24th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Sir John McLeay) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I preface a question addressed to the Minister for Social Services by referring to recent cases in which sufferers from a complaint known as hole in the heart were enabled, as a result of generous financial donations from the public, to receive the medical treatment necessary to ensure to them a full and healthy future. I ask the Minister whether the Government will consider amending the Social Services Act to provide that ail necessary medical and travelling expenses incurred in receiving such treatment shall be met by the Federal Government and thus ensure that no sufferer will be denied the opportunity to recover fully from this dread complaint.
– The honorable member for Bowman should address his question to the appropriate Minister, who, in this instance, is the Minister representing the Minister for Health, who administers the National Health Act. However, I shall be very glad to refer the honorable member’s question to the Minister for Health who will provide him with an appropriate answer.
– I address a question to the Treasurer for the purpose of clearing up any misunderstanding that might arise as the result of a question asked in another place in which it was asserted that a rate of sales tax of 161 per cent, is imposed on safety belts installed in motor cars. I ask the Treasurer whether that is a fact.
– It is not a fact. About two years ago, I think, the Commissioner of Taxation ruled that sales tax is not leviable on safety belts installed in motor cars. I welcome this opportunity to make that fact more widely known.
– 1 ask the Treasurer whether he is aware that the percentage of portfolio investment content of new foreign capital inflow has increased from 4 per cent, in the first year of the Menzies-McEwen Administration to 36.7 per cent, in 1962. Is the Treasurer aware that portfolio investment does not bring to this country any new technical know-how or capital equipment but is only a speculative investment? Is the Government concerned about this aspect of foreign investment and the dangers of sudden withdrawals? If so, what action does the Government propose to take?
– I shall need to check the figures cited by the honorable gentleman and I shall confirm them with him when I have opportunity to do so. It is a fact that there is, currently, a strong capita] flow to Australia, reflecting the widespread confidence felt in most observer countries around the world in the strength of Australia’s position and the potential Australia offers for safe and profitable investment in the future. Included in the total capital inflow is a proportion of what the honorable gentleman describes as portfolio investment - that is investment, in the main, in shares in existing Australian companies. The dimension of that investment is relatively small in relation to the total capital inflow. The honorable gentleman has given some figures, but there may be other factors which have a bearing. For example, some little time ago there was a period of capital outflow to principals of subsidiaries in Australia, which could affect the overall picture. I would need to study the figures to see how accurate the honorable gentleman’s analysis is. The point I am making is that, generally speaking, the proportion of portfolio investment is small. Such examination of the picture as I have been able to make confirms that this is not short-term speculative investment, but is, in the main, investment from people who intend to leave their funds here for a considerable time - quite often institutional investors looking for long-term investment in this country.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for National Development. The Minister will recall that a short while ago I asked him a question about the primitive area on
Mount Kosciusko and, in particular, about a circular sent out by the Central Region of the National Parks Association of New South Wales, which contained a statement that it had been estimated that the Snowy Mountains scheme would cease to operate within 70 years due to siltation. I now ask the Minister: Has he yet had time to consult his colleague and, if so, has he any information on the subject?
– Yes, as I promised, I took up this matter with the Department of National Development and I have been informed that this statement is incorrect. The Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority does a considerable amount of sampling of waters to see whether there is sediment. Also, when any of the smaller dams are emptied the authority checks the amount of sediment. On the results of such checks it has estimated that the smaller dams have a life of at least 500 years ahead of them and the larger dams a very much longer life. Action is also being taken to reduce soil erosion in the area. Grazing has been prohibited above, I think, 5,000 feet by the State Government. Also burning off, which was responsible for a lot of erosion, has been prohibited. The Snowy Mountains authority pays the State soil conservation authorities £12,000 a year in order to assist them in repairing some of the damage in that area. I mentioned, when making an interim reply to the honorable member the other day, that there has been very little sign of siltation in the Hume dam. I am informed by the Department of National Development that, after a period of 27 years, the total amount of silt in the Hume dam was estimated at 13,500 acre feet, or 500 acre feet per year. Obviously a dam of 2,500,000 acre feet will take a long time to fill up at this rate.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation. Is it correct that some time ago the Department of Civil Aviation closed Port Pirie airport to all aircraft bigger than DC3’s? Does he recall the constant representations of the late member for Grey to have facilities installed at the Port Pirie airport to allow Convairs to land? Will he state how it came about that a Convair carrying the Prime Minister, pressmen and others was allowed to land at Port Pirie to enable the Prime Minister to take part in the Grey by-election campaign? Does this indicate that the Port Pirie airport will now be available to aircraft bigger than DC3’s?
– When the Royal Australian Air Force decided to use the Port Pirie airport, it contacted the Department of Civil Aviation to ascertain the conditions under which the airport could be used. The Department of Civil Aviation said that any Metropolitan aircraft of less than 40,000 lb. in weight was entitled to use it, whether it was a civil or an Air Force aircraft. As the R.A.A.F. was able to get under the weight of 40,000 lb., it was entitled to use the airport and did so.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Repatriation. Is there any way in which the Repatriation Department can assist ex-servicemen who have suffered as the result of the floods on the north coast of New South Wales?
– My department has a small fund which can be used to cater for special cases of hardship amongst exservicemen. When the extent of the flood damage in the northern part of New South Wales was realized, we sent an officer from the department to be on the spot there. He was assisted by representatives of the Returned Servicemen’s League and other ex-service organizations. He had authority to make grants on the spot. Although of a relatively small amount, they could be of great assistance to those suffering personal hardship as a result of the floods. Quite a number of these small grants have been made. The officer is still in the area and further grants will be made as they are required.
– I address my question to the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Trade. It relates to the evident increase in the volume of sawn wood imports and the corresponding decrease in the number of sawmills throughout Australia. I ask the Minister whether he is aware that imports have increased from 118,000 super, feet for the six months ended December. 1961, to 164,000 super, feet for the six months ended December, 1962. If he is, will he say what action will be taken to prevent further recession in the timber industry generally, which will be the result if the present trend continues?
– I obviously have not the figures in my mind. I cannot give a direct answer to the question, but 1 will make inquiries. I would direct attention to the fact that the timber industry has made application to the Tariff Board in the past. It is open to the industry to make further approaches to the board through the Minister for Trade if it so desires. However, I will make some inquiries regarding the matter and furnish a reply to the honorable member.
– I ask the Minister for External Affairs a question. I refer to a question I addressed to the Minister on 4th April of last year and to statements made by the Minister over a period to the effect that the United Nations organization faces an uncertain future if member nations, in particular the Soviet Union and its allies, still refuse to pay their duly assessed contributions while some other countries, including Australia, are making additional contributions to the United Nations to help resolve its financial crisis and to enable the organization to continue its peace-keeping operations. I now ask the Minister whether any ruling has been given by the International Court of Justice with regard to the obligation of member nations to pay their contributions and their liability to lose their votes in the General Assembly if they are in arrears and have the capacity to pay.
– A ruling as to the meaning of Article 17 (2) of the charter was given by the International Court of Justice in July, 1962. The opinion of the court was adopted by the seventeenth session of the General Assembly last year. The effect of the opinion and its adoption was that the United Nations organization had been correct in assessing member nations for their share of the cost of the peace-keeping operations in the Congo and with respect to the United Nations Emergency Force as part of their contribution to the working expenses of the organization. A further effect was that Article 19 of the charter would operate to prevent a member nation from exercising a vote if it became in arrears for an amount equal to two years’ contributions. That is stating the position broadly. As a result of that opinion, and the adoption of it by the General Assembly, those member nations that have failed to pay their assessed portion of the peace-keeping expenses will risk losing their vote if the arrears, which consist wholly or partly of their share of these peacekeeping expenses, are not paid before they become large enough to equal two years’ contributions.
– Do they lose their votes in the Security Council as well as in the General Assembly?
– I think only in the General Assembly. The honorable member might be interested to know that a committee has been working to try to devise some means of sharing peace-keeping expenses in the future, but the deliberations of this committee have been inconclusive. A special session of the United Nations commenced yesterday - or 14th May, New York time - to try to reach a conclusion on the sharing of the peacekeeping expenses. As to the general effect of all this on the finances of the United Nations, 1 made a public statement on that aspect on 12th May. The honorable member may be glad to have a copy of it.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. I remind him that on 19th April he said, in reply to the honorable member for Darebin, that he would listen to the case put forward and suggestions made by the Association of Professional Engineers, Australia, before proceeding with the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill now before the House. I understand that the Minister has received1 both oral and written submissions from the association, and I ask him when we can expect that the second-reading debate on this bill will be resumed.
– Representations have been made by the Association of Professional Engineers, Australia, and the
State public service associations. I have consulted the Prime Minister about the matter and am still in the process of that consultation. When I am able to announce the decision I will do so in the House.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Supply. What is expected to be the value to Australia of the European Launcher Development Organization, having in mind the heavy expenditure by Australia involved in this undertaking?
– The honorable member might cast his mind back to a statement made in this House on the subject he has mentioned. There is a five-year programme ahead of the European Launcher Development Organization. The cost over that period is expected to be £70,000,000. Not all of it, of course, will be spent in Australia. Australia is a member of the organization without fee. In addition, we will be paid for whatever work is done on behalf of the organization, particularly at Woomera. I cannot give the honorable member the precise figure, but I think it would be in the vicinity of £10,000,000.
– Is the Treasurer aware that many retrenched northern miners fortunate enough to have found work in Newcastle industries are incurring expenses of about £2 a week in travelling to and from their work, and that as a result their takehome pay is as low as £12 or £13 a week? Will the right honorable gentleman, in formulating the next Budget, give earnest consideration to allowing expenses incurred in travelling to and from work to be deductible from the income of these unfortunate lowwage earners for purposes of income tax?
– I think honorable members will recall that earlier in the year the Prime Minister conducted correspondence with the Premier of New South Wales on the general question of taxation relief in respect of travelling expenses incurred by wage-earners. At that time an assurance was given that this would be one of the matters that would be carefully studied and considered when the Budget proposals are before us.
– I address my question to the Minister for Labour and National Service. Will he direct the Department of Labour and National Service to try to estimate the unemployment likely to follow the serious flooding on the north coast of New South Wales? I ask this question with a view to a special State-Commonwealth unemployment grant being made to relieve the position. An unemployment grant of this nature and the undertaking of public works would enable farmers and people normally employed in butter factories to have an income through the next four or five nightmare winter months.
– I have already asked the Department of Labour and National Service to make a survey of the probable unemployment caused by these disastrous floods on the north coast of New South Wales. I have received an interim report on the results of a review of some primary industries such as the dairy industry and of certain secondary industries, but we have not yet been able to complete the review. This is understandable because, in some of the towns affected, the offices of the Commonwealth Employment Service are now under water and the officers are not able to get to their records. Experience of previous floods has shown that immediately they subside sufficiently to permit people to move, many farmers particularly, and others, go to the towns and register for employment. Shortly afterwards, having completed the required period of registration, they become entitled to the unemployment benefit. I think it can be taken for granted that my colleague, the Minister for Social Services, and the Department of Social Services will do everything in their power to see that the claims of these people are dealt with as quickly as possible and the Department of Labour and National Service will co-operate closely.
I should say, finally, that we find that people do not register with us for any length of time after such floods. The registrants go back to their farms or their factories once the floods have subsided completely.
Usually, the unemployment benefit is paid for only two or three weeks.
– I address my question to the Minister for Primary Industry. Is he aware that the consumption of butter in Australia has fallen from 32 lb. a head in 1938 to 25 lb. a head in 1962? Does he know that the consumption of margarine has increased from 4 lb. to 9 lb. a head over the same period? Does the Minister know also that the Department of Health recently issued a publication which stated that margarine has the same vitamin A and fat content as butter has? Since butter is almost twice the price of margarine, will he take action, by increasing the butter subsidy or by any other means, to ensure that butter can be sold at a price competitive with that of margarine?
– The trend in the consumption of butter is approximately as the honorable member has stated. The increase in the consumption of margarine that he has mentioned was brought about by the action of Labour governments in New South Wales and Queensland, which increased the quota for the production of margarine. That action did not help the dairy industry, of course. The honorable member must admit that this Government has been extremely generous to the dairy industry. We have paid subsidies to help it, provided funds for extension services, made grants on a £1 for £1 basis to promote research designed to make the industry more efficient, and undertaken promotion activities and helped to find good markets. So I think it can be said that this Government has a good record with regard to the dairy industry.
– Has the attention of the Postmaster-General been directed to a criticism of the Australian Broadcasting Commission to the effect that shortly it will move into its seventeenth Sydney office and that because of its empire of offices unnecessarily heavy running costs are being incurred? Is the Postmaster-General aware also of criticism to the effect that there is a great deal of duplication in the commission’s various offices, and that it is said that if all its offices in Sydney were under the same roof many people could be switched to more productive jobs? Has the position been correctly stated? If so, is the question of making the commission’s organization in Sydney more efficient and economical being considered?
– It is true that the Australian Broadcasting Commission occupies a large number of offices in Sydney on a rental basis. It is true also that this does not ensure full efficiency in the commission’s operations and that considerable improvement would accrue if all activities could be conducted in one area. I know this to be the position because for some time the chairman of the commission has been discussing the matter with me with a view to some remedial action being taken. The honorable member will be glad to know that a* a result of these discussions planning has been taking place for some time with the object of ultimately housing the A.B.C. in one building, but he will realize that a project of this kind will take a considerable time to plan and then to put into operation. A good deal of planning is involved and also a considerable amount of capital. I think it will be several years before the ultimate objective will be attained.
– Will the Minister for Social Services ensure that unemployment benefits are paid to owner-farmers and share farmers who have lost their incomes as a result of the disastrous floods which recently have swept New South Wales, keeping in mind that in this respect these farmers are basically in the same position as employees who lose their employment, and accordingly their income, and therefore are entitled to unemployment benefit?
– As the honorable member should know, the unemployment benefit is paid to people who are unemployed, who register for employment, and who are willing, anxious and ready to go to employment wherever it may be. I regret that resources are not available to me or to my department to pay any benefit to selfemployed people who are suffering as a result of devastation by flood or for any other reason. In most instances, such responsibilities are undertaken by the State government concerned, and in cases of desperation they are undertaken jointly by the State government and the Commonwealth Government by way of grant.
– My question to the Minister for External Affairs relates to the possibility of exchange visits by members of the Australian and Indonesian Parliaments. In view of the fact that in some quarters there is a degree of uncertainty and fear as to the future of Australian and Indonesian relations, will the Minister and the Government consider facilitating exchange visits by members of the two parliaments?
– I hold, and have expressed from time to time, the view that there should be frequent exchange visits between our two countries. Whether anything can be done along the lines suggested by the honorable member involves many considerations. I shall certainly have the matter in mind.
– Does the Minister for External Affairs recall that on 21st August, 1962, I asked him whether he had given any consideration to seeking a pact or agreement with Indonesia calculated to stabilize the position regarding territory and arms between our two countries? He told me that he had said to the Indonesian Foreign Minister that it might be appropriate at some future time to consider formalizing the assurances that had been given. Having regard to the feelings of insecurity and fear referred to by the honorable member for Moreton in relation to this matter, I now ask the honorable gentleman: Has he taken the initiative to see whether some stabilizing influence can be brought into the situation which exists between Australia and Indonesia with respect to agreements on the matters I have mentioned, and perhaps other matters? If so, will he give details to the House?
– I have maintained direct contact with the Foreign Minister of Indonesia. I have had discussions with him about quite a number of matters, such as quarantine and other items, in respect of which there may be some measure of co-operation. The honorable member will recognize at the outset that the Indonesian Government follows a policy of non-alinement. It is not very easy for people who say they are nonalined to make treaties.
– I direct a question to the Minister for External Affairs. If the honorable gentleman is prepared, as he said he was a few minutes ago, to consider facilitating exchange visits between parliamentarians of this country and parliamentarians in Indonesia, will he consider also arranging similar exchange visits between parliamentarians of this country and those of Viet Nam, Laos and Thailand - countries that are now facing the imminent threat of invasion and with which we in this Parliament need to be familiar?
– There are a great number of countries in Asia close to Australia with which we should have frequent exchanges of visits. Whether what the honorable member suggests can be arranged through parliamentary associations I do not know, but I will certainly look into the matter.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether he was leader of the Liberal Party when he made the famous entreaty to the people of Australia to “ Tune into the Motherland “. In view of the fact that at the recent municipal elections in the United Kingdom the Labour Party gained 800 seats, will the right honorable gentleman now join with me in a duet in repeating that entreaty?
– I do not know anything about the honorable member’s vocal talents, but I doubt very much whether he and I could sing a duet on anything.
– I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service a question.
The honorable member for Herbert pointed out to the Minister for Immigration last week that difficulty was being experienced in maintaining sufficient labour for sugar cane harvesting in his electorate. Can. the Minister tell the House whether there is a general shortage of labour in northern Queensland? If persons are registered for employment in the sugar cane areas, can they be employed on the type of work referred to by the honorable member for Herbert?
– During April the Department of Labour and National Service usually carries out, as it did last April, a survey of employment needs in the sugar industry in Quensland. The survey conducted last April shows that for the commencement of the season adequate labour will, it is thought, be available for the fields as well as for the mills. During the year replacements are necessary as people leave the industry but some labour is at present available in Queensland for this work. However, we usually find that a large part of the labour available cannot take the heavy work that is associated with cane cutting or duties in the sugar mills. If we cannot make up the deficiency in the labour force by employing persons already living in the areas concerned, we can utilize the services of immigrants who are coming to this country. On recent estimates adequate labour will be available to make up for retrenchments and to replace those persons who may leave the industry of their own free will. At the moment we do not expect any real difficulty; but we will keep a close watch on the position, and if we find that special measures are needed we will take those special measures.
– My question, which I direct to the Minister for Shipping and Transport, arises from the experience of the skipper of the wrecked fishing vessel “ Nor 6 “, who, after days of drifting in the ocean off Western Australia, came ashore on an island and broke into an unmanned lighthouse hoping to find food but found none. Does the Commonwealth maintain caches of food and water at points on the coast for shipwrecked mariners? Are unmanned lighthouses used as sites for caches of food and water? If not, in view of the fact that lighthouses are conspicuous by day and night, will the Minister consider making it a practice to provide food and water caches at unmanned lighthouses on uninhabited parts of the coast or islands?
– The question asked by the honorable member for Fremantle throws into relief an extraordinary story of courage and determination on the part of the victim of this shipwreck. It also throws into relief the fact that at the specific point where this man came ashore there did not happen to be any provisions. I am quite sure that this has never been considered on other occasions. Therefore, we will have a look at the situation. I will ask for a report to be made on it. We will see whether it is possible to do as the honorable member suggests and store food for the odd occasion when somebody is shipwrecked.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Primary Industry. In view of the fact that legislation to continue the wheat stabilization scheme will come before this House in the not-too-distant future, is the Minister able to inform the House of the comparable prices received by wheatgrowers in other wheat-producing countries? If he is not, will he examine those prices and in due course make the information available?
– I am not able to supply the prices that growers in other wheat-producing countries realize on their crops. I will see what information I can obtain and let the honorable member for Wimmera have it.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Primary Industry. Because of the satisfactory sugar prices that are being obtained at present on world markets, has the Minister any knowledge of moves to increase either mill peaks or cane assignments in the sugar-producing areas of Queensland?
– I have discussed this matter with sugar industry leaders. They have informed me that every stick of cane grown will be used for the production of sugar this season. As yet, they are not ready to recommend an increase to their growers because they are not sure whether the present world price is only temporary or what the future holds. They say that they are keeping the matter well in hand. I hope that they do watch this very important matter of whether the growers should produce still more cane.
– I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service a question that is supplementary to the question asked by the honorable member for Balaclava. Does the Minister expect an increase or a decrease in employment in Queensland?
– This is a Dorothy Dix-er.
– You are wrong again. I did say in the House yesterday that during the months of April, May and June, it is not usual to find a substantial variation in the numbers of people registered for employment in Australia. That is the normal pattern. I am glad that the honorable gentleman has asked this question, because that pattern does not apply in Queensland. Normally we find that, as a result of the commencement of the sugar season and a continuation of the meat season, there is a quite significant fall during the month of May in registrations for employment in Queensland. This trend usually continues into June. The simple answer to the honorable gentleman’s question is that during the month of May you will find in Queensland a reduction in the number of people registered for employment, and that trend will continue into June.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Has his attention been drawn to, or has he given any consideration to, our embassies overseas using Australian-made cars, particularly the Holden, which is distinctly Australian? I know that there may be difficulties in relation to conversion to left-hand drive and also the supply of spare parts, but I think that an approach to the industry could overcome these difficulties. The use of
Australian-made cars in this way would give a good boost to their overseas sales. I notice that the embassies of the United Kingdom, the United States of America and France use their nations’ distinctive cars.
– I know very little about this matter. 1 remember that at one stage points were being raised about the provision of spare parts and about maintenance and service. My friend can very well understand that difficulties could arise in those respects. I will find out from the Department of External Affairs whether any policy exists on this matter or whether any further consideration is being given to it.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Shipping and Transport. I ask: Is the Minister aware that last week the Australian Capital Cities Secretariat asked that the Federal Government direct the States to allocate at least 40 per cent, of the Commonwealth aid roads funds to capital cities? Does he know that as at least 40 per cent, of the funds go to rural roads at present, the proposed allocation of 40 per cent, to capital city roads would leave 20 per cent., more or less, for all present and proposed main roads and highways? As this allocation would be absolutely inadequate, I ask the Minister to reject the request of the secretariat.
– The honorable member for Mallee always has an intense interest in the provision of funds for rural roads. This suggestion obviously arises from the events leading up to my recent interview with the Lord Mayors of the various principal cities of Australia. These gentlemen came to me with a proposition for more funds to be made available for roads in city areas. They were received, and they were given an assurance that what they had said would be carefully considered. This, of course, is the pressurization period as far as the new formula for the Commonwealth aid roads scheme is concerned. The Lord Mayors were given no guarantee of any alteration of the formula. I would like to say that the original formula provided that 40 per cent, of the funds should be allocated to rural areas, but more than 40 per cent, has, in fact, been allocated. The country areas have been extremely well treated. That is no indication of what will happen in the future. That will be completely a matter of Government policy and of the understandings that will come about when the new formula is being considered in 1964.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether he is aware that at lunch-time to-day, in Adelaide, 1,460 public servants attended a protest meeting. Is he aware that this figure represents 87 per cent, of the Commonwealth public servants in that city? In view of his statement yesterday that the discontent of Commonwealth public servants is confined to a few malcontents, would he now like to reconsider that statement?
– The only lunch-time meeting to-day that I am aware of is one that occurred in the honorable member’s party room; and I have been so eager to find out whether the policy adopted there was suicide or retreat that I have not been interested in anything else.
– I address a question to the Prime Minister. Can it be concluded from a debate in the House last Thursday that the Government is seriously considering the provision of financial assistance to private organizations which provide special housing and sheltered workshop facilities for physically and/or mentally handicapped persons? Will the Government ensure also for these sheltered workshops ready availability of suitable work contracts on a basis similar to that operating in Great Britain under the priority supplies arrangement? Finally, will the Government consider substantially liberalizing the limit of £2 a week which invalid pensioners are allowed to earn in addition to pension, in order to encourage many of them in their wish gradually to rehabilitate themselves in part or full-time work?
– Any policy which emerges from any debate in this House will be announced, no doubt, at the proper time and by the appropriate Minister.
– I wish to make a personal explanation, Mr. Speaker.
– Order! Has the honorable member been misrepresented?
– Yes, by the press. Yesterday I asked a question of the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Downer) about the sponsoring of skilled migrants, to which I received a very satisfactory reply from the honorable gentleman. I notice in this morning’s “ Daily Telegraph “, however, that the question - my brainchild - has been fathered upon the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Cope). I would like to clear up the matter of the paternity of this question. I sired it, not the honorable member for Watson.
Debate resumed from 14th May (vide page 1342), on motion by Mr. Hasluck -
That the bill be now read a second time.
.- When this debate was adjourned last night, we had had the pleasure of listening to a brief but constructive speech by the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Harding), who applied his customary good sense to the measure. I would like to say that I agree with virtually everything that he had to say. I congratulate the Government most sincerely on the great step towards self-government in a multi-racial society which these arrangements represent. But let us not underestimate their significance. In successive policy statements over the years, the Minister has made it clear that Australia’s task in New Guinea has been to prepare the inhabitants to determine their own future. Successive acts of political reform and economic, educational and social development have made it clear that these statements of policy are not empty words. Looked at from this point of view, the legislation could be interpreted as one further step - a major step, no doubt - along the road, but one not differing in significance from its predecessors. Such an interpretation would, I believe, be a mistake. I say this because this particular step along the road will take us beyond the point where, in practice if not in theory, there will be no turning back. The history of the development of nonselfgoverning communities makes it clear that the point at which there is no turning back is reached when the decision is taken to create in the legislature an elected indigenous majority, as this measure does.
Historically, we know that there has been no turning back when this point has been reached, although in some places, such as British Guiana, an attempt has been made to do so. There has been no turning back because an indigenous majority creates its own imperatives. From this point onward, the forces making for greater and greater measures of self-government became selfgenerated, and they can be denied only with impunity. I feel certain that this historical consequence of an elected indigenous majority will repeat itself in Papua and New Guinea. Personally, I believe it is the right step to take, and I congratulate the Minister on his wisdom in taking it ahead of any internal clamour for it. But let us not be under any illusions as to the significance of what we are doing.
Likewise, the decision to elect the Legislative Assembly from a common roll marks off this particular advance from its predecessors. By this decision, we make it clear that we have once and for all turned our back on a Southern Rhodesian solution to the problems of New Guinea. We have made it clear that we have rejected racialism as the basis of the Territory’s political system. We have done this, I would hope, not merely to earn ourselves a pat on the back - to use a phrase once used by the Minister - from the anti-racialist majority of the world, nor even because it is in accordance with the dictates of justice and the dignity of the individual, but because it represents the only real hope of minorities being accepted as equals and partners as the Territory progresses.
Many Australians resent the intrusion into the affairs of the Territory of the various bodies comprising the United Nations Organization, whether it be in the form of rhetoric in the General Assembly or visiting missions from the Trusteeship Council. Criticism by these bodies is bitterly resented. Their views and actions are characterized at best as ignorant and at worst as malicious.
I must confess to sharing this resentment and the belief that by any objective standard much of what is said and done in these bodies is based on ignorance and motivated by malice or even worse. Having said that, Sir, I do not believe we would act wisely if we rejected out of hand United Nations interference in our administration of New Guinea, or if we ignored the wider significance of the anti-colonialist attitudes which dictate this interference. I am aware that to speak in this way exposes me to the accusation, in some quarters, that I am a starry-eyed idealist or that I lack realism. I must confess that this attitude astonishes me. I have never thought it unrealistic to take note of the facts of international life and to evaluate them in the terms of our own vital interests. The fact is that the vast majority of members of the United Nations have a deeply emotional attitude to what they describe as colonialism. To many of them it is the only firm guide-line they have in assessing any and every international situation. This is one of the facts of international life. You do not get rid of it by proving that it is irrational or even malicious.
Far from it being realistic to ignore the United Nations in this matter, I believe the boot is on the other foot. Does any one really believe that, given the force of anticolonialist opinion in the world it is in Australia’s interests to be classified as one of the last of the colonial powers? Does any one really believe that, given the strength of this force, it is in our interests to strike attitudes which would not be supported even by our great and powerful friends? Is it in our interests to be classified in this field with Portugal, South Africa or Southern Rhodesia? This does not seem to me to be particularly realistic. I am not for one moment suggesting that we are so classified, but only that we would be if we paid attention to those who believe that we should resist or reject out of hand all United Nations pressures in relation to Papua and New Guinea. In fact, we have not been so classified, because we have recognized the realities of the situation. Whatever we may say, we have shown ourselves, in relation to New Guinea, sensitive to world opinion as expressed through the United Nations, even if we have not always been ready to admit it…….. ,. . ,
I have no doubt that the United Nations - history will prove this - has had a profound effect on our policies in New Guinea, just as it has had on those of nearly every other country with dependent territories, although most of those countries, I would remind the House, are very much more powerful than we are. We may not like this, but it would be foolish not to recognize it. On this point, it is as well to remember that in many respects the United Nations is a club, membership of which secures tangible diplomatic advantages for its members. However, these advantages are, to a degree, conditional upon the observance of rules and conventions, which are by no means static but reflect the nature of the composition of the United Nations from time to time. That nature, in this day and age, is overwhelmingly anti-colonialist and we are bound to pay some attention to it if we are not to become, in the eyes of the anticolonialist majority, the Portugal of SouthEast Asia.
I am inclined to believe - contrary to suggestions that have been made on both sides of the House - that from now on the external pressures which we have had in the past from the United Nations and its various organs, will become less important than the internal pressures in the Territory. The very changes, which are the subject of this legislation, will ensure that we are not likely to be seriously embarrassed in the United Nations unless dramatic internal events in the Territory attract its attention. But we can expect internal pressures, which to date have been virtually non-existent, to be brought to bear with increasing force. This will be partly due to the imperatives which this legislation will create, as I mentioned earlier, and partly due to the situation which has grown up in the Territory in the last few years.
I know that the expression “ elite “ has become almost a dirty word in administrative nomenclature. I know and appreciate the efforts the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) has made to avoid the problems of uneven development in the Territory. Nevertheless we must recognize that an elite, by New Guinea standards, has m fact grown up there. It is not, perhaps, an 61ite by our standards, but it is an elite in relation to the population of the Territory as a whole and that is what counts in relation to the pressures which are likely to be exerted, and in the context in which I am speaking. It will be the willingness and capacity of the Territory Administration and of the Government here in Canberra to meet the aspirations of this elite group that will determine relations between Australia and New Guinea in the future. I would like now to quote the remarks of a Canberra anthropologist last year. He said -
The present is crucial because in general terms the people of New Guinea-Papua are still happy to lend their support to the Administration - they respect it and see it as an agent for good. However, they will not be so certain of this attitude for very much longer.
The Foot committee itself commented on the strong feeling of gratitude in the Territory towards Australia. What do we have to do to retain this goodwill? I, personally, believe it will depend on how fast we are in preparing to meet local aspirations as they arise. Insofar as these aspirations will be held by the emerging elite that I have mentioned, any further insistence on balanced development could lead to deep frustration. In this respect - and this provides a clue to where frustration is likely to arise - I think it is worth pointing to the limitations of the system of government contained in the legislation which is before us. Here I disagree entirely with the Opposition’s approach to the question, as foreshadowed in its amendments. I do not think that the sort of amendments which the Opposition proposes in relation to the legislature will meet the particular problems that we are likely to face in the Territory. We should note that the re-constituted council will still be subject to the Governor-General’s powers of disallowance as well as the veto power of the Administrator of the Territory. As an official of the Administration commented in relation to the last constitutional change, such a situation - is clearly irritating and frustrating for the local legislature and the degree of irritation together with the vehemence of its expression can be expected to increase in direct proportions to the degree of independence of members of the council.
That is quoted from an article in “Australian Outlook” by Mr. Lynch, who is in the Territory’s equivalent of an AttorneyGeneral’s Department. In terms of power a representative assembly can be a myth, containing the symbols and conventions of power but not the reality. It is a facade imitative of this place and nobody should be more conscious than are honorable members here - particularly those who sit on the back benches - that this place, too, is to some extent a facade. To satisfy the aspirations of the emerging elite in Papua and New Guinea it is not enough to set up talking shops with the trappings of Westminster or Canberra. There must be a clear attempt to associate indigenous leaders in some way with the policy making process which, in Australia itself, has far too little to do with Parliament. Mr. John Guise visited Australia and spoke over the A.B.C. in February of this year in the “ Guest of Honour “ programme. What he said on that occasion impressed me deeply and I took the trouble to get from the A.B.C. a transcript of what he said. I believe that it is of such significance that I would like to quote from it at some length. He said -
More recently, proposals have been accepted for the establishment in 1964 of a Legislative Assembly with a big majority of elected indigenous members. Al) this is good as far as it goes, but government is far more than a mere matter of numbers. I have sat in the new Legislative Council and in the Administrator’s Council since they were founded in 1961. And I can tell you that important policy matters still don’t originate with us. Most of them originate in Canberra with the Minister and the Department of Territories. Those that may originate in the Territory are then referred to Canberra, and they are pretty well developed before they ever reach us and tl.is just won’t do. We can’t make our own full and proper contribution to the development of our country under these conditions. We can’t point out effectively where Canberra official thinking is getting out of touch with local conditions. If this sort of thing continues it will not be a good thing for Papua-New Guinea. What, you may be asking, am I proposing. First, a great deal of the work of policy-making should be transferred from Canberra to Port Moresby. Second, the representatives of indigenous people should be associated with it from its earliest stages. In part, this means an enlargement of the work of Administrator’s Council, in part it means the use of select committees of the Legislative Council to study and make recommendations on major issues of policy. In Western Samoa which is a Pacific country that many of us are looking to increasingly as a model, these changes were made fifteen years before Samoa attained its independence. As a result Samoan development proceeded smoothly and the country’s leaders had a long experience of responsibility behind them when the full burden of government passed into their hands. These changes must be made in Papua and New Guinea also and they must be made now. We can’t wait until our new Assembly is formed in 1964, in view of recent political happenings in the Western part of our island. Our own time for the development of responsible government has been cut very short.
I believe that is a remarkable statement by a person in Papua and New Guinea who may prove to have a responsible position amongst the indigenous population that will ultimately lead the country to selfgovernment.
To some extent, Mr. Guise’s criticisms are met by the enlargement of the Administrator’s Council and the proposal to create under-secretaries. This does not, however, meet his point that a great deal of the work of policy making should be transferred from Canberra to Port Moresby. Mr. Guise is not, of course, the type of native demagogue or coloured tyrant that the Minister seems to fear. Both these expressions have been used by the Minister at one time or another. There is every likelihood that with increasing amounts being spent on higher education the future will produce younger and more impatient men eager with ambition and less moderate than Mr. Guise. It is, I believe, the aspirations of these people that we will have to meet and satisfy, not pressures from the United Nations. We should remember, however, that the two types of pressure are not mutually exclusive. Not only will vocal dissatisfaction in the Territory attract United Nations attention, but local dissentient groups will be buttressed and encouraged by what is said in the United Nations.
I support the legislation completely. The main purpose of the latter part of my remarks has been to try to forecast the type of situation that we will have to meet in the not too distant future and to try to suggest that we will not meet all the aspirations, even those that exist in the Territory now, by framing legislation that is almost entirely devoted to the form of the Legislative Assembly of the legislature in the Territory. Probably sooner than later the people in that legislature and outside it will begin to think and to concentrate their attention on the sources of real power. That is the point in time at which great wisdom and active statesmanship on the part of the Minister, the Government and this Parliament will be required. If one can judge by his actions in the past, I believe the Minister will be well capable of meeting the situation.
.- The House is considering the Papua and New Guinea Bill 1963. The inclination of honorable members generally is to encourage the passage of the bill since we are all concerned with the prosperity of the Territory and the emancipation and uplifting of its people. In many respects, there is no conflict about some of the fundamental principles of the legislation. The main provisions are to further democracy in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea by widening the electoral rights of the people of the area and by increasing their representation in their Parliament. This is good. It is in keeping with the expressed attitudes of the people of the world through their forum, the United Nations. It is a good trend that is warmly and enthusiastically supported by the Opposition.
We take the opportunity in this debate not merely to applaud the Government for the good things it has done and intends to do from time to time, but also to keep the Government right up to the mark. It is vital that we should prod it in respect of its deficiencies and in respect of matters on which we consider it is moving too slowly. Nothing in the bill diminishes Australia’s relationship with Papua and New Guinea or its sovereignty over Papua and its trusteeship rights over New Guinea. These matters remain unaffected and the Parliament - this Parliament, not the Parliament of Papua and New Guinea - will continue to have a heavy hand on all the matters for which the new New Guinea Parliament is to assume responsibility. This benevolent tendency to decolonization stops short of the point at which Australia is to relinquish its prerogative, its protection, its power or its privilege. All these rights remain unaffected.
We are hastening very slowly towards the emancipation and uplifting of the people and the establishment of democratic government in New Guinea. There are many people on this side of the House and throughout the world who believe that we are not accelerating the process sufficiently. Let me be perfectly frank that this is my own personal belief. There is to be a new parliament of 64 members. They are to be both elected and appointed. It is to be known as the House of Assembly if the Government gets its way, or the House of Representatives if the Opposition gets its way. It will have a circumscribed or limited right to government. Very considerable restrictions will be imposed on its activities. It is important that we should see all this in its proper perspective and that the Australian people should clearly come to understand it. The House of Assembly may make ordinances for the peace, order, and good government of the Territory, subject to the provisions of this bill. We are going to remain supreme. This Parliament, not the New Guinea Parliament, is responsible for this bill which is the subject of concern of the House at the moment. We, the members of this Parliament, are currently going through the process of dealing out a measure of democracy to the New Guineans and the Papuans.
One passage of the bill talks about the appropriation of money. In this regard a vote, resolution or proposed law for the appropriation of moneys shall not be passed unless recommended by the Administration. Here is one direction in which the capacity of the proposed House of Assembly is very clearly defined. When we think of the kind of appropriation of money that is made in this Parliament from time to time we realize that the appropriation of money represents a very important part of parliamentary work. The Administration is to have a say in this matter in various ways, lt will be concerned with the appropriation of money for health schemes and social services, lt will be involved in such questions as whether child endowment should be paid or widows’ pensions and age pensions should be provided. It will have a say in deciding whether there should be in New Guinea a scheme such as that which exists in Australia under the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement for the provision of houses for low income earners. These things, at the end of the line, will be the prerogative not of the Parliament, the elected representatives or even the appointed members, but of the Administration itself. In other words, there will indeed be a big brother fraternalism prevailing in this area.
The legislation provides that the assent of the Administrator will be necessary in respect of every ordinance passed by the
House of Assembly. Each ordinance shall be presented to the Administrator for his assent. This provision is in clause 53 of the bill. Then clause 54 provides another safeguard, because it says that the Governor-General shall have the prerogative or the pleasure of making determinations about a great number of matters. Those things which shall be the responsibility of the Governor-General, and which shall be reserved for his pleasure, are listed in detail in the bill. The matters listed include ordinances relating to divorce, the granting or disposal of lands, defence, the dealing with land by indigenes, the employmeat of indigenes, arms, explosives, liquor, opium, immigration, emigration, deportation and the public service. In other words, the House of Assembly that is to be constituted by this bill will be bereft of any official powers in connexion with these vital matters. What kind of an apology for a parliament would we be here if we had no power over the matters to which I have referred?
I believe that we must take steps as soon as possible to increase the power of the House of Assembly to be constituted under this bill, and that we must move as quickly as we can to effect a genuine transfer of the weight of responsibility to the elected people of the new parliament, and particularly to the representatives of the indigenous people. It will be a good thing if we encourage the appointment of undersecretaries from the ranks of the indigenous people, and particularly if we encourage the gaining of practice and experience at the ministerial level.
The Governor-General’s prerogative extends further. In respect of a number of matters he is able to amend, disallow or repeal ordinances. He will have, as all honorable members will readily concede, a very substantial influence on the situation.
The new legislature is to consist of 64 members. The previous council had a lesser number. There were twelve indigenes and 25 Europeans. There were 25 appointed members, and only twelve members were elected. The bill envisages that in the new parliament there will be 44 members elected from the constituencies. The Opposition will move an amendment to double that number, in general compliance with the recommendations of the
United Nations visiting mission. Apart from the 44 indigenes to be elected from the constituencies there will be ten official members appointed by the GovernorGeneral. They must be officers of the Territory or they must be people who are specified under the ordinance by the Minister. Fancy being specified by the Minister! How would you like that to happen to you? However, that is what the bill says. We on this side of the House want to know why these people must be government servants, why they have to be in the public service. Why debar the members of the business community of the Territory? It would seem to me that if any one is entitled to this privilege the members of the business community are just as entitled to it as the people - admittedly generally of excellent calibre - who comprise the public service of the Territory.
Apart from the ten official members appointed by the Governor-General there will be ten members elected by the electors of the Territory. It is interesting to note that these ten people may be from any country at all. They may be from Russia, Spain, Portugal, Britain or Czechoslovakia. All that matters is that they must not be indigenous people. They must not come from the natural stock of the country. This seems to be a peculiar specification. They do not need to have any qualifications in respect even of residence. They do not need to have any citizenship qualifications.
– They must have an entry permit, though.
– Yes, they must have an entry permit, but they are not obliged to have even Australian citizenship. A person may be elected as one of these ten members, not on a constituency basis but on the basis of the whole Territory, just so long as he is not an indigene. If anybody wants to put that provision forward as a fine example of the working of democracy then in my view he will have the job in front of him, like the fellow pushing the wheelbarrow.
In respect of all these people who are to be elected the bill does not provide, as our own electoral laws provide, any limit on election campaign expenditure. This has particular significance with regard to the twenty privileged people to whom I have just referred.
The ten official members will hold office during the pleasure of the GovernorGeneral, and 1 suppose that is a pretty effective sort of pressure on the official member to do the bidding of the GovernorGeneral or of the Administration generally. It is apparent that he would not last as an official member for any lengthy period if he did not do so. His office may be terminated at the drop of a hat as soon as he incurs displeasure. lt is, I think, unfortunate that public servants are to be deprived of the opportunity to contest elections. After all, whether they are Europeans or whether they are indigenous people, their employment in the public service gives them opportunities to gain effective knowledge of departmental affairs.
There are a number of other grounds for disqualification of candidates. One is insolvency, and J suppose it would not be difficult to knock out a number of these indigenous people, who have little more than a bark hut and a lap-lap, under the insolvency provision. Again, despite the British principle that people who commit offences shall pay their penalties and shall not thereafter be further burdened, this legislation provides that the natives - that is a bad word which I do not use, and I withdraw it, Mr. Speaker - the indigenes of the Territory are not qualified to nominate for elective positions if they have been in prison for one year or more.
One example of the lack of regard for democratic principles that prevails throughout this measure is to be found in the provisions with respect to casual vacancies in the proposed House of Assembly that may occur in the last year of office. Members of this House and the other place concede that once one gets a leg in this Parliament one has a good chance of staying here. In the proposed House of Assembly in Papua and New Guinea, however, a vacancy in the last year of office, even for an elected member, may be filled by an appointment made by the GovernorGeneral. This, to my way of thinking, would give the appointee a flying start and an overwhelming advantage over any others who cared to contest an election subsequently.
– The position would be much the same as is the position relating to the filling of casual vacancies in the Senate.
– I shall not try to justify evil by evil. If the honorable member feels so strongly about that matter, he should join with us when we set out on a future occasion to correct this unfortunate situation in the other place. There is the extent to which parliamentary democracy is to prevail in Papua and New Guinea. As we see the situation in perspective, parliamentary democracy is to hang in shreds and tatters there. That sort of parliamentary democracy will give us no cause for pride or pleasure. Have we gone far enough along the road that must be travelled if we are to allow these people to engage in the very practice of government? Only the practice of democratic government can bring about a real comprehension of it, for it is not something that one can endow people with and expect them to understand. Democratic government can be comprehended only as a consequence of indulging in the habit of it. Insufficient has been done in this regard. The great hope of honorable members on both sides of the House, Sir, is that when sovereignty is handed over, capable people will be at the helm. But this Government makes what I consider to be a shocking admission. It admits that not even 100 out of the 2,000,000 indigenes have been trained sufficiently to enable the Government to put into effect the forthright recommendation by the United Nations visiting mission, which, in no uncertain manner, recommended the establishment of a House of Representatives of 100 elected members. There are to be only 44 elected indigenous members in the proposed House of Assembly out of a total of 64 members.
The British first became interested in Papua in 1 884 and this Territory was ceded to the Commonwealth of Australia in 1906. We took responsibility from 1921 for the Territory of New Guinea - the top part of the eastern portion of the island. In the long time during which we have had administrative responsibilities in eastern New Guinea, we have, according to this Government, failed to train even 100 people in the capacities and qualifications of leadership. I think that this failure is completely unjustifiable and inexcusable. We have not even set out to train an elite. We may think it is a good idea to have uniform development, and I concede that in general terms it is. But we have a bounden obligation and responsibility to ensure that when we are required to vacate the Territory of Papua and New Guinea - heaven knows when or why - an dike of at least 100 emancipated, qualified and capable people will be on hand to conduct the affairs of the Territory in an effective and orderly way. We cannot be sure how long will elapse before independence, self-government and nationhood are gained, but, obviously, we must hope to achieve these things as quickly as possible.
No matter what heading we consider, we find that this Government has failed to honour its obligation to train the native people. Even the Dutch, in West New Guinea, which has about 700,000 indigenous people, had a better record than we have in Papua and New Guinea, and the Indonesians are now availing themselves of the services of qualified indigenous personnel. In West Irian, as the country is known today, there is a higher incidence of university graduates, school teachers and other persons qualified tq lead than there is in our Territory, where the number of indigenous people is nearly three times as great.
So we are to have a House of Assembly of 64 members, not 100 as was suggested by the United Nations visiting mission. The Government proposes that 44 of these shall be elected indigenous members. The Opposition would double the number to give 88 elected members. What did the United Nations mission recommend? In paragraph 207 of the report, it stated -
We believe that the time has come for an imaginative advance which would create a truly Representative Parliament.
The members of the mission believed that the time for Ais bad come, but obviously the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) and the present Government do not believe that the time has come. The visiting mission, in paragraph 208 of its report, proposed that the elected chamber be known by the name “ House of Representatives “ and that it be a genuine House of Representatives and not merely a House of Assembly, as the Government has decided to name and constitute it. In paragraph 210 of the report, the United Nations mission observed -
We are convinced from our public discussions in every district in the Territory that the people have leaders well competent to speak for them and to represent them in a thoroughly responsible way in a Central Parliament . . .
Those observations at least are clear and explicit. Neither the Minister nor any of his supporters has made out a case to establish why this recommendation has been departed from.
The visiting mission proposed that there should be ohe member of parliament for every 20,000 people approximately. That is not a bad ratio. The mission stated that we should institute a system of voting by symbols and that there should be 100 members elected by single-member constituencies on a ballot-box system of full adult suffrage. Finally - I think that this is tremendously significant, Sir - the mission stated -
Experience elsewhere amongst people no more advanced than those in New Guinea indicated that there need be no insuperable difficulties in these practical tasks.
These are not my words. They are the views of Sir Hugh Foot and his colleagues - all responsible men democratically elected by the world parliament that we know as the United Nations to express their opinions on the position in this Australian Territory.
So much for the proposed parliament, Sir. I turn now to the present situation in relation to the availability of indigenous leaders. Despite our long tenure of influence in the area, we have not yet been able to train one indigenous doctor, and there are no indigenous economists, solicitors, barristers, magistrates or judges. In general, there are no university graduates at all from either Papua or New Guinea. A short time ago, when the Congo was given its independence by Belgium and trouble flared, one of the principal denunciations of the Belgiums was expressed by the world in the words, “ They have been there so long; yet they have trained no university graduates and no leaders in any fields of activity “.
The Minister for Territories proudly told the Parliament towards the end of last year that we had one cadet education officer, one cadet patrol officer and one nurse training at the tertiary level and sixteen teachers, seven assistant patrol officers, four assistant co-operative officers, twelve assistant medical officers, one assistant pathology technician and ten clergy and mission teachers training at the intermediate certificate or equivalent level. That is our record in the training of indigenous people in Papua and New Guinea. In West New Guinea, however, the Dutch selected indigenous people and took them to the Netherlands for training. On 16th October, 1962, the Minister said -
No indigenous residents hold university qualifications, but there are at present three indigenous undergraduates at Australian universities studying in the faculties of agriculture, science, economics and law.
There should be a minimum of ten indigenous people from Papua and New Guinea in every faculty in our Australian universities. Action should have been taken many years ago to provide a university college at Port Moresby. It was not until the Labour Opposition moved towards this end in, I think, the last session of the Parliament that the Government began to show any interest in the matter. Our universities are very close to Papua and New Guinea, yet we have done nothing about establishing a university college. The Dutch, who controlled West New Guinea, commenced many years ago to take indigenes to the Netherlands for training. Now those accomplished people are serving the Indonesians in their trained professional capacities.
An examination of the education position is very revealing. The Minister has intimated in his reports that there are 750,000 boys and girls of school age in the Territory. On 3rd October, 1962, the Minister stated that in the Territory were 185.922 primary students, 2,288 secondary students and one tertiary student, giving a total of over 188,000 students. In other words, there are fewer than 200,000 boys and girls out of a potential of 750,000 who even attend school. Those figures include enrolments at mission schools, where there are varying standards of education. In many cases, those standards would not be acceptable in Australia. How can we hope to produce leaders when more than two-thirds of the boys and girls of the Territory do not have the opportunity to enjoy education? There has been mention of a five-year education plan designed to increase enrolments at schools to 350,000 in five years and of a plan for complete enrolment by 1975. But in five years fewer than one-half of the boys and girls of school age will actually be attending school. As to the Public Service, about one-eighth of the public servants in the Territory are indigenous people.
I concede that the Minister for Territories is probably more enlightened than are many of his colleagues. I would hate to think of many honorable members on the Government side occupying his position. 1 think he feels that there is general accord by the Opposition for many of the things which he has initiated in the Territory.
The trend to uniform development is good in quality but deficient in quantity. It is fundamentally wrong that we should be expected to gear the development of Papua and New Guinea to Australia’s economic capacity. We are making generous sacrifices, but we are making those sacrifices, not for the business community of Australia, not for Australia as a whole, but for the peoples of the world and for the United Nations. I think we would be justified in asking the United Nations for some financial assistance in our great endeavour so that we could stimulate the work of emancipation. I know that money alone is not sufficient to do all that has to be done. We need devotion, we need capacity and we need concepts. But money goes a long way when you are building roads, hospitals and schools. There is so much to be done.
According to the Minister’s statement last year, there is one doctor to serve 20,000 indigenes. In the next five years the number of doctors probably will increase to 180. There are 220 European nurses and 30 indigenous nurses, making a total of 250 nurses. On the basis of a population of 2,000,000, there is one nurse for every 8,000 people. It does not matter whether you consider health, hospitalization or education, the same position applies. There is a great deal to be done.
Nationalism can be sparked off by many things and it can bring about a demand for independence at the drop of a hat. It can be sparked off by a United Nations visiting mission directing attention to injustices; it can be brought about by a riot of the
Pacific Islands Regiment of the kind we experienced recently; it can be brought about by resentment of the kind we saw at Buka Island in February, 1962, when the people resented the head tax and the method of its collection; it can be brought about by land alienation or by resentment by the 30,000 inhabitants of Port Moresby and Rabaul of the racial discrimination which is manifested to some degree in taxi cabs, in hospitals, in shops, in living conditions, in drinking in hotels and the like.
It is vital not only for Australia but also for the whole world that we should stimulate the trend towards genuine decolonization and democratic processes, and that we should provide as quickly as possible genuine democratic opportunities for the people of the Territory to conduct their own affairs. Let me remind honorable members that this is the era when the British, the Belgians and the French have retreated from Africa and when the Dutch have retreated from West New Guinea. These are the contemporary controversies. Much remains for us to do if we are to ensure that a similar controversy involving racial discrimination and prejudice will not rear ils ugly head in the Territory for which Australia has been responsible in the past and for which it will bear a great responsibility in the future.
.- I agree with the honorable member for Hughes (Mr. L. R. Johnson) that we are not in the Territory for business reasons. However, let me remind him that his statement was contrary to a statement by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), who said last night that we are exploiting the natives.
– I said that we should not be in the Territory for business reasons.
– I accept that, but I think you stated otherwise. The honorable member for Hughes said that we should have something along the lines of the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement to provide low-cost housing for the indigenous people. Let me remind him that low-cost housing is being provided in Port Moresby by the Administration, although I am bound to say that on my last visit I was slightly staggered to see that there were still some shanty towns which really need cleaning up.
The honorable member said one other thing which I contest. He stated that members of the Government have suggested that there are not 100 people sufficiently articulate or sufficiently trained to fulfil the duties of members of the new parliament. I have had some - not a great deal - experience in the Territory-
– I have been there with you.
– I know that. If you have been to the local government councils, as I have, you will have seen them in action. If we have not produced them already - I believe that we have - we are rapidly producing many more than 100 people who will be capable of taking their places in the House of Assembly.
– That is good news.
– Of course it is good news.
– In my second-reading speech I said that we had nearly 1,000.
– I said that there were many more than 100. Now let me come to this bill, which I believe to be one of the most important pieces of legislation to come before this Parliament. It proposes a major reform, based on the evidence contained in the committee’s two reports. The evidence was given mainly by the indigenous people themselves. I emphasize that fact. It was a freely constituted committee which made most exhaustive and thorough inquiries.
This bill follows the pattern of progress to self-determination to which the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) has steadfastly adhered. I do not think any participant in this debate has not given him credit for that steadfast purpose that he has displayed throughout.
Let me now briefly restate the position. The bill provides for a common roll. I remind honorable members that elections will be held under secret ballot, which is something all of us believe to be highly desirable. The bill provides for a House of Assembly to be elected for four-year terms. There seems to be some argument about whether the legislature should be called a House of Assembly or a House of Representatives. I am a native - I know that word is offensive to some people - of a State which calls its Lower House the House of Assembly. I do not know that a term matters so very greatly, but if the Parliament as a whole feels that House of Representatives is a better title than House of Assembly, perhaps I am in favour of it. I do not think too much importance should be attached to the name because, after all, it is a parliamentary title acceptable in the small island of Tasmania.
Membership of the new legislature will comprise 44 elected indigenes, ten elected non-indigenes and ten official members. A rather interesting provision of the bill is that the Speaker shall be elected by the Parliament. That is a most desirable reform. The bill provides for four parliamentary under-secretaries. If I may say so rather wryly, I hope that the system of parliamentary under-secretaries meets with more success in the Territory than it has had in this Parliament. I wish those parliamentary under-secretaries well.
I propose now to say something about the Foot report. Speaking only for myself now, 1 think that report was very wellintentioned and that it is to be respected; but I think it is fair to say that it flowed from a very rapid and sketchy visit to the Territory. The Government has accepted many of the recommendations in the report, but on several counts I join issue with its unreal recommendations. The first matter on which I join issue concerns the 100-man parliament. That recommendation has been rejected by the indigenes themselves. I do not accept the recommendation about self-determination. I suppose that if I said we must hasten slowly I would be regarded as a conservative, but there must be no wild stampede into tragedy, which could happen. Those of us who have visited the Territory - many of us have been there - know of the problems of terrain and language. At least 700 identified languages are used in the Territory. Now at last real efforts are being made to reduce these multiple languages to several, principally Motu and pidgin. The basic effort is to reduce all these languages to English. This is not a problem that will be solved in five years no matter how rapidly we may hasten. The language barrier alone is a tremendous handicap if you think in terms of selfdetermination. As has been said by other honorable members, communications are an essential factor in the Territory’s development. At present communications are very poor. It is only recently that through marathon efforts a road has been built from Lae to the southern highlands. That road is now the major road in the whole of the Territory, and even it does not extend for any very great distance.
Another reason why I believe we should not be stampeded into providing immediate self-determination for the Territory is that after a number of visits to the Territory and speaking to articulate native leaders and to articulate people in the villages I am convinced beyond doubt that the Papuans want us to stay. I have asked literally hundreds of the indigenous people their views, and I have no doubt that other honorable members have done likewise. Why do those people want us to stay? They want us to stay because they want the skills, the guidance, the development and, quite plainly, the financial backing that we can provide. They want roads, buildings and engineering and other technical equipment which they believe we alone can supply.
Although I have used the word “ stampede “ it must not be thought that we have been slow in bringing these people forward as rapidly as we can. Look at the record. Under the present Minister for Territories, the Legislative Council of the Territory has steadily and fairly rapidly increased its proportion of local representation. One of the most dramatic and quickly developing aspects of the Territory has been the local government councils. ‘A few years age when I first went to the Territory there were about twenty local government councils but now at least half of the Territory is represented by local government councils. Another matter that has contributed greatly to the political and social advancement of the indigenes has been the development of the co-operatives. Some people may ask what influence the co-operatives have in terms of politics, but in the genuine sense of politics the co-operatives matter a great deal. They integrate the indigenes in a society. That in itself is a step in the right direction. All these developments are to the credit of the Minister, who has been the guiding force.
Australia enjoys immense goodwill in the Territory. We have been fortunate in having in the Territory members of the Administration who by courage and diligence have shown the indigenes what can be done by dedicated people. If you ask the people of the Territory how they would like to see their country developed in the future almost invariably they say, “ Under the Australian flag “. Of course, that is just a term that they use. I think that perhaps the best solution in the future would be for the Territory, by its own choice, to become the seventh State of Australia. I emphasize that any such development must be by choice of the people of the Territory. That must be clearly understood, because Australia has no acquisitive aims in the Territory. Any step towards becoming part of the Commonwealth must be taken by the choice of the people of the Territory.
On my last visit to the Territory I gained the impression that most of the people there have a feeling of uncertainty. They do not have complete confidence in the future. However, I think the Minister in his second-reading speech dealt with this matter satisfactorily when he said -
It is our firm intention to defend the freedom of choice and respect the wishes of those dependent on us.
That is a pretty clear statement.
Now let me say something about the border between West Irian and the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. It was accidental that we should have been surveying aerially the border when the dispute over West New Guinea arose. I hope that the survey will be completed as rapidly as possible so that no dispute over the border will arise. I say quite bluntly - this is my own view, but I think it is the view of other people too - that as custodians at least of Papua and New Guinea we must say to the leaders of Indonesia, “ You have gone so far; you can go no further”. We have no quarrel with the Indonesian people, but I think we should be reasonably wary of their present leaders, remembering that not many years ago some of them came to Canberra and said, “We do not intend to take West Irian by force “. Yet the facts are that Indonesia dropped paratroopers into West Guinea and there was some conflict there before the whole issue was finally settled peaceably. I am not so sure that I like these words, “ We have no more territorial claims to make “. I seem to have heard them before. Those words ring a bell to me, and it is a rather unpleasant one. I ask the Parliament why there was such a show of force in West Irian on 1st May when the change-over took place. Was it to impress the primitive people of West Irian, or was it a hint to us? At the moment 15,000 troops are in the capital of West Irian.
– The number is nearer 30,000 now.
– My honorable friend corrects me and says that the number of troops is nearer 30,000. I have uptodate figures on the strength of the Indonesian air force. At the present time it has 90 MIG-15 fighters, fifteen MIG-17 fighters, twelve MIG-21 fighters which have a very long range, twenty Ilyushin bombers, ten Tupolev Badger bombers which could reach Australia, plus Hercules and Antonov transports. Indonesia has one of the strongest navies in South-East Asia. I do not think anybody could doubt that it has probably the strongest army in South-East Asia. Is all this in the interests of internal security, as was suggested?
We are entitled to ask: What are the intentions of the Indonesians? We do not have to apologize for asking this question, because our intentions are clearly peaceable and we have a tremendous duty to protect our own security. We are putting £20,000,000 into Papua and New Guinea annually. I will be interested to know how much Indonesia will put into West Irian in the years to come. Already the Indonesian economy is strained.
Yesterday the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) said that the Indonesians had already agreed to the Bunker plan, under which the West New Guineans will have the right of self-determination after seven years. But I read the other day that Dr. Soekarno had said to the people of West Irian, “You must now think like Indonesians”. In many other ways he has already pressurized the people of West Irian. Obviously it is coming to the point where he will make it very difficult for them to have a chance of self-determination; whereas there is no doubt in our minds that the people in our Territory of Papua and New Guinea will have freedom of choice. Perhaps the honorable member for East Sydney is convinced that the people of West Irian will have a free choice in the end, but I am not convinced of that at all.
I do not wish to prolong this debate, because I think we will have a rather interesting discussion at the committee stage. As a parliament, we have a tremendous responsibility to all the people of Papua and New Guinea - and I mean all the people. We have to give them a feeling of safety and confidence. I believe that the statement made by the Minister for Territories will give them that feeling. We also have to give them a completely free choice as to their future. Whatever their choice may be, we have to be sure that they can go ahead safely and securely.
.- In this debate I come to praise Caesar, not to bury him. I think it is wrong for anybody to stand up in this chamber and claim more credit for what he has done for the Territory of Papua and New Guinea than he is prepared to give to somebody else. No matter from what side of the House we come, we all want to make a humane effort for the people of the Territory. I readily applaud the present Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) for what he has done and is doing.
We know that at present the Territory is going through troublesome times because since the presentation of the Foot report many things have happened which we did not expect to happen. The part of the island that was known as West New Guinea is not now in the same category as it was. We can look upon it as being something like Victoria abutting New South Wales, because the people on one side of the imaginary line that is the boundary speak the same language as the people on the other side of that imaginary line. Overnight, dramatic changes have taken place. In Papua and New Guinea in the old days the people had one religion, the Christian religion. I will not stand up here and say that the Christian religion is any better than the religion of the people who have taken over West Irian; but the difference in religion will cause a lot of confusion. The people of West Irian will be greatly confused and, I think, it will be a long time before that confusion settles down.
I was very pleased to hear the honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Falkinder) talk about the defence aspect of that area. I was fortunate to accompany him and the honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Brimblecombe) on a trip to Papua and New Guinea recently. We had a good look over the Territory. I spoke to about 70 Papuans and New Guineans. I asked them what their feelings were. Their feelings are in line with those outlined by the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) when he spoke of the talk that took place on Mount Hagen, where many thousands let the Foot mission know that they wanted no change. The questions that I put to these people were not loaded. I did not try to put words into their mouths. They gave me the impression - the strong impression - that they wanted us to stay. If we look back we can understand why they want us to stay. In 1945 many of us were in Papua and New Guinea fighting not only for our own existence but also for the existence of Australia and the existence of Papua and New Guinea. And do not forget that we nearly lost! As I said, many changes have taken place. We would do well to learn by our mistakes. We all make mistakes but it is up to us to see that we rectify our mistakes for the benefit of mankind in general.
About a fortnight ago I was rather concerned when I read in the press that about 15,000 Indonesian troops were in West Irian. I have just heard that that number is now greater. That causes me more concern. I can quite understand the feelings of the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) on the matter because the whole country is going through a period of trial. I am alarmed at what I read in the press this morning. I will read this newspaper article so that it will be incorporated in “ Hansard “. It reads -
Djakarta, May 14. - Indonesia was against any “ legal separatism “ in West Irian, such as a referendum on self-determination, the Minister of information (Dr. Abdulgani) said here.
In a directive to his staff he ordered an active and positive propaganda campaign against the agreed plebiscite of self-determination in the former Dutch colony. His Information Ministry would endeavour “ to kill any attempt to separate West Irian from Indonesia. In other words, we must eliminate the referendum, or legal separatism, which is wrapped in the terms of the right of self-determination”, Dr. Rusland said in his directive. “Our men now in West Irian have been given firm duty in this matter. We must support them with all publications and radio, with oral as well as written propaganda”.
This directive came just fourteen days after the Indonesians took over from the United Nations, which had been running the Territory since the Dutch moved out at the end of last year. One of the conditions on which Indonesia was given the Territory was that there would be a plebiscite in 1969 to decide whether its people wanted to stay with Indonesia or chart their own future.
How can we set a target date for selfdetermination for our Territory until we know what is going to happen on the other side of the border? lt is just like the simple equation that we learned at school. If we give our part of this area self-determination too soon, we will not have it for long. I am sorry to say that. We just will not have it. We must watch what we are doing. We must use all of the best brains in this country to combat what I fear may come. From the bottom of my heart, I hope that it never will come, but I am alarmed, just fourteen days after the takeover of West New Guinea, to read statements like this in the press.
– It is very disturbing.
– It is very disturbing. I want to draw attention to what the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) said. I thought he put it rather well. His words were -
Papuans and New Guineans who have had higher education realize how many accidents have occurred along the international highway.
That statement appealed to me, because everybody knows what happened in the Congo. The Congo received selfdetermination too soon, and bloodshed occurred. Look at what happened in India. I think that country received self-determination at the right time. I know quite a few Indians. When India was handed over by the British the Indians were ready to govern themselves, but I do not think that the East New Guineans and the Papuans are in a fit state to govern themselves.
I would not like to see self-determination hastened along in the Territory. I heard the Prime Minister say that it would be better for the Territory to have selfdetermination sooner rather than later, but that does not apply now, owing to the change that has taken place across the border. It would be wrong, in my opinion, to give these people self-determination before they are ready for it. I know that they must have self-determination eventually, because, after all, this is their country, but throughout the world too much play is made of the word “ colonialism “. In the past, we in Australia were referred to as colonials, but we did not have here the sort of colonialism that was seen in other parts of the world. We grew up as a forthright race of people who stood on their own feet. If we did not agree with some things, we said so. Since Australians have been administering Papua and New Guinea, that spirit of freedom and forthrightness has gone into the Territory and we have had men of sterling character looking after the interests of the people there.
I feel that I am in quite a unique position as far as the Territory is concerned. I saw it in times of peace, before the war, and I saw it halfway through the war, when I came back from England. I saw it again when the war finished. I went there again seventeen years later. Looking back, I do not feel impatient. Remarkable changes have taken place. In 1945 we of the Labour Party were the Government. We set certain things in action. This is a major debate, and both sides are trying to do their best for the people of the Territory. The present Government took over the reins of office from us. I know that it has made a few mistakes, as everybody does, but, by and large, the things it has done have been done in the best interests of these people. The people of the Territory are proud of Australians. When I, and the people with me, spoke to them, they said that they did not want Australian’s to leave them. They even said, “ Why cannot Papua and New Guinea become another State of Australia? “ I do not know whether that is possible, but I have not gone into it fully. I see no reason why Papua and New Guinea should not become another State of Australia, just as Hawaii joined the United States of America and the fiftieth star was put on the flag of that nation.
I know that there might be a colour problem if that were done, but we are going to have a colour problem in this country whether we like it or not. The teeming millions in India and the Near East are looking at Australia and saying, “ What are you going to do with it? “ If the Territory became another State of Australia, overnight we would have an added population, of 2,000,000 coloured people. The people who are always pointing the finger of scorn at us, and saying, “What are you going to do about Australia? “, would then see that we had added to our 11,000,000 people 2,000,000 coloured people.
It has been said that the inhabitants of the Territory would want to swarm down here. They would not want to swarm down here, because they are very happy and very satisfied in their own country. I know that they live in a primitive way, but in many respects they are far better off than people in many other parts of the world. They are well protected and they are well looked after. Their ordinances and laws have been drawn up by the best brains in this country. Any person who wants to be a landholder finds that provision has been, made for him to hold land. I have seen these people’s small farms and plots of land. I know that they live in grass huts, but a grass hut is the right type of housing for people in that country. There is nothing wrong with living in a grass hut, and they get along very well. I do not know whether it is right that we should come along and say, “ You have to wear our type of clothing “. It does not suit them up there. Living is cheap for them. In the whole of Papua and New Guinea I have not seen poverty anywhere. I have travelled to most countries of the world. It may seem odd, but it is a fact that you can go into any part of Papua and New Guinea and not be pestered by beggars. You just do not see people begging up there. It is rich country. Almost anything will grow there, and the people do grow their own requirements. In fact, provision has been made for them to sell their products locally. You just cannot change this way of life overnight.
The Opposition proposes to submit certain recommendations when the bill is being discussed in committee, and I agree with the suggestions that will be made. One relates to the number of members of the Legislative Assembly, or House of
Representatives as we propose it should be called. The proposed increase in the number of representatives would help greatly, but at the same time we must all appreciate and understand the difficulties of operating a parliament in that area. First, it will be necessary to cope with three languages. I know that can be done because it is being done now, but it is not easy, and a start must be made. I am glad to see that it is intended to adopt the electoral roll system. This is a new procedure. At the last election the electors formed queues. When presenting themselves to vote, they were told, “Those of you who want to vote for this fellow line up over here “; and so it went on. It is now proposed to introduce the electoral roll system together with the secret ballot and I can see nothing but good resulting from it.
Another suggestion I would like to make is that the Government, regardless of party, should do something for the defence of the area. One planter from New Guinea wrote to me suggesting that light coastal forces should be stationed there. This is the type of force in which local inhabitants could be employed quite easily. I understand that at the present time the only coastal defence unit is one small wooden vessel, “ H.M.A.S. Banks “, which has a crew of half a dozen local men. I should like to see something better than that. I should like to see a force of light coastal ships which could move quickly from one place to another, for that is the type of vessel that the local people can man very readily.
Let us look at this question squarely and honestly before doing anything that may harm these people. We have set out to do something for their good. If we do not consider the matter thoroughly we shall really do nothing for them; indeed, we shall thus leave them in a position worse than that in which they were before we started. I hope we shall never do that.
– I support most of what the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Benson) has said about the bill because he speaks from experience gained in Papua and New Guinea. I bear witness to all that he has said about the attitude of the indigenous people towards suggestions that we should get out of the country and leave them to determine their own affairs. What he said was correct. Every one whom I heard questioned on the matter replied: “ We do not want you to get out. We are not ready for self-government and we want you to stay here and help us “. When asked when they thought we should get out, the better educated of them said, “That is rather difficult; we would not like to state any definite time”. And, as the honorable member for Batman has said, they referred to what is happening in West Irian to-day. The purpose of this bill is to make further constitutional reforms in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea as another stage in the political advancement of the country and its people. First, we must give all credit to the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) for proceeding as fast as he possibly can, but yet not too quickly. In other words, all credit must go to him for hastening slowly with the political advancement of the people of Papua and New Guinea.
The changes proposed in the bill are based on recommendations made by a select committee appointed to inquire into the subject. That committee was comprised mainly of Australians, not people from the other side of the world like the members of the Foot mission who were there for only a few weeks. It was comprised of dedicated people who had lived in the Territory for almost the whole of their lives, who understand the conditions and the people there and who understand far better than any mission from the United Nations Organization just what should be done. Certainly we are required to report to the United Nations Organization on what is being done, and missions from that organization have a perfect right to go in, criticize and make suggestions; but I much prefer to accept the recommendations of our own select committee which, as I have said, was comprised of dedicated people who have rendered yeoman service down the years in the interests of the indigenous people of the area.
The main objection voiced by honorable members opposite to the bill is to the proposed number of members to be elected to the Legislative Assembly or House of Representatives. Here again the proposal is based on the recommendation of the members of the select committee who understand the position far better than could any mission from the United Nations Organization; indeed, I believe that they understand the position far better than do the majority of honorable members in this House who are debating the bill and will be required to make a decision on the question. To a very large extent, we must be guided by the members of that select committee. Here I emphasize that the Minister enjoys the confidence of the people of Papua and New Guinea. They appreciate what he has done. I repeat that we have been wise in deciding not to be stampeded into taking any hasty action in connexion with the granting of political independence to the people of Papua and New Guinea.
Honorable members opposite have criticized what the Government has done in educating and providing medical services for the people of the Territory. Only recently I made it my business to ascertain the progress that has been made in the period since 1952 when I last visited there. From what I was able to learn, I am convinced that we have made tremendous strides in educating the people of Papua and New Guinea. Native teachers to whom I spoke in the primary schools and high schools appreciate what we have done. They believe that more could be done, but they are satisfied with the manner in which what we have accomplished has been done and they appreciate our efforts. New schools are being built in the Territory and although education is not compulsory attendances are very good. I also had a look at the work the students in the school are doing and spoke to some of them. Most of the boys are happy to be able to take advantage of the educational facilities that we are providing and they are doing well at their lessons.
I turn now to the medical services of the Territory. It is true that there are few doctors and many thousands of people to be cared for, but we have set out to train medical orderlies in the elementary treatment of the common diseases and ailments. I visited a number of medical aid posts and was interested to see how the people in charge of those posts go about their work and maintain their records. They have a pretty good knowledge of the common ailments and diseases prevalent in most of the bush areas. If they find a case which they feel they cannot handle the patient is immediately taken to a centre where he or she can receive proper treatment. I spoke to a lady who has spent her whole life on plantations in New Guinea and she had the greatest praise for the medical and health services in the Territory, and particularly for the knowledge that has been gained by the native people. It is evident from the records that infant mortality in the Territory is at present not half as great as it was a decade ago. That is a remarkable achievement. Great progress is being made.
I agree with the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) about the wish of these people for selfgovernment. He said that we must start at the grass roots and work from bottom to top rather than from top to bottom. That is what the Administration is doing under the direction of the Government, and particularly of the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck). New district councils are being set up almost every week. These councils are a great training ground for the people who, later on, will most likely graduate to government. Like the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Howson) I attended some district council meetings. I had to have an interpreter, because I could not understand much of the pidgin spoken, but it is clear that a remarkable job is being done. One has only to look at the agendas of council meetings to realize the importance of the matters which the natives are capable of discussing and on which they make decisions. This has come about in a short period of time. It is remarkable to see how the councils approach their problem and reach decisions.
I want now to say something about the defence of the Territory, particularly in view of what has happened in the western part of New Guinea in recent months. There is a feeling of insecurity among the people. In talking to a number of our officials and to the people of the Territory generally I found among them a feeling that the personnel of the Pacific Islands regiment should be increased considerably. I think the Minister and the Government should give serious consideration to that suggestion, in view of what has happened. The expansion of the regiment would be a practical demonstration to these people that their defence and security will be well catered for.
I will not delay the House for long but I want to emphasize, as the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Benson) did, that the Territory people in every walk of life want us to stay there. They do not want us to say that we are going to leave the Territory to-morrow or the next day or five or fifteen years hence. One Papuan who used to be a senior clerk in the Administration and who is now foreman of a pretty big store up there - I will not mention the district - put it to me in this way: “ Irrespective of what I think about the time for the takeover, we must remember that it is not many years since we had tribal warfare in this country. It is not many years since we had headhunters in the highlands. I do not belong to this part of Papua. I do not belong to the local tribes. I am afraid that if we get self-determination and self-government before we are ready for it tribal warfare will return and my position here will be insecure “. That was the view of one of the better-educated Papuans.
I believe the majority of honorable members will agree that tribal wars could recur. We have a sacred trust not to let these people down. I believe it is wrong to liken New Guinea to the African states in the matter of the self-determination. In Papua and New Guinea there has never been the exploitation by the great commercial interests of the world that there has been in the African countries. Australian governments whose responsibility it has been to look after this Territory have had the foresight to ensure that the land will remain the property of the indigenous people. The Territory has never experienced the kind of exploitation that has occurred in African countries. Our approach in New Guinea must be different from the approach adopted in African countries. I believe that the approach of the Minister is right. He understands the problem and I support him. I believe that the steps towards selfdetermination apparent in this bill are right.
I support the bill. I realize that we have a big responsibility. The problems that confront us in the Territory must be, and are being, handled carefully. I am sure that every honorable member in this Parliament agrees that self-determination for the Territory must come some day. However, if hastening slowly means that the job will be done properly, I favour hastening slowly.
.- One of the big problems that will confront this Commonwealth of ours in the next few years is undoubtedly the problem of selfdetermination and independence for our Territory of Papua and the Territory of New Guinea. I believe, as do many members of the Australian Labour Party and, I am sure, of the Government parties, that at this stage far too few people in Australia understand the problems that face us in relation to our trusteeship Territory. It is mainly for this reason that I enter the debate to-day. I believe that unless the members of this Parliament show some interest in the problems that confront the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) and the Government in the administration of Papua and New Guinea, the people of Australia will not be ready to face the problem’s that will arise in the years that lie ahead.
The rapid moves towards independence and self-government in other countries in the last few years make clear that we will not be allowed to administer the Territory of Papua and New Guinea for any greater length of time than public opinion throughout the world deems necessary. For that reason, I believe that the newspapers and the other media of communication throughout Australia should use the opportunity presented by this debate to place before the people some of the thoughts expressed in the Parliament so that the people will be aware of what is happening. Criticism of our policy by the United Nations or a decision taken in the United Nations may force us to give independence and selfgovernment to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea before we are quite ready. There is no doubt that all members of this Parliament have good intentions towards the Territory, but good intentions alone are not sufficient. Our intention to give selfgovernment and independence to the people of Papua and New Guinea must be followed by action and the action must be taken as rapidly and efficiently as is possible.
Compared with many nations of the world, we are a young nation, but we have enjoyed self-government as a Commonwealth since 1901. We have had some experience of the decisions that are made by parliaments to confer advantages on a country and its people. This experience should be used to far better effect than it is in seeking a solution to the problems of Papua and New Guinea. The more rapid development of our Territory has been impeded by lack of sufficient finance. The Australian people must realize that more money is needed for the development of the Territory. At present we make available about £20,000,000 a year, but if we are going to do all that is necessary we must greatly increase this amount and increase it very quickly. The Australian people must realize that we will not be able to increase some of the benefits that have been given to them in the past and that we will not be able to reduce taxation because of our grave responsibility in Papua and New Guinea. All that we have here in Australia can easily be taken from us if we make too many false moves in Papua and New Guinea. The world would soon be made aware of any maladministration or any mistakes we made in our trustee Territory and before very long we could easily find that instead of having in charge of the Territory people who have an abiding affection for, and loyalty towards, Australia, we could have people who have no affection towards us.
The bill before us deserves the utmost consideration of the Parliament. It shows, once again, the deep interest taken in the affairs of his department by the Minister. I think he would be the first to agree that the amendments foreshadowed by the Australian Labour Party have been drawn up with honesty of purpose and sincerity. They are intended to improve the bill. The Opposition’s sub-committee, which examined the bill, consists of men who understand the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. It has not attempted to criticize the bill merely for the sake of criticism or to amend the bill merely for the sake of amendment. It has attempted to frame amendments that are worthy of consideration. I am sure that, after hearing the arguments advanced by Opposition members, and after studying the report of the United Nations visiting mission, the Minister must agree that the Opposition’s amendments have not been drawn up without due and deep consideration.
Improvements have been effected in the Territory and have been accepted by the people of the Territory. The criticism that the Opposition makes to the proposal in the bill and to other proposals that have gone before it is that progress and development in the Territory have taken place too slowly. It is well known that a person who wants to improve in any way, including sport, must have in front of him a goal that will offer some incentive and encouragement. We must place before the people of Papua and New Guinea such a goal. If we move only as quickly as we think the people of the Territory are capable of moving, th?y will move only at that pace. If we put in front of them a goal that means they will have to take a more active interest in their local councils and their parliament, we will find that they will develop much more quickly than we had expected.
The Minister has suggested that the parliament of the Territory should have only 64 members. The Opposition believes that it should have 98 members. This is an increase of 34 members. It is not a large increase. Even if these additional 34 members have at this stage had no experience of local government or of administration, they will very rapidly gain the experience if they are given the opportunity to take part in the proceedings of the House of Representatives or the House of Assembly. I believe that the amendments of the Opposition deserve the consideration of the Minister. I earnestly believe that unless amendments such as we have foreshadowed are accepted by the Government, unless the Government is prepared to move more quickly in the direction of self-determination and self-government for Papua and New Guinea than it has done previously, we will find that the problems of that Territory will increase and will become more urgent.
At this stage I would like to read extracts from the report of the United Nations visiting mission to the Trust Territory of New Guinea. At the conclusion of its report the mission said: -
First, it is essential to be ahead and not behind the rapidly awakening and increasingly insistent desire of the people for material progress. Secondly, it is necessary to equip the people with higher education to take a leading share, and not merely a subordinate part, in the management of their own affairs. Thirdly, the whole Territory must be drawn together and given the means for free political expression by the creation of a representative Parliament
We are convinced that there should be no delay whatever in pressing on to achieve these three purposes. Then the way will be cleared for increasing the pace and the momentum of progress towards the declared object of national selfdetermination.
No one can complain about those conclusions. The only complaint we make about the bill is that it has not gone far enough. If we are going to face up to the problems in Papua and New Guinea we must work a good deal more rapidly. One of the most serious problems, as has been stated by many speakers in this debate, is that there are not enough people in the Territory with the necessary standard of education to accept the responsibilities of the positions that might be given to them. One of the reasons for this is that we have not spent enough money in the Territory. Whilst I make no complaint about the money that is being spent on the Colombo Plan I want to point out to the House that during the last ten years the Australian Government has spent £40,929,896 on the Colombo Plan. This year it is estimated that another £6,000,000 will be spent. We are training people from various countries under this plan.
Australia’s contribution in the field of training, during the ten years of operation of the plan, has amounted to 3,816 awards. That was the total number at 31st December, 1961, at which time 951 trainees were still in Australia. Various countries have received assistance in this direction. Burma, for instance, has had 351 of its people trained in Australia. Cambodia has had fifteen. Australia has trained 55 Ceylonese in education, another eighteen in nursing and sixteen in agriculture. We have also given 363 correspondence awards, some in accountancy and some in building construction, to the people of Ceylon. The country that has had more of its citizens trained in Australia than any other country is Indonesia. On page 10 of the document, “ Australia’s Part in the Colombo Plan - Progress Report to 31st December, 1961 “ we find the following information: -
More Indonesians have received training in Australia under the Colombo Plan than any other national group. Two hundred and forty are still in training in Australia. The majority (100) of the Indonesians still here are studying engineering. Of the grand total of 726 awards, the biggest fields are engineering (272), education (159), public administration (71), economics (59) and science (53). There are 125 Indonesians taking correspondence courses at present, the main fields of training being engineering (40), preparatory diploma (32) and clerical (24).
Malaya, Nepal, North Borneo, Pakistan and the Philippines have all sent students to Australia to train. If there are not enough people in Papua and New Guinea with sufficient education to undertake advanced tertiary courses, there is nothing at all to prevent this Government from bringing to our high schools and secondary schools a certain number of Papuan people so that they may be trained to Leaving Certificate standard and pushed through the universities. They could then go back and take part in the handling of Territory affairs.
As I said earlier, I do not complain about the amount of money that is being spent on the Colombo Plan, but I do suggest that if we can find about £50,000,000 in ten years to assist other countries and to educate some of their people - countries that are not our particular responsibility, as the Territory of Papua and New Guinea is - it should not be beyond our means to spend more money on the training of New Guinea people in Australia. I put that proposition to the Minister in all seriousness.
I would like to make this point in conclusion. The Australian Government, whether it is the present Government or a Labour Party Government, is going to be under close scrutiny by the United Nations from time to time in its administration of the affairs of New Guinea. Unless we keep ahead of the suggestions that will be made by visiting mission’s, using the experience that we have gained in Australia of parliamentary government, we will find that the United Nations will pass resolutions criticizing us. I only hope that the United Nations will take as much interest in the Affairs of West Irian as it will take in the affairs of East New Guinea. As it has been mentioned previously in this debate, I want to read to the House some portions of the agreement that was entered into between the Indonesian Government and the Nether lands Government on 15th August, 1962. Article I. is as follows: -
After the present Agreement between Indonesia and the Netherlands has been signed and ratified by both Contracting Parties, Indonesia and the Netherlands will jointly sponsor a draft resolution in the United Nations under the terms of which the General Assembly of the United Nations takes note of the present Agreement, acknowledges the role conferred upon the Secretary-General of the United Nations therein, and authorizes him to carry out the tasks entrusted to him therein.
Then I come to Article XVIII.-
Indonesia will make arrangements, with the assistance and participation of the United Nations representative and his staff, to give the people of the territory the opportunity to exercise freedom of choice. Such arrangements will include:
Consultations with the representative councils on procedures and appropriate methods to be followed for ascertaining the freely expressed will of the population.
The determination of the actual date of the exercise of free choice within the period established by the present Agreement.
Formulation of the questions in such a way as to permit the inhabitants to decide (a) whether they wish to remain with Indonesia; or (b) whether they wish to sever their ties with Indonesia.
The eligibility of all adults, male and female, not foreign nationals to participate in the act of self-determination to be carried out in accordance with international practice, who are resident at the time of the signing of the present Agreement and at the time of the act of self-determination including those residents who departed after 1945 and who return to the territory to resume residence after the termination of Netherlands administration.
Yet we see newspaper reports to-day that the Indonesian Minister for Immigration, Dr. Ruslan Abdulgani, has already issued directions that propaganda should be used in order to break down the terms of that agreement.
What Australian people have to realize is that the Territories of West Irian, Papua and East New Guinea, or at least some of them, are part and parcel of the same country, and unless we have in West Irian an administration that aims for the same benefits and goals for which we are aiming in New Guinea the people of our Territory will be upset by the attitude being adopted in the other part of New Guinea. If we are to be under close scrutiny because of our administration of East New Guinea surely a country that has signed an agreement such as the one from which I have just read should not be allowed to go uncriticized by the United Nations for statements that its representatives have been making.
I believe that the amendments to this bill foreshadowed by Opposition speakers are well worth consideration, for they embody proposals that would give the people of Papua and New Guinea incentive to aim at higher goals. If the Minister for Territories is not prepared to accept the amendments, the Government will find that the United Nations, taking a very definite interest in the affairs of our trust Territory, will push us into thrusting responsibility on the people of Papua and New Guinea before they are capable of effectively discharging that responsibility. I most earnestly urge the Minister to consider the proposed amendments carefully when they are moved.
One or two of the amendments, perhaps, relate to matters of form. There is the question of whether the proposed chamber shall be known as “ House of Assembly “ or “ House of Representatives “. If we are to educate the people of the Territory for independence and self-government, surely one of the first things that we have to do at this stage is to convince them that the members of the parliament to be formed will be their representatives. To the normal run of Papuans, the description “ House of Assembly “ would not mean the same as the description “ House of Representatives “. The members will represent the people of Papua. Therefore, I believe that the proposed Opposition amendment designed to provide that the chamber shall be known as “ House of Representatives “ is well worth consideration. The interim reports presented by the select committee appointed by the Legislative Council for the Territory to inquire into political advancement reveal that at one stage the committee favoured the name “ House of Representatives “, but finally decided to recommend in favour of the description “ House of Assembly “. However, the committee has given no reasons why the name “ House of Assembly “ was chosen. The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia has a House of Representatives and Australia administers the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. I believe that the Papuan people will be much more ready to accept a name that is to be found already in the Australian Parliament than they will be to accept the name “ House of Assembly “.
Other amendments that will be moved by the Opposition merit deep consideration, too. In particular, I mention the one designed to increase the number of elected representatives of the Papuan people from 44 to 88. We have been told time and time again in this House that our own electorates are far too large. Travel is much more difficult in Papua and New Guinea, and if we begin by making the electorates there too large, and therefore even more difficult to cover than are our electorates in Australia, the elected representatives will not be able to see enough of their constituents, and we shall find much more difficulty in educating the Papuan people for the acceptance of self-government and the responsibilities that it will place on them.
I conclude, Mr. Speaker, by asking the Minister to accept the amendments that will be moved by the Opposition. They have been prepared with a sincere wish to ensure that Australia will be able to solve some of the problems that could easily be on our plate before long.
.- Mr. Speaker, the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck), in his second-reading speech, stated that the purpose of this bill is to make further constitutional reforms in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea as another stage in the political advancement of the country and its people. He went on to say -
It is our firm intention to defend the freedom of choice and respect the wishes of those dependent on us. In all matters of political advancement we will try to engage their interest in consultation with us in working out what they themselves would regard as being best suited to their needs and their circumstances and their position in the world.
I think that when we consider this bill and what it envisages we can usefully look back over the period of Australia’s administration in New Guinea. We shall in this way get a better appreciation of the difficulties that have beset our administration over the period. This will help us to appreciate just what the Australian Administration has achieved in the advancement of the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.
Australia’s association with New Guinea dates back to 1883, when Sir Thomas Mcllwraith, who was then Premier of Queensland, sent Mr. Henry Chester, who was at that time police magistrate on Thursday Island, to take possession of New
Guinea in the name of Queen Victoria. Chester arrived at Port Moresby on 3rd April, 1883, and hoisted the Union Jack the following day. The British Government refused to ratify Chester’s act, and history records that as a result Britain lost about one-quarter of the island of New Guinea. The Australian colonies reacted so violently to this repudiation that, the following year, the British Government sent Commodore Erskine to proclaim a British protectorate, and the British flag was hoisted for the third time. It had been hoisted prematurely by Deputy Commissioner Romilly, who had sailed with Erskine’s fleet and had arrived at Port Moresby a few days before Erskine. The flag was raised for the third time, by Erskine, on 6th November, 1884. The result of this was the establishment of a British protectorate over the south coast and the adjacent country. At a Colonial Office conference, in May, 1887, the British Government agreed to formal annexation and letters patent were issued in June of 1888.
– Were the people consulted?
– The honorable member will have his chance after 8 o’clock. I have to watch my time now.
The letters patent issued in June, 1888, authorized government by an Administrator, with provision for the appointment of a Lieutenant-Governor in due course. On 9th June, 1888, Dr. William Macgregor, who had been Colonial Secretary for Fiji, was commissioned as Administrator and the government of the colony was formally inaugurated.
Shortly after the formation of the Commonwealth of Australia, in 1901, the new Commonwealth Government proposed to the British Government that New Guinea be administered by the Australian Commonwealth. The order in council necessary to effect this transfer was issued in March, 1902, but, under the letters patent, the transfer could not be completed until the Commonwealth Parliament had passed, and the Australian Government had proclaimed, laws for the government of the Territory. This was done in the Papua Act 1905, and what had been first the protectorate and afterwards the possession of British New
Guinea became the Territory of Papua under Australian administration and control. Mr. Hubert Murray, who was later to become Sir Hubert, was appointed Acting Administrator in April of 1907, and became the Australian Lieutenant-Governor in January, 1909.
In the meantime, Germany had developed considerable commercial interests in both New Britain and New Ireland, and, in April, 1899, the German Government had appointed a governor in that part of New Guinea that was within its sphere of influence. After the outbreak of war in 1914, an Australian expeditionary force was despatched to the Pacific, and it took possession of the German colonies in New Guinea and hoisted the British flag over that part of the Territory on 11th September, 1914. Under Article 119 of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany renounced all rights to her colonial possessions and, in December, 1920, the Council of the League of Nations granted Australia a mandate to govern the Territory of New Guinea. This, of course, did not in any way affect Australia’s administration of the Territory of Papua. In September, 1920, the Australian Parliament passed the New Guinea Act, and Brigadier-General Wisdom was appointed the first Administrator of the Mandated Territory.
When Japan came into the war in 1942, the defence authorities took control of New Guinea and retained control until October, 1945. By this time the Australian Government had found it convenient to administer the two sections of eastern New Guinea as one unit. The combination of the administration was effected under the Papua-New Guinea Provisional Administration Act 1945. On 13th December, 1946, the General Assembly of the United Nations approved the terms of a trusteeship agreement under which the Mandated Territory of New Guinea became a Trust Territory of the United Nations under the administration of the Commonwealth of Australia. As a result, the Papua and New Guinea Act 1949 came into force. While the separate status and identity of the Territory of Papua was maintained under the Crown, the act provided for the administration of the Territory of New Guinea under the international trusteeship system. The act also provided for the administrative union of the two Territories with the title of “ Territory of Papua and New Guinea “, with one administrator, one supreme court and one public service.
The terms of the United Nations trusteeship charter state that the primary objective of government policy in New Guinea should be- to recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of the Territories are paramount - to accept as a sacred trust the obligation to provide to the utmost the political, economic social and educational advancement of the inhabitants and their progressive development towards self-government and independence.
I believe that the Government and the Minister for Territories always endeavour to achieve this objective.
The Papua and New Guinea Act 1949 which brought about the administrative union of the two Territories also provided for the establishment of a legislative council. The first meeting of this council was held in November, 1951. The act provided that the council was to consist of an administrator, who was to be the president, and 28 members, sixteen of whom were to be official members and twelve non-official members. The official members were administration officers, appointed by the Governor-General of Australia on the nomination of the Administrator. The non-official members consisted of nine nominated members, three each representing the christian missions, the business and commercial community of the Territory and the native people themselves, and three elected members representing the general community of Papua and New Guinea - that is, on both the mainland and the islands. The act also provided that three of the nine nominated members had to be indigenes.
In pursuance of its obligations and also in the terms of the United Nations charter the Government, in October, 1960, passed an act to increase the membership of the Legislative Council from 29 to 37 and to reduce the number of official members from seventeen to fifteen. It also provided for ten new non-official members. The number of native members was increased from three to eleven, five of whom were to be nominated and six elected. Those six were not elected from a complete roll of native inhabitants; they were elected by delegates appointed by the local government councils.
When speaking to the bill last night the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) said -
When the Papua and New Guinea Bill was before the Home two years ago we moved two amendments’. The first was designed to provide that there would be a common roll on which all the elected members of the council would be elected. The Government defeated our amendment.
I do not know whether it was the honorable gentleman’s purpose to convey that the idea of a common roll was fathered by the Opposition. If that was his purpose, I should like to inform the House that clause 8 of the 1960 bill provided for a common roll. It provided also that the Legislative Council of the Territory would decide when the transitional period would end and when the actual roll would be introduced. In addition to the eleven native members, there are also eleven European members, five of whom are nominated and six elected.
This act was a step forward in the progress towards self-government but it did not go far enough for the Papuans and New Guineans because it provided direct representation of only about 250,000 or 300,000 of their people out of a total estimated population of about 2,000,000. Of the 37 members of the present Legislative Council, thirteen are from the trust territory and the others are from Papua. The position to-day is that we have a Legislative Council of 37 members which comprises the Administrator, fourteen appointed official members, twelve elected members - six of whom are elected by the indigenous population and six by the son-indigenous population - and ten appointed non-official members, not less than five of whom shall be Papuans or New Guineans.
In pursuance of its policy of ultimate selfgovernment for the Territory the Government, in September, 1961, appointed a select committee of the Legislative Council to consider constitutional reform as envisaged by the council itself. In the meantime the United Nations Organization appointed a mission to visit the Trust Territories of Nauru and New Guinea. It was under the chairmanship of Sir Hugh Foot. The mission spent five weeks in New Guinea between 8th April and 13th May, 1962. During that time it visited the nine districts of the Territory. On 21st June, 1962, it made its report to the United Nations. I have read the report and I have found that the opinions expressed by the people interviewed by the mission were basically the same in each of the nine districts. Naturally the people of Papua and New Guinea have their own aims and ambitions. They are also largely aware of what is lacking and of what requirements must be fulfilled before they can govern themselves adequately.
It is also obvious to any one who has read the report that the educated Papuans and New Guineans are convinced that the Territory is not yet ready for self-government. They realize that they still need Australia’s help, Australia’s money and the protection of Australia’s armed forces. Almost without exception, these people made known to the mission that they believe that New Guinea should be economically selfsufficient before thinking of self-government.
The Foot report stated that the mission was impressed by the leaders’ ability to express themselves and that it was obvious that they had given deep thought to their problems. It is interesting to read in the Foot report some of the opinions expressed by the New Guineans. For instance, in the Madang district the spokesmen said -
If our people get self-government before they are prepared for it the posts will be filled by “ chair warmers “.
It is our people who need to wake up, not Australia.
It is the job of our people to work for independence and not expect Australia to do this for them.
The mission stated that the people interviewed expressed a desire to work towards the achievement of self-government. Many people believed that the next generation might be ready for self-government but that they themselves were not ready. Most of them said that they wanted Australia rather than any other country to continue to govern them until they were ready for selfgovernment. In saying this I am not expressing my own opinion or indeed the opinion of the Government. I am repeating the opinions which were expressed by the people of New Guinea and are recorded in the Foot report.
One local government president asked the mission, “Why is the United Nations pressing Australia? “ The mission’s report stated that the mission was struck by the fact that certain thoughts, anxieties and aspirations were uppermost in the minds of these people, irrespective of the districts from which they came. These thoughts, anxieties and aspirations are all recorded in the Foot report, and I should like to refer to some of them. For instance, the mission noted that the people of the Territory are grateful to Australia for what it has done and they desire Australia to stay to help them to self-government. They desire their local councils to be improved by the provision of more training, more money, more responsibility and more authority in local affairs. This Government has tried to do what it can in that regard. For instance, in 1949 there were no local councils but in 1955 there were nine, which comprised 217 councillors representing slightly fewer than 40,000 people. To-day there are 78 local councils in New Guinea, which comprise approximately 2,270 councillors representing nearly 750,000 people.
The native people said that they realize that they need more agricultural, vocational, medical and commercial training and training in the conduct of small businesses before they will be able to contribute their full share to the development of the Territory. They want greater participation in the conduct of their affairs by continued advancement in the Public Service. They want more and higher posts. In this regard the Minister and the Government have done everything to assist them. In 1949 there were no native people employed in the Public Service. Indeed, in 1955 no native people were employed in the Public Service of the Territory, but to-day 912 indigenous people are employed under the Public Service Ordinance. In addition, 9,269 indigenes are employed as servants of the Administration.
The people of the Territory want more primary and secondary schools. They want increased opportunities for higher education. They want a university. The Minister has given an assurance that this Government will establish a university in the Territory. It is interesting to note that whereas in 1949 there were in the Territory 2,483 primary schools, to-day there are 3,730; and whereas in 1949 there were three secondary schools, to-day there are 117.
The people of the Territory believe that their pattern of land ownership, tenure and inheritance must be changed. There is already a tendency to acquire individual ownership of land. The customs of the indigenous people of the Territory present some problems. For example, their customs decree that the man who plants a tree owns that tree and the fruit that it bears, but that the land on which it is planted remains the property of the clan. One consequence of this custom is that the enterprising and educated members of the clan are afraid to expend capital and labour to plant crops lest they be denied access to the land when the crops are ready to be harvested. The educated people realize that this situation has a retarding effect on progress.
The indigenous people want higher prices for their crops, which will mean higher wages and an increased standard of living. They require assistance with their cooperatives, in regard to both training and money. They require improved communications in the way of roads, airstrips and radio stations. Whatever is lacking in this regard is largely attributable to the geography of the Territory, which is not conducive to the establishment of good communications. Nevertheless, this Government has done a great deal to improve communications. In 1949 there were 2,693 miles of road in the Territory; to-day there are 6,462 miles of road. I do not know how many airstrips there were in the Territory in 1949, but in 1955 there were 109 and to-day there are 237. So, it can be seen that the Government has continually endeavoured to do what the people themselves want it to do.
A number of people in the Territory have expressed the wish that the Government should introduce new types of crops and establish new industries. The people of the Territory feel that if this were done it would go a long way towards eliminating the cargo cult because it would educate the people and help them to understand that goods are manufactured and not created magically. The people of the Territory realize the difficulties that beset them at present, such as lack of co-operation between tribes and lack of university graduates capable of taking over administrative or professional positions. The language situation presents a difficulty. We are constantly reminded that more than 600 different languages are used in the Territory. All this has contributed to a lack of national unity.
Yesterday the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), when speaking in this debate, said -
To read the Minister’s speech one would imagine that everything that has happened in Papua and New Guinea in recent times that he can put forward as being something to the credit of Australia is attributable to the efforts of his Government and to his ministership. In actual fact it was the Labour Government that laid the foundations of the structure that has been built up in Papua and New Guinea.
The honorable member said that prior to 1945 very little had been done in the Territory. That is perfectly true, but we must remember that until the outbreak of war no government of any political persuasion had a very great awareness of the importance of New Guinea. But war in the Pacific and what took place in New Guinea were responsible for a change of thinking. It was the war and not the fact that the honorable member was a member of the Labour Party which caused the Labour Government to do something towards the advancement of New Guinea. In saying that, I do not wish to take any credit from the honorable member, but, as the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) last night reminded us, the honorable member for East Sydney in 1938 said -
It is amusing to hear people say that we shall not give up New Guinea. To these people I would say that if it should become necessary to defend our Mandated Territory, they should defend it themselves.
As the honorable member for Chisholm said, it is to the credit of the honorable member for East Sydney that he has changed his ideas. But that change is not the result of his membership of the Labour Party; it is the result of the war in the Pacific. Any government in power at that time would have been forced to react as the Curtin and Chifley Governments reacted.
The honorable member for East Sydney said that this Government looks upon Papua and New Guinea as an area to be exploited. The Government’s record in the Territory speaks for itself. In 1949, after four years of post-war Labour administration, the total Budget of the Territory was £4,000,000, of which Australia provided £3,190,000. I realize that conditions have changed and that the value of money has changed, but, whilst not wishing to detract from anything that a Labour government did in those years, honorable members opposite must not try to take from us the credit that is due to us for what we have done in the Territory. In 1955 the Budget for the Territory had increased to more than £10,000,000, of which the Australian people were contributing more than £7,000,000. This year expenditure in the Territory will amount to about £30,000,000, of which the Australian taxpayers have provided £20,000,000. This is as it should be. Perhaps not enough is being spent in the Territory, but honorable members opposite cannot claim that this Government looks upon the Territory as a place to be exploited. In terms of pounds, shillings and pence, if anybody is being exploited it is the Australian taxpayer.
On 10th April, 1961, when opening the present Legislative Council, Sir Dallas Brooks, who was then Administrator of the Commonwealth, said -
The Government and the Territorial Administration will combine to promote, to encourage and to assist in all possible ways the political advancement of the Territory.
I am convinced that this Government is sincerely endeavouring to do that. This bill is proof of the Government’s sincerity. We should not be panicked by the report of the United Nations special mission, no matter how sincere or well meaning that mission may have been. The Foot mission did a very good job, but we must remember that it made its recommendations after spending only five weeks in the Territory. The experience of the present Minister for Territories extends over a great many years. He has a great record of administration, which is recognized by a majority of honorable members opposite as well as by all honorable members on this side of the House. This measure should not be discussed on party lines. It will affect the advancement and prosperity of Papua and New Guinea as well as the future security of Australia. These are matters that we should bear in mind when casting our votes on this bill.
.- The bill now before the House introduces some reforms with which the Labour Party agrees. However, we on this side of the House feel that those reforms do not go far enough. For instance, we believe that the new parliament, which is to be called the House of Assembly, should consist of 98 members instead of the number provided for in the bill. Labour’s view in this regard would be in keeping with the recommendation of the United Nations mission, which was that the new parliament should comprise 100 members. I cannot help thinking that the Government’s reforms even in this regard are nothing but a repetition of the old story of too little, too late. I do not think this Government would have done anything to bring about any reforms but for the adverse report submitted to the United Nations last year by the visiting mission, which directed attention to the need for reforms, stating that it was urgent that the reforms be introduced so that the next elections could be fought on the new boundaries.
The United Nations General Assembly has endorsed the Foot report and the eyes of the world are now focused on the Australian Government to see whether it is prepared to measure up to its responsibilities. I am sorry to say that so far it has not done so. The amendments that we have foreshadowed would bring the Government’s proposal more into line with the recommendations of the United Nations mission. If the Government is a genuine supporter of the United Nations, and believes in the principles for which the organization stands, it ought to accept the amendment that we have foreshadowed.
I also criticize very strongly the proposal that the Government has included in its bill to have white members of parliament as distinct from coloured members of parliament. That is nothing more nor less than a refinement of the apartheid system that operates in South Africa. It is not the same, but it is a refinement of that system. It supports the principle that white men are better than black men and that white men are more important than black men. To ensure that white men are put into the parliament, the Government proposes that there shall be a common roll of electors from which ten people who must not and cannot be native people shall be elected.
– What about the apartheid system in the Australian Workers Union up in the north, where they will not even throw in for the slaughterman or butcher, as they do in all other slaughterhouses, because he happens to be coloured?
– I do not know anything about that. So far as I know, the rules of the Australian Workers Union allow aborigines to become members of the union. The fault in discriminating against aborigines lies with the judges of the arbitration tribunal in that they will not give to financial members of the union who are aborigines the same rights under the pastoral award as are given to white men under that award. So the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes), by his interjection, did not help his cause. Rather did he injure it because he showed that this attitude towards coloured men operates not only in New Guinea but also in Australia itself. To be perfectly fair about the matter, it is not the fault of the Australian Workers Union. The union will accept and always has accepted aborigines as members. It is the arbitration commission that refuses to accept them. Despite applications by the union from time to time, the commission has constantly refused to include provisions in the pastoral award to enable aborigines or part aborigines to receive the benefits of the award, as it applies to station hands, stockmen, boundary riders and the like. The interjection only shows that the action in New Guinea for which I am criticizing the Government is consistent with the general attitude of the Government, and of the judges of the arbitration commission appointed by the Government, towards aborigines and coloured people generally.
– That is a rather absurd comparison.
– It is not an absurd comparison; it is a very good comparison. It is for that reason that you are blushing so much.
– I am not blushing.
– Well, you ought to be. If you are not, it is because you have no feeling or regard for coloured men. If, when you are faced with a straight-out example of discrimination against them, you do not even blush, that is more to your discredit than to your credit.
I return to the proposal to have a certain number of exclusively white men elected by this common roll. If there is any merit at all in that proposal, it ought to be imple mented only for a very limited time. The Parliament should declare that this form of racial discrimination is to be stopped as soon as possible and not allow it to become a permanent feature of the constitution of Papua and New Guinea.
When I was in New Guinea I found two points of view among the white people there. At Goroka, for instance, there is a hard core of people who believe that the coloured man, the native, is just a beast of burden or a wood-and-water Joey who is to be exploited. They are very strongly in favour of the idea that there should be two separate rolls. They are not even satisfied with the common roll. They want only white men on the white roll electing white men. They also want the right to elect a number of white members of parliament far out of proportion to their own numbers, while the natives elect members from their own roll. When I went to Popondetta I found a more enlightened viewpoint among the white settlers there.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– At the suspension of the sitting I finished on a note of criticism of the Government’s decision or its determination to continue its policy of racial discrimination insofar as members of the Parliament of the Territory are concerned. The Government proposes to continue with the idea of regarding white men as being superior to black men. For that purpose, the Government has guaranteed that at least ten white men will be in that parliament, although the proportion of white members will not bear any relationship at all to the proportion of white men in the Territory. This is in keeping with the Government’s general attitude to the native people. The Labour Party has a very firm policy on this question. I quote from the official report of the 1961 conference -
The Labour Party is opposed to all forms of economic, social or political discrimination against members of the native population.
That tells everybody clearly where we stand on this question. We are even more explicit on the question of the actual voting.
– Do you believe there should not be ten white men?
– I believe it is a scandalous thing to have ten elected white men for all time - to make that a permanent feature of the legislation. Why on earth should we specify ten white men? Why not ten Bukas? Why not ten Kukukuku, ten Tolai or ten Chimbu people? What is the special merit that white men have over native men? Nothing could be so absurd.
– Do you disagree with the rest of your party?
– No, I agree with my party. My party says that it is absurd and wrong in every respect that this idea of giving white men a special right to be elected to the parliament should be a permanent feature of the constitution. We make it clear, by way of amendment, as you will see later on, that in our view this representation ought not to be a permanent feature but should remain only until such time as this Parliament determines against this form of racial discrimination. I hope that will not be very long.
The Labour Party has also declared that the sole right of Australia in Papua and New Guinea is to develop the Territory to independence. Note the word independence. Self-government is the term used by the Government. I repeat that the Labour Party declares that the sole right of Australia in Papua and New Guinea is to develop the Territory to independence at the earliest possible moment. Then we must withdraw.
– We believe in that, if the people choose independence.
– Who is to determine whether the people choose independence? I have been to New Guinea.
– You are quite a popular figure there.
– I am not a popular figure with the white planters of New Guinea, and I am not the least bit disturbed to know that. But the day will come when the native people of New Guinea are able to read and write. Their children will perhaps one day read in “ Hansard “ some of my contributions to debates in this Parliament. They will then learn that amongst the many members on this side of the House who championed the cause of the native population was one character called Clyde Cameron, who represented an electorate called Hindmarsh. I can assure you that I will have a much more honoured place in the minds of the people of New Guinea in 100 years time than will some of the people on the opposite side of this chamber. At the moment, of course, they are popular because they are supporting the interests of Burns Philp and Company Limited, W. R. Carpenter and Company Limited, and the planters.
– You do not even believe that yourself.
– Of course, I believe it. I have every reason to believe it. I went to New Guinea with a completely open mind, determined to find out the facts. When I got there I found that a native was being paid the magnificent sum of 25s. a month with keep - but keep for only the worker himself, not for his wife and family.
– You are not up to date.
– The pay has gone up now. I am reminded that it has gone up to 8s. 3d. a week.
– To £3 a week.
– It has not gone up to £3 a week. I am glad the Minister made that interjection. The only places where a wage of £3 a week operates - the Minister appears to be quite proud of the fact that the natives get £3 a week, out of which they have to keep themselves - are Moresby and Lae, and perhaps Rabaul, but I am not certain of that.
– And Madang.
– Four places. It does not apply on the plantations, because the planters opposed it and the Government supported them. It does not apply even in the timber mill at Bulolo, in which the Government has more than 50 per cent, of the shareholding. That timber-milling company, in which the Government has the majority shareholding, has the hide to pay to the men working in its mill the miserable pittance of 9s. a week and keep. It is not as though the company cannot afford more, because it is making a very handsome profit indeed. In one year the company made a profit of £160,000. It could have increased the wages of the men working in the mill by 1,000 per cent, and still have made more than £100,000 profit.
The Government cannot plead that it cannot afford to pay more. I do not know what justification the Government puts forward for not extending to the Bulolo timber mill the £3 a week payment that is now provided for workers in the four towns I have mentioned. Surely the Government ought to set an example to the employers of Papua and New Guinea by paying a proper wage to the men it employs. Not only does the Government fail to observe proper wage rates for its own employees but also it fails to provide proper accommodation, according to the regulations, for its employees. When I was at Goroka I had occasion to inspect some of the accommodation provided “ for government employees in that town. I said to an officer there, “ Surely to goodness these conditions are not in line with the housing ordinances for native people in New Guinea? “ The officer said, “ No, they are not, but, of course, if we provided housing accommodation in line with the ordinances it would set a standard which the employers, who also have to provide accommodation for their labour, could not possibly contend with “. This business of the Government deliberately refusing to observe ordinances for fear of causing some embarrassment to private employers, planters and the like, to me is completely and absolutely indefensible.
– The statement is also false.
– It is not false. I put a question on the notice-paper relating to this matter and the Minister gave a reply in which he indicated that the statement was perfectly true but tried to excuse himself. He said it would take time to provide proper accommodation, that these things could not be done overnight. Of course, nobody can support that sort of nonsense.
I want to move now, if I may, to another question that I believe is of vital importance - the alienation of native lands. The Labour Party believes that there should be no further alienation of native lands in New Guinea and Papua and that no new lease of land should be for a longer period than five years. In New Guinea there are pockets of population that are screaming out for more land. They want more land badly, but when land becomes available do these people get it? Of course not. I was in New Guinea when there came up for reallocation a block of land in the Markham valley. I cannot remember whether its area was 18,000 acres or 28,000 acres; but it was an ideal area for the establishment of a native land settlement co-operative.
– Whereabouts in the Markham Valley?
– Do you mean under which tree? The Markham valley is a fairly big valley, but you can take it from me that what I say is right because the Minister admitted it in his reply. I will say for the Minister that although he is as evasive as possible there are times when he cannot be evasive and on such occasions he always gives a truthful answer. On this occasion he had to admit that what I say happened did happen. I made a few inquiries about the matter. I could not believe that the Government had actually endorsed the transaction I had been told about, but the Minister confirmed that it did so. This is what happened. This land became available. Did the Government give it to a native co-operative? No!
– I rise to order, Mr. Speaker. I do not think the honorable member’s remarks about the disposal of land in the Territory has anything to do with the bill before the House.
– Order! The measure before us is a very wide one. The honorable member is in order.
– Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think you are right.
– I also think it would be a good idea if the honorable member was not drawn off the subject-matter so often by interjections.
– I discovered that this land went to - whom do you think? It went to Bulolo Gold Dredging Limited. A foreign concern got this magnificent land. Did it pay anything for the land? No, Sir. It is to pay only 6d. per acre per year for 50 years. At the end of 50 years, it will have paid not more than £2 10s. per acre in dribbles of 6d. per acre per year. That is the sort of thing that ought to be stopped. It is the sort of thing the Minister ought to be stepping in against. I wish the Minister were able to make the same wise administrative decision in New Guinea as he made recently in connexion with Norfolk Island, to his great credit, and I hope that for many years the people of Norfolk Island-
– I rise to order. There is nothing about Norfolk Island in the bill before us. I suggest that the honorable member is making no contribution to the debate by dragging in completely irrelevant matters.
– The honorable member is citing a case as an illustration. I do not think that he is seeking to debate matters which are not relevant to the question before the Chair.
– I was saying that the Minister is like the curate’s egg - good in parts. He is capable of making good administrative decisions, as he has proved already; he is not an entirely hopeless case. He has proved that he can do things if he will only set his mind to do so. Why on earth he does not set his mind to doing these things when he has the opportunity-
– This venture is something of extreme value to the Territory.
– It is of extreme value to Bulolo Gold Dredging Limited, too, and that is why I cannot understand the transaction. Why the interests of the Bulolo Gold Dredging Company should be placed above the interests of the native people, I cannot understand.
Let me turn quickly to another matter of vital importance - education. We say that there ought to be free and compulsory education for all the children and that English should be the only language taught in all the schools. I know that English is the language taught in most schools now, but some mission stations are still teaching in the vernacular, and in pidgin. There might even be some teaching in German. I may not be correct there, but until a few years ago some of them were teaching in
German. I think the Minister would be perfectly entitled to say to those missions, “ Unless you are prepared to teach in English in your schools we will not continue paying subsidies to your schools “.
– We have said that already.
– Then I congratulate you. I am glad you have done it. It is important that the Minister has at last said that, because if we really want to remain established in East New Guinea we have got to do something to make our half of the island appear good in comparison with the other half now held by Indonesia. I now submit a suggestion for the second time to the Minister. Instead of spending all public money in Port Moresby and around the villa on the hill in which Sir Donald Cleland lives and from which he can look down on the town each morning, the Government ought to spend some of it on education.
– I rise to order. I would like to know to what provision in the bill the honorable member is referring. I submit that his remarks are wide of the bill, and that he should be brought back to it.
– Order! The honorable member is in order.
– The Government ought to give consideration to starting a crash education programme in a corridor running parallel to the boundary of East and West New Guinea. We should have a corridor of advanced education, medical services and so on running parallel to the Indonesian border and, as time, money and resources permit, that corridor should be widened towards Port Moresby, instead of expending public money on a programme of development starting from Port Moresby and extending towards the Indonesian border, as we are doing now. The best way to prevent infiltration from Indonesian New Guinea into Australian New Guinea is to establish a common language that can weld the various clans together so that at least they will all be able to converse with each other in the one language. It is not generally recognized that SOO different languages are spoken in New Guinea.
– There are 700.
– There are 500.
– There are 600.
– There we have the usual conflict between the Liberal Party and the Country Party. One honorable member says there are 600 languages and the other says there are 700. It is quite clear that both are stabbing in the dark. Mr. Keith McCarthy would know just a little bit more about this than would the honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Falkinder). Mr. McCarthy, who has spent all his life in the Territory, tells me there are 500 distinct languages, and I prefer to accept his word for it. If there are 700 different languages, that only makes my case stronger because what I am trying to drum into the heads of honorable members opposite is that where you have people separated1 by 500 or even 700 distinct languages you cannot possibly hope to get unanimity of thought, action or ideas amongst them. The only way to do that is to make it possible for them to talk to each other in a common language.
– I agree.
– The Minister agrees with that. He must forget about Sir Donald Cleland’s advice. The Minister must use his own brains; he has been endowed with a fair amount of brains. Let him work it out for himself. Unless we do something to establish a barrier that will give us some protection against infiltration from Indonesian New Guinea there will be no doubt whatever that Indonesia will begin infiltration across our border with Indonesia.
I want to refer, if I may, in the time at my disposal to something else. It touches on the question of co-operatives. This Government has nothing to be proud of on the score of co-operatives. When a Labour government was in office my colleague and friend, the Honorable Edward John Ward from East Sydney, established a co-operative system in New Guinea. His idea was to teach the natives to operate their own co-operatives so that they could not be exploited by the middlemen - by the Burns Philp and Carpenter organizations - but would operate . on a non-profitmaking basis. But this Government has done every thing it could to stifle the co-operative movement. It is useless for the Minister to shake his head, because I have been up there and I have seen how the co-operatives have been dwindling.
– Can you cite the figures?
– Fourteen years have passed since they were first established, and the figures ought to be at least fourteen times greater on the basis of an ordinary normal yearly increase. The Minister knows perfectly well that one of the big problems connected with the cooperative system is buying. In most cases the co-operatives have to buy from people who are competing against them - the Burns Philp organization, the steamship companies and so on. That is no way to run co-operatives if we want them to be healthy. The Government ought to do what the Labour Party says it should do; it should establish government-owned warehouses to supply the co-operatives with goods at proper prices. There ought to be government-owned ships to work the interisland shipping routes in competition with the existing shipping companies.
– There were governmentowned ships when we were in office.
– The honorable gentleman says there were governmentowned ships in the days when Labour was in office. I would like to ask him what happened to those ships?
– This Government sold them.
– There you are. This Government sold them. That shows the Government’s interest in New Guinea. If it can find some way of putting more money into the pockets of private enterprise it will do so. When I was at Goroka, I found this example: The native people used to be able to buy, at cost price from a government store, the little machines for dehusking their coffee beans, but the district commissioner up there decided that that was to end. They are no longer able to purchase those machines at cost price as they could a few years ago. They have to go to private enterprise and pay something like 40 per cent. more. Forty per cent, more, even on a little machine that only costs £7, is a lot to these people.
– They send most of their coffee into central factories.
– Yes, I saw them taking it in. I saw people who could not read or write or speak English putting bags of coffee on the scales, not knowing whether it was weighed or graded correctly or whether 10 lb. at 9d. per lb. came to 90d. or to 79d. They were given a handful of coppers and silver and were told that the coffee weighed so much and that was it. There should be check inspectors. Why does the Government not give consideration to having inspectors so that when these primitive people bring coffee in to be sold the buyers cannot get at them? Human nature being what it is, everybody knows that in a place such as New Guinea many people regard the natives as fair game, and will take them down if they can. That is something that the Administration must know is happening. We know that although first-grade coffee was being sold at 4s. per lb. the New Guinea growers were bringing it in and were being paid as little as 9d. per lb. for it.
– That was because world prices changed.
– Yes, world prices changed and that is what determined the 4s., but these people were being paid a miserable 9d. per lb. The Government’s record in New Guinea is disgraceful. It is no wonder that the United Nations Trusteeship Council is dissatisfied with it. It is no wonder that the Government’s administration of the Territory was the subject of an adverse report, and unless it pulls up its socks I shall not be surprised if the Indonesians are able to put on a better show than we have. I hope that that time never comes.
.- Once again, Mr. Speaker, we have listened to the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) bog himself down with class distinctions. He told us about fourteen times to-night that he has been to New Guinea. Many people have been to New Guinea, and for more than a few days or a week. In the time the honorable member was there he probably stirred up more trouble than a dog in a flea circus. He spoke about land acquisition. I was up there in 1957 - some time ago, I admit - and found that the territorians, as they call themselves, were critical of the Administration because it would not allow land to be treated for when offered by villagers and natives who asked the Europeans to go there and grow things. This is not so completely adverse, in our experience. What the honorable member is looking for is undoubtedly a socialist state. Let us not forget what was said about New Guinea by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), who has recently taken over a new role - that of the doll on the ventriloquist’s knee. He is championing New Guinea at present, but on 2nd November, 1938, he said, during a debate in this House, that he wanted to give the whole of New Guinea away. According to volume 157 of “ Hansard “, at page 1149, he said -
It is amusing to hear people say that we shall not give up New Guinea. To those people I would say that if it should become necessary to defend our Mandated Territory, they should defend it themselves.
– Who said that?
– The honorable member for East Sydney, on 2nd November, 1938.
– Where were you then?
– I was where you were not; that is for sure. Mr. Speaker, perhaps I can bring the debate back to the contents of the bill before us. This is one of the most momentous pieces of legislation that have ever been brought into this chamber. We are giving to an embryo country, which will finally emerge with self-government and with its own nationality, something that was given to us more than 60 years ago - a national constitution. This is a bold step, taken on a firm basis, to give the people of New Guinea not what we think they want but what they have asked us to give them. That is something which a lot of people would do well to keep in mind. We do not administer this Territory as a colonial power. We can, through this legislation, give the people of the Territory a political education and the essential experience which will ensure their more rapid advancement, economically and socially.
There is no doubt that the task facing Australia in administering this Territory is an enormous one, because nobody can gainsay the fact that geographically and ethnically the Territory has been and is most difficult to bring up to twentiethcentury standards. One thing that militates against bringing the native people up to twentieth-century standards is the fact that they have not had the contact with civilization which the people of so many other newly emergent countries have had. They lived in tribal seclusion until the last 90-odd years. The problem of the Administration and of the Commonwealth Government in the Territory has been to create a self - to weld all these people together and to enable them to govern themselves. The Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) put things fairly straight when he said -
In the interests of these people we must resist all attempts to hasten the process of selfdetermination beyond the period when the majority can exercise their right to choose.
That is the salient point - the right to choose. A New Zealand member of the Foot mission, perhaps, came to a much clearer understanding of the position in Papua and New Guinea than anybody else on that mission did. He said -
Self-government is an art which can be learned but not imposed.
That is the key to the situation. It is a question not of the imposition of selfgovernment but of giving these people the ability to learn how to govern themselves. It is quite patent to everybody that until the people of this Territory have an adequately trained public service and a viable economy there will be no climate in which to move to immediate self-government. We have seen the effect of self-government where there has not been a viable economy or an adequately trained public service, and where there has only been an intelligentsia in control. We have seen this in some of the newly emergent African countries and we know what has occurred.
This legislation is largely based on the report of the select committee. The question of the common roll is raised in this report. We cannot expect the common roll which will be evolved for Papua and New Guinea to be the type of common roll that we have in Australia or that the sophisticated Western democracies have. It will take some years to reach that standard. In compiling a common roll, we have the problems of communication, of the type of terrain, the type of tracks, lack of roads and the language difficulties which have been mentioned to-night. In addition, a big problem would arise from the lack of evidence as to age. No birth records as we know them are available, and it would be very difficult to judge whether a person b> an adult.
On this point, the select committee has recommended that the age of eighteen years be adopted for the franchise, because ta/ is paid at that age and the vote for local government councils is given at that age. I am not very happy about this age having been chosen. I understand that the Government has referred this question back to the select committee for some clarification. I point out that it is difficult under the conditions in the Territory to say whether a person is eighteen years of age; it would perhaps be easier to say whether a person had reached 21 years, if that age were chosen.
I take it that if people of eighteen years of age were given the franchise, this would apply also to Europeans in the Territory. If this were so, Australians in the Territory would have a vote at eighteen years, but their counterparts in Australia under our laws would not have a vote until they were 21 years. People in other Western democracies do not have a vote until they reach 21 years. I consider it would be a bad precedent to give adult franchise in Papua and New Guinea at eighteen years. I think we should retain the age of 21 years.
One or two very notable reforms will be effected by the legislation before us. One relates to the life of the parliament, which has been set at four years. This is in line with modern thought and I personally - perhaps many other honorable members would agree with me - would like this life set for our parliaments. Another reform is the appointment of paid under-secretaries Our own system lacks this feature at present and I am very pleased to note that the Minister has included it in this legislation.
I move now to the method of voting. The select committee found that, of the 500 people interviewed, a majority of three to one favoured individual voting as against the electoral college or village system. It was claimed that individual voting had a two-fold effect. It gave the ordinary man and woman a personal interest and placed on them a certain responsibility to obey the laws that were passed. The committee went on to say -
The committee stated also that a majority of four to one of the people interviewed favoured preferential voting as giving the fairest result. Some people questioned the ability of an illiterate voter to use a preferential voting system, but the committee stated that overseas experience had confirmed that it could be done by using symbols. The committee went on to say -
The detailed mechanics of voting will be worked out later by your Committee.
I suggest that we take this opportunity to effect a further reform in the electoral system by introducing the United States method of using some form of voting machine. The machine could use colours as well as symbols. I recall that during the 1939-45 war - a long time ago now - baggage and stores for units were marked with colours, such as yellow over brown over red in a rectangle. Each unit had its own colours. When the stores had to be unloaded at some foreign port where the coolies, Arabs or whoever they may have been could not speak English, the stores could be handled effectively and stacked in individual heaps merely by recognizing the colour. Colour is universal, and a system of colours could be used for voting.
Machines have been used in the majority of American States for more than 30 years, and they have been improved tremendously. The smallest standard machine in America can operate with 270 candidates. We would need a machine much smaller than this. The machines have a system of levers, and colours could be used. If there were four candidates, four colours would be shown and a lever would be placed against each colour. As the voter walked into the booth, which is part of the machine, the machine would become activated by the opening of the door. The how-to-vote card obtained by the voter would show the colour of the candidate he supported and the voter would simply operate the lever .against that colour. Once the voter walked out of the booth, the machine would be turned off and the vote impregnated on a slip. The machines used in America record the total votes for each candidate. This cannot be seen, because a plate is put over the record. The presiding officer and one other officer have keys. When the poll is declared or the time for voting has expired, the machine is unlocked and the count taken. Informal votes are treated in quite a reasonable fashion.
The machines used in the American system are referred to as a mechanical Australian ballot. It is strange that the machines are not used in Australia. The reference of course, is to the Australian ballot system. It is interesting to note that the use of these machines grew out of a need to correct abuses that had developed with the paper ballot system, in spite of every effort to avoid them, and also out of the need to give a prompt and accurate count. The machine eliminates, as far as it is possible to do so, fraud, error and carelessness on the part of both voters and election officials, and greatly facilitates counting.
The machines are not very costly. It has been held by Spencer Albright, in his book on the subject, that the capital cost of the machines is recouped over a period of ten years, and that most of the States of America have achieved savings of as much as 50 per cent, on previous costs, because fewer personnel are needed and there is no necessity to rent halls and booths. The machine represents a booth in itself. Considerable time is saved in counting the votes, and it is possible to carry out a re-count in a comparatively short time. In Maryland a colour strip system is used, and each candidate has his ticket on a strip of a different colour. There are precedents for all these procedures that I have been advocating. I do believe that the machines would do much to assist the people of Papua and New Guinea to become used to the ballot voting system, without being trammelled with the old paper ballot method of voting.
If the question of cost of machines is raised, and if it is contended that great numbers of the machines would have to be used, I would point out immediately that one of the disadvantages of these machines that are used in America is that congestion occurs when a lot of voters turn up at once. This difficulty, I submit, would not be encountered in Papua and New Guinea. You would not expect much congestion, except perhaps in the towns and in the more sophisticated areas. There is nothing to prevent the paper ballot system being used in those areas, with the machines being used elsewhere. The number of machines could gradually be built up.
I have already spoken to the Minister and given him my ideas on this subject, and I hope that he will ask the Government to consider my suggestions.
– You have a lot of notes there.
– I may have a lot of notes, but they are my own notes. One other practice followed in America might be adopted. Before an election is held in which these machines are used, the machines are given trial runs and demonstrations carried out at various places in the electorate so that the people may be educated to the use of the machines. This could well be done if the machines were to be used in elections in Papua and New Guinea.
While we are about this task of trying to establish a kind of model parliament, may I suggest that the counting procedure which we use in this Parliament is quite archaic. I would suggest the introduction of the method used in the Lok Sabha, in India. In that parliament the members operate buttons which have been installed on the tables in front of them. The results show up as a pattern on the wall, which is electronically photographed, and the results are in the hands of the clerks and the Speaker in 30 seconds. A permanent record is kept.
– What happens if you make a mistake and press the wrong button? Can you correct it?
– You can stand up and say that you pressed the wrong button, just as you can correct a mistake in other circumstances.
– Would you call that a smart alec reply?
– If it came from you, yes.
I come now to some of the things which have been said, and which probably will be said, by members of the Opposition. Some honorable members opposite have spoken of their intention to propose an amendment providing for 98 members of the new parliament. They wish to split up the 44 electorates envisaged by this bill, and provide for 88 electorates instead. The select committee has gone to a lot of trouble, in delineating these electorates, to iron out differences involving various communities of interests and also language differences, and it does not seem practicable just to carve those electorates up. You might say, “We will not carve up the 44 electorates, we will have two representatives for each electorate “. If we do this we will have 88 elected representatives, plus the other ten that the Opposition would add, to represent 2,000,000 people. What is the position in Australia? In the House of Representatives we have 124 members, two of them without full voting rights, representing 11,000,000 people.
– What about the State governments?
– I am very pleased to hear that interjection. The honorable member said, “What about the State governments? “. I can foresee that as the new parliament gets under way and the country develops there will undoubtedly be pressure for a State government in Papua and <t State government in the New Guinea portion of the Territory. That system will grow up as it is found to be needed, but the people do not want it forced down their throats now. That is what this Government has been trying to avoid.
The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) last night made his usual good, reasoned speech. He put forward a number of arguments, with most of which I did not agree. However, I will go along with him on one point. I, also, am not impressed by the use of the words “indigenous inhabitants”. I think this term could well be removed, and a term which would be a little more cultured and a little more acceptable to the people concerned might well be used in its stead.
I would like to say in conclusion that this is a magnificent step forward. It will be an example to other countries of what can be done by a country that is really concerned with the welfare of a developing nation. We have shown, I think, a sincere consideration for the well-being of our charges, and this Government will continue to be faithful to its trust.
.- This bill, which introduces amendments to the Papua and New Guinea Act 1949-1960, gives to the people of New Guinea for the first time the opportunity of self-government. I propose to speak of the mechanics of the bill, because I am interested in the kind of democracy that it is proposed to give to the people of New Guinea. It would appear from the remarks of the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Stokes) that allowing the people of New Guinea to elect 44 native and ten European representatives, with ten other nominated Europeans also in the parliament, provides a sufficient degree of democracy. It seems that the honorable member and his colleagues want only a limited democracy to be introduced in New Guinea.
The bill, having provided for 44 natives and ten Europeans to be elected to the House of Assembly, goes on to include the objectionable clause which allows the Administrator to nominate ten further Europeans. If we are going to bring democracy to New Guinea let us bring a simple understanding of what democracy means. Let the people of New Guinea elect all their representatives. Surely no one would gainsay the proposition that if we accept the principle that the people of New Guinea should be given self-government, then they should have a say in the election of every person who is to sit in the House of Assembly.
We of the Australian Labour Party believe that the proposed House of Assembly of 44 elected natives, ten elected Europeans and ten Europeans nominated by the Administrator will not suffice to bring proper democracy to Papua and New Guinea. For that reason, we suggest that the chamber should be known as a House of Representatives and that it should represent the people of New Guinea and be their parliament, and that properly it should consist of 88 elected native representatives and ten elected Europeans. We say that there should be in such a House of Representatives nobody nominated by the Administrator, and that every person who takes his place in the chamber ought to be a properly and democratically elected representative.
There are something like 2,000,000 natives in Papua and New Guinea, and I suppose that 700,000 or a few more will have the right to vote and to determine who shall represent them. They are the competent people. We believe that, if we accept this principle of proper democratic government by competent people who elect their own representatives, the whole structure of what is now to be called the House of Assembly ought to be enlarged to give effect to the practical expression of democracy. We say that the chamber should be composed of 88 elected natives, and also ten elected Europeans, because there are something like 20,000 Europeans in the Territory. This would give a total of 98 representatives, and that is as near as is practicable to the number of 100 proposed in the Foot report. The 88 elected native members ought to have the right to elect the cabinet or the Administrator’s Council, by whichever name the executive is to be known. Under the Government’s proposals, the ten members of the Administrator’s Council shall be chosen by the Administrator.
What sort of guided democracy is that, Sir? This term “ guided democracy “ is so sickening to every one who believes in freedom, liberty of the individual and the right of men and women to express their views and in another of the four freedoms - freedom to pray in whatever church one wishes. We believe that people should be able to express their thoughts publicly and live in reasonable freedom without the very absurd and very difficult limitations that are placed on the citizens of countries that have not yet won democracy. Therefore, we believe that the proposed parliament in Papua and New Guinea should consist of 98 elected representatives and that those elected representatives should be able to choose the ten persons who are to form the cabinet and work with the Administrator in the executive.
I have said that there is a certain principle involved in bringing democracy to
Papua and New Guinea. As the honorable member for Maribyrnong has said, this is a good step forward. But let us do the job properly. Let us take the proper steps in this matter. Let us show the natives of New Guinea, and especially those of them who understand something of what is involved, and the Indonesians who have taken West Irian, that we, on our part, are bringing proper democracy to the people of the Australian Territory of Papua, and the Trust Territory of New Guinea, which is administered by Australia.
If the 98 elected representatives that we suggest should form the parliament, having been properly elected, are capable of choosing the Administrator’s Council of ten, surely they ought to be accorded the normal privileges that would be due to them as members of a House of Representatives. Let them have the privileges that members of parliament have in this country. Those privileges are few enough, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am sure that the people of Papua and New Guinea, having elected the members who are to represent them, would like those members to enjoy the proper privileges of members of parliament and to be recompensed accordingly. If trained teachers in the Territory, for example, receive a salary of £1,200 a year, the members of the proposed parliament ought to receive at least £1,500 a year.
These are the important and technical matters involved in this bill. They relate to the methods by which we can bring real democracy to Papua and New Guinea. Certainly, we believe in giving the natives the things that are properly due to them. We believe that their health should be properly cared for, that education should be a responsibility of the Administration and that it should be compulsory, and that English should be the language taught in the schools. Having said those things about the principles in which we believe, I go on to say that, in moving towards self-government, we should take to the Territory as effective a form of democracy as is humanly possible.
The Government ought to accept these practical suggestions made by Labour, as it has accepted other suggestions that the Opposition has made in these matters. I think I have pin-pointed and stated in a very favorable light the Opposition proposals that ought to be accepted by the
Government in order to achieve proper and beneficial results for the natives of Papua and New Guinea. The minimal requirements are that the Territory shall have a properly elected House of Representatives and that the parliament shall have sufficient members properly to represent the people and to serve their needs. The honorable member for Maribyrnong, of course, says, “ No “, because ‘his Minister has told him to do so. The honorable member has said that the Government does not want a chamber of 98 members and will limit the number to only 54. He added that later the Territory will have the equivalent of State governments.
– Thank God I am not dragooned, although the honorable member may be.
– The honorable member may say that he is not dragooned, but he has said that the Territory will have the equivalent of State governments in no time. It will not, because I am sure the people of the Territory do not want to be as overgoverned as the people of Australia are at the present time. A chamber of 98 elected representatives will give them enough representatives to serve them properly. We do not want in the Territory separate constitutions and parliaments under the kind of system of which Australia is so bad an example, with State-righters fighting against Commonwealth participation and interest, and against uniform laws that ought to have been introduced a long time ago.
So we ask that there be 98 elected representatives in a House of Representatives for Papua and New Guinea and that there be no members appointed by the Administrator. We say that 98 elected representatives ought to have the right to choose their own cabinet and that it should not be chosen by the Administrator so that he may have at hand men who will be subservient to the Government’s policy. Let the members of the executive be men of independent minds who will represent the settlers and the natives - men who understand the problems of the people and will give proper advice and counsel so that the affairs of the Territory may be effectively conducted.
We ask, also, that the members of the Parliament be paid sufficient to enable them to give their attention to the conduct of affairs as representatives of the people without having to look for some other means of livelihood. Finally, we ask that they be given the privilege that ought to be accorded to elected representatives.
I ask the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck), and I know that numbers of my colleagues have already asked him and will continue to ask him, to take notice of the wise and sage counsel of men in the Australian Labour Party who have helped to administer the affairs of Australia and of New Guinea and who were the first to start on the road of progress in the Territory, as well as of other men who have been there. If the Government is not so blindly confident of its own superiority as to refuse to take notice of the sage counsel and advice that it is given by honorable members on this side of the House, it will prove itself a much better government than it would otherwise be. Certainly, this bill will be made a much better measure if it is amended in the manner suggested by my colleague, the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward).
.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, the honorable member for Phillip (Mr. Einfeld) has just told us that a certain principle is involved in bringing democracy to New Guinea. The main thing that the honorable gentleman overlooked when he said that, and also when he said that the people of New Guinea ought to have the right to elect members straightaway, is that it is necessary to have a great history of experience and a wellinformed electorate. We have been fortunate in this country in having a proper democratic form of government, because we have inherited the customs and ways of democratic government that evolved in the House of Commons. The history of democracy in England goes back many hundreds of years and the history of cabinet government goes back for about 300 years. In two or three years, one cannot present the ballot-box to people who have not had this history of development. We would like to have longer, as several honorable gentlemen have said during this debate, but it is necessary for us to adopt what is known locally these days as a crash programme. However, we must not be stampeded into doing the job any more quickly than is necessary.
I think that the shortest way in which I can answer the honorable member for Phillip and the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron)- the speaker who preceded him on the other side of the House - is to quote from the speech delivered in this place on 23rd August, 1960, by the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) the following passage: -
The Government stresses as the first principle that the welfare of the people is the objective. That objective should never take second place to any theory or any other purpose.
The Minister was referring to Article 73 of the United Nations Charter which states, amongst other things, that members of the United Nations which assume responsibility for the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of those territories are paramount.
On many occasions in past debates in this Parliament and in speeches elsewhere I have said that Australia’s future is becoming more closely linked with that of Asia and the Pacific area as the years go by. One of the more important parts of this Government’s policy is that we should become a partner with other countries of the Asian and Pacific areas in working for progress and peace.
The bill now before us deals with one of our own special responsibilities. It proposes to make additional constitutional reforms for the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. This is the next stage in the political progress of the people of that Territory. Already there has been quite a deal of discussion about the details of the bill. I believe, therefore, that as we are nearing the conclusion of the secondreading debate it is appropriate for me to say something about what I regard as our own background thinking on these matters. We must remember at all times that Australia’s hope for the future lies in peace and friendship in Asia and in the Pacific. We know that the next decade in these areas will be difficult as the newly emerging nations struggle to gain their rightful places in the world. When clashes occur between one nation and another, as no doubt they will, we must learn to distinguish between genuine growing pains, if I may use the phrase, and Communist provocation. I refer to Communist provocation because international communism is trying to turn Asia against the free nations of the world. Communist propaganda claims that the free nations of the world are imperialist. As honorable members know, efforts are made continually to provide incidents to justify this form of propaganda.
Our responsibility to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea is a matter of national importance. Although this Government accepts the responsibility for what is done in the Territory, the majority of Australians share the objectives and understand the responsibilities. I know that Papua and New Guinea, which is close to our shores, is also close to the minds of most Australians. It is a country to which Australia has given money, law and good government and, indeed, the lives of its men and women.
Last year the Minister said -
Australia is administering Papua and New Guinea to serve a great purpose . . . Australia is working for the social, educational, economic and political advancement of the inhabitants of Papua and New Guinea to bring them to the point where they can freely choose their own future.
This freedom of choice is of tremendous importance. To-day this Parliament is proposing to amend the constitution at the request of the Territory’s own legislature to advance the people a stage closer to the time when they will be able to exercise their own freedom of choice. Article 76 of the United Nations Charter refers to the objective of promoting advancement in these words - . . advancement of the inhabitants of the trust territories, and their progressive development towards self-government or independence as may be appropriate to the particular circumstances of each territory and its peoples and the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned.
The Australian Government has told the people of Papua and New Guinea that it will protect to the utmost their right to make their choice freely.
I realize that in our advance towards our objective we shall most problems. Australia has the responsibility for what I shall term, for want of a better description, East New Guinea, and Indonesia has the responsibility for West New Guinea or, as it is now termed, West Irian.
I should like to see the whole of New Guinea advancing towards the same objectives at about the same speed. In saying this I realize that over the centuries there has been little contact between the people at one end of the island and the people at the other end, and that there are over 700 different languages. It would need closer liaison between the two administrations, which would have to agree that the first objective is freedom of choice. Therefore, it was disturbing for me to read to-day in the Sydney “ Daily Telegraph “ the following report under the date-line “Djakarta, Tuesday “-
Indonesia was against any “ legal separatism “ in West Irian, such as a referendum on selfdetermination, the Minister for Information, Dr. Ruslan Abdulgani, said to-day.
In a directive to his staff he ordered an “ active and positive” propaganda campaign against the agreed plebiscite in the former Dutch colony.
He said his Information Ministry would endeavour “ to kill any attempts to separate West Irian from Indonesia”. “In other words we must eliminate the referendum, or legal separatism which is wrapped up in the terms of the right of self-determination,” Dr. Ruslan said in his directive. “ Our men now in West Irian have been given firm duties in this matter. We must support them with all publications and radio, with oral as well as written propaganda.”
Before I comment on that report let me say that the joint advance of the two parts of New Guinea could mean the future establishment of a Melanesian federation. However, during my visit to Papua and New Guinea I have heard the view, often strongly expressed, that without interfering with the programme for self-government strong and close ties should be maintained with Australia and that these should remain even after independence. There are those who wish to see New Guinea as a free State within the Commonwealth of Australia. There are those who think of an independent New Guinea as an equal partner in the British Commonwealth of Nations.
A party of Papuan and New Guinean leaders arrived in Canberra on 24th March last to study Australian political governmental institutions. Before they left they issued a statement about their visit and I should like to read a part of it because it relates to some of the matters which I have been discussing. The leaders said -
In our country, our approach to government is different - that is, different from that in Australia - because it is a new thing to us and not every one supports it. Australia has had representative government for a long time, but this is not so in Papua and New Guinea. Our people are not yet unified because of language and custom differences and therefore at this stage are not able to give full support to a central government. The future of Papua and New Guinea depends on a greater union with Australia and the adoption of Australian customs.
That quotation is contained in the first paragraph of the statement. I now go to a later part of the statement, omitting quite a number of arguments that I could develop. The statement reads -
Because of these great differences it appears that the only way of developing Papua and New Guinea in all fields is to tie Papua and New Guinea to Australia politically, economically and socially, that is, there should be a greater unity between our two countries.
I do not intend to argue which is likely to be the course that New Guinea will follow. I do not wish at this stage even to indicate which course I think would be the best to adopt. But I do know that the provisions of this bill make a big contribution to political advancement in New Guinea and that it will make it possible for the people of the Territory to advance in any of the several ways to which I have referred or, perhaps, in a different way altogether. The provisions of the bill bring the people of the Territory nearer to the time when they can choose their future way of life.
It was with great satisfaction that I heard the Minister say that in all matters of political advancement Australia will try to engage the interest of the Papuans in consultation with us, in working out what they themselves would regard as being best suited to their needs, their circumstances and their position in the world. If I may refer to the statement allegedly made by the Indonesian Information Minister, I trust that the United Nations will give Indonesia a strong reminder of its responsibilities as the administrative power so that the people of West Irian may have the same advantages as the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea enjoy. My remarks refer to the present leadership of Indonesia and not to the people of Indonesia in general or to many of its public servants. I have visited Indonesia and I know that among the people of Indonesia there exists a great deal of goodwill for Australia. I believe there is a will to co-operate with us in this important responsibility that we now share in the entire island of New Guinea.
.- It is my privilege to bring to a close this debate on the second-reading of the bill. In doing so I express my full support of the measure. I see very little virtue in the amendments proposed by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward).
Briefly, the bill provides for an enlarged House of Assembly in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea with a majority of native members. It provides also for a common roll, a secret ballot of the indigenes, enrolment of adults in controlled areas of Papua and New Guinea, no disqualification in respect of voting rights on the grounds of race difference and an extension of the term of the legislature from three years to four years. In my opinion the bill introduces some very welcome constitutional reforms. Despite criticisms that have been levelled against it by honorable members opposite, I am certain that it is viewed with favour by all people who think of the Territory as a territory that requires constitutional reform. I am sure that the bill is viewed with favour by many who have been associated with the Territory over a great number of years.
In the last decade Papua and New Guinea has seen tremendous development. The indigenous people of the Territory have made great advances in that time. I pay a warm tribute to the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck). He is a man dedicated to the task that has been entrusted to him. He is a man of great vision. I pay a tribute to the staff of the Administration, the headquarters of which are at Port Moresby. I pay a tribute also to the Legislative Council of the Territory. I know quite a few members of the council. They are dedicated to the cause with which they are so familiar, the promotion of the interests of Papua and New Guinea. I pay tribute to the district commissioners and their staffs, particularly the patrol officers - those men who, with their wives, have gone out into the wilderness in this mysterious land to our north. These are the men who have taken their skills, their technical know-how and their courage into remote and primitive areas and brought them under control. Invariably their wives have accompanied them in this pioneering work. Last but not least, let us not forget the Europeans who have lived for years in the Territory during war and peace. The majority of those Europeans are Australians who have shown an admirable pioneering spirit in going into primitive areas and undergoing great hardships in order to eke out a living and develop the country.
I have had some personal experience of Papua and New Guinea. During the last war I spent some three years in and around New Guinea, including Port Moresby, Lae, Madang and Rabaul. Fortunately for me I did not see too much of the interior during those days. At the end of the war I had a real appreciation of the way some towns in the Territory had been ravaged; and I could well imagine how the interior of the Territory had fared. I am sure that people who claim that there should be greater advancement in Papua and New Guinea do not take into account the turbulence that was caused by the war and the way in which Rabaul, for instance, was razed by enemy gunfire. When we take into account those circumstances surely we must appreciate the tremendous development that has taken place in the Territory since the war. When we think of New Guinea we must not forget the fighting that took place in that rugged terrain and the remarkable part played by Australian soldiers. We must not forget the remarkable part played during the war by the Americans who fought in the area after the Australians had so valiantly fought on the Kokoda trail and in other places. The efforts of the Australians and the Americans helped to keep Papua and New Guinea free so that the natives might enjoy our way of life. By that I mean a way of life completely free from regimentation and offering freedoms that we know are not enjoyed by people in many other countries.
This land, which before the war was a land of mystery, has now been developed tremendously, both in respect of its physical features and its people. The natives of the Territory are now enjoying life in a land that is not as unsophisticated as was the land in which they lived prior to the war.
I have said that I was in New Guinea during the war years. I was also there last year. So I was able to make a comparison between what I saw last year and what I remembered seeing during the war years. Last year I spent four weeks in Papua and New Guinea. During that time I took the opportunity to absorb the atmosphere. I observed the developments in the area and learned at first hand the problems of the indigenes and the non-indigenes. I mention that I stayed there for four weeks and did those things because I know that some honorable members opposite have stood up and made wild statements after having been in the area for only a relatively few days. They have come away believing that they know all there is to know. A person cannot learn all the things he should know about this area to enable him to make substantive statements unless he has had the necessary experience to which I have referred.
I fully support the Minister for Territories when he refers, in his second-reading speech, to the bill that is now before the House as a memorable and historical act. To me this is only an interim step - the Minister has made that clear - towards selfgovernment of the Territory. The Opposition, in its series of amendments that have been circulated, makes some play on the proposal that the 44 elected indigenes should be increased to 88. Members of the Opposition have advanced certain reasons why that should be done. Whether those reasons are advanced on good and logical grounds I do not know, but I will rely on a statement made by Dr. J. T. Gunther not very long ago. As honorable members know, Dr. Gunther is the Assistant Administrator. He is greatly experienced in the development of Papua and New Guinea. So, I take what he has said as being a realistic recommendation on which the report of the select committee of the Legislative Council was based. Dr. Gunther said this -
The people the select committee interviewed indicated they wanted greater representation in 1964. They clearly said they wanted continued representation by Australians who were businessmen and farmers. They asked for - roughly - a representative from each sub-district and they thought there should be about two elected indigenous people for each elected non-indigenous member. The clearest demand was for one indigenous member for each sub-district . . . We interpreted this to mean one member for about 40,000 to 50,000 people, or 44 members.
From that statement we see how the recommendation of 44 indigenous representatives was arrived at. I am sure that it is a realistic figure - more realistic than the figure plucked out of the air by the Opposition.
The emergence of a political consciousness in the Territory can be observed not only from the increasingly important part which has been played by the Legislative Council with its representation of the indigenous people but also from the part played by the native people in their local government councils.
– Was the Foot mission’s figure of 100 also plucked out of the air?
– I do not know exactly how it came to a decision that there should be a parliament of 100; but I would say that it would not be as well equipped with knowledge on which to base a recommendation as Dr. Gunther and his select committee would be. As I mentioned, Dr. Gunther has lived in the area for a long while and is a man of vast experience.
I commend the Government on its intention, by a new local government ordinance, to expand local government throughout the Territory. I note with satisfaction that the local government councils will be given wider responsibilities in raising local revenues and applying them to local purposes, and also that they will play a more active role in providing community services and shaping policies. Surely selfgovernment is being established in a serene and calm atmosphere which must manifest itself in an increasing regard for selfgovernment on a truly national basis. I pay a high tribute to the Administration for the splendid manner in which the councils have been formed. The tolerance, patience and great skill that officers of the Administration have brought to bear on the formation of councils - I understand that there are now 78 councils ministering to the needs of about 700,000 people - should not go unnoticed. As a result of what I was told on my visit to tho Territory last year, and my own observations, I can readily appreciate what a task the formation of the councils was, and perhaps still is.
An officer of the Administration took me to one area outside Rabaul. He told me that the luluai, or head man, had been very much opposed to his people participating in the formation of a council. He said to me, “ I am going to ask him in your presence, Mr. Cockle, the reason why he does not want a local government council to be formed “. In the course of time the luluai was brought before the Administration officer. The officer asked him in pidgin why he was not prepared to have his people formed into a local government council. His reply, which came back very forthrightly, was, “I am not prepared to pay taxes “. That indicated to me that he was a man who had a sophistication which he had not enjoyed before, because he had some knowledge of the value of money. I might add that the council was formed. That indicates to me the persuasive powers that the Administration officers have in respect of the work that they are required to do.
I am not an apologist for the Government’s legislative programme in bringing the Trust Territory by gradual processes to a stage of self-government even though to the critics both inside and outside Australia the programme might seem over-slow. The programme is designed to ensure that when the time is ripe the Territory will have a population which can be sustained by a viable economy and will have justly earned and be capable of handling political independence. In my view, any one who set himself up as an authority on the year in which self-government should be established would have to be truly clairvoyant, and I say that there is no such person.
I refer now to a matter that I believe it is very pertinent to raise; that is racial discrimination, which is the cause of so much sorrow and horror in other parts of the world. I pay an unqualified tribute to the Government - I am paying many tributes, but I make no apology for so doing, because I believe that they are well earned - for its attitude in being opposed to such discrimination, as revealed by the abolition of the liquor laws and film laws which discriminated against the indigenous people of Papua and New Guinea. Surely that attitude alone should reveal to the outside world, and the United Nations General Assembly in particular, Australia’s sincere and purposeful approach to guiding the Territory towards self-dependency and self-government.
In conclusion, I wish to refer to what seems to me to be a very important factor associated with the progress of the Territory towards sophistication and self-government. I refer to the dire need that exists for the promotion of secondary and tertiary industries to provide substantial employment for the increasing numbers of indigenes who, through education, are brought to a standard of living which requires that they be provided with an employment outlet commensurate with their acquired skills, technical know-how and improved ability. The encouragement of private investment at all levels of industry in Papua and New Guinea and the establishment of proper and adequate safeguards for such investment are needed urgently if the Territory is not to be landed with a substantial unemployment problem. It is indeed pleasing to know, therefore, that leading Australian financiers and industrialists intend to study the investment opportunities in New Guinea. It is to be hoped that, after such study, a dramatic increase in industrial development will eventuate which will provide the jobs to which I have referred. I might add that the financiers and industrialists who will make this visit to New Guinea have been encouraged by this Government, under the leadership, in this matter, of the Minister for Territories.
I have very much pleasure in expressing again my support for the bill and my strong opposition to the amendments which have been foreshadowed by honorable members on the Opposition benches.
– in reply - I do not want to detain the House for very long in reviewing this debate and in replying to some of the points made. I do not intend to refer to any particular speech by any honorable member and will confine myself simply to referring to what seem to me some salient points of the debate.
The first statement I should like to make - and I make it without disrespect to honorable members - is that quite a number of statements were made on both sides of the House which one might challenge for factual accuracy. But, after all, the “Hansard” report of this debate, if read in a few years time, is not going to be read as a year book of factual information. It is going to be read as a record of opinions and attitudes in various sections of Australian political life. I am sure that in future years the report of the debate in which we have been taking part will be read with a great deal of interest as a record of those opinions and attitudes. One small point that I would like to make is that any one in future, reading the statistics that have been quoted, should be sensible of the fact that some people were quoting statistics that related only to the Trust Territory of New Guinea, which was the subject of the inspection by the visiting mission, while others were quoting statistics which related to the administration of the Australian possession of Papua and the Australian Trust Territory of New Guinea. Some discrepancies which may appear in the record are due to that fact, rather than to any deliberate inaccuracy on the part of those who made the statements.
It seems to me that out of this debate we have a demonstration once again of the fact that on questions relating to the future of Papua and New Guinea there is no great division on policy in this Parliament. On the Opposition side, no less than on the Government side, there is a devotion to the general objective of the right of these people to choose their future - or, in other words, self-determination. There is a devotion to the objective of self-government for the people of the Territory and a devotion to the objective of independence, if that should be what the people themselves eventually choose Where differences emerge, they appear at first sight to be differences regarding the speed at which we should make certain changes in working towards the objectives and the precise way in which we should move step by step towards the objectives.
I do not think the contrast between the Government and the Opposition is simply a contrast between people who want to go very fast and people who want to go not so fast. I think that would be an error. Where I see the contrast is rather in the values that members on opposite sides of the House place on certain factors which enter into our judgment on those matters. I respect quite deeply the sincerity and earnestness of the views put forward by the members of the Opposition, but it seems to me that one point which they have tended to undervalue is that one of the factors in creating a self-governing, and possibly an independent, nation of the future is the need for unity. Any one who has visited Papua and New Guinea, or has even read of these places, knows it is a solemn fact that at the present time there is nothing there resembling national unity. National unity is something which we hope to create. The point was made by the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) in passing, and I repeat it, that national unity in Papua and New Guinea is something we have to create. We are moving into this period of representive government at a time when national unity does not exist.
We have to be conscious of the fact that the gathering together of this new House of Assembly and the election of people from various parts of the Territory will not be an expression of national unity. It will be one of the means by which, over the years, national unity will be created. As these representatives come together from different parts of the Territory - from the highlands and from the coast, from the outlying places like New Britain and New Ireland, and from the remote west - some of them will be meeting for the first time. They will be learning about each other for the first time. In this gathering of representative elected members which we are about to create, they will be working at the task of creating national unity. I emphasize this, because the honorable member for Hughes (Mr. L. R. Johnson) made a remark about certain trouble - he called it, I think, a revolt - in the Pacific Islands Regiment. He referred to some other troubles in other parts of the Territory and he seemed to be presenting them as though they demonstrated some sort of difficulty, some sort of discontent between the native inhabitants and the Australian Administration. That is not so. These were conflicts between the native people themselves - Sepiks against Tolais, Keremas against Hanuabadans Those troubles were not a demonstration of conflict between the native inhabitants and the Australians. They were a demonstration of the fact that national unity has still not been achieved. So many of the loyalties are still local loyalties and so many of the rivalries are still rivalries between different language groups. So many of the conflicts still to be resolved are age-old conflicts between people who used to war with each other before the Administration came.
The other point which, it seemed to me, the Opposition did not fully value was that you can make constitutional reform quite easily, but the real problem arises when you try to make it work in practice. It is quite natural that the Government, perhaps being closer to the day-by-day problems, is more vividly conscious of the need to make this system work than is an Opposition which is dealing a little more in the abstract with the political situation. What we are doing is a job equal in difficulty to changing the wheels of a locomotive while it is still going. We do not want to arrest progress in the Territory. We want to make these changes, but we do not want to stop the forward movement. A good deal of the thinking behind the proposals of the Government is dictated by the concern which we have to make sure that the new machine will work. What is necessary to ensure that it will work? One thing that is necessary is that the people who will be engaged in it - the people elected and the people who take part in the elections - will be conscious of what they are doing, will feel that that is what they want and will be eager to make it work.
It would be very simple for the Government to draw up an ideal constitution for the Territory and give it to the Territory, but if it were not something which the people of the Territory understood and which they were confident they could put into operation, it would remain either just something on paper or something which did not run smoothly but was subject to continuous interruption. One of the reasons - not the sole reason - why we took so much care in encouraging the interest of the people of the Territory in preparing proposals for consideration by this Government, by means of a select committee of their own Legislative Council, was that we felt they should be proposals which a significant element in the Territory had previously considered, had previously discussed and on which they had reached the considered judgment that they were practicable. We feel that in adopting the select committee’s report we are adopting something which the people themselves will be prepared to make work. Another element which we must not overlook is that we do face a racial situation in the Territory. I think some of the remarks made about racial discrimination were very exaggerated. Yet we must not forget that there are in the Territory people of several races. There are the Australians predominantly of European extraction, there are other Australian citizens predominantly of Asian extraction and there are a few of mixed race but not a significant number. Among the indigenous people there are some of a racial type entirely different from others.
I do not want to exaggerate or overstate the position, but those who have travelled into the .more remote regions of New Guinea will know that in the Telefomin region you get a small, wiry people quite different in type from the people whom you meet in the Mount Hagen area of the highlands or the Sepik district, or on the Gazelle Peninsula. So, one has to remember that even among the indigenous inhabitants themselves you have to consider different racial types, and part of the problem is to resolve this racial mixture so that the people work together. 1 suppose the problem comes to its most acute form when you think of the white Australian and the indigenous inhabitant, the native inhabitant of the Territory. Again I think that some members have exaggerated very much the allegation that the white Australian is there only to exploit the native inhabitant. Far from it. Many have dedicated themselves to the advancement of the native inhabitants and have made great sacrifices for the sake of their advancement.
– The vast majority are not in business at all.
– As the honorable member for Fremantle reminds me, the vast majority of the white Australians are not in business at all; and many of those who are in business enterprises are just as devoted as the Administration’s servants in trying to work for the eventual good of the native inhabitants.
What we have to ensure in this situation is that the reform that is introduced is something with which the white inhabitants of the Territory will also work with enthusiasm and the same devotion as they have in the past. This has to be something that is acceptable to them because we do not want in this Territory the sort of situation which has been so tragically familiar in some of the African states where you have the tragic racial strife undermining attempts at political advancement. We are getting political advancement without any clash of race. We are getting political advancement in which persons of all races are participating and with which the majority are satisfied. I want to add the further thought that the indigenous people themselves recognize, perhaps more clearly than some members of this chamber, that for many years to come they cannot do without the Australians. They need the Australians administratively, and they need their financial aid. Above all, they need the outside investment, the outside technical skills and the outside managerial skills so that the Territory may go ahead economically and socially as well as politically. It would be fatal for the Territory and for the people of the Territory if we in this Parliament were to do anything or if the Territory itself were to choose a path which meant a frightening of investment or an exodus of those who are ready to give and who can give so much to the Territory.
I want to leave another thought with this House where we are all Australians. It is that in the Territory there are some of our kin who are territorians in the true sense. Their grandfathers went there, and their fathers were there; they themselves were born there and the Territory is their home. It is the place in which they have the whole of their possessions and the whole of their future interests, the place to which they have dedicated their lives and to which they want to dedicate the lives of their children. We cannot just disregard that and say we are going to betray these people, that we are going to ignore them. They, too, are inhabitants of the Territory and when we use the term “ inhabitants of the Territory “ we have to think not only of the vast majority of the indigenous people but also of that minority of the inhabitants of the Territory who have their own legitimate rights and interests there and whose record is by no means shameful but is rather an honorable one that deserves some consideration on our part.
Another point that seemed to me to be slightly under-valued in the Opposition’s comment is one to which the Government attaches very great importance. It is that whatever is done should be done by the choice of the people. If this principle of self-determination which we uphold means anything at all, it means, in simple words, that the people can choose and that when they make their choice that choice should be free from pressures and persuasions from outside. It is true that every time we engage in the task of education we exert an influence. It is quite true that every time we perform acts of administration we are indirectly exerting some form of influence. But I am thinking rather of that sort of propaganda which we fear may be resorted to in a neighbouring country, the sort of propaganda in which some one remote from the country says, “ This is what is going to happen in the country because it suits me, and, because it suits me, I am going to use every power that I have got to make certain that it does happen”. The Australian Government has turned its back on that approach to New Guinea’s problem. At every stage in the political progress of the Territory, we want to be sure that the people of the Territory themselves not merely understand but are actively engaged in shaping the future of their own country in close association with the Government. So, in shaping these proposals, we have placed a great deal of value on and have been very greatly influenced by the report of their own select committee, the select committee of the Legislative Council on which were representatives and leaders of the indigenous people. That committee travelled widely throughout the Territory taking evidence from and having discussions with hundreds in the presence of thousands of the indigenous inhabitants.
There is one final point I want to make by way of general comment. As I said earlier, we have a common ultimate objective. If I interpret the speeches of honorable members opposite correctly, they want us to take one big step forward at this moment and go immediately into a fully elected representative assembly. I have no doubt in my mind at all that that is the point to which we will go eventually. The only difference between the Opposition and ourselves is that the Opposition wants to do that now while we propose taking a step towards a partly representative and a partly appointed House of Assembly at this moment. I think it was the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) who rather chided me with inconsistency. I think he chided me with inconsistency rather unfairly because he recalled that back in 1960, when I was talking about the last constitutional reform, I forecast that the next step would probably be taken in about 1964 or 1965. Because we are pushing it on now, instead of in a couple of years time, he chides me with inconsistency. But what I am doing and what the Government is doing is perfectly consistent with our approach.
– You have been driven to it.
– We have not been driven to it. We have studied and watched the situation in the Territory as carefully as we could. We have had the aid of the people of the Territory and, having come to the opinion that we can do this now instead of waiting another year or so, we do not hesitate to do it now. And we do it now cheerfully. It is a step very similar to the one we anticipated that we would take in a couple of years’ time, but we do not hesitate to take it now. It is quite clear in the mind of the Government that a further step will have to be taken after another comparatively short interval of time and we will not hesitate to take it. When we take it we would like to take it in association and close consultation with the people of the Territory. My own judgment is that we are more likely to arrive at a perfect or near perfect working system and a state of stability and confidence in the Territory if we approach that end point by taking two steps in fairly quick succession than if we try to make one big jump. It is a matter for judgment. The Opposition’s judgment is to take a big step now. Our feeling is that we can reach the same ultimate point by taking two steps in accordance with the expressed will of the people, at the time when the people themselves choose.
As I interpret the speeches of honorable members opposite, the Opposition will not oppose the second reading of the bill, but will have certain amendments to move in committee. I doubt whether the Government could accept those amendments which relate to the enlargement of the Administrator’s Council, the enlargement of the House of Assembly and the changing of its name to “ House of Representatives “, although, of course, we will wait until the committee stage in order to hear the arguments advanced in support of them.
– We do not propose to enlarge the Administrator’s Council.
– To change the structure of the Administrator’s Council?
– Yes. After careful consideration of some of the other amendments, the Government feels that it is quite happy to accept the constructive suggestions which the Opposition has made. In respect of those amendments which refer to immunities, the period between sessions, matters reserved for assent and procedures for laying ordinances before Parliament, we feel ourselves free to accept in principle what the Opposition proposes although we would like to see one or two of those suggestions expressed in rather different form.
In conclusion, I should like again to express appreciation to the House for its thoughtful consideration of this measure and to express my confidence that on both sides of the House we share a common objective; the differences between us are differences of judgment about the steps we should take in order to reach that objective.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 and 2 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.
Section four of the Principal Act is amended- (a)……
Section proposed to be amended.
Part V. - Legislation.
Division 1.- Laws (Sections 32-34).
Division 2. - The Legislative Council (Sections 35-53).
.- I move -
In paragraph (c), omit “House of Assembly”, insert “House of Representatives”.
Mr. Chairman, the Government proposes to call the new legislative body the House of Assembly. The Opposition believes that the name should be the House of Representatives and that would be the effect of the carrying of our amendment. We think it is a more appropriate name, particularly as the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) has made it quite clear that the intention is eventually to give the people of the. Territory self-government. In Australia the main legislative body is known as the House of Representatives. It is perfectly true that there are State houses of parliament known as legislative assemblies and there are also church organizations that use the name “ assembly “ quite frequently. I think it would be a good thing in the initial stages of these changes in the Territory, to impress upon the native members that they are representatives of their own people in their own legislative body.
To some honorable members this may not appear to be a very important amendment, but members of the Opposition have given it a great deal of thought and our ideas are in keeping with the recommendations of the visiting mission from the United Nations which travelled through the Territory and made extensive inquiries. Even though the select committee appointed by the Legislative Council finally came down on the side of the name House of Assembly, from my reading of its interim report it seemed to indicate a favorable approach to calling the body the House of Representatives. Without labouring the matter further, I think the suggestion is a good one, which the Government ought to adopt and I hope it will be endorsed by the majority of members of this House.
.- Essentially, we are proposing to call the body the House of Representatives because in later amendments we will seek to change the nature of the house. There would only be representatives in the house which we shall propose, whereas in the assembly being proposed by the Government there are to be ten nominated members. Also, as the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) has said, this amendment is in accordance with the recommendation of the United Nations mission. The name, House of Representatives, is deeply embedded in the traditions of this country. It is the name of the chamber which we occupy. It is also deeply embedded in the traditions of the United States of America, which played a very big part in the defence of New Guinea. As a title it would be comprehensible in the United States of America, in many of the new African republics, and in Commonwealth countries which use the same term.
We like the term House of Representatives because it is national and these are the beginnings of a national constitution. The word assembly is associated in our own country with a State and does imply a lesser body. We feel that the title House of Representatives gives dignity to its members. They are the representatives of their people. We feel that this description does signify the intention to proceed ultimately towards a national parliament and full selfgovernment. So we are using the name which we feel will ultimately be the constitutional name, as I think the Minister has indicated. Also, I think it is the highest compliment that we could pay, because House of Representatives is the name of own own chamber. The term Assembly can express an association of differing nations, as it does in fact in the United Nations. We are trying to get a term which will help, in the minds of members of this new parliament which is to come into being, to create an idea of national unity.
The Territory which we are discussing is not only our own colony of Papua. There is a whole series of territories and islands which were brought together in the past by conquest. They include New Hanover, New Britain, New Ireland, Bougainville, Manus and the New Guinea mainland. What made all those one territory of New Guinea? Unification really began as an idea in the mind of the Imperial Chancellor of Germany, Prince Otto von Bismarck. Germany conquered this area originally and all sorts of people with no tradition of association were brought together. We feel thai the members from New Hanover, New Ireland, and Manus do need to be able to feel themselves to be the representatives of the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. We know there is not a great deal in the name but we believe House of Representatives to be a more appropriate name and that is why we are pressing for it.
– The Government does not accept the amendment. The reason why we prefer the clause as it stands in the bill is that it is in accordance with the report of the select committee. The committee, after considering the matter and after having the name “ House of Representatives “ before it, finally came down with a recommendation that this legislature should be called the “ House of Assembly “. We as a Government accepted the recommendations of the committee and are transmuting them into the legislation now before us.
– Did they consider an alternative to “ House of Assembly “?
– I have no idea what went on inside the select committee. I only know that, having considered “ House of Representatives “, it did not adopt that name but proposed as a recommendation “ House of Assembly “.
– Do you agree that it gave no reasons?
– The committee gave no reasons. This is its choice and as we have adopted the recommendation we respect the choice. It would seem to me, also, that there is a certain reasonableness about the committee’s judgment on this matter. In the strict sense, this legislature, if the proposal in the bill is adopted, will not be a House composed only of representatives. It will be a House composed of 54 elected representatives plus ten appointed official members. So the name “ House of Representatives “ at this stage would not be an exact description of the body that is proposed to be brought into existence.
– But it is a description of the body we are suggesting.
– Yes. I think the honorable member for Fremantle was quite exact when he suggested that the acceptance of this amendment now before the committee really is consequential and dependent upon the acceptance of the main amendment, which I understand the Opposition will move presently in order to turn this proposed legislature into a wholly-elected House composed of representatives only. It would seem to me logical that if this Parliament intend to accept the Opposition’s amendment regarding the structure and membership of the legislature, it will accept this amendment. If the Parliament is of a mind to reject the Opposition’s amendment regarding the structure and membership of the legislature, it will reject this amendment.
.- -I regret that the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) has off-handedly rejected the request of the Opposition that the name “ House of Assembly “ be altered to “ House of Representatives”. In Australia, the State parliaments are considered to have a lower status than has the National Parliament. The proposed legislature for Papua and New Guinea expresses the national ambitions and ideals of the people there, and I think we should give it the most dignified and appropriate name so that the people of the Territory will feel that their legislature has a national character. It would be much more difficult in the future to change the name from “House of Assembly “ to “ House of Representatives “, even if we gave a fuller degree of national independence to the Territory. If we change the name now, we will show the people of the Territory that we do, in good faith, recognize their national rights and their claims as a people. We shall give them a status that we shall not give them if their legislature bears a name that suggests something less than the most important aspect of national and political life.
In not accepting the name “House of Representatives “ the Minister does less than justice to the cause he represents to-night. This may be an appropriate moment for me to say that I regret that we do not have in the councillors’ portion of the chamber a representative of the people of Papua and New Guinea. Such a representative could advise us on this and other important aspects of the legislation. To have had a representative here would have been a very fine gesture to these people. I ask the Minister to agree that, even in the absence of a representative, we should recognize the significance of this proposed legislature for the Territory and the right of the people to have a legislature that is national in character.
.- It seems to me that the arguments put forward by honorable members opposite rely unduly on Australian experience which is not repeated in New Guinea. It has been suggested that our proposal to call this legislature an assembly is a derogation of status, because we in Australia have State parliaments in which the lower house is called the “Assembly”. That is true of Australia, of course, but it has an historical basis. The fact is that the legislatures of the colonies prior to federation were called assemblies. It was necessary when forming the lower house of the Commonwealth Parliament to find another name. This situation does not apply in New Guinea. There is no question of superimposing another chamber on an existing legislative chamber. Therefore, I do not think there is any basis for the Opposition’s qualms that this legislature may not be regarded as the apex of the legislative arch.
I point out that in quite a number of other countries where this historical basis does not exist the lower house of the national parliament is called an assembly. I think I am right in saying that in the French Parliament the lower house is known as the National Assembly. This is not regarded as a derogation of status in France, because that country does not have a history similar to that of Australia. In addition to this, “ Assembly “, as I understand it, has a specific connotation in New Guinea. It has some significance as a sort of gathering place based on local customs and so on. The name “ House of Representatives “ would not have this significance. I support the use of the expression “ House of Assembly” in the bill.
.- I support the view of honorable members from this side of the committee. I say to the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Forbes) that there is not much point in trying to go outside Australian experience in this matter. It is my own impression, and I think it is that of honorable members on both sides of the committee, that it is to Australia that the people of Papua and New Guinea look, it is with Australia that they have some affinity and it is from Australia that they will gather their impressions. The name “ House of Representatives “ has an important meaning in the Australian system. The idea of representative government may be new to the people of the Territory, but it is an idea that ought to be fostered in the very House in which they assemble.
The point made by the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) that this is not truly a House of Representatives is correct. I assume, of course, that the Minister will have the numbers to defeat the consequential amendment that we will move. However, in making this point he has raised some of the difficulties of the word “ assembly “. I believe that the committee ought not to discard the opinions expressed here merely to adopt the opinion of the select committee, expressed without any reasons being given. The select committee said in its interim report that the term “ House of Representatives “ had a body of support. In the final report the committee adopted the term “ House of Assembly “, without giving any reasons for such adoption. At least some reason was given in connexion with the first selection, the reason being that the term had popular support.
After all, this Parliament makes its own decisions on such matters. We are answerable to ourselves alone on this question. While we accept the advice given to us - and having been denied the advice of Papuans themselves, as was pointed out by the honorable member for Bonython (Mr. Makin), I think we ought to bring our own experience to bear on the question. We should adopt a term which in this country denotes the senior legislature for the nation. For these reasons I suggest that the term “ House of Representatives “ should be the one adopted.
– I do not view this matter as being one of very great consequence, but I must say that I prefer the Government’s selection, for the very reason that the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) has given - in other words, because it is the name that has been chosen by the people of New Guinea themselves. If they want to change the name in the future I have no doubt that this House will tv; only too glad to co-operate with them.
I think we act quite wrongly in trying to impose on these people our own thinking in matters such as this. As the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Forbes) has said, the word “ assembly “ is in no way less honorable than the word “ representatives “. In point of fact, the term is used in France, which is a country with a unitary national feeling. It is used for the supreme body of the United Nations, and I think it would be fair to suggest that it should be used in this instance. After all, we talk of ourselves as being in Parliament assembled. Let the New Guinea people choose their own name.
– But they did not choose this name.
– I say again, let them choose their own name. The best evidence we have suggests that they have chosen the term “ House of Assembly “. If they want to change that in the future let them do so, but let us not try to impose our will upon them. In all probability we will find the word “ boong “ being used in description of this gathering, boong being a New Guinea word which has probably been corrupted from the German word *’ bund “. But whatever name the people choose in the future, let them choose it themselves.
– We have, in the speech of the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth), now reached the stage at which a select committee of six becomes “ the people of New Guinea “. It is like the three tailors of Tooley-street saying, “ We, the people of England “. The chairman of the committee was Dr. Gunther. I do not want it thought that I am criticizing him, but I understand that he is not an indigenous inhabitant of New Guinea.
– I shall not detain the House very long. The honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant) asked us to keep within Australia in choosing the correct title of the new parliament. He made that suggestion in reply to the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Forbes). Honorable members of this Parliament, and surely the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) among them, must know that the legislatures of every State - certainly my own
State of New South Wales - evolved in the same way. First, there was a Governor with complete authority, then a Governor’s executive council, then a council nominated, then a council partly nominated, and finally we reached the position of having two houses, a Legislative Assembly and a Legislative Council. In New South Wales the members of the first of these two bodies are called members of the Legislative Assembly.
Let us accept the fact that New Guinea is not yet an independent country, and that apparently it does not desire to become an independent country at this stage. In these circumstances it is stretching the facts of the case to suggest that there is something lowering in conferring upon this new parliament any other title than House of Representatives. The honorable member for Bonython (Mr. Makin) is evidently seeking to interject. I remind him that he was born a colonial, in the colony of South Australia. I was also born a colonial, but I am no longer a colonial, because in the course of time wisdom prevailed and the British Government finally yielded to strong representation. Unfortunately my own State does not recognize this principle of yielding in the matter of separate statehood for a certain section of its territory - but that is beside the point.
We who tear a passion to tatters and shed tears forget completely that we are ignoring the provisions of our own constitution regarding people in the existing States. But I am not going to develop that theme. I simply say that I was born a colonial in the colony of New South Wales, and by virtue of the wisdom, and the eventual tolerance and vision, of the British imperial authorities I became a member of a State which is now itself a component part of the Australian nation, whose House of Representatives we sit in to-night. It is far fetched to suggest that our friends in New Guinea have reached even the stage that New South Wales had reached when it became a part of the Australian Commonwealth and ceased to be a British colony.
Question put -
That the words proposed to be omitted (Mr. Ward’s amendment) stand part of the clause.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. P. E. Lucock.)
Majority . . . . 1
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 4 and 5- by leave - taken together.
– Mr. Chairman, 1 ask the Minister to explain the proposed definition of “ elector “, which is to be inserted in section 5 of the principal act by clause 4, and which is in these terms - “ elector “ or “ elector of the Territory “ means a person qualified and enrolled as an elector of the Territory as provided by Ordinance;
I am anxious to know whether, in order to qualify as an elector, it is necessary for a person who is not an indigene and is not of British nationality to relinquish his allegiance to any other country to which he may have allegiance. I understand that in the Territory there are missionaries from the United States of America, France and other countries. Are these people qualified to be electors in the Territory without having citizenship conferred on them by naturalization or by any other means? In fact, can an elector be a citizen of another country? From the stand-point of residence, is it possible for some one to arrive on an entry permit and, by the simple act of arriving, to qualify as an elector? Is there provision in an existing ordinance, or, alternatively, is it intended that there shall be provision in some new ordinance, to impose a residential requirement? This is of interest to me and I would appreciate any information that the Minister can give me.
There is also in clause 4 a definition of “ indigenous inhabitant of the Territory “, which is to be inserted in section 5 of the principal act. This definition reads - “ indigenous inhabitant of the Territory “ includes a person who follows, adheres to or adopts the customs, or lives after the manner, of any of the indigenous inhabitants of the Territory;
This definition appeals to me as being superior to the term “ native “, which has been used previously in the act. The expression “ indigenous inhabitants of the Territory “ is used in clause 9 in section 36 (l.)(c) of proposed new Division 2 of the principal act - a provision which is in these terms - ten persons, not being indigenous inhabitants of the Territory, elected by electors of the Territory.
I am anxious to have the definition of “ indigenous inhabitant of the Territory “ clarified. All honorable members will admit that it is peculiar. To what degree has a person to follow, adhere to or adopt the customs, or live after the manner, of any of the indigenous inhabitants of the Territory to be regarded as an indigenous inhabitant? In particular, I am concerned to know what will be the position of persons of mixed races. Will they be able to qualify as members of the proposed House of Assembly in the terms of proposed section 36(l.)(c)?
– Mr. Chairman, the honorable member for Hughes (Mr. L. R. Johnson) has asked me to comment on the interpretation of the definition of “elector “ contained in clause 4. The proposal is that all these matters will be dealt with in an electoral ordinance to be passed by the Legislative Council for the Territory of Papua and New Guniea prior to the holding of the first election for the proposed House of Assembly. Section 8(1.) of the existing Legislative Council Ordinance 1951-1957 provides -
Every person resident in the Territory, not being a native or an alien as defined in section five of the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948-1950, and who-
is not under the age of twenty-one years; and
has continuously resided in the Territory for at least twelve months immediately preceding the date of his application for enrolment, is entitled to enrolment as an elector.
That provision will be modified to the extent that recommendations made in the report of the select committee of the Legislative Council have been adopted by the Government. The modifications will not alter the provision in respect of aliens and they will not modify the residential requirement of twelve months. Of course, with the inauguration of a common roll there will be no distinction between a native and any other person as an elector. There will be no racial element in the definition of an elector. Although the amendment to this ordinance has not been drafted or, if drafted, has certainly not come to my notice, I would assume that the present section would be amended to maintain the exclusion of an alien, to maintain the residential qualification of twelve months and to remove the racial element distinguishing between a native and a European elector.
The phrase “ indigenous inhabitant of the Territory” has already attracted some notice. We readily admit that it is a clumsy and perhaps an inelegant phrase. The whole tendency in what we have been doing in the legislation of the Territory is to remove any racial element. As far as possible, in the present bill we would seek also to remove any racial definition or any distinction between indigenous inhabitants and persons who are not indigenous inhabitants. But with acceptance of the select committee’s recommendation of ten reserved seats, to which, in colloquial language, white or part-coloured ot Asian Australians would be elected but to which indigenous people could not be elected, you must find some way to define the kind of persons who can be elected to those reserved seats. The method chosen by the draftsman is to say that those ten seats are reserved for persons other than indigenous inhabitants. That was the only reason why this interpretation of the meaning of “ indigenous inhabitants “ as an alternative to the existing term, “ native “, was introduced into the legislation. As soon as the necessity for it disappears, it certainly will be removed from the act. It is not a term which we favour. I say, with all respect, that the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) exaggerated a little yesterday when he seemed to suggest that the term was included in preference to words like “persons”, “residents” or “inhabitants of the Territory”. That is not so. The term that we have used is necessary because we have to define persons other than indigenous inhabitants.
The honorable member also asked who is an indigenous inhabitant. The definition states that an indigenous inhabitant includes a person who follows, adheres to or adopts the customs or lives after the manner of any indigenous inhabitant of the Territory. If a person of, say, mixed race chooses to identify himself as one of the indigenous inhabitants of the Territory, that is his own decision. By associating with them and living with them he identifies himself as an indigenous inhabitant.
– Would not that cover also a European who goes bush?
– I suppose it would. I am not in a position to give a legal opinion, but I would assume that if a person of full European race associated with, adhered to, adopted the customs and lived after the manner of the indigenous inhabitants he would identify himself as an indigenous person. I have no reason to suppose that the position would be other than that. This position has arisen with people of mixed race - there is not a great number of them - who have identified themselves with and have associated with European or Asian Australians. There are others who of their own choice have identified themselves with and have associated with the indigenous inhabitants.
.- I shall be very brief. I hope the Minister does not think that when one takes exception to the words “ indigenous inhabitants “ that is a quibble of superiority against what one might call bureaucratic language. I feel that this Parliament is enacting some kind of a constitution. As I said during the second-reading debate, we ourselves were dignified by the United Kingdom Parliament by the words “ people of the Commonwealth, people of a State or subjects of the Queen “. Those were the people who were being federated.
In many States the word “ aboriginal “ is defined as meaning a descendant of the original inhabitants of Australia. I cannot see why we cannot use the simple expression “ people of Papua and New Guinea “ and somewhere in the definition clauses define them as the descendants of the people of Papua and New Guinea before 1844 or whatever was the first date of European suzerainty. I know that the Minister cannot accept this suggestion now because he does not have Cabinet authorization, and I am not proposing an amendment, but I hope that some thought will be given to retrieving this position. It is because we regard the Minister’s document as very important and as something which the people of Papua and New Guinea will look back on that we do not want the words “ indigenous inhabitants “ to remain.
.- The discussion which has taken place about the definition follows inevitably from the devious manner in which the Government is approaching representative government for the people of Papua and New Guinea. If you try to define people as different because of race or on some other ground, you will run into the eternal problems inherent in that kind of definition and eventually you will bedevil the whole political structure. Under this scheme, people may eventually be asked to produce documents to prove their racial purity. Already we have inflicted this kind of thing on the aboriginal people of Australia. If you attempt to inject into a united, harmonious and homogeneous legislature the idea of mixed race and different representation because of racial background, you will end up with eternal problems of definition.
Clauses agreed to.
Clause 6. (1.) Section nineteen of the Principal Act is amended -
Section proposed to be amended.
(2.) The Administrator’s Council shall consist of-
.- I move -
Omit paragraph (a) of sub-section (1.), insert the following paragraphs: - “(a) by omitting paragraphs (b) and (c) of sub-section (2.) and inserting in their stead the following paragraph: -
ten members of the House of Assembly.’; (aa) by omitting sub-section (3.) and inserting in its stead the following sub-section: - (3.) Each member of the Administrator’s Council (other than the Administrator) shall be elected by the House of Assembly and shall, subject to this section, hold office during the pleasure of the House.’; and”.
This clause relates to what is termed the Administrator’s Council, an advisory body designed to advise the Administrator. Under the present arrangement there are three official and three non-official representatives on the body, all nominated and appointed by the Administrator, only two of whom are elected members of the Legislative Council. By its amendment the Government proposes to retain the three official members and to have seven elected members of what will now be the House of Assembly. This does not mean that the House of Assembly will elect those seven members to the council. My interpretation of the proposal is that although the membership of the council will be increased to ten, the ten members still will all be nominated.
As we stated originally, the Opposition believes that the Government is moving too cautiously along the road to giving the people a say in the government of their own country. We agree that you should have ten members on the Administrator’s
Council, but provision should be made that they shall not be merely ten elected members of the House of Assembly but that they shall be elected by the House of Assembly, so that the council will become an elective body and not remain a nominated one. When all is said and done, the Administrator’s Council is said to be the body which advises the Administrator. If there is to be an elective body determining the ordinances by which the affairs of the Territory will be governed, obviously the right people to advise the Administrator would be the ten members of the council elected by the House of Assembly. That is the sense of the amendment that is proposed by the Opposition. If the Government genuinely desires to make changes acceptable to the people of Papua-New Guinea it should accept the amendment.
– The Government is unable to accept the amendment. The reason for this lies in the fundamental difference between the view which I think the Opposition takes of the transition to a Territory executive and the view taken by the Government. If I may I should like to try to expound a little on what is our view of the nature of this transitional executive. The first point I put to the committee is that even after the passage of this legislation and the making of the proposed constitutional reforms, the Australian Government and this Parliament still will have certain responsibilities in respect of the Territory. This Parliament still will be responsible internationally. The Australian Government and this Parliament still will be answerable internationally to the United Nations General Assembly, to the United Nations Trusteeship Council and in other international fields for what happens in Papua and New Guinea. That responsibility will not depart from this Parliament.
Also, it is clear that for quite a number of years to come this Parliament will continue to vote a substantial part of the revenues of the Territory and, indeed, probably will provide at least two-thirds of the money required to finance the Territory’s Budget. Furthermore, there are certain fields in which I am sure this Parliament still will wish to exercise supervision. Let us look at some of the items mentioned in the list of matters reserved for the Governor-General’s assent. Take the matter of land. I feel sure that this Parliament would not like to surrender completely at this stage to a Territory legislature its power to dispose of land. I am equally sure that the people of the Territory, to whom land is a very precious thing to be guarded very carefully, would not like to hand over immediately to a local legislature complete authority on matters of that kind.
If we accept that this Parliament and the Government of Australia still have a function and a responsibility in respect of Papua and New Guinea we move to the next point, which is that the Executive of the Territory, which, looked at in certain aspects might perhaps be regarded as a nonparliamentary executive, will still to some extent have to be under the control and will in fact continue to be under the control and direction of the Government responsible to this Parliament. It stands to reason that a government could not be answerable to this Parliament for what happens in the Territory in the way in which this Parliament would want it to be answerable if the Government did not have complete control over the Executive of the Territory. So we establish that point - that the nonparliamentary Executive in the Territory is an executive that is not at this stage of constitutional development directly responsible to the Territory legislature. But in this transitional period we are trying to work towards the time when the Territory Executive will be responsible to the Territory legislature. We are trying to associate the legislature as far as we can with local executive acts.
The Administrator’s Council, which replaced in 1960 a body known as the Executive Council of the Territory, performs a number of statutory functions in the making of regulations and things of that kind. It acts also as an advisory body to whom the Administrator refers matters on which he requires advice. It is our hope - of course, this depends very greatly on the way in which the council is made to function - that year by year, to an increasing extent, in the Administrator’s Council more and more of the executive functions of government will be disclosed to members of the council and that they, by their advice will participate in the executive function, gaining considerable educational value from that participation. In the amendments that we propose we are retaining three official members of the House of Assembly in the Administrator’s Council. The ten official members in the House of Assembly act in a way that resembles somewhat the way in which the front bench of Ministers in this place acts. They are the ones who, on behalf of the Executive, introduce measures, answer questions and try to control the business of Parliament. It is proposed that they should have associated with them seven elected members.
One point at issue in what the honorable member for East Sydney proposes is whether the elected members - the whole ten elected members or only the seven as we propose - should be chosen by the House of Assembly itself or whether they should be appointed by the Administrator. The view on this matter is that at this stage of constitutional development it is not a case of members of the legislature taking control of the Executive. That stage has not yet been reached in these proposals. It is a case of finding among the members of the legislature those who are willing to accept this kind of close association with the Administration. Whatever devices the Administrator may use privately to find the seven members who would have the clearest representative character on behalf of the legislature and who would be of most value to him in performing work as the Executive of the Territory, is a matter entirely in the Administrator’s hands. Direct election by the House of Assembly might easily put into his embryonic cabinet people who are not compatible to him or people to whom he was not compatible. It seems to us in this present stage, no less than in more advanced stages of political advancement, that the essential quality of any council that is sharing in executive tasks is compatibility.
Members of the council must necessarily take the usual oath of secrecy regarding the affairs of the council. If a person completely hostile to or critical of the Administration were elected to the council he would find himself in the almost impossible position of either putting himself, as it were, in league, bound by oath to observe the secrecy of the affairs of the Administrator’s Council or openly rebelling against it. It is simply because of the present nature of the Administrator’s Council that we think that the proposal in the bill by which elected members of the House of Assembly will be asked to accept office is preferable to a system by which the whole of the House of Assembly would freely elect people and present them, whether they be from what might be called the opposition side or from what might be called the government side, to the Administrator to like them or to lump them.
.- The Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) has indicated that what is in the Government’s mind is an evolution towards a cabinet, but the fact still remains that these members of the Administrator’s Council are not heads of departments of state. This is an advisory council for the Territory. We realize that the ten members elected by the House of Assembly to serve on the Administrator’s Council may not be on congenial terms with the Administrator. But the Minister is overlooking one aspect of this matter. We want this entire governmental set-up to be completely defensible internationally, so that we can say that an effort has been made at every stage in this process to ascertain the opinions of the people of Papua and New Guinea.
There is a tragedy next door in the recent history of what was formerly Netherlands New Guinea. Late in time the Dutch set up an excellent governmental system representing the people of that territory, but it never had any chance to sink into the minds of delegates in the General Assembly of the United Nations. It came so late that the settled prejudice of the General Assembly was against the Dutch for providing no means of self-rule.
Will not the Administrator have a tendency to choose people who mirror the convictions of the Australian Administration? Surely one of the functions of this advisory council, whose members are not heads of departments of state, reflect what the people of New Guinea are thinking. If the representatives of the people of Papua and New Guinea elect the members of the Administrator’s Council we show to the new assembly that we are really trying to ascertain what the people of the Territory desire.
Nothing commits the Administrator to accept what the Assembly desires if it is unwise. Nothing prejudices the other sections of this act which we do not challenge. The Minister mentioned that there are reserved powers over land and that the natives would be alarmed if people could push the land question about; but those reservations are not expressed through this council. They are expressed in the very constitution of the House of Assembly itself. Any ordinance that it passes on land matters goes to the Administrator and, if necessary, to the Governor-General in Australia. So the safeguards against rash action by either the House of Assembly or the Administrator’s Council are provided elsewhere.
The Administrator’s Council is an advisory body. We believe that it should be a forum for the opinions of the people of Papua and New Guinea to be conveyed to the Administrator. It is most likely to be a forum if the House of Assembly can elect it. There will not be for some time, as far as I can see, a government party and an opposition party. If that position continues until cabinet government is actually conferred upon the Territory at the point when it is about to become independent, how will the cabinet be formed? Under our system the Cabinet is appointed by an election in the government party when the Labour Party is the government or by nomination by the Prime Minister, in consultation with his Country Party colleagues, when the Liberal Party is the government. But if there are no parties in the parliament of Papua and New Guinea at some point in the future, surely it will be electing its cabinet as the Swiss Parliament does. This is experience in electing the people that they want to put the viewpoint of their parliament and, they would believe, of the people of Papua and New Guinea to the Administrator. I believe that the Government would be wise to accept our proposal that the Administrator’s Council be elected by the House of Assembly.
.- Mr. Chairman, this amendment concerns the Administrator’s Council, the embryo cabinet in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. The present provision is that the council shall consist of the Administrator, three persons who are official members of the Legislative Council and three other members of the Legislative Council none of whom shall be an official member and of whom at least two shall be elected members. The bill proposes that the council shall consist of the Administrator, three persons who are official members of the House of Assembly and seven persons who are elected members of the House of Assembly. The Opposition proposes that the council shall consist of the Administrator and ten members of the House of Assembly. Both in the present act and the Government’s bill it is provided that all the members shall be appointed by the Minister on the nomination of the Administrator and shall hold office during the pleasure of the Minister. Under the Opposition’s proposal, each of the members other than the Administrator would be elected by the House of Assembly and would hold office during the pleasure of that House.
It will be noted, Sir, that we wish to bring about two changes. We accept the increase in the number of members of the Administrator’s Council, but we want to make a change in the qualification and the appointment to the effect that all the members should be elected members and that they should not only be elected by the inhabitants of the Territory to the House of Assembly but also be elected by the members of the House of Assembly to the Administrator’s Council. We believe that that is the best way to give the people of Papua and New Guinea practice in cabinet government.
We have had the testimony of an indigenous member of the Legislative Council who is also a member of the Administrator’s Council - Mr. John Guise. In his Australian Broadcasting Commission speech three months ago he stated -
I have sat in the new Legislative Council and in the Administrator’s Council since they were founded in 1961 and I can tell you that important policy matters still don’t originate with us.
Most of them originate in Canberra with the Minister and the Department of Territories.
Those that may originate in the Territory are then referred to Canberra and they are pretty well developed before they ever reach us - this just won’t do.
We can’t make our own full and proper contribution to the development of our country under these conditions.
We can’t point out effectively where Canberra officials’ thinking is getting out of touch with local conditions.
If this sort of thing continues, it will not be a good thing for Papua New Guinea.
What, you may ask, am I proposing.
First, a great deal of the work of policy making should be transferred from Canberra to Port Moresby.
Second, the representatives of the indigenous people should be associated with it from its earliest stages.
In part, this means an enlargement of the work of the Administrator’s Council.
In part it would also mean the use of select committees of Legislative Council to study and make recommendations on major issues of policy.
There we have the testimony of one of the two indigenous members of the Legislative Council who have been elected by their fellows to that Council and then appointed by the Minister to the Administrator’s Council. His testimony is that at present the Administrator’s Council is not performing a satisfactory function.
The honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean), Senator Cohen and I talked with Mr. Guise in Port Moresby. We heard many illustrations of the frustrations he felt in dealing with the trivial matters which in fact come before the Administrator’s Council. So far no training in cabinet government is given by the Administrator’s Council. Members have no power to initiate matters in the council itself or in the Legislative Council. They have no power to review matters which may be introduced by the Administrator or anybody else into the Administrator’s Council.
At the moment - this is the position under the principal act; it would be the position under the amending bill; and it would not be affected by the Opposition amendment - the functions of the Administrator’s Council are to advise the Administrator on any matter referred to the council by the Administrator and, in accordance with an ordinance, on any other matter. That means, Sir, that the matters which come within the competence of the Administrator’s Council in fact ar.e entirely originated, entirely restricted and entirely determined by the Administrator.
– No. There are some statutory functions under the ordinance.
– Yes, there are, as I have quoted.
Sitting suspended from 11 to 11.30 p.m.
– Before the suspension of the sitting, I was saying that the principal act still puts a very real limitation on the nature of the matters with which the Administrator’s Council can deal. Therefore the point with which the Minister is concerned - the responsibility of the Administrator’s Council - is still utterly safeguarded. But the objection we have to the amendment made by the bill is that it still preserves to the Minister the right to nominate the members of the Administrator’s Council. The principal for which we have been striving throughout all stages of the consideration of this bill is that New Guineans should have practice in representative government and in responsible government. We believe that they will receive practice in responsible government if the members of their own parliament choose the members of their own embryo cabinet, and if members of that embryo cabinet are responsible to the body - the House of Assembly - which elects them.
The Administrator has the power to disallow ordinances passed by the House of Assembly. This Parliament has the power to pass acts to overrule ordinances of the House of Assembly. Thus both the Commonwealth Government and the Commonwealth Parliament supervise the way in which the House of Assembly exercises its functions. The Administrator and the Minister have the power to determine what matters the Administrator’s Council will entertain. But just as it is important that the members of the House of Assembly should have practice in conducting their affairs in the widest way, so it is essential, in our view, that the members of the Administrator’s Council should have practice in cabinet government and that they should be elected by their fellows and be answerable to their fellows. We need have no fear that they will exercise their powers irresponsibly. We must trust them in this regard. If, however, they do exercise their functions irresponsibly, we will retain, under section 20 of the principal act, complete power to limit the matters with which they will deal.
.- I cannot quite understand why we must go on playing at making a parliament and not take the final step. I can agree with the general proposition that there are limits to the responsibilities with which this Assembly ought to be endowed at this stage, but our proposition is that the members of the Administrator’s Council should be chosen by the Assembly so that they would be responsible to the Assembly. That is the essence of the contract.
The Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) has made quite a song about the position of this council and about its functions. In fact, it has no initiating functions. Admittedly it may come about that in the ordinary course of events the members of the council decide on something and put it to the Administrator, and it gets on to the agenda. However, from the construction of the bill it looks as though, generally speaking, the agenda will be determined by the Administrator. As he selects the people concerned, this is hardly a field even for practice.
The first thing we should do is to accustom the members of the House of Assembly to the idea of selecting the member of the council. That ought to be easy enough, goodness knows. However, the Minister has pointed out that there would be some difficulties because of the structure of the council and because it would be difficult to find people with a community of interest and so on. He says, therefore, that the Administrator may well be able to make a more reasoned choice. Those are difficulties which you face in any democratic institution. There is no advantage, in our view, in writing in separate categories such as we have here - three official members of the House of Assembly and seven elected members. I know that there is a fundamental difference between the way in which we of the Labour Party select a cabinet and the way in which the Government parties do so. But in Victoria, I understand, the Liberal Party has got round to selecting State cabinets in the way the Labour Party has done for some 60 years. I think this is just another instance in which we have failed to take, not a very big step, but what seems to me to be a logical step.
I said last night that I thought there was some last century thinking in the construction of the bill and in the Government’s approach to it. In a book by Sir Charles Jeffries, entitled “Transfer of Power”, I find this passage -
There were three elements in the normal colonial Legislative Council: the official members, who were civil servants; the nominated members, who were local citizens appointed on the recommendation of the Governor; and, where they existed, the elected members.
That is the step we have taken so hesitantly regarding the Legislative Council of Papua and New Guinea. The original idea, when the Crown colony system was being started, was to give the people a stop-gap form of representation until elections became practicable. One gathers from this bill that, far from being a training programme, this is a stop-gap programme. As the Minister and the Government have admitted, we are already taking steps earlier than the Government originally intended. They are steps which probably could have been taken effectively two or three years back. Indeed, we are certain that they could have been taken then. This has been the traditional step-by-step procedure, taking years to do something that ought to be done in a week, taking years to develop the trust that you ought to have initially, and taking years to develop a system whereby people can have practice, when they could have done what had to be done in the first place.
We are dealing with human beings. We pass this way but once. These people will not be there for two lifetimes, to follow up in the second lifetime the lessons that they0 learnt in the first. We have to teach the legislators who are elected to the House of Assembly in the first instance. We cannot leave it until the second time around. They must get into the habits of representative government. We must give the Administrator’s Council wider functions and develop a system of responsibility and initiative. I think that in some instances initiative for the legislature and the representatives is more important than the sense of responsibility implied in cabinet government. We have to create the opportunity for people who know the opinions of their own folk to put them forward in a place where action can be initiated. But I feel that we do not seem to be getting that thought through to the Government.
What would be the difficulties? I would like to hear the Minister’s explanation of the difficulties. Assuming that the Administrator’s Council has no executive functions at all, or very few, and is therefore a purely advisory body, and that the idea is that the members should become accustomed to going into the Assembly and explaining government policies, why can we not take the step of letting the members of the council be elected? As the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) pointed out, the cabinet in Switzerland is elected by members of parliament. In support of my claim that the Government’s attitude belongs to the last century, I will quote from a note in the book I have mentioned. It is as follows: -
A Colonial Office circular despatch of 1868 laid it down that nominated members were expected to co-operate with the Government and not to oppose it on any important question without strong and substantial reasons.
We have here in the last five or six years noted the approach of the Government to this question. It expects, in effect, these various councils to be pretty much rubber stamps for ministerial decrees. I believe it is time we took a more forthright approach. I also believe that the Minister has something to give in this matter, although he might have been a little more dramatic, a little more adventurous. The eyes of the world are upon us. Nobody is going to be confused or fobbed off by a front of democracy. People from overseas who have read the discussions of the “Trusteeship Council and people from one end of the world to the other who have read the Foot report will want to see that Australia is making what one might term “ dinkum “ steps towards developing a selfrespecting and self-reliant House of Assembly in Papua and New Guinea.
We believe this is a reasonable proposition. If there is going to be an Administrator’s Council advising the Administrator and representing the people of New Guinea the least we can do is put enough faith in the representatives themselves to be able to elect that body responsibly.
.- The Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) used a rather strange argument in opposing the amendment moved by tha Opposition. What he said, in effect, was that the Government could not afford to accept the amendment proposed by the Opposition to provide for the election of members of the Administrators Council because the Government required representatives who were congenial to the Administrator. In effect, representatives are required who would be termed in Australia “ yes-men “ for the Administrator. Therefore they would not be the best types of advisers, I should imagine. We believe representatives are required who, if they hold opposite opinions to those of the Administrator, are prepared to express them. Evidently that would make them uncongenial so far as the Administrator was concerned. Here is an important point that the Minister ought to have taken into account, particularly in view of his unfortunate use of the word “ congenial “, because I imagine that on the Administrator’s Council it would be desirable to have at least a number of the native inhabitants. I imagine that these people would not be anxious to act if they thought they would be acceptable only if they were regarded as yes-men for the Administrator, because that would immediately destroy their standing with their own people, the people who elected them. I imagine that in the Territory the Administrator would be regarded as the chief governmental officer. Therefore, many of the requests made by the people who elected these representatives obviously would be made to him. If the people had different opinions from the Administrator in regard to what should be done they would not want, as representatives acting on the Administrator’s Council, people who would have been appointed only because they were congenial to the Administrator. I think this consideration will destroy the effect of native representation from the viewpoint of getting proper representatives on the Council. It is to be hoped that “ Hansard “ does not reach the Territory, or is not largely read in the Territory, because there will be many people who will be rather concerned to read the Minister’s statement that the only people who may be appointed to the Administrator’s Council are those who are congenial to the Administrator. In view of what the Minister has said I do not think that the existing position is satisfactory and I believe that the amendment moved by the Opposition would vastly improve it.
– I think that the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) on reflection will agree that he has not fairly represented the point of view which I stated. I certainly never at any stage suggested that only “yes-men” should be on the Administrator’s Council. The honorable member has interpreted the word “ congenial “ to mean that the only way in which one person can be congenial to another is always to be a “ yes-man “. That is not my proposition at all. The point I was trying to make, and will try to make again, is this: Any group of people engaged as a unity on an executive enterprise not only has to be answerable to some other authority, but the members have to be compatible with each other within the group. If you transfer into an executive body, or a body with any quasi-executive functions, all the dissensions and the incompatibilities, all the divisions that exist outside, then, of course, the body will not function in the way it is intended to function.
The use of the word “congenial” - I remind the honorable member that I also used the word “ compatibility “ - is intended to have the meaning that members appointed to the Administrator’s Council should be members who would work with the Administrator and would be seen by the Administrator as people whose advice he would trust, whose advice he would regard as being well worthy of high regard. On the other hand, the members themselves would have to have some degree of confidence in the Administrator and be willing on their own part to associate with him in this common task. So this question of compatibility is something which requires both that the members should be able to work with the Administrator and that the Administrator should be able to work with the members.
I imagine that the situation after the election of the House of Assembly would be that the Administrator would choose from among his official members - who are in a sense his Ministers on the front bench of the House- three of the most senior members to join the Administrator’s Council. I assume he would then approach persons of known competence among the elected members. I assume that there would be a majority of native elected members among those whom he would approach to find out whether it was congenial to them to accept appointment to the Administrator’s Council. He might approach native member A and ask him, “Will you join the Administrator’s Council? “. Native member A might then say: “ No, I would rather retain my full liberty on the floor of the House to criticize you as freely as I want to. I would rather not be associated with you in the Administrator’s Council.” The Administrator might approach native member B and native member B might say: “Yes. Generally speaking I think the sorts of things you are doing are the sorts of things with which I agree. Although I may have reservations on this or that point I am willing to sit with you in the Administrator’s Council.” It would be explained to whichever members were approached that by accepting appointment to the Administrator’s Council they would to some extend identify themselves with the actions of the Administration. They would not forgo their rights to discuss, to criticize and to express opinions contrary to those of the Administrator or to offer advice according to their consciences and according to their own knowledge, but they would be bound to the extent that, having entered ‘ the Administrator’s Council and having taken an oath of secrecy, information divulged to them in the Administrator’s Council discussions would be confidential and to that extend they would forfeit some of their personal liberty of action on the floor of the House of Assembly, in the same way as a Minister who enters a Cabinet forfeits some of his independence of action on the floor of this chamber.
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) seemed to me to be suggesting that this Administrator’s Council had limited functions. The functions as at present - and they will be continued - are certain statutory functions of the sort previously performed by the executive council for the Territory. I refer to functions in respect of land grants and the making of regulations and functions in respect of doing various regulatory and executive acts which a statute requires to be done by the Administrator-in-Council. Apart from that, the Administrator can refer to the Administrator’s Council almost any matter that he chooses and is within his own competence. I certainly hope that in the development of this enlarged Administrator’s Council it will become the practice much more frequently than it has been in the past working of the council for matters of policy to be brought before the body for discussion and advice so that when the Administrator gives advice to the Government on any matter which requires governmental action that advice will be reinforced by the opinions he has heard expressed by a wide range of elected members inside the council.
I hope, too, that i will become the practice that proposals for legislation originating in the Territory will also pass through the Administrator’s Council and that the final draft of the legislation might be cleared through this council. That would seem to me to be a function eminently suitable to be brought before the Administrator’s Council under reference by the Administrator.
We recognize that at this transitional stage of the constitutional development of the Territory the Administrator’s Council as proposed in the bill is a provisional body, a transitional body. It is not a permanent structure, and it has not a permanent shape. It is something which will serve during the transitional period both to associate the House of Assembly with the various statutory functions of the AdministratorinCouncil and to give an opportunity for some of the elected members of the House of Assembly to be associated in an intimate way with the actual processes of government in the preparation of legislation for the House of Assembly, and in the shaping of policy.
.- I think the Minister has described an institution neatly falling between two stools. In the evolution of our own parliamentary system, Ministers have had to become the servants of the Parliament and not the servants of the Crown, and I think that the members of this Parliament who will be appointed by the Administrator to this council are put in a very embarrassing position. The Administrator will have the power of veto over most of the legislation proposed by the House of Assembly, and seven able men are to be taken out of the parliament and identified with him. If they are appointed by the Administrator, the tendency must be for them to adhere to the Administrator. It is often said that in a cabinet system where the cabinet is selected by the Prime Minister many people go into the cabinet by processes of seeking the Prime Minister’s approval over a long period of time.
– Do not look at the honorable member for Moreton when you say that.
– The honorable member for Moreton is not in the Cabinet. I think it would only be human nature that members of the House of Assembly would tend to feel that they were servants of the Administrator rather than servants of the Parliament. I honestly believe it would be much better to. drop this system altogether so long as you have in the Territory an Administrator who is a sort of de facto president similar to the President of the United States of America. If his executive council consisted of distinguished people of Papua and New Guinea and other people outside of the parliament altogether who were putting proposals to the parliament the system would be better than having a presidential cabinet in the sense that the members of the cabinet are selected by the Administrator. Yet the Administrator is selecting some from the parliament and still exercises presidential powers of veto over the parliament. It is an awful amalgamation of the United Kingdom system of Cabinet Ministers being members of the parliament and the American system of a presidentially selected cabinet.
We believe that in the evolution towards cabinet government the Ministers, or embryo Ministers, should begin to feel from the very first that they are the creatures of the parliament rather than of the Administrator.
I cannot honestly see that there is an analogy between the freedom of action lost on the floor of the House by people nominated by the Administrator and the freedom of action which the Minister feels is lost by Cabinet Ministers here.
After all, Cabinet Ministers here first of all draft the legislation which 1 presume they put to their party. The union between the party and the Cabinet means that the measures are presented on the floor of the House here and Ministers have the double freedom of action in that they have been the initiators of the legislation and they lead it in this House. There is no analogy between that position and the situation of people who have been nominated out of the parliament by the Administrator, people who depend upon the Administrator to be chosen and who yet have obligations to the parliament. If there is to be a fusion of the executive arm and the legislative arm, we feel it is much better done by electing members of parliament who are to come to the Administrator’s Council.
Question put -
That the paragraph proposed to be omitted (Mr. Ward’s amendment) stand part of the clause.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. P. E. Lucock.)
Majority . . . . 1
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 7 and 8 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.
Division 2 of Part V. of the Principal Actis repealed and the following Division inserted in its stead: - “Division 2. - The House of Assembly. “ 35. There shall be a House of Assembly for the Territory. “ 36. - (1.) The House of Assembly shall consist of sixty-four members, as follows: -
” (3.) A person is not qualified to be elected or appointed, or to continue, as a member of the House of Assembly if-
.I move -
In proposed section 36, omit sub-section (1.), insert the following sub-section: - (1.) The House of Assembly shall consist of -
eighty-eight members elected by electors of the Territory; and
until the House otherwise provides, ten members, not being indigenous inhabitants of the Territory, elected by electors of the Territory.”.
As with an earlier amendment, I direct the attention of the committee to the fact that, where reference was made formerly to the House of Representatives, it now reads “ the House of Assembly “, in view of the decision of the committee. This amendment, which the Australian Labour Party regards as of great importance, proposes that the number of elected representatives in the new House of Assembly should be increased to 88. The Government has proposed that the number should be 44. We think it should be doubled. We are not opposing the provision relating to the ten reserved electorates. We think that if the total number of elected representatives were 98 there would be a chamber which would be fitting to meet the requirements of the Territory at this period of its development.
The Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck), in his second-reading speech, used the argument that if the method proposed by the Government to determine the number of people whom each representative should represent were applied to the Commonwealth, there would be 270 members in the House of Representatives here. He was evidently putting that argument forward to show that the provision made by the Government in this bill was a generous one. We think that such an attitude is completely unrealistic. Anybody who has been to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea will appreciate the tremendous difficulties with which it is confronted. The Minister has mentioned some of those difficulties. For instance, there are more than 700 languages; the terrain is very difficult, and most passenger transport is by air. It will be difficult for the representatives to travel over a wide area and attend to their duties during the sittings of the House of Assembly at the same time. We believe that the United Nations visiting mission was more realistic in its approach to this question. It spoke of a parliament of 100 elected members. Our proposal for 98 elected representatives is very close to the recommendation of the United Nations visiting mission, and I think that the Government should concede this point.
Repeatedly in debates in this Parliament we have used the argument that the Government is moving too slowly towards granting representative government to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. It was stated in the report of the select committee of the Legislative Council, and the argument has been used also by the Minister, that there is doubt as to whether there could be found in the Territory 100 representatives who were capable, or who were qualified, to occupy a position in the House of Assembly. I do not know whether that doubt will be borne out in fact, but I do know that if there were, among the 100, a few who did not possess qualifications which might be regarded as of the highest kind, they would gain in experience as time went by and their service in the House of Assembly would give them training in government.
We have to be mindful of the fact that the United Nations will be looking with great interest at the debates here and the decisions that we make. It will be concerned to know the opinion of the Australian Parliament in respect of the recommendations made by the United Nations visiting mission which went to the Territory. The Government has departed, in a number of respects, from the recommendations of the mission. In this instance, the Government should recognize that our amendment is very close to the recommendation of the mission, and I believe the Government would be wise if it accepted it.
– The Government is not willing to accept this amendment. The main reason for our attitude is that we have based ourselves quite firmly on the recommendations of the select committee which, I remind honorable members, consisted of representatives of a wide variety of opinion in the Territory. It carried out an extensive inquiry and made a firm recommendation along the lines contained in the bill. Furthermore, before making that recommendation the select committee had before it - and many of those who gave evidence to the committee had before them - the proposals of the United Nations visiting mission. So, one can fairly say that the recommendation of the select committee was not only its own judgment of what would be workable and what was thought to be desirable, but also was a judgment on the proposals of the United Nations visiting mission. It was a rejection of the proposals of the United Nations visiting mission by people well qualified to judge. Then, of course, in turn the recommendations of the select committee were presented to the Legislative Council, and the members of the council accepted them and endorsed the recommendations which their committee had made.
I should like to read a passage from paragraph 9 of the first interim report of the select committee. The committee was describing the stages by which it arrived at its eventual recommendation, and it stated -
With one exception all of the people interviewed wished to see an increase in the number of Members on the Council, on the ground that the present electorates were too large to allow the necessary contact between Members and their electors. Non-indigenes also favoured greater representation of indigenes because of their population majority. On the other hand there was a definite feeling against too large a membership and only four favoured a Council of 100 representatives, the main reasons given being that such a Council would be irresponsible, too unwieldy to be of any great educative value and full of talk instead of work, that at the moment there were probably not 100 indigenes capable of successfully carrying out duties as Legislative Councillors . . .
I interrupt my quotation to point out to honorable members that that was not an expression of opinion by the select committee. It was a report by the select committee of the opinions that were expressed to it by witnesses. Never on any occasion has the select committee said that it could not find more than 100 people capable of serving as legislative councillors.
The report also states that witnesses had said that a council with so many members would be unnecessarily costly. The report continued -
Attempts by your Committee to modify this attitude were of no avail. The indigenous Members of your Committee are of the opinion that a Council of 100 is associated in the people’s minds with self-government which the people appear to fear and say they do not want at this stage.
Having recorded those statements of the opinions which had been expressed to the select committee by its own indigenous members, the committee went on to propose that there should be 44 open electorates and ten reserved electorates. The Opposition does not object to the ten reserved electorates which, of course, were requested by the indigenous people, but it seeks to cancel the ten official members. The problem which I present to the Opposition is this: If you cancel the ten official members at a time before you have fully responsible government, who will take the responsibility on the floor of the House of Assembly for introducing a bill? Who will take the responsibility for answering questions about any phase of administration? It is part of the functioning of a parliament as we know it that a member can rise in his place at question time and ask for information about any phase of administration under the control of a Minister. That aspect of parliamentary life is customary in the present Legislative Council and will be customary in the new House of Assembly.
It is possible also, under the forms of parliament as we know them, for a member, using the forms of the house, to produce a situation where a Minister has to rise, perhaps during the Estimates debate or on some other occasion, defend his administration, explain what is being done and meet whatever criticism may be directed against him. That is also a procedure which is customary in the present Legislative Council and which will continue in the new House of Assembly. That being so, at any period short of fully responsible government one does need in the House of Assembly, people with official responsibility who can stand up to criticism, who are in a position to speak on behalf of what I will call, broadly, the government, and who can defend governmental action and answer to the House for such action as the government has taken. It is necessary also for some person to be in charge of any government legislation that is introduced, to explain the reasons for the legislation, to be in a position to either accept amendments or to refuse to accept amendments, and to take control of any situation that may arise in the chamber.
It seems to me that by abolishing the ten official members at this stage the Opposition will be depriving the House of Assembly of an essential element in its functioning. If we were creating a fully responsible House of Assembly, with a government chosen from its membership and answerable and responsible to its own membership, the situation would be different, but that is not the sort of House of Assembly we are creating. The presence of the ten official members is still necessary for governmental purposes.
,. - First I wish to speak about the number of members. The Opposition would have preferred 100 members but, as the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) has pointed out, it has accepted the idea of 88 so as to avoid any administrative delays. That number can be achieved by dividing into two the 44 proposed electorates already delineated. I pointed out at the secondreading stage that the Government is expecting the 44 elected members of the House of Assembly - presumably all indigenes - to represent three times the average number of people who have to be repre sented by a member of parliament in Australia. I derive that figure by adding all the members of all parliaments in Australia - both houses of this Parliament and the eleven houses of the six State parliaments. We expect that in New Guinea the elected members will, in fact, be dealing with a large number of matters which would be dealt with by State members of parliament in Australia. On the face of it, therefore, we are asking persons with little parliamentary experience or tradition, to accept three times the load that we expect parliamentarians to carry in Australia. Furthermore we are asking them to accept that load in a country where transport services and air, telephone and radio communications are much more rudimentary than they are in Australia.
The experience of the United Nations in these matters is just as great as the experience of anybody who was on the select committee. As I said last night, “ What do they know of Papua who only Papua know? “ In matters of selfdetermination and independence we cannot disregard the experience of the members of the visiting mission and of the countries represented on the Trusteeship Council, and in the General Assembly. These include countries which are allied with us in Seato and associated with us in the South Pacific Commission, and countries which have other non-self-governing territories right at the border of the Territory for which we are legislating in this bill.
The United Nations may well have had in mind the experience of other newly independent countries which are members of that organization. There are a score of member countries of the United Nations which have smaller populations than Papua and New Guinea, and in only three cases are there fewer members elected to their parliaments than there will be under the Government’s proposal in this bill. Liberia has 39 members with two-thirds of the population of Papua and New Guinea. It has an upper house as well. Mauritania has 40 members and only one-third of the population of Papua and New Guinea. Paraguay, with almost the same population, has only 40 members but is scarcely a democracy.
The Minister has stated that his view on numbers was expressed to the select committee. One of the reasons given for the select committee having recommended 44 members only is that many of the indigenes felt that an elected majority of 100 members in some way implied self-government. The visiting mission, the Trusteeship Council and the General Assembly have never said that their proposals involved selfgovernment. They said that they involved training in representative government. It is the fault of the Administration in New Guinea and of the newspapers there, just as it is the fault of the Government and newspapers in Australia, that so many people think that the United Nations and its organs were advocating self-government at this stage. They were not. They were advocating representative government as a necessary basis for giving a sense of national identity and a training in independence.
– That was why the Soviet vetoed the proposals.
– That was one of the reasons behind the Soviet’s criticism. The Soviet was the only government which criticized the proposals, or which voted against them. Everybody else, including as I have said before, Britain, the United States of America, France and New Zealand - our neighbours and our allies - voted in favour of the proposals, and all have a better record in these matters of independence and decolonization than we have in Australia. There is a misunderstanding of the Foot committee’s report flowing from a misrepresentation, if such views are expressed by the indigenes. It is not a valid objection.
My colleagues and I found, when we asked the indigenes in specific circumstances what their preference would be, that they clearly preferred 100. For instance when one asked in New Ireland whether they would prefer one or two representatives in the house to represent that island, the answer in every case was that they preferred two. When one asked the residents in the Gazelle peninsula whether they preferred one or two representatives for that particular area, without question they said they preferred two.
Now I come to the Minister’s objection to the Opposition’s other proposal that the appointed members should be eliminated from the assembly. He asks: Who would introduce bills and who would answer questions on matters coming before the House? One can ask: Who does it in the United States Congress and who does it in the French National Assembly? We know that there is a separation of powers in the United States. One does not say that the parliamentary system as we know it will inevitably be engrafted in New Guinea. What we do say is that representative government will be engrafted. It is just as likely to be the French Fifth Republic system or the American Congressional system as the Australian parliamentary system. The essence of it is that the persons who make the laws shall be chosen by the people who must obey the laws and shall be answerable to the people for the laws they make - to be endorsed by them or replaced by them. Representative government is the principle here. Appointed persons are not representative. To have appointed persons still after an experience of twelve years with a legislative council which in so many ways proved abortive is just to stand in the way of inevitable progress. It is not giving a good start to this House of Assembly or House of Representatives.
In the United States, matters are sent by the Administration to Congress and are dealt with satisfactorily by Congress - not always to the satisfaction of the Administration, but nevertheless in the democratic fashion. Again, in the French National Assembly, Ministers cannot be members of the Assembly, but they can attend sessions of the Assembly, address it and answer questions asked by members of it. This also happens in the Netherlands Parliament and in the Indian Parliament. In the Indian Parliament, if a Minister is in one House and a bill concerning his department is dealt with in the other House, the Minister attends the other House, answers questions there and addresses it. These things can be done. In these matters, the Minister is not only too dilatory but he is also too unimaginative.
– That is not fair.
– I say it quite deliberately. He has been dilatory in the past. We have established that at every stage of the bill, reviewing the history of previous legislation. I assert he is unimaginative here because this problem of there being no Ministers in the House has been successfully overcome in the United States - which is the greatest democracy in the world - in France, in the Netherlands and in India. The same problem can be treated with equal success in New Guinea if wholly representative government is at last installed there.
– I would not read the quotation I am proposing to read if the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) had not relied so heavily on and made so strong a point of the experience and competence of the United Nations visiting mission. The mission, at paragraph 214 of its report, said -
We suggest that it will be essential for the present to retain in the House a number of officials who will be, in the early stages at least, responsible for the presentation of draft legislation and financial proposals such as the annual budget.
.There are two points on which we challenge the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck), the Government and honorable members opposite. The first relates to the number of people who will sit in the House of Assembly and the second relates to the presence of nominated members. I believe that the idea of the retention of nominated members and the proposed number of members of the House is against our own procedures and practices and against all our own experience. I believe that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) is right. The Minister has been so unadventurous, and the Government in supporting him has been so unadventurous, that we could almost say they are being deliberately obtuse.
What is the electoral system in this country? How large an area and how many people do we each represent? What is the principle we have applied to the nonindigenous members of the proposed parliament for the Territory? There are some 20,000 non-Papuans in Papua and New Guinea. They will have ten members. The representatives of the indigenous inhabitants will be elected by all the people, but the non-Papuans will have ten members plus, I suppose, the ten nominated members. They will have twenty members chosen from their 20,000 people.
– That does not necessarily follow.
– The members will come so close to representing these people that it will not make much difference.
– Do you not think that the elected Europeans will have to pay attention to their electors?
– Obviously in the eyes of the Government and the designers of this bill, they are still not Papuans. They are expatriates or whatever you like to call them. They are Australians living in Papua and New Guinea and they are regarded as a separate people.
Indigenous members of the legislature in the Territory will each represent some 40,000 people. In Australia, about 600 members of Parliament represent about 11,000,000 people. This is a little less than one member for each 20,000 people, on an average. If this is enough for us, it ought to be enough for the people of Papua and New Guinea. I think in deciding on the number of members for the House in the Territory, the Government just plucked a figure out of the air. Perhaps we could say that 100 also was a figure plucked out of the air. However, in looking at this problem we should consider not the number of people in the Assembly but the actual techniques of representation that are involved.
The schedule to the interim report of the select committee gives the population divided into sectors. We must remember that these people are spread over some 180,000 square miles of some of the most rugged country in the world - country that consists of mountains covered with jungle and rising to 13,000 or 14,000 feet. In addition to the mainland, the people are scattered throughout islands, spread over thousands of square miles of ocean. The problem of representation in the area is of no mean order and must be solved by putting as many people on the task as is possible. In the western area 52,000 people are to be found in Daru, Balimo and Kiunga. They would have, I suppose, one representative for the area. Moresby Town has 38,000 people and, I take it, will have one member. Kairuka and Goilala have 44,000 people, who would have another member. Rigo and Abau have 40,000 people and they would have a member. Popondetta, Kokoda and Tufi have 48,000 people, who would have another member.
Most honorable members have been to Papua and New Guinea. They should have some idea of what is involved in providing representation for the people of the Territory. I have examined the arguments in the select committee’s report. I have written a few reports on various matters in my time. The idea seems to be to fill out the paragraphs and it seems to me that that is exactly what the select committee has done. In writing the report, the members have referred to the arguments that were adduced and have then engaged in an exercise in composition, using memory and observation. They have included a number of arguments that do not seem to me to hold water. Has cost anything to do with this? Of course it has not. Has the idea that 100 has something to do with independence and self-government anything to do with this? Of course is has not. Have any of the other arguments anything to do with this? Of course they have not.
The only question to be resolved here - this is the point on which the Government’s integrity will be challenged - is the effectiveness of representation. If the Government creates a situation of geography or numerical composition of the House that would make representation anything but effective, it will be doing what has been done through history by all colonial legislators. It will be adopting stop-gap measures instead of taking positive action. I refer again to the book “ Transfer of Power “ by Sir Charles Jeffries, who was formerly Deputy Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies. He said -
A new- constitution, containing concessions in the democratic direction (more elected members or an extension of the franchise) may provide an answer, but unless it goes to the root of the matter, its effect can only be temporary, and as soon as it has had a run for its money disillusionment sets in and trouble starts again.
One of the disadvantages of this situation is thai it tends to put elections on the wrong foot. A politician seeking popular votes cannot offer a constructive programme on his own behalf or that of his party. All he can do is to try to outbid his rivals in denouncing the tyranny and inefficiency of the official government.
This is the opinion of a man who has had wide administrative experience of these matters. This is relevant to the whole theme of the bill. I believe that here we are challenging the fundamental thinking of the Government. If honorable members opposite believe in representative government they will have to do what we have recommended should be done in our own case. Each one of us, as I pointed out last night, is equipped with an office, supplied with a telephone, given rights of travel and is paid for the job. Each one of us is on the job full time, and we each consider that we are doing our job.
The Papuan faces the problem that half of his constituents may not understand his language. He may be divided from them by a mountain range 13,000 feet high. He may have to cross islands to see them. He will not be paid for this unless the Government supports our recommendations. The only way to obviate these conditions effectively is to increase the number of members in the proposed parliament. I would say that, judging by the people I know, looking at the State governments of Australia and considering the problems of some of the remoter parts of Australia, this is obvious. 1 understand that in the most northern electorate in Queensland there are only 5,000 or 6,000 electors, and in some electorates in north-western Australia only 3.000 or 4,000. We know of the difficulties that our parliamentarians face, so how can we expect Papuans to overcome these problems more efficiently than members in this place or in State parliaments do? The Papuan members will not all be Liberals and will not be measured according to the efficiency of some of our political opponents in this country with their attitudes towards representation.
It is vital that the people of Papua and New Guinea have direct access to their representatives in the same way as our constituents have access to us, and I suggest that honorable members should give serious consideration to that. If necessary, we should take out this clause altogether, apply different thinking to it and redraft it. Tt is not a question of what the Foot report said or what this select committee said. None of those people are experienced members of an Australian parliament or are associated with this geography. Is that not a fair critique of these members whose names appear on the report? Not one of them I should think had to look at the question of representative capacity in the same way as we do. Therefore, I put it to the Minister that this is not a question that can be resolved in the rather diffident way in which it has been put forward here; it is one of the questions that will have to be resolved in the face of the Papuan people. In a few months time, perhaps, and certainly before a year or so is out, we will be facing up to the job of recasting the whole system. If this Government wants a settled political and democratic electoral system for the Territory then settle it that way in the first place. It will take a number of years for the residents of Papua and New Guinea to become used to the idea of representation of the districts from which they send their members, so I say to the Government: For Heaven’s sake, throw away the diffidence, caution, and the extraordinary fear that you seem to have of doing the job properly. Just for once take positive steps along the road that we are all supposed to be travelling.
– The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) attempted to support his argument in favour of increased native representation in the House of Assembly of Papua and1 New Guinea by citing conditions in Africa. I join issue with him at once on this, because I have noticed that a number of Opposition speakers have made this mistake. They tried to draw a parallel with conditions in Papua and New Guinea and conditions in Africa. The truth is that no valid comparison can be made. Conditions in Papua and New Guinea are unique.
Historically, the African people of whom the members of the Opposition have been speaking are recent arrivals, whereas the people in Papua and New Guinea have been there for many centuries - in fact for thousands of years - and they have, throughout that time, been isolated one from another, one clan from another, one village from another, one tribe from another. They are observing customs now which were observed a thousand years ago. There are more than 600 separate groups in this very small territory, and those separate groups were, until recent times, at continual war with each other. I should like to quote some words which I think should be quoted.
– On a point of order, Mr. Chairman: We are discussing the number of representatives. I cannot see how this is related to the conditions of tribal warfare that the honorable member is now discussing.
– The discussion before the committee at the moment is on clause 9, and the words used by the honorable member for Gwydir are merely to illustrate a particular point that he is making in response to comments made on clause 9. My ruling is that the honorable member for Gwydir is in order.
– I shall be very brief. I shall simply quote words that I think should be on record to illustrate the unique conditions that have operated until recent times in the Territory -
Because our young men and women have grown up under the government’s influence, they have no knowledge of the fears and dangers of tribal feuds before the Administration brought law and order. . . . Even when there was no active war between neighbouring peoples in those times, it was never possible to tell whether tribal enemies were waiting in ambush. Whenever women went to work in the gardens, a guard had to go with them because of the possibility of attack. . . . It is our duty to tell our younger people of such things so they may realize how they have benefited from the arrival of the government, and not take these benefits for granted. . . .
Those words were spoken by an elder of the Woitape people of the central district of Papua. They illustrate very clearly, I believe, the extraordinary conditions that pertain in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. I claim that those conditions are unique and that no valid comparison can be made between conditions there and conditions in Africa.
– Mr. Chairman, on the question of the numbers of official members it is quite plain from several passages in the United Nations visiting mission’s report, including paragraph 214, to which the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) referred, that the mission felt there should be about 100 members elected from single member constituencies. That view is expressed also by the Trusteeship Council, which stated that it further approved the view of the mission that circumstances now make it possible to plan for a parliament in Papua and New Guinea of about 100 members, elected on a basis of direct election and by adult suffrage under a system of single-member constituencies. The visiting mission proposed that all preparations for elections on this basis should be put in hand immediately and completed not later than the end of 1963. There is no doubt that the council thought that the parliament should consist of 100 elected members. The mission also stated, as the Minister said -
We suggest that in this first stage there should be (say) five official members including one Chief Legal Officer and one Chief Financial Officer.
The members of the mission did not suggest that there should be ten; they suggested that there should be five. It is quite clear from what they say that these are not to be voting members but are’ to be members who will be able to exercise guidance and possibly express their views, as the report said in the previous sentence - officials . . . will be, in the early stages at least, responsible for the presentation of draft legislation and financial proposals such as the annual budget.
We know that under section 47 of the principal act financial proposals have to be originated by the Administrator, just as in this Parliament, under section 56 of the Constitution such proposals have to be originated by the Governor-General - that is, by the Government. So the complete initiative and complete ceiling on financial proposals remains with the Administrator. The official members suggested by the visiting mission would not be as numerous or as powerful as the official members provided in the bill. These five would not have the vote as would the ten that the bill proposes. They would be comparable to the non-voting but speaking Ministers who attend sessions of the French National Assembly or of the Dutch Parliament or of either house of the Indian Parliament to which the Ministers concerned do not themselves belong.
– The basis of the Minister’s opposition to the elimination of the nominated official members was, in my view, destroyed by his insistence on the Administrator’s Council being nominated by the Administrator. I should imagine that, according to the lay person’s reasoning anyway, the members of that council would be regarded as official members. They are selected from the elected members of the House of Assembly. They are the nominated advisers of the Administrator, and if the Administrator or the Government wanted to present any legislation to the House of Assembly, or it was necessary for any question to be answered, I should imagine that the members of the Administrator’s Council would act in the necessary capacity. That being so, there would be no need for an additional ten, who are to be nominated rather than elected and who, we believe, ought to be eliminated.
There is no doubt in the world that both the inhabitants of Papua and New Guinea and the United Nations visiting mission would favour such a proposition. There is no reason why the Government should desperately hang on to this idea that they must have nominated representatives, because they fear the elected representatives of the people of the Territory. The Government always has the reserve power under the present arrangement of disallowing ordinances passed by the House of Assembly. Therefore, there is not the urgency, which the Government believes to be necessary at the moment, of having this safeguard of a number of nominated members.
I think this proposition of the Government will be very poorly received, perhaps not by a great number of people in the Territory who may not appreciate what is involved in it at this stage of their development, but certainly by the leaders of the inhabitants of Papua and New Guinea. It will most assuredly be understood clearly, and viewed in the correct light, by the representatives of the United Nations Trusteeship Council who will be called upon to examine what this Government is doing in the Territories. I hope the Minister and the Government will have another look at the proposition put forward by the Opposition.
Question put -
That the sub-section proposed to be omitted (Mr. Ward’s amendment) stand part of the clause.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. P. E. Lucock.)
Majority . . . . 1
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
, - by leave - I move -
In proposed section 37, sub-section (3.), omit “ to be elected or appointed, or “.
The effect of this amendment would be that sub-section (3.) of proposed section 37 would read -
A person is not qualified to continue, as a member of the House of Assembly if -
he is an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent; or
he has been convicted of an offence punishable under a law of the Commonwealth, or of a State or Territory of the Commonwealth, by death or by imprisonment for one year or longer and, as a result of the conviction, is subject to be sentenced to death or imprisonment, is under sentence of death or is undergoing imprisonment.
The members of the Opposition believe that although it may be appropriate to provide that a sitting member of the Parliament who becomes bankrupt or is convicted of an offence which carries the penalties mentioned should be required to vacate his seat, in a democracy the people to decide whether such a person is fit and proper to return to the Parliament are the electors who sent him to the Parliament. We believe that when a man becomes bankrupt or has been convicted of an offence carrying these penalties he should be sent back to his electorate, but that if the electors, knowing the circumstances and the facts of the case, decide to return him to the Parliament, then their decision should be accepted. The offence for which a man could be disqualified could easily be a political offence. Nobody would suggest for a moment that any electorate would reelect to Parliament anybody who had been convicted of a grave criminal offence which involved him in imprisonment for twelve months or more. But if he were involved in a political offence or in industrial strife as a member of an organization and suffered some such penalty then, in the view of the Australian Labour Party, the correct people to judge him would be the people who sent him into the Parliament. We think that this is a worth-while amendment.
– The Government is unwilling to accept the amendment proposed by the Opposition and finds some difficulty in understanding the arguments in favour of it. It is a customary disqualification for the holding of an office in a parliament if a person is an undischarged bankrupt or is convicted of an offence of a major kind.
– Is your wording “ is “ or “ has been “?
– It is “ has been “.
– That is a very important point.
– If the honorable member will excuse my saying so, I think that as I go on he will find that his point is not so important. The disqualification as stated is exactly the same as the disqualification that exists in the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia. Section 44 of the Constitution reads, in part, as follows: -
Any person who - (ii.) . . . has been convicted and is under sentence, or subject to be sentenced, for any offence punishable under the law of the Commonwealth or of a State by imprisonment for one year or longer: or (iii.) Is an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent:
So the two disqualifications set out in this bill have been lifted straight from the Constitution and are the same as those applicable to every member of this Parliament. By interjection, the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) seemedto suggest that there is a possibility that we are referring equally to a person who has been convicted and has expiated his offence and once again is a free man. But if he reads the sub-clause in full he will see the words -
The word “ and “ links the first part of the disqualification to the second part. Not only has he been convicted but, as a result of the conviction, is awaiting his sentence or is undergoing imprisonment. So it is not a disqualification based on the fact that, some time in the remote past, he has suffered a conviction and has expiated his offence and is no longer serving a sentence.
It seems to me that the Opposition, in proposing to strike out the words “ elected or appointed “, is trying to make the point that it is sufficient to provide that he shall not continue as a member, and that there is no need to apply this sort of disqualification at the time of election or appointment. I point out that a member, having offered himself as a candidate and having been elected, but being subject to disqualification, surely should be subject to immediate challenge as in our case in a court of disputed returns. In the Territory we have a similar provision so that any one who is alleged to be subject to disqualification at the time of election can be challenged, and the case will be heard in a court of disputed returns, which, if my memory serves me rightly, is the Supreme Court of the Territory. But if, during the course of his service as a member of the legislature, he becomes, by some new action on his part, subject to disqualification from continuing as a member, that matter is in the hands of the legislature itself, and the legislature can refer the matter to the Supreme Court for determination. The continuance of a member in the House is in the hands of the House itself.
– That ought to be a matter for the electors,
– A challenge on his election is a matter for the court of disputed returns and a challenge on continuing as a member is a matter for the legislature as it is in the case of this Parliament. If the Opposition is attacking this clause it also has the job on its hands of attacking identical provisions which apply to every member of this Parliament.
– We are grateful for the explanation of the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) that this does not apply to the past, but it should be remembered that there is a real difference between the Commonwealth Parliament and many State parliaments in this matter. In Western Australia, for instance, a man who has had a conviction in the past is not eligible to sit in the State Parliament. I think the expression used is “ any felony in the Queen’s dominions “. But we are still worried about this problem. Perhaps the Minister may clarify it. We feel that we are up against a rather different problem in dealing with a subordinate colonial territory from that which confronted constitution makers in Australia. The problem is this: We should like it to be very clear that what the Government has in mind is a felony. After all, in this relationship of a suzerain power and a subordinate power we have a whole stream of people who have been under this sort of sentence. De Valera was sentenced to death but not for a criminal felony. Nehru was imprisoned. Makarios was exiled. We are disturbed about imprisonments on political grounds which can arise, as we have seen in constitutional conflict in the Commonwealth of Nations. Then there was the situation in Ireland in which the Irish people were repeatedly voting into parliament people who were in prison. The Government is trying to eliminate criminals from the Parliament, but the Opposition is very concerned that political offences will not be involved.
– I suggest to the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) that surely the solution to the problem that he faces is in the nature of the laws passed either by this Parliament or by the Territory legislature and only under which the conviction could take place.
.- The Government’s attitude to this matter is typical of the way in which it handles the affairs not only of Papua and New Guinea but also those of the Commonwealth of Australia. The Government has abdicated its responsibility in so many fields that I do not suppose itshandling of this question will make much difference to the appearance that it presents to the people of Australia and the world. I should like the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) to say something about the disqualification of public servants from being members of the legislature. A person is not qualified to be elected or appointed or to continue as an elected member of the House of Assembly if he is a member of the Public Service of the Territory or holds an office that is constituted by ordinance.
– That is a different point.
– I take it that that disqualifies a member of the legislature from serving in the government service for the time being. Would that be so?
– Order! The honorable member is not speaking to the amendment before the Chair.
– Then I would ask the Minister to consider this matter later.
.by leave - I move -
In proposed section 37, sub-section (4.), omit paragraph (a), insert the following paragraph: - “ (a) for two consecutive months of any session of the House he, without permission of the House, fails to attend the House; or”.
This amendment really explains itself, and I think that the committee should adopt the reasonable attitude of accepting it. The Government proposes to disqualify a member of the House of Assembly if he absents himself from three consecutive meetings of the House. In my opinion, the expression “ three consecutive meetings “ means three consecutive sitting days. Even in this Parliament, we do not disqualify a member who, for some reason or other, is absent on three consecutive sitting days. We know of the transport difficulties in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, and it could easily happen that, quite frequently, a member of the House of Assembly would be absent on three consecutive sitting days. If he were, as the Government at present proposes, he would be disqualified from continuing as a member.
If the amendment is carried, a member of the House of Assembly will be disqualified if, without permission of the House, he is absent for two consecutive months from any session. A similar provision operates in relation to our own Parliament, and I cannot see any reason why this kind of provision should not be extended to the House of Assembly that we propose to establish in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.
– I think that the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), in submitting this amendment, has directed attention to a real difficulty. But I suggest with due respect that the solution that he proposes would not meet the circumstances of the Territory. In popular usage in the Territory, the word “ meeting “ is used to mean a period of several sittings. The legislature is not constituted as our parliament is and does not meet in sessions. It holds a number of meetings in every year, and each meeting consists of perhaps three, four, five, six or seven sitting days.
The legislature then adjourns and perhaps a month or two later holds another meeting extending over four, five or six sitting days. Meetings may be held more frequently than once a month or at intervals of more than two months. Therefore, the proposal made by the honorable member for East Sydney would not be appropriate, because in some instances it might mean that a member attending fully to his duties would be disqualified because no meeting of the legislature was held during a period of two months.
We would like to have a look at the matter and to consider whether the term “ meeting “, the meaning of which in popular usage is plain, is clearly enough defined in either the legislation of the Territory or the Standing Orders of the legislature to make its use here applicable. I am sure that the members of the existing legislature know exactly what is meant by this expression - that is, a series of sittings. I suggest that if honorable members opposite are prepared to let the clause pass as it stands, I shall have the matter examined. If it is found necesary to give greater precision to the expression “ meeting “ or to find another term that will serve the common purposes better, we shall amend the measure when it reaches another place.
.by leave - I move -
After proposed section 38 insert the following section: - “ ‘ 38a. Until the House of Assembly otherwise provides, each member shall receive an allowance of One thousand five hundred pounds a year as from the day on which he is elected.”.
The purpose of this amendment is to provide for the payment of a salary of £1,500 a year to an elected member of the House of Assembly in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea as from the day on which he is elected. The Government has made no provision in the bill for the payment of elected members. If I interpreted the meaning of the Minister’s second-reading speech correctly, payment of members is to be left to the House itself to determine by way of ordinance. The opinion of Opposition members who considered the amendments that we have circulated was that the bill ought to state an amount initially so that the salary fixed would be known to the House of Assembly as soon as it met. If the House wishes later to vary the salary from time to time, that will be its own business and it may make its own decisions. The Australian Labour Party believes, having regard to the scale of salaries paid in other occupations in the Territory, that a salary of £1,500 a year will not be too high. We think that this figure will commend itself to the representatives who will be elected and to the inhabitants of the Territory generally.
.- Mr. Chairman, I think that the amendment proposed by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) is worthy of support. It seems unusual not to fix any salary for elected members of the proposed House of Assembly in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. The scale of salary envisaged in the amendment is not excessive and would at least put members of the House, at the outset, on a proper salary basis commensurate with their responsibilities. I also wonder whether it would be advisable for the Minister to consider making provision for the payment of parliamentary pensions, and I would be interested to see what provision could be made in this respect. Such provision could be made at the same time as the salary is fixed, and I suggest that the Minister consider the matter. Members of the House of Assembly should not be asked to work on an honorary basis. I hope that the Minister will accept the amendment proposed by the honorable member for East Sydney and that he will at the same time inform us whether provision is to be made for the payment of parliamentary pensions and, if so, on what basis they will be paid. They would not have to be very high, of course, to be better than parliamentary pensions paid at present.
I ask the Minister also: What is the purpose of the committee debating this clause at about 1.10 a.m.? Is there something in this clause and in the remaining clauses that the Government does not want debated in the day-time? Is that why, although we still have most of the year before us, we are kept here in the middle of the night to put through a very important piece of legislation? I suppose the reason is that the Government, having already adopted a number of amendments foreshadowed by the Opposition, sees that it has been a bit dilatory in the drafting of this measure. The important provision embodied in the new section sought to be inserted by this amendment should be debated in the day-time. Salaries and allowances are important matters that should not be debated at about 1 o’clock in the morning. Why is the Government insisting on these clauses being considered at this hour of the night? No honorable members on the Government side of the chamber are prepared to debate them. Indeed, very few honorable members opposite show any interest in this bill. I remind them that we are now considering an amendment that will make provision for the remuneration to be paid to members of the proposed House of Assembly in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.
I lodge my protest at being asked to debate this measure at so late an hour of the night. Perhaps the Minister will give us some explanation why this is being done instead of the bill being considered to-morrow, next week or even the week after. Indeed, I wonder why the bill was not brought before us earlier. The Government has been marking time with its legislative proposals. There seems to be no reason at all why we should be required to stay up till a late hour of the night debating a measure that the Government refuses to bring before us at a reasonable hour.
I hope that this sort of thing will lead to a change in the sitting hours of the Parliament so that the Government will not be able to keep us here in the middle of the night debating important matters such as these. If we are to be compelled to stay up late, I may feel obliged to discuss every clause of the bill.
.- The Government’s attitude to this vital matter convinces me that this will be a low-paid Parliament or House of Assembly. That is in keeping with the general standards of this Government. For the life of me, I cannot understand why the Government is so anxious to bring in detailed legislation covering other new conditions in Papua, and yet has left this provision out of the bill altogether. What encouragement is it giving to the people of the Territory to stand for Parliament when they do not know what they will be paid if they are elected? In fact, this Assembly will meet without the members knowing what their remuneration will be.
When the Commonwealth Parliament began - I believe I am correct in this - the Parliament itself decided the salaries of the first federal members, and that has been the position ever since. I agree with that arrangement. In this case we are proposing to set up a new Assembly in an area where the people are still backward in education and in an understanding of the conduct of a parliament. This new parliament is to be set up in an area where the people have never had experience of a parliament. The circumstances are quite unlike those that surrounded the setting up of the Commonwealth Parliament, and this Commonwealth Parliament would be within its rights in suggesting the initial parliamentary salaries for Papua and New Guinea. In one way, we would be usurping the rights of the people there, but I think we would be within our rights in suggesting an initial remuneration because of the situation in the Territory. After the initial basic salary had been established, the Assembly could decide from time to time on the remuneration of members and all other costs involved in the running of the Parliament.
I would like the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) to give us a straight answer on this matter and not to fool around. I and my colleagues want to know why this provision has not been made in the legislation. Is the remuneration of members of the Assembly to be fixed up behind the Speaker’s chair or in a dark corner? The victims of this arrangement may be brought into the parliament and told they are to get £50 a year. Then they will all walk out because they are underpaid. The Minister has been pretty frank about other matters in this debate but on this point he is cagey. He is the secret servant of somebody in Papua who is going to fix this figure. He is passing the responsibility on to some public servant.
– Order! I suggest to the honorable member that he should not pursue that line any further.
– I shall conclude on that note.
– This is a pretty important matter because it is another example of the Government’s mentality in its attitude to the native people. I could well imagine what the Government would do if it had its way. It would go to Nok Nok or some other luluai who was lucky enough to be appointed a member of parliament, offer him. half a dozen gold shells, some coconuts, three pigs, a couple of spears or some betel nut, depending upon where he came from, and say, “This is your salary”.
– Or give him a transistor.
– Yes, you might give him a transistor, a worn out sewing machine or a bicycle without tires. I have been told that on one occasion when money ran out during the Second World War, a diver was sent out to get some gold shell from the sea to pay the carriers. This gold shell mentality and the idea of giving pigs’ tusks to members of Parliament are out of date. Some of the native members of Parliament in New Guinea should be giving some of us the pigs’ tusks, gold shells and betel nut, and we should let them have the money, because they know more about the affairs of New Guinea than many of the white men know. For this reason, we have to take a firm stand.
I do not trust this Government to do the fair thing by the native members of Parliament because the Government exercises discrimination against the native people in every other walk of life. It discriminates against native bulldozer operators, native lorry drivers and car drivers and other native workers doing exactly the same class of work as white men. Those native workers get only a fraction of what is paid to the white men. I do not want that sort of thing to happen in this case.
– One point overlooked by honorable members on the Opposition side who have spoken on this clause is that there is a legislative body now in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. It has been in existence for some time. There are indigenous members of the legislature who have been receiving fees and allowances for their work as legislators. We are not starting in a completely new field; we are progressing from an existing system. That system provides for a fee of £10 10s. a day when the Legislative Council is actually sitting or when members are going to and from council meetings. Then an incidental allowance of £1 a day is paid while they are travelling, in addition to the actual cost of accommodation while travelling. They also get an electorate allowance of £200.
I will not mention names, but I have received information on the payments made to present members of the Legislative Council. These total payments are made up partly by sitting fees for meetings of the Legislative Council and sitting fees when the members are engaged on committee work of the Legislative Council and partly by the electorate allowance. Some of the members who were members of the select committee received additional fees. Without mentioning names, I shall give the committee the total emoluments paid to six of the present native elected members over the past two years. One received £1,590, which would average out at about £795 for a year. Other individual members received £1,139, £1,660, £1,283 and £1,142. The smallest amount was £1,087, giving a minimum amount of something over £500 a year. I am not suggesting that these are the fees and allowances we will continue to apply.
I want to indicate, in flat contradiction of some statements which have been made by previous speakers, that there is a system in existence. We must consider whether that system is adequate or whether it should be improved. On this point the select committee, on which we rely in this as we do in all other matters, states in paragraph 9 of its second interim report -
Your Committee considered the question of remuneration and allowances of Members. However, it feels that that is linked with the larger questions of the Territory’s economy and the salary proposals for the new Public Service now being worked out by the Public Service Commissioner. It is expected that the new Public Service salaries will set the pattern for wage levels in the Territory and your Committee therefore makes no specific recommendation at this time. However, it fee’s that in general the Electoral Allowance should be raised, the Sitting Fee lowered and further provision made for travelling expenses on electorate matters.
– Was that a unanimous decision?
– Yes. In amplification of this report I should explain first that the present Legislative Council and the future House of Assembly will meet periodically for a series of sittings of perhaps one week’s duration each. In addition, there will be committee work. In circumstances like those where the continuity of parliamentary duty is not as great as it is in, say, a parliament like our own, the general practice to date has been to pay a sitting fee for the days when the members actually sit, to pay travelling allowance to meet accommodation and travel expenses and then to pay an electorate allowance for expenses incurred in looking after the electorate. As to whether the time has come to replace this method of payment by a fixed salary I express no opinion, but that obviously is one of the questions which must be examined. We do not care to examine it at this stage because of the work that is now going on in the Public Service.
As I think most honorable members who have followed affairs closely will recall, we are reconstructing the whole of the Public Service of the Territory so that it will be converted from what used to be a service staffed almost wholly by Australians with an auxiliary division composed of indigenous public servants into a public service which will be an indigenous public service with an expatriate division as the auxiliary division. We have reached the point of complete transformation in the administration of the Territory. That means that a great number of native people who formerly were engaged either as public servants or in a category which was known as “ administration servants “ will all become, to the number of 7,000 or 8,000, members of the Territory Public Service. It is quite a big job, as people with experience in this field will realise, to work out the appropriate classifications for all of these people, first, observing the principle that there shall be no reduction in pay for any serving officer transferred, and then making sure that the graduation of classified salaries is such as to give sufficient emoluments and inducements to public servants according to their qualifications and to the responsibilities of the office that they occupy.
Clearly, when we have completed that job - it is approaching completion now - we shall be in a much better position to fix an appropriate level of payment for a member of Parliament, whether he receives his emoluments as a salary or in an accretion of fees, allowances and so on. So I ask honorable members to be patient. This matter will be handled under an ordinance of the Territory. As I have Indicated, it is a little premature to make a judgment either as to the amount to be paid to each member or to the form in which the amount should be paid.
The suggestions that we intend to be niggardly and that we are trying to get a legislature on the cheap are quite unfounded. I think the experience has been that we have given a financial lift in the world to most of those who have been elected to the Legislative Council. In one case at least, one native member under the present sytem of fees and allowances has given up his other occupations and has made membership his full-time job.
– The Minister is overlooking a problem which concerns us very much. When the United Kingdom Parliament fixed the salaries of members of the Australian Parliament before our Parliament had ever met there was this important consequence: Every candidate who stood for the Parliament knew what he would receive if he entered it. He knew whether he would demand sacrifice from his family if the £400 a year which was fixed in 1901 was less than he was otherwise receiving at the time. It is very important that this Parliament, which is enacting a form of constitution, should express its opinion about the initial salary of members. We are not telling the assembly members that they must always receive £1,500 a year if, as a result of their inquiries, the salary should be something more than that. The Minister rather over-simplified the matter.
There are only eleven Legislative Councillors now. Soon there will be 44. Assuming that the eleven are re-elected there will be 33 vacancies to be filled by candidates who, if they do not know what their salary will be, will not know whether they will demand sacrifices from their family by standing for election. They may be inhibited, therefore, from standing. I dislike very much the piece-work which the Minister has outlined to show that one member received £790 a year on the average and another £500 a year on the average. I really feel that with the number of sittings on committees and so on it is rather sad that the difference in salaries should be so great. But suppose that candidates do not know what the salary will be in the new parliament. I have mentioned to the Minister that I met young Papuan teachers who were receiving £1,000 a year or more. Very probably they are the kind of people who may consider standing for the new assembly. Some of them have a high standing with their own people. They could inquire what had happened in the past in the matter of salaries and find that one member received £500 and another member received £790. They would not know what the salary would be in the future. If they had wives and children they probably would not sacrifice the status they had built up and expected to maintain. We were spared that in our own Parliament. It is not a great thing to ask that we should fix the salary.
There is another aspect too. The Territory of Papua and New Guinea is dependent on grants from our Parliament. Members of an assembly which is, at most, allocating expenditure which has been raised in the Commonwealth of Australia are in a very embarrassing position when it comes to fixing an adequate salary for themselves. We raise our own taxes in this country and we assess what our own taxpayers will stand. They have always complained violently about our salaries and we have always hoped that they would forget about them by the next election. The members in the new assembly who feel that they are dependent on grants from overseas may well be inhibited from fixing an adequate salary. If this new House of Assembly is to create a sense of national unity a member of the assembly will not be on duty only when the house is sitting and when he is receiving his sitting fee. We hope that when the house is not sitting he will spend the time visiting his constituents, because he will become one of the channels through which the new national sentiment will develop. Therefore, irrespective of whether the Minister accepts our suggestion on the spur of the moment, we hope that he will seriously consider using it later as an amendment. For the reasons which I have mentioned we believe that we should persist to a vote to demonstrate that it is a very important matter.
– I should like to assure the honorable member for Fremantle that candidates for election to the House of Assembly will know in advance what the emolument will be. The ordinance will be passed in plenty of time.
– Do you mean that the present Legislative Council will pass an ordinance to fix the salaries of members of its successors?
– Will they all be paid the same amount?
– I cannot answer that question, because we have not given it full and final consideration. We have no proposals before us.
– Do they get travelling passes?
– They get their fares.
.- The Minister’s explanation leaves me cold.
– You are just a dead beat generally.
– The honorable member would be overpaid if he paid to come here. Surely our own experience convinces us that we as a parliament have a duty to establish some principle upon which these people may work. One can imagine the trouble they will have in trying to arrive at an adequate salary. It is essential that the members of the House of Assembly be paid a salary, because the preceding clause, to which we have agreed, provides that a person shall be disqualified from sitting in the House of Assembly if he is a member of the Public Service of the Territory. That means that a person who is now employed in the Public Service of the Territory must resign upon election to the House of Assembly. He must surrender his permanent employment, as many of us have had to do in order to enter this Parliament.
That requirement will have a particular significance in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, because most probably the people who will be most competent to sit in the House of Assembly will be those who are presently members of the Public
Service. A moment ago the Minister cited a figure of 7,000 or 8,000. A book I have in my hand shows that in 1961 there were 4,155 members of our own service there, and some 400 in the administrative and clerical divisions. We must not cause prospective members of this legislative body to have any inhibitions but must encourage them to seek election no matter what their employment is. It is rather important that at this stage we should give the members of the House of Assembly appropriate status by paying them an adequate salary. I do not think it is fair to leave it to the present Legislative Council to fix that salary. When all is said and done, it is scarcely a representative or legislative body in the strict sense of the term. In the final analysis, the responsibility lies with this Parliament. The Minister, who is answerable to this Parliament, will have to concur in the salaries fixed. Therefore, this is the place in which, and now is the time when, we should lay down the principles upon which the House of Asembly shall undertake its work.
– The Opposition would like to know whether the Minister will give an assurance that the remuneration that will be received by the members of the new House of Assembly will be greater than that received by members of the present Legislative Council, whether the rates will be determined before the calling of nominations for election to the House of Assembly, and whether all the members elected will be paid a uniform amount.
– I can give the honorable member for East Sydney an assurance that a determination will be made before nominations are called for the next election. I can assure him also that the emoluments will be uniform for all members other than the official members who, of course, receive only a nominal amount. It is quite impossible to give any assurance about what the amount will be. Let me say for what it is worth that my expectation would be that there would be an increase; but in view of what the select committee has said about Public Service salaries I cannot give a firm assurance about the amount. As I have indicated, my expectation would be that it would certainly be higher.
– I think it would be a good idea if the Minister were to agree to allow members of the legislature in the Territory to have one pass a year to come to Australia. If anything would bind them permanently to this country, it would be the right to come here once a year, without cost to themselves, to maintain a liaison with us. To do that would not cost a great deal of money. After all, to give them a pass would be to do no more than is done for us, except that we can go there only once every three years.
I congratulate the Minister for Territories or whoever else is responsible - possibly the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) is responsible - for having brought these people down in the past. It has done quite a lot of good. If the members of the legislature up there were given the right to come here once a year and if the native members in particular were encouraged to exercise that right, I am sure it would pay tremendous dividends. If they chose to come while this Parliament was sitting so much the better, but whether it was sitting or not they would see Australia. If they could see what we have done for ourselves as a nation, I am sure that would be the best way of ensuring that they would never want to break away from us. Let us tie them to this country by saying: “ Come down once a year. It will not cost you anything to do so.”
– I shall consider the suggestion that a fare to Australia each year be an entitlement. I have just been looking at the names of the six native elected members. From memory, all of them have visited Australia within the last twelve months, three of them having come twice within that period.
Question put -
That the amendment (Mr. Ward’s) be agreed to.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. P. E. Lucock.)
Majority . . . . I
Question so resolved in the negative.
.by leave - I move -
After proposed section 38 insert the following section: - “ ‘ 38b. The powers, privileges and immunities of the House of Assembly and of the members and committees of the House shall be such as are declared by the House, and until declared shall be those of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Commonwealth at the date of commencement of this Act.”.
This amendment deals with the powers, privileges and immunities of members of the House of Assembly. Initially the Government made no provision in respect of this matter. It has now recognized the need to do so and the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) has circulated a proposed amendment. The difference between our amendment and that proposed by the Minister is that we believe that the powers, privileges and immunities of the House of Assembly and of the members and committees of the House of Assembly shall be such as are declared by the House and until declared shall be those of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Commonwealth at the date of commencement of this act, whereas the Minister’s proposal is to relate the powers, privileges and immunities of the new chamber to those of the House of Commons at the time the Commonwealth was established. We think that ours is a more up-to-date proposal and is more acceptable in the circumstances.
– There is no provision in the bill regarding the powers, privileges and immunities of the House of Assembly, although under the general law I understand that members would be privileged for statements made in the House. The amendment moved by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) seeks to confer on the House of Assembly unrestricted authority to define its own powers, privileges and immunities and to provide that until the House of Assembly does so the powers, privileges and immunities of the House of Representatives - that is, this chamber - at the date of commencement of the Papua and New Guinea Act shall apply. The difficulty as we see it is that since the House of Representatives - this Parliament - has itself not defined its privileges, the adoption of the honorable member’s amendment would mean that the House of Assembly would take over the powers, privileges and immunities of the House of Commons in 1901.
We are quite prepared to put into this bill something relating to powers, privileges and immunities, but we think it would be more appropriate to do it in the form of which this Parliament has already approved in the case of the Northern Territory. Honorable members will recall that during the last period of sitting we inserted in the Northern Territory (Administration) Act a provision that is identical with the amendment that I have circulated and which I shall move at the appropriate time. That amendment provides that the power of the House of Assembly to make ordinances includes the power to make ordinances declaring the powers, privileges and immunities of the House of Assembly and of its members and committees but so that the powers, privileges and immunities so declared do not exceed the powers, privileges and immunities of the Parliament of the United Kingdom or of the members or committees of that House at the establishment of the Commonwealth, and to make ordinances providing for the manner in which powers, privileges and immunities so declared may be exercised or upheld. The big advantage that we claim for our amendment is that the House of Assembly of the Territory, having denned by ordinance its own powers and privileges, would be able to ascertain much more readily what those powers, privileges and immunities are than if it had to go back and discover in each instance what were the powers, privileges and immunities of the House of Commons in 1901.
I am sure that honorable members with some acquaintance with May’s “ Parliamentary Practice” will know the wide search that has to be made with the assistance of the Clerks if on any occasion we want to know what were the powers, privileges and immunities of the House of Commons in 1901. Do we want to impose that rather tedious burden of study on these newly-fledged members of the House of Assembly of the Territory? It would seem to be much easier to allow them by ordinance passed by themselves, to specify those provisions which seem to be applicable to their own situation, and having specified them by ordinance, to be able to have ready reference to them. So we oppose the amendment proposed by the honorable member for East Sydney but intend at the appropriate stage to move the amendment that has been circulated. It will have the effect of giving to the House of Assembly the power to make ordinances in this field.
– The committee should be grateful to the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr.
Ward) for raising the matter of privileges, because the Government has been induced to deal with this matter in this legislation. The wording of our amendment is exactly the wording of the Commonwealth Constitution except that instead of ending with the words - and until declared shall be those of the Commons House of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and of its members and committees, at the establishment of the Commonwealth . . .
The honorable member’s amendment provides that this new Parliament on coming into being shall have our privileges. It is true that our privileges have never been defined by us. We have simply proceeded on the House of Commons privileges, and what a privilege that has been. If these assembly members have to enact privileges for themselves they are likely to leave out many of the privileges of the House of Commons that have evolved over the years and they may find themselves in difficulty.
There is an additional objection in that it appears to me that if this assembly passes ordinances concerning its own privileges, they also may be subject to veto as is most of its legislation, whereas here we economize and in the excellent wording of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia dealing with privileges we insert a simple economical statement that gives them the whole box and dice of privileges from the very first day their Parliament meets so that they are not likely to be in difficulties. Honestly, I do not think that the draftsman who drafted that provision for the Northern Territory did as good a job as was done, with excellent English and economy of words, by the Bartons, the Deakins and others, who put in our own Constitution that very much shorter statement which has been totally inadequate for us. There is no substantial difference between our amendment and the amendment proposed by the Minister, but there is this difference: Right from the very first day this new Parliament will be completely clothed with privilege, and problems will not arise from its failure to indicate some particular privilege. If all of them had to be set out, as is proposed by the Government, this might well result in the new Parliament’s overlooking some safeguards that it should have.
Question put -
That the amendment (Mr. Ward’s) be agreed to.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. P. E. Lucock.)
Majority . . . . 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
– by leave - I do not propose to move amendments Nos. 8 and 9 which have been circulated in my name, but in substitution for them, I move -
At the end of proposed section 41 add the following sub-sections: - “ ‘ (2.) After a general election, the House of Assembly shall be summoned to meet not later than six months after the polling day fixed for the purposes of the election. “ ‘ (3.) There shall be a session of the House of Assembly once at least in every year, so that twelve months shall not intervene between the last sitting of the House in one session and its first sitting in the next session.”.
This amendment embodies what was proposed in amendments Nos. 8 and 9, which were printed and circulated in my name. As the Minister has indicated acceptance of the amendment, I shall not delay the committee by discussing it.
Mr. HASLUCK (Curtin- Minister for Territories [1.57 a.m.]. - The Government accepts the amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
– As foreshadowed a few minutes ago, before the last division, I move -
After proposed section 47 insert the following section: - “ ‘ 47a. The power of the House of Assembly to make Ordinances conferred by section fifty-one of this Act includes power to make Ordinances -
declaring the powers (other than legislative powers), privileges and immunities of the House of Assembly, and of its members and committees, but so that the powers, privileges and immunities so declared do not exceed the powers, privileges and immunities of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom or of the members or committees of that House, respectively, at the establishment of the Commonwealth; and
providing for the manner in which powers, privileges and immunities so declared may be exercised or upheld.”.
I explained the reasons for this amendment when speaking to the Opposition’s amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
.by leave - I move -
In proposed section53, omit sub-section (2.), insert the following sub-section: - “ ‘ (2.) Subject to the next succeeding subsection, within six months after the day on which the Ordinance was presented to the Administrator for assent, he shall declare according to his discretion but subject to this Act -
that he assents to the Ordinance;
that he withholds assent; or
that he reserves the Ordinance for the
This deals with the question of putting a limit on the period for which the Administrator can hold an ordinance without taking any action with respect to it. I understand that some people have argued that if an ordinance is presented to the Administrator and then forwarded for the GovernorGeneral’s pleasure, the Governor-General is limited to making a decision on that matter within a period of six months, and that this will in some way make our proposal unworkable. I do not share that opinion; neither do other members of the Opposition, because the Administrator is an officer of the Government, and the Governor-General in Australia acts on the advice of the Government. The Government can see that action in respect of ordinances is arranged in an orderly manner. We believe that the Administrator should not have the right merely to receive an ordinance as a result of a decision of the legislative body in the Territory and then fail to act upon it within a reasonable time. We think that six months is a reasonable time limit to place on action by the Administrator in this matter.
– The Government thinks that the amendment moved by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) on behalf of the Opposition will have the effect of delaying the process of assent. Sub-section (2.) of proposed new section 53 provides that the Administrator, after an ordinance has been presented to him “ shall thereupon declare “ that he assents to the ordinance, that he withholds assent, or that he reserves the ordinance for the Governor-General’s pleasure. “ Thereupon “ means that on receiving the ordinance, or as soon as it is presented to him, the Administrator is bound to act without any delay at all. We can see no advantage in allowing the Administrator six months in which to act. We prefer to stay under the provision that the Administrator “ shall thereupon declare “ - that is. immediately or without any unreasonable delay - that he assents, reserves the ordinance, or takes what other action is open to him.
– Has that happened in every instance? Has there been any delay in the Administrator declaring with an ordinance?
– Strangely enough, I looked into this very question quite recently. The general pattern is that within two days of an ordinance being presented for assent the Administrator does assent. I would have no objection to the addition of words to this effect: “ But in any case not more than six months afterwards “. However, the Opposition’s amendment seems to be rather a contradiction of the word “ thereupon “, which, in our estimation, means that the Administrator, without any delay, shall thereupon declare what he intends to do.
.by leave - If the Opposition could get an assurance that there has never been a delay of more than two days between the Administrator receiving an ordinance and making his decision, we would regard that as being satisfactory. The way we saw the position was that the Administrator could receive an ordinance and hot act upon it for an indefinite period. If we are assured that there has never been a case in which there has been more than two days’ delay, we will regard that as satisfactory.
– I cannot say as a matter of historical fact - I have not got all the evidence - that there has never been a delay; but I can give the Opposition an assurance that in the exercise of my ministerial functions I will constantly interpret the word “ thereupon “ in the proposed new section as meaning without any delay at all, except the sort of delay that might occur if the Administrator were travelling in one place and had to return to his office in order to deal with an ordinance.
.Any step that will shorten the time within which the Administrator assents to an ordinance that comes to him from the House, or withholds- assent, or reserves the ordinance for the Governor-General’s pleasure, where he has to do that, is welcome. A particularly flagrant example of delay in this regard came to the notice of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean), Senator
Cohen and me when we were in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea three months ago. That example involved the Industrial Organizations Ordinance 1962 and the Industrial Relations Ordinance 1962. Of course, each ordinance could not come into effect - as is the position with any other ordinance - until it was assented to. These particular ordinances moreover, were to come into effect on a date to be proclaimed.
When the Parliament sat I asked for information on this matter. It appears that both ordinances were passed by the Legislative Council on 9th March of last year. They were assented to by the Administrator on 30th August of last year - almost six months later. They came into operation - that is, they were proclaimed - on 28th March of this year, over a year after the date on which they were passed. When we arrived in the Territory we asked the departmental head about this subject. He said, “We expect that we will get them through in about six months time “. Senator Cohen, in particular, has a great deal of expert knowledge on these matters. We were concerned that so long would elapse before there would be any machinery for settling industrial disputes in the Territory or making industrial organizations legal. The position is that workers’ associations and so on are voluntary associations in the Territory; they have no legal standing at all. They have no right of audience before any tribunal. They have no right to speak on behalf of their members. It was only after another strike occurred in Rabaul that, very hastily, it was decided to proclaim the ordinances.
This was a very serious instance in which there was a delay and in which mischief resulted. This strike was very serious, as all industrial disputes in the Territory must be because there is a conflict between employees who are all indigenes and employers who are practically always Australians. Any industrial dispute in the Territory is potentially a racial dispute. Moreover, if people are brought in to a strike-affected area from another district, there is the possibility of a tribal dispute on top of a racial dispute. Therefore, it is essential that in matters like this there should be some expedition.
I have referred to the legislation alone. But, in fact, the legislation followed, after some lapse of time, recommendations made by a mission to the Territory headed by the secretary of the Department of Labour and National Service and consisting of two representatives from the Australian Council of Trade Unions - Mr. Monk and Mr. Evans - one person chosen by the Associated Chambers of Manufactures and one person chosen by the Associated Chambers of Commerce or the retailers association - I forget which. The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) and the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) will remember the composition of the mission. It went to the Territory about two and a half years ago. In fact, the mission was permitted to go to the Territory finally only after the interposition of the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies). This matter had been considered by the Administration for the better part of three years as at this date. The legislation was passed fourteen months ago, as I have mentioned, and did not come into effect until five weeks ago. That is an instance which shows that under the present act delay can occur and has occurred.
Therefore, anything that will tighten up the procedure is welcome. It appears to me that the bill, in using the word “ thereupon “, is merely laying down a sequence and is not insisting on a time. Nevertheless, the Minister for Territories has proclaimed his attitude in this matter and, as the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) has said, that is an attitude which we accept.
– by leave - I move -
In proposed section 54 omit paragraphs (0 and (g), insert the following paragraphs: - “ (f)that relates to the sale of, or other disposition of or dealing with, land;
that relates to the employment of persons;”.
I understand that this amendment is acceptable to the Government. Therefore, I will not delay the committee. I merely say that paragraphs (f) and (g) of the proposed new section in the bill contain words that we thought it was best to eliminate. Those words are “ indigenous inhabitants of the Territory “. We decided that it was advisable to eliminate that term. In our opinion it was unnecessary.
– The Government accepts the amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
.by leave - I move -
Omit proposed section 57, insert the following section: - “‘57. - (1.) The Minister shall cause each Ordinance assented to by the Governor-General or the Administrator, or from which the GovernorGeneral or the Administrator has withheld assent, to be laid before each House of the Parliament as soon as possible, but in any case within fifteen sitting days of that House, after the date of assent, or after the date on which assent was withheld, as the case may be. “ ‘ (2.) Where the Governor-General or the Administrator withholds assent from an Ordinance, or the Governor-General disallows an Ordinance in whole or in part, the Minister shall cause a statement of the reasons for withholding assent, or for disallowance, as the case may be, to be laid before each House of the Parliament as soon as possible, but in any case within fifteen sitting days of that House, after the date on which assent was withheld or the Ordinance was disallowed, as the case may be.”.
This amendment deals with the tabling not merely of ordinances that are assented to in this Parliament but also ordinances for which assent is withheld, requiring the Minister to furnish the reasons for the refusal to grant approval for those ordinances. This has to be done within a period of fifteen sitting days.
– The Government accepts the amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Remainder of bill - by leave - taken as a whole, and agreed to. ,
Bill reported with amendments; report - by leave - adopted.
Motion (by Mr. Hasluck) - by leave - proposed -
That the bill be now read a third time.
.- At this stage I rise to pay a tribute in respect of this measure, which I think is rather unusual. I pay tribute, first, to the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) for having presented a number of amendments which have been accepted by the Government. This shows the wisdom, inquiry and study which went into their presentation to the Parliament. I also pay tribute to the wisdom of the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) in accepting the amendments, because I think it is almost unprecedented for this Government to accept anything in that way. That the Minister agreed to these amendments is a tribute to the work of members of the Opposition who prepared them. It also shows the tolerance and understanding of the Minister in this matter - a very desirable precedent which I hope will be followed by other members of Cabinet. I could not let this rather historic occasion pass without saying these few words in respect of a matter which is rather unusual and most commendable.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
House adjourned at 2.14 a.m. (Thursday).
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
d asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
In these terms, the award is being applied in the Commonwealth Public Service, and also, presumably, by the Snowy Mountains Authority. It must be emphasized that the award is not related solely to the possession of certain academic or technical qualifications, but requires also active engagement in professional engineering work.
son asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
son asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
s asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
In connexion with the announced intention to convert to decimal currency by February, 1966 -
Has any liaison taken place with the New
Zealand Government to investigate the possibility of adopting a common date for the introduction of the conversion in both countries?
Will he consider arranging an early con ference with the directors of education in each State and representatives of registered schools, together with, if possible, observers from New Zealand, to work out a basically uniform decimal currency syllabus for use in primary and secondary schools?
Will he give consideration, when making provision for compensation to industry for the expenses of the conversion, to extending this provision to State educational authorities to meet the cost of the new text-books to replace those already in use for the present system?
Will he also give consideration to the provision of coinage and paper currency, which could be suitably vented, for use as training aids in the primary and secondary schools in each State?
Is he in a position to make a statement at an early date - (i) with reference to packaging, that is, whether tens and hundreds will be used as against dozens and gross, and whether a basic package is likely to be twenty; (ii) as to whether the symbol for the new unit will be portrayed by the letter “ U “ with one horizontal stroke across the centre, whether the position of the dot between the units and the sub-units will be centred as is the case with the decimal point, and whether the symbol for the cent will be a small letter “ c “ or if the present symbol for pence will continue to be used; and (iii) on the type, that is, composition and shape, and denomination of coinage and paper money intended to be issued?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme.
– On 1st May, the honorable member for Mitchell (Mr. Armitage) asked me a question without notice about the maximum rates of living allowance payable under the Commonwealth scholarship scheme. The rates quoted by the honorable member are correct.
The Commonwealth Scholarships Board, the body responsible for administering the scheme, keeps all aspects of the scheme under continual review. Following a comprehensive review of the allowances and the means test by the board, changes, which substantially increased the benefits payable under the scheme, were approved and came into operation from 1st April, 1962.
The board will be asked to have regard to the matters raised by the honorable member and full consideration will be given, at the appropriate time, to any submission made by the board.
Sale of Surplus Government Stores.
Air. Luchetti asked the Minister for Supply, upon notice -
What amounts were realized from the sale of surplus navy, army, air force and supply stores, equipment, machinery, motor vehicles, ships, aircraft, weapons, buildings and other assets during each of the last ten years?
l. - The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
The total amounts realized during the last ten financial years from the sale of surplus property of all kinds other than land and buildings on behalf of each of the above-mentioned’ four departments were as follows: -
It was found by my department some years ago that the maintenance of statistics and records concerning the realizations for each of the very numerous types of commodities which are sold entailed a great amount of work of little practical value. The recording of these details was therefore discontinued and I regret that I am unable to furnish the information desired in respect of particular classes of surplus property. The figures given above do not include proceeds from the sale of land and buildings, the disposal of which is the responsibility of the Department of the Interior.
m asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
Parliamentary Paper was in 1947 when conventions Nos. 77 to 80 inclusive were included in Paper No. 38 of 1946-48.
Bureau of Census and Statistics.
t.- On 10th May, the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Whitlam) and the member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr. J. R. Fraser) asked questions without notice concerning arrangements to be made when officers of the Bureau of Census and Statistics move to the new Government Printing Office.
In my reply I said that I would supply further information. I can now inform the honorable members that approximately 220 officers of the Bureau of Census and Statistics will be moved to the Government Printing Office early in June.
Because of the high noise factor, full height partitioning is being used to separate the areas occupied by the bureau and the Government Printer, and internally to separate the bureau’s mechanical tabulation plant from other groups.
Access to the bureau’s area will be via the main staff entrance of the building and through the printing office production area. Bureau staff will be issued with passes to permit access to the building. There will be no police officer on duty between the areas occupied by the bureau and the printer.
As the Government Printing Office is a security area, bureau staff to be located there must necessarily be subject to the checks applying to the staff of the printing office.
As any member of the bureau staff could be located at the printing office during the period of occupancy, similar clearance is being obtained throughout the bureau.
Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs.
asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 15 May 1963, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1963/19630515_reps_24_hor38_c1/>.