House of Representatives
6 December 1962

24th Parliament · 1st Session



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

page 3029

ABORIGINES

Petition

Mr. ARMITAGE presented a petition from certain citizens of the Commonwealth praying that the Government remove section 127 and the words discriminating against aborigines in section 51 of the Commonwealth Constitution, by the holding of a referendum at an early date.

Petition received and read.

page 3029

QUESTION

ROAD SAFETY

Mr CALWELL:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA

– I ask the Prime Minister a question. In view of the mounting death toll of the roads, and in order to promote greater road safety, will the right honorable gentleman consider including on the business sheet for the next Premiers’ Conference a discussion of the report of the Senate Select Committee on Road Safety which was presented a couple of years ago?

Mr MENZIES:
Prime Minister · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · LP

– Naturally I will give consideration to the suggestion of the honorable member.

page 3029

QUESTION

THE PARLIAMENT

Mr CHIPP:
HIGINBOTHAM, VICTORIA

– My question is directed to the Treasurer in his capacity as Leader of the House. I refer to published reports that the Government yesterday sustained its fourth voting defeat in the House of Representatives in the life of this Parliament. Is it not a fact that at no time since this Government took office after the December election has any member of the Government parties recorded a vote in the House of Representatives hostile to the Government, or deliberately abstained from voting? Also, is it a fact that there have been many more occasions than four on which, for one reason or another, the Labour Party has failed to muster its full voting strength in the House of Representatives?

Mr HAROLD HOLT:
Treasurer · HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP

– I welcome this question. It enables me to put some of these published reports in their proper perspective. It is a fact that this Government, which, as we are all somewhat uncomfortably aware, was returned with a majority of only two members in the House of Representatives after the December election, has on four occasions been defeated in votes taken in this place. None of those votes was hostile to the Government in the sense that any Government supporter joined the Opposition in voting against the Government. At no time during the period that has elapsed since the election has any member supporting the Government in this chamber-

Mr Ward:

– I raise a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The purpose of question-time is to elicit information. All the information which the Treasurer is now supplying to the House is on record in “ Hansard “.

Mr SPEAKER:

– Order! There is no substance in the point of order. The Treasurer is in order.

Mr HAROLD HOLT:

– The statement to which the honorable gentleman has referred has been the subject of front-page reports in at least one major newspaper circulating in New South Wales and, for all I know, in other newspapers throughout the Commonwealth. It is a matter of considerable importance that the community at large should know the facts, so that the Government’s position may be seen in true perspective. I have stated the facts. When I said yesterday that arrangements had been made for five pairs the Deputy Leader of the Opposition said, and he is reported to this effect in this morning’s “ Sydney Morning Herald “-“ That is not the truth. The arrangements were for four pairs “. I am sure that on reflection the honorable gentleman will recognize that he was in error. I do not press the point but I make it clear so that the record will be accurate. Had the Labour Party yesterday honoured the pairing arrangement as we understood it the Government would not have been recorded as having been defeated.

Mr Whitlam:

– I wish to raise a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I submit that the Treasurer, who is the Leader of the House, is not entitled to assume that the Chairman of Committees would have exercised his vote in favour of the Government if, in the circumstances which the right honorable gentleman has alleged, the committee had been evenly divided. Irrespective of the pairing arrangements which were made, one Government member was available who was not in the House and who was not paired. What the right honorable gentleman has said is only true if the Chairman had cast his vote in favour of the Government. Surely, in fairness to the Chairman, the Treasurer is not entitled to make that assumption.

Mr SPEAKER:

– Order! I am concerned only with what happens in the House. I cannot remember what happened in committee.

Mr HAROLD HOLT:

– I merely set the record straight by stating that pairing arrangements had been made which, if adhered to, would have enabled the Government to carry the vote, assuming that it had received the Chairman’s casting vote, and assuming also that the honorable member for New England, whose loyalty to this Government has never been questioned, nor is being questioned now, had supported the Government as undoubtedly he would have.

The “Hansard” record will show that during this year the Labour Party, for one reason or another, on many more occasions than the four recorded against this Government, has failed to muster its full voting strength.

I conclude by paying a very warm tribute to the Government Whip and Deputy Whip for the manner in which they have organized their teams.

page 3030

QUESTION

ROADS

Mr E JAMES HARRISON:
BLAXLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES

– I direct my question to the Treasurer. Having regard to the vast amount of Commonwealth money which already has been expended on what are called beef roads in northern Australia, will the right honorable gentleman have compiled, for the benefit of all honorable members, information relating to, first, the location and distances of all beef roads already completed in the north of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland, showing the total cost and the average cost per mile of these roads; and secondly, the location and distances of all beef roads currently being constructed, showing the cost per mile already expended and the expected cost per mile of the roads in their completed state?

Mr HAROLD HOLT:
LP

– The honorable member for Blaxland will appreciate that the gathering of the information he seeks will involve a good deal of analysis and contact with the various State governments concerned. He will also appreciate that the type of construction varies from State to State. A road may be sealed with bitumen or it may be a gravel road, or it may have to be constructed through difficult country, and so on. I shall see how far I can meet the honorable gentleman’s request, and he may be assured that he will have the information to the full extent that I can supply it.

page 3030

QUESTION

NEW GUINEA

Sir WILFRID KENT HUGHES:
CHISHOLM, VICTORIA

– I wish to ask the Prime Minister a question which is supplementary to one that I asked on 15th November about the arrest in Djakarta of the West New Guinea antiDutch guerrilla leader and Indonesian member of parliament, Silas Papare, for subversive action in advocating Papuan independence. On 30th November the Prime Minister kindly replied to the question in these terms -

It has not been announced that Papare has been arrested, but we have seen press reports that he was to be released from custody. Whatever the facts of the case, I do not think it would be appropriate for the Australian Government to raise the matter in the United Nations or else where.

I desire to ask: First, will the Prime Minister ask the Department of External Affairs why it did not advise him that the arrest of Silas Papare, and the reasons for such arrest, were also published in press reports? Secondly, why is the Australian Government not prepared to direct the attention of the United Nations to the Indonesian campaign to make the clauses of the agreement regarding Papuan self-determination a dead letter? Thirdly, will not such a policy of non-alinement cause Papuans in east New Guinea to doubt the sincerity or, at least, the effectiveness of Australia’s policy of eventual self-determination for Papua and New Guinea?

Mr MENZIES:
LP

– I will be glad to have the matters raised by the honorable member looked into at once. I will communicate to him the result in writing as soon as possible.

page 3031

QUESTION

BROADCASTING

Mr SEXTON:
ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

– I preface a question to the Postmaster-General by stating that in South Australia the Australian Labour Party makes regular weekly broadcasts over station SKA and that the Liberal Party does likewise over station SAD. Can the Minister explain why SKA rejected the regular Labour broadcast on the Friday before the recent by-election in that State on the grounds that to broadcast after the Wednesday immediately preceding an election would contravene the law, whilst 5 AD allowed the Liberal Party’s spokesman, Sir Thomas Playford, to make his regular broadcast on Thursday night? Will the Postmaster-General take immediate steps to enforce the law in this matter, and also to ensure that all political parties will be treated equally in the forthcoming byelection to be held at Mount Gambier on 15th December?

Mr DAVIDSON:
Postmaster-General · DAWSON, QUEENSLAND · CP

– I can assure the honorable member that it is the practice of the Australian Broadcasting Commission to treat political broadcasts on an equal basis as between parties, as do commercial licensees because they are required to do so. The happening mentioned by the honorable member, on the face of it, would appear to require some explanation, and I will certainly look into it. The act provides that no political matter shall be broadcast after the Wednesday night just prior to the date of an election. I have no doubt, however, that it will be found that the matter has been properly treated. I shall let the honorable member know the result of my inquiries.

page 3031

QUESTION

EUROPEAN COMMON MARKET

Mr TURNBULL:
MALLEE, VICTORIA

– My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. As it has been reported that the six countries of the European Economic Community are seeking a speedy decision by the United Kingdom regarding entry to the European Common Market, and as this House may be in recess at a critical period of the negotiations, will Australia, when final conditions for the entry of the United Kingdom are known, have an opportunity to express its views on the definite proposal?

Mr MENZIES:
LP

– The answer to that question is, “ Yes “.

page 3031

QUESTION

CITRUS FRUITS

Mr HARDING:
HERBERT, QUEENSLAND

– My question is addressed to the Minister for Primary Industry. Is it a fact that citrus exporters in New South Wales and South Australia have been undercutting one another in Asian markets, and particularly in the Philippines? Has there been any request from the citrus industry for the establishment of an export board to eliminate such harmful price wars between Australian exporters in overseas markets?

Mr ADERMANN:
Minister for Primary Industry · FISHER, QUEENSLAND · CP

– I am not conversant with any undercutting in the marketing of citrus fruits, because such fruits would be marketed under the auspices of State departments. The marketing of these fruits does not come directly within the province of the Commonwealth Department of Primary Industry. I cannot recall any representations for the establishment of an export board having been made.

page 3031

QUESTION

EXPORTS AND IMPORTS

Mr SNEDDEN:
BRUCE, VICTORIA

– My question is directed to the Treasurer. I ask: Is it a fact that in November Australia had its best export month for more than eleven and a half years, with exports of a total value of £102,600,000? Also, is it a fact that in the same month imports were at the high level of £95,100,000, or £7,500,000 less than the value of exports? Is the Treasurer able to give the House an assessment of likely future trends in regard to the value of exports and imports?

Mr HAROLD HOLT:
LP

– Naturally, we watch movements in the import and export figures very closely. My colleague, the Minister for Trade, is more directly conversant with the details of these matters than I am, but, of course, they are of significance also to the Treasury, principally because of their influence on the balance of payments. I think that we all can be gratified at the November figures, which, as the honorable gentleman has indicated in his question, reflect the highest monthly total of export sales for Hi years. Undoubtedly, our success in holding costs in this country at stable levels has enabled us to keep our exports competitive in the world’s markets, and we are now seeing something of the benefits of that situation. The period from November to April is normally the flush season for our exports, and I imagine that, with the demand for wool remaining strong and a good wheat season apparently assured, our export income over what is normally the flush period will continue at an encouragingly high level.

The position in respect of imports is not quite so clear, because we have yet to assess the degree to which the rather sharp increase in the level of imports is due to restocking after a comparatively quiet period for overseas ordering, and also the degree to which the increase in the level of imports has been influenced by the very buoyant level of sales in the motor car industry and by the use of a somewhat greater proportion of imported components in motor cars. But I think that, by and large, we can feel confident that our trading position is strong and assures us of a high standard of living for our people.

page 3032

QUESTION

FAUNA

Mr MAKIN:
BONYTHON, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

– I desire to direct to the Prime Minister a question dealing with the preservation and protection of Australian fauna. Has the right honorable gentleman received a letter from Professor A. J. Marshall, head of the Department of Zoology and Comparative Physiology at Monash University, expressing concern that the current slaughter of massive numbers of kangaroos for commercial purposes could lead to the end of the species? I ask the Prime Minister whether he will consider the resolution adopted at a public meeting chaired by Professor Marshall in Melbourne on 29th October, to the effect that -

The Federal authorities should be asked, through the Prime Minister, to place a ban on the export of kangaroo meat for a period of five years.

Mr MENZIES:
LP

– I did receive a letter from Professor Marshall, to which I sent a reply. I do not have the correspondence here before me, but I will be very happy to let the honorable member see the reply I sent.

page 3032

QUESTION

COMMONWEALTH FINANCE MINISTERS

Mr KILLEN:
MORETON, QUEENSLAND

– I address a question to the Treasurer. Did the British Treasury ever officially recognize the terms of the resolution agreed to by the Commonwealth finance Ministers at the Accra meeting? In view of the clear possibility that negotiations by the United Kingdom for entry into the European Common Market will be called off, can the right honorable gentleman say when the next Commonwealth finance Ministers’ conference will be held? Further, has a meeting of Commonwealth finance Ministers ever considered the concept of a Commonwealth economic consultative council with a view to fashioning a more cooperative effort throughout the Commonwealth?

Mr HAROLD HOLT:
LP

– I am not quite clear what the honorable gentleman has in mind about the passage in the communique issued at Accra, but I can tell him that it has been the practice for the finance Ministers of the Commonwealth to meet in joint consultation in the week preceding the annual meetings of the International Bank and the International Monetary Fund. This was the first year for some years in which a full-dress meeting of finance Ministers was not held. The Prime Ministers were holding their conference in London at the time and several of the finance Ministers were in attendance at the Prime Ministers’ Conference as members of their national delegations. However, the Chancellor of the Exchequer did call a meeting of finance Ministers in Washington. That occurred during the course of one afternoon. It was not the kind of full-dress meeting that we have had over recent years. My understanding is that it would be the intention to resume those meetings in the future and conduct them on the same regular basis. Normally, the meetings are regarded as meetings of the Commonwealth Economic Consultative Council, and so we are in a position to cover not merely purely financial matters, but also other matters of wider economic significance and of general Commonwealth interest in the economic field.

page 3032

QUESTION

PUBLIC SERVICE

Mr COMBER:
BOWMAN, QUEENSLAND

– My question is directed to the Treasurer. The right honorable gentleman will recall that last week I asked him about the possibility of making early payment of salaries to members of the Commonwealth Public Service at Christmas time. I now ask him whether he has given any further thought to the suggestion. If so, will he say what decision he has reached?

Mr HAROLD HOLT:
LP

– Yes, I have fully examined this matter since the honorable gentleman put his question. At a very early hour this morning I put my signature to a letter which I had written to him giving him the details of the decision on this matter. I will give them to the House now, as it is a matter of general interest. When the question was addressed to me, I looked constructively at the possibility of meeting the honorable gentleman’s suggestion. I find that to do so would create some complications and, in fact, would not meet the wishes of all members of the Commonwealth Public Service. Indeed, that procedure would be out of line with the decision announced in this House about the middle of November last by my colleague, the Minister for Social Services, in relation to social service payments. The same position is to apply in relation to repatriation payments. Social service payments, repatriation payments and Public Service salaries will now be paid on 27th December, which is a working day for the Commonwealth Public Service in all States. There is some complication in South Australia because 28th December is a public holiday in that State, but I am told that 27th December is a working day in all States. One of the points put to me was that some members of the Public Service - this consideration applies to pensioners also - felt that they would be better convenienced by avoiding the three weeks gap which would occur if payment were made a week early. I might add that what we are now deciding to do is consistent with the decision reached by my predecessor when this situation last existed in 1951. Those public servants who are on leave at the time will have received their payment in advance, but as for the remainder, it is proposed to adhere to payment on 27th December.

“HANSARD”.

Mr KING:
WIMMERA, VICTORIA

– My question is directed to you, Mr. Speaker, and deals with the distribution of the daily and weekly numbers of “ Hansard “. As there appears to be quite a delay before these publications reach their destinations, will you look into the matter and see whether some improvement can be effected before the next session?

Mr SPEAKER:

-I will look into the matter raised by the honorable member, and anything that will be in the interests of honorable members will be done.

page 3033

QUESTION

HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL BENEFITS FUNDS

Mr ARMITAGE:
MITCHELL, NEW SOUTH WALES

– I direct a question to the Prime Minister. In view of widespread public disquiet concerning the dispute between the Hospitals Contribution Fund of New South Wales and the Medical Benefits Fund of Australia, and keeping in mind that Commonwealth legislation has an important bearing on the activities of those organizations, will the Government intervene in an endeavour to resolve the dispute?

Mr MENZIES:
LP

– I will refer this matter to my colleague, the Minister for Health, who is in another place, and obtain from him such information as I can.

page 3033

QUESTION

ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY

Mr HOWSON:
FAWKNER, VICTORIA

– I direct a question to the Minister for Defence. I have seen a report this morning in which it is alleged that Rear-Admiral Gatacre, Flag Officer of the Eastern Area, yesterday asked Father Christmas for a new aircraft carrier and some submarines. In view of the Minister’s obvious resemblance to that distinguished character, and in view of the time of the year, is there any chance that the Minister will stand in for Father Christmas on this occasion?

Mr TOWNLEY:
Minister for Defence · DENISON, TASMANIA · LP

– If Rear-Admiral Gatacre is to get submarines and an aircraft carrier for Christmas, they will have to come from the conventional Father Christmas.

page 3033

QUESTION

STEEL

Mr KEARNEY:
CUNNINGHAM, NEW SOUTH WALES

– I ask the Minister for Trade whether it is a fact that new production records have recently been made by Australian Iron and Steel Limited, Port Kembla. Also, is it a fact that exports of steel to New Zealand and elsewhere have fallen? Finally, and particularly in relation to the latter part of my question, I ask the Minister whether it is a fact that the high shipping freights are militating very seriously against Australia’s efforts to increase exports of steel and other products.

Mr McEWEN:
Minister for Trade · MURRAY, VICTORIA · CP

– I understand that new production records have been established at Port Kembla steelworks, and I offer the congratulations that the House would wish me to offer to the company and to all who have been associated with this record production of which Australia is proud, and from which Australia will benefit. It is true that there are problems associated with the export of steel to-day, problems of shipping freights and problems of intense international competition. All I can say is that the company and the Government are acting along parallel lines in endeavouring to exploit to the maximum possible extent the opportunity to sell in export markets; and great achievements are being made.

page 3034

QUESTION

DEFENCE

Mr JESS:
LA TROBE, VICTORIA

– I direct a question to the Minister for Defence, further to information given by him on the comparative defence strengths of Australia and other countries. Is it a fact that the Australian Army is anxiously awaiting a decision with regard to re-equipment with anti-aircraft weapons, either missiles or conventional guns? Is it a fact that except for Williamtown, anti-aircraft defences throughout Australia at the moment are practically nil? Is it a fact that the Army is considering purchasing Bofors anti-aircraft guns similar to those used in the 1939-45 war? Does he consider that these would be in keeping with the modern Army concept or would provide adequate defence against modern aircraft?

Mr TOWNLEY:
LP

– I point out, first of all, that the country is not at war; and there is, in the country, quite a large stock of antiaircraft weapons, but, of course, they are not displayed. In regard to re-equipment with new guns or with guided missiles, the Army is anxious to get new missiles for antiaircraft defence. The Army has been examining the position for quite a long time. In regard to this sort of equipment, the Government and I must be guided by advice from the professionals. They are studying all the various modern guns and’ missiles available at the present time and I hope that, as soon as it is possible, they will recommend to me the type of weapon they want. When that time comes I feel sure the funds will be available to pay for the equipment.

page 3034

QUESTION

TRADE

Mr DAVIES:
BRADDON, TASMANIA

– My question to the Minister for Trade refers to the recent visit of the Australian trade mission to the

Caribbean. Is the Minister aware that no Tasmanian representative was included in the mission despite the fact that Tasmania is the largest producer of apples and pears in Australia, and with refrigerated vessels available on the “ Boomerang “ line, there appear to be good market possibilities for us in the Caribbean, particularly in the light of inquiries received in Tasmania from Trinidad prior to the departure of the mission? In view of Britain’s proposed entry into the Common Market, will the Minister give consideration to the inclusion of representatives of the Tasmanian fruit industry in any future missions to areas served by refrigerated shipping, and where there exists the likelihood of new trade opportunities?

Mr McEWEN:
CP

– I assure the honorable member that Tasmania is never forgotten in the circumstances he mentions. It is my recollection that quite recently I invited a Tasmanian to lead a trade mission. The fact is that the Department of Trade sounds out people who are willing to go on trade missions, as I said before, at their own expense, but the missions are serviced by the Government and officers of the Department of Trade. No restriction whatever is imposed by the department as to who may participate in such missions. Assistance is provided, but the Government does not pay the fare of private individuals who go overseas to sell their own products for their own profit; and I do not think the Parliament would wish the Government to do so. If any interests in Tasmania are unaware of an impending trade mission and for that reason fail to participate I will take double precautions to see that there is no likelihood of an unawareness of an impending trade mission; but I cannot undertake to select carefully those who may desire to go.

page 3034

QUESTION

EGG MARKETING

Mr LESLIE:
MOORE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

– My question is addressed to the Minister for Primary Industry. Earlier in these sittings I asked the Minister what action was being taken in regard to a proposal to stabilize the egg industry, and the Minister stated that a plan had been submitted to him through the Australian Agricultural Council, and he was looking at it. I ask the Minister whether he has looked at the proposal to stabilize egg marketing in Australia. I ask further whether it is intended to implement the proposals submitted by the Agricultural Council.

Mr ADERMANN:
CP

– The Government has considered the matter, which involves discussions with the State governments. The Commonwealth has recommended that certain action be taken by the State governments concerned. To date we have not had replies from all of them, but no doubt they are considering the matter.

page 3035

QUESTION

UNITED STATES NAVAL COMMUNICATIONS STATION

Mr UREN:
REID, NEW SOUTH WALES

– I address my question to the Prime Minister. On 29th November, in reply to a question by my leader in regard to the proposed United States naval communications station at North-west Cape in Western Australia, the right honorable gentleman said -

Whether or not legislation will be required to implement it will be known when its terms are settled, but if the Parliament desires to debate the matter when it is worked out, the Government will make every effort to provide an opportunity to do so.

As it is proposed that the Parliament go into recess until late March or early April, will the Prime Minister assure the House that no treaty will be signed before that time, and that no tenders will be called and no work commenced on the site until the House has debated the proposed base?

Mr MENZIES:
LP

– The negotiations on this matter, although proceeding, are far from reaching conclusion. I do not expect that we will have arrived at a state of finality before the House resumes. If that prospect arises, I will certainly be prepared to consider the suggestion that has been made.

page 3035

QUESTION

KANGAROOS

Mr KELLY:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

– My question is addressed to the Minister for Primary Industry. Is the Minister aware of the great damage done to the pastures of Australia by the depredations of kangaroos, which often appear in plague proportions? If he is aware of this does he resent interference by people who, though no doubt well-meaning, know all too little about the problems of inland Australia?

Mr ADERMANN:
CP

– Having represented at one time the large electorate of Maranoa,

I am conversant with the activities and the depredations of kangaroos. Indeed, a grazier recently stated that in the last ten years on his 71,000 acre property he had destroyed no fewer than 70,000 kangaroos, and they seemed to be as thick as ever. Some of these well-meaning folk ought to go out for a trip to the western part of the country to see just what is happening.

page 3035

QUESTION

ARTIFICIAL LIMBS FOR CHILDREN

Mr WILSON:
STURT, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Health. In view of the fact that children who have lost a limb or who have lost the use of a limb tend to become accustomed to life without that limb and lose the urge to use artificial limbs unless they are supplied while the children are young, and in view also of the fact that artificial limbs are costly and need to be changed regularly as the children grow, will the Minister suggest to the Minister for Health that in cases in which the need exists some assistance should be given to parents towards defraying the heavy cost involved in the provision of artificial limbs?

Mr SWARTZ:
Minister for Repatriation · DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · LP

– I will certainly discuss this matter with my colleague, the Minister for Health, and also with my colleague, the Minister for Social Services. It is not a matter that comes directly within the jurisdiction of my department. When problems of this nature arise they concern one of the two Ministers I have mentioned, depending on the age of the child. As I have said, I will discuss the matter with the two Ministers.

page 3035

QUESTION

SOCIAL SERVICES

Mr MINOGUE:
WEST SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES

– I wish to ask the Minister for Social Services a question. With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I shall state my reason for asking it. In the “ Sydney Morning Herald “-

Mr SPEAKER:

– Order! If the honorable member is going to quote from a newspaper report he must vouch for its accuracy.

Mr MINOGUE:

– I am not quoting from the newspaper, but I am telling the House-

Mr SPEAKER:

– Order! The honorable member can direct his question to the Minister, but he cannot give information or instruct the House.

Mr MINOGUE:

– Is the Minister aware that an organization is inserting advertisements in newspapers, inviting pensioners to pay a fee for advice which they should be able to obtain from the Department of Social Services? Will the Minister examine this matter? I will hand him a newspaper cutting for his information.

Mr ROBERTON:
Minister for Social Services · RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– I am indebted to the honorable member for West Sydney for addressing this question to me. My attention has been directed to advertisements appearing in newspapers from time to time offering, for a fee, the services of a certain organization to pensioners and applicants for social services. The practice is to be deplored. There are some 2,700 people in the Department of Social Services, all trained to give information and assistance to people who may require it from time to time. They are available at the directorates in all the capital cities. In addition, there are regional officers, registrars and clerks of petty sessions, all capable and all eager and willing to give people the information they require. There are innumerable voluntary organizations all over the Commonwealth willing to help those who require assistance of this kind, and there is no need whatever for any organization to advertise and offer assistance to applicants for social services for a fee. I should be grateful if all honorable members would assist me to discourage the practice. After all, there are 184 members of this Parliament, all capable of giving advice, and all eager and willing to do so throughout the various parts of the Commonwealth, and they are usually available at all times.

page 3036

QUESTION

INTERNATIONAL TELEPHONE SERVICE

Mr TURNBULL:

– I address a question to the Postmaster-General, who, on Monday of this week, represented Australia at the official opening of the extension of under-sea telephonic communication facilities between Australia, New Zealand and Suva. To what extent is it expected that this link will contribute to the development of closer relationships and better trade opportunities between Commonwealth countries? Are further plans being considered for the extension of this communication system to South-East Asian member countries of the Commonwealth of Nations?

Mr DAVIDSON:
CP

– The honorable member refers to the further link that has just been opened in what is known as the Compac cable; that is to say, the cable from Australia to New Zealand to Vancouver, linking up through the Canadian telephone system, with the trans-Atlantic cable. The honorable member asks whether this should encourage closer relationships and better trade opportunities. That certainly is our expectation, and it is our experience that such closer relationships and better opportunities for trade have resulted from the link in use between Australia and New Zealand. Honorable members will be interested to know that already the telephone traffic between Australia and New Zealand has increased by more than 150 per cent, compared to the traffic prevailing when the old radio-telephone system was in use. It will be seen that this link has provided great opportunities for closer personal and trading relationships, and that these opportunities have been availed of.

The honorable member asked also whether there were any further plans for extending this telephone cable system to the South-East Asian areas, where other Commonwealth countries are situated. The reply is: Yes, consideration has already been given to this matter, and there have been further discussions between the four Commonwealth partners involved in Compac, and also such countries as Singapore and Malaya, with the idea of extending the submarine telephone cable up the coast of Australia, past New Guinea and then to Singapore and Malaya. These discussions are proceeding, and if present plans come to fruition work will commence on that part of this world-wide system after the Compac cable is completed, which will be in about 1964 or 1965.

page 3036

EUROPEAN COMMON MARKET

Mr SPEAKER:

– Is leave granted?

Mr Whitlam:

Mr. Speaker, no leave will be given until there has been an opportunity to debate the statement which the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) promised to make on education. Leave will be granted to the Minister for Trade to make his statement before the House rises, but only if the making of the statement will not prevent the House from having reasonable time to debate the statement on education at a reasonable hour.

Mr Menzies:

– The Labour Party gives priority to a debate on education over a statement informing the Australian public about developments in the European Common Market negotiations.

Mr Harold Holt:

– Let me tell the House what the Government had in mind with regard to an opportunity for debating the statement on education. As the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) will be aware, and as he has no doubt told his leader and his colleagues, the Government has been anxious to ensure the passage of all the legislation that must be considered by the Senate. There are also two important statements on government policy to be made. In the present instance my colleague, the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen), has a statement to make regarding the present stage of negotiations concerning the European Common Market. Then there is a statement on restrictive trade practices, which the Opposition has repeatedly asked the Government to make to the House. I am sure all honorable members will agree that it is important that both these statements should be made before the House goes into recess, and at an hour when all honorable members will be able to hear them and when they will be acceptable for publication.

I believe that, with reasonable cooperation from the Opposition, we can conclude the legislative programme by dinner-time to-night. Then, assuming that my colleague, the Minister for Trade, makes his statement on the Common Market this morning, it is proposed that the statement on restrictive trade practices will be made upon resuming after dinner. This statement is expected to conclude before 9 o’clock. From then on we could have a debate on the education statement. That seems to me to be a very reasonable programme, and the course which I had proposed would have enabled this programme to be implemented.

I hope that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition will reconsider his refusal of leave to the Minister for Trade, who has been conducting these vital negotiations for the Commonwealth.

Mr Whitlam:

– May I amplify the reasons which prompted me to say that we would not give leave at this stage? The Opposition concedes that statements on the Common Market and on restrictive trade practices are necessary. We welcome them; we shall facilitate them. Nevertheless, the Prime Minister was asked to make a statement on education and he later made it; and, in reply to two subsequent questions, he has said that he would do his best to see that an opportunity was given to debate the statement.

We on this side have not limited the debating time available to the House; the Government parties voted to limit it. We are willing to have these statements made and to have them debated, but if the House is to rise to-night or to-morrow morning we will not forgo the promised opportunity to debate the statement on education. We will not give leave for either of these new statements to be made unless a guarantee is given that the debate on the pending Prime Minister’s statement on education will commence at 9 o’clock to-night.

Mr McEwen:

– The Deputy Leader of the Opposition has amplified his statement and I wish to amplify a comment on it. One point emerges clearly: The Labour Party seeks to exploit a debating opportunity to take a trick in the political arena by attempting to force a debate on an issue upon which a debate could have been conducted many months ago. In addition, the Labour Party seeks to do this in a manner which would preclude a considered explanation by the responsible Minister of the state of negotiations in relation to Britain’s entry into the Common Market - perhaps the last explanation which can be made before a critical stage is reached in the negotiations.

This is a question of comparing the presentation of a statement on a matter of immense substance to the entire Australian economy, now and for many years to come, with the Labour Party’s exploitation of an opportunity to debate a statement on education which involves no time limit. I appeal to the Leader of the Opposition to permit the Parliament to hear the report that I have to make. If he does not it will be no trouble to me to hand the report to honorable members on both sides of the House and to the press, but how often have I heard Opposition members say that this procedure should not be followed and that important statements should be presented first to the Parliament? Now there seems to be an abrogation of all that the Labour Party has advocated in the past.

Mr Calwell:

– I take it that the Treasurer, who is the Leader of the House, has given an assurance that the debate on education will take place about 9 o’clock to-night following the presentation of the statement on restrictive trade practices by the Minister for the Interior.

Mr Harold Holt:

– Subject to the legislation having been passed.

Mr Calwell:

– We have always been cooperative. We want to facilitate the working of the House and we want an opportunity to debate the very important statement of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) on education. At the same time we do not want to preclude the presentation of a statement on the Common Market because that issue is of tremendous importance to the future of this nation. I will grant leave now to the Minister to make his statement on the Common Market but I look for co-operation from the Government to facilitate a full debate on education at a reasonable hour this evening - about 9 o’clock - so that all honorable members on both sides of the House who want to take part in that important debate can do so.

Mr SPEAKER:

– Is leave granted?

Mr Calwell:

– Yes.

Mr McEWEN:
Minister for Trade · Murray · CP

– by leave - The purpose of my statement to-day is to inform the House, before it goes into recess, of the present position in Britain’s negotiations for possible accession to the European Economic Community. These negotiations, which had been adjourned on 5th August, were resumed in October following the meeting of Commonwealth Prime Ministers. The position reached in August and the discussions thereon by the Commonwealth Prime Ministers were described in the statements which the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and I made in Parliament in October.

At that time - to summarize the position - very few items of interest to Australia had been negotiated by Britain with The Six, though they had of course been extensively discussed between Australia and Britain. It had been provisionally agreed between Britain and the European Economic Community that Commonwealth preferences on “ hard “ manufactures would be phased out and disappear by 1970. Imports of these products from Australia into Britain would then be dutiable at the rates laid down in the common external tariff.

Certain broad understandings had been reached about international trade in temperate foodstuffs. First, Britain and The Six, at the time of Britain’s accession, would declare their intention to call as soon as possible an international conference to endeavour to negotiate world-wide agreements for wheat and other grains, meat and dairy products and sugar. Secondly, there would be a declaration by the enlarged Community expressing its intention to pursue in respect of its own agricultural production “ a reasonable “ price policy. This policy, to use the Community’s words, “ would offer reasonable opportunities in its markets for exports of temperate agricultural products “. Since the resumption of the negotiations, discussions have continued on the whole range of issues involved. Little progress has been made. It now seems that the negotiations will continue for at least some time in 1963.

There are, of course, other major questions to be settled besides the complex of trade issues affecting various members of the Commonwealth. There is the question of the adaptation of the British system of agricultural protection, based on a policy of cheap food imports and deficiency payments to its producers, to the Continental system. The Continental system, as it has been applied in individual members of the European Economic Community and as it will be applied under the Community’s common agricultural policy, would make subsidies to United Kingdom domestic producers no longer necessary or permissible because duties and levies would be used in place of subsidies to raise internal market prices to levels high enough to be considered profitable to producers in the enlarged Common Market.

This change in Britain from low prices plus subsidies to high prices protected by tariffs and variable levies would be the most fundamental change in British trade policy since her abolition of the Corn Laws more than 100 years ago.

To cushion this change, Britain has proposed to The Six that deficiency payments to farmers in Britain should be phased out during a transition period of several years. Thus, the change to the Common Market’s common agricultural policy with its system of variable levies, sluice gate prices, &c, would be more gradual. If this were not so, a sudden increase in the price of many basic commodities would be inevitable. The consequential impact on the British economy and the cost of living of such a sudden and dramatic change could indeed be serious and an embarrassment to the British Government.

For example, it has been calculated that if deficiency payments had to be suddenly abolished, the market price of English wheat would have to be increased by about one-third over the average level of the past couple of years in order to provide the producer with a return equal to the present British guaranteed price. I interpolate to comment wryly that the British Government attached such importance, a few years ago, to resisting a proposed increase by 5 cents of the maximum price of wheat under the International Wheat Agreement that it withdrew from the agreement. Apparently the British Government was prepared then to wreck the International Wheat Agreement in order to save 5 cents per bushel. Now apparently it would be prepared to contemplate an increase of 5s. a bushel to be paid to foreigners, not to Commonwealth countries. If that sounds a sour comment, the explanation is that it is meant to sound sour. Similar calculations for fat cattle and fat sheep indicate increases of about 25 per cent, and 40 per cent, respectively. These calculations assume that production grants could still be made by the British Exchequer.

I emphasize that these calculations refer to the extent of the immediate increases in British market prices that would have to be brought about - presumably by levies on imports - to ensure that the present guaranteed prices to British producers were made effective. No one yet knows the levels to which British market prices would have to move to harmonize with prices in an enlarged Common Market at the full Common Market stage. The necessity for Britain’s request to be able to move slowly from her low food price policy to a high food price policy is obvious - though apparently not yet to The Six.

The Six have made the counter-proposal that Britain should abandon its present support system and adopt theirs immediately upon entry into an enlarged Common Market. The Six are concerned to see that British farmers are not placed in a more favorable position than those in the European Economic Community countries and that the British economy does not get the benefit of having lower food prices than other members of the community. The Six suggested that temporary consumer subsidies be introduced in Britain to off-set the abrupt effect of higher market and hence higher consumer prices. They have not indicated how these subsidies would operate. Britain, understandably enough, is anxious to avoid any sharp rise in consumer prices for food. She has informed The Six that the proposal for consumer subsidies is not acceptable.

An important factor in the pace at which the negotiations in Brussels can be carried on is that The Six themselves must concurrently deal with a wide range of matters affecting the evolution of their Common Market. Moreover, the negotiations about safeguards for the treatment of Commonwealth trade in temperate foodstuffs have to take into account the stage reached by the community in the development of its own agricultural policy.

The community has within the past several months brought into effect regulations dealing with trade in cereals, eggs, poultry, pigmeats, wine and fruit and vegetables. These regulations have turned out to be no better from our point of view than I had anticipated. They clearly represent a giant stride towards a completely regulated market, insulated from reasonable competition from efficient and economic traditional exporters. The community has, however, still to settle the regulations that will govern trade in such important products as beef and veal, dairy products and sugar. The prospects in regard to these regulations seem no better at this stage than I have indicated in the past.

It seems that the sugar regulations may not be completed before Britain makes her decision whether or not to join the community. This, of course, is a matter of particular concern to us. However, as I recently anounced, Britain has agreed that the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement should be extended for a further year - that is, up to the end of 1970 - so as to continue to maintain it in operation for eight years ahead. I should also mention that Britain in its negotiations is adhering to the position that the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement should be continued, if Britain joins the community, or be replaced by an arrangement giving equivalent benefits to sugar producers in the Commonwealth.

Before referring more particularly to the discussion of Australian trade interests in the recent negotiations, I will briefly mention some other issues that involve the trade interests of other members of the Commonwealth. The question of association of British dependencies and certain Commonwealth countries with the European Economic Community has been the subject of further discussions between Britain and The Six.

It will be recalled that the community has offered associate status to British dependencies and to the independent Commonwealth countries in Africa and the Caribbean. Nigeria, Ghana and Tanganyika have notified Britain that they have no wish to accept this offer. Britain is therefore discussing the position of alternative arrangements for these countries. Britain has proposed, and The Six have agreed, that there could be trade agreements between those Commonwealth countries and the community. The possible form and substance of such agreements, and hence the degree of safeguard they would provide for the trade interests of the countries concerned, has not apparently been discussed. The European Economic Community has also agreed to leave open to these countries the opportunity to apply for association should they opt for it later on, and have agreed to a zero tariff on tropical hardwood timber, which is a major export item from Ghana and Nigeria.

In the context of the arrangements being made for other producers in the Commonwealth of tropical products, this Government is continuing to watch the interests of Papua-New Guinea. We are concerned that means should be found that would enable this Territory to market its exports on fair terms as compared with like exports from British dependencies that may gain associated status. Arrangements for India; Pakistan and Ceylon have also been under; further discussion since the negotiations were resumed.

The Six had previously offered to negotiate comprehensive trade agreements with these three countries by 1966 at the latest. In the meantime, transitional arrangements were envisaged that would involve the phasing out df preferences iri the British market on products produced by these Commonwealth countries. This means that they would face a worsening of their terms of entry to Britain ahead of the conn pletion of negotiations for the comprehensive trade agreements.

Since the resumption of negotiations* Great Britain has asked that the progressive application of the common external tariff to the trade of India, Pakistan and Ceylon should be suspended until the promised trade agreements are concluded. This request has been refused by the European Economic Community. It has, however, been agreed that negotiations for the trade agreements would begin within three months of Britain’s accession to the community.

With regard to the problems affecting Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the provisional agreement regarding what are called “ hard “ manufactures, to which I have already referred, still remains the only one which has been completed. This is the only sector of our trade where we have had clearly presented to us the situation we shall face after the end of the transitional period. That means in 1970 - no preference.

It is true that some broad understandings, as I have mentioned, have been arrived at about trade in temperate agricultural foodstuffs. But in actual fact, all we have at present in regard to our major bulk foodstuff items is a possible framework within which solutions may or may not be found after the whole of our preferences have gone. I shall say more in a few moments about the Government’s policy to obtain better international trading arrangements for primary products.

Before the Prime Minister’s Conference, the European Economic Community had agreed that transitional arrangements would apply to the trade of Commonwealth countries in commodities for which there is a levy system under the common agricultural policy. On those cereals on which there is a preference in the British market - on barley there is 10 per cent., on oats there is £3 per ton, but there is no preference on wheat - the Commonwealth countries would benefit until the end of 1969 from a diminishing proportion of the preference that the members of the enlarged community would extend to one another. This diminishing preference over lion-Commonwealth suppliers during the transition period would not be as valuable or as effective as our existing preferences. Our present form of preference would be lost to us as soon as Britain joined the European Economic Community. : As far as wheat is concerned, all that The Six have offered by way of transitional arrangements is the general assurance that they would review, in consultation with countries of the Commonwealth, the application of the intra-community preference if that preference caused a sudden and considerable alteration of trade patterns in the British market. This assurance is expected to apply to all products for which the community would use a system of import levies. The community has not been prepared to give any undertaking as to what, if anything, it might do by way of remedial action in such circumstances. lt has not yet emerged from the negotiations what The Six may be prepared to do even by way of transitional arrangements, other than the general assurance I have just mentioned, for such important commodities as beef and veal, mutton and lamb, and dairy products. The British preference on our beef and veal is three farthings per lb. for chilled, two thirds of a penny per lb. for frozen and 20 per cent, for boned and boneless. Canned beef and veal enjoys a preference of 20 per cent, as do beef extracts. Mutton and lamb do not receive a duty preference. For dairy products, our butter receives a preference of 15s. per cwt., whilst the preference on cheese is 10 per cent, for blue veined and 15 per cent, for other cheese.

If The Six apply variable levies on these products, as has been proposed in the case of beef and veal and butter, our preferences, on the current proposals, would go and we would enjoy a temporary preference of a different type for a limited period only.

As honorable members will appreciate, Australia has a very large interest in the British market for mutton and lamb and dairy products, but New Zealand has a greater interest at stake. Apart from wool, New Zealand’s export income depends almost entirely upon these products. The Six have recognized that New Zealand has a special problem but have not agreed to any solution.

In his statement in the House of Commons on 7th November, Mr. Heath, the chief British negotiator, stated that when the general arrangements for butter, cheese, mutton and lamb had been negotiated, it would then be possible to say what additional requirements were necessary to meet the special needs of New Zealand.

There is here the prospect that the Six may agree to arrangements for New Zealand products that would not apply to like products from Australia. We have made it clear to Great Britain that we would expect that there would be no discriminatory treatment as between Australia and New Zealand. We want to see New Zealand accommodated. It is essential that this sister country should be accommodated, but the whole concept of post-war international discussions as sponsored by western countries has been a concept of nondiscrimination, and it would be a travesty at this stage to introduce again into so important a document as this the doctrine of discrimination. We will fight for New Zealand as New Zealand will fight for itself, but we will resist discriminatory treatment. Britain has assured us that her object is to avoid such differential treatment.

Up to the time of the Prime Minister’s Conference, there had been no discussion at ministerial level during the Brussels negotiations about what arrangements might be made in respect of processed foodstuffs of interest to Australia and Canada and New Zealand.

In our case, this category of items embraces such important commodities as canned and dried fruit. Only recently have the Ministers in Brussels got to grips with this sector of the negotiations. The Six have opposed the proposition of tariff preference quotas which was put forward by Britain in line with our own ideas of what would represent a reasonable solution consistent, as we saw it, with both the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the Rome Treaty.

Their opposition would appear to be based not on any legal grounds but merely on doctrinal dislike of preferences. Their proposition is that all our preferences should be phased out during the transitional period. Again, I refer, sourly and wryly to preferences against all the rest of the world outside the European Economic Community, whether as it is or enlarged including associate members. They are disposed to abolish or suspend the common external tariff - we are grateful to hear - on kangaroo meat, rabbits and fish liver oils. This has been their response to Britain’s request for safeguards for our important interests in the category of foodstuff items subject to the common external tariff.

Before she commenced her negotiations Great Britain herself had made it crystal clear that safeguards would have to be found for our important trading interests before she would finally decide whether to join the Common Market. There is, it has to be acknowledged, no prospect that Great Britain will be able to secure tariff preference quotas of indefinite duration over the whole range of our commodity intrests. In fact, if The Six maintain their completely unyielding attitude towards preferences, even the preferences that are so crucial for such important items as canned and dried fruit would be whittled away within the space of a few years.

In arguing for the continuance of preferences we are opposed not only by the Six but also by the United States. It has its doctrinal objection to preferences - well, to our preferences, anyway. It has also its own trade interests in products like canned and dried fruit. However, despite our difference of opinion on the preference question, we have been able to enlist strong American support for action with The Six which would limit the degree of protection afforded in the Common Market to the production of certain items of critical importance to us and of importance also to the United States. These items embrace the major bulk foodstuffs, the major processed foodstuffs and certain raw materials.

The United States is now willing to put its negotiating strength behind getting worthwhile reductions in the common external tariff on a number of commodities of concern to us. I welcome this support. I say to the United States, “ We express gratitude for this support “. These matters were discussed by the Prime Minister and myself in Washington earlier this year and the United States support is the direct outcome of these discussions. The forthrightness of American support is heavily evidenced by the clear and unequivocal statement recently made in Paris by Mr. Orville Freeman, the United States Secretary of Agriculture. This statement has been reported widely in the Australian press. The attitude of the United States, coming as it does after those discussions, is very heartening evidence of the improved prospects for a renewed and successful attack on the problems of trade in agricultural products and raw materials to which I have many times drawn attention in the House and overseas.

Another important part of the negotiations concerns the treatment of certain raw materials of interest to Commonwealth countries for which duties are at present provided in the common external tariff. Items of interest to Australia, as I have pointed out in previous statements, are lead and zinc metal and aluminium. There is on this matter still an impasse in Brussels. The British requested zero tariffs. The Six opposed this. It cannot be said at present how this impasse may be resolved. But here again, American willingness to enter into negotiations for reductions in the common external tariff may prove of inestimable value. I hope that Australians who were a little doubtful when I spoke somewhat roughly of certain American policies, will realize that direct speaking has made a really constructive contribution to a review of American thinking on this matter. I express gratitude to the American administration for its willingness to help us to-day in these critical matters.

In making this report to Parliament I cannot at this juncture offer any opinion as to when Britain will be able to conclude her negotiations, or add to what I have said in earlier statements about the impossibility at this stage of making an assessment of what will be the effect on Australian trade. The British Government knows - the Governments of The Six know - what we have regarded, and still regard, as being the sort of arrangements that would safeguard our trading interests.

At the time of the Prime Ministers’ Conference there was no evidence that adequate assurances would be obtained for our trade interests. That is still the position. Of course, it will be for the British Government to weigh up the outcome of its negotiations. It rests solely with the British Government to decide whether it has carried out the assurances which it gave to us and others before it began its negotiations - and which, let me remind the House, that Government has repeatedly affirmed. We, for our part, have looked for arrangements that would clearly and definitely protect our trade - and not just for a transitional period.

I have mentioned broad understandings about trade in temperate foodstuffs. We do not think that Britain should rest her judgment on what constitutes adequate safeguards for our interests on the basis of general assurances only. If she does, then the Commonwealth will have good grounds for feeling that this is less than it was entitled to expect from both Britain and The Six. It is the view of the Australian Government that we are entitled to expect of Britain, and of The Six, that they will demonstrate a willingness to begin to translate their statements of good intent into practical terms before Britain joins the Common Market.

They will have ample opportunities to do this. I mention three that are in the offing. There will be - on the initiative of the United States and Canada - a ministerial meeting of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade early next year. That meeting, it is proposed, will pave the way for a further round of tariff negotiations following the recent passage of the United States Trade Expansion Act. It will also consider the equally important questions of how to improve international trading arrangements for primary products - agricultural and mineral - and how to ensure better access to international markets for the products of less-developed countries.

Then, there is the Gatt cereals group. Starting from a French initiative about a year ago, this seemed to offer prospects of getting to grips with the whole complex of problems affecting international trade in wheat. These problems have been thrown into much sharper focus and made more urgent by the common agricultural policy of The Six and Britain’s prospective membership of the Common Market. Indeed, many of the problems would be the direct outcome of the formation of an enlarged Common Market responsible for the greater part of existing world trade in many items of concern to agricultural and raw material producing countries. But when this cereals group met last February it was the attitude of Britain that was the factor, more than any other, that frustrated progress. We do not intend to let the matter rest there.

I believe that progress is possible if Britain will join in further discussions in a constructive and realistic manner. The crux of the problem is simple. It calls for a willingness on the part of Britain and The Six to give to external producers what they have promised to their own domestic producers, that is, remunerative and more stable prices. Britain has accepted that membership of the Common Market would involve the abandonment of her cheap food policy. The argument I have pressed in all my talks in Britain is that, whilst it is Britain’s business to decide how much it is prepared to pay for what it imports from Common Market countries, it is not equitable to pay us less than a remunerative price.

Finally, in the opportunities we will have to advance the Government’s international commodity policy, I mention the prospective world conference on trade and development. This proposal has commanded widespread support in the United Nations. It is a challenge from the under-developed and developing countries to the more industrialized nations to translate into concrete terms all the worthy declarations that have been made that international action must be taken to ensure that world trading arrangements are such as to provide fair and balanced opportunities for all countries. Britain, as the principal importer, should be in a position, if she so desires, to show us that real progress in the trade policy field is a probability and not just a hope. We want to know - we are entitled to know - whether there is any real meaning in the general assurances which The Six have given and to which Britain has subscribed.

In conclusion, I say this: Britain assured her partners in the Commonwealth that she would not join the European Economic Community unless she could make arrangements to safeguard their vital trading interests. She is the one who is doing the negotiating, not Australia. She is the one who will have to make the judgment whether or not to join the Common Market. If she joins without adequate safeguards for us, then, however serious the consequences, we shall be compelled to adapt ourselves to this new international trading situation. We will not be defeatist. But let no one think that there will be any easy solution to our problems in that event. We are entitled to expect reasonable access to world markets at prices remunerative to efficient producers. Other producers outside the Common Market have similar entitlements. In this regard, I speak not only for us, but also for all countries in similar circumstances, and especially, as I have done time and again in this House, for the under-developed countries, which, if they have not an opportunity to earn the income with which to pay their way in the world, will neither be politically stable nor respect the Western world.

This Government has pressed and will continue to press with vigour the case for better international trading arrangements for primary-producing and developing countries. In pursuing this objective, we have, in the past, not succeeded in attracting the support of some major importing countries and certainly not sufficient support within the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade to make real progress. However, it is heartening that this position seems to be changing. In the United Nations and in Gatt itself, there is very clear evidence that we are moving now in company with the great majority of the countries of the world towards a common objective. But it will not be easy to reach this objective. Especially is this the case in the face of the frighteningly protective devices already being used and in prospect in the Common Market in respect of trade in many primary products.

It is encouraging for us to hear Mr. Freeman, the United States Secretary of Agriculture, representing the views of the United States Administration. In the statement to which I have already referred, he said -

The actions the Community is now taking are going to be the largest single factor in determining whether the agricultural systems of the world are mindful of the need for international harmony or whether agriculture retreats into a shell of nationalism . . . We have been sharply troubled by the mounting evidence . . . that the E.E.C., instead of moving toward a liberal trade policy for agriculture, actually is moving backward with regressive policies that could impair existing trading arrangements. We cannot be internationally minded in the industrial areas of our respective economies and nationally minded and protectionist in the agricultural sectors. . . . My Government, of course, is aware that one way to deal with some of the troublesome agricultural trade problems would be through the negotiation of international commodity arrangements. . . .

We, on both sides of the House, who have sponsored this for so long welcome this assurance. This is Australia’s policy. Mr. Freeman added -

We think that a pragmatic approach is best, one which undertakes to examine, commodity by commodity, beginning with grains, the possibility of using commodity arrangements as a means of maintaining trade . . .

Those words could have been lifted from a statement that I made on behalf of this Government and Australia at the great trade and economic conference of representatives of the countries of the Commonwealth of Nations held at Montreal more than four years ago. Mr. Freeman continued -

Greater attention must also be paid, both in the short and long-term, to the effect on agricultural trade of non-tariff obstacles: import restrictions, quotas, subsidies, dumping, export aids, and various other non-tariff devices in use by member countries, including my own.

Mr Ward:

– Give us your views. Never mind about quoting those of somebody else.

Mr McEWEN:

– We know that many of the honorable member’s constituents in the electorate of East Sydney perhaps are not interested in these very great issues. But the Australian community is very deeply interested in them.

Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir John McLeay:
BOOTHBY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

– Order! The honorable member for East Sydney will cease interjecting.

Mr McEWEN:

– He should cease trying to make cheap political capital out of this issue, which is of such great importance.

I observe that I recognize in much of what Mr. Freeman has said the sort of things that I have been saying for years. It is encouraging to hear them said by a member of the great United States Administration. It is encouraging also to have the knowledge that the United States is closely co-operating with us in a variety of specific ways to contain and limit the serious damage which would otherwise be inflicted upon us by the accession of Britain to the Common Market and the adoption by Britain of the Common. Market’s frightening array of protective devices.

I have said before, and I repeat: There is nothing that we are fighting for on Australia’s behalf which we are not fighting for equally on behalf of all the young countries of the world. This Government is entitled to take some credit for the new attitude towards world commodity arrangements.

Mr Ward:

– Rubbish.

Mr SPEAKER:

– Order! I warn the honorable member that if he does not cease interjecting I shall deal with him.

Mr McEWEN:

– May I appeal to you, Mr. Speaker, not to stop the honorable member interjecting. He is helping me and damaging the Australian Labour Party tremendously. Please let him continue.

Mr Ward:

– Whose decision will prevail?

Mr SPEAKER:

– Order! The Chair will decide.

Mr McEWEN:

– There will, as I have indicated, be ample opportunities for us and others to see whether there is a will to translate this new attitude into action. When it comes to particular commodities - wheat, for example - we shall concert our approach with the United States and the other big wheat exporters. We are indeed keeping in close touch with the United

States and other important producing countries over the whole range of our common commodity interests that stand to be affected by the developments in Europe. The international trade convulsion - and it would be nothing short of that - which would be brought about by the establishment of an enlarged Common Market in Europe would in itself create a new situation where fairer trading conditions for all countries must be seen to be essential.

In any event we will not let our own producers down whatever the economic problems they may have to face. There may well be for some industries difficult problems of adjustment - problems not of our seeking, but thrust upon us. As the Prime Minister has expressed it, “ We are not going to wander away from these industries “.

Mr Pollard:

– I suggest that the Minister undertake to make more copies of this statement available to honorable members and that he move that the statement be printed.

Mr McEWEN:

– I am glad to comply, Mr. Speaker. I undertake to make an ample number of copies of the statement available to honorable members immediately.

Mr Pollard:

– The Minister interpolated when he read it. Will the interpolations be included?

Mr McEWEN:

– I shall circulate immediately copies of the statement as prepared for me to read. This does not mean that I wish to avoid having the interpolations incorporated, and I shall see what I can do about incorporating them.

I lay on the table the following paper: -

Common Market - Britain’s Negotiations - Ministerial Statement, 6th December, 1962- and move -

That the paper be printed.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Pollard) adjourned.

page 3045

ASSENT TO BILLS

Assent to the following bills reported: -

Customs Tariff Bill (No. 5) 1962.

Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Bill (No. 4) 1962.

Excise Tariff Bill 1962.

page 3046

BILLS RETURNED FROM THE SENATE

The following bills were returned from the Senate without amendment: -

Australian Coastal Shipping Commission Bill 1962.

Derby Jetty Agreement Bill 1962.

Western Australia Grant (Beef Cattle Roads) Bill 1962.

National Health Bill 1962.

page 3046

PRINTING OF PARLIAMENTARY PAPERS AND GOVERNMENT PUBLICATIONS

Appointment of Joint Select Committee

Mr SPEAKER:

– I wish to inform the House that I have received the following message from the Senate: -

The Senate having considered Message No. 87 of the House of Representatives has agreed to the following resolution in connexion therewith -

That the Senate concurs in the resolution transmitted to the Senate by Message No. 87 of the House of Representatives with reference to the appointment of a joint committee to inquire into and report on the printing, publication and distribution of parliamentary papers and all government publications.

That the provisions of that resolution, so far as they are inconsistent with the Standing Orders have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the Standing Orders.

I wish to inform the House of the following appointments of members and senators to be members of the Joint Select Committee on Parliamentary and Government publications: Mr. Erwin, Mr. King and Mr. Wilson have been appointed by the Right Honorable the Prime Minister, and Mr. Johnson and Mr. Stewart have been appointed by the Leader of the Opposition. Senators Breen and Marriott have been appointed by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and Senators Murphy and Toohey have been appointed by the Leader of the Opposition in that House.

page 3046

ALICE SPRINGS WATER SUPPLY

Report of Public Works Committee

Mr DEAN:
Robertson

– In accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1960, I present the report relating to the following proposed work: -

Provision of additional wells, reticulation and tank, to augment the Alice Springs Water Supply. and move -

That the paper be printed.

In support of that motion, may I say that the committee is satisfied that the correct way of providing additional water at this stage is by exploitation of the Outer Farm Basin. It recommends the implementation of the work proposed and as referred to the committee. The estimated cost of the work proposed is £271,000. The committee believes that any scheme which might jeopardize the replenishment of the Inner Farm Basin would not be suitable and recommends that an examination of all aspects of surface water storage should be made in relation to any future development of the water supply.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 3046

SPECIAL ADJOURNMENT

Motion (by Mr. Adermann) proposed -

That the House, at its rising, adjourn until a date and hour to be fixed by Mr. Speaker, which time of meeting shall be notified by Mr. Speaker to each member by telegram or letter.

Mr CALWELL:
Leader of the Opposition · Melbourne

– I move -

That the following words be added to the motion: - “ , such date and hour to be not later than the end of February, 1963.”.

The amendment will be seconded by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward). The Opposition regards the recess which the Government proposes as being too long. The Minister has not said for how long the House will adjourn, but we hear along the grapevine that it will not meet again until 26th March of next year. The reason given is that the Government does not think it desirable for the House to be meeting while Her Majesty the Queen is in Australia. Superficially, that might seem a very good reason, but when Her Majesty was here on her first visit, this Parliament was opened by her and sat after she had left Canberra and was visiting other places.

There is no constitutional reason why the Parliament should not sit after the Queen first arrives in Australia, or indeed before she arrives in Australia and continue to sit after she arrives. There is no reason for an adjournment during her visit. She will be in Canberra for a couple of days in February and she will be returning to

Canberra some time in March. The business of the Parliament is important enough for honorable gentlemen to be summoned in February and not to be kept waiting until the end of March. The Queen will visit Canberra, then she will go to other States. The only reason that I can guess for the proposal to keep the Parliament in recess is that the Government wishes to afford honorable members of this House and another place the opportunity to be in their own States while the Royal visitors are visiting those States. But that seems to me to be no reason at all for the absence of honorable members from these legislative halls. The times are difficult. There are a lot of problems to be solved. The international situation is far from being as good as it might be. It is much better than many of us thought two months ago it might turn out to be. We have every reason to be thankful to providence that we escaped a dreadful war and that the prospects of peace are at least a little brighter than they were not long ago. But there are still difficulties. For instance, there is a war between China and India. It may not be a declared war, but it is a very real one for the unfortunates who are taking part, and it could affect the peace of the world ultimately. The question of the Common Market is a very live and real one for the people of Great Britain, the people of Australia, and indeed, for the people of the whole Commonwealth. We have had an important statement today from the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) and we may wish to discuss it much sooner than March. Perhaps there will be other developments in the matter to which we should address ourselves very soon.

On looking back over recent times, I find that the only occasions when the House of Representatives had adjourned for periods of four months or thereabouts have been when elections were about to be held. In 1955, 1958 and 1961, adjournments of the then parliaments took place and the new parliaments did not meet until four months later. I hope that the adjournment proposed by the Government on this occasion does not mean that this Parliament is about to be dissolved. I would like honorable members opposite to have a more peaceful Christmas than they would have if there were to be an election. An election now would suit us admirably. I could not wish for anything better. Santa Claus, in his most generous moments, could not give us a better gift than an opportunity to seek the verdict of the people on the performance of this Government over the last twelve months. However, because I do not believe there is to be an election, I think the House ought to come back in February and not in March. If the House met again in February, there would be an opportunity for it to consider a bill to amend the constitution so that we could put into effect the recommendations of the Constitutional Review Committee. It would enable us to get a proper redistribution and an enlarged Parliament and to establish proper relationships between the two Houses of the Parliament. If we come back in March, it will probably be too late to pass the necessary legislation to take a referendum before the August Budget session. If we come back in February, we will have time to put the referendum to the people and, I hope, to carry it.

I commend to the Minister and particularly to the Prime Minister the leading article in this morning’s “Sydney Morning Herald “.

Mr Einfeld:

– It is a good newspaper!

Mr CALWELL:

– I am glad to hear some one say it is a good newspaper. It recommends the very course of action that I put forward in my speech the other night. Of course, that is not merely coincidental.

Mr Reynolds:

– It recognizes merit.

Mr CALWELL:

– It recognizes merit and it proves, too, that great minds sometimes think alike. The article suggested the taking of a referendum. It suggested an alteration of the Representation Act and it said that we must now allow electorates to grow in size so that the Parliament becomes unrepresentative. The will of the House - it was not declared by vote, because the Government carefully avoided that, but the Prime Minister was able to sense the will of the House - was that there ought to be a better system of distribution than that put up by the commissioners. We wish that the Government would take early action on that matter by altering the Representation Act. That is a task that it might very well undertake and bring down in February. We at least want to work, if members on the Government side do not feel as anxious about it as we do. They remind us of the position of Wellington at Waterloo. He looked for night or Blucher. They are looking for a long recess, and the longer the better, because when they are out of the House there is no danger of defeat, even in committee. But, of course, Wellington was luckier than the Government was yesterday.

I have moved this amendment and we will put it to a vote. We hope that there will be at least one defection from the Government side so that the House will come back at a reasonable time and the Parliament will be able to get on with the work that it was elected to do. I am sure that the honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull), who has an impeccable record for attendance in this House - he has never missed a day of sitting or a vote - will be here if we decide to come back some time in February, no matter who else is missing.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock:
LYNE, NEW SOUTH WALES

– Is the amendment seconded?

Mr Ward:

– I second the amendment.

Mr WENTWORTH:
Mackellar

– I wish to address my brief remarks to the original motion rather than to the amendment. We all thought that the House would rise to-night. When we thought that we did not know, and could not know, that the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) would be making in this House the very important statement that he made a short time ago. That statement was, as he Minister told us, made off the cuff in relation to events now taking place in Europe. It is fairly obvious from what he said that it had not been cleared by Cabinet and did not necessarily represent the views of Cabinet.

There are some of us on this side of the House who would not entirely agree with the emphasis placed on these matters by the Minister for Trade and would rather incline to the emphasis placed on them by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). I think it would be a great shame if the House were to adjourn and leave in the minds of people in England, perhaps, the impression that the emphasis placed on these matters by the Minister for Trade is unanimously agreed to by the Government parties. I am wondering whether there will be an opportunity before we adjourn to debate this statement. I say that this may be urgent in view of the fact that the statement has an impact, and, I believe, was primarily designed to have an impact, on the negotiations at present taking place in Europe in regard to Britain’s entry into the Common Market. I wonder whether the Minister can give us any assurance on this ground. As I say, I address my remarks to the motion and not to the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell).

Mr BRYANT:
Wills

.- I will be brief in supporting the amendment. It is very important that this Parliament avoid long recesses of the nature being suggested by newspaper reports. It is symptomatic of the way in which the Parliament is treated that honorable members learn when we may meet again from newspaper reports, not from the Minister who moved the motion or from the Leader of the House. This is a continuation, in effect, of the principle we discussed yesterday. The Government takes every opportunity to dive into a recess.

We have an increasing amount of business. We have shorter meetings and we have more members in the House. I took out some figures on the business of the House. In 1914, 32 bills were before the Parliament and the Parliament sat for 61 days. In 1915, the Parliament dealt with 53 bills. In 1956, it dealt with 113 bills; in 1957, with 103 bills; in 1958, with 83 bills; and in 1959, with 105 bills. In 1960 there were 115 bills before the House, of which 111 were passed. In addition, 103 papers were dealt with. We on this side of the House believe that the Parliament must have adequate opportunity to debate the matters before it. I regard it as an affront to me personally and to the Parliament generally that the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) should take this opportunity to read an important statement to us and then preclude us from debating it for at least four months.

My remarks apply also to the business on the notice-paper. Fourteen members on this side of the House wish to speak on education. Every one of them has an important and studied contribution to make, but how can they possibly do so? This applies to many other matters on the noticepaper. I would expect honorable members on the other side of the House to be sympathetic at least to the point of view we are expressing.

The argument that we must adjourn until March because the Queen will be in Australia then is not valid. She is, after all, a part of the Parliament. If she is here, she is here as our monarch. If we suspend operations on this specious ground, we place very poor value on our deliberations. I hope that the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) and those on the other side who express their views will see that, by supporting the amendment, they do something to help the parliamentary system. If the amendment is carried, it will not be a rebuff to the Government, and I do not suppose it will be a defeat. It will be a direction from the body of members of the Parliament that we will not tolerate a long recess. Therefore, I hope the amendment will be adequately supported.

Mr KILLEN:
Moreton

.- I regret entering into any form of conflict with my friend, the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth), but some of his remarks should not go unchallenged. He started by saying that the Minister for Trade (Mr. Mewen) had made an offthecuff statement regarding the European Common Market negotiations. I do not think that the honorable gentleman is at liberty to assume that that is so. Then the honorable gentleman carried his assumption, I thought, to a rather rash degree when he said that the Minister had no authority to make this statement, that it was not cleared by Cabinet. What relevance this has to the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), I do not know.

Mr Wentworth:

– I spoke to the motion.

Mr KILLEN:

– Do not assume to yourself a role of infallibility to rival that of the Holy See. The honorable gentleman said the statement had not been cleared by Cabinet. How does the honorable gentleman know that?

Mr Wentworth:

– Because a Minister told me.

Mr KILLEN:

– If any Minister told the honorable gentleman that, the Minister was in error. I concede a measure of sympathy for the point of view put forward by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), but if the House is going to be tied now to a definite time of meeting, that is just as dangerous as the House not knowing approximately when it is going to meet. The present arrangement is quite flexible. If there is occasion for the House to resume in February, I believe quite clearly it would be the duty of the Government to recall honorable members, but as we stand at present, it seems a little unreal to expect this House to lift to-day or early to-morrow morning. There would be a great deal more sense in a proposition that the Parliament meet next week rather than that it sit to-morrow.

Mr WHITLAM:
Werriwa

.- I rise to support the amendment that has been moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) and I also want to put arguments why, if the amendment is defeated, the motion itself should also be defeated. The arguments of the Leader of the Opposition in supporting the amendment were two-fold. First, there is no reason, in the light of either internal or external circumstances, why the House should be asked to adjourn for a longer period than it has adjourned for the last eight years. Secondly, there is no reason why the House should be asked to adjourn because Her Majesty the Queen will be in Australia. On the occasion of Her Majesty’s previous visit to Australia ten years ago, she was in Australia at the same time of the year as she will be during her projected visit next year. The Parliament sat while the Queen was in Australia and there was no disrespect in the Parliament sitting at that time any more than there is when the Parliament of the United Kingdom sits while the Queen is at home.

The Government’s attitude is that it wants to anaesthetize political discussion during Her Majesty’s visit and wants to make it appear to be unpatriotic or disrespectful to the Queen to discuss any economic or political issues at that time.

I need say no more in favour of the amendment. If some honorable members feel that they cannot support the amendment but nevertheless feel that the House should be given an opportunity to debate some of the statements we already have on the notice-paper and the statement on restrictive trade practices which will be made later in the present day’s sitting, then they should vote against the motion itself. Honorable gentlemen will have two opportunities to vote. They will be able to vote on the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition. If that were carried Che consequence would be that the House would adjourn to some time before the end of February. On the other hand, if the amendment is defeated, honorable gentlemen will still have to decide whether they will adjourn to a date that Mr. Speaker advises. If they do not think we should have such a special adjournment but should come back next week, as the Standing Orders provide, then they will vote against the motion.

My party has decided that if its amendment is defeated, it will vote against the motion, and I invite honorable gentlemen on the Government side to vote against the motion also. This is not a crisis of confidence in the Government. I know that many honorable gentlemen on the Government side have criticized aspects of the Government’s administration or even its legislation. I know they have, on earlier occasions, refrained from voting against the Government because they thought they would be out of the frying pan into the fire and instead of being grilled, would be roasted. But on this occasion, they are not being asked to defeat the Government. They are not being asked to provoke an election. They are not being asked to put in office a Labour government. They are being asked to give the parliament an opportunity to conclude the deliberations on which it is at present engaged on matters which are on the noticepaper which we have before us, which have been put on the notice-paper this morning and will be put on the notice-paper later in the day.

I cannot agree with the remarks made by the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) and still less with those made by the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen). They do not agree among themselves. I do not think the ecumenical spirit has spread so far that we can resolve the differences within the Liberal Party or between the Liberal Party and the Australian Country Party. My view is simply that the Parliament should be given an opportunity to debate its business. We would certainly support it being given that opportunity next week or, if that is denied us, before the end of February. But the Government is proposing to have the longest adjournment in eight years and it is proposing to hide its own misdeeds behind the presence of the Monarch. Honorable gentlemen who wish to show their genuineness in this matter can show their devotion to parliamentary principles by voting against the motion.

The statement that has been made by the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) and the statement that will be made later in the day by the Acting Attorney-General (Mr. Freeth) should be debated. There is another matter, as we have already indicated, which has been on the notice-paper for some weeks and which the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has twice promised that he would help to have debated. We also want to debate this matter. Honorable members know very well that even if the debate on t>>at matter commences to-day, it will not be possible for all honorable members who have indicated their interest to participate in the debate if we rise for the recess at the end of the proceedings to-day.

We certainly contend that we should meet next week because matters on the noticepaper under Government business and not merely under private member’s business, would fully take up next week’s proceedings. Even if honorable gentlemen opposite cannot support our amendment which would mean that the Parliament would have to come back befor.e the end of February, I invite them at least to vote against the adjournment which will preclude us meeting next week to deal with business already listed.

Mr ADERMANN:
Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP

– The motion that I moved originally does not name any date.

Mr Ward:

– But you know the date.

Mr ADERMANN:

– I neither affirm nor deny that the date suggested or mentioned in the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) is a fact. It is the usual practice that we leave it to the good graces of Mr. Speaker to determine the date for the resumption of the Parliament. Naturally, that is done on the recommendation of the Government.

Mr Ward:

– It is not done by Mr. Speaker at all but by the Government.

Mr ADERMANN:

– I have said that naturally Mr. Speaker decides on the recommendation of the Government. When the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) said that honorable members should determine this matter and that in doing so they would not be taking the business out of the hands of the Government, he knows that is not a statement of fact. The issue is whether the Government or the Opposition should run the business of the House. If I am to judge by the waste of time caused in the debates yesterday by the Opposition and by the waste of time that has occurred to-day which is already evident-

Mr Bryant:

– I rise to order. The Minister for Primary Industry has reflected on the discussions of the House and on the Opposition and should withdraw his statement.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER:

– Order! No point of order is involved. The Minister may proceed.

Mr ADERMANN:

– We could have had much of the business before us despatched by this time. So quite frankly, the Government cannot accept the amendment.

Mr STEWART:
Lang

.- It is quite obvious from the way in which the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) ha9 evaded the point as to when the House should resume that he knows the Parliament will not meet again until March or early April. To suggest that it is the Speaker who makes up his mind on these matters is merely to pull wool over the eyes of the people. Everybody knows that the Government decides when the Parliament will resume and that Mr. Speaker is told to send out the relevant notices to honorable members. For the Minister for Primary Industry to suggest that the decision is not made by Cabinet or the Government is completely begging the question.

It is utterly ridiculous in these days of rapid changes in international, economic and local affairs for any national parliament to consider going into recess for something like four months. The alleged reason why Parliament should not meet before the end of March next is the visit next year of Her Majesty the Queen.

Mr Killen:

– That has not been given as a reason.

Mr STEWART:

– I said it was the alleged reason. What other reason could there be? If the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) wants me to give some reasons I could say that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and other members of the Government do not want Parliament to meet too soon next year because they want to watch the cricket tests in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. I might suggest also, for the benefit of the honorable member for Moreton, that the Government wants a lengthy recess in order to allow the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Freeth) and other Ministers, and in particular the committee of the Cabinet that intends to study the redistribution proposals, sufficient time to work out a gerrymander that will meet with the approval of the Country Party. It is obvious at this stage that the Liberal Party has been pulled around by the nose by the Country Party so far as redistribution is concerned. On Tuesday night we witnessed the abject withdrawal-

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER:

– Order! I suggest that the honorable member confine his remarks to the motion before the House.

Mr STEWART:

– I am seeking reasons why this Parliament is being sent into recess until March or April of next year. The Minister for Primary Industry has not given any reasons. The honorable member for Moreton has suggested that I am wrong in submitting as a reason the visit next year of Her Majesty. Surely I am entitled to canvass what the reasons may be. One reason why the Parliament will not resume for such a long time is the disunity that exists in the ranks of the Liberal and Country Parties. They are rent apart by disunity, schism and heresy. The honorable member for Moreton and the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) are at each other’s throats. Throughout the life of this

Parliament the Country Party has been leading the Liberals by the nose. The resignation of the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Bury) was forced on the Prime Minister because the honorable member disagreed with the policies of the Country Party.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER:

– Order! I ask the honorable member to address himself to the subject of the motion before the House. A few moments ago the honorable member claimed that he was justified in giving certain reasons for opposing the motion. That may be so, but he is not justified in giving as reasons matters extraneous to the motion under consideration. I so rule.

Mr STEWART:

– I must obey your ruling, Sir, but I cannot see how any government, in these days when international politics and local politics move so swiftly, can afford to go into recess for the long period that has been rumoured. The honorable member for Mackellar has suggested that the Parliament should not go into recess for such a long time. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) has moved an amendment to the motion, seeking to have the Parliament meet again in February. If the honorable member for Mackellar is not prepared to vote for our amendment, having regard to the words that he uttered a few moments ago he should have the moral courage to sit with the Opposition when we vote against the adjournment of the House. The Parliament has so many matters before it for discussion. We have had so little opportunity to discuss them. We should be sitting again towards the end of February £>r even into next week in order to discuss these important matters.

Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.

Mr STEWART:

– Before the suspension of the sitting, we were discussing the motion that had been moved by the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) for the special adjournment of the House and the amendment proposed by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) jo provide that the Parliament re-assemble some time towards the end of February. The Minister, in moving the motion, gave no reason at all why we should adjourn for the length of time that has been suggested in the newspapers. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) asked the Minister to state when the Parliament was likely to resume, and the Minister was unable to give any time at all. Members of the Opposition feel that, this being the National Parliament, honorable members should be ready and available on all occasions to discuss matters of urgent importance. We believe that adjournment of the House for about four months would be far too long.

We feel that we are paid to be here in order to discuss matters as they arise. Since the Government has been in office, it has brought down very few items of legislation of national importance. The items that it has brought down were, in general, proposed by the Australian Labour Party in its policy speech at the general election in December last. There are so many things to be done. There are so many problems that still confront Australia and this Government, but it is likely that we shall have nearly four months’ long service leave. This Parliament has been in existence for just on one year. The elections were held in December, 1961. Yet we are now to take a break of from three and one-half to four months.

It is quite obvious why the Government wants a long recess. In the past week or two it has become patently clear that the Government has lost control of the House. It is fighting with the Country Party behind the scenes. On a few occasions this has become obvious in the House. It is obvious to every one, even to those who have only a superficial interest in this Parliament, that the Country Party, the rump party of the coalition Government, is really the master of the Government. The Country Party has been pulling the nose of the Liberal Party during the whole of this sessional period. The Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen), who is the leader of the Country Party, forced the resignation of one of the Liberal Ministers because the latter had made a statement which was considered to be not conducive to Cabinet solidarity. Yet on the other hand, only a night or two ago, we found the Deputy Prime Minister casting aside all consideration of Cabinet solidarity, coming into this House and speaking against the proposed redistribution of electoral boundaries.

Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir John McLeay:

– Order! I ask the honorable member to come back to the motion before the House.

Mr STEWART:

– I am giving the reasons why this Government does not want to meet the Parliament. The Labour Party says that we should meet much more regularly than we do and that there is no reason for the Government to adjourn the Parliament for such a length of time. The Deputy Prime Minister - the Leader of the Country Party - and his bovine, bucolic colleagues on the corner benches-

Mr Failes:

Mr. Speaker, I take strong exception to that remark and ask that it be withdrawn.

Mr SPEAKER:

– Order! I ask the honorable member to withdraw that remark which reflected on certain honorable members.

Mr STEWART:

– I withdraw the remark, and say that the leader of the Country Party and his dull, rustic colleagues who sit in the corner have indicated during the whole of this session that they are masters of the Government. They are the bosses. They have called the tune on matters of policy. They have called the tune on electoral redistribution. They are calling the tune now on the length of time that we are to go into recess. The main reason why we are to go into recess for such a long time is that the schisms, hatreds, bitterness and disunity of the two Government parties are now coming to the top. 1 recall that not so many years ago a former leader of the Country Party described criticism of his party as, “Another stab in the back in a long line of such actions by the Liberal Party “.

There are great reasons why we should be here. The honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) a few minutes before the suspension for lunch indicated that he wished to participate in a debate on the statement on the European Common Market which had been made earlier this morning by the leader of the Country Party. He was taken to task by the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen). The honorable member for Mackellar will have the opportunity either to vote for the1 amendment which has been moved by the Leader of the Opposition, to the effect that we the Parliament should re-assemble some time at the end of February, or to vote against the motion, moved by the Minister, that we should adjourn to a date to be fixed. The people of Australia expect us, when there are such major problems confronting us, to meet much more regularly than we have been meeting. Opposition members are quite happy to come back next week, if necessary, and to come back early in February, if necessary, in order that we shall give some indication-

Mr SPEAKER:

-Order! I ask the House to come to order. If it does not, it will be necessary to deal with some honorable members on both sides who are persistently interjecting.

Mr STEWART:

– We are quite prepared to sit here in order that matters of national importance shall be discussed. On the notice-paper at the present time are about 14 items of general business and private members’ business and about 27 items consisting of bills and ministerial statements. All these matters should be debated by this Parliament. I for one object most strenuously to the proposal that the Parliament will not resume until late in March or early in April. The people of Australia expect the members of this Parliament to be in their places in this House rather than around the electorate, going to test cricket matches, enjoying themselves at spearfishing, or doing something else after that style. If the honorable member for Mackellar has any courage at all, he should be prepared on this occasion to back up the statements he has made. He is of the firm opinion that this Parliament should not adjourn for the length of time suggested. He will have two opportunities to vote - one for the amendment to provide that we shall come back late in February, and the other against the motion moved by the Minister.

The Deputy Leader of the Opposition has indicated that the Opposition will vote for the amendment and, if unsuccessful, that we shall vote that the special adjournment shall not take place. I expect the honorable member for Mackellar, for once in his life, back up the words that he has uttered this place. He has spoken very many times on matters of principle, expressing policies counter to those enunciated by the

Government, but never once has he had the moral courage to support the Opposition on any of the matters on which he has opposed the Government.

Sir WILFRID KENT HUGHES:
Chisholm

– - Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) and other members of the Opposition may consider that I am a donkey but they had better understand definitely and clearly that I am not fond of carrots. I have no intention of voting against the motion, for two very good reasons. First, there is no need to take the business out of the hands of the Government on what is a major matter. Secondly, the special adjournment motion does not fix any definite date. If the Government has made a tentative decision on the date of resumption, I am perfectly certain it will alter that date if, in the light of international events, the date should be altered. And who is to say at the moment whether the international situation will grow worse or better?

It is surely a laudable objective to try to give to as many members of this Parliament as possible, and to the citizens of Australia, an opportunity to pay homage to Her Majesty during her visit. But that is not to say that Parliament will not meet if the external or the internal situation should warrant a meeting and I believe, unfortunately, that the former, if not the latter, will demand it. The one regret I have is that the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) should have chosen to-day to make a statement on the Common Market negotiations. The House is to rise to-night and so the statement cannot be debated. The timing and the tactics are such that only one conclusion can be drawn. I therefore conclude by agreeing, in the main, with the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) that it is a pity that there is no time to debate the contents, which must be embarrassing not only to the Government but also to many members of this House who disagree with certain statements. In my humble opinion, it was, though probably quite unintentionally, one of the most anti-British and anti-Australian statements that I have heard In a long time. Whether we sit to-morrow or next week, in January or in February, let us not deny to the British Government and to The Six, the same right as we claim for ourselves to act in the best interests of the security and prosperity of the free world and of our own people.

Mr ARMITAGE:
Mitchell

.- I think it is obvious, having just heard the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) and interjections from the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) as to the motives of the Government in wishing to adjourn the House for this long period-

Mr Whitlam:

– The Chisholm schism

Mr ARMITAGE:

– That is right, the Chisholm schism! In addition to the disunity between the Country Party and the Liberal Party as a whole we have individual members of the Liberal Party indulging in cross-fire in this House. That obviously is the main reason why the Government wants to adjourn the Parliament for such a long period. At this stage we have very vital legislation to be dealt with. We have the complaint lodged by the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) in this chamber this morning that the statement on the Common Market, should have been brought forward at an earlier stage and that this House should have been given an opportunity to debate it. We have other important items of business to deal with.

We had the extraordinary spectacle only last night of the Wool Industry Bill being pushed, rushed, and gagged through this House although it is a vital measure. If ever there was legislation that should be given every opportunity for full discussion, this is it. Yet it was deliberately gagged last night and would have been forced right through had it not been resisted by the Opposition. We also have on the noticepaper a statement on education, one of the most vital issues facing this country to-day and one that members of this House should be given an opportunity to debate freely. As it happens, only a limited number of members will be able to speak on that subject. We have before us also a statement on the Common Market, and to-night we are to hear a long overdue statement on restrictive trade practices. Here again there will be no opportunity for debate. Accordingly, I think it is very obvious that the Government should take action to see that the Parliament is called together again at the earliest possible date so that we can have a complete discussion on these important issues confronting this country.

I repeat that the Government’s main motive for rushing into recess for this long period is that it is balanced on a razor’s edge; there is widespread disunity within its ranks, and even within the Liberal Party itself, as we saw only a few minutes ago. Earlier this week we saw the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) abjectly abdicate his authority to the Country Party.

Mr SPEAKER:

– Order! I ask the honorable member not to refer to a previous debate.

Mr ARMITAGE:

– We have seen the authority of the Government surrendered on vital issues. Clearly both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the House (Mr. Harold Holt) want to place us in a position where we can no longer take the offensive as we have been doing. Honorable members opposite know that the Government is balanced on a razor’s edge. We have seen examples of the disunity which exists within their ranks and they know that the Country Party to-day is deliberately holding up the Liberal Party to ransom. Therefore they are trying to get into recess as quickly as they can in the hope that their ills will be cured in the meantime. Accordingly I ask the House to support the Opposition’s proposal that the Parliament should be called together again at the earliest opportunity. I think that is the only way in which we can resolve the important national issues which exist to-day.

Mr HAROLD HOLT:
Treasurer · Higgins · LP

Mr. Speaker, the honorable member for Mitchell (Mr. Armitage) apparently has not yet learned to distinguish between taking the offensive and being offensive. I concede to him that many members on the Opposition side have sought to be offensive in their own way, but earlier today I was able to give the House some practical evidence that, despite our narrow majority, so far from taking the offensive against the Government, honorable members opposite have not yet succeeded in putting a dent in our armour.

I will deal with the merits of the amendment very briefly in a moment, but in view of the way in which the debate has proceeded, perhaps I will be permitted two preliminary observations. The first deals with allegations of division in the ranks of the Government. Again I refer the House to the evidence of where we have stood together by vote in this House during a year in which the Opposition has pulled every trick it could in order to embarrass us and produce division. The Government parties do not dragoon their members; they permit individual expressions of view. It is a constant embarrassment to members opposite that whereas Caucus runs the rule over every member of the Labour Party, the Liberal Party and its ally the Country Party have always preserved the tradition of enabling their members to express their views except on matters that are vital to the existence of the Government. That is well understood. We respect independence of mind. There is room for independence of mind inside the ranks of our party. I can tell honorable gentlemen opposite that if they have a New Year wish that somehow or other they are going to produce a division in the ranks of this coalition, in which members on this side would have to choose between supporting those with whom they have been allies against the forces of socialism and supporting those in the ranks of the socialists who have flirted all these1 years with communism, we know where the major loyalty lies. Honorable members opposite will find that our unity is their continuing embarrassment.

The other preliminary comment that I wish to make, Sir, is on the fact that earlier we had from the Leader of the Opposition an assurance that the Government could look for the co-operation of the Opposition in getting the business remaining on the notice-paper dealt with in a reasonable fashion so that we could then go on to a debate on education. I leave it to the judgment of those who have watched these proceedings to determine whether a performance of the kind we have had on the present motion represents reasonable cooperation as any normal person would define it. It is one thing for the Leader of the Opposition to put a view point, which he has been able to do, and for the House to vote on that according to its judgment, but it is another thing to use stone-walling tactics. To-day we have had honorable members jumping up all over the place to carry on a debate about when we should resume sitting next year. Now they know the facts. The honorable member for Chisholm has just, very properly, given expression to them. All members of this place look to the Government - and, in this instance, to me as the Leader of the House - to give them some indication, so that they may make their own electorate arrangements, of when the House is likely to re-assemble in the normal course of events. Normally the Parliament meets about the middle of February for the autumn session. Under ordinary circumstances that would have been done next year, but it so happens that we are to be favoured next year with a Royal visit by the Queen and Prince Phillip. If honorable gentlemen opposite wish to tell us that in the absence of some grave international development or domestic economic development they want to deprive members of this Parliament of the opportunity to be in their own States while the Royal couple are there, let them get up like men and say so.

Mr Ward:

– We have said so.

Mr HAROLD HOLT:

– All right. If it may now be taken that honorable members opposite have said so and if, in the absence of some economic development or some international development, and regardless of the Royal visit, they are determined to be here, the people of Australia will judge them on their attitude. That attitude is not the attitude of members on the Government side - and that implies no neglect of our normal parliamentary or constituency duties.

I have stressed the fact that in the event of some grave international development - a possibility whose existence we do not deny - or some grave internal economic development - frankly I, as Treasurer, can see nothing in the immediate future which would call for an earlier summoning of the Parliament to deal with economic matters - the Parliament could be called together. I also stress the fact that long before the Parliament would meet under this tentative programme we shall have met representatives of industry, we shall have met the Premiers and we shall have made a thorough review of the economy. We shall be in a position to put before the Parliament, when it meets, our assessment of the situation arising out of these many contacts with people who are in a position to give the Government views of how the economy is moving.

The second point I make is that we recognize that the Parliament is supreme. Without a parliament and its support there could be no government. But, of course, a country must have a government, and the Government, being dependent upon the majority will of the Parliament, must be responsive to the decisions of the Parliament. I have already said that if circumstances make it necessary or desirable to recall the Parliament before the present tentative date, the Government will not hesitate to call the Parliament into session earlier. But, subject to that consideration, we feel that there is value and merit in enabling honorable members to be in their States over the period of the Royal visit.

I think it is worth a minute or two of the time of the Parliament to make some honorable members, particularly the newer members, aware of the structure and activities of government. It is all very well for some honorable members to say that we should sit next week or the week after or early in this month or that month; but the plain fact of the matter is that the business of government must be carried on. The business of government is carried on under the utmost difficulty while the Parliament is sitting. Only this morning, at the time this motion was moved in the House, I was engaged in a committee meeting of Cabinet on a matter of considerable urgency and importance affecting this country. We in the Cabinet will not be away from our business next week or the week after. So far as Cabinet is concerned, this recess of three and a half months just will not exist. This year the

Cabinet met early in January. We met representatives of industry and we met the Premiers long before we met the Parliament. There is a great deal of departmental spadework to be done before matters arising from such meetings can be brought to the point where the Parliament can deal with them.

We happen to live in a federation. That involves us in regular consultations and frequent discussions, by way of correspondence and personal contact, with the representatives of State governments. I question whether there is a democratic administration anywhere in the world which has pressures falling on it more heavily than they fall upon the members of the Cabinet in this federation of Australia. So I think we are entitled to claim that there is a need for us to have the opportunity to do the necessary preparation for legislation and to have Cabinet discussions to produce government decisions, and that there should be reasonable intervals in the parliamentary sittings for this purpose.

Having said that, I do not feel it is necessary to delay the House for much longer. I make this point in conclusion: Because of the long interval which may occur on this occasion, we are not proroguing the Parliament. That means that if some situation arises which calls for the early meeting of the Parliament we shall not have the delay that would arise from having a formal official opening of the Parliament. We can meet the week following any decision that the calling together of the Parliament is desirable. I hope the House will accept my assurance that we are not unmindful of the considerations which have impelled the Leader of the Opposition to move the amendment. In order that we can get on with the important business before us, I move -

That the question be now put.

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

AYES: 56

NOES: 55

Majority . .. .1

AYES

NOES

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Question put -

That the words proposed to be added (Mr. Calwell’s amendment) be so added.

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

AYES: 55

NOES: 56

Majority . . . . 1

AYES

NOES

Question so resolved in the negative.

Question put -

That the motion (vide page 3046) be agreed to.

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

AYES: 56

NOES: 55

Majority .. .. 1

AYES

NOES

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

page 3058

CONTRACTS FOR PUBLIC WORKS

Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir John McLeay:

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

That the method whereby contracts are let for public works is urgently in need of revision to safeguard the interests of taxpayers and to give satisfaction to contractors.

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) -

Mr PETERS:
Scullin

– I wish to make this very dear at the outset: I am not accusing any firm of builders of having employed discreditable means to secure a contract, nor am I suggesting that any public official or member of Parliament has used his position to give preferential treatment to any firm of contractors. It will, therefore, serve no purpose for members of the Government to defend their integrity or that of anybody else, because it is not now in question.

Debates that have taken place in this Parliament during the last year have revealed that the methods of letting contracts are not above suspicion, that there is a widespread belief that improper practices may be indulged in, and that grave dissatisfaction is growing among contractors. It should be borne in mind that the preparation and submission of a tender for big public works involves the tenderer in the expenditure of several thousands of pounds. Therefore, tenderers who, from the outset, obviously have no chance of being granted a contract should not be encouraged to submit tenders.

I shall now give the House details of a particular contract, exactly as the story is told in “Hansard”. On 29th August, 1961, the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) stated in this House that certain firms had been invited to tender for the construction of a building in Martin-place, Sydney, for the Reserve Bank of Australia. The honorable member’s remarks appear on page 591 of “ Hansard “. He said that although the successful tenderer had not been announced, the firms that had submitted the lowest and second lowest tenders were informed that their tenders had not been accepted. He also stated that the financial standing and capacity of the firms had been examined before they were invited to tender. He said that the unsuccessful firms, which had submitted tenders lower than that of the successful one, were entitled to explanations, as were the public, whose money was being expended. On the same day the Minister for Works (Mr. Freeth) said, as reported on page 593 of “ Hansard “-

In this case, I agree that if the decision is not awarded to the lowest tenderer there must be some substantial reason for it . . . the Government will undertake to give a full report to the House on the circumstances of the contract and the tenders.

On 31st August, as reported at page 784 of “ Hansard “, the Minister for Works said -

Before invitations to tender were issued some investigation of the financial position, technical ability and organizing and accounting capacities of each of the registered contractors was made by the bank . . ,

He also said that the bank decided to invite tenders before the investigations could be completed, and invited fourteen firms to tender; and that there are other things besides price that determine whether a tender should be accepted. He concluded that speech by saying that that was the situation that he undertook to report to the House.

On 14th September, the honorable member for East Sydney, as reported at page 1269 of “ Hansard “ said that tenders closed on 4th August; that in July all tenderers had a discussion with the bank with reference to contracts; and that not one of them was informed that any investigations as to their capacity to carry out the work were not completed. I point out that all the firms were of the opinion that they had the fullest qualifications. On 27th September, as reported at page 1397 of “ Hansard “, the honorable member for East Sydney pointed out that he was not satisfied with the Government’s explanation. He said that the preparation of tenders costs from £2,000 to £3,000 each; but, although invited to submit tenders, contractors had no chance of securing contracts because the Government considered that they did not have the necessary qualifications. He also said that the tenderers and the public were entitled to know why the lowest tender was not accepted. The honorable members for Bonython (Mr. Makin), Parkes (Mr. Haylen) and Dalley (Mr. O’Connor) expressed dissatisfaction with the statement of the Minister for Works when speaking on the estimates of the department.

On 27th September, as reported at page 1421 of “Hansard”, the Minister for Works said that the governor of the bank was the person to make a statement on this matter and that he, the Minister, would not express an opinion as to whether the governor was right or wrong in refusing to give the reasons why he accepted a certain tender. On the same date the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Stewart) expressed dissatisfaction and stated that the Government should secure from the bank the reasons for the rejection of the lowest tender.

On 4th October, as reported at page 1613 of “ Hansard “, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) asked the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) for the reasons. The Prime Minister said that he would look into the matter. On 11th October, as reported at page 1693 of “Hansard”, the Leader of the Opposition again asked that question. On 18th October he asked the Prime Minister the same question, and the Prime Minister said that he had not had the necessary opportunity to talk about the matter. On 26th October, the Leader of the Opposition again asked the Prime Minister for information, and the right honorable gentleman said that he expected to get it that afternoon. That afternoon, as reported at page 2649 of “Hansard”, the Prime Minister said that it was a matter for the bank and he was satisfied that the bank was right.

Let me go back a little now. On 19th October, 1961, as reported at page 1306 of “ Hansard “ in another place, Senator Willesee gave clear evidence of another case in which the lowest tender was not accepted by the Department of Works from a contractor who had been invited to submit a tender after his capacity to carry out the work had been carefully examined. In a communication dated 13th September, 1961, and addressed by the Minister for Works to the Minister for Health (Senator Wade) the following passage occurs -

As you know, contractors cannot be prevented from submitting tenders, but if they have been warned beforehand that it is unlikely their tenders, if lowest, would be accepted, any cost of preparing the tenders is their own responsibility. The Department’s procedure, after reviewing registered tenderers, is to call in doubtful tenderers and to tell them, if their interview confirms the opinion of their unsuitability for the particular work, that it would be unlikely their tender would be recom mended and suggest that it would be a waste for them to go to the expense of tendering.

Despite the fact that that appeared in that communication, that is not and has not been the practice. Senator Willesee said, as reported at page 1306 of “ Hansard” -

When tenders other than the lowest tenders are accepted, Commonwealth departments are laid open to charges of graft and so on, although such charges could easily be avoided.

That is the point. They could easily be avoided. Senator Willesee continued -

As I have already said, if the department adopted the open tender system it could, if necessary, use an escape clause and not accept the lowest tender. But it has adopted the system of, so to speak, vetting the field and saying that certain people will be starters. If, under those circumstances, the lowest tender is not accepted, there must be good and sufficient reason for that action. The reason for not accepting the lowest tender should be as clear as day. The people should be able to find out, if they want to do so, why the lowest tenderer did not get the contract.

The position now is that the Department of Works is inviting tenders in exactly the same manner as the Reserve Bank of Australia. On 29th August, 1961, the Minister for Works said - if the decision is not awarded to the lowest tenderer there must be some substantial reason for it.

The Minister, of course, must believe the same thing in connexion with the tender complained of by Senator Willesee. At that time the Minister also said -

  1. . the Government will undertake to give a full report to the House on the circumstances of the contract and the tenders.

On 31st August he said that the bank decided to invite tenders before investigations could be completed, and invited fourteen firms to tender. The implication in that statement is clear. It is that, if the bank had completed its investigations, only firms fully qualified would have been invited to tender. That is at least an excuse, but it is an excuse that does not exist in the case of the tenders called by the Department of Works, which were the subject of Senator Willesee’s statement. The qualifications of all contractors were vetted fully before they were invited to submit tenders; yet the lowest tenderer did not get the contract and no explanation of that has been given.

On 27th September the Minister for Works said that he would not express an opinion as to whether the governor of the bank was right or wrong in refusing to give the reasons why he accepted a certain tender. Does the Minister take up the attitude that he will not express an opinion as to whether his department is right or wrong in refusing to give Senator Willesee the reasons why it accepted a certain tender and why it refused to accept other tenders?

I do not want to go into any further lengthy details in connexion with this matter. It must be obvious to every one that we do not say that the lowest or any tender should be accepted. But we do say that when certain people are asked to submit their qualifications to carry out certain works and those qualifications are considered carefully by the department concerned, if those people go to the expense of thousands of pounds in the preparation of tenders and submit the tenders and the lowest tender is not accepted, there is room for suspicion. We make no accusation, but we say that the Minister should be, as it was alleged Caesar’s wife was, above suspicion. There should be no grounds upon which the contractor who submitted the lowest tender and was not awarded the contract should be able to express dissatisfaction, but I believe that in those circumstances he should not be prevented from doing so.

The honorable member for East Sydney and the honorable senator in another place who raised this matter deserved the approbation, first, of the taxpayers of this country whose money pays for the construction of public works, and secondly, of the contractors who, having submitted tenders for government works and having had their financial and other qualifications examined, do not secure the contract although the tenders submitted may have been the lowest. Although the members to whom I have referred deserve the greatest appreciation of the contractors and the taxpayers, they are accused of muck-raking when they raise this most important matter.

I have mentioned no particular firm; I have mentioned no particular individual. I have merely put the principle before the House.

Mr SPEAKER:

– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr FREETH:
Minister for the Interior and Minister for Works · Forrest · LP

– I agree that the honorable member for Scullin (Mr. Peters) has been completely reasonable in his approach to what is an interesting problem. He commenced and finished his remarks by saying that he made1 no accusation against any public servant, any contractor or any member of this House. The thing which interests me at the outset, therefore, is that this subject should have been raised at this time as a matter of urgent public importance. I agree that it is an important problem, but yesterday when a motion to bring on government business was before the House honorable members opposite complained that private members had no opportunity to debate matters. This morning they claimed that they must have time to debate a statement on education and they wanted to lay down conditions under which the Government was to allot time to debate that subject.

Now the Opposition has introduced a completely new matter, which has no real relevance to any of the important issues which the House is considering, which it claims is of urgent public importance although no accusation has been made against any public servant, any contractor or any member of this Parliament. I leave it to the people of this country to judge whether honorable members opposite are sincere in their desire to give high priority to the other matters which they mentioned this morning and in their offer to the Government to co-operate to conclude the business before the House, or whether this is just another time-wasting device that they have embarked upon, as they have done so often during this year when they raised matters of so-called urgent national importance such as the use of a car by a certain member of Parliament and the like.

The honorable member for Scullin rather misunderstands the procedure followed by the Department of Works in cases where there is a departure from the completely open method of tendering. I have not the exact figures but I should think that in nearly 100 per cent, of cases tenders which are called for by the Department of Works for public works are based on the open tender method. I understand that the honorable member has no complaint about that. When tenders are called it is made quite clear that the lowest tender is not necessarily accepted. In the main, the same procedures are followed when tenders are invited from a restricted field of contractors. In certain cases it is desirable, and it has become the practice, to restrict the number of people from whom tenders are invited. Persons who are interested in obtaining a contract are invited to register with the department.

This has very real advantages, first, in relation to time. Quite frequently it is both necessary and desirable to let a contract fairly quickly. If the department knows in advance those persons who are likely to tender and to be considered for the job, it can get on with the task of investigating the qualities and capacity of those prospective tenderers before the tenders are actually lodged. Therefore, there is a very great advantage from the time aspect. Secondly, there is a great advantage in preparing the tender documents, plans and specifications and the like if the department knows in advance the number of persons or firms who are likely to tender. It will be seen that there are great advantages on occasions in inviting prospective tenderers to register, both in relation to time and expense.

When a matter is urgent as to time it is not always possible to complete the investigation of tenderers. It may well be - as I understand was the case with the Reserve Bank building in Sydney - that, because of the time factor, after prospective tenderers had been invited to register they were told to tender but they were given no guarantee that the investigations had been completed. Those are the circumstances to which the honorable member has referred as being suspicious in that the lowest tenderer did not get the contract. Investigation of their capacity and all the other things which go with it, as well as an examination of their tenders, had not been completed.

There are occasions when selected tenders are invited from people who have a particular capacity for a particularly technical kind of job. In that case the department may invite tenders from two, three or more contractors. A case that comes to mind which involves a matter of security relates to work at the Weapons

Research Establishment at Woomera. Very often highly technical and highly scientific work has to be carried out which limits the field of tenderers, so it would be a waste of money for the department to call open tenders and to put many contractors to the expense of preparing tenders for work that they could not do and to involve the department itself in preparing the necessary preliminary documents for those contractors. In addition, when the security aspect is involved the field of prospective tenderers has to be vetted fairly carefully, and this again limits the number of people from whom tenders are invited. Those are some of the reasons why it is not always possible for the Department of Works to proceed by the open tender method.

Many government and semi-government instrumentalities, such as the Reserve Bank, do not always follow precisely the same policy as is followed by the Department of Works. They are their own constructing authority. The Reserve Bank very frequently employs the Department of Works in much the same way as it would employ a private architect to do its designing and detailed planning and to advise as to tenderers. But once we have furnished that advice the only other duty of the department is to supervise the actual construction. The concern of the Department of Works is then at an end. On other occasions the Reserve Bank and other instrumentalities, such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, TransAustralia Airlines, the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories and the National Capital Development Commission, employ outside architects as consultants. They do not follow precisely the procedures followed by the Department of Works but basically tenders are called and examined by the tender board. When the lowest tender is not accepted the tenderer, if he is interested enough to inquire, is told why it has not been accepted. That is the very reason why the honorable member for Scullin can cite no instance of a complaint in relation to the Department of Works. It is very difficult to guarantee to publish the reason why a particular tender has not been accepted. It would be a great deterrent to many contractors if they knew that the department would publish the reason for not accepting their tender if, in fact, it happened to be the lowest.

Mr Ward:

– Not publish the reason, but give it to them.

Mr FREETH:

– The Department of Works does give them the reason.

Mr Cope:

– That is not my information.

Mr FREETH:

– Whenever any contractor inquires, in relation to a job for the Department of Works, why his tender has been refused, he is, I can assure the House, given the reason. Publication of the reason is another matter. That would be a great deterrent to contractors. We may have found that performance of a past job was unsatisfactory. That is one reason - there are many others - why a tender for a job might not be acceptable. However, the contractor concerned might be entirely satisfactory for a job of a somewhat different nature.

Sometimes we work to a tight time schedule. A contractor might not have the kind of plant which would make it possible for him to work to a schedule of that kind, and his performance of past jobs might show that that was so. Another contractor, however, might be able to work to a tight time schedule. If the Government is putting up a building that will cost £3,000,000 or £4,000,000 and the contractor is twelve months late in completing the building - believe me, I do not exaggerate when I say that very often contractors are twelve months late with projects - that means a great loss of money to the Commonwealth, quite regardless of the contract price, because a large amount of money is tied up and is not being used profitably.

The honorable member suggested that the public and the contractors, which possibly have conflicting interests, require protection in this matter. Let me deal with the contractors first. The contractors, in general, have expressed complete satisfaction with the methods adopted by the Department of Works. About the time when the question of the Reserve Bank building came up, I had some correspondence with Mr. Barton, the president of the Master Builders Association of New South Wales. He had a list of sixteen points relating to what he regarded as desirable matters in connexion with the calling of tenders. The only difference between his sixteen points and the procedures adopted by the Department of Works related to the fact that with departmental jobs there is no public opening of tenders and listing of the prices tendered by each contractor. There are very good reasons for that. One of the reasons is that the public must be protected. Occasionally contractors get together. If you announce the tender prices, you find very often that the lowest tenderer, before his tender is accepted, is invited by a higher tenderer to withdraw his tender and take a share of the profits of a higher tender. That does happen. Therefore, after the opening of tenders we simply announce the names of the contractors. In some cases the names are announced in the order of tendering, but not always. This information is made available immediately to the public. Minutes are kept of meetings of the tender board.

It is very difficult, when you have opened tenders, to see at first glance who is the lowest tenderer. There is the time factor. One tenderer might be able to do the job in twelve months and another might not be able to do it in less than two years. Alternative methods of constructing the building might be offered in a tender. Then again, some tenders may contain rise and fall clauses providing for adjustments of the prices in accordance with movements of wages. All these factors have to be taken into account, and you cannot always say at first glance who is the lowest tenderer. That is another reason why we do not publish tender prices after the opening of tenders. Contractors, in general, accept our reasons.

The only other request by the Master Builders Association of New South Wales was that tenders should be accepted within a certain period. I think honorable members will agree that that is not always practicable, because all kinds of factors are involved, but we do, as a matter of general policy, try to accept tenders as soon as possible.

I have confined my remarks, as far as contractors are concerned, to the Master Builders Association of New South Wales, but the president of the Master Builders Federation of Australia, in a speech published in a magazine called “ Building: Lighting: Engineering “, and delivered on the occasion of a farewell to Dr. Loder, a former Director-General of Works, paid a remarkable tribute to the Department of Works. He said -

I am quite serious when I say that one of these few items on which our Federation members stand as completely unanimous, is the high regard we hold for the Commonwealth Department of Works. lt is our view that this country doesn’t hear enough of this department and the job it is doing for Australia.

Mr SPEAKER:

– Order! The Minister’s time has expired.

Mr WARD:
East Sydney

.- For the past eighteen months I have been endeavouring to solve the mystery surrounding the rejection of the two lowest tenders for the erection of the Reserve Bank building in Sydney. If the Minister for Works (Mr. Freeth), the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) and the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank had been quite frank and had been prepared to give the information sought by honorable members, there would not have been any speculation about this matter. The speculation has arisen because there has been a refusal to supply information. I have a number of questions on the notice-paper which, if fully answered by the Minister, would have given honorable members all the information they needed and would have avoided the necessity of this urgency proposal. Because the Government refused to give the information, people began to speculate on the reasons why the two lowest tenders were rejected.

As a result of this speculation, one man, who is well known to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) and who was a man of capacity and reliability in the past, gave certain information which I now readily admit was erroneous. If, as a result of using that information, any injury or embarrassment was caused to E. A. Watts Proprietary Limited, I immediately express my regret for it. But that does not cleaT away the mystery and suspicion that surround the letting of this contract, due to the fact that the Government still refuses to give the information sought.

I shall relate the peculiar circumstances surrounding this matter, and then I shall leave it to reasonable people in this Parliament, and to the Australian community, to judge whether the Government has come out of the matter completely clean. I first raised the matter in the Parliament on 29th August, 1961. It is necessary to refresh the1 memories of honorable members as to what actually happened. On 29th April and 6th May of that year, the Reserve Bank authorities, by newspaper advertisement, notified contractors that tender documents for the proposed building would shortly be available, and contractors desiring to tender were invited to register by 22nd May, 1961. Sixteen contractors did so, but two subsequently withdrew. The fourteen remaining contractors were immediately investigated in respect of their capacity to undertake the work and their financial backing. They were asked to supply balance-sheets for the three preceding years. They were asked to give an authority on their banker so that inquiries could be made by the Reserve Bank. They were asked to submit a list of works that they had completed and a list of the works that they had in hand.

After all those investigations had been made, extending over a number of weeks, on 24th June all the fourteen registered contractors were invited to submit tenders. That was four weeks after the close of registration and eight weeks after the publication of the newspaper advertisement. By letter, all the fourteen contractors sought a conference with the Reserve Bank to discuss certain aspects of the contract. The conference was held on 11th July, ten weeks after the publication of the newspaper advertisement. At that meeting, as the honorable member for Scullin pointed out, no reference was made to any of the fourteen contractors having failed to come up to requirements as a result of the investigation. The tenders closed on 4th August, and on 10th August, only six days later, the first and second lowest tenderers were advised that they had been unsuccessful. To show what scant consideration had been given to their tenders, I point out that between the 4th and 10th August a weekend and a bank holiday intervened, leaving three working days. There were three days in which to deal with tenders for a job which would cost approximately £4,500,000, and which had involved every contractor in an expenditure of between £2,000 and £3,000 in preparing estimates.

The lowest tender was submitted by F. T. Eastment and Sons, and the second lowest by E. S. Clementson (New South Wales) Proprietary Limited, both well-known building firms. The third lowest tender was submitted by the successful tenderer, E. A. Watts Proprietary Limited, whose price was £39,000, approximately, above the lowest tender. In reply to what the Minister has said about the capacity of these firms to undertake this large and expensive work, I merely mention that Eastment and Sons, built the Yaralla Repatriation Hospital, Greenway flats at Milson’s Point, in Sydney, which is probably the largest project of its kind, and the Haymarket telephone exchange. The lowest tenderer, Clementson Proprietary Limited, has also completed many such great works.

Mr Freeth:

– Did they finish them on time?

Mr WARD:

– The successful tenderer was required to lodge a performance bond of £250,000 as a guarantee that it was able to perform what it undertook to do. It was obliged to undertake to pay £2,000 for every week by which it exceeded the finishing date stipulated in the contract. So it can be seen that the Reserve Bank had already provided against the possibility that there would be any delay in completing the building.

There is another interesting point: Eastment and Sons, which submitted the lowest tender, was called in by the Reserve Bank before tenders were invited to advise on preliminary arrangements for the construction of the new bank. As I have said, each contractor was involved in considerable expenditure in preparing estimates. When I first raised the matter in Parliament the Minister agreed that some substantial reason should be given if the lowest tenders had not been accepted. That is all that I have ever asked for. Now the Minister has said that in his department his officers provide such reasons. We did not want the reasons to be published. We wanted to be advised, as members of this Parliament, what the reason was. We wanted the contractors to be advised, but they were refused the information. They regarded this as a reflection on their capacity in the industry when, having submitted lower tenders, they were passed over and preference was given to another firm. When I first raised this matter in the Parliament the Minister promised to investigate it, and said that there should be a substantial reason for what had occurred. He undertook to have the matter thoroughly investigated. Two days later he said - . . the Reserve Bank has complete jurisdiction in this matter. . . . The bank was in a position to go to tender before these investigations could be completed in all respects and accordingly the bank decided to invite tenders from all the fourteen registered contractors without exception or differentiation.

The Minister said that in selecting the successful tenderer, the bank had acted on the advice of its experts. But who were the experts? They were officers of the Commonwealth Department of Works, because the department acted on behalf of the Reserve Bank as architects. These were the people who advised the Reserve Bank in respect of the tenders. Yet the Minister said that he was unable to require the bank to provide reasons why the two lowest tenders had been rejected.

Reference has not been made by the Minister, rather significantly, to the fact that Bruce Cameron, who was the quantity surveyor for this work, wrote and protested against the manner in which the tenders had been handled. Bruce Cameron was immediately dismissed from this undertaking. Now, eighteen months later, the Minister has produced a letter from Bruce Cameron in an attempt to provide the Government with an alibi. If that was available, why was if not produced eighteen months ago when this matter was first raised? There is no doubt that Bruce Cameron did protest, and that he was taken off the job. On 27th September, the Minister said in this House -

  1. . The bank asked us to act as architects in this instance. The Department of Works acceded to that request. But the selection of tenders was a matter for the bank itself.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury:
RYAN, QUEENSLAND

– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.

Motion (by Mr. Peters) put -

That the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) be granted an extension of time.

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

AYES: 57

NOES: 58

Majority . . . . 1

AYES

NOES

Question so resolved in the negative.

Mr DEAN:
Robertson

.- In relation to the final point made by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), when he mentioned the undertaking that was given by the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Freeth), I refer to “Hansard” of 29th

August, 1961, where we may see the exact words that the Minister used. At page 593, the Minister is reported to have said -

I think that, seeing that the honorable member has raised this matter before the House at this time, all that can be done is for me to say that the Government will undertake to give a full report to the House on the circumstances of the contract and the tenders. We will then see whether there is anything that needs further inquiry.

It was that final sentence, in particular, which the honorable member for East Sydney omitted.

This is the kind of subject that the Opposition seems to take great delight in bringing forward when it is difficult to disprove in a logical sense the innuendos involved and the suspicions that are suggested. I find it difficult to understand the reason behind the raising of this question by the honorable member for Scullin (Mr. Peters) to-day. I fully realize that the honorable member for East Sydney has not been noted in this place for making straight statements. Indeed, he has been noted for asking questions which often have a sinister meaning, although they have an innocent facade. Whether the honorable member for Scullin has tried to relate this subject to an individual case, or to tendering in general, I do not know, but if the object of the honorable member for East Sydney is to attack, in the guise of criticizing a single contract, the present system of letting government contracts, then his attempt must fail.

I direct the attention of the House to the fact that the basic system which exists at present for the letting of tenders for government works has been in operation for a number of years. The system basically is the same whether it has been operated under the administration of a State government or of our own government. The system has grown with the administration and with the need for public works. The idea behind public tendering is that the government should gain the benefit of the experience and ability of as many firms and/ or individuals as possible, and at the lowest possible price. I believe that this system does not envisage savage competition between contractors who, in their attempts to gain contracts, might offer terms which in cases they could not possibly carry out. The Minister referred in his speech to the possibility of this occurring in some instances.

To ensure that the Government gains from the public tendering system, without undue hardship being imposed on the contractors involved, a number of measures are undertaken by the Government.

First, I should like to refer to the proceedings that take place before contracts are called. As you know, Sir, this House refers to the Public Works Committee a large number of works. The Public Works Committee Act provides that the committee shall have regard to the stated purpose of the work, the necessity for or advisability of carrying it out, and where the work purports to be made of a reproductive or revenue-producing character, the amount of revenue which it may reasonably be expected to produce, and the present and prospective public value of the work. In another section of the act it is provided that, upon the submission of the relevant motion, the Minister shall furnish to the House an explanation of the proposed work. That explanation shall comprise an estimate of the cost of the work when completed, together with such plans and specifications or other descriptions as the Minister deems proper, together with the prescribed reports on the probable cost of construction and maintenance and estimates of the probable revenue to be derived therefrom, such estimates, plans, specifications, descriptions, and reports to be authenticated or verified in the prescribed manner. The House is familiar with the action taken by the Joint Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works when it reports to the Parliament.

When the time comes for the final proposals to be made concerning a building, and to prepare the necessary detailed plans, after which quantity surveyors take over and estimate the quantities of materials needed, as a general rule the departmental estimates are placed in the tender box. They are kept secret and not opened until tenders have closed. They are opened by the president of the Tender Board but not made public. Generally, the order of tenders but not the price is released to the public. The accepted tender price is the only one made public, by publication in the “ Gazette “. The next step is to sign the necessary papers. As every one knows, the lowest price is not always the cheapest price for the final work. So, not only do the experts examine the prices, but they also examine the ability of the firms involved successfully to carry out the contract. It is quite obvious that some firms tender for works which would be beyond their capabilities. They do this either in ignorance or in the belief that they must tender for prestige purposes, and they hope at the time that they will not be successful. These are matters which the Government’s experts take into account before recommending to the Minister for Works that a certain tender be accepted. On other occasions, when a specific or urgent contract is to be let, obviously, sometimes, there is only a limited number of firms capable of carrying out the work. That is why there are instances of only a few firms being asked to tender for certain works.

The honorable member for East Sydney has related all his remarks to the one project - the construction of the new building in Sydney for the Reserve Bank of Australia. I suggest that the lowest tenderer, if he is still unsatisfied, communicate with the Reserve Bank and ask for the reasons why his tender was rejected. If, having been given those reasons, he is still not satisfied, he should then ask the bank for the reasons to be made public. The lowest tenderer is not always successful, for the1 reasons which I have already stated. On the other hand, the guiding principle in all this tendering is that, all things being equal, the lowest tender shall be accepted. This procedure has worked well throughout the years, generally to the great advantage of the public, and I know of no case which suggests that the existing procedure should be discontinued.

page 3067

BILLS RELATED TO REPATRIATION

Repatriation (Special Overseas Service) Bill 1962.

Repatriation (Far East Strategic Reserve) Bill 1962.

Repatriation Bill (No. 2) 1962.

Re-establishment and Employment Bil] 1962.

War Service Homes Bill (No. 2) 1962.

Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Bill 1962.

Social Services Bill (No. 2) 1962.

Broadcasting and Television Bill 1962.

Estate Duty Assessment Bill 1962.

Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assessment Bill (No. 2) 1962.

In committee: .Consideration resumed from 5th December (vide page 2958).

Bills, as amended, agreed to.

Bills reported, with an amendment to the Repatriation (Special Overseas Service) Bill 1962.

Adoption of Report.

Motion (by Mr. Swartz) proposed -

That the report be adopted.

Mr HAROLD HOLT:
HigginsTreasurer · LP

.- 1 move -

That the bills be now recommitted to a Committee of the Whole House for the reconsideration of clause 7 of the Repatriation (Special Overseas Service) Bill 1962.

I think that the reasons will be evident to the House from discussions that have taken place.

Mr WHITLAM:
Werriwa

.- Mr. Speaker, the reasons for the motion proposed by the Leader of the House (Mr. Harold Holt) have probably been indicated by the right honorable gentleman in answer to questions earlier to-day. I cannot say at this stage whether the Opposition will agree to the motion. I have to inform you, Sir, that yesterday, in committee, an amendment to the Repatriation (Special Overseas Service) Bill 1962 was agreed to. That amendment was proposed by the Opposition and opposed by the Government, but, nevertheless, was carried. The circumstances in which it was carried require me to refer to three aspects of the proceedings. There were four pairs.

Mr Harold Holt:

– Five.

Mr WHITLAM:

– I appreciate the stress under which the right honorable gentleman has been acting in the last 24 hours. Does he mind being silent or at least courteous for the time being?

Mr Harold Holt:

– I was trying to help the honorable member not to blunder further, but I shall let him go ahead.

Mr WHITLAM:

– If the right honorable gentleman takes that attitude, my attitude can be stated immediately.

In discussing the attitude which the Opposition must now take to the recommittal of the bill, I have to explain three aspects of the circumstances in which the amendment was carried. The Opposition’s attitude must depend on at least one of those matters being further clarified. It can be clarified quite easily, and it will be clarified more promptly if the Leader of the House behaves himself. There were four pairs when the vote on the amendment was taken. There should have been five pairs. These were the circumstances, Sir: A pair has been granted by the Opposition for the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick), who is on important business overseas, and for the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon), who is on important business in Melbourne in connexion with the Asian regional conference of the International Labour Organization. In addition, of course, there is a standing pair between the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell).

The other pairs flowed from the fact that there was to be this morning a State funeral for the late Dame Mary Gilmore. The Prime Minister was to be represented at the funeral by the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Bury). The Leader of the House informed me yesterday afternoon that that honorable member could not travel to Sydney by the 8.45 p.m. plane and that the latest aircraft on which he could book left at 5.20 p.m. In those circumstances, I said, “ He will be paired until he returns to-morrow”. The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), who had the conduct of the bills related to repatriation on behalf of the Opposition, had already been booked on the 8.45 p.m. plane. I sought an arrangement, which naturally was agreed to, that the honorable member for Parkes be paired last night and to-day until he returned to Canberra.

You, Mr. Speaker, also told me yesterday that you wished to be represented at the funeral. We on this side of the House respected your wishes and welcomed your intention. You did not tell me who would represent you at the funeral and the Leader of the House had not told me who would represent you. The honorable member for Perth (Mr. Chaney), who is Government

Whip, late yesterday afternoon told the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie), who is Opposition Whip, that the honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Jack) would represent you at Dame Mary Gilmore’s funeral and said that the honorable member for North Sydney, also, could not travel on the 8.45 p.m. aircraft and that the latest plane which he could catch was tre 5.20 p.m. service. In those circumstances, the Government Whip asked that the honorable member for North Sydney be paired until he returned to Canberra to-day. By an oversight, that request was not noted on the Opposition Whip’s list.

I was paired with various Government supporters yesterday. When I came into the chamber as the division bells were ringing for the vote on the amendment to the Repatriation (Special Overseas Service) Bill 1962, I asked, “ Do I sit out for this one? “ I was told, “ Either you or the honorable member for Grey sits out “. I said, “ I should like to vote “. So the honorable member for Grey (Mr. Russell) was withdrawn from the chamber.

There was a mistake in this instance, Sir. This was the first mistake made in the complicated pairing arrangements this year. I hope I will be pardoned for saying this, but I did not wish to take up question-time this morning in referring to it. The right honorable gentleman took the opportunity this morning to mention that there were many occasions during the year - they happened some weeks ago now - when the Opposition was not able to muster all its members. There were indeed, but there was no occasion on which the Opposition sought a pair for any of its sick members, although one, as we now know, was mortally sick. There have been occasions - there was one last night - when supporters of the Government have been sick and either I or the Leader of the Opposition have granted pairs.

Mr Harold Holt:

– You have never requested a pair for a sick man, and it would not be refused, as you know.

Mr Cope:

Senator Arnold was refused a pair in the Senate.

Mr WHITLAM:

– That may be true; but I do not want to be side-tracked by that because, to give him credit, the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator

Spooner) now makes no secret of the fact that he made a mistake on that occasion. I am not breaching any confidence when I say that. He acknowledges it quite freely. I have never sought a pair.

Mr Harold Holt:

– I told you you could have them.

Mr WHITLAM:

– That is true, you did; but at any rate, last night, I was informed that the Leader of the Country Party (Mr. McEwen) wanted to go home, and I immediately granted him a pair. Later, one of his followers, a gallant man, who I know is no malingerer, told me he wanted to go home, and I paired him. I do hope you will pardon me for making these remarks, Mr. Speaker, to show that I resent and regard as being in what Liberals call bad taste these references to deficiencies in numbers when only last night I did what I thought was the decent - perhaps the over-generous thingin granting pairs to two members of the Country Party - the Leader and a backbencher. Furthermore, yesterday afternoon, the Deputy Leader of the Country Party wanted a pair so that he could record a message for the opening of the national television station in Canberra and I granted it to him. At one stage, there were six pairs Moating around the House. I shall conclude my reference to the Whips by saying that they certainly have had to work harder this year than they have in any of the ten years that I have been a member of the House. This is the first mistake I have known them to make, and I do not think that any ungenerous remarks should flow from that.

The next matter that must be referred to is the fact that even if there had not been a mistake over pairs the amendment would not have been carried if the Government had mustered its full number of members; but one honorable gentleman was not in the House when the vote was taken. If one likes to attribute blame in these matters, that was the fault of the Country Party Whip. Let us assume that only one mistake had been made. Let us assume that five pairs had been granted instead of only four, but that the Government had mustered all but one of its un-paired members while we mustered all our un-paired members. The result then would have been that the House would have been evenly divided.

Mr Harold Holt:

– If you had given us the pair we wanted it would have been evenly divided. If we had had all our members here, we would have been one up.

Mr WHITLAM:

– That is so. Let us assume we had granted the fifth pair and that every Government member except one had been present. That is, let us assume that there had been no mistake on the Opposition’s part, and only a mistake on the Government’s part. The House then would have been evenly divided and the fate of the amendment would have depended on the casting vote of the Chairman of Committees. If the Chairman of Committees had decided to support the amendment then, obviously, it would have been carried, and in those circumstances I do not see why the bill should be recommitted. Therefore, if the Chairman of Committees says that he would have supported the amendment, we will vote against the recommittal of the bill. If, however, the Chairman of Committees had voted against the amendment, then it would not have been carried, and this recommittal would not have been necessary. If the Chairman of Committees now assures the House that he would have voted against the amendment, we will not oppose the recommittal of the bill.

Mr Harold Holt:

- Mr. Speaker-

Mr SPEAKER:

– Order! The right honorable gentleman has already spoken.

Mr Harold Holt:

– Will the Deputy Leader of the Opposition give me leave to speak again? I only want to round off the story of this pairing arrangement.

Mr Whitlam:

– No, you have given so many versions.

Mr SPEAKER:

– The point here is that the opinion of the Chairman of Committees has been sought. The procedure may be a little irregular, but I think that if the Chairman wishes to speak he should be given an opportunity to do so.

Mr LUCOCK:
Lyne

– In answer to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam), let me say that perhaps no man should be dogmatic about what has happened in the past, but I think it would be fair to assume that in the circumstances the Chairman would have exercised his casting vote against the amendment.

Mr Whitlam:

– In that case, the motion is not opposed.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

In committee (Recommittal):

Mr. SWARTZ Parting Downs Minister for Repatriation) [4.11]. - I refer to clause 7 of the Repatriation (Special Overseas Service) Bill 1962 and move -

Sub-clause (1.), after “ section twenty-four “, insert “sub-sections (3.) and (4.) of section thirtyseven “.

Mr WHITLAM:
Werriwa

.- The Minister wishes to insert the words which were omitted by the committee yesterday. The result of inserting those Words will be that pensions will still be automatically granted to ex-servicemen of either of the two World Wars, if they later develop tuberculosis, but will be granted to servicemen returning from special service in Malaya, Vietnam and Thailand, if they later develop tuberculosis, only if they can establish - subject, of course, to the onus being on the Repatriation authorities - that the disease is attributable to their war service or has been aggravated by it. In his second-reading speech, the Minister did not refer to the fact that this clause, as it came to us originally and as he now wishes to restore it, discriminates in this way.

Mr Swartz:

– Members of the Far East Strategic Reserve do not qualify.

Mr WHITLAM:

– The Minister did not point out in his second-reading speech that the clause now before us discriminated against servicemen on special duty. By interjection, he points out now that an exception had already been made by the Parliament in relation to members of the Far East Strategic Reserve; but he did not say in his second-reading speech on this occasion that the exception would be extended. He did not refer to the position at all. Honorable members on this side do not see why there should be a difference in the eligibility for pensions for tuberculosis between men and women who served abroad in either of the two World Wars and those who serve abroad on these other duties.

Mr Barnard:

– And the Minister has not told us why the Government should so discriminate.

Mr WHITLAM:

– Precisely. The Minister did not point out that this was the case; still less has he pointed out why it should be the case. He now has the opportunity to say why it should be the case. This discrimination was detected by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) and was also mentioned by the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard). It was the honorable members on this side who detected it, exposed it and produced the vote on it.

Mr Swartz:

– Nothing of the sort. The position is just the same as it has been from 1956 onwards.

Mr WHITLAM:

– It is the same; that is true. What you say is true and what I am saying is true.

Mr Swartz:

– It must have been detected in 1956.

Mr WHITLAM:

– That is so, and the Parliament then let it pass. But we are making a more permanent provision. We are making a provision which can be applied or discontinued by notice in the “ Gazette “. We are making a provision which will not be the subject of subsequent legislation. Therefore, we have to deal with this matter now or never. Honorable members on the other side who spoke, voted and interjected yesterday, and who are interjecting to-day, did not refer to this. Since they did not refer to it at all, they did not try to justify it.

The Minister now has the opportunity to justify it if he can, or at least to explain it. The honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Falkinder), if he likes, can explain it, justify it or support it. The attention of the committee is now directed to this specific point. It would never have come before the committee if the honorable member for Parkes had not raised it and if the honorable member for Bass had not thrust the lesson home after him. Why is this being done? As at present advised, we can see no reason in logic or humanity why the discrimination should have been proposed, and we can see very many reasons why, for the sake of simplicity of administration and justice to the soldiers, it should not be restored. There is no question that the Commonwealth has the power to provide hospital facilities, pensions and other assistance for its servants, civil or military. We should not seek from now on to avoid responsibilities which we have accepted in the past. The Opposition will vote against the Minister’s amendment.

Mr SWARTZ:
Minister for Repatriation · Darling Downs · LP

– The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) is not quite correct in his reference to this matter. I know his inaccuracy is due to a misunderstanding. I deliberately drew attention to this matter in my second-reading speech by referring to the sections of the original act and the sections that were left out of the Repatriation (Far East Strategic Reserve) Act in relation to this matter and to service pensions. That passage in my second-reading speech was designed specifically to draw attention to this matter. There was no need to make those remarks in my speech, because the matter is not referred to in the relevant bill and is not referred to in the act that this is replacing, but I did so purposely so that the matter could be debated. I think the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) will appreciate that. At the same time, detailed information in relation to it was furnished in some notes which were distributed to the Whips. Copies were made available for the use of honorable members in this debate, and the whole background of the various sections was set out there.

I should like to emphasize those two points. There was no need to refer to this matter, because it is not covered in the bill. I referred to it in the second-reading speech in order to draw attention to it specifically so that every point could be ventilated. Quite rightly, both honorable members who spoke for the Opposition drew attention to it. It is their privilege to do so.

In 1956, when the Repatriation (Far East Strategic Reserve) Act was passed by the Parliament and came into force, it was considered that the sections of the Repatriation Act which referred to the automatic acceptance of pulmonary tuberculosis would not apply to the circumstances of service in Malaya. At that time, the reasons for this view were quite clearly stated in the debate and were approved by the Parliament. It was stated that the service there was not the same as the strenuous service in the two world wars, which was the basis of the Repatriation Act. As honorable members know, modern treatment, drug therapy and operative treatment have all improved the chances of a quick and full recovery from tuberculosis. These circumstances were taken into consideration, and any one who contracts this complaint because of war service is still allowed a war pension at the full general rate of 100 per cent.

I think those things are fully understood. An attempt is being made now to use this matter as a red herring to distract attention from the main purpose of the bills. In view of the fact that the matter was fully debated before this incident arose, and as every one who wished to speak, whether on the Opposition or the Government side, had an opportunity to speak at that time, I move -

That the question be now put

Question put. The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. P. E. Lucock.)

AYES: 58

NOES: 57

Majority . . . . 1

AYES

NOES

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Question put -

That the amendment be agreed to.

The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. P. E. Lucock.)

AYES: 58

NOES: 57

Majority . . . . 1

AYES

NOES

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Bills, as further amended, agreed to.

Bills reported, with a further amendment to the Repatriation (Special Overseas Service) Bill 1962.

Adoption of Report.

Motion (by Mr. Swartz) - by leave - proposed -

That the report be adopted.

Mr HAYLEN:
Parkes

.- I have been gagged previously and as the mover of the amendment yesterday, I wish to direct attention on the motion for the adoption of the report to the fact that this amendment was initiated because of the desire of the Opposition to see that an anomaly was corrected. As I have not had an opportunity of making a personal explanation, I want to revert to what happened in this Chamber when the amendment was submitted successfully by the Opposition and the Government was defeated for the first time in this Parliament on an amendment. The question of pairs and who was in the House and who was not have nothing to do with the matter under discussion. I was entrusted by the Opposition to move the amendment. I moved the amendment and it was carried. That is where the position rests.

Mr Hasluck:

– Is the honorable member now referring to proceedings in committee?

Mr HAYLEN:

– I am not referring to the committee proceedings in general. We have one Chairman of Committees now. The Minister for Territories can be a Temporary Chairman in due course. The point I wish to make is that all this stuff about who was in the chamber and who was out of it when the vote was taken is irrelevant. In the final analysis when by force of numbers the Opposition obtained the decision that I was empowered to secure if possible, the default was on the part of a Goverment supporter who was out of the chamber. That is the situation. To claim now that the Opposition did not honour an arrangement for a pair and to say that the Whips did this or that is irrelevant.

Mr Swartz:

– It was your deputy leader who referred to the Whips.

Mr HAYLEN:

– My deputy leader was most generous in regard to this matter. He has previously been charged by the Leader of the House (Mr. Harold Holt), who went berserk and waved a paper with the names of five members who, he said, had been paired. He imputed all sorts of things against us and some against me as well. I was obliged to sit here and see that the amendment was accepted or rejected. I was unaware that a pair operated from the time of departure of an earlier aircraft. I understood, until I was told, that I was paired from 8 o’clock, but that is not relevant. When the pairs were properly taken into account in the circumstances, the Opposition’s amendment was carried. The Government does a shabby thing when it takes advantage of the orders of the House and of its numbers. I remember the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) in his arrogant way saying that he never felt so comfortable with his small majority. Well, he must feel very comfortable and very miserable now at having to use the machinery of the House to dragoon the Labour Party. It was the wish of the House, by a majority of one, that full repatriation benefits should be accorded to servicemen serving in Viet Nam, Malaya and Singapore or in other places abroad to which members of the permanent forces are sent.

The Government has not won anything by its action to-day. This is a miserable subterfuge to obtain the numbers and repair the damage that was done. If you lost a vote by not holding your numbers in the House you should be able to stand up to that situation and not come here and beg us to recommit the clause. I thought the action of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) was most generous but the Government’s action in response to the Deputy Leader’s gesture was most contemptible. As soon as the Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Swartz) had mumbled a few words that were not understandable at the rear of the chamber, he moved that the question be put, showing that he was ashamed of what he was doing. At any other time the Minister is most loquacious. He was aided and abetted by the legal eagle who now sits beside him, the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt).

By its action the Government has not improved its prestige outside this chamber. If this had happened to a Labour government, we would have let the tail go with the hide. All that we were seeking was that total repatriation benefits be granted to those men serving in the strategic reserve. All your protestations about the brave boys over there mean nothing when you resort to this miserable parliamentary procedure. The Government’s action has not been very noble. The Government has gained nothing by wheedling out of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition approval to recommit the clause. The Government has diminished in stature by refusing to let me speak and instead moving that the question be put. I repeat that the Government’s action is contemptible. Servicemen will not be impressed. The people will not be impressed. This has been a pyrrhic victory if ever there was one. The Government was concerned about this matter being misreported in the press. When I was in Sydney the Minister bad been busy weaving a mystery and blaming everything on the Labour Party. The blame rests squarely on the Government for not having its numbers in the House. When the Government fails to maintain its parliamentary majority it seeks our approval to recommit the clause and then moves that the question be put so that there will not be any more debate. The Government must be held in contempt for what it has done. It will gain nothing in this House or outside by its contemptible conduct.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bills read a third time.

page 3074

GOLD MINES DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE BILL 1962

Message recommending appropriation reported.

In committee (Consideration of Administrator’s message):

Motion (by Mr. Harold Holt) agreed to -

That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purposes of a bill for an act to assist the development of gold mines.

Resolution reported.

Standing Orders suspended; resolution adopted.

Ordered -

That Mr. Harold Holt and Mr. Cramer do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.

Bill presented by Mr. Harold Holt, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Mr HAROLD HOLT:
Treasurer · Higgins · LP

– I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this bill is to provide additional assistance to the gold-mining industry of Australia and the Territories of Papua and New Guinea in the form of a development allowance to mines not in receipt of subsidy under the existing Gold-Mining Industry Assistance Act. The gold-mining industry is, of course, one of great importance to Australia. The annual value of gold output is in the region of £17,000,000. Not only does the industry make a significant contribution to the national income, but it produces a commodity which has a direct effect on the balance of payments. Except for a small quantity of gold which is used for industrial purposes, all the gold produced in Australia and the Territories represents an addition, in one form or another, to our international reserves.

In its consideration of measures of assistance for the industry, the Government has also attached great weight to the vital importance of the industry to a number of outlying areas, particularly the Kalgoorlie area of Western Australia. It is no exaggeration to say that some such areas are dependent on gold mining for their economic survival. As honorable members are aware, a scheme of subsidy assistance for the industry has been in operation since 1954. The scheme was introduced against the background of rising costs in the industry and a fixed official world price of gold. In the case of the larger gold mines, the scheme has operated to pay them, subject to certain conditions, subsidy equal to threequarters of the amount by which their costs of production have exceeded £13 10s. per oz. of gold produced. The operation of the subsidy scheme, which is governed by the provisions of the Gold-Mining Industry Assistance Act 1954-1962, has been extended from time to time and under the existing legislation continues until 30th June, 1965.

Since the subsidy scheme was introduced in 1954, gold production in Australia and its territories has been maintained at a relatively stable level of about 1,100,000 oz. a year. Almost 30 per cent, of this production has qualified for subsidy assistance and this proportion represents, in effect, the production of mines which might not have been able to carry on without the assistance pf the subsidy scheme. It is clear, therefore, that the subsidy scheme has made a major contribution to the stability of the gold-mining industry. Earlier this year, however, representatives of the industry expressed to the Government their firm view that, despite the value of the subsidy scheme, the industry as a whole was in need of further assistance. In particular, they pointed to the fact that over recent years sere has been a serious decline in the proved ore reserves of the large unsubsidized mines in relation to their rate of treatment of ore, and emphasized that, unless this trend was reversed, the future of the industry in the longer term could be in grave jeopardy.

After fully reviewing the whole position, the Government decided, as I announced in my Budget speech, to introduce legislation to provide for the payment of development allowance to gold mines not in receipt of subsidy as a means of assisting the mines to step up the rate of their development Work and so to increase their proved ore reserves. The bill now before the House presents the detailed provisions to give effect to that decision. Some of the provisions of the bill are rather complex. However, the general principle of the development allowance scheme can be quite simply expressed.

It is that, commencing with the current financial year, a mine approved for the purposes of the scheme will be eligible for payment of an allowance equal to the amount by which its allowable expenditure on development of the mining property in a year, as defined in the bill, exceeds a defined base amount, which normally will be the average annual amount spent by the mine on development during the three years preceding 1962-63. For the purpose, expenditure on development means, broadly speaking, expenditure on the location and investigation of ore bodies and the preparation of ore bodies for mining operations. [Quorum formed.]

The rather involved provisions of the bill are designed to define the precise manner in which the general principle is to be applied in all the situations that may arise in particular cases, and also to define the conditions and limits attaching to the payment of development allowance within the framework of the general principle. The complexity of some of the provisions is due in large part to the need to cover the possible establishment of new mines and possible changes in the ownership of mining properties or parts of mining properties.

I shall not attempt at this stage to explain all of the detailed provisions, since detailed explanation is perhaps better left to the committee stages of the bill. I shall, however, outline the nature of the more important of the detailed provisions.

Under the heading of manner of application of the general principle, I should say first that development allowance will be payable only to approved producers in respect of specified mining properties and only in respect of approved programmes of development work. In exercising his power of approval of producers, the Treasurer must be of. opinion that the circumstances of the particular mine are such that the undertaking of development at an increased rate would make, or could reasonably be expected to make, a substantial contribution to the continued production of the mine. This provision is considered necessary to avoid the possibility of wasteful expenditure in a case where the undertaking of additional development, with the assistance of development allowance, would not be justified in the light of the circumstances of the particular mining property. The requirement for mc approval of programmes of development work is dictated by the consideration that development allowance should be payable by the Commonwealth only in respect of programmes of development which are judged to be reasonable and appropriate in the particular circumstances.

The manner in which allowable expenditure on development is to be determined for the purpose of payment of development allowance is set out in clause 11 of the bill. The most important provision in that clause is that, if the cost of particular types of development work by a mine in a year exceeds the cost which the Treasurer determines would have been the cost if the work had been carried out by the mine during the three years preceding 1962-63, the actual amount of expenditure on development in that year will be subject to reduction by an amount not exceeding the amount of the excess. This provision is designed primarily as a safeguard against the possibility of the carrying out of an approved programme of development in an uneconomic manner. Special provisions are also included in the clause to deal with the case of a new mine.

The base amount which is to be deducted from the amount of allowable expenditure on development by a mine in a year for the purpose of ascertaining the amount of development allowance payable in respect of that year is defined in clause 10 of the bill.

Payment of development allowance on the general basis I have described will be subject to a number of conditions and limits. I shall briefly summarize the more important of these conditions and limits. It is not intended that development allowance should be payable in respect of any development undertaken by a mine that results in the mine’s supply of proved ore reserves at the end of a year, expressed in relation to the quantity of ore treated in that year, being more than two years in excess of the number of years of supply at at 30th June, 1962. Provision is accordingly made in the bill for an appropriate reduction in the amount of development allowance payable in that eventuality.

The amount of development allowance payable to a mine in respect of a year is subject to an upper limit of an amount equal to four shillings for each ton of ore produced by the mine that is treated in that year. If a mine’s allowable expenditure on development in a year is less than the defined base amount, the deficiency is to be deducted from any future amounts of development allowance that become payable to the mine. This is to cover the situation where there is a fall in the amount of development work undertaken by a mine, with consequent adverse effect on the mine’s reserves position.

The amount of development allowance payable to a mine in respect of a year will be subject to a reduction to the extent that the mine’s income in that year is increased by sales of gold at prices in excess of the official price of £15 12s. 6d. per ounce. There is a comparable provision in the Gold-Mining Industry Assistance Act relating to the payment of subsidy. As I mentioned earlier, development allowance will not be payable to a mine in receipt of subsidy. The relevant provisions in the bill are expressed in a manner which will give each particular mine, in relation to each year, the choice of claiming either subsidy or development allowance.

The bill also contains a number of miscellaneous provisions relating to such matters as the making of advance payments of development allowance, the supply of information by mines which have been paid or claim development allowance, inspection of mining properties and offences against the provisions of the bill. These provisions are similar to corresponding provisions in the Gold-Mining Industry Assistance Act.

The Government believes that the measure before the House will make a notable contribution to the future well-being of the goldmining industry by the very considerable stimulus it will give for the undertaking of an increased rate of work in the location, investigation and preparation of gold ore bodies. This increased rate of work should in turn be reflected in an improvement in the quantity of proved ore reserves and hence to an improvement in the longer term prospects of the industry as a whole. The present situation with regard to proved ore reserves gives cause for concern, particularly from the viewpoint of the future welfare of some outlying areas of Australia, and if the development allowance scheme assists in improving that situation it will have served an important purpose.

I would just say finally, for the information of the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) that there has been consultation with spokesmen for the gold-mining industry, and it is my understanding that what is embodied in the bill covers their understanding of what was intended in our earlier discussions. With these thoughts I commend the bill to the House.

Mr BEAZLEY:
Fremantle

.- The Opposition sees no point in delaying the passage of this measure as quickly as possible through the House. My colleague, the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. Collard), will doubtless be speaking shortly on its effect in his own electorate. I would remind the House that in the policy speeches made by the leaders of the Australian Labour Party in the general elections of 1958 and 1961, developmental assistance for the gold-mining industry was stated to be part of the Labour Party’s policy. We have stressed this each time a gold-mining industry assistance bill has been before the House over the past two or three years.

It is possible that there are in the Government’s programme qualifications on assistance to development that we would not ourselves have imposed, but otherwise we regard this as a step towards carrying out what we believe should be done for the gold-mining industry and therefore we support the measure.

Mr COLLARD:
Kalgoorlie

.- The purpose of the bill is to provide, under certain conditions, assistance by way of a development allowance to a section of the gold-mining industry which at present is not in receipt of any subsidy. We support the bill because it does to a large extent follow what we, on this side of the House, have been advocating for quite some time. As the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) said, just prior to the last election the Labour Party told the people in the gold-mining industry that if it were elected as a government it would immediately introduce legislation to grant a development allowance amounting to £500,000 per annum to the gold-mining industry for a term of years. However, the present Government was returned to office and nothing was done for some twelve months. So, there has been twelve months delay in bringing down this legislation dealing with the development allowance. In addition to that, the amount of money now being made available is less than what a Labour government would have made available to the industry.

This bill will undoubtedly be welcomed by the industry, even though it has taken the Government so long to become convinced that some such proposal is necessary for the welfare of the industry. I wish to make only one or two comments on this measure. First of all, it must have become obvious by now to anyone who has been interested in gold-mining over the years since 1954 that the subsidy made available under the present act will do nothing to stimulate the industry. It has only delayed the closure of some mines. In other words, when a mine reaches a stage where it becomes eligible for the gold-mining subsidy it is pounds to peanuts that it will never recover to a position where it will cease to be a recipient of the subsidy. It is most unlikely that it will ever recover to a stage where it can again stand on its own feet. Of course, if the price of gold had increased in accordance with the general increase in costs throughout Australia the gold-mining industry would be in a flourishing position and would not be in need of any assistance at all. If we cast our minds back to 1950 and compare the costs of the industry at that time with wages and the price of general mining equipment to-day, it is easy to realize that, had it not been for mechanization and more modern methods of mining, this industry would have been practically non-existent to-day.

Unfortunately, the price of gold has not increased since 1949, except for a minor increase of 2s. 6d. an ounce in 1954, which did practically nothing to help the industry. We therefore have the spectacle of an industry which is endeavouring to carry on with a fixed price for its product while having to meet rising costs generally. Although the assistance now being granted by way of the development allowance will help the industry, I do not think it goes far enough. As I see it the purpose of this legislation is, as we have advocated, to bring about a position where the mines generally will have their lives lengthened. To accomplish that it is necessary that lower grade ore bodies be opened up and mined. It will be found that in the gold-mining industry the larger ore bodies are of lower grade, while the smaller bodies are of higher grade. We therefore have the spectacle of very large low-grade ore bodies being by-passed and left behind because it is not economic to work them under the present cost structure, thus seriously shortening the lives of the mines.

Unfortunately we have not had time, since the introduction of the bill, to study the measure and see what it means, but the main large gold producers in Western Australia, which appear as though they could benefit from this legislation, are the Great Boulder, the Lake View and Star and the North Kalgoorlie - all of which are in Kalgoorlie itself - the Central Norseman, at Norseman and the Hill 50 at Mount Magnet. Between them those mines employ about 2,700 men and treat approximately 1,850,000 tons of ore a year for a recovery of approximately 460,000 ounces of gold. They carry out about 172,000 feet of developmental work a year between them, excluding shaft sinking, which unfortunately is not provided for in this bill. The value of the gold they produce each year is in the vicinity of £9,750,000, which is a fair amount of money to be put into the trade balances of Australia. From that we can see the value of retaining such mines as these and we can see the reason why their lives must be extended if possible and not shortened.

With 2,700 men employed in the industry, plus the others employed in other industries in the area that depend on goldmining, a total of about 30,000 people would practically all be forced to leave the district if the gold-mining industry were to collapse. I will now refer briefly to the amendment to the definition of “ small producer” that was made by the 1961 bill. Prior to that amendment a small producer was one producing 500 ounces of gold or less per annum. That figure was extended to 1,075 ounces, with a sliding scale benefit. At that time the Government put on a great show about what the amendment would mean to the gold-mining industry but, unfortunately for the Government, the people in the industry were well aware of why the show was put on, as it was just prior to an election. Honorable members might be interested to know that, as a result of that amendment, only one small mining company received the extra subsidy. That was a company of two men, and I think the amount of subsidy paid was a bit over £1,000. That was the value of that amendment to the gold-mining industry - practically nothing! So the Government has not really done a great deal for the industry.

To give the House some idea of the value of the gold-mining industry I will quote from the “Industrial and Mining Review “ some figures given by Mr. Elvey, the president of the Chamber of Mines of Western Australia, in his annual address on 29th May. He said -

Ore treated by Western Australian mines during the year totalled 2,984,458 long tons for a yield of 870,638 fine ounces of gold, valued at £13,604,030 Australian currency, equivalent to 30,473,000 American dollars.

That is an important issue in view of the1 fact that gold is a dollar earner. The quotation continues -

The quantity of ore treated decreased by 71,986 tons as compared with the previous year, while gold production increased by 692 fine ounces; the recovered grade of gold per ton for 1960 was 5.69 dwt. and for 1961 was 5.83 dwt

That shows that the grade of ore being mined has been raised to try to catch up with the costs and that the industry is slowly but certainly shortening its life because it is leaving more and more lowgrade ore bodies behind. That is what we must try to avoid.

I also want to refer briefly to the views of the people in the gold-fields of Western Australia regarding what the Government has done in respect of subsidy generally. I shall read to the committee some references from the “Eastern Goldfields News and Notes” section of the “Commerce - Industrial and Mining Review “ of May, 1962. One reference states -

The Chamber of Mines have expressed only tentative satisfaction with the Treasurer’s statement but in many circles there are signs of protest and disappointment at the unchanged levels of subsidy.

A paragraph from another issue of the same publication reads -

No very great satisfaction has been expressed at the decision (Budget 1961) to lift the “cut-off figure of 5,000 oz.” - applicable to small mines and mine owners, because of the application of a graduated or sliding scale to the ounces produced over 500 to 1,075 ounces.

The comment goes on - “It might not immediately affect any great number of prospectors, but MAY–

That word is in capital letters, which shows that they are very doubtful of the result - give the industry a small lift, or, in the long run result in a small but insignificant rise in the State production.”

The wider subsidy will apply to ounces up to 1,075.

By some the Federal Treasurer is commended on an effort to encourage prospecting individuals and small parties or small mine owners.

As ‘I said, as a result of the amendment of the legislation two men became eligible for a subsidy as small producers.

I am also very disappointed that the bill provides no allowance for shaft-sinking. The bill provides in clause 4 - the definitions clause - as follows: - “ development “, in relation to a mining property, means work carried out with the object of ascertaining the existence or extent of gold-bearing minerals in the property, and includes preparation of the property, by means of diamond drilling or the provision of drives, cross cuts, rises, winzes or working faces, for the purpose of the continuous production of goldbearing minerals, but does not include the provision of shafts on the property;

I point out that shaft-sinking is usually the first, or anyway the second, preparation in developing a mine. There may be a diamond drilling programme to test the ore bodies but, generally speaking, shaftsinking is the first preparation. But no provision for an allowance in respect of shaft-sinking is made in the measure. It may be said that the Chamber of Mines did not make a special request that shaftsinking be made an allowable item. Of course, perhaps the Chamber of Mines said, “ If that is all the money the Government is going to make available, if we included shaft-sinking we would expend practically the whole amount on that alone.” The amount is £300,000.

I realize that to-day, because of the depth of mines and because the ore bodies are sited in declines, usually running north and south, and dip away, we have mines down to 3,000 feet or a mile deep, with the lode several thousand feet away from the shaft itself. There is heavy expense in bringing the ore to the shaft for hauling to the surface. Provision for shaft-sinking is one of the things that some mines require now to enable economic handling of the ore. They want either to sink entirely new shafts or to join internal shafts in the mine itself. So I consider that some allowance for that important work - and it is very important in respect of the opening of new mines - should be included in the bill.

Diamond drilling is covered by the development allowance, but not separately. What the Chamber of Mines asked the Government to do was to give a £1 for £1 subsidy on diamond drilling. I may be mistaken, but I understood the Treasurer to say to the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) that this bill provided largely for what the Chamber of Mines wants. I say that in regard to diamond drilling it is not what the Chamber of Mines asked for. I have seen what the chamber asked for, as reported in one of those industrial reviews from which I have been quoting. The chamber suggested that diamond drilling should be subsidized on the basis of £1 for £1.

It may be interesting to honorable members to know that the main mines which could be eligible for assistance under the bill do a considerable amount of diamond drilling. The Lake View and Star mine, for instance, in 19/50 did more than 20,000 feet of diamond drilling. The Great Boulder mine did just under 11,000 feet, North Kalgoorlie did more than 20,000 feet, Central Norseman did more than 42,000 feet, and Hill 50 did more than 23,000 feet. So a tremendous amount of diamond drilling has to be carried out on the lodes to find their extent and whether they are worth prospecting. We support the request of the Chamber of Mines for a £l-for-£l subsidy.

I support the bill because it will give mining companies that little extra that they need, and help those - who are not even entitled to the subsidy under the present act. However, I am sorry that the allowance provided does not go further. I should like to see much more done, and I should certainly like to see shaft-sinking included in the allowance, and diamond drilling subsidized on a £l-for-£l basis.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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

page 3080

TARIFF PROPOSALS 1962

Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 56); Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 57); Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Amendment (No. 11); Customs Tariff (Canada Preference) Amendment (No. 5)

In Committee of Ways and Means:

Mr FAIRHALL:
Minister for Supply · Paterson · LP

– I move - [Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 57).]

  1. 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 seventh day of December, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-two, Dutiesof Customs be collected accordingly.
  2. That in these Proposals, “ Customs Tariff Proposals “ mean the Customs Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the following dates: - 15th November, 1962; and 29th November, 1962.

[Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Amendment (No. 11).]

  1. That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) 1933-1962, as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Proposals, be further amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals, and that, on and after the seventh day of December, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-two, Duties of Customs be collected accordingly.
  2. That in these Proposals, “ Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Proposals “ mean the Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the following dates, namely:- 13th November, 1962; and 29th November, 1962.

[Customs Tariff (Canada Preference) Amendment (No. 5).]

That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff (Canada Preference) 1960-1962, be amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals and that, on and after the seventh day of December, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-two, Duties of Customs be collected accordingly. {: .page-start } page 3081 {:#debate-33} ### THE SCHEDULE [Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 56).] The resolutions 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. 56 and complementary New Zealand and Canada Preference Proposals are necessary to implement adjustments made to our commitments under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade during the last round of " open-season " negotiations. Under the provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, a so-called " open season " is held every three years, to enable member countries to review, withdraw or re-negotiate tariff concessions and commitments which they have previously entered into with each other. It is one of the rules of Gatt that a country wishing to withdraw a concession must enter into negotiations with other countries concerned, in order to restore the balance of concessions. The last open season was held in Geneva during 1960-61. Some time before that it became apparent that, with the growth of Australian manufacturing industry in certain directions and the likely need to adjust protective tariffs, it would be desirable to negotiate out of a number of mostfavourednation tariff commitments. Australia therefore took advantage of the 1960-61 open season to withdraw a wide range of concessions and offer in their place new commitments less onerous as regards the protection of local industry. The tariff changes proposed in the resolution which I have just introduced give effect to these new commitments. In brief, Australia withdrew commitments on items covering some £6,300,000 of trade annually and in exchange accepted new obligations, in respect of rate of duty bindings, on items with £3,500,000 of annual trade and, in respect of tariff preference bindings, on items with £3,800,000 of annual trade. It must be remembered that Australia has received, in exchange for the concessions given in our tariff, equivalent concessions in the tariffs of other Gatt members for the benefit of our exporting industries, both primary and secondary. Australia's action in withdrawing concessions in anticipation of a likely need to adjust the protective duties has been amply justified. Of the 68 items or parts of items involved in the withdrawal, no less than 44 have since been referred to the Tariff Board for inquiry and report. Manufacturing industry can expect to benefit from the freedom and facility for protective action which results from the withdrawals. Customs Tariff Proposals No. 57 are consequent on recommendations by a Special Advisory Authority, whose report I shall table later this day. A temporary duty of 7s. 6d. each is imposed on television deflection yokes from all countries. The temporary duty, which will also apply pro rata to parts of these yokes, will operate in addition to the normal duties but will not be imposed on goods in direct transit to Australia on 9th November, 1962, which are entered for home consumption on arrival. The normal protective needs of the industry have been referred to the Tariff Board for inquiry and report. The temporary duty will operate until such time as the Government takes action upon receipt of the final report of the board. I commend the proposals to honorable members. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 3089 {:#debate-34} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-34-0} #### TARIFF BOARD Reports on Items. {: #subdebate-34-0-s0 .speaker-KEN} ##### Mr FAIRHALL:
Minister for Supply · Paterson · LP -- I lay on the table of the House reports by the Tariff Board on the following subjects: - >Automotive instruments, &c. > >Pentobarbitone sodium. > >Sodium cyclamate. > >Sulphuric acid produced from sinter gas. I also lay on the table of the House reports by Special Advisory Authorities on the following subjects: - >Evaporative air coolers. > >Television deflection yokes. and move - > >That the reports be printed. The Government has accepted the recommendations in each instance and, except the report on television deflection yokes, the reports do not call for any legislative action. An amendment of the Sulphuric Acid Bounty Regulations will implement the board's recommendation for an extension of the bounty on sulphuric acid to cover acid produced from sinter gas. A variation in the Customs By-laws, as recommended by the board in its report on automotive instruments, &c, will apply substantive rates of duty to exterior automotive body mouldings. No changes are proposed in the duties on pentobarbitone sodium and sodium cyclamate, which were not being manufactured in Australia at the time of the Tariff Board's inquiry, but the board will be asked to hold further inquiries on these goods when commercial production commences. Honorable members will recall that it is within Government policy to determine anticipatory duties in advance of local production. In the case of sodium cyclamate and pentobarbitone sodium, however, this course of action was not appropriate, because of the difficulties in assessing the particular manufacturing costs in advance of actual production. In this report on evaporative air coolers the Special Advisory Authority recommends that no urgent action be taken at the present time to protect the Australian evaporative air cooler industry. This recommendation has been accepted by the Government. Question resolved in the affirmative. {: .page-start } page 3090 {:#debate-35} ### WOOL INDUSTRY BILL 1962 In committee: Consideration resumed from 5th December (vide page 3022). Clause 11. (1.) Each member to represent Australian woolgrowers shall be appointed upon the nomination of the Australian Wool Industry Conference. (2.) Of the six members to represent Australian wool-growers first appointed - Amendment (by **Mr. Pollard)** negatived - In sub-clause (3.), omit " three ", insert " four Clause agreed to. Clause 12 agreed to. Clause 13. (1.) This section applies to the members referred to in paragraph (d) of sub-section (1.) of section nine of this Act (2.) The members to whom this section applies shall be appointed - Amendment (by **Mr. Pollard)** negatived - Omit sub-clauses (2.) and (3.). Clause agreed to. Clauses 14 to 19 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to. Clause 20. (1.) The Minister may remove a member from office for inability or misbehaviour. (2.) If the Australian Wool Industry Conference requests the removal from office of a member representing Australian wool-growers, the Minister shall remove that member from office. {: #debate-35-s0 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Lalor .- I move - Omit sub-clause (2.). This amendment is consequential on other amendments that have not been agreed to, but, of course, we want it recorded. Amendment negatived. Clause agreed to. Clauses 21 to 23 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to. Clause 24. (1.) The functions of the Board are - (a) to promote the use of wool and wool products in Australia and other countries; {: type="a" start="b"} 0. to inquire into, and from time to time report to the Australian Wool Industry Conference upon, methods of marketing wool and any other matters connected with the marketing of wool; and Amendment (by **Mr. Pollard)** negatived - In sub-clause (1.) (b), omit " Australian Wool Industry Conference", insert "Minister". Clause agreed to. Clause 25 (Wool Marketing Committee and other committees). {: #debate-35-s1 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Lalor .-I should like to pass a few remarks about this provision, which requires that the new Australian Wool Board shall establish a committee to be known as the Wool Marketing Committee. Surely it is a misnomer to call it a wool marketing committee when it will market nothing whatever. It should be called an advisory committee on marketing procedures, or proposed marketing procedures. Call it what you like, but not the Wool Marketing Committee, because that is a misleading title, to say the very least of it. The clause provides that the board itself shall establish this committee for the purpose set out in clause 25. - (1.): - to assist the Board in carrying out the functions of the Board referred to in paragraph (b) of subsection (1.) of the last preceding section. Those functions are set out as follows: - make arrangements conducive to the performance of its functions with persons, authorities or associations in Australia or elsewhere and, with the consent of the Minister, with a State. Quite obviously this board will be required, in the very nature of things, although it would not appear to be so at first glance, to continue along the lines that the wool inquiry committee presided over by **Mr. Justice** Philp was required to follow. Surely it is strange that everything that **Mr. Justice** Philp's committee was required to do now has to be done again. The proposed Wool Marketing Committee will be appointed by the board. I do not know whether its members will be selected from the board's own personnel. {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr Adermann: -- Not necessarily. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- They can pick three other men outside - perhaps another Philp, another Merry, another Buttfield. Where is that going to get the wool-growers of Australia? {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr Adermann: -- It will be the board's own choice. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- The Minister says it will be the board's choice. This will absolve the Government of the responsibility of carrying out a duty that obviously is encumbent upon it, that is to set up a marketing authority physically to market wool and control its sale in Australia and abroad. The Government proposes, as a side-stepping maneouvre, to have this board set up its own committee, not necessarily from its own personnel, although it could do so if it chose, according to my understanding of the situation. According to the Minister it could select the members of the committee from anywhere from anywhere at all. It could send to America for them, or to the United Kingdom. It could select them from Melbourne or from Sydney. This is surely a strange way to deal with the situation. This Parliament will shortly be debating a bill dealing with the marketing of honey. It is evidently considered essential for the honey industry to have a marketing authority. That industry has a relatively small turnover, although, of course, it is important to the people engaged in the industry and also to Australia's economy. But the honey industry is of minute magnitude compared with the great wool industry. I leave the matter there. I hope the wool-growers will take cognizance of what is being done to them. This is a mighty queer way of pushing aside a matter of major importance to the wool industry and to the people of Australia. {: #debate-35-s2 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN:
Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP -- The industry representatives requested that this committee be set up, and that it be a continuing body, to determine the approach to marketing for the sake of the future of the industry. {: #debate-35-s3 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Lalor .- The Minister tells us that this request was made by the committee. I suppose he refers to this conference. {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr Adermann: -- No. I said it was at the request of the organizations' representatives. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- The wool organizations? {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr Adermann: -- Yes. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- The wool organizations' committees will be of pretty poor repute if they are to be so easily satisfied. I have here a telegram which I received to-day, and which shows clearly the feeling of the rank and file in the industry. Reports in the newspapers and records of meetings all over Australia also show what is going on in the minds of the wool-growers in connexion with this matter of marketing. This telegram came from Walgett in New South Wales and it refers to a public meeting of 300 graziers. People who know the Walgett district will realize that the graziers there are widely scattered, and that it is a matter of considerable inconvenience for them to meet in such numbers at a central point. The telegram says - >Public meeting 300 graziers this and surrounding districts with representatives south west Queensland resolved overwhelming majority continue press for reserve price plan for wool within present auction system > >Coren Secretary North West Woolmarketing Association. That is the kind of view that is widely held amongst wool-growers throughout Australia. Clause agreed to. Clauses 26 to 34 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to. Clause 35. The moneys of the Board may be applied- {: type="a" start="d"} 0. in making such grants as the Board thinks fit to the Australian Wool Industry Conference in respect of expenses incurred by the Conference; Amendment (by **Mr. Pollard)** negatived - >Omit paragraph (d). Clause agreed to. Clauses 36 to 85 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to. Clause 86. The Board shall, as soon as practicable after a report furnished to the Minister by the Board under section eighty-four of this Act has been laid before both Houses of the Parliament, afford the Australian Wool Industry Conference an opportunity of consulting with the members of the Board for the purpose of discussing the activities of the Board. Amendment (by **Mr. Pollard)** negatived - >Omit " Australian Wool Industry Conference " insert "several wool-growers organizations as defined by paragraph (a) of sub-section (1a.) of section 1 1 of this Act ". Clause agreed to. Clause 87 (Board may provide Conference with clerical assistance.) {: #debate-35-s4 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Lalor .- I oppose the clause as at present drafted, and wish to have my disapproval recorded. Clause agreed to. Remainder of the bill - by leave - taken as a whole, and agreed to. Bill reported without amendment; report adopted. {:#subdebate-35-0} #### Third Reading Motion (by **Mr. Adermann)** proposed - >That the bill be now read a third time. {: #subdebate-35-0-s0 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Lalor .- I wish to say a few brief words in connexion with wool research. I point out that the existing Wool Research Committee has an imposing list of members, and that this is the committee that will be eliminated under the provisions of the bill now before us. The chairman of the committee is **Mr. C.** W. Strutt, representing the Commonwealth Government. Then the members are **Dr. F.** W. G. White, C.B.E., representing the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization; **Mr. A.** G. Strickland, C.B.E., representing the Australian Agricultural Council; **Dr. J.** Melville, representing the Australian universities; **Mr. W.** Weatherley, D.F.C., and **Mr. T.** Scott, O.B.E., representing the Australian Woolgrowers Council; **Mr. F.** E. Hitchins, C.B.E. and **Mr. L.** H. Heaslip, representing the Australian Wool and Meat Producers Federation; **Mr. H.** W. Adcock, representing the Australian Woollen and Worsted Textile Manufacturers Association; and **Sir William** Gunn, K.B.E., C.M.G., whois the chairman of the existing Australian Wool Bureau. Probably the present personnel will be absorbed by the new organization but they will become subject, body and soul, to the Australian Wool Board. The present personnel includes technical men experienced in research. The report of the committee of inquiry referred to differences of opinion between the Australian Wool Bureau and the Wool Research Committee, and the Government now claims that this new authority will make for better co-ordination. The research and publicity personnel will be mixed together in the one basket, as it were. If they could not get on together under the existing set-up in which **Sir William** Gunn, the chairman of the Wool Research Committee, was also chairman of the Australian Wool Bureau - and no doubt he will be chairman of the new authority - and in which these authorities had opportunities to meet and to work together on consultative committees, I do not know how they will manage under the new set-up. I express that doubt, although I hope that it will prove groundless. As we cannot amend the bill we shall support it. However, one point I should like to mention is that apparently the Minister has been relieved of the responsibility which he had formerly in relation to research. I believe that this is a complete denial of the case which his predecessor in office submitted in 1953 when he remoulded the then existing instrumentality and established the present set-up. Now the Minister has decided that this set-up isno good and is establishing a new organization. {: #subdebate-35-0-s1 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN:
Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP -- in reply - By way of explanation let me say that both research committees will be chaired by a government representative. Honorable members can be assured that this has not been proposed with a view to eliminating any of the present representatives. The second point I make is that there must be a representative of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization on both committees. It could well be that the other representatives mentioned by the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** will be absorbed in the new establishment. The board also will have the right to appoint any other research committee that it may wish to appoint. The responsibility will come back to the Minister. The Board will be an intermediary which will reconcile the recommendations of the two committees and then will make its submission to the Minister. The Minister will not be able to evade any of his responsibility. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a third time. WOOL TAX BILL (No. 1a) 1962. {:#subdebate-35-1} #### Second Reading Consideration resumed from 29th November (vide page 2732), on motion by **Mr. Adermann** - >That the bill be now read a second time. 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. WOOL TAX BILL (No. 2a) 1962. {:#subdebate-35-2} #### Second Reading Consideration resumed from 29th November (vide page 2732), on motion by **Mr. Adermann** - >That the bill be now read a second time. 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 3093 {:#debate-36} ### HONEY INDUSTRY BILL 1962 {:#subdebate-36-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from 29th November (vide page 2813), on motion by **Mr. Adermann** - >That the bill be now read a second time. {: #subdebate-36-0-s0 .speaker-KSC} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir John McLeay: -- There being no objection, that course will be followed. {: #subdebate-36-0-s1 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Lalor .- The Opposition welcomes this measure which will set up a marketing organization for Australia's honey industry. Despite the industry's great value to Australia, for a long period the people engaged in it have lived precariously. The packers of honey may be more fortunately circumstanced because very frequently they are engaged in other marketing activities as well as in the packing of honey. The main features of this bill confirm the Opposition's view on primary producer marketing organizations. The bill provides for a majority of primary producers representatives on the board. There is representation on the board - probably out of weight - for honey packers but no doubt some packers are interested in producing honey as well. There is provision also for the raising of funds. The Government proposes that a levy of a minimum of1/2d. and a maximum of1d. shall be imposed on all honey sold within Australia which is rather a departure from the course which is followed very frequently of a levy being imposed on exports. In addition to meeting the administrative expenses of the authority, the funds will be used by the authority for propaganda purposes, and I think provision also is made for research. Both propaganda and research are of value to the industry. The objects of the measure, as mentioned in the bill, are, first, to regulate the export of honey. This in itself is a very important feature of marketing. After all, unless somebody controls the standard of exports for a product of this kind, the product can earn a very bad name overseas and lose its export market. The powers granted in the bill are relatively extensive. The representatives of the apiarists will be elected on nomination. Queensland and Tasmania will not be represented. They are relatively small in the honey industry. The powers of the board are important inasmuch as, on the export control side, clause 22 of the Honey Industry Bill provides - >For the purpose of enabling the Board effectively to control the export and sale and distribution after export of honey, the regulations may prohibit the export from Australia of honey by a person other than the board unless ... the person holds a licence to export honey . . . The regulations will provide, of course, for the issue of export licences to people who export honey. That is some protection for the industry. The Opposition wishes the industry well. It wishes the new board well. We hope that, from now on, the industry will enjoy greater prosperity than it has enjoyed hitherto. I want to point out, however, that the mere imposition of a levy of a halfpenny or a penny per pound on sales of honey in Australia will, whatever we do, in the absence of other powers, inevitably result in some increase in the selling price to local consumers. Under those circumstances, I foreshadow that, in the committee stage, the Opposition will move an amendment to enable the Government, if it is willing to adopt our suggestion, as I hope it will be, to reduce the minimum levy provided in these bills from a halfpenny to a farthing; and to reduce the maximum levy to be paid by the merchant from a penny to a halfpenny. The effect of this proposal would be to halt any tendency towards an increase of local prices. After all, the consumers of honey are generally family people whose children like the health-giving product - honey. The effect of the Opposition's proposal to alter the maximum and minimum amount would be substantially to assist the industry. We suggest that, in order to compensate for the loss of revenue to the industry that this proposal would entail, the Commonwealth Government should provide a matching contribution to the industry. It would not cost very much. It would mean that the Commonwealth would provide a farthing or a halfpenny per pound. That would be in the nature of a bounty for the industry, and would obviate the need for the industry itself to find the amount involved. If this resulted in prices being kept down it would be a worthy gesture on the part of this Parliament to an industry which has never had any real assistance from the Government. At the appropriate stage, in committee, I shall move an amendment which, if accepted, will enable the Government to show its willingness to fall in with the suggestion that I have made. The dairy industry is subsidized. The wheat industry was subsidized to the extent of £12,000,000 last year. Copper production gets its subsidy. Flake acetate gets a bounty. All sorts of secondary industries get tariff protection, but the little honey industry, which markets a magnificent product, gets nothing. Now it is to be given the opportunity of levying the public at a rate between a halfpenny and a penny per pound of honey sold in Australia. This must, to some extent, militate against the very purpose of the bill, which is to encourage home consumption among our people. {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr Adermann: -- The industry could benefit to a greater extent than that by the regulation of exports. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- That is true. The regulation of exports will create opportunities, at least, for eliminating speculation. It could eliminate undesirable traders and, perhaps, could result in the sending abroad of a better product in ever-increasing quantities. I ask the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann)** to give kindly consideration to the suggestion of the Opposition. If my proposal cannot be inserted in the bill while it is in this House, it could be inserted while the bill is in the Senate. Only a simple piece of drafting will be required to amend the bill. At the appropriate time, the Opposition will move the amendment I have foreshadowed. {: #subdebate-36-0-s2 .speaker-KDN} ##### Mr ENGLAND:
Calare .- This bill proposes to set up a Commonwealth statutory authority called "The Australian Honey Board ". The objects of the bill have been very clearly set out in the speech of the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann)** which explains the functions of the board. At present, a section of the industry has doubts concerning the way in which this legislation deals with the subject of research. I shall come to that subject later on. On the marketing and promotion side, the Minister for Primary Industry has given some general figures concerning exports of honey. I should like to give some more detailed figures. In 1958-59 exports of honey from this country were valued at about £508,000. In the next year, the value rose slightly to £545,000. In 1960-61 it rose to approximately £710,000. In the year 1961-62 it dropped to £111,253. There was a marked rise in the first quarter of this year when the value of exports was £250,000. I cite those figures in order to show the House that there is, indeed, a very marked rise and fall in the export figures. I think that this illustrates the need for some kind of regulating board and for some form of organization in the industry. Bee-keepers, by the nature of their occupation, are scattered far and wide. Consequently, they are extremely hard to organize. At the present time dozens of exporters buy honey and offer it for export. There is another man who comes into the business - the honey dealer - who does better when the bee-keepers are experiencing their greatest trials and tribulations. The opinion of people overseas, as I see it, is that the Australian honey exporter is the worst price cutter in the world. Because of this, overseas buyers are tightly organized but the Australian exporters are not well organized. This has a consequent effect on prices overseas. This situation exists at the expense of the producer who is continually asked to carry heavier costs of production. He also receives the usual exhortations from various people to increase his standard of efficiency. The honey industry has to compete in world markets against countries that have lower standards of living and lower production costs than Australia. Through lack of organization, the honey producers are forced to compete against each other. This leads to low export prices and a lack of control. Because there is no organization to control them low export prices can result in the local market becoming flooded. The low Australian export price can affect the low Australian home-consumption price and both of them can affect world prices. It is held in the industry that the prices being received for honey to-day are roughly the same - certainly no more than - the prices received fifteen years ago when the basic wage was about a third of the present basic wage. We do not know what the effects of the European Common Market proposals on the honey industry will be. The Minister for Primary Industry has already mentioned that. As has been pointed out in this House, Australia has sought a preference quota up to the volume of our traditional trade with the United Kingdom and has also asked for a growth factor to be introduced. We can say, without pulling our legs, that reactions to similar proposals respecting other commodities in the past have not been at all encouraging. This makes it all the more important that we get on and deal with this problem of organization. I now turn to research, **Mr. Deputy Speaker.** There is no reference in this legislation now before us to research, but I point out to the honey industry that I am sure that the Government's intentions in this respect have been pretty clearly laid down, from the beginning of the consideration of this problem, in statements made by the Minister at meetings of the Australian Agricultural Council, in his various press statements, and in his second-reading speech on the Honey Industry Bill 1962. Although there is no specific reference in this legislation to research, I consider that the wording used is such as to indicate that research will be provided for. The need for research in the honey industry should be emphasized. In Australia, to-day, very little research is being done in this industry, in either the fundamental or the applied fields. I do not know of any such research being undertaken by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization or the universities. I think that the only research relating to honey is being undertaken at the Waite Agricultural Research Institute in South Australia, by a gentleman named Doull, who has a very satisfactory research unit there which is ready to expand and which has been conducting research for five years. A certain amount of research is being done also in Western Australia and by the Victorian Agriculture Department. In the past, we have relied largely on overseas research. That is all right up to a point, but we have now reached a stage at which research into the problems peculiar to this country and its special conditions is absolutely necessary. The species of bee that produces our honey has been imported from Europe. The conditions of climate and the flora here are quite unusual to it, especially the eucalypts, which is almost completely unknown elsewhere. Generally speaking, the European bee has made an excellent adjustment to Australian conditions, but I want to emphasize the fact that, already, nutritional problems are arising. The bees are meeting with various types of flora, and other factors affecting honey flow, with which they have never come in contact before and with which they are not physically equipped to deal. Previous research has been conducted chiefly in Russia, various European countries and the United States of America. Much of this research has had directly beneficial effects, quite apart from its effects on the honey industry, on agricultural activities such as fruit growing and seed production. One of the problems that we in this country need to study to-day is the particularly high death rate among bees due to the high potency of some of the insecticides that we use nowadays in our orchard industries. The Minister told us that insect-pollinated crops are worth about £30,000,000 a year to this country. Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m. [Quorum formed.] {: .speaker-KDN} ##### Mr ENGLAND: **- Mr. Speaker,** before the suspension of the sitting I had dealt very sketchily with marketing and promotion, which are covered by this bill, and I had gone on to emphasize the need for research in this country. Most improvements in the industry have followed research done overseas, and there is need for us to undertake research into our own problems. The important reasons for research include the need to keep down the cost of production and to build up honey flow. Indeed, it could be said that the purpose of research in all our primary industries is to keep down the cost of production in both the short term and the long term. I want to deal with some of the problems that could be solved by adequate research work. We are fortunate in this country to have a substantial winter flow of honey. We have certain types of trees and blossom here that are suitable for the winter flow. But, unfortunately, during this period bees sicken and die, and research work should be done to ascertain why this is so. Great losses are caused, but no reason can be given for the bees dying in this way. We have dry conditions in Australia and sometimes drought conditions. There is need for research to find some suitable pollen substitute or a supplement for the bees. This would smooth out the production curve and enable the rate of production to be maintained during dry conditions. The industry is subject to two bad diseases. One is a world-wide disease. I refer to the American brood disease, which spreads easily. It adversely affects the bee colonies and reduces production. I pay a tribute to the vigilance of the State departments of agriculture and the honey producers. In the past, this has helped to combat the disease and mitigate its effects. The honorable member for Mallee **(Mr. Turnbull)** has previously brought to the notice of the House the ravages of the disease nosema apis. This is prevalent during the spring build-up period and seems to be in evidence particularly in this country. The cause is not known. When we do not know the cause of a disease that is found particularly in this country, we should realize the need for research. At particular times, some of our flora, such as the Darling pea, cause losses amongst bees. As far as I know, no research work has been done on this problem. We know that the flora is not harmful to the hives at all times and this again reveals the need for research. As I said earlier, although the word " research " is not used in the bill as far as I can see, I believe that the intention is to leave the way open for research work to be done. In my opinion, those engaged in the industry need no longer fear for the future in this respect. Possibly the Minister for Primary Industry could later give an assurance that attention will be paid to the need for research. The Australian Honey Board should realize that it should engage not only in marketing and promotion but also in research. The effect of this legislation will be to stabilize the honey market. It will provide the means to eliminate senseless competition between rival export packers. The industry will not be as vulnerable as it has been to pressures from the importers of honey in Great Britain and Europe. Organization in those regions is highly developed and pressure is exerted on the Australian industry. The bill will provide the means to control surplus production, which is evident at times in Australia. We see in the Mitchell plan the willingness of those in an industry to organize under their leaders and to impose a levy on themselves. The Government, in adopting its traditional policy, has shown its willingness to legislate to suit the demands of an organized industry. This must give great heart to the producers in the honey industry. I commend the bill. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Chaney)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 3097 {:#debate-37} ### BRIGALOW LANDS AGREEMENT BILL 1962 {:#subdebate-37-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from 4th December (vide page 2890), on motion by **Mr. Harold** Holt- >That the bill be now read a second time. {: #subdebate-37-0-s0 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Is it the wish of the House that the suggestion of the Minister for Primary Industry be adopted? There being no objection, the suggestion will be followed. {: #subdebate-37-0-s1 .speaker-KZ9} ##### Mr RIORDAN:
Kennedy .- The Opposition supports the bills. However, we propose to offer constructive criticism of the agreement which the Brigalow Lands Agreement Bill seeks to ratify. The purpose of the bill is to approve of an agreement between the Commonwealth and the Queensland Government under which the Commonwealth will give certain financial assistance for the development of 4,250,000 acres of brigalow lands. This is only part of the brigalow country in Queensland. The area concerned is situated in the Fitzroy River basin in central Queensland. The development of this area will encourage expansion of the beef-cattle industry and other primary production, will increase the supply of beef for export. The total area of the brigalow country is about 20,000,000 acres. It extends from Collinsville in northern Queensland to Narrabri in New South Wales - a distance of 800 miles - and includes such centres as Goondiwindi, Roma and Taroom in Queensland. For some time the Queensland Government has been investigating the possibility of developing the brigalow area. It appointed a committee consisting of **Sir James** Holt, Co-ordinator-General of Public Works, **Mr. Muir,** Chief Commissioner of Lands, and **Dr. Summerville,** DirectorGeneral of Agriculture, to report on land development. The Commonwealth Division of Agricultural Economics has reported to the Commonwealth Government and to the Queensland Government on the economics of developing the 4,300,000 acres of the Fitzroy basin. That is an area south of Duaringa and Comet on the central railway running from Rockhampton to Longreach. The area covers 2,300,000 acres of softwood scrub and 2,000,000 acres of brigalow. The division reported that development of the area could be justified on economic grounds. It reported also that the brigalow belt offered outstanding potential for increased beef production for export, but that its development called for high capital expenditure. Development involved the clearing of acres of scrub lands and the provision of water facilities, fencing and housing to a stage where some income and reasonable amenities could be expected by the settlers. In addition, arterial roads and sub-divisional roads had to be constructed. Having limited financial resources and wishing to develop this area, Queensland had no option but to negotiate with the Commonwealth for financial assistance to enable the work to be done. This bill is the outcome of those negotiations. The Division of Agricultural Economics suggested that the area be developed in two stages. It suggested that the area's development would require the investment of public and private capital. Under the bill the Commonwealth agrees to make available on loan to the Queensland Government the sum of £7,250,000. From its own resources the Queensland Government will find a further £5,000,000, making a total of £12,250,000 to be spent on developing this area. Almost all of the Government's schemes in recent times have been on a fiveyear basis. This is a five-year loan. Money is provided for beef roads in Queensland on a five-year basis, as was the money for the beef roads in Western Australia. The opinion of many people in Queensland is that this Government's interest in the development of the beef industry in Queensland has been inspired by Britain's proposed entry into the European Economic Community. But for that factor the Government would not have displayed such a great interest in this matter. The Government is anxious to step up exports in expectation of Britain's entry into the Common Market. The Government looked around and found that the beef industry could be quickly expanded. When the Government wanted to know in which areas the industry could be expanded rapidly it turned, of course, to Queensland. The Fitzroy basin scheme could add enormously to Queensland's production of beef. That is the first stage of the proposed development and it could set a pattern for the development, not only of the remaining portion of the central Queensland area, but of the whole of the brigalow country - the whole of the remaining 16,000,000 acres. There is no doubt that the commencement of the scheme in the Fitzroy River basin could lead to greater development in the long term by the proper utilization of the vast untapped water resources of the Fitzroy basin for irrigation of crops and pastures. The basin has an annual run-off estimated by the Queensland Irrigation and Water Supply Commission at about 5,500,000 acre feet - approximately one half of the run-off of the river Murray basin. The Fitzroy is only one river in Queensland. There are many other major rivers in the State. The people of Queensland are hopeful that once this development is commenced it will be carried through to completion. After all, Queensland is part of the Commonwealth. **Major dams** and extensive irrigation projects are planned for the Fitzroy basin. Irrigation will permit the growing of pastures for cattle fattening. It will also permit cotton to be grown. An article which appeared in the Brisbane " Telegraph " on 4th December - the day on which the Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt)** introduced the bill into this Parliament - says that the area will be developed in two stages, and that the first stage is west of Theodore and Moura and south of Comet, Dingo and Duaringa on the railway line from Rockhampton to Longreach. This first stage with two sub-divisions includes the 4,271,000 acres referred to in the bill. The southern part is to be developed first and the area north of the line will be developed later. The northern part will cover 1,500,000 acres. This section is just on 6,000,000 acres in area and is from 50 miles to 180 miles west of Rockhampton. The plan is to settle 250 to 350 families in the area covered by the bill - in uncleared scrub land after the developmental work has been completed. In his second-reading speech the Treasurer said that the land would be sub-divided into blocks with a carrying capacity of 800 head of cattle. The press statement to which I have referred alleged that the blocks would average 10,000 acres in area and would run 800 head of grown cattle. The subdivisions proposed for selection will provide 350 acres for cultivation in each holding. The State Government proposes to spend £25,000 on each holding. Development will include clearing, grassing, fencing and the provision of a dip, cattle yards and two permanent watering facilities. Any selector who secures a loan from the State Government will have to repay it in five years. Applicants for these selections will need readily convertible assets or cash of £12,000 in order to establish an equity. What chance has the average man of taking part in a ballot for one of these blocks? The £12,000 will be needed to enable the applicant to buy stock, build a homestead and make other improvements not included in the pre-development plan. But it is hoped that the State authorities will not allow clearing of the land to get too far ahead of grassing the cleared ground. The Division of Agricultural Economics has directed attention to the fact that 273,000 acres were cleared by leaseholders, but that the scrub has suckered and the cost of clearing the suckered land will be considerably higher than the cost of clearing the virgin scrub. Suckering resulted from attempts to clear the land by fire. But, during the last two years, nearly 200,000 acres has been cleared in the Fitzroy Basin by the use of the twin tractor cable and chain method and the timber has been burned and the ground sown to pasture. This clearing has only touched the fringe of what has to be done. Following up the clearing by the sowing of pasture is vital to the success of the whole project. If the cleared ground remains unsown there is every prospect of regrowth and the cost of clearing will then be prohibitive and make the project uneconomic. It is proposed to sow the whole of the area with green ponic and Rhodes grass. Tenders have been called by the State Government for the purchase of sufficient seed to grass down 10,000 acres. On 26th November, last Monday week, a start was made on clearing the first 23,000 acres at a contract price of fi per acre. The contractor anticipates that he can finish the job in four months. I understand that since he commenced work last Monday week the clearing has proceeded at the rate of 14 acres per hour. They are using two tractor roller machines, new to the Commonwealth and the largest in Australia. They weigh 54 tons each. They have a 6-inch cutting blade on rollers in front. They explode logs under their weight and chop and splinter and smash up the lighter scrub. The first settlers are expected to be on their blocks before 30tb June next, and it is expected that 150 new land-holders will be on their blocks within three years. Beef to the value of £1,000,000 per annum is produced at present in the area which this bill covers. It is suggested that, when the plans are completed, in the area of the Fitzroy Basin the production of beef can be lifted to a value of £7,000,000 per annum. This shows the potentialities of the area and the reason for the Government's interest in it. At the present time, the basin carries about 1,750,000 head of beef cattle and 80,000 head of dairy cattle. The Queensland Government says that the area can carry at least another 1,200,000 head of cattle when the work is completed. In addition to that, the soil and the rainfall, which is over 25 inches, are such that fodder crops like sorghum can be grown there. Another advantage is that the area is very close to Rockhampton and Gladstone. Its development would mean much to those two cities, in each of which there are meat works. The development of the area, and the greater turn-off of cattle, must mean a stepping up in the period of employment of the meat workers, as the meat season could run for a greater period. I now turn to the second schedule of the bill, which states that the area is at present divided into 115 holdings. It is now proposed to develop the total area into from 250 to 350 blocks. That is set out in paragraph (1) of the second schedule. It further states that the existing tenancies are to be terminated and that the whole of the area is to be re-designed. Paragraph (2) provides that these 115 lease-holders can make a new selection. They are given a preference. They are offered a new title in respect of part of their existing holdings under conditions requiring development of the block to a minimum standard laid down by the State. The schedule says - without the provision of financial assistance by the State from moneys provided under this agreement. Apparently the blocks are to be undeveloped and the selectors will have to develop them. There is no mention as to whether the land is to be bought or leased, whether it is to be freehold or leasehold. There is no mention of any limitation as to the area, although further on in the schedule there is a limitation with regard to other selectors. The schedule makes no mention of whether there would be any limitation of these selector areas or whether they would be living areas, as mentioned by the Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt),** in the course of his speech. We all want to see the brigalow land developed and we want increased beef production. But although the land tenure is a matter for the State Government, as is also the question of compensation to existing lease-holders, this House should have been told the full story. It is only fair and just that, if a land-holder is to be deprived of his land and his lease terminated, he should be paid just compensation for the work done and for the disturbance of his tenancy before the expiration of his lease. These are questions that will eventually be resolved by the Land Court in Queensland. I have no quarrel with that, but I want to know what limitation as to area is being imposed on these people in their new holdings, what price they will pay for their land, and whether it will be freehold or leasehold. As there are to be from 250 to 350 blocks and of these 115 are to go to existing leaseholders, roughly from 140 to 240 blocks are to be subdivided. Sub-paragraph (b) of paragraph (2) of the second schedule provides that not less than one-quarter of the number of remaining blocks - that is from 35 to 60 blocks - each containing not more than 10,000 acres are to be offered for sale at auction. This is a completely new departure in pastoral land development in Queensland, at all events in recent times. At present and practically ever since we have had land laws in Queensland, Crown land for pastoral production has been offered on leasehold and only on rare occasions has that been departed from. Now an auction system akin to the sale of seaside allotments is to take place. Apparently the Crown land sales of building lots at Surfers' Paradise must have proved to be a bonanza and the authorities think that this land may prove to be another such bonanza. The existing law in Queensland is that Crown land for pastoral production is thrown open for selection for a term of years at a rental fixed by the Lands Department and if more than one application is received for a block a public ballot takes place under the control of a government official. Now, when millions of pounds of public money lent from this Government is being spent in developing the area, including the provision of water and roads, a large number of blocks are to be sold at auction. The number of persons who would compete at such auctions is restricted by their financial capacity, as the blocks are undeveloped. In other words, there will be only a limited number of bidders who will be financially capable of the development. Here again the sale is conditional on certain developmental work being done by the buyer, but none of the Commonwealth money can be used for financial assistance on the block. The successful applicants have either to have the money available or make arrangements elsewhere for financial assistance. We are not told whether the title will be freehold or leasehold. In both these cases it seems that there is to be a departure from the leasehold practice and that buyers will get a freehold title when they have paid whatever price they have to pay to the Crown for the land. The alteration in title cannot be to encourage wealthy companies to come in, as has been suggested in certain places. If the pastoral areas were made freehold, large companies would not come in and develop the land because the act limits the blocks to 10,000 acres. Is this being done to give a preference to those with financial resources? Sub-paragraph (c) provides that of the remaining blocks, 100 or so, or roughly one-third, will then be allotted to applicants on a leasehold or freehold tenure. They are to have an option to lease or to buy. I understand from a press report that more than 2,000 prospective settlers have already taken up with the Lands Department the possibility of securing one of these blocks. But before the prospective settlers can get into a ballot they have to be screened, not by a government official or Lands Department official as at present, but, I have been informed, by a selection committee which is to be set up. This is a new departure. The committee is to comprise a member of the Lands Administration and two other persons versed in the industry and experienced in the district. Why is there to be a departure from the present system of screening by government officials which has worked so well and for so long? The appointment of local people rather than Lands Department or government officials to the selection committee will only cause dissatisfaction. An applicant for a block would rather entrust his screening to a government official than to a private person. I am strongly opposed to the proposed changes in the method of screening foi selection of prospective land-holders. The bill provides that £7,250,000 is to be lent to the State Government. It is not a grant. The loan will have to be repaid over twenty years, and will bear interest as from 1st July, 1967. In January, 1968, the first payment is to be made. The interest is to be calculated at the long-term bond rate. The State will not be required to pay any interest during the first five years, which is the developmental period. But that developmental period of five years started from 1st July, 1962, although the actual development of the area started only last Monday week. In other words, the developmental period allowed is, in effect, only four and a half years. Although the State of Queensland will not be required to pay interest during that developmental period, it will not escape altogether as the interest is to be capitalized. I should like to know whether the State Government will then have to pay interest on the interest. If so, this sounds to me a bit like a Shylock practice. What a great part this Parliament is playing in the development of the country when it makes the State pay the lot! The State will have to repay the loan within twenty years, and will have to pay interest on the loan. If the State has to pay interest on the interest then things are becoming a bit tough. Not only will the Commonwealth get the advantage of having its loan repaid plus interest but also it will receive an increase in income tax, sales tax, and all the other Commonwealth taxes that will follow because of the investment which will cost this Government nothing. In addition, this Government will derive a further benefit because most of the cattle that will be grown in that area will be killed for export and, in consequence, will make a contribution towards building up our overseas balances. So, this Government will get back all its money, plus interest, and all the other things that go with it. One would expect the Commonwealth to play a greater part in a major project of this kind; to assist the State Government of Queensland more than by just lending it money that will have to be paid back by 1988. Judging from this bill the Queensland people will have to go it alone, but of course they have had to go it alone so often, particularly in the field of development, that this will be no new experience for them. Surely honorable members must realize that the Government has to play a greater part in national development. It is all very well to say, "Queensland is to be the oil State of the future. Look at the money that is being spent in the oil industry there." This activity is very laudable, but there are other resources in Queensland besides oil that are singing out for development. This brigalow area will make a valuable contribution to our overseas earnings. Having due regard to the Commonwealth's responsibility to find a share of the development costs, and having regard to what is contained in this bill, I suggest to the Government that it should give serious consideration at least to reducing the interest charge or perhaps contributing to this charge on a pay £1 for £1 basis. That would lessen not only the cost of the project as a whole, but also the cost to the State Government. I have been informed that the cost of arterial and subdivisional roads in the area will be to the tune of £3,335,000, and that the State will be required to pay interest on all of that amount. A reduction in the interest rate would not only assist the State Government but also would assist some of those who are to go on to the blocks. With the experience of the past to guide us, and with the benefit of the scientific knowledge that is available to-day in the agricultural field, there is no doubt that the forecasts will prove correct and that Australia as a whole will derive substantial benefit from the development of the Fitzroy River basin. I now want to say a few words about the beef roads. Last year this Parliament made a grant of £5,000,000, to be allocated over a period of five years, for the building of certain beef roads in Queensland. During the debate on the bill member after member on the Opposition side impressed on Government supporters the necessity to seal these roads. **Mr. Evans,** who is the Minister in charge of main roads in Queensland, even while this debate was in progress, made statements to the press to the effect that the sealing of the roads was necessary. Of course it is. One has only to go into this area to see that. The honorable member for Corangamite **(Mr. Mackinnon)** has been there, but I do not know whether he has been there during the wet season or after the wet. I was in that area in July and saw some of these gravel roads that the heavy road trains had been using. The roads approaching the towns had been put down by local government and, even in July, the gravel from those roads had been scattered. At that time the meat season, involving the cartage of cattle, had not really got under way, yet the gravel was scattered to the side of the road. After those heavy vehicles have been over those roads and have been pounding them, with the onset of the wet season the cost of maintenance would be terrific. I have in my possession a report by **Mr. Jack** Kelly on this subject. The Minister knows him well. **Mr. Kelly** was a field officer for the Division of Agricultural Economics. He has now retired and is living in Canberra. He is a man well known in the cattle country of northern Australia and a man who knows that area and the cattle industry of the north. In the Sydney "Bulletin" of 23rd March, 1960, lack Kelly published a statement dealing with the beef roads which are intended to be sealed under the provisions of this bill. His estimate in 1960, nearly three years ago, was that the maintenance cost of a sealed road would be 5 per cent, per annum. This information, I emphasize, was contained in an article published not in 1961 or 1962, but in 1960, two years before the beef road grant bill went through this House! No doubt that information was available to the Government at that time. **Mr. Evans,** the Minister in Queensland, said that the roads should be sealed but that the money was not available. Now this Government says the roads will be sealed. As I said the other day, this is further evidence of the necessity to have some central authority on the job in that area - a man with experience of the area who could make a recommendation to this Government. Honorable members on this side of the chamber are pleased to learn that these roads are now to be sealed, but we are not pleased about the delay of twelve months. The Opposition supports the bill because it will mean that not only will there be a saving in the cost of maintaining the roads, but there will be a saving for those who use them because of the reduced maintenance on the road trains and other vehicles. In addition, the costs of the road train operator must be reduced as a result of the sealing of these roads, and this must in its turn result in a reduction of transport costs payable by the cattle producers. This will be a further benefit to the producers. For these reasons the Opposition supports the bill. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Mackinnon)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 3102 {:#debate-38} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-38-0} #### RESTRICTIVE TRADE PRACTICES {: #subdebate-38-0-s0 .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH:
Acting AttorneyGeneral · Forrest · LP -- by leave - Before leaving recently to go overseas, the AttorneyGeneral **(Sir Garfield Barwick)** had drafted a statement about proposals for legislation on restrictive trade practices and monopolies, and it is this statement which I am about to read to the House. Before I do so, I would like to say that the Government and the Parliament are greatly indebted to the Attorney-General for the painstaking research and investigation which he undertook as a necessary preliminary to the preparation of this document. He operated virtually as a commission of one to inquire into some of the most difficult and complex aspects of the commercial life of Australia to-day and their effect on the community. The paper which I have before me represents his own and the Government's conclusions, arising out of the really monumental amount of work that he did. I am sorry only that the Attorney-General is not here to present the result of his work to the House, and I count myself fortunate to be able to do this for him. Honorable members should remember that wherever in this document, which I shall now read, the word " I " or the word " me " appears, it is to be taken as having been spoken by the Attorney-General himself. The statement of the Attorney-General is as follows: As the House is aware, I have been engaged for some time in considering the need for legislation to control monopoly and restrictive practices in the business community of Australia and in devising a scheme of legislation which would protect free enterprise against such of these practices as were harmful to it. As part of this undertaking, I have been in consultation with the Attorneys-General of the States in an endeavour to induce their concurrence in that scheme of legislation and their willingness to propose to their governments legislation to complement that of the Commonwealth, so as to make the desired control effective over the whole range of Australian business activity. I do not propose to detain the House to describe the extent and complexity of the task or to recount the nature of the large volume of information which has been gathered as to the existence and operation of a wide variety of business practices in Australia, many of which can fairly be said to be restrictive. Nor do I need to pause to discuss the close examination which has been made of the legislation of other Western countries and the manner in which such laws operate. In addition, the distribution and limitations of constitutional power in Australia have had to be both explored and respected in the consideration given to a possible scheme of legislation. The Government, having been furnished with the results of my efforts in this connexion, has concluded, and I think few, if any, will deny, that there are practices current in the community which by reason of their restrictive nature are harmful to the public interest - that interest being in the maintenance of free enterprise under which citizens are at liberty to participate in the production and distribution of the nation's wealth, thus ensuring competitive conditions which tend to initiative, resourcefulness, productive efficiency, high output and fair and reasonable prices to the consumer. Accordingly, the Government has decided that legislation should be introduced to enable such harmful practices to be prevented. However, the drafting of such legislation, towards which much work has already been done, is necessarily a highly complicated technical process which, particularly having regard to current demands on our drafting resources, cannot be immediately brought to completion. Also, in devising legislation of this kind, itself a matter of grave and heavy responsibility, the views of interested parties and of members of the public generally ought to be known before final decisions are taken as to its ultimate form and content. Consequently, as was foreshadowed in His Excellency's Speech at the opening of this session of the Parliament, it has been decided that I should make this statement disclosing the basic outlines of what is in mind in such form as will enable public discussion, and individual or group representation to be made. I might perhaps be allowed to say, **Mr. Speaker,** that I welcome this decision, as I hold the view that the course I have so far taken in the case of such bills as the Matrimonial Causes Bill, the Marriage Bill and the Patents Bill has proved itself most effective in enabling the Government to make its final decisions, after public discussion and representation by interested persons have completed its knowledge of the subject-matter and of the various, and often opposing, considerations which ought fairly to be in mind. I would expect it to be so in this instance. Before outlining the scheme of legislation which the Government has in contemplation, I ought to indicate broadly the philosophy which underlies it. In opening the second session of the twenty-third Parliament, the Governor-General indicated that the Government desired to protect and strengthen free enterprise against tendencies to monopoly and restrictive practices in commerce and industry. I have already referred fo the place competition has in the maintenance of free enterprise. The Government believes that practices which reduce competition may endanger those benefits which we properly expect and mostly enjoy from a free-enterprise society. But the Government is also conscious of the fact that the lessening of competition may, in some aspects of the economy, be unavoidable, and, indeed, may be not only consistent with, but a proper ingredient of, a truly freeenterprise system. This is more likely to be so in such a state of growth as we are experiencing, and particularly when we are gearing ourselves more and more for the export of secondary goods. In short, the Government does not subscribe to the view that there are no circumstances in which public interest can justify a reduction in competition, but on the contrary believes that there may well be some practices, restrictive in nature, which are in the public interest. Consistently with these views, it is scarcely possible to specify legislatively the precise practices which are unacceptable and directly and unconditionally to proscribe them. All that the legislation can do is to define certain classes of practices that may be unacceptable and to provide for their examination in the light of a criterion or test designed to determine whether, in the circumstances of a particular case, a practice is acceptable or unacceptable and to be prevented. The criterion or test would be expressed in as clear language as the subject will permit, and would be applied to particular practices by an independent umpire with fairness and an overall knowledge of business and of the economy. The criterion or test which accords with the Government's philosophy and its understanding of the needs of the economy as a whole is that a practice which in its operation substantially restricts competition, either in a particular area or areas of business activity or generally, and which cannot be shown to be justified as either conferring a public benefit or as having no public detriment, is harmful. Expressed in legislative form, the justification may be said to be that the practice is not contrary to the public interest. No doubt expressions such as " against the public interest ", or " contrary to the public interest ", lack complete precision and inevitably leave some room for policy-making in the individual or body which has to apply them to particular facts. But they are words which have much tradition behind them, and I think they are as precisely expressive of what is presently in mind as any words which could be found. In any case, I would propose that the words would be accompanied by explanatory provisions indicating at least the main elements which the Parliament desired should be considered in this connexion. It will be seen from these remarks that the Government has not favoured the philosophy of the American legislation, which leaves little room to justify any reduction in competition. I ought, also, to say in passing that many seem to see in the mere size of a business undertaking an occasion for censure and a challenge to dismemberment. Indeed, one suspects that behind the original American legislation was the fear that industry, if it obtained sufficient dimension, would be a threat to government and likely to overawe and control the legislature. Whilst any such tendency cannot be ignored, nor its possibility excluded from mind, the Government has not to any extent based its approach to the proposed legislation upon any such view. The emphasis is placed by the Government on what an organization or business undertaking does in harming free enterprise, rather than upon its dimension. But, of course, the dimension of a business undertaking does give scope for action which is not available to undertakings or organizations of lesser size. Consequently, the Government has not confined itself to the British approach to the problem of restrictive practices. The British legislation places the major emphasis on combination, on agreement between two or more. The scheme I will outline covers bilateral and multilateral arrangements for restrictive action, which are probably the most common source of restrictive practices, but the scheme goes further and covers unilateral action of a restrictive kind taken by the individual. In this way, harmful actions by business undertakings or organizations which are large and powerful, or enjoy positions of advantage in the market, will be prevented. I mentioned, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** the heavy responsibility involved in the introduction of legislation to deal with restrictive practices. Whilst the experience of Western countries is available to us - all the principal of them have already ventured into this field - that very experience underlines the difficulties which beset the legislature and the administration in this connexion, and, perhaps more significantly, throws into relief the risk of doing more harm than good by adopting ill-considered and too widely sweeping legislation. None of the legislation existing elsewhere is, in my view, appropriate for enactment en bloc here. I think, therefore, that, without in any way attempting to discuss the matter exhaustively, I should now indicate what I have considered to be some of the prerequisites of a scheme of legislation for Australia in this field. The primary prerequisite of such a scheme is machinery that can be effectively used to halt practices which deprive, or tend to deprive, the community of the benefits of free enterprise and the individual trader of business opportunities that ought fairly to be open to him. Secondly, there must be certainty for businessmen as to what they may or may not do. This, to my mind, is important in relation to any economy, but it is imperative in our case. We are in a stage of development which calls for courage and initiative on the part of our businessmen. Our growth and the prosperity of all of us can only suffer, and suffer grievously, from uncertainty and resultant timidity on their part. Thirdly, there should be a minimum use of the criminal law. Whilst I have said that the ultimate touchstone of invalidity of a practice is its antipathy to the public interest, *I* do not think every breach of legislation in this field should brand the businessman a criminal. No doubt there are some events in which there must be a criminal penalty for breach of the law, but this should not be the general consequence. Fourthly, the application of the criterion or test by which the separation of the harmful from the justifiable practice is made should be by a tribunal which has a minimum of legalism, both in its attitude and approach and in its procedures, and a maximum of business and economic knowledge and understanding. But its independence both of business and of government should be complete. Fifthly, there should be finality in the application of the criterion to particular cases and therefore a minimum of opportunity for review of, and appeal from, the decision of the tribunal which applies the criterion. Sixthly, any scheme must take account of two particular circumstances. One of these is our limited resources of personnel for the investigation at large of business practices; the other is the undesirability of business being deflected from its task by the need to accommodate itself to, or to avoid, constant suspicion, investigation and inquiry. A law which is beyond our capacity to police and enforce invites disregard and tends to bring the law and its administration into disrepute. There should be no exposure of business to needless harassment and vexatious action, whether by officials or by members of the public, particularly by those who may have mixed motives for their conduct. Now may I describe the scheme which is in mind, and which has been discussed in the broad and to a great extent in detail with the Attorneys-General of the States, for the purposes I have indicated. May I say that, as a result of these discussions, I have reason to believe that at least a clear majority of the State Attorneys would recommend to their governments the introduction of complementary State legislation to implement the scheme of legislation I describe. **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** I have prepared a document which is self-contained, and which sets forth the elements of the scheme in what I think is both a convenient and readily assimilable form. If I might, I would introduce it at this point of my statement as a description of the scheme. With the concurrence of honorable members I incorporate it in " Hansard ". I shall then proceed to discuss, for the benefit of the House, parts of the scheme thus outlined. ELEMENTS OF THE SCHEME. {: type="A" start="A"} 0. A list of practices required to be registered. {: type="1" start="1"} 0. A list of practices, applicable to goods or services, or both, which are unlawful unless a document which fully describes them is registered. 1. Subject to certain specified exceptions, these practices are - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Multilateral (horizontal) arrangements involv ing- {: type="i" start="i"} 0. price fixing; 1. uniform terms of dealing; 2. restrictions of output; 3. restrictions of outlets; 4. boycotts and inducing refusals to deal; 5. limitations on right to membership of trade associations, and acts done in pursuance of such arrangements. 1. Bilateral and unilateral (vertical) practices involving - {: type="i" start="i"} 0. resale price maintenance; 1. discriminatory dealing, including - 2. discrimination in prices or terms of dealing, 3. exclusive dealing, and 4. refusal to deal in certain circum stances. N.B. - In the case of refusal to deal, it would be necessary to state in some considerable detail objective tests whether refusals are justifiable or prima facie undesirable and therefore registrable. {: type="a" start="c"} 0. Certain kinds of mergers and take-overs of companies, firms, &c. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. The exceptions will fall into three broad classes: - 1. practices already regulated by law, e.g. industrial agreements, contracts of employment and transactions pursuant to statutory primary produce marketing schemes; 2. practices pursuant to which the proprietor of industrial property - a patent, a trade mark or a copyright - or the possessor of technical know-how, imposes conditions on which another person may use that property or knowledge. 3. practices unrelated to the control or distortion of the market, e.g. observing recognized standards. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. Effect of registration or non-registration. {: type="1" start="4"} 0. It is to be unlawful and an offence to engage in any of the abovementioned practices, or to agree to engage in any of them, unless there is a registered document which fully describes the practice to be engaged in. 1. Registration will protect the parties completely in respect of a practice which is fully disclosed and covered by the registered document, but continuance of that practice after the document has been de-registered, or ordered to be varied so as not to cover the practice, will be unlawful prospectively as from the date of deregistration or order to vary the document. {: type="A" start="C"} 0. A register, a commission and a registrar. 2. A register on which unilateral as well as bilateral and multilateral documents may be placed. A practice which the parties think may be within the list of practices required to be registered may be registered, without determining whether or not lt is in fact in that list 3. Documents placed on this register are to be open to inspection only by leave of the commission. 4. A commission of laymen to perform the functions assigned to it under the scheme, with a principal registrar and deputy registrars in each State. 5. The main functions of the commission will be:- 4. to determine whether a person who desires to inspect the register has a proper reason for so doing; 5. to supervise the institution of proceedings by the registrar for de-registration of registered documents; 6. to consider applications by other persons for leave to institute such proceedings; 7. to consider, and, if appropriate, to act upon complaints by members of the public. The main functions of the registrar will be: - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. to maintain the register; 1. to consider the registered documents to see whether action should be taken to institute proceedings for de-registration; 2. to investigate unregistered practices and inadequately registered practices; 3. to investigate complaints if so required by the commission; and 4. to have substantial powers of inquiry and inspection of documents. {: type="A" start="D"} 0. The tribunal. {: type="1" start="1"} 0. A tribunal, able to sit contemporaneously in divisions, each division being composed of a presiding judge and lay members being drawn by the president of the tribunal - being the senior of the presiding judges - from panels of laymen set np in each State. 1. Proceedings for de-registration of registered documents. {: type="1" start="11"} 0. In respect of such proceedings, the following to apply: - 5. The registrar, attorney-general or member of the public, as the case may be, to bear the onus of showing that the document cavers a practice which substantially reduces competition, either particularly in some area or areas of commercial activity or generally. Cb) The fact that the document sought to be de-registered has been registered is not to be an admission or any evidence that the practices it covers or authorizes reduce competition in any respect, or to any extent. {: type="a" start="c"} 0. Where it has been shown that a registered practice substantially reduces competition, the parties to the practice to be at liberty to show that, nonetheless, the practice works no public detriment or is otherwise justified (see paragraph 12). 1. The tribunal to de-register any document which it is satisfied covers a practice which substantially reduces competition, unless it has been shown to work no detriment to the public or to be otherwise justified (see paragraph 12). {: type="A" start="F"} 0. Grounds of justification for maintaining regis tration of a document covering practices shown to be restrictive ("gateways"). {: type="1" start="12"} 0. Any of the circumstances set out below, if proved to the satisfaction of the tribunal, will, in general, justify a practice to which they relate; but in particular cases it will be open to the tribunal to conclude that, having regard to all relevant considerations, there is a preponderating public detriment. The circumstances (" gateways ") mentioned are - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. that the practice is reasonably necessary to protect the public from injury, as where manufacturers of dangerous substances agree to supply it only to dealers equipped with the facilities and experience to handle it; 1. that, without the restriction, the public, as consumers, would be denied specific and substantial benefits and advantages; 2. that the practice is reasonably necessary to counteract measures taken by any one person not party to the agreement with a view to preventing or restricting competition; 3. that the practice is reasonably necessary to enable the parties to it to engage on fair terms for the supply of goods or services to, or their acquisition from, a powerful buyer or seller; 4. that the abandonment of the practice would cause serious and persistent unemployment in any area; 5. that the abandonment of the practice would be likely to affect adversely the export trade. This "gateway" would not be available if the practice in question, although it protected the export trade, either was injurious to the export business of a competitor of a party to the practice, or was likely to keep a person out of the export business, or unduly to lessen competition in the domestic market; 6. that the practice is reasonably required in connexion with the maintenance of a practice found not to be contrary to the public interest; 7. that the practice is likely to contribute to the supply and distribution, by the most efficient and economical means, of goods and services of such quality, volume and price as is most advantageous to the public as consumers; 8. that the practice is likely to increase efficiency and encourage new enterprises in the relevant industry; 9. that the practice is likely to contribute to the fullest use and best distribution of labour, materials and other resources employed in trade and commerce; 10. that the practice confers some other clear and specific public benefit; 11. that the practice is reasonably necessary to protect the goodwill of a business being transferred. This takes account of any type of clause in an agreement for the transfer of a business, which requires the seller to refrain from setting up in competition with the transferee and thus depriving the transferee of the value of his acquisition; 12. that an agreement relates purely and simply to co-operation between businesses in the provision of common facilities, as in the exchange of statistics, the defining of product standards, the exchange of credit information and the definition of trade terms or for common research and development or for restriction of advertising; 13. that in relation to a resale price main tenance agreement it could be shown that the imposition of a fixed resale price is necessary to prevent the use of the supplier's goods as loss-leaders, that is, their sale at unprofitable prices in order to attract shoppers for other goods, or is necessary to discourage misleading advertising of those goods by the retailer, or to discourage the provision by him of sub-standard services in connexion with the sale of those goods, or is necessary because the turnover of the supplier's goods depends on maintaining a certain price. 1. Unregistered registrable agreements. {: type="1" start="13"} 0. The prohibition of the practices set out in paragraph 2, if they are not covered by a registered instrument, is unqualified. In any action in respect of the carrying on of a practice which is not registered, no reliance can be placed on the existence of any of the "gateways" just described. For example, in a prosecution for having engaged in such a practice, no evidence that the practice is not detrimental to the public is to be admissible. A plea that a practice is justifiable will be able to be raised only before a tribunal on de-registration proceedings. 1. The superior Federal and State courts, within the respective limits of their jurisdiction, to have power to restrain the continuance of any unregistered practice which falls within any of the descriptions in paragraph 2. 2. Proceedings before and powers of tribunal. {: type="1" start="15"} 0. It is proposed that procedures before the tribunal should eliminate as much technicality as possible and should be conducted with as much informality and expedition as is consistent with a proper consideration of the case. 1. The decision of the tribunal on all questions of fact is to be final and without appeal. 2. The tribunal is to be able to seek the opinion of a court on a question of law and to be required to do so at the request of a party made during the hearing. The tribunal to be subject to the supervision of a federal court, but on the basis that its decisions of fact, including jurisdictional facts, are final. 3. The tribunal is to be able to award costs against any party, including the registrar, or the attorney-general. 4. The tribunal is also to have power to certify any fact which has been established before it and such certificate to be binding in any Court in which proceedings in relation to the practice may be taken. 3. Inexcusably unlawful practices. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. The following practices are inexcusable, and therefore unregistrable: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. persistent price cutting at a loss to drive a competitor out of business; 1. collusive tendering; 2. collusive bidding; and 3. monopolization. 1. Monopolization will be defined, broadly speaking, as acquiring or using monopoly power with the intention of preventing a person from entering or expanding a business, or in a manner that is unreasonable and detrimental to consumers of goods or services. Monopoly power, for this purpose, will be defined as the power to fix, or influence substantially, the market price of any kind of goods or services, or to prevent persons entering or expanding businesses. Possession of monopoly power would not, of itself, be unlawful. The first step in the scheme is to list practices which will be described with as much certainty of language as possible. These will be practices which are understood by the Government as likely to be restrictive of competition but not incapable, in particular instances, of justification in the public interest under the criterion which I have set out. These practices are listed in the document setting out the elements of the scheme; but it will make my comments easier to follow if I indicate broadly what the list covers. It covers arrangements between two or more persons, firms, companies or organizations for- {: type="i" start="i"} 0. price fixing; 1. uniform terms of dealing; 2. restrictions of output; 3. restrictions of outlets; 4. boycotts and inducing refusals to deal; and 5. limitations on right to membership of trade associations, and it also covers- 6. resale price maintenance; 7. discriminatory dealing - as more fully explained in the document - resulting either from agreement or from individual action; and 8. certain kinds of mergers or take-overs of companies, firms, &c. There must necessarily be some practices excepted from the generality of this list, for example, practices already regulated by law, such as activities within statutory marketing schemes, industrial agreements, and contracts of employment regulated by industrial arbitration. Likewise, the activities of proprietors of industrial property in the form of a patent, trade mark, design or copyright which are in relevant respects already covered by federal law. Also practices which are unrelated to the control or distortion of the market will be excepted. It may well be that further discussion will indicate that there should be other exceptions. It will be observed that there is no dragnet in the list of practices required to be registered - which I shall refer to in this statement as list A - nor would there be in any other list of practices in the legislation. The endeavour in this respect is not merely to contribute to that certainty for the businessman of which I have spoken, but also to keep questions of policy in the hands of the Parliament and not commit them either to the ordinary courts or to special tribunals under the legislation. For our purposes, one basic defect of the American legislation, as I see it, is that, because of the use of general words in the original enactment, the policy of the legislation has had to be worked out by the courts. That is not, in my view, their function. It is for the Parliament to determine policy and as far as practicable to express it so as to leave it to be carried out, within the confines of the legislation, by the courts and the special tribunals which the legislation may set up. But of course language is frequently inadequate fully and precisely to express policy and thus to confine the courts and tribunals. By interpretation and by the need on the part of the legislature to use such expressions as " the public interest " or " public benefit", the policy of the Parliament may be both enlarged or diminished. By making a specific list of practices, as clearly defined as may be, and by avoiding a dragnet, I would endeavour to reduce the area in which such enlargement or diminution may occur. But, by so doing, I make imperative the need for fairly frequent review to see that the list as currently in force does not omit harmful or potentially harmful practices which experience may have exposed, or include practices which in the course of time prove inapt for inclusion. It will be seen, I think, that whether or not what is being done by the businessman is within the list can readily be decided but in case of doubt the businessman can give himself certainty by registering a document on a register which I proceed to mention. The scheme, as the next step, provides for a register in which may be placed documents descriptive of a practice which is or is thought might be a practice included in list A. The register will be an Australian register with appropriate State sub-registers. Access to this register can only be obtained by the leave of the commission of which I shall speak in a moment. That leave will only be given if the applicant for it is either the Attorney-General or a person affected by a restrictive practice with an economic interest to see a document registered in respect of that practice in order to protect himself against its consequences or to take steps to have the document de-registered. Thus, whilst the register would be a public register, it would not be open to indiscriminate public inspection. The next step is to make it an offence to carry on a practice within list A unless a document covering that practice is, and remains, registered. In addition, failure to register such a document would be an offence. The scheme would provide that whilst a document, which fairly and frankly described a practice, was on the register, pursuit of the practice so described would not be unlawful even though it fell within list A. Of course, a practice which went beyond the disclosure of the document would remain unlawful, notwithstanding the registration of the inadequate document. The purpose of restricting access to the register and of allowing registered practices to continue pending their consideration is, on the one hand, to encourage frankness and voluntary disclosure, thus conserving our limited resources of personnel for investigation, and on the other hand to avoid uncertainty and confusion in business. Once a document fairly describing a practice is registered, the businessman need be in no doubt as to whether or not he may carry on that practice. It will not be unlawful to do so, as long as the document remains registered. But, upon its de-registration, the process for which I shall soon describe, further pursuit of the practice from that time forward will be unlawful and carry the consequences of the legislation. De-registration will have no retrospective but only a prospective effect. It will not put a person in breach of the law for what he has already done but it will expose him to action for continuing the practice thereafter. But if a practice falling within list A is carried on without a covering document being registered, the persons involved will be immediately liable to criminal prosecution and, on proof by the Crown, in the ordinary way, of their having carried on the practices, will have no defence of absence of public detriment available. To be able to justify one of the practices in list A there must be a covering document registered. It will be seen that this use of criminal liability and the denial of any exculpatory defence is part of the attempt to induce frankness and to avoid both the inconvenience to business and the expense to government of extensive and persistent investigation. There will, of course, be need for investigation, particularly after complaint, of practices in respect of which no document or an inadequate document is registered. But it is hoped that on the one hand the benefit of the certainty derived from registration and, on the other, the severity of the consequences of failure to register will keep such need for investigation to a minimum and within our resources of personnel. In addition, the registration of a document will not constitute any admission or any evidence that the practice it describes is restrictive. Thus, as I have said, if a person is in doubt as to whether what he is doing falls within the list he can achieve certainty without risk of penalty by registering a document covering his practice. Further, the register will not be receivable in evidence in any court in any proceedings other than proceedings under or to enforce the provisions of the act. In what I have said, **Mr. Speaker,** I have referred to the registration of a document rather than to the registration of an instrument or agreement, because the list of practices, list A., will be seen to include unilateral activity as well as activities deriving from bilateral or multi-lateral agreement. Therefore, opportunity must be given to a person who is following a proscribed practice of his own accord and not as the result of agreement, to register a document descriptive of what he is in fact doing or proposing to do. As the House will remember, this scheme is not confined to restrictive practices by combination. It attempts to strike at the harmful act whether or not it springs from agreement, or from a position of power or of monopoly advantage. Also I should mention that where there is multiplicity of documents in the same terms, registration of a specimen along with prescribed particulars will be acceptable. No doubt other techniques will emerge in due course for reducing the volume of the documents which may be placed on the register. It is quite apparent that the function of the register, central as it is to the scheme I propose, will result in the registration of a great many documents, many of which may not disclose harmful practices. In order to avoid the register's becoming unwieldy before an appropriate staff to deal with it is built up, it may be necessary to consider, as I have already to some extent considered, the wisdom of putting the scheme into operation progressively, dealing first with the more frequently found and likeliest to ba harmful practices. ..___ I now turn to the next step in the scheme, the process by which a document may be deregistered. Deregistration will result from the application of the criterion I have described to the particular practice covered by the document, seen in its relationship to the economy as a whole as well as to those business activities it will immediately affect. For this purpose, there will be a tribunal able to sit contemporaneously in divisions in different parts of Australia, each division to be presided over by a judge and to consist of two or four other members who shall be laymen drawn from panels to be set up in each State for the purpose. The senior of the judges would be the president of the tribunal and would be charged with the function of determining the composition of each division of the tribunal and the assignment to it of the work to be done. Questions of fact would be decided by the tribunal by majority but questions of law would be for the exclusive decision of the presiding judge. It is thought that a tribunal of this kind would have both the independence and the business knowledge fairly to apply the criterion I have described to cases brought before it. I will not pause to describe the various powers it must have to enable it to function effectively. It is enough, I think, for present purposes to point out that it would have power to de-register the document in whole or in part, or to order its variation or reformation as a condition of the maintenance of its registration. The tribunal would be able to order costs of the proceedings to be paid by any party including the registrar or the Attorney-General. The scheme provides for a commission to be composed of laymen, with a registrar, and deputy registrars in each State. The registrar would keep, and have access to, the register and would be obliged to consider all registered documents with a view to determining whether or not the practices they disclose ought to be challenged before the tribunal. To assist his consideration, he would be given adequate powers of inquiry and of access to records. And, of course, in order to obtain expedition in his consideration of the documents, and to minimize the time which may elapse between registration of a document covering a harmful practice and its deregistration, a considerable and competent staff would have to be provided for him. Having determined for himself that any given practice should be challenged, the registrar, before launching proceedings before the tribunal for deregistration of the document, must obtain the leave of the commission, which, before granting it, will need to be satisfied, without attempting to decide the case, that there is sufficient warrant to commence proceedings for deregistration. This requirement will ensure that so significant a decision as the decision to launch such proceedings shall not rest with the official alone. I should add, at this point, that where a member of the public has complained to the registrar of a registered practice, and the registrar has decided not to seek leave to take proceedings, or having obtained leave has not gone ahead with such proceedings, the member of the public may apply to be given leave himself to commence proceedings for deregistration, but, of course, at his own expense. No doubt an element in considering whether he should have leave would be his ability adequately to prosecute the proceedings and to carry out his obligations in the event of failure. The Attorney-General may also be given leave to commence proceedings for deregistration. Thus, the case of a meritorious but impecunious applicant, as well as the public interest generally, can be safeguarded. I now turn to some characteristics of proceedings before the tribunal. First, let me say that in the detailed planning of its procedure I would hope to eliminate as much technicality as possible, and to introduce as much informality and expedition as are consistent with a due, thorough and impartial investigation and consideration of the case. In the proceedings for deregistration of a document, the registrar, Attorney-General, or member of the public, as the case may be, applying for deregistration would carry the onus of showing that the practice which the document covered would substantially reduce competition either particularly or generally. In this connexion, as I have mentioned, the fact that the document was registered would not constitute evidence that the practice would reduce competition. It would evidence no more than the practice it described, thus relieving the applicant of proof in that respect. Upon the applicant making out the case that the practice in operation would in the circumstances substantially reduce competition, the respondent would be at liberty to show that nonetheless the practice was justifiable according to the criterion I have mentioned. No doubt many of the facts and circumstances which bear on that proposition will be peculiarly within the businessman's own knowledge, and, consistently with the common law, he would have the task of making good his justification. It is part of the scheme that the tribunal's decision should be final and not subject to review or appeal of any kind in point of fact - much of which will be economic fact - but, in order to keep the tribunal within its charter, it will be subject to the supervision of the superior courts. In addition, the opinion of such courts on a point of law arising in the proceedings may be taken by the tribunal if it so desires, and must be taken during the proceedings if one of the parties insists. As I have already mentioned, upon deregistration, further carrying on of the practice covered by the document will be inexcusably unlawful. Civil remedies by way of injunction to restrain its continuance, and for damages caused by the practice carried on after deregistration, and criminal proceedings for having so carried on after deregistration, will then be available. In order to facilitate the operation of the scheme and as part of the denotation of the expression " the public interest ", I have thought it desirable to nominate a number of circumstances which, at least prima facie, would justify the maintenance of the registration of a document although the practice has been found to be restrictive of competition. A somewhat similar provision is to be found in the so-called gateways in the British legislation. The circumstances or grounds which I propose are wider in scope than the British provisions and are considered more suitable to Australian conditions. I should emphasize that the presence of public benefit, or at least the absence of public detriment, is always the predominant consideration, and in some cases it may prove - though I would not expect it to be so generally - that notwithstanding the existence of one or more of these grounds or circumstances, the decision of the tribunal would be against the practice because of preponderant public interest. These grounds or gateways are quite fully described in the document which has been incorporated in this statement. It is not easy to give their full effect briefly and I commend the document to the House for study. These grounds represent an endeavour on the one hand to protect the interests of the public and on the other hand to achieve a proper balance between the need to maintain a competitive basis for free enterprise and the proper need of business in Australia to engage in justifiable protective action in certain circumstances to assist and develop the economy of the country. The tribunal may find, for example, that a practice which is restrictive is nevertheless reasonably necessary to protect the public from injury, or that, without the restriction, the public as consumers would be denied specific benefits and advantages. It may find that the practice is necessary to counteract other restrictive measures or to enable the parties to engage on fair terms with a powerful buyer or seller. It may find that the abandonment of a practice would cause serious unemployment or would adversely affect export trade; that the practice is reasonably required in connexion with another practice that is not contrary to the public interest; and that it is likely to contribute to more efficient supply and distribution, or to increase the efficiency of existing enterprises or encourage new enterprises, or is likely to contribute to the fullest and best use and distribution of labour, materials and resources. Again, an agreement may be reasonably necessary to protect the goodwill of a business which is transferred; or it may relate purely and simply to proper business co-operation as defined; and, finally, it may be necessary to combat certain unfair business practices. In addition to these gateways specifically prescribed, it will be open to the party supporting the practice to endeavour to show any other clear and specific public benefit. There is one category in list A to which I must direct the attention of the House- namely, mergers and take-overs. It will be obvious enough, and, indeed, experience abroad has demonstrated, that where two or more may not lawfully agree to engage in restrictive practices, they may, by merger so as to become one entity, do the very thing that was forbidden to be done by agreement. Part of this consequence is guarded against in this scheme by legislating against harmful acts done unilaterally as well as those resulting from agreement between two or more. To this aspect I have already adverted. But it would, in many instances, be preferable to intercept an intended aggregation, whether of assets or of proprietorship, where it was but a substitute for an agreement to carry out a restrictive practice or where it was itself a mechanism to reduce competition or to take a step towards ultimate monopoly whether of supply or of demand. The scheme I propose would seek to deal with the situation by providing an opportunity for intervention by the commission, established under the act, through the registrar, before the merger took place. In the uniform companies legislation, we have gone a considerable distance in requiring companies contemplating merger or takeover to furnish to the respective shareholders a great deal of information about the companies concerned, and about the merger or take-over proposals. This scheme would require like information to be given to the registrar together with certain further information pertinent to the question of the purpose and effect of the merger or takeover. This information would have to be given broadly within the same time-table as in the case of the companies legislation, and the registrar would have the right within a limited period to approach the tribunal for a finding that the proposed merger or takeover was a substitute for a restrictive agreement, or would itself work a substantial reduction of competition without justification, or was a significant step towards the creation of a monopoly. As, pending such a finding, the proposal would be halted, the time within which the registrar may intervene must be short. After the lapse of that time, without intervention, the proposal to merge or to take over could proceed, and the registrar would have no further right of intervention, unless the material supplied by the parties was false or misleading in a material particular. It will be apparent that if such a scheme were so universally applied as to require examination of every merger or take-over, however small the assets or capital involved, it might well become unmanageable. Accordingly, all mergers or take-overs which did not involve more than a certain aggregate amount of capital or assets would be excluded. I would not propose to fix that figure at present, but I would indicate that a figure of the order of £250,000 would probably be appropriate. So far I have been dealing with practices which can be conceived to be justifiable in particular circumstances, but there are other practices which are felt to be inexcusable in all circumstances. The scheme deals with these by describing them, as in the document which has been incorporated, in a list which I shall call list B, and by prohibiting them absolutely. The practices in this list are - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. persistent price cutting at a loss to drive a competitor out of business; 1. collusive tendering; 2. collusive bidding; and 3. monopolization, as to which I shall say something in a moment. In connexion with these practices, there is no question of registering a document or of the application to them by the tribunal of the criterion to which I have referred. They are forbidden in all circumstances. To carry on one of them will inevitably attract process in the ordinary courts, civil or criminal, or both. Here, usual rules will apply, and the elements of the offence will have to be made out by the Crown. As to monopolization, the scheme will spell out our existing legislation, removing known deficiencies and accommodating it to the decisions of the courts, including the courts of the United States. Monopolization will be defined, broadly speaking, as acquiring or using monopoly power with the intention of preventing a person from entering or expanding a business, or in a manner that is unreasonable and detrimental to consumers of goods or services. Monopoly power, for this purpose, will be defined as the power to fix, or influence substantially, the market price of any kind of goods or services, or to prevent persons entering or expanding businesses. Mere possession of monopoly power would not, of course, be unlawful. I have already said that in this scheme the Government has concentrated on harmful acts, rather than upon the mere possession of power to do them, and what I propose in relation to monopolies as such will be in conformity with this view. I hope it is plain to honorable members that much study and thought has already been given to the problem and that the task of expressing in legislative form a sensible and workable scheme of control of harmful restrictive practices in Australia is under way. Discussion or representation, which I hope my statement will excite, will no doubt have much influence upon the final form that expression takes. But the goal of the Government will remain, namely, to enact legislation to safeguard our system of free enterprise by maintaining its competitive basis, whilst ensuring that our economy as a whole expands and develops for the good of all Australians. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- Will you move that the paper be printed? {: .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz: -- 1 move- {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- No, just a moment. The arrangement is that the Minister for the Interior will move the motion. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH: -- I made no such arrangement. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- That was the arrangement. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: -- You are not prejudiced by the arrangement. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH: -- I made no such arrangement. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- We made it with the Leader of the House. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH: -- I know nothing of it. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: -- The Attorney-General will be back to participate in the debate. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH: -- I have only read the statement. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM:
WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- The Attorney-General will be back to participate. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH: -- I should be able to do so, too. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- We want you to move the motion. We gave you leave on the basis that you would do so. {: #subdebate-38-0-s1 .speaker-KGP} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon W C Haworth:
ISAACS, VICTORIA -- Order! There can be no motion until the paper is tabled. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH: -- The Opposition can move that the paper be printed. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- No, we want you to propose the motion because we gave you the leave. We will give you leave to speak, if you want to speak. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH: -- In those circumstances, I lay on the table the following paper: - >Restrictive Trade Practices - Proposals for Control - Ministerial Statement - and move - > >That the paper be printed. {: #subdebate-38-0-s2 .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL:
Leader of the Opposition · Melbourne -- by leave - I ask the Acting Attorney-General **(Mr. Freeth),** because of the importance of the statement, to have it printed so that all the people in Australia who would like to read it and study it will be able to do so. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- That has been done. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- I am glad to have the Minister's assurance. I know that the Attorney-General **(Sir Garfield Barwick)** is away and that the Minister is, in a sense, standing in for him and has read his document to the House. That was unavoidable in the circumstances. Ordinarily, we would like to have the Attorney here so that we could perhaps question him before such an important statement as this is disposed of for the remainder of the session. During the reading of the statement, we gave leave for certain matter to be incorporated in " Hansard ". We hope that when back-bench members on both sides of the House wish to have important information incorporated, the Government will be as co-operative as the Opposition has been. Some honorable members believe that these documents might well have been placed before the Parliament in a memorandum and not incorporated in " Hansard ". For my part, I feel that perhaps they should be in " Hansard " as a permanent record because they represent the opinions of the State Attorneys-General. They tell us what the States are preparing to do. But some of my colleagues hold a different view to that which I hold. I hope that if there is to be a debate on this very important document, it will take place in this House and not in another place. When another important statement was made in this House recently, relating to Cuba, an attempt was made to initiate the debate on it in another place, where it had no right to be initiated. Policy is determined in the House of Representatives. This is the important House. We have been favoured with this document. If we are to debate this subject on the basis of a paper before we get the legislation, then somebody from my party should not be asked to indicate the Opposition's policy before I have had the opportunity to do so in this House. I ask the Acting Attorney-General to safeguard the rights of the Opposition. We have cooperated with the Minister to-night. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- You need have no fear. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- I hope not, but I had to battle pretty hard to safeguard our rights on the last occasion. I am indebted to the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** for his protection then. Some quite unimportant Ministers in another place - I do not say this offensively - thought they were more important than was in fact the case. They wanted to settle the foreign policy of this country. They invited my colleagues in the other House to state Labour's policy on Cuba. That was something to which we were not prepared to subscribe. {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr Adermann: -- The Government wants this matter investigated as carefully as possible so that we may obtain the best legislation possible. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- I am glad to hear that. I am glad to know that the Government wants our views expressed in this House before they are expressed in the Senate. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Calwell)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 3114 {:#debate-39} ### PRINTING COMMITTEE {: #debate-39-s0 .speaker-KDO} ##### Mr ERWIN:
Ballaarat -- I present the fifth report of the Printing Committee. Report read by the Clerk, and- by leave - adopted. {: .page-start } page 3114 {:#debate-40} ### THE COMMONWEALTH AND EDUCATION {:#subdebate-40-0} #### Ministerial Statement Debate resumed from 6th November (vide page 2049), on the following paper presented by **Mr. Menzies:** - >The Commonwealth and Education - Statement by the Prime Minister, 6th November, 1962. And on the motion by **Mr. Freeth** - >That the paper be printed. {: #subdebate-40-0-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM:
Werriwa **.- Mr. Deputy Speaker,** the paper presented by the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** on "The Commonwealth and Education " is a statistical summary, first, of what the Commonwealth at present is doing in education, and secondly, of what moneys it is lending or granting to the States for all of their purposes. The States have increased their expenditure on education very substantially during the past ten years both in amount and in proportion. Despite the everincreasing proportion of State budgets being devoted to education, the position of education worsens. The present educational difficulties arise largely from the fact that the States cannot indefinitely increase the proportion of their funds which can be spent on education. It is useless to pretend that merely increasing the total amount of funds made available to the States means that they will have more for education. The demands of other State services are also increasing and education cannot expand any further at the expense of these other services. As a guide to education in the future, the Prime Minister's paper offered nothing. Those who were looking forward to a clear statement that the Commonwealth Government was preparing to meet the grave educational situation which faces Australia have been outspoken in their disappointment. There is no sign that the Government intends to stir beyond its present frontiers and its present horizons. It contemplates no more active role in education than it has played in the past. The success of an educational system is measured by the quality of those who are trained under it. Nevertheless the amount of money invested in education is of crucial significance. Australia's investment in education is low compared with comparable trading and industrial countries. According to the latest available figures, Australia spends 2.9 per cent, of its gross national product on education. This compares with 4.5 per cent, in the United States of America, 4.2 per cent, in the Netherlands and 3.7 per cent, in Canada, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom. In Australia about 0.6 per cent, of our gross national product is spent on scientific research. In Canada the figure is almost 1 per cent.; in Britain it is more than 2 per cent, and in America it is almost 3 per cent. Of every 10,000 people in Australia, seventeen are scientists or engineers. In the United Kingdom the number is 26; in the United States of America it is 45 and in Russia it is almost 70. In almost whatever test we apply, Australia lags the field. Of every 1,000,000 people in Australia, 79 graduate every year in pure and applied science. In Italy the number is 96; in France it is 111, in West Germany 153, in the United Kingdom 162, in the United States of America 281 and in Russia 332. In Europe and North America, only Spain and Portugal spend as little on education and produce so few technical men as does Australia. No statistics can really measure the frustration and disillusionment of those who have waited in vain for the Commonwealth Government to stop sheltering behind the Constitution and to accept its national responsibility in education. During the 1950's we enjoyed material prosperity but we were not prepared to invest adequately in the education of our growing population. The great number of children born in the immediate post-war period moved into primary education and then secondary education. Now the bulge is in the university age group. Throughout the 1950's not only were more people demanding education; they also were demanding more education. In New South Wales over the last ten years the percentage of children staying on at secondary schools for the fifth year has doubled. Australia cannot afford to waste such man-power. A young teenage population should be considered a great asset and not a liability. Our young population will not show its proper value unless it is educated to the maximum. It will need more ample skills; it will have more abundant leisure, and education will enrich the skills and the leisure. In the coming years Australia faces a great political and economic challenge. To meet that challenge we must ensure that our population is fully educated, consistent with the resources available in this country. We are falling short of that achievement and we shall continue to do so only at our peril. The grave crisis which confronts education in Australia extends through all levels of education. Even in the field of university education, where the Commonwealth has accepted a large measure of responsibility, there are alarming signs of stress. The children born in the immediate post-war period are now at or approaching university age. In the last four years the number of matriculants has increased by 6,500. The signs of stress in the universities appear in understaffing, overcrowding, higher fees, lower entry quotas and declining scholarships. This year the University of Queensland increased fees for interstate and overseas students. Next year, the universities of Sydney, New South Wales and Adelaide will increase fees by between one-fifth and one-third. These increases in fees will not only exclude thousands of talented students but will also tend to restore the universities to the position they once held as the preserve of the wealthy. Commonwealth scholarships have not been increased on a sufficient scale to meet this problem of increased fees and increased enrolments. In 1953, 29 per cent, of university scholars held Commonwealth scholarships; last year it was 22 per cent. In 1953, 31 per cent, of new entrants to the universities received Commonwealth scholarships - last year only 20 per cent. In 1951, 16) per cent, of Commonwealth scholars enjoyed a full living allowance - this year only 15 per cent. The Prime Minister must believe that the scarce space in universities should be rationed according to parental means and not according to the capacity of the student to undertake a university course. The University of Sydney will impose quotas in all faculties next year. Melbourne already has quotas in almost all faculties; Adelaide in Medicine and Physiotherapy; Western Australia in Medicine, Commerce, Physiology and Microbiology; New South Wales in Architecture, Medicine and Commerce. Even Monash, the most recent of the universities, has quotas in Arts, Economics, Politics, Engineering, Medicine and Science. Little New England will restrict its internal students from next year and possibly its external students after next year. The result of these quotas is that many thousands of potential university graduates will be denied university education. If the quotas are severe enough to hold enrolments at the level of recent years, then by 1970 there will be perhaps 15,000 to 20,000 students denied university training, but qualified for it. The refusal of the Government to recognize that the secondary school problem has a direct bearing upon the situation in universities makes its present policy of concentrating on tertiary education of doubtful value. If standards in the secondary schools continue to decline, failure rates at the universities will probably continue to rise and pressure on universities to do something about this is likely to increase. Such pressures could easily have unfortunate results. Between 1952 and 1960 enrolments in governmental primary schools rose from 900,000 to over 1,200,000 and in the secondary schools from 196,000 to 397,000. The submission to the Premiers' Conference in June last year pointed out that schools are short of teachers; many teachers are inadequately trained and unqualified for their jobs. States are finding it difficult to provide the new accommodation needed. There is a large and growing accumulation of make-shift, substandard and obsolete school accommodation and equipment and supplies of all kinds are required in increasing quantities. The submission, as honorable members will recall, was supported by every premier. It estimated that to meet increased enrolments in primary and secondary schools an average increase in expenditure cf 4i per cent, is required annually to meet running costs alone. It also estimated that 1,000 classrooms over and above the number required for new enrolments will be needed to enable the schools to stop using make-shift and unsatisfactory accommodation. To reduce classes to a reasonable size, a conservative estimate was that the size of the teaching force would have to be in creased by almost 6,000 teachers - or 10 per cent. - in addition to the increase required for growing enrolments. The most dangerous possibility is a steady decline in the quality of the teaching profession. At present there are twenty full high schools in New South Wales without a qualified teacher to take charge of science. Teachers with no scientific training whatever are being directed to teach science, and in the present year this applies to about onesixth of the science teachers in New South Wales. Apart from science there is a growing danger that in order to obtain enough teachers, standards of entry to the teaching profession will be lowered. This is already happening in Victoria and Queensland where, in the not too distant future, secondary school teachers may not be required to have a degree. The most urgent education need in Australia is to deal with the problem of an adequate supply of qualified teachers. Professor W. D. Borrie and Miss Ruth Rodgers have shown in their "Australian Population Projections 1960-75" that although the rate of increase in the population of secondary school age has slowed down and will be significantly slower until 1966 than it has been in the immediate past, it will start to rise again from 1 967 onwards and will reach a peak in 1970. These figures mean that if nothing is done to provide additional education resources now we will be faced with another crisis of numbers within five years, due to recent rises in the birth-rate and the increasing tendency of children to stay longer at school. Few honorable members have not at some time seen the squalid conditions under which many of our young people are educated. It is a great credit to teachers and staff that they can produce the results they do under such trying conditions. The Prime Minister's statement makes no mention of technical education, although this is clearly a field in which special action is needed. If Australia is to develop its export trade in the manufacturing industry, no amount of trade promotion will make up for the absence of high standards of technological achievement and of workmanship. This depends, perhaps more than anything else, on a high level of technical training and higher technological education. At the moment graduate engineers are being used where technicians would suffice. Skilled tradesmen are asked to do jobs for which they were never properly trained. With considerable unemployment skilled tradesmen are critically short in the electrical and metal trades. Our shortage of skilled tradesmen has been partially alleviated by migration. This only provides a temporary relief. The continuing problem must be solved within Australia. The United States National Bureau of Economic Research has estimated that more than half of the net output of the American economy in the last 70 or 80 years was the result of improvements in capital equipment - technological advance - and improvements in the work force. Technological improvement and the improved skill and abilities of workers, technicians and managers are contributing an increasing proportion of increased production. Ambassador J. K. Galbraith has said - >We now get the larger part of our industrial growth not from more capital investment but from improvements in men and improvements brought about by highly improved men. And this process of technological advance has become fairly predictable. We get from men pretty much what we invest in them. So now in its turn after land and after capital,labour- highly improved labour to be sure - has come to the centre of the stage. Investment in personal development is therefore at least as useful as an index of progress as investment in physical capital. It could be more valuable. This is the kind of change which solemn men of self-confessed soundness of judgment will continue to resent. The familiar is always defended with much more moral fervour just before it becomes foolish. For all its protestations about its desire to ensure an adequately skilled and trained population, the Menzies Government refuses to do anything really constructive about tackling the problem at its root - in the schools and technical colleges. These surely are the "solemn men of self-confessed soundness of judgment " who, even if they are not seen to be foolish to-day, are certainly unseeing, but in any case will appear foolish to succeeding generations. The Australian Labour Party believes that there must be a completely new deal for education in Australia. The problems are so vast and technical that only a thoroughgoing inquiry will be able to provide us with a blueprint for future action. The information which we have on education in Australia is scarce indeed. Only a painstaking and competent committee of inquiry can point the way out of the complex educational problems which confront this country. Some such inquiry as the Murray committee so admirably afforded in university education in the strictest sense would illustrate the difficulties in other fields of Australian education and the obligations which Australians to-day must undertake in the interests of their future. To meet the present situation the Labour Party believes that the Commonwealth should make an emergency grant to the States for education, and that this grant should continue until such time as the report of the committee of inquiry has been presented and a decision on it made by the Government. At the time of the last Budget the Labour Party proposed that such an emergency grant should be made. The continuing deterioration in education and the improvement in the financial position of the Commonwealth make it more desirable and possible for the Commonwealth to assist in this way. **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** I move - >That all words after " That " be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: - " this House condemns the paper for its failure to relate present financial provisions to any assessment of the nation's educational requirements in respect of - > >supply of adequately trained teachers; > >provision of buildings and equipment; > >research into the aims, content, administration and organization of education and into teaching methods and assessment procedures; and > >extension of the Commonwealth Scholarship scheme so as to provide incentives and greater assistance to students in meeting the increasing demands for high levels of education; and resolves that - > >a national inquiry be made immediately into the needs of primary, secondary and technical education; > >an interim emergency grant be made to the States to meet the present crisis in education; and > >that a Federal Ministry of Education and Science be established forthwith. {: #subdebate-40-0-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Is the amendment seconded? {: .speaker-KYS} ##### Mr Reynolds: -- I second the amendment. {: #subdebate-40-0-s2 .speaker-KFH} ##### Mr FORBES:
Barker .- I oppose the amendment. We have just heard the honorable the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Whitlam)** give one of his Slick mixtures of plausible half-truths or downright mis-statements to which we have become accustomed in this place over the years. I will have something to say about the polars mads by the honorable gentleman a little later. But before I do so I do want to say something about a group in the Opposition which includes, for instance, the honorable member for Barton **(Mr. Reynolds),** who I understand is to speak after me in this debate, and the honorable member for Wills **(Mr. Bryant).** We will hear from the honorable member for Barton one of his characteristically miserable and whining speeches to which, again, we have become accustomed in this House. I think it is just as well for the House and for members of the public who may be listening to remember what the honorable member is and also what the honorable member for Wills is. These honorable members, and particularly the honorable member for Barton - at least this cannot be said for the Deputy Leader of the Opposition - are direct representatives in this House of a pressure group. The views of the honorable member for Barton on education have never varied from those openly expressed by the New South Wales Teachers Federation. He is a teacher and he is a member of the New South Wales Teachers Federation, no doubt. No one blames him for that, least of all me, but we must remember, **Sir, that** this body, of which he is a direct representative, is a pressure group designed to further the interests of its own members, including, presumably, the interests of the honorable member for Barton. I was a teacher of sorts, **Sir -** not much of one, I admit, but nevertheless enough of a teacher to know something about these organizations. I was a member of the Adelaide University Staff Association, the local equivalent of the New South Wales. Teachers Federation. Indeed, I was its secretary for a while. It is a pressure group, too, and I took part in it as a pressure group. But I do not regard it as my principal function, and I have never regarded it as my principal function since I have been in this place, to be the mouthpiece for that organization. I do not regard it as my job, as these honorable gentlemen do, to push the view of a sectional interest group. My aim has been to take a wider view, and it should be their aim to do that also as members of this Parliament. I ask honorable members and whoever else may be listening to this debate to remember, when they hear the words of the honorable members of Barton and Wills, precisely for whom they are speaking. The Opposition is trying to tell us that there is a crisis in education in Australia, that we are not putting enough of our resources into education, and that the situation is so serious that our future development as a nation is threatened. I think I interpret the Deputy Leader of the Opposition correctly. We are told that there is need for a crash programme if we are to avoid disaster. In this view the Opposition is supported by some other groups and individuals in the community, most of them groups of people professionally interested in education or people with an axe to grind. If this view were correct it would indeed be a matter for concern. There can be no doubt that the skill and training of a nation's work force is the most precious asset it has. It is more important than all the other resources put together, and is indeed the condition precedent to the exploitation of those other resources. Without trained manpower, without an educated community, Australia cannot hope to develop at the rate that we all want it to develop. The state of education in Australia must therefore be a matter of concern to this Parliament and to all of us who sit in it, and for that reason I welcome this debate. But, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** let it be a rational discussion. Let us use emotive words like " crisis ", which is used in this amendment, with the care with which they should be used. Let us refrain from capitalizing on the innate concern which parents feel for the future of their children for political purposes as is obviously the case with some, if not all, honorable gentlemen opposite, or for purely personal gain as is the case with some of the people who are professionally interested in education. Let us, while clearly appreciating what needs to be done, also recognize the enormous advances that have been made in the last decade - no sign of any admission of which was given by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition - and where the trend is taking us. One of the principal justifications of the cry of crisis has been comparisons made of the proportion of national expenditure on education in various countries. These comparisons are constantly being made. A comparison was made, indeed, by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to-night. Honorable members who rely upon these comparisons tell us that Australia spends such and such a proportion of its national income on education, while other countries spend some larger proportion of national income. " Crisis, crisis! " is the cry when these figures are produced. We are told that we must have a crash programme, emergency grants and so on. No attention is paid to the comparability of the figures, none to the differing educational requirements of the countries concerned, none to the priorities to be given to education as compared with other activities or to the various elements in education itself, and none to the trend in the extent of resources going into education over given periods of time. Little is said, **Sir, by** the proponents of a crisis based on international comparisons, about the matters that I have just mentioned, although they all seem to me to be important in deciding whether a crisis exists. The Opposition, of course, in putting forward this amendment, is asking us to accept the proposition that a crisis exists. Consider the last point that I mentioned, the trend in the resources going into education over given periods of time. The best estimate that I have seen of the extent of our resources being devoted to education is contained in Professor Karmel's recent pamphlet, " Some Economic Aspects of Education ". The figures cited by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition were, I believe, the ones contained in Professor Karmel's pamphlet, but, in characteristic fashion, the honorable member failed to mention that Professor Karmel's figures that he quoted were for the year 1958-59. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition blithely used phrases like " the position is now ", or " the fact is ", although he was speaking of the year 1958-59. I say that Professor Karmel's figures are the best, because he has at least included in his figures an estimate of the resources devoted to private education, and some attempt has been made to assess the figures for other countries on a comparable basis, which is more than can be said for the Unesco figures, which are the ones usually cited. Professor Karmel's estimate for 1958-59 was that we were spending 2.9 per cent, of our gross national product on education, compared with 4.5 per cent, by the United States of America and 3.7 per cent, by Canada, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union. On the other hand, West Germany, whose recovery since the war has been a modern miracle, was below us, with a figure of 2.8 per cent. Of greater importance than the figures at a particular time is the trend. Although we spent 2.9 per cent, of our gross national product on education in 1958-59, the proportion had risen from 2.2 per cent, in 1953-54, and since 1958-59- and this is what the Deputy Leader of the Opposition did not tell us - it has risen until in 1960-61 it was 3.3 per cent. That was last year. That is the trend, **Mr. Speaker.** We have been increasing the proportion of our resources going into education at a very rapid rate indeed. That is how we have been meeting the educational challenge. We have not been standing still, as honorable members opposite have suggested. Let me tell the House how this has been done, by referring to expenditure on education by the States. I ignore direct spending on education by the Commonwealth, the details of which are set out in the White Paper, and which show an even more spectacular increase than the figures that I will now give to the House. In the period from 1950-51 to 1960-61, State expenditure from consolidated revenue increased by 162 per cent., while Commonwealth revenue grants increased by 172 per cent. During the same period expenditure on education increased by 264 per cent. In other words, the vast increase in spending on education has been made possible by the steady increase in Commonwealth grants to the States. In loan fund expenditure the increase has been even more spectacular, from 5 per cent, to 20 per cent, in the period, much of this increased expenditure having been made possible by a direct subvention from Commonwealth revenue. Perhaps I could put the matter in perspective by referring to the statement " Some Aspects of Australian Education" which was forwarded to the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** by the Australian Education Council, which is composed of the State Ministers of Education, some years ago. This statement was directed to showing the additional finance necessary in the five years following 1958-59 in order to maintain current educational standards and to enable desirable improvements to be made. The statement included the following remarks: - >It is estimated that to maintain present standards^ That is, the standards of that year - additional funds needed for running costs will be from £4.8m in 1959/60 to £27.2m in 1963/64. Additional capital needs are estimated to be of the order of £22.5m each year during the five year period. Total expenditure by the States on education in 1958-59 was £142m. In addition t'o maintaining this rate of expenditure, the total additional amount suggested for the five years to 1963/64 amounts to some £200m. To effect desirable improvements (including what is considered necessary to maintain present standards) would, it is estimated, cost from an additional £5 1.9m in 1958/59 to an additional £73.5m in 1963/64. This would mean, in addition to maintaining the 1958/59 rate of £142m, a total added expenditure in the five year period of some £312m. This was the report made by the State Ministers of Education. My point is this: Prior to 1958-59 educational expenditure had risen in the previous five years at a rate of 12 per cent, per annum. If was clear at the time that this report was presented, that if this rate of increase could be maintained, the total additional money that would be found over and above the 1957-58 level of expenditure would be more than £315,000,000; that is, more than enough to meet all the extra costs envisaged, not only to maintain existing standards but also to provide for all the desirable improvements mentioned as being required, not by the Commonwealth but by the State Ministers of Education themselves. I can tell the House that expenditure by the States on education rose by £20,000,000 in 1958-60 and by £22,000,000 in 1960-61. In other words, so far the 12 per cent, rise has been maintained. Is there any reason why it should not continue? Increases in Commonwealth general revenue grants, together with support for the loan programme, have been the principal causes of the increases so far, and have enabled the States to maintain the rate of increase of expenditure. We know that Commonwealth grants to the States will continue to increase. I believe we can confidently expect the proportion of the gross national product spent on education to continue the steady improvement which it has maintained in recent years. I am well aware that much of the increase in resources going into education has been used to provide education for a larger number of children and to that extent does not represent an improvement in the quality of the education provided. But I would point out that we are over the hump or the bulge in primary and secondary education. That phase has passed. This was admitted by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. Even if total expenditure in this field remains constant, from now on we can expect a steady improvement in the quality of education. With the likely increase in expenditure the improvement should be spectacular. From now on all those things mentioned as deficiencies by honorable gentlemen opposite in the amendment which they have proposed, if they exist, should be made good. Indeed, I know that in my own State of South Australia the improvement has begun already. The State Minister for Education told me that the State Education Department now can be much more selective in its choice of people to be teachers, and the State now requires a higher standard during training. I am at a loss to understand how a situation which clearly can be described as a dramatic response to a challenge in the past and which opens up the prospect of continuing improvement in the future can be described as one of crisis. I have been speaking of primary and secondary education. What of tertiary education? We may be over the bulge in the schools but the bulge is moving into the universities like a rabbit down the body of a python. If there is a crisis in education it is in the universities, not in the schools. But there is not, nor do I believe that there will be, a crisis. I believe this for a number of reasons. First, the spectacular leap by the Commonwealth into university finance following the publication of the Murray report was made in advance of the bulge hitting the universities. The consequence is that the universities now have had some years benefit from increased Commonwealth financial assistance and from the activities of the Universities Commission. To that extent they are in a better position to withstand the pressure of the bulge. Secondly, the Commonwealth has taken steps to ensure that the resources going into tertiary education are used to greater advantage than they were used in the past. I have no doubt that that will be the result of the work of the committee set up to inquire into the future form of tertiary education. Finally, the Commonwealth is much more directly involved in tertiary education than it is in other forms of education. The present Government has shown its willingness to fulfil its responsibilities in this field. There is no reason why it should not do so in the future. In this field at least there is no question of future advances being limited by the financial resources of the States. The Commonwealth has accepted the challenge and has met it by accepting a responsibility which is clear and direct. {: #subdebate-40-0-s3 .speaker-KYS} ##### Mr REYNOLDS:
Barton .- I am not even inclined to reciprocate the insulting remarks made by the honorable member for Barker **(Mr. Forbes)** at the commencement of his speech. In the manner of my former profession I simply ask him whether he can recognize this quotation - >It appears, therefore, that of all secular professions, teaching is the most profoundly important. The teacher does the work of making men. The physician and the surgeon can, at best, repair them; the lawyer can, at best, adjust their differences; and the engineer can, at best, provide them with the means of physical community association. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies: -- Jolly good! {: .speaker-KYS} ##### Mr REYNOLDS: -- I thought that the quotation would receive the Prime Minister's commendation because I quoted his own words when he moved on a different level. {: .speaker-KFH} ##### Mr Forbes: -- Will you continue to quote from him? {: .speaker-KYS} ##### Mr REYNOLDS: -- Yes, I shall quote from him quite liberally. I was merely indicating what he thought at that time. Those were the good old days when the Prime Minister was a struggling Leader of the Opposition and when probably he had a little closer contact with the needs of the people in relation to such a fundamental matter as education. As for the honorable member for Barker, I can only say that I am not altogether surprised that he has identified the request contained in our proposal as coming from a pressure group, the Teachers Federation, or, more precisely, the New South Wales Teachers Federation. I have been to lots of public meetings and conventions. Only last Saturday week I attended the Second Science Convention held at the Sydney University. Over 1,000 citizens crowded into that place and they were far from being all teachers. A representative of the State Labour Government attended and I was there representing the Federal Opposition. In the previous year the Deputy Leader of the Opposition attended the convention. Not one official representative of the Liberal and Country Parties was present at these meetings. They just do not want to know what is required. I do not want to take up too much time with the honorable member for Barker. I shall leave him and all like him to be dealt with by the people who are affected by their dilatoriness and apparent lack of interest, but I simply cannot allow a couple of matters to pass without comment. He quoted in some detail from Professor Karmel's oration on, "Some Economic Aspects of Education ". As far as I can recall, I did not hear the honorable member read the following part: - >The figures which I have quoted in the preceding table show that Australia's expenditure on education is low compared with countries of comparable wealth. Professor Karmel made that statement in May of this year, I think it was, to the Australian College of Education. When the Government talks about the amount of Commonwealth money which the States have spent, and the increasing amount being spent by State educational authorities, let me remind honorable members opposite that as a result of this benevolence which they have mentioned, in the past five fairly recent years from 1957-58 to 1961-62 the Commonwealth's share of the public debt was reduced by £276,000,000, or 15 per cent. - reduced, mark you - but the States' share of the public debt was increased by not less than £639,000,000, or 27 per cent. In other words, while the Commonwealth was relieving itself of its indebtedness and of its interest repayment burden the States were going catastrophically further into the red. They have to bear this great burden of interest repayments. Honorable members opposite talk about the increasing contribution which the Commonwealth is making by way of tax reimbursements, but how much of this money is being spent by the States in paying interest to the Commonwealth on money provided by the Commonwealth out of tax revenue? That is the unhappy position in which the States are placed. Neither I nor the Labour Party represents a small sectional group when we make these requests. I am reminded that the six State Premiers unanimously made a similar request to the Commonwealth in 1961. I have not sufficient time to dwell on the need for education. I should imagine that is accepted by every responsible citizen in the community. All I want to emphasize is that in a great land mass like Australia, which has such a relatively small population, the training and skill of the comparatively few people we have is a matter of great importance. As the Minister for Trade **(Mr. McEwen)** told us this morning, we are seeking trade outlets in this competitive world. That factor emphasizes the need for training and skill. I should not have thought it necessary to make this plea in this place. However, the crisis exists. I cannot go into all the details, but I shall mention some aspects of it. Professor Messell went on record recently as claiming that the crisis has existed for six years. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Whitlam)** indicated that there is a shortage of teachers and that at least 6,000 more are required for the public education system, apart from the needs of the private schools, which bear the burden of educating between onequarter and one-third of our youngsters. In public education, 6,000 more teachers are needed - 6,000 extra bodies are needed to put before classes of some reasonable size. This does not take into consideration the fact that at present many teachers have qualifications which are inadequate for their professional jobs. Parents in Australia can tell you that some of their children are being taught by teachers who freely admit that they are compelled to teach subjects for which they have had no professional training. Over a third of the teachers in New South Wales are in this position. Do not think, however, that this occurs only in New South Wales. The Victorian secondary teachers' association, in a professionally responsible manner, has been trying to bring the plight of its members to the attention of local citizens through the newspapers. It has inserted big advertisements in the newspapers telling people how the professional standard of teachers is going down. The advertisements state that comparatively few graduates are now going into secondary education. I hope that I shall have time to tell how many graduate teachers are leaving the teaching profession and going into better-paid professions. Every professional organization and every responsible parent in Australia demands properly qualified teachers who have had a minimum of three years' training, as is required in Great Britain. Even little New Zealand has just conducted its own inquiry into the aspects of education which we are discussing. That inquiry has recommended that, at the earliest possible time, a minimum of three years' training be made the order of the day for teachers in New Zealand. In most States of the United States of America the requirement is for four years' training. We have teachers all over Australia who have had less than six months' professional training. We have teachers in technical education, primary education and secondary education who had no professional training before they stood in front of a class. The honorable member for Barker, who makes his whining remarks and then departs from the scene, may not know that the percentage of unqualified teachers is increasing. The worst feature of this situation is that it is most pronounced in the important fields of science and technology - fields that are fundamental, not only to our cultural welfare and development but also to our economic development. This is the theme that was hammered consistently and responsibly by every speaker at the science convention a little over a week ago. The lack of science teachers ought to shock any parliamentarian who seeks to represent the community adequately. We can see what is being done in other countries, hot only in the provision of teachers, but also in the provision of adequate teaching institutions and equipment, and in educational research - another thing that is not often mentioned. We do not want to have just an ad hoc inquiry one day and another in 30 years. We should set up a research institution for this purpose. The Commonwealth Office of Education should be enlarged and a Commonwealth ministry of education established, which, besides looking after the Commonwealth's responsibilities in its own Territories and the Commonwealth's assumed responsibilities in regard to tertiary education, could set up a national research organization to provide for continuing research, not only into the material needs of education, but also into the organization and the very content of education. In 1945, the present Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** moved for the establishment of a commission of inquiry. He did not hide behind the cobwebs on the Constitution on that occasion. He was quite forthright and called for the establishment of an inquiry, not just to deal with tertiary education, but to go into all fields of education. He enumerated them all in his motion. It is particularly lamentable that this deficiency of qualified teachers, adequate teaching facilities and laboratory assistants should be most observable in science and technology. It is the complaint of many science teachers that the children whom they teach are in the classrooms as observers, not as doers. This is an unpractical way of teaching a practical subject. There are often over 40 youngsters crowding into a science laboratory, not to do - not to engage in experiments or research - but merely to observe. Many science authorities say that this is a woefully poor substitute. Unless this country can raise its sights a lot higher, Australia will be a long way behind other countries. I have not up-to-date figures on this subject, but in 1958 Australia produced only half as many scientists and engineers, in proportion to its population, as Great Britain and Canada. Yet in his speech in 1945, the present Prime Minister said that not only must we keep up with other countries but we must lead them. The deficiencies that occur are caused by a number of factors, but particularly by the great increase in numbers in our schools and the great increase in population. In a recent speech on the estimates for the Prime Minister's Department, the Prime Minister drew attention to the fact that whereas, a few years ago, school enrolments were increasing at the rate of 7 per cent, per annum, the rate of increase is now down to 3 per cent. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition quite properly drew his attention to the fact that this is a short-range view. It will not be long before the effects of the bulge of population resulting from the postwar births and the immigration intake, having passed through the primary schools and the secondary schools, will be passing on to tertiary education and to industry. They will be the fathers and mothers of another generation of youngsters, who, in the not far distant future, will impose a further burden on our schools and accompanying requirements. As I have said, the rate of increase in school enrolments has fallen to 3 per cent, per annum. I should have thought that the White Paper on this subject would have provided a much more thorough analysis of the situation. If it had done so, we would have been told that between 1959 and 1961 secondary school enrolments had increased, not by 6 or 7 per cent., but by 21 per cent. This is the real burden at present. This is the crisis situation in our schools, and it is passing into tertiary education. The cost of secondary education is infinitely greater than the cost of primary education. In the latter part of secondary education the cost has been estimated to be four times the cost in primary *schools.* By 1961 there were 1,660,000 children enrolled in government schools. There were almost 500,000 enrolments in State secondary schools alone, leaving the non-State secondary schools out of consideration. There are factors accounting for this. As the Crowther report in the United Kingdom indicated, more children are staying on at school. To-day, the number of children completing secondary schooling is double the number who completed it ten years ago. Children not only are staying longer at school, but also are making demands on a wider range of education. Secondary education is demanded for all now, not just for the select intellectual elite as was the case in by-gone days. Secondary schooling to-day is demanded over a much wider range and has to meet a much wider need. In addition, the new trends towards science and technology make extensive demands, and the demand for laboratories, equipment and trained teaching staff is very heavy. If we had analysed the matter more fully, we could have recognized three factors - the bulge, the trend and the swing. The bulge is the big post-war boom in births. The trend is the increasing tendency to stay longer at school. This is linked with the new social attitudes which accept working wives. Many wives now go to work and earn income to help keep their children at school longer. There is also a tendency for babies to be born earlier in marriage than they used to be. This is another factor in the increasing tendency for mothers to return to employment after having given up work for a time to have their children and to care for them in their early years. All of these factors lend themselves to the continuance of our children at school for a longer period. Secondary education particularly, and also tertiary education, are being called on to meet a much wider demand than was the case not so long ago. Linked with this situation, of course, is the whole question of the status of teachers. In 1945, the present Prime Minister expressed regret because the status and remuneration of teachers were not nearly as high as they ought to have been. The remuneration and conditions of teachers establish the priority that we give to education in our community. The fact that the Director-General of Education in New South Wales receives only the same salary as does any general medical practitioner in a community of moderate size shows the low status that we give to education in our scheme of priorities. When we realize that he receives £1,000 more than does any other officer in the education service of the State, we can see that we are not giving education the priority which it is given in other countries and which Australia must give it if we are to survive as a nation and continue to occupy this continent. The Australian Labour Party has proposed an amendment to the motion for the printing of the statement tabled by the Prime Minister. This amendment is based on five principal points. First, we want to institute immediately a national inquiry into the needs of primary, secondary and technical education. Secondly, we believe that there is an urgent and critical need to speed up the development of our educational resources. We think that the Commonwealth should make immediately an interim emergency grant to the States pending the holding of the inquiry. Thirdly, Labour advocates the establishment of a Federal Ministry of Education and Science particularly to undertake research and to inquire constantly into not only the externa of education but also the content and organization of education itself. Our fourth point is that the Minister in charge of the proposed Federal Ministry of Education and Science should take his place among the various State Ministers in charge of education as a member of the Australian Education Council and should maintain close communication with the States and thereby permit the Commonwealth Parliament to give leadership to the States and to work in close cooperation with them. Fifthly, we recognize the increasingly heavy burdens faced by parents in keeping their children longer at school. The Labour Party has promised immediately to double child endowment, and to extend the Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme so as to assist students in the later years of secondary schooling. In respect of these important measures, we believe that assistance ought to be given regardless of the school attended. {: #subdebate-40-0-s4 .speaker-KSC} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir John McLeay: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-40-0-s5 .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL:
Mallee **.- Mr. Speaker,** I am sure that we all appreciated the statement tabled by the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** and that we all have read it very carefully. I do not desire to go into great detail on this subject. We have heard much detail from the honorable member for Barton **(Mr. Reynolds)** and the honorable member for Barker **(Mr. Forbes).** I believe that the broad principles involved in this subject are the things that need to be discussed, and that we should define our attitude towards those broad principles so that the people outside this House will know where we stand on the subject of education. I want to direct attention particularly to one paragraph in the statement which reads - >So far as financial support is concerned, the Commonwealth's approach has been to build up the States' general financial resources. In this way, funds that are provided federally are spent on education, no less so than they would if they were given as direct grants for this purpose. The difference is that, as things are, the States decide the purposes. That paragraph appears to me to be of paramount importance. Elsewhere in the statement are set out the sums that the Federal Government has provided for the States by various means. I consider that the last sentence of the paragraph that I have just read is of great significance, and I should like to repeat it. The last sentence reads - >The difference is that, as things are, the States decide the purposes. It is only right that the States decide the purposes. First of all, they control the educational services and the teachers, and they have the schools. They have all the facilities, and the Federal Government has none of the facilities. {: .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr Cope: -- The States have everything but the finance. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL: -- Let us have a look at what has been happening with respect to finance. My idea on the whole matter is that the Federal Government should supply as much money as possible to the States. At various times, I have advocated that the Federal Government should supply the States with the maximum amount of money possible and that the States, having received the money, should decide how it ought to be spent. Other speakers who have discussed this subject have said that the Federal Government should make definite grants to the States for education and that the States must use the funds for education. Do we trust the States? That is the first question. I do trust them. However, we must look at the matter on two counts. If the Federal Government supplies to the States a certain lump sum, is there any guarantee that the States will spend on education as much of their own funds as they are spending on it now and that the total expenditure on education will increase? Is there any chance that the States will do that? Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that they will do it. On the other hand, if the States are provided with funds by way of definite grants as at present, can we trust the States to make the necessary allocations? It seems to me that previous speakers in this debate have suggested that the States are not trustworthy. If the Federal Government gives the States the maximum amount possible, surely the States, knowing all the circumstances, will allocate adequate funds to education. I often wonder what total amount would be needed to provide for all the claims made by the Opposition for funds for the States in addition to those being provided by this Government at present. I should like to know how much would be needed. I am sure that the total would be many hundreds of millions of pounds. Of course, the Federal Government can provide only a limited amount of money. Every one knows that. The Opposition never tells us where the money for which it asks is to come from. I listened very closely to the honorable member for Barton. I agree with him on one thing: The need for education is accepted. There is no argument about that. We believe that education is a vital necessity. Only the means by which it is to be financed is in question. The financing of education is really the only problem before the House in this debate this evening. When one examines the amendment proposed by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Whitlam),** one finds that practically all the seven points listed are concerned with finance. Opposition members must make up their minds as to whether they want the education system to be run by the States or by the Federal Government. Would it be right for the Federal Government to make large specific grants for education, assuming it could find the money, without being able to tell the education departments in the States how the money should be spent? After all, the States have sovereign rights and do not want the Federal Government to tell them how to conduct their affairs. The honorable member for Barton said that all the people attending the mass meeting to which he referred were not teachers. However, the way he said it suggested to me that there was a majority of teachers at the meeting. {: .speaker-KYS} ##### Mr Reynolds: -- Primary producers were officially represented at it. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL: -- I am not arguing about that. All I am saying is that the tone of the honorable member's voice suggested to me, and surely to the House, that the majority of those who attended the mass meeting were teachers. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- What is wrong with that? {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL: -- There is nothing wrong with it at all. Do not be so suspicious. I only want to establish the fact that there was a majority of teachers at the meeting. We must all agree that pressure groups are active in seeking federal grants for education. I find from teachers' journals that are sent to me that publicity is given to these pressure groups. The journals contain pictures of crowds clamouring for federal aid. This is a pressure group. I think the honorable member for Barton has a certain objective in view. I am not condemning him in any way. I appreciate his attitude because, after all, he was a member of the teaching profession. As he said, this is a very important profession. However, I do not know what real benefit would be gained from special grants for education. If the Federal Government made large grants for education, there would not be so much money available for general allocation to the States. Money cannot be used for one purpose and still be available for another purpose. Therefore, any money the Federal Government allocated for education would have to be taken from the allocation made for general purposes. We should keep in mind the Papuans who visited Canberra some little time ago to study government. They thought that money was always available to be spent and, as the Minister for Territories **(Mr. Hasluck)** said, they were surprised to learn that one of the great functions of government is the collection of money. Perhaps the same lesson should be taught to the people who are always clamouring for the expenditure of millions of pounds more than the Federal Government collects. Of course, greatly increased sums of money can be spent on education only if some other purpose is neglected. All we ever hear from the Opposition is the cry that we should spend more money on some objective that it has in view. 1 do not believe that the mass meeting I have mentioned was attended by a cross section of the community. I believe that the States do not want any one to tell them how to conduct their affairs. There has not been a definite clamour from the State Premiers for more and more money for education. It is on record that at the conclusion of the last Premiers' Conference and the last meeting of the Australian Loan Council, the Premiers expressed satisfaction in respect of the tax reimbursement grants and the loan allocations made available to them by the Federal Government. The honorable member for Barton has referred to the shortage of teachers and other matters. We could talk about these matters all night, but it is the main principle that counts. The main principle is that the States have control of the educational facilities. Even if it were possible for the Federal Government to make special grants for education, the money would be spent by the States through the existing services. After all, the money would be used under State direction. Most of the points in the amendment moved by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition have been covered in the statement of the Prime Minister, which was prepared before the amendment was moved. On the matter of Commonwealth scholarships, the Prime Minister said - >Under the Commonwealth scholarship scheme, which is controlled by the Commonwealth Scholarships Board, 4,000 new awards are given each year entitling the holder to the payment of compulsory fees and, subject to a means test, to a living allowance. That upwards of 17,000 young people have completed higher training with the help of this scheme is of great importance for a community which has so many calls for highly trained men and women. Let me sum up what I have said. I realize the great value of education. I realize the urgent need for education. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: -- You are the best example of that. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL: -- The Deputy Leader of the Opposition has just walked into the chamber. He, more than any other member of the Parliament, is a master of the insult. He proved this again now as he walked into the chamber. In my seventeen years in Parliament, I have not known a man who has been more insulting than the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has. I do not know why he says these things. I have always tried to extend goodwill towards him, but when he comes into the House with this arrogant attitude, he has to insult some one. I have been his victim on quite a number of occasions. If he gets any satisfaction out of being insulting to me, he can wallow in it. I believe that education is of great importance. I know that the States have all the facilities to provide education. As the years go by, more and more money will be necessary and I believe the Federal Government should supply as much money as it can to the States. But, as the Prime Minister said, the States should be allowed to determine how their allocations shall be spent. When money is allocated generally to the States, the States should decide the way in which it will be spent. Most honorable members in this House are closely associated with State political parties and have friends in the State parliaments. Surely they have enough confidence in the members of the State parliaments to know that these men are aware of the needs of education. When the Premiers come to Canberra and say that they are satisfied with their allocations, they must realize that the amount being spent on education cannot be increased unless the general allocation they receive from the Federal Government is reduced. {: #subdebate-40-0-s6 .speaker-KDI} ##### Mr EINFELD:
Phillip .- The honorable member for Barker **(Mr. Forbes)** at the commencement of his few words - they were unimportant words - attacked members of my party. He said that we represent sectional interest groups. The answer to that charge is quite clear. If the boys and girls of Australia and the parents of boys and girls who attend schools are sectional interest groups, we of the Australian Labour Party are proud to represent them in the Parliament. The honorable member for Mallee **(Mr. Turnbull)** referred to broad principles. Do we believe in adequately educating our children? If that is the broad principle, we of the Australian Labour Party are proud to go on record in support of it and as being ready to fight for the interests of our boys and girls so that they may receive proper and adequate education. The honorable member for Mallee attacked the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Whitlam).** Let me say clearly that we on this side of the chamber are proud and honoured that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is the man that he is. We wish there were 40 more like him on this side. He is a great man and in the not far distant future he will occupy the second most important position in the government when Labour is in office. He is an outstanding leader. The Prime Minister's statement on education was significant for a number of things. It was factual but it made no provision for the future. It neither surveyed the present education scheme nor did it point the way to future development. It is undoubtedly true that as a result of implementing some of the recommendations of the Murray committee the Government has made some considerable contributions at the university level, but to-night I am primarily concerned with the situation of children attending primary, secondary and technical schools. The Prime Minister said that in 1960 there were 1,600,000 children attending government primary and secondary schools. That number was 65 per cent, greater than the number attending those schools ten years earlier. Part of the reason for the increase is that most children now stay at school longer than formerly was the case. The main reason is the natural increase in population and the increase due to immigration has tended to increase very greatly the numbers attending school. In 1961, according to the Prime Minister's statement, £184,000,000 was spent on education by the States compared with £46,000,000 in 1950-51. Those figures were glibly cited by the Prime Minister, but he made no reference to the difference in the value of money in 1950-51 compared with 1961. Everybody in this House and outside it knows that, unfortunately, in the last ten years the value of money depreciated considerably. The Government introduced a credit squeeze and all sorts of other things at the last minute in an effort to avert the disaster that it had created by permitting galloping inflation in the economy. In his statement the Prime Minister said - >It is always recognized that our education costs must continue to grow with healthy growth in our population and with the increasing demands for more highly trained personnel. It is true, as the Prime Minister has suggested, that education to-day falls in the State sphere of responsibility. {: .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr Chipp: -- You do not want it that way. {: .speaker-KDI} ##### Mr EINFELD: -- We have never asked for the Commonwealth to take control of education, nor have the Premiers. The Premiers made a clear request to the Prime Minister, which he refused. The Prime Minister continues to argue that the Commonwealth contributes to the States' educational expenditure by grants from general revenue and from loan funds. The Prime Minister said that in 1960-61 the Commonwealth actually contributed £85,000,000 to the States for expenditure on education. On 8th November, 1962 the " Sydney Morning Herald " reported - >The implication is that this has all come about through the unfailing benevolence of the Federal Government. There is no doubt that in regard to education and many other matters the Prime Minister looks upon himself as a Santa Claus as far as the States are concerned. The money that the States receive from general revenue does not represent Canberra's generosity but is, as every one knows, the result of an arrangement entered into during the war years when the States surrendered their taxing powers to the Commonwealth. I support uniform taxation but let us have the position very clear. The Commonwealth claims that it is being benevolent to the States, but it is only giving back to the States money that is rightfully theirs. The " Sydney Morning Herald " report continued - >At least in this field the Commonwealth function is merely that of a collector transmitting to the States what is their due. The loan funds, about which the Prime Minister makes a great to-do, are made available to the States under an agreement of the Australian Loan Council. The States even pay interest on money received as part of their loan funds. That money has been contributed by the Commonwealth from income tax revenue. The honorable member for Mallee had the temerity to say that the Premiers were satisfied with what they got. The honorable member knows that the Premiers were satisfied, not with the total amount made available to them by the Treasurer, but only with the percentage allocations granted to them. The States are paying interest on some of the loan funds that they obtain from the Commonwealth - money which the Commonwealth obtains from direct taxation and which costs the Commonwealth nothing in interest. The States are never able to obtain sufficient loan funds to meet their needs. Everybody is aware that in housing, hospitals, education and many other fields of important public expenditure the States have been compelled to prune their programmes because they have insufficient funds available to them. The incomes of the States are strictly limited because they have no powers of direct taxation on incomes but must derive their funds, in the main, from indirect taxation. If we examine carefully the Prime Minister's statement we find that the total amount provided, including grants to universities, is a little more than £30,000,000. Of that amount only £11,889,000 is spent on primary and secondary schools, and those schools are in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. All Opposition members are extremely disappointed that the Commonwealth has made no mention of any intention to assist the States in any way in the education of primary and secondary school pupils. The paper presented by the Prime Minister is a factual document and much of its verbiage merely tells a story of what this Government has done. It makes no prognostications for the future. It makes no promise, explicitly or inferentially, that the Government will be prepared at any time in the future to do anything for primary, secondary and technical education in this country. After I had spoken on education during the discussion of the estimates for the Prime Minister's Department the right honorable gentleman said somewhat patronizingly but quite genially that I had been guilty of exaggerating. That was not so. I have never presented any argument in this Parliament - on education or any other subject - that I cannot support with solid facts. The Prime Minister's paper shows clearly that he is still saying " No " to the request of many people in Australia, including boys and girls, for an inquiry into education. The facts are clear. There is a crisis in education in this country. Many members of my party in the last few months have quoted remarks made by eminent overseas authorities and by people who live in Australia. Everybody acknowledges quite readily that there is a crisis in education in Australia to-day. There is a lack of teachertraining facilities, a shortage of teachers and a tremendous shortage of graduates in the subjects that must be taught to the secondary school students. Classes are too big and many children are being taught in makeshift classrooms. Teachers are teaching subjects for which they have not been trained, especially mathematics and science. The " Financial Review " recently said - >The hard fact is that in many ways the situation on the primary and secondary level in both government and non-government schools is worse than in the early 1950's. The fact, of course, is that the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** has never properly answered the question posed to him by the Premiers and the State Ministers for Education. The only clear answer be gave was " No " when asked to set up a committee of inquiry. **Sir Douglas** Copland, writing recently in the " Financial Review " with regard to the urgent needs of education, called for the development of a basic plan to meet the challenging situation. The Melbourne " Age ", in an editorial in May, made the same demand and said - >The answer to the problems of education must be a forward-looking national plan backed by the Commonwealth Government in the interests of Australia. > >Education is a first priority and we cannot afford to tinker with a problem which demands large-scale planning. The Premiers of Australia met in March, 1961, and discussed the whole of the educational problem. They laid plans before the Prime Minister and told him of the shortage and asked him to take some interest in the matter. They proved conclusively that there was need for a national plan to overcome the deficiencies in education - deficiencies of school buildings and equipment - and they proved the necessity to effect desirable improvements such as lengthening the training period for teachers and raising the school leaving age. It was for this reason that the Premiers asked the Prime Minister to accept the principle of assisting the States in this direction and to agree to establish a committee to investigate and make an up-to-date assessment of the needs of primary, secondary and tech nical education on a national basis and to suggest a long-term basis of assistance. The Premiers further requested that in view of the urgency of the present situation the Commonwealth should agree to give some special assistance as an interim measure. That is the answer to the honorable member who asked me earlier whether I wanted the Commonwealth to take over education. The answer is, " No ". I am perfectly satisfied to have State control. But if the Premiers come cap in hand to the Prime Minister and say there is a crisis in education, that a committee of inquiry must be set up, and that urgent need exists for a grant to meet the special threat existing at this moment, surely that is enough answer to those on the Government side who suggest that we are fighting State rights. {: .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr Anthony: -- If that is so, why did New South Wales reduce its education allocation? {: .speaker-KDI} ##### Mr EINFELD: -- The fact is that in 1962 New South Wales allocated £70,000,000 for education - more than 40 per cent, of its income - and because of the situation in which that State finds itself as the result of the niggardly grants for education by this Government, it has had to reduce its total allocation for school buildings by £670,000 this year. If some of the honorable gentlemen who are interjecting, **Sir, had** received the benefit of a proper education they would have learned that interjections are not nice or mannerly and do not take them into the circle of intelligent people. Much more was spent on education in New South Wales in 1960-61 than in 1950-51, but the Prime Minister gives no recognition to the fact that more money had to be spent to catch up on the tremendous backlog that occurred in education during the depression and the war years. There are now more children. Money has less value and we have had to take up the backlog, but the Prime Minister made no mention of those things in what was supposed to be a survey of education in this country. The Premiers' statement in March, 1961, made this clear. In their presentation to the Prime Minister they said - >The steady advances of the early part of this century were seriously interrupted by the recession of the 1930's and by the stringent economies of World War II. During the whole of that period few new schools were built and few teachers were recruited. Only the decline in the birth rate in the same period and the consequent falling-off in enrolments enabled the school system to carry on through that period. There occurred a cumulative delay in the improvement of education facilities and programmes and in the replacement of obsolete classrooms and equipment. The Prime Minister mentioned migration as being a serious and important reason for the crisis in education. That is true. Every one of us supports migration, and the Commonwealth is primarily responsible for it. What the Prime Minister does not say is that, having introduced migration to this country and having brought so many hundreds of thousands of people here, this Government is not prepared to share the responsibility with the States, or make itself responsible as a government, for the education of migrant children. There has been a changing marriage pattern in Australia and in the post-war years there has been a substantial increase in the number of young men who have married. Immigration has been a major factor in this increase, because the majority of adult females who arrived came as wives or fiancees. The population increase in Australia, starting in 1947, was 119,982. In 1955 it was 222,896- that is the total average increase - and in 1960 it was 231,997. The whole pattern of education has changed because of the difficulties which we have undergone during the last few years. In Queensland there are also obvious shortages and deficiencies in the education set-up, thanks again to the shortage of money made available by the Commonwealth for this purpose. In that State, in 1962, the percentage of primary school classes with over 40 pupils was 38.41. In the larger schools, in Melbourne, with a total enrolment of 152,870, the pupil-teacher ratio was 38.8. I have many factual figures from the survey in New South Wales and from Queensland and Tasmania which show that the percentage of schools with classes in the 40 to 50 group is far greater than that of schools with classes of under 30, although every educational authority in this country and overseas agrees that the proper size for classes is 30 students. In Queensland there is an accommodation shortage. There are not enough schools. There are small rooms and a need for more laboratory space and equipment. There is a lack of demonstration rooms and of science and drawing rooms which is apparent in many schools, as well as temporary classrooms. New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria and Queensland are the only States in which I have studied education. I do not think the pattern is any different in the other States and I know that there is a tremendous deficiency in education. There are shortages of classrooms; these are temporary buildings, over-crowded classrooms and not enough graduate teachers. All of this is due to the fact that the States are not getting sufficient money from the Commonwealth to provide proper education. If an example is wanted, **Sir, look** at the members of your own party. The situation has not been good enough. The products are there for you to see as you look kindly and generously on them. I support the amendment because I believe it pinpoints the necessity that must be faced in education. I ask honorable members to support the amendment enthusiastically and unanimously in order to attain a standard of education comparable with that in other countries in the world and ensure that this country will give its young people proper security for the future. {: #subdebate-40-0-s7 .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr JONES:
Newcastle **.- Mr. Speaker,** one of the things that confuses and astounds me in this debate is the action of Government supporters in resorting to abuse and derision of their own States. We heard the honorable member for Richmond **(Mr. Anthony)** interject and deride his own State when the honorable member for Phillip **(Mr. Einfeld)** was speaking. If the honorable member for Richmond examined the facts he would not make in this House the statements that he does make. He should know that approximately 50 per cent, of students at matriculation level are in New South Wales, which has 37 per cent, of the total Commonwealth population. There are 22,000 university students in New South Wales, as against 11,500 in Victoria, which is often compared with New South Wales in that respect. As to the honorable member for Barker **(Mr. Forbes),** I was astounded earlier in this debate to hear that gentleman -I use the term only to comply with the Standing Orders - describe the honorable member for Barton **(Mr. Reynolds)** as being the leader of a pressure group and a member of the Teachers Federation. Is such membership a crime? Is it a sin? It is a pity that there are not more members in this House prepared to give the same time and attention to advocating a better education standard in this Commonwealth. If all honorable members were to pay the same regard to that subject as does the honorable member for Barton, I am confident that the Government would do a much better job than it is doing at the moment. There would be achieved in that way more than can be achieved by the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** bringing to this Parliament a White Paper in which he sets out deliberately to confuse the question and to create the impression that his Government is doing something for education, or is providing sufficient finance for it. In the White Paper I find that the education proportion of the General Revenue grants is £74,000,000, and the education proportion of Commonwealth assistance to loan funds is £11,000,000. But what is the real position with that £11,000,000? Is it a grant or has it to be repaid, plus interest? The right honorable gentleman knows that that amount has to be repaid by the States, plus interest at the rate of £5 5s., £5 7s. 6d. or £5 10s. per cent, as the case may be. Yet he has the audacity to come into this House and endeavour to create the impression that his Government has made that amount available, free, to the States! In fact it is a loan that has to be repaid. This Government has a very bad record in education. In the Northern Territory the members of the Legislative Council are completely dissatisfied with the amount provided for education and recently appointed a select committee which brought down a report criticizing this Government. We are not facing up to our responsibilities in New Guinea. These are direct responsibilities of this Government. Government members cannot say that sufficient money is being made available for education when even in its own territories such as New Guinea and the Northern Territory it is not facing up to its responsibilities. Clearly the Prime Minister is not making available sufficient money to ensure an education standard that would enable us to say that Australia has done a good job in the Northern Territory or New Guinea. Sufficient is not being done to train teachers. There has been no attempt to set up a teacher training scheme dissociated from the State training colleges. This Government should develop to an even greater extent the School of Pacific Administration so that teachers can be trained to meet the requirements of development in the Territories under our control. The exception to the Goverment's poor record in the field of education is the Australian Capital Territory. Here 1 can congratulate the Prime Minister on a job well done. The schools would be a credit to any one. Why is sufficient money not made available to the States so that they can maintain a similar standard? Present State funds are totally inadequate to enable them to achieve a standard similar to that obtaining in the Australian Capital Territory. The Lyneham high and primary schools are, to my way of thinking, schools that the States can only dream about and hope to have some day. The Australian Capital Territory already has these schools. I should like the Prime Minister to ensure that sufficient money is made available to the States to enable such a standard to be reached immediately - not at some time in the distant future. The White Paper merely confuses the issue and endeavours to create the impression that the States are bungling education. Education standards generally in Australia compare very unfavorably with those obtaining overseas. Whether related to national income or to gross national product, Australia's expenditure on education is not to be compared with that of countries such as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden and numerous others. Even little New Zealand, for which we express sympathy because of the possible effects of Britain's entry to the European Common Market, maintains a better standard of education than we have in Australia. The New Zealanders are prepared to train their technicians to ensure the future development of their country. Unfortunately, in Australia we are not prepared to do so. That is why I say the Prime Minister has not faced up to his responsibility to bring down a report which gives the factual situation in Australia. Instead of that he has endeavoured to cloud the issue and to create a false impression in the minds of those who read his statement. I support fully the amendment moved by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Whitlam).** To my mind one of the main points of the amendment is that dealing with the establishment of a Commonwealth ministry of education. Although Australia has a large area, its population is small, and because our population is small we should seek some uniformity, even if this can be done only by the Commonwealth taking over the field of education so that the full responsibility will be accepted by one authority. Instead there has been buckpassing over the years, some saying it is the States' responsibility and others saying it is the Commonwealth's responsibility. I believe that with the establishment of a Commonwealth ministry of education we could co-ordinate education and establish a uniform level throughout the country. If honorable members examine the annual expenditure on education by the States they will find great variation. In Queensland the amount is £14 4s. a head, but in Tasmania it is £19 8s. I am certain that honorable members will agree that it is not good enough to have one State Parliament not greatly interested in education while another State Parliament is. Another anomaly is the school-leaving age. Whereas most of the States have fourteen years as the school-leaving age, in New South Wales it is fifteen years and in Tasmania it is sixteen years. Surely we can iron out the anomalies now existing. Therefore, I ask the Prime Minister to give serious consideration immediately to the appointment of a ministry of education so that some coordination can be achieved. If sufficient money is to be allocated for an inquiry into education, let us see that it is a full inquiry so that the Commonwealth can then say, " These are the requirements of the States ", in the same way as this was done for the universities. We should be able to find out what is required so that the Commonwealth Government can say to the States, "These are the levels to which education should be lifted and we will make sufficient moneys available from time to time to enable that standard to be achieved ". The only way this can be done is by this Government setting up a ministry of education so that we can have an inquiry into existing standards. Previous speakers have spoken of the various shortages that are apparent in our educational system to-day. There are shortages of assembly halls, of teachers, and of everything associated with the education system. Classes are overloaded. It has been clearly shown by previous speakers that these shortages are of significant proportions, and I do not propose to give any further figures in this connexion. I can say, however, that I and the honorable members for Shortland **(Mr. Griffiths)** and Hunter **(Mr. James)** - our three electorates go to make up the Newcastle district - are well aware of the fact that the principle high schools in the Newcastle district are all under-staffed. They have teachers who are insufficiently trained to discharge the responsibility of teaching the children in their classes. We know also that the classes in those schools are overloaded. In the Newcastle Boys High School, which is comparable with Sydney High School, there are 45 students in class 3a, 47 in class 2b, 46 in class 2c, and 35 and 36 in fourth year and fifth year. It is quite apparent that all those classes are very much overloaded. Another difficulty is that not enough graduate teachers are available in these schools. We contend, of course, that one of the main reasons for the problems facing the schools lies in the fact that this Government has not made sufficient money available to the States for them to carry out their responsibilities in the field of education. What is the result of these shortages, of class over-loading and all the other inadequacies of the present education system? I want to deal only with one section of the system, the one concerned with technical education. The technical teachers' association is greatly concerned with the position. It has made representations from time to time to the appropriate authorities to have something done about it. We have all seen the statement issued by the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. McMahon),** giving details of the new system of training of apprentices. Apprentices are now to be admitted to the engineering and electrical trades at ages between seventeen and twenty years, after having obtained their leaving certificates. These apprentices will have to undergo an intensive training course, before being indentured, lasting for about 26 weeks. This will throw an additional burden on the technical education system. This Government is introducing the new procedure with respect to apprenticeship training; what is it doing to overcome the shortages that are apparent in the technical educational system? We know that there are not enough fully trained teachers of technical subjects. Many of the teachers in the technical colleges are men who teach in the high schools or primary schools during the day, and then go to the technical colleges to teach at night. Obviously these men cannot carry out their technical training duties efficiently, having completed a full day's work before starting to teach in the technical colleges. Under the education system certain hours are laid down for teachers and children to teach and to be taught. Having completed those hours, however, many men go along to the technical colleges as part-time and casual teachers. In my opinion they are then not in a fit state to teach the young men attending the technical colleges. We should get on with the job of training technical teachers so that they can work full-time at the task of teaching our future tradesmen and technicians. In technical education to-day there is also a serious shortage of equipment, as well as much unnecessary overcrowding. In Newcastle there is continuous friction between the university staff and the technical college staff, because they are all housed in the one building. It is time they were separated and each institution given a building of its own. Another result of the present-day overcrowding in classrooms is that too many students going to technical colleges are not properly educated. Because of the overcrowding there is a tendency towards inadequate education in mathematics I. and II., physics and chemistry. I have been told many times by teachers whom I know personally that on many occasions they have said to young men entering technical colleges, " It is not my job to teach you mathematics. When you come to this tech nical college you should be fully equipped to do your own calculations. You should have been properly taught mathematics I. and II. and you should be fully acquainted with physics and chemistry." One of the reasons why the failure rate in technical colleges is increasing is this inadequacy of secondary education. I believe that the technical education system should be fully reviewed. I know that it was reviewed only a few years ago. Before 1957 technical education was given on the basis of a three-year course for lower trades and a five-year course for higher trades. If a student wanted to go on and to do a diploma course he had first to pass the matriculation entrance examination, and he could then commence the five-year diploma course or the degree course. He would then have professional status. That system has been dispensed with. We now have a four-year trade course, then a five-year certificate course which gives a semiprofessional certificate, and all that is required of the student is an intermediate certificate with passes in mathematics I. and II., elementary science and English. I believe that the present system is completely inadequate to meet the requirements of industry. I suggest that an inquiry should be instituted by the Commonwealth Government, in association with the State governments, to find a suitable system to replace the existing one. I know that the technical teachers and representatives of industry believe that the diploma course should be restored. Previously students who could complete the certificate course and wanted to go beyond that course to a higher level could take on a part-time degree course. Those courses have been eliminated in the fields of mechanical engineering and civil engineering. Industry is greatly concerned with the failure rate, and the belief is held that there should be an in-between diploma course, giving professional status. This would meet the requirements of industry for many years. I do urge the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** to agree to an inquiry, so that submissions could be made by technical teachers with a view not only to the retention of the certificate course, which gives semiprofessional status and has a certain value, but also to the restoration of the diploma course to meet the needs of those students who want something better than the ordinary trade course and certificate course, but who have not the time or the ability to undertake a full graduate's course. {: #subdebate-40-0-s8 .speaker-KIH} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Howson)** adjourned. Sitting suspended from 11.29 p.m. to 12 midnight. {:#subdebate-40-1} #### Friday, 7 December 1962 {: .page-start } page 3134 {:#debate-41} ### BILLS RETURNED FROM THE SENATE The following bills were returned from the Senate without amendment - >Repatriation (Special Overseas Service) Bill 1962. > >Repatriation (Far East Strategic Reserve) Bill 1962. > >Repatriation Bill (No. 2) 1962. > >Re-establishment and Employment Bill 1962. > >War Service Homes Bill (No. 2) 1962. > >Commonwealth Employees' Compensation Bill 1962. > >Social Services Bill (No. 2) 1962. > >Broadcasting and Television Bill 1962. > >Estate Duty Assessment Bill 1962. > >Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assessment Bill (No. 2) 1962. {: .page-start } page 3134 {:#debate-42} ### HONEY INDUSTRY BILL 1962 {:#subdebate-42-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed (vide page 3097). {: #subdebate-42-0-s0 .speaker-KID} ##### Mr LUCHETTI:
Macquarie -- The Opposition endorses the broad principles of this legislation. The Labour Party always has believed in organized marketing and it always has been opposed to the law of the jungle under which those who produce this country's wealth have to gamble on the price that they will receive for their products. This legislation meets a demand of the industry which has been submitted to the Government and which the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann)** has been considering for at least two years. Over recent times I have met and discussed these matters with the apiarists of the Bathurst district of New South Wales, an area of the central tablelands which is well known to those in the industry as the district in which are produced great quantities of high quality honey from the yellow box tree. Because of its outstanding flavour, aroma and general quality, this honey is in great demand throughout Australia. In addition, I have received a communication from **Mr. McIntyre,** who is the secretary of the Commercial Apiarists Association of New South Wales and the secretary of the association's federal council. I refer to that communication because it fortifies the Opposition's attitude in supporting the legislation. As the Minister has stated, the bill is based on the Mitchell plan which has been approved by bee-farmers in New South Wales and which generally has received the support of the bee-farmers of Australia. The bill seeks to establish a honey board to regulate the export of honey and also to deal with promotional and research activities. An initial levy of1/2d. a lb. is to be imposed on local sales of honey to finance the campaign of promotion and research and the general orderly sale of honey on the export market. The main feature of the bill is the setting up of a non-trading and regulatory body. To me this is one of the bill's weaknesses. The measure could have gone considerably further than it has. A section of the industry has adopted a somewhat similar view to mine. It has felt that the Mitchell plan, while having many advantages in dealing with the urgent and pressing problem of preventing cut-throat sales of honey to exporters who sometimes, not always, do not export the honey but sell it on the local market, will not prevent a continuance of these conditions. I regret that the bill does not provide a broader approach to marketing both at home and abroad. The authority to be established will not be a trading and marketing organization. It will deal with the regulation of the industry and will set out to correct certain anomalies which now exist. To that extent it will render a service to the industry but the bill loses some of its effectiveness by failing to deal with the control of honey on both the home and export markets. Although the Opposition will not vote against the bill, we are critical of it because it deals only with a fragment of the industry's problems. It will not win new markets abroad. In his speech the Minister emphasized the grave difficulties which confront the honey industry in its markets in Europe, the United Kingdom and West Germany. He stressed the fact that the United Kingdom's probable entry into the European Economic Community poses serious problems. He said - >Therefore, in respect of West Germany, our producers and exporters are faced with the strong probability that the application of a 30 per cent, duty will severely reduce, if not eliminate, their opportunities in that market . . . Thus, our honey producers and exporters are likely to find it increasingly hard to sell honey in the United Kingdom over the years that may constitute the transitional period in any British arrangement with the E.E.C. than it has been over the past six years when prices declined. This problem of prices is not a new one. It has been ventilated for a considerable time. It is interesting to note that the Government has become converted to organized marketing in relation to some commodities. Prior to the present Minister for Primary Industry assuming that portfolio the question of marketing boards and controlled or organized marketing was treated with a laissez-faire attitude. That seemed to be the Government's accepted practice. Any one who suggested in those days that there should be governmental control was assailed because supposedly he was interfering with the mechanism of the country's economy. It is pleasing to note that a different attitude is in evidence today. I congratulate the Minister for adopting this enlightened attitude. The bill's virtue is its attempt to stabilize export prices. It is important to consider the significance of the stability of the New Zealand industry in comparison with our own. On this aspect the Minister stated in his second-reading speech - >Over the same period export prices have declined although during the past two years they have remained fairly static at a low level. It is interesting to observe that the level of prices recently prevailing has been some 20 per cent, below the prices realized for New Zealand honey, the sale of which is controlled by a statutory marketing board. That is significant. I say to honorable members, as I would say to the bee-farmers, that the lesson to be learned is this: It is necessary to have organized marketing, to have a statutory authority and to have some body which can protect the people engaged in the industry so that they will not have to face unprotected the vicissitudes of trade. The Minister then went on to say - >It has been evident to the leaders of this industry for some considerable time that an orderly marketing scheme is necessary to enable the industry to meet increasing economic problems and to place producers on a more stable basis for the future. The Minister went on to say that he had considered this legislation for about two years. I am not sure of the Minister's explanation for the delay in dealing with it, but it has been before him for the past two years. This is an important matter. Whether the delay was caused because the industry could not make up its mind or whether there were difficulties other than those that have been submitted to the House, I am not aware. {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr Adermann: -- I had to get the industry and the six State Ministers of Agriculture on side. {: .speaker-KID} ##### Mr LUCHETTI: -- I accept the Minister's statement that he has had those difficulties. Anyhow, the legislation is now before the House. I want to pay tribute to those who are engaged in the industry. Most of them have built up their bee colonies or bee farms from very modest beginnings. They work hard and suffer greatly. They experience financial difficulties, for the bee farming industry is a hard and uncertain industry. It is an industry in which fluctuations occur. There is great production one year and it is down the next year. Production is dependent on a number of factors. In good seasons, with good flowering of our native flaura, the eucalypts, the honey flow is high and production is" high. Production depends on factors of that kind. Despite the difficulties, Australia has the highest rate of production per hive in the world. I think that this a great tribute to the way in which those engaged in the industry have improved its standards. This industry deserves the support of the National Parliament. For that reason, I support the proposal made by the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** that, in regard to the levy, the Commonwealth Government should aid the industry. A levy of only a halfpenny per lb. on honey produced in Australia is involved. I think that we would show our deep appreciation of and our support for this industry if we did more than use complimentary terms and said we were prepared to match the industry's payment with a contribution from the Commonwealth. As I have said, this industry is a difficult one. It is effected by the flowering of our native flaura, the seasons bushfires, rain and wind. All these things have a direct bearing on the amount of honey garnered each year. Those engaged in the industry are often put to considerable expense in maintaining their production. Today, in the main, those engaged in the industry are engaged in a nomadic occupation. They travel with their hives of bees, going from one honey flow to another. They are involved in considerable expense in providing transport and in the purchase of hives, equipment and containers. These factors all add to the great burden on people who are trying to eke out a living under most difficult circumstances. The bee farmer is a specialist. He has a wide knowledge of bee-lore and culture. He has to know something about the problems of bees - their habits and diseases. **His** costs have been rising continuously, whilst prices have fallen for the honey produced on the farms. From personal experience, I know that some 40 years ago honey was sold by producers at from fi to £1 15s. for a 60-lb. tin. To-day, approximately £2 is received for a 60-lb. tin of honey offered for the export trade. The market price for the best honey from mainland yellow box and similar types of honey has been between £2 and £2 5s. for a 601b. tin, which is equal to 8d. or 9d. a lb. Honey for export has sold for as little as £1 10s. to £1 15s. for a 60-lb. tin, which is equal to 6d. or 7d. a lb. When one considers the return obtained by the bee farmer from the sale of this honey and the prices paid by the consumer, one realizes the great disparity between the two. One of the great problems to be solved is how to bring the amount paid to the producer and the amount paid by the consumer closer together. The producer receives between 8d. and 9d. a lb., yet when a housewife goes to a store in search of honey she is obliged to pay 2s. 7id. for a 1-lb. glass container of honey, 3s. 6id. for a H-Ib. glass container and 4s. 5id. for a 2-lb. glass container. This emphasizes that there is a great problem in the distribution of honey. I regret that there is nothing in this legislation designed to overcome that problem and to reduce the difference between the price paid to the producer and the price paid by the consumer. The figures I have given show what goes on as the honey moves between the producer and the consumer, and what the middle-man and the packer are getting out of it. It might be noted that some of the producers are packers themselves. The real problem, in my opinion, is how to get honey down to a price that people will pay and to pack it in containers that will be sought by the people. The Minister has freely admitted that the home market is the best market. That is true, but there is no policy for making honey more easily available - for supplying it to the people in more suitable containers or for boosting the amount available to families. {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr Adermann: -- Promotion will attend to that. {: .speaker-KID} ##### Mr LUCHETTI: -- I think it may be attended to, but I would like to see specific attention given to this problem. Perhaps the authority which is to be established will address itself to that most important aspect. {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr Adermann: -- The industry would not, at this stage, accept a full marketing authority for domestic production. {: .speaker-KID} ##### Mr LUCHETTI: -- If that is the case, the Minister cannot do something that the industry does not want. I should like to think that those who are engaged in considering the problem^ of the honey industry will think of the families of Australia and try to make honey available at a price that they are prepared to pay. In most homes, the mother would be happy to buy honey. It is a glorious food, a delightful and delectable sweet and something that is very pleasant to the palate. Honey has been sold through the years by propagandists as nectar of the gods and all that is delectable. {: .speaker-KUX} ##### Mr Stewart: -- That is wine. {: .speaker-KID} ##### Mr LUCHETTI: -- I think that the wine people copied the honey people. Honey is real nectar, gathered by the honey bees. We have heard it said that honey is nature's sweet and an aid to digestion. I have been assured that, for health and beauty, there is nothing better than honey. No doubt, **Mr. Minister,** you keep quite a supply of honey at home to help you in your beauty treatment and to maintain your vibrant health. Honey has many uses. It can be taken internally or externally. The ladies can use it for their beauty packs. As the honorable member for Melbourne Ports **(Mr. Crean)** remarks, another great product of the hive, royal jelly, plays its part in maintaining the spirit of youth and those characteristics so sought after by ageing and elderly politicians. I believe that honey should not be sold as a luxury commodity. The best way to promote its use is to sell it at a reasonable price. The quantity that the producers are able to sell, of course, depends on the capacity of the people to buy. It is not for me to argue about the representation of the various States on the proposed Australian Honey Board. Over the years, I have heard from the honorable member for Braddon **(Mr. Davies)** of the outstanding qualities of the leatherwood honey produced in Tasmania. It commands the highest price on the international market. I know that there is some feeling in that State because it will not be represented on the proposed board. However, the Tasmanian producers may be comforted by the fact that they are able to get so high a price for their honey, and are able to sell it so successfully on the world's markets. I wish to raise only one query concerning the membership of the proposed Australian Honey Board. I believe that the representation of packers will be too great and should be reduced. The community, on the other hand, should have additional representation by some person or persons concerned with the development of the honey industry and the increasing of production so that honey may be readily available to all. The amendment foreshadowed by the honorable member for Lalor is designed to ensure that the Commonwealth will provide half the amount of £40,000 a year which the proposed board is expected to require. The proposed levy of id. per lb. is expected to raise £40,000 a year. Surely the Commonwealth Government could contribute £20,000 a year towards this important industry, so that the industry would be required to raise only £20,000 a year. If the Commonwealth contributed half the amount, this would be of great benefit to the industry, which is trying to get on its feet and achieve stability. I have already mentioned the fluctuations in the industry, which passes from a condition of boom to one of great difficulties from time to time. I have examined statistics relating to the industry and I find that in 1959-60 some 45,600,000 lb. of honey was produced in Australia. That was the highest output since the record production of 1948-49. I have some other interesting figures provided by the Commonwealth Statistician, which time does not permit me to read to honorable members. They are of great importance, and, with the concurrence of the House, I shall incorporate them in " Hansard ". AUSTRALIAN HONEY PRODUCTION AND EXPORTS 1960-61 COMPARED WITH 1961-62. The Opposition supports this legislation concerned with the honey industry. We wish the industry all possible success. The Opposition will do all in its power to support the industry to the utmost. We can only hope that the Government will accept our proposal that it contribute half the amount at present intended to be raised by levy, because such a Commonwealth contribution would help the industry to get on its feet and would help to establish the proposed Australian Honey Board on a permanently sound basis. {: #subdebate-42-0-s1 .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr ANTHONY:
Richmond -- **Mr. Speaker,** I commend the honorable member for Macquarie **(Mr. Luchetti)** on his considered and well-put-together speech on the honey industry. I hope to be able to answer, in the few minutes that I shall take, his arguments on the few points on which we differ. The bills before the House are designed to give effect to a plan submitted by the Federal Council of Australian Apiarists Associations which represents the principal associations of bee- keepers in each State. This plan which is designed to assist the honey industry, is known to the industry as the Mitchell plan. It is named after **Mr. Keith** Mitchell, who lives in the electorate of McPherson, not far from the home of the honorable member for McPherson **(Mr. Barnes).** Th; plan envisages the establishment of a Commonwealth statutory authority which would be empowered, first, to regulate exports of honey and, secondly, to engage in promotional and research activities on behalf of the honey industry. Anybody who has been associated with the honey industry and the apiarists engaged in it will realize that this industry fluctuates greatly. It depends entirely on seasonal conditions. I suggest that no other industry, with the possible exception of the fishing industry, is subject to greater fluctuations due to natural causes. The honey industry depends greatly on the pollination of flowers and the flow of nectar, factors which vary according to whether conditions of weather are wet or dry, or hot or cold. This dependence on weather and climate makes it very difficult for the apiarist to be assured of a secure income. Furthermore, he is subject to very great fluctuations in prices. From time to time, the flow of honey increases and surplus supplies are put on the market. This quickly depresses prices. Close examination of that wonderful little insect, the bee, reveals a most interesting life cycle and habits. The amazing fact is that a very skilled apiarist can train a bee to obtain its pollen from selected kinds of flora. An important problem facing the honey industry concerns the likely effects of the European Common Market proposals. Over the years, Australian honey has had dutyfree entry into the United Kingdom market and has faced a duty of 20 per cent, on the German market, which is one of our very large markets for honey. If Britain enters the Common Market, we shall face not only a higher tariff barrier in Germany but also a tariff barrier in the United Kingdom. I should like to give the House a few statistics relating to the economics of the Australian honey industry. The value of annual production in this country is about £2,500,000, and about 45 per cent, of the output is exported for a return of nearly £1,000,000 a year. The greatest value of bee-keeping to this country, however, is in the pollination of fruit, seed and cereal crops. It has been estimated that insectpollinated crops are worth from £26,000,000 to £30,000,000 annually to Australia. This makes us realize the importance of beekeeping to this country, for many of the wild-life pollinators are declining in numbers, and we can pollinate our crops only by artificial means or by maintaining hives of domestic bees. We must have these vital insect-pollinated crops. Australia is the world's fourth largest producer of honey and is one of the most efficient producers in terms of the output of honey from each hive. We produce 100 lb. of honey a year from each hive. This is a very high output. In simple language, the purpose of the legislation now before us is to ensure fair prices for the industry. It is subject to great fluctuations in prices because the producer has no control over marketing, which depends on the whims of State organizations. Hitherto, the producer has had no security. The purpose of these measures is to give him more security than he has had in the past by assuring him of a reasonable price for his product. In the past, the apiarist often has kept his honey off the market hoping for higher prices and then has had to sell at low prices because he needs funds to keep going. The proposed Australian Honey Board and the associated arrangements will enable apiarists to borrow from the banking system. This legislation will help the apiarists to speak with a united voice. They are to form themselves into what amounts to a big trade union. In the past, it has been very difficult to get them together in the way in which they will come together in this organization. The apiarists more or less live in the bush in isolation and this makes it difficult to bring them together to consider the problems of the industry. The legislation now before us will assist in orderly marketing and the stabilization of the industry. Orderly marketing and stabilization have been two of the cornerstones of the policy adopted by the Australian Country Party in relation to all primary industries. The Country Party was the first political party in Australia to adopt the principles of orderly marketing and stabilization. These principles have been adopted in the sugar industry, and also in the dairy industry under the great Paterson plan. We are, of course, right behind this move of the apriarists to introduce orderly marketing into the industry. But we do not believe in telling the people in the industry what to do; we believe in accepting suggestions from them and then introducing the necessary legislation to give them the power to look after their own industry. We believe that whatever they produce belongs to them, and they have the right to sell it as they think best. That is the difference between the honorable member for Macquarie and myself. He said that we should bring in orderly marketing and that we should acquire the whole of the honey crop in Australia. If the whole of the honey crop is to be acquired - I know that many people in the honey industry think that this should be done - the move should come first from the apiarists. The Government will then implement the scheme, just as it did for the wheat industry and many other industries. This legislation enables the Australian Honey Board to borrow money from the banks. It makes the same provision as was made for the canned fruits industry, the wine industry and the dried fruits industry. I have mentioned that the costs of honey production are increasing. The only way to keep costs down is to introduce new techniques and improved management, while better processing and marketing will pay dividends. Improved techniques mean more research. A great deal of research is needed into the nutrition of bees and the breeding of bees, and this is a very important part of the apiarist's business. More knowledge must be gained of the diseases that beset the industry. I have in mind nosema and the many viruses about which little is known in many parts of the world. Very little research has been done in this country. A little work has been done in the agricultural colleges in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, but this has been more or less extension work to teach young apiarists how to care for their bees; it is not the basic research that is needed. The legislation provides for a levy of id. a lb. on honey sold on the domestic market, and the levy is not to exceed a maximum of Id. The purpose of the levy is to enable promotion and research work to be undertaken. The honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** said that there should be a subsidy of id. a lb. to assist the industry. The Government subsidizes research work undertaken by other national agricultural industries on a £1 for £1 basis, but this subsidy is given only when the industry itself has submitted a plan for research. As soon as the apiarists submit such a plan to the Government, I am sure the Government will give them a subsidy on a £1 for £1 basis for research. The Commonwealth Government has never subsidized promotion for any primary industry, and I do not think that this industry should be made the exception. However, I am sure the Government will give the industry a subsidy for research work. The proposal for orderly marketing is not new. In 1951, the price of honey declined rapidly. The bulk contract system of selling honey, which was given by the United Kingdom, terminated. The United Kingdom refused to buy honey in bulk. This was no different from the way the United Kingdom had let us down with dairy products and other products. It agreed to the system when world prices were high, but as soon as there was a world surplus we had to look for other markets. The price slumped. The bee-keepers became very agitated. They got together and put up a plan. It took a long time to get the different associations in the States to agree to a basic plan. A plan was presented to the Minister, who at that time was the present Minister for Trade **(Mr. McEwen).** He agreed to the plan but had to obtain the approval of the State governments. The matter was discussed by the Australian Agricultural Council and eventually in 1954 agreement was reached between the Commonwealth, the States and the apiarists. When this agreement was reached, a certain group in the industry expressed the view that it was not right for the Government to introduce legislation unless a poll was taken. So, a poll of all producers with ten hives or more was taken. The proposal was tossed out in three States and was carried by a very slender majority in two States, South Australia and Queensland. Only 60 per cent, of those eligible voted and 66 per cent, of these voted against any system of stabilized or orderly marketing. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr Duthie: -- That was a short-sighted view. {: .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr ANTHONY: -- It was short-sighted. I agree entirely. I think a very big mistake was made. One of the reasons given for the mistake was that too many small people in the industry, who were not bona fide honey producers, were given a vote. They did not want to be subject to any control. The proposal at that time was to acquire the whole of the Australian honey crop, either through the board or through registered agents. These small producers did not want to abide by the regulations. Another reason was that the price of honey rose in the period from 1951 to 1954 and this deterred the producers from accepting the proposal for orderly marketing. I think also that some of the packers - the middle men who had been making good profits - campaigned against the proposal. There are some differences between the proposal then and the proposal in the Mitchell plan. The Mitchell plan does not envisage the acquisition of the whole of the honey crop. The producers will still be able to sell honey through the channels that they used previously. Of course, the levy of id. a lb. to cover research and promotion will be taken out of the price of the honey. The composition of the board under the new proposal also is slightly different. There were to be fourteen members on the old board; there will be ten members on this board. Under the old proposal, all costs of the board were to be deducted from the selling price. In other words, the honey producers would not know how much would be deducted for research, promotion and the expenses of the board. Under this proposal a definite levy is imposed and the producers know exactly how much they will pay. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr Duthie: -- Was Tasmania represented on the old board? {: .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr ANTHONY: -- Tasmania is not on the board. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr Duthie: -- Was it on the previous board? {: .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr ANTHONY: -- No, Tasmania was not on the previous board either. I speak subject to correction, but I do not think it was. If it was represented on the board, it had only one member. Some States had two members and others had only one. Tasmania may have had one member on the original board. This is a fine example of the members of an industry getting together, thrashing out their problems and showing a willingness to co-operate in the selling of their product so that they may obtain the best price and so get a decent return for their labours. The Government, of course, is willing to accept the proposals put to it and to bring down the necessary legislation so that the producers can run their industry in an orderly way. This is the principle in which we believe. We will do our utmost to implement proposals put to us by the people in the industry; but we do not intend to tell them how to run their affairs. {: #subdebate-42-0-s2 .speaker-KCB} ##### Mr DAVIES:
Braddon The bill before us, which provides for the setting up of the Australian Honey Board, contains two main points. One is that a levy of id. a lb. will be imposed on local sales to finance a sales promotion campaign in Australia and research into the problems of the industry. The second point is that the bill establishes a regulatory authority to control the export of honey. The need for this became evident three years ago. The honorable member for Richmond **(Mr. Anthony)** dealt with the early history of attempts to set up a board. There is no need to go over that matter again because it was dealt with very fully by the honorable member. About three years ago increased competition from the United States and central and South America in England, Australia's traditional honey market, impressed upon Australian apiarists the need to do something definite and they more or less agreed to the plan submitted by **Mr. Mitchell,** the apiarist from Warwick in Queensland. The price of Australian honey on the English market fell from £136 a ton in 1956 to £109 a ton in 1957, £104 in 1958 and £89 in 1959. At that stage the apiarists decided to come in behind the Mitchell plan. The Mitchell plan was looked upon as being the salvation of the industry because certain exporters were indulging in price cutting in an attempt to get a share of the export trade. The honorable member for Calare **(Mr. England)** and the honorable member for Macquarie **(Mr. Luchetti)** referred to this matter. The honorable member for Calare said that the Australian exporter was the greatest price cutter in the world. We know now that certain firms are engaged in price cutting. As a result of the establishment of this board a minimum price will be fixed for export honey and exporters will not be permitted to sell on the export market below that price. If they do not agree to do so sanctions may be imposed against them. The conditions that obtained two years ago forced the apiarists to take some action. On 21st July, 1960, the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann)** said that this plan would be considered by the Australian Agricultural Council, which was to meet in Darwin. When it was seen that the Commonwealth was interesting itself in this matter, the plan was immediately considered by the Tasmanian beekeepers' association. The attitude of that association has been consistent throughout. On 1st September, 1960, in this House I sought to have Tasmanian apiarists exempted from the provisions of any marketing scheme. On 29th September, 1960, I renewed the request for exemption, giving reasons why we wished to be excluded from any marketing scheme. We were very keen then and still are keen on a n for orderly marketing. We in Tasmania could see that it was essential for producers on the mainland to have this scheme but for reasons which I will advance later we were opposed to the levy suggested in the Mitchell plan. On 1st February, 1961, I sent a telegram to the former Minister for Agriculture in Tasmania, **Mr. Dwyer,** who was at the time a member of the Australian Agricultural Council. The telegram was sent on behalf of the secretary of the Tasmanian beekeepers' association, **Mr. Henry** Mott. In the telegram the association said that it supported the plan in principle but sought exemption for Tasmanian producers. That request was backed by the present Tasmanian Minister for Agriculture, **Mr. Atkins,** who also is a member of the Australian Agricultural Council, which is presided over by the Minister for Primary Industry. The request to exempt Tasmania from the scheme or to rebate the proposed levy was discussed by the Agricultural Council at at least two meetings. After the 57th meeting of the council the Minister stated - >The plan has the support of the leading apiarists' associations in all States except Tasmania and the question of exempting Tasmania from its operation will need to be examined. For two years in this House I have been trying to put forward the views of the Tasmanian apiarists and their association. Those views have also been submitted at the ministerial level. We would like to know who examined this matter or whether it has been examined. We would like to know whether, as an act of courtesy to the Tasmanian Minister for Agriculture and his officers, discussions were held with the Minister or with any officers of the Tasmanian Department. We would like to know whether any suggestion was put forward by the Australian Agricultural Council Standing Committee on behalf of the Tasmanian apiarists. We would like to know whether there is any proposal to exempt Tasmania from the marketing board. If Tasmania cannot be exempted we would like to know whether there is any legislative provision to rebate the levy to the beekeepers association in my State. I have always found the Minister for Primary Industry to be very sincere and co-operative whenever I have raised matters with him on behalf of primary producers in Tasmania. I particularly refer to representations made on behalf of soldier settlers on King Island and elsewhere in Tasmania. I ask the Minister whether he has received a telegram from the Tasmanian Minister for Agriculture asking for advice on the method of exempting Tasmanian beekeepers. When the Minister replies in the debate he may be able to throw some light on that matter. The proposal comes before us in the form of a bill. The Minister may be able to tell us whether there are constitutional difficulties associated with rebating the levy to Tasmania or exempting Tasmania from the provisions of this bill. It may be that it is impossible to do that because of the Constitution and because of the taxing laws, because this levy is a type of tax. I will be interested to hear from the Minister. This is now a concrete proposal. I support the Opposition's move to reduce the levy on the industry by one farthing per lb. and to compensate for the loss of revenue by a Commonwealth subsidy to the extent of one farthing per lb. There is no need for me to canvass again the arguments advanced by the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard),** except to refer to what I said in this debate, about two years ago, with regard to the levy. The beekeepers in Western Australia, South Australia and some parts of New South Wales receive only about 6d. per lb., for their honey. The minimum levy of id. per lb. represents onetwelfth of that return whilst the minimum levy of Id. per lb., represents one-sixth. As I said, during the debate to which I have referred, it would be out of all reason to expect those producers to pay that amount, which would be far greater than the amount collected from them by the Commissioner of Taxation. I hope the Government will reduce the levy to id. per lb., and provide a subsidy of a like amount. The honorable member for Richmond **(Mr. Anthony)** said that when the industry produced some plan for research work he felt sure the Government would match that on a £1 for £1 basis. The time has come to get this work started and the board will need finance from the beginning. Particularly if Great Britain enters the Common Market, as the Minister suggested, as the honorable member for Calare **(Mr. England)** pointed out, the board will need all the funds it can get. I do not think the funds should be raised at the expense of the producers but that, as the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** said, is up to the Government to grant a subsidy of a like amount and reduce the levy to id. per lb. I disagree slightly with the honorable member for Macquarie **(Mr. Luchetti)** in regard to representation from Tasmania. We are quite happy in this respect. The bill provides for a board to consist of five members to represent the honey producers - they will come from New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia - and four members to represent the honey packers and to come from the four States other than Queensland and Tasmania. Provision is made also that members of the board shall be paid various allowances and remuneration for attending meetings. We, in Tasmania, do not object to exclusion from the board. We realize that the members who are to be nominated to the board from the various associations on the mainland are dedicated to this industry. We feel sure they will look after Tasmania's interest on the board that is to be established. We are anxious to see the board get under way, particularly with respect to sales promotion, research and stabilization of export prices for mainland honey. Travelling from Tasmania would involve considerable expense for a delegate attending meetings of the board and would constitute a burden on the funds of the board. We are therefore happy to know that our interests will be looked after by the other members of the board. We are not particularly worried at being left without direct representation in this organization. The honorable member for Cunningham **(Mr. Kearney)** has asked where the best honey comes from. That question was answered by the honorable member for Macquarie, who knows that the best honey in the world comes from Tasmania. It is from the leatherwood tree and very much resembles the Scottish heather variety. Its market price is £150 a ton compared with the average Australian price of about £112 a ton. This honey comes from my electorate and I am sorry we are not on the air as this would be a good commercial plug for it. It comes from the west coast of Tasmania and the tree from which it comes is unique to Tasmania. It has very small white flowers similar to those which brides carry in bouquets and it has a peculiar flavour which is very popular in West Germany. Unfortunately we do not have enough of it. At the present time the Government of Tasmania is building an outlet road on the west coast from Tullah through to Guildford Junction. It is sincerely hoped that in that bushland we will come across more belts of leatherwood and thus increase our production of this honey. If that is accomplished up will go our export sales. We have always sought exemption from the provisions for an export board because we feel that this variety of honey would be swamped out, as happened with the export lambs from Tasmania. We produce the best fat lambs in the Commonwealth, as has been proved by the prizes won overseas at Smithfield and various other markets in England by Tasmanian fat lambs. When you go through a board such as the Australian Meat Board the stamp on the product is " Australian " and the place of origin is stated in small print. Over the years we have built up a great market for this honey and if we have to come under the provisions of the board it will be sold as " Australian " and " Tasmania " will be in small print at the bottom of the package. We know the loss we experienced with lambs under the Australian Meat Board and we do not want to lose the premium which this honey enjoys at the present time. Despite repeated requests at ministerial level and by the Tasmanian Beekeepers Association there is no legislative provision made for rebating the proposed levy to us. I strongly request the Government through the Minister, and the board that is to be established, to return to the Tasmanian Beekeepers Association the amount of the levy collected in that State to finance sales promotion and research there. We make this request mainly because of our seasonal conditions. We have a colder climate than most of the Commonwealth has, and a very short summer. So our hives produce only about one-third the quantity of honey produced by hives on the mainland. We cannot afford to sell Tasmanian honey at the price paid for mainland honey. The mainland apiarist can sell his honey at a lower price because of the higher production per hive. The consumption of honey per head of population in Tasmania fell from 2.3 lb. in 1957 to 1.5 lb. in 1960. The Tasmanian association immediately set about a promotion campaign to increase local sales. One leading producer in the Wilmot electorate spends between £200 and £300 every year on sales promotion and research work. We now have the organization in Tasmania and it can be assisted and expanded if Tasmania's share of the levy collected is given to the association to continue this work. Strangely enough we are an importing State. We do not produce sufficient honey for our own requirements and must import the balance; but we export this particular variety which commands premium prices on the world's markets. Funds are needed in Tasmania for research into bee diseases and production problems. If we must come into the scheme - it seems an accomplished fact now - we ask that the levy be returned to us for this purpose. I do not wish to keep the House much longer. I say in conclusion that we support the setting up of this board to assist mainland apiarists. We have always supported this proposal, as the Minister will know from representations made to him over the past two years. As the member for Macquarie **(Mr. Luchetti)** said we feel that this measure should have been brought in earlier. Tasmania cannot be blamed for delaying this business because our position was made quite clear to the Minister two years ago. We believed that action was necessary because of possible interference with trade as the result of the United Kingdom's entry into the European Common Market. The Minister set out very clearly indeed in his statement how this would affect the honey industry. As I say, I support the reduction of the levy as proposed by the honorable member for Lalor and also the introduction of a subsidy. I urgently seek from the Minister an assurance that when the board is set up the amount received from the levy will be returned to the Tasmanian Beekeepers' Association for sales promotion and research in my State. May I repeat, because this is very important to us and because we have been making representations now for many years, that some recognition should be given to Tasmania. When marketing boards are set up we lose our identity and are swamped out. This has happened with our lamb. Time and time again we have asked that the name " Tasmania " be shown in a prominent place, in the same way as Canterbury lamb from New Zealand is identified. If we come into this board we want the name " Tasmania " to be kept on our product so that those who receive the premium price overseas for their product will continue to enjoy the fruits of the work done in sales promotion by the Tasmanian Apiarists' Association. {: #subdebate-42-0-s3 .speaker-KRF} ##### Mr McGUREN:
Cowper **.Mr. Deputy Speaker,** I feel that the history of honey production in Australia has been well covered. We have heard all about the ramifications of and the difficulties associated with this industry, and I feel that the bill is something upon which the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann)** should be complimented. Unfortunately, however, I have to differ with two or three remarks made by the honorable member for Richmond **(Mr. Anthony).** The honorable member indicated that the industry had asked for certain things and that the Government had given them. He said that the industry had asked for a levy and so the Government had been prepared to impose a levy. Because of this I took the opportunity of communicating with a representative of the industry which operates partly in the electorate of the honorable member for Richmond and partly in mine. In that district there is a co-operative packing association. The manager of that association wired me to-day and said " Your suggestion as proposed is an excellent one." That came from an organization representing some 400 bee-keepers in that area. I feel that this is something that was overlooked. Otherwise, the industry would have been on the ball and would have been quite happy about it. I wish to emphasize my submission on the recommendation made by the Opposition. This industry, as has already been outlined, has been a Cinderella one. It is one in which there has been no unanimity of thought. Each man has been a nomad, as I think the honorable member for Richmond described him, going around and doing his best to get a living for himself from the bees. Certainly he has spent a lot of money on transport and in buying better breeds or better queens for his hives; certainly he has carried out a tremendous amount of experimenting on his own without any proper technical advice. The bill makes provision for the imposition of a levy on honey consumers, but I feel that ultimately the producer will have to pay. If the industry is worthwhile I believe the Government should assist it as it assists other industries. This would not require a tremendous amount of money. If the apiarists are assisted in the initial stages the industry will become more selfsupporting than it has been in the past. The system proposed is not strange to the rural industries of this country; it is almost complementary in each of them. I feel that the honey industry is deserving of this assistance. This is the first time that an effort has been made to stabilize the industry. When we talk of a levy on locally consumed honey to provide the funds required to pay the wages and other costs associated with the proposed board, we should remember that the Australian people eat less than 2 lb. of honey per head annually. So the amount involved might not be very much, although it will probably increase. That is why I am supporting the amendment that has been foreshadowed. The small amount of honey eaten in Australia could easily have the effect of starving the board of funds. Unfortunately Australia has a bad reputation for honey overseas. Despite the claim by the honorable member for Braddon **(Mr. Davies)** that Tasmania has the best honey in the world, we concede that our export honey generally is not particularly good. Unfortunately, with our method of export there is no proper cleaning of the honey and no proper grading. The honey is merely extracted, put into a tin and exported, so naturally it is of all kinds, good and bad. In the United Kingdom, which seems to be about the best buyer of our honey, our product is generally recognized as being of a low grade. In fact, I think I will have to correct a figure quoted earlier to-night. It was suggested that Australian honey was bringing about £140 a ton. Argentine honey, which is receiving top price on the London market at the present time, is selling at £130 a ton c.i.f. and Australian honey sells at £95 c.i.f. So honorable members can see that the task of retrieving our reputation will be a difficult one because of the rather loose and cavalier method of marketing of this product over the years. However, it seems likely that Europe will always be short of honey and will provide an assured market. The first requirement in connexion with this legislation is that the industry should be stabilized and the second is that we should attend to our export trade in a proper businesslike manner. No doubt it has taken a tremendous amount of time and hard work to get some unanimity among the apiarists in Australia. Certainly the whole scheme, known as the Mitchell scheme, has created a fair amount of work for some one. Growers always tend to be a little suspicious of boards. That feeling, fortunately, has been overcome, and now we have a situation in which the industry can be put on a solid foundation. I say emphatically that at this stage of the plan it is imperative that some assistance be given to the industry. The marketing system generally has to be looked at. A scientific approach must be made. All those things the industry has not had to worry about in the past, but they are now coming to the fore. The problem of the price and the quality of export honey can be tackled only by people who can devote their full attention to this task and are not busily engaged in producing honey. On many occasions we have seen the apiarists left with great stacks of honey in their sheds. We have seen the packers with honey unsold, which has remained on their hands for a considerable time and which has eventually been sold as second grade or third grade honey. These things have resulted from the difficulties that the industry has constantly faced, and which have arisen from the lack of a sound marketing scheme and the lack of guaranteed prices for the products of the industry. The honey industry is probably one of the most unfortunate industries in our rural areas at the present time, because it has been continually beset with these problems. If the Government really wants to do something for the industry it must adopt the recommendation of the Opposition to reduce by half the levy to be imposed on producers, the Government itself then making a grant to match the amount contributed by the producers. The industry really needs this assistance. It has had no organization previously, and it will have no effective organization until we tackle its problems with the same thoroughness that we have tackled those of other rural Industries. As the Minister has indicated, this bill is merely a carbon copy of legislation dealing with the fruit industry and other industries. It provides for an authority constituted similarly to the boards that have been established to deal with other industries. Again I ask the Government to give every consideration to the recommendation of the honorable member for Lalor. {: #subdebate-42-0-s4 .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE:
Wilmot .- I wish to comment briefly on this bill. I support the remarks of my colleagues, who have made very constructive speeches. I also congratulate the two members of the Country Party, the honorable members for Calare **(Mr. England)** and Richmond **(Mr. Anthony)** on their constructive and helpful speeches on this important measure, which is the first of its kind dealing with the honey industry. This Parliament is really making history to-night in adopting this measure for the benefit of our beekeepers. I first want to say something about the system of organized marketing. The honorable member for Macquarie **(Mr. Luchetti)** mentioned this matter. I give full support to the vital principle of organized marketing. The Labour Party has supported this principle for a long time, because an organized marketing system gives purpose, sanity, stability, justice, order and discipline to our great primary industries. The board system of marketing our products removes our primary industries from the jungle of individualism, exploitation and greed. Boards of this kind are a great improvement on the old laisser-faire capitalist technique, the old method of " let her go " - off with the brakes. We would call such a method uncontrolled and disorganized private enterprise. This legislation will bring the honey industry out of the realm of jungle law and place it under the board system. It ls one of the few of our primary industries that have not yet been relieved of the uncertainty resulting from individual marketing. What the bill proposes to do has already been outlined, and I shall not go through it in detail. It proposes to establish the Australian Honey Board. It confers power to impose a levy on home production to pay for research and promotion, and it creates machinery to collect that levy. To my mind one of the most difficult tasks will be the collection of the levy. This is new machinery and new legislation, and there will probably be a good deal of confusion at the beginning of its operation. I only hope that the leaders of the industry will give assistance to the people at the grass-roots level in the collection of the levy. There will be ten members of the board. There will be a chairman representing the Commonwealth Government, and appointed, I assume, by the Commonwealth Government. There will be five producer representatives, one from each mainland State. They will be nominated by the Federal Council of Australian Apiarists' Associations. Then there will be four representatives of honey packers, one from each mainland State except Queensland. These will be appointed from packers' associations, exporters' organizations and co-operatives. The board will have power to control honey exports, to issue licences for the export of honey, and to engage in promotional and research activities. I want to criticize the method of election of board members, because the Labour Party adopts the principle that growers or producers should elect their own boards. A tendency is creeping into Government legislation which I do not like. We debated an important bill in this Parliament in the early hours of this morning, which provided that growers in the wool industry would not be able to elect the members of an organization exercising certain control of that industry. This is definitely opposed to a principle of the Labour Party. To-night I listened to a speech made in another place by **Senator Wright** of Tasmania, who quoted part of the Liberal Party's platform on this matter. It is clear from what he said that the Liberal Party has expressed its belief in the principle of using ballots of growers in an industry for the election of a board to control such an industry. As examples, **Senator Wright** referred to the Australian Wine Board, the Australian Egg Board, the Australian Apple and Pear Board and the Australian Wheat Board, as well as one or two other such organizations. The members of all of those boards are elected by ballots conducted among the growers in the industries concerned. This Government has departed from that principle in two important bills, the one we debated last night dealing with the wool industry, and the one that is now before us. The Minister referred to this matter in his second-reading speech, and I can understand his difficulty. He said: - >There is, however, some feeling in the industry that the producer representatives on the board should be elected by ballot rather than appointed by nomination. The Government has fully considered this aspect and decided against elections primarily because the cost to the Commonwealth of elections conducted in each State every three years would be exceedingly high. The Government was also mindful of the fact that, because of the strong position held in the industry by the principal State organizations, the persons appointed by nomination would most likely be the same persons appointed by ballot. Well, the Minister said this in justification of the decision not to allow the producers to elect five members to the board, but I do not see much validity in his argument. There are other small industries that have elected their board members by ballot and have not had any consequential difficulties. Perhaps the system in the honey industry can be changed later. After the operation of the legislation has been studied for a year or two, I suggest that if the apiarists feel that they should elect their own board members, the Government should introduce an amendment for this purpose. It appears to me that the apiarists have probably brought this matter to the attention of the Minister already, and I ask him to tell us whether that is so. I criticize that part of the bill, and I think all members of the Opposition would do so, because it affects a principle that we have always supported. Tasmania's position has been very ably outlined by my colleague, the honorable member for Braddon **(Mr. Davies).** He has more bees in his electorate than most other honorable members. In fact, if they all had votes, the honorable member for Braddon would be assured of a place in this Parliament for life. Tasmania has a creditable performance in bee keeping. The honorable member for Braddon has told me that **Mr. Stevens,** who lives in my electorate, has been the driving force in the industry in Tasmania. He has been active in many fields of promotion, and even research, at his own expense. You do not find so many men so keen on an industry that they will spend their own money for the benefit of their colleagues. The quality of our honey is unsurpassed and carries a premium price on the London market. As to membership of the board, to the credit of the Tasmanian apiarists they have agreed not to be represented. They wanted to be represented but the constitutional barriers to this were too high. The Minister told me that the Attorney-General **(Sir Garfield Barwick)** studied the matter to see whether there was any constitutional formula by which Tasmania would be exempted from the marketing arrangements, but because there is no constitutional way in which that can be done they have agreed to come into the scheme without representation. We are very proud of their attitude. They do not want the board to fail because of the intransigence of one State. They are willing to pay the levy but they request that a portion of it be returned to the Tasmanian Apiarists Association for the purposes of research. When he is replying the Minister may indicate the Government's attitude to this request. I know that it is difficult to make a decision on this because the system has not yet commenced to operate. Tasmania exports only 22 tons, or 50,000 lbs., of honey a year. Last year Tasmania's total production was 441,000 lbs. so we export only 11 per cent, of our production. As the honorable member for Braddon has said, we must import considerable quantities of honey to meet our demand. Honey is absorbed into the bloodstream quicker than is any other food that we eat. That is why it is given to athletes. Towards the end of the last football season the footballers in one Tasmanian club were given honey to eat before they went on to the field because it gave them stamina. {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr Haylen: -- It put some sting into them. **Mr. DUTHIE__** That is right. We should eat more honey than we do because it is one of the best means of obtaining stamina. That is why athletes eat it in preference to other foods. The bill refers to the importance of quality products. The proposed levy will stimulate research and this in turn will result in better quality honey for our overseas markets. The lack of uniformity in the quality of our honey is one thing which concerns the industry. We hope that the new board, through its research section, will be able to increase the quality of our honey so that we will be better able to compete on overseas marKets where only quality products have any chance of selling. According to the Bureau of Census and Statistics, Australia's production of honey last year was 43,621,000 lbs., but we exported only 18,000,000 lbs., leaving 25,621,00 lbs. for home consumption. If all of that honey attracts the id. levy the return will be £52,375 a year but the Minister has referred to the levy returning only £40,000, I should like him to explain the disparity in the levy collection. Our proposed amendment seeks a reduction in the levy from id. and Id. a lb. to id. and id. a lb. to be matched by a similar sum granted by the Commonwealth. If this amendment is accepted the growers' contribution will be reduced to £26,000 and this will be matched by another £26,000 from the Commonwealth. I hope that the Government will accept this excellent proposal which will assist this new organized industry to cope with its research and promotion problems. {: #subdebate-42-0-s5 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN:
Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP .- in replyI shall endeavour to reply to some of the questions which have been raised by the honorable members from Tasmania. With regard to the election of board members, obviously there is no register of rolls at present but as you organize an industry and set up a board you automatically create a roll because the board has a list of the names of those with whom it is associated. That has been my experience. The Departments of Agriculture to-day generally accept that list as a register, and I am not averse to considering that method of selection in the future. A constitutional difficulty prevented us from exempting Tasmania as the State Ministers and the representatives of the industry understood would be done. When I informed **Mr. Stevens,** the delegate of the honey growers in Tasmania, of the position he said, "Do not upset the organization. Go ahead and get the legislation on the statute-book but consider recompensing Tasmania ". I shall put a recommendation along those lines to the new board and indicate that we went ahead with the legislation on that understanding. We may be able to recompense Tasmania by assisting it with research or in some other way. The honorable member for Braddon **(Mr. Davies)** asked me whether I had received a telegram from the Tasmanian Minister. I did, and I have replied to him setting out the position. If there is any fault on my part for not having advised him sooner I regret it. We have been in contact with **Mr. Stevens** on about three occasions. I like the publicity which Tasmanian members have given to the quality of their honey. I do not deny that the quality is there, but when they talk about Tasmania's production I must remind them that this is 65 per cent, of Australia's total production and Tasmania's exports of honey represent 05 per cent, of Australia's total exports of this commodity. I am not belittling Tasmania; I am merely stating the position. We would have been happy to exempt Tasmania but, as I have said, we were prevented from doing so. However, as I have stated, I shall approach the board and indicate the understanding upon which the proposal was accepted. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time, and committed pro forma; progress reported. Message recommending appropriation reported. In committee (Consideration of Administrator's message): Motion (by **Mr.** Adermann) agreed to - >That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purposes of bill for an act relating to the honey industry. Resolution reported and adopted. In committee: Consideration resumed. Bill - by leave - taken as a whole. {: #subdebate-42-0-s6 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Lalor -- I move - >That clause 16 be postponed. **Mr. Chairman,** the purpose of this amendment is to give an instruction to the Government to so amend the bill that the Tate of levy imposed on honey shall be not less than id. per lb. and shall not exceed id. per lb., and to enable a provision to be inserted requiring the Government to match the amount of the levy by an equivalent sum from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. I think that makes the intention of moving for the postponement of the clause perfectly clear. Under the Standing Orders, I am not able to move to increase the appropriation. Hence this approach. The amendment is designed to give effect to the suggestion which has been made by Opposition speakers that the Government should match the amount of the levy with an equivalent payment. I leave it at that. {: #subdebate-42-0-s7 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN:
Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP -- The request for this statutory body to be set up had incorporated with it a proposal that the levy should be )d. per lb. for this year, with the right to charge up to Id., subject to regulations and with the industry's agreement. The Government does not propose to alter that approach. The bill indicates that the moneys collected from the levy may be used for promotion and research and to meet the general costs of the marketing board. I envisage that when the organization becomes effective in its operation it will look into the research side of the industry. This Government is research minded. In approaching the problems of other industries, the Government has contributed towards their expenses on a £1 for £1 basis. The contribution to the wool industry is £2 for each £1 raised by the industry but, in the majority df cases, the Government contribution is on a £1 for £1 basis. I think that, in the case of tobacco, the Government contribution is a stated sum. So we are not unsympathetic. The Government will always be research minded but we are not prepared to accept an amendment to the bill in the form proposed by the honorable member for Lalor. Question resolved in the negative. {: #subdebate-42-0-s8 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Lalor .Clause 17 (2.) of the bill reads as follows: - >In the exercise of its powers in relation to the functions of the board specified in paragraphs (d) and (e) of the last preceeding section, the board is subject to any directions of the Minister. The paragraphs specified as " (d) and (e) of the last preceding section " read as follows: - {: type="a" start="d"} 0. to promote the consumption and sale, both in Australia and overseas, of honey; 1. to assist and encourage the improvement of the methods of production, storage and transport of honey; It is perfectly clear that this is a power to enable the Minister to intervene in regard to two subjects. I only mention it. I do not disagree with it. It has been a habit of the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann)** and other Ministers of this Government to emphasize that they do not believe in ministerial intrusion into the operation of marketing schemes, yet in all marketing board legislation from previous governments and this government this overriding control is included. I want to direct the attention of the committee to that fact so that this illusion will not persist longer than is necessary. {: #subdebate-42-0-s9 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN:
Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP -- **Mr. Chairman,** the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** is not quite correct. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- I am largely correct, apparently. {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN: -- He is correct in that power resides in the Minister so far as exports, the issue of licences and so on are concerned. I think that it should. But I think the honorable member will recall that provisions concerning ministerial directions which were inserted in acts during his term of office as a Minister went much further than this proposal. Trusting to memory, I think there was a provision that if a board carried a motion and the Government representative objected, the will of the Government prevailed. {: #subdebate-42-0-s10 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Lalor .- by leave - Clause 25 (2.) reads - >Moneys of the Board not immediately required for any of the purposes specified in the last pre.ceeding sub-section may be invested on fixed deposit with an approved bank or in securities of the Commonwealth. I should like the Minister to give an assurance that as far as may be practicable - and I hope that will be always - the banking of the board including its fixed deposit business will be done with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. It is rather unusual for a bill to contain this sort of provision concerning the lodging of fixed deposits. Invariably, in bills of this nature, there is a clause dealing with the right of the authority to bank with an approved bank. In this case, there seems to be an emphasis on the lodging of fixed deposits of the board with any bank approved. I should like the Minister to give an assurance regarding this. {: #subdebate-42-0-s11 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN:
Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP -- What is proposed is necessary because there is not always available a branch of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia where deposits can conveniently be made. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- That seems a rather plausible explanation. A fixed deposit is made for a fixed period of time, and there will always be time to lodge a fixed deposit in a branch of the Commonwealth Bank. {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN: -- The case of the Queensland Peanut Marketing Board provides an example of what can happen. Banking, which had to be done in Brisbane, was very inconvenient until a local branch of the Commonwealth Bank was established. Bill agreed to. Bill reported without amendment; report adopted. Bill - by leave - read a third time. {: .page-start } page 3150 {:#debate-43} ### SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDERS Motion (by **Mr. Adermann)** - by leave - agreed to - >That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent Orders of the Day Nos. 6, 7 and 8 for the resumption of the debate on the second reading of bills relating to honey levy being read together and a motion being moved that the bills be now passed. {: .page-start } page 3150 {:#debate-44} ### HONEY LEVY COLLECTION BILL 1962 {:#subdebate-44-0} #### Second Reading Consideration resumed from 29th November (vide page 2813), on motion by **Mr. Adermann** - >That the bill be now read a second time. {: .page-start } page 3150 {:#debate-45} ### HONEY LEVY BILL (No. 1) 1962 {:#subdebate-45-0} #### Second Reading Consideration resumed from 29th November (vide page 2815), on motion by **Mr. Adermann** - >That the bill be now read a second time. {: .page-start } page 3150 {:#debate-46} ### HONEY LEVY BILL (No. 2) 1962 {:#subdebate-46-0} #### Second Reading Consideration resumed from 29th November (vide page 2815), on motion by **Mr. Adermann** - >That the bill be now read a second time. Bills (on motion by **Mr. Adermann)** passed. {: .page-start } page 3150 {:#debate-47} ### BRIGALOW LANDS AGREEMENT BILL 1962 {:#subdebate-47-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed (vide page 3102). {: #subdebate-47-0-s0 .speaker-KKU} ##### Mr MACKINNON:
Corangamite , - **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** I do not intend to delay the House long at this late hour. This measure, I believe, is of considerable significance for development with the support of Commonwealth funds. In some ways, it is original and novel. The proposal before the House, under the terms of this measure, of course, is to provide loan moneys to help the Queensland Government finance the development of a v ast area of what is known as brigalow land to the west and the south-west of Rockhampton. This land is eminently suitable for development and is in an area which has a reasonably safe rainfall. The economic improvement of this kind of land has been made possible by the availability of modern machinery and new techniques for scrubclearing, **Sir.** My only misgivings relate to the general attitude towards land tenure in Queensland. That is a matter that has been discussed on many occasions. Queensland rests mainly on the principle of leasehold tenure, and leases are not of great duration. It is rather refreshing to note that the second schedule to the agreement which is the Schedule to the bill indicates that, under this scheme for the development of brigalow lands, leasehold blocks are to be open to conditional purchase. I believe that there are vast areas of land in central Queensland and along the coast, quite apart from the brigalow lands that are the subject of this measure, which could be developed without governmental assistance if the problem of tenure were approached in a reasonable way. I have some slight knowledge of these areas, which I visited last winter. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- Nobody is opposed to this measure. Why is the honorable member stonewalling? {: .speaker-KKU} ##### Mr MACKINNON: -- I suggest that the honorable member keep himself to himself. I have heard him stonewalling in this place on many occasions. The point that I want to make in these brief remarks, **Sir, is** that I am satisfied that, given reasonable conditions of tenure that would encourage private enterprise to develop these vast areas of scrub lands, the job of development could be undertaken most efficiently without any commitment of governmental funds. I suggest that Queensland has to look to itself for its own assistance. A major problem is involved: Is the State interested in the promotion of efficient farming and pastoral practices, or is it interested in devoting its land to some form of what may be described as subsistence peasant farming? That is the big question that has to be considered by governments of Queensland in the future. I do not blame the Nicklin Government for the present situation. That government has inherited the consequences of the narrow approach of State Labour governments to land tenure over many years. The traditional Labour attitude to land tenure in Queensland is that no man shall be allowed to become too big lest he become a problem to Labour. The Queensland system of land tenure is very inefficient. The tenure provisions contained in the second schedule to the agreement that is the subject of this bill represent a break from the traditional Queensland approach. The resort to conditional purchase is refreshing and novel. I support the bill. {: #subdebate-47-0-s1 .speaker-KF5} ##### Mr GRAY:
Capricornia **.Mr. Deputy Speaker,** we must not lose sight of two aspects of the development of the brigalow lands. Once having set our hands to the wheel, we must not give up the effort. I think that at present no one would know exactly how much the clearing of the brigalow lands to the development of which we are now committed will cost. The second aspect that we have to keep in mind is that we must not unnecessarily burden with debt the settlers who will go on the land. A total of 4,270,000 acres is encompassed in the present scheme. Only 1,980,000 acres of the total area has been under brigalow, and of this 170,000 acres has already been declared. The scrub is not all brigalow. Some is softwood scrub. The problem with brigalow is not clearing it in the first instance, but keeping the land clear. Clearing the regrowth is the big problem. We are prepared at present to provide funds for the clearing of brigalow, and we must keep in mind the fact' that we shall have to continue to provide funds to keep the land clear until the brigalow is finally eradicated. The areas are large; blocks of 10,000 acres are envisaged, because it is intended to use the land for grazing. Individual farmers, left to their own devices, could not clear such a large area of brigalow. We are little concerned about the eventual financial position of the people who will take over this land, first because of the interest rate and secondly because of the proposal of the Queensland State Government to submit certain blocks to auction. It has been suggested that this will turn the area into another Gold Coast. When large numbers of people seek to acquire land that is submitted to auction, the tendency is for them to bid beyond its actual value. In this way, people could very easily saddle themselves with a debt that would be too large for them. Other aspects such as transport and water should be considered. The honorable member for Corangamite **(Mr. Mackinnon)** mentioned the rainfall. He referred to it as a reasonably safe rainfall. If he was in the area at the moment, he would find that it is experiencing a period when the rainfall is most unreasonable. It is five' years since there was a wet season in the area. At the moment, it is dry and it is not noted for the amount of surface water it contains. All brigalow land is not good and there are many species of brigalow. Some of this country is melon-hole country and some of it is clay. People holding' this land for agricultural purposes will clear only the area that suits them. If they experience a wet season - we are approaching such a period now - the work of clearing will come to an end. If there was rain in the melon-hole country, a 54-ton machine would be difficult to find. The area has not a continuous rainfall spread over the whole year, as areas in the southern regions of Australia have. We are very pleased that this money is being provided for development in Queensland. We are not very happy about the terms and conditions under which the money will be advanced to the settlers, but we are none-the-less pleased to get it. We think we should get more money and we are certain that more will be provided before the work of clearing the timber ia' brought to a successful conclusion. We are very pleased generally to find that money is coming to Queensland for developmental purposes. {: .speaker-L19} ##### Mr Leslie: -- That shows what a good Government this is. {: .speaker-KF5} ##### Mr GRAY: -- It shows what a bad Government we have had, because it is only now doing something about this problem. Work in this area is long overdue. Development has been needed for a long time. Though this action is somewhat late, we appreciate what is being done. We are happy to have this money and we are certain that more will come to us. We are not happy about the terms and conditions under which it will be granted to the settlers, and we certainly think that they will eventually have to be revised. Certainly, we want money and development but in the final analysis we really want successful and contented settlers. {: #subdebate-47-0-s2 .speaker-KCA} ##### Mr DAVIDSON:
PostmasterGeneral · Dawson · CP -- I understand that the House is now discussing two bills, and I will apply myself briefly to each of them. The two bills are of major importance not only to Queensland but to Australia because of the effect they will have on the economy of the State and of the nation. I wish to speak first to the bill relating to the development of the brigalow area. I do not intend at this stage to go into the details of the bill, because the Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt)** has already done so. I think all the details of the measure are understood. I personally was very pleased to see this bill dealing with the brigalow country brought forward. As a Queensland member, and particularly as a north Queenslander, I have always been vitally interested in the development of the north. I have always tried to encourage development in the area. The honorable member for Capricornia **(Mr. Gray)** said that this development is long overdue. Of course it is long overdue, but is long overdue because of the dead hand of a Labour State government that retarded the development of Queensland for more than 30 years. It is to the credit of the present Australian Country PartyLiberal Government of Queensland and to the credit of the Commonwealth Government that action is at last being taken to develop these areas. There is no doubt that north Queensland to-day is becoming really alive. There has recently been a new upsurge of confidence in Queensland due entirely to the combined activities of the present State Government and the Commonwealth Government. Action is being taken to develop the potentialities of the State, and the Commonwealth Government is making money available for this purpose. Some credit must also be given to certain local development committees, which have been established on a State-wide basis as well as locally. Development councils and leagues have been seeking for a long time to have development of this nature undertaken. The proposal in the bill I am now discussing deals with only one phase of the development of the brigalow country. The lands concerned lie to the west of the Dawson, in the Fitzroy and Dawson basin. There is also a great area of this very fine country, which so far has been largely unproductive, stretching up through the Isaacs, out to the west of Mackay and up as far as Collinsville. I believe that the development that is now starting will continue and all these areas will eventually come within the scope of development schemes. I claim to be particularly interested in the development of the north. I say this advisedly because of a comment that was made by an Opposition member last night. I think I was the first member of this House ever to use the word " brigalow " here. I used it in one of my early speeches, which I made long before many Opposition members came to this place. I then used the term "brigalow" and also the term " brigalow suckers ". Honorable members did not know what I was talking about. When I represented Capricornia I realized the potential of this area but I also realized the dangers inherent in clearing the area if the wrong methods were adopted. I am glad to see now that we are going ahead with this development in a way which, I hope, will ensure that those dangers are avoided and that the country is brought into full production. In the Budget the Treasurer announced that the Government was prepared to make £1,750,000 available for the development of this area. When that announcement was made the Premier of Queensland said. " Queensland has good reason this week to rejoice in the Commonwealth's decision to provide £1,750,000 towards expediting development of the brigalow belt ". {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- Chicken feed! {: .speaker-KCA} ##### Mr DAVIDSON: -- Chicken feed, is it? Let me point out that this bill provides for a total of £7,250,000 to be provided to the Queensland Government over a period of five years. This year £1,650,000 will be paid. This is evidence of the fact that the Government has realized the vast possibilities of this area and is prepared to do its share to ensure that the area is developed. I must confess that I thought the speech of the honorable member for Kennedy **(Mr. Riordan)** was rather a strange mixture and so also, to a certain extent, was the speech of the honorable member for Capricornia. The Opposition must approve this legislation, but honorable members opposite have made some attempts to decry what the Government has done. They said that more money should be provided, and on terms more acceptable to the State. The honorable member for Kennedy said that the Fitzroy basin scheme will add enormously to the economy of the State. Nobody can take exception to that statement. That was a perfectly correct statement. The honorable member said also that this legislation will lead to the use of the great untapped water resources of the Fitzroy basin. That, too, is correct. Having regard to the remark of the honorable member for Capricornia that this move was long overdue, I must direct attention to the fact that the resources of this area lay dormant during the 30 years of rule of a State Labour government. Now we are told, " Look at the wonderful potential and resources of this area ". We are asked why something was not done before along the lines of this plan. Queenslanders want to know why something was not done before when a Labour government was in power in the State for so long. I concede that as far as utilization of water resources is concerned, certain more or less ineffective moves were made. The State government made some investigation of the potential of the Nathan gorge scheme and promptly forgot about it. We know that some small weirs were built on the Dawson River, but there was no drive behind the scheme. All these resources lay dormant until the State and Federal governments got to work. Now we are going places. The honorable member for Kennedy said that apparently the Government was motivated in putting these schemes into effect by Britain's proposed entry into the Common Market. That is not correct. The move that is now reaching fruition by these bills *started before* the Common Market and its effect on Australia came under discussion. This move arose from the fact that a couple of years or more ago the Government, in considering what was needed to develop the north, reached certain decisions. The Prime Minister made an announcement regarding the assistance that the Commonwealth was prepared to give to Queensland and Western Australia to develop the north, particularly from the point of view of export production. It is from that statement that this proposal has emanated. That statement was made long before the Common Market came into the picture. Of course, the implementation of this scheme will assist Australia to overcome difficulties that may or may not arise under the Common Market developments. Nevertheless, the real motivation behind the scheme was the need to increase export production, build up our overseas balances and strengthen our economy. Some reference has been made to the terms under which these funds will be made available. The criticism that has been offered indicates a lack of knowledge of the situation. Honorable members opposite have asked why this money is not being made available to Queensland as a grant and why interest is being charged over a five-year period. Queensland proposes to clear the land and put settlers on it. The State does not propose to make a free grant of land to settlers. Settlers will be allowed, quite properly, to repay over twenty years amounts provided for the development of their holdings. In other words, money will be made available to settlers on much the same terms as it is made available to the State by the Commonwealth. Surely that is a proper state of affairs. The Commonwealth makes certain moneys available to the State on certain terms. The State makes that money available to the settlers on similar terms. Eventually the State is completely repaid and then the State repays the Commonwealth. Thus the money becomes available for other developmental work. I see no merit whatever in the criticism that has been levelled at the conditions under which this money is made available to the State. In making this money available to the State the Commonwealth has been careful not to lay down conditions as to the way in which the money shall be used. The Commonwealth does not insist that blocks must be of a certain size, that there must be a certain tenure and that certain compensation must be payable. We believe that those matters are the preogative of the State and that we are not competent to lay down such terms. It is important for honorable members to realize that. I hope that the State, in making this land available to settlers, will take great care to see that mistakes made in the past in handling this brigalow country are avoided. As one of my colleagues reminded me, some very costly mistakes have been made in the development of the Brigalow area. There, are now available many practical men with experience of that country, who know the mistakes that were made and how to avoid them and how to proceed with the development. They are the men needed to go into this scheme and ensure its success. I hope that generous areas of land will be made available for this development to avoid failure through settlers going on to too small an area. I hope, also, that the blocks are made available on a secure tenure; and I understand that after a period the tenure will be freehold. That is desirable. There is no doubt that when this scheme goes through to success it will be of great value, particularly to central Queensland, and to the whole of that State. **Mr. Speaker,** we are also discussing the Queensland beef roads and the bill before the House is a continuation of what we promised and have set out to do. Honorable members will recall that when the last Budget was brought down we announced that Commonwealth finance would be provided towards the cost of a beef road from Normanton to Julia Creek and we made it clear that Queensland could expect to receive finance for additional beef roads, as could Western Australia also. In his 1961- 62 Budget speech the Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt)** said - >The provision of £1,000,000 is by no means, however, the limit of the expenditure we have in view. Subject to agreement being reached with the governments of Queensland and Western Australia, we are willing and, indeed, we intend, to provide additional funds for roads in these two States. That was the undertaking we gave and we are carrying it out. There was a conference between this Government and the Government of Queensland, with the result that last year we undertook to provide a £5,000,000 grant, to be made available over five years to enable a network of roads to be developed and used as beef outlets. In addition to the £5,000,000 dealt with in this bill we are providing, further, for £3,000,000 as an advance from the Commonwealth to enable those beef roads to be sealed. [Quorum formed.] The honorable member for Kennedy referred, a few hours ago, to the need for sealing these beef roads. When the money was made available to the Queensland Government for the construction of these roads we did not lay down that they must be of a certain width or a certain form. That decision was the prerogative of the Government of Queensland, which has now come to the Commonwealth with a request for a further advance to enable the roads to be sealed. That is a sound project, because what has been said about the condition into which these roads get when carrying heavy traffic is correct. For that reason this further grant is being made available as a long-term advance. I think all honorable members will agree that the combination of provisions in these two bills - the Brigalow development scheme and the provision of money for the beef roads and particularly for sealing them - will have a tremendous impact on the economy and overall development of Queensland. That is something which not only this House but also the people of Queensland will applaud strongly, and I support them. {: #subdebate-47-0-s3 .speaker-KXZ} ##### Mr PETERS:
Scullin .- I desire to correct some of the remarks made by the Postmaster-General **(Mr. Davidson).** I believe the bill is a step in the right direction, although it is not a very big step; and many more and bigger steps like it should be taken to remedy the difficulties created by the Government in this community. Those difficulties arise from a lack of balance between the development of rural production and the development of secondary industry. As I have previously said in this House, in 1939 there were 253,000 farms in Australia and to-day there are only 252,000. In 1939 there were fewer than 7,000,000 inhabitants in Australia and to-day there are nearly 11,000,000. This means that not one farmer's son, not one worker in rural production or one migrant has gone on to a farm and not one soldier has been provided with a farm without the displacement of another person who was already in occupation of a farm in 1939. Under the Liberal Government in 1939 the net value of rural production in Australia was £170,000,000 and to-day it is about £1,100,000,000, an increase of less than £1,000,000,000. In 1939 the value of materials used in secondary industry in Australia was £300,000,000 and to-day it is nearly £3,000,000,000. There has been an increase of £2,700,000,000 in the value of goods being used in factories in secondary production in Australia. That means an additional £1,000,000,000 worth of rural production is available for export to finance capital goods required for secondary production. All the requirements of secondary industry cannot be met by rural exports. The result down the years has been an increasing overseas deficit and an accumulating loan bill, together with a cumulative overseas investment in this country. That has come about because this Government has not promoted balanced development between our primary industries and secondary industries. There is only one country in the world whose modern economic history can be compared with that of Australia. I refer to the Argentine, which was originally a rural producing country, selling its products abroad. Then it started to develop secondary industries not with funds secured from exports but by means of loans and the investment of foreign capital. A recent document, " Export by Air ", issued jointly by the Department of Trade and Qantas in conjunction pointed out that the flow of overseas capital into Australia may dry up rapidly, and without warning. Those are the exact terms used in that document. So far as the Argentina is concerned, overseas capital and investment was brought into that country and the result was disaster. This Government, which is now proposing that some hundreds of Australians should be settled on the area known as the brigalow lands, has been unable in its long term of office to raise the number of land settlers to the figure that we had in 1939 when our population was less than 7,000,000. The settlement of the brigalow lands presents many difficulties, and the Government will have to do much more than it has done to prevent those difficulties multiplying about those who settle there. Such difficulties inevitably come from an unbalanced development in industries. No one can deny mat an imbalance in the development of Australia does exist. If the hour were not so late I would go to a lot more trouble to try to improve the outlook of honorable members opposite and to give some fundamental details to the members of the Country Party of land settlement and rural production. However, I think I have said1 enough to prove that the statements made by honorable members oposite in regard to the development of the brigalow area were, in reality, not much less than humbug. {: #subdebate-47-0-s4 .speaker-JOA} ##### Mr BARNES:
Mcpherson At this late hour permit me to re-educate the honorable member for Scullin **(Mr. Peters)** on the *matters* about which he has just spoken. I shall be very brief. I support this bill because it will mean a great deal to the development of central Queensland and, I believe, will permit further development in Queensland because, of about 12,000,000 acres of brigalow country in Australia, all but about 600,000 acres are situated in Queensland. Obviously this is an attempt to develop a portion of that brigalow country. This endeavour will form the pattern of what will happen with the rest of this area. I am particularly glad to see that the Queensland Government apparently is embarking on a freehold tenure system for the land that is to be developed because the land tenure system has been one of the most unfortunate factors in Queensland's history. The present Queensland Government inherited probably the worst land laws in Australia after 40 years of socialist government of that State. To-day in Queensland 92 per cent, of all land is owned by the Crown, and it has been suggested in some circles that the only area with comparable government ownership is the Soviet Union. Fortunately the present government in Queensland is getting away from this socialist type of land ownership. I understand that 10,000 acres is to be developed. This is very necessary because all sorts of problems will be found in developing the brigalow country. It is really a tremendous experiment to find out whether this will be a success, but I believe it will be. We will have many trials before this is made a success. Those of us who have earned our living on the land realize that if we take measures contrary to nature we are very often in serious trouble. Nature has provided this area with an intense growth of brigalow. This soil has been enriched by the very dense forest growth. As I think most people realize, the brigalow is a legume and has been responsible for building up, probably over thousands of years, a very high nitrogen content in the soil. In some areas the brigalow has been cleared and1 all sorts of problems have arisen. First of all we probably have not found the best way of clearing the brigalow land. In the early days we used ringbarking, which is obviously far too expensive to-day, and a few years ago we had aerial spraying with hormone sprays. Unfortunately that proved to be a very costly failure. We have a new scheme now of pulling brigalow and, in some cases, this has been the biggest success. However, in other cases there has been a tremendous amount of regrowth and we know only certain rules about how to deal with this method of clearing. We have to-day the latest developments. We have a very large American machine weighing possibly over 50 tons which goes over this country and chews everything up and spits it out the back. That appears to be a method which might be the answer. After all, there may be considerable problems because, further south in the Goondiwindi area where the land has been cleared for quite a long time, there has been a quite serious regrowth of a bush called lime bush. This is gradually taking charge of all this area which at one time grew thick brigalow scrub. So far no one has found the answer to lime bush. Again we meet a very serious problem when we get to central Queensland. Although in that area the rainfall is probably between 25 and 27 inches a year, the problem is the variability of the annual rainfall. In the more climatically favoured areas of Australia there is a more reliable rainfall average, but in this area, where the brigalow development is to take place, there are variations from the average of more than 25 per cent. That is a very serious matter when you are developing only a small area. That is a very good reason why they should develop larger areas and should encourage the selling of land. I thoroughly agree with the policy of selling land in this area to private enterprise - to people who have the capital to put in, to people who want to start their sons in these areas. I have no doubt that funds received from the sale of these areas could be used to put other people not so favourably situated financially on the land. I quite agree that this is an excellent proposal for Queensland. {: #subdebate-47-0-s5 .speaker-JSG} ##### Mr BRIMBLECOMBE:
Maranoa -- **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** I welcome the opportunity to-night to support a worthwhile project for the provision of beef roads in the north. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- Nobody is against that. {: .speaker-JSG} ##### Mr BRIMBLECOMBE: -- I know that nobody is against me to-night, but I have stood up in this House since 1951 and, until the last few years, vainly advocated the provision of better communications and the development of northern Australia, particularly in the west. I have been severely ridiculed by honorable members opposite every time I have spoken about developing this rich country in the north and about developing the beef industry. I recall one night when I spoke in this chamber, when one of the leading members of the Opposition used an expression, when referring to me, which was used here to-day in referring to the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard).** This particular honorable member said, "Here he is on his old theme, looking after his wool barons and beef barons ". To-day we have heard members of the Opposition expressing sympathy for the people in the north. They have done so merely in an attempt to gain some political advantage, which they know will not come their way when the true facts are known. I welcome this opportunity to speak, because I was challenged the other night to prove to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Whitlam)** thatI had spoken on these matters on a number of occasions. I have consulted the " Hansard " records and I have found that there have been plenty of occasions on which I have mentioned this matter, and I would like to see this put on record. It is true that these roads are going to be of great benefit to our great cattle industry. I remember an occasion on which I spoke about roads in the Channel country, and on that occasion I was criticized even by some of my friends on this side of the House. I am very pleased now to be able to stand up here and say-- {: .speaker-JWV} ##### Mr Chaney: -- Merry Christmas! {: .speaker-JSG} ##### Mr BRIMBLECOMBE: -- Yes, merry Christmas, too. As I was about to say, we now see a recognition of a developmental scheme that I have advocated ever since I have been in this Parliament. As to the development of the brigalow lands, these cover an extensive area, as the honorable member for Kennedy **(Mr. Riordan)** has told us. It is some of the richest country in Queensland, and it lends itself to mixed rural production. This bill does not stipulate that it is to be used for cattle raising. It can be used for rough cattle and for other purposes. I agree with my colleague, the honorable member for Macpherson **(Mr. Barnes),** who expressed some doubt whether these areas will be adequate for certain purposes. The Australian Country Party advocates closer settlement, but we believe that any person going on the land should have a reasonable opportunity to make as good a living as the city dweller makes. That is our policy. We do not advocate that all these great big holdings can be settled by large numbers of people. I welcome the opportunity to support these bills, and I congratulate the Government on what it has done. I also congratulate the Queensland Government, which has been responsible for sponsoring this scheme after having been in office for a relatively short time, following 40 years of socialist government. This is a direct approach to the problem of development, and I repeat that I welcome this opportunity of supporting both bills. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time, and committed pro forma; progress reported. Message recommending appropriation reported. In committee (Consideration of Adminstrator's message): Motion (by **Mr. Swartz)** agreed to - >That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purposes of a bill for an act relating to an agreement between the Commonwealth and the State of Queensland with respect to the development of brigalow lands in the Fitzroy River basin. 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-start } page 3157 {:#debate-48} ### QUEENSLAND BEEF CATTLE ROADS AGREEMENT BILL 1962 {:#subdebate-48-0} #### Second Reading Consideration resumed from 4th December (vide page 2891), on motion by **Mr. Harold** Holt- >That the bill be now read a second time. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time, and committed pro forma; progress reported. Message recommending appropriation reported. In committee (Consideration of Administrator's message): Motion (by **Mr. Swartz)** agreed to - >That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purposes of a bill for an act relating to an agreement between the Commonwealth and the State of Queensland with respect to works in connexion with certain roads to be used for the transport of beef cattle. 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-start } page 3158 {:#debate-49} ### AIR NAVIGATION (CHARGES) BILL 1962 {:#subdebate-49-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from 18th October (vide page 1692), on motion by **Mr. Townley** - >That the bill be now read a second time. {: #subdebate-49-0-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM:
Werriwa .This bill will go some way towards recouping the Commonwealth for the very great expenditure it makes on the provision of civil aviation facilities. In other words, it will assist the Commonwealth to meet the very great subsidies which it pays to one form of transport in Australia. Honorable members are great contributors to civil aviation in this country. We spend about £350,000 a year on air transport within Australia and the Commonwealth subsidizes by £4 every air trip that every honorable member makes during the year. If you add that amount to the £350,000 or more which we spend on the tickets themselves it will be appreciated that honorable members cost the Commonwealth a very great deal for their air transport. We do not always realize this because, like members of all great organizations, we do not have to pay the fares. This bill may affect air fares but companies are the greatest payers of air fares and the subsidy of £4 per trip which the Commonwealth makes benefits, above all, the great corporations and other organizations such as that to which we belong. The history of this matter is interesting. The charges were first imposed in 1947. Australian National Airlines did not pay them but Trans-Australia Airlines did. In 1952 an agreement was reached for the payment of future charges and the arrears. Part of the amount owed by A.N.A. was waived and a refund was made to T.A.A. It will be remembered that the Government acquiesced in the action of a company which defaulted consistently in its payments. In that year the charges were fixed at one-half the 1947 rate. In 1957 there was an increase of 60 per cent, in the charges. In I960 there was a further increase of 60 per cent, in the charges. In 1961 it was determined in the Airlines Agreement Act that the maximum annual increase in charges to Ansett-A.A.A. and T.A.A. would be 10 per cent. Honorable members will remember that in his correspondence which he published in the daily press **Mr. Ansett** had listed this 10 per cent, limitation as one of his requirements. This 10 per cent, maximum would also set a pattern for other airlines. Due to the economic conditions at the time there was no increase in air navigation charges in 1961. In 1962 there will be a 10 per cent, increase in charges to all operators. In the last financial year, 1961-62, the charges raised £1,380,000. Of this amount domestic airlines contributed £758,000, international operators contributed £600,000 and operators of light aircraft and so on contributed £17,000. Although they operate heavier planes, the international operators appear to pay a much higher proportion of charges than their use of aerodromes and navigation aids would suggest. They make only a fraction of the number of flights which the internal operators make but they pay about 80 per cent, of the amount which the internal operators pay. Could it be that there is not a chosen private operator in the international field which the Government chooses to support whereas there is in the internal field? In his second-reading speech the Minister said - >The total commercial cost of providing air navigation facilities in 1961-62 exceeded £15,000,000. Of this £15,000,000 there was a recovery of £1,380,000 in air navigation charges, leaving a difference of £13,620,000. Although the airlines paid fuel tax and made a significant contribution to Australia's development and defence there is still a very large gap between costs and payments. Airlines contributed less than 10 per cent, to the cost of air navigation facilities. In the last financial year the subsidy worked out at over £4 per passenger embarked on Australian air transport services. I know that this increase in air navigation charges probably will be made the occasion for increased air fares. It always has been in the past. If one were to operate Australian airlines on the basis of the most economical operation there would be no need for an increase in air fares but we, alone in the world, have adopted a dual guaranteed sponsored system which ensures that private operators in this field make a profit on their investments. Australia, alone in the -world, except perhaps for the United States of America, insists on regarding internal civil aviation as a field for investment and not as a transport service. If we were operating our air services on the basis of service and the cost of providing that service, air fares would not need to rise at all. There is certainly some necessity also for co-ordinating the expenditure which the Commonwealth has to meet to provide the facilities to which these air navigation charges make a contribution of less than 10 per cent. In reply to questions which I have put to him the Minister has told me that the cost of providing night-landing facilities at Griffith, Coonamble and Walgett in New South Wales was £33,000. These facilities were provided because the air companies servicing those towns - Butler Air Transport Ltd. and Ansett-A.N.A. - had said that they wanted to operate there at night. Later on, Ansett-A.N.A. took over the Butler airline. Now these towns are not serviced at night at all, and by day they are serviced less frequently than previously. The Commonwealth has been put to this expense but the expenditure has now been proved to be futile. Other honorable members will remember that the Commonwealth has been put to the expense of providing landing strips, navigational aids, meteorological facilities and other services at many aerodromes around the continent, including those near some quite well populated cities such as Wollongong, which are no longer used. I want to refer to the general question of subsidizing transport. We constantly refer to losses by State railways and metropolitan transport services operated by State governments or by State trusts. In 1 959-60, the last year for which, in reply to questions by the honorable member for Banks **(Mr. Costa)** and myself, Ministers have been able to provide information in respect of all the States, the State railways had deficits totalling £27,000,000. They broke even on their operating results, and the deficits were due to debt charges. In the same year, government trams and buses had losses of £3,000,000. If the Commonwealth were as generous to the State railways as it is to the airlines, the railway's troubles would be over. Where a railway has been able to modernize its equipment, it has paid handsomely. The Commonwealth railways are a clear example. The State railways are caught in a vicious circle of inadequate funds leading to inadequate services, leading to a loss of business to other means of transport. The whole of the transport field should be rationalized and co-ordinated. Subsidies to air passengers and air freight severely affect the Commonwealth and State railways and Commonwealth and private shipping. In the end, the taxpayer pays and we have a most inefficient use of our transport facilities. We always refer to losses by State transport agencies, but the Commonwealth subsidized civil aviation companies, both Commonwealth-owned and privately operated - but, where privately operated, Commonwealth guaranteed. Then there is the effect of the subsidy per flight, which is an average of £4 per flight. There is every justification for giving such a subsidy for passengers flying from Perth to Wyndham or even from Perth to Adelaide, but it is incredibly stupid to give an average subsidy of £4 per flight for air passengers from Sydney to Melbourne. Where air transport is the only reasonable means of transport for passengers and freight, a subsidy is justified. The Government's two-airline policy, which has meant keeping Ansett-A.N.A. flying at all costs, has greatly added to the cost of air transport in Australia. But for the Government's commitment to the chosen private operator, air fares would not have risen as much as they have. I was interested to see in the last report of the Department of Civil Aviation, issued about a month ago, a reference for the first time to comparative costs of transport in Australia. The Rationalization Committee was considering an application by Trans-Australia Airlines for nighttourist and family-discount fares between Melbourne and Sydney. The DirectorGeneral of Civil Aviation, acting as co-ordinator, referred to the subsidies, both direct and indirect, which were given to the State and Commonwealth railways and the airlines, and suggested that such reduced fares would be to the detriment of the railways, which would have to be underwritten by the public through the meeting of railway deficits. It is incredible that so shrewd and experienced an administrator as the co-ordinator should not have discerned - or if he did discern it, it is reprehensible that he did not report it - that the objection of Ansett-A.N.A. did not turn on sophisticated arguments about mutually destructive subsidies to the railways and the airlines but on the fact that Ansett-A.N.A. operates overnight interstate tourist buses between Sydney and Melbourne. Honorable members have had occasion in the past to refer to the sophistical arguments that we have had from the directorgeneral. The term " rationalisation " in his hands is not an economic one but a dialectic one. Honorable members will remember the way in which he explained away why Trans-Australia Airlines should not be allowed to operate to Wagga Wagga or Cooma in the course of interstate flights whilst Ansett-A.N.A. should. Here he is deploring subsidized air transport taking business from the State railways and thus causing them to incur deficits, but he does not mention - an extraordinary oversight - the fact that it would also affect one of the chosen operator's subsidiary bus services between the same points at the same period of the day. I commenced by pointing out that people such as parliamentarians, who are members of large organizations, are the biggest contributors to air transport in Australia. They are also the persons who are subsidized most by the Commonwealth. In the case of parliamentarians, it may merely be taking from one pocket and putting into another. But it is quite extraordinary that air transport, particularly between the east coast cities, should be subsidized so heavily by the Commonwealth when it is used - more than any other form of transport - by employees and directors of big corporations. It is not inappropriate to conclude by referring to the great subsidy which the Commonwealth pays to civil aviation and comparing it with the references which are constantly made to the losses incurred by other forms of transport which, in fact, are just as basic and which cater for a greater tonnage and a greater number and variety of passengers. The Opposition does not oppose the bill. 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 3160 {:#debate-50} ### LEAVE OF ABSENCE Motion (by **Mr. Adermann)** agreed to - That leave of absence be given to every member of the House of Representatives from the determination of this sitting of the House to the date of its next sitting. {: .page-start } page 3160 {:#debate-51} ### ADJOURNMENT {:#subdebate-51-0} #### Valedictory {: #subdebate-51-0-s0 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES:
Prime Minister · Kooyong · LP -- **Mr. Speaker,** much to the disappointment of honorable members no doubt, I move - That the House do now adjourn. Before we adjourn I should like to say a few words about you, **Sir, about** the Chairman of Committees **(Mr. Lucock)** and the Temporary Chairmen and the way in which you have presided over our deliberations. I will not make a long speech about this this matter because a glance at the clock shows that it is nearly 3 o'clock in the morning. This, even for me, is not an occasion for great eloquence. This has been a very interesting year and, I am free to admit, a difficult year. For a reason that I will never understand, the Government has had a somewhat small majority. In consequence, the proceedings of the Parliament have attracted a great deal of attention, and from day to day we have perhaps never been quite certain what would happen. This is an experience that I have had before and that some people may not have had before. I am sure that concerning all these difficulties I speak for all honorable members when I say that we have a very, very great respect for the way in which you, **Sir, have** con-, ducted the affairs of the House, and for the way in which the Chairman of Committees and the Temporary Chairmen have played their part in our work. I would like to give my own measure of thanks to the Leader of the House **(Mr. Harold Holt).** He is also Treasurer, and in each of his two capacities he has been exposed to a certain amount of cross-fire. But everybody in the House knows that had it not been for his management of the affairs of the House we might not have been adjourning at this time in such good order. The Leader of the House, the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Whitlam)** have not a simple job in organizing the proceedings of this House so that everybody has a fair chance to offer his views and so that, at the same time, the business goes through. So I would like to express my thanks to both the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, as well as to the Leader of the House. The Leader of the Opposition is a personal friend of, I think, all of us in this House, and we have been troubled during the year by his illness. But we have been delighted to find how well he is recovering from that illness. I would like to say for myself and all other honorable members that we hope that in the interval, which will perhaps be somewhat longer than he expected at one stage to-day, he will take the opportunity to find rest and recreation, so that, when we return to the work of the Parliament, he will be in his customary good form. He certainly has the personal good wishes of all of us. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- Is the Prime Minister worried about my health? {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- No, not a bit. The honorable member for East Sydney always seems to me to be in deplorably good health. If I may say so, I hope that that good health will continue. I would like to offer our thanks to the Whips on both sides, **Sir. Whatever** may be said about the state of a Parliament in which there is a large difference in numbers between Government and Opposition, everybody must realize that when there is the most slender of majorities in the House the work of the Whips becomes extremely arduous. The honorable member for Perth **(Mr. Chaney)** and the honorable member for Mallee **(Mr. Turnbull),** on the Government side, have done manful work. I know that this applies also to the Opposition Whip. The post of Whip is not, I would think, the most popular post at a time when every vote counts. So, as members of the Parliament, we are grateful to all the Whips. I think that it would be proper for me to pay a particular tribute to-night to the Clerks of the House. I understand that the Opposition - I appreciate this quite well - would like to have some further opportunity to consider the report of the Standing Orders Committee, and I accept that. I think it is quite proper. We will no doubt deal with that report early when we resume. I think it is proper to say that the Clerk of the House in particular, and those who work with him, have done magnificent work on the revision of the Standing Orders. That is a special task. But, apart altogether from that, of course, we know - particularly those of us who have been here for a long time - that the Clerks of the House accept a very special responsibility in advising and helping. They do this quite objectively, in my experience, and the way in which they discharge their duties does them very great credit. We all know that but for their high technique and willingness and the generous approach they make to the problems that we take to them, we might not be able to conduct the affairs of the House quite so satisfactorily as we have been able to do. I really need to say nothing about the " Hansard " staff. I spoke to one of the members of that staff earlier this afternoon and said, " What would you like - a fiveminute speech or a twenty-five-minute speech?" With great humanity, he said to me, " Five minutes will do us ". I understand that perfectly. I do not need to repeat what has been said so frequently before: The members of the " Hansard " staff have some magic touch which converts what we thought were rather exciting moments into a rather matter-of-fact account of what went on. The " Hansard " reporters succeed in helping most of us to be understood by the readers, if not by the hearers, as having spoken in the most impeccable Johnsonian English. The Parliamentary draftsmen, who work in the background, are people who are put under great test by all of us and, if I may say so, particularly by governments. We are rather in the habit of telling them, almost at the last moment, " This is it ". We recall the tremendous specialization of parliamentary drafting. It is a highly specialized branch of the law. I am bound to say on behalf of all honorable members that we remain in their debt. There are other members of the parliamentary staffs, including the people who work in the Parliamentary Library, the attendants, the staff of the refreshment rooms, and also the telephonists - God bless them - who, succeed in interrupting party meetings, with a loud demand that soandso come to the telephone. All these people do their work extraordinary well. We think, also, of the other people who attend to us in the course of a year, such as the transport officers and the transport drivers. {: .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr Cope: -- Do not forget the cooks. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- I mentioned the staff of the refreshment rooms. I automatically associated that part of the establishment with cookery. But I will make special reference to the cooks, because, after all, it is due to the cooking in this building that the honorable member himself has been so comparatively benign during this sessional period. **Sir, before** I conclude the list, which perhaps leaves out a lot of people about whom I should have thought, I would like to say that we on this side of the House are greatly indebted to **Mr. Pearson,** the Parliamentary Liaison Officer, who has made possible the effective work of the Leader of the House and, correspondingly, of the Leader and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, who have had so much to do with the organization of our proceedings. We are very grateful to all the people to whom I have referred, beginning with you, **Sir. We** wish you and all the others a very happy interval. We are very glad for all your sakes - I hesitate to say for our own sakes - that the interval will be rather longer than is usual. Far be it from me to say that we are not anxious to be here on 1st January. I am not, because for once in my life I hope on 1st January to be looking at a test match in Melbourne. I would like, in addition to all this, to say to all my many personal friends around the House, many of whom are my political opponents, that I wish them all the compliments of the season, a happy Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope that in the New Year we will be able to conduct our affairs - I am sure we will - on the same high level and take victory or defeat as it may happen from time to time in the same high and generous spirit. {: #subdebate-51-0-s1 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM:
Werriwa .On behalf of the Opposition, I share in the expressions of goodwill and thanks that the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** has addressed to all the persons who help us do our job in this place. This has undoubtedly been an exciting year and a year of very rapid and unexpected change. I do not refer to internal affairs but to such external affairs as the Common Market, the brink of war over Cuba and the very rapid changes taking place in both halves of New Guinea to the north of us. We have been living in exciting times. I join with the Prime Minister, as I am sure every one behind me does, in his praise of yourself, **Sir, and** the Chairman of Committees. You have the galling job of having to witness every tense moment in the House but remain as silent as possible. Of course, during the past year you have had the added embarrassment - I know how acutely you and the Chairman must have felt it - of having to descend into the arena and support the Government, and of having to do so with increasing frequency. There is a degree of goodwill towards you and the other presiding officers which I think must give you very great satisfaction. I thank the Prime Minister for his references to the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell).** I am certain that there is no man in public life in Australia who is personally so well liked, who has such a host of personal friends and for whom so many people have a deep friendship. I see him, of course, as much as anybody in this chamber does. Not only is his health good, but his strength is rapidly increasing. I shall, at a decent hour in the morning, pass on to him the Prime Minister's kind expressions, and I know that he would wish me straight away to thank the Prime Minister for them. I know he reciprocates in a very great measure the personal regard which the Prime Minister has expressed. The Prime Minister may be less a patriarch in the political sense than he once was. He is, however, more than ever a patriarch in the personal sense. His progeny are proliferating. He has had a long and arduous public service. I feel that all of us can wish him no better than at this Christmas he sees some of his growing, family. We are glad that his wife will be. back and in better health. I must make a particular reference to the Leader of the House **(Mr. Harold Holt).** I, of course, never have the opportunities to make as many references to him in the chamber as he has to make references to me, because I cannot get people to ask me questions. The right honorable gentleman was kind enough to refer to me the other day as the Crown Prince. It was generous, particularly coming from the Old Pretender. I know that nobody will enjoy his holidays more than the right honorable gentleman will. Nobody's Holidays are more publicized. I have always admired the right honorable gentleman's devotion to duty. He prepares Budgets in the winter at Bingie Bay and prepares for interim meetings of the Australian Loan Council and Premiers Conferences at Portsea in the summer. I see him constantly in private. I must say that he is much more agreeable in private than he sometimes is in public. I have developed a degree of affection for him which is dangerous politically. I forgive him all he says. I know how he is provoked and I know that he deserves a holiday. I am certain that he will thoroughly enjoy it. The Prime Minister has referred to the Whips, particularly the Government Whip and the Opposition Whip. They have undoubtedly had an arduous year. As I said earlier in this sitting - I will not say to-day, but hours and hours ago, yesterday - I can remember only one mistake that was made by the Whips in this year. But we just could not carry on this place without their efforts, and the fact that they have been so efficient and good tempered about it is a matter for congratulations. No reference was made to the Australian Country Party Whip. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies: -- Yes. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- Well, not sufficient reference was made to him. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies: -- You can add to it, with pleasure. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- Here again I can never make as many references to the honorable gentleman as he makes to me. But he is an extraordinarily diligent man in the House. He asks more questions than any other honorable member does. Some people say that he must keep up his party's quota. He keeps watch on the flocks around him and I have noticed this year that just as much he guards them from the left as from the right. All the Whips have done a very good job this year in unusually trying circumstances and they unquestionably deserve a holiday. I do not think a reference was made to the press gallery. I suppose if the Prime Minister remained silent about the press a fortiori the members of the Australian Labour Party should. But the pressmen have to work very hard. We have always said that the working journalist reports all we have to say, but it is not he who does the sifting out. Of course, we who have to speak after 9 p.m. cannot expect to be reported so fully. If we behave ourselves on the adjournment, we cannot expect to be reported in the afternoon newspapers either. But there is also a public gallery. I regret the fact that the only incident in the public gallery throughout the year occurred while I was speaking, but I suppose since I was speaking on housing, one eviction in those circumstances was forgiveable. I agree with the remarks made by the Prime Minister about all the other persons who assist us to do our job and the persons who in fact have to remain silent while we are doing it in whatever way we choose to do it. I have always thought that " Hansard " had a remarkable gift of alchemy. The most unmannerly interjections and replies become suave and courteous and in fact sometimes, it is alleged, fade away. " Hansard " certainly preserves us for posterity in a much more bowdlerized form than does the press. We are grateful. I am greatly indebted to the Clerk and his assistants. They are most competent and industrious gentlemen. The proceedings of the House have been more expeditious and harmonious on many occasions because they have very freely and patiently advised me and my colleagues, as I am sure they advise Government supporters, how best to conform to the best traditions of the House. The House is remarkably well served by them. I pay a tribute to the parliamentary liaison officer. Sometimes the Treasurer is not able to see me, and sometimes I have the impression that he does not want to see me. On those occasions I have had to deal with the Parliamentary Liaison Officer - a most efficient, judicious and judicial man. I am greatly indebted to him and I know that the Treasurer is too. The attendants and the staff of the refreshment rooms - those we see and those we do not see - keep us in much better humour than we otherwise would be. Reference was made to the Hotel Kurrajong. I have stayed at the Kurrajong only so frequently as to decide that I should investigate pastures new. It is amazing how many people are now staying at the proliferating motels around Canberra. I am almost persuaded that in the field of accommodation private enterprise does as good a job as public enterprise. {: .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr Cope: -- What is the attraction? {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- Whatever the attraction, it is kept discreet in motels but not always in hotels and hostels. There are no lounges in motels. I conclude my remarks with a reference to the Parliamentary Librarian and his staff. Terrific demands are made on the Library staff, particularly by people whose voyages - I was among them last year - have made them acquainted with the vastly more extensive facilities that are available, for instance, to the United States Congress. The Librarian and his staff rise nobly to the demands made upon them. I acknowledge also the very diligent Library Committee that operates in this Parliament. Persons who find many causes for friction in the House have been working together on the Library Committee most profitably. I am certain that the procedures of the Parliament will be all the better for the work of this committee. The broadcasters, the telephonists, the members of the police force and the people who regulate our comings and goings and those of our visitors and their messages, all help us. On this occasion we acknowledge their help. To all of those people the Opposition is indebted, as are all honorable members. In the personal sense and in the family sense, the Opposition cordially joins in the good wishes, the Christmas greetings and the New Year greetings which the Prime Minister has so well expressed to us, and to you, **Mr. Speaker.** {: #subdebate-51-0-s2 .speaker-KCA} ##### Mr DAVIDSON:
PostmasterGeneral · Dawson · CP , - **Mr. Speaker,** may I and my colleagues of the Australian Country party ally ourselves with the remarks made by the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Whitlam)** about the services that have been so ably rendered to us during this year. Bearing in mind the hour and the fact that our appreciation has already been so well expressed, I will content myself by saying that we, too, have a very keen appreciation of the great service that you, **Sir, have** given to this House. We are also acutely conscious of the service rendered by the Chairman of Committees and his deputies. I pay a tribute to the Leader of the House **(Mr. Harold Holt)** for the way in which he has looked after the business of the House. The remarks of the Prime Minister and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition concerning the Whips and their onerous task were well justified. Possibly the Whips will look on this year in retrospect as a very interesting experience. We express our appreciation of the work done by the Clerks, the " Hansard " staff - what splendid speeches they make for us - the officers of the Library, the officers of the Records Office and, the officers in the transport section. How they get us all here and away at times, I do not know. I pay a tribute also to the work of the refreshment room staff and the attendants. Our good wishes and compliments of the season go to all honorable members with whom we have talked and argued at times but with whom generally we have had very pleasant discussions. I thank you, **Sir, for** the courtesy that you have shown to all honorable members during the year. To you, **Sir, and** all honorable members I say: Good wishes for the Christmas and New Year seasons. May we all have a reasonably good rest and not have to rise too early this morning. {: #subdebate-51-0-s3 .speaker-KSC} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir John McLeay: -- First, I thank the Prime Minister, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and the Postmaster-General for the kindly references that they have made to me. I thank all honorable members for their tolerance, understanding and co-operation in the conduct of the business of the House. I, too, express appreciation of the work performed by all those staffs to which reference has been made. I am grateful to the Joint House Department and the staff connected with it. I am grateful to the Library and the staff connected with it. I am grateful to " Hansard ". I appreciate the enormous contribution of all those people. I would like to make particular reference to the staff of the House of Representatives. I am glad that reference has been made to the work done by the Clerk, particularly in relation to the Standing Orders. I think all honorable members will admit that the Clerk's jockey is a heavy weight to carry. The Clerk is advising me now not to do so much track work during the committee stages, because otherwise I will find myself a member of the Olympic Games team. It has been a great privilege to be associated with all the staffs of this Parliament. On their behalf, I express deep appreciation for the remarks that have been passed about them and I stress that their first objective is to render service to honorable members, regardless of political affiliations. I pay a tribute to my personal secretary. She has handled a very delicate task in a very efficient manner. I am grateful for the support that I have received from her. I thank all honorable members for their thoughtful expressions and I wish everybody the best for the coming season. {: #subdebate-51-0-s4 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD:
East Sydney **.Mr. Speaker,** I would have preferred you to defer your remarks until you had heard what I have to say. I will not enage in repetition by going through the various categories of workers around this House. I thank them all and wish them the compliments of the season. But with respect to you, **Sir, I** want to be quite frank. I think the best I can say about you is that I have sat under worse Speakers. That does not mean that there is not any amount of room for improvement. I hope that when Father Christmas calls on you, **Sir, he** will bring you a new pair of glasses, so that you will be able to see me when I rise here in my corner seat, because I have noticed that you have extraordinary glasses at the moment. Sometimes I wonder whether you can see me at all, and at other times you look straight through me. It seems to me strange to hear expressions of goodwill between the various honorable members in this Parliament. Members of Parliament, particularly members of Government parties, are in a unique position. They are not only in a position to wish people a merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year but also - if they really have goodwill - to ensure a merry Christmas and a happy New Year to many people in this country who, to-day, are denied such happiness as the result of the Government's actions. When honorable members speak in this sense they ought to wish that members of Parliament get the kind of Christmas and New Year that they deserve. I have noticed here recently a disregard of the rights of ordinary members. The Government rides roughshod over the rights of members of the Opposition when they wish to raise matters of national importance. Let me, without delaying the House, give one or two illustrations of what the Government should do if it really wants the people to have a prosperous New Year. It has imposed many restrictions in the field of social services which place great hardship on sections of the Australian community. The Government applies a rigid means test in respect of free medical services for pensioners. We know that many classes of people in this country who ought to be getting pensions are denied them because this Government refuses to liberalize the relevant legislation. I refer, for instance, to people who suffer frequent epileptic seizures. In my opinion all these matters should have been attended to, and if the Government had done what the Australian community expected it to do in this direction it would have earned the right to a merry Christmas and a happy New Year. I regret to say that I feel I am not alone in my opinion that this Government has so acted against the wishes of the majority of the Australian community and has so disregarded the welfare of the Australian people generally that it deserves neither a merry Christmas nor a happy New Year. Question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 3.33 a.m. (Friday) to a date and hour to be fixed by **Mr. Speaker.** {: .page-start } page 3166 {:#debate-52} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS The following answers to questions were circulated: - {:#subdebate-52-0} #### Drugs {: #subdebate-52-0-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice - >Is there in Australia any governmental authority whose approval is required by pharmaceutical manufacturing firms before they can offer any new product for sale in this country; if so, what are the details? {: #subdebate-52-0-s1 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
LP -- The Minister for Health has furnished the following reply: - >Control over the sale of drugs is a State government matter. Each State government has its own particular authority, which decides upon the conditions that will regulate the sale of drugs in that State, particularly the restrictions, if any, to be applied to the sale of new pharmaceutical products. {: #subdebate-52-0-s2 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice - >Have the Commonwealth Health authorities made enquiries to ascertain whether any drug, in addition to thalidomide, which causes deformity of babies is, or has been, on sale in Australia; if so, what was the result of the enquiries? {: #subdebate-52-0-s3 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
LP -- The Minister for Health has furnished the following reply: - >Constant attention is given to all reports of dangerous actions in drugs, particularly reports indicating that deformity of babies may result from use of a drug. Unsubstantiated reports have been received that the drug Meclozine hydrochloride has caused abnormalities in babies overseas. This matter is being investigated. However, in the meantime, pending confirmation of the complete safety of this drug, action has been taken to remove it from the list of pharmaceutical benefits. {: #subdebate-52-0-s4 .speaker-KXI} ##### Mr Webb:
STIRLING, WESTERN AUSTRALIA b asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Are any of the following preparations containing thalidomide marketed in Australia: - Valgis, Talimol, Tensival, Kevadon, Valgraine? 1. If so, as thalidomide has been proved to be a dangerous drug, will the Minister take steps to prevent their sale? {: #subdebate-52-0-s5 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
LP -- The Minister for Health has furnished the following reply: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. No. The following preparations were marketed in Australia but have been withdrawn from sale by the manufacturer: - Valgis, Valgraine, Tensival. Talimol and Kevadon have never been marketed in Australia. 1. See 1. {:#subdebate-52-1} #### Communism {: #subdebate-52-1-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Acting AttorneyGeneral upon notice - {: type="A" start="I"} 0. ls he able to say whether, when speaking at a Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen's Imperial League of Australia dinner in Brisbane earner this month, Justice **Sir Roslyn** Philp, of Queensland Supreme Court, who was one of the commissioners who enquired into the Petrov espionage allegations, stated that during the fifteen months of the inquiry he learned a great deal about communism, far more, unfortunately, than he could tell the people? {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Did the judge also state that he thought it would be very good if he could reveal what he knows but the Commonwealth Security Service has demanded that the commissioners remain silent? 1. Will he say why the Security Service demands that His Honour remain silent when apparently he wants to talk? {: #subdebate-52-1-s1 .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. *I* have seen newspaper reports to the effect that **Sir Roslyn** Philp made a statement that during the fifteen months he spent as a member of the Royal Commission on Espionage he had learned a great deal about communism, " far more than he could tell the people of Australia, unfortunately ". 1. No. **Sir Roslyn** Philp is reported to have said further, " Had we Commissioners been able to tell the people, I think it would have been very good but security demanded that we keep our mouths shut ". I do not read the word " security " in this context as a reference to the Australian Security Intelligence Organization. His Honour appears only to have said that there were facts known about communist activities that could not, in the interests of the security of Australia, be revealed. 2. See answer to No. 2. {:#subdebate-52-2} #### Trans-Australia Airlines {: #subdebate-52-2-s0 .speaker-K97} ##### Mr Galvin:
KINGSTON, SOUTH AUSTRALIA n asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Will the Minister investigate the delay of Trans-Australia Airlines in accepting personnel for the superannuation fund? 1. Why have some personnel whose medical examinations took place up to two years ago not yet been notified if they are to be accepted for the superannuation fund? 2. Has the Minister instructed Trans-Australia Airlines not to accept any further personnel for the superannuation fund? {: #subdebate-52-2-s1 .speaker-KWH} ##### Mr Townley:
LP -- The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following information: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. There is currently no delay in accepting personnel into the superannuation fund. 1. There was some delay during 1961, in accepting personnel in the superannuation fund due to uncertainty as to the level of staff establishments. All personnel who were medically examined have now been notified whether or not they have been accepted for the superannuation fund. 2. The Minister has not issued any instruction to Trans-Australia Airlines about recommending personnel for acceptance as contributors to the superannuation fund. {:#subdebate-52-3} #### Attorney-General's Department {: #subdebate-52-3-s0 .speaker-K4Z} ##### Mr O'Brien:
PETRIE, QUEENSLAND n asked the Acting AttorneyGeneral, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many indictments were presented on behalf of the Commonwealth during 1961 and 1962 to date? 1. Of the indictments so presented, how many were prosecuted by officers of his Department in the role of actual counsel for the prosecution? 2. What is the current designation and actual salary range of the officers who so prosecuted? 3. Did any officer of his department, during 1961 and to date this year, appear in open court as actual counsel on behalf of the Commonwealth - (a) anywhere in the Commonwealth other than in the Australian Capital Territory or the Northern Territory in (i) any superior court or (ii) any superior court constituted by a judge and jury, and (b) anywhere in the Commonwealth in any superior court exercising appellate jurisdiction? 4. If so, on how many occasions were appearances made in each case? {: #subdebate-52-3-s1 .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 340. 1. 313. 2. Crown Law Officer (£4,308); Principal Legal Officer (£3,141-£3,271); Senior Legal Officer (£2,621-£2,881); Legal Officer (£1,486-£2,491). 4. (a) (i)Yes; (ii)Yes. (b) Yes. 5. (a) (i) 55; (ii)4. (b) 89. (Note. - Any cases included in the figures given in the answers to questions 1 and 2 are not included in the figures given in answer to question 3. The cases given in the answer to question 1 included in the figures are up to the date of the question.) {:#subdebate-52-4} #### Taxation {: #subdebate-52-4-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Treasurer, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is expenditure charged to a business firm's expense account allowable, as a general rule, as a deduction for taxation purposes? 1. If so, what are the principal items of expenditure chargeable *to* a business firm's expense account which are accepted by the Taxation Department as being legitimate expenses incurred in the earning of the taxable income? {: #subdebate-52-4-s1 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Expenditure is not allowable as an income tax deduction by reason only of the fact that it is charged to a business firm's expense account. Expenditure is deductible if it is incurred in gaining or producing assessable income, or necessarily incurred in carrying on a business for the purpose of gaining or producing assessible income, and is not of a capital, private or domestic nature. 1. The Commissioner of Taxation informs me that a deduction is allowable only if the tests specified in 1 are met. No details have been extracted from the returns of income of companies and other taxpayers engaged in business undertakings that would enable the various types of expenditure to be categorized. {:#subdebate-52-5} #### Arbitration {: #subdebate-52-5-s0 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: d asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice - >How many inspections have been made' by federal arbitration inspectors of wages and conditions operating in Victoria under (a) the Pastoral Industry Award, (b) the Timber Industry Award, and (c) the Australian Workers Union Construction Award? {: #subdebate-52-5-s1 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon:
Minister for Labour and National Service · LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP -- The answer to the to the honorable member's question is as follows: - >Since the administration of the arbitration inspectorate was transfered to my department in 1950, inspectors have carried out inspections in the undermentioned industries to the extent indicated: (a) Pastoral Industry Award - 56; (b) Timber Workers' Award - 770; (c) Australian Workers' Union Construction and Maintenance Award- 25. {: #subdebate-52-5-s2 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Did the Stevedoring Industry Authority have power under the terms of the Stevedoring Industry Act 1949 to suspend or cancel the registration of both the employer and the employee? 1. Was the power of the authority to take disciplinary action against the employer subsequently taken away by legislative amendment? 2. If so, why did the Government make this change? 3. Has the Stevedoring Industry Authority on many occasions since the disciplinary power was withdrawn expressed the opinion that its power to discipline the employer should be restored? 4. Why has the Government failed to adopt the recommendation of the authority? {: #subdebate-52-5-s3 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon:
LP -- The answer to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 2 and 3. The present legislative provisions stem from the Government's consideration of the report of the Tait Committee of Enquiry into the Stevedoring Industry. That report emphasized that the Statutory Authority should not interfere "more than is essential with the authority and control by the individual stevedore employer over the waterside workers employed by him through the bureau. The emphasis should be on regulation rather than control. " The present provisions subject employers of waterside labour to supervision and sanctions such as do not apply to employers in industry generally. No employer can engage in stevedoring operations except with the approval of the authority. Cancellation or suspension of his right to engage in the industry may be ordered by the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. He is liable to prosecution for breaches of obligations imposed by the legislation and upon conviction to a minimum fine of £100 and a maximum fine of £1,000. 1. No. 2. See answer to 4. {:#subdebate-52-6} #### Housing {: #subdebate-52-6-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Did a survey of the Australian housing position released by the Department of National Development in 1957 declare that construction at that time was not only meeting current demand but that the backlog would be eliminated in the following five to seven years? 1. What is the present position in respect of the backlog of housing and does the Minister expect its elimination by the target date set in the survey? {: #subdebate-52-6-s1 .speaker-KDT} ##### Mr Fairbairn:
Minister for Air · FARRER, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP -- The Minister for National Development has supplied the following information: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. A foreword by the Minister for National Development to the survey of the housing position prepared by the Department of National Development in December, 1956, under the title of "The Housing Situation " included the following statement " . . . if a rate of completion of approximately 77,000 houses a year could" be maintained then the end of the housing shortage would be well in sight Progress would vary from State to State, but four or five years at this rate of progress would break the back of the problem ". 1. In order to calculate the housing shortage in 1956 the Department of National Development made a number of assumptions upon the proportion of the population which, according to accepted social conditions, might be deemed to need a selfcontained dwelling. The level of dwelling construction since 1956, taken in conjunction with the conclusions of the housing survey, indicates that the general adequacy of Australian housing has clearly increased since that time and this is borne out by the continued decrease in the average number of persons per dwelling as shown by the 1961 Census. {:#subdebate-52-7} #### Defence {: #subdebate-52-7-s0 .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr Hayden:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Who are the great and powerful friends to whom he alludes so frequently when discussing the defence of this nation? 1. Are those great and powerful friends unreservedly committed to come to the defence of this nation in times of hostilities; if not, under what conditions would they be obliged to come to the aid of Australia in the event of hostilities involving this nation? {: #subdebate-52-7-s1 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - 1 and 2 The allies of this country, including our partners in the Anzus and South-East Asia collective defence treaties, are well-known, and their willingness to assist in the defence of Australia is assured both by formal treaty and informal understanding. {: #subdebate-52-7-s2 .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr Hayden: n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has he an unreserved guarantee from the United States of America that that nation will immediately come to the aid of Australia in the event of any hostilities involving this nation? 1. If not, does the United States of America guarantee its assistance in times of hostilities against this country under any specified conditions; if so, what are those conditions? 2. If he has no guarantees and only speculation and hope that the United States will come to the aid of this nation in the event of hostilities, what nations have guaranteed, conditionally or unconditionally, to support Australia in times of hostilities? {: #subdebate-52-7-s3 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - 1 to 3. Australia's treaty relationships with the United States of America are set out in the Anzus and South-East Asia collective defence treaties which indicate the formal obligations assumed by the United States towards Australia in the defence field. {:#subdebate-52-8} #### Cuba {: #subdebate-52-8-s0 .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr Hayden: n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Did Cuba 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? 1. Was the United States justified in taking the vigorous action which it did to have these bases removed? 2. Is he able to say whether Australia would similarly become a strategic target of paramount importance if bases capable of discharging nuclear weapons were established here and whether nations objecting to the presence of such bases on Australian soil would be justified in taking action similar to that taken by the United States of America over the bases in Cuba? {: #subdebate-52-8-s1 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. I have not seen any description by competent United States authorities of Cuba as "a strategic target of paramount importance". I indicated the Government's attitude to the Cuban crisic in my statement of 23rd October to the House. This remains the Government's attitude. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. I do not propose to speculate on the attitude of unnamed countries to the hypothetical situation of nuclear bases being established in this country at some time in the future, especially since I have indicated on previous occasions that Australia has no nuclear bases in its territory and does not at present seek them. However, until such time as agreement is achieved on general and complete disarmament, this Government does not intend to deny itself in advance tie right to ensure by whatever means may be necessary the effective defence of this country. {:#subdebate-52-9} #### Ministerial Visits Overseas {: #subdebate-52-9-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Prime Minister, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many ministerial overseas visits have been made in each year from and including 19S0? 1. In how many instances were the Ministers concerned accompanied by their wives? {: #subdebate-52-9-s1 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Visits overseas by individual Ministers are listed in the estimates for my department each year. In addition it is customary for a statement to be made in the House prior to the departure of a Minister indicating the purpose of the visit and the countries to be visited. 1. It is customary for Ministers to be accompanied by their wives. {:#subdebate-52-10} #### Pensioner Rail Concessions {: #subdebate-52-10-s0 .speaker-KXI} ##### Mr Webb: b asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice - >As all State governments now grant concession travel to pensioners on their railway systems, will he make arrangements to grant concession fares to pensioners on the Commonwealth railways? {: #subdebate-52-10-s1 .speaker-KMB} ##### Mr Opperman:
Minister for Shipping and Transport · CORIO, VICTORIA · LP -- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows: - >The travel concession on State railways now granted to pensioners is part of the social services provided by State Governments to pensioners. Commonwealth assistance to age, invalid and widow pensioners is for their maintenance, medical care and housing - that is, for essential items. Travel by pensioners on Commonwealth Railways does not fall into the same category of essentiality. Further, as a matter of general policy, the Commonwealth endeavours, in its expenditure on pensioners, to concentrate on items likely to be enjoyed by all pensioners rather than by one limited section. Consequently, the Commonwealth Government does not favour the granting to pensioners of concessional fares on Commonwealth Railways. {:#subdebate-52-11} #### Shipping {: #subdebate-52-11-s0 .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr Hayden: n asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice - >Has the Ampol oil company refused to employ Australian seamen at Australian award rates to man its recently launched tanker? {: #subdebate-52-11-s1 .speaker-KMB} ##### Mr Opperman:
LP -- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows: - >A clause in the Shipbuilding agreement between the Commonwealth and the Ampol Petroleum Company permitted the vessel to be registered in London and the intention of the company to operate on the British register has been well known for some years. At a meeting between representatives of the company and the Australian Council of Trade Unions towards the end of October, 1962, the company stated that it was not prepared to man the ship at that stage with an Australian crew. The company agreed, however, that if following representations by the A.C.T.U. to the Commonwealth Government a subsidy was granted sufficient to meet the difference in costs between the manning of the tanker with an Australian crew instead of an Asian crew, it would be prepared to man the tanker with an Australian crew on a basis to be agreed between the company and the A.C.T.U. and the seafaring unions involved. The president of the A.C.T.U. was advised on 30th October, 1962, that in all the circumstances the Commonwealth could not agree to now consider a further and continuing substantial subsidy towards the operation of the tanker. {:#subdebate-52-12} #### Shipbuilding {: #subdebate-52-12-s0 .speaker-JZG} ##### Mr Cockle:
WARRINGAH, NEW SOUTH WALES e asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. If the cost of construction of the tanker " P. J. Adams " was approximately £4,000,000 why was the subsidy paid to the ship builders only £1,000,000 and not one-third of the total cost? 1. Is the Australian Shipbuilding Board financed by a commission based on *2i* per cent, of the total cost of the construction of a ship; if not, how is the board financed? 2. What is the estimated annual cost of maintaining the board? {: #subdebate-52-12-s1 .speaker-KMB} ##### Mr Opperman:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The purpose of the Australian shipbuilding subsidy is to equate the Australian price for a ship with a corresponding vessel if purchased from a comparable United Kingdom shipyard with a limit to subsidy of 33i per cent, of the Australian price. The difference between the purchase and selling price of a ship from an Australian yard is thus not always equivalent to the maximum subsidy of 33) per cent. In the case of the tanker for the Ampol Petroleum Company the figures quoted are approximate only as the Australian Shipbuilding Board does not disclose the actual price paid to the builder or by the purchaser. 1. About 90 per cent, of the total cost of running the Australian Shipbuilding Board is financed by a charge on ship construction for design and other services. 2. The annual cost of maintaining the Shipbuilding Board for the financial year 1961-62 was £149,000- -of this £133,000 was recovered from charges for design and other work charged for ship construction. {:#subdebate-52-13} #### Immigration {: #subdebate-52-13-s0 .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R Johnson:
HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES son asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How may Asiatics were domiciled in Australia as revealed by each of the last two Commonwealth censuses? 1. What was the intake of Asiatics on a nationality basis during each of the last ten years? {: #subdebate-52-13-s1 .speaker-KCK} ##### Mr Downer:
Minister for Immigration · ANGAS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The 1954 Census recorded 27,486 nonEuropeans as being in Australia at that date. This figure included some 18,400 Asians. Census results do not differentiate between persons residing in Australia permanently and those here only temporarily. Figures for the 1961 census are not yet available. 1. The attached table of " Permanent and LongTerm " arrival figures shows on a nationality basis the number of Asians who, during each of the last ten years, came to Australia with the intention of staying here for a period of twelve months or more. These figures are not, however, suitable for comparison on an annual basis as: (a) prior to the financial year 1958-59, citizens of Ceylon, India, Malaya (and Singapore) and Pakistan were not recorded separately but were included under the heading of "British"; (b) prior to 1961-62, citizens of Singapore were included with "Malaya"; (c) residents of Hong Kong who are of Asian race have, as citizens of the United Kingdom and colonies, been included under " British " and have not been recorded separately; and (d) it was not until 1961-62 that citizens of Burma, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines and Thailand were tabulated separately. Previously they were included under " Other non-British ". The figures of " Permanent and Long-Term " arrivals would include a number of students and other categories of Asians who have been admitted to Australia for temporary stay exceeding twelve months. There was in addition, an annual arrival figure averaging some 1,500 for the ten years in question of Asians coming to Australia for a period not exceeding twelve months, for purposes of business or as tourists. The figures of "Permanent and Long-Term" arrivals do not purport to show the number of Asians admitted to Australia for permanent residence. The honorable member will be aware, however, that the rules in this respect provide that the wives, minor children, and aged parents of Asians resident in Australia who are naturalized or who are British subjects are admitted in the normal course. The rules also provide that Asians in a variety of categories may come to Australia for indefinite residence. There are some 11,000 Asian students here in a private capacity, in addition to those training under the Colombo Plan. Visitors, whether coming for business or as tourists, are welcome as a matter of course. " PERMANENT AND LONG-TERM " ASIAN ARRIVALS. {: #subdebate-52-13-s2 .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly:
GRAYNDLER, NEW SOUTH WALES y asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice - Is be able to state (a) the population of each country in Asia whose citizens are not eligible for permanent residence in Australia under our immigration policy, and (b) the increase in population in each of these countries in each year? {: #subdebate-52-13-s3 .speaker-KCK} ##### Mr Downer:
LP -- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows: - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. and (b) The established immigration policy provides as a general rule that persons admitted for permanent residence shall be capable of ready integration into the community. The Australian practice is not, however, to exclude from admission persons of any one race. Under rules which provide in due course for the grant of permanent residence, the policy permits the entry of Asians in a variety of categories. These include businessmen who are to engage in the promotion of overseas trade or to work in an executive capacity in long-established business, as well as persons who are highly qualified or otherwise distinguished. I do not know, therefore, of any country in Asia whose citizens would be ineligible to enter Australia under the rules which provide for them to be granted permanent residence in due course. The following table sets out the estimates of midyear population (in thousands) in 1953 and 1959 for each country and territory in Asia, and as a percentage the annual rate of increase in population over the years 1953 to 1959. The population figures are in some instances census counts. Otherwise, they are estimates of questionable reliability, evaluated according to various methods of construction. The source of this information is the United Nations Demographic Year Book, 1960, published in 1961- {:#subdebate-52-14} #### Army Land Holdings {: #subdebate-52-14-s0 .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: y asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What is the (a) location of land in the metropolitan area at present retained and used by the Army Authorities and (b) purpose for which each of these areas is used? 1. What personnel, units, &c, are based at each establishment? 2. What personnel is stationed there on (a) a permanent and (b) temporary basis? 3. Are these areas occupied and used on a full time basis, if not, for what purpose was each of the areas used during the past twelve months? 4. What is the value of the area being used in each case? {: #subdebate-52-14-s1 .speaker-K7J} ##### Mr Cramer:
Minister for the Army · BENNELONG, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - >The location of Army property in the Sydney metropolitan area is set out below. Property in the outer districts of the County of Cumberland is not included. In general terms this property falls into the following classes: - > >Australian Regular Army Installations - Serials 1-6; These installations represent administrative or training installations designed to support both the Australian Regular Army and Citizen Military Forces. They are occupied and used on a full-time basis and have been so during the past twelve months. > >Combined Australian Regular Army and Citizen Military Force Installations - Serials 7-15: In a number of locations Australian Regular Army and Citizen Military Force units are grouped within military areas to effect economy in manpower, efficient utilization of property and integration of > >Australian Regular Army and Citizen Military Force elements. > >Citizen Military Force and Cadet Training Depots-Serials 16-47: The Citizen Military Force depots are dispersed throughout the area, located generally in main centres of population and close to transport arteries so that a citizen force member can be encouraged to attend part-time training in evenings and at week-ends without excessive travelling. Cadet training depots are located on a regional basis to serve the school cadet units within those regions and provide administrative facilities for these units. > >Unimproved property required for strategical purposes and future citizen military force expansion - Series 48-58: The majority of this property for strategic defence needs is already leased for recreational purposes. Training depot sites have been secured to meet the future expansion of the Citizen Military Force. > >Married Quarter Sites: There are 322 married quarters of various types in this area, of which 124 are located within military installations. The remainder are on separate sites. In view of the large number and small areas of land involved details of location and value have not been given. > >Valuations: Although every effort has been made to obtain realistic valuations, in view of the short time available for their preparation, the figures quoted must be regarded as representing an approximate value only. > >Personnel: In regard to the personnel stationed at each establishment, it is not considered to be in the public interest to release this information. Postal Department. {: #subdebate-52-14-s2 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Postmaster-General, uopn notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What position did **Mr. M.** R. C. Stradwick occupy in the Postmaster-General's Department prior to his resignation? 1. Was his reason for resigning to enable him to accept a high executive position with the American Telephone and Telegraph Company of which Standard Telephones and Cables Ltd. is an Australian subsidiary? 2. What salary and expenses did **Mr. Stradwick** receive when employed by the Commonwealth? 3. Is he able to say what salary and expenses allowance he receives in his present position? 4. Is the American Telephone and Telegraph Company either directly, or through any of its subsidiaries, a supplier of equipment to his department? 5. If so, what was the value of the equipment supplied by this industrial organization in each of the five years preceding **Mr. Stadwick's** resignation and in each six-monthly period since he commenced the duties of his present position? {: #subdebate-52-14-s3 .speaker-KCA} ##### Mr Davidson:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. **Mr. Stradwick** occupied the position of Director-General of Posts and Telegraphs prior to his resignation on the 27th September, 1961. 1. No. 2. **Mr. Stradwick's** salary as Director-General of Posts and Telegraphs was £6,900 a year. He received the normal travelling allowance prescribed for permanent heads of departments. 3. Not known. 4. No. 5. No. {:#subdebate-52-15} #### Grain Shipments {: #subdebate-52-15-s0 .speaker-JF7} ##### Mr Beazley: y asked the Acting Minister for External Affairs, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that the Food and Agricultural Organization in a recent publication analysing the movement of grain in the world, has indicated that much of the grain being shipped from Canada and Australia has been passed on to Albania or used for the armed forces of Communist China? 1. If so, is the Government likely to review its policy of permitting the Australian Wheat Board to extend credits for the purpose of grain to Communist China? {: #subdebate-52-15-s1 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies:
LP -- The answer to the honorable member's questions is as follows: - 1 and 2. No. A letter appeared in the press towards the end of last month alleging that the F.A.O. had stated that Australian (and Canadian) wheat sold to Communist China was going mainly to the Chinese army. Enquiries have revealed, however, that the F.A.O. has made no such statement. {:#subdebate-52-16} #### Commonwealth Industrial Court {: #subdebate-52-16-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Acting AttorneyGeneral, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How frequently have court orderlies been obliged to travel interstate in each of the last three years because no suitable officer was available for this work in the State where the court was to sit? 1. What are the dutiets of a court orderly? 2. Were there no State court officers who could have been made available on these occasions? 3. Who is the person responsible for allocating court orderlies for duties in other States and for authorizing interstate travel for these officers? {: #subdebate-52-16-s1 .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. In connexion with sittings of the Commonwealth Industrial Court, a court attendant has been required to travel interstate during the past three years on the following occasions: - 1962 - two; 1961- nil; 1962- six. 1. A court attendant is required to be in fulltime attendance before, during and after the court sittings, to prepare the court room for the public and the judges, to open and close the courts, swear in witnesses, to assist with exhibits and court documents and, generally, to maintain order and decorum in and about the precincts of the court. 2. No arrangements exist for this purpose. 3. The registrar of the court concerned. {:#subdebate-52-17} #### New Guinea Resources Prospecting Company {: #subdebate-52-17-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has the Commonwealth completed the sale of its interest in the New Guinea Resources Prospecting Company? 1. If so, (a) who were the purchasers, (b) what price was paid, (c) what sum had been invested by the Commonwealth, and (d) what was the estimated value of the Commonwealth's share in the company's assets at the time of the sale? {: #subdebate-52-17-s1 .speaker-ZL6} ##### Mr Hasluck:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. No. 1. See answer to 1 above. {:#subdebate-52-18} #### Postal Department {: #subdebate-52-18-s0 .speaker-KXI} ##### Mr Webb: b asked the Treasurer, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Does the Postal Department have to pay interest on capital works funds which have been provided by the taxpayer? 1. Was the Postal Department charged £20,000,000 for interest last financial year? 2. If such funds were provided free of interest, could the charges for postages, telephones and telegrams be about 15 per cent, lower? 3. If so, could consideration be given to providing capital works funds for the Postal Department free of interest with the object of reducing charges for postal services? {: #subdebate-52-18-s1 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt:
LP -- The answers to the honorable members questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. For the purpose of its published commercial accounts, the Post Office is required to raise a debit for interest on the total net advances for Commonwealth funds made to it. The net advances are the excess of Post Office expenditure, from both Capital Works and Ordinary Services votes, over revenue. 1. An interest debit of £20,083,586 was included in the Post Office's published commercial accounts for 1962-63. 3 and 4. The Post Office is a business undertaking; it provides services for sale to the public and, as in the case of any other business, the charges for the services it provides must be fixed having regard to the real costs of providing those services. There is a very considerable amount of capital invested in the Post Office's business in the form of buildings, plant, telecommunications equipment and so on, and it is proper that interest should be charged on the capital so invested. It is true that the bulk of the capital invested was provided from Consolidated Revenue, but that is no reason for not charging the Post Office with interest. All of the issues relating to this matter were exhaustively considered by the Ad Hoc Committee which was appointed during 1959-60 to examine and report upon the financial relationship between the Post Office and the Treasury and other associated matters, and whose report was tabled in the House on 19th April, 1961. {:#subdebate-52-19} #### Reserve Bank Building {: #subdebate-52-19-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Treasurer, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Why was it decided to invite tenders for the construction of the new Commonwealth Reserve Bank in Melbourne in two stages? 1. Was this practice followed with the new Reserve Bank building in Sydney? 2. If not, why was the procedure changed? 3. On what date was the decision made to carry out the construction of the Melbourne Reserve Bank in two stages? 4. On what date were tenders invited for stage one of this building? 5. What particular phase of construction is covered by (a) stage one and (b) stage two? 6. What was the accepted tender price in respect of stage one of the construction? 7. What is the estimated total cost of the proposed building? {: #subdebate-52-19-s1 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt:
LP -- The following information in reply to the honorable member's question has been provided by the Reserve Bank of Australia: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. From evidence available as to the soil structure of the site it was considered essential to build the basement areas in conjunction with the excavation. This suggested the possibility of a two-stage construction aimed at saving up to nine months' construction time, thus offsetting any delays that might arise from soil and foundation problems. While work has been proceeding on stage 1, the architects have been able to complete the documentation of stage 2. 1. No. 2. It was possible to excavate the Sydney site prior to the calling of tenders for the construction of the building. The important difference between the two projects is the nature of the two sites. In Sydney the sandstone sub-soil did not require supporting, whereas in Melbourne the buildings on two boundaries had to be underpinned and the walls of the excavation supported as quickly as possible by the permanent structure. 3. Following discussions over a period of some months the bank on 8th September, 1961, approved the architects proceeding on the two-stage basis. 4. On 2nd December, 1961, the bank advertised in the Sydney and Melbourne press that tender documents for stage 1 of the Melbourne branch building would be available on 16th December, 1961, and that tenders would close on 16th January, 1962. Contractors who desired to tender were advised to submit their names to the bank in Sydney by 11th December. All contractors who so advised their names were invited to tender. 6. (a) Stage 1 consisted of demolition of two small buildings remaining on the partly cleared site, excavation of the site and erection of three basements, ground floor and up to first floor level in structural steel and reinforced concrete without finishes. {: type="a" start="b"} 0. Stage 2 will consist of taking over and completing the stage 1 structure and constructing a further 16 floors including all services to a height of 242 feet above Collins-street. 5. £405,335. 6. As the contract has not yet been let for the second and major stage of the proposed building the estimated cost is not available. {: #subdebate-52-19-s2 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Minister for Works, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Does his department follow the practice that where a contractor has submitted the lowest tender for any project for which tenders are invited but has not been given the contract, the contractor is given the reason for the rejection of his tender? 1. Did his department in its capacity as architect for the new Commonwealth Reserve Bank building in Sydney give advice to the Reserve Bank authorities when the tenders were under consideration? 2. Did his department recommend the rejection of the lowest two tenders received for this work and recommend the acceptance of the third lowest tender? 3. If so, what was the basis for or the reasoning behind this recommendation? {: #subdebate-52-19-s3 .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes, upon request. 1. Yes. 2. The Department of Works, as consultant, submitted an analysis of the tenders received to the Reserve Bank and acceptance by the bank of the third lowest tender was consistent with this analysis. 3. This analysis was based on the department's experience with and knowledge of the contractors, their ability, performance, both as to_ time for completion and quality of work and their capacity to efficiently erect a building of this size. {: #subdebate-52-19-s4 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Treasurer, upon notice - 1 Was any explanation given by the Reserve Bank to him or to the Government of the reason for the rejection of the two lowest tenders for the construction of the new Reserve Bank headquarters in Sydney? {: type="1" start="2"} 0. If so, will he reveal the details of this explanation? 1. Did the firm of Bruce Cameron and Associates, quantity surveyors of Sydney, who were originally employed on this work, submit its advice in writing or otherwise to the Reserve Bank on any aspect of the letting of the contracts? 2. Were these views critical of the methods adopted in dealing with the tenders received or of the decision to let the contract to the third lowest tenderer? 3. Were the services of Bruce Cameron and Associates in respect to this undertaking terminated at their own request or by action of the Reserve Bank? 4. Did the Master Builders Association at any time offer criticism of the manner in which the Reserve Bank had dealt with this matter? 5. Did he receive a request that he receive a deputation from the Master Builders Association to enable that organization to put its views before him regarding the handling of these tenders and the rejection of the two lowest submitted? 6. If so, was the deputation received and what views were expressed by the association's representatives? 7. Were Eastment and Sons, building contractors in Sydney, called in by the Reserve Bank to advise on the preliminary work associated with the building of the new bank premises in Sydney? 8. Who were the experts upon whose judgment the Reserve Bank relied in selecting the successful tenderer? 9. Will he have the official files of the Reserve Bank and any other documents or correspondence in the possession of the Government regarding the letting of this contract made available for the information of any honorable member desiring it? 10. If not, why not? {: #subdebate-52-19-s5 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. This matter has been fully covered in previous ministerial statements in the House, the most recent of which was my statement on the adjournment of the House on 8th November, 1962 (see "Hansard", pages 2283-2285). 3, 4 and 5. I have nothing to add to previous statements in the House on this matter by the Minister for Works. His most recent statement was on the adjournment of the House on' 8th November, 1962 (see "Hansard", page 2287). {: type="1" start="6"} 0. Not as far as I am aware. 7 and 8. I have no record of any such request. 1. No. 2. The Reserve Bank relied on the advice of the Department of Works. 11 and 12. I do not think that such action is called for. The matter has been fully investigated and dealt with in previous ministerial statements in the House. {:#subdebate-52-20} #### Drill Halls {: #subdebate-52-20-s0 .speaker-KGL} ##### Mr Harding: g asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Are any drill halls owned by the Army located in the showgrounds of any town in Queensland, if so, how many are there and where are they located? 1. Does the Army rent any buildings located in showgrounds for the use as drill halls; if so, how many buildings are so used and where are they located? 2. Up to what distance from the centre of a town could a drill hall be located and still be regarded as central? 3. What area of land would serve as an adequate substitute site for the drill hall at Ayr, North Queensland? 4. Is it essential to locate drill halls close to public transport these days when most people have vehicles? 5. Is a mile too far to ask a serviceman to travel to attend parades? {: #subdebate-52-20-s1 .speaker-K7J} ##### Mr Cramer:
LP -- The answer to the honorable member's questions are as follows - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. No. 1. Yes. Three buildings in the Ingham showgrounds, and two rooms under the grandstand in the showgrounds at Mount Morgan. 2. This would depend on the size of the town concerned, but in some cases up to half mile could be regarded as satisfactory. 3. The present Ayr depot site occupies one acre and an area of at least equal size would be required. 4. Yes. 5. One mile may be reasonable. However, in a hot and humid climate this may be considered a little too far to walk, particularly if a soldier is to retain his smart appearance for formal parades. An entirely different yardstick would be employed for exercise in the field. {:#subdebate-52-21} #### United Nations {: #subdebate-52-21-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: m asked the Acting Minister for External Affairs, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Did the Minister in answer to a question which I asked without notice on 24th October, say that he had had no experience whatever of the United Nations seeking his view as to the suitability of a man who had sought employment with it and that he knew of no practice under which it did so? 1. It is a fact that in a letter on 25th October, the Minister informed me that the United Nations and other international agencies, while not seeking Australian approval, generally notify his department before approaching the individual to whom it is proposed to offer an appointment, that his department then makes appropriate police and other enquiries to ascertain whether the individual is of good character, that it is not the department's practice to discuss retails of these enquiries either with the United Nations or the individual and that, if the enquiries reveal that the individual would be unsuitable for governmental support for his appointment, the Government would normally so inform the United Nations? 2. In how many cases in the last five years (a) has the United Nations or other agency notified his department that it proposed to offer an appointment and (b) has his department informed the United Nations or agency that the proposed appointee would be unsuitable for governmental support? 3. For how many years has his department received such notification and given such information? 4. What other countries are known to give such information? 5. Are the United Nations and the agencies authorized or accustomed to inform the proposed appointee of the information received from the Government? {: #subdebate-52-21-s1 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 1. Yes. 2. No detailed statistics are maintained, but there have been several hundred cases and only in a small proportion have the proposed appointees been considered unsuitable. 3. Since 1951. 4. No information available. 5. The United Nations and the agencies are not authorised to pass on such information but whether they do so or are accustomed to doing so is a matter on which I have no information. {:#subdebate-52-22} #### Taxation {: #subdebate-52-22-s0 .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: y asked the Treasurer, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What advantages do companies gain by having a registered office in the Australian Capital Territory? 1. Do these companies make a saving on any form of taxation compared to companies whose registered offices are in other States? 2. If so, on what form of taxation is the saving made? {: #subdebate-52-22-s1 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. I am not in a position to give an assessment of the advantages which companies might gain, or might hope to gain, by having a registered office in the Australian Capital Territory. 2 and 3. As far as I am aware there is no advantage to be gained by a company in regard to Commonwealth taxes by reason of its having a registered office ia the Australian Capita) Territory. I am not able to say whether a company having a registered office in the Australian Capital Territory would make savings in State taxes. {:#subdebate-52-23} #### Debenture Issues {: #subdebate-52-23-s0 .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: y asked the Treasurer, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is he able to say whether Goodwins Limited, Newtown, Sydney, electrical appliance retailers, is making a debenture issue of £250,000? 1. Is any form of approval regarding rates of interest, financial stability, &c, required from the Treasurer for issue of this kind; if so, did Goodwins Limited make the necessary application? 2. What investigations are made by the Treasurer into the trading practices and policies of companies prior to a debenture issue? 3. What protection is available to shareholders and the public to ensure that their funds are invested in companies which will strictly adhere to ethical trading methods? {: #subdebate-52-23-s1 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Companies are not required to report proposed debenture issues to the Treasurer. 1. No. 2. None. The Treasurer is not required to make any such investigation. 3. It is a matter for each investor to decide in what type of company he is prepared to invest. However, companies seeking share capital or loan money on debenture must comply with the prospectus provisions of the companies legislation and lodge a copy of the prospectus with the registrar of companies in the State or Territory concerned. In addition, there ere, of course, laws governing illegal practices of any persons including companies. {:#subdebate-52-24} #### Hire Purchase {: #subdebate-52-24-s0 .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: y asked the Acting AttorneyGeneral, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is he able to say whether Television and General Finance Company (Australia) Limited, 16 Barker-street, Canberra, the firm financing sales made by Goodwins Limited, Newtown, Sydney, by reason of its registration in the Australian Capital Territory, is able to avoid its obligations under the hire-purchase legislation of the State governments? 1. If the company is able to avoid these obligations when are amendments to be made to the Hire Purchase Ordinance of the Australian Capital Territory in order to prevent the firm of Goodwins Limited from evading their hire-purchase obligations under State laws? {: #subdebate-52-24-s1 .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. The answer to question 1 requests the expression of a legal opinion, which I am not prepared to give. Question 2 does not, therefore, arise as asked, but I mention that the Australian Capital Territory ordinance has no effect on the operation of the laws of the States. {: #subdebate-52-24-s2 .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: y asked the Acting AttorneyGeneral, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is he able to say whether Goodwins Limited, Newtown, Sydney, whose business activities have been under criticism recently, is making a debenture issue of £250,000? 1. Are hire-purchase contracts for goods supplied by this company covered by the Television and General Finance Company (Australia) Limited, 16 Barker-street, Canberra, which has also been the subject of criticism? 2. Is he able to say whether he has any authority, and, if so, what is the extent of the authority, to investigate the activities of these companies in order to ensure that the debenture subscribers and the public are dealing with reputable organizations? {: #subdebate-52-24-s3 .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. A prospectus for a debenture issue of £250,000 by Goodwins was, I understand, filed with and approved by the New South Wales Registrar of Companies; that prospectus has since been lodged with the Registrar of Companies in the Australian Capital Territory and, I understand, also in the States of Queensland and South Australia. 1. I understand so. 2. I could and would cause inquiries to be made in respect of any company if there was evidence that that company had in carrying on business in the Australian Capital Territory committed a breach of law. It is a question for a person to decide in what type of company he is prepared to invest and with what type of company he is prepared to do business. {:#subdebate-52-25} #### High Court of Australia {: #subdebate-52-25-s0 .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr Hayden: n asked the Acting AttorneyGeneral, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is the Privy Council a more capable body for deciding Australian legal issues than the High Court of Australia? 1. Will he consider establishing the High Court of Australia as the court of final appeal for deciding Australian legal issues? {: #subdebate-52-25-s1 .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. This is a matter of opinion. 1. The question asks for a statement of the Government's policy. {:#subdebate-52-26} #### Commonwealth Motor Vehicles {: #subdebate-52-26-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Minister for Supply, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What persons have the unrestricted use of cars from the Commonwealth car pools established in various parts of Australia? 1. Does this privilege extend to members of their families? 2. Are records kept as to the mileage travelled and the cost of operation, including the Government driver's pay in each instance? 3. If so, are such records subject to any check by any officer in his department or the AuditorGeneral's Office? {: #subdebate-52-26-s1 .speaker-KEN} ##### Mr Fairhall:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. The Prime Minister, ex-Prime Ministers (while members of Parliament), Ministers, The Speaker, the President of the Senate, the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition and their wives are entitled to unrestricted use of motor transport. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. Records are kept of the mileage travelled and the time taken in each instance and from this data the cost is computed. 1. Each account is examined and checked and is then subject to normal check by the Commonwealth Audit Office. {: #subdebate-52-26-s2 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What persons have the unrestricted use of Commonwealth cars in Canberra? 1. Does this privilege extend to members of their families? 2. Is a record kept in each instance of the mileage travelled and the cost of operation, including the government driver's pay? 3. If so, are these records subject to any check by any officer in his department or the AuditorGeneral's Office? {: #subdebate-52-26-s3 .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. The Prime Minister, ex-Prime Ministers (while members of Parliament), Ministers, the President, the Speaker, and the Leader of the Opposition and their wives, and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives, are entitled to unrestricted official motor car transport. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. Yes. 1. Yes, they are subject to check by the internal auditor of the department and are available for any check by the staff of the Auditor-General. {: #subdebate-52-26-s4 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Minister of Supply, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has **Senator Sir Walter** Cooper had the use of a Commonwealth car at any time since he ceased to be Minister of Repatriation other than for travel from his home to the airport or railway station and return when proceeding to or returning from the Parliamentary sittings in Canberra? 1. If so, for what purpose was authority for the use of a Commonwealth car given in each instance? {: #subdebate-52-26-s5 .speaker-KEN} ##### Mr Fairhall:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. **Senator Sir Walter** Cooper is provided on request with Commonwealth motor transport as follows: - Under the conditions relating to the entitlement of ex-Ministers, i.e. transport between their homes and airports, railway stations and wharves. 1. As approved by the Minister for the Interior in January, 1961, for travel to and from his office in Brisbane and for official purposes in the metropolitan area. In addition **Sir Walter** Cooper was supplied with transport in Melbourne on 26th and 27th January, 1961, after ceasing to be Minister for Repatriation on 28th December, 1960. {:#subdebate-52-27} #### Export Income {: #subdebate-52-27-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Treasurer, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What percentage of export income for the year ended 30th June, 1962, was required to pay (a) interest on Australa's overseas debt, and (b) dividends and profits remitted overseas? 1. What percentage of export income would have been absorbed in the latter instance if all profits earned by foreign investments had been sent overseas? 2. What were the relative figures for the year ended 30th June, 1949? {: #subdebate-52-27-s1 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt:
LP -- The answer to the honorable member's questions is as follows: - >Preliminary estimates for 1961-62 show interest paid on government debt domiciled overseas as about 3 per cent, of the value of merchandise exports; dividends, profits, other interest, &c. remitted overseas as about 7 per cent, and total private investment income payable overseas as about 11 per cent, of the value of merchandise exports. The figures for 1948-49 are 4 per cent., 3 per cent, and 4 per cent respectively. {:#subdebate-52-28} #### Restrictive Trade Practices {: #subdebate-52-28-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Acting AttorneyGeneral, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Does the Fire Accident Underwriters Association fix the rates which all companies in Australia engaged in this type of business must charge? 1. Does this arrangement come within the category of restrictive trade practices? 2. Does the Commonwealth possess any power to deal with this situation? 3. If so, what are the details? {: #subdebate-52-28-s1 .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth:
LP -- The answer to the honorable member's questions is as follows: - 1, 2, 3 and 4. I have no knowledge of this but if the honorable member can supply information as to such an arrangement I shall be happy to receive it {: #subdebate-52-28-s2 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Acting AttorneyGeneral, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Did the Parramatta Council bring to the notice of the Attorney-General the fact that companies tendering for the supply of petrol and oil products to the Council during the last two years had all quoted identical prices? 1. Did the council express the view that this evidence of collusion among the tendering companies was designed to defeat the purpose of tendering which is to keep prices down by competitive bidding? 2. Are these companies engaging in activities which can be classified as restrictive trade practices? 3. Did the Parramatta Council seek his aid as Attorney-General and as the local federal parliamentary representative in securing suitable action to end this undesirable practice? 4. If so, what advice or assistance did the Attorney-General give the council in its efforts to secure a satisfactory conclusion of this matter? {: #subdebate-52-28-s3 .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - 1, 2 and 4. The Town Clerk of the Parramatta Council forwarded to the honorable member for Parramatta a letter dated 16th August, 1962, reading as follows: - "At a meeting of this Council held on August 13, the following resolution was carried: - >That this Council record its dissatisfaction with the tenders received for the supply of motor fuels and oils, which by their uniformity evidence collaboration on the part of tenderers, and considers that this practice obviously defeats the purpose of calling tenders by removing the incentive of competition, and it therefore resolves that all Metropolitan Councils, including County Councils, be circularized and advised of these views and asked if they will attend a conference with a view to forming a co-operative to import these products; that in the meantime, copies of the 1960, 1961 and 1962 petrol and oil schedules be forwarded to Parliamentary representatives, Messrs. Barwick, Whitlam, Uren and Armitage, to ensure that the Federal Government will take action against the petrol cartel.' "I attach schedules of the tenders received by this Council in the last three years, which clearly reveal the basis for this resolution and this Council considers that the position is one of utmost concern which should be remedied without delay. "In terms of the latter part of the resolution, it is asked that you might kindly take appropriate action with a view to the Government ensuring that this most unsatisfactory position is remedied. " I shall be pleased to have your advice at your early convenience." > >The answer to this part of the question requires the expression of a legal opinion, which I am not prepared to give. > >In a letter dated 7th September, 1962, a reply was sent to the Council in the following terms: - " I have your letter of 16 August, 1962, conveying for my information the terms of 8 resolution on the subject of collusive tendering by oil companies, carried at a meeting of your Council on August 13. " I have, as you know, been studying for some time the extent of, and the need for control of, restrictive trade practices in industry, and I shall be glad to add the material you have forwarded to my already very considerable file. " You will appreciate that, until some comprehensive scheme is introduced, the unaided powers of the Commonwealth with respect to activities in the course of intra-State trade - of which the submission of tenders for the supply of petroleum products to your Council would be an example - are limited, and for that reason I am unable to take any immediate action in the matter. On the other hand, the State lacks no constitutional power itself in this connexion. " You may be sure that the situation you have brought to notice will be taken fully into account in the formulation of any proposals the Government may put forward." {:#subdebate-52-29} #### Banking {: #subdebate-52-29-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Treasurer, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Are policy directives given by the Reserve Bank to the trading banks from time to time regarded as strictly confidential? 1. If so, why? {: #subdebate-52-29-s1 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt:
LP -- The Reserve Bank of Australia has provided the following advice in reply to the honorable member's question: - >The Reserve Bank aims to keep the public informed of the policies which it is currently pursuing and which it requires trading banks to observe. To this end it issues from time to time public statements on policy matters, including bank lending, bank interest rates and banking liquidity. Policies followed are also reported in the Reserve Bank's annual report. > >In addition to the publication of information about current policies, the Reserve Bank continuously maintains a close working relationship with the trading banks and discusses with them the application of current policies in prevailing conditions and in such discussions would seek to amplify and clarify the policies as necessary and deal with any problems arising from them. {:#subdebate-52-30} #### Department of Works: Quantity Surveyor {: #subdebate-52-30-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Minister for Works, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What specific duties are performed by a private quantity surveyor, whose services have been engaged by the Commonwealth on a government or semi-government construction project, after the contract has been let? 1. Has it been the practice of his department to undertake per medium of its own staff any adjustments in the estimates deemed necessary after the signing of the contract? {: #subdebate-52-30-s1 .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. It is not the practice of the Department of Works, after a contract has been let, to engage private quantity surveyors for any duties associated with the contract during the constructional period. 1. Yes. {:#subdebate-52-31} #### Taxation {: #subdebate-52-31-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Treasurer, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is he able to say whether **Mr. F.** W. Theeman, chairman of directors of Osti Holdings Limited, in commenting on the taking over by his company of Jones Brothers Proprietary Limited, clothing manufacturers, which had suffered substantial losses, stated that the acquisition gave £150,000 of tax remissions for an outlay of £32,500? 1. How, under the existing Commonwealth taxation law, can losses sustained by a company be used, as in this instance, to benefit the acquiring company by almost five times the total purchase price paid? {: #subdebate-52-31-s1 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. I understand that such a statement has been the subject of newspaper reports. 1. A company (whether or not a member of a group of companies) is entitled under the income tax law, to deduct a loss incured by that company from income derived by that company in an income year not later than seven years after the year of income in which the loss was incurred. If the shares in a company that has incurred losses are acquired by a public company, the losses may be recouped for income tax purposes from subsequent income derived by the acquired company within the seven year period. It would be possible for an acquiring company to arrange for the whole or part of its business activities to be transferred to an acquired company with the result that subsequent profits arising from those activities would form part of the assessable income of the acquired company. Prior year losses of the acquired company could then be offset against the current profits it derives. {:#subdebate-52-32} #### Balance of Payments {: #subdebate-52-32-s0 .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr Jones: s asked the Treasurer, upon notice - >Will he supply details of the amount of £93,200,000 shown against item No. 4 in table 2, page 4, of the document entitled "The Australian Balance of Payments 1957-58 to 1961-62 " (August, 1962) published by the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics? {: #subdebate-52-32-s1 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt:
LP -- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows: - >The amount of £93,200,000 shown in part of item 4 of the current account of Australia's balance of international payments for 1961-62, represents the estimated expenditure by oversea ships in Australian ports. It includes purchases of stores together with such items as port charges, stevedoring costs and crews' expenditure in port. Stores purchased for oversea aircraft are also included. {:#subdebate-52-33} #### Company Finance {: #subdebate-52-33-s0 .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: y asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is the Treasury, through Qantas Empire Airways Limited and Kenmaster Holdings Limited providing the funds to buy out the shareholders in Qantas Wentworth Holdings Limited for a sum of approximately £530,000; if not, by what methods are the funds being raised? 1. Is this offer fair, business-like and necessary? 2. What maximum limit has the Government fixed for the total cost of the new Qantas hotel, including the building, the land and establishment expenses? 3. Is it a fact that with the advent of jet aircraft, stopovers at hotels in important centres such as New York and Chicago have been halved? 4. Is it a fact that there is a surplus of firstclass hotel accommodation in Sydney? 5. What effect, if any, will the fact that Qantas owns its own hotel have on the goodwill it presently enjoys from other accommodation interests? 6. How many seats in Qantas aircraft were occupied and paid for during the twelve months ended 30th June, 1962, for (a) inward, and (b) outward flights to and from Australia showing the inward and outward flights from and to New Zealand separately? - 8. Will the Minister provide a list of the directors of (a) Qantas Empire Airways Limited, (b) Kenmaster Holdings Limited, (c) Qantas Wentworth Holdings Limited, (d) companies holding "A" preferred shares in Qantas Wentworth Holdings Limited and (c) the directors, if any, of Qantas Empire Airways Limited holding " A " preferred shares? 7. is there any likely conflict of interests or duty by any of the directors of Qantas Empire Airways Limited should they be interested in these companies? {: #subdebate-52-33-s1 .speaker-KWH} ##### Mr Townley:
LP -- The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following information: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. No. Kenmaster Holdings Limited is obtaining loan funds from an assurance company to enable the initial purchase to be effected and to finance building operations. Subsequently Kenmaster Holdings Limited propose to make a public share issue of £1,500,000 to obtain further capital. Under the terms of the offer made by Kenmaster Holdings Limited shareholders of Qantas Wentworth Holdings Limited, may leave the proceeds of the sale of their shares on deposit at 7 per cent, per annum, pending their ultimate acceptance of rights to shares in the new hotel company. A number of shareholders have already indicated their intention to accept this offer. 1. Yes. Prior to the offer being made by Kenmaster Holdings Limited for the shares in Qantas Wentworth Holdings Limited, values were obtained from two prominent independent firms of chartered accountants and the actual offer was recommended by one of Australia's leading firms of stock brokers as being fair and reasonable. It was necessary to effect the purchase of Qantas Wentworth Holdings Limited, in view of the controlling shareholding in that company being by Qantas Empire Airways Limited and in view of the proposal to build a new hotel, at it was considered that on the announcement of a new issue, the value of Qantas Wentworth Holdings Limited, shares could be prejudiced in stock exchange listings. 2. A capital expenditure of £5,150,000 is required to meet the estimated costs of the new hotel and this includes establishment expenses. The land is already owned by Qantas and will be leased to the new hotel company. 3. I have no specific information of the effect of jet aircraft on accommodation requirements at New York and Chicago. However, Sydney is the major Australian port of entry of all international airlines and consequently, it is essential to provide adequate and suitable accommodation in this capital city. 4. A number of surveys have been made which show that there is not only a shortage of first class hotel accommodation in Sydney at the present time, but by 1965 and 1966, when the hotel is completed, there will be still a large deficiency in rooms required despite the projected completion of the new Qantas hotel and other hotels in course of construction in Sydney. 5. Qantas has held a controlling interest in the Wentworth Hotel, Sydney, for twelve years and its management has enjoyed favorable relationships with other accommodation interests. It is considered unlikely that this relationship will be affected. 6. For the period of twelve months ending 30th June, 1962, the number of paying passengers carried by Qantas was as follows: - Into Australia, 60,405 of which 16,118 came from New Zealand;- out of Australia, 56,273 of whom 16,619 went to New Zealand. 8. (a) **Sir Hudson** Fysh **(chairman), Mr. R. R. Law-Smith, Mr. M. C. Buttfield, Sir Roland Wilson, Sir Norman Nock and Sir James Kirby; (b) Sir Hudson** Fysh **(chairman), Mr. R. R. Law-Smith and Sir Norman Nock; (c) Sir Hudson** Fysh **(chairman), Mr. R. R. Law-Smith, Sir Norman Nock and Mr. S. McNeill; (d)** a total of 29 public, private, and family companies held " A " class shares in Qantas Wentworth Holdings Limited; (e) **Sir Hudson** Fysh and **Sir Norman** Nock. 7. It is considered unlikely that there would be any conflict of interest or duty by any of the directors of Qantas Empire Airways Limited, Qa'ntas Wentworth Holdings Limited, and Kenmaster Holdings Limited. {:#subdebate-52-34} #### Aircraft Accident {: #subdebate-52-34-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What additional expenditure will result from the Commonwealth's acceptance of the recommendations of the board of enquiry into the loss of the Ansett-A.N.A. Viscount aircraft in Botany Bay on the 30th November, 1961, for improved means of ensuring safe air travel? 1. Is it proposed to recoup all or any of this additional expenditure from airline operating companies and insurance companies who will benefit from the new arrangements? {: #subdebate-52-34-s1 .speaker-KWH} ##### Mr Townley:
LP -- The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following information: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Experiments are now being conducted to confirm suitable methods of implementing the recommendations of the board of enquiry on weather information, ground radar and the extension of such facilities to other airports. The additional eventual capital cost to the Commonwealth is estimated to be £400,000. Additional cost of operation is estimated at £100,000 per annum. 1. The Government's policy of recovery of expenditure on air navigation aids is laid down in the Airlines Agreements Acts 1952-1961 and was expressed also in the Treasurer's budget speech of 1960. Payments by the users of facilities provided is given effect to by relevant Air Navigation Charges Acts. {: #subdebate-52-34-s2 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Did the board of enquiry into the loss of the Ansett-A.N.A. Viscount aircraft in Botany Bay on the 30th November, 1961, recommend that when thunderstorm activity is present at or in the vicinity of an airport, the approach controller should be responsible for determining whether the departure path designated for an aircraft is such as to lead it into severe turbulence areas? 1. Was this recommendation rejected by the Government? 2. Did the Air Pilots Association declare that it was a practical proposition and strongly urge its acceptance? 3. Is the Air Pilots Association a body competent to give advice of this nature? 4. If so, will the Minister state precisely the reason for rejecting the advice of the association whose members have a vital interest in ensuring the safety of flying operations? 5. Is it a fact that with private airline companies, whose objective is to extract the greatest profit from their investment, the tendency of some pilots may be to take risks rather than delay the departure of aircraft which may disorganize flight schedules, earn the displeasure of their employers and jeopardize their employment? 6. Will the Minister give further consideration to the adoption of the change recommended by the board of enquiry and supported by the Air Pilots Association? {: #subdebate-52-34-s3 .speaker-KWH} ##### Mr Townley:
LP -- The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following information: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. No. The board recommended in the second sentence of its first recommendation as follows: " In particular when thunderstorm activity is present at or in the vicinity of the airport he should be responsible for determining whether a departure path designated for an aircraft is not such as to lead the aircraft into regions where severe turbulence may be encountered." This recommendation in effect meant that the approach controller would be required to give an unqualified guarantee that any departure path he designated would not lead an aircraft into areas of severe turbulence. 1. Yes. The consensus of expert technical and operational opinion was that there was no equipment available anywhere in the world which would enable a controller to detect every area of turbulence with sufficient precision to give such a guarantee. I should point out that the several other recommendations made by *he board were accepted by the Government. In answer to another question I have already indicated the capital and annual cost involved in accepting the recommendations. 2. In reply to a similar question from the honorable member, I made it quite clear on 24th October, 1962, that the Australian Federation of Air Pilots had said that the board's recommendation should be interpreted in a particular way and if the Government accepted their interpretation the federation believed the recommendation was a practical proposition. As I pointed out at that time, the Government rejected the federation's interpretation because it implied that the board was now recommending the adoption of a procedure which has been followed by air traffic controllers for many years. The federation agreed that the board's recommendation as interpreted by the Government, by the major airline operators and by the Civil Operations Officers Association of Australia, could not be implemented. 4 and 5. The Australian Federation of Air Pilots is certainly competent to give advice on operational matters. The Government consulted the federation, as it did also the Civil Air Operations Officers' Association of Australia, whose membership includes several hundred practising air traffic controllers. It also had the advice of the most experienced pilots in the domestic airlines and in Qantas. The majority opinion was strongly against adopting the recommendation for the precise reason given in the answer to question 2 above. - 6. In its over-all supervision of operations by Australian airline operators, my department has not detected any evidence to show that any pilots at any time place schedule keeping before operational safety. 3. At the time of presenting the board's report to Parliament and during the subsequent debate in the Senate, I explained carefully and fully the Government's reasons for not accepting this particular recommendation. I am not aware of any new factor which should cause me to review the Government's decision at this time. It should be appreciated that in the main, however, the Government did accept the recommendations of the board. It rejected only one procedural change which the consensus of expert technical and operational opinion considered impracticable. {:#subdebate-52-35} #### Civil Aviation {: #subdebate-52-35-s0 .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr Wentworth: h asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What weight of fuel would be carried by (a) a Trident, (b) a Boeing 727 and (c) a Caravelle 10A aircraft, carying their full payloads of 22,900 lb., 26,500 lb., and 18,045 lb., leaving Essendon for Sydney when normal weather conditions obtain at Sydney? 1. If conditions at Sydney are such that special provision should be made for use of an alternate aerodrome what aerodromes would be selected? 2. What extra weight of fuel would have to be carried by- each of these aircraft to provide for the possible use of such alternate aerodromes? 3. What is the maximum weight of fuel which could be carried by each of these aircraft taking off from Essendon airport with a full payload and under favorable conditions? 4. What are the least favorable conditions of wind and temperature which might reasonably be expected for take-off at Essendon airport? 5. Under these conditions, what is the maximum fuel weight which could be carried by each of these aircraft taking off with full payload? {: #subdebate-52-35-s1 .speaker-KWH} ##### Mr Townley:
LP -- The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following information: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The weight of fuel required to bc carried would be: Trident IE (maximum payload 22,900 lb.), 13,900 lb.; Boeing 727 (maximum payload 25,000 lb.) 17,820 lb.; Caravelle 10A (maximum payload 18,045 lb.), 13,150 lb. 1. The selection of an alternate aerodrome is dependent on the weather conditions forecast for the possible alternate aerodromes, Brisbane would be the most remote alternate aerodrome from Sydney likely to be required. 2. The extra weight of fuel required when Brisbane is specified as the alternate aerodrome would be- Trident IE, 6,850 lb.; Boeing 727, 10,050 lb.; Caravelle 10A, 7,700 lb. 3. With full payload under standard temperature of 50° F. and no wind, the maximum fuel uplift from Essendon would be - Trident IE, 20,900 lb.; Boeing 727, 37,500 lb.; Caravelle 10A, 27,550 lb/ 4. The least favorable combination which might reasonably be expected would be zero wind and temperature of 91" F. 5. With a zero wind and temperature of 91° F. the maximum fuel weight at take-off with full payload would be- Trident IE, 17,250 lb.; Boeing 727, 37,000 lb.; Caravelle 10A, 27,550 lb. {: #subdebate-52-35-s2 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Does Trans-Australia Airlines engage in the business of charter flights in all States; if not, why not? 1. If restrictions exist which limit the rights of Trans-Australia Airlines to seek this type of business wherever it is available, are similar restrictions applicable to Ansett-A.N.A.? {: #subdebate-52-35-s3 .speaker-KWH} ##### Mr Townley:
LP -- The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following information: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. As stated in reply to Question Nu. 141, dated 16th October, 1962, T.A.A.'s rights to engage in charter flights were prescribed in legislation introduced in 1945 by a previous Government. Under that legislation it may operate charter flights as incidental to the operation of airline services between States, between a State and a Territory and between points in a Territory. Subsequently, steps were taken which enabled Trans-Australia Airlines to operate airline service within Queensland and within Tasmania. No direction has been given affecting the statutory right of Trans-Australia Airlines to discharge fully its functions and duties under that legislation. 1. Ansett-A.N.A. is a privately owned company and as such its rights to engage in charter flights are not prescribed in any statute. However the company must comply with relevant State and Commonwealth legislation regarding the obtaining of necessary licences before engaging in charter flights. {: #subdebate-52-35-s4 .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: t asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Are there any restrictions imposed upon Trans-Australia Airlines in the chartering of helicopters for intra-state operations? 1. If so, (a) what is the nature of the restrictions, (b) why are they imposed and (c) what is the legislative sanction for their imposition? {: #subdebate-52-35-s5 .speaker-KWH} ##### Mr Townley:
LP -- The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following information: - 1 and 2. As indicated in a reply to question No. 141 dated 16th October, 1962, T.A.A.'s powers were prescribed in legislation introduced in 1945 by a previous government. Under the legislation T.A.A. may do all that is necessary or convenient to be done for, or as incidental to, or in connexion with, the establishment, maintenance or operation by the commission of airline services, for the transport, for reward, of passengers and goods by air between States, between a State and a Territory and within a Territory. Subsequently the legislation was introduced to permit T.A.A. to operate within Queensland and Tasmania. Last year a Sydney helicopter firm challenged certain helicopter operations of T.A.A. as being outside the scope of its powers. This view was upheld in the courts and T.A.A. naturally has taken action to ensure that its current operations are conducted within its powers as prescribed in legislation passed by Parliament. {:#subdebate-52-36} #### Papua and New Guinea {: #subdebate-52-36-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: m asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice - >What steps has he so far taken to set up a coffee marketing board in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea as recommended in the report made by the Tariff Board on 27th April, 1962, and tabled in the House on 15th November, 1962? {: #subdebate-52-36-s1 .speaker-ZL6} ##### Mr Hasluck:
LP -- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows: - >The question of a coffee marketing board in Papua and New Guinea was discussed with the industry several times before the Tariff Board inquiry, in connexion with arrangements for the marketing of the Territory coffee crop. The view taken by the Government is that a marketing board should not be imposed on the producers and owners of a crop but should be organized at their request and in consultation with them. This consultation is close and continuous. {:#subdebate-52-37} #### Kingsford-Smith Airport {: #subdebate-52-37-s0 .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr Jones: s asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Why are the floor tiles being taken up in the Trans-Australia Airlines lounge at Kingsford-Smith Airport? 1. Who will meet the cost of lifting and relaying these tiles and what is the estimated cost of the work? 2. Has it been found necessary to lift these tiles because there is no damp course in the floor. If so, who was responsible for leaving out the damp course? 3. What was the original cost of this tiled floor? {: #subdebate-52-37-s1 .speaker-KWH} ##### Mr Townley:
LP -- The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following information: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The floor tiles were unsatisfactorily laid and were lifting and becoming dangerous to the public. 1. The cost of lifting and relaying the tiles will be met by the contractor, sub-contractor and th ' supplier, without prejudice. The cost of the work is estimated at between £600 and £700. 2. A damp course of waterproof cement rendering was laid over the original floor before the tiles were laid. 3. The original cost of the tiled floor now being relaid was approximately £950. West New Guinea. {: #subdebate-52-37-s2 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies:
LP s. - On 5th December, the honorable member for Swan **(Mr. Cleaver)** in a question without notice about West New Guinea asked me whether it was a fact that the United Nations had taken over from the Netherlands a number of small naval vessels for patrol duties off the coast of West New Guinea; was this move discussed in any way with the Australian Government; what is its real significance; and has the United Nations patrol any secondary role in respect of quarantine. I have now ascertained that the United Nations Office of Public Information announced on 26th November that the first naval vessel of the United Nations Security Force entered Hollandia Bay on 22nd November. The vessel is one of nine naval craft taken over from the Royal Netherlands Navy. The move was not discussed with the Australian Government and there is no reason why it should have been so discussed. According to the statement by the United Nations Secretariat (a copy of which is available to members in the Parliamentary Library) the general role of the craft is to provide transport facilities for the United Nations Security Force. It was also stated that the vessels will carry out patrol duties, and at the present time some of the boats are engaged in checking unauthorized movement of local craft along the southern coast. This is a quarantine measure imposed to confine the present cholera epidemic to one area. Apprenticeship. {: #subdebate-52-37-s3 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies:
LP s. - On 27th November, the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith **(Mr. Curtin)** asked whether I would follow the lead given by the New South Wales Premier and take steps to increase the number of apprentices in the Commonwealth Public Service. The honorable member was under a. distinct misapprehension in believing that the lead come from the Premier of New South Wales. In fact, it came from the Commonwealth, which has been concerned over the inadequate number of apprentices coming forward and has been making strenuous and imaginative efforts to increase the flow. It is perhaps not sufficiently known that over the years some Commonwealth departments and instrumentalities have set an example in the training of apprentices in excess of their own actual needs. The Commonwealth is, however, mindful of the importance of still further increasing apprenticeship opportunities. Earlier this year my colleague the Minister for Labour and National Service wrote to those Commonwealth Ministers whose departments, or the authorities for which they are responsible, employ tradesmen, urging the importance of their trying to increase apprenticeship openings in Commonwealth establishments. This has already led to additional apprentices being taken on during the current year, and it is anticipated that apprenticeship intakes during 1963 will be higher than previously. The honorable member may also be interested to know that the Minister for Labour and National Service simultaneously wrote to the State Minister of Labour, amongst other persons, asking them to bring to the attention of their State colleagues administering departments and agencies employing apprentices the importance of their trying to increase apprenticeship openings in their establishments. It is pleasing to see that steps are now being taken in New South Wales and in other States to increase apprenticeship openings in their employment. Airstrip at Lord Howe Island. {: #subdebate-52-37-s4 .speaker-KWH} ##### Mr Townley:
LP -- On 4th December, the honorable member for West Sydney **(Mr. Minogue)** asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation - Can he say when construction of the airstrip at Lord Howe Island will be commenced? Is he aware that, over the last five years, this Government has spent £473,000 in financing the present set-up of the flying boat base situated at Rose Bay, Sydney? I am told that the cost of the new airstrip at Lord Howe Island will be approximately £450,000- about the amount that has been spent over the past five years on facilities at Rose Bay for the present very unsatisfactory flying boat service to the island. The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows: - The Government has consistently taken the view that as Lord Howe Island is under the administration of the State of New South Wales, the provision of an aerodrome on the island is a State responsibility. These views were in fact communicated by the Prime Minister to the Premier of New South Wales by letter dated 19th March, 1962, and it is believed that an answer has not yet been received to that communication. I am unable to state, therefore, when construction works are likely to be commenced. Dealing with the second part of the question, it is true that over the past five years the expenditure at Rose Bay Flying Boat Base and Lord Howe Island together with the payment of subsidies to ensure continuation of the existing flying boat service has amounted to approximately £473,000. However, of this figure over £157,000 was associated with the Lord Howe Island flying boat base with only a small portion being associated with the operation of marine craft required solely in connexion with the flying boat service. In fact, if an aerodrome were developed at Lord Howe Island to replace the flying boat base it is to be expected that the annua] costs would be considerably increased beyond the figure of £157,000 over five years because of the necessity for additional work in the form of runway maintenance. In connexion with the latter part of the honorable member's question regarding the likely cost of aerodrome development on the island, a figure approximately £750,000 has been mentioned in correspondence between the Commonwealth and the State. The latest investigations made as a result of a recent visit to the island by officers from Commonwealth and State departments, indicates that the cost for one runway could be of the order of £900,000. In summary I can only repeat that the provision of an aerodrome on Lord Howe Island is primarily a matter for the State and at no stage has the State been led to believe or given any hope that the Commonwealth would find a major share of the money that would be required to build an aerodrome at Lord Howe Island. It is anticipated that some discussions will take place shortly between Commonwealth and State representatives to determine ways and means by which this project might be advanced. {:#subdebate-52-38} #### Unemployment {: #subdebate-52-38-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What percentage of those persons at present registered as unemployed with the Commonwealth Employment Service are (a) skilled, (b) semi-skilled or (c) unskilled workers? {: type="1" start="2"} 0. How many of those persons are under the age of 21 years? 1. How many of those persons have been without work for periods of (a) up to (i) three months, (ii) six months, (iii) twelve months and (b) over twelve months? {: #subdebate-52-38-s1 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. An analysis of persons registered for employment with the Commonwealth Employment Service at 2nd November, 1962, showing the numbers and percentages in broad occupational groups is as follows: - That statistics of persons registered for employment with the Commonwealth Employment Service are of those who claimed when registering that they were not employed and who were recorded as unplaced at 2nd November, 1962. The number includes those referred to employers and those who may have obtained employment without notifying the Commonwealth Employment Service. It also includes recipients of unemployment benefit. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Of the 72,648 persons registered for employment at 2nd November, 18,533 (7,686 males and 10,847 females) were under the age of 21 years. 1. There are no statistics available which would enable an answer to be provided.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 6 December 1962, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1962/19621206_reps_24_hor37/>.