House of Representatives
16 May 1963

24th Parliament · 1st Session

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

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– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. A few months ago the Salvation Army Chaplains and Red Cross Returned Servicemen’s Association wrote to the Prime Minister with reference to an anomaly in the benefits its members can receive as returned servicemen. The association complained that although its members were promised that they would be treated in the same way as other ex-servicemen and are in fact entitled now to full repatriation benefits, they are not entitled to loans under the War Service Homes Act to purchase homes. The Prime Minister took the matter up with Senator Sir William Spooner and also with the Attorney-General, but the final decision was that members of this association were not to receive such loans. As I look upon this as a matter of policy and of discrimination against a fine body of men who did great work with our boys overseas, I ask the Prime Minister whether he will take up the question with the Cabinet to see whether something can be done to amendthe War Service Homes Act in order to give these returned servicemen the same rights as other returned servicemen in relation to loans from the War Service Homes Division.

Prime Minister · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · LP

– I will be very glad to look again into the matter raised by the honorable member. It is some time since I had a look at it.



– My question is addressed to the Attorney-General. I preface the question by saying that I have received a telegram purporting to come from “ Women for Peace “. While all men of goodwill must welcome this initiative on the part of a sex that has been the constant cause of friction in the world since the days of Helen of Troy, may I, without inviting the charge of ungraciousness in this instance, inquire whether the honorable gentleman has any information that he can make public regarding the source of this body’s inspiration?


– I have no information about the body that is called “ Women for Peace “. I am not able readily to inform the House of the source of this body’s inspiration. I am inclined to think that the honorable member must at some time or other have indulged in some publicity that has stimulated some women to communicate with him. I must say, for my part, I conduct myself more quietly.

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– I direct my question to the Prime Minister. I refer to the proposed Tumut to Canberra road. Is the Prime Minister, as a resident of the great and growing city of Canberra, aware of the advantages to the Federal Capital of such a road? Is he aware also of the benefits that such a road would bring to the important centre of Tumut? What action does the Government propose to take to implement a scheme of such undoubted advantage to his place of domicile and my electorate?


– I would be very glad if the honorable member would put that question on the notice-paper so that I may secure the information from the relevant department or departments. I fully appreciate his interest in this matter because he has for along time now been urging it upon the Government. If he puts the question on the notice-paper I will obtain an answer for him.

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– I address a question to the Postmaster-General which relates to the provision of television transmitting stations in country areas. The honorable gentleman is aware from representations I have made to him of the concern of residents of rural areas in Western Australia to receive television transmission as soon as possible. I ask the Minister whether there is any provision in the Broadcasting and Television Act under which he can declare an area an isolated area in which a single transmitting station may be provided instead of both a national and a commercial station. Does the act provide that both stations must be established in an area, or can one station only be established?

Postmaster-General · DAWSON, QUEENSLAND · CP

– I am well aware of the concern that has been expressed to me by the honorable member for Moore and others for the provision of television transmitters and stations in certain parts of Western Australia. The honorable member asks whether there is any provision in the Broadcasting and Television Act for declaring any particular area an isolated area. I am a little at a loss to understand just what he means, but I can assure him that there is no provision in the act for the declaration of a particular area as an isolated area.

The Australian Broadcasting Control Board in its investigation of the desirability of extending television to country areas, has realized from time to time, as the service has extended, and certain areas have been found not to be receiving a good signal, that special provision would have to be made ultimately to ensure the reception of a good signal. It is not a case of declaring an area an isolated area. There is no provision in the act that there must be two stations in any area. It is certainly the policy of the Government to provide both a commercial and a national service wherever possible, but that is not a requirement of the act. In fact, this system stems from the recommendation of the royal commission on television that wherever possible there should be a dual service.

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– I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service whether he is aware that at the present rate of reduction of unemployment, namely, 287 persons a month, it will take at least 30 years to find work for the 84,000 unemployed. In view of this fact, will the Minister state whether the 30-year plan provides that many men and women, now comparatively young, will transfer direct from the unemployment benefit to the age pension in due course? Also will the Minister confirm or deny that the Government’s promise to restore full employment within twelve months of the last general election has now been changed to a hope to be able to restore it in 1993?

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

– As every one in the House except the honorable member knows, that is an absurd question and the statements contained in it are wrong. We all know that other than in exceptional circumstances there is a regular cycle of increases and falls in the numbers of people registered for employment throughout the year. Over the Christmas period you find a large addition of perhaps 55,000 or 60,000- it will probably be 65,000 this year - because of the fact that so many students leave school and so many others seek to join the workforce from universities and technical colleges. So you find an increase in December and January and a decrease in February and March. In April, May and June over the years, there has usually been a somewhat flat period. Then in July, August, September and October you find a strengthening trend, particularly in October. Consequently, you cannot take April as a month that provides a true indication of what the trend is likely to be. It is not a good month on which to make a judgment. The months to take as providing a correct interpretation of trend are February and March and July, August, September and October.

I repeat what was said in the House the day before yesterday. The Australian Labour Party was always prepared to settle for a condition of 6 per cent, of unemployment in the work force as representing a state of full employment. We do not regard the present figures as being indicative of what will happen in October.

Mr Curtin:

– Get off that one. It is older than you are.


– Order! The honorable member for Kingsford-Smith will cease interjecting.


– As I have said, the Government is living up to its promise that it will do all that it can within its power to see that this major objective of policy - that is, the full employment of all those people who are capable of being employed - is achieved whenever and just as quickly as it can be achieved.

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– My question is addressed to the Treasurer. Is it a fact that this financial year the pay-roll tax will contribute £64,000,000 to Commonwealth revenue? With revenue from most other sources being substantially increased and the economy of the country being so stable - indicating that this may be an ideal time for action - will the right honorable gentleman consider recommending to the Government the abolition of the payroll tax in the forthcoming Budget, and thereby earn renown for all time as the Treasurer who courageously pruned off the source of the nation’s most unpopular tax revenue?


– I welcome the honorable gentleman’s interest in the renown that might come my way if I were able to adopt his suggestion. He might have rounded off the question by telling me what I would do for alternative revenue if I did as he asked. Whilst it is a fact that collections - with the notable exception of loan receipts which are abnormally high - are proceeding very much in line with the Budget estimates, the revenue from the pay-roll tax, I understand, will be in the neighbourhood of the Budget estimate of £64,000,000 to which he referred. That, of course, is a very large element on the revenue side of the Budget. Whilst it is true that revenues are reasonably buoyant, it is fair to assume that expenditures will escalate in the normal fashion. There may also be some abnormal escalations to contend with in the forthcoming Budget.

The House is aware that an item of this dimension is reviewed periodically, and certainly at Budget time. I think it would be useful if there were a wider awareness in the commercial community that the payroll tax in Australia is at a relatively low rate by comparison with the rate in most of the countries with which Australia has to compete on world markets. I do not suggest that pay-roll tax would ever be likely to be a popular tax, but perhaps it would be a little less unpopular if it were appreciated that other countries maintain a tax on pay-rolls in a somewhat similar form and usually at a very much higher rate than the rate in Australia. The House also will know from legislation of which I gave notice only yesterday that we now have a scheme of pay-roll tax rebates in the case Of increased exports. That scheme is giving some useful incentive to people to increase the volume of their exports and to gain the advantage of tax relief in the process.

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– I direct my question to the Treasurer. Does he consider that this Government has been generous to the Queensland Government in the provision of funds for the relief of unemployment? Is he prepared to admit that the incompetence of the Queensland Government is a substantial factor in what is the highest rate of unemployment in the Commonwealth? In view of the fact that the current special financial assistance to Queensland will terminate shortly after the State general election, will he give an assurance that a similar amount of money will be available in the next financial year to the incoming Labour Government?


– I shall answer the last part of the honorable member’s question first. This Government has at all times dealt fairly with the State governments, regardless of the political complexion of the party that happened to be in charge of those governments. We realize that we have a national responsibility to do so, and I would be surprised to find any of the present Premiers arguing that there had been discrimination on political grounds against them in their own States. Certainly they have not made such a statement to me.

In the first part of his question, the honorable member asked whether the Commonwealth Government had been generous to the Government and people of Queensland. It is he who has used the word “ generous “. I believe that this Government has over recent years shown a recognition of the special problems existing in Queensland and has notably assisted the development of the State, not only by special grants to ease unemployment where it has occurred, but also by grants for development projects of great value to the State and, indeed, of great value to Australia as a whole. I know that there has been a growing appreciation by the Government and the people of Queensland of the added assistance that has been forthcoming from the Commonwealth over recent years.

It is true that the unemployment problem in Queensland is greater than that in any other State. This is partly the result of the seasonal factors that apply in Queensland, but I think it is more substantially attributable to the fact that, through a long period of Labour rule in that State, no encouragement was given to the builidng up of those secondary industries which have been such an ample source of employment in other parts of the Commonwealth. Thanks to the progressive policy and administration of the present Queensland Government, employment opportunities are increasing and Queensland is now entering a period of buoyant prosperity.

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– I desire to ask the Minister for External Affairs a question. Has the Minister received a copy of the insulting letter sent by the Australian Builders Labourers Federation, addressed from the Trades Hall, Melbourne, to the Consul for South Viet Nam in Canberra? If so, will he arrange for the Department of External Affairs to inform the union that South Viet Nam has an ambassador and not a consul in Canberra, and that it has been misled by its Communist counsellors in that what it calls the non-declared brutal war of annihilation in South Viet Nam has been waged by the Viet Cong Communist guerrillas who are under direction and control from Hanoi and who have resorted to the tactics of terror and bestiality for the last five years or more?


– I have not seen the letter. If the honorable member has a copy of it, I would be very glad to receive it and see whether it calls for any action by my department or by me. As for action by my department or by me. The honorable member says that the writers of the letter have apparently failed to understand exactly who is responsible for the difficulties in South Viet Nam. If I am at all able to put the writers on the right track, I will do so, but I am afraid it may be a difficult task.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for Repatriation, ls it a fact that in many instances the incompleteness of medical history in repatriation files has prevented exservicemen from receiving full recognition of their claims for war pensions? Will the Minister make a study of some of the cases in which this has occurred and consider the advisability of amending the Repatriation Act to provide for the automatic payment of war pensions in cases in which servicemen are discharged from active service as being medically unfit for war service? Further, when a medical practitioner states a case favorable to an applicant will the Minister instruct either the board, the commission or the entitlement tribunal to set out in writing why it refuses the claim whenever it is requested to give such reasons by a returned servicemen’s organization or by a member of this House?

Minister for Repatriation · DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · LP

– Medical records are among the matters taken into consideration when deciding a claim submitted for repatriation benefits. Army medical records have been banded over to the Repatriation Department by the Department of the Army, and ray department now has such records intact for World War I., World War II., Korea and Malaya. Medical records of the Navy and the Air Force are held by the two departments concerned, and we refer to them when we require information. It is a fact, of course, that medical records can never be entirely complete, but I think, on balance, that service medical records are in most cases as complete as is necessary for the full determination of claims. In cases in which there is some doubt about the correctness of the records, or there is some other evidence having a bearing on the matter, such factors must be considered when deciding claims. If there is any doubt in the mind of the authority concerned it must, of course, be resolved in favour of the appellant.

Automatic acceptance of certain disabilities, in some cases on the advice of medical officers, is, of course, a matter of policy. This very question, in its relation to certain specified disabilities, has recently been debated in this House. It is a matter that is considered when the Budget is being prepared each year and it will, of course, be reviewed when the forthcoming Budget is being considered.

The honorable member spoke also of the disclosure to appellants, or to an exservicemen’s organization, of reasons for decisions given by a tribunal, the Repatriation Commission or even the Repatriation Board. I can tell the honorable member that there is no desire to conceal the grounds for decisions, but there is an administrative problem. At the present time, as every one knows, we have a backlog of cases to be considered, and I am sure the honorable member would be the first to agree that it is desirable to improve the position. That is what we are trying to do now. There is a backlog of cases to be heard both by entitlement appeal tribunals and by assessment appeal tribunals. If we imposed upon those tribunals the burden of having to give full information concerning their reasons for decisions they would be able to get through only about a third of the cases that they deal with at present. Further delay would occur and more problems would arise. However, if in a particular case the appellant himself writes to the Repatriation Department asking for reasons, a summary of the file can be made available for his perusal from which he should be able to discover substantially the reasons for the decision.

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– My question, which is addressed to the Treasurer, relates to sales tax exemptions on motor vehicles. I understand that at present exemption from sales tax is given to physically disabled people such as amputees who have suffered the loss of one or both legs, provided that they prove difficulty in using public transport between their homes and places of employment. However, no such concession is given to a totally-blinded person with equal difficulties although he may have to be driven to and from work by another person - for example, his wife. Will the right honorable gentleman have the position examined with a view to extending the concession in the way I have indicated?


– The question of tax exemptions is difficult to determine. Any decision that extends the order of eligibility inevitably leaves a borderline affecting others who feel that they also should be favorably considered. We do from time to time consider the range of eligibility for exemption in cases of this sort. The honorable gentleman has brought to our notice a case that, I am sure, excites the sympathy of us all, and I assure him that it will be considered.

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– My question is addressed to the Postmaster-General. Is he aware that almost continually people in rural areas, chiefly primary producers, are requesting that their outmoded manual telephone exchanges be replaced by automatic telephone facilities known as R.A.X.’s, and that the general reply is that, owing to the number of centres with prior claims, there will be an unspecified waiting period before such requests can be granted? I ask: Does this mean that there is a shortage of automatic exchange equipment, or is the Postmaster-General’s Department short of the necessary money for the manufacture or purchase of such equipment? In either case, will the Minister confer with the department, or with the Cabinet if necessary, with a view to overcoming the difficulty?


– The honorable member refers to the provision in country areas of that kind of automatic equipment commonly known as R.A.X. We have altered the name to “ country automatic exchange”, but these units are still known to most people as R.A.X.’s. The position is that during the last year there has been some reduction of the rate at which we hoped to be able to install these exchanges in country areas. The hold-up has occurred for several reasons, one of the major ones being that the PostmasterGeneral’s Department is in the course of changing this kind of automatic equipment generally from what we call the stepbystep system to the cross-bar system. My colleague, the Minister for Repatriation, who represents Darling Downs, will recall that one of the first installations of this type was at Toowoomba. The cross-bar equipment is of Swedish design and is manufactured under licence from the L. M. Ericsson Telephone Company Limited in Sweden by two Australian companies. There has been some slight hold-up in obtaining certain parts from the parent company and that has delayed to some extent, but not completely, the installation of this equipment. That is one of the reasons for delay. Of course, the fact that other areas have prior claims must be considered. There is a great number of applications from country areas for the provision of rural automatic exchanges. It is not possible for the department to meet all those applications at once, so a priority list is determined.

The honorable member also asked whether the present position is due to a shortage of funds. The department has been treated very generously by the Government, which realizes that because of Australia’s rapid development the department has had great demands made upon it by those involved in that development and that adequate finance must be supplied. Honorable members will remember that in the last Budget the department’s capital works vote was increased by several million pounds compared with the vote in the previous year. Only recently the Treasurer, when introducing his Supplementary Estimates, explained that in the last six months £750,000 had been made available over and above the amount provided in the Budget for capital works, which, of course, include the provision of automatic services. That is the position in relation to finance.

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– Does the Prime Minister recall his visit, I think in 1961, to Longford, which is in the electorate of Wilmot, to hear the excellent case presented for Commonwealth assistance for an extensive irrigation scheme which would use the waters of the Poatina hydro-electric station? Is it a fact that the Government is prepared to assist this project financially? Has the Prime Minister received an official request from the Premier of Tasmania for Commonwealth aid for this much needed irrigation project?


– I am pretty sure that a letter which I received the other day from the Premier of Tasmania relates to this scheme. That- letter now is under examination and will be answered in due course.

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– I preface my question to the Minister for Labour and National Service by stating that last week the Commonwealth Industrial Court declared invalid a ballot conducted by the Amalgamated Engineering Union. Can the Minister provide any information on the practices which the court found to be improper? Can he say whether the court determined in any way who was responsible for the practices which were found to be improper?


– I am not not sure whether it was last week, but in recent weeks the Commonwealth Industrial Court declared invalid an election for the position of secretary of the Amalgamated Engineering Union. The reason for that decision was a provision that once an election campaign commenced no propoganda or notices should be issued by the secretary himself in relation to the position. The notice calling for nominations was issued, not signed by Mr. Garland but with his name printed on the bottom. Mr. Garland stated in court that he had no knowledge of the notice and did not know that his name had been appended to it. However, the judge hearing the matter said that he was certain that Mr. Garland was fully aware of what had transpired and for that reason he declared the ballot for the position of secretary to be invalid. Obviously what happened was that Mr. Garland at least negotiated to ensure that he would obtain an unfair advantage in the election.

A new election is to be held, and the court had decided previously that industrial employees who previously were excluded from the union’s ballots are to be permitted to nominate. I am confident that this election, held under the ballot legislation of the Menzies Government, will be fairly conducted. I hope that in this case each member of the Amalgamated Engineering Union will be able to record his vote honestly and without coercion from left-wing members of the union.

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– I ask the Prime Minister whether he has read the report of the review made by the International Commission of Jurists on the General Law (Amendment) Act recently passed in South Africa. Did the International Commission of Jurists, which represents many thousands of leading lawyers and jurists throughout the world, condemn South Africa for having established a police state embodying many of the worst features of the former Stalin Communist regime and declare that in South Africa liberty has now disappeared and justice is blinded and maimed? Did the International Commission of Jurists also call for strong condemnation by all democratic countries of South Africa’s action? Have the latest developments in South Africa caused any change in the Prime Minister’s attitude of support for policies pursued by that country in recent years, including the policy of apartheid, which he did not recommend merely because he thought it would not work? If so, will the Prime Minister make an early pronouncement expressing condemnation of the latest acts of the South African Government in destroying liberty and justice?


– Apart from noting the characteristic misrepresentation towards the end of the question, to which we are accustomed, all I want to say is that, like the honorable member I, too, read in the newspapers this morning a statement about the report of the International Commission of Jurists. I have not seen the report. I will study it with great care when I do see it.

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– I ask the Attorney-General a question. Has the honorable gentleman seen reports naming the members of the Labour Party who voted at the Labour Party caucus meeting yesterday against the establishment of the United States naval communication base in Western Australia? As I am sure that many honorable members are concerned to know how such information is obtained, will the Attorney-General confer with the Leader of the Opposition to see whether he can be of assistance in preventing such occurrences in the future?


– I had not thought it was a responsibility of my office to teach the Opposition how to keep its secrets.

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– I ask the Prime Minister: Has he ever considered the lack of accommodation in this National Parliament for members and the public? Will he stand in King’s Hall one day and count the number of people waiting in queues to enter the House of Representatives to listen to question-time and to the debates that follow? Is the right honorable gentleman aware that on some days as many as 100 people wait for long periods to enter the galleries of this chamber? Is he aware that some of those people are mothers with babies in their arms? Will the Prime Minister agree that additional accommodation could be made available for the public by providing another gallery at the rear of the Government parties’ benches? Is the right honorable gentleman aware that several members of the Opposition are compelled to do their office work in the party room? Is he aware that lack of such offices as are available are shared by as many as four members? For instance, I share a room with two other honorable members.

Mr Peters:

– Who are they?


– The honorable member for East Sydney and the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith.


– Order! The honorable member’s question is getting a little too long.


– I will be brief. When constituents come to Canberra to interview me or my colleagues with whom I share a room, two of us must stand in the hallway. Will the Prime Minister say who is responsible for this unsatisfactory state of affairs and will he give some urgent consideration to rectifying the position?


- Mr. Speaker, this is the first time I ever knew that my friend had to share a room with the honorable member for East Sydney and therefore I begin my reply to his question by extending to him my deepest sympathy. The problem of the accommodation of members in the House, to say nothing of the general public, is one that I dare say has been raised in the Opposition party room and it has certainly been repeatedly raised in my own. It has been under consideration by the Government. It is not entirely a simple problem. We will, in due course, be in a position to say what we can or cannot do about it.

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– I direct a question to the Minister for Territories. Has the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development commenced its survey of the economic potential of Papua and New Guinea? If such survey has not yet been commenced, does the Minister know when it will take place? How long does he expect that the survey will take and how long after its completion can we expect to receive the bank’s report on its mission?

Minister for Territories · CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– As ‘ previously announced in this House and as previously announced to the public, the survey by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development commenced in April and we expect a report towards the end of this year.

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– My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. Since to-day is the first anniversary of my placing the question standing in my name and having pride of place on the noticepaper, will he confer with his colleague, the Minister for Territories, and get him to give an undertaking that I will receive a reply before the second anniversary?


– I have forgotten what this question is. I am a broad-minded fellow and I will tell you what I am prepared to do. I will ask my colleague about it.

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– I desire to ask the Minister for External Affairs a question. Can he inform the House whether, at the recent socalled Afro-Asian Journalists Conference in Indonesia, the Viet Cong guerrillas - Communists - were represented but South Viet Nam journalists were debarred in spite of the fact that they had received an official invitation to the conference? Does be know or can he confirm whether the conference passed a resolution condemning the American activity in Viet Nam, Laos, Korea, Cuba and Taiwan and supporting the Indonesian Government’s opposition to Malaysia?


– I do know that a number of odd occurrences - to say the least of them - took place at the conference. I do not carry in my mind the detail to which the honorable member has referred, but I will check it up and send him a message after I have done so.

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– I address a question to the Minister for External Affairs. The honorable gentleman will remember that six months ago the General Assembly of the United Nations passed a resolution, one section of which invited all member states to inform the General Assembly at this year’s session regarding action taken separately or collectively in dissuading the Government of South Africa from pursuing its policies of apartheid. I ask him how far the Government has gone in compiling this information and whether he can give at this stage any interim report on the action which Australia has taken by itself, or in association with other countries, to dissuade South Africa from following these policies.


– It is customary, after a resolution of this kind, for the Secretary-General of the United Nations to communicate with the countries concerned and, thereafter, for correspondence to take place. As far as I know we have not received a request. Correspondence will take place in due course.

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– I direct my question to the Postmaster-General. It is supplementary to that asked by the honorable member for Mallee. Like most members of this chamber, I appreciate the fact that the Government is increasing the allocation of funds for capital works within the PostmasterGeneral’s Department. Has the department carried out a survey to ascertain how long it will be before all the practical centres in country areas will be served by automatic telephone services? If not, will the Postmaster-General investigate the situation, as many telephone subscribers are anxiously awaiting this amenity, which is enjoyed by our city friends?


– The honorable member has asked me whether I can indicate how long it will be before automatic telephone services are available throughout the country areas. I take that to be his question. That is a very difficult forecast to make. We have announced from time to time that our ultimate objective is to have completely automatic services throughout Australia. My advisers have given periods varying from ten to fifteen years for the achievement of that objective, but the estimates have not been based on the results of a really detailed survey. They have represented an expression of opinion based on the amount of money that is likely to be available and on the time taken to install automatic equipment. I shall see whether I can get more detailed information for the honorable member.

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– I claim to have been mis represented. The Melbourne “ Age “, under the heading “Dissenters”, lists a number of members who allegedly voted for a resolution in the Labour Party caucus. Whilst I regularly vote with the gentlemen named, who are friends of mine, I did not do so on this occasion. I ask for a correction to be made.

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The following bills were returned from the Senate without amendment -

Processed Milk Products Bounty Bill 1963.

Insurance Bill 1963.

Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Bill 1963.

Acts Interpretation Bill 1963.

Australian Antarctic Territory Bill 1963.

Christmas Island Bill 1963.

Cocos (Keeling) Islands Bill 1963.

Heard Island and McDonald Islands Bill 1963.

Seat of Government (Administration) Bill 1963.

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Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir John McLeay:

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

The need forwork, subsidized by the Commonwealth Government on a £1 for £1 basis with the

States, which will mitigate and control the frequent and disastrous floods in Australia, preserve valuable production, and prevent the heavy economic losses which follow these floods.

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

Mr Reynolds:

– What is wrong with the members of the Country Party? Why do they not rise in support of the proposal?


– Order! The honorable member for Barton will remain silent.


.- Mr. Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order No. 106a, I raise this matter of urgent public importance for discussion. In the township of Ulmarra last Thursday, 9th May, a small child was washed from the verandah of a house and drowned beneath the house in the flood waters of the Clarence River. On Monday last a lifelong friend of mine was electrocuted while cleaning up some of the rubbish and mess left behind by floodwaters. I ask you, Mr. Speaker: Should these people have died? This flood was not an unusual happening. It is part of a series of floods which has followed a definite pattern since 1802, when the first records were kept. Inthe last eighteen years there have been twenty major floods in the Clarence valley alone. In 1956, the Clarence valley was flooded once in January, twice in February and twice more later in the year. In 1959, there were floods in January and February. In 1962, there were floods in April and July. In 1963, there were floods in January and May.

I believe that floods affect the nation generally. In support of that statement I would like to inform the House of the floods that have occurred in Australia since 1931. Tasmania had a flood in that year, when fourteen lives were lost. In 1934, New South Wales had floods in various parts of the State almost continuously for nine months. In that year Victoria had a flood in which 35 lives were lost, and Queensland also was flooded. So was South Australia, where two lives were lost. Western Australia was also flooded in that year. There was a break until 1949, when New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland had floods. In 1950, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia had floods. In 1951, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia had floods. So we see the pattern up till 1951. In 1952 the pattern continued. New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania had floods. The loss estimated for New South Wales due to flooding was £10,000,000. In 1954, New South Wales again experienced flooding, when 22 lives were lost and 10,000 people were made homeless. In 1955 New South Wales again had floods, and again there was a great loss of life. Those figures show that floods present a great national problem. It may be argued that the effects of a flood are local effects, but there is no doubt in my mind that floods generally have an effect on the whole of our economy.

In the last sixteen months there have been four major floods and five minor floods in the Clarence Valley. That means that the people living in that area have not had an opportunity to recuperate after even one of those floods. In spite of that, we find that floods are recurring again and again. What is the effect on the district? People are leaving the district. They are no longer interested in working on the land, because they cannot cope with the adverse conditions there. We must bear in mind that floods affect not only the man on the land, but employment generally in the affected districts, where a grim situation arises. I quote from a newspaper article of Wednesday of this week -


Widespread unemployment has followed last week’s floods on the North Coast. Hundreds of farmers and timber workers are seeking labouring jobs because rain and floods have brought their industries to a standstill. Many farmers’ properties will be out of production for months. The Macleay Shire president, Councillor D. J. 0’Den said yesterday about ISO dairy farmers in the shire near Kempsey would probably need labouring and other manual jobs for several months. He said most of the Macleay River’s 300 dairy farmers were fighting to save their herds and farms.

The Mayor of Grafton had this to say -

Many farmers and timber workers would be seeking labouring work in the district in the next few weeks. Even before the floods many timber workers were laid off because consistent heavy rain stopped timber supplies to many mills. The Mayor of Lismore, Alderman C. J. Campbell, said that even before the floods many dairy farmers, because of the insecure state of their industry, were forced at intervals to take labouring jobs.

In the Nambucca River district 130 timber mill employees will get dismissal notices to-day because the rain and two floods have prevented millers from getting logs out of the forests.

We must look at the effects of these floods on the bigger secondary industries. For instance, the companies processing milk products are also affected. The Nestles organization at Smithtown employs about 500 people and about 130 are employed at the Peters factory in Grafton. Nestles will be reducing staff by 50 per cent., and similar conditions apply in the Peters factory, so that in effect, the economy of those areas has suffered in no uncertain manner.

This is not a parochial issue; it is not to be made a political football; it is a question of sheer necessity. Circumstances have forced me to make a plea on behalf of those people this morning. The people for whom I speak are not easily frightened; they are not afraid of work; they are always prepared to do their best, but when circumstances such as those I have outlined crop up as regularly as 1 have mentioned, they are beaten to their knees. The immediate need of these people is a matter of importance. During the next four or five grim winter months they will have no income; they will have no fodder for their stock and no financial resources to carry on their work, and consequently these districts will be faced with a serious exodus of people. What will be the result of that? Is the land to be allowed to go back to its natural state? Or can we hope to keep it in production to help feed future generations?

That is the picture I present to the House. I am not exaggerating the position; I am merely stating facts. Mr. Deputy Speaker, I put it to you that we must look at this problem from a national point of view and I make these suggestions in the hope that the Government will consider them in due course. This is a matter of national consequence and of great importance to any government, irrespective of its political colour. Any government that puts into operation a scheme of the kind I have suggested will undoubtedly render great service to Australia.

In asking for a £l-for-£l subsidy, I point to the important fact that certain local governing bodies in New South Wales which are trying to help these people are already in financial difficulties. The structure of local government responsibility is not the same in every State, and I speak only of New South Wales because of the limited time at my disposal. Some criticism has been made of the efforts of those who are attempting to carry out flood mitigation works on the various coastal streams, and these attacks are most unfair. Many of the statements that have been made about them are completely untrue. It is very difficult to compare what one State is doing in this respect with what another State is doing because each State has a different method of dealing with the problem. On a previous occasion in this House I outlined what was being done in Victoria. On that occasion, much was said about the local government bodies in that State receiving a subsidy of £5 for each £1 expended on flood mitigation works.

Mr Nixon:

– So they do.


– I have not the time to read out all the details of the scheme there, but the authorities I have consulted reveal that in Victoria a total of £1,208,576 was spent over the last few years on works carried out under the supervision of the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission, whereas in New South Wales, if we take into consideration the expenditure on such things as harbour works, reafforestation, water conservation and so on -

Mr Nixon:

– They are not related. Victoria pays a £5 for £1 subsidy for flood mitigation alone. You should tell the truth.



Mr Nixon:

– He should tell the truth.


– My authority for the statement I made is the report of the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission. The report indicates that the source of the information is the Victorian “ Year Book “ 1962, the Auditor-General’s Report 1960- 1961, the Budget speech 1959 and River Improvement Hand Book 1949. Those authorities indicate that a total of £1,208,576 was provided for the works that I have outlined. The money was spent by the Department of Public Works, the forestry commission, soil conservation authority and so on. Taking them all together, one gains the false impression that the subsidy amounts to £5 for every £1 spent.

Mr Nixon:

– That is not true. Tell the truth!


– It is strange how the truth hurts these gentlemen in the corner party. Of all the people I have known, I have never known any one react to the truth so adversely as do the gentlemen on my left.

Mr Nixon:

– I rise to order. The honorable member for Cowper is completely unaware of the fact that in Victoria the subsidy paid is £5 for each £1 expended on flood mitigation works. The honorable member has not taken into account ports and harbours.


– Order! There is no substance in the point raised by the honorable member.


– We should get down to the real issue. I speak from a national view as the representative of people in a constitutency similar to your own, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I do not propose to be side-tracked by the little issues that our friend seeks to introduce. It is up to this or any government to face up to responsibilities in a national way. It is up to this or any government to do something to help the flood victims. So far all they have received have been platitudes about what brave and wonderful people they were, how well they have co-operated with one another and how they helped one another with finance. To be frank, the days when platitudes would suffice have gone. There is no doubt that these people have been mocked in no uncertain manner, and they will not take it much longer. They have now reached the stage where they are desperate and if the members of this Government, and of the Parliament as a whole, are not prepared, as Australians, to face up to their responsibilities, they will have to suffer the consequences.

This is not a matter that we cannot deal with in the ordinary political way. If a tragedy such as this occurred in the United States of America, a state of national emergency would be declared immediately and a national relief scheme would be introduced. There, real work would be done. In fact, already the United States has introduced schemes to overcome difficulties similar to those that confront us in Australia. There is nothing unusual or new about floods. They are as old as mankind. History tells us how the outlet of the great Red River in China had moved some 300 miles as the result of the levee and other flood mitigation works that had been carried out for thousands of years there. We have in the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority the brains necessary to do what is required, and we should make use of them. We have the machinery and the man-power necessary to do a real job in this field. We should realize we have an immediate responsibility to do more for these people than give them the miserable pittance that they have so far been handed. We should make it our business to re-establish these people on the farms, in the mills and in the factories of the devastated area. If we do not do that, we shall fail them most miserably.


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

Minister for Supply · Paterson · LP

– In his opening recital, the honorable member for Cowper (Mr. McGuren) painted a picture of floods occurring in every country. Unfortunately, his address confused flood mitigation with relief for the victims of floods. I earnestly suggest to the honorable member that he get those two matters separated in his mind because they are not the same problems at all. I also suggest that the honorable member has not really thought seriously about the problem raised in the terms of the proposal he has submitted with relation to flood mitigation because he is appealing for the commencement of a job which will cost hundreds of millions of pounds if it is to be done properly.

This is a well beaten path. It is always trodden when, with warm sympathy in our hearts for the victims of the latest inundation in any part of the country, emotions are stirred. Obviously it is a matter of concern to this House, and honorable members on both sides have raised the issue in times past when similar circumstances have arisen. It is true that this is not a political matter. Therefore, I make no political attack.

Rather do I seize the opportunity to put a few constructive thoughts on this problem and to urge the directions in which we should look for relief.

Whenever this subject is raised the flooding is viewed as a national catastrophe and the claim is made that the responsibility for remedial measures lies with the Federal Government. The hard fact is that, no matter how national the effect of a disaster of this kind may be, the use of the term “ national “ in connexion with a disaster does not necessarily shift from one authority to another the responsibility for doing something about it. It is quite interesting to go back to 1949 in which there were floods in my own electorate. I have had a good deal of experience of floods such as occur in the electorate of the honorable member for Cowper. In 1949 Mr. Abbott, who was then the honorable member for New England, raised the matter of flood relief and addressed the same kind of remarks to the Labour Government led by Mr. Chifley as the honorable member for Cowper has addressed to the present Government. It is worth while to look at the reply given by Mr. Chifley to Mr. Abbott’s submission. He said -

The honorable member’s charge that this Government should build dams to protect the Maitland area from floods is quite absurd. The proper authority is the State government. Other Prime Ministers and Treasurers have pointed out, as I have done on many occasions, that any catastrophe that occurs in only one State can be dealt with in the first place only by the government of that State.

Mr Einfeld:

– A lot of water has flowed over the area since then.


– If you will be patient for a few minutes, I think you will have less room for complaint. I do not criticize that statement by Mr. Chifley. At that stage he was merely quoting constitutional facts. If we are to have a constructive job done in this field, it will not be done by avoiding the constitutional issues. The fact is that section 51 of the Constitution enumerates the powers that have been delegated to the Commonwealth Government. The unenumerated powers, or the residue, remain with the States. In that residue is the power to control rivers. For what other reason, Mr. Deputy Speaker, would the State governments - I refer particularly to the New South Wales Government - have established the water conservation and irrigation commissions and the soil conservation services which are intimately bound up with this problem? Because of the major flooding of the Hunter valley in particular over the years, the New South Wales Government has established a new agency called the Hunter Valley Conservation Trust to do minor works on bank restoration and thereby to make a contribution to flood mitigation. This is the function of the State Government. It acknowledges its responsibility in this field.

If we are to achieve real flood mitigation, the problem is not whose money will be spent but how that money will be spent. I understand that quite recently a number of county councils in the northern rivers district of New South Wales have got together and that they propose to put to the State Government a plan for works to be done on some co-operative basis. I have not the details of the plan. No doubt one of the government supporters will supplement my comments. It is quite likely that the State Government, if it thinks that it is unable to handle the requirement, will refer it to the Commonwealth Government. That is the right line of approach to this problem. It is the line of approach that was referred to by Mr. Chifley, a Labour Prime Minister; and that same line has been followed by the present Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies).

I understand that in the northern rivers district the problem is one of getting rid of residual water after flooding. It may well be that this is a drainage problem rather than a flood mitigation problem. We should get these terms fairly clear in our minds. If we intend to attempt real flood mitigation we have to look at the questions of soil conservation, the protection of river banks and the clearance of channels. Those things will give only minor relief. When all of them are done, the question of flood mitigation by the construction of dams and other activities will have to be settled. If one reads the very copious literature on this problem, which has come out of other countries that have devoted enormous effort to the problem - I speak basically of the

United States of America - one will understand that there is still an enormous area of disputation between people who propose a variety of means of overcoming flood difficulties.

When all is said and done, the rich agricultural lands which are the subject of the greatest damage in floods are rich simply because they are subject to flooding. They are on the flood plain. If we are to continue to contest the ownership and occupancy of the flood plain with nature, here and there we will lose. Therefore, flooding is very much an occupational hazard. That remark is not meant to convey for a moment that something cannot be done about flood mitigation. I want to devote a few minutes to point out the directions in which I think this job has to be done. It will not be done by making the odd political attack - I appreciate that this debate is not completely a political attack - in respect of isolated instances of flooding. This problem has to be tackled as a long-term project. When I say “ long-term “ I do not mean a term of two years, five years or ten years.

Mr Duthie:

– Some one has to start it.


– I intend to tell you about somebody who did start it in a moment, if you will be a little patient with me. The Commonwealth has done a good deal in this field already. I am merely pointing out that I think the Commonwealth has made a start in its approach to this problem. It would be completely wrong to look for immediate results. If we got immediate results they would not be effective results, for reasons that I will point out in a moment.

The House knows very well that recently the Commonwealth entered into an agreement with the States on the establishment of the Australian Water Resources Council. This is a great attempt, first of all, to measure Australia’s water resources and the conditions that lie at the back of flood damage. The basic reason why we should assess the availability of water in Australia is that it is one of the factors that will limit our population and industrial development. The conservation and development of those resources, of course, will be enormously important to this country’s future. That is the basic task of the Water Resources Council. But, in doing that work, the council will also come up with the basic technical information on which alone schemes of flood mitigation can be based.

I point out to my honorable friend from Cowper that as Minister for the Interior for three or four years I had the pleasure of introducing the hydro-meteorological service within the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology. That action meant that within the bureau the first step was taken to make a scientific analysis of water resources and the conditions that lie at the back of flood damage. That work was first suggested by the Academy of Science which is devoting its time, attention and thought to this problem. It is not to be supposed that nothing is being done about it.

My honorable friend from Cowper made a general and easy mistake when he started to talk about flood mitigation. He said: “ We have the people, the resources and the bulldozers. Why do we not get on with the work?” That is about the last line of approach that ought to be taken to flood mitigation. Whenever these disasters occur we are always able to find people who want to dig a hole to let the water out, run a new opening to the river, straighten the channel, build levee banks, or do something of that kind. Those measures will give some minor relief, but they will never provide flood mitigation. If we are to do this job properly we have to start off with some real technical knowledge of the behaviour of rainfall, the absorption of that rainfall, evaporation, runoff, river flow and things of that kind.

Mr Einfeld:

– How long will that take?


– The honorable gentleman is very anxious to find out how long this work will take. It may take 50 years, but that does not mean that we will wait for 50 years before we get some work done on it. I can assure the House that if we try to do this work with insufficient knowledge, we will never have anything really useful in the way of flood mitigation.

I have only a few more minutes available to me. This kind of debate does not allow one to canvass a problem of this magnitude. Let me go back to the Hunter valley. In 1955 we had the greatest disaster that this river valley has ever seen. The same sort of situation developed after the flood. People were looking for immediate ways and means of relieving the difficulty. The same questions came up. People said: “There are dragline excavators and Snowy Mountains Authority engineers. Why do we not assemble all the machinery and do what we can with it? “ Are we going to dig out the river channel? At best the channel might be half a mile wide and twenty feet deep. The river at Maitland at that time was ten miles wide and forty feet deep. No amount of re-construction of the river channel would have enabled the channel to carry away the amount of water that was there. 1 take some pride in the fact that at that stage I was instrumental, with another Newcastle gentleman, in moving for the formation of a research organization to work on the basic details of rainfall and river flow. How the rain falls, where it runs off and the time when the waters of two rivers meet in confluence are the real factors that lie behind the damage done by floods. Unless we know these facts, no, amount of planning will be useful and any expenditure on flood mitigation will no doubt be useless. Just how valuable our approach was is seen in the fact that within a year the Hunter Valley Research Foundation was formed. It is still in operation. Professor Renwick, who is Professor of Economics at the New South Wales University of Technology, came in as a part-time research director. He was ultimately seconded to the foundation by the State Government. When an appeal was made to the public for funds to enable this work to be done - not work on flood mitigation but the work of laying the foundations for an intelligent approach - the citizens of the Hunter valley and business people with interests in the valley voluntarily subscribed no leis than £100.000 to start this project. My honorable friend will be pleased to know that £25,000 came from the New South Wales Government.

That is the best evidence that the New South Wales Government knows what is the right approach to this problem. It is for this reason that I draw attention to the opening remarks of the honorable gentleman - to show that he has not thought about the full implications of this problem. He is concerned with the rivers in the upper north coast. I am concerned about the mid-coast. My honorable friend from Macarthur (Mr. Jeff Bate) is concerned about the lower rivers. Kt the moment, the inland rivers are in flood. Let us have some appreciation of the magnitude of the problem before we devote our attention to some method of solving it.

The Hunter Valley Research Foundation - a scientific organization whose work must precede the actual construction of flood mitigation works - to-day has been able to get the co-operation of the State and Commonwealth governments. Neither the State Government nor the Commonwealth Government was able to instrument the Hunter valley fully, and perhaps they were unwilling to do a partial job because of the pressures that this would develop everywhere else. Now these two agencies have pooled their resources, with the Hunter Valley Research Organization as a pivot. To-day the Hunter valley is the best instrumented river valley throughout Australia. After five years, we are beginning to get some scientific information. We are now able to say, when rain falls, where it will appear in terms of stream flow. We are able to measure the effects of succeeding floods. We are beginning to develop profiles of flood flows. From this, we will be able to develop the first and the only reliable flood forecasting information. The quantities of water, the rate at which it appears and where it is likely to appear are facts that will have to be used in the engineering design of flood mitigation work.

My time has gone, and the problem has hardly been looked at. I am not attacking the honorable gentleman or criticizing him. I appreciate his having raised this matter for the opportunity it gives me to direct public attention to the need to attack this problem scientifically and intelligently. Emotion is a good thing, but not in this context. The immediate problems mentioned by the honorable gentleman lie primarily in the field of assistance to victims of floods, but I suggest that he give some attention to the long-range work that has to be done. If he will join me in urging this kind of approach then maybe we will get something done.


– Unfortunately, at the outset - I very much regret this - it is necessary for me to refer to certain bitter personal attacks that have been made on the honorable member for Cowper (Mr. McGuren) in the Grafton press by the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony). I do regret having even to refer to these matters, because I do not think that they add to the dignity of the House or to the dignity of the honorable member for Richmond. However, I believe that I should touch on them very briefly in order to give the lie to the statements about and. the attacks upon the honorable member for Cowper.

These attacks were made by the honorable member for Richmond in the Grafton press yesterday and to-day. They dealt with the recent visit of a delegation of six members of this House to the flood areas by aeroplane last Tuesday and with the facts leading up to the formation of that delegation. The facts are these: It was the honorable member for Cowper who received a request from leading citizens of Grafton for a deputation to travel north and to see the devastated flood areas. It was he who made representations to the Minister within half an hour of receiving the request. Unfortunately, the flight which was arranged for Thursday was cancelled by the Minister because, I understand, of bad weather. The members from this side of the House were willing to go any day after that. We were not only willing but we were indeed eager to go on Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday. We particularly wanted to go as early as possible so that we could be in the area when the flood waters were at their height.

The honorable member for Cowper made approaches to honorable members opposite, including the honorable member for Macarthur (Mr. Jeff Bate) and the honorable member for Richmond. They were not interested in going over the weekend. It was only when there was some critical press propaganda from country areas that they varied their approach to this question and decided that they were keen to travel on Tuesday. It would have been far better had we gone earlier, when the honorable member for Cowper wished to do so. I can confirm that he was eager to go, because he was on my back every minute trying to get away as soon as possible so that we could see the floods at their worst.

I do not think that these personal bitter attacks - the attacks I heard of this morning were very personal and very bitter - assist us to solve the problem. They certainly do not assist the farmers, who are concerned not with political stunting or political argument but with getting on with the job of finding some way to alleviate the effects of floods. I would suggest to the honorable member for Richmond, therefore, that this sort of thing would best be left alone. It would be far better for the dignity of the Parliament and for all concerned if we got on with the job of assisting the farmers.

The Minister for Supply (Mr. Fairhall) said that flood mitigation is a long-term project. We agree that it is a long-term project but we say that it should have been started long before this on a Commonwealth basis. It is of no use to say that we will investigate this matter, as he suggested, for possibly fifteen years ahead. In the next fifteen years there will be many more disastrous floods and if we wait for fifteen years before we get on with the practical job of flood mitigation the future of these vast farming areas will be very dim. I think the day of buck-passing on these issues has passed. We must now ask ourselves: Are we going to treat the question of flood mitigation and flood relief as a Commonwealth problem and as a Commonwealth responsibility? Will this Parliament accept some responsibility in this matter? Or do we intend to continue to say that the problem must be investigated for a further fifteen years before we can decide whether we will allocate funds for flood mitigation?

During our visit to the area, we were all shocked at the devastation that had occurred from the Hawkesbury River right through to Grafton. We were fortunate enough to be met by a deputation on the tarmac at the airport at Grafton, which emphasized the fact that the district around Grafton is to-day a devastated area and a depressed area. The members of that deputation told us that they believed the situation amounted to a national emergency which would not cease the moment the flood waters started to recede. They said that the area was a depressed area and that it would continue to be a depressed area for several months while the inhabitants went about the job of rehabilitation. They also said that the emergency had various phases. There was the first phase in which immediate relief was required and there was a later phase when rehabilitation work would have to be undertaken after the flood waters receded. Finally another question would have to be considered, that of longterm flood mitigation.

As to immediate relief, I asked a question of the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton) only yesterday. I asked whether the Minister would give relief under the social services legislation to share-farmers and owner-farmers during the period of rehabilitation, when they would have no income whatsoever. I suggested that they would be in the same position as any other individual who lost his employment and, consequently, his income.

Mr Curtin:

– What did he say?


– This is what he said -

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 self-employed people who are suffering as a result of devastation by flood or for any other reason.

The inference may be drawn from that answer that the Minister cannot provide relief legally under the Social Services Act. I can tell the House that a special benefit may be paid under the Social Services Act. Section 124 of that act says -

The Director-General may, in his discretion, grant a special benefit under this Division to a person -

with respect to whom the Director-General is satisfied that, by reason of age, physical or mental disability or domestic circumstances, or for any other reason, that person is unable to earn a sufficient livelihood for himself and his dependants.

I think we should stop hedging on this issue. It is time for us to realize that we can pay special benefits to people who have lost their means of livelihood as a result of these floods. We can pay special benefits to farmers and possibly even to shopkeepers. These people have a very serious problem. They have suffered a great loss of income. I suggest that the country members on the other side of the House should join with us in making approaches to the Minister for the payment of special benefits to ownerfarmers and share-farmers who have lost their income as a result of these floods. I think this is a reasonable proposition and one to which country members opposite should lend genuine support.

As to the overall problem of flood mitigation, the time has come when this can be tackled only on a Commonwealth basis. It is a national problem and not just a State problem, and it is for that reason that the Opposition submits that the Commonwealth should subsidize, on a £l-for-£l basis, flood mitigation works that are at present undertaken by the States and which are financed by the State on the basis of two-thirds of the cost being provided by the State Government and one-third by the local government authority concerned. We suggest that the Commonwealth should match on a £l-for-£l basis State expenditure on flood mitigation. -As I have said, it is a national problem and we must get on with the job now. We cannot afford to adopt the approach of the Minister, who says that we must investigate the matter fully for possibly another fifteen years. The job is urgent. We are. faced with a national problem which involves great loss of income and great loss of exports. Very serious personal loss is suffered by the people in the flooded areas. We have suggested a method of overcoming the problem, and I ask country members on the other side of the House to support us in our efforts to overcome the problems of people in these country areas.


.- Last Tuesday, Mr. Deputy Speaker, we saw the areas around the Clarence River and the Macleay River, which passes through your electorate of Lyne, in a most pitiable state of desolation and destruction. It is a most moving spectacle for all who saw it. Hundreds of thousands of acres of very rich land were under deep water, and the land from which the water had receded showed the effects of fast-running rivers tearing the country to pieces. A terrible thing has happened to the people in those flooded areas, and it is a thing that has happened to them many times. On this occasion there has been recurrent flooding for a period of several weeks. After the initial flood further rain fell, causing the rivers to rise again. Follow-up rains are now falling, causing the Clarence River to rise again. The water cannot get away. The situation is aggravated by the fact that high seas and high tides are causing the rivers to bank up at the coastal end. The water is lying all over the country. This indicates that one of the first jobs is drainage.

In these conditions the local people need to have their morale boosted. They need superb leadership from people who will keep them at the task of cleaning up and of rehabilitation. Extremely heavy burdens have to be borne by the women in these areas who have to join in the job of cleaning out their mud-caked houses while at the same time preparing food for their families. Farmers are trying either to get their stock out of the flooded areas or to take some feed to them. They then have to commence the work of cleaning up, which will take a very long time. It is made more difficult by the fact that the summergrowing grasses will not give any more fodder through the winter. Those grasses are finished.

Mr Armitage:

– What about special benefits?


– Do not be rude about this. This is a matter of great concern to the people. The honorable member for Mitchell (Mr. Armitage), who is interjecting now, spent four and a half minutes of his time on a low, personal attack on another member instead of talking about the flood. Let us get on to the problem of the flood. It is a disgraceful thing that the honorable member for Mitchell should bring such a personal note into this discussion. Before the honorable member came into this House I had, for fifteen years, always received co-operation from Labour members such as the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Fuller), who will remember the flooding of the Murrumbidgee as far back as 1950. As I say, in earlier times we had men who wanted to help. On this occasion we see a display of dirty, personal spite on the part of the honorable member for Mitchell.

Mr Peters:

Mr. Deputy Speaker, are you going to allow him to talk like this? I am amazed.


– Order!


– You, Mr. Deputy Speaker, have been kind enough to give me a cutting from a newspaper which contains a report of statements made by the chairman of the Macleay Co-operative Dairying Company Limited, Mr. Lancaster. His remarks were very different from the wide-mouthed promises of the honorable member for Mitchell, whose statements do nothing to help build morale. The newspaper report reads as follows: - (Mr. D. J. Lancaster) denied tonight that farmers on the Macleay were walking off their properties. He said some farmers were moving temporarily with their cattle to pastures up the river. “ But no one looks like throwing in the towel “, he said.

Mr. Lancaster said he had visited the Lower Macleay to-day. He said he had never before seen so much silt in a lifetime in the district. “ It is 8 inches to 2 feet thick all over the place,” he said.

Then he put forward the constructive suggestion that rye grass be sown by air over the whole of the affected country at a cost of about £1 3s. an acre. As some honorable members know, rye grass will grow in the winter, and farmers would have some feed to replace that lost by the flooding of pastures on which summer grasses like paspalum were growing.

A natural result of these floods is that the richest soil is to be found on river bottom lands. Throughout history men have naturally chosen the richest soil and have developed farms on the low river flats. The very fact that floods occur has resulted in their having rich country. The honorable member for Cowper (Mr. McGuren) knows that the people in his district have said that the Clarence River valley is one of the fairest and richest pieces of country in the world and that it has a very great future. That is what these people will be saying in a few days time when they have tackled their immediate problems.

Now let us consider what the Commonwealth is doing. All that honorable members opposite have done so far in this discussion has been to make an attack on the government of their own State. The State Labour Government has been doing its job. I want to say right now that the New South Wales Labour Government has done a good job in flood relief. Mr. Hawkins, the New South Wales Minister for Social Welfare, has been in the flooded areas for a week trying to help.

The Commonwealth Government has mads huge sums available. I have with me three lists of amounts that have been provided for emergency relief and other kinds of relief. Dealing with the question of the matching grants made by the Commonwealth Government and the State Government, I want to make this point: There has been no limit at all on Commonwealth assistance, because the money has always been available. The only limit imposed, Mr. Deputy Speaker, has been imposed by the size of the grant made by the State. The Commonwealth matches £1 for £1 the money provided by the State. The Opposition members who have taken part in this discussion are mere tyros in the matter of flood relief. They do not know even the first thing about it. -They ought to do some study to find out what happens. Mr. George Jolly, a New South Wales Government official who received the M.B.E. for his work in flood relief - honorable members opposite probably do not even know his name - told me this morning that in 1945 the Chifley Government provided a total of £7,500 for flood relief in New South Wales, followed in 1946 by £5,000, in 1948 by £17,000 and in 1949 by £76,000 for Maitland and £75,000 for Kempsey. The honorable member for New England (Mr. Drummond) will remember these figures.

Then we come to the Menzies Government, which provided £43,000 for Wagga in 1950 and a total of £185,000 for the whole State in 1950-51. This Government granted £245,000 in 1954 and a total of £835,000 for immediate relief in 1955-56, when a great deal of New South Wales was under floods. Those funds were made available by this Government to help provide food for people who had none, to give them shelter, to try to rehabilitate workers in their homes. and to try to help farmers to get back into production. The total of £835.000 provided in 1955-56 was a very large sum. It included a gift of £250,000 sterling, or about £313,000 Australian, by the United Kingdom Government. For flood relief on the Hawkesbury River in 1960-61, about £130,000 was made available, at a guess.

Another list that I have shows the payments made in respect of natural disasters from 1949-50 to 1962-63- a total of £4,017,000 in all States. There was an additional payment to New South Wales in 1955-56 of £2,000,000. The third list, which I was given by the New South Wales Public Works Department, shows that between 1945-46 and 1961-62 a total of about £860,000 in special Commonwealth and State funds, the Commonwealth matching the State £1 for £1, and approximately £909,000 of Commonwealth aid roads funds were spent on flood relief. These Commonwealth aid roads funds, which were additional to the normal State allocation for road works made by the Australian Loan Council, went into the restoration of roads and bridges that had been destroyed.

I suggest that those Opposition members who have told us that their districts are ruined, and that all activity will stop, ought to remember that immediately flood relief money is paid more money goes through the shops in the towns concerned than at any other time in the year. This can be proved over and over again. When ‘flood relief moneys are paid, the people imme- diately buy new household and other goods.

Mr McGuren:

– -Motor cars?


– Yes, in one case. These facts can be completely checked, but they cannot be discussed adequately in ten minutes. The point that I want to make is that when flood relief money flows and activities start again, the credit is certainly not due to men who make loud-mouthed promises that do a disservice to the people whom they represent. The people who make these promises do so, of course, because of the way in which they are led by their leaders, who are trying to get back into office. People who live in the flooded areas know how to deal with floods and to provide relief. We have heard a lot this morning from people who do not know anything about the provision of flood relief, particularly the honorable member for Mitchel], who made extravagant promises that he knows cannot be fulfilled. He went to the flooded areas and betrayed the people who had been flooded out. The local officials know how to provide appropriate and adequate flood relief. They work everything out patiently. Public servants like George Jolly and Lin Rath, who undertake this task, are a magnificent group and they know exactly how much money should be provided. The assistance that they make available is generous, adequate and appropriate.

Mr Griffiths:

– It is only peanuts.


– Honorable members opposite are only trying to make political capital out of this. The way in which they talk about these matters ill becomes them. They talk as if they would pour out millions of pounds of federal aid in addition to the vast sums that have already been provided. I am stating the facts. One of the most important qualities exhibited by the people in the flooded areas is the strength of their morale and courage. Honorable members opposite, by their attitude, tend only to destroy the morale and courage of the local people. Let us remember, Sir, that there is a desperate load on the shoulders of the people wno live in the valleys of the rivers that flood. As Mickey Lancaster, who lives on the Macleay River, has said, they will fight on and come back again, because they believe that the good new soil on their lands, which is 18 inches in depth, will enable them to develop magnificent properties. Let us not forget that these river bottom lands come into their own in dry seasons. Honorable members opposite do not want to help the people who have been flooded out.


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


.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, the honorable member for Cowper (Mr. McGuren) deserves the thanks of this House, and undoubtedly he will receive the thanks of his constituents, for raising in this National Parliament the all-important question of the relief of the soul-searing flooding that has occurred on the north coast of New South Wales in recent times. The honorable member, since his election to this House, has not ceased1 to advocate flood-mitigation measures and has constantly urged this Government to get in harmony with the New South Wales Government and the local people in tindertaking adequate flood-mitigation schemes. I would have expected the House to be hushed and stilled while it heard his words in the discussion of this national matter of urgent public importance. Furthermore, I would expect the Government to act on his suggestions and to provide immediately succour and relief for those in distress, and to follow up such measures by floodmitigation schemes on the north coast of New South Wales and throughout the rest of Australia.

It is easy for us, in the cosy comfort of Canberra, where huge sums are being spent on the provision of a large lake, to forget altogether the desolation and wretchedness of the people on the north coast of New South Wales whose homes have been flooded, whose stock have been swept out to sea and whose personal possessions have been washed away, leaving only the mud, dirt and slush carried into the houses by the water. Surely these matters are worth greater consideration than that evident in the detached attitude of the Minister for Supply (Mr. Fairhall), who described the silt left behind as the enriching agency of the alluvial flats that would blossom and bloom again in the future, when all would be well.

There have been twenty devastating floods on the north coast of New South Wales in the past eighteen years. What sort of conditions are necessary to stir this Government into action so that it will take positive measures to prevent flooding? The honorable member for Macarthur (Mr. Jeff Bate) has mentioned large grants for relief. The making of such grants, Mr. Deputy Speaker, emphasizes more than does anything else, since such relief has to be given year after year, the fact that the logical thing to do is to prevent flooding. Let us adopt flood-mitigation proposals to remove this dread spectre of flooding that has ravaged the alluvial flats and the surrounding countryside over the years.

The views of the residents of the north coast have been expressed by various people. No better spokesman is to be found that Councillor G. J. McCartney, of

Grafton, who is chairman of the Clarence River County Council. A few days ago, Councillor McCartney said -

It’s not commiseration we want now, but strong -action.

He described the floods in the Clarence valley as a national disaster. That fact, of course, has not penetrated the minds of some honorable members on the Government side of the chamber. They still want to play politics and to pass the buck instead of getting on with the work of flood prevention and relief. The honorable member for Cowper has constantly advanced the idea that the Commonwealth work with the State authorities and the local people and provide additional funds to enable floodmitigation work to proceed.

Mr. McCartney went on to say

We must all speak with one concerted voice, all political parties, all producers’ organizations … Of the 152,000 acres of river flats, there will be only 1 per cent, out of flood . . . The dairying production cannot be expected to resume until August. Cane, timber, fishing, any primary industry that this valley tries to support, will be faced with weeks, and in cases, months, of low, or no, income.

Surely that should bestir the Government.

I thank the Government for making a Royal Australian Air Force plane available to enable you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, the honorable member for Macarthur, the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony), the honorable member for Cowper, the honorable member for Mitchell (Mr. Armitage) and myself to visit this devastated, area. We saw hundreds of acres of land drowned or submerged, with trees jutting out of the muddy water. We saw where fences disappeared under water and we saw telephone poles covered to one-half their height with water. We saw stock huddled together on high ground and we saw houses emerging from the water as the flood commenced to subside. We viewed the scene thanks to the interest, at least, of the Government in making the plane available to us.

Something permanent must be done. These floods are not something new. Since the inception of this nation they have occurred year after year. The former right honorable member for Cowper, the late Sir Earle Page, spoke about this matter during the whole of his life as a member of the

National Parliament. The Adelaide “ Advertiser” referred to the need for a national water plan, using as its authority Sir Robert Jackson, a former secretary of the Department of National Development, who had been in Ghana, India and Pakistan. Professor Munro of the University of Sydney addressed the Anzaas Congress in Sydney on 23rd August last. Part of his speech is reported in the following day’s issue of the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ in these terms -

The Federal Commission would supervise and guide both State and regional authorities.

He then went on to emphasize the urgency of establishing a federal commission.

Perhaps there was no better authority on this subject than the late Sir Earle Page, who referred to it on numerous occasions. One of his statements was reported in the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ of 10th January, 1958. Another which he made in this House on 29th September, 1960, is reported in “ Hansard “ in this way -

Therefore, I say that the time has come when we must devise some permanent machinery to put capital into major water conservation works . . . I believe we should look around and see what other countries are doing in this regard. We should make certain that the money is available. Since the introduction of uniform taxation there has been no opportunity for the States to tax incomes even if they desired to impose taxes to obtain money for this purpose.

Mr Curtin:

– Who said that?


– The late Sir Earle Page. What painful nonsense has been talked by Government supporters on the matter of finding funds! The Minister said that any scheme such as that proposed by the late Sir Earle Page would cost millions of pounds, but that in any case flood mitigation is the responsibility of the States. As Sir Earle pointed out, the Commonwealth collects the revenue, the Commonwealth holds the revenue, and the Commonwealth disperses the revenue to the States. So the Commonwealth should make sufficient finance available for the necessary work to be carried out. Later in the same speech the right honorable gentleman said -

The Americans have created a permanent cooperative organization in which the federal government, the State governments and the authorities which control river basins are all joined together.

The right honorable gentleman persistently advocated the establishment of a similar organization in Australia. It is to be deplored that honorable members on the Government side have not joined in a unified approach to the matter. Sir Earle Page then went on to say -

This organization has been working in the U.S.A. for ten or eleven years, and the American Government has decided that it is to the advantage of the federation to find the cost of head works and provide the money free of interest. It allows long terms for the repayment of the money, which in many cases is not paid back at all.

This is a matter which needs support.


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


.- I am glad to be able to participate in this debate because I am one of the persons in this House who is fairly familiar with floods on the north coast of New South Wales. I have made a study of them over the years. In fact, I was born and reared in the flood areas. I want to reply to some remarks which were made by the honorable member for Mitchell (Mr. Armitage) concerning a statement which I made to the Grafton “ Daily Examiner “. I stand by what I said.

Mr McGuren:

– I raise a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Do the remarks now being made by the honorable member bear any relationship to the subject before the House, which is in quite explicit terms?


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


– The traffic seems to be all one way. A person can be attacked and yet is denied the opportunity to reply. I shall not go into details, but I stand by the statement which I gave to the newspaper.

On Tuesday last three Opposition and three Government members made a flight to the areas which have been flooded by the Hawkesbury, Macleay and Clarence rivers. The areas surrounding the Macleay and Clarence rivers were pitiful to see. Flying at about 500 feet you could see below thousands of acres of flooded country, studded with clumps of trees and with houses and bails poking out of the water. Maize crops were bent over, completely destroyed. Pastures were either under water, heavily eroded or covered with sand and silt. For the people concerned this will be a very dismal winter. No doubt their production will be at a very low ebb. Along the rivers the banks were heavily eroded and there was evidence of much destruction, particularly on the Macleay River, where much debris was piled around houses and buildings, fences were knocked about and rubbish was piled along the fences. One feature in the Clarence River area was the huge clumps of water hyacinths which apparently had been forced down the river by the flood waters. I saw almost an acre of it caught up by one house and, from what I could see, the water hyacinth was 2 or 3 feet deep. I would hate to be the people in that house.

There will be loss of production in these flooded areas with resultant unemployment. The scene was very dismal. I do not think that within our lifetime we shall see these rivers completely controlled but we must try to minimize the damage. Flood mitigation means the minimizing of damage caused by floods. The major damage is caused by water lying on the ground for too long. If water remains on pastures for more than seven or eight days the pastures go rotten and take many months to recover. I speak from personal experience. I do not ask for any sympathy nor do I make any complaint, but my farm has been under water four times this year. When I returned to Canberra the other day some one asked me what my flats looked like. I replied: “ Have you ever seen a large frying pan with the fat starting to go solid? It is a shiny, greasy mass. That is what my farm looks like.” Let no one suggest that I have no sympathy for the people in the flood areas. As a representative of flooded areas I feel that we should give a lead in approaching the problem sensibly. Constitutional and traditional obstructions must be overcome.

I have never considered that the honorable member for Cowper (Mr. McGuren) has done a service to the country by trying to create a situation in which people believe that they may come to the Commonwealth Government and ask for aid on a £1 for £1 basis. The responsibility for flood mitigation rests squarely on the State Government. If the State Government cannot find its way clear to provide money for this work, it must come to the Commonwealth

Government and submit a detailed plan for help. This approach has been adopted by other State governments.

After Western Australia submitted a detailed plan to the Commonwealth, this Government provided assistance for the Ord River scheme. The Commonwealth has provided assistance to Queensland for beef roads, the Mount Isa railway and development of the brigalow lands and ports. But, with New South Wales, all that has happened with regard to flood mitigation has been that the Commonwealth received, in 1960, a letter from the late Premier Cahill asking only that the Commonwealth provide a matching grant to a maximum of £300,000 a year. No details were given to the Commonwealth and no minimum yearly amount of grant was specified. No definite period of time was fixed during which the grant should be given. The proposals were completely vague and indefinite.

I should like, briefly, to relate what is being done on the north coast of New South Wales to obtain additional money for flood mitigation work. On 7th April of this year the Tweed Shire Council, the Richmond River County Council, the Clarence River County Council and the Macleay River County Council met in Lismore. After lengthy discussion they decided to provide the State Government with detailed plans of proposed expenditure on the rivers within their jurisdiction and the amount of finance that they wanted. I believe they wanted the State Government to match their contributions on a four-to-one ratio. At present the State Government matches the contributions of the local authorities on a two-to-one ratio but this ratio places a too-heavy financial burden on the local government authorities.

In making their submission to the State Government the bodies concerned have adopted a logical procedure. If the State Government feels that it is not financially able to provide the sum involved, which would be about £4,000,000 spread over, say, six years - I should like to see the work accomplished in about six years - the State Government must forward the proposal to the Commonwealth. When that stage is reached I shall certainly do all in my power to obtain Commonwealth aid for flood mitigation. But I will not stand for the paltry party political practices of coming direct to the Commonwealth Government and asking for an open cheque for flood mitigation work to be carried out over no definite period of time. I will not agree to any attempts to obtain assistance from the Commonwealth in this way without fixing the amount that the Commonwealth shall provide. That is what is sought in this urgency debate.

The county councils have agreed to approach the State Government. Their clerks and engineers met on 26th April, a’ Grafton, to decide how to prepare their case. Their submission will be presented to a meeting of the county councils on 22nd May and that submission will then be sent to the State Government. As I have said, the basis of the submission is that the State Government make a grant to the local government authorities on a £4 for £1 basis. It is not novel for the Commonwealth Government to be asked to help. The New South Wales Government submitted a detailed request to the Commonwealth for help in the construction of the Chowilla dam, on the Murray River. The State Government said that it could not provide sufficient money to build the dam. It submitted a detailed case to the Commonwealth, and the Commonwealth agreed to help. I believe that the Commonwealth will provide assistance for flood mitigation work provided a detailed submission - nothing airy-fairy or vague - is presented to it. The county councils in the northern part of New South Wales are doing the right thing and it ill becomes the honorable member for Cowper to raise this matter in the way that he has and to attempt to divert attention from the very constructive work that the county councils are doing in the area to obtain finance to help them to overcome this problem of floods.


.- Mr. Speaker-

Motion (by Mr. Howson) put -

That the business of the day be called on.

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

AYES: 57

NOES: 53

Majority . . 4

In division:



Mr. Peters. - But, Mr. Speaker-


-Order! A point of order may not be raised while a division is taking place. The honorable member will restrain himself.

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Mr Peters:

– I rise to order. I desire to know, Mr- Speaker, whether the honorable member for Fawkner was in order in proposing a motion when he was in the gallery.


– It is desirable that the honorable member,’ when proposing a motion, should be in his proper place in the House, but that is not obligatory. He was not in the gallery.

page 1474


Message recommending appropriation reported.

In committee (Consideration of GovernorGeneral’s message):

Motion (by Mr. Harold Holt) agreed to -

That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue and moneys be made for the purposes of a bill for an act to approve the raising by way of loan of moneys in the currency of the United States of America to be lent to the Australian National Airlines Commission, and for purposes connected therewith.

Resolution reported.

Standing Orders suspended; resolution adopted.

Ordered -

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

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

Second Reading

Treasurer · Higgins · LP

– I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

This bill seeks the approval of Parliament to the borrowing of up to 11,000,000 dollars, or about £4,900,000 by the Commonwealth on behalf of the Australian National Airlines Commission. It includes an appropriation of the Loan Fund to enable the proceeds of the borrowing to be advanced to the Australian National Airlines Commission, to which I shall refer later by the more commonly known name of Trans-Australia Airlines or T.A.A. The Consolidated Revenue Fund will also be appropriated to enable the Commonwealth to meet payments of principal and interest and of other charges associated with the loan out of funds to be previously provided by Trans-Australia Airlines.

This bill is similar to another measure which I intend to bring before the House in a few minutes and which will also seek the approval of Parliament for a borrowing by the Commonwealth in New York for aircraft purposes. The borrowing which will be the subject of the next bill was made on behalf of Qantas Empire Airways Limited. In each case, the borrowing is being made by the Commonwealth in order to provide finance to assist the Government airlines in purchasing additional jet aircraft and related equipment for the extension of their front-line fleets. In each case, too, the same lender is involved and the bills, and the loan agreements annexed to them, are therefore drawn on similar lines. I therefore suggest that it may be convenient for the House to consider both bills together.

The arrangements for the borrowing for Trans-Australia Airlines, which is the subject of the bill now before the House, are similar to those approved by Parliament in August, 1962, when the Commonwealth borrowed 4,600,000 dollars, or £2,000,000 on behalf of Qantas. The Commonwealth will make the entire proceeds of the borrowing available to Trans-Australia Airlines on terms to be determined by me as Treasurer. These terms will be the same as the conditions under which the Commonwealth itself has borrowed the money. As Trans-Australia Airlines will be required to meet all charges as they become due under the loan agreement, the Commonwealth assumes a function similar to that of guarantor of the loan, and there will be no net charge on the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

As has previously been announced, the two major domestic air transport operators - Trans-Australia Airlines and Ansett- A.N.A. - have each decided to purchase two heavy turbo-jet aircraft for introduction into the Australian domestic network in the latter half of 1964. The selected aircraft, the Boeing 727, is a three-engine craft with an all-up weight of 152,000 lb., a passenger-carrying capacity of approximately 100 in a mixed first class and tourist configuration, and a speed of about 600 miles per hour. These new aircraft will become the airlines’ front-line equipment. From the proceeds of the proposed borrowings, 10,000,000 dollars will provide part of the purchase price of the two Boeing aircraft and related spare parts and equipment to be purchased by Trans-Australia Airlines. The balance of the cost of the aircraft and related equipment will be provided by Trans-Australia Airlines from its own resources. Should Trans-Australia Airlines decide to purchase a flight simulator for aircrew training, an additional 1,000,000 dollars can be borrowed in accordance with the option that has been included in the loan agreement and which requires a decision to be made by 30th June, 1963.

Including the present loan, and that proposed on behalf of Qantas to which I ieferred earlier, the Commonwealth has now borrowed 60,400,00” dollars in New York for the purchase of aircraft since 1956, of which 44,400,000 dollars has been for Qantas Empire Airways Limited and 16,000,000 dollars for Trans- Australia Airlines. Of the earlier loans totalling 40,400,000 dollars, an amount of only 17,600,000 dollars or less than half, still remains to be repaid. In addition, a further 39,200,000 dollars has been borrowed for aircraft purposes from the International Bank and the Export-Import Bank of Washington, of which 31,500,000 dollars is still outstanding. These loans have contributed significantly to the fleet extension, modernizing and re-equipping which TransAustralia Airlines and Qantas Empire Airways Limited have undertaken in recent years.

Negotiations for the loan for TransAustralia Airlines were completed with the lender, Morgan Guaranty Trust Company of New York, early in April and the agreement became effective as of 1st March. The full text of the agreement is annexed as the schedule to the bill. The loan will be drawn by the Commonwealth at the request of Trans-Australia Airlines, as payments for the new aircraft are required by the manufacturer. Drawings on the loan will commence immediately after parliamen tary approval has been obtained to the bill, and are to be completed by the end of 1964. Until December, 1964, interest is payable at the rate of 4i per cent, on amounts drawn, and a commitment fee of i per cent, is payable on the undrawn balance.

In December, 1964, the Commonwealth will exchange the interim promissory notes it has issued to the lender, as the loan is drawn, for a series of fourteen notes of approximately equal value which are pay-‘ able half-yearly between June, 1965, and December, 1971. The notes repayable in 1964 and 1965 will bear interest at 4± per cent. The notes repayable between 1966 and 1969 will bear interest at 41 per cent., and those repayable in 1970 and 1971 will bear interest at 4f per cent. The average interest rate over the life of the loan is less than 4i per cent, per annum, making this the most favorable borrowing so far arranged for the Commonwealth for mrcraft financing in the United States. Other provisions in the loan agreement are similar to those included in earlier agreements negotiated by the Commonwealth in the United States for borrowings for aircraft purposes.

The terms and conditions of the borrowing have been approved by the Australian Loan Council, and the borrowing will be additional to the Commonwealth’s programme of £48,600,000 for housing approved at the February, 1963, meeting of the Loan Council. As with previous loans arranged on behalf of Qantas Empire Airways Limited and Trans-Australia Airlines, the Commonwealth is acting only as an intermediary, and the borrowing will therefore involve no net call on the Commonwealth’s resources.

I commend the bill to honorable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Crean) adjourned.

Sitting suspended from 12.46 to 2.15 p.m.

page 1475


Message recommending appropriation reported.

In committee (Consideration of GovernorGeneral’s message):

Motion (by Mr. Harold Holt) agreed to -

That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue and moneys be made for the purposes of a bill for an act to approve the raising by way of loan of moneys in the currency of the United States of America to be lent to Qantas Empire Airways Limited, and for purposes connected therewith.

Resolution reported.

Standing Orders suspended; resolution adopted.

Ordered -

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

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

Second Reading

HigginsTreasurer · LP

– I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

This bill seeks the approval of the Parliament to the borrowing of up to 9,000,000 dollars, or approximately £4,000,000, by the Commonwealth on behalf of Qantas Empire Airways Limited. It is the bill to which I referred when introducing the Loan (Australian National Airlines Commission) Bill before the suspension of the sitting.

The lender is the same for the loans for both Qantas and Trans-Australia Airlines, and the bills and annexed loan agreements have therefore been drawn up on the same principles. The major terms of the two loans, such as interest rates and repayment dates, are identical and I have already suggested that, in these circumstances, it seems unnecessary to repeat the detailed information on the arrangements for these borrowings which I included in my speech on the Trans-Australia Airlines loan bill.

The loan for Qantas will assist in financing the purchase of two additional Boeing 707- 138b jet aircraft, which are expected to cost a total of 11,100,000 dollars. The two additional aircraft will be needed by early 1965, and will increase to thirteen the present Qantas front-line fleet of eleven Boeing aircraft. The Government’s approval has already been given for Qantas to place an order for the two additional aircraft and associated equipment, and the aircraft are scheduled for delivery in September and October, 1964.

The proceeds of the proposed borrowing will provide part of the purchase price, while the balance of the cost of the aircraft and associated equipment will be met by Qantas from its own resources. As with previous loans arranged on behalf of Qantas and Trans-Australia Airlines, the Commonwealth is acting only as an intermediary, and the borrowing will therefore involve no net call on the Commonwealth’s resources. By acting as the borrower the Commonwealth has, however, made use of its own high credit standing overseas to obtain terms more favorable than the airlines may have been able to secure had they arranged the borrowings directly. As I mentioned in relation to the other bill, our borrowings in respect of these two loans are on more favorable terms than we have previously been able to secure.

I commend the bill to honorable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Crean) adjourned.

page 1476


Motion (by Mr. Harold Holt) agreed to -

That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Pay-Roil Tax Assessment Act 1941-1962.

Bill presented, and read a first time.

Second Reading

HigginsTreasurer · LP

– by leave - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The principal purpose of this bill is to give effect to the decision of the Government announced by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) on 21st February last that export incentive measures introduced in 1961 will be continued beyond the date at which they are due to terminate under the law as at present enacted.

The effect of the bill is to renew the export incentives contained in the pay-roll tax law so that they have a further five years to run after the close of the present financial Vear on 30th June, 1963. In other words it is proposed that the present incentives will continue to be available in relation to pay-roll tax paid or payable up to 30th lune, 1968. In a bill I will shortly place before the House it is proposed to continue the twin incentives contained in the income tax law for a like period.

The taxation incentives provided by the pay-roll tax law take the form of a rebate of the pay-roll tax liability of an employer. Broadly speaking, the rebate is available to an enterprise that increases its exports above the level of its average exports of the base period prescribed by the 1961 measures to which I have already referred.

If the value of a firm’s exports in a financial year so increases by 1 per cent, of its gross business receipts for that financial year then it is entitled to a rebate of 12.5 per cent, of its pay-roll tax liability for that year. The rebate increases proportionately with the increase in the value of export sales achieved so that when the increase amounts to 8 per cent, of a firm’s gross business receipts for a financial year a full rebate of its pay-roll tax for that year becomes available to the firm.

In introducing this bill I feel I could not do better than refer honorable members to the view expressed by the Prime Minister in the statement he made on 21st February. He said then that it is essential that once measures designed to provide special incentives are established, they ought to be carried on long enough to produce their intended results.

Evidence is not lacking that the objectives and value of the incentives are being recognized by industry. On 29th April last I was able to announce that in respect of the 1961-62 financial year 329 firms had increased their exports to an extent that rebates totalling £1,841,000 had been allowed. At the time of my announcement a further 181 claims for rebates totalling £499,000 were being processed by the Taxation Branch and still further claims were being received.

I consider, however, that it is of prime importance that exporters, both established and potential, should have some advance assurance that incentives for export activity will not be terminated before they have had the opportunity to bring to finality production and sales programmes on which they have already embarked having regard to the taxation incentives at present offered. An assurance of this kind is clearly of particular value to exporters in that it enables them to plan ahead the expansion of activities on competitive export markets.

I am sure honorable members will be interested to know that the expectation of the Taxation Branch, as most recently advised to me, is that rebates of pay-roll tax under the scheme this year will amount to more than £3,000,000, perhaps £3,200,000, as against the estimate of £2,400,000 at the time when the Budget was prepared. It will be seen, therefore, that the export increase obtained has exceeded what we expected at the time of preparing the last Budget.

The bill also contains technical amendments of the definition of the gross receipts for the financial year, which is an element taken into account in the formula under which a pay-roll tax rebate is calculated. It may be the simplest means of expressing the part played by these receipts in determining a rebate if I say that the amount of the receipts is the denominator used in determining a rebate, whilst the increase in export sales is the numerator. It follows from this that the amount of a rebate varies according to the proportion of the increase in export sales to the gross business receipts.

Again speaking very broadly, gross business receipts under the present law include all amounts derived from carrying on a trade or business in Australia which are assessable or exempt income for the purposes of the Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assessment Act, less certain specified amounts such as freight charges included in the price of exported goods.

The present definition requires the inclusion in gross business receipts of such amounts as the excess of the value of closing stock over the value of opening stock, recoveries of bad debts, the recoupment on disposal of depreciable assets for a consideration in excess of their depreciated values, and balancing adjustments relating to expenditure that has been allowed as an income tax deduction in earlier years. All of these are amounts specifically included in assessable income under our income tax law and, when included in gross business receipts for the purposes of the pay-roll tax rebate, have the effect of reducing the amount of rebate available.

The view has been taken that such amounts do not represent actual trading receipts of the financial year in which they are brought to account as assessable income and, accordingly, should not operate to diminish the amount of a rebate otherwise available to an enterprise. For these reasons the Government has decided to exclude these amounts from the gross business receipts taken into account in determining a pay-roll tax rebate.

A memorandum explaining the technical features of the bill will be made available for the information of honorable members and in these circumstances I do not propose, at this stage, to speak at greater length on the bill. I commend it to honorable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Crean) adjourned.

page 1478


Motion (by Mr. Harold Holt) agreed to -

That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act relating to Income Tax.

Bill presented, and read a first time.

Second Reeding.

HigginsTreasurer · LP

– by leave - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

Principal among the proposals in this bill is a provision to extend the period in which a special income tax allowance is available for expenditure incurred on the development of overseas markets for Australian products. The bill is, in this respect, complementary to the Pay-roll Tax Assessment Bill 1963, on which I have already spoken. The special income tax allowance for export market development expenditure is additional to any other deduction authorized by the general provisions of the income tax law for that type of expenditure. Like the pay-roll tax measures, of which I have already spoken, the special allowance was initiated in 1961. As honorable members are aware, it is one of the steps taken by the Government to encourage and assist the entry of firms into new overseas markets. When introducing the measure, in 1961, I informed the House that the allowance would operate for an experimental period, and earlier this year the Government felt that the time had arrived to re-examine the position. This review established that extension of the special allowance was justified in the light of the great importance to Australia of achieving increased exports. I have already stated, in my speech on the Pay-roll Tax Assessment Bill 1963, the general view taken by the Government on this matter.

The decision to extend the income tax export incentives will be implemented by a provision of this bill under which the special allowance v/ill remain available for export market development expenditure incurred up to 30th June, 1968. As in the case of the pay-roll tax rebate, established exporters and other firms contemplating entry into the export trade will, in developing their overseas promotion programmes, be able to plan ahead with the knowledge that the income tax incentive provided by the special allowance will remain available to them for a further period of five years.

The House will observe that the bill contains a number of other proposals for amendment of the income tax law. A memorandum explanatory of each provision of the bill will be circulated for the information of honorable members. I do not, therefore, propose to undertake a detailed explanation of the measures, but I would like to refer to them briefly. First, I mention a provision relating to the payment of fines imposed by courts for breaches of the income tax law. Under existing provisions, a court is not entitled to allow time for the payment of such a fine, and a person unable to meet forthwith a pecuniary penalty imposed on him may find himself faced with immediate imprisonment, although, in practice, the courts have frequently found means of avoiding that result. The Government considers that the law should empower the courts to allow time for the payment of such fines or to permit payment by instalments. The bill will give to the courts such a power.

Also included in the bill are provisions concerning dividends. For many years, exemption from tax has been authorized in respect of certain classes of income derived from mining operations. Exemption has also been available in respect of dividends paid wholly and exclusively out of those exempt profits. Where the recipient of such a dividend is a company, the dividend which it, in turn, distributes may also qualify for exemption. The exemption is, however, lost if the dividend passes through the hands of more than one company interposed between the mining company and the recipient of the dividend. This arbitrary termination of the exemption cannot be justified on any logical grounds and the bill contains a provision enabling existing exemptions of mining profits to be retained when successive companies distribute dividends having their origin in exempt mining income.

Effect is also to be given to an announcement I made last December concerning dividends paid out of certain profits that have borne the undistributed income tax payable by private companies. The exemption of these dividends expired on 31st December last, but the companies will now be given an additional period of two years in which they may distribute, free of tax, dividends paid out of profits that have borne undistributed income tax at rates attributable to the incomes of individuals. The bill also includes a provision enabling the basis of taxation that applied to the short-term seasonal securities issued by the Commonwealth to be continued in the case of the treasury-notes which last year replaced the seasonal securities. The same provisions will also operate in relation to the noninterestbearing inscribed stock that it is proposed to issue under legislation recently considered by the House.

A further proposal that honorable members will, I feel sure, approve, concerns gifts to the Australian National Committee for the Freedom from Hunger Campaign. The existing provisions of the law authorize the allowance of income tax deductions for gifts of £1 and upwards made to the organization not later than 30th June, 1963. The bill will permit deductions to be allowed for gifts made up to 30th June, 1964, and the Government believes that this amendment will provide material assistance for an appeal now being organized in Australia on behalf of the Freedom from Hunger Campaign.

In the case of the Australian National Committee for World Refugee Year it is proposed that income tax deductions for gifts . be continued only where they are made not later than 30th June, 1963. lt was intended at all times that there would be a time limit on that campaign.

The final matter to which I should refer is a proposal to exempt from tax educational allowances paid by the Commonwealth to a person who is in Australia solely for the purpose of pursuing a course of study or training. The provision will apply in the case of certain students and trainees in Australia in connexion with ‘.lie Colombo Plan or a Commonwealth aid programme. If the students or trainees are receiving full-time education at a school, college or university, the allowances by way of scholarships, &c, are already exempt from tax. The proposed exemption will apply in the case of part-time students and trainees who in the past have been required to pay tax on the allowances granted by the Commonwealth. The proposed exemption will relate only to educational allowances paid by the Commonwealth and will not disturb the present basis of taxing any remuneration that the students and trainees may derive. I commend the bill to honorable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Crean) adjourned.

page 1479


Reference to Public Works Committee

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

– 1 move -

That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1960, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report: - Construction of Stage 2 of the Darwin Technical High School.

The building will provide additional classroom accommodation, lecture theatrette and ancillary services. It will consist of a ground floor and two upper floors, and it will be similar in design and construction to the classroom block of stage 1. The estimated cost of the work is £380,000. I table preliminary plans of the proposed building.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 1480



– I desire to make a personal explanation on a matter of misrepresentation in the press. The Sydney “ Daily Telegraph “ this morning, in reporting something that I was supposed to have said yesterday stated -

He said Mr. Keeffe did not seem concerned about the Queensland elections.

I made no statement of that kind whatever. I did not mention Mr. Keeffe. I think he is very concerned about the Queensland elections and I think he is going to win them.

page 1480



Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir John McLeay:

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

page 1480


Second Reading

Debate resumed from 9th May (vide page 1229), on motion by Sir Garfield Barwick -

That the bill be now read a second time.

Leader of the Opposition · Melbourne

Mr. Speaker, this is a momentous debate, and in many ways an unusual one. It is momentous because we are discussing an agreement for the establishment, in peace-time, of a military installation by a foreign power. It is unusual chiefly because it is the first time in the history of this nation that any government has so clearly avowed its intention to treat a matter affecting the lives and security of our nation as a cheap debating exercise, and to reduce the great issues of peace and war to the size of a political football. It is also unusual in that the debate on the agreement comes before Parliament not because the Government believes Parliament has any right to debate it, and has said so expressly, but only by way of grace and the condescension on the part of the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) and his colleagues. Let it be clear that we who constitute the Parliament of the Commonwealth are not really enacting anything; we have merely been invited to attend a post mortem examination of the Government’s actions.

I wish to make it clear, therefore, beyond all the considerable capacity of evil-minded people to misrepresent the motives of the Labour Party and to distort statements of members of the Labour Party, that any criticism offered to the agreement before us is directed not against the United States Government but against the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia.

I accuse the Minister for External Affairs of having failed to give the Parliament and the people the fullest information in his possession about the nature and purpose of the North West Cape naval communication station. I accuse him of having given interpretations of clauses in the agreement which are untenable and inconsistent, and of having done so for the shabbiest possible political motives.

I accuse the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) and those of his colleagues who have discussed the question of the station, both inside and outside this Parliament, of having attempted in the most unscrupulous fashion, to mislead the Australian people about the attitude of the Labour Party to certain aspects of the agreement. I accuse the Government of having most grossly and most dishonorably perverted the truth about the Labour Party’s proposal that a multilateral agreement should be negotiated through the United Nations for the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere. These charges I shall prove to the satisfaction of all citizens who have no vested interest in misrepresentation and no guilty consciences to haunt them because of their wretched records as the nation’s leaders.

As to the agreement itself, the Opposition will move, at the appropriate stage, amendments designed to ensure that the sovereignty, security and the best interests of the Australian nation are upheld. The need for the amendments we propose will become abundantly clear as the debate proceeds. I say at the outset that the Prime Minister has never honestly tried to inform the House or the nation about the true nature and purpose of the North West Cape base.

If we examine Government statements, including the statement last Thursday by the Minister on this matter, we will note, among other things, one theme running through them all, and this theme is that there is nothing of unusual significance, nothing of a radical nature incorporated in the proposed installation. And the corollary of this line of reasoning is that any objections to such a simple straightforward proposition as the Government has advanced must automatically be inspired by a hatred of the United States of America or a sympathy with communism. This is the argument that the Prime Minister, to his great discredit, has been peddling around Australia for the past few weeks trying to help his cause in the Queensland State elections and trying to bolster up his candidate in the Grey by-election in South Australia.

The first formal statement on the matter was made by the right honorable gentleman on 17th May, 1962, a year ago to-morrow. In that statement he said -

The purpose of the station … is to provide radio communications for the United States and allied ships over a wide area of the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific.

That was the Prime Minister’s last word on the purpose of the base until 26th March of this year, ten months later, when, in answer to a question by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), he repeated what he had previously said. The Prime Minister was reading from a prepared statement because, as he said, he had been expecting the question. It is clear that the statement which he carried in his hand, and which he intended to make, contained no reference whatever to submarines. However, the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) interjected, “ Does that include submarines? “ The Prime Minister then answered: “ Of course it does. Naval forces happen to include submarines.” That is the only reference the Prime Minister has ever made in the House to submarines in connexion with the North West Cape installation, and that reference was made only because of an interjection.

Subsequently the Prime Minister has tried to shrug off his studied equivocation. “ How foolish,” he suggests, “ are these people who do not know that submarines are naval vessels”. To him it is a matter, apparently, for a cheap gibe. The fact is, of course, that this base does not “ happen “. in any casual sense, to include facilities for communication with submarines. Its whole purpose is the relaying of orders to submarines of a very special kind - underwater arsenals of destruction.

Furthermore, this base is to serve a very special, a globally unique purpose, for it is an essential strand in the whole fabric of America’s global strategy. To speak of this base, and add as an afterthought ten months later, that it can also be used to communicate with submarines, is not merely Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark. It is Hamlet without the Prince, the ghost or Shakespeare. This base is to be created solely because the United States wants to complete a system of submarine global strategy. That may be something which the United States regards as vital and necessary, but the station will not become operational until 1 966, and by that time newer and better and less expensive methods of communications may have become, or may be in process of becoming, completely effective. In any case, within two to five years the North West Cape base will be superseded in efficiency by satellites of the Telstar class that will relay signals and remain operational for at least ten years. My authority for that statement is none other than Sir John Cockcroft, who was here a few weeks ago. He is an eminent nuclear scientist and one of the two men who first split the atom.

Mr Cross:

– The Government probably has never heard of him.


-No, but he is a very great man. He said that when these satellites are orbiting in space, signals will be directed at them, will be bounced off them and will be able to reach down into the depths of the ocean. This base, therefore, will not be of any use at all then. I asked him in this conversation, which was not confidential in any way, “ Is it necessary to have the base? “ I know that his answer can be used to argue both ways. He said: “ I do not think it matters so very much, because a couple of submarines in the Indian Ocean will not he doing all the damage, if war comes. By the end of this year, the United States will have 600 Minuteman missiles under operational control and will have 1,000 by the end of 1964. So a couple of submarines will not make very much difference.” This base may be of use in two years’ time or in four years’ time, but it may be superseded. If it is not obsolete in 1966, then, like some of the destroyers of which the Government will take delivery in 1966, it will at least have reached the obsolescent stage.

When we deal with the facts relating to the nature and purpose of this station, we are of necessity thrown upon our own resources. We get no help whatever from ministerial statements. We work out the problem from our resources and our own researches. Incredibly, the speech by the Minister for External Affairs gives no real information beyond saying that the base will be a “ wireless station which will have some very tall masts”. This is to compare the Telstar with a crystal set.

The simple fact is that the North West Cape base, when established, will have only one counterpart in the world - at Cutler, Maine, United States of America. North West Cape is designed to complete the global coverage of the United States defensive system. The station, like that at Maine, will control submarines by means of very low frequency transmitters, which can send signals beneath the waters to submerged craft. The importance of the station transmitting very low frequency waves is that submarines are relieved of the need to surface to obtain firing orders. The station will be reliable, it is understood, over a radius of up to 4,000 miles.

The vessels towards which such signals will be transmitted from the base are, of course, Polaris submarines. Any other use to which the station may be put will be incidental to this prime purpose. The Prime Minister sneers that to us of the Labour Party, “Polaris” is a rude word. Let me say that to us, and to every decent man and woman alive, “ Polaris “ means something highly significant. It may be even a word pregnant with terror, for we all dread the hour when Polaris missiles may have to be used. Let there be no mistake about it - that hour when a nuclear war starts will herald the destruction of all that we hold dear, and may be the annihilation of civilization itself. As these facts show, the Polaris missile, the submarines which carry them, and any land base which services them, are clearly part of a massive system of defence and deterrence. To think that everything has been said when it has been stated that the purpose of the base is “ to provide radio communications for United States and allied ships “ is just absurd and patently dishonest.

I am bound to express my astonishment that the first statement of the significant facts ever to be put in any form before this House should have to come from me. Surely the purpose and use of the station are fundamental to any intelligent discussion about it, or about any agreement relating to it. Yet the Minister’s speech contains virtually none of this information. Does he think they are not important facts? Does the Government not believe that the people should have this information on which to base their judgment? Does the Prime Minister really know what the facts are, or is it that he does not want the people of Australia to know? Why does he not trust the people? We are prepared to trust the people with the facts. There is nothing to be gained by hiding the facts.

We are brought inevitably to my original charge - that the Government has consistently understated and cynically misrepresented the position in order that any objectors, any one who queries any aspect of this agreement, may be the more readily branded with the crude charges of antiAmericanism and disloyalty to Australia’s war-time friend and ally.

The importance to the United States, and therefore to her allies, of the Polaris submarine system is very clear. It is one of the pillars of their system of global deterrence. Its significance to the United States must be studied in global terms, in terms of the strategy of total war, and the avoidance of total war. Thus, Sir, we are confronted with something momentous, something revolutionary for Australia, for, whether we like it or not, we are taking a step closer to the firing line.

It was with these grave considerations in mind that the Australian Labour Party discussed this matter, and we took the discussions to the highest councils of our party. I do not intend to apologize to this House or to any one else for the course we took. I am proud of it, because I am proud to belong to a party which is still democratic, which makes “ open decisions, openly arrived at “. To the extent that I refer to our discussions at all, it is to excuse nothing; it is simply to defend decent Australians who happen to be my comrades, all of them my friends, and who, for the service they have tried to render to their party and their country, have been besmirched, smeared, sneered at and jeered at by a weird collection of leading anti-Labour politicians and the political hacks that serve them. The Prime Minister has led the band, and, to raise a few laughs, to score a few cheap debating points, he has not balked at suggesting that these good men, many of them ex-servicemen, are at best lukewarm in their devotion to their country. Such conduct is unworthy of the Prime Minister and brings him nothing but discredit.

The rules and constitution of the Australian Labour Party provide that the supreme policy-making body of the party is its federal conference, lt has been so for more than half a century. This rule has as its basis a very simple principle and it is this - that the party should make the policy of the party. This is the very essence of our democracy. The party makes its policy, and the people as a whole are asked to judge it, to accept or reject both the party and the policy.

We believed that the question of the establishment of the base at North West Cape was one of such great importance, one with so many ramifications, and one sp fraught with consequences to the nation, that it did involve questions of basic policy. In these circumstances, the party would have been recreant to its responsibilities had it not, long before the bill came before Parliament, discussed it at the highest level and framed resolutions consistent with the policies and platform of the Australian Labour Party.

Thus, after preliminary meetings in Sydney, in which my deputy, the leader of the Labour Party in the Senate and his deputy and I took an active part, a special conference was decided upon, and was held at Canberra on 18th March and succeeding days. The conference consisted of 35 men and one lady. These people, all elected by due constitutional process, represented the rank and file of our party. These are the people who, for some reason I have never been able to divine, are now described, or insulted, as “faceless”. One of the so-called faceless men is the present Leader of the Opposition in the State of Queensland, and most likely to be that State’s next Premier. Another is the Lord Mayor of Brisbane; two are members of this House; one is a senator; others are members of State legislatures; still others are presidents or secretaries of State branches of the party; many are high officers in their respective trade unions. All are there because they have the trust of the Labour movement, and for these and other reasons I am proud, as I have said, to call them all my friends.

When the delegates had been addressed at length by myself and the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Whitlam), it went on with its deliberations. It is not irrelevant to say that the leader of the federal parliamentary Labour Party is not ex officio a delegate to any Labour conference. Whatever one may say of this procedure, it is nothing new. It has been applied for eighty years. The criticisms now made about Labour Party procedures are no more valid to-day than were the same criticisms, expressed in similar circumstances, and in exactly the same terms, by our opponents and detractors, when Mr. Curtin had to seek conference approval for a re-definition of the party anti-conscription plank. Even in war-time, the internal democracy of the Australian Labour Party prevailed.

The conference, having deliberated, adopted a resolution to the effect that the establishment of the proposed base at North West Cape was not contrary to Labour policy if certain conditions were adhered to. Another motion, containing the same conditions, was introduced by the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Alderman Jones. The debating talent of members on the benches opposite has made great play of the fact that this resolution was adopted by nineteen votes to seventeen. The Prime Minister, minus 300,000 votes at the last elections as compared with Labour’s total votes, has also delivered himself of some interesting observations about the validity of majorities. What, the argument runs, would the Leader of the Opposition have done if the vote had gone the other way?

Since I know very well that this point will be the stock in trade of those members opposite who follow me, I will tell the House now. The motion moved by Alderman Jones, which was deadlocked eighteen all, and therefore lost, was not a motion to prevent the establishment of the base. Its preamble differed from the successful resolution, but its effect was precisely the same, and the conditions for the establishment of the base which it laid down were exactly the same as those incorporated in the document which is now party policy. Thus, every member of the conference recorded a vote in favour of the substance of the successful motion.

So let me tell the House, and the Prime Minister and his colleagues, and the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth), in particular, that when they make accusations, as the Prime Minister has done in general terms, and the honorable member for Mackellar did in detail in a scurrilous statement to an even more scurrilous newspaper, on 4th May, that the seventeen minority members of the Australian Labour Party conference are proCommunists, they also accuse me. He who impugns their loyalty impugns mine. And my loyalty is as good as that of any member opposite.

It is about the conditions which the Labour Party believes should be included in this agreement - the conditions laid down in both the motions before that conference - and their relation to the agreement now before us that I now wish to speak.

Firstly, I want to put a general proposition as to why conditions of any sort are necessary. Australia is still - I use the qualification deliberately - an independent nation. It is a member of three alliances, each of a different kind - the British Commonwealth, the Anzus pact and Seato - and it is also a member of the United Nations. Any agreement or treaty to which we become a party must take our responsibilities, with regard to each of these groups, into consideration. But the governing considerations, both in relation to treaties which already exist and to any new agreements or treaties, must always be the protection both of sovereignty of the nation and the security of its people. All treaties must be designed to guarantee and enhance both.

Thus, even if the agreement now before the House dealt with an establishment of the most conventional kind, for instance a radio station of the sort that the Prime Minister would have had the House believe was all that was involved, or even a “ wireless station with very tall masts “ referred to by the Minister, or even if it were nothing more dramatic than this, its establishment on Australian soil, by a foreign power, a great ally certainly, but a foreign power nonetheless, would require the laying down of certain stringent conditions by Australia. The first condition insisted upon by the Labour Party is that Australian sovereignty must be maintained. Article 2 of the agreement does, in fact, provide for territorial sovereignty. In the words of the Minister: “ The status of the United States will be that of a lessee. A token rental in the traditional form of a peppercorn will be reserved to emphasize that relationship.”

I am sure the traditionalists and the legalists will have noted those sentences with profound satisfaction. Sovereignty, however, is more than peppercorns, more than legalisms. Indeed, with the Prime Minister it can be made to mean almost anything. A few years ago, the basis for his policy of firm support for the Netherlands in West New Guinea was the fact of Dutch sovereignty in that territory. A year ago, the principle of sovereignty, by a remarkable legal slide, was used to repudiate that policy. He said then, that because Australia had no sovereignty there, we could not consider ourselves as a party principal in the dispute. But last month, on April 2nd, it had become, in his own elegant phraseology, “ this cackle about sovereignty “. Is it cackle only when Australian sovereignty is involved?

The Labour Party has gone beyond arid legalisms, beyond even peppercorns, to spell out what we regard as necessary to maintain Australian sovereignty in relation to this base. Our conditions are, in fact, concerned with the concept of sovereignty in a nuclear age. They are contained in the decision of the special Australian Labour Party Federal Conference held in March last, to which I have referred and which I now put on record under the heading “ Nuclear Free Zone and Bases “. With the concurrence of the House I shall incorporate the decision in my speech at this stage -

The Australian Labour Party declares that the hope of mankindlies in agreement through the United Nations for total world disarmament. It supports the view of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers in March, 1961, that every effort should be made to secure rapid agreement to the permanent banning of nuclear weapons tests by all nations and to arrangements for verifying the observance of the agreement.

It deplores the breach of the three years moratorium on nuclear tests, and the resumption of tests without any end in sight.

It declares its opposition to nuclear tests at any time by any nation and believes that the Australian Government should take all necessary steps to initiate a conference of the Antarctic Treaty Powers, China, Japan, India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Burma, Malaya, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and all countries in Africa and South America, directed towards making the southern hemisphere a nuclear-free zone.

The Government should assure the United Nations that Australia in its submissions to the conference to make the southern hemisphere a nuclear-free zone, would declare that it would agree not to manufacture, acquire or receive nuclear weapons.

Australia now has its. own bases capable of being used by itself and its allies in war.

A defence radio communications centre capable of communicating with submarines operated by an ally in Australia would not be inconsistent with Labour policy if:

Australian sovereignty were maintained. 2. Australian citizens engaged at the station were subject to Australian law.

The radio communications centre is under the joint control and operation of the Australian and U.S.A. governments and the facilities were available to Australian forces.

Australia’s involvement in war is a question for Australia alone to decide at all times and under no circumstances and under no agreement should Australia become automatically involved in war.

In the event of the U.S.A. being at war or threatened with war by another power, Australian territory and Australian facilities must not be used in any way that would involve Australia without the prior knowledge and consent of the Australian Government.

The radio communications centre did not become a base for the stockpiling of nuclear arms in times of peace.

Labour is opposed to foreign owned and operated bases for the supply or holding of defence equipment in Australia in peacetime, and declares it will not be the first nation in the Pacific to stockpile nuclear arms in its territories in peacetime. The Labour Party shares the fears expressed by President Kennedy concerning the possible spread of nuclear arms to those nations not now possessing them.

On 17th May, 1962, President Kennedy said -

We do not believe in a series of national deterrents. We believe that a NATO deterrent, to which the United States has committed itself heavily, can provide adequate protection. An increasingly dangerous situation will result if nation after nation feels that its expression of independence requires it to build up its own nuclear deterrent.

Sir, we would prefer nuclear weapons to be in the hands of only two powers - the United States of America and Russia. We do not want to see the nuclear club spread.

I may say at this stage that the Labour Party’s proposal for a nuclear-free zone, although it has nothing to do with the proposal to establish a base at North West Cape, does bear upon the subjects opened up by this debate. What I have to say about our proposal in respect of the nuclearfree zone in the southern hemisphere will be very brief, but I must say something because on this issue also we have been victims of a carefully planned and completely reprehensible campaign of distortion and misrepresentation. Briefly, our proposal is to call a conference of all the nations in the southern hemisphere, or having interests there, which are signatories of the Antarctic Treaty, so that they may consider what we have put forward. The signatories to the treaty - they include all the nuclear powers - have agreed to have a nuclear-free zone from the South Pole right up to the sixtieth parallel of latitude. We want them to meet so as to obtain agreement among them for the extension of the nuclear-free zone right up to the equator. The Prime Minister attacked this proposal as recently as last week at Port Pirie. In reply I wish to make two points. The first is that our proposal is a disarmament proposal which may or may not be accepted by the other parties to whom it is put. If they reject it, or if any of them reject it, nothing is lost on the present position. If they accept it, something is gained. Every disarmament proposal has this characteristic.

The second point is that in fourteen years of office, this Government has not acquired nuclear weapons. Australia is therefore nuclear-disarmed without any agreement. Whether the Prime Minister realizes it or not, every argument he advances for the need for nuclear weapons for Australia’s defence is a self-condemnation of his own defence programme. The Prime Minister cannot have it both ways..

The first thing to be said about the naval communication station agreement, in relation to the conditions sought by the Labour Party, is this: There is nothing in the agreement which specifically denies any of those conditions, and some of the conditions are indeed specifically included. There is one very surprising feature about this. When we recall the extravagant statements made by Government spokesmen after the Labour Party conference, we can only assume that, as far as the Government was concerned, it was intolerable that Australia should seek any substantial conditions at all. Such conditions as we sought were, according to the Prime Minister, “dangerous and frustrating”. He did not specify which of our conditions were “ dangerous and frustrating “, and, therefore, we are entitled to assume that the simple fact of our seeking any conditions whatsoever was regarded by him as wicked, villainous and wrong.

In my view, there is nothing in the wording of the agreement which specifically precludes the implementation of any of the conditions which the Labour Party seeks. I repeat: Nothing in the agreement specifically excludes the implementation of any of the conditions which we seek. Some of those conditions are, indeed, specifically included. On the other hand, the Minister, in giving his interpretation of what the agreement means, did try to exclude some of the conditions. This raises an intriguing question. If the Labour Party’s conditions are, to quote the Prime Minister, “ dangerous and frustrating “, why have they not been specifically and emphatically excluded? Is not the answer that the United States Government itself disagrees with the Prime Minister and does not regard any of our conditions as in any way dangerous and frustrating?

Speaking of the vital Article 3, the Minister said -

I have already indicated that a basie principle of the agreement is that the station shall be in the sole control of the United States.

Where is this basic principle anywhere stated in the agreement? The answer is:

Nowhere. Article 1 gives the United States Government the right to “ establish, maintain and operate “ the station, but this does not mean sole control. If it does this, why is it not so stated? Article 2 refers to the right of the United States - as a lessee - to exclusive use of the land. But this clearly refers only to the use of the land, and the Minister’s speech makes it clear that this is so. Article 2 refers only to legal rights, not the control of the base itself and the use to be made of it. And, indeed, Article 4, which gives Australian armed forces the right to use the services of the station, underlines the fact that the base itself, as distinct from the land on which it is built, is not to be for the “ exclusive use “ of the United States. Nor does Article 3 anywhere state that the United States will have the sole control of the base. Indeed, this article is a limitation, not an extension of American authority. I repeat, therefore, that nowhere does the agreement exclude the possibility of joint control. Nowhere does it specifically state what the Minister claims is its basic principle - “ that the station shall be in the sole control of the United States

Mr Reynolds:

– That will be only up to 1st June. The elections will be over then.


– That may be. I hope that we shall win in Queensland and that we shall win by a big majority in Grey.

The Minister continued -

When the nature of this station as it has been publicly described is understood, I am sure it will be obvious that, unless it was desired to create unilateral right of veto on the use of the station - and it is not - joint operation is in fact impracticable.

This, I find, is a most curious statement. Where, in the agreement or the Minister’s speech, is there any genuine “ public description “ of the true nature of this station? As I have made absolutely clear, no ministerial statement has ever been given in this House, or anywhere else, which fully describes the nature of the base. 1 repeat: The only public discussion of its real nature and purpose has emanated from the Australian Labour Party. The Minister states flatly that joint control is impracticable. He does not give one reason to justify or support his assertion. Indeed, the Government, because of its lack of frankness with the House and the people, has virtually lost the right to make any claims.

The Minister says -

Article 3 is not intended to establish control over the use of the station. In particular, it is not intended to give Australia control of, or access to, the content of messages transmitted over the station.

If it is not so intended, why is it not so stated in the agreement? All that the Minister really means is that this particular Government does not intend to establish any control over the use of the station. He has a right to say what he intends to do or not to do. and to say what the Government intends to do or not to do. But I have an equal right to say what the Labour Party intends to do and what the next Labour government would do. We intend to establish such control. To do so, it seems to us, it will not be necessary to repeal a single article of this agreement, although we will certainly add to and clarify the agreement by re-negotiating it with the United States.

Let me say something about the prac ticability of joint control. The Government flatly denies the possibility. The Minister gives us no information on which to judge the validity of this opinion, and I emphasize that it is an opinion only. It is not to be found in the agreement itself. I want to make that point most emphatically. Yet we find that in Britain, Italy and Turkey, wherever the United States has established installations as part of its global defence system, the principle of joint control has been insisted upon by the host countries, and the United States has agreed upon this condition. As the Melbourne “ Age “ said in an editorial on 4th April-

Labour’s reluctance to give the Americans a blank cheque to involve Australia in war-like action without consultation is not unusual by normal international standards.

If the Government is to persist in its claim that what has been done elsewhere cannot bc done in this case then it must give us far more information, far better reasons than it has so far done. It will have the right to have attention paid to its opinion on this matter only when it has fulfilled its duty to the Parliament and the people by giving us the facts on which to judge.

What is the purpose behind our insis tence on joint control? That purpose is contained in the next provision which the Labour Party seeks, and I repeat it -

Australia’s involvement in war is a question for Australia alone to decide at all times and under no agreement should Australia become automatically involved in war.

In the event of the United States of America being at war or threatened with war by another power, Australian territory and Australian facilities must not be used in any way that would involve Australia without prior knowledge and consent of the Australian Government

This is the attitude, this is the policy which the Prime Minister calls “ suicidal “. This is what he calls “ cackle about sovereignty “.

Let me say, once and for all, the Australian Labour Party will never agree that the great decisions of peace and war should be made for Australia by any other than the elected government of Australia. And it follows from that great, basic principle that no use should be made of Australian territory, or of any facilities placed upon Australian territory, which would automatically involve Australia in war without the consent of its government. Let the Prime Minister twist that as much as he likes, but on that principle we take our stand.

The Prime Minister himself has referred to our position. On 21st March, the day after the federal conference, he said -

What the Labour Party has decided is that the Americans cannot use these facilities except with the concurrence of whatever government may be in power in Australia.

In the House of Representatives on 3rd April, purporting to quote the Labour Party addressing the United States, he said -

We want you to understand that you cannot use the station unless the Australian Government happens to say you can.

The Prime Minister intended both these statements to be damning indictments of the Labour Party and its policy.

The attitude of the Prime Minister and his colleagues, on this point at least, is unequivocal. They believe that the government of the day should not have any say in the use by an American government of facilities on Australian soil. Let me remind the House that what the Prime Minister is saying, in effect, is this: That for the next 25 years - the lifetime of the succeeding eight Parliaments of the Commonwealth and the next six Presidential terms in the United States - no Australian Government should ever say to an American government that facilities on Australian soil must not be used in any way that would involve Australia without prior knowledge and consent of our own Government. That is what the Prime Minister is saying. To protest against such a situation is, in his view, “ dangerous and frustrating “.

Twenty-five years - the term of this agreement - is a long time in the life of a man and of a nation. We only have to think of the incredible changes in international affairs and political attitudes in the past 25 years to imagine what changes may be wrought in the next quarter of a century. Twenty-five years ago the present leader of the Government thought that the Hitler regime would endure and saw fit, in his wisdom, to praise certain aspects of its policies. Twenty years ago the then leader of the United Australia Party attacked Mr. Curtin’s appeal to the United States for help, as Japan swept on her victorious way, as “suicidal and dangerous “, and at the same time the present Prime Minister suggested that Mr. Curtin’s famous appeal to the United States was a “ blunder “. Eighteen years ago, Russia and China were our great allies, and Berlin, now called “ a bastion of the free world “, was the target for our bombs. I do not recall these facts in order to rake over old fires, but merely to show that circumstances do change, and can change radically in a very short span.

I suggest that if we examine those events of the past a very consistent line emerges, a line which divides the attitude of the two parties in this House. The Lyons Administration and the first Menzies Administration allowed ten years to pass, but never adopted in full the Statute of Westminster. However, the Curtin Government did so. The present Prime Minister announced in 1939 that Australia was automatically at war with Germany because Britain was at war. The Curtin Government made its own declaration of war on Japan. As then, so now. The Labour Party declares that Australia must not be brought into any war without the consent of its government and through the government, its people. But this Government is content to trail along at the heels of any power and regards it as an affront to suggest that Australia should insist on its own rights.

The Labour Party has chosen its course. Its actions are on record, and our course is plain. We have discussed this matter in all the councils of our great party, and we think we know what is best for Australia. The next Labour Government will not denounce this agreement, but we will renegotiate it to secure the explicit inclusion of certain terms which it lacks and which we believe it should have.

I say to the Prime Minister that should he continue along his chosen path of vilification and misrepresentation he will do incalculable harm to Australian-American relations. If he continues the attempt to equate opposition to him and to his Government with anti-Americanism, if he continues to brand, by inference, one-half of the Australian people - the half which supports the Labour Party - as disloyal and proCommunist, he will succeed only in dividing the nation against itself on a completely artificial, unreal and dangerous issue.

I say to the President and the people of the United States: “ We are your allies, as you are ours. The Australian Labour Party, which first forged the links which bind our nations will maintain them on the basis of mutual respect and dignity befitting two great independent democracies.”

I say to this Government, to the people of Australia, to the United States, and to the world at large: “ The Australian Labour Party will never cede one inch of our territory, or permit the diminution by one iota of the rights of our Government and people “. This is the philosophy which we first brought to the conduct of the nation’s affairs in peace and war, and it is this philosophy that we again expound in our consideration of the bill now before the House.

Minister for Supply · Paterson · LP

– I agree with the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) that the bill before the House is of the most extraordinary importance to Australia’s future and indeed to the future of the free world. It is novel in that it is perhaps the first bill to come before the Parliament relating to an agreement by Australia with another country for the establishment in peacetime of military facilities on Australian soil.

The term “ peace-time “ requires a good deal of qualification, and I shall address myself to that in a moment.

  1. view of the importance of this bill, for the reasons which have been stated, it is regrettable that it should have been the Leader of the Opposition who imported party politics into this issue. Opposition members are interjecting, but in his speech their leader descended to the lowest possible ebb and put in a plug for Labour in the Grey by-election. The Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick), in presenting the bill to the House, made a reasoned and sober statement of the objectives for which the agreement had been negotiated. If this debate, unhappily, should turn on political issues, the Leader of the Opposition will have no one to blame but himself. This debate relates to an agreement for the establishment of a very-low-frequency radio communication station at North West Cape, but the substance of the debate is nothing less than the defence and security of the free world and the contribution that Australia can and, indeed, is to make to them.

As the Leader of the Opposition pointed out, a very-low-frequency radio station has a peculiar capability in that it has a world coverage. But we should keep in mind that this proposed static i will not be the sole link upon which the United States will rely for communication with its naval forces. One already is in existence which has global coverage, but in case there should be any unreliability in a matter as important as communications affecting the defence of the free world, this station is to be established in Australia to ensure reliability. It will not be, I stress, the only means of contact with United States naval forces deployed in and about the waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans and, therefore, about Australia. It is true that the more inspired opposition to this agreement invariably refers to the base as a military base because in that way you can conjure up all sorts of fears in the minds of people who do not think much about the matter. Fortunately there are not too many people in that category. So this is a propaganda line taken by the Opposition against the establishment of this station. But, as the Attorney-General has pointed out, this station has one purpose only. It is for communications purposes and nothing else. It is completely defensive-

Mr Cairns:

– That is a deception. Tell us what that means.


– I will get round to that matter later. The station is purely defensive. It is for communications with naval ships deployed in the busy task of keeping the peace in this quarter of the world. It may well be that the ships that are deployed in this area would be nuclear armed because the whole object of this exercise is to parade a deterrent. It must be kept in mind that our peace and security for some years past has been sheltered by that deterrent. The fact that vessels with which the station may communicate might be nuclear armed formed the first objection put up by the Labour Party, but now it seems to me that the party has shifted ground a little. I recall a statement made - I am not sure whether in this House or outside it - by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) in which he quoted a decision of the federal executive of the Australian Labour Party. He said -

The A.L.P. is opposed to any base-

There is that word again - built in Australia to use, manufacture or to control nuclear missiles or vehicles capable of carrying nuclear missiles.

Quite plainly the Leader of the Opposition said a moment ago that the Labour Party does not object to the establishment of this station. But obviously the station will be used for communicating with undersea craft carrying nuclear deterrents. This represents a great about-face by the Labour Party. It would explain this about-face by saying that it will attach conditions to the establishment of the station. But the thought arises in the minds of average people that those conditions may be sought to be applied for the sole purpose of frustrating behind the scenes the concessions which the Labour Party, on the surface, appears to be giving. We appear to be getting Labour’s approval for the station, but the conditions that Labour would attach to the establishment of the station will render it virtually useless. The real fact is that the Labour Party is concerned about the possible consequences on our security of the use of the station. What we should be concerned about is the possible effect on the security and defence of this country if the nuclear deterrent is . not deployed in our area. If the United States wants to deploy the nuclear deterrent in this area, it is a purely defensive action, and if the unhappy day should come when orders are given for the discharge of nuclear missiles, it is completely foolish to think that this country could draw aside and take no part whatever in an action that controls our whole future. We all would wish that a set of conditions applied under which we could contract out of world military difficulties of this kind if we wanted to do so. I repeat that the whole effect of this base is to defend the free world and our share in it. If the terms and conditions proposed to be applied by the Opposition will downgrade the deterrent capability, that action will fool nobody and least of all a potential enemy, who will know very well that if we have a facility, the use of which is questionable when it is most needed, it is not a deterrent at nil. Consultation before the use of this base, under the terms sought to be applied by the Leader of the Opposition, would be completely unreal.

As I have said, Labour’s attitude supposes a situation in which we would have the choice of opting out of whatever that situation might produce. The real fact is that war is already joined and we must make up our minds which camp we will be in. You may call it cold war if you like. The subjugation of people throughout Europe and Asia in recent times, the division by military force of Korea and Viet Nam, and what is happening to-day on the borders of India - on the edge of a country which chose neutrality and nonalinement in the hope that in this policy there would be security - surely indicates that whether the kind of war we are engaged in is hot or cold does not matter so much to the end result. The war is equally decisive to the people who have been subjugated.

We in this country should look at the countries of the Communist world and note how they are expanding outwards from the centre of Communist power. If this is not sufficient inspiration to send us looking to our own defences - to send us making freely those agreements which will upgrade our safety - then I do not know what kind of warning they should give us. If there is to be a shooting war, whether it be nuclear or with conventional arms, is not a relatively simple proposition of nation against nation. The kind of war that will be joined in future, if war is to be joined, will be a war between one system and another. The outcome of that war will decide who is to control the world, including Australia, even though we may try to opt out of the war. I read a report in the “ Age “ of 8th March which . stated that Mr. I. V. Stout, a prominent member of the Australian Labour Party executive, moved a resolution with an impassioned plea for Australia to maintain peaceful neutrality. There is no such thing as comfortable neutrality for anybody in the kind of world in which we live. We must decide where we stand. We must stand up and be counted.

The Leader of the Opposition agreed that the Polaris missile might be part of the deterrent system of the United States. But the United States has no immediate direct involvement in the situation in South-East Asia. Its action in our area of the world is purely in defence of the free world. Polaris or any other deterrent that is kept and operated by the United States is part of the system designed not only for the defence of the United States but also for the preservation of the free world. Surely we are part of that system. We cannot have the United States active in our defence in our corner of the world unless we ourselves are prepared to be reasonably forthcoming. Apparently a great fear has been created in the minds of the Opposition of the possible consequences that may flow from seeking to defend ourselves. Why, the creation of that fear is one of the prime objectives of the cold war. It seems to me that Labour’s attitude indicates that the party has readily succumbed to that fear. Look at the countries that have chosen to be non-alined. Look at India and pay heed to the change of thought that has taken place in that country.

I do not quite know what the Leader of the Opposition meant when he referred to joint control of this station. I listened to his remarks carefully, but when he had finished I was not very much wiser than I had been before. The honorable gentleman recited a pretty garbled story of what the Labour Party proposes under the heading of joint control. It seems to me that the Labour party would have us believe that we should not be partners in our own defence. That is a quite foolish attitude to adopt to a proposition of this kind. It is symptomatic of the fact that Labour appears, as always, to be leading from behind. We well understand Labour’s troubles over this matter. Indeed, the long catalogue of criticisms and accusations with which the Leader of the Opposition commenced his speech was mainly intended to cover a sense of embarrassment - to mask the fact that the situation created by this agreement has brought some rather serious consequences to his party. The honorable gentleman referred to Sir John Cockcroft and the splitting of the atom. It seems to me that this bil] has had the very fine result of splitting the Australian Labour Parry. When the Leader of the Opposition came away from the celebrated special meeting of his federal executive here in Canberra it was to announce that the decision of the conference on this matter marked a magnificent day in the history of the Labour Party; it was a magnificent victory. Well, Sir, if you can edi it a magnificent victory when the leader of a so-called great political party - potentially the next government of this country - can persuade one more than half of his supporters to follow his leadership, this is an odd kind of victory indeed.

Mr Bryant:

– You are being political.


– I do not mind being a bit political. The Leader of the Opposition started it and I can assure you that what you have started we can finish. The Labour Party is squarely split down the middle on this issue, that is, on the question of what conditions and what control will apply or are proposed to be applied to the use of this base. The Labour Party is split down the middle on the question of whether there should be a communications station at all. It is split down the middle on the question of whether this country ought to make a contribution to the defence of the free world and to its own defence. What is the good of the honorable gentleman coming here and saying we have accused the Labour Party of fouling up our relations with the United

States? I have never heard a statement of that kind in this House since this bill was first proposed. There is a great deal of trouble with the left wing of the Labour Party. I am not making any accusations but, at worst, it follows a line identical with that put forward by the Communist powers. At best it seeks this useless and legendary safety in neutrality, and there is no safety there.

Adding to the discomfort of the honorable gentleman and his party is a gallup poll in which 80 per cent, of the Australian people, who have obviously given a great deal more careful and thoughtful consideration to this issue than has the leader of the Labour Party, have come down in favour of the establishment of this communication station under the conditions proposed by the Government. Eleven per cent, are opposed to it and 9 per cent, have no opinion. Wc can forget the people who have no opinion. The vast majority of the people whose opinions were sought - and 72 per cent, said they are normally supporters of the Labour Party - have declared that we ought to have this communication station.

It ought to do the Labour Party some good to note the reasons given by these people for opting in favour of the establishment of this station. They say that Australia is not strong enough alone. Is this not the fact? How can we, when offered coverage of defence of this kind from the one great power in the world which is capable of defending the free world, refuse it by denying title to a bit of real estate? How can we avoid the kind of risks involved in being part of this organization?

The second reason given is that America is the main hope of our defence. We needed her before and I doubt not that we will need her again. The other point, of course, is that we have to keep up with Russia. Disregarding the last point I say the plain fact is that the people of this country know very well that our defence position in recent years has not improved. They know very well that we are not capable, in this modern world, of meeting the kind of defensive effort which will fully guarantee our own security. But here is an opportunity, through a reasonable agreement which we now propose, to be forthcoming to the United States which is prepared to undertake that responsibility and needs this additional assistance. It would be folly of the greatest kind to deny that sort of assistance.

The Labour Party proposes to demand that consultation with the United States shall be a pre-requisite to the use of the station in any situation which might involve Australia in war. There are only two kinds of situation in which this station could be used. If the use of this station were to further American aggression we would understand the Labour Party’s attitude on this question, but this is foolish. Where is the evidence of American aggression? Where are the countries which have been subjugated and taken over by the kind of tactics which the Communists have used? These tactics are reserved for the potential opponents. So we come back to the situation that on all counts it is impossible to visualize this station being used for purposes which are not completely defensive.

We have heard a great deal of talk from Labour spokesmen in recent times to the effect that we face instant annihilation if this station is to be used defensively to give instructions to promote our defence. Where do we stand if we are to take time off to decide whether the government of this country will permit use of the station? It is here that we come to an interesting exercise in studying the mechanism of the proposed appeal, and there are some fascinating prospects.

Unhappily, during a part of the term of this agreement, there will probably be a Labour government in this country and it is precisely here that our difficulties would begin. Current history is quite lively with evidence that only the nominal government of this country would then occupy the treasury bench. The real government of Australia would reside in the federal conference of the Australian Labour Party.

The Leader of the Opposition has pointed out that the federal conference is the constitutional policy-making organization of the party. He has also said that the point I am discussing would be a policy matter and therefore would have to be referred to the federal conference. He has overlooked the time factor in this matter. Assuming that he were able to get members of the federal conference together to consider the policy involved in whether or not the United States should be allowed to use its communication link to order its defensive organization to go into action, it would hardly be a quick decision. The conference decided by only nineteen votes to seventeen in favour of having a base at all, so one can imagine the difficulties there would be in reaching a decision when the time came to use the base under conditions which the Labour Party would fear might involve Australia in war.

This kind of situation could arise only during a period when there had been a vast upsurge in Communist aggression. If there was a vast upsurge in Communist aggression throughout the world one would equally expect a vast upsurge of Communist activity in our own country. One has to pursue this matter and look at the mechanics of electing members of the federal conference of the Australian Labour Party, because this is a function which comes out of the trade union movement. One has also to look at the kind of Communist control which is advancing over Australian trade union organizations.

It might well be, in a situation of this kind, that the picture would be vastly altered and through this upsurge of Communist activity and interest we might well find that the majority of the members of the federal conference would be put there by Communist influence. Could you get a decision to use the base in defence of the free world under those conditions? I caninot understand how you would do it. The fact is that the use of the station would be denied at the time when it was needed most.

The great value of this very low frequency station is in connexion with the deterrent. It would be a vast subtraction from that deterrent power if a potential enemy knew that, at the time when we needed to use it, we would be required to go through the rigmarole of consultation on the question whether we could use it.

I think the issues are quite plain in this debate. We have made our appeal to the Australian people and have had, I believe, an answer in the gallup poll. The Australian Labour Party, through the Leader of the Opposition, says it has made its case and that it will be left to the Australian people to decide where lie their best interests. Are we to co-operate with the United States in a joint, mutual defensive effort, or are we to put such stress on the use of this facility that it will be valueless when it is needed? For my part, I am more than pleased to leave a decision on this matter to the people of

Australia, who know better than does the Labour Party - they are even among those who support it - where lies Australia’s interest.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Galvin) adjourned.

page 1493


Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 76); Excise Tariff Amendment (No. 2). In Committee of Ways and Means:

Minister for Supply · Paterson · LP

.- I move- [Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 76).]

  1. That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1962, as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff Proposals,be further amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals and that, on and after the seventeenth day of May, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-three, Duties of Customs be collected accordingly.
  2. That in these Proposals, “ Customs Tariff Proposals “ mean the Customs Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the following dates: - 15th November, 1962; 29th November, 1962; 6th December, 1962; 28th March, 1963; 10th April, 1963; 17th April, 1963; and 9th May, 1963.

[Excise Tariff Amendment (No. 2).]

That the Schedule to the Excise Tariff 1921-1962 be amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals and that on and after the seventeenth day of May, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-three, Duties of Excise be collected in pursuance of the Excise Tariff 1921-1962 as so amended. **Mr. Chairman,** the Tariff Proposals which I have just introduced are machinery measures to enable free admission to be accorded to goods of an approved class or kind in accordance with provisions set out in the Status of Forces Agreement with the United States of America tabled in the House last week. I commend the proposals to honorable members. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 1494 {:#debate-32} ### UNITED STATES NAVAL COMMUNICATION STATION AGREEMENT BILL 1963 {:#subdebate-32-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed (vide page 1493). {: #subdebate-32-0-s0 .speaker-K97} ##### Mr GALVIN:
Kingston .- I desire to support the remarks made by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** on this most important measure. I am sure that the Australian people will be indebted to the Leader of the Opposition, speaking on behalf of the Australian Labour Par'y, for clearly showing that the Government, through the Minister for External Affairs **(Sir Garfield Barwick),** has attempted to play politics. The Minister in his secondreading speech made statements which do not comply with the terms of the bill. The Minister for Supply **(Mr. Fairhall)** carried on in the same way but was, perhaps, a little more honest than the Minister for External Affairs. The Minister for Supply did at least say that the base was an element of a deterrent power that could be used, but the Minister for External Affairs said - >It is a naval communications station, a wireless station - nothing more and nothing less. Surely this Parliament and the Australian people should be made well aware of what this base is intended for. The Government should not attempt to hide that from the people. We support the establishment of the base but we believe that the people should be informed that it will be in contact with submarines, that it will be in contact with a military power which could trigger off a war. There is nothing wrong with telling the Australian people about this base. This Government should be honest with them, but it has never been honest as to the agreement negotiated in relation to this base from the very moment it was first questioned on the subject. This secondreading speech, covering fourteen foolscap pages, is full of dishonesty. The Australian people are entitled to be told the facts. The Leader of the Opposition this afternoon has let the people of Australia know where we stand on this issue. The issue is, in my opinion, one of the most momentous and one of the most important issues - if not the most important - that has been before this Parliament since I came here in 1951. Let us be honest. If the Anzus pact means anything - we are signatories to it and we say what an important pact it is - then surely the purpose of this base is to put some teeth into that pact. Let us not be ashamed to say so, if that is the intention. If that is not the intention, surely the Minister for External Affairs, when he talks of this base being a mere radio station, does not mean that it is to be used only to send messages back to the United States such as, "Able seaman John Doe will return next Wednesday week. Please inform his relatives." The base could be used for that purpose, but its main purpose will be to act in defence of Australia and in defence of the United States of America. It is a base which could immediately put into action a defensive system that could embroil us in a global war. There is nothing wrong in facing those facts. We are living in such times, so let us be honest about it. This base will put teeth into the Anzus pact. It will bring the forces of the United States of America and Australia together in the establishment of a defence system. If the need ever arises, we will be able to carry on a united fight against aggressive forces, just as in the last war after the late John Curtin had called on the American forces to help us defend this country. The Australian Labour Party believes that we should have such an alliance. We believe that Australia and the United States should work closely together, and we are pleased that this agreement will have that result. Australia will be prepared, with America and the other democracies, to defend our way of life if we are ever threatened by aggressive forces. This bill is therefore a very important one. It seems to me that the first question which arises is whether the base is required. As I have pointed out, no one can say with any degree of certainty what will be the consequences of it. No one can foresee that. We should ask ourselves whether it will be an advantage to us, whether it will increase the danger to us and, if so, is the risk worth while. Let us not run away from it. What would be our position if we were embroiled in a global war? We talk about the chances of being involved in a global war. Is there any one foolish enough to think that in this day and age we could not easily become so involved overnight? If the calculated risks that have been taken in the past had not come off, a world war could well have developed. On that point, it is interesting to quote what the Leader of the Opposition said in his policy speech. He said - >If, however, war should be forced upon the free world, Australia, whether we wish it or not, will be involved. In those circumstances, we who belong to the free world will stand with the free world and will give whole-hearted support to its cause. There could be no other course for those who cherish freedom and believe in democracy. We of the Labour Party have always been found on the side of liberty, because we hate tyranny and abhor oppression. The Leader of the Opposition made clear in his policy speech where we will stand if the need arises to fight against aggressive forces. If we agree on the possibility of war, of course we must agree on the need for the base. There is no doubt that the majority of members of this Parliament and the majority of Australians generally, favour adequate defence for this country and favour a base such as has been suggested. If we reach agreement on the need for a base, we must then look to the agreement which the Minister for External Affairs has negotiated on behalf of the Government, to see whether it contains provisions necessary to safeguard not only the interests of the Australian and American people, but the people of the world generally. As the Leader of the Opposition has said, there is little in the agreement that we really oppose, but we do suggest that a few words should be added to it. The Minister for External Affairs, who devoted paragraph after paragraph of his second-reading speech to statements about joint control and1 sole control, sank to the lowest levels of political conduct in his attempt to gain a few votes in his electorate at the election which faces us in the notdistant future. In dealing with this matter, we are dealing with the lives of men and women, with the safety of the nation, yet the Minister for External Affairs talks of sole control. Why did he not tell us what joint consultation means instead of deliberately attempting to divide the Labour Party - using any excuse for saying that the Labour Party is opposed to the measure and does not want defence? We want defence, but we want it to be in the interests of Australia. We want Australians to have some say in it. If a button may be pressed that will result in war being unleashed upon the world, we want this Parliament and the Government of this country to have some say in the matter. There is no doubt that there is some risk attached to the establishment of this base. There is no doubt whatever that if war broke out - not a global war, but a conflict over Formosa between the United States of America and say, China, and this Government did not see fit to intervene, we could be dragged into the conflict. This Government might regard such a conflict as just a small skirmish that did not concern us. But what would be the position if messages were flat Tied from this base to submarines lying out at sea and, as a result, those submarines attacked China? China might seek the assistance of some of our near neighbours who might decide that some of the supersonic fighters and long-range bombers based near our shores ought to be used to destroy the base. In such an event, we would be embroiled in the conflict, and accordingly we should have some say in and some control over what is done. The Minister for External Affairs laughs off our objections. He says that we cannot have joint control of the base. Why cannot we have joint control? In this matter is the Australian Government not equal to the United Kingdom Government and those other governments that have made pacts with the American forces? It is interesting to examine the agreement that the United Kingdom Government made with the United States of America in connexion with the supply of ballistic missiles to Britain. That document clearly states - >The decision to launch these missiles will be a matter for joint decision by the two Governments. Any such joint decision will be made in the light of the circumstances at the time and having regard to the undertaking the two Governments have assumed in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. It also provides - >This Agreement shall be subject to revision by agreement between the two Governments and shall remain in force for not less than five years- The agreement covering the base which the Minister for External Affairs has negotiated is to remain in force for 25 years. I cannot understand the reason for that. Of course, the Menzies Government is notorious for regarding the administration of the portfolio of External Affairs as only a parttime job. The present Minister cannot devote his sole attention to such important matters as these are. As a legal expert, naturally it is in that field he likes to spend most of his time, because he is able to do a thorough job there. He does not want to negotiate an agreement for a short term. Being a lawyer, he says that the term of the agreement should be 25 years. Why could he not make an agreement that would be subject to review in five years? Are we not just as entitled to those conditions as is the United Kingdom Government? I point out that when **Mr. Duncan** Sandys, the United Kingdom Minister of Defence, was asked whether the decision to use the base would be political or military, and at what level the final decision would be taken, he replied - >The decision will be taken in the same manner as the arrangements for taking decisions under the Attlee-Truman agreement It will require a joint positive decision of both governments - I emphasise governments, not military commanders. If that is good enough for the United Kingdom Government, surely we have a right to expect our Government to get the same terms in its agreement with the United States. I believe it could have got them. I also believe that it did not try to achieve that result because it wanted to gain some cheap political propaganda out of the agreement. The Government ought to be ashamed of itself for dealing with such an important matter in that way. As the Leader of the Opposition has stated, the conference of the Australian Labour Party, the power that controls the party and makes decisions on policy, gave long and careful consideration to this matter. And does any one think it should not have done so? Surely you cannot arrive at a decision on an important matter such as this without giving it lengthy and thorough consideration. The conference at no time disagreed with the establishment of a base here. It agrees that a base is necessary. It said, " Yes, we support the establishment of the base, but we ought to get these specific conditions written into the agreement for its establishment". As I said, in the main the agreement covers our wishes, but more safeguards are needed to protect our interests and the Minister failed miserably in his final negotiations by not securing them. 1 am firmly of the opinion that the move he did make was made in an attempt to score political gain, and I am disappointed that he should have stooped to such low tactics. We appreciate the co-operation that we had in the past from the United States of America when we were in government. If any government of this country enjoyed close co-operation with another government during the war years, the Labour Government of Australia enjoyed it with the United States of America. We believe that there is no reason why an agreement could not have been negotiated in the same terms as that entered into by the United Kingdom Government. The Leader of the Opposition has indicated what we will do when we assume office in an attempt to achieve our objective in this matter. I have pointed out the dangers associated with this base. I firmly believe that had we been in government we could have negotiated an agreement which would have given the Australian people some say in the control of the base. What is more, we believe that Australia would have earned much greater respect from the Government of the United States of America if our Government had taken a determined stand on this matter. I turn now to the base itself. There has been outright objection to the base by some very sincere people in the community, and one can respect their opinions because there is great risk attached to this venture. Because of that, the Labour conference devoted a great deal of time to considering the matter before arriving at a decision. This Parliament and the people of Australia must think equally carefully about it. One question we must consider is whether the establishment of a base in Australia would make world conflict less likely. If it would, then that answers my second question which is: Will it give Australia more security? I think it will give us more security despite the danger associated with it, the danger that we might be embroiled in a conflict if it is under the sole control of the United States of America. However, having regard to all the risks involved, I think the base will give Australia a greater measure of security. It will give to Australia a form of protection that she certainly does not enjoy as the result of this Government's defence measures. The Government's record in peace is as bad as it was in war. During the war it was the Curtin Government that enabled our forces to co-operate with the United States of America when the present Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** failed the country. Now we can see the wisdom of working with that country again. We believe that we can work with the United States and, by doing so, bring great protection to Australia. Because it means greater security for the Australian people, in spite of the risks involved, on balance we believe that we must support the establishment of the station and we must work with the United States, but at the same time we must obtain the joint control that is necessary. * The Minister for External Affairs, in one of the great lines in his second-reading speech, said that if the Americans fly their flag 'the Australian flag can be flown at the same time! {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- What a concession! {: .speaker-K97} ##### Mr GALVIN: -- What a concession, as the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith says. If the Americans fly their flag on Australian soil the Australian flag can be hoisted, too, says the Minister! He should be ashamed of himself. There can be no doubt that while the great powers of the world possess nuclear weapons there is always a very grave danger of a nuclear war. We find ourselves in a strange position because the very possession of nuclear weapons acts as a deterrent and at the same time is part and parcel of maintaining peace. I have no doubt that if the United States did not possess nuclear weapons, did not have Polaris submarines and did not have a very strong striking force, the Western world would not be in the position in which it is to-day. We would have had in Cuba an armed arsenal on the side of those against the democracies. The battle for Berlin would have been lost long ago. So whilst you must have these weapons, at the same time they can be used in the battle for peace and they are a deterrent to a global war. While I am on this point and the great strength of the American nation, I think it is worth mentioning in this Parliament to-day that Hie Australian Labour Party believes in close co-operation with the United States. We completely dissociate ourselves from the people who adopt an anti-American attitude. In fact, for my part, I believe that the United States has given a lead to the world in the matter of disarmament. If the nations of the world were prepared to accept the programme that the United States has submitted, I believe that we could look forward to a complete disarmament policy and something worth while in the years ahead. But whilst we cannot achieve that object, we have to be adequately armed and adequately defended. {: .speaker-KKB} ##### Mr Jess: -- Your peace pals do not seem to agree with you on that point. {: .speaker-K97} ##### Mr GALVIN: -- I do not know about peace people or those things. All I am concerned about is the Australian people. I am concerned about your children, my children and their children. That is why I believe that this legislation is the. most important measure with which this Parliament has had to deal for a long time. It is a disgrace, as I said, that the Minister for External Affairs has stooped to such low tactics on this important measure, in an attempt to gain a few political points. This ls too important a matter to be arguing and trying to score off each other. We stand by the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition. We believe in the need for the station. We believe in co-operation with the United States. We realize the dangers ahead of us. We realize the risks associated with the station. But, above all, we believe that this nation has grown strong enough to have some control of its future. We believe that if we are ever to be embroiled in a war - be it a global war or one in any restricted area - this Parliament or the government of the day - whichever party may be in government - should be responsible for making the decisions. We refuse to delegate that power to some other person. The Minister for External Affairs has a very good record in the legal field. I believe that he made the best of a most horrible situation in West New Guinea. I give him no great marks, because he had to carry out very complex decisions. The fault lay with former Ministers for External Affairs. He did the best he could. But he gets no marks for signing an agreement that denies to Australian men and women the right to control the destiny of their own nation. {: #subdebate-32-0-s1 .speaker-KHS} ##### Mr HOLTEN:
Indi **.- Mr. Deputy Speaker,** the honorable member for Kingston **(Mr. Galvin),** in the closing stages of his speech, said that if ever we are to be involved in a war this Parliament must make the decision. He seems to forget that already we are bound by at least two treaties, namely, the Anzus Pact and the Seato treaty, to join our allies in the event of attack on territories belonging to them. How could the Parliament be put in the position where it could be expected to override the agreements that are contained in our treaties? Does the honorable member for Kingston suggest that this Parliament should pass a resolution stating that we disregard the provisions of the treaties; that we break our word; and that we do not adhere to our agreements? I wish to mention some aspects of the speech made by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** this afternoon. He finished on a very stirring note about what the Australian Labour Party would do in the matter of complete co-operation with the United States of America if that party became the government. I do not see how he can give that assurance because obviously the federal conference would have to make a decision for him before the parliamentary party could do anything. Secondly, he said that the fullest information about this station should have been given to the House and the people of Australia. Quite a number of speeches that gave very full particulars - as full as it was possible to give at the time - have been made in this House. Those speeches started as long ago as 17th May of last year. The Leader of the Opposition went on to say that the whole purpose of this station is to communicate with submarines of a very special kind. That is not correct. The base has multifarious purposes. It will be used to communicate with vessels of all kinds, particularly with small vessels. I understand that at present it is difficult to communicate reliably not only with submarines but also with such smaller vessels as destroyers and torpedo boats. He also dwelt at length on the suggestion that the station will become obsolescent when the pattern of Telstar satellites around the world is complete. This suggestion is not correct. He said that some of the ex-servicemen in his party were disturbed at the reflections that had been cast upon them. If reflections have been cast upon them, I can understand their being disturbed, but I tell the Leader of the Opposition that ex-servicemen in this party and outside the House are most disturbed at the way in which the Australian Labour Party reached its decisions and the way in which the voting finished on the suggestion that this naval communication base be completely banned. Many members of ex-servicemen's organizations have told me that they cannot understand why there should be any doubt about the need for this base and why there should be any suggestion that it should be banned completely. The Leader of the Opposition also said that if Labour were the government it would put various conditions into the bill. But he has not told us what the attitude of his party would be if the United States Government refused to accept the conditions that the Labour Party thought were essential. I would be interested to hear any Opposition member say what Labour's attitude would be in this situation. The Leader of the Opposition referred to a nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere and said that it was proposed to call a conference of the nations that were signatories to the Antarctic Treaty. I suppose if agreement were reached at such a conference, a treaty would be signed. I intend to show, later, just how useless treaties can be, but I should like to speak briefly now on the subject of a nuclear ban. We could be left in a most disadvantageous or even perilous position if nuclear weapons were ever banned in the southern hemisphere. We would be at an immediate disadvantage with our nearest neighbours in the matter of conventional forces. We could be overwhelmed by the sheer weight of numbers and by the striking power provided by Communist China and other Communist nations. We should consider this most important factor when deciding whether we should support the suggestion of a nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere. The second-reading speech of the Minister for External Affairs **(Sir Garfield Barwick)** was an extremely clear and simple explanation of the bill. This is one of the most important bills ever to be introduced into the Parliament, particularly from the point of view of the defence of Australia. Undoubtedly one of the most important means of defence to-day is the possession of a deterrent weapon - not necessarily a big army or a big navy, but the possession of sheer destructive power as a deterrent. This is unfortunate. Of course, no one likes it, but it is a fact of life to-day that we must possess such a deterrent. This naval communication base is vital in providing for an effective deterrent, not only for the United States of America, but particularly for Australia and New Zealand. It is also a major link in the vastly complicated communications network throughout the world. This network does not cover only the Pacific area; it covers also the Nato area stretching from the United Kingdom to the shores of Africa. All member nations can be in constant communication with each other through this network. Much has been said about the possibility of this base increasing the danger of war. But a strong case can -be made that the establishment of the base could decrease the danger of war, and particularly the danger of accidental war. Leading statesmen throughout the world and leading scientific experts in the communications field are not satisfied with the standard of the communications available between the nations of the world. Surely if the efficiency of these communications can be increased, the chance of an accidental war is lessened. Those who protest that this station could involve us in war because of a badly judged decision and the consequent signal sent from this base disregard the fact that no commands will originate from the base. This is merely a relay or a transmitting station to be used by the United States of America. No original signals will be sent from the station. {: .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr Uren: -- Could the signals be sent to submerged submarines without this station? That is the question to answer. Could the signals be sent to a submarine in the Indian Ocean if this station were not established? {: .speaker-KHS} ##### Mr HOLTEN: -- Yes. {: .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr Uren: -- How could they? {: .speaker-KHS} ##### Mr HOLTEN: -- I am glad the honorable member for Reid has asked that question. The answer is that the signals can be sent to vessels in the South-East Asian area at present. The matter of concern to the United States and its allies is the efficiency of the signals. There is no question that it became necessary for the United States of America to have a station somewhere in the Pacific. We must remember that the United States is shouldering a terrific burden in the protection of the free world and is getting very little thanks for doing so. The United States taxpayer has made a magnificent contribution to the progress and rehabilitation of various countries that were devastated by war. Some of these countries were the enemies of the United States and in some instances perpetrated cowardly attacks on the territory of the United States. Surely we must give great praise to the United States for supporting these countries. Some people say that the need for quick action will not arise in the South-East Asian area. They are living with their heads in the clouds; they are being completely unrealistic. This has been proved forcibly during the past twenty years. Members of the Opposition talk quite airily about non-aggression pacts or even verbal assurances that there will be no war or other form of hostilities between certain nations. Let us consider the value of pacts and treaties. I remind the House, first, of the Versailles Treaty, under which Germany was not supposed to rearm. What happened? Within twenty years Germany became the most powerful fighting machine in the world. We all remember **Mr. Chamberlain** returning from Munich and saying that the German Chancellor had assured him that the agreement between Britain and Germany not to fight one another was renewed, and that a certain treaty between those two countries was again ratified. What happened? Six months later the two countries were locked in deadly conflict. What of another pact that was negotiated and solemnly signed by Germany and Russia? What happened to that pact? The Germans lodged an entirely unexpected attack on the Soviet Union in the early 1940's. What about the attack on Pearl Harbour? At a time when relations between the United States of America and Japan seemed to be quite friendly, a cowardly attack was launched one Sunday morning on Pearl Harbour. How far can you trust certain nations who either sign treaties or give verbal assurances? We all remember when **Mr. Gromyko** spoke to President Kennedy last year and said, "We have no missiles in Cuba and, in fact, have no intention of putting any missiles in Cuba ". At that very time the President was waiting for a photograph to be developed to prove that there were missiles in Cuba, and we all know, of course, that there were more on the way. These are all unforgettable events, or they should be unforgettable, both by us in this Parliament and also by all the other people of Australia. We believe, of course, that if you sign a treaty you should stick to it, but history has unfortunately shown that we cannot always expect treaties to be honoured. If we need anything further to demonstrate the fact that the need may arise in South-East Asia for instant action, which would, of course, require efficient communications, we have only to study the joint statement issued by President Soekarno and the Chairman of the People's Republic of China only a couple of weeks ago. Any one reading that statement could not help being aware of the familiar phrasing contained in it, the double talk that is characteristic of the Communist regime. I believe that serious portents are evident in the South-East Asian area. While I do not believe that these portents should give us cause for fear, I do believe they should cause us to take courageous and intelligent action in the interests of the people of Australia. Having established the need for this station for the defence of the country, let us have a brief look at the economic benefit that we will get from its establishment. Australian workmen will be paid about 15,000,000 dollars. Materials will be purchased in this country to the value of about 20,000,000 dollars. Many other economic benefits will flow from the construction of the base, not simply to Australia as a whole, but particularly to the State of Western Australia, which we are all interested in developing. I have not mentioned the benefits to be derived also from the housing project that will be undertaken in close proximity to the base. I believe we can consider ourselves very fortunate that the United States has selected Australia as the country in which to establish this base. The main reason why Australia was selected, I imagine, is that we are a friendly and a democratic nation. We also are fortunate enough to be blessed with a large continent, on which there are a great many communications stations of one form and other. This is something that There is no doubt that the initial opposition to the undertaking either came from the Communists or was Communist-inspired, or came from people holding extreme leftwing opinions. As an act of Parliament is required to authorize the construction of the base, the governments of both the United States of America and Australia become involved. When the Australian Government becomes involved its policies on foreign affairs and defence are brought into the limelight and made clear to the Australian people. I can say quite definitely that the policies of the present Government are clear and well defined. The practical result of them is to be seen in this agreement that has been arrived at and in the bill that has been brought before the House. But what of the policy of the alternate government of this country? To my mind this is the most serious question for the future of Australia. The honorable member for Kingston mentioned that the future of his children and of our children and of everybody else's children is involved. I entirely agree with him. The Australian Labour Party has a rule that the decisions of the federal conference are binding on the parliamentary members of the party. Therefore, it is not to the parliamentary members that we should look. We should study the beliefs and actions of the members of the Australian Labour Party federal conference. I do not intend to go over the history of the meeting held by the federal conference to discuss this subject. I simply say that on the question whether the base should be banned completely the voting was 21 to 15. That is not a very wide margin. If three members had changed their votes, the policy of the party would have been to ban the base completely. On the vote supporting the base, but laying down unworkable conditions, the vote was nineteen to seventeen. I am certain that the realistic members of the Opposition are {: .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr Killen: -- He had an eye on the State election, too. {: .speaker-KHS} ##### Mr HOLTEN: -- Well, he could have been doing that, too. I am merely giving the facts of the situation as I know them. I am going to let the people of Australia decide what attitude they should adopt. We can see from both sets of voting figures I have given that we could not possibly leave the defence of this country in the hands of the Opposition, as the Labour Party is constituted at present. It can be readily seen that either the members of the Labour Party are unable to grasp the fundamental facts of life in the world to-day and consider them realistically, or they do not want to grasp those facts, knowing that if they did face the facts honestly the expansion of the socialist world or the Communist world would be halted. We all know that the ultimate goal of the Communists is world domination. Let us make no mistake: The Communist Party in Australia is as inflexible in its aims as the Communist Party in Russia or in China. The double-talking statements of the Communists can be trusted just as much as the statements of the Russians and the Chinese or any other socialist power can be trusted. There is no doubt, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** that in the ranks of the Opposition there is a feeling of uncertainty. All I can say is that I hope the people of Australia will realize this, for they must be greatly disturbed at the prospect of a government whose defence policy could be influenced by the foreign ideology of communism. It is to be hoped that the people of Australia will weigh very carefully all the facts regarding the methods of arriving at decisions of such great importance to the nation as this and compare the method adopted by this Government with the method that would be adopted by the present Opposition party if it were in office. As I see the situation, the crux of it is that we have to decide whether we want to stand beside the United States or whether we want to try to be independent and isolated, although wehave a population of only about 11,000,000 people, in an area in which the portents are so serious. I consider that the agreement that will be ratified by this bill strengthens the cooperation and mutual respect and confidence that already exist between the United States and our great country. I wholeheartedly support the bill. {: #subdebate-32-0-s2 .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN:
Reid **.- Mr. Deputy Speaker,** I support the sentiments expressed by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell).** May I say that this afternoon he made one of the finest speeches that I have heard made in this Parliament in the four years and more that I have been a member of it. The speech that we heard this afternoon was a fighting Australian speech by a wonderful Australian. Having said that, I wish to answer some criticisms made by the honorable member for Indi **(Mr. Holten),** a very respectable member of the Australian Country Party. He rolled out the old red bogy in relation to this issue and tried to build up a campaign of hate against the nations of China and Russia by saying that we must fear and distrust the Russians and the Chinese. Yet this same respectable member of the Country Party keenly advocates the sale of our surplus wheat and wool to China and also to Russia! In fairness, I pay tribute to the 'honorable member for Mackellar **(Mr. Wentworth)** for his attitude on that matter. He at least opposes trade with Communist countries because he believes that it is basically wrong. However, that is not the attitude of the hypocrites of the Country Party, and particularly the honorable member for Indi. I wish to make clear my position in regard to trade with all countries. I believe that Australia should trade with all nations and not just bandy trade about as a political issue. The honorable member for Indi said that submerged submarines in the Indian Ocean could be communicated with in the absence of the proposed radio station at North West Cape. The honorable member ought to be a little better informed about the matter. I have no doubt that, without the proposed radio station, submarines on the surface could be communicated with, but communication with them when they are submerged would not be possible without the use. of the radio station that is to be established. That is one of the main reasons behind the acceptance of the agreement that will be ratified by this bill, and I .think the honorable member should be just a little better informed on the matter. {: .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr Anthony: -- Who gives the honorable member for Reid all this information? {: .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN: -- 1 shall willingly tell the rash honorable member for Richmond where any of my information comes from. If he is not clear about anything that I say, 1 shall inform him further if he sees me after I have made my speech. The Minister for External Affairs **(Sir Garfield Barwick),** last Thursday, in his second-reading speech, said - >Although the Australian Government has constitutional capacity to sign the agreement without further parliamentary authority, the Government, as the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** announced some weeks ago, has decided to submit the agreement to the Parliament for approval before exchanging with the American Government its instrument of approval. The Government did not bring this measure before the Parliament out of charity. It was forced to do so by the agitation of the Australian Labour Party, the trade union movement and many wonderful people throughout Australia who agitated so that we, in this democracy, might have an opportunity in the National Parliament to express our views on this important matter. We, the elected representatives of the people of this country, should at least discuss the pros and cons of this agreement. As a result of the widespread agitation, even the press of Australia - a little belatedly, I suggest - supported the actions of the Australian Labour Party. Many sections of the press commended the party on its agitation to have the matter brought before the Parliament. This agitation is the reason why we in this place are now able to state here our views on the Government's attitude to this agreement. *jj* As the Leader of the Opposition has said, This matter was so important that the Australian Labour Party's federal conference was called together for a special meeting to determine the party's attitude to this agreement. The Labour Party represents a broad section of the Australian people. We of the Labour Party are Australian and we represent Australian thought. Indeed, some of us with strong sentiments of Australian nationalism were totally opposed to the base. Others believed that the establishment of the base should be supported in the best interests of Australia's defence. This was a wide divergence of opinion, but the special federal conference, in its wisdom, determined that the establishment of the base would not be inconsistent with Labour policy if certain conditions were adhered to. We have been told by the Leader of the Opposition that, at the committee stage, on behalf of the Australian Labour Party, he will propose certain amendments. The Opposition was not quite sure about certain features of the agreement. One could drive a truck through the interpretation given by the Minister for External Affairs, and the conditions for the establishment of the base stated by him were very wide of what the Australian Labour Party required. The Minister said that Australia would retain sovereignty over its land, but the Australian people will have no true sovereignty over the land on which the base will stand. The agreement does not provide for joint control and discussion. Nor does it give evidence of any understanding of the need to protect Australia from automatic involvement in war. These propositions were not considered when the agreement was being prepared so, as I have said, the Australian Labour Party will raise them in the committee stage of the debate. As has been stated, when we return to office after the next election we shall call for a new agreement or at least for an understanding of the present agreement so that our proposals and the wishes of the Australian people will be protected. Whilst we of the Labour Party may have differences of opinion about certain matters, at least when we arrive at a decision we stand by it solidly. I have not waited until to-day to state my views on the agreement. When the federal conference of the Labour Party arrived at its decision on this matter I went into the highways and the byways to convince the trade union movement and the Australian people generally that they should support the Labour Party's attitude. I stated our point of view when I addressed a meeting at the University of Sydney. No question of hypocrisy arises. I support the Labour Party's policy. I support the Labour Party's decision on the proposed radio communication station. I support the stringent requirements which have been stated by the Labour Party's special federal conference. Let us be frank. I hope that all Australians will give deep thought to this agreement. We of the Labour Party admit that we are only human. We have our differences of opinion but we are not ciphers as are Government supporters. Wedo not have one-track minds. We are not rubber stamps. But what about the Government parties? The members of the Country Party are united in saying that we must have this station under any conditions; and the members of the Liberal Party do not have a voice on any matter. The fact' is that they are only " Yes " men. They toe the line on anything. The Labour Party has expressed its attitude on this issue. We believe that all Australians should be aware of what is involved in this agreement for the establishment of a United States naval communication station at North West Cape. The agreement means that if a world war breaks out, Australia inevitably will be subjected to nuclear attack. As one Labour member said recently during a broadcast, nuclear missiles will rain death on our countryside and our cities if a world war occurs. Thinking members on the Government side must admit that the proposed communication station is the Achilles heel of the Polaris submarine system. Submarines can remain undetected because they are submerged, but every one knows the location of this station. In the circumstances, all Australians will' have to be extremely vigilant to ensure that war does not break out and that all disputes' which may arise are settled by negotiation. We should do our utmost to build goodwill and understanding between nations instead of distrust and fear. I read with great interest the Easter message of Pope John whose faith I have never really understood. The tolerance and understanding that was apparent in that message will make me respect him for the rest of my life. He expressed the approach that we must make to one another. I do not intend to sneer at honorable members on the Government side, but I say that we must try to bring nations together instead of driving them apart. I am an advocate - ; I do not care who knows it - of peaceful co-existence for all nations, irrespective of their ideologies or religious beliefs. I want to see all peoples living together in peace. Australia's voice must be heard more as the voice of an independent and conciliatory power among the nations of the world. The Minister for External Affairs and the Minister for Supply **(Mr. Fairhall)** referred to the free world. You cannot divide the world into the free world and the Communist world. There is the Communist bloc and the capitalistic bloc, to which we belong. Then there are the non-alined nations and the emerging Afro-Asian nations which are contributing so much. When we talk about Afro-Asian and nonalined nations we must remember that they are not all new powers. Sweden is a nonalined power. Even Ireland is a non-alined power which expresses its independent views. Those countries are not the mere ciphers which Australia has become. When Government supporters talk about the free world do they ever mention Salazar's Portugal and the oppression of the people of Portuguese Angola? Do they ever mention Franco's Spain? Do they ever mention **Dr. Verwoerd's** South Africa? Do they ever mention the oppression to which the people in Southern Rhodesia have been subjected? Even in America, which is said to be the leader of the free world, the negroes in the southern States are subjected to oppression. I support President Kennedy and applaud him for the steps he has taken to control the fascist element in the southern States of America which is attempting to keep down the negro people. It is not just a matter of the free world and the Communist bloc - it is not as simple as that. Let me refer to the historical background of this matter. I asked the first question the Communist bloc: - it is not as simple ago - on 16th March, 1961. My question was based on an article which appeared in the "Sydney Morning Herald" of 28th February, 1961. I suggest that honorable members on the Government side, particularly the honorable member for Richmond, read that article, which relates to the proposed establishment of a radio communication station in northern Australia. On 16th March, 1961, I directed a question relating to this matter to the Minister for Defence **(Mr. Townley).** He replied - >There has been no request from the United States Government to this Government for any station of any sort in the north of Australia. That is what he said at that stage of the game. Of course, there was much agitation from this side of the Parliament over a lengthy period but there was continual evasion by the Government. On 15th November, 1962, the Leader of the Opposition directed a question to the Prime Minister about this matter. Do you know that the Prime Minister could not answer the question and asked that it be placed on the notice-paper? I followed up that question a couple of weeks later with another, but the Prime Minister was still evasive and could not give a reply. On 29th November he replied to both the Leader of the Opposition and myself, but still told us nothing. While the Government was ignoring the Parliament the "Sun Herald" of 18th November, 1962, carried the report of an interview at North West Cape of **Mr. Trevor** Nossiter, an officer of the Department of Supply, by **Mr. Gavin** Handley. The report, which gave us more information than had the Government, stated, in part - > **Mr.** Nossiter gave an outline of what is planned . . The very low frequency station needed to transmit messages to nuclear submarines which operate under water for long periods will be near the tip of the Cape. > >A second station for transmitting standard highfrequency signals will be built a little to the south. At that time nothing was said in this Parliament about high frequencies and low frequencies. In fact, the first admission by a member of the Government that this radio communications station would be in direct contact with submerged submarines carrying Polaris missiles was made on 6th March, 1963, by the Minister for Defence. It was made in a press statement outside this House. On 26th March the Prime Minister added a little to that statement. That is what has been going on. That is how long it has taken this Government to reveal anything about this station. The Labour Party has never claimed that this station will serve any purpose other than a signals station - a communications station. Let us be clear on that. If the honorable member for Richmond wants some authority for that statement I will give it to him. I propose to quote now from a very informative book written by a very fine American physicist - Ralph E. Lapp. In his book titled "Kill and Overkill" **Mr. Lapp** states - >For accurate aiming at the target it is essential that the submarine know its precise position with respect to the target when the Polaris is released. In the broad ocean this is a very tricky problem. It was solved by" the development of an elaborate device called "S.I.N.S." (Ships Inertial Navigation System) which automatically tells the submarine's exact position on the globe at all times. The Polaris submarine carries three of these devices. By using this instrument a submarine commander knows his exact position at all times. Government supporters in this House should inform their minds about these matters. One of the most informative articles that I ever read appeared in, of all places, the Sydney "Daily Telegraph" of 2nd March, 1963, under the headline "Drama of Polaris". Let the honorable member for Richmond note that. The article gives in intricate detail the circumstances surrounding the firing of Polaris missiles. It reads - An order by President Kennedy can stop the 6ring of a Polaris missile as little as 30 seconds before blast-off. But after that, the processes set in motion cannot be stopped. This was one of the secrets disclosed to-day to British newspaper men by Captain David Bell, who commands the U.S. Polaris Squadron based at Holy Loch in Scotland. Captain Bell told the correspondents of the intricate set of checks locking the submarine's sixteen H-bomb rockets to ensure that no one madman could launch a nuclear attack. There would be a fifteen-minute countdown period before the first missile could be launched. The captain had a "fire" button under a padlocked cover with a four-digit combination. The secret of this combination was known only to the captain. Circuits controlling the rockets were locked by the captain's button - but even when he pressed it they would still not work. The missile officer and his team of rocket crews also had locks on their parts of the firing systems. The newspapermen, making a historic first trip on the submarine Ethan Allen, heard how the signal to unleash nuclear war would be delivered. It could be in the form of a message from " a loving wife " on the round-the-clock radio network of the submarines. Or the telegram might convey a sweetheart's greetings or announce the birth of a child. But its true meaning would be the deadly instruction: " Release your birds ". Over the network flows a succession of "familygrams " - a series of genuine domestic messages from wives, families and girl-friends addressed to officers and men serving in Polaris submarines. Captain Bell said: "We may not have enough communications of importance to fill every hour of the 24 on the network, so we feed into it the family-grams ". Before acting on the code message there was another check in the complicated routine followed before the ultimate pressing of the firing button. The commanding officer, his executive officer and a third officer had to study the message and all agree it was genuine. Captain Bell said: " If they decide a message is legitimate they open up something like a safe deposit which contains the sealed envelopes holding the targets chosen for the submarine. "But this box can only be opened by two keys - one kept by the commanding officer and the other by an officer chosen by him." At the end of each mission the details inside the envelopes holding the targets would be changed. I have already said that submarine commanders can fix their positions by the use of "S.I.N.S.". We know also that the United States naval authorities pre-determine targets details of which are included in sealed instructions given to the submarine commanders before they leave their bases. The commanding officers of these submarines know their targets. Before any Polaris missile is fired a message from the President of the United States must be transmitted through a station such as the one proposed to be built at North West Cape. The Labour Party demands that certain conditions be observed in establishing this station in Western Australia. We must apply a set of conditions that will safeguard Australia in the case of war. Surely that demand is fair to all Australians! Are we to decide that we should no longer govern ourselves - that we should allow some executive officer of another country to decide what action shall be taken involving us? It has been said that this radio communications station will not be defended. This station is the Achilles' heel of the Polaris missile system. There is a station in Maine in the United States and the other station will be the one proposed to be built at Learmonth. It is well known that in the event of an inter-continental missile war Russia's missiles will be aimed at our targets. An article which appeared in the Sydney "Daily Mirror" alleged that this base would be protected by anti-missile missiles armed with atomic warheads. That claim was denied by the United States Ambassador and by the Minister for Defence, but a report in the " Sydney Morning Herald " on 9th March, 1963, reads - Defence authorities in Canberra concede that the U.S. Government is certain ultimately to approach the Australian Government with proposals for defending the station against attack. Defence experts do not believe the U.S. would suggest establishment of a nuclear defence system on Australian territory. They suggest the U.S. may ask to station supersonic jet fighters. Let us not kid ourselves. The Prime Minister has said that this station is not to be an ornament. Of course not! In the event of war inter-continental ballistic missiles with atomic warheads will be fired at the station and the only way to defend it will be by using anti-missile missiles with atomic warheads. I predict that within three or four years it will be asked that this proposition be put forward. As the Prime Minister said the station is more than an ornament. But, with all that, we of the Labour Party have accepted this proposition with certain conditions. What we have all to do, as members of this Parliament and as people of Australia, is to strive to see to it that when our leaders go to other nations of the world they speak with an independent voice - a conciliatory voice - and do not say that all the wrong is on one side and that all the right is on the other. We must live in this world together or perish together. I ask honorable members to bring tolerance into this debate, because I believe it is the most important debate in the history of Australia. {: #subdebate-32-0-s3 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMAHON:
Minister for Labour and National Service · Lowe · LP -- There is one part of the speech of the honorable member for Reid **(Mr. Uren)** with which I can agree, that is that this is the most important debate that has taken place in this House for many days and for many months. I listened with attention - perhaps even rapt attention - to what the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** said. I found it difficult to disentangle the substance of what he said and his opposition to the Government's proposals from all the .tripe and all the personalities that he indulged in. I want, if I can, to put this matter in perspective - that is, agreement to this bill and the signing of an agreement with the United States of America on the establishment of a communication station. I want to put it into perspective and ask why we want this bill and why we want the , communication station in north-western Australia. I think it can be said - and accepted by most people - that the balance of military power in the Australian theatre has undergone a profound change during the last ten or fifteen years. There have been some nations in the Pacific theatre - and if we like to use another phrase, the Indian Ocean theatre - whose power has waned, while the .power of others has waxed or grown substantial. On the one hand, the power of France and of Holland has fallen off substantially. The power of the United Kingdom has also waned considerably but, fortunately for us, the United Kingdom still has its authority and great interest in the Malaysian theatre. We have, on the other hand, the waxing power of an acknowledged aggressive and oppressive power - 'the .power of Communist China. We have also the very difficult position relating to Indonesia, but I do not want to touch on that because its position is a significantly different one. On the other side of the picture we have a great nation, the United States, whose power is continually increasing. It is the great balancing force and the great power for good in the theatre which we regard as our own front and even our own back yard. Against this background it becomes obvious that we, in this country of 11,000,000 people, need great and powerful friends. And the one great and powerful friend - I use the two adjectives together - that we know will be prepared to help us is the United States. Only yesterday I was reading a journal which indicated what the power of the United States was. I quote now from a statement by the United States Secretary for Defence, **Mr. McNamara.** I believe these are words which ought to be known to every one. He said, referring to a nuclear attack - >Following a surprise attack on us, we would still have the power to respond with overwhelming force. In other words, he points out the immense power of the Americas - their power to resist a surprise onslaught and then retaliate with overwhelming force. A later article points out that America's army combat divisions have been expanded from eleven to sixteen and her air force tactical wings from sixteen to 21. The first thing we have to recognize in this debate is that we want a powerful friend, and the great and powerful friend in this part of the world is the United States. Fortunately for us, the Americans have joined in a pact of friendship with us and we have joined in friendship with them. The next point I want to mention relates to Australia's defence strategy. Unless we see this matter in perspective - with regard to both the charnring balance of power and the basis of Australia's defence strategy - I do not think we begin to understand our problem. Our defence strategy rests on three platforms or bases. The first is that to the limit of our capacity we will look after ourselves. The Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** has stated in this House that shortly he will make a review of our defence needs and our defence commitments. I will be surprised if we do not find that there will be a substantial increase in those commitments to meet the threat that we see to Australia. The second point is that, tactically, we want what is called defence in depth. I do not want to go into this deeply, because I do not pose as a military man. But we believe that to have our enemies as far from this country as we can is an essential foundation of Australia's defence policy. I want these words to be remembered; subsequently I want to bring them into the substance of my speech: We have stationed our forces in Malaya, because we know that the independence of Malayasia will give us an area of military stability between Malaya and Australia and will be a guarantee of our independence. Against that background let us look at some of the provisions of this bill. The first which I want to bring to 'the notice of the House is in the preamble to the Schedule. It relates that Australia and the United States in 1951 concluded a security or defence treaty. The important fact about this defence treaty is that it virtually guarantees the security of Australia against attack while it remains in force. I said that we needed great and powerful friends and that the United States is the most powerful country in the world and. without any reservation, the most powerful country in this theatre. Here we have a recital of the fact that the Anzus Pact virtually guarantees 0'ir security and that treaty is between the United States, New Zealand and ourselves. The preamble also refers to the fact that Australia and the United States W;11 jointly an»1 separately maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack. We entered into agreement with the Americans and they entered into agreement with us, to improve our defence forces and to get ourselves into a position where both of us could resist attack if it was launched against this country. This agreement, relating to the communication centre, is the evidence of our goodwill and determination to live up to the obligations of the Anzus Pact and what we have promised to do in the mutual defence of our two countries. The unfortunate alternative, if we were to abrogate that agreement, is to say that we do not care about the defence of this country and that we will take the consequences, which may even be a Communist attack on and occupation of Australia. There are other articles in the agreement of which I remind the House as they vitally concern the substance of this debate. The Leader of the Opposition and other members of the Opposition who have spoken in this debate have failed to define clearly the attitude of the Australian Labour Party to the bill. If we dig deeply enough I think we will find that they have certain reservations about the legislation. In Article 1 of the agreement with the United States Government we have provided that it may establish, maintain and operate a naval communication centre at North West Cape. The property belongs to us and the sovereignty remains with the Commonwealth, but what is obvious is that the United States is to have tha sole power to maintain and ©Derate the base, subject to certain articles which I will mention later and which permit Australia to use the base for its own military purposes. The first point I make is that the agreement does not provide for the joint operation and control of the base by the United States and Australian Governments. The agreement was drafted by the Attorney-General and Minister for External Affairs. This eminent lawyer who drafted the agreement has stated that the real meaning of it is that control and operation remains with the United States. It must seem peculiar to hear two non-lawyers - two bush lawyers, if you like - arguing to the contrary and stating that the agreement has a totally different meaning. What does this base mean? What is it there for? Much has been said to the effect that there has been a failure by the Australian Government to disclose the fact that the communication centre was to be established and that it was to be operated under the control of the United States of America. But, as early as 1960, the Minister for Defence **(Mr. Townley)** told the House that discussions had begun in an informal way on the establishment of a naval radio communication centre in Australia - not a military base, but a naval radio centre. I have here reports of at least half a dozen statements made by the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** himself, setting out the full purposes of the communication centre, stating what it would do and what it would not do and referring to its power to communicate with sub-surface vessels and, in particular, with nuclear-powered submarines. I want to state that this is a communication centre controlled by the United States. Having said that, there is little else to disclose about the functions or powers of the radio centre. So I come to this point: What is the substance of the decision made by the Commonwealth Government? I have stated that we need powerful allies. I have stated that the United States is the most powerful nation in this theatre of operations. I have mentioned that we have permitted the United States to come here and, on lease, build this naval communication centre. There is only one conclusion to be drawn from this and from the Anzus pact, to which I have referred. This is the minimum contribution that we can make, as a Government, to ensuring that global war will become less probable than in the past. This is our contribution to the prevention of a global war. This is our contribution towards ensuring that in the event of a limited war, when nuclear weapons would not be used, we and our friends would have effective means of communication with our own vessels at sea. I know the point is of vital importance. It has been consistently overlooked in the course of this debate. Every one has assumed that there will be a nuclear holocaust. I do not regard that as certain. I regard it as highly improbable. Here we make our contribution to a limited war. We lose sight of the facts of life if we do not highlight that aspect of the problem. I have said that there are two issues involved in this debate. The Leader of the Opposition did not bring them out clearly, but he did guardedly refer to the fact that there were two sections of the agreement to which the Labour Party objected. That was confirmed by the honorable member for Reid. The Leader of the Opposition said that the first objection to the agreement was that the Labour Party wanted joint operation and control by the two governments, instead of single operation and control by the United States of America. Secondly, he argued that if the United States is threatened with war, or is actually at war, the communication centre should not be used without the prior consent of the Australian Government, ft is those .two propositions that I want to examine for .the moment. Any one who has had even as limited an opportunity to serve in the forces as I have had knows that one of the great advantages that the Communists have or that any enemy has is the power of surprise. We know what happened at Pearl Harbour when a disastrous attack was made on the United States Navy there. One of the precautions we must take is to put ourselves in such a position that there can be instant retaliation against an enemy that engages in an attack against our friends or against ourselves. I want every person who is listening to this debate to ask: What would happen if we insisted upon joint control by the United States Government and a government headed by the Australian Labour Party? I do not want to go into the question of where power resides in the Labour Party, but we all know that the primary power rests with the conference - with the 36 nondescript and faceless men. They would have the power at any moment of time to make a decision which would render this base ineffective. What would happen if - I do not regard it as probable - a nuclear war did start? Would it be necessary to have a consultation with the Prime Minister, who would be the leader of the Labour Party, then with the Labour executive and then with the conference, while nuclear warfare was in fact taking place? You have only to state the proposition to realize that what the Labour Party proposes would make the base unworkable and impracticable. There would be no use in establishing the base, no use in having a defence treaty with the United States Government. I can dismiss this, as I believe most thinking Australians will dismiss it, as nonsense and humbug. If that condition were insisted upon by the Labour Party, there would be no doubt that the intention was to destroy the prospect of the base being built or, if Labour wanted to re-negotiate the agreement, to neutralize the effect of the base. The Labour Party states also that the agreement should provide that in the event of the United States being at war, or threatened with war by another power, the base must not be used without the prior knowledge and consent of the Australian Government. What would have happened under such circumstances in the case of Cuba, or on the dozen and one other occasions on which the U.S.S.R. has threatened the United States? The argument is that the base has to close down until the Labour Party is consulted, until the executive is consulted and until the conference is consulted. You would have messages being passed from one body to the other, with all the frivolity that we found when the Labour Party conference met here in March of this year. The proposition has only to be stated in simple terms for it to be seen that if the Labour Party insisted upon this condition and had its way - it will insist, but it will not get its way - the United States would be wise not to go ahead with construction of the base. I have mentioned the Government's position. We have signed the agreement already. We believe in the United States having control. We will have the use of the base and there will be consultation. We believe that in the event of a threat of war, the United States must have an immediate right to use the centre, without prior consultation. Might I now come to the policy of the Labour Party on the Exmouth centre? As I have said, it has been rather difficult to fossick out, or find out, exactly what the Leader of the Opposition was saying. What we may state in clear and positive terms is that not a single member of the Opposition can vote for this bill on the first, second or third readings, or in the committee stages, if he abides by the decision of the federal conference of the Australian Labour Party, because that conference has decided, first, that there must be joint control, and secondly, that the United States should use the base in the events I have mentioned without joint consultation and without the prior knowledge of the Australian Government. Here you find the fundamental division that exists within the Labour Party and has existed since federation. Here we find a set of conditions which are the exact parallel of those which existed in 1954 when the Australian Democratic Labour Party split away from the Australian Labour Party on an ideological issue. On this occasion 27 members yesterday voted against the proposals contained in the bill. In other words, 27 members did not want the communications centre to be established, and did not want the United States of America to be actively involved in the defence of this country on Australia's shores. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- What are you talking about? {: .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMAHON: -- I am talking about you. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- You are talking a lot of rubbish. {: .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMAHON: -- You talk so much that you should let other people talk for a little while. You led the band and you failed, as you have failed throughout the whole of your history. **Mr. Speaker,** I say to you that the members of the Australian Labour Party cannot vote for this bill and at the same time live up to their sworn obligation to the federal conference of the party to vote for this bill only if the reservations that I have mentioned are included in it. I have been informed - and I believe it to be true - that we will find that, when the motion that the resolution be reported is moved in committee, the Opposition will ask for certain amendments to be incorporated, and if those amendments are not accepted they will call for a division and vote against the motion. That will be evidence for the Australian people on the question of whether or not the Labour Party wants the communication centre. Much more importantly, it will be evidence of whether or not the Australian Labour Party is positively willing to partake in the joint defence of this country with this Government and with the United States of America. If 1 may use the word " perspective " a second time, this matter has to be looked at from a second point of view. The decision relating to the communication centre has to be looked at against a background of at least two other decisions of the Labour conference which have not been mentioned here. The first of those was the decision made by the conference in 1954 when the Australian Labour Party wanted the Australian Government to recognize Communist China. The second was the request that we withdraw our forces from Malaya. I mentioned a few moments ago to you, **Sir, as** I did to the House, that we believe in defence in depth. We believe that while our forces are stationed in Malaya and joining with our great allies, the United Kingdom and the Malays, and while we are parties to the Seato treaty we have a second and forward line of defence for this country as well as that provided by Anzus. The Australian Labour Party wants us to abandon that forward line of defence. It wants us to jettison our front line and bring our own fighting forces back to this country. This second point is equally important because it does show the inability of the Australian Labour Party to recognize the dangers of militant and aggressive communism. The Australian Labour Party wants to recognize the Communists and accept them as comfortable bed-fellows. When you look at the Labour Party's opposition to this bill against that background, when you remember that the members of that party want our forces to come out of Malaya where they are acting as a stabilizing force and protective screen for Australia, and when you remember that honorable members opposite want to recognize our deadly enemies and play along with them, you see clearly where the Australian Labour Party stands on the vital problem of the defence of this country. I think the position was well summed up in this morning's press by a correspondent for whom I have a great deal of respect. He said that while the Labour Party might vote in favour of the motion for .the second reading of this bill it will do so purely and simply to be evasive and to try and confuse the Australian people as to where it genuinely stands. The truth behind this matter lies in the fact that Opposition members will try to disguise their intentions, first by attempting to convince the people that they must abide by the restrictions that have been imposed by the federal conference of the Australian Labour Party, and secondly, by confusing the Australian people by stating that after an election this year, next year, some time or never, they will assume office and change the terms of the agreement covering the base. Finally, there has to bo some concession to the left-wing members of .the Labour Party - 27 strong - who voted against the building of the naval communication centre here. I mention only two other points. They are both important, and I would not have touched upon them but for the fact that the Leader of the Opposition introduced them into the debate. He said he believed that the determination of Labour's policy by the conference of the Australian Labour Party was an example of democracy at work. **Sir, I** ask: Who are these members of the Australian Labour Party, and where do they *came* from? If you look at the persons who make up the A.L.P. conference you will come to the conclusion that they are a strange and nondescript lot. Excluding one or two of them such as, for example, **Mr. Charles** Oliver of New South Wales, I ask: Where, in this conference which was largely dominated by nondescript trade union members, do you find any of the great leaders of such great trade unions in this country as the vehicle builders union, the clerks union and the ironworkers federation. Let me refer to some of the members. First, there was **Mr. F.** G. Nolan who, on a visit to Russia in 1959, was made a member of 'the Communist Young Pioneers Movement Then I come to **Mr. Whitby.** After a touching tribute by the Communists to his ability, **Mr. Whitby** was made head of the Trades and Labour Council while **Mr. Macdonald,** a Communist, was on leave. You can go on this way if you like and look at literally dozens of people such as **Mr McSween.** a professional trade union officer, an officer of the clothing trades union who is regarded as a leftist even by extreme leftists. I do not use the phrase used by the honorable member for Mackellar **(Mr. Wentworth),** who said that they are tainted with communism. I am not prepared to use that phrase, but I want to say that the honorable member for Mackellar went perilously close to the target and could well have scored a bullseye if be had looked at those three people. This is a strange and nondescript crew and is the conference of the Australian Labour Party. With one or two exceptions of the kind I have mentioned, we do not find at the conference any representatives of the half a dozen great trade unions that make up the Australian Council of Trade Unions, one of the most powerful and responsible institutions in the country. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- What are you worried about? {: .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMAHON: -- I am not worried at all. What I am interested in, and what you ought to be worrying about is the effect that your speech will have upon the Australian people. I finish on this note and refer to two statements that have been made by the Opposition. I have already mentioned that it has been suggested that there has been a lack of frankness about the centre in this debate and that we, as a government, have not disclosed our intentions or the true purpose behind this proposal. I am prepared to produce to the House all the statements made by the Minister for Defence and the Prime Minister right from the beginning and I say deliberately there is little left to be said. If honorable members opposite had listened to what they were told they would have been better informed and would have known its purposes. I finish my speech by asking, "Where is the Labour Party going? " No one knows. If you look at its policy on international affairs, you find that it says it relies exclusively upon the United Nations. It says, in effect: " Leave it to the United Nations. It will provide the answer to the maiden's prayer." At this moment the United Nations is re-appraising its financial position. The Secretary-General has had to plead for money or financial support to continue the work of the organization. Is that a sound basis on which to carry on diplomatic affairs? Turning to defence, I have mentioned that the Australian Labour Party wants Australia to recognize Communist China; it wants our troops withdrawn from Malaya; and it does not believe in joining with the United States in a joint communications station. If their policies were adopted we would have no defence whatsoever. Australia would be inviting attack. I conclude on this note: We on this side of the House are fortunate in that we have a great and inspired national leader. By contrast - I say this with some regret because I have a personal liking for the Leader of the Opposition - if ever we saw a case of a man who abdicated responsibility, we see it in the abdication of the leadership by the Leader of the Opposition, who was prepared to accept dictation from the Australian Labour Party federal conference. I believe that 80 per cent, of Australians will welcome the action of the Government and that 20 per cent, of them will support the Labour Party. I trust that that 80 per cent, will vote against the Labour Party when they have the opportunity to do so. **Mr. COMBER** (Bowman) [5.371. - When the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. McMahon)** commenced his speech I thought that for once we would hear something constructive from him. I thought he was going to avoid his usual tactics of bringing smear and personalities into the debate. However, when he was half-way through his speech he started to follow the line that is usually adopted by honorable members on the Government side, particularly the honorable member for Mackellar **(Mr. Wentworth),** whenever they are debating any controversial matter that is before the House. Whenever the Australian Labour Party attempts to bring great issues which are facing Australia before the House and have them debated in a calm and logical manner, Government supporters attempt to draw red herrings across the trail and bring out the old Communist bogy. I do not think that goes over at all with the Australian public to-day. In fact, I am very sure that it does not. It is very obvious, **Mr. Speaker,** that during this debate Government supporters are attempting to draw a red herring across the trail. They are trying to hide the real issue at stake, namely, this communications station in Western Australia. The Minister for Labour and National Service spoke about the power of government. He created the impression that in his opinion power or might is right. That seems to be the thinking of most honorable members on the Government side of the House. He made charges against the Australian Labour Party in. relation to its attitude on foreign policy and foreign affairs. Previous speakers also did that. Our attitude, of course, as the honorable member for Reid **(Mr. Uren)** said, is one of peaceful co-existence with all nations. The measures that this Government finds itself forced to adopt to-day in respect of its foreign policy and defence commitments have been brought about by its attitude towards certain nations. Towards the conclusion of his speech the Minister for Labour and National Service stated that we of the Labour Party want to recognize red China. Of course we want to recognize red China. Most enlightened nations have already done that. The Conservative Government in the United Kingdom has recognized the nation of red China for many years. It realizes that it has to be realistic in its thinking and that it cannot afford to ignore a nation of 700,000,000 people which, I agree, can be a potential enemy or a potential friend. The attitude of the Australian Government to nations such as red China will never be conductive to bringing about friendly relations with those nations. The members of the Australian Country Party, who sit in the corner of the chamber here, are very concerned at present about their trade with Communist China. In fact, in 1961-62 Australia traded with Communist China to the extent of exporting £300,000,000 worth of goods and purchasing the very small total of £3,000,000 worth of goods. That shows that it is possible for Australia to enter into peaceful negotiations in respect of trade and all other matters that affect its security and welfare. It is quite obvious that the attitude of the Government on this bill is one of disappointment - disappointment in the fact that the federal conference of the Labour Party did not go the way in which Government supporters thought it would go. It is not for me to decide exactly what should have been the right approach by the federal conference on this matter. We, as members of a democratic party, accept the decisions of the rank and file members of the party, the people at whose will we are in this Parliament. We are elected by the people of Australia, certainly; but we are elected as members of a party and we must and do show allegiance to the party organization. The Labour Party is made up of a great cross-section of the Australian community. We have men from alL walks of life representing their electorates in this Parliament. The Government is putting its head in the sand if it thinks that the people's thoughts on this station are as proGovernment as it would like to imagine they are. Government supporters move in certain circles and I move in other circles. The circles in which members on this side of the House move are probably representative of a far wider cross-section of the community than do the circles in which Government supporters move. On 17th May of last year the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** made his first statement on this station, after many questions had been asked in this House by the honorable member for Reid and other honorable members on what were the Government's proposals in respect of an agreement to be negotiated with the United States of America. The silence of the Prime Minister and the other members of the Government was very ominous. Any doubt that has been created in the minds of the Australian people and members of the Opposition has been created by the reticence of the Prime Minister - his reluctance to discuss this matter in the Parliament. If the Government had nothing to hide, why was it so reticent? Why did it not bring the facts about this stations before the Parliament and present them to the people of Australia? I believe that the Prime Minister thought the establishment of the base would cause a certain amount of controversy and so concluded the negotiations with as little publicity as possible. Now, as a token gesture, the Minister for External Affairs **(Sir Garfield Barwick)** has presented to the Parliament this bill seeking ratification of an agreement which has already been entered into. He is confident that the Parliament will pass the bill. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr Duthie: -- The Government has the numbers. {: #subdebate-32-0-s4 .speaker-K0I} ##### Mr COMBER:
BOWMAN, QUEENSLAND -- Of course, it has the numbers and the bill has to be passed in any event. I would like to mention the decision of the federal conference. This decision was reached after much discussion and after various points of view had been put forward by the members of the conference. The members of the conference are not, as the Minister for Labour and National Service described them, a nondescript lot. They represent some of the greatest trade unions in Australia. They hold their positions bebecause of their ability to represent the people who rely on the unions for protection against those who would exploit them and who depend on the weekly wage envelope for their daily bread. The members of the conference are good Australians who have known what it is like to struggle for better conditions for the workers. They understand the problems of the people of Australia. They are not a nondescript lot and it ill becomes the Minister to make such a derogatory comment. Though he may have a difference of opinion with them, he should remain impersonal. He has brought no- credit on himself to-day by this reference to good Australians. The Government has tried to imply that the Australian Labour Party would sacrifice the. defence of Australia if it were returned to office. I do not believe that any fairminded Australian would accept such a statement. {: .speaker-KFH} ##### Mr Forbes: -- You have always done so before. {: .speaker-K0I} ##### Mr COMBER: -- I will make my own speech without the help of the honorable member for Barker. History shows that all of our greatest defence measures have been implemented by the. Labour Party. In the two major wars that have been fought during this century, the people of Australia, have recognized the work of the Labour Party. The Labour Party successfully conducted the affairs of the nation during those two world wars. It was the Labour Party as the Government in 1941 that formed the first alliance between Australia and the United States of America. What was the attitude of the Prime Minister, who was leader of the Opposition at the time? He had recently been deposed; his Government had been defeated. At that time he. was the leader of the United Australia Party. I think that was its name. The name has changed so often over the years that it is hard to keep track of all that have been used. The present Prime Minister criticized the Labour Prime Minister, the Right Honorable John Curtin, for going over the head of the British Government and seeking, the aid of the United States in an emergency. At that time the Prime Minister, who was then the Leader of the Opposition, said that we should not in any circumstances dissolve our ties with Great Britain, which was one of our allies. One would think that the Prime Minister, and1 indeed other honorable, members opposite, would be very careful when they questioned the loyalty of the Australian Labour Party, Our attitude to this bill has been outlined by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell),** who to-day made an outstanding contribution to the debate. It was probably one of the greatest speaches made in this House for quite a long time. He pointed out Labour's objections to the agreement that has been negotiated between the United States and the Commonwealth of Australia. The main points he raised were that Australia should retain sovereignty - this has now been guaranteed - and that *ia* no circumstances should Australia commit itself to a war without the prior consent of the Australian Parliament. I think this is fair enough. The Australian Labour Party has every reason to protect the interests of Australia. The agreement is for a period of 25 years. This is a long time and, in the light of world events to-day, great changes could occur in this period. With the scientific advances now being made, it is very difficult to say what our position will be in 25 years time and what alliances we will have with other nations during that period. World affairs changed considerably over the past 25 years. Nations that once were great are now second-rate. Nations that were second-rate or even third-rate are now great. We must recognize the danger inherent in this agreement. I believe that the Australian Labour Party is doing a great service to the people by pointing out the danger in this Parliament. The danger may mean nothing to the Government, but it certainly means something to the Ausralian Labour Party. We are not opposed to an alliance with a great nation such as the United States. We are very grateful for the help that we received from the United States during the last World War. This help came «s a result of the initiative and the courage of the Australian Labour Party, although its action in seeking the help was controversial. {: .speaker-KFH} ##### Mr Forbes: -- You were saving your skins. {: .speaker-K0I} ##### Mr COMBER: -- You can talk all night if you like. We sought the assistance of the United States, we received that assistance and we were very grateful for it. We believe to-day that other factors are involved in an alliance. We are now living in a time of peace and this Government has set a precedent by allowing such a base as this is to be established in a time of peace. This makes the isue a very controversial one. We have decided to support the establishment of the base on terms that are suitable and agreeable to the Australian Labour Party. If the Government were sincere in wanting to bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion, and if it were not attempting to make political capital out of the issue, it could easily enter into negotiations with the United States Government, even at this late stage, to give effect to these vital amendments that we of the Labour Party consider are necessary in the interests of Australia. I would now like to refer to the scurrilous and irresponsible attacks that have been made by certain members of the Government parties on members of the Australian Labour Party. We are honest enough in this party to admit that we do not all see eye to eye on certain issues. But we are a party of solidarity, and when an issue is decided by the majority we are prepared to accept the decision and stand by it. This is in direct contrast to some members of the Government parties who either for the sake of a little bit of publicity or for some other reason often raise their voices in this house against their own government. But when the show-down comes, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** where are those members to be found? {: .speaker-KFH} ##### Mr Forbes: -- Well, you raised your voice in caucus. {: .speaker-K0I} ##### Mr COMBER: -- You do not know what I did in caucus unless you had your ear to the keyhole, and I would not be surprised if you would stoop to that sort of thing. You seem to know so much about what goes on in caucus that perhaps you have a spyhole. I would not know, but I would not put it past you. {: .speaker-KFH} ##### Mr Forbes: -- **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** I find that remark offensive and I suggest the honorable member be asked to withdraw it. He implies that I was listening at the keyhole when a caucus meeting was being held. One does not have to do that. {: #subdebate-32-0-s5 .speaker-KIH} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock: -- Order! I suggest the honorable member should withdraw the remark that the honorable member for Barker may have been listening at the keyhole of the caucus room. {: .speaker-K0I} ##### Mr COMBER: -- I am sorry, **Mr. Deputy Speaker.** He might not have been listening. I do not know. The decisions arrived at by the- {: .speaker-KBH} ##### Mr Wilson: -- **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** I would like you to ask the honorable member again to withdraw his remark. {: #subdebate-32-0-s6 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order! I ask the honorable member to withdraw the remark he made concerning the honorable member for Barker. {: .speaker-K0I} ##### Mr COMBER: -- I withdrew it. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- There were so many interjections at the time that I did not know whether you had withdrawn it or not. {: .speaker-K0I} ##### Mr COMBER: -- It is quite obvious that certain members on the Government side become a little uneasy when they are given some of their own medicine. Perhaps they think, too, that if they keep on interjecting they can sit me down. I do not intend that they should do so. I would like again to refer to decisions arrived at by members of the Australian Labour Party, whether in the conference room, in the caucus room or even by the rank and file in the branches of the party. When a majority decision is arrived at it is accepted. Members of the Government parties probably find this hard to understand, because I do not think they have any branch representation. One would think they had no branches if one looked at their organization in my district and accepted it as typical, because there they are flat out to get people to man their booths on election day. They usually have to pay their workers. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -- You should come down south. {: .speaker-K0I} ##### Mr COMBER: -- I have not been through the skeleton weed country, but perhaps I will go there some day. {: .speaker-JTP} ##### Mr Bury: -- In my electorate I find that the Labour Party pays its workers. {: .speaker-K0I} ##### Mr COMBER: -- I did not quite hear that interjection, but I think the honorable member said something about employers' organizations. He is probably the representative of those organizations in this House. Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m. {: .speaker-K0I} ##### Mr COMBER: -- **Mr. Speaker,** when the sitting was suspended, I was discussing the methods by which the Australian Labour Party, through its conferences and its executive, makes decisions. 1 had stated that the party has no apologies to make to any one for the way in which it arrives at its decisions. The decisions and the methods by which they are made are most democratic, and we are not afraid of any of the extraneous issues that are brought before the people of Australia and this Parliament. {: .speaker-KET} ##### Mr King: -- The honorable member is apologizing now. {: .speaker-K0I} ##### Mr COMBER: -- I am not apologizing for anything, least of all to the honorable member. 1 certainly would not apologize to him. We are confident that the people of Australia support the policies of the Australian Labour Party and will judge the issues in this matter as they arise. Those issues were put before the House this afternoon by our leader. For the Australian Labour Party, the issue is not whether we should or should not ally ourselves with the United States of America. Our party recognizes, as do the Government parties, I believe, and all Australians that the real issue now before us must be decided on the facts as presented to this Parliament in the consideration of the bill now before us. The issue on which we quarrel with the Government is the denial of the Australian Government's right to decide whether Australia should be committed to war or to peace. The Australian Labour Party has always adhered to the principle that the Australian Government should have the right to make this decision. Government supporters talk about the interest that they have in the welfare of the Australian people, not only in relation to the matter of defence, on which this bill touches, but also in relation to many other matters that come before this Parliament. In the eighteen months during which I have been a member of this place, we have found that the Government is interested not in what is- best for Australia but in what is best for the interests that it represents. Those interests are the interests not of the ordinary people of Australia but of big business and those sections of the community that support this Government's policies. The great issue that comes before us in the consideration of this bill cannot be dismissed lightly, **Mr. Speaker,** lt cannot be dismissed by honorable members on the Government side of the chamber telling the people of Australia and the Opposition in this Parliament that the Australian Labour Party's actions are motivated by an influence that all decent Australians abhor - the influence of the Communists. I consider that the average Australian believes that the greatest deterrent to the Communist menace would be the fulfilment of the aims of the Australian Labour Party. {: .speaker-0095J} ##### Mr Howson: -- Oh! {: .speaker-K0I} ##### Mr COMBER: -- The honorable member may scoff as much as he likes. He will scoff on the other side of his face when he sees the way in which the people of Australia react at the next general election. On the issue of communism, I may say that the Prime Minister who sits at the table this evening is probably the only Prime Minister in the history of this country who ever rode into office on a dead horse - the dead horse of communism. In December, 1961, the people of Australia rejected the arguments put forward by the Prime Minister and his supporters. It is all very well for the right honorable gentleman to laugh, as he is now doing, in his supercilious way. We are used to that. He looks down on every one whom he considers to be of an intellect inferior to his own, but there are not too many people in that position. It is all very well for him to sit in his gilded cage. I say that the issues before us will be decided by the people of Australia. They will determine the fundamental issues that come before the House in the consideration of this bill. I sincerely believe that, despite the red herrings drawn across the trail by the Government and its supporters, the people of Australia, in the exercise of their own good sense, will judge this matter on its merits. I am sure that when the issues are put before the people they will decide, as they did in December, 1961, that the only party that can govern in the best interests of Australia is the Australian Labour Party. Suspension of Standing Orders. Motion (by **Mr. Adermann)** - by leave - agreed to - >That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the right honorable the Prime Minister speaking for a period not exceeding 45 minutes. {: #subdebate-32-0-s7 .speaker-N76} ##### Sir ROBERT MENZIES:
KooyongPrime Minister · LP -- **Mr. Speaker,** I am indebted to the House and I hope that I will not need this indulgence. I think that 1 ought to begin by saying that I am vastly indebted to the honorable member for Bowman **(Mr. Comber),** who has cast me with a versatility of role to which I have never aspired. It turns out that I rode into office on a dead horse - that is not a bad feat - sitting at the time in a gilded cage and drawing a red herring across the trail. I am indebted to my friend for this. It is in some way a compliment. There is one thing that I would like to say quite seriously about the end of the honorable member's speech and about other speeches that have been made this afternoon. This is a very curious debate. I thought that we were to get to the heart of this matter and have the points of difference fought out as they are entitled to be fought out for the public benefit. But most of the campaign on the Opposition side of the House has been directed at justifying the system of internal government in the Australian Labour Party. No doubt this is a very interesting thesis, but it is hardly an answer to the issues that are being dealt with here in relation to the establishment of this station and the conditions on which it ought to be established. However, **Sir, I** will not occupy any time on that. I just want to address myself to some of the remarks made by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell),** who, if I may say so, was in uncommonly vigorous form this afternoon. He became almost excited, I thought, at one or two stages, when he indulged in the luxury of making: a little free with history. I suppose that that is pardonable. For one thing, he seemed to me to set out to establish that there was not much wrong with this agreement with the United States of America for the establishment of a naval communication station. That surprised me, having regard to recent events and recent votes. It astonished me, and it must have astonished some of those opposite who have taken Trappist vows in the course of this debate. After all, what did the honorable gentleman say? He attacked my colleague, the Minister for External Affairs **(Sir Garfield Barwick),** for having misled the House about the effect of the agreement. How far can a man mislead the House about the effect of an agreement that has been tabled and is explained in simple and measured terms? The Leader of the Opposition said: " There is nothing in this agreement about sole control. This is a device used by the Attorney-General ". Then later he said, " There is nothing in this agreement inconsistent with joint control". I am glad to see the honorable member for Bass **(Mr. Barnard)** nodding his head, because that shows that he followed the argument of the Leader of the Opposition. Therefore, on that view there is joint control and, if there is joint control, the Australian Government can veto any decision, because obviously joint control involves the right of veto. So everything in the garden is lovely. I put this quite seriously to honorable members and to the people of Australia. They should consider it. I am repeating the argument which was advanced by the Leader of the Opposition. If I were in opposition and entertained those views - I will demonstrate in a moment that they are wrong and I will face up to the great problem in this matter without any hesitation - I would support the bill ratifying the agreement without any qualification, without doing what the Leader of the Opposition has done and without engaging in this sort of by-play. I begin by being puzzled to know where the Leader of the Opposition, who has been much instructed on this matter, now stands. I cannot suppose for one moment that he indulged in 45 minutes of passion and invective, making singularly free with history - I will put it politely - just to say " Yes " to the bill. If we can judge by the atmosphere, one thing is clear. He does not like the bill or the agreement. But if I am wrong about that, perhaps the Opposition will relieve me of all my responsibilities by saying, "We are all wholeheartedly in favour of the agreement". If Opposition members will say that I shall be able to resume my seat, but they know that they cannot say that because it would be a flat contradiction of everything that has been happening during their debates. I will address myself to the genuine issues in this matter and to the deep differences that are disclosed here because I think that the people of Australia want, quietly and carefully, to understand them. But before I address myself to the major task I want to dispose of the allegation, repeatedly made, that we, and in particular I, have concealed the true nature of this station at North West Cape. Long after the Minister for Defence **(Mr. Townley)** had made a statement about this matter I made quite a lengthy statement on 17th May last year and again on 26th March this year, saying all that could be said about the proposed station. There is nothing to be added to or subtracted from that to-day. Indeed, if any confirmation were needed, it was afforded by the distinguished visiting United States admiral who came here for the Coral Sea celebrations. {: .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr Allan Fraser:
EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Don't bring him into it. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Sir ROBERT MENZIES: -- We brought him into Australia. {: .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr Allan Fraser:
EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Don't bring him into it. That is very bad. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Sir ROBERT MENZIES: -- Come, come, grow up. The admiral came to Australia. I wonder what the honorable member would have said if the admiral had criticized the Government on this matter. We would have heard all about it in this place and the television audiences would have listened to it and wondered. All I know is that the admiral said, obviously with complete accuracy, that this was a radio communication station and nothing more. But on 8th May this year the honorable member for Yarra **(Mr. Cairns)** was exercised. He said: "You said that this was a naval communication station to communicate with naval vessels. You did not mention submarines." I give that to the honorable member for what it is worth. I did not mention aircraft carriers either, yet I am told that they are naval vessels which carry aircraft and that some of the aircraft are so furnished that they can deliver nuclear weapons. The Leader of the Opposition used some pretty hard terms, but I would venture to describe the point made by the honorable member for Yarra as puerile. If any one in this place other than the honorable member for Yarra believed that submarines and aircraft carriers were not naval vessels, I would be astonished at the illiteracy of the House. Therefore, there is no occasion to alter a single word of what was said then. Having said that, I want to return for a moment to the central problem. Does this agreement provide for sole control, as my colleague rightly said that it does, or for joint control, as the Leader of the Opposition hopes that it does? Two matters arise. First, what does the agreement provide? Secondly, is it right, speaking responsibly on behalf of our own country? As for the agreement itself, I must say that I was taken aback by the argument that the Attorney-General was wrong. The preamble to the agreement is in these terms - >Considering that the establishment, maintenance and operation of a United States naval communication station in Australia will materially contribute to that end- That being the end of common defence - in accordance with the terms and conditions set out in this Agreement, the United States Government may establish, maintain and operate a naval communication station. The United States Government, not some one else. Then there is a provision in Article 3, to which my distinguished friend referred, to the effect that the two governments will consult from time to time at the request of either government on any matters connected with this station and its use. Of course! We are allies. In that sense we are partners. Of course, we will consult about all sorts of things. We want to be able to use the station ourselves for our own communications. But there is nothing in this agreement - I had thought this was the nub of the matter from the point of view of the Labour Party, which proposes joint control of the station - which enables the Australian Government to veto the use of the station in the event of war. If honorable members opposite object to that - I imagine they do from all that I have heard and read on this matter, and it is an intelligible view - let them say so. I am here to defend it, to say that it is a proper arrangement. If it were not made in this sense, then in the event of a war breaking out in which nuclear weapons were involved, if you like, Australia could nullify the effect of United States nuclear weapons in the southern hemisphere by saying to the United States, "You are not to use this communication station ". I will come back later to explain what a fantasy that is and how utterly inconsistent it would be with the safety of our own country. I began by saying that I agreed that this agreement provides for sole control. Therefore, the agreement is inconsistent with the Opposition's desire for joint control and inconsistent with a power, which the Opposition wants, to say to the United States in the event of war, "You are not to use this station because it might involve us in some way ". I state that matter quite clearly. These are the matters at issue. It would be very advantageous if the people of Australia could see quite clearly the points on which there is deep division of opinion between the Government and the Opposition. Having said that I want now to clear aside some of the lumber that has come to light in the course of this argument. Argument about the establishment of the station at North West Cape gets muddled every now and then with argument about the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere. Indeed, I think the Labour Party's ambitions in the direction of a nuclear-free zone have largely affected its attitude towards the North West Cape project and have created within the Labour Party, putting on one side all shams, most determined opposition to the establishment at North West Cape. Labour's argument has become so muddled that the Leader of the Opposition cited, not for the first time, the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference of 1961 and said that that conference produced the right ideas. I agree; the conference did produce the right ideas. I should know something about the two paragraphs to which the honorable gentleman has constantly referred because I drafted them at the conference and I adhere to them. Paragraph 7 of the communique issued 'that year reads - >Eevery effort should be made to secure rapid agreement to the permanent banning of nuclear weapons tests by all nations and to arrangements for verifying the observation of the agreement. Such ian agreement is urgent, since otherwise further countries may soon become nuclear powers, whi h would increase the danger of war and further complicate the problem of disarmament. Moreover, an agreement on nuclear tests, apart from its direct advantages, would provide a powerful psychological impetus to agreement over the wider field of disarmament. Quite true; we said that. That is why this Government has not taken steps to make Australia, in the military sense, a nuclear power. We believe that the fewer the hands and the more important and more responsible the hands in which this terrific weapon resides, the better for mankind. Earlier in the 1961 communique - I recommend this paragraph to my friends - the Commonwealth Prime Ministers said - >The elimination of nuclear and conventional armaments must be so phrased that at no stage will any country or group of countries obtain a significant military advantage. This is, of course, of fundamental importance. For us to join with other people, if they can be found, to strike out of the hands of our friends and allies the nuclear weapon in some vast area while leaving it completely in the hands of our potential enemies in respect of the same area would, of course, be hopeless. For us to promote the idea - this is something that people should think about - that you will help the world's peace bv getting rid of nuclear weapons and not doing anything about conventional armaments, is simply a policy which would leave undisputed power in the hands of the Communist nations. I do not for a moment say that the Leader of the Opposition proposed that course. I want to make it quite clear that this is one of the issues that we must determine. Pending disarmament on the grand scale, the existence of the nuclear deterrent - the capacity to deliver the nuclear deterrent at the right time and in the right place - is the condition by which we live. The nuclear deterrent will cease to deter if the Communist powers come to think that it cannot be effectively organized or deployed south of the equator, though from the point of view of the Communist countries, which are north of the equator - never forget that - there will be no prohibition or inhibition at all. It is essential for the effectiveness of the deterrent that the United States naval forces - I mean cruisers, destroyers, frigates, aircraft carriers, submarines and anything else you care to mention - should be within reach of a radio communications station. **Sir, I** have no expert views to offer on these matters but the best military opinion that I have been able to discover is that while it remains possible for Communist China to acquire nuclear weapons - I think that will be agreed to be an understatement because most certainly in due course Communist China will acquire nuclear weapons - a nuclear-free Pacific Ocean or Indian Ocean on our side would be suicidal. I am happy to say that that situation is clearly understood by 80 per cent, of the people of Australia. Suppose Communist China gave a guarantee - I do not suppose any of us would be very excited by a Communist guarantee, but suppose that happened. The military disadvantages of a nuclear-free southern hemisphere must be unacceptable to the United States and her global allies because such a situation would reduce their overall nuclear deterrent capabilities. Honorable members have only to look at the map of the Indian Ocean and the southwest Pacific area and note where the equator is to understand how crippling it would be if, having that power, we should say to the United States, " You are not to deploy in the Indian Ocean south of the equator any naval unit carrying nuclear weapons or any aircraft on an aircraft carrier carrying nuclear weapons ". In the world picture the Indian Ocean is strategically placed and in those circumstances to which I have just referred, if you were to defend yourself against Communist aggression, naval units would have to come in through the Suez Canal on the one side, or through the Straits of Malacca on the other. Really, the safety of our country is of paramount importance to us. We are not to trifle with it in this way. Some of what the Minister for External Affairs said in his second-reading speech has been decried or questioned by the Opposition. Some very offensive words were used about what I thought was a singularly objective statement. But some things are not challenged and cannot be challenged. Perhaps we have forgotten those things. Perhaps many people have forgotten them. It is my duty to make a reminder. All I want to do is go back to the Anzus Treaty of 1951 and1 1952 - the treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States. People forget the nature of that agreement. Some people say that we should not tie ourselves too much to the United States because, who knows, it may some day have a president other than the one it has to-day. They forget the nature of the Anzus Pact, which is a treaty between nations ratified by the parliament of each nation. And in its preamble it says - >Desiring to declare publicly and formally their sense of unity, so that no potential aggressor could be under the illusion that any of them stand alone in the Pacific area, Then, in Article II, which was also read previously by my colleague, we read - >In order more effectively to achieve the objective of this Treaty the Parties separately and jointly by means of continuous and effective selfhelp and mutual aid will maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack. It is in that context and against that background that the United States is being allowed to establish this naval communication station in the north-west. Article IV is worth recalling. It says - >Each Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific Area- which was the broad sweep they were taking - on any of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety- In other words, America has declared in this treaty that an armed attack on Australia would be dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States. This is a wonderful provision. The article continues - arid declares that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes. Then, we come to Article V. This is worth mentioning, not, perhaps, entirely with relation to this measure, but because for general purposes it ought to be known. It states - >For the purpose of Article IV- which I have just referred to- an armed attack on any of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack on the metropolitan territory of any of the Parties, or on the island territories under its jurisdiction in the Pacific or on its armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific. > >That is the Anzus Pact. We are really now being told by the Opposition, as I understand it - not so much from the speech of the Leader of the Opposition as such, but from other general indications - that although we have this partnership, although we have this treaty which is absolutely one of the vital elements in the safety and security of this country, we are to say to the most overwhelmingly powerful member of the pact: " But understand, we insist on the provision that if you are attacked by nuclear weapons without warning " - because of course there will be no gentlemanly stuff if that happens - " you cannot give orders to your people in our area or within the scope of this station to deliver their retalia ory blows " - which ought to be delivered in an hour - " until you first arrange to have a meeting with the Government of Australia in order that it may say Yes ' or ' No ' > > **Sir, this** is so unreal and so much preferring barren theory to the actual security of Australia, that it baffles me. How does that kind of thing fit into the facts of life or into the Anzus concept? Joint control - let me repeat - is not just the power to consult. There is plenty of power to consult. It is a power to veto-a power to say " No " and that is what the Opposition wants to be said to the United States. Is the United States, which at vast expense can create this essential facility for western defence and for the carrying out of the obligations of the Anzus Treaty to be told that it must accept the risk that at the very time when these facilities are most needed - that is to say, when the United States is attacked in a nuclear war - it may be denied them by the then Government of Australia? > >That point was elaborated in another way in a statement made on behalf of the Opposition. The Opposition un e . .1 by saying that there should be a provision that the station should not be used by the > >United States at war without the consent of the Australian Government. It is the same thing. It is merely another way of putting the point, I would like our fellow countrymen to think. Do they suppose that if the Communist powers decided that the moment had come to strike they would give any warning? > >I, like most people around the world, am not anticipating that there will be a nuclear war. So long as we have the deterrent, and the deterrent can be used and launched with the greatest effect, I do not think we will have a nuclear war unless somebody goes mad somewhere. After all, we are talking about a provision which is designed to help this country and other countries in the event of war. > >Suppose a war came. How would it come? Only by one of the Communist powers, or both, launching an attack on the rest of the world in pursuit of world power and dominating the world with their strange ideas. They would give no warning about it. Do we not know that from the very first moment some nuclear attack is made the retaliation - the reply - must come within minutes, not within weeks or days. Of course, that is why it is necessary for somebody to be able to say " Go "; not a committee; not a decision from a laborious consultation at this end of the world. Every minute will count and if we are twenty minutes late, 30 minutes late or a day late this may mean the destruction of our kind of world all around the world. **Sir, suppose** a war of that kind occurred! It would not occur because the democratic nations attacked the Communist world. Nobody is silly enough to believe that. > >Suppose a war of that kind occurred, begun without warning - launched by a Communist dictator who did not have to consult anybody! Can we in this Parliament, representing, as we do, a pretty fair cross-section of the people of Australia, suppose, as sensible men, that in a war of that kind the United States would be against us? That is not real life. That does not come within the wildest imagination of anybody. Can anybody imagine that in such a war, if we were the object of attack, the United States would be neutral, would tear up the Anzus Pact, would Lu.g.i all these associate...! that <ve have with her? Not for one moment, in the wildest imagination of men! That could not happen. Would Australia, supposing we were not the first object of attack but that America or Great Britain or somewhere in Western Europe was, wish to be - let us face up to it - a neutral observer waiting to be the prize of victory? Nothing in the history of Australia suggests that that would be our role. Could we rationally suppose that, should the United States be in a war in which her naval forces in the Indian Ocean must receive signals - clearly a war against Communist aggression - any Australian government would repudiate Anzus, declare for neutrality and evict the United States from the North West Cape? Of course we cannot. That is why the agreement that the United States should establish this station and should control it, and that we should have certain rights of access, is a completely justifiable agreement. I hope I have dealt with the real problems in this matter soberly and seriously. They are great problems. They deserve an informed public opinion. Before I sit down, I just want to say that my friend, the Leader of the Opposition - really he does not think as badly of me as some of his remarks might suggest - offered a very remarkable argument. He said - >In fourteen years of office, the Government has not acquired nuclear weapons. Australia is therefore nuclear-disarmed without any agreement. "Whether the Prime Minister realizes it or not, every argument he advances for the need for nuclear weapons for Australia's defence is a selfcondemnation of his own defence programme. The Prime Minister cannot have it both ways. This argument fascinates me. I have already pointed out that we have not ourselves acquired or produced nuclear weapons. I have pointed out that we took a prominent place in the discussions in the Prime Ministers' Conference which led to the statement that nuclear weapons ought not to be spread into too many hands. Therefore, **Sir, of** course we have avoided "being a nuclear power in our own right. The point that the honorable gentleman overlooks is that we are not prepared to bind the unknown future by pledging our word that we will never allow nuclear weapons to be used in our defence, because that would be suicidal. If they are to be used against us - as they well might be, under conceivable circumstances - are we to say that under no circumstances will we allow any power to come to our defence and deploy nuclear weapons from our soil or from our waters? I want to end by repeating that so far as the Government is concerned and, I would think, so far as the vast majority of the Australian people is concerned, we will not handicap our allies in the use of such weapons to resist nuclear aggression by the common enemy of all. {: #subdebate-32-0-s8 .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr Allan Fraser:
Monaro · EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- **Mr. Speaker,** no doubt some other people will feel differently, but, for myself, I could scarcely bear the performance with which the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** opened his speech to-night. On an issue which involves the possible annihilation of the human race, the fate of every man, woman and child in Australia, the Prime Minister had to succumb once again to the temptation to demonstrate the brilliance of his wit, his ability to score, to play for a laugh and to sneer - what argument is there against a sneer? - and to employ the technique of misquoting an opponent's argument, so that, having misquoted it, he could demonstrate his cleverness in destroying the argument which he had misstated. So much for that. The Prime Minister said to-night that the Australian Government could nullify the use of American nuclear weapons if there were joint control of this station at North West Cape. He proceeded to devote the whole of his argument to the question of the control of the base at North West Cape, because the purpose of the base is to give the signal for the discharge of nuclear weapons from submerged submarines. Yet he had earlier to-night informed us that he had told the House on 17th May of last year and on 27th March of this year everything that the Australian people required to know about this communication base, although in neither of those statements had he made the slightest reference to submarines or even said that the communication station would be used for ordering the firing of nuclear weapons. That is the measure of the Prime Minister's deception of the Australian people on this issue over twelve months. This deception was proved to-night out of his own mouth by the argument to which he devoted the whole of his speech. It was a pretty dreadful speech from my point of view, because although the issue is the unleashing of nuclear war - this communication station is to be used only if nuclear war is unleashed - there was not one word in the whole of the speech of the leader of the Australian nation on peace or disarmament or on a seeking of international understanding. Indeed, the Prims Minister cast ridicule upon the idea of nuclear-free zones. He said not one word in favour of this aspiration to confine the use of nuclear forces in the world, except to ridicule the idea of nuclear-free zones as proposed by U Thant on behalf of the United Nations, as endorsed by President Kennedy, and as representing the wish of the ordinary people not only in Australia but in America, Russia, Indonesia and every country of the world. At the same time, he brought into this debate, on which there is such a tremendous division between the Government and the Opposition, the name of an American admiral to buttress his political arguments. In doing so the Prime Minister did not serve - and did not seek to serve - the cause of Australian-American friendship or understanding, but he did it great harm. If he puts forward in Australia the idea that American admirals can come here not only as military commanders but as political spokesmen for his Government, then indeed he injures the ideal which he claims to have at heart. Why did the Prime Minister pour ridicule upon the endeavour to obtain agreement for the exclusion of areas of the world from the use of nuclear force? As the Leader of the Opposition said this afternoon, if that can be brought about by agreement and policed by negotiation, then something may be gained. At least, by the endeavour to bring about such an agreement and such a settlement, nothing can be lost. But to the Prime Minister the idea is worthy only of ridicule. The Prime Minister quoted the Anzus pact and used it to support his argument that the Government of the United States of America should have sole control of this base which is to communicate the order to fire to nuclear submarines and that the Australian Government should have no say whatever. He used the Anzus pact to justify his contention that this was the correct position. He quoted from it such extracts as he chose, but left out, of course, any emphasis on the fact that the pact provides - >In order more effectively to achieve the objective of this Treaty the Parties separately and jointly by means of continuous and effective self-help and mutual aid will maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack. Joint and collective measures! But for the Prime Minister, using the Anzus pact as his basis, there is to be no joint effort of these two and there is to be no collective effort. The whole power is to be left in the hands of the United States. {: .speaker-KKB} ##### Mr Jess: -- You check the Prime Minister's speech in " Hansard " tomorrow. {: .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr Allan Fraser:
EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- The Prime Minister said to-night that he stood for sole control by United States of America of this base. He used the Anzus pact to buttress his argument although, as I have shown, the very wording of the Anzus pact shows the opposite intention. Again using the Anzus pact, the Prime Minister claimed that it supported his contention that the Australian Government must in no circumstances make an independent decision or veto an American proposal to give the order to fire from this base. The Anzus pact provides - >Each Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific area on any of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes. tn accordance with its constitutional processes! Yet the Prime Minister proposes that Australia should set the whole of its constitutional processes aside in this matter. [ was amazed at the speech of the Prime Minister because I believe that it reflected, as I have never seen him demonstrate it so clearly before, the mentality of a man who, as leader of this nation, is dangerous to this nation and to the interests of its people. He said, " I hope I have gone to the root of this problem ", and the only situation which he placed before the House was a situation in which the democracies were faced with massive Communist aggression. He did not put before the House any other circumstance whatever. {: .speaker-KFH} ##### Mr Forbes: -- What are they? Name them. {: .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr Allan Fraser:
EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Is it inconceivable that there could be other circumstances? Does any one go to the root of this problem if he does not deal with those other possibilities? If the only possibility is that the Communists will launch war against the democracies, then what on earth stands in the way of joint control of this base? Would the Prime Minister, as head of the Australian Government, under a system of joint control, find the least difficulty in agreeing that this base should beimmediately used as a method of retaliation against massive Communist aggression against the democracies? Of course he would not! The Prime Minister of Australia would not have the least difficulty in such circumstances because the two governments exercising joint control would be in agreement that the base must be immediately used against that massive Communist aggression. But this was the only circumstance which the Prime Minister gave us. The agreement is to continue for 25 years. The Prime Minister said, "We are not prepared to bind the unknown future ". That is an exact quotation of his sentence. But, by the proposed terms of this agreement, that is exactly what he is doing. He is binding this nation and tying it hand and foot to the United States Government, the remote men in Washington, throughout the unknown future, for the next 25 years. {: .speaker-JOE} ##### Mr Jeff Bate: -- Hear, hear! {: .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr Allan Fraser:
EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- The honorable member, as I would have expected, says, " Hear, hear! " Let us all express the greatest admiration for President Kennedy and for the policies being pursued by the United States Government in the present world situation; but has any of us the least confidence that that situation will continue for the next 25 years? There are forces which could take control of this country which I would not trust for a moment; there are forces which could take control of the United Kingdom which I would not trust for a moment; and there are forces which could take control of the United States of America, and which this Government and this country have no right to trust for a moment, let alone for the next 25 years. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt: -- What forces? {: .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr Allan Fraser:
EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- The representatives of the parties opposite - I saw the Prime Minister run rapidly away from this argument to-night - have, up to now, constantly decried the method by which the Australian Labour Party reached its policy decision in this matter in accordance with its traditional method of policy-making, and have declared that this should be the business of the elected representatives of the people. I therefore ask again this question: By what method did the elected representatives of the people sitting on the Government benches reach their decision to endorse the terms of this agreement? {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt: -- By collective Cabinet responsibility. {: .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr Allan Fraser:
EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- " By collective Cabinet responsibility " is the answer of the Treasurer. That, of course, immediately rules out every other member on the Government benches, Liberal and Country Party members alike, and that is the fact. They never had the opportunity - they never sought the opportunity, and they never exercised it - to examine the terms of this agreement. They have accepted and swallowed the whole thing exactly as presented to them, without, apparently, the slightest difficulty or the slightest concern, although this issue is one fraught with the most tremendous consequences to the whole of the Australian people. The Treasurer says it was done by collective Cabinet responsibility. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt: -- Warmly supported by the parties behind us. {: .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr Allan Fraser:
EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Try to amend your answer as much as you like. This collective Cabinet responsibility is brought about in this way: The Liberal Party elects the leader. The Country Party has no voice. The Liberal Party leader becomes the Prime Minister. He then chooses every member of the Cabinet and, if any member of the Cabinet disagrees with him sufficiently to annoy him, that member is cast out of the Cabinet. That is the way by which this decision was arrived at. So much for the argument that this is a decision of the elected representatives of the people. I will agree with the Prime Minister on one thing; that is, that an unbridgeable gap exists between the Government parties and the Opposition party on the issue that is involved in this legislation. The state of the parties in this Parliament is too even in any circumstances to justify this Government, which holds office by a bare majority of one member, in committing all the Australian people and succeeding governments for the next 25 years. {: .speaker-KFH} ##### Mr Forbes: -- Let us have an election on it. {: .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr Allan Fraser:
EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- The honorable member for Barker makes an excellent suggestion. The Leader of the Opposition has explicitly challenged the Prime Minister of Australia to have an election on this issue: Whether we are to be the friend, partner and ally of the United States of America or whether we are to be an American satellite. The votes which the Opposition will call during the consideration of this bill, in the committee stage and at the third-reading stage - will give the Government every opportunity and all the time it needs, if it so wishes, to consult the people of Australia to see what they desire on this matter. The Labour Party, as its leader has announced, will divide the chamber several times in the course of this measure, each time on a vote that will be vital in its effect. The Leader of the Opposition threw the gauntlet down this afternoon. He stated in the plainest terms where the Labour Party stands on this issue. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Sir Robert Menzies: -- Where is the honorable member for Hindmarsh? {: .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr Allan Fraser:
EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Do not try to burlesque this matter. Do not be a clown. Do not clown. 1 do not know what the people listening to this debate are thinking of this behaviour. This is an issue of life and death not only for the people of Australia now living but also, if we are lucky enough to escape, for our children and our children's children during the term of 25 years. But let me get back to the point. The Leader of the Opposition has stated the various votes that the Opposition will call on this measure. Each of them will be vital in its effect on this legislation. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt: -- Which side did you support in the caucus? {: .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr Allan Fraser:
EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Try not to sidetrack this issue. Just try to deal with it, and do not be afraid of it. Each vote will be vital - not vital to the base or the naval communication centre, but vital to the intentions of this Government and vital to the agreement for the conduct of the base in the way in which this Government proposes to operate that agreement, as announced by the Minister for External Affairs **(Sir Garfield Barwick).** The Labour Party will not vote against the motions for the second and third readings of this bill. By that action it will demonstrate utterly the falsity of the statement that it is opposed to the American alliance or that it is opposed to the establishment of an American naval communications base under an agreement that will preserve the interests of the people of Australia. The action of the Labour Party in allowing the motions for the second and third readings to pass will demonstrate utterly the falsity of that charge against the party. Failing the incorporation of the required safeguards in the agreement, the Labour Party in this Parliament - with the Australian people as witnesses - will vote against the adoption of the agreement for this base as now written into this bill. That is a vital vote because the bill is a bill to ratify this agreement. Here then is the clear issue and the real issue between the Government and the Opposition, on which we claim to have the support of the Australian people. The Prime Minister can test that claim for himself if he is willing to do so. The issue is clear. Is this base in Australia, from which immense nuclear destruction can be unleashed and in which the nuclear destruction of every Australian city can be involved to be placed, as this Government intends, under the sole control of the American President both now and in the future for the next 25 years, while the Australian Prime Minister, if the Australian Government disapproves of the proposed American course, must stand helplessly by? Or is the communications centre to be established by negotiation with our American friends and allies on an agreement which recognizes Australian sovereignty and provides for joint control and operation, as does every agreement that the United States has made with any other member of the Western alliance? The importance of this issue is highlighted by the fact that the agreement, once ratified, is to continue for a minimum of 25 years. So the Australian people are being required by this Government, under this legislation, to accept not only their own automatic involvement in nuclear annihilation by the decision of remote men in Washington but also, if they escape that fate, the automatic involvement of their children and their grand-children. It is to this that the Labour Party says " No ". It is this which the Labour Party will resist in this Parliament and before the people of Australia with all its strength. On this the Labour Party will force a division in a plain endeavour to defeat the Government and to give the people the power to make the decision on this issue. On the motion for the third reading of this bill, the Labour Party will give the Government the full opportunity to present the issue to the people, because we will move for the deferment of the bill for six months. Surely six months should be a long enough time in which to obtain an expression of the will of the people of Australia. So this issue is before the Parliament and before the nation. The issue is not the base, not the communications centre. The issue is the surrender of all Australian sovereignty and self-governing rights in this matter. {: .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr Killen: -- What rot! {: .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr Allan Fraser:
EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- It is part of self-government. The decision whether we make peace or war is part of the selfgoverning right for which the British peoples have fought throughout the centuries. They have fought to obtain the right for their own Parliament to control their own affairs and to make their own decision in the name of their own nation. This is the right which this Goverment proposes to toss away completely. Our quarrel is not with the American Government, which certainly did not require these conditions or any of them, as witness the agreements that it has made with other members of the Western alliance. Our quarrel is with this Government which is taking away deliberately from the Australian people control of their own destinies in this matter. I say that the American Government required none of these conditions. If it did, let the Government tell us. Let the Government tell us which, if any, of these conditions it sought on behalf of the Australian people and which of them the American Government rejected. Then we will know how to judge the issue. I believe that the reverse is the truth, that the Government voluntarily surrendered these rights. Did it? Or did it not make a fight for Australian nationhood and Australian selfgovernment? Did it surrender these rights voluntarily or did it surrender them under American pressure? Of course, there will be no answer to these questions, because this is to be kept secret. The Australian people are not to be told. No one dare raise his voice on this issue and speak for the preservation of Australia's right to decide its own destiny without being branded as anti-American and pro-Soviet. If there wore Communist aggression, we would be immediately involved, and joint control is perfectly feasible in such circumstances. But to take away from the Australian people all right to decide their fate for 25 years, during which period probably every existing alliance in the world will change, as alliances have changed in the last 25 years, is outrageous. Yet any one saying these things is immediately called pro-Communist or given any name that can be used to create 'the smear, the calumny and the lie on which this Prime Minister hopes to complete his political career by snatching a victory on a military issue, because he was thrown out of office on a military issue in 1941. This is his ambition. I close by quoting the editor of " Muster " which is the official organ of the Graziers Association of New South Wales. I gather that, since the Graziers Association has entrusted **Mr. Stewart** Howard with the editorship of the paper, he has been properly vetted and found to be a good Australian. Expressing his own opinion, he said - >I - and I am sure a formidable number of other Australians - will not accept quietly an arrangement under which this country could be committed to war, not by our own elected government but by remote men in Washington whose national interests, in the always possible event of conflict, must inevitably over-shadow ours. > >This is not " isolationism " or " antiAmericanism " but Australianism of the simple kind that holds that, whatever commitments we may enter into with our allies, the final decision involving life or death for . . . our people must be ours, and ours alone. {: #subdebate-32-0-s9 .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr KILLEN:
Moreton .- The honorable member for Eden-Monaro **(Mr. Allan Fraser)** places the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** at a great disadvantage this evening. He has inveighed in a rather hilter strain against the right honorable gentleman for the last half an hour. But the essential core of his complaint is that, whereas the Prime Minister has the capacity to present argument to the honorable member for Eden-Monaro, the Prime Minister has not the capacity to give the honorable gentleman the wit to understand the argument. He has this evening accused the Prime Minister of deception and falsehood. 1 now accuse my honorable friend of a species of turpitude that would not be decent to name. The honorable member has said, " How is it that the elected representatives of this Parliament have not ratified this treaty? " Is the honorable gentleman now trying to give the impression that he regards treaty-making as the prerogative power of private members of Parliament? Surely the honorable gentleman, even though he is prepared to make an unfashionable display of his ignorance this evening, will at least concede that the treaty-making power in the vast majority of cases is the prerogative of the Executive. The honorable gentleman has said, " Ah, this is dreadful. This is a shameful surrender of sovereignty." Surely my honorable friend is prepared to recognize that the making of a treaty is not the surrender of sovereignty but the exercise of sovereignty. Hs referred to the Anzus agreement. He chastized the Prime Minister, I thought in a most unkind way - and I could see that my right honorable friend was visibly upset by his strictures - and said, "You are surrendering our sovereignty for 25 years ". The honorable member for Eden-Monaro has invoked in aid the Anzus agreement. What does article 10 of the Anzus agreement say? It says - >This treaty shall remain in force indefinitely. "Indefinitely" would, to my simple way of thinking, be a fairly long time. On the one hand the honorable gentleman complains about the surrender of sovereignty for a period of 25 years and on the other hand he is prepared to glow with utter rapture about the surrender of sovereignty for an indefinite period. What is really biting at the honorable gentleman's feelings in a most unconscionable way is that there is, as he says, an unbridgeable gap between the Government parties and the Opposition party and no amount of disguising on his part will hide that fact from public scrutiny. He has said: " We will not vote against the second reading. We will not vote against the third reading. It is wrong to say we are opposed to this measure." I hope in the course of the next minute or two to show that not only is the honorable gentleman misleading this House and the country but he is also, as one of the senior spokesmen for his party, stating in the most emphatic and explicit of language that the Opposition is opposed to this treaty. Towards the end of his speech, the honorable gentleman said, "To test the feeling of the people, we will move that this bill should be read a third time in six months ". Why should it be read in six months' time? What is the virtue of withholding the third reading of the bill for six months or for three months? Why is it that six months has been plucked out of the air as having some splendid charm of virtue? The fact of the matter is - the honorable gentleman well knows this, as does every other honorable gentleman opposite - that to move an amendment to the second reading or the third reading of a measure is, as May described it, a courteous way of disposing of the bill. With your approval, **Sir, I** will quote from this eminent authority, **Sir Erskine** May, on this suggestion that the third reading be postponed for six months. I hope that honorable gentlemen opposite will not squirm with too much embarrassment when I read this extract. **Sir Erskine** May said- >The postponement of a bill, in this manner, is regarded as the most courteous method of dismissing the bill from further consideration, as the House has already ordered that the bill shall be read a second time . . . He said further - {: type="i" start="1"} 0. . the carrying of the former amendment is tantamount to the rejection of the bill . . . This refers to the six months' postponement. The honorable member for EdenMonaro this evening was trying to convey the impression that the Opposition is for the bill. If the Opposition is for it, why do not Opposition members say something for it? I would settle for one murmur of approval. This afternoon I listened to my friend, the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell).** He said, "We are not opposed to it ". I listened attentively, but I listened in vain, for 45 minutes hoping to catch but one syllable of approval. This would have sufficed for me. But he gave the impression that he was opposed to the measure. He picked out an infinite array of points with which he disagreed. This is quite remarkable. The honorable gentleman said, " We will re-negotiate this agreement ". What does " re-negotiate " mean? Surely if you are satisfied with a measure you are prepared to accept it. If you set out to re-negotiate a measure, you obviously are dissatisfied with the existing measure, and that is the only possible conclusion to be drawn from the honorable gentleman's argument. So I put to the House that the argument of the Leader of the Opposition on the one hand, supported by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro on the other hand, on two counts - I invite any honorable gentleman opposite to disturb the validity pf two counts - amounts to a complete rejection of the bill. It is complete nonsense and humbug to convey- the impression to the Australian people that the Opposition supports the measure. This afternoon, the Leader of the Opposition called in aid the authority of the honorable member for East Sydney **(Mr. Ward)** and then in a moment of desperation he summoned to his aid the honorable member for Yarra **(Mr. Cairns).** Then, to add a poetic and, no doubt, cultural note to his performance, he called in aid " Hamlet ". I wonder why it was that he called in aid " Hamlet " in support of his argument. Was it that Hamlet so recaptured that splendid scene at the Kingston Hotel that these words passed through the honorable gentleman's mind - >In dreadful secresy impart they did > >And I with them the third night kept the watch. This afternoon the Leader of the Opposition, turning to my honorable member and learned friend, the Attorney-General and Minister for External Affairs **(Sir Garfield Barwick),** said, "I accuse you". Then he turned to the Prime Minister and said, " I accuse you ". Then, looking at us, sweet, gentle souls that we are, he said, " I accuse you ". I said to myself, " Ah, he is going to behave as the Robespierre of the twentieth century ". But it was not Robespierre that we saw, because he seemed to dwindle into nothingness. He became on one occasion the reluctant advocate, and on another occasion he was almost the embarrassed witness. Finally, when he arrived at what the Prime Minister so aptly described as the nub of the problem, he emerged as the fearful prisoner. I put it to the House, and admittedly as a matter of opinion on my part, that the Leader of the Opposition did not speak for a united party when he spoke in the House this afternoon. No amount of protesting and no amount of denying can disguise the fact that the Australian Labour Party is literally a rumbling Vesuvius of violence on this issue. So I say that although the hand of the Leader of the Opposition may have written the speech that he delivered this afternoon I should be surprised indeed if his heart dictated it. What we saw this afternoon was not the surrender of a mere principle; we saw the capitulation of a conscience. I should imagine that for that to happen even in private would be torment enough; to be compelled so to capitulate in public would he to my mind a searing tragedy. All hope of his giving point and character and substance to his leadership is gone. It flickers no longer. It is dead. It is unfortunate that honorable members opposite have set out this afternoon and this evening to inject into this debate what is very much a doctrinal point of view. They have tried to convey the impression to the House and to the country that they have a monopoly of interest in peace, and that they have a monopoly of interest in the safety and security of Australia. To make such claims amounts to a gross falsehood. No person in this country can lay claim to a monopoly of interest in peace or in the safety and security of Australia. But when honorable members opposite make this claim and charge us with having no such interest they should be prepared to sit at least in relative silence and listen to the charge of history against them. What has been the recent record of the Australian Labour Party on security? The Leader of the Opposition this afternoon accused this Government of mishandling the nation's affairs and of not being interested in the peace and security of the country. Can he not throw his mind back to a time twelve or fifteen months ago when he delivered his policy speech and advocated that the South East Asian Trade Organization should be turned into a cultural organization? Have not events in Laos and Tibet, and the unmitigated ferocity of the Chinese invasion of India, coming togethter, persuaded the honorable gentleman to repudiate his suggestion that Seato should be turned into a cultural, organization? Not one peep of renunciation have we heard from him. Then let me deal with the argument about the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere. This attracted the attention of the honorable member for Eden-Monaro, who made a sneering, sniping reference to a visiting American admiral. Apparently his reason for this sneering reference to the visiting admiral was that he, the admiral, poor fellow, had a constitutional weakness and, flying at 40,000 feet, could not see the equatorial line dividing the northern hemisphere from the southern hemisphere. What the honorable member for EdenMonaro said this evening was, in effect, "' By all means let us submit ourselves to and await attack, but if we are attacked we will not defend because we will not be in a position to defend ". Now I come to the decision of the federal conference of the Australian Labour Party and to what the Prime Minister, if 1 may say without impertinence, has described as the very nub of this decision, which is that the establishment of the communications centre would not be inconsistent with Labour policy if the base was under the joint control and operation of the Australian and United States Governments. I want to ask my friends opposite to assume that this was the case. What would then be the physical problems facing this country? 1 am not interested in theoretical matters, I am interested in the physical problems, and I should imagine that these would throw into the plainest and starkest relief the dilemma in which the people and the government of this country would find themselves. It is conceded by my friends opposite that the policy of their party is determined by their federal conference. This was stated and approved this afternoon with rapture by the parliamentary leader of the Australian Labour Party. He said, " I do not intend to apologize to this House ". The honorable member for Eden-Monaro joined him, and we then had the spectacle of a visible duet of approval by the Leader of the Opposition and the honorable member for Eden-Monaro. No one argues against the fact - it is not challenged - that the federal conference decides the policy of the party. The authority of the federal conference is admitted. Does any honorable member opposite now challenge the authority of the federal conference of the Australian Labour Party? If any does challenge it, let him speak now or forever hold his peace. With the Labour Party in government the federal conference of that party becomes in a very real sense an arm of government. Let no person be under any illusion about that. That conference becomes an arm of government. That was admitted this afternoon by the Leader of the Opposition. I repeat that the conference then becomes in effect an arm of government, and this, in view of honorable gentlemen opposite, emerges as something eminently democratic and desirable. The Leader of the Australian Labour Party in Queensland, my friend **Mr. Duggan,** years ago went on record as saying, " Wise or unwise, right or wrong, the decisions of the conference of the Austraiian Labour Party must be implemented ". This is precisely what we would face if the Australian Labour Party won its way to power and formed the government of this country. Here are the kinds of questions I would put to the House, without any sense of malevolence: What if there emerged a conflict between the government of the day and the federal conference? How would that conflict be resolved? It may be a remote issue that no man, as at this day, can foresee, but I think it is as well to ask how that conflict would be resolved. Would the Government say meekly, on all occasions without any exception, " Very well, we will accept the decision of the conference "? What, **Sir, if** the judgment of the conference on a particular issue was that no danger existed? As the Leader of the Opposition admitted this afternoon, the parliamentary leaders of the Labour Party are not automatically ex officio members of the conference. How are the members of the conference to arrive at an informed judgment on many issues? They have not access to documents or other relevant material. It may well be that some honorable members opposite will say, " Oh, but we will give them access ". Am I to understand that the members of a Labour government in this Parliament would be prepared to go to a body outside, not elected and controlled by the Australian people, and say, " Here are secrets of State-"? Could the members of that government vouch for every member of the conference? No one member of the conference would be under any obligation to take any oath of allegiance or to swear any form of loyalty. These are the problems that I put to honorable gentlemen opposite. What if the vote of the conference changed on any one particular issue? How, then, would a Labour party government act? What if a decision of a conference was obviously pro-Communist? This is not, I suggest to the House, a remote possibility. I have here two statements concerning this telecommunications centre which I will recite to the House. The first is this - >The building of the base, which is close to the area in which the national liberation movement of the peoples is being intensified, is a particular danger for the countries of South-East Asia. The second statement is - >The radio station to be established will be for war purposes and not for the purposes of peace. One of those statements appeared in a publication called the " Red Star ", which is the official journal of the Soviet armed forces. The other statement was made by a Labour member of this Parliament. /I wonder how many of my friends opposite would venture to say which statement appeared in the " Red Star ". I come now to the last comment that I want to make on the matter of control of a Labour government. My friend, the Leader of the Opposition, told the House this afternoon - > I am proud to belong to a party which is still democratic . . . He worked himself into quite a passion about it. He also said - >Let me say, once and for all, the Australian Labour Party will never agree that the great *decisions* of peace and war should be made for Australia by any other than the elected Government of Australia. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- Hear, hear! {: .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr KILLEN: -- Ah! That is approved. There is a complete repudiation of the very thing that Opposition members have been contending for month after month - that the supreme policy-making body of the Australian Labour Party on all issues, be they social issues, war issues or peace issues, is the federal conference of the party, and that all issues shall be determined by the federal conference. The Leader of the Opposition repudiated that this afternoon and now we have the honorable member for Wills **(Mr. Bryant)** chiming in with his colleagues and approving the repudiation. Where does the Labour Party stand? If the Leader of the Opposition believes for one fleeting moment that to accept an opportunity that may come his way he needs to disguise his real sentiments and convictions, he will, in my view, depending on the occasion, unhesitatingly accept the opportunity. The second aspect of the conference's decision on this base to which I want to refer is to be found in the resolution of the conference that, inter alia, reads as follows: - >Under no circumstances and under no agreement shall Australia become automatically involved io war. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro took this theme again this evening. If he looks at the Anzus Agreement, he will find that the terms of Article IV., which he quoted himself, mean that we shall be automatically involved in war in the event of an armed attack on any of the principal powers. All the signatories to the Anzus Agreement are required to act according to their constitutional processes. What, in heaven's name, does the honorable gentleman believe the words " are required to act" mean? Does he think that their meaning is to be equated with mere consultation? Does he take the view that if we do not agree with the proposition we can resign from our obligations? Is this to be our contractual character in the world abroad? It would seem to me, **Sir, to** be a singular shame if a government of any colour in this country ever took the view that it would stand by treaty arrangements when those arrangements suited it and repudiate treaty arrangements when they did not suit it. This would bc an expression of complete unreality, lt is, in my view, isolationism at its worst. Above all, I believe that it represents a thoroughgoing piece of cowardice, and the sooner it is described in that language, the better. T invite honorable gentlemen opposite to mv whether they arc prepared publicly to repudiate the Seato Agreement, the Anzus Agreement and the Anzam Agreement. Do they take the attitude that if the arrangements made under these agreements are convenient to them they will stand by those arrangements and that if the arrangements arc- inconvenient they will repudiate? If that is their view, let them for heaven's sake say so, and let the people of this country know where the Labour Party stands. Why should wc publicly disavow our friends? We are prepared to accept their support and encouragement when it suits us. T believe, **Sir, that** there is a tremendous responsibility on every member of this Parliament to realize what goes wilh the making and signing of a treaty - to realize that there is an obligation and that only those who are spurred on by no finer motive than that prompted by a sense of cowardice are prepared to repudiate treaty arrangements when there arises an occasion on which it may be convenient to repudiate them. The Prime Minister put to the House this evening the dreadful possibility of Communist China becoming equipped with nuclear weapons. My friends opposite think that that is something unreal. Do they think it unreal to believe that Communist China would use nuclear weapons? Can any one, looking at the terrible events of Tibet and of an attack upon India, believe that therein there is not some indication that, given the appropriate time and circumstances, Communist China most certainly would unleash nuclear war against the world, regardless of the consequences, if she thought that at the end of that holocaust the extension of the Communist empire and of her control would be brought about? What honorable members opposite expect to stand against that country is a resolution passed by a peace committee. No matter how enthusiastically the resolution may be passed, it will not stand for us and preserve our sovereignty and our right to conclude treaties. Only the resolute will of a free people will stand between us and the extinction of all our liberties. This brings me to the last thing that I want to say, Sir: Liberty has its own quality of benevolence, but it has also its own burdens of responsibility. The integrity of a free nation will not be preserved merely by resort to the passing of a resolution. We can forfeit our liberties just as readily by indecisiveness and indifference as we can by not being equipped to f?.ce up to our physical responsibilities. I implore the Australian Labour Party to realize how terribly it is dragging down a large and decent section of the Australian community, and to realize, also, the consequences of the disastrous policy that it is pursuing to-day. There is no need for a bi-partisan policy on these issues, but there is a clear and abundant need for this country and all its people, and especially all those who sit in this Parliament, to speak with one voice. **Mr. BARNARD** (Bass) 19.37].- **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** the House has listened to a remarkable address by the honorable member for Moreton **(Mr. Killen). His** speech was remarkable for several things, particularly for the evasive manner in which he ignored the measure before the House. He spoke for almost twenty minutes before he mentioned the bill at all. The honorable member was more concerned to deal with matters relating to the Australian Labour Party. 1 think he has been told in this House on other occasions that the affairs of the Labour Party have nothing at all to do with him. For the sake of the record, perhaps he should be reminded that the situation with respect to the composition of the Australian Labour Party and the federal executive has applied in this party over the last 50 years. I think the honorable member knows, as do most other honorable members in this chamber, that during the last 50 years some of the best governments of this country have been Labour governments. And they have been responsible to the governing body of the Australian Labour Party, which the honorable member has discussed this evening. Earlier, the honorable member for Bowman **(Mr. Comber)** pointed out that the Australian Labour Party is a democratic body. I defy the honorable member for Moreton to deny the accuracy of that statement. This afternoon, the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** said that some of the members of the federal executive of the Labour Party sat in this chamber and another place and some of the remaining members of the executive held other responsible positions in the community. The honorable member for Moreton had the temerity to suggest that some members of the federal executive had disclosed proCommunist leanings. The honorable member for Moreton should be the last person to level charges at any one about communism. He sits in this House only because he received the second preferences of a Communist Party candidate. No member on this side of the chamber has been elected on preferences received from the Communist Party. Indeed, to take this a point further, the Government is now in office only because the honorable member foE Moreton received the preferences of a Communist Party candidate. So it ill became the honorable member to impute the motives which he did to the Labour Party. No member of the Australian Labour Party has any affiliation or association with Communists. I am sure that the people will bc disgusted by the fact that although a specific matter is under consideration Government members have been raising side issues and evading discussion. This is a major measure and every person in the community, whether he be a member of this Parliament or whether he takes some active part in commercial life outside this Parliament, has the responsibility, and is entitled, to express an opinion on it. J have been surprised that instead of discussing the legislation Government members have confined themselves to smearing the party to which I and my colleagues on this side of the chamber belong. But I do not believe that the people will accept or condone those tactics. They will acknowledge that the Leader of the Opposition to-day presented the case for the Austraiian Labour Party and stated quite sincerely where the party stands in relation to this important legislation. One feels that there is a great deal of insincerity in the insinuations which have been made by honorable members on the Government side. I repeat that it is the right of every Australian citizen to express his opinion on this legislation, which will have far-reaching consequences to the defence of our country. Government supporters, with their McCarthy-like attitude, have refused to give, not only to members in this House but also to responsible citizens outside it, the opportunity to express their opinions in the way in which they are entitled to express them. I have said that this legislation is of very great importance. It is important because the agreement will give the United States of America the right to construct a £33,000,000 naval communication station at North West Cape. That station will be staffed by United States naval personnel. From it will be transmitted low-frequency radio messages to submarines and surface craft in the Indian Ocean and in the Pacific Ocean north of Australia. With the exception of Woomera, it is probably the greatest single defence project ever contemplated in Australia. That project will be the sole responsibility of the United States Government. The Leader of the Opposition pointed out that although we accept the principle associated with the establishment of this place - no Opposition member has suggested that he opposes the principle involved in its establishment - we find ourselves completely at issue with 'the Government because of its neglect to gain for Australia the right to share in the responsibility for and the direction of the base. The Government has failed miserably by not taking this Parliament and the people generally into its confidence. No one expects the Government to divulge matters of a defence or a security nature, but at the same time the people are entitled to know and to understand the general conditions associated with the establishment of the base. Certainly they are entitled to know the advantages or disadvantages which will follow its establishment. The Government made a clumsy attempt to deny that it was negotiating with the United States Government, but in 1961 the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** indicated guardedly that some negotiations were in hand. So as far back as 1961 the Government had some indication of the agreement which is now before us. I support the Leader of the Opposition in the view that the Government neglected to advise the people, and particularly the Parliament, of its intentions. Undoubtedly it attempted to keep the details of this matter from us. The agreement contains authority for the construction of the base. I believe it is fair to say that the principle is accepted not only by the Australian Labour Party but also by the people of Australia who, I am sure, would sanction the establishment of the base subject to the conditions outlined by the Leader of the Opposition. However, grave principles are involved in the establishment of a base of this nature and the Opposition's feelings will be expressed in the amendments which our leader will propose at a later stage. We believe that co-operation with the United States of America is essential for our defence. We recognized the importance of co-operation during the Second World War when the late John Curtin, the war-time leader of the then Labour Government, did not hesitate to seek it. But that co-operation was not sought on the understanding that it would completely subjugate the will of this Government to that of the United States of America. That was not the situation at all and I believe the United States appreciated that point of view. We do not believe that our friendship with the United States should in any way place us under an obligation to surrender to it the rights which any government should have, particularly those concerning a declaration of war. That is a decision that must and should remain with the Government of Australia. In these circumstances it is not unreasonable to argue, as the Leader of the Opposition argued this afternoon, that the Government of this country should be entitled to have a say in any decision that is made by the United States of America involving this country in a state of war. But this Government does not see things that way. It believes that the United States of America should have the undisputed right to take whatever action it feels necessary at the time, irrespective of whether that action involves this country in war. I listened to the Prime Minister this evening explain why he believed the United States of America should not be expected to consult the Government of Australia in the event of a nuclear conflict breaking out, but I am not prepared to accept the arguments that were advanced by the right honorable gentleman. In the event of war being declared on the United States of America or of an armed attack by another country on the United States, nobody would suggest that it would not be possible for the United States immediately to consult the Government of Australia before this country became involved because of the existence of the communications base at North West Cape. The Opposition will dispute, as it does on this occasion, any agreement that does not acknowledge and give that right to the Australian Government. The Prime Minister has further charged the Opposition with frustrating the efforts of the United States Government and the objectives of the base that will be established at North West Cape by demanding that certain conditions should apply to the functioning of the base. But that is not the situation at all. We are prepared to accept the base under the terms of this agreement, so far as it goes, but we as a party demand that certain principles be incorporated in the agreement. It is utterly senseless and futile for this Government to argue that Australia could remain neutral in the event of a conflict between the United States of America and another power. If the base at North West Cape were used to transmit messages to surface craft or submarines which unleashed nuclear warfare, obviously this country would be immediately involved. No power with which the United States of America was at war would permit messages to be transmitted from that base without subjecting the base to retaliation. It must be acknowledged that there is no defence in Australia against nuclear weapons. Probably in the final analysis there is no effective defence at all against nuclear weapons. What is the position with regard to civil defence in this country? The Government is prepared to accept all that is entailed in the establishment of this communication base at North West Cape bv.t it has given little or no consideration to the matter of civil defence. Each year this matter is referred to when we discuss the Estimates but this Government's actions in relation to civil defence are in line with its actions in relation to defence generally. The Government rates civil defence as being so important that it places it under the control of the Minister for the Interior, whose department is not even remotely concerned with the defence of this country. These are matters that must be considered by the Government. *jj* If we talk about involving this country in nuclear warfare obviously we must be prepared to give greater consideration to our defences. It is ironical that we should now be discussing probably one of the greatest single defence projects ever contemplated in this country. I have already indicated that the communication base is in many respects considered by the Opposition, and certainly by this coalition Government to be both necessary and desirable, but this Government has remained singularly inactive in regard to Australia's defence. The Government's inaction in this respect has convinced me that there is probably some justification for the joint decision of this Government and the Government of the United States of America to establish the base. We are moving to a stage where collective defence is necessary. This approach has been reflected in the past in the Anzus treaty and in Seato, of which this country is a party. Australia is a large land mass with an area of roughly 3,000,000 square miles. It has a relatively small population and certainly greatly extended communications. For those reasons collective defence is extremely important. But despite the feelings of security that may have been engendered by the Seato and Anzus pacts, this Government cannot be excused for its shocking defence record. Until the late 1950's about £200,000,000 was being spent annually on defence without any attempt to co-ordinate that expenditure. Certainly no effort was made to co-ordinate that defence expenditure with Australia's development, which must be considered of the utmost importance. I have very vivid memories of the Prime Minister in 1950 stating that three years hence Australia must be ready for war. But in 1953 this country certainly was not ready for war if we may judge from the statement issued by **Sir Frederick** Shedden, who was then secretary of the Department of Defence. In fact, the Suez crisis, which occurred six years after the Prime Ministers' memorable statement, found this country still completely unprepared for war and spending more than 70 per cent, of its annual defence allocation on administration and man-power. It was not until 1958 that the Government revised its defence policy and allocated a greater amount of the annual defence expenditure of £200,000,000 to the purchase of vital defence equipment. So, in these circumstances, it is reasonable that the Government should decide upon a defence project of the magnitude of that contemplated at North West Cape, without taking these factors into consideration. Having said that, let me return to the propositions outlined this afternoon by the Leader of the Opposition. I repeat that the Opposition is not opposed to the bill in principle, but we believe this Government has a responsibility to consider the sovereign rights of Australia. Although it is acknowledged that the question of sovereignty is referred to in the schedule of the agreement, the Minister for External Affairs, who introduced the legislation to the House, was most vague on this point. I do not think any member of the House has a clear indication of what the Government means with regard to sovereignty. The rental for the base was described by the Minister for External Affairs as a peppercorn rental. The Opposition has no quarrel at all with such aspects of the legislation, but the question of sovereignty is of extreme importance to Australia and bound up with it is the question of joint control. This evening the Prime Minister evaded the issue and said it was not necessary for Australia to have joint control. The Opposition disagrees entirely with the Government's viewpoint in that respect. We believe it is essential, for the successful functioning of this enterprise, that there should be joint control. It is certainly essential that our armed forces should have some responsibility in the direction and control of the base at North West Cape. I turn now to the other point upon which I touched briefly - the question of responsibility for the issuing of orders from the station at North West Cape. The Opposition maintains that the Government of Australia should have the final say in matters that will have so great an effect on the position of Australia generally. We believe that the question of Australia's involvement in war must be decided by the people of Australia, through the Government. No such assurance has been given in the agreement and for that reason the Opposition will take the opportunity of expressing its disapproval during the committee stage. Finally, we believe that Australia should not become a base for the stockpiling of nuclear weapons, which is certainly opposed in every way to the principle we hold of a nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere. I acknowledge at once that the agreement indicates that the base will not be used for any purpose, except the transmitting of wireless messages, without the approval of the Australian Government. But we believe that the position should be stated much more clearly than it is in the agreement which we now have before us. As the honorable member for Eden-Monaro **(Mr. Allan Fraser)** pointed out this evening, this agreement is binding on the Commonwealth of Australia for a period of 25 years - a quarter of a century. From the defence point of view it is probably one of the most important agreements that has been signed between Australia and any other country. Although we are prepared to acknowledge the United States as an ally and an extremely valuable ally, we believe that the Australian Government should accept some responsibility on the points to which I have referred this evening. I have already indicated that the agreement is binding for a period of 25 years. In the circumstances I believe the Government ought fairly to consider the propositions which were advanced this afternoon by the Leader of the Opposition, and which will be expressed more positively when these matters are under discussion during the committee stage. {: #subdebate-32-0-s10 .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr ANTHONY:
Richmond .- We have listened to a number of speakers from the Opposition and none of them has stated clearly whether the Australian Labour Party is in favour of the establishment of the United States naval communication station under the conditions laid down by this Government, or its basic objections to the station. They say they will submit certain amendments during the committee stage, but have not yet mentioned what those amendments are to be. The Australian Labour Party is trying to retreat from a position of political annihilation into which it has got itself. If honorable members opposite were able to obtain the rejection of the agreement for the establishment of the naval communication base at North West Cape, the people of Australia would reject them for many years. They have committed political suicide. Speakers for the Opposition have said: " Look at the record of Labour governments during war-time. We have a fine record." I will not decry it, but we should cast our minds back to the period three or four months before Japan struck Pearl Harbour. When the government of the day brought down its Budget to increase defence expenditure from £64,000,000 to £87,000,000, the Labour Party adopted the traditional procedure in an attempt to reject it by moving that a proposed, vote be reduced by £1. The Opposition felt at the time that too much was being expended on defence and not enough on social services. Honorable members opposite claim that we will sacrifice some of our sovereignty by letting the Americans lease a part of North West Cape and have control over this base. What happened in regard to sovereignty when Labour was in office in 1942 and Australia's plight was desperate? The Labour Government called on America to come to our aid, and thank heavens she did so! What did Labour give the Americans in terms of Australia's sovereignty? By regulation it gave to the Commander-in-Chief of the American forces complete sovereignty with only one reservation; he was not to send Australian forces north of the Equator. Otherwise American forces could acquire any ground they wanted in Australia, and the CommanderinChief could direct Australians where to go and determine the operations in which they were to take part. An American serviceman who committed a crime was not to be brought before an Australian court but was to be taken before an American court martial. The Americans were given complete sovereignty with the reservation I have mentioned. No statute providing for those things was passed by the Australian Parliament. In contrast, in the United Kingdom, the Parliament passed a law providing that the American forces should have certain rights in that country. There was embedded in British legislation an enactment that British forces in the United States of America had exactly the same rights as the American forces had in the United Kingdom. But in Australia there was no safeguard at all for our sovereignty. I am not going to say that that was unwise, because at that time there was a major crisis and we wanted American help at any price, but let there be no talk now about our sacrificing any sovereignty by allowing the United States to rent 28 square miles of land at North West Cape for a radio station which will merely relay commands from America to American submarines, surface vessels or aircraft. This agreement provides that the United States shall be permitted to establish, maintain and operate a base at North West Cape for a period of 25 years. The Government has allowed the treaty to be brought before the Parliament to be fully discussed, because we on this side of the House feel that the public of Australia is vitally interested in it. There is no need for the Government to bring the agreement before the Parliament. This could have been settled by regulations. {: .speaker-JP5} ##### Mr Benson: -- Why did you do it? {: .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr ANTHONY: -- 1 answered that. I said that the people of Australia were interested to know about this agreement. The Minister for Defence **(Mr. Townley),** on 8th September, 1960, announced that negotiations were going on with the United States Government in relation to this base. On 17th May, 1962, the Prime Minister, in this House, gave a detailed statement of what the base would consist of. In the discussions of recent times nothing has been added to what the Prime Minister told the House then. This station will handle very low frequency radio communications. The idea of very low frequency radio communications is to contact vessels over a vast area. Low frequency radio waves have the characteristic of being able to travel for long distances and they are not so subject to interference by atmospheric conditions as are other radio waves. The situation at North West Cape will relay sound communications over an area extending from Korea across the Indian Ocean to Africa. This method of low frequency radio communication is valuable in another respect. Only simple equipment is needed to pick-up messages sent in this way. Small vessels which do not have elaborate radio equipment will receive messages transmitted by this station. Any vessel of destroyer size or smaller does not have the intricate and sophisticated communication equipment which is necessary to-day to establish long-distance contact with a shore base. A bigger vessel such as a cruiser or aircraft carrier has much better communication equipment. So this station will provide a means of communication to great numbers of small vessels operating in the vast expanse of water between Korea and Africa. A very low frequency radio station also has the virtue of being able to transmit communications which will penetrate the surface of water and will thus be able to contact submerged submarines, whether they are nuclear-power Polaris submarines or conventional submarines. Members of the Opposition have tried to make the point that this station will be used to contact nuclear submarines. Of course that will be one of the uses of the station, but T say that the main use of the station will be to contact the hundreds of small vessels scattered throughout this area. This station will be the second station of its type to be built in the world. The first station has been built in Maine in the United States. Members of this House had an opportunity last week to see a film which showed its construction and development. The film showed that the station consists of a series of towers extending up to about 900 feet. It has a very well-equipped generating plant to provide the power for transmission. It has administrative buildings and transmitter buildings. Apart from this, in the case of the Australian station, a township is needed for the 500 people who will maintain and operate the station. The Australian station will be very costly to build. It will probaby cost well over £33,000,000 by the time the township is built. At present we have not been given details of the township which is proposed, but negotiations are at present taking place with the Western Australian Government. The American forces want to have a town that complies with the laws, regulations and desires of the Western Australian Government. One thing that is quite obvious is that of the £33,000,000 that will be spent, more than half will go into the economy of Australia. Something like £9,000,000 will be paid to Australian labour and approximately another £9,000,000 will be spent on equipment and supplies for the station, supplied by Australia. Apart from sending communications to naval vessels of the United States, this station will also be available to supply communication services to the Australian forces in a part of the world that does not look very bright for Australia. It is very important that we have the use of this facility to help in Australia's defence. There is another point. The use of this station will be vital in air-sea rescue work. This is a very isolated part of the world. The northwestern portion of Australia is an area where there are not many people or means of communication. The development of this station will help naval people in that part of the world considerably should disaster come upon their vessels. In this modern age, when events move quickly and decisions have to be made quickly, good communication systems are all-important. Apart from the importance of good communication systems for defence purposes, they are also necessary for social purposes - to establish contact with servicemen at sea so that messages can be relayed to .or from their families. They are necessary to convey medical messages to ships. They are necessary for facilitating the delivery of supplies to ships. It is vital to have good communication systems to-day, when we live in an atmosphere of cold war and when we are dependent upon nuclear deterrents to prevent aggression by the enemy. A good communication system is absolutely essential when weapons such as Polaris missiles, which could cause great devastation, would, if fired accidentally, lead to a world war. It is imperative that no mistake be made in the directions given to naval vessels as to the firing of nuclear devices. If we did as* give permission to have this communications base available to transmit messages to vessels carrying nuclear devices, we would be increasing the possibility that a freak war could occur due to faulty communications. It is vitally important that we help our allies to avoid the possibility of accidents or mistakes. How would we feel if the Americans accidentally fired a nuclear device? How would we feel if the reason for launching the missile was that the United States of America was unable to establish proper communications because we had prevented the construction and development of this base? We should at all times help the commanders of the forces of the West to set up the best possible communication system to ensure that such accidents shall not happen. We know that the communication system is weak now. During the Cuban crisis President Kennedy pointed out that he was not able to get in touch with Khrushchev for a day or so because no channel of communication was available. He is now installing a special telephone line between the White House and the Kremlin to ensure that mistakes will not be made and that there will be no misunderstandings. At the time of the Cuban crisis, every diplomatic channel throughout the world was clogged; urgent messages could not be sent back and forth because too many people were endeavouring to make use of the lines at the one time. Why did the United States choose Australia as the site of its communication base? Firstly, she did so because she considered us to be a friendly country. We are her ally, and we will continue to be her ally. She chose Australia because of its large land mass, because here she could not only have a communication station but also carry out scientific experiments. And she is carrying out all kinds of scientific experiments at the moment. We in this House should feel flattered that the United States chose this country because she considers it to be politically stable, although I am quite sure her leaders must have had some second thoughts about that after studying the report of what went on at the meeting of the Australian Labour Party executive. Do not let us be grudging in our acceptance of this naval communication base. Honorable members opposite have said a little both for and against it, that it is good and that it is bad. Surely we should accept it gladly for by so doing we accept something that will be good for the Western world and for the defence of Australia. We have a common enemy - the Communists in Russia and China. Russia aims to dominate the whole world and unless we resist her at every possible point around the world we shall be in grave danger. If it is necessary to resist her with deterrent weapons or nuclear devices, then let us do so. Where would we be to-day if we had not had nuclear deterrents? We would have to marshal the whole of our man-power and resources at points all round Australia and be prepared for war at all times, or the Communists would overrun us by the use of conventional arms. It is only because we have nuclear deterrents that we have been able to keep Russia in her place. But these nuclear deterrents will not prevent all wars. There will be a vast number of skirmishes and small wars around the world. In no part of the world are there likely to be more skirmishes than in southern and South-East Asia where many countries are either in trouble or politically unstable. Wars in this part of the world could affect Australia very much; indeed, they could jeopardize our future security. Anything could happen at any time in Laos, Viet Nam, Thailand, Malaya or Indonesia. What could be more to our advantage than having a naval communication station situated in a place where it will be possible for us and our ally, the United States, to communicate with naval vessels and aircraft throughout the whole of that troubled area of the world which could constitute such a serious menace to our security? Other countries have not been worried about having nuclear devices on their soil. Britain has them at Holy Loch in Scotland; the Nato powers have nuclear weapons; and all of them are under the control of the Americans because the people of the free countries of Europe adopt a realistic attitude towards the threat of the Communist forces that oppose them. Apparently large numbers of the members of the Labour Party believe that we can continue to live in isolation, that we will never have to face these problems. We should be prepared to accept anything that our ally, *the United* States of America is prepared to supply to help defend Australia. This alliance for the development of a communication station is absolutely necessary and we should welcome it almost unreservedly. Twelve years ago, we signed the Anzus treaty, a mutual defence arrangement under which the United States of America, New Zealand and Australia have certain mutual obligations. This agreement in relation to the communication base is in accordance with the spirit of that treaty by which we undertake to try to help each other to develop our strength against any possible aggression. There are many critics who are campaigning against the development of this base at North West Cape. Who are these people who do not want the base. Just look at them! {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- You tell us. {: .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr ANTHONY: -- I will tell you who they are. They form a fairly large group. They are the pacifists, who do not want to have any responsibility but who want to live in isolation; the neutralists, who are so wrapped up in social services and good living that they think defence does not matter; the Communists who do not want to see any development of strength against their forces; the Communist followers and sympathizers, and lastly, they are the people who simply hate the Americans. Amongst the members of the Australian Labour Party are many people who would come within at least one of those classifications. I do not say they may be found amongst the members of the Opposition in this Parliament, but I say emphatically that they are to be found within the organization of the Labour Party and certainly within the federal executive of the Australian Labour Party. Some of them have very strong Communist leanings. They have a great deal of intelligence. They have the ability to persuade the pacifists, the neutralists and the haters of America to get behind this scheme to prevent the development of the proposed base. Unfortunately, there are too many members of the Australian Labour Party who lack the intellectual capacity to stand up to these people with Communist leanings and who are not game to come out in the open and express their *true views.* {: .speaker-JSG} ##### Mr Brimblecombe: -- Some are. {: .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr ANTHONY: -- It is true, as the honorable member for Maranoa has said, that some are. We all remember the meeting of the 36 men at which seventeen voted against the base, and that later one man changed his opinion about it because of the advantage he thought he might gain in a certain Queensland electorate by so doing. This afternoon I heard the Leader of the Opposition say, " Of course we have a federal executive and we follow the direction of the federal executive ". {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- Hear, hear! {: .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr ANTHONY: -- If it is true that you follow the directions of the federal executive of the Australian Labour Party, why was it necessary yesterday for the Parliamentary Labour Party to hold a caucus meeting which lasted for three hours in order to decide what should be done about this bill? Members of the Labour Party have so many places of control and authority that they do not know where they are going. Yesterday they met for three hours and nearly missed lunch because the'y could not make a decision. It is all right for them to blame the federal executive of the party when it suits them; but when it does not suit them they have a caucus meeting and make some other decision. Where is the policy of the Labour Party? Honorable members opposite just do not know. The Labour Party does not keep up to date. It criticizes the arrangement by which the communication station will be able to transmit signals to submarines that may be carrying Polaris missiles. Do honorable members opposite not know that in Australia there have been bases for the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which communicate with satellites in orbit and direct their performance. Surely the Americans can send into the air a satellite equipped with a nuclear device. We know that satellites can be directed to certain parts of the world. Those communications bases in Australia have been operating for years, but honorable members opposite have not even thought about them. That is not evidence of brightness or alertness on the part of the members of the Labour Party. There are also satellites which transmit signals. From those agencies signals are sent to naval vessels throughout the world. Periodically the signals have to be changed to make corrections. What have honorable members opposite said about those stations? Nothing at all! The Labour Party opposes the whole bill because it advocates the declaration of a nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere. That seems to be the crux of the whole matter. That party says, in effect: " We cannot have submarines with nuclear weapons in the southern hemisphere. Their presence would be contrary to our policy of a nuclear-free zone in this hemisphere." Where did this idea of a nuclear-free zone originate? This is not the only proposal that has been made for a nuclear-free zone. The Communist bloc has initiated a variety of proposals for nuclear-free zones. The Rapacki plan covered a group of countries in central Europe. An attempt was made to have a nuclear-free zone declared there. The Western powers objected because the plan was heavily weighted in favour of Russia. The Communists proposed another nuclear-free zone in the Balkans and Adriatic area in 1959. That proposal has been rejected. Notice that the Russians are putting up these proposals all the time. Another proposal was put forward in respect of Africa, and yet another in respect of Latin America in 1961 at the United Nations General Assembly. That proposal was rejected. {: .speaker-KDI} ##### Mr Einfeld: -- That is not true. {: .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr ANTHONY: -- It is true. The concept of this nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere started at the 21st Congress of the Communist Party held in Moscow in 1959. The proposal was supported by China. Great stuff! Two of the northern hemisphere powers said that we in the southern hemisphere should not have any nuclear devices. The Labour Party bases its whole argument in this matter on the thought that already there is a nuclear-free zone in the Antarctic. Twelve nations have signed the Antarctic Treaty. Have honorable members had a close look at that treaty? Do they understand what it means? It means two specific things: First, that no nuclear devices will be exploded in the Antarctic area; and secondly, that radio-active material will not be disposed there. The treaty does not prohibit any vessel or craft carrying a nuclear device into the Antarctic. The so-called nuclear-free zone is the area south of the 60th parallel of latitude. It is quite a different proposition to talk about a nuclear-free zone in the Antarctic. That area is completely uninhabited, for all practical purposes. It is remote, so it does not worry people. It has no political problems. It is inappropriate to try to classify that area as being the same as the southern hemisphere. What this debate has brought out is the weakness of the Australian Labour Party. It has revealed that the thinking of its members has been polluted by the pacifists, the neutralists, the Communists, the fellow-travellers and the haters of the United States. The effect has been to create hesitancy in the minds of our allies as to how much they could depend on Australia for help in the future if the Labour Party got into office. {: #subdebate-32-0-s11 .speaker-KNM} ##### Mr E JAMES HARRISON:
Blaxland -- Unlike the honorable member for Richmond **(Mr. Anthony)** I do not propose to have a hate session. His speech on this big issue is a classic example of the old adage that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. This bill, I consider, is the most important piece of legislation to come before this Parliament since I entered it about thirteen years ago. It should bring home to us more forcibly than has any other measure or event in this Parliament during that period the realization that no longer can we regard ourselves as being free from disaster as a result of the mad nuclear race at the present time. I would never have believed that I would hear an honorable member on the Government side of the House make a contribution such as that which we heard from the honorable member for Richmond in the same evening as the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** said that the capacity to fire the nuclear missile at the right time at the right point is the condition by which we live. Let us see where that takes us. This legislation highlights the importance of two questions. First, should Australia have agreed to the construction of this base at all? Secondly, in view of the Prime Minister's statement, should Australia agree to means for using an instrument which may instantly create the very situation about which he spoke, when this country, in which the station is situated, has not any say in relation to it? The record of the Australian Labour Party over the years is such that I believe that, as in 1941, the United States will trust Australia's political leaders only when a Labour government is in control. The honorable member for Richmond, if he has any brains at all, knows full well that the Labour Party has been a leader in the defence of this country and its people since the party came into existence. But he knows equally well that this party was built on the policy that a clear line of action, all its life, would be to stand for the defence and protection of our people, first of all. If we consider Article 3 and Article 4 of the agreement together we can arrive at only one conclusion. It is the very clear conclusion that the advantages to Australia from the agreement appear to be contingent and indirect but the advantages to the United States of America are immediate, direct and unaffected by any disadvantages or obligations. **Sir, the** Attorney General **(Sir Garfield Barwick)** has told the House quite clearly that the base is under the sole control of the United States of America. He emphasized that fact about four times. Let us see what the Minister actually said, keeping in mind what the Prime Minister said this afternoon to the effect that we are living on the edge of a sword and could go at any moment in this nuclear world. The Minister said - >The pattern of the defence of the free world must be global, because no significant part can be abandoned without jeopardy to all the parts, either immediately or in an inevitably due course. > >The relevance, **Mr. Speaker,** of these observations to the matter on hand is this. The efficiency of the defence capacity of Anzus to which this wireless station will contribute adds security to areas of the world outside the ambit of the pact just as the efficiency of the Nato defences adds security to Australia and New Zealand as members of Anzus as well as to the United States of America which is a member of both collective security pacts. The Minister in his speech admitted the significance of the role played by the United States of America as a member of Nato. He admitted the significance of the station's communications capacity. I put it to the Minister that the careful phrasing of this part of his speech surely makes it clear that this station and the weapons system of which it is part are principally for the security of North America. Specifically, I suggest that, but for that purpose, the station would not have been proposed. In the South-East Asian and southern Pacific regions the kind of aggression at present threatening does not call for deterrents by the employment of Polaris missiles. That is factual. What South-East Asian targets are there to be pointed at? Remember that the Prime Minister said that the missile is to be pointed at the right spot at the right time. Suppose that the United States of America should decide to use in Indo-China a nuclear weapon against Communist Chinese forces in the field: Would it use a Polaris system or something much more accurate? As far as I am concerned, this station may well be intended to free important sections of the United States longrange nuclear force from dependence on many other lines while exempting it from sharing control with us. That is where we part company with this Government. The honorable member for Richmond, with his Australian Country Party friends, all of whom are so interested that not one of them is in the chamber at the moment mentioned Nato and Great Britain. At the commencement of my speech I said that a little knowledge of a big matter is a dangerous thing. Now, **Sir, I** put this bluntly to the Prime Minister, having regard to what he said to-night: Is it too much to ask in simple language, as we do, that in this important phase of deterrent warfare the control of a station be jointly held? Is it too much to ask, as we do, that Australian involvement in war should be a question for Australia alone to decide? Why are we singled out for this type of special treatment? Is it that the United States of America does not trust the present Government of this country? The honorable member for Richmond mentioned Nato and he mentioned the deterrent which America has in Great Britain. Let us look at the facts. **Sir, the** Thor missile in Britain and the Jupiter missile in both Greece and Turkey have a double system. Each party has a key to each of these systems. In that way, each party has a complete physical veto over the operation of the missile. The honorable member for Richmond talked about the possibility of an occurrence which could set this thing off. He mentioned how necessary this powerful organization is in international affairs. In Greece and Turkey, both America and the country in which the missile base is established hold different keys to the system, the missile cannot be fired unless both parties agree to press the button. I ask this one simple question: How is it that in 1963 Australia under the Menzies Government commands such little confidence on the part of the United States of America that we are to be treated as inferior to Greece and Turkey? The honorable member for Richmond mentioned Great Britain. Let us look at the Thor arrangement in Great Britain. I have in my hand " Keesing's Contemporary Archives " which mentions the Thor bases in Great Britain. Under an agreement with the United Kingdom, the United States of America supplies these ballistic missiles. {: .speaker-KDT} ##### Mr Fairbairn: -- We are not talking about missiles in Australia. {: .speaker-KNM} ##### Mr E JAMES HARRISON: -- The Prime Minister made it quite clear to-night that this base was covered by an arrangement under which America wanted to be able to fire a missile instantly at any time. It is useless for the Minister to burke the issue. If he wants to have a fight with his Prime Minister let him go outside and do so, but he should let me put my case. Article 7 of the agreement reads - >The decision to launch these missiles will be a matter for joint decision by the two governments. Did not the Prime Minister tell us to-night that you cannot wait to get a meeting? {: .speaker-KFH} ##### Mr Forbes: -- That is not true. {: .speaker-KNM} ##### Mr E JAMES HARRISON: -- I am reading from the official document. Is the honorable member for Barker, who is now out of his seat and who showed during his speech this afternoon that he did not know about this kind of thing, going to deny the official document? Let me take it further. On 24th February, 1958, **Mr. Duncan** Sandys, Minister for Defence in Great Britain said - >The missiles will be manned and operated by units of the Royal Air Force. The agreement provides that the missiles shall not be launched except by a joint positive decision of both governments. > >Let us look at his next statement. **Mr. Duncan** Sandys was reported as follows: - >There would be special arrangements for ensuring there would be rapid consultation about the joint decision but he did not think the House would expect him to go into detail. Neither do we. All that we want is an undertaking that, whatever happens, there will be joint control of this station. It is important also to note that **Mr. Duncan** Sandys makes the final decision. He said - >I emphasize that governments, not general commanders, will be making the decision. Yet this Prime Minister of ours stands up in the chamber to-night and tells us that because of the difficulties involved we cannot get a joint decision, although it is a fact that in Europe a joint decision is provided for in agreements that are official and accepted by America and Great Britain. Now look at the next relevant passage in "Keesing's Contemporary Archives". The Minister of Defence had been asked a question about the Polaris missile. The honorable member for Richmond **(Mr. Anthony)** was talking about this very matter. This is what " Keesing's Contemporary Archives " says: - > **Mr.** Watkinson gave a " firm assurance " that Polaris missiles would " not be fired in any circumstances in United Kingdom territorial waters "; that British control within territorial waters was " absolute ". The Prime Minister of Great Britain said this: - >As regards all facilities in the territory, including the territorial waters, of the United Kingdom, we have exactly the same control in an emergency as exists over U.S. bomber or missile bases in this country. There is joint control in everything that is done. Let us have a look, finally- {: .speaker-KKB} ##### Mr Jess: -- But we are discussing a relay station. {: .speaker-KNM} ##### Mr E JAMES HARRISON: -- All this material was available for you to examine. You have been saying that you could not have joint control in this country, and I am showing you a case in which there is joint control of a missile base and of the firing of missiles. On the same page of " Keesing's Contemporary Archives " we find the following statement by the Prime Minister of Great Britain: - >There is a written agreement regarding facilities and routine questions. In that we have the right of joint control over any submarines in the bases, and the use of the base and territorial waters. In other words, Great Britain does not tolerate the kind of situation that the Government of this country allows. The Australian Labour Party does not ask that we should necessarily go as far as the Government of Great Britain goes. We simply ask for joint control of a wireless station, not of the actual firing of a Polaris missile. We simply want joint control so that we will know what is being done when the button is pressed, just as the British Government knows what is being done when the button is pressed to send off a missile. What a stupid position we could be placed in, if this proposed station were to be used and if it were for America and Great Britain to decide whether a missile should be fired and we, the people of the country in which the station is situated, were not given any information about it. The Polaris missile cannot be fired in Great Britain except under joint control. All I can say is that if we are so far down the ladder as not to be trusted as much as Turkey is, then it is time we had a change of government. The honorable member for Richmond referred to what happened in 1941. Again I say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. The honorable member was not prepared to tell the truth about what happened in 1941. He referred to the late John Curtin's New Year message, in which he turned to the United States of America. It is a good thing, **Mr. Speaker,** and it is healthy for the honorable member for Richmond and the people who sit with him to give some thought on occasion to what happened at that time and to consider where our present Prime Minister stood at the time. You will remember that the antiLabour Government fell because of its incapacity to govern in 1941. In his New Year message the late John Curtin said this- >The Australian Government therefore- {: .speaker-KKB} ##### Mr Jess: -- You called on Russia. {: .speaker-KNM} ##### Mr E JAMES HARRISON: -- Let me tell the honorable member that a nonLabour government was the first to wel- come Russia's assistance after Russia's entry into the conflict. This is what the late John Curtin said in his New Year message - >The Australian Government therefore regards the Pacific struggle as primarily one in which the United Stales and Australia must have the fullest cay in the direction of the democracies fighting plan. Would anybody depart from those words to-day? Those are the words that saved this country. He went on to say - >Without any inhibitions of any kind, I make it clear that Australia looks to America, free of any pangs as to our traditional links or kinship with the United Kingdom. We know the problem that the United Kingdom faces. We know the consequent threat of invasion. We know the dangers of dispersal of strength, but we know too that Australia can go and Britain can still hang on. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- Who said that? {: .speaker-KNM} ##### Mr E JAMES HARRISON: -- Those were the words of a leader. I invite every honorable member, particularly the honorable member for Richmond, to go to the library and read in the archives the history of this matter. You will find in the Sydney Morning Herald " of 29th December, 1941 - a newspaper that was then on Menzies' side and not on ours - a few very pertinent comments. There was a great deal of feeling engendered when John Curtin unexpectedly made his statement, and for about 36 hours there was quite a flare-up throughout the world. Then people everywhere commenced to realize that the Labour leader had done the right thing. A newspaper report at the time said this- >It is insisted here that perhaps Britain has not wholly appreciated the importance of the Far East in view of her own mortal danger from Germany. Then under a sub-heading, " Britain's offer ", the following appeared: - >It is difficult to reconcile this with information that the British Government is believed to have informed the Australian Government a considerable time ago that it was prepared to evacuate the Mediterranean if Australia was convinced this was essential for the defence of Singapore, and that Britain offered to release 300 to 400 American planes under the lend-lease plan to Australia - an offer which ostensibly the Menzies Government delayed acting upon because of a political crisis at that time. That was the kind of government in power then. What was Menzies' reaction at that time? He was not the leader. He was simply Menzies, M.P. When he saw the late John Curtin's statement he said - > **Mr. Curtin** has made a great blunder. Butthen he said - >Australia's voice in the controlling of the Pacific zone of this war must be a clear and effective one. What Menzies said- {: #subdebate-32-0-s12 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member must make a correct reference to the Prime Minister. {: .speaker-KNM} ##### Mr E JAMES HARRISON: -- He was not the Prime Minister at that time. He was **Mr. Menzies.** {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! {: .speaker-KNM} ##### Mr E JAMES HARRISON: -- Well, he is the right honorable now, although he was **Mr. Menzies** in those days. He said then - >Australia's voice in the controlling of the Pacific zone must be a clear and effective one. I remind the House of what the Prime Minister said to-night, that the capacity to fire a nuclear missile at the right lime and at the right point is the condition by which we live. What the Prime Minister said in those earlier days is what we say now, that Australia's voice in the controlling of this arrangement in the Pacific zone must be a clear and effective one. We do not trail our coats for the defence of the Australian people and for the knowledge we want in connexion with their defence, to any country in this world, even the ones we love. The American nation knows full well how we stand. In earlier days it wondered why the late John Curtin appealed to it, but after it analysed the situation it found that after the failure of the Menzies Government prior to its removal from office in 1941 this country was able to survive and revive only because of the leadership of Labour. Labour stands to-day in a similar position, in a world that is split in two pieces. The Australian Labour Party takes the stand that it does, even at the risk of its members being called pacifists, in the hope that it will help the people to face reality. We must learn to live together. If we do not, we shall die together. Finally, I propose to quote from " Nato, The Entangling Alliance ", by Professor Robert Osgood, to show the stupidity of the sort of contribution we have had from the honorable member for Richmond **(Mr. Anthony).** This book deals with the very thing we have been discussing to-night. The author stated at page 300 - >There are two ways of providing political control of decisions - I emphasize the word " decisions " - to use nuclear weapons. One way is to prescribe in advance the contingencies in which the military command would be authorized to employ nuclear weapons in a particular fashion. The other way is to determine the use or non-use of nuclear weapons when the contingencies arise ... To the extent that tactical and strategic nuclear weapons are second-strike - I direct attention particularly to those words - rather than first-strike weapons, and therefore confined to the highly specialized functions upon which allies might readily agree, the problems of joint control will be manageable. The Australian Labour Party stand's where it has always stood. It stands for the freedom of the subject and for the right of our people to take full control of their own affairs if ever a war affects the Australian community. While we are a party, we will never lower the flag that we have run up in the interests of the whole community. We shall see to it that nobody in this world drags this nation into a war unless its democratically elected government has had some say in the matter. That is a simple proposition to put to any government. We know what happened in 1941. We on this side of the House will co-operate to the full with the American nation in the defence of Australia and in the defence of the United States of America. But in relation to determining what is best to be done when the time to give the signal and! to press the button arrives, we will not place Australia in a position inferior to Turkey, Greece, Great Britain and other countries that have concluded with the United States agreements providing that the actual launching of Polaris missiles or any other nuclear weapons will be duly controlled. The Prime Minister told the Parliament and the people to-night that somebody must have freedom to launch nuclear weapons instantly, because minutes might count. That means that this country and its people could be destroyed without having had any say in the decision to press the button. In that context, I say to the Government that the Australian Labour Party is proud of where it stands. Any one who tries to take away from the people their right to have a say, through their elected government, in whether they will enter war or not will bite the dust the first time they appeal to the electorate. If you take away the freedom of the subject to act through his government - if you take away his democratic right to determine what he will do on such an issue - you take away his right to live and leave him with nothing. The Australian Labour Party is proud of the stand it has taken. If the Government is prepared to take this matter to the point where it denies the Australian people an opportunity of having some say in the pressing of the button, it will never be forgiven by the people. {: #subdebate-32-0-s13 .speaker-JYO} ##### Mr CLEAVER:
Swan .- -The honorable member for Blaxland **(Mr. E. James Harrison)** has been, as he so often is, up in the bright blue sky with airy-fairy ideas. I want to deal quickly with one of the points he made. He began by saying that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. The more I listened to him, the more I found him to be completely mixed up. He seemed to have no conception that this is a situation of the kind that I will amplify later. The honorable member has by no means made his own personal position clear in this debate. We know that yesterday, in the caucus room, he supported his leader. We know that that support was for the establishment of this base - as members of the Opposition call it, but I shall more correctly call it a station - under restrictions imposed by the federal executive of the Australian Labour Party. I say to the honorable member for Blaxland that we would admire him more as a member of this House if only he would say to his parliamentary leader, "It is time we pointed out to our executive body that its restrictions upon us as a parliamentary party are completely wrong". That, as I will show later, is just what the Labour Party in this House dares not to do. I agree with one thing, and one thing only, that the honorable member for Blaxland said. He said this legislation was of vital importance, and with that I concur. But, of course, my acceptance and recognition of its importance is based on an entirely different premise to that used by the honorable member for Blaxland. I say that this station at North West Cape is of vital importance to the whole nation. As it is to be on Western Australian soil it is of vital importance to that State also. I have the privilege at this stage of the debate of making my contribution as one of the Government parties' spokesmen from Western Australia. The first thing I want to say is in line with the views of some of my colleagues. Once again the Opposition is shockingly divided on a major item of policy. For a long time, the Australian Labour Party has been renowned for its divisions and internal strife. It has split on vital matters again and again. Here again this week it has split. We have seen further evidence of that to-day. We on the Government side must be pardoned for our fairly constant references to this malady, because this divided group presents itself as Her Majesty's Opposition. This term is highly regarded in the British Commonwealth. There can be no sound parliamentary system without an Opposition. Her Majesty's Opposition presents itself as the alternative government, and it is our responsibility on this side of the House to disclose the shortcomings of the opposition party just as vehemently as honorable members opposite attack the Government parties. That is their right and duty. Let me parade the sad story of the Labour Party in relation to this bill to approve the agreement relating to the North West Cape communication station. Last week-end, when I was in Western Australia, what did I read of? I read of the honorable member for Eden-Monaro **(Mr. Allan Fraser)** racing in ahead of his own leader to make a withering attack on this agreement. It appeared that there was nothing satisfactory about this agreement so far as the honorable member was concerned. But the following day the story seemed to be that the Labour caucus did not wish to oppose the agreement. The Leader of the Opposition and the right wing members of his parliamentary party want one thing, but the honorable member for Eden-Monaro and the left wing want another. The Australian Labour Party cannot speak with one voice on the paramount conflict in this modern world. If honorable members opposite do not know what that paramount conflict is, let me tell them again. It is the struggle of international communism to control all countries, and the fight for survival by the free world. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- Be sensible. {: .speaker-JYO} ##### Mr CLEAVER: -- My friend does not like that. He looks in the other direction. But he knows that that fight is the paramount thing in the world to-day. All the protestations by members of the Australian Labour Party fall on deaf ears when the facts are squarely faced. And the fact is that, for the last seventeen years, since the end of World War II., the Labour Party's advocacy has been directed primarily to three things. First, the Labour Party wants to cut defence expenditure to the bone. Opposition members cannot deny it. Secondly, Labour wants to write down and weaken our defence pacts with our allies and to oppose the use of security forces in forward areas. Honorable members opposite remain silent at that. Thirdly, the Labour Party wants to weaken our defence relations with the United States of America. I shall have more to say about that in a few minutes. These are the things that we must not overlook when we assess, or try to assess, the Opposition's attitude to the agreement that is before us as the schedule to this bill. Before we proceed any further, let me say what this communication station will be and where it is to be located. North West Cape, **Mr. Speaker,** is some 30 miles north of Learmonth, in Western Australia, and about 750 miles from Perth, the State capital. This position is almost half-way up the very long and largely uninhabited western coastline of Western Australia. From Australia's point of view, therefore, this seems to be a most satisfactory location for the station. The agreement that is before us provides for the use of an area of land to help communication among the armed forces of the United States of America. The United States Navy for a long time has been seeking to improve its fleet communications in the Indian Ocean and the South-West Pacific area. Lack of a suitable site has limited the United States Navy in its endeavours, and it now claims that the North West Cape site is ideal for its purposes. I find, too, that this communication station will fill a gap in the global communication network of the United States Navy. Improved radio communications to and from all United States Navy forces in the area at any time - I stress the words " at any time " - will be the result. As the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** has made quite clear, there will be radio links with surface vessels and submarines as well as with various naval authorities ashore and afloat. Let us set aside the local administrative traffic that will flow through this station. Apart from that, I want to make positively clear to the House the fact that the station will merely act as a radio relay station for the every-day passage of administrative and operational signals to and from ships at sea. It will, therefore, be a relay station. It will not be an originating station or a planning head-quarters. So, the honorable member for Eden-Monaro has deliberately disregarded the true concept of this station and has put forward an unrealistic fear about its operation in the future. I am glad to see that the honorable member is now back in the chamber. I wish that I had had the chance to follow him earlier in the debate. Peace-lovers in Australia have been deliberately stirred up by this spokesman of the Australian Labour Party. Thoughtful people naturally have asked questions as a result of his speech the other night, in which he talked of a rain of nuclear death. I say: Let it be made known in no uncertain terms that this station will perform functions the same as those of similar stations at Rugby in England, and in France, the Soviet Union and the United States, and of a similar station that I believe is being planned for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. I remind the honorable member for EdenMonaro that the proposed radio station will use a powerful low-frequency transmitter with an aerial system so vast that one can appreciate readily the tremendous cost involved in its construction. The honorable member will appreciate this if he saw the film that was shown the other evening. I hope that he did. This station will be neither a control system for a secret weapon nor akin to a radar device for navigational aid. Every Australian should know that the station will be really a conventional radio transmitter and that many more such transmitters would circle the globe but for the prohibitive cost. The very low frequency, or VLF, transmitter provides the only reliable means of communicating with submarines at all times. In addition, the station will be linked by high-frequency transmitters and receivers with the worldwide network, and these will enable it to maintain touch with all naval forces and establishments in the area, including our own Royal Australian Navy radio station at Canberra. The agreement provides that the Australian armed forces shall have the use of these communication services. To me, as a member of one of the Government parties, this means that, without ourselves spending something like £40,000,000, our own Navy will be supplied through this station with all the information that it requires, and will thereby be better able to perform its own defence role. In peacetime, the centre will have a valuable function and will enhance the preparedness of ourselves and our allies against armed attack. With this gap in the Indian Ocean filled, the deterrent effect on potential enemies will not be insignificant. I want to move on now, **Mr. Speaker,** to our friendship as a nation, and our cooperation with, the United States of America. Here, my friends of the Opposition will find that I have very strong views opposed to their outlook and attitude. This Government is proud of the cordial friendship with the United States that has been forged through the years. She is our partner in the collective security pact known as the Anzus Treaty. This alliance is of tremendous importance to us in our relatively isolated geographic position. We all know that the United States was our partner in the Pacific in the Second World War. We know her intimately as one of the great leaders of the democratic and free nations, and we honour her, too, I suggest, for the great contribution that she has made to the United Nations. Australians, I trust, will never forget our own nation's real gratitude to the United States in the dark days of the Pacific war when she stood by us. My own leader, the Prime Minister of this country, in this very House quite recently, put the position most aptly when he said, " We know our friends ". When real friendship exists, as I am sure Opposition members will agree, there is an attitude of mutual trust. Suspicion finds no place where friendship exists. I suggest that the Opposition bear that fact in mind. It is interesting to note that, in the wording of the Anzus Treaty, the allies - the United States, New Zealand and Australia -agree separately and jointly to develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack. Surely the very wording of this pact commits us to the sort of co-operation provided for in the agreement that we are now considering. Why then, 1 ask, is there such an outcry by the Opposition in this Parliament and by the rest of the Australian Labour Party? I say - and I stand by this - that the Opposition's attitude stems from a party policy that is basically anti-American. Some Opposition speakers have claimed to-day that that is not so, but I still say it in the face of all their protestations. Again and again, the policy of the Australian Labour Party has disclosed anti-American manifestations. I want you to know, **Mr. Speaker,** that a little time ago the honorable member for Yarra **(Mr. Cairns),** when addressing students at the Monash University in Melbourne, expressed the view that Australia had been on the wrong track for the last fifteen years supporting " the reactionaries in America ". {: .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr Uren: -- Where did you get that report? {: .speaker-JYO} ##### Mr CLEAVER: -- I know it hurts. He hoped that - the forthcoming Federal Conference would endorse the Federal Executive's October, 1962, recommendation - support for a nuclear-free zone and opposition to American bases - so that wc could tell the Yanks to go home. That is the attitude of the honorable member for Yarra. What about my friend, the honorable member for Eden-Monaro? I travelled with him in a car last night. I know he has some very strange ideas. When he delivered his speech on Cuba and the United States of America in this House some time ago, he said - >I suggest that we can have no real and positive faith in the value to us- That is, Australia - of American action. It is an anti-American attitude, and it can never be dispelled. My eye spotted a cor respondent's letter in the " West Australian " of 9th May. This is good. The letter is headed "The A.L.P. and U.S.A." and it reads - >Federal Opposition Leader Calwell is a man wilh a mission, that mission being to convince us simple Australians that black is white. " The A.L.P. supported the American alliance without equivocation," said **Mr. Calwell.** " We have never wavered from that position." > >But who will ever believe that story? > >We saw the Labour Day procession with its unity of Communists and A.L.P. members, both behind anti-American banners. We saw the nuclear disarmament procession, with its mixture of Communists, A.L.P. members and nuclear disarmed selling the line that " it is better to be Red than dead ". We saw the May Day celebrations with the same assortment of Communists, A.L.P. members and nuclear disarmers, also complete with anti-American banners. > >Having seen these things, are we to believe our eyes, or are we to believe **Mr. Calwell?** As I do not have to hang around hotel corridors for my masters to tell me what to say, I for one am going to believe my eyes and disbelieve **Mr. Calwell.** {: .speaker-KDI} ##### Mr Einfeld: -- Who wrote that? {: .speaker-JYO} ##### Mr CLEAVER: -- My friend from Phillip had better note that this was not phoney. {: .speaker-KDI} ##### Mr Einfeld: -- Who was he? {: .speaker-JYO} ##### Mr CLEAVER: -- I have his name. {: .speaker-KDI} ##### Mr Einfeld: -- Will you give us his name? {: .speaker-JYO} ##### Mr CLEAVER: -- Yes, 1 will give you his name. He is **Mr. V.** James, of Subiaco. I have here photographs of the very Labour Day procession that he mentions. Here is proof positive. The signs read as follows: " Yank bases mean Yank bosses ", " Keep our country free ", " Yank go home ", " No Yank war base in W.A. ". I now wish to refer quickly to the mysterious foreign policy of the Australian Labour Party. Labour's foreign policy is still based on the decisions of the nineteen left-wing delegates to the 1955 Hobart federal conference, which were arrived at after the conference split. The split was followed by the break-up of the Austraiian Labour Party. A prominent Communist, **Mr. McCoIman,** told a Communist party school in July, 1956 - >The Hobart Conference decisions of the A.L.P. regarding foreign policy were a historic turning point in A.L.P. affairs and allow for tremendous unity with the Communist Party. Time does not permit me to remind the House in detail of the decisions of the 1957 Brisbane conference. They covered, of course, the immediate recognition of continental China and her admission lo the United Nations as an integral part of Labours foreign policy. The conference was of the opinion that the South-East Asia Treaty Organization had failed. The conference said - >Thi A.I..P. is satisfied the use of Australian troops in Malaya is unnecessary . . . These points from the decisions of the 1957 conference simply emphasize the three points 1 made earlier in my speech. The Opposition is not happy about this history, and it is certainly divided over the establishment of a radio relay station at North West Cape. The parliamentary section of the Australian Labour Party has no freedom to manoeuvre, lt is subject to the direction of the outside group of 36 about which we have heard a little in recent weeks. It is by this group that the Labour Party's policy is defined. Although they are elected by the people, honorable members of Her Majesty's Opposition have to do what they are told to do by the pro-Reds and leftists of this conference of 36 men. My own leader, the Prime Minister, has expressed amazement at the fact that the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Whitlam)** had to stand on a street corner outside the conference room and wait for their directions from their masters. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- Oh dear! {: .speaker-JYO} ##### Mr CLEAVER: -- The honorable member may yawn, but I hope to hear him say something about this matter. Apparently the six members of each of the State delegations, including those from Victoria, are to express the views of the genuine Australian Labour Party voters in each State. That is just a theory, as I shall proceed to show. The federal conference of the Australian Labour Party which met in Canberra on 18th March was called upon to clear up a crisis. The federal executive had previously reached a deadlock with a six-all vote on this important subject of defence policy. The eyes of the nation were focussed on this conference. People wondered whether the vote would give strong support to the Leader of the Opposition or render his task even more difficult. The establishment of this radio station at North West Cape was the subject of the vital decision. A miserable 19-17 vote in favour of restricted endorsement was the outcome. The conference had reached a stalemate. The voting was 18-18, even after strong pleas had been made by the Leader of the Opposition and his deputy. But then the rightist group saved face by winning over one man - Duggan, of Queensland. lt is important that we should learn more about these 36 masters of the Australian Labour Party. I find that, whilst they are a pretty mixed lot, they are fairly accurately grouped according to their right-wing and left-wing tendencies. The delegates to the conference revealed by their attitude that they wore cither dedicated to further decimating the strength of the parliamentary section of the Australian Labour Party or were hopelessly out of touch with public opinion on defence and security matters. That brings me to the results of a gallup poll which was held on 7th May last. {: .speaker-KDI} ##### Mr Einfeld: -- I would not rely on that. {: .speaker-JYO} ##### Mr CLEAVER: -- Do not worry. You like to accept gallup poll figures when they please you, but on a matter like this you find them a bit hard to take. This gallup poll dealt with the establishment of this station at North West Cape, in all, 1,800 people were interviewed. They were told in rather strong language that the radio station was to keep in touch with submarines that were carrying atomic or nuclear rockets. They were asked, "Do you favour, or oppose, letting America build that radio station in Australia? " The remarkable thing is that 80 per cent, of the people interviewed indicated that they were in favour of this step being taken. Only 1 1 per cent, opposed it. So that is acknowledged to be the outlook of the Australian public. Does the Australian Labour Party wish to impose its minority view on the public in the light of that result? Does it not claim to represent the people? How can it claim to represent the people when it tas displayed the attitude we have seen displayed during this vital debate? The attitude of the public and the expressed opinion of the party are many poles apart. Or has the Australian Labour Party reached the point where it has become a pressure group that is following the usual Communist line? The people of Western Australia deserve to be given all possible information about their team of delegates which came to this conference because all the delegates voted against a communications station being established. They wished to deny the Western Australian coast the benefit of this most modern defence facility. At the same time they were rebuffing the United States of America as a friendly ally and voting against the expenditure of possibly £40,000,000 in our own State of Western Australia with all that that may mean to our industries and to the community in general. The following statements have been written about the Western Australian delegation - {: type="A" start="T"} 0. Jones is a miner, a close associate of the Communist W. Latter. J. DU is a waterside worker who always votes to the left. G. Grenfell is a boilermaker, a supporter of the pro-Communist left wing. C. J. Jamieson is an M.L.A. and president of the Western Australian A.L.P. He voted in 19S9 against a ban on unity tickets at the A.L.P. conference in Canberra. A. M. Moir is an M.L.A., and Ron Davies also is an M.L.A. He of course is a disciple of Chamberlain, the federal secretary of the A.L.P. Few in the Labour movement outside Western Australia seem to know much about these Western Australia delegates. No reference is ever made at the conference to the six Western Australia delegates. Instead, everyone speaks of them collectively as Joe Chamberlain's six votes. In recent years whenever a delegate has shown a tendency to a viewpoint other than that held by **Mr. Chamberlain** he has not reappeared at future conferences. I was very interested to read those statements. Western Australia is entitled to know from the Western Australia Labour members of this House where they stand on this subject. I challenge the honorable member for Stirling **(Mr. Webb)** and the honorable member for Kalgoorlie **(Mr. Collard)** to state where they stand. Do they support the delegates from their own State who voted en bloc against the establishment of a station of any kind? It would be interesting to know from the nonextremist honorable member for Fremantle **(Mr. Beazley)** whether he stands by the vote of the Western Australia delegation or whether he separates himself from that group and sides with the Leader of the Opposition. In other words, the Australian Labour Party is indeed over the barrel. The stringent conditions attached to the 19-17 vote of its executive body would provide a base quite useless to the United States. Perhaps honorable members opposite hesitate because of their previous experience with Manus Island. Let it never be forgotten that through the bungling of Labour leaders Australia was denied the use of that most amazing naval base which the United States of America had established on Manus Island. The United States authorities met **Dr. Evatt's** demands to all reasonable limits but found the Labour Party completely impossible to deal with, so the proposed transfer of the base was withdrawn. The Labour Party has never got over the shock of that decision. It appears to me that the Labour Party of to-day virtually wants to repeat the Manus Island story in the case of the proposed communication station. The Labour Party is a split party. I wonder where the honorable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr. Clyde Cameron)** is to-night. To be true to their executive's ruling, all honorable members opposite should be fighting mad opposing this bill in every respect. To be true to the majority vote of their own colleagues they know that they should support their leader, disregard their executive and work to reserve their party's policy. To their discredit, they dare not do that. Debate (on motion by **Mr.** L. R. Johnson) adjourned. {: .page-start } page 1549 {:#debate-33} ### BILLS RETURNED FROM THE SENATE The following bills were returned from the Senate: - Without amendment - >Appropriation (Works and Services) Bill (No. 2) 1962-63. > >Supply (Works and Services) Bill 1963-64. Without requests - >Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 1962-63. > >Supply Bill 1963-64. {: .page-start } page 1549 {:#debate-34} ### ADJOURNMENT Motion (by **Mr. Swartz)** proposed - >That the House do now adjourn. {: #debate-34-s0 .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr BRYANT:
Wills **.- Mr. Speaker,** I want to direct your attention- Motion (by **Mr. Swartz)** put - >That the question be now put. Question put - The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Sir John McLeay.) AYES: 53 NOES: 51 Majority . . . . 2 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Original question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 11.42 p.m. {: .page-start } page 1549 {:#debate-35} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS The following answers to questions were circulated: - {:#subdebate-35-0} #### Company Finance {: #subdebate-35-0-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Treasurer, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is he able to say whether General MotorsHolden"s Proprietary Limited and the Ford motor company made extraordinarily large distributions of bonus shares earlier this year? 1. Were these transactions made by means of a revaluation of assets and not out of accumulated reserves? 2. Are bonus shares issued by use of the former method tax-free whereas by the second means they attract a tax obligation? 3. Have both these extremely wealthy overseas companies followed the practice of annually writing down the value of their assets by a figure much higher than that justifiable by official taxation standards? 4. Does this practice make easier the subsequent issue of bonus shares by a revaluation of assets? 5. Are these arrangements used by these companies to enable them to avoid making their proper contribution to Commonwealth revenues? 6. Does this procedure also have the advantage, from the company's point of view, of providing a wider distribution of profits and a lower dividend rate and does it hide from the public the degree to which it may be exploited by unnecessarily high prices? 7. Is any action contemplated by the Government to prevent this practice continuing? {: #subdebate-35-0-s1 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. I have no information concerning the matters referred to other than that which has been contained in published reports. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. Section 44 (2) (b) (iii) of the Income Tax and Social Service Contribution Assessment Act exempts from income tax bonus shares distributed by a company wholly and exclusively out of profits arising from the revalution of assets not acquired for the purpose of resale at a profit. 4 and 5. I do not have access to the taxation records of the companies which are confidential as between the Commissioner of Taxation and the taxpayers concerned. 1. The income lax liability of a public company ls not reduced as a result of the issue by it of bonus shares. 2. I am not aware of the reasons that have prompted any particular company to issue bonus shares. The extent to which details of a company's accounts must be disclosed is prescribed by the provisions of the relevant State acts or Territorial ordinances. 3. The operation of the various provisions of the Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assessment Act (including Section 44 (2) (b) (iii)) is kept under constant review. {:#subdebate-35-1} #### Inventions {: #subdebate-35-1-s0 .speaker-KYS} ##### Mr Reynolds: s asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. On what basis are inventions arising out of government-sponsored research made available to private industry? 1. In the case of government sponsored research carried out by private contractors, who retains the patent rights on any resulting inventions? {: #subdebate-35-1-s1 .speaker-126} ##### Sir Garfield Barwick:
LP -- The answer to the honorable member's questions is as follows: - >The matters covered by these questions do not come within my administration. Indeed, they do not come within the administration of any single one of my colleagues and I have therefore taken time to enable consultations to be had with a number of Commonwealth departments and instrumentalities that are concerned in these matters. The references in the questions to governmentsponsored research are too loosely expressed to permit of a definitive answer. > >With regard to question (1.) the position with respect to an invention that arises out of the work of an officer or employee of the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth instrumentality appears to be as follows. The basis on which those inventions are made available to private industry is a matter for decision by the particular Commonwealth department or instrumentality, but the criterion in all cases is the maximum advantage to the public interest. Generally it may be said that where it is considered to be in the public interest to do so, an application for Letters Patent will be made by the Commonwealth or Commonwealth instrumentality concerned; otherwise the invention, if the information is not classified as secret information, will be published so that it is available for anyone to use. Where an invention has a significant potential commercial application licences to use inventions patented by the Commonwealth or Commonwealth instrumentality will be offered to private industry; whether the licences offered in any particular case are exclusive or non-exclusive, and whether the royalty charged is nominal or on a full commercial basis depends on the circumstances in which the invention was made and the course which will encourage the broadest possible application of it by Australian industry. > >With regard to question (2), insofar as it relates to research carried out under contracts with the Commonwealth, the circumstances concerning contracts naturally vary and the practice as to contractual terms with respect to inventions and the practice where there are no relevant contractual terms are not uniform. If the honorable member has any specific problem in mind, I should be glad to endeavour to answer it. {:#subdebate-35-2} #### Royal Australian Navy {: #subdebate-35-2-s0 .speaker-JP5} ##### Mr Benson: n asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Will the Minister give an undertaking that, when the three " Charles F. Adams " class destroyers now being built in the United States of America at a cost of more than £A.60,000,000 are delivered to Australia, these vessels will be maintained and refitted in Australia? 1. Is it the Government's present intention to have these vessels refitted by United States naval authorities? {: #subdebate-35-2-s1 .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth:
LP -- The Minister for the Navyhas supplied the following information: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The "Charles F. Adams" class destroyers will be repaired and refitted in Australian Naval Dockyards. 1. No. {:#subdebate-35-3} #### Parliamentary Draftsmen {: #subdebate-35-3-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Attorney-General, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Mow many Parliamentary draftsmen are at present employed by his department? 1. How many unfilled vacancies in this classification exist at present? 2. What is the salary range for this occupation? 3. Upon what drafting work are the draftsmen at present engaged? 4. How many draftsmen are at present employed on the drafting of the proposed restrictive trade practices legislation? 5. For how long have they been so engaged? {: #subdebate-35-3-s1 .speaker-126} ##### Sir Garfield Barwick:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - 1 to 3. There arc various classifications for persons employed in the Parliamentary Drafting Division of my department, with salaries varying from £99 1-£ 1,651 for a professional assistant to £5,833 for the parliamentary draftsman. Including temporary employees, the number of persons employed in Hie Parliamentary Drafting Division at present is fifteen and the number of vacancies is five. 4 to 6. The Parliamentary Drafting Section is engaged upon drafting bills for this Parliament, ordinances for Territories and regulations under Commonwealth acts and Territory ordinances; the reprinting of acts, ordinances and regulations as amended; work associated with the preparation of annual volumes of acts, ordinances and regulations; and various other matters connected with the foregoing. The honorable member will not expect particulars of drafting work on measures that have not yet been announced and, that being so, particulars of drafting work on measures that have been referred to publicly would be quite misleading. Summoning of "Hansard" Reporters in Court Proceeding. {: #subdebate-35-3-s2 .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: y asked the Attorney-General, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Was any request made to him to provide legal representation for **Mr. J.** Dulihanty and **Mr. J.** McKnight, officers of the Parliamentary Reporting Staff, who were called upon to give evidence in a case before the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory on 8th May, 1963? 1. If not, did he offer to provide legal representation for these officers? 2. If legal representation was not provided for these officers, is it to be presumed that " Hansard " officers appearing as witnesses, and being examined on the accuracy of their report of the Parliament, are not entitled to legal representation except at their own expense? {: #subdebate-35-3-s3 .speaker-126} ##### Sir Garfield Barwick:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. No. 1. No. 2. A witness in a case in a civil court does not have any right to be legally represented and it is not usual for a court to permit a witness to be legally represented. {:#subdebate-35-4} #### Beef Cattle Roads {: #subdebate-35-4-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: m asked the Treasurer, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Does a map issued by the Resources Information and Development Branch of the Department of National Development at Canberra in November, 1960, illustrate proposals by the Queensland Government (a) in December, 1959, for road development in Channel Country cattle areas between Boulia, Bedourie, Currawilla and Windorah, between Betoota and Currawilla, between Windorah and Yaraka, between Naccowlah and Quilpie, between Coorabulka and Lucknow and between Mayne Pub and Winton, (b) in September, 1960, for road development in Channel Country cattle areas between Thargomindah, Cunnamulla and Barringun!, (c) in October, 1960, for road development in Gulf Country cattle areas between Burketown and Camooweal, and between Croydon and Nelia, and (d) in July, 1959, for road development in Cape York cattle areas between the Mulligan Highway and Weipa? 1. Did the Queensland Government in fact make the foregoing proposals? 2. If so, why did he omit to mention them in the answer he gave me on 9th April (" Hansard ", page 545)? {: #subdebate-35-4-s1 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. The Queensland Government did, at about the times indicated, request Commonwealth financial assistance, generally on a £1 for £1 basis wilh the State, in respect of the roads referred to. These requests were, however, superseded when, following the announcement by the Prime Minister in February, 1961, that the Commonwealth was prepared to collaborate with State governments in the planning and execution of certain developmental projects of national importance, the State Government submitted revised proposals for the construction of roads in the Gulf Country and Channel Country which it was believed would lead to increased beef production and export earnings. After consideration of the revised proposals the Commonwealth Government offered a Commonwealth grant of £5,000,000 for the construction of beef cattle roads to be nominated by the State and approved by the Commonwealth. This offer was accepted by the State Government and the Queensland Grant (Beef Cattle Roads) Act 1961 was subsequently passed. All the roads nominated by the State under that act were approved by the Commonwealth. In 1962, the Commonwealth Government agreed in addition to provide special loan assistance of up to £3,300,000 for the sealing of roads that were the subject of the 1961 act. The whole of the arrangements were embodied in the agreement that was approved by the Queensland Beef Cattle Roads Agreement Act 1962. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. See answer to 1 and 2. The previous question was interpreted as referring to roads nominated by the State under the provisions of the Queensland Grant (Beef Cattle Roads) Act 196! and the Queensland Beef Cattle Roads Agreement of 30th November, 1962. {:#subdebate-35-5} #### Military Aircraft {: #subdebate-35-5-s0 .speaker-JO8} ##### Mr Barnard:
BASS, TASMANIA d asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice; - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What types of military aircraft have been imported into Australia since 1958? 1. From which countries were these aircraft purchased, and what was the cost in each case? 2. Have further orders been placed for the purchase of aircraft overseas; if so, in what year and from what countries will they be supplied, and what is the total cost? {: #subdebate-35-5-s1 .speaker-KEN} ##### Mr Fairhall:
LP -- The Acting Minister for Defence has furnished the following reply: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Navy. - Gannet (anti-submarine aircraft), Vampire Get trainer aircraft), and Sycamore, Wessex and Scout helicopters. Army - Bell 47 G2 and 47 G2A (Sioux), helicopters and Cessna 180 light aircraft. Air - C1 30 Hercules transport aircraft, P2V7 Neptune Martime reconnaissance aircraft and utility helicopters (Irioquois). {:#subdebate-35-6} #### Civil Aviation {: #subdebate-35-6-s0 .speaker-JZX} ##### Mr Collard:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA d asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. At which airports in the north and northwest of Western Australia are (a) full-time and (b) part-time groundsmen employed? {: #subdebate-35-6-s1 .speaker-KDT} ##### Mr Fairbairn:
LP -- The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following information: - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Groundsmen are employed full-time at Broome, Carnarvon, Derby, Halls Creek, Meekatharra, Onslow, Port Hedland, Wittenoom Gorge and Wyndham. The groundsman at Meekatharra periodically visits **Mr Magnet,** Cue and Wiluna airstrips, (b) Roebourne is the only airport in this area at which a groundsman is employed parttime. {:#subdebate-35-7} #### Employment Agencies {: #subdebate-35-7-s0 .speaker-JYJ} ##### Mr Clay:
ST GEORGE, NEW SOUTH WALES y asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What protection is available to people who are induced by newspaper advertisements to pay a fee to a spurious employment agency? 1. Can he say whether any Commonwealth body occupies itself with the task of investigating the bone fides of employment agencies advertising themselves as such or using names calculated to evade governmental investigation of their activities? {: #subdebate-35-7-s1 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Private fee-charging employment agencies in Australia are regulated by the States. There is, ot course, no restriction on the individual's choice of an employment agency, whether he is seeking assistance in finding a suitable position or in satisfying his labour requirements. 1. See 1. above. Education. {: #subdebate-35-7-s2 .speaker-N76} ##### Sir Robert Menzies:
LP -- On 2nd May the honorable member for Bradfield **(Mr. Turner)** asked me a question without notice about the possibility of expediting the presentation of the report of the committee appointed to enquire into the future of tertiary education. I am now able to say that during my discussions with them on Saturday, 4th May, the chairman of the Australian Universities Commission and his fellow commissioner confirmed my impression that the Government may expect to receive the report of the committee at the end of this year, and that it is impracticable for the report to be completed before that time. {:#subdebate-35-8} #### Portuguese Timor {: #subdebate-35-8-s0 .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr James:
HUNTER, NEW SOUTH WALES s asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Were some 100 persons killed during an unsuccessful uprising in Portuguese Timor at the end of 1961? 1. Has the Government since taken any action in co-operation with the United Nations to secure respect for the principle of equal rights and selfdetermination of peoples in Portuguese Timor? {: #subdebate-35-8-s1 .speaker-126} ##### Sir Garfield Barwick:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. I have no information of an uprising having occurred in Portgugese Timor in 1961. 1. Australia has taken an active part in United Nations discussions on the Portuguese overseas territories. In the United Nations General Assembly on 21st November, 1962, the Australian representative said that Australia considered that Portugal should recognize the obligation to give the people overseas the right of selfdetermination and that it should take effective measures to bring that about. Similarly, on 13th March, 1963, the Australian representative on the United Nations Committee of Twenty Four on Colonialism stated the Australian Government's belief that the peoples of the Portuguese territories ought, in the same way as the peoples of other dependent territories, to be given the opportunity to determine their own future and that they ought not to be deprived of the right of selfdetermination. {:#subdebate-35-9} #### Indonesia {: #subdebate-35-9-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has Indonesia amassed armed strength far in excess of its requirements for internal security? 1. Is he aware of any existing or potential threat to Indonesian security from external sources which would warrant such an arms build-up? 2. Has Indonesia received armed equipment and supplies from Britain, the United States and Russia? 3. Can he say whether this equipment and these supplies were made available (a) as a gift, (b) by a cash sale, or (c) on credit? 4. Does the Government regard the situation in this part of the world as being one of growing anxiety for Australia? 5. If so, has the Government sought talks with Britain, the United States, Russia and Indonesia, or any of these countries, or with the United Nations Organization, with a view to securing a halt in the build-up of armed strength by Indonesia? {: #subdebate-35-9-s1 .speaker-126} ##### Sir Garfield Barwick:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - >Most of the questions asked by the honorable member either seek from me expressions of opinion or statements of government policy. The answer to question 3 is Yes, and to question 4 that the bulk of the equipment has been supplied on credit. {:#subdebate-35-10} #### Tobacco Advertising {: #subdebate-35-10-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. When did the National Health and Medical Research Council submit its recommendations to the Government on tobacco advertising and smoking generally? 1. Have these recommendations yet received the consideration of the Government? 2. If so, what decision was arrived at in each instance? {: #subdebate-35-10-s1 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
LP -- The Minister for Health has furnished the following reply: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Resolutions on smoking and lung cancer were affirmed by the National Health and Medical Research Council in May, 1962. 1. The recommendations of the Council have been placed before the Government. 2. As the question of the adoption of individual resolutions is considered to be primarily a matter for the State governments, copies of the resolutions have been supplied to them for their consideration.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 16 May 1963, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.