24th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Sir John McLeay) took ihe chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
Mr. MORTIMER presented a petition from certain citizens of the Commonwealth praying that the Government remove section 127, and the words discriminating against aborigines in section 51, of the Commonwealth Constitution, by the holding of a referendum at an early date.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Primary Industry. After a survey of the meat industry by a firm of consultants, proposals to reconstitute the Australian Meat Board were approved in principle by the Australian Agricultural Council. Have producer organizations now had an opportunity to consider the proposals and is legislation to reform the Australian Meat Board likely to be introduced this session?
– The producer organizations have had discussions with me about the re-organization of the Australian Meat Board, but as yet they have not submitted their final proposals to me. That situation does not suggest that the Meat Industry Control Act will be amended during this Parliament.
– I direct to the Prime Minister a question concerning flood mitigation. Can the Prime Minister inform the House what the New South Wales Government actually has requested from the Commonwealth Government in the way of aid? Secondly, can he say whether a decision has been reached by the Commonwealth Government?
– The honorable member will recall that I had something to say about this matter at Casino during the flood period. I then indicated on behalf of the Government that we did regard this as a special problem; that,~m fact, concrete proposals ought to be worked out, if possible, by the local authorities; and that in the first place those proposals should go to the State Government because prima facie this is the State Government’s business. I added that I had no doubt that in due course we would hear something about it here. That has happened. I must say that a lot of very good work has been done in the preparation of detailed plans in the local field. Following on those plans, the State Government was approached. It is giving help in the programme.
The Acting Premier at the time wrote to me and said that, as it was important to expedite this work as far as possible, the State Government would like to have a Commonwealth grant or a Commonwealth provision matching what the State Government itself was doing. That means that in the case of what I shall call broadly the northern rivers, the State Government is paying £2 for every £1 provided by the local authorities. The proposal put to us was that we should add another £2 so that we would equal the State Government’s contribution. In the case of the Hunter, there is a rather longer range undertaking, and the State Government is providing £3 for every £1 contributed by the local authorities. We were asked to match the £3 contribution by the State Government. This was the request made to us by the State Government. I hope I have made it clear.
The northern rivers section, if I may use that expression, involves a six-year programme, and we have agreed that we will make the matching grants requested by the State Government during the six years required for the work. In the case of the Hunter, the work will take considerably longer, although it will fall away towards the end. We do not think that we should commit some future government for a very long period, so we have said that we will match the State Government’s contribution of £3 for six years. This means that we have acceded to the State Government’s request for matching grants on the whole programme for a period of six years as from now.
I hope that the effect of the Commonwealth Government’s action will be to expedite the work of .flood mitigation because we, and 1 am sure all honorable members, regard the constant chronic flooding in that part of Australia as distinguishing it from almost any other area in the country.
– Has the attention of the Minister for Shipping and Transport been directed to reports that Mr. R. W. Miller, in written replies to prepared questions, stated that the efficient use of tankers must result in a reduction of petrol prices to Australian motorists even though the tankers are manned by Australian crews? ]f this is the position, is it not a fact that the record number of permits granted to foreign-manned tankers have in fact been permits to exploit unfairly Australian users of petrol? Has Mr. Miller submitted the relevant figures to the Government as has been suggested?
– As the honorable member very well knows, this matter has b:en under consideration by the Government for a considerable period. Mr. Miller has been granted a permit to bring in a vessel to operate on the Australian coast. At present business arrangements are being made between Mr. Miller and British Petroleum Australia Limited which do not come within the Government’s province. They are private business arrangements. As Mr. Miller’s vessel is manned by an Australian crew working under Australian conditions, it will, under the Navigation Act, have priority in loading petrol. The price of patrol is an entirely separate matter. There are no figures to indicate that because Mr. Miller has picked up a cargo the price of petrol in Australia will fall.
– Will the Minister for the Interior say whether it is a fact that restrictions have been imposed on the use of Lake Burley Griffin in its initial development stages? If so, will the Minister give details of the restrictions? How long is it expected that the restrictions will remain in force? Do the restrictions apply mainly to the use of power boats on the lake? Is it a fact that the Australian Capital Territory Police Force has already acquired a powerful motor boat for use on the lake? What are the main purposes for which tHat boat will be -used?
– In general terms the answer to the honorable member’s question is: Yes. Restrictions have been placed on the use of power boats on Lake Burley Griffin. I made a statement to that effect last July. There are many reasons for imposing the restrictions. Several problems associated with the lake have not been entirely solved. One very important matter that will need to be taken into account is the problem of overcrowding on the lake. On several enclosed waters in New South Wales - some larger and some smaller than Lake Burley Griffin will be - the problem of overcrowding already exists. There is also the matter of noise level on the lake. Several important buildings, including the Canberra Community Hospital, are very close to the lake and it is to be expected that in the future more buildings will be erected close to the lake. Until we have more information about the noise level that may be expected on the lake it would not be wise to allow the use of power boats. I can tell the honorable member that the Commonwealth Acoustic Laboratories are carrying out tests on this problem. 1 felt that it was fairer to place a general embargo now on the use of power boats rather than to allow potential users to buy boats only to find that they could not use them.
There is a more immediate problem while the lake is filling. A general prohibition has been imposed on the use of the lake for boating and other purposes while it is filling because in the lake there are many hidden obstructions, such as tree stumps and sand banks, which will not be present when the lake has filled. But until it is filled those obstructions present a danger to anybody using the lake. An interesting side aspect of the filling of the lake is that a good deal of wild-life activity has been noted. Large numbers of platypuses, ducks and snakes have been observed taking up new abodes and for this reason also it is wise to try to protect the public as far as possible.
The honorable member referred to the speed boat that has been acquired by the Australian Capital Territory Police Force. It is obvious that finally there will be some limited use of power boats on the lake for the enforcement of law and order, for safety purposes, and for conducting tests. A limited use pf power boats will be permitted in due course. . ’ >’ n <
– 1 ask the Prime Minister a question. Does Malaysia officially describe itself as a neutralist non-alined country, or is that an interpretation by the right honorable gentleman of its position and policy? Can the right honorable gentleman table any statement by the Malaysian Prime Minister wherein he defines his government’s policy in relation to nonalinement and neutralism? Has Malaysia, or Malaya before it, specifically excluded the South-East Asia Treaty Organization powers from the use of Singapore in the event of the kind of defensive need arising which Seato is envisaged as fulfilling in South-East Asia?
– I am not able to say at present whether there is on ‘the record some written statement on behalf of Malaya and, therefore, of Malaysia, but I can assure the honorable member that I know at first hand exactly what the attitude of the Prime Minister of Malaysia on this matter was and is. We have always had put to us quite clearly the proposition that, from the Malaysian point of view, it was of the essence that it be not regarded as an alined country. Indeed, it was for that reason that the Malayans did not seek to enter the South-East. Asia Treaty Organization and have never sought to enter it. They may, it could be said, derive some benefit from the existence of Seato, but they are not a party to it. The whole reason for that is that they do not want to give up their unalined status. In that respect, they are in a position very similar to that of India. If all this has been stated in some formal fashion, I will be very happy indeed to obtain the information for the honorable . member
– I address to the Prime Minister a question that relates to the sittings of the House. I ask: Will he, with a view to enabling all the business of the House to be completed, see whether it would be practicable for the House to meet on Mondays and Fridays during the remainder of the session? I ask this question also because I understand that the Leader of the Opposition is anxious to visit the division of Moreton and it would be a great disappointment to me if that were not possible.
– My right honorable friend, the Leader of the House, has this matter in hand. I know that he is contemplating, for example, that it would be desirable for the House to meet on Monday week. I think that there is at the moment some question about meeting on Friday of next week. As soon as possible, my colleague will make the arrangements known to the House.
– -I direct my question to the Postmaster-General. So that his mind will be in correct focus, as it were, I remind him that during the last federal general election campaign the Australian Broadcasting Commission presented a programme called “ The Candidates “, which provided an opportunity for all candidates contesting the election to present their case on television. The Minister will recall that this programme was boycotted by the Liberal Party of Australia. I now ask the Government through him: Is the commission to present a similar programme during the forthcoming election campaign? If not, why not?
– The honorable member has stated correctly that, prior to the last general election, the Australian Broadcasting Commission - acting under its own authority and not under any direction - presented the programme, “The Candidates “. I know that after the election the commission considered the results of this policy on its part. To the best of my knowledge, no final determination has been made by the commission about further programmes of this kind, particularly, perhaps, as it may not have been expecting an early election.
The position is that I do not know exactly what is the commission’s intention in this matter. I am sure that its attitude will be determined quite shortly and that honorable members will then be advised. However, we shall not direct the commission. The matter is within its own prerogative.
– I direct a question to the Prime Minister. I ask: Has his attention been directed to a report that Indonesian forces in West Irian have been placed on the alert as part of Indonesia’s confrontation policy and because of Australia’s support of the Federation of Malaysia? Further, in view of the fact that Indonesia possesses the latest Russian.made supersonic fighters and long-range bombers, and the fact that only the forthcoming election has forced this Government to find a replacement for the obsolete Canberra bombers, will the right honorable gentleman call for an immediate report on the position in West Irian?
– We are pretty well informed about what goes on in these places. As to the electioneering content of the question, save it for the election campaign.
– I ask the Prime Minister: Has the Government considered the application of the Premier of Victoria for assistance in giving financial aid to certain dried fruit growers? If so, what decision has been reached?
– There are two aspects of the problem of assistance for the dried fruits industry, as the honorable members knows. My colleague, the Minister for Primary Industry, proposes to seek an opportunity to-day to make a statement on both aspects.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Trade. Is he aware that, duc to increased production in the United Kingdom and Europe, the markets for Australian berry fruits are becoming increasingly restricted? Will his department give particular encouragement 10 developing markets in South-East Asia for berry fruit products? Is the Minister aware that a company is seeking to establish a significant market for concentrated berry fruit juices in Singapore and is setting up a bottling factory to merchandise the products? Will his department give promotional assistance to such enterprises and, if necessary, consider giving financial backing to market expansion of this kind?
– The Department of Trade and 1 am aware of the problem referred to by the honorable member. The department not only wishes to help this industry, but is giving every possible assistance to deal with the present situation. The honorable member, who has constantly interested himself on behalf of the industry, will remember that nine or ten years ago there was a crisis in the industry and that this Government, with which he was at that time associated as a parliamentary secretary, did much to re-establish a basis of stability for the industry.
– I raise a point of order, Mr. Speaker. This is supposed to be an answer to a question without notice. This morning, in answer to questions, Ministers have given lengthy answers which were almost second-reading speeches.
– Order! There is no substance in the point of order raised.
– Many firms are establishing themselves in Malaysia. I am grad to note that food is one of the items being catered for.
– I raise a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Are Ministers allowed, under the Standing Orders, to bring into this chamber prepared written replies to questions?
– Order! There is no substance in the honorable member’s point of order.
– In accordance with clearly announced policy, the Government, through the Department of Trade, is giving promotional assistance to the berry fruit industry, in the manner suggested by the honorable member and requested by the industry. The trade commissioner service is doing everything possible for the industry. Special publicity is being engaged in. Food exhibitions are being held in Hong Kong. There will be one there next November. The food festival of Malaysia will be a venue for the exhibition and promotion of berry fruit products. In Japan, berry fruit products and other items of food will be presented at the Osaka fair. I can assure the honorable member that no stones will be left unturned - even berry fruit stones - in assisting the industry.
– I address a question to the Minister for Social Services. In view of the statements made in this House and in another place that a means test should be imposed on child endowment, will the Minister inform the House whether the Government has considered altering the present conditions of entitlement to child endowment? If it has done so, what are the proposed alterations?
– I have said at regular intervals that the whole scheme of social services is constantly under review. If and when any changes are contemplated, information is given to the House as soon as possible, and that sequence of events will be followed with respect to child endowment or any other aspect of social services.
– I inquire from the Minister for Trade what increased trade potential should be associated with the appointment of Mr. Y. K. Lin as the representative of the Central Trust of nationalist China in Australia? Has our trade with Formosa steadily increased? Will this be the first Chinese trade officer appointed to this country? What items are primarily of interest to nationalist China?
– I am not able to answer the honorable member’s questions with precision. As governments approach me or the Department of Trade seeking to increase their exports to Australia, generally recognizing that this move must be associated wilh reciprocal trade, I and the Department of Trade repeatedly suggest that as we ourselves establish trade representation in overseas countries, this is the proper course for other governments to follow in Australia. This was done in the case of nationalist China.
Nationalist China has a number of commodities that it can and does sell to Australia and we have a number that nationalist China can and does buy from us. I believe that the right course is for the Government of China to establish trade representation here so that there may be a constant exchange of views and information. In no instance where this has been done has it failed to produce satisfactory mutual results.
– I ask the Treasurer: Is he able to inform the House whether the benefit of the recent abolition of sales tax on various food lines, such as ice-cream, has been fully passed on to the consuming public.
– I am not able to give a comprehensive answer to the question put by the honorable gentleman, but I am able to say that I was notified by several manufacturers and some organizations of their intention to pass on to the full extent the concessions make available to them. This has been reflected in a number of instances of reduced prices to the public. I think that, generally speaking, and particularly in a field so competitive as that of foodstuffs, we can reasonably assume that the public would have received a sub.santial part, if not the full benefit of the concessions made.
– I wish to ask the Prime Minister a question which relates to a question asked earlier today on the subject of child endowment. As Leader of the Government, has the Prime Minister any knowledge whatever of any proposals on a government level to apply a means test to child endowment?
– I had never heard of any such proposal until I learned of it for the first time this morning.
– You should listen to the honorable member for Maribyrnong. He advocated it.
– I point out to my honorable friend from Gellibrand that the Government is responsible for the promotion of legislation. As to this proposal about a means test on child endowment, I have never heard of it before and I do not want to hear of it again.
– I direct to the Minister for Shipping and Transport a question supplementary to that asked by the honorable member for Darebin. Has R. W. Miller and Company Proprietary Limited made a firm offer to the Government - I emphasize that point, a firm offer - that if a permit is granted to import four additional tankers for use in the Australian coastal oil trade his company will immediately place orders for the construction of four tankers with Australian shipyards and, on the delivery of those Australian-built ships, will export the overseas-built ships? Has this company handed to the Government written assurances to this effect? If this is correct, why does not the Government immediately accept this offer so that this Australianowned company can break the monopoly control of the Australian oil industry by overseas-owned companies, or is the Government withholding approval of Miller’s offer in the interests of the oil monopolists?
– As 1 said earlier, there has been discussion between the Government, the oil companies and R. W. Miller and Company Proprietary Limited and the objective of the Government has been clearly stated. It is the objective of this Government, over a period of time, to develop the shipbuilding industry for the construction of tankers in Australia.
The honorable member has asked a complex question which involves the entry of second-hand tankers into the Australian coastal trade. The Government’s policy at the moment, with respect to the R. W. Miller company and the oil companies, is not to allow second-hand tankers to come on to our coast until the whole position has been clarified. When the propositions are brought before the Government, they will then be carefully considered. I repeat that this is not a question which can be decided overnight. The matter will be carefully studied in the best interests of the Australian public, the Australian seamen, the oil industry, overseas exchange and other associated factors If the honorable member requires a more definite answer I ask him to put his question on the noticepaper and he will receive a reply.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Immigration. Is he aware that, according to reports in overseas papers, there has been a substantial increase in the incidence of emigration from Argentina, particularly to the United States of America and Brazil over recent months and that the reports suggest that the migrants comprise an appreciable number of doctors, engineers and technicians who are of European ‘origin?1 If these reports are correct, will the Minister tell the House whether his department has investigated the possibility of attracting migrants with these desirable qualifications to Australia from Argentina?
– I have not seen the report to which the honorable member alludes. The position may very well be as he states, but I would be surprised if there was any large scale exodus of professional men from Argentina and Brazil north to the United States of America. I remind my honorable friend that both of those countries are rather in the same category as Australia. They are countries of immigration and run quite substantial immigration programmes. Therefore, those emigrants mentioned in the question are the very types of men and women that I assume those countries would wish to attract to their own shores. However, 1 shall have inquiries made, but I do not think I can raise the honorable member’s hopes in thinking we can supplement the meeting of our need for professional men, and particularly doctors and dentists, from South America.
– I ask the Minister for Repatriation a question. What steps have been taken by the Repatriation Department to supply its patients with transistor hearing aids of the latest types - that is, with minute batteries and without cords - instead of the present more conspicuous and bulky hearing aids?
– During each year thousands of hearing aids are provided by my department to eligible ex-servicemen Because of the medical difference in the varying cases, no standard type has been provided up to date. Quite a number of types have been supplied. These hearing aids are manufactured for us by the Commonwealth Acoustics Laboratory, and we have close co-operation with that laboratory in the latest developments. At the present time, the laboratory is experimenting with a transistor type of hearing aid without a cord. I understand that in the not too distant future it expects to have a prototype th.it may be suitable, and it will then go into manufacture. When the appliance becomes available, it will bc provided where required to my department.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Shipping and Transport and relates to that asked by the honorable member for Newcastle. Has Mr. Miller, in the proposals he has put to the Government, indicated that he already has the financial resources to place firm contracts for the building of one or more tankers in Australia and that he is in a position to carry out those contracts, or are his proposals based on a series of hypotheses?
– As I said before, this is a somewhat complex question. Various propositions have been made from time to time. Mr. Miller has. put up proposals and then has changed them from time to time. Propositions are coming from the oil companies and from R. W. Miller and Company Proprietary Limited. The ‘ conversations that have taken place are very confidential and I think at this stage it would not be fitting for me to state exactly the terms that have been put forward. Because of these discussions, I find myself in a difficult position when I am asked to say just what Mr. Miller has. or has not put forward. We are working on the basis that this is confidential. What Mr. Miller has said to the newspapers or has given out himself is his own concern. I assure the honorable member that this question will be fully examined. Any decision will have regard to the efficient carrying of oil around the coast in the best interests of the Australian public. .1 would like to say, in further answer to the question asked by the honorable member for Newcastle, who referred to monopolies, that the discussions with the oil companies have shown that there is very fierce competition between them.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Territories. Is it correct that in a letter to the President of the Legislative Council for the Northern Territory in July last, which was read to the council at that time, the Minister indicated that increases of £100 per annum would be granted to elected members? In view of the financial sacrifices that elected members make by serving on the council with their present allowance of £400 per annum, will the Minister now act to fulfil his under taking to. grant this small increase, and will he also make payment retrospective to the date of his original advice?
– I am at a loss to understand fully the purport of the honorable member’s question. . I will have some inquiries made to. see what has happened since I wrote my letter to the President of the Legislative Council, and I will let the honorable member have an answer.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Is it a fact that during the last few months, or certainly this year, the right honorable gentleman himself, the Minister for Trade, the Treasurer, the Minister for External Affairs, and even the Leader of the Opposition, have had interviews with that very busy man, the President of the United States of America? Is not this a striking illustration of the regard in which this country is held by the United States of America and testimony to the success of the Government’s policy of establishing a close, intimate and mutual relationship with the United States in the interests of the security of the Pacific area?
– I agree with the honorable member. It is a matter of great satisfaction, I think, to all Australians that we’ are on such close, friendly and helpful terms with the United States of America.
– I direct my question to the Treasurer. The right honorable gentleman is familiar with the powers and functions of the Commonwealth Banking Corporation and would know that it makes advances to building societies in New South Wales. Is he aware that many building societies in that State impose the condition upon members that they shall insure their properties with an insurance company not necessarily of their own choosing? As many members of building societies in New South Wales wish to take advantage of the lower premiums charged by the Government Insurance Office of New South Wales will the Treasurer exercise what influence he may have with the Commonwealth Banking Corporation to ensure that members of building societies will be free to choose their insurance companies? <.. ,.
– I shall study the text of the honorable member’s question and sec whether there is any appropriate action falling within my jurisdiction.
– I wish to ask the Minister for Air whether it is a fact that the United Kingdom “ Statement on Defence 1963 “ refers to the Royal Air Force in the Far East and states -
The command maritime reconnaissance light bamber squadrons have been equipped wilh Shackletons and Canberras.
Further, does it state that Hunters of No. 20 Squadron, R.A.F., and Canberra reconnaissance aircraft were sent to Labuan in December, during the Brunei revolt? The honorable member for Kingsford-Smith implied, in his question, that long-range tactical strike aircraft-
– Order! 1 think the honorable member should ask his question.
– Are long-range tactical strike reconnaissance aircraft required for such incidents?
– Each form of limited warfare requires a different kind of aircraft, and it is very difficult to tell which would bc the most satisfactory for a particular kind of conflict. For example, it was discovered during the campaign in Malaya, in which we had air superiority, that probably the most satisfactory aircraft from the strike reconnaissance point of view was the Lincoln. It was very much more satisfactory than would have been a really fast supersonic bomber, because it was able to carry a large load and place it accurately where it was required. The question depends entirely on the particular kind of limited warfare. I do not think T can add anything further to that reply.
– My question is addressed to the Treasurer. When was the last annual meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund held? Who was Australia’s representative at that meeting? What attempts, if any, were made by our representative to try to bring about an increase in the official world price of gold? If the matter was raised, was it debated and voted upon, and, if so, wilh what result? Finally, did the atmosphere of the meeting give any indication that fund members may in the reasonably near future support a proposal for an increase in price?
– At the most recent meeting of the International Monetary Fund, which I attended as the Australian governor, the question of the price of gold came under very early notice because President Kennedy, in formally opening the meetings, made it quite clear that the United States intended to maintain firmly the price of 35 dollars an ounce as the official price for the purchase of gold by that country. So. the clear intention having been formally disclosed, any subsequent argument to the contrary was of a rather academic character. The governor for South Africa referred again to the importance of a revaluation of international currencies inorder to produce, in effect, a higher price for gold; but he was stating grounds which had been put by the South African representative on a number of earlier occasions. There was no general support for his proposal, more so because American intentions had been expressed so clearly, as I said.
In discussions on the very important question of international liquidity, the socalled Paris group of nations made it clear that they did not see in a revised price of gold an answer to the question of expanding international liquidity. The honorable gentleman will perceive that the atmosphere was not very propitious. On other occasions. Australia has put forward its views on the desirability of an increase in the price of gold. But in the circumstances of this year’s meetings I did not feel that any advantage was to be gained by going over ground as to Australia’s attitude, which was well known to the other governors present.
– There being no dissentient voice, leave is granted.
– During question time in answer to the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony), the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) made an announcement on the Government’s proposed contribution to flood relief and mitigation in New South Wales. 1 regard the announcement - so does every other honorable member - as an important one; but it is an announcement which one admires more for its sense of timing than for its originality. After constant prodding from the honorable members for Cowper (Mr. McGuren), Mitchell (Mr. Armitage), Macquarie (Mr. Luchetti) and Newcastle (Mr. Jones), the Prime Minister has made his announcement, lt is to the effect that the Government will provide a matching grant, equal to that of the New South Wales Labour Government, for flood mitigation work in that State.
This, of course, has been Labour policy for some time. Whilst we welcome the Government’s decision, we believe that the Government has delayed the matter too long. The question of flood prevention and mitigation was scarcely ever mentioned until the present honorable member for Cowper came into this House. One has only to look at the index to “ Hansard “ to see how often he has raised this question and the work that he has done in regard to it. I pay tribute to the work that the late Sir Earle Page did years ago; but that is a matter of years ago and quite a number of floods have occurred along the northern rivers of New South Wales from time to time in recent years. The honorable member for Cowper has made a worthwhile contribution to the debates of this Parliament by the way that he has dealt with the question.
Partly because of his work and the association that he has formed with municipal representatives in New South Wales, five county councils in the area which he and certain honorable members on the Government side of the House represent have taken up this matter and have produced a report which shows that in the coastal area of New South Wales the estimated loss from the 1963 floods exceeded £2,000,000. That figure represents only the direct loss. The whole of this potentially rich area is not developing as it should develop. It is not developing because year after year its assets are being washed away into the Pacific Ocean and farmers are unable to improve their holdings in the way that they want. The councils estimate that a total expenditure of £5,000,000 would mean an annual increase in production in the area of £9,000,000.
So, looking at the matter from the narrow point of view of the Treasury, I consider that the total contribution that the Commonwealth will have to make will be returned by way of increased revenue in a single year. Thus, the Government, by its delay until election time, not “ only has allowed great havoc to be wrought year by year but also has denied the Treasury revenue that otherwise it might have had. I am glad that the Commonwealth at last has accepted its responsibility in this matter, whatever its motive.
Finally, let mc congratulate the Prime Minister on his ability to judge character, because obviously he has decided that it is worth about £2,000,000 to try to defeat the honorable member for Cowper. The Prime Minister will fail in that object, and not only will the farmers of the coastal district of New South Wales have the assistance that they deserve but the electors of Cowper will continue to have the fine representative whom they have and whom they deserve.
– by leave - Those of us in this House - there are many of us - who know this part of northern New South Wales and the terrible devastation that has occurred because of the short rivers and the high rainfall are aware that this issue ought not to become a political one. Honorable members opposite are laughing. I am sorry that this is their reaction. This is a human problem and a serious economic problem. I do not want to make a controversial statement. I want to get the record of the facts reasonably straight. I would be sorry if this issue became a matter of political controversy.
It is perfectly true that by constitutional practice and arrangement, the ordinary treatment of floods in rivers is undoubtedly the responsibility of the State governments. Of course, there are hundreds of records to establish that this matter is properly and constitutionally within the competence of the State governments, My own belief is that this particular matter is within the financial competence and responsibility of the New South Wales Government. I make that as an objective observation and not as a challenging statement.
The local people have been terribly upset by the devastation of property, the disruption of family life and the destruction of the farming community’s assets and prospects of making money. I hope that no government will attempt to take all the credit for what is to be done now, because great work has been done by the local authorities and great leadership has been given. There is a gentleman in Grafton whose name is familiar to many of us who are concerned with this matter. He is not in politics. I refer to Mr. McCartney who has devoted himself tremendously to this work. I want to put on record the value of the work that he has done in this regard.
I feel entitled to say that this area has been represented in the Federal and State parliaments predominantly by members of my party and State and Federal Country Party members have worked on this problem. I have no wish to deny the value of the work that the present honorable member for Cowper (Mr. McGuren) has .done. This work has not been all one-sided. An enormous amount of work has been done. Out of this welter of confusion, where the dominant situation was the real need of the people in the area, order was first achieved when my friends, the honorable members for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) and Lyne (Mr. Lucock) and Mr. Ian Robinson, the State member for Casino, combined to request - I think I should say persuade - the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies)- to go to Casino and to study what was happening there so that he might bring back to the federal Cabinet room his own personal knowledge of the situation.
Following this, I went to a great convention at Coffs Harbour and there concerned myself with this problem. It is literally historically true that it was after the visit of the Prime Minister, supplemented by my visit, that we secured a .recognition in the minds of the local government authorities who had been working so hard that there should be an orderly method of approach to this matter and that they should compose a specific engineering and financial proposal and then submit it to the State Government. Both the Prime Minister and I indicated that if they followed this course it would then be quite practical for the State Government to present the proposal to the Commonwealth Government with a request for assistance.
This problem has existed for years, but it was only this combination of our experience that brought about an approach to it on orderly terms. The local government authorities composed the engineering and financial proposal. It was a good one. They then submitted it to the State Government. The State Government approved of it and remitted it, very recently, to the Commonwealth Government. We did what we had said we would do. We gave it urgent and sympathetic consideration. That is the historical record of this matter. I am very glad that the people of the north coast of New South Wales now see a prospect of the abatement of this terrible problem.
Bill presented by Mr. Harold Holt, and read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
This bill is the first of a number of enactments which will be necessary to give effect to the Government’s decision to introduce a system of decimal currency into Australia in February, 1966. The main purposes of the bill are to establish the name of the new decimal currency unit, to settle the denominations and composition of the new decimal coins, and to give statutory effect to the Decimal Currency Board which was provisionally appointed last June, and which will be charged with supervising a number of the main aspects of the change-over arrangements.
At the time of the change-over, the new bill will replace the present Coinage Act 1909-1947 and, after a transitional stage has been passed and the decimal currency system is fully operating in Australia, it will determine the nature of the Australian coinage system and such matters as legal tender and the fulfilment of contracts and agreements entered into before the changeover date. The bill docs not purport to establish legal tender and other arrangements which will apply during the transitional period following the change-over date, when both the old and new systems of currency will be in circulation simultaneously for a period of perhaps eighteen months or two years. These transitional arrangements will be the subject of another bill which will be introduced at a later stage, after a number of matters have been studied and made the subject of recommendations by the Decimal Currency Board.
While this bill contains a blanket provision providing for the conversion into new currency of all reference to existing currency in Commonwealth legislation, and in bills of exchange, contracts, agreements and so on, it will be necessary to enact specific amendments to several Commonwealth acts which cannot be conveniently covered by the provisions in the present bill. I may add that, while the present bill and the subsequent legislation dealing with the transitional arrangements will be designed to give the State governments every possible assistance in their own problems, there are numerous legal aspects of the change-over which can only be covered by amendments to the legislation of each State. The Commonwealth and State Governments will be working in close liaison on such matters, and already there has been a meeting of the Parliamentary Draftsmen of the Commonwealth and the States to give preliminary consideration to these questions. I am sure it will be of interest to honorable members to know that the Law Draftsman of New Zealand was invited to attend this conference. He benefited greatly from the exchange of views as, indeed, did the Australian representatives benefit from the observations he was able to make himself. We will, of course, bc working in the closest possible liaison with the New Zealand and British Governments in regard to our change-over arrangements, and undoubtedly there will be considerable mutual benefit in having these contacts.
It has been of immense help to us that the South African Government pioneered this field when it introduced a system of decimal currency early in 1961. We have studied the reports of the bodies set up in South Africa to advise the Government and we sent observers to South Africa to watch the change-over at close range. However, while we will be following the path pioneered by the South Africans in a number of respects, it should not be assumed that our arrangements will be exactly the same as those in South Africa in such matters, for example, as government compensation for the conversion costs of monetary machines.
The history of the decimal currency movement in Australia dates back to federation and, as early as June, 1901, the honorable member for South Sydney moved -
That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into and report upon the desirableness and expediency of the Commonwealth coining gold, silver and copper coins and adopt a decimal system of coinage.
The history in Britain goes back even further and might be said to begin with a motion made by Sir John Wrottesley in the House of Commons in 1824. The question was subsequently discussed by a number of royal commissions and select committees, but one step in the right direction was the introduction of the florin, or 2s. piece, in 1849 as a one-tenth part of a pound. The 2s. piece eventually became part of the Australian currency system, and I am glad to say that a coin equivalent in value and similar in dimensions will continue to form an integral part of our new dollar-cent currency system.
The present Government’s first move on the decimal currency question was made in the Prime Minister’s policy speech of October, 1958, when he announced that the Government accepted the principle of decimal coinage and would, if returned to office, establish an independent committee to advise how and when and on what terms * to effect this reform. The Decimal Currency Committee was subsequently appointed in February, 1959. Its seven members were chosen as representatives of such fields as commerce, industry, banking, management, women’s organizations and the trade unions, and it was given the following terms of reference: -
The advantages and disadvantages which would result from placing the currency and money of account of Australia on a decimal basis, including an estimate of the annual savings in cost to the community;
The committee reported to the Government in August, 1960. It recommended the adoption of a decimal system of currency based on a major unit equal to 10s. in value and made a number of valuable suggestions regarding the manner in which the proposed change should be brought about. The committee reported unanimously that it was convinced that the adoption of a decimal currency system would be justified on the ground of savings alone - that is, the savings would amortize the total cost of the changeover within a reasonable period. Although the committee did not consider that the period could be specified, it believed it to be sufficiently short to make the change a worth-while investment. After full examination, the Government is convinced that the change-over is justified, and that it will represent an important contribution to the welfare and convenience of the community as a whole.
The benefits of introducing a decimal system of currency will include the saving of up to half of the time our primary school children have to spend in learning arithmetic; the much simpler sums we have to do in our everyday shopping; a noticeable saving of office and clerical time in the business world; and the advantages accruing from our business houses obtaining access to a much wider, and in many cases cheaper, selection of modern monetary machines. It is not possible to quantify the savings resulting from the adoption of a decimal currency system, but the South African Decimalization Board has received reports from a wide variety of businesses to the effect that the cash advantages which they could attribute to the adoption of the decimal currency system were in many cases quite substantial:
The committee carried out a detailed examination of each of the various major units which it would be possible to adopt before deciding that the 10s. unit offered considerable advantages over all others. It recommended that there should be no half cent provided in the new system to replace the existing halfpenny.
The committee estimated that it would cost approximately £30,000,000 to convert or replace monetary machines of the type which in South Africa had been accepted as the responsibility of the Government. This estimate was based on the assumptions that an official conversion programme would be adopted and, in effect, sponsored by the Australian Government, and that the change-over to decimal currency in this country would be made in February 1963.
The committee’s report is available to honorable members and I strongly recommend that those intending to participate in this debate should read it in detail. It is a most thorough and useful document and should provide nearly all of the background honorable members will need to have a full understanding of the complex arrangements which will have to be brought into effect by the time of the change-over date.
After examining the report, the Government affirmed its acceptance of the principle of decimal currency but decided that it was not practicable to announce a definite timetable immediately. In the first place, it was clear that a very large minting programme would be required if the change-over was to proceed smoothly. It was equally clear that the existing branches of the Royal Mint in Melbourne and Perth would not be able to provide the huge number of decimal coins which would need to be ready by the change-over date and the period immediately afterwards. Preliminary plans which had been commenced already for the construction of a new national mint at Canberra were therefore pressed ahead.
Secondly, the Government needed to examine closely the question of compensation payments for the cost of converting pounds, shillings and pence machines, which had not been included in the terms of reference of the Decimal Currency Committee. A study of the full implications of compensation payments was therefore commenced as a matter of urgency.
By late 1962, plans for the Canberra mint had progressed to the stage where completion might reasonably be expected late in 1964. The study of the compensation question had also reached the stage where it could be examined at the Cabinet level. A committee of Cabinet was therefore appointed to look at these and other details of the proposed change. The committee recommended that a decimal system, based on a unit of 10s., should be introduced in February, 1966, if practicable.
Cabinet endorsed this recommendation and I announced our decision on 7th April last. The next steps were to decide the name for the new currency unit, to settle the nature of the new coins and currency notes, and to proceed with the appointment of a statutory body which would supervise the change-over arrangements and make recommendations to the Government on such matters as Government compensation for the costs of conversion.
The controversy over the name of the new unit is familiar to you all, and I do not propose to go over all the ground again. Suffice to say that the Government originally decided to use the name royal after a close and careful examination of the many names which had been suggested up till last June, when the original announcement was made, lt later became evident that there was a wide and deeply-felt opposition to the name royal and, after leaving the question open for some time until the public had been given ample opportunity to form and express its views on alternative names, it was decided last month to adopt instead the name dollar for the new currency unit. It was also decided that the name for the minor currency unit of one-hundredth part of a dollar would be the cent as originally proposed.
The decisions which needed to be made on coinage went far beyond those resulting from the decision to adopt a decimal currency system. It had long been apparent that the sizes of the present bronze coins were inconveniently large, quite apart from the fact that they were being produced at a substantial loss - that is, at a net cost to the taxpayer. More recently, a sharp increase in the world price of silver meant that the
Government was also incurring a significant Joss on the issue of its silver coins, even though these now contain only 50 per cent, silver and 50 per cent, base metals. Various possible alternatives were examined for white alloys, and it was finally decided that cupro-nickel - that is, 75 per cent, copper and 25 per cent, nickel - would be the most satisfactory alloy to replace the existing silver coins.
At the same time, it was decided that it would now be appropriate to introduce a coin the equivalent of the present 5s. but with a much lighter weight than the cumbersome crown which was last minted in Australia in the 1930’s. This will be a prestige coin, which will be predominantly silver in its composition and will have a diameter roughly mid-way between the existing penny and the British half-crown. As it will only weigh the equivalent of approximately 2s. 3d. in our existing silver coins, I feel sure that the public is going to find this new coin particularly convenient.
The three cupro-nickel coins will be for denominations of 20 cents, JO cents and 5 cents and will be indistinguishable in diameter and weight from the present 2s.t ls. and 6d., thus allowing the new and the old coins to be completely interchangeable during the transitional period. Although the new coins will be 75 per cent, copper, they will have an attractive silvery appearance, and will be similar to the white coins which have been in circulation in Britain and New Zealand for nearly twenty years and in other countries for much longer periods.
The two new bronze coins for 2 cents and 1 cent will be of the same alloy as the present Id. and Id., but will be much smaller, the 2 cent piece being between the present ls. and 6d. in diameter and the 1 cent piece slightly smaller than the 6d. In this connexion we are watching the interests of blind people, and hope that the new coins will be readily distinguishable by them either through differences in diameter, milled or plain edges, and the relief of the design, which will as far as practicable incorporate bold numerals to indicate each denomination.
We have also taken some pains to consider the convenience of the public in general when determining the denominations and dimensions of the new decimal coins. I can illustrate this with the example of a person who decides to carry in his pocket at present a sufficient number of coins to meet any payment of less than 10s. He would at present need at a minimum to carry ten coins - four florins, one shilling, one sixpence, one threepence, two pennies and a half-penny. With the introduction of the new dollar-cent system, such a person will only need to carry eight coins - one 50-cent piece, one 20-cent, two 10-cent, one 5-cent, one 2-cent and two 1-cent pieces. What is more, the weight of coins in his pocket will be reduced by approximately 40 per cent. Needless to say this is also going to be a great advantage to business concerns which handle coin in bulk and, of course, will greatly facilitate the operations of the new Canberra mint, which will need to process much less metal than would otherwise have been the case.
Arrangements for preparing designs for the new coins are proceeding, and it is hoped to commence production of at least one of the new bronze coins by the middle of 1964 at the Melbourne and Perth mints. Production of the other coins will commence later, probably when the Canberra mint is commissioned later in 1964.
For countries employing a pounds, shillings and pence system of currency, the choice of a suitable value for the major currency unit for a decimal system is not an easy one. No system is perfect. Some have unique advantages and others rule themselves out quickly because of technical disadvantages. Some form of compromise is necessary, and the sensible approach is to adopt the system which appears to offer the greafest net advantage. It must, be kept ki mind that in 50 or 100 years’ time, after the old system has been almost forgotten, there will be little to choose between any decimal currency systems, as long as they avoid fractions and are reasonably convenient in size by world standards. But we cannot overlook the transitional stage of up to two years, during which both the old currency and the new will be circulating simultaneously, and the public is entitled to a system which will help it through this transitional period with the minimum possible inconvenience. Accordingly it is most important that there should be a ready, and, if possible, a visual, method of association of values between the old and the new systems.
Possibly the most obvious system for a new decimal currency in Australia would either start with the £1 and decimalize downwards into one-hundredth parts of £1, thus retaining the existing values of all amounts expressed in units of £1; or to start with the penny and decimalize upwards, thus retaining the existing value of all amounts which can be expressed in terms of pence. Unfortunately, there are distinct disadvantages involved in both courses of action, and for this reason the Decimal Currency Committee in Australia agreed unanimously with the committees in New Zealand and South Africa that the best system to introduce is one that builds itself around the shilling, with ten existing shillings being equivalent to the new major unit, and ten new minor units equal to the shilling.
The great disadvantage of retaining the £1 as the major unit in a decimal currency system is that a coin with a fractional denomination would inevitably have to be introduced, as one-hundredth part of £1, or 2.4d., obviously is too large for the lowest unit in retailing transactions. Another disadvantage of the £1 as a unit is that there is not a ready relationship between amounts expressed in shillings and pence and amounts expressed in pounds and cents. For example, 17s. 6d. in the existing currency would become 87i cents under a £l-cent system, which is certainly not obvious visually. Yet another disadvantage is that all coins of 6d. denomination and below would have to be replaced. This would be unfortunate in many ways, particularly as the 6d. plays such a prominent part in coin-operated machines.
The Decimal Currency Committee which met in Britain under the chairmanship of Lord Halsbury decided by a majority of four to two to recommend to the British Government the introduction of a system based on the £1. However, there are important considerations in Britain regarding the prestige of the £1 sterling in international commerce which apply to a much lesser degree in the case of the Australian £1. It was noticeable, too, that the minority report of the Halsbury committee was that the new decimal system should ha ve a. major .’unit equivalent, to 10s., .or the same as in Australia. New Zealand and South Africa.
Now I come to the 8s. 4d.-cent system. Suddenly, out of the blue, the Opposition came down recently in favour of this system - more than three years after the Australian Decimal Currency Committee unanimously made its recommendations to mc, and six months after I had announced the Government’s decision to introduce a 10s. system. As I had already made it clear to the House that legislation would be brought down this session to give effect to the Government’s decisions on decimal currency, thereby ensuring a full debate on all aspects of the question, the motives of the Opposition in promoting an urgency debate while I was overseas on government business leave mc quite puzzled.
The 8s. 4d.-cent system, while attractive at first sight, has three main disadvantages when compared with a 10s. system. Firstly, it would provide a very awkward conversion between the £1 and the dollar during the transitional period, and could be a source of annoyance for many years to come. For example, £14 would become $33.60, a conversion which would not come easily or quickly to the average Australian. Secondly, although any amount in pounds, shillings and pence could be converted exactly into the new currency by the simple expedient of converting it into pence and providing a decimal point, the actual conversion is far from easy for all but very small amounts. While 8 pence would become 8 cents, and 3s. 4d., or 40 pence, would become 40 cents, it would require some strenuous mental arithmetic to convert 17s. 6d., or 210 pence, into $2.10; or 59s. lid., or 719 pence, into $7.19.
A third, and very important disadvantage of the 8s. 4d. system, is that the penny would be the only existing coin denomination which could be retained under the new system, and we have in any case already decided to replace the penny by a smaller coin. Coins equivalent to the existing 3d. and above, that is 3 cents, 6 cents, 12 cents and 24 cents, would have no place in a decimal currency system, and we would need to have available by the change-over date an adequate supply of new 1-cent, 2-cent, 5-ceqt, 10-cent, 20-cent and 50-cent coins, all<- of ‘ which would be circulating with the existing coins in most confusing fashion through the transitional period. Already the banks are a little concerned about the introduction of three new coins during the transitional period under a 10s. system - that is, the 50-cent, 2-cent and 1- cent pieces; but think of the confusion for banks, shopkeepers, bus conductors, &c, if twelve different coins were circulating during the transitional period - coins the equivalent of id., Id. - in two sizes - 2d., 3d., 5d., 6d., 10d., ls., ls.8d., or 20 pence, 2s. and 4s. 2d., or 50 pence! As a matter of fact the problem of minting such coins would almost inevitably rule out the possibility of introducing a decimal currency into Australia by February, 1966. There would bc similar difficulties with currency notes, as new notes equivalent to, say, 8s. 4d., or $1, 16s. 8d. or $2, £2 ls. 8d., or $5, £4 3s. 4d., or $10, and £8 6s. 8d., or $20, would be circulating for some time simultaneously with the present four Australian currency notes.
The principal advantage of the 10s. system is that it will provide a ready and visual association of values for amounts up to about £5 during the transitional period. For example 2s. becomes 20 cents and 35s. becomes $3.50. For amounts involving pence it is easy to obtain a close approximation visually. For example 3s. 5d. is very close to 35 cents, the exact equivalent being 34 cents, and 59s. 6d. is very close to $5.96, the exact equivalent being $5.95. Where this is not sufficiently accurate, the precise conversion can be obtained by memorizing the conversion of amounts from ls. to lid. Simple tables showing these will be provided, but for any other system the conversion table necessary would be far longer. For amounts expressed in pounds, it will be necessary to multiply by two but, while this is certainly an inconvenience, it will be a much simpler translation than would be the case wilh the 8s. 4d. system.
– Can the Minister say why the recommendation of the Royal Commission on the Monetary and Banking Systems proposing a decimal currency based on £1 divided into 1,000 mills was rejected?
– Do you mean in Great Britain, or here?.
– In Australia, in 1937.
– I could not answer that offhand. The present committee was unanimous in recommending the 10s. system. I imagine that 1,000 mills would produce a unit which would be too small, by present Australian standards. It would produce the equivalent of a farthing.
– But 10s., 2s., and ls. would all be readily convertible.
– That may be so, but we would certainly find a farthing to be too small a unit for our purposes. However, I do not want to go beyond my allotted time. I would prefer to look at that matter in the committee stage.
The 10s. system will probably use more of the existing coins than any other practicable decimal system. Thus all coins 6d. and above will have exact equivalents in the new currency, and can therefore be allowed to circulate for some time after the change-over date.
As I have said, no system is perfect, and one disadvantage of the 10s. system is that the cent has no exact equivalent in pence and that there must, therefore, be some adjustments in prices and other amounts which are not exact multiples of 6d. which will of course be equivalent to 5 cents. It has been argued that traders will tend to price their goods at the same number of cents as they are at present charging in pence that is, that everything costing Id. will become one cent, or 1.2d., and everything now costing 6d. will become 6 cents, or 7.2d., and so on. Therefore, it is argued, there will be a tendency for prices of items entering into the normal household budget to increase by up to 20 per cent. However, while it is true that there will inevitably be some upwards adjustments to individual prices, it is equally true that there will be many downward adjustments. For example, the popular custom of pricing to lid. will no doubt be replaced by pricing to 9 cents, which represents a small reduction.
It will often be possible to adjust the quantity sold in each packet so that the price per unit will remain the same under the decimal system. It will also be possible to offset increases and decreases in prices where several products or fares or rates are involved - some can be adjusted downwards to offset others.’ adjusted up wards. Another point is that, while a conversion from Id. to 1 cent represents a 20 per cent increase, a conversion from ls. Id. to 11 cents represents only a li per cent increase.
It would, I suggest, be quite unfair to see all businessmen as waiting their chance to take advantage of the situation to reap windfall profits. There will undoubtedly be a few such individuals, but they will be a minority, and the various commercial and trade associations, which are jealous of the reputation and standing of their members, will be watching the situation. After all, if a trader is in a position where he is able and willing to exploit the public by adding a penny or two to his prices, why is he not doing it already instead of waiting for twoandahalf years for the introduction of decimal currency? The Decimal Currency Board will be charged by the Government with keeping the situation under close review. Any exploitation is also likely to receive wide adverse publicity, particularly with the growth of consumer organizations. The all-important food sector is now an intensely competitive one with the advent of chain stores and supermarkets, and there is little likelihood of any but isolated profiteering.
Certainly I can assure you that the Commonwealth Government itself will not be using the introduction of a decimal currency system as an excuse for raising its taxes and charges fractionally. I am sure I can give a similar assurance on behalf of the State Governments as well. Some charges ma’y have to be increased slightly by force of circumstances, but there will be offsetting reductions in other related charges.
However, the best way to allay the fears of those who are worried about possible price increases is to refer to the experience in South Africa where, as I have said, the path has been pioneered for us in many ways. Decimal currency was introduced into South Africa in February, 1961. The general price index increased over the next two years by approximately 3 per cent., or about li per cent, per annum. Much of this increase was due to rental adjustments, and the increase in the food index over the two-year period was only 0.7 per cent., while the clothing index actually fell by nearly 1 per cent. As the ail-items index also rose by 3 per cent, in the two-year period preceding the change-over to decimal currency, it could hardly be argued that the introduction of decimal currency had any noticeable effect on prices in South Africa.
I have already mentioned that the Government has decided not to provide a half-cent coin in the new system. Many people appear to have assumed from this that no rates or charges will in future be quoted in fractions of cents; but there are many cases to-day where rates are expressed in fractions of a penny for which no coins exist, and this situation will, of course, be equally possible with the cent. There will, however, be no scope for this in retail prices or charges, except where these take the form of a rate per unit of quantity, as in the case of electricity.
The Government considers that the halfpenny has now outlived its usefulness, as was the case with the farthing which, by the way, has never been minted as an Australian coin, even though we have been using our own coins for more than 50 years. It is interesting to note that the Halsbury Committee in Britain has come to the same conclusion about the halfpenny. It has, in fact, gone further, and has recommended that the one-hundredth part of the pound, equal to 2.4d. sterling, or 3d. Australian, should become the lowest accounting unit, with the lowest coin to be a half-cent equal to 1.2d. sterling or Hd. in Australian currency.
The inclusion of a fractional coin in a decimal system, although not unknown by any means, is in the Government’s view an unnecessary and complicating factor which is best avoided if possible. In this case, there was very strong evidence submitted to the Decimal Currency Committee that the halfpenny in the present system was now only of token value, and should be discarded. Given that a decimal system functions better without fractional minor units, there seems no convincing case for including a near-equivalent of the halfpenny, and thus perpetuating an outmoded denomination. Nevertheless the halfpenny will continue to circulate for at least another four years from now.
The Decimal Currency Committee came to the conclusion that the only costs asso dated; with the. change oyer, which could be estimated with reasonable accuracy were those arising from the conversion of monetary machines. The committee also considered that, where no objective and accurate estimate of cost could be ascertained, there would be no practicable basis upon which relief could be provided. In addition, the committee pointed out that the cost of the change-over would fall most heavily on those employing monetary machines, while the benefits of a decimal system, although substantial in total for the community as a whole, would not necessarily coincide with areas of high conversion expenditure.
The Government therefore decided that it would accept the principle of paying reasonable compensation to owners of a large proportion of those monetary machines which will require conversion in order to be used under the new decimal system.
The Government’s decision on compensation was one of broad principle, and the first duty of the Decimal Currency Board will be to make a precise recommendation to the Government on which categories of monetary machines might receive full, or nearly full, Government compensation for conversion costs, which categories might be entitled to partial compensation, and which categories might be outside the Government’s field of responsibility.
When I inform honorable members that there are at present in operation in Australia no less than 40 makes and about 190 different models of cash registers, accounting machines and adding machines alone, and that the age of these machines ranges from a few days to 50 or more years, you will see that the Decimal Currency Board has been given an immense task in formulating its precise recommendations. The board’s cost consultant and his staff have been working full-time on this problem for several months past, and they have had long discussions with the machine companies. The board hopes to be in a position to present its recommendations to me late this year with a view to commencing early next year a registration of all machines which are eligible for the form of compensation which the Government decides to approve. I can only ask owners of monetary machines to be patient- for a few months yet. The matter of compensation of conversion costs has been given the highest possible priority, and the Government’s exact intentions should be announced much further in advance of the change-over date than was the case in South Africa.
It might assist honorable members in their consideration of the bill if I sketch briefly the course of events which it is expected will be followed in connexion with the change-over. A fairly lengthy preparatory period is needed to enable the monetary machine companies to have all the necessary conversion parts manufactured, in overseas plants for the most part, and supplied to this country in time for conversion work to commence. This period is also needed, as T have indicated, to enable the production of decimal coins to commence. A definite change-over date will be announced as soon as possible, and it will be from this dale - often referred to as DDay - that some part of the community will first commence to operate in decimals.
The only organizations which will be obliged to change to decimal operation from that date will be the banks. Since banks deal entirely in money, it would be quite impracticable for them to maintain their accounts in two currency systems. It is envisaged that banks will close for three or four days preceding the change-over date, during which time they will close off their pounds, shillings and pence accounts, convert all balances to decimals, and re-open on D-Day operating in decimal currency alone.
While some limited amount of machine conversion will be carried out in advance of the change-over date, the machine companies concerned will at that date commence a large scale conversion operation, (he extent of which cannot be gauged until the precise compensation arrangements are known. This programme will be designed to convert all those machines which are economically worth converting. The technicians will move progressively through the community, very probably on some regional or zoned basis, until all such machines have been converted.
No organizations other than the banks will be obliged to change to decimal operation from the change-over date, and the determining factor for most businesses will be when their machines are converted. It will therefore be left to individual concerns to make the change at their own con venience. We have no very clear idea at present how long the entire conversion operation will last, but it is likely that it will be a maximum of two years. During that period it will be necessary for both systems of currency to operate side by side so that businesses wishing to operate in pounds, shillings and pence until their machines are converted can do so. The banks, since they will be accounting in decimal currency only, will require all cheques to be written in decimals. However, for the duration of the transition period, they will supply pounds, shillings and pence, notes and coin to any one who wishes to use them.
There are exact equivalents between the two currencies for all denominations of notes and coin down to and including the sixpence in value. Difficulties will only arise, therefore, with threepences and the bronze coins, where there are no exact equivalents. While there will be some inconvenience in this for business houses and other organizations, there will be little inconvenience to the individual consumer or shopper, as adequate changing arrangements will be provided to meet cases where businesses prefer to operate in either the new or the old currency only. By the time all machines have been converted, the existing bronze coins will, for the most part, have been returned to the banks, and will not be issued again. Later, existing silver coins will also be replaced entirely by new decimal coins but, since all but the threepence have exact equivalents in the new decimal denominations, they can be used as decimal coins until adequate supplies of the new coins have been minted.
The new decimal coins and notes will be issued from the change-over date, the rate of issue being determined by the public’s demand for them. Our plans, however, are to ensure that there will be sufficient to meet all demands.
Perhaps I should make it clear that the present bill makes no provision for new decimal currency notes. The denominations of the new Australian notes have not yet been decided, but there will at least be one dollar, ten dollar and twenty dollar notes equivalent to the present 10s., £5 and £10 notes. Provision for the issue of these and other new denominations of the new notes will be made in due course by appropriate amendment to the- note issue provisions of the Reserve ‘Bank- Acf.-
I now turn to the bill before the House. Part I. is mainly of a machinery nature dealing with such matters as the coverage of the act. This part, together with Part V., which establishes the Decimal Currency Board, will come into operation immediately the bill receives the Royal assent. The other parts of the bill will not come into operation until the actual change-over date, which will be fixed by proclamation. Provided we are able to maintain the time-table at present proposed, the precise date will fall in February, 1966, but this will depend upon further examination of the question by the Decimal Currency Board. The act will not apply to the Territories of Papua, New Guinea or Christmas Island, which make their own coinage arrangements. They could, of course, adopt the new currency if they wished.
Part II. provides for the repeal of the existing Coinage Act and for the introduction of the new system of currency. As I have said, this part will operate from the change-over date. “However, its provisions will be temporarily modified to some extent by subsequent legislation dealing with the transitional period.
In clause 8 the major and minor units of the new system are defined and are related to the existing units of currency. Clause 9 provides that contracts, agreements and the like are to be made only in decimal currency, although this will not necessarily be the case during the transitional period. Clause 10 provides for the calculation of amounts payable in decimal currency to discharge obligations expressed in the existing currency. As I have said before, this provides no difficulty when the amounts are in multiples of sixpence, but there will be some minor discrepancies for smaller amounts. The conversion table set out in clause 10(2.) will ensure that any fractional over-payments will be offset on the average by similar fractional underpayments. Once again, this section of the bill is looking forward to the period beyond the transitional stage. Clause 11 provides for the automatic substitution of amounts in the new currency for amounts in the old currency, where this is appropriate, in Commonwealth legislation and in bills of exchange, contracts, agreements, &c. While this blanket provision can be applied to a large number of Comonwealth acts without separate revision to those acts, a number of Commonwealth acts will require special attention before the change-over date.
Part m. and the Schedule to the bill follow closely the provisions of the present Coinage Act, but it has been considered convenient to prescribe the precise weights and tolerances of the new coins by regulation rather than have them established by the bill itself. This is the general practice overseas, and allows for a little more flexibility in the minting processes. The precise dimensions of the new coins - particularly their thickness - cannot be finally determined until new designs, and the extent of their relief, have been approved and the coins themselves have been subjected to exhaustive tests.
Part IV. of the bill continues the existing legal tender provisions of the Coinage Act, adapted slightly to fit in better with the new system of currency. It will be noted that cows with a denomination of 5 cents or above will be legal tender for an amount equivalent to £2 10s. in the new currency, whereas existing silver coins are legal tender for only £2. The new bronze coins will be legal tender for an amount equivalent to 2s. in the existing currency, whereas existing bronze coins are only legal tender for ls.
Part V. . provides for the arrangements necessary to prepare for the introduction of the new system. Division 1 of Part V. provides the necessary definitions, while division 2 authorizes the Treasurer to enter into agreements and to make compensation payments in respect of the cost of converting specified types of monetary machines to enable them to operate under the new system. The clauses in this division are necessarily couched in general terms, as the exact compensation arrangements have not yet been determined by the Government.
As I have said, the Decimal Currency Committee’s estimate of £30,000,000 for these conversion costs was related to the cost of converting all machines of the type which were eligible for government compensation in South Africa. The actual cost in Australia will depend on the Government’s final decisions, and cannot yet be estimated with precision. There will be more machines to convert in 1966 than there would have been in 1963, which the committee assumed as a change-over date, but we expect to effect economies as a result of the reports made by the observers we sent to South Africa to witness the change-over. In addition, there have been a number of technical developments since then in the monetary machine field which will greatly facilitate the machine conversion operation.
Division 3 will set up the Decimal Currency Board. [Extension of time granted.] The machinery provisions in this division are similar to the arrangements normally made for the establishment of bodies of this nature. The board is to make recommendations to the Treasurer on a number of matters relating to introduction of the decimal currency system, the principal one being, of course, the compensation of conversion costs. Under clause 20 in Division 2 the Treasurer may delegate certain of his powers to the board but, while the board will therefore bc able to enter into agreements with machine companies with the approval of the Treasurer, payments of compensation to the machine companies or to individual owners of monetary machines will be made by the Commonwealth, and not by the board. Division 4 appropriates the Consolidated Revenue Fund as necessary and provides for the board to furnish the Treasurer with appropriate reports. It is expected that a little less than one-half of the total cost to the Government will fall in each of the years 1965-66 and 1966-67, with comparatively small residual amounts falling in 1964-65 and 1967-68. All of this expenditure will form part of the Appropriation Bill for the year concerned, and will thus be the subject of full Parliamentary scrutiny.
Part VI. continues a number of machinery provisions in the existing Coinage Act and authorizes the Governor-General to make regulations necessary for giving effect to the Act. The bill now before you is the culmination of several years of investigation by Cabinet and by government-appointed committees. During that period, honorable members have shown a keen interest in developments, and many of the suggestions made by them, and by the general public, have been incorporated in the arrangements proposed under the bill. There is still a tremendous amount of detail to be settled before we introduce legislation dealing with the transitional arrangements following the change-over date, and I can assure honorable members that any views they express on these matters either during the forthcoming debate, or later, will be given full consideration before the final procedures are settled.
It is fitting that, before ending this speech, I should express my thanks for the competent and thorough manner in which the Decimal Currency Committee carried out its functions. The committee’s report covered every possible facet of the decimal currency question, and I am sure honorable members will refer to it frequently during the debate. The Decimal Currency Board has most of its work ahead of it, but T am confident that we will receive from the board the same invaluable guidance and critical analysis that we received from the original Decimal Currency Committee. I should like also to add my own tribute to the very valuable and devoted work done on this matter by those officers of the Treasury who have been concentrating their attention upon it. It gives mc great pleasure to commend this bill, which I think in a sense could be described as one of historical significance in relation to Australian coinage, to honorable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Crean) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr. Harold Holt, and read a first time.
.- I move -
That the bill be now read a second lime.
The purpose of this bill is to obtain Parliamentary approval of a contribution to the extent of 19,800,000 United States dollars to the International Development Association. Australia’s membership in the International Development Association, widely known as I.D.A., was authorized by the International Development Association Act 1960. Australia became a foundation member in July, 1960.
The International Development Association was established when it became evident that many developing countries would not be able to maintain a rate of development through international borrowing on conventional terms without incurring a level of debt obligations beyond their ability to meet. All I.D.A. credits have been extended for a term of 50 years, with repayment in convertible currency commencing after a tenyear grace period. Thereafter, 1 per cent, per annum of the principal is to be repaid for ten years while in the remaining 30 years, 3 per cent, of the principal is to be repaid annually. No interest is charged, but a service charge of three-quarters of 1 per cent, per annum is made on outstanding disbursements to cover administrative costs.
By 30th June, 1963, 76 countries had joined I.D.A., while applications from a further seventeen countries had been approved. The initial subscriptions to I.D.A. amount to the equivalent of 969,000,000 United States dollars of which the equivalent of 765,000,000 United States dollars is payable in convertible currencies. It was, of course, some time before I.D.A. began to commit funds at a significant rate, but by 30th June, 1963, it had signed credit agreements amounting to 495,200,000 United States dollars in respect of 39 projects in eighteen countries and territories. About 7 per cent, of the total credits have been extended to countries in Latin America, 7 per cent, to African countries or territories, 8 per cent, to the Middle East and 78 per cent, to Asia. Credits to Commonwealth countries account for 68 per cent, of the total. I think that point is worth noting, in passing, because the percentage of advances from the International Bank to Commonwealth countries was considerably lower, ranging from 20 per cent, to 25 per cent., so already in its short existence the bank has proved a valuable instrument of aid for our colleagues in Commonwealth countries. Because of arrangements entered into with Pakistan and India, I.D.A.’s uncommitted resources in convertible exchange had been reduced at the end of June, 1963, to about 193,000,000 United States dollars, a level which is likely to support the present rate of commitments for only six to nine months. This development was foreseen by the board of governors of I.D.A. at their anual meeting in 1962 and the executive directors were requested to prepare a report on the prospective financial requirements of I.D.A. following discussions with the governments concerned, the executive directors submitted to this year’s meeting of the board of governors a proposal for the replenishment of I.D.A.’s resources. In short, the proposal is that additional funds aggregating 750,000,000 United States dollars be made available to I.D.A. to enable it to carry on operations for a further period of three years, commencing in November, 1963.
With the concurrence of honorable members I incorporate the table in “ Hansard “.
It was the consensus of opinion that the additional resources should be contributed entirely by the more economically advanced members of l.D.A. It was not thought appropriate to require the developing countries, in their present circumstances, to provide convertible resources, and l.D.A. has no prospective need for inconvertible currencies. As to the amount of the increase, it will be seen from the table that has been incorporated, that the proposed contribution of 250,000,000 United States dollars per annum represents a two-thirds increase on the initial subscriptions of about 150,000,000 United States dollars per annum by the more advanced members. This increased rate of contributions, together with the uncommitted funds outstanding at the end of June, 1963, will enable l.D.A. to increase appreciably its lending rate over the next three years. I should add that the contributing members are not required to commence payment of their contributions until November, 1965. lt was decided that actual payments could be postponed until then partly because disbursements by l.D.A. are still at a relatively low level and partly because two annual instalments of the initial subscriptions remain to be paid, the last in November, 1964. All that is required now is that the contributing members should bind themselves to make the payments when required. This will give the necessary authority to l.D.A. to commit the funds.
Honorable members will have noted that, subject to parliamentary approval, Australia has offered a contribution of 19,800,000 United States dollars for the three-year period compared with a subscription of 20,180,000 United States dollars for the initial period of five years. In agreeing to this figure, the Government considered that it represented a reasonable balance between, on the one hand, our obligation to assist l.D.A. to play an increasingly important role in the future, and on the other hand, the various and growing demands on our resources in the field of assistance for international development.
To put the matter into perspective, I should mention that the total provision for international assistance in this year’s Budget, including our assistance to Papua and New Guinea, amounts to about £44,000,000, an increase of nearly 24 per cent, over the figure for 1962-63.
While I am very pleased that l.D.A. will be given substantial new resources, I believe that measures of aid, however generous and useful, are only a partial solution to the problems of the less-developed countries and that if too much attention is focussed on this aspect there may be a risk of impeding progress towards other, and more inherently desirable objectives. One of these objectives, as I emphasized in the discussions at the recent annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and International Bank, is that the developing countries must be enabled to sell more of their goods at remunerative prices on the world’s markets. But even if a large measure of success were achieved in this field, it is clear that the developing countries would still bc faced with a foreign exchange problem. And while governmental aid can be expected to increase over the years, I am convinced that the problem could be foreshortened if sufficient recognition were given to the role that private capital could play. I pointed out - and I was glad to hear the president of the International Bank also stress the point - that a country that is hospitable to private investment would have access over the years to a larger and more stable pool of resources and technology than its neighbour which sought to rely solely on governmental aid.
I also strongly urged that a study be made by the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank of ways and means to expand, diversify and strengthen the international capital markets. Even at best such institutions as l.D.A. , which rely on governments for funds, will never be able to supply more than a fraction of the world’s capital needs. Strong capital markets established at various centres of financial strength around the world would, I suggested, provide to credit-worthy borrowers far more than governments find themselves able to provide through such institutions. I am glad to say that this proposal for a study was well received. The managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Mr. PierrePaul Schweitzer, made specific reference to it in his concluding remarks and said it was an important proposal which would receive study and consideration.
None of these problems is, of course, capable of easy’ or quick solution, but, in the meanwhile, the bill before the House provides us with an opportunity to give concrete expression to our sympathy and support for the less-developed countries in their search for economic viability. I commend this bill to honorable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Crean) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr. Harold Holt, and read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this bill is to authorize the borrowing of £62,500,000 and the expenditure of the proceeds of the borrowing on defence services. In the estimates I presented in my Budget speech, total expenditures were expected to exceed receipts, apart from loan raisings, by £358,400,000 in 1963-64. Very tentatively, I suggested that loan raisings might total £300,000,000 in 1963-64, which would leave a gap of £58,400,000 to be financed from temporary borrowings. Apart, however, from this possible gap between our public loan raisings and the total amount we shall have to borrow from all sources, it is estimated that the total receipts of the Consolidated Revenue Fund will fall short by £62,500,000 of the total expenditures that would otherwise have been charged to that fund. To avoid a deficit in that fund it will be necessary to charge the estimated excess of expenditure to the Loan Fund.
As we have done in other years when similar action has been required, we propose to charge to the Loan Fund a proportion of the expenditure to be incurred on defence services. As Part I. of the Second Schedule to the Appropriation Bill shows, estimated defence expenditure in this year totals £251,700,000-. On present estimates, £189,200,000 of that amount will be met from the Consolidated Revenue Fund and the remainder, £62,500,000, from the Loan Fund. To permit the Loan Fund to meet this expenditure, the necessary amount will, of course, have to be borrowed and this bill is to authorize the borrowing of £62,500,000 for that purpose.
As I have said, the amount which this bill will authorize the Government to borrow and spend from the Loan Fund on defence services is based on the estimates set out in the Budget. It is hardly likely that the actual result will be precisely the same as the estimate. If, later in the financial year, it becomes necessary for that or some other reason to increase the amount to be charged to either the loan fund or the Consolidated Revenue Fund, authority to do so will, of course, be sought from the Parliament.
I commend the bill to honorable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Crean) adjourned.
In committee: (Consideration of Senate’s amendments) .
Clause 18. (l.)……. (2.) This section does not apply - (a)…… (c)in the case of a Commonwealth aircraft - to or in relation to the carrying or placing of dangerous goods on boardthe aircraft by an officer of, or person employed in, the Public Service of the Commonwealth, or an officer of, or person employed by, an authority of the Commonwealth,in the performance of his duties, or by a person acting in accordance with the instructions of such an officer or person given in the performance of his duties; or
Senate’s amendment No. 1 -
In clause 18, sub-clause (2.), paragraph (c), after “ Commonwealth aircraft “ insert “ (not being an aircraft that is being used for commercial transport operations) “.
Proceedings for -
Senate’s amendment No. 2 -
At end of clause add the following sub-clauses: - “ (2.) Notwithstanding that a consent has not been given in relation to the offence in accordance with the last preceding sub-section -
a person may be charged with an offence against this Act:
a person may be arrested for such an offence, and a warrant for such an arrest may be issued and executed; and
a person so charged may be remanded in custody or on bail, but no further step in proceedings of a kind referred to in that sub-section shall be taken in relation to the offence until such a consent has been obtained. “ (3) Nothing in the last preceding sub-section shall prevent the discharging of the accused if proceedings arc not continued within a reasonable time.”.
.- The Senate has returned the bill with two amendments. Both amendments were moved in the Senate by the Government and 1 shall presently move that the committee should agree to them. The first of the amendments was made to clear up a possible ambiguity to which the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) drew attention during the debate on the bill in this place. By definition, a reference in the bill to Commonwealth aircraft includes an aircraft operated by Trans-Australia Airlines. The effect of the definition on clause 1 8 may have placed aircraft operated by T.A.A. in a different position from aircraft operated by private airline companies. The amendment to clause 18, which was inserted in the Senate, will remove beyond doubt aircraft operated by T.A.A. from paragraph (c) of sub-clause (2.) of clause 18 and therefore those aircraft will, for the purposes of clause 18, be in the same position as any other aircraft engaged in commercial transport operations. Paragraph (c) will, as a result, apply only to aircraft operated by the Department of Civil Aviation or other departments or authorities of the Commonwealth which operate their own aircraft.
The second amendment, which is to clause 21, was also inserted to overcome a difficulty which . was mentioned by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition when the bill was before us here. Clause 25 of the bill empowers an aircraft commander to arrest a person whom he finds committing an offence on board an aircraft and to hold such a person in custody until he can be brought before a justice of the peace or other proper authority to be dealt with in accordance with the law. Clause 21 of the bill, however, provides that the proceedings for an offence against the act shall not be instituted without the consent of the
Attorney-General. The amendment to clause 21 will authorize the arrest and charging of a person notwithstanding that the Attorney-General has not consented to the institution of the proceedings. The amendment further provides that no other steps shall be taken until the consent has been obtained and that if the proceedings are not continued within a reasonable time the accused person shall be discharged. I move -
That the amendments be agreed to.
.- The Opposition accepts the amendment. I thank the Acting Attorney-General (Mr. Freeth) for his references to my having suggested, on behalf of the Opposition, both amendments when the measure was last before us. He had then undertaken to look at the second of the amendments before the bill was introduced in the other place. The Minister representing him in the other place sponsored both amendments there. This is the fourth bill this year to be amended as a result of suggestions made by the Opposition here or in the other place. There was the Papua and New Guinea Bill, the Service and Execution of Process Bill, the International Organizations (Privileges and Immunities) Bill, and now the Crimes (Aircraft) Bill. It is amazing, Sir, how fruitfully the Parliament has worked with the Government enjoying such a narrow majority.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Resolution ‘ reported; report adopted.
Debate resumed from 10th October (vide page 1673), on motion by Mr. McMahon -
That the bill be now read a second lime.
– This measure, which was introduced last week by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon), places once again on the Parliament the responsibility of examining an amendment to the Stevedoring Industry Act. We are now considering an important measure designed to give effect to a recommendation coming from all interested parties on the waterfront, who were asked to look at the disputes that had been so prevalent in the industry during the last few months, or during this year.
The Minister said, when making his second-reading speech: -
This bill is unique. It deals, it is true, with the stevedoring industry, an industry that hitherto has been the subject of much controversy. The uniqueness of tile bill resides in the fact that on this occasion it gives effect to the agreed wishes of all parties engaged in the industry.
The bill is unique in another way. Actually it is a measure to be read in conjunction with the Stevedoring Industry Act, as is indicated in clause 3 of the bill. I believe it to be unique also in that there has been no other measure such as the Stevedoring Industry Act, to my knowledge, that has been subjected to what I might call two stop clauses by this Parliament. It will be remembered that last year we introduced a measure to stop portion of the effect of section 52a. That came twelve months after section 52a was introduced into the measure, designed to give long service leave to waterfront workers. Now the Parliament is considering a measure, as a separate measure, to put a further slop on the application of section 52a.
I am rather inclined to agree with the Minister’s statement that this is unique because it comes to this Parliament as a result of an agreement reached by all sections of the industry. Let me say at the outset that it gives me great pleasure to be associated with an agreement that has had the benefit of the guiding hand of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. The second aspect that warms my heart as an industrialist is that, in my view at any rate - and I know it is the view of the A.C.T.U. - this is the outcome of a real attempt at conciliation. It is my belief, and that of the party 1 represent, that conciliation is the very basis of improved relations. If you reach the stage at which there is no room for conciliation in industry, you have almost reached the Stage at which there is no hope for industrial peace. On any industrial level, if conciliation goes out the door, peace in industry goes out the window.
To my mind this bill, and (he debate that will hinge upon it, will bring a new richness for this nation as well as for the workers in the industry and for the industry itself. The Waterside Workers Federation has a new leader, who has now had about twelve months experience of the job. He has at tempted to initiate a new kind of thinking with respect to our problems on the waterfront. Anybody who knows him and his capacity to lead will agree that this country is the richer because of the attitude of Charlie Fitzgibbon as a trade union leader.
The bill carries with it another kind of richness. As the Minister has said, this is a unique situation in which we are considering a measure that comes before us as a result of an agreement reached by representatives of all sections of the waterfront, including the new chairman of the Stevedoring Industry Authority. I am inclined to couple these two personalities together and to express the hope that this measure, unique as it is, will be but the starling point of a new era in industrial relations on Australia’s waterfront. New men leading this important industry, and a new kind of approach in this Parliament, give us new hope for future preservation of peace.
I join with the Minister, too, in looking forward and not backward. The Opposition, not only in this matter but in every industrial matter to-day - for a reason that I will shortly indicate - prefers to turn its attention to the future and to use the past only as a basis for improving the future. In this situation I think it is desirable for us to pause for a moment and consider that every box of butter that goes to overseas markets, every carcass of beef, every bale of wool, is handled by waterside workers, who thus play their part in building up the economic structure of this country.
Silling suspended from 12.45 to 2.(5 p.m.
– Before the suspension of the sitting 1 was dealing with the importance of the waterfront industry. I remind the House that the report of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority for 1962-63 is not available. In 1961-62 the waterside workers of this country handled a total of 31,900,000 tons of cargo, lt is quite pertinent in a discussion such as this to direct attention to the vital part that this industry plays in the Australian economy. The Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority, at page 10 of its report for the year ended 30th June, 1962, said-
Approximately 77% of the time of waterside workers was spent handling overseas cargoes, 21% on interstate cargoes and 2% on intrastate cargoes. By contrast, in 1957/58 less than 60% of the time was spent on overseas cargoes, over 38% on interstate cargoes and just over 2% on intrastate cargoes. With the employment of waterside workers over the last five years increasingly dependent on overseas trades, the continued expansion of Australia as a trading nation is of vital concern to every waterside worker.
I would have liked the authority, in preparing its report, to add one sentence saying quite firmly that the interests of the waterside workers are vital to the interests of the whole Australian economy. If 77 per cent, of the time of waterside workers is spent on the important work of handling overseas cargoes coming in and going out - and the proportion is increasing - surely every one must recognize the importance of that work to the nation and to all the people.
Following that line of reasoning and thinking, we might be excused for reminding ourselves that in our internal system of transport and communications we have all government-owned railways and all governmentcontrolled communications, through the Postmaster-General’s Department; but although Australia is dependent on its overseas trade we are leaving the vital link in the connexion between production and distribution in a state which the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) has described so often as unsatisfactory from the national viewpoint. The Minister, in his second-reading speech, said -
This legislation is, by its very nature, of a transitional character. The way in’ which the industry functions over the next twelve months or so under this new deal will have a profound bearing on the question whether any further legislation is needed.
Earlier the Minister mentioned that the people who took part in the conference to which he referred were not so starryeyed as to believe that this was the ultimate, and that we could expect further stoppages on the waterfront. I say to the Government, and. particularly to the Minister, that that kind of approach to an industry which is so important to our very existence is not good enough. We ought not to be thinking about people not being starry-eyed, in respect of the settlement of disputes. We ought to be straining every nerve we have to ensure a continuance of the type of organization that made the present situation possible. , . ‘ , ,;.
The Minister mentioned the work of the conference and the committee that was set up. He mentioned some of the matters that were considered. Having regard to what I have said about the part this industry plays, I think it is important to consider matters other than those for which this bill provides. The bill suspends the power of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority to make declarations under section 52a of the principal act from the 17th September. The next important thing that the bill does is that it freezes the attendance money debits which registered waterside workers had accumulated as at 17th September under section 52a of the principal act.
As the Minister rightly said, that was not the only matter that the conference and working party considered. They considered the question of boards of reference - a tremendously important factor in regard to peace in an industry such as this; mechanization and redundancy; -the exclusion of members of the Waterside Workers Federation from areas of work; penalties; the general organization of the industry; demarcation disputes; arrangements for keeping ships working while particular matters in dispute other than safety matters are determined; and incentives. I . hope that those matters will continue to be examined from week to week. In view of the leadership that now exists in the Waterside Workers Federation and the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority, that may be done.
The second item considered - redundancy - affects not only the federation*. The question of redundancy will come to the surface more and more as automation and mechanization develop in Australia. We should remember that the number of registered waterside workers at 30th June, 1955, was 26,612; but seven years later, at 30th June, 1962, the number was only 20,414. A great deal of the redundancy has occurred and will continue to occur in important towns and cities such as Cairns, Rockhampton, Mackay and others right around the Australian coast to Fremantle. As the machine age develops there will be less and less need for man-power not only on the waterfront but. also in many other industries. I say in passing that the dieselization of our railways is having and will have the same effect as mechanization on the waterfront. When we think of redundancy we do not think only of the people who are displaced. We think of two other questions - first, what are we doing to provide for the people who become redundant as a result of mechanization; and secondly, what are we doing to make sure that the collective pay envelope of the city or town is not affected materially as a result of the machine age through which we are passing?
I am very concerned about this, and I am glad that the Minister is looking to the future. Whatever government is returned to office on 30th November next, I hope that this matter will be given top priority, because automation and mechanization tend to run together to the detriment of everything else. Automation can be profitable only if it is concentrated. It is concentrated in the United States. When automation was introduced into the motor car industry in Detroit, 15 per cent, of the work force was thrown out of work. Similar events probably could occur in other great cities scattered across the United States.
The redundancy of workers as a result of mechanization on the waterfront brings us face to face with the problems associated with Australia’s future development. Unless we take a firm grip of the situation, Australia’s development in an era of automation will centre in only two cities, Melbourne and Sydney. In the long run. Brisbane, Adelaide and the other capital cities will bc forgotten. This is to be expected when automation is introduced for purposes of profit. You cannot blame private organizations in a free-enterprise economy, because profit is their main objective.
Let us consider some of the results of the introduction of automation and mechanization. At Bowen in 1952-
– Order! I point out to the honorable member that the scope of the bill is narrow. He may make only a passing reference to automation.
– I do not want to go outside the ambit of the bill, which is the result of a comprehensive investigation by a committee set up by the Government through the Minister. The
Minister mentioned most of the subjects to which 1 have referred, including redundancy of the work force.
– A passing reference only.
– A passing reference is acceptable, but we do not want a full-scale debate on automation.
– The passing reference I want to make is that we cannot rest on our oars at this stage, because what is happening now may continue. In 1951, 121 waterside workers were on the pay-roll at Bowen, but in June of last year there were only 58. Cairns had 560 waterside morkers in 1951, but last year the number fell to 499. At Townsville the number of waterside workers fell from 629 in 1951 to 528 last year. That is all I want to say about that aspect. I think I have left the thought in the minds of honorable members that we must act to meet changing times and circumstances.
The Opposition supports the bill wholeheartedly because it gives effect to a recommendation made by a committee which looked at the problems of this tremendously important industry on a national level, with a view to bringing peace to it. The Minister and the Government should ensure that no one becomes starry-eyed about the progress that has been made. The step that has been taken is not the ultimate step. We should regard it as only the first step along the road that leads to justice for people working in an important industry, and to the fitting of that industry into its proper place in our economy. Whatever the cost may be of reforming this industry so that it will meet Australia’s national needs - I know that the Minister will agree with me on this - we must bear that cost and regard it as an investment in our future development.
I conclude by referring again to the paragraph in the 1961-62 report that I read which relates to the importance of overseas trade to the waterside worker. I add the words “ and to this nation as a whole “. In supporting this measure, the Opposition expresses the hope that this is only the commencement of an understanding which will give justice to those who deserve justice in this important industry and bring the peace which is so important for our future development.’
.- I am glad that the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison) has spoken in the way that he has. He has shown a proper appreciation of the spirit of conciliation that is abroad on the waterfront.
– He always does.
– I think the honorable member for Blaxland would be assisted if the honorable member for Scullin, who claims to know something about international finance, remained silent.
– Yes. He most certainly would not know where the Melbourne waterfront is. I should be pleased if this Uriah HeeD would mind his own business. We hope that the spirit which has arisen since the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) decided to call a conference of all interested parties will persist. The figures relating to man-hours lost on the waterfront as a result of industrial disputes in the four months of June, July, August and September, following the Minister’s decision to call a conference, have been truly remarkable. In that period, 78,330 man-hours were lost through industrial disputes in an area of activity which employs only 22,000 or 23,000 persons. One might say that the community should not accept such a huge loss of man-hours, but that is an argument which I feel ought properly to be put aside at this stage. The fact is that for the last seventeen years the average annual man-hours lost totalled 1.372,000. Based on that annual figure, the average loss in a four-month period would be 450,000 man-hours, but, as I have already stated, in the four months since the Minister called a conference the loss has been only 78,000 man-hours. So the saving which has arisen from this spirit of conciliation has been 372,000 man-hours in a period of only four months. If this rate continues, we shall save in a -year 1,000,000 man-hours. Man-hours lost will fall, in round figures, from an average of 1,400,000 to 400,000. This would be a truly colossal improvement. Because of that prospective improvement, all parties are anxious that the arrangement!’ reached” -rtl ; mis.. . ef %t> . by the conference should be implemented fully.
When the conference was called a small working committee was set up. That committee applied itself assiduously to the tasks in hand and reported back to the conference. My understanding is that the conference accepted in total the recommendations of the working committee. One of those recommendations was that the provisions of section 52a of the Stevedoring Industry Act be suspended for a period of twelve months. In some ways I felt that in making that recommendation and accepting it - telling this National Parliament that it should suspend the operations of the section - the committee and the conference exceeded their responsibilities. But I am glad to say that when my colleagues on this side of the House received the recommendation from the Minister they accepted it willingly because it was part of the spirit of conciliation. They decided to give it a try. I am very glad that the honorable member for Blaxland has seen fit to approach the legislation in the same way and to agree to this provision being suspended for a trial period. We all hope that the National Parliament, being the instrument of government policy in this instance and giving complete approval to the formula that has been worked out, will reap the reward of seeing on the waterfront a peace which we could never have obtained before the Minister, in what I believe was a great spirit of statesmanship, decided to call the conference.
In my opinion - I make no apology for saying this - the Minister has displayed very great courage in industrial matters while he has been in charge of the Department of Labour and National Service. He has been confronted with very grave problems on the waterfront. He has reacted to those problems with firmness when firmness was needed, but he has shown himself to be a willing conciliator when conciliation seemed to be the proper course.
This brings me to the realization that what the bill provides is for a suspension for a period of the operation of section 52a with the power by declaration to re-impose the section on a port or ports. This is a sound policy. The section need not necessarily be re-imposed in toto throughout the entire waterfront but it may be re-imposed in ports where the performance of the particular port is bad. We are well aware of the struggle for power on the waterfront. 1 share the hopes of the honorable member for Blaxland that the present secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation will be re-elected to his position at the union elections to be held, I think, early next year. But on the waterfront, particularly in Sydney, there is a powerful movement working against the secretary of the union. There is a very powerful movement at work which is dedicated to the destruction of the settlement-
– By whom?
– By the Communists. The Communists on the waterfront in Sydney are determined to destroy the settlement. They have chosen a wide variety of methods to achieve their purpose. They have engaged in all sorts of verbal abuse of the parties which negotiated the settlement. They are seeking to promote discontent. They are seeking to cause industrial stoppages on the waterfront of such a magnitude that the Government will not be able to continue the suspension of section 52a. Most importantly, the Communists are engaged at present in a go-slow tactic. The purpose of the go-slow tactic is undoubtedly so to exacerbate relations that there will be a flare up of tempers, followed by a walk-off and further stoppages.
– Do not inflame them by talking about the matter.
– While there is a goslow tactic anything can happen. I am sure the honorable member for Blaxland is aware of the go-slow tactic, particularly on the Sydney waterfront but also in other ports, and 1 am sure that he shares my view that the sooner this go-slow tactic is abandoned the more likelihood there is of lasting peace on the waterfront. How we arrive at an end to the go-slow tactic I do not know. Perhaps the secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation will in the future gain greater prestige, a greater following and greater authority for his decisions. One hopes so.
In the course of the negotiations that have taken place the Minister was very greatly assisted by the then acting- secretary of his department, Dr. Cook, who was chairman of the working committee set up by the conference. I think a tribute is due to Dr. Cook, who undoubtedly had a difficult task in coalescing the views of the various members of the working committee. I believe it is true to say also - I think the honorable member for Blaxland referred to this - that the present chairman of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority has brought to his job a spirit of conciliation which runs parallel to the manifestations of conciliation that were seen in the working committee and in the conference generally.
I do not think it would be proper if I sat down without saying that I am aware of some misgivings on the part of certain people in the community about the implementation of this conciliatory move. There are people in the community who look to the waterfront and say to themselves the very thing that the honorable member for Blaxland said - “Here is the vital link in Australia’s export trade”. The honorable member for Blaxland, holding that view, about which nobody can quarrel, says that because the waterfront is a vital link in Australia’s trade, whatever may be the cost of reforming the industry for the national need, it is not an expense at all.
– In the long run.
– In the” long run. That is the attitude of the honorable member. On the other hand, there are people in the community who say that because of the vital link between this section of the community and Australia’s economy, steps should be taken to remove from the industry the power to intercept Australian trade with overseas countries; that something should be done to render the industry less potent to interfere with our overseas trade.
– That is where we part company because our methods may differ.
– That is so. I am happy, because having adopted the view for which the honorable member is so eloquent an advocate, we will not be forced to go to the other side of the picture and take drastic action to prevent waterside workers from wrongfully interfering with Australia’s overseas trade.
What are the possibilities that present themselves if the alternative view were taken? I do not want to canvass them. Everybody will be aware of the very drastic steps that were taken in New Zealand just a few years ago and of the sorts of activities that have occurred on the west coast of the United States of America. I once spent some time talking to various people on the United States west coast and, indeed, I had a conversation with Harry Bridges. I well remember asking him how he, with his reputation, could possibly be prepared to uphold the modernization and mechanization agreement - the M. and M. agreement, as it is called - negotiated between his union, the International Longshoremen’s Union and the Pacific Maritime Association, representing the employers.
– In neither area that the honorable member is exploring is there an organization with the accepted status of the Australian Council of Trade Unions in Australia.
– That is not so. The modernization and mechanization agreement that I have mentioned is remarkable. It provides that an arbitrator shall be appointed by agreement between the two sides. They have appointed as arbitrator an attorney from the University of California by the name of Sam Kegal, who is paid a very high retainer. Under the terms of the agreement, if a dispute occurs on the waterfront, he is informed. He immediately goes to the scene of the dispute, makes an immediate appreciation of the situation and gives a decision, which both sides observe. Under this procedure, there is no stoppage of work. Sam Kegal has occupied this role for some years. It is fair to say that no time has been lost by industrial stoppages on the waterfront of the west coast of the United States since 1947.
One can see from what I have said that the waterfront need not be the turbulent industry that it has been for so long in Australia. But one cannot expect dramatic results overnight. For my part, I believe that the amount of working time lost in the four months since the conference was called has been highly satisfactory. I do not want to be taken by that to mean that, so long as we keep to this level for all time, everything will be satisfactory. It will not. The time lost must decline to proportions that are at least comparable with lost time elsewhere in the community. The figure for the waterfront is far above that in other fields.
I want to discuss briefly only a couple of other matters. The honorable member for Blaxland has mentioned redundancy on the waterfront and the very sharp increase in the proportion of cargo being handled in overseas trade on the Australian waterfront. The proportion handled in overseas trade has increased from about 60 per cent, of the total volume some seven or eight years ago to 77 per cent, to-day.
– There has been a sharp increase in the volume of work due to overseas trade.
– That is so. At the same time, there has been a reduction in the number of registered watersiders. Over the same period, time lost on the waterfront through industrial stoppages has not varied significantly. Out of this fact flows the inevitable conclusion that we are coming to grips with modernization and mechanization as they occur. There is an inherent objection to them among many of the registered waterside workers, but in essence, these two factors have been faced and satisfactorily met. I do not believe that redundancy on the waterfront occasioned by mechanization will attain anything like the proportions that the honorable member seems to think are likely to occur.
– I was dealing not with its intensity but with the principle.
– I merely referred to its proportions in passing. Concerning the principle, let me remind the honorable member that in the period during which the number of registered waterside workers has been declining the size of the total work force has increased by 250,000. Job opportunities are available for the men who must leave the wharfs because of redundancy. This point should be clear in the minds of members of the Waterside Workers Federation of Australia and also of those people who look at the problem objectively, as does the honorable member for Blaxland. Automatic processes are far different from automation, which we have to meet, along with modernization and mechanization. As some job opportunities disappear because of all three of these factors, new job opportunities will constantly become available in a growing economy in place of the original opportunities.
– And very often in other places.
– Let it not escape the honorable member’s notice that the average age of the work force on the waterfront is incredibly high compared with the average age of the Australian work force as a whole. The greatest problem of redundancy occurs in the younger age groups. With the retirement of men as they grow older and have to leave the waterfront, the problems are not nearly so great there as in other areas of industry.
I cannot sit down without saying that in my opinion this bill is far more complex, from a drafting stand-point, than it need have been. The basic purpose of this measure is to suspend the operation of section 52a of the principal act for a period until there is need to bring it into operation again, and, while the operation of that section is so suspended, to restore the right to attendance money that had been withdrawn in the past.
– Not to restore the right to attendance money, but merely to suspend the operation of the provision under which the right to attendance money had been withdrawn.
– The bill will restore the right to attendance money during the period for which the operation of section 52a is suspended. This bill is quite complex as it reads. I am quite sure that if it were distributed on the waterfront to-morrow among workers and employers, everybody would look at it and say: “ Just what does it mean? We were parties to the conference and some of us were on the working committee, and we know what it ought to mean. Let us hope that that is what in fact it does mean.” I regret that this bill, which relates specifically to an area in which industrial relations are as delicate, shall we say, as they are on the waterfront, has not been drafted in simpler and more happy terms.
.- Mr. Speaker, the honorable member for Bruce (Mr. Snedden) has just stated that some people doubt the wisdom of the passing of this bill, and the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison) has expressed the view that the introduction of this measure represents a good step forward in conciliation by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon). I say that the waterside workers have been driven by this Government’s earlier legislation to a point of no retreat. On many occasions, officials of branches of the Waterside Workers Federation of Australia have endeavoured to keep peace on the waterfront, but this Government’s legislation has placed them in a position in which they cannot do so. No honorable member could disagree with the Minister for Labour and National Service when, in his second-reading speech on the Stevedoring Industry Bill 1963, he said -
This bill is unique . . . the uniqueness of this bill resides in the fact that on this occasion it gives effect to the agreed wishes of all parties engaged in the industry.
The Minister could have gone on to say that sub-section (1.) of section 52a of the Stevedoring Industry Act 1956-1962 is unique in penal legislation, unique in Australia and, more than likely, unique in legislation throughout the world. The Labour Party bitterly opposed the inclusion of this section in the act. It proposed the amendments or additions - about twenty of them - to the long-service leave provisions which were incorporated in the Stevedoring Industry Bill 1962. We agreed with the amendments brought forward by the Minister on Thursday, 4th October, 1962, as we now readily agree with the eventual complete removal of sub-section (1.) of section 52a of the Stevedoring Industry Act.
Prior to the introduction of section 52a, the Waterside Workers Federation and its members, either individually or as a federal body, were subject to corrective measures that provided powers for fines, suspensions, cancellation of attendance money and days of annual leave credits, and cancellation of a member’s right to work on the waterfront for a day, week, month or for life. They included, in fact, the right to subject a waterside worker to continuing suspension. A member who was suspended for a slight misdemeanour - for instance, late arrival - could because of the actions of others over whom he had no control or because of actions in which he was in no way implicated, be suspended until the port was clear.
Cases can be quoted where an original suspension of two working days has in effect deprived a worker of two weeks work. This penalty is grossly unfair and is considered so by the officials and rank and file members of the Waterside Workers Federation and the Australian Council of Trade Unions. No right-thinking person would disagree that it penalizes unjustly a person who in no manner was the perpetrator of an act offending against a regulation. Section 52a also has this effect. It is abnoxious and unecessary in the extreme. Prior to the introduction of section 52a, there was no breach of award or act that did not have its attendant penalty. That position remains, even with the complete abolition of the section. However, the section was introduced and the manner of its introduction and the severity of its use use brought about the most complete and utter dissatisfaction among every section of workers on the waterfront. It proved to be the last straw. Because of it many very good workers left the industry. Officials in many ports were able to restrain their members for a time, but very soon the position became hopeless. Amounts, in respect of cancellation of attendance money total about £80,000.
Anxiety, uncertainty and the feeling that the major penalties imposed on the industry are completely unjust were created in the minds of the workers. Coupled with redundancy of waterside workers because of mechanization and their exclusion from certain areas of work, these factors brought about a national conference convened by the Minister at the request of the A.C.T.U. on 30th May, 1963. At the conference a working party, consisting of two representatives of the Waterside Workers Federation, two representatives of the A.C.T.U., two representatives of the employers and one representative of- the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority, with Dr. P. H. Cook as chairman, was set up to inquire into and report on certain problems connected with the stevedoring industry.
The parties saw merit in regular consultation at a national level and proposed that local or port industrial relations committees should be set up to refer to the national body local matters arising from their activities which affected the industry. In his report the chairman said -
It was the unanimous view of the working party that if its recommendations as a whole are implemented in the spirit which influenced all the discussions of the working party, there can be a firm expectation that there will be improved industrial relations in the industry, from which all parties and the community as a whole must benefit. It is with these considerations in mind that, as Chairman of the working party, I submit to you, Sir, this report for consideration by the National Conference.
The working party was unanimous on certain recommendations made in its report. Because the recommendations are important and were instrumental in bringing about the proposed amendment under discussion, we should refer to the report to see by whom they were made and how long the people concerned took for their deliberations. In the report of the working party it is said -
The working party met at approximately weekly intervals, there being six meetings on a total of nine days. Those present at the various meetings on different occasions have included Mr. A. E. Monk, the Hon. J. D. Kenny and Mr. H. J. Souter of the A.C.T.U, Messrs. C. L. Craig, S. Joblin and E. R. Wilkins (employers), Messrs. J. Beitz and C. Fitzgibbon (Waterside Workers’ Federation), Mr. N. J. Hood (Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority), and Dr. P. H. Cook (Chairman).
Dr. Cook is in no way connected with the stevedoring industry. I assure honorable members that the representatives from the A.C.T.U., the Waterside Workers Federation and the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority on a great many occasions hold very conflicting views on industrial matters. However, their recommendation that the operation of section 52a be suspended was unanimous. The report states -
The working party agreed that the successful and harmonious operation would be encouraged if the ill-feeling resulting from the operation of section 52a could be eliminated. To this end it is recommended that the operation of section 52a should be suspended for a period of twelve months, when the position could be further reviewed . the attendance money debits1 cannot be legally cancelled but in the event of these proposals proving effective and the Government deciding to repeal that section, the suspended debits should then be formally cancelled.
This is without doubt one of the most critical issues considered by the full conference held under the chairmanship of the Minister on 30th July, 1963. I had rather hoped that sub-section (1.) of section 52a would be completely repealed. But the bill is at least a step in the right direction and, as stated in the report, all organizations represented on the working party or at the later conference support its implementation. Representatives of the organizations also unanimously agreed that where men become surplus at a port as a result of technological change, assistance should be given to encourage them to move to another port where their knowledge and experience in the industry could best be put to use.
The anxiety and uncertainty created in the minds of workers in this industry, who are absolutely without authoritative information on the amount of money their next weeks’ pay packets will contain or of what amount of work will be available at their port in future, need not be experienced to be believed.
In many cases men stay on at a port hoping that in some miraculous way the port activities will be revived or that the work force will adjust itself. Their savings, particularly those of family men with several children, are soon eaten into and the men find themselves financially unable to transfer elsewhere. The registered strength of South Australian ports fell by 539 between 1958 and 1962, and since then, employment was able to be found for even fewer men. The registered strength in all Australian ports fell by 4,107 during that period, there being 24,720 in 1958 and only 20,6.13 in 1962. But the tonnages handled during that period showed a marked increase, so that while man-hours were decreasing tonnages handled were increasing. The total number of manhours worked in 1958 was 41,026,363. In 1959, the number fell to 30,175,087; by 1960, they had dropped further to 29,912,276; in 1961 they rose to 30,269,218; but by 1962 they had dropped to 26,505,210. In 1958, the cargo handled amounted to 23,636,000 tons. In 1959, it increased to 24,272,000, and in 1960 to 26,041,000 tons. By 1961, it had risen to 28,798,000 tons. In 1962 the figure was 31,921,000 tons. So that we see that while the number of manhours worked dropped from 31,026,363 in 1958 to 26,505,210 in 1962, the amount of cargo handled increased from 23,636,000 tons in 1958 to31,921,000 tons in 1962. In other words, although the number of man-hours worked during that period dropped by 4,521,153, the amount of cargo handled increased by 8,285,000 tons in the same period.
For the information of honorable members, I should like to give a comparison of the man-hours lost through rain and through stoppages in South Australian ports. The figures which I propose to cite disclose that in the five-year period to which I have been referring more time was lost each year through rain than was lost because of disputes, not only in South Australian ports but throughout the whole Australian waterfront. In 1962, three times more time was lost through rain in South Australian ports than was lost through disputes. In only one South Australian port was the time lost through disputes more than 1 per cent. For instance, in 1958, the amount of time lost in South Australian ports through rain was 1.8 per cent. compared with . 9 per cent. lost because of disputes. In 1959, the amount lost through rain was 1 . 6 per cent. as against 1 per cent. lost through disputes. In 1960, the amount lost through rain totalled 2.4 per cent. as against 1.2 per cent. lost through disputes. In 1961, the amount lost through rain was 2.1 per cent. compared with 1.5 per cent. lost through disputes and in 1962 the amount lost through rain was 2.2 per cent. as against . 8 per cent. lost through disputes. The Australian averages for the respective years in the same period were -
I have comparable figures for South Australian ports and, with the concurrence of honorable members, I incorporate them in “ Hansard “.
These figures prove to some extent the need for this bill and for the provision referred to in the Minister’s second-reading speech, when he said -
Redundancy among waterside workers because of the introduction or extension of mechanization was another matter dealt with. The Government has approved in principle that financial assistance towards travelling costs and removal expenses should, in certain circumstances, be given to waterside workers who become surplus in a particular port as a result of mechanization and whose services are required in another port.
That is a further step in the right direction, and I hope that it will be implemented quickly.
Certain sections or individuals in the community seem deliberately to ignore the fact that the waterside worker is just as important in the community as the banker, the school teacher or the clerk with whom he rubs shoulders and with whom he plays golf, bowls, cricket or football. Very often it will be found that the waterside workers in any area play a leading role in local or civic affairs and are generous to a fault in their assistance to distressed persons. Among the waterside workers we have a cross section of the population comparable in kind with any other group of workers. They include returned soldiers, sailors and airmen, butchers, bakers, plumbers, carpenters, mechanics, men of average education, men of above average education, men of probably every nationality, and men of many creeds. They are all united in good fellowship and in the common struggle to provide security for their families.
Mr. Speaker, I support the measure, and I urge the Government, to give every assistance possible to stabilize this industry which is so very important to Australia.
.- This bill represents an important step in returning the principles of conciliation and arbitration to the waterfront. Immediately after the Government brought down the 1956 amending legislation, which included provision for the imposition of penalties under section 36, there was an uprising amongst waterfront unions in opposition to it, and there were a great number of stoppages as a result of the passage of that legislation. The Minister has now realized this fact and has set about endeavouring to rectify the position. I am pleased to be able to support the bill this afternoon, and I concur with everything that has been said by the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. J. Harrison) who is leading the debate on behalf of the Opposition.
Much has been said in this Parliament from time to time about the man hours lost on the waterfront as the result of industrial stoppages. I do not wish to quote statistics in detail I merely say that a perusal of the annual report of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority for the year ended June, 1962, will disclose that 358,000 man-hours were lost in that year as a result of industrial stoppages and that in the same period 983,000 man-hours werelost as a result of rain. Those figures clearly indicate the main reason for the loss of so many man-hours in this industry.
– What year was that?
– The year ended June, 1962. I have the report here. Those figures give a clear picture of the great amount of time lost, not as the result of industrial stoppages, but because of rain. What is the industry doing to overcome theloss of this large number of hours, three times as great - as the number lost through industrial stoppages? These are some of the things that the employers - the stevedores - have to overcome. I feel that if they would go about it in the correct manner and not endeavour to pinprick and attack the -unions consistently, a lot of the trouble on the waterfront could be overcome I come from Newcastle-
– A long way from the waterfront!
– No; I have been associated with the waterfront in Newcastle for over twenty years, and you know it. Most - I will not say all - of the officials of the Waterside Workers Federation in Newcastle are friends of mint! - Fitzgibbon, Cower and Rose. All those - people who play a prominent role in the waterside workers union in Newcastle - are decent fellows. There is no difference between a waterside worker and an official of the Amalgamated Engineering Union, the boilermakers union or any other union, for that matter. The whole question involved in industrial disputes relates to the attitude of the employers or the management-
– I rise to a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Although you have given a fair degree of latitude to members of the Opposition during this debate I now direct you attention to the long title of the bill and ask you to request the honorable member to keep within it.
– J ask the honorable member for Newcastle to keep within the confines of the long title of the bill.
– I am trying to do so by making passing reference to these matters in order to point out the turbulent type of industry which the waterfront industry is and some of the factors contributing to that turbulence.
– The scope of this bill is very limited.
– I realize that the scope of the bill is limited. The measure deals with the suspension of section 52a of the act. I am trying to point out to the House the fact that there are a great many things which contribute to the turbulence which exists in the waterfront industry. When there are publications such as those which express the opinions of the owners and management on the waterfront, or such as the coal and shipping journal known as “The Harbour”, and when vicious attacks are made from time to. time on my party and on the waterfront group of unions, one must realize that they are disturbing the industry and that we have to get down to some basis of conciliation.
As I said earlier, I feel that the bill, which deals with the suspension of section 52a of the act, can bring about a better understanding on the waterfront. That is why I have to make this passing reference to all the side issues which are brought into this question from time to time. I believe that a better understanding can be obtained in the waterfront industry if we can get some fair dinkum conciliation so that the parties can meet and discuss their problems and the unions can obtain reasonable and fair minded decisions from the chairmen of boards of reference.
I have here a decision given by the chairman of a board of reference in the port of Newcastle on 8th October, 1963. The men complained of the fact that they had to work in a ship’s hold with twenty camels which had recently been loaded. Would not that be lovely? The camels would be pretty high! The men had to work in a hatch with twenty camels. The honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Cockle), and anyone else who knows anything about ships, would be perfectly well aware that, the men working in a confined space, must have been subjected to many disabilities. They complained, for example, about the stench. I think honorable members would agree that a considerable stench would bc caused by the camels. The chairman of the board of reference gave the men an extra 9d. an hour for the first hour and a half after the hatches were removed - ls. lid., for the conditions prevailing in that hold. I do not like bringing forward examples of this kind, but I feel that I must . do so in order to bring to the notice of the House the conditions under which the men have to work. Years ago, when coal miners stopped work because a horse had objectionable breath, people laughed at them, but they had no idea of the conditions prevailing underground. In the case to which I have referred the men if required to work under those conditions, should have been paid the disability allowance for the duration of the job.
I want now to deal with work on public holidays and a tendency which has grown up on the waterfront. Earlier this year I asked the Minister for Labour and National Service a question relating to this matter and I am pleased to say that he replied to it. I asked the Minister -
On analysing the answers to this question, I found out that the men worked on 22 of 28 holidays. The waterside workers have certain closed days each year - such as Anzac Day, Christmas Day, Good Friday, Labour Day and picnic day, on which they cannot be picked up - but on the other holidays they can be required to work. . As I have said,- they were required to work on 22 out of 28 holidays. There were 95 ships worked, with a total of 4,360 men employed on them. The catch in this question is that if a man works on Saturday he receives double time, if he works on Sunday he receives two and a half times the ordinary rate, if he works on a public holiday he is paid double time and if he does not work he is paid single time.
We have heard complaints in this House from time to time about’ the great delay resulting from industrial stoppages. Let’ us examine the amount of time that has been lost through ship owners refusing to work their ships on Saturdays and Sundays - letting them lie idle in the port - and working - them on Mondays. I took out some figures - which show that in 1958-
– Mr. Deputy Speaker’, I again bring the long title of the bill to your notice. The remarks of the honorable member for Newcastle are right off the. bill.
– They are not right off the bill. I am pointing out to the House the lack of conciliation and co-operation on this subject between the management and the unions. ‘ If . you are to have conciliation you should have it all the way, and not just part of the way. Members of the unions are entitled to be treated as human beings and not as slaves to be called upon to work as required by the industry. I am pointing out to the Minister that if he analyses the figures he gave earlier this year he will realize that he should have a look at the question of delays ir. the port of Newcastle, where ships have been allowed to lie idle on Saturdays and Sundays and have been worked on Mondays. There has been a loss of time in the turnover of the cargo of those ships. The men worked on every public holiday in 1958. In that year eighteen ships worked on public holidays and employed some 980 men. In 1959, the men worked on four out of five public holidays and fourteen ships, employing 707 men, were involved. ‘ In that time there were four ships which did not work on Saturdays and Sundays, notwithstanding the fact that they were lying idle in the port. In 1960-
– You will be popular if you advocate that the men should not work on holidays and week-ends!
– I advocate that no man should be required to work on public holidays.
– You will be popular.
– Do not worry about that. Men should not have to work on public holidays. They should be able to take their families out on public holidays because, in the main, a public holiday celebrates something of importance in this country. If the men do not work - and this is important, as you well know - on a public holiday when they are asked to work they do not get paid for it. The men are in the position of having either to work or to forfeit the holiday completely. In 1960, they worked on three out of the five public holidays. There were sixteen ships worked and a total of 870 men were engaged. Four ships which had not been worked on Saturday or Sunday were worked on the public holiday,’ and on three other occasions they doubled -up. A skeleton crew was worked on <the Sunday, and they doubled up on the Monday. In 1961, every public holiday was worked. There, were 23 ships work;d and a total of 1,402 men were engaged.
I have raised this matter because it has been brought to me by the men on the waterfront. In 1962, sixteen ships were worked and a total of 877 men were engaged. In the first three months of 1963, sixteen ships were worked with a total employment of 844 men. These men do not want to be asked to work on a public holiday.
The Government, the Minister for Labour and National Service and the stevedoring industry as a whole should examine the causes of holdups on the waterfront. They should examine the numerous occasions on which ships have been allowed to lie idle at the wharf when they could have been worked. The employers have not worked the ships on a Sunday because they could get the mcn at ordinary time on the Monday.
These points are important when we consider industrial peace on the waterfront. As I said earlier, this has to be a two-way exchange. If the men must give something, then the industry itself must give something. It is a turbulent industry and it has been a turbulent industry for a long time. This is not a one-way traffic, it is a two-way traffic.
– It need not be a turbulent industry.
– If we listen to speeches like the one you delivered this morning, then it will be turbulent.
– Order! I have allowed a great deal of latitude in this debate. I ask the honorable member for Newcastle to address his remarks to the Chair and to keep them within the framework of the bill.
– Thank you.
– He makes his living out of strife on the waterfront.
– I do not. I do not represent the men in the courts, but the honorable member for Bruce represents the employers in the courts. I have never represented the employers in the courts, as he has done.
– They would not have you. They would not give you a brass farthing to represent them.
– I would not want to represent them.
As my time is limited, I will conclude my speech. I have referred to the matters I wanted to raise. I fully support the action of the Minister in suspending the operation of section 52a. I hope his next action will be to suspend the operation of section 36. This in itself would help to bring about some degree of industrial peace on the waterfront. As I said, this has been a turbulent industry. The problems in the industry will not be solved by imposing additional penalties, they will be solved only if every one is treated as an equal and if the men are treated as human beings and not as animals, as some employers treat them.
– That is stretching the long bow.
– You know it is true.
.- An unfortunate note has been introduced into the debate by the honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Jones). I intended to address very few remarks to the bill, but I believe it is necessary now to refute some of the statements made by the honorable member. We heard a very responsible speech from the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison). He entered into this debate with the same spirit of conciliation that pervaded the conference called by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) to settle the problems on the waterfront. I think great credit is due to all those who took part in the conference. I have in mind the representatives of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority, headed by Dr. Cook, the representatives of the employers, headed by Mr. Craig, and the representatives of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, headed by Mr. Young, and others. Obviously, this bill is the result of decisions taken at that conference, and it is a very important step by the Minister to try to bring peace to the waterfront.
I congratulate the Minister on his efforts. Ever since I have been in the Parliament, he at all times has tried to redress what have been suggested to him to be grievances on the waterfront. I have referred to “ Hansard “ to read the remarks he made when he introduced the bill which granted long service leave in May, 1961. On that occasion he pointed out that he had hoped that the decisions of the Commonwealth
Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in 1956 and 1959 would have satisfied some of the causes for strikes and disaffection on the waterfront. He said -
In 1958-59, we bad a loss of 345,000 man-hours. This was a good result in comparison with earlier, years and gave promise of belter things to come. Our hopes were short-lived. In 1959-60 manhours lost rose to 806,000. In the first half of 1960-61, man-hours lost were nearly as much as in the previous year.
The Minister then referred to the reasons for strikes and disaffection on the waterfront, and said -
Whatever the reasons for this period of industrial peace in 1958-59, there is one thing of which we can be sure - what occurs on the waterfront occurs because the leaders of the Waterside Workers Federation want it to happen.
I approach a consideration of the bill with a degree of concern. If there is honesty of purpose by those engaged on the waterfront, this bill will ensure that there is peace on the waterfront. The honorable member for Blaxland mentioned that 77 per cent, of the time of waterside workers is spent handling overseas cargo. The figure a few years ago was lower than this. However, we must realize that the figure has risen not only because exports have increased but also because disruption on the waterfront has led to a decline in interstate trade. Most of this trade now is handled by the railways and motor transport. I believe it is very fortunate that we have an efficient motor transport system, particularly, to help us out.
I have already mentioned the attitude of the honorable member for Newcastle to the waterfront. His attitude, particularly as the representative of Newcastle, makes one fear that he is the sort of representative who is probably responsible for most of the troubles on the waterfront. Trouble on the waterfront eventually causes a considerable loss of standards for those who earn their living on the waterfront. It not only affects the mcn themselves but it also affects their families. I believe the honorable member misrepresented the situation when he suggested that most of the loss of work was occasioned through the faults of employers and particularly through rain. He also suggested that the employers had made no attempt to overcome these difficulties. I have a copy of the report of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority, which was issued last month, and I will give some of the reasons stated in the report for stoppages on the waterfront. I am at a loss to find any statement that suggests that rain was a contributing factor.
At Brisbane on 2nd September 952 manhours were lost when waterside workers were dismissed at the vessels “ Anshun “, “ Voss:es “ and “ Baltic Sea “, for refusing to continue working, allegedly in protest against the action of the stevedores in hiring machines and permanent drivers from another stevedoring company. There were two other stoppages at Brisbane, each involving fewer than 50 man-hours, resulting in a loss of 92 man-hours. There was no suggestion of rain in those cases.
At Cairns on 5th September there was a loss of 167 man-hours at the vessel “ Cap Vilano “, when waterside workers ceased work claiming that the freezer temperatures were too low, and when other waterside workers were dismissed for refusing to comply with the employer’s instructions. On 20th September 1,676 man-hours were lost at three vessels and at wharf sugar-stacks when waterside workers failed to continue working in protest against an allegedly harsh penalty imposed by the authority on a waterside worker who had been dismissed for reading a newspaper during working hours. There was one other stoppage at Cairns resulting in a loss of 21 man-hours.
I shall not worry the House by reading through about another five pages giving reports of similar happenings on the waterfront, but I can say that I cannot discover that any of these stoppages were caused by rain.
The honorable member suggested that there was considerable dissatisfaction because of employees not working over week-ends when double rates and the like were payable. Well, it is not a question of the employers suffering losses by paying these rates; the whole community suffers. These extra payments constitute one reason why we have cost pressures in our economy, particularly in primary industries. After all, we depend on exporting primary products as the very basis of our economy. As every one knows - although the Labour Party does not seem to know - we cannot demand higher prices overseas. We have to take what the world likes to give us. If costs are rising here we are caught in the cost squeeze and we are in a very serious position. We hear honorable members opposite complaining that we are doing nothing to reduce these costs. While we are speaking of the waterfront I would like to point out that these go-slow methods, these irresponsible stoppages, contribute more than anything else to the increase of our costs.
I have before me a document giving details of loading rates, over a period of twelve months, from a meat production plant at Cairns. The general average over the period of twelve months was six tons per gang-hour, lt is most interesting to see the changes that took place with various shipments. Apparently the waterside workers in some cases were in a hurry to get away. One vessel, the “ Kwangsi “, loaded on 12th April, 1962. The net rate was fifteen tons per gang-hour, but one gang loaded 23 tons per hour. Two days later the rale had fallen back again to 6.35 tons per gang-hour.
The freight charge of 4d. per lb. on meat exported to America means a cost of £5 10s. on the -average beast on the hoof. Calculations have been made of the savings that could be effected by speeding up the loading rate. They are fairly complicated and lengthy and I shall not weary the House with them now. However, it appears that we could effect considerable savings by increasing the loading rate to, say, 15 tons per gang-hour. From a study of the history of the waterfront it seems that the pre-war average loading rate of beef was between 14 and 16 tons per ganghour. This would seem to be a reasonable loading standard, and if we could achieve it we would reduce freight costs per head by £1 4s., which would more than cover the increase in freight rates on beef going to America which was imposed quite recently, and which, by the way, is apparently suspended at the present time.
These are some of the facts we are really concerned about. If we could increase the loading rate of meat to 15 tons per gang-hour we could save £32,000 at the port of Cairns alone - and, as I have said, this rate has easily been achieved on one vessel. It also was the average prewar loading rate. A similar increase in the loading rate throughout all Queensland ports would result in a saving of £1,200,000. A similar increase Australia-wide would result in a saving of £3,000,000 to the beef industry of Australia. These arc quite considerable amounts.
I support this bill and I congratulate the Minister on his efforts always to help achieve the objectives, or the alleged objectives, of the Waterside Workers Federation. We hope that these measures will bc successful, and I believe they would be successful if the attitude expressed by the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison) were more widely adopted. Let us hope that the spirit shown by the honorable member pervades the whole of the operations over which the Minister has jurisdiction.
– I am very pleased indeed to see this measure before us. I have felt for a long time that something like this is really necessary if we want to achieve lasting peace amongst waterside workers. I said several years ago that the provisions of legislation covering the stevedoring industry cut right across principles generally accepted by the people to-day. That legislation did not encourage men to do their work and maintain peace. The penalties imposed by the legislation for various industrial actions, such as stopping work even when the men thought they were legitimately entitled to do so, served only to embitter the workers. It seemed to me that the penalties provided were out of porportion, having regard to those meted out in our courts of law for various misdemeanours and criminal actions. I have noted in my own State, and also in other States, particularly New South Wales; as is apparent from reports in Sydney newspapers, that complaints have frequently been made about leniency shown by magistrates and others who sit on our court benches. When delinquent teenagers, for instance, come before them, magistrates are inclined to adopt the view that they will not be reformed by being penalized harshly, and that more success will be achieved by treatting them in a lenient or humane manner.
I know that the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) and the honorable member for McPherson (Mr. Barnes) can cite many cases in support of their arguments regarding loading rates. I remember that several years ago Sir Philip McBride, as he now is, would rise in his place in this House, in the days of the Chifley Government, and complain that the loading rate per gang-hour was too low. He felt that something was wrong and that something should be done. When this Government came to power it introduced a Stevedoring Industry Act. I admit that certain features of it were for the benefit of the men and for the purpose of achieving peace in the industry, but I think the Government took a wrong turn when it introduced in that legislation provision for penalties.
This bill is designed to bring about peace in the waterfront industry. I do not want to go into all the details of past squabbles; but some years after the introduction of the system of registering waterside workers the present Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), who was then the Minister for Labour and National Service, introduced a bill to amend the Stevedoring Industry Act. That bill also was designed to bring about peace in the industry. One of its clauses provided that anybody who wanted to be registered as a waterside worker had to apply to the employer, who was given the right to decide whether the quota of the port should be increased.
I remember saying on that occasion that the Government was doing something which would not help the industry or help to achieve peace in the industry, but would cause irritation and trouble. I said that 1 hoped that that would not happen. I was pleased to note as time went on that the Minister did not enforce that provision. Men who wanted to register as waterside workers applied to the branches of the Waterside Workers Federation in the various ports and those branches, subject to the approval of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority, were able to add those applicants to the men working in their ports.
Later the employers, the ship-owners and the Government said that more men were wanted on the waterfront. They said that the quotas for the ports were not high enough. The Government stepped in in order to increase the quotas and to take away from the men the right to say what was a sufficient quota. That caused irritation. Gradually we overcame some of the difficulties and the port quotas were put on a fairly reasonable basis. At present 1 do not think there are very many ports in which objection is taken to the quotas. This bill deals with the subject about which I am speaking now, because it relates tq the number of men employed in any port from time to time.
In looking through this legislation and the second-reading speech made by the Minister for Labour and National Service, I find that provision is made for men to be sent from one port to another and for the payment of so much of their transport costs. The idea is to make the men feel that they are not being penalized by having to work in a port in which they have to accept a certain number of days’ attendance money which is not sufficient to keep them going. The idea is to help them to receive better average incomes. In the past men have been taken from one port to another port 20. or even 40 miles away, and difficulties have arisen in regard to transport costs. I trust that those difficulties have been overcome.
One of the most satisfactory features of this legislation and the Minister’s secondreading speech is the fact that representatives of the people concerned in this industry - the members of the Waterside Workers Federation, the Australian “ Stevedoring Industry Authority and the employers - have met together since May of this year, when the Minister called the first conference. These men have been working for three or four months in order to come to some arrangement or agreement which would obviate many of the hold-ups that have occurred’ in the past. Now there is to be a trial period.
However, the legislation reveals that there is a certain amount of suspicion in the mind of the Minister in bringing it down that the waterside workers may not carry out their part of the agreement satisfactorily. Clause 4 (1.) says-
Subject to the next succeeding sub-section, the Authority shall not, after the commencement of this Act, make a declaration under sub-section (1.) of section fifty-two a of the Stevedoring Industry Act 1956-1962.’
The meaning of that sub-clause simply is that waterside workers are not to be penalized because of any stoppages. But sub-clause (2.) says -
The Governor-General may, by Proclamation -
fix a date on and after which the last preceding sub-section docs not prevent the Authority from making a declaration referred to in that subsection;
The Minister, in his second-reading speech, explained the meaning of clause 4 and the difficulties involved in section 52a. He said -
This is the section which provides that the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority may declare a port stoppage if one-third of the registered waterside workers in the port or 250, whichever is the less, are involved in an unauthorized stoppage. As a result of this declaration the men concerned lose their entitlement of four days’ attendance money.
Sub-clause (1.) of clause 4, under which that would not happen, appeals to me very much. But the Government has tagged on to that sub-clause the very thing that 1 have questioned all along. When people come before the courts to-day, the courts say: “ We will give you a bond “ or “ We will let you off without recording a conviction “. The courts believe, that those people will do what they say they will do. But in this legislation the Government is not magnaminous enough to say, “ We will take this action and if it does not prove successful we will amend the act by introducing another bill “. The Government adds a tag to this sub-clause, and that will be hanging over the heads of the .waterside workers all the time. 1 have had a long connexion with men on the waterfront. 1 know what the position is. The honorable member for McPherson spoke from his knowledge which is confined to Queensland and the handling of beef. Although he might ‘have been able to refer to the handling of sugar, he dealt mostly with the handling of beef.: If we left beef and sugar out,- he would not have had very much on which to base his speech on this bill. My knowledge is not confined to the handling of one commodity. I have been in a port which handles general cargo. Port Adelaide handles every description of cargo - raw sugar coming from Queensland to be refined; big shipments of phosphate coming to the superphosphate works; big quantities of steel from Newcastle and other places; and very large quantities of general cargo from overseas. .Almost every type of cargo is handled at Port Adelaide, just as it is at Sydney or Melbourne.
I know the effects on the men. At times they do their work quite happily; but then something objectionable comes along and they have to decide what they will do with it. My mind goes back very quickly to an incident that occurred some years ago. There was a big ship-load of Japanese cement in paper bags. When the waterside workers got down into the hold they found that because of the time that had elapsed since the cement was loaded the paper bags had split and there was cement everywhere. The men’s clothing got into an awful condition. At that time not much provision was made for boards of reference to consider matters such as damage to clothing. From time to time such troubles occur.
The Minister, in his second-reading speech, says that this bill is not a panacea for everything and will not overcome all the difficulties. He says that difficulties will still arise. You can draw up what you think is the most perfect legislation, covering all aspects of waterfront employment, and just when you think that everything has been settled satisfactorily some problem will arise. I draw the analogy of the gardener who thinks he has destroyed all the pests that arc likely to attack his garden only to find one morning that a new crop of pests has upset his calculations. I have in mind specifically the power proposed to be given to the Governor-General to make certain regulations. I take it that he will not make regulations without advice from the Government which in effect is advice from the Minister or from the Department In the circumstances, every care should bc taken to ensure that nothing will be done to upset this arrangement. If the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority is again given the power to declare a port stoppage unauthorized, with the result that the men concerned lose their entitlement of four days attendance money, I am afraid that the position will deteriorate again.
I have stated that I am pleased at the unanimity which was evident on this occasion. I hope that in implementing this legislation the Government will not use the powers contained in clause 4 of the bill. I am sure that the waterside workers in Port Adelaide will be very pleased with this legislation, because they have been suffering a good deal of hardship.
Another good feature of this bill is that any accumulation of debits of attendance money will be wiped out. The watersiders will be able to start afresh, at it were. I hope that this proposal will not be cancelled in the future.
By putting aside the penal provisions of the act and, as it were, putting the men on their honour to maintain peace on the waterfront, the Government has taken a step in the right direction.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for the third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr. McMahon) read a third time.
Assent to the following bills reported: -
Customs Bill 1963.
Excise Bill 1963.
.- I move - [Customs Tariff Proposals No. 92.]
[Customs Tariff Proposals No. 93.]
Mr. Speaker, the proposals which 1 have just tabled relate to proposed amendments to the Customs Tariff 1933-1963 in respect of-
Ceramic flooring and wall tiles,
Sunglasses and spectacle frames,
Towels and towelling,
Measuring, regulating and controlling apparatus,
Certain canned fish (solid packs).
Details of these amendments are now being distributed to honorable members.
On ceramic flooring and wall tiles, the temporary duties which now. apply to lowcost imports of glazed 6 in. by 6 in. coloured tiles have been replaced by an increase of 71- per cent, in the ad valorem duties applicable to all tiles and tile “ biscuit “ within the size range covered by the board’s report.
The existing protective duties on sunglasses, spectacle frames, &c, will generally remain, unchanged, except for those sunglasses and spectacles having frames wholly or partly of gold or silver on which the most-favoured-nation rate has been reduced to 37£ per cent, ad valorem. This change will affect a negligible range of imports but will bring the duties into line with those on other sunglasses and spectacles, including those with rolled-gold, gold-filled, gold-cased, gold-plated or gilt frames.
The amendments on towels and towelling and on measuring regulating and controlling apparatus, are in accordance with recommendations made by the Tariff Board in reports tabled earlier this year, and are of a drafting nature.
On fish in solid packs, other than salmon and tuna, a temporary duty of 5d. per lb. is imposed in accordance with a recommendation by a special advisory authority. This duty will apply until the Tariff Board has had an opportunity to examine the longterm protective needs of the fishing industry. T commend the proposals to honorable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Riordan) adjourned.
Reports on Items.
– I present reports by the Tariff Board on the following subjects: -
Ceramic flooring and wall tiles.
Sunglasses, spectacle frames, &c.
I also present a report by a special advisory authority on the following subject: -
Ordered to be printed.
In committee: Consideration resumed from 16th October (vide page 1913).
– There being no objection, that course will be followed.
Department of Social Services.
Proposed expenditure, £8,986,000.
War and Repatriation Services.
Proposed expenditure, £123,035,000.
.- In speaking to the proposed expenditure by the Department, of Social Services I should like to refer to child endowment. The history of child endowment is most interesting. Child endowment was introduced by a New South Wales Labour government in 1926 to assist needy families, particularly those in the low income bracket, to educate, clothe and feed their children. The rate then was 5s. for each child. Unfortunately, in 1927 an antiLabour government - the Liberal Party was going under the alias at that time of the Nationalist Party - was returned to office in New South Wales and one of its first acts was to abolish the payment of child endowment, for the first child. In 1940 the Menzies Government, in the federal sphere, introduced child endowment on a Commonwealth basis, not because it believed in the principle of child endowment but because it was forced to do so by a judgment of Judge Drake-Brockman of the
Commonwealth Arbitration Court, who stated that the basic wage was sufficient to keep, not a man, his. wife and three children, as it was intended to do at that time, but only a man, his wife’ and one child. The Menzies Government of the day was then faced with either a steep increase in the basic wage or the introduction of child endowment on a Commonwealth basis. It chose the second course. At that time the rate was 5s. a week for each child under sixteen years of age other than the first. In 1941 the Curtin Labour Government increased the rate by 2s. 6d., making it 7s. 6d. At that time the average basic wage was £3 19s. a week. In 1948 the Chifley Labour Government increased child endowment by a further 2s. 6d. to 1.0s. a week. In that year the average basic wage was £5 19s. a week. It may be readily seen that Labour governments were responsible for doubling the rate of child endowment in a period of seven years but in the same period the basic wage increased by only £2 a week.
In 1950 the Menzies Government introduced child endowment for the first child at the rate of 5s. a week. However, since 1950 no steps have been taken to increase the rate of child endowment. Apart from providing endowment of 5s. a week for the first child, this Government has done nothing to increase endowment since it came to power in 1950, despite the fact that the purchasing power of the £1 has decreased by more than 50 per cent, in that period while the basic wage has increased from £5 19s. a week to £14 8s. a week.
The incoming Labour government will amend this injustice at the first available opportunity. I have no doubt that on 30th November next the people will throw out the present Government and put into power a government which will give justice to social service recipients. The present Government has perpetrated a grave injustice on the mothers of this country. It was elected in 1949 on a solemn promise to maintain the value of social service benefits, but it has not kept its promise. The Labour Party has a policy on child endowment, which I propose to recite. I know that many mothers in this country are anxiously waiting to know what a Labour government will do in the very near future.
Let mc compare what the Menzies Government is now paying in child endowment with the amounts that will be paid by the incoming Calwell government. Under the Menzies Government 5s. a week is paid to a mother who has only one child under sixteen years of age. The Calwell government will pay her 10s. a week - 5s. a week more than she is paid now. To a mother of two children under sixteen years of age the Menzies Government pays 15s. a week, but the Calwell government will pay 27s. 6d. a week or 12s. 6d. a week more than is paid now. A mother of three children under sixteen years of age now receives 25s. a week but the Calwell Labour government will increase the rate by 22s. 6d. a week to 47s. 6d. a week. In the case of four children under sixteen years of age the Menzies Government pays 35s. a week. The Calwell government will increase that amount by 32s. 6d. a week to £3 7s. 6d. a week. To a mother of five children under sixteen years of age the Menzies Government pays 45s. a week. The Calwell government will increase the amount by £2 2s. 6d. a week to £4 7s. 6d. a week. For each additional child in excess of five the Labour government will increase the present rate of endowment by 10s. a week. Labour also will extend the payment of child endowment to mothers of children under eighteen years of agc who are receiving full-time education. This extension of the benefit is warranted and should have been introduced many years ago. Due to ineptitude the Menzies Government has made no alteration in the rates of child endowment since it was elected, other than providing payment for the first child, despite its golden promises in relation to social services benefits.
Labour’s policy on child endowment is not designed for the purpose of catching votes. It is designed to correct an injustice - an injustice that this Government has failed to rectify over the past fifteen years. At the earliest opportunity the incoming Calwell Labour government will restore the value of child endowment to its 1948 level.
All honorable members in this Parliament are aware of the urgent need rapidly to increase Australia’s population. There are two ways by which our population may be increased - by immigration and by increasing the birth rate. Due to the foresight and initiative of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), who inaugurated our great immigration scheme, since the last war ended we have welcomed to our shores more than 1,000,000 people from other lands. However, this Government has failed miserably to encourage an increase in our birth rate. Scores of thousands of parents in Australia are eager and willing to increase the size of their families, but economic circumstances prevent them from doing so. The incoming Labour government will restore the full value of child endowment and so encourage mothers to bring more children into the world.
Let mc tell honorable members something about the high cost of raising children these days. Many wise mothers attend baby health centres in order to obtain expert advice on the care and feeding of their children. Many of those mothers are instructed that their babies must have special foods, but some of those special foods cost as much as 35s. a week. In addition there are other expenses, such as expenses on toilet requisites for the baby, which bring the mother’s total expenses on her baby to at least £2 a week if she follows the advice of the baby health centre. When it becomes the government on 30th November next the Labour Party will do something to ease the burden on mothers. The people of Australia are fed up with the Menzies Government because of its failure to implement promises made over the last fifteen years, particularly in regard to social services.
Let mc now refer to another aspect of social services. I refer to the class B widows. Admittedly they will soon receive an increase in pension of 10s. a week. Their rate of pension will increase from £4 12s. 6d. to £5 2s. 6d. a week, but why should the class B widow still receive less than is paid to the age or invalid pensioner? Class B widows must pay as much for accommodation, food and clothing as do age and invalid pensioners. Labour’s policy is to pay to the class B widow the same pension as is paid to a single age or invalid pensioner. This is another injustice that will be rectified by the incoming Labour government after 30th November next.
I refer now to the class C widows. There are not many class C widows in Australia; they are mostly exceptional cases. Unfortunately a wife sometimes is stranded with three or four children because her husband has been sent to gaol. Living not far from my home is a young woman of about 30 years of agc. She has four young children. Her husband is serving a twelve months’ gaol sentence. She must wait six months before she qualifies for a widow’s pension. All that time her husband is in gaol and the poor woman is forced to seek the aid of the Child Welfare Department in obtaining sufficient food for herself and her children.
Anomalies like this ought to be rectified. Even thought there may be only 700 or 800 class C widows in Australia, they are entitled to justice. Even if there were only ten or twenty, they should receive justice. Surely no member of this Parliament would like to see one of his own kith and kin forced to wait for six months to get a benefit to which she was justly entitled. This Government, instead of paying class C widows the benefits to which they are justly entitled, forces them to go cap in hand to the New South Wales Department of Child Welfare and Social Welfare begging for a hand-out. That department is doing an excellent job, but that job rightly belongs to the Commonwealth, because this Parliament has been endowed with power to provide social service benefits for the people of Australia.
As I have said, anomalies like this must be rectified. Over the eight and a half years during which I have been a member of this Parliament, I have seen the present Government constantly deny the pleas of the Opposition that something be done for people who are in very needy circumstances and who depend on social service benefits. I believe, Mr. Temporary Chairman, that, after 30th November of this year, the Australian people will see some startling changes in social services in Australia. I believe that, at the forthcoming general election, the people will return a Labour government, not in response to vote-catching efforts by Labour, but rather to ensure the restoration of the full value of child endowment and other social service benefits that the Australian people enjoyed before the present Government assumed office in 1949. Mr. Calwell, the leader of the Australian Labour
Party and Leader of the Opposition in this place, is very sincere. A government under his leadership will give the people of Australia justice and a fair go. Under a Labour government, all people who depend on social service benefits will receive justice.
.- Mr. Temporary Chairman, the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Cope) has certainly presented the sort of pre-election propaganda that we expect to hear from him and his colleagues at this stage. Some of the things that he said are surely worthy of rebuttal. What he said about child endowment was only a repetition of what we have been hearing from him and his colleagues for a long. time. The honorable member paraded the promises of his party in respect of social services, with particular emphasis on child endowment. This seemed to me, and, I am sure, to those listening to the broadcast, to be typical Australian Labour Party propaganda.
The honorable members’ remarks were a clear reminder of the fantastic promises on social services made years ago by Doctor Evatt. Down through the years, amazingly, these promises have continually been repeated. This is typical of the approach of the Labour Party. It contents itself with making magnificently attractive and enticing promises. But would the people of Australia ever sec those promises implemented? Let me point out, Mr. Temporary Chairman, that the honorable member for Watson has not told the committee what the implementation of these attractive promises would cost revenue. He made no reference whatsoever to the cost to revenue. This is a clear indication of the irresponsibility of the Australian Labour Party in its approach, as an alternative government, to budgeting and financial planning. Again and again, the Australian people have voted to deny the Labour Party an opportunity to display its irresponsibility in government.
– Is the honorable member opposed to increases in social service benefits?
– I did not interject when the honorable member was speaking.
– If the honorable member supports-
– The honorable member for Watson cannot take it, Mr. Temporary Chairman. I preserved the condition of my throat by refraining from interjecting when he was addressing the committee.
– Be honest!
– Order! I. ask the honorable member for Swan to resume his seat for a moment. I remind the honorable member for Watson that he has already spoken and that the committee gave him a fair hearing. I ask him to restrain himself.
– I asked the honorable member for Swan to be honest. If he opposes increases in social service benefits, let him get up and say so.
Order! The honorable member for Watson has already spoken. He will now remain silent.
– Thank you for your help, Mr. Temporary Chairman. Apparently, I provoked my friend, the honorable member for Watson. Perhaps he ought to listen now to the history of child endowment. Let me remind him that this social service benefit was introduced, not by a Labour Government, but by the first Menzies Government, in 1941.
– I read the history of child endowment when I spoke.
– What I have said is true. The facts are here. 1 sec that I have now driven the honorable member out of the chamber, defeated. The second Menzies Government, in 19S0, extended child endowment to the first child and it is now paid to every child under sixteen years of age. I regret that the honorable member for Watson, having been given every courtesy while he addressed the committee, finds it necessary to leave the chamber when some one on this side rebuts some of the statements that he has made.
In the time available to me, Mr. Temporary Chairman, I want to deal with the estimates for the Department of Social Services and to point out that the provision for salaries indicates that the department has a. substantial staff. The broad scale of social service benefits paid throughout Australia and financed out of the
National Welfare Fund means that the department must have a competent and numerically strong staff. Rather remarkably, I note - and I point out to the committee - the staff strength of 2,805 at 30th June last was only 32 greater than at the end of the previous financial year. The staff and its officers are so remarkably efficient that only a small increase of this order has been necessary despite the introduction of new benefits and the extending of existing benefits to so many more thousands of people throughout Australia. I express on behalf of myself, and, I believe, on behalf of the public the deep appreciation of all for the work of the officers of the department.
As a Western Australian who is constantly in touch with the department, I believe that circumstances warrant my pointing out that the highly efficient officers of the department cannot be expected to give of their best when they are required to work in poor office accommodation. I was pleased to see that this point was well and truly taken up in the last annual report of the DirectorGeneral of Social Services. The report contains a reference to the fact that the existing office space in Perth is no longer adequate. The State head-quarters of the department is situated at 99 Wellington-street, virtually in Cast Perth. That is not really a central location, and the department has found it necessary to establish a separate inquiry bureau in the centre of the city. This indicates to me a very real need for the provision in Perth of a modern Commonwealth centre similar to those excellent buildings constructed in some of the larger capital cities. I believe that if such a Commonwealth centre were provided in Perth, the Department of Social Services would have a very good claim to high priority for accommodation in the new centre.
Having said that, I want to pay tribute to certain officers of the department who are known as special magistrates. These are the men who are required to undertake the rather delicate task of interviewing people. Not every elderly person or applicant for a social service benefit finds it easy to open up completely and to reveal to an interviewing officer perhaps the whole of his life story, the situation of his family and the circumstances of his financial dilemma. In my opinion, all the tact and dedication of a well-trained and highly qualified magistrate are required for this task to be done satisfactorily.
I do not hesitate to say that, in the first years of my service as a member of this place, I became concerned again and again when elderly folk expressed to me their distress at the form of interviewing to which they were subjected. In recent years, my clientele of constituents who come to me for inquiry and discussion on these matters has vastly increased. I hope that this indicates that they appreciate the kind of service that is extended to them by parliamentarians who belong to the Liberal Party of Australia and the Australian Country Party. I hope, too, that I have reason to be generous enough to say that such service is typical of all members of the Parliament. I pay tribute to the officers of the Department of Social Services for the fact that, in recent years, 1 have received no complaints from constituents about interviewing on social service matters. They are greatly satisfied with the kindness and courtesy now extended to them by the magistrates of whom I speak, and I am sure that a word of praise for these responsible officers of the department is not out of place.
All honorable members should be well aware of the value of the booklet, “Commonwealth Social Services “, which is issued by the department. A number of my colleagues and I have recently been associated in a recommendation to the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton) that the changes in social service benefits as a result of the recent Budget, which have been so recently implemented by legislation passed in this chamber, make necessary a new edition of this booklet. I am pleased to make public that the Minister has said that this will be done, because many people in charitable bodies and in the Public Service who are required to guide and advise elderly folk and other people seeking social service benefits find that it is an estimable reference book. It simplifies the social service legislation and supplies many helpful answers to the people’s problems. We shall look forward to the- new edition of the handbook.
The Director-General’s report is a splendid summary of the activities of the Department of Social Services. However, there are some things which do not get highlighted and I think it would be of value if I mentioned some of them. I refer first to compassionate allowances, which it is estimated will cost about £93,000 in the current financial year. It may not be widely known that compassionate allowances are payable on a discretionary basis to persons in necessitous circumstances who are not eligible for pensions under the present rules and regulations. On 30th June last, 293 persons were receiving compassionate allowances in lieu of pensions. Of that number, 262 persons were receiving allowances in lieu of age pensions, six in lieu of invalid pensions and 25 in lieu of widows’ pensions.
I appreciate the difficulties involved in giving a discretion to the permanent head of a department, but I feel that in the field of social services there is ample scope for discretion to be exercised by the DirectorGeneral. I make a plea that, within sensible bounds, discretion should be exercised to meet more and more cases of emergency or necessitous circumstances. I hope that the officers of the department in the States will not hestitate to refer to the DirectorGeneral any cases which impress them as requiring the prompt exercise of discretion. Many cases are referred to the department by members of this House involving people who need assistance but who are not covered by any rule or regulation. I think it is a splendid thing that compassionate allowances are payable.
I hope to have something to say on another occasion about the need for an increase of the very small payment shown under the heading of “ Housekeeper Service”. This service is attracting only £13,700. Grants are made to the States and to charitable bodies which are set up to provide housekeeping services. I believe that £13,700 is an infinitesimal sum for this work.
Every honorable member will agree that there is ample scope to help women who need temporary assistance from housekeepers. I have not the time now to deal fully with this subject, but I hope that, when members on this side come back in strength after the return of the Menzies Government, we will have ample opportunity to speak on this and other important features of social services.
I want to refer now to the provision of accommodation for elderly people. In my opinion - I find that I am supported by the general public in this matter - the Menzies Government has done more to provide accommodation for elderly people, with the introduction of the Aged Persons Homes Act, than any other government in the history of Australia.
– The Menzies-McEwen Government.
– I acknowledge the correction. This coalition government has done much for aged persons by means of the Aged Persons Homes Act. The amount of subsidy approved for payment by the Commonwealth on 30th June, “1963, was £17,476,000. About 900 individual grants have been made to churches and charitable organizations, and about 15,860 people will enjoy the excellent modern accommodation provided by this means. The amount paid out in hard cash through approved grants is almost £15,000,000. In Western Australia quite a remarkable transformation has taken place in the last few years. In 1959-60 that State received under this legislation only £127,000, but last year it received £467,000. The increase is substantial. Western Australia has been inspired by the action taken by many organizations to care for the aged. This work will be supported further by the Menzies Government. This is legislation with a humanitarian basis which surely stands to the credit of the Government which instituted it.
.- I shall address my remarks to the estimates for the Department of Social .Services. I regret that the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Cleaver) opened his speech with an attack upon the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Cope) for the party political content of his speech. The honorable member for Swan included in his own remarks a great deal of party political matter. My speech will not contain party political matter.
I join with the honorable member for Swan in paying a tribute to the officers of the Department of Social Services. I have found that in Brisbane and in other parts of Queensland they are obliging, courteous and hard working. I have felt at times, from my own observation, that in some sections the department is understaffed. I also join with the honorable member in requesting that consideration be given to providing greater flexibility in the administration of the Department of Social Services and better liaison between that department, other federal instrumentalities and State departments.
I will give a few examples of where I feel greater flexibilities and better liaison would operate to the great benefit of many Australians who are in unfortunate circumstances. 1 will deal first with the unemployment benefit. I have the privilege to represent the federal division of Brisbane, which contains a great number of people who live in residentials and whose circumstances arc such that from time to time they make claims for the unemployment benefit and other benefits paid by the Department of Social Services. I appeal to the Minister and the department to consider the payment of the unemployment benefit to people who are discharged from special hospitals, which in less enlightened days were known as mental hospitals. It is well known that if a person has received an invalid pension prior to admission to a special hospital, on discharge from the hospital the invalid pension is automatically restored for one month. There is no break of continuity. However, many people were not receiving an invalid pension prior to admission to a special hospital. lt is necessary for them, on discharge, to register for the unemployment benefit and to wait for a fortnight before receiving the first payment. I cannot imagine anything less likely to help a person on his or her return to better health than waiting for a fortnight in the circumstances in which so many of these people have to wait for unemployment benefit to be paid.
– And they are often picked up for vagrancy in that time.
– I agree with the honorable member. I think that all of us would agree that many of these people who have been so unfortunate as to suffer some mental disability are abandoned by their families and by their friends. Often we find people discharged from a special hospital virtually friendless in the world, and my plea is that some system be evolved whereby unemployment benefit may be paid to people in these circumstances from the day on which they are discharged from a special hospital.
The honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) mentioned people picked up on vagrancy charges, which brings me to my next point. They are in exactly the same position as people who are discharged from gaol. Some time ago we had a great deal of unemployment in this country. I think we all agree there is still too much unemployment, but, nevertheless, in the period when unemployment was at its peak in Queensland, I had brought to my notice several cases of young people who had been discharged from gaol where they had been serving sentences for comparatively minor offences. Surely we all agree that, having served their sentences, they had discharged their debts to the community for their past offences. During the period in which they were awaiting payment of the unemployment benefit, many of these young people were picked up on vagrancy charges. In my view, this is not just, and it is another matter which the department should examine on an administration basis with a view to seeing whether payment could be made to these people on their release from prison, and certainly without their having to wait for a fortnight.
I find that there is great need for increased flexibility in connexion with the special benefit. I believe that there are many people in necessitous circumstances to whom the special benefit should be paid much more readily than it is to-day. I support the views expressed by the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Cope) who mentioned the case of a woman whose husband was in gaol and to whom no pension was payable for a period of six months. I have been given to understand that, because of State benefits paid in Queensland, New South Wales and other States, but particularly in Queensland, the Commonwealth special benefit is paid to people in Queensland less readily than it is in any other State. This is a matter about which I have not been able to obtain much information, and I shall be pleased if, later in the debate, the Minister is able to explain in his reply the way in which benefits paid by the States affect the payment of social service benefits because I think this is a matter in which all honorable members will be interested.
I believe that many women whose husbands are sent to gaol are in no way responsible for the crimes that their husbands might have committed. I recall a case in the federal division of Brisbane in which, during the days of the credit squeeze, a man who was an estate agent operated on his trust account to pay his housekeeping expenses. In the course of time, land sales and property sales failing to pick up, that man was sent to gaol for fraud and misappropriation. I do not condone his action, but I think that in many cases like that no penalty should be imposed on the wives or the families, who are the innocent sufferers. That is another question which should be very carefully looked at for I believe that many more of these women should be paid a special benefit, particularly in circumstances where there is no suggestion that they have in any way condoned the actions of their husbands.
Equally, wc have the position of a person who seems to have no entitlement for any other benefit. I recall a case which was brought to my notice three or four weeks ago in Brisbane. It concerned a woman whose mental condition was such that she was not regarded by the Commonwealth Employment Service as being available for work. I am familiar with the case, and I believe that the Commonwealth Employment Service was quite right in its assessment of this woman’s capacity to work. Nevertheless, it was equally true that when her eligibility for invalid pension was assessed she was not regarded as being 85 per cent, disabled and therefore not entitled to an invalid pension. So she found herself excluded from all benefits other than the special benefit. She was admitted to a special hospital while a decision was being made on her eligibility for special benefit, and I believe that the eight weeks delay, which occurred while her eligibility for various other benefits was being decided was a substantial factor in bringing about the condition which led to her entry into the special hospital. My plea is that consideration be given to providing greater flexibility in the payment of special benefits to people in these circumstances. Surely, if a person has no other means of support, payment of a benefit while other entitlements are being worked out is but a humanitarian practice, and I commend it to the department.
The same position applies to the payment of sickness benefit and unemployment benefit in certain circumstances. A man may be involved in an accident at work, or on his way home from work, or he may be involved in a car smash at the week-end. In the first two circumstances he might have eligibility for payment of workers’ compensation, and in the third for payment of third party insurance, but I think we all have had brought to our notice many cases in which a great deal of time has been spent while the State workers’ compensation authorities, the insurance companies and the Department of Social Services have been determining between themselves which of such a person’s eligibilities is to be recognized. I believe that arrangements could readily be made for people in these circumstances to be paid a sickness benefit or a special benefit until their eligibility for other benefits is determined.
In workers’ compensation cases in particular, 1 feel that arrangements could readily be made with the State authorities under which the amount paid out by way of special benefit or sickness benefit; could be reimbursed from the amount payable by the workers’ compensation authority. My plea is that the Department of Social Services should honour what I believe is its obligation as a department wit’h a humanitarian aim. It should meet the immediate needs of these people, and then at a later date concern itself with the question whether the final obligation should be on workers’ compensation or on the insurance company. The need pf most people who are involved in an accident is almost immediate, and a wait of from four to six weeks or more, as happens in some cases, is surely a disaster to “any family. None of us would want that to happen to our families, and I feci that something should be done about it when it occurs in other families.
I have also found lack of co-ordination between the Department of Social Services and State authorities in other fields. Recently I had brought to my notice the case of a man who had his invalid pension suspended on the ground that he was an alcoholic. We all are familiar with the fact that some people are irresponsible. None of us will deny that there are no-hopers in the community, that there are people who cannot be helped to any great extent because they are not prepared to help themselves; but a chronic alcoholic is just as much a victim of a disease as is the person who is suffering from mumps or malaria. I have had brought to my notice cases in the federal division of Brisbane in which mcn have been told that their invalid pensions would be discontinued unless they were prepared to bc admitted to an approved institution. The two State institutions of Eventide and Marburg were named, but they were not prepared to admit the persons concerned. In other words, those men had their invalid pensions suspended in circumstances which it was impossible for them to rectify.
I do not condone the actions of a person who is an irresponsible or a no-hoper, but I am sympathetic towards the alcoholic because, as we all know, he is suffering from a disease, and there is room for more investigation in this very important field. My plea is that the officers of the State authorities and of the Department of Social Services get their heads together on this question in order to ensure that the decisions made by the Department of Social Services in matters like this shall bc just and equitable.
Most of the matters which I have raised in my brief remarks would not involve any great expenditure of public finance. They might involve the expenditure of a few pounds here and there, but whatever amount was involved, it would be but a drop in the bucket compared with the very large amount being spent by the Department of Social Services at the present time. I raise them in the belief that, although the Department of Social Services is doing a good job and although its officers are dedicated, devoted and capable men, there is room for a greater degree of flexibility and better liaison.
I support the views of the honorable member for Swan, who said that greater discretion should be given to officials of the Department of Social Services. I feel that if that is done and the special benefit is expanded so as to be payable to people in necessitous circumstances who seem, for the time being, to have no other entitlement, it will be of. great advantage to a large number of under-privileged people in the community.
.- In speaking to the estimates for the Department of Social Services and the Repatriation Department, I support the remarks, of the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Cope) and the honorable member for Brisbane. (Mr. Cross). The honorable member for Watson condemned the attitude of the Government towards social services and particularly in regard to child endowment. This temporary Government - which I do not expect to see in office after 30th November - has gone to the people on several occasions since 1949 and, on being returned to office has failed every time - with the exception of 1951 - to give any relief whatsoever to the mothers of Australia. In 1948, the Chifley Government saw fit to raise child endowment from a payment of 5s. to 10s. for the second and each subsequent child under the age of sixteen years. The honorable member for Swan, in endeavouring to rebut what the honorable member for Watson had said, pointed out, with justification, that child endowment was first introduced by a Liberal government. That is true, but I do not for one minute suggest that any one should believe that it was introduced by that government because it was something which it alone considered should be given to the mothers of Australia to help them to maintain and raise their families.
I venture to suggest that the original legislation granting child endowment was brought down by the government of the day only because the Australian Labour Party was breathing hot on its neck and was prepared to bring down this piece of social legislation when it became the government if the then Government did not introduce it.
– It was in our policy speech.
– Of course, it was contained in our policy speech, and it forms the basis of the social legislation brought down by the present Government, but not because the Government considers these matters on their merits. The Government brought down social legislation in relation to the present Budget because it was forced to try to counter the policies put forward by the Australian Labour Party in 1961. At that time we proposed to do something about widows’ pensions and mothers’ allowances. Now, some 21 months later, the Government is doing exactly what the Australian Labour Party then proposed to do.
The honorable member for Swan asked the honorable member for Watson, “ Where would a Labour government get the money to increase child endowment? “ That question has been asked on other occasions when the Australian Labour Party has put forward proposals to give social justice to the people of Australia. We heard it in 1958 and again in 1961. This year the Government has included, in its Budget, proposals, which are now being implemented, to increase expenditure on defence. That was long overdue. It is proposed to expend £36,000,000 more on defence in the current financial year than was expended in the previous financial year. We, in turn, can ask the Government: “Where will you get the extra £36,000,000 which you plan to expend on defence?”
When the Australian Labour Party becomes the government and is drawing up its budget it will take into consideration what it believes are the best means of financing the requirements of this country. If sums of money can be found for finance in one field, surely it is not too much to expect that the Australian Labour Party, interested in promoting the welfare of the people who are most urgently in need of assistance, will be prepared to find £60,000,000 or £70,000,000 to increase child endowment when we become the government. Supporters of the Government do not seem to be particularly interested in this debate. It is obvious that the honorable member on the Government side of the House who was listed to speak after the honorable member for Brisbane fell down on the job and, accordingly, I rose. Honorable members opposite are not particularly interested in social services. There has been a marked reluctance on their part to join in this debate, yet this Government, which is just about to go out of office, says it is the only government which has done anything in respect of social services in Australia.
The Government has a very fine habit of comparing expenditure on social services to-day with that in 1 949 and previous years. It is unfair to compare the amount spent in 1963, when the cost of living under the administration of successive Liberal-Country Party governments has soared sky high, with the amount spent in 1949 and prior to that year under a Labour government which brought about cost stability and kept prices down to a level which maintained the true purchasing value of the £1.
Having said that, I endorse the remarks of previous speakers with respect to the manner in which officers of the Department of Social Services carry out their duties, 1, too, agree that those Officers do a terrific job. There are, of course, occasions when we, as representatives of our electorates, unsuccessfully take up a case for a constituent. I would like to mention those individuals who, through no fault of their own - probably because they could be regarded as misfits in our society and who find they have no means of earning a living - do not come into the category of those eligible for social service benefits. I agree with the honorable member for Brisbane that more flexibility should be shown towards these unfortunates who, perhaps because they have not received a proper education or because their mental standard is low, cannot make their own way in the world.
A lady aged about 38 years, who is a constituent of mine, was afflicted with poliomyelitis when she was a youngster. She ne%’er had the opportunities that ordinary children have and she received very little schooling. She is mentally retarded. She is not silly, or anything like that, but she is definitely not in a position to compete in this hard world to-day. For years she has been kept by her relatives and friends. She has done housework for them, because that is the only work she is capable of, but those people are now getting older and are worried about her future. She made application for an invalid pension, but it was decided that she was not eligible because she was not an invalid within the meaning of the act. I thought that it might bc possible to obtain the unemployment or sickness benefit for her and application was made, first, for the unemployment ben .’fit. The usual answer came back - that she was not eligible for the unemployment benefit because she had not previously been employed and therefore had not lost any wages. It was then decided to apply for the sickness benefit. I believe this woman should have been eligible for that benefit because she could not do any type of hard work and did not have the ability to do any other kind of work. In my opinion she should have been eligible for either the invalid pension or sickness benefit. It was the same old story. The fact is that sickness benefit is in the same category as unemployment benefit. Therefore, she was not eligible for any benefit.
This is a serious problem. I do not blame the officers of the Department of Social Services for reaching the conclusions that they do in cases such as this. However, I believe that the act should be amended in some way or other to provide for these cases. Whichever government is in office next year should examine the problem. I am very confident that the Australian Labour Party will be in office next year and perhaps then I will be able to talk to a Minister for Social Services who is more sympathetic than the present Minister is, who will understand the problems that these people face from day to day, and who has been amongst these people.
– I will listen to you very sympathetically.
– I hope you will, if you ever reach that office. These unfortunates in the community should receive some consideration. I am not able to say exactly how we would be able to give them assistance, but I believe that the citizens of this country, unfortunate or otherwise, are all entitled to have the means of subsistence. Widows under the age of 50 years are sometimes placed in a difficult position. They receive a class C widows’ pension for a matter of six months after their husbands die. If they do not have any children under sixteen years of age, they are then left without an income. Women of 49 years of age to-day have little chance of finding work. This is clear when we take into account our present economic situation, with the large-scale unemployment that we have. These widows are in no position to compete on the labour market with other people looking for jobs. It is virtually impossible for them to obtain any type of employment. This means that after a matter of six months they have no income.
These widows could, of course, ask for the unemployment benefit, if they were fortunate enough to be able to show that they had regularly sought employment. However, in many cases a decision depends on the interpretation of the acf by officers of the department. The women to whom I have referred sometimes have great difficulty in obtaining the unemployment benefit, because the relevant section of the act states that persons must have been regularly engaged in employment if they are to obtain unemployment benefit after they lose their jobs. Widows cannot show that they have been in regular employment; Women of 48 or 49 years of age often are not well enough to go out to work. The section of the act is applied against them.
I do not believe that we can shrug our shoulders and say, “These women are part of an unfortunate section of the community about which little can be done “. We have many problems in social services to-day and I believe that social services will grow bigger and bigger every year. It is useless for the Government to try to shrug off social services expenditure as a necessary evil or an expenditure that the Government would prefer not to undertake. That seems to bc the attitude of some supporters of the Government. The people who rely on social services are an integral part of our society and they are the people who are most in need of assistance if they are to have a reasonable standard of living. We can never expect people receiving social service benefits to have a good standard of living, but surely these people should be entitled to receive the best consideration that an enlightened community can give them. Mr. Chairman, after 30th November when the Australian Labour Party-
– Don’t kid yourself!
– I am not kidding myself. I can sense the feeling of the people better than ever you could, representing a well-to-do electorate as you do. I have contact with the people and I can assure you that after 30th November the Austraiian Labour Party will be returned to office. Labour realizes the problems of the people and realizes that they must be solved. Labour will give the people the consideration that they have never received from a Liberal-Country Party Government.
.- The honorable member for Bowman (Mr. Comber) tried to compare the record of Labour in the field of social services with the record of this Government. I am quite willing to accept his challenge. I point out to the honorable member for Bowman that Labour had eight years of office prior to 1949 when this Government* came into power, and four of those years were post-war years. During the post-war years under Labour, prices were rising very rapidly. They rose at the rate of 10 per cent, per annum during the last two years of Labour’s period of office and during that time the Labour Government refused to increase the age pension by even one penny. In 1949, when an appeal was made to the Labour Prime Minister to increase the age pension by 2s. 6d. a week, he said he could not do it.
Let us accept the challenge and let us see what the position was when Labour left office in 1949. No government has a better record in the field of social services than the Menzies Government has. When Labour left office in 1949, the pension was £2 2s. 6d. a week for a single person; to-day it is £5 15s. Labour paid a married couple £4 5s. a week; the Menzies Government pays a married couple £10 10s. a week. Under Labour, the permissible income - that is the amount of income a person can have without affecting the pension - was 30s. a week. It is now £3 10s. a week. Under Labour, if a man had £750 in the savings bank, he was not entitled to a pension at all. Now he can have up to £5,000 before he loses his pension entirely.
What did the Labour Government do about homes for the aged? Not a single thing! It was the Menzies Government that introduced the Aged Persons Homes Act, which has provided homes for over 15,000 aged people in Australia. Who was it that exempted the income from property from the means test? It was the Menzies Government. The Labour Government penalized the thrifty, first because they had assets and secondly because they had an income from those same assets. This Government removed the double penalty and removed income from property entirely from the means test. Under Labour, a migrant could not get a pension until he had resided here for twenty years. This Government has reduced the period of twenty years to ten years, and now almost all migrants who qualify by age after they become naturalized are entitled to a pension, because in most cases they have had ten years’ residence here.
Labour proposed a ceiling on the amount that those who had served during the war could receive in age and war pension. This Government removed that ceiling, and now a war pension is regarded simply as income in the same way as any other income.
The proposal put forward by the honorable member for Bowman was that we should carry out the policy of the Labour Party in relation to child endowment. This would cost £60,000,000 per annum.. I would like to ask honorable -members whether, if there is an extra £60,000,000 to spend, it would not be better to spend it on aged and invalid people and widows, and on other people who are really in need, rather than give that colossal amount of money by way of child endowment to people who, in many cases, have very large incomes and assets. If we are basing our social service philosophy on the needs of the community then it is, I believe, a fallacious argument that we should spend £60,000,000 in’ making payments to people who, in many cases, do not need them.
– Are you opposed to it?
– I am opposed to giving £60,000,000 to people who, in many cases, have incomes of £3,000, £4,000 or £5,000 a year, and to whom an additional 5s. a week for the first child would mean absolutely nothing. If a scheme can be devised which will really help people with large families who are in need, then I will be all for it. But ‘ it is foolish to suggest that £60,000,000 of the taxpayers’ money should be* given to people, the majority of whom have incomes greater than £20 a week. After all, the average wage in Australia to-day is more than £22 a week. What does an extra 5s. a week mean to people with such incomes? If you have £60,000,000 to spend, let it be spent where it is most needed in the field of social services. I can point to many aspects of social services in respect of -which, with one half or one quarter of that amount, we could do a great amount of good.
Labour’s record in respect of social services was deplorable when it was in office, and the proposal now put forward is quite unreal. It would not help those who need help. I suggest to the people of Australia that the Menzies Government, which has given to those in need the ‘finest social service scheme in the world, should be returned to office on 30th November. Australia is held up all over the world as the country having the most advanced system of social services, and with the return of the Menzies Government our progress in social services will continue.
.- I shall not delay the House for more than a few minutes. To an extent I may be imposing upon you, Mr. Temporary Chairman, in the breadth of your interpretation of the question whether I am in order or not. I desire to speak on a matter affecting the repatriation of a returned soldier.
This Parliament will remember that on 25th October, 1961, I brought into this Parliament a part of a foundation of a home which had been financed by the Commonwealth Government. Actually I took up this case on 10th October, 1960. My purpose in speaking to-day is to inform the Parliament and the country that after a struggle that lasted for a couple of months short of three years I succeeded in persuading the Minister concerned to make a settlement which is satisfactory to all parties involved. I know that the Minister did make an effort to provide loan moneys to repair this house. In addition, he offered the returned soldier an opportunity to sell his house and obtain a further loan from the War Service Homes Division to provide himself with another home, but of course a defective house could have been sold only at a substantial loss.
On behalf of this ex-serviceman I emphasized and continued to emphasize that I considered the Government had a moral responsibility to make compensation that would enable repairs to be effected without cost to the man concerned. I am glad to say that after this long struggle and as a result of my persistence and the spending of much time in drafting letters - and I realize the Minister also took up a good deal of time with his officers in drafting letters to me - eventually a settlement has been made which will enable complete restoration to be effected. I express my satisfaction that this disputation has been settled satisfactorily, particularly to the returned soldier concerned and, I believe, to the Minister, whose conscience must feel easier than it otherwise would. I express my thanks to him.
.- First let me express regret that the estimates for two most important departments have been grouped together in this discussion. If you go through the estimates I think you will find that these two departments are responsible for greater claims on the Government’s finances than any other departments. I believe that the estimates for these departments should have been considered separately. I cannot do more than register my protest. These two vitally important and humane departments should not have been grouped together. After all, we are not dealing with so many ducks or eggs or geese, we are dealing with human lives when we discuss the activities of these departments.
I would like to express the appreciation of ex-servicemen of the fantastically good service they get from the officers of the Repatriation Department. These officers bend over backwards to make sure that every man who has seen service, whether he -is a returned man or not, receives the best of attention from the department. I believe, and I think this Government believes and this Parliament believes, that every man who has served his country should receive due reward and compensation, and the officers of the Repatriation Department are doing their best to see that this is what they get.
The Department of Social Services is also concerned with human interest and with the bodily welfare of our citizens and their families. The officers of this department also go to any extreme to make sure that anybody who has trouble with rules and regulations receives advice and assistance. If a request is made which is not in the recognized form they do their best to help the applicant remedy the defect. They give service wherever they can. This, of course, is the function of a department, of a governemnt and of a parliament. In this connexion let me stress that I am not speaking of a government with a party tag on it, I am speaking of a government and a parliament with the one tag, that of human nature. The welfare of my brother is my concern - that should be the watchword of every honorable member in this chamber, regardless of his position or his party. I believe it is the watchword of the Department of Social Services.
I leave the Repatriation Department, which is giving me good service, because I want to deal with some aspects of social services. I hope I will not transgress the Standing Orders when I refer also to health matters. I believe there is a necessity for a re-organization of the whole of our social services set-up. Certain segments of the national health scheme and the Department of Health should be incorporated in the Department of Social Services and certain segments of the Department of Social Services should be incorporated in the Department of Health.
This subject is tremendously important because it concerns the welfare of every individual in this nation from infancy to the grave, and perhaps beyond the grave because people leave dependants. We should concern ourselves with this matter. There is a gap. A person who suffers an accident or a disease, or is affected in some way or other, and is not able to earn a normal living becomes a customer of the Department of Social Services - an invalid. The Government gets out from under by saying: “We will try to train such people, if they are capable of being trained, in our rehabilitation centres to earn a living for themselves, but if they are not capable of being trained we will not train them. We are concerned with the economic aspects.” That is where the responsibility of the Department of Social Services begins and ends. I believe that health and social services should be brought together.
I refer to the position in Western Australia. I am mentioning Western Australia in particular, but not with the idea of pushing a parochial set-up. The first rehabilitation centre for civilians in that State was conducted at Melville. I believe that there should be a complete relationship between the rehabilitation service of the Department of Social Services and the Department of Health’s section for physically handicapped people. At present the
Western Australian Government is building an annexe for physically handicapped people at the Royal Perth Hospital. That annexe will give physically handicapped people the facilities that come under the responsibility of the State. That is purely a medical section. A rehabilitation section must be tied up with it, and that is a Commonwealth responsibility.
The treatment, education and training of physically handicapped children have been tied together more or less under one roof. That should be expanded into the adult field. The Commonwealth Government should say, “In association with this medical section for physically handicapped people, we will establish a rehabilitation section right alongside it”. That would be the perfect set-up. Under conditions of modern medical science, a physically handicapped person would receive treatment for one or two hours a day, training for one or two hours a day and vocational guidance for one or two hours a day. Eventually we would have the complete set-up. I urge the relevant Ministers, who are sympathetic, and the Government to consider this matter. Perhaps I am saying more than I should, but I am sure that the Western Australian Government would be quite prepared to negotiate very generously with the Commonwealth and to make land available- to the Commonwealth to enable it to provide a rehabilitation section attached to the medical section. This is such an important matter that we must have a joint set-up. We cannot have a division. We cannot have somebody saying: “ I will worry about you while you go so far; then somebody else will worry about you; and then somebody else will worry about you after that “.
I recall that, constitutionally or by habit, this position has arisen. It is accepted that the States have a responsibility for children up to sixteen years of age - I do not know why that is - and disabled people over sixteen years of age are entitled to claim the invalid pension. After they become sixteen years of age, they become Commonwealth responsibility. The present Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon), when he was Minister for Social Services, introduced a measure which provided that the Commonwealth would accept responsibility for the rehabilitation of people fourteen years of age and over. That principle needs to be expanded. The school leaving age varies in the various States. Be that as it may, we should extend the principle if there is a possibility that, if people are able to be habilitated - these are not rehabilitation cases; they are habilitation cases - the Department of Social Services will accept responsibility for them.
Unfortunately, there 5s a gap between social services and health in respect of physically handicapped people. I do not know how we will overcome that gap, but I believe it can be overcome. I believe that this Government will try to overcome it. I am not paying tribute to the Government just because I happen to be a supporter of it. Let me put it this way: With a sympathetic Minister and efficient and’ understanding departmental officers we can get somewhere. I have before me at the moment a letter written by Mrs. McLeod of the Spastic Centre at Mosman to the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton). She urges that something be done for a group of people who at the moment are left out. The salient feature of this letter is that she says -
We cannot in all consciousness leave these normal young people in handicapped bodies to the soul-destroying lives that are at present their lot. To do so is both economically wasteful and shamefully inhuman.
She is talking, about young people who are not the responsibility of the Commonwealth Government because they are under the age of sixteen years. Nor are they the responsibility of the State Government, which says that it is concerned only with the people whom it can educate and develop. These people are subjects who ultimately will be claimants for invalid pensions. Unfortunately, there is a certain attitude in the Treasury or the Government. I do not know who is responsible and I would not lay the blame anywhere. That attitude is this: “ We will provide for people who, unfortunately, are physically handicapped and who could be a charge on the country if we can save some money. We will rehabilitate them if they will not be invalid pensioners afterwards, but if they will be invalid pensioners we are not going to spend any money on them.”
There is a vital necessity for a reexamination of the whole set-up. I urge this on the government that will be in office after the election. I do not care what paity that government represents, because I. am not dealing with a party matter; I am dealing with human beings. This problem is so complex and its ramifications are so wide that I believe it is necessary to appoint a special committee - not a select committee of people who do not know about this matter, but a committee of experts in the handling of physically handicapped people and experts in health and social service matters - to examine the trend of events in Australia. The members of the committee should include people who are working for the welfare of physically handicapped people and who have some knowledge of their requirements.
After examining the whole set-up, the committee would recommend the steps that the Commonwealth should take to provide satisfactory health and social service systems. These could be modelled on the repatriation system. After all, our rehabilitation service and a few other services were first tried out on the dog, if I might use that expression. They were tried out on exservicemen and when they worked successfully similar systems were evolved for civilians. The setting up of such a committee of inquiry could be the answer to the problem. As things stand now, the problem is too big for anyone to handle without the benefit of the findings of a committee of inquiry which has been given very wide terms of reference. I support the proposed expenditure-
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I direct my remarks to item 04 of Division No. 674, which relates to a proposed expenditure of £167,000 on pensions and allowances for seamen and other civilians. I say that this is a very small amount. I bad hopes that, after being in office for so long, the Government would do something for the merchant seamen. They are the people about whom I want to speak this afternoon. I want to make a strong appeal for those Merchant Navy men who served during war-time. They can be regarded as battle-scarred, front-line veterans. However, in the main they have been forgotten, and I think it is true to say that they have been discriminated against.
I shall direct the attention of the committee to the lack of repatriation benefits for these men and their dependants, but before 1 do that let me remind honorable members of what the men went through and what they suffered. Of all the people who served actively against the enemy, the men of the Merchant Navy paid the greatest price. As one who served in the Navy in a few theatres of war, I was able to witness and appreciate their work. It was the men of the Merchant Navy who manned the tankers, the munition ships, the transports, the cargo ships and all the other ships that mailed the seas during the war and took supplies to our forces and those of our allies. They were the men who manned the merchant fleets that were so necessary to us. They were subjected to aerial and submarine attacks for days on end, and it was no wonder that after some six years they began to show signs of the strain of war. Among those who survived, those signs are now even more in evidence.
As far as can be estimated, some 240,000 people served in the Commonwealth merchant navies during the war. It is difficult to find out exactly how many people served because seamen sign articles in various ports. During the war, a seaman joined the ship of one Commonwealth country in one port and left the ship in another port to join a ship of another Commonwealth country. After a while, there were Australian seamen joining Canadian ships in England. There were Australian seamen joining British ships and British seamen joining Australian ships. It is true to say that, in the main, the mcn of the merchant navies who bore the brunt of the war were the British seamen. They were in the greatest numbers and they manned the greatest number of ships. Of the approximately 240,000 men who served, 30,589 were killed or drowned, 4,690 were posted as missing, 4,215 were injured, and 4,088 were taken prisoner. This means that one out of seven made the supreme sacrifice.
In dealing with repatriation benefits, I want to refer only to Australians. If an Australian was lucky enough to serve in an Australian ship but unlucky enough to bc killed, his dependants were provided for automatically, but if he served in a ship belonging to another country it was a different story. No benefits were paid. Sea men and their dependants are covered by the Seamen’s War Pensions and Allowances Act 1940-1961. If a man served on a ship other than an Australian ship, he gets nothing in the way of repatriation benefits because no provision is made for him in that act.
The Repatriation Act is, in the main, fairly reasonable, but it leaves much to bc desired. It makes provision for people who served in the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. If any of those people were injured, or wounded in the war, they have an automatic right to repatriation benefits. If a man served in one of those three services and if, on discharge, he was not granted a pension, he has, if he thinks he is suffering from a disability duc to his war service, a right to make an application for a pension to the Repatriation Department and to go through the various phases of the prescribed procedure until his claim is heard by an entitlement tribunal. However, if a man served in the Merchant Navy he is denied those privileges. He must try to find a doctor who will swear that his disability is due to war service. Eighteen years after the war, this is practically impossible. It is useless for a man to go to a doctor and say, “I was on such and such a ship during the war and I was wounded. I am now feeling the ill effects of my wounds “. No doctors are carried on Merchant Navy ships and very few records are kept. A log book is kept, but if a ship on which a man is serving is lost after he has been wounded that record is lost also. When a man from the Merchant Navy applies for a repatriation pension he has quite a job in front of him to prove that he was injured during the war.
I see no reason why there should be any difference between the Repatriation Act and the Seamen’s War Pensions and Allowances Act because, after all, they both relate to men who were injured during the war. Section 14 in Part III. of the Seamen’s Pensions and Allowances Act is in these terms -
A pension or allowance shall not be granted in respect of the incapacity of an Australian mariner unless a duly qualified medical officer or practitioner nominated by the Commission or a Pensions Committee certifies that the incapacity is directly attributable to a war injury sustained by the Australian mariner.
Honorable members will realize how hard it is for a seaman to prove his case after eighteen years have elapsed since he received his injury. In. the short time that I have been a member of this Parliament I have heard of many seamen who cannot obtain repatriation benefits because they cannot get a doctor to say that they are suffering from a war-caused disability. They are denied the benefits that are provided to servicemen who served in the Army, Navy or Air Force. The Repatriation Act was drawn up for the benefit of soldiers, sailors and airmen. It defines a member of the forces or a returned soldier as a person who, among other- things, was enlisted or appointed for service in, connexion with naval or military preparations or operations. A merchant seaman was not able to enlist in the forces. When war broke out certain industries were declared to be protected industries. People working in those protected industries were not allowed to leave their jobs. So the seamen, whose occupation it was to go to sca, remained in their ships. They went to war areas but they are not covered by the Repatriation Act. In its definitions provisions the Repatriation Act reads - ‘ Served in a theatre of war “ means served at sca, in the field or in the air, in naval, military or aerial operations against the enemy in an area, or on a aircraft or ship of war, at a time when danger from hostile forces of the enemy was incurred in that area or on that aircraft or ship of war by the person so serving.
When the Japanese bombed Darwin six Australian ships were hit. A seaman serving on the hospital ship “ Manunda “ who was wounded in the leg during the raid on Darwin, has endeavoured to obtain a pension from the Repatriation Department but he cannot produce a doctor to say that he saw the seaman wounded. There are no records. The seaman has shrapnel in his leg. He has produced X-rays of his wounds but he cannot obtain compensation. He now has a limp.
– Were the merchant seamen paid the same rates as were paid to naval personnel?
– No, merchant seamen were paid higher rates, but they were working in a protected industry. They had to go into war theatres. If we did not have a merchant navy we would not need a Royal Australian Navy to protect merchant ships. 1 do not propose to argue whether merchant seamen should receive higher rates of pay than naval personnel but when a war breaks out we must view matters sensibly. It is wrong to say that the effort of one man was any greater than the effort of another man. In war all men work together in the common cause. ,,It is wrong that merchant seamen should be denied repatriation benefits. I trust that the Minister for Repatriation will do something about this matter.
I know of a young man who was apprenticed to an Australian shipping company. At the age of sixteen years he joined a British ship in Sydney. That ship was torpedoed in the Atlantic. The vessel was registered, in London. The boy sixteen years “of age spent 49 days at sea in a lifeboat. He was picked up by a German submarine and became a prisoner-of-war. He finally returned to Australia, but he has been forsaken. I do not want to go into detail about what has happened to that yoting man. Suffice to say that he now suffers from a mental condition. He cannot . get a repatriation- pension. I . have spoken to his parents. They have told me that he went away to sea a smiling boy cf sixteen years but he came- home mentally depressed. He cannot obtain assistance under the Seamen’s War Pensions and Allowances Act because he did not serve in’ an Australian ship. The act deals with Australians. This young man is an Australian but because he served in a British ship .ne has been discarded. I have bc:n approached by seamen who have served for six years in confined spaces. They now suffer from ali sorts of complaints, but until the act is amended nothing can be done for them. I know that the Minister for Repatriation is listening attentively and that be will look into this matter. I know that be will not for long have the opportunity to look into this matter. When a Labour Minister for Repatriation is sitting where the i Minister now sits this whole business will be put in order.
.- I rise in the debate to refer to a matter that concerns the Department of Social Services. I remind the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton), who is in the chamber, that this is the first occasion on which I have had cause to complain in this chamber about what I regard as a cruel injustice to one of my constituents. Only after careful consideration of all the facts have I decided to raise this matter. I have had correspondence with the staff of the Department of Social Services in my area and I must commend those people for the way they go about their duties.
I have the permission of my aggrieved constituent to mention her name in this place. Unless one has lived in a coalmining area one cannot appreciate the atmosphere, the environment and the strong family union that exists among people who have been reared in such an area. The case that I bring before the committee is reminiscent of the theme of the film “ How Green Was My Valley”. A little place called Paxton, just outside Cessnock, which depended for its economy on a mine, was plunged into darkness when the mine was closed because the coal owners said that it could not be profitably worked. It was not that the coal mine was producing at a loss; it was simply not making enough profit to warrant keeping it open. The people working in the mine were thrown on the economic scrap heap. This has been happening to miners down through the ages. To know what happens on the coal-fields one has only to read the life story of Aneurin Bevan and of what happened on the Scottish coal-fields.
– What is the title of the book?
– It is “Aneurin Bevan” written by Michael Foot. It would do some of the Liberal boys good to read that book. They would appreciate my remarks better if they had read it.
The matter I raise concerns a young woman, 32 years of age, named Rita McKenzie, of Bellbird. On her behalf I have had a great deal of correspondence with the Department of Social Services. When she left school the girl, as is the custom in coal-mining villages, was requested to stayat home and help keep house for her mother, father and two brothers, the menfolk being engaged in the coal-mining industry. As time went on, Mr. Temporary Chairman, the mine was closed, the girl’s father died and her two brothers, forced out of the mining industry, left home, I believe to marry. The girt was compelled to stay at home for some years and look after her ill mother, and had reached the age of 31 before she sought employment. The Department of Social Services questioned the fact that, although a single girl, she had never had employment since she left school. Knowing the details of this case and the way people live on the coalfields, I say that this is a cruel case. I ask the Minister for Social Services to bear with me while I give him the details. If he investigates the case, he will find that I am not misleading the committee.
The girl was told that the Department of Social Services was not satisfied that she had been seeking employment over the years. She gave the frank reply: “No, I have not been seeking employment over the years. My father and my brothers, who were all working at the coal-mine at Paxton, wanted me to stay at home after I left school and to help my mother keep house “. The girl says that she did try to get a job at the Cessnock District Hospital and at G. J. Coles and Company Limited at Cessnock, but the Department of Social Services regarded these efforts as insufficient. In my view, Mr. Temporary Chairman, its judgment was swayed by the fact that this girl had not been employed between the ages of 15 and 31.
I wrote to the department about the matter and received a reply on 18th February, 1963. I am prepared to show the whole of the contents of the department’s letter to the Minister or to any one else, but I propose to read only three paragraphs of it. Mr. Beasley, the regional officer of the department in Newcastle, is an officer for whom I have a great deal of respect, but I believe that he erred in this case. In his reply to my letter, he stated-
Miss McKenzie is 31 years of age and has not been employed outside the home since leaving school. She docs all the housework for the family, which comprises her widowed mother and 2 other brothers.
When interviewed by an officer of the Department on 23rd January, 1963, Miss McKenzie stated that, apart from applying for a position at a clothing factory two years ago and making written application for employment at the Allandale Hospital three weeks previously, she had not sought employment since leaying school.
Miss McKenzie’s claim was rejected as it was not considered that she had taken reasonable steps to obtain work.
The Allandale Hospital,I may say, is a geriatric clinic recently established by the Labour Government of New South Wales in an effort to relieve some of the sufferings of my people in the Hunter electorate.
– The claim was rejected because the attitude is that, whatever is done, the numbers of those registered as unemployed must be kept down.
– If time will permit, I shall deal later with the aspect of the unemployment situation of which, the honorable member for Barton has just reminded me. In my view, there has been a desperate attempt by the Government and, I believe, the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) to reduce the unemployment figures to the very minimum so that Government supporters may claim, when they go before the people in the forthcoming genera] election campaign, that this Government has properly dealt with unemployment. Honorable members opposite boast to-day that only about 58,000 workers are registered as unemployed and that the level of unemployment is now lower than at any time since the credit squeeze of two years ago. Yet we have instances like the one that I have just described.
Cruel treatment is meted out to decent Australian girls, boys and men whose just claims to social service benefits have been rejected purely for the purpose of keeping the unemployment figures to a minimum and painting a rosy picture and deluding the people of Australia in the forthcoming general election campaign. All my life I have been taught to look for truth and positiveness, and therefore I doubted that such a thing would ever happen. However, I have heard honorable members on both sides of the chamber say so often that these things are happening that I have reluctantly been forced to accept the existence of this state of affairs. The reason why the Government has taken action to reduce the number of people receiving unemployment benefit is abundantly clear to me today. I understand the reason for the treatment meted out to this unfortunate girl, Miss McKenzie, and others in my electorate. If these things are happening in my constituency, Mr. Temporary Chairman, they are happening throughout Australia. I hope that the people who are listening to me to-day will heed what I am saying. The unemployment figures are false. They are “ dudded “. They are fictitious. They constitute a lie that has gone out to the people.
– The honorable member is indicting public servants. ! Mr. JAMES. - If my leader and my deputy leader will let me, I shall go to the Warringah electorate during the election campaign and tell the electors there all about the honorable member and what he supports. He has no concern for the suffering or for the unemployed. He has no -human feelings at all. If be wants to know what poverty is and how people are morally beaten, let him go to the Hunter electorate and see for himself. In my electorate, 10,000 men have been retrenched from the coal-mines, but nothing substantial has been done by this Government to improve the situation by economic planning. Despite the fact that it knew that the introduction of mechanization into the coalmines would cause sweeping changes in the coal-mining industry, nothing has been done at the federal level to relieve the situation. Nor did anybody expect anything to be done by a government that is interested only in the sponsorship of big business.
– That is nonsense.
– It is not nonsense. The honorable member knows that what I have said is right.
I ask the Minister for Social Services to have a look at the case of this unfortunate girl, McKenzie. She has been wrongly treated. As a result of her truthfulness, she has been deprived of the unemployment benefit to which she is justly entitled. Since her application was rejected, she has written to the Watt-street Hospital in Newcastle for a position as a domestic. Domestic work is the only work in which she is trained. She is a clean, upright girl. I have had a long talk to her and I know just what she is like. She has written also to the Stockton Mental Hospital, the Morisset Hospital and the Watt-street mental hospital seeking work. Does the Department of Social Services expect her to travel about in trains and buses when she has no money out of which to pay fares?
She has written to all these places seeking work. Could she do any more, Mr. Minister? Has she to get herself a swag? Are you trying to force her into a life of prostitution? It appears to me that circumstances like those in which this unfortunate girl finds herself are the circumstances that force some of our girls to sell themselves. However, this girl’s moral fibre, her environment, her character and her Christain upbringing on the northern coal-fields of New South Wales will not permit her to sell herself. Neither this Liberal-Australian Country Party Government nor any ofher tory government would be capable of forcing this unfortunate girl into a life of prostitution. I ask the Minister for Social Services to examine this case personally and to give justice where it is due. I appeal to him to see that this girl is not demoralized. I ask him to act, not to-morrow, not next week or the week after, but immediately.
Proposed expenditures agreed to.
Bill received from the Senate, and read a first time.
Mr. FAIRBAIRN (Farrer-Minister for
Air) [5.56]. - I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
This is a bill for an act to amend the Air Navigation (Charges) Act 1952-1962 for the purpose of securing an increase in the revenue from the various operators and owners of aircraft who make use of the aerodromes and other facilities for air navigation provided, maintained and operated by the Commonwealth.
In pursuance of its policy of ultimate full recovery of that part of the cost of providing such facilities that is properly attributable to the air transport industry, the Government again carefully explored the extent to which air navigation charges could be increased, giving due regard to the general cost level of the industry and the prospects for a continued growth in air transport activity. It was concluded that the whole industry could reasonably absorb an increase of 10 per cent. in the existing scale of charges and this bill provides for such an increase to take effect from 1st January, 1964.
Honorable members will appreciate that the present rate of recovery still falls very far short of recouping the total attributable cost of providing facilities, although a steady increase is now being manifested. Not only ure charges higher but they are being applied to a bigger base because of the growth in the intensity of use of facilities by all sections of the industry. The annual review of the scale of charges naturally takes account of this particular aspect, so as to ensure that the growth of aviation activity is not retarded, since it is obviously in the interest of the community that there is a continued growth in the use of facilities.
I can illustrate the upward trend of revenues by pointing out that in 1952-53, air navigation charges yielded £199,200. In 1959-60 the total revenue has risen to £716,188 and the recoveries in 1962-63 totalled £1,483,000. In 1963-64, with the increase provided for in this bill, revenue from air navigation charges is estimated at £1,700,000. This represents a ninefold increase in the course of the last ten-year period.
This bill does not change the method of assessing charges but simply increases by 10 per cent. the unit charges which are based on maximum certified all-up-weight of aircraft. The new scale of charges will be applied to all domestic and international airlines, and charter, aerial work and private operators. As is usual, the bulk of the increased payments will fall on the two major domestic airline operators. In the case of the operators of light aircraft the increase will be relatively light, yielding an estimated additional £6,500 in a full year. I commend the bill to honorable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Crean) adjourned.
Sitting suspended from 5.58 to 8 p.m.
– Is it the wish of the House that the bills be introduced and debated together? There being no objection, that course will be followed.
Bills presented by Sir Robert Menzies, and read a first time.
– by leave - I move - That the bills be now read a second time.
The first and larger of these two bills, and the States Grants (Universities) Bill (No. 2), which I have introduced, are related and, as I have said, for convenience and clarity my speech, which I am afraid will not be brief, will refer to both bills.
The report of the Australian Universities Commission covering the period 1961-66, which I have tabled to-day, and the consequent legislation now introduced into this House, are stages in a procedure which has now become a well-established feature of the relationship between the Commonwealth Government on the one hand and the State governments and State universities on the other. Honorable members will recall that, having received the report of the Murray committee in 1957, Parliament passed legislation by which grants were made to the States for their universities in the three years 1958-1960. Similarly, on receipt of the first report of the Universities Commission in 1960, Parliament agreed to legislation authorizing greatly increased grants to the States for their universities during the years 1961-63.
I have now tabled the Universities Commission’s second report and am very pleased to introduce a bill under which we will offer financial assistance to the States for their universities at a higher level than ever before.
Though the commission is now a firmlyestablished statutory authority of the Commonwealth, it is worthwhile taking a little time to recall the terms of section 14 of the act which set it up. It reads - (1.) The Commission shall perform its functions with a view to promoting the balanced development of universities so that their resources can be used to the greatest possible advantage of Australia. (2.) For the purpose of the performance of its functions, the Commission shall consult with universities and with the States upon the matters on which it is empowered to furnish information and advice.
The commission’s responsibilities, therefore, are much broader and more significant for educational developments at the tertiary level than they would be were it merely a body charged with making financial recom- mendations in connexion with the universities. Indeed, I recall that this is the very reason why we decided to call it not a grants commission but a universities commission. From 1959 to 1962, Sir Leslie Martin, the full-time chairman of the commission, was assisted by four part-time commissioners, but from June of the latter year two additional part-time commissioners were appointed in recognition of the commission’s growing responsibilities and fields of interest. The present membership, I remind the House, is - Sir Leslie Martin, Professor N. S. Bayliss, Mr. K. B. Myer, Professor S. Sunderland, Professor A. D. Trendall, Dr. J. Vernon, and Sir Kenneth Wills. To all of these gentlemen, we are greatly indebted for a most valuable report.
It follows from what I have said that the report is not merely a financial document. It has much to say of the educational problems confronting the universities. The commission’s conclusions on these are such that it attaches great importance to the outcome of the painstaking inquiry currently being undertaken into the future pattern of tertiary education by a committee of the commission specially appointed for that purpose in 1961. I emphasize this point because we have not received the report of that committee and therefore its findings are not reflected in any of the recommendations that are made. I take the opportunity of pointing out that the Universities Commission refers to tertiary education perhaps somewhat more precisely as post-secondary education, which makes it clear that it covers such matters as teachers’ colleges, technological training, and the like. Although not a matter covered by the present legislation, there are recommendations in the report for development during the coming triennium at the Australian National University. As is customary with this institution, which is wholly a Commonwealth responsibility, decisions are reached during the annual debates on the Commonwealth Budget. Nevertheless, I may say at this stage that, in general and subject to normal annual budgetary provision, my Government accepts the recommendations of the commission for the Australian National University.
I turn now to a few of the major features of this report. It seems to me appropriate that I should refer first to the students. In general, the commission finds that the 1964- 1966 triennium will bring still greater demands on the universities to provide more places for more students at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels. In the words of the report - an increasing proportion of secondary school students are staying on at school for the final year, and increasing numbers are going on to enrol at universities.
If we consider the equivalent full-time enrolments at universities, that is if we make certain allowances for part-time and external students, the numbers are expected to rise from about 53,000 in 1963 to about 74,000 in 1966. This is an increase of 21,000 equivalent full-time students, or 40 per cent., in three years. Of course, as honorable members know, this problem is not peculiar to Australia.
As to staff, more students require more highly qualified staff if the standards are to be maintained. The commission estimates that about 2,000 additional academic staff will be needed to cope with this increase if the present staff-student ratio is maintained. Two thousand additional academic staff in three years! For comparison, it should be noted that between 1960 and 1963 the increase in equivalent full-time students was 11,000 and in equivalent full-time staff 1,000. So the problem is increasing. Demographic factors are such that some slackening in the rate of increase in student numbers ls predicted from 1966 onward. Despite heavy pressures of student numbers on them and the difficulties they have met in recruiting sufficient qualified academic staff, the universities have been able to achieve much since the first effects of the Murray report were felt in 1958. They have greatly improved their buildings and equipment, as all honorable members who have moved around them well know and have been able to provide for almost all of the students seeking admission, including the enrolment - and we must remember this - of large numbers of overseas students, nearly 3,500 last year.
It will be noted with much satisfaction that graduation rates are significantly better nowadays than they were a few years ago. Of those who entered our universities in 1951, some 57 per cent, graduated and of those who entered in 1956 some 70 per cent, graduated. It will be remembered that enrolments have greatly increased over this period. Thus not only is our output of graduates increasing, but the percentage of our young people who graduate is also rising. Of great significance for future leadership in research and teaching is the fact that there were nearly five times as many higher degree students in 1962 as there were in 1953 - nearly five times as many - and the universities expect this figure to double again by 1966.
There are points of considerable anxiety which remain. The commission has doubts whether the universities will find it practicable to recruit enough qualified academic staff for the coming triennium. The imposition of quotas has become a feature of the universities, but the commission reports that except for all faculties of medicine, other than that of Queensland, restrictions on entry have been significant only in the four universities in Sydney and Melbourne, that is, the University of Sydney, the University of New South Wales, the University of Melbourne and Monash University. In consequence, therefore, the commission recommends additional grants in the 1964- 66 triennium beyond those first contemplated to enable the University of New South Wales and Monash University to accept students who might otherwise have to be excluded. Provision is also recommended for greatly increased medical training facilities at the University of Melbourne and for the establishment, during the triennium, of a faculty of medicine at the University of Tasmania.
Conscious of the national need for greatly increased attention to research, particularly in the fields of science and technology, the commission has recommended greatly increased expenditure on research and for the provision of computing facilities at universities. In order that students living outside the centres in which universities are situated should have a reasonable opportunity of taking advantage of the greatly increased provision for university education, it is essential that greatly increased provision should be made for student residences. The commission has therefore recommended expenditure for this purpose which should lift the proportion of the full-time student population in residence from about 14 per cent, at the end of .this year to over 16 per cent, at the end of 1966.
– And sixteen more colleges.
– We cannot say anything about that. As always, of course, the main heads of expenditure at universities are those for recurrent items, such as salaries and minor items of equipment and so on, and capital development. Naturally, with rapidly growing student numbers and related staff growth, big increases in recurrent expenditure are inevitable. Further capital expenditure is also inevitable, but it will be noted that if the residential component is excluded the cost of buildings recommended by the Commission for 1964-66 will not be much more than the cost of those erected in the present triennium. The House will be interested to know that the commission proposes no change in the relationship between Commonwealth and State contributions, £1 for £1, on the capital side and £1 - the Commonwealth - and £1 17s. - State grants plus students’ fees - for recurrent expenditure. That has been the formula now for quite some time.
Before giving the House a summary of the financial implications of the report, I should mention that in two respects it is incomplete. The introduction of Commonwealth assistance for teaching hospitals dates only from 1962. Since the completion of the investigation on which that assistance was made, the commission has been fully engaged with its inquiries into the more firmly established patterns of assistance and has therefore postponed until next year its recommendations for assistance to teaching hospitals in the coming triennium. That will, of course, be a pleasure to come for the Treasurer - whoever he may be- next year. In the second place, the recommendations of the commission are based on Commonwealth support to the States for recurrent expenditure using the same scale of academic salaries as was adopted from December, 1960. This was based on a standard professorial salary of £4,250. This is a matter on which I shall have more to say in a few minutes, but before I come back to it I should remind the House that the commission does not fix salaries but must suggest a figure on which the calculated advances to the States may be worked out. That does not control a State or a State university, but it does determine how much they get from us and therefore it is an important item.
To summarize the financial implications for the Commonwealth of the commission’s recommendations for assistance to the States for their universities, I ask honorable members to note the following figures for 1964- 66 and the comparisons with 1961-63: - For general recurrent expenditure, in this current triennium the figure is £37,700,000, an increase of about £12,000,000 over the provision in the present triennium which is ending. For buildings and furnishings, other than student residences, the figure is £15,700,000, which is an increase of about £1,000,000 over the previous three years. For research and computers the provision is £2,900,000, an increase of £2,400,000. For building and furnishing halls of residence and affiliated colleges the provision is £3,400,000, an increase of nearly £2,000,000. This, I think, refers to what my friend was asking about. For recurrent expenditure in the halls of residence and affiliated colleges we provide £700,000, an increase of £200,000.
From the figures I have just given it will be clear that acceptance of the commission’s present recommendations would require the Commonwealth to offer the States over £60,000,000 for their universities during the forthcoming triennium. This is an increase Of nearly £16,000,000 over the Commonwealth money provided during the present triennium. To attract this amount - and we must never forget this - the total of State grants and students’ fees in all of the State universities would need to be over £90,000,000, an increase of more than £25,000,000 on the corresponding amount for State grants and students’ fees in the present triennium. It is worth noting in this context, so that the whole break-up of the figures may be available, that universities’ income from students’ fees over the coming triennium is expected to be nearly £20,000,000. The States, which have a great bracketing responsibility in this matter, will themselves have to find of the order of £70,000,000.
Subject to certain matters that I shall mention shortly, the Government accepts the financial recommendations of the commission, and the present legislation is intended to give legal effect to an offer to the States on that basis. I have written to the Premiers and told them of the Government’s intentions with regard to the commission’s financial recommendations. It is appropriate that I should again emphasize that it is the State governments that have the major responsibility for the development of universities within their borders. But it is a source of much satisfaction to all concerned that the State governments readily accept the Universities Commission as an expert body to which they can turn for advice on matters affecting university development.
I have already indicated that provision for teaching hospitals and for increases in academic salaries above the levels that have been in effect since the end of 1960 will add to the total amounts recommended in the report and adopted in this legislation.
There is in addition the report shortly to be presented by the commission’s Committee on the Future of Tertiary Education, which I have defined a little earlier. The commission attaches great importance to the outcome of this investigation into the pattern of educational facilities over the whole field at the tertiary or post-secondary level. The Government has no doubt that the problems with which the committee is concerned and the recommendations which the commission will make in consequence are of great significance for the provisions to be made in the future for universities.
Honorable members will note in the report that the commission is recommending a grant of £5,000,000, on a £1 for £1 basis as between the Commonwealth and the States, to support special additional research activities at the post-graduate level. This, I emphasize, is of tremendous importance. The commission has devoted a lot of thought to it, and I certainly have myself. We must have increasing numbers of postgraduate students and those passing to higher degrees and doing research work if we are to provide the universities with the teaching staffs that this country needs. However, the commission has yet to complete its study of the distribution of these funds and recommends, in the first instance, a distribution of £1,000,000 in the proportion shown in Table 60 of the report. The Commonwealth is ready to accept the commission’s proposals for the initial £1,000,000 on the understanding that the funds shall not be used, in substitution, to finance research activity already supported from the general funds of universities or from other sources and shall not be used in such a way as to compete with the Commonwealth post-graduate awards for similar schemes for assisting post-graduate research students. We have, naturally, postponed a decision on the balance of the commission’s research proposals until it has completed its study. We hope shortly to take an opportunity to look at the whole question of Commonwealth involvement in research in Australia.
With regard to the recommendation for affiliated colleges and halls of residence, we accept that there is a need for additional student residences and we have no quarrel with the total scale of assistance suggested in the report in Table 68. However, we do wish to ensure that, within this assistance, affiliated colleges should have access equally with halls of residence and on a £1 for £1 basis. Our acceptance of the total amounts shown at Table 68 is on that basis and I shall be discussing with the Universities Commission the practical consequences of this decision. Our approach to this matter has been influenced by the considerations that affiliated colleges are traditionally a part, and I think a very valuable part, of the Australia university system, have played an outstanding role over the years and, for each student in residence, make a smaller demand on the public purse.
Before leaving the subject of affiliated residential colleges, I take the opportunity to explain to the House why the bill to amend the existing States Grants (Universities) Act is necessary. This is the second bill, which looks a small and harmless bill. The original act provided for Commonwealth grants totalling £1,000,000 for affiliated residential colleges and in Schedule 4 the amount available for colleges at each of the universities concerned was specified. As things turned out, plans for affiliated colleges at the University of New South Wales have come to nothing in the present triennium. We are therefore left with the choice of seeing the appropriation lapse or of making it possible to distribute the £150,000 involved, according to the judgment of the commission, among other affiliated residential colleges which have the necessary matching funds at their disposal. We have thought it preferable to make the money available, and the bill provides accordingly. Honorable members know that there is usually a proposition that anything like this comes back home. Anyhow, it is not coming back home this time; it is going to the others.
I turn now to the problem of academic salaries. As already pointed out, the recurrent grants recommended by the commission have been calculated using a scale of academic salaries based on a standard professional rate of £4,250 per annum. Honorable members, of course, realize that that sets a standard, and then senior lecturers, lecturers and the academic staff generally come into relationship. While noting developments affecting academic salaries, the commission is unwilling, in present circumstances, to suggest new salary levels. The commission takes the view that it should not be the salary fixing body for the universities of Australia and the Government agrees with this view.
We have given careful thought to the matter of salaries. I have had deputations on this subject and I know that it is active in many minds. We are aware of the increases, and claims for increases, in academic salaries which have followed the decision of the New South Wales Industrial Commission. Even before this, the universities, through their staff associations and vice-chancellors, had represented to us that current salaries should be reviewed and that for this purpose it was desirable to have some machinery, on an Australia-wide basis, fitted to the particular circumstances within the academic field. It is quitte a special kind of case.
We fully accept that salaries paid in a State university are, and must remain, ultimately a matter for that university and its State Government. At the same time, provision for salaries is a major component in the recurrent grants made by the Commonwealth and the States and these grants must therefore be calculated, we think, on some known scale of academic salaries.
Inevitably, any scale adopted for this purpose will be highly relevant for actual salaries in the universities. Given the fact that salary movements are occurring, the absence of a recommendation now by the Universities Commission on a new salary scale for grants purposes seems to us to cai] for some action on the part of the Commonwealth. We have, therefore, decided that the Commonwealth ought to establish some new machinery to advise it on the scale of academic salaries which could be appropriately adopted by the Universities Commission for the purpose of calculating recurrent grants for each triennium. What we have in mind - I have not dotted every “ i “ or crossed every “ t “ - is that we appoint a person of suitable qualifications and experience to inquire into academic salaries, assisted perhaps by two assessors to represent Government and university interests. Although the appointee would need to be clothed with appropriate authority, we would hope to see proceedings devised which were not too formal. It is our intention to seek an arrangement along these lines with the object of having an inquiry to produce a determination for the 1964-66 triennium, effective from 1st January, 1964.
I have informed the Premiers of our intention to seek this arrangement as a means of providing guidance to the Commonwealth on the level of salaries on which its offer to the States for recurrent expenditure should be calculated. I confidently expect that the States will see the force and value of this. When deciding on our plans for an inquiry we shall take into consideration, of course, the views of the States. I would hope that we may be able to proceed in the knowledge that such an arrangement would commend itself to the States as being to the advantage of all concerned and that it would therefore enjoy the States’ full support.
In the meantime, being aware that a professorial rate of £4,250 per annum is no longer generally accepted - in point of fact it was changed some little time ago in at least four or five universities - we have decided that, as an interim measure pending the inquiry, we should offer to the States, for recurrent expenditure by their universities, grants calculated on the basis of a professorial rate of £4,600 per annum, which is the rate that has been fixed for Sydney, New South Wales and Armidale universities, I think in Queensland, certainly in Tasmania, and also, I think, in Victoria. We are thus ready to support increases up to this level in salaries in State universities from 1st July, 1963, and we intend to endorse corresponding increases in the scales of academic salaries in the Australian National University.
Our acceptance of the University Commission’s recommendations for recurrent expenditure is thus on the basis that we shall take steps by way of amending legislation to provide the supplementary funds required on the Commonwealth’s part to support the interim levels referred to above and, subsequently, whatever levels for the 1964-66 triennium are arrived at as a result of the inquiry we propose to set up,
I pass now to almost the last topic I want to mention. I know it is one that has attracted the attention of a great number of honorable members. I am sure that all honorable members will be interested to know - although it is not a matter related to the present legislation - that when dealing with the commission’s report and noting its recommendations for increased financial assistance for students, the Government had before it also a recommendation from the Commonwealth Scholarships Board for an increase in the number of awards under the Commonwealth scholarship scheme. I am pleased to announce that we have decided that from the beginning of 1964, the number of open entrance awards under the Commonwealth scholarship scheme will foe increased from 4,000 to 5,000 and that the number of second and later year awards under the same scheme will be increased by 500 from its present level of 780. In coming to this decision, we have taken account of the prospect that we may need further to consider the matter of assistance for students in the light of the recommendations from the Committee on the Future of Tertiary Education.
Now I turn to deal briefly with the bills themselves. The terms of the Universities (Financial Assistance) Bill are similar in most respects to those of existing legislation in this field. As these are familiar to honorable members, I shall confine myself to pointing out some of the more significant changes. It has been found possible to simplify the legislation in some important respects. The most important of these is in clause 3 and the related First Schedule. The commission has recommended the abolition of the system of first and second level grants for general recurrent expenditure. This system was introduced originally to ensure a minimum level of funds for State universities. We concur in the commission’s recommendation for its abolition. With the now long-established relationships between the Commonwealth and States in university matters, we are confident that the need for such a safeguard no longer exists.
The references to salaries in clause 4 are based on the figures used by the commission when calculating the levels of recurrent expenditure which the Commonwealth should support in each year of the triennium. As I have already indicated, the Government has decided to support higher salary levels and therefore greater recurrent expenditure, but has not reached finality on the levels it will support over the triennium for the reasons I have mentioned. It has not been practicable in the time available to recalculate the figures in the First Schedule, nor, in view of the arrangements we have in mind was it thought worthwhile to do so at this stage. In due course, appropriate amending legislation will be introduced.
The most significant change in clause 5 and the related Second Schedule dealing with grants for expenditure on university building projects, &c, is that for each building project the sum specified contains an appropriate allowance for furnishing and equipping the building. The commission is given the power to approve the proportion spent on the actual building and on furnishing and equipping it. It should also be noted that provision for computing facilities appears in the Second Schedule.
As I have already mentioned, Clause 6 and the Third Schedule dealing with special post-graduate research activities are tentative in that they allocate only an interim amount of £1,000,000 pending a final decision on the commission’s proposals for research grants totalling £5,000,000.
Clause 7 and the Fourth Schedule deal with halls of residence and affiliated residential colleges. The extent of Commonwealth support for halls of residence and affiliated residential colleges is combined in the Fourth Schedule. In each instance, the provision of Commonwealth money within any one university is conditional on approval by the commission for each amount spent and the purpose for which it is spent. Because of the difficulty in forecasting precisely the actual needs as between universities and between types of student residences, this provides that the Minister may make certain variations in the amounts provided for residences. Honorable members will be glad to note that increased provision is made for recurrent expenditure incurred by these establishments.
The States Grants (Universities) Bill (No. 2) 1963 is a simple measure giving effect to the decision that £150,000 of Commonwealth money originally made available for expenditure on affiliated residential colleges at the University of New South Wales, and not required for that purpose, is to be distributed among other residential colleges on a basis to be approved by the Minister on the recommendation of the commission.
I regret having spoken for so long, but I know that this is a matter of great moment for very many people in Australia. I regard the commission’s report and the present legislation as important milestones marking the route of Commonwealth and State Government assistance for State universities - indeed for all universities. The demand for university education is growing not only by reason of our steadily growing population but because a steadily increasing proportion of our young people are qualifying for higher education and are looking to the universities to provide it. Further, from the national point of view, it is even more true to-day than in 1957 when the Murray committee remarked -
The proportion of the population which is called upon to give professional or technical services of one kind or another is increasing every day; and the proportion of such people who have to be graduates is increasing also.
Problems remain to be solved and it may well be that, when we have the commission’s recommendations following completion of its committee’s study of the future of tertiary education in Australia, we shall be called on to support developments in the tertiary field additional to those the Commonwealth now supports. In the meantime, we are confident of the need to pledge and provide support for the universities to the extent provided in this legislation and indicated at various points during my remarks.
I warmly commend the bills to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Beazley) adjourned.
– by leave - In response to an invitation from the honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull) to visit the dried vine fruits area, during the last parliamentary recess, I did so. As a consequence and after I had discussions with the leaders of the industry, the Australian Dried Fruits Association made a submission to the Government. After negotiations with the executive of the industry, the Government and the executive of the Australian Dried Fruits Association have agreed to stabilization proposals for a five-year term commencing in 1964 - that is, commencing with the next crop to be harvested - and covering the three varieties! - currants, sultanas and raisins.
Under this proposed scheme the Government would guarantee average returns from seasonal sales of each variety at a figure £5 a ton below the average costs of production to be ascertained from the field survey presently being conducted by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. As I have intimated in reply to a question earlier in this session, it is hoped that the bureau will have its report on that survey available by December. Under the proposal growers would contribute to varietal stabilization funds when returns exceeded the cost of production by more than £5 a ton. However, there would be a ceiling of £10 a ton on such contributions. In addition, growers* contributions would cease at any point where the accumulation of industry moneys in the stabilization funds reached £500,000 in the case of each of currants and raisins and £2,000,000 in the case of sultanas. The maximum quantities from seasonal sales to be eligible for guarantee purposes would be 13.500 tons of currants, 75,000 tons of sultanas and 11,000 tons of raisins.
In recognition of the fact that this industry is particularly prone to production losses through weather influences, which could have a great effect on growers’ incomes, the Government would not require any contributions to be made by the industry if seasonal production did not reach 8.000 tons of currants, 50,000 tons of sultanas or 60,000 tons of raisins. In accordance with the request of the industry and the Government’s promise thereon, the industry will be called on to vote on the scheme, and the scheme will be implemented only if it is accepted by a simple majority of growers entitled to vote. The poll, which will be conducted by the Commonwealth Electoral Office, will be held just as soon as the results of the bureau’s field survey are available and the rolls are prepared. That should be early in the new year. I say purposely that the results of the bureau’s field survey should be available before the poll is conducted, because the growers will need to know the basis upon which they are voting. If the scheme is accepted by the growers, legislation to bring it into operation for the 1964 season will be introduced into the Parliament in the first session in the new year.
The present offer by the Government is the culmination of negotiations held recently with representatives of the industry. It is almost in complete accord with the requests made by the industry. We have not varied the substantive requests in any sense at all. We have agreed to the industry’s main conditions in full. Now it is up to the rank-and-file growers to study the full details of the plan to be submitted to referendum and to make it their business to cast their votes on it.
After about six months of negotiations, 1 am glad to have this matter finalized for presentation to the growers. As I intimated earlier, the only survey available to the Government and the industry was one made in 1955-56. We felt that that survey would be somewhat out of date. Consequently, it was determined that the Bureau of Agricultural Economics should make an uptodate survey. As I intimated, we hope that the results of that survey will be available in December. When those results are available the growers will know the basis on which they are voting. The scheme proposed is the one that they themselves have recommended to the Government.
As the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) intimated earlier to-day, there is a second aspect of this matter. That is the request made by the Premiers of Victoria and New South Wales to the Government through the Prime Minister for loans to assist a section of the dried vine fruits industry. That matter has been considered fully by Cabinet, and the decision has been taken not to provide any special assistance to one section of the industry.
– by leave- The House must have listened with gratification to the statement which has just been delivered by the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) in relation to the Government’s proposal for the stabilization of marketing conditions in the Australian dried vine fruits industry; but I must point out that this is a death-bed repentance. It is an announcement of a scheme proposed to be implemented if this Government is returned to office after the election which is due to be held within a few weeks. If the Government is fortunate enough to be returned to office and if the growers accept at a poll the Government’s proposal, this will be the first stabilization plan for a primary industry since the Government took office in 1949.
– Speak the truth.
– It will be the very first. Name the other ones.
– What about honey?
– Honey! The Minister tells me to speak the truth and then says. “ What about honey? “ I will concede that the Government risked a few pence in regard to that industry. It introduced a plan for that industry last year, but it should have done that fourteen years ago. I will concede that the honey industry is one for which the Government has introduced a stabilization plan. Name another one.
– What about what we nave done for the cotton industry and the -tobacco industry?
– The Minister mentions 1be tobacco industry. There is no stabilization or marketing plan for the tobacco industry.
– Isn’t there?
– That is nonsense. The Minister is allowing his imagination to run riot. All I can say is that I am quite sure that the electors in Mildura will say: “ Let us have returned at the next election a party which, within six months of commencing negotiations in 1945, placed on the statutebook of Australia legislation that enabled the stabilization of the wool market and the disposal of 6,750,000 bales of wool - the war-time surplus - and all the incoming clips”. That plan was estimated to take thirteen years, but it was concluded in five years. Since 1950-51 the wool-growers of Australia have howled for a wool stabilization scheme or an organized marketing scheme, but they have none. This position has had an adverse effect on every man, woman and child in this country. It has reacted detrimentally on Australia’s economy.
Let me contrast this Government’s actions with the actions of the Labour Government which between 1946, the year after the cessation of hostilities, and 1948 struggled valiantly with the problems of a stabilization scheme for the Australian wheat industry. In 1948 that Government placed on the statute-book legislation for the first wheat stabilization scheme that Australia had ever known - a scheme so good that since then this Government has renewed it at five-yearly intervals, without the growers even asking for a vote to be taken on it. This scheme stands to-day as the most successful marketing arrangement the world has ever known.
Now we get this death-bed repentance by the Minister about the dried fruits industry at Mildura. This industry has been in trouble for some time, so much so that it was suggested that the Labour Party have a look at it. Together with the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Beaton), the very capable secretary of the Labour Party’s rural industries committee, I visited Mildura to discuss with the growers the problems of the dried fruits industry.
– You did not even tell the member for the district
– Why should we worry about you? You have been ineffective for the last twenty years. Realizing that State governments were involved, we invited a member of the Victorian Labour Party to accompany us. Three months ago we went to Mildura.
– And what a mess you made of it!
– You can have your say later.
– Thank you, I will.
– I did not say whether you could have it in ten minutes or ten years. When we visited Mildura we were received most courteously by members of the Australian Dried Fruits Association and were given a reception by the shire president and the growers’ organizations. We visited packing sheds and individual holdings.
The Australian dried fruits industry is extraordinary in that in the main it is conducted by soldier settlers from the First and Second World Wars. The industry’s marketing organization is one of the best in Australia, notwithstanding the difficulties inherent in the Australian Constitution. Whatever marketing organization the industry has is the result of joint Commonwealth and State legislation. The industry is famous in history because of the well-known James case. Because of the co-operative nature of the people engaged in the industry, it has set up some form of organization. But what has happened to it? Greece became an associate member of the European Common Market and in effect had free access to European markets. Turkey, which is a substantial producer of dried fruits, has or soon is to become a member of the European Common Market. These countries can still sell their goods at a price with which the Australian dried fruits industry, because of the higher standard of living in Australia, cannot compete. Prices on overseas markets, to which the great bulk of our dried fruits are exported, have fallen disastrously from £156 a ton to £93 a ton.
Many of the soldier settlers at Merbein, Mildura, Red Cliffs and Coomealla, and no doubt many in South Australia, are at their wit’s end to know how to meet their liabilities. The people we interviewed in Mildura put their story to the honorable member for Bendigo, to the State Labour man and to me. The story included a request for some financial assistance to enable them to take off their incoming crop. Last year was a disastrous year. They told us that they had approached the Premiers of New South Wales and Victoria, with the support of the industry, and had implored them to approach the Commonwealth Government, which holds the purse strings.
– They asked for loans.
– Is not that assistance? I have seen the day when I would have liked to raise a loan to get me out of my difficulties.
– Have not the States any responsibility in this?
– The States are the production authorities in the agricultural sense, but when assistance is needed for an interstate industry naturally the Commonwealth is asked to come to the party. The Commonwealth holds the purse strings; the Commonwealth makes reimbursements of taxation revenue and the Commonwealth provides loan funds, but in those loan funds and tax reimbursements no specific amount is set aside to meet any contingency or disaster in any particular primary industry.
– Do not leave your story unfinished. The price is £104, not £93 as you stated.
– You made your statement and you did not have the decency to hand me a copy of it beforehand so that I would know what you intended to say. Now, with this death-bed repentance, this Government says that if it is returned to office it will evolve a stabilized marketing scheme in the sweet bye and bye. On its record, the Government will never produce a stabilization scheme. The Minister wound up by saying that the request for finance to assist the growers in this disastrous period when the price has fallen from £156 a ton to £93 a ton is refused.
– But the price is £104 a ton. You should finish the story. You know that all the crop has been sold.
– The request for assistance was refused. Now let us look at the facts. Today I was informed by a grower that he has received an account from the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission for £200 - an account that he cannot meet. He has been given 30 days in which to pay the account, but he has nothing with which to pay it. The fact is that on the Victorian side of the Murray River a mistake was made when settlers were first implanted there. Their blocks averaged about 18 acres, and it is recognized today that they should be at least 25 acres. The New South Wales Government was wiser and put its settlers on 25 acres. They are not so badly off although they are in trouble too. A block of 25 acres is meagre enough but a block of 18 acres can mean only disaster. In addition, these blocks are now eighteen years old. The settlers have not the wherewithal to handle their incoming crop. They are “ in “ to the packing houses up to the hilt. They did not ask the Commonwealth for a gift; they asked for a loan. The Commonwealth has promised a marketing scheme in the sweet by and by, but will do nothing to help the settlers solve their immediate problems. I have in my hand a letter from a settler on the Murray River.
– What is his address?
– Do not pry into people’s private affairs. I will show the letter to you later if you wish to see it. This man has a first mortgage with a solicitor for £2,500, a second mortgage with the Public Trustees for £4,500 at 8 per cent, interest and a third mortgage with a packing company for £3,189. In all he owes £10,189. Deducting £1,952 from this amount - the proceeds from the 1963 crop -he has a total net debt of £8,237. His maintenance bills and unpaid repair bills for 1962 amount to £181 and it is estimated that in 1963 they will amount to £140. His estimated cost of production is £2,450. So his total costs are £2,771 for a crop proceed of £1,952. He has written to me and asked where he can get the money to see him through. He states that his position is critical. His debts are payable in full on 3rd December, 1963. He has little hope of getting any assistance from this Government. He has approached several district banks and explored every other finance avenue known to him, including his Government. He states -
When 1 began operations five years ago the price of dried fruit was £156 a ton but has since deteriorated to £90 for last year’s crop. Two crop failures in this period plus ever-spiralling costs -
This, during the regime of a Government that was supposed to put value back into the £1- coupled with the general market shambles has allowed me to pay 8 per cent, interest only this year-
Fancy, 8 per cent.!- and very little principal over the period. Further details can be obtained either from myself or the packing shed.
He signs the letter and gives details of the packing shed concerned.
On Wednesday, 11th September of this year, the “Sydney Morning Herald” carried an article under the headline “ Overseas ‘ Cut-throat ‘ Competition Hits Dried Fruits Industry “. The article gives details of the competition by Turkish and Greek exporters. When the Common Market problem arose the Labour Party stated that in the event of any primary industry in Australia being adversely affected by Britain’s entry into the Common Market, Labour would subsidize the industry to ensure that persons engaged in it received adequate incomes. The present situation in the dried fruits industry is largely the result of Turkey and Greece joining the Common Market. On 23rd May this year the Melbourne “ Age “ carried an article under the headline “ Falling Prices are Blight on Dried Fruit Industry “.
This Government claims that the banking system is buoyant - that it is over-liquid. These people do not ask for gifts. They want loan accommodation pending payment for their crops. The Minister for Primary Industry tells them that they cannot get anything, not even a threepenny bit, and that they may get a marketing system in the sweet bye-and-bye. How can these people have any faith in this Government?
– Are you against the scheme?
– What a stupid question. The Minister knows that apart from the honey legislation no primary production stabilization scheme has been introduced into this Parliament except those that were introduced by me between 1946 and 1948. We had magnificent schemes for the marketing of wool, dairy produce and meat. All this Government ever did was establish some export control boards and trust to luck. The wool industry is Australia’s most magnificent industry and-
– You cut the guaranteed price of dairy produce from a finding of 2s. Hd. to 2s.
– Order! The Minister has already made his statement.
– Let us look at that one. We allegedly cut the base price of dairy produce from a finding of 2s. Hd. to 2s.
– On a minority report.
– That is right. Now let me tell the Minister what his Government did. It promised a production price of 56d. and it has underwritten a guarantee to the dairymen of Australia to-day by 40d.
– Order ! I ask the honorable member to address the Chair.
– I have had a fair go, Sir. Party politics is not my purpose now. If the Minister has the interests of these people at heart I ask him, and the honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull), who represents the district, to pressurize the Government even at this late hour to see that these unfortunate people are given loans to enable them to carry on. Any loans provided may be protected through the packing houses to which these people deliver their fruit. If the Government does not do something to assist these people there will be tragedy in the dried fruit growing areas of Australia.
– Mr. Speaker, as the representative-
– Order! There is no business before the Chair. What does the honorable member seek to do?
– I ask for leave to make a short statement.
– Is leave granted?
– Leave is not granted.
– Leave was refused to the honorable member for Bendigo to make a statement in similar circumstances last week. We will not grant leave to the honorable member for Mallee now. Have a taste of your own medicine.
– In 80 per cent, of the industry-
– Order! The honorable member for Mallee will resume his seat.
In committee: Consideration resumed (vide page 1980).
Department of Immigration.
Proposed expenditure, £13,246,000.
Department of Labour and National Service.
Proposed expenditure £3,043,000.
– In speaking to the estimates for the Department of Immigration I should like to pay a very warm tribute to the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Downer), who is about to conclude another year of constant endeavour on behalf of Australia in bringing more and more migrants to these shores. I pay a tribute also to the officers of the department, including those who staff our migration posts overseas. I should like to say a word in praise also of the Department of Labour and National Service because I know from my own knowledge and experience that the department renders extremely valuable assistance in the cause of immigration.
It is obvious that in assessing the migrant needs of Australia the two departments and the two Ministers concerned must work pretty closely together. Migration is not a hit-and-miss affair. If the migration programme is to be a success it must be well balanced and carefully planned. Indeed, the fact that it has been so carefully planned is proved by the success of the 1962-63 programme. The target for the year ended 30th June last was well in excess of the target in 1961-62. So we can see a continuing impetus in the field of immigration.
Our immigration programme has done much to build up this country and is continuing to build it. It is a happy thing for the nation that both sides of the Parliament agree that our population must be increased as we are trying to increase it by immigration. There is no dissident voice in this Parliament on the subject of bringing migrants to Australia, which makes the Minister’s task a little easier.
As most honorable members know, Sir. the immigration target for the financial year 1962-63 was 125,000 and the actual intake was 12,000 more than the target. When we use the word “ target “ in relation to immigration, it should be emphasized, I think, that the target that is fixed annually is only a guide. I believe that it is generally conceded that fixing a target and regarding it as an inflexible objective would be a great mistake. Inevitably, economic conditions change not only in Australia but also in the countries from which we obtain migrants. We must allow for a degree of flexibility. However, these targets that are set yearly are valuable guides, provided we always bear in mind that they are guides and not inflexible objectives.
In the last year, we have been helped very much by the very high rate of applications in the United Kingdom for migration to Australia. This is due to a variety of reasons that I need not discuss now. This very high rate of applications in the Old Country, together with increased migration activity in Germany and the Netherlands, and a sustained interest in migration to Australia in other countries that are sources of migrants for us, augurs very well indeed for Australia. This buoyant and happy situation, in conjunction with our continuing need for migrants, I believe, provides a solid and sound foundation for continued success in this great enterprise that is playing such an important part in our economy and in our national development. I remember once reading a saying of an old philosopher who spoke of the future in something like these terms: The future does not come to meet us from before, but streams out from the past over our heads. I believe that the success of our immigration scheme in the post-war years under the present Government and under the previous Government will indeed project itself into the years to come. As Chairman of the
Commonwealth Immigration Planning Council, I am one of those who have the utmost confidence in the future success of immigration and in the part that it will continue to play in the building up of this nation.
The task has not been easy for the Government, of course. We have had to think up various ways of encouraging more and more migrants to come here. One of the measures adopted by the Government was the appointment, some little time ago, of Mr. K. R. Long as a special adviser on professions, attached to the Immigration Office at Australia House in London. He has been a very great help to the Government in making contact with universities throughout Britain. He has discussed, probably with many thousands of professional people, employment prospects in Australia, and no doubt is continuing to make valuable daily contacts with university graduates and undergraduates. That is a field that the Government believes can be tapped successfully. I am sure that nothing but good will come from Mr. Long’s endeavours in this direction.
We have just recently farewelled a large group of 119 British university undergraduates who have been on a three-month visit to Australia. They spread their stay over all the States. The purpose was to enable them to experience working conditions here, to meet Australians and to learn at first hand something of us, our way of life, conditions generally and likely prospects for migrants. Everything that we have learned from them during their stay here has pointed to the success of this experiment and I hope that it will be repeated if at al) practicable. I realize that the project involved a great deal of work and planning for the Department of Immigration, but I believe that the immense amount of effort entailed has been amply repaid. I have no doubt that, just as the throwing of a little pebble into a pond spreads ripples right to the edge, we shall have increasing waves of migrants coming to Australia as a result of this recent enterprise, as well as of other efforts that we are making. These undergraduates, on their return to the Old Country, undoubtedly will be able to circulate at first hand an excellent picture of modern Australia and Australians, and we look forward to the results of their visit here.
I should like to mention particularly the part played by the Good Neighbour Councils in our immigration programme. Those members of the Parliament who were fortunate enough to attend the Australian Citizenship Convention held in Canberra earlier this year were greatly impressed, I am sure, particularly in the activities of the discussion groups, by the intense interest and absorption in this task of assimilation displayed by so many of these good people who belong to the Good Neighbour Councils. The assimilation of migrants, of course, as we recognize it, is a two-way process. In the very early days of our immigration programme, we may have thought that the migrant perhaps had a duty to become used to living here and to become one of us. But, long ago, we realized that assimilation had to be a two-way affair if it was to be truly successful. I believe that the success of this government-community participation in the task of bringing large numbers of migrants to Australia has been attributable largely to the efforts of those people in all States who give up so much of their time and effort to help migrants to become happily established as settlers and future citizens of this country.
I hope that more and more of those migrants who are eligible to apply for naturalization will do so. I think I am right in saying that approximately 250,000 migrants are at present eligible for naturalization. I hope that all members of this Parliament and all those outside it who perhaps are listening to the broadcast this evening and who are interested in the subject of immigration will do what they can to encourage eligible migrants to apply for naturalization. Great advantages flow from naturalization - advantages not only to the migrants themselves but also to their children. It is very important that migrant families become fully Australian. This is their land. It is the land to which they have chosen to come and in which they will make their future with us. We are glad to have them and we hope that they will assume the full citizenship rights to which they are entitled after the specified period of residence.
In discussing the subject of immigration, I should like to make special mention of Sir Tasman Heyes. All of us who attended the 1963 Australian Citizenship Convention had the pleasure of seeing him receive the Nansen Medal for 1963 from the hands of Mr. Felix Schnyder, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. I am sure that honorable members on both sides of the Parliament were very happy to know that Sir Tasman Heyes, of all people, was singled out for this special award and honour in 1963. For so many years, he was the main instrument and the backbone of our immigration scheme. He, with the present Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), started the scheme. I think that we should record our gratitude to Sir Tasman for the part that he has played all through the years in bringing migrants to Australia.
The economic aspects of immigration are very important. The Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies), the Minister for Immigration, the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) and others from time to time have emphasized the great economic importance of keeping up our flow of migrants. When we speak of a flow of migrants, we must not think in terms of turning a tap on and off. It would be an extremely foolish move if we were to say to a country from which we are receiving a satisfactory supply of migrants: “ Thank you very much. We are glad to have so many this year, but next year we will want only half the number.” We must endeavour to maintain the flow of migrants from the present sources.
An important facet of our settlement of migrants is that, on average, about 70 per cent, of them are members of family units. Those who are family-minded and who realize the social and economic importance to the community of family units will be very happy to know that such a high percentage of our settlers is in that category. It is from these settlers that the driving force of the immigration programme largely derives. New settlers - as distinct from returning tourists and long-term visitors - add to the market for a wide range of goods, services and capital investment. The effect of spending by new settlers on the rate of growth of our domestic markets is very marked.
It is a matter for some concern that the number of Australians who depart permanently for other countries has been so consistently high. This factor must always be taken into account, not only in assessing the need for migrants as we plan from year to year in advance, but also in relation to the number of new arrivals we expect to remain. We must keep on keeping on. For Australia’s sake, we must make every effort possible, collectively in this Parliament and throughout Australia, to maintain a steady flow of migrants.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- In addressing myself to the estimates of the Department of Immigration this evening, I want to point out that it has the responsibility of selecting migrants for entry to this country. We all know that it imposes tests in relation to health, education and appearance. We know that it imposes standards of security. One finds on examination that it is clearly established that the department has a bias against left-wing people. Even if it does not actually have a bias in favour of rightwing people, I will provide evidence this evening to show that the department has allowed into this country very many rightwing people of the fascist type, dedicated to ideals of violence. We know that migrants who are the subject of adverse security reports are not acceptable, but we do not know what are the standard security tests imposed by the department and by the Government. We know from the Migration Act 1958 and the Crimes Act that there are at least two tests. Anyone who acts in the service of the interests of any foreign power which might be opposed to Australia is not acceptable on security grounds. Similarly, any advocation of the forceful overthrow of established government or action directed towards that end would make a person unacceptable.
I want to submit to the committee this evening evidence that will show that, on these two tests, 40 or 50 people at least - possibly as many as 2,000 or more, but I do not know - have entered Australia who should not have done so. They are men dedicated to the service of a foreign power and to the use of violence in Australia, if necessary, and of force to overthrow an established government. I refer specifically to members of the Croatian Liberation Movement- the Ustasha. Probably 40,000 to 50,000 Croatians are in Australia at the present time, and there may be no more than 2,000 who are following Ustashi leadership. The secretary of the Croatian Liberation Movement - Mr. Lovokovic - claims 10,000 members. At any rate, I think there are 50 or 60 leaders who are dedicated to this totalitarian fascist movement - the Ustasha. The movement exists in Australia.
It is a military movement, organized to use force and committed to the doctrine of the forceful overthrow of established government. Recently nine persons travelled from Australia and were arrested in Yugoslavia in possession of arms and explosives. It appears that there is evidence that they went to Yugoslavia for the purposes of terrorist activities and assassination. This movement, of which they are a part, began in 1927 as a movement committed to the forceful overthrow of the Government of King Alexander of Yugoslavia. Its leaders, including Ante Pavelic, carried out the assassination of King Alexander and M. Barthou, Foreign Minister of France, at Marseilles in 1934. I remind the committee that both France and Yugoslavia were at that time allies of the United Kingdom and therefore of Australia.
The Ustasha movement, led by Pavelic, remained in Italy under Mussolini’s protection until early in 1941, when Croatia was invaded by Fascist and Nazi forces under Mussolini and Hitler. On 10th April, 1941 - a date we should well remember - a Quisling government of Croatia led by Ante Pavelic was set up by Mussolini and Hitler. It was a terrorist dictatorship which set out to destroy Serbs, Jews and gypsies in that region. One quite reliable estimate is that within four years the Croatian National Liberation Movement, in which the Utashi is the equivalent of the German S.S. Troops or Black Guard, killed 750,000 Serbs, 60,000 Jews and 23,000 gypsies by direct hand to hand methods. It did not have the advantage of German gas ovens or furnaces. It killed its victims face to face in the worst example of face to face killing of people) - probably unarmed people - in the history of the world, or at any rate in the history of the Second World War.
People associated with this movement are in Australia and they have been permitted to come here by the Department of Immigration. There is an organization under
Ustasha emblems and leadership which calls upon Croations in Australia to follow the noble example of the Ustasha and its leader, Ante Pavelic. Its leadership looks to Spain, to men in Madrid, to lead and direct the movement in Australia. There is evidence that it trains its members in the use of force, and in fact uses force here and is prepared to use it overseas. The honorable member for Gellibrand (Mr. Mclvor) produced evidence here the other day, and there is ample evidence in other respects, that not only has this movement not been checked by the Department of Immigration or by the security service, but that the contrary is true. The Sydney “Daily Telegraph” of 6th September, 1963, reported along these lines -
Likewise the Security Service does not view the Croatian Liberation Movement in an unfavourable light, according to the movement’s secretary, Mr. F. Lovokovic. Security officers told him not to worry about the initial exposure of the Wodonga affair in the Communist weekly newspaper “ Tribune “. He was advised to forget the subsequent publicity in papers such as the “ Bulletin “ and “Catholic Worker”.
Let us look at the evidence. I have photographic copies of material which I am quite prepared to put into the hands of the Minister or the security service, if one can locate it. I have here a calendar published in Geelong in 1963. It bears the emblem of the Ustasha - a flag on which is a shield with red and white squares, the white begining in the left-hand top corner. The “ U “ of the Ustasha appears in the corner of the flag. In the centrepiece of the calendar are photographs of foreign troops entering Zagreb on 10th April, 1942. The Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr. Opperman) attended a convention of members of this organization in Geelong.
– I did not do anything of the kind.
– You did so. I have letters here to prove it. You said you were ignorant of its nature. You admitted it. The second thing I have is a photograph of a decorated car in the Moomba procession in Melbourne in 1962 carrying the Ustashi flag and the emblem of the Ustashi on the front. I have also the first page of a copy of “ Spremnost “, the journal of this organization in Melbourne and Sydney. On that front page is a photograph of Ante
Pavelic, leader of the movement I have just described in Croatia that killed 750,000 or more people during the war. This article calls for Croats in Australia to look to the leadership of this man and his inspiration and to follow his methods. It calls for dedication to the cause of Pavelic, lt was published in Sydney for March and April, 1962.
Next, I have some evidence of military training in this country by members of this movement. Here is a photograph of 50 or 60 men in the uniform of the Ustashi in a field at Wodonga on the property of a man whose name I will give to the Minister if he desires it. In the lead of this group are Mr. Lovokovic, and a number of other people who are signatories to a letter directed to the right honorable the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) to which I will refer in a few minutes. Here is a photograph of a number of men wearing the emblem of the Ustashi in a military exercise in a field in Wodonga, accompanying other men in the uniform of the Citizen Military Forces. It is a military exercise in which they are carrying automatic weapons. And that was described by the Minister for the Army (Mr. Cramer) as a picnic! It is time these picnics came to an end in this country. Here is a photograph of seven men wearing the emblem of the Ustashi sitting on a tank. Some of these men are carrying automatic weapons. Was that a picnic?
I am very pleased that the Prime Minister is in the chamber. Next I have a photostatic copy of “ Spremnost “, issued just a month after that journal bad called for dedicacation of the cause of Pavelic. It contains a report that the Prime Minister had received a letter from Mr. Lovokovic and others in the group of men wearing the emblem of the Ustashi. In that letter Mr. Lovokovic pointed out that the members of his movement were dedicated to the overthrow of the Government of Tito. In it he said that it was their moral duty to work towards the liberation of the people to enable them to elect a democratic government of their own choice.
– Democratic government is a good thing.
– Are you in favour of using force against the governments of other countries? It appears that the PrimeMinister is because, through his privatesecretary, by letter dated 14th May, he sent a reply in which he praised this movement. He said he greatly appreciated the letter he had received. Therefore, he gave hisimprimatur to the movement.
The movement was supported by the Minister for Shipping and Transport by his presence at a meeting of the movement at Geelong on 10th April, 1963. Here is a photograph of the platform with a photograph of Pavelic and the Ustashi emblem in a prominent place. I have here a report of the meeting from the Geelong “Advertiser” which states -
Mr. Opperman said that the Croatian people had won a place among all people who welcomed the democratic system and they had shown that they could take their place in a democratic community.
They who had killed, by hand-to-hand methods, over 800,000 people! The Minister for Shipping and Transport is> interjecting. Where was he during the war? Does he not know what happened m Croatia?
– No, I was not there.
– Were you not reading the newspapers here? To honorable members opposite who ask where was I during the war I reply that I was in the Australian! Imperial Forces during the war, and I will back my record against that of honorable members on the Goverenment side who are always relying on patriotism, and who recall to my mind the remark of Dr. Johnson that patriotism is sometimes the last refuge of a scoundrel. There are quite a few scoundrels who rely upon it.
Next I have a photograph of a meeting in Sydney which corresponds to the one held at Geelong at which the Government was represented by the Minister for Shipping and Transport. In Sydney, the Government was represented by the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, Mr. Willis. He was in exactly the same position as the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Here he is before a photograph of Pavelic, this Quisling murderer of more than 800,000 people, and before the symbols of the Ustashi. These people have got into Australia through the net of the Department of Immigration.
I have here also a copy of the journal “ Obrana “ published in Madrid. In the centre of it is a letter directing all Croats in Australia to look to the leadership of a man whose name I will not mention at the moment. It is here for the Minister to see, and for the leaders of the security service to see if they wish. It asks all Croats to look to the leadership of this man. The letter is signed by a general of the Ustashi who was the officer in charge of concentration camps in Croatia, including Jasenovic, in which hundreds of thousands of people were exterminated. That general is advising Croats in Australia to follow the leadership of a man whose name and address in Australia is given in this issue of “Obrana” published in Madrid. That man is one of the leaders of the movement in this country. I have here a photograph of another gentleman who is very prominent in Melbourne, and I understand that in this photograph he is shown giving the fascist salute to Ante Pavelic. I will also make this available to the Minister or to anybody else who requires it for investigation.
It is clear to me, that there is a movement in Australia which is a fascist one and which is dedicated to force and violence. Its members got here through the meshes of the Department of Immigration. If the movement is not actually encouraged by the members of the Government, it would appear to be so because they are ignorant of its nature. It is the responsibility of the members of the Government to know their position. What would be the position if a Labour government were in office and members of a Communist movement in Australia were to be seen riding on Australian tanks and the Ministers of that Labour government were attending public meetings to celebrate the overrunning of Croatia by the fascists leading to the killing of 800,000 people? Why, honorable members opposite and the press would tear the Australian Labour Party to pieces! They are now in a position similar to that in which members of a Labour government would be placed in those circumstances. I want an investigation into this matter. I want to know what the truth is. The Minister and the Government will not escape their responsibility for being associated with this fascist, terrorist organization in this country in ignorance or otherwise. 5 “
.- I wish to add my tribute to that already paid by the honorable member for Ryan (Mr. Drury) to the Minister and staff of the Department of Immigration for the manner in which our immigration policy has been administered during the present Minister’s term of office. The Inter-Governmental Committee on European Migration thinks so highly of the manner in which we administer our immigration policy that it is paying the fares and expenses of seven representatives of South American countries to come to Australia for a period of from six to seven weeks to study our policy and the manner in which it is administered.
The present Minister has consistently eased the provisions relating to naturalization, and the fact that such a relatively high percentage of migrants have applied for citizenship is a tribute to his administration. One factor which has operated against a higher application rate is the provision relating to a knowledge of the English language. That provision has been eased considerably for elderly persons by the present Minister, but there are many honorable members on this side who believe that if an easing of the standard required for married women were introduced in cases where the husband and children of those women have a good knowledge of English, the application rate would be improved still further.
A few months ago I was able to help an elderly man to rejoin his family in Australia. I should like to read to the committee a letter which he wrote to me after his arrival in Australia because I think it contains quite a deal of interesting information. It deals with Communist countries rather than fascist countries. In that letter he said -
Please allow me to thank you for your great help. I would also be very grateful if you would convey my thanks to the honorable Minister for Immigration and all the Government for allowing me to come here to Australia. I can’t express my joy in words. I was living in U.S.S.R. since my birth and I am now 73 years of age, but I have never seen more goods, more happiness, more motor cars than now. Please let me tell you that your lowest paid workers are at least five times better off than their counterparts in U.S.S.R.
Your wharf men are striking here. Well, in U,S.S.R., they would strike only once, and then they would be buried. If our people complain about poor quality of food or any article they arc sent for a holiday .to Siberia. So you now know why I love to be in Australia and if any one of your people would like to go to Russia please send him in, but don’t allow him to come back. Thanking you - and your Government again, I remain ….
There is one plea I wish .to make, to the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Downer) or the Government - it is a plea I made twelve months ago - and that is to reduce the qualifying period of fifteen years’ residence in Australia before an- Asian may apply for Australian citizenship. At the present time there are many thousands of Asians resident in Australia. Some are here privately, as university students. Others are here under the Colombo Plan, and others have come here on temporary permits and have established themselves in business. They have abided by our laws and have acquired a working knowledge of the English language; they have sent their children to Australian educational establishments; but they cannot be sure of lasting security in this country until they have lived here for fifteen years. There is always the fear that a change of government may bring about an alteration in the present law, and whilst, they are now living in the hope that fifteen years’ residence will qualify them for citizenship they fear that some other government may amend the law.
Europeans may apply for Australian citizenship after five years’ residence and they need to have virtually the same requirements with regard to character and a knowledge of the English language as Asians do, but presumably, they are- considered able to prove themselves good citizens after five years’ residence, whereas an Asian must live here for fifteen years before applying for citizenship. I wish to make it perfectly clear that I am not advocating the admission of -a greater number of Asians than is admitted now; nor am I advocating any change in the conditions which at present govern the entry of Asians into Australia. I ask only that Asians who have been admitted be given opportunity of applying for citizenship after ten years’ residence in Australia.
I believe that a person who meets all the Governments’ requirements after ten years’ residence will still be- able to. meet them after a further five years. ‘ But: I do .not believe that, a person who cannot qualify after ten years will be able to prove himself acceptable after fifteen years. If an. Asian has . not been able to meet the character requirements of the immigration laws he should not be granted an extension of his temporary permit when it is due for renewal.
The only other requirement relates to knowledge of the English language and I believe that an Asian who meets this requirement after ten years’ residence should be given an opportunity to apply for citizenship. I believe that if we were to ease the position in the manner I have indicated Australia would gain not only goodwill in Asian countries but also many excellent citizens.
.- I want to address my remarks to a question that was raised by the honorable member for Ryan (Mr. Drury). It refers particularly to the number of migrants who have come to this country and who are still not naturalized. A few days ago I asked the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Downer) a question, as follows: -
How many persons at this date arc eligible for naturalization but have not yet been naturalized? What action has been, or is to be, taken by his department to ensure that these persons become Australian citizens?
The Minister was good enough to give me a rather extensive reply. From it I note that at 30th June, 1963, there were 245,284 persons who were eligible to apply for naturalization but who had not yet lodged applications. Of that number, approximately 49;000 were children under sixteen years of age, who, as a result, could not apply for naturalization in their own right, but who would be included in the applications of their parents. The Minister went on to say what his department was doing in respect of getting these people to accept naturalization in accordance wilh their rights.
I do not offer any criticism of (he Minister or his department for what is being done, but I express my regret that so many people who have come to this country under our immigration scheme have not yet seen fit to accept naturalization. At immigration conferences and conventions which I have attended in. Canberra, it has been said that it is desirable to avoid compulsion in matters of this nature. But the Minister, the department, the Government and honorable members generally must express and feel some concern that roughly 250,000 migrants do not see fit to become naturalized citizens. As the Minister said in his reply to my question, all kinds of things are being done to encourage these people to become naturalized and to find out why they have not done so. No doubt, internally, in the files of the department, there are listed the reasons given and they are probably too numerous to mention, but it seems to me that in some practical way, whatever the political colour of the government might be in the future, we will have to make some special effort to see that these people become naturalized.
Earlier this year I asked the Minister to inform me what countries the migrants came from who had not been naturalized. I have not that question and answer before me, but on 10th October, 1962, I asked a similar question and received a reply from the Minister. I suppose that, giving or taking a thousand or so here and there, the figures then given to me would be roughly the same as those of to-day.
From the Minister’s reply I note that there were 28,000 Dutch citizens who were eligible but who had not been naturalized. There were 22,000 Greeks, 80,000 Italians, 18,000 Poles and 11,000 Yugoslavs. Eighty thousand Italians is a tremendous proportion - roughly one-third of the whole number - of those that have not been naturalized. While those figures are not up to date - the departmental figures are probably more up to date - it appears that at this stage one-third of the unnaturalized migrant population are Italians. There is still a big demand for Italian migrants to come to our country and I do not object to that, because many of them have their relatives here and the department gives them encouragement in that respect. But I think special attention should be directed to the Italian section of the community in order to find out why so many Italians have not taken advantage of the procedures of naturalization.
I do not desire to compel people to become citizens, but I believe that if they come to this country, accept all the benefits of this nation and find that Australia is a good place in which to live-they have a moral obligation to accept their responsibility in that matter. I express my concern, as did the honorable member for Ryan, at the number pf migrants involved. I hope the efforts of the department will meet with greater success than has been the case so far and that the number of unnaturalized migrants will come down much below 250,000 in a given time.
I want now to refer to the electoral enrolment of migrants when they are naturalized. In my district and those of many other honorable members in the inner city areas of Sydney - and no doubt in other parts of Australia - the number of migrants is probably as great as it has ever been. Yet the electoral rolls show that the numbers enrolled have dwindled considerably in recent times. These remarks apply particularly to the electorate of West Sydney, to my electorate and those of a number of other honorable members.
Many migrants who become naturalized do not bother to become enrolled and probably there are reasons for that. They may think it is too complicated to fill in the card available for that purpose and they may not bother about it. Many of them may have some reason or other for not registering, perhaps because of the countries from which they come, and it is indicated that they may have some form of compulsion applied to them. If the department does not already do this - I do not think it does - it could prevail on the people who conduct naturalization ceremonies to have enrolment cards filled in ready for signature and immediately the migrant signs the naturalization form and receives it he could become enrolled. If we let the migrants leave the halls where they are naturalized, with all the difficuties and problems involved they forget about enrolment or do not think it is necessary. I think all Australian citizens have an inclination to become enrolled and any such desire by migrants could well be catered for at the time of their naturalization. In some areas, no doubt, provision is made for this, and it may be a big job to provide for enrolment at every centre where naturalization ceremonies are held. The staffs of councils and others responsible for naturalization ceremonies may find this added task too much for them, but if this is so the department’s officers in the various cities may be able to assist.
If every migrant entitled to be enrolled was enrolled in electorates such as West Sydney and Grayndler, the number of electors on the rolls would be considerably increased. The last census showed that in my district 47,000 people are eligible to be enrolled - that is, they are over 21 years of age - but only about 34,000 people are on the roll. This means that about 13,000 people over 21 years of age in the district are not taking advantage of their right to be enrolled. The majority of these people may be migrants of all nationalities and right throughout the Commonwealth the number of migrants not enrolled, though entitled to bc enrolled, would be considerable. I hope that the Minister, in his wisdom, will devise some procedure which will enable enrolments to bc completed at the time migrants are naturalized.
I could not conclude my brief remarks on immigration without saying that over the years, irrespective of the political beliefs of the Minister or the government of the day, great tolerance has been shown in the administration of the Department of Immigration. I think the officers of the department and all associated with this great developmental movement deserve the commendation of all members of the Parliament. I record my appreciation now of the work done by the departmental officers in Canberra and right throughout Australia in attending to a very difficult task. Though mistakes may bc made on occasions, they are genuine mistakes. I believe that, from the time the Leader of the Opposition was the Minister for Immigration, the officers associated with the department have endeavoured to bring to Australia the best types of citizens and the people who would want to make this their country. 1 have given my views to-night on two important problems. One relates to enrolment and the other to naturalization. I would like my appreciation of the efforts of the departmental officers over the years to be placed on record. In commending them, I speak in a non-political way. I believe the departmental officers, in a very difficult period, have done much to develop our nation.
.- Following the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly), I am at a disadvantage, because as usual he appears to have driven honorable ‘members from the chamber. I rose really to pay a tribute to the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Downer) and his department, because immigration plays a tremendous part in the development of Australia. Many of us do not realize the impact that the immigration policy of today will have on the future of Australia. I congratulate the minister on his efforts. This is not an easy portfolio because the Minister must deal with human problems, and these are difficult problems. The Minister in his approach has shown that we can have full confidence in his understanding of all the problems.
– Don’t smooge
– I am not smooging. That is not my way of life. I am really concerned about the remarks of the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns). I believe that we heard from him some of the most mischievous statements that have ever been made in this chamber. The honorable member for Yarra on all occasions when he speaks on ideological questions puts himself on the side of the extreme left. I personally think he even goes beyond the extreme left. The only occasions that appear to attract the censure of the honorable member are those occasions when some one bears towards the right.
– Or even the middle.
– Yes. I thank the honorable member for Bruce for his interjection. The honorable member for Yarra has selected the Croats as an object of his hatred. He has misrepresented the position of the Croats. I have a great deal of sympathy for these people, as any one who has studied the Balkans would. Throughout history, the Balkans have been a very turbulent area. The people in the area are diversified. Probably some of them owe allegiance, from an ethnological viewpoint, to the Slavic race and may have the same language, but they have very conscious nationalist emotions.
The Croats in particular are a very proud people. Before the First World War, their country was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After the First World War they has their own government for a very short period and were then absorbed into the kingdom of Yugoslavia, of which they were most reluctant members. They had extreme views and a very extreme outlook on nationalism. I suppose to our way of thinking they were too extreme. As the honorable member for Yarra said, a Croat Ante Paretic, assassinated King Alexander of Yugoslavia. In the subsequent turmoil of World War U, the Croats saw an opportunity to establish their own nation again. Probably unwisely, they joined with Nazi Germany. I do not believe that they intended to embrace the form of fascism that Hitler represented, but their feelings of nationalism came first and they thought that this was a means of establishing a name that had been very dear to them.
– Are you an apologist for fascism?
– The honorable member places himself with the honorable member for Yarra, and I have suspected for a considerable time that he would do so. The honorable member and the honorable member for Yarra never spoke in defence of the people of Hungary or of Tibet; they were completely silent on both occasions.
– That is not correct at all.
– I did not hear the honorable member speak.
– Order! The honorable member for Oxley will have his opportunity to speak later if he wishes to do so.
– Opposition members on the right are completely silent and those on on the left are extremely vocal. The people of Croatia saw an opportunity to establish their identity. They were mistaken, for their moves were ill-considered. They allied themselves with Nazi Germany. We know the history of these events. These people were eventually overcome. It was an unfortunate circumstance for us to be allied with Soviet Russia in order to complete the war. We had no alternative. I do not for one moment belittle the help that Soviet Russia gave to us, but we believed and trusted Soviet Russia. In the treaty signed at Yalta we showed probably that we were too extreme in our trust. -We have suffered very much as a result of this treaty, but we pay for our efforts to further the common weal in international affairs.
I would like to suggest again that we have a look at the other side of this Croatian question. We have heard the case built up against these people by persons such as the honorable member for Yarra and others. These Croatian people have very strong national feelings. I think the honorable member for Yarra said, if I remember rightly, that patriotism is the last refuge of a coward.
– Of a scoundrel, I said.
– I am sorry; the honorable member corrects me. He said that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Well, I do not think I need say anything more.
I would like to conclude by expressing my very deep appreciation, as an Australian, of the Minister’s sympathetic and able administration of the Department of Immigration.
.- I did not intend to speak on the estimates for the Department of Immigration, but to confine my remarks to the Department of Labour and National Service. However, I have listened with interest to the speech by the honorable member for McPherson (Mr. Barnes) in which he. attacked the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns). It is typical of many speeches we have heard in this House by Government supporters who frequently try to discredit the honorable member for Yarra.
I am not an authority on the Croatian problem, but I have taken the trouble to discuss it with some of my Yugoslav friends. They have all told me the same story, whether they be Macedonian or Serbs. They are all concerned with developments that have been taking place in this country in connexion with a number of Croatians. We know the history of Ante Pavelic and his anti-Fascist movement. We know of the hundreds of thousands of people they were responsible for killing during the Hitler and Mussolini regimes. These things are historical facts. Strange to say, most of the people that were killed by Ante Pavelic and his movement were Croatians, but they disagreed wilh his Fascist policy and with the people who were then controlling the country.
Wc have heard a lot lately about the television programme “ Four Corners “. I was pleased to have the opportunity recently to see a re-telecast of the “ Four Corners “ programme in which appeared the leader of the Croatian people in Australia who are supporters of Ante Pavelic. This gentleman, Mr. Lovokovic, was given the oportunity to condemn himself out of his own mouth. Any one who saw and heard him would agree that he convicted himself. He practically pleaded guilty to the charge thai his organization is in this country for only one purpose. The members of it are not here to become Australians and part of our community. They are here for one purpose only. They are part of a world-wide organization established for the purpose of overthrowing the existing . Yugoslavian Government. Whilst J personally have no particular brief for that government, which is a communist government, the Yugoslavs with whom I have talked have all said that they much prefer the Tito Government to a government controlled by people having the same sentiments as Ante Pavelic.
The Australian Government is giving comfort to these people, according to the evidence that was brought to this House to-night by the honorable member for Yarra. There is no doubt that the Government is allowing them to carry on their activities in Australia and to train people like the nine who left Australia and went to Yugoslavia to indulge in sabotage, murder and the like in that country. Let mc say this to the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Downer), and to the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) or the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick), whoever is in charge of security: This organization is worthy of investigation, just as any other subversive organization is worthy of investigation. After much investigation a report on it should be brought to this Parliament so that we can have an opportunity of deciding whether these people should be allowed to remain here or whether they should be asked to leave.
So much for the Department of Immigration. I now wish to deal wilh a matter that concerns this country and its development. Australia is, and has been for some time, going through a period of great industrial development. In fields in which there was no industry at all . years ago, there are now well established industries. One of the basic difficulties facing industry to-day is a shortage of skilled tradesmen. The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) has organized a number of conferences. He convened one in June, 1962, from which emanated a very lengthy report about what was required. We have had conferences dealing with the question of attracting young men who have gained their leaving certificates. It has been suggested that we could attract them to the electrical engineering industry, for instance: As late as May of this year there was a conference dealing with the building industry. These are all very well, but are they getting us anywhere?
The Minister made a policy declaration on 6lh February of this year. On the surface it looked very good. He said that the Government was prepared to subsidize industries that would increase their intake of apprentices over and above the quo: a of 1958-60. Then there was a reference to certain allowances to young men who .had to live away from home, and also to certain travel allowances. This was all very well, but what is the result? I have a table here giving some figures concerning apprentices registered with the New South Wales Apprenticeship Commission. It gives the following information: -
We see that in 1963 there were almost 200 fewer apprentices indentured than there were in 1961, notwithstanding the fact that during this time the number of school leavers has increased, and for that reason alone we should have a much greater number of apprentices indentured than there were in 1961. Similarly with trainees we find that the number has increased by only nine during the period under consideration, although there should obviously have been a much greater increase as a result of the schemes initiated by the Government to encourage young people to undertake apprenticeships and for industry to indenture more young people. ‘ I refer to an article which appeared in the ‘ Sydney “ Sun “ of 12th September of this year under the heading “ Skilled Labour Shortage Stays “. The article read -
Metal trades employers warned to-day that Australia may not be able to overtake the shortage of skilled labour under the existing apprenticeship system . . .
Until an adequate supplementary training scheme can be devised - an aspect being constantly explored - we must rely heavily on the immigration program for skilled tradesmen.
If we have to rely on skilled tradesmen being brought to Australia under the immigration scheme, I am afraid that we will not overcome the shortage of skilled tradesmen. Although we say that a certain percentage - in fact, as many as possible - of our immigrants should be skilled tradesmen, there is a great demand for tradesmen overseas, particularly in the countries of the European Common Market. Italian tradesmen are not coming to Australia; they are going north to Germany and France. The position is that we have that competition.
Whilst some of the vacancies in the skilled trades can be filled by selective immigration, the answer obviously lies in intensified training of our own school leavers. We have to tackle the problem by encouraging our school leavers to enter various skilled trades. The Government is not making sufficient efforts to co-ordinate the activities of the various small industries. I believe that at present most of the major industries - I emphasize the word “ most “ - are accepting their responsibility. The steel industry in my district is accepting its responsibility and the challenge in most trades. I know that it is not accepting the challenge in the electrical trade. It is accepting the challenge in a number of trades, such as fitting and turning, boilermaking and blacksmithing, but not in the electrical trade. The Electrical Trades Union would be prepared to grant a greater number of apprentices in the electrical trade, provided their educational standard was suitable.
Motor mechanics can transfer into industries other than the motor industry. There is not sufficient co-ordination by the
Commonwealth Employment Service in getting the employers together to create a pool of apprentices. That applies to the building industry, too. As a result of new methods of construction, whereas once there were building contractors employing many men, to-day building contractors employ a great number of sub-contractors who are not interested in apprentices. The motor industry and the building industry are only two examples of industries in which there should be a pool of apprentices. That applies to the smaller industries, too. Another point is that trade union leaders advise me that numerous small industries are reluctant to employ their quotas of apprentices because of the Government’s recent economic policies. This difficulty could be overcome if the Government would give an assurance that it would absorb in special schools, which I believe should be stablished, the apprentices that small industries take on.
In the few minutes that I have left, I want to refer to the activities of the Government. As a result of correspondence between me and the Ministers in charge of certain departments, I have been able to obtain information in respect of fitters and turners, carpenters and joiners, electrical fitters and mechanics, plumbers, sheet metal workers, blacksmiths, painters, bricklayers and motor mechanics. The astounding figures that I have obtained for 1963 are set out in the following table: -
In 1962 the number of apprentices employed in those four Commonwealth departments was 2,024 fewer than the number that they were entitled to employ. Yet to-day more than 6,000 junior males are unemployed.
This Government could do something about the position by giving a lead to private industry by enabling various government departments to employ more apprentices and by setting up in its own establishments training schools such as those set up by the State Dockyard in Newcastle, the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited and the Cockatoo dockyard. Training schools could be set up even in little out-of-the-way places where there is always a surplus of junior labour and where there are always young fellows looking for jobs. The Government should give those boys the opportunity to become apprentices. If necessary, it should bring them to a central training depot where they can be trained for a month, two months or a year - whatever is required in order to give them the training that is necessary in their respective trades. This is a field in which the Government could do something of a constructive nature for industry.
Order! The honorable members time has expired.
Mr. COCKLE (Warringah) 1 1 0.1 6].- I listened with great interest to what the honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Jones) said about the shortage of apprentices. He put some of the blame on the employers, as one would expect he would seeing that he is a member of the Labour Party. He also put a good deal of the blame on the Government. He did not give any hint of the part that should bc played by the trade union movement in encouraging young lads to become apprentices. Many of the boys who feel that they would like to accept apprenticeships are frightened off by the attitudes that are adopted by trade union officials. There is not a great deal of encouragement from the trade union movement itself. The trade union movement should have a look at itself in other to see what is wrong with the apprenticeship system and why there is a lack of apprentices coming forward. 11’ we had more skilled tradesmen, who can be obtained only as a result of boys serving their apprenticeships, there would bc a greater absorption of unskilled labourers; but, unfortunately, because of the lack of co-operation from the trade union movement, many young lads arc discouraged and consequently do not enter into apprenticeships.
I wish to refer to two aspects of the estimates which are now before the committee. First of all, in respect of the Department of Immigration, I commend the Government for increasing the overall immigration target from 125,000 to 135,000 per annum. I mention particularly the increase in the quota of British migrants, which now will be 45,000. The emphasis which has been placed on the attraction to this country of skilled tradesmen from overseas countries is especially commendable. As the honorable member for Newcastle said - I confirm this - unfortunately, our apprenticeship system is not providing nearly enough tradesmen to meet the demands in the national development of this country. The “ sponsor a skilled migrant “ scheme launched recently by the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Downer) is a step in the right direction and is worthy of the full support of employers. We need an adequate force of skilled tradesmen, and until we can provide our own tradesmen as a result of our own apprenticeship system, unfortunately we must remain very reliant on our immigration programme.
I turn now to the estimates for the Department of Labour and National Services. This department provides the national essentials in employer-employee relationship upon which our development depends so much. The system of settling disputes by conciliation and arbitration comes under the administration of the Department of Labour and National Service. This system has been established and maintained at very great cost to the community. It operates in the interests of the individual worker, the employer, the general public and the nation as a whole. The Government has developed elaborate machinery to provide opportunities for a reasoned and orderly approach to the settlement of industrial disputes by arbitration. All may take advantage of this machinery because it was established to serve the interests of employers and employees.
I pose this question: Is our conciliation and arbitration system really fulfilling the purpose for which it was established? In this enlightened industrial age one might be pardoned for doubting whether the system is doing what it was established to do, namely, to provide a tribunal to adjudicate on grievances in relation to working conditions, first, by conciliatory methods and secondly by arbitrary methods and then to reach a decision fair to both the employers and the employees concerned. As I have said previously, I believe that the conciliation and arbitration system is the best means in the world of looking after the interests of employers and employees. I have heard it said that collective bargaining is a much better system but I doubt that very much.
I am satisfied that our conciliation and arbitration system, if it is allowed to work, can work to good advantage. Naturally, it must be allowed to work. We must always bc vigilant and on our guard to protect this system against the ruthless, militant and irresponsible section of the trade union movement whose shabby design is to so undermine the system that it will be reduced to ridicule and eventually overthrown. T ask this question: Whose interests in the community would best be served if this happened? Obviously there is only one answer - the interests of the Communists and perhaps those who represent the leftwing of the Opposition. As we know, the Communist Party has a long-term plan of world domination. In my view, and I believe in the view of most thinking and reasonable people, the recent spate of strikes, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney, revealed the clammy and dirty hand of communism. The rolling strike technique is the masterpiece of the Communist Party.
I always feel terribly sad when I sec members of the Opposition so unconcerned about the industrial atmosphere in our country. They are not prepared to stand up and say to the Communists: “ What you are attempting to do is against the law of this country. You are breaking the law and you should not do that “. I have been challenged many times when I have said that the right to strike is not inherent in the structure of the conciliation and arbitration system. I stand very strongly behind that proposition. There is no right to strike.
– You arc a notorious tory.
– I am not. I am merely a man who is prepared to stand behind his beliefs. If you tell me that you are justified in supporting a right to strike then you are seeking to justify intimidation in its worst form. Recently a member of a deputation in Canberra - I think it was something to do with peace - apparently knew that 1 did not believe that there was a right to strike. Me approached mc in King’s Hall and said, “ Of course you do not believe in the right to strike “. I replied: “ 1 do not believe in it because a strike is sheer intimidation. It is trying to get by force what you cannot get by canvassing the merits of your case before an industrial tribunal.” He said, “ But you believe in private enterprise “. I said, “ Yes “. He then said, “ If you do, then you believe in selling your goods if you think you have a good market for them “. I think we were talking about a case of bananas. I replied to him, “ Yes, I would sell my case of bananas if I could find a good market for them “. He said. “ I suppose if you could not get a good market you would refuse to sell your case of bananas “. I said, “ That may be so, but 1 would not say to other people who have bananas to sell, ‘We will not sell our bananas now. We will go on strike and force the public to pay a higher price for them ‘ “. There is the analogy. That is exactly what the trade union movement believes in - forcing the public to pay a higher price.
I have referred to recent strikes in Melbourne and Sydney. Against whom are the strikes directed? They arc directed against the employer and against the Government, but they are also directed against the little people, Johnny Citizen and others like him, whom honorable members opposite claim so strongly to represent. Of course they do not represent the little people. Let me mention some of the industries in which strikes have been called recently. There was the power strike as a result of which people had no electric power. Then there were strikes in the rubber industry, the motor vehicle industry and in the field of transport. Of course every one knows that the bus-drivers, train-drivers and all people associated with transport call a strike to cause as much inconvenience as they can to the little people knowing that they will get sick of the inconvenience and will influence the government to meet the strikers’ demands. Then there was the brewery strike. Obviously this was a strike against the little man, the bloke who goes into the bar to have a beer. He had to suffer the backwash. Then there was that remarkable strike of grave diggers in Sydney not so long ago. What a senseless callous strike that was! It lasted for twelve days and, what is most important, the dispute finally was referred to arbitration for settlement, just as all strikes eventually are referred to arbitration for settlement.
There is absolutely no rhyme or reason in the militancy of these trade unions. They just do not want to do the right thing. If they have a grievance surely they can take it to arbitration and achieve their objective by following the proper methods. But no! The trade union leaders know that if they do not do what their Communist masters somewhere along the line have said they must do they will be marked. It is the worst thing in the world for a trade union leader to belong to a tame cat union. He must belong to a wild cat union if he is to make his name and to keep his job. So the gentle art of brain conditioning is practised in the Communist pattern - the art of going on strike and holding the community to ransom. That is the pattern of intimidation adopted by the Communist Party - or should we now refer to it as the confused party, because it is in two sections - the Peking section and the Moscow section? They are the only ones who derive any enjoyment and satisfaction from strikes.
This is my point: Our conciliation and arbitration system is costly to the community. If the trade union movement wants Australia to develop as we all hope it will develop, surely it should take advantage of that system. If the trade unions fully used the conciliation and arbitration system to settle their grievances their members would be adequately protected and they would achieve their rightful industrial objectives in a proper and regular manner.
.- Long years of advocacy on behalf of the monopoly ship-owners have undoubtedly warped the mind of the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Cockle). I could not have imagined that his mind would have become so warped as to induce him to say the things that he has just said. He suggested that the trade unions should thoroughly examine their actions. . He stated that trade union officials try to frighten youths out of apprenticeship. From my long association with trade union affairs I know that one of the most heartbreaking experiences trade union secretaries undergo is to see at Christmas time each year young lads, spruced up and accompanied by their mothers, coming to them seeking to become apprenticed to a trade. The trades could take plenty of apprentices if only employers would play their part. Every Christmas many of these young lads are disappointed, yet the honorable member for Warringah would accuse the trade unions of not playing their part. I remind the honorable member that in 1962 not trade union officials but the Employers Federation of Victoria caused a conference to be called at which the Department of Labour and National Service was represented, as well as the Chamber of Manufactures and various trade union and employer organizations to discuss the problem of apprentices. Statistics were produced to show that although more lads were offering for apprenticeship in 1962, the number of apprentices taken on was fewer than in 1954. The honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Jones) referred to this matter. I do not need to stress the deplorable plight in which many young people found themselves in 1962. I will not cite the figures; they may be obtained from the Victorian Employers Federation. In its report the federation stated -
In Australia the regrettable fact is that many employers who could take apprentices do not take any and probably only a minor proportion are taking their full permitted number.
As a former representative of employers the honorable member for Warringah knows that statement to be true. Even the Commonwealth Government is not taking the maximum number of apprentices that it could employ. In its alarm at the shortage of skilled tradesmen, contributed to by the fact that the overseas supply is drying up, the Commonwealth Government has increased its efforts to take apprentices. I know that it is cheaper to import tradesmen than it is to train your own. That is the economics of the situation and that is why industries have not been training apprentices. But it is becoming more and more apparent that as overseas countries develop they are becoming increasingly reluctant to export their skilled tradesmen. With conditions overseas constantly improving tradesmen do not want to come to Australia. So we are confronted with an apprenticeship problem - a problem of training skilled tradesmen. The problem to-day is. more acute than it has ever been. The Minister for Immigration (Mr. Downer) is well aware that in the future the need for skilled tradesmen will increase. The best way to get those skilled tradesmen is to train them ourselves.
The honorable member for Warringah snipes at the trade unions. He states that those who do not concede that arbitration is the best way of dealing with industrial disputes are irresponsibles; they are Communists - people seeking to destroy our arbitration system, which the honorable member, in his limited experience, declares to be the best system in the world. Our system is so good that no other comparable nation has adopted it.
The honorable member for Warringah would brand as irresponsible anybody who criticizes our system of arbitration. Let mc quote from the report of the Constitutional Review Committee, which comprised members from both sides of the Parliament The Minister for Immigration was a member of the committee and certain distinguished lawyers were members. The members of the committee surely were not irresponsibles. The committee at paragraph 748 reported -
Experience has shown that conciliation and arbitration are not necessarily the most effective means of dealing with disputes. In some cases and circumstances other means would be belter.
Were the members of that committee seeking to destroy this system which the honorable member claims is the best in the world? Were they Communists? If the honorable member would take the trouble to read the report, which is a very good one, he would find in it very many reasons for concluding that our system is not the best system. The honorable member’s approach to industrial disputes is the approach that has been adopted by this Government for a long time. I was glad to see in the legislation that we dealt with earlier to-day that a change is coming. Some people are beginning to recognize that there are other and better ways of dealing with industrial disputes than the ways that have- been used in the past.
Prior to last May’ whenever the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) was asked to give the reason for trouble on the waterfront he was able to say that the wicked Communists were to blame. Prior to that the instruments of repression that come under the control of the Minister’s department were always able to say that the wicked workers were to blame and, finally,, penalties amounting to £45,000 were imposed. Less than five months ago an honorable member opposite proudly announced, “ We took on the waterside workers “. I am glad that honorable members opposite are happy about the results of taking on the waterside workers. Four years ago I asked the Minister for Labour and National Service whether he would examine the situation that then existed in the building trades. Honorable members will be aware that ever since 1953 the building trades have been operating under an agreement of which the agreement referred to this afternoon is an exact copy. Prior to 1953 this was the most turbulent industry in Australia. Since then it has operated under the agreement fairly and squarely, and is now the least turbulent industry. An agreement such as the one which has worked for this industry would work for the waterside workers. I am glad of the new approach that the Minister is taking to this problem, and I was pleased to hear the honorable member for Bruce (Mr. Snedden) say that the time lost since the conference was called in May has been cut to one-tenth of what it was before. This state of affairs has been brought about because of the different approach to the problem adopted by the Government.
While I am on the question of collective bargaining and the change of approach by the Government let us have a look at what the Government’s attitude was formerly in a matter of this sort. I will tell honorable members opposite the kind of arbitration that the Government really loves. Government speakers have said to-night that the arbitration system, which provides the right to the worker to put his case, is a splendid thing. The fact that it might not be the best thing is beside the point, apparently. What was the Government’s attitude a few months ago to the professional engineers? The Minister for -“Labour and National
Service brought down a bill to amend the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act in respect of the professional engineers, because after many years they had succeeded in getting wage justice, and then only by virtue of a decision of the High Court of Australia. The Government always says to the worker, in effect, “ Well, the court has given a decision. You must accept the umpire’s decision. If you do not you will be fined £500.” What was the attitude of the Government to the umpire’s decision in the case of the professional engineers, the umpire on this occasion being no less an authority than the High Court of Australia? The Government played it this way: It adopted the attitude that if the rules did not suit it, it would alter the rules. This shows the influence that the legal profession has on the other side, of the Parliament. Of course, that was a lawyer’s trick, as the Minister well knows. I have had that kind of thing put over me in the court too.
The Government decided to amend the rules. It brought in a bill to amend the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. It did not take away the right of professional engineers to approach the court and make their claim, but it conceded the right to their employers - to the Attorney-General of any State - to direct the court at any stage that it should not proceed further with the hearing. That was the bright attitude that was adopted by the Government, the department and the Minister in the legislation which was introduced into this House. The professional engineers were allowed to go to the court and allowed to present their claim, but halfway through the proceedings - it is. generally easy enough for an experienced person to know how a case is going - the boss might realize that the case was not going too well for him. The Attorney-General of a State, merely by giving formal notice, could direct the court to discontinue the proceedings. When we go into a court we hear the crier say, “ All persons having any business before this honourable court may now draw nigh and they shall be heard. God save the Queen.” If this bill had gone through no doubt the crier would have said. “ All persons having any business before this honourable court shall now draw -nigh ‘and they shall be heard unless the boss says otherwise. God save the Queen.” That was the Government’s attitude.
The bill was introduced and it was only under pressure that the Government finally withdrew it. The Opposition will remind the professional engineers that that was what the Government desired to do to them, and would have done to them, had pressure not been brought to bear on it. It was only under pressure that the Government finally discovered that there was merit in the system that it is proposed to set up to bring about peace on the waterfront. It was only under pressure that the building trade workers’ collective agreement was brought into existence.
Finally, I wish to refer to the item dealing with International Labour Organization conventions. Australia has the worst record of any country in ratifying industrial conventions, and I refer in particular to the convention dealing with equal pay for the sexes. Here is a bright state of affairs! Australia has ratified, I think, 28 out of 108 conventions. Many countries have ratified three times as many. I hope that the department will get a new look and that the Minister will deal with industrial matters properly. Administration of the Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Act is another matter that could well be handled by a more humane department than handles it at present in such a disgraceful fashion.
– I should like to say a few things to the committee at this stage.
– Is the Minister closing the debate?
Order! A debate in committee cannot be closed by the reply of a Minister.
– If honorable gentlemen opposite will bear with me at this stage, before the debate is concluded, I should like to thank those honorable members who have spoken, for the complimentary things they have said about the officers of my department, and also about me. I know of no branch of the public service in which officers are more dedicated to their work and more seized of the importance of prosecuting our great immigration programme than arc the officers of the Department of Immigration. I think they are an example of a great branch of our Public Service which has often been overlooked by honorable members and by the public. They are often insufficiently regarded and inadequately appreciated for their fine national spirit in the highest cause. It gives me pleasure, as the responsible Minister, to hear some members of the House during this debate on the estimates of my department recognizing these things.
As has been my custom in other years during my administration of this portfolio, I want to give the committee some information, very briefly, of some of the results of our immigration programme, and also give some details of what we propose to do during the forthcoming financial year. But before I do that I think there are some observations of the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) which call for comment. The honorable member posed a question in language which 1 am sorry to say did not help his cause very materially. His language was too savage, too intolerant and too harsh. Let there be no mistake about it, members on this side of the House are just as opposed to every manifestation of fascism as are members of the Opposition. We are, of course - and this need hardly be reiterated - most fiercely opposed to communism, the entry of Communists into Australia and the naturalization of people who are established Communists.
I would say also, Mr. Temporary Chairman, that there is in this place a considerable number of members, particularly on my side of the chamber, who, as a result of their war experiences, have a very practical and concrete knowledge of fascism and what is’ means. So I do not want the honorable member for Yarra or anybody else who may bc pointing the bone at the Government or at the Department of Immigration to insinuate that we on this side of the chamber, or I as Minister for Immigration, have a lax attitude or some sort of tolerance towards fascist ideals. The whole of our political philosophy and some of the most vital, disturbing and crucial experiences in our lives convince us that fascism is evil, and we will have none of it in Australia.
Certainly, the honorable member for Yarra performed some service in directing attention to this problem. But, nonetheless, he did his own party and the cause which he sought to advance a real- disservice by the exaggerated way in which he put his case. Since he brandished evidence - photostat copies of documents, and things of that nature - and invited me to look at that evidence of the alleged activities of Croatians in this country, let me say at once that I shall be glad to examine it if he submits it to me. I shall certainly inspect it myself, and I shall see that my officers and other people look at it carefully, too. But let us remember, Mr. Temporary Chairman, that the charges that the Yugoslav Government has preferred against these nine Croatians are still unconfirmed. Therefore, let us not be too hasty and too excited in making sweeping judgments about the matter.
I am sorry that the honorable member for McPherson (Mr. Barnes) is not in the chamber now. 1 should like to direct the attention of the committee to the very thoughful and learned speech made by him earlier this evening. He injected into this debate a note of necessary temperance, and an appeal for moderation, by considering this extremely difficult problem of the Yugoslav people generally against their historical background. As most honorable members will realize, Yugoslavia itself is a federation of a number of small countries - Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Herzegovina and Macedonia. Those are countries, moreover, unlike most others, in which three principal religions predominate - the Catholic religion, the Greek Orthodox faith and the faith of the Moslems, of whom there is quite a number. Any student of European history knows that in these small states, which, historically speaking, only recently have been welded together into the nation of Yugoslavia, political and religious divisions still run deep. Indeed, possibly they are more profound than any to be found in any other country.
Inevitably, Sir, such divisions are perpetuated among Yugoslavs wherever they go throughout the world, and therefore those divisions are found among Yugoslav settlers in this country. The scars of the last war, and of this almost unbroken history of turbulence in the Balkans, linger. They linger, too, among many of the Yugoslavs in this country, who know full well that the present Government of Yugoslavia is a Communist one. Who, in the name of reason, can object if Yugoslavs in Australia find themselves out of sympathy with, and opposed to, a Communist government in what was formerly their own country?
I hope that members of this committee, if I may put matters this way, in dealing with this extremely complex, touchy and difficult problem, will retain a sense of proportion. Let us not magnify the problem. Inquiries that I have made indicate that, relatively, membership of this Croation Liberation Movement in Australia is very small. As honorable members on both sides of the chamber must realize, there are quite important divisions among the Croatians themselves. We are not dealing with a united body. I hope that the honorable member for Yarra realizes that.
For myself and for the Government may I say that I deplore not only among Croatians and Yugoslavs, but among any of our migrants, any suggestion of an active perpetuation in this country of ancient feuds. The last thing that any of us wants is for Australia to be made a springboard for future European battles. That is not the aim of the immigration programme. What we are aiming at, in this great movement of people from one side of the world to the other, is the integration of aliens into the Australian community, so that in due course, without compulsion, they can become fully-fledged Australian citizens. We in Australia offer all these people a new life - a life that we hope will be in many respects better, and not just a continuation of the old life, the old prejudices, and the old hatreds, which we hope they will leave behind in the Old World.
The Government, looking at this problem in its totality, within the limits of our law will use its power to discourage and prevent subversive activities directed against other countries. On the question of Yugoslavs, let me again appeal to honorable members, and especially Opposition members, to look at the matter in its real perspective and not to confuse a few hotheads - a few people seething with these ancient antipathies - with the whole mass of the Yugoslavs who have come here. Altogether, about 43,000 Yugoslavs have entered Australia since 1945. Overall, their general record of integration and assimilation in this country has been quite admirable. The committee may be interested to know that of the 29,000
Yugoslavs who have become eligible for naturalization, 22,000 have voluntarily become Australian citizens and British subjects.
Anybody who has had anything practical to do with the Yugoslav community in Australia, as I have done over quite a number of years, quite apart from my activities as Minister for Immigration, will agree, I think, that the Yugoslavs have made and are still making a very valuable contribution to Australia’s development. I hope that nobody in this chamber, taking the example of a relatively few - I repeat, a relatively few - excitable Croatians, will point an accusing finger and brand as undesirable in some way the generally fine Yugoslav community, which has rendered so much good service to the economic and cultural development of Australia.
Before I pass from this subject to other more material matters, Sir, I should like to answer an allegation made by the honorable member for Yarra about what seemed to me to be capable of being interpreted as loose screening or the allowing of allegedly reactionary elements to seep into this country. I repeat that, according to the records of my department, the overwhelming majority of Yugoslav migrants are either displaced persons or refugees. Honorable members may be interested to know what processes are involved before Yugoslav applicants for passage to Australia come here. To begin with, these refugees are screened by a special committee in the country in which they have taken refuge, to determine primarily whether they are genuine refugees - that is, refugees in a political sense. That having been accomplished, these people are interviewed by a voluntary agency in the country in which they have taken refuge to determine whether they wish to emigrate from Europe. Once that has been ascertained, our own Australian migration officers determine which of the refugees qualify. When that has been established, applicants go through the usual migration screening processes. In other words, they are interviewed by an Australian selection officer, and are then examined by an Australian doctor. Subsequently, they are interviewed by an Australian liaison officer. 1 think the committee will agree that this is quite an elaborate process. It is certainly much more elaborate than the processes that arc followed by any other country that is interested in immigration. Once those qualifications are met, the applicants are given assisted passages, and they are moved here by the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration.
Human nature being ,-‘hat it is, occasionally an ill bird gets through, the net. There is no such thing in life as perfection. Nonetheless, every possible reasonable precaution is taken against undesirable people coming here. I have been investigating this matter for the best part of a year, and from inquiries I have made I am quite satisfied that my own officers, both here and abroad, are doing everything possible to see that only really suitable migrants from Yugoslavia enter this country.
Having spent rather more time than I had intended on that subject, may I turn (o more general, and certainly more important considerations affecting our immigration programme? The year 1962-63 can be described only as a very stimulating and exciting year for immigration. As the committee will have realized by now, we exceeded our target of 125,000 - to set it at its permanent and Jong-term figure - by 12,247. To express the result in terms of actual new settlers, we gained almost 102,000, which was 16,000 more than in the previous year. If we allow for those who departed, the net immigration gain was 93,205 settlers, which was 16,638 more than in 1961-62.
Honorable members may be interested to learn the nationalities of some of the new settlers. I shall not name them all, but only the principal groups. From the United Kingdom we gained 52,453 settlers, of whom 41,700 came out in the assisted categories. I am glad to be able to tell the committee that this was the highest British intake for the past decade. We received 3,183 Maltese, 13,528 Italians, 11,552 Greeks, 4,604 Spaniards, 2,556 Germans, 1,885 Dutch, 3,796 Yugoslavs and, interestingly enough, 1,109 persons from the United States of America.
Now I want to turn very briefly to what we propose- to do in the present financial year. As is now well known, the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) announced in his Budget speech that the Government had decided to raise the overall immigration target by 10,000. Expressed in terms of long-term and permanent arrivals, that will give us an intake of 135,000 persons for 1963-64. That number will include 60,000 persons who will come out under various assisted passage arrangements and 40,000 who will come out, as it were, under their own steam, making an actual settler content of 100,000. The 60,000 assisted passage settlers will include 45,000 from the United Kingdom, 500 from Austria, 500 Belgians, 1,500 Dutch, 2,000 Germans, 1,500 Greeks, 1,000 Italians, 2,500 Maltese, 2,500 Spaniards, 1,500 refugees who will be mainly Yugoslavs from Austria, Italy and Greece, and 2,500 others.
As I said a moment ago, 40,000 settlers will pay their own fares. They will include 10,000 British, 1,500 Maltese, 12,500 Greeks, 12,500 Italians, and approximately 3,500 Dutch, Germans, Scandinavians, citizens of the United States and others. In addition, as I said in reply to a question asked yesterday by the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Cleaver), we will be bringing in 250 single Maltese women. I am glad to be able to tell the committee that in my opinion this overall objective not only will be fulfilled but will be exceeded. The migration horizon is indeed promising. The overall prospect is a happy one. The British application rate is still strong: Despite the fact that July, August and September were summer months in the northern hemisphere, in that period we received nearly 29,000 applications in Great Britain. That is the highest figure since we started to attract migrants here from Great Britain after the end of the war.
This great revival of migration through the interest of the British people in coming to Australia is not simply due, as some people rather superficially believe, to the grim winter experienced some months ago in the northern hemisphere. Nor do I think it is simply due to the uncertainties in the Old Country arising, in the not so long term, out of the determination of the British Government to enter, by hook or by crook, into the European Common Market. It is not simply due to localized unemployment in various parts of the United Kingdom. No doubt these are constituent elements, but they do not tell the whole story. The happy result is due partly to the intensive campaign that my officers have been waging, particularly in the last two years, in all parts of Britain. I like to think that it is partly due to the decentralization of our offices - which I undertook some years ago - in Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast, a move which has enhanced enormously our recruiting potential over there. It is also due to the confidence that any visitor to the United Kingdom finds expressed in the future of Australia, in the soundness of our economic and financial possibilities, and in the general progressive record of this country in the last ten or twelve years. This year, as a result of these things, all the portents are that British migration to Australia will be an all-time record.
May I remind the committee of other measures which last year and this year the Government has been taking to promote the great cause of migration? To begin with, we have established a number of new posts - in Brussels, Cairo, Madrid and Paris. This gives us a total of fourteen overseas posts. Secondly, in the interests of family re-union, in the last twelve months or so we have been bringing into this country a good many more Greeks. This is a reorientation of policy which has been much appreciated by the various Greek communities in Australia. Thirdly, we are attracting, for humanitarian reasons, and also because we consider that they are a good potential, a number of Armenians, most of whom are settled in Egypt. I expect that in the current financial year approximately 1,000 Armenians will arrive here. Those who have come here already - totalling between 300 and 400 - have proved to be very promising types. J think we can look with great profit to these Armenian people when contemplating arrangements for the future.
We have been busy in recruiting professional workers from the United Kingdom. Early this year, as my colleague, the honorable member for Ryan (Mr. Drury) said this evening, Mr. Long, the assistant registrar of the New England University, took up his duty at Australia House, London, as adviser on professions. It is too early yet to evaluate what will be the result of his work, but I have no doubt that, as a result, of his activities and of the arrangements which we are making within my own department at this end, this is a move which will bring about a quite considerably enhanced flow, not only of highly skilled migrants, but of the highly trained professional men that this country so sorely needs.
The committee, too, may be interested, if honorable members have examined some of the detailed estimates in the Budget papers for my department, in the big increase in the publicity vote in recent years. I remind the committee that this year the publicity vote is £293,515.
– Do you need an extension of time?
– I hope the honorable member will listen to what I have to say. If he is sincere about migration, he should be glad to hear these things. I have no doubt that if he wants to speak he will be given an opportunity to do so. This year’s publicity vote compares with the allocation six years ago of £85,000. You hear frequent criticisms about what we are doing - that we are not doing enough in certain respects - but I think the committee will be pleased at the big advance in the allocation for publicity. I would like also to remind honorable members that in May, 1962, I established within Australia an immigration publicity council which has already been of great assistance to the Government in various ways.
In the whole field of immigration the Government’s policy is never static. This year we have made two quite important extensions. First, in April we widened the categories of relatives who may be permitted to come here from the south of Europe. This policy has resulted in the inclusion of married daughters and married sisters, together with their husbands and children. As honorable members know, judging from the number of letters they have written to me in this respect, this is an extension of policy which has been very much appreciated by the Australian public. It emphasizes once again the Government’s sincerity in furthering the interests of family immigration.
In June of this year I announced an extension of our assisted passages scheme to all single women between the ages of 18 and 35 years. This applies particularly to the fiancees of migrants who have already arrived here. It is another step on the Government’s part to try to solve the rather perennial problem of imbalance of the sexes. Its efficacy will depend upon the concurrence of the governments with which we have migration dealings. We are hopeful that they will be ready to accord with our plans.
I have tried, besides giving the committee some details of the Government’s immigration target, to remind honorable members of some salient aspects of the policy we have been putting forward in continuation of this great quest for immigrants to Australia. Migration, I need hardly add, is one of the Government’s principal means for the speedy development of Australia. It is an aspect of our policy by which we set very great store. So long as we are here, we shall continue this policy with imagination, with unflagging energy, with resourcefulness and, I believe, with great success.
.- I want to deal with one particular aspect of immigration, but before I do so I want to refer to some remarks which the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Downer) made in the course of his address, and also to some remarks of the honorable member for McPherson (Mr. Barnes). If the honorable member for McPherson had listened closely to the speech of the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns), and if he had been fair, he would have conceded quite willingly that at no stage did the honorable member for Yarra suggest that all Yugoslavs here were associated with the Ustashi movement in Australia. I believe that the honorable member for Yarra very definitely made it clear that the representation of the Yugoslav community in the movement is a minority representation. The honorable member pointed out that this group, in its devotion to its cause of fanatical extremism, has already endeavoured to subvert the government of another land.
I think it is sophistry in an extreme form for the Minister to suggest glibly as he did that the existence of this group could be passed off as being brought about by racial divisions within that nation. For him to say that only a few people are involved and to leave it as;,a minor matter is. understating the case considerably, because the simple fact is that the people involved in this situation which arose in Yugoslavia were naturalized Australian citizens. By their actions, they embroiled Australia in an international situation which could have had grave consequences For the Minister to imply that there was an excuse for the existence of this organization as a fascist oragnization because it is anti-Communist shows a gross dereliction in a lack of appreciation of the serious implications of this group’s activities.
The Minister’s statement that the screening of immigrants entering Australia is adequate is difficult to establish as a consistent proposition when one reflects that the former honorable member for East Sydney, the late Mr. E. J. Ward, pointed out on numerous occasions that immigrants from such places as Portugal, where there is an oppressive fascist dictatorship under Salazar, had been refused naturalization at the behest of our immigration official? simply because they had taken part in trade union activities there and not because they were extreme left in political outlook. The revelation that the Department of Immigration is prepared to accept these extremely fanatical right-wing fascists into the community and to allow them to be naturalized is hard to swallow as a consistent proposition to be followed by the Department of Immigration.
Again, I was rather surprised that the Minister did not refer to a pertinent statement quoted by the honorable member for Yarra from the Sydney “Daily Telegraph “. This was to the effect that the security service, or a member of it, had advised members of the Ustashi that they need not worry about the initial outcry concerning the activities of the organization. This is extremely serious and should be refuted by the Government if it is not true. If it is true, it entails very serious consequences. The Minister’s statement that he would be glad te examine- material the honorable member for Yarra brought before the House to-night rather surprised me because this material could have been obtained without great difficulty. Surely the Department of Immigration would have been engaged in an extensive investigation of the activities of this group once they had. been brought to the light of day and had caused so much concern in the community. The Minister has access to the security files and surely these things would be recorded and be available……
I want to revert to .a point I mentioned previously: How did. these people become naturalized Australian citizens and have themselves placed in a position where they could bring discredit on Australia and cause so much concern among. Australian citizens that this nation should be involved in an international situation which, as I have said, could have been serious in its implications for Australia? The Minister for. Shipping and Transport (Mr. Opperman) is reported not only to have attended one of the functions conducted by the Ustashi but also to have lauded the organization. If we are to be consistent and follow the oftwitnessed reasoning of the Government parties, this is guilt by association. Are we to assume that this man is a supporter of facism in such an extreme form? The honorable member for McPherson was visibly upset that the Ustashi should be criticized and suggested there was a valid excuse for the existence of this organization on the ground that the people who belong to it have strong nationalist feelings. Did not the Nazis in Germany have strong national feelings? ls’ this an excuse for the gross barbarity that they flung upon the world? The Minister for Immigration has already said that from his own .personal experiences as a prisoner-of-war at the hands of a nationalist group, he himself was repelled by this ideology. Surely this is no excuse for fascism to be practised, and it was facism in an extreme form which was practised by the Ustashi in Yugoslavia.
As the honorable member for Yarra pointed out, this organization was responsible for the murder of 750,000 Serbs, 60,000 Jews and 23,000 gypsies. When Pavelic the leader of the organization in Yugoslavia told Hitler proudly of his intention to carry out this programme, Hitler was amazed and said, “It is impossible; you will never achieve it”. But not only was it achieved but it was exceeded by 100,000 and this in itself is cause for concern because this organization represents the bloody hands of mass murderers. Surely Australia and the Government must be revolted that such an organization exists without allowing it to flourish in Australia.
Ante Pavelic was the leader of the Ustashi to whom the elements in Australia look for inspiration and leadership. These are people who, in a fanatical way, are trying to influence Australian citizens to see their ideological outlook. What concerns me is that many members of this organization will become naturalized Australian citizens, and the children of these people, who are natural born Australian citizens, will become members of the. organization. It will enlarge and absorb members of the public from various sectors. This is a matter of considerable concern and how the Department of Immigration can be quite happy with this situation and not take some positive and resolute action to discourage the organization’s activities is hard to understand.
Let me pass to another point in which the Department of Immigration has, fallen far short of the goal at which it should have aimed. I refer to the failure to ensure that Queensland has a fair share of the immigrants arriving in Australia. Earlier this year, I wrote to the Minister for Immigration pointing out that letters had1 been published in the daily press to the effect that immigrants bad been told by officers of the department not to go to Queensland because there were insufficient opportunities or had been encouraged by officials not to go to Queensland. This is amazing in its own way because members of the Government endeavour to create the impression that Queensland is a boom State and is going ahead under the Government’s guidance and therefore needs additional population. One cannot relate this to the facts and figures prepared by the Bureau of Census and Statistics. The figures issued by the Commonwealth Statistician show that consistently Queensland has fared worst of the States in this respect. In 1962, the last year for which figures are available, Queensland gained 522 immigrants. The next lowest figures for a mainland State applied to South Australia which gained 6,512. If we go back over the years, we find that Queensland lost 3,183 immigrants in 1961. In the preceding years it lost 3,162 and 870 and in 1958 it gained 97. This was still the lowest figure for any mainland State. Western Australia with a gain qf 2,191 had the next lowest figure for a ‘ mainland State for that year:’’
The amazing feature of these statistics is that every year without fail South Australia has gained more immigrants than has Queensland. The honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Don Cameron), who has carried out research into these matters, has discovered that this pattern has established itself in many fields in which there is federal government influence. The honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) reminds me that the Minister for Immigration comes from South Australia. I do not know whether that has any significance. It may have. Again referring to official statistics which have been released, I discover that Queensland has consistently had the lowest percentage increase in its population. Surely this can be related to the lack of interest which the Department of Immigration shows in Queensland. For instance, in 1960 the population increase in Queensland was 1.36 per cent, whereas in South Australia it was 2.41 per cent, and in Victoria 2.91 per cent. Every other State had a higher percentage increase than did Queensland.
As time is moving on, I point out quickly that Queensland does have a potential, which has been pointed out by various people. For instance, in his report on northern and central eastern areas, Haigh points out that if the original colonization had taken place in Queensland instead of in Victoria, the population of Queensland would have been six times that of Victoria. He goes on to point out that Queensland has advantages which enable it to carry a far larger population than can the other Stales of the Commonwealth.
Let me move on quickly now to some letters which I have and which I am mentioning out of the context in which I had hoped to present them to the House because time is running short. The first is a letter from a William Clarkson of the Commonwealth Hostel at Wacol. It was published in the “Courier-Mail” of 9th July. In it, he claims that he wanted to go to Queensland and very strenuous efforts were made by an official of the Department of Immigration to steer him first to South Australia and then to Victoria. He eventually arrived in Queensland, and is very happy to be there. I have another letter signed )£y Mrs. M. R.
Powell of Petrie, which was published in. the “Courier-Mail” of 16th July. In that letter, Mrs. Powell points out that when she applied to come here every effort was made to discourage her from going to Queensland and to encourage her to go to Adelaide. I suggest that this in itself is sufficient cause for concern to the people of Queensland and is justification for an investigation by the Minister into the manner in which the Department of Immigration directs immigrants to the various States, especially when we remember that Queensland needs expansion and development and that, if this is to take place, it will need a work force.
The honorable member for Darebin (Mr. Courtnay) has already pointed out that there is a shortage of skilled workers throughout the Commonwealth. This applies to many trades in Queensland but apparently no effort is being made to see to it that some of the skilled immigrants are directed to Queensland. The letters which I have quoted are only two of a number which I have along similar lines. For instance, the Reverend Johnstone, a clergyman at St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, Ipswich, wrote a rather lengthy letter to the “ Queensland Times “ in 1961 in which he pointed out that immigration officials had even gone to the extent of suggesting to migrants that they should go to Victoria if they wanted to follow sheep farming because there are no sheep in Queensland. That is a ridiculous statement to make and it is something that the head of the department, as well as the Minister, should investigate. The full text of the letter from the reverend gentleman can be made available to them if they want to follow it up.
Other sections of the community in Queensland are concerned at this lack of encouragement to migrants to come to our State. For instance, in the “ Courier-Mail “ of June this year, the following statement was published -
An inquiry into Queensland’s poor migrant intake was called for yesterday by Queensland Retailers Association secretary, Mr. K. C. Shaw.
Further on in the article, figures supplied by the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics are quoted as disclosing that since 1947 Queensland received the lowest share of migrants of any State in the Commonwealth. They disclosed that Queensland gained only 6.14 per cent, of the British migrants who had entered Australia since 1947 and only 6.13 per cent, of the foreign migrants who had entered in the same period.
Another report containing figures up to the end of the last financial year discloses that Queensland’s net migration intake was only 2,584 out of 62,500, or only 4 per cent, of the total number of migrants entering Australia. I shall be very interested to hear the Minister’s reasons why this anomaly should persist and why this discrimination should be practised against the State of Queensland particularly in view of the fact that an election is forthcoming. Queensland expects to get some consideration. 1 request the Minister to make an immediate investigation of those matters.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I wish to address my remarks to the proposed expenditure for the Department of Labour and National Service. I am becoming increasingly concerned at the traitorous activities, actions and statements, of the Communists and their party in Australia. I consider that the activities of the Communist Party in this country will have an extemely detrimental and vital effect on the future prosperity and security of Australia. I think it is important that this danger be brought to the notice of the Australian people as frequently as possible. I realize that it is difficult to penetrate the apathy of the average Australian, particularly when the danger is not physically apparent. It has been said that many who oppose communism do so for sectarian reasons. I do not believe this to be true. I consider that wc should have nothing but admiration for the people and organizations who are constantly fighting this insidious threat to our way of life, and that many more persons would be doing a great service to Australia if they were more actively interested in this matter.
It must be remembered that a basic fundamental of communism is the replacement of an existing government and way of life with sabotage, assassination and armed revolt. It must further be remembered that a Communist does not recognize the existence of God. This latter factor constitutes its greatest danger to the free world, but in the long run will prove to be its downfall.
It is to the probable effect of the Communist influence on the construction of the communications station at North West Cape that I wish to draw (he attention of the Government to-night. I am sure that the Communists intend to cause trouble at this project.
– What has this to do with immigration?
– I am dealing with the Department of Labour and National Service. There is no need for you to get upset just because you do not like the feel of it when mention of the word “ communist “ touches you. As I was saying, I am sure that (he Communists intend to cause trouble at this project and that they will use every means at their disposal on both the political and the industrial fronts to achieve this end. Australian Communist Party pressure will be used on extreme left wing members of the Australian Labour Party through the Communist controlled unions, peace fronts and nuclear disarmament committees. In the industrial sphere in particular, the Communist Party will be active through the Building Workers Industrial Union in Western Australia and the Western Australian Trades and Labour Council. The industrial campaign has started already with a statement by Mr. Coleman, secretary of the Western Australian Trades and Labour Council, who said in July of this year that action will bc taken against the contractors at this naval communications base if any competent tradesman is rejected because of security reasons. Further, the Western Australian Trades and Labour Council decided recently that no union should supply labour until negotiations in connexion with wages and conditions had been successful, and that all labour should be recruited through affiliated unions.
– Fair enough!
– The honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Beaton) anticipates my remark. This is fair enough, but a number of these unions are subject to strong Communist influence and, if one of these unions nominated a tradesman and that tradesman were refused employment on security grounds, the whole project could be declared black. The obvious danger is that the Communist Party, through unions subject to its influence, could control the selection of men to work on the project if the demands of Mr. Coleman and the Western Australian Trades and Labour Council were met. By this control the Communist Party could and would plant espionage agents and saboteurs on the project, and place trouble makers in positions where they would be able to halt construction work when ordered to do so by the Communists.
In view of these statements it is a matter of urgency that the contractors should reach a reasonable agreement on wages and working conditions as soon as possible. This would have the result of depriving the Communist Party of the ability to achieve one of its major objectives - that of halting the work on the base - and would strip it of much of its industrial camouflage. Of course, the Communists realize this and are trying to make their demands as difficult and as unreasonable as possible. I am sure that all Australians realize that this base is vital to the security of Australia and to the SouthEast Asian area. The Government should therefore be prepared, if necessary, to invoke the provisions of the Approved Defence Projects Protection Act which was passed in 1947 during the term of the Chifley Government. Further, I urge the Government and the Parliament to direct all their available power and authority to ensuring the maximum industrial peace on the North West Cape naval communication base. It must use all its influence to prevent the presence of any Communists or fellow travellers at the base project.
.- I did not realize that the “ Mc “ in the initials of the honorable member for Indi (Mr. Holten) stood for McCarthy, as it seems to do. The honorable member has attempted to launch a smear campaign against trade unions because of their demands for better conditions for their members. But that was not my reason for rising at this late hour. I wish the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) would direct his department’s attention to the working conditions of the aboriginal population of Australia. There has been a serious omission, in the sense of lack of public duty principally by the department and by the authorities - and I am afraid, in the past, by many trade unions too - in the ignoring of the fact that many, aboriginal workers in Australia do not come under Australian awards. This, I believe, is something that should be tackled in a forthright manner. The facts are simply these: In the provisions of the federal award relating to the pastoral industry the aborigines are expressly excluded. This is an award made under an act of this Parliament. It is a determination of a statutory body set up by the Parliament, and there is no reason why we should tolerate the discrimination it contains. There is no reason whatsoever why the pastoral industry of Australia should be able to employ aboriginal workers at rates less than those that it pays to any other workers. That is the first point I want to make.
Honorable members opposite talk about assimilation of the aborigines, about our being one people and all the rest of it - but the rates of pay for aborigines is one of their responsibilities. Two places in which there is serious employment discrimination against the aboriginal people are Queensland and the Northern Territory. The Minister may claim that he has no territorial jurisdiction over affairs in the State of Queensland. I believe that the Minister is concerned with the principles upon which his department operates, and I believe that generally speaking honorable members on both sides of the chamber and the people of Australia recognize the right of workers to receive proper remuneration and to enjoy proper industrial conditions. I believe also that if the Commonwealth Government cared to exercise its authority, prestige and influence in this field it would soon bring State governments round to the right thinking on this matter.
During the coming weeks people will be talking about the state of the nation, its wealth and all the rest of it, but one other thing to which they could turn their attention is the plight of the aboriginal workers, in Queensland in particular.
A special system of awards has been laid down by the Department of Native Affairs in Queensland, but they have no bearing upon the capacity of industry to pay, upon the needs of the ‘aboriginal workers or upon their’ ability to fulfil their ‘ ‘ tasks. To our shame, this is the case also in the Northern Territory. Honorable members would find it worth-while to obtain a copy of the Wards Employment Ordinance which shows the rates paid to aborigines in the Northern Territory. It is a simple fact that about 5,000 aborigines in the. Northern Territory are employed in various capacities, but that only 50 are in receipt of the award rate. That is one in 100 - 1 per cent.! There can be no justification for this.
There can be no raising of the whole standard of the Northern Territory until that half of the population who are aborigines are living on the same standards and being paid the same rates as the rest of the population. It is a tragic fact that if the aborigines went on to full unemployment benefit they would be getting more than they now get from the wages they are paid. It is a fact also that in the Northern Territory many people are retiring and going on to the age pension - Australians, old men, aborigines and therefore black - and are receiving more in pension than they got for working.
Cases have been brought to my notice of employers who have received more in child endowment for the children of their aboriginal workers than they paid the aborigines in wages. These are matters that concern this Parliament.
– Do the aborigines still go walkabout?
– You will be able to go walkabout permanently after 30th November. The honorable member for’ Eureka and Ballaarat should go to these places and look at this problem on the spot.
– I am asking you a question. Does the aboriginal still go- walkabout?
– The aboriginal people are like the rest of us. Some are itinerant and some live permanently in one place. The thing is that honorable members should sec them. There are aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory as stable and static in their location as the citizens of Ballaarat. Of course, some aborigines are not like this, but many of them are much more stable than the honorable member for Ballaarat. These ‘ate Australian* people.
The facts are as I have stated them. Of some 5,000 aboriginal workers in the Northern Territory, only 50 receive’ the award rate of pay. How can that possibly be justified? I realize that there are difficulties. I have put a great deal of work and study into this question and I believe that the Minister should devote the last few hours of his ministry to this general question. But I speak to honorable members now as fellow Australians and not, in this case, as legislators. This problem is something to which each one of us should turn his attention as he goes round this country.
In the Northern Territory I see no future for the whole community until that half of it who comprise the aboriginal population have the same standards of remuneration for their work as the rest of it. There would be a dramatic rise, a buoyancy in the whole community, if this were to happen. The conditions that now exist for these people must not be tolerated any longer. It is a simple fact, too, that there are still people - I assume from his interjections . that the honorable member for Ballaarat is one of them - who think that aborigines ought to be discriminated against. Only recently the aluminium companies brought a case before the senior commissioner of the arbitration commission applying for a discriminatory wage rate for aboriginal employees at Weipa on Cape York. I believe that, fortunately, the companies will no longer proceed with their application, because there are forces of resistance in. the community preventing the case from going on. But it is a fact that one of the most powerful industrial organizations in the country, affiliated with some of the largest and most powerful industrial organizations in the world, saw fit to initiate a claim for a discriminatory wage rate for aboriginal people at Weipa. It should be made clear to all employers in Australia and to everybody who comes to work in Australia that that sort of thing will not be tolerated. By investigating the reports relating to the bauxite deposits on Gove Peninsula I discovered that people who worked in the survey gangs were paid £2 a week.
I am sorry if I have disturbed the conscience of the Minister for Labour and
National Service, who is quite vocal at this stage, and it is interesting to find that he has a conscience. I say to him that these are matters within his jurisdiction and that I should not have to raise them here after he has held his present portfolio for years. I have raised this question now, because there are two Commonwealth departments which can turn their attention to this aboriginal question without any restriction on constitutional grounds. One of them is the Department of Social Services which is attempting - a bit hesitantly - to bring some kind of equality into its administration of the aboriginal question. The other is the Department of Labour and National Service, whose estimates we are now discussing, and surely this is the time to raise the question. That is why I have put it on record. I could spend some time in giving details of case after case, but such cases are easy enough to find. I suggest that honorable members, in the time that they will have at their disposal in the near future, should give attention to this matter. I did not hear the interjection by the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Bury), but I think he would agree that all Australians should be paid award rates, and I believe most of us have the same opinion. But in the Northern Territory and Queensland discriminatory wage rates are laid down. They are laid down by the Welfare Branch in the Northern Territory and by the Department of Native Affairs in Queensland, and aboriginal workers are excluded from earning the federal pastoral award rates. It is still part of the tradition of Australian industry that sections of it can get away with discriminatory wage rates for aboriginal people and will attempt to do so.
– The honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant) has been very vocal about certain sections of the community which do not pay award rates to aborigines. He could do an excellent job among members of the Australian Workers Union. When I was in the northern areas I visited an abattoir where the custom was for butchers being paid piece work rates to throw in for the slaughterer. Because the slaughterer happened to be only half-white, none of the A.W.U. members would throw i for him. I suggest that the honorable member for Wills start at home, before he accuses other people.
Proposed expenditures agreed to.
Flood Mitigation - Primary ProductionShipping.
Motion (by Mr. Downer) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.- I wish, first of all, to make reference to the announcement to-day by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) about a Commonwealth grant for flood mitigation in northern New South Wales, and to say how pleased I was to hear his statement. I thank the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen) for his kindly reference to any efforts I may have made towards the implementation of this proposal. However, I disagree with references he made about certain honorable members. The record’s of “Hansard” show that between 1957 and 1962 there was hardly a reference in the House to flood relief and mitigation, and I direct the attention of the honorable members whose electorates are adjacent to mine to that fact. However, they have seen fit to try to hop on the band wagon and make political capital out of this matter of great moment.
Strange things happen here. While the Prime Minister was making his announcement I took the opportunity, having heard some of Ais statement about the Government’s intention, to leave the chamber and ring the local radio station. I discovered that my news was far too late because the station had received it an hour before. That seemed rather strange, but the main thing is that we have got what we wanted. If people want to hop on the band wagon and honour the escutcheon, which is “ a moonlight night and a branding iron “, all I can offer is my congratulations to them.
An honorable member whose electorate adjoins my constituency has referred to what I have done. On 12th September, 1957, the late Sir Earle Page, in a speech on the Budget, referred to this subject. He also addressed himself to it on 24th October, 1957, during the consideration of < the
Estimates. On 5th February, 1958, the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) dealt with the matter in his speech on the Address-in-Reply to the Governor-General’s speech. On 22nd February, 1958, Sir Earle Page discussed the subject again, and five days later the honorable member for New England (Mr. Drummond) raised the matter. On 25th February, 1959, Sir Earle Page again dealt with the subject and he asked a question about it on 10th November, 1960. Those are the only references that have been made to this matter between 1957 and 1962. I then made several references to it.
However, that is not the only matter I wish to discuss to-night. I want to refer to one very important factor and I am sure that honorable members whose electorates adjoin mine will agree with my remarks on it. Some 78 per cent, of our exports are rural products and in 1961-62 their value was £836,000,000. In 1962-63 the value of these exports was £842,000,000 and they made up 78 per cent, of the total. I would like to bring to the notice of the House the fact that other rural products and rural industries are not exporting and are not allowed even to live on the available home market. I refer to the importation of vegetables, including green peas. In 1962-63 some 9,717,195 lb., to a value of £833,658 were imported. In the same year 74,000 gallons of citrus juices to a value of £37,689 were imported. I suppose those are only minor industries but they are very important and depend entirely on the home market for their survival. They are not the only industries which fall within this category. This year some 1,900 tons of pig meats were imported. The pig industry has no stability in respect of price or demand. Immediately the price of the product is raised pig meats arc imported at a lower price than that of the local product. Most of our pig meats are made up into hams by private companies, and imports have a definite effect on the industry and those employed in it.
I would like to direct the attention of the House to a statement about the vegetable market made by Mr. S. Knight, who is the president of the Vegetable Growers Association of New South Wales. He said that the proposed trade agreement between Australia and New Guinea would have damag ing effects on the Australian vegetable growing industry. He speaks with some authority. He mentions various matters that will definitely affect the industry. Apparently almost every aspect of the industry with which his organization is concerned will be disturbed. Not only did the vegetablegrowers suffer difficulties caused by the floods that I mentioned earlier in the salad bowl of New South Wales, which is the Hawkesbury valley, but also in such areas as Taree and Port Macquarie they suffered the impact of the imported peas and all the other adverse conditions in the green vegetable trade.
– What protest has the Australian Country Party made about this?
– No protest has been made by the Australian Country Party. About twelve months ago. the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) referred to the fact that the Banana Growers Federation had said there was a strong possibility of Fijian bananas coming into Australia. The manager of this federation rang me and asked me to do something about the importation of bananas. He said that the honorable member for Richmond had made representations to the trade commissioner in New Guinea. Why he did not go to the Minister here, I do not know, but he wrote personally to the trade commissioner.
– He showed good judgment.
– Yes, he may have. This problem was discussed with some heat for a few weeks. The Banana Growers Federation and its branches held a few meetings, and then the matter was dropped. The federation intimated that Suva could supply bananas at 28s. a 72 lb. case. This would put the Australian growers in a hopeless position. Nevertheless, the matter was suddenly dropped. Not only was it dropped, but any one who talked about it was accused of trying to make political capital. Although the manager of the federation had asked me to do what I could about the matter, when I dealt with it, the suggestion was made that I was trying to make political capita] out of it. I do not know what reasoning is behind this suggestion, but nevertheless it was made.
I want to draw attention to another matter. This year, 28,375 lb. of crystallized milk was imported from Canada, although
Australia is over-producing milk. The Minister did not utter one word of protest or suggest that he would prevent the importation of this milk. When I asked him a question he said he could not stop this importation. The milk was imported by the Carnation Company Proprietary Limited in Victoria, which originated in Canada. The people concerned had nothing whatever to say about it. No protest was ever raised by the members of the pseudo-Country Parly, which is supposed to look after the people in the country areas.
This matter is important to those industries that are over-producing. The importation of these products has a definite effect upon them. In addition, many secondary industries directly associated with primary industries in Australia have been taken over. Streets lee Cream Proprietary Limited, McNiven Bros. Proprietary Limited and J. P. Sennit & Son Proprietary Limited have been taken over by Unilever Limited of the United Kingdom. Kia-Ora Industries has been taken over by the Campbell Soup Company of the United States of America. Fifteen companies have been taken over by Associated British Foods Limited of the United Kingdom. These companies are directly associated with the minor industries that I have mentioned - industries not included in the 78 per cent, of export of rural products from Australia. 1 ask the Government to look at this position. The market is being flooded with imports of green vegetables, pig meats and other commodities, and this is affecting the home industries, many of which are being put out of business. 1 would like to refer to another commodity that is being imported, and that is veneer. For each of the months of January, February and March of this year, about 2,000,000 square feet of veneer have been imported. Imports of veneer from Japan and Canada in the first half of this year have practically ruined the Australian veneer industry. One firm in my electorate, which normally sold some 40,000 square feet of 3/ 1 6 inch veneer a year does not sell one sheet to-day. When it went to the Tariff Board it was told l» put its plant in order so that it could compete with the Japanese. This is the sort of thing that our industries must contend with. Obviously, the people who dealt with this firm’s application did. not understand the conditions, the type of timber that is being cut into veneer, or the manufacturing process.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
Mr. JONES (Newcastle) [12.5 a.m.).- -1 wish to refer to a matter which 1 consider to be of importance and which the Government is handling very badly. I refer to the application by R. W. Miller and Company Proprietary Limited to be allowed to purchase second-hand tankers and to place orders in Australia for the construction of new tankers. The company made its first offer in a press announcement on 15th July of this year, when it said that it intended to purchase tankers overseas and to build tankers in Australia. There has been quite a deal of publicity between that date and the present time. Numerous statements have been made by the Government, particularly by the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr. Opperman) and on one occasion by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies). The Minister rejected the company’s application to purchase second-hand tankers, but finally the Prime Minister overruled him and allowed the company to purchase a tanker, which is now known as “ Miller’s Canopus “.
Early in these negotiations, I was very doubtful about the sincerity of the company when it offered to build tankers in Australia. Obviously, the company was prepared to purchase tankers overseas, to bring them here and to man them with Australian seamen, but I doubted whether it would build tankers in Australia for the Australian coastal trade. Now I am firmly of the opinion that the company is prepared to do the right thing by the Australian shipbuilding industry and the Australian shipping industry. I am firmly convinced, as the Minister would well know, that the company is prepared to operate “ Miller’s Canopus “ on the Australian coast with Australian seamen working under Australian award conditions and is also prepared, if the Government permits it to purchase four tankers overseas, to place an order immediately with Australian shipyards, through the Australian Shipbuilding Board, for the construction of four additional tankers in this country.
That is a positive offer by R. W. Miller and Company Proprietary Limited to the Government. However, this morning when I asked the Minister a question on this subject, he refused to answer it. He hedged and tried to prevent the Opposition from asking further questions on this subject by requesting me to put my question on the notice-paper. I say that the Government is not acting honorably in this matter. If the Government was acting honorably, it would agree immediately to the proposition put to it by the R. W. Miller company. I do not hold any particular brief for Mr. R. W. Miller individually, but I believe that he is prepared to spend money in Australia on the construction of ships by Australian workmen, and that he is also prepared to man the ships with Australian seamen. In these circumstances, the company is entitled to a fair go from the Government. It is entitled to receive the subsidy of 33 per cent, that was paid for the construction of the “ P. J. Adams “ and other ships that have been constructed here and are operating on our coast.
The Australian oil industry has for too long been under the control of overseas interests. It was not until the R. W. Miller company made its statement on 15th July, 1963, that any of the oil companies showed any interest in this matter. On 15th August, another company said that it would bring tankers on to the Australian coast. For years, the oil companies have shown no interest at all in this project. Why should the Government pander to these overseas interests which, over the years, have exploited the Australian oil industry? It is well known that the overseas interests juggle the price of crude oil so that they will not have to pay the full amount of tax on their profits in this country. It is a well known fact that they have been juggling the price of oil for some considerable time. Yet this Government is prepared to protect them. It gives them protection by refusing” to allow Miller to go ahead with his proposition to build ships in Australia. Look at the difference between the treatment meted out to Miller and that which is received by the Clausen Steamship Company (Australia) Pty. Ltd. in Queensland. That company can bring ships from Yugo slavia. There is a ship trading on the Australian coast to-day that was built in Yugoslavia, which is a Communist-controlled country. When the Government gave permission for that ship to be brought here it stipulated that the company must place an order with ah Australian shipyard for another vessel. Tenders were called from Australian shipyards for the building of a ship, but has an order been placed? I ask the Minister to answer that. Has an order been placed by this company for the construction of a ship in an Australian shipyard? Honorable members know full well that an order has not been placed for a vessel to replace the “Clausen Cora”, which has been operating on the Queensland coast, and is at present operating, transporting cattle from the Gulf country to the east coast.
Why this preferential treatment of a particular company, when Miller’s proposition is rejected? He has told the Government that if permission is granted to him to bring tankers to the Australian coast and to operate them with Australian crews, he will immediately place orders with Australian yards for a like number of tankers and give an assurance that the moment those Australian tankers are available the imported tankers will again be exported. What is wrong with that proposition? As one who represents a shipbuilding electorate, I am fully in agreement with that proposition. If it is accepted this company will be able to commence operations within a very short time.
We have all seen newspaper reports on this matter. On the front page of the Sydney “ Sun “ yesterday we saw the headlines, “ Oil War. Deadline Sunday. Australian ship moving in “. I hope that this man can bust the combine of oil interests that exists in Australia. The Minister said, in reply to another question after I had asked my question this morning, that there was no monopoly control. How naive can you be? Everyone knows that local government authorities throughout Australia have been complaining that when they call tenders for the supply of petrol and oil the nine oil companies in Australia submit exactly the same quotations, right to the farthing. This Government finds itself in. the same .position when it calls tenders for the supply of petrol. It is quoted the same price by every oil company in Australia. To say that there is no monopoly operating is farcical and ridiculous.
I ask the Government - the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies), has apparently bought into this issue - to make a decision on this matter. Members of the Government have been making decisions all this week about electioneering propaganda. Let them make a decision on this question. Perhaps if they do, it will cut off some of the electioneering funds that have been forthcoming to them for years from the overseas shipping lines.
We on this side of the House completely support the attitude adopted by Miller in his endeavour to remedy the situation that exists at the moment. In a reply to a question by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) on 23rd October, 1962. it was disclosed that there are 134 ships operating on this coast on permits issued by the Minister, doing work normally performed by Australian ships and Australian seamen. I ask the Minister this question: What would be the position if Miller bought four tankers and manned them with non-Australian crews working under non-Australian conditions? He would be given a permit to operate them on the Australian coast. If the Government is prepared to allow ships to come to the Australian coast with non-Australian crews, it should do the decent thing and allow ships manned by Australian seamen to operate on the Australian coast under Aust ralian conditions. The Government says that we should be Australian. This company has made an offer to be Australian. It has offered to use Australian finance, materials and labour - to use Australians to man Australian-built and Australian-owned ships. That is the proposition before the Government. What is holding up a decision if it is not pressure from the overseasowned and controlled monopolistic oil companies? 1 ask the Minister and the Government to tell me why this company has not been allowed to place orders immediately for these tankers and to get on with the job.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 12.15 a.m. (Friday).
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
s asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice -
What are the freight charges per ton on
Australian tinned fruit exports to
the United Kingdom and
the United States of America, and
Australian imports of tinned fish and salmon from
the United Kingdom and
the United States?
n.- In reply to the honorable member’s question the following are the relevant freight rates applicable to canned fruit and canned fish: -
y asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The Minister for Health has furnished the following replies: -
n asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
m asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
At which of the committee’s sessions and in respect of what International Labour Organization Conventions and Recommendations has Australia been called before the International Labour Organization Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
It is not the practice of the I.L.O. Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations to call Government representatives before them. If the honorable member had in mind the committee appointed at each annual conference of the I.L.O. to consider and report to the Conference on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, then Australia has, in the post-war period, been invited to appear before the conference committee on five occasions. Attendance before the committee on these five occasions was to clarify or supplement information already available to the committee.
I am pleased to add that so far as our records of the post-war period are concerned no comment made by a conference committee in its report to the conferencehas called for an answer by the Australian Government representative.
s asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice -
What were the shipping freight charges between Australia and the United Kingdom in (a) 1930, (b) 1939, (c) 1946, (d) 1950, (e) 1955, and (0 1963, in respect of (i) wheat, (ii) greasy wool, (iii) scoured wool, (iv) butter, (v) eggs in shell, (vi) dried fruits, (vii) fresh apples, (viii) refrigerated beef, (ix) refrigeratedlamb, and (x) refrigerated mutton?
– The freight rates requested by the honorable member are as follows: -
n asked the Acting Attorney-
General, upon notice -
Under what laws of the Commonwealth, citing the sections applicable, and for what offences is the death penalty provided?
(Per ton of 20 cwt. in sterling currency.) 1939 - Approximately, 35s. 1946 - Approximately, 90s.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 17 October 1963, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1963/19631017_reps_24_hor40/>.