House of Representatives
15 November 1962

24th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Sir John McLeay). took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.

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– On 17th May the Prime Minister, by leave, made a statement to this House in which he said that the United States Government had formally requested permission to establish and operate a naval communications station in Western Australia covering an area of 28 square miles, and that the Commonwealth Government had approved the request. I ask the right honorable gentleman whether it is necessary for this Parliament to pass legislation to ratify any agreement that the Government has made or is likely to make in connexion with this project. If so, when is the legislation likely to be introduced? Finally, is it proposed that the United States shall have a lease of the area from either the Commonwealth Government or the Government of Western Australia and, if so, for how long?

Prime Minister · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · LP

– I am not able to answer these questions, off-hand. If I may treat them as being on the notice-paper I shall have an answer prepared and forward it to the honorable member.

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– In the absence of the Minister for External Affairs, my question is addressed to the Prime Minister. Can the Prime Minister give the House any information regarding the reported arrest in Djakarta of Silas Papare, previously an anti-Dutch West New Guinea underground leader and recently an Indonesian member of Parliament? Was Silas Papare arrested by the Army for advocating an independent Papuan state for West New Guinea? If so, how is any Papuan in West New Guinea to conduct a campaign for self-determination under the agreement that has been made without being under the threat of arrest for subversive activity? If this man has been arrested, will the Government bring the matter before the United

Nations so that Papuans who are in favour of an independent State in West New Guinea may have some chance of conducting a campaign?


– I shall have to refer the honorable member’s question to the Minister for External Affairs. I will see that an answer is forwarded as soon as possible.

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– I wish to address a question to the Treasurer. What are the reasons for the Government’s deciding that new commercial aircraft purchased should be American rather than British? Is it not correct that Trans-Australia Airlines recommended that new aircraft should be of British make? Would it be correct to say that in all such cases as this the Government has consistently rejected the recommendation of T.A.A. and adopted the advice of its competitors? Will not the purchase of new aircraft in the dollar area result in a substantial increase of our trading deficit there? Would it be far better, from an economy viewpoint, to buy these planes in the sterling area where our trading balances are substantially in credit? Finally, is not this decision a contradiction of the line that was taken recently by leading members of the Government when they were discussing the reasons of the United Kingdom for entering the European Common Market?


– I can only assume that the honorable gentleman has based his question on speculative press reports. I am not aware of any formal announcement by my colleague, the Minister for Civil Aviation, on which such a question could be authoritatively based. When my colleague does state the Government’s policy on the acquisition of aircraft, I shall be happy, as I have been from time to time in the past, to discuss in reply to a question the financial implications of the programme.

GAOLING OF LEPERS. Mr. TURNER. - My question is addressed to the Minister for Labour and National Service in his capacity as Acting Minister for Territories. I refer to a report about a fortnight ago to the effect that two aboriginal lepers from the leprosarium in the Northern Territory had been confined in isolation at the Fannie Bay gaol at Darwin. Can the Minister give any information regarding the circumstances leading to their confinement, the conditions under which they are isolated, the length of their sentences and the medical treatment afforded to them while they are in gaol? Will he say whether he and the Department of Territories are satisfied with the present arrangements in such cases? Finally, can the Minister say generally what is the incidence of leprosy among aborigines in the Northern Territory compared with the incidence in other countries, and what steps are being taken by the Northern Territory Administration to treat and, if possible, eradicate this disease?

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

– I have read the file relating to the confinement of two aborigines in the Fannie Bay gaol that was sent to me by the Department of Territories. The aborigines were taken from the East Arm Leprosarium and placed in the gaol because they had committed criminal offences within the leprosarium itself. What happened in this case - I think that this is what the honorable gentleman refers to - is that the women’s section of the gaol was cleared and the inmates of that section were sent to a modern detention centre in Alice Springs. The leprosy sufferers are now isolated in that section of the gaol. It is intended to take over a house within the confines of the gaol and to put the leprosy sufferers there. I have been informed that these people receive the most modern attention that science and the medical world can provide for them. They are seen six times a week by the medical officer and are afforded the most up-to-date facilities that can be provided. In my view, which is based on what I have read, there is nothing more that the Administration can do to help them. They are provided with educational facilities. In every way, whatever the Department of Health and the Northern Territory Administration can do for these victims of leprosy is being done.

I have seen figures relating to the incidence of the disease, in both males and females, among the native people, white Australians and immigrants, including people who are not Australian nationals. The incidence is not high. Indeed, it is surprisingly low. I believe that there are fewer than 200 infectious cases in the whole of the Territory.

The last part of the question related to what is being done on a humanitarian basis for leprosy sufferers. At the East Arm Leprosarium, they are looked after by nuns of the Order of the Sacred Heart, an order dedicated to the care of leprosy sufferers. Their education is attended to by a religious order - I think, the same one. The medical officer in charge of the leprosarium is now overseas investigating the latest methods of preventing and curing this disease. We believe that he is as well informed a medical man as you could find to control the care and treatment of sufferers from leprosy.

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– My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. Is it a fact that this Government gave quick and unqualified support to the United States of America in its action to secure the removal and banning of nuclear weapons in Cuba? Does the Government now deride the policy of the Australian Labour Party in its efforts to secure an enforceable agreement among all nations in the southern hemisphere banning the storage, use and testing of nuclear weapons in this part of the world? Has the Government any consistent policy in these matters or does it expect to be able to enforce nuclear disarmament on nations with whose policies we are not in sympathy, whilst retaining for ourselves the right to have the protection of nuclear weapons? Would not the Government be in a much stronger moral position when condemning the actions of Cuba and other similar nations if it adopted the policy of the Australian Labour Party and similar policies which have been espoused by other member countries of the United Nations?


– Our attitude towards the events in Cuba was stated by me quite unequivocably in this House and I adhere to it. Our attitude to the policy of the Labour Party, which I described as a suicidal policy, I have also stated quite plainly. I have no reason to change it.

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– My question to the Minister for Primary Industry relates to the possibility of the future control of Australia’s infant safflower industry passing, to an extent, into the hand’s of an overseas organization. Is it a fact that all Australian supplies of the superior gila variety of safflower seed, which was introduced to and propagated in Australia by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, have been handed into the control of the American company, Pacific Oil Seeds of California, by the Queensland Grain Growers Association? Has the C.S.I.R.O. officer responsible for the propagation of this seed in Queensland joined this foreign organization to direct its Australian safflower-growing programme?

Is it correct that the Australian crushing industry has been unable to obtain any of this superior type seed for its future requirements? If it is correct that the C.S.I.R.O. unwittingly made this seed available to the Queensland Grain Growers Association under conditions which enabled the association to pass control of future crops into the hands of an overseas organization, will the Minister co-operate with the Minister in charge of the C.S.I.R.O. to retrieve the position for the benefit of the future of this young but important industry?

Minister for Primary Industry · FISHER, QUEENSLAND · CP

– The honorable member was not quite correct when he said that the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization had propagated this seed. The position is that Pacific Oil Seeds of California sought permission to bring seed into Queensland with a view to propagating an improved variety. The Department of Health refused to allow this seed to be imported because of the danger of disease. However, the Queensland Department of Agriculture informed me that it was growing some of this seed under quarantine. This year it was able to release 8,000 lbs. of seed which the Queensland Grain Growers Association has recommended should be distributed between five Darling Downs growers and five Biloela growers because the seed was grown under quarantine at the Biloela research station, which is controlled by the Queensland Department of Agriculture.

The Queensland Grain Growers Association has made a contract with the American company to purchase the seed which will be available. This is estimated at 100 tons for the 1963-64 season and will supply about 100 growers. One term of the contract is that the association will buy this seed at a mutually agreed price and the company will establish a solvent extraction plant to treat it. I think it is very good to have this additional industry established in Queensland.

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– I address my question to the Minister for Trade. Last night before the House rose the Minister tabled a letter which he had received from Sir Leslie Melville and a reply which he had sent to him last February before the Special Advisory Authority was appointed. Will the right honorable gentleman now table all the correspondence which passed between the Government and the chairman of the Tariff Board or the board of the World Bank in succeeding months during which the authority operated, and during which Sir Leslie Melville’s resignation was tendered and accepted?

Minister for Trade · MURRAY, VICTORIA · CP

– The correspondence which I have from Sir Leslie Melville in relation to his desire to retire consists of two letters. I will be glad to table those two letters. There is no related reciprocal correspondence from me because Sir Leslie Melville came to see me, and if honorable members desire to know anything of the conversation, when they see the letters, I will be glad to recount it, but there is nothing to it. As to what other correspondence there may be on other subjects between the letter which I tabled last night, which was written in February, and the letter from Sir Leslie which I received when I was overseas, I frankly have nothing in my mind. I will have a look and see what correspondence there is, and if it has any relativity to these issues I will be glad to table it. I am not even sure that there is any correspondence. Any reluctance I have had, as I said when I first spoke of this, to table the correspondence which I will now table, was in relation to a judgment in my mind, good or bad, that there was a reference in Sir Leslie’s letter to me to his own private concerns, a reference which I was reluctant to make public.

Mr Menzies:

– Hear, hear!


– I thought that was proper. Not every one may have the same judgment, but I thought so. There is a question on the notice-paper of another place requesting the tabling of the correspondence. In the light of that, and in the light of the desire that this be done, I will table it before question time is over.

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– Has the Prime Minister’s attention been drawn to the assertions made by Professor Zawodny of the University of Pennsylvania regarding the Katyn massacre? Is any information available as to the responsibility for this massacre? Has the Australian Government any knowledge of the truth of Professor Zawodny’s allegation that the facts of this responsibility were known at the time, but were deliberately concealed for the purposes of white-washing Stalin and the Soviet Government? Will he cause a search to be made in the Australian archives to see whether there is any material there which would throw light on these matters?


– By a singular stroke of good fortune, I received from the department this morning a note on this matter. The press reported yesterday that a book called “ Death in the Forest “, by Professor Zawodny, has just been published, which alleges that the Katyn forest massacres were carried out by the Russians in 1940. The responsibility for these murders has been disputed, but a United States official inquiry reported in 1952 that “ beyond any question of reasonable doubt, the Soviet N.K.V.D. committed the mass murders of the Polish officers and intellectual leaders in the Katyn forest near Smolensk, Russia “.

The discovery of the murders was first announced in April, 1943, by the German radio; the Soviet newsagency, Tass, immediately replied that if the men had been murdered it could only have been by the Germans. In April, 1943, the Polish Government in exile appealed to the International Committee of the Red Cross to investigate the matter. This move was used by the Soviet Union as a pretext to break off relations. The Germans invited a com.misison representing twelve European universities and neutral countries to consider the evidence. This commission found that the murders had taken place in 1940, when the area was in Soviet hands. In January, 1944, a Soviet special commission counterclaimed that the murders had taken place in 1941, when the area was in German hands. The date of the murders is therefore the crucial point. The United States Government inquiry of 1951-52 found convincing evidence that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was responsible. We have no knowledge that the Soviet Union has ever admitted responsibility, but the investigation that I referred to - I think I have a copy of it here with me - made in America indicated quite clearly that the Soviet was responsible for these dreadful mass murders.

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– I direct a question to the Minister for Primary Industry. Has he received the report of a four-man mission sent overseas by the Apple and Pear Marketing Board which reported that unless radical alterations are made to the present shipping system Australia will continue to lose the custom of importers of our apples and pears all over Europe? Did the mission report that the main reason for the drop in our sales, which is particularly serious as far as Sweden is concerned, was the lack of shipping information and lack of regularity and other facilities offered to the trade, compared with services available from Argentina, which is increasing its trade at Australia’s expense? Will the Minister make this important report available to honorable members, and carry out its recommendations as soon as possible for the sake of our apple and pear marketing overseas?


– I cannot recall having received the report, as such, but I do know about the discussions that are now eventuating between the growers, shippers and exporters in the light of the experience of last year’s record exports and the need for taking up any deficiences, with a view to having everything perfect if possible for the forthcoming season. If the report becomes available I will be glad to let the honorable member have a look at it.

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– I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service: Will he consider providing for classifications in the statistics of persons registered for employment to show the number of persons registered who fall into the following categories - persons whose previous record of employment would indicate their incapacity or unsuitability for permanent employment; persons actually engaged in employment who register with the expectation of obtaining better employment; and persons registered who are over the age of 65 years in the case of males and 60 years in the case of females?


Mr. Speaker, I have frequently given consideration to including in the monthly statistics details along the lines suggested by the honorable gentleman. As to the first classification, the department has taken the view - and I agree with it - that there would be a tremendous amount of administrative work involved if it were done each month. Secondly, we have taken the view that there are numbers of people who might have employment prospects in particular industries and we would not like to give them the general classification of not being employable. Thirdly, we have rehabilitated or partially incapacitated people - perhaps 7,000 in round figures. We believe always, as an enlightened Government, that as these people have special aptitudes it is our responsibility to place them in special jobs or to find special jobs for them. Nevertheless I will have another look at the first question asked by the honorable gentleman and will discuss it with the department, and if there is any useful information available I will let him and the House know.

As to the honorable member’s second question, regarding people registered who already have jobs, we do not include those figures in the published statistics. If they have jobs already they are not included in the number of people registered, which is published each month. With regard to the third question, relating to elderly people - males over the age of 65 and females over 60 years of age - I have frequently had this reviewed. On the last review I found that as at 30th June last when the number of registrants was about 100,000, the number of males in that classification was substantially fewer than 500 and the number of females over the age of 60 years was substantially fewer than 200. So I do not think anything would be gained by pursuing this kind of investigation. If people want to show that the statistics are not reliable I think they will have to look outside that particular group to prove their case.


– I address my question to the Minister for Labour and National Service. Has the Minister’s attention been directed to a report that 59 per cent, of manufacturing companies are working below capacity? If this is so, would not this unused capacity absorb most of the unemployed if it were made available? Will he ask the Minister for Trade to restrict the import of non-essential materials and so create employment for the vast number of people who are still unemployed?


– There is some unused capacity in industry. The honorable member mentions 59 per cent.; but if he implies that in that 59 per cent, of companies there is a total unused capacity, he is quite wrong. If the honorable gentleman wants to be heartened, he should read a report issued yesterday by the Bank of New South Wales and the Chamber of Commerce dealing with future prospects.

Mr Menzies:

– That is where he obtained his figures.


– I am sorry. The Prime Minister has read the report and knows it better than I do. I have read only the newspaper account of it. If the honorable member wants to get the same confident feeling that these great organizations have, let him read the document to which I have referred. The honorable gentleman should know the Government’s policy on tariffs. If he does not, I will obtain the speeches of the Prime Minister and the Minister for Trade for him. In recent months, we have introduced at least two tariff measures into the House, both designed to give greater protection to Australian manufacturing industries and both designed, as the Prime Minister has very well pointed out, to help us achieve our major objective of policy, which is the full employment of the Australian people. I will obtain the speech of the Prime Minister and the two speeches of the Minister for Trade and I will let the honorable gentleman have them.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for Primary Industry. Now that seasonal trends are clearer, is the Minister able to give figures for estimated butter production for the 1962-63 season? Can he give the House any information about sales of butter for the 1962-63 season and the total estimated amount of butter that will be carried over in the following season?


– It is still very early in the dairy season to make a forecast of production and consumption. Four months of this financial year have passed and production is slightly less than it was for the four months of the previous year. It is a little difficult to say whether we shall reach the relatively high total of 197,000 tons produced last year. As far as consumption is concerned, sales are proceeding satisfactorily, consistent with the quota that Australia has in the United Kingdom of 62,000 tons, which extends to 31st March next. I suppose that, in order to make an estimate of consumption, we would need to know whether a quota will be continued by the United Kingdom after 31st March, and whether it will remain at the total of 62,000 tons. However, sales are proceeding satisfactorily, consistent with the quota.

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– Can the Minister for Primary Industry inform the House whether hams being imported from New Zealand come from areas free of swine fever? If not, what precautions are taken to ensure that there will be no further outbreaks of this disease caused by imported pig meats?


– I am not quite sure what the honorable gentleman’s concluding question was. He can be assured that the health authorities would not allow hams to be imported from New Zealand unless the authorities were satisfied that there was no risk of disease.

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– I preface my question to the Treasurer by referring to the announcement by the New South Wales Treasurer of a reduction in the allocation of funds for education in that State. Does this reduction in the Labour-governed State of New South Wales compare unfavorably with the increased allocation by the Menzies-McEwen Government of funds for that State, and with the steady increase in allocations by that Government for tertiary education in accordance with the recommendations of the Universities Commission? Does it also make a sham of Labour’s attacks on our education policy and also of Labour’s to increase financial provision for education purposes if a Labour government is formed?


– I have seen some newspaper reports of criticisms made by the Treasurer of New South Wales. There is nothing novel about governments being short of funds or having budgetary difficulties. It is in the nature of things that governments should have such difficulties. That has been our experience in this country, and, indeed, it is the experience of most countries. There is also nothing novel about spokesmen for State governments trying to shift their responsibilities on to the shoulders of the Commonwealth Government. But I think this House should have before it some facts so that it will realize the enormous increase in financial provision that has been made during the life of this Government for the purposes of the States. When I saw this criticism I took out these figures.

Mr Ward:

– Another Dorothy Dix-er.


– This, I assure the honorable gentleman, was simply intelligent anticipation. I realized that I would probably have a question addressed to me from some part of the House, and if I were not asked a question on the matter I proposed to make some comment on it in view of the publicity that has been given to this criticism in New South Wales. In the year before this Government took office New South Wales received from the then Labour Government by way of tax reimbursement £28,751,000. In 1962-63, New South Wales receives by way of financial assistance grants £103,836,000. That, Sir, is supplemented in this particular year by the additional assistance grant that we have made, to be used in employment-giving activities, although it has been made clear that the State governments have some discretion as to the manner in which they spend those moneys.

When we turn to the loan programme, we find that in 1949-50, New South Wales received £36,067,000 as against £80,102,000 in this year. So, in a year in which we have found it necessary to budget for a deficit of £118,000,000 we have seen to it that the States, including New South Wales, have had a larger financial allocation than they had last year. They receive these funds under a formula unanimously agreed upon by the Commonwealth and the States, which takes account of population increases and movements in average weekly earnings and includes a betterment factor. This formula has operated very favorably for, and to the great advantage of, the States. No one knowing these facts will be convinced that there is any validity in the attempt by the Treasurer of New South Wales to shift on to this Government responsibility for his own failure to make increased provision for education.

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– Is the Minister for Primary Industry aware that the world demand for tuna fish meat is expected to rise during the next seven or eight years by some 50 per cent., to about 1,500,000 tons a year? Is he aware, also, that about 150 Japanese vessels have been travelling several thousand miles for the purpose of fishing the continental shelf about 100 miles from Broome in Western Australia? Does the Minister know that each of those vessels has been catching between 100 and 200 tons of tuna in every three to six weeks period? Finally, if the Minister is aware of those things, does he agree that those fishing grounds situated so close to Australia’s shores could be successfully exploited for and by Australia, particularly if a tuna fishing industry were established close to that area? If he does so agree, what action is this Government taking to ensure that such an industry will be established in the near future?


– I should like to commence by thanking the honorable member for the information he has given and to remind him that the Japanese or any other people have a perfect right to fish outside the territorial waters. The honorable member has apparently forgotten that the Commonwealth Government has recently spent, out of the Fisheries Development Trust Account, considerable money in a survey of tuna beds near the Western Australian coast. That is in addition to expenditure of £240,000 in the Great Australian Bight for fisheries development and expenditure on fisheries surveys round the Australian coast. So the Australian Government, which is not a trading government but one that aims to assist those who are prepared to develop an industry, has been very helpful to the fishing industry all round the Australian coast.

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– I address a question to the Prime Minister relating to the Communist Chinese attack on India. Has there been any consultation at the Commonwealth prime ministerial level with the end in view of giving assistance to India? Has any move been made to form and to offer to India a Commonwealth division? Finally, can the Prime Minister give an assurance that the Australian Government will share to the full in any opportunity to demonstrate to the world and to ourselves that the Commonwealth is yet a force to be reckoned with?


Mr. Speaker, there has been no discussion among Prime Ministers on this matter. There have been discussions through the ordinary diplomatic channels about what can or should be done in relation to India. As my colleague the Minister for External Affairs said the other day, our own representative in India is engaged in actual and practical discussions on these matters. At the same time there has been no suggestion made, of which I am aware, that there should be a Commonwealth division or any armed force of that kind. Whether such a proposal would fit in with the non-alinement beliefs of the Government of India I would doubt.

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– I ask the Prime Minister: Did Cuba immediately become a strategic target of paramount importance in the view of the United States of America and other nations when bases capable of discharging nuclear weapons were established there? Was the United States of America justified in taking vigorous action and even threatening war over the presence of these bases? As a matter of logic, would not Australia similarly become a strategic target of paramount importance should bases capable of discharging nuclear weapons be established here? Would the presence of such bases on Australian soil justify retaliatory action, similar to that taken by the United States of America, by some nation or nations that objected to the presence of such bases? If so, does he now agree with the Labour Party policy of a nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere, or does he prefer to risk involving Australia in an international situation which could lead to war? If so-


– Order! The honorable member is making his question far too long. I ask him to direct his question.


– Will the Prime Minister state, should a situation arise, in which nations, if any-


– Order! That is a hypothetical issue. The honorable member will direct his question.


– Have any nations indicated whether they would be committed unconditionally and unhesitatingly to come to the aid of Australia in the event of any hostilities involving this nation?


– I found it extremely difficult to follow what the long argument of the honorable member contained. Therefore, I should be very glad if he would put it on the notice-paper.

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– Is the Minister for Repatriation aware that, in many country areas, some difficulty arises, on occasions, over the admission of entitled repatriation patients to hospital in emergencies? Can the Minister say what the department’s policy is in this kind of case, and under what conditions patients are admitted to hospitals other than those under the control of the Repatriation Department? Do the conditions of entry include the endorsement of the patient’s medical card by the local medical officer? If so, does the department bear the cost of the hospital treatment?

Minister for Repatriation · DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · LP

– As a general rule, repatriation hospital patients in country centres who require hospital treatment are brought down from their areas to the repatriation general hospitals in the various state capital cities. But there are procedures by which a local medical officer can arrange for admission to hospital in emergency circumstances. All local medical officers are aware of the procedure to be adopted. The normal procedure is for the local medical officer to contact the deputy commissioner in the branch concerned, and obtain the necessary authority for the transfer of the patient to one of the local hospitals for emergency treatment. However, in special circumstances - say, at the weekends or at other times when the office is closed - the local medical officer would have to use his judgment, but would have to get his authority confirmed. I would say that, in 99 per cent, of cases, a senior officer of the department would be immediately available to give the necessary authority. So the procedure exists for all emergency cases to be treated in local hospitals. Where authority has been given, the cost of such hospital treatment is borne by my department. Where treatment of this nature has been given there is no necessity for the entitlement card of the ex-serviceman to be noted by the local medical officer.

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– Yesterday, the honorable member for Evans asked a question about proceedings in the High Court of Australia following on a question put on 8th November by the honorable member for New England. I indicated that I would, if possible, provide an answer this morning. The honorable member for New England was under two misapprehensions: One was that the Commonwealth had intervened in these proceedings between Ansett-A.N.A. and the State of New South Wales and others. The fact is that the Commonwealth was not an intervener. It is one of the defendants in this litigation. The honorable member was also under a misapprehension in that he thought that an injunction had been granted by the High Court last year. Although an injunction was sought in these proceedings, one of the defendants, the State of New South Wales, agreed not to take any action to enforce its regulations until the proceedings had come to hearing. In other words, there was not an injunction. There was a voluntary agreement to hold the position. It is quite true that a writ was issued near enough to a year ago. The Commonwealth, as a defendant, has had this case actively in hand. It is proposed to plead in the case. There have been, as I suspected yesterday that there might have been, considerable technical difficulties emerging in the course of the pleadings. The Commonwealth’s defence is now in the hands of counsel for statement, and I expect that it will be delivered in a few days.

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– My question to the Minister for Shipping and Transport concerns coastal tankers. I should like to preface my question by quoting the remarks of the Minister from the document “Australian Shipping and Shipbuilding Statistics “, dated June, 1960, in which he said -

If suitable tankers were built in Australia and engaged in distributing the produce of our oil refineries it would be a great stimulus to both the shipping and shipbuilding industries. Although local shipyards, particularly the B.H.P. yard at Whyalla, have orders on hand there is adequate capacity at the main yards to build over the next few years all the tankers that would be required to cater for the local refined petroleum product lift.

In view of this statement, will the Minister take steps to acquire or to have built in Australia tankers to carry this important commodity, taking into consideration that yesterday we were told that about 145 permits had been issued to foreign ships to trade on the Australian coast over the last twelve months?

Minister for Shipping and Transport · CORIO, VICTORIA · LP

– It is quite true that petroleum is carried around our coasts by foreign vessels, some of which have continuing permits, and some of which have single permits. It is quite open to any one to have an Australian ship built in Australian yards which would be subsidized to a certain amount. If the owners entered the shipping trade they would be granted permission to enable them to engage in oil carrying.

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– I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service whether he has seen a report, submitted to a safety convention held in Sydney this week, to the effect that £170,000,000 was paid in workers’ compensation claims last year? If this is a correct figure, does the Minister not consider it to be alarmingly high, particularly in view of its effect on the export trade? Does he not consider that it calls for maximum action in the promotion of accident prevention on both the State and Commonwealth levels by all concerned, not only because of the high cost, but also because of the human suffering involved? Will the Minister tell the House whether his department still actively encourages and assists industry and all sections of employment in accident prevention?


– Last year a conference was held in Canberra dealing with this question of safety in industry. There it was said by State authorities and the insurance organizations that the cost to the country of accidents in industry was about £170,000,000 a year. I think the honorable member will know that safety measures in industry are largely the responsibility of the State governments. Nonetheless, my department has taken an active part in trying to co-ordinate State activities and to create a strong feeling among manufacturers and transport interests that everything that can be done to reduce the accident rate will be of benefit, first by reducing costs and, secondly, by substantially reducing personal suffering. I shall take this matter up again with the department as I have not dealt with it for some months. If there is something more that I can do by way of calling a conference or discussing the matter with State authorities or manufacturers I shall be only too happy to do it.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation. If the homes which some short-sighted authority has permitted to be erected too close to Essendon airport were removed to Tullamarine, thus enlarging Essendon airport, might this not be more satisfactory and much less costly than to build an entirely new airport at Tullamarine? Has the cost of removing or rebuilding existing terminals and facilities at Essendon been considered in conjunction with the present estimates for making an airport at Tullamarine, which is only three and a half miles from Essendon? Is it a fact that the de Havilland Trident jet passenger plane could use Essendon fully loaded?

Minister for Defence · DENISON, TASMANIA · LP

– I think that most of the problems that the honorable member has posed in his question will have been considered. However, I shall have his comments conveyed to the Minister in another place and shall obtain a reply for him.

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Minister for Trade · Murray · CP

– In accordance with an undertaking that I gave, I lay on the table the following paper: -

Letters to the Minister for Trade dated 17th September and 29th October, 1962, from Sir Leslie Melville, Chairman of the Tariff Board, concerning his wish to retire from the Tariff Board.

These are two letters that I have received from Sir Leslie Melvile relative to his retirement from the Tariff Board. I make it clear, Mr. Speaker, that there was no correspondence on the subject of his retirement prior to, or other than, the two letters which I now table. There is no reciprocal letter from me, because, as Sir Leslie’s letters themselves reveal, the matter was discussed verbally between him and me.

The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) asked me to table also any communication from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development relative to Sir Leslie Melville’s appointment in that organization. To the best of my knowledge, there has been no communication by the International Bank to the Australian Government on this matter.

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Motion (by Mr. Davidson) agreed to -

That the House, at its rising, adjourn until Tuesday, 27th November, at 2.30 p.m.

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Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir John McLeay:

– I have received a letter from the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) proposing that a definite matter of urgent public importance be submitted to the House for discussion, namely -

The urgent need for action on a national scale to prohibit the exercise of pressure by any body, religious or otherwise, to compel its members to resign from trade unions, or to prevent them from joining trade unions, and to bring about a satisfactory and early conclusion to the dispute at the Commonwealth Steel Company Limited works in Newcastle where the Moulders Union are at present engaged in fighting to protect their organization against such tactics by the Exclusive Order of Brethren.

I call upon those members who approve of the proposed discussion to rise in their places. (More than the number of members required by the Standing Orders having risen in their places) -

East Sydney

.- Mr. Speaker, I raise this subject for discussion as a matter of urgency for the purpose of directing attention to a most serious development throughout Australia which is affecting the trade union movement. It may appear at a cursory glance, having regard to newspaper reports, that the second part of the subject as stated in the terms of the notice given to you, Sir, is now unnecessary, as the moulders involved in the Newcastle dispute are to return to work next Monday, but such is not the case. Certainly, the men are to return to work, but they are doing so under a form of compulsion in an endeavour, by the continuance of their efforts-

Mr McMahon:

-r- On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I submit that the latter part of the subject proposed for discussion as a matter of urgency is sub judice, although the first part is not. The facts are that the Commonwealth Steel Company Limited obtained an order under section 109 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act to get the men to return to work. An order was made directing them to return to work, but they did not do so. Subsequently, a contempt order was obtained against them. The execution of that contempt order has been held over pending negotiations for a return to work. The men decided at a conference that they would return to work. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) has used the word “compulsion”. It is possible, and perhaps even probable, that if the men do not return to work what is said here will prejudice the interests of one or other of the parties to this dispute if it has to go back to the court. The second part of the subject proposed for discussion, obviously, is sub judice, Sir, but not the first part. I ask that any reference to the dispute at the works of the Commonwealth Steel Company Limited be declared out of order.

Mr Whitlam:

– On the point of order, Sir: I submit that there is nothing in the terms of the particular notice given to you which could in any way prejudice any adjourned, pending or possible proceedings.

Mr McMahon:

– I protest.

Mr Whitlam:

– The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) is asking you to speculate. What the Minister suggests does not clearly emerge from the terms of the subject as proposed for discussion, and nothing said by the honorable member for East Sydney has brought it into issue. The second part of the subject as stated flows very clearly from the first part, which the Minister himself concedes is perfectly in order. The whole matter arises from the first part of the subject as proposed for discussion. This is a subject which concerns the Parliament’s duty to scrutinize or amend its own legislation. It in no way impinges on the duty of the Commonwealth Industrial Court or the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission to carry out the terms of the legislation.

Mr Snedden:

– I wish to speak to the point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition has said that the second part of the subject as proposed for discussion quite clearly flows from the first part, but the contrary is the case. The two parts quite clearly are separate, distinct and apart. The first part of the subject contains the words “ prohibit the exercise of pressure by any body, religious or otherwise “ and is of broad scope. The second part, which follows the words “ trade unions “ second appearing, begins with the conjunctive “ and “ and contains the words “ and to bring about a satisfactory and early conclusion to the dispute at the Commonwealth Steel Company Limited works in Newcastle”. Nothing could be more confined than the meaning of those words, which identify the place at which the dispute has occurred. The first part of the subject as stated is not sub judice in any way, but I believe that the second part, quite clearly, must be sub judice when it is known that an information relating to an order for contempt is before the Commonwealth Industrial Court.

Mr E James Harrison:

Mr. Speaker, I should like to speak to the point of order. I disagree entirely with the view expressed by the honorable member for Bruce (Mr. Snedden). He has fastened on the words “ and to bring about a satisfactory and early conclusion to the dispute at the Commonwealth Steel Company Limited works “. The first factor that the honorable member will recognize is that the dispute at present, as mentioned in the terms to which he referred, falls within the province of Commonwealth law. Those words that I have just quoted should be read in conjunction with the first part of the subject as proposed for discussion, which reads -

The urgent need for action on a national scale to prohibit the exercise of pressure by any body, religious or otherwise, to compel its members to resign from trade unions ….

If the honorable member reads the two parts in conjunction, he must recognize for certain that the Conciliation and Arbitration Act in its present form provides for the function of trade unions to exercise, within their proper scope, the right to control their own affairs.

Coming to the question pf exclusive right, which the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) proposed to discuss, I put it to the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) and the honorable member for Bruce that the first exclusive right under this heading is the right of the unions to control their own affairs and their own membership. If a question arises over the validity of an action being taken by a trade union to protect its exclusive right against an exclusive right claimed by somebody else with respect to interests outside the trade union movement, this Commonwealth Parliament itself surely must come down on the side of protecting the exclusive rights of trade unions within the framework of the Commonwealth law. For these reasons, in my view, Mr. Speaker, the terms of the subject as proposed for discussion in no way impinge on a decision that has been taken by the Commonwealth Industrial Court. We are dealing with an attempt by an exclusive body to interfere with the work of trade unions which, under our own law, have the exclusive right to deal with their own affairs.

Mr Calwell:

– I want to state very simply that the matters which have been proposed for discussion must stand or fall together. The first matter relates to the urgent need for action on a national scale to prohibit the exercise of pressure by any body, religious or otherwise, to compel its members to resign from trade unions, or to prevent them from joining trade unions. The second matter merely illustrates the offence against that principle. It indicates that in Newcastle the Moulders Union is being compelled to wage a great fight against a particular organization which, in our view, is trying to destroy trade unionism.

The Minister has stated that because certain court action has followed the fight which is being waged by the Moulders Union this House cannot discuss the question of amending legislation or other action by the Parliament to protect the rights of the trade union movement. We are not entering into any discussion of the rights of the court and we are not claiming that anything it has done or proposes to do is right or wrong. We claim that the law should be amended to afford protection to trade unions against the form of activity to which I have referred. Surely we are entitled to do that. If there is to be a narrow interpretation of the right of honorable members to discuss matters in this Parliament we shall never be able to discuss anything.


– The point raised by the Minister is that this matter is before the court. There has been a deferment of proceedings to enable the men to return to work. In view of the circumstances it would be impossible to control the debate and something might be said to disadvantage either side. I uphold the point of order taken by the Minister.

Mr Calwell:

– In that case I propose to move dissent from the ruling.

Debate interrupted.

page 2462


Leader of the Opposition · Melbourne

– I moveThat the ruling be dissented from. I do not think I need add anything to my previous remarks. I believe that the Parliament should have an unrestricted right to discuss a matter of this kind whether or not the issue is before the court, because by discussing it we would not be impinging upon the rights of the court. It is a merely incidental circumstance that the issue is before the court. It might have been disposed of yesterday, in which case we would have been able to discuss it. On the other hand it might have been adjourned indefinitely, in which case we would never have been able to discuss it. That is the impossible position in which your ruling, Mr. Speaker, will place the Parliament, and I think that the House should dissent from it. (Mr. Calwell having submitted his objection to the ruling in writing) -

Mr Snedden:

Mr. Speaker, I wish to ask a question in relation to your ruling. I do not canvass it but I want to be clear. Are you ruling that the terms of the matter which has been proposed for discussion are sub judice only after the words “ trade unions “ secondly appearing?


– No, I am accepting the point raised by the Minister. He directed my attention to the fact that this matter is before the court. It has been stood aside in the hope that the men will return to work. I am not in a position to know what has gone on; I am not in a position to know what the case is about, and I am not in a position to say what a discussion in this place might lead to or what effect it might have upon the court.

Mr Snedden:

– Are you ruling that the complete terms of the matter proposed are out of order?


– Yes. There has been no request for the House to decide whether the honorable member for East Sydney, who proposed this matter for discussion, has the right te withdraw the offending part of his proposal. I do not know whether the honorable member has any comment to make on that aspect.


– Having heard your ruling, Mr. Speaker, from which the Leader of the Opposition (Mr, Calwell) has now moved dissent, it appears to me that your determination turns on the fact that court proceedings are pending. Your view is that the Commonwealth Industrial Court having made an order that the men return to work, proceedings are still pending, and it would be contempt of court and therefore out of order to discuss them here. The position is that the union has agreed to return to work on Monday. In fact, there will be no disobedience of the court’s order.

Mr McMahon:

– We do not know.


– The Minister does not know anything to the contrary. The information that we have and pass on to you, Mr. Speaker, and which no one can dispute, is that the union has decided to return to work on Monday. That does not put an end to the cause of the friction but it does put an end to the court proceedings. Therefore, since there will be no disobedience of the court’s order because it will be complied with, the matter no longer will be sub judice. I regret that I did not realize what was in your mind before you gave me your ruling and that I have had to put this aspect to you now.

Mr J R Fraser:

Mr. Speaker, I should be glad if you would clarify a point for me. If it is held that this matter is sub judice and, therefore, is out of order it must be held to contravene a specific standing order of the House. Will you tell the House which specific standing order is contravened by the proposal and which specific standing order muzzles the House in the discussion of a matter of such public importance?


– The matter is covered by Standing Order No. 1. As there is no specific provision in our Standing Orders to meet such a case we turn to the procedure in the House of Commons. The procedure in the House of Commons is quite definite and, in view of what the Minister has said to inform the Chair of the position, there is not any doubt that the latter terms of the proposal - that portion mentioned by the Minister relating to Commonwealth Steel Company Limited at Newcastle - is out of order.

Mr Peters:

– You have changed your mind again.


– Order! The honorable member for Scullin will rise in his place and apologize.

Mr Peters:

– I apologize for anything to which you have taken exception, Mr. Speaker.


.- The suggestion that the processes of this Parliament should stop because a matter happens to have been taken before a court of law is, I think, fraught with danger to the whole parliamentary institution. For a thousand years the parliamentary system has been struggling to maintain its supremacy and the right of the representatives of the people to discuss things. The suggestion that any writ or action taken in a court can prevent this Parliament discussing matters is something to which all of us must be opposed. Simply because it is traditional in the House of Commons that matters of this kind should not be discussed has nothing to do with our practice. Any court of law or even a justice of the peace could prevent discussion of a matter in this Parliament if we accepted the House of Commons procedure.


– I raise a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The honorable member for Wills is not speaking to the motion before the Chair, namely, that your ruling be dissented from.


– I am offering my opinion on this matter because I am dutybound to do so. I know that many honorable members have in mind the history and importance of our parliamentary institution and I am sure that they realize how easy it would be, and in fact how easy it is, to stop the processes of this Parliament in the manner which is now proposed. Acceptance of your ruling, Mr. Speaker, is fraught with danger to representative democracy.

East Sydney

.- I think, Mr. Speaker, that you have given a ruling while under a misapprehension. The only matter that could be argued to be sub judice is, in my opinion, the question of whether there has been a contempt of court. Nothing else, because the court has already made a decision on the other matters involved and made an order. That matter is concluded. It was the failure of the men to obey the court order that led to contempt proceedings. The contempt proceedings are the only section of the proceedings that can be regarded now as sub judice, and in regard to them the matter has been adjourned to permit the union and the men to indicate whether the men proposed to return to work - and the men have already decided to return to work next Monday. Anything that might be said in this debate could not in any way prejudice the court proceedings involving issues in the dispute. That is my opinion, and I am quite clear on it. I did not want to say anything about the contempt proceedings in the court, which are the only proceedings which are not concluded, but I did want to make some reference to the proceedings in the court, and evidence given, in the cases already concluded.

Mr Whitlam:

– As illustrating a continuing situation.


– That is true. I did not intend to refer to proceedings that are not yet concluded. But I do think I am entitled to refer to proceedings which have been concluded in the court, and which have reference to the Newcastle dispute.

A very serious situation has arisen in this country in respect of the action of a certain religious sect in making an all-out attack on the trade union movement, and I regret to say that it is quite evident that the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) and some Government supporters have joined in this attack on the trade unions.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

.- With great respect, Mr. Speaker, I think you have misconceived the position in relation to the powers of this Parliament to discuss matters which are before the court. If we are going to say that everybody in this Parliament is to be put into a strait-jacket and gagged forever just because some proceedings are before the court, I ask you to think of the position which would arise when a court decides to adjourn a dispute sine die, as is often done in industrial matters, and the matter never again is brought before the court. Because the matter had been adjourned sine die, this morning’s proposition, supported by you in your ruling, would mean that never again in this Parliament could we refer to that dispute. Because the matter had been adjourned sine die and was virtually, in a legal sense, still before the court, therefore, according to your ruling, it would continue to be sub judice. Surely the proper way of dealing with references to the court that might be held to be in contempt of the court is not for you to accept a point of order like that taken by the Minister, which is so slender that one would need a magic eye to determine whether he is right or wrong, but for you to allow the debate to continue until the stage when some speaker transgressed against the form of the House or what are regarded as the standing orders protecting the judiciary. Then, as you have often done before, and as Speakers before you have frequently done, you could call the member to order and, in appropriate cases where you considered that what he had said was a reflection on the judiciary, ask him to withdraw his statement. But to put a blanket prohibition on discussion because some court has the matter technically still before it - as in the case I used in my example - is ridiculous in the extreme.


.- I wish to deal with a couple of matters raised by members on the other side of the House which contain mistakes in fact. The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron), for instance, says that a matter could come before the commission and then be adjourned sine die, thus preventing for all time discussion of it in this place. But, of course, the commission is not the court. The commission is not a judicial body.

Mr Ward:

– This is not referring to the commission. It refers to the court.


– The honorable member for Hindmarsh talked about the commission. This matter is before the court. What has happened is that a summons which was issued by the registrar of the court after an information had been notified to him that a contempt had been committed came before the court on, I think, 14th November, which was yesterday. The matter was then adjourned at the request of the union, because at that time the men were still on strike. It was requested that the matter be adjourned until to-day, the 15th, so that the men could have a meeting and decide whether they would go back to work. The matter must go back to the court. It must go back to the court because there is no other way in which it can be resolved. When you have regard to the fact that the order requiring the men to go back to work was made in October - I forget the exact date-

Mr Ward:

– It was 10th October.


– The order was made, then, on 10th October, and the contempt proceedings were listed for yesterday, 14th November. The court, at the request of the union, adjourned the matter till to-day, because the New South Wales Trades and Labour Council had instructed the men to go back to work. Now they have had a meeting this morning, apparently, and decided to go back to work next Monday; but as yet nobody knows whether they will go back to work. One can assume that they will, and I feel perfectly confident that they will go back next Monday. But, even so, the matter will still go back to the court. It must do so in order for the information and the summons to be disposed of.

With respect, Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that your ruling is perfectly correct in relation to this particular dispute at this particular place, but I would not think that it would permit a broad discussion in relation to the activities of this religious section in relation to trade unions elsewhere and in other States, and on the basis of what can happen if a similar situation arises elsewhere. I support the ruling.

Minister for Labour and National Service · Lowe · LP

– Although it has already been done by the honorable member for Bruce (Mr. Snedden), I should like to make this matter clear as a mistake has been made by the Deputy

Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam). There was, first of all, an application, under section 109, by the company for an order from the Industrial Court ordering the men back to work, and ordering them not to engage in a strike. That order was not obeyed, and a further application was made on the ground that the union was in contempt for not obeying the order of the court. That is the stage we have reached. So it is the second order that I was speaking about. I was referring to the contempt proceedings, and not to the initial application under section 109. As to this present proposal for discussion, I wish to facilitate the discussion of the principles involved. If honorable members opposite want to discuss the principles involved, I will do what is in my power to see that they may do so. As the Leader of the Opposition very rightly pointed out-

Mr Ward:

– Would you agree that details of the dispute can be discussed up to the point where the court made its determination?


– No, I am not going to deal with that. I will deal with the question of principle. I would willingly facilitate discussion in accordance with the first part of the proposal now before us. But the second part of it has relation to a specific dispute over which there is a contempt action. Because I want to facilitate the debate I make the offer to the Opposition that if honorable gentlemen opposite are prepared to omit reference to the Commonwealth Steel Company Limited in its relationship to the contempt action - that is, to omit all the words from “ to prevent them from joining trade unions “ - I am perfectly happy to do what I can so to facilitate the debate. Might I tell the honorable gentleman - because I think too many political arguments have been used here - that if members of the Opposition wish to state that some amending legislation should be brought down, by all means let them make that recommendation. But I resent the use of words to the effect that this is a blanket prohibition on my part. It is an attempt to prevent speeches being made in this House which could easily prejudice the successful negotiation of these discussions and any contempt proceedings before the court. If too much is said on a political level it could easily prevent the satisfactory determination of this dispute and the contempt proceedings.


.- Mr. Speaker, I support the motion that your ruling be disagreed with. I do so completely unconcerned to examine whether anything that might be said here is within the limits of what might happen in the court - that is, that it might be discussion of a matter which is sub judice. I support the motion that your ruling should be disagreed with because I disagree completely with the principle that the National Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia should be in any way restricted in discussing any subject at any time. To my mind this Parliament is first in this country, first and foremost above any court whatever. And from time to time matters which are of very great public importance occur in court and have to be discussed in this chamber whether they are in fact within the limits of the court’s examination.

I do not consider that we should follow the practice of the House of Commons, if in fact this is the House of Commons practice. I believe this is particularly true in the case of industrial disputes. This practice may well have developed in England where the industrial jurisdiction is totally different from that in Australia. This practice of discouraging Parliament from discussing matters that are sub judice has come along in the history of a country where matters that are sub judice are much more narrow that they are in this country. I can quite see that from time to time perhaps a criminal matter or a matter between two private parties in civil jurisdiction may not be proper to be discussed in the National Parliament. But here in Australia we have developed a totally different court of law - a new province for law and order, as it was called over 50 years ago. This province for law and order does not exist in the United Kingdom, and to apply to Australia a rule which has been evolved in a country in which this province does not exist is a bad legal principle. I think any lawyer who pretends that it should apply here does not understand the history of the development of the law in question. I say that this ruling should not apply to the discussion of an industrial matter where all sorts of politi cal and social considerations vastly different from those in a criminal or civil jurisdiction are involved. This Parliament should not be denied the opportunity to discuss, even when something is before an industrial court, the pros and cons of that issue.

I well remember that in 1949, when a coal strike occurred in this country, from time to time certain elements of that dispute were sub judice. But did that prevent the Opposition of that time from discussing that coal strike in this Parliament and from one end of Australia to another? Of course not; and this, I submit, is a clear and distinct point. I submit that this Parliament would be wrong in upholding your ruling, Sir, which applies the principle of limitation of sub judice discussions, which is derived from a country, the United Kingdom, where the legal system is vastly different from ours and does not involve the kind of jurisdiction that you are seeking to apply in your ruling. Where it is a matter of a criminal case or a limited civil case between two parties, then I think you may be correct, technically, in applying your ruling. But I submit that you are applying your ruling in this case to a jurisdiction of law which does not exist in England, the country from which you derive your ruling. Finally, even if that jurisdiction were strictly accepted as comparable and one to which you could apply that principle, I submit that the members of this Parliament should not support a ruling which in any way makes the position of this Parliament secondary to any court. In point of fact courts of very low jurisdiction - perhaps a justice of the peace somewhere far distant in the country - might be dealing with an issue, desired to be raised in this House, and if that fact were brought to the notice of this Parliament, such a ruling could prevent discussion by the Parliament of the particular issue. This National Parliament should not be placed in a position secondary to that of any court or any other institution in this country.


.- Mr. Speaker, I support your ruling in this matter. The honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) suggests that the ruling in relation to matters that are sub judice is exclusive to the House of Commons. I point out to him that Standing Order No. 1 of this House prohibits discussion of such matters. This Parliament has made certain Standing Orders relating solely to itself, whilst it has incorporated others from the Standing Orders of the House of Commons. It is quite competent for this Parliament to say that only certain of the Standing Orders of the House of Commons shall apply. But while our Standing Orders remain as they are at present it is quite improper for this House to discuss the matters that are sub judice. Standing Order No. 1 reads -

  1. In all cases not provided for hereinafter, or by Sessional or other Orders or the practice of the House, resort shall be had to the practice of the Commons House of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in force for the time being, which shall be followed as far as it can be applied.

It is perfectly competent for this Parliament to alter Standing Order No. 1 if it chooses to do so, but while Standing Order No. 1 remains it is quite useless for the honorable member for Yarra to say that we should not be bound by the practice of the House of Commons. To the extent I have indicated we are bound by the practices of the House of Commons at present; we have bound ourselves by them. The honorable member for Yarra has the remedy in his own hands. If he wants our Standing Orders to be altered, let him take the appropriate action to alter them and then Parliament can deal with the matter. But while Standing Order No. 1 remains and while the practice of the House of Commons is as it is, there is not the slightest doubt, Sir, that your ruling is correct.


.- The honorable member for Sturt (Mr. Wilson) has spent a considerable time saying why your ruling is correct, basing it entirely on Standing Order No. 1. I feel that the House should not be expected to make a decision on this matter unless you can quote the relevant standing order of the House of Commons so that honorable members will be able to follow it. The honorable member for Sturt quoted Standing Order No. 1, which says that if a matter is not provided for in our Standing Orders it shall be determined by the Standing Orders oi the House of Commons. Unless we are informed of the standing order of the House of Commons on which you base your ruling,

Sir, this House is not in a position to cast an informed vote. The honorable member for Sturt deliberately refrained from quoting any examples from the House of Commons where matters had been considered to be sub judice and consequently were not allowed to be discussed in the House of Commons.

You also omitted to give any example, Mr. Speaker. I offer the opinion to both yourself and the honorable member for Sturt that neither of you can give examples to this House to uphold the decision that you have made. If you were able to give any examples of the Standing Orders of the House of Commons being used in the manner in which you have used Standing Order No. 1 to-day, then I am certain that you would do so. I am also certain that if you were able to give examples they would support the argument of the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) that they deal with specific and rather narrow cases rather than the matter we are discussing here, which is a matter of industrial legislation and one that has application only in this country.

I am sure that the Opposition at this stage would be willing to allow you to change your mind, to withdraw the ruling you have given and to allow this discussion to proceed. We appreciate that you are a fair-minded man. Having heard the very strong arguments that have been advanced by the Opposition and the weak, baseless, unsupported arguments advanced by honorable members opposite, I am sure that you are well convinced that your ruling is incorrect and that you should at this stage withdraw it and allow the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) to discuss this matter of urgent public importance.


.- I take issue with the remarks of the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns). Surely the whole importance of the standing order we are discussing is that it is imposed by ourselves on ourselves as a matter of selfdiscipline to ensure that we do not at any time attempt to influence any part of the judiciary. I am sure that all of us would want to discipline ourselves in this way to ensure that at no time can we ever be accused of trying to influence the courts in any shape or form. Whether there is a standing order or not, it would be wise for us to want to act as this standing order is presumed to require. All of us would want to be protected from any accusation outside the House that we were trying to influence the courts and, therefore, we should surely all desire to have a standing order of this nature.

I am quite certain, Mr. Speaker, that your ruling is in order, particularly as it relates to the second part of the matter that the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) wants to discuss. There is no doubt that the circumstances mentioned in this second part could become a matter for a court. Therefore, we should want to avoid any discussion of it, as far as possible. The Minister has been more than reasonable in this matter. He has gone out of his way to show how Opposition members, if they want to discuss this matter, can do so by removing the second part. There is no real need to include it. If Opposition members sincerely want to discuss this matter they can submit only the first part and remove the second part, which has caused the trouble. That is the clear way in which this trouble can be resolved.

The Minister has said clearly that if the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) had not been so firm in his submission that both parts be discussed together, there would have been no need for all this delay in the discussion of the first part. There is no real need to discuss the second part this morning. If the Opposition had wanted to take the clear and honest way out, it would have deleted the second part and discussion could have proceeded on the first part. It is quite obvious to me that either the Opposition wants to discuss the second part of the motion or - this is more likely at the moment - Opposition members want to stifle the honorable member for East Sydney and prevent him from speaking on this matter, and this is the course they are adopting to prevent him from doing so.


– I do not think the Minister has carefully read the subject-matter which the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) wishes to discuss. I put to the honor able member for Bruce (Mr. Snedden) that the Minister said he would not have any objection to the House discussing the problem raised in the first part.

Mr Snedden:

– I agree with that. !


– If you agree with that, then you agree that the point taken by the Minister is wrong.

Mr Snedden:

– No. ‘


– Do not laugh; just look at the terms of this letter with me for a moment. The matter proposed by the honorable member for East Sydney is -

The urgent need for action on a national scale to prohibit the exercise of pressure by any body, religious or otherwise, to compel its members to resign from trade unions, or to prevent them from joining trade unions-

Honorable members opposite agree with that. It continues - and to bring about a satisfactory and early conclusion to the dispute at the Commonwealth Steel Company Limited works in Newcastle where the Moulders Union are at present engaged in fighting to protect their organization against such tactics by the Exclusive Order of Brethren.

The question of the tactics of the Exclusive Order of Brethren is related to the issue that the Minister accepts. The question of the tactics of this organization is not before the court at all. The question before the court under the apt is the stoppage and the matter of disobeying the court’s ruling. This is not related to the matter that the honorable member for East Sydney wants to raise. If the Minister agrees with the first part, he must surely agree that to discuss the first part properly the question of the tactics of the Exclusive Order of Brethren should also be discussed. That is the point at issue. The Parliament should be thinking in terms of its legislation, and I invite the Minister to do that. Our conciliation and arbitration legislation permits awards to contain a provision giving preference to unionists. Here we have a situation in which the employers use the court to defeat the legislation which provides for preference to unionists.

I ask the Minister to have a second look at the matter proposed by the honorable member for East Sydney and to withdraw his opposition to it. At no level does this subject do more than direct the attention of the court, the employers, the Government and all concerned to the rights of trade unionists under the act at present and to the need to extend the act to provide that, if preference to unionists is allowed, action can be taken to prevent any sect outside the trade union movement from ignoring the law.

I put it to the Minister that we could have a discussion of this matter, properly controlled by the Chair. The actions of an outside sect in cutting across the principles accepted under our industrial legislation should, I suggest, be discussed in this Parliament, and if any decision of the court is brought into the discussion, then it may be right and proper for the Minister to take a point of order. But until such time as the decision of the court - which has not yet been given effect to - is given some prominence in this Parliament, we have every right to direct the attention of the Parliament to the weakness in our legislation to provide preference for unionists, which allows some persons to cut across the principles laid down by the Parliament.

Mr McMahon:

– That is not the point of order.


– The point pf order that you raised was based on the suggestion that the second part of the resolution is wrong. I say that the second part of the resolution does not impinge in any way on the court’s authority or the court’s decision. It deals with one matter only, and that is the question of a particular sect attempting to defeat the laws of this country as defined in the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act.

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

– The honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison) has, I think, rather missed the point of the objection raised by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) and upheld by you, Mr. Speaker. The real reason why the Parliament does not discuss matters which are sub judice is to avoid using its position to influence the mind of the court. I think it is obvious that any discussion of the conduct and character and habits and practices of parties to litigation would tend to influence the mind of the court.

It has been made quite clear to the House that in these matters we follow the practice of the House of Commons, and I want to read to honorable members the appropriate passage from May’s “Parliamentary Practice”, because some honorable members have expressed doubt whether the principles outlined are applicable in this House. This is what May has to say: -

Matters awaiting the adjudication of a court of law should not be brought forward in debate (except by means of a bill . . .). This rule was observed by Sir Robert Peel and Lord John Russell, both by the wording of the speech from the throne and by their procedure in the House, regarding Mr. 0’Connell’s case, and has been maintained by rulings from the chair.

Then there is a footnote which says: -

See also the Speaker’s remarks in ruling out of order the discussion of allegations of bribery and corruption at an election before the expiration of the period during which an election petition could be lodged.

It is a very broad rule that Parliament has imposed on itself. I find it very difficult to understand how this House could discuss the matter proposed by the Opposition without transgressing the principle that the Parliament should not influence the court. Even if the Opposition accepted the offer by the Minister for Labour and National Service, when he said that he would not object to a discussion of the first part of the motion, I suggest that any such discussion would have to proceed very carefully so as not to transgress the rule about discussing matters sub judice. ~


.- I support the motion to dissent from your ruling, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the fact that by tolerating a continuance of this debate you show that you are willing to be impressed by a contrary point of view. There seem to me to be two matters that are fundamentally relevant to this issue. First, if this kind of ruling is to be tolerated in this place, the practical issue arises as to whether we are going to be involved on numerous occasions in interminable debates on questions whether matters raised in this House should not be discussed because of some court action, either in progress or impending, even though only a very minor court may be involved.

Then there is a second issue. We have a duty not only to protect the rights of courts to hear cases without prejudice, but also to protect the rights of this Parliament as the sovereign body in the community. By tolerating a ruling of this kind we open up all sorts of interesting possibilities. We open up the possibility of some kind of intrigue or conspiracy by individuals or groups of individuals, who may find themselves able to trespass on the sovereignty of this Parliament. In other words, if it is known that a particular matter is coming forward for discussion by the Parliament it might be possible - although I cannot say with certainty that it would be possible - for some individual or group of individuals outside the Parliament not representing anything like a majority of the people, by some conspiratorial action to initiate a court process and thus tie up the deliberations of this National Parliament.

Mr Freeth:

– You have entirely missed the point. The Parliament can always pass a bill.


– I am not talking about bills, I am talking about the kind of situation in which we are involved at the present time, in which it seems to be possible to curtail the broad deliberations of the Parliament. The proposition I am putting seems to me to be a perfectly logical and feasible one. If the debate on a particular matter can be stifled in this Parliament simply because some court, however minor, has a case before it, or a case pending, which involves that matter - and, of course, if a case is pending it may not come up for hearing for quite a long time - then it seems quite possible, in my humble opinion, for some person or group of persons wanting to stifle debate and muffle this Parliament to initiate some phony action in some court. I think this is a very serious challenge to the sovereignty of this Parliament.


.- Yesterday I saw a headline in one of the daily newspapers to the effect that the captain of the Marylebone Cricket Club had said that there were more experts in cricket than in any other game. If politics is a game, he was decidedly wrong, because there are 122 experts in this House alone, one of whom we have just heard. I thoroughly agree with your ruling, Mr. Speaker. For six years you have held this honoured and respected position. You have held n with great distinction. So as to get it on the record, 1 want to quote some remarks that appear in “ Hansard “. They are in the following terms: -

We feel certain that every ruling you have given has been given with complete impartiality - and impartiality is the first and greatest quality that can be shown by the Speaker of this great House. You have exemplified it to a very great degree. When I say that, I am sure that I am speaking for all of us. It is wonderful for us to be able to feel that the work that we do in this Parliament is so well understood by the Speaker, and I make special reference to that.

I thought that an extremely quotable passage, having listened to the remarks of the honorable member for Barton (Mr. Reynolds), “because these comments were made in 1938 by a previous member for Barton, who later became the Chief Justice of the State of New South Wales. He was then the Leader of the Opposition, and he went on to say -

I have often discussed this with honorable members. It is a great spirit to have in the House of Representatives.

Mr Ward:

– I raise a point of order, Mr.Speaker. - I desire to know in what way something that happened in 1958 has any reference to your ruling given in 1962. The honorable member has not touched upon your ruling at all in the time in which he has been addressing the House.


– Order! I do not think there is any substance in the point of order. I hesitate to suppress the honorable member for Perth in these circumstances.


– I think that when the truth has been spoken by a member of the’ Opposition it should be repeated for the benefit of those honorable members opposite who are not giving us the truth about your judgments and rulings, Mr. Speaker. Everybody knows that you gave this decision quickly, with authority, and correctly, and we stand by it. We appreciate the fact that, in 1958, the then Leader of the Opposition was an honest man to say what he did about your ruling and your judgment.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– I take a point of order. I want to know whether it is in order for the honorable member to make such eulogistic remarks about you, Mr.

Speaker, when it is well known that he was on the Prime Minister’s ticket to beat you for your job.


– Order!


.- Mr. Speaker, I disagree with your ruling and, in disagreeing with it, I point out that the general rule laid down in chapter 1 of the Standing Orders is that we shall follow the practice of the House of Commons, so far as it can be applied. You must bear in mind, Sir, that the United Kingdom has a unitarian government and that there is no written constitution. Here we have a federal Constitution. Therefore, there is a vast difference so far as the application of constitutional law is concerned. We are bound by a written document, but the United Kingdom Government is not so bound. Consequently, there is no real parity of argument at all.

Secondly, I should like to point out that the Commonwealth Industrial Court is a creature of this Parliament; it was created by legislation of this Parliament, and my view is that this Parliament should not be inhibited in discussing any matter that is before that court. I think it is quite fallacious to argue that we should be hidebound by the practice in the United Kingdom. As the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) has said, we should not be inhibited by what is done in the United Kingdom where there is no form of industrial law such as we have in Australia.

New England

Mr. Speaker, I have until now refrained from entering into this discussion in the midst of all the prophets of law, but I do wish to take up the issue as it was laid down by the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns). I agree entirely with your ruling, Sir, and entirely disagree with the suggestion that this Parliament should have the right at any time to interfere in any matter that is sub judice. There has been a great deal of talk about the sovereign Parliament and its rights; but there is also a sovereign people, who are the superiors of the sovereign Parliament. The people have their rights which must be protected. Once a case goes before a court and is being conducted in a proper fashion, standing orders protect the parties to the proceedings and ensure that there shall be no coercion through discussion in Parliament or by any other direct or indirect means. That safeguard is something that should be preserved sedulously by this Parliament. I sincerely hope that the honorable member for Yarra will not some day have to eat his words when he claims that there should be a right to interfere with proceedings before a court. He is supporting a principle that I believe to be basically unsound.

As to the viewpoint expressed by the honorable member for Evans (Mr. Monaghan), I find that, although more moderately stated, there are certain implications in what he said. I am not so much concerned about whether we slavishly follow the House of Commons, although most of its practices are founded on centuries of experience of matters concerning the rights of the individual. I come back to the common-sense view of this resolution as I see it, and I speak without prejudice to any right I might have to speak later upon the subject itself. No objection has been taken to the principle expressed in the first part of the proposal, but the very wording of the second part of the proposal is, “ to bring about a satisfactory and early conclusion to the dispute at the Commonwealth Steel Company Limited”. Either there is a dispute or there is not. If there is a dispute then this proposed discussion is out of order; if there is not a dispute then it does not make common sense. With all due respect to the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison), that is my common-sense approach to the subject. I support your ruling unequivocally, Mr. Speaker. I also support the view that if a discussion of the first part of the proposal is permitted your task in deciding whether or not the matter included in the second part is being introduced into the debate would be most difficult.


.- Mr. Speaker, with due respect to you and to your integrity and impartiality, I must say that one thing that makes me think you are wrong is the people who say you are right. One is the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Chaney). His judgment on these matters is limited to the article that he reads out. His ideas have come from others and he cannot be looked upon as a reliable witness in a matter of importance of this nature. Of course, if further proof were needed, the intervention of the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Freeth) would be the last straw. Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, I point out that although you have ruled the proposed discussion to be out of order, the point taken by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon), related to only part of the subject-matter. May 1 state also, Sir, that you are a little inconsistent. I direct your attention to a question that was asked in this Parliament only a few weeks ago and which was not ruled out of order by you. The question related to a matter that was then before a court. At that time it was proposed in Victoria to remove a certain gentleman from society by means of certain processes of law. Hie honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant), who is closely interested in these matters, asked this question in this House on 9th October -

I address a question to the Prime Minister. The Victorian Government appears to be determined to hang a man in my electorate in about a fortnight’s time. Will the right honorable gentleman use his good offices as leader of the Liberal Party and as leader of Australia, in an attempt to dissuade the Victorian Government from action that would degrade the Victorian community and would constitute a relapse into barbarism?

That case was before the High Court at that time and also before the Supreme Court of Victoria. It was a matter of high judicial content and one on which a man’s life depended. But you did not rule the question out of order, Sir. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) answered the question, but the answer does not matter.

Government Supporters. - Give us the answer!


– If you want the answer, I will give it; I only mentioned in passing that it did not matter. The Prime Minister replied -

Mr. Speaker, I am reasonably fully occupied attending to Commonwealth problems without intervening in those of State governments.

So, even the Prime Minister did not say that the matter was sub judice. He did not take up that point. A man’s life was at stake, and an opinion expressed by this

Parliament, or even a word said by the honorable member for Wills or the Prime Minister might have reflected on the whole process of law, but you, Mr. Speaker, did not rule that question out of order as you have done with this proposed discussion to-day. Now that a matter of vital importance affecting the rights of trade unions has been raised in this Parliament by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) you have ruled a discussion out of order and you are supported by honorable members who did not take the point when a man’s life was at stake. Mr. Speaker, I contend that the ruling in that case and this case should have been the same. The honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) quoted a case in 1949 when there was a coal strike from one end of this country to the other. That matter was before the courts, but we debated the question in this Parliament and were given full rights to express our opinions on it. There is no doubt that, on your present ruling, at that time you would have ruled the debate out of order. Yet, to-day, Mr. Speaker, you take an entirely different view of a matter which is of great importance, although it may not be of such paramount importance as the coal strike of 1949; I think, as the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Stewart) said, that this is one of those occasions on which you have made a miscalculation. I think you have drawn a very thin line.

Whilst you have not wished to be unfair to the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) or other honorable members on this side of the House, I think it is a case in which your judgment might be reviewed in the light of your decision as late as 9th October, and in the light of the history of those matters mentioned by the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Chaney). The gentleman who paid such a high compliment to you, and whom the honorable member for Perth quoted, discussed these matters in this Parliament in 1949 when they were before the court in accordance with what was then accepted by the Speaker as being right and in order because of the great public importance of the matter. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I suggest that you rely on your own judgment, discard the bad advice from Government supporters and ignore completely the advice of some of the lawyers on the other side of the chamber because, as you know, their talents are not exceedingly high. I suggest that, taking your own fair and impartial way, you should look at this subject, see that you have made a mistake, and let the debate proceed on a matter of great public importance as it would have proceeded had you not made a hasty judgment, which we feel is detrimental to a great number of people in this country and of vital importance to trade unionists everywhere.


.- Mr. Speaker, I support your ruling. Let me take it step by step. First of all, your ruling is based on Standing Order No. 1 which says -

In all cases not provided for hereinafter, or by Sessional or other Orders or practice of the House, resort shall be had to the practice of the Commons House of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in force for the time being, which shall be followed as far as it can be applied.

I shall come back in a few moments to those last words “ as far as it can be applied “. Meanwhile, I turn to the practice in the United Kingdom. In the sixteenth edition of Sir T. Erskine May’s “ Parliamentary Practice”, at page 457, under the heading of “ Matters Pending Judicial Decision “ it is stated -

Matters awaiting the adjudication of a court of law should not be brought forward in debate (except by means of a bill; . . . ).

The honorable member for Bruce (Mr. Snedden) has made it perfectly clear that the matter we have been discussing came before the court by way of a summons. Until that summons is dealt with by the court at some time subsequent to this moment this matter is pending. That is to say, it is awaiting the adjudication of a court. This seems to me conclusive, apart from such a phrase in Standing Order No. 1 as “which shall be followed as far as it can be applied “.

The honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) and the honorable member for Evans (Mr. Monaghan) have argued that in the United Kingdom there is no industrial court such as we have in Australia. They argued that, therefore, there is no standing order in the United Kingdom, and no practice, that really correspond to our situation. This is an extraordinary argument. It is true that an industrial court does apply a different kind of law applied in ordinary courts. This I admit. But the essential point is that Parliament - and I do not care whether it is the National Parliament or a State Parliament - has reposed in its industrial tribunals, composed of independent and impartial persons, the obligation to adjudicate in matters of dispute. In an industrial court, the position of the judge is exactly the same as the position of a judge in another court. That is to say, his independence must be upheld. You cannot have Parliament or anybody jogging his elbow and telling him what he ought to decide, and trying to bring pressure to bear on him before he gives a decision. If you do, then you completely undermine his authority. You undermine the whole system of industrial arbitration. It may be that this is what the honorable member for Yarra or the honorable member for Evans wishes to do. But, essentially, an industrial court is the same as any other court, and the reason for the existence of the rule in the United Kingdom applies equally to our industrial courts in Australia. For those reasons, Sir, I support your ruling.


.- Mr. Speaker, I think that early in the discussion on this matter you ruled the whole of the original proposal out of order. I think that, at a later stage, you decided to rule only a portion of the proposal out of order. Probably, I was mistaken. Being mistaken, I interjected, “ He has changed his mind “. You asked that I apologize. I did apologize. If I had been right, and you had ruled out the whole of this proposal, you might have been right. But you certainly are not right if you now rule out the latter half of the proposition. The first part mentions the urgent need for action on a national scale to prevent the exercise of pressure by any body, religious or otherwise, to compel its members to resign from trade unions. The present court case is intended to establish whether a religious body has the right to determine whether its members should be in a trade union or not. If we can discuss the first paragraph of the proposal but cannot discuss the latter portion, obviously there is a conflict of views as represented by your decision. You might be right if you ruled the whole matter out of order. You certainly cannot be right if you rule the latter part out of order, because it is merely an elaboration or a detailing of the proposal that is enunciated in the first part. Mr. Speaker, even if I was wrong in saying that you had changed your mind previously, I suggest that, in view of all the evidence that has been adduced, you should change your mind now.

Mr Cairns:

– I rise to order. I understand that your ruling has been given under Standing Order No, 1 which states -

In all cases not provided for hereinafter, or by Sessional or other Orders or practice of the House, resort shall be had to the practice of the Commons House of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in force for the time being, which shall be followed as far as it can be applied.

I submit that we have had no evidence whatsoever as to what argument we are following in this debate.


– There is no substance in the point of order.

Question put -

That Mr. Speaker’s ruling be dissented from.

The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Sir John McLeay.)

AYES: 54

NOES: 55

Majority . . . . I



Question so resolved in the negative.

page 2474



Debate resumed (vide page 2462).


– Does the honorable member for East Sydney propose to proceed with the discussion of the first part of the subject?

Mr Ward:

– Before I answer your question, Sir, I should like some clarification of the existing position. If discussion of the first part of the subject proceeds, will you regard the discussion as commencing now? Will I still have one-quarter of an hour in which to speak and will succeeding speakers have their normal times?


– The forms of the House will have to be used to provide the honorable member with the opportunity that he seeks to speak for one-quarter of an hour. Standing Orders will have to be suspended.

Motion (by Mr. Harold Holt) - by leave - agreed to -

That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) again speaking for a period not exceeding fifteen minutes.

Sitting suspended from 12.48 to 2.15 p.m.

East Sydney

.- After some delay I now am permitted to discuss the matter of which I gave notice. At the outset I want to make it clear that I can understand the anxiety of the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) and of the Government to prevent any discussion of a matter which is likely to affect vitally the existence of the trade union movement in this country because I should imagine that any campaign designed to weaken the trade unions would have the full support of the anti-Labour Government which occupies the treasury bench in this Parliament.

I do not know whether honorable members realize the great threat which exists to the trade union movement as a result of the increasing activity of a particular organization to which I shall refer in a moment. So that honorable members will understand the magnitude of the problem I shall read an extract from the Wollongong “ Mercury “ newspaper of 22nd October, 1962. It is in these terms -

Mr. E. Johnston, president of the Newcastle branch of the Moulders’ Union, declared that the Industrial Registrar has received more than 5,000 applications for exemption this year.

The exemption sought is on the ground that it is against the conscientious belief of the applicants to remain members of trade unions. This sharp increase in the number of applications for exemption has occurred particularly in recent times as a result of a development in the Newcastle area and the court proceedings which have followed. At this juncture I shall not refer to the Newcastle dispute because a number of trade unions in Australia are having similar trouble with the organization known as the Exclusive Order of Brethren.

Let me now read from the transcript of proceedings before the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission presided over by Mr. Justice Kirby. The commission recognizes that for the arbitration system to function efficiently there must be organizations of employees and of employers. In its findings the commission stated -

One of the chief objects of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act is the encouragement of the organization of representative bodies of employers and employees and this Commission relies on unions properly to represent employees in industry. *»«

First there is the right, which we consider to be of great significance, of individual employees not only to be able to join a union but also to be able to enjoy all the benefits which such membership confers.

Honorable members can see that the commission is aware of the great threat to the trade union movement in Australia.

The Clothing and Allied Trades Union of Australia experienced difficulty in having its representatives admitted, in accordance with the terms of the award, to premises where work in the clothing trades was being performed so that they could confer with the employer in regard to certain matters connected with the award and so that they could interview members of their organization and, if possible, influence non-members to join the union. The matter was referred to Conciliation Commissioner Findlay, who decided in favour of the union and cited the three employers concerned. An appeal was then lodged to the commission against the decision of the conciliation commissioner. Patton Brothers Proprietary Limited, Joyce Shirts Proprietary Limited and Thomas Heaney and Company were the companies concerned. Thomas Heaney and Company was the first to force this position by refusing to acknowledge the right of trade union representatives to proceed on to their premises for the purpose of ensuring that the award was being observed. The Heaney brothers assembled the employees and addressed them within a couple of days of the matter being heard by the commission. Let me read a report of the meeting -

In the course of the address both Mr. Frank Heaney and Mr. Thomas Heaney informed their employees that the management was most concerned about union officials attempting to gain access to the factory and they wanted to talk to them in connexion with the matter. Mr. Thomas Heaney delivered a lengthy address on his interpretation of the scriptures during the course of which he told the employees that unionism was contrary to the principles of the holy scriptures and was standing between them and the management.

Although the commission dismissed the appeal and upheld the decision of Conciliation Commissioner Findlay, according to reports the Heaney brothers now apparently intend to defy the law, because they still claim that it is against their consciences to permit union representatives to proceed on to their premises.

It is rather interesting to note that Patton Brothers Proprietary Limited and Joyce Shirts Proprietary Limited, encouraged by the Heaneys, have adopted the same attitude towards union representatives, although for a number of years they have been complying with the terms of the award, have permitted union representatives to visit their establishments and have permitted their employees to become members of the union. Only lately, since the Heaney brothers raised this point, have their consciences begun to trouble them. It is obvious that no member of the Australian Labour Party, or of the trade union movement of Australia, could hesitate to take up this challenge to the very existence of the trade union movement.

We know and respect the views of minorities in the community, even if those views are most unorthodox, but we can only say that those minorities are entitled to act according to the dictates of their conscience if by so doing there is no interference with the liberties and rights of other people. The Labour Party and the trade unions have played a remarkable part in improving the standard of living in Australia and they are determined that the trade union movement shall not be interfered with or destroyed as the result of the activities of this sect.

Members of the sect quote extracts from the Bible. Perhaps the extracts are quoted in such a way as to give a wrong interpretation of their meaning. I am not in a position to judge that, but I know that one gentleman, attempting to justify his resignation from his union after 22 years of active membership and after occupying the position of delegate, suddenly decided that his conscience was troubling him and that he should resign from the union. Let me read the section of the Bible upon which he relied to justify his decision. He quoted from chapter 3, verse 22, of Colossians, which states -

Slaves, give entire obedience to your worldly masters not merely with an outward show of service to curry favour with men but with single mindedness out of reverence for the Lord.

There have been instances of employers who are members of the Exclusive Order of Brethren refusing to engage members of the union. If an applicant for a job is a member of the union he is not employed.

If this practice were carried to its logical conclusion the existence of the trade union movement would be threatened. The trade union movement is recognized by the law of this country, and is regarded as being an integral part of the system of conciliation and arbitration, but the principals of this sect have imposed a ban upon its members who may wish to join unions. It is interesting to note that the people who, for conscientious reasons, do not want to join a union evidently have no conscientious objection to accepting the benefits won by trade unions including improved working conditions in factories.

This amounts to a declaration of war on the trade unions. This sect has set out to eliminate the trade union movement. The Australian Labour Party would be lacking in its duty if it did not take up the challenge on behalf of the trade union movement which is the very base and foundation of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Let me turn now to one or two of the other matters that are concerning the trade unions to-day. There is the question of the right of entry and, as I have said, the right of employees to join the organization which is protecting their interests. I refer to a man who resigned from his trade union after 22 years of membership. The judges who sit on the Commonwealth Industrial Court have themselves expressed views which make it clear that, in their opinion, these people are out to destroy trade unionism. Take the case of the Moulders Union. I do not know whether honorable members of the Parliament are aware of the fact, but since 1920 - that is, for 42 years - there has not been a non-unionist in the moulders* industry from one end of Australia to the other. This is not a question of men fighting for some improvement in conditions. It is a question of defending a position which was won by the trade union in the past. If it is recognized that every worker employed in this industry should be a member of a trade union then these people, in my opinion, are acting in a way that is designed to injure and destroy trade unionism.

Mr. Justice Joske was not satisfied that these people were motivated purely by conscientious objections. He believed that the organization outside, to which I have referred, was exercising pressure and influence on its members to compel them to resign from trade unions or, where they were not already members of trade unions, to refrain from joining. He said -

The unionist moulders might be justified in refusing to work with . . .

The particular gentleman to whom they had raised objection -

For all we know the greatest pressure is being brought on this man so that he is not really able to make up his own mind at all.

Suppose this man has been subjected to tremendous pressure by someone who wishes to do away with trade unions.

The full facts have not been brought out so far as I am concerned.

In that case Mr. Justice Joske refused to make the order sought. We know full well that Mr. Justice Joske was once a member of the Liberal Party in this Parliament, and I should imagine that be would not be particularly imbued with any desire to assist either the Labour Party or the trade union movement; but he was dealing in his judicial capacity with a situation as he found it.

Mr Cope:

– And he is a leading Q.C.


– Yes, he was a leading Q.C. Now we find the Amalgamated Engineering Union has a case pending. I do not refer to particulars of the case, because of the ruling given by Mr. Speaker earlier, but I merely say that that union is now having its position challenged in some respects. This kind of thing is likely to spread from union to union unless some strong stand is made upon it.

Conciliation Commissioner Apsey expressed an opinion on whether these men have genuine conscientious beliefs. He said -

I cannot however feel convinced in my own mind that-

He referred here to the man concerned - his opposition to remaining a member of the union is really and firmly based on a well-founded conscientious belief, rather an attitude of mind which has been developed through the influence of a past occurrence some years ago, to which he referred, and to other outside influences to which he may be subjected.

That was the opinion of Commissioner Apsey in dealing with a similar matter. So you can see, there are numbers of people to-day who, once it was open to them to do so without their having to prove to any authority that they had genuine conscientious beliefs, would submit their resignations from unions or refuse to join unions. That would be striking a blow at trade unionism.

The gentleman whose case we are not permitted to discuss said that unionism came between master and servant and was not of God. When the case was before the court, argument was submitted as to whether he held, or did not hold, genuine conscientious beliefs. Evidence was there produced to show that after 22 years of membership - and because of his wife’s convictions, and not his own - he was forced to resign from the trade union.

Minister for Labour and National Service · Lowe · LP

– As I said a few minutes ago, I was anxious that the Opposition should be given an opportunity to put its views on this very important question of principle. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) has abided by your decision and the decision of the House, Mr. Speaker, to keep his remarks within the boundaries delineated by the first part of the proposal that he submitted for discussion. He has made two criticisms - one of the Government and the other of the way in which the law in relation to conscientious objectors is being observed. I shall take the first criticism first. If he says that he believes that we are hostile to the trade union movement and are taking part in an attempt to destroy its influence, I have to say immediately that that is wrong. To us the trade union movement is one of the great institutions of this country. We respect it. We should like to see its power and its sense of responsibility increase. We should like to know that it is a great and beneficial institution in this country. We want it to be strong, provided its strength is matched with responsibility. If you look at the provisions of the act, and at what this Government has done, you will come to the conclusion that it is our wish to strengthen both the unions themselves and their responsibility.

The Government’s attitude in this matter is disclosed by what we have had written into the acts of this Parliament. First of all, we want the trade unions to have the right to organize. We want them to be able to recruit members, provided it is done on a voluntary basis. We do not believe in compulsion one way or the other, and for that matter the Opposition tells us it does not believe in compulsion. There is written into the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act a provision that no employer shall have the right to refuse employment to a person, or to discriminate against a person purely and simply because that person is a member of a trade union. There you have the protection of the law. If you are in a trade union you cannot be discriminated against, but have to be treated in exactly the same way as any other employee is treated.

Now I shall mention just a few arguments in support of my contention that we want to strengthen the position of the trade unions. My colleague, the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Downer), would tell us if he were here - and I shall do it in his absence - that every immigrant who comes to this country is encouraged to join, or at least informed of the wisdom of joining, a trade union. We, as a government, go out of our way to give immigrants the greatest encouragement to enter the trade union movement and, what is just as important, to play their part there.

Finally, there is one other power in the act which I think should be mentioned, because it fits into the general pattern. The act provides that a union cannot close its books and deny people the right to membership. That is another general principle that is very important. Why should a union be able to close its books and decide which people it will have in the union while it discriminates against others? The important point I now want to make is-

Mr Cope:

– What about this particular case?


– We decided not to speak about that particular case, as the honorable member would know if he had heard the debate. We come now to the question of conscientious beliefs. I think that this is the most important aspect of the debate. In the act there is a section that provides that a union can apply to the commission and have a condition written into its award that there shall be preference to unionists. That is something that has been there under both Labour and Liberal-

Country Party governments. Not long ago, as the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison) will remember, the House was requested to amend the arbitration law to provide that where an award was amended to provide for preference to unionists special conditions should apply in the case of the conscientious objector and in such a case unionists should not have preference over non-unionists - that is, that the genuine and honest conscientious objector should be protected. I believe that to be a sound principle. If a man’s genuine religious belief demands that he should not belong to a union, I think that belief should be respected. What did we do? In 1956, an amendment was introduced into the House to provide that a person who was a genuine conscientious objector and who could prove that his objections are based on honest and sincerely held religious beliefs, could apply to the Industrial Registrar to be classified as a conscientious objector; and if the registrar was satisfied, then in those circumstances there could be no discrimination against him in his employment. In other words, this Parliament accepted the principle of conscientious objection.

When the honorable member for Blaxland took part in that debate and led on behalf of the Opposition he said -

We offer no objection to the amendment proposed by the Government. We take the view that people who have a genuine objection to joining a union should be given some relief.

That was said by the honorable member for Blaxland, leading on behalf of the Opposition. He accepted the principle that conscientious objection should be taken into consideration on the question of whether a person should be given preference in employment whether or not he was a member of a trade union. He went on to say -

The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Harold Holt) has indicated that the corresponding decision in New South Wales was a parliamentary decision. As a matter of fact the proposal was put forward by the party to which I have the honour to belong.

Where are we getting when, a few years ago, we had the Opposition saying that it first thought of this idea of conscientious belief and conscientious objection in the case of genuine objectors and to-day we have the very venerable gentleman from East Sydney (Mr. Ward) saying in this House that trade union principles and the trade union movement are being destroyed because too many people are applying for certificates because they have conscientious objections? I have no brief at all for those people who wish to use the section of the act which permits them to apply to the Registrar and get relief from the provision relating to preference to unionists. If they attempt to exploit the law I think it is up to the law and arbitration authorities to prevent them from doing so. In this case the protection is in the act itself.

As I have already said, under the act a union can make an application to the commission and get its award amended to provide for preference to unionists. If the individual has a conscientious objection to union membership, he has to go to the registrar and obtain from him a certificate. Before he gets it he has to prove to the registrar that his conscientious beliefs are honestly entertained and that he is a person who should be granted the relief. There are, of course, cases where you have not that provision written into an award but, nonetheless, the power is there if the union wants to exercise it; and I believe that gives protection to the trade union movement. But apart from that, the trade union movement itself is sufficiently great and strong to accept some conscientious objectors within the ranks of the workers.

I come now to the matter proposed for discussion, and here we come to the heart of the Labour Party. It refers to -

The urgent need for action on a national scale to prohibit the exercise of pressure by any body, religious or otherwise, to compel its members to resign from trade unions, or to prevent them from joining trade unions . . .

The operative word of that proposal is “ prohibit”; and this is symptomatic of the attitude of mind of the Labour Party. It does not believe in persuasion. It does not believe in persuading somebody that it is unwise to take a certain course of action. The Labour Party has always used the mailed fist. It wants prohibition and wants to stop people doing something which might be contrary to their temporarily held views and opinions. After looking at the subjectmatter of this discussion and listening to what was said by the honorable member for East Sydney - I leave the facts out of it because I have no wish to be associated with the explicit issue - I think the statement of the subject-matter reeks of intolerance in keeping with the point of view held by some sections of the Labour Party. I exclude the honorable member for Blaxland in that respect. It reeks of intolerance and a determination to compel people to comply with the Opposition’s wishes or pay the penalty if they do not.

Mr E James Harrison:

– by leave - Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation. The Minister for Labour and National Service went to a good deal of trouble in quoting what I said earlier in this Parliament in a debate when we were dealing with the question of conscientious objectors. The Minister might well have left the impression with honorable members who were not present when I made that statement on behalf of the Opposition that we were then talking with our tongues in our cheeks and that in point of fact, because of what I said then-

Mr McMahon:

– Where is the misrepresentation?

Mr E James Harrison:

– It was misrepresentation. The honorable member for East Sydney spoke to-day with the voice of members on this side of the House. Because there is no disunity on this question on this side of the House and because of what I said on an earlier occasion with respect to conscientious objectors, as quoted by the Minister, I want to clear up the misrepresentation which might be left in the minds of everybody listening to this debate-

Mr McMahon:

Mr. Speaker, the honorable member for Blaxland asked for leave to make a personal explanation.


– The honorable member for Blaxland has been given leave to make a personal explanation; but 1 intimate to him that it would be unwise to abuse that leave.

Mr E James Harrison:

– I do not propose to abuse the leave, Mr. Speaker. 1 have been treated too well in this House over the years to abuse leave given to me to speak on a subject of tins character. The Minister, first of all quoted what I said when speaking for this party on an earlier occasion and he then slated that what I said was not the policy of this party. Therefore, I want to clean up that misrepresentation by the Minister. When the Minister suggested that the word “ prohibit “ was not in line with the policy I announced on an earlier occasion in this House, he took a line which in my view, and I am sure in the view of any one who was listening, was quite wrong with respect to what I said on behalf of this party.

Mr McMahon:

– I did not relate the two.

Mr E James Harrison:

– No; that is the point. If you had related the two, I would have been happy about it because you would have had to clean it up.

Mr McMahon:

– You are confused on it.

Mr E James Harrison:

– No, I am not. If I am allowed to develop this for one moment, I will clean it up, but if I am chased up blind alleys I will continue to run until I do clean it up. When I made the statement on behalf of this party, I referred to two distinct matters. If the Minister is fair he will recall this. I said that we raised no objection to the legislation and the legislation provided that a conscientious objector had to prove to the satisfaction of the Registrar that his grounds were valid. That is the principle upon which we based our policy when we supported the legislation of the Government. We still support that policy unequivocally.

Mr McMahon:

– I raise a point of order again. The honorable member for Blaxland was given leave to correct a misrepresentation. He is now trying to canvass the views he expressed when the bill was brought before the House. I say with no reservation that that is abusing the leave given to him and I ask you, Sir, to direct his attention again to what is meant by a personal explanation. He has not been misrepresented.


– I do not think that this should become a debate. The honorable member is following the forms of the House. He was not entitled to make a personal explanation because be had not spoken. He sought leave of the House to clear his name and that was granted. I think he is keeping within that procedure.

Mr E James Harrison:

– My contribution would have been finished if the Minister had kept quiet for a moment. I want to make clear to the Minister and to every one who is listening that when I gave the undertaking to the House it was on the clear principle that this provision related to a clean-skin making an application to the Registrar on religious or similar gounds and obtaining a certificate from the Registrar. When the Minister tied my argument to the matter raised by the honorable member for East Sydney, he was misrepresenting what I had said on behalf of this party. Once he dealt with the word “ prohibit “ in the way he did, he disregarded completely the basis on which I gave the undertaking on behalf of the party. The matter now before the House is not related at all to the question of conscientious objectors as such obtaining a certificate from the Registrar; it deals with people who are using snide means to wreck the trade union movement under the caption of the Exclusive Order of Brethren.

page 2480


Reference to Public Works Committee

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

– I move -

That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1960, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report: - Construction of road from Top Springs to Wave Hill.

The road forms part of the northern Australian programme of road construction and is estimated to cost £800,000. I table a plan showing the location of the road.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 2480


Approval of Work - Public Works Commitee Act

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

– I move -

That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1960, it is expedient that the following proposed works should be carried out without having been referred to the

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works: - Construction of the following roads in the Northern Territory for the transport of beef cattle, namely, Barkly Highway to Anthony’s Lagoon, Stuart Highway to Yuendumu, Stuart Highway to Plenty River and Stuart Highway to Top Springs to Timber Creek to Western Australian border.

The total estimated cost of these works is £3,770,000 including some work commenced during 1961-62. These roads form part of the northern Australian programme of road construction for the transport of beef cattle, approved by the Government, and are associated with the road construction programmes being undertaken by the State governments of Queensland and Western Australia in those States.

For some years now the Government has expended annually, in the Northern Territory, a sum of more than £250,000 on road construction and development - that is, apart from maintenance. It has never been suggested that that programme should have been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works. With the acceleration and expansion of that programme, in conjunction with programmes undertaken by the governments of Western Australia and Queensland, however, some doubt has arisen as to whether the whole, or the separate projects within the whole, are strictly new works which should be referred. The time-table for some of the construction work is urgent in relation to the wet season. To put the matter beyond doubt, one of the major road projects has been referred to the committee, which will be able to inform itself and report to the Parliament about the general nature of the whole project. It is not regarded as necessary to place on the committee the burden of reporting on all these projects, since the other projects are of such a similar and repetitive nature. This motion will, however, settle any doubts about the application of the Public Works Committee Act to the whole programme.


.- The Public Works Committee has had an opportunity to study these proposals, although in fact the reference has not been made to the committee by the House. The members of the committee appreciate very much the courtesy of the Minister for the Interior and Minister for Works (Mr.

Freeth) in making the information available to the committee and helping the committee by making one of his senior officers available to discuss these matters.

The committee appreciates that some of’ this work was originally planned on a more modest scale than is now proposed. We agree that where work is commenced with the intention of raising the standards of the roads involved, reasons exist for nonreference to the committee. In the beginning, we considered that the amount of money - over £2,0000,000 - to be spent on the road from Stuart Highway to Top Springs to Timber Creek to the Western Australian border suggested that the work approved by Cabinet in July, 1962, was quite different in character from the original conception approved by Cabinet in July, 1961. Therefore, in the first discussions the committee suggested that that road and the road from Top Springs to Wave Hill should be referred to the Public Works Committee.

In the later discussions with the Minister we stressed this view strongly. However, we had an opportunity to discuss with the Senior Engineer, Roads, of the Department of Works, the type of construction of the road, the materials to be used, the dimensions and the provision for future sealing. The committee considered that if the Top Springs to Wave Hill road were referred to it, that would be sufficient in the present circumstances. The committee, therefore, supports the motion moved by the Minister.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


– As it is now past the time provided for Grievance Day, Order of the Day No. 1 will not be called on. The Committee of Supply will be set down for a later hour this day.

page 2481

LOAN BILL (No. 2) 1962

Second Reading

Debate resumed from 8th November (vide page 2227), on motion by Mr. Harold Holt-

That the bill be now read a second time.

Melbourne Ports

– On the surface, this bill appears to be a relatively simple measure. It authorizes the raising and expending of an amount of money not exceeding £118,328,000 for defence purposes. That is the purpose of the bill, as set out in the title of the measure. Clause 4 provides that £98,283,000 of this total amount is to cover the amount provided in the defence estimates, and that a further sum of £20,045,000 is to pay off existing Commonwealth securities issued for war purposes.

That is the ostensible purpose of the bill, but, in fact, the total amount of £118,328,000 is the precise amount of the deficit referred to in the Budget speech delivered by the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) to this House on 7th August, 1962. I think it is appropriate, therefore, to examine in some detail this matter of the Budget deficit and its relation to the whole concept of government accounting in this country. The measure that is before us is something of a fiction. Any money that is authorized to be spent by this Parliament has to be appropriated for some purpose, and therefore the major part of the money involved in this bill has been assigned to defence expenditure, while some £20,000,000 of it has been allotted to the redemption of part of the national debt.

We should try to get a clear picture of the situation, and I suggest that in many ways the manner in which government accounts are presented, particularly in the aggregate, gives far from a clear picture, and certainly far from a comprehensible picture. Just to show that in some ways we sin, perhaps, in this country no more grievously than governments do in other countries, I direct the attention of the House to some remarks made by the President of the United States of America, when speaking at Yale University, in June of this year. Referring to the public finance system in his country, he said -

We persist in measuring our federal fiscal integrity to-day by the conventional or administrative budget, with results which would be regarded as absurd in any business firm, in any country of Europe, or in any careful assessment of the reality of our national finances. The administrative budget has sound administrative uses, but for wider purposes it is less helpful It omits our special trust funds. It neglects changes in assets or inventories. It cannot tell a loan from a straight expenditure, and, worst of all, it cannot distinguish between operating expendi tures and long-term investments. This budget, in relation to the great problems of federal fiscal policy, is not simply irrelevant, it is actively misleading.

I would suggest that in many respects those remarks would be applied to the presentation of public accounts in this Parliament. The bill before us highlights, as it were, these deficiencies, because it is primarily a measure to finance defence expenditure out of a budget deficit, or to redeem loan expenditure out of that sum. After all, the mere fact that the total expenditure that it is expected will be incurred this year will fall short of total receipts shows that the money referred to in this bill, being the amount of the deficit, at least cannot be applied to a concrete purpose.

To get something like a proper picture you have to consult some of the tables contained in the Budget papers presented by the Treasurer when making his Budget speech. On page 1 1 of the statistical section of those papers we find how this amount of minus £118,328,000 is arrived at. Ordinary expenditures out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund are expected to be £1,614,400,000. Expenditures on defence services charged to the Loan Fund - one of the two items covered by the measure before us - are estimated at £98,283,000. Expenditure on the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority, also charged to the Loan Fund - I presume there will be a later bill to encompass that measure - is estimated at £13,100,000. These three items give a total of £1,725,800,000.

In addition, the Commonwealth, as the central finance organization in our federal system, is committed to find money for expenditure by the States. One such item of expenditure is an estimated amount of £250,000,000 for the State works and housing programmes, of which the States themselves will find £4,000,000 from local sources, leaving an amount of £246,000,000. Then there are one or two smaller sums. There is an amount of £1,700,000 for war service land settlement, £8,200,000 for the Mount Isa railway project, and then redemptions on loan account amounting to £106,000,000. This makes the total estimated outlay by the Commonwealth Government for the year ended June, 1963, £2,087,700,000.

That money has to be provided by receipts, which will be raised in the following manner: - First, there is the Consolidated Revenue Fund, which comes from collections of income tax, customs and excise, sales tax, pay-roll tax and the various other taxes levied by the Government. These collections will amount to f 1,665,400,000. The Government hopes, in the course of the year, to raise £195,000,000 on the loan market for State works and housing programmes, and £16,000,000 for the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority, making a total of £211,000,000 in loan moneys. In addition we find another mysterious fund, the National Debt Sinking Fund. This is the sort of fund referred to by the President of the United States of America when he spoke of special trust funds. The National Debt Sinking Fund will provide £80,000,000, and the net movement in other trust fund balances will yield £13,000,000. The total receipts for the year are expected to be £1,969,400,000. This falls short of total estimated expenditure by £118,300,000. It is this amount that is called the Budget deficit by the Government.

One interesting feature of the Budget deficit is that this is, I think, the third successive year in which deficit financing has been resorted to. Not more than about three years ago the statement was made by honorable members on the Government side of the House, when it suited them to make it, that to resort to other than balanced budget financing, in other words to resort to deficit financing, was the height of financial profligacy and would open the door to inflation. Over each of the last three years the Government has progressed from the concept of the balanced budget in the direction of the deficit budget, and this year the deficit aggregates £118,300,000. Now, of course, the problem that faces the Government is where the £118,300,000 is to come from. I think it should be realized in this House, and I think the picture is seen clearly in the report, that in essence you cannot identify the government deficit, apart from the totality of government expenditure on the one hand and revenue receipts on the other. There are not any special £1 notes that are allocated for one sort of expenditure as against the other, even in this field of defence to which, hypothetically, t the major part of this deficit is assigned.

Actually, the expenditure that is incurred for defence is paid for by cheques which the Government draws just as it draws any other cheques, and which are honoured just the same as any other cheques are honoured. But the flow of these cheques from the Government’s account to the accounts of those people who receive them has certain secondary effects upon the tempo of the economy as a whole. At least I think the lesson ought to be noted that whereas three or four years ago deficit finance was regarded as folly or indiscretion, to-day it has become part of the accepted policy of this Government.

As has been indicated, there are quite a number of other accounts that are taken into the reckoning before this deficit is finally arrived at. Many of the accounts that apparently go towards making up the sum of the deficit are again largely hypothetical transactions, and I should like to draw the attention of the House to two of them. I refer honorable members to the details of those accounts contained in the report of the Auditor-General for the year ended 30th June, 1962. One such account is the Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve Trust Account; the other is the National Debt Sinking Fund. I should think the time has come, so far as an intelligible understanding of the public finance of this country is concerned, when many of these accounts should be brought together much more closely than they are and with a great deal more explanation than is given. It is true that, if one likes to delve far enough, generally one can find some sort of explanation of them, but it is still very difficult to get all the explanation in one place. Because you do not get the explanation in one place, it is difficult for the picture to be coherent.

The Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve Trust Account was established by an act passed in 1955, and the AuditorGeneral’s report shows the transactions of that fund from the time of its inception. The account was created by a transfer from the Debt Redemption Reserve Trust

Account, which is another one of those mysterious accounts. Again, that was part of the budget surpluses of those days. At that time, it was prudent to have a surplus budget; now it is precedent to have a deficit budget. The Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve Trust Account was created in 1955 by the transfer to it from the ordinary accounts of government, and from trust accounts generally, a sum of approximately £126,421,000. In the six or seven years that that account has been in operation, some amounts have been added to it, and some other amounts have been taken away from it. The amounts added to it were special appropriations, and again if honorable members delve back in history they will find that these also were part of budget surpluses of those days. In 1955-56 the figure was £61,600,000; in 1956-57 it was £194,800,000; in 1957-58 it was £104,400,000; in 1958-59 it was nearly £28,000,000; and separate appropriations of £41,400,000 in 1959-60 and £142,600,000 in 1960-61 were made. Division No. 207 of the 1962-63 Estimates shows that in 1961-62 another £22,100,000 was added, making the total payments into that account in the seven years £594,800,000. In addition, these amounts were hypothetically invested somewhere and yielded, so far as this fund was concerned, interest totalling £57,900,000. In addition, again, there were all sorts of hpyothetical sales of some of the securities which resulted in capital gains to the fund of some £3,600,000, making the total receipts into the fund, including the original sum set aside, £782,700,000.

Over that seven years there have been also other series of payments out of the fund. There have been repurchases of securities for cancellation. That is related to this other mysterious fund, the National Debt Sinking Fund. The repurchase of securities to 30th June, 1961, totalled £415,000,000, and in the financial year 1961-62, £67,800,000, giving a total of £482,800,000. In addition to capital gains on some of the investments, there have also been capital losses totalling £5,200,000. The capital losses were actually £1,700,000 more than the capital gains in that period. The total expenditure from the fund was £488,060,000, leaving a balance at 30th June of £294,600,000.

I have given that history in some detail because it highlights some of the mysteries behind the scenes in Government finance. The other piece of political mystery that I should like to examine in some detail is what is known in this country as the national debt, the responsibility for the handling of which has resided with the Commonwealth Government since the Financial Agreement of 1927. Again if one were inclined to be terrified by large sums, one might perhaps be appalled by the size of that debt, except that when one examines who owns most of the debt one finds that it is largely a bookkeeping entry between one government pocket and another.

The September, 1962, issue of the “Statistical Bulletin” published by the Reserve Bank of Australia contains details of the holding of government securities redeemable in Australia and, in addition to the debt redeemable in Australia, there is also a certain sum redeemable in London, New York and other places totalling something like £450,000,000. But it is the debt that is held internally that is significant for this argument. For the year ended June, 1962, the total national debt of securities redeemable in Australia aggregated £3,829,000,000. Of that amount, £463,000,000, which is about one-eighth of the total, was held by the Reserve Bank. As everybody knows, the Reserve Bank of Australia is the property of the people of Australia. The trading banks of Australia hold £385,000,000 of the national debt. Again, they are organizations that are owned by some sections of the people. The savings banks hold £837.000,000, or nearly one-quarter of the debt. Again, the savings banks are institutions which mobilize the savings of the ordinary people. Life assurance offices hold £259,000,000 and again, they are another means of organizing the savings of small people.

The interesting thing about the holdings in the national debt is the amounts held by ordinary individuals. Of that very large sum of £3,829,000,000 only £585,000,000 or about one-seventh is held by ordinary individuals. That figure has been declining over recent years. In 1960, it was £626,000,000 or £41,000,000 greater than in 1962. Part of the mechanism of the Loan

Consolidation and Investment Reserve is simply a process of duck-shoving between that fund and the Government accounts and the national debt. The major part of that debt is held not by ordinary individuals but by great financial institutions, some of them private but many of them public in their organization and activity.

It is in that welter of confusion, amid the sort of circumstances described by President Kennedy, that we try to adjudicate in this country whether or not it is sound to have a budget deficit of £120,000,000 or £200,000,000 or no deficit at all. When this sum is related to a total gross national product of about £7,000,000,000 I think that whether it varies by £50,000,000 or £60,000,000, up or down, does not call for the fineness of judgment that it is sometimes alleged to require for the purposes of political argument in this country. Really, whether the budget deficit in one year is greater or less than the budget deficit of another year is not always measurable by the sums themselves. Rather is it measurable in terms of what is included in one year and excluded in another. It is fairly easy to camouflage the accounts. In many years in which governments have tried to take virtue from having a surplus, if a proper analysis had been made it would have been seen that they really had a deficit; and in some years in which they tried to take virtue from having a deficit, the deficit has not been nearly as great as shown, having regard to total spending apart from the deficit.

I suggest that it is time that we began to examine the sort of problems that were hinted at by President Kennedy as far as the United States was concerned. He said that no private business could be run in this way. It was necessary to have some idea of its obligations, both internal and external or it would not last very long. He referred rather favorably to the circumstances of countries in Europe. In some of those countries, particularly those of Scandinavia, there is a much more rational presentation of government accounts than we have. The governments of those countries realize that the whole story of government accounting is not told by reference to what might be described as a financial or purely adminis trative budget. You have to look at other things as well. If you are to state the position coherently you cannot jumble up, as do our accounts, annually recurring amounts with amounts of a capital and non-recurring kind. That is precisely what is still done here.

I do not deny that the person who is relatively adroit or expert in these matters, by going into a series of documents, may be able to find the story a little more precisely than is possible by a first look at the Budget. But this Government tries to take virtue to itself one year because it neatly balances the Budget and regards any alternative as vicious; then, in another year or two, because the economic climate has changed, it tries to find virtue in what previously it regarded as vice. That indicates that one cannot regard these factors statically or in isolation. Of a total spending of about £7,000,000,000 in the community, the Federal Government alone, directly and indirectly, is responsible for the spending of £2,000,000,000, which is almost a third. When you realize the volume of spending which has its beginnings in transactions by the Government you realize that the Parliament cannot afford to be haphazard in serving the welfare of the nation. I can remember - and many present members were in this House before I came here - when the Budget reached a total expenditure of £100,000,000, and this was regarded as being of some significance. Since then, in a period of a few years, it has increased from £1,600,000,000 to £2,000,000,000, an increase of £400,000,000. This increase has scarcely been observed, although at one time we were prepared to note as a significant fact that the figure had passed £100,000,000. That is an indication of a lot of other things as well, but it is an indication that in a modern economy, whether some people like it or not, governments have to intrude much more actively than formerly into the affairs of the nation. But if the expenditure is to be continually of this order it becomes more and more obligatory that the Government should attempt to produce its accounts in a more coherent fashion.

To get back to the very sub-title of this bill, I would suggest that this typifies the inadequacy of the whole process. Because of the Financial Agreement, if the Government raises loan money for purposes of defence, it does not come into the reckoning in dividing total loan money between the States for expenditure on other services. In the long run, that is probably the only reason why the major part of this deficit is tied to defence expenditure. As I said earlier, my pound that is spent on defence is the same as any pound that is spent on social services by the Commonwealth, on education by the States, or on garbage collection by a local authority. The only concern of the person who has the pound is that it shall have upon it the imprimatur of the Treasurer of Australia.

This attempt finally to segregate the amount of the deficit from all other government transactions, and even from all other transactions in the community generally, represents perhaps an example of the money illusions that sometimes still bamboozle us. I hope that in the future this Government will realize, in the same way that the President of the United States of America realized, that government accounts ought to be presented in picture form, as it were, by means of a balance-sheet. They ought to be presented in a much more compact form than at present and, above all, in a much more intelligible form. Admittedly, if you try to make the accounts compact, you may have to present less detail. However, at present, there is sometimes so much detail provided as to cause the real story to be lost in the process. I rather fancy that that is true to say of this Government.

A measure like this usually goes through the House with scarcely any notice taken of it, although, in the ultimate, it is the key, as it were, to the whole question of whether the Government as a whole is providing a stimulus to the economy over and above that provided by other transactions in the community. It is recognized in this financial year that the economy is lagging and that a stimulus must be given by the Government pumping additional money into the community. The money being pumped into the economy by means of this measure is being pumped in, not primarily for defence purposes, but to provide an overall stimulus to the economy. However, the stimulus being provided by this measure is one that we believe is still not adequate to meet the demands of the circumstances of the time.

Minister for Defence · Denison · LP

.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, I rise not to prolong this debate but merely to extend a courtesy to the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean) on behalf of the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt). The honorable member will recall that he asked, after the Treasurer had concluded his second-reading speech, for some information to be provided. The Treasurer promised that, at a later stage, he would let the honorable member have an answer to his question, and my colleague has now asked me to convey, the answer to the honorable member. At the conclusion of the Treasurer’s second-reading speech, the honorable member for Melbourne Ports said -

You said that provision for charging part of defence expenditure to Loan Fund was made in 1958-59, 1959-60, 1961-62 and in some of the war and early post-war years. Will you indicate at a later stage, for the benefit of the House, what those amounts were in the relevant years?

The Treasurer has asked me to inform the honorable member as follows: -

  1. Specific loan authority was sought and received to finance war expenditure in every wartime year. In every year from 1939-40 to 1945-46, inclusive, substantial amounts of war expenditure, which can be regarded as being similar in character to defence expenditure, were, in fact, charged to the Loan Fund under this authority. The total amount of war expenditure so charged to the Loan Fund in those years exceeded £1,500,000,000.
  2. Since the war specific authority has been sought in Loan Acts to borrow for defence purposes in respect of the years 1950-51-

There were two separate acts in that year - 1958-59, 1959-60 and 1961-62. In respect of the three latter financial years the legislation provided authority to charge expenditure on defence services to the Loan Fund. The amounts of expenditure on defence services charged to the Loan Fund in the years referred to were -

In 1950-51 there was charged to the Loan Fund £28,800,000 of expenditure on war service homes and war service land settlement under the authority granted by Parliament in the Loan Act 1950 and the Loan Act 1961.

I trust that this answers the honorable member’s question.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.

page 2487


Second Reading

Debate resumed from 8th November (vide page 2228), on motion by Mr. Harold Holt-

That the bill be now read a second time.

Melbourne Ports

.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, this measure is purely a technical one designed to alter a section of the Audit Act to give sanction to a procedure about which there was doubt previously. The Opposition offers no hindrance to the passage of the bill.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and committed pro forma; progress reported.

Message recommending appropriation reported.

In committee (Consideration of GovernorGeneral’s message):

Motion (by Mr. Townley) agreed to -

That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purposes of a bill for an act relating to repayments of amounts out of the Commonwealth public account.

Resolution reported and adopted.

In committee: Consideration resumed.

Bill - by leave - taken as a whole, and agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.

Bill - by leave - read a third time.

page 2487



– I present the fourth report of the Printing Committee.

Report read by the Clerk, and - by leave - adopted.

page 2487


The following bills were returned from the Senate: -

Without requests -

Appropriation Bill 1962-63.

Without amendment -

Appropriation (Works and Services) Bill 1962-63.

page 2487


Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 54); Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Amendment (No. 9). in Committee of Ways and Means: {: #debate-31-s0 .speaker-KEN} ##### Mr FAIRHALL:
Minister for Supply · Paterson · LP .- I move - [Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 54).] {: type="1" start="1"} 0. That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1962, as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff Proposals, be further amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals and that, on and after the sixteenth, day of November, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-two, Duties of Customs be collected accordingly 1. That in these Proposals, " Customs Tariff Proposals " mean the Customs Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the following dates: - 2nd October, 1962; 4th October, 1962; 11th October, 1962; 25th October, 1962; and 7th November, 1962. [Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Amendment (No. 9).] That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) 1933-1962, as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives of the fourth day of October, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-two, be further amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals and that, on and after the sixteenth day of November, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-two, Duties of Customs be collected accordingly. The resolutions which I have just introduced relate to proposed amendments to the customs tariff. Details of these amendments are now being distributed to honorable members. Customs Tariff Proposals No. 54 cover tariff changes arising from the Government's consideration of the Tariff Board's report on coffee. In accordance with the Tariff Board's recommendations increased protective duties are being imposed on soluble coffee, roasted coffee and liquid extracts. The board has also recommended continued free entry of raw coffee from Papua-New Guinea with increased duties from other sources, subject to a remission of such duties, in whole or part, when specified quantities are obtained from the Territory. Before the board's findings on raw coffee may be implemented it will be necessary for Australia to negotiate with certain overseas countries. In the meantime it is proposed to maintain the existing tariff duties and to continue the present arrangement whereby an importer is permitted to import a certain proportion of his needs free of duty under customs by-law provided he purchases a given quantity from Papua-New Guinea. The New Zealand Preference Proposals are complementary to Customs Tariff Proposals No. 54. These measures should enable local coffee processors to continue to absorb increasing amounts of raw coffee from both PapuaNew Guinea and other sources and so cater for the growing domestic demand. The Government does not expect prices of locally processed soluble coffee to rise as a result of these duty changes. This is an aspect which will come under notice when the Tariff Board reviews the duties in two years' time. I commend the proposals to honorable members. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 2489 {:#debate-32} ### COFFEE {:#subdebate-32-0} #### Tariff Board Report **Mr. FAIRHALL** (Paterson- -Minister for Supply). - I lay on the table of the House a report by the Tariff Board on the following subject: - >Coffee. Ordered to be printed. {: .page-start } page 2489 {:#debate-33} ### WHEAT INDUSTRY STABILIZATION FUND (DISPOSAL) BILL 1962 {:#subdebate-33-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from 11th October (vide page 1412), on motion by **Mr. Adermann-** >That the bill be now read a second time. {: #subdebate-33-0-s0 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Lalor .- The bill which is now the subject of discussion was introduced on 11th October by the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann).** It relates to the authority to distribute the funds which accumulated during the period when the wheat industry was in an exceedingly depressed state. In the course of his second-reading speech the Minister referred to this period which extended from the 1930's until we were well into the Second World War. At one stage of the depressed period when wheat prices were exceedingly low it was determined after inquiry that a large number of wheat-growers were settled on marginal areas which in reality were not suitable for profitable production. The Commonwealth and State governments determined that a fund should be established by which some farmers would be assisted to leave their farms and these farms would be allocated to the remaining farmers, thereby giving them an area which could be worked more profitably. By agreement between the respective governments it was decided to hypothecate funds from a flour tax which would be levied for that purpose. In my opinion this method of raising the funds was most inequitable and unjust, because, with at least 10 per cent. of our working population unemployed, the tax fell very heavily indeed, in the first instance, on those members of the community who had large families to support on practically no income and, in the second instance, on those in the lower income groups. After this lengthy period it now appears that of the total sum raised to assist the settlers who relinquished their blocks and to enable those remaining to obtain larger areas, £266,000 remains. After receiving the consent of the Australian Agricultural Council, the Government now has placed before us a proposal that the surplus should be handed over to the wheat-growing industry. Let me say, because the Government has not mentioned it, that in the main this money was raised from the people in the community who were least able to pay it. Because it was raised to assist the wheatgrowers and the industry of the past is no reason why the surplus in the fund should go to the industry of to-day. If this money should go anywhere at all it should go back to the people who paid the flour tax. But I do not know if it is possible to do that. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr Duthie: -- Who paid the flour tax? {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- The working section of the community as well as the non-working section of the community. The whole community paid the tax on the basis of the amount of bread that was consumed. As I said previously, it fell most heavily on people with the lowest incomes and the largest families. They contributed the largest amount through the tax that they paid. Many of them are dead. A lot of them cannot be identified. So, the Government comes up with the astounding proposition that just as a lot of these people cannot be identified, neither can a lot of the wheat-growers who, it had been thought, might receive this money. So the money was not paid out to any of the wheatgrowers. Now the Government proposes to distribute it to the States for wheat research, and no doubt the State Ministers for Agriculture who sat around the Australian Agricultural Council table with the Minister for Primary Industry as chairman thought this a suitable way of getting money. The money is to be paid to the State governments for use in a number of projects to assist the wheat industry. What about some projects to assist people in the community at large who are in distress and who are just as much associated with the provision of this money as are the wheat-growers? The wheat-growers who required assistance got assistance. Apparently too much money was raised for the particular purpose and now it is proposed to hand it over to the wheat-growing industry of to-day. Since it is going to be used for projects that will assist the industry generally and help future wheatgrowers, and in the long run will benefit all the community, we will support the measure. But, if justice were done, the money would be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund. I should like to hear any proposition contrary to that which could be argued with any degree of logic. If the wheat industry needs to be the subject of more research, let us be honest about it. Let us either persuade the wheat industry itself to contribute more towards research than it is now doing or let the Government make a straight-out grant of the amount required, though I will admit that as this sum is in a government trust fund the end result will be practically the same. In the circumstances, believing, as we do, in further research in the wheat industry, we support the measure. What else can we do? I am reminded of the fact, of which the honorable member for Mallee **(Mr. Turnbull)** may not be aware, that within the electorate of Mallee there is a splendid wheat-research farm. Probably the honorable member does not know how it originated. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -- Tell us again how you did it. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- The story is worth relating, and I do not suppose that there are a dozen wheat-growers who know it. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -- You told it at Mildura. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- But the " Sunraysia Daily " would not circulate beyond a radius of about 100 miles, though no doubt the honorable member reads it avidly. The Labour Party has always endeavoured to assist the wheat industry. The story of the Walpeup research farm is that during World War II. the Roumanian Government badly needed wheat, and the Victorian Wheat Board - a war-time body which operated through a pooling system - supplied the wheat. The Roumanian Government was unable to pay for it and after the war issued to the Victorian Government Roumanian bonds to the value, I think, of £200,000. Religiously every year for many years the Roumanian Government paid the interest on those bonds to the Victorian Government in Australian currency, and the Victorian Government established a trust fund in which it placed the money. One day the Director of Agriculture asked me to sign a document. I asked him what it was all about and he said, " This is just to make sure that the funds coming in from the Roumanian Government go into a trust fund in the Treasury ". I asked him how much was in the fund and he told me. I said, "Why do we not spend the money? What can we do with it to help the wheat industry? " On the recommendation of the Victorian Government the Walpeup research farm was established with the money in that fund. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr Duthie: -- It should be called the Pollard research farm. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- Of course it should, but being a modest fellow I would never suggest it. The present proposition is somewhat similar to that and, in those circumstances, not being able to hypothecate the money directly to the wheat-growers who were given a requisite amount of assistance, and not being able to pay it back to the ill-treated payers of the flour tax throughout the community, we have no alternative but to support the measure, which will be of assistance in wheat research. {: #subdebate-33-0-s1 .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL:
Mallee .- We support this bill, naturally, because we think it is a very good one. In his secondreading speech the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann)** said - >The bill will revive old memories in the minds of wheat farmers of a previous generation and will also be a reminder to the generation of to-day of the problems that were encountered many years ago and the efforts that were necessary to overcome them. That certainly is true, especially in the Mallee electorate. In many cases it took three, four or perhaps more generations of farmers to bring the land up to its present standard. The amount of money that is to be distributed was collected in the way that the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** has said, and I need not repeat that story. The total is £266,000. It is to be distributed to the various States, and will be expended by each State in accordance with a scheme approved by the Minister for Primary Industry for one or both of the following purposes: - {: type="i" start="i"} 0. the carrying out of research for the benefit of the wheat industry; and 1. the making available to wheat growers of information and advice in relation to the production of wheat; The honorable member for Lalor need have no fear that I will in any way detract, or have in any way detracted, from the work that he did when he was Minister for Commerce and Agriculture in the Labour Government. I have never detracted from that, and I am always pleased to hear the story of the research farm at Walpeup in the Mallee electorate. It is a very good research farm, of which the people are proud, and it has brought much knowledge to wheat-growers. A field day is held at the Walpeup research farm every year, but it is an amazing thing that I have never been able to attend on one such occasion, for the simple reason that every time it has been held the Parliament has been sitting. I have visited the research farm but never on a field day. The field day at the farm is one of the best held in Victoria, or perhaps in Australia, and I would dearly like to attend it; but I have always told my electors that, no matter what is happening in the electorate, if the Parliament is sitting the place for their member is here watching the proceedings and contributing to the debates. The honorable member for Lalor pointed out that this money was collected through a flour tax. He said that people who ate the most bread and used the most flour contributed greatly to this fund through payment of that tax. I have no quarrel with that. But the honorable member asked why these people should not get some of the money to be distributed. I am not over-surprised by that. He said, however, that the Government could not trace those people, and was also unable to trace the wheat-growers of the time concerned, and that therefore the money was being handed to the States to use for the ultimate benefit of the wheat-growers. Generally speaking, not many of the wheat-growers of a long time ago - this goes back to 1938 - are in the industry to-day, but the industry goes on and is vital to Australia. I take it that the Minister's idea in making this decision - he did not say so in his second-reading speech - is to distribute the money in this way in order to assist the wheat industry. I always support any move for assistance to the wheat industry, the wool industry or other forms of primary production because if those industries are prosperous the men engaged in them are prosperous. The purpose of this measure is to assist the wheat industry by means of information and research so that it will be better, more valuable, and more productive as an important part of the Australian economy. We know that the wheat industry has for many years contributed large sums of money annually to the Australian economy. We know that at one time wheat was being sold for consumption in Australia when it would have brought a much higher price overseas. To that extent the wheat industry benefited the Australian economy greatly. I pay tribute not only to the wheatgrowers of to-day who have well-improved farms and good machinery and to the men in the marginal and semi-marginal areas who have made good farms, but also to the men who went into the Mallee with perhaps an old stripper, a plough, five or six horses and an old wagon and hewed for themselves out of the virgin scrub a heritage which has been handed down as a definite benefit to Australia. There is not the slightest doubt that this country's greatest assets are well kept and highly productive farms. For that reason, everything we can do to assist the wheat-growers and other primary producers should be done by this Parliament and will always have the support of members of the Australian Country Party in this House. There is not much more for me to say about this measure. We support it, and when we support a measure we should say a few words about it and not take up the time of the House unnecessarily. The honorable member for Lawson **(Mr. Failes)** and the honorable member for Wimmera **(Mr. King)** also represent many wheatgrowers and would like to make some comments on the bill. As I hope to speak on the wheat industry on another occasion, I will now make way for them. {: #subdebate-33-0-s2 .speaker-KET} ##### Mr KING:
Wimmera .- As the honorable member for Mallee **(Mr. Turnbull)** said, my colleague the honorable member for Lawson **(Mr. Failes)** and I are very interested in the wheat industry and naturally wish to contribute to the debate. At the outset, I wish to say that the bill came before us a bit earlier than I expected and I have not had time to make the preparation I would like to have made for this debate. As the honorable member for Mallee said this measure seeks to give assistance to the wheat industry as a whole rather than to any section of it. According to the bill the fund totals something like £266,000. I think the House will agree that that sum is very much too small to distribute among the individual wheat-growers or to the growers who contributed to it either directly or indirectly. Naturally, many of them have passed on over the years. The amount mentioned for distribution in Victoria is £55,120, which would virtually mean only a few shillings for each grower if distributed and would be of no direct benefit to them. Over the years the flour industry has had a very difficult time because of the problems associated with it, such as the cost of production of flour in Australia compared with that in the islands to the north of us, which is much lower. We have had requests for some sort of assistance for the flour milling industry as a whole. I am somewhat disappointed that consideration has not been given to the flour industry because I believe it is, in effect, part of the wheatgrowing industry. If the flour industry were to fold up that would affect the wheat-growers. I have not had an opportunity to obtain the1 particulars, but I know that the flour industry could cater for the production of approximately three times the amount of flour that is used for local consumption in Australia. If the industry had to depend only on the production of flour to cover consumption in Australia it would have to revert from its present three-shift basis to a one-shift basis; and that would be most uneconomical. To counter that problem we must depend upon the export of flour. Some countries to the north of us, such as Singapore, can produce flour much cheaper than we can produce it in Australia and then offer big opposition to the industry in this country. This is one way in which the Parliament can assist the flour industry; that is the point I wanted to make. {: #subdebate-33-0-s3 .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE:
Wilmot -- **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** I support the measure. I emphasize that the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard),** speaking on behalf of the Labour Party, has suggested that this fund which was set up in 1938 and was called the Marginal Wheat Areas Scheme, was financed by the ordinary people of Australia - the consumers of flour. Out of that tax paid by the consumers a very substantial fund was built up to help the depressed wheat-growers in the 1930's. One of the greatest tragedies in Australian agriculture was that which affected the wheat industry in the 1930's. I had personal experience of this on my father's wheat farm in the western Wimmera, which is in the electorate of the honorable member for Wimmera **(Mr. King).** {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -- I have been there, too. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- The honorable member for Mallee also knows the area well. We went through it in the difficult days. The wheat-farmers to-day are on velvet compared with men in the industry in those terrible years when we were receiving about ls. 6d. a bushel for our wheat and trying to live on that small return. Let me give a brief example of the situation. In 1933, I think it was, my father's total return on his wheat harvest at ls. 6d. a bushel was £250, and that just paid his mortgage interest for the year. We had nothing on which to live for twelve months but more borrowed money. The newer generation of farmers to-day do not understand the tragic problems of those days. The government at the time was a Liberal government with **Mr. Lyons** as Prime Minister. It was forced to take some action. A royal commission was appointed to examine the wool and wheat industry in 1935 and it produced some remarkable and frightening facts, but the government of that time also introduced this marginal wheat area scheme to help the farmers in the marginal areas, particularly in western Victoria, Western Australia, parts of South Australia and parts of New South Wales. It was a good scheme and a helpful one. It probably saved many wheat-growers at that time from bankruptcy. Some 20,000 farmers walked off their farms between 1930 and 1934, and many of them were wheat-growers. The Minister captured a piece of history in his second-reading speech when, as the honorable member for Mallee mentioned, he said - >The bill will revive old memories in the minds of wheat-farmers of a previous generation. . . . That generation knew nothing but problems, debt, difficulty, worry and misery. This fund was raised from the consumers of wheat, and on that basis I make a plea for Tasmania. I could not let this opportunity go without saying that we have suffered an injustice under this bill. The people of Tasmania were flour consumers and through those years of the 1930's they paid the tax. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- We pay a tax to freight the wheat over to you. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- That is quite true, and Tasmanians are grateful. As the money from the fund could not be paid to individual consumers of flour of those years who are still alive or to the wheat-growers of those years who are still alive, the Minister has very wisely agreed to use the money in a practical way. Through the Australian Agricultural Council he conceived the idea of allocating it on the basis of the 1945-46 No. 9 wheat pool to each State Department of Agriculture to be spent under specific conditions. I am glad that the Minister does not intend to allow the States to spend the money in any way they choose on any mad-hatter scheme. The money can be spent only on the Minister's approval and on additional research on wheat. It cannot be spent on any project that is proceeding at this time. That is a good way of ensuring that the money will not be poured down the drain in some wasteful irrelevant enterprise. I believe that the Minister has no alternative but to do this, but I am sure that no State needs research on wheat more than does Tasmania. We have been battling for a number of years to grow a harder wheat. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- Why don't you give it up? {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- We have not given it up. The honorable member for Lalor will be very disappointed to learn that, instead of giving it up, Tasmania is increasing its wheat production. Let me put the honorable member for Lalor on the right track by giving him the facts. Production in 1959-60 was 4,875 tons. That was an increase of nearly 2,000 tons on the production of four years earlier. This coming season we expect to grow 5,000 tons of wheat, and that will be the highest yield for 60 years. The number of farmers going over to wheat-growing is increasing. However, our wheat has a heavy moisture content. We send it to the elevators. We have elevators in Tasmania; we are not out of date. The Grain Elevators Board handles the wheat in Tasmania for the Australian Wheat Board. We are a vital, integral part of this great wheat organization. We are trying to grow a harder wheat so that our wheat can be used for the manufacture of bread. At the moment, it is used for the manufacture of biscuits; it is just a little too soft for bread. About four years ago, an attempt was made in the Sassafras district in my electorate to grow a harder wheat. To my knowledge, it has not been successful. I believe that Tasmania should have been given a few thousand pounds under this bill to speed up research on the growing of a harder wheat in that State. If we can grow a harder wheat, I am sure more farmers will turn to wheat production. {: .speaker-KET} ##### Mr King: -- How much wheat do you grow? {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- Didn't you listen to me? In 1959-60 our production was 4,875 tons and it will be over 5,000 tons in this year. We have been battling to get a member on the Australian Wheat Board. We have complied with all the conditions for doing so, and I mention this in passing. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- What about giving Victoria a member on your Raspberry Board? {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- We would not mind a Victorian on our Raspberry Board if that would give you any satisfaction. Tasmania deserves to have some research done on the production of a harder wheat and also on diseases of wheat, and I believe that Tasmania should have been given a few thousand pounds from this fund. After all, we contributed to it when we ate the wheat as flour in the 1930's. We may have an amendment moved to the bill when it goes to the Senate to let Tasmania- {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr Adermann: -- We will have to look after you out of the wheat research fund. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- That would be helpful. I thank the Minister for his offer. Money made available in that way would be a help. If we do not speak about these matters in the Parliament, people forget that there is a State called Tasmania. I do not want any one to forget that Tasmania could be the final refuge of civilization if we ever have a nuclear war. {: #subdebate-33-0-s4 .speaker-KDS} ##### Mr FAILES:
Lawson .- As this is not a contentious bill, I shall not speak on it for more than a few minutes. I am sure the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann)** is gratified that the Australian Agricultural Council has shown good judgment in handling this matter. The fund in question was established many years ago for a very worthy purpose, and now the money left in it is to be distributed. What is proposed seems to me to be very logical. I entirely agree with the suggestions by the Australian Agricultural Council, which includes in its membership representatives of the various States, that the money should be used for the wheat industry. The honorable member for Wilmot **(Mr. Duthie)** has told us that the Labour Party believes the consumer should be getting some benefit from this money. I suggest that the consumer will get a good deal of benefit from it. The consumer has received benefits indirectly from the services that have been provided for the wheat industry, such as extension and research services, and consumers will continue to receive benefits in the form of better grain and an assured crop. They will derive greater benefit than if the money were placed in a fund specially for consumers. The honorable member for Wilmot has said that one of the difficulties to-day is that there has been a reduction in the number of our flour mills and in the number of hours that our existing mills are working. This has come about more or less by accident, because people have discovered that while it is more convenient and economical for them to buy wheat and grist instead of buying flour, they also get the benefit of the by-products of the gristing. The honorable member for Wilmot has spoken for his State of Tasmania, and it is very nice to hear a member standing up for his State. Tasmania is a very game little State. It produces about 180,000 bushels of wheat a year. I think some of the wheat producers in my electorate would be very glad if they could get close to that annual production. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -- As individuals? {: .speaker-KDS} ##### Mr FAILES: -- Yes. Do not let it be thought that I am saying anything in criticism of the State of Tasmania. As I say, it is a very game little State. The honorable member for Wilmot probably feels that Tasmania is not going to get much assistance from this piece of legislation, but we must not forget that Tasmania has its wheat transported free of charge, and this is a concession that I do not think is always fully acknowledged. The purpose of the bill is to see that the money left over in the fund, £260,000, is used for the benefit of the wheat industry. We must not overlook the fact that in being used for the benefit of the wheat industry it will be used for the benefit of the Australian economy as a whole, and also for the benefit of consumers, who will have greater assured supplies of wheat for home consumption, and will also be able to obtain a better class of grain. The proposal is that the amounts to be paid to the States will be expended in accordance with a scheme approved by the Minister - a very wise provision - for the carrying out of research for the benefit of the wheat industry. There is a growing need for research in every field of activity to-day. In the few short years since I gave up practical farming I have found that the varieties of wheat being grown have changed, the method of treating the crops for disease has changed, and even the method of cultivation has changed. These changes have come about as a result of research work, and this work can always do with financial assistance. The money may also be used to make available to wheat-growers information and advice in relation to the production of wheat. I do not know of anything that this Government has done to give greater benefit to the wheat industry than the assistance it has provided for extension services. I recall the present Minister for Trade **(Mr. McEwen)** saying some years ago, when he was Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, that whereas in Australia we had about one man to provide extension services for about 1,000 farmers, in the United States of America about 100 men were used to look after the same number of farmers. We have our Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization and we have very good State Departments of Agriculture, we have our research stations and our experimental farms. The difficulty, however, is to get the informa tion derived into the field. We have done remarkably good work in research in Australia, but I have never felt that the results of this research have been getting out to the places where it can be practically used. There has been a very big change in the last few years in this direction, and we hope that we will continue to see an improvement in the way in which information is passed to the men doing the practical jobs. The only unfortunate note that was sounded by the honorable member for Wilmot was when he referred to the period of the 1930's and said that the farmers of those days suffered great hardship at a time when a Liberal government was in office. He may have suggested that the Liberal government was responsible for those hard times. I was a grower in those days, when these troubles really started, when the wheat problems of Australia really commenced. I have bitter recollections of selling my wheat in those days for ls. 5d. a bushel - just think of that in terms of present-day prices - and that was immediately after a promise had been given by a Labour government that we would be paid 4s. for every bushel of wheat that we could grow. That was the start of the downfall of the farming industry, and the tragedy was reenacted year after year for many years. But the problem of marginal lands was a different matter entirely. I am sorry that the honorable member for Wilmot decided to go back to the 1930's, because he merely reminded me of one of the most bitter periods of my life, when I was struggling along with a young family and trying to make ends meet. The honorable member need not think he has it all on his own when he is remembering those days. No doubt many of his colleagues remember them too. Those of us who lived through those days will never forget them. Then came the problem of marginal wheat lands, and we saw the hardships suffered by people trying to grow wheat on land that was quite unsuitable for it. But those bad days have passed, and the wheat industry to-day is in a sound position indeed, mainly because of the wheat stabilization scheme, which has given us the security of knowing that whatever wheat we grow, we will get a fair price for it. This bill will help us to grow more and better wheat, and I highly commend it. It is a very desirable piece of legislation. {: #subdebate-33-0-s5 .speaker-JWX} ##### Mr J R Fraser:
ALP -- The Australian Capital Territory does not produce as much wheat as Tasmania does, but within this electorate we have, I believe, wheat-farmers as progressive as any to be found in other parts of Australia. Indeed, we have within the Territory the site of the original wheat experiments of Farrer. I rise to participate in this debate because of a statement in the Minister's secondreading speech that the bill will revive old memories in the minds of wheat farmers of a previous generation. I rise tottering to my feet because I recall the difficult years for the wheat industry in the late 1920's and in the 1930's, particularly in the Mallee and Wimmera districts of Victoria. I was in those areas in 1929 and in the early 1930's, and I know something of the difficulties that farmers had to contend with in those times. I do not wish to bring politics into this debate, or to go back 30 or 40 years in order to blame this party or that for what happened, but I do want to remind honorable members that most of the farmers in the Mallee in those days were soldier settlers who had been allotted land unsuitable for wheat growing or had been allotted suitable land but not sufficient of it to enable them to make a living. The farms there were of 640 acres, one square mile. I lived there and I know what the farms were like and what the farmers had to put up with in those days. They lived under shocking conditions of drifting sand because of the method used to clear the land. First, the mallee scrub was rolled with steam boilers converted, for that purpose, and then the scrub was piled up and burned. The only green thing in the country was the mallee scrub growing along the roads fringing the square-mile properties. You could not have a fence with more than one strand of barbed wire on it. If you had two strands the skeleton weed and other weeds would tumble against it, the sand would pile up and you would finish up building another fence on top of the first. The farmers battled against those conditions in that area, and I give them the greatest possible credit for that. If this bill, which is to disburse the funds collected under the flour tax in those days, will provide money for research to improve the marginal areas yet remaining to us, then of course it has the support of both sides of the House. But it is well to remember what the wheat farmers had to put up with and how they had to battle to keep a farm going and to keep a family together. They were living on areas that were practically desert. I was in that district in 1929 at the end of a four-year drought. Year after year the farmers had sown their crops and had bad virtually nothing to harvest. In 1929 they went out into the paddocks with their Shearer's strippers to take off a crop that was barely nine or ten inches above the ground, winding like hell to get the combs above the mallee roots lying in the sand. They were living in houses that to-day would be regarded as sub-standard. The dams on the properties were filled by channels from the Murray once every year. The horses drank from the dam, the cows drank from it, the geese swam in it, the people swam in it, and when the house tank ran dry they took the slide down to the dam to bring another tankful up to the house. These were the conditions they lived under. Most of the farmers were soldier settlers. As the honorable member for Wilmot **(Mr. Duthie)** said, they had to walk off the land in their thousands. They could not make a go of it. The average debt, in 1931, among soldier settlers in the Mallee was £3,000, and £3,000 in 1931 was real money. They had no hope of ever getting out of it at a profit. Certainly, others profited by their walking off their properties. Properties were combined. Some men saw the wisdom of mixed farming, of bringing sheep on to the properties as well, and some men made a success of it. That land would grow wheat comparable with any grown in this country, and the best wheat was grown on the sand hills. I have seen farmers take off seventeen bags to the acre in a good year. The honorable member for Mallee **(Mr. Turnbull)** and the honorable member for Wimmera **(Mr. King)** will recall that great fortunes were made in th'at country in early days when farmers merely, scattered the wheat among the scrub without doing any clearing. They took off great crops, but at the time I saw the district first it was practically a desert. I say that the farmers who put up with those conditions deserved the assistance they got at the time, although that assistance proved inadequate for many of them. If the funds now to be disbursed will be of value in promoting research into the growing of wheat, particularly in marginal areas, then it is to be highly commended. I cannot speak with any particular knowledge of wheat-growing, but I can speak with knowledge of the great battle that was put up by the farmers in those years in an endeavour to combat the very worst possible conditions, not only for farming but of living. They were farming on a shoestring. They had no opportunity to buy the machinery they really needed. They had very little comfort in their homes. They had wooden forms in the kitchen and that was probably the only kind of furniture available to them. The only type of heating in the house was the colonial oven, and the honorable member for Mallee may remember what that was like. These people put up with all that in an endeavour to reap some profit, some gain, from land that had been allotted to them as a reward for the service they had given to their country. The land itself, in the conditions in which it was made available to those men, was just not adequate for them to obtain a satisfactory income. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -- The country storekeeper did a good job. {: .speaker-JWX} ##### Mr J R Fraser:
ALP -- He did a good job in carrying these men through. No one can take away credit from those men who saw the farmers through and, in many cases, lost their own wherewithal in so doing. That, of course, is quite apart from the purposes of the bill, but since the Minister has referred to these times I am happy to pay my tribute to the men who battled it out. I am reminded of the words of Banjo Paterson - " Facing it yet, oh my friend, stout hearted ". I do not recall the rest of the quotation, but I have always thought that those words could well be applied to the men who went out to this marginal country, rolled the mallee, ploughed the land, grew crop after crop, many times without taking a harvest because no rain had fallen; the men who put up with dust storms rolling up over the scrub practically every second day. I have seen the sun blotted out at 2 or 3 o'clock in the afternoon and the lamps alight in the houses; dust drifting into every corner of the house until there was a film of dust and sand over everything you ate. And then what did you have to drink? A tank full of water drawn from a dam from which the cattle and horses drank and in which the geese swam. In fact, you had to go to the windward side of the dam to get decent clear water for the house. This is what those men had to put up with. Perhaps it is just as well to remember it to-day. They did not drive to the towns in a Jaguar; they drove a horse and sulky, opening the cocky's gate, which was probably made from an old bedstead, to reach the road. And what a road it was! There was no bitumen highway such as is demanded to-day. It was a track winding among mallee trees, rutted and holey. That they endured such conditions was a credit to them. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time, and committed pro forma; progress reported. Message recommending appropriation reported. In committee (Consideration of GovernorGeneral's message): Motion (by **Mr. Adermann)** agreed to - >That it is expedient that an appropriation of moneys be made for the purposes of a bill for ar. act to provide for the disposal of the moneys standing to the credit of the Wheat Industry Stabilization Fund established by the Wheat Industry Assistance Act 1938. Resolution reported and adopted. In committee: Consideration resumed. Bill - by leave - taken as a whole. {: #subdebate-33-0-s6 .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE:
Wilmot .- I want to reply to a statement made during the previous discussion on this subject by the honorable member for Lawson **(Mr. Failes),** who claimed that a Labour government hae" refused to give him 4s. a bushel for hi.< wheat in 1931. The reason why the Labour Government was unable to pay that amount was that the Commonwealth Bank at thai time - the time to which this bill relates - would not grant the then Prime Minister. **Mr. Scullin,** the money necessary to carry out the promise that he had made and there was an anti-Labour Senate. That is why the honorable member and thousands of other wheat-growers did not get the price that they wanted at that time, which was about 1931. {: #subdebate-33-0-s7 .speaker-KDS} ##### Mr FAILES:
Lawson .- The point raised by the honorable member for Wilmot **(Mr. Duthie)** with regard to the guarantee of 4s. a bushel for wheat by a Labour government could take up a lot of time in debate. I shall simply go briefly over the facts, which are well recognized by people who were in the wheat industry at that time. Before and during the sowing season, every time one listened to the radio or picked up a newspaper one would be called upon by the Labour Government to grow more wheat. The wheat-growers responded to that call, in my part of Australia anyhow. They ploughed the furrows and sowed the wheat. They even put their fallow under wheat, and had no fallow left for the next year. A plea was made to loyal, patriotic people to put in every acre that they could. The farmers responded to that plea, and were guaranteed a price of 4s. a bushel. I shall never forget that when the end of the year came the 4s. a bushel was not forthcoming. To my mind, any argument as to why it was not forthcoming is beside the point. A promise had been made by a government that was in control of this country. Subsequently, the farmers sold their wheat for what they could get for it. I sold mine for ls. 7d. a bushel, and others sold theirs for ls. 5d. a bushel. When they paid their expenses, they had nothing left over. The honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory **(Mr. J. R. Fraser)** has said that we had bedsteads between the gateposts. We did not even have bedsteads. We had a couple of bags strung between a couple of poles. {: #subdebate-33-0-s8 .speaker-KIH} ##### The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock:
LYNE, NEW SOUTH WALES -- Order! I think the honorable member's remarks are out of order. Bill agreed to. Bill reported without amendment; report adopted. Bill - by leave - read a third time. {: .page-start } page 2498 {:#debate-34} ### REPATRIATION BILL 1962 {:#subdebate-34-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from 8th November (vide page 2230), on motion by **Mr. Swartz** - >That the bill be now read a second time. {: #subdebate-34-0-s0 .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr HAYLEN:
Parkes .- This bill proposes to amend sections 29 and 78 of the Repatriation Act. I suppose, **Mr. Speaker,** that you have examined this bill in order to see how closely you would confine the discussion on it. I ask that in this debate you should take into consideration the fact that repatriation has not been discussed in this House during this session. No money bill was introduced to implement increased pensions. Anomalous situations have been created which have been referred to honorable members by conventions of the Returned Sailors', Soldiers' and Airmen's Imperial League of Australia and other welfare organizations of exservicemen. While we do not presume to say that these matters are dealt with in the bill, as far as the limits of the bill will allow we should like to refer to them. In the first place, this is a simple bill. It is designed to alter the existing act so as to bring pensions into line and achieve some uniformity. Under the present system laid down for the lodging of applications by exservicemen or ex-servicewomen, the application first goes to the Repatriation Board. If it is rejected, the person concerned may then approach the Repatriation Commission. If that approach is rejected, he or she may then go to an appeals board. Those are the three ways in which the ex-serviceman or ex-servicewoman may state a case. I have always thought that this machinery was the most clumsy ever brought into existence. It allows bureaucracy to creep in. It allows of enormous delays. It is a process of exhaustion, even if the ex-serviceman eventually gets his pension through the entitlement tribunal. Later on, I may speak on the onus of proof but, for the time being, I should like to remind the House that we used to have a services committee. I do not think it is still in existence. I think that Government supporters have such a committee of their own. But we once had a joint committee to which we brought repatriation matters. One of the things that we sought from that committee was a simpler and more streamlined method for a man to get his appeal or application dealt with. Under the present system, applications are dealt with by the dreadful three. Having failed on the first occasion, on the second occasion the application becomes a little more shopsoiled and mauled. There is a period of awful silence while research is carried out, and the soldier continues with his application under a neurosis. It seems to him that the Government does not want him. People have turned him down! Any honorable member who has sat in his office and handled war pensions matters will know that what I am saying is completely true. I have been wondering whether, between us, we could not devise slicker machinery to deal with these matters. Whether First World War or Second World War service people are concerned, I do not think it is necessary to have this ponderous, churning machinery for the purpose of reversing an original decision. To-day, 68 per cent, of first applications from ex-servicemen are rejected summarily. These ex-servicemen are then faced with the prospect of going through a long series of applications and litigation, knowing that in the finish, to use their own term, they will probably be rolled. Surely we could appoint some sort of legal authority - a High Court judge for preference - to give an official and authoritative decision in relation to certain legal aspects which are so horribly involved in connexion with section 47 of the act. This bill certainly deserves sympathy. Its purposes may be best explained in the words of the Minister for Repatriation **(Mr. Swartz)** who said - The bill, therefore, provides that where a claimant succeeds on appeal to either the commission or an entitlement appeal tribunal, the appellate body will be able to grant him benefits from the same date as the Repatriation Board could have done, provided he has not delayed longer than three months in lodging his appeal to the commission . . . This is very good. If a claim is successful, the pension will now be dated back to the date on which the claim was first made, provided the applicant does the reasonable thing and lodges an appeal within three months. Some of the delays in appeals rest with the digger himself and some with the Repatriation Commission. Some diggers, having been knocked back on the first approach, say, " I have had it ", and give the whole idea away. Then, after a while, under pressure of financial circumstances, or as a result of advice given by the Returned Sailors', Soldiers' and Airmen's Imperial League of Australia or some welfare organization, a digger may revive his claim. By this time, the original claim is months old and all the files are scattered about the country, although probably most of them are in Melbourne. They all have to be looked at again. In these circumstances, the applicant contributes to the delay in having his claim determined. The Repatriation Commission, of course, is bound up with a lot of book work and many files which slow down its procedures considerably. The proposition now is: If you apply for a pension and a repatriation board rejects the claim, and, within three months, you lodge an appeal which ultimately succeeds, your pension will be dated back to the time at which you first lodged the claim. If you get over the first hurdle and the second hurdle and come to jumbo - anybody who knows steeple-chasing will know what that means - and eventually have your entitlement to a pension established, your claim will be dated back to the time at which you first lodged it with a repatriation board. Is not that the situation, **Mr. Minister?** {: .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz: -- Yes. {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr HAYLEN: -- We on this side of the House accept that and will help the Government to facilitate the passage of this measure, because it provides for a change in procedures that will remove the disadvantage of the delays that occur. I understand that the time limit for applications will not be interfered with and that an ex-serviceman still will have his immemorial right to apply for a pension no matter how many years have passed since he served in the forces. He may apply at any time before he dies. I understand that that right will not be disturbed. That is an important right and it must be retained by ex-servicemen. There must be no limit on the time within which they may apply for repatriation benefits. In the same way, the widow of an ex-serviceman will, I understand, still be entitled to apply for benefits without any limitation of time. This suits us on the Opposition side of the House. I say, in fairness to the Minister for Repatriation **(Mr. Swartz)** that this is very wise. I turn now to the repatriation machinery and ask: Does not the Minister think that the machinery for determining whether an ex-serviceman really is entitled to a pension has become very clumsy? Perhaps the repatriation machinery is the clumsiest of all the machinery that we have developed. At some stage, when the onus of proof is applied, a doctor of great repute in civil practice is asked what he thinks of the claim for pension. He may say, " In my view, the ex-serviceman should get a pension ". But it is still competent for one or other of the repatriation authorities, despite the provisions of section 47 of the principal act, to say: " No. We think that the doctor is wrong." That is a matter that the Minister ought to look at. These two matters that I have discussed particularly are the only two arising out of this measure that I think require discussion. {: .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr Chipp: -- What does the honorable member suggest - a judge? {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr HAYLEN: -- I am thinking, not of forensic law, but of medical questions related to whether something is material and substantial. Amendments to the principal act that were made by Labour governments over the years won a lot of support from all sections of the community. I suggest that, to determine finally the legal aspects, we ought to have a judge as a referee, and that we ought to have a medical referee finally to determine the medical aspects. We ought to go beyond this old and ponderous triple machinery that we now have. If we do that, many of these cases will not take so long to determine. They will be resolved much more quickly, with benefit to both the applicant and the Repatriation Commission. We see that the Minister is attempting to avoid long delays. Honorable members on both sides of the House know of cases in which men applied for repatriation benefits in the early 1950's and won out only after an awful, debilitating, wearisome, tiresome and fright ful fight. But have their claims been dated back to the time of the original application? A genuine claim, no matter how much the cost to the Government may be, should be dated back to the time of the original application. But the applicant does not have his pension paid from the time of the original application. One of the tribunals, arbitrarily, says, " Your pension starts from such-and-such a time ". A man may lose five years' money. Perhaps the Minister knows of cases that have taken even longer than five years to determine. There is an injustice here. The nervous tension imposed on an applicant when the determination of his claim is delayed for a long time is reflected in his behaviour when he comes to take up the case again. He develops a hatred of the whole set-up. I think that this small amending measure will do one thing at least. It will introduce a time factor in an attempt to apply basic justice. The ex-serviceman will now be told that, if he makes a claim and wins his case, even if there is delay, his claim may be dated back to a certain time. I remind the House that it is very hard, however, to win a claim on some issues when one goes before the heads-down brigade. They will not listen to anything about section 47 of the act or the onus of proof. They merely adopt their own bureaucratic interpretation, and so it goes on. I do not intend to take advantage of your leniency, **Mr. Speaker,** even if you will allow me to expand my argument further. I merely point out that, having begun to clean up the machinery and oil it, the Minister should carry on. Having decided that the triple alliance of bureaucracy ought to be handled in a different way, he ought to set out to remove many injustices. I know, of course, that in other fields one can go to a court of petty sessions, then to a court of appeal and finally to the High Court of Australia. But that is not the same thing. We are not concerned here with that sort of procedure. The various tribunals with which we are concerned here merely take in one another's washing, as it were. When they are worsted, they run up the white flag and say, " No more material and substantial evidence in support of the claim has been presented, and therefore the appeal is rejected ". They have a collection of cant phraseology which prevents the exserviceman who appears before them from getting the chance to re-state his claim. Another thing that gives a great deal of anxiety to the ex-serviceman who is seeking a pension is the fact that, when he goes before a tribunal, the very word " tribunal " rings a bell in his mind. His mind is filled with the thought that he is going before the highest authority constituted by this or any other Australian Government to deal with an appeal concerning a pension. When he gets before the tribunal some one says, in effect, " Sit down and shut up and we shall fix this for you ". Some one nods at the chairman of the tribunal, the chairman nods to the man from the Legal Service Bureau, who represents the exserviceman, the man from the bureau nods in return, the ex-serviceman is ushered out of the room and all is over. His legal representative says to him, "You have lost out, mate ", or " You have got your pension, mate ". That is all there is to it. Surely we have to do something better than that when an ex-serviceman goes before what is, in effect, his high court of appeal. I am not thoroughly satisfied with the representations that are made in these matters. Everybody seems to have become tired and given it away. There seems to be no more fight left in many of us when it comes to pensions for ex-servicemen. I think we should do something about that situation. I suggest to the Minister for Repatriation that the best way is to have another look at this repatriation machinery, now that we have begun to oil it and clean it up. Sooner or later, something will have to be done. I do not propose to say much more. Two or three honorable members on this side of the chamber may wish to discuss particular provisions of the bill. We on this side of the House are prepared to accept the measure and to facilitate its passage, because it will do something reasonable for ex-servicemen. It is based on reasonable propositions. Under the terms of this bill, an ex-serviceman who succeeds in a claim for a pension will get it from the date on which he originally lodged his claim. That will merely bring repatriation procedures into line with social service procedures. An applicant for a repatriation benefit must be warned, however, that he must proceed again within three months after losing the first leg of the treble. He must appeal within three months at each stage at which he loses until he comes to the biggest hurdle of all - an entitlement appeal tribunal. So it cut's both ways. The machinery will, I hope, now be used in a reasonable manner and I trust that the Minister and the Repatriation Department will move for further improvements so that we can streamline the procedures. Many of the ex-servicemen of World War I. are passing away and many others have given up the ghost in the sense that they no longer think that they can get pensions. The problems disposed of by the fading away of men returned from the First World War are now appearing through another door, because men returned from World War II. are getting on in years, and increasing numbers of them are seeking assistance from the Repatriation Commission. The responsibilities of the commission will probably increase instead of reducing, and it will probably require more funds to discharge those responsibilities. We want a much more streamlined, humanized and sympathetic form of repatriation machinery in order to meet the needs of the increasing numbers of the ex-servicemen of World War II. who are becoming pensionable, in addition to the remaining tragic men returned from World War I. After the First World War, the problems of repatriation were new to us and we did not fully understand them. {: #subdebate-34-0-s1 .speaker-JO8} ##### Mr BARNARD:
Bass **.- Mr. Speaker,** I wish briefly to discuss one or two matters relating to this measure. The honorable member for Parkes **(Mr. Haylen)** has already intimated that the Opposition does not oppose the bill in any way. In my opinion, it will make a very necessary amendment to the Repatriation Act. I have always considered that there is some injustice in the fact that an ex-serviceman is penalized when the determination of a claim for a pension is delayed for long periods, for example because further evidence is required by the Repatriation Commission, and through no fault of the applicant. The Repatriation Department's procedure is quite simple. The ex-serviceman merely lodges an application to a repatriation board which considers his case. Had this measure been wide enough, I would have hoped to pass some comments on the claims which are dealt with by the repatriation boards because I believe that there is need for some revision of the way in which the boards deal with them. An ex-serviceman who goes before a board is not always given the justice to which he is entitled simply because the number of applications is increasing and this is imposing far too much work upon the boards. If a board dismisses a case the exserviceman has the right of appeal to the Repatriation Commission. I am glad that the Minister has seen fit to amend the Repatriation Act to enable an ex-serviceman whose claim is accepted eventually by the commission or by an entitlement tribunal to have his pension take effect from the date which normally would have applied had the board accepted the case. That is fair and reasonable because very often there are unnecessary delays which are not the responsibility of the appellants. I regret, however, that the Minister has still applied some limitations in this regard. Experience has taught me that there should not be any limitation. I have appeared before tribunals and I know that very often when an advocate has had the opportunity to examine an appellant ex-serviceman's file he knows immediately that before the case can succeed additional evidence will be necessary. If that is the position a case may be delayed for two years, three years or even longer before it is decided finally one way or another. The measure which we are now debating clearly lays down that before this legislation will apply to an appellant whose claim is decided by the Repatriation Commission or the entitlement tribunal the appellant must have lodged his claim to the commission or to the tribunal within three months from the date on which it was rejected by the repatriation board or, in the case of the entitlement tribunal, by the Repatriation Commission. Three months is far too short a time having regard to what I have said already. {: .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz: -- At present the average time is one and a half months. {: .speaker-JO8} ##### Mr BARNARD: -- I am not much concerned with the average time. Even if the average time is as the Minister has stated, if there is one case in ten in which a longer period than three months is required, the appellant should have the opportunity to lodge his appeal when he feels the time is right for him to do so. I have indicated already that sometimes it is necessary to secure additional evidence. That additional evidence may be of vital importance to the appellant. If an application is rejected by the board the applicant has the right of appeal to the Repatriation Commission. Then if it is rejected by the commission he has the right of appeal to the entitlement tribunal. The appellant knows that once his case has been considered by the entitlement tribunal he will have no further opportunity to have his disability accepted as being due to war service unless he can produce additional evidence. The appellant naturally wants to be certain that this evidence will give him every chance of succeeding in his claim. The additional evidence which it may be necessary for him to obtain may be corroborating evidence by some persons who served in his unit, or medical evidence from a doctor who saw and treated him perhaps in a different State from the one in which he was residing at the time his claim was lodged. He certainly will need much longer than three months in those circumstances. I acknowledge that the Minister already has pointed out that the average time required by an appellant to submit a claim either to the Repatriation Commission or to the entitlement tribunal is only one and a half months but, as I have stated, I believe that the three months provided by the legislation is far too short when we remember that it means so much to the appellant to secure all the evidence that is necessary for his claim to succeed. I know from my own experience that once a case has been closed by the tribunal it is extremely difficult to have it re-opened. It is possible to have a case re-opened by the presentation of additional evidence provided that the evidence is submitted through the usual channels - repatriation board, the Repatriation Commission and finally the entitlement tribunal. When a case is reopened those bodies consider only the additional evidence which is submitted. Unless some evidence which would affect the appellant's claim before the entitlement tribunal has been submitted, the only advantage in having the case re-opened is that the advocate or the appellant or both have the opportunity further to peruse the file. I congratulate the Minister and the Government for amending the legislation to provide for the three months period, but they should have gone further, particularly in the case of an appeal to the entitlement tribunal. If an ex-serviceman wants to wait for six months to secure the additional evidence which is vital if his case is to succeed before the tribunal, he should have the advantage of the longer period. However, if he ultimately succeeds before the entitlement tribunal after having secured the additional evidence six months after his claim has been rejected by the Repatriation Commission, there is no reason why the pension should not be paid from the date on which the claim was first received and considered by the repatriation board. Even at this late stage I hope that the Minister will consider that point. I am prepared to concede that three months appears to be a reasonable period for an appellant to lodge his appeal after his application has been rejected by the repatriation board. Now I merely want to apply myself to one or two other points which were made by the honorable member for Parkes, and to refer the Minister very briefly to the number of outstanding appeals. The Minister has mentioned this matter in the bin, so I shall direct my brief remarks to it. The figures which I shall cite are readily available to every honorable member in the annual report of the Repatriation Commission for 1961-62. The report shows that the number of outstanding cases for hearing by the commission and by the entitlement appeal tribunals is far too high. The only thing to do is to appoint more tribunals to hear those oases. An alternative would be for the department to adopt some process to enable a greater number of appeals to be heard by the commission than it now hears. The Opposition does not oppose the measure, which will establish a very sound principle and will remove some of the obstacles affecting claimants and also some of the things that prejudice them. The measure will be of help to appellants whose appeals, because of lack of supporting evi dence, must ultimately go to the commission and the entitlement appeal tribunals. In that respect the legislation is fair and reasonable, but I suggest that the Minister consider extending the period within which an appellant has to lodge his claim to an entitlement appeal tribunal after it has been rejected by the commission. {: #subdebate-34-0-s2 .speaker-KBH} ##### Mr WILSON:
Sturt .- I should like to add my congratulations to the Minister for Repatriation **(Mr. Swartz)** for bringing down this legislation to remove an anomaly and an injustice which has existed for many years. The effect of the legislation will be that an ex-serviceman will not suffer if the board or the commission makes a mistake or an error of judgment This will be welcomed by ex-servicemen throughout Australia, who will now know that they will not suffer in that way. I should like to congratulate the Minister on his diligence in dealing with this anomaly in the very short time he has been Minister and also to congratulate the Government on accepting his recommendation. {: #subdebate-34-0-s3 .speaker-KUX} ##### Mr STEWART:
Lang .- While the Opposition does not oppose the measure, we feel that in the last two or three years the Repatriation Act has been, to a great degree, neglected by this Government. It was in the last second-reading speech made by the former Minister for Repatriation, the then honorable member for Evans, **Mr. Osborne,** that the Government indicated in so many words that it felt that the time had come when ex-servicemen and their dependants could not look forward to any great number of further concessions under the act. The Government's actions since then indicate that this is the policy it has adopted. The act is now being amended to a very meagre degree by extending the period for which pension payments may be backdated by the commission and the entitlement appeal tribunals. So far as the commission and the board are concerned, the time limit is perhaps reasonable, but, as the honorable member for Bass **(Mr. Barnard)** stressed, the period provided for the back-dating of pensions is certainly insufficient in view of the great number of instances of long delays. The Minister suggested, by interjection, that the average time for dealing with a case is about one and a half months. My experience suggests it is longer than that. I have had cases dragging on for six months before being finally dealt with. I appreciate the fact that if the board is doing its job properly and calls the appellant in for the necessary medical examinations and thoroughly examines his claim, there must be some delay, but it should be a reasonable delay. In some cases, the decision is given so swiftly that one is led to believe that the same consideration has not been given to these cases as is given to other cases. I make no criticism of the departmental officers. I have always found them most obliging and courteous, and generally they are more embarrassed by the delays that occur than is the person making the representation, because they feel that the delay is in some way their responsibility. However, the Minister should look at the fact that there is need to streamline the manner in which cases are dealt with by the board and the commission. There is one other matter I should like to raise. The feeling has grown up among people that the board and the commission are two separate entities. I do not know whether this feeling has been deliberately fostered. I should think that most people believe that when an ex-serviceman lodges an appeal to the repatriation board it is dealt with by a board consisting of a number of people, as the word " board " would suggest. I am inclined to the belief that an appeal is not dealt with by a board, but is dealt with by one officer to whom authority may have been delegated. So, the decision is made by one individual. I am absolutely certain that, in the case of the commission, the decision is made by one individual member. If we are going to use the term " board ", surely the board that makes the decision should consist of more than one individual. The same applies to the term " commission". I feel, and I have good reason to believe that I am correct in my assumption, that in many instances the decision is made by an individual member of the Repatriation Department. No matter how impartial that man may try to be, there will be cases when he misses something in a file and his missing of it is of detriment to the exserviceman. A member of the commission may do exactly the same thing. If we use the terms " board " and " commission " we should on all occasions see that the decisions are made by more than one individual. If the claim is examined separately by two or three individuals who come to the same decision perhaps there will be no cause for complaint, but if the decision is made by only one person without reference to any other member of the board or commission, in some instances an ex-serviceman's claim could be prejudiced. Another point I should like to make at this stage is that until such time as the ex-serviceman goes before the War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunal it is necessary for any person, with the approval of the commission, to visit the Repatriation Department to examine the relevant file. In the case of an appeal to an entitlement appeal tribunal files cannot be taken away from the department. As the honorable members for Parkes **(Mr. Haylen)** and Bass will agree, in many cases the lack of knowledge of what the department has against the ex-serviceman's claim is a great hindrance in the presentation of the case. I had a case before me only recently- {: #subdebate-34-0-s4 .speaker-KSC} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir John McLeay: -- Order! I think the honorable member is beginning to range a bit wide of the subjectmatter before the Chair. I realize that this is a very small measure, and the procedures being dealt with are not mentioned in it. I ask the honorable member to relate his remarks more closely to the bill. {: .speaker-KUX} ##### Mr STEWART: -- There is a need, **Mr. Speaker,** to introduce a provision to extend the time for which pensions may be backdated. I think that some of the delays could be avoided. Some appeals might be taken no further if the advocate acting on behalf of the ex-serviceman could see the files, because he might then suggest to the exserviceman that there was no hope of winning the case or, alternatively, that he could then get evidence that would immediately convince the board or the commission that the ex-serviceman was entitled to the benefits under the act. I feel that if the advocate or some other person representing the ex-serviceman could have those files made available to him to take away and examine, part of the long delay in concluding an appeal could be prevented. With your permission, **Mr. Speaker,** at this stage I will deal with some of the statistics that have been made available by the various War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunals. I feel that although this information has been tabled in the Parliament it is of great importance and great public interest and should be more readily available than it is at the present time. I have here the annual report of the No. 1 War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunal for the year ended 30th June, 1962. It is interesting, when dealing with the long time taken in having an appeal heard and the long time involved in back-dating the payment of a pension, to see just how many ex-servicemen and their dependants are successful after they have been before the board, the commission and the appeal tribunal. The No. 1 tribunal in the various States, in the year ended 30th June, 1962, allowed under some sections of the act appeals as follows: - Under section 64 (4), 290 appeals by members were allowed and 1,553 were rejected. Of the appeals by dependants 31 were allowed and 357 disallowed. Of new evidence cases under section 64 (7aa), 38 appeals were allowed and 95 rejected. In no instance was any large proportion of the cases successful before the tribunal. No one can convince me that an ex-serviceman or his dependant who is prepared to go first before the board, then before the commission and then before the appeals tribunal is not acting altogether tn good faith and in the firm conviction that the disability from which the ex-serviceman is suffering or has died was not caused by war service. Yet the figures given by the No. 1 appeals tribunal show that in the greatest proportion of cases - statistics quoted in the body of the report show this - the appeals were rejected. Of the cases under section 64 (1) referred to the appeals tribunal only 15.2 per cent, were allowed. In the case of No. 2 War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunal, the annual report for the year ended 30th June, 1962, shows that of the appeals heard under sections 64 (1) and (7aa), 335 or 15.3 per cent, were allowed and 1,855 or 84.7 per cent, were disallowed. Of the appeals heard under section 64 (7aa), 28, or 17.2 per cent., were allowed and 135, or 82.8 per cent., were disallowed. It can be seen that the War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunal is a very difficult body to convince that the board and the commission are not correct in the verdicts they have given. I stress the fact that the No. 2 tribunal under sections 64(1), (7) and (7aa), heard 2,190 appeals. Of the appeals under section 64 (7aa) only 163, or 17.2 per cent., were allowed. I repeat that an ex-serviceman would not be prepared to go to the trouble of undergoing a medical examination and endeavouring to obtain evidence to put before the commission if he was not reasonably convinced that his disability was caused by war service. In the case of No. 3 War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunal a similar position applies. The annual report shows that for the year ended 30th June, 1962, under section 64(3) and section 64(6), there were 415 cases allowed and 1,509 disallowed. Under section 64 (7aa), 34 appeals were accepted and 147 rejected. {: .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr Chipp: -- What point are you taking? {: .speaker-KUX} ##### Mr STEWART: -- My point is obvious. The honorable member may or may not know that to get before a war pensions entitlement appeal tribunal you must first of all have been rejected by the board and then by the commission and must wait a considerable number of months. Any one who will go to the trouble to go before the board and the commission and submit appeals and then undergo medical examination and arrange for an advocate to go before the appeals tribunal must be convinced that the disability he is suffering is war caused. Yet in all these instances before the appeal tribunal only between 15 per cent, and 25 per cent, of the cases are accepted. In other words, these figures indicate that about 75 per cent, of the people going before the appeal tribunals are considered to have put false evidence before the board, the commission and the appeals tribunal. Surely those people would not go to all that trouble unless they were convinced that their cases were genuine. I think my figures are conservative and favour the board, the commission and the appeal tribunal; but 75 per cent, of the cases are not accepted. They are rejected out of hand by the board, the commission and the appeal tribunal. The same position applies in the case of No. 4 War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunal. In this case the number of appeals lodged under the various sections of the act was 2,263, but the number allowed was only 398. Of the submissions under section 64 (7aa), 12 were accepted and 115 rejected. It is under section 64 (7aa) particularly that people gather evidence and go to specialists and consult their ex-Army friends to substantiate a case to put before the appeals tribunal, yet the No. 4 tribunal {: #subdebate-34-0-s5 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! I have been very tolerant towards the honorable member. I suggest that he relate these remarks to the bill. He has quoted figures but they have not been entirely related to the subject matter before the Chair. I ask him to relate his remarks to the bill. {: .speaker-KUX} ##### Mr STEWART: -- I thank you most sincerely, **Mr. Speaker,** for allowing me to digress so much from the bill. I suggest that the reason why the honorable member for Parkes **(Mr. Haylen),** the honorable member for Bass **(Mr. Barnard)** and I have spoken in this way is that the bill has been deliberately designed to be as narrow as possible although this is the first occasion during the present session of the Parliament that we have had the opportunity to discuss repatriation matters. I thank you very much for the courtesy that you have shown to me. I suggest to the honorable member for La Trobe **(Mr. Jess)** that if he took more interest in repatriation matters and the affairs of ex-servicemen, he would have a better understanding of the matters that have been dealt with by the honorable members for Parkes, Bass and myself this afternoon. As I said at the commencement of my speech, there is no doubt that, as the war is so far behind us, ex-servicemen and their dependants have almost reached the end of the road and will be given very few further concessions by the Government. I say this because I believe Opposition members should put before the various exservicemen's organizations that the Government, although it is composed of a number of ex-servicemen, is not interested in the problems of ex-servicemen. I do not make this criticism of the Minister, because he is completely sympathetic to the claims of the ex-servicemen. However, his views are being overridden by more senior members of the Cabinet and I do not think he is receiving any assistance from ex-service members on the Government side. But for the fact that the honorable members for Parkes and Bass and other Opposition members espouse the claims of ex-servicemen and point out the faults in the Repatriation Act, as we see them, he would not be able to do anything for the ex-servicemen and certainly would not be able to do as much for them as I am absolutely certain he would like to do. {: #subdebate-34-0-s6 .speaker-KET} ##### Mr KING:
Wimmera .- I will not delay the House for very long in speaking to this bill. I agree with your ruling, **Mr. Speaker,** in which you said that the honorable member for Lang **(Mr. Stewart)** had wandered away from the subject dealt with by the bill. Broadly, all the- bill does is to permit the. Repatriation Department to back-date the payment of certain, pensions. At the outset, I would like to compliment the honorable member for Bass **(Mr. Barnard)** on his great knowledge of repatriation matters. It is a pity that he is not on the front bench of the Opposition party so that he could handle repatriation matters for the Opposition. There is little chance of his coming over to this side, and it is a pity his knowledge is not put to better use by the Opposition. He said there was much delay in the hearing of various appeals. I point out to him that the policy of the department is to encourage people to appeal if they believe that they have not received their just deserts. This results in a large number of appeals and a consequent delay. The honorable member for Lang virtually disputed the estimate of the delay in hearing various appeals given by the Minister for Repatriation **(Mr. Swartz).** The Minister said, by way of interjection, that the average delay was four to six weeks. However, the honorable member for Lang said that he had numerous cases in which the delay was longer than four to six weeks. No doubt he has such cases, but the point I am trying to make is that the Minister referred to the average delay, which, he said, is four to six weeks. Whilst there may be an odd case in which the delay may be longer, I do not think we should be terribly concerned about it and we should not make an issue of it. I would like to compliment the Minister on the preparation of the document dealing with repatriation matters. I believe it will be most valuable to the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen's Imperial League of Australia, Legacy and other bodies handling repatriation problems. People are often misled about the appeals that an exserviceman is entitled to make. I would like to run through the various stages of an application. Naturally, the first stage is the lodging of an application with the Repatriation Board. All an ex-serviceman has to do is to contact the Repatriation Department, give his surname, his Christian names, his service number, the unit in which he last served and the nature of his incapacity. He then goes before the Repatriation Board. If the board rejects his claim for a pension or for his disability to be accepted as due to war service, he has the right to go to the commission. If the commission rejects his claim, he has the right to go to the Entitlement Appeal Tribunal. I mention this because people often are confused about the various appeals they can make to the commission and the tribunal. As I said earlier, the bill does very little. It gives permission for pensions to be backdated. I compliment the Minister, and I hope that the bill has a speedy passage through this House and through another place. {: #subdebate-34-0-s7 .speaker-K97} ##### Mr GALVIN:
Kingston .- I, like other members, congratulate the Minister for Repatriation **(Mr. Swartz)** on the action he has taken. The provisions of the bill will assist ex-servicemen who have been striving to obtain repatriation pensions and will give them the benefits to which they are entitled. When we congratulate the Minister, we do not mean that the Government is doing a good job with repatriation. However, we give the Minister full marks for the attention he has devoted to his job and for his readiness to examine cases referred to him during the short time he has held this portfolio. He has taken the first opportunity to correct a fault that has reacted against appellants who go before the various tribunals. I agree with the suggestion made by honorable members on this side of the House that the estimate of delay in hearing cases may be reasonable for cases that go from the board to the commission, but more time is taken when an appeal goes from the commission to the appeal tribunal. I think further consideration should be given to this and the Minister, when he checks on the delay, may find that cases take much longer than the average time he has mentioned. The average time he has given may apply to cases that go from the board tothe commission, but would not apply to cases that go from the commission to the appeal tribunal. The honorable member for Lang **(Mr. Stewart)** dealt with the composition of the board and the commission. I think he is wrong, so far as the board is concerned. I think the board is composed of a chairman and members and in many instances they are good men who do a good job in trying to give the benefit of the doubt to applicants for repatriation benefits. However, I think they are always conscious of the fact that Che applicant has another chance and are inclined to say, "We will let the commission deal with this matter". I think the honorable member for Lang is right in regard to the commission. In fact, I am sure he is right. I believe that the commission does consist of one gentleman. I believe that in appeals to the commission, one of the deputy commissioners makes decisions on behalf of the commission, and I would like the Minister to let us know if this is a fact. While we are speaking of the time that is going to be allowed, let me say that I do not think sufficient information is given to the appellant as to his right to obtain the precis of evidence, to go through his file and to make his case. If an advocate, provided by the Returned Servicemen's League, is appearing for him, the advocate obtains the precis of evidence and goes through it, but even then the applicant himself does not see it. It is said that it is confidential. The advocate may go through it, and he can convey to the applicant whatever he wants to. I believe that very often it would be far better if the man concerned were able to act as his own advocate. The Minister might consider my suggestion that when a notice goes out informing an applicant that he has a right of appeal which he can take advantage of within three months, an additional comment should be included in the notice. After saying that an advocate may be nominated, I suggest that the notice should say that if the person concerned wishes to conduct his own case the precis of evidence will be made available to him. Many of these applicants are at a great disadvantage if they cannot see the precis of evidence, even if they are represented by an advocate, because the advocate may not allow the applicant to look at the precis. It is regrettable, **Mr. Speaker,** that you are not able to allow speakers to go beyond the bill that is before the House. I did not think we would ever reach the stage in this Parliament, when debating the rights of exservice men and women to obtain better repatriation benefits, at which we would be restricted and unable to deal with many matters that are so in need of improvement. The honorable member for Higginbotbam **(Mr. Chipp)** has, I hope, learned a little to-day. I suggest he do what the honorable member for Bass **(Mr. Barnard),** the honorable member for Lang and others have done - appear as an advocate before these tribunals. {: .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr Chipp: -- I have done so. {: .speaker-K97} ##### Mr GALVIN: -- Well, you showed a lot of ignorance to-day in asking questions. I bet you did not win many cases. I hope we are able to assist the honorable member, **Mr. Speaker,** and if we can in any way we will be glad to do so. As I said earlier, I hope that the Minister will continue in the way that he started, and improve the act generally. I would have liked to say something about the Assessment Appeal Tribunals and the long delays that occur, particularly in considering psychiatric cases. I know that in South Australia particularly it is very difficult to get specialists to make up a tribunal to hear applications. This is something that I ask the Minister to look at, although I realize it does not come within the scope of the bill before us. {: #subdebate-34-0-s8 .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL:
Mallee .- I do not think I can agree with the honorable member for Kingston **(Mr. Galvin)** regarding the restriction of debate on repatriation matters. This is a very limited bill with a definite object, which is set out in the Minister's second-reading speech. While you have given certain honorable members the opportunity to discuss matters other than that covered by the bill, **Mr. Speaker,** I know that you cannot allow members to discuss repatriation matters generally. I compliment the Minister for Repatriation **(Mr. Swartz)** and also his predecessors. During the years we have had **Sir Walter** Cooper and more recently **Mr. Osborne** as Ministers, and we are indebted to them. 1 have visited offices of the Repatriation Department in Victoria and have received the greatest assistance and courtesy at all times. I congratulate the Minister on bringing forward this measure and also other measures that he has brought before the Parliament. Outside the Parliament he is doing a great deal to improve repatriation procedures. In the Mallee electorate I represent a large number of returned soldiers. Besides the soldier settlers at Sunraysia there are many in the new soldier settlement at Robinvale. In addition, there are many returned soldiers throughout the electorate on wheat farms and in other occupations. The honorable member for Kingston said that when we compliment the Minister we do not necessarily mean that the Government is doing a good job in the field of repatriation. However, in complimenting the Minister I do say that the Government has done, and is doing, an excellent job. I directed attention to the fact that there are thousands of ex-servicemen in my electorate, and I can tell the House that for some years after I was elected in February, 1946- and not only in the days of the Labour Government - I received a good deal of correspondence and personal representations from ex-servicemen in connexion with repatriation matters. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member must relate his remarks to the bill. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL: -- I simply want to say that to-day the number of ex-servicemen who approach me on repatriation matters is only one-twentieth of the number I had to deal with in those early days. I have not gone into details of the bill, because it has already been explained by honorable members on both sides. The Minister has made the measure quite clear in his secondreading speech. I cannot refer to other aspects of repatriation, and therefore I shall simply say that I am fully in favour of the legislation. {: #subdebate-34-0-s9 .speaker-KYS} ##### Mr REYNOLDS:
Barton .- I would like to make a few brief remarks on this matter, limited though they must be. I would like to add my tribute to the Minister for Repatriation **(Mr. Swartz)** for his courtesy, which has been extended to me on a number of occasions. The last occasion was as recent as last week, when I introduced to him a person from my own electorate. However, I cannot agree with everything that the Government has done in tie matter of repatriation. I am sorry that the limitation of the debate on this bill does not give us an opportunity to make known the feelings of the great bulk of exservicemen outside and their concern about what the Government has failed to do in respect of the Returned Servicemen's League pension plan. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -- You had an opportunity to talk about this during the Estimates debate. {: .speaker-KYS} ##### Mr REYNOLDS: -- Of course, and I had something to say about it too. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! If the honorable member for Mallee will cease interjecting, and the honorable member for Barton will stick to the bill, we will get through a good deal more quickly. We cannot permit a general debate on repatriation. This is a very limited measure. {: .speaker-KYS} ##### Mr REYNOLDS: -- I appreciate your remarks, **Mr. Speaker.** I refer to one passage in the Minister's speech, in which he said - >Every effort has been and is being made to reduce the time taken to process claims and appeals to a minimum, but the stage cannot be reached where the disadvantage can be entirely avoided. I join with other honorable members in saying that it is fairly common for exservicemen to have to wait five or six months before their appeals are heard. Even though there is a right of appeal against a tribunal's decision, these delays must be extremely discouraging to applicants. I want to indicate, too, that another discouragement which might easily preclude them from making a further appeal within the prescribed time is the kind of treatment that I regret to say they have received from even the appeal tribunal. I have had, in very recent weeks, widows come along to me to say they went before the tribunal personally to put their case and received cold, far from encouraging treatment. Nobody wanted to help them in elucidating their case, and they were rather discouraged from giving an elaboration of it before the tribunal. When they made requests about matters contained within the files on their late husbands they were given a rather cold reception with respect to any inquiry being made. I should like to report also to the Minister and the Government that when one applicant made inquiries about a supporting letter that I had addressed to the Repatriation Department with a request that it be forwarded to the tribunal, the members of the tribunal were unaware of my representations. This is a matter of serious concern to me and I have since written to the deputy commissioner about it. What is more, in that letter I complained that at a previous hearing the appropriate authority had not had before it the full file of the deceased ex-serviceman. An accident sustained by the deceased ex-serviceman in 1943 was not referred to in the file that the tribunal had before it, although at a previous hearing that part of the file was before the tribunal. In my letter of inquiry I asked that the appeal tribunal should not hear this case unless that important part of the file had been found. Despite my request, not only did my letter not go before the tribunal, but the missing part of the file, which was very relevant to this unfortunate widow's case, still was not available. To take the matter further, I had a case on Monday of this week in which a person had submitted statutory declarations in support of his claim, but when I made inquiries I found that the department could not trace the statutory declarations, and a request was made that two further copies be presented to it. It appears to me that when an ordinary ex-serviceman or a dependant applies for a war pension there is not always an immediate written acknowledgment sent to that person. The first thing he or she knows about it is when he or she is called in for a hearing. This leads to the point that I have just complained about - a person who sent in two statutory declarations six months previously is told by the department, after making inquiries, that it does not have them. No acknowledgment has been sent. This complaint has been made to me a number of times, and the absence of any acknowledgment to an application could well have relevance to making an appeal within the prescribed three months. If a person does not receive acknowledgment of his application or submission he has no record to prove that he made an application or did in fact make the kind of submissions I have indicated. There is one other notable difference between the Repatriation Department and the Department of Social Services, and this is to the disadvantage of the Repatriation Department. When I, as a federal member, make repesentations on behalf of exservicemen with regard to pension rights, the decision, when it is ultimately made, is conveyed first of all to the applicant. The Department of Social Services, on the other hand, invariably sends the answer back through the member who makes the representations. This is not just a matter of giving the member kudos, although I dare say he is entitled to it because he has done the work and made the representations, but the member should be entitled to receive and peruse the decision. The important thing is that he needs to peruse the decision as early as possible so that he can give the quickest and best advice about right of appeal, and perhaps give encouragement to appeal. I have often found that people who have the right of appeal do not exercise that right. Their attitude is, " What is the use? I have waited for five or six months only to be knocked back, although I did not think it was possible for my application to be refused." If the answer were to come back from the tribunal through the member of Parliament, as it does from the Department of Social Services, that member would probably be the best one to advise the applicant whether or not he should exercise the right of appeal, and he could help him to make that appeal within the prescribed time. Ordinary people are not aware of all the provisions of the act, whereas the member is daily in contact with them and should be able to make representations on behalf of applicants. So I ask the Minister to give consideration to having something done about this matter, which seems to me to be primarily one of courtesy. If a member makes representations on behalf of an ex-serviceman or his dependant, I think he is entitled to the courtesy of a reply that he can convey to the applicant, along with such advice as he may consider necessary. I sum up by saying that I ask, first, that the appeal tribunal should be more tolerant and courteous in dealing with people who come before it. Instead of dealing with claims in a cold manner, it should show the tolerance, courtesy and humane consideration to which these people are entitled. I ask, secondly, that the department give written acknowledgment not only through the federal member concerned, but also to the applicant direct, immediately it receives an application or submission. If that were done the applicant would have a record which would enable him to prove that he had made his application on a certain date. Thirdly, I ask that the decision be notified through the member of Parliament where a member has made the representations. {: #subdebate-34-0-s10 .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr CHIPP:
Higinbotham , - I should like to answer very briefly some points raised by members of the Opposition in this debate. I must say that I find some merit in some of the points raised, particularly the commendation of the record of the present Minister for Repatriation **(Mr. Swartz)** since he has had this portfolio. But there is one thing that I do resent, and that is the impression given by speaker after speaker on the Labour side that the only people in this House who are interested in the welfare of ex-servicemen are those sitting opposite. I invite honorable members opposite to nominate any country which has a more generous or helpful repatriation scheme than Australia. I shall deal briefly with one or two points that have been raised by members opposite. The honorable member for Parkes **(Mr. Haylen)** suggested two things with which 1 violently disagree. He suggested that the tribunal system is not working in favour of the appellants and that there should be a judge who would interpret an appellant's case in legal terms. Does the honorable member believe for one moment that a judge, looking at a case purely in legal terms, would be more sympathetic to the ex-serviceman than a board of three which is able to show him every consideration? He also made the astonishing suggestion that it would be better for the ex-serviceman if he were allowed to be represented by counsel at a tribunal hearing. The very basis of our scheme is that the advocacy of exservicemen before tribunals should be facilitated and kept as cheap as possible. Does the honorable member want to turn the repatriation tribunals into a lawyer's benefit, such as the hearings for television station licences? I do not think that is in his mind at all. Then the honorable member for Lang **(Mr. Stewart)** took great trouble in reading out statistics of the success of appellants before the tribunals. He made the rather astonishing statement that surely these men, who had gone through the board, the commission and then the tribunal, believed in their hearts that they had a case, and that because of this belief they, in fact, have a case. Who suggests that they have not? To follow his argument to its logical conclusion, he must say that every party to litigation, because he goes to litigation, must be right, because he believes he is right. Surely, in any argument, there is some person who is right and some person who is wrong. We must remember that when the ex-serviceman gets to the tribunal he has already passed two stages on the way. Therefore, those who get to the tribunal are the ones who have been refused twice on the way up. Surely, in those circumstances, we could expect a high percentage of refusals. What the honorable member for Lang did not say, and what he should have said in order to have been completely honest, was that of the ex-servicemen who apply for pensions or benefits under the scheme, 52 per cent, or 53 per cent, are given pensions. He desires to concentrate on this figure of 15 per cent, in order to give a wrong picture of the repatriation system. Does the honorable member for Lang suggest that any exserviceman who believes he has a case should, ipso facto, receive a pension? If that policy were implemented, the sum of approximately £107,000,000 which we vote for repatriation services each year would be doubled, trebled or quadrupled. Surely this is something which the honorable gentleman would not favour. I believe in the repatriation scheme. In view of th: record of the Government, I resent members of the Opposition endeavouring to convey the impression that they are the only ones in this House who are interested in repatriation. {: #subdebate-34-0-s11 .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L K JOHNSON:
Hughes .- The first thing that honorable members recognize in discussing this bill, **Mr. Speaker,** is that you, as an old digger, must feel frustrated to have to preside over this debate when so many important matters affecting the welfare of ex-servicemen have to be left unsaid. It is a cause of great frustration for many honorable members who associate with ex-servicemen, and who know their problems, that in this year of grace, 1962, the consideration of a repatriation measure is restricted to the very narrow scope of this bill. We know that you have no alternative but to rule as you have ruled. You must dismiss from consideration, at the moment, all the aspirations of the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen's Imperial League of Australia. The seven-point programme of that league for this year cannot receive any consideration at all. This is disappointing to a number of honorable members who would have liked to deal with such matters in this debate. The honorable member for Higinbotham **(Mr. Chipp)** has taken to task the honorable member for Lang **(Mr. Stewart),** who indicated that something was wrong with repatriation provisions. Heaven knows that we see many genuine ex-servicemen pour into our offices, and very few of us get the idea that they are swinging the lead or claiming something to which they are not entitled. The honorable member for Lang claimed that far too many of them were frustrated. The honorable member for Parkes **(Mr. Haylen),** who always leads for the Opposition on these measures, contended that there should be some final redress for the ex-serviceman. It is only necessary to look casually at the statistics provided in the report on repatriation matters to establish the fact that authorities are wrong from time to time. It is in recognition of this fact that the appeal provisions are provided in such an effective manner in the legislation. But how can any one justifiably claim that the appeal provisions do, in fact, represent all that is desired? As the Minister for Repatriation **(Mr. Swartz)** pointed out, this bill is designed principally to achieve a desirable uniformity regarding the operative date for the decision of a determining authority which has allowed a claim for a war pension. It is good that there should be uniformity in these matters. Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m. {: #subdebate-34-0-s12 .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R JOHNSON:
HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES -- I mentioned earlier that the honorable member for Higinbotham had unfairly taken Opposition members to task and contended that we on this side of the House showed little interest in repatriation matters. I am sure that an examination of the facts will not sustain that contention, **Mr. Speaker.** I notice that the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** is at present in the chamber. Those who have followed repatriation matters carefully will know that, in 1943, he, with a number of his colleagues of that time, was tremendously concerned about repatriation affairs and overhauled and streamlined the Repatriation Act. In the years that have passed since, there has arisen a great need to overhaul the act again. The principal act has become, as it were, a T model Repatriation Act. We now need to bring it up to date. Instead of just tinkering at it in the infinitesimal way represented by the bill now before us - just tying up the T model with a piece of wire, as it were - the Minister for Repatriation should try to put a tiger in the tank, if I may make another analogy with the world of motoring. Every one associated with repatriation matters is tremendously concerned because this bill will do nothing of very great consequence. Of course, anything is worth while if it benefits ex-servicemen, but the benefit provided by this measure will be insufficient, for so many things are left undone. Immediately before the House resumed after the suspension of the sitting for dinner, I read through the bill again, and again I failed to find any evidence of provisions designed to give effect to submissions made to the Government by the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen's Imperial League of Australia in its sevenpoint programme. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! I direct the honorable member's attention to the fact that there is no reference to the seven-point programme in the bill. I ask him to try to confine his remarks to the very limited field of the bill. I do not want to be unreasonable, but we must stick rigidly to the matter that is before the Chair. A general discussion of repatriation matters would be out of order. **Mr. L.** R. JOHNSONS am very grateful for your advice, **Mr. Speaker.** You have stated the facts of the situation: There is no provision for the implementation of the seven-point programme of the Returned Servicemen's League in this bill, which is confined purely to matters such as the determination of the date of operation of decisions made by the various repatriation authorities. As I said earlier, I can well understand the great deal of frustration felt by diggers like you, **Sir, at** the fact that more than is provided for in this measure is not to be done this year. I understand from the Minister's secondreading speech that there is at present some disparity concerning the retrospectivity of decisions made by the various repatriation authorities. A repatriation board may date a pension back to a time not more than three months earlier than the claim. The Repatriation Commission may date a pension back to a time not earlier than six months before the appeal to it was lodged. An entitlement appeal tribunal may date a pension back to a time not earlier than six months prior to the date of the appeal to it. This is a very important matter, because it affects not only the pension rights of ex-servicemen, but also their rights to medical assistance and other repatriation benefits. The whole purpose of this bill - this apology for a repatriation measure, which leaves unattended all the great problems and merely tinkers at the principal act - is to make some infinitesimal change which the experts on repatriation matters have not even sought. That is an important point to bear in mind: The change to be made in the principal act by this bill has not even been sought by the ex-servicemen's organizations. I have frequently attended meetings and regional conferences of the various branches of the Returned Servicemen's League with various colleagues. I recall that I attended a meeting not long ago with my colleague, **Senator McClelland.** The matter dealt with by this bill was not among those discussed and accorded priority. The only effect of the passage of this measure will be that a repatriation authority to which an appeal is made, whether it be the Repatriation Commission or an entitlement appeal tribunal, will be able, provided that the appellant has not delayed longer than three months in lodging his appeal, to make its decision retrospective to the same date from which the Repatriation Board could have granted the benefit awarded. The Repatriation Board, of course, is the first authority to which an ex-serviceman applies when he seeks a benefit. The honorable member for Higinbotham said that he considered that the existing provisions of the principal act were adequate and that some of my colleagues - the honorable member for Parkes, in particular, the honorable member for Bass **(Mr. Barnard)** and, I think, the honorable member for Lang - had contended, incorrectly, that there was no need to make more effective appeal provisions. On this point, I want to give the House some vital statistics to indicate the fallacy of the argument advanced by the honorable member for Higinbotham. These statistics provide a great deal of evidence that the so-called expert repatriation bodies are capable of making wrong determinations. We know how the membership of these repatriation authorities is made up. An entitlement appeal tribunal is composed of a barrister, as chairman, and two returned soldiers, who usually are nominated by the exservicemen's organizations. An assessment appeal tribunal is composed usually of a lawyer, I think, as chairman, and two medical officers. The membership of these authorities suggest that it is sound and is made up of people who understand very well the problems of ex-servicemen. However, there are often many facets of a repatriation claim which are well and truly outside the orbit of strict medical experience and instruction. With respect to an assessment appeal tribunal, the lawyer member determines matters of law and the medical officers determine medical matters. The fact is, however, that many exservicemen who appeal to these bodies are not satisfied with the decisions. I point out to the honorable member for Higinbotham, who raised this matter, that of 48,977 original claims before the Repatriation Boards and the Repatriation Commission in the financial year 1961-62, 20,451 were granted and 22,147 were rejected. That, of course, establishes nothing in the eyes of the honorable member. He would say, "That only shows how many applicants were wrong". I propose to show that in many instances the applicants were not wrong and that the repatriation authority failed to take into account all the relevant considerations and as a consequence arrived at an incorrect conclusion. This is not a mere contention. It is a claim which is well and truly substantiated by the facts. Last financial year, the Repatriation Commission had before it 15,614 appeals by dissatisfied ex-servicemen who were incensed at what they regarded as unjustifiable decisions on their original claims. We are able to establish from the Repatriation Department's report that many exservicemen who lodge claims succeed. This simply proves that the authority which heard the case previously was completely wrong in its decision. Of the appeals which were lodged, 2,614 were accepted. It is true that 11,300 were rejected, but a number of those were pressed and eventually won through. Filtering down to the entitlement tribunals from the top authority which is contended to be so important and so capable of arriving at correct decisions was a total of 12,633 applications. Of these 1,388 were allowed and 6,864 were disallowed. Although there is a predominance of disallowed applications it is still vitally important that the minority which won through had the opportunity to state its case. {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr Haylen: -- It was 12 per cent, of the total. {: .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R JOHNSON: -- As the honorable member for Parkes has stated, it was 12 per cent. I shall not occupy the time of the House in dealing with assessment appeal tribunals except to say that a similar position exists there. Obviously there is a great need to provide additional means of redress. For that reason the honorable member for Parkes in his opening remarks contended that there should be a High Court authority before which an ex-serviceman could state his case. It is useless to say that under the present set-up there is an informal atmosphere and that legal considerations are not taken into account. It is desirable that the tribunals and the various instrumentalities should not become overlegalized, but it is also important that the legal point should be made and that the means for this should be established. These are the important aspects of this matter. I believe that this bill will give some benefit to the ex-serviceman. I think that the Minister, by way of interjection during the debate, stated that the average waiting period is about one and a half months. {: .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz: -- No. {: .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R JOHNSON: -- Apparently the period is longer than that {: .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz: -- I was referring to the period of three months which this bill provides for lodging an appeal if additional evidence is available, but the average time in which these appeals are lodged is one and a half months. {: .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R JOHNSON: -- In any case, this bill represents some kind of advance. Because of delays which take place, sometimes on the part of the repatriation authorities and sometimes on the part of the ex-serviceman, the Government now has provided that when an appeal to an entitlement tribunal is successful the date on which pension is payable is made retrospective to the date on which the repatriation board made its decision. That is a good thing, but it is important to point out that there would be a great number of exservicemen whose claim for a pension would date back even further than the date provided by this legislation. I know that it is difficult to draw up a bill to amend the Repatriation Act which will cover all cases, but I believe that there should be some provision which will give an ex-serviceman the right to seek an assessment of the period during which he was adversely affected by his disability. In this bill the Minister, in effect, provides that the operative date will be made retrospective for three months provided there has been no undue delay, but to what extent has the ex-serviceman been penalized and prejudiced? To what extent has he been deprived of his opportunity to earn a living? To what extent has his health been seriously impaired? In what way has he been incapacitated? The First World War has been over now for more than 40 years and the Second World War has been over for more than seventeen years. If an ex-serviceman after all those years now makes a claim, heaven knows he must have been carrying some kind of cross; he must have been burdened with his war disability for a long, long time. {: .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes: -- Some disabilities do not show up for a long time. {: .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R JOHNSON: -- The honorable member for Chisholm and many of his colleagues share this view with me. Some of his colleagues only speak of the cases which go through the channels smoothly. They do not seem to have the same association as we do with the droves of ex-servicemen who pour into the average Labour member's office. We know the frustration that they feel. The average ex-serviceman tells us that he rushed out of the Army in a devil of a hurry because he did not want to swing the lead and be a base wallah in some camp. He did not bother to check his medical record. Then he tells us that although the war has been over for seventeen years something has been troubling him for some time. He may have received some shrapnel in the arm or the leg and it has been moving around his body, as shrapnel does; he may be suffering from bronchial trouble which had its origin in the trenches of France or he may be suffering from asthma as a result of being gassed in Flanders. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! I think the honorable member is getting a little wide again. I ask him to relate his remarks to the bill. {: .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R JOHNSON: -- The bill provides that the repatriation authority will be able to pre-date the determination three months to the date of decision by the board. That is a good thing, but I do not think it goes as far as it should. There is a great need for a provision whereby the ex-serviceman can claim the right to have assessed the period he has been incapacitated, the period he has been deprived of employment and the period for which he has suffered. The present provision just cannot be applied generally to all-ex-servicemen. At least those remarks have a very real relationship to the bill, **Mr. Speaker.** I was only mentioning shrapnel, bronchitis and gas because so many of the older chaps have battled on, and it is a damned good thing that they have done so. They have served a useful life in the community but now they must approach the repatriation authority. Why should we date a pension back only three months? That is not good enough. This very limited bill could be made much more worthwhile and useful to our exservicemen by providing for an authority capable of deciding that a particular applicant genuinely could have made his application earlier but had continued in employment at a disadvantage, receiving perhaps only £15 a week instead of the £30 which he might have been earning but for his incapacity. Those are the main points I wanted to make. I am satisfied that the very considerable waiting period associated with repatriation claims irritates ex-servicemen and causes a great deal of heartburning, hardship and inconvenience. In fact, you could almost put up a notice over the door reading, " Only commandos need apply for repatriation assistance ", because if a man is not sick when he starts to follow this great chain of events through the channels and the forms of the repatriation authorities he is pretty close to being a totally and permanently incapacitated ex-serviceman by the time he is through with it. That is the complaint voiced by ex-servicemen. Why is there any waiting period at all from the stand-point of the repatriation authorities? It is true that for many bona fide reasons ex-servicemen themselves may delay in making their applications. The ex-serviceman has not the resources of the Commonwealth behind him. This Parliament controls expenditure of more than £2,000,000,000 a year, yet this year, instead of spending anything to provide remedies for this particular grievance, and others associated with ex-servicemen, we have a patched-up proposal which is like putting a little copper wire on a T model Ford instead of providing a streamlined vehicle. That is just not good enough, and I am satisfied that the ex-servicemen expect a great deal more consideration than they are receiving in this legislation. Those are the issues. There is a great need to minimize the delays that occur in dealing with applications and appeals. More tribunals should be provided for this purpose. What would it cost to establish a few more tribunals so that the very need for the present measure would be obviated? So much of the responsibility for the delays lies fairly and squarely on the government authorities, and the Government itself can be especially indicted for its failure to fulfil its responsibilities to ex-servicemen. There should be not one iota of delay contributed to by the failure of the Government to deploy its resources properly so as to make adequate funds available for the establishment of enough tribunals. The Minister for Repatriation who, I am sure, is genuinely concerned over repatriation matters, would be the first to concede that there are delays for which the lack of enough tribunals is responsible. I ask the Minister to have a look at this aspect of the thing. I will close on that note because I know that no fewer than eight or nine of my colleagues are anxious to talk on the matter. I will curtail my speech in the hope that they will be permitted to say something even though it will only be in regard to such a frustrating bill as this. **Mr. Speaker** will have a hard task - though he always performs his task very well - in subduing honorable members who want to talk about the real problems and the matters which are tremendously important to exservicemen. The Government has not spent one additional penny in 1962-63 in meeting any one of the many carefully considered claims of the Returned Soldiers League. {: .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz: -- Oh no, only £7,000,000 more. {: .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R JOHNSON: -- The Minister will be the first to concede that so far as the Budget is concerned there was not one additional penny provided to meet the needs of ex-servicemen and their dependants. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! I think the honorable member is straying on to the Budget now. I suggest that honorable members refrain from interjecting. It leads the honorable member off the track. {: .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R JOHNSON: -- Thank you for your protection, **Mr. Speaker,** because the Minister does get angry. If he had only shown the same sort of enthusiasm for overcoming the deficiencies of the Repatriation Act as he shows in his efforts to take to task members of the Opposition we would have a decent bill now instead of the patched-up proposal we have before us. So I ask him, as I did earlier, to stop playing round with the old repatriation Tmodel Ford. I say to him: " Get a tiger in your tank! Come to appreciate that exservicemen do not accept this as a fair sort of proposition, having regard to the great number of problems that confront them ". Honorable members opposite, especially the honorable member for Perth **(Mr. Chaney)** and those who comprise the Government members ex-servicemen's committee, should give some thought to the real submissions made by the R.S.L. - and even that body's submissions do not properly represent the feelings of ex-servicemen. We know the extent to which the hierachy there has been diverted to political matters rather than the matters for which the R.S.L. was established. But at least they have made out a case. Although this may have already been said somewhere along the line, almost everything of significance to the great body of ex-servicemen, and particularly their unfortunate dependants and widows and children who are failing to receive attention from the Government, has been done by the Labour Party. You may do what you like with regard to standing orders, but you cannot deny that this is an apology for a bill, and that it is the most miserable thing that the Government could have done to the ex-serviceman. Even though this bill represents the crumbs from the rich man's table the Opposition supports it while praying to high heaven that the Government will pull up its socks and do something better in the next bill of this nature. {: #subdebate-34-0-s13 .speaker-JWI} ##### Mr FOX:
Henty .- The honorable member for Hughes **(Mr. L. R. Johnson)** said that the Minister for Repatriation **(Mr. Swartz)** should get a tiger in his tank. I suggest that the honorable member should start worrying about himself, because he not only has no tiger in his tank but he has a bee in his bonnet. Even if there is no tiger I think that some members here think that some honorable members opposite have come very close to lion. The honorable member referred to the lack of opportunity for debate on this measure. He said that the bill did something in the way of improving repatriation provisions but left many of the big problems undealt with. Yet when the repatriation estimates were being examined in this chamber only two members of the Opposition - the honorable member for Bass **(Mr. Barnard)** and the honorable member for Shortland **(Mr. Griffiths)-** troubled themselves {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr Haylen: -- But the Government gagged the debate! {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- I rise to order, **Mr. Speaker.** Is the honorable member for Henty allowed to toy with the truth in that way. The Government gagged the debate. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! There is no substance in that point of order. The honorable member will resume his seat. I also suggest that the honorable member for Henty is straying too far from the subjectmatter of the bill. {: .speaker-JWI} ##### Mr FOX: -- I was about to say that the honorable member for Hughes, who twitted us with not providing enough opportunity for debate on the subject of repatriation, did not bother to have anything to say during the debate on the repatriation estimates. I did not intend to speak in this debate, and I do not intend to take up much of the House's time now, but I think that it is right that I should reply to a number of extravagant statements made by members of the Opposition and to one particularly unfair remark made by the honorable member for Lang **(Mr. Stewart).** He said that this Government was not interested in the welfare of ex-servicemen, and that it was left to honorable members opposite to look after their interests. {: .speaker-KDI} ##### Mr Einfeld: -- I think that that was very well said. {: .speaker-JWI} ##### Mr FOX: -- It was not only unfair, it was also completely untrue. The honorable gentleman's opinion is not the opinion of the Returned Soldiers League, which has paid a tribute to the Government for the continuing interest that it has shown in the welfare of ex-servicemen. Honorable members opposite have tried to give the impression that only they are worried about the welfare of the ex-servicemen. The honorable member for Perth **(Mr. Chaney)** said by way of interjection that Australia has the best repatriation system in the world, and I remind the House that most of the benefits have been provided by this Government. I do not wish to be diverted into a debate covering the general field of repatriation, but I think it is fitting that I should reply to the charge made that this Government has not concerned itself with the welfare of ex-servicemen in spite of the fact that the majority of its supporters here are exservicemen. In case any ex-servicemen have been misled by the honorable member for Lang I point out that this Government has not only increased the benefits provided by Labour governments in the past but has constantly concerned itself- {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- I rise to order, **Mr. Speaker.** In reference to your rulings on the relation that the remarks of speakers in the debate must have to the bill, I ask: In what way is the honorable member for Henty referring to the bill at the moment? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member for Henty is answering one of your colleagues. {: .speaker-JWI} ##### Mr FOX: -- I suggest to the honorable member for Wills **(Mr. Bryant)** that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and that if honorable members opposite can dish it out they should be prepared to take it, too. This Government has not only constantly increased the benefits paid to ex-servicemen but has also shown its interest in their welfare by continually introducing new benefits. It was this Government which removed from ex-servicemen the restriction- {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! I ask the honorable member to come back to the bill. {: .speaker-JWI} ##### Mr FOX: -- Certainly **Mr. Speaker.** I think this is relevant to the bill: This Government is the only one in the world which automatically recognizes the right to repatriation benefit of an ex-serviceman who suffers from tuberculosis. It automatically accepts that disability for repatriation benefit. This Government has also provided more tribunals than have been provided by any other government regardless of party. I cannot very well deal with the general subject of repatriation at this stage, but 1 have referred to some of the things that this Government has done for ex-servicemen in the past. If honorable members opposite want to find out what this Government has don; in thi:t regard I refer them to the speech which I made during the Budget debate. There they will read the benefits which this Government has provided. That should be sufficient to prove absolutely to ex-servicemen that there is no truth in the charge made by some honorable members opposite that this Government has not concerned itself with the welfare or ex-servicemen. {: #subdebate-34-0-s14 .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr HAYDEN:
Oxley ,- The honorable member for Henty **(Mr. Fox)** said that speakers on this side of the House had got pretty close to lying. I was not aware that we had done so. I did not think we had got any closer to it than is traditional on his side of the House. I think the honorable member for Hughes **(Mr. L. R. Johnson)** made a very pertinent point when he said that the proposition contained in the legislation now before the House was nothing more than a crumb given to the exservicemen's organization because of its justifiable demand for a seven-point plan. That is a very worthy plan for the amelioration of the conditions of cc-servicemen. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member will resume his seat. The sevenpoint plan has nothing to do with this bill, which is very limited in its scope. The Chair has been far too tolerant during this debate. Honorable members must stick to the bill. {: .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr HAYDEN: -- I accept your guidance and ruling in this matter, **Mr. Speaker.** Whilst the bill goes some of the way towards improving the position that has existed, I believe that it will impose a penalty upon people who wish to benefit by its proposals. In the past there was no time limit - there will be none in the future - in respect of the lodgement of applications for benefits under the Repatriation Act with either a board, th5 Commission or a tribunal. This measure provides that an applicant must lodge his application within three months if he desires to have retrospective payment made. That, in effect, may impose a penalty upon certain applicants, lt cannot bc denied that many people defer their applications because of some misgiving. I and other honorable members have had experience of people coming into one's office and saying, " For months and months I have been contemplating renewing my application - or lodging an appeal - for benefits under the Repatriation Act, but I feel so inferior in the presence of the board; I feel some trepidation "; or " I would have made this application four or five months ago. but I am rather fearful because I am only a humble, ordinary person ". Such people defer making their applications because of some inferiority in their make-up. Surely it is not proposed that they should be penalized because of their shortcoming, for which we cannot criticize them. Surely we are prepared to feel some tolerance for them in such circumstances. You, **Mr. Speaker,** with so much experience in these matters, must be aware that such cases arise. Let us take the classic example of a widow. All too often a woman suddenly finds herself without the breadwinner in the house. She approaches you in your office and asks, " What am I to do now? My husband died several months ago "; or she says " My application to the Repatriation Department for benefits was rejected several months ago. I did not know how to go about making my application correctly. I did it to the best of my ability and it was rejected. No one has told me since then what I should do in order to have some hope of success." Are these people to have their worthy and justifiable appeals for assistance from the Repatriation Department rejected? Are they to be penalized because of their lack of knowledge? There can be no denying that in many cases these applications will not be renewed within the statutory three months, simply because the applicants will not be aware of the three months' time limit now being prescribed. The honorable member for Hughes has established himself as a worthy protagonist of the ex-servicemen of this country who have sought assistance from the Repatriation Department; and he has pointed out that many people have applied for repatriation benefits several years after terminating their service with the defence forces. When, on demobilization, they presented themselves to the military doctors and were questioned as to their physical condition, many of them willingly said they were in perfect health, even though this was not always so, because they did not want to be delayed in returning to civilian life after their arduous war years. I believe that if some of them had gone along on crutches and said they were Al they would have been accepted as Al and passed out into civilian fife. To-day, when they come before the Repatriation Department seeking benefits to which they are justly entitled, they are treated with suspicion. It seems to be a dogma with the departmnt to ask them, "If you were sick or suffering because of your war service why did you not apply for benefits at the time of your demobilization or soon thereafter?" Obviously they were people of independent spirit who endeavoured to make a success of themselves in civvy street without falling back on assistance from the Repatriation Department. But as they go through life and have to face the turmoil and battles of life their physical condition rapidly deteriorates because of their sufferings during the war. They then find it necessary to fall back on the benefits available to them from the Repatriation Department but, unfortunately, on all too many occasions, they are treated with suspicion and application after application and appeal after appeal is rejected until one day, suddenly, they find that their claims are accepted. Can the Minister for Repatriation **((Mr. Swartz),** tell me why their appeals and applications should be rejected out of hand so consistently for a long while and then, suddenly, success should loom on the horizon, as it sometimes does? While on this aspect of appeals by people seeking the assistance to which they are justifiably entitled, I would like to bring to the notice of the House the onerous provisions of the section of the act covering the onus of proof. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member will be out of order if he refers to that subject {: .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr HAYDEN: -- Could I explain my point, **Mr. Speaker?** I thought that as this measure deals with appeals it is necessary to relate the subject of appeals to the tribunals- {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! There is nothing in the bill dealing with the onus of proof. {: .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr HAYDEN: -- I will be guided by your wisdom, once again, **Mr. Speaker.** It is obvious that this is nothing more than a crumb to placate the ex-servicemen's organizations. I am surprised at the Minister for Repatriation. He has always impressed me as being a rather friendly soul, but one wonders seriously what type of heart beats beneath that exterior if this is all that can be given to the men who have fought for their country and who have made sacrifices for posterity. One wonders rather sadly about this. I agree with the honorable member for Hughes and the honorable member for Parkes **(Mr. Haylen),** who are renowned for the stoic way they fight for ex-servicemen. Had it not been for the pressure of the exservicemen's organizations, supported by the valiant fight of the Opposition, I wonder just what these people, the ex-servicemen, would have obtained. There is ample evidence to support the contention that for far too long the Repatriation Act has not been administered in the best interests of the ex-servicemen. Having in mind the policy of this Government, it is quite obvious that the only way the ex-serviceman will receive justice is for the government to change. This Government has never shown that it intends to change its policy, so there will have to be a change of government before the plight of ex-servicemen will be relieved. We have been shown all too often that only the Australian Labour Party is vitally interested in repatriation and other social service benefits. The bread and butter issues are to us of paramount importance and equal to other issues that cover a wider field. Labour has declared very often that its support is behind the ex-servicemen. {: .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R Johnson: -- Look how many Government supporters are in the House now! {: .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr HAYDEN: -- Yes. As the honorable member for Hughes points out, the small number of Government supporters in the House shows how little interest they have in this debate. The benches on the other side of the chamber are practically empty. It is a disgraceful situation. Whilst this legislation provides some assistance for those who seek benefits, it does not go far enough. In fact it imposes a penalty upon those who apply for benefits. We know the difficulties that will arise. We know that streams of people will come to our offices to get our help in obtaining assistance from the Repatriation Department. If the three months statutory period has passed, we will have the disheartening job of explaining to people that they will not be entitled to this payment, although they may be only three or four days late in submitting their application and although some other person whose application was a little earlier will receive a full entitlement. There is another important point to be considered. This legislation i9 being introduced because of the bad administration of the department under this Government. The delays that face people seeking repatriation benefits are too great and this legislation has become necessary. There is no other explanation. Can the Government deny that if the applications and appeals were efficiently dealt with, there would be no need for this bill? If the applications and appeals were dealt with expeditiously, the ex-servicemen would receive their benefits *hi* a very short time, I have had, as other honorable members have had, experience of people who appeal for repatriation benefits. They wait for months and months for a determination. I have a case in hand at the moment in which I have appeared for a widow who has appealed for a pension. The appeal is some montes old already and periodically I receive a letter from the department asking me to tell her that her appeal is still under consideration. What does this mean? Does it mean that a file is lying; in some one's pigeon-hole in the Repatriation Department? Doss the Government allow such a situation as this to exist? ls it truly mindful of the needs of people who urgently seek assistance under the provisions of the Repatriation Act? I conclude by reminding the Minister and members on the Government side that the people who seek repatriation benefits urgently need th: financial assistance that they hope to obtain. They do not have a large income, and the benefits they receive will probably be their total income. It is essential, therefore, that these applications and appeals be determined as quickly as possible. Although this legislation will be of some benefit, I believe that the Government is using it as a cloak to cover its shilly-shallying and to excuse the deplorable delays that are the fate of all too many applications and appeals to the Repatriation Department. {: #subdebate-34-0-s15 .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr BRYANT:
Wills .- I do not join in the chorus of congratulations to the Minister for Repatriation **(Mr. Swartz)** for the work he has done. I, personally, do not believe that the Minister and the department have contributed much towards the expansion of repatriation benefits over the last twelve months. This bill is a classic example of the way in which the Government and the Minister are treating the whole repatriation system. Honorable members opposite have chosen to say that this is the best repatriation system in the world. It is very nice to hear the honorable members for Higinbotham **(Mr. Chipp),** Perth **(Mr. Chaney)** and Henty **(Mr. Fox)** and others congratulating the Australian Labour Party on its work in the past because the very basis of the system of which they are so proud was laid down in 1942 and 1943 by a committee under the chairmanship of the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard).** The honorable member for Henty referred to the case of the ex-servicemen suffering from tuberculosis. The amendment to the act and the schedules which provided a benefit for these ex-servicemen was introduced in 1943. If honorable members opposite are so keen to help ex-servicemen, they should be in the chamber during this debate. Where are they to-night? The honorable member for Perth, who makes such a noise from the back bench on this subject, has not brought his team into the House to-night. He is the Government Whip, and, if he were really concerned about repatriation, he would have his troops in the House to-night to cheer the Minister for Repatriation. I believe that this is a fair test of the sincerity of honorable members opposite on this subject. This is the fortieth amendment to the Repatriation Act in the forty-odd years since it was first brought to this Parliament. It is a further tinkering with the repatriation filter through which the ex-serviceman must pass before he receives his just entitlements. There are three major points to be considered. First, we have the miserable approach of the Minister. His approach to repatriation is to let nature take its course. He claims that the Government is doing a good job, because this year it will spend another £7,000,000. Why will it spend another £7,000,000 in this year? This money is not needed because the benefits have been increased or because their scope has been widened; it is needed simply because of inflation and because the number of people receiving benefits has increased. No action of the Minister has in any way improved repatriation benefits. The second point I want to make is that this very amendment, which is the pride and joy of the Minister, and apparently all that he can produce after having been the Minister for Repatriation for nearly twelve months, is an admission of the failure of his department to administer the repatriation system speedily and with justice to the ex-servicemen. I agree with honorable members on this side of the House - occasionally I receive a sympathetic interjection from honorable members opposite - that the cumbersome machinery of the Repatriation Department must be streamlined. The record system of the Repatriation Department is first-class. If an ex-serviceman approaches a member of the Parliament because his application has been held up somewhere in the department, the officers in the department can give courteous and prompt information about it. But what is needed is a streamlining of the system and more ready access to the higher authority so that the ex-serviceman can receive his just entitlement. I believe that the Parliament and the ex-servicemen's organizations should be striving to achieve this objective. This is not a question of trying to make up the leeway. There is little point in saying that if there has been a delay in the determination of the exserviceman's application, payment of his benefit will be made retrospectively. That is an admission of administrative defeat in the first instance. It is an admission of delay. As the honorable member for Hughes **(Mr. L. R. Johnson)** has asked, is there any reason why these tribunals should take so long, or why so few tribunals are in operation to handle so many applications? The first approach by the Minister to this question of delay should be directed towards removing the causes. The first step, of course, should be the appointment of more tribunals, if necessary, to handle the applications that are submitted. The easiest and most effective method of overcoming this kind of defect is to speed up the process of handling applications by having more people to do the job. This continual tinkering with the repatriation system, this wiring up here and fixing there with small amendments, is simply perpetuating a basically cumbersome system. This Parliament has, to its credit, consistently and frequently turned its attention to the question of the welfare of returned servicemen. It has considered that matter probably more thoroughly than any other of the social services that are in operation in Australia. I commend it for having done so. If honorable members look at the schedule to the act they will find that there have been about 40 amendments. It is obvious that this Parliament and most parliamentarians have given close attention to the repatriation system. But we believe that there should be more streamlining of the repatriation processes, and that there should be a wider field of benefits for ex-servicemen and a more ready acceptance of the entitlements of ex-servicemen, particularly to medical benefits. We have on numerous occasions moved amendments to this effect when legislation has been before the House, and sometimes we have managed to convince the Government that certain things should be done. A case in point was the granting of medical entitlements to all service pensioners. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! That matter is not mentioned in the bill. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr BRYANT: -- I am referring to service pensioners, **Mr. Speaker.** I direct your attention to the amendments to section 78 of the act, which is a long section, covering more than a page and a half, and also to amendments to section 64. The Minister pointed out in his speech that this is an administrative matter, being an attempt to remove causes of delay in the repatriation system. I submit that any sug- gestion for removing the causes of delay is relevant to the matter now before us. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order ! The honorable member will keep away from the matter of ex-servicemen's pensions. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr BRYANT: -- I should have thought that it would be very difficult to discuss a repatriation bill without referring to exservicemen's pensions. We have heard various honorable members saying that they have appeared before these tribunals, and that although the tribunal is usually friendly and usually tries to create an easy atmosphere the ordinary citizen is naturally rather awe-struck before such an authority. I suggest also that there should be a widening of the field of automatic entitlement. The Minister should reconsider the whole range of benefits, particularly as it affects those who served in the First World War. As to retrospectivity, the Minister might well turn his attention to the manner of granting retrospective benefits to people who have been deprived for 30 or 40 years of their just entitlements. I think it was in 1931 that some 8,000 or 10,000 exservicemen had their benefits taken away from them. If you look at the schedule of entitlements or pensions payable, you will see that in 1930 or 1931 about 5,000 or 6,000 people were removed from the benefits list or the pensions register, and in 1932, I think, the number was trebled. Obviously an attempt was being made to reduce the number of pensions. The people who were knocked back in the 1920's, the 1930's and the early 1940's have been deprived for many years of their just entitlements, and while the servicemen themselves may have passed on, we should turn a benevolent eye upon their widows. I believe the Minister should try to find some way of increasing retrospective payments, particularly to widows. It would be impossible to evaluate the extent of deprivation over a period of 30 years, of course, and to decide that a person should be paid £10,000, £15,000 or £20,000. But there may be some special benefit we could give to widows accepted into the system after their late husbands had been denied benefits ten or twenty years previously. I suggest, therefore, that two or three things should be done. First, the procedures of boards and other tribunals should be speeded up. Secondly, there should be a widening of the field of benefits so that more people can be given automatic entitlement. The whole atmosphere of the system should be changed so that the ordinary citizen, who now feels rather awe-struck when confronted with counters, boards, forms and so on, will have a feeling of more ready acceptance into the system. Finally, some attention should be given to retrospective payments to those who should have been granted entitlement many years ago. Finally I say, and I am sure most honorable members will agree with me, that it is the Minister's duty to give better opportunities to honorable members on both sides of the House to debate our important repatriation system. To bring before the House such a tinkering and administratively insignificant bill as this, to achieve something which could, after all, be easily achieved by administrative action within the department, is simply to deprive the Parliament of time that could be used to better advantage debating the whole system of repatriation, which has such a bearing on the welfare and happiness of more than 500,000 Australians. I take a dim view of the failure of this Government to give us an adequate opportunity to debate the whole system. Nothing that may be said by honorable members opposite will convince me that the great body of ex-servicemen are completely happy with the whole system as it exists to-day. I hope that the Government and the Minister will use a little more commonsense in approaching these questions in the future, and I hope that at some early time, perhaps early in the new year, we will be given an opportunity to debate the whole repatriation system. I suggest the Minister might consider the appointment of a tribunal such as that which played an effective part in increasing the system of benefits back in the 1920's. {: #subdebate-34-0-s16 .speaker-KIH} ##### Mr LUCOCK:
Lyne .- I shall not detain the House for very long in making my comments on this measure. The Minister said, in his second-reading speech: - >This bill proposes amendments to the Repatriation Act which will give a desirable uniformity to the operative date of a decision of a determining authority allowing a claim for war pension, irrespective of whether the claim is allowed in the first instance by a Repatriation Board or subsequently on appeal by either the Repatriation Commission or a War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunal. I think every one in the House appreciates what is happening in this debate. The Opposition does not want the Minister for Repatriation **(Mr. Swartz)** to make a speech in reply, and so Opposition members are continuing to speak, hoping that the Government will be forced to gag the debate, thus denying the Minister the opportunity of speaking. Nobody has any objection to the Opposition taking advantage of parliamentary procedure in this way, but if members of the Opposition wish to adopt these tactics they should not ask that members and supporters of the Government should be forced to sit in the House and listen to them speaking, one after the other, with this object in mind. I congratulate my colleagues who, I think, have shown great devotion to duty in remaining in the House and listening to honorable members opposite. Opposition speakers have spoken of the Government's failure to provide adequate opportunities to debate repatriation matters. Most of the members of the Opposition have been in this House long enough to know that this bill is purely a machinery measure. They know that there are occasions v/hen pieces of legislation that are nothing more than machinery bills must come before the House. The discussion of repatriation matters has nothing whatever to do with the bill before the House at the moment. As was pointed out by the honorable member for Henty **(Mr. Fox),** there was an opportunity not so very long ago for members in this House to discuss repatriation matters when dealing with the Estimates. We have seen in this House in the last two or three days members of the Opposition wasting time. Therefore, if they are continuously desirous of wasting the time of the House on matters that are not so important, of course they have only themselves to blame if certain things happen. I would not have risen at all in this debate if it had not been for a comment by the honorable member for 0.;ie> **(Mr. Hayden).** He spoke about applicants going before the various repatriation authorities in a different manner, saying, " We are only humble and simple people ". The claim by the honorable member for Oxley was that the tribunals and the officers of the department would not give claimants a fair go. This is an insult to the Repatriation Department. In my dealings with officers of the department and with the Minister himself I have had nothing but courtesy and assistance, and to the best of my knowledge that courtesy and assistance has been shown to every person who has approached the department in regard to repatriation benefits in any sphere. I, for one, am prepared to stand in this House and say that any accusation against repatriation officers in relation to the service they render, the devotion that they show in their task, or the assistance that they give to those who appear before them, is completely unfounded and unjustified. As the honorable member for Indi **(Mr. Holten)** points out, most members of the boards and tribunals are themselves ex-servicemen. They have a genuine understanding and appreciation of the problems of ex-servicemen who seek repatriation benefits and of the problems of widows and other dependants of those who have paid the supreme sacrifice. Such people are given all the assistance in the world. They are shown great kindness when they approach the department, and I think that any reflection on the officers or on the tribunals, is, as I said earlier, completely unjustified. {: #subdebate-34-0-s17 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Lalor **.- Mr. Deputy Speaker,** I should be very sorry to have to adopt the lecturing tactics of the honorable member for Lyne **(Mr. Lucock)** regarding this measure. If it is a fact that members of the Opposition have descended to what he calls questionable tactics- {: .speaker-KHS} ##### Mr Holten: -- He mentioned one member. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- You were asleep. I repeat, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** that I should be sorry to have to resort to a tirade such as that indulged in by the honorable member for Lyne in an endeavour to prevent me from expressing in this House sentiments that I feel very deeply. This measure may - I say " may " advisedly - give relief to a man whose case has deeply concerned me and has never ceased to trouble me over the past five or six weeks. He is not one of my constituents but he was probably the most gallant officer I ever knew in the unit in which I served. This man is now over 70 years of age and is bedridden. In my opinion he was eligible for a war pension long before he ever reached 70 years of age, but because he had an inherent independence of spirit he made no application until he was bedridden. His application has been rejected by the Repatriation Commission. This man served through World War I. from its inception, was wounded and suffered through the worst of winters in France, and was decorated. He was always more concerned for the welfare of his men than for his own. Yet his application for a pension has been rejected. He will, I hope, appeal, although I doubt it. His heart is broken to think that he has to demand himself by appealing to an entitlement tribunal. I am not blaming the Repatriation Commission for this man's plight; I am blaming an act of this Parliament which, in reality, leaves the power to determine whether or not a man shall receive a pension to the judgment of medical officers. Some people may say that this is necessary, but I know of instances in which a medical officer could not possibly say that a man's disability was not due to war service. This is such a case. I hope that if an appeal is lodged and succeeds, this man will receive retrospective payment, as is provided for in this amending legislation. However, that is not the important thing that should be concerning this House. Honorable members should have had an opportunity long ago in this session to debate the whys and wherefores of a system under which a man of this character can be denied the miserable few pounds that I believe him to be entitled to under the act. This House should be concerned to ask why a man 72 years of age who served through the whole period of World War I., an officer, a decorated man whose first consideration was always for his men, should have to go down on his knees to receive the justice to which he is indeed entitled. There is not a rank-and-file soldier or a noncommissioned officer from his unit who has heard of his plight who has not contacted the repatriation authorities in the State in which he resides - he does not reside in my State. Surely it is unusual for rankandfile soldiers and non-commissioned officers to go out of their way to make an appeal for a man who was their company commander. Their action speaks for itself. Every one who has made representations on this man's behalf to the Repatriation Department has done so with a full knowledge of his sufferings and the trials and tribulations and injuries he sustained. It is a despicable thing that honorable members in this House should get up and indict those who put a case, in all seriousness, for more consideration for these men than has hitherto been given. I will be fair and say that perhaps all honorable members in this House are at times guilty of that sort of thing, but if there is one subject that should be treated seriously and with sincerity it is this. The day and generation has long since passed when any man over 70 years of age who served through the trials and tribulations in France and Gallipoli between 1914 and 1918 should be deprived of a pension on the say-so of a doctor, who certifies that in his opinion the deterioration of the man's health is not due to war service. What nonsense! This man is now bedridden. How it is humanly possible for any doctor to say that his crack-up is not due to war service? I resent the imputations, innuendoes and criticisms that have been hurled around this House to-night, and particularly the attempts of some honorable members in the corner to endeavour to prevent me from saying what I feel about this case. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -- We do not take second place to you in our desire to assist exservicemen. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- What have you been interrupting for? {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -- Because of your attitude. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- I have never reflected on you or your war service. I mentioned this matter to the Minister for Repatriation **(Mr. Swartz)** and he said, "Write me a letter. Put it in writing." Why should it be necessary for me to put something in writing for a man to get justice? It should be his inherent right to get justice. We are appreciative of small mercies, and this bill is a mighty small mercy. It will not remedy the position of a man who is over 70 years of age and of whom some doctor, conscientiously perhaps, has said that his bedridden state is not due to war service. What nonsense! It is high time that this House seriously considered this question. It should do what the Curtin Government did in 1943. Realizing that many years had passed since 1914, that Government set up a select committee of this House to report, in the light of all that had gone by, on what alterations, if any, should be made to the Repatriation Act to bring it up to date to deal with the men of World War II. Since the end of world War II. nearly twenty years have gone by and nothing of a general character has been done by this Government thoroughly to review the Repatriation Act. I appeal to the Minister to arrange for a select committee of this Parliament to be appointed, before the Parliament dies, for the purpose of giving justice to ex-servicemen, particularly the less fortunate of those who served in World War II. They were promised that they would get justice from the nation that they fought to defend. {: #subdebate-34-0-s18 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr SWARTZ:
Minister for Repatriation · Darling Downs · LP -- in reply - I do not want to delay the passing of this bill unduly, because the members of the Opposition have indicated that they support it. It is rather strange that this bill, which proposes to amend sections 29 and 78 of the Repatriation Act, has provoked a debate which has rambled over the whole of the ramifications of that very extensive act. I think the Speaker has been particularly tolerant in that regard. I hope the Opposition has noted that I raised no objection to the range of the debate. Indeed, I am pleased to have matters discussed relating to repatriation, and I do not think there is any need for me to express my sincerity in that regard. I feel that I should refer briefly to a number of points that have been raised which, perhaps, need correcting. During this debate, even the honorable member for Wills **(Mr. Bryant),** strange to say, indulged in politics to some degree. Perhaps that is a part of his duty. It is understandable and I have no objection to it whatsoever. If we ignore the political angles of the debate, which has extended beyond the confines of the bill, we see that there has been quite a lot of constructive criticism and that a number of constructive proposals have been made. I assure the House that I shall carefully go through the proposals that have been made, making allowance for political angles. I shall have a careful look at the matters that have been raised where I feel some adjustments could be made which, perhaps, would be in the interest of servicemen generally. The honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** referred, in an impassioned speech, to a case about which he is very genuinely concerned. He mentioned this matter to me a short time ago. Naturally, I cannot accept information which is passed on to me verbally. No Minister can. But I can assure the honorable member that if he is prepared to give me even a note in the form of a reminder I shall see that the matter is fully investigated. The honorable member said that no major review had been made of the Repatriation Act for a considerable period. Two major reviews of the Repatriation Act have taken place since the original legislation was changed to the Repatriation Act in 1920. One occasion was in 1942 and the next was in 1950, the first year of the Government's term of office. In that year a major review took place and there was a dramatic change in the benefits. Since then, changes have been made over the years. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- We have not been referring so much to the benefits as to the machinery. {: .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr SWARTZ: -- I shall refer to that in a moment. The honorable member for Lalor also used the term " chicken feed ", I think, in relation to this legislation. I should like to have chicken feed like this. The proposal will cost over £140,000 for the remainder of this year, {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- Why do you insist on talking in terms of costs? {: .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr SWARTZ: -- Because we have to know them to start with. They are the basis of a finance measure. However, you are supporting this measure, and I appreciate your support. The honorable member for Wills referred in a rather disparaging way to the repatriation scheme. If he cares to see me afterwards, I will show him a comparison of the Australian scheme with other schemes in the world. I am sure that he will feel proud to be an Australian, because our scheme, as a Government supporter has said, is the best scheme in the world. I am not content to rest on that. We must aim to improve it. Let us not play it down. Let us be proud of the fact that ours is the best scheme in the world, but also let us point out its anomalies and see if they can be rectified and the scheme improved. In 1949 - the last year of office of the Labour Government - under £28,000,000 was being devoted to repatriation. This year there is provision in the Budget for over £107,000,000 for repatriation purposes. One of the big factors that has pushed up expenditure for the last two years has been the medical facilities provided for service pensioners. They received the support of the Opposition, and I am sure that they still do. That provision has assisted thousands of ex-servicemen throughout Australia. The honorable member for Oxley **(Mr. Hayden)** implied that some kind of time limit was applied in relation to applications for repatriation benefits. He did not exactly say that, but he implied it. He said that ex-servicemen were viewed with suspicion when they applied for repatriation benefits after a number of years. I can assure him that no time limit is imposed on applications for repatriation benefits. I know that every officer of my department will give full consideration to applications whatever the time may be between the origin of what is considered to be a warcaused disability and the consideration of it. The honorable member for Barton **(Mr. Reynolds)** raised a number of matters, one of which rather surprised me. He said that when a member of the Parliament has written to a branch office of the Repatriation Department supporting an application by an ex-serviceman for a repatriation benefit, advice is sent only to the applicant and not to the member of the Parlaiment. If that is so, I shall see that the matter is corrected immediately. {: .speaker-KYS} ##### Mr Reynolds: -- I think the Minister misunderstood me. The decision is conveyed to the applicant, but not through the member of the Parliament. {: .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr SWARTZ: -- I shall make sure that advice is sent to the member of the Parliament at the same time. That is a matter that I shall make certain is corrected. The honorable member for Lang **(Mr. Stewart)** made great play with the number of appeals granted by entitlement appeal tribunals. It may seem all right to the honorable member, in support of an argument, to take a thing out of context and relate it to the figures given in the annual report of the Repatriation Commission. However, the honorable member should have gone right back to the beginning - to the original claim - and taken the percentage of applications approved by the Repatriation Boards, the Repatriation Commission and the entitlement appeals tribunals. Last year, more than 52 per cent, were granted. I think that that figure gives an impression quite different from that conveyed by the figures used by the honorable member for Lang. Quite a number of other points were raised, but they were relatively unimportant, **Mr. Deputy Speaker.** I thank the House for its support of this measure. It may seem only a minor one in effect, but it is of vital importance, as quite a number of exservicemen will find out in the immediate future. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted. Bill - by leave - read a third time. {: .page-start } page 2526 {:#debate-35} ### TARIFF BOARD {: #debate-35-s0 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr SWARTZ:
Minister for Repatriation · Darling Downs · LP -- **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** on behalf of the Minister for Trade **(Mr. McEwen),** I lay on the table for the information of honorable members the following paper: - >Correspondence between the Minister for Trade and **Sir Leslie** Melville, Chairman of the Tariff Board, dated 10th, 13th, 16th and 20th February and 26th October, 1962, concerning the operation of the Tariff Board. These letters relate to matters which have been brought up in the House during the last few days. The Minister has asked me to say that the letters now tabled, together with those tabled earlier to-day by him and last evening by the Minister for Supply **(Mr. Fairhall),** cover in full the correspondence which the Minister for Trade promised this morning to table. {: .page-start } page 2526 {:#debate-36} ### AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL BILL 1962 {:#subdebate-36-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from 23rd August (vide page 663), on motion by **Mr. Freeth** - >That the bill be now read a second time. {: #subdebate-36-0-s0 .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr HAYLEN:
Parkes **.- Mr. Deputy Speaker,** this bill provides for the future management of the Australian War Memorial. For many years, the memorial has been administered most efficiently and most effectively by the Board of Management. The Government now considers that, because of the increase in the number of exhibits and the growth of responsibility with the passage of the years, the memorial ought to be controlled by a board of trustees, and this change is all that is involved in the bill, technically. However, a great deal more has to be considered in relation to this change in the management of the memorial. The consideration of this measure gives honorable members an opportunity, of which, I am sure, many honorable members on both sides of the House would like to avail themselves, to say something about the splendid national war memorial that we have here in the National Capital. I am not really fond of memorials. I prefer to see swimming pools and adequate housing. The Australian War Memorial is a monument in the grand manner not to war but to a combination of the horrors of war and the glories of peace and, as such, it is approved by honorable members on this side of the chamber. One of the sights of our National Capital over the years has been this war memorial, which emphasizes the horrors of war and the glories of peace, as I have said. We have never attempted to make this memorial a mausoleum of mightiness or of the two great wars that we have known. It has represented more a simple statement of what the Australian people have undergone in trying to retain their heritage through the horrors of World War I. and World War II. We in this Parliament have noted the place that the Australian War Memorial has taken in the lives not only of the people of the Australian Capital Territory but of all Australians. This memorial is in a unique position. The original relics housed in the building came from Gallipoli. Those were later augmented by relics of the wicked, hard battles fought in the cold winters of the Somme and of other battles in France in World War I. So the relics have been gathered up and arranged. The memorial now houses an art gallery and a picture gallery which display records in paint and canvas, as well as the other exhibits depicting Australia's efforts in two world wars. These exhibits therefore have a significance much greater than that of an ordinary war mausoleum. This memorial is something historical and imperishable. We in this place are given very few opportunities to thank the custodians of the Australian War Memorial for what they have done. Whatever rugged paths there be in the history of this nation, we are required faithfully to record them. And record them we have, in exhibiting without comment in our national war memorial various relics to illustrate what happens in war and to emphasize all its horrors. Nevertheless, in this memorial, there is a very strong message of peace. For that reason, the Australian Labour Party endorses the work that has been done in the memorial. This is dedicated work that does not usually reach the surface of our realization. The Board of Management has always gone quietly about its job, and we on this side of the House are very proud to be associated, as is the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory **(Mr. J. R. Fraser),** with any move of this kind to give the Australian War Memorial some autonomy. The Board of Management of the Australian War Memorial has not complained, although, throughout the years, the memorial has received no grants from governments, except for maintenance, of course. The first moneys for the memorial came from the sale of war histories, and from canteen funds and the like. The moneys that provided the nucleus of this organization came not from the government of the day or the Australian people but from donations and contributions from the pay of the Australian forces of the past. Funds continue to come from similar sources to-day. Therefore, ministerial control has not been essential. I believe that if funds are provided from tax revenues, by means of grants in aid or by means of other payments out of the public purse, it is essential that the Treasury or some Minister control the expenditure of those funds. However, as I have pointed out, the moneys for the care and upkeep of the Australian War Memorial in the past have come essentially from the armed forces of the two world wars. After many years of administration by the Board of Management, the Government and the board consider - and we on this side of the chamber agree - that a board of trustees ought to be established. The proposed board of trustees will be independent of control by this Parliament. I am not usually in favour of that sort of thing. I am certainly not in favour of it in respect of the Tariff Board, if I may speak in parentheses for a moment. However, the Australian War Memorial has amply justified its existence. It has become a great tourist attraction in Canberra and there is such a sensible reason for its existence, because it houses the relics of the wars that we have fought, and portrays the history of those wars in the finest possible way, underlined by no emotional reaction to either war or peace. This memorial just displays a cold record in a manner which appeals to a man like me who is a writer, and to an anti-war party like the Australian Labour Party, to which I belong. We can see some value, both moral and educational, in the War Memorial being located in this Territory. Therefore, we support the Government and seek that the management and administration of the memorial now should go to a board of trustees which will not or need not necessarily be any different from the board of management. I should like to see the present board of management retained for various reasons, one being that in the galaxy of very well-known figures such as LieutenantGeneral **Sir Edmund** Herring, LieutenantGeneral **Sir Reginald** Pollard, Air-Marshal **Sir Valston** Hancock, and Vice-Admiral Harrington, is **Senator Amour,** a member of the Australian Labour Party whom we are very proud to have on the Australian War Memorial Board of Management. We hope that he will be transplanted to the board of trustees, because his service in his country's cause began when he was sixteen and a half years of age. Although he is a very sick man he has carried out his duties in the Senate without fail and, with the loyalty of the old infantryman, he has always been on the spot during all our troubles and travail. He has not missed a division. He is highly pensionable. If he walked out of this Parliament to-day he would be a certainty for a total and permanent incapacity pension. Despite his arthritis and other sufferings, he is always in his place in this Parliament. It is a good thing to have one serving soldier on the board among the officers, the commanders and the leaders of our nation. That highlights in a certain way the essence of the Australian War Memorial which represents the sacrifices of the serving soldier and which represents in no way that you could find in any other memorial the meaning of war to the exservicemen of the First and Second World Wars. I am very proud that the Australian Labour Party is represented on this board by one of our returned soldier members. I shall not traverse this any further except to say that this is an opportunity - we get so few in this House - to talk about the very fine service which has been given to the nation by the board and the manner in which the War Memorial is conducted. The War Memorial is not a sabre-rattling, rabble-rousing kind of place. It is merely a recording centre which shows with great skill our activities during the wars. It has gathered together our history. It contains the art of the soldier and the paintings, implements and mementoes of war. They make a living vital history of the battles and the travail of this country. In this connotation we accept and respect it. The War Memorial is a fine thing for people to see when they come to this National Capital. On behalf of the Opposition I thank the members of the board, whom I have named, for the work that they have done for the War Memorial. Their retirement does not necessarily mean that they will not be trustees. The Government has that matter in hand. The Opposition has much plea sure in supporting the change-over. It is something that should have been done a long time ago. Realizing that a certain amount of administration and a certain amount of general control were a little remote, it was thought in 1925 that the whole responsibility for the memorial should reside in a trust. It has taken all these years to get that trust. Perhaps that is evidence of the slowness of the military mind and the slowness of bureaucracy applied to institutions such as our War Memorial, but now that it has come along we welcome the fact that the trustees will proceed under their own steam and under their own administration to do the same good job for this country as they have done in the past in portraying our sacrifices, our sincerity, our humanity and our love of peace through our war record and through the trophies of war. If the trustees continue as they have done in the past they will have the respect and admiration of the Australian people who flock to this National Capital to see the War Memorial as well as the other treasures which we have to show them. We support this measure with the greatest enthusiasm and hope that in this small way we can repay the many years of hard work and dedicated service by the board. {: #subdebate-36-0-s1 .speaker-JWV} ##### Mr CHANEY:
Perth .- I shall not delay the House for very long. Naturally the Opposition does not oppose this bill. I should like to place on record the appreciation of members of this House of the work of **Major McGrath,** the director of the Australian War Memorial. In **Major McGrath** we have a man who is dedicated to his task - a task which, I venture to say, could not be performed by any one who was not so dedicated. We know that **Major McGrath** is the man behind the scenes and we express our appreciation to him. I am intensely proud of the Australian War Memorial. My only regret is that every Australian is not able to visit it, but I suppose that the best place for it is in the National Capital. No matter where you travel in the world you will not see anything to match it in the message it gives to the people. I agree with the sentiments which have been expressed by the honorable member for Parkes **(Mr. Haylen).** {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr Haylen: -- If it is not out of order, **Mr. Deputy Speaker** let me say that the Opposition would like to be associated with that tribute to **Major McGrath.** I had hoped that another honorable member would mention it. {: #subdebate-36-0-s2 .speaker-JWX} ##### Mr J R Fraser:
ALP -- I shall be brief but I wish to express my appreciation also, and I am certain the appreciation of all people of this city, of the work carried out by the director of the War Memorial and all members of his staff who, of course, are exservice personnel. When I first came to Canberra I felt that it was a pity that the War Memorial was not in one of our more populous cities where it could be seen more easily by many thousands more Australian people, but I have come to recognize that Canberra is the place where the War Memorial belongs. This is where it is and this is where it will remain. It is true that **Major McGrath** and all members of his staff, from the assistant director down through the office staff to those who act as guides within the memorial, are dedicated to the work that they perform. The memorial as it stands is a credit not only to the Government which makes the financial provision for it but also to those in whose charge it has been placed and in whose loving care it has developed. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted. Bill - by leave - read a third time. {: .page-start } page 2529 {:#debate-37} ### AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY ELECTRICITY SUPPLY BILL 1962 {:#subdebate-37-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from 17tb October (vide page 1604), on motion by **Mr. Freeth** - >That the bill be now read a second time. {: #subdebate-37-0-s0 .speaker-KID} ##### Mr LUCHETTI:
Macquarie .- This bill is to establish an authority to supply electricity in the Australian Capital Territory and for related purposes. The bill provides for a new deal in regard to electricity generation and reticulation within the A.C.T, It provides for the establishment of an authority of three members to control the generation and reticulation of elec tricity, which was previously controlled by the Department of the Interior. One would naturally ask: Why the change? Why the *change* from a government department to a government authority? This has not been clarified for the Opposition and we are not satisfied that the best has been made of this opportunity of dealing with an important matter that concerns all the people of the Australian Capital Territory. We believe that there is ample scope to bring the community into the management of this important business undertaking which affects the lives of all the people in the Territory. The bill provides for the appointment of a chairman to hold office for a period of six years and of two part-time members of the authority, one to be a member of the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council, elected by members of that council, and the other to be an officer of the Department of the Interior. This seems to fail to measure up to what is required in dealing with the development of this organization. In the course of his second-reading speech the Minister for the Interior **(Mr. Freeth)** made an attack upon the authority at present administering electricity supply in Canberra over its incapacity to serve the people of this area, its failure to meet the requirements of the area and the fact that it has been unable to keep pace with the rapid development of the city of Canberra - which is understandable to some extent, because probably nowhere in Australia is there the growth of a city equal to that seen in the national capital. The Minister said - >With the rapid development of Canberra over recent years the Canberra Electric Supply undertaking has for some time been experiencing considerable difficulty in coping with the work load and in maintaining a service at the highest standards of efficiency consistent with economical operation. This has been due to staff recruitment problems- And to organization and other procedures. Naturally, it will be asked, in view of these statements, what difference will occur when a new departmental authority is established. What new life will be brought into the control of electricity supply compared with what exists at present? If the Department of the Interior, under the control of the Minister for the Interior, has failed in this matter and has not kept pace with the development of the national capital, why perpetuate this situation to some degree by having an authority, the chairman of which will be nominated by the Minister and the two other members of which will be a fulltime officer who will represent the Department of the Interior - which is under fire in this instance - and a representative of the Advisory Council? What strange alchemy is at work which will provide the wonders which will overcome the difficulties of the past and provide illumination for the national capital and for this Parliament? The Labour Party regards this bill with extreme disappointment. It will be observed, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** that the atmosphere of Canberra is an atmosphere of government, of ministerial control and direction and, to some extent, of patronage. Here was a unique opportunity, with the Commonwealth Parliament here at the seat of government, to extend and expand the democratic procedures of this nation and bring real live local self-government to the national capital, permitting the people to participate in the management of an important undertaking. Instead of doing that, the Government has elected to take the doctrinaire line of establishing an authority which is not to be directly responsible to the people of the national capital but answerable only to the Government and the Minister. That seems in many respects to fail to meet what is required. The citizens of Canberra are no less alert, capable, wise and desirous to meet the challenges of their time than are the people of any other community in Australia. Their desire for democracy, for an opportunity to participate in management, surely has not been blunted by the conditions of the national capital where the Government seems to be in charge of everything the people do. In the Advisory Council we have a body of twelve members - eight elected by the people, four nominated by the Government. At least it can be said that as that body, which performs a very great service in this community, has a majority of eight to four, the will of the people prevails to some extent in that particular domain. I believe that the citizens of Canberra should be given rights equal to those enjoyed by other Australians living in New South Wales or elsewhere to participate in an undertaking like this. Recognition of the rights of the people to participate in management of industry is one of the forward steps of our time, and one would expect that here in the national capital, where we have the outward manifestation of democracy in this building and all that goes with it. we would find some progressive thought emerging from the Government and that the Government would have confidence in the people and give them an opportunity to serve. I heard the Minister make his speech and I have read and re-read the " Hansard " report of it. He spoke of the pattern of development, but I think he has failed to examine all the important documents that would give him a true understanding of electricity generation and reticulation in Australia. The Minister said - >This would not be without precedent, as it has become established practice in the fields of electricity distribution and supply throughout Australia to set up authorities of this nature rather than to leave functions of this sort to local government as part of its normal area of operation. The approach varies from the decentralized system of country councils in New South Wales to the highly centralized system of operation by the one State Electricity Commission in Victoria. Of the two systems, the Government has committed itself to the centralized system. At least in words, on other occasions the Government has committed itself to the principle of decentralization. Yet here, rather than have a decentralized system of electricity generation and reticulation in Canberra, it has elected to adopt the centralized system. The Labour Party is always condemned by honorable gentlemen opposite for believing in a centralized system, but that is the system that the Government has chosen - the state system, the Government system, and not the people's system. The plea that the Opposition makes tonight is that the people's system ought to be tried, that the people should be brought into a decentralized system and given an opportunity to serve. I take the Minister to task in regard to this, because I have here, in the report of the Electricity Supply Associations of Australia, statistics dealing with the electricity supply industry for the year 1960-61. It is freely admitted by the Minister that the system in New South Wales is the decentralized system - the system of county councils and local government and, in exceptional cases, the system of private distribution under franchises that have existed for some time. The basis of organization in New South Wales is the Electricity Commission of New South Wales for the generation of electricity and the Electricity Authority for co-ordination and control, together with the rural subsidy for the distribution of electricity through outback and country districts. Then there are the county councils for general distribution, with other local government bodies coming into it to a minor extent. There are 58 county councils and local government areas; and county councils account for 36 of that number. This system has proved successful in New South Wales. It has been capable of dealing not only with the requirements of the great metropolis of Sydney with its vast and rapidly growing outer suburbs, the city of Newcastle through the Shortland County Council, and through a county council the requirements of the greater Wollongong area, but also the requirements of distant county councils where electricity is being taken to country areas for the benefit of mankind. The New South Wales system has proved a great success. In June of this year there were 1,221,673 consumers of electricity in that State, of whom 1,084,076 were residential, 114,783 commercial and 21,563 industrial. This suggests that the mammoth undertaking in New South Wales, the mother State of Australia, is being carried out effectively by local government - by the people themselves. My plea to the Government to-night is that the people of Canberra ought to have extended to them that opportunity which has been extended to, accepted and successfully carried through by local government in New South Wales. In my own home town a person has been elected to deal with these matters. He has become chairman of the county council and is a young engineer from the Commonwealth small arms factory. He was selected for the Duke of Edinburgh study circle overseas and is an alderman of the Lithgow City Council. He is the type of man throughout New South Wales who has been able to emerge in this democratic process step by step until he has become the chairman of an important organization. I relate those facts in passing to indicate that the local community can do these things successfully. It is important to consider the income derived from electricity in New South Wales as part of the overall picture. The sale of electricity in that State for the year ended 30th June, 1962, returned £84,313,000. That is rather a good undertaking for a democratically elected and controlled organization operating throughout that State. I repeat that my plea to the Parliament this evening is that the City of Canberra and the Australian Capital Territory be permitted to proceed along lines similar to those followed in New South Wales. When introducing the bill the Minister said, in effect, that New South Wales was the only State in which this system was adopted and that elsewhere electricity was controlled by centralized authorities. The Minister is generally on sound ground in that regard in relation to Victoria, where the State Electricity Commission is responsible for generation and mainly responsible for distribution, as it controls 77 per cent, of the total electricity generation in that State, whilst eleven municipalities in the metropolitan area are responsible for 21 per cent, and local government and private people in remote areas are responsible for 2 per cent. That proves that the central authority does not distribute all the electricity even in Victoria, which was cited as a classic example of centralized control I believe that what I have to say about Queensland will not only disprove what the Minister said about the types of authorities that have been set up but might also indicate to the Parliament the type of organization which could succeed in the Australian Capital Territory, of which the Minister and the Government might choose the chairman and allow the members to be elected. This proposition might appeal to the Minister. As honorable members will have observed, what I am saying this evening is being said without any feeling or heat. I believe the Minister ought to have another look at this question and examine it again in order to see just where the people could fit into a great undertaking of this kind. In Queensland the plan is one of regional development. The State Electricity Commission is the regulatory body which co-ordinates electricity supply throughout Queensland. Distribution and generation are, to a great extent, in the hands of the regional electricity authorities which are composed of representatives of the local authorities - elected people - and a representative of the State Electricity Commission. I relate these facts because I believe they are relevant to the matter now before the Parliament and indicate that the broad and sweeping statements made by the Minister in his second-reading speech barely accord with the facts. {: .speaker-0095J} ##### Mr Howson: -- Has Queensland the cheapest electricity in the Commonwealth? {: .speaker-KID} ##### Mr LUCHETTI: -- I have not made that comparison. I am developing the argument that in Queensland the control oT electricity is largely democratic and is exercised by the elected representatives of the people. I would be distressed to think that the honorable member for Fawkner **(Mr. Howson)** was an advocate of the theory of the master race, or master state, in which people can be pushed to one side on the altar of efficiency and good government and the people's rights forgotten. What I am putting to the House is that the New South Wales system, which is wholly democratic, supplies cheap electricity which is being taken to the country districts to the great advantage of the people. I submit that what can happen in Queensland and New Souh Wales could happen in the National Capital. In the volume "Statistics of the Electricity Supply Industry in Australia ", with respect to the electricity supply in Queensland, we read - {: type="a" start="c"} 0. "The Regional Electric Authorities Acts - 1945-1958 ".-These Acts govern the setting up and operation of Regional Electricity Boards, of which five have been established to date, i.e.. Wide Bay-Burnett, Capricornia, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns. The functions of these Boards are to supply electricity and trade in electrical appliances, and they are empowered to acquire existing electric authorities in their respective regions. Each Board is comprised of representatives of the local authorities in the Region, and The State Electricity Commissioner. This is a most valuable publication and I am sorry that the Minister, apparently, has not read it. It states - >From Cairns to the New South Wales border on the Eastern coast and immediate hinterland, supply is provided principally by regional Authorities operating a central source of generation and transmitting energy throughout their respective areas. A further development in regionalisation took place during 1957-58 with the transfer of the Central Western Undertakings of Clermont, Capella and Emerald to the control of the Capricornia Regional Electricity Board, and in 1959-60 by the transfer of the Hughenden Undertaking to the Townsville Regional Electricity Board. That indicates that the regional scheme is working successfully in Queensland. Again, South Australia has a central body for the generation of electricity and also has district bodies such as the Berri District Council, the Port Pirie Corporation, the Renmark Irrigration Trust and the Quorn Corporation. All these facts show that the statement made to the House by the Minister was not quite correct. I should like to emphasize that Canberra is no longer a departmental town. It is the National Capital of Australia and I believe that the people of the National Capital can be trusted. I believe that they ought to be given an opportunity to serve. The city has grown up and the people of this community no longer live in a bush capital and no longer are incapable of performing the normal functions that people elsewhere perform. It has been proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that the people are capable of doing these things when given an opportunity. What types of people live in Canberra? They are the officers of this Parliament, the Clerk of the House and others who serve in this place, officers of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, of the National Library, of the Australian National University and of all the other great organizations. They render a great service to the people. They are experts in their fields and could be of service to the community if given the opportunity. We also have the Service Departments here. The officers of these departments should also be given an opportunity to serve. We have the business community, but this community no doubt is ignored by the Minister for Shipping and Transport **(Mr. Opperman).** In a matter like this, of course, he would regret that he cannot go overseas for his crew, that he would have to enlist the crew locally. The heads of the departments and the broad cross-section of the people in this community would all be capable of taking their place as representatives on an authority to serve the city. The Opposition is so dissatisfied with this measure that I move - >That all words after "That" be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: - " the bill be withdrawn and redrafted to provide for the members of the authority to be chosen by a method which will give the consumers a majority representation and allow the members of the Australian Capital Territory Branch of the Electrical Trades Union to be represented." I believe that this amendment is necessary to provide adequate protection for the people of Canberra. It provides for consumer representation. I would say to the honorable member for Fawkner **(Mr. Howson)** that good government is no substitute for self-government and the right of the people to determine these matters for themselves. The right of the Electrical Trades Union to be represented has a long history, and the Government has accepted this principle in some of its enlightened moments. Worker representation in management is part of the enlightened attitude of the day, and we put forward now that this ought to be included on this occasion. Those engaged in the industry are represented on the Australian Wheat Board, the Australian Dairy Produce Board, the Australian Apple and Pear Board, and the Australian Egg Board. The Australian Egg Board has a representative from the union, after he has been nominated and approved by the Minister. If this representation can be given in other fields, it ought to be given on the electricity authorities for the Commonwealth and especially for the authority here at the National Capital. The Commonwealth ought to trust the people of the Australian Capital Territory to do this job. They are no less capable of performing these services than are the people of any other community in Australia. {: .speaker-JWX} ##### Mr J R Fraser:
ALP -- They are more capable. {: .speaker-KID} ##### Mr LUCHETTI: -- As the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory has said, one would expect them to be more capable. Here we have the Par liament, the Australian National University, the C.S.I.R.O. and all the departments and services. We have the experts of the nation here, but the Government says that although they are good enough to render service in other fields in other parts of Australia, they are not capable of doing these simple, straightforward tasks in the National Capital. Canberra, with its National Parliament, is a manifestation of our democracy. We should go ahead from that point. Here is a challenge to the Government to accept this amendment and to give the people of the National Capital an opportunity to serve their fellows. I ask the Minister to accept the amendment so that the bill may be re-drafted and thus enable the citizens of the National Capital to participate in the management of this important service organization. {: #subdebate-37-0-s1 .speaker-KCU} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury:
RYAN, QUEENSLAND -- Is the amendment seconded? {: .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr Thompson: -- Yes, **Mr. Deputy Speaker.** {: #subdebate-37-0-s2 .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir WILFRID KENT HUGHES:
Chisholm -- I am rather surprised that an honorable member who has had such a long experience in this House should have moved such a sloppy amendment as the honorable member for Macquarie **(Mr. Luchetti)** did. Surely if he wanted to move! an amendment of this nature, he should have moved an amendment in committee to a clause of the bill instead of moving that the bill be withdrawn and redrafted. This shows that very little attention has been given to the bill itself. Honorable members should offer very warm congratulations to the. Minister for the Interior **(Mr. Freeth)** on having reached another milepost in the history of Canberra in the change-over from a bush town, where the public servants had to be subsidized and assisted, to a national capital where they do not have to be so subsidized and assisted. The rapid and continuous development and expansion of Canberra is proceeding along excellently designed lines and most attractive planning. I think we would all agree with that contention. The formation of the National Capital Development Commission under the present Minister for Supply **(Mr. Fairhall)** when he was Minister for the Interior was a big forward step. This bill is a further indication of the sound progress being made. I would particularly like to congratulate the present Minister for the Interior very warmly on his administrative capacity and powers of persuasion, which are much greater than mine were when I wanted to do the same thing in 1954 - eight years ago - and was stopped dead in my tracks by the Treasury and the Public Service Board. Not only was I stopped from creating a separate semi-government electricity authority, but twice, after having been given approval for the steady and continuous development of the National Capital, the financial rug was pulled out from under my feet. As long as eight years ago, in 1954, it was considered that the Canberra residents were not receiving justice or a fair deal on electricity charges and supply. Having eliminated the long out-dated subsidies at the taxpayers' expense on golf courses, bowling greens and sports grounds, and having partially re-adjusted the inequities of the rental system whereby the senior public servants enjoyed large houses at low rentals and the newcomers, mostly juniors, small houses at high rentals, it was decided that an investigation should be made into the high rate of electricity charges in a centre where power was the main source of heating and cooking and was used as well for industrial and other purposes. The Victorian Government very kindly allowed one of its best equipped senior officers, **Mr. A.** E. Hingeley, an accountant with the highest qualifications and the commercial manager of the State Electricity Commission, to undertake a complete survey of the Canberra and Jervis Bay electricity supply undertaking. Although eight years have passed, his report is still a valuable document. It consists of 27 pages and has fifteen appendices. It says, in part - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Scope: The organisation and commercial operations of the Canberra and Jervis Bay Electricity Supply were investigated with a view to advising: - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Whether any organisational changes should be made to increase efficiency and in particular whether it would be advantageous to establish a Trust or Board to control electricity supply functions in the Australian Capital Territory and at Jervis Bay; {: type="a" start="b"} 0. Whether or not the present accounting system and/or the annual statements are designed to reveal the true position; 1. Whether or not the present commercial practices other than 1 (b) are efficient; and 2. Whether any matters relating to the Undertaking require consideration or attention. 2. Conclusions: For reasons mentioned later herein it is considered - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. That a re-organisation is essential in the interests of the Undertaking, and that the creating of a Trust would be advantageous; 1. That the present accounting system and/or annual statements do not enable management to make an informed appraisal of the results of the year's operations and policies adopted; 2. That some of the commercial practices are satisfactory but others are in need of review following, in certain cases, an examination or restatement of policy, e.g. tariffs which are designed to cover cash expenditure without allowance for interest or depreciation; and 3. That other matters relating to the Undertaking are in need of attention, e.g. the Undertaking is substantially overcapitalised in relation to the earning capacity of the total investment. Matters requiring attention are the subject of recommendations or statements reviewing for local determination various aspects of the Undertaking. As related to the formation of a Trust these refer to membership of the Board of Management, the constitution of the Trust, its financial and accounting relationship with the Treasury and the proposed organization of the new Undertaking and the capital liability it should assume. I do not know whether any consideration has been given to the capital liability that it should assume. The report continues - The other matters reviewed are primarily questions of management (which might be left for consideration by the proposed Trust) but involve, in some cases, an examination or restatement of policy. They relate to the future of the Canberra Power Station and hiring out of domestic appliances, general accounting, stores, depreciation and loan redemption, customer accounting, chargeable works, meter testing, accommodation and tariffs. Unfortunately, these recommendations met with such opposition at the time that it was impossible to put them into operation immediately. I am very glad that the present Minister has now produced this bill, which I think has been long overdue. I hope that it has a speedy passage, though I am sorry that the users of electricity in Canberra have not been granted the reduction in rates to which they were justly entitled, in addition to those they- have received as the result of the supply of power by the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority. If I remember the position correctly, the reason why they should have had their rates reduced was that in Canberra there are long lines of transmission, which were made necessary by the dispersed suburbs in the early stages of planning. I know that this could not be overcome, but I believe there is no reason why the electricity users of Canberra should have been loaded with the extra costs involved in these long lines of transmission. I hope that even at this late hour the matter may be considered by the Minister and some readjustment made. As I have said, I congratulate the Minister on the bill and I hope that it will be given a speedy passage. I would just like to say a few words to members of the Opposition who have sponsored this amendment. I refer them to the recommendations made by the person to whom I have referred. I do not say that they should not be altered in any way; but they were made by a person with vast experience who was at that time the commercial manager of the authority supplying what I believe was the cheapest electricity in Australia. He recommended three members only of the proposed authority, one being a representative of the Department of the Interior, who would act as chairman. Well, perhaps it might be said that the person in that position should not be from the Department of the Interior. Then he recommended that the second member should be the engineer and manager of the Electricity Supply Undertaking. He was to be a full-time member, the others being part-time. The third member, according to the recommendation, was to be a representative of the Advisory Council or of consumers. If there were to be five members he recommended in addition a parttime engineer with electricity supply field distribution experience on an executive level, and a part-time accountant with electricity experience on an executive level. If any honorable member has not seen that report, let me say that it is a Very valuable document. Debate (on motion, by **Mr. J.** R.. Fraser) adjourned. {: .page-start } page 2535 {:#debate-38} ### ADJOURNMENT Nuclear Weapons in Australia - Interna* tiona! Affairs- Tuberculosis Allowances - War Service Homes - Trade Unions - Broadcasting - Papua and New Guinea. Motion (by **Mr. Cramer)** proposed - >That the House do now adjourn. {: #debate-38-s0 .speaker-1V4} ##### Mr CAIRNS:
Yarra .- Evidence is, I believe, accumulating that the Government, or, more probably, the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** himself, intends to involve Australia in a secret and, I think, sinister obligation, by means of misrepresentation and without discussion or decision by the people or the Parliament of Australia. I refer to the Government's apparent intention to receive nuclear weapons into Australia, to involve Australia in all the risks of retaliation and attack that would be inherent in such a move, without any attempt whatever to avoid this course. The arms race is never-ending, and that race has no winning post. Australia must not become further involved unless and until every effort is made to avoid it. Two questions, I think, are of importance, and they must be asked and answered as soon as possible in this House. The first is: Should nuclear weapons be brought to Australia? The second is: How should the decision be made? Let us take the second question first. I submit that it has become the practice of the Prime Minister, perhaps of his own volition or perhaps after discussion with some of his colleagues in Cabinet, to make irrevocable decisions on international affairs and to notify the House afterwards, sometimes through the press. I think this was done in the case of the Suez affair. It was .certainly done a couple of weeks ago in the case of the crisis over Cuba. It has been done in relation to several agreements entered into with the United States of America, and I believe it is now being done in relation to the use of North West Cape as a base for a radio station. I understand that work has already commenced there, although this House has not received any notice whatsoever of the agreement on which this project is based. I ask the Prime Minister and the Government to inform the House thoroughly of any proposal to bring nuclear weapons . into this country before - and long before - they are brought here. I ask them to allow the House to make the decision that has to be made one way or the other. There is no great urgency about this matter. There is plenty of time for discussion and for a decision. The second question, which I mentioned as the first of the two, was: Should these nuclear weapons be brought to Australia or not? This is a vital and significant matter, and there should be no politics and no misrepresentation for political purposes involved in it. The Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** has dealt with the matter in one way. He challenged the Prime Minister to name the American official who made certain statements to him. Nearly 48 hours later that challenge is unanswered. If the Prime Minister has anything to back up the statement he made recently about what authorities in the United States of America had said to him, let him answer without any further delay the challenge of the Leader of the Opposition. But misrepresentation is inherent in the position adopted by the Prime Minister. He says, and I quote his words directly, that the policy of the Australian Labour Party is " to declare a nuclear-free zone for the southern hemisphere ", or that it is that " in the event of a war nuclear weapons under no circumstances are to be deployed south of the equator". These statements are false. They are not the policy of the Australian Labour Party. I do not know whether the Prime Minister knows that they are false - I do not know whether he cares - but not only is the Prime Minister involved in this misrepresentation but the press is also. For example, a report of the Melbourne " Herald " said recently that the policy of the Australian Labour Party was - to confine nuclear weapons to the northern hemisphere. That has nothing to do with the Australian Labour Party policy. That, too, is false. I went to the trouble of writing a brief correction, quite suitable for publication, to the Melbourne "Herald", but not one word of that appeared. I wonder whether both the Prime Minister and the press are deliberately concerned to misrepresent the policy of the Australian Labour Party. I want to tell the House what this policy is, and I am quoting from the official documents which are available to the Prime Minister if he wants to take the care and ordinary responsibility that he owes not to misrepresent the position of a national party, such as the Australian Labour Party. The policy is - >The Australian Government should take all necessary steps to initiate a conference- Of many countries, which are named - directed towards making the southern hemisphere a nuclear free zone. It goes on - >The Government should assure the United Nations that Australia, in its submissions to the conference to make the southern hemisphere a nuclear free zone, would declare that it would agree not to manufacture, acquire or receive nuclear weapons. Those are the essential features of the Australian Labour Party policy on this question. First of all, there is wide support for this kind of development. Already there is an overwhelming majority in the United Nations for the establishment of a nuclear-free zone on the African continent. Very soon, if not to-day, a decision will be made in respect of South America. There is a majority of the world in favour of the establishment of this kind of policy. This is not a policy to declare the southern hemisphere a nuclear-free zone, as the Prime Minister says it is. It is a policy to seek to establish a nuclear-free zone, not by Australia alone declaring that we will never receive nuclear weapons, but by Australia going to the other countries concerned and undertaking not to receive nuclear weapons, if they will agree to do the same and enter into an agreement to make this positive, binding and subject to control. What would be the purpose of asking other countries to forego nuclear weapons unless we were prepared first to undertake in those negotiations and discussions to so agree. This is a policy of refusing to bind ourselves irrevocably to nuclear weapons. It is a policy to make every effort to keep out nuclear weapons, if other nations will agree to do the same. In contrast, the Prime Minister takes up a very warlike attitude, inconsistent with his own personal record, the description of which I shall leave to the honorable member for Chisholm **(Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes).** The Prime Minister refuses to seek any agreement with other nations. He refuses to give any undertaking to forgo nuclear weapons, provided that they do the same. On the contrary, the policy and the attitude of the Government is to be willing, if not anxious, to make Australia the first country in the southern hemisphere to receive nuclear weapons, to destroy every means that exists to exclude by agreement nuclear weapons from all places most likely to endanger Australia. The policy of the Prime Minister is to destroy the basis for an agreement to keep nuclear weapons out of this area by being the first country to bring them in. The Australian Labour Party says that Australia shall not be the first country in the southern hemisphere to receive nuclear weapons. Does the Government consider that this policy of unilateral arming with nuclear weapons is in the interests of Australia's security? If Australia gets nuclear weapons, or looks like getting them, what, for instance, will Indonesia do? Would Indonesia not be disturbed, suspicious and afraid? Would Indonesia not be more likely to seek and obtain nuclear weapons herself? Would this not make the arms race more inevitably into a race of bases and nuclear weapons in the southern hemisphere and in South-East Asia? Would it not inevitably bring nuclear bases closer to Australia? Would it not destroy completely every means that may exist to keep them out? If the Prime Minister wants to choose the issue for the next election and if this happens to be the subject he takes, I will be very pleased to meet his challenge. The Australian Labour Party demands the acceptance of two conditions. First, that the Prime Minister or the Government shall not commit Australia to the reception of nuclear weapons. Any such decision, one way or the other, shall not be made except by the people and Parliament of this -country. Second, the Australian Labour Party demands the acceptance of the condition that Australia shall not be the first country in the southern hemisphere to receive nuclear weapons. On the other hand, Australia shall make every effort to keep them out. {: #debate-38-s1 .speaker-KSC} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir John McLeay: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #debate-38-s2 .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir WILFRID KENT HUGHES:
Chisholm **.- Mr. Speaker,** in the few minutes at my disposal on the motion for the adjournment I wish to ask honorable members to turn their attention beyond ordinary every-day matters and consider what I believe to be one of the most vital problems facing us to-day. I do not speak with any heat, but I do speak with all the sincerity I can muster. The problem is one that was referred to by **Sir William** Hayter, a former British ambassador to Russia, in a statement in one of to-day's papers in which he said - >The worst feature of the Cuban crisis was that it obscured the much more important India China conflict. Cuba has died down while the Himalayan struggle is still on, and it is on this we now can and should concentrate. **Mr. Speaker,** there is a time in the affairs of nations, as in the lives of men, when we have to stop in our daily rounds and tasks and face up to what are sometimes unpleasant but very essential and vital situations. We have to cease bandying about words on relatively unimportant matters and come to firm decisions on which, quite possibly, the lives and livelihood of millions will depend in the not too distant future. I refer of course, to the attack by Communist China on the northern borders of India, which are some of the ridges on the roof of our world, as well as the Asian world. I have congratulated the Government already on the firm, strong, decisive statement it made with regard to Cuba, but I do not think any of us can feel that sentiment or sympathy, however strong, with India can possibly fulfil our obligations to a fellow member of the Commonwealth nor are they based on our own. self-interest or our own future security. For many months past I have tried to warn this my country and my people of what was happening on those northern borders, referring to the roads being built from Tibet to Sinkiang, which caused the original Ladakh disturbance; from Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, to Katmandu in Nepal, which has just started; from Lhasa to the borders of Sikkim - one of the main supply routes for the recent attacks on the McMahon line. I received as a result a certain amount of ridicule and criticism, and a certain amount of scorn by silence. But it does not matter much what treatment is meted out to me. What does matter is whether those who think along similar lines were right or wrong. If we look to-day at the position we find that India is facing naked and unashamed aggression by the Communist Chinese on her northern borders to such an extent that **Mr. Nehru** stated, as reported in to-night's press, that there had been 5,500 casualties to 20th October. This is not just a small grass-fire war. Unfortunately, that report appears on page 2 of the newspaper, whereas however much I may sympathize with Miss Australia's toothache, that report appears on page 1. This attack is the timeold tactics of any dictator who wants to divert attention at home from the economic messes and stresses and the hunger that exist there by undertaking foreign conquests. A short time ago the Australian Wool Bureau was not very happy when I criticized it for its proposal to send a delegation to Peking to try to sell more wool to red China. I understand that the board has postponed that decision. I warmly and sincerely congratulate it for having placed patriotism and principle ahead of any profit that may have ensued from the sale of wool to red China. However, the Australian Wheat Board is still shipping grain to red China on credit. Most of that grain will be used to feed the forces. In other words, we are providing the sinews of war for those who are to-day acting as aggressors against India. I do not think any member of this House would suggest that the differences on the alinement of the borders between India and China should be settled by force. The Deputy Prime Minister, when speaking yesterday in the debate on the Tariff Board, asked whether there was any member of " this Parliament who believed that industry should be left for eighteen months to bleed to death. If we substitute the word " India " for the word " industry ", we could ask ourselves that question again. It must be very difficult for an Indian to believe that our sympathy for his country is genuine when he knows that we are still trading with his country's enemy. I was one of those people who, in the late 1930's, did not worry very much about Aus tralia exporting scrap iron, but I took a different view when the insides of mother's clock and the chopped-up bits of father's old iron bedstead came back at us in the form of shrapnel. Those of us who have had that experience have a much livelier appreciation and a more accurate realization of how the Indians feel to-day. How do you think the Indian High Commissioner feels when he sees on the front page of " Muster " of 14th November a photograph of the "Virona" loading 17,500 tons of wheat for mainland China? The photograph was taken at the Grain Elevators Board of New South Wales terminal at Glebe on Saturday, 10th November last. Below that photograph appears an article headed, "Wheat to China. No Change Likely in Present Policy." The article reports that no change in the present policy is likely because of latest estimates of the trend in world wheat production and sales. I ask honorable members to try to put themselves in the place of Indians to-day and imagine how they would feel on picking up a newspaper and seeing that photograph and reading that article on the front page. If red China is allowed to conquer and control the passes down to the headwaters of the Indus and the Brahmaputra Rivers and the plains of Bengal the future security not only of southern Asia and South-East Asia but also of Australia will be seriously jeopardized. Honorable members may ask what Australia can do. I know that in view of our defence programme we cannot supply arms to India, but we should contact Canada and France, and any other country supplying grain to red China, with the object of stopping those shipments as long as the- aggression continues. We cannot and must not continue to supply the sinews of war to a nation which is acting in this fashion against a fellow member of the Commonwealth. Wheat-growers and wool-growers should not be asked to pay the cost of any alteration in policy. This is something that should be borne by the whole of Australia and not by any one section of the community. I would recommend to the Government that it consider buying the grain and wool that would have gone to red China and, in the circumstances, mak- ing an offer to India. The wool and wheat could be offered to India free or, if India preferred, they could be delivered on the basis of the Colombo Plan. At the very least the wool and the wheat could be sold to India on the same credit terms as have been offered to red China. Whether it was as a matter of principle or for selfpreservation, such an offer would be cheap at any price. There is no other way that I know pf - perhaps some other honorable members may have a suggestion - to assist India in her present hour of need. Let us remember that sympathy, however genuine, costs nothing, is unworthy of Australia and endangers our future security. This Parliament expects Australia's allies to come to her assistance if an emergency should arise. India, too, no doubt would like a little help in her time of trouble from Australia, a fellow member of the Commonwealth. {: #debate-38-s3 .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr JONES:
Newcastle .- I wish to deal with a few matters that are a little closer to home. I would have raised' these matters in the debate on the Estimates but the Government continually applied the gag and did not permit us to deal with many of the matters that we wished to raise. I refer to the granting of tuberculosis allowances or pensions to persons suffering from the disease and the serious delay that occurs from the time those people are admitted to hospital and apply for the allowance until it is granted. I am not mouthing idle words. I have before me details of eight cases that have occurred this year and which up to a fortnight ago had not been finalized. A number of these cases date back to March and April this year. One case concerns a man admitted to hospital on 19th June. He applied for a tuberculosis allowance on the next day. He was discharged from hospital on 7th August and returned to work on 4th October. To date he has not received his allowance for the time that he was in hospital. That man is married and has a family. Another case concerns a married man whose wife, fortunately, is working. He applied for an allowance on 7th February. He has been discharged from hospital but has not yet received any indication whether he will get an allowance. The third case involves a deserted wife who applied for a pension in June, . 1962. She, unfortunately, is in hospital. She has four children. Two of them have been placed in an orphanage and one is in a child welfare home. The other, a girl of fifteen years, is receiving £3 a week from the Newcastle Welfare Fund, out of which she has to feed and clothe herself. Although the unfortunate woman applied for a pension in June of this year, she has not yet received it. Another case involves a married man with five children who applied for a tuberculosis allowance on 13 th May. His family is living under bad conditions and the only income is the sickness benefit. To date that man has received no indication whether the allowance will be paid. In another case a married man applied for the allowance on 22nd August. The1 only income that his family has is the sickness benefit. His family has been forced to accept charity from various service groups in the locality in which it lives. This family lives on the border of either the electorate of Robertson or the electorate of Hunter. Another case involves a married man who applied for an . allowance on 13th June, 1962. He is still an inmate of a hospital. His wife is living in the country and his sole income is the sickness benefit. In another case a man ceased work on 5th March, 1962. He applied for the allowance on 14th March. His application was lost. He was discharged from hospital recently but it will be at least another five weeks before he can return to work. Only a week ago that man was advised of his position with regard to benefits. The eighth case involves a married man who applied for the allowance on 6th March this year. He was receiving part sick pay from his employer. He had also sought to have the disease accepted by the Repatriation Department and because that department and the Department of Social Services were wrangling about which department should accept responsibility, this man, who has a wife, was unable to ascertain his position. I have not mentioned any names but the eight cases to which I have referred are genuine cases. I have given facts and figures. I can produce proof of the matters that I have raised. I do not propose to make the information in my possession public but I ask the Minister for the Army **(Mr. Cramer),** who is at the table, to ask the Minister for Social Services **(Mr. Roberton)** to take up this matter with the relevant authorities in Sydney. I understand that one officer deals with applications for tuberculosis allowances from the whole of New South Wales. When a patient with tuberculosis is admitted to a sanatorium one of the first things that the doctor says to him is that he must not worry about anything. The doctor says, " We want you to get better. We want you to forget about everything outside this place ". How the devil can a man forget that he has a wife and family whose only income is the sickness benefit if he does not know whether he will receive the tuberculosis allowance or not? How can he lie there and get better and not worry about what is going on at home under those circumstances? An application for an age pension can be approved in approximately a month from the time it is lodged. I get excellent service from the branch of the Department of Social Services in Newcastle as far as age pensions and sickness benefits are concerned. I do not know whether the branch of the department in Sydney is overloaded with work and whether the one man there who deals with tuberculosis allowances has to do too much. If the department can get age pensions through in a month, it should be able to get this type of allowance through in a fortnight. I ask that the Minister at the table draw the attention of the Minister for Social Services to this complaint. {: .speaker-K7J} ##### Mr Cramer: -- Have you seen him about it? {: .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr JONES: -- I told him last night that I would raise this matter during the adjournment debate to-night. I believe that the work of the Department of Social Services in this respect should be decentralized. I ask that all cases in the north of New South Wales be dealt with by the regional director in Newcastle. So far, we have had excellent service from the regional director there and his staff. There is a great need for people who are suffering from tuberculosis to be told as quickly as possible how long they will have to wait for the tuberculosis allowance. In one case, the Repatriation Department and the Department of Social Services are having a wrangle as to who will pay. The money will come out of the same purse. It will come out of Commonwealth revenue, so what does it matter who pays? The honorable member for Corangamite **(Mr. Mackinnon),** who is interjecting, should get up and say his piece later and shut up now. {: #debate-38-s4 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member for Newcastle will restrain himself. {: .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr JONES: -- Let him restrain himself. It does not matter whether the Department of Social Services or the Repatriation Department pays. The matter can easily be adjusted later, as age pensions and other social service pensions are adjusted on numerous occasions. There is another matter that I wish to raise. We on this side of the House criticized the Government when it increased the maximum loans for war service homes from £2,750 to £3,500. We had advocated that the loan should be increased. The Government adopted Labour Party policy, once again. We then said that unless the Government increased the total allocation for war service homes, some one would have to go short. I believe there is a bit of jiggerypokery going on. I want to read a letter that I have received from an estate agent in Newcastle complaining about the service that has been given to him and his client. It reads as follows: - >Enclosed herewith is a list of our customers who we have had considerable difficulties in obtaining loans through War Service Homes Division. We have always found the Divisions methods very slow and delayed but never as delayed and confusing as they are now. One customer complained that it took eight (8) weeks to get a letter from their mail receipt section to the actual section dealing with the matter. We find that it takes at least this time for them to answer more correspondence and then when they do invariably there is a confusion or a repetition of advice previously given. In general we find ex-servicemen's applications for finance not immediate but indeed very much delayed. > >Trusting that you can assist some of these applicants. I shall now mention a few of the cases concerned. In one case, the application was made on 27th July, 1961. In October, 1962, the applicant was still awaiting approval to commence building. Another applicant applied on 10th August, 1961, but his case has not yet been finalized. Another person applied on 16th November, 1961, but there is still no finalization. Another applied on 21st December, 1961, but the case is not yet finalized. Another applied on 5th February, 1962, but his application has not been finalized. Another application was made on 18th December, 1961, and that has not yet been finalized. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #debate-38-s5 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr SNEDDEN:
Bruce .- The matter that I wish to raise relates to a fundamental institution of our Australian way of life. That is the trade union. The trade union occupies a very special position in our community. It has difficulties, but it has privileges. The whole of the Australian people look to the trade unions with a great deal of respect. They look to the governing body of the trade unions, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, with respect and expect from it responsibility. There is, of course, a very close tie-up between the A.C.T.U. and the Australian Labour Party. The Australian Labour Party draws the majority of its support from the trade unions, although it is true that a great host of trade unionists vote for the Government parties. The matter relating to trade unions which I bring up is that of unity tickets. The unity ticket is something that has been spoken about for a number of years. It has been spoken about for a number of years because it has been an insidious intrusion into the freedom of unionists in Australia for a number of years. No sufficient action has been taken by those responsible and able to take action to eliminate unity tickets. There has been a tendency for the Opposition to say, "Well, unity tickets have been spoken about quite a bit and we really should not give a great deal of attention to them ". That is quite the reverse of the truth and the reality. The matter of unity tickets is vital to everybody. It is vital to us because unions are vital to us. It is vital to us because the Communists in this country are devoted to bringing down crumbling about us this very institution of Parliament. Those people who sit on the other side of the chamber, I am sure, cannot be credited with those thoughts. So it behoves them to take action. First, let us define a unity ticket. A unity ticket is a conspiratorial combination of strength by two separate groups which know that, in the combination of their strength, they will be able completely to dominate the weaker forces against which they are arrayed. The militants in the Australian Labour Party and the Communists in the unions know that their combination of strength will be irresistible. The insidious nature of the unity ticket lies in the fact that, first of all, those concerned select who will have what position. Having selected who will have what position, they arrange the ticket. They issue the ticket, knowing full well that there will be a nice balance of positions between the militants and the Communists. They know that, by issuing that ticket, what they seek to achieve will, in fact, be achieved. The parties to this conspiratorial combination are the militants and the Communists. **Senator Cavanagh,** in another place, recently said that it is very difficult to define the point at which one ceases to be a militant and becomes a Communist. It is a blind line, **Mr. Speaker.** Because it is a blind line, the conspiratorial combination is easily achieved. A quid pro quo is offered, of course. The Communist wants power. He is prepared to take, if necessary, what appears to be a subsidiary position. You can almost always discover that the Communist has the real centre of power - the secretary's position. The Australian Labour Party member is permitted to have the presidential position. But the real source of power is the secretary, and that is the position that is reserved for the Communist. Recent history is sufficient to chart the progress of unity tickets. There was the Building Workers Industrial Union election in Victoria. Communist secretary Chandler was on a unity ticket with A.L.P. men. What do you think happened? The Australian Labour Party took action against the A.L.P. men on the ticket and expelled them for being on a unity ticket with Communist Chandler. We thought that at last responsibility had arrived and that unity tickets would be prevented in the future. We made a great mistake. The great mistake we mad- was that the Building Workers Industrial Union was not a major transport organization. The two men from the Australian Labour Party went to the wall. They were sacrificed to present the facade that something was being done about unity tickets. That was in November last year. Soon afterwards, there was a waterfront election in Melbourne. The. biggest, finest, blithering unity ticket you ever did see was the unity ticket on the waterfront which ensured the Communist control of the port of Melbourne. No action was taken against any A.L.P. member who subscribed to that ticket. {: .speaker-K4Z} ##### Mr O'Brien: -- Which ticket? {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr SNEDDEN: -- You would know all about it, you have been on them. The Australian Railways Union election was the next one. In that election we had our old notorious friend, **Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown** was on unity ticket with a man named Pauline, who was the pre-selected president, and a man named O'Brien, who was the pre-selected assistant secretary to Brown. Shortly after this, Councillor Cochrane, a member of a local government body in Melbourne, and a member of the State Executive of the Australian Labour Party in Melbourne, protested that the unity ticket had prevented him from gaining office in a contest with one of the Communists on the unity ticket. Councillor Cochrane reported this breach by two Australian Labour Party members. Then, of course, there was an investigation. Honorable members will never believe what the result of that investigation was. The result was that the State executive of the Australian Labour Party said that it would take no action against these two men because the evidence was conflicting - notwithstanding a complaint by Councillor Cochrane, a member of the A.L.P. Executive. That complaint, of course, was made after the election. Now we arrive at to-day's events. This very day there has been an election in the tramways union. There has been a unity ticket run in the Victorian branch elections and also in the federal presidential election. On this occasion an A.L.P. man - a member of the New South Wales State Executive this time - has made the complaint. He says that there was a unity ticket which was preventing an A.L.P. man from becoming president of the union. This complaint was about a man named Grace. Grace was on a unity ticket with Shooter, a Communist, and, of course, the notorious O'Shea. Grace says, "Why didn't **Mr. Coulthart** come to me and ask for help in the federal presidential election?" How could Coulthart go and ask for help? Grace, to whom he would go, or O'Shea, to whom he would go, or the President Edwards, were all on a unity ticket. But Grace made the wonderful coup de grace. He said that in fact there was no unity ticket. He said that what really happened was that the Australian Labour Party man was on a unity ticket with an independent grouper. Have you ever heard such nonsense? The point I want to make is that the Communist candidate O'Shea who was on the unity ticket is the man who is favoured for presidential office in the federal branch of the union over the Australian Labour Party man, Boyd. That is what Coulthart the federal secretary of the union and a member of the State executive of the A.L.P., complains about. In view of the vascillating attitude of honorable members opposite on unity tickets, I want an answer to a simple question. Is this complaint by Coulthart merely a manoeuvre? If it is not a manoeuvre, is it a unity ticket? Be it a unity ticket, will action be taken? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #debate-38-s6 .speaker-JZX} ##### Mr COLLARD:
Kalgoorlie .- I want to move away from the subject of war and destruction, and the resultant suffering of people who have been in wars, that was dealt with by the first speakers in this debate. I want to move into the entertainment field, but before I do so let me refer to the honorable member for Bruce **(Mr. Snedden).** He referred to the fact - and it is a fact - that the Labour Party looks to the trade union movement for support. In the same way the Liberal Party looks to big business for support. Big business, which likes to destroy unionism, looks to the Liberal Party to assist it in its objective, but the Liberal Party has not the courage to do what it is asked to do. I take this opportunity to deal with a matter that is causing a great deal of concern and is resulting in complaints by thousands of people in the electorate of Kalgoorlie. I refer to radio reception and the choice of radio programmes. It has been long recognized that radio reception in many parts of Western Australia leaves much to be desired. This has been proved already by the fact that in some parts of Western Australia the licence-fee is charged on a reduced scale. Let me make it quite clear at this stage that I have received a large number of complaints from many people in these areas about radio interference and radio reception. I have taken up these complaints with the PostmasterGeneral **(Mr. Davidson)** and also with the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. Whilst the board has done a little about man-made interference, it has done nothing about actual radio reception or the strength of reception and, of course, nothing has been done about the choice of radio programmes. Earlier, I asked for an investigation into poor reception in the Esperance and Norseman areas and in the Leonora and Gwalia areas of Western Australia. I was subsequently advised by the department that an engineer would carry out investigations in these areas about mid-June, but as yet I have had no communication from the department. I have been told nothing at all about the findings of the engineer or what will be done to improve reception in these areas. I wanted also to ascertain whether these areas were in the reduced-free zone recognized by the department. If they were, it would mean that the department already recognized them as poor reception areas. I asked the Minister a question about the position and I was surprised to be informed in his reply that not only were these areas about which I speak inside a radius that was supposed to have good reception but also that the department determined the zone on its distance in miles from a particular radio station or centre. There was absolutely nothing in the answer to show that the department gave any consideration at all to poor reception. This is the answer I received - >The full fee of £2 15s. applies to all places within a radius of 250 miles of Perth, Geraldton or Kalgoorlie. This area embraces all of the south-western portion of the State and the majority of residents enjoy a satisfactory service from at least one national broadcasting station. The Minister may be quite genuine in that reply. He might be quite honest. He may think that the service is quite satisfactory within 250 miles radius of Perth, as he states in his reply. I want to make it clear, however, that that is not the position. The reception is not satisfactory well within that 250-mile radius. Any one who cares to examine the geography of Western Australia will very soon realize that the area within a radius of 250 miles of Perth is very much different from the area within a radius of 250 miles of Kalgoorlie. Both the topography and the climatic conditions are completely different, lt could be, as the Postmaster-General has said, that reception is very good in the south of Western Australia, even perhaps 300 miles from a broadcasting station. But that is definitely not the situation in the Kalgoorlie region, where the heat is considerable and large mineral resources exist. I am not a technical expert, **Sir, but** I suggest that factors such as heat, climatic conditions and ground of high mineral content will certainly affect radio reception. It may be that the reason, pure and simple, is that the radio stations at Kalgoorlie and Geraldton are not powerful enough to transmit signals beyond about 100 miles. But, whatever may be the reason, the people in the areas surrounding Kalgoorlie and Geraldton have received a very poor deal for far too long. The Minister should long ago have investigated the whole matter to see just what is wrong with radio broadcasts in these areas. If improvement is possible, whatever is necessary should be done. If no improvement is possible, the Minister should see that the residents in these areas of very poor reception are given the benefit of reduced licence-fees. For the information of the Minister, I place on record the places about which I am talking in which radio reception and the choice of programmes are so poor. All these centres are well within a radius of 250 miles of the broadcasting stations. These places include Leonora and Gwalia, only about 140 miles in a direct line from Kalgoorlie, Kookynie and Mount Ida, which are even closer, and also Sandstone. Another centre is Norseman, about 120 miles in a direct line from Kalgoorlie. There are also Esperance, about 230 miles from Kalgoorlie, and all the places between that centre and Norseman. A number of centres along the Trans-Australian Railway are well inside the area within a radius of 250 miles of Kalgoorlie. Then there are Cue, about 230 miles from Geraldton, and Mount Magnet, about 220 miles from that town. All these centres suffer from bad radio reception. I ask the Postmaster-General to investigate the circumstances at each of these places. If he is not able to make improvements immediately, he should declare them places in which radio reception is poor and at least give the local residents the benefit of reduced licence-fees. I want to make it clear that these people are not just asking for their licence-fees to be reduced. What they want is improved reception, so that they can receive news broadcasts and entertaining programmes which they want, just as residents of the metropolitan areas can listen to the programmes that they want. I ask the Minister to take note of my remarks and to see what improvements can be made. {: #debate-38-s7 .speaker-JZG} ##### Mr COCKLE:
Warringah **.- Mr. Speaker,** I regret that the honorable member for Hughes **(Mr. L. R. Johnson)** is not in the chamber at the moment. I understand that he will be present shortly. I wish to refer to remarks made by the honorable member in this chamber last Thursday evening. This is a place in which everybody speaks the truth, or so I, in my innocence, believed. Last Thursday evening, the honorable member said, among other things - >I believe that it is time that the Government got tough with some of the people in Papua and New Guinea who bring Australia into disrepute by exploitation of and discrimination against the indigenous people of that Territory. No one wants Australia to get a bad name in international affairs as a result of the activities of a handful of racketeering speculators and entrepreneurs who do a disservice even to the decent people engaged in the same sort of business in the same place. What an alarming picture of our relations with the indigenous people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea is conjured up by that statement, especially if what the honorable member said is true. In the same speech, the honorable member mentioned three instances in which he claimed that Papuans were discriminated against by Australians, and particularly by Europeans in New Guinea. I shall deal only with the third case, which related to what the honorable member described as the plight of eleven Papuan seamen. After hearing the honorable member's remarks last Thursday evening, I was greatly disturbed in my own mind by the thought that perhaps the story that he told was partly true - even wholly true. So, last Saturday morning, I took the opportunity to visit the vessel " Vasse ", which was berthed at Looke's-avenue., East Balmain, to see for myself exactly what were the conditions under which these Papuan seamen were living. I found a situation completely different from the picture painted by the honorable member for Hughes. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- Things were cleaned up when those in charge of the vessel knew that the honorable member intended to visit it. {: .speaker-JZG} ##### Mr COCKLE: -- It is not a case of anything being done because it was known that I intended to visit the vessel. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- That is an old lurk, and the honorable members knows it. {: .speaker-JZG} ##### Mr COCKLE: -- I shall tell the honorable member all about lurks. I took the opportunity to meet the Papuan seamen who were on the vessel, **Mr. Speaker.** At that stage, there were ten, not eleven. One had already been flown to Port Moresby on his journey home. He had been repatriated because he was surplus to manning requirements. I shook hands with each of the ten Papuan seamen present. They were very nice boys of high intellectual calibre. I was told - and I believe it to be true - that they were good Christian lads. I also met **Mr. Ralston,** the principal of the firm mentioned by the honorable member for Hughes, and Captain Norman Stark, the captain of the vessel, as well as the Reverend Lambert Carter, the Minister of St. Andrew's Congregational Church, who, during the period of these lads' stay in Sydney, had looked after them almost like a father. The story that I was told gave the lie to every charge made by the honorable member for Hughes. It appears that **Mr. Barney** Smith, who is well known as secretary of the Sydney branch of the Seamen's Union of Australia and is also a well-known Communist, had - I believe, for propaganda purposes - made an inspection of the vessel some weeks before. He took with him on the inspection three newspapermen. If he had really visited the vessel to inquire into the conditions under which the seamen were living, surely he would not have found it necessary to take newspapermen with him. The story printed by the press was not published as a result of what the newspapermen saw. That story quoted what the Papuan boy who was later repatriated to New Guinea by plane had to say about the conditions under which he had lived on the " Vasse ". {: .speaker-JM9} ##### Mr Armitage: -- Is that why he was sent back? {: .speaker-JZG} ##### Mr COCKLE: -- It was not why he was sent back. As I have told honorable members, he was sent back because he was surplus to the manning requirements of the vessel. The newspapers published the story told by that boy. Obviously, if the newspaper representatives had seen conditions somewhat akin to those which the honorable member for Hughes claimed to have seen, the newspapers would have described those conditions and not just printed the story told by the Papuan seaman. But that was not the case. The honorable member for Hughes said that he had been down to the vessel and had seen for himself the conditions that he described. I spoke to each of the Papuan seamen present. Strangely enough, not one of them remembered this " great government man of Australia ". This fact can only lead me to believe that the honorable member had never visited the vessel and that he gave this House information that he had gathered by remote control. Obviously, the information was supplied to him by **Mr. Barney** Smith, the notorious - I use that word quite objectively - Communist who is secretary of the Sydney branch of the Seamen's Union. If the honorable member for Hughes had really been down to the " Vasse ", all the Papuan seamen would have said, " Yes, we saw him ". But not one had seen him. Perhaps the honorable member likes to get about and look at things in the dark. The whole point is that the honorable member for Hughes, if he was sincerely trying to improve the conditions of these Papuan seamen and was not acting for propaganda purposes, would have gone to the captain of the vessel and directed his attention to what he alleged were the unfortunate circumstances under which these men were living. But he did not do that - if in fact he was on the ship. Neither did **Mr. Barney** Smith go to the captain of the vessel and complain about the conditions. It is quite obvious that there has been mischief-making, or what might be called a unity ticket - a device about which we have heard something in this place - involving the good old Commo secretary of the Seamen's Union and an honorable member from the other side of this House. This matter has nothing to do with the shipowners. I am very sincere in raising it. I am concerned about the distorted story that has been told in this House to achieve one purpose and one purpose only, namely, bad relations between the people of Australia and those in the Territory. This story of the honorable member for Hughes no doubt has been plastered all over the newspapers of the Territory. The matter has been raised in an attempt to bring discredit on everybody concerned. Unfortunately, I shall not have sufficient time to deal fully with the conditions referred to by the honorable member for Hughes, but let us look at the words that he used. He referred to the plight of eleven Papuan seamen stranded on the vessel. Immediately, one received the impression that these poor unfortunates had been left without a friend in the world, and had been compelled to look after themselves. That is very far from the truth. The Reverend Carter, to whom I referred earlier, has been like a father to them. These boys were taken to Luna Park, although the honorable member for Hughes said they had not been there. They have been over the bridge, and they have been all over Sydney. They have been to picture shows and have been entertained at radio and television shows. They have been taken to the Blue Mountains, and they have been supplied with meals at the homes of friends of the Reverend Carter. The honorable member for Hughes said that they were living in most shocking circumstances. They were living in a forecastle of a type which is normally built for people to live in at sea, particularly on ships travelling around the Territory. The honorable member claimed that it had no reasonable ventilation. It has six portholes and three ventilators. The door was locked at night. If the honorable member knows anything about the conditions under which Papuans live in the village at Port Moresby, he will know that the doors are closed and that they sleep in a confined and closed area. The forecastle on this vessel had more ventilation than these boys normally are used to. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #debate-38-s8 .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr HAYDEN:
Oxley .- I heard the honorable member for Warringah **(Mr. Cockle)** refer to a remotely controlled body. One's attention is directed to his performance in the House to-night. I wonder whether he realizes what a perfect example he is of remote control. The ship-owners pull the strings and he jumps and like a ventriloquist's dummy mouths the words they want him to speak. I remind him of the words of the honorable member for Wakefield **(Mr. Kelly)** who, in a tariff debate a few weeks ago said that there were far to many dummies on the Government side of the House. I am inclined to agree with him once again, having heard the statements that have just been made in this chamber. However, I wish quickly to move on to another matter. I think it is generally agreed in the community that the legal profession has established a fairly high standard of ethics, to which its members generally subscribe. However, there are exceptions. There are those individuals in the profession who are prepared to accept a brief from any source whatsoever, without worrying about the principles, and without bothering to check the truth of allegations, so long as they are allowed to make a little sensational capital out of it. I think there is good cause to suspect that the honorable member for Bruce **(Mr. Snedden)** received a brief from an outside source. One wonders whether he showed much fussiness in accepting that brief. If he wishes to impugn the ideologies and philosophies of any political party, let him examine the background and connections of the young Liberal movement in the State of Queensland. He has only to walk into the Library and pick up the little pamphlets which are printed by the movements to see the tie-up which is developing between that organization, which is affiliated with the body which sends him here as its representative, and the Fascist organization known as the Australian League of Rights, led by a man named Butler, and renowned for its racial intolerance and its religious bias. {: .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: -- That is Killen's show, isn't it? {: .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr HAYDEN: -- I do not wish to impugn the name of any honorable member. There are more important contributions to be made to debate in this Federal Parliament than to indulge in groundless and unfounded muck-raking such as we heard from the honorable member for Bruce a few minutes ago. I remind him that certain people who indulged in that kind of thing a short time ago are no longer in this House, because the people of Australia demand and require something of greater moment from members of the National Parliament. The Parliament is here to see to it that the country is governed properly, not to provide a forum for foolish, clownish behaviour indulged in for the sake of propaganda and publicity. Members of the Australian Country Party are interjecting. I do not think we should allow the interjections to pass unchallenged. I ask members of that party what they have1 done for the benefit of rural industry during the twelve of thirteen years that this Government has been in office. Despite all their hypocritical statements, I ask them: Where is the prosperity in primary industry to-day of which they speak so freely? They may fool themselves, but if they go out amongst the farming communities they will find what the true situation is. This wing of the Government has been remarkable for its lack of vociferousness in defence of the country man. It is remarkable for the manner in which it is prepared to allow itself to become of secondary and minor importance to the more powerful Liberal Party. These honorable members opposite who are so opposed to particular policies of the Labour Party, as announced from time to time, and to points of view which we put up, were the first to sink their principles as a matter of expediency and rush to Communist China to support the wheat-growers and the wool-growers. The honorable member for McPherson **(Mr. Barnes),** that glum old conservative who gets the material for his contributions to debate in this House from the latest issues of the "Bulletin", or some other reactionary magazine, knows that that is so. Let me get back to the allegations of the honorable member for Bruce. I am surprised that he should come into the House and indulge in this kind of thing, I thought that, with his background, he would have been able to make a much better contribution. However, there are more important things to discuss in the short time available to me. The honorable member for Warringah is short-sighted, both physically and mentally- {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member will withdraw that remark. {: .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr HAYDEN: -- I withdraw it. There has been too much of this kind of behaviour by supporters of the Government during its term of office. They lack a true appreciation of what this country requires. Now, let me refer briefly to the matter with which the honorable member for Yarra **(Mr. Cairns)** dealt, namely Labour's policy concerning a nuclear-free zone. I should like to hear the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** answer questions which were posed to him to-day on this subject. We have already heard him say that the establishment of bases in the Cuba area capable of projecting nuclear armaments was provocation to the United States of America and that that country was justified in taking the action that it took. Do honorable members deny that? Of course they do not. Nor does the Prime Minister. There is a matter of logic. Would it not be correct also that if Australia had similar bases established here we would be provoking other nations, and if other nations took objection to this would they not be entitled to take similar action to that taken by the United States? But what do those broken-down old war lords sitting opposite care for the welfare of hundreds of thousands of young people in this country? What do they care for the welfare of the children who will be brought into this world disfigured and deformed because of nuclear fall-out? Why do they not take some positive action to see that nuclear testing is banned in this country and in the rest of the world? Why do they not take the lead and show the rest of the world what the rank and file desire? The policy of the Labour Party in relation to a nuclearfree zone in the southern hemisphere is now being endorsed by some nations. One of them is Brazil and others will follow. Why does not this Government show that it has an independent streak and establish a foreign policy which will set it up as a shining example to the newer nations of the world which are looking for a leader in this situation. The Commonwealth Government has yet to show that it is capable of establishing its own foreign policy. It continually looks over its shoulder to see what the United States is doing and then it slavishly follows the United States. Apparently the Government has an inferiority complex when it comes to matters of such magnitude as formulating its own foreign policy. The Government apparently fears that to speak forthrightly and independently would mar it in the eyes of the world, but different evidence is available. The newly emergent countries which are forming such a powerful bloc in the United Nations wish to see a leader of independent ability arise to guide them through the trouble and turmoil of international conflict. Peace is the earnest desire of the rank and file of the world. As the honorable member for Parkes **(Mr. Haylen)** has pointed out, it is something indivisible. But honorable members opposite would willingly have this country involved in a nuclear war. As the President of the United States pointed out, the fruits of victory from a nuclear war would be dust and ashes in the mouth of the victor, if the victor were lucky enough to have a mouth. I should like the Government to make a statement on the position. If it is to take such an aggressive stand on these issues, just what nation is committed unconditionally to come to Australia's support should we be involved in hostilities? As I understand it and as I have heard it interpreted on many occasions, the Anzus and Seato treaties- {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order. The honorable member's time has expired. {: #debate-38-s9 .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr WENTWORTH:
Mackellar -- The honorable member for Oxley **(Mr. Hayden)** described as groundless the material brought forward by the honorable member for Bruce **(Mr. Snedden).** I wonder how groundless it was. For example, **Mr. Coulthart,** who is a member of the New South Wales Executive of the Australian Labour Party and federal secretary of the Tramways Union had this to say about the unity ticket - >I am aware of the unity ticket in Victoria but that is where it ends. Branches in South Australia, Tasmania, Queensland and New South Wales will have no bar of the ticket. There is a clear statement by a member of the Labour Party executive on this matter. If honorable members opposite want to brush it off as groundless let them look at the other evidence. I have here a ticket which was distributed to-day by supporters of the combined unity ticket at the election. On this ticket votes are called for three Communists, a **Mr. Lawson,** a **Mr. O'Shea** and a **Mr. Shooter.** They are all selfconfessed Communists. They boast that they are Communists. There is no doubt about it. Also on that ticket are the names of a number of people who describe themselves as members of the Australian Labour Party. There is no doubt that members of the A.L.P. work together with known selfconfessed Communists in a unity ticket to obtain office at these elections. Honorable members opposite may say that they prefer a Communist to a member of the Australian Democratic Labour Party. I know that many of them do. I think that they are very wrong in doing so, but some of them have said that they prefer a Communist to a D.L.P. man. They may say that they vote for the Communist because they do not want to vote for a member of the D.L.P., but what happened at the election for the position of federal president which also was held to-day? In this case there were three candidates. There was a **Mr. O'Shea,** who is a notorious Communist, a **Mr. Boyd,** who is a member of the A.L.P. and was receiving A.L.P. support in States other than Victoria, and a **Mr. Thompson,** of the industrial groups. One would have thought that Labour men in Victoria would have supported **Mr. Boyd,** the A.L.P. candidate, but they did not. They advocated a No. 1 vote for O'Shea, the Communist, in preference to the A.L.P. candidate. This is not a case of preferring a Communist to a D.L.P. man; this is a case of preferring a Communist to an A.L.P. man because the Communist was on the unity ticket. In relation to this election for the federal presidency, the A.L.P. nominee was not a supporter of the Communist Party. There is irrefutable evidence that this is so. For example, **Mr. Grace,** one of the A.L.P. candidates on the ticket, when speaking at Essendon, advocated a vote for O'Shea in preference to the A.L.P. man, Boyd. **Mr. Edwards,** another candidate on the unity ticket, did the same thing on the track at Brunswick last week. These are facts. These how-to-vote cards were handed out to-day by supporters of the unity ticket calling for a vote for the Communist O'Shea in preference to the A.L.P. man, Boyd. It is a shameful thing that a person should vote for a Communist before a D.L.P. man. Honorable members opposite might not agree with me on that, but will they agree with me that it is a shameful thing to vote for a Communist before an A.L.P. man? Surely not! Yet these people in Victoria who allege themselves to be A.L.P. supporters advocated just that. Let us have a look at **Mr. Grace** because honorable members should be warned of the kind of man who is advocating a Communist in preference to an A.L.P. man. **Mr. Grace** was expelled from the Labour Party at one stage because of his attacks on the Chifley Government for its attitude to the coal strike. He was expelled from the Camberwell branch of the Labour Party in 1950. In one of his outbursts **Mr. Grace** declared, "The Labour Party stinks", and left the meeting. He was re-admitted to the A.L.P. after the Labour Party split in, I think, 1955, when the pro-Communist element regained control of the A.L.P. in Victoria. In 1958 while a member of the Victorian central executive of the A.L.P.- {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- I rise to order. I ask for a withdrawal of that remark. The honorable member said that the proCommunist element regained control in Victoria in 1955. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! No point of order is involved. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- I regarded that remark as personally offensive. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member will resume his seat. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- I demand a withdrawal. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! There is no point of order. The honorable member will resume his seat. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- I disagree with you. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- I do not.-- {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- I do not.-- {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! I name the honorable member for Wills. Motion (by **Mr. Cramer)** proposed - >That the honorable member for Wills be suspended from the service of the House. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: -- **Mr. Speaker,** would you give the honorable member an opportunity to make amends to you for his remarks, which undoubtedly flowed from a sense of grievance at your ruling? I submit that the honorable member is an orderly member of the House. I do not remember his ever having been named before or having to be called to order in this way by you before. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Does the honorable member wish to apologize? {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- I apologize to you, **Mr. Speaker.** {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I accept the apology, and in the circumstances, no action will be taken against the honorable member. {: .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr WENTWORTH: -- As I was saying, in 1958, whilst a member of the Victorian central executive of the A.L.P., **Mr. Grace** was warned by that body to be more careful in future, because it had been reported to theexecutive - and Grace admitted it - that he had signed the nomination form of the Communist O'Shea for the position of secretary of the Victorian branch of the union. He has appeared frequently and notorously on unity tickets. **Mr. Edwards,** another of the so called A.L.P. candidates, appeared on unity tickets in 1956, 1958, 1960 and 1962. **Mr. Dye,** who appeared on unity tickets with Communists in 1952, 1954, 1956, 1958, 1960 and 1962, was expelled from the A.L.P in May, 1953, at the time when the A.L.P. in Victoria was riot under pro-Communist control. {: .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr Jones: -- Shut up! {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member will withdraw that remark. {: .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr Jones: -- I withdraw it. {: .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr WENTWORTH: -- The honorable member for Oxley **(Mr. Hayden)** said that these charges were groundless. They are proved by what **Mr. Coulthart** said. They are proved by the facts that I have produced in this House to-night. He also said they were unimportant. It is an important thing when the party opposite.-- {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. Motion (by **Mr. Cramer)** put - >That the question be now put. The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Sir John McLeay.) AYES: 55 NOES: 52 Majority . . 3 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Original question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 11.39 p.m. until Tuesday, 27th November, at 2.30 p.m. {: .page-start } page 2550 {:#debate-39} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS The following answers to questions were circulated: - {:#subdebate-39-0} #### Broadcasting and Television {: #subdebate-39-0-s0 .speaker-KXI} ##### Mr Webb:
STIRLING, WESTERN AUSTRALIA b asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice - >Will he consider providing for a single licencefee of £5 where both a television receiver and a radio receiver are kept in the one house? {: #subdebate-39-0-s1 .speaker-KCA} ##### Mr Davidson:
Postmaster-General · DAWSON, QUEENSLAND · CP -- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows: - >The present licence-fees of £5 for television and £215s. for broadcast receivers are fixed having regard to the costs of providing the National Television Service and the National Broadcasting Service. Operational and capital costs in recent years have been appreciably higher than the revenue derived from licence-fees and, as the vast majority of the holders of television viewers' licences also possess broadcast receivers, the position would be further aggravated if the existing fees totalling £715s., were reduced. {:#subdebate-39-1} #### Broken Hill to Port Pirie Railway {: #subdebate-39-1-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: m asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What progress has been made with the investigations and survey of the Broken Hill-Port Pirie railway line for which the Commonwealth made payments to South Australia in each of the last three financial years? 1. Why is the Commonwealth making no payments for this purpose in this financial year? {: #subdebate-39-1-s1 .speaker-KMB} ##### Mr Opperman:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Advice received from the South Australian Railway Administration indicates that, in cases of major deviations, i.e. between Jamestown and Yongala and between Ucolta and Methuen, detailed plans from the aerial survey are available to permit of determination of the final centre line being approximately half of the length involved. Preliminary plans are available for the remainder, and detailed plans are on order. Between Crystal Brook and Jamestown and between Methuen and McDonald's Hill improvements to the existing alinement have been investigated within the limits of topographical information now available. Detailed plans to cover these two sections are on order. Between McDonald's Hill and Cockburn sufficient information has been compiled to permit the preparation of contract drawings. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Provision of £50,000 to the South Australian Government for this purpose was approved by the Commonwealth Government in October, 1958. Up to 30th September, 1962, expenditure amounting to £18,502 has been charged by the State against this advance, leaving a balance of £31,498 still available for survey work approved by the Minister. {:#subdebate-39-2} #### Shipping {: #subdebate-39-2-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: m asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice - >Will he give information concerning tankers in the coasting trade for 1951 corresponding to the information he gave me for 1961 in reply to the question which I placed on the notice-paper on the 4th October, the answer to which appeared in " Hansard " on 23rd October, on page 1855? {: #subdebate-39-2-s1 .speaker-KMB} ##### Mr Opperman:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - >In 1951, no oil tankers were licensed to engage in the coasting trade and no tankers held continuing permits to engage in that trade. In that year, single-voyage permits were issued to 24 British registered tankers and exemptions were granted to 24 foreign registered tankers covering single voyages carrying petroloum products on the Australian coast, in accordance with the provisions of the Navigation Act as it stood at that time. There foreign tankers were registered in the following countries: - Communist China. {: #subdebate-39-2-s2 .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr Hayden: n asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is the Government concerned over the existence of the China-India border dispute? 1. Will the Government support the application by China for entry to the United Nations so that the good influences of that body can be more effectively invoked to settle this dispute? {: #subdebate-39-2-s3 .speaker-126} ##### Sir Garfield Barwick:
Attorney-General · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. The Government is deeply concerned that this dispute has led to aggression by Communist China against a fellow member of the Commonwealth. An expression .of our sympathy and willingness to assist has been conveyed to the Government of India and discussions are proceeding. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. The Government's attitude to the representation of China in the United Nations is well known. There is no reason to believe that Peking's attitude in the Sino-Indian dispute would be different if she were seated in the- United Nations. {:#subdebate-39-3} #### Papua and New Guinea {: #subdebate-39-3-s0 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP n asked the Acting Minister for Territories, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Are European women still employed in the Bulolo timber mill in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea; if so, how many hours do they work each week, and what is their weekly wage? 1. What weekly hours are worked in this mill by New Guineans who are paid the minimum wage of 8s. 9d. per week as provided by Ordinance? 2. Can he say what the profit of the Bulolo Timber Company would have been in its last financial year if the cash wage paid to its New Guinea workers, now 8s. 9d. a week, had been increased by (a) 100 per cent., (b) 500 per cent., and (c) 1,000 per cent? {: #subdebate-39-3-s1 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The company has informed me that European women are still employed in the Bulolo ply mill. They work 30 hours per week and their weekly wage is £10 7s. 4d. 1. The company has informed me that the weekly hour rate for all its New Guinean employees, irrespective of their wages and other benefits such as rations, lodging, medical services, &c, is 44. 2. The company has informed me that, because it has a substantial proportion of private interests, it does not wish to provide the unpublished commercial information required for the purpose of answering this question which in any case is purely hypothetical. {:#subdebate-39-4} #### Commonwealth Industrial Court {: #subdebate-39-4-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Attorney-General, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Was **Mr. Justice** Dunphy of the Commonwealth Industrial Court accompanied by a court orderly on a visit which he paid to Western Australia earlier this year? 1. If so, what duties did the court orderly perform during his stay in Western Australia? 2. Is it customary for court orderlies to travel interstate with Commonwealth judges? 3. Did the court officer in question accompany **Mr. Justice** Dunphy at His Honour's personal request? {: #subdebate-39-4-s1 .speaker-126} ##### Sir Garfield Barwick:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. An officer travelled to Western Australia early this year to carry out the functions of court attendant at sittings of the Commonwealth Industrial Court in Western Australia at which **Mr. Justice** Dunphy was the Senior Judge; no Commonwealth officer was available in Perth for the purpose. **Mr. Justice** Dunphy was not personally accompanied by the court attendant. 1. The officer carried out the normal duties of court attendant. 2. Officers travel interstate as required to act as Court Attendant when no Commonwealth officer is available locally to perform the duties of court attendant, but they do not personally accompany the judges. 3. No. {:#subdebate-39-5} #### Unemployment Benefit {: #subdebate-39-5-s0 .speaker-KXI} ##### Mr Webb: b asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice - >Of the 19,263 juniors under the age of 21 years registered for employment, how many are not in receipt of employment benefits because they are not yet sixteen years of age7 {: #subdebate-39-5-s1 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon:
LP -- No answer is possible since unemployment benefit is not payable to those under sixteen years of age. {:#subdebate-39-6} #### Northern Territory {: #subdebate-39-6-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: m asked the Acting Minister for Territories, upon notice - >In what respects do the laws of the Northern Territory still fall short of the standard set by the 1957 International Labour Organization Convention No. 107 concerning the Protection and Integration of Indigenous and other Tribal and SemiTribal Populations in Independent Countries? {: #subdebate-39-6-s1 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon:
LP -- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows: - >Although welfare policy and its administration in the Northern Territory are in accord with the intention of this Convention, there are various conditions asociated with the primitive nomadic life of some of the aboriginal population which are substantially different from the conditions obtaining in other countries, and these differences are in no way allowed for in the instrument. The principal differences are as follows: - > >Article 6 requires that the improvement of the conditions of life and work and the level of education of the populations concerned shall be given high priority in plans for the overall economic development of areas which they inhabit. Government policy does give a high priority to these matters but the absence of agricultural or pastoral activity among those aboriginal people of the Northern Territory who live under tribal conditions, and the fact that some of them are sparsely distributed over desert areas, would make it completely unreal at the present time to talk of overall economic plans for the development of the areas in which they live. Government schemes are, however, developing the areas on and adjacent to various settlements. For example, at Beswick and Haasts Bluff cattle projects are going concerns; at Hooker Creek and Yuendumu cattle projects are being established, and at Snake Bay, and to a lesser degree at Maningrida, sawmilling and reafforestation projects are in hand. > >Article 11 of the Convention requires recognition of the right of ownership, collective or individual, of the members of the aboriginal population over the lands which they traditionally occupy and this requirement appears to have been framed to meet the case of a settled community engaging in agricultural or pastoral activity. The nomadic habits of these aborigines who still live a tribal life and the nature of their own views regarding the land have led us to the view that the present policy of reserving large areas of Crown land for the exclusive use of the aboriginal population ensured that their present needs are protected and their future needs can be met. Those who have advanced beyond primitive tribal conditions can be given opportunities to obtain the use of land either on the reserves or by the usual processes of land occupancy as members of the general community. > >Article 23 requires that the children be taught to read and write in their mother tongue or in the language most commonly used by the group to which they belong. This could not be applied in the Northern Territory. An integral part of the policy of assimilating the aboriginal people into the Australian community is that English is the language which they are taught to read and write. In any case, most of the languages could not be readily taught because they have not been reduced to a written form and, if they were taught, would be of declining value to those who had learnt to read and write them. {:#subdebate-39-7} #### Coal {: #subdebate-39-7-s0 .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr Jones: s asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has Australia been exporting coal annually since 1950? 1. If so, what was the (a) quantity and (b) value of coal exported? 2. To what countries were exports made? 3. From which States were the exports made? {: #subdebate-39-7-s1 .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEwen:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 2. (a) and (b). The Commonwealth Statistician has advised that, during the years 1950-51 to 1961-62, Australia exported 9,811,000 tons of coal with a total recorded value of £39,369,000 f.o.b. 1. The principal countries to which exports were made were - {: type="1" start="4"} 0. The exports were predominantly from New South Wales, which shipped 9,364,000 tons. Another 446,000 tons were shipped from Queensland and small amounts of 708 and 269 tonsfrom Victoria and Western Australia respectively. {:#subdebate-39-8} #### Poultry Meat {: #subdebate-39-8-s0 .speaker-JOO} ##### Mr Beaton:
BENDIGO, VICTORIA n asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What volume of poultry meat, either in cans or frozen, was imported during (a) the year 1961-62 and (b) the first quarter of this financial year? 1. What tariffs are imposed upon such imports? 2. During these periods have any imports of eggs or egg products occurred? {: #subdebate-39-8-s1 .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEwen:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The quantity of poultry meat imported during 1961-62 and the first quarter of this financial year was - {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Imports of poultry meats are dutiable at the following rates: - {: type="1" start="3"} 0. Imports of eggs or egg products during these periods were - {:#subdebate-39-9} #### Factories {: #subdebate-39-9-s0 .speaker-KXZ} ##### Mr Peters: s asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice - >How many factories in country districts have (a) closed down, and (b) opened since 30th June, 1949? {: #subdebate-39-9-s1 .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEwen:
CP -- The answer to the honorable *member's* question is as follows - >It is not possible to provide a precise answer to the honorable member's question for two reasons, viz.: - (1) Separate statistics are not recorded for factories either closing down or commencing operations; and (2) Prior to 1952-53, separate statistics of the number of factories in country areas were not available. However, in 1952-53 there were 18,603 factories outside the State metropolitan areas and by 1960-61 (the latest figures available), this figure had increased to 22,210, a net increase of 3,607. {:#subdebate-39-10} #### Social Services {: #subdebate-39-10-s0 .speaker-KXI} ##### Mr Webb: b asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice - >Will he provide for the supply to blind pensioners of a telephone free of installation and rental charges? {: #subdebate-39-10-s1 .speaker-KZE} ##### Mr Roberton:
Minister for Social Services · RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows: - >The honorable member's request involves Government policy in the field of Social Services. In accordance with its usual practice, the Government will review the whole range of social services, including the possibility of liberalizations in existing benefits and the introduction of new ones, in connexion with the preparation of the next Budget. {: #subdebate-39-10-s2 .speaker-KXI} ##### Mr Webb: b asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice - >Will he consider increasing the allowance paid to the wife of an invalid pensioner when the wife is under the age of 60 years, to the same amount as that paid to a B class widow? {: #subdebate-39-10-s3 .speaker-KZE} ##### Mr Roberton:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's question is as follows: - >Any question of change in the rate of wife's allowance involves Government policy and is considered each year at the time of the preparation of the Budget. Doubtless the honorable member knows the rate of wife's allowance was increased by 12s. 6d. a week last year. {:#subdebate-39-11} #### Public Service {: #subdebate-39-11-s0 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice - >Is a person suffering from bronchiectasis eligible for permanent appointment to the Commonwealth Public Service? {: #subdebate-39-11-s1 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies:
LP -- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows: - >Persons suffering from bronchiectasis are not automatically excluded from permanent appointment to the Commonwealth Public Service. Because of varying degrees of severity and effects of the complaint, each case is given individual consideration. In the examination of cases, the Public Service Board, in conjunction with its medical advisers, ' takes into account the severity of the complaint and attempts to assess the possible effect of the condition upon the immediate and future efficiency of the candidate. Civil Aviation. {: #subdebate-39-11-s2 .speaker-KWH} ##### Mr Townley:
LP y. - On 8th November the honorable member for Mackellar **(Mr. Wentworth)** asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation the following question without notice: - >Will the Minister make available to the House by Tuesday next a summary of the performances of the Trident, the Caravelle and the Boeing 727, including details of speed, payload, range and aerodrome requirements? Then, or as soon thereafter as possible, will the Minister also make available information as to the capital cost and estimated running cost of each aircraft? Then, or as soon thereafter as possible, will the Minister further make available information as to why one of these aircraft should be preferred over the others in the re-equipment of Australia's internal airlines? It is not possible, because of the great number of operational variables associated with each of the questions asked, to give any more than a summarized reply. The information sought has been obtained direct from the Australian representatives of the aircraft manufacturers concerned and is listed below: - No decision has yet been notified by the airlines as to the aircraft which they intend to buy and it cannot be said, therefore, why one aircraft ma) or' may not be preferred to another.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 15 November 1962, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.