House of Representatives
25 February 1964

25th Parliament · 1st Session

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The House met at 11 a.m., pursuant to the proclamation of His Excellency the Governor-General.

The Clerk read the proclamation.

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The Usher of the Black Rod, being announced, was admitted, and delivered the message that the Deputy of the Governor-General for the Opening of the Parliament requested the attendance of honorable members in the Senate chamber forthwith. (Honorable members attended accordingly, and having returned) -

The Deputy authorized by the GovernorGeneral to administer the oath or affirmation entered the chamber.

The Clerk read the commission, under the Great Seal of the Commonwealth, authorizing the Right Honorable Sir Frank Walters Kitto, K.B.E., a Justice of the High Court of Australia, to administer the oath or affirmation of allegiance to the Queen required by the Constitution to be taken or made by members of the House of Representatives. -

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The Clerk:

– I lay on the table returns to 124 writs for the election of members of the House of Representatives held on 30th November, 1963.

I also lay on the table a return to a further writ issued for the election on 15th February, 1964, of a member for the Electoral Division to fill the vacancy caused by the death on 24th December, 1963, of the Honorable A. G. Townley. The return shows that Adrian Gibson has been elected.

The following honorable members, with the exception of Mr. Allan Duncan Fraser, the Honorable Sir Wilfrid Selwyn Kent

Hughes, the Honorable Reginald William Colin Swartz and Mr. Thomas Uren, who were not present, made and subscribed the oath of allegiance: -

Adermann, Charles Frederick, Fisher, Queensland.

Allan, Archibald Ian, Gwydir, New South Wales.

Anthony, John Douglas, Richmond, New South Wales.

Aston, William John, Phillip, New South Wales.

Barnard, Lance Herbert, Bass, Tasmania.

Barnes, Charles Edward, McPherson, Queensland.

Barwick, Garfield Edward John, Parramatta, New South Wales.

Bate, Henry Jefferson, Macarthur, New South Wales.

Beaton, Noel Lawrence, Bendigo, Victoria.

Beazley, Kim Edward, Fremantle, Western Australia.

Benson, Samuel James, Batman, Victoria.

Birrell, Frederick Ronald, Port Adelaide, South Australia.

Bosman, Leonard Lewis, St. George, New South Wales.

Brimblecombe, Wilfred John, Maranoa, Queensland.

Bryant, Gordon Munro, Wills, Victoria.

Buchanan, Alexander Andrew, McMillan, Victoria.

Bury, Leslie Harry Ernest, Wentworth, New South Wales.

Cairns, James Ford, Yarra, Victoria.

Cairns, Kevin Michael Kiernan, Lilley, Queensland.

Calwell, Arthur Augustus, Melbourne, Victoria.

Cameron, Clyde Robert, Hindmarsh, South Australia.

Chaney, Frederick Charles, Perth, Western Australia.

Chipp, Donald Leslie, Higinbotham, Victoria.

Clark, Joseph James, Darling, New South Wales.

Cleaver, Richard, Swan, Western Australia.

Cockle, John Simon, Warringah, New South Wales.

Collard, Frederick Walter, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

Connor, Reginald Francis Xavier, Cunningham, New South Wales.

Cope, James Francis, Watson, New South Wales.

Costa, Dominic Eric, Banks, New South Wales.

Courtnay, Frank, Darebin, Victoria.

Courts, Wilfred Charles, Griffith, Queensland.

Cramer, John Oscar, Bennelong, New South Wales.

Crean, Frank, Melbourne Ports, Victoria.

Cross, Manfred Douglas, Brisbane, Queensland.

Curtin, Daniel James, Kingsford-Smith, New South Wales.

Daly, Frederick Michael, Grayndler, New South Wales.

Davies, Ronald, Braddon, Tasmania.

Davis, Francis John, Deakin, Victoria.

Dean, Roger Levinge, Robertson, New South Wales.

Devine, Leonard Thomas, East Sydney, New South Wales.

Downer, Alexander Russell, Angas, South Australia.

Drury, Edward Nigel, Ryan, Queensland.

Duthie, Gilbert William Arthur, Wilmot, Tasmania.

England, John Armstrong, Calare, New South Wales.

Erwin, George Dudley, Ballaarat, Victoria.

Failes, Laurence John, Lawson, New South Wales.

Fairbairn, David Eric, Farrer, New South Wales.

Fairhall, Allen, Paterson, New South Wales.

Falkinder, Charles William Jackson, Franklin, Tasmania.

Forbes, Alexander James, Barker, South Australia.

Fox, Edmund Maxwell Cameron, Henty, Victoria. .

Fraser, Allan Duncan, Eden-Monaro, New South Wales.

Fraser, James Reay, Australian Capital Territory.

Fraser, John Malcolm, Wannon, Victoria.

Freeth, Gordon, Forrest, Western Australia.

Fulton, William John, Leichhardt, Queensland.

Galvin, Patrick, Kingston, South Australia.

Gibbs, Wylie Talbot, Bowman, Queensland.

Gibson,. Adrian, Denison, Tasmania.

Gray, George Henry, Capricornia, Queensland.

Griffiths, Charles Edward, Shortland, New South Wales.

Hallett, John Mead, Canning, Western Australia.

Hansen, Brendan Percival, Wide Bay, Queensland.

Harding, Ernest William, Herbert, Queensland.

Harrison, Eli James, Blaxland, New South Wales.

Hasluck, Paul Meernaa Caedwalla, Curtin, Western Australia.

Haworth, William Crawford, Isaacs, Victoria.

Hayden, William George, Oxley, Queensland.

Holt, Harold Edward, Higgins, Victoria.

Holten, Rendle McNeilage, Indi, Victoria.

Howson, Peter, Fawkner, Victoria.

Hughes, Thomas Eyre Forrest, Parkes, New South Wales.

Hulme, Alan Shallcross, Petrie, Queensland.

Irwin, Leslie Herbert, Mitchell, New South Wales.

Jack, William Mathers, North Sydney, New South Wales.

James, Albert William, Hunter, New South Wales.

Jess, John David, La Trobe, Victoria.

Johnson, Leslie Royston, Hughes, New South Wales.

Jones, Charles Keith, Newcastle, New South Wales.

Kelly, Charles Robert, Wakefield, South Australia.

Kent Hughes, Wilfrid Selwyn, Chisholm, Victoria.

Killen, Denis James, Moreton, Queensland.

King, Robert Shannon, Wimmera, Victoria.

Lindsay, Robert William Ludovic, Flinders, Victoria.

Luchetti, Anthony Sylvester, Macquarie, New South Wales.

Lucock, Philip Ernest, Lyne, New South Wales.

Mackay, Malcolm George, Evans, New South Wales.

Mackinnon, Ewen Daniel, Corangamite, Victoria.

Maisey, Donald William, Moore, Western Australia.

McEwen, John, Murray, Victoria.

Mclvor, Hector James, Gellibrand, Victoria.

McLeay, John, Boothby, South Australia.

McMahon, William, Lowe, New South Wales.

Menzies, Robert Gordon, Kooyong, Victoria.

Minogue, Daniel, West Sydney, New South Wales.

Mortimer, Jack, Grey, South Australia.

Nelson, John Norman, Northern Territory.

Nicholls, Martin Henry, Bonython, South Australia.

Nixon, Peter James, Gippsland, Victoria.

O’Connor, William Paul, Dalley, New South Wales.

Opperman, Hubert Ferdinand, Corio, Victoria.

Peters, Edward William, Scullin, Victoria.

Pettitt, John Alexander, Hume, New South Wales.

Pollard, Reginald Thomas, Lalor, Victoria.

Reynolds, Leonard James, Barton, New South Wales.

Riordan, William James Frederick, Kennedy, Queensland.

Roberton, Hugh Stevenson, Riverina, New South Wales.

Robinson, Ian Louis, Cowper, New South Wales.

Sexton, Joseph Clement Leonard, Adelaide, South Australia.

Shaw, George William, Dawson, Queensland.

Sinclair, Ian McCahon, New England, New South Wales.

Snedden, Billy Mackie, Bruce, Victoria.

Stewart, Francis Eugene, Lang, New South Wales.

Stokes, Philip William Clifford, Maribyrnong, Victoria.

Swartz, Reginald William Colin, Darling Downs, Queensland.

Turnbull, Winton George, Mallee, Victoria.

Turner, Henry Basil, Bradfield, New South Wales.

Uren, Thomas, Reid, New South Wales.

Webb, Charles Harry, Stirling, Western Australia.

Wentworth, William Charles, Mackellar, New South Wales.

Whitlam, Edward Gough, Werriwa, New South Wales.

Whittorn, Raymond Harold, Balaclava, Victoria.

Wilson, Keith Cameron, Sturt, South Australia.

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The Clerk:

– Honorable members, it is now the duty of the House to elect a member as Speaker.


– I propose to the House, for its Speaker, Sir John McLeay, and I move -

That the honorable member for Boothby (Sir lohn McLeay) do take the chair of this House as Speaker.

Mr Holten:

– I second the motion.

Sir John McLeay:

– I accept nomination.

The Clerk:

– Is there any further proposal? (There being no further proposal) -

The Clerk:

– The time for proposals has expired, and I declare that the honorable member proposed, Sir John McLeay, has been elected as Speaker. (Members of the House then calling Sir John McLeay to the chair, he was taken out of his place by Mr. Wilson and Mr. Holten and conducted to the chair) -

Mr SPEAKER (lion Sir John Mcleay:

– I thank the House for the very great honour it has conferred upon me.

Prime Minister · KooyongPrime Minister · LP

Mr. Speaker, this now lacks novelty. It is the third occasion on which you have been honoured by the House in this fashion. It could be said, I think, with great accuracy, that we know you for better or for worse and you know us for worse or for better. We will therefore understand each other and get along very handsomely, as indeed we have under your control for a »ry long time now. We all offer you our very warm wishes and congratulations, and have confidence in the way in which you will carry out your task.

Leader of the Opposition · Melbourne

– On behalf of the Opposition, Mr. Speaker, I offer your our congratulations on your election.


– I thank the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition for their kindly references. I am sure that with the tolerance, understanding and cooperation of everybody here the dignity of the House will not suffer.

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KooyongPrime Minister · LP

– I have ascertained that it will be the pleasure of His Excellency the Governor-General to receive you, Mr. Speaker, in the Library of the Parliament this day at 2.42 p.m.


– Prior to my presentation to His Excellency the GovernorGeneral this afternoon the bells will be rung for three minutes so that honorable members may attend in the chamber and accompany the Speaker when they may, if they so wish, be introduced to His Excellency.

Sitting suspended from 11.50 a.m. to 2.41 p.m. (The House proceeded to the Library, and, being re-assembled) -


– I have to report that, accompanied by honorable members, I this day proceeded to the Library of the Parliament and presented myself to His Excellency the Governor-General as the choice of the House, and that His Excellency was kind enough to congratulate me on my election as Speaker.

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– I have received from His Excellency the Governor-General a commission authorizing me to administer to members of. the House the oath, or affirmation of allegiance. I now lay the commission on the table.

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Mr. Allan Duncan Fraser made and subscribed the oath of allegiance as member for the Division of Eden-Monaro, New South Wales.

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The Usher of the Black Rod, being announced, was admitted, and delivered a message that His Excellency the GovernorGeneral desired the attendance of honorable members in the Senate chamber forthwith. (Mr. Speaker and honorable members attended accordingly and, having returned) -

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KooyongPrime Minister · LP

– 1 desire to inform the House that it is proposed that the new Ministry will be constituted as I will read it. At the beginning I make this observation: The list contains 25 names. Whether it remains accurate will depend upon the House’s reception of a later bill to amend the Ministers of State Act. On the assumption that that bill is passed, the Ministry will be constituted as follows: -

Prime Minister - Right Honorable Sir Robert Menzies, K.T., C.H., Q.C

Minister for Trade and Industry - Right Honorable J. McEwen.

Treasurer - Right Honorable H. E. Holt

Minister for National Development and Vice-President ofl Executive Council - Senator the Honorable Sir William Spooner, K.C.M.G., M.M..

Minister for Defence - Honorable Paul Hasluck

Minister for Labour and National Service - Honorable W. McMahon.

Minister for External Affairs - Honorable Sir Garfield Barwick^ Q.C

Minister for Primary Industry - Honorable C. F. Adermann

Minister for Civil Aviation - Senator the Honorable Shane Paltridge.

Minister for Health - Senator the Honorable Harrie Wade.

Minister for Supply - Honorable Allen Fairhall

Minister for Customs and Excise - Senator the Honorable N. H. D. Henty.

Minister for Works - Senator the Honorable J. G. Gorton.

Minister for Shipping and Transport - Honorable Gordon Freeth

Postmaster-General - Honorable A. S. Hulme

Minister for Immigration - Honorable

Hubert Opperman, O.B.E

Minister for Social Services - Honorable

  1. S. Roberton.

Minister for Repatriation - Honorable R. W. C. Swartz, M.B.E., E.D

Minister for Air - Honorable D. E. Fairbairn, D.F.C

Attorney-General - Honorable B. M. Snedden

Minister for Territories - Honorable

  1. E. Barnes.

Minister for Housing - Honorable

  1. H. E. Bury.

Minister for the Army - Honorable A. J.

Forbes, M.C

Minister for the Interior - Honorable

  1. D. Anthony.

Minister for the Navy - Honorable F. C.

Chaney, A.F.C

The Minister for Works (Senator Gorton) will assist me in Commonwealth activities in relation to education and research which fall within the Prime Minister’s Department. The Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes) will assist the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) in matters relating to his portfolio.

The first twelve Ministers I have listed will constitute the Cabinet.

As in the last Parliament, the Treasurer will be Leader of the House and Senator Sir William Spooner Leader of the Government in the Senate.

In the Senate, Senator Sir William Spooner will represent me in matters other than those relating to education and research, the Minister for Trade and Industry, the Minister for Defence, the Minister for Social Services and the Minister for Housing; Senator Paltridge will represent the Treasurer, the Minister for Shipping and Transport, the Minister for Repatriation and the Minister for Territories; Senator Wade will represent the Minister for Primary Industry, the Postmaster-General, the Minister for Air and the Minister for the Interior. Senator Henty will represent the Minister for Supply, the Minister for Immigration, the Minister for the Army and the Minister for the Navy; Senator Gorton will represent me in matters relating to education and research, and the Minister for Labour and National Service, the Minister for External Affairs and the AttorneyGeneral.

Representation in this chamber of Ministers in the Senate will be: The Minister for National Development will be represented by the Minister for Housing; the Minister for Civil Aviation will be represented by the Minister for Air; the Minister for Health will be represented by the Minister for Repatriation; the Minister for Customs and Excise will be represented by the Minister for Supply; and the Minister for Works will be represented by the Minister for Shipping and Transport.

To put into effect the proposals relating to the Ministry it will be necessary to increase the number of Ministers to 25. This will require amendment to the Ministers of State Act, which at present provides for the appointment of only 22 Ministers. The Parliament will be invited later to consider this matter. Until the Ministers of State Act has been amended Senator Gorton will be Minister for the Interior and Minister for Works, with the Minister for Shipping and Transport representing him in this House in respect of both portfolios, Sir Garfield Barwick will be Attorney-General and the Minister for External Affairs and Dr. Forbes will be Minister for the Army and Minister for the Navy.

Associated with the appointment of a Minister for Housing there has been established a new Department of Housing. The functions of this department include matters relating to the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreements and to the war service homes arrangements which were previously administered by the Department of National Development.

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– I have the honour to announce that at a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party I was unanimously - and unopposed, if there is any distinction between the two - re-elected Leader of the Opposition, and that my colleague, the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Whitlam), has been again chosen as Deputy Leader.

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Minister for Trade and Industry · Murray · CP

– I have the great honour to advise the House that I have been re-elected Leader of the Australian Country Party, and that my colleague, the honorable member for Fisher (Mr. Adermann), has been elected Deputy Leader.

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Bill presented by Sir Robert Menzies, and read a first time.

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Mr. Thomas Uren made and subscribed the oath of allegiance as member for the Division of Reid, New South Wales.

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Mr. SPEAKER__ I have to report that the House this day attended His Excellency the Governor-General in the Senate chamber, when His Excellency was pleased to make a Speech to both Houses of the Parliament. The Speech will be included in “ Hansard “ for record purposes. (The Speech read as fallows’) -

The 25th Parliament of the Commonwealth is now assembled to consider and deal with many matters of importance to Australia. Many of them were the subject of policy statements during the election campaign, and will be referred to later in this speech as part of a legislative and administrative programme of action.

The Parliament meets at a time when we had been looking forward, with loyalty and affection, to a visit by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. We learned with deep regret that illness compelled Her Majesty to cancel her journey. We welcome the news of her steady recovery. Many millions of Australians have lasting and loving memories of her previous visits, and of her warm and gracious personality, so we are happy to regard her visit as a pleasure deferred, but not foregone.

Since the Parliament last met, two tragic events have occurred. The assassination of President Kennedy deprived the world of a statesman of courage, character, and imaginative ability, and Australia of a warm and understanding friend. My Government has conveyed to the people of the United States of America, through the new President, the grief and sense of loss of all the people of Australia.

The other tragic event concerns us in this country. The recent collision which resulted in the sinking of H.M.A.S. “ Voyager “ and the loss of the lives of so many gallant Australian sailors, is now under full and far-reaching judicial investigation by a royal commission. Meanwhile, the hearts of all Australians have gone out to those who have been so suddenly bereaved, and to those who were injured.

In the field of foreign relations my Government will continue, through the United Nations and its agencies and by direct and sustained diplomatic effort, to promote the peaceful settlement of disputes, international stability, and rising standards of” self-government and prosperity.

The partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty concluded in August, 1963, holds out hopes for some relaxation of world tension. It is, of course, not comprehensive either in terms of membership or content. My advisers hope to see it extended to cover all nations and all forms of testing, so that the dangers of a renewed nuclear arms race may be diminished.

In spite of great international efforts, political tension is still high in some regions, notably in Australia’s near north. This is largely, as iri the past, due to Communist pressures. But we also have what is called “ confrontation “ over Malaysia. My Government will continue to support the political and territorial integrity of Malaysia. In addition to its pledge to provide forces if necessary to assist Malaysia and Great Britain in the defence of Malaysia against externally directed aggression or insurgency, my Government is taking active measures to assist the development of Malaysia’s own defence resources.

Australian relations with Indonesia have, of course, deeply concerned my Ministers. Government policy towards Indonesia continues to be one of friendship, pursued with patience, frankness, and realism. The major interests which we have in common should, if possible, be preserved. But my advisers continue to make it clear to Indonesia that we have commitments in relation to Malaysia which we will honour.

In all matters affecting Australian security and defence, my Government will, in association with our New Zealand comrades, work to expand the scope and effectiveness of its co-operation with Britain and the United States. At the same time, we will work with our other Seato partners in South-Eastern Asian problems, particularly those of Laos and South Vietnam.

My Government will continue through a range of channels available for varying types of aid - Colombo Plan, International Bank, United Nations and bilateral schemes - to assist those countries which cannot develop adequately alone.

In the Trust Territory of Papua-New Guinea, administrative resources will be expanded to maintain the momentum of economic, social and political advancement. Immediate attention will be given to reports which are to be received this year from the Survey Mission of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development on the economy of the Territory and from the Commission on Higher Education.

My Government will continue to pay a great deal of attention to developments in Africa, especially in the new countries of the Commonwealth of Nations which are seeking to work out independent national life and institutions.

In the present state of affairs, defence must continue to be a major responsibility of my Government. It will continue to take all necessary steps to ensure the security of this country together with its island territories and to make a proper contribution to the common defence in association with our allies.

The decisions already taken will put this country in a position to react promptly and effectively to any threatening moves with greater strength. The objective is to provide readily available ,and realistically trained forces, possessing the most modern conventional equipment, with effective mobility by land, sea and air, as self-contained as possible, so as to be able to operate either with allies or by themselves.

The overall strength and versatility of the Royal Australian Navy are being progressively increased. Construction of the first two Charles F. Adams guided missile destroyers is proceeding, and they are expected to commission next year. An order has been placed for a third guided missile destroyer. The new frigate being built in Australia will commission shortly. Four submarines of the British Oberon class are being obtained. The new survey ship, H.M.A.S. “Moresby”, has already been handed over to naval control. The keel for the new escort maintenance ship will shortly be laid in Sydney.

In the Army, a third regular battle group is to be raised. The Pacific Islands Regiment will be doubled in strength as soon as possible and further developments will then be considered. The Citizen Military Forces is being built up, its training is more realistic, and it is being epuipped with modern arms, vehicles and stores of all kinds.

Expenditure on modern equipment for the Army ls being increased from £10,000,000 to £17,500,000 each year covering a complete range of weapons, communications and radar equipment, light aircraft, water craft, and vehicles.

The Royal Australian Air Force is being extensively re-equipped. There are on order 100 Mirage fighter aircraft, which are the best in the world for our requirements. The first of these from local production has now been handed over to the R.A.A.F. New radar units for control of fighter aircraft are being obtained. We are obtaining two squadrons of FI IIA, the last word in strike reconnaissance aircraft. Caribou aircraft and Iroquois helicopters are being obtained to improve the tactical mobility of the Army in the field. The Bloodhound missile system has been installed. Further modern operational airfields are to be built in the Northern Territory and in New Guinea.

Effective and modern defence production and research organization back the needs of the forces. Defence expenditure has increased from £203,000,000 in 1961-62, to over £260,000,000 this financial year, and will continue to rise substantially in future years.

My advisers have consistently sought a strong growth in development, population, and production, matched by full employment of labour, improving productivity, rising standards of living, steady costs and prices and a strong trading and financial position abroad.

The production and sale of goods and services have continued to rise strongly; levels of building and construction are high; dwellings are being erected at a rate exceeding 100,000 a year.

The numbers in employment have been rising rapidly and,_ except for seasonal influences, the numbers registered for employment have progressively declined. The present demand for labour of most classes is now strong.

Large numbers of desirable migrants are offering and, having regard to the growing demand for labour, particularly skilled labour,- the Government has recently decided to raise the immigration target for this year by accepting another 10,000 British assisted migrants.

Along with our favorable economic growth, there has gone a notable steadiness of costs and prices. Higher export prices for some of the more important commodities, together with increased production, should result in a record rise in the gross value of rural production in 1963-64. The value of exports of rural origin should also be a record, nearly 25 per cent, higher than last year.

Ti e balance of our overseas trade has moved in our favour and a considerable amount of overseas capital has been flowing in. In consequence, our external reserves have risen to the highest point on record, and are continuing to rise.

The amount of money and liquid assets held by the Australian banks and public is currently very large, and growing. My advisers’ policy is that the supply of funds should remain adequate for continued growth. But they will exercise such powers as they have to avoid speculative activities or a rise in prices. Greater efficiency and a higher level of productivity are tasks for all sections of industry, and not for governments alone.

It is the objective of the Government policy that the nation should achieve over the next five years a total increase of at least 25 per cent, in the gross national product expressed in terms of constant prices. The Government will be assisted by the findings of the Committee of Economic Enquiry, whose report is expected later in the year.

A northern division of the Department of National Development has been established to assist the Government in devising further proposals for the accelerated development of the north. A study of the problem of freight costs for the north is being put in hand.

The assessment and development of our water resources is vital to national development. My advisers are currently assisting some State Governments with the construction of major water storages and are giving full support to the Water Resources Council in this work.

The mineral industry has continued to advance in terms of production and exports and in becoming more diversified. My advisers continue to encourage the development of our mineral resources and their maximum processing in Australia. Legislation will be introduced to extend both the subsidy and the concessional taxation deductions for oil search for a period of three years.

Legislation will be introduced to authorize substantial Commonwealth financial assistance for flood mitigation works in the coastal rivers of New South Wales and the construction of an access road to the Gordon River area of south-west Tasmania.

As already announced, my advisers are working out arrangements which will require the cooperation of the States and of the petrol companies to bring about a reduction in the price of petroleum products in country areas. This is a most important practical exercise in decentralization.

The former Department of Trade has become the Department of Trade and Industry, and is in the course of establishing a secondary industry section under a very senior and responsible official.

The Government recognizes that one of the needs of our developing secondary industries, particularly those entering export markets, is that the home market should not be eroded by dumping or related practices. The Government will see that the protective needs of Australian industry are not circumvented in this way.

In certain instances the establishment of Australian business ventures overseas, whether under wholly Australian or joint ownership, can strengthen the local economy and at the same time encourage Australian exports.

Experience shows that the establishment by marketing boards of processing plants overseas, especially in the lesser developed countries, will benefit the export of our primary products and also contribute to social and economic development in such countries. My advisers plan to facilitate the establishment of new plants of this sort.

Consideration is being given to a widening of the scope of the Export Payments Insurance Corporation to provide increased protection for Australian exporters against non-commercial risks.

It is also the fact that Australian industries are expanding their operations overseas, using Australian components and raw materials. My advisers are studying the details of a scheme of insurance against non-commercial risks such as expropriation or war. So soon as conclusions have been reached, a further announcement will be made.

International trade negotiations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade are scheduled to begin in May. For the first time the reduction of barriers to international trade in primary products will be given as much emphasis in these negotiations as the reduction of tariffs against industrial goods. Special commodity groups have already been established, to negotiate on the problems of improving access to world markets and obtaining remunerative prices for cereals, meat and dairy products. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development is to begin next month. Australia will participate, in its work.

The Government will continue its policy of supporting the stabilization of our primary industries. Legislation will be introduced to give effect to arrangements under which the Commonwealth will match £1 for £1 additional funds contributed by wool growers for wool promotion in excess of their present levy.

Legislation is also in preparation to support a meat industry plan for developing and diversifying the overseas markets for Australian meat. A stabilization proposal for the dried fruits industry will shortly be put to a vote by growers in the industry. Further, subject to the concurrence of the State Governments who have a large responsibility in this regard, my Government is prepared to bring down legislation to support a stabilization scheme for the Australian egg industry.

Scientific research in the rural industries is of the highest importance. Special funds are already available to the States to assist in having the benefits of research available to the man on the land. However, my advisers believe that the process, can be quickened. They are prepared to work’ out arrangements with the States to bring this about.

The Commonwealth Aid Roads .legislation, under which the Commonwealth will have paid £230,000,000 to the States for roads over the past five years, expires on 30th June next. Legislation for a new scheme, which will involve larger payments, will be presented to the Parliament in this session following discussions wilh the State Premiers.

Up-to-date communications facilities are needed in a rapidly growing economy. Important steps towards the fulfilment of the national telephone plan have been made. These include the introduction of a new operational system, extended calling areas without the payment of trunk call fees, the progressive extension of subscriber trunk dialling facilities and a number of large scale coaxial cable and radio trunk installation projects, linking capital cities and rural areas.

Progress is being made with the extension of television to provincial and country areas. The Government has maintained its policy of providing for dual national and commercial services. When the current expansion is completed by the end of 1966, television will be available to more than 90 per cent, of the Australian community. Recent legislation providing for translator stations, to relay programmes from country stations, will enable even wider coverage.

Australia has participated in the construction of a marine cable known as COMPAC to link Canada with Australia and New Zealand as part of a round-the-world cable scheme. The final stage was completed in December, 1963. A cable link known as SEACOM will also be established wilh South-East Asia and work is already progressing.

There are significant developments in shipbuilding. The latest passenger vessel built in Australia, the “Empress of Australia”, was launched recently and should be completed at the end of the year. Tenders are now open for the construction of four 47,000-ton bulk carriers in Australian shipyards, and these will be the largest ever built here.

The coastal carriage of petroleum products in Australian registered and Australian built tankers has been under discussion with interested parties. The policy of financial assistance in the construction of ships in Australia has also been under consideration following a recent rev:sw by the Tariff Board.

Later this year the two major internal . airlines will introduce jet aircraft. In international aviation my Government recently approved of Qantas purchasing early delivery positions for supersonic aircraft to come into international service in the 1970’s. The Government is carrying out a fiveyear plan of airport construction and the installation of long range radar equipment for all-traffic control purposes.

Following publication of the Government’s broad statement on restrictive trade practices, my advisers have received criticisms and suggestions and have had valuable discussions with various organizations. The Government will introduce a bill to the Parliament and leave it open to public scrutiny for a reasonable time before it is taken up in debate.

My Government will put into effect at the earliest possible date two housing proposals, one to make it easier for young married people to own a home of their own, and the other to increase the flow of private funds for housing in Australia.

The first scheme aims at encouraging young people to save to acquire a dwelling’ by offering a financial incentive for such saving. My Minister for Housing, intends to introduce into the Parliament early this session legislation to authorize the operation of this scheme. The proposed conditions of eligibility of savings for the grant and the manner of operation of the scheme will then be put before the Parliament.

The second proposal is designed to Improve the availability of loans on reasonable terms from private sources for the purchase or construction of a home, or the discharge of an casting mortgage. My Government intends to present to the Parliament legislation to authorize insurance of the repayment of principal and the payment of interest on private loans for any of these purposes.

The Government will introduce legislation to increase child endowment for the third and subsequent children to 15s. a week and to grin endowment of 15s. a week in respect of full-time students between the ages of 16 and 21 years.

Legislation will be introduced during this session for the purpose of giving effect to two policy changes in the health field, namely, that Commonwealth medical benefits be increased by 33i per cent, and that the existing limit of ,£10,000,000 applying to grants to the States for the building or equipping of mental health treatment centres will not apply for the next three years. All contributors to medical benefits insurance funds will be entitled to the increase in the Commonwealth medical benefits without being required to make any increase in their weekly contributions to the funds.

In the very important field of education, my Government will continue to provide substantial financial assistance for universities. In addition to the grants to the States for their universities, which were provided by the act of 1963, legislation will provide additional finance for the teaching costs of medical hospitals during the 1964-66 triennium, and towards meeting the costs of higher levels of academic salaries. For the purpose of its grants to the States, the Government has accepted an interim level of academic salaries as from 1st July, 1963, and will shortly be establishing an inquiry to recommend a level of academic salaries for grant purposes during the current triennium.

The Government keenly recognizes scientific research as vital both for higher education and for national growth. It is giving further consideration to its role in- this field.

In the near future the Government will receive, and at once consider, a report from a committee which has been studying various aspects of tertiary education with a view to recommending what the future pattern of education in this field should be.

The Government has received a mandate for new measures of assistance for secondary and technical education. It will introduce a scheme of secondary school scholarships involving 10,000 awards annually, open competitively to all secondary school students for the last two years of secondary education, and providing a maintenance grant of £100 per annum without means test and up to £100 per annum for fees and books. There will be 2,500 scholarships annually on a comparable basis for students at technical schools. An amount of £5,000,000 per annum will be made available to all secondary schools, government and independent, for the provision of building and equipment facilities for science teaching. There will be an annual grant of £5,000,000 to the States towards the building and equipment costs of technical schools.

The development of comprehensive and detailed arrangements between the Commonwealth and the States and independent school authorities has been put in hand. Effect will be given to the new measures, by legislation where necessary, as soon as practicable.

My advisers consider that it is necessary to increase the size of the Ministry to meet modern circumstances. A bill to amend the Ministers of State Act will be placed before the Parliament in the early days of this session. Its purpose will be to permit the appointment of 25 Ministers instead of 22.

My Government will submit amendments to the Representation Act and to the Electoral Act. Under the current provisions of the Representation Act, the Chief Electoral Officer, in determining the number of members each State shall have in the House of Representatives, is required to find that where, after dividing the State population by the electoral quota, there is a remainder equal to less than one-half of the quota, no member shall be chosen in respect of that remainder. In a situation where State populations are growing at different rates, this requirement can have the effect that some States may lose representation, despite a general growth. My Government considers that, in such circumstances, there should be no loss of representation, and proposes to legislate accordingly.

Regarding the Electoral Act, my Government will introduce amending legislation to make it clear that, in making any proposed distribution of a State into divisions for electoral purposes, the Distribution Commissioners shall take into account community of economic, social and regional interests, difficulties of communication, remoteness or distance, the trend of population changes, physical features, and the relative areas of proposed divisions. No fixed quota differential is proposed.

I now leave you to the discharge of your high and important duties, in the faith that Divine Providence will guide your deliberations and further the welfare of the people of the Commonwealth.

page 14


Motion (by Sir Robert Menzies) agreed ito -

That a committee, consisting of Mr. Kevin Cairns, Mi. Maisey and the mover, be appointed to prepare an Address-in-Reply to the Speech delivered by His Excellency the Governor-General to both Houses of the Parliament, and that the committee do report this day.

page 14


KooyongPrime Minister · LP

– As honorable members know, since we last met the death by assassination of President John Kennedy of the United States of America occurred on Friday, 22nd November, 1963. He was the thirty-fifth President of his country and had held office for two years and ten months when his life, as I have said, came to its end in this brutal fashion. President Kennedy was sworn in on 20th January, 1961, and in his inaugural address to the people of the United States he set forth both the aim and the promise of his administration, namely, to begin anew the quest for peace and to seek a world alliance against tyranny, poverty, disease and war.

The late president was born in Massachusetts on 29th May, 1917. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1946. In 1952 he entered the United States Senate as senator for the State of Massachusetts. In 1960 he won the Democratic Party’s nomination for the presidency and was elected president in November of that year. He was the youngest man ever to be elected President of the United States.

During the war he served with very great courage and distinction in the United States Navy and, as honorable members know, he had an association at that time with our own country through the activities of an Australian coast watcher, activities which he never ceased to refer to with marked gratitude.

He was a very remarkable man. I will always regard it as a great privilege to have known him and to have discussed various matters with him. He was a remarkable man from the point of view of the world because he had large ideas and, as experience grew, he was able to pursue those ideas with more and more force and point. He undoubtedly had a great contribution yet to make to the world. He was of great significance to us in Australia because in a simple, unaffected and inquiring way he had a feeling of friendship for Australia and a feeling of interest in this country which I am bound to say I have never known quite equalled by any of his predecessors. He was a friend of ours.

So the world has lost a leader and we have lost a friend. His wife has lost a famous husband and his children have lost a great father. Most of us in one way or another have taken the opportunity to say something about this event and to convey our sympathy, but I think it is appropriate that we in this House should place our feelings on record in due parliamentary form so that our expression is the product of this Parliament and of this country. I therefore move -

That this House records its sincere regret at the death- of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, President of the United States of America, places on record its appreciation of his high courage and devoted service to the cause of international peace, expresses to the people of the United States its profound regret at the loss they have suffered, and tenders its deep sympathy to Mrs. Kennedy and her family in’ their bereavement.

Leader of the Opposition · Melbourne

– I support the motion. 1 want to say only a few words about the person who was taken from this earth so suddenly and in such shocking circumstances in November of last year. A great and good man died and a generous and noble heart ceased to beat when John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the thirty-fifth President of the United States, fell before an assassin’s bullet at Dallas, Texas, on 22nd November, 1963.

President Kennedy attained the world’s highest elective office at the early age of 43. His occupancy of that office ended all too soon, with his work, so full of promise for his country, so full of hope for us all, only just begun. Like his illustrious predecessor Abraham Lincoln, he sought to make great and significant changes in the society in which he was called to lead. Like Lincoln, he knew that a house divided against itself cannot stand; it was President Kennedy who said, in the spirit of Lincoln -

The science of weapons and war has made us all one world and one human race, with one common destiny.

Like Lincoln, he met his death at the hands of an assassin.

Death is always sad, whenever, at whatever age, it comes. Death takes on an unutterable sadness when it strikes down a nation’s chief executive at the full height of his powers, with great prospects opening up for him and his country. But when death comes as it did to John Fitzgerald Kennedy - the youngest president the United Stales has yet known, highly gifted, deeply dedicated, justly proud of his achievements, gracefully confident of his power to achieve more - and when that death comes with all the meaninglessness of assassination, then its sadness takes on a horror never to be obliterated from our memories.

Let not the manner of his death obscure the meaning of his life, for in life his successes were noble and substantial. He will be remembered by a grateful world for his work in negotiating with Premier Khrushchev and Mr. “Macmillan the partial nuclear test ban treaty. This is, and must be, regarded as a, milestone along the long and difficult road towards universal disarmament. His firm but restrained handling of the Cuban crisis in 1962, his clear but calm attitude towards the Berlin problem and his vigorous warnings of the futility of nuclear war all raised the hopes of mankind for a better, saner world. By his very strength of character and the purpose and ability with which he pursued his policies for human betterment; President Kennedy naturally became a controversial figure in his own country and beyond it. He strove to break down the barriers of racial discrimination. In doing so, he stirred up bitter animosities. In the light of the many still unresolved century-old problems created by the Civil War, such a situation seemingly was inevitable.

What John F. Kennedy might have achieved had he lived out his full term of office and had he been, as seems most likely, elected for a second term, remains a subject only for speculation now. He will always remain a symbol of youthful promise, unfulfilled through tragic early death. But it is what he achieved that matters, and already he had won a place in the hearts of his fellow citizens and of freedom-loving people everywhere. In his last message to the people of the world, delivered at the United Nations General Assembly a few weeks before he died, John F. Kennedy spoke of the qest for peace and said that the badge of responsibility in the modern world was a willingness to seek peaceful solutions. “ Let us “, he said, “ take our stand in the United Nations and let us see if we, in our time-, can move the world towards a just and lasting peace”. These words, from one of his last great speeches, might well be his epitaph. May his memory remain ever-green and may the sum total of his achievements shine as a beacon light for those who seek the path to peace and a better life for all mankind.

No tribute to the late president should neglect to make reference to his brave and gracious wife. The days of sorrow have been more difficult for her than for any one else, but she was blessed, as few women have been, to give her hero husband the comfort of her arms in the hour of his death. In life and in death she was beside him. History will not fail to find its place for Jacqueline Kennedy as one of the most distinguished women of America and one of its most notable and courageous First Ladies.

Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.

page 16


KooyongPrime Minister · LP

Mr. Speaker, this House and, indeed, this nation, sustained a grievous blow on Christmas Eve when Athol Townley died. He was elected to the House of Representatives for the Division of Denison in Tasmania in 1949 and was re-elected in 1951, 1954, 1955, 1958, 1961 and 1963. He had a long Ministerial experience. He became Minister for Social Services and Minister in charge of War Service Homes on 1 1th May, 1951, and continued in those portfolios until July, 1954. He acted as Minister for Health during the absence overseas of the then Minister, the late Sir Earle Page. He became Minister for Air and Minister for Civil Aviation in 1954 and continued in those portfolios until October, 1956. In those capacities he visited the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada and the United States of America between January and March, 1955. On 24th October, 1955, he became Minister for Immigration, - post which he continued to occupy until 19th March, 1958. In 1957, he waa Acting Minister for Air during the absence overseas of the Honorable F. M. Osborne.

Mr. Townley was Acting Minister for Health again in 1957. He acted as Minister for Civil Aviation in January and

February, 1958, and again in February, 1960, during the absences overseas of Senator Paltridge. He was also Minister for Defence Production from 11th February to 23rd April, 1958, and Minister for Supply from 11th February to 10th December, 1958. He acted for a time as Minister for Trade during two absences of my colleague, the Right Honorable John McEwen. Mr. Townley became Minister for Defence on 10th December, 1958, and was still in that post at the time of his death. He represented the Commonwealth Government abroad at the inauguration of the Parliament of the Federation of the West Indies in 1958 and subsequently visited the United States of America and the United Kingdom to discuss joint defence problems. In 1961, he again discussed joint defence problems in the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, and he conferred with the United Kingdom and New Zealand Ministers for Defence at Singapore in March, 1962. He visited Indonesia in June, 1962. This, Mr. Speaker, is the bare record of a most versatile experience and service to this country.

After Mr. Townley’s visit to Indonesia, his health deteriorated, as I think many of us did not fail to observe, but he continued to serve, with great activity, selflessly and faithfully as a Minister. Indeed, in the Department of Defence he marked his period of office by some notable achievements, none of which was more notable than that which he produced at the time of his last visit to the United States. At the time of his death, he was ambassador designate to that country, and this was a post to which, as I well know, he was looking forward very keenly and which he could have decorated magnificently, for few men whom I have known throughout my life have had such a faculty of establishing personal relations and personal understanding. This was a very remarkable gift that our colleague possessed.

Mr. Townley served his country during the last war as well as in the political sphere. He went into the Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve in 1940 as a sublieutenant and rose to the rank of lieutenantcommander. He served in England and the South-West Pacific area and, indeed, was in command of one of the small vessels in Sydney Harbour on the notable occasion when Japanese midget submarines attacked there in 1942.

I cannot permit myself to say all that one should say. This touches me too closely. Mr. Townley was extremely widely respected. He was greatly loved in the city of Hobart in which he and his family had lived. He played a conspicuous part in the life of that city. All of us who bad the opportunity to be at the funeral in Hobart were tremendously touched by the way in which this public respect was manifested. He was wellknown there as a churchman, as a yachtsman, as a remarkable all-round sportsman - he was a cricketer - and as a pilot. But, apart from all those attributes, it was as a human being that he found his place with us. He was tremendously loyal to his friends, generous of mind and devoted to his tasks. He had a remarkably modern outlook and a delightful humour. He combined character, ability and charm. The truth is - I can say this for all of us, but I say it for myself - I shall always have him in my heart and in my memory.

His wife who survives him is well known to most of us. She is a great lady in her own right. To her we extend all the most heart-felt sympathy that we can express. He left a son - a fine young man. They have the comfort of knowing that, whatever else he may inherit, he inherits a great name.

Sir, I move

That this House expresses its deep regret at the death on 24th December, 1963, of the Honorable Athol Gordon Townley, a member of this House for the Division of Denison from 1949 until 1963 and a former Minister of the Crown, places on record its appreciation of his long and meritorious public service and tenders its profound sympathy to his widow and family in their bereavement.

Leader of the Opposition · Melbourne

– It is the sad duty of .he Opposition to support the motion proposed by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies). The late Mr. Townley was highly respected in this Parliament on all sides. He had a host of friends here and outside the Parliament. He was one of those strangely gifted people who could enter into debate, take all the barbs that were hurled at him and, in replying, not seem to wound. He certainly left no bitterness behind when he made his points. In more recent years he spoke rarely, but he was a most knowledgeable man. He was very human in his approach and quite understanding when points about legislation or some act of administration were put to him in bis ministerial capacity.

I have known very few people like Athol Townley. It was possible to address a remark to him or to have a discussion with him and feel that he did his best to give whatever reply he could give. We always found him a man who understood the duties of his office, who knew more about administration than most people do and who was not only widely read but was also a very active man for one who was around the age of 56 years. He flew his own aeroplane. He sometimes piloted aeroplanes in which he was travelling from Canberra to Sydney, Melbourne or Tasmania. I believe he is the only member of this Parliament - certainly the only Minister - who has ever flown an aeroplane at 1,500 miles an bour. He piloted one of the new Mirage fighters. He was not only a Navy man, and a dis tinguished one too, but he knew a good deal about aviation. After the war he learnt more about aviation than most people would ever know and was himself an expert in the field.

As Minister for Defence he had a great responsibility thrust upon him in difficult times. He discharged his obligations and duties with a full sense of responsibility. One of my last discussions with him - it may have been the very last - took place behind the Speaker’s Chair just before the last Parliament was dissolved. Mr. Townley told me that he was going to America on the following day and that an announcement to that effect would be made. He took on the task of canvassing Cabinet Ministers in the United States and interviewing other persons in high positions about a new bomber for the Royal Australian Air Force. He had been ill. I told him that I thought he was very game to contemplate making such a quick trip abroad in order to fulfil his public duties. He said that the mission had to be undertaken and that he was prepared to undertake it. I heard of Mr. Townley’s death with very great sadness, as did all honorable members, I am sure. His death came so unexpectedly and so suddenly; it came at a time when everybody was waiting to hear that he had left hospital. When he was ill 1 addressed messages of sympathy to him and my last message was more cheery than the others because I told him that I hoped to see him out of hospital very soon.

Mr. Townley’s parliamentary career extended from 1949 to 1963. He intended to leave this Parliament soon in order to fulfil an obligation to the people of Australia in the diplomatic world. He was robbed of that opportunity by his death. We will always remember Athol Townley as a cheerful, genial and kindly man. I join with the Prime Minister in expressing sympathy to his widow and her son on the death of a very good husband and a very good father.

Minister for Trade and Industry · Murray · CP

– I desire to associate myself and my colleagues of the Australian Country Party with the expressions of sympathy embodied in the motion and in the speeches made by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). We extend our deepest sympathy to Mr. Townley’s widow, his son and other relatives. My colleagues and I are more deeply grieved by Mr. Townley’s death than I can command words to express. To say that we all liked and respected Athol Townley is a tremendous understatement of our real feelings. He was a real man in physique and intellect but above all in ,his qualities of character and his true integrity.

All of us like to think that there is a type of Australian manhood which embodies qualities that we admire. I believe that Athol Townley embodied those qualities which which approach a standard of perfection in Australian manhood. He was a vigorous and virile man. He was an athletic man, a sportsman. He was a good companion. He had a rare good humour and wit. Above all, he was a man upon whom anybody could rely in any circumstances. He was a man of great courage. He served his country with great distinction in war in some very perilous circumstances - in convoys in the North Atlantic in bitter winter weather, handling unexploded bombs in the United Kingdom, and here in Australia in command of small craft. He served in dangerous situations in our own theatre of. War. Here was a man who really served his country with great courage and great distinction when the testing time came.

His qualities were many and varied. He was a highly successful business man. Those who attended the funeral service in Hobart must have been impressed by the testimony of his leadership in his own church. That was crystal clear there. Of course, Athol Townley was a very happy family man. He was a friend of all people.

Like all of us, he had his party affiliations; but I believe that in carrying out his duties he knew no party lines when it came to deciding whether he could do anything to help a person along in his own electorate or anywhere else. He certainly was a man without any prejudice and without any bitterness. I never knew a sour word to come from Athol Townley’s lips nor can I remember a sour expression ever being directed to him. That was a reflection of the kind of character he had and the esteem in which he was held.

While he was serving with us all here his parliamentary service and governmental service were of great distinction. There must be few people of whom it can be said that in fourteen years of parliamentary service almost thirteen years were served with ministerial rank. That is a very rare experience and a revelation of Athol Townley’s qualities. The Prime Minister has recounted the succession of high offices that he held. To cap that real service in the field of government, as we all know he was the ambassador designate to the greatest country in the world to-day - our great friend, the United States of America. We would have been represented magnificently by him and I have no doubt that he would have done tremendous things to entrench even deeper the good relationship between our two countries. His likeable qualities and his forthcoming honesty made him a very good negotiator. At all times he had a valuable record in that field. Those of us in the Parliament who served with Athol Townley are deeply sad to-day. Australia has lost a very good man and our deep sympathy goes out to Mrs. Townley and to Athol Townley’s son.


– I wish to associate myself with this motion. As

I entered this Parliament in 1946, it follows that I was a Tasmanian colleague of Athol Townley from the time he first stood for this Parliament in 1949 and during his entire parliamentary career. I wish to offer my brief but sincere tribute to Athol Townley, whose public service was so outstanding. As we all know, the burden of his latter responsibilities probably contributed to his early demise. He will be remembered for his service in war as in peace. Not least he will be remembered by many people in Hobart whom he and his brother, Rex Townley, helped in a very material way in the pre-war days when times were difficult for many families. He will be greatly missed. I tender my sincere sympathy to his wife, Mrs. Hazel Townley, and to his son, Athol David.


– As the new member for Denison, I regard it as an honour to associate myself with this motion. Others have spoken with the sincerity of long association of the worth of Athol Townley, both as a statesman and as a man. In extending my sympathy to Mrs. Townley and her son Athol, I would like to pay a personal tribute. Not only has Mr. Townley set high standards for me to follow in the representation of Denison, but he kindled my interest in a political career. When I was at the bar in London in 1961, the then Minister and his gracious wife, who were visiting England, entertained me at a small party. It , was there that he suggested to me that I directly interest myself in a political career. It is most unfortunate that my political debut should have been brought about by Athol Townley’s death.

In Denison the name of Athol Townley is respected by people in all walks of life. The first public function that I attended in Hobart after the Denison by-election was the opening of the Athol Townley Memorial Wing at St. Anne’s Rest Home in Hobart. That new wing will perpetuate the memory of Athol Townley. That speaks more eloquently than I could ever hope to speak about the feelings of the people of Hobart. Athol Townley was a man who might truly have used these words of Horace -

Exegi monumentum aere perennius.

Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.

page 19


KooyongPrime Minister · LP

– The Honorable Sir Josiah Francis, whose death occurred on Saturday, 22nd February, was elected to the House of Representatives for Moreton, Queensland, in 1922 and and was re-elected twelve times until he retired from the Parliament in 1955. His was, it will be seen, a remarkably long period of parliamentary service, extending over 33 years and covering not only periods in office, as I will point out, but also periods in opposition. I am not sure that I did not sometimes feel that it was in opposition that we got the fullest benefit of his remarkable personal characteristics. Anyhow, he had an all-round experience.

He was a member of the Select Committee on the Navigation Act in 1923 and a member of the Royal Commission on National Insurance from 1923 to 1927. He was a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works in 1929 and was chairman of that committee from 1937 to 1940. He was also a member of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts in 1929 and 1931. As honorable members will see, all those appointments gave him a remarkably full experience of the matters that concern the private member and give him an opportunity to have a voice in administration.

He was a Temporary Chairman of Committees from 1930 to 1931. He was Assistant Minister for Defence and Minister in charge of War Service Homes from 1932 to 1934. He assisted the Minister for Repatriation in 1934. He became Acting Minister for Repatriation in 1933. He was a member of the National Planning Committee of Canberra from 1937 to 1940 and a member of the Joint Committee on Repatriation from 1942 to 1943. He was chairman of the Rural Industries Committee from 3rd July, 1941, to 7th July, 1943, and vice-chairman of the Standing Committee on Broadcasting from 14th October, 1943, to 16th August, 1946. He was a member of a parliamentary delegation to Japan in July and August, 1948.

He became Minister for the Army in December, 1949. He held that office until he retired from the Parliament in 1955. He was Minister for the Navy from December, 1949, to May, 1951, and was Acting Minister for the Navy during the absence overseas of the honorable Philip McBride - as he then was - in June and July, 1951, and from July, 1954, to November, 1955. He paid a visit to Australian Army units in Korea in December, 1951, and January, 1952. Upon his retirement from this Parliament in 1955, Jos. Francis - as we all knew him so well - became Consul-General for Australia in New York, with the personal rank of Minister, on 1st March, 1956. He spent there a number of years, giving quite remarkable service to this country. He had a notable military career. He joined the voluntary forces in 1913 and went abroad in October, 1916, with the J 5th battalion of the Australian Imperial Forces. He was commissioned in 1917 and was wounded in 1918. He became a captain in 1918 and, as most of us know, for the rest of his life he was very active indeed in the affairs of returned servicemen.

That is a summary of a life of remarkable usefulness which spread over a very long period of time. It is the story of a man whom some now in this House may not recall, but who was well known in his day - and very affectionately known, I think - to everybody who then sat in Parliament. He was always willing, always ready to turn a hand. He was a magnificent team player in the political sense and he had, of course, a wealth of experience, as I have already shown, such as falls to the lot of very few men. I have always thought that when he went out of politics it was a singularly good thing that he went to New York and represented us there as Consul-General. He and his wife did a wonderful job. Very few people fully realize what is involved in such a job in the great city of New York, in upholding the banner of Australia, dealing with people who come through, and representing Australia in a friendly, practical, human fashion. He did the job, and his wife did it with him. I had nothing but admiration for what they did in that great city during the period in which he held office.

Since he came back to Australia his health, notoriously, has not been very good. He had, so far as I was able to judge, two or three rather poor turns of health. In a sense, perhaps, it was not such a surprise when he died, but I am perfectly certain that there will be people, in this Parliament, and thousands of people in Queensland and thousands of ex-servicemen and their dependants throughout Australia, who would have learned of his death as they would learn of the death of a good man and a good friend. I think it is proper that we should honour, in our usual way, his memory and his remarkable service to Australia and, therefore, I move -

That this House expresses its deep regret at the death of the Honorable Sir Josiah Francis, a former member of this House for the Division of Moreton, and a former Minister of the Crown, places on record its appreciation of his long and meritorious public service and tenders its profound sympathy to his widow in her bereavement.

Leader of the Opposition · Melbourne

– I support the motion and extend the sympathy of the Opposition to Lady Francis and the members of her family in their bereavement. The Francis family is well known in Queensland. It has rendered good service, not only in politics but in other fields as well.

We all have different characteristics. As the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) has said, Jos. Francis had his own personality and expressed himself and put his point of view in his own inimitable way. From the time I first knew him when I came to this Parliament in 1940 until he left it in 1958 I and my colleagues regarded him as a very good man and a very effective parliamentarian.

He left this Parliament, after 33 years service, with universal goodwill. It was hard to have an argument with the late Sir Josiah Francis. You could not feel that any statement he made was intended to be personal. He put his point of view a little ruggedly at times but he always had in mind his duty to Australia and particularly to his own State of Queensland. He held the seat of Moreton by majorities which other men would never have been able to obtain. He even held the seat before the enlargement of this Parliament in 1949 despite the fact that it was always regarded as a Labour seat and that in the State sphere the area was held by members of the Australian Labour Party with large majorities.

There was a kindliness about Jos. Francis which was displayed until the time of his death. He was interested in public movements and in the betterment of humanity. He liked to present cups to the schools in the electorate that he represented and to donate prizes of various kinds. Even when he died so unexpectedly he was attending a regatta conducted by certain schools in Brisbane. He never lost his interest in public affairs and after his return to Australia from overseas he immediately took up the various interests that he had laid aside while serving in New York.

Whenever Jos. Francis came to Canberra he renewed acquaintance with honorable members from both sides of the Parliament and every one was always happy to see him. On Saturday last I heard of his death with real regret. I used to see him periodically in Melbourne and in Canberra and I was hoping to see him again very soon somewhere around Australia. That opportunity is denied me as it is denied so many others, but he leaves a fragrant memory and his work will not be soon forgotten, in Queensland or in this Parliament.

Minister for Trade and Industry · Murray · CP

– I wish to associate the members of the Australian Country Party with the resolution that has been moved by the Prime Minister and supported by the Leader of the Opposition. I am one of the members who served a long time in this Parliament with the late Jos. Francis - as we all knew him - and came to respect him greatly. He was a man who bad standards and ideals of service and who at all times adhered to those standards. He passes from amongst us as a man who served his country well in the Parliament and in the test of war. As another speaker has said, at no time did he forget that he was a Queenslander and he stood well- for bis own State.

Jos. Francis served with the first Australian Imperial Force for about four years and was wounded in France. After his return he never for a moment lost his interest in attending to the well-being of ex-servicemen or in concerning himself with the efficiency and standards of the armed forces. As Minister administering repatriation and war service homes, and as Minister for the Army he had an opportunity, both by policy-making and administration, to exhibit his deep interest in these two fields. But while he had these special interests, all of us who served with him know that he was a jolly good all-rounder in the parliamentary scene. He took an interest in everything. He had knowledge of every point. He expressed himself vigorously - very vigorously - but no rancour ever remained. In this sense he was a very good Australian and whatever he bad to do was done with devotion, industry and effectiveness.

Jos. Francis had a great and obvious quality of loyalty to his team. No one ever doubted his adherence to the team. The very fact that he was elected for twelve terms for the Division of Moreton must speak for itself. We know that he contrived to serve this country at a high level and, at the same time, never to lose touch with the individual persons and businesses of his electorate where he was well known and very well liked.

A career of service was capped by a very distinguished period as Australian ConsulGeneral in the great City of New York, where he was well liked and where he served Australian interests very well. I am sure that Jos. Francis there contributed a great deal toward bettering the relationship between our country and the United States of America. I join, on behalf of my party, in the expressions of sympathy to Lady Francis and to the relatives of the late Sir Josiah Francis.


– It has been given to very few people to sit in this Parliament for 33 years. That is an outstanding record and it is a record with few equals throughout the English-speaking world. As both the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) have said, the late Sir Josiah Francis was infinitely skilled in political conflict. That, no doubt, may have contributed in no small measure to his surviving for 33 years as a member of the Parliament, but he had something far deeper, 1 suggest, than mere political skill. He had a tremendous reservoir of service and of desire to give service to the people. Even though the 33 years of his Life in this Parliament ran over a period of time intensely troubled and turbulent he never lost his capacity and his desire to serve the people, and even right to the end of his life he was out serving the people. He was running a memorial appeal and was directing it with great skill and with tremendous vigour. He had a cheerfulness and a friendliness about him. Jos. Francis would not have been capable of an unworthy thought or of hurting anybody, because he never knew how to hurt.

One of the verses in the Book of Chronicles begins -

And Josiah gave to the people . . .

Those words attach very rightly to the memory of the man we recall this afternoon. Josiah Francis, member of Parliament for the division of Moreton for 33 years, gave to the people a tremendous sense of service, a unique understanding, a warm and a lively humanity.

Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.

Sir Robert Menzies:

– I suggest, Sir, that as a token of respect the sitting be suspended until 8 o’clock.


– I am sure the Prime Minister’s suggestion meets with the concurrence of the House. As a mark of respect the sitting is suspended.

Sitting suspended from 4.43 to 8 p.m.

page 22


Mr. Reginald William Colin Swartz made and subscribed the oath of allegiance as member for the Division of Darling Downs, Queensland.

page 22


Notice of Motion.

Treasurer · HigginsTreasurer · LP

– I give notice that, at the next sitting, I shall move -

That, in relation to the proceedings on any sales tax bills, so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent -

the introduction and the first readings of the bills together;

one motion being moved and one ques tion being put in regard to, respectively, the second readings, the committee’s report stage, and the third readings, of all the bills together, and

the consideration of all the bills as a whole together in a committee of the whole.

I should explain, Mr. Speaker, that this motion will be purely procedural. No immediate introduction of sales tax bills is contemplated. As I shall explain more fully to-morrow, the motion will merely clear the way for introduction of sales tax bills together at any time during the life of this Parliament.

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– I wish to ask the Minister for Territories whether his recent statement concerning the Government’s intentions with regard to aborigines in the Northern Territory related also to the payment of award rates to aborigines employed by the Commonwealth and the extension of the protection of awards to aborigines in private employment.

Minister for Territories · MCPHERSON, QUEENSLAND · CP

– A bill relating to aborigines is at present before the Legislative Council for the Northern Territory. That measure will come before me after it has been passed by the Council. I believe that any comment by me now would be completely improper.

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– I address a question to the Prime Minister. Since the tragic loss suffered by the Royal Australian Navy - and, indeed, by the whole Australian nation -with the sinking of H.M.A.S. “ Voyager “, has the Government taken any steps to secure a replacement for this ship?


– Quite clearly, after this dreadful event, it was very important that we take steps to keep the naval strength, so far as possible, up to the mark. Two things have been done. First of all, H.M.A.S “ Quiberon “, which was due to be retired - in June, I think - is being kept in service. That is a purely interim measure. In the second place, before any long-range replacement could be organized - in other words, built - we necessarily had to find out whether we could have, over a period of four years, an interim but effective replacement for “ Voyager “. I am happy to tell the House that we received the greatest goodwill on this matter from the governments of both the United Kingdom and the United States of America, each of which exhibited a willingness to help us as much as possible.

Our own naval authorities investigated the matter. They had on offer at this time from the Royal Navy in the United Kingdom a Daring class destroyer “Duchess” which, on investigation by our naval authorities, was shown to be the most compatible with our own requirements and which would produce the minimum of dislocation in our naval arrangements. As it is a Daring class destroyer, honorable members will understand that it rather fits into the picture. The United Kingdom Government offered the destroyer on loan on very handsome terms and after the investigation by the Royal Australian Navy we have decided to accept the offer. We have so informed the United Kingdom Government. In the immediate short run “ Quiberon “ will remain on strength and the destroyer “Duchess” will be available for the next four years. As soon as may be the destroyer will be brought here from Singapore and will be refitted in Australia in the shortest practicable time.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Shipping and Transport. In view of the various statements that have been issued concerning the proposed port-of-call schedule of the “ Empress of Australia “, is the Minister now able to state officially what the schedule is? If a decision has not been made, when can one be expected and on what basis will the schedule be determined?

Minister for Shipping and Transport · FORREST, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– The honorable member asks me first whether I am able to state the schedules of the “ Empress of Australia “. The answer is plainly, “ No “. I cannot tell him when I will be able to do so. This depends on advice from the Australian National Line, which is at present engaged in investigating possible cargoes, possible time-tables, schedules of fares and arrangements that will integrate the other ships of the line and other ships operating on the run. Since the “ Empress of Australia “ is not due to operate until November or December of this year I would expect that the authorities concerned will be able to tell me of their determinations within a few weeks so that advance bookings may be accepted. I cannot give the honorable member any other information at this stage.

page 23



Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– I address my question to the Minister for the Army. The Minister will remember that the Prime Minister in his statement last May announced an Increased establishment for the Army. Can the Minister tell the House whether recruitment is at present running at a rate that will meet the objectives laid down by the Prime Minister in the last Parliament?

Minister Assisting the Treasurer · BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP

– Recruitment for the Australian Army has been somewhat better in the last year or so than it has been in previous years. It is still not quite up to the level that we would like it to be. However, the honorable gentleman will recall that in his statement the Prime Minister also announced that a substantially increased amount would be allocated for recruiting. The spending of this amount, which is under the control of my colleague, the Minister for Defence, has only just begun to take effect. Honorable members will have noticed this when watching television or reading the newspapers in recent weeks. I have high hopes that, as a result of the impact of this advertising, by June of this year we will have reached the target of recruiting for the Army announced by the Prime Minister in his statement.

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– Will the Prime Minister institute an inquiry into the effects on the economy and the security of this nation of the operations of oil companies in Australia? If the right honorable gentleman agrees to hold such an inquiry will he include in its terms of reference provision to investigate the pattern of production of petroleum fuels, prices of products, dumping of residual fuel on the Australian market to the detriment of the coal industry, marketing and transportation of oil produced1 in Australia, and the production and maintenance of strategic reserves for defence requirements?


– I am not a bowser and therefore I cannot give a kerbstone answer.

Mr L R Johnson:

– You look more like a tanker.


– Who am I to deny the facts of nature?

Dr J F Cairns:

– You are proud of them.


– Certainly. I would sooner be a tanker than a miserable canoe. Replying to my honorable friend from Macquarie, if he will place his question on the notice-paper I will give it careful consideration.

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– In view of the fact that metropolitan lord mayors had been given opportunities to place before the Minister for Shipping and Transport their views regarding amendments to the Commonwealth Aid Roads Act, on 24th September, 1963, I asked the Minister whether Australians living in decentralized areas would be given opportunities to present their views before any definite action was taken to amend the legislation. In reply the Minister said -

I can assure the honorable gentleman that before any policy is formulated those concerned will have an opportunity to present their cases.

I now ask the Minister whether he will carry out that undertaking.


– Not only can I assure the honorable member that I will be very pleased to receive any views but I can also tell him that already one of my great problems is to stop people from inundating me with their views about road transport and aid for roads. I have had representations from many sections of the community. I assure the honorable member that the claims of all sections of the community will be sympathetically considered. An announcement has already been made that the Government will discuss this matter with the Premiers in the near future. The honorable member may be assured that no section of the community need fear that its claims for assistance will be overlooked.

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– I ask the Prime Minister: Have discussions been held between the Commonwealth and the governments of Queensland and Western Australia regarding the establishment of a joint developmental authority for Northern Australia? If so, what have been the results of those discussions? When will the authority be established and commence operations? As it is almost eleven months since the Queensland Government first suggested the establishment of such an authority, is it not about time we got a decision?


– I sympathize very deeply with the honorable member. I myself have read one or two of these reports in the newspapers, but if the honorable member thinks that we have before us from the governments of Queensland and Western Australia a proposal for the establishment of some new authority, all I can say is that he is wrong. We have yet to receive such a proposal.

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– I address a question to the Prime Minister. The right honorable gentleman will have heard of the recent sobering defeat - this time at ericket, not football - which Victoria received at the hands of South Australia, as a result of which South Australia again has won the Sheffield Shield. In view of the considerable part played on this notable occasion by Mr. Garfield Sobers, will the right honorable gentleman advise me whether there is any proper procedure whereby the said Mr. Garfield Sobers may be granted South Australian citizenship?

Sir ROBERT MENZIES__ I understand the honorable member’s interest in this matter, because he has told us frequently that in South Australia there is a disposition to reduce the tariff duties on imports and this is one of the occasions on which South Australians have done so with very great advantage. As to whether some singular honour ought to be conferred on that magnificent cricketer, all I can say is that I will raise the matter with the Premier of South Australia at the next Premiers’ Conference.

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Dr J F Cairns:

– I ask the Prime Minister: Is it a fact that he decided to have an election twelve months before it was due in order to seek what he called a clear mandate or authority to take resolute action in the event of any action being taken by Indonesia in the way of - I think he said - infiltration, or subversion or by irregular troops? It is now a fact that such action has been taken by Indonesia against Malaysia and that, instead of taking resolute action, the right honorable gentleman and his Government have wriggled out of taking any such action at all? Does he consider that that was the kind of action his mandate was designed to secure?


– So far as I can remember, the answer to the first part of the question is “ Yes “. The answer to the second part of the question is that there has been no wriggling out of any obligation. On the contrary, in our relations with the Malaysia-Indonesia matter we have, both diplomatically and otherwise, pursued clear lines, not provocative of unnecessary hostility but making it entirely clear at all stages that if the problem of helping to resist by military force an attack on Malaysia arises, we will honour our obligations to the last letter.

page 25




Mr. Speaker, my question is addressed to you. I preface it with the explanation that during the recess I had occasion to go to what I thought was my office - shared with two other members - in this building which is humorously called “ Parliament House “. On the door was a notice inscribed “ Staff of Minister for Primary Industry “ and I noted within, some tables and typewriters, teapot, some flower vases and other necessary office equipment. Being mildly surprised - but only mildly - that in this place the Department of Primary Industry should take precedence over a mere member of the Parliament representing about 50,000 insignificant electors, I noted with interest a report made by a select committee during my absence abroad as long ago as last October, on the very question of House of Representatives accommodation, and the recommendation of that committee that plans for an extension of Parliament House should be put in hand as a matter of urgency. Can you, Sir, as the guardian of the privileges of the Parliament - if any - inform me whether members are to be. extruded from this executive building and invited to jump in the lake?


– I shall have another look at the matter raised by the honorable member and if necessary will furnish him with a reply.

page 25




– Is the PostmasterGeneral aware that the clock at the Sydney General Post Office chimed to-day? Is he aware also that the restoration of the clock and all work associated with it is to be completed by Anzac Day? As the masonry in the work which has been done so far has been steam-cleaned, will the PostmasterGeneral approve of the remainder of the post office building being cleaned so that it will be given a new look for a new Minister?

Postmaster-General · PETRIE, QUEENSLAND · LP

– I appreciate the compliment implicit in the honorable member’s question, but I do not feel that the department’s funds should be used for steamcleaning the General Post Office, Sydney, at a time when many people are seeking telephone connexions.

page 25




– Will the Prime Minister state what progress has been mads in implementing the proposals, contained in his policy speech during the recent election campaign, to bring about some degree of uniformity in petrol prices in the Commonwealth?


– The honorable member will realize that the solution of this problem is by no means simple. It will involve discussions with the oil companies and with -the States, because ultimately whatever is done will.have to be done through the State agencies. In the meantime, a great deal of detailed work is being done. I canassure the honorable member that our great desire is to bring the policy into effect at the earliest possible time, having regard to all these considerations.

page 25




– I direct my question to the Postmaster-General. Is it a fact that at longlast a decision has been made on ways and means of extending television into the districts of Kalgoorlie and Geraldton in Western Australia? If so, what methods will be used and in what year will the services become available? If such a decision has not been made, can the Minister state with any degree of certainty when one is likely to be reached?


– I do not know whether the honorable member is referring to legislation in relation to translators which was passed by this Parliament last year, but from technical advice that I have received I believe that translators are not suitable as a means of providing television at Kalgoorlie. I do not think that a decision has yet been reached on how we might provide television in this area. This is now being investigated by those who advise me on these matters.

page 26




– In addressing my question to the Minister for Supply I refer to a letter which he kindly wrote me recently relating to an inquiry into the operation of the European Launcher Development Organization. Will he indicate, for the information of honorable members and the Australian people, what part Australia is playing in this organization and what publicity is being arranged to inform the Australian people of what is going on?

Minister for Supply · PATERSON, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– The honorable member will recall that the development of Blue Streak, an inter-continental ballistic missile, was part of the British rocket programme. When this missile was superseded an arrangement was made with a number of European countries and the European Launcher Development Organization was formed. It was decided that the Blue Streak rocket would act as the first stage of a vehicle to launch satellites into orbit, basically for peaceful purposes and primarily, I should think, for use in communications. Because of our set-up at Woomera and the availability of launching gantries and so on, Australia was invited to join Eldo. This we did, and although we are now a full member of the European Launcher Development Organization and have access to all the technology available from laboratories of member countries, we pay no membership fee. In addition, of course, we are paid for the work that we do at Woomera on behalf of Eldo. It is quite possible that the first test firings of the Eldo vehicle have already been made.

Later there will be full-scale firings of the vehicle, probably in April or May of this year. When these firings are made - and this is, of course, only the first stage, and there will be more to follow - naturally we will take every possible opportunity to bring home to the Australian people what this developing technology means to Australia, because having been invited to be members of Eldo, our membership gives us full access to any commercial developments which may arise out of the Eldo experiments.

I think it should be kept in mind that a company has been formed to operate communications systems by satellites, and it may well be that within the next month a definite programme will be worked out by which the world’s first satellite communications system will be put into operation. At the moment we, as a nation, are hovering on the periphery of discussions on these matters, but we may well be invited to enter such discussions and perhaps be given an opportunity to take membership in the company. All in all, this is an enormously important organization. It represents an enormously important opportunity for Australia to join in a world-wide communications system, and the honorable members will realize how important this is in these times, when trade follows communications.

page 26




– My question is directed to the Treasurer. I preface it by saying that a recent press report stated that dependants of those who were killed in the “ Voyager “ will receive payments fixed in accordance with the Commonwealth Employees Compensation Act. It is with this matter that I am particularly concerned at the moment. Does the Minister know that in Queensland the lump sum payment made to the dependant of a worker who is killed during the course of his employment is £3,300 plus £110 for each child under 16, or, if receiving full-time education, up to 21 years of age; that in Western Australia the amount is £3,386 plus £90 for each child under 16; that in Tasmania it is £4,000 plus £100 for each child under 16 or, if receiving full-time education, up to 21 years of age; that in New South Wales the amount of - compensation is £4,300 plus £2 3s. a week for each child under 16, while the Commonwealth legislation will entitle the dependants of those killed in this unfortunate accident involving the “ Voyager “ to only £3,000 plus £100 for each child? If he is aware of these facts, what action does he propose to take to ensure that dependants of those killed as a result of the “ Voyager “ accident will receive the same amount as they would receive if the provisions of the New South Wales legislation applied to them?


– I think the general principles which apply in matters of this kind remain as they existed at the time when the last Labour Administration was in office. I am speaking of the principles, not of the amounts. In other words, the principles which apply in cases of this kind have been consistently applied, to the best of my knowledge. As to the provisions made under workers’ compensation legislation, It has been the practice of the Commonwealth Government to study the legislation of the States. I think it is quite misleading to select one aspect of a comprehensive workers’ compensation scheme and measure that against something which has just been plucked out of a piece of State legislation. You have to look at the legislation as a whole. I think it can be fairly claimed that, over the broad field of workers compensation, the Commonwealth provision has not been less generous than the provisions of the States. The Commonwealth must pay regard to the fact that it should be as consistent with the provisions made by the States as is practicable, otherwise injustice is likely to arise for citizens who come under State legislation rather than under Commonwealth legislation. In the light of what the honorable gentleman has put, I shall study the details of the applications likely to be made in respect of this matter. I am sure that all members of the House wish to see generous treatment consistent with the principles established under the legislation.

page 27




– My question to the Minister for the Army concerns the development of the American Red Eye heatseeking missile, which can be fired from a man’s shoulder, and the acceptance of that missile by the United States Army. I ask: Is the honorable gentleman in a posi tion to tell the House whether this missile is being considered for use by the Australian Army?


– I understand that the ground-to-air missile referred to by the honorable member is still under development in the United States of America. We are extremely interested in it. We have been closely watching developments and will continue to do so.

page 27




– I ask the Prime Minister: Why did he not take suitable, effective and immediate action in relation to all matters concerning the aftermath of the “ Voyager “ disaster by detailing a Minister of Cabinet rank to act on his behalf? Was it the decision of the Minister for the Army to send ill, exhausted and shocked survivors back to their homes at night, in seating accommodation only, by second-class rail transport? Who is to be responsible in this House for answering questions relating to the “Voyager” disaster? Is it to be the Minister for the Army, the Minister for the Navy designate, or somebody whose ability, experience and responsibility are such as to enable him to deal with the problems covering the scope and significance of the shocking disaster?


– I hope my honorable friend does not feel very proud of his question. He has been wont to stray of late and if he will go back to the facts he will remember that on the morning after the disaster, the matter was not dealt with by a Minister not of Cabinet rank; it was dealt with by me as Prime Minister.

Mr Calwell:

– In a mere statement.


– I made a statement having consulted already with the Minister for the Navy, the Minister for the Navy designate and the Chief of the Naval Staff. There had been already a meeting of the Naval Board. It was then that I decided on my own responsibility that we would have an investigation by a royal commission, presided over by a judge, and therefore open to the public and to the full glare ofpublicity. I stated at the time that this was the proper procedure because nothing would satisfy the public mind except the most penetrating and public examination of what had occurred. This was my decision, and it was announced by me. I do not know why the honorable gentleman takes exception by suggesting that a Minister of Cabinet rank should have handled the matter. I suppose that I am still a Minister of Cabinet rank and I handled it myself.

The honorable gentleman said that something else happened later on about accommodation. I hope that if in the inscrutable wisdom of providence the honorable gentleman becomes Prime Minister he will not take up the attitude that his Minister for a service department is unfit to handle the problems of that service department. This collision was a calamity that shocked the nation. It was therefore fairly and squarely a matter for me to deal with. But if I thought the Minister for the Navy was incapable of dealing with naval administration - apart from this large matter - then I think 1 would have to remove him from being Minister for the Navy. This is a new doctrine - that service Ministers are not competent, are not to be entrusted with the performance of their duties in the service departments. I do not believe it for a moment. I do not think that holding to such a doctrine is the way to get good Ministers, and I do not think it is the way to get good administration. Now, on this matter, apart from particular grievances that the honorable member may have, the thing that was of burning public importance was handled at the earliest possible moment, the morning after this unhappy event - this terrible event - and was handled, I believe I may say, in a fashion that gave considerable satisfaction to the people of Australia.

page 28




– I ask the Minister for External Affairs a question. On 29th October last the Minister reminded members of this House of the terms of Article 19 of the United Nations Charter which, in short, dictates that a member nation in arrears in its financial contributions shall have no vote in the General Assembly and pointed out that if, by January, 1964 - last month - the Soviet Union had not paid all or part of its dues it could be confronted with the application of this article. Has the Soviet Union - and its allies - changed its attitude with regard to the costs of peace keeping operations, and what is the position of its dues now?

Minister for External Affairs · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– As of now, the attitude of the Soviet Union to the payment of the expenses of peace-keeping activity which is not under the direct control of the Security Council remains as it was aforetime. There has been no change. So far as its dues are concerned, the Soviet Union has not reduced the level of its arrears below that figure which, under Article 19, will bring into jeopardy its right to vote. I think I ought to say, though, to make that answer complete, that there are perhaps two straws in the wind which, we hope, promise something more substantial. First, the Czechoslovakian Government in January paid enough into the fund to reduce its arrears below the level which would disentitle it to vote; secondly, Chairman Khrushchev, in his New Year letter, spoke of the maintenance of peace in terms which, if he carries them through logically, might conceivably lead to a change of attitude on the part of the Soviet Union in relation to this matter.

page 28




– I direct a question to the Treasurer. The right honorable gentleman recently announced that accounting and adding machines would be converted, on the introduction of decimal currency, at a cost to the Commonwealth of about £30,000,000. I ask him whether any consideration was given to the Commonwealth itself carrying out these conversion operations or letting contracts for them to be done on its behalf, thus preventing some, at least, of this very large sum going into the hands of private companies, most of them, in fact, owned overseas?


– The Government set up the Decimal Currency Board. It is a very strongly constituted board, as I think honorable members will agree when they consider its composition. It is under the chairmanship of Mr. Walter Scott. It has the deputy managing director of the Commonwealth Banking Corporation, Mr. Armstrong, as one of its members, together with Sir Kenneth Coles and other leading figures well known to honorable members. The board had available to it the experience of South Africa, where a similar conversion operation had to take place and where compensation arrangements also operated. It is quite a formidable task for the companies directly concerned to carry this work out smoothly on what will be, in total, some 300,000 machines, to put it broadly. I do not think that it would be a practicable proposition for the Government to establish some instrumentality to try to engage the highly skilled labour that would normally be working with the established companies and to employ that labour to do the work for a government organization. I have no doubt that that possibility was considered by the board, which, I believe, has made its recommendations in a manner that will effect the smoothest possible conversion with the utmost economy.

A very substantial sum has been mentioned. This cost will be spread, we believe, over three financial years. Set off against it will be great savings due to economy, greater efficiency and other factors once the decimal currency system is in operation. The conversion cost is a price that we shall have to pay for the benefits that we shall gain later. I do not think that there is any way in which we could reasonably economize on this cost. .It represents not so much amounts that will be paid to companies producing. machines, but rather compensation that will be paid to machine owners to meet reasonable costs of conversion incurred by them. I think that there is sufficient competition among companies engaged in converting machines to ensure that the owners for whom the machines are converted are not treated unreasonably.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Housing. By way of preface, I refer to the Government’s proposal to make grants of £1 for every £3 paid into approved accounts in recognized institutions, with a limit of £250 on the grants. I ask: In view of the fact that many features of these grants are not yet clear and that many members of this House are daily receiving inquiries about the effects of the legislation under which this proposal will be adopted, how soon will the Minister be in a position to give the House some information that will enable honorable members to clarify the situation for their constituents?

Minister for Housing · WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– These issues are not by any means entirely simple. They need considerable sifting in consultation with various parties, as does the proposal to equalise petrol prices. The issues in this instance also involve the creation of a department to deal with them. Honorable members will appreciate that it takes some time even to put in motion Parkinson’s law. I certainly wish to let every one know as soon as possible where he stands. During the last week, I have issued for the information of the public and honorable members a statement that I hope will elucidate some points. If any honorable member needs another .copy of that statement or has not yet received one, he may obtain a copy from my office, where some are available. All these questions that arise >vill certainly be resolved as soon as possible once the normal physical problems of detailed consideration have been dealt with. Indeed, drafting of a bill to implement these proposals has already begun, and the measure will be brought before this House at the earliest possible moment.

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Mr J R Fraser:

– -I ask the Prime Minister: Has he had drawn to his attention the fact that the lady who -contested the Australian Capital Territory seat for the Liberal Party of Australia at the election in November last polled not only a record vote for a Liberal Party candidate but also a record percentage of the votes? Does the right honorable gentleman know that the lady joined vigorously in a. campaign for the .grant of full voting rights for the member for the Australian Capital Territory? Will he now test his .stated belief that it would be more difficult for me to retain this seat if it carried full voting rights, and will he accordingly amend the Australian Capital Territory ^Representation Act so as to remove all restrictions on the voting rights of the member for the Australian Capital Territory?


– The honorable member’s question relates, of course, to a matter of policy, and he has been here long. enough to know that such matters are not dealt with at question time. But 1 am grateful to him for directing my attention to the fact that his opponent polled so well. In fact, I understood that the honorable gentleman himself at the time had said, “ She polled frightfully well for a woman “. She certainly did poll very well. There is no doubt about it. The honorable member was right. She polled very well indeed last time, and next time she will poll even better.

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Ministerial Statement

KooyongPrime Minister · LP

– by leave - It is my melancholy duty to report formally to the House that on Monday, 10th February, as the result of a collision off the south-east coast of Australia between H.M.A.S. “Melbourne” and H.M.A.S. “Voyager”, H.M.A.S. “Voyager” sank with a loss of 82 lives. The House will join me in extending to the bereaved families of thosewho have sustained this sudden and tragic loss, the very deepest sympathy. All Australia mourns with them. I inform honorable members, because I think it ought to be in the records of the House, that the Government has established a royal commission to investigate this tragedy. The commissioner is the Honorable Sir John Spicer. Chief Judge of the Commonwealth Industrial Court. He will be assisted by counsel who will, of course, be assisted in their turn by technical experts. There will beother counsel to represent the Navy and, Inotice already, one or two other relevant interests.

The terms of reference of the royal commission are as follows: -

To inquire into and report on -

  1. the cause or causes of the collision that occurred on the tenth day of February, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-four, between the ships of our Australian Navy, “ Melbourne “ and “Voyager” and the resulting loss of “ Voyager “ and of the lives of persons on board “ Voyager “;
  2. the facts and circumstances leading up to, contributing to or otherwise relating to the collision and the loss, including, so far as relevant to the cause of the collision, the nature of the exercise on which the ships were engaged and the suitability and preparedness of the ships and of their equipment and crews for that exercise; and
  3. the facts and circumstances relating to the rescue and treatment of survivors.

We believe that these terms, which we put at once under very close study and which I announced earlier, should be comprehensive. In relation to this collision, it is essential that nothing that should be made known is hidden. That is the whole object in this matter. Therefore, the terms should enable a thorough judicial investigation to be made. So far as we are concerned, no effort will be spared in bringing to light all the facts relating to this most tragic event. The first hearings of the Royal Commission opened in Sydney to-day.

Leader of the Opposition · Melbourne

– by leave - Mr. Speaker, the terms of reference announced by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) are far too narrow. The first two relate to the cause or causes of the collision and the facts and circumstances leading up to, contributing to or otherwise relating to it. The third term deals with the facts and circumstances relating to the rescue and treatment of survivors. The treatment of survivors might include those matters to which I referred in the question I addressed to the Prime Minister a short time ago. But even if the inquiry covers all those matters, it still does not cover everything that might relate to the disaster. The Royal Australian Navy has suffered other disasters in recent times. There was the loss of five midshipmen off the Queensland coast.


– Order! I point out to the Leader of the Opposition that he has leave to speak to the subject-matter before the Chair. He would not be in order if he raised any matter not connected with this subject.


– I have asked for leave to make a statement so that I can give the Opposition’s view on this disaster and suggest that the inquiry should cover not only this disaster but everything affecting the administration of the Navy that may be connected with the disaster or have some bearing on it.


– Order! I must point out to the Leader of the Opposition that the matter is now before the royal commission. The purpose of the royal commission is to inquire into the sinking of the “ Voyager “. A discussion of questions of the administration of the Navy not related to the subject before the chair or any other matter not related to this subject would be out of order.


– Do I take it that you rule that a royal commission is in the same position as a court and that I cannot discuss the matter because it is sub judice?


– Yes. I point out that the Leader of the Opposition has leave to speak to the statement made by the Prime Minister, which deals with the terms of reference. I also point out to the Leader of the Opposition that the subject matter of the royal commission is sub judice. Discussion of any matter not connected with the inquiry would be out of order.


– My motive in asking for leave to discuss this matter was to suggest that the terms of the inquiry should be widened so that matters which in the view of the Opposition relate to the issue could be investigated. I will not pursue the point other than to say that the Opposition believes there is a ministerial responsibility in this matter that is being evaded. In the final analysis, the Ministry must accept full responsibility for everything that happens in respect of the armed services, departments. The public’s mind would be set at rest if the terms of the inquiry were made sufficiently wide to enable the Royal Commissioner to determine whether there was any ministerial negligence in the refusal of Ministers to accept recommendations from the Navy Board in relation to matters affecting the Navy. Having said that, I am prepared to leave the matter. We on this side of the House are disquieted. We think that the Government has framed the terms of the commission so that a circumscribed investigation will be held and only certain facts, not everything, will be disclosed.

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– I move-

That the honorable member for Lyne (Mr. Lucock) be appointed Chairman of Committees of this House.

Mr Davis:

– I second the motion.


– Are there any further proposals? As the time for further pro posals has expired, I have pleasure in declaring the honorable member for Lyne to be Chairman of Committees.

KooyongPrime Minister · LP

– I congratulate the honorable member for Lyne (Mr. Lucock) on his re-election as Chairman of Committees. That is the best proof of the confidence that honorable members have in him. I also congratulate him on having easily the quickest transfer from a private member to Chairman of Committees that 1 can ever remember. This shows that you, Sir, have been refreshed by your own confirmation in office. We all know the honorable member for Lyne. We all wish him well. We have always enjoyed working with him.

Leader of the Opposition · Melbourne

– I congratulate the honorable member for Lyne (Mr. Lucock) on his re-election as Chairman of Committees. He got on very well with the Opposition in the last Parliament. I hope he does equally well in this Parliament.

Minister for Trade and Industry · Murray · CP

– I naturally would like to extend my congratulations to my colleague, the honorable member for Lyne (Mr. Lucock), on his election to this post. He distinguished himself in service previously and we have every confidence in him in the future.


– I once again thank the House for the honour it has done me in appointing me Chairman of Committees. I thank the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies), the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) and my own leader, the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr. McEwen), for their remarks. I am happy to be able to serve with you, Sir, once more in this position. I assure honorable members that, given tolerance and some understanding, I will do my best to maintain the dignity of the House and to maintain the high standards set by my predecessors in this office.

page 31


Mr. Kevin Cairns, for the committee appointed to prepare an Address-in-Reply to the Speech of His Excellency the Governor-General (vide page 14), presented the proposed Address which was read by the Clerk.

Mr Kevin Cairns:

.- I move -

That the following Address-in-Reply to the Speech of His Excellency the Governor-General be agreed to -

May It Please Your Excellency -

We, the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank Your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.


– 1 point out to the House that this is the honorable member’s maiden speech.

Mr Kevin Cairns:

– We have assembled here as members of the House of Representatives following the general election of 30th November last. I am sure we all appreciate that a democratic election is a most important part of the life of a democratic community because at such a time the people not only look back on the events that have occurred since the previous election but also look forward to what may occur in subsequent years. The people of Australia decided as they did on 30th November for several reasons. Certainly not least among these reasons is the attitude of the Government towards the economic growth of Australia and towards the development of its productive wealth. There is no doubt that our short term objective as well as our long term objective has been the economic development of Australia in the interest of the people who live in this country. That economic development has been pursued with the aim of constantly raising living standards and improving the welfare of the people.

The economic development of Australia was pursued in order to make the people as happy as they could be made by government endeavour. It is true that nations in other parts of the world also have wanted economic development but they wanted it for different reasons. Some countries wanted economic development in order to obtain power. Others wanted it for purposes of prestige. Power and prestige may have their importance but they are not sufficient reasons alone for wanting economic development. For a number of years the Government has been criticized in certain quarters over its attitude towards economic development. It has been argued in some quarters that we should not place too much emphasis on the human factors of economic development or on factors concerned with education, population and incentive but that we should place emphasis primarily on such matters as capital investment and capital formation. It was maintained that those were the matters that were most important. The Government has always held the view that human factors are not expendable and that they can never be negotiated away. It is interesting to note that recent studies on the development of some European countries that bear comparison with Australia reveal that in the long term productivity does not increase by more than 2.5 per cent, or 2.6 per cent, per annum. It is interesting also to note that of that increase of 2.5 per cent, human factors are responsible for 1.6 per cent, or 1.7 per cent, and the more material factors of economic development seem to be responsible for about 0.8 per cent. These factors are, of course, interrelated, but the statistics are a justification for what has always been the social attitude of this Government. Not only has the Government’s attitude now been justified socially but it seems also to have been justified economically.

I take great pride in being able to come into this House as the representative of the electors of Lilley and take part in the decisions of a government which has such an attitude towards the economic development of Australia. It is interesting to note that the development of a number of countries in Europe seems to justify what has always been the attitude of this Government. In recent years the United Kingdom has not developed as quickly as may have been desired, even though there was evidence of no lack of capital formation. It may be argued that in Great Britain there has been a certain lack of appreciation of the importance of human factors and human incentive. It has been suggested that when General de Gaulle made his great decision concerning the United Kingdom and the Common Market he was afraid of a resurgence of the human factors in the development of that country.

It is often claimed that the development of France in recent years has been the result of long-term planning, but it is a fair question to ask whether this is so. Most of us remember that during the 1920’s and 1930’s France suffered a relative decline.

It has often been suggested that the economic activity of France suffered from some kind of sclerosis. But when France began to develop more quickly after the Second World War it is interesting to note that the sociologists of that country were the first to detect a new attitude in the nation. In the early years following the Second World War they spoke about a new vigour in French social and economic life. They spoke about a new vigour in the French approach to social matters. In the late 1950’s this new social attitude became apparent in what we might call economic growth. So it may be said that the development of countries in Europe has vindicated. Australia’s attitude towards economic growth. The human factors have never been expendable in this country. They have always been important and they always will be important.

What has been this Government’s attitude towards the human factors of education, population and incentive? In the weeks preceding 30th November last year it was alleged in some quarters that not enough of our national resources was being devoted to education. I think the cry emanated first from some of our universities. I think possibly university students were the first to make the allegation and soon a number of university staff in Australia joined in the cry that insufficient resources were being devoted to education. In the recent election campaign statistics were quoted to show that at least 2.5 per cent, and as much as 3 per cent, of our national resources was being devoted to education. The statistics that have been quoted refer only to the years up to 1958 and it must be remembered that certain things have happened since 1958. It is fair to ask what amount of our resources has been devoted to education since 1958. Last year something like 3.7 per cent, of our national resources was devoted to education. This year, if we achieve a growth in our national product of 5 per cent., something like 4 per cent, of our national resources will be devoted to education. Those figures relate to public expenditure as well as private expenditure.

One may ask: Is this expenditure of 4 per cent, significant? In their campaign in 1963 the university people claimed that we should aim for an expenditure of 4 per cent, of our national resources on education by 1970. It would seem that we have reached the target of 4 per cent, six years earlier. The Government should be given great credit for this achievement. The people who have been responsible for private expenditure in education also should receive great credit for their efforts. It is an honour for me to be allowed to participate in the Government’s decisions in relation to education.

Dealing with population increase, I think everybody now agrees that the regular increase in population that has been obtained from migration has been a good thing. But has the Government always been praised for its activities in the field of migration? In the early and middle 1950’s the Government was criticised for varying from time to time the rate of migrant intake. It was claimed that by varying the rate of migrant intake the number of migrants brought to this country would decline not only in the short term but also in the long term. However, in the face of constant criticism the Government steadfastly pursued its migration policy and now is given credit on all sides for having done during the 1950’s things which required a great deal of courage. So our attitude toward economic development has been and continues to be that the human factors are never expendable and can never be negotiated away.

We in Queensland have been most interested in the development of our State because of our concern with human welfare and living conditions. I think many of us appreciate that the development of Queensland presents special problems. I can perhaps best illustrate my argument by referring to two reports that were made concerning the development of two States. One report was the Stanford report some years ago on investment opportunities in Victoria. That report endeavoured to outline which industries in Victoria were worth investing in and which would return a reasonable profit under reasonable managerial skill and without requiring special protections of various types. That report mentioned about 30 industries which were worth considering. Subsequently a report on the development of Queensland was prepared by an economists’ intelligence unit. That report dealt with the same type of questions as the Victorian report, but mentioned only four or five industries - half a dozen at the most.

The point I make is that there is a difference between Queensland and other parts of Australia and it is apparent that Queensland has certain difficulties. We in Queensland are very grateful that the Commonwealth Government has appreciated our special problems. We are appreciative of the fact that the Government has taken notice of Queensland’s special conditions, as witness the grants for brigalow lands development, loans for the rehabilitation of the Mount Isa railway, special grants to promote employment and, last but not least, the attention and consideration that this Government has given to Queensland’s annual loan allocation, which unfortunately was allowed to slip during the reign of previous Queensland governments.

In the field of employment Queensland has had some special problems. This can be illustrated best by going back to the immediate post-war years when this country adopted a policy of full employment. There was a lot of talk that conditions of full employment would be promoted and there would be a great increase in employment in manufacturing industries. Honorable members will remember the publications that were issued on this matter. Those publications made their point constantly and with vigour. However, our experience has been that the increases in employment opportunities have occurred mainly in tertiary industries or service industries. That is fair enough.

The question which any Queenslander asks, having regard to the dispersal of population in that State, is whether that pattern of growth in tertiary and service employment has occurred in the provincial cities which have been developed throughout the State. It seems that the pattern of expanding employment in Australia is different from that in Queensland provincial cities. I repeat that because of our particular problems we have been grateful for the special attention that has been given to Queensland by the Commonwealth Government through the Australian Loan Council, by means of special grants and through developmental schemes. It is against that background that I, as the member for Lilley, regard it as a great honour to be allowed to participate directly in decisions on these matters. Decisions made in the past have often been courageous ones.

In recent years a great number of people have wanted to have long-range, rigid plans for the economic development of Australia. Although those plans have always sounded very good, I believe there may be in them one danger that we should avoid. If those plans stifled the human factors in development, which are obviously so important, they would fall down under their own weight and defeat their purpose in the long run. Under those circumstances, this is a fair question to ask: In a country such as Australia, which has a disproportionately large amount of its resources devoted to international trade, do not long-range, rigid economic plans carry great danger? Overseas prices will not wait upon the plans that we make inside Australia. Flexibility and an approach which takes account of human initiative have to be preserved. Nothing indicates that more clearly than the plans for the development of the sugar industry in Queensland and Western Australia. Those plans follow very clearly from an awareness of the importance of human incentive and human interest in economic development. I believe that plans for economic development must be made to fit the people who are to develop this country. Many people have said that we should make plans and let the people fit into them. I say that we should suggest a plan and allow the people to work that plan out in their own way.


– I call the honorable member for Moore, and I remind the House that this will be the honorable member’s maiden speech.


.- Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply. I fully appreciate this honour and I am grateful for the privilege that has been extended to me. I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the electors of the division of Moore for giving me the opportunity to represent them here. I assure them that I am as conscious of the responsibilities associated with my duties as 1 am of the honour that goes with them.

I cannot let this early opportunity pass without paying the highest possible tribute to my predecessor, Hughie Leslie, who represented the electorate of Moore so faithfully for so many years. As all honorable members know, he is a fighter and a worker. He worked faithfully for the electors of Moore for many years. He is a great Western Australian, a great worker for Western Australia and a great fighter for Western Australia. He also proved that he was a great Australian and a great worker and fighter for Australia. Ultimately, the time came when he felt the need to put to one side part of the burden that he was carrying. I am sure that we all wish him the contentment, peace and rest that he has so richly earned in the retirement which I know he is enjoying at this moment.

The Speech by His Excellency the Governor-General alluded to many matters of far-reaching importance to the security and welfare of the people of Australia, which are to receive the consideration of this the Twenty-fifth Parliament of the Commonweallth of Australia. I note with pleasure that His Excellency referred to the cancellation of the visit by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, as a deferment only and that there is hope that in the not too distant future we again will have the honour of her gracious company.

His Excellency devoted considerable attention to matters related to the security and defence of Australia both in the field of foreign relations and in the field of defence requirements. It is heartening to note that the Government will maintain and extend its efforts to improve Australia’s relations with all countries, particularly our northern neighbours, and that there is to be a substantial increase in measures to strengthen the defence forces. On this occasion I should like to speak on the longterm aspect of defence rather than the immediate question of armed strength and international relationships. I refer to the need to maintain the development of Australia, the level of immigration and the growth of population. If the present trend of development along those lines is to continue - and I see no reason to foresee any change - obviously the spearhead of attack on this problem will continue to be the expansion of primary industries, with their proven ability to earn overseas funds, as well as the development of secondary industries to service the ever-expanding needs of development in the primary sector.

To enable primary industry to continue to sell its products in ever-increasing quantities at prices the overseas customer is prepared to pay, care must be taken to ensure that Australian production costs are held at least at present levels and to hold in check inflationary trends in the economy. In this regard it is re-assuring to the primary industries to note that early action has been taken to contain the availability of credit by temporarily freezing the surplus funds in the hands of the banking system. Too much inflation in the post-war era has resulted from the over-availability of credit to purchase consumer goods rather than the pressure on the economy of real money. The availability of credit for developmental work is, of course, in an entirely different category.

Thoughtful people with practical experience of the developmental areas of Australia are becoming increasingly concerned at the inability of rural areas to attract and hold young people. It is pleasing to note that progress is being made with the extension of television services to provincial and country areas. The provision of this medium of entertainment as a means of improving living conditions in the developmental areas can make a most valuable contribution towards solving the problem of maintaining an active work force in these areas. Its provision should not be purely a matter of economic considerations.

The major need of the rural areas of Western Australia at present is the completion of the agricultural areas comprehensive water supply scheme. A request for aid in the completion of this scheme has been submitted to the Commonwealth Government by the Western Australian Government. The request is for financial assistance in the nature of a subsidy on a £1 for £1 basis. The estimated capital cost of the work is £10,500,000 and it is proposed to spread that work over seven years. The project is to provide from reliable storages near the coast an assured reticulated water supply to farm lands and towns in an inland area of approximately 3,700,000 acres. The scheme is an extension of the modified comprehensive scheme which was completed in the financial year 1961-62 and which the Commonwealth Government subsidized to a maximum of £5,000,000, again on a £1 for £1 basis.

The scheme will provide a pool of employment totalling 114,000 man-weeks.

This will comprise every class of employment. It will include earthworks, concrete construction, manufacturing and laying of all classes of pipes, construction of buildings and the erection of the necessary machinery. Assured water supplies are necessary in the area to raise the standard of living and to ensure the retention of the sheep flocks in the dry years.

The area to be reticulated by the scheme is in general well served by railway and road systems. Educational and medical requirements are there as are also postal and telephone networks. As a result of a successful programme of pasture development - particularly leguminous pastures suited to the drier areas of the State - the carrying capacity of the farms in the area is rising rapidly and limitations on the availability of reliable water supplies are now proving a serious factor in limiting the development of this area. The desirability of encouraging and enhancing the type of farm economy which depends more upon animal husbandry than on cereal production as at present cannot be over-emphasized. The economic aspects of cereal production costs when associated with higher stock carrying capacity are quite significant.

Under the Commonwealth aid roads legislation which expires on 30th June next, it has been possible to provide some assistance to government bodies for the provision of roads in the developing areas. As these areas are situated well beyond the limit of existing rail facilities and living amenities, an adequate road system is a matter of extreme importance. I believe that the decision of the Government to make £100,000,000 more available to the States under the new scheme will prove of immense value to these developing areas and will encourage those stalwart individuals who are prepared to go out into these districts. They are leaving the comforts and amenities of the cities and bigger provincial towns to take on the hard burden of developing Australia, and this additional grant will enable them at least to be given the benefits of good and adequate road systems over which they can reach the nearest points of settlement and cart their returns from the land they are bringing into production to the nearest towns.

The policy of stabilization of primary industries mentioned in the Governor-

General’s Speech is sound and I believe it should be extended to cover an even wider range of primary production. The present arrangement under which the Commonwealth Government will match £1 for £1 additional funds contributed by woolgrowers for wool promotion is a welcome recognition that the maintenance of a satisfactory level of wool prices is not the sole responsibility or solely for the benefit of the wool industry. The provision of adequate funds for the Australian Wool Board should permit the establishment of effective promotional machinery. This machinery should be designed in such a way that it can readily become an effective piece of marketing machinery if and when a majority of the wool-growers decide that the time has come when the Australian wool clip should be marketed in a more organized and businesslike manner.

The recent rise in the export price of wheat and the strong demand overseas for this basic foodstuff have confounded all those Dismal Desmonds who predicted a national disaster through over-production. As well as producing an all-time record harvest the industry, through its own and its organizations’ efficiency, has reduced the price of wheat for internal consumption by ls. Sd. a bushel. It is at present supplying the internal requirements of Australia at ls. a bushel less than export parity. Had those in authority listened to the pessimistic theorists, Australia would have lost the opportunity to earn a vast sum of money and, what is perhaps more important, many thousands of people in other lands would have lost the opportunity to purchase much needed food.

Australia has a tremendous potential for food production. If we are to retain the moral right to hold this country we must use every endeavour to ensure that that potential is exploited to the utmost. To suggest that we can hold this island continent if we restrict food production in the face of widespread hunger in other lands, particularly lands to our near north, is to invite a major disaster. The surest and safest way to make this country strong is to develop and populate it. I have much pleasure in seconding the motion.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Duthie) adjourned.

House adjourned at 9.32 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 25 February 1964, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.