24th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Sir John McLeay) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Mr. CROSS presented a petition from certain electors of the Commonwealth praying that the Government -
Nations, declare Australia’s willingness to enter into an agreement sot to manufacture, test, station or acquire nuclear weapons.
Petition received and read.
Mr. KEARNEY presented a petition in the same terms from certain electors of the Commonwealth.
Mr. O’CONNOR presented a petition in the same terms from certain electors of the Commonwealth.
– I direct a question without notice to the Minister for Labour and National Service. Does the Minister recall that about two weeks ago I asked him a question about waterfront employment and directed his attention to the action of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in withholding the 10 per cent, margins increase due to waterside workers engaged in Sydney and Melbourne? Is it a fact, as I then suggested, that the Australian Council of Trade Unions soon will seek a conference with the Minister in an endeavour to find some basis for a permanent settlement of discontent on the waterfront? Will the Minister now use his influence to secure complete uniformity so far as the 10 per cent, margins increase due to waterside workers is concerned? Also, will the Minister keep an open mind on questions likely to be put to him by the A.C.T.U. concerning the need to amend the present legislation dealing with waterside workers?
– There are two matters involved in the question the honorable gentleman has just asked. The first relates to the 10 per cent, increase in margins granted to waterside workers other than in the ports of Sydney and Melbourne. I can inform the honorable gentleman that this matter is being revived with the presidential member of the Arbitration Commission who is responsible for the waterfront. With the approval and the active support of the Australian Council of Trade Unions the matter will go before Mr. Justice Ashburner, I understand, either to-morrow or on Friday. The honorable member will be well aware that there have been far too many disputes on the Australian waterfront in recent weeks. We did have a period of relative stability and excellent performance and then this spate of stoppages, about which I have made considerable comment in the course of the last few weeks. The Australian Council of Trade Unions has submitted to me a request to hold a conference as soon as I can. After discussions with the Australian Council of Trade Unions I have decided to call a conference on Thursday of next week - the 30th of this month. Mr. Monk, the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, has expressed his public approval of the fact that a conference has been called and has asked that ali parties exercise restraint until the conference is held and the decisions are given. I cannot make any forecast of the likely outcome, but I can say that tensions have been reduced and that this does give us an opportunity to sit around the table to discuss mutual problems and listen to one another’s points of view. That, I think, must be helpful to the situation. In the circumstances I too, hope that, tensions having been reduced, nothing provocative will be done prior to the conference until it has reached its conclusions.
– I direct a question to the Minister for the Interior. In view of the traffic chaos in Canberra caused by the closing of Lennox crossing and the temporary crossing alongside the Commonwealth Avenue bridge after the recent heavy rains, can the Minister say when the new bridge will be open to traffic? Did the flooding which occurred at the week-end delay the time-table to any appreciable extent. Furthermore, did it affect the time-table for the completion of the dam and the filling of the lake?
– Undoubtedly the recent heavy rains did interfere with the timetable. The precise extent of the interference is not known yet, but it is hoped that three lanes - one carriageway of the new Commonwealth-avenue bridge - will be open to traffic by about the middle of July. The originally scheduled date was 1st July. The flooding which has occurred does demonstrate that, quite apart from any consideration of the lake in Canberra, new bridges are an urgent necessity to cope with the traffic problem that exists here. The flooding did interfere to some extent with the closing of the diversion outlet which was constructed for use while the dam itself was being built. The water is still at a rather higher level than would enable the diversion outlet to be closed. But, again, it is expected that the dam itself will be completed shortly after 30th September and that the lake will be filled progressively from that time onwards. As there is a very wide fluctuation in the rainfall and in the flow of water in the Molonglo, it is impossible to predict how quickly the lake will be filled, but there should be some appreciable filling by the end of the year.
– I address a question to the Postmaster-General. I refer to the large number of outstanding applications for telephones lodged at the Matraville telephone exchange, which is in my electorate, and to the large number of unemployed people registered at the local employment office, among whom are many skilled men capable of carrying out telephone installation work. When does the Minister intend to make the necessary funds available so that urgent telephone installations can be completed, bearing in mind that the provision of this work would reduce the large number of unemployed people registered at the Kingsford employment office?
– I have already informed the House that, apart from the amount for capital works, made available to the department in the last Budget £750,000 was made available recently for the particular purpose of speeding up the installation of telephones in places where there has been a considerable lag in that respect. They are mainly in the Melbourne and Sydney metropolitan areas. The honorable member can be assured that everything is being done to relieve the situation that he has mentioned. A considerable amount of money has been made available for that purpose.
– The Minister for Primary Industry no doubt is aware that the Australian fishing industry does not have an organization which is recognized as its voice when speaking on, for instance, problems relating to tariffs or customs. The Australian Fishermen’s Co-operative Limited represents the majority of fishermen in all States. Will the Minister indicate what steps this organization must take to obtain recognition as the industry’s voice?
– I know that the Australian Fishermen’s Co-operative Limited represents quite a number of commercial fishermen, but before I would express an opinion as to whether it should be the mouthpiece of the industry I would need to know the number of affiliated organizations and the total membership. In the meantime my door is always open to any commercial fishermen who have any problems to discuss with me.
– Yesterday I asked the Minister for Supply a question relating to geophysical surveys. Is he in a position now to answer the question fully?
– Yesterday the honorable gentleman asked me a question relating to the letting of a contract to Ansett-A.N.A. for the provision of helicopter services for the Bureau of Mineral Resources. The honorable gentleman wanted to know whether the company received supplies of aviation spirit from government sources free of duty; whether the contract was contrary to precedent and instruction; what efforts were made to secure a refund of the amount which the company saved, and whether I would take steps to avoid a repetition of such contracts. It seemed to me that the form of the question implied improper practice.
I have considered this matter. The details are that the last contract for a helicopter service was placed with Ansett- A.N.A. in April, 1962. The company lodged the lower of two tenders. The contract was strictly in accordance with the specification on which tenders were called. In relation to fuel and oil, it provided for the contractors to arrange for delivery at a number of established bases on which survey work was centred. The company paid in full for its fuel, and internal carriage was provided by the Bureau of Mineral Resources. This work is being undertaken in areas like Alice Springs and Giles, which are deep in central Australia. In view of the high cost involved in a contractor’s distributing his own petrol - this cost would have to appear in his tender price - the bureau provided that service. This was stated in the specification and in the contract. As this undertaking formed part of the specification and ultimately the contract, the cost of transport did not form part of the contract and no financial advantage accrued to the contractor. Under the circumstances there was no supply of aviation fuel to the contractor free of duty, the contract was strictly according to precedent and instruction, the contractor reaped no financial advantage from the arrangement and, therefore, no question of refund arises, nor is there any need to take steps to avoid this kind of contract in the future.
– I address a question to the Minister for External Affairs. In view of the great importance to Australia of preventing any further Communist gains in South-East Asia, can the Minister inform the House whether the strategic hamlet plan in South Viet Nam is proving successful against the Communist Viet Cong guerrillas and their red Chinese supporters?
Further, can the Minister say what the present position is in Laos, where the Communist Pathet Lao was reported recently to have made big gains?
– The strategic hamlet concept and campaign in South Viet Nam have been progressing successfully. The plan was to have some 11,000 of these hamlets which are fortified in a simple way. Of that number some 6,000 have already been set up. They are effective in the first place in not merely building up the morale of the people who live in the villages and hamlets but also in denying to the Viet Cong access to food and other supplies which, but for the fortification of these hamlets, they might have had. The hamlets also contribute to the safety of many of the people because instead of living out on their properties, the people are brought in to these fortified hamlets where houses are built for them. Another feature, which to my mind is most significant, is that these strategic hamlets are affording an opportunity for education, medical and other social service work, and this is particularly interesting and important in a country which has a reputation for centrality of government. I think these activities in the hamlets will go a long way towards building up a sense of cohesion amongst these people and aid them in that sense in resisting communism.
As to Laos, there was an outbreak, on 1st April, on the Plain of Jars. It began, I think, because some dissident neutralist troops commenced hostilities against other neutralist troops, but very quickly the Pathet Lao and Viet Minh forces there joined in and exploited the situation. This went on until 21st April, when there was a cease-fire. Since that time there has been what I might call a shaky cease-fire - it is an uncertain situation. Prince Souvanna Phouma, the Prime Minister of Laos, is endeavouring to get the Pathet Lao to join in and support the Government of the National Union, which was the result of the Geneva accord, which we support and which we think will, if fully implemented, do a great deal towards rendering this country genuinely neutral and helping it to resist any further Communist encroachment.
– I preface a question addressed to the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Defence by reminding him that the principal reason given by the Government for ordering three Adams Class destroyers from the United States of America was that they were to be equipped with a modern marine missile not available in Australia. I now ask the Minister whether defects have occurred in the development of that United States missile - the Tartar - which necessitated a serious delay in its supply to the American Navy and to the Australian vessels. Was this missile accepted for the Australian destroyers before even preliminary tests had been carried out? Will the Australian Adams class destroyers now be fitted with conventional weapons for anti-aircraft defence and bombardment? If so, will the’ Government demonstrate greater faith in Australia’s craftsmen by ordering this conventional armament in Australia from defence factories built for naval purposes, such as the Bendigo Ordnance Factory, which has produced such armament for Australian-built vessels, and from which seventeen men are listed for dismissal on Friday because of lack of work?
– Unfortunately, I cannot give the honorable gentleman detailed answers on one or two of the points that he has raised. I will refer the matter to the Minister for the Navy and get the honorable gentleman a more detailed answer. It is true, of course, that the missiles originally intended to be provided on these vessels will probably be replaced; but the honorable member will be glad to know that they will be replaced by much better weapons of the same kind, which have been developed in our laboratories in Australia and in which the world is interested.
– What are you talking about?
– I take it that the honorable gentleman was referring to antisubmarine missiles.
– In that case, I will get the honorable gentleman an answer. But he will be pleased to know that in the Bendigo Ordnance Factory some work is being done on the missile developed in our laboratories.
– The Minister for Primary Industry will recall that a short while ago the honorable member for Wakefield asked him this question -
In view of the splendid rains in South Australia, the steady and satisfactory prices for wool, wheat and many other primary products, and the stabilization of farmers’ costs, will the honorable gentleman, as the Minister for Primary Industry and, indeed, as a fellow farmer, tell me what I ought to start being miserable about?
Has the Minister since heard that the honorable member for Wakefield has just lost 190 prime two-year-old wethers because of a superabundance of feed? Will the Minister agree that that answers the honorable member’s own question?
– I am sorry to hear of the misfortune of the honorable member for Wakefield. Sometimes poison is associated with lush feed, not only for sheep but also for cattle. I have known that to happen even with oats. I hope that the honorable member for Wakefield will have more smiles in the future.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Repatriation. Did Salvation Army chaplains and Red Shield officers subject themselves to danger, discomfort and self-sacrifice during the war years in order to provide amenities and comfort for troops in the field? Do all exservicemen pay tribute to those men for the magnificent work they performed? Are those men entitled to repatriation benefits and returned-from-active-service badges, where applicable? Is the Minister aware that the Minister for National Development, who is in charge of the War Service Homes Division, refuses to grant entitlement to benefit under the War Service Homes Act to approximately 70 of those men? Will the Minister undertake to discuss the matter with the Minister for National Development and to impress upon his colleague the injustice of that decision?
– The personnel to whom the honorable member referred are not classified under the Repatriation Act as members of the forces. Therefore, they are not eligible for normal repatriation benefits. That applies specifically to those who served in World War I. Those who served in World War 11. in a similar capacity may, under an act-of-grace provision which was originated during the last war, be granted some form of repatriation benefits in special circumstances. Indeed, quite a number of them in Australia to-day receive such benefits. The matter relating to war service homes, of course, concerns my colleague in another place. I will convey the text of the honorable member’s question to him.
– I direct a question to the Prime Minister. I refer to the agreement which, I understand, was reached in Wellington last month between the Minister for Trade and the Honorable J. R. Marshall of New Zealand for the setting up of a joint standing committee to review and encourage trade between Australia and New Zealand. I ask the Prime Minister what progress has been made towards the setting up of that committee. Will he discuss with the Prime Minister of New Zealand the possibility of including on the committee parliamentary representation from both sides of the parliaments on both sides of the Tasman?
– Of course, I am aware of the early stages of this matter, but I cannot tell the honorable member offhand the present state of the discussions. They do not fall within my department. But I will find out, and in finding out I will give consideration to the other matter raised by the honorable member.
– I ask the Treasurer: Is he aware that as a result of the unrestricted inflow of foreign capital into Canada, that country finds that many of its basic industries are now under the control of outside interests? Is it correct that foreign capital is permitted to enter Australia without any restrictions being imposed as to its use? In view of the Government’s policy on this subject, can the Treasurer tell the House how the Australian economy and Australian ownership of industry can escape the position that Canada finds itself in to-day?
– From what I know of the economy of Canada and from what I saw at first hand on my visit to that country, I believe that many of the statements one reads about the effect of American economic penetration are grossly exaggerated. The Canadian economy is one of the most highly diversified industrial economies in the world. It is a very strong economy and the people of Canada generally enjoy a very high standard of living, ranking as one of the highest standards of living in the world. I am quite certain that Canada would not have attained this level of living standards and would not have been able to absorb migrants in such numbers had it not been for quite extensive investment from overseas.
The main concentration of investment in Canada, as I understand it, has come from the United States of America. This has undoubtedly created some problems for Canada. Overseas investment in Australia, on our more recent experience, is from a variety of sources and is tending to diversify further as time goes on. I do not believe that we are likely to experience problems of the same order as those experienced by Canada. This strong inflow of capital is enabling us to absorb migrants in employment, to diversify our industries and to strengthen our national economy and our national security. Just as the United States of America in the early period of its history was able to develop as a result of overseas capital investment, so we are being greatly aided by the techniques and the capital resources that are coming into this country.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Territories. What measures have been taken or are proposed to prevent the introduction of human or stock diseases into Papua and New Guinea?
– I assume that the honorable member’s question relates to the changed circumstances following events in West New Guinea. This matter of quarantine has been under very close consideration by the Cabinet. Some time ago, a senior and expert officer of the Commonwealth Department of Health visited West New Guinea and made a comprehensive survey of the nature of the problem we might encounter. As a result of the report he made and the recommendations presented in the report, a number of measures were put in train straight away. On the one hand, we have the measures under the control of the Administration of Papua and New Guinea for the surveillance of all goods of animal origin, the movement of animals and passengers coming into the Territory and similar work of that kind. Every one of the recommendations made by the expert is being put into effect by the Territory Administration. Then we have another set of measures involving co-operation between the Territory Administration and the Commonwealth quarantine authorities. Those measures are also being put into effect. Then we have a third set of measures involving co-operation between the Australian Government and the Indonesian Government. My colleague, the Minister for External Affairs, is giving attention to those measures.
– I ask the
Minister for External Affairs about the statement he made yesterday that America had insisted, on sole control of the naval communication station, in support of which he produced correspondence with the American Ambassador. Since the letter from the American Ambassador appears to contain no indication whatsoever of American insistence on sole control, but appears to be consistent with a statement of conversations during the day, consistent with voluntary and cheerful agreement by both sides in the decisions reached, I now ask the Minister: Can he show the House in that letter any indication of American insistence on sole control, in opposition to Australia’s wishes? If not, can he produce any other document, or is there any other document in existence, which indicates American insistence on sole control? Finally, will he put this matter beyond doubt by stating specifically whether the Australian Government presented any arguments for the Australian right to joint control of this station and, if so, did the American Government override the Australian Government’s wishes and insist upon sole control?
– It is remarkable that the members of the Opposi tion still cannot come back to the real world. They are still living in a world of fantasy. Any one who reads, with a fair and percipient mind, the letters I produced, will see that the only reason for the American Ambassador sending me the letter, and wanting my concurrence in it, was that the United States Government was extremely concerned lest Article 3 be used by somebody to interfere with its sole control. That must indicate clearly enough that the American Government had made up its mind - and I tell honorable members quite clearly now that it had made up its mind - that if it could not have sole control, there would be no base. 1 negotiated this agreement for many days, and I can tell honorable members opposite, who are trying so hard to interrupt me by interjecting, that there is no doubt in the wide world what the American attitude was.
– Honorable members opposite hate the base.
– I know, and I want to say something about that later, in the debate. I said in my secondreading speech, and I now repeat, that any one who imagines you can run under joint control a communication station designed for the transmission of messages has really no practical sense.
– I direct the attention of the Minister for Labour and National Service to the great activity in the building industry throughout Australia and the resultant shortage of skilled labour for this industry. Have any positive results flowed from the industry conference held on 13th May?
– A very successful conference was held by officers of my department, representatives of the State departments of labour, apprenticeship authorities, representatives of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, most of the building trades unions, manufacturers, most of the members of the building industry, including the Master Builders Association, and other people in the building industry. There was a free exchange of information and a most valuable discussion. As a result of the information presented, mainly by the Building Workers Industrial Union and the plasterers’ union, it was thought wise to reconstruct and put together a set of basic papers which would contain all the information, and some conclusions that flowed from the information that was presented at the meeting.
The great advantage of the meeting was the feeling of goodwill that was generated and the presentation of so much information that could be of practical benefit to us all. As I have said, the papers are now being reconstructed. As soon as that work has been completed, further meetings will be held, and I have high hopes that they will have successful results.
– I wish to direct a question to the Prime Minister. I ask: Has he noted the report that the New South Wales Government yesterday made a special allocation of £50,000 for unemployment relief in the flood areas of the State? Has he noted also that, in replying tea question asked by me last week the Minister for Social Services intimated that tha Government will not give social service benefits to owner-farmers and share-farmers whose income has ceased as a result of the floods? Will the right honorable gentleman, in view of his statements at Casino on Monday and in the House yesterday concerning these floods, arrange for special benefits under the Social Services Act to be paid to ownerfarmers and share-farmers whose means of livelihood have been temporarily destroyed as a result of these floods?
– First, I have not seen the report to which the honorable member refers, but I will be very happy to have a look at it. If it has some relation to the Commonwealth Government, perhaps I will hear from the Government of New South Wales about it. Secondly, I have not made any statement about social services. Both in Casino and in this House, I addressed myself to the basic problem of either preventing or mitigating the effects of these floods. To me, that is a major consideration. The other matter is dealt with by my colleague.
– My question, which is addressed to the Minister for Shipping and
Transport, relates to the building at Whyalla of the tanker “ P. J. Adams “ and the subsequent efforts of the leaders of the Seamen’s Union of Australia, strongly supported by the Australian Labour Party, to have this vessel placed on the Australian register, an action that would have made the cost of its operation prohibitive. Has the experience of the unfortunate owners of the “ P. J. Adams “ in being subjected to such pressure and obstruction as a reward for their patriotism in building the ship in Australia at Whyalla effectively stopped all plans for the placing of further orders for additional tankers in Australian shipbuilding yards at Whyalla and elsewhere?
– Honorable members will recollect that there was a definite understanding that the ship would be built at Whyalla by Ampol Petroleum Limited. This was a particular arrangement made to promote employment at Whyalla, where, at the time, there was a shortage of orders for ships. The Ampol company contributed considerably by having the ship built there instead of overseas. I can say with some confidence, as a result of conversations that I have had with directors of the company and with representatives of other shipping interests, that the later happenings undoubtedly have made it very difficult for shipping interests to believe that there is sufficient encouragement for them to place similar orders in Australia, for they have no confidence that any company concerned would not be subjected to criticism and pressure similar to the criticism and pressure to which the Ampol company has been subjected on this occasion.
– I ask the Minister for the Interior: Will he consider using the powers given under section 17a of the City Area Leases Ordinance to arrange for the disposal of some residential sites in Canberra by ballot rather than by auction? Does the Minister agree that in the newly developed areas there could be hundreds of blocks of like or even character admirably suited to disposal by ballot? If he does decide to dispose of these blocks by ballot, will he ensure that reserve prices and land rental arc fixed at minimum rates adequate only to repay development costs over a period of . years, and . will he ensure that building covenants, while adequate to main-* tain a proper standard of housing, will be sufficiently low to encourage the man of moderate means to build his own home?
– Consideration has been given on a number of occasions to the system for disposing of land that is thrown open for building within the city area. I do not think that anything would be gained by re-examining the whole proposition at this stage. I am satisfied that the present system works reasonably well and that the price obtained for land here, having regard to prices all over Australia for land near the centres of large cities, is not excessive. Indeed, it barely exceeds the cost of providing services to the land. So I cannot give the undertaking that the honorable gentleman asks for.
– I direct a question to the Postmaster-General. I preface the question by reminding the House that press reporters enjoy a certain privilege with respect to trunk line calls to their respective offices, but the offices do not enjoy a similar privilege with respect to trunk line calls to their reporters. In most country newspaper offices a very large percentage of the telephone calls made are to part-time reporters in isolated areas. I ask the PostmasterGeneral whether he will have a look at this anomaly with a view to assisting these journals to improve vital news services?
– It is correct to say that for some considerable time a concession has been granted to press representatives using trunk line services under which the caller obtains a five-minute call at, I think, the normal cost for a three-minute call. Apparently the honorable member for Wimmera suggests that this concession should operate in reverse, so to speak. I am not quite sure that that could be done. I will have to find out whether there would be the same justification for an extension of the concession as there is for the concession as it operates at’ present. I shall make inquiries and I shall be in a position quite shortly to give the honorable gentleman a considered reply.
– I desire to ask the Minister for Immigration a question. Since I asked a similar question it has been reported that the Minister has been making further investigations into the matter. Can he advise me whether any finality has been reached in the Fontana case?
– The answer is that no finality has been reached, because the inves- : ligations are taking much longer than either I or my department anticipated. I take this opportunity, Mr. Speaker, to say to the honorable gentleman that this delay is absolutely no fault of my officers, although that has been suggested in some quarters.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Primary Industry and refers to the constant inquiries I have made of the Minister about the progress being made in connexion with a highly desirable stabilization scheme for egg marketing in Australia. The last information the Minister gave me was that there was no agreement among the States in connexion with the proposal that had been submitted to the Commonwealth. I ask the Minister whether there is any indication of agreement being reached so that this highly desirable scheme can be introduced and brought into operation in Australia as speedily as possible? Has any approach been made to the recalcitrant State, which I believe is South Australia, with a view to getting that State to join a scheme which will benefit the Commonwealth as a whole?
– The position remains exactly as it was when the honorable member asked a question on this matter previously. I have heard nothing further from the States concerned.
– by leave - May I begin with some general observations of no great novelty, but the recollection of which is essential to a useful review of Australian defence. Every defence programme must, in its nature, be flexible. As international strategic considerations change, so we must be ready to change our own defence arrangements. Every measure we adopt is so adopted with knowledge of the appreciations put before us by our expert military and diplomatic advisers. In other words, the condition of an effective defence programme is that it should be based upon as accurate an assessment as can be made of the probable source and nature of the apprehended attack, the area of possible conflict and the nature of the operations, and the nature and extent of the co-operation we may expect from and give to the United Nations in general and our allies in particular. Plainly, most of these elements are not static; hence the importance of being ready to accept changes when their need arises.
Again, there are internal and equipment factors which, whatever new proposals are adopted, will affect the rate of increase in defence expenditure. For example: Naval vessels have to be designed, laid down, built and equipped over a substantial period of time; aircraft cannot be bought out of existing stocks, and their domestic production, having regard to their enormous complexity, cannot be encompassed except over a period of years; and the Army cannot in time of peace be strengthened numerically and in terms of equipment and training very suddenly. I give those illustrations for this reason: I will be giving some new figures for our anticipated defence votes. They will indicate substantial increases; but, because of the time factors which I have referred to, those increases will be smaller in the earlier part of the programme than in the later. In brief, no government in Australia should announce a dramatic increase in defence expenditure for 1963-64 just for the sake of doing so. All new proposals must be phased over the necessary period of time.
In October last, my colleague, the Minister for Defence (Mr. Townley), whose continued absence through ill health we all regret so deeply, announced a new threeyear defence programme covering the years 1962-63 to 1964-65. He emphasized that the programme was not static, and that adjustments would be made as new circumstances developed. In January of this year, following a review of the naval programme, which nad been left a little vague in the
October proposals, we announced some additional measures for strengthening the Royal Australian Navy. I will not repeat these two announcements in detail, as copies of them are available to honorable members. But it may be helpful for an understanding of the financial quantum of our new measures if I now set out the financial in.volvement of those earlier announcements - that is, October plus January. Based on a continuance of the approvals given before our current review, the annual expenditures were estimated to be as follows: -
Those figures give a total - necessarily approximate in the case of future years where costs are unknown - of £1,313,000,000 over six years - £651,000,000 in the first three years and £662,000,000 in the second three years. I want no confusion on this matter. I repeat that this is the last October three-year programme plus the January addition in the case of the Navy.
We have now completed a further comprehensive review of developments in SouthEast Asia. We have noted the uncertainties in Laos, the acute problems in South Viet Nam, the conflicts which exist over the creation of the new Federation of Malaysia - which we heartily support - and events in and concerning West New Guinea. It certainly cannot be said that we have entered a period of stability in the area of immediate strategic concern to Australia. We have made this recent review in the light of our treaty arrangements, but particularly in reference to the security of our own country and of the territories of Papua and New Guinea. We will defend these territories as if they were part of our mainland; there must be no mistaken ideas about that.
We have decided that there should be a further progressive increase in our military capability and preparedness. I will take the three services in order. It will be recalled that as recently as January we announced two large naval projects - the purchase of a third guided missile destroyer and the procurement of four “ Oberon “ class submarines. We have now approved of provision for fitting the Ikara anti-submarine missile, which is under development in Australia, with United .States of America cooperation, into the Type XII. frigates and the guided missile destroyers. This will be a most significant development in antisubmarine warfare. We have also approved of the building in Australia of a 15,000-ton escort maintenance ship. We have reviewed our 1959 decision that fixed-wing naval aviation should cease in 1963. After recent re-appraisals of the wing-fatigue life of the Venoms and Gannets, and reports of the very low wastage and accident rate, we have decided that fixed-wing flying is to continue until the Venoms and Gannets reach the reasonable end of their service life. This will be about 1967 when the position can be reviewed. These aircraft will, of course, be used in conjunction with1 the Westland Wessex helicopters already under delivery. The personnel strength of the R.A.N, will be increased from the present approved total of 13,900 to about 14,300.
I turn now to the Army: Last year it was decided to increase the permanent Army strength from 21,000 to 24,500 by June, 1965. We have now approved of a further increase to 28,000. The order of battle of the permanent field forces will be expanded by the formation of a third regular battle group. This will add considerably to the flexibility of our forces and their ability to operate in a variety of circumstances. The Australian Regular Army Reserve will be reconstituted to ensure that its members are medically fit, up to date in their training, and ready. There will also be an increase in the strength of the Pacific Islands Regiment, which includes Australian officers and some senior Australian non-commissioned officers. The present strength of the regiment is about 700. This will be doubled as soon as possible, consistently with adequate training and equipment. When that has occurred further developments will then be considered. No major change is at present proposed in the organization of the Citizen Military Forces, but its target strength of 32,500 will be increased to 35,000. Major purchases of new equipment for the C.M.F. - and that is very important when it comes to recruitment - have now been approved.
The procurement of modern equipment is, of course, essential. Current expenditure in this field is running at the annual rate of about £11,000,000. We have now approved as an objective the provision of the equipment and reserves needed by the Australian Regular Army and C.M.F. components of a complete pentropic division of five battle groups with appropriate combat support and logistic units. To meet this, expenditure on Army equipment, which has been running at about £11,000,000 annually, will rise to £14,000,000 in the coming financial year, and to £17,500,000 in the succeeding years. The items will cover the whole range of weapons and ammunition, engineering and technical stores, radar and radio, vehicles and landing craft. There will be additional purchases for the Army light aircraft squadron. These are separate from the purchases under the Air Force programme, which I shall mention later. The increasing Army strength will require a considerable expansion of the construction programme. It is provisionally estimated that the Army vote, this year £68,000,000, will rise to £87,500,000 in 1964-65 and to £97,000,000 by 1967-68. But I will return to the general financial figures later on.
We have approved of a number of important new projects for the Royal Australian Air Force. A major feature of the re-equipment programme has been the introduction of the Dassault Mirage III. jet fighter to replace the Avon Sabre. The Mirage has an advanced supersonic performance and is regarded by those who are in a position to speak as the best fighter available in the world for our purposes. As honorable members know, orders have already been placed for 60 of these aircraft. The first, from French production, has already been handed over to the R.A.A.F. and is undergoing tests and trials. Deliveries of the remainder, which will contain increasing quantities of locally assembled and constructed components, will commence late this year. We recently secured an option on a further order of 40 Mirage fighters. We have decided now to take this up, thus bringing the total to 100. At the same time, since the effective employment of fighter aircraft depends more than ever before on adequate ground control of their movements and operations, we have approved the purchase of two new control and reporting units and these are vastly complex and costly things.
One of them is to be at Brookvale in New South Wales and the other is to be mobile.
Tactical air transport support for the armed forces has also received attention. We give it a high priority. Last October, we approved of the purchase of eight heavy-lift helicopters and twelve fixed-wing short takeoff and landing aircraft, subject to R.A.A.F. evaluation and selection. It has been found that a suitable type of heavy-lift helicopter is not at present available. We have therefore decided to purchase a further eight Bell Iroquois utility helicopters in addition to the sixteen already approved, and to purchase eighteen Caribou Mark I. fixed-wing aircraft, which have a proved capability as a short take-off and landing aircraft in SouthEast Asian conditions. The introduction of both of these types will complement, in the tactical field, the strategic mobility provided by the Hercules CI 30 transports.
In addition to the current extensive programme of airfield works and development in such places as Darwin, Amberley, Williamtown, East Sale and Townsville, we have now approved of major and extensive improvements to the airfield at Boram, near Wewak, in New Guinea. This will have great value for defence purposes, for civil aviation, and for the general development of the Territory. Overall, the new projects for the Air Force will require an increase in personnel strength from tha present target of 16,440 to something of the order of 18,300.
It will be observed that I have so far not spoken of the problem of the re-equipment of the strike-reconnaissance force. This is an important matter. The Canberra is by no means obsolete; it is still being used by overseas air forces, including those of Nato. But we are giving close consideration to the future as we must. There are, of course, great financial problems, but there are vital questions as to the availability of suitable types to meet our requirements. Having regard to our special geographic circumstances, we must consider range, the capacity to perform both reconnaissance and attack and the ability to use existing runways and services. An on-the-spot evaluation by a team of qualified experts is necessary, as it was in the selection of the Mirage. Such a team will be sent overseas at an early date, under the Chief of the Air Staff, to investi gate and report. Then, of course, the Government will consider the matter further in the light of the report.
I now turn to the total programme figures, putting in parallel columns, for clarity, the figures I quoted earlier, on the existing programme, and the new figures based upon the announcements I have just made, but without anticipating or estimating the cost of a striking reconnaissance replacement -
This means that, beginning in 1963-64, the average increase in the defence vote over a period of five years will be of the order of £41,000,000 a year, leaving out of account a Canberra replacement and assuming, of course, that no additional proposals are approved during that period.
The effect of these decisions, when they are carried out, will be to establish a fully equipped, fully modern, fully supported pentropic division. We will have an Air Force able to provide a measure of strategic and tactical mobility, and with 100 supersonic fighters, properly controlled, to provide air protection. We will have a relatively small but modern Navy equipped to defend our shores, and to seek out and destroy the submarines on which an enemy is likely to rely in order to deny us that command of the seas without which the overseas employment and support of a division is impossible.
Such forces will provide a significant and welcome addition to any allied effort required in our area of strategic concern. But they will do more in that they will provide a capacity for independent action to meet the initial shock of any emergency with which we may in the future find ourselves faced.
The increases I have announced, will impose substantial additional burdens upon the Budget in a period in which the need for national developmental expenditure will be great and growing; greater in proportion than may be the case in older and more developed countries. But we feel that such burdens will be cheerfully accepted by our people. They are, of course, not solely financial burdens. The improvement of the nation’s defences will require much public co-operation, by those who join the forces and, in the case of citizens who join the C.M.F. and the reserves, by those who employ them. We look for this co-operation with complete confidence.
I lay on the table the following paper: -
Defence Review - Ministerial Statement, 22nd May, 1963- and move -
That the paper be printed.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Calwell) adjourned.
In committee: Consideration resumed from 21st May (vide page 1652).
Bill - by leave - taken as a whole.
– I refer to clause 2, which reads -
The agreement dated the ninth day of May, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-three, between the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia and the Government of the United States of America relating to the establishment of a United States Naval Communication Station in Australia (being the agreement a copy of which is set out in the Schedule to this Act) is approved.
I move -
At the end of the clause add the following words: - “with the understanding that the station will be operated in a way which will not bring Australia into war, whether in the Pacific or Indian Oceans or elsewhere, without the knowledge and consent of the Government of the Commonwealth and in the spirit of the undertakings to consult and act which the governments have assumed in Articles III, and IV. of the Anzus treaty.
Clause 2 of the bill expresses approval of the agreement. As was stated earlier, there was no need for the Government to bring the agreement to the Parliament. It was effective without any legislation. The Parliament was presented with legislation so that it could debate the agreement, not because there was any legal requirement for the Government to do this, but because, presumably, the Government thought it desirable to obtain the Parliament’s opinion on the matter. There may have been other reasons about which we have not been told. Perhaps the critical attitude which the Labour Party adopted towards certain clauses of the agreement, not because of the agreement’s basic weaknesses but because of its deficiencies, was one reason for the legislation. Perhaps the deficiencies in the agreement can be termed its basic weaknesses.
We regard as a matter of very grave concern the Government’s failure to include in the agreement a provision to the effect that Austrafia shall not be brought into war without the consent and knowledge of the Government of the Commonwealth. The absence of any provision relating to joint control of the naval communication station also causes the Opposition grave concern.
I mentioned Articles III. and IV. of the Anzus treaty. Article III. reads -
The Parties- meaning all the parties to the treaty, Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America - will consult together whenever in the opinion of any of them the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened in the Pacific.
That is a provision for joint consultation. Article IV. 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 it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes.
Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall be immediately reported to the Security Council of the United Nations. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.
We are trying, by our proposed amendment, to introduce the spirit of the Anzus treaty into this agreement, but the Government seems determined to hand over sole control of the naval communication station at North West Cape to the United States Government.
The Government joins issue with us on the question of joint control. Government supporters rest their whole case for Australia’s failure- or for the failure of the Government in the name of Australia - to obtain terms comparable with those obtained by Great Britain, Canada, Italy and Turkey on the fact that this naval communication station, unlike the bases in those countries, is not a missile base. Honorable members of the Government side miss the point completely. The use of a station is a political matter, not a military one. The control provided in all cases is political control, not military control.
Joint control does not mean equal powers of decision by military commanders. We have never suggested that. Joint control means joint control on the governmental level. That is what we assert should be the case. Joint control certainly does not mean access to United States military or naval secrets, codes or anything of the kind, as the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) falsely suggested that it might. During the course of his secondreading speech, the Minister for External Affairs said that the basic principle of the agreement was that the United States had sole control of the base. I pointed out - I think correctly - that nowhere was this basic principle specifically stated in the agreement. Ten days later, ten days after making his second-reading speech, when the debate on the agreement was half-way through, the Minister produced a document purporting to establish this principle. I emphasize that it only purported to establish the principle. He produced this document in reply to a question based on a statement which I made at Port Pirie the night before last.
Just as he did in his second-reading speech, the Minister went beyond what is written in the agreement and told us yesterday what he thinks the word means. The Government has still not answered the question which I put last week, and which I put again. Why is something which is supposed to be the central point, the fundamental issue of the document, not stated in the agreement? Why should we have to take it on the Minister’s word nearly a fortnight after the signing of the agreement and four degrees removed from the actual document? We reach this so-called basic principle, not in the agreement itself, not in the Minister’s speech, not in the Prime Minister’s speech, not even in the memorandum published yesterday, but in the Minister’s interpretation of that memorandum. Even to-day the Minister failed to answer satisfactorily a question as to whether he asked the United States Government to agree to joint control of this station. He refused to give a straight answer to a straight question. He can say, “ Yes “ or “ No “, when it suits him, and he can be very emphatic, and very truculent, too, when it suits him when he is answering either affirmatively or negatively. He has not yet displayed those political niceties which might enable him to go a long way in politics. He can say, “ Yes “, with great suavity, and he can say, “ No “, as if he really means it on occasions; but on this question he would not say, “ Yes “, and he would not say, “ No “. All he did in answer to questions to-day and previously was to shuffle, and he is still shuffling on this issue. We say he never asked the United States Government to agree to joint control. We also say that had he done so the White House would have agreed, because the White House agreed when it was asked for joint control by Great Britain, by Turkey, by Italy and by Greece. If honorable members opposite have views different from that, let them say so.
We charge the Minister with having failed to state Australia’s case. We say that the Americans naturally wanted it their way if they could persuade the Australian Government to let them have sole control. But the Americans are reasonable people, and if the Australian Government had said, “ We want joint control on the political level “, the Americans, who are very sensible, very capable and very competent people who know the value of this communication station, would have agreed. It cannot now be said in extenuation of his failure that on this occasion the Minister proved himself to be a careless draftsman. It was not a question of draftsmanship at all. What must be said is that on this occasion he has let Australia down. He also leaves himself open to charges of lack of candour and of adopting a cavalier attitude towards the Parliament of the nation over the whole question. If I may use the vernacular, he has still got time to come clean, to tell the whole story, to tell us why he did not ask the Americans for a share in the control of this station on the political level. He has still got time to cease fooling himself and the people about the question of breaking open American ciphers, about asking the Americans for their codes, and all the rest of it. We have never suggested that he ask for that, nor would anybody think of suggesting it. [Extension of time granted.]
I think the Committee for its generosity and tolerance. The Government, in effect, is saying to the people of Australia, “You must trust the next six presidents of the United States to make at all times the best decisions for your security and survival while at the same time you cannot be sure that any of the Australian governments you elect for the next 25 years will act in your best interests “. The Government’s motto on the United States naval communication centre at North West Cape is, “Trust others; yourselves you cannot trust “. That is not the motto of a responsible, self-respecting government confident of itself and its mission, a government determined to discharge its obligations to the Australian people before the world, and before the Australian electors. Any government that has failed to protect Australia and Australian interests is not a good government and should be destroyed.
I have referred to the undertakings which have been given by the United States to other countries. The agreement between the United States of America and the United Kingdom in connexion with the supply of Thor missiles to Great Britain, which was signed on 22nd February, 1958, provides -
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 of the time.
But for Australia the Government has signed us out for 25 years. In the House of Commons, two days later, when explaining the agreement in connexion with the supply of Thor missiles, Mr. Duncan Sandys said -
The agreement provides that the missiles shall not be launched except by a joint positive decision of both governments.
He also said -
There would be special arrangements for ensuring that there would be rapid consultation about the joint decision.
Why cannot there be equally rapid consultation about a joint decision in this country?
– It is not easy. 1
– There are ways of sending messages through to Canberra. Ways and means can be found for quick communication. When answering another question about the agreement relating to the Thor missiles, Mr. Duncan Sandys said -
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 emphasize governments - not military commanders.
I come now to the agreement relating to the supply of United States missiles for the Italian forces. In “ Keesing’s Contemporary Archives”, dated 11th July to 18th July, 1959, it is recorded that something similar was done in connexion with this agreement except that in the case of Italy the decision needed approval of both the Italian Government and Nato Supreme Head-quarters.
As to the agreement concerning the Holy Loch base in Scotland, which was entered into in 1960, Mr. Harold Watkinson gave a firm assurance that Polaris missiles would not be fired in any circumstances in United Kingdom territorial waters and that British control within territorial waters was absolute. In the course of the same debate, Mr. Macmillan said -
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, but we do not claim that under that agreement a submarine that may have been here a month ago but is now in the Pacific is under our control.
On 12th July, 1960, when explaining to the House of Commons the position with relation to United States bomber bases in Britain, Mr. Macmillan said -
As the House knows, an understanding was reached between the United Kingdom and United States governments in October, 1951, under Mr. Attlee’s premiership, under which the use in an emergency of bases in this country by the United States forces was accepted to be a matter for joint decision between the two governments in the light of the circumstances prevailing at the time.
We say, Sir, that the principle has been well established. It has been accepted by the Americans in respect of bases in every country except Australia. The Americans would have no logical reason for refusing such a request from Australia. We say that they have not given us joint control because they have never been asked for it. We say that if a Labour government is elected at the next election and attempts to re-negotiate this agreement with the Americans, we will find no difficulty at all in moulding the agreement the way we want it. We want it in the joint interests of the United States and Australia. We say that the great majority of Australian people who certainly want this base also want it on terms and under conditions that will be fair and reasonable to the Australian people. The Australian people will not support a government that abdicates its responsibility in this matter and that does not even take the trouble to say to the Americans, “ We think that on a governmental level you ought to agree to joint control “.
In the days of the Curtin Government when this country was in mortal danger, Mr. Curtin worked out a perfectly good arrangement with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, through General MacArthur. A Labour government having done that once, another Labour Government could do it again. If an Australian government could ~do that once, surely another Australian government, even of a different political complexion, should be prepared to emulate it and to carry on successfully.
– There were no limitations at all.
– Of course there were limitations. There was joint consultation and there was a good deal of give and take. But there was never any hold-up of the war effort; nor was there any unreasonableness on the part of the American high command or the American President or on the part of the Australian Government. There was a sense of the urgency of all the problems, and because there was joint responsibility and joint control - there was, in fact, joint control - the war was brought to a successful conclusion.
– Nothing was put in a statute.
– No, and no statute is necessary in this case, although we believe that it is a good thing that there is to be a statute. In war-time when the nation is in danger, you do not need any agreement. This is an agreement for peace-time. When war comes the whole situation changes. When we were at war and General
MacArthur was the commander-in-chief, the commander of the land forces was General Blarney. There was never any argument or disagreement at the military level, at the naval level, or at the air force level. There was certainly none at the governmental level. I know that because in the latter stages of that awful period I was a Minister in the Curtin Government and I was a Minister in the post-war government led by Mr. Chifley. That government also had some say in the final stages of the war.
I know how co-operative the American people can be. 1 have never charged the Americans with having let Australia down in this matter. I have charged the present Government with being indifferent, with being careless, with not studying the effect of other agreements, with not being greatly concerned, and with being occupied only with getting a base established in the northwest of Western Australia and then saying to the Americans: “You pay for it. You run it. You do what you like with it.” That is not good enough. As I said in my second-reading speech, this agreement will last during the lifetime of probably six American presidents and the lifetime of eight Commonwealth Parliaments. We have no right to commit Australia so far into the future.
– Mr. Chairman, it was very interesting to hear the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) say that during the period when we were engaged in the Second World War there had been no hold-ups and that there had always been a sense of urgency in the consultations between the United States and Australian governments. I do not know whether the honorable gentleman remembers this; but recently I was reading about the Pearl Harbour investigation which was conducted by the United States Senate shortly after the war. In Washington on 15th November, 1946, it was alleged that a message sent by a certain military attache named Lieutenant Odell, who was stationed in Melbourne, to the high command in Hawaii, was delayed for seventeen hours because the Australian Cabinet was going to hold a meeting. Any honorable member can look this up in the files of the “ Sydney Morning Herald “. That military attache alleged that because of that delay of seventeen hours the message was delivered in Pearl Harbour twelve hours after the Japanese struck. We all know what happened there. Five battleships were sunk and another three battleships were badly damaged. That is obviously what would happen if joint consultations were required and a message could not be sent through immediately. Lieutenant Udell’s message informed the American high command in Hawaii that because of Japanese war movements the Dutch had already put their plan into operation and that they expected the Japanese to strike. Had that message been delivered earlier, for all we know part of that holocaust at Pearl Harbour might have been avoided.
The issues in this matter are starting to clear themselves. For days and weeks we have seen the trouble in which the Opposition finds itself. There is no doubt that, basically, members of the Opposition, or the bulk of them, are opposed to a foreign base - they call the United States “ foreign “ - under any conditions.
– That is not right.
– These words were incorporated in “ Hansard “ at your request, as you may recall -
Labour is opposed to foreign owned and operated bases for the supply or holding of defence equipment in Australia in peace-time . . .
That is part of the statement that was issued by the people who make Labour policy. It was not issued by members of this House; it was issued by the special federal conference in March of this year. I take it to mean what it says. If that is so, the Opposition is completely opposed to any sort of base in Australia. Members of the Opposition fall between two stools. What they want to do is to get some perfect set-up under which they can vote against this base, and at the same time - because they know that they would be unpopular with the public if they did that - they want to suggest clauses and say, “If only you had been able to agree to this; that is all we asked for “.
I must say that most extraordinary manoeuvres have been going on for the last few months. I may be a bit dumb, but I cannot quite follow what has been happening. I have been reading in the newspapers about how the Leader of the Opposition has won a magnificent battle; how he has carried on the fight and won this great battle. He now has authority to vote against the bill; but if he had lost this battle that he has carried on he would still have had the authority to vote against the bill. I may be a bit dumb, but I cannot see what battle it was that he won.
It is quite obvious that the Opposition requires complete joint control; that is, in effect, a right of veto. The humourous side of this matter is that members of the Opposition say that any decision to plunge Australia into war must be taken by the government of the country. Yet the other day the Leader of the Opposition made it perfectly plain that he agreed with the present system under which the Labour Party is governed so far as policy is concerned. If that is so, he realizes that it is not the government of the country that makes the decision; it is the 36 people outside who are called together. They are the ones who make policy. So to say that the government must make the decision is quite incorrect if the Labour Party is in office.
There is nothing unusual in the decision that the Labour Party has made. In fact, any one who has followed politics during the last fifteen or twenty years knew immediately that the Labour Party would take the line that it has taken. Last night we heard the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) talking about the decision which, in effect, kicked the Americans out of the Manus base. He quoted one very short statement. He quoted Mr. Dedman as having said that the Americans were not thrown out of Manus at all; all that happened was that they ran out of money. I must say that that is a funny statement and a highly unlikely explanation. I would say that the Americans did not run out of money; they ran out of patience.
I have had some interest in the Manus Island base. I served on it for some six months or so and I know what a magnificent base it was. It was one of the best bastions anywhere in the world. I saw 1,000 ships sail out of it on their way to attack one of the Japanese-held islands - I think Truk. As well as a magnificent harbour, which was known as the Scapa Flow of the southern hemisphere, there were four air bases at Mokerang, Momote, Ponam and pitylu islands. Nothing could have been better for Australia than to have had the Americans remain in the Manus Island base. It was not . a question of the Americans running out of money. . We know that negotiations continued for a very long time. The first announcement that I could find in the newspapers was on 30th January, 1946. The press report said -
It is understood negotiations will take place between the Australian and United States Governments into the transfer of Manus Island to the United States as a naval and air base.
That was when negotiations commenced. The Americans said, “We have spent a considerable amount of money developing this place and we think we should be allowed to remain here “.
Unfortunately, time will not allow me to go through the entire history of negotiations concerning the base from month to month. The honorable member for East Sydney was Minister for Territories during this period. Four months after the Americans first approached the Australian Government to see whether they could have the base at Manus Island permanently, he made an announcement that he was transferring the island from military command to civil command. ‘ And so the negotiations went on. About fifteen months later, we saw the headline, “Talks on Manus, U.S. Admiral Coming”. Admiral Denfield came to Australia. But what happened? The honorable member for East Sydney and Mr. Dedman, who was the Minister for Defence, happened to be in London the day the admiral arrived in Australia, and of course nothing happened. So it went on until October, 1947, when a newspaper carried the headline, “ U.S. leaving Manus”. I would like to quote to the committee very shortly from a leading article in the “Sydney Morning Herald”. It said -
The United States seemed willing to assume the responsibility of keeping Manus in being . . . That should have suited Australia. The Commonwealth Government, however, preferred to stand on the letter of its territorial rights. It quibbled and haggled until at last the Americans lost interest in Manus.
So much for Manus. Everything that has happened since then has thrown the Labour Party more to the left and more away from the Americans. The negotiations regarding
Manus took place only four years after the Labour Government had screamed out for help from the Americans and Australia had been saved by them. Yet Labour was not prepared to leave the Americans in the base. What chance would Labour have now in negotiations with the Americans? Ever since that time everything that has occurred of a major nature in the Labour Party has forced Labour to the left. For example, in Victoria, the former Leader of the Opposition threw out the right wing Victorian executive and put in an executive which I think all honorable members would certainly regard as being strongly left wing. The members holding a number of Victorian seats were expelled. The Labour Party has tended gradually to swing more and more to the left. So no one was the least bit surprised when the Labour Party took the attitude that it did on this base.
I wanted to speak about the suggested automatic involvement of Australia in conflict, but I see that my time has expired. I will, therefore, leave this subject for some one else to deal with.
– The Minister for Air (Mr. Fairbairn) did not get off the ground in this debate. He did not face a single one of the issues that have been placed before the Government by honorable members on this side of the chamber. The policy of the Australian Labour Party is quite clear. It is the kind of policy that any decent, dinkum Australian would support. It is that 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.
I read with dismay the remarks of the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) yesterday. I do not think that any more humiliating directive has ever been handed down to an Australian Government than the note the Minister received and accepted without question from the American Ambassador. This was a letter from our partner - our free and equal partner in the free world, so I am told. It said - it is intended to spell out clearly that consultation does not carry with it any degree of control over the station or its use.
That is repeated twice. The Minister for External Affairs obviously made no effort to protect our interests.
How can it be said that this base will not involve Australia in a war automatically if America is involved? Is the Government absolutely convinced that for the next 25 years every action of America in foreign policy will carry this Government’s imprimatur and that the Government will agree with every act of the United States Government? We challenged the Government on this issue last night. This is the issue from which it has fled. We must remember that in 1956 America was at odds with the Australian Government on the Suez question. Would any honorable member opposite have stood beside the Cuban rebels at the time of the Bay of Pigs episode? Yet the action of those in America was finally rejected by the President of America.
Is not the world in which we live the kind of world in which nations at any moment might be impelled into war through incidents similar to those I have mentioned? These are the matters with which we are concerned. Every Australian could well be concerned with them and every Australian would be dismayed at the remarks of the Minister for Air this afternoon. The Minister, as an equal partner in this Parliament, should stand up and tell us the technical difficulties that would prevent us from having an equal say and a partnership in the control of this base. Is it not a fact that the agreement between the United States of America and the United Kingdom is of an entirely different nature? Why is it that in the United Kingdom submarines carrying Polaris missiles in territorial waters will be under more than joint control? The Minister for Defence in England at the time said, “These are under England’s absolute control “. Is that not a fact? Not one honorable member opposite has answered this question.
Why is it that the Australian Government will abdicate when other governments stand fast for their national sovereignty and national integrity? Why is it that we adopt this attitude? Why is it that the Minister for Air says that America is not a foreign country? Of course it is a foreign country. Is it odd or wrong to say so? America regards us as a foreign country. That is the natural attitude. It is the law and it is the international way of regarding other countries. Is not that the way we would treat an American who came to Australia? Of course it is. There is nothing odd about that. The simple fact is that the American Government is responsible to the American people and the American people alone. It is not answerable to us. The Australian Government is answerable to the Australian people and it is charged with the defence and the well-being of the Australian people. The Australian Labour Party stands for this.
I see a contradiction between the position taken by the Minister for External Affairs and that taken by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies). When he spoke, the Prime Minister gave this question a sense of importance and urgency. He said that the base is a fundamental element of America’s control of its nuclear weapons and that Australia could nullify the effect of the United States nuclear weapons in the southern hemisphere by writing in a provision of the type that we want. The Prime Minister said this again later. He stressed the absolute importance of this station to America. If it is so important to America, was there no point at which the Minister for External Affairs could have negotiated on our behalf to protect our future interests? If it is so important, would not the Americans have come some of the way along the road to partnership with us in the control of this base, as they have done with Great Britain? If it is so important, would the Americans have said, “We will pack up and go home if you do not agree to all our terms “? Of course not. A point of national honour is involved. This is a question of the integrity of this nation for the next quarter of a century, and this is the point that has been debated in the last few days. There is the question of the integrity of this Parliament itself.
– What about your integrity?
– My integrity, I think, would be of the same order as your integrity. The people who sent us here both respect us and expect us to stand up for Australia’s national honour. I have nothing but respect for my colleagues on the other side of this House, and I hope they will in turn respect us, or at least respect the integrity of our intentions. The people of my electorate sent me here to protect their interests and the national honour to the best of my ability, and I believe that the issue we are now debating is the most serious that has come before this Parliament at least in the seven years in which I have been a member of it. It will represent a challenge to every Australian Government for the next 25 years. For 25 years we will stand on the fringe of disaster following any commitment that the Americans may undertake, because it is one of the facts of the modern world, and perhaps it is a part Of the strength of our side of the conflict, that America has agreements with a multitude of other nations. In this context it has agreements with almost every other free country. It has agreements which may well commit it at any time, and if it is so committed, it then could well commit us.
As I said last night, I do not believe that this base is fundamental to Australia’s strategy in the military sense. It may be very important, it may be a grim necessity in accordance with our international requirements, but it has nothing to do with the defence of Australia immediately, as I see it. I understand that the visiting American admiral said that there will be no American troops or protective screen around it. Yet the Minister indicated that this had something to do with our actual defence. It represents a piece of American strategy, but it has no necessary relation to Australian strategy. It is our view that it will automatically precipitate Australia into any war in which America becomes involved, and we say that we should stand up and ensure that this cannot possibly occur without the concurrence of the Australian Government and without our being fully committed to the issues of the particular time.
I do not see how any honorable member opposite can possibly face his electors feeling anything but anxiety as to their attitude when they realize what their elected representatives are doing. Speakers in this debate have referred to the gallup poll, in which people were asked, “Are you in favour of American bases in Australia? “ to which 80 per cent, of them replied “ Yes “. Do not you think that 80 per cent, of the people would say “ Yes “ if you asked them, “ Do you think that any foreign base operating on Australian soil should be operated under joint control or in equal partnership? “ Of course they would. It is logical to believe that they would. It is one of the lessons of history. Once you abdicate your position in the way proposed by this Government, you will have lost your ground altogether.
We say that this agreement must be recommitted. We take strong exception to the manner in which it has been handled before this Parliament. It is unfortunate that there is very little machinery available for us to move the appropriate amendments and so on. The facts are that the Labour Party stands for Australia’s absolute discretion and for its control of its own affairs. That has been our policy since before the time of federation. It was our policy when the decision was made to establish an Australian Navy, during the time of the struggles when the First World War was being waged, and during the time of the Churchill versus Curtin contest in the period of the Second World War. It is the real issue embodied in the amendment proposed by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). If honorable members opposite have some strong arguments against that stand that is taken by the Labour Party, let us hear them. Forget about the Labour Party’s conferences and its inner structure. We can give you lessons on that kind of thing any time. In democratic matters you have a lot to learn. You could start applying what you learn from us to your political elections and so on. But when it comes to the simple question of Australia’s future for the next 25 years we want to know how you propose to protect Australia from being automatically drawn into other people’s quarrels.
.- The amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) goes to the very heart of this important matter. I am not concerned this afternoon with ancient history, but with the matter that is now before us for decision. The issue is whether the agreement entered into between the Australian and the United States Governments in respect of the use of the North West Cape communications base should provide for joint control by the two governments; in plainer terms, whether the Australian
Government should be able to veto the sending of messages from that station.
In public discussion it has been accepted that the station is primarily designed to communicate with Polaris submarines in the Indian Ocean, to enable them in the event of a nuclear war to cover targets in southern Russia that cannot be covered by those kinds of submarines in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. In other words, it is a link in the United States weapons system designed to deter nuclear aggression by Russia. Naturally, from the Russian point of view, this should be frustrated. To achieve this objective the Russians are seeking, by their instruments, whether witting or unwitting, to push the policy of a nuclearfree zone in the southern hemisphere, which includes Australia. For this purpose they play upon two emotions. One is national pride and the other is fear. Both of these have been peddled with great skill and persistence by the Opposition during this debate, and particularly by the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) and the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser).
As to the first of these two matters, that of sovereignty, I want to concentrate on the great and overriding issue, which is simply this: Do we stand with the free world or do we stand with the Communist world? It is as simple as that. I say quite bluntly that our safety and independence, our destiny as a free people - in a word, our sovereignty, in the widest and most significant sense of the word - hangs upon the continuous capacity of the United States, whose ideals we share, to deter agression by the Communist giants, Russia and China.
This is the question: Are we prepared to play our small part by providing for uninterrupted communications between the President of the United States and the Polaris submarines deployed in the Indian Ocean? Or, in the name of sovereignty, are we to insist on the right, in effect, to cut the telephone line at a crucial moment? The honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Malcolm Fraser), quoting from a statement made by Mr. Macmillan in the House of Commons on 8th November, 1960, showed that not even the British Government claims this right Let me read to the House what
Mr. Macmillan said, as recorded in “Hansard”, Volume 629, page 831-
We can be satisfied that the United States Government will not use these missiles anywhere in the world without the fullest possible previous consultation with us and our allies. I use the words “ fullest possible “ consultation because consultation might obviously be impossible in circumstances of a sudden surprise attack upon the West-
The very circumstances which these submarines in the Indian Ocean are designed to meet -
We would, indeed, not wish to insist on prior consultation in such circumstances, because it is the absolute certainty of retaliation which deters aggression.
It has been said by the Opposition that Mr. Watkinson. the then Minister of Defence, made a further statement to the effect that the British Government could veto the firing of nuclear missiles from Polaris submarines in British territorial waters. The real comparison is between the facilities provided by the British Government for the docking of Polaris submarines and the facilities we propose to afford for communications with submarines. The British Government does not profess to exercise any veto over the firing of missiles from Polaris submarines on the high seas, although it provides the docking facilities. We contemplate not the firing of missiles from our shores but merely the provision of facilities analogous to the docking facilities provided by the United Kingdom and equally necessary.
Are we to be bemused by doubts about American policy over the next 25 years and by fears that our general right to consult on matters touching our national safety will be brushed aside? Mutual trust is the only real basis for an alliance designed to meet contingencies that cannot be precisely foreseen. The first appeal, then, is to our national pride and our sovereignty, and I hope that I have disposed of it.
The other emotional appeal is to our fear. It is implied or said that if we facilitate the defence of the free world we may face a rain of death. I use the picturesque language of the honorable member for Eden-Monaro. Since when have Australians, when faced with a threat of the extinction of their liberties and all that they hold dear, been unwilling to fight beside their friends to preserve these things? This is simply a craven appeal, but it, like the appeal to national pride, is being made with great effect to further the interests of Russian policy in preventing the Americans from having a full and complete nuclear deterrent, which is the only shield and guarantee that we, like the rest of the free world, have against Communist aggression.
In the two or three minutes that I have left, Sir, I turn from these immediate issues to the disquieting revelation that the Australian Labour Party has fallen under the domination of an alien power through the operation of the constitutional processes of that party. I have been most disquieted by the fact that the parliamentary wing of the Labour Party has shown complete subservience to the 36 faceless people outside this Parliament by accepting their dictum and fighting this bill tooth and nail while pretending not to fight it. The members of the parliamentary wing have not even been honest. We have witnessed not only this but also the concerted move by all Opposition members who have spoken on this bill - that means the vast majority of honorable members opposite - to defeat the purpose of the bill in every way possible. Solidarity can be a great virtue, and one can understand how the history of the Labour Party has brought about this great attachment to the idea of solidarity. But solidarity of that kind could mean the downfall of this country. I believe that this is a real menace that has been brought to light in the whole course of events leading up to the taking of the attitude that the parliamentary wing of the Australian Labour Party has adopted in this Parliament.
Our sovereignty and our future depend on our co-operation with our allies and our trust in those allies. The matter boils down to a simple question: Are we on the side of the free world or are we on the Communist side?
.- Mr. Chairman, the honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Turner) is the only honorable member on the Government side of the chamber who has purported, at either this stage or the second-reading stage, to deal in any way with the technical features of the proposed station. He has, I believe, correctly stated the way in which submarines equipped with Polaris missiles can be” used in the global nuclear deterrent system if signals from the President of the United States of America are relayed to them by the station at North West Cape. The honorable member has, moreover, dealt in more detail than has anybody else on the other side of the chamber with this question of consultation. He has taken a little further the argument initiated by the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Malcolm Fraser) concerning consultation between the United Kingdom Prime Minister and the President on the operation of Polaris submarines on the high seas.
But even the honorable member for Bradfield has not dealt with the other agreements for which we on this side have quoted chapter and verse - first, the provision for joint decision by the President and the United Kingdom Prime Minister in respect of the strategic bombers based in Britain when airborne as well as on the ground; secondly, the agreement for joint decision concerning the use of the Thor missiles based in Britain; thirdly, the amendment to the bomber agreement after the U2 flights three years ago; and fourthly, the arrangements made for joint decision concerning the Polaris submarines when based in Britain or cruising in British territorial waters. Honorable members on the Government side have professed that they could not get the texts of these agreements. We on this side of the chamber were able to get the texts from the Parliamentary Library, in publications so well known as “ Keesing’s Contemporary Archives “, the New York “Times” and the London “ Times
– In respect of which agreements were you able to get the texts?
– I have cited the four agreements. The honorable gentleman has just come into the chamber and I shall not take up my time by repeating them. I mentioned them last evening and I named the authorities which I have just mentioned. Any person with sufficient assiduity could have ascertained the texts of the agreements as we have done.
No honorable member opposite has refuted these agreements or said why this joint consultation, joint decision and joint control could not operate between tha
United States and Australia as they do in these four instances between Britain and the United States, and as they operate also, as we have, again, demonstrated by citing chapter and verse, between Turkey and the United States, Italy and the United States, and Canada and the. United States, and as they will now operate, under arrangements being formulated in Ottawa this week, between the United States and the rest of the countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Nobody has said that joint consultation, joint control and joint decision are not possible. All that we know is that the Minister for External Affairs has not stood out for it. He has not asserted that Australia wants joint control. His answer yesterday to a question put to him by the Government Whip, the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Chaney), ostensibly without notice, and his answer to-day to a question without notice, make it quite clear that he did not insist on this provision which every one of the other allies of the United States has insisted on and secured. The Minister now says that the United States would not go ahead with the station unless it had sole control. Why did he not mention this in his second-reading speech? How can he substantiate that statement? In view of his reticence and his partial disclosure of the facts and the truth hitherto, we can have no confidence that he is in fact telling the whole truth on this occasion.
The United States knows the conditions which the Australian Labour Party has sought, and knows quite clearly that there will be Labour governments within the term of this agreement. And the United States will go ahead with the station. Quite clearly, our ally is not perturbed by such conditions. It would not be any more perturbed by such conditions imposed by Australia than it has been deterred or perturbed by such conditions imposed by the United Kingdom, Italy, Turkey, Canada and the rest of the Nato countries. If the Minister had done his job as his counterparts in conservative governments in Britain, Canada, Italy and Turkey have done their jobs, there would be no fuss over this agreement. In fact, the conditions which we seek - conditions which one would think were contemplated and permitted by the agreement itself - would be acknowledged and there would be do need for the Government to say that those conditions are impracticable. The Government has not shown in any way that they are impracticable.
A few historical remarks have been made by other honorable members. The Minister for Air (Mr. Fairbairn) referred to the events of 1955 in Victoria. The plain fact is that the federal conference of the Australian Labour Party held in Hobart in 1955 expressly affirmed - and for the first time made such a declaration - that cooperation with the United States in the Pacific is of crucial importance and must be maintained and extended.
The Minister for Air went back further and discussed the Manus Island base. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) last night quoted the testimony of the Hon. J. J. Dedman, who was the responsible Commonwealth Minister at the time, in a letter to the Melbourne “ Herald “ last year. Anybody who remembers the events of that time knows that in 1946, 1947 and 1948, in the aftermath of the war, the Americans were economizing and retrenching in the military sense, as was every other country. They decided that the inner ring of naval bases which they had acquired from the Japanese - the Carolines and Marianas - or the whole extension from Hawaii and Guam through Saipan and Okinawa to Taiwan - would be adequate for their needs. They decided that there was no need to retain the bases which were used in Guadalcanal and Tahiti, as well as in Manus. They said that these would be an extravagance and they did not need the outer ring. I merely mention this matter - which is historic and can be checked - because a fable is being promoted. The Americans retrenched at that time and said that the bases in the inner ring - the former Japanese bases which they then held in their own right as strategic trust territories from the United Nations - were adequate for their own and their allies’ needs.
I come now to the Manus base. Suppose that America had retained it. Would it have been suitable for the function which is contemplated for this naval communication station? Of course, it would not. If Manus would have served any such purpose in the schemes of the global nuclear deterrent, how much better would Guam have been for that purpose? Guam is nearer to the Eurasian heartland, nearer to China. It is being developed at this stage in the same way as Holy Loch is already used as a base for re-manning, re-victualling and re-servicing Polaris submarines. This station at North West Cape is to relay messages, orders and authorities from the American President himself. Manus is completely irrelevant to this consideration. If Manus would have served for this station, still more would Guam serve for it now. You have only to look at a globe to see that this station, particularly in relation to the Indian Ocean but also in relation to the whole of South-East Asia, will have a role in the global nuclear deterrent scheme which no other station in the world can fill.
We support this station, but we say that Australia should have the same right to joint political decisions in respect of an essential component of the global nuclear deterrent which America provides for the West as Britain, Canada, Turkey and Italy have asserted and have been granted.
.- I do “not wish to reply to the speech of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam), because I do not think he made any point concerning the principles of this agreement that is worth replying to. I want to say something about the speech of the honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant). He went to great pains to show that the United States of America is a foreign nation. Everybody knows that technically that is correct, but every one should know - I am not sure whether the honorable member for Wills knows it - that the democratic system of government of America is not foreign to us, that the love of freedom that America enjoys is not foreign to us, and that the language that Americans speak is not foreign to us. We know that the British influence on America is one of that nation’s chief characteristics, dating back to the “ Mayflower “. Our flags have flown together in peace, in temporary defeat and . in final victory in war. May the ruthless hand of misrepresentation and discord never tear that association asunder.
The honorable member for Wills put the proposition that if America were engaged in a war through the operations of this station, Australia would be drawn into that war. Does he mean that if America were drawn into a war and this station did not exist, Australia would tear up such treaties as the Anzus treaty and would not stand four-square with America as promised? We have treaties with America that we sought and that arc most satisfactory for our own protection and for co-operative effort against nations of the world that may be at war with any of us. But the honorable member for Wills seems to think that if, somehow, this station brought about a war, our position then would be quite different from our position if America got into a war for some other reason. I cannot understand that reasoning. Perhaps if the honorable member for Wills has another chance to speak on this matter he will explain it to me. I have never pretended to understand everything that the honorable member for Wills says. I have never claimed to do that, but I have said that consistency is not necessarily obstinacy and that if I find that I am wrong I am willing to change my mind. If the honorable member for Wills would explain the difference between us being at war through the treaties we have with America and being at war if this station causes a war - which I think is highly improbable - I should be grateful to him.
The honorable member went further and referred to the statement of the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) that this station was for the control of American nuclear weapons. Control does not mean use. It may mean the very opposite. This station possibly could be used to great advantage in the control of nuclear weapons - to stop them from being fired, when they might be fired if the station did not exist. It could be used for the transmission of news about what was happening in different parts of the world and, by this means, might prevent some one from starting a war. Nuclear weapons to-day are our greatest factor for peace. Everything we can do to keep a nation like America in touch with its nuclear-weapon carriers throughout the world will help to ensure freedom and will be of significant importance to this country.
I notice that honorable members opposite continue to speak of the communication station as a base. Of course, every one knows that they have been instructed to do so. If you refer to “ a base “ that conjures up in the minds of listeners a great stock of nuclear weapons, ready to be fired on any pretext to annihilate a great part of the world. But if you refer to a “ communication station “ - which this really is - that creates a different image altogether. The misrepresentation that the Labour Party is putting forward in this case is not appreciated by members on this side of the House and will not be appreciated - there is not the slightest doubt of this - by the Australian people.
Honorable members opposite refer to the recent gallup poll and say: “ Eighty per cent, of the people interviewed were in favour of this base, but what would they say if we put the case four-square to them? Would there still be 80 per cent, in favour? “ One member said it would be only 30 per cent. What do members of the Opposition mean by putting the case four-square? “ Do you believe a base should be established at the North West Cape? “ That is what they would call a fair question, but the more accurate question is, “ Do you believe a communication station should be established - a station that would lend itself to the future security of Australia and the future peace of the world? “
.- I want to endeavour to correct certain statements that were made this afternoon. I was particularly interested in the remarks of the Minister for Air (Mr. Fairbairn) when he referred to Manus Island. I quite agree that Manus Island has very little to do with the agreement under discussion, but I think it is time that the whole position of Manus Island and the proposal of the Labour Party in relation to the building of an American base there was cleared up. Honorable members opposite should read “ Hansard “ and find out what happened when the proposal to hand over Manus Island was under discussion. I am fed up with remarks by honorable members opposite about this matter. I propose to take up where the honorable member for Bonython (Mr. Makin) left off last night. The “ Hansard “ report of 9th February, 1949, at page 85, reads -
Mr. Abbott. ; The United States of America wants back Manus Island for its own use.
Dr. EVATT. ; The honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) has been very consistent on that point. I think that be has been very wrong about it. He knows very well that there are two points of view with regard to Manus. One is that the base should be completely handed over to the United States of America. I think that that is a completely preposterous proposition. No suggestion of that kind was ever put to us by the United States of America at any time. How could we give up part of a territory which under our trusteeship responsibilities is an integral part of a territory which Australia is bound to defend? According to Admiral Hamilton, Manus is the Scapa Flow of the Pacific, and it is the duty and right of Australia to develop it as the forward base for our carrier arm.
– Who said that?
– The then Minister for External Affairs. But let me give credit where credit is due. The Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) is a pretty good constitutional lawyer. What did he have to say in 1949 about the decision not to hand over Manus to the United States? While the relevant debate was in progress the right honorable gentleman was silent. If ever a man wanted to cut the ground from under Dr. Evatt’s feet it was our present Prime Minister, but I give him credit for knowing the law at the time, just as I give credit to the present Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick).
– Do you support the amendment?
– Of course, I do. Do you think I would stand here and disagree with it?
– Tell us why you support the amendment.
– I will come to that. Many people during the last war were loyal supporters of General Sir Thomas Blarney. I know that you, Mr. Lucock, were in that category, as I was. In relation to Manus Island, General Blarney said -
The Commonwealth would be following a very short-sighted policy if it established joint control of Manus with the United States. Manus Island is vital to the defences of Australia and should be held solely under Australian control.
That was the view of the then CommanderinChief of this country.
– Was he a Commo?
– Call him that if you like. The “ Hansard “ report of the debate on 17th February, 1949, at page 477, reads -
Certain discussions took place between the Australian Government and the American naval authorities in relation to Manus Island, and broadly speaking, the view of the United States of America was that after the United Nations had granted to America the control of bases north of the equator, extending to Okinawa, near Japan, and including such important naval bases as Truk and Guam, the whole of the Japanese mandated territories, including the Marshall Islands, the Caroline Islands and the Mariana group of islands, came under the exclusive control, as a strategic trust, of the United States of America. When Admiral Denfeld had conversations in Australia with the naval authorities and representatives of the Government, he expressed the view that the responsibility for looking after Manus Island should be an Australian responsibility, and that, in that sense, American interests were further north.
Admiral Denfeld was the man who came out here to put us right about Manus Island. This afternoon the Attorney-General was asked a question by the honorable, member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser). That question has not yet been satisfactorily answered. I hope that before this debate is concluded the Attorney-General will see fit to answer the question fully and not skate around it as he did this afternoon, because the people of Australia want to know the full facts about this matter. Many people are convinced that the Government is using the North West Cape issue for party political purposes. We have been told that Australia and America are bound by the Anzus pact. But what happened when the Cuban crisis almost resulted in nuclear warfare? This Government rushed off a signal to the President of the United States saying that Australia was right behind him. We have no pact with America over Cuba, but this Government could not commit us quickly enough. Nobody can say that the Labour Party would not defend Australia. Labour’s record in the defence of this country is second to none, but we do not believe in committing Australia because of something that happens in Cuba. What has that to do with Australia? The same reasoning applies to this base. The same conditions should apply to the establishing of this base as applied to the establishing of other American bases in other countries.
– This is not a base; it is a station.
– All right, a station. I do not know the difference. The attitude of honorable members opposite sickens me. When the war ended in 1945, wireless communication for surface craft was at a very high standard. The Admiralty in Britain could communicate with any surface ship anywhere in the world. The Prime Minister has said that this base will be used to contact surface vessels such as frigates and aircraft carriers. That is not the point at issue. This base will be established primarily for the purpose of making contact with submarines at sea. The Government is trying to pull the wool over our eyes. The base at North West Cape is not being established for the purpose of contacting surface vessels. The naval wireless station in Canberra can contact any surface vessel anywhere in the world. It was not necessary to build a station at North West Cape merely to communicate with surface vessels. The station at North West Cape will have one purpose only, that is, to communicate with submarines. I ask the Government to be honest enough to tell us the real reason for the establishment of this station. This is our complaint: we have not been told the real reason. We are not fools and the people of Australia are not fools - they want to know all the facts.
.- When the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) spoke earlier, he gave as the chief reason for the Labour Party’s insistence on joint control the fact that this communication station was unique in the global pattern of United States deterrents. This seems to me to be precisely the reason why we should not have joint control. This is what makes the station different from all the other stations in Europe, with the exception of the Holy Loch station. With that exception the others are not a substantial part of the pattern of United States deterrents. Anybody who studies the situation surrounding the placing of those weapons in Europe - in Spain and elsewhere - will know that they were put there mainly to convince the countries concerned that the United States was on their side and would come to their aid in the event of war. It did not affect the substantial part of the United States deterrent system at all. The exception to that is the base at Holy Loch. Although honorable members opposite may deny it again and again it is true, as the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Malcolm Fraser) said yesterday, that Mr. Macmillan, the British Prime Minister, said in no uncertain terms that, although there was provision for consultation in a general sense on that base, in the last resort there could not be an absolute veto, because that would militate against the weapon being the deterrent it should be, in which Britain felt it had as big an interest as the United States had. And we have an interest in the deterrent which this station at North West Cape can provide.
I believe that insistence on joint control is both unreal and dangerous and, therefore, not in the interests of Australia. I also believe that those of us who think in this way have an obligation to prove our contention because the proposition that this country should not be involved in war except by the decision of its own Government has a traditional appeal and, on the face of it, does not appear to be unreasonable. I said that such a proposal is unreal. It is unreal because the world has moved on since the days when we could argue whether this country should be involved in war purely as a result of a British decision. The leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) quoted the Statute of Westminster in the midst of this nuclear age. In the days of the Statute of Westminster I suppose it was possible to keep out of even a global war, although Australia never chose to do so. I believe that even in the Second World War, with the weapons available then, its global character would have prevented us from standing out even if we had been craven enough and unmindful enough of our own interests to do so. How much more difficult and unreal would it be, in the world of nuclear weapons and missile means of delivery, to remain out of a global war? In the world of to-day, any war fought with nuclear weapons would be global in character; it would reach to every corner of the globe. When speaking on the second reading of the bill the Leader of the Opposition said -
Let there be no mistake about it - that hour when a nuclear war starts will herald the destruction of all we hold dear and may be the annihilation of civilization itself.
Yet the honorable gentleman continues to talk in the outmoded terms of sovereignty in its old sense and of our right to say whether or not we will be in a war, after it has started. That is why I say that insistence on joint control, based on sovereignty and the right of decision, is completely unreal in a nuclear age. I have also said the Opposition’s attitude to joint control is dangerous. I believe this to be so because if, as the Leader of the Opposition has admitted, any future nuclear war will be global in character, and so will make our right of decision as a nation meaningless, the only hope we have of evading the consequences of war is to do what we can, as a nation, to ensure that war, and particularly nuclear war, does not break out. That is what we have to concentrate on. There are several ways in which we can make our contribution in this respect, but I have only time to deal with one of them. lt is the most patent of all - the deterrent strategy of the West. There is no doubt in my mind that the principal reason why we have not been subject to a global war in the post-war years has been the existence of a nuclear deterrent in the hands of the United States. Things have not stood still in this respect.
In the early years after the war, before the Soviet Union developed its nuclear weapon, the capacity of the West to deter was clear and demonstrable. But towards the end of the 1950’s this changed, with the development of missiles by the Soviet Union. The balance tipped the other way and it looked as though, in terms of the vulnerability of missile sites and the development of Russian ground-to-air missiles, it was probable that, in terms of mutual devastation, the Soviet Union would win a nuclear exchange. It is against this background that we have to look at the subject we are debating. It was a dangerous situation for the West and for the world when the balance of nuclear capacity tipped in favour of the Soviet Union. The American answer was the Polaris missile and the nuclear-powered submarine - a weapons system which hardened the nuclear deterrent by making it relatively invulnerable. By the introduction of this system the United States has to some extent regained the capacity to deter a Soviet threat which it lost, to a degree, towards the end of the 1950’s. We must not confuse the existence of nuclear
Weapons and even the means of delivering them with the capacity to deter. For such a system to act as a deterrent the enemy must be convinced that you can use it and that, in certain circumstances, you will use it. To the extent that he has doubts on this score the less likely the weapon is to deter him and the more likely he is to take risks. I think we all agree that this communications station is designed to make the deterrent more credible, by improving the capacity of the United States to use it. But what is the other aspect of credibility - that in certain circumstances the United States will use these weapons? Clearly, without such a conviction in the mind of the enemy the deterrent ceases to deter.
Does any one really believe that the conviction of the Communist powers that in certain circumstances the United States weapon would be used would not be reduced if it were known that the United States Government would’ have to consult with the Australian Government before a message could be passed through this station to fire the weapon? The question only has to be stated for the answer to be clear. This would be particularly true if a Labour government were in office, with its own known regard for, and sensitivity to, Communist pressure. I do not base my case on that, although I have no doubt it is well known to the Americans, but the credibility of the deterrent in the minds of the enemy would be reduced by the requirements of veto and consultation, whatever government was in office. Summed up, my case is that in order to safeguard something which in a nuclear and missile age is quite unrealistic - that is, the right of decision as to whether we will enter a global war or not - the Opposition would sabotage and reduce the principal means by which we hope a nuclear war would be deterred and prevented.
.- The strength of the Government’s argument against the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) rests entirely on the fact that it can continue to envisage a situation in which there will be a nuclear war which comes completely out of the blue. The Australian Labour Party Opposition, in moving its amendment, has taken into consideration the fact that since’ the last war a number of situations have developed - the most recent was the one in Cuba - in which the United States knew for weeks what was happening. Certainly the United States had ample time to call its brains trust together and decide what action should be taken if the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics continued to bring its nuclear weapons into Cuba. Unless Government members continue to believe that the only war which is likely to take place will commence over-night without America or any other nation having any prior knowledge or warning, they must recognize not only the merit of the proposed amendment but also that in proposing it the Opposition has in mind Australia’s sovereignty and the belief that if Australian men and women are to take part in a war the Australian Government should have an opportunity to participate in the prior discussions which must take place.
If the Government will only stop for a few minutes to think about the proposed amendment it will appreciate that in perhaps 90 per cent, of the conflicts that are likely to arise in the future, days or even weeks would elapse before nations passed the stage of threatening each other. Surely the Australian Government would not be asking too much if it requested that during such times the United States should keep it closely informed and should suggest possible solutions of the problems or actions which might be taken and should ask the concurrence of the Australian Government in those solutions and actions. The concurrence could be given well before any nuclear war commenced. I sincerely hope that the occasion will never arise, but if our men and women are likely to become involved in a war, then, as an independent nation of freedomloving people, surely we have the right to say whether we shall participate in that war.
With Australia, America is a member of the Anzus pact. We have suggested in our proposed amendment that consultation shall be in accordance with Articles III. and IV. of that treaty. To my mind, loyalty or trust is a two-way street. If the United States of America expects us to trust her and to be loyal to the actions which she may have to take to keep the world free, surely she should give the same degree of loyalty and trust to the allies that she will require in the struggle. If we are good enough to grant the United States the right to use our territory for the construction of a very low frequency communication station, surely it is up to the United States to take us into her confidence to the absolute extent.
At this stage I want to pay due credit to the United States of America for the actions which she has taken in the struggle for peace and disarmament since the end of the Second World War. In 1946 the United States had about 12,000,000 men and women in her armed forces. Within three years this number was reduced to about 2,000,000. America was the only nation in the world at that time which possessed atomic weapons but even then she was prepared to place before the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission a plan called the Baruch Plan which proposed the establishment of an international atomic development authority. The functions of the authority would have included control or ownership of all atomic energy activities potentially dangerous to world security; control, inspection, and licensing of all other atomic activities; fostering of the beneficial uses of atomic energy; research and development designed to put the international authority in the forefront of atomic knowledge, and power to control nuclear raw materials and nuclear production plants. I repeat: In 1946, when America was the only nation in the world which possessed nuclear arms, she was prepared to make all her knowledge available to an international atomic development authority. The Americans cannot be criticized for the part that they have played in trying to make this a peaceful world. Eighteen years ago the late President Roosevelt wrote -
To-day, as we move forward against the terrible scourge of war - as we go forward towards the greatest contribution that any generation of human beings can make in this world - the contribution of lasting peace - I ask you to keep up your faith. The only limit to our realization of to-morrow will be our doubts of to-day.
So before peace and disarmament became popular issues the United States of America was endeavouring in all good faith to work towards those objectives. Because a situation has now developed in which the United States and other nations have to maintain their arms at a very high level to repel the dangers of communism, the United States is continually under attack. When the history of the events of our time is written in the years to come I am sure that the United States of America will go down as a nation which showed more charity to others than did any other nation in history. No nation has given more financial and technical assistance and has made more man-power available to under-developed nations than has the United States. She may have made some mistakes but we must remember that only those who have attempted nothing have made no mistakes.
In the policy speech which he delivered on 16th November, 1961, the Leader of the Opposition said -
The three years ahead will be years of anxiety and concern for all Australians and for all mankind. The danger of war may be lessened in that lime, and this is our prayerful hope. The possibility of mutual destruction is now so great that this in itself should be sufficient to prevent war. lt does, at least, strengthen us in our belief that another world war will be averted.
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 wholehearted 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 abhore oppression.
Although we have made that declaration, we believe that the United States of America should take us into her confidence and give us full information on the station’s activities. If there is to be a war, the Australian Government has the right to say whether our people, resources and wealth will be involved in that conflict. For that reason, I most earnestly support the amendment which has been proposed by the Leader of the Opposition, which provides that the United States of America shall confer with the Australian Government before this country and its p3op!e are involved in war.
.- I was grieved to hear my friend, the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Stewart), a decent member of the Labour Party, conclude his speech by saying, in effect, that he was pleased and privileged to support the Opposition’s proposed amendment. I sincerely believe that seldom, if ever, has a more shameful amendment to a major bill been brought to this Parliament by an Opposition. It is shameful for two reasons. First, it puts an impossible limitation on the operation of the proposed station. I remind the committee that Labour is now pledged, if returned to office, to re-negotiate the agreement. In this context, and particularly in view of the Minister’s declaration during question-time yesterday, “ re-negotiate “ is no longer the applicable word. The only applicable word now is “ repudiate “. I am disgusted with the lack of honesty displayed by honorable members opposite in not using words which will indicate their true intent.
Secondly, the proposed amendment is shameful because of its plausibility. It does not say in plain honest language that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) and the Labour Party really want one of two things - either to kill this bill or to water it down to such an extent that the station will become an extremely costly but completely meaningless pile of highly technical equipment.
As I have sat here and listened to this debate I have asked myself this question: What is the reason for the extraordinary difference between the Government and Opposition sides of the chamber? There is complete unanimity among members on this side not only on the fact that the station should be constructed but also on the terms of the agreement. What is more, every man on this side of the House will vote for it. As to the Opposition, every one of its members will vote against it. I think this is a curious situation. Here we have 124 Australians discussing an agreement that vitally affects our very survival and every member on one side of the House will vote for it, whilst every member on the opposite side will vote against it and try to kill it. When I seek the reasons for this tragic position I find that the Opposition is split into several factions on this issue. There are some decent but fainthearted men opposite who really want this base to be installed in Australia on the terms set out in the agreement; but the tragedy is that these faint-hearts are often swept along by the rest of the members of the Labour Party because they will not stand up and fight for their rights.
Only to-day a man from another country asked me, with some astonishment, “ Why has it always been that the militant, vigorous left-wing minority in the Labour Party has been able to carry all the decent men with it?” The only way in which I could answer that question was to say that if ever Australia needed the decent members of the Labour Party, she needs them now. If ever there was a time when the decent members of that party should rise up and throw out the members of its left wing who would sell us into bondage, it is now. Then, of course, there are in the party the right-wingers, who are terrified of that allpowerful monster, the federal conference or pre-selection committee. They just go along with it. During the past weeks there have been some classic examples of that when we have noticed notorious leaks to newspapers of what has happened in caucus. Again, some honorable members opposite are just revoltingly scared of the consequences of moving one step forward towards the firing line. These are the appeasers, the people who say that the only way to make yourself safe is to imagine there is no Communist aggression just north of us and that it is better to be red than dead.
The most dangerous people on the other side of the House are those who sincerely believe in their hearts that communism is the answer to the world’s problems, who sincerely believe that communism should come to Australia, and want it to come to Australia, and who are applying all their wits and abilities towards bringing about that tragic end. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) said: “Why cannot we have co-operation in consultation? Why cannot we have joint control? Let us have a hot line between Washington and Canberra.” That proposition would be funny if it were not so tragic. Just imagine what the position would be if the Labour Party were in office. I can imagine the American President, at one end of the line, speaking to the Australian Labour Prime Minister and the Australian Labour Prime Minister saying, “ Hold the line, Mac “ - or whatever his name might be - “ I have got to make twelve telephone calls “. I am assuming that the number would be twelve, because I am giving the party the benefit of the doubtful point that the executive may make decisions in the interval between meetings of the conference. If it takes 36 men several hours in the seclusion of an hotel room in Canberra, from which the Leader of the Opposition was excluded, to arrive at a decision as to whether this naval communication station should be built, surely a decision to commit or not to commit Australia to war would take much longer. Can any reasonable man in this House imagine a position in which an atomic war had broken out and this base, which is designed to keep the free world free in the event of such a war, is precluded from being put to us; or is delayed in being put to use simply because a Labour Prime Minister of this country has to make twelve or 36 telephone calls? In conclusion, let me say that I am ashamed of these men opposite. I am honestly ashamed to think that in this chamber there are men who would seek to destroy this bill and who would lend themselves to this dastardly business while at the same time calling themselves sincere Australians.
.- I have listened for two and a half days to the debate on this bill and, because of the type of argument honorable members opposite have adduced to support the Government’s very flimsy case, the Government has sunk STill further in my estimation. The speech just delivered by the honorable member for Higinbotham (Mr. Chipp) was an excellent example of the low standard of argument put forward by Government members in this debate. Throughout the whole of the two and a half days we have heard them repeatedly running over the history of the Labour Party and our method of framing policy. Indeed, member after member on the Government side has discussed the whole ramifications of the Labour Party, and their speeches have been full of innuendoes and allegations of Communist sympathies on the part of honorable members on this side. All honorable members opposite know that every member of the Australian Labour Party is strenuously opposed to communism and all its works. That is part of our policy. But, for purely party political reasons, they make these nasty innuendoes; and the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick), who is sitting at the table, can take what I say for what it is worth.
I am strongly of the opinion that a large part of the story behind this communication station at North West Cape is party political, and I am amazed that the Government has seen fit to close the debate after only two days. I thought that the Government wanted this proposal discussed to the very last word that can be said on it. But no. It would seem that our recent 59 to 27 caucus decision has upset the Government’s calculations so much that it has decided that no party gain is to be had from extending the debate beyond two days. All the accusations by Government supporters of treachery to cur country because we want joint control of an important station on our own soil are sheer political humbug, and they know it. I resent the accusation that we are infected with communism, and all the other accusations which the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) has spewed out at us in this Parliament over the last two or three weeks, and which have been repeated by his colleagues. Any one who can go on day after day repeating such scandalous lies ought to be mentally examined.
– Order! 1 ask the honorable member to withdraw that expression.
– What expression?
– Order! The honorable member knows the expression to which I refer.
– I do not remember it.
– Order! The honorable member will withdraw the words “ scandalous lies “.
– I withdraw the word “ scandalous “.
– Order! The honorable member will withdraw both terms.
– I withdraw them. I was trying to think of suitable words to replace them. Perhaps “ untruths “ would be better. I think we will all remember this debate because of the low standard which was set for it by the honorable member for Mackellar. It never got above that standard, and we have had to sit here taking all these innuendoes all the time. Of course, whenever any honorable member on this side calls an honorable member opposite a Fascist, that honorable member jumps up like a robot and shouts, “Withdraw, withdraw! “ But honorable members on the Government side can get away with all theninnuendoes and accusations.
I suggest to the honorable member for Higinbotham that if he had read clause 2 of the bill and the amendment which we propose, he would withdraw many of the statements he made a few moments ago. That clause says, in effect, that this agreement between the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia and the Government of the United States of America is approved; and then our amendment goes on to say - . . on the understanding (hat the station will be operated in a way which will not bring Australia into war, whether in the Pacific or Indian Oceans or elsewhere, without the knowledge and consent of the Government of the Commonwealth and in the spirit of (he undertakings to consult end act which the governments have assumed in Articles III and IV of the Anzus Treaty.
– Do you want a hot line?
– We come to the hot line, which was mentioned a moment ago. If it is quite all right for the United States and other nations which have been cited over and over again - I will not weary the committee by naming them all again - to have that kind of control of these vital nuclear weapons, why is it not also possible to have it between Australia and the United States? Why should we be selected as the odd nation out in this global strategy of the United States? Do the Americans not trust this Government? They have trusted other governments with joint control. All this talk about a decision having to be made in a few seconds is complete exaggeration. If the President of the United States can speak to other leaders by telephone, he could speak to our leaders by telephone, whether they are Labour or Liberal.
In my opinion, honorable members opposite have not put any argument at all to prove to me and to other honorable members on this side of the chamber that we should not have joint control of this station in the same way as the Americans have agreed to joint control in respect of other bases throughout the world. This agreement is an exception among all the agreements that have been made. I want to know why it should be an exception. What makes this station or this country different from any other station, base or country? Honorable members opposite say that nuclear weapons are not based on our soil; but a submarine could be a few miles off our coastline. That submarine is a base. It is a mobile nuclear base in the Indian Ocean one day and in the Pacific Ocean the next. It is a base although it is under the water. The Polaris missile is fired from that submarine. Honorable members opposite have made a big story of the fact that the nuclear weapons are not based on Australian soil. Those weapons are just as deadly whether they are to be fired from the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean or the Australian mainland. As yet no argument has been advanced by the Government to convince me and all the other thinking people in Australia- who are interested in this question that we should not have joint control in the same way as every other country has it.
This agreement is for 25 years. Why is that so when all the others are for five or seven years?
– That is not so. The Anzus Treaty is for an indefinite period.
– That is true. The Anzus Treaty is for an indefinite length of time, but the term of this agreement which deals with nuclear weapons is fixed at 25 years. The Anzus Treaty does not deal with nuclear weapons; it is a mutual defence pact. Under this agreement, for 25 years we will not have any say in this matter. That is an incredible thing to me. There is to be 25 years of silence by the responsible sovereign governments of Australia. For 25 years the governments of this country will be silenced by this legislation. Why should we be treated like that? Why should Australia be treated as if it were a nation in its first year of existence with no sense of responsibility, no mind of its own and no right to be consulted on this vital matter of the firing of the most terrible of all weapons? It is fantastic that a Minister and a government could make an agreement that will silence the governments of this country for 25 years in respect of how and when this station is to be operated.
– -It is a life sentence.
– In many ways it is a life sentence. Honorable members opposite criticize our amendment but it represents our sincere view. To say that we are Communists or near Communists because we put forward such a proposition is a scandalous treatment of the work that our party has put into this matter.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– Mr. Chairman, this amendment is the last, or perhaps the last but one, step in a pretty shabby story of retreat by the Australian Labour Party. Members of that party, in their retreating manoeuvre, have endeavoured to disguise from the public that they do not want the base. It is not a question of not wanting the agreement or the bill, because I believe that I will be able to show the committee in a moment that there can be no doubt that they do not want the base. Their original proposition was that they would have the base only if it was under joint control. I think we all can have a great deal of doubt about whether any of them believes for one moment that the United States of America would agree to joint control of this communication base.
– Why not?
– I will deal with that in a moment. Any person who stops to think about this matter must realize immediately that that just is not a possibility. Honorable members opposite arrived at the compromise - it was a compromise - to support the base with joint control. They did not arrive at this position with any goodwill. They arrived at it under the shadow of fear of the electors. That is all. They thought that they could fool the electors by talking about joint control.
When this bill came into the House, the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser) made it quite clear that they insisted on joint control and operation. We were told by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) this afternoon that no one could have thought that that statement meant technical control or physical control. All I can say is that I do not understand the English language if that is not what the honorable member for Eden-Monaro meant in every sentence that he spoke. At the end, this amendment is introduced. It is introduced to defeat the agreement because it purports to introduce a term. Honorable members opposite know quite well that a term cannot be introduced into the scheduled agreement without destroying it. This amendment is put forward in honeyed words to see whether the public can be fooled again. But they will not be.
I have said that the Leader of the Opposition told us this afternoon that the honorable member for Eden-Monaro did not mean technical control; he meant political control. This is a fine playing with words, but what does he mean? Does he mean that he wants a right of veto on the use of the station, or does he not? That is a simple question. If he means that he wants a right of veto on the use of the station, why does he not say that? If he just means that he wants consultation, the agreement provides for that in as wide terms as it is possible to draw. What are honorable members opposite doing? They are retreating from technical control and operation to political control, and either that means veto or it means nothing in relation to this agreement.
It is quite plain at this point of time, and it was quite plain at the point of time when this amendment was proposed, that this base will come into existence on the terms of this agreement or not at all. Those who want to defeat the agreement inevitably want to defeat the base. There is no other explanation. They must intend to get rid of the base.
We have been through a series of manoeuvres in argument. May I take a little of the time of the committee to remind honorable members of the steps. Great play was made on the point that honorable members opposite were not told. We are asked to believe that grown men do not include submarines in naval vessels. How childish that is! It is a silly play; an endeavour to draw a red herring across the path of this debate. Then we were told by the Leader of the Opposition that the agreement provided for joint operation and that my interpretation was just a silly lawyer’s gloss that did not mean anything. That is an odd argument from people who are opposing the agreement. But by and by they changed their tune. They know now that the interpretation was intended and that both parties intended it. As I said in my second-reading speech, which was frank and full, sole control was what was intended by the agreement, and the agreement is what the two parties have agreed on.
We then had an odd sort of red herring. It was suggested that this was a useless station and that it would be outmoded in a few years. I have never been able to understand the point of this argument. It was thrown in for good measure in an endeavour to camouflage the basic fact that Labour is against the base itself on any terms. Then we had a series of arguments, presented largely by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro - in a hysterical manner, if I may say so - that we were coming nearer to the firing line, that we were bringing nuclear war into the Pacific, that we were unleashing nuclear war. This is a technique that is not unknown on the other side of the iron curtain. It is used to try to frighten people, but I am quite sure that any one who takes Australians to be cravens and susceptible of that sort of treatment will miss the bus. Australians do not fear being told that they are coming nearer to the firing line when they believe the cause to be just and right and when they are prepared to stand up and be counted with their friends and to be quite clear as to who their enemies are. But this was the Opposition’s endeavour in this instance.
The odd point about the argument was that it was equally applicable whether we had joint control or not. If the existence of the base would bring us nearer the firing line, if its existence would introduce nuclear warfare here, those things would happen whether the base was jointly controlled or solely controlled. All the arguments of the honorable member for EdenMonaro were against the base - not the agreement but the base. No doubt he intended us to be misled, but when his argument is analysed, there is no doubt that it is an argument against the base. Of course, he was quite inaccurate when he said that this base would bring nuclear capacity into Australia.
There is one comment I want to make here. I will repeat it in a moment, if I may. It is that this agreement does not provide for any nuclear weapon to be placed in Australia nor does the agreement allow the discharge of a nuclear weapon from Australian territory or Australian territorial waters. There is no question of that. Of course, the Americans already have nuclear capacity in the Pacific. They have their aircraft carriers. They have installations in Okinawa and Guam. There is already nuclear capacity in the Pacific, for which I think we ought to be very grateful.
The next red herring was that we had some secret agreement. Some journalist floated a story and the Leader of the Opposition smartly and uncritically got on the band wagon. But, of course, this was wrong. Then we were finally told, “But the United States would have accepted joint control if the Government had only asked it “. This is Manus all over again. It is the sort of argument that lost us Manus. This talk of what the United States would accept, never looking reality in the face, lost us Manus. Any one who bothers to have a look at the American arrangements will find that the Americans have never allowed a veto on any of their strategic deterrent material. That is for a very plain and simple reason. I will relate this in a moment to the argument about joint control of the station in Australia.
The Americans have not allowed a veto over American deterrent equipment that is not actually in a foreign country. Of course, joint control of this transmission station would mean that we would be given a right of veto with respect to American naval vessels on the high seas - not in our country but on the high seas. This station in a given situation of war-time might be the only means of communication with a surface fleet as well as a submarine fleet. It is all very well for honorable members opposite to say that there are other installations to communicate with surface craft, but this might prove to be the only installation at a given time. Does the Opposition think for one moment that a great power would submit to a veto on its right to communicate with its own ships on the high seas? This argument is foolish; We need contemplate it for only a moment to reject it. These things are so obvious that one doubts whether the Labour Party could ever have believed that joint control was possible.
I will come in a moment or two to what joint control means. Before I do so, let me say something about the argument as to sovereignty. This is a word that is bandied about quite freely. What is said by the Opposition - it needs to be analysed a little - is that if a message were transmitted through this station which resulted in the outbreak of war, by an act initiated by America but not in our own territory or territorial waters, we would be at war. That is not right in law. We would not be at war. Of course, if after the outbreak of war this station were used to communicate with belligerent ships, that would be a breach of neutrality. It would not put us at war, but it would breach our neutrality. Whether there was any consequence to that would depend upon what the enemy did. All honorable members will recall that for a long period of time the Roosevelt regime in the United States was in breach of neutrality but the United States was never attacked. It is not right to say that the transmission of a message through this station which resulted in the commencement of a war would bring us into that war.
– That is the first time you have said so.
– I do not have to do your thinking for you, thank goodness.
It is quite true that this agreement gives us a very wide right to consultation, but over and above that we have consultation with America in Anzus and Seato and we have almost daily consultation diplomatically. Is it to be imagined that the Americans and ourselves would not discuss the growing course of events that might lead to an outbreak of hostilities or involve one or both of us? That is unthinkable. The picture built up by the Opposition is that unless we have the right to say, “ No “, to the Americans on the use of this station - in other words, unless this agreement is subject to the right of instant cancellation, for that is what it amounts to - we should not go into it. That was the proposition that was put and I do not believe any one on the other side of the chamber really thought it was a goer. The Opposition did not want the base; this condition was an impossible condition in the ordinary practical affairs of life. If any Opposition members really thought otherwise, they were living in fairyland.
A great deal has been said about the use of Polaris submarines, in an endeavour, as the honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Turner) said, to create emotions and fears in the Australian public. Nobody disputes - and indeed it is a very fortunate thing - that Polaris submarines win be communicated with, and communicated with without breaching the surface. No one gainsays the fact that this station will be useful for such communications. However, it will have many other uses. It will have other uses connected, perhaps, with nuclear capacity. If it is used to communicate with an aircraft carrier or with another base, the station may have some relevance in connexion with nuclear capacity.
Too much attention, it seems to me, becomes fastened on Polaris submarines. Why? I can understand the other side of the iron curtain fastening on this. The Russians have a great number of submarines. They do not want the function of United States submarines as killers to be increased. They do not want these mobile bases to be susceptible of being communicated with, because this will weaken them; it will add to the deterrent. But why should we Australians, we who are being offered this base on our soil, a base which will be provided at great expense, want to engender in the minds and hearts of our own people fear of the very thing that may save us in an emergency? Again I ask: Why? I can only suggest that in the case of members of the Opposition there is only one reason; they do not want the base and they think they can frighten the Australian public by raising this kind of bogy.
I have heard quite a number of honorable members asking, “ Why cannot Australia have the same arrangements with the Americans in respect of control as everybody else has? “ That is a fair enough question to ask me. The fact is that we have got the same, only better. This is a remarkable fact which nobody has bothered to dig out. I heard the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) taking some of our people to task for not having done a bit of work. The fact is that the Americans have a number of transmitting stations under international agreements, and in none of those agreements is there provision for joint control, and in none of them is there provision for consultation of the kind that is provided in the agreement now before us.
Of course it is no good comparing a transmitting station to a base which has nuclear capacity. I have listened to all the talk about the Thor missiles. What are the facts? These missiles were sold to Great Britain, but the nuclear warheads were kept an American possession and in American ownership. It was agreed that they could not be fired without the concurrence of both parties. This was natural, of course; you have to put the head on the wretched thing to make it go off. What similarity is there between the arrangements for the Thor missiles and the arrangements for this station? The firing of a missile from your own territory is inevitably an act of war and is quite different from the transmission of a message, as I have pointed out.
Then take the case of the Holy Loch arrangements. I think it was the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Forbes) who pointed out that in the case of Holy Loch there was provision for the submarines to be brought into the dock, serviced, and then sent out again. There was no agreement for consultation about the use of those submarines.
– There is about the launching of the missiles.
– Yes, just as is the case here. There is no question that we have an unqualified right to stop any launching of a Polaris or other missile from our territory or from our territorial waters. We are in no worse position in that regard than is the British Government in respect of Holy Loch. But once the submarine reaches the high seas there is no question of a veto. There was consultation contemplated - not under the agreement but under the Nato processes. The British Prime Minister pointed out that he would expect to have this consultation.
Then there was the case of the S.A.C. bombers. These were to be placed on British soil. They were to be set in motion from that land, and it would be an act of war if bombs carried by them were directed against another country. But it is very interesting to read what the British Prime Minister said in respect of these aircraft. He made it quite clear that there would be consultation except in the case of emergency. In emergency the British Government would not expect it and in other circumstances they would quite look forward to it. This applies in our own case. We have a right ofconsultation throughout with respect to this station and its use. This is a very broad right of consultation.
I would like to read just one thing that the British Prime Minister said in relation to Holy Loch. It is very interesting. In distinguishing between missiles on the land and submarines, he said -
Submarines cannot be treated in exactly the same way as the bombers, still less the missiles, because they-
That is, the submarines - are only in United Kingdom waters for comparatively short periods, and much of their time will be spent many hundreds of miles away. Secondly, as regards general control we shall continue to rely on the close co-operation and understanding which exists between us and the United States in all these defence matters, and which President Eisenhower has recently confirmed.
In other words, the submarine from Holy Loch was in much the same position as that of the submarine, or the message if you like, in our particular case. But there are one or two instances I should give to the House to make good my assertion that in the case of communications stations in other countries there is no right of veto and no right of consultation. There is an agreement with Pakistan, dated 18th July, 1959, United Nations Treaty Series Volume 355. There is one with Canada, 4th November, 1952, United Nations Treaty Series Volume 207. There is one with China, 6th August, 1958, and another of 15th April, 1960, United States Treaty Series 5175 and 5176. In respect of those agreements there is no right of joint control and no right of consultation.
There is an even better illustration of the distinction, which the Opposition has never made clear, between this communications station and a missile base or even bombers that are placed on your soil and which will fly off your soil. The Americans have in Japan a military base and they have combat troops in Japan. There will be no combat troops in Australia as a result of this agreement. In the case of Japan there is also a V.L.F. station. In the case of the troops and equipment that are in Japan the President has given the Japanese an assurance that they will not be deployed without Japanese concurrence. That is to say, the Japanese have been given a veto in relation to these matters: Major changes in the deployment of United States forces into Japan - that is, bringing them in - major changes in the equipment of United States forces in Japan - that is, whether they will be given nuclear capacity or not - and, thirdly, the conduct of military combat operations from Japan. One understands the need for joint control or a veto in relation to those things, because activity of that kind would automatically carry you into war. In that respect it is unlike the activity contemplated for this station. However, in relation to the V.L.F. station in Japan there is no right of veto whatever. This makes the distinction very clear. When I am asked whether I have got anything less for Australia in this agreement than other countries have got for themselves, I want to say that there are more favorable terms in this agreement than there are in agreements for comparable installations in other countries, because we have an unlimited right of consultation.
– What do you do when you consult? Where do you get?
– What do you do when you have political control? Do you consult or do you have a veto? If you have a veto, is the proposition of the Australian Labour Party that we are to claim right of veto over the movement of American vessels on the high seas or below the high seas? That is the claim that is made, apparently. When you consult with your ally, you have an opportunity not only to gain knowledge but also to influence his line of procedure and to arrive at an agreement that will be appropriate. This is the only way in which we deal with our friends and our allies.
If I may say so, I have noticed in this debate particularly the little weight that is given to the deterrent effect of the installation of the proposed station. The honorable member for Barker, very fully and very eloquently, pointed out how the deterrent must be credible and how important the credibility is to the effectiveness of the deterrent. Do honorable members opposite think that there would be any credibility in the deterrent effect of a communications station that could not be operated without the involvement of a number of people? Who would pay much attention to it as a deterrent? It would lose its credibility. But, apart from that, is not it of importance to this country that we have as large a deterrent as we can?
This Government believes in disarmament and will work for disarmament. But the Government is not so foolish as to believe that there is any strength in weakness. This Government does not believe in pacifism. We do not believe that you will be free from attack if you do not arm yourself. India, our Commonwealth colleague, has learned to its great hurt that doing nothing does not make one safe. The Indians have found out that the fellows who are powerful do not respect you if you do nothing for yourself. Pacifism is a form of suicide, and this Government does not believe in it. Neither does this Government believe in isolationism. We do not believe that we can survive without the Western world. We believe that we shall sink or swim with the Western world. Believing that, Mr. Chairman, we are prepared to do what we can in the Western world shoulder to shoulder with the people who are our friends.
We may not be very strong militarily. We may not as yet have enough spare money to develop a very large army and navy. In these circumstances, it behoves us to do everything we can, and the granting of permission to establish the proposed communications station, by means of the agreement that has been produced and fairly and frankly put to the Parliament, is a great contribution to the deterrent effect of American weapons and to the freedom of the area in which we live.
– But not a contribution to disarmament.
– It is a contribution to disarmament, because those who want to disarm need to remain strong. It is of no use to imagine that unilateral disarmament will get you anywhere. That, like a nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere, would be just a form of suicide and nothing else. 1 close on this note: The Australian Labour Party has made up its mind from the word “ Go “, I submit, that it does not want the base. It has undertaken all sorts of manoeuvres in order to fool the populace. It has gone through all the emotional and hysterical moves possible, but all has been to no point. When one comes to analyse the situation, everything comes down to this amendment, which represents a vote against the base and not merely against the bill.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– Wherever the United States has had to have installations or vehicles in the territories of allies in order to deploy its nuclear deterrent, it has agreed that those allies should share in the decision to launch the nuclear deterrent. This has been the rule in every country hitherto. The Australian Government, through the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick), has provided the first and the sole exception. Government back-benchers have been trying to find a difference between the North West Cape station, which will relay the President’s authority or orders to Polaris submarines, and the various other nuclear deterrents which America has had in the northern hemisphere, and other stations which America has established in allied countries. In particular, they have said that the North West Cape station is not a missile site, or a bomber site or a submarine site and that, accordingly, it is in a different category to the Holy Loch and the stations housing the Thors, the Jupiters. the Strategic Air Command bombers, and the RB27’s. But the significance of the very low frequency station at North West Cape is that, without it, the effectiveness of the latest form of the nuclear deterrent - the Polaris submarine - would be very greatly restricted.
Government back-benchers, starting with the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Malcolm Fraser), have quoted Mr. Macmillan’s statement that Britain did not share in the decision concerning Polaris missiles outside British territorial waters. That is not to be wondered at, because when the Polaris submarines are on the high seas, they do not depend on Holy Loch. They depend for their orders and their authority upon the V.L.F. station at Cutler in Maine. But when the Polaris submarines are on the high seas in the Indian Ocean or the South Pacific, they will depend upon the V.L.F. station at North West Cape.
In respect of another form of the nuclear deterrent - the intermediate range ballistic missiles - there is no question that in Canada, Turkey, Italy and Britain there has had to be a joint decision for their use. In respect of the bombers, there is still the joint decision. If the Strategic Air Command bombers take off from Britain, they have to come back to Britain. They are away for a matter of hours, instead of weeks, as with the Polaris submarines at sea. They still remain in radio communication with their home base in Britain. Accordingly, in respect of this nuclear deterrent, Britain still retains the joint decision with America. This is still a current form of nuclear deterrent.
As I explained last night, under the Nato negotiations in Ottawa during this week, concerning a Nato nuclear force comprising British and American bombers, American Polaris submarines and in due course British Polaris submarines, it is contemplated that there will still be the joint control, the joint decision, in respect of both American and British Polaris missiles and both British and American aircraft, by the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Great Britain. This is the parallel with our situation. The Australian Government has made an exception, but America is still contemplating a joint decision in respect of the nuclear deterrent, whether airborne, submarine or ballistic, in every other country where she depends on allies.
The Minister for External Affairs has never on any occasion sought to inform or anticipate in these matters, either inside or outside the House. We learned yesterday about some further correspondence with America only because the Minister wished to rebuke a pressman who made some reference to it. When we cited precedents for joint control and joint decisions, as there are and will be, he called in aid two propositions. First of all, he says that there are communication stations in other countries which are conducted by the Americans alone - to wit, in Pakistan, Canada and Formosa. But none of these communication stations is a vital part of the nuclear deterrent system. These stations are comparable to the radio stations at Belconnen and just south of Darwin. These are irrelevant to the situation at North West Cape. Next, the Minister refers to a V.L.F. station in Japan, in which the Japanese have no right of joint decision - no veto, to use the emotive, pejorative term which he has imported. I do not know how far the Minister is going to press the parallel between Australia and Japan.
– Your facts are wrong there again, by the way.
– The honorable gentleman has not got the signal yet! Is this V.L.F. station in Japan used for Polaris submarines? Is Australia, a former comrade in arms and an ally of the United States, to be put in the same position as Japan?
The Minister has made two extraordinarily far-fetched statements. He does not say that joint control or joint decision is not practicableor- desirable. He says that he has obtained the same control, only better. Secondly, he says that the operation of this station would not necessarily involve us in war - that America breached neutrality in 1940 and 1941 and was not involved in war. I am not sure that the Americans would admit that they breached neutrality. They passed a Neutrality Act to ensure that they would not. At all events, the situation then was different. Germany was not going to embroil the United States against it, but Russia might well embroil Australia in a limited war. One other form of joint control has been adopted to avoid such limited wars. The U2 and RB27 flights might have led to Russia making war on Britain or Turkey without making war on America. In consequence, the procedure for making joint decisions was re-asserted and clarified with Britain and, we believe, with Turkey. The flights ceased.
There can be no dispute that, if Russia lands a missile on the United States, under the Anzus pact Australia is obliged to act to meet what it recognizes as a common danger. Undoubtedly, Australia would be obliged, without delay or dispute, to permit a signal to go through the North West Cape station to Polaris submarines to retaliate on Russia, to deter Russia. There can, how ever, be limited wars, as I pointed out last night. The Minister’s references to the flexibility of this weapon and its sole operation can have relevance to limited wars, and limited wars alone. There can be limited war, as there was in Korea and as there is still in Indo-China. There can be incidents involving our closest allies, such as the British invasion of Suez and the American invasion at the Bay of Pigs, which would not have taken place if consultation had been permitted. These are the sort of situations where consultation should take place and joint decisions made. Oar amendment proclaims our desire that the principles of Anzus should apply throughout the area of this station’s operation. Where there is an attack there is no dispute or delay under Anzus. The alliance operates forthwith. But where there is a threat there is the obligation under Anzus to consult and to join in making a decision. Australia should be in no different position outside the Anzus area to the position of all America’s other allies in their treaty areas. It is because of the supine attitude and specious arguments of the Minister that Australia alone is disadvantaged among America’s nuclear allies.
Motion (by Mr. Chaney) proposed -
That the question be now put.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. P. E. Lucock.)
Majority . . 6
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Question put -
That the amendment (Mr. Calwell’s) be agreed to.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. P. E. Lucock.)
Majority . . 5
Question so resolved in the negative.
Bill agreed to.
Question put -
That the bill be reported without amendment.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. P. E. Lucock.)
Majority . . . . 5
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill reported without amendment.
Adoption of Report.
Motion (by Sir Garfield Barwick) put -
That the report be adopted.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Sir John McLeay.)
Majority . . . . 5
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Sir Garfield Barwick) - by leave - proposed -
That the bill be now read a third time.
– I move -
That the word “ now “ be omitted from, and that the words “this day six months’’ be added to, the question.
I do this because the Opposition is not satisfied with the terms of the agreement. I do this because the Opposition is not satisfied that the Government has done its duty by the people of Australia. 1 do this because the Opposition feels that if the Government had negotiated with the United States of America with the same assiduity and determination and on the same basis of equality as did the Governments of Turkey, Canada, the United Kingdom and Italy, we would have a better agreement than we have.
I have heard the argument that if this proposed amendment is accepted the bill will be defeated. The intention of the Standing Orders, according to May or to some one who has been dead for 200 years, might have been to provide a device to kill a bill. I have proposed that the third reading of the bill be postponed for six months because that is the only avenue that is open under the Standing Orders. I take advantage of the Standing Orders as I find them for the purpose of expressing the Opposition’s opinions on what it regards as an imperfect agreement with the United States of America.
It has been stated that the Opposition has found something unusual on the question of joint control - that the Opposition has devised only recently some formula relating to joint control. In the course of my policy speech in November, 1961, on behalf of the Australian Labour Party, I used these words -
Just as the Woomera rocket range, established by the Chifley Labour Government, is under our joint control with Britain, so any bases established by our allies with the consent of Australia must also be under our joint control.
That appeal in specific terms was made to the Australian people after the Government had announced for the first time that it was negotiating this agreement with the United States of America. I went on to say this -
We will cede no territory nor surrender any of our authority to any other power at any time in matters of defence.
And that was the attitude taken by those other countries. The United States of America always respects those nations that will stand up for their own rights. We say that this Government has not stood up for the rights of Australia, but, by some system of casuistical argument, has tried to distinguish between a missile base and a naval communication station. A missile base is a place from which missiles may be fired; a communication station is a station from which signals are sent out to submarines from which missiles are released. It does not matter whether the missiles are fired from Holy Loch in Scotland, or from Italy or from Turkey, or whether they are released as the result of a signal sent out from the White House in Washington to North West Cape. Once that missile is fired, death and destruction are intended for somebody and world war is unleashed. What we want to do is to try to stop world war if we can, or keep Australia out of world war unless the Australian Government is first consulted and its consent obtained. Let there be no mistake about it.
The Attorney-General might argue, as he did, that those who do not agree with the Government are against the base. Some other members of the Government have argued that unless you agree with the Government you are a Communist, or you are anti-American, or you are something else. They arrogate to themselves all the virtues, all the powers of reasoning, and all the patriotism that there is and anybody who dares to argue with them, or who dares to disagree with them does it for some wrong motive, or does it from lack of patriotism or lack of regard for Australia. Our record is as good as theirs, in government or in opposition, in peace or in war. This party is always the party that is called on to clean up the mess in peace or war after the forces of capitalism have had to be removed so that the country can be made safe. It happened in World War I.; it happened in World War II., and it happened after the creation of the depression of the 1920’s by the Bruce-Page Government.
On the occasion of the last general election I put this on record in my policy speech; the words are there for all who want to see them and so that they shall not be forgotten -
If, however, war should be forced upon the free world, Australia, whether we wish it or not, will be involved.
We know it. We do recognize the awful fact. I went on -
In those circumstances we who belong to the free world will stand with the free world and will give the whole-hearted support to its cause. There could be no other course for those who cherish freedom and believe in democracy.
I throw those words back in the teeth of our traducers to-night. I throw them back in the teeth of the sneerers, the smearers and the humbugs who, through the whole course of this debate, have been trying to insinuate that they are the only people who stand for genuine Australianism, that they are the only people who want America’s friendship. We are the people who created friendship with America - when the Prime Minister said to do so was a blunder during World War II. and when everybody who supported him said we should not have made the deal that we did - when John Curtin, without inhibition, sought American aid.
We are proud of our past; we are proud of our present stand, and if we become the Government of Australia after the next election we will re-negotiate the agreement with the United States of America. I am certain we can re-negotiate it because, in the dark and dreadful days of World War
II., we were able to get along with the Americans when the parties opposite fell to pieces, first on 28th August, 1941, and later in October, 1941, when it was voted out of office because two of its members feared for the future of Australia if that Government were allowed to remain in office. We make no claim to a monopoly of patriotism; we did our best. We have asserted our rights. We believe that we should express our right to say that the Australian people and the Australian people alone, through their elected representatives, must say whether Australia shall be involved in war or not. No other country has a right to do that. The only way by which we can ensure that Australians shall have that right is to have joint control of this base at a governmental level and at no other level.
The Minister for External Affairs was certainly not at his best to-night when he tried to argue that we wanted to oppose the base. We have never wanted to oppose the base. I am sure that what was done once before can be done again, and nothing that has been said by any honorable member on this side during this debate and nothing that has been said by any of my colleagues outside this Parliament can be construed as an attack upon America or as a desire to help any enemy of this country, real or potential. Nothing at all that has been said was intended to harm the best interests of this country; it was only intended to serve the best interests of this country. The men who have been maligned here, the members of the Labour Party, of its executive in Victoria and of its executive in Queensland, are all decent and honorable men; and I challenge the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) to say what he wants to say about them somewhere else instead of smearing them in the worst traditions of his notorious family, whose members since the days of his greatgrandfather have been smearing every progressive element in this country and have lived on it. From the days of Henry Parkes, right down to John Curtin, and even to my own humble self, there has never been anybody who has led a radical movement in this country who has not come under the lash of the tongue of a Wentworth.
The honorable member can represent the Liberal Party if he likes. The Liberal Party has to have him and accept him, but we of the Australian Labour Party are the Australian party. We are the Australian Labour Party. “ Australian “ is as much a part of our name as is “ Labour “. At least we are a party; at least we are one party. We are not a coalition or a combination. We are not a heterogeneous collection of strange bedfellows. We are not alined with a country party that is an odd collection of banana growers, peanut growers, sugarcane growers, wheat growers and wool growers, who can agree on only one thing - they all want to have office. Not one of them is happy with anybody else. Nor are we alined with a Liberal Party with its various classes, castes and degrees of untouchability. The Labour Party is the Australian party which represents the great mass of the Australian people. We are the grass root politicians who represent Australians. We speak for Australia in this debate to-night, and it is in that spirit that I have moved that the third reading of this bill be postponed for six months.
– Is the motion seconded?
– I second the motion.
– When I remember that not so long ago the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), like myself, was a little out of action, I feel that I ought to congratulate him on having come back in such magnificent form. It is a long time since I heard him to such advantage - for my side. He really was in very good form.
– Where is the Minister for External Affairs?
– It is all right; I am still in office.
– Where is he? Put him UP
– He is still here, and I am still here; and I am speaking. You do not mind, do you? Come, Frank, do you mind?
– No, but I want to hear Gar.
– He has gone out to get his medal.
– The Leader of the Opposition has really waxed very eloquent to-night. He follows in the footsteps of one of his senior members who explained to us earlier, in the secondreading debate, that the House would not be divided on the question of the communication centre and that therefore the motion for the second reading would go through without division; but that in committee and at the third-reading stage there would be amendments. It is very interesting to note that, after the next division, the Labour Party, which wants to be able to go out and say, “ We are really supporters of the establishment of this communication centre “, will have voted four times against it and only once for it.
Another interesting thing is that, although we were told that the whole of the serried ranks of the Labour Party - now so happily, if precariously, united on this matter - would be put into the battle, so far the divisions on this bill have shown a majority for the Government not of one but of seven and of five. What has become of the Opposition? Has the will of the Opposition weakened? Where are our wandering boys to-night? Why, with a majority of seven or five I could live an awful long time in this office. But, Sir, here it is; for the fourth time we are going to be asked to divide. What about? I will answer that question first technically and then in substance.
First of all technically, I say to the people of Australia who no doubt are following our proceedings with rapt interest - or we think so- that Standing Order No. 237 deals with the third reading of a bill. After all, this Parliament is governed by its own Standing Orders. My distinguished friend, the Leader of the Opposition, made a somewhat obituary reference to Sir Thomas Erskine May, the author of May’s “ Parliamentary Practice”, who, he said, lived a long time ago. He suggested that this is an antiquated idea. I am surprised, because our Standing Orders were not written by Sir Thomas Erskine May who lived a long time ago; they were written by the Standing Orders Committee, with the approval of the members of this House, and they were revised only the other day. So there is nothing dead about our book of Standing Orders.
This is the last and final edition of our own Standing Orders. I remind honorable members opposite that in Standing Order No. 237, dealing with the motion “That the bill be now read a third time”, this is the provision -
The only amendment which may be moved to the question is by omitting “ now “ and adding “this day six months”, which, if carried, shall finally dispose of the BilL
Let us understand this. Supposing that in a passion of eloquence or by persuasive oratory my distinguished opponent had persuaded a couple of people on this side of the House to stay away or one person on this side of the House to cross the floor and vote with him, the carrying of this amendment would have killed the agreement and there would be no radio communication centre established at all.
It ill becomes an opposition to say, “ Well, of course, we moved it this way because we know that it will not be carried “. That would be humbug, surely. Therefore, we must be able to test members of the Labour Party by saying that they moved this amendment hoping that for some reason or another it would be carried. If they care to deny that, if they care to say publicly that it was all a bit of flim-flam and that they moved the amendment hoping and believing that it would not be carried, then we can judge them and so can the people of Australia. But if they are prepared to stand up and say, “ We moved this hoping that in some fashion it would be carried “, then let them admit publicly that the carrying of their amendment would kill not only this bill but the establishment of the communication station.
– What rubbish!
– It is of no use saying “ rubbish “. I do not need to talk about rubbish to you.
– We are seeking decent treatment-
– Order! The honorable member for Eden-Monaro will remain silent.
– I am sorry.
– The honorable member for Eden-Monaro always feels a little troubled when somebody puts the cold hand of reason on him because he is not a rational man. I shall repeat my point. I know that I will not persuade some of my friends opposite, although I suspect that one or two of them already agree with me, but I think it ought to be made clear to the people of Australia somehow or another that this amendment, if carried, would dispose of the bill and that the bill having been disposed of, this communication centre would not be established.
Of course, there are some honorable members opposite who imagine that if this agreement were disposed of we could, in due course, at leisure and with some comfort - or they could after another election - have a pleasant negotiation with the United States of America. How unrealistic this is. The fact is that the United States has not all that time to burn. When it wants to establish a communication centre, it wants it soon. When its Congress is asked to vote for proposals of this kind, the members of Congress want to know that the proposal will contribute to the safety of the free world and that it will go ahead. Yet this poor, bemused Opposition puts itself on record with an amendment which, if carried, would mean the destruction of the bill and the destruction of the agreement. Sir, anybody with a most elementary knowledge of the procedures of Parliament could not doubt for one moment that that is the position.
All I want to say on this point - because there has been a long debate and there is not much to be added to it - is that this amendment is the fourth attempt by the Opposition to destroy ..this proposal by destroying this bill and this agreement. The only other thing I want to say is this: This afternoon and, indeed, yesterday a careful campaign was conducted by the Opposition to suggest that Labour members alone are interested in the rights of Australia, the sovereignty of Australia and our right to determine our future. I do not want to be preached to by these people about this matter because, as a matter of fact, in the last war it was I who, as the head of the then government, stipulated that the Second Australian Imperial Force which was going to the Middle East was not to be submerged in other formations; that it was to be under Australian command; and that it was to be in contact with the Australian Government whenever it wanted to be. This is an old practice. Nobody can claim a monopoly in this. It was established twenty years before I and those who sat in government with me re-established it at that time.
But, Sir, this is a case in which the Labour Party, however it may cloak its intention, wants to establish a proposition in the name of our own sovereignty that this signalling station is not to be used by the United States, except with the express approval of the Australian Government under circumstances in which the United States is at war. That is what the Opposition members are saying.
– No, they are not.
– Of course, they are. The Leader of the Opposition is rather handicapped in debating this. He began his speech in the second-reading debate by saying, in effect, that there was joint control. It now turns out that he agrees with us that there is no joint control. There is a power to consult. Therefore, he has gone to all this trouble and called all these divisions to try to produce the joint control which a few days ago he said already existed.
We must be alive to the circumstances of the times. Australia is not a nuclear power. The United States is the greatest of the nuclear powers, much to our comfort. The existence of a nuclear deterrent in the United States and in Great Britain - although at present to a much smaller extent there - is the condition by which we live. I repeat that. The problem that has to be considered is whether we want to have a deterrent that does not deter, whether we want to have a deterrent that cannot be used at the right time and in the right place. Picture the position to the north and west of Australia. Go west into the Indian Ocean, south of Communist China and south of Communist Russia. The United States is the great power that has the deterrent weapon in the air, from submarines and otherwise. I put this to everybody as a matter of plain common sense. Suppose the Communists decided that they would attack. Nobody would be so silly as to think they would send a courteous letter giving notice. When the Communists think that the time has come, they will act, and from that moment it will be a matter of minutes before the instruments of detection ascertain what they are doing and where their missiles are going. In those circumstances, literally with ballistic missiles in the air, we are told that there must be political consultation before the United States can retaliate from the Indian Ocean in order to render unprofitable the attack by the Communist powers.
Sir, this is bedlamite nonsense. Why talk about a lot of theoretical matters when the fact is that it will be a matter of mere minutes before, the word having come through, the President of the United States will have to send a message to his own naval forces deployed in this part of the world, “You are to strike”. We are told by the Labour Party that in those circumstances we must stipulate that before the United States authorities can send a message from our soil which might impair our neutrality they must have a political discussion with us. If I were running one of these great Communist countries, I could wish for nothing better than to see the most powerful enemy of communism hamstrung by having to engage in consultations of this kind before the return blow could come.
We do not want the blow or the return blow. No honorable member of this House has any monopoly of humanity. We are men with families and we are men concerned with the future of our country. Of course we do not want to have this diabolical disaster come on the world. But the best way of guaranteeing that it will come is to impair the efficacy of the counterstroke after the stroke comes. In other words, the best way to destroy our future is to put an impediment in the way of the great Western nuclear power - the great home of freedom for this purpose and the great protector of so many free nations in the world - and prevent it from being able to make its retaliation both certain and swift. A retaliation that is not certain and swift is not a retaliation at all.
I beg honorable members opposite to come up to date on this matter: We are living in a world in which a war, if it came, would not leave a matter of months to do things and to prepare as in the past. If a war came, and it was a war on the global scale, it would have reached its peak in a day or two days. The first massive blows would have been delivered in minutes, not days. Sir, I am an Australian and I am proud of my country. I would not willingly abandon any of the rights of my country. I am a great believer in them. But, in the name of a theoretical protection of Australia’s rights, to abandon Australia’s real interests, to leave this country defenceless in a war of this kind and to leave Australia, as I said earlier, as the prize of victory is something that I will not accept, that my colleagues will not accept and that the people of Australia will not accept.
Motion (by Mr. Hasluck) proposed -
That the question be now put. (The bells being rung) -
– Order! The honorable member will withdraw that remark.
– I will withdraw it. They are just dogging it.
– Order! The honorable member will withdraw unreservedly.
– I withdraw unreservedly.
– The honorable member will resume his seat.
– They are a pack of dingoes.
– Order! The honorable member will withdraw that remark.
– I say the Government supporters are a pack of dingoes. I withdraw the remark in deference to you and say they are a pack of cowards.
– Order! The honorable member will withdraw unreservedly.
– I withdraw the remark, but I still say the Government is afraid to debate the issue.
Question put. The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Sir John McLeay.)
Majority . . … 5
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
Message recommending appropriation reported.
In committee (Consideration of message of the Deputy of the Governor-General):
Motion (by Mr. Freeth) agreed to -
That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purposes of a bill for an act relating to the expenditure in respect of the allowances of the members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for the financial year ending on the thirtieth day of June, one thousand nine hundred and sixty-three.
Standing Orders suspended; resolution adopted.
That Mr. Freeth and Sir Garfield Barwick do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.
Bill presented by Mr. Freeth, and read a first time.
Mr. FREETH (Forrest- Minister for the
I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this bill is to provide for a total appropriation of £6,500 for the estimated cost of the allowances of the chairman and members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works during the financial year 1962-63.
Section 36 (1.) of the Public Works Committee Act authorizes the payment to the chairman and members of the committee of such allowances as are prescribed. Section 37 (1 . ) limits the total amount of such allowances to £5,000 in any financial year Regulation 6 of the Statutory Rules made under the act prescribes the allowances and has the effect of including in the term “ allowances “ the cost of transport of the chairman and members when travelling in the course of their duties as members of the committee.
This financial year has been a busy one for the committee, particularly with regard to references to the committee by the House of Representatives of projected major works in the Northern Territory. The committee members have already undertaken two trips to the Territory to investigate and report on works there; a third trip has now become necessary. As a result of this work, coupled with the committee’s other work in Canberra and elsewhere in Australia, it is estimated that the committee will need £6,500 for allowances for this financial year. It is therefore proposed, by means of this bill, to substitute an appropriation of £6,500 for the allowances of the committee in lieu of the standing appropriation of £5,000. This special provision will apply for this financial year only.
I commend the bill to the House.
.- The Opposition, knowing how busy the committee has been during the last year and the excellent contributions to its deliberations by honorable members in both Houses and in all parties, supports this bill, and we shall assist in putting it through forthwith if that is desired.
There have been encouraging proposals in the last couple of months for co-ordinating the development of the whole of the northern part of Australia. These proposals seem to envisage the reconstitution of the policy committee to develop the north which was decided upon at the Premiers’ Conference in 1944, which was set up in the following year, and which, with Mr. Chifley as Prime Minister, Mr. Johnson as the Commonwealth Minister in charge of the Northern Territory, and the Premiers of Queensland and Western Australia, sat regularly throughout the remaining years of the 1940’s. Honorable members will recollect that it was advised by a northern Australia development committee headed by Dr. Coombs. It is to be regretted that when the Menzies Government was elected the ministerial policy committee was never called together again and the committee of advisers was dispersed. On 8th April the Premier of Queensland announced that he would suggest to the Premier of Western Australia that they ask the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) to establish some such committee again. The Prime Minister has received no such communication from either Premier, as he told my colleague, the honorable member for Wide Bay (Mr. Hansen), in answer to a question without notice on 19th April and later in a written reply on 1st May. My colleague, the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Don Cameron), was given a written reply on 8th May that the Department of National Development has no immediate plans for the establishment of a northern Australia development authority.
These plans are supported by the Australian Labour Party. They were put to the people and, we believe, were supported by the people at the last federal general election. If these plans come to fruition, there will without doubt be more work for this Parliament’s Public Works Committee to undertake. The committee has done very valuable work in the Northern Territory and it proposes to undertake very valuable work in respect of beef roads in Queensland. As we know, up to now there has b:en no commitment by the Commonwealth to undertake the proposals, sought by Queensland in 1959 and recommended by the Australian Meat Board and the Bureau of Agricultural Economics for many years before, to join the breeding areas of the Barkly Tableland and the Gulf country with the fattening areas of the Channel country. Queensland asked for these link roads, but the Commonwealth rejected the request. Such proposals inevitably will finally come to fruition, Sir. It is only a question of how soon.
This is the type of work which could be reviewed by the Public Works Committee. Till now it has been confined to reporting on beef roads in the Northern Territory. It should be empowered to survey the beef roads which have been sought by Queensland and Western Australia and approved by the Commonwealth. When the whole scheme is accepted by the Commonwealth the committee undoubtedly could do most valuable work in co-ordinating and extending the beef roads scheme throughout the north. We expect that, when the Commonwealth at last revives the planning and advisory committees for the co-ordination and the development of Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory which functioned during the late 1940’s, parliamentary interest will be maintained and extended, particularly by the members of the Public Works Committee. It is in the light of this increasing commitment and obligation of the Commonwealth that the committee should be granted the additional appropriation for the financial year 1962-63. The Opposition applauds the work that the committee has been doing and hopes that it will be able to extend that work. We support the bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
– I move -
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1960, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report: - Darwin water supply - Provision of additional mains, service reservoir and pumping stations.
The proposal provides for a further stage in the development of the Darwin water supply by the provision of additional mains, enlarging an existing main, the provision of a 1,000,000-gallon service reservoir at Winnellie and the construction of pumping stations at Vestey’s reservoir and Stokes Hill reservoir, all at an estimated cost of £377,000. I table plans of the proposed work.
– Mr. Speaker, the Opposition welcomes the reference of this project to the Public Works Committee as evidence of intention to improve the Darwin water supply scheme, which is already overtaxed and cannot adequately supply the requirements of the city. I think that there is an urgent need for the committee to investigate the whole of the scheme and not merely the stage at present referred to it. Figures supplied by the Department of Works indicate that the population of Darwin will double within eight years and that the proposal now to be investigated will provide only sufficient additional water to meet requirements up to 1965. Indeed, by the time that this stage of the scheme is reported on and the work is completed, the augmented scheme will already be overtaxed.
This proposal will not result in the conserving of any additional water. It provides only for additional mains, pumping stations and a new service reservoir as adjuncts to the present supply provided by the Manton dam. So, no additional supplies of water will be conserved. Already, there is a form of water rationing in Darwin - not in the sense that an absolute limit is placed on consumption, but in the sense that after the consumption of a predetermined amount the rate charged for every 1,000 gallons increases rapidly. As a result, usage is limited to the household and industrial requirements of the city itself.
The high cost of water has forced many small primary producers to refrain from taking supplies from the scheme and to provide their own wells and bores for the supply of water. Supplies from these sources, however, are not completely satisfactory. Darwin is situated in an area that has an average annual rainfall of 60 inches, and there is a pretty sorry state of affairs when the storage capacity is not sufficient to allow small farmers and certain small industries to draw water from the mains at rates that they can afford. Producers who, of necessity, have to draw water from the mains for their farms are subjected to costs so excessive as to prevent them from competing with imported goods and products grown in more favoured areas.
Stage 3 of the Darwin water supply scheme envisages two alternative sites for dams, one at Berry Springs and one on the Darwin River. The Public Works Committee, which has had vast experience in investigating schemes of this kind, is composed of men of sufficient ability and energy to investigate effectively stage 3 of the scheme, and they should be investigating it now. What will happen after 1965 when the result of this investigation is known and the first stage is in operation? The whole process will have to be repeated so that an additional stage may be put in, but still no water will be conserved. It is admitted that by 1970 there will be 60,000 people in Darwin, drawing on this water, and a third stage will not be put into operation until that position is reached. The figures on population that have been supplied to us do not include the aboriginal population. We have a set of figures based on the European population only. This is not good enough. Those figures do not give a true picture of the population trend. I believe the demand will be much greater than is indicated by the figures supplied.
I want to enter a protest because the full scheme is not being proceeded with. An area which has a 60-in. annual rainfall should have a water conservation scheme sufficient to meet the needs not only of the present population but also of the potential population of this growing town. There could be a substantial move of defence personnel to this area. Apparently that is not contemplated at present, but it could happen in a matter of months or within a year or so. No provision is being made for that.
I wish to enter a protest because the three stages of the scheme are not being investigated at the present time. I would like to see this matter referred to the Public Works Committee so that it could have a look at it now, not in another ten years time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I move -
That, in accordance wilh the provisions of the Public Works Committee A?t 1913-1960, it is expedient to carry out the following proposed work which was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works and on which the Committee has duly reported to this House: - The Commonwealth Centre, Melbourne - Erection of Building for Stage Two.
In its report, the committee recommended the construction of the building to the size and design proposed, but with the addition of full air conditioning. It also recommended an inquiry into all aspects of the need or otherwise for air conditioning in Commonwealth buildings.
The present proposal includes a system of evaporative cooling and pre-cooling, but with provision for the conversion of this system to full air conditioning. In this sense the recommendation of the committee has not been immediately accepted, but will depend on re-examination of the problem by the Government either in relation to this centre only, or as part of the general policy in relation to Commonwealth buildings.
– Mr. Deputy Speaker, it is good to know that the Government is proceeding at last with the erection of the second stage of the Commonwealth centre in Melbourne. The first stage was completed some years ago and a big area of land is awaiting development. Quite a lot of Government offices are in private build ings in Melbourne, for which the Government is paying a great amount in rent. That rent would be saved if this centre was completed. A number of buildings have been erected in the City of Melbourne by banks, insurance companies and the like, and floor space is becoming available in those buildings for people who wish to rent it. But it is also true that for a number of years the Commonwealth Government has been occupying space which private enterprise has wanted for its use. During the war we took over buildings for war purposes and we have not yet given up the use of those buildings to their original owners or to others who want them. I think it is a good thing for this building to be erected, for many reasons.
I hope that the Minister will do something about air-conditioning. While it is important to have buildings erected and to concentrate the Public Service in one centre, where people can go knowing that if they do not find the officers they require on one floor they will find them on another floor, it is equally important to ensure that those who work for the Commonwealth Government will work under the best possible conditions.
– Are they getting soft?
– It is not that people are getting softer. When we erect these great edifices of concrete and glass, we make conditions rather uncomfortable for people in the summer time, as well as in the winter time. These buildings are ovens in summer time and freeze boxes in winter time.
– This building should be comparable with commercial buildings.
– Whatever the Commonwealth does ought to be as good as what is done by any commercial enterprise. Although the Minister said that an airconditioning system is being provided in the second and new stage of the Commonwealth centre, he did not say directly - perhaps he did by implication - that something had been done in this direction in the first stage.
– Yes, it has been installed.
– I am glad to have the Minister’s assurance that the system proposed for installation in the second stags is already in use in the first stage of the Commonwealth centre. If the Government has it in mind to install a better system of air-conditioning in all its buildings, so much the better.
On behalf of those who have to occupy the warren or den - that dreadful institution at 318 Post Office-place in Melbourne - 1 want to say that any relief will be very welcome. It is an awful place for those who work there and an awful place for people to visit to see their members of Parliament. It provides the worst accommodation in Australia and it is serviced by the most temperamental lift in all Australia. The lift breaks down at least twice a day and I find the conditions there most exacting. I am one of the last of the conservatives left in Victoria. I go to my office every Saturday morning and Sunday morning, and I generally have to walk up the stairs at those times because the lift is being serviced.
– It is safer than that lift!
– It is, because a number of members has been marooned in the lift from time to time. Melbourne has not been well served in this respect for a long time. Federal members of all parties from Melbourne are a long-suffering tribe. They have not been very vocal in their protests.
– The lifts will not work and the bridges are falling down!
– That is true. I could make a number of other remarks. I could say that every time I go to Sydney now I take my overcoat! These pleasantries aside, I am glad to see that some activity is being displayed because, quite seriously, I believe that the Commonwealth should be represented in each capital city by a very big Commonwealth centre, it should not be bigger than is necessary but it should be big enough to provide adequate services. The State governments have large office blocks. The Commonwealth should have equally important and imposing centres if only for the reason that the prestige of the Commonwealth demands that people know where Commonwealth services are available - services which they as taxpayers are entitled to expect.
– The Commonwealth is spending hundreds of thousands of pounds in rent.
– Yes, not only in the capital cities but also in provincial cities. I am glad that the Sydney building is nearing completion. I was a member of the Cabinet committee which selected the sites for these buildings, and I want to see the buildings completed before the people think it is time for me to move on.
.- May I say something to amplify the remarks of the Minister for Works (Mr. Freeth) concerning the recommendation of the Public Works Committee that the Commonwealth undertake an inquiry into air-conditioning of Commonwealth buildings. When the committee made its recommendation we had in mind the fact that in most buildings now being erected on behalf of private enterprise air-conditioning is provided. The committee feels that if the Commonwealth is to attract and keep staff it must have a firm policy about air-conditioning of its buildings. The committee has dealt with several proposals for air-conditioning in various parts of Australia. One proposal in particular concerns the Darwin area. Honorable members will be aware, as a result of the motion that was before the House earlier, that the committee will inquire next week into proposals concerning Darwin and the Northern Territory. The committee will look into the matter of providing air-conditioning for school buildings in the Darwin area. We feel that at an appropriate time an overall investigation should be made into this important matter of air-conditioning.
Dealing with the inquiry into stage 2 of the Commonwealth Centre, Melbourne, the committee has become very concerned about the accommodation now being provided there for the Repatriation Department. We feel that it is not the function of the Public Works Committee to say which departments shall go into a particular building, but when we are told that a specialist department is to occupy a building we feel it is our responsibility to ensure that that specialist department has proper accommodation for its needs. As a result of our investigations we are satisfied that the Repatriation Department in Melbourne is in urgent need of new accommodation. Because of the limitation on the committee’s responsibilities, to which I have referred, I now amplify those remarks and request that the Government give urgent consideration to planning stage 3 immediately in order to accommodate specialist departments, first priority being given to the Repatriation Department and perhaps to a department that has associated requirements, such as the Department of Health.
.- I gathered from the remarks of the Minister for Works (Mr. Freeth) that the Government proposes to hold an inquiry into the subject of air conditioning of modern government buildings. I recall that in its report the Public Works Committee recommended that air conditioning be installed in the Commonwealth Centre, Melbourne, and that the Government determine its future policy in regard to air conditioning generally. Those were two firm recommendations. I am not sure whether the Government proposes to adopt the committee’s first recommendation - that the Commonwealth Centre, Melbourne, be air conditioned - or whether it proposes to defer acceptance of that recommendation and instead hold a general inquiry into the efficacy of air conditioning. Despite what the Government may do about holding an inquiry into air conditioning generally, it cannot get away from the fact that the committee recommended air conditioning for the Commonwealth Centre, Melbourne.
In its report the committee made certain recommendations about the provision of carparking space. The provision of parking facilities in capital cities is a very important consideration in the erection of new buildings. When the Commonwealth erects a high density building in a capital city it adds to the traffic problems of that city. The committee suggests that the Government should lay down a firm policy with regard to the provision of parking facilities in the original design of buildings. As the Chairman of the Public Works Committee, the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Dean), has said, it is not the function of the committee to say which departments shall be housed in a particular building. That is a matter for the Government to determine. During its recent inquiry into the second stage of the Commonwealth Centre in Melbourne, the committee was told by repre sentatives of the Department of Works that their task would be greatly simplified if, when preparing initial drawings, they could be told which departments would occupy the building. I hope that as a result of the committee’s recommendation in this regard somebody will get to work very early and will determine in advance which departments will occupy new buildings. Having done that I hope that the information will be transmitted quickly to the Department of Works. If that is done many of the problems that now beset the committee and various government departments will disappear.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 8th May (vide page 1116), on motion by Sir Garfield Barwick -
That the bill be now read a second time.
.- The Opposition supports the bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted.
Bill - by leave - read a third time.
Debate resumed from 8th May (vide page 1116), on motion by Sir Garfield Barwick -
That the bill be now read a second time.
.- Section 2 (1.) of the Parliamentary Papers Act reads -
It shall be lawful for either the Senate or the House of Representatives to authorize the publication of any document laid before it.
The bill with which we are now dealing proposes to add new sub-section (1a.) to section 2. Under the new sub-section a document shall be deemed to have been laid before the House whatever terms are used under the new Standing Orders, that is, whether it is laid before the House, presented to the House, tabled in the House or laid on the table of the House. This is an amendment made necessary by the recension of the Standing Orders. It is an amendment which the Opposition supports. There are, in fact, a very great number of documents which come before the House, are presented to the House or are tabled in the House. This, of course, does not mean that under the Parliamentary Papers Act they are authorized for printing. There has to be a separate motion in each instance. The only comments I wish to make on the bill relate to the desirability of having more papers which are laid before the House authorized for printing.
Both Houses of Parliament have set up the Joint Select Committee on Parliamentary and Government Publications, which is to report by 30th September next. I am confident that it will recommend a more comprehensive and rational scheme for the printing of papers which are laid before the Parliament. I have asked numerous questions concerning this matter over the years. A great deal of valuable information which is made available to honorable members is not made available to the public or, in fact, preserved for honorable members thereafter. I shall illustrate this by reference to an answer that I received from the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) in his other capacity as Minister for External Affairs. The question related to International Labour Organization conventions. These form the largest single group of international treaties to which we are a party, or, more precisely, which are concluded at gatherings at which Australia is represented. Yet we find that no I.L.O. convention has been made available in the form of a parliamentary paper since the conventions adopted at the I.L.O. conference in 1946. It is true that a considerable number of conventions have been tabled since that time. They have been made available to honorable members in the form of reports which the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) has tabled. But these are not documents which are preserved as parliamentary papers. They are, in fact, documents which are very difficult for the public to secure. Indeed, they are very difficult for honorable members to secure. These conventions are the most numerous treaties with which we are concerned. 1 hope that the Minister for Labour and National Service will, in future, move that the reports which he tables be printed.
The Minister for External Affairs may not think that he has a primary responsibility for the I.L.O., but many treaties are drawn up or reviewed at conferences at which Australia is represented. The Minister tables in the House any treaty which it is proposed to ratify or to which it is proposed to accede. The Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies), when he was Minister for External Affairs, announced this new procedure in the House on 10th May, 1961. Even these treaties are not printed. There is no motion that they be printed. So there, again, we cannot have access to these treaties in the form of a parliamentary paper. If Australia ratifies them or accedes to them they appear in the Australian Treaty Series.
I suppose that most of the treaties which are tabled because it is proposed to ratify them or accede to them will, in due course, appear in the Australian Treaty Series. There is, however, a great number of treaties which are drawn up or reviewed at conferences which Australia attends and which are not printed either because the Government does not propose to ratify or accede to them, or because it has not yet made up its mind on the subject. Some of these treaties can be given further consideration when we are dealing with specific bills. A recent case was the copyright treaties, drawn up at international conferences, in my recollection, in 1948, 1951 and 1962. It was quite difficult to get copies of these treaties. The first two of them were annexed to the report of the Copyright Law Review Committee. The third one was not readily available at all.
The point I wish to make is that, when Australia has been represented at any gathering at which a treaty has been drawn up, members of Parliament are entitled to have the text of that treaty. We should see to it that the Parliament orders that the treaty be printed. We could thus ensure that the public and not only experts and esoteric persons, had access to these documents. It is not sufficient that the public should just have access to acts of Parliament or regulations made by the Executive or to the various reports, numbering some five dozen a year, which have to be made, or which the Government chooses should be made, to the Parliament. In these cases members of the public can address themselves, and members of Parliament can readily address themselves, to the promptness or completeness with which the Parliament acts. But with respect to our international arrangements it is quite difficult to ascertain these matters. It is difficult for members of Parliament. If we put a question on the notice-paper the Minister always takes the attitude that there is a copy in the Parliamentary Library. But there are not enough copies there to go around honorable members if the subject comes up for debate. There is usually only one copy in the Library. If members of Parliament find difficulty in getting these documents, in what position are members of the public?
Therefore, Sir, I take this opportunity to express the hope that, now that the procedure for tabling papers is clearer and simpler, Parliament will take the opportunity to order the printing of such papers. I have cited the international arrangements, treaties and conventions, because they are a clear case where the Executive does something on behalf of Australia, but where the Parliament and the public have very little opportunity to superintend the action, the promptness and the diligence of the Executive. Accordingly, I hope that this measure will not only make it easier for us to do these things, but will also spur us to do them, particularly when we have this government publications committee’s report. The Opposition supports the bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted.
Bill - by leave - read a third time.
Debate resumed from 16th May (vide page 1475), on motion by Mr. Harold Holt-
That the bill be now read a second time.
– Order! There being no objection, that course will be followed.
– For reasons that I hope will become clearer as I proceed, the Opposition intends to propose an amendment to the first of these measures. They are being taken together and technically I could propose two separate amendments, but the principle we want to establish can be shown by the proposal to amend the Loan (Australian National Airlines Commission) Bill. Therefore, I move -
That all words after “That” be omitted with a view to inserting the fallowing words in place thereof: - “ this House, whilst not declining to give the Bill a second reading, is of opinion that the financing of the purchase of jet aircraft and related equipment should have been met from revenue and not from loans raised overseas “.
– Order! Is the amendment seconded?
– I second the amendment and reserve my right to speak to it.
– For convenience, the House is discussing these two measures together. In essence the first bill provides that 11,000,000 dollars, the equivalent of £A.4,900,000, shall be borrowed on behalf of Trans-Australia Airlines for the purchase of two Boeing 727 aircraft to be used on our internal services. The second bill provides that 9,000,000 dollars or £A.4,000,000 shall be borrowed on behalf of Qantas Empire Airways Limited for the purchase of two aircraft of slightly different character. They are described as Boeing 707-1 38B aircraft. The two measures provide for a total borrowing of 20,000,000 dollars or about £A.9,000,000.
Several other measures have been introduced in this House to provide for T.A.A. or Qantas loans amounting in the aggregate to about 100,000,000 dollars, of which about one-half has been repaid. When those measures were before the House the Opposition did not oppose them, mainly because they were designed to provide finance for the purchase of aircraft for use internally and externally. Those aircraft earned their keep and, inasmuch as the airlines are government-owned, we had some say in the expenditure. The loans liquidated themselves in a relatively short time. On this occasion, however, we feel that the sum is so trivial in itself - an aggregate of about £9,000,000- that we should not go through the process of raising the money by loan. To suit its purposes the Government claims that Australia’s internal reserves are healthy. The latest available figures, which are contained in the issue of the Reserve Bank Bulletin for April, 1963, disclose that at the end of March, 1963, the total gold and foreign exchange holdings of the Australian banking system were £590,800,000, of which £88,000,000 was held in gold and £502,000,000 in foreign exchange. In the perspective of those reserves of £590,000,000 it seems absurd to have to resort to borrowing 20,000,000 dollars or £A.9,000,000 to finance this transaction. Why could not the necessary finance have been provided directly, simply by paying the Boeing organization straight out for the aircraft, the internal transactions between Qantas, T.A.A. and the Australian Government being arranged between the three parties?
The course which the Government is following seems to us to typify its attitude to the general problem of overseas investment in Australia. The Labour Party never has said that in no circumstances should there be resort to foreign borrowing. We recognize that sometimes when you require technical assistance or when you are facing temporary balance-of-payments difficulties you may have to resort to borrowing to finance your international transactions, but if you resort to that avenue always you store up a lot of difficulties for the Australian economy.
We feel that the point has been reached where there is a too great resort to overseas borrowing. I hope in a moment to indicate some of Australia’s recent history in government borrowing and, in particular, borrowing from the dollar area. We all know that Australia, like any other nation, does not desire to live entirely within its own resources. We also know that the standard of living in Australia is improved by international trade and that better international relations are promoted by the rational exchange of goods and services between countries. Traditionally, we on this side of the world have relied on exports to maintain our balance of payments. In the main, those exports have been primary products but, unfortunately for us, primary production is subject to seasonal variations. For instance, we have heard much talk of floods in the last few weeks. Primary production is affected by flood, drought and seasonal variations. Even if we do manage to obtain a satisfactory volume of production, we in Australia have not much control of the prices we receive for the goods we export because such prices are determined by the amount of competition on world markets.
One of the difficulties that bedevils primary producing countries, of which Australia is only one, is that so far we have not been able to evolve a satisfactory scheme for determining the prices of primary products. We can determine the prices of manufactured goods on fairly rational costing bases, but primary products are subject to all sorts of fluctuations. As an example, I need only mention wool. Our wool clip for the year could be anything between 4,000,000 and 5,000,000 bales, of which a considerable proportion would be sold overseas, but the price obtained for that wool overseas could vary by anything from £50,000,000 to £60,000,000 from year to year. That fluctuation, unfortunately, has serious repercussions upon Australia’s balance of payments position.
Again, Australia is going through a stage of capital development and the tendency has been to resort to private capital borrowing to import much of our capital goods. This has been made necessary partly because of the kind of difficulty that I have described. For instance, if we take only what are called our current transactions - our physical imports as measured against physical exports - we find that the balance of what we have sold over what we have bought has been dropping steadily over the years. Indeed, I think that for the tenyear period from 1950 to 1960 Australia’s overall deficit balance was £1,500,000,000. That deficit has been made good by an inflow of capital.
Some people applaud that as a sign that other parts of the world have great faith in Australia’s economic potential. That may be so, but it still creates problems for Australia because people do not invest in a country out of a sense of philanthrophy. They invest in it because they expect to get a return on their money, and the day inevitably comes when there must be repatriation of profits, and when you have to send dividends overseas. On occasions, in certain circumstances, you may even have to repatriate capital. In Australia we have reached the point at which the cost of servicing what has been borrowed in the past eats up a considerable part of our export earnings each year. The Labour Party has long felt that we have reached the point at which there ought to be some halt to this unfortunate process. But the Government seizes every available opportunity to seek to borrow in all parts of the world and considers itself very successful when the Treasurer is able to report that he has borrowed so much from Canada, Switzerland, the United Kingdom or the United States of America.
Let me give honorable members some idea of the pattern of this Government’s overseas borrowings in New York from December, 1954, to January, 1962. In December, 1954, this Government obtained a 25,000,000-dollar conversion loan. In June, 1956, it raised another loan of 25,000,000 dollars, of which 18,300,000 dollars was by way of conversion loan. In November, 1956, it borrowed a further 17,800,000 dollars. In March, 1957, it borrowed 20,000,000 dollars, of which 17,100,000 dollars was by way of conversion loan. In April, 1958, it borrowed 25,000,000 dollars. In June, 1958, it borrowed 13,000,000 dollars, and in September, 1958, it borrowed 3,000,000 dollars on account of Trans-Australia Airlines. In November, 1958, there was a further borrowing of 25,000,000 dollars. In September, 1959, the Government borrowed 25,000,000 dollars. In April, 1960, it borrowed another 25,000,000 dollars; and in August, 1960, it borrowed 2,000,000 dollars.
– What was that for?
– On this occasion it was for Trans-Australia Airlines again. In October, 1960, there was a further borrowing on general account of 25,000,000 dollars. In December, 1960, there was a borrowing of 30,000,000 dollars on behalf of Qantas Empire Airways Limited. The amount borrowed in July, 1961, was 25,000,000 dollars, and in January, 1962, a further 30,000,000 dollars was borrowed by way of conversion loan. The total borrowing for the eight-year period was 315,800,000 dollars.
In addition to that, in the same period the Government resorted to borrowing from such institutions as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. In August, 1950, the Government borrowed 100,000,000 dollars from that bank. Other borrowings from the same source were 50,000,000 dollars in July, 1952, 54,000,000 dollars in March, 1954, and 54,500,000 dollars in March, 1955. In November, 1956, the Government borrowed 9,200,000 dollars from the International Bank on account of Qantas Empire Airways Limited. In December, 1956, it borrowed 50,000,000 dollars from that bank, and its borrowing from the same source in January, 1962, was 100,000,000 dollars. The total amount borrowed from that bank in the period between August, 1950, and January, 1962, was approximately 418,000,000 dollars. So, over that period of approximately ten years this Government alone has obtained approximately 800,000,000 dollars, or an average of something between 80,000,000 dollars and 100,000,000 dollars each year by way of borrowings and conversions.
One might well ask: When is all this sort of business going to stop? Some of the loans to which I have referred have been financed at comparatively favorable rates of interest when we compare them with the current bond rate in Australia; but that is not the whole of the story. The Treasurer has stated that the borrowings made under measures similar to the bills under discussion had been made at an average interest rate of 41 per cent., and he described that as most favorable borrowing by the Commonwealth to finance the purchase of aircraft in the United States of America. At first glance a rate of 4i per cent, on borrowings in the United States - a rate less than the current bond rate in Australia of 5i per cent., which not long ago was 5i per cent. - appears to be quite good. But, of course, there is a big difference between money borrowed overseas and money borrowed internally. The main difference is that when money is borrowed overseas interest is paid to foreign bondholders and no taxation is collected on that money.
There is no time, in discussing these measures, to go into the mechanisms of the Australian national debt. I spoke on that matter a week or two ago in this House. Sometimes when money is borrowed internally it is simply a case of the left hand of the Government putting money into the right hand pocket of the Government. When money is borrowed internally, the spending of it and the taxing of it is an internal matter. When money is borrowed externally we cannot make a true comparison and say that borrowing is favourable merely by comparing the interest rate on that foreign borrowing with the ruling internal rate. They are different sorts of transactions and they cannot be evaluated in quite the same way.
I think money borrowed internally at 6 per cent, would be a better proposition than money borrowed externally at 41 per cent., although the position would vary according to taxation and other internal measures. I do not think there is any value whatever in the Treasurer saying that money borrowed at 4i per cent, is being borrowed on favourable terms. I do not quite know what he meant by “ favourable “. I fancy that in that context he meant that 41 per cent, overseas was a good rate compared with 5i per cent, internally. In essence, that is a dishonest comparison to try to make.
We say that this business of resorting to borrowing on every occasion has to be stopped. As I said earlier, in some circumstances there may be a case for resorting to overseas borrowing. But this is not one such occasion. Can anybody on the Government side of the House really stand up and seriously defend a loan of 20,000,000 dollars or £9,000,000 Australian, even at a rate of 4* per cent, which he might think is favourable? Can any honorable member opposite justify that when our international reserves stand at well over £500,000,000 and some of them are held in gold and some of them are held in dollars?
– Yes, I can.
– Apparently the honorable member is prepared to do that. I am not and neither is the Opposition. We say that the purchase of these aircraft, from a national point of view, should not be financed on the basis of long-term borrowing. We ought to pay cash to the interests concerned and let the internal financing as between the Government and two airline operators be worked out. After all, those two sides of the transactions are involved here.
What the House is contemplating is really an agreement between the Australian Government and the Morgan Guaranty Trust Company of New York on the financing of this proposition. It has nothing whatever to do directly with the Boeing company which makes the aircraft. This is purely a financial transaction, and we suggest that it should not be taking place. Payment for these aircraft ought to be made on the same basis as payment for 1,000 or 10,000 motor cars that are imported during a year. That is treated as an annual transaction. If you cannot afford to pay for those cars, you should not buy them. But if your reserves are of the order of Australia’s international reserves you can afford it. It is foolish to be paying interest overseas, although members of the Government soothe themselves by saying that an interest rate of 4* per cent, is a good, favorable or comparatively l_w rate.
We say that the aggregate amount is too trifling for us to need to resort to borrowing. It is contemptible that a great nation such as Australia cannot pay £9,000,000 for four aircraft that it really needs. I am not making an issue of the need for the aircraft. I accept the fact that the aircraft are needed. I hope that no one will attempt to do what is often attempted when we take the only course open to us under the parliamentary machinery to oppose a measure for one reason. I hope that it will not be said that we do not want these aircraft for Australia. We on this side of the House accept the need for the aircraft.
It is not necessary in considering these measures to go into this mattter, but there might be some quibble about why these aircraft are being bought in the United States rather than in Great Britain. I do not pretend to be a technical expert in these matters. As I said once before in this chamber, I never know what sort of aircraft I am getting into until somebody tells me what sort it is. I can only tell the difference between a Fokker Friendship and a Viscount. I cannot see, with my eyesight, much difference between a Viscount and an Electra until I get inside them.
I do not want to argue at this stage about whether another type of aircraft ought to have been recommended for purchase. I have heard plenty of people suggest that aircraft bought from the British Aircraft Corporation would have been at least as satisfactory from Australia’s point of view as the Boeing 727’s. I cannot enter into the technical arguments about that, except to suggest that sometimes it seems that the matter that determines the sort of aircraft that is bought for this country is the political pressure that Mr. Ansett is able to put on the Government, rather than the realities of the situation. However, I let that be.
In respect of these measures, we do not deny the need for the aircraft, but we do object to the method by which the transaction is being financed. Honorable members opposite brag, when it suits them, about the high level of our international reserves. I put this question coldly: Would Australia’s international financial position be prejudiced at the moment if £9,000,000 cash were paid out of the reserves which total £580,000,000, rather than resorting to obtaining finance on the New York loan market? We are not convinced that the answer to that question is “ Yes “.
It is a pity that the hour is not earlier and that honorable members are not less tired than they are after last night’s performance. That is one of the results of the unfortunate way in which business is dealt with in this House. Measures that have some significance come before the House at late hours of the night after members have spent the previous day or two days arguing a matter that is regarded at that stage as being more important. The result is that the principles that underlie these sorts of measures are not always evaluated by the House as critically as they should be. Nevertheless we have taken this opportunity to move the amendment that I moved earlier. The reasons for it ought to be clear now. We do not think that the Government has proved any case for financing this very necessary purchase. It has not proved the case that this necessary purchase should be made from loan moneys. We suggest that, as the international reserves are at the level at which they are, it would have been more prudent and better national housekeeping to pay for these aeroplanes as we bought them. The adjustment as between the Government and the various airline operators should have been regarded as an internal matter, not an external matter. For these reasons we have submitted the amendment I have moved.
.- The honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean) is quite right when he points out that this transaction is not in any sense an isolated one but forms part of the longterm policy of the Government. I would like to go back a little further with the long-term policy of the Government. These financial transactions merely follow as a logical consequence from it. The policy is that we seek to develop the economy of Australia as fast as we possibly can, and that aim requires the maximum of investment that we can arrange. If we can satisfactorily augment the resources available for this purpose from overseas, we are prepared to do so and to pay any reasonable price.
The honorable member for Melbourne Ports enumerated various loans that had been raised, and even for aircraft this follows the line of a number of predecessors. The whole purpose is to add to the resources available to the Australian economy. Unfortunately - I do not say this particularly about the honorable member for Melbourne Ports - the Australian Labour Party in general is not business-minded. The situation has a very close parallel to that of an ordinary business. If an ordinary business is making a reasonable rate of profit, it can plough back the profits to finance its expansion programme, and it can grow. But if it is to grow fast, and many businesses wish to grow fast if the opportunity is there, it borrows and borrows on the long term from banks and otherwise. In other words, a business borrows resources from outside to augment its operations and to grow. This process with an individual firm, as with a country like Australia, involves the payment of interest and eventually the repayment of the debt. This process pays because, if the business has planned its operations properly, it will repay the loans and interest out of a larger business operating on a bigger scale.
The Australian economy to-day, at this stage of what has now been quite a long borrowing programme, is cast on a much larger scale than it was. Its exports and its general capacity to repay debts have been greatly enhanced. This growth in the Australian economy has been made possible in considerable part by the capital inflow that we have enjoyed. This capital inflow consists of many items. The borrowings made by the Government are only one item and a relatively minor item. There are also the borrowings, the capital inflows and so on that have come from private sources overseas to Australia to augment the economy. With this, of course, is essential and basic know-how.
On the Government side, the borrowing and the import resources are probably cheaper than any other form and also - this is one point no doubt on which the Opposition places great emphasis - this at least places no part of the Australian economy under outside control. That is a separate issue. One would think, on this basis, that the Labour Party, judging by its other statements, would prefer governmental borrowing to borrowing by the private sector. We on this side welcome the whole lot. But this is the basic issue now. If we like to become nationalistic, we can accept the other proposition. A business can say: “ We will not go to the banks and borrow to expand our business. We will reshuffle our investments inside the business. We will not go outside but we will let one branch of the business borrow from another and charge a rate of interest. In this way, we will keep it within the firm.”
That basically is the proposition that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports is advancing. This transaction results, after all, in importing assets of economic value to Australia, and airlines certainly are that. But this process, of course, involves some subtraction from our overseas resources. On the other hand, the result is that our economy becomes larger. Roughly half this transaction is borrowing to buy aeroplanes for Qantas Empire Airways Limited. These aeroplanes, of course, are a direct earner of foreign exchange and nearly every airline in the world borrows to equip itself with the necessary aircraft. If this is a well-run airline - Qantas is certainly that - it does over the year repay these loans from its own resources.
The honorable member for Melbourne Ports is quite right in throwing the main emphasis on policy. We always get back to the policy that we on this side of the House believe in adding as many resources as we can to ensure that the Australian economy will develop as fast as possible. This is no phenomenon confined to Australia. Look at the industrial development in the United States of America. A tremendous amount of it is financed from abroad. The United States used to borrow in the days when its economy was roughly at the stage of development that ours now is. Germany is in the same position. Do not forget that a lot of the very valuable foundations of the Russian economy were laid before 1917, and Russia borrowed on a considerable scale. Just as a private business borrows to expand and increase its operations, so does the nation at large.
The honorable member made another point. This is a basic point of policy. We have been over it many times. It is true, as he says, that this comes on late at night, but it is no new policy issue; it is a mere repetition. The honorable member made the point, which at first sight may well have some relevance, that our resources overseas are at present high. He suggested that we should use part of those reserves to finance the purchase of these aircraft and do with reserves at a lower level. That is very nice, provided the Australian economy proceeds on an even keel. We have had long experience of this. Every one who over the last decade has had practical experience of handling Australian economic affairs knows that by the very nature of our economy we face enormous fluctuations.
In about 1950 we faced a drop, within a period of a few months, of about £500,000,000 in our overseas reserves. At the present moment our overseas reserves are in a healthy condition, but when you look at them in terms of our imports you find that they would finance about eight or nine months of normal imports required to keep Australian economic life going. If at some future date we faced a fall in commodity prices, say a serious fall in the price of wool, and at the same time we had very big increase in the demand for imports, we would be able to meet the position only by very drastic restrictions unless we had a very large cushion of reserves. The time to build up reserves is when your external position is favorable, when the rest of the world has great faith in you.
The precise level of reserves that we should have at any particular time is a matter for debate. We have large reserves now, but what a wonderful cushion they are against potential adversity in the future. They give the Australian policy makers the capacity to take the initiative in doing a number of things which, if our reserves were weak, could be done only at very great risk. Healthy reserves mean that we can face a period of some adversity without introducing all the hampering restrictions that so inhibit business life and the general expansion of the Australian community.
This is a very important matter for all Australians. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean) and the other members of his party would, if faced with a period of adversity, introduce drastic restrictions and start controlling the whole economy. That is in line with their philosophy. Our philosophy is different. We believe in free enterprise. We believe in building up reserves and generally working ourselves into such a position that the Australian economy will not have to withstand some of the horrible pressures that have been brought to bear on it in the .past.
As this amendment is, of course, directly aimed at the basic policy of the Government, let me say in conclusion that I believe, as I think most people who have had long experience of the Australian economy believe, that it would be difficult to envisage a level of Australian overseas reserves that would be too high. I oppose the amendment.
.- The only things that have enabled us to survive as a nation, Mr. Deputy Speaker, have been the constantly increasing productivity of the Australian farmer and the growth of capital inflow into Australia. The productivity of the Australian farmer has fluctuated as much as £200,000,000 during the last ten years. Since 1949 the value of primary production has increased by a fraction. It was about £1,000,000,000 at that time and it is now in the vicinity of £1,000,000,000. During the intervening period it has fluctuated between £1,000,000,000 and £800,000,000. And this is one of the factors upon which the survival of this nation depends.
The other factor is the inflow of overseas capital. This has increased about six-fold. It was about £60,000,000 per annum in those earlier times; to-day it is, as far as we are able to gauge, about £300,000,000 per annum. However, we are not able to gauge this accurately because, although this country’s very survival depends on the inflow of overseas capital, the Government has not the statistics available to show the people what that inflow is. I asked the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), by means of a question on notice the other day, what was the value of real estate owned by persons resident overseas. What did he say? “ No statistics available “. I asked the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) the other day what was the proportion of overseas capital invested in the various industries in Australia. He said he could not tell us - “ No particulars available “. No particulars available, and yet we know that Australia is up for sale in every country of the world. I have before me an advertisement which appeared in the Hong Kong “Tiger Standard “ of 23rd April, 1963:-
Magnificent Engineering Plants and Modern Factory . . . Prices range £750,000 to
We find Australia up for sale in other parts of the world. Art Linkletter, the American television star, recently purchased 1,000 square miles of Australian territory. He already owned a farm of 22,000 acres in Western Australia. He is not the only one in this kind of position. Many of these television stars and other performers who come to this country are unable to take away the vast amounts of money they receive, and they spend it here buying bits of this country. All these purchases, whether they are of shares in industry or of real estate, mean that a bigger and bigger proportion of the income of the people of Australia must go overseas annually to satisfy our debts.
– Certainly not. We have always said that Labour- believes that certain capital should come into this country. We have pointed out to this Government that there are methods of determining the kind of capital that should come here. We have pointed out that in Japan, in India, in Belgium, in Denmark and in most other countries there is discrimination with regard to the kind of capital that shall be allowed to come in, and as to the purpose for which it shall be used. Such is not the case, of course, in Australia. In this country, the survival of which, as I have said before, depends upon the inflow of overseas capital-
– And the farmers.
– And the productivity of the farmers - and, as I have also said, the productivity of the farmers is ceasing to increase. It is slowing down rapidly.
– Not the productivity.
– Well, the value of the production, and that is what counts, what you are able to sell it for. That is the issue that matters, and it is upon the two factors I have mentioned that the survival of this nation depends. Yet the Treasurer had the audacity to say to-day, in answer to a question, that he welcomed all kinds of investment from overseas, and that it strengthened our development. In reality, there is only a certain kind of capital investment that assists in the expansion of our industries and in the maintenance qf employment opportunities for our people.
I think that now I ought to give credit where it is due. The Minister for Trade, who is Deputy Prime Minister, in a speech to representatives of the Australian Association of British Manufacturers in London on Thursday, 9th May, 1963, said -
Honorable members opposite say that they welcome this inflow of capital. The Deputy Prime Minister added - . . I don’t hesitate to immediately say that I hate the idea of my country’s development depending on capital inflow.
The same right honorable gentleman, addressing a Country Party conference at Lakes Entrance, in Victoria, recently, said that in order that the people of this country may live comfortably, we are selling a bit of our heritage year by year. He pointed out that the Australian Country Party did not believe in the selling of our heritage bit by bit annually. But members of this Government do, especially the Treasurer, who has said -
This strong inflow of capital is enabling us to absorb migrants in employment, to diversify our industries and to strengthen our national economy and our national security.
The right honorable gentleman has put on record not once but a dozen times the fact that he welcomes the inflow of all kinds of capital and that he will do nothing to limit the inflow of capital from overseas or to discriminate against any of it.
The pertinent point in relation to the two bills that we are now discussing - you may have been wondering what it is, Mr. Speaker - is that the Opposition has proposed an amendment to the Loan (Australian National Airlines Commission) Bill 1963 because it considers that the increasing of overseas indebtedness and obligations indefinitely is undesirable. If our survival depends on the inflow of capital, we should not, every now and then, on the slightest pretext, borrow overseas and thereby commit ourselves to paying out annually more in interest and repayments than we paid before. These present loans will probably mean that we shall have to pay overseas annually more than £1,000,000 in addition to what we pay now. This will mean that the inflow of investment capital from overseas will have to increase. That is speculative capital in portfolio investment that does nothing to promote the development of this country. That capital comes into Australia to enable overseas investors to buy out firms that are already established here-
– Order! I hope that the honorable member can relate his remarks to the bills, which provide for the raising of loans for Qantas Empire Airways Limited and TransAustralia Airlines.
– These are loan bills, Sir. Most Opposition members probably realize that a loan has to be paid back some day and that the borrower has to pay interest on it. The whole question of the inflow of capital is mixed up with the raising of loans overseas. At present we owe overseas on account of loans more than £800,000,000. When the Australian Labour Party went out of office, we owed overseas for loans about £500,000,000. There has been an increase of about £300,000,000 since, and the amount is continually being added to by the financial operations of the present Government.
– How long ago was the amount only £500,000,000?
– That was the amount that we owed abroad in 1949. The total indebtedness of Australia abroad at that time was about £500,000,000 for loans and about £300,000,000 for foreign investment in this country - a total of approximately £800,000,000. To pay our debts overseas, we had at that time about £700,000,000 or £800,000,000 in overseas reserves. If we had sold at that time every asset that we had overseas, we would practically have met all over overseas obligations. Our indebtedness at present amounts to about £800,000,000 or £900,000,000 on account of loans and about £2,000,000,000 for capital investment. If we sold every asset that we have overseas at present, we would fail by more than £2,000,000,000 to meet our overseas obligations. That represents, shall I say, a deficit, of £200 for every man, woman and child in Australia.
This situation is due to the efforts of the present Treasurer in the main, with some assistance from the Minister for Trade, who but recently has come to realize the disastrous economic results of the borrowandboom policy adopted by this Government in its overseas financial transactions.
– Why did not the honorable member tell Mr. Heffron about overseas investment before he went abroad?
– I am telling the Government that is responsible for Australia’s international financial and trading policy. The honorable member cannot escape his responsibilities. In the last few days, Government supporters have talked a lot about the survival of this nation in the face of the dangers that menace it from overseas. I remind them that, since this Government took office, we have spent about £2,000,000,000 on the defence of this country and more than £2,000,000,000-
– Order! The honorable member is now embarking on a discussion of defence.
– I am trying to answer an interjection.
– The honorable member should not be drawn off the track by an interjection.
– As I have said before, the warning pen writes in vain, the warning voice grows hoarse. Indeed, my voice is getting a little hoarse now. I have noticed that our distinguished Treasurer, if he cannot answer an argument or deny the accuracy of statements made by honorable members on this side of the House, deliberately ignores our arguments and statements in the hope that he will thereby prevent the people from paying particular attention to what we say.
– If the honorable member will sit down, I shall answer his arguments now.
– I shall sit down in a few minutes. I ask the right honorable gentleman to answer not only me but also the Deputy Prime Minister, who, addressing a representative gathering of farmers at Lakes Entrance, said that he believed that all the farmers at that large meeting knew that having to sell a bit of the farm every year in order to live comfortably ultimately leads to disaster. He added that that was the position of Australia and said -
We must sell a bit of our heritage every year. . . .
He stated that the Australian Country Party would not continue to put up with that situation. As I have said, as recently as Thursday, 9th May, 1963, in London, the Deputy Prime Minister said -
I will let the right honorable gentleman have a portion of my time to reply to the Deputy Prime Minister’s statement or to explain it.
– Order! The honorable member is now wide of the bill. The matter before the chair is a loan for airlines. I ask the honorable member to direct his remarks to the bill.
– For the reasons I have set out so very clearly - reasons that are so strongly supported by the Deputy Prime Minister - I consider that it is most undesirable that we should incur, as a loan, increased annual commitments that will interfere with the flow into this country of capital which is becoming more essential every year for our survival as a nation.
.- I do not propose to enter into the pros and cons of the ways and means whereby sufficient money is to be found to enable the airlines concerned to purchase aircraft. I would like to see the money raised in Australia. The honorable member for Scullin (Mr. Peters) loses sight of one fact to which the Deputy Prime Minister and the Leader of the Australian Country Party (Mr. McEwen) referred in the remarks which the honorable member has mentioned. There is cause for alarm at the extent of overseas ownership of industry in this country. But the difficulty is that there are not sufficient financial resources available in Australia to meet the demands caused by the rapid development that is taking place. The only way in which we can obtain sufficient capital for our needs is to earn a bigger export income. I suggest to honorable members opposite that they direct their attention to the opportunities available to us to earn a greater export income and to ensuring that, by their policies, we are not priced out of export markets.
– Order! The honorable member must relate his remarks to the bills.
– The purpose of the bills is to authorize the raising of loans for airlines to purchase aircraft. I am particularly interested in the statement that AnsettA.N.A. and Trans-Australia Airlines are each to purchase two heavy turbo-jet aircraft - Boeing 727s - for introduction into the Australian domestic network in the latter half of 1964. According to the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Paltridge) the Boeing 727 is a three-engined aircraft with an all-up weight of 1 52,000 lb. and a passenger-carrying capacity of approximately 100 in a mixed passenger list of first-class and tourist class. It has a speed of about 600 miles an hour. These purchases would be extremely welcome to people living on the western side of Australia if there were some assurance that the difficulty that they face with the existing service would be removed by the new aircraft being used on the long-distance haul to the west.
– You are looking after yourself again.
– I am certain that the honorable member for Watson will not look after anybody but himself. A speedy aircraft such as the Boeing 727 would be of most use over long distances. When previously aircraft suited for long distance hauls were put into service, the eastern States received preferential treatment. We in the west have a lot of misgivings about the use to which these new aircraft will be put.
I bad occasion recently to question some of the so-called benefits of the rationalization of airline operations. My mind goes back to the early days of air travel between the east and the west of Australia. We in the west were not happy with the service that was provided - a single company service - and we welcomed the advent of a second company or the introduction of a second service. 1 object to a monopoly of any kind, whether it is a socialist or a private monopoly. We welcomed the idea of competitive services, but I am not too sure that we have competitive services in our domestic airlines to-day.
– Order! The honorable member is now dealing with something outside the bills. They refer to loans for the purchase of aircraft by certain companies.
– I remind you, Sir, that one of the loans is for the purpose of purchasing aircraft for introduction into the Australian domestic services.
– Not for the purpose of rationalizing airlines.
– Some of the aircraft purchased are to be introduced into our domestic services. My plea is that when this happens, the aircraft will be used for long flights to the west instead of for short flights in and between the eastern States. I ask that the Minister direct his attention to the time-tables in the domestic network, in order to see whether they can be arranged a little better than they are at the present time, for the convenience of people travelling to and from the west.
– Order! If the honorable member could relate that subject to the bill, he would be in order.
– I am, Sir. It is relevant to the domestic network.
– Order! The honorable member is getting away from the bill. If he does not get back to the bill, I will have to ask him to resume his seat.
– One purpose envisaged by the bills is the raising of a loan in order that an airline may purchase aircraft for introduction into the domestic network of Australia. My plea is that the domestic network, as it relates to Western Australia, shall receive the consideration which it should receive, but which I believe it does not receive now. I am hoping that when this House gives its blessing to the bills - as it will - it will also give an indication to the Minister for Civil Aviation that in rationalizing the domestic airline services he should give consideration to both the east and west of Australia. That is my plea. I hope the Minister will take it into consideration.
.- I wish to address a few remarks to the bills. They provide for the raising of loans for TransAustralian Airlines and Qantas Empire Airways Limited. The Opposition has moved an amendment to the bills. I am concerned about certain correspondence that I have received from the Airline Employees District 141 International Association of Machinists. Some time ago I received a cablegram from Mr. Adolph Stutz, assistant general chairman of the union, in which he said -
Qantas Airlines is engaging in an anti-labour campaign against their employees. If some corrective action is not taken immediately the Australian Government will suffer unfavourable publicity in this matter.
Qantas operates under legislation enacted by this Parliament; it is under the control of the Australian Government. When I received that cablegram I immediately wrote to the union concerned asking l.u further details. I subsequently received a letter setting out full details. I have now forwarded that letter to the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Paltridge). I subsequently received from the union concerned a letter dated 15th April, 1963, which read in part -
It is the Union’s contention that Qantas Airlints should pay identical wages and also provide identical conditions as BOAC, Lufthansa, KLM, Swissair, to just name a few. Union employees of Qantas are handling aircraft of BOAC, Lufthansa, besides Qantas.
– Order! The House is not discussing the problems of a union whose members work for Qantas. This bill provides for the raising of a loan. I ask the honorable member to confine his remarks to the bill.
– I bow to your ruling, Sir. I realize that the purpose of the bill is to raise a loan with which to buy aircraft, but such aircraft cannot be serviced unless Qantas pays the wages demanded by the union covering this industry. I raise this matter to-night not in criticism of Qantas - I wish only to do justice to the company - but to ask whether the Minister for Civil Aviation will study carefully the correspondence that I have forwarded to him. I ask the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) whether he will discuss this matter with his colleague in another place in order that the standing of Qantas in this important sphere of labour relations will be preserved and in order also to ensure that the working conditions of employees engaged by Qantas do not compare unfavorably with those covering employees engaged by other companies.
– Order! I ask the honorable member to come back to the bill.
– I ask the Treasurer to discuss with the Minister for Civil Aviation the matters that I have raised with a view to seeing that Qantas does not lose prestige and that Americans engaged by Qantas are paid wages and are granted conditions equal to those provided for other aircraft workers in the industry in America.
– Mr. Speaker, you were very tolerant with the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly). Perhaps I can clear the air concerning the matters which he raised. Although his remarks may not have been strictly relevant to the bill, they related to a matter of some consequence. I shall see that what he has said is brought to the attention of the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Paltridge).
I do not want to detain the House at this late hour, but there are two reasons why I feel I should say something by way of reply to what has been said. An amendment has been moved by the Opposition. Presumably that amendment is the result of a decision taken by the Labour caucus, and I think it is fitting for me to say something about it. The honorable member for Scullin, who goes through an emotional purge every time any subject remotely connected with overseas borrowings is mentioned, presses the point that I do not always reply to what he says on this matter in the hope that people will forget all about it. I do not need much encouragement to offer my views on a subject of such importance to Australia. Whilst I do not intend to-night to express those views as elaborately as on a more appropriate occasion might be desirable, I intend to say something about the general subject.
– Mr. Speaker, you importance to him and others who come from the western half of the continent. He has pointed to the improvements that the introduction of jet aircraft will effect in bringing more closely together the western part of Australia with the commerce, industry, traffic and tourism of the eastern part. I am sure that all of us will welcome the introduction of this speedier and more modern transportation which will help to knit our continent more closely together.
The Government feels that it should not be asked to accept the amendment moved by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean). Indeed, as my colleague, the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Bury), has already indicated, the Government will not accept it. What I have to say need not be expressed at the length which the subject deserves because the honorable member for Wentworth has very ably covered the main elements of the Government’s policy. He did so from a background of vast experience. Few men in this country are better informed or better equipped on a matter of this kind than is the honorable gentleman, who gave Australia such distinguished service overseas in the activities of the International Bank and the International Monetary Fund. When he speaks on matters of this kind he speaks with great authority.
The Government has a remarkable record in financing its capital programmes out of revenue. This is something that honorable gentlemen opposite seem to have overlooked. There can be few countries, if any, where so much of the capital programmes of an official kind are financed from revenue. For many years virtually all of the capital programme of the Commonwealth has been so financed. What the Commonwealth has been able to secure by way of loans overseas, except in some special circumstances such as these aircraft loans and the loan for the Snowy Mountains project, has been applied to the capital programmes of the State governments. Yet, despite our best efforts to secure as much as we can on the loan market of Australia and loan markets overseas for capital purposes, such has been the rate of growth in this country during this Government’s term of office, with our rapid population increases, the expansion of industry and provision for the needs of our rapidly expanding industries, that we have had to provide from revenue, finance over and above the amounts that could be secured from loans for purposes of the States - some £800,000,000- and we have financed our own capital programmes almost entirely out of our revenue. Well, Sir, that is not the record of a reckless or profligate government, unmindful of the financial implications of what it is doing. The honorable member for Scullin (Mr. Peters) repeatedly tries to paint us in that way, as though we were just going on in some spendthrift fashion, not caring about the future, but just enjoying the fruits of other people’s savings, without regard to where that might lead us. This Government’s record in the financing of the capital programmes of the Commonwealth and States marks it as one of the most responsible governments, in financial terms, to be found anywhere in the world to-day.
Having said that, let me turn to the amendment and to what has been said by the honorable member for Scullin. If ever there was justification for raising necessary finance overseas, we believe it is here. First of all, the money is being raised for the purchase of aircraft at a very favorable rate of interest and that will affect the financial operations of the airlines involved. It will contribute to efficient operation. Secondly, here is a borrowing which, in the case of Qantas, can be financed by its own overseas earnings from the aircraft which this money will provide. So it is not going to add to the problem of financing our overseas borrowing. It will make it to some degree - perhaps a relatively small degree - easier to service those overseas borrowings, because all the revenues which the aircraft used by Qantas will earn overseas, will be used for this purpose. I think this was a poor example for the Opposition to seize on in order to advance the hostility which so many members of the Australian Labour Party feel on this general question of borrowing overseas and the inflow of capital from overseas.
I will now say a passing word on the inflow of capital. It is a large story and deserves longer treatment at another time; but here is a country that is growing fast. It has a land mass the equivalent of the United States of America but only 11,000,000 people to supply the needs of development. Obviously we cannot grow at the pace that we all desire to see if the limit to our growth is to be what we ourselves can save inside Australia. The man on the land who borrows money and puts it to good use for the development of his property knows that that is a wise course for him to adopt. Out of the increased production of his land hs is able first to service the interest on the loan and then, in due course, repay the principal. He is left with an improved asset. The Australian nation is a multiplication of that process, provided that we handle our affairs sensibly and well. I believe that on our record of development and our record of increased productivity we can claim to have put the capital which has come into this country to good use. That goes not merely for what we have borrowed overseas; it goes also for the capital which has come here from private sources. We are sometimes told that we are building up a great problem for the future. The growth of the United States of America, which to-day has the most powerful economy in the world, was built in the early stages on capital from other parts of the world. Providing that we can handle our affairs skilfully and well, we, Sir, can do likewise.
– What about portfolio investment?
– The honorable member for Reid asks, “ What about portfolio investment? “ Portfolio investment is a relatively small proportion of the total capital inflow. Most of it, as I have pointed out in this House before, is of a long-term character and comes mainly from institutional investors. Those sums, as they come into the country, stimulate employment opportunities and provide more resources for industrial concerns - either the concerns in which they are invested, or, as the result of the receipt of those funds by people who make a transfer of their own shareholdings in those enterprises. So even portfolio investment has its uses. Capital development has been largely of arn industrial character and this has added tremendously to the strength and diversity of the Australian economy. Honorable gentlemen opposite claim to be supporters of full employment policies. Just how much employment has been provided in Australia, during the years of office of this Government, by capital which has come here and by the know-how and techniques which have been added to the Australian range of capacity as the result of this capital inflow?
Now, Sir, even in circumstances in which Australia has sustained a drop in its terms of trade - to-day we are somewhere in the 60 per cent, range as compared with a level of 100 per cent, in 1953 - we are able to maintain ourselves with growing overseas reserves. So there is currently no reason for the concern which the honorable member for Scullin expressed. As to the future, not only are we likely to have some improvement in our terms of trade - signs of that are already on the way - but also we are building up our export capacity all the time. We are being enabled to do that as the result of this expansion and this industrial development which the capital inflow helps us to maintain and to increase. Let me give just a few examples with regard to our overseas borrowings. I hope to allay some of the concern of the honorable member for Scullin and of others who sit on the Opposition side of the House. The honorable gentleman may be surprised to learn that, in relation to overseas borrowing, Australia to-day is in a very much stronger position, relatively, than it was when honorable gentlemen opposite were in office.
– Give us the figures!
– I will give you the figures and you can check them for yourself. First let us take the total Commonwealth and State overseas debt as a percentage of our national income.
– Give us the full story!
– I will tell the story in my own way. At 30th June, 1949, the end of the last full year in which Labour was in office, the overseas debt was 26.2 per cent, of the national income. For the year ended 30th June, 1962, it was 12 per cent., less than one-half the percentage which applied when honorable gentlemen opposite were in office. Let us look at the interest liability as a percentage of our national income. The interest liability on our overseas debt, as at 30th June, 1949, was 9 per cent, of the national income. Last year it was . 5 per cent, of the national income. Now let us consider our overseas interest liability as a percentage of exports f.o.b. In 1949 it was 3.3 per cent, and last year it was 2.8 per cent. Finally, our overseas debt interest liability expressed as a percentage of the total interest liability was 20.4 per cent, in 1949 and 16.9 per cent, last year. I hope that the honorable member for Scullin will sleep a little more comfortably to-night now that he has those figures before him.
The Government is not unaware of the problems which may arise when significant areas of the economy come under overseas control. We watch that position closely. Whatever may be said on the general argument - I will willingly enter into the general argument when the time is appropriate - on that aspect of the capital inflow which comes to us from overseas borrowing - this bill is an illustration of an inflow for a specific purpose - the figures I have quoted will show that the Government has the situation well in hand and that our position is significantly stronger to-day than it was when honorable gentlement opposite were in office.
I invite the House to reject the amendment which has been put before it.
Question put -
That the words proposed to be omitted (Mr. Crean’s amendment) stand part of the question.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Sir John McLeay.)
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 3 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.
Clause 4 (Approval of Borrowing)
– I shall detain the committee for only a couple of minutes to answer a point made by the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt). Clause 4 is the essence of the bill, because it provides that money shall be borrowed. In the course of his argument the Treasurer said that he could not understand why the Labour Party took the attitude that it did, particularly with respect to the loan for Qantas Empire Airways Limited, because Qantas is engaged in earning dollars and the loan will service itself automatically, as it were.
The difference between the attitude of the Labour Party and that of the Government is typified by this very clause. If the amendment that we proposed had been carried, the effect would have been that it would haVe been possible to pay for the aircraft by reducing Australia’s overseas holdings of exchange by 20,000,000 dollars, and there would have been no future debt incurred. The Government is borrowing an aggregate of 20,000,000 dollars at an interest rate of 4i per cent. This means that the annual interest bill will be somewhere in the region of 1,000,000 dollars. Each year for a period of almost seven years this Government will be faced with a bill for 1,000,000 dollars, so that the net overall effect of this transaction will be that for the 20,000,000 dollars which Australia gets she will have to pay back something in the vicinity of 24,000,000 or 25,000,000 dollars.
– But our overseas reserves earn money, too.
– I know that, and that is where the difference between us lies. I agree with the Treasurer that this is a matter which ought to be argued out in more detail on another occasion. I am simply taking this opportunity to answer his argument by saying that if our proposal had been agreed to, it would have saved Qantas Empire Airways Limited and TransAustralia Airlines combined - and ultimately the Australian public - something like 4,000,000 or 5,000,000 dollars in interest. The interest would have been paid by Qantas and Trans-Australia Airlines internally and that money would have circulated in the Australian economy instead of in :he American economy, as it will under the Government’s arrangement. That is the difference between our points of view.
.- I thank the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) for what he said in his reply to my comments, and I should like to take this opportunity to explain to him what I intended to convey when I spoke to the second reading of the bill. I understand that the employees of Qantas at Honolulu and San Francisco intend to go on strike-
– Order! The matter to which the honorable member is referring has no relation to the clause before the Chair.
Clause agreed to.
Remainder of bill - by leave - taken as a whole, and agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Motion (by Mr. Harold Holt) proposed -
That the bill be now read a third time.
.- We are well aware that it is far more economical for the Government to borrow money at 43/4 per cent, interest; but I should like to bring to the notice of the committee the Opposition’s view on the general question of foreign capital, and I propose to deal with the Government’s record in connexion with public authority borrowing. Let me compare the position to-day with the position as at 1st July, 1950.
At that date, the Government’s total borrowings amounted to 195,400,000 dollars. By 30th June, 1962, that figure had jumped to 311,600,000 dollars. The Government has also borrowed 234,000,000 dollars from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
– Relate all that to our national income.
– The total borrowings by this Government–
– Order! I ask the honorable member not to engage in a general discussion of overseas borrowing.
– May I say, with due respect, that I am talking about dollar borrowings in New York and that the bill deals with such borrowings.
– Order! The honorable member will be out of order if he continues along those lines. He must relate his remarks to the question before the House. We had a fairly wide discussion of the matter to which he refers.
– Mr. Speaker, you are well aware as I am of the wide range of matters about which the Treasurer spoke. I thought at the time that you were particularly tolerant, and I was hoping that you would show me the same tolerance.
– I am trying to explain this Government’s record in connexion with borrowing. I say again that we are well aware that this Government’s position in connexion with borrowing–
– Order! The honorable member is continuing to discuss something outside the question before the House. I must ask him to come back to the question or resume his seat.
– With all due respect to you–
– Order! The honorable member will resume his seat.
Motion (by Mr. Uren) negatived -
That the honorable member for Reid be heard.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
Motion (by Mr. Harold Holt) - by leave - agreed to -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent Order of the Day No. 5, Government business, being called on.
Consideration resumed from 16th May (vide page 1476), on motion by Mr. Harold Holt-
That the bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Bill returned from the Senate without amendment.
Motion (by Mr. Harold Holt) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
Motion (by Mr. Harold Holt) put -
That the question be now put.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Sir John McLeay.)
Majority . . . . 4
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 11.55 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
d asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice -
What was the cost of (a) freight and (b) insurance on goods imported into Australia during the year 1961-62, and what are the latest available figures for the current year?
– The Acting Minister for Trade has supplied the following answer to the honorable member’s question: -
The Commonwealth Statistician has advised that figures for freight and insurance payable on goods imported into Australia are not published separately, but together they are estimated to have amounted to £112,000,000 in 1961-62 and £65,000,000 in the first half of 1962-63.
Overseas Investment in Australia.
s asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice -
– The Acting Minister for Trade has supplied the following answers to the honorable member’s questions: -
The Commonwealth Statistician has advised as follows: -
Statistics of investment income paid and of exports for the last ten years are -
d asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
Of the estimated number of 244,972 eligible aliens who had not applied for naturalization up to 31st December, 1962, approximately 49,000 would be children under sixteen years of age who, as a rule, could not apply for naturalization in their own right but would be included in the applications of their parents.
Persons of Asian and other non-European race appearing in the table of persons naturalized comprise non-Europeans who, having established a period of fifteen years’ residence in Australia, nave qualified for the grant of permanent residence and, consequently, for naturalization, and the spouses and children of Australian citizens.
d asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
son asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
– The Minister for National Development has supplied the following information: -
Northern mines. New South Wales -
Elrington Hebburn, Maitland Main, Pelaw Main, Richmond Main, Stanford Main.
Liddell State, Muswellbrook.
Mr Sugarloaf, Newstan, Northern, Northern Extended, Pacific, Stockrington, Wallarah and Waratah. Southern mines, New South Wales -
Wollondilly Extended. Queensland - Baralaba, Callide, Kianga, Moura.
A more detailed dissection for New South Wales is available in respect of the years 1960-61 and 1961-62.
As the sales are covered by privately negotiated contracts the terms are not normally publicized and consequently details of prices received are not available. Annual figures of the tonnage and value of coal exported to each country are published annually by the Commonwealth Statistician. The following calculations are of the overall average f.o.b. value per ton (i.e., of coking, gas-making and steaming coals) as derived from these statistics -
n asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
m asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
Is it still the Government’s intention, as stated by the then Minister for Air on 25th November, 1959 (“Hansard”, page 3122), to aim at a shipbuilding industry of no greater capacity than would bc needed to meet the likely level of orders for the coasting trade?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
The decision of the Government in 1959 that it should not aim at a shipbuilding industry of greater capacity than would be needed to meet the likely level of orders for the coasting trade was made following a report on the industry by the Tariff Board. The statement of 25th November, 1959, by the then Minister for Air also indicated that the question of assistance needed by the industry would be reviewed in 1962. A further reference to the Tariff Board was made by the Minister for Trade in September, 1962, and the board has undertaken the hearing of public evidence. When the board’s report is received the Government will give consideration to whatever recommendations may be made as to the need or otherwise of assisting this industry.
n asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -
– The Minister for the Navy has supplied the following information: -
d asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1, 3 and 4.-
d asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
b asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
-~The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
What amounts were initially requested from the Australian Universities Commission by each of the universities in Australia in respect of the last and the present triennium periods, and what amounts were finally provided in each case?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows:* -
The amounts initially requested by each university in Australia are the bases for discussion between representatives of each university and the commission during its triennial visits. The total funds involved in the proposals of each university are considered confidential by the university and the commission.
As a result of continued discussions and visits to. departments in each university the commission makes its own assessment of the needs of each university, bearing in mind its charter to promote “ the balanced development of universities so that their resources can be used to the greatest possible advantage of Australia”.
The amounts of money provided by the Commonwealth to the States for their universities in the triennium 1961-63 (the only one so far dealt with by the Government and the Universities Commission) appear in the States Grants (Universities) Act 1960-1963. The amounts provided for the Australian National University appear in the estimates of my department.
Overseas Visit by the Prime Minister.
d asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows: - 1 and 2. I refer the honorable member to the statement I issued on 13th May about my intention, during the parliamentary recess, to visit Britain and the United States in response to invitations received from the governments of those countries. My main purpose, in a brief visit, will be to have discussions with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the President of the United States of America, and the Prime Minister of Canada.
asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
Is the Papuan police force being trained for, and increased to cope with, internal security?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
Legislation is at present being prepared for submission to the Legislative Council for Papua and New Guinea to create the Royal Papua and New Guinea Constabulary as a separate statutory authority. This constabulary will be directly responsible to the Administrator for the maintenance of law and order in the Territory. Previously the police functions were carried out under the Department of Civil Affairs which has been abolished. As a preliminary measure a new Department of the Police has been set up. The constabulary will be considerably strengthened and expanded and indigenous police cadets are being trained for commissioned rank. A section of the constabulary will be especially concerned with problems of internal security.
y asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are to be found in United Nations document A/c 5/974 of 14th May, 1963, which is available to honorable members in the Parliamentary Library.
Water Conservation and Irrigation. Sir Robert Menzies. - On 16th May, the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) asked whether I had received a request from the Premier of Tasmania for Commonwealth financial assistance for an irrigation scheme which would use the waters of the Poatina hydro-electric station.
The letter from the Premier of Tasmania which I had in mind in replying to the honorable member’s question did not seek Commonwealth financial assistance for this particular irrigation project. It requested that the Bureau of Agricultural Economics be asked to investigate the possible economic advantages to be derived from the development of irrigation schemes in Tasmania and the general developmental possibilities for agricultural output in north-eastern Tasmania. This request is being considered.
Importation of Oil Pipeline.
t.- On 17th April, the honorable member for Oxley (Mr. Hayden) asked me a question about the importation of steel pipe from Japan for the MoonieBrisbane pipeline. Further to an interim reply I then gave, I am informed that there is no information available to the Government to indicate that the export of steel from Japan is subsidized by the Japanese Government or that the particular steel pipe in question was subsidized by the Japanese Government. With regard to sales of Australian steel products to New Zealand, I am informed that recently the Australian share of that market has fallen and the Japanese share has risen. This development has apparently been caused by a number of factors, including a reduction by New Zealand in the preference afforded to certain Australian steel products under its British preferential tariff and the availability of low freight rates on shipments between Japan and New Zealand. The other matters raised in the honorable member’s question relate to private business arrangements and I am not in a position to furnish information with regard to them.
n asked the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. Appeals for acceptance of an incapacity as due to war service may be made from a determination of a Repatriation Board to the Repatriation Commission and further if necessary to a War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunal. The time taken to finally dispose of an appeal depends on the circumstances of each case, including the time taken by an appellant to lodge his appeal to the commission and the further appeal to the tribunal if required. The average periods for dealing with appeals in Victoria are, in the case of the commission, 41 days and in the case of the Entitlement Appeal Tribunals 64 days. The normal period from lodgment to hearing of an appeal at either stage may be extended because of any of the following circumstances: - The need for further medical investigation, including that undertaken by or at the request of the appellant; postponement of the bearing at the request of the appellant to enable further evidence to be sought or for personal reasons; and in the case of appeals to the tribunals by the requirement of the act that where fresh evidence is presented at the tribunal hearing the case must first be referred back to the commission. A delay of up to twelve months would be exceptional and would be explained by one or other of the above circumstances. The Repatriation Department assists as far as it can in expediting the hearing of appeals.
d asked the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice-
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
d asked the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1- and 2. Information which would enable a comparison of the incidence of diabetes among ex-servicemen who saw active war service and the population generally is not available. Decisions as to attributability must, of course, be made by determining authorities- in the light of the medical and other evidence put before them in each individual case.
y asked the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
s asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
d asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
These settlers cover both assisted and unassisted settlers, and include some persons who have spent almost a lifetime in Australia. They do not include persons who stated on departure that they had come to Australia intending to settle, but had stayed for a period of less than twelve months; the Commonwealth Statistician states that the number would appear to vary from 1,000 to 2,000 per year.
n asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
d asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 22 May 1963, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1963/19630522_reps_24_hor38/>.