be interested to learn that in the debate on this point there was highlighted the fact that an amount equivalent to about 8 or 9 per cent, of the world’s annual output of goods and services is devoted to arms expenditure. I find that there is a significant relationship between this percentage and the national income of all the under-developed countries of the world. It has been suggested that the expenditure on arms, which, as I have said, is the equivalent of 8 or 9 per cent, of the world’s annual output of goods and services, represents about two-thirds of the entire national income of the underprivileged countries which we are so keen to assist. Therefore, when eventually the decision on disarmament that all peaceloving peoples are longing to see becomes practicable, we shall have the satisfaction of knowing that the under-privileged countries will reap very significant benefit through the re-direction of the funds which I have mentioned.
Mr. Temporary Chairman, I am glad to have had this opportunity to direct attention to the two facets of international affairs which I have mentioned. I trust that the Minister for External Affairs, in his usual helpful manner, will endeavour to assist the youth organizations of Australia by pointing out the dangers of the Communist youth festivals. I am glad also to have had this opportunity to commend the three particular decisions made at the recent meeting of the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
.- Mr. Temporary Chairman, the discussion of the estimates for the Department of External Affairs gives me this opportunity to come face to face with the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) and to ask him a very straight-forward question about Australia’s representation in the Republic of Ireland. One may say that Ireland is getting along all right without proper Australian representation. The point is that Australia spends less on representation in that country than it spends on representation in any other of the 44 countries in which we have diplomatic representatives. If Australia were represented by an ambassador in Ireland and if the salaries and allowances that are shown in the Estimates were paid, our embassy in the Republic of Ireland would cost us £15,918 for salaries and allowances, but we see that an amount of £6,577 is expected to remain unexpended and that an amount of £491 will be withheld from officers on account of rent. I ask you, Mr. Temporary Chairman, whether that is a fair scale of representation for Australia, a country which claims that 25 per cent, of its citizens have Irish origins. During this debate to-night, we have discussed almost every country in the world, yet the country that has given so many people to Australia is treated in this way.
The Minister for External Affairs has refused to answer questions regarding the appointment of an ambassador to Ireland. Perhaps he has done so because he has been carrying out directions that were given before he took over the portfolio. He has been all over the globe. I give him credit, as my colleague, the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly) has said, for some of the reports that he has made to the Parliament after his return from overseas. I warned the Minister before the last general election that although he had originally won the seat of Parramatta by a majority of 7,000 or 8,000 votes, he might not win it so easily again. It will be remembered that, at the last election, he scraped home by only 700 or 800 votes. I gave him a timely warning that the people were resentful of his lack of action in regard to the appointment of an Australian representative in the Republic of Ireland.
The Irish representative at the United Nations was the man who stood up to Khrushchev about two years ago when Khrushchev was tapping the table with his shoe. Ambassador Boland was the President of the General Assembly, and he also tapped the table. I had the honour to represent this country at the United Nations two years ago. I was sent as an observer. Unlike others, I did not come back and say that I had said this, that and the other thing. I observed everything that happened at the United Nations. From what I saw there, I can say that it would be a bad day for Australia if ever anything happened to the United Nations. At the time I was there, the question of the appointment of a successor to Mr. Dag Hammarskjoeld was being discussed. The suggestion was made, due principally to Russia’s wishes, that the position should not be filled for the remaining two years of Mr. Hammarskjoeld’s term. Various other suggestions were made, such as that there should be three secretariesgeneral instead of one. After a long debate, U Thant was elected to the position. I believe that he is a man who will be very fair to all sides.
Although the Russians spoke very loudly, on many occasions and in many places, it was interesting to note that when the vote was taken they had the support of no more than twelve of the 100 nations whose representatives voted. I came away from the United Nations satisfied that no matter what nations Russia had behind it, it had not behind it the weight of world opinion for what it was doing. Before I went to the United States of America, a moratorium had been agreed on by the United States and Russia regarding nuclear tests. During the first week I was there, Russia dropped the biggest bomb of all time, and of course that breached the moratorium. The representatives of member nations of the United Nations had been slating many things in the world, including colonialism. Of course, in a way, they were correct in slating colonialism; the country that I come from was the victim of colonialism for many years. However, although the representatives of certain nations had been speaking against colonialism, when Russia exploded that bomb there was scarcely one representative who did not get to his feet and condemn Russia for what it had done. I do not speak disparagingly when I say that perhaps 30 or 40 representatives who were as black as the ace of spades got to their feet and used against Russia language that would scarcely be heard in any part of Australia or elsewhere in the world. So, I think that while the United Nations remains in existence it will be a force for good.
Mr. Plimsoll, our representative at the United Nations, is doing a great job for this country. We also have there a gentleman from Tasmania and several other officers who are looking after our interests in a worth-while manner.
The Minister for External Affairs, who is at the table, ought to be ashamed of himself for depriving Ireland of its rightful representation from this country. He has come back from his overseas visit and has told us what he proposes to do in almost every part of the globe, but he does not intend to do anything at all about this question of our representation in Ireland, which 1 have raised so often in this place.
– He is an Orangeman, that is why.
– I would not say that, but he is full of law and perhaps he cannot see justice when he walks over it. No doubt he carries out to the letter of the law the tasks that he is given to do. I remind him that if Ireland becomes a member of the European Common Market he may not have the privilege at a later date of doing as I have suggested. I say to the Minister that when a matter is brought before his notice he should not treat it as he has treated this question on the last three or four occasions I have raised it. I hope and trust that I have not offended anybody, because I am one of those people who will listen to anybody and who appreciates what others say. However, I am not hoodwinked by many of the statements that are made. I give to everybody the rights that I claim for myself. I appeal to the Minister for External Affairs and to the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) to accede to my request. The Prime Minister has travelled the world. The only country he seems to have dodged is Ireland. I cannot understand how that has happened, because kings, queens and lords have all visited there. I can assure the Minister for External Affairs that if he were to visit Ireland he would be received very well, and if he did not know the ins and outs of the position he quickly would be told.
During an overseas trip prior to the general election in December, 1961, I visited Dublin and in a speech over Radio Eire I said I did not think that while the Menzies Government remained in office we would ever have representation in Ireland, but that on the very day that the Menzies Government was removed from office the people of Ireland would receive the very highest level of Australian representation. I was not a bad judge; we were kept out of office by only one seat. I think I shall be able to keep that promise within the next six months if this Government continues to treat so shabbily the people who are fighting for justice; the people who have never fought on the side of communism and the people from whose ranks missionaries have gone to every country of the world. Let me remind honorable members of the work of the good sisters and nurses in hospitals and other institutions. The treatment which is accorded Ireland is. worse than is meted out to any other country in the world.
.- I am somewhat diffident about making a contribution to the debate to-night, but I feel that I should reply to some remarks which have been made. In the first place, let me support what my friend the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Minogue) has said. When Labour takes office supporters of the present Government may not be surprised to see the honorable member for West Sydney as our Minister for External Affairs. However, whether he attains the Ministry or not, I hope that we shall have representation in Ireland at proper ambassadorial level.
My reason for rising to-night is not so much to speak about that subject as to refer to the Republic of China, which is commonly known as red China. I know that it is red. There is no need for me to re-affirm that I am as devotedly antiCommunist as is any one in this place, but I cannot understand why the Government adopts such an ostrich-like attitude by burying its head in the sand and refusing to recognize a country of some 700,000,000 persons when its conservative counterpart in Great Britain gives red China precisely that recognition. The Government’s refusal to accord the Republic of China this recognition is all the more difficult to understand when, as the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) pointed out to-night, Australia sells its wheat to that country. I am sure that the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) in this coalition Government, shaky as it is, is quite happy to sell our wheat to China.
Dr. Coombs, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia - a gentleman who served so very ably when Labour was in government in this country and who, I have no hesitation in saying, is serving the Government of to-day with great ability - has gone on record as saying that in his opinion the Republic of China does not present any financial risk. He holds the opinion that it will meet its financial commitments to Australia. If this Government sees fit to enter trade relationships with China why does it not take the logical step of giving proper recognition to that country? All honorable members know where I stand on this matter. Let me repeat what I regard as a very sound principle: If you want to know what your enemies are doing - I do not concede that China is our enemy - go among them. Let us have some representation in China.
I notice in the Estimates that we have representation in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics which it is estimated will involve an expenditure of £99,700 in this financial year. We have representation in Japan, which previously was an enemy country - I do not bear Japan any ill will, and certainly not in the matter of trade because we need earnestly to cultivate Japan’s friendship - which it is estimated will involve an expenditure of £105,500. In India, which borders China, our High
Commission involves an estimated expenditure of £74,500. In Nigeria, one of the new countries of the Commonwealth, our High Commission will involve an estimated expenditure of £39,700. I cannot understand why this Government does not act along the lines of its conservative counterpart in Great Britain and go the distance and recognize red China.
Honorable members on the Government side have tried to label Opposition members as Communist sympathizers. We have no such sympathies. But I am very glad to be able to re-affirm the policy of the Labour Tarty to recognize the Republic of China. There is no doubt that the Government is acting in concert with the United States of America and I hazard a guess - this is only a guess because unfortunately, in view of my very precarious electoral position, having a majority of 72 votes, I have not been outside Australia - that in the not too distant future the United States will recognize red China. That is my guess but, as I have said, I cannot speak from the stand-point of overseas experience.
On the subject of overseas experience or overseas visitations let me make a few observations. Very soon, under the aegis of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the Inter-parliamentary Union, delegations will be going to Brazil and Nigeria. That may be a good thing. I do not deny for one mement the efficacy of these visits overseas. Honorable members opposite, and indeed honorable members from my own side, have availed themselves of the opportunity to visit Europe; but let us bear in mind something which this Government is overlooking - our sphere of activity lies in the southern hemisphere. I should like to see trips by all members of Parliament to countries such as Viet Nam, Cambodia, Indonesia - which will engage our most earnest attention - Malaya, the Philippines and those other countries upon which we should be concentrating. Although we have an interest in the northern hemisphere our real interest lies in the southern hemisphere and it should not be left to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association or the Interparliamentary Union to organize visits to our immediate neighbours.
I have very great respect for the Minister for External Affairs. I am a very junior member of his profession. He has my admiration for the very earnest attention and devotion which he gives to his portfolio; but may we request from him a little more toleration when dealing with questions from members of the Opposition? He is inclined not to tolerate any question which appears li him to be too simple or perhaps a little out of line. Will he treat members of the Opposition, and perhaps honorable members on his own side of the chamber, with the toleration of which I am sure he is capable? I do not cast any aspersions on his very great ability when I make that request.
Let me summarize, first, by making a plea for toleration by the Minister for External Affairs, and secondly, by asking that the Government, when considering trips overseas - I know that members of Parliament are allowed to visit New Guinea on one occasion each financial year, and that is a good thing although I do not think I will be able to avail myself of any education along those lines-
– It is once each Parliament, not once each financial year.
– Yes, once each parliament. I think there should be more visits abroad of the type to which I have referred. After all, our real sphere of interest is in the near north. We have 90,000,000 Indonesians almost on our doorstep. The honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) has told us that China has forces of 250,000,000. I do not know whether I share his naive claim that those forces are purely defensive in character. They may be defensive, but they may equally be offensive. I am not in a position to judge. I ask the Government to consider the points that I have raised.
.- 1 join with the honorable member for Evans (Mr. Monaghan) in supporting the appeal made by my colleague, the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Minogue), for proper Australian representation in the Republic of Ireland. We should not laugh off this matter by saying that Ireland is a small and not very powerful nation. That may be so, but it is nevertheless a very important nation. It is high time this trivial dispute over the credentialling of our representative in the Republic of Ireland was settled. Australia should have ambassadorial representation there.
Let me turn now to some of the statements that have been made in the course of this debate. It was quite obvious from the relish with which the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) predicted, on his recent return to Australia from the United States, that the United Nations was nearing its end, that he was hoping this was so. The anti-Labour parties in this country have never been lovers of the United Nations. At one time they ridiculed the Labour Party for its adherence to the principles of the United Nations. I believe that Australia has no alternative but to support the United Nations. Australia is not a great military power. This Government has spent a lot of money on what it terms defence, but I think everybody recognizes that, standing alone, Australia would be almost defenceless if it were threatened by a comparatively strong nation. Therefore, in our own interests we must support the United Nations and seek to strengthen it in every way possible. Whatever meagre enthusiasm this Government may once have felt for the United Nations has been oozing away because it now feels that the policies that it formerly supported can no longer prevail in view of the increasing numbers of AfroAsian countries that are achieving independence and gaining admission to the United Nations.
As in the case of individuals, it is not a bad idea for a country like Australia to mind her own business. The Government has a great responsibility for the security of Australia and of the people who reside here. In my opinion many of the incidents in which other countries have been involved and in which this Government has become embroiled have been largely domestic matters that should have been determined by the countries concerned. This Government’s attitude has been warped and slanted by its continued fear of communism. It cannot be disputed that international communism will never be combated in the military sense because although the Communist bloc and the Western powers possess the means to destroy each other, neither has the ability to become the outright victor in a conflict.
The only way to defeat communism is to show the people of the world that we have something better to offer. I recently read an authoritative statement claiming that the Soviet and the United States possessed sufficient nuclear and atomic weapons to destroy not only each other but also civilization as we know it.
I turn now to the subject of recognition of China. It is hypocritical for us to sell our wool and wheat to China but to refuse to recognize its government. To-day China has no seat in the United Nations. She is represented there by the Soviet. We all know that even in Communist countries from time to time differences of opinion arise with regard to certain matters, but in the United Nations there is no possibility of a difference of opinion arising between China and the Soviet because the Soviet speaks for China as well as for itself, lt would be a good thing to recognize China and give her a seat in the United Nations. Mainland China should be seated in the United Nations even if it means withdrawing recognition from Nationalist China. Let us look at this matter realistically. What is the Nationalist Chinese movement to-day? Formosa is a country that is predominantly Chinese racially. Despite what we hear to the contrary, I have no doubt that if the people of Formosa had an opportunity to elect to return to control by the Government on the mainland or remain under the Nationalist Chinese Government they would decide to return to the Peoples Republic of China. The Nationalist Chinese movement is maintained to-day only by the strength of the United States. If the United States withdrew its protection, the Nationalist Chinese movement would not last for very long. Nationalist China is not satisfied with maintaining its own security but is continually creating embarrassing situations which could threaten the peace of the world. Nationalist Chinese forces occupied two off-shore islands - islands that were held by the United States authorities to be not strategically necessary for the defence of Formosa. In my opinion the Chinese Nationalists deliberately moved forces into those islands in order to provoke an incident in the area and involve the Western powers in a war against the Republic of China. It is high time the Republic of China was recognized not only by this Government but also by the United Nations.
Let me refer now to some potential trouble spots closer to Australia. First there is South Viet Nam. I support wholeheartedly the plea of the honorable member for Evans for a delegation from this Parliament to be permitted to visit this area so that we may ascertain the facts for ourselves. I would welcome an opportunity to join such a delegation so that I might tell the people of this country just what is happening in that part of the world. We know that some people believe that any steps are justified in an effort to contain communism. What is the position with regard to Viet Nam? We know that under the Geneva Agreement of 1954 a commission was established and popular elections embracing the whole area were to be held within a few years. Those elections have never been held. The commission has never been reconstituted. Its meeting has been adjourned sine die. When I hear people talk about foreign invasion of South Viet Nam it seems to me that they are referring to infiltration from North Viet Nam by persons of the same race as the South Vietnamese. From what we hear and read about the conditions of the people in these areas of the world, it is not communism that concerns them but whether they will be able to obtain an extra bowl of rice a day.
I believe that the reactionary regimes that exist in some of these countries are tyrannical in their control over their own areas and their own people. They play on the knowledge that the Western powers, to use a term common in Australia, are suckers for propaganda. They know that if they say that they want money and equipment to defeat communism the Western powers will pour in their millions. We hear people talk about the benefits of democracy but we know that democracy does not exist in these countries. Their jails are full of political prisoners who have been arrested and remain in jail for long periods without being charged or tried. I hope that the Minister for External Affairs will agree to have a parliamentary delegation go into these areas to see exactly what is happening.
I want to show exactly what has been happening in regard to the millions of pounds and millions of dollars that have been thrown into these areas with the idea that we have been strengthening the fight against communism. According to “ Newsweek “, a well-known magazine, of 21st May, in September, 1959, the Laotians appealed to the United Nations to stop a massive invasion from North Viet Nam. United Nations investigators who were called in failed to find a single Vietnamese. In December, 1960, the Laotians again announced that seven battalions of North Vietnamese had invaded Laos. Later they admitted that this was just a diplomatic fib to get more aid from the government’s friends abroad. In January, 1961, the Laotians announced that a Chinese Communist division had crossed their northern borders. This, too, proved imaginary. On every occasion on which the Laotians have made these claims and the United Nations has sent its investigators in they have discovered that there was no basis for the claim. As a matter of fact, the nations in this area are not war-like nations. They do not want to fight. But as I have said, if they can get millions of pounds in aid from overseas which they can use, not always for military purposes, but in other directions they will continue to do what they think is necessary to obtain that aid.
The “ New York Times “, which cannot be regarded as a Communist journal, referring to the Royal Laotian Army, reported that members of the army swam in mountain streams, got drunk on rice whisky and occasionally fired their 105 m.m. howitzers - supplied by the United States of America - in the general direction of the enemy. They disliked the idea of shooting at anybody with a rifle. The “ New York Times “ reported that General Phoumi had been embarrassingly unable to win any more battles. The United States recognized the government of Prince Souvanna Phouma but most of its military aid went to Brigadier-General Phoumi Nosavan. The United Kingdom and France did not approve of this. In 1957 the elections confirmed the neutralist government in office and United States aid immediately ceased. The United States wanted a government which was prepared to co-operate and fight against anybody with whom the Western powers might become embroiled. But almost immediately the neutralist government was overthrown by a military coup and United States aid was resumed. So today, after a lot of misery and suffering and the waste of lots of overseas funds it has been recognized by the Western powers that the best arrangement they can get in regard to Laos is to have a neutralist government in control. Previously, they had not been satisfied with it.
Let me turn to the question of Malaya. We know that the same situation exists there. Conditions in Malaya are far from good from the viewpoint of the people who live there. Mr. Walter Nash, leader of the Labour Opposition in the New Zealand Parliament, a few years ago said -
A better distribution of riches in Malaya should supplement any military action to defend the area. New Zealand should not be supporting conditions under which a Malayan or Chinese rubber tapper earns only one and a half Malayan dollars a day.
It is rather interesting to note that although the Government was prepared to pledge Australian troops and risk their lives in that area, to-day, when there is talk of the development of a Malaysian Federation, the Prime Minister of Malaya, Tunku Abdul Rahman, has made it clear to. the United Kingdom that Malaya could not accept any arrangement whereby Singapore remained a Seato base after any Singapore-Malaya merger. That is according to a report in the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ of 23rd November, 1961, which also stated -
In the event of a merger, the greater Malaysian Federation would have to be consulted on the movement of any British troops stationed in Singapore. The Malayan Government would have to be consulted if Britain decided to move Malaya based Commonwealth troops outside the federation.
So we are in the ridiculous position that in these areas we have governments who accept and use aid, in many cases, for a purpose different from that for which the aid was intended. Then, when the opportunity presents itself, they declare themselves to be not interested in further co-operation with this country or with any of the countries with which we are allied. Time will not permit me to deal with the question-
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– Mr. Temporary Chairman, I do not want to detain the committee for very long. I do not want to trouble very much with what the last speaker said. He is always very remarkable because when he has finished you wonder what he started out to say. But there is one feature of what he has recently said that is pretty noticeable. That is that the line that he has followed is the Communist line. H-e has not said a good word for the West. According to him, the West is wrong all the time. His whole line is the Communist line. I could almost pick up the place whence he got the material he has been using. Of course, if this committee really believes that there is no Communist threat in South-East Asia the honorable member is right. His proposition is that we ought to retreat from SouthEast Asia - that there is nothing in it. This is the worst of folly. This is an action which the Communists would be delighted to see carried out.
– He was quoting Labour Party policy and you know it.
– I am quite sure he was not. However, if the Labour Party is peddling the Communist line, so be it - if that is what you say. I should like to deal with something which the honorable member for Evans (Mr. Monaghan) raised in a very temperate and sensible way and to which other honorable members referred. That is the recognition of red China. This, first of all, is a question completely divorced from the question of trade or of any other relations. You do not need to recognize a country in order to trade with it and you do not necessarily trade with a country because you have recognized it. They are two independent actions. The recognition of red China is now a different proposition from that which existed when it was recognized by the United Kingdom, because the only terms on which red China can now be recognized is that that country be given a free hand in Taiwan. It is no good burking this result. To recognize red China at this moment would inevitably mean giving over the 10,000,000 or 11,000,000 people hi Taiwan to red China to be dealt with as she thinks fit. She claims the right to take them by force if they resist.
The honorable member for East Sydney said that they might choose by a plebicite to go with red China. They would get no chance of a plebicite if red China decided that she wanted to take Taiwan. I, for one, am not going to be a party to handing over 10,00030 or 11,000,000 people to the will of a government which has shown after all that it is pretty barbarous in many of its acts. The position is not as simple as it has been stated by the honorable member for Evans, who has said that red China is a great power which should be recognized because we trade with it. This is a question of whether we allow 10,000,000 or 11,000,000 people to be dealt with in any manner in which red China sees fit. I remind the House that a basic element of communism is that Communists do not care for people. Human beings do not matter. Let me make the point simply. Recently we all heard of the incident at the wall in Berlin where a boy was allowed to bleed to to death over a period of hours in the presence of East Berlin Communists, while two or three thousand people in West Berlin were unable to go to the rescue of a human being. The boy was allowed to die with barbarity and callousness. That is the mark of communism.
Let me repeat what I said in another place. The wall has replaced the hammer and sickle as the badge of communism, which has no humanity, and shows no consideration whatever to humans. That is what would happen if we were to hand over these 10,000,000 or 11,000,000 people to red China. There is little more to it than that. The honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) says that we ought to be friends with everybody in Asia. Well, everybody in Asia is not friendly with red China. There are many with whom we are friendly who respect us because we do not recognize red China. They could not possibly live with the proposition.
– Who are they?
– Why should we sell them out or give the impression that we do not care for their battle?
– Tell us who they are.
– You had your turn, you keep quiet now.
– Who are they?
– Order! The honorable member for Reid will remain silent.
– It is remarkable how tender this chap gets whenever you speak of red China.
– Tell us who they are.
Order! The honorable member for Reid has already spoken. He will remain silent and allow the Minister to continue.
– I am replying to the honorable member for Evans, who dealt with another aspect of this subject altogether. There are many people in South-East Asia who live in terror of red China. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) mentioned the people of South Viet Nam. They live in nightly terror of murder and rape by the people of the north - real terror about which people in Australia know nothing. These folk cannot be sold out as they feel they would be were we to recognize a power which they regard as their greatest threat and their greatest enemy. The position is not as simple as the honorable member has endeavoured to make it appear.
Let me turn, if I may, to a very much more pleasant part of what has taken place in this chamber this evening. The honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Minogue), with good robust Irish humour and Irish strength of expression, put to me a proposition that he has put before, namely, that we ought to raise the level of our representation in Ireland. Our relations with Ireland have never been better. The honorable member referred to the past president of the United Nations, Ambassador Boland, with whom I have formed a deep friendship. It is only days ago that I was talking to Ambassador Boland about the relationship of our two countries and he told me how good and cordial they are. The level of the representation does not bear in the least on our goodwill and good relations. They have never been better. Nor is there any deficiency in our communication with Ireland because of the level of representation. We are well represented there and nothing is being done that would not otherwise be done and everything is being done that would be done if the level of representation were higher.
There are difficulties in the way of raising that level and no doubt from time to time those difficulties will be further explored. Neither the honorable member nor the people who derive from Ireland, or whose parents derive from Ireland, need have any feeling of neglect. I did not know that 25 per cent, of the people of this country derive from Ireland, as the honorable member suggested, but no doubt a great and useful portion of the population of this country did come from Ireland. They have no need to think that the level of representation between the two countries reflects in any way a derogatory attitude towards them, their forebears, or the people of Ireland.
I turn now to the question of the United Nations that was raised by the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly). Let me say at once that this Government has been unwavering in its support of the United Nations and that I personally have been unwavering.
– So says the honorable member for East Sydney. That is amazing. It is only a matter of a few months ago that this Government paid 4,000,000 dollars towards a bond issue to support the United Nations. Australia did not have to do so, and many nations better able financially to do so did not do so. Australia not only provided 4,000,000 dollars - an amount larger than her allotted share - but she worked very hard through diplomatic channels to get other nations to put money in and try to make this bond issue a success. What is more, Mr. Chairman, we paid cash. Much of the money to be subscribed has not been paid yet; it has been promised only. This country which, according to the honorable member for East Sydney, does not want to support the United Nations, not only put in more than its share, but also paid cash so that the United Nations could carry on and could have ready money available.
This Government has been unwavering in its support of the United Nations. Of course, I have said, and I say now, that you can put too much weight on that organization. It is not a solve-all for your problems. It is not a substitute for good defence or for bilateral arrangements. Nor is it a substitute for good regional or collective security pacts, but the organization is most useful if you do not try to take too much from it and expect from it more than, as an organization, it is geared to do. When I came back from the United Nations on this occasion, I mentioned a number of problems that confronted that body. The press seized on one of those problems, namely, the matter of finance. It was the financial difficulty which necessitated this bond issue of 200,000,000 dollars. That was a temporary expedient to tide the organization over a difficulty caused by the performance of one of the organization’s primary purposes, namely, peace-keeping by means of the United Nations Expeditionary Force in the Congo.
The reason the organization was in difficulty was that some countries - Russia prominent amongst them - refused to pay their contribution towards the expenses of this peace-keeping force in the Congo. A lot of things happened in the Congo with which we cannot all agree. A lot of decisions were made by the United Nations with which we did not whole-heartedly agree, but we agreed with the purpose, or the idea, of peace-keeping in the Congo to allow this new nation to develop itself. Russia, because it disagreed, or perhaps because the Congo operation prevented it from making a great deal of mischief, will not pay a penny, and has not paid a penny, with the result that the organization came into financial jeopardy.
– Has France started to pay yet?
– There are other nations that have not paid. I did not say that Russia was the only one. I did say that Russia was prominent among those that had failed to pay. I will repeat what I said on my return from the United Nations. It was published in the press. I said that the problem before the United Nations at the moment is whether or not it will adopt an opinion of the International Court of Justice. The sixteenth session of the assembly asked the International Court of Justice a question of law, namely, whether it could spread the costs of the peace-keeping operations over the nations in the ordinary way as part of the expenses of the organization. That was purely a question of law and as a question of law it was answered in the affirmative, not unanimously, but by a large majority. The question now is: Should that decision be adopted and acted upon? The problem for the United Nations - perhaps I may detain honorable members for a moment to explain it, because it is of great significance to this organization - is this: To refuse to adopt this legal opinion would, of course, make the organization look singularly foolish, having asked the court for the opinion. But, in addition, it would mean that the. United Nations could scarcely go in for any more peace-keeping operations, because it would not be able to spread the cost over all the members. If it could not go in for peace-keeping operations, it would fail in one of its primary purposes. It cannot be supposed that if the Russians and, as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) says, France and other nations will not pull their weight, all the other nations which have been pulling their weight - some of them have been more than pulling their weight - will continue to do so. To refuse to adopt the opinion might very well lead to insolvency and, in any case, it would lead to ineffectiveness. On the other hand, if the United Nations adopted the opinion, it would mean, under the terms of the charter, that there would come a time when Russia was in default to the necessary extent and would lose its vote.
It is conceived, particularly by Russia, that that would be the end of the organization, that this would disrupt it. I think the enormity of Russia’s attitude should be borne in mind particularly by those who are prone to blame the West for everything and not to see what Russia does. Russia uses this organization as a great propaganda place, taking everything she can from it and giving as little as she can. What Russia did on this occasion was to say, right at the beginning of the general debate, “ Not a penny “. The purpose, of course, was to frighten any waverers who might otherwise have voted for the resolution and thus in due time put her in the position of being in default. Russia tried to frighten them from doing that, so that she would not have to face the awkward situation of being in default.
I might say, Mr. Chairman, that in a statement I made on behalf of this country in the United Nations I categorized that conduct as particularly discreditable to a great power, and I think it was. Those who have been so busy criticizing the West and taking the Communist line every time they draw breath should bear in mind what the Russians at this point of time are endeavouring to do to the United Nations.
That is part of what I said in answer to the pressmen’s inquiry on my return from the United Nations.
I have already taken too long, Mr. Chairman, but there are two things I should like to say before I sit down. One is in answer to the honorable member who said that youth organizations are often misled. I agree. Too many people are misled by Communist fronts when all they need do, if they have the least bit of doubt, is to ask questions. If they do, they will be given fair and truthful answers. Any youth organizations that are invited’ to attend these youth fronts, under whatever name, ought to be wary, and those who advise them and control them might very well seek proper information. Anything I can do in this respect I will willingly do, because there is nothing I detest more than the way in which communism fools people.
The last thing I want to say is that the United Nations has been engaged on development during the period of the 1960’s. In the statement I made on behalf of Australia, I said we welcomed this and, of course, would play our part. I agree with those who think that the fight against communism must be carried on at the level of social justice, standards of life and that sort of thing. Therefore, a development period is a very good thing, provided that the people we set out to help help themselves. Too often it is forgotten that there is an obligation on them to pull their weight. When I say that the levels on which to fight communism are the levels of standards of living, social justice and the conditions in which people live. Do not let me be taken as saying that in the meantime you can go home and put all your arms to rest, because if you do that the Communists will make jolly certain that before ever your aid can be effective they will have terrorized people and put them, as it were, under the economic sod. It is very important to remember that the only places from which people want to run, and even risk their lives in running away, are the places where Communists rule. The wall is a very good example. The wall, and a boy bleeding to death before Communist folk who were just jeering at him, represent communism.
Mr. CLYDE CAMERON (Hindmarsh) with the remarks made by the Minister before the conclusion of his rather interesting talk. I think he endeavoured in those few passing seconds to reach the high level that was reached by my colleague, the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), when he said so accurately that the only effective way to deal with communism is to remove the cause of communism - to find out what it is that makes people turn to communism and then, having found out what it is, remove the cause. What makes people turn to communism is the kind of tyranny and corruption that you see in Thailand, or the kind of tyranny, corruption, injustice and social inequality that exists in South Viet Nam, in South Korea and in other parts of the so-called free world, which are about as free as any part of the Communist world is. Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait and Muscat are glorious examples of the so-called free world, where certain privileged sections of the community are given complete freedom to exploit the under-privileged sections of the community. Those are the reasons why people turn to communism, and this is the first Minister in this Government who has got up and publicly declared that to be a truth. I congratulate him for that.
I was disappointed, however, that the Minister did not find time to refer to the position in New Guinea, where, for the first time, Australia finds herself with a common land frontier with an Asian country consisting of some 100,000,000 people. It is true that the Indonesian Government has given us an assurance that that country will not attack east New Guinea or do anything to affect our interests there by force of arms, by subversion or by any other means. That is very nice and we all appreciate it, but I know that the Minister would not be so foolish as to believe that the present government in Indonesia has the power or the authority to commit future governments as to courses of action in respect of New Guinea.
I am one who welcomes anything that is done by the Australian Government to create amicable relations with Indonesia, because, after all, the Indonesians are now our nearest neighbours, separated from us in New Guinea by only a land frontier. We have to get on with Indonesia; we have to sink our differences with Indonesia.
Anybody who does anything to help us to arrive at a better understanding with the people of Indonesia will do a service to Australia. With the Indonesians now in West New Guinea, we might as well face the fact that unless we can reach agreement with them, the future for Australia is not very rosy. There is absolutely no guarantee that in the future we will not see Indonesia ruled by a Communist government. How can there be a guarantee that Indonesia will not turn to communism? The probability is that she will turn to communism in the perhaps not far distant future. If she turns to communism she will receive ready acceptance and military help from the whole of the Communist bloc, particularly the countries in the Asian area. In the case of Communist China, that military help could include nuclear weapons.
Therefore, we have to try to reach amicable agreements with Indonesia on matters that are of common interest to us in New Guinea. One of the things, that is likely to cause disputes between two countries is the frontier that separates them. New Guinea is an island with mountain peaks rising as high as 15,000 and 16,000 feet in one part and inaccessible swamps in the other. The Australian part of the island is separated from the Indonesian part by a nice “straight line on a map. That imaginary line runs right through the centre of villages. Dozens of native villages straddle it. The line runs right through the kitchens of some of the native huts that comprise the villages that straddle the line. This line was not drawn by the indigenous population of the area. It was drawn by European colonial powers many decades ago when Great Britain, Germany and Holland decided to carve up the island among them without any regard at all for the local population.
– It created no problems under Dutch rule.
– I am simply saying that the present boundary line was drawn by European colonial powers which had absolutely no regard for the interests of the native peoples and did not consult them at all about the split-up of the island. We British, the Dutch and the Germans - who decided to carve up the island back in the last century - should be the last people to talk this cant and hypocrisy about consideration of the welfare, the desires and the requirements of the indigenous people.
If we are to avoid future disputes with Indonesia we must establish a physical boundary between West New Guinea and East New Guinea that is acceptable, in the first place, to the indigenous tribes, and now is the time for us to do that.
– Perhaps we should build a wall.
– What do you mean by that? I am trying to avoid war.
– A wall.
– The shortest possible way to a war is a straight line on a map. We ought to say to the Indonesians: “ Can we not get together now and agree upon a border between our two territories that has some physical relationship to the area, that can be identified easily and that can be enforced? “ .If we do not do that, in a few decades’ time we will have continual disputes and bickering between Australia and Indonesia, such as India and China are having at the moment.
We are living in a very rapidly changing world whose future will be determined not by force of arms and not by conventional weapons - at least, I hope it will not. I certainly hope that the future of the world will not be determined by conventional weapons, because if it is the Communist powers will win the battle, according to authorities in both the United States of America and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. If the future of the world is determined by nuclear weapons, neither side will win.
The future of the world will be determined by an ideological war, a battle in which all sides will be striving to capture the minds of men. The weapons in that war will not be nuclear bombs, tanks and the like; the weapons will be ideas. The winner will be the country that is able to use, as its weapons of attack or defence against other countries, the best ideas.
Unless we can put forward in New Guinea much better ideas than we have been able to put forward during the last 60 to 80 years we will not win the battle against the Indonesians. The fact that we have to stand up in this place and say that the New Guineans are not ready for selfgovernment in itself is a self-condemnation. We have been in Papua for more than 80 years and in the Territory of New Guinea since the end of the First World War; yet to-day we have to admit that in the area that we have been administering very few thousands of people can speak the English language; a few tens of thousands can speak pidgin; and very few at all can read or write. We have to admit that that position is due entirely to our own lack of interest in the affairs of these people. 1 am disgusted with the position in New Guinea as admitted by the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) in answers to questions that have just been handed to me. This is what I discover from the Minister’s replies to my questions: Although apprentices are trained in New Guinea there is no law or ordinance that compels employers to pay them the same rates as Europeans receive. According to the Minister, contract workers employed on plantations are not entitled to any annual leave or any prorata long-service leave, and they receive no extra pay for dependants. I asked the Minister whether any unemployment benefit is paid to New Guineans and Papuans who have adopted wage-earning as a stable way of life. The answer is, “ No “. I asked the Minister to tell me whether any of the plantation workers who had been employed as contract workers for two-year periods had ever been allowed to return to their families during the two-year periods. The answer is, “ No “.
These people are taken from the backblocks of New Guinea, from the Sepik River and places like that. In some cases they are gathered together by Government officers, in other cases they are recruited by private recruiters who, after bringing them in from the back-blocks - this is true - sell them to plantation owners for £20 a head. The plantation owners have them examined. After they are examined and found to be suitable for employment they are taken deliberately sometimes 200, 300 or 400 miles away from the villages in which they live in order that they may be removed from any possibility of being independent of their employers.
Employers in Madang go to New Ireland to get their plantation workers and employers in New Ireland go to Madang to get their plantation workers. The Madang employers know that it pays them not to employ local natives on their plantations, and the New Ireland employers know that there is great advantage in employing natives from far afield who have to sign on for two years and are not able to return to their villages.
What payment do these plantation workers receive? They receive a miserable pittance of 7s. 6d. a week and keep for themselves. They receive no keep for their wives and families, if they have wives and families. No extra payment is made to a family man. After they have worked on the plantation for twelve months they receive a wonderful increase of ls. 3d. a week. They are then paid 8s. 9d. a week and keep for themselves. The keep is estimated to amount to 27s. 6d. a week, including the full cost of all lap-laps, the full cost of food and the full cost of accommodation. These are not figments of my imagination; these are the figures that are contained in the official report by the Australian Government to the United Nations Trusteeship Council for the year 1960-61. Any member of the Parliament listening to me now can refer to that report if he believes that what I am saying is not accurate and is not a factual account of the position that exists in New Guinea.
We can see the racial discrimination that is allowed to continue in New Guinea. For instance, natives are not allowed to be served in hotel bars, but Chinese traders can go into the bars, buy liquor and take it outside to sell to the natives at black market prices. In Port Moresby I saw this happen. Europeans were served in butchers’ shops whilst natives were served through portholes in the sides of shops. While there I also found that European traders were charging the natives more for goods than they charged the Europeans, and in some cases they were actually convicted for this. There were instances of natives being refused the right to attend European cinemas. Is this the way we are to win the battle of ideas? Is this the way we are to convince the native people of New Guinea that we have a better way of life than have the Indonesians?
Do not forget that the Indonesians are going to make West New Guinea a show place. They are going to give to West New Guinea conditions they will not give to other parts of Indonesia, because they want to impress the world. West New Guinea is to be their shop window and the place to which they will point and say, “ This is what we have done for our part of New Guinea “.
Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– Mr. Chairman, the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron), is entitled to express his own views and to-night he has expressed his own views and not necessarily those of the Labour Party. Every member has the right to his own opinions, but I do not hold with many of the views that have been expressed by the honorable member for Hindmarsh. When he was in New Guinea he sought out the truth diligently because he wished to ascertain all the facts. I have been amazed to find the committee discussing Territory problems during the debate on the estimates for the Department of External Affairs. I did not think this would be allowed, but I hope that when the estimates for the Territories are before us the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck), will tell us precisely what is to be the Government’s policy on Territories in the future. I want to know what the Government proposes to do about a common roll in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. Every one wants to know that. We want to know what the Government proposes to do about education in that Territory, about a university at Port Moresby, and lots of other things which affect our relationship with the people of New Guinea and their future well-being.
I do not think the people of Papua and New Guinea want us to leave that area. I am certain they do not, and I think it will be a bad day for them if we do leave. That does not mean that we should not help them. It does not mean that the Government should not help the Australian Council of Trade Unions to send delegations to that area, or that we should not help Dr. Reuben Taureka and others who want to establish an indigenous trade union movement to improve working conditions there. There is a lot to be done in New Guinea. The honorable member for Hindmarsh has been rather extravagant in his criticism. I do not agree that nothing has been done in the Territory in the last 60 years. I was a member of the Government which at least started to effect some improvements there in the post-war years and that work has been added to since then. We may not have done all that we should have done, but we could do a lot more than we have done.
This is a debate on the estimates for the Department of External Affairs and in my humble view it should have been confined to external affairs. We can talk about territories when we come to that part in the Estimates. Broadly, we, as a party, believe in a strong Department of External Affairs. The former Minister for External Affairs, now Lord Casey, takes the credit for having built up the Department of External Affairs. I suppose he is entitled to some credit but, in our day as a government, we built up the Department of External Affairs from a very small department into a very big one. Not very long before Labour came to office the Department of External Affairs was merely a sub-branch of the Prime Minister’s Department. The first secretary of the Department of External Affairs, the late Colonel Hodgson, was, in the first instance, an officer of the Prime Minister’s Department.
We want Australia to be represented properly and well in all the important parts of the world where our voice ought to be raised, and where we can exercise an influence for peace and goodwill, and particularly in the cause of self-determination. Some people say that they like the agreement on West New Guinea. I would have been much better pleased if the indigenous people of Dutch New Guinea had been given the right of self-determination before occupation of their country by Indonesia rather than nine years later, because I am not so sure that they will have the right of self-determination given to them in 1970 or thereabout. However, I do not want to raise that question now, because I think it ought to be the subject of a separate debate. We can only get a desultory discussion when debating the Estimates. I ask the Minister for External Affairs, when the debate on the Estimates is over, to make a statement on the West New Guinea situation and to give us all the relevant documents. Let the whole chamber debate those documents and the Minister’s statement for a given period. Let all parties decide their attitudes so that the country may know precisely what the parties represented in this Parliament think of the Government’s part in the handling of a problem which, in my view, has not been settled, but only postponed.
Sir GARFIELD BARWICK (Parramatta -Attorney-General and Minister for External Affairs [10.46]. - Mr. Chairman, I think I should say, in answer to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), that I made a statement such as he mentioned and opportunity was given for a debate on it. I supplied the relevant documents. No material was denied to the House, but the debate closed and members opposite did not take the opportunity to voice their opinions at all. I feel that it is appropriate that I should record that fact at this time. I will take in hand what the Leader of the Opposition suggests and will in due course lay on the table of the House the statement I made in the United Nations in explaining Australia’s vote on the actual agreement between Indonesia and the Netherlands. I agree that one would not have expected a debate on Territories at this stage of the Estimates discussion, but, having regard to what has been said, I would like to take the opportunity quickly to say this: I do not want to enter into material which is really within the province of my colleague, the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck), but I would like to say two things to the member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron). The first is that I do not know that any good Australian would want to glory in the sort of assertions that he makes. In preparing its most recent report - Sir Hugh Foot’s report - the United Nations Trusteeship Council had all the material before it and I am sure Australians have no reason to be ashamed of what Sir Hugh Foot said about them in their treatment of the indigenous people or about our actions in this place. Indeed, Sir Hugh’s remarks were highly commendatory.
– I think you are quite right.
– The other thing that I want to say to the member for Hindmarsh and to this chamber is that the honorable member might very well think of the proposition that the people of this Territory will some day have to maintain for themselves the standards that we establish there. It is very important that we should have some regard for the level of their economy, as it will ultimately turn out. We should not imagine that we would do them a kindness if we tried to lift their levels up to what is thought to be appropriate on the mainland of Australia, because they could never maintain those levels for themselves. That is an important consideration which I think the member for Hindmarsh has overlooked.
– I want just to say to the committee that there has been no debate on Territories at this stage of the Estimates. The debate has been on external affairs and the remarks by the honorable member for Hindmarsh were made in relation to the agreement between Indonesia and the Netherlands and Australia’s attitude to that agreement.
.- I had intended only to address a few remarks to that section of the Estimates relating to the Colombo Plan, but the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) has warned this Parliament and the nation of the very grave dangers which may confront us in the future as the result of the agreement that has been finalized between the United Nations Organization and Indonesia, under which Indonesia is given control of West New Guinea. I am afraid I cannot join with my colleague, the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren), in congratulating the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) on his handling of the Indonesian problem. I think it could have been settled with far better advantage to Australia if the Menzies Government had been on the job years before the situation became serious.
Indonesia has control of West New Guinea not because she has any real right to it, but because she has the world frightened of her. Certainly Australia is frightened of her. Nobody wanted another conflict, whether it was confined to New Guinea or whether it was conducted on a broader scale; and the easy way out had to be taken because the Menzies Government did not act speedily enough years ago to bring to the attention of the United Nations Organization the potential danger to Australia. I believe, too, that the Menzies Government failed to impress upon the United Kingdom Government the future danger to Australia in connexion with this problem, because, as the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) pointed out a few moments ago, the chance for the people of that country to govern themselves has perhaps gone. I believe, too, that the Menzies Government failed to impress upon the United States Government the danger to Australia; and certainly the United Kingdom Government would not appreciate it because it is a long way from our shores.
The honorable member for Hindmarsh says he believes Indonesia will make a show place of this area. I hope it does, but I have grave doubts about its ability to do so, because I believe that the Indonesians could have set a better example in their own country. Although I have never been to Indonesia I have talked with several of my colleagues who have been there, and from those discussions I am convinced that the Indonesians have a job ahead of them in their own country. I believe, as the honorable member says, that a Communist government could well obtain control there before very long. It could well be that the base of a Communist country could be established there in the very near future, and this would constitute a very grave threat to this country. It might well be, too, that the Indonesian people will decide that they have rights in our section of New Guinea and might decide even to come here to liberate the aborigines of this country. Certainly, we have got to get along with these people, but at the same time it is essential that we appreciate the problems and dangers that will confront us in the future.
I said that I wanted to speak about the Colombo Plan. I commend the Government for what it has done under the Colombo Plan. I think Australia has played its part well. We admit that many mistakes were made in the early stages when we were putting too much money into capital aid instead of technical aid. But we have realized such a mistake and have taken appropriate action. I believe that the time has arrived for a review of the administration of the Colombo Plan. It never ceases to amaze me that after discussing the Colombo Plan during the debate on the estimates for the Department of External Affairs, we are required to discuss the training of Asians when dealing with the estimates for the Prime Minister’s Department because the training of Colombo Plan students is administered by the Public Service Board. I believe that that section of the Public Service Board connected with the Colombo Plan should come under the direct control of the Department of External Affairs. I hope that we will see a positive step taken in this direction in the near future. I do not know whether either the Minister, the department or the officers of the Public Service Board are happy with the present arrangement; but I feel that some inquiry should be made to ascertain whether it would be more desirable for that section of the Public Service Board to be placed under the control of the Department of External Affairs.
I feel, too, that better results would accrue from the training of Asian students if we selected from those countries that we wish to assist persons who could be more readily trained here to a standard that would enable them to go back to their own countries as either trade instructors or instructors in administration. Let us bring to Australia as many selected students as possible, train them properly, and then send them back to their own country accompanied by Australian officers who could stay with them until they established themselves as instructors. Under the present system, many of these students are finding it difficult to find a proper niche in their own country. We should forget the mistakes we made in the past and think only of the successes we have achieved. It is essential that we lift the standard of living of the people of Asia. In my view, that is the most important task ahead of us and I believe that the best way of achieving this is to train the Asians to do the job themselves and in that way avoid the position which arises now when many of them drift to the United Kingdom or some other country because they cannot find positions in their own country.
My colleague, the honorable member for Evans (Mr. Monaghan) suggested an exchange of visits by parliamentarians. That is an excellent suggestion, but I should like to see trade union leaders and working class people brought to this country so that they might see just what we have to offer and just how far we have progressed in our way of life. That would be far more effective than bringing visitors here to see Parliament House, to meet officers of the various departments and to go on tours round the country side. I suggest that these people should be taken into the homes of the workers of this country because that would be by far the best way of demonstrating to them that our way of life is far superior to that of other parts of the world.
China was mentioned earlier. Of course the Labour Party advocates the recognition of red China. We are trading with red China and the regime of that country is going to endure. We must also give some attention to Formosa. We cannot recognize red China and forget Formosa, and I do not think the Labour Party has ever suggested that we should do that. The people on the island of Formosa are entitled to live the way they want tolive. It is their right, just as it should be the right of people anywhere, to decide for themselves how they want to live; and the rest of the world should let them live in that way. Having regard to the dangers that we see confronting us, and particularly the dangers that could arise from the Indonesian situation, as pointed out by the honorable member for Hindmarsh, I hope the Minister will continue to do his best to maintain and build up our good relationships with the United States of America.
I am not one who sees the United States of America as a power that is trying to bring about war. I well remember the days of the last war, and I know that many of us would not be here had it not been for the assistance given by the United States. Certainly that country has made mistakes. It has made plenty of mistakes. It makes mistakes because it is doing something. I hope we will continue to be friendly with the United States, because if the dangers that were mentioned by the honorable member for Hindmarsh actually develop we will not be able to look to the United Kingdom. That country will have its hands full. It is now moving into a new era and is concerned with its entry into the European Common Market. It is with the United States of America that we will want closer affinity. With all its faults, I believe that country stands for world peace, and I believe that we can march forward with it in a campaign for world peace, being sincere in our efforts. If all countries were as sincere as is the United States of America, I believe that lasting peace would be possible.
Motion (by Mr. Adermann) put -
That the question be now put.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. P. E. Lucock.)
Majority . . . . 1
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Motion (by Mr. Adermann) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.- I wish to follow up a matter that was raised in this Parliament a few weeks ago by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser). The honorable member referred to the sale of television sets by the Goodwin organization. I notice that since the honorable member made his remarks in this Parliament certain challenges have been issued by this firm with regard to its methods of trading. The honorable member can answer those challenges for himself, and no doubt he has proof of his allegations. However, after he made his speech I received a letter from a person in my constituency with regard to this firm. The letter stated, in part -
I should like to draw your attention to what I consider to be a grave injustice and trust that, as the Labour member for this district, you will see that attention is given to the matter.
My letter concerns an old aged couple, the husband being semi-bedridden and unable to move from the house. Their only source of pleasure and relaxation is the television set.
Now they had an old set but decided to buy a new one so they approached Goodwins . . .
This firm agreed to take their set inpart exchange for a new one. The retail price of the new set was £198 9s. but the old couple . . . now find that they have to pay Goodwins £386. Also at the time of purchase Goodwins had advertised in their window an electric mixer which would be given free to any one purchasing one of the following articles, T.V., fridge, or washing machine. When . . . asked for her mixer she was informed that she hadn’t paid enough in cash for her T.V. to have one. This I consider to be outright fraud.
This firm (Goodwins)have recently been censured by the Federal Government for their methods of trading and charges and I hope that you will be able to see these old folk and hear their story first-hand, and perhaps then another complaint could be made by you to the Federal Government. It is outrageous that Goodwins should be able to charge nearly 200 per cent on the original cost of the T.V.
I took the trouble to call on these people. I have with me a copy of the agreement signed by them, which would appear to me to be almost identical with that produced by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro a short time ago. This agreement shows the total cash price of the set as £264, less deposit of £26, leaving due an amount of £238. On that amount the company has charged £122 in interest, which, conservatively, works out at a rate of 10 per cent. flat. This, as you know, Sir, is a much higher rate when calculated on the reducing balance. The grand total is £386 for a set costing £238 net in cash.
In addition, service is not given at the week-ends, but only during the week. The company transferred this account to a firm which is registered in Canberra - Television and General Finance Company (Australia) Limited, 16 Barker-street, Griffith, Canberra. In effect, this means that if anything happens there are certain difficulties in relation to law which will involve considerable expense for the people concerned.
I have taken the trouble to check the newspapers of that time in which Goodwins advertised. I find that whilst they did not advertise in the press that an electric mixer would be given free of charge, a day or so before the agreement was signed an advertisement in the Sydney “Sun” and the “Daily Mirror” read -
Goodwins amazing New Year offer! Have your choice absolutely free! Not one penny extra to pay! Buy a T.V. set, automatic washer, or de-luxe refrigerator and take your pick of any one of the above absolutely free.
Illustrated above were an American air cooler, a lawn mower and a stereophonic record player. That means that Goodwins were advertising that one of those items would be given free. I presume that, in line with what was said to this old couple, if a person who went along did not pay enough cash the company would dodge out of the undertaking accordingly. The point I make is this: This false advertising should be stopped and the Government should take appropriate action. The information that I have given substantiates the charges made about this company by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro.
On the overall position, I think that the company is liable because it has not lived up to the obligation undertaken in the advertisement. It is misleading the people. These television finance companies - and this one in particular - are outright robbers, as exemplified by the rate of interest incorporated in their agreements. The Government, and the Treasurer in particular, cannot justify, in this day and age, the exorbitant rates of interest being charged by these companies. The effect is that the companies are exploiting all sections of the community. In this case an old, invalid couple is involved. As I said, they must have a television set because it brings the only brightness into their lives. This indicates that the company put it over them and was even so contemptible as not to give them what was, I suppose, a very cheap additional item which had been promised, simply because the value of the set traded in was not sufficient. I submit the case to the Treasurer and the Government for consideration.
A further investigation should be made into this matter. The Government should take appropriate action in the fields of both advertising and interest. Interest rates are out of all proportion and are unreasonable. These people are gravely concerned. Their names are withheld because they do not know what the company might do in their case, although I understand that the instalments have been paid. These are matters that require ventilation and, in accordance with the request made to me by this constituent, I submit them to the Parliament. If Goodwins arc interested, I would be quite pleased, naturally, to show them the agreement, which verifies in every way the statement made in this Parliament by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro. I hope that the Government will heed that statement and consider the statement that I have made, in justice to these people and, no doubt, to countless thousands of others who are falling for this type of advertising propaganda and are being had by companies which should know better and be more reputable.
.- I wish to place before the House particulars of a situation which a large number of people in my electorate regard with mounting concern. I would say, Sir, that it is a situation which calls for urgent investigation. Indeed, if the allegations now being made are proved, then, Sir, it is a matter of tragedy for millions. Members should be aware that reputable Jewish organizations throughout the world believe that the Soviet Union is carrying on a determined, Kremlin-directed campaign to persecute the 3,000,000 Jews in Russia and to wipe out the Jewish culture in the country. It is stated reliably that the Jewish minority in Russia is denied effective freedom of worship, that the Jewish nation is subjected to an organized campaign of public abuse, and that Jews as individuals are denied basic human rights. It is stated also that Jewish community leaders are singled out and accused of trumped-up economic crimes, this action providing the Soviet State with convenient scapegoats, while at the same time further weakening the will of the Jewish community to resist. This cynical programme of repression appears to be aimed largely at Jewish thought and culture. Zionism is equated with American imperialism. It seems fairly clear that Russian Jews are being deliberately forced to abandon the faith of their fathers and the teaching of their people. The price of survival, it seems, is that the Russian Jew must cease to be a Jew.
Before I make my particular request to the Government regarding this matter, I must say that I am aware that the honorable member for Phillip (Mr. Einfeld) is more qualified than I to raise this matter. He is, as honorable members probably know, Australian president of the Jewish Board of Deputies, a body which is very alarmed indeed over the situation in Russia
I apologize, therefore, for taking up a cause which may well have been regarded as his, but I must add that many of my electors are surprised1 and concerned that he has not already brought this matter before the Parliament.
As might be expected in this situation, there has been a very strong campaign by the international Communist Party to prevent this situation from coming to public notice. Here in Australia the red-lining Jewish Council to Combat Fascism and Anti-semitism, a body which was expelled from official Jewish association some ten years ago, has joined with the local Communists in attempting to rubbish these grave charges brought by official Jewry.
To assure myself of good grounds to bring this matter before the House, I have examined a great deal of material. Documented statements, placed in my hands by prominent members of my electorate, tell of specific arrests and condemnations of named Jewish community leaders, and lay bare the grim realities of Soviet action towards the Jews. There ar.e specific instances of crude incitement of antisemitism. As an example, the newspaper “ Daghestan Kommunist”, a local journal of a predominantly Moslem province in Russia, finds space in its columns for an article stating that Jews believe that the drinking of Moslem blood is a mitzah, and that Jews buy Moslem blood to put it in a tank of water and sell it. This is the barbarous, dangerous, rabble-rousing of the Middle Ages. In to-day’s Russia, the centres of Jewish thought and the channels of Yiddish culture have been closed. There is no Yiddish press, and the Communist State is clearly concerned to obliterate any sentiment for a Jewish nation or a Hebrew religion.
As against such charges along these lines, I have also seen a number of statements by Australian Communists and members of the Australian Labour Party denying that any such situation exists. The red line is the sweeping assertion that all Jews in Soviet Russia are happy and honoured, and that they are in the forefront of the Communist Party’s ranks and of the Soviet intelligentsia. Any suggestion that Russian Jews are not living in perfect cultural freedom is merely United States capitalist pro paganda invented to enlist support for the Wall-street bloc to enslave the world. For all the vehemence of the Communist statements, however, there is a marked reluctance to give a direct and reasoned answer to the charges against Russia. Mere invective, it seems to me, is not an answer. I believe there is a case to answer and the Soviet should be brought before the bar of public opinion for a considered judgment.
Responsible Jewish organizations believe that there has been a worsening in the plight of the Russian Jews in the past year and that it is now urgent that some attempt be made to help them. This deteriorating situation is believed to stem from the problem facing the Communist State in finding a diversion from economic failures on many fronts. I can see only too clearly how convenient and how useful some wellorganized Jew-baiting must be to them.
I am sure that the honorable member for Phillip will agree with me that there is no point in engaging in this country in any debate on the existence or otherwise of Russian anti-semitism. I therefore invite the honorable member to join with me in asking the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) to examine the material I have brought forward and any other to which he may obtain access in order to ascertain whether there is any way in which this matter may effectively be brought before the United Nations or before one of its organs in the hope that a solution may be found to put an end to this inhuman, uncivilized and indeed barbaric treatment of human beings because of their religious faith. Such an action by the Government would be a clear indication that Australia at least recognizes the historic right of Jewish communities to defend their culture.
I believe also that a reference to a United Nations body is a logical step. An inquiry of this nature is futile when it is based on a narrow vision. I suggest that there should be a search for truth in this affair. It should be placed in respected hands and I believe it should be placed in the hands of the United Nations. The findings would then be respected. But if the United Nations Organization is not willing to make a search for truth its pronouncements concerning self-determination cannot be taken seriously. I hope that the Minister for External Affairs will give this matter his serious and urgent consideration.
.- I am very grateful to the honorable member for Isaacs (Mr. Haworth) for having mentioned this very urgent and important matter in the House. 1 welcome the opportunity to make a contribution to the debate. It is not correct to suggest that this matter has not been mentioned in the House recently. Not very long ago the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) raised the’ matter and asked the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) whether he would issue a white paper - 1 think that was the description given by the honorable member for Mackellar - on what he then suggested was some practical manifestation of anti-semitism in the Soviet Union. If I recollect correctly, the Minister promised to consider the matter; but, as often happens in matters of this sort, that is the last we have heard about it in this Parliament. lt is a fact that for some considerable time members of the Jewish faith in Russia have suffered very serious discriminatory treatment on various levels. There have, of course, been many purges over the last ten, fifteen or twenty years in Russia of various aspects of Jewish life. I think every one will recall the purge of doctors that occurred in the Stalin era. When Khrushchev came to power he said that this was not really a serious matter. However, he then attacked Stalin for having levelled the accusations at the doctors and for having put many of them to death.
There are approximately 2,500,000 members of the Jewish faith at present in the Soviet Union. They live as a minority because the Soviet Union refuses to regard them generally as citizens of the Soviet. They are treated as a racial and national minority. There are still some synagogues in Russia. In Moscow, as far as I am aware, there are now only three synagogues where previously there were 30 or 40. In many other parts of Russia synagogues have been closed. People have been denied the right to practice their religion or observe the ritual of their faith. For instance, they have been denied the right at passover to eat the special dietary bread that Jews throughout the world eat, and they are not allowed to act as Jews everywhere else act. In other non-Jewish communities Jews are allowed the right to practice their faith and to participate in Jewish festivals and Jewish ritual.
These are difficult matters. But the most serious aspect mentioned by the honorable member for Isaacs is, I believe, the lack of communication between Jews in one community and another or one city and another. Jews are, for example, denied the right to have day schools or after-school classes in which the young people can be taught the precepts of their religion and the type of life that their forefathers have lived for centuries. They are not entitled to print prayer books to be used in following their religious beliefs. They are not allowed to print Jewish literature, which has a tradition extending over many centuries. Because of the situation in which these people find themselves they are not permitted to follow the traditions of the faith that has held them together despite many difficulties, the fires of persecution and many attacks “over the centuries in various civilizations.
Within the last few months many Jews in Russia have been arrested for various offences. I do not preach to-night, and never in my official position as president of the Jewish community of Australia have I preached that, because a man is of the Jewish faith he should not be punished for a crime of which he is guilty. He should be punished, as should, any citizen of any faith be punished for any crime he has committed. But it is a fact that in recent months many arrests have been made in Russia. For example, of 40 persons arrested for certain economic offences 28 were Jews. These 28 were sentenced to death for what would be considered a crime of not very serious moment in Western countries. Yet, I repeat, 28 of the 40, being Jews, were sentenced to death. I think that three of the others were also sentenced to death.
There is no doubt whatsoever, as the honorable member for Isaacs properly said, that there is much discrimination in the
Soviet Union. In the free world we are accustomed to exercise the right of exit. It people do not like the country in which they live they may leave it to live in some other country. Israel is willing to accept any Jew from any country without reservation, whatever his health or economic condition may be. There are millions of Jews in Russia suffering from this terrible discrimination, but they are not allowed to leave the country and go to Israel or to any other country that is willing to receive them.
I again express my gratitude to the honorable member for Isaacs for raising this important topic. We who live in the free world should consider the plight of people, wherever they are and whatever their faith may be, who are suffering from discrimination in this year 1962. I think that every member of this House and every citizen of Australia believes in the right of freedom of worship, whatever the faith may be. When people living in a country are denied freedom of worship every one ought to say to that country, “ Open the doors andlet these people go to countries that will receive them so that they may settle there and live in freedom and peace “. Though there may be some countries that to-day, for security reasons, would not be willing to receive people from Russia, a tiny and most heroic little country in the Middle East, Israel - a real bastion of democracy - is willing to receive these people. I believe that Australia and all the other members of the United Nations should raise their voices and say to Russia, “ If you are not willing to give these people freedom of worship without discrimination then open your doors and let them go to countries of freedom, peace and liberty “. So I support the request of the honorable member for Isaacs. I hope that the Minister for External Affairs in response to the request of the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) will issue a paper so that the matter can be discussed in the House and the general opinion of the members of this Parliament will be known. I hope that Australia will raise its voice in the United Nations on this matter and on any other matter that concerns the peace and happiness of the citizens in any part of the world.
– I rise in support of what has been said by the honorable member for Isaacs (Mr. Haworth) and the honorable member for Phillip (Mr. Einfeld). I was particularly moved by the eloquence of the plea made by the honorable member for Phillip and find myself entirely in concurrence with the views he has put forward. After many thousands of years, we hear once again the plea, “ Let my people go “. Unfortunately, as the honorable member for Phillip has said, there is good evidence of what is happening in the Soviet Union on the front of anti-semitism. I have here a copy of the “ Australian Jewish Herald “ of 10th August last in which Mr. Ashkanasy, Q.C., a man well known to honorable members opposite, said this -
We would be betraying our duty to our fellow Jews if we did not raise our voices and speak out against the destruction of our brethren in the Soviet Union.
I tell you with all solemnity that if there is a risk that the position of Jews in the Soviet Union will deteriorate as a result of our protest, then that is a risk we must take.
It is fairly obvious now that the disease of anti-semitism in the Soviet Union is in the early stages. That is quite right. It has gone through phases. The present position is an early stage of a new phase of antisemitism. We cannot ignore these things any more than we could ignore them in Nazi Germany. Protests have been voiced on both sides of this House. It is a great thing and a good thing that this is now a bi-partisan protest coming from both sides of the Parliament. It should have weight with the Government and induce the Government to raise its voice on this matter in the proper places in the councils of the world.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 11.33 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
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. No data is available which would enable any useful answer to be given.
These were young people under the age of 21 years who. at the time of registering for employment with the Commonwealth Employment Service, had not ceased full time education for more than three months and were recorded as unplaced at 31st August. The figures cover school leavers, leaving educational establishments atlate as August of this year. 4. It is impracticable to provide an answer.
n asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows: -
The positions of technician-in-training, junior postal officer and lineman-in-training in Queensland to which the honorable member referred were abolished earlier this year in the following circumstances. Some years ago a planned recruitment drive for technicians-in-training was initiated with the dual purpose of improving the qualified content of the work force and providing sufficient technicians to meet developments in the department’s telecommunications network. In Queensland, the number of technicians-in-training was increased from 473 in 1956 to 622, 707 and 778 in the following three years. By 1960 it was obvious that these measures had had the desired effect and in subsequent years it has been possible and practicable to taper off the trainee intake. During the years 1960, 1961 and 1962 the number of trainees has been progressively reduced, the total number of trainees employed in each of those years being 680, 589 and 497 respectively. As these trainees undergo a five year training period before being advanced as qualified technicians, it will be seen that many of the positions provided in 1957-59 to meet peak recruitment conditions will be excess to requirements in the years 1962- 1964 and must be abolished accordingly. Techniciansintraining will, of course, continue to be recruited annually to the extent necessary to cover development and to offset normal staff wastage. In the case of junior postal officers, over recent years there has been a slight decline in Queensland requirements and earlier this year opportunity was taken to reduce the number of created positions to more closely match the actual staff employed. The small reduction in junior postal officer requirements has generally followed on the employment of additional postal officers/ postmen with the expansion of telephone activities and night switching duties at main country exchanges justifying employment of postal officers on an “ awake “ basis rather than junior postal officers under “ sleeping “ conditions. This changing pattern of employment as between junior postal officers on one hand and postal officers/ postmen on the other, is reflected in the following comparative figures showing the approved establishment in these designations in Queensland: - 30th June, 1959 - 462 junior postal officers, 1,022 postal officers/ postmen 30th June, 1962 - 430 junior postal officers, 1,066 postal officer/ postmen
Consequently, while the number of junior postal officers employed may remain static or exhibit a slight downward trend in the immediate future, it is expected that to a somewhat similar extent there will be increases in postal officer employment. The’ recruitment of linemen-in-training in Queensland is governed by a number of factors, and the abolition of 47 positions in this designation must be viewed in conjunction with changes in the lineman area. With the introduction of new techniques the full replacement of normal staff wastage has not been found necessary and this has resulted in a slight decline in lines staff. In 1956, an examination for linemen was held in Queensland and this resulted in 576 persons being appointed from outside the Service during 1956 and 1957. A further examination was held in November, 1961, for appointment as lineman at country centres. Twenty-seven persons qualified at this examination and a number have already been placed at selected centres. With direct appointments to positions of lineman, the need for recruiting trainees has diminished and this, combined with other factors mentioned above, has led to the abolition of a number of positions of lineman-in-training which are not required at this stage. There has, however, been no contraction in the department’s works programme in Queensland as evidenced in the capital works expenditure in that State over the past three financial years which rose from £3,767,000 in 1959-60 to £3,995,000 in 1960-61 and to £4,277,000 in 1961-62.
n asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
How many members in each of the Services (a) were allotted married quarters in the last financial year and (b) were waiting for married quarters at the 30th June last?
– The answer to the honorable members question is as follows: -
s asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
m asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. The total number of students and the number of new students enrolled either fulltime or part-time at each Australian university in 1961 and 1962 were-
3: The number of Commonwealth scholars enrolled in the first year of their courses at each university in 1961 and 1962 were -
n asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1. (a) No. (b) No. (c) Yes. (d) No.
n asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
n asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The reply to the honorable member’s questions is as follows: -
No. Permissible occupations for female workers are prescribed in section 74 of the Native Employment Ordinance 1958-1961 and do not include employment in mining, quarrying or building construction work. Employment of female workers in heavy labour is prohibited by section 76.
n asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The replies to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
n asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1. (a) 275. (b) 58. (c) 69. (d) 70. (e) 4. The majority of these reports upon investigation were found to be unfounded or the result of misunderstanding by workers and employers as to entitlements. 2. (a) 761. (b) Nil.
n asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The reply to the honorable member’s questions is as follows: -
The question seeks an expression of legal opinion.
n asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The replies to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
Question 2 (a)-(d). or with the United Nations Visiting Mission. That mission made extensive contact with New Guineans and no reported case in which any of them raised the issue is known.
n asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
Mr. Hasluck: The replies to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
n asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
Is any unemployment benefit paid during periods of unemployment to Papuans and New Guineans who have adopted wage-earning as a stable way of life?
n asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
n asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
How many indigenous residents of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea are employed as school teachers at (a) primary and (b) secondary level?
n asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
What has been the value of export trade to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea during the past ten trade years?
Australian Conference Association.
The Catholic Mission of the Holy Ghost.
Capuchin Friars Minor Mission.
Burns Philp (New Guinea) Limited.
The B.N.G. Trading Company Limited.
The Port Moresby Freezing Company
Choiseul Plantations Limited. New Guinea Goldfields Limited.
Australasian Petroleum Company Proprietary
Roman Catholic Mission (Samarai Vicariate). Catholic Mission of the Holy Trinity (Mt.
The Mission of the Divine Word (Central
New Guinea) Property Trust.
New Hanover Plantations Limited.
Robinson River Plantations Limited.
New Britain PlantaUons Limited.
New Guinea Plantations Limited.
New Ireland Plantations Limited. New Britain Corporation Limited. Kulon Plantations Limited.
– The reply to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
– The replies to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
– The reply to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
– The reply to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
Exports from Papua and New Guinea are -
n asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
How many of the indigenous inhabitants of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea are qualified as (a) solicitors and (b) barristers, and how many have been appointed (c) magistrates and (d) judges?
– The reply to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
n asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
How many (a) European and (b) New Guinean or Papuan workers were (i) killed, (ii) permanently and partially incapacitated and (iii) permanently and totally incapacitated during the course of their employment in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea in each of the past five years?
– The reply to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
The total killed for the five year period (215) includes - Drown:d, 59; snake bite, 12; taken by crocodiles, 3.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 3 October 1962, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1962/19621003_reps_24_hor36/>.