24th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr, SPEAKER (Hon. Sir John McLeay) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to inform the House that three members of the United Kingdom branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, who are visiting Australia as an official delegation from that branch, are at present in the gallery of the House. The delegates are - The Right Honorable Dame Patricia Hornsby-Smith, D.B.E., M.P., leader of the delegation; Bryant Godman Irvine, Esquire, M.P.; and Ellis Smith, Esquire, M.P. On behalf of the House and the Commonwealth of Australia branch of the association, I extend to them a very cordial welcome.
– I ask the Minister for Defence a question. In its 6.45 p.m. news service last night the Canberra television station announced that submarines had been sighed off Port Stephens, New South Wales. Has the Minister any information regarding the sighting of those submarines? Have other submarines been sighted off the Queensland coast? If the Minister has no knowledge of these sightings, will he make inquiries and furnish a report te the House?
– I think I should point out that a submarine is merely a vessel and is entitled to go to sea in the same way as any other vessel. If the honorable member is implying that submarines have been sighted inside Australian territorial waters, I assure him that this is not the case. I am aware that submarines have been sighted off the Australian continent, where they have a perfect right to be. We have knowledge of their movements.
– I ask a question of the Minister for External Affairs. Did the twelve members of the Brazzaville group of African nations in the
United Nations abstain from voting on the Netherlands-Indonesia agreement on West New Guinea on the ground that they could not support an agreement under which 700,000 people will be transferred from one power to another by a bi-lateral treaty concerning which the principal party involved - the Papuan people- -WA / not consulted in advance? If so, did they receive any support on this principle from the Australian delegation?
Brazzaville group did abstain for that reason, amongst a number of other reasons, and Australia supported the making of an agreement.
– Has the
Minister for Shipping and Transport or officers of his department or some person associated with the Minister or his department prepared a document on shipping as it affects Australia? Is the intention behind this document merely to provide a line of argument to be put forward by the Government against Australia’s procuring its own shipping line? Would it be true to say that the document is being, or will be, circulated only amongst Government supporters as a means of supplying’ information designed to counter the Opposition’s policy of procuring Australia’s own shipping line?
– My department is always looking into information concerning Australian shipping, and the questions that have been asked by the Opposition undoubtedly have led to a greater activity of that kind. The only information being obtained is wholly factual. I believe that this information will refute Opposition claims, which are greatly exaggerated, and which tend to give the public a wrong impression of Australian shipping. I sha-11 provide members of the Opposition with any facts that they require on this subject, just as I have arranged for information to be supplied to honorable members on my side of the House.
– Is the Minister for Labour and National Service aware that during the height of unemployment in
Canada the Government, recognizing the ever-increasing need for skilled workers, introduced .a retraining scheme for the unemployed? Is the Minister aware that of those ‘who underwent retraining 80 per cent, gained immediate re-employment? ;Is it 3 fact that in certain Australian industries there, is at present a shortage of skilled labour and that skilled labour could ! become even more scarce? Does the Minister believe that the Canadian scheme is not only worthy of study, but that it could be of advantage to Australia? Has the Minister been acquainted with the suggestion by the Leader of the Opposition in the Tasmanian Parliament that leaders of industry, both employers and employees, should consider this scheme on a national level?
– The answer to the first question asked by the honorable member is this: My department and I have had our attention directed to the Canadian scheme for the retraining of working men. This has received close consideration. The honorable gentleman will know that we formerly had what was known as the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme, which covered much the same ground as the Canadian scheme. As to the other questions of the honorable gentleman, I think I should state this as a generalization: For the last six months or more the Department of Labour and National Service has been closely engaged in considering the problem, not only of apprenticeship training, but also of technical training. One of the schemes that we must and will consider is for the retraining of those who might have lost their jobs because demand has changed. More particularly, we shall have to consider the unskilled people who now bulk so largely in the unemployment figures and who have to receive technical training in this technological age. I can assure the honorable gentleman that the problem he has mentioned is under active consideration and discussion, and is one of the first problems that we shall have to handle. As to the honorable member’s last question, I have not seen the recommendations of the Leader of the Opposition in Tasmania. I shall obtain a copy of them, and if there is any useful comment that I can make to the honorable gentleman I will make it.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Territories. Is the statement correct that the Minister directed that the Legislative Council for Papua and New Guinea appoint a select committee to inquire into and recommend constitutional changes to that body and that the committee appointed recommended that there should be a majority-elected council made up chiefly of representatives of the indigenous people? In view of the likely acceptance of that recommendation, and in view of the fact that full political rights in the federal field have recently been granted to all Australian aborigines, will the Minister set up an all-party select committee of this Parliament to inquire whether the citizens of the Northern Territory are yet considered responsible and intelligent enough to have their political status raised to the level of the indigenous people of New Guinea, the aboriginal people of the States of Australia, naturalized new Australians and other citizens of the Commonwealth? On the other hand, if the Minister agrees that in view of the New Guinea report such a procedure would now be unnecessary, will he take steps immediately to bring the Northern Territory into line with New Guinea in accordance with the terms of the select committee’s recommendation?
– The main part of the honorable member’s question deals with questions of policy, but I should like to set him right on one point. No direction was given by me to the Legislative Council for Papua and New Guinea, nor is it customary to give directions to the Legislative Council for the Northern Territory. In setting up the select committee the Legislative Council for Papua and New Guinea was master of its own business, and the report of that committee goes in the first instance to the Legislative Council. In due course, if the Legislative Council so decides, it will come to the Government.
– My question is directed to the Minister for External Affairs. In view of the genuine concern that traffic between Indonesia and West New Guinea may lead to the introduction of diseases - such as foot and mouth disease to the island of New Guinea, and from there to Australia, can the Minister assure the House that adequate quarantine precautions are possible and will be applied by the representatives of the United Nations at present administering West New Guinea? Further, what assistance can Australia offer to the administering authority in this matter?
Government has been very concerned about quarantine in relation to animal and other diseases in West New Guinea. The matter has received Cabinet attention already and has been under discussion at the highest level with Indonesian authorities. In addition, our liaison officer in Hollandia has been in discussion with the United Nations Temporary Authority on the question. We have been assured by the Temporary Authority that the existing quarantine law will be maintained and policed, but we are following up to see whether we can get a much more comprehensive arrangement with the Temporary Authority and, ultimately, with the Indonesian authorities to control quarantine in relation to the island of New Guinea. It is difficult, of course, to have a quarantine check at the land border and it will be necessary to have a very considerable discussion and a very comprehensive arrangement to prevent the movement of disease into New Guinea, where it might endanger not only animals and people on that island but might, indeed, cause difficulty in this continent.
– I address a question to the Prime Minister. Do recent salary increases granted to deputy secretaries of the Treasury and to other senior Public Service officials indicate that the Government shortly will announce increases to the salaries of permanent heads of departments and, if that is so, will it mean that ministerial salaries will have to be increased to preserve the relative margins that have existed for so long?
- Mr. Speaker, 1 am greatly indebted to the honorable member for a most engaging question, but I must say that, until he spoke, it had not occurred to me that these would be the results.
– I address a question to the Minister for Trade and I refer to a speech made by a British Minister at the recent conference of the British Conservative Party in the United Kingdom. The Minister is reported to have said that the United Kingdom was considering a review of Commonwealth trade preferences whether or not the United Kingdom goes into the European Common Market. I ask the right honorable gentleman: Is he in a position to confirm or to deny that the British Secretary for Commonwealth Relations and Colonial Secretary is reported to have said that a review was necessary because of the great change in the pattern of trade since the Ottawa Agreement of 30 years ago?
– This is a matter in which I am naturally interested. All I can say is that I have read in the daily newspapers a report that Mr. Duncan Sandys is alleged to have said something along the lines mentioned by the honorable member - that a review of Commonwealth preferences would be necessary, even if Britain did not go into the Common Market. If Mr. Sandys did say that I cannot believe for a moment that he had Australia in mind. The truth of the matter is that there was a very thorough-going review of preferences between Australia and the United Kingdom and a renewal of the treaty which embodies the preferences in 1956. Further, in the last ten years or so the United Kingdom has succeeded in selling to Australia under preferences £1,500,000,000 worth of goods more than the United Kingdom has bought from Australia of items under preference over the same period. I cannot imagine why Britain would want to review the preferential terms with Australia in those circumstances.
– I ask’ the Minister for Shipping and Transport: Did the University of New South Wales, as a result of research, find that £1,000,000 is being wasted daily in Australia due to inadequate roads? If this is so, what action does the Minister intend to take to provide more money for roads; or does he consider that the money already provided is adequate?
– The Commonwealth Aid Roads Agreement was based on the amount of money that could be made available for roads, having regard to revenue requirements generally. There is £100,000,000 more being made available for roads in the present five-year period than was provided in the previous five years. Roads have been improved, bridges have been widened and curves have been straightened; and it is generally acknowledged that the roads have improved. I think it is purely a presumption to say how much money is being lost because of inadequate roads, just as one might say that if our hospital facilities were better more lives would be saved. A good job is being done under the Commonwealth Aid Roads Agreement which will operate as government policy until 1964, when the agreement will be reviewed.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation. Last Saturday, with some of my colleagues on the Public Works Committee, I was privileged to be the guest of Qantas on a flight by a Boeing 707 jet plane to Perth. We were present at the opening of the new terminal which brings Perth into world class as a jet airport. 1 learned that, apart from the international traffic, when our domestic airlines go over to jet aircraft the value of the magnificent facilities at Perth will be greatly reduced because they will be cut off from air contact with Melbourne unless a jet airport is established there. I ask the Minister whether early steps can be taken to call a conference to decide when a start can be made on constructing the Tullamarine jet airport.
– I think my colleague in another place has already made one or two statements about the airport in Melbourne. I will convey the honorable member’s question to him.
– My question is directed iothe Minister for the Interior. I preface it by emphasizing that the preservation of the beauty of Sydney Harbour is of national interest. Is it a fact that the Department of the Army intends to dispose of land in the Georges Heights area, which has one of the best aspects of Sydney Harbour? Will the Minister ensure that this land is retained in its natural state so that the foreshores of Sydney Harbour shall not be further scarred by real estate and land speculators?
– The Commonwealth is entitled to retain land only for the purposes of the Commonwealth. Any decision as to land uses must finally be made by the State in which is situated land no longer required for Commonwealth purposes. I suggest that the honorable gentleman might put his question to the State government concerned.
– Could the Minister for Territories make available to honorable members at the earliest opportunity copies of the report of the select committee of the Papua and New Guinea Legislative Council on political advancement in the Territory, which was presented yesterday in the Legislative Council at Port Moresby, and portions of which were quoted in this morning’s press?
– As the honorable gentleman says, that report was presented to the Legislative Council yesterday, and I understand that it will be the subject of debate in the council this afternoon. I assume that if the council chooses to do so it will then forward the report to the Government, accompanied by such comment on it, or such approval of it, as the council chooses to give. I suggest to the honorable member that perhaps the report, and whatever resolution the council carries regarding it, might be combined and circulated in a complete form to honorable members here. I have received three copies of the report by overnight mail. I gave one to the Leader of the Opposition for information of the Opposition, and I retained one for the information of the Government. The third copy is in departmental use. I should be very happy to comply with the honorable member’s suggestion and, possibly by Thursday, or by Tuesday of next week, will have the complete document in the hands of honorable members.
– Has the Prime Minister received an urgent telegram signed on behalf of the Wollongong City Council, Bankstown, Rockdale and Hurstville municipal councils and the Sutherland Shire Council urgently seeking assistance for local government bodies? Is the right honorable gentleman aware that those representations have been made on behalf of approximately 600,000 people? Will’ he, in accordance with the terms of the telegram, consider the return to local government bodies of all petrol and oil tax receipts so that the money may be used for road construction? Will he consider exempting local government authorities from the obligation to pay pay-roll tax, and will he arrange for the payment of rates in respect of Commonwealth properties? Also, will consideration be given to making grants to compensate local government authorities for rate rebates extended to age and invalid pensioners?
– The honorable member invites me to make a fairly considerable policy speech. If I might go back to his question: I have been absent from Canberra since early on Saturday morning. No doubt he is right in saying that the telegram has arrived. When I see it I will, of course, give it very careful consideration.
– In directing a question to the Minister for Primary Industry I refer to a statement issued by the Minister at the beginning of August when he referred to an egg industry stabilization plan submitted by the egg marketing authorities to the Australian Agricultural Council. The council said that the plan represented a genuine effort on the part of the egg industry to correct the present difficult situation and merited serious consideration by the Government. The Minister said that there were practical difficulties inherent in the draft plan as it stood, but he was prepared to look at it objectively and endeavour to correct any anomalies before submitting it to the Government for consideration. What progress has the Minister made in the examination of this plan, and when may we expect that the details of the plan will he made available to people in the egg industry, for their examination as well as that of members of this House who, like me, are particularly interested in the welfare of these people?
– I have had several discussions with representatives of the Council of Egg Marketing Authorities of Australia, and this matter is now being considered by the Government.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister a question. Is it a fact that the aggregate of votes recorded at the last general federal election for Liberal and Country Party candidates was considerably short of a majority of the total valid votes recorded? Also, is it a fact that the deficiency in votes recorded for Government candidates was made good by preference votes received from Democratic Labour Party and Communist Party candidates when those candidates were eliminated, the Government thus being enabled to survive? Did the Prime Minister, in 1951, endeavour by legislative act to have the Communist Party declared an illegal organization? If this is the position, does the Prime Minister see any inconsistency in the Government’s avowed policy of anti-communism and its acceptance of office on preference votes received from Communist Party candidates?
- Sir, the mountain appears to have been in labour for a long time - ever since the last election - and has now brought forth a mouse. The honorable member is quite familiar with the voting figures for the election, and no doubt he has, with his usual thoroughness, counted up the great number of Communist Party second preference votes which went to Australian Labour Party candidates.
– My question is addressed to the Postmaster-General. Has the Minister, or his department, given any consideration to improving the quality and appearance of aerogramme forms? Does he realize that our air letters do not compare in appearance or quality with British, American or Japanese air letters, and that as they are used extensively by many new settlers they could, if properly designed, give a far better Impression of Australia when received by people in other countries?
– I do know that the Postal Department has been giving some attention to the suggestion implicit in the honorable member’s question, but I am not in a position at present to say definitely what the result has been or will be. However, I shall certainly make further inquiries and give the honorable member any information I may elicit.
– I ask the AttorneyGeneral: Has the Attorney-General’s Department any power or any authority to investigate the methods and activities of book salesmen, representatives of an Australian subsidiary of an American society, presently in Canberra and seeking to enroll subscribers to an information service as a means of disposing of an Australian encyclopaedia at what appears to be a highly inflated price? If the Minister’s department has this authority, will the right honorable gentleman make investigations and take action if it is found that there has been a breach of any ordinance? Will he, in any case, consider issuing some form of statement as a warning to the people of this city?
– I have no knowledge whatever of the practice to which the honorable member makes reference, but if such practice is specifically brought to my attention or that of my department, and it is found that any irregularity or illegality is involved, of course the law will be enforced.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. Is it a fact that 4,500 waterside workers worked on the Melbourne waterfront on Sunday, 7th October, thus earning wages at two and a half times the normal rate, and amounting, consequently, to two and a half times the money lost in wages as a result of an unauthorized strike during the same week?
– I did hear reports of the matter which the honorable member has made the subject of his question, but I think I can say that the reports have been inaccurate. Normally, when a strike has taken place in a port on a week day, the shipowners do their best not to work ships over the week-end unless the cargoes are perishable or are for urgent delivery. So normally waterside workers will not get the advantage of pay at penalty rates if they strike during the week. I think, and I will check to see if this is correct, that there were not 20 to 25 ships in port, as is normally the case when about 400 to 500 men would work, but about 45 or 50 ships in port. As there had been hold-ups due to rain and stoppages during the week, the shipping companies themselves, and not the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority, decided to work approximately 27 ships. About 2,000 men, I think, were engaged, not 4,500 as mentioned. However, I shall check this for the honorable gentleman. If a check shows that what I have told him is not in accordance with the facts I shall let him know.
– I ask the Minister for Shipping and Transport whether it is a fact that, during the year ended 30th June, 1962, more than 1,500 men engaged on track maintenance on the Trans-Australian Railway and the Central Australia Railway terminated their employment. Also, is it a fact that more than 65 per cent, of that number had remained on the job for less than two months? If these are the facts, is such a high turnover of labour largely due to the low wages paid and the very poor living conditions provided, particularly for single men, along the trans-Australian line? If such is the case, what does the Minister intend to do to correct the situation? Finally, if he considers that there is some other reason for the high turnover of labour, will he tell the House what it is?
– I cannot comment on the figures given by the honorable member, because I do not know what the actual
figures are. At the same time, I want to take the opportunity to say that anybody who knows anything of the Commonwealth Railways will realize that, considering the conditions met with in a very difficult undertaking, it looks after the welfare of its employees in a very outstanding way. If the ^honorable member will put his question on the notice-paper, I shall see that he receives an answer in due course.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for the Army. I ask: Has he received any further requests that portion of the Williamstown rifle range, in Victoria, be made available for housing? If so, will the Minister, realizing the value and importance of this rifle range to Victorian and interstate riflemen for the Queen’s Prize shoot and other important gatherings of riflemen, continue steadfastly to refuse to accede to such requests?
– I am very pleased to say that, since visiting the Williamstown City Council and explaining all the circumstances to the members, I have received no further representations about the rifle range.
– I preface my question, which is addressed to the Attorney-General, by saying that, on Thursday last, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition asked whether the honorable gentleman had decided on what subject he would lecture the law convention in Hobart in January next. I now ask: Has the Minister made up his mind? If he has chosen not to lecture the conference on restrictive trade practices, as, understandably, he may choose not to do, will he intimate when he may lecture this House and say when he proposes to introduce legislation to deal with restrictive trade practices? If he has no definite date in mind, will he inform the House why he is still unable to redeem the Government’s th’ree-year-old promise to introduce such legislation?
– I am not conscious of having promised to lecture anybody, nor of having lectured anybody. I have not settled with the Law Council of Australia the topic that will be the subject of a paper that I have promised to write for the forthcoming conference. The choice of a topic will depend on how much time I have at my disposal to write a paper. I would answer in this wise the question about the introduction in this House of legislation to deal with restrictive trade practices: The honorable member for Yarra has repeated an assertion, often made on the other side of the House - and made quite wrongly - that there was a promise that legislation would be introduced at some particular time. There was an undertaking that the matter would be investigated. It has been investigated and is still being investigated, with the assistance of the Attorneys-General of the States.
– I address a question to the Minister for Labour and National Service. Bearing in mind the most encouraging report on employment just released by the honorable gentleman - and the Opposition’s unfounded criticism of the statistics of unemployed workers provided by the Commonwealth Employment Service-
– Order! The honorable member is giving information. He should direct his question.
– I ask: Will the Minister adopt the suggestion of a new settler resident in Sydney that an unemployment survey similar to that recently made in Britain be undertaken to prove beyond doubt the extreme shortage of workers for many industries and to explode the myth that the figures circulated by the Minister are exaggerated?
– I am aware of a suggestion by some migrant groups in Sydney that the Commonwealth Employment Service should make an analysis of the employment figures - they call it the anatomy of the employment figures - to show those people who cannot be readily employed, those who may be transient or seasonal workers and those in other groupings. I have received the suggestion and will look into it. The only comment I can make on the second part of the honorable member’s question is that a survey has now been published at the
Commonwealth Statistician dealing with the last census figures on unemployment. Taking the relevant date as 30th June, the difference between the number registered for employment with the Commonwealth Employment Service and the number revealed by the census as not at work and unable to secure employment was 278. This in a sense verifies the department’s figures, bearing in mind the definition of employment and the purposes which the figures are intended to serve. I know of no better figures for interpreting the trend of employment or for providing information for the Government for policy decisions than the figures provided by the Department of Labour and National Service. I say no more than this: The department’s figures of registrations for employment mean what they say. They are a pretty accurate guide to the trends in employment, and should not be taken to indicate conclusions which are unjustifiable.
– I desire to ask the Postmaster-General a question. He will be aware that the Australian Broadcasting Control Board recommended that before Riverina Television Limited was granted a television licence, there should be a reduction in the number of shares held by the Wagga “ Daily Advertiser “, which is owned by Mr. R. A. G. Henderson and family, of Sydney, and by radio station 2LF, Young, which is owned by English television interests. In view of the board’s opinion that the newspaper and radio station concerned are not genuine locally-controlled enterprises, and in view of the Government’s repeated declaration of the need to obtain a maximum local control of country television stations, why did the Government reject the recommendation of the board? Does the Government believe that the interests of country people and country enterprises are less important than the prospect of support from the “ Sydney Morning Herald “?
– I know that certain interests, which appear to me to be rather disgruntled, are saying something about this matter. However, in reply to the honorable member’s question I repeat what I pointed out in my brief statement, that there j is no infringement of the law in the appli-i cation submitted by certain people in this area. Furthermore, I point out to the honorable gentleman that the provision is that over 50 per cent, of the total shareholding will be issued locally to local residents.
– I address my question to the Postmaster-General. Is he aware that the British Broadcasting Corporation has recently started to give regular programmes on both radio and television which feature the results of tests carried out by the two consumer associations in the United Kingdom? In view of the public interest in restrictive trade practices and in price fixing generally, will he arrange for these programmes to be studied by the Australian Broadcasting Commission with a view to adopting similar means of publicizing the good work of the Australasian Consumers Association Limited for the benefit of consumers of goods in this country?
– This is a rather involved question in a field to which I have not yet given any attention. Therefore, I would prefer to study the question of the honorable member, treat it as being on notice, and give him a considered reply.
– I ask the Minister for Trade a question. Did the Japanese Government recently make an offer to Australia and New Zealand to purchase additional quantities of lamb, mutton and other primary products in return for the purchase of additional Japanese exports? Did Australia reject the offer or is it still under consideration? Did New Zealand accept the offer and reduce the duty on imported Japanese steel from 20 per cent, to 5 per cent, ad valorem? Has this trade agreement between Japan and New Zealand resulted in a considerable reduction of Australia’s steel exports to New Zealand? If so, what does the Government intend to do to counter the loss of this important market for our steel?
– I am not aware of any offer made by the Japanese Government to buy additional quantities of Australian mutton and lamb. To the best of my knowledge the Japanese Government has never bought Australian mutton and lamb. Transactions are entered into between Australian vendors and Japanese buyers. I am sure that as far as the respective governments are concerned, there is nothing whatever in the matters raised by the honorable member.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Immigration. I refer to the outstanding value of terminating building societies to new settlers who come to this country with sufficient savings to provide a deposit on a new home.
– I rise to order. Is the honorable gentleman entitled to preface each of his questions with a boost for some organization or individual or with criticism of somebody whom he does not like?
– Order! The point is well taken. The honorable member for Swan is inclined to engage in a little buttering, which is completely out of order.
– Will the Minister consider recommending to the Government that funds made available under the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement be provided as loans to such building societies, catering for immigrants and other persons, throughout the year rather than restrict this type of assistance to an annual allocation?
– I know that my friend from Swan is very interested in this matter. I think he will concede that his question requires a certain amount of deliberation. Before answering it I would like to consider it in my mind and certainly discuss it with some of my colleagues in the Cabinet, particularly the Treasurer.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Labour and National Service, and I refer to his announcement that 75,951 persons were registered for employment in Australia at the end of September. Is it a fact that the Minister, following that announcement, said that the September figures showed that the recovery phase had been completed and the economy was now expanding steadily? If so, does the Minister consider that an economy with 75,000 persons unemployed is a prospering and developing economy? Does he consider 75,000 persons to be a reasonable number of unemployed? Has the Government discarded its promise to restore full employment by next December? Will the Minister confirm what is apparent to everybody - that the policy of the present LiberalCountry Party Government provides for a permanent pool of between 75,000 and 100,000 unemployed men and women?
– The honorable member for Grayndler continues to make a joke of the problem of unemployment. Having already been dealt with somewhat forthrightly, he continues to joke in the same fashion. The truth of the matter is that no sensible person, looking at the reduction of 7,500 in the number of persons registered for unemployment benefit in September, could regard it as other than indicating that the Government’s economic policies are working out satisfactorily. In addition to that reduction, we must remember that last month job vacancies were being notified to us at the rate of more than 11,000 a week - if not the highest at least the second highest rate that we have ever known. This indicates that the economy is an expanding one. In addition we must remember that the number of persons receiving unemployment benefit is steadily diminishing. If, despite those facts, people claim that the economy is not steadily expanding, they should go back to school and find out the meaning of the word “expanding”. Nobody can say what the figures for this month are likely to be, but the trends are quite healthy, and I feel that we are justified in stating that the period of recovery has ended and that the economy is set for steady expansion.
In Committee of Supply: Consideration resumed from 11th October (vide page 1483).
PART 3.- TERRITORIES OF THE j COMMONWEALTH.
Proposed Vote, £9,239,200.
Proposed Vote, £5,675,400. ‘
Proposed Vote, £51,000.
Proposed Vote, £20,201,000.
Proposed Vote, £40,300.
Proposed Vote, £100.
– I address my remarks to the proposed expenditure for the Australian Capital Territory. I propose to point to what I regard as some shortcomings in the planning and development programme of the National Capital Development Commission. I propose to point also to what I consider are examples of incorrect emphasis on expenditure in the Territory. It is regrettable that in the four and a half years since the commission was established - it has just completed its fourth full year, having been established in March, 1958 - despite the most rapid increase in the population of Canberra, there has been a lessening in the Government’s home construction programme. The commission itself has stated that it desired to transfer the emphasis of construction from government building to private enterprise, lt is seeking to do that in a number of ways. Although many people may be satisfied with the decision, many hundreds of families have been disadvantaged and hurt by the failure of the Government to provide adequate housing for rental in Canberra.
To illustrate what I have in mind it is necessary for me to refer to the population statistics, not for the whole of the Australian Capital Territory, but for the city of Canberra. At 30th June, 1959, the close of the first complete year of the commission’s operations, the population count was 43,973. At 30th June, 1960, the estimated population was 50,237. The increase for the year had been 6,264. At the census of 30th June, 1961, the population of Canberra was 56,449, an increase for the previous twelve months of 6,212. The estimate
I of population for 30th June this year is 63,300, a net increase for the preceding twelve months of 6,851. The National Capital Development Commission in its fiveyear development report, which covers the period from 1st July, 1962, to 30th June, 1967, has stated that current planning is based on an estimated population of 100,000 by 1969, allowing for an average increase of about 6,000 yearly. The average increase over the past three years, as the figures I have quoted will show, has been 6,442. The increase last year was 6,851. It is a fact that every estimate of population increase in Canberra that has been given either by the department of demography at the Australian National University, or by officers of the National Capital Development Commission, has been exceeded. There seems to be every possibility that the city’s population could reach the target figure of 100,000 - which the Commission set for 1969 - during the financial year 1967-68.
I know that many people in this city are concerned because they feel that the planning of the National Capital Development Commission, based on an already out of date population estimate, will fall ever farther behind the needs of this growing and developing city. The housing statistics of the housing branch of the Department of the Interior reveal something of the problem involved in the abdication by the Government of its responsibilities to build housing for rental in the Australian Capital Territory. At 30th June, 1959 - again this is at the end of the first full year of the commission’s activities - the number on the waiting list for housing in Canberra was 4,809. That was a greatly inflated figure compared with the previous year because it included the names of many defence personnel, or rather the positions of defence personnel who were due for transfer to Canberra and who were entitled to acquire housing here on their arrival. During 1959- 60, the list was revised. First of all, defence department positions were removed from it. Other deletions were also made because people had left the district or were no longer entitled to housing. The total deletions during 1959-60 amounted to 3,222.
At 30th June, 1960, with the deletions removed, with the allocation of housing made during the twelve months taken into account, and with new registrations added, there were 2,789 on the list of those waiting for housing. This was entirely a local waiting list. It included the names of people who were living or working in the Australian Capital Territory, and it was distinct from the housing needs of the Defence Department. By 30th June, 1961, the total that I have mentioned had increased to 3,369. Despite allocations during the year the waiting list had increased by 580. At 30th June, 1962 - this is referred to in the fifth annual report of the commission - the waiting list for housing contained the names of 3,927 eligible applicants. These were people who were living or working in the Australian Capital Territory, and who were entitled to housing. It had increased over and above the allocations that had been made during the year by 558 names. Three months later, at the end of September, the figure on the waiting list was 4,149. Those figures relate entirely to family housing. I have omitted those relating to bachelor flats and accommodation of that kind. The figures relate to houses or to two and three bedroom flats. They relate to what is described by the commission in its report as family housing. As an illustration, the total on the separate waiting list for bachelor flats at the end of September was 1,535.
The waiting time for housing has continued to extend. At present, the waiting time for a three-bedroom house is three years and four months. The waiting time for a two-bedroom flat is approximately 30 months. It took a sudden jump recently, from 26 to 30 months. The waiting time for a prefabricated dwelling in the suburb of Narrabundah is indefinite, but it is certainly well above two years. Those are the houses which were originally built to house the British tradesmen who were brought out in 1947-48, and1 they are considered the least desirable accommodation in Canberra. I cite these figures to show the need of the people in Canberra. The National Capital Development Commission is charged with the responsibility, among all its other tasks, of providing housing, but it is not, perhaps, provided with adequate funds by the Commonwealth, and the housing position is falling ever and ever further behind.
The second annual report of the commission, which covers the year from 1st July, 1958, to 30th June, 1959, states that the housing completion rate was stepped up from 522 houses and 56 flats in the previous financial year to 938 houses and 354 flats. The commission, of course, had taken over some housing projects already under way, and the completion of the eight-story block of flats added to the total, but the total of housing completions as a whole was 1,292. In the following year, the year ended 30th June, 1960, the commission completed 681 houses and 467 fiats, a total of 1,148 housing units. Already, the figure had started to drop. In its fourth annual report, which covered the year ended 30th June, 1961, the commission showed that during that year 724 houses and 87 two-bedroom flats had been completed, making a total of 811 family housing units. In its report for 1961-62 just released, the commission shows that it completed 843 houses, and 36 two and three bedroom flats, a total of 879 family housing units. It is clear from the figures that the rate of construction is being reduced and is falling ever further behind the actual need for rental housing in Canberra. In fairness to the commission’s policies, it must be said that there has been a steady increase - at times a dramatic increase - in the amount of private home construction in Canberra, but it is evident from the number of names on the list of applicants at the Department of the Interior that the housing needs of the people of Canberra are very far from being met. In my view the Commonwealth has a direct responsibility to accelerate the rate of construction of houses for rental in Canberra to cater for the needs of the people of this city - not only the people who are brought here by the Commonwealth to serve the Commonwealth in various ways, but also those who must come here to provide goods and services for this community. In my view the Commonwealth has a responsibility to deal equally with all people, and in the field of housing that should be its aim. It should not any longer tolerate the situation that exists where people are living in all types of temporary and makeshift accommodation in this city.
I have said that there has been a deliberate cutting back by the commission of its home development programme. Not only has there been a cutting back in the numbers of houses constructed; there has been a steady reduction in the quality of the houses constructed and in the size of those houses. One of the greatest complaints of the people of this city at present is the types of houses being constructed by the National Capital Development Commission. The complaint is that they are far too small and are completely inadequate for family needs. To illustrate how completely inadequate these houses are I have only to mention to those honorable members in the chamber who know something of housing construction that three-bedroom houses are now down to 8 and 8i squares. It is said that the housing being constructed in Canberra to-day is of inferior design, of inferior ‘ materials and of inferior workmanship. I have had something to say previously in this chamber about those three points.
The Government is failing badly in this field. I will admit quite openly and frankly’ that the commission is doing an excellent job in the big things, such as the construction of lakes and bridges and the planning of the central triangle, but a city is far more than its physical features. To my view a city is the people who live in it, and particularly the children who are the citizens of the future.
I believe, despite what the Minister has said in his foreword to the planning report of the commission, that Canberra people of the future will curse the National Capital Development Commission for the type of housing it is constructing, because it is inferior housing, it is housing which increasingly requires expenditures on maintenance, it is housing which is unattractive in appearance, inconvenient in design, and completely inadequate to the needs of the family. I am not speaking idly on the subject. Honorable members can look about Canberra and say what a beautiful place it is, but they have only to talk to the people who have been brought here, to those who have been allotted these houses and th.e young couples starting out on married life, to know just how inadequate the housing is now and how inadequate it is going to be in future years. I should like later to have an opportunity to put before the committee the views of one of Canberra’s best-known architects on this subject.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I propose in the brief time allotted to me to speak of Australia’s policy in New Guinea. When much that is happening to us in the domestic field in Australia is forgotten, I believe what we do in New Guinea will be remembered because this is a crucial period in the history of that Territory and because it has the focus of the eyes of the world upon it.
Sir, what is our interest in New Guinea, anyhow? I believe we have two interests. The first is that our neighbours should remain in a friendly relationship with us and that this island should not be occupied by a potential enemy, particularly a Communist enemy. Secondly, I think we have a strong moral obligation to the people of New Guinea, since we have been there for 80 years, and three generations of Australian missionaries, administrators, planters and traders have had a close association with the people of this Territory. These are our interests. We find ourselves at present in a situation where communism and racialism are rampant in the world, and these are very dangerous waters for powers that still happen to control colonial territories. This Territory is perhaps the last considerable colony in the world. The searchlight of public interest will move in the United Nations from Africa to the Western Pacific within a very short time. Australia has great assets in New Guinea, in the sense that these people have been pacified to all intents and purposes without bloodshed, that there has been to all intents and purposes no exploitation from an economic point of view, and that their land has not been expropriated. Those who have been there well know the dedication of our public servants, and, indeed, of all Australians who have done so much for the promotion of progress in this Territory. These are our assets.
Our liabilities, of course, are that for 70 years or so there has been stagnation in that Territory. Australia was content to maintain law and order, but not otherwise to promote the progress of the people. It is only within the last fifteen years of so - since the war - that we have recognized that we have obligations to promote progress, and this has been done with tremendous effect under the present Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck).
We are confronted with the report of the Foot committee - the United Nations mission - and we have to make up our minds on the attitude that we are to adopt towards it. It is a very big step forward that is proposed by the committee and the recommendations are not, I think, to be lightly set aside. Sir Hugh Foot has had a very considerable experience in colonial administration in Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean, in very high office. He has a very close acquaintance with the tides that move in the United Nations at the present time. In the committee he was assisted by an American, who was the American Commissioner for the West Pacific and who has also a considerable knowledge of the native peoples. In addition, there were representatives from India and from Bolivia.
The proposal is not, as it has been represented in the press, that New Guinea should have independence in 1964; rather does it contemplate a transition over a period of time to the position where the white masters become the advisers of the indigenes who themselves must, of course, when independence comes, become the masters. Europeans should become the advisers and help them over this transitional period. Whether this will take ten years, fifteen or twenty years nobody knows, and it would be only a guess if one were to state a figure.
What are the Foot recommendations? They relate to the parliament, they relate to educational requirements and they relate to economic requirements, although the committee, indeed, has put them in the reverse order. But let us turn first of all to the recommendations in regard to parliament. The reason given by the Foot committee for the proposal that it made is that the natives should participate now in the change and progress that lie ahead of them in the next few years: Secondly, the leaders of these people are competent to represent and speak for their own people - to use his words, “ with vigour, eloquence and impressive steadiness of judgment and a constructive sense of responsibility “. Thirdly, it is claimed that the enlarged Parliament will promote the growth of national sentiment. The present constituencies are too big, when we consider that one representative is supposed to represent the east and west highlands with 600,000 electors, and another Manus Island, New Ireland and Bougainville.
It is easy to see that the people who are elected by the process of indirect representation will feel that they have little participation in the affairs of the present Legislative Council; and so the proposal is that there will be a Parliament of 100 members elected on a common roll, with full adult suffrage, single member constituencies and ballot-box elections. The committee says -
We would hope that a number of Australians permanently resident in New Guinea would enter the House by the electoral process based on the common roll.
Such inquiries as I have been able to make in New Guinea suggest that you might, by that process, get one member - or possibly two - elected, but you would not get much European participation. European representation is something which the indigenes themselves want, through the process of the common roll. Further, the Foot committee says -
It will be essential to retain for the present a number of officials responsible for the presentation of draft legislation and financial proposals such as the annual budget … say five official members including a Chief Legal Officer and one Chief Financial Officer . . . also an official Speaker should be appointed.
This is the European participation that the Foot committee anticipates. These people could perhaps be elected through the common roll, but it is believed that these would not number more than one or two and it is suggested that by degrees a ministerial system should be introduced by a kind of system of apprenticeship, as in other new countries. So far as elected Australians are concerned the Foot committee says -
We consider that the existing special provision for nominated members and for Australian elected members should be discontinued.
This morning’s press gives some indication of the recommendations of the select committee of the Legislative Council in
New Guinea and it is interesting to compare the proposals that the Legislative Council makes with those put forward by the Foot committee. The select committee proposes that the President should be nominated, and that tallies with the proposal of the Foot committee. The select committee proposes that there should be ten official members, as compared with the five recommended by the Foot committee. The select committee proposes 45 elected members elected on the common roll, as against 95 proposed by the Foot committee. The select committee suggests that ten nonindigenous members should be elected to reserved seats on a common roll, perhaps to take their seats until 1967. The Foot committee recommended no such special reservation.
The reason the select committee seems to have given for its recommendation is that the people of New Guinea think that if there were 100 native members this would mean self-government immediately and they do not want that at this stage. They want Europeans - twice as many as the Foot committee proposes. It is pointed out that each constituency would elect a native member and say it was up to some other constituency to elect a European, with the result that no Europeans, or only one or two, would be elected. It is said that the indigenous people feel that the presence of Europeans would be a guarantee of continuing Australian interest in New Guinea. They hope that this will happen because they fear a take-over such as occurred in West New Guinea. They say that so large a body as 100 representatives would perhaps be irresponsible and certainly too unwieldy for educative purposes, because the purpose of having the Europeans and indigenes together is that the Europeans should teach the indigenes how to conduct a parliament. Finally, it is said that there are not 100 indigenes in New Guinea capable of discharging the functions of a member of Parliament. The select committee makes certain other proposals, to which I take no exception, about the nature of the vote to be taken.
These proposals differ from the proposals in the Foot report. This brings us up against the first question - whether we should comply entirely with the Foot proposals or differ from them, if only to assert the right to choose for ourselves, in collaboration with the people of New Guinea, what should be the next step.
I express no opinion on this because I believe we should consider the Foot proposals on their merits and as coming from a committee that is highly expert, wise and familiar not only with the natives but also with the world situation. With 44 elected members elected on the common roll there would be about 45,000 electors per constituency - that is after dividing the population of 2,000,000 by 44 - although the 45,000 would not necessarily all be electors, because a number would be children. This does not mean that each of the electorates would necessarily have the same number of electors in it; but I question whether there would be a sufficient sense of participation by the electors under circumstances like these. It is true that in Australia we have electorates as large as that of Kalgoorlie but we have aircraft to carry us about. While there are aircraft in New Guinea the terrain there is far more inaccessible than that in Australia and I wonder whether constituencies of this kind could give the electors a sense of real participation.
Ten officials are recommended as members of the new Parliament, as against the five recommended by the Foote committee, as well as the ten Europeans to be elected to the reserved seas. This would mean twenty Europeans altogether, as against 44 indigenes. 1 question whether the indigenes might not feel swamped by twenty European members in view of their lack of experience, and so forth, and whether they might be considered among the electors, as time went on, as being simply, in effect, the bosses’ men. Would they have a sufficient sense that they really had a predominant place in the Parliament?
I have not time to cover this large field although I had hoped to say something about economic development and educational development. I was disappointed in the Minister’s statement last Thursday about the number of indigenes who would be capable of matriculating during next year. It seems rather poor that only perhaps twenty indigenes - this is the Minister’s figure - are capable of matriculating next year. I believe there are only two or three at present undergoing tertiary education at the higher level; and a mere twenty entering universities next year is not sufficient.
Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– Although I would have liked to speak on many items of the estimates for the Northern Territory to-day I will confine my remarks chiefly to the petition presented to the chamber by members of the Legislative Council of the Northern Territory. This is known as a remonstrance petition. It sets out the grievances of the Legislative Council - as it sees them - over a long period. It brings these grievances to the notice of this Parliament and seeks to rectify them. The petition is a long one. Copies of it have been circulated to honorable members, and rather than having to read it through to the committee so that I may base my- remarks on it - and there are eleven pages of it - I ask leave of the committee to incorporate it in “ Hansard “.
– Is leave granted?
Leave is refused.
– This is a document that expresses the considered views and the grievances of the people of the Northern Territory. It has not been received officially in this Parliament. It has been accepted by Mr. Speaker and placed on the table of the Library. Unless people go to the trouble of visiting the Library to examine it they will not know what the petition contains. There is no official record of the document, and so that it may go on record I ask that it be incorporated in “ Hansard “.
Leave to do that has already been refused.
– Then I propose to move that it is the opinion of the committee that the document should be incorporated in “Hansard”. ! Mr. Hasluck. - But every honorable member has a copy of it.
– Of course, but it is not on record officially. I shall move formally that the document be incorporated in j Hansard “’.
Such a motion may be moved only on notice or by leave.
– Surely the granting of leave by the committee is a matter to be determined by the majority opinion of the committee. I say that the matter ought to be tested.
– You are merely wasting time.
– I ask the honorable member for the Northern Territory to resume his seat for the moment. I point out to the committee that leave can be refused by one dissentient voice in the chamber, and such dissent has already been voiced.
– I intend to refer at considerable length to the subject-matter of the remonstrance, but in the meantime, Mr. Temporary Chairman, I want to direct the attention of the committee - and I shall now have to do this with the help of direct quotations from the document - to the repeated failures of the Government to accede in any way to the requests and petitions received from time to time from and on behalf of the people of the Northern Territory asking for rectification of the grievances under which they consider they suffer, and under which I know that they suffer. These representations have embodied the considered opinions of the representatives of the people of the Northern Territory in regard to the need for greater constitutional powers to be given to the legislative body in that territory - the Legislative Council - and also to be given to this Parliament. We know that time after time these requests have been refused. The Government has at all times turned a deaf ear to the pleas that something be done about the matter.
As recently as April of this year, in a measure that was before us, the Government again rebuffed the people of the Northern Territory in respect to their complaints and requests. Yet we have the amazing spectacle of the Legislative Council for the Territory of Papua and New Guinea dealing with the report of a select committee which was at least instituted with the approval of the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) if not actually directed by him to be appointed. That committee has recommended that the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea be entitled to have a legislative council, the majority of whose members would be elected, and the majority of whose elected members would be indigenous people. Yet only six months ago the Minister for Territories refused the request of the residents of the Northern Territory, voiced through the Legislative Council of the Northern Territory, for a minor measure to increase the powers of the council. They did not ask that they be given selfgovernment - the self-government which the people in Papua and New Guinea will receive if the recommendations of the select committee are put into effect. The people in Papua and New Guinea, in the event of effect being given to the recommendations contained in the report of the select committee that I have mentioned, will have full control of their own legislative body. The people of the Northern Territory, on the other hand, have asked only that the disabilities under which they suffer be gradually removed - not removed overnight, as will happen in Papua and New Guinea, but removed gradually so that the people will eventually have more power over their own affairs than they now have.
The people of the Northern Territory have never asked for full statehood. They have asked only to have at least full authority over the expenditure of money raised in the Northern Territory. The Minister is quite apt at marshalling all the items’ of expenditure incurred in the Northern Territory by all departments, and in all sorts of obscure activities’, but he fails repeatedly to show the revenue which is derived from the Northern Territory, and which is provided by the residents of the Northern Territory. One has to search carefully through statistical reports and delve into various documents in order to find even some approximate figure showing the amount of revenue raised from people in the Northern Territory. I should say that a fair and conservative estimate of that revenue would be about £6,500,000 a year, but the only item of revenue mentioned in the note circulated by the Minister refers to £1,500,000 or £1,600,000 raised by the Administration.
– I show taxable income, too.
– Yes, but the note does not show any of the other items, which are quite numerous. We in the Northern Territory consider that some of the items of expenditure listed by the Minister in his document are not justly chargeable against the people of the Northern Territory. There is, for example, defence expenditure which would have to be incurred anyhow, and which should be regarded as the responsibility of the nation, not that of the people of the Northern Territory, In respect of native welfare we realize that we in the Northern Territory are obliged to shoulder a portion of the burden, but native welfare work is really the responsibility of the whole nation. It is the responsibility of Australia as a whole to enable the aboriginal natives of Australia to take their place in the community with the rest of the people. Expenditure on this undertaking should not be charged against the Administration of the Northern Territory, but should be a charge against the taxpayers of Australia as a whole.
The gross expenditure on the Northern Territory is given as about £25,000,000 last year, and the fact that the people of the Northern Territory contributed about £6,500,000 of this means that they provided a fair proportion of the total. The total expenditure in Papua and New Guinea is to be about £20,000,000. I wonder whether this figure takes into account the whole of the defence expenditure, expenditure by the PostmasterGeneral’s Department and other departments. According to the Minister’s own figure the people of Papua and New Guinea contribute £8,600,000 of that expenditure. The figures shown in the Minister’s statement reflect no discredit on the people of the Northern Territory in relation to the percentage of total expenditure raised from them compared with the percentage raised from the people of Papua and New Guinea.
I take it that the Government will proceed to adopt the recommendation of the select committee appointed by the Legislative Council for Papua and New Guinea. This will mean that the people of Papua and New Guinea will have the benefit of far-reaching constitutional reforms. Yet, I repeat, six months ago lesser reforms were denied to the people of the Northern Territory. I do not know how the Minister will wriggle out of that one when the time comes, but 1 am sure that the people of the Northern Territory will not gloss over what is happening. It appears that the select committee in Papua and New Guinea was established with the approval of the Minister, because the Legislative Council which appointed the committee has a majority of nominated members and, had the Government not wished the select committee to be appointed, it would not have been appointed. Then there is the fact that the Assistant Administrator of the Territory was the chairman of the committee. It is significant, I think, that the select committee’s report follows hot on the Foot report which was released recently. We know that the Foot report contained some very caustic comments about the administration of New Guinea. I am not going to discuss the pros and cons or the justice of that report, but it seems obvious that the report of the select committee of the New Guinea Legislative Council is merely paving the way towards breaking down the propositions contained in the Foot report, and putting in other propositions that are acceptable to the Australian Government. The proposals of the Foot committee will be watered down to the extent to which the proposals contained in the report of the select committee of the New Guinea Legislative Council are accepted by this Parliament. Then we will find the Legislative Council of New Guinea having more power than the Legislative Council of the Northern Territory has ever asked for. We contend that if you are going to act in a certain way in respect of one of these Territories you must, in all conscience, act in a similar way in respect of the other Territory.
We do not for one moment concede that we in the Northern Territory are inferior in any way to the electors in New Guinea, and we believe that if a favorable assessment is made of the capacity of those people to govern, then a similarly favorable assessment should be made in respect to the people of the Northern Territory.
It is a fact, of course, that the Legislative Council of the Northern Territory wanted a single-line item in the estimates for Northern Territory expenditure. The Council asked that an amount be allocated in the Budget from Commonwealth revenue, so that the Council could deter mine how the money would be spent. As I have said previously, the Council asked only for an amount equivalent to that which the Northern Territory people themselves contribute in Commonwealth revenue. I direct your attention, Mr. Temporary Chairman, to the fact that the single-line method of budgetary finance has always been used in respect of New Guinea, ever since the Legislative Council was established in that Territory. There has always been a single-line figure in the estimates for New Guinea, and the Legislative Council has decided how the money was to be spent. It is true, of course, that the Government has always had a majority of nominated members in that Council, so that control of the money was never far removed from the Commonwealth Parliament.
As I have said, the Legislative Council of the Northern Territory has never asked that the whole of the money provided in the Estimates for expenditure be given to it; it has asked only to be allowed to decide the spending of that portion of the money to which I have referred. After all, if the members of the Legislative Council are not in a position to decide how best the money can be spent, then who is? The money is raised in the Territory, and surely the members of the Council would not fritter it away by adopting an ill-advised or illconsidered approach.
I think everybody would agree that people can never accept responsibility if they are not taught to accept it. The excuse given by the Executive time after time has been that the people are not ready for such responsibility, and that we cannot give it because constitutional problems are involved. There was no constitutional problem involved in respect of New Guinea. There was no constitutional problem involved in delegating powers to, and providing funds for. the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority.
Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
Mr. DRUMMOND (New England) [4.41. - We have listened to the honorable member for the Northern Territory (Mr. Nelson), with great interest, because he is well acquainted with the problems of the Territory. I cannot claim to know a great deal about those problems at first hand. I am, however, quite convinced that we in Australia are faced with the necessity to make most important decisions affecting our national interest, development and defence. Whether we like it or not, we will be forced to adjust ourselves to a faster tempo, in making those decisions, than that which has operated in the past.
I have said on previous occasions that although the policy adopted in the early days by the administrators both of Papua and New Guinea and of the Northern Territory had been inspired, particularly in the case of Papua and New Guinea, by the finest motives, the First World War began to make that policy unrealistic, and the Second World War made it totally unrealistic. This fact has been recognized by the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck), who is sitting at the table to-day. The idea has been widely held in the past that we could let our native peoples develop at a more or less lackadaisical pace, and I believe that in the case of the Northern Territory, with our great resources, we might even preserve some of our anthropological specimens. The idea of gradually building up these people, particularly those in Papua and New Guinea, was a very good and humane one, but the march of world events has driven home the fact that, no matter what we might wish in the way of gradual development, the world is not prepared to have us move at any slow pace. It would not be possible for us to go along at a slow pace, any more than it would be common sense to drive a horse and sulky or buggy along a main road where motor cars travel at 60 or 70 miles an hour.
I believe that there are very real problems associated with these Territories. This does not mean that a very great deal has not already been done, especially under the administration of the Minister now at the table. It is interesting to note that in 1949-50 the total expenditure on welfare of wards in the Northern Territory, was £133,009. The estimated expenditure for 1962-63 is £2,011,043. In 1949-50 a Labour government was in office, and the great increase in expenditure to which I have directed attention is a measure of the Government’s recognition of “ what was needed to meet the requirements of wards in the Northern Territory. Let us consider also expenditure on education. I am reminded that my friends who sit opposite are vitally interested in this question, but how interested were they in 1949-50, when the total expenditure under a Labour government, for aboriginals and Europeans, was £31,963? It is interesting to note that last financial year, under the present Administration, the total expenditure on education was £440,877. The appropriation by the present Administration for this purpose in the current financial year is £535,300. This is a remarkable contrast to the expenditure of £31,963 in the last year of office of the Labour government.
There is always room for criticism, Sir. Constructive criticism is one of the things that makes progress continue. But it is only fair play to remember what an enormous back-log was inherited by the present Administration and what this Government has done to try to overcome the back-log. It is quite well recognized that health and education are very closely related. Those who have studied the question far more closely than I have done are of the opinion that lack of incentive and lack of vision by native people of what they can do and what they can become represent the most potent factor of all in limiting their capacity to improve and to accept the means of improvement. If, by education, one can give them wider and more far-reaching vision, one begins to provide the basis of one of the most important factors in health - the capacity to visualize creative action and natural development. I believe that that is one of the most important factors in raising the standards of a native race.
In 1949-50, the last financial year of the Labour Administration, £261,156 was spent on health services in the Northern Territory, compared with the proposed expenditure of £1,786,000 in the current financial year and the actual expenditure of £1,577,196 last financial year. Expenditure by the Labour Administration was in sharp contrast with recent and current expenditure by the present Government.
Let us turn now to the grand total of expenditure on native welfare, education and health. In 1949-50, the last year in which
Labour was in office, this was £426,128, compared with the estimate of £4,322,343 for the current financial year. If my arithmetical ability has not slipped, the current figure is more than 1,000 per cent, of the 1949-50 figure, or ten times as great. This represents an average increase of nearly 100 per cent, every year. So, Mr. Temporary Chairman, I believe that there is a good deal to be said on behalf of the Government for what it has done and what it has attempted to do.
I notice, on looking at another set of figures, that the population, exclusive of full-blood aborigines, rose from 10,868 in June, 1947, to 27,095 in June, 1961- the latest census figure. School enrolments have increased from 1,595 in 1951 to 4,291 in 1961. Wage and salary earners in civilian employment increased from 5,400 in June, 1950, to 8,200 in December of 1961. Let us consider income tax, which is a quite big factor in determining prosperity. In the assessment year 1951-52, 4,521 taxpayers earned taxable incomes totalling £2,362,000, and 23 companies submitted returns. In the assessment year 1960-61, there were 8,165 taxpayers whose actual incomes totalled £10,834,000, the total of taxable income being £7,138,000. In the same assessment year, 105 companies submitted income tax returns, and their actual income totalled £933,000. I venture to think, looking at those figures, since many of the companies operating in the Northern Territory have their head-quarters in capital cities elsewhere, that in all probability, when the break-down was made, a considerable amount of company income would not be revealed in Northern Territory returns. In the ten years to June, 1961, pastoral production for export totalled £28,375,000 and production from mining for export amounted to £30,163,000 - very substantial figures indeed.
My time is limited, Sir, but I should just like to say that, by courtesy of the Minister for Territories, when I visited the Northern Territory in the middle of this year as a private member of the Parliament, I was afforded many opportunities to see much of the Territory. Several things suggest to me that a good deal of thought ought to be given to an excellent suggestion made by the late Hon. E. G. Theodore, who proposed the formation of a northern State made up of part of northern Queensland, the Northern Territory and the northern part of Western Australia. The administrative buildings being constructed in Darwin would enable that centre to serve as the political capital, especially as Darwin is centrally situated within the area prescribed. In view of the natural wealth and commercial importance of the north of Queensland, the commercial capital, as it were, certainly would be Townsville or some other centre in the northern Queensland area. The proposed new State would combine all the advantages of the administrative buildings being provided in Darwin, the natural wealth and commercial development of northern Queensland and the growing development of the Kimberley area. I am sure that the population of these areas is sufficient to warrant the formation of a completely new State, and I would give such a State power later to sub-divide its area.
It is utter stupidity to try to develop Queensland as one unit. The capital, Brisbane, lies at the southern-most point of that State, within a few miles of my electorate, and Queensland territory extends 1,500 miles or more northwards from that point. The proposal for a new State would end the present stupidity of trying to develop Queensland as one unit. I believe, too, that relative ineffectiveness of trying to develop various parts of northern Australia’ from Canberra would be ended. The resources of the north are very great. I was astounded, indeed, to see how effectively water could be conserved. At Mount Isa, not many miles from the Northern Territory border, I saw 5,000 acre-feet of water, or more than 4,000,000,000 gallons, conserved in each of two vast dams, each constructed at a cost of about £200,000. The rainfall in that part of Queensland averages only about 12i inches a year. This is the kind of development project that I think could be multiplied over a very great area of northern Australia. It would enable the Northern Territory and the other two areas that I have associated with it to produce more and more.
I would not for one moment yield to any one in my admiration for what the present Minister for Territories has done by constructive thinking. Nevertheless, Sir, I am quite impressed by the insistence of the people of the Northern Territory, time after time, on a greater measure of selfgovernment. I believe that they are merely asserting their claim to the right to govern themselves, and I hope that they get it.
Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- Mr. Temporary Chairman, honorable members on both sides of the committee have said that they support the Foot report. I support it to the limit in its aspirations at least to bring self-government to New Guinea at the earliest possible moment. I have no doubt that, on examination, I would support also the scheme for eventual self-government proposed by a select committee of the Legislative Council for the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. Self-determination and the proper development of New Guinea are Labour policy, but there arises a point that must be discussed: What is “ the earliest possible moment”? For the sake of the people of Papua and New Guinea, I find myself thinking some anxious thoughts on this aspect of the matter. I have, along with many people, troubling doubts about the practicability of the Foot scheme at this moment. I am surprised that so much is left up in the air in a plan which we hail as showing the way to self-government, with a parliament of 100 members.
Was this meant to be only a target? Are we paying enough attention to the practical men on the spot, who say that we must hasten slowly? If we tumble out of New Guinea too soon, is it high-minded idealism or desertion? If we remain, are we pandering to exploitation and laisser faire? If we agree to the Government’s alternative scheme, are we slowing things down too much and giving a short answer to the demand of the United Nations that we should progress more quickly in New Guinea? These are searching questions that can be answered only by further debate and analysis in this chamber.
But apart from the general matters, there is another matter that concerns and disturbs me in regard to the Foot report and its examination. It is being read in some quarters as an order for Australia to get out of New Guinea. Nothing is further from the truth. It is one thing to make a wide and windy gesture about New Guinea to capture the Afro-Asian vote in the United Nations and to absolve some of the blood guilt of Europe in relation to the exploitation of the former European colonies; it is quite another to suggest that Australia should cut and run as part of that guilty team, because that is not the fact at all.
Australia has had no bloody colonial hand in New Guinea. In fact, we have put much more into it in blood, toil and treasure than we have ever got out of it, have ever hoped to get out of it or ever will get out of it. I object to Australia being lined up as a sort of Belgium or Portugal of the Pacific when this matter comes up for discussion, even amongst our own overenthusiastic friends. Why do certain members of the Trusteeship Council talk such nonsense about New Guinea? Is it ignorance or propaganda? I know this statement is peppered with questions, but the whole problem of New Guinea is peppered with questions.
Why does this attitude to New Guinea exist both here and abroad? Much of it, I believe, is due to the incomprehensible actions of our Australian delegates to the United Nations. In a pathological fear of communism evoked in the mind of the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick), we have lined up with every rotten regime represented at the United Nations. Worse still, when a situation amongst colonial people arises which literally screams out for the help, comfort and understanding of free men, we abstain from voting. Recently, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) brought into the chamber the list of voting and abstentions by our delegates to the United Nations. It was a most damning document of record showing how the Menzies Government shames us in the face of the world and makes our efforts to do the right thing in New Guinea more subject to suspicion at the United Nations. The recent case of Rhodesia is a classic example. Who would support Welensky’s Law and Order Maintenance Act, of which the “ New Statesman” said -
An array of repressive powers so monstrous and comprehensive that it would be hard to find any direction in which they could be extended.
Yet we made no forward move. This was not for us. We merely weakly abstained. What is the result of that in Afro-Asian countries? They now have an in-built fear that we are old colonial types; that we are not humanly interested in the colonial problem. Our means of getting our story over are limited, and we find that our attitude to New Guinea is badly misinterpreted. The Government must accept some blame for this, particularly because of the rabid attitude of the Minister for External Affairs when a vote is being taken on problems that affect both Asians and Africans.
Similarly - I do not say this of the Minister, who has a first-class mind, although I do not think the Government likes 1962 models - a certain deadly tropic inertia pervades the Menzies Government’s administration in New Guinea itself. Quite properly, we are being thrashed for this in certain quarters. The turning back of the clock in 1949 after the defeat of the Chifley Government, the sacking of a dedicated Administrator, the whittling down of reforms provided by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) when he was a Labour minister, the return of exploitation of labour when we thought of re-tribalization, putting the natives back into their villages after the war - of course, that scheme fell to pieces - the break down in some instances of native co-operatives, the failure to provide wage justice and social advances, the tragic spectacle of the Papuan with his primitive techniques and know-how, trying to make goods to sell but having nowhere to sell them, and the failure to give lift and trust to the economy are all part of the picture.
In its attitude to New Guinea, the Australian Labour Party is stapled to reality by its declarations and policy on selfdetermination. We ask ourselves in relation to this: Is there a clear, insistent and majority demand for self-government at this stage or is there something vital to come before it, something that we might call economic opportunity, a direction, and the fitting of the people for the job of self-government? I have closely examined the interviews made in the districts of New Guinea and reported on by Sir Hugh Foot. In no case has there been a demand that Australia should get out. Let us be clear on that. In very few cases do the spokesmen for New Guinea place selfgovernment high on the list of urgent requirements. They appear to be seeking a bridge between achievable aims and ultimate aspirations.
I have made a brief extract of priority of demands taken from interviews in all districts. With the concurrence of honorable members, I shall incorporate the extract in “ Hansard “. It is as follows: -
Here is a summarized version of the decisions of the people at meetings attended by Sir Hugh Foot -
Not ready for local government; not enough money for support of Council. Progress too slow and better price wanted for money crops.
Education a vital need.
New Britain -
There should be educational advance before self-government.
Trust territory with own parliament would cost too much.
Australian teachers and technical training needed.
No desire for self-government yet.
New Ireland -
No discrimination; objection to liquor laws.
No undue haste towards self government.
Wanted Australia as administering authority; not ready for self government; the economy not strong enough.
No change desired.
Western Highlands -
Economic help and education needed.
Objection to drinking laws.
No change desired.
Economic development before self government.
Eastern Highlands -
Trade schools desired.
University in New Guinea.
International agreements on coffee.
No change desired.
A woman Councillor spoke here and supported education; economic progress.
Desired to live like Europeans.
Wanted education, agricultural skills.
One speakerwanted a parliament; two said the country was not ready.
No acceptable leader in sight. Australia must continue as administering authority.
Must become proficient inlocal government before self government.
I ask honorable members to examine that extract. It is a faithful report of passages in the Foot report. This is the best evidence available of what the native of New Guinea thinks about his own problem.
Pondering over this, I think he knows better than we do that there are two New Guineas. In one there are men and women in industry, working as public servants, running local councils, training as teachers and doctors, sending their children to technical schools and training centres, hoping for a university, and living a civilized life with sound civic outlook and training.
But the people who have not come under control live off their gardens and the fish in the seas and the rivers. There is a shocking lack of protein in the diet of the people. Nutritional diseases are high on the list of disabilities in New Guinea and too many people live in primordial darkness under the spell of disease, hunger, witchcraft, sorcery and cargo cults. The expectancy of life is 34 years and infant mortality is extremely high. The Assistant Administrator, Dr. Gunther, in a remarkably good survey, said that they are a virile people under a curtain of disease. I think this is a truthful statement. This state of affairs exists despite the Administration, the missions and the goodwill of the people over many years. These primitives are the people we must consider in any move to get out of New Guinea or to give them their own government. We must remember the Congo. Despite the efforts of the United Nations, to-day 50 per cent, of the people who were freed in the Congo are unemployed and starving. We cannot simply abandon New Guinea at this stage. We went in there and we must remain in there until our job is completed, all things being equal. These are the difficulties.
The population of New Guinea, on the latest figures, is 1,757,000 mixed peoples speaking 510 different languages and living in 10,000 villages. The picture of the fuzzy-wuzzy angel, beloved of the Australian study circle, is a war-time distortion. All over the area, the Papuans are under average height. The male is 5 ft. 3 in. and the female 5 ft. The Papuan is riddled with hookworm and malaria. The average weight is 9 st. for the male and 7 st. 10 lb. for the female. According to a recent survey of the Summer School of the Australian Institute of Political Science, the Papuan is 80 per cent, inefficient because, of disease. - - ‘—
Honorable members on both sides of the Parliament should have the deepest concern in deciding where we are going in this matter and how far we can progress. I read the Foot report with some disappointment. I also read the newspaper reports of proceedings in the Legislative Council with some disappointment. I do not belong to the school that says, “ Let us get out now; let us evacuate “. Nor do I belong to the school that says, “Let us remain there for ever “. There are two very important matters to be considered. One is the time factor in deciding when we should move but of New Guinea and the other is the immediate urgency to get some extension of representative government and eventually self-government. Everybody knows that. I am only flogging the issue by repeating it, but I noted in the report of Sir Hugh Foot - I suggest that the Minister pay regard to this matter - the dramatic urgency of the plea of the people of New Guinea for more education facilities. Improved education facilities are the boot straps with which the Papuans and New Guineans have decided they will lift themselves out of the slime. We must undertake the education of the people of New Guinea with an adventurous spirit. Apparently, education of the people must come before any consideration of self-government. Almost all sections of the community have said that they are very concerned with the fact that their children, for a number of reasons - perhaps because they live in remote areas - are not receiving adequate education. These people want education more than they want better living conditions. Above all else they do not want to be discriminated against. Throughout Sir Hugh Foot’s report one hears, as it were, the indigenous people saying, “ No discrimination. Let us live as Europeans.” Those are potent points that Sir Hugh Foot did not bring out clearly.
We have watched development in our Territory of Papua and New Guinea for many years. Missionaries, public servants and disinterested parties tell us that the time is not yet ripe to grant self-government to the people of the Territory. We must listen to those opinions. Other people tell us that self-government must be granted as quickly as possible, but not in a panic. Tha’t is the important point. We must remember that only a few years ago the
Territory was a strategic island. Many Australians lost their lives there and are now hidden for ever* under the kunai. If we grant self-government too early to the people of the Territory and create a vacuum, who will come in? The Minister should answer that question. I am not indulging in sabre rattling, but whenever a country is left to its own devices and has no economy, some major power takes over. In the trade sphere Japan, for instance, could take over in Papua and New Guinea. The Territory would be flooded with Japanese beer, Japanese lolly water, Japanese lap-laps and other trade goods. We must keep a protective and patriarchal eye over the people of the Territory to see that their aspirations come to fruition and to see that they receive the education that they so urgently need in order to understand what self-government means - in short, we must do all the things that we are pledged to do under the United Nations Charter.
The reports we are discussing are, in my opinion, a little too technical and too concerned with pleasing somebody. We must realize the Australian sentiment towards New Guinea. We must take a long-range view and see that nothing is done in the Territory without most careful and full investigation. No matter what is done, we must, when New Guinea is independent, have a friendly neighbour to our north - a free and independent power that will look upon us with friendship because of the things we did when it was under our tutelage and protection.
.- I wish to speak to the estimates for the Northern Territory, involving Divisions Nos. 971, 974 and 975. The total proposed expenditure under those three divisions is £6,395,500. Both sides of the Parliament agree that we must continue to develop the Northern Territory as quickly as possible, particularly the northern part of the Territory. The 1961 census figures show that the European population of Greater Darwin is 14,904 persons. An estimated 1,800 persons live in the outlying area, which I define as being that part of the Northern Territory that is serviced from Darwin rather than from the south. The aboriginal population of the same area is estimated at 11,000 persons. Based on the average increase between 1954 and 1961, by 1965 the European population will be 20,300 persons and the aboriginal population will be 12,000 persons. By 1970 the respective populations will be 27.500 and 14,000.
I believe that those forecast figures represent the minimum populations that we should accept and that we should do all in our power to encourage more people to settle in the Territory. The man who has reached middle age and who is settled in his trade or profession has little desire to go to the Northern Territory, but there is a challenge to the younger man who is starting out in business, a trade or profession to go to Darwin and help to develop this part of Australia. He is generally married with a young family, and we must bear this in mind when planning services and amenities for the area.
There is an expressed opinion in the Northern Territory that the Government has done or is doing very little for the area. This is not true. I should like to pay a tribute to the imaginative programme which the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) and the Government have put into operation there. I also congratulate the Minister for the courage with which he has tackled problems relating to the Territory. Let me cite some of the major works that have been undertaken in the Northern Territory in the past ten years. Between 1951 and 1961 about £1,100,000 has been spent on harbours. About £2,000,000 has been spent on electricity supply. Roads have cost about £6,000,000 and about £5,000,000 has been spent on housing. Native welfare work has accounted for about £1,200,000 and a similar sum has been spent on hospitals.
Certain major works are at present in hand. I refer to the new beef roads, a programme for which was announced recently. As far as the Northern Territory is concerned, £4,570,000 will be spent on this work. That expenditure will be spread over the next three or four years. Estimated expenditure this year on beef roads is £1,000,000. Valuable experiments in the growing of rice and the grazing of cattle on rice stubble are being carried out at the North Adelaide River experimental farm. At this point I must direct attention to the low standard of accommodation provided at the farm when I visited it about six months ago. I earnestly suggest that more suitable accommodation be provided for the staff engaged on this great work. The new nigh school in Darwin is rapidly nearing completion. The high school is phase 1 of a large education centre planned for the old Vestey’s site. Phase 2 will involve the provision of a technical college and completion of phase 3 will see the erection of a university college. Great suburban development is being undertaken in the Rapid Creek area. Proposals soon to be put into effect provide for the modernization of the Darwin hospital, the erection of a new school at Alice Springs and the building of a second dam for Darwin’s water supply.
The matters to which I have referred are only some of the Government’s proposals for the development of the Territory. If we refer to the estimates we see that this year expenditure is proposed as follows: -
Good as this programme is, I believe we must increase the rate of spending even though that may mean decreasing the amount of spending proposed in the southern capitals. As an example, it may be necessary for us who live in the developed cities to work a little longer in crowded or out-of-date buildings so that electric power may be taken to more of the scattered population in the Northern Territory. There is also the proposal to provide air-conditioning in government buildings, especially in hospitals and schools in the Northern Territory. I believe that this is a good proposal for attracting people to settle in these areas. In discussions which I have had in Darwin and other parts of the Northern Territory it has been pointed out to me that air-conditioning would encourage people to settle in these districts and, indeed, it would be an inducement for them to remain there for longer periods. In these discussions, I have noticed a fear that the additional cost involved might result in delaying the start of the work concerned. While we realize the urgent necessity to start the works as quickly as possible, I think that failure to provide these amenities is the result of a short-term view.
In September, the average maximum temperature in Darwin over a period of 30 years has been 91 degrees and the minimum has been 73.9 degrees. In December, the maximum rises to 92 degrees and the minimum to 78.1 degrees. Those temperatures fall to 91.9 degrees and 75.9 degrees respectively in April. Taken over a period of 57 or 58 years, the mean maximum humidity has been 73 per cent, in Darwin during September, and the minimum has been 54 per cent. In December, the maximum humidity has been 83 per cent, and the minimum 65 per cent. In April, it has been 80 per cent, and 60 per cent, respectively. The mean minimum humidity is 69 per cent, in January, 71 per cent, in February and 69 per cent, in March. I have taken those figures from the Commonwealth Year Book No. 47 of 1961.
I think that the existence of such climatic conditions as these in Darwin for eight months of the year proves that there is a need for air-conditioned accommodation. There is an increasing recognition of this fact, and there is a trend towards the provision of air-conditioning in buildings erected for commercial purposes. I believe that the argument in favour of airconditioning is stronger when it is applied to those buildings in which people teach and learn, and in which they care for the sick. I know that air-conditioning machinery is expensive, but I believe that the case that I have put forward warrants the expenditure. I realize that the deciding of priorities for public and developmental works is a very difficult matter. However, I believe that the present programme as I have quoted it from the Estimates is the minimum, and I express the hope that the people of the southern States will forgo some of their proposed expenditure so that development may take place more quickly in the Northern Territory. I believe that the rapid changes taking place in the world, especially in countries near to us, make this necessary.
.- I was rather pleased to hear the Minister for
Territories (Mr. Hasluck) give his attention recently to the need for the development of higher education in New Guinea. This, of course, came quickly after the report of the United Nations commission which, after its recent visit to New Guinea, directed attention to the deficiencies in higher education in that territory. It is true, as the Government admits, that up till now it has had to place most emphasis on primary education, and its critics have said that this is in line with the Government’s philosophy, in the past at any rate, of promoting uniform development. However, what has happened in western New Guinea under the Dutch has shown that uniform development is not a practical policy. Governments, these days, are not being given unlimited time in which to prepare the indigenous inhabitants under their care for self-government. It is necessary to recognize that, desirable as uniform development may be as a philosophy, it is not practicable to develop the whole population at a uniform rate. It is obviously desirable that, as quickly as possible, capable administrators and capable professional people should be produced from the indigenous population. As a result, the Minister recently announced what he called “ present plans for higher institutions “ in Papua and New Guinea. An earlier statement on this subject had been made by the Minister on 13th July, 1961.
The first of the plans to which the Minister recently referred related to the establishment of a central, residential, administrative college to cater for the needs of the public service and, to some extent, of private enterprise. I understand from his earlier statement that the Minister envisages that these institutions will be in operation in 1963. He did not say so in his recent statement, and I can only hope that his earlier indications in that regard still hold good. He went on to mention, also, that the Government proposed to establish, not later than 1966, a university college. Without wanting to go over a former debate in this chamber, I would have hoped that it would have been possible to have established such a college earlier than 1966. Perhaps the Minister’s statement allows for that possibility. He simply said “ not later than 1966”. Of course, we have to take into account the number of post-secondary students who will be available for such a university.
The emphasis is intended to be on the number of indigenous post-secondary students who will be available. Unfortunately, as a Government supporter has mentioned, the number of such students likely to become available in the immediate future is not very great. That should not deter us from going forward with the establishment of such institutions. It is, after all, a university college that we are proposing to establish, not a full-blown university. Other places in the world have started with many fewer students than will probably be available for this university college. When Sydney University was established it had about seven or eight students. The university at Melbourne, even after a few years’ of existence, had less than 30 students - perhaps less than twenty.
Whilst we might have it in mind to place the emphasis on indigenous students, we have to have regard also to the number of non-indigenous personnel in Papua and New Guinea at this time who could very well make use of local university facilities. For instance, there are the medical students who are already being taught in the Papuan medical college. There is possibly no reason why some of the students should not graduate from the administrative college and go on to training in a university college. There certainly is no reason why the greater number of teachers in New Guinea should not contribute to their professional development by attendance, full-time or part-time, at a university college. After all, we are sending teachers to New Guinea these days who are short of professional training as we envisage it here on the mainland. There are other professional people in the Territory who might well go on, and who might well want to go on, to further studies.
Over and above this, I cannot see why a university college in New Guinea could not also cater for students from surrounding Asian countries. They are now being brought to Australia. I do not think there is any reason why they could not go to a university in New Guinea which, I should hope, would have a different slant from the conventional kind of university in Australia. It is true that at the Sydney University there is a school of tropical medicine. Possibly it would be better if that were in New Guinea, or an additional one built there. One thinks, too, of the problems of architecture in tropical climates and of tropical agricultural needs that could be studied at the higher level in such an institution as the one proposed for New Guinea. Anthropological and social studies associated with the native peoples suggest themselves as suitable fields of research. The thing to remember in all these matters is that a university does not exist simply to pass on knowledge; it exists also to further the bounds of knowledge. Research is very important and I should like to see, early in the life of this new university college, adequate provision made to staff it with suitable people, drawn not only from the Western world but also from among eminent people of the Asian world who might be attracted. This would give the institution status and also make its studies even more relevant to the people of this area. There are all these possibilities.
The Minister quite properly, I think, referred to the fact that we cannot readily transplant our education institutions from Australia into this kind of social and political environment. He said it was necessary to look at the people of this area and devise a system of education to suit their needs. That is very true, but I wonder how much research is being done into this very matter - the kind of education that these people need and teaching methods that are appropriate to people whose environment is altogether different from ours. The Minister very properly referred to the fact that when these youngsters come to school they do not come from a background in which the native tongue is English; they do not come from a background in which they have the kind of values it might be necessary to cultivate in that community; they have not the home background to guide them when starting on an educational programme. Therefore, I think this is a very rich field for educational research.
I should like to see more research being carried out by our own universities on behalf of these people. I should like to see more group research, not just individual research, being carried out as post-graduate study at our own Australian universities. I am not aware of any significant amount of research being done at our universities in Australia along these lines, although there could be some.
Mr. Chairman, I am suggesting that there is a very rich field of inquiry into the cultivation of professional standards for the people who are already in New Guinea. This being so, I hope that the university college will come into existence well before 1966.
The Minister also referred to the establishment of a full standard teachers’ college in the Territory. That is a very desirable thing, but the Minister did not go so far as his statement on 14th July, 1961, in which he said -
The Australian Government has already undertaken to give target dates in respect of the educational, social and economic advancement of the people of Papua and New Guinea. These are regarded as matters which, to a large extent, can be made the subject of firm planning.
The Minister has not given the precise information on planning that I think honorable members, the people of New Guinea, and indeed the United Nations are entitled to receive at this time.
– I gave the target dates in October, 1961, in a speech in this chamber.
– For the establishment of a full teachers’ college?
– The educational target dates.
– There is no reference in the Minister’s speech to a precise date for the establishment of a higher technical training institution. I should like to think that the fruition of these proposals is imminent. I do not know whether that is so, and I should like the Minister, before this debate is over, to give us more precise information on when such a higher technical training institution will be created and what will be the nature of it. I realize that he gave some information in an earlier speech, but I should like to know, for instance, whether it will be a residential institution. I think that is very desirable. I did see the very creditable technical teachers’ training school at Lae. That is a residential college which draws students from various parts of New Guinea. It is clear that these educational institutions should, because of their very nature and because of the informal contacts that the students make with each other, especially in New Guinea where there are such diverse languages and such diverse tribal loyalties, have residential sections attached to them. That is very desirable and I should like to get more information about it from the Minister.
The Minister made a rather general statement to the effect that the Government also proposes to expand secondary education throughout the Territory and to bring more native people to matriculation standard. That is very desirable, so far as it goes, but the Minister must admit that it is a rather general statement. It would be very useful if more precision could be attached to it. Whilst I do not want to detract from the notable performance in New Guinea in respect of various social services, I should like to see the programme of even primary education speeded up. After all, the figures given by the Minister indicate that about 36 per cent, of the indigenous youngsters are receiving a primary education of one sort or another. That figure includes those who are receiving their education in mission schools which are not registered with or approved by the Administration. This withholding of approval suggests that their level of teacher training and their educational facilities are not up to the standard deemed necessary by the Administration.
I have said just those few words on education. I think this is a very important subject. Technical education impressed me as being very much in need of further development in New Guinea, but technical education, or any other kind of education, ought to be linked with proposals for the economic development of the Territory. I am particularly impressed with the need for secondary development in Papua and New Guinea. It seems to me that we are in a vicious circle here. There is no motivation for youngsters to come in for vocational training because there are no opportunities for employment; there are not the industries in New Guinea to provide employment, simply because there are not the people there with enough money to buy the goods that might be produced by secondary industry. I hope the Govern ment will reconsider its policy of relying on private enterprise to provide secondary industry. The Government could subsidize industry, but at this stage it must recognize the need for these industries and should set up publicly owned co-operative business enterprises, manufacturing enterprises and secondary industries in the Territory. It should consider also extending to these people social services such as pensions and child endowment to put into their hands the wherewithal to demand the types of goods they want, such as clothing, preserved foods and building equipment. The Government should develop in the natives a need, which will lead to production, which in turn will provide wages. In the end there will be a self-perpetuating cycle.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– I rise to commend the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) on introducing into the Parliament estimates totalling about f 30,000,000. We are considering a vote of about £20,000,000 for the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. Of this, £8,600,000 will be raised by revenue in the Territory itself and a further £1,000,000 by loan. I rise also to refute some of the statements made by the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) in a rather querulous and somewhat negative speech when the debate on estimates for the Territories began. I take first of all his suggestion that the Government is hampering native co-operatives. My first-hand experience, based on a number of visits to the Territory is, in the words of the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck), that the cooperatives are encouraged by the Administration. The contrary to what the honorable member for Hindmarsh said is true, because every encouragement is being given to native co-operatives. If the honorable member for Hindmarsh had read the Minister’s statement relating to the fiveyear plan he would know that in the course of that statement the Minister said -
Marketing services are provided Co native farmers by the Administration through the supervision of marketing in rural progress societies and co-operative societies and through native local government councils. Where no marketing facilities exist direct purchases by the Administration are made from local indigenous producers.
These facilities are being extended where required to meet the needs of native agricultural development.
I cannot understand how the honorable member for Hindmarsh can think that that is hampering native co-operatives. He said it was all very well for the Government to talk about not allowing the alienation of native land. I repeat that the honorable member for Hindmarsh could not have possibly read the Minister’s statement wherein, under the heading “ Land development “, the following appears: -
The main objective of land settlement policy in the Territory is to ensure that opportunity and guidance is provided to all indigenes who wish to make better use of the land they already occupy or who wish to obtain new blocks for settlement. It is planned over the next five years-
We have already had one such period - to survey and make available for settlement some 7,500 blocks of land to selected native farmers who do not have access to suitable land under their customary native land tenure. In order to speed up the acquisition and survey of land for native settlement and land for urban development, it has been decided to make more use of private survey teams.
I say again that no bone can be pointed at the Government on the question of alienation of native land. Everybody in the Territory knows that it is now almost impossible for a European to acquire land there. The land that was formerly available by agreement with the natives has, very largely, been taken up. The honorable member for Hindmarsh also asked what was embodied in the Minister’s proposition for the granting of leases of up to 50 years and said that the Labour Party’s policy was a maximum tenure of five years. What person engaged in any form of industry would be prepared to go to the Territory in the present circumstances with only five years tenure of his land? The honorable member’s suggestion is ridiculous. He concluded by saying -
No one can help Australia by pretending that all is well in New Guinea.
It is no service whatever to this Parliament, to the Administration of the Territory or to the indigenous people to make a suggestion of that kind in this Parliament. On the contrary, I believe the honorable member did a great disservice.
The honorable member for Barton (Mr. Reynolds) spoke at great length on education. I intended to deal with that subject, but I think he covered it thoroughly although
I say, in all fairness, that had he read the Minister’s statement more carefully, he would have been kinder in his approach to this subject. Health is another major factor in the administration of the Territory and the welfare of its people. It is known to those who read the five-year plan that 70 new hospitals will be built in the Territory during the period of the plan, whilst work will continue during this financial year on the construction of the new base hospitals at Daru and Lae, which will be of great benefit to the indigenous people.
It was my intention to speak about the Foot report but the honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Turner) has dealt competently with it in large part. However, 1 intend to disagree slightly with him and to give my reasons. As we know, the Foot report recommended for the Territory a parliament of 100 members. We now have the report of the select committee of the Legislative Council of the Territory, which recommends that there should be a parliament consisting of 65 members, including a president, ten official members, 45 members elected on the common roll and ten nonindigenous members. The important point relating to this suggestion in the report of the select committee - which, I take it, will be debated by the Legislative Council and will be subject to its acceptance - if that of 467 witnesses who came before the committee, 463 were indigenous and four non-indigenous and they all favoured a parliament of 65 members. I remind the committee that it was a European who conceived the idea of a common roll in New Guinea and we should not lose sight of that fact. I believe that in the chairman of the select committee, Dr. Gunther, and in Mr. Lloyd Hurrell, an elected member of the council, we have two particularly able members who were able to report on this matter competently with a great range of knowledge and wide experience in the’ territory.
Although I disagree with the Foot report in some respects, I am in agreement with it on many points. One criticism I have of the report is that it was made after pretty cursory experience in the Territory. I know that Sir Hugh Foot is well known in the field of administration in Central Africa, the Middle East and the Mediterranean, but I think it is only fair to say that
Papua and New Guinea represents a very different proposition from those countries. It is also fair to say that the committee was not in the Territory long enough to get a deep appreciation of what the real problems are. I repeat that the proposition that there should be 65 members in the new parliament is approved by the indigenous people of the Territory. Surely that should be taken into account and should be the test of what is required.
I shall now refer briefly to the recent report on liquor reform in the Territory. Although there are people who are opposed to such a reform - if one can call it that - I believe we must face up to reality in this regard. It is no use our simply putting this decision off year after year; the question could become a festering sore. It is only reasonable to say there may be some native people in the Territory who approach the liquor question not so much from a point of view of wanting access to liquor for their own enjoyment but by asking, “ If Europeans can have it, why cannot we?” I think that view would be behind the approach of some of the indigenous people. But if liquor reform is administered wisely 1 believe that over a period it will do away with a situation which could become a festering sore in the sides of the people of the Territory.
I do not want to deal with this matter at great length, but there is a lot of woollyheaded idealism talked about Papua and New Guinea, and if we force the indigenous people into a situation where they will not be able really to cope with their affairs we shall not help them at all. I do not believe we have unlimited time in which to deal with everything that has to be done in Papua and New Guinea. The movement of world events is now so rapid that it is obvious that within the shortest measurable reasonable time we must give the indigenous people of the Territory complete selfdetermination, if that is what they want. Our primary responsibility, morally and in every other way, is to ensure that when the time comes for self-determination or whatever the people of the Territory really want - even if it is to remain part of Australia, which is one of the propositions “that have been put up - our responsibility is to leave the matter in the hands of these people as soon as they can cope with their own problems.
.- The time available to honorable members to speak on such important subjects as the Territories of the Commonwealth is very limited, particularly at this time when the United Nations visiting mission to the Trust Territory of New Guinea has brought down such an informative report on that Territory. It is the kind of report that deserves a great deal of notice. The report of the United Nations visiting mission to Nauru also deserves some special consideration. Many honorable members, like myself, would like to spend a considerable time in talking about the injustices which prevail in the Northern Territory but, unfortunately, time will not permit us to do so. However, all honorable members are most certainly aware of the remonstrance which has been presented to this Parliament on behalf of the people of the Northern Territory and of the strong feeling in that area about the neglect that has taken place over a long period.
It is regrettable that we have not had a United Nations mission visiting the Northern Territory and making the same sort of recommendations about it as have been made about Nauru and New Guinea. Implementation of such recommendations would mean great advancement for the Northern Territory and could possibly bring it into the orbit of the free world so that the Australians living up there - some 27,000 of them - and those very indigenous Australians, the 16,000 aborigines in that area, might be able to have democratic rights.
What a regrettable thing it is that, although as far back as 1890 the people of the Northern Territory had full voting rights as electors in the electorate of Grey, when the Territory was under the control of South Australia, they no longer have such rights. The people of the Northern Territory have not had a representative in the Senate since 1911. So we certainly hope that a breath of the wind of change that is sweeping across New Guinea will find its way into the Northern Territory, which will be a very good thing for Australia, for the progress of that place and for. the people who live there.
A worthwhile recommendation has been made about the Trust Territory of Nauru. We know that some 27,000,000 tons of phosphate have been taken out of Nauru over a long period. Nauru is not a large place from the stand-point of population. There is good reason to believe that the world is starting to think more of minorities and is not concerning itself these days only with places which have large numbers of people. There are about 2,500 Nauruans, about 1,000 other Pacific Islanders, about 700 Chinese and 324 Europeans on Nauru, making a total population of about 4,500. They are a sturdy people who have benefited by the events of history. The island was overrun and occupied by the Japanese in 1942. I had the privilege recently of meeting Hammer de Roburt, the Head Chief of Nauru, and some of his associates who visited the United Nations. It is a good thing that they went there. They are most adamant that some special consideration should be given to the Nauruans when the phosphate runs out. Enormous profits have been taken out of Nauru. If the Nauruan people had benefited by the enormous sums of money made out of their island they would be able to buy another island. They could pick a paradise for themselves, for that matter. But they receive only a share of the wealth won from the island, and they are now to a large degree dependent upon the good grace of this Government for their settlement in some other place.
I have mentioned Nauru because the position of the Nauruans will become an appropriate matter for the consideration of this Parliament. The Minister has been actively engaged in arranging visits by various representatives of the Nauruans to parts of Queensland and the northern coast of New South Wales so that they may inspect alternatives to their present homeland. They have looked at a number of islands, some of which, I dare say, belong to the States and not to the Commonwealth, so it is not unlikely that in the not too distant future we will be bogged down in constitutional problems on this matter. I am sure that if the problem is to be satisfactorily resolved there will have to be some real action taken by the Commonwealth, lt is possible that a State will have to relinquish sovereignty over an island to the Commonwealth. It is possible that the Commonwealth cannot take an island belonging to a State. Those matters must be taken in hand, and before the phosphate deposits cease to be a realistic consideration for the support of the Nauruans thought will have to be given to housing these people so that Australia will be able to hold its head up before the world.
I turn now to the subject of New Guinea. Most Australians know that whereas Papua became a British protectorate in 1884, and became the responsibility of the Australian Government in 1905, our tenure of the Territory of New Guinea has been nowhere near so long as that. That Territory was occupied by the Germans in 1884 and it was not until 1920 that it was ceded to us under Article 22 of the charter of the League of Nations. In view of the time that has elapsed since then there is reason for the world to ask us what we have done about New Guinea. We voluntarily link Papua with New Guinea when we provide reports to the United Nations on the Trust Territory, although our obligation is to provide a report on New Guinea alone. In the Territory of Papua and New Guinea we have something like 2,000,000 people who, justifiably enough, can be expected to aspire to nationhood. Many of us in Australia would have liked to see the emergence of something like a Melanesian federation in that area, because it is foolish to draw an arbitrary line across a large island like New Guinea - 3s we have done between the Territory of Papua and New Guinea and the Territory of West New Guinea, and to say, “ Here is one nation, and there is another “.. There is much to be said for having uniformity originally of the peoples in the two parts of the island, particularly had it been their desire. Unfortunately, our hopes of ever achieving that have been dashed, substantially, I think, as a result of vacillation on the part of the Commonwealth of Australia. We should have strongly advocated the unification of these areas so that the conditions would have been present for the people of West New Guinea and Papua and New Guinea to proceed to unification should they finally decide it was desirable. Unfortunately, Australia’s representatives at the United Nations were in structed by the Government to restrain themselves, and not even to speak in the United Nations on matters pertaining to the future of West New Guinea. Why did we not move in this matter? Why did we not preserve for the West New Guineans the right to decide their own destiny by establishing in the interim period a trustee arrangement?
– Because we had no say in it.
– I believe that we had a say and failed to avail ourselves of it. 1 know that there are many Australians - and many of them strong Liberal Party and Country Party supporters - who feel sadly let down because of the Government’s failure to act in this regard.
– What are you actually advocating?
– We of the
Australian Labour Party have always stood for self-dependence, and we believe that if the indigenous people of a country are incapable of this, then a United Nations trusteeship should be established until they become capable of it. In this case we have fallen down and it is apparent that this Australian Government can be fairly and squarely indicted and condemned. Now that the horse has bolted we must give very serious attention to our responsibilities to Papua and New Guinea, and look at the question in a realistic way. Of one thing 1 am certain: It is not realistic to gear the development of the United Nations trusteeship territory of New Guinea, or of Papua, to the Australian economy. I am convinced, as the United Nations mission was doubtless convinced, that there must be a faster rate of development in Papua and New Guinea, and particularly in New Guinea, which is more directly the responsibility of the United Nations, than we have so far been able to achieve, or than we can afford with our economic resources. The Labour Party realized this a considerable time ago and expressed the view that it is necessary for the nations of the world to use their voices through the United Nations, and to “ dob in “, if you like, to make some contribution to the emancipation and the uplifting of the people of that Territory.
– Get Russia to pay her Congo bill!
– I am not here to argue the division between the Eastern and Western blocs, and I hope the Minister will not be deterred from a realistic consideration of these matters because of the existence of this unfortunate division. If one of the blocs fails to do the right thing, are we to be deterred from advocating that it should be done? I certainly hope not, and I believe that the Minister will agree with that view. It would be unbecoming of him not to. After all, we are all aware of his wholesome attitude towards these questions.
Mention has been made of the Foot report, but I am afraid I have not time to go into that report in detail. It made some comments about discrimination and I am very pleased to note that grievances arising out of discrimination are being rapidly redressed. Only last year seven ordinances were repealed with a view to eliminating discrimination. I remember the Minister saying something last year to the effect that the Opposition was exaggerating in its contention that there had been discrimination, but at least the Opposition’s agitation has resulted in these corrective measures. That is a very good thing, in my view.
Discrimination, of course, is still indulged in. I do not want to over-emphasize this for world consumption, and so do Australia a disservice; I make the point merely in the hope that we will see the same kind of result next year that came about this year from our agitation of last year. To refer to just one example of discrimination, I might mention a question that was asked by the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) and answered by the Minister. The question and answer are recorded at page 978 of “ Hansard “. They refer to the Bulolo Timber Company. We control the Bulolo Timber Company, the Commonwealth Government holding 50.00006 per cent, of the shares in the company. This is a big concern, with capital amounting to £1,500,000, and the Minister told us that profits for the year 1960-61 amounted to £277,155. It is certainly not without some alarm that we find that 205 natives working for that company have been given only 8s. 9d. a week each and their keep. At the same time, the average European wage was £30 19s. Id. a week. There are also large numbers of other natives receiving £1 8s. 6d. a week, together with accommodation and rations, but the average payment, according to the Minister’s answer, for this large number of 205 natives was 8s 9d. a week.
The visiting missionary referred to discrimination in relation to the sale of liquor and one or two other matters, and we are pleased to see that such discrimination is being broken down. 1 hope that further progress will be made in the future in correcting these wage anomalies to which I have directed attention.
There is still much to be done. My colleague, the honorable member for Barton (Mr. Reynolds), spoke about education. The Minister has announced a five-year plan. He intends to increase school enrolments to 350,000 by 1966-67, but at present, of course, only 200,000 people in Papua and New Guinea are receiving education, out of a potential total of 540,000. These are the Minister’s own figures.
– The proportion is 36 per cent.
– Is it? I did not think it was quite as high as that. However, the position is obviously most unsatisfactory, and the United “Nations mission has directed attention to this deficiency in the field of education.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- It is obviously very difficult for honorable members opposite to find some valid point of criticism of the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) on his administration of Papua and New Guinea and the various other territories under his control. We have heard Opposition speakers telling us of the lack of a democratic system in the Northern Territory. One honorable member said that iri 1890 the people of that Territory had a representative with a vote in the South Australian Parliament. If that honorable member studies the history of the Northern Territory he will realize that probably the people at that time had themselves to blame for the position to which they reverted.
There was a great advance in the Northern Territory in the early part of this century, brought about to a great extent by the cattle industry. A large meat works was established at Darwin, but owing to complete industrial lawlessness the whole scheme collapsed. A state of chaos existed for many years. I think it is in one of the official reports of an administrator of the Northern Territory that we find a reference to the practice of consignors in southern States of insisting that beer cargoes be stowed at the bottom of holds, because this was the only way in which they could be sure of having the rest of the cargo unloaded within a reasonable time on its arrival in Darwin. The Northern Territory has made a very great advance under this Government. It has made the greatest advance in its history, and it is continuing to make it, at great expense to the Australian taxpayer.
The honorable member for Hughes (Mr. L. R. Johnson) obviously had to try to find some ground for criticism of the state of affairs in Papua and New Guinea. One of his most amazing statements was in regard to education. He said that about 200,000 children, out of a total of possibly 500,000, are being educated. If the honorable member knew anything about the Territory he would realize that this is a most remarkable achievement. It has been only during the term of office of this Government that any great effort has been made to uplift the people of these areas in a general sense.
– That is not true!
– That is very true, and if we had adopted the methods and the pace of the previous Labour administration we would never have made such achievements as we have done.
We heard also a good deal of criticism of our attitude to the taking over of West New Guinea by Indonesia. Such criticism is utterly ridiculous. We could not have done anything about the matter, because in my opinion the United States of America wanted the Dutch out of West New Guinea. We had no choice in the matter.
The Labour Party actually paved the way for this latest development. The Labour Government had an opportunity to hand Mantis Island over to the Americans after the Second World War. If it had done so, we would have had a strong American base there at the present time; and probably the
Americans would have shown a little more interest in the movement of Indonesia into West New Guinea.
I believe that the implementation of the report submitted to the United Nations by Sir Hugh Foot and the members of his investigating group will be of great disadvantage to the people of New Guinea. But we have no choice in the matter. We have to go on with the proposals. Had the present Administration of Papua and New Guinea been allowed to continue gradually educating the native people, with the full co-operation of the indigenes, in the way in which the Administration has been educating them, the native people would have advanced to a much higher standard of living than they will do under the Foot proposals. However, development is now to be hurried.
As the honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Falkinder) said, the members of the United Nations body did not remain in New Guinea long enough to understand the true state of affairs there. Whether or not the committee had stayed longer, it is very doubtful whether a suitable formula for the advancement of the native people would have been arrived at. After all, Sir Hugh Foot, I think, is an outstanding socialist, and is suspect in a lot of these things. Another member of the United Nations investigating body came from a South American republic with no background of liberty or democracy, and I do not think that the remaining member could be of great service, either. Unfortunately, this was a United Nations body. If we look at the results of participation by the United Nations in affairs relating to other parts of the world, we cannot help but be very doubtful about what will happen in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. We have the examples of the intervention by the United Nations in the Congo and in other places, where people have suffered very greatly from the winds of change mentioned by my friend, the honorable member for Hughes.
I should like to mention particularly the uncertainty over the future in New Guinea and, I believe, to some degree in Papua, as a result of our having to rely on decisions by the United Nations - decisions over which we have no control. Already, a United Nations body has made a report and that report is to be implemented. Who knows whether, in a few more years, there may be other such reports and other indications by the United Nations that we may eventually have to get out of New Guinea? There are many Australian settlers there who are giving the Territory the benefit of their knowledge, technical know-how and capital and playing their part in educating the natives and advancing their economy. I admit that most of the Australian settlers are doing very well in the process. They have gone to New Guinea to make their future there on rubber plantations, cattle properties and properties of other kinds. Many settlers, particularly men from Queensland, are now branching out into cattle in the Territory and have taken large numbers of cattle across there. These are men with great experience of the land. They will have all sorts of problems in this tropical area, but I believe that they are making a success of their efforts and that they will continue to be successful.
The activities that I have mentioned represent only a fraction of the various enterprises being undertaken in New Guinea. Any one who has been there cannot fail to be impressed by the feeling of insecurity among the settlers. They do not know what their future will be. I believe that it is up to this Government to institute some sort of scheme to compensate settlers for the loss of their investments in New Guinea and, for that matter, in Papua.
The interests of officials of the Administration of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, too, should be looked after. I believe that it would be quite easy for this Government, without very great expense, to safeguard the future of Territory, officials. Anybody who has been to the Territory cannot fail to be very much impressed by the men and women - many of them young - who have gone to the Territory to give their services to the Administration. Probably, their rights could be safeguarded by guaranteeing that they will be absorbed into our own Public Service if the day comes when they are no longer wanted in the Territory. However, I do not know enough of those things to say what should be done. I am not an expert on those matters. But I do not think that it would be very difficult to find a way of safeguarding the future of the officials of the Administration. They are dedicated people who have taken their families with them to New Guinea. I ask honorable members to put themselves in the place of the Territory officials and to imagine the effects of the uncertainty hanging over them in the event of the Territory coming under the control of the United Nations. Let us hope that the ideas of the United Nations will be far more successful in the future than they have been in the past.
I support the Minister for Territories in his efforts, Mr. Chairman. I believe that it is unfortunate that we have had to alter our methods in Papua and New Guinea and our programme for advancement there as a result of the Foot report, the implementation of which, I believe, will be detrimental to the people of New Guinea.
.- Mr. Chairman, the proposed votes for the Australian Territories are pitiably inadequate, and the time allotted for discussion of this group of estimates fails hopelessly to provide for the urgency of the circumstances. The task of developing our territories by bringing self-government and political advancement to the indigenous people of New Guinea and by developing the north of Australia is a challenging and urgent one. I would have expected, at this time when so much consideration is being given to these important matters by people outside Australia, that the Australian Parliament would have the problems of Australia’s territories in the forefront of consideration.
The Northern Territory of Australia, administratively, should be separated from the external territories. I see no reason why the Territory of Papua and New Guinea and other external territories should be linked, in matters of administration, with the north of Australia. The problems of northern Australia are problems of home, of the Australian nation, for the Northern Territory is part of the mainland. I made that observation, Mr. Chairman, not because 1 have any grievance over the administration of the present Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck). I believe that he is probably the best suited and best fitted of all the Ministers in this Government to deal with the territories. But I believe that the external and internal territories should be separated administratively and that northern Australia should be dealt with no differently from any other part of the Australian mainland.
The development of northern Australia stands as a great challenge to this Government and the people of Australia. This Government’s failure to grapple with the problems of essential development is a blot on its record. There is no plan for national development or political advancement in northern Australia. The only policy is one of stultification and opposing those people in the north who would like to advance and come of age politically in the true sense. I look for plans for the development of northern Australia and for ensuring the wellbeing of the people there as well as the security of that part of Australia, but there are no such plans.
A number of honorable members have mentioned the inadequacy of the proposed vote for the Northern Territory. Provision is made for re-votes totalling £2,652,000 in 1962-63 for capital works and services. This sort of thing goes on year in and year out, because money that should have been spent in one financial year is put into revotes in the next financial year. How can we have effective development while we have no plan for development and while we fail to spend the funds voted for expenditure by the National Parliament?
– We plan deliberately to have re-votes.
– That sort of thing misleads the nation, Mr. Chairman. It could easily mislead the Parliament as to the actual amount being spent. I would much prefer the Government to say, “ This is the amount of new money being found for the development, the administration and capital works in the Northern Territory “. But that is not the picture presented to the Parliament.
Water conservation is one of the most urgent needs in the Northern Territory. Quite recently in this place, Sir, you heard a debate on another important matter - flood mitigation, particularly in a part of New South Wales. We were all quite excited about that matter and wanted some action taken. But when one looks at the Estimates and finds that the national Government has failed to do anything about water conservation in its own territory, what hope is there for flood mitigation in northern New South Wales, no matter how courageously the honorable member for Cowper (Mr. McGuren) puts the case?
Of all the urgent needs for the Northern Territory, water conservation has first priority. Transportation has second priority and land policy has third priority. On the matter of a land policy, we find that large areas such as Alroy Downs and Dalmore Downs are being amalgamated. Great principalities are being merged. The Government failed to provide a war service land settlement scheme for the people of the north. An honorable member this afternoon made some vague reference to a land programme that will be evolved some time in the future. I know the Minister cannot be held responsible for all these matters, but I do say that of all the failures in the north, the failure to administer lands properly stands out as the most scandalous.
In the north, there is an obvious feeling of frustration and dissatisfaction. How could it be otherwise, when one looks at the political development of the north? We have a Legislative Council made up of an Administrator, six official nominated representatives, three non-official nominated representatives and only eight elected representatives. Ten people are nominated and eight are elected. This is the form of democracy that the honorable member for the Northern Territory (Mr. Nelson) has consistently condemned in this place. He has called upon the Government to correct this situation. Is it any wonder that the Parliament recently received, thanks largely to the honorable member for the Northern Territory, a remonstrance from the Legislative Council? This remonstrance brought to the attention of the Parliament and the nation the shortcomings and the failures of the Government. Is it any wonder that the Legislative Council’s feeling of impotence is shared by people throughout the whole of the Northern Territory? They have a feeling of uneasiness and dissatisfaction. They have lost faith in the area, in the country and in Canberra, because remote control from Canberra does not permit the development of the north as it ought to be developed. If this country is to advance, we must develop among the people of the north a feeling that they belong there, that they should continue to live there, that their children will be born there and that they will be true Territorians. This is the sort of development that I would like to have.
Let us look again at the matter of the Legislative Council. Despite the preponderance of nominated representatives, the decisions made by the council are vetoed and thrown out by this Government. This is a most unhappy state of affairs and is responsible for the feeling of frustration that grips the people of the north. If the Legislative Council lacks the power and the authority to govern the area, where can the people turn when they want representation? They turn, of course, to the honorable member for the Northern Territory, who comes to the Parliament pleading for the people he represents and presenting cases of unquestioned value on their behalf. But after having spoken for the people, he is obliged to sit on the sideline without a vote. That is not the fault of the honorable member for the Northern Territory; it is the direct responsibility of the Government. The Government has failed to give the honorable member for the Northern Territory a vote so that he can provide adequate representation for thepeople of the north.
It is little wonder, therefore, that the Legislative Council should have sent the remonstrance to the Parliament drawing attention to the manner in which it is frustrated, denied representation and deprived of an opportunity to develop the area. Perhaps this would be a suitable document to be incorporated’ in “ Hansard “ as a record of the views of the Legislative Council. It is not for this Parliament to allow this valuable document to go without being recognized as a true representation of the views of the Legislative Council and of all the people of the north. Attention is directed to the fact that the area has not been developed, that there has not been political advancement and that the people lack a voting representative. I ask that the remonstrance be incorporated in “ Hansard “.
– Is leave granted?
– Leave is not granted.
– Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The record will show that leave was denied to have this valuable document incorporatedin “ Hansard “.
– The document is available to every honorable member.
– All I can say is that for the purposes of history the document might have been incorporated. The fact that it has not been incorporated is to be deplored. I regret this very much, but I am obliged to accept the attitude of the Minister. The Minister has given his decision and it is not for the Parliament now to canvass it. That is the decision, and the Minister is responsible for it.
I should like once again to pay a warm tribute to the honorable member for the Northern Territory for what he has done in representing the people of the north in the Parliament. The people who live in this vast area plead through their member that something be done. His vote is important if democracy is to exist in the north. I can only hope that his insistent plea for full voting rights, together with the plea of other honorable members, will be heeded in the long run.
Mr. Chairman, I believe that this debate should be continued. It should not close without a fuller discussion not only of the Northern Territory but also of our other Territories. The matter of Papua and New Guinea has not been presented to the Parliament in the manner that it should have been presented. Although some mention has been made in the press that there will be an official inquiry by most eminent people, I believe that an inquiry by this Parliament should be made into these affairs. I seriously suggest to the Minister that the political and cultural advancement of the people of Papua and New Guinea should be the subject of an inquiry by the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia. A committee should be elected from both sides of the Parliament and both Houses of the Parliament. If this were done, we would be able, fortified with the views expressed in the report tendered to the Legislative Council in Port Moresby, to look at these matters in a much better way.
What has happened in the past is not good enough. I do not want here to decry the developments that have occurred or to say an unkind word of the public servants. I pay tribute to the public servants of the
Territories of Papua and New Guinea, the Northern Territory and the Territories generally for their dedicated work in trying to represent this country in the Territories. They have done a grand job. But it is not good enough that only twelve natives of a total membership of 49 are at present sitting in the Legislative Council in Port Moresby. That is a most unsatisfactory state of affairs. The indigenous people were in the majority in the legislative body in Hollandia under the Dutch.
We must show some realism in our approach to the development not only of Papua and New Guinea but of all our Territories. An inquiry such as I have recommended could be held with profit. The natives are entitled to preponderance in representation. If they were represented in their Parliament in greater numbers, the Parliament could more effectively give expression to the feelings of the indigenous people.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- Mr. Chairman-
Motion (by Mr. Townley) put -
That the question be now put.
The committee divided. (The Chairman- Mr. P. E. Lucock.)
Majority . . . . 3
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Proposed votes agreed to.
Sitting suspended from 6.1 to 8 p.m.
– by leave - Mr. Speaker, the Prime Ministers’ Conference which began in London on 10th September was, in its own way, an historic event. I can well remember the time when there were five Prime Ministers sitting around the table. On this occasion, no less than sixteen nations were directly represented, most of them by Prime Ministers, but two of them by Ministers. Those who enjoyed direct and full membership of the conference - I am not taking them in any particular order - were the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Malaya, Ceylon, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanganyika, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Cyprus, while, following practice established in the past, the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was represented by the Prime Minister, Sir Roy Welensky. In addition, such countries as Malta, Singapore and Uganda were represented by their Prime Ministers, sitting as observers. This was therefore the largest Prime Minister’s Conference in history.
We met in Marlborough House, the famous palace designed by Christopher Wren. We met, therefore, in a place which was, itself, full of history, and old history at that, but we were making new history. Out in Pall Mall there were many people standing about with placards and banners, most of which, at a glance, appeared to express opposition to the Common Market. The press gave great space to the proceedings, most of the newspapers being, as far as I could judge, strongly in favour of Britain’s entry into the Common Market.
Now, in so large and diverse a gathering, it would not be reasonable to expect any high measure of unanimity. We were met to consider a great economic problem which is also a great political problem. But on the economic side, there is an extraordinary mixture of interests. The countries of Asia were largely concerned with such commodities as tea, cotton textiles, jute goods, and other products of their developing industries; the African countries with tropica! products; the West Indian countries with tropical products, including sugar, in which, of course, Australia has a very material and indeed essential interest. Canada, Australia and New Zealand were largely concerned with temperate foodstuffs, with raw materials, including certain metals, and with manufactures. Australia was also concerned with the way in which the products of Papua-New Guinea would be treated, including such products as copra and coco-nut oil. The countries of Asia were made offers which included the negotiation of special trade treaties between them and the European Economic Community. The African and West Indian countries were offered associate status under the Treaty of Rome, although most of them expressed unwillingness to accept it. One has only to mention these problems even briefly to realize that we were not discussing at any given moment, any particular commodity in which we all had an interest; it became increasingly important to divide the proceedings into committee stages in which the nations interested in particular commodities could take part.
Under these circumstances, it is not so remarkable that we failed to produce an agreed statement on all of the economic matters involved, as it is that we were able to produce a communique at all.
I should say at once that the conference did not produce anything particularly new. Yet I do think it quite important that certain of its features should be put on record. Mr. Macmillan, in opening the conference, made a speech of great lucidity, a speech which expressed views which clearly he held very strongly. I thought that he made it quite clear that the Government of the United Kingdom had come to the conclusion that entry into the European Economic Community was of essential importance to Great Britain for both political and economic reasons. He stated quite explicitly that Great Britain could not expect to have any steady influence on the formulation of community policy from the outside. He thought it reasonable to suppose that if Great Britain were a member of the community, its influence would be important and might be decisive. He thought that if Great Britain remained outside the community, it would be inevitable that the realities of power would cause the United States to attach increasing weight to the views and interest of The Six and other countries who might accede to them. He thought it inevitable that the United States and the community would concert policy on major issues without the same regard for British views and interests as present relationships with Washington afford. He felt quite clearly that to lose influence, both in Washington and Europe, would seriously detract from British standing and would greatly impair the usefulness of Great Britain to the Commonwealth.
I need not elaborate these matters. It is clear - and we should conduct all our own examination on this footing - that the Government of the United Kingdom has worked hard on the problem and has, under present circumstances, come to the con clusion that entry into the community is something which must be achieved for the future of Great Britain and, in its view, the future of the free world.
As honorable members know, we have never assumed to sit in judgment on this point. We see the arguments quite plainly, and we appreciate, quite soberly, their weight. Yet, as every Prime Minister at the conference agreed, the ultimate decision on these matters will be one for the United Kingdom and not for us. I will return to this matter, Sir, at a later stage in order to express with more particularity the views which I offered on behalf of Australia.
On the economic side, Mr. Macmillan said that his colleagues and he felt sure that the consequences of joining the Common Market would benefit Britain from the economic angle. This, again, as it related to Britain, was a matter for their decision. As I said in my final remarks at the conference, we could not sit in judgment on that issue because there must be a mass of economic arguments for consideration, pro and con, with which we are not acquainted but which have, no doubt, been taken into account by British Ministers. It would therefore be as wrong for us to be offering an uninformed approval as it would be quite wrong for us to offer a blank opposition to the decision which, in principle, they have made.
Towards the end of his opening speech, Mr. Macmillan made a point to which I later on referred, myself. It is a point of considerable moment when we come to consider the effect that British joining will have on the existing structure of the Commonwealth. He recognized that, on the political side, the community will either break up or grow stronger. This, of course, is quite true. I am not aware of any history of confederations or political associations in which there has not been either a tendency to break up or a tendency to become more concerted. I know of no example of such an association which merely stood still. Recognizing this, Mr. Macmillan said that he believes that the European Community would be more likely to develop and to grow in political strength than to fall apart.
The Prime Minister was followed by Mr. Heath, the Lord Privy Seal, who is the principal negotiator in these matters with the community. Mr. Heath gave us, with great lucidity and care, an account of the progress in the negotiations in all their various fields. That he has been unflagging in concentrated hard work and devotion is quite clear. We all had a great respect for him and his work.
In the case of the Asian countries and the African countries, considerable progress had occurred in negotiations. In the case of ourselves and Canada and New Zealand, the progress made has been extremely limited. In our own case, for example, there have been considerable discussions about world commodity agreements with particular reference to wheat. But on the other large matters that concern us, there was no progress to be reported. This means that in the negotiations which are now being resumed, very important Australian interests will be under consideration in relation to meat, dairy products, processed fruit, sugar, metals and so on. In other words, it would have been impossible for any Australian Prime Minister to give a general benediction to the British proposal to enter Europe, because we will not know for some time yet the terms that are to be secured for these important export commodities of ours. Until we know those terms, we will not be in a position to size up the effects for us of the bargain that is made.
Having said these things, I would like to say something more particularly about our approach to what I will call the Commonwealth problem. I endeavoured to analyse the matter in this way. Did the United Kingdom expect Australia, in a matter so full of implications for her, and with so many factors as yet entirely unsolved, to pronounce a general benediction on the enterprise? This, I said, was, of course, completely out of the question. Should we, going to the other extreme, object in principle to British entry? Should we simplify the problem by saying that whatever the conditions might be, Great Britain should not enter the European Community? Again I said that we could not possibly put ourselves in the position of objecting in principle, even though we had reservations in respect of the possible implications for the Commonwealth itself. But those reservations would not lead us into a position of blind opposition. The whole decision was one of historic and almost revolutionary importance. It would fall for decision by the Mother Nation, a nation of 50,000,000 people, of great power and prestige and experience. It would not, under these circumstances, be appropriate for us to seek to dictate.
These two extreme views being thus disposed of, I pointed out that how Australia at the final stages would regard the terms of the entry, as distinct from the entry itself, was a question which no Australian government could answer in advance. On the contrary, we must completely reserve judgment.
I then went on to explain more closely the nature of what I regarded as the Commonwealth problem. The Commonwealth, of course, has sustained many changes. In the days of the Balfour Declaration and the Statute of Westminster, it was a community of independent and autonomous States, equal in all things but united by a common allegiance to the Throne. The common allegiance has gone, except in the case of the monarchial nations, like our own. The Commonwealth has become a loose association of nations who value their friendship with each other, who recognize, for the purpose of their association, even though they be republics, that the Queen is head of the Commonwealth, and who, with some notable exceptions, enjoy somewhat similar institutions and traditions of government. But it is still true, however tenuous the nature of the association, that each member is, itself, sovereign and independent.
Now, what effect upon this body of ideas will be made by British accession to the Treaty of Rome? I am going to state the views which I put to the conference because the House has a right to know what they were. But I want to to make it quite clear that whatever my views about the effect of accession upon the structure of the Commonwealth, I was not, and am not, prepared to say that Australia should seek to exercise a veto or use its not inconsiderable influence to persuade Great Britain not to go in on any terms.
The European Economic Community is, of course, at present far from being a federation. It clearly hopes to have a closer political union. Indeed, if it did not, it would be self-defeating. One of the great intended virtues of the European Community association is that its very existence and its mutual functioning will tend to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, those old hostilities in Western Europe which have twice in this century brought the world to the brink of disaster. Every European statesman will, therefore, naturally wish to see a closer and closer integration of political policies and a closer and closer economic co-operation. Under the policies now operating, there are large fiscal considerations. A common external tariff needs to be collected and this will mean very great sums of money presumably coming into some central treasury. Variable levies will be imposed on certain imports. These again will have to be collected and handled. Inevitably there will be at the centre of the community a large financial and administrative organization exercising functions which, as we see them, are functions of government. They are not likely to be left indefinitely to officials, since the control of such great matters by a central bureaucracy would be inconsistent with British democratic ideas.
It seems to me, therefore, probable that, unless the association disintegrates, there must be, at the centre, more and more a body of elected persons exercising the powers and performing the administration involved in the further working of the Treaty of Rome.
The British Government says, and I have no doubt with the utmost good faith, that it is not contemplating a federation in Europe, that it looks at its political association in ad hoc terms, with periodical discussions between Prime . Ministers, Foreign Ministers and the like, but without the creation of federal institutions. I sincerely hope that it works out this way. But I keep remembering the undoubted truth of the proposition that political associations do not tend to stand still, that they go forward until they assume what we would call a federal structure, or even a complete union in certain cases, or they come apart.
The next point that I made was that, should the day come when the European Community became a federation - I emphasize that word - with Great Britain as a constituent State, then Great Britain would cease to be a sovereign community. It would assume a position quite different from that which is now occupies or from that which is occupied by Canada or Australia or any of the rest of us. My point was that in a federation, no State retains complete sovereignty; the sovereignty is, in a sense, divided. Each may exercise sovereign powers within its own field, but some of its sovereignty is shorn off and put into the central federal authority. I took the opportunity of referring to the fact that this great issue of State sovereignty was at the very heart of the American Civil War. There had, in that country, been several schools of thought. One was that when the federation was established, the States preserved their full sovereignty and that that sovereignty was paramount to the rights of the union. Another school of thought was that State sovereignty was suspended by the union, but was capable of revival by secession. And the third school of thought was that State sovereignty as a unitary whole was finally renounced when the union was effected. There can be no doubt whatever that the third view was established by the Civil War. If it had not triumphed, then the United States of America would have achieved nothing like the cohesion, and strength, and growth that it has since this disastrous episode.
It seemed to me no more feasible to say that Great Britain’s position in the Commonwealth would be unaffected by participation as a constituent State in a European federation than it would be to say that Australia could join another great federation and still remain an independent sovereign member of the British Commonwealth. Now, of course, one answer to all this - and it has been clearly made in London - is that Great Britain has no intention of going into a federation. I repeat that this must be accepted, and that if she does not, then much of the comment which I have made disappears. I think that twenty years ago I might have become more impassioned about this matter, but the Commonwealth has changed a lot since then. Its association has become much looser. For most of its members, the association is, in a sense, functional and occasional. The old hopes of concerting common policies have gone. Under these circumstances, it may well prove to be the fact that even if federation should be achieved in Western Europe, the anomalous position of Great Britain in the Commonwealth which would then emerge, would be regarded as no more anomalous than many other things which have been accepted, and with which we have learned to live. In any event, so far as Australia is concerned, nothing can shake us in our allegiance to the Throne, an allegiance which will always give us a very special relationship to many other millions of people in Great Britain and elsewhere.
If I have devoted a great deal of time and thought to these aspects of the matter, it has not been with any desire to be pedantic or obstructive. I have merely felt it my duty not to let a great and crucial Commonwealth event occur without some record of our basic views, at least of my own. For the truth is that any argument of principle, any exposition of the hard practical realities of the federal system, any traditional feelings we have, must yield the ground when it appears, as it does, that with all these considerations before it, the Government of the United Kingdom has decided the political issue in favour of going into Europe. It is an historic decision. It involves great possibilities of advantage and disadvantage. There are material economic risks for us, to which I will return a little later. But, in the eye of the world, the major problem is for Great Britain. Should she find that her voice in Europe is less influential than she hopes, and that alien political and constitutional ideas prevail, her risks are clear. Should the economic balance turn out to be to her disadvantage, her risks are clear. Her government has considered all these matters, and has made a decision, at least in principle.
Under these circumstances, I felt strongly that we should not lodge an objection in principle, saying, “ Whatever the terms, you must not do this! “ We have no right to say it. We have no desire to say it. On the contrary, when the negotiations have ended, and our consultations are ended, we will be well entitled to assess and state the economic effects for Australia. But on the great issue we will hope and pray that the British judgment proves right, and that a stronger, more concerted Europe will result, with advantages for the peace and prosperity of the world. This has been, of course, a difficult and anxious exercise. The temptation to engage in dogma has had to be resisted. While it has been, and still is, essential for us to battle for the best economic conditions for Australia, we have felt called upon to be careful not to create any impression that ours are the only interests involved, or to seek to force Great Britain into political or economic judgments which, in her considered view, might prove disastrous to her.
In the end result, therefore, we devoted much time, and will devote much more over the next few months, to the protection and expansion of our own development and trade. We have avoided hard and fast ideas; we have not just sought, vainly, to preserve the status quo. For Great Britain simply cannot secure admission to Europe taking with her the existing structure of British Commonwealth preferential trade. But we have sought fair and reasonable opportunities to sell, at remunerative prices, to Britain and Europe the commodities we can produce efficiently. We have, indeed, construed the British undertakings to us, oft repeated, as meaning this. We will be bitterly disappointed if events turn out otherwise. In short, we have pursued a pragmatic approach to the economic problem, treating the political problem as one which is now beyond our jurisdiction, and making constructive proposals on the economic side. As I said to the conference - to quote a short passage from my speech -
If Commonwealth members, as individual nations, can have secured for them terms and conditions of trade which hold out a genuine prospect of increased access to the enlarged European Community at payable prices, and if Great Britain is right in thinking that overall increased trade with Europe will result from the enlargement of Europe, the Commonwealth changes will bo accepted by many people, for purely practical reasons.
I turn, therefore, to those aspects of the economic problem which affect Australia. The facts are that, both before and during the London conference, we pursued a reasoned and reasonable course. It has to be remembered that Australia is not a party to the negotiations. Britain and The Six are the only negotiating parties. We have made clear both to Britain and The Six the nature and extent of our interests and have made constructive proposals towards safeguarding those interests. We have been positive in our approach. As I have said, we did not seek to retain the status quo. But, as so much of our export industry has been developed to satisfy trade outlets in a special Commonwealth structure, we have sought conditions which will preserve our access to Great Britain and the enlarged Common Market, will enable that access to grow as the community grows and prospers, and will secure such access at price-levels which will allow Australia’s export industries to grow and prosper. All this is quite fair. It is not greedy. It is not asking for guaranteed prosperity. It is not dogmatic or unreasonable. It merely says that, as the Treaty of Rome aims at increasing domestic prosperity, and an increase in world trade, Australia is entitled, in exchange for the British preferences she now enjoys, to her fair share in an increasing world trade on terms which will contribute to her own continued development. This is where we make our stand.
I interpolate at this stage - because some honorable members may not have come across this fact - that quite a few commentators in London seemed to think that preferences operate only one way. This is, of course, completely wrong. It has been a system of great mutuality. As I pointed out at the conference, and as my colleague pointed out in an answer to a question to-day, Australian trade with Great Britain has for a number of years shown a substantial balance in favour of Britain - a balance to which tariff preferences on British goods passing into Australia have made a substantial contribution. There is, of course, a view that even if Britain entered the Common Market on terms which, initially, involved some cost for us, it would be all for our good in the not so very long run because of the great increase in prosperity it would bring to Britain and to the other Common Market countries. All 1 say about that, Mr. Speaker, is that it cannot be taken for granted. I pointed this out in London. True enough, if countries abroad, whether they be in Europe or anywhere else, grow in respect of population and industrial output and general demand for goods, there is at least a first expectation that they will need more of the sort of things we produce - foodstuffs and raw materials and the like - and so our exports to them should increase. But it does not necessarily happen that way; not unless the other great condition is fulfilled. Growth and prosperity in industrialized countries may not mean very much to us if, instead of taking more of our commodities, they set out to produce them for themselves behind protective barriers.
Have we reason to fear such a result in the case of the Common Market, enlarged by the accession of Great Britain? At least we have had some rather discouraging experience in recent years. For while growth in the E.E.C. countries during recent times has been very rapid, that unhappily is not true of our exports to them nor indeed of the exports of other primary-producing countries to them.
I may be allowed to quote a few figures to illustrate this’. Between 1957 and 1961 - I take 1957 because that was the year of the Treaty of Rome - industrial production in the E.E.C. countries rose by 30 per cent. - outdistancing the growth of world industrial production through that period by 10 per cent. - 11 per cent., I think, to be precise. In the same years, however, exports of sterling area countries, other than Great Britain, to the E.E.C. countries rose by only 4 per cent. To other parts of the world they rose by a good deal more than this.
I have taken first this group of sterling area countries - mainly exporters of primary commodities - because they are a widespread group and therefore diversified.
If we look at our own country alone we find that, through these four years when industrial output in the European Economic Community rose by 30 per cent. - a quite remarkable increase - Australia’s exports to them actually fell from £236,000,000 in 1957 to £168,000,000 in 1961- a decrease of 29 per cent.
I know that particular factors contributed to this fall - notably the decline during that period in the price of wool, which we sell in substantial quantities to Europe. But the larger fact remains - while industrial production in that region was growing at a quite remarkable rate, our exports to it did not increase at all - they fell quite heavily as the terms of trade moved against us.
We therefore cannot lightly assume a ready and certain compensation for any loss we might suffer from British accession to the European Economic Community through a lift in the prosperity of Western Europe - including Great Britain. Because the hard fact is that, as a first consequence of that act, there would be not a lowering of barriers to our trade but, in the case of Great Britain, a raising of them.
We are not alone in our desire for access and a fair price stability. Our discussions with the American Administration, both through the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) and myself and the permanent head of our Department of Trade, have clearly established two things.
The first is that the United States of America as a non-member of the European Community, like ourselves, shares our lively interest in avoiding a state of affairs in which Europe becomes economically self-sufficient or inward-looking. As exporting countries, we are both profoundly interested in maintaining and expanding our access to an expanded European Market at payable but not extravagant prices.
The second is that, armed with the new powers of negotiation created by the Trade Expansion Act, the American Administration can contribute powerfully to negotiations with Europe designed to achieve the first objective.
Suggestions of panic, sometimes heard in Australia, are absurd. We are a sturdy and resourceful people.
– I am sorry, but I am speaking for my supporters when I say that we are a sturdy and resourceful people. If you boys do not agree with that, get out and tell the people that you are not in agreement with it. We have fought and will fight our battles in the world markets with vigour and determination. But we will not silently abandon positions which have been hard won and strenuously sustained. There are many communities in Australia - perhaps honorable members opposite will disagree with this, too - largely dependent upon the British market. We cannot regard any of them as expendable. We will await the results of the negotiations, having in mind our own legitimate interests and the adequate safeguards which have been promised to us.
What then, is the position as it stood disclosed at the end of the conference, and stated in the final communique? I will not try to answer this question in detail. But I should say at this stage that while the Minister for Trade and I have been involved in the political and economic aspects of the Common Market, the Treasurer, in London, New York and Washington, was concerned with the special financial aspects of the problem. He was able to encourage and to report a rapidly growing interest in the problems of primary exporting countries, and the need for effective international commodity agreements. I hope that the House will have the opportunity of hearing from him on these matters.
On the trade side, my colleague, Mr. McEwen, will fill many of the gaps in my present record. I take this opportunity to say that the Australian public will perhaps never fully know the full measure of the devotion he has shown, with no consideration of health or personal comfort, to the task of forwarding our interests in these great matters.
Broadly, the first thing to record is that, save for “ hard manufactures “ and cereals, with particular reference to wheat, Australia’s exports have so far not been negotiated with The Six, though they have, of course, been extensively discussed between Australia and the United Kingdom. In this category fall substantial items such as beef and veal, mutton and Iamb, sugar, butter and cheese, metals, dried and canned fruits, wine and fresh fruits and leather. We cannot at present prophesy the outcome of the negotiations. Plainly, we cannot comment on unknown results. But we can and do say that anything like a phasing out of our present preferences and agreements by 1970 without some other proper provision for preserving our market opportunities, would be vigorously resisted by us.
– What are you going to do?
– When I say “ by us “ I should think honorable members would realize that I mean “ by Australia “. When these negotiations are nearing conclusion, it is agreed that we can have further conferences on the ministerial level, either by ourselves or in concert with other interested countries.
The second feature concerns the making of international commodity agreements. Australia has, for some years, been perhaps the leading advocate of such agreements, driven on by the steady decline in her terms of trade. It has become, particularly in recent years, a characteristic of world trade that countries exporting primary products have seen a steady decline in the world price of these products, while their imports from the highly industrialized countries of Europe and America have risen in price. I will give one example. In the decade 1951-61, Australia’s export prices fell by 42 per cent., while import prices rose 6 per cent.
Under these circumstances, it has not surprised us in the past to encounter on the part of some overseas countries, including Britain, considerable reluctance to make commodity agreements designed to produce a stable and payable price level for primary exports.
In our London discussions, we asked for a dynamic approach to the negotiation of international commodity agreements. We argued that principles be followed on price, on production, and on trade access, and on a commodity-by-commodity basis, which would encourage maximum consumption, which would discourage uneconomic production, and which would offer security of access and stability of prices at a level remunerative to efficient producing countries. We argued that the internal price policies of the enlarged community should be such as not to stimulate internal production so as to reduce the access of outside suppliers to their traditional markets or so as to prevent the expansion of commercial imports as consumption levels rose.
We urged that talks between major countries interested in particular commodities should be called at an earlier date, and certainly before the United Kingdom made its decision whether or not to enter the European Economic Community. For instance, we said that we thought that the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade cereals group might resume its discussion on wheat in the early part of next year. This would enable the possibilities as to the way in which arrangements for individual commodities might work out in detail to be decided in actual negotiations.
We realized that in none of these matters could Britain declare a policy on behalf of the community. What we sought to do, was to secure on the part of the British Government a full comprehension of our views and of our trade needs so that they would be reflected and pressed in full degree in the further negotiations. We indicated in a variety of ways that the forum of Gatt should be used wherever practicable - reconvening of its cereals group, the discussion of the community’s price policy, the negotiation, in a manner analagous to tariffs, of levies on agricultural products. We pressed this argument with vigour, especially in relation to the levels of world commodity prices.
In the result, though we did not secure full acceptance of our views, I think it right to say that a material step in the right direction was taken at the conference, with, in clear terms, the full concurrence of Great Britain. Thus, in paragraph 9 of the communique, a paragraph in which the expression “ Commonwealth Governments “ in* eludes the United Kingdom, it is stated -
To meet the needs of the producers of agricultural commodities, Commonwealth Governments will support policies and initiatives designed to maintain and expand world trade in these commodities and to improve the organization of the world market in a manner fair alike to producers and to consumers. They will support a fresh and vigorous approach to the negotiation of international commodity agreements to this end. In any such approach, principles of price, production and trade access would need to be applied, on a commodity-by-commodity basis, so as to encourage maximum consumption without over-stimulating production and to offer to efficient producing countries adequate access and stable prices at a fair and reasonable level.
Those are the words of the communique, and they are a statement of the policy to be fully adopted and pursued by the United Kingdom Government.
Later on, in paragraph 12, which was inserted by the request of the British Government as setting out in summary form its own attitude, it is stated -
Thirdly, as regards temperate products, the enlarged Community would make, at the time of British accession, two important declarations. One would express their intention to initiate discussions on international commodity agreements for temperate foodstuffs on a world-wide basis. It would recognize the greatly increased responsibilities of the enlarged Community by reason of its predominant position amongst world importers. The second declaration would relate to the price policy of the Community. While taking appropriate measures to raise the individual earnings of those engaged in agriculture in the Community, the Community would do its utmost to contribute to a harmonious development of world trade providing for a satisfactory level of trade between the Community and other countries, including Commonwealth countries. British Ministers considered that the policy which the enlarged Community intended to pursue would offer reasonable opportunities in its markets for exports of temperate agricultural products.
I read that paragraph because, just as the first expressed the particular concurrence of the United Kingdom, the one I have just read expressed the views of *he community itself as to opportunities through the United Kingdom.
At the conference, Sir, references were quite frequently made to the need for trade not aid. But “ Trade not Aid “ needs to be more than a slogan. The practical problem is well expressed in paragraph 7 of the communique, which stated -
They note with concern that trade and industry in the developing countries, as well as in some of the more developed countries which are large producers of primary products for export, have been adversely affected by widely fluctuating commodity prices and a progressive worsening of the terms of trade. They see this as a problem which calls for progressive policies in relation to international trade and finance so that demand for the products of those countries can be sustained and increased, and larger and more dependable trade outlets assured to them.
We have, throughout, emphasized our belief that the expenditure of many millions on aid to developing countries defeats itself if the products of those countries are excluded from the markets of the donor countries. In other words, aid tends to defeat itself unless it increases trade. Commodity trading agreements which raised the price and increased the access of the export commodities of what I will call the new world, by even a small percentage, would be of more value, for development and goodwill, than all the financial grants put together. If the proposed declarations about commodity trading agreements are vigorously followed up, with the prospective co-operation of the United States of America under its new trade expansion law, some of our own problems may be resolved and the world’s trade will be on the way to becoming healthier and better balanced.
Sir, before I conclude, I would like to return to what is, in hard fact, the core of the problem. That problem is access to the enlarged Europe, and fair prices. The European Economic Community as at present constituted arrives at its own price structure and mechanism. If Great Britain enters, she will be a party to these decisions. Are these to be arrived at without reference to outside suppliers? We believe that there should be, in a periodical way, consultation between the community and exporters like ourselves. We see the established machinery of Gatt as ready-made for this purpose. Failing such consultation, we see, in the European market, a precarious future for our exports. We believe that Great Britain understands this problem and that, in Europe, she will exercise her influence in the direction which we seek. But there is a great responsibility on the present negotiators.
We took the opportunity, in London, of reminding all of those concerned that The Six had a great responsibility not to insist upon conditions of British entry which would weaken either the growing members of the Commonwealth or the cohesion of the Commonwealth itself. We thought that the present community should be aware that it “ grand design “ of growing economic strength and the furtherance of international trade and prosperity could wholly or partly be defeated if the interests of the Commonwealth, so essential to that grand design, were either set aside or materially prejudiced.
In the result, the communique included the statement -
The representatives of the other Commonwealth countries . . . expressed their hope that the members of the European Economic Community will wish to preserve and encourage a strong and growing Commonwealth, in furtherance of their own ideals of an expanding and peaceful world order.
Sir, all I need to do is to add, for Australia, that the next few fateful months will show whether that hope is to be realized.
I lay on the table the following paper: -
Prime Ministers’ Conference, London, September, 1962, and the Common Market - Ministerial Statement - and move -
That the paper be printed.
Motion (by Mr. Townley) - by leave - agreed to -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) making his speech without limitation of time.
- Mr. Speaker, I thank the House for its indulgence in affording me an opportunity to speak without limitation of time on the subject-matter now before the Chair. First of all, let me say that I have very thoroughly read the statements made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) on the European Common Market in 1961 and earlier this year, and I read this evening’s statement thoroughly before it was made. The first statement to which I have referred was made in, I think, August of 1961. When I read it I was then convinced that the Prime Minister, in his own mind, really believed that the United Kingdom would be justified in entering the European Common Market. I concede that he also probably believed that it was essential in the interests of Australia to endeavour to make such arrangements as would protect the secondary and primary industries of this Commonwealth. This evening, Sir, I am satisfied that my judgment was not far wrong.
The speech made by the right honorable gentleman this evening indicated that the Menzies-McEwen Government has abdicated. It has given up the ghost; it has given up the fight. After all, the very core of the arguments and case submitted by Mr. Heath when the United Kingdom applied for admission to the European Economic Community was a promise that Britain would not enter that community unless and until the interests of the Commonwealth countries were protected. It is evident now that there is hardly the faintest shadow of doubt about whether the United Kingdom is hell-bent to join the Economic Community. If any one wants any evidence of that, let him have a look at the communique issued by the Prime Ministers after the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference in London a few weeks ago. There is no force in it. There is no strength in it. There is no emphasis in it. There is no fight in it. Compare it with the communique issued by the Right Honorable Hugh Gaitskell after the conference of members of the Commonwealth Labour parties and the international socialist conference in London on 8th September, 1962. My colleagues, Senator McKenna and the honorable member of Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean), were present in London at the time. That communique affirmed emphatically that the British Commonwealth Labour parties and the United Kingdom Labour Party itself will not support the entry of the United Kingdom to the European Common Market unless the terms of entry are less vague than they appear at present - in other words, unless, in concise and emphatic terms, the interests of the British Commonwealth nations are safeguarded. I will not elaborate on that statement at this stage.
The Parliament will recall that in August last, the Prime Minister intimated to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) that, as the Australian Labour Party was deeply concerned about the implications of Great Britain joining the Common Market, he was willing to arrange for members of the executive of the Parliamentary Labour Party to go abroad and examine the situation for themselves. On being assured that members of the party would be given complete freedom to interview whom they liked, go where they liked and say what they liked, the Opposition accepted the offer. We left Australia about the end of August and proceeded abroad. We insisted that whereever we went and wherever interviews were arranged for us with prominent personalities interested in the European Economic Community, in no circumstances would we be accompanied by any officer of the Australian Government. Therefore, we were at complete liberty to express any opinion or ask any question we liked of anybody we interviewed. On the other hand, the people we interviewed were at complete liberty to express themselves without the embarrassment of an officer of the Australian Government being present.
Everywhere we went, irrespective of political parties, economic interest or the interests of the country in which we found ourselves, the people we interviewed, whether or not they agreed with us, met us with utmost tolerance, courtesy and understanding. I really believe that to some extent there is now a better understanding of our problems than there was previously. I do not say that we made any definite impact; but we would not have been allowed to go abroad with the backing of the Commonwealth Government, I assume, if the Commonwealth Government and the Prime Minister himself had not thought we would have some desirable impact on the people we would meet in other parts of the world.
Naturally, we sought interviews with people holding similar political opinions in Europe, Asia and the United States of America to those held by members of the
Australian Labour Party. Wherever we went in Europe, Asia, the United States of America and Canada we found in the main that the social democratic parties, which are the equivalent of the Australian Labour Party, with such notable exceptions as Canada and Singapore, were as organizations strongly in favour of the European Common Market comprised of the six European countries with the added associate member, Greece.
We found, however, a differing opinion amongst members of the British Labour Party. We also found amongst many representative people in Great Britain very definite and very considerable hostility to Great Britain entering the Common Market. Subsequently, a conference was convened in London by Mr. Hugh Gaitskell, the leader of the British Labour Party. Representatives of Labour parties from all Commonwealth countries assembled at this conference. They came from Uganda, Barbados, St. Kitts, Mauritius, India, Singapore, Canada, New Zealand and so on. The New Zealand Labour Party was represented by Mr. Nash. After considerable discussion, a communique was issued expressing the unanimous opinion of delegates from Commonwealth Labour parties from all over the world that it was undesirable for the United Kingdom to enter the European Common Market until more definite undertakings were given that the interests of the British Commonwealth countries would be more amply protected than they were under the conditions offered by The Six up to that time.
That attitude is specific. It is definite. It means something. But the attitude of the Commonwealth Government at the moment does not mean anything. The Prime Minister referred to the statement of Mr. Macmillan, Prime Minister of Great Britain, that Great Britain’s influence outside the community could not be as decisive as its influence inside the community. The Prime Minister probably would not disagree with that view. In addition, Mr. Macmillan’: considered belief was that the United States and the community would concert policy on major issues. We all know that the United States has used its utmost influence to persuade the United Kingdom Government to enter the Common Market. Mr. Macmillan is also said to have expressed the opinion that to lose influence in Washington would detract from Britain’s standing. He came to the conclusion that entry must be achieved.
In view of all the statements that have been made, I feel certain that, except for a million-to-one chance, the Commonwealth Government believes that the United Kingdom Government will join the Common Market. The whole tenor of the Prime Minister’s speech to-night was that, in effect, the fight was over and the Government had abdicated. Lord Home, Foreign Secretary in the House of Lords, has said that the unity of Britain and Europe was necessary for the survival of the free world. That means that Great Britain should go in, come what may. On the other hand, Lord Alexander, a Labour peer, has said -
Any Minister in 1940 knew what the alternative would have been if, when all other sources of support had gone, Britain had not been able to depend on Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Lord Casey - our Australian Lord in the House of Lords - on the other hand said that if Britain remained outside the Common Market her influence as a world power would probably decline and with it that of the other Commonwealth members. Lord Casey is an associate of the members of this Government. Professor Holstein, who is president of the European Economic Community, said that if Britain wanted to join the Common Market she would have to accept it as it now stands.
The Government very kindly, through its capable representatives abroad, made arrangements for members of my party to meet many people in European countries. Generally speaking, representatives of European countries that are already in the European Economic Community were perfectly frank. Those Australians who are most directly concerned over Britain’s possible entry into the Common Market want to know what their positions will be. Let us look at the situation as far as France is concerned. She is already a member of the Common Market. It was my good fortune to spend a few days in France five years ago. On that occasion I had no particular mission to fulfil. I drove a motor car around for five days and I was depressed at the backward state of the French farming community. There was very little evidence of mechanization. Farming methods were almost as primitive in some respects as they were during the First World War. But on my trip abroad last month I drove from the borders of Belgium to Paris. I drove through the French farming community and I saw only one farm being worked by horses. All other farms that 1 saw had clustered around their farm buildings - it was the end of the harvest and the beginning of the new cultivation season - sets of agricultural implements as modern as you would see in any farming community in the world.
I spoke in Paris to a representative of the French Government. 1 told him what I had seen. I said, “ I am gratified and interested to see the progress that your farming community has made in the last five years. Would I be right in assuming that within a year or two your country will consider itself able to supply all the wheat requirements of The Seven - The Six plus Great Britain - and have a surplus? “ He said, “ Yes, we hope to do so “. I said, “What happens to the Australian wheat-grower who now sends to Great Britain under contract approximately 28,000,000 bushels of wheat a year? “ He said, very understandingly and tolerantly, “Well, France is a country of 43,000,000 people, with the largest percentage of its people engaged in agricultural work of any country in Europe. We are more interested in them than we are in you.” That was a very logical thing for him to say. He said, “ After all, your country has turned its eyes to the East. You are already trading in the East. You are a country of only 10,000,000 people. Go out and trade more with the East.” When I asked him where the East was to get its chips, he laughed and said, “ That is your pigeon “.
That attitude of the French is understandable. Add to that the fact that at the moment French wheat is heavily subsidized and the price is good. Further add the fact that it is said that farming areas in Germany are small. I saw some of them. Some of the land on which Germany is growing wheat is uneconomic for wheat. It is hoped that within a measurable period of time the price obtained by the German farmer within The Six for his wheat will be increased and the price obtained by the French farmer will be slightly reduced. By that means a uniform price will be arrived at in Europe. It is hoped to make German wheat production more economic by increasing the price obtained for their wheat. Well, all the indications are that if you increase the price of a commodity grown on uneconomic holdings, in due course you increase the price of the commodity generally.
If you go to Brussels and speak, as I did, to a representative of the Common Market and tell him that when Britain joins the Common Market Australia will lose substantial markets for dairy produce, you are confronted with the statement that already in Belgium and Holland heavy subsidies are paid on dairy produce and that New Zealand and Britain pay heavy subsidies on dairy produce. In reply to just such a statement as that I said, “ Yes, and in Australia we pay £13,500,000 in subsidies on dairy produce”. The Common Market representative said, “ How are we to get rid of this horrible subsidy position and limit production? “ I said, “ Show me anywhere in New Zealand, Australia, Holland, Denmark, Belgium or Great Britain when in any one day in the year 1 lb. of butter, 1 lb. of cheese or 1 gallon of milk is destroyed or wasted “. He said, “ I do not know that I can answer that one “. I said, “ What you have been telling me is that there is a lower distribution of purchasing power amongst the respective communities and that taxation has to be imposed to extract the money to pay subsidies to your people, but you are not suggesting that there is in reality a total over-production of butter in any of the countries that you have mentioned “.
– And there is not.
– The honorable member is right. The European countries have the impression that Australia and New Zealand are apprehensive that their dairy industries will suffer if Britain enters the Common Market. It may be said by Great Britain that the members of the European Economic Community will not be severely damaged unless the new Seven uses its economic powers to blot out New Zealand and Australian butter, to increase the price of dairy products in Great Britain and within the confines of the countries comprising The Seven and to encourage greatly increased production. Those are some of the problems that must be taken into consideration. Generally speaking, I was unable to discover any political party in Europe, other than the Communist Party, prepared to abandon its ardent support - I exclude Great Britain of course - for the European Economic Community as it stands to-day and for Britain’s entry. The Social Democrats in Europe take the view that if the United Kingdom joins the Common Market - bearing in mind that from time to time Britain has had Labour governments, and countries like Belgium, Holland and Sweden have Labour governments or Social Democrat governments - the democratic forces in Europe will be strengthened economically and militarily, and thus will be better able to contain the forces of Soviet Russia. After all, in that view are some of the political dangers which I shall deal with later concerning the whole conception of the European Common Market.
I refer, again, to wheat. Although the representative of the Canadian radical party, the New Democratic Party of Canada, at the meeting of the British Commonwealth Labour parties did not express any great fear concerning the impact of the European Common Market on the Canadian economy, that gentleman was quite concerned and he was quite satisfied that if Britain joined the European Economic Community and eventually lost her political identity, this would be a bad thing politically and in the economic sense for the emerging independent Commonwealth countries in Africa, the West Indies, and in Asia. That is a consideration that was not overlooked when the British Commonwealth Labour parties made their decision.
In Greece, we met the representatives of the dried fruits industry and of the government. Greece is an associate member of the European Economic Community and the dried fruits industry of that country is not dissatisfied with its position, nor is the government. But they are deeply concerned because, at the moment, Turkey, a country which already produces large quantities of dried fruit, is not an associate member of the European Economic Community although it has applied for membership. The Greeks fear that Turkey may so increase its production of dried fruits as to cause a disastrous fall in dried fruit prices even for associated members of the European Economic Community. It is a tribute to Australia that the Greek people look for help to an Australian who is the chairman of the Australian Dried Fruits Control Board. They regard him as one who is likely to be able to help the dried fruits producing countries, including Australia, by getting some sort of arrangement which will protect Greece from disastrously low prices and perhaps control that country’s production notwithstanding the fact that Greece and Turkey will be in the European Economic Community in the associate sense.
I revert, somewhat late perhaps, to the position of the Canadian wheat industry. I interviewed a member of the Canadian farmers’ federation in Ottawa. The Canadian farmers have the idea that they will be protected because Canada grows superior quality hard wheat. However, it may be pointed out to them that France will grow sufficient wheat for Europe and that in France a first-class loaf is made from soft wheat - a loaf of which chemists can make even better. Therefore, Canadian wheat-growers may find it very hard to climb over an external tariff wall and compete with French soft wheat.
I now come to the membership of the European Free Trade Association. It is fairly obvious that if the European Free Trade Association countries which include Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway, join the European Economic Community, they will without a shadow of doubt strengthen the community. I believe that the concensus of opinion in the United Kingdom is that Great Britain’s entry to the community will be a bad step for the British Commonwealth of Nations. I agree with that. It will be a bad step, politically. Politics are involved in this decision. Nobody can be unaware of the enormous pressure of the United States of America on the Conservative Government of the United Kingdom to join the community. To-night, I heard the Prime Minister talking about the American free trade legislation which it is anticipated will have the effect of lowering tariffs in Amenca. It is also expected that it will facilitate the working of the European Economic Community and that it will result in Australia’s getting easier access to other markets by virtue of the fact that any reduction of tariffs in America will mean a reduction of tariffs to Australia and even to Japan. But what do we find? It is not quite as easy as that. Those who have faith, as the Prime Minister apparently has, in the new free trade legislation passed by the American Congress should pay heed to some of the criticisms of it and then have another think as to whether that legislation will be of any assistance to us, to Great Britain, or to the European Economic Community itself. Let me quote from the “Wall Street Journal “ of 27th September as follows: -
Washington - The free traders who have preached all year the necessity for President Kennedy’s trade bill are curiously morose now that victory is assured.
This letdown in the wake of triumph stems primarily from one unanswered question haunting free trade forces outside the Government: How much will the Kennedy Administration use the Bill’s unprecedented tariff cutting power it so urgently requested?
The question is a valid one. While claiming that the bill would give this country a strong hand in dealing with the European Common Market, Administration officials never have spelled out just how the hand would be played, “ This bill does not constitute a trade program or even a trade policy “, concludes one private lobbyist for the measure. “ It’s only an instrument.”
And now that the bill seems assured of passage, its supporters are willing to admit that Administration propaganda extolling the measure’s magical powers amounted to overselling in the best tradition of how to get legislation through Congress.
There is nothing in the bill to assure that the prospect of reduced U.S. tariff walls will be enticing enough to the Common Market to reverse a growing European trend toward protectionism . . .
Everybody knows that the European Economic Community will put up an external tariff wall - . . particularly protection of European farm products. Nor does the bill assure an end to European exclusion of Japanese products - OWWL products that will be flowing into this country under .any trade concessions granted to the Common Market and automatically extended to Japan.
The post-victory hangover is so intense for some free traders that they now see the trade bill as a sham, its ostensibly vast grant of bargaining authority for Mr. Kennedy meaningless because of nettling protectionist restrictions collected during the measure’s long journey through the Congress. These free-trade purists particularly object to a little-publicized provision prohibiting tariff reductions on a commodity if the Tariff Commission previously has ruled that imports of that commodity hurt a domestic industry.
So the free-trade legislation of the American Congress is a pretty poor reed on which to place any reliance. An article in the “ Economist “ contains the following comment relating to the legislation: - its supporters have contended that it is a symbolic gesture of Washington’s dedication to free trade and an example for the Common Market to follow. But if European eyes have been fixed on the free-trade provisions within the Bill, they have not been blind to the protectionist actions taken by Mr. Kennedy outside the Bill in order to assure its passage. First there was the American promotion of the international agreement limiting exports of cotton textiles and then Mr. Kennedy’s unilateral increases of tariffs on Belgian carpets and glass (quickly followed by Belgian retaliation against American chemicals.) Now, it is believed, Mr. Kennedy has secretly given an ironclad assurance to . . . the multi-millionaire oil and gas tycoon who has managed the trade Bill in the Senate for the Administration, that the quota on imports of oil will be frozen at its present low level for the rest of the Kennedy Administration. Such actions do not point to any rootandbranch scrapping of protection for old and inefficient American industries which are poorly equipped for a world of reduced tariff barriers.
And almost nobody in Washington, with the possible exception of Mr. George Ball, the Under Secretary of State, and his cohorts at the State Department, views the Bill any longer as a prod to push Great Britain into the common market, although the measure’s most publicised provision was fashioned ingenuously by Mr. Ball to accomplish just that. As passed by the House this would permit complete elimination of tariffs on any category of commodities only if 80 per cent, of the world exports in that category came jointly from the United States and the common market. Only aircraft would meet that condition if the common market consisted of its present Six members. With Britain in the common market, perhaps 80 categories would be eligible (although American negotiators would probably consider complete elimination of tariffs on only a very few of them in the foreseeable future).
So, apparently, we can forget any relief from that avenue.
Now let me say something about the political import of this problem. I know, and have said, that almost without exception the whole of the social democratic forces of Europe are in favour of the European Common Market. On the other hand, the socialist Labour force of Britain has not yet decided its attitude, other than that there will be no support for Britain going in unless the Commonwealth countries are protected. After all, the Labour force in Britain sees the position of the Commonwealth as a whole and has a greater faith in its political strength and saneness than it has in the political strength and saneness of a strengthened Europe. It is said and it is believed, and there is plenty of documentary evidence for the statement, that the strengthening of the European Common Market by Britain’s entry will mean an enormously strengthened economy; and people will tell you, among other things, that there will be then ample investment funds for under-developed countries and, no doubt, for other countries. Indeed, I think the British Prime Minister, Mr. Macmillan, said that to me. People have stressed that point, and it has been well publicized.
The Six, or The Seven as they will become, have enormously increased their wealth. But at whose expense? It has been at the expense of members of the British Commonwealth - New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the undeveloped newer members of the British Commonwealth. I have said that what we want in Australia is not investment. We need investment, but not too much of this type of investment with money that is drained from us by virtue of inadequate prices for our primary products and guaranteed sales for the products which we produce. Obviously, if our primary products are well priced and we have secured markets, we can generate our own capital and can pay cash for our requirements for the development of this country. If the European Economic Community means no more politically and economically than a mere financial strength in Europe and in Great Britain, and a mounting up of vast sums of investment money, in turn to be invested and draw tribute in other parts of the world, it is a pretty bad show.
The other situation is that whilst on the one hand the social democratic forces of Europe believe the Common Market will strengthen Europe against any dangers from Soviet Russia, on the other hand conservative forces in the United Kingdom, the United States and in Europe itself are only too anxious to see any vastly increased wealth in Great Britain and in the Six countries as they now exist dissipated in a further stockpiling of arms. Such forces have the strange belief that a considerable increase in arms in Europe will give them a greater increase in strength and protection against a potential enemy which they fear. I read in one newspaper while I was abroad the statement that the new conditions would enable them to obtain cheaply recruits in Greece and Turkey; the newspaper said that the Turks and Greeks make good sol diers. If that is to be the position, it is a bad situation indeed. On the other hand, it is argued that the political democratic forces will be strengthened by the entry of Great Britain, Sweden, Denmark, Holland and Austria, and so on, and that that in itself will help to deter a resurgent fascism from provoking an attack which would bring war and disaster to all mankind. If honorable members have any doubt about this sort of thing, let me quote to them what is going on and what people have no hesitation in saying should continue to go on with an ever-increasing incidence. I refer to an article in, I think, the Sunday “Telegraph” in which there is mention of the West Germans in a £107,000,000 arms deal. That refers not to nuclear weapons but to conventional arms. Everybody knows that if there is to be a war between any of the great powers of the world it will be a nuclear war rather than one fought with conventional arms. The article states -
Details of West Germany’s arms and other expenditure in Britain over the next two years, totalling £107,000,000, became known here to-day. They contrast with an expenditure in the United States, announced last night, of £428,500,000.
I shall refrain from reading quite a lot of the article as I do not want to delay honorable members, but the article refers to the horrible tactics that go on in these awful races. The heading over the page is “ Pushing American Arms “. The armament manufacturers in America are in this game, as are also the arms manufacturers in Great Britain and Holland and everywhere else. This is the sort of thing to which they resort -
One official, posted conveniently to an Embassy abroad, claimed diplomatic immunity from his own country when the long arm of the German law reached out to him. Another official who was tried and sentenced had diverted to one diesel vehicle maker an inquiry addressed from Persia to all his competitors.
Few Germans believe that there can be no “ considerations “ in the arms trade, though the first one may be no more than the permanent “ loan “ of an expensive car.
One persistent story going the rounds credits an American corporation with spending at least £300,000 in sending a “ research “ team which left behind it after six months nine cars which had cost at least £15,000 in Germany.
Then under a sub-heading “ The Rat-Race “ the article continues -
In Bonn both the French and the Americans have elegant spacious clubs blessed by their respective Embassies. Here there is the opportunity for a good deal of open getting together. But away from here there is a lot of extravagant entertaining of which little is heard.
The old “hardware hands” view with dismay what they call the rat-race to market one country’s weapon development at the expense of other friendly countries in the same market, lt was an American who said to me: “The cost of developing these weapons is now so astronomical that it is getting out of the reach of the biggest producers in the United States. The whole business is now political, not salesmanship. It is up to the politicians to find the hundreds of millions of dollars to enable international consortia to get together on projects where they are now duplicating costly efforts.
Developments of this order are exemplified by feelers for approval to the building of 300 Frelon military helicopters inspired by the French at a cost of £225,000,000, provided that Germany will furnish some of the funds. In return France and Germany will build together a new “European tank”.
In Bonn there is a rule that no West German official shall accept American or any other kind of hospitality without permission from on high. But everybody knows that hospitality on a grand scale has been offered and accepted. There have been trips to the West Coast of America and to the United States Navy in the Mediterranean, with ample time and leisure. Members of at least one delegation to California were each given an envelope containing dollars for “out-of-pocket expenses”, and were assured that everything for their personal comfort was available free, including female companionship.
If that sort of thing is to result from the economic strengthening of the European Economic Community by the accession of Britain it will be tragic. Let us all hope that it will not happen. Let us look at another aspect of this dreadful situation. We see this situation among delightful people all over Europe. I have here an article headed “ ‘ Our Obsession ‘ with arms and bases “.
– From what magazine is the honorable member quoting?
– I am quoting Senator Fulbright. He is a pretty decent fellow, is he not? In the Senate on June 20th Senator Fulbright said -
We have poured military assistance into any foreign country that would accept it . . . For the next SO years, most bloodletting will be traceable to military equipment of United States origin.
You can find it in Indonesia, and in fact all over the world. You can find Australian rifles, sold recently to the United States of America by this Government. Senator Fulbright continued -
The shipment of arms to any nation not practiced in the art of democratic self-government promotes maintenance of the status quo . . . That aid has a tendency to pit the United States against the rising tide of self-determination and fertilizes foreign soil for the Communists to till.
And what of our overseas military bases? We now have approximately 275 major base complexes - more than 1400 if one counts all sites . . . which are designed for emergency occupation - located in 31 countries . . .
All the world knows that our foreign bases pose a threat for the Soviet Union. All the world knows that Soviet missiles and submarines pose a threat for the U.S. All the world knows we live on the brink of disaster.
Yet we seem to operate on the theory that serious negotiation can take place only if we are safely ahead in the race. Will we ever feel ourselves sufficiently ahead to negotiate? Will the Russians? I seriously doubt if either physical security or the preservation of freedom can be assured by continued preoccupation with military defence.
I am quite satisfied that the Conservative Government of the United Kingdom, perhaps unknowingly, is the creature of the United States Administration. I do not indict President Kennedy, but there are forces in the United States of America to-day - delightful people, personally, I know because I have met some of them - which do not hesitate either to print statements or make verbal utterances indicating that they are willing and ready at any tick of the clock to go to war. In fact some of them are anxious to go to war. They are quite unbalanced. How long could the Administration resist this sort of thing? We have only to look at the situation in Cuba, or in Formosa or South East Asia. I fervently hope that one of the greatest stabilizing forces in the world to-day, the United Kingdom - not necessarily under the Macmillan Government, but I hope it is too - will not go into the European Economic Community. I fear that Britain’s entry might increase the danger of the continuation of the stupid rat race in which, with two opposing forces one each side of the line to-day, when one installs another machine gun or one more missile pad, the other, on the following day, also installs another gun or missile pad. It is to be hoped that the United Kingdom will stay out. It will be of substantial benefit to the people of the British Commonwealth and a great influence for world peace, which I think is important. It will help the United Nations to bring about those negotiations which I think can be arranged by right minded people between the forces on the opposing sides. After the speech of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) to-night I say emphatically the Government has quite clearly abdicated. It has not asked for another Commonwealth conference of Prime Ministers to find out what the final terms of Britain’s entry into the Common Market will be. It believes there is no hope of success. I believe that too, but the Government will not even take the one million to one chance of success. It has not asked or encouraged other Commonwealth countries to ask for another assembly of Commonwealth Prime Ministers. To-night I read in a German publication that Dr. Adenauer hoped to have the whole thing sewn up by July next.
What is needed now is prompt action by this Government to meet the shocks which might come. There is a great and urgent need for constitutional reform to allow more satisfactory and constitutionally sound marketing arrangements in this country. There is a real and urgent need to protect wool selling methods in Australia and to ensure that we are not bushranged by combinations of buyers, from wherever they may come. We are in great need of ships to take our products to other parts of the world. If war came there would not be a solitary ship that we own in which to carry our goods. We need negotiation and organization within the confines of our various marketing bodies to make them more effective. We want - as recommended by the Constitutional Review Committee - protection against the trade restrictions and other nefarious practices of vast monopolies. I leave it at that and hope good sense will prevail.
.- Sir, the honorable member for Lalor (Mi. Pollard) has given the House an interesting account of his visit overseas together with other front bench members of the Labour Party. He has told us how the Labour or Socialist parties in Europe have shown support for the European Economic Community, but he doubts whether the British Labour Party will show the same support for Great Britain’s entry. I rejoice at the first part of what the honorable member said but, I am sorry about the latter part. He expressed many doubts as to the intentions of The Six in trade and their willingness to give access to Australian products to Europe. He expressed doubts about the efficacy of the American trade expansion legislation and about the defence value of the European Economic Community with or without Britain. He complained that Australia has not made the preparations that it should have in view of the imminent entry of Great Britain into this great new trading arrangement. I do not propose to follow the honorable gentleman into all of these details, because I want to take a broad view of the issue. Of course it relates to trade! But it also has political implications, and it is with the latter that I am mainly concerned, because the formation of the European Economic Community is the greatest change that has occurred in Europe in more than 1,00.9 years. It relates to more than peanuts and dried fruits.
So far as trade is concerned, all the bargaining is over. The Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference has concluded. The next round has yet to begin and to end, and I will not speak about the effect of the ultimate negotiations either in the large sense upon Australia’s future trading position or in the more particular respects in which no doubt it will be highly disadvantageous. I think that the whole of the Australian people, as well as this House, recognizes the vigorous and valiant efforts of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen). the reasoned approach they have made to this problem and the propriety of their actions.
It would obviously be improper for the representatives of Australia to seek either to endorse or to veto the entry of Great Britain into Europe. This is a matter for the British Government. I want to look at the political implications of this great move - the implications for Britain, for Europe, for the Commonwealth, for the world, and, of course, in particular, for Australia. Man does not live by bread alone, or even, if I may say so with all respect to my friend the honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull), by dried fruits alone. There are other considerations. There are those among us and outside this House and this country who see a very sombre picture. They see the submergence of Britain in an alien sea. They see her sovereignty gone, her parliamentary institutions overborne, the rule of law finished - and they say, slightly paraphrasing the American poetess, that in a world where Britain is finished and dead they do not wish to live.
I believe that this is a sombre picture and an untrue picture. British culture and European culture will survive. A united Europe has been the dream of the wise and the aim of the ambitious for centuries - from the time of Charlemagne, who conceived the idea of a united Europe, to Hitler. Europe has a common culture. Britain will not be submerged in an alien sea, but will become part of a common culture in which there will be three threads - the thread of Christianity, the Greek thread of the scientific search for truth and the distinctively British thread, the idea of representative government, of parliamentary institutions and the rule of law protecting the citizen against the arbitrary power of despotism. These are the things that make the European culture a common culture and which mean that Britain will not become submerged in an alien sea.
Britain is not the meanest of the countries of Europe. It may be presumed that her influence will not be negligible and that the contribution that she has made in the past to Europe will continue in the future and in this new structure. Of course, this means some pooling of British sovereignty, and we in Australia, familiar with a federal constitution, should understand very well what this means. The colonies in Australia merged some part of their sovereignty when the Commonwealth was established in 1900. But I do not hear to-day people in Victoria claiming that they want to have their own navy, or people in Queensland claiming that they want to have their own postal department. The Australian colonies merged their sovereignty and they gained something greater than they lost. Any man who marries loses some sovereignty, but he gains something in its place. As in any bargain, there is a loss and a gain. This is a matter of balance and of where the ultimate advantage lies.
What we see in the world is that there has been the emergence of four giant powers - the United States of America, the
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, China - which is now emerging - and, I suggest, the new Europe, which is emerging as a fourth great power. If Europe remains disunited there will be no fourth great power in the world. Indeed, the architects of this new Europe could well claim - if I may slightly alter the words of Canning - that they have called forth the old world to redress the balance of the new, the new world of emerging China and the United States of America.
I believe that the security of the Australian people is a paramount interest - more important than peanuts and dried fruits. In two world wars Australians have lost their sons, and if this development in Europe means the strengthening of the free world, as I believe it does despite what the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) says, then indeed this is more important than peanuts.
– Can you prove as a fact that it will secure the peace?
– Well, I can only say that Mr. Khrushchev is all against it, and to me that is a sign that it would improve the strength of the free world. It may not be so, and I cannot prove it, but to my mind Khrushchev’s opposition to it suggests that it may mean’ greater strength for the free world.
What about the future of the British Commonwealth? Much has been said about this. I believe that this climax merely brings about a result which was evolving anyhow. What were the things that held the British Commonwealth together? Trade, indeed. In the old days you had a combination of the white dominions, which were united by bonds of trade. Britain provided the finance for the development of their industries. There was reciprocity in the sense that Britain provided the manufactured goods and the old white dominions provided the food and the raw materials that Britain needed - and more efficiently and cheaply than Britain could produce them herself.
So the old British Commonwealth really had a nexus so far as trade was concerned. Britain was the centre of an empire. But when the British sovereign ceased to be, in the words on the backs of coins, “ Deo gratia Britanniae omnis rex, fidei defensor, Indiae Imperator” then, I believe, Britain ceased also to be the centre of an empire. Indeed, so far as we are concerned, India, situated in the Indian Ocean with great resources and great reserves of fighting men, was the very centre of empire, and Australia was greatly protected by the existence of an empire which included India. But to-day what do we have? A small British force at Aden to look after British oil interests in Kuwait; a tenuous British hold on Singapore; a small garrison at Hong Kong which will look after British interests so long as Hong Kong remains a trading post. But, so far as defence is concerned, this nexus of empire has really ceased to exist, and we have recognized this indeed in our relations with the United States of America. So far as cultural ties bound up the various parts of the old empire and Commonwealth I suggest that Australia has to-day more in common with, say, France or Germany than she has with, shall we say, Nigeria or Ghana, for the cultural bond is no longer what it was within the British Commonwealth.
Many new settlers have come to this country. Where have they come from? They have come mainly from Europe, from Holland, Germany, the Scandinavian countries and other European countries. They will look not on Britain as their homeland but on Europe, as indeed we also must look. In fact, the Empire has disappeared very much like Lewis Carroll’s Cheshire cat, leaving behind not much but the smile. But it is a great thing that at least the smile remains. It is a great thing that the people of the countries which were formerly merged in the Empire can sit down together, white, brown and black, in friendship - it does not happen anywhere else - associations - with the smile still remaining. The smile is not always there, I must admit, but at least these countries have a better chance than others of sitting down together in amity.
There is another advantage that remains. If Britain goes into the European Economic Community, as I believe she will despite what the honorable member for Lalor says, then she will remain, I hope, outwardlooking. She will still realize that it is important to trade with the outer parts of the old Commonwealth, such as our own country, because unless we send things to the British people they cannot send things to us. This is still important to them. Furthermore, if we are excommunicated and kept out of the European community, then we may well be forced into the arms of the Communists. It must be remembered that we are now trading with China. There are those on the other side of the Parliament who view this as a good thing. I do not, because I believe that at any time that suits China, she may, at the drop of a hat, cut off her trade with us unless we agree to pay some political price that she may seek to exact. She may demand, for instance, that we recognize China, and thereby abandon the people of Formosa to China. We know that this is the condition that China wishes to impose upon such recognition.
So far as Australia is concerned, it is true that we will have fewer links with Britain than we have had in the past, even in the cultural field. It was my good fortune, for example, to go to Cambridge. I can imagine that fewer Australians will go to English universities than in the past. If my children want to go overseas to study they may have a chance of getting a Fulbright scholarship, but I do not imagine that they will be going to England.
From the point of view of defence I believe that this development merely marks the end of an association with Britain that we knew to be ending, and the acceptance of our responsibility as a Pacific power, and not, as I have said, part of Asia.
So far as trade is concerned, a new pattern has been emerging over the years, and this emergence will be accentuated as time goes on. We need, of course, more self-reliance. I do not think there is any need for selfpity or recrimination in this situation. What has happened is an historical thing. The world has been spinning down the ringing grooves of change faster in recent years, but the evolution has been proceeding all the time. The old order changeth, yielding place to the new. Let us go on with the smile still remaining from the Cheshire cat, representative of the British spirit. Let us go on with a stout heart. What is a challenge for, but to be met? I do not personally regret that Australia has grown up
I welcome this great thing that has happened after a thousand years - the uniting of Europe for the purpose of common defence. I do not regret that Australia now stands as an independent nation. I do not reget that we must become adult. When I was a boy we were still a colonial people in our outlook. This is no longer so. To-day we are a nation and we have no reason to be regretful about it. We see Britain going to Europe, and she must, I believe, abandon a large part of what was meant by the old British Commonwealth. We should face this perfectly frankly. There it is, but there is no reason for recrimination, and there is no need for us to abandon the friendships that we have had with Britain.
Mr. Speaker, I have nothing more to add to this very brief consideration of the political implications of Britain’s entry into the Common Market.
.- The House this evening has listened to a report by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) on the recent Prime Ministers’ Conference, the most important part of which, of course, was that which considered the implications of Britain’s entry into the Common Market. So much has been said about the Common Market, and so much has been written about it, that one hesitates, in a sense, to say anything further about it. It is a thing that some people see as a bright light in present times; it is something that others see as quite the reverse. In a world of some 3,000,000,000 people, the fact that 170,000,000 people in Europe choose to put an economic fence around themselves may seem to be not a very significant event.
This development that we are discussing still leaves unsolved two of the great problems of the world to-day. First, there are varying stages of economic development
One phrase in the Prime Minister’s speech this evening I shall quote in full, and I shall ask those honorable members who are still in the House what they think it means. The Prime Minister said -
In our London discussions, we asked for a dynamic approach to the negotiation of international commodity agreements- and this is the dynamic approach -
We argued that principles be followed on price, on production and on trade access, and on a commodity-by-commodity basis which would encourage maximum consumption, which would discourage uneconomic production and which would offer security of access and stability of prices at a level remunerative to efficient producing countries.
Is anybody quite clear what is meant by that? What does it mean in the context of, as I have said, a world in which the prices of primary products are unsatisfactory to those who produce, and in which even at those prices two-thirds of the world’s population could not be contemplated as customers at all. I would suggest that that is the sort of context in which this kind of thing should be judged. That is a more important consideration, I suggest, than the fact that for the first time, as the honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Turner) said, there is unity in Europe - and unity in Europe apparently means that the people of France and Germany, instead of being at each other’s throats, are somehow or other around one another’s necks. Is that the sort of context in which the problems of the world ought to be judged? We in the Australian Labour Party, at least, say that an approach to the world’s problems in those terms is inadequate. Why is Great Britain contemplating joining a group of 170,000,000 people at the price of leaving what has sometimes been described as a loose union of 700,000,000 people? The Commonwealth of Nations contemplates numbers of that order, I remind the House.
One thing that impressed my colleague, the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard), and myself more than anything else, in the meetings held in London between socialist leaders of the Commonwealth of Nations, and subsequently in our meetings with members of the Socialist International, was the problem of India in to-day’s perspective. That country is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, and it contains a larger number of human beings than does any other member of the Commonwealth. I think that sometimes these problems should be contemplated in terms of human beings rather than in terms of pounds, shillings and pence. For fifteen years or more, India has been conducting a battle to survive politically in a democratic form. Those leisurely gentlemen who are settling events in Europe like to think of the period between now and 1970 as the long term, but the next eighteen months alone may well determine how India’s economic plan progresses and may largely determine whether that great country survives under a democratic system rather than under a totalitarian system. I ask those observers who are prepared to look at Europe in the narrow sense, as forming a block of people who offer a barrier to what those observers call communism, to look at what causes communism. We on this side of the House, at least, believe that the Communist political system is one that some people choose either because they are not satisfied with what they have or because their existing political system does not work out satisfactorily.
Problems of the sort that are now apparently being discovered by those people who are exploring the face of Europe in the deliberations that are now taking place - problems that are said to be germane and significant now - were just as germane and significant at the end of the last hostilities in 1945. Those are the problems caused by the disparity between the haves and the have-nots. Even the phrase that the Prime Minister used so glibly this evening - “ Trade not Aid “ - is not new. It appeared in the days of the Marshall Plan and, although it dropped out of economic jargon in the mid-1950’s, it appears now to be increasingly thrust back into the picture.
Surely there is some contradiction between objectives of the sort being pursued by those who are negotiating commodity prices in Europe and the objectives of those who grow wheat in Australia and are dis satisfied with the price that they receive for it, when, even at the price that Australia regards as uneconomic, large numbers of people cannot afford to buy wheat. How does one resolve the two apparently contradictory sets of circumstances? We had the opportunity, in London recently, of talking with the Prime Minister of Great Britain and with Mr. Heath, who has been the Minister chiefly negotiating the terms of Britain’s proposed entry to the European Common Market. We talked to Mr. Heath about this very problem of prices for primary products and, particularly the price of wheat. He sees the circumstances of the production of wheat in Europe in the sort of perspective which suggests that the production of Germany may fall and the production of France may rise. He seems to think that, somehow, there will be an equation between the two in the sense that the production of France will not rise more than the production of Germany may fall. When one talks separately with people in Germany, one finds that they at least do not envisage any fall in production, and when one talks with people in France, one finds that they certainly envisage some increase in output. We as Australians arrive at this conclusion: If the total production of Europe rises - and we imagine that it will - Australian wheat will be excluded from the European market. That is the situation as it affects only one Australian product. Yet the terms concerning that product are apparently thought by Mr. Heath to have been concluded satisfactorily for the Commonwealth of Nations.
Let us turn to New Zealand, the country adjacent to us. That country is, in many respects - as the Prime Minister of Great Britain described it to us - little more than a very large dairy farm, as the producer of the major part of the world’s exports of butter. So far, the principal customer for exported butter has been Great Britain. Yet, because of this fence that has been erected around Europe - a fence which some people imagine will lead to prospects of peace in the world - it is likely that the total production of Europe will rise, to the exclusion of New Zealand butter altogether. Again, Mr. Heath seems to be very complacent and to think that terms of the kind negotiated ought to be satisfactory to New Zealand.
We turn then to India, a great country. I suggest that in terms of numbers of people and, therefore, in terms of humanity, the problems of India are much more significant, relatively, than ours are. Our problems are bad enough from our limited point of view, but the problems of India are much more complex and, so far, they have not been given by the rest of the world the attention that they merit. The great difference between the economy of a country like India and that of a country like Australia or Great Britain is not only the difference between the numbers of people. That is important enough in itself, of course. The great difference is between the natures of the respective economies. India has yet to go through the stage of industrial economic development that Great Britain, the United States of America, Germany and other parts of Europe went through 60 and 70 years ago. In the days when those countries developed economically, it was easier for such development to take place without much reference to the rest of the world. But it is not so easy for a country like India to develop to-day unless it receives sympathetic attention and unless there is, perhaps, a degree of economic sacrifice by other countries.
When one contemplates the vast annual expenditure throughout the world on armaments for defence against certain forces, one concludes that surely it is time people began to look a little more sensibly - perhaps even unselfishly - at the situation. We should ask: “ What have we to defend ourselves against? Would it not be much more rational for us to encourage the development and progressive uplifting of the economic standards of the underdeveloped parts of the world? “ This is the greatest problem that faces the whole world collectively to-day. How do we help 450,000,000 people, the majority of whom merely survive but whose principal economic endeavour is still agriculture? In a community such as ours, we consider that it is possible for one person working on a farm to keep ten persons in other forms of endeavour. That is all right when nine or ten other forms of endeavour are available; but that is not the situation in India. This may give some idea of the great revolution - the great industrial revolution, if you like - that still has to occur in this one country of the Commonwealth alone.
We sometimes say that the rest of the developed world ought to set aside some 1 per cent., or some other percentage, of its gross national product in order to promote economic development in under-developed countries. This should be done, but we should be doing more than merely talking about it. We must get down to the actual planning. Let us consider the relationship of, say, Australia and India. After all, Australia is the country that concerns us most and India is the country I am using as an example. There has to be more direct contact between industrialists, for instance, in India and industrialists in Australia to decide what Australian industry can provide to assist the people of India. One of the stages of economic development of other countries has been that, in passing from agriculture into industry, light industries in such fields as textiles must be developed. Australia in 1962 ought to have passed the stage of dependency on textiles and ought to be reaching the stage, by intelligent planning, where it may be able to supply textile machinery and technical knowledge to a country like India which still has to go through this development.
– We might even buy some of India’s textiles!
– I am not trying to be frivolous about this. I think this is more serious than some of the subjects about which we spoke at length the other night. I think some of us are a little selfish in our approach to the problem that was before us the other night.
At least, there wc have a case stated. We have India with its vast population, with people merely surviving. A visit to a city like Delhi, Calcutta or Bombay simply shows how fortunate we are in Australia. We are fortunate not because we have used any great degree of intelligence, but more often from good luck than good management. Until conditions in Indian cities are seen, it is hard to realize that people can survive as they do there. I do not believe that people should have to survive in these conditions. They are still human beings. There is a certain dignity in an individual that is being degraded by the way in which these people must live.
One person we saw during the all too few days we spent in India was the Indian Finance Minister, Mr. Desai. I happened to notice a picture of Mahatma Gandhi, the great Indian, on a table in his ministerial office. I said to him, “ Are you an admirer of Mahatma Gandhi? “ He said: “ Yes. He is the man who put us on our feet, who gave us our self-respect and who made us a nation “. I said, “ Are you not sometimes appalled by the obvious poverty and degradation that you see around you? “ He said, “We cannot allow ourselves to be appalled; we can only feel that it is better in 1962 than it was in 1952”. I did not see the conditions in 1952; I saw them in 1962 and they are very bad in 1962.
I would suggest that that is the sort of problem that we should be contemplating. Rather than making the haves more secure, we should be giving more attention to the have-nots. That is all I want to say in the time available to me.
.- My approach is probably different from the approach of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean). I would first like to say that we have been very fortunate indeed to have had such expert advocacy of the problems that we will meet when Great Britain joins the European Common Market, as it undoubtedly will. The Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) blazed the path and presented a very strong case for Australia, particularly for the entry of our primary and manufactured goods. Following in his steps, we had the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), with the tremendous prestige of his office, furthering those ideas and expressing most forcefully to Great Britain our concern for the material factors of Britain’s entry into the Common Market. I think those points have been very ably dealt with to-night and I do not propose to pursue them, except to say that Britain has a complete concept of the difficulties that will face us if she joins the Common Market.
I know that my friends opposite have a more earthy outlook on this matter than many of us on this side of the House have; but my ideas strangely follow to a large degree those expressed to-night by the honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Turner). I believe that our well-being, our life and our ambitions do not depend upon bread alone. I believe that we owe much to our Europeanism. We in Australia are definitely a European people. Our ancestry stems mainly from the people of Europe and we have inherited their philosophies in their entirety. A union of European nations is no new concept. Right through history there have been many attempts to unite Europe. They were probably thwarted in the early part of European history by the contention and disagreement between the Latin and Greek sections of the early Christian church. After that was overcome I think the union of Europe was again disrupted by the Teutonic tribes from the north who overthrew the Roman empire.
The move has always been towards a united Europe. The culture of Europe stems from the civilization of the eastern Mediterranean. I refer to the early Greek philosophers. If I may be forgiven for exhibiting a degree of pedantry, I would say that from those philosophers we have inherited the ideas of nationality and responsible government, freedom and progress, democracy and democratic education. We have passed from the west to the east these very ideas. Europe occupies a very small part of the world’s area. Its population represents a very small percentage of the world’s population but the ideas to which I have referred have spread all over the world. The rest of the world owes nure to these ideas from Europe than any other influence. I agree, but with a slight reservation, with the honorable member for Bradfield who said how important it was to have some other force in the world. Unfortunately I missed the early part of his speech. To-day the world is dependent on only two forces - the force of America and that of Russia. Neither of those forces is satisfactory for the progress of the world. If Britain joins the European Common Market, quite apart from the material factors we will have a third force in the world. That will be of much greater advantage to the world than the present situation.
Europeanism is most evident. You can pick a European from anybody else. In England a man from Cornwall will probably be quite different from a man from Perth, Scotland, but they will have the same basic philosophies and ideas of freedom and human dignity that no thinking anywhere else in the world has matched. The world has gained very little from Asiatic thinking, and, if you leave out Egyptian culture, nothing at all from African thinking. The formation of the European Economic Community represents an evolution in the history of the world and must be of great advantage to the world.
It is hardly necessary to say that the material fabric of modern civilized life is the result of the intellectual daring and tenacity of the European people. It was not always that way. I believe that our modern way of life had its beginnings with the Homeric poets in 1200 B.C.
– You are going back a long way now.
– We have to go back. Unfortunately honorable members opposite are not impressed with these ideas. They are my ideas. Honorable members opposite would start from just a few years ago. I know that in a sense honorable members opposite are furthering an Asiatic doctrine of despotism, which is completely contrary to Europeanism.
As I have said, our modern way of life began with the Homeric poets in 1200 B.C. From that beginning sprang our Christian religion, for which we should be very grateful. It had its beginning in Asia. Its roots did not take hold there but in Europe because Christianity was parallel with European thinking. To-day the people of Europe are completely opposed to the materialistic thinking of Asia. This is reflected in their antagonism towards Russia and communism. That antagonism has been the greatest factor in the success of the Common Market. To the people of Europe communism is anathema. It is degradation. The materialism of communism, which reduces man to the level of an animal, is complete anathema to Europeans. That is why the various nations of Europe, which have been rivals for thousands of years, have now united, almost miraculously, in order to raise their standards of living and to give effect to the early European philosophies concerning human dignity and liberty.
It is important to remember these things when we feel that Britain’s entry into the Common Market will have an impact on our primary industries. It has been suggested that we should not have fought for better terms for Australia in Britain’s entry into the Common Market, but I believe that that fight has been worth while because it has indicated to Britain the very great concern that we in this fast developing nation feel for our markets abroad. Through the ability of our leaders, this has been completely brought home to Great Britain.
Great Britain has lost its world leadership. Leadership has now passed to the United States of America. We look upon that country as our defender. Unfortunately, the traditions and philosophy of the United States have taken, probably, a turn away from those of Europe. I believe that the average American does not think back beyond 1776 when America threw off the yoke of European power. After all, because of their inherited advantages from Europe the Americans made a great nation. But their thinking, unfortunately, has not worked out very well for the world. However, I would not criticize our American friends and I would not detract from their great and sincere efforts to make the world a better place for the average person to live in. Their thinking has stemmed from Suez to the present day. I believe that most of the problems and most of the very serious human sufferings in Africa to-day stem from this naive American thinking. To-day, it is very necessary indeed that we have a third force in the world because we ourselves are tending towards the materialism that is so evident in Russia and China. I believe that Europe can be a great beacon to help us on the way to a better and happier world.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Duthie) adjourned.
House adjourned at 10.43 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
Tariff: Special Emergency Duties. Mr. Ward asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice -
In what instances has the Special Advisory Authority, since his appointment, recommended the imposition of special emergency duties for the protection of Australian industries?
In what instances were applications for emergency duties rejected?
Have there been any occasions where the recommendation of the Special Advisory Authority has been rejected or application of the recommendation has been deferred by the Government?
If so, what are the details, including the date in each instance when the recommendation was received by the Government?
Have any of the special emergency duties since been replaced by duties recommended as a result of a Tariff Board inquiry; if so, what are the details?
Are there any Tariff Board reports recommending the replacement of special emergency duties, with duties of a more permanent character, which have not yet been acted upon by the Government?
If so, what are the details, including the date when the report was received by the Government and the reason for the delay in giving effect to the recommendations contained therein?
Plastic building sheets.
m asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
By what amounts did (a) savings banks and (b) life assurance companies increase their housing loans in each of the last two financial years?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
Figures published by the Commonwealth Statistician in the Commonwealth Gazette show that savings banks’ housing loans outstanding increased during 1961-62 by £33,600,000 to £345,700,000 at the end of June, 1962. The corresponding increase during the year 1960-61 was £34,800,000.
The latest figures of “Selected Assets and Liabilities held in Australia by Life Insurance Companies “ published by the Commonwealth Statistician show that during the year 1960-61 the total investment by life insurance companies in housing mortgages increased by £17,000,000 to £150,600,000 at the end of June, 1961. In addition, the figures show that there were minor variations in the total sum advanced or invested in building and housing societies. The figures for the year ended 30th June, 1962, are not strictly comparable with those for earlier periods, owing to a change in the basis of statistics supplied from December, 1961, onwards. It is estimated, however, that the amount of life insurance funds invested in housing mortgages increased by between £3,000,000 and £4,000,000 in the year ended 30th June, 1962.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
e asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
The following information has been made available by the Commonwealth Banking Corporation. In providing it, the corporation has pointed out that the figures supplied in response to question 2 should be treated with reserve, if only because the distinction between an application and an enquiry is not always clear cut and because, in the early days of the Development Bank’s existence, there was some misconception on the part of prospective borrowers of the functions of the bank and many applications were clearly not only outside the stated lending policy of the bank, but also beyond the limits of its statutory authority. All figures quoted are gross and cover the period from the commencement of the bank’s operations on 14th January, 1960 to 30th June, 1962.
Amount of loan approvals - (a) Commonwealth, £30,700,000; (b) Western Australia £4,600,000.
Number of applications received - (a) Commonwealth, 10,211; (b) Western Australia, 1,925. Number of applications approved - (a) Commonwealth, 5,597; (b) Western Australia, 1,138.
Dissection of loan approvals between rural and industrial borrowers - (a) Commonwealth - (i) Rural, £21,700,000; (ii) industrial, £9,000,000. (b) Western Australia- (i) Rural, £4,300,000; (ii) industrial, £300,000.
Average term of loan approvals - (a) Commonwealth - (i) Rural, 9.9 years; (ii) industrial 5.7 years. (b) Western Australia - (i) Rural, 10 years; (ii) industrial, 5.4 years.
n asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
How many indigenous residents of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea hold qualifications at the tertiary level, and what fields do these qualifications cover?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
No indigenous residents hold university qualifications, but there are at present three indigenous undergraduates at Australian universities, studying in the Faculties of Agricultural Science, Economics, and Law.
b asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
Shipping companies charge on different bases for carriage of steel. A value per ton basis is used from the United Kingdom, while from Australia the charge is based on length. The figures I have been given, in Australian currency, are as follows: -
In all cases the Australian figures are for steel despatched from the east coast of Australia. I realize the above figures will probably not help the honorable member so I have ascertained comparable figures for the following two items for carriage to Singapore: -
d asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice -
What are the details of the formula upon which freight rates between Australia and overseas countries are determined?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
The original formula upon which freight rates between Australia and United Kingdom/Continent destinations are determined, was agreed to in 1956 by the Federal Exporters Oversea Transport Committee (representing shippers and producers) and the Australian Tonnage Committee (representing the shipowners) and approved by Australian Overseas Transport Association. in return for a guaranteed shipping service between Australia and destinations in the United Kingdom and Continent, Australian shippers and producers have agreed that the return to shipowners should make allowance for: 1. The cost of carrying on the service; 2. replacement of vessels in the trade over an agreed period at current shipbuilding costs; 3. a fair return on shipping companies’ capital which is employed in the Australian trade for the period in which it is so employed. The formula determining return on capital incorporating amendments made since 1956. is as follows: - The agreed return on capital is calculated on the original cost of each ship duly written down over a period of 271 years. The rate of return is 9 per cent. The basic rate of 9 per cent, is applied to an amount determined by adopting what would be the written down value of each ship after 13) years use; and a lower rate, 5 per cent, per annum, is applied to the amount by which the aca al capital employed, computed by reference to the actual cost and age of each ship, exceeds the foregoing amount to which the basic rate of 9 per cent, per annum is applied. This arrangement applies only to the Australia-United Kingdom/Continent trade and is negotiated under the machinery of the Australian Overseas Transport Association. There are no similar arrangements covering other areas.
n asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
Shipping companies charge on different bases for carriage of steel. A value per ton basis is used from the United Kingdom while from Australia the charge is also based on length. I have been given the following rates, in Australian currency, for steel carried from United Kingdom to Singapore and from the east coast of Australia to Singapore: -
There are many factors taken into account by shipowners in the determination of freight rates. These include costs of stevedoring in different countries, time taken for vessels to turn round, the availability of return cargoes, average time lost through stoppages, and so on. Strict ton-mile freight rate comparison can be very misleading for many reasons. For example, it can be more economical, and result in cheaper freight : rates, to carry a full cargo a certain distance than a part-cargo a shorter distance.
b asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
r asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
n asked the Minister for Supply, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. My department operates space tracking stations at Muchea, Woomera and Salisbury on behalf of the United States Government. The stations are used in connexion with space probes, United States man-in-space programme and other satellites, and are managed and staffed by officers of my department. From time to time for specific operations small numbers of United States personnel take part. 3 and 4. The operation of the stations to which I have already referred is covered by an agreement entered into between the United States and Australia in February, 1960, which is included in Australian Treaty Series 1960 No. 2.
d asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1. (a) 126; (b) 18, 23 and 61 respectively.
a asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
What was the number of broadcast listeners’ licences in force at (a) 30th June, 1961, and (b) 30th June, 1962?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
The number of broadcast listeners’ licences in force at 30th June, 1961, and 30th June, 1962, were as follows:- 30th June, 1961, 2,255,842; 30th June, 1962, 2,219,067.
n asked the Minister for Supply, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
d asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
– The answers are given in the following table: -
y asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
– The Minister for National Development has supplied the following information: -
In comparing Australia with the United States of America it should be remembered that there are large imports of fuel oil into the United Slates of America, but not into Australia; and also that in the United States of America natural gas is used for very many purposes for which fuel oil or coal is employed in Australia.
d asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
– The Minister for National Development has supplied the following information: -
son asked the Minister representing the Minister in Charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, upon notice -
– The Minister in Charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization has supplied the following information: -
s asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows: - 1, 2, 3 and 4. Information is not available to answer these questions.
m asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
Banks are not obliged to publish details of dividends received. However, information derived from published sources is set out below: -
The following table shows the paidup value of shares held by each bank at the first and last days of the latest financial year of each bank, and dividends declared by the companies between the two dates. Dividends declared during the year shown may not have been received by the banks during that year: -
(c), (d) and (e) Dividends from a unit trust, from a development corporation or from a factoring organization. - No information has been published by banks.
d asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
Upon what material or data does the Commonwealth Statistician base his calculation of the number of workers in civilian employment at the termination of each month?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
The Commonwealth Statistician publishes, each month, estimates of the number of wage and salary earners in civilian employment, excluding rural employees and females in private domestic service. These estimates, which are designed to measure, as nearly as may be, current monthly trends in employment in a defined field, are based on data from three main sources, namely, (a) monthly data as to persons employed in factories as shown at annual factory censuses; (b) current monthly returns from government bodies; and (c) current pay-roll tax returns (generally monthly). There are also some other direct records of monthly employment (e.g. for hospitals). Data from these sources are supplemented by estimates of the numbers of wage and salary earners not covered by the foregoing collections.
m asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
When did the Commonwealth Grants Commission present the report which he tabled on 9th October, 1962?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
The special grants recommended by the Commonwealth Grants Commission for payment to the claimant States in 1962-63 were conveyed to the Administrator of the Commonwealth by letter dated 27th July, 1962, and, following their acceptance by the Government, included in the Estimates for 1962-63. The report of the commission, setting out in detail the basis for its recommendations, was signed on 14th September, 1962, and was forwarded to His Excellency the Governor-General on 4th October, 1962. Copies of the report were received by me on 9th October, 1962, and tabled in the House that afternoon.
d asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following information: -
No. Trans-Australia Airlines’ rights to engage in charter flights were prescribed in legislation introduced in 1945 by a previous government.
Under that legislation it may operate charter flights as incidental to the operation of airline services between States, between a State and a Territory and between points in a Territory. Subsequently, steps were taken which enabled TransAustralia Airlines to operate airline services within Queensland and within Tasmania. No direction has been given affecting the statutory right of Trans-Australia Airlines to discharge fully its functions and duties under that legislation.
d asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following information: -
American Aircraft in Australia.
d asked the Minister for Air, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
s asked the Minister for Air, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
s. - On 28th August, the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen), in a question without notice, referred to the possible effects of the application of Article 57 of the Treaty of Rome on the standards of the Royal College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Physicians if Britain subscribes to the treaty.
I am informed that any legal obligation imposed by the Treaty of Rome in regard to qualifications to be recognized by the participating countries would apply only to the qualifications by which recognition as a medical practitioner could be obtained.
The Royal Colleges are independent bodies which provide facilities for medical education and for the granting of diplomas in the form of licentiates, memberships and fellowships to those who take the examinations set by the colleges and who reach the required standards as set by the colleges themselves. The Royal Colleges are as jealous of the standards reached by their successful candidates as these candidates are proud of their success. There is no legal reason why, if Britain enters the European Economic Community, the Treaty of Rome should require the standards set by the Royal Colleges to be lowered, nor can it be envisaged that this would be done.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 16 October 1962, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1962/19621016_reps_24_hor36/>.