25th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Sir John McLeay) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– Has the Minister for Trade and Industry seen the correspondence referred to in the “Economist” of 1st August this year relating to possible takeovers by a large American company operating in Britain? Will the Minister examine the possibility of securing comparable undertakings from American companies not to act against the objections of the Australian Government when seeking expansion in sectors of Australian industry where their contribution to national welfare is negligible?
– I do not recognise from the question any intimation that might have come to me, but I will make inquiries in the matter. Perhaps later the honorable gentleman will identify the company concerned. If my Department is consulted in respect of any such transaction as this, I or my departmental officers would not fail to point out the desirability of an Australian equity and a no-restriction franchise, and so on.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Trade and Industry. As the Minister is aware, we produce not more than 3 per cent, of Australia’s olive oil consumption and an increasing amount of olive oil is being consumed each year in Australia, chiefly through the influx of migrants. The Minister will be aware also that present tariff protection barely allows the industry to continue in production, even supplying 3 per cent, of our consumption. Does the Minister- know that it has been proven that we have suitable land and climatic conditions to produce olives satisfactorily and that financial assistance to those who would extend the industry would be necessary until the trees that would require to be planted came into bearing? Will the Minister co-operate with the Minister for Primary Industry with a view to formulating a scheme through which we can foster the extension of this industry so that it may at least be able to supply the reliable home market?
– i am aware that olive oil is produced in Australia, that olives are grown and can be grown in this country with our climate, soil and general environment, and that there is an increasing local demand for olive oil, no doubt stimulated by the migrant inflow. Broadly, it is not the policy of the Government to identify industries and to set out to stimulate particular industries by tariff protection. The order of events is that an industry establishes itself and then, if it is economic and efficient, the well known policies of Australia operate to accord it tariff protection. There is a small production of olive oil in Australia at present. An application for protection was made to the Special Advisory Authority, as I mentioned in the House last week, and a device of protection was provided which ensures the sale of the Australian crop without adding to the tariff on imported oil. This protection is afforded in a bylaw procedure which provides that if one buys a gallon, or the equivalent of a gallon, of local oil one may import three gallons in certain circumstances. This is a temporary device which is operating successfully at present. However, the whole circumstances of the industry Have been referred to the Tariff Board for examination.
– My question is addressed to the Treasurer and I will preface it by referring to a letter which I received from him early in 1962 in which he said -
As you know, the Government has only recently announced a reduction in income tax. At the present time therefore I do not feel justified in recommending action that would cause a further considerable loss of revenue as a result of a general revision of the zone boundaries.
I now ask the Treasurer: Does it follow that the obstacle he referred to in 1962 has now been removed as a result of the Government’s recent announcement to increase taxation and, if so, will he now arrange for a general revision of the zone boundaries to be made? If not, why not?
- Mr. Speaker, the honorable gentleman raises what is, in effect, a budgetary item and he would appreciate that it is not the practice to deal with budgetary matters by way of an answer to a question. The House is still discussing the Estimates relating to the Budget I introduced into the House in August and it is not contemplated that there will be other budgetary proposals, at least in the visible future.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Trade and Industry and it relates to trade with New Zealand. On 22nd April this year, in reply to a question from the member for Wimmera, the Minister explained that Australia’s very favorable balance of trade with Japan of about three to one looks very different if translated into terms of purchases per head of population. He pointed out that we bought £6 worth of Japanese goods per head while Japan bought only £1 17s. 6d. worth per head from us. If this is a tenable argument, would the Minister explain why it does not apply in reverse to New Zealand where the figures are rather different, Ausbuying about £1 12s. worth of goods per head of population from New Zealand while New Zealand buys over £26 worth of goods per head from us? Does not this suggest that before it is too late, more heroic measures than he has so far been willing to contemplate are necessary if this particular partnership is to grow and flourish to the advantage of both countries?
– I do not find it necessary to explain the disparity in purchases per capita between Australia and Japan. This is largely due to differences in population and differences in needs of the two countries. A similar disparity exists between Australian purchases per capita from New Zealand and New Zealand purchases per capita from Australia, New Zealand having a smaller population than Australia. The point I make - and I make it publicly as well as in negotiations - is that it is not tenable to argue that because there is a disparity in trade between two countries there is an obligation on one of them to establish equality in trade. In the case of transactions between these two countries, each buys what it needs and buys where it can do so to the best advantage. New Zealand, principally buys machinery from Australia, presumably because she can buy best from Australia. Japan buys raw materials and food from us, presumably because she needs the food and can buy it to best advantage from Australia and because it needs the raw materials to provide employ ment for her own industry and to earn exchange by re-exporting goods manufactured from our raw materials. All this is understandable and when I enter into negoiations no-one challenges this line of thought.
– I address a question to the Minister for the Interior. In how many States are State and local authority elections held between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.? Does the Minister know of any hardship involved to electors in those States by having to vote between these hours? Will the Minister ensure that any amendments to the Commonwealth Electoral Act will change the hours of voting at Federal elections to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.?
– I cannot give the honorable member exact details of the voting hours for the various State and local authority elections. If he will put that part of his question on notice I shall get a reply for him. I do know that this suggestion was discussed when the Commonwealth Electoral Act was being amended a few years ago. The principal request came from Queensland. I know, too, that in the southern States the later voting hours are more attractive, particularly in country areas where electors who work in the fields have the opportunity to vote at night. I know from my own experience that a very high percentage of the electors like to vote between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
– How do you know7
– From the figures as I have seen them rolling out. Later voting has an appeal to the public. I shall look at the matter closely. At the moment, I am not in a position to say whether the honorable member’s suggestion will be accepted or rejected by the Government, but it will be looked at again.
– In view of the high accident rate applying in most States of Australia at the present time, I ask the Minister for Shipping and Transport whether he can say whether or not the Australian Road Safety Council is considering conducting any special campaign to educate road users further prior to the onset of heavy traffic during the Christmas vacation.
– The Australian Road Safety Council is concerned at the very high accident rate with its resultant deaths and injuries. Normally, at Christmas time, the Council does intensify its campaign for road safety, but this year, in addition - I think it starts today - there is being conducted a road safety campaign which is aimed at encouraging people to use seat belts. I suppose the use of seat belts would appeal to members of Parliament who would like to have safe seats. At any rate I understand that over the next few weeks there will be a very intensive Press and radio campaign seeking the public’s cooperation in the use of seat belts which, although they will not eliminate the causes of accidents, will reduce loss of life. The Australian Road Safety Council is hoping that there will be greater community and group participation in this campaign and that good results will follow.
– I preface a question addressed to the Minister for Trade and Industry by quoting from an address given by the Chairman of the Broken Hill Pty. Co. Ltd. at the annual general meeting of that company. I refer in particular to his statement-
– Order! I point out to the honorable member that he will not be allowed to quote from the contents of the address to which he refers.
– Then I shall re-frame my question. I refer the Minister to the comments of the Chairman of the Broken Hill Pty. Co. Ltd., at its annual general meeting, wherein he stated that for the year 1963-64 exports had been seriously curtailed, that it was only possible to maintain exports to New Zealand, that most of the exports of steel had been in the first part of the year, and that token exports only were being made to certain established markets. I also refer the right honorable gentleman to the latest available statistics which show that for the ten years preceding 1964 £326 million worth of iron and steel’ was imported into this country and £236 million worth exported, a deficit of-
Mr. SPEAKER__ Order! I must point out to the honorable member that the purpose of question time is to enable honorable members to seek information, not to give it. I suggest that he now direct his question.
– Very good, Sir, I will re-phrase my question.
– Order! The honorable member will direct his question or I will be compelled to ask him to resume his seat.
– Is it correct that this deficit of £90 million-
– Order! The honorable member is now disregarding the Chair. I ask him to direct his question without giving any information at all.
– In view of the stated policy of the Minister that national control of Broken Hill Pty. Co. Ltd. was not desirable, will he indicate to the House what steps he proposes to take in the administration of his Department to ensure (a) that the steel needs of Australia are fully met by this company from its privileged position and (b) that available export markets are fully exploited?
– The Government regards Broken Hill Pty. Co. Ltd. as a very valuable institution in the Australian economic scene. It is to the credit of the company that it had the initiative to establish the first steel production in Australia. Over the years it has had the reputation of being the producer of the cheapest steel or one of the cheapest steels in the world, and we are greatly indebted to the company for furnishing Australia, for its developmental purposes, with tremendous quantities of steel at an increasing rate of production and at a low cost by world standards. We have encouraged and aided the company, although I must say that of all the Australian companies I cannot think of one that seeks less aid from the Government than Broken Hill Pty. Co. Ltd. does. A year or two ago, when discussing the desirability of expansion plans, the company did tell me of its plans for expansion, and they are very big proportionate to their base. An examination of what has been done in the last couple of years by the company shows that it is constantly carrying out a tremendous plan of expansion.
It is true that the Australian economy has been expanding at a very fast rate, lt is but natural that the Australian economy should be taking most of the production of Broken Hill Pty. Co. Ltd. Indeed, it could have taken every ton that the company was able to produce. But the company has had a sense of responsibility to our sister nation, New Zealand, which it has traditionally supplied with most of that country’s steel requirements. The company has, with the approval of the Government, continued to supply New Zealand and has sought to explore other export markets. -In the circumstances of an expanding Australian economy the company has preserved what I think is a responsible balance between expanding its production and supplying most of its production to meet Australia’s needs, while not allowing export markets, such as New Zealand, that depend on it, to go without and not allowing export markets that have been won with great cost and effort to wither merely because we have a big demand at home.
– I ask the Minister for National Development a question. Does the honorable gentleman consider that the present go slow tactics involving approximately 1,000 workers at Mount Isa Mines Ltd. and previous industrial unrest there, which has prevented normal production rates being maintained in the past few months, will affect future capital investment in Australia’s north and thus hamper the efforts of the Northern Division of the Department of National Development to foster industrial development in what are at present under-developed areas?
– I think that perhaps the question might more rightly have been put to my colleague, the Minister for Labour and National Service, under whose authority this matter comes. However, I think I can answer the question by saying that I will obtain for the honorable member a full reply. Undoubtedly strikes of the nature referred to must affect to some extent development in the north but we hope that this will be a minor matter and will soon be overcome.
– I ask the Treasurer a question. In his Budget Speech the right honorable gentleman promised that legislation would be brought down to increase the benefits provided under the Common.wealth Employees’ Compensation Act. Did the Treasurer say that the basic sum payable to dependants of a deceased Commonwealth employee will be increased from £3,000 to £4,300? Did he also say that the flat payment of £100 in respect of each child under the age of sixteen years will be replaced by weekly payments until the child reaches the age of sixteen years? Will the Treasurer inform the House of the proposed amount of the weekly payments? Will those payments conform to the scale of payments under the New South Wales legislation? When will the legislation be brought down? Will it be retrospective to the date of the Budget Speech?
– The honorable gentleman has raised a number of points. It is contemplated that legislation of the nature referred to will be introduced - 1 would hope in the course of the current session. I shall see how far I can go at this point towards answering the matters of detail in the honorable member’s question, although normally I would prefer to leave until the introduction of the legislation the full explanation of all the points of detail contained in the question. However, as I have said, I shall go as far as I can towards meeting the honorable member’s request.
– I ask the Minister for Trade and Industry a question. In the light of Australia’s recent steel shortage is there any likelihood of other companies in Australia entering the field of steel production, not necessarily in conjunction with Broken Hill Pty. Co. Ltd.?
– Having regard to our national resources of the raw materials used in steel production - our resources of iron ore, coal and limestone - there must always be a possibility that another steel industry will be established in Australia. I have no reason to believe that B.H.P. would resent the establishment of another industry. Having regard to the natural resources that we have in this country and to the large and increasing demand for steel, it must be regarded as a tremendous tribute to the efficiency of B.H.P. that nobody else has felt anxious to enter into competition with it. I think this is the basic explanation why B.H.P. is the only organisation in the field.
The desire of the Government is that our great resources of iron ore should not result in Australia merely being used as a quarry from which those resources may be exported. It is the desire of the Government that our resources of the raw materials should be processed to the maximum extent possible in this country, thereby providing employment here and strengthening our economic base. When the end product is exported it has a content of Australian labour and investment which is of advantage to our economy and increases our earnings of overseas exchange. B.H.P. is doing exactly these things in the exploitation of its leases of iron ore in Western Australia. In Western Australia at present B.H.P., with the aid of the Commonwealth in rail standardisation work and of the Western Australian Government, is establishing a completely integrated steel industry. If B.H.P. can do that I see no reason why other great interests which command the technical know-how and capital and which hold leases of iron ore cannot do likewise.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Trade and Industry. Last week, he was good enough to outline what the Government had done to assist India under the Colombo Plan, based largely on long term measures. Can he say whether any direct gift of wheat is contemplated to relieve the present acute hunger in India?
– I suppose that I should be in a position to give a direct answer to this question. I am sorry that I am not. I can say that the Government has been in communication with the Government of India about Colombo Plan aid, within the terms of which it would be quite eligible for us to discuss wheat. To the best of my knowledge, India has elected to request that her Colombo Plan aid be principally in the form of items that will add to her capacity to produce not only wheat but commodities right across the board. The United States of America, on the other hand, has for a number of years volunteered to sell prodigious quantities of wheat to India for payment in Indian currency. The Australian Government has from time to time given wheat to India, and I have no doubt that it would be prepared to consider a gift on this occasion. But the policy of our Government has never been to say to another country: “ We are sure you need this and we will give it to you “. Such gifts flow not from unilateral decisions by the Australian Government but from discussions with the other government concerned.
Mr. WILSON__ I wish to address a question to the Treasurer. Will he intimate when legislation is likely to be introduced to enable Commonwealth civil servant pensioners and their dependants to receive the benefit of the huge surplus of more than £5 million that the Commonwealth Actuary has shown to have been built up, mainly as a result of contributions to the Commonwealth Superannuation Fund by Commonwealth civil servants?
– I shall check the stage reached in the consideration of various proposals related to this matter and shall advise the honorable gentleman in due course.
– I wish to ask the Minister for the Navy a question, which I preface by stating that I understand that United States Naval personnel, when carrying out battle exercises, wear full battle dress equipped with life preservers. Will the honorable gentleman recommend to the Naval Board that during future Royal Australian Navy exercises personnel be instructed to wear life preservers? I think he will agree that this could prevent loss of life should any Naval accident occur in the future.
– I shall certainly see that the Navy considers the proposal. I ask the honorable member to note that no loss of life was believed to have occurred in the recent tragedy due to personnel not having life jackets at the time. I understand that it is difficult for the Navy, in a fully operational role, to have the men wearing life jackets, because these restrict their movements. This does not say, however, that the men do not have this equipment in their possession.
– My question, which is directed to the Treasurer, relates to tha difficulties that farmers in the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales experience in trying to obtain bank finance for the purpose of establishing much needed pasture summer legumes - a new development in pasture improvement. In view of the confidence being evidenced by farmers in this new concept of pasture improvement, which promises to be the first real break through in summer fodder growing in the sub-tropical zone, will the Minister endeavour to gain the active support of the banks in this vital work, which requires only comparatively small loans and for which many farmers now find they are unable to obtain even small advances?
– The Government has consistently made it known that it desires the banking system to give preference and priority consideration wherever practicable to those who are producing for export. I hope that in their consideration of individual applications of this character the banks would not be unmindful of the general objective, which we have stated to them. I shall make some inquiries as to what has been occurring. The Development Bank does not set a minimum as to the amount it can lend. It does on occasion lend quite small amounts, but generally speaking it looks to other banks for the provision of small amounts. It may be that in the periodical discussions which the Governor of the Reserve Bank has with the trading banks this item could be usefully mentioned. I shall follow up that aspect also.
– I ask the Treasurer a question. In view of the announcement that the Government will probably introduce a supplementary Budget in February next to increase taxation so as to stop inflation, will he promise to introduce a supplementary Budget in the next few weeks to give increased benefits to pensioners, who are the worst victims of the present inflation?
– I am afraid that the honorable member has been reading the wrong newspapers or listening to wrong counsel. The Budget proposals of the Government are still under consideration by the Parliament, as I said earlier. I am not aware of any proposals for supplementary Budget items. Certainly I see nothing in the state of the economy at the present time which would appear to require this, provided that we all maintain a cool head and a sense of proportion and reasonableness in respect of the matters that lie ahead of us so far as one can ascertain at this point of time. I believe we are indeed fortunate that we have managed now, with very strong overseas reserves available to us, to establish the economy in a state of buoyancy and are making rapid progress in most of the useful directions in which production can contribute to the national welfare. If we avoid alarmist interpretations of every development which occurs in the economy and maintain a determination to see that the economy is kept on an even keel, I am sure that we shall continue to make satisfactory progress. All this adds up, by way of reply to the honorable member, to the fact that the social service proposals of the Government were announced in the Budget and effect is being given to them. I have no policy proposals to put to the House at this time which would vary those.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation. At present there is on display at the Melbourne airport a working model depicting the radar of the visual landing system to be adopted at major Australian airports. The model has a continuous tape description of the landing process and so has been extremely instructive and useful. Can the Minister say whether it is the Department’s intention to install this model at other major Australian airports - Mascot, Brisbane, Adelaide and so on - and, if so, when may this be done?
– This model was made last year for a science exhibition which was held in Melbourne, and it is being displayed now at Essendon. It will be shown at various other centres. It is not intended to make more of these models, but this one may be taken around. I will try to find out from the Minister for Civil Aviation when it is due to go to Brisbane.
– I address a question to the Minister for Air. I refer to the Minister’s recent statement that the air base at Townsville is capable of rapid expansion. Is it true that the maintenance facilities at that base are inadequate for even the existing peace time services? Will the Minister look into this matter with a view to ensuring that the base becomes capable of rapid expansion?
– I have no reason to believe that the maintenance facilities are not entirely suitable at present. I think the honorable member has been misinformed on this matter and therefore I have nothing to add to the previous answer I gave him on this subject.
– I ask a question of the Minister for Labour and National Service. Does the Minister foresee any attempt being made to extend the use of the tactics now being employed at Mount Isa to other mining areas in northern Australia, or does he think that the problem is purely local? Can the Minister say what measures are currently being employed to make employment in the north attractive to Australian workers?
– The reason for the dispute at Mount Isa is the failure of the Australian Workers Union to obtain an increase in wages of £4 a week for all males, and it is claiming an increase to £14 a week in the bonus paid by the Mount Isa company to the employees - in other words, an increase in the attraction wages paid at the mines. As a result of this failure, stoppages occurred and tactics’ were employed at the mines which were described yesterday by the Industrial Court President in Queensland as constituting a go-slow strike. This strike has gone on for far too long and is contrary to the interests of the nation. The honorable member asked whether there is likely to be an extension of the tactics now being employed. The advice I have received leads me to conclude that this is a local issue and that it is improbable, at the moment anyhow, that the stake will extend beyond Mount Isa itself. Passing to the second part of the honorable member’s question, at Mount Isa the union has already decided that there will not be contract work. Weekly hiring has been introduced. This must reduce the pay cheques of the employees. Secondly, as I have already said, the Judge has described the tactics employed at Mount Isa as a go-slow strike. Normally, the attraction for workers at Mount Isa, as in the slaughtering industry and the sugar industry, is the wages paid. In the case of the other industries I have mentioned there has been a further attraction represented by the short time in which the employees actually work. I feel that if the men were left alone they would continue to work at Mount Isa.
– Left alone by whom?
– By the A.W.U.
– Why don’t they go to the court about the bonus?
– The company wants to go to the Commission on the question of whether there was a strike but the union refused to co-operate in providing the evidence on which an application could be. made. Yesterday Mr, Justice Hanger extended the time in which an appeal against the refusal of the £4 a week increase may be made until 2nd October. I conclude on this note:’ The financial attractions for workers at Mount Isa are twofold. First, there is an inducement wage paid by the company similar to the wage of attraction paid in the meat and sugar industries. Secondly, there is the opportunity to increase earnings even further by working under the bonus system.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Social Services. Is it a fact that many organisations which have availed themselves of the provisions of the Aged Persons Homes Act require applicants to lodge non-returnable deposits as high as £2,000? Is this practice in contravention of the spirit of the legislation, and does it have the effect of excluding many aged persons who urgently need homes but cannot raise large deposits?
– Applications for grants under the Aged Persons Homes Act are considered only if they are consistent with the spirit and letter of that piece of legislation. I am happy to say, for the information of the honorable member and all other honorable members, that no piece of legislation has met with a greater degree of success than the Aged Persons Homes Act. During the few years in which it has been in operation, more than £22 million has been spent to assist the churches and charitable organisations to provide more and better accommodation for our elderly men and women.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. I refer to his proposal that a certain number of adults be trained as skilled workers, ls it a fact that skilled workers are required urgently in Australian industry; that each skilled worker provides employment for many unskilled workers and that until the current shortages of skilled workers is overcome no interference with the normal apprenticeship scheme would occur? If those statements are true, can the Minister explain to the House the reason for the Labour Party’s opposition to this plan?
– I have frequently pointed out to the House-
– I rise to order. How can the Minister explain the reason for the Labour Party’s opposition to this proposal? That has nothing to do with him.
– Order! The Minister for Labour and National Service is responsible for the matter referred to in the question, and he may reply if he chooses to do so.
– I have frequently pointed out to the House that there is a serious deficiency of skilled workers in this country and that in the critical industries there are ten vacancies for each person registered for employment. That illustrates what the honorable member for Mallee said. There is this immense deficiency which must be cleared up if development is to proceed at the rate at which the Government wishes it to proceed and if we are to sustain full employment. In reply to the second part of the honorable gentleman’s question, I recall that some years ago it was said that for every skilled worker that we placed in employment we could usually find jobs for four or five unskilled workers. I am not sure how accurately that applies to today’s conditions. I will try to obtain fuller details for the honorable gentleman and let him have them.
We have about two vacancies for every apprentice actually registered with us. This also points to the fact that the honorable gentleman’s statement is correct. What we are endeavouring to do is to attempt to make certain that sufficient apprenticeship opportunities are opened up so that, when the large number of school leavers becomes available this year, those school leavers will be rapidly placed in employment and many in apprenticeships. My reply to the last part of the honorable gnetleman’s question is that I cannot understand the opposition of the Labour Party on this matter. I content myself with saying that it is both inexplicible and incomprehensible.
– I direct a question to the Treasurer. What special grants have been made to each of the States of the Commonwealth in each of the last ten years, and on what terms have they been made?
– I find the question very flattering; but I am not carrying in my mind as encyclopaedic or as precise an account as I would need to answer it. I know that we, as a Commonwealth, have made increasing grants to the States in recent years. There have been grants to promote development in many of the outlying parts of the Commonwealth. The revenue grants have been increasing year by year in accordance with the formula decided upon in 1959. However, I shall supply to the honorable gentleman a precise table setting out accurately just what the distribution has been.
– I ask the AttorneyGeneral this question: In view of the publicity that was given to an answer to the honorable member for Moreton on the political affiliations of a gentleman named Mr. E. S. Sachs, who has been called Mr. Solly Sachs, has the Attorney-General been advised that Mr. Sachs was once a member of the Communist Party, that he was expelled from that body in 1931 for right wing deviations, that he joined the Labour Party in the United Kingdom some time in 1950 and was an endorsed candidate of the Labour Party in the last general election, and that the appeal on which he is engaged is backed by a large representative committee in Great Britain and includes the name of the incoming Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mr. Harold Wilson? If the Minister has not been advised, will he ascertain all the facts concerning Mr. Sachs and make a public statement so as to remove the smear that was placed upon Mr. Sachs by the question asked here on Tuesday?
– So far as I have been able to ascertain, and my information comes largely from a letter which was sent to me by Mr. Sachs and which arrived today, there is a wide representative support for the fund of which he was formerly secretary. Mr. Sachs provided me with this information. As to his past political affiliations. I understand, and accept, that in an action in the courts in South Africa in 1950 or thereabouts Mr. Sachs said on oath that he was a Communist.
– He got thousands of pounds damages, too.
– Well, what I have said in answer to the honorable gentleman was that Mr. Sachs, in sworn evidence before the Supreme Court, said that he was a Communist. I said also that this was in about 1950. As to the other part of the honorable gentleman’s question as to whether or not Mr. Sachs was an endorsed candidate for the Labour Party in the United Kingdom, I am afraid that I am unable to comment upon the political affiliations of anybody who chooses to join the Labour Party, whether in the United Kingdom or in Australia.
– On 3rd September in this House the Leader of the Opposition addressed to the Prime Minister certain questions relating to parliamentary retiring allowances and parliamentary allowances. In his interim reply on the same day the Prime Minister said that he agreed with the honorable member’s proposal that information papers on these matters should be collated and made public.
– Is this in the form of a ministerial statement?
– No, Sir.
– It is an answer to a question?
– Yes. The Prime Minister has accordingly had the relevant statements prepared. It seemed necessary to prepare them in some detail and this has been done. In the Prime Minister’s unavoidable absence from the House this morning, and at his request, I now table the statements. By way of explanation I indicate that the statements are directed to the following matters: -
The details set out in statements IV and V are taken from Commonwealth records and from information from State sources. Wilh the concurrence of honorable members I incorporate the statements in “ Hansard “.
A Statement by the Public Service Board on Commonwealth Public Service pay increases since 31.12.59.
In the period in question pay increases in the
Commonwealth Service have come about in two ways: -
Part D: Reviews of Occupational Categories.
Second Division Officers.
Technical/Drafting Officers and Assistants.
Shipping Service, various designations in the Government Printing Office, Dental Mechanics, and Managers, Assistant Managers and trade designations in Artificial Limb and Appliance Centres of the Repatriation Department. Another area for which increases have been agreed to by the Public Service Board is the broad category covering artisan and supervisory artisan grades and their semi-skilled and unskilled support staff.
Motion (by Mr. Hasluck) agreed to -
That the Mouse, at its rising, adjourn until Tuesday, 13th October, at 2.30 p.m.
Bill presented by Mr. Bury, and read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to extend the operation of the Copper and Brass Strip Bounty Act 1962 for a further maximum period of six months to 31st March 1965. Under the existing Act, bounty has ceased to be payable in respect of copper and brass strip sold after 30th September 1964. The Tariff Board is, at present, reviewing the industry and is inquiring into the level of protection required by Australian manufacturers of copper and brass sheet, strip and foil, and heat exchanger units of the types used with internal combustion engines. Unforeseen complications, such as the recent world copper price fluctuations, which must be considered in the inquiry, have resulted in unavoidable delay in the completion of the Board’s investigations. The report of the Board, therefore, was not received in time for the Government to study it and take appropriate action before 30th September 1964.
In order to allow the time required for the study of the Board’s report and subsequent action thereon, and also to continue the present level of assistance to the indus try, the Bill extends the period of operation of the Act until 31st March 1965, or a proclaimed date, whichever is the earlier. I commend the Bill to honorable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Pollard) adjourned.
Consideration resumed from 30th September (vide page 1674).
Department of External Affairs.
Proposed expenditure, £15,433,000.
.- I rise to speak on the activities of the Department of External Affairs and the amount of money voted to the Department by Parliament. I might at the outset pay a tribute to the officers of the Department, both at home and abroad. I suppose the Department is rather an infant amongst other departments of the Commonwealth. Although it was originally established in 1901, it was not until the war years that it really began to function as a department, recognised as one formulating and fashioning foreign policy and making Australia’s voice heard in the councils of the world. It was during the years 1941 to 1949, when Dr. H. V. Evatt was Minister for External Affairs, that Australia made its mark in world affairs.
The Menzies Government, after taking office in 1949, at first did not seem to treat this Department with the importance that it merited. It was only recently, when the present Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck) took over control of the Department, that the portfolio became a full-time job. It was a part-time job for too long and because of that Australia suffered. Mr. Temporary Chairman, the Kelly gang is in action on the other side of the chamber. I am quite happy to continue but if they have an important subject to raise I would just as soon sit down and listen to them.
– Order! The honorable member for Kingston will be heard without interruption.
– As I said, the Department of External Affairs now has a fulltime Minister and this has been an important improvement in its administration.
I think I should say that we all join in congratulating Mr. J. K. Waller on bis appointment to Washington as the Australian Ambassador. I think that this is, perhaps, a sign that the Department has grown up although I see, with some regret, that this important post is no longer occupied by a former Minister of Parliament. I agree with the remarks made by the former Ambassador, Sir Howard Beale, that Washington and London are two posts which, because of their peculiar position and their importance to Australia, should be occupied by a former Minister of the Government if possible. However, I have no doubt that Mr. Waller will carry out the duties most creditably to Australia and we congratulate him on his appointment.
It is difficult for a real foreign policy to be fashioned in Australia at the present time because foreign policy is allied so closely to defence policy. Commitments under alliances and so forth must be based on the ability of the nation to carry out its commitments under pacts such as those relating to the South East Asia Treaty Organisation and the security treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America which are all of much importance to Australia. I am sure the present Minister must have grave doubts at times as to whether the Government can adequately defend this country and whether we can carry out our commitments under these treaties because of the state of our defences. Our defences, I believe, need closer examination because they are so weak today. They are in such a bad state that it is very, very doubtful whether we could adequately defend Australia and at the same time carry out our treaty obligations. Australia has played its part under these treaties, I suppose, but 1 believe that the plea for more economic aid under S.E.A.T.O., which has been made many times, could be one to which this Government could pay more attention. I do not say that the Government has not given generously in some directions under the Colombo Plan. In many ways- we have played as good a part as some other countries but I feel we have to do much more.
Speaking of the Colombo Plan, I remember making a plea two years ago, when speaking on the Estimates, for the Colombo Plan section to be taken away from the Prime Minister’s Department and brought under the control of the Department of External Affairs. This move was made some time ago and I pay a tribute to the former Minister for seeing that this was ultimately done. I believe that the rightful department to attend to Colombo Plan matters is the Department of External Affairs which will handle these matters more efficiently. Because of developments in South East Asia we have been forced - rather, the Government has been forced - to be ready to shift men and arms, I suppose, if needed, to that area to withstand the march forward of Communism. But I wonder why we are so willing to rush in and do these things if we are at the same time neglecting to play a major part in the fight against Communism by filling the empty bellies of the people of Asia.
I come to the point of the question asked by honorable member for Adelaide (Mr. Sexton) this morning as to whether this Government intends to make a gift of wheat to India. I do not think it has to be made under the Colombo Plan. I think commonsense demands - and it must surely be the humane approach - that if people are starving in the world, particularly in a member country of the British Commonwealth of Nations, we should not wait for that nation to come on bended knees and ask for a. gift of wheat. It is to the credit of the Wheat for India Campaign Committee that it has supplied some figures in relation to our wheat sales to India and to Communist China. The Committee has stated -
In 1961, Australia charged India £25 lis. a lon for wheat, but charged Communist China only £23 lis. a ton. In 1962, India was charged £26 7s. a ton, and Communist China only £25 7s. In 1963, India was charged £27 12s. a ton and Communist China £25 16s.
This is trade, I suppose, but 1 think the position today warrants an approach somewhat different from that of pure trade. The “ Australian “, on Tuesday, 1 8th August, ran a leader headed “ No food is food for communists “ and spoke of the difficulties facing India. The article said -
India’s immediate problem is fundamental - that of too many hungry people. Basically this is the root cause for the success of communism in other countries in the area . . . Mr. Shastri in his Independence Day message told the nation not to give parties, lunches and dinners during the two months. . . . Some aid to India is traditionally given through the Colombo Plan, but there is the strongest case for the stepping-up of our investment in the area- empty bellies provide the feeding ground for communism.
There is no doubt that starvation is prevalent in India today. When India was savagely attacked by the Communist aggressors from China, I remember rising in my place in this chamber at the very outset of the attack and asking for some aid to be given to India. But the same answer was given then as was given by the Deputy Prime Minister today. It was: “ But India has not yet asked for aid. We do not know what India wants.” After a period of time, aid was given, and I pay credit to the Government for doing something to help that country. But why must we always say to India: “You must come and ask; you must bring your begging bowl, ask for assistance, and prove that you need wheat “? The world knows that a fellow member of the Commonwealth is in need.
Surely the Prime Minister is not adopting this attitude because he recalls that the former Prime Minister of India differed so greatly with him at the United Nations at the time of the Suez crisis? There must be some reason why we insist that some special plea must be made by India before we will help her. The estimates disclose that we have given aid to other countries without forcing them to plead for it. Whenever a disaster overtakes any part of the world, this nation generally plays its part and gives willingly. The Australian people are generous people. If in any street in any town people are known to be starving, someone is always ready to help. If the hat is taken round, you will always find Australians willing to help unfortunates in need.
This is our chance to do something to retard the march of Communism, if we want to retard it, and if we want to see the proud nation of India carry on its fight for democracy. Despite all her difficulties India has played a magnificent part in maintaining her democracy. India prides herself on her parliamentary system. She is the beacon light showing the rest of the Asian nations (hat democracy can work. I plead with the Government not to force this proud nation to beg for wheat. We know that her people are in need. We know that Indian children are starving. We have the wheat, and we can obtain the ships. Let us show the world that we are prepared to light Communism, not only with guns and bayonets, not only by shooting people down, not only by sending our troops to other countries regardless of the sacrifices that they may be called upon to make to keep Communism from our shores, but by demonstrating our willingness to feed the underprivileged people of the world. Let us show that we are prepared to help the people of this great nation of India, our sister dominion, a nation that has always played its part and has always been willing as a member of the Commonwealth, to do what it can in the fight for democracy and the preservation of our way of life. Let us not ask India to go down on her bended knee and beg for wheat. Let us say to India: “ We are willing to make you a gift. We know you need it. We are not asking for payment. We believe it is our duty to assist you and we will see that your people do not have to turn to some other parliamentary system.” Let me emphasise that if people are starving, then, like the drowning man who will clutch at any straw, they will turn to other systems in an attempt to survive.
This is our chance to provide food to help the people of India. By providing it, we will be not only doing what is right, we will be not only helping to feed starving people, but we will also be playing a major part in holding the threat of Communism back from a great country and a grand people.
.- I rise to deal, if I may, with the matter which has been raised by the honorable member for Kingston (Mr. Galvin) this morning-the question of giving wheat to India. I should like to make it clear that I am one who believes that we should try to increase the scale of our aid to the under-privileged nations of Asia. But I think that the honorable member’s very sincere plea for gift wheat to India at this stage may be based on a false premise. It is not entirely relevant to say: “ Let us not wait for these people to come to us with their begging bowls; let us step in and offer aid “. That approach overlooks the plain fact that, four years ago, the Government of India indicated to the Government of this country that it did not want aid from us in the form of gift wheat. It has never sought to resile from that position.
– Have you made any inquiries recently?
– If you will listen to what I have to say you will not find that a very helpful question. That is what the Government of India clearly said four years ago, and the reasons for saying it were perfectly plain and understandable. India has an arrangement with the Government of the United States of America under which she can get from the United States all the wheat that her ports can handle. The tragic fact is that port facilities in India are so inadequate at the present time that that country could not handle more wheat than is presently being poured in under the United States aid scheme which is constituted under Public Law 480.
Those are the plain facts, and I ask the honorable member for Kingston, who I know is sincere about this, to ponder them. If he does, he will realise that it is pointless at the present time for us to talk about giving wheat to India. She cannot handle any more than she is getting, and she has an arrangement with the United States Government which makes it more convenient to take aid from us in other forms. I think it would be unfortunate if this campaign to give more wheat to India was made a sort of political football. We should not ignore the facts.
I pass on now to the question of the present relationship between Indonesia and Malaysia. I am prompted to do so because last night the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren), as the self professed spokesman for the Opposition, said some very surprising things. I venture to suggest that he said things that would appal many decent Labour men. His speech was so studded with dangerous inanities that I propose to deal specifically with some of them. First of all. he criticised Great Britain and Australia for giving wholehearted support to Malaysia in the present crisis and he criticised the nation-
– Why don’t you read what I said?
– I am coming to what you said. I will read your words as they are reported in “ Hansard “ and I hope you will feel ashamed. He probably will not, Mr. Temporary Chairman, because I I think shame is a quality that perhaps escapes him. By way of criticism he said -
Again, on the question of Malaysia, Australia supported Great Britain wholeheartedly, and Great Britain has adopted the attitude that Malay sia has all the right on her side and that -all the wrongs lie with the Indonesians.
Those are the words of the honorable member for Reid, as they are reported in “Hansard”.
– What is wrong wilh that?
– I am glad to hear that he is compounding errors.
– Now give us an explanation.
– Is that to be taken as the attitude of the Australian Labour Party, that Indonesia has in some vague and undefined way the same measure of right on her side in the present crisis as Malaysia has? According to the expressed belief of nine out of the eleven members of the Security Council of the United Nations, she is engaged in unjustified aggression, which the Security Council has deplored. Is that what the honorable member for Reid means, or will somebody on the Opposition side have the courage to stand up and disown the honorable member for Reid and all he stands for?
– Why don’t you be honest and say I was against Indonesian aggression?
Order. The honorable member for Reid will cease interjecting.
– I am glad to see that the shoe is beginning to pinch a little.
– lust a petty lawyer.
– I will not describe what you are, because it may be rude. I remember somebody described you last night.
– Pretty accurately.
– Yes. I am not saying I disagree. Let us go on and look at the report of what the honorable member for Reid said last night. He said -
We should not put our imprimatur on the actions of Malaysia and say that it is in the right.
I do not know whether he understands what an imprimatur is, but 1 will assume charitably that he does. So be says that in his belief this country should not take the attitude that in the present crisis Malaysia has right on its side. He takes the attitude that this country should not say that it has right on its side. I wonder who is really influencing the honorable member for Reid. This is an interesting subject for speculation. It is interesting to try to work out what body of opinion is behind that form of inane expression. It is the emanation of the politically lunatic far left wing fringe of a once great party and I hope that somebody with some authority-
– Mr. Temporary Chairman, I take exception to that remark about a political lunatic. If the honorable member for Parkes implies that I am a political lunatic, I ask that the remark be withdrawn.
Order! The remark was not made about the honorable member for Reid personally. It was made in a genera] sense.
– I take a point that the honorable member for Parkes was referring to me personally. I take exception to the remark and I ask that it be withdrawn.
Order! The honorable member will resume his seat. There is no substance in the point of order.
– I dissent from your ruling.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.I have not given a ruling. No dissent can be taken.
– I am asking for a ruling.
The determination of whether language is objectionable is purely a matter for the Chair. I rule that the remark was not unparliamentary.
Order! The honorable member will resume his seat.
– I dissent from your ruling.
I did not give a ruling; I gave a definition.
– You just informed me that you gave a ruling, and I dissent from it.
Order! The honorable member will resume his seat. I gave a definition. [Quorum formed.]
– I am indebted to the honorable member for Reid for providing me with a wider audience before which to criticise him and his views. I can only say that responsible people of the Labour-
– Mr. Temporary Chairman, the remark made a moment ago by the honorable member for Parkes is offensive to me.
Order! I draw the attention of the honorable member to Standing Order No. 78, which provides that the Chair shall determine whether or not a remark is offensive or disorderly. I have determined that this remark is not offensive or disorderly.
– Would you advise me of the procedure to be followed by an honorable member who disagrees with your interpretation?
Order! The honorable member will resume his seat.
– Mr. Temporary Chairman
– Are you raising a point of order?
– I differ from the Temporary Chairman’s ruling.
– If you differ from it, put it in writing.
– The Temporary Chairman is able to look after himself without your assistance. I put it to you, Mr. Temporary Chairman, that you should require the honorable member for Parkes to withdraw the remark he made. I submit to you that it is offensive and unparliamentary to refer to any honorable member as belonging to a lunatic fringe. Last night Mr. Speaker required an honorable member to withdraw a reference that he had made that another honorable member was a fool. I suggest it must be equally unparliamentary to say that an honorable member belongs to a lunatic fringe as to say that he was a fool. The term is improper. I submit that you should rule that the use of terms like “ fools “ and “ lunatic fringe “ is unparliamentary and that they should be withdrawn by the persons who use them.
– On the point of order-
There is no point of order before the Chair 1 have made a determination that there is no point of order and I say for the benefit of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that I still determine that way. I have given a determination about an expression. The expression is used in a general sense. The Committee has its remedy if my determination is not in accordance with the views of honorable members.
– Mr. Temporary Chairman
Order! The time of the honorable member for Parkes has expired.
– May I move that the honorable member for Parkes be granted an extension of time?
The honorable member is entitled to a second period of IS minutes.
– I will take my second period later.
– I call the honorable member for Gwydir.
– I am rather glad that in the course of his speech the honorable member-
Order! The honorable member for Oxley will resume his seat. I called the honorable member for Gwydir. Will the honorable member for Gwydir give way to the honorable member for Oxley? I have already called the honorable member for Gwydir.
– ] have pleasure in giving way to the honorable member for Parkes.
I asked the honorable member whether he would give way to the honorable member for Oxley. I call the honorable member for Gwydir.
– Surely, Sir, you do not propose to call two honorable members successively from the one side, particularly in view of the fact that the honorable member for Oxley had risen.
– To which standing order are you referring now?
– I am not talking about a standing order. I am talking about fair play in this chamber. It would appear that the Government is ganging up on the Opposition.
I again ask the honorable member for Gwydir whether he will give way to the honorable member for Oxley.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN__
Then I call the honorable member for Gwydir.
– The rather childish exhibition to which we have been treated in the last 10 minutes is typical of the Opposition’s approach to this important subject of foreign affairs. I regard the external affairs of Australia as of some consequence, to be seriously debated by this Parliament in a spirit of earnestness and sincerity. The Labour Opposition in this national Parliament treats this important subject with levity and scorn. Have honorable members opposite no regard for the future of Australia and Australians? This is a magnificent country. I am proud to speak about Australia’s foreign policy - about the way we should manage our relations with other countries and the way we should go about improving Australia’s image in the eyes of the rest of the world instead of tearing down that image, as the Opposition attempts so strenuously to do.
I am very pleased at the interest taken by the Press, by Government supporters in this chamber and by other sections of the community in the welfare of Japan, which is our nearest wealthy neighbour. These days Japan is a wealthy industrial power. I am pleased that recognition of Japan’s position is so widespread in Australia, because Japan is so closely linked with Australia, both geographically and economically. Japan and Australia obviously must work closely together.
Let there be no mistake about Japan’s wealth and industrial might. The rate of increase of her gross national product is twice the rate that we register in Australia. Japan’s gross national product increases by about 10 per cent, a year. Japan is going forward at breakneck speed. Wage levels in Japan are already superior to those in Italy and compare favorably with those in France. Japan is a mighty industrial power and, I repeat, is going forward at a phenomenal rate. An instance of the rapid progress in Japan was brought forcibly to my notice recently when I travelled from Tokyo in a train for a distance of about 400 miles at a speed of 130 miles an hour. The Japanese were prepared to invest about £500 million in a 300 miles rail link between two of their main cities in order to develop a super express that is so far ahead of normal trains that it is hard to conceive unless you see it for yourself. There is nothing like it anywhere else in the world. The train is as far ahead of the normal train as Australia’s present day trains are ahead of Cobb and Co. coaches. The new line has welded steel sections of heavy duty rail one mile long. It is mounted on concrete ties with rubber buffers. It provides an extremely smooth and rapid form of communication.
While in Japan I had the opportunity also to travel on a monorail service that operates for 15 miles out of Tokyo. A service of this kind has never been attempted anywhere else. The service is the first commercial venture in the world into monorails, lt shows that the Japanese are prepared to back their judgment with cash. They are prepared to industrialise and to take tremendous risks in their drive for higher standards.
I make these points in this context in order to pose the question: Is it to be believed that Japan, which is closely linked to Australia in terms of our common destinies, and which ranks fourth or fifth in the list of industrial countries and which is rapidly climbing the ladder, will, because it has taken a passive role to date in foreign affairs, for ever remain passive? I do not believe so. I believe that one day Japan will again assert herself. When she does so I hope that our foreign policies and those positively asserted by Japan will be in concert and will not be running in different directions, because it would be highly dangerous for both of us in this Asian sector of the world if we were to pull in different directions. There have already been some modifications of the Japanese Constitution which indicate that the Japanese are tugging a little at the bit applied by the peace constitution. There has been some relaxation, for example, of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, which is called the MacArthur Constitution because it came into force during the occupation days. Those modifications or relaxations permit of a more flexible interpretation of the Constitution and allow Japan to have a small army, a small navy and a small air force for purposes of self defence. Article 9 of the Constitution banned all forms of defence forces for Japan, but if it is possible for Japan to interpret Article 9 in such a way as to enable her to have a small defence force, then it is possible to enlarge the interpretation so as to have a greater military force. I do not regard that as a danger. I regard it as something that may happen. It would be quite logical for Japan to wish to have a stronger force if her shores were ever threatened again by expansionary forces in Asia.
The fact that Japan has now shown that she has views on foreign policy different from those common to the United States of America and Australia indicates that this is something that we in Australia should understand thoroughly. We should do whatever we can to come to grips with the problem and we should try to see the situation as the Japanese themselves see it. We should try to work out with them some common approach to the threats that face us both. After all, we in Australia live in the Asian sector of the world. We are directly concerned with the welfare of the underdeveloped countries. This is the area of the world in which the greatest tensions exist and in which the greatest threat to peace arises.
So I suggest that we could do more than we are doing at present to bring Australia and Japan together. Our economies are complementary. We have entered into a trade agreement that has worked in an eminently satisfactory manner for nearly 10 years now. In my opinion, the Japanese Trade Agreement is a pattern for exchanges between our two nations of the sort that we should seek to multiply. The problem cannot be solved purely and simply by diplomatic means. It should be approached on every front. We should have exchanges at the cultural, social, economic and diplomatic levels. In order to bring about these exchanges and reinforce the ties that bind us together, we in Australia should exhibit a willingness to lower the barriers that now prevent this intercourse between the two nations from taking place, just as we have lowered the trade barriers by entering into the Japanese Trade Agreement. This represents a practical way of approaching the unifying of the views of the two countries.
In Japan lately, a proposal has originated for a business association between businessmen in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. I am sure that we should consider this proposal sympathetically and investigate it thoroughly. If we were to achieve some form of association at the business level, that in itself would forge a strong link that would reinforce the other links between Japan and Australia that already exist.
– There is strong resentment in Japan because the Americans will not remove their bases there.
– My friend on the Opposition side of the chamber is trying to assist me, Mr. Temporary Chairman. I point out to him that in the Japanese scene something that is strange to us appears. That feature is the historical relations between Japan and China. For 1,000 years, close bonds between the two countries have existed. The alphabet used in Japan came to that country from China. A great deal of Japan’s traditions, including the religion of Buddhism, came from China. So it is natura] for the Japanese to have sentimental feelings towards the Chinese and for bonds of kinship between the two countries to exist, lt is natural also, as has happened now, for the Japanese and the Chinese ultimately to have a feeling of brotherhood that differs slightly from the feeling exhibited by people who do not share those inheritances. Whether or not the Japanese view of China is correct, it is certainly something that we in Australia should comprehend fully. It is a view for which we should have a great deal of sympathy. I am sure that the Japanese are wise in taking a long terra view in this matter, as they do. But whether they are wise in playing down the danger of the threat to other countries by Chinese aggression is a very different matter.
Mr. Temporary Chairman, I rose simply to say how pleased I am at the signs that the ice that has existed between Japan and Australia ever since the end of the last war is now being broken. The Japanese are very fine people. They are very energetic and we must admire the progress of their country. In many ways, we are fortunate that Australia and Japan, in an economic sense, are complementary. Together, we can really go places. Separately - especially if we separate diplomatically - both countries could be in serious trouble.
.- Mr. Temporary Chairman, the performance given this morning by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Hughes) was rather fortuitous for me, because he laid emphasis on points that I want to stress. His performance was characterised by conceit, arrogance and political dishonesty. He wilfully misinterpreted and misrepresented statements made in this chamber last evening by the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren). This may be the kind of performance usually given by the honorable member for Parkes in the law courts, but it was certainly discreditable as a performance in this chamber, because the electors of Australia expect an objective assessment of matters that are discussed here.
I want to direct the attention of honorable members to certain points that the honorable member for Reid made last evening. He said -
I make it quite clear that Labour does not support military aggression by any nation. The infiltration of Indonesian volunteers should be discontinued. The infiltration of Indonesian forces into Malaysia will only inflame an already delicate situation.
I fail to see how any objection or umbrage can be taken at that statement, or at the following one -
We do not support aggression by Indonesia against the Malaysian people.
He also, very realistically, pointed out - the only people who can solvethe problems of Malaysia are the people who live within the borders of Malaysia. These people will determine the future of Malaysia.
The honorable member for Parkes seems to find that these are views expressed by some lunatic fringe of the left. Does he also consider that a lunatic fringe of the left expresses its views in the London “ Times “7 That ultra-conservative newspaper ran a series of articles on the subject of Malaysia in August of this year. I did not want to quote extensively from them, because I wish to discuss several other matters. But because of the performance of the honorable member for Parkes I must quote rather extensively from the “Times”. It stated -
Meanwhile, inside the north Borneo territories the political balance is precarious. The people of Sabah and Sarawak are by no means convinced of the benefits of the Malaysian experiment. Their doubts are reinforced by the apathy of the central Government, which seems to have inherited some of theless admirable characteristics of British colonial rule without the saving grace of its administrative expertise.
I call the attention of honorable members also to the following statement -
In the present climate of confrontation, the withdrawal of British forces would inevitably mean the collapse of the Malaysian idea which some observers are beginning to suspect was a disastrous experiment from the start. It is hard now to find much enthusiasm for it anywhere in South East Asia.
A further quotation -
The eventual solution may lie in a wider political grouping in which Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and possibly even Thailand as well could take part.
If I may make a final quotation -
The most important reason is that the future of South East Asia is not susceptible to military decision - the best security forces can hope to do is to hold theline while the cruical economic and political issues are resolved.
Thislast quotation is precisely in line with what was said by the honorable member for Reid. I am certain that no honest and serious thinker on the Government benches would suggest that the London “ Times “ is peddling extracts from some Communist official publication. We on this side say that because Malaysia is a member of the British Commonwealth we support it; but this does not mean that we feel there is no room for further improvement. I agree with what the honorable member for Reid has said. Not all right is on one side and all wrong on the other; there is right on both sides and there is wrong on both sides. It is a matter of analysis - of establishing the degree.
I do not think that anyone in this House or anywhere can feel completely comfortable at the way in which Malaysia is politically constructed. It is a place Which is ridden with racial discrimination. Over half of the adult population of Malaysia are deprived of the right to vote. Over 90 percent, of the police force and all the military infantry forces are Malaysians. Political leaders are in prison. There is no freedom of the Press. There are varying degrees of privileges for members of the community. The small area of Sabah has one more seat in the Parliament than has Singapore, yet Singapore has four times the population of Sabah. Do honorable members opposite feel that this is a reasonable manner in which to administer a democratic community? So, I come to this point: There has arisen in this country today, because of the peculiar attitudes of members of the Government opposite - and I do not exclude the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck) - a form of intellectual intimidation of the public. The Government gives people no choice - you either support its views or you are a Communist. The Government claims the inviolable right of infallible interpretation of foreign policy for this country, and this, of course, is a disgraceful situation.
In this country today, and throughout the world, there are people who do not agree with American policy, and some of these people, incidentally, are in prominent positions in the United States as I will mention directly. There are also people who, not agreeing with what is official policy for, say, the United States, Great Britain or this country, also object to the policy of Communist countries or do not accord with it.
I fail to see why this Government consistently refuses to be more independent about the manner in which it approaches the problems of foreign policy today, particularly as we are associated with other countries in the South East Asian area. Indeed, a letter in the “ Australian “ of 25th August drew my attention to this. Normally these things would not concern me, but this letter was signed by K. Rawle, of Rosewood. Dr. Rawle is a member of the D.L.P. and he was a candidate for the D.L.P. who opposed me in 1961. In his letter he wrote -
Foreign policy for Australia should be geared to serve this nation’s best interests. We should not just trail our coat after the U.S.A.
So, even such a ultra-Conservative and reactionary body as the D.L.P. feels it is time the Government established some independent expression on this very important matter, foreign policy. But this Government - and I emphasise, this Government - can change its policy from day to day. It institutes a system of doublethink, and anyone who cares to disagree with it is immediately impugned for being disloyal. The people opposite are ultrapatriots and we know and recognise what sort of refuge this form of behaviour provides.
Let me quote now from the report of Senator Mansfield to the United States Senate. He said -
But it is 7 years later and $2 billion of U.S. aid later. Yet, substantially the same difficulties remain if, indeed, they have not been compounded.
I remember clearly that up to the time this statement was made by Senator Mansfield anyone who criticised the oppressive Diem regime in Vietnam was impugned for being extremely disloyal and pro-Communist, yet eventually we found it was the United States Office of Strategic Reserves which played a prominent part in the overthrow of that regime.
I remember very clearly when members on this side of the Committee on one occasion some parliaments back stood up in an adjournment debate and criticised the bloody-handed thuggery of the corrupt Syngman Rhee regime in Korea. Members on the other side of the House who were well known at that time for their Communist baiting - but who are no longer here, of course - jumped up and imputed disloyal motives to the members from this side. Yet the next morning the newspapers of the world reported that Syngman Rhee’s regime had been overthrown by a popular revolution which was looked upon favorably by the United States Administration.
How much longer will we have this type of thing foisted upon us? Until John Kennedy became President of the United States anyone who said that nuclear test ban treaties were desirable was said to be disloyal. Until Pope John spoke out on the need for world disarmament and peace anyone saying those things was disloyal. Indeed, until those two gentlemen, expressing their views and their interest in the need for summit conferences, arrived on the scene, it was virtually impossible for people to express their thoughts, which had been arrived at conscientiously after a very careful and sincere observation of international affairs.
This Government opposite, which in principle objects so violently to any association with Communist countries, found no problem whatsoever, and still finds no problem whatsoever, in trading with Communist China. If we did not sell our wheat and if we did not sell our wool in such large quantities to Communist China, two great sections of our primary industry would be in serious trouble. Let me make this clear now: I am not criticising this trade with China and also with Russia. I think it is ridiculous for this Government to stand up and prattle principles but in practice take completely opposite action. Indeed, Prime Minister Ikeda of Japan recently has been reported as saying that his country will soon be establishing relations and commencing trade with Communist China and as prophesying that the return of the Johnson Administration at the forthcoming American election will bring about the establishment of trade relations between Communist China and the United States of America.
I think it is time the people of this country were allowed to exercise their democratic freedom to express a point of view without having foisted on them the obloquy of being accused of extreme disloyalty to the country. The honorable member for Parkes is one of those people who likes to move into this field of intellectual intimidation if he can, but there are people in the United States of America today who have played a prominent part in the administration of that country who say the things that we have been saying for some time. Our only problem is that we have been expressing the promethean conscience for the nation and are suffering for it. However, in the 21st September issue of “ Newsweek “ Roger Hilsman said what we have been saying for some time, and what was said in the quotation I gave from the London “ Times “: You cannot fight an economic and social war with arms. It is a waste of time to pour men, their lives, arms and equipment into a bottomless pit and never see where they are going, and to be losing ground. You do not fight an economic and social problem this way. So let me quote Roger Hilsman. He was an adviser to the United States Administration and a valuable adviser to the late John Kennedy. He was also a guest of this Government. Of United States action in Vietnam, he wrote -
This is the type of thing we have been saying for some time. Walter Lippmann is now saying that the time is over-ripe for negotiation with the Vietcong, that we have to be realistic about the problems in Vietnam. Why should not the Americans be disturbed, because it is their men whose lives are being thrown away, whose lives are being lost, in the battlefields of Vietnam. It is all very well for other nations - it is all very well for the super patriots opposite - to talk about fighting these wars to the last American, but it is not being realistic, nor is it being responsible.
The thing I want to mention now - and I want to make these points clear - is that people should be free to express themselves. There are people in the world today, and they are not Communists, who are saying that the Cuban intervention by the Kennedy Administration was timed as it was for political purposes. Why should not people say this if they want to? I see the honorable member for Parkes jutting his chin out and putting his head up at this suggestion, but this was said by Senator Goldwater in the course of his campaign. It is noted in the “Australian” of 15th September. There are people in the Western world today who are not Communists, nor disloyal to the West, who are saying that the Gulf of Tonkin incident was largely staged to show Goldwater and the people who may support him that the Johnson Administration can flex its muscles and be just as tough as a Goldwater Administration could be. This statement appeared again in a recent edition of the “Australian “. Why should not people criticise the way in which America or this country conducts its foreign affairs? We have a perfect right to criticise the way in which Australia follows its foreign policies. Why should we not be able to make such critcisms? Recently I saw in a newspaper a report of a statement made in the U.S.A. in these terms -
America . . . seems weak in principle when her so-called bastions of strength are corrupt reactionary regimes such as Iran and Formosa.
The newspaper article went on -
Douglas said throughout the world it is known that the American Government is on the side of the extreme conservatives.
This Douglas is none other than the Associate Justice of me United States Supreme Court, William O. Douglas. Do honorable members opposite believe that people such as he are Communists? If they do not, and if they are honest, when they discuss what people say, why do they not discuss those statements honestly? Why do they not report them accurately instead of misreporting and misinterpreting them and trying to give a false and dishonorable impression to the people?
I want to make one point in conclusion. I want to refer to the amazing and rather disturbing attitude adopted by this Government with regard to a protest to the French Government on nuclear testing in the Pacific area. The Government has stated that it is opposed to nuclear tests, but it is not prepared to translate its statements into action. It has left the New Zealand Government and Mr. Holyoake, who is by no means a lunatic left-wing politician, as the honorable member for Parkes seems to consider everyone to be who disagrees with him, out on a limb. The only excuse or explanation given by the Minister for External Affairs is that insufficient support could be obtained in the United Nations for a protest to the French Government. Surely this Government does not want to make certain that it has all the numbers all the time before it is prepared to act on the people’s behalf. Surely it has a responsibility to throw its support, its initiative and its moral beliefs behind the New Zealand Government and to show by action that it is prepared to back up what it says in words. The New Zealand Government is fighting this fight alone.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I will pass up the farrago of cheap personal insult that the honorable member for Oxley (Mr. Hayden) was good enough to bestow upon me. I regard insult from men of the political quality of the honorable member for Oxley as being in the nature of a compliment. I shall go back to dealing with the remarkable views expressed last night by the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren). I remind the Committee that he said unequivocally in his speech -
We should not put our imprimatur on the actions of Malaysia and say that it is in the right.
He was making those remarks, of course, in the context of the present politicomilitary situation in Malaysia and in the context of the unprovoked compaign of aggression being waged against Malaysia by Indonesia. The honorable member said in another part of his speech -
The Australian Labour Party does not support the stationing of Australian forces in Malaya or the participation of Australian forces in the struggle in North Borneo.
What I want to know, and what I think many people in Australia want to know, is whether those are the views of the Australian Labour Party as a matter of firm policy. If they are, then it is a great shame for the country, and I think that a lot of decent Labour men would think so too. If they are not the views of the Australian Labour Party may I suggest that somebody of a responsible character - and I would mention in this context the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) - should get up and disavow the politically obnoxious statements made by the honorable member for Reid last night, directed as they were against one of our allies, a small country that is presently the victim of unprovoked and completely unwarranted aggression. If the Leader of the Opposition or somebody else who claims to be a responsible person in the Australian Labour Party does not get. up and throw the honorable member for Reid out the window in respect of what he said last night, one will be left to conclude only that the Leader of the Opposition, having decided that he cannot beat the left wing of the Labour Party, has determined not only to join it but also to stay with it. I hope - and I am sure many of my honorable friends on the other side of the chamber silently join me in this hope - that the Leader of the Opposition has not gone so far as that, and that he will demonstrate that he has not gone so far as that by putting the honorable member for Reid in his proper place by saying that when the honorable member for Reid gets up in this chamber and says that we should not put the imprimatur of our approval on Malaysia he is talking through the back of his political hat.
– I did not say it in that context. That is untrue.
– The honorable member for Reid chooses to cry “ untrue “, but he knows that I have read from “ Hansard “ passages in his speech. I will read them again because a wider public might like to know what the left wing of the Labour Party thinks, if they do not know it already. In one breath, this is what the honorable member said -
We should not put our imprimatur on the actions of Malaysia and say that it is in the right.
In the next breath he said: “ No Australian troops in Malaya; no Australian troops in Borneo “. He implied that we should bring our Australian troops back. Does he want to dump Malaya and Malaysia, despite the fact that in another part of his speech he said in an airy way that the Labour Party supports the concept of Malaysia? I have never been able to understand what honorable members opposite mean when they say that the Labour Party supports the concept of Malaysia. I believe that when they enunciate those words they mean to be ambiguous. They employ ambiguity in a desperate attempt to paste wallpaper over the cracks in their party edifice. We all know from listening to people like the honorable member for Reid - and I venture to say that he is only one of many on the Opposition side - that such people would leave Malaysia to her fate and leave her to be trampled on by a nation of 100 million people. It is high time indeed that somebody who could speak with some kind of an authoritative voice on the other side, somebody who is not just a kind of selfprofessed prophet on foreign policy like the honorable member for Reid, got up in this chamber and disavowed such statements as the honorable member makes. I suggest that unless some honorable member opposite does so the Opposition will be driving yet another nail to add to the many nails it has already driven in its electoral coffin. I will conclude on this note: The honorable member for Reid said last night -
We on this side of the chamber have been trying to look at the problem with some balance.
This balance is the balance either of equivocation or, in the case of the honorable member for Reid, a distinct refusal to recognise that Malaysia is entirely in the right, despite the fact that the SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations conducted a thorough investigation of the question whether a majority of people in the Borneo and Sarawak territories wished to join the federation and found that they did. Despite this the honorable member for Reid, though he professes to have some balance, says: “ Let us not recognise that Malaysia is entirely in the right “. All I can say is that if this is typical of the balance of the Opposition in its attitude towards this question, it rather reminds me of the balance of a drunken acrobat trying to walk a tightrope.
.- The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Hughes) spoke for about 15 minutes in two speeches which were just a spurious spill-out of hate of me. He challenged whether certain remarks of mine were the policy of the Australian Labour Party. Let me make it quite clear what our party’s policy is. I read the following from the platform itself, under the heading “ Decolonisation “ -
Labour urges effective decolonisation of the territories of North Borneo, Sarawak. Brunei . . . but believes that Australian influence should be used to seek that such decolonisation should be in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Organisation.
We all know that at the request of Indonesia and the Philippines a United Nations team went to this area to ascertain whether the people wanted to enter the Federation of Malaysia. It was decided that they did so wish. From that time onwards the Labour Party has supported the concept of Malaysia.
In regard to the stationing of troops in either Malaya or North Borneo, the Labour Party made this very clear statement in 1963-
Labour does not believe that Australian forces should be committed overseas, except subject to a clear and public Treaty, which accords with the principles of the declaration which gives Australia an effective voice in the common decision of the Treaty Powers.
There is no treaty and no common decision in regard to Australian troops being stationed in Malaya or North Borneo. That has been stated clearly and argued by the Leader of the Australian Labour Party (Mr. Calwell) and many other leading speakers in the Party. So our position is very clear. In my speech last night I said -
Labour’s attitude is that the dispute between Malaysia and Indonesia should be settled by peaceful negotiation between the two nations with the assistance of the United Nations. I make it quite clear that Labour does not support military aggression by any nation. The infiltration of Indonesian volunteers should be discontinued. The infiltration of Indonesian forces into Malaysia will only inflame an already delicate situation.
I went on to say -
Honorable members on the Government side have already stated that all the wrongs are on the one side, that Malaysia is completely right and that Indonesia is wrong. We do not support aggression by Indonesia against the Malaysian people. It must be recognised that Malaysia now is a reality and the Leader of the Opposition has made it quite clear that we support the concept of Malaysia. But I say to honorable members that the only people who can solve the problems of Malaysia are the people who live within the borders of Malaysia. These people will determine the future of Malaysia.
I do not want to step back from, apologise for, or retract any one of those statements. My position is very clear. I am expounding and expressing the point of view and official policy of the Australian Labour Party, and no other point of view.
I rose not to answer the spurious remark made by the honorable member for Parkes but to discuss other matters. I am glad that on this occasion the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck) is at the table, because since he took over his present portfolio many questions have been asked during question time and, as I said last night, he has adopted a Messiah-like attitude that he and he alone has an understanding of these great problems of international relationships. What information on foreign affairs does the Minister give at question time? He does not give any information in reply to questions about the apartheid policy of South Africa and what action will be taken in relation to that policy. Only negative answers are given. If we ask questions about the French nuclear tests, no positive policy is enunciated; the Minister just says that the Government is opposed to those tests.
Only yesterday the Leader of the Opposition and I questioned the Minister about Australia and New Zealand opposing an air raid by British forces on an Indonesian naval base. I thought that such opposition was a fairly progressive and independent line to be taken by Australia. But the Minister would not give any information at all to the House. I say this to the Minister: You once said that you would take an independent line. I hope you do. If you do, members of the Opposition will assist you and encourage you to take a truly independent and conciliatory line in order to draw the nations of the world together and not to divide them. We have to learn to live together and to understand other nations. I consider that your Department is one of the most important Commonwealth departments, because it is the first line of Australia’s defence. You must build up good will with other nations -
Order! The honorable member will address the Chair.
– I want to discuss briefly the apartheid policy in South Africa. Mr. Tom Mboya, during his recent visit to Australia as a guest of the Government, said that economic sanctions should be imposed on South Africa because he believes that that is the only way to solve the problem peacefully, and that if peaceful steps such as economic sanctions are not taken blood will flow in South Africa. The Government has been questioned on whether it would be prepared to impose economic sanctions. What is its negative reply? Questions have been asked by numbers of back benchers on the Government side - no doubt prompted by front benchers - about trade between South Africa and Communist countries, such as Communist China and Russia. I hope that the Minister will compile a list of that trade and make it available to honorable members.
If Communist countries arc trading with South Africa, they should be condemned in the same way as any other nation. We do not stand by any particular section. The British Labour Party, under Harold Wilson who soon will be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, has made its position on this matter very clear. Under Labour there will be no trade with South Africa and no arms for South Africa. Under the Conservative Government, the United Kingdom, in fact, is trading with and sending arms to the Government of South Africa to enable it to suppress the majority of the population in that country, which is non- white.
On Tuesday two questions were asked in the House about a South African who is trying to do something to educate the people of Australia about the great difficulties that exist in relation to freedom of association and of thought in South Africa. The honorable member for Henty (Mr. Fox), who normally is not a Red-baiter, stood up and in his question referred to this man as being -
The honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) - that well-known Red-baiter - in quite a flurry stood up and referred to - a fund being sponsored in Australia by a publicly confessed Communist, Solly Sachs.
Those two smears were placed on this man by Government back benchers because of his activities in Australia. I have in my hand a book entitled “The Choice Before South Africa “, which was published in 1952. The foreword or introduction to it was written by Mr. Tom Driberg, M.P., a prominent member of the British Labour Party. I have been informed of some of the background of this matter. Other members of the Australian Labour Party have been informed, too. Mr. Sachs was a member of the Communist Party up to 1931. He was expelled by the Party for right wing diver.sionism. From that time on he associated himself with liberal thought in South Africa until he was expelled from that country by the South African Government for his trade union activities.
Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.
– Before the suspension of the sitting I was describing the smearing tactics used by Government supporters in calling a person a Communist, under Parliamentary privilege. Their aim is to smear Mr. Sachs in order to destroy his mission to this country. Mr. Sachs represents the London Defence and Aid Fund which is directed to aiding people suffering under the South African apartheid policy. It is worthwhile to mention that associated with Mr. Sachs in London are such people as the leader of the Labour Party, Mr. Harold Wilson, and the leader of the Liberal Party, Mr. Jo Grimond, not to mention such people as Canon Collins of St. Paul’s Cathedral and many other prominent figures in London. Mr. Sachs’s mission to Australia is to raise funds to render aid to destitute dependent women and children whose breadwinners are in prison because of their struggle against apartheid, and also to provide legal assistance to defend those charged with political offences.
I said earlier that Mr. Sachs was a member of the Communist Partly until 1931 when he was expelled for right wing deviationism. From that time he associated himself with all liberal activities and thought in South Africa. Eventually he was expelled from South Africa because of his trade union activities. He joined the British Labour Party in 1953 and was a Labour Party candidate in the 1959 election. He is still an active and loyal member of the British Labour Party. In reply to a question this morning the Attorney-General (Mr. Snedden) said that Mr. Sachs had said on oath during a court case in 1952 that he was a Communist. Of course he was a Communist. “ Was “ a Communist not “ is “ a Communist. He was a Communist prior to 1931. But the Attorney-General did not say, as the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) did by interjection, that Mr. Sachs received substantial damages because of a published smear that he was a Communist. Anyone who is really interested in E. S. Sachs’s political evolution may read his book “ Rebel’s Daughters “, which sets out his entire political career and activities in South Africa. I hope that people of goodwill in Australia will support and assist Mr. Sachs in his fund-raising so that those unfortunate people in South Africa may be helped in their fight against the oppressive Verwoerd Government of South Africa and its apartheid policy.
I want very quickly to refer to the attitude of the Government to the French nuclear tests. Honorable members on this side of the chamber have agitated for the Government to take the initiative and move a resolution in the United Nations condemning the French tests. We have asked the Government to co-operate with the New Zealand Government and the governments of other countries bordering the South Pacific so that action can be taken by them. We have acted in this way because we know that the French tests will create death through fall-out, but there has been a negative answer from the Government. Government supporters start talking about the imminence of China becoming a nuclear or atomic power. But what does the Labour Party say? We have said: Let us bring China into the United Nations. Let us put her in her rightful place in the United Nations, because if we are to have world peace and world disarmament we cannot exclude China.
We of the Labour Party have made it quite clear that we condemn any nation that is not prepared to sign the partial test ban treaty. We were very quick to congratulate the Government on its progressive move in signing the treaty, and we supported Sir Garfield Barwick when he called on other nations to sign the treaty. We do not discriminate between French and Chinese tests. We want to see all nations become signatories to the test ban treaty. Let the Government be realistic about this. The only way that we can bring China in is to bring it into the United Nation!* - the family of nations. Do not keep China outlawed as it is at present. You cannot solve problems without getting together and discussing the problems rationally. I believe that many problems have been falsified and built up on both sides. The more that we can bring people together the more we will achieve. I have pleaded with the Minster in relation to this. I hope that his policy will be independent and conciliatory, not one that will drive nations apart but rather one that will draw them together. If we play that role I believe that we will be playing a saner role and will have a better Australia and a better world.
– The honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) has apparently been chosen by the Labour Party to lead for it in this foreign affairs debate. 1 would therefore see this as an excuse if I had not listened to him with such attention, both last night and this afternoon.
His speech was notable for some of the things that he said and for some of the things that he did not say; but let me look first at his line on Malaysia. He said that the Australian Labour Party supports the concept of Malaysia, but that it also supports the thesis that we should not be sending troops into that area because, so he said, the Malaysians should be left to work out their own destiny. Surely what we are trying to do is to allow the Malaysians to work out their own destiny, to prevent them from being overwhelmed by aggression from a larger neighbour. Surely if we support the concept of Malaysia we should be prepared to do something about it when that country comes under unjust and unprovoked attack.
This line of the honorable member for Reid is a peculiar one. It can be expressed in the words: “ Oh yes; we support this in principle, but we are going to do nothing about it”. It is a line which is grateful to the Communists - music in the Communists’ ears. I do not say that the honorable member for Reid is a member of the Communist Party, but what I do say is that the closeness of the policy that he puts forward from time to time to the interests of the Communist Party is remarkable and that this is a good reason why he should not be in this Parliament. I hope that his electors will take note of this and see that he is not in future parliaments. I say, furthermore, that the contaminating presence of that type of policy on the Labour side is the prime and very rightful reason why honorable members opposite can never become the Government of this country. The contaminating presence of these Communist lines is a real and a valid reason for keeping the Labour Party out of power. But it is not only in this Malaysian example. For instance, the honorable member said in regard to South Africa: “Let us have economic sanctions against South Africa”. But this is the man who, in the same breath, says: “ Let us trade with Communist China”. He makes no suggestion of economic sanctions against Communist China.
Whatever the wrongs done by South Africa - and I can stand on the record of what I have said in this place in regard to them - the . menace and wrongdoings of Communist China are a hundredfold worse. If there is any reason at all for applying economic sanctions to South Africa, would not an honest man find a hundred times the reasons for economic sanctions against Communist China? But no; this is not the line of the honorable member for Reid.
Members of this House and people outside this House will have observed with some apprehension the news in the Press of the last three days that Communist China was taking a further step towards becoming a nuclear power. This is something that we should not just deplore in the same way as we might just support the concept of Malaysia; this is something that we have to do something about. It is not the first time I have said in this House - and I repeat it - that this is the main menace to the world today. I have always believed in nuclear disarmament. I have always believed that it should be made effective and I have always advocated the measures which were necessary to make it effective and preserve world peace. I have not aligned myself with those who pay only lip service to world peace, those who advocate policies which can only lead to nuclear war.
Now. what is the position in regard to Communist China? She is not a nuclear power and it will be some years - four or five years perhaps - before she can be one even if she should succeed today in making one or two atomic detonations.
If she does become a full nuclear power then what is our future? It is not often that I take at face value pronouncements of Soviet officials but there is a pronouncement which has been repeated time and time again by people including Mr. Khrushchev and which I think should be brought to the attention of the Committee. I believe this to be a true version, not because I believe what a Soviet official says, but because it is the only thing that can possibly explain the rift between Communist China and Communist Russia. The rift is simply over this: The old Stalin plan for Russia was to use nuclear power for war or blackmail and Khrushchev shied away from this because the new fusion bombs were so much worse than the fission bombs; and today the Chinese Communists are throwing this in the teeth of the Russians. They are saying: “You should mean thermonuclear war. A true Communist means this. This is what Marxism-Leninism is.” This is the nature of the split between Russia and China. Last April, speaking to the Supreme Soviets in a keynote speech, Mr. Suslov gave an account of what happened in Moscow in 1957. I will read from what he said -
And so it goes on. There are other dated quotations in the same strain. There can be no reasonable doubt that Communist China is plotting thermonuclear war on a total scale and we have to do something about it in the name of peace and in the name of the Chinese people who will be destroyed as well as ourselves. We must do something about it in time. We must not just support the concept of deploring this. Action is necessary and the world had better steel itself to deal with the problem of enucleating Red China before it is too late because, on the evidence which is now quite incontro vertible. Red China means thermonuclear war as soon as she is capable of waging it.
I know that what I am saying is not agreeable to the honorable member for Reid who, since his late mentor, Mr. Haylen, has been reft from us, has almost constituted himself as the head of the China lobby in this House. But it still is the fact that Red China means thermonuclear war as soon as she gets the capability to wage it. She has not that capability to wage it now. She will not have it for four or five years, but during that time the world must act for its own preservation against war in the name of peace and for the preservation of all people, including the Chinese people who will suffer if this madman and criminal, Mao Tse-tung, is allowed to continue on his present course.
This may mean United Nations action. It should mean United Nations action because, although Communist China is not a member of the United Nations - may I remind honorable members - the charter of that organisation extends the authority of the United Nations over all peoples whether members or not and in signing that charter, as we have signed it, we have assumed responsibility for keeping the peace among nations whether or not they are members of the United Nations. It makes no difference at all that Communist China is not a member of the United Nations. The United Nations has a clear, simple and compelling duty to act at any time; to act by persuasion if possible and, if persuasion fails, then by force, to keep the peace and to prevent thermonuclear war involving the whole world. It may be necessary to use force to take out the nuclear plants in Communist China and such force could be effectively applied by the United Nations. This is not only something which we can do; it is our moral duty to do it - our moral duty in the name of peace - because only by acting in time can we prevent this criminal, this madman, this MaoTsetung, this friend of the honorable member for Reid, from plunging the world into a cataclysm which is beyond reckoning and beyond computation.
Now, while we talk of our lesser matters of foreign policy, perhaps we might turn our minds to this, an urgent task in the sense that time is limited, but a possible task in the sense that there are four or five years, or some quite considerable measure of years, to go before Communist China has the power to unleash these forces of destruction. I do not believe that the people of Communist China are parties to this infamy because I know that in that country - and elsewhere where the Communist Party rules - the people have little say in the policies of their rulers.
A few minutes ago we heard the honorable member for Reid denouncing the dictators in Vietnam and Korea. Has he no word of condemnation for the dictators in Communist China, for the murderers in Communist China, for the people who have spilt more blood than any dictators in history? Not a word apparently. His speech was notable not only for the things he said but also for the things he failed to say.
– Mr. Temporary Chairman, I did not interrupt the speech of the honorable member for Mackellar, but I ask that two statements be withdrawn.
– Order! I ask the honorable member to resume his seat for a moment. He has already spoken twice. Is he raising a point of order?
– A personal explanation. I desire the withdrawal of two statements that the honorable member for Mackellar made. The first one is: “Now that Mr. Haylen has gone, the honorable member for Reid is the head of the Chinese lobby “. The second is: “That madman Mao Tsetung, the friend of the honorable member for Reid “. Those statements are objectionable to me and I ask that they be withdrawn.
Order! I point out to the honorable member member that he should have taken exception at the time when those statements were made. It is too late for him to take exception to them now.
– Those statements have been made, and I ask that they be withdrawn. Out of courtesy, I did not interrupt the honorable member for Mackellar, but I now ask that the statements be withdrawn.
I repeat that the honorable member had the opportunity and did not exercise it.
– Mr. Temporary Chairman, I ask for guidance. Certain statements have been made by the honorable member for Mackellar. I want those statements withdrawn because they are objectionable to me. They are on the record, and the man who has made them should withdraw them. Apparently I was in error in not interrupting him at the time. I did not do so because I did not want to cause any disruption in his speech. I am stating now that the statements are objectionable to me and I ask you how I can have them withdrawn.
I repeat again that you had the right to take objection at the time and you did not exercise it.
– Mr. Temporary Chairman-
Order! you will resume your seat.
– I now ask-
Order! You will resume your seat while I am on my feet.
– If it will assist the honorable member for Reid, I am perfectly prepared to withdraw the phrase: “ The friend of Mao Tse-tung “. I am glad that one brand has been snatched from the burning.
– I ask for an opportunity to make a personal explanation.
Order! The honorable member for Reid will resume his seat. I cannot accept a qualified withdrawal from the honorable member for Mackellar. He must make a complete withdrawal.
– Yes, I withdraw the phrase.
– I now wish to make a personal explanation. The honorable member for Mackellar has withdrawn only one of the statements to which I have taken objection. I have been misrepresented.
Order! I suggest to the honorable member that he should not canvass the question.
– I am not canvassing the question. The honorable member for
Mackellar also said: “ Now that Mr. Haylen has gone, the honorable member for Reid is the head of the Chinese lobby “. That is completely false. It is a complete smear by a man who is on the verge of paranoia.
Order! The honorable member for Reid will resume his seat. He must not canvass a ruling of the Chair.
– As I stated earlier, I am not a lobbyist for the Chinese. I am only a lobbyist for the Australian Labour Party.
Order! The honorable member will resume his seat.
Mr. MclVOR (Gellibrand) [2.40].- It is not unusual in these debates on foreign affairs to hear honorable members on the Government side accusing members of the Australian Labour Party of being Communists or Communist sympathisers. It is no new form of attack. Indeed, it is something to which we have become very accustomed, and others engaging in similar tactics in other places have found it has cost them quite a lot of money. As I listen to certain members on the Government side speaking on foreign affairs, I sometimes think that the only thing that would satisfy them would be to see an atomic bomb or a nuclear bomb dropped somewhere. It appears to me that this would give them cause for great jubilation. The greatest authorities in the world have told us there is no escape from nuclear bombs, yet, only a few moments ago, we heard the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) virtually advocating that a nuclear bomb be dropped on mainland China. Let me say that if there is no escape, there is no victory.
As usual, too, this debate has focussed attention on the underdeveloped countries and the countries which are just emerging from serfdom to a state of independence. Typical examples of what is going on in those countries can- be seen by a glance at the headlines on a page which I tore at random from the Sydney “ Daily Telegraph “ of 30th September. Some of those headlines read: “ Expansion of War. U.S. Warning to Reds on Vietnam “; Sukarno in Moscow for Arms Talks “; “ Violence
Flares in Opposition to Banda’s Regime “; and “ Riots in New Delhi “. All these headlines emphasise the fact that there is no isolation in world affairs today; that the days of isolation in world affairs have gone forever. They bring forcibly to our minds the fact that riots, bloodshed and loss of life and property are more and more becoming just common everyday occurrences and today, atrocities are almost taken for granted, to say the least. As each day passes Australia becomes more and more involved. When we are discussing international affairs, emphasis is always placed by Government supporters on the need to stop the growth of Communism. This was done by the last speaker, the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth).
I think that we should pause for a moment and ask ourselves what is the cause of Communism. I give it to honorable members in the words of the late John Kennedy who said -
In this world today there is much poverty, there is much hunger and there is much ignorance and disease. These things are not the products of Communism; but Communism is the product of these things.
Pandit Nehru, the great Prime Minister of India, who has now passed away, said this -
The four greatest enemies of mankind in the world today are ignorance, poverty, disease and hunger.
Who could better realise this than the late Pandit Nehru? Although shot and shell, death, desolation and carnage have perhaps been the greatest contributions so far made to stopping the growth of Communism, it is obvious that these sorts of procedures have not achieved a great deal. It is true to say that the policy of filling graves to combat Communism has failed and the sooner we get down to a policy of filling bellies the better it will be for the world in general. Countless millions of pounds are being spent annually on weapons of war - weapons that can be used only for destruction; weapons that can only destroy but cannot create. Yat after years cif war in many places the growth of Communism is still spoken of today just as earnestly as it has been in the years past.
I value our way of life as much as anybody who loves his country could value it. I have the greatest regard for the welfare of my children and of their children. But I often think of the vicious circle of hatred and suspicion that pervades the world. The East is suspicious of the West and the West is suspicious of the East. This leads me to wonder what the future holds for the children of today. Whilst I cherish the future of my children and of their children and cherish our way of life and will do all in my power to maintain our way of life, I am fast coming to the inescapable conclusion that war and all the methods of war will not achieve the goodwill and the co-operation of those people who are ordained to be our neighbours and with whom we and our children must live in the generations to come. We have seen the conflicts of Africa and Korea and we know of the lives that have been lost. Ever present is the conflict in South Vietnam and the conflict between Malaysia and Indonesia. In our minds too are the years of war in South East Asia in the past. The question that comes to my mind is: What has been the sum total of achievement from all this carnage and destruction? What has war done for the emancipation of the people?
Today questions were asked in this chamber about the plight of the people in India. Quite a few questions have been asked about their plight. Conditions in India are comparable with conditions in many other under-developed countries. Yet arising out of the misery of the people of India are charges of corruption and graft in high places. This is the pattern in most of these countries where the fight to stop the growth of Communism is in progress. While the people give their lives, give their all, the corrupt flourish and the people starve. Let us take India as an example. It is a country with a population of about 430 million. Its people have a life span of about 25 years, a mortality rate of about 6 million a year and a birth rate of about 7 million a year. About 87 per cent. of the population is illiterate. It is true to say that in India the people are conceived in the streets, born in the streets, eat - when they can get something to eat - sleep, live and die in the streets without ever knowing what it is to have a roof over their heads or a decent rag to their backs.
To the starving millions, to the homeless millions, to the unclothed millions, to those who lie pathetically in the streets of India waiting for death to take them from their miseries - I have seen this - what does the mere question of politics mean? I ask those who want to use shot and sheil to subdue these people to answer that question. I recall an article by Osmar White in the Melbourne “ Herald “ in 1958 which was called “ Death on the Dum Dum Road “. He described how a poor devil was lying on the pavement in India dying of starvation while others walked indifferently past him. He said: “If I had gone up to that poor bundle of humanity and described to him the horrors of Communism and of a slave state, if he had been able to speak he would have asked whether the people were given anything to eat under Communism or in a slave state.” We should concern ourselves with these problems and not with thoughts of dropping nuclear bombs on these people to subdue them. Dropping bombs will not get us anywhere.
I have given the sum total of our problems in regard to our neighbours today. But when I advance these theories of peace through emancipation, or when the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) and others on this side of the chamber advance them, those who want to resort to character assassination call us Communists or Communist sympathisers. But in this affluent world we have the example of India, where only 6,000 of 560,000 villages have any vestige of sewerage, water reticulation or power. In fact, 75 per cent. of the power in India is derived from burning cow dung. So much for emancipation. Let us rid our minds of the thought that these people are too ignorant to understand. In old Delhi, I saw a Communist member of the Lok Sabha addressing a crowd of probably 20,000 people in the big public forum. He was telling them what was happening in the affluent world, what we are enjoying and what others are enjoying while they are starving. They may not have been able to read or write, but at least they could understand what was said to them in their own languages. They were able to hear what was said because of the efforts of scientists and technicians; the speech was made over a public address system.
These people will never be won through starvation, graft, corruption and war. They will be won by emancipation. They will be won through their bellies and by giving them a system that makes life worth while. Indeed, as each day passes, the significance of a statement by H. G. Wells becomes more and more apparent. He said -
Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.
I believe the policies we are pursuing can only bring us to catastrophe. It is time we realised that the north of our country could be developed into the food basket of Asia. The prospect of the present population of some 2,700 million people in the world doubling by the end of this century, in my opinion, presents a challenge to each and every one of us. It presents a challenge to those who worship stability and security as the goal of human endeavour. If that were our policy and our philosophy, perhaps we would get much further with these countries that we so continually deride.
The under-developed countries have massive populations and they will grow rapidly. Their economies must be modernised and better living standards promoted. Let us use our vast resources to promote better understanding. Let us make these people realise that we covet not their country and that we will not yield one inch of our country. Above all, let us show that we want to live in peace and share the affluence of this world with them in order that they can also share in the benefits of progress. Let us get away from procrastination and from threats. Let us try to live as God ordained that we should live - in peace with one another.
– I wish to make a personal explanation. The honorable member for Gellibrand (Mr. Mclvor) said that I advocated a thermonuclear war from which there was no escape.
– Mr. Temporary Chairman, I take a point of order.
– Order! You cannot, when a personal explanation is being made.
– I cannot what? I cannot take a point of order when somebody is speaking?
Order! I am listening to a personal explanation first.
– 1 take a point of order. The honorable member has not intimated that he is making a personal explanation. I therefore take the point that you arc not entitled to listen to him unless he does.
– I have so intimated. The honorable member for Gellibrand said that I advocated a thermonuclear war from which there was no escape. The truth is exactly the opposite. I advocated measures to avoid a thermonuclear war from which there was no escape.
– J have perused Standing Orders Nos. 75, 77 and 78 to see whether they contain any reference to an apology. I find nothing in those Standing Orders to suggest that an honorable member must seek the withdrawal of an offensive remark immediately it is made. Therefore 1 ask you, Sir, to cite your authority for not asking the honorable member for Mackellar now to withdraw his remarks, which have been offensive to me.
– The parliamentary record will show that it has been the custom for an objection to be taken to a remark as soon as the remark is made; and the honorable member for Reid did not do that. Will the honorable member please resume his seat?
– Speaking to your ruling, Sir, I take it that you concede that none of the three Standing Orders to which the honorable member for Reid referred states that a withdrawal must be sought immediately even if it involves interrupting the honorable member who is on his feet. Am I to take it that you are ruling on the custom of the House of Commons or the custom of this House only? In either case will you help honorable members to avoid a repetition of this kind of thing by giving a reference in Erskine May’s “ Parliamentary Practice “ or to the last occasion when such a ruling was given by the occupant of the chair?
– I had in mind Standing Order No. 77. which states -
When any offensive or disorderly words are used, whether by a Member who is addressing the Chair or by a Member who is present, the Speaker shall intervene, at once.
– I take it that you do not dispute the fact that under Standing Order No. 78 the attention of the Speaker does not have to be drawn immediately to the offensive remark; that it is possible under Standing Order No. 78 for the attention of the Speaker to be so drawn at any time. You rely only on Standing Order No. 77, which states -
When any offensive or disorderly words are used, whether by a Member who is addressing the Chair or by a Member who is present, the Speaker shall intervene.
Surely it not the fault of the honorable member for Reid or of any other honorable member that you did not intervene. The only obligation on honorable members is under the following Standing Order - to draw your attention. May I recall that one of your colleagues in the chair a few nights ago required the honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. Mackinnon) to withdraw a comment he made about the honorable member for Reid in which he called the honorable member “ the member for Red China”. Your colleague had no hesitation in requiring the honorable member for Corangamite to withdraw his comment.
– That was at the time.
– The then occupant of the chair required the comment to be withdrawn. I submit that under Standing Order No. 78 an honorable member may direct your attention to such an occurrence at any time. Further, under Standing Order No. 77 you yourself could intervene at any time.
– I point out to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that rulings have appeared in “Hansard” in 1912, 1932, 1934, 1954 and 1955 that objection to a remark must be taken at once.
– Are you referring now to Standing Order No. 77, which relates to the duties of the Speaker, or to Standing Order No. 78, which relates to the duties of members?
Those rulings apply to a request for a withdrawal.
– They do not then, am I to take it, apply to Standing Order 77 or its predecessors, which state that the Speaker shall intervene. There is no reference under that Standing Order to the Speaker’s attention being drawn; it states that the obligation is on the Speaker. Are there any rulings which require tha Speaker-
I think you are criticising the Chair now, are you not?
– I was not intending to.
Will you resume your seat?
– Sir, you have given your ruling on this matter. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) is challenging your ruling. I point out that Standing Order No. 281 states -
If any objection is taken to a ruling of the Chairman of Committees, such objection shall be stated at once and a motion of dissent, to be submitted in writing, moved, which shall be forthwith decided by the committee without debate; and the proceedings shall then be resumed where they were interrupted.
In this case no objection to your ruling has been stated in writing. I submit that any discussion on the subject at this stage is completely out of order.
– I take a point of order. There have been occasions when the Presiding Officer has ruled that objections to a remark by an honorable member must be taken after the honorable member has resumed his seat. I now ask whether you will go through the records of the Parliament and produce a record, if any exists, to support your ruling?
I will answer the honorable member for Hindmarsh by stating that there is no such record in the journals of the House.
– Is there anything in the Standing Orders that would prevent you exercising your discretion in the matter of a remark that is obviously offensive to an honorable member? If you feel that you cannot do that, will you establish a precedent by asking the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) now to withdraw the remark, which is offensive? Any man of any decency will always withdraw a remark if another honorable member thinks it is improper.
Is the Leader of the Opposition referring to a new remark or the old remark?
– The honorable member for Mackellar is remarkable for his remarks. I refer to the remark to which the honorable member for Reid objects.
– Speaking to the point of order raised by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), I recollect that when the late William Morris Hughes was a member of this Parliament he suffered from bad hearing and at times he did not learn that he had been insulted until some days after the remarks had been passed. The former honorable member for Robertson is on record as having apologised in this Parliament days after he made remarks about the late Mr. Hughes. I think you, Sir, should take these facts into consideration.
– I am not canvassing the ruling of the Chair, but I point out that in decency I waited until the honorable member for Mackellar had completed his speech before 1 lodged my objection.
– That will be the day.
– Whether you believe it or not, that is what I did and I immediately asked for the remarks to be withdrawn. I believe that all fair minded people-
Will the honorable member resume his scat. I think perhaps the Leader of the Opposition did not know that the honorable member for Mackellar completely withdrew his remarks.
– One remark.
One. I call the honorable member for Higinbotham.
.- Mr. Falkinder, I am sorry to interrupt members of the Labour Party, who in the last 15 minutes have occupied the time of the Committee with this earth shaking matter. All I want to talk about is the defence of this country and the perilous position in which we find ourselves today. This is the first time that the estimates for the Department of External Affairs have been before us since the present Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck) took up his portfolio. May I say here that he carries with him the best wishes of all of us in the enormous responsibilities that he has undertaken. We know that if his work as Minister for
External Affairs is as distinguished as the work he performed for 121 years as Minister for Territories, this important portfolio is in very safe hands.
I should like to discuss two matters - first, the attitude of Indonesia towards Malaysia, and secondly, the stepping up of aid by this Government to underdeveloped countries. First, however, I should like to make several comments to the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) and the honorable member for Oxley (Mr. Hayden). I have no wish to criticise the gallantry and courage of the honorable member for Reid. Both his gallantry and his courage during the last war are well known and well respected by everyone on this side of the chamber. But I wonder whether this does not make him more blameworthy when he makes statements of this kind -
We should not put our imprimatur on the actions of Malaysia and say that it is in the right.
He would know better than anybody because of his record, that at the very time when he says this, young Australian mcn arc tramping about the stinking jungles of Malaysia for the sake of this nation and at Malaysia’s request. I wonder how he would have felt, when he was serving in the Army during the last war, if some politician on the Labour side of the Parliament had risen in this place and criticised the cause for which he was risking his life. So I say to the honorable member that while, on the one hand, I commend him for his past gallantry, on the other hand I deplore the way in which he saps the confidence and the morale of the fighting men of Australia who are today in the front line risking their lives.
The honorable member for Oxley had not the same Service experience as the honorable member for Reid, but he speaks with the air and authority of an expert. I do not know whether he has ever been in Malaysia or whether he has ever seen a Malaysian newspaper. I doubt whether he has done either. Yet he spent five minutes in this chamber criticising Malaysia and attempting to shake the confidence of this Parliament and the Australian people in this courageous young nation that is fighting for survival against the most fearful odds that any young nation has ever faced. He said: “ There is no freedom of the Press in Malaysia “. I wonder what authority he has for making such an extraordinary statement. I wonder what sort of encouragement his words give to President Sukarno and Dr. Subandrio in their naked aggression against this wonderful little country, Malaysia.
I was there only two months ago, Sir. If ever there is a nation and a group of people that command the respect and admiration of all people of the world, it is the Malaysian people in their present dilemma. Goodness knows, they have enough inherent problems of their own in trying to make their nation economically and racially viable. Of about 11 million people, 4 million are Chinese, 4 million Malays, 2 million Indians and 1 million or more of other racial origins from various parts of the world. All these people are trying to combine and form a new nation. They are trying to lift their standard of living and to resolve the enormous racial differences that exist. They are trying, for the first time in man’s history, to overcome racial prejudice. On top of all these problems, they face this southern aggressor in the form of the Indonesian nation, which has resorted to naked aggression. We in Australia have responded to the call of our sister in the Commonwealth of Nations and have sent Australian troops to help her. While our Australian troops are there, the honorable member for Oxley says that Malaysia has no freedom of the Press and that the concept of Malaysia is wrong. If the observation by the honorable member for Reid that we should not say that Malaysia is in the right does not mean that he suggests that Malaysia is in the wrong, I do not know what it means. I deplore this kind of statement. 1 speak as a member of this Parliament who, for the time being at any rate, represents more than 60,000 voters and something like 150,000 people, Sir. I would have thought that, because of the seriousness of the situation to our north, it would have been a wonderful exercise if every member in this place, speaking on behalf of the Australian nation, had told the President and the people of Indonesia where we in Australia stand as we look on their aggression against Malaysia. Unfortunately, this has not been done. Unfortunately, it is left to honorable members on this side of the chamber to convey this message to President Sukarno on behalf of the majority of the Australian people. Speaking for myself, and, I am sure, for the majority of my electors and of the 150,000 people who live in my constituency, may I in this debate extend to the Indonesian people, first, an offer, secondly, a plea, and thirdly, a warning.
First, 1 offer the Indonesians our friendship. We want the friendship of the Indonesian nation and the Indonesian people. In this southern hemisphere, where we find ourselves isolated both geographically and otherwise, we need the friendship of the 100 million people of Indonesia. It is a country that has enormous potential to be a great nation of the future. We want to trade with Indonesia. We ask the Indonesian people to look to the enormous opportunities that are open to it to the north if it wishes to adopt a policy of peaceful co-existence and friendship with its neighbours. We ask it to look to the south, towards Australia, which wishes to be Indonesia’s friend. But, at the same time, I wish to say something of importance to men like Dr. Subandrio. When the Australian Ambassador to Indonesia was courteous enough recently to go to the airport at Djakarta to bid Dr. Subandrio bon voyage on an overseas trip, on the very day on which the Minister for External Affairs had categorically denied in this chamber that any Australian aircraft had violated Indonesian air space, Dr. Subandrio, with a smirk on his face, turned to our Ambassador and said: “Don’t send any more planes over us during my absence”. Our Ambassador, rightly, and with a grim look on his face, said: “ Why are you telling me this? “ Dr. Subandrio did not reply, and walked on still laughing. I say to men like him: If you want to behave in this cavalier fashion towards people who wish to be your friends, there is no doubt in the world that you will eventually get your deserts.
As I have said, we offer the Indonesian nation friendship. We also extend to it a plea to desist in its confrontation of this courageous young nation to its north. I say to Indonesia: If your reason for confrontation is that you fear that Sumatra or some of your other islands will defect to Malaysia and that you fear Malaysian prosperity for this reason, military confrontation is not the way to overcome the problem. The way to resolve it is to make your own country economically viable and prosperous. Then there will surely be no wish by the people of any of the islands in your archipelago to defect to another nation. If you say that your reason for confrontation is the existence of British bases in Malaysia, we ask you to wait until you have some evidence that Britain has predatory designs on you. To this point, the Indonesian people have not been able to produce one shred of evidence to indicate any colonial ambitions on behalf of Britain. It is sheer nonsense for Indonesia to suggest that such ambitions exist, and this neo-colonial phrase that the Indonesians coin will fool nobody.
A most extraordinary thing occurred last week when the Indonesians received a salutary warning in the Security Council of the United Nations, where nine out of eleven nations voted against its actions in Malaysia. The Indonesian delegate turned to the other members of the Council and, in effect, to the world, and said: “ Of course, we are only resisting aggression by Malaysia itself “. If the Indonesian people think that the rest of the world is naive enough to believe such nonsense, I fear for the future of Indonesia under the direction of the irresponsible people who make up its present Government. Those who govern that country have an enormous responsibility to their people. After 300 years of bondage, the Indonesians now have an opportunity to create a free and happy nation. The record of their efforts to this stage offers little encouragement that they will succeed.
A warning we give them. The warning that I, as a member of Parliament, voice in my own behalf is that there is only a certain distance along which you can take the freedom loving nations, of which Australia is one; there is only a certain way in which you can pursue and persist in this aggression against a friendly country. I remind the Indonesian people - and my reminder takes the form of a warning - that the record of courage, resolution and fighting ability of the Australian people in the cause of freedom is unparalleled in any part of the world. We say to them: “You still have time to manoeuvre. You still have time to bring some sanity into your policies towards your northern neighbour, and we ask you, for the sake of your own people, for the sake of peace in the world and for the sake of and in the name of, all humanity, to desist from this ridiculous and monstrous aggression against a friendly neighbour “.
I speak briefly now on foreign aid. Some weeks ago I pointed out to honorable members that for every £1 Australian this nation produces we give lid. to the undeveloped nations. That is under .5 per cent, of our gross national product. Unlike my friend the honorable member for Gellibrand (Mr. Mclvor) and other honorable members opposite who also support increased foreign aid, I am not advocating any decrease in our military expenditure at the same time. On the contrary, I am one of the many members on this side who advocate an increase in the defence expenditure by this Government at this time. However, I do say that an increase in foreign aid is not only justified but is something which is demanded of us now.
We have heard some eloquent and emotional pleas from the honorable member for Kingston (Mr. Galvin) and other honorable members - most sincere - about wheat for India. “Why”, they ask with some passion, “ don’t we divert our ships? Why do we sell wheat to Red China? Why don’t we give it to the starving millions of India? “ Would that the solution were as simple as they make out. It would be wonderful if it were, but, tragically, it is not. I use the word “ tragically “ because this is one of the most disheartening and dismaying experiences in the world today. Here we have a great nation, India - a great democratic nation of long-suffering people - in which hundreds of thousands of people are starving. On the other hand there are dozens of ships from the United States of America and other places crammed full of wheat waiting in the ports. They cannot be unloaded because of the overcrowded and chaotic conditions in the ports of India. My friend and colleague the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Kelly) will substantiate this. He was in Bombay a few weeks ago and saw the port cluttered up with ships carrying food which could have saved lives, but which could not be unloaded.
The giving of food is merely a palliative, it is not a cure. What I have advocated is aid of a long term nature; the kind of aid which can increase agricultural production, the kind of aid which in the long term can prevent this sort of tragedy happening again, where ships full of food and ready to unload so that the people can be fed but which, because there has been no long term development, are turned away, so that the food does not go into the country and thousands die.
This is the sort of aid that I want to see. I want to see our aid stepped up from ltd. in every £1 we produce to considerably more. If it means an increase in taxation I am for an increase in taxation. I want to see an extension of our Colombo Plan aid. I want to see an extension of the aid that we give under the South East Asia Treaty Organisation. I want to see encouragement given to the voluntary organisations like Community Aid Abroad.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- My remarks will be directed to the matter with which the honorable member for Higinbotham (Mr. Chipp) concluded, namely, the necessity for Australia to contribute more by way of international aid. I would add that my emphasis also will be on the necessity for this additional aid going through international channels more than it does at the moment. I agree with the honorable member that matters of increased international aid should be divorced entirely from our territorial responsibilities and from our defence responsibilities. In. the present situation there is no excuse for our diminishing our territorial responsibilities or our defence responsibilities in order to fulfil our responsibilities in international aid. I agree with him - and I do not baulk at the proposition - that if more taxes have to be paid in order to fulfil our obligations in the territories, in defence and in international aid, then we must all face this responsibility.
I am moved to speak on this subject because the estimates of the Department of External Affairs show an inexplicable and inexcusable decrease in the amount being spent on international aid. Sub-division 5 of Division No. 165 - Administrative - covers contributions to international organisations. This shows that we will be spending considerably less this year than last year in that category. I imagine that this is mainly because we will not be contributing so much to the cost of the United Nations Emergency Force, the Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus and the force in the Congo. I can, therefore, understand why it is hoped to make a reduction in that sub-division.
In sub-division 6, however, I find it inexplicable and inexcusable that we are not increasing the amount made available for the United Nations expanded programme of technical assistance, and we are decreasing our contribution to the United Nations Special Fund. The overall consequence is that there will be a reduction this year in international development and relief activities by Australia. I regret that the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck) is not in the chamber. 1 believe he has a Cabinet meeting at the moment. I will suspend my remarks on this to give him the opportunity to come in to answer what I think is a very important matter raised by the honorable member for Higinbotham and, I hope, developed by myself.
Most of the debate on these estimates has centered on the question of Malaysia. It is unfortunate that whenever this subject arises it is discussed in very inflammatory terms. The only sensible way for the Parliament to discuss subjects like this is for the Minister to make a statement and then for a day or two to be set aside for us all to discuss it. There ought to be regular opportunities to discuss these matters. Far too often the Minister will make a statement outside the House, or inside the House, when there is some military crisis. The position in Malaysia, the position in Vietnam, indeed the position in our part of the world, cannot be satisfactorily considered purely in the circumstances of some military crisis. There is a continuing social, economic and political crisis.
The comments of the Secretary General of the South East Asia Treaty Organisation on his recent visit prove that that organisation feels what the Labour Party has been saying for years - that the social, economic and political aspects of S.E.A.T.O. are just as important as the military ones, and are basic to the success of any military operations.
A particularly offensive remark was made by the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) this afternoon about my colleague, the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren). The honorable member for Mackellar made two remarks, one of which he has withdrawn and to which I shall, therefore, make no reference. But he did refer to my colleague as appointing himself the head of the China lobby. The China lobby in the United States of America is deemed to consist of propagandists and pensioners of Taipei. The honorable member for Mackellar is using the expression in the sense of propagandists and pensioners ©f Peking. This is clearly an offensive remark to make about any honorable member. The honorable member for Reid had, in his second speech, deplored the development of nuclear testing and the development of an independent nuclear capacity by France and China. He deplored both, and for his pains the honorable member for Mackellar abuses him as the self-appointed head of the China lobby.
The honorable member for Mackellar holds this House to ransom far too often. The debate on the estimates for the Prime Minister’s Department was disrupted for about an hour by the honorable member for Mackellar. The Chairman called on him some 15 times to withdraw a remark before he finally did so and, in the end, the Government had to gag the debate. It had to gag its own supporters as well as Labour Party members and prevent them from speaking further on those estimates. Not wanting this kind of thing to happen too often, honorable members hesitate to interrupt the honorable member for Mackellar when he is making some of his exaggerated remarks. I suppose that most people, being familiar with the honorable member’s conduct, do not take his remarks as seriously as they would if they were made by somebody else. I point out that the honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. Mackinnon) used a term the other night similar to that used by the honorable member for Mackellar and promptly withdrew it when called upon to do so. I believe the honorable member for Mackellar should do the same.
The honorable member for Reid and the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Hughes) have each spoken twice on the subject of Malaysia in this debate. It can be fairly conceded that they represent opposite points of view. I cannot really see, however, that either of them is getting very far with the point of view he expresses. I sometimes think that my colleague, the honorable member for Reid, advocates some policy of detachment from Malaysia and the rest of our neighbours. 1 apprehend that the honorable member for Parkes believes in continued involvement with Malaysia and our neighbours in a military sense. I would imagine that the propositions of the honorable member for Reid would, of themselves, get us no further. They would achieve no security for us. 1 also do not believe that the attitudes supported by the honorable member for Parkes have, so far, got us very faT either.
The honorable member for Parkes on a few occasions referred to Labour Party policy on this subject. As a matter of fact, the Labour Party has never used the word “ Malaysia “ in its policy. It used the word “Malaya”, until March of last year in the phrase “ we urge the withdrawal of Australian troops from Malaya “. The Labour Party withdrew those words in March of last year and stated general propositions concerning the stationing of Australian troops or installations in other countries and the stationing of the troops and installations of other countries in Australia.
– 1 think I said that.
– I am not wanting to quarrel with either of my friends who are at opposite poles on this subject. The proper socialist attitude in defence and international affairs, as I understand it, is one of internationalism, not isolationism. The proper Liberal attitude, as I understand it, should be towards internationalism rather than chauvinism. The situation in our area cannot be over-simplified in the terms used by the two honorable members. If the things that have happened in Borneo in the last few months, or in Pontian and Labis in the last few weeks, had happened 30 years ago the whole world would have been at war. If they were to happen today in Europe the whole world would be at war. But we are not living a generation ago; Australia is not situated in Europe; therefore we have to look at these things with a degree of patience and persistence that we have not shown hitherto. None of these problems can be solved by detachment or by the present nature of our involvement. This is, in fact, what our allies say: Australia’s forces now are too puny to make any difference in Malaysia or in Vietnam - far too puny.
The attitude that the present Government has adopted in these matters has got us nowhere because for 10 years we have been involved in a military sense in Vietnam and have got nowhere. I have had a couple of questions concerning Vietnam on the notice paper for the Minister for External Affairs since 18th August and 15th September, and they have not yet been answered. He is as mute in answer to questions on the notice paper as he was yesterday in answer to questions without notice by my colleague, the honorable member for Reid, and by my leader on the article in the “ Guardian “ concerning the reported British proposal to make an attack on Indonesia, to which New Zealand and Australia objected. The present Government’s attitude towards Indonesia in the United Nations in 1954, 1955 and 1957 was one of the prime causes of Indonesia’s arming and setting up an arms race in our area. The dispute between Moscow and Peking, of course, is being very effectively used by Indonesia in quickening this arms race at the moment.
I have not the time, nor do I think the discussion of the Estimates is really the most suitable occasion, to discuss what one should do in these matters. But I think one fruitful line is to make it plain to the rest of the world - and there are nearly forty countries in which we have high commissioners or ambassadors or consuls - why we are interested in resisting Indonesia’s methods in its dealings with Malaysia. No country can tolerate subversion or invasion; no country should tolerate them. Australia’s attitude in this matter should be made quite plain, whatever country was being invaded or subverted. It is still more important that it be made plain when these things are happening to one of our neighbours and a Commonwealth partner. But our arrangements are not with Malaysia, they are with Britain, and part of the mischief is being caused in our area because we appear to be interested in Malaysia because Britain has undertaken obligations there. We obviously ought to undertake these obligations ourselves.
Another attitude we should be adopting is that mentioned by the honorable member for Oxley (Mr. Hayden). We are closely associated with Malaysia although it appears that the nature of our commitments and the tempo of our obligations will be determined by Britain and Malaysia and we will have no voice in them ourselves. But the honorable member for Oxley has pointed out very properly that our associations with Malaysia are of so long standing and so close that we should point out to the Malaysian Government how it can help itself. The fact that you criticise some of the more recent moves that have been made in Malaysia does not indicate in any respect that you fail to prefer her methods hitherto in regard to elections, trade union organisation or international affairs, to those of Indonesia; but it does mean that you are commenting, as you are entitled to do, on some of the shortcomings in the Malaysian set-up. We are sufficiently involved there, surely, to have our words heeded by the Malysian Government. That is, we can help them to help themselves. That is why we are involved there.
But in general we ought to be involved for international reasons. We have to persuade the whole world that the security of us all depends on our respecting each other. This does not mean that you shelve questions of decolonisation or questions of border disputes. As our party policy has stated since March last year, you seek to establish United Nations machinery for effective decolonisation and effective settlement of border disputes. These questions will continue to arise throughout our days, probably. They certainly will continue in our part of the world where the only two cases of active hostility in the world, apart from those in Cyprus and Arabia, are to be seen at the present time.
The Minister for External Affairs has not reappeared in the chamber as yet. Perhaps, with the indulgence of honorable members, I, too, may have a second period later in the day, and then I will pin-point the matters raised by the honorable member for Higinbotham, and shall deal with them, I hope, in detail and at greater length. Why is it that in the very year in which the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development passed a resolution in favour of 1 per cent, of the national income of developed countries being devoted to international aid through international channels, and when the United Nations Economic, Social and Cultural Organisation, at a meeting presided over by a distinguished Australian, determined that the United Nations Special Fund and extended programme of technical assistance should be combined in one development fund, why in this year of all years, do we reduce our commitment to the Special Fund and say that our total international obligations should still amount to no more than two-thirds of one per cent, of our national income?
Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- As a delegate to the recent Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference which was held in Copenhagen, I had an opportunity to visit a number of countries on the way to the conference. This Estimates debate does not provide time to say a great deal, but I feel that I should say something about some of the impressions that 1 gained and some of the facts that I learned. Like the honorable member for Higinbotham (Mr. Chipp), I am tremendously impressed by the urgency of the need for Australia to contribute more than it is contributing in the way of economic aid to the developing and emerging nations. As he said, we are contributing only .5 per cent, of pur gross national product. I gathered the impression that the Australian image in a great many of these countries is very good. As a matter of fact, in many places it is a great deal better than that of the United Kingdom and the United States of America. We should take every opportunity to build on that foundation.
I saw signs of rising prosperity in a great many of these countries, but they all have a very long way to go before they approach even a reasonable standard of living. They require help in a number of ways. For example, in several countries I saw in use agricultural methods that are hundreds of years behind the times. We can help these countries considerably by the provision of modern farm machinery to enable them to increase their agricultural output. We can help them in the medical and health fields. Disease is rife in many of these countries. We can also do something - I am not sure what - to help them with their housing problems. In one place I saw young girls of six, seven and eight years of age, with babies strapped to their backs, on the streets at 10, 11 and 12 o’clock at night, because they had nowhere to live and their mothers were out trying, in ohe manner or another, to earn enough to feed them. In another country I was reliably told that 90 per cent, of the people were suffering from one serious disease and that 60 to 70 per cent, of thom were suffering from at least two serious diseases.
In one or two countries 1 was warned to have my airmail letters franked and not to put airmail stamps on them because the value of those stamps in relation to the wages of some of the employees represented a very great temptation to them. In one place I was told that it was estimated that not more than about 60 per cent, of the mail got through, because the stamps were removed and then the letters were tossed aside. I saw people - even people in official positions - who were prepared to accept a tip of 3d. or less in Australian currency for services, either real or imaginary, that they felt they had given. It is shocking that such conditions should exist in 1964. Only people who have not been to these countries and seen the conditions, or people who do not want to see them, are unaware that this state of affairs exists.
Many countries require help, and they require it urgently. They do not want charity. They want the means to help themselves. It is not only right but also sound common sense that we should give those means to them. We can afford to give help to them. Any contribution that we can make to raising their standard of living will come back to us many times over, not only in terms of goodwill but also in terms of trade. Some of these countries have no money; so they cannot buy goods. But if we provide them with the means of raising their standard of living and so gaining more standing among nations, they will turn to Australia for what we can produce and what they need. In doing that we will not only help them but also help Australia to maintain a high level of employment.
I have insufficient time to refer to more than a couple of countries. I shall deal with two places which I believe are very important. They are two danger spots in our war against Communism. The first is Taiwan and the second is Berlin. Not enough Australians are sufficiently impressed with the importance of Taiwan to the freedom of South East Asia. I was tremendously impressed by what I saw there. At the present time Taiwan is iri receipt of American economic aid, but I have been told that that aid will cease at the end of this year because the country is considered to be able to stand on its own feet economically. If it is able to do so - the Taiwan Government believes that it is - that will be tremendously good for the morale of the people of the country. What I have to say about Taiwan may not be news to a number of honorable members who have had an opportunity to visit the country, but it may be of interest to some of the other honorable members.
It is a country of only approximately 14,000 square miles, compared with our three million square miles. Yet its population is greater than ours. Its population is somewhere between 11 million and 12 million. Because it is the home of the free Chinese and because they are determined to remain free, it has to maintain an armed force of between 600,000 and 700,000 men. That poses tremendous problems. The country has limited resources. As I said, its population is only between 11 million and 12 million and it is committed to spending 70 per cent, of its budget on defence. When we compare that expenditure with what we are spending on defence, we can see how ridiculous the comparison is.
Taiwan not only has to provide for its 600,000 or 700,000 troops, but also it has the job of finding employment to rehabilitate between 50,000 and 60,000 of those troops every year. I saw factories which have been set up solely for this purpose. They are doing a remarkably good job. It is a tremendous task. The Government of Taiwan is facing up to the problem and at the same time it is raising the standard of living of the ordinary people. By our standards, the people of Taiwan have a very long way to go, but they are able to boast that 98 per cent, of the children of school age are in fact attending school. That is a tremendous effort. I doubt whether we could boast of a better effort. By means of their land to tiller programme, they have greatly increased their primary production. They have started irrigation schemes. They are making the most use of the water that they have by means of rotational irrigation. They are in the process of developing a fish farming industry.
They have a number of secondary industries. They are manufacturing cement, paper, plastics and aluminium. They are building up an export trade. I mentioned that I saw a couple of factories in which ex-servicemen were employed. One of those factories produces very high quality furniture for which it already has an export market. It is anxious to develop that market. I believe that this furniture would sell well in Australia. There are good opportunities for mutual trade between Australia and Taiwan. It would be well worth while for the Department of Trade and Industry to investigate the possibility of opening up an office in Taipei. I know that the Government of Taiwan would like us to have diplomatic representation there. I believe that it would be in our best interests to have diplomatic representation there because, after all, Taiwan is the bulwark which stands between South East Asia and the Communist hordes of Red China.
I had an opportunity to visit Quemoy, which is a relatively small island. It is about 12 miles long and only 5 miles wide at its broadest point. It is surrounded on three sides by the Chinese mainland. Every inch of it is under the cover of Chinese Communist guns. As a matter of fact, the nearest Chinese Communist artillery unit is only H miles away. The civilian population is more than 51,000. The island has churches, shops, schools - I think there are about 25 schools - hospitals, electricity supply, concrete highways, a daily newspaper and even a radio station which the Chinese Communists so far have been unable to silence.
Between August 1958 and November 1960 the Chinese Communists released more than 829,000 rounds of ammunition against Quemoy. During President Eisenhower’s visit in June 1960, the Chinese Communists released 86,000 rounds of ammunition in a little more than li hours. and a further 89,000 rounds in less than 3i hours only two days later. Yet the casualties on Quemoy, or Kinmen as it is known to the people of the island, were only eight men. This speaks volumes for the defence of this island which has been described by an American army authority as greater than that of Gibraltar. I met and talked with a number of the troops. They are strong, they are happy, they are healthy and their morale is high, as it is with all the civilian population. The authorities there have planted more than 25 million trees, which I think is an indication that they are going to stay there. Nevertheless, they are looking forward to the time when they will be able to return to the mainland.
I was impressed by the cleanliness of the island and the way they had cleaned up ali evidence of bomb damage. I believe that Quemoy is indispensable to the defence of Taiwan, just as I believe that the defence of Taiwan is indispensable to the defence of South East Asia. In the opinion of some United States Army authorities who should know, the fact that Quemoy is in the hands of the free Chinese means the pinning down of anything from a quarter of a million to half a million frontline Red Chinese troops on the mainland opposite Quemoy. If these troops were not pinned down there they would be free to assist Communist aggression elsewhere in Asia.
I want to quote some remarks of Brigadier-General Hittle of the United States Army, now retired, who visited Quemoy in 1962. Subsequently, in a talk to the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, he said -
These forces train and live for the day of return to the Chinese mainland and the overthrow of the evil Communist regime. I believe there is altogether too much ridicule of the Free Chinese dream of return to the mainland. I certainly am in no position to say when or if that return is going to be made, but I do say that people who hold unswervingly to the goal and live for the day when they can come to grips with the forces of Communism are all too few in this troubled world. Such a hope and belief should be respected, not ridiculed, and it should most certainly be supported.
I said that if I had time I would refer to my visit to Berlin. Before my visit I wondered to what extent stories of Berlin, particularly East Berlin, might have been exaggerated by the Press. After visiting that city I came away convinced that, rather than being over-emphasised, the conditions had been understated. I saw the wall. All the windows of buildings fronting the wall are bricked up. On the top of each of these buildings are coils of barbed wire. Where buildings do not front the wall the East Germans have now built a double wall with a row of iron spikes in between to prevent trucks from being driven through, as had been done in the past. I saw the check points in the wall, and at these points, as well as in other places along the top of the wall, guards were stationed in groups of three to prevent collaboration among themselves to escape. On the Western side of the wall I saw the graves marked with crosses and flowers showing where people had died in trying to escape from East Berlin.
I went into East Berlin on a tourist bus, and spent about one and a half hours there. It took us about three hours altogether by the time we got through the checkpoints going in and coming out. After seeing East Berlin I was most depressed. One had to see the differences between the two halves of the one city to realise that things could possibly be as bad as they were. Undoubtedly the best of the old buildings in Berlin which were not destroyed by Allied bombing are on the eastern side, but there was almost a complete absence of people and a complete absence of cars there. In the same period in which one could see anything from 800 to 1,000 cars in West Berlin, I suppose we saw no more than 30 or 40 cars in East Berlin in the one and a half hours that we were there. I am not exaggerating when I say that if one were to shut his eyes and walk across the main street of East Berlin one would have very little chance - possibly 1 per cent. - of being hit by a car. One could have fired a cannon down some of the streets without hitting anyone. These were not solely my impressions. By talking to other people on the bus I learned that they had all gathered the same impressions. It is staggering to think that more than 20 years after the war these differences of conditions exist in the two halves of the one city.
Before concluding I should like to pay a tribute to the calibre of the men who represent the Australian Government overseas. They are all first class and they are all respected by the people in the countries in which they are stationed. They are all doing a tremendous job to build up the goodwill which Australia undoubtedly possesses in the majority of these countries. Without exception, they were extremely helpful to me personally, and I should like to acknowledge that help to the Minister.
.- I want to speak a little about the Antarctic and get down into the cool before going back up to the hot climates to our north about which we have heard so much. On page 25 of the Estimates, under Division No. 169, I find that this year we expect to pay £200,000 for ship charter fees to take our personnel and stores to the Antarctic. Last year we paid £148,108 for this service. I make the plea to the Department of External Affairs that it should now be either building in Australia or acquiring for Australia an icebreaker to take our stores and men to the Antarctic. It is altogether wrong to charter a ship in Denmark each year, bring the ship all the way out to Australia and then send it down to the Antarctic.
Before World War II we used to send our naval hydrographers to the Antarctic whenever ships went to that region to carry out survey work. The Australian naval surveyor, I am proud to say, is probably the best surveyor in the world. Our naval surveyors have done tremendous work in the Antarctic and I think we should see that they are sent there again to carry out this most important task of charting and sounding the waters in the area. After all, we, by annexation, control approximately 50 per cent, of Antarctica. If we want to hang on to that area or to improve it we must do something about it. It is no good going to that region with borrowed goods. It is time we had an icebreaker of our own. Canada has several, and of course Russia, having so much territory in the Arctic region, also has quite a few. But if we can start off with one and train our men, either naval men or merchant mariners, in the use of these ships, we would he gaining in experience.
I should like to direct the attention of honorable members to the Labour Party policy on foreign affairs. It is impossible for me to state it all, but I shall cite two items. Then, if any honorable member wishes to read it, he may do so, or if he is prepared to spend a couple of shillings he can buy a copy for himself. The preamble to the Labour Party’s policy on foreign affairs states -
Co-operation with the United States in the areas of the South Pacific and Indian Oceans is of crucial importance and must be maintained, subject to the understanding that Australia must remain free to order its policies in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Australia has a moral duty to co-operate in the development of the South East Asian area to strengthen the fabric of peace and freedom and to uphold the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law, and to promote economic well-being and development.
Australia must take the initiative for the maintenance of good relations between itself and its neighbours and in the whole South East Asia area.
If people care to understand that, they will see that we are not the untouchable class that some people would like to believe that we are. It is wrong for honorable members to stand up in this place and, knowing what our policy is and what we stand for, make up their own policy for us and say that that is what we believe in. I have just quoted the policy to which we have all signed our names and the policy that we are honour bound to uphold. I said earlier that after saying a little about the Antarctic I would like to talk a little about the countries to our near north.
As honorable members know, our diplomatic service is operating in a different worldwide situation now to that in which it operated 20 years ago. The international scene has greatly changed. In fact, it keeps changing from week to week. Britain dominated the scene 20 years ago and we, as dutiful children, went along with the decisions she made. When one examines Britain’s handling of world affairs and the mess that the world is in today, I get an enormous feeling of pride, for I am proud of my British heritage. Britain’s efforts when she held the reins have yet to be surpassed. I feel they will never be equalled. Britain made mistakes - all countries have done so - but her colonial rule was the best of any offering at that time. Other colonial countries did not rule as well as Britain. Colonialism is on the way out throughout the world. Britain realises this and so do we in Australia. Colonialism is out-moded and outdated.
In my calling of the sea I have been fortunate enough to have travelled the world extensively and I have been able to compare countries in three stages, I have seen them in pre-war days, during the war, and, some of them, after the war. I have found that those countries which, on gaining their independence, have carried on with the British way of life are far more advanced than other countries. Malaysia is a classic example of this. Last year I was fortunate enough to visit five countries in South East Asia and I found the Malaysian group to be far more advanced than the other countries. I feel that those people who accompanied me on this trip will willingly agree with me.
World events have loosened our ties with Britain and we in Australia have to stand on our own feet. We have to make our own decisions and, having made them, we must see them through. We are Europeans by birth, blood and colour. We cannot alter that and it would be wrong if we tried to do so. We are, in short, a little piece of Europe in Asia. Australia is our country and we are here to stay and, as we are here to stay, we must always be vigilant and conscious of all the happenings that surround us.
What is happening in South Vietnam is of great importance to us. Should South Vietnam fall and come under Communist domination our existence could be weakened. Should South Vietnam overcome her troubles and become an independent State our security is enhanced. The fall of South Vietnam would mean that communism has advanced further. People in Australia should understand this and they should understand the feeling and the ideas of the Chinese Communists and the Indonesians in regard to us as Europeans, because they do think of us as Europeans and not as Asians. What happens to Britain today will happen to us tomorrow. The sacking of the British Embassy in Djakarta was not done on the spur of the moment. It was calculated and, as grim as it may sound, the same thing could easily happen to our own embassy.
To understand the feeling prevailing in the area let me give an example. Only a couple of days ago when our Ambassador, Mr. Keith Shann, went to Djakarta airport to farewell the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Dr. Subandrio, he was seriously told: “ While I am away do not send any of your planes over here.” As honorable members know Australia is charged at the present time with trespassing on Indonesian air space. I do not believe we did trespass and I accept the Government’s statement that none of our aircraft were involved. Statements that we transgressed Indonesian air space are dangerous, especially when, as in this case, great publicity has been given to this allegation in the Indonesian press.
We have to get to know Indonesia better. 1 am all for this but it cannot be one-way traffic. Indonesia must also get to know us better. She must realise that we want to live in peace and that we have no territorial plans for expansion in any area. We want to hang on to our own area. Indonesia must also realise that no matter what party is in power in Australia the Australian people are not warlike. We are not out for Indonesian blood and we are willing to help her in trade matters and in friendship to the best of our ability.
Australia is bound by several treaties relating to South East Asia and when we signed those treaties we did so with the intention of honouring them. Mr. Calwell, the Leader of the Australian Labour Party in this chamber, has said repeatedly that on becoming the Government the Australian Labour Party would honour its obligations. I am sure the Indonesians know this and realise just how we are committed by our pacts and our treaties, and surely she knows that Britain and the United States of America are also involved. Yet Indonesia still carries out a form of international banditry by landing troops from ships and dropping them from aircraft into Malaysia. I feel that these acts are calculated and if they continue will undoubtedly finish up in a full scale war; but if that occurs the actions and the responsibilities are Indonesia’s and Indonesia’s alone. I hope Indonesia changes her mind and resorts to the conference table instead of trying to gain her point of view by force.
I think it is fair to say that the problem of earning our living in the world has become more complicated. It is now a major preoccupation which influences all our international actions and attitudes. An alert and efficient external affairs organisation can exercise an influence disproportionate to physical strength but it cannot operate effectively on the basis of prolonged economic weaknesses. The strength of our external affairs depends on, and must be related to, our own economic strength. Our survival, let alone our influence, depends on trade.
Australia has trade stations or missions in many parts of the world. Economic and political motives intertwine throughout our external policy but, through our trade missions, economic and commercial work has now assumed a position of fundamental importance. At the present time, the Department of Trade and Industry is advertising for young career men to join that Department and serve overseas. If the Department of Trade and the Department of External Affairs work closer together I feel that the exchange of ideas would be of great benefit. The Minister may wish to comment on this and have a look at the suggestion.
The growth of Communism as a world force will greatly change the attitude and the thinking of the Department of External Affairs if it has not done so already. This world change has led to the intensification of a struggle for world domination with the great pressure of power blocs around the United States of America and the Soviet Union. Australia has so far kept herself free and in this respect the Department of External Affairs has, and will have, an increasing part to play. The spread of Communism will undoubtedly put more strain on our overseas representatives. Experts in Communism and Communist theories and methods will be needed in greater numbers for we have, as all honorable members know, considerable trade commitments with Communist countries. Changes in Communism will take place. We have all seen this happen. Red China and Russia are not the happy family they used to be.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- In speaking to the estimates for the Department of External Affairs, I am particularly interested in Division No. 165, item 6, which relates to international development and relief. This has been touched upon by the honorable member for Kingston (Mr. Galvin) the honorable member for Gellibrand (Mr. Mclvor), the honorable member for Higinbotham (Mr. Chipp), and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam). However, I am more interested in moving down the ladder from the higher political field of international organisations and referring to a lower rung - the work done in South East Asia by the voluntary organisations of this country. Australia’s contribution under the Colombo Plan is £5 million, but I hasten to mention that, as we all know, this £5 million does not represent our overall contribution. It might interest honorable members to know that, compared with this £5 million, the voluntary organisations of this country apply no less than £3 million a year to aid to Asian countries. The aid they render covers a wide range of fields. It extends to agriculture, education, medicine, social welfare generally and other things calculated to facilitate and encourage community betterment in the broadest vein. People inexperienced in these matters may be inclined to think that what these voluntary organisations are doing is somewhat humble compared with the big, overall, international scheme, but I submit that through this work, through getting to know people in the lower strata, through being able to convey to them our way of life, our philosophy, our psychology on world events and our approach to civic affairs, it may be possible for us to influence them considerably in the long term.
Most of these voluntary organisations are operating on the basis of an Australian body setting up an organisation in South East Asia, with the indigenous population in the main, and then, through that organisation, applying practical aid to the community at large. For instance, just outside Kuala Lumpur, at the Sulonga Buloh Leprosarium, an effort is being made to rehabilitate cured lepers and return them to the community. One Australian organisation, working through its Asian colleagues, undertook the task of setting these cured lepers up on, of all things, a farm for goats, because it was thought that this might help increase food production there. I might say that the experiment turned out to be most successful and has resulted in three first quality sheds being filled with the required stock and maintained by the cured lepers to whom I referred. A similar scheme was undertaken in Singapore, the only difference being that the Singapore project was stocked with pigs instead if goats.
We have another example on the education level across the causeway at Johore Bahru. I might say before proceeding that in the case of the Kuala Lumpur project one-third of the money needed was provided from Australia, one-third was provided by the unit in Malaysia, and one-third by a member of one of the more affluent societies in Malaysia who, approving of the scheme, contributed on the basis of £1 for £1 or one Malaysian dollar for every Malaysian dollar, contributed from inside Malaysia. He was not prepared to match the moneys raised in Australia, which was a good thing for the people’s point of view.
At Johore Bahru a system of scholarships worth £20 each was introduced. We in Australia might think that £20 is only a small amount of money having regard to values here, but £20 can go a long way towards the education of children in that area. In this instance, the money was applied to the education of blind children. In Calcutta another organisation established a text book library in the poorer areas, and this is costing the Australian organisation something in the vicinity of £1,000.
In another field, other organisations have been attempting to help in a simple and economical way by collecting old or unused spectacles, grading them into their proper categories and sending them to the East. These spectacles are being put to excellent use. Something similar is being done with surplus drugs that are no longer required. These are not valueless drugs; they are the small quantities that are left over in the laboratories. They are being collected, graded, and sent to Eastern countries. All these things might seem but humble efforts according to our values, but, believe me, they represent a generous and very substantial contribution to the local people.
In East Pakistan, around Dacca, we have an example of what can be done in villages that are often ravaged by cyclones. Indeed, one must see the damage to believe just what a cyclone in this area can do. In one area just outside Dacca where one week one may see three feet or six feet of water flowing through a small village of thatched huts, the next week one will see an organisation from this country attacking the problem of contributing something towards the villagers’ way of life by tearing down a few huts and replacing them with a first class structure to be used as an education centre for the children. When I speak of education centres, I do not refer to schools as we know them but to thatched huts with solid mud floors and a few batten seats on which the children sit while trying to gain some basic knowledge of their own language. Speaking through an interpreter, the head of one village said to me: “ How is it that people from your country can come over here and teach these people how to do the very same things that I have been trying to have them do for two years? “ He was referring to the fact that the villagers themselves were participating in those types of activities. The creation of this sense of civic responsibility amongst the people has made a tremendous contribution towards their way of life and will unquestionably play a material part in future in the application of the more technical and higher strata aid which we and the other countries of the world are contributing.
By way of example of the problem confronting us, I mention the case of the Indian farmer who, as a result of his upbringing, and because of the caste system, honestly believes that it is wrong for him to produce more food than is necessary for his own family. Of what use is a tractor or truck to this type of person? It is necessary for us to go in there and understand these people. We must try to appreciate their strengths, their weaknesses, and the complexities of their background. I believe that the voluntary organisations in this country are doing a wonderful job. I was staggered the other day when I was told that £3 million a year was being applied in this way.
I come now to another point and in referring to it I am not speaking in terms of the Peace Corps qf the United States of America, whose activities I commend. I am thinking more of loosely knit, independent organisations encouraged by the Government, and similar to the British Council. The United Kingdom Government has encouraged the voluntary organisations of the United Kingdom and subsidised them in certain measure.
I understand that last April a meeting was held in Canberra under the sponsorship of Sir John Crawford of the Australian National University at which the first practical step in this direction was made. I commend Sir John for his move because I believe that it is a great step in the right direction. I believe that it is desirable to bring these organisations together in what might be termed a loose group - they should not be tied down too tightly - and encourage them to operate spontaneously from within their own units. But I do believe that we, as a Parliament, could give them a more positive lead at a modicum of expense. I think in terms of freight rebates on goods that are being sent as aid to these countries. People contribute vast amounts to funds to provide for the purchase of goods and it may even be that the organisations acquire good first class equipiment, second class equipiment or even second-hand equipment at no cost to themselves. However, the organisations must pay heavy freights on the goods, import duties at the destination, wharfage dues and other expenses to get the goods into these countries. Here we have on the one hand the graphic expression of goods being given without cost, which is a real achievement, and on the other hand heavy expenses to get the goods to other countries.
I know that vast distances are involved. Australia is some 4,500 or 5,000 miles from Singapore and we face a big transport problem. But I believe that, for a modicum of expenditure, the Government could encourage these people to widen their activities and to display even greater enthusiasm for the work they have undertaken. People are already doing this work and I believe that many more people would be genuinely interested in undertaking it. I recognise our activity at the high political level and I know that this is necessary. But here we have an untapped source of great activity that would promote our way of life amongst the people of South East Asia, without forcing it upon them. If we generate greater enthusiasm and encourage this work, our activities in these countries would be viewed without any political suspicion. Individuals from the lower ranks would be able to converse with the people in these countries and get to know them. The people in South East Asia would learn of our way of life, of what we are doing and of the way we have developed our affluent society, as it has been called. But there would be a reciprocal benefit. Our people taking a more active part in this work would bring back to this country an appreciation of the way of life and the activities in the countries of South East Asia.
I believe that the Government could give a positive lead at a minimum of expense by considering rebates on freight and other transport costs and even tax exemptions on gifts made to the organisations concerned. I refer to gifts for the purpose of aid to these countries and not for the purpose of meeting administrative expenses. The exemptions I have in mind would apply to the funds and so on set up to receive gifts of goods or money that would be used to acquire the equipment to be sent as aid to the countries in South East Asia. Assistance of this nature would generate greater activity amongst the people doing this work. It would enable them to gain an appreciation of South East Asia and would enable the people of South East Asia to gain a better appreciation of our way of life. These people would bring back to Australia a wide appreciation of the problems in South East Asia and would have some idea of what must be done to improve the standard of living of the people in South East Asia.
.- I move - [Customs Tariff Proposals (No. 21).]
THE SCHEDULE. IMPORT DUTIES.
Mr. Speaker, Customs Tariff Proposals No. 21, which I have just tabled, relate to proposed amendments of the Customs Tariff 1933-64 in respect of-
Plastic coated fibre glass yarns; and
Engines for outboard motor units.
On plastic coated fibre glass yarns, rates of 35 per cent. British preferential tariff and 45 per cent, most-favoured-nation rate are being imposed on the recommendation of the Tariff Board. The new duties are approximately equal to the existing combined ordinary and temporary duties. I shall table the relevant Tariff Board report at a later stage.
The proposals also incorporate a duty change associated with the Tariff Board’s report on internal combustion piston engines which was tabled in this House some two weeks ago. The tariff proposals introduced at that time provided for duties which were not completely in accordance with the Board’s recommendations which have been accepted by the Government, in that engines for incorporation in outboard motor units were not made dutiable at the same rates as the complete units. This defect is now being corrected. I commend the proposals to honorable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Pollard) adjourned.
– I present a report by the Tariff Board on plastic coated fibre glass products.
Ordered to be printed.
Bill presented by Mr. Adermann, and read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The main purpose of this Bill is to give effect to the unanimous recommendation of the Dried Fruits Control Board for amendments to the legislation under which it is constituted, to give it greater flexibility in arranging its affairs. The opportunity has also been taken in the Bill to make a number of machinery amendments to the Act to bring it into line with present day practice in legislation dealing with commodity boards.
Section 9 of the Act provides that the Board shall annually appoint one of its members to be Chairman of the Board.
During its four years existence the Board has taken the view that its Chairman should be a person independent of the dried vine fruits industry. Thus it has always chosen to appoint the Commonwealth member of the Board as its Chairman. The present Commonwealth member is Mr. Eugene Gorman, Q.C. He is also the Chairman. Mr. Gorman who has rendered such sterling service to the industry has recently indicated to me, and to the Board, that he wishes to retire from the Board, perhaps next year. This has caused the Board to review the legislative position governing the selection of a Chairman and it has recommended that a provision be inserted in the Dried Fruits Export Control Act, along similar lines to a provision in the Canned Fruits Export Marketing Act 1963, which would give the Board optional authority to appoint an additional member to the Board who would ex-officio be the Chairman. Such a provision would only be operative where the Board decided, with the approval of the Minister, upon the appointment of the Chairman from outside the ordinary membership.
In reaching this decision, the Board has had in mind that it is my intention, following the retirement of Mr. Gorman, to appoint a senior departmental official as the Commonwealth member of the Board who would not be available to assume the chairmanship of the Board. This course is considered to be highly desirable in the interests of closer liaison between my Department and the Board because of such developments as the introduction of the dried vine fruits stabilisation scheme and the international pricing agreement with Greek and Turkish interests. The Board has indicated to me that it fully understands this situation.
The Government has been pleased to accede to the Board’s recommendation and its implementation is provided for in clause 9 of the Bill before the House. Its adoption will enable the Board to continue to appoint one of its regular members as Chairman or, alternatively, with the approval of the Minister, to appoint another person as an additional member who would ex-officio be Chairman. At present, the Act provides that the Chairman shall be elected annually. The
Board realises that security of tenure for a longer period will probably be necessary to induce a person outside the industry to accept the office of Chairman. The Bill therefore provides that the Chairman may be appointed for a period not exceeding three years as determined by the Board and that he will be eligible for re-appointment. In overseas countries, and in this country as well, the Board is referred to as the Australian Dried Fruits Control Board although, legally, the word “ Australian “ is not part of its title. The Bill remedies this deficiency. The Bill also provides for the creation of an office of deputy chairman, and gives the Board the power to appoint executive committees and to delegate powers to such committees. These are fairly standard provisions in present day legislation dealing with commodity boards and their necessity for effective administration is obvious.
The Board, in common with all other commodity boards which are charged with the organisation of exports, engages in overseas promotion and other activities designed to increase sale and consumption in export markets. The Board’s power to engage in such activities has, in the past, stemmed from its general spending powers. It is considered desirable to refer in mere specific terms to the Board’s power to promote in overseas countries and the Bill does this. The machinery amendments, to which I referred earlier, are designed, in the main, to bring the Act, which was last amended in 1953 into conformity with recent practice in respect to commodity board legislation, and relate to such things as the financial and auditing requirements. In addition, the Bill recognises the trade description applied to the dried fruit variety known as raisins. Prior to 1956 the variety was styled “ lexias “. At the time the Act was brought down it was the practice to provide that the Governor-General should appoint members and take other action in respect of appointments. In present day legislation of this nature, these powers are exercised by the Minister, and the Bill proposes that the necessary amendments should be made. I commend the Bill to honorable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Pollard) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr. Adermann, and read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The main amendments to the Dried Fruits Export Charges Act 1924-1929, whch are proposed by this Bill, are consequential to the amendments to the Dried Fruits Export Control Act in the Bill which I have just introduced into the House. They recognise the change which is proposed in the title of the Dried Fruits Control Board by the addition of the word “Australian “, and the substitution of the word “ raisins “ for the word “ lexias “.
The Bill is purely a machinery measure. It does not alter the rate of charge imposed on exports of dried vine fruits, which remains at a maximum of oneeighthpenny per lb., equivalent to 23/4 per ton. The income from this charge, presently being levied at the permitted maximum, finances the operations of the Board. I commend the Bill to honorable members.
Debate (on n otion by Mr. Pollard) adjourned.
Consideration resumed (vide page 1744).
Department of External Affairs.
Proposed expenditure, £15,433,000.
– The honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) said earlier this afternoon that the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) was the head of the China lobby in this Parliament, following the departure from the Parliament of the former honorable member for Parkes. That remark was completely and wilfully untrue. Anybody who has anything to say in any regard about this matter should say it outside the chamber. I challenge the honorable member for Mackellar to repeat his remarks outside the chamber. I ask him to put on another demonstration in King’s Hall - not to make insinuations and non-actionable comments in this chamber. Let him repeat his remarks outside the chamber and he will very quickly receive a writ.
The new honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Hughes) also is stirring around the gutter in some of the remarks that he has made about the Labour Party’s policy in relation to Malaysia and a number of other matters being different from what we have said it to be. The insinuation that our policy is different from what we have stated is completely wrong.
– Do you propose to dump Tom Uren?
– I would like to dump you. You came into the Parliament as a result of a smear campaign and if you want to fight the honorable member for Reid outside the Parliament, you do it. The honorable member for Reid has my confidence. He is a good honest member of the Labour Party. What is equally important, he is a decent man. The honorable member for Parkes jumps up and down in this chamber like something animated mechanically. If he wants to say anything about the honorable member for Reid let him say it outside the House and I guarantee he will get a writ. I will be present when the action is heard to give evidence of the character of the honorable member for Reid, if he needs it. His character is very good. One of my colleagues has suggested that the honorable member for Parkes is the puppet from Parkes. I do not know whose interests he is representing or misrepresenting in this Parliament, but if he wants to stay here for a considerable period of timelet him conform to the decencies of the Parliament and respect the integrity of other people.
The name of Mr. Sachs has been mentioned. I have asked a question about him. I am satisfied that until 1931 he was a member of the Communist Party. Since that time he has been a Labour Party candidate. I intend to do what I last week threatened to do: I intend during the recess to see Brigadier Spry. I intend to ask him whether any members of the Communist Party are seated in the House of Representatives or in the Senate. I intend to ask him whether any member of the China lobby or any other lobby is in this Parliament. I intend to ask whether there is anybody in the Parliament who is not a decent honest representative of the electorate for which he has been elected.
I want to speak about the foreign policy of this Government, if it has one. This Government’s foreign policy is a mixture of bluster, bluff and blunder. What is foreign policy? Foreign policy is supposed to be the policy by which the Government of the country, through its diplomatic representatives, pursues certain objectives. These are the maintenance of peace, the protection of trade and the proper defence of the rights of individual nationals in foreign countries. I think it was Bismarck who said that war was a continuation of diplomacy by other means. A cynic has suggested that diplomacy is a continuation of war by other means. I do not know just where this Government finds itself in the diplomatic world. What has Australia with which to express and defend its foreign policy? It has little or nothing. What is the use of talking about a foreign policy if we cannot defend it?
In my view, Sir, the settlement of the West New Guinea problem in the way in which it was resolved was dishonest. The settlement was a surrender to Indonesian blackmail and armed aggression. It was concluded with indecent haste and without the indigenous people being given the right to self determination beforehand, although self determination was one of the principles for which World War I was fought and won. The Americans were so anxious to get the West New Guinea issue out of the way that they insisted on letting President Sukarno have his way. So they devised the Bunker plan. The Dutch had no intention of staying, anyhow. The Menzies Government chickened out and another potential risk to Australian security and defence along the border between West Irian and the Territory of Papua and New Guinea was created. It is true that Australia, because it is so pathetically defenceless, had no power to do anything to prevent either Indonesia’s acts of aggression or its refusal to allow the local Papuans to say whether they wished to substitute a foreign form of Asian imperialism for a European one. But there was no need for us to sanctify aggression, first, by a cowardly silence and, secondly, by a subservient acquiescence.
I was not universally popular for what I said about the whole sordid business in 1962. But I believed that what I said then was right; and so I said it. I still feel as I felt then about the Indonesian takeover of what the Indonesians call West Irian, and I believe that time has justified my stand. For this misfortune in the diplomatic field, the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) and Sir Garfield Barwick, the former Minister for External Affairs, carry a heavy responsibility before their contemporaries and before posterity. This is equally so of their advisers in the Department of External Affairs.
The other day, the honorable member for Higinbotham (Mr. Chipp) asked a question that was designed to embarrass the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam). What the Deputy Leader of the Opposition had said about the composition of Malaysia was completely right. What he had said about the racial tensions existing there was completely true. We have since had a joint statement by Tunku Abdul Rahman and Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, Chief Minister of Singapore, announcing that they have agreed that racial tensions shall be eased over the next two years. Every effort will be made to bring the Chinese and the Malays together in Singapore. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition just mentioned the difficulties associated with the creation of Malaysia.
In my view, if Mr. Duncan Sandys, the United Kingdom Minister for Commonwealth Relations, had not acted so precipitately, we may have been in less difficulty over Malaysia than we are at present. Had Malaya and Singapore been allowed to federate first without bringing in these other areas, things would have gone much better. But Mr. Duncan Sandys had the idea of forcing North Borneo and Sarawak into the alliance to make the new Federation viable, and this caused the trouble. His purpose, however, was not so much to help the formation of Malaysia as to transfer responsibility for the defence of Sarawak and North Borneo to Malaysia, for those two countries had no power to defend themselves. This was designed to take the responsibility from the United Kingdom Government. We were then brought in to make a contribution to the defence of Malaysia. Had the situation been left alone except for the federation of Malaya and Singapore, there would have been no trouble. The borders of North Borneo and
Sarawak were never infiltrated by the Indonesians at that time. Only when Malaysia was created and the new Federation was asked to defend the borders of North Borneo and Sarawak did the trouble with Indonesia begin.
The simple fact remains that what is described as Australian foreign policy represents mere word spinning, because of the defencelessness of this nation after almost 15 years of administration by the Menzies Government. There is a great deal of talk about honouring our commitments in South East Asia. But what have we with which to honour them? The Minister for Defence (Senator Paltridge) - or, should I say, the Minister for no defence - speaking in Perth on 31st July last, made this astonishing statement -
In order to play an effective part in the maintenance of security in South East Asian areas, Australia has developed her armed forces to the stage where we are in a position to commit forces at short notice. We are also in a position to make an immediate and effective contribution to the common defence wilh our allies or, if the situation requires, to act initially on our own in an emergency.
– How ridiculous.
– It is completely ridiculous. Does anybody believe this farrago of nonsense? Does the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) believe it? Does the honorable member for La Trobe (Mr. Jess) believe it? The attitude of this Government towards foreign policy and defence represents a strange and dangerous mixture of pompous statements and disastrous inactivity. The Prime Minister, speaking at a Chamber of Manufactures dinner in Sydney a few weeks ago, said -
Australians have never lived in a state of greater risk than they do today.
If he really believes this, his record is all the more disgraceful. What has he or his Government done to equip Australia to meet what he claims is her hour of greatest need? The Prime Minister loves to re-affirm in ringing tones Australia’s commitment to the defence of Malaysia. He brandishes at every available opportunity the 125 word sentence of commitment that he uttered in this chamber last year. But words are about all he has to brandish.
The attitude of the Australian Labour Party on Malaysia is quite clear. We support the right of the people of Malaysia to live in peace and to build up their nation free from aggression. In no circumstances do we excuse or condone the acts of aggression against Malaysia committed by Indonesia. In the absence of settlement of the dispute through the United Nations - we hope that a settlement will be brought about soon - we believe that the Australian troops in Malaya should stay there. But we believe that their presence there should be covered by a clear and open agreement independent of any arrangement that may have been made between Britain and Malaysia. We of the Labour Party recognise that we, as a democratic country with a deep and abiding interest in the strength of the Western world, must make our contribution to the democratic cause. The Menzies Government relies too heavily on our friends and allies to come to our aid and defence. We believe that Australia must clearly indicate to our allies, particularly the United States of America and Britain, that we are ready to play our part with them - as a partner, not as a passenger.
I repeat what I said in my policy speech for the 1961 Federal general election, for it is a clear statement of the principles on which the Labour Party bases its foreign policy. On that occasion, I stated -
The free world must be ever ready to negotiate, but can never surrender to threats or blackmail. . . .
If . . . war should be forced upon the free world, Australia, whether we wish it or not, will be involved. In those circumstances we who belong to the free world will stand with the free world and will give wholehearted support to its cause. There could be no other course for those who cherish freedom. . . . We of the Labour Party have always been found on the side of liberty because we hate tyranny and abhor oppression.
I repeated that, in paraphrase, in 1963. It is still our policy. Let nobody, in this place or anywhere else, try either to besmirch the record of the Labour Party in peace or war or to asperse our motives and our beliefs today.
.- I have listened with great interest to the Leader of the Australian Labour Party (Mr. Calwell). If we can get information of an authentic nature about the Labour Party from anyone, it should be from him. He takes great offence at members on this side of the House making personal attacks on members of the Opposition. I think he has something there, and I am not going to say that the point he made was not taken by the Government side and by myself. However, he does not help matters by making personal attacks in return, especially as the leader of a party. I should think that if he adopted a moderate attitude and did what I have claimed is the right thing in this House - to fight policies and not personalities - he would set an example. However, from what I could follow of his remarks, he did the opposite; he made attacks on Government members.
The honorable gentleman is very happy on occasions to say that the Government has not any foreign policy. If I heard him correctly he referred to the present policy as bluster, bluff and blunder. Of course, we have heard him use those words on so many occasions that they have come to mean not much to us. The words do not mean much to anyone. If you asked him to explain how these words would apply to the foreign policy of any nation he would not be able to do so, therefore his speech did not have any real core of common sense or of logical thinking, so I dismiss it without much interest.
I have never found the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) saying anything personally offensive about any Government member in this chamber, although he may have retaliated on occasions. I do not agree with what he says about foreign policy, and I do not agree with many of the views he expresses, tout so far as he is personally concerned I have not found him offensive. What I am asking is: What is the use of all this personal offence - one side against the other? Why do we not light policies? I am always willing to fight the policy of the Opposition, when I do not agree with it. How would I fight that policy? Let me give an illustration. The Leader of the Opposition said that the Australian Labour Party believes in freedom; that it is a free party. I do not think it is at all. I rather think it is a party dictated to by its executive, and what it puts forward is what it has been told to put forward. It has been very noticeable that in major debates in this chamber over the last year or so the Leader of the Opposition has read from very carefully prepared script, and as a result his speech has lacked the interest of previous speeches he has made. It is a difficult thing, if you have certain views, to have to put other views that are dictated to you by an executive. I believe that the Leader of the Opposition has been in that very uncomfortable position in this place on many occasions.
In respect of foreign affairs the Labour Party says: “We are always prepared to negotiate.” Of course it is prepared to negotiate, but it does not go any further. It says that the United Nations must negotiate on these things, but those members who were in this chamber at the time of the Korean War - and Dr. Evatt was here - will recall vividly that the Opposition said that we must negotiate in the United Nations. That was done, and it was decided that a force should go from the United Nations to Korea to try to bring about peace. A force was established, to which Australia contributed. Immediately the negotiations were over the Labour Party lost interest. It would not help in any way to recruit the Australian quota of the force that went to Korea. After all, negotiation is all right if it is successful, but with many nations you can negotiate only from strength. You cannot negotiate from weakness, and therefore I contend that this nation must be strong not only in its own defence, not only for working in with the plans of the South East Asia Treaty Organisation and the Anzus nations, but strong through having reliable allies.
– Are we strong in that regard?
– Yes. We have strong allies in the United States of America and in the Commonwealth of Nations, which was previously called the British Commonwealth of Nations. We are allied closely with those - with what have become known rightly or wrongly as the free nations of the earth. We are co-operating closely with them. In this lies our strength. On so many occasions Labour Party members have asked what we would do if an invader came to Australia. They say that we are almost helpless and hopeless. Of course, that is not correct. We would be able to fight off the invader at least until we got help from our strong allies, and in that regard we are prepared with a striking force that can operate immediately. As I see it, this is the current policy of the present Government in this regard.
Ever since I have been here I have been trying to ascertain the foreign policy of the Labour Party. I have never been able to follow it. The honorable member for Reid quoted Labour’s policy from a certain booklet. I only wish I had a copy of that booklet. If he would hand it to me I would like to analyse it. He said that the Labour Party does not support aggression by any nation, yet when we have aggression by nations we do not often hear the Labour Party speak against the aggressor. I have not heard Labour Party members say much about the landing of paratroopers in Malaysia. I have not heard that generally condemned, yet this is part of their policy. I am indebted to a member of the Opposition for handing me a copy of Labour’s platform on foreign affairs. However, I think he will admit it is rather hard for me to read this policy during my speech and to sum up just what is in it at this stage. When I listened to the honorable member for Reid read it I know there were many parts that could be debated, and debated not to the advantage of the Labour Party.
I pass now from criticism of the Labour Party, because I do not want to criticise it all the time. I am with those members of the Opposition and of the Government who say that we have to give all the help we possibly can give to the undernourished people of the earth. There is no doubt about that, but they are in such millions that our help can serve only to ameliorate some of the suffering. It has been stated often that under the Colombo Plan we are more wishful of giving these nations assistance in producing foodstuffs in their own countries for themselves rather than giving them gifts of food which, after it has been consumed, leaves the people in just as poor a condition as they were before they got the food. We must do everything possible, in co-operation with the societies which have been established throughout the world, to provide food for the undernourished peoples and give them what the Americans call the “ know-how “ on how to produce foodstuffs for themselves.
I have had a little experience in Malaya, and as it is the major portion of Malaysia I should like to say a few words about it. Perhaps the honorable member for Reid, who also has had experience in Malaya, will agree with me. I think he does. From what I saw, I was appreciative of what the British people have done for the inhabitants of the Straits Settlement. I believe that the British influence in Malaya was such that it has been a wonderful benefit to the people of Malaya.
The countries in this area are not equipped and their people are not trained to wage wars against the more up to date nations of the world. I believe that you could give the people of these countries all the foodstuffs you wanted to, and you could make any gifts you liked through the Colombo Plan, but that when it came to a question of their survival in a war you could not expect their gratitude to go so far as to put them on your side in a conflict. I found that in such circumstances the only thing they appreciated and understand is a show of strength. I believe that it is always necessary for these South East Asian countries to be on the winning side in any conflict. They must be on the winning side or they will be annihilated or enslaved. Therefore when they see aggressor countries pushing forward :n South Vietnam and other places they conclude that these are the countries with great strength and that the United States of America and other countries which do not take definite action or adopt a definite attitude are weaker. I believe that the show of strength by the United States recently has done much to quieten the situation in that area.
I do not want to go into details of personal anecdotes, but perhaps I should tell the Committee of something that happened when the Japanese invaded Malaya. 1 think I have mentioned this previously in the Parliament. When the Japanese came down into Malaya and Singapore and took charge, as if by magic in the windows of most of the houses Japanese flags appeared. Where they came from so suddenly no-one seemed :o know. Three and a half years later when the British again took command, in those very same windows one could see the Union Jack or the American flag, the Dutch flag or the Australian flag. I mention this to illustrate my point that these people must be on the winning side. I do not blame them for it, and if other honorable members saw the general conditions in those countries and the impossibility of their waging a war, they would agree with the attitude that the people adopt. Therefore I believe that this Government’s policy in assisting the newly formed Malaysia to resist an aggressor must be admired and supported.
Let me now refer to the Australian troops that long ago were sent overseas to join the strategic reserve. I do not know what the Labour Party’s policy on this subject is at the present moment. I do know that through the years the Labour Party has on many occasions in this Parliament said that these troops should never have been sent over and that they should be brought back to Australia. 1 know that the United Kingdom and New Zealand are with us in this strategic reserve, and I know that although it was that, perhaps, one of the tasks originally envisaged for it, the work done by the reserve in ridding the Malayan jungles of Communist terrorists has done most to restore peace to that part of the world. Does the Labour Party believe that Australian troops should never have gone there? I hear some honorable member opposite saying that I should read the Labour Party’s policy. I cannot read it just at this moment. Can some honorable member answer my question? Do the members of the Labour Party believe that the Australian troops should be brought back to Australia now, or have they changed their minds on this subject? Do they now believe that Australia showed wisdom in sending her troops to join these strategic forces of other Commonwealth countries in Malaya? The Malayan people have expressed appreciation, through their leader, of the work done by the Australians in ridding the Malayan jungles of Communists and in assisting Malaya - now joined with other countries in the Federation of Malaysia - towards nationhhood so that it can become a worthwhile member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
– I wish to make a personal explanation, Mr. Temporary Chairman. Several speakers in this debate have put into my mouth words I did not use. My recollection of the words I used is, I find, in accordance with the “ Hansard “ report of them. I now have before me the green copy of the “Hansard” report. I did not say that the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) was the head of the China lobby in this House. What I did say, and what I repeat from the green copy of my speech supplied by “ Hansard “, was that since his late mentor, Mr. Haylen, has been reft from us, he has almost constituted himself as the head of the China lobby in this chamber. This was a reference merely to the policies he has advocated in this chamber. It is a correct description in that regard. It goes no further than that.
– In what he called a personal explanation, Mr. Temporary Chairman, the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) said that he repeated what he had said earlier.
– Order! Is the honorable member raising a point of order?
– No. Under Standing Order No. 78 I am drawing your attention to the words that the honorable member used. You will notice that he said he repeated the words. He was not just quoting from the green copy of his speech. He said: “ The words I used, and I repeat- “
– From the “Hansard” green.
– It was unnecessary for the honorable member to use the word “ repeat “ if he was not in fact wanting to make this as a substantive statement for a second time. I am drawing your attention to the words he used. I find them offensive and I ask that you have him withdraw them.
Order! I remind the Committee that Standing Order No. 66 gives an honorable member who has spoken to a question an opportunity to explain himself in regard to any matter in respect of which he claims to have been misrepresented. But the Standing Order goes on: “ . . . and no debatable matter may be brought forward nor may any debate arise upon such explanation.”’ I therefore rule that there can be no debate on the matter about which the honorable member made his explanation.
.- It is always a matter of interest to find out how little the honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull) knows about foreign affairs.
I understand he has been here for about IS years. It was an incredible admission on his part that he had never seen the Australian Labour Party’s policy on foreign affairs. While he was speaking I took the opportunity to provide him with a copy.
– While I was speaking - admit that.
– That is so. While he was speaking I passed a copy to him. After 18 years in which he has apparently failed to avail himself of the opportunity to get a copy of our policy from the library, or from the various offices of the Australian Labour Party, I have now made this copy available to him. I hope that he will study it in the near future so that he will never be able to make this excuse in the future.
– Copies of our policy are in every public library.
– That is so. In fact, we of the Australian Labour Party go to a great deal of trouble to disseminate our policy so that it can be clearly and completely comprehended. So that all honorable members may have a proper appreciation of the Labour Party’s policy on foreign affairs, I now ask the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck), who I am pleased to see has now come into the chamber and is sitting at the table, whether he will permit me to incorporate this brief synopsis of our policy in “ Hansard “.
– No. It is available in the Library.
– There you are, Sir. I suggest that the honorable member for Mallee commence to take these debates more seriously, because it is obviously impossible for him to contribute effectively to a debate with the Opposition if he has never had the benefit of studying our policy. The honorable member said, for example, that he doubted that we had any clear cut attitude towards having Australian forces serving overseas. Well, here it is. I will read to the honorable member paragraph 10 of the section of our policy headed “ Foreign Affairs “. It reads -
Labour does not believe that Australian forces should be committed overseas, except subject to a clear and public Treaty, which accords with the principles of the declaration which gives Australia an effective voice in the common decision of the Treaty Powers.
I doubt whether the honorable member wants to quibble about that. While I am on the subject of policies let me tell him that it is not the easiest thing in the world to find out the policy of the Government on foreign affairs. In fact, members of the Government parties themselves do not know from one day to another what their attitude will be. As the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) has said on previous occasions, they wait for the mail to arrive from the United States of America. It is not until that dictum emerges that they are able to express a viewpoint.
I will not be deterred any further from saying what I stood up to say. I want to talk about two matters this afternoon. One is the wheat for India campaign. It must be a matter of concern to other honorable members, as well as to me, that the appropriation under the heading “ International Development and Relief” has fallen from £10.037,700 last year to £9,980,200 this year, in these times when famine is besetting India and millions of people in so many other parts of the world are experiencing hardships, especially food shortages. This problem was the subject of the Freedom from Hunger Campaign. We all recall quite clearly and vividly the fact that two people are dying of starvation every second. That was one of the forceful selling points of that Campaign. Two thirds of the world’s population, or 2,000 million people, have difficulty in obtaining sufficient food.
The present position in India is very serious. The position has deteriorated considerably. A short time ago Lord Casey suggested that if the Commonwealth means anything at all it means that the Commonwealth countries should come to one another’s aid in times of crisis. Here is a crisis for the people of India. What does Australia intend to do about that crisis? I am told that India, which has about one-fifth of the world’s population, so far has not received from Australia one skerrick of aid in respect of its current famine. On the other hand, the United States has sent 80 shiploads of wheat to India. I know that the Australian Wheat Board was anxious to send 75,000 tons of wheat to India, but we were told that no ships were available. The Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr. McEwen) had to confess that the Commonwealth had no power to divert ships for that purpose. It is important to recall that not one Austalian ship has ever been used to transport wheat to China because we have no ships available for that purpose. Dozens and dozens of vessels have been leased or rented from shipping companies in countries which have no sea coast, so that we could transport wheat from Australia to China. So far not one Australian ship has been used for that purpose. Similarly, we are unable to use an Australian ship to take wheat to India.
This afternoon an honorable member - I think it might have been the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Hughes) - said that India was unable to handle the wheat and that that was the real problem. I took the trouble to ring the office of the High Commissioner for India. Although the High Commissioner himself was not there, I was given an assurance that that was not the problem at all and that if there is wheat available from Australia the Indians will he very happy to have it. So I say that the record of the Australian Government in this matter is not good. I commend the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) on one point that he made this afternoon. I, too, believe that our aid should be channelled through international organisations, especially the agencies of the United Nations. A most undesirable trend which has developed in past years is that aid in some instances becomes a tool in the cold war. We are not here to win support for the Communist bloc or the Western bloc out of the starvation and privation experienced by people.
I also express a little concern about another matter in connection with the wheat for India campaign. I have noticed a tendency to put this campaign on the basis that what we give to India we will be taking away from China. That is not the right emphasis. Over the last three years China has taken 40 per cent, of Australia’s wheat exports. I doubt very strongly whether we were inspired by philanthropic motives when we sold wheat to China. I believe that it was a commercial proposition. We were able to obtain a price that was not available to us from other sources, and there fore, we sent wheat to China. I would hate to think that, like a flock of vultures, we are just intent on exploiting a nation experiencing a famine. I would rather believe that we have an attitude of benevolence to people, whether they are in China or in India. 1 am not inclined to put the 700 million people in China on one side and the 400 million people in India on the other and contend that one form of aid is more virtuous than another.
I wish to spend a few minutes on. the question of the recognition of China and the prospect of its admission to the United Nations. It is an interesting fact that the Australian Government recognises and trades With the Soviet Union, Indonesia, Cuba and a number of other countries which have been involved in hostilities recently, but acquiesces with the United States in failing to recognise China. The Government used to oppose the idea of trading with China. In fact, it was not until members of the Country Party saw the prospect of finding an outlet for their surplus wheat that that opposition was broken down substantially.
I note that the Soviet Union has taken £73 million worth of our exports in the last 10 years; on the other hand China has taken no less than £223.9 million worth of our exports in that period. Those exports include a number of agricultural products which were needed to alleviate famine in China - such products as barley, oats, wheat and flour - but they also include £7.7 million worth of plate steel, £1.2 million worth of pipes, £500,000 worth of chemicals and a number of other commodities. So we have reached the stage where we are trading with China on quite a considerable scale; yet we have failed to afford recognition in technical terms to that country and we have not supported the proposal that it be admitted to the United Nations.
On one occasion the former AttorneyGeneral, Sir Garfield Barwick, said that recognition of China involved handing over Formosa. I doubt that. Many countries, including the United Kingdom, recognise China. There has been no clear-cut declaration about Formosa by the United Kingdom. Formosa has not been disparaged in any way by the United Kingdom. A number of countries in Asia support the idea of admitting China to the United Nations. It is interesting to see that India is one such country that Pakistan is another, and that Ceylon, Burma, Nepal, Laos, Cambodia and Indonesia are others. We have been told that there is one seat in the United Nations that can go either to Formosa or to mainland China. After all, we are thinking here in terms of a country with 10 million people and another country with 600 or 700 million people - heaven knows what the precise figure is.
When we admit mainland China - doubtless this will happen some time - the likelihood is that not only will mainland China have a seat in the United Nations but it will also occupy a position on the International Court of Justice. I think the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) agrees with me on this. This goes with the seat in the United Nations that is reserved for China. If it is a matter of deciding who shall have that seat, a nation of 10 million people or mainland China with 700 million people, in my mind there is no doubt about what the decision should be. The seat should obviously go to mainland China. There are many reasons that one could advance to substantiate the advisability of taking such a view. Some say that because mainland China has opposed United Nations forces she should not be admitted; but the Congo and Korea were similarly involved with United Nations forces. The United Nations was born from the ashes of war, and just about every country has had some kind of involvement in war at one time or another.
I feel also that an important consideration is to put some teeth into the various treaties that have been drawn up from time to time in connection with disarmament, the cessation of nuclear tests and the banning of the use of nuclear weapons. I hold in my hand at the present time a copy of the treaty banning nuclear weapon tests in the atmosphere, in outer space and under water. This is a recent treaty, and the signatories do not include either France or China. The significance of this is that the treaty is, though not of little consequence, of less consequence to the people of Australia. How much more effective the treaty might have been had its signatories included China, the largest nation in the world in terms of population. There is one Chinese in every four people in the world.
I have been interested to see that a number of our Asian neighbours have supported the case for the admittance of China to the United Nations. Foremost among them is Cambodia, which has contended on the floor of the United Nations time after time that unless China is admitted the United Nations will not be effective in respect of many of the problems confronting the people of the world.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– The honorable member for Hughes (Mr. L. R. Johnson) is not a good advertisement for the privilege of free speech. He is quite capable of examining the matters about which he has been speaking and he is also quite capable of presenting an accurate assessment of the position to the Committee. He has not done this. He said that he has no doubt where the decision should go if there were a question of whether Communist China or the Government of Formosa should have the Chinese seat in the United Nations. He has put forward a view advocating the recognition of Communist China and advocating the seating of Communist China in the United Nations. When he says that he has no doubt where the decision should go, he should bear in mind that the population of Australia is about the same as the population of Formosa. If he is prepared to sell the 10,000,000 people of Formosa, he might well take into account that some time some other country may have the same view in regard to the similar number of people in Australia.
It is quite irrelevant to say that Britain made some attempt to exchange diplomatic representatives with Communist China, because at the time the negotiations took place the Communist Government at Peking had not formulated the conditions under which it would accept recognition. It will not at the moment accept recognition unless the country recognising Communist China is at the same time prepared to recognise Peking’s right to govern Formosa. This is something that we should not do. It is open to the Communist Chinese to alter this situation by altering the conditions under which they will accept recognition. The honorable member was equally inaccurate when he spoke about food for India. The position, which should be plainly understood, is as the honorable member for Higinbotham (Mr. Chipp) explained in the plainest of terms. He said that there is so much wheat in ships in the harbours of India that it cannot be unloaded. If we divert more ships just to bank up in India’s harbours what good will this do for the people of India who need assistance?
Earlier this afternoon the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), as he has become accustomed . to do in recent months, came into the chamber to support the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) and to protect him from perfectly just accusations levelled against him by an honorable member on this side of the chamber. It is a pity that the Leader of the Opposition could not support the view taken by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam), because the Deputy Leader of the Opposition showed some courage, knowing the people who sit behind him, in repudiating a view which was certainly to the great detriment of this country. If the Leader of the Opposition could support his Deputy Leader, and if from time to time the Deputy Leader could support the Leader - which, on occasions, he does not - the Opposition could be a party of which some people might be proud. But while these conditions do not prevail, it is a party that will remain on that side of the chamber for a very long while. The significant part about this matter is that although the Deputy Leader of the Opposition was trying to take a view appropriate to the national interest, the Leader of the Opposition again supported the extreme left wing. A question that we should sometimes ask ourselves is this: Why does not the Leader of the Opposition sometimes support the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly) or the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Stewart), who is at present gracing the chair, or some other member of the right wing of the Labour Party who may be under attack? It is only the left wing members of the Labour Party who are protected by the Leader of the Opposition when they are under attack from this side of the chamber.
There is one other point that the Leader of the Opposition raised this afternoon which I think deserves some comment. He said that Malaysia had been formed too quickly and that there had been, as a result, some transfer of defence obligations in this region from the United Kingdom to Australia. He put the view that if Malaysia had not been formed there would be no trouble with Indonesia over the previously existing defence guarantees that the United Kingdom had given Malaya and the other territories that now comprise Malaysia. I do not think that this is an accurate assessment of what would have happened, because the formation of Malaysia has quite plainly increased the need for a British guarantee, which has been given. We had a previous undertaking to help to defend Malaya, and this has been extended to Malaysia. It is completely unrealistic to say that if Malaysia had not been created there would not have been any trouble with Indonesia, because it is my firm belief that there is an overall Indonesian objective in this theatre of the world to create and maintain a dominance over all the other nations of the region. Up to the time at which Malaysia was created Indonesia was fully occupied in gaining possession of West New Guinea and clearly was not going to involve herself in two major disputes at the one time. But it is my firm belief that if Malaysia had not been created, the question of West New Guinea having been resolved satisfactorily for Indonesia, Indonesia would then have turned her attention to the defence commitments made to Malaya. So it is quite useless to argue that we would have avoided any commitment in the problems in this theatre of the world.
It is well to examine Western policies towards Indonesia because Western countries assisted her to gain independence. They assisted her with military equipment, military training with developmental and technical aid, and they quite plainly assisted her in gaining possession of West New Guinea. At this time there were many people in different places who expressed some sympathy for the Indonesian objective in relation to West New Guinea, even if they had no sympathy for the means adopted. There was a hope expressed that the Indonesians, after the completion - to use their term - of their revolution, would devote themselves towards the economic development of their country and cease to be a disruptive factor in South East Asia. There was a belief that the Indonesians would remain friendly to the west because of the great assistance that had been given to them and the great amount of aid that had been given and was still being given to them.
This was a short lived hope and a short lived belief because no sooner had Indonesia gained West New Guinea than it turned its attention to Malaysia and developed the policy of confrontation. This quite clearly necessitated a re-examination of Indonesia’s policies and methods; and there are other factors that plainly have to be taken into account. There is the Communist Party, one of the largest in the world, and the fact that Indonesia is, in some parts, an extremely religious nation. There is the strong army, and there is the problem of the Chinese which is really a two-pronged question: There are the local domestic Chinese, who are regarded by the Indonesians in the way that some European nations have sometimes regarded the Jews; then there is the problem of Peking and this, I believe, is a completely separate question.
I do not believe that the Indonesians fear the Communist Chinese. I think the Indonesians are almost impertinent enough to regard themselves as long term partners of Peking, with themselves dominant on the waters of the Pacific, while China masters the mainland. This might seem strange but the co-operation the Indonesians have given to Communist China and the way they have worked closer and closer to Peking and further and further away from the West - the people who have really assisted them in their great development - only lends support to this view. Then there is, of course, the fear they have of the disintegration of their own particular empire. But out of consideration of all these factors, if it is possible to get any conclusion at all that makes some sort of sense, there may be one: The Army, the Communists and the President all like confrontation for different reasons of their own. They all like it for reasons which support their own position. Over and above this, there is an Indonesian objective on which they all agree. At present, this is directed towards the removal of the British defence guarantees to Malaysia.
This objective, it can be argued, has been pursued persistently, not with regard to Malaysia but with regard to the estab lishment of Indonesia’s predominance in the area. This view can be documented in part back to 1945, before Indonesia gained its own independence. Everything that Indonesia has done in more recent times supports this view. The vote of the United Nations Security Council regarding the infiltration by sea and air of Malaysia by Indonesia must surely be regarded as a victory for Malaysia and a defeat for Indonesia. Following that vote we should not be surprised if any new Indonesian ventures of confrontation in military terms attract a much greater reaction from Great Britain and the other allies in Asia.
I believe the decks are clear to use more force if the Indonesians pursue these particular ventures. We cannot - and we should not - expect Malaysia merely to retaliate in some defensive fashion to Indonesian aggression. If a Hercules aircraft is being used to drop paratroops over Malaysia, is it wrong to shoot that Hercules down? If ships or boats are being used to take terrorists into Malaysia or its territories would it be wrong to sink those ships? Any reasonable person must believe that it is perfectly proper to use these methods in this sort of situation. In this particular regard there is a similarity between the situation in South Vietnam and the state of affairs existing between Malaysia and Indonesia. It is a problem of how to make subversion, which is very expensive for the person opposing it, expensive also for the sponsor. The West, and the countries trying to oppose the Communist or Indonesian subversion, have not yet learned how to do this. It is also, I think, pertinent to record that this is a difficult thing to do. It is sometimes difficult to explain the need for severe measures to meet the tactics of people like Sukarno and the Indonesians themselves, because whenever the pot boils, whenever they apply a little too much pressure, whenever they feel they are going to attract some kind of severe retaliation, they will withdraw for a little while and turn the pressure on again in some other direction at some later time. The Indonesians plainly believe that they can control confrontation and President Sukarno, before the Tokyo talks, was reported as having said that he could do this and that he would go to talks whenever people wanted him to do so, but confrontation would continue. He is reported to have said that if it appeared that the
United Kingdom was about to use some firmer means than she has up to the present time, he would take the heat out of confrontation for a little while until a more appropriate time arises to pursue his objective.
Now Australia wishes to be friends with Indonesia but friendship will not weaken us, nor can it deter us from any action necessary to prevent the success of this kind of subversion in the region to the north. There are one or two things I would like to emphasise. Because of what Indonesia has done - and looks like continuing to do by one means or another - it is plain that the defence capability of Australia will have to be increased in the coming years, as it has been increasing over the last two or three years. But at the same time we cannot rely merely on this. There are countries in this region who are friendly with us and with whom we wish to co-operate and whom we wish to help for the mutual security of the region. But it is not just a question of defence or of arms or of soldiers. Australia, and every other western country should provide greater opportunities for these countries to trade with us. If this means buying out people in some of our industries because those industries are more efficient in the lower labour cost countries, this is something we should consider. The United Kingdom has done this in certain industries and the United States of America has passed legislation which makes it possible to do this. There should be greater access for the products of under-developed countries to trade with the developed countries. This is something we should examine. It would be in our long term interests and in the interests of the region. Thirdly, I think we should provide more aid than we have in the past. But I regard defence and greater trade opportunities, quite frankly, as more important than aid Which is a gift and which does not necesarily result in the good relations which would come from greater trade opportunities.
.- The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck) is now in the chamber and I will detail these matters that I wish to draw to his attention. I mentioned them during my earlier contribution to the debate on these estimates. It was a matter which the speaker before me, the honorable member for Higinbotham (Mr. Chipp) also referred to and he had also spoken of it in his speech on the Budget. I refer to Australia’s contribution to international development and relief and, in particular, to the contribution to those objectives through international agencies.
My particular concern arose from the fact that the sub-division of the estimates of the Department of External Affairs for international development and relief had a smaller appropriation for this financial year than for the last financial year. In particular, the allocation for the United Nations special fund was being reduced from £375,000 to £250,000. I had the opportunity a few minutes ago to draw the attention of the Minister to this inquiry I had forecast and which I wish to put to him now. The Minister looked at his brief and assured me that the reason for the reduction was that this year there would be two payments to the United Nations Special Fund, each of £125,000, whereas in the last Budget the Government provided for three such allocations, each of £125,000. Looking back through previous Budget papers it would appear that last year was the first time on which we made an allocation for the United Nations Special Fund. The financial year of the United Nations is the calendar year and, accordingly, in last year’s Budget we made an allocation - as I understand it - for the whole of the United Nations financial year, 1963, and for the first half of its financial year, 1964. In this Budget, we are making an allocation of the same amount for the remainder of the United Nations financial year 1964 and for the first half of the United Nations financial year 1965. So I understand, with the clue that the Minister gave rae from his brief, and my own inspection of previous Budget papers, that this is why there is a reduction in our contribution to the Special Fund and, overall, in the subdivision relating to international development and relief.
While I now understand the position, I do not feel that one can justify it. I look at the overall commitment that Australia has by way of dues to the United Nations and find that we are obligated to pay 1.66 per cent, of the annual running expenses of the United Nations. Our pledges, our voluntary payments to the special funds of all the United Nations bodies, are much less than 1.66 per cent. For instance, for 1964, the total pledges that all member nations have made to the United Nations for the expanded programme of technical assistance amount to 51,596,043 dollars, while Australia has pledged only 750,000 dollars. To the Special Fund, all nations have pledged a total of 79,016,617 dollars, while Australia has pledged 560,000 dollars. It will be noticed that our pledges, our voluntary contributions to these international bodies, are very much less than our compulsory contribution of 1.66 per cent, towards the running expenses of the United Nations.
In any debate on Australia’s foreign policy a very great amount of importance is attached to relations with the United States of America. It is not unreasonable to state that the present Government’s every attitude to foreign affairs is directed to procuring a feeling of gratitude or obligation in the U.S.A. towards Australia. I therefore may make a comparison between Australia’s voluntary contributions to United Nations bodies and the voluntary contributions of the United States. The United States has contributed 40 per cent, of all voluntary subscriptions to the Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance and the Special Fund. Her dues are only 32 per cent, of the running expenses of the United Nations. It will be noticed that the U.S.A. pays 25 per cent, more to the voluntary bodies than she would appear to be required to pay under the scale attaching to her dues. Australia pays very much less than that, proportionately.
I had the advantage, as did the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Malcolm Fraser) of being a guest of the United States Government in that country during the parliamentary recess and I got the distinct impression from a very great number of sources in U.S.A. that it would be appreciated if Australia were as generous, proportionately, in contributing to voluntary international bodies as the U.S.A. is. One can go further and express the wish that Australia were not only as generous in those circumstances as the United States but as generous as each one of the countries with which Australia has been traditionally associated in wartime, and with which she has been associated through migration arrangements in Western Europe. Australia does not shine well; she has not pulled her weight.
My earlier contrbution to this debate and my contribution now, are based on the proposition that it is in Australia’s interests more than it is in the interests of most countries, and that in any case it is Australia’s duty, to make the greatest contribution she can to the development of international organisations. We are at present in a stage where we have to rely on bi-lateral or maybe multi-lateral arrangements in defence, and, to a certain extent, on economic arrangements. But it is impossible for Australia to rely for the indefinite future on such bi-lateral or multilateral political, military and economic arrangements. She, more than most countries, must help to develop international arrangements. She should at least be contributing as much as other similarly developed countries contribute to these international organs; and her principal allies and associates wish that she would.
Reference has been made during the debate to the policy of the Australian Labour Party on many subjects The policy of the Australian Labour Party on this matter is that 1 per cent, of Australia’s national income should be devoted to international organisations for international aid. The Government takes some satisfaction out of the contributions we already make. I quote from the Prime Minister’s speech on the last occasion on which we debated international affairs. On page 182 of “Hansard” of 13th August 1964, he is reported as having said -
If you take our net expenditure there-
That is in Papua and New Guinea - . . and what we pay through the Colombo Plan and the aid of an economic kind that we give under the South East Asia Treaty Organisation Agreement in all its various forms, and through certain specialised agencies of the United Nations, you find that Australia today is providing the equivalent of 100 million American dollars a year for these purposes.
I do not know why the Prime Minister should refer to American dollars at this stage, but, translated into the current currency of this country, it amounts to £45 million. If we were paying 1 per cent, of Our national income to these various objectives, then we would be paying £70 million a year instead of £45 million. I do not limit myself, however, any more than the honorable member for Higinbotham (Mr. Chipp) did, as I understand what he said on this occasion and in his Budget speech, to what wc pay to the Territories, to S.E.A.T.O. and so on. I understand that we are in agreement that there ought to be a contribution of say, 1 per cent, towards these international organisations. If this were so, then Australia’s contribution would be £70 million a year.
I mentioned earlier that it is regrettable that we did not make a larger allocation in this Budget, following as it does, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, or the U.N.E S.C.O. conference presided over by Sir Ronald Walker. On 15th June, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development passed various resolutions. The one to which I draw particular attention is iv. 2 which reads -
Each economically advanced country should endeavour to supply . . financial resources to the developing countries of a minimum net amount approaching as nearly as possible to 1 per cent, of its national income, having regard, however, to the special position of certain countries which are net importers of capital.
The final few words of qualification about net importers of capital are said to relate to the Australian situation. I do not have time to quote, but I hope honorable members will note the comments which Professor Arndt made in the 31st Joseph Fisher lecture at Adelaide University on 9th September on this subject. He says that far from our net importation of capital involving us in an obligation to contribute less than 1 per cent., this makes it easier for us to contribute 1 per cent. - because we are a more orthodox and traditional borrower than some of the newer states, we ought to be in a better position to pass on some of these funds to those states.
– Do you mean by private investment overseas or by Government contribution?
– Mostly from governments and official agencies but partly from net long term movements of private capital. Another U.N.C.T.A.D. recommendation - iv. 7 - reads - the United Nations Capital Development Fund should start its operations at an early date to finance on favorable terms in all developing countries, especially in countries at an earlier stage of development, national and regional development plans, programmes and projects particularly in the field of industrialisation; the resources of the United Nations Capital Development Fund should be derived from voluntary contributions.
I commend to honorable members the next recommendation - iv. 8 - in which U.N.C.T.A.D. makes proposals for the gradual transformation of the United Nations Special Fund.
At the U.N.E.S.C.O. conference, the proposal for bringing together the Special Fund and the Expanded Programme of Technical Asistance was commended - as such a consolidation would go a long way in streamlining the activities carried on separately and jointly by the two funds, simplify organisational arrangements and procedures, facilitate overall planning and needed co-ordination of the several types of technical co-operation programmes carried on with the United Nations system of organisation and increase their effectiveness. . . .
U.N.E.S.C.O. went on to endorse a draft resolution for this year’s General Assembly - to combine the United Nations Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance and the Special Fund in a programme to be known as the United Nations Development Programme, it being understood that the special characteristics and operations of the two programmes as well as two separate funds will be maintained, and that contributions may be pledged to the two programmes separately as hitherto.
I think it is unfortunate that, in this year when U.N.C.T.A.D. commended a contribution of 1 per cent, of national income to international organisations and when U.N.E.S.C.O. proposed to combine the Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance and the Special Fund into this Development Programme, Australia should still maintain its present scale of voluntary contributions to these funds. I point out that our contributions to these two funds this year will amount to £585,000. This falls very far short of the scale of contributions which countries of our stage of development should make and which a country in our somewhat remote and isolated and dependent position should encourage and which our closest allies and associates are themselves making and hoping that we will at last make.
– Unfortunately time is very short and I understand the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck) wants to reply. Therefore, I will be very brief. I would have liked to have spent some time replying to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) in which he outlined the defence policy of the Australian Labour Party. This is rather amusing. In a nautical sense, he trims his sails as the Leader of the Opposition to every public wind that blows and then, just as he gets going in the right direction, he has to take his sails down and turn on his auxiliary motor under orders from the Federal Executive of the Labour Party and go off in the opposite direction. It is no wonder that the public asks: What is Labour’s policy on defence? It is no wonder that honorable members on this side of the Committee say that the honorable members for Reid (Mr. Uren) and Hughes (Mr. L. R. Johnson) are both leaders of the China lobby in Parliament.
– I think this is getting a little worn-out, but I object to the statement made by the honorable member for Chisholm. He should know better and I ask him to withdraw.
– Do you want me to withdraw my comment about the Leader of the Opposition or about what you said? What am I to withdraw? Do I withdraw the comment that there is a China lobby here?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Order! The honorable member for Reid has said that the remarks of the honorable member for Chisholm are offensive to him and has asked that they be withdrawn. I ask the honorable member for Chisholm to withdraw.
Temporary Chairman, if you ask me to withdraw, I withdraw, but I direct attention to Standing Orders which provide that it is for you to decide whether a remark is offensive. As you have said that my remark should be withdrawn, I will withdraw it, but honorable members can judge the situation for themselves. I am never quite certain whether the honorable member for Reid is the member for broken reed, Alan Reid or just plain Reid; I am left to judge by the speeches he makes in this place. However, I have not time to deal with his speeches now. I would have liked to have had much more time.
I have not heard any honorable member opposite yet say a respectable word for our friends and allies in the Republic of China who, for the last ten years, have maintained armed forces of 650,000 in the armed services which have probably been responsible for the kind of peace and security that we have had in Australia during that time. I want to draw attention to a statement which appeared in the Press this morning. I am very glad to say that the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) has told me that it is not correct. He was reported, incorrectly, as having said that the atmosphere of the monetary talks suggested that on the global scale the world was closer to real peace than it had been for many years. I thank the Treasurer for having said that that statement is not correct and I take this opportunity to correct it. After all, it is only a fortnight since the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) made a most important statement and gave an example of excellent leadership to Australia. At the dinner of the Chamber of Manufactures in Sydney he said that Australia had never before in her history lived with a greater risk. I think that is an accurate report of what was said. No one can look at the speech of the President of Indonesia during the Independence Day celebrations on 17th August without realising that he definitely came down on the side of the friends of the honorable member for Reid, the Chinese Communists-
– Mr. Temporary Chairman, I draw your attention to the words used by the honorable member for Chisholm, who referred to the Chinese Communists as the friends of an honorable member. I suggest that these words would be offensive in your opinion and that you should require the honorable member to withdraw them.
– I will withdraw my remark, if the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) thinks I should.
– Say them outside.
– Why does the honorable member accept an invitation from these people to go to Peking if they are not his friends? If you are invited to go there and have your expenses paid by these people, surely they are your friends.
However, if he objects to them being his friends, 1 will withdraw my remark. I have previously told the honorable member for Reid that he is a political radish, red outside and white inside.
Order! I ask the honorable member Jo moderate his language.
– I will not pursue the agricultural side of the discussion. I would like to return for just a few minutes to the fact that unfortunately, much as we have all bent over backwards here, as I have said before, to keep the peace with Indonesia, the speech of 17th August must not strike fear into the hearts of Australians, but it does inform us that we have to face a very grave risk. I have heard honorable members speak about what ought to happen with the recognition of Red China. 1 asked recently why the Republic of China was not allowed to buy iron ore or bauxite from Australia, and I was very amused to read a report in the daily Press which said that I had asked about Communist China. Many people are confused about the People’s Republic of China, which is Communist China, and the Republic of China, which is Nationalist China. I would like to know why honorable members opposite are continually saying that we should recognise Peking, when none of them say that we should recognise our friends and allies who have been largely responsible for our defence, that is the Republic of China, by sending an ambassador there. This is an important matter. After all, we have had in this country an ambassador from Taiwan for many years. After all, there are one million more people on Taiwan than there are in Australia. Taiwan is one of the miracles of the post-war world. Although it is a little island twothirds the size of Tasmania, and two-thirds of it is mountainous, with one million more people than there are in Australia, it exports food. The people of Taiwan have done a magnificent job. They have, with American assistance, as they always say, done a tremendous task in stopping the onrush of the Communists into South East Asia. This matter has been referred to by other honorable members on this side of the chamber.
Surely people in this place can at least look at what is happening in other parts of the world. I would like several honorable members opposite to talk to Dr. Hastings Banda in Malawi, where the Chinese Communists are willing to spend ?18 million sterling to cause chaos and confusion. I would like them to talk to Mr. Nyere of Tanganyika and Mr. Tshombe of the Congo and find out how the Chinese Communists are operating through Zanzibar, Burundi and Brazzaville in order to create chaos throughout tropical Africa. There you see the Red Chinese dragon prowling through the Ulu and the Utang in the tropical jungles in search of prey - very successfully.
Mr. Uren; Why don’t;
– I do not want to listen to interjections from Peking. If the Red Chinese dragon is not armed it is at least assisted by the golden scales of foreign exchange obtained first through trade through Hong Kong; secondly by peddling opium and heroin - ask the Russians about this - to other countries; and thirdly by their wheat trade with Canada, Australia and Argentina. Once they have created chaos and raised their prestige in Africa the next on the list will be Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and the North-East Frontier Agencies. Then they will be in a position to close the nutcrackers on South East Asia and then India. This is their plan. They do not hide it. They talk about it on Peking Radio. It is like Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”. We must face this position, which is a very serious one. I thank the Treasurer for correcting the statement to which I have referred and I remind honorable members of what the Prime Minister said: We have never had to live with a greater risk than that with which we live at present.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Sitting suspended from 5.58 to 8 p.m.
Department of Health.
Proposed expenditure, ?5,441,000.
.- Mr. Temporary Chairman, in discussing the estimates for the Department of Health, I wish to refer particularly to a booklet entitled “ Your guide to National Health Benefits “, which has been issued by the Department.
I agree that this is a very informative booklet and, broadly speaking, is a worthwhile publication. However, at page 6, it contains one statement with the accuracy of which I take issue. This statement is misleading and could be construed as giving to the Commonwealth credit that does not rightly belong to it. At page 6, the booklet states -
Pensioners who hold a Pensioner Medical Service Entitlement Card receive free public ward treatment in public hospitals under arrangements made between the Commonwealth Government and the hospitals.
This is distinctly untrue, and I shall provide irrefutable evidence to substantiate my charge. It is not true to say that pensioners who hold a pensioner medical service entitlement card receive free public ward treatment in public hospitals under arrangements made between the Commonwealth Government and the Hospitals Commission of New South Wales. No such arrangements between the Commonwealth and the Commission have ever been made. I emphasise that the Commonwealth does not give free public ward treatment to pensioners. It is true that the Commonwealth pays 36s. a day for a pensioner who is qualified by possession of a medical entitlement card or who is an insured patient. However, this Government pays, not 36s. a day, but only 8s. a day, for an uninsured pensioner. That is the base rate that was fixed in 1948.
The statement at page 6 of the booklet to which I have referred honorable members implies that a pensioner must have, and must produce, a medical entitlement card to receive free treatment in a public ward. This is most definitely untrue in New South Wales. Every pensioner in that State is entitled to free public ward treatment, as is every other person in needy circumstances. Every hospital board in the State has power, when the person concerned is in straitened circumstances, either to remit the charge wholly or to reduce it. I remind honorable members that the average cost of maintaining a bed in a public ward in a hospital in New South Wales is £5 17s. 2d. a day. In respect of a pensioner who is qualified by possessing a medical entitlement card or who is insured, the Commonwealth pays only 36s. a day, the remaining £4 ls. 2d. a day being paid by the Hospitals Commission. In respect of an unqualified or uninsured pensioner, the
Commonwealth pays only 8s. a day and the Commission pays the remaining £5 9s. 2d. a day. However, on reading the extract from the booklet that I have quoted, one would conclude that the Commonwealth was the sole benefactor of pensioners requiring hospitalisation, whereas the New South Wales Government pays 70 per cent, of the total cost of hospitalisation for a qualified or insured pensioner and 92 per cent, for an unqualified or uninsured pensioner.
I wish now to turn to the means test on pharmaceutical and medical benefits as applicable to age and invalid pensioners. I have mentioned this matter in this chamber on numerous occasions since November 1955 when this means test was introduced. I intend to continue raising this subject at every available opportunity, because I believe that this means test is harsh, unfair and unjust to the pensioners on whom it is imposed. If single pensioners have income, apart from the pension, of £2 a week or more, and pensioner married couples £4 a week or more, they are denied a medical entitlement card. This restriction has had grave effects on approximately 100,000 pensioners, most of whom receive superannuation. Let us examine the position of pensioners who receive superannuation. They have been compelled to contribute to a superannuation fund for the greater part of their lives. In many instances, as a consequence, the pension has been reduced accordingly. That is bad enough. When one considers also the fact that they are denied pharmaceutical and medical benefits because they receive the superannuation benefits for which they contributed, one realises that it is high time something was done about this means test.
The Opposition has consistently advocated the abolition of this means test, and I honestly believe that a majority of Government backbenchers would welcome such a move. However, none of them seems to be eager to buck the Government on this issue. The high cost of services provided by doctors and of pharmaceutical requirements is well known to everyone. Because of these high costs, many pensioners without medical entitlement cards face serious difficulties in making ends meet. If this iniquitous means test were abolished, the cost to the Treasury would be approximately £1,350,000 a year. This represents only about one twentieth of 1 per cent, of the total expenditure budgeted for the financial year 1964-65. I am sure that most honorable members will agree that this is infinitesimal in terms of the Budget. If Government supporters were sincere in their advocacy of the progressive elimination of the means test on age and invalid pensions, the total cost being estimated at about £150 million or £160 million a year, to be consistent they should press for the abolition without undue delay of the means test on medical and pharmaceutical benefits.
I now turn to pensioner benefit payments in respect of drugs and medical preparations supplied by approved pharmaceutical chemists, medical practitioners and private hospitals. The cost of these benefits in the financial year 1963-64 was approximately £10,300,000. I do not intend to remark particularly on the cost of these benefits. The abolition of the means test on medical and pharmaceutical benefits, which I advocated a few moments ago, would add only about £1,350,000 a year to this figure.
I should like to mention specifically professional services rendered by doctors to pensioners. This subject has engaged the attention of the Commonwealth Department of Health for a considerable time and, I venture to say, will continue to engage the Department’s attention in the future. Let us examine the position. Some doctors are accused of making a racket out of this service at the expense of the Commonwealth by claiming for excessive services - in other words, for unnecessary visits by a pensioner to his doctor or by the doctor to a pensioner patient. If such charges can be proved beyond reasonable doubt against any doctor, he or she should be prosecuted with the full rigour of the law, and I would completely support the imposition of any penalty incurred.
However, in dealing with this matter, we must take every possible precaution to ensure that the medical attention required by pensioners is not denied to them. We must see that their entitlements are not whittled away. I think it is well known to all honorable members that many pensioners who suffer from serious and chronic ailments are really kept alive, quite apart from the treatment that they receive, by the psychological effect of consultations with their own doctor. Indeed, I believe that many pensioners look on their doctor as a sort of demi-god. If this is so, why should we interfere with the feature that is maintaining life for some of our elderly citizens? Is it not reasonable to assume that the first reaction of a pensioner wife, if her pensioner husband, having been in receipt of constant medical attention for a heart condition, suffers a sudden heart attack, will be to ring their doctor and ask him to come immediately? Subsequently if the husband did survive it might be necessary for the doctor to visit the patient daily or two or three times a week over a long period. If the doctor did not do this he would be recreant to his trust. In addition, I remind honorable members that no doctor likes to lose a patient. I have sufficient confidence in the integrity of the overwhelming majority of doctors to realise that they would not take advantage of this avenue to enrich themselves at the expense of the Commonwealth.
In concluding my remarks I should like to offer constructive criticism of medical research in Australia. In doing so I want to make it perfectly clear that I offer absolutely no criticism of the work being done in this field by the splendid staffs engaged on research. However, I do submit that more money should be allocated by the Commonwealth for this important work. Additional finance would provide a higher standard of research and would enable more expert staff to be employed. I pay a full compliment to those people who are responsible for raising urgently needed money for research into heart disease and asthma. However, in my opinion, to depend largely on voluntary contributions for research is a mistake, because the health standard of the people in any country is the responsibility of government. Constant research over the past few decades has been responsible for a marked decrease in infant mortality and in the number of deaths caused by pneumonia, tuberculosis and so forth. Pneumonia and tuberculosis were recognised killers in bygone days, but thanks to research the risk involved in these two diseases has considerably lessened, so much so that the two largest tuberculosis sanatoriums in New South Wales - Waterfall and Bodington - are now used for other purposes.
However, there are three particular diseases, among others, which require further and constant research - heart disease, cancer and hepatitis. Let me refer particularly to hepatitis. Australia’s more densely populated areas have experienced hepatitis epidemics over the past 10 years. This situation has caused great concern to medical and health authorities. Widespread efforts have been made to eradicate the disease, with no significant result. Dr. J. Forbes, Medical Superintendent of the Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital in Melbourne, a leading authority on this disease, says that it is caused by a virus which can be spread by unhygienic people. The answer to this problem, of course, is the discovery of a suitable vaccine; and this leads us back to the question of research. Finally, let me put it that there are three main essentials in maintaining a happy and prosperous Australia - social security, adequate housing and a high standard of health, with the emphasis on health.
– I endorse the estimated expenditure for the forthcoming year, but I would point out that the expenditure, as indicated here, is not the whole expenditure in the field of health in this country. The States are responsible for the expenditure of quite a deal of finance, and the local authorities as well; and we must not forget the Department of Repatriation! I have some figures in connection with this. I found that in 1962, which was the last year for which I could obtain completely comparable figures, the cost of health in this country approached closely to the £200 million mark. This was rather interesting to me, and I found that the governmental and semi-governmental cost per head of population was roughly comparable with that in England - that is to say, it was somewhat in excess of £16 per head of population per annum.
Of course, in Australia, in addition to this the individual taxpayer must find money for his medical benefit fund subscriptions and for hospital and medical fees in excess of the medical benefit fund reimbursements. He must also find 5s. for each pharmaceutical benefits prescription which is made up. I remind honorable members that in Britain the taxpayer must also find money for his national insurance fund payments, which are very considerable, and also 2s. for each prescription he has made up. Nevertheless, I think it will be apparent that to the individual taxpayer the health service is cheaper in Britain than it is in Australia today. I am referring to the comprehensive service, not only on the basis of payments by governments.
This does not necessarily finish a consideration of the subject. I examined some other aspects and I found that in 1962, which again was the latest year for which I could obtain the figures, the foetal mortality rate in the United Kingdom was 19.4 per thoussand whereas in Australia it was 14.3 per thousand, which is very significant. The infantile mortality rate in the United Kingdom was 21.4 per thousand, whereas in Australia it was 19.5 per thousand. The general mortality rate in the United Kingdom was 11.9 and in Australia 8.7, which is consider-; ably less. Other factors may be involved in these rates, but I feel that there is a prima facie case that the health services in this country are doing something which is in no way inferior to that being done in the United Kingdom. I should say they are most likely very superior. Therefore, though our health services may be more expensive, as it stands I feel they are achieving superior results. There are other reasons why our services would be apparently more expensive. The first is Australia’s more scattered population - the difficulties of communication and transport, diseconomies of scale and so forth.
Capital expenditure on hospitals is much greater in Australia on a proportional basis than it is in Britain, and this is a significant addition to the cost of our health service, because in the estimates for the current year for Britain the amount devoted to capital works is £55i million, whereas in 1962 - which is some time ago, and the figures are probably much more now, but, are not available - I could count up to £15 million in capital expenditure by some States. The figures for Queensland and South Australia were not available to add to those figures, so from four States only in this Commonwealth there was £15 million capital expenditure, plus another £2 million from the Commonwealth Government for capital expenditure on mental and tuberculosis hospitals.
In Britain we have the spectacle of the medical profession, especially the general practitioner, becoming a depressed section of the community. The general practitioner is forced to work excessively long hours for a remuneration which he certainly believes is very inadequate, and I agree.
The result is that the general practice service in Britain is absolutely and grossly dissatisfied. I feel that this is an unfortunate aspect of the health service in Britain. I admit that the British government and :he medical profession are doing their best to have this remedied by means of two committees which are actively considering ways and means of improving remuneration and facilities for the medical profession there. Nonetheless, this service which is apparently cheap in Britain is also nasty from certain points of view, certainly from the point of view of the general practitioner who, in many cases, is spurred on only by considerations of professional standards and ideals to keep himself doing this work which is often as much as he is physically able to perform.
These considerations aside, I feel that when looking into the future one must entertain very grave forebodings as to where health expenditure is going to end. With the increase in our knowledge and the increase in the complexity of drugs and therefore in their expense, and with the increase in the complexity of treatment of patients, costs of health services must continue to rise. There is a very grave risk that eventually it will cripple financially the economy not only of Australia but also of other countries if appropriate measure are not taken. There is a very grave risk that the cost of health services will grow to such an extent that it will encroach on such essential and crucial matters as national development and perhaps even defence if something is not done to see that the country can afford these services.
It seems to me, therefore, that one thing that is necessary is to keep as much expenditure on health in the private sector as possible, without creating any hardship. I believe that although the private citizen must accept some responsibility for his own health if he is able to afford it, nevertheless, there should be nothing to prevent a person obtaining medical treatment if he needs it. This applies particularly in the case of children. If a person’s health is in need of attention there must be no financial barrier to his being able to obtain it, notwithstanding my remarks about keeping as much of the expenditure as possible in the private sector.
What can be done about these things? The first and most obvious requirement, of course, is to effect economies where possible without in any way affecting the efficacy of the services. If one looks the field over I think the first consideration would be that of pharmaceutical drugs. Here we arrive at some interesting facts. Great Britain seems to have much the same prescription rate as Australia. Roughly the same number of prescriptions per patient are written here as are written in Britain. At least this was so in 1962, a year for which I have some figures. In that year the average cost of the prescription in Britain was a little more than 8s. 8d., while in Australia the average of the prescription was 20s. There was, I must say, a very considerable difference, although I can tell the Committee that this Government has achieved good results in the intervening years and has succeeded in bringing down the average cost of a prescription to 18s. 7d. However, there is undoubtedly still scope for improvement.
Let us see how these costs are divided up. We find that in Australia the chemist receives an on-cost payment - if I may use that expression - of 66$ per cent, of the cost of the drugs, whereas in Britain the chemist receives only 40.6 per cent. In 1962 in Britain the drugs cost nearly £59 million and the chemists received on-cost payments of £25 million. In Australia - these figures are for the year 1964 - the cost of the drugs and containers was £24.5 million and the chemists received rather more than £16.5 million. It is obvious that there are many factors to be considered and that this matter is not nearly as simple as it may appear prime facie.
The difference between cost of prescriptions in Britain and Australia, however, is by no means the most important factor. The real basic difference is to be found in the costs of the drugs. Again this Government has achieved some notable successes in reducing costs over the past months, but I feel that still more could be done. However, I am very happy in the knowledge that this matter is being given very active consideration all the time. It is a most complex and difficult subject and not as simple as it may appear at first sight. For one thing, one must in no circumstances run the risk of diminishing the amount of research work that the drug companies do in looking for new and better drugs. This is a very real component in their cost and it is one that we cannot afford to eliminate or even to lessen.
Apart from drugs the other very important consideration, I believe, is that of hospitalisation. I feel that the medical services of this country are being run extremely well and extremely economically, considering the services that are rendered. But when we consider closely the question of hospitals we notice the diversified control. Actually there is diversification everywhere one looks. Apart from the private hospitals there are some hospitals under Federal control, some under State control, some under the control of the Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Swartz), and there are others under certain special authorities. I do not believe that there is any great virtue in uniformity as such, but I do think that this lack of uniformity could result in a lack of economy in certain ways. It is quite interesting to notice that there is a great difference in the cost of running hospitals in the various States. In New South Wales the cost per patient per day - that is the cost per bed occupied - is £5 lis. Id., while in Victoria it is £8 9s. 3d. These figures show a very significant difference. I recently made a trip overseas to look into these matters in other countries. It was evident to me that the best and the most economical and fruitful results appeared to ensue when State and Federal authorities combined in the organisation of hospital services. I feel that much is to be said for this. Not only does it achieve uniformity overall, but it also results in economies in staffing, administration, obtaining of drugs and equipment, and in buildings for instance, the use of modular systems of construction and in other such schemes. Although I am afraid I have not time to discuss this matter adequately, I would like to point out that there is still a very real scope for the operation of private hospitals. Germany, which I think is achieving as much as any country in this field, makes very generous grants to private hospitals for modernisation and I believe that such a practice could be adopted in this country provided very strict regulations were laid down as to standards and provided there were adequate precautions to see that the standards of these hospitals were first class. I am sorry that I have not time to deal more fully with this subject. However, I thoroughly endorse these estimates for the Department of Health,
.- It is one of my regrets that the honorable member for Bowman (Dr. Gibbs), who is an eminent medico, adds so little to our debates on health in this Parliament The contribution he has made tonight was no better than those he has made previously. One might call him the self-styled Dr. Kildare of the Liberal Party. I would say that he is handsome, persuasive, conservative and badly informed. I propose to explode tonight a few of the theories that he has put forward. Fancy a medico telling this Parliament that every person should have the medical attention that he wishes but that, nevertheless, we have to watch the cost. In other words, if you have not the necessary money what does it matter what happens to you? The honorable member simply had a couple of shillings each way on what ought to be done in these matters.
I was very interested to hear him tell us that in Great Britain, where there is a nationalised medical service in which he evidently gained experience at Government expense, and which he condemns today, prescriptions cost 8s. 8d., while in this country under a Liberal Government they cost 20s. In this Parliament a few months ago, the honorable member for Hughes (Mr. L. R. Johnson) and I moved resolutions condemning the exploitation of the Australian public by the drug houses under the health scheme, and the honorable member for Bowman stood up and defended the cost of drugs. Tonight he has had a couple of shillings each way. With all the experience of the medical profession behind him, he says that we have a better health scheme than Great Britain has. I want to bring the Committee up to date on the honorable member. He said that the British scheme is breaking down; that doctors are leaving it because they are fed up with it, and that they are a depressed section of society.
– So they are.
– Now he says, “ So they are”. He was very unwise to make his statement in the first place, and he was silly to make that interjection because I will quote from the story of the British health scheme as told by a member like the honorable member - a conservative. I do not think he is more conservative than the honorable member; he could not be. This document was issued by the United Kingdom Information Services, Office of the United Kingdom High Commissioner in Australia. It has the serial number B.53 and is dated 27th June 1962.
– Give us something that is up to date.
– That Was when the honorable member was getting his experience in Great Britain. I shall read this just to bring him up to date. It is a report of a speech made by the British Minister of Health, Mr. Enoch Powell, at the annual conference of Local Medical Committees held iri London on Wednesday, 6th June 1962. Does the honorable member deny that Mr. Powell would know what he is talking about? He was a Conservative Minister of Health in Great Britain. Does the honorable member deny that?
– He is not the Minister of Health now.
– Although I am a long odds bettor, I would not back the honorable member against Mr. Powell. Mr. Powell said -
In a speech at one of the Royal Colleges two or three months ago 1 went so far as to refer to the amount of “ nonsense “ being talked about the emigration of British doctors. This, I said, might Well suggest to the general public that a wholesale flight of doctors from the National Health Service was taking place. Considerable publicity had been given to an’ estimate that the dimensions of this emigration are equivalent to as much as one-third of the output of British doctors from our medical schools; and the absurd statement that a third of our doctors emigrate has gained a certain currency on the other side of the Atlantic, where a local controversy of some kind appears to be going on about the organisation of their medical services.
Let us start from a very simple and basic fact. The number of doctors working in the National Health Service is increasing. It has increased every year since the inception of the Service and it continues to increase up to the present moment.
Approximately half of the doctors in the Service are engaged in general practice, where any increase in non-British doctors, whether from our own or other medical schools, is certainly a negligible factor. In general practice the total numbers, including assistants and trainees, have risen by 10 per cent, in the last nine years - an average of 240 a year. The number of principals (which is perhaps the sounder figure to take) have risen in the same period by 15 per cent., and the series of annual increases has been unbroken, even in the years 1958 and 1959 when, for reasons which you know, there was a bulge in retirements.
So much for the trend in general practice; now as to the hospitals.
I think the honorable member for Bowman gained his limited experience of hospitals under the British scheme and at the expense of that scheme.
– Why don’t you incorporate this in “ Hansard “?
– I would be delighted to make this available to the honorable member for Bowman. He has to be informed because he is so misinformed at present. Mr. Powell continued -
In the medical staffing of our hospitals there has in recent years been a growth in the contribution, never an unimportant one, which is made in the junior ranks by non-British doctors - I use the expression as meaning’ doctors, wherever trained, who originate from outside the British Isles. But look what has been happening to the total figures of doctors on hospital staffs. The senior staffs have been growing year by year - by the equivalent of 2,000 full-time, or 27 per cent, in the ten years between 1950-1961. The junior staffs have also increased yearly - by 3,200, or 43 per cent., in the same ten years between 1950-1961. This increase greatly exceeds the increase in the number of nonBritish doctors in the hospitals.
There were about 3,600 of these in junior hospital appointments at the terminal date 1961, but unfortunately no precise figures were avilable as to the number in 1950, the commencing date.
On this point Mr. Powell finished by saying -
This is a situation which is blankly irreconcilable with the allegation of a flight from the Health Service. If we were losing permanently any substantial fraction of the annual output of British doctors from our medical schools, figures like these would be simply impossible, given the fact that that output has not fluctuated substantially over the same period.
If the honorable member for Bowman wants to be fully informed, I will present this document to him with my compliments. It gives the lie direct to his statement. When I read it I could not help thinking that the Liberal Party has shown pretty good judgment in by-passing the doctor and giving the important post of Minister for Health to a layman, because on medical legislation the honorable member is the most illinformed doctor who has come into this Parliament for a long time.
In the time at my disposal I cannot range over the whole field of medical and hospital benefits. Someone has asked me whether I believe in a nationalised medical service. I believe in a medical service that will give the people of Australia at least all tha benefits that are given under the British scheme. The British scheme is a nationalised scheme which the Tories condemned but on which they are now trying to win an election. That scheme was introduced by a Labour government. Our Australian scheme is a half-baked scheme which makes people pay at least one third of their medical costs; which denies them dental benefits, and which does not cater for the mentally afflicted in any way - one can see that from the attitude of many Liberal members of the Parliament. Today these half-baked proposals are put up as a national “health service. Migrants are said to be leaving Australia because they realise that the -scheme is not as effective as it might be. If the words “ national health scheme “ mean that we must have full medical attention for the sick, the needy, the poor and the wealthy, and that can be given only by the Government, then the Government ought to give it irrespective of the cost. Honorable members opposite hold their scheme up as a comprehensive scheme, but that claim will not bear investigation.
What is the situation today? I will deal with only one aspect of the scheme tonight. As the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Cope) has said, the older pensioners get, the less attention they receive from this Government. Today 110,000 pensioners cannot receive medical attention although their inclusion in the scheme would cost a paltry £1,250,000 a year. At Woomera the Government spends £3 million in seconds on devices that can destroy society yet it will not spend £1,250,000 a year in order to give the sick and the needy the attention that they require.
– Do you suggest that any pensioner is not receiving proper medical attention?
– If the honorable member has any questions to ask me I will answer them later. Honorable members will agree that he would take a lot of informing. I could not do that in a couple of minutes; but if he will see me afterwards I will speak to him privately.
– Do you suggest that any pensioner is not receiving proper medical attention?
– I do. I will read out to the honorable member proof of that. I say that my contention is correct.
– Let us have the facts.
– I will give you the facts. You need have no doubt about that let us look at them. A few weeks ago I asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health a question and I received an answer. It is a lengthy answer and I cannot go into it in detail. This was my question -
If the honorable member for Denison will look at page 14 of the annual report of the Commonwealth Director-General of Health he will find the answer to his question. This is what the Minister for Health said in reply to my question -
As the result of the inquiries in respect of the provision of medical services to pensioners, in six cases the doctors’ explanations were accepted, and in 35 cases the doctors’ claims were disallowed, to the total extent of £24,475. In seven of these cases the medical practitioners concerned were reprimanded, and in one case the doctor’s pensioner Medical Service Agreement was terminated.
What more does the honorable member want? That answer was supplied by the Minister for Health himself. Even if the honorable member does not believe the Minister, who is a member of the same party as he is, I will take the Minister’s word because we members of the Opposision are tolerant. The answer continued -
In regard to the four inquiries dealing with the prescribing of pharmaceutical benefits, three cases resulted in the medical practitioners being reprimanded for excessive or irregular prescribing and being required to repay to the Department the cost of the pharmaceutical benefits concerned in the references which amounted in all to £2,683.
I would like to be able to have this incorporated in “Hansard” later to bring the bright young member up to date in due course. The report is headed -
Kind’ to Pensioners. Doctor is Fined £1,500.
Pensioners are being denied medical attention because the provisions of the Act have been harshly administered by the Government. The report states -
A young Sydney doctor-
– You disappoint me.
– You asked me the question and I am giving you the answer. The fact that you are disappointed is not my worry.
You have asked for an answer. The report states-
– You are up a tree.
– You will not listen; you do not want to be informed.
– Order! The honorable member will address his remarks to the Chair.
– Why don’t you bring your members to order?
Order! The honorable member will apologise to the Chair.
– Of course I will apologise; I am delighted.
– The report states -
A young Sydney doctor claims he has been fined £1,500 because he was “ too kind “ to his pensioner patients.
– Do you believe him?
– If you get the Minister’s figures you will find that they have been penalised by as much as £24,000. However, when a doctor is penalised his name is not published in the same way as the name is published when a person evades taxation. For some reason or other they do not reveal the name of the doctor. This means that the Government is guilty and is not prepared to make the names of the doctors available because the Government knows that they are treating patients as they ought to be treated. To save a few pounds this Government will not allow the doctors to treat the pensioners properly. The report continues -
The Pensioners’ Medical Service Committee fined the doctor after an inquiry into the medical history of 80 of his patients - all pensioners.
All pensioners - (The Pensioners’ Medical Service Committee of Inquiry was constituted at the inception of the National Health Act as a “ watchdog “.)
The report goes on to say that one of the doctors said -
I was informed by the committee after the inquiry that I had not discouraged- “ Discouraged “, mind you - old age patients sufficiently from paying visits to my surgery.
In other words, the doctors have been told: “ Tell them to die at home. Don’t call on them. The Government cannot afford that.” The honorable member for Bowman has told us that our scheme is like the British scheme, but Australians can die today under this Government, which today is taking things out on the sick and the aged. Yet the drug houses can fleece the country and the taxpayers as they like while the pensioners cannot be treated properly because the Government will not allow them to be treated properly, so that it can save a few paltry pounds.
.- It is a strange thing that the Opposition, and particularly the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly), can never see anything good in the work done by Ais Government. The honorable member for Grayndler has demonstrated this on a number of occasions. Honorable members know the very wild statements that he makes. If he were to do a little research work and compare the amount of money spent on health by his party when it was in government with what has been spent by this Government he would see that only about £16i million was placed on the Estimates for the last year that Labour was in office compared with a provision for health under this Government of £107 million, plus £5£ million in the present financial year. Whilst we who support the Government believe that the present National Health Scheme is a good one, we are not so foolish as to think that it cannot be improved. There is nothing that cannot be improved. We have made suggestions and will continue to make recommendations for improvements to the National Health Service.
I have felt over recent years that the time has arrived for some more serious survey, instead of just passing mentions made in departmental estimates. It was with this in mind that over the past two years I have called for a complete review of our direction of national health. I still think that we need that, and the comments that I propose to make later will, I think, reinforce my argument. Our national health programme, as honorable members are well aware, has been operating to everybody’s great satisfaction for well over a decade. It was introduced not as a complete service but one to which certain functions have been added as circumstances have permitted. Social conditions have changed since many of the benefits were introduced and, as with all successful machines that have been running for any length of time, an overhaul considerably improves performance. The Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Swartz), who represents in this chamber the Minister for Health (Senator Wade), will tell the Committee that the Department of Health does just this from time to time. But I believe that we need more than just a complete departmental review of this matter. The time allowed for this debate is not sufficient for me to dilate on this proposal, and if I were to do so I would be repeating myself. I have spoken enough on this question on previous occasions. However, I believe that I can summarise my remarks made on those occasions, apart from the question of what is required in the way of a general review, by saying that under our scheme the nose and ears enjoy health services while the eyes and teeth are excluded.
One way and another the subject of national health has been linked several times recently with the need for a national dental health plan. This discussion was touched off most recently by a statement by the Minister for Health in which he indicated that the Government was surveying the experiences of overseas countries. Much earlier this year the Australian Dental Association addressed itself to the problem at some length in a published document. I know that the Minister’s view was that it was generally conceded that there was need for some type of dental scheme. I must say that my own inquiries suggest that the need for a plan to ensure a higher standard of dental health is urgent. I understand that the incidence of dental earles is increasing and that there is a general and continuing decline in the standards of dental health. Honorable members should bear in mind that this is a decline from bad to worse. Australian dental fitness standards were never good. They are becoming worse. There are no signs so far of anything to stop this trend.
As fast as a good case is made for fluoridation of water supplies on a grand scale a great argument is raised about issues quite apart from those of dental health. So much so that men like our colleague, the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Kevin Cairns), who should know something about it, find it difficult to make themselves heard. But without getting into the fluoridation argument it can be fairly said, I think, that there is general agreement that something has to be done about dental services. Clearly, in the context in which the National Health Scheme has been approached ia Australia, some form of individual insurance is indicated. There is no need in this chamber to go over the ground in detail. The self-help principles of individual insurance mean that health aid does not become a mere hand-out while at the same time professional standards and relations between the various professions and their patients are protected. Before we get to the threshold of a national dental service we must have an adequate number of dentists both to get an acceptable take-off level and then to operate the service on a useful basis. The Australian Dental Association has published some very definite ideas on this subject. Its policy notes for a national service, which have been printed as a news bulletin, say that in most areas of Australia today the profession can meet the demands for treatment. But, if a large scale dental health scheme is introduced with a consequent increase in demand, the position, according to the Association, could be difficult. It is not possible, the Association says, to plan personnel with any degree of accuracy and thus it is obvious that the limitations of manpower may preclude the establishment of a dental health service except by progressive stages.
This is, I believe, a most interesting statement. Note carefully what the dentists are saying: While only about a half, or a quarter, or a third, or whatever the fraction is, of the Australan community wants to see a dentist, that is all right - they can handle it. But if ever the day should come when a reasonable standard of preventative dentistry and dental inspection should be established widely, they would say: “Oh, no. We have not the men.” Therefore, say the dentists, you cannot just walk in and start a dental scheme. You would have to do it by progressive stages.
To get an insight into just how progressive these stages should be, I should like to draw attention to the trend ia dental education in my own State of Victoria. Honorable members should be aware that we have a fine new dental hospital in Melbourne which is also the dental college there. The dental faculty academic staff, including part time people, is not less than 74. Last year, the number of dentists who graduated from this institution was 19, which is seven fewer than the number of dentists who died that year. I might mention that the Victorian dental faculty is also expected to provide for Tasmania’s needs. Just to get this into perspective, I want honorable members to consider the case of Queensland. The dental faculty in Brisbane has an academic staff of 25, including part time people, and this centre graduates between 35 and 36 dentists a year. Now, notice the double standard within the dental world. The profession is concerned because there are so few dentists that a national dental plan could not be started, but not so concerned that its Victorian members were not able to contemplate with some equanimity, possibly, an out-turn of 19 graduates for the year. There is a similar suspicious sparseness of new dental graduates in South Australia but in New South Wales the situation might be described very aptly as midway between Victoria and Queensland. Lest anyone suggest that there is anything second rate about Queensland’s standards, I am able to quote Dr. John Wark, the President of the Australian Dental Association, as saying that Queensland leads all other States in dental health services.
This leads me to a very peculiar aspect of this whole situation. In Queensland there is a reasonable effort to produce dentists. Nearly one-third of all dentists graduating in Australia, in fact, are trained in Queensland. In Victoria, on the other hand, and in South Australia, where the annual population is greater, there is this remarkably low output of dental graduates. This also is strange because in fact I have been told that the Victorian dental profession is now the best paid profession of all. What is not strange, but extremely serious, is that while we have this low rate production of dental graduates the national interest of the country’s dental health is at stake.
I have no doubt that before these departmental estimates we are now looking at are brought before us again, the Minister for Health will have some further information about the possible shape of dental health services for Australia.
There are some lessons to be learned from overseas. To a large extent I agree with the Australian Dental Association. I think the approach is best made through the individual by extending the insurance principle. It is true that this implies getting the individual to accept a level of dental health for a start. This approach does help to protect professional standards and to maintain proper relations between dentists and patients. But always you come back to the same point: there must be an adequate number of dentists in the community. The Australian Dental Association contents itself with pointing out that there is a wide divergence in this country between States - one dentist to every 4,000 people in Tasmania and one to every 1,800 in the Australian Capital Territory - and the Association says there is no general desirable level. This seems to be a most peculiar thing.
Be this as it may, it is clear that the starting point for any reasonable scheme for dental care is the training of new dentists. It would appear that the Australian Dental Association is not using the resources that it has at present. I therefore urge the Minister to concentrate his attention in this particular direction. It may be necessary for the Australian Dental Association to have a very close look at the situation in Victoria, but clearly it is urgent to establish standards of training right -around Australia. In conclusion, I repeat that we cannot afford to have declining standards of dental health in Australia, and at the same time we cannot afford to have a situation in which dental health is being placed out of reach of a very large group of the community.
.- These estimates give me the opportunity to speak on one specific subject and on that alone will I speak. It is doctors and optometrists. The Australian Medical Association, with the connivance of the Commonwealth Government, through its National Health Act, is gradually crushing the optometrists out of business in Australia through economic strangulation. There are approximately 800 qualified optometrists, and their business has been decreasing inexorably year by year. For several years these professional men have been pressing the Commonwealth Government to remove the discriminating clause from the National Health Act which, eventually, if it remains in the Act, will surely cripple this profession as we know it today.
Prior to the 1951 National Health Bill, introduced by Sir Earle Page, doctors and optometrists could both send their patients directly to specialists with respect to eye troubles. But since this Act, with this iniquitous clause was introduced, all optrometrists’ patients have to go to a doctor first and he then refers them to a specialist. The patient actually pays the doctor and the specialist, and the Commonwealth Government is involved in a double payment. This is a vicious, iniquitous, unjust and discriminatory clause in the National Health Act.
As a matter of fact, there is an organisation called Optical Prescription Spectacle Makers Pty. Ltd. - a public company - which is spending thousands of pounds a year on television and newspaper advertising in a deliberate campaign to force people to see their doctors in order to have their eyes examined. In other words, indirectly, the medical profession is using television and newspaper mediums to channel the eye business into their hands and away from the optometrist. The advertisement you see on television reads: “ See your eye doctor regularly “. There is no mention of optometrists. It simply reads: “ See your eye doctor regularly “. A friend of mine rang the local office of O.P.S.M. in Canberra this week with an inquiry about glasses. She was told to consult an eye specialist, not an optometrist, and was given the phone numbers and addresses of two doctors only in Canberra. She then asked if O.P.S.M. would test her eyes, and, if necessary prescribe glasses. She was told that this could not be done but that if she went to either of the doctors the company had named there would be a rebate of £2 on the spectacles and a substantial rebate from the medical benefits fund on the doctor’s charges. She was advised that it was a good proposition to go to one of these doctors. There, in a nutshell, we have an example of what has been going on for approximately 13 years and what has been allowed to go on because of this iniquitous discriminatory provision in the National Health Act. There are now from 80 to 100 retail places in Australia where this mushroom growth organisation, O.P.S.M., is established and where, after obtaining prescriptions from doctors, members of the public can have their glasses made. I understand that the
Medical Benefits Fund of Australia Ltd., which is conducted by doctors, will pay for glasses only if they are prescribed by a medical practitioner. I emphasise that. This is another way of eroding the prestige and business of the optometrists.
There is another serious long-term danger involved in this. Young men, seeing the optometrist being subjected to this iniquitous pressure and unfair competition, are avoiding optometry as a career. I know one optometrist in my own State of Tasmania who has two sons. Although he had hoped that his sons would follow him, neither intends to pursue this profession. My colleague, the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard), can confirm what I say because he knows the optometrist about whom I am speaking. Because the future is so loaded against the optometrist as a result of this National Health Act, very few university graduates will be taking this course in the near future. This is one of the best ways that I know of to starve out a profession. Later still in the future, I can see arising the possibility that educational authorities at the universities will abolish optometry as a university course because of lack of support. This will be the final touch in this deliberate plan gradually to destroy this profession in Australia. We hear much about big business and its law of the jungle. What about this practice for a jungle law? It is one of the worst features of any health scheme in the world. This Government is guilty of gradually starving out of existence 800 qualified practising optometrists in Australia.
The optometrist is gradually being starved out by five methods. The first is the practice which has grown up under the National Health Act of forcing him to refer eye cases to medical men instead of direct to specialists. The second is the refusal of the Medical Benefits Fund of Australia Ltd. to pay for glasses unless they are prescribed by a medical practitioner. The third is the gradual reduction in the number of university graduates taking the optometry course. The fourth is the establishment of O.P.S.M. which, through its television and newspaper advertising, is directing people to see their doctors to have their eyes examined, and the fifth is the diversion of people away from the services of the optometrists who are trained at Australia’s leading universities of Melbourne and Sydney, where they take a four year course. These optometrists are being side tracked through the workings of this vicious provision in the National Health Act. Those are the five main ways in which the optometrists of Australia are facing unfair and unjust competition from medical practitioners who, after all, do not concentrate on the eyes as their main work but treat them only as an incidental part of their practice, whereas the optometrists make the study of the eyes their entire career.
I claim that this is a cruel, deliberate, long term plan to force the optometrist out of business eventually and to channel all eye work into the hands of doctors. When Labour comes to office, we intend to remove this injustice to Australia’s 800 optometrists.
.- As we expect a member of the Opposition to do, the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) has attacked the national health scheme. He claims it is the worst scheme in the world. But our health scheme, which was introduced by the doyen of the medical profession of the North Coast of New South Wales, Sir Earle Page, is the envy of the world. However, I do not want to waste my time rebutting the various points made by the honorable member for Wilmot. I want to devote the very limited time at my disposal to two matters. The first is the lack of information relating to the dangers of the insecticides used by agriculturists throughout Australia, and the second is the lack of information relating to the dangers of beauty aids used by women throughout Australia, and I wish to draw the attention of the Committee to the need of research into both these matters.
There are two main insecticides used in agriculture by farmers, graziers and orchardists. The first is the organic phosphate type such as malathion and parathion. Parathion is a very toxic spray. It will penetrate the skin and build up in the human system. The human body cannot get rid of it once it enters the system.
– Why do they not use B.O.5?
– If the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Cope) would care to listen and absorb some information he might learn something for a change. The second type of insecticide used mainly by agriculturists are the chlorinated hydro carbons such as D.D.T., endrin and dieldrin. There are 66 varieties of these sprays on the market today and we do not know very much about them or their effects. I am not being an alarmist in mentioning these matters. I have used these sprays. I know, for instance, that it is quite easy for one to suffer a headache as the result of direct contact with malathion. I have sprayed a crop of seed beans with malathion to get rid of aphis and have had the agonising experience of going home with a blinding headache and seeing spots before the eyes.
D.D.T. is commonly used as a pasture spray for caterpillars, lucerne flea and the pea mite. It is used by orchardists to exterminate aphis and thrip. This is a chlorinated hydro carbon insecticide. One of the problems here is that insects tend to build up a resistance to the chlorinated hydro carbons with the result that farmers are forced to use the organic phosphate insecticides to get better kills. Malathion and parathion are very toxic sprays about which there is very little information available to farmers, graziers or the people generally in Australia. Many people are quite worried about the long term effects of these things. They are not only worried about direct poisoning such as I experienced when spraying the seed beans, but about the toxic build up from fat lambs, fat calves or anything else that is killed, or from milk, vegetables and other foods that reach the meal table. They are worried also about the protection of wild life and about the imbalance created by the killing of certain insects.
There is no doubt that continued contact with these sprays can lead to a build up in the system and it would seem to me from what research I have conducted that the medical profession does not know a great deal about their long term effects. We can all well imagine the position of the average home gardener who sprays roses to get rid of thrip or something of that kind while children are running around. Those children could come into direct contact with the spray. It is probable that the home gardener has no knowledge of the potential danger of these sprays; but there is no doubt that poisoning has resulted from direct contact with them. I think that last year about 280 people died from poisoning. Some of them probably died from the effects of arsenic and other poisons about which I am not speaking, but many people have been killed as a result of direct contact with agricultural sprays. There is also a possibility of chronic poisoning. A person who comes into indirect contact with the spray over a period of time may have an accumulation of it in his system. The medical profession recognises that this can cause damage to the liver. In fact, it causes cirrhosis of the liver. Probably the only cause of cirrhosis of the liver of which the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Benson), who is interjecting, has heard is the consumption of alcohol, but it can be caused also by parathion.
– I am a teetotaller.
– Well, my concern is that the medical profession does not know enough about these sprays, where they are stored in the body and the total effect of them. A sub-committee of the Public Health Committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council has undertaken research into this problem and the World Health Organisation is also doing some research into it, but I do not honestly think that we in Australia are doing enough about it. The sprays are comparatively new to agriculture and I think that people should be well informed so that they will not be frightened by alarmist statements and so stop drinking milk, for instance, though this is the most healthful body building food available in the world. The committee of which I spoke is composed of the DirectorGeneral of the Commonwealth Department of Health, the directors of the various State Departments of Health and members of the Australian Medical Association. It has not been active for long enough to produce any findings, and it does not have an easy way of obtaining information. I believe that it is at present compiling a poisons register. In my opinion, this should have been done many years ago. It is certainly vital to have such a register, but a lot more must be done.
People need to be educated about these sprays and their effect on the human system. They should be told whether the sprays are dangerous or safe. I have been told that if pastures used for grazing fat lambs are sprayed with malathion and some other sprays and then not used for grazing for seven days, the malathion loses its toxic effect. But a grazier may become a little impatient and put his lambs back on to the pasture a little too early. If the malathion has been used to kill lucerne flea, cockchafer beetle and so on, it will be carried in the meat of the fat lambs and will be consumed by humans. We want to know about the potency of these sprays, but this is the sort of information that is not available in Australia. We need a poisons information centre and a centre for the dissemination of knowledge one it is acquired by the Commonwealth Department of Health. I certainly think that in cases of death by poisoning an autopsy should be held and a check made to determine where these sprays have built up in the body, what part of the body has been affected and the total effect of the sprays.
In the few minutes left to me, I want to deal with the use of beauty aids by women. I know that I could get myself into a lot of trouble on this subject, not only with my own wife but with the wives of other honorable members, and I want to tread very lightly. Again I say that very little information is available about the dangers of beauty aids, just as we have very little information about the dangers of pesticides used in agriculture.
– Beauty aids are dangerous to men.
– There is no doubt that they are. They have been dangerous to mcn since the days of Cleopatra, but perhaps she did not need to use astringents on her face to get rid of wrinkles. The manufacturers of these beauty aids advertise in the newspapers that by some marvellous chance if their creams are put on the face at. night, and if the woman goes to bed looking like a horror, in the morning the wrinkles will be gone. We should wonder how our wives will look if they use these beauty aids for too long. The astringents could be toxic. They enter the body through the pores of the skin and by some miracle - the advertisers call it a miracle - the skin tightens and the wrinkles disappear. Some of these beauty aids have a hormone base, and the hormones can build up in the human body. Again, the human body cannot get rid of the hormones and I say that such beauty aids are potentially dangerous. I do not profess to be an expert on beauty aids. My wife has a natural charm and does not need to use them.
The medical profession recognises that one of the most dangerous beauty aids used by women today is the lacquer that is sprayed on hair to keep it in place. I do not intend to name any brand; I am talking about these sprays in general. I am informed by reliable medical authorities that these atomised hair sprays contain a lacquer that can be inhaled into the lungs. It does not disappear but tends to build up over many years. On Monday, when I was coming to Canberra, I went into a building in Melbourne and went up to the fourth floor to see a gentleman there. At the end of the corridor was a beauty salon. When I stepped out of the lift I thought I was on the wrong floor; I could smell this hair lacquer at least’ 20 feet away from the salon, and that is not an exaggeration. I have been warned by members of the Australian Medical Association that the lacquer is dangerous and that women when they are using it should put a mask over their faces to guard against breathing it into their lungs. I suggest seriously that all beauty aids should be tested by the Department of Health and branded when they are considered to be safe.
.- It may be that the estimates we are discussing make inadequate provision for the veterinary and cosmetic aspects of health to which the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Nixon) has paid such intimate attention for the last quarter of an hour. I wish to direct the attention of the Committee . to some rather more drab but expensive aspects of public health. In particular, I wish to point out that health is becoming more of a public issue and expense. Governments have accepted a large responsibility for the financing of medical care and they must ensure that the taxpayers’ money is spent equitably and efficiently.
Our whole medical system is inefficient. The only Professor of Hospital Administration in Australia, Professor Griffith of the University of New South Wales, said last November -
It seems that, in total, hospital and health service provision costs the Australian community in one way or another about £330m. each year . £330m. Australian is about £264m. sterling, and this compares with £900 m. sterling, which is the total cost of a free and more comprehensive provision of hospital and health services in England and Wales where they have a population more than four times as large as ours. In short, we are spending nearly a third as much as they are in England and Wales on a less comprehensive service for a population which is not even onequarter of theirs.
Professor Griffith, seven weeks ago, pointed out that whereas health costs in the United Kingdom have fallen, expressed as a percentage of the gross national product, they are rising in Australia. These costs arise mainly from the lack of a proper regionalisation of hospitals, an outdated method of hospital staffing, wasteful health insurance and profiteering in the drug industry. Our system is expensive and inefficient for the simple reason that we do not have a national health system. The Government supports an out-moded system regardless of the cost. It underwrites the cost but is very little concerned about checking costs in the first place. The Labour Party advocates improvements in the present system through steady expansion and improvement of the public sector. Only in that way can health services be equitably and efficiently provided. Only in that way can a freedom of choice be provided both for the doctor and patient - an alternative to the present system to which both are subject. Only governments can provide hospitals, equipment and medical training. Neither doctors nor patients can provide these things.
First, I shall refer to the extent to which governments underwrite health costs in Australia at the moment. The figures that I shall give come mostly from information provided by the Minister for Health (Senator Wade) in the last two weeks in answer to questions that I placed on the notice paper. Let me deal first with hospitals. The Minister has told me that in 1961-62 the total revenue of public hospitals in Australia was £119 million. Of that amount government aid, Commonwealth hospital benefits, etc. provided £84 million or 71 per cent. In addition, of course, Commonwealth and State governments make contributions to mental hospitals and subsidise the fees of patients in private hospitals.
Now I come to the underwriting of the incomes of doctors. Here the figures relate to last financial year. Commonwealth medical benefits paid to doctors amounted to £12.1 million. There are approximately 15,000 registered medical practitioners in
Australia. Of those about 12,000 would receive payments from the medical benefits funds. The average amount doctors receive in Australia from the Commonwealth through medical benefits funds is therefore £1,000 a year. In addition, the funds make payments from the contributions of their members. From this source doctors receive an average amount of about £1,400 a year. Doctors who belong to the Pensioner Medical Service - 6,000 belong to it - receive an average amount of £800 a year from that source. Doctors who are local repatriation medical officers - there are 5,367 of them - receive an average amount of £400 a year from that source. So it may be said that all doctors in private practice in Australia receive an average of £2,400 a year from medical benefits funds. Many of them in addition receive a further £1,200 a year from the Repatriation Department and the Pensioner Medical Service, making their total income from these sources £3,600 a year. About 2,400 doctors are employed full time in hospitals. Of that number 346 are employed in repatriation hospitals. Also several hundred doctors are employed by the Commonwealth Department of Health, other Commonwealth departments and State Departments of Health.
The concluding item of Government underwriting is in respect of drugs. The cost to the Government of ingredients and containers dispensed by chemists last year was £24.7 million. Remuneration for chemists last year from this source was £16.6 million. Since there are 5,104 chemists registered with the National Health Service, their average annual income from this source was £3,000. In addition chemists were paid £5.3 million last year by the Repatriation Department, about £2 million of which was their remuneration. This works out at about £400 per chemist. So chemists in private practice received from government sources an average of £3,400 a year. The manufacturers of drugs last year were paid by the Commonwealth £24.7 million for the cost of ingredients and containers. They were also paid about £3 million by the Department of Repatriation and in addition public hospitals in the States paid them about £5 million. So last year about £33 million was paid by governments to drug manufacturers. The Government subsidises the drug industry more heavily than it subsidises even the aviation industry.
The first thing to be done, I suggest, to improve the economy and efficiency of these arrangements is to regionalise hospitals. We are operating under a federal system. It is constantly asserted that hospitals are a matter for the States. The States did not initiate most of the hospitals; they took them over. The Commonwealth is having to provide more and more of the money for them. In 1946, the United States Congress passed the Hill-Burton Act, which planned hospital facilities. Grants are made under that Act to the States on condition that they regionalise their facilities. This has been done in the greatest federation. Surely it is possible in our federation as well. A regional hospital plan would be the core of a proper national health service. At present there is no proper co-ordination of hospital construction and extensions in any particular area - that is, where the hospitals are to be. There is no proper co-ordination in, say, any metropolitan or regional area as to the equipment and facilities to be installed in the hospitals. There is also a very wasteful duplication of facilities. This has been conceded by doctors in Australia as well as in the United States of America.
In 1960 in the British Medical Journal doctors Davies and Lewin wrote that the number of hospital beds can be reduced by the provision of outpatient diagnosis, which may prevent unnecessary admissions; by regionalisation or centralisation of facilities to improve medical care and reduce the duration of stay in hospitals; and by the provision of adequate ancillary staff to assist the general practitioners. It is better for the patient, and cheaper for the community, if he can receive proper medical care in his own home. In Newcastle, for instance, this has been borne out. It has been proved that much can be saved by proper domicilliary care in this respect.
The next thing that must be done, I suggest, is to build up a salaried medical service in the hospitals. In America, for instance, Dr. Bluestone, former president of the American Association of Hospital Consultants, said -
The trend towards full time hospital practice, especially in top staff positions, is unmistakable.
In 1960 Professor Milton Roemer of the University of California School of Public
Health conducted a study which revealed that 99 per cent, of general hospitals in the United States of America employed medical staff under contract and that each hospital had an average of seven doctors on full time contract. Similar proposals have been made by Dr. Stuckey, former president of the New South Wales branch of the British Medical Association, and Dr. Storey, Medical Superintendent of the St. George District Hospital. They have also been made by Dr. Malcolm MacEachern, Director of Professional Relations of the American Hospital Association and Director-Emeritus of the American College of Surgeons in connection with a report on the establishment of a medical school in Newcastle. Clearly, a salaried staff gives a much greater opportunity for teamwork, co-operation and conferences between members to improve medical care. Through systematic medical audits, checks can be kept on the service provided and weaknesses pinpointed and remedied. This becomes almost impossible without a salaried service. A salaried service is also necessary for the proper treatment of emergency cases. Instead of emergency treatment being placed, in the first instance, in the hands of junior residents, it would be supervised by full time specialists assisted by junior residents. Emergency treatment probably requires the most skilled and. the most experienced medical attention. In too many general hospitals this is put in the hands of the least experienced medical officers.
Grants should be made by the Commonwealth to the States on condition that they establish full time salaried heads of departments. It should then be the responsibility of the head of a department to employ salaried assistants of his choice. In time, salaried staff will be employed not only in the larger hospitals but also in the smaller regional hospitals. With the establishment of a salaried service in the hospitals the general practitioner should be assured of the right, which he does not have at present, to go into a hospital and discuss his patient with the specialist. I have already referred to the fact that a salaried service would make it possible to establish a proper domicilliary service in Australia.
The next thing that we have to do is to remove the anomalies and the restrictions which exist in our hospital and medical insurance system. More than two million people in Australia are still outside the field of medical and hospital insurance. At June last year, there were almost 200 hospital and medical funds. In the 10 years from 1953 to 1963, the funds received from their contributors £50.3 million more than they paid them in benefits. In the last of these years, the funds disbursed £57 million in payments from their own funds and in Commonwealth benefits paid on behalf of the Department of Health, their operating expenses being £5.2 million. By way of contrast, the Department of Social Services in that year disbursed £290 million at an operating expense of £4.6 million. The administrative expenses of the Taxation Branch amount to 1 per cent, of its collections. I reiterate that: The overhead of the Taxation Branch represents 1 per cent, of its collections and that of the Department of Social Services about li per cent, of its payments, whereas the overhead of the 200 hospital and medical benefit funds represents nearly 10 per cent, of their payments. I am citing figures supplied by the Minister for Health. We should no longer condone such extravagance on the part of organisations which function only because governments have guaranteed them.
The final matter which I want to mention and which we ought to correct concerns the supply of drugs. I have already pointed out that the drug companies receive about £33 million a year from Commonwealth and State Government sources. I see no reason why this amount should not be vastly reduced. Two methods of doing this are open to the Commonwealth Government. One is to expand the operations of the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories. In the last few years, the Controller of Enemy Property has had to dispose of two drug companies. The Commonwealth Serum Laboratories could have bought both, but, as a matter of Government policy, it was precluded from buying either. The other method to reduce drug costs is for the Government to call for the supply of drugs by public tender. This is done in Britain. Again, as a matter of Government policy, and of ideological prejudice, this Government refuses to adopt this method.
In all the matters relating to hospitals, doctors and drugs which I have mentioned, the present Government makes possible the exploitation of the Australian people. Government initiative is required if we are to ensure that the vast sums spent on the national health scheme are in future expended more equitably and more efficiently than they have been hitherto.
.- Mr. Temporary Chairman, I feel obliged to deal with certain matters that have arisen in this debate, more particularly from the remarks of the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly). I do not aspire to his level of debate, and I shall not make more than passing reference to his personal attack on me. Quite likely, some of the things that he said are true and justified. However, I intend to discuss more important matters arising from his remarks. He advocated that we in this country push on with the socialisation of medicine willy-nilly. Apparently, by the use of the term “ willynilly “, he suggests that we ought to disregard the facts that I gave the Committee with respect to the saving of life. Those facts become apparent when we compare the death rate in Australia with that in Britain. Apparently, it does not matter to the honorable member that more people per thousand die in Britain under the medical scheme operating there. That is something that does not matter to him so long as we in this country proceed with solialisation. It does not matter to him that, if we go ahead and socialise our medical scheme willy-nilly, Australia will become bankrupt and that we shall have no funds to devote to’ other vital requirements that are essential to the preservation of Australia as a free nation with its own identity in this world. In the opinion of the honorable member for Grayndler, we must socialise medicine willy-nilly to satisfy some ideological whim, if one can grace his guiding principle with that description.
Another matter that I feel impelled to deal with is the honorable member’s attempt to throw a smokescreen completely over the facts concerning the treatment of pensioners, Sir. This, I believe, is less than worthy even of him. The facts are that pensioners are not, by Government directive or action, or by any other means, denied proper medical treatment. That assertion is incontrovertible. I feel very strongly about the reputation of my profession, and I state in the strongest possible terms that if such an attempt were made, the medical profession in this country would resist by all the means at its disposal, just as it resisted the attempts by the Chifley Government to nationalise medicine, because the members of the profession then believed that the scheme proposed was not in the interests of the patient at large.
The fact remains that a doctor has never been penalised for treating pensioner patients or any other class of patients unless he has claimed for grossly excessive services. Matters such as this are very carefully considered.
– But it is done.
– Throughout the entire existence of the present scheme, only one doctor throughout Australia, on the honorable members showing, has been excluded from the scheme. I suggest that that speaks for itself, when one considers the great number of doctors involved and the number of years for which the scheme has been in operation.
As for disciplinary measures, Sir, I direct the attention of the Committee to the disciplinary powers of the executive councils in Britain which were instituted by a Socialist Government and which, in the early stages of the scheme in that country, let to a virtual reign of terror among doctors, who were almost frightened to move for fear of being reported to an executive council by some of their more querulous and less responsible patients.
I strongly reiterate that never has there been an attempt by this Government, by direct or indirect means, either by innuendo or in any other way, to deprive a pensioner patient of adequate treatment given at suitable intervals, those intervals being determined entirely on the initiative of the visiting doctor. Any statement to the contrary flies completely and wilfully in the face of the facts.
I turn now to the remarks of the honorable member for Grayndler about doctors leaving Britain. I may not know anything about this. Only a couple of months ago, I spent more than a month there and devoted my entire time during my visit to discussing this matter with medical authorities at all levels from the Minister of Health down to general practitioners. So it could be true that 1 know nothing whatever about this, Sir. Nevertheless, the general consensus of opinion is that there was a considerable flight of doctors from Britain. Moreover, it is generally acknowledged that the hospitals there could not function today were it not for the doctors from overseas who fill the junior resident and registrar positions. The entire system depends on these doctors who go to Britain to learn their medicine and then, having done so, return home. If ;t were not for these visiting doctors, there would be no adequate hospital system because of this flight of doctors from the British medical scheme. This is universally agreed in Britain, Sir.
What the doctors there were saying in 1962 I would not know, but I can say that in 1964 they are desperately unhappy. Repeated conferences have been held to consider this situation. The unanimous opinion of many conferences has been that general medical practitioners are acutely dissatisfied. This. applies not only to their remuneration. After all, when one is on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 52 weeks a year one expects a little more remuneration than persons engaged on less exacting tasks receive. I do not believe that doctors in Britain consider that they should be discriminated against in this respect. Not only is their remuneration inadequate, but also their conditions of work are bad. As a consequence two official committees have been appointed, one to consider remuneration, with the utmost urgency, and the other to consider terms and conditions of service, which are universally regarded as grossly unfair to doctors.
In this regard one must be very careful. I feel one should have the background to these matters before one expresses a criticism one way or the other. In this regard I must refer to a remark or two of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam). I must say that much of his speech was very thought provoking, and I agree with much of it up to a certain point. However, he made certain analogies which one must be cautious in following. He was talking about the cost of hospital services, but did he tell the Committee that not one new hospital has been constructed in Britain since the last war, in contradistinction with this country which has seen the building of a number of fine modernly equipped hospitals? In fact, this Government is in the process of constructing a hospital of the finest quality in Darwin. One must be very careful before one considers certain facts. One must see the picture as a whole and not accept statistics too readily.
– Why have not hospitals been built in Britain?
– Because the cost of the scheme has been too expensive, and that is the simple answer. As I was saying, one must be very careful. I should like to speak more about hospital administration and organisation, but there are other speakers and I have spoken already once tonight. However, it is very important that we consider the costs of these things. There is much to be said for the rationalisation of hospitals. This matter should be taken out of direct political control. Public hospitals should be administered by regional committees appointed jointly by the Federal and State authorities and not too directly controlled by either authority, but responsible to both. I believe that this committee should be selected by the Ministers for Health jointly on the basis of capability. Membership of the committee should be honorary, because then the better type of person would be encouraged to do the work as a public service rather than as an added source of income. I believe its members should be chosen from every walk of life. Their representative capability and knowledge should be the qualifying features for membership of this committee, which I believe should be so arranged that there is a minimum of political control and so that no petty dictatorships arise. I may speak on this further at a later date.
I have said enough, but I warn the Committee once more that if you are going to kill the goose that lays the golden egg, if you attack these things with an axe as the Opposition is wont to do, they tend to assume suddenly a very different and fearsome aspect. Then, if instead of a well integrated medical service such as we have - which can be improved but which has proved itself by reducing mortality rates at every level and in every field as I pointed out - we get some socialistic shibboleth, I feel we will run a very grave risk. It may be found that the doctors of this country would leave for another country where they could get better conditions. Remember, they have a very difficult life. They are well remunerated, but they work very hard.
They work under great tension, they have enormous responsibilities, and they expect to receive some extra remuneration ‘for them. If you take that away from them - if you take away their conditions - they are simply not going to do the work as effectively. They will be worried, their work will suffer and they will get out at the first opportunity, as they have done in Britain.
.- The honorable member for Bowman (Dr. Gibbs) has shown a greater inclination to represent the Australian medical profession than to represent the people of Bowman. I have no doubt that his electors are feeling very keenly about the need for a comprehensive health service in Australia. Indeed, they would certainly like one of the type that prevails in the United Kingdom. ] want to make some reference to several of the points the honorable member raised. His diagnoses in many respects are well and truly out of gear. He commented on the speech of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) and I should like to know from what authority he gained the impression that the Australian Labour Party stands to nationalise health services in this country.
Let me quote an aspect of our policy in this regard, and ascertain from the honorable member whether he disagrees with Labour’s aspirations. Our aim is the establishment on a national basis of a complete government health service to be staffed oy any qualified persons who choose to join it and available to all persons who choose to use it. This is not to say that if the honorable member wants to pursue his profession in private practice for the purpose of getting a more lucrative return from his regard for humanity he would be debarred from doing so. He would be as free in this country as doctors are in the United Kingdom to pursue his individual practice. Many of his other points call for some comment.
His diagnosis of the mortality situation in the United Kingdom seems to have a very peculiar basis. When all is said and done, if what he says is true - that there is a lower mortality rate in Australia than in the United Kingdom - this does not necessarily have to be attributed to the national health scheme. I doubt whether his figures are correct. In fact, my colleague the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has passed to me the “Year Book” for 1963 which provides statistical information to the contrary. However, even if it were possible to sustain the honorable member’s point of view, is it necessarily right to attribute the position to the virtues of a national health scheme? Many factors may be involved. For example, the climatic conditions of the two countries could be a factor. We often talk about the health-giving virtues of the Australian climate. We talk about the affluent conditions under which we live as a consequence of this country being generously endowed with all manner of resources.
Then, of course, there are the economic conditions. I do not know whether honorable members opposite will concede that economic conditions can affect the lifespan of a population. The fact is that there has been a Conservative Government in the United Kingdom for about 10 years, and possibly this is one of the factors which contributes to the mortality rate there. Then there is the question of the nature of the population. In Australia we have a younger population. I understand that 38 per cent, of the Australian community are under 21 years of age. It seems to me that the points made by the honorable member for Bowman have very little basis in terms of common sense. He again reiterated the contention that there is a flight of doctors from the United Kingdom. He had the temerity to do this after the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly) had quoted from a United Kingdom information bulletin. Indeed, he was quoting the Conservative Minister of Health, Enoch Powell, who was contending exactly the opposite - the antithesis of the situation. There is no flight of doctors. What is happening in the United Kingdom is that there is a great inflow of doctors, many of them, I am sorry to say, coming from Australia as well as from other European countries. They are attracted to the United Kingdom by the conditions that prevail there at the present time.
The honorable member for Bowman said that there are no new hospitals in the United Kingdom. I think there is probably some truth in this contention. The British are certainly not building hospitals at the same pace as we see them being provided in Australia. This might also be a consequence of the Conservative Government’s long run of office. It also has a great deal to do with the fact that large hospitals built in bygone times were built to endure. They are solidly constructed. What is happening at the present time in the United Kingdom, according to the United Kingdom handbook, is that hospitals are being remodelled on a very large scale. We have heard only half truths from the honorable member.
In the short time at my disposal I shall take a look at the Australian national health scheme. I believe it leaves a great deal to be desired. Some people may say that the British scheme is bureaucratic but none of them has ever said that it is not comprehensive. It provides services that this Government would probably never provide. It will only be after a change of government that the Australian people will get all the services to which they are entitled and which the British people already have by right.
My colleague, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam), talked about the extent to which governments were involved in health matters in this country at the present time. He gave figures which showed that about 72 per cent, of hospital revenue is derived from governments in Australia. The average doctor receives about 40 per cent. - perhaps more - of his income from governments. About 90 per cent, of the cost of drugs is paid by Commonwealth or State Governments. The honorable member went on to say that about £330 million per annum is expended on our health services in Australia. He could have gone further and said that even in this so called affluent era it is unfortunately a fact that the proportion of gross national product expended on health has not increased for a number of years. In terms of this kind of measurement there is ample room to give, the Australian people a greater degree of social security under a decent national health scheme.
We are spending a lot of money on health. There is no question about that. There is also a great deal to be said for the argument that we are not getting value for money. In the United Kingdom £26 per head is spent on health services, while in Australia the amount spent per head is £29. We get less benefit although we spend more. This results largely from a lack of coordination in regard to equipment, no coordination in regard to the dispersal of hospitals or the regionalisation of hospital) about which Professor Griffiths of the University of New South Wales spoke so effectively. There is no co-ordination in the deployment of personnel. We of the Labour Party would like to see something done in this regard. We stand for a total medical care concept. There is a fairly spontaneous movement in this regard, in some respects, at the present time. This is evident in what I might call the “ clinicisation “ of doctors, which is taking place all over Australia, even on a private practice basis. Sometimes the motive for this, of course, is to reduce taxation rather than a concern for patients, but nevertheless it is happening. We say it should be happening not just on a private basis but in the places where sick people have to go. There should be clinicisation of doctors in hospitals themselves. They should be available, moreover, at all times, and they should be organised according to a total patient care concept.
We stand not for the fragmentation of medical services but for the in te nation of these services at a focal point where they will be readily available to the community. We believe that all kinds of specialists should be available at hospitals and that their services should be available to all people, regardless of their capacity to meet the costs. Our policy in this regard is cut and dried. If honorable members opposite are not aware of the concepts that have been developed in connection with these matters I shall tell them in a few words of the fundamentals.
What we would like to see done in this country is something that is already being done in fairly substantial measure in the city of Newcastle in New South Wales. We would like to see hospitals providing a comprehensive range of services. So we propose and, indeed, we undertake, to make conditional grants to those States that are prepared to initiate these new services which are denied to the people at present because the Menzies Government has abdicated its responsibilities. We intend to encourage the employment of salaried personnel in our hospitals. We want people employed in specialist capacities, so that we shall not continue to place such great reliance on general practitioners as we place at present. General practitioners, of course, have their role and their value, but after all, when one goes along with a complaint which is fairly well identified, one should be able to get specialist treatment. If one has a heart condition he needs the services of a heart specialist, and we want to make certain that specialists are available on a salaried basis at every major hospital. To encourage the employment of specialists in this way we propose to provide grants to the States in respect of specialist services. Similarly, we want to improve outpatient services so that people can obtain the benefits of these comprehensive medical services, and obtain them without cost.
My colleague, the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) has complained, justifiably, about the inadequacy of optical care services. I had hoped to deal with this, but time will not permit me. Obviously you should be able to get optical services in every hospital, just as you can in the Royal Newcastle Hospital. In the Royal Newcastle Hospital there is also a dental service. There is a battery of dentists, some drawing teeth or filling them and others making dentures. These services should be available to every citizen and they should be available at hospitals. Geriatric services are unknown in many parts of Australia. In many hospital regions the care of the aged is an unknown or a negative quantity. Conditional grants should be made available to the States to encourage these services.
Without going into all the other services that we need in detail, let me just mention a few of them. Special grants should be made to the States in respect of psychiatric services and also domiciliary services, so that we shall not have to keep patients in hospitals for unduly long periods. This is a way in which you get hospital bed costs down. It is a practice that has been effectively adopted in many parts of the world and could be adopted here. The visiting of patients in their own homes could be encouraged. We could have pharmaceutical services radiating from hospitals. These are only some of the services which should be available as a result of the grants to which I have referred.
In every respect, this so-called national health scheme is a shambles. There is no reason at all to be proud of it. My colleague, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, spoke about the high cost of benefit organisations at the present time. As he said, there are nearly 200 of these organisations, and it is interesting to note that their administrative costs for the ten-year period from 1951-52 to 1961-62 amounted to £16.3 million in the case of medical benefits organisations and £12.2 million in the case of hospital benefits organisations. These same organisations have accumulated reserves amounting to no less than £25 million, presumably against the epidemic or plague which is unlikely ever to come to Australia. Only one benefits organisation is really needed, and if it were a government organisation it would need no reserves at all. It would not need prestige buildings scattered throughout Australia and provided at the expense of sick people. It is necessary to minimise the overhead associated with the national health scheme so that what is saved can be directed to the welfare of the people in our community who are suffering.
I wanted to refer to a number of other matters involving the high cost of drugs. I shall not have time to do this in any detail. However, I want to mention the obvious need for the use of generic names in our national health scheme. We should not allow the present practice to continue, because it costs a great deal of money.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I feel I must rise briefly, although I do not intend to keep the Committee very long. First, let me say that I listened intently to two of the Opposition speakers, and I was very surprised at the attack made on a qualified doctor in this chamber. I think it is time that many people realised that qualified men are needed in this Parliament today.
– Why is he not the Minister for Health?
– The honorable member for Grayndler has been in this Parliament a little longer than has the honorable member for Bowman (Dr. Gibbs). Perhaps the honorable member for Grayndler can answer that question better than I can. The point is that the people of the electorate of Bowman put the honorable member for Bowman into this place. I believe that we should have many more qualified people talking about subjects of which they have a good knowledge. I approve of the methods used by the honorable member for Hughes (Mr. L. R.
Johnson), who tried to put his case concisely and objectively; but 1 object to the bombast that flowed out of the mouth of another member of the Opposition. That speech was not fair to the honorable member for Bowman, who is a highly qualified and brilliant young doctor, a surgeon of some note in his State and a man who has the utmost confidence of all honorable members on the Government side of the chamber.
I appreciate as much as anybody else docs that the Opposition has to try to make out a good case. I have no objection whatsoever to honorable members who have a great knowledge of the social conditions in their electorates speaking from their experience. That is only right and proper. But, I believe that it is incorrect for a totally unqualified witchdoctor to speak on medical matters on which he has not the slightest qualification to offer an intelligent opinion.
– Then you had better sit down yourself.
– What the honorable member for Hughes says is quite correct; but I did not rise only for the purpose of commenting on the fact that a very fine speech was made by the honorable member for Bowman.
– How would you know that? You are not qualified.
– If the honorable member for Grayndler wants to get a little personal, I will give him a bit of a go. He made one or two statements which frankly amazed me. One of them, if I recall it correctly, was that irrespective of any means employed, he and his party - I imagine that that is so, as he is his party’s leading spokesman on this subject - stand for the introduction of a health scheme such as the United Kingdom has today. I wonder about the responsibility of a remark of that nature. It is pretty hard to understand. Does he mean that, regardless of the claims of development of the north, reimbursements to the States and the many other financial matters that any Treasurer must consider, he wishes to see the introduction of a scheme which in many countries is not looked upon with the same favour?
I do not believe for one minute that in Australia today we have a perfect scheme. In fact, there is one small section of it to which I do not subscribe at all. However,
I say that at this point of time it is a good scheme, a responsible scheme and a scheme that Australia can afford and can pay for without neglecting our first duty to develop the economy and to ensure future growth. The main difference between the party that I have the honour to represent and the Australian Labour Party is that we believe very strongly that the main function of the Government at this stage is to develop Australia as rapidly as possible. I think the honorable member for Macarthur (Mr. Jeff Bate) pointed out that fundamental difference in a debate last week.
– He was thrown out.
– That did not occur in that debate. I believe that we on the Government side can hold up our heads with some pride. We believe in growth. We believe in encouraging initiative as the best means of achieving that growth. In my opinion, it is slightly irresponsible for members of the Opposition to urge the introduction of a scheme which cannot be justified at this point of time.
I really rose tonight to deal with the appropriation of £529,800 under the heading “ Quarantine “ in the estimates for the Department of Health. My reason for speaking on this appropriation is that I believe that one vital danger to Australia is the possible introduction of exotic animal diseases. Only last year a rather elderly relative of mine died. She remembered the day when the trip from Great Britain to Australia took nine months. What is the position today? The trip takes a very short time indeed. What time will trips from places such as India and Africa to Australia take within a very few years when we have aircraft travelling at supersonic speeds? I regard the possible introduction of exotic diseases as one of the very great dangers facing Australia.
The first comment that I make is that £529,800 is little enough to appropriate for quarantine in order to protect the livestock industry in particular. I say “ in particular “ because quarantine measures are taken against human beings if they come from areas where there is smallpox, cholera, yellow fever or minor plagues. They are also taken against plants, which are quarantined for certain bacteriological, nodule and root type disorders. They are also taken against animals. In 1958 this
Government, in its very great wisdom, prohibited the importation of all cattle. Since those days New Zealand has been asking us to lift that ban to enable the importation of all sorts of stock, but particularly pedigreed stock, from that country. Very rightly, in spite of that pressure, the Government has not relaxed the ban. By and large, the case put by New Zealand is that that country is as free from animal diseases as Australia is. Of course, that is quite so. But the big difference is that New Zealand has not applied a ban on the importation of cattle from the rest of the world. Therefore, responsibly, the Australian Government has taken the view that it will not risk infection of our very important animal flocks and herds by relaxing the ban, even in respect of New Zealand.
There are three main scourges that could come into Australia today. There are newer ones which, frankly, I do not know a great deal about. One of those three is rabies, which has a very slow incubation period and therefore is difficult to trace if its gets into the country. Another is blue tongue, which is carried by cattle without many clinical symptoms and can be passed on to sheep. The figures suggest that it has a killing rate of up to 30 per cent. If 30 per cent, of the Australian sheep population fell by the wayside, one could imagine the financial trouble in which Australia could find itself within a short time.
I am very strongly of the opinion that we must expand our exports over the years. Of course, that would be quite impossible if our present meat trade with the United States was hit, if our wool exports were hit, or if our other types of livestock were hit. I repeat that I regard the appropriation of about half a million pounds as little enough for the protection of the well being and economic future of Australia. At page 27 of the annual report of the Commonwealth Director-General of Health there is a reference to two veterinarians being sent overseas within the last year to study exotic animal diseases. They have attended the annual exotic diseases course at the Grosse He experimental station in Quebec, Canada, and have visited the Plum Island Animal Disease Laboratory, New York. In so doing they have gained much information which they are now busy diffusing through the veterinary services in Australia. I suggest that more veterinarians be sent overseas if it is considered necessary to study the type of eradication that may be necessary, because there is no doubt that if these diseases ever do come into Australia very swift action will be necessary to eliminate them.
It will be no new information to honorable members that foot and mouth disease in England is dealt with by slaughtering all livestock within a radius of about 10 or 20 miles from the place of the outbreak. Compensation is paid for the livestock slaughtered, certainly, but what compensation is that to the country, which faces huge financial loss? This is one method of dealing with foot and mouth disease. It is a simple method and countries know about it. Blue tongue, came into America from Spain in cattle, but the Americans knew nothing about it at the time. The first the Americans knew about having imported blue tongue was when it started to kill sheep through cross-infection from cattle. By the time the disease had killed the sheep the clues to the means of communication of the disease had become so tangled, so snarled, that the Americans were unable to trace the contact cattle that had caused the damage. I believe it can be seen quite easily that if Australia is to substantiate its growth, swell its amenities, get better social services and generally have a strong economic growth, we must have the exports to substantiate these conditions. If we have export to substantiate this growth, I suggest that the Government must pay a very great deal of attention to the problem of the importation of exotic diseases, which today can come in on the mud of a tourist’s boot or on an insect from inside an aircraft. All the time the distance from India, where most of these diseases are now quite apparent, and from Africa, where the diseases are rapidly going further south, is in effect becoming shorter because of the speed of modern transport; and the danger is increasing.
.- I concede the point that was made by the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Giles) that one should not deal with subjects with which one is not completely familiar. Therefore, I shall not attempt to refer to the matter upon which the honorable member largely spoke. He obviously is very well informed on that subject. However, I join issue with the honorable member on his opening remarks, because I think he implied that to deal with the matters that the Committee now has under consideration relating to national health one needs to be a medical practitioner. I find myself in complete disagreement with the honorable member on that point.
If we are to draw the inference from the honorable member’s remarks that the honorable member for Bowman (Dr. Gibbs), when speaking on these matters, could not be wrong, let me point out for the benefit of honorable members that the honorable member for Bowman misled the Committee. I do not say that he did so intentionally, but he was in error when citing figures relating to birth rates and death rates per thousand in Australia, comparing them with the figures for the United Kingdom. If the honorable member for Bowman studied the 1963 “Year Book” he would find at page 398 that in 1961 in England and Wales the death rate per 1,000 people was 14.6 for males and 13.5 for females, whereas the corresponding figures for Australia were 14.9 for males and 13.7 for females. Those figures conflict immediately with the figures supplied by the honorable member for Bowman. I acknowledge at once that on this subject in particular the honorable member for Bowman ought to be able to speak with very great authority, but he should make himself as well informed on the figures that he cites as he is on other matters that he referred to earlier this evening.
I want to deal with one or two aspects of the national health scheme which I regard as being most important. I wish to refer in particular to the additions to be made to the scheme and the anomalies that honorable members on this side of the chamber believe are reacting unfavorably on a great section of our population today. Much has already been said in this debate about the national health scheme in Great Britain. Although honorable members opposite have suggested that a scheme of this type should not apply in Australia, the fact remains that none of the honorable members who dealt with the situation in Great Britain would be prepared, if he were in Great Britain, to oppose the British scheme. I suggest at once that many honorable members who this evening have spoken in opposition to the national health scheme that now applies in Great Britain would probably, if they were members of the Conservative Party in Great Britain, be telling the people of the United Kingdom of the benefits that one could expect under their scheme. We on this side of the chamber suggest that the scheme in Great ;Britain has stood the test of time and that no government, Tory or Labour, would be prepared to abolish it. I believe that the honorable member for Bowman and many other Government supporters who have spoken in opposition to the British scheme would not oppose it if they resided in Great Britain.
Another point mentioned by the honorable member for Bowman, a point that he seemed to regard as being very important, was the number of doctors who had left the U.K. in recent years. In Australia one can point to the great number of people who have left the U.K. to reside in this country - people engaged in many professions. What, according to the honorable member for Bowman, applies to doctors could apply equally to many other people who have migrated to Australia from the U.K. and are engaged in other professions. The real answer is that there is a great number of people in the U.K. who want to migrate, and they do so because they want to make a new home in a new land. That applies to people of all professions and is obviously not restricted to (he medical profession.
In Australia we have a national health scheme which contains a great many anomalies. We do not oppose the Australian scheme in its entirety; undoubtedly it has provided quite a number of benefits to our people. But the fact remains that the anomalies in the scheme have never been rectified by this Government. They have been pointed out time and time again in this place by Opposition members. In Australia we have a very expensive scheme which is costing the country almost more than £50 million a year. Since the scheme originated in 1952 almost £660 million has been spent on health services. But after ] 1 years the Government has failed to achieve the aims that Parliament was told would be achieved when the bill to introduce the scheme was first brought before the Parliament. As the honorable member for Hughes (Mr. L. R. Johnson) pointed out only a few moments ago, it does nothing to encourage positive health measures in this country. It certainly is not a national health scheme because only about 72 per cent, of the people who reside in this country are eligible to participate under the scheme. That means, in effect, that there must be almost one million people in Australia who are not registered with any one of the recognised medical benefit societies, and very little is known about this large number of people. From what sections of the community do they come? What are the reasons why they are not registered? The Government has made it perfectly clear in the past that this is a compulsory scheme, not a voluntary scheme. The Government has said, in effect: “ Either you register with a medical benefit organisation in Australia or you will receive no benefit at all so far as the Government is concerned.”
What sections of the community do these people come from? Obviously they are the very ill - the chronic sufferers. Until quite recent years, medical benefit societies would not accept people into their schemes who were chronic sufferers. The Government did at last, a short time ago, act to remove this anomaly but even now it reacts unfavorably against these people because medical benefit organisations pay for a patient’s hospitalisation only up to a certain period. After that they are left entirely to their own resources. Obviously, another section of this large population I have already referred to - those people who are not registered with a medical benefit society - are those who have been affected by unemployment or some other set of economic circumstances, have lost their membership and have never been able to take it up again.
Honorable members know how difficult it it is to renew membership with some of the medical benefit societies in Australia, once that membership has lapsed, under the conditions or circumstances enjoyed beforehand.
On the medical side, the national health legislation still does not provide 90 per cent, of the medical fees as honorable members were told it would when it was introduced into this Parliament in 1962. The admission was made by the representative of the Minister for Health in this House earlier this year that the health scheme was not, in point of fact, providing 90 per cent, coverage but that the actual coverage was as low as 60 per cent, in many cases. Certainly there has been compulsion on the part of the Government so far as those people who must become members of the various organisations are concerned. But there has never been any compulsion so far as the doctors are concerned.
Whilst doctors are in a position to be able to regulate their own fees this scheme will never be a success because while the Government may move at some stage to remove the anomalies that may apply so far as the amount that may be recouped by medical benefits is concerned the doctors themselves will always take the opportunity, as they may do now, to increase their fees as the Australian Medical Association thinks they should. So there is no compulsion by the Government so far as doctors in Australia are concerned. We on this side of the chamber believe that unless there can be some agreement with the Australian Medical Association on these matters the scheme will never be the success that members on the Government side suggested when it was introduced into this chamber so many years ago.
On the other hand, this scheme completely overlooks the importance of some other aspects of medical treatment in Australia. As the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) said earlier this evening, the scheme makes no provision for the treatment of eyes. It makes no provision for dental treatment. I think at this stage that one ought to consider the representations made to this Government over a number of years by those who represent the optometrists of Australia. Time and time again those people have pleaded with the Government, through the various Ministers for Health, for some recognition in this matter. But this Government has remained adamant. The optometrists cannot be brought into this scheme and no valid reason has ever been advanced in this chamber as to why this should not be done. This Committee has never been informed of the Government’s reasons.
I believe that the Minister for Health (Senator Wade) himself ought to at least inform the Parliament why the Government is not prepared to recognise this very large section of our community, particularly in view of the responsibility that is accepted by these people throughout Australia from the point of view of health.
What is the situation that applies to-day? If a patient goes to an optometrist for an eye test, or what is commonly known as refraction, no benefit is paid by the medical benefit organisation. If the same test is authorised by a medical practitioner a benefit is paid. The fact remains that more than 70 per cent, of .the people in this country report for an eye. test, or a refraction, in the first instance, to an optometrist. It is true that under some circumstances they may then be referred to an eye specialist. Consultation with an eye specialist - commonly referred to as an ophthalmologist - may be necessary. If the patient is referred in the first instance .by the optometrist to the eye specialist, or opthalmologist, a small benefit is paid; but if the patient is referred, in the first instance, by a doctor to an eye specialist then a much larger benefit is paid.
The Opposition says that this is a ridiculous state of affairs having regard to the fact - as I have already pointed out- that more than 70 per cent, of the people who seek treatment for their eyes report in the first instance to optometrists who are, after all - as my friend the honorable member for Wilmot pointed out earlier - highly qualified personnel. Optometrists undergo a course at one of the universities throughout the Commonwealth which, in many instances, requires up to four years study. Yet, this Government says that these people are not responsible enough to be brought into the national health scheme.
Honorable members on this side of the chamber believe that this is an anomaly.
The Government ought to recognise the great need for this type of treatment and for patients who obtain it to gain from the medical benefits societies the same benefits that would apply if they were referred to a specialist by a medical practitioner. Earlier this year, one honorable member on the Government side - I think it was the honorable member for McMillan (Mr. Buchanan) - referred to some of the anomalies that apply in regard to this matter and pointed out how doctors were getting certain benefits for their patients merely by sending them to a specialist rather than to an optometrist. The Opposition believes, as I already pointed out, that there is a need for a revision of the health legislation in order to give justice to these people. .
Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- Speaking on the estimates before the Committee I do not agree - like a lot of honorable members on this side - with the Government that this is a national health scheme when we find that only 72 per cent, of the population is covered by it. We find that there is in Australia today a vast number of hospital and medical benefit organisations. The Australian Labour Party is definitely opposed to any member of the community being compelled to be covered by an insurance scheme before he is entitled to receive the full Commonwealth medical and hospital grant. The Government uses the taxpayers’ money to finance these schemes but we find that where a person is uninsured the Commonwealth benefit is only 8s. a day compared with 30s. a day if insured, while he is an inmate of a hospital. The Government insists that a person insure himself for a benefit of 16s. a day before becoming entitled to the full Commonwealth benefit of 30s. a day. Those who are uninsured receive only a measly- 8s. a day from this Government. Because of this miserable policy, the cost to the Government last year was only £1.2 million. If those who are not members of hospital benefits funds had received the full benefit from the Commonwealth, the cost to the Government would have been only an additional £1.8 million. There are no figures available as to the amount of money that is saved by the Government on medical fees because the uninsured persons pay their doctors’ bills and as no Commonwealth benefit is payable no records are kept. Probably many uninsured persons are not members of medical funds because they cannot afford the contributions. It costs the average family man 12s. a week or £31 a year to be a member of a medical benefits fund. Therefore, it cannot be said that the cost of health insurance in Australia is cheap. In addition to the fees payable to the benefit funds, members are required to pay chemists 5s. for the dispensing of each prescription written by their doctor. I remind honorable members that the members of these benefit funds are saddled with this expense of £31 a year irrespective of whether they find it necessary to seek medical advice and treatment. They receive no rebate if they do not require the services of a doctor. I remind honorable members also that the health scheme makes no provision for dental treatment, nor does it provide for optical treatment, as has been pointed out by other honorable members. -My main reason for speaking tonight is to obtain from the Minister some explanation of how doctors employed by the Commonwealth Government determine the 85 per cent, incapacity which is necessary if a person is to receive an invalid pension. I know that claims for pensions must be submitted to the Department of Social Services, but the medical examination of claimants for pensions is made by Commonwealth medical officers whose acceptance or rejection of a claim is merely rubber-stamped by the Minister.
Here I should like to refer to two specific cases that have come under my notice in the past few months. They relate to rejections, by the Department of Social Services of. applications for pensions, the rejections being based on recommendations made by Commonwealth medical officers. The first case concerns an applicant who was suffering from an acute heart condition. This man was an inmate of one of the largest and best known hospitals in my electorate for some considerable time. While he was an inmate of the hospital, he applied for an invalid pension and his application was supported by the visiting heart specialist. After his discharge from hospital his condition was so bad that he had to be taken by ambulance from his home to the hospital for examination. His doctor would not allow him to do any walking whatsoever. During the period of his illness, his weight dropped from 14 stone to 9 stone. His application was rejected because the Commonwealth medical officer said that he could do light work. However, his own specialist had stated that he was unfit for any work whatsoever. Within a week after his application bad been rejected, the man was dead and buried.
– Did the specialist put it in writing?
– The specialist did put it in writing. This man’s death was due to his heart condition. Who was right in this case? Was it the specialist who visited the hospital, or was it the Commonwealth medical officer? I do not know whether the Commonwealth medical officer was a specialist or just an ordinary medical practitioner.
I wish to refer the House to another case, which concerns an invalid pensioner. In 1960 he was granted an invalid pension by the Department. Early in 1961 he relinquished his pension because he felt that he could undertake employment within his physical capacity. However, he found that he was unable to continue in permanent employment and the invalid pension was restored to him by the Department in May 1961. He again surrendered his pension and returned to full employment but unfortunately met with an accident at work. Again he was forced to give up his employment. In March of this year he again applied for the invalid pension but his application was rejected. In support of his application he submitted evidence from Macquarie Street specialists who arc leaders in their field, and also from a specialist at a leading Sydney hospital. His claim has been rejected even though in 1961 the Department had granted his application because of his disability. His medical advisers are greatly concerned because they cannot understand why his application has been rejected. He has been off worksince March of this year. He has submitted medical certificates and his entitlement to sickness benefit has been accepted’ by the Department.
I have mentioned these cases because a doubt exists in my mind and in the minds of many honorable members on this side of the chamber. Probably there are amongst honorable members opposite those who have had experience of similar cases and who have been left wondering why Commonwealth doctors reject claims that are supported by medical evidence. The Commonwealth doctors claim that there is no provision in the Act to grant the claims, and I ask the Minister to inform the House how the Commonwealth doctors arrive at these decisions.
I wish now to refer to the report of the Director-General of Health, because it contains reference to a matter that I believe should be brought to the notice of the House and of the Australian people. I refer to the cost of the pharmaceutical benefits scheme in the past few years. On page 6 of the report it is stated that during the period from 1960-61 to 1963-64, while the average cost of prescriptions fell by 2.2 per cent., the number of pharmaceutical benefits prescriptions dispensed increased by 42.1 per cent. The rate of increase in 1963-64 was lower than in the previous three years, but the total number of prescriptions dispensed increased by 2,160,000 for the year. The total number of prescriptions has now reached the very high figure of 43,360,000.
The fall in the average cost of each prescription is due in no small measure to negotiations carried out by departmental officers with the drug manufacturers. In 1963-64 these negotiations resulted in reductions in the prices of a number of drugs and will result in a saving to the Government of about £2,700,000 in the full financial year, if the number of prescriptions for those drugs remains at the same level. I believe that the saving has been brought about because of the agitation of Labour members of this Parliament and the fortunate circumstance that the press criticised the Government because of the prices charged by the drug manufacturers. The result has been a reduction in the prices of some drugs and, I repeat, a saving of about £2,700,000 in this financial year.
In Australia today 13 drug companies are operating. Of these companies 12 are completely owned by overseas interests. Only one company, Drug Houses of Australia Limited, is Australian owned, and at present this company is planning to tie up with a large English company. A large amount of money is paid for pharmaceutical benefits and the Australian people have to pay any excessive cost of drugs. A public inquiry into the activities of the drug manufacturers should be held. The excess amount that has been paid would have been sufficient to meet the cost of providing a medical entitlement card for all pensioners. The Australian Labour Party believes that an inquiry should be held to determine the amount that has been fleeced from the Government by the drug monopolies. Over the past five or six years, I am sure that it would be in the vicinity o£ £15 million. This vast amount of money is public money and an inquiry should be held into the activities of the drug manufacturers. The people should be told how the money has been taken from them.
Since the war, the Government has owned a drug manufacturing firm and this firm has probably been supplying drugs for the national health scheme. But now the Government has offered the firm for sale on the open market, and undoubtedly it will be sold to one of the big overseas combines that have been fleecing the Government for many years past.
– Cheer up.
– It is all very well for a member of the Australian Country Party to say: “ Cheer up “. If he could get this money, he would be only too pleased to give it as a subsidy to some of his rich farmer friends. I want to raise one other matter, and this relates to medical entitlement cards for pensioners. In order to get some reimbursement of medical expenses from the Government, people must belong to one of the medical benefit funds. But people who have been putting away money for their old age find that, when they retire on superannuation and have a little income on which to live decently, they cannot get a medical entitlement card if their income exceeds £2 a week. A pensioner receiving the full amount of pension can earn up to £2 a week and still receive his medical entitlement card, but a person in receipt of a superannuation pension is denied this benefit. This is a serious anomaly. It would cost the Government about £1.2 million to give a card to all the pensioners, and I do not think it is asking too much to suggest that the Government provide this benefit for all pensioners. There are approximately 103,000 pensioners in Australia and the Government should give them all a medical entitlement card.
Last year, 21,000 new age, invalid and widow pensioners or 25 per cent, of the new admissions for pensions did not. qualify for the pensioner medical service at the time their pensions were granted. There has been a good deal of agitation by many Opposition members who have sought the grant of medical entitlement cards to all pensioners. Honorable members on the Government side probably hold the same view, although they constantly talk about the wonderful benefits given by the Government to pensioners. However, this is one benefit that the Government has not given and 1 am sure that each and every honorable member believes that it should be granted.
– Before the end of the last financial year, I introduced into the Parliament a measure to provide some substantial improvement in the national health scheme. It included a very substantial improvement in the Commonwealth contribution. As a result, no legislation of a similar character will be introduced during this sessional period and this debate on these estimates will be the main debate on health matters. It is interesting, therefore, to note that a back bench member opened the debate for the Opposition and that a front bench member did not lead for the Opposition. There are one or two matters which, because of their importance, I want to clarify. I will do this very briefly.
The honorable member for Watson (Mr. Cope), opening the debate on behalf of the Opposition, spent a considerable amount of time in quoting from what he said was a publication by the Department of Health, referring to arrangements made under the pensioner medical service scheme between the Commonwealth Government and some organisation controlled by the Government of New South Wales. The publication from which he was reading must have been a very old one. The scheme was changed, as he knows, by legislation introduced last year. I will quote from the publication which is now in circulation. The words to which I want to refer are -
Free public ward accommodation in public hospitals under arrangements made between the Commonwealth Government and the hospitals.
That statement is made in a publication which is a guide to national health benefits. The arrangements are between the Commonwealth and the hospitals concerned. That should be clearly understood, because this is a vitally important part of the scheme.
Some figures given in relation to the number of people enrolled under the pensioner medical scheme did not appear to be accurate, and I would like to give the exact figures. In June 1964, the number of pensioners registered under the pensioner medical scheme was 738,885. Those not enrolled because of the means test or for some other reason - perhaps a desire to participate in the national health scheme in some other form - numbered 110,193. It is just as well to have the record accurate.
Another matter to which I wish to refer is the reference which was made by the honorable member leading for the Opposition to medical research. He said that very little attention was being paid by the Government to this important subject. The” reverse is the case. If the honorable member studies very carefully the publications which have been put out, he will see the situation exactly. The Medical Research Endowment Fund has been established. From this Fund, grants are made, on the recommendation of the National Health and Medical Research Council, for a variety of research projects of vital importance. A Medical Research Advisory Committee has been established, consisting of 14 eminent medical scientists. They control the operation of this fund and recommend the actual amounts of the grants. The total allocated during this financial year for these purposes is £400,000. The Council co-ordinates the activities of many other bodies, including the Repatriation Department and private organisations engaged in research. The significant fact is that the amount allocated for medical research has increased from £30,000 in 1937-3,8 to £400,000 during this financial year. Two-thirds of the grants made by the Fund are to support medical research projects in the universities.
I think I must refer quickly to a matter which was raised by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Devine) and also, in a very thoughtful way, by the honorable member for Bowman (Dr. Gibbs). It is the cost of drugs. This is a matter which has engaged the attention of the Government for some years. It is one, of course, which warrants the careful attention of the Parliament. I think it should be recognised that a lot has been achieved in this field already. By negotiations, which are continuing, an amount of £2,700,000 had been saved on drug costs at the end of June in the last financial year. Following these negotiations we anticipate that in future further additional savings can be made. All this indicates that the Government is paying very careful attention to the vitally important matter of costs.
I conclude by reiterating what has been said by one or two speakers on the Government side: Despite certain problems that we must face and certain improvements that we must try to effect in the future, our national health scheme is still one of the best operating in the world today.
.- Mr. Temporary Chairman–
Motion (by Mr. Aston) put-
That the question be now put.
The Committee divided. (The Temporary Chairman- Hon. W. C. Ha worth.)
Majority . . . . 23
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
– I present the third report of the Printing Committee.
Report - by leave - adopted.
Industrial Unrest - Newspaper Article. Motion (by Mr. Swartz) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.- Mr. Speaker, I wish to refer to an answer given this morning by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) to aquestion asked by the honorable member for Evans (Dr. Mackay) concerning the position at Mount Isa. The Minister referred to the situation there as a dispute. The interpretation usually placed on this term is that it connotes industrial trouble caused by workers. That is not the situation at Mount Isa at present. The Minister said that there is a dispute caused by the failure of the Australian Workers Union to obtain certain wage increases and an increase in the bonus. Some time ago, the Union applied for an increase of £4 a week in the wages of employees of Mount Isa Mines Ltd. The application was unsuccessful and the Union is now appealing against the decision of the State Industrial Commission.
In addition, the Union has applied to the Commission for an increase of £6 a week in the bonus paid to the employees of the company. On the application of the A.W.U., this bonus was originally granted by the Queensland Industrial Court as it was formerly constituted. In 1961, the Nicklin Liberal-Country Party Government in Queensland amended the State Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Act. The Act, in its amended form, laid down that the newly constituted Industrial Commission could remove the bonus altogether or could reduce it, but could not increase it. This gives some indication of the present Queensland Government’s idea of industrial conciliation and arbitration. Any increase in the bonus must be made by agreement.
Officials of the A.W.U. and the other craft unions met representatives of the company, but were not able to induce it to agree to any increase in the bonus, although the company is very prosperous, is paying a 25 per cent, dividend and is spending millions of pounds in putting down a new shaft and obtaining new plant. Despite all this, the company would not agree to an increase in the bonus, although it had full authority to agree and it alone could accede to the request for an increase. No industrial authority can do so. The question of an increase in the bonus will come before the Queensland Industrial Court by way of an appeal by the Union.
The Minister, in his answer this morning, also used the term “ stoppage “. Any person listening to him would have assumed that the men had stopped work of their own volition. This is not true. There has been no stoppage by the men. Certain parts of the plant at Mount Isa have been closed by the company each weekend, and, in consequence, the men could not work. They are ready for work, but the company has closed the plant. There has been no stoppage on the part of the men.
The Minister said also that the President of the Industrial Court had stated that there was a go slow strike. This was purely an expression of opinion without bearing arguments, given by the judge in chambers at the hearing of an application concerning an extension of time for the lodging of an appeal by the Australian Workers Union against the decision of the
Full Bench of the Industrial Commission on the application for a wage increase of £4 a week.
The Minister also used the expression “ this strike “. There is no strike at Mount Isa, Mr. Speaker. The fact is that, after the application for an increase of £4 a week in wages had failed, and because of dissatisfaction with the tactics of the company and the general conditions of work, 1,200 men, at a meeting, decided to revert from contract work to employment on wages. The award provides that miners may work for payment on contract or payment by way of wages. It also lays down the conditions under which contracts may be cancelled. The miners, in accordance with the decision of the mass meeting and in accordance with the provisions of the award, decided to give the company the necessary notice that they were reverting from working on contract to working for wages. The company would not accept the decision of the men and said it was a matter between each contracting party and the company. Following on this decision, every one of the contracting parties separately retired from the contract.
The men have continued to work in accordance with the terms of the award. There is no strike. The company has lodged an application with the industrial authority for an order to be made against the union members, but the company has not proceeded with the application. The Minister suggests that the men would continue to work at Mount Isa if they were left alone. In answer to an interjection by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) who asked: “ Left alone by whom? “, the Minister said: “ By the A.W.U. “ All I say to the Minister is that the decisions of the mass meetings of the men give the Minister his answer in that particular matter.
The men are working on wages, but what the Minister was hinting at was that they would return to work as contract miners but for the activities of the union. If that is what the Minister was hinting at, he is well off the beam. The miners themselves decided to work for wages and not on contract. The A.W.U. has nothing to do with the contracts. They are purely a private arrangement between the miners and the company and are permitted under the award. The men have held mass meetings and have decided to revert to working for wages. The question of working on contract could have been carried then if they so desired.
The Minister said that the company wanted to go to the Industrial Commission on the question of whether there was a strike. He said that the union refused to co-operate in providing the evidence on which such an application could be made. The union had no facts to support the application, and the men at two mass meetings stated that they would work in accordance with the award. No further action has been taken by the company.
The Minister finished his statement by referring to increased earnings being available to the men if they worked under the bonus system. That is, if the bonus was increased they would get increased earnings. The A.W.U. wants the company to go to arbitration on the question of the bonus, but the company will not. The company, by refusing to go to arbitration on the bonus issue, is contributing to the discord at Mount Isa, particularly as it has refused to agree to any increase. The questions involved in this matter are at present a subject for decision by the industrial authorities in Queensland.
.- I want to raise a matter tonight which stems from something which the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) discussed in this House last night. Honorable members will recall that he referred to an attack upon him by T. Dougherty, the General Secretary of the Australian Workers Union, in the “ Worker “ of 23rd September 1964. The attack made by Mr. Dougherty, as the honorable member told us last night, arose out of a letter which the honorable member wrote to a Mr. Jim Doyle on 19th March 1963. The honorable member said last night in the House that Mr. Jim Doyle is a Communist, and it is perfectly plain from the honorable member’s remarks that he knew that Mr. Jim Doyle was a Communist at the time this letter was written.
Let me say before I read the letter out that I make no attack on the honorable member for Hindmarsh for having written to a Communist. I make no attack on the honorable member for Hindmarsh because he called a Communist “Dear Jim”. I make no attack on the honorable member for Hindmarsh because he ended this letter to a Communist with, “My very best wishes”. I know that the milk of human kindness flows in the honorable member’s veins. I see no reason why the honorable member should be criticised for addressing anyone with whom he is in correspondence in appropriately friendly terms.
I also want to make it clear before 1 read this letter that I do not want for one moment to enter into the merits of the dispute which rages and has raged for years as a sort of running vendetta between the honorable member for Hindmarsh and this person, Mr. T. Dougherty. I do not know Mr. Dougherty. I would not know him if I saw him. I have never met him. I have never spoken to him in any way. The merits of the vendetta between the honorable member for Hindmarsh and Mr. Dougherty leave me, if I may so so, completely unmoved, except insofar as they demonstrate that unity and amity which we all know permeate the ranks of the Australian Labour Party. Now let me quote the letter. It stated’ -
Thanks very much for your letter of the 12th instant and for your telegram which I received in Canberra.
The letter was dated 19th March 1963. I pause to remind the House that on 18th March 1963 a very important Federal Conference of the Australian Labour Party commenced, at which the matter for discussion was the attitude of the Party to the proposal to establish a radio communications base at North West Cape. This was a very important matter - a very confidential matter so far as the Australian Labour Party was concerned at the time. The letter continued -
Eric is bopping mad about the telegram he got from you.
This, I understand, is a reference to Eric O’Connor, some functionary of the Australian Workers Union. The letter went on -
He says that you are trying to pressurise him. To dictate to him. To stand over him and so on. He says he won’t be stood over by anybody. In fact, he said he is not afraid of anybody at all.
I ask the House to ponder on this next paragraph of the letter -
You have probably already learnt by now that the State Council of the Labor Party here has rejected the view point that 1 have always held regarding American bases in Australia and has directed the six South Australian delegates to vote in favour of establishing the base on the North West Cape, providing that certain safeguards are guaranteed that will secure Australia’s sovereignty over the area and at the same time will allow Australian defence forces to have the joint use of it. lt is not likely, in my opinion, that Americans will agree to the latter proposal.
Listening to a conversation from a high official of the A.W.U. in Adelaide, I understand that there is a scurrilous rag called “ The Organiser “ being circulated around Broken Hill. It is even worse than “The Voice”, I am told. Evidently “The Voice “ has become the yard stick by which A.W.U. officials measure the scurrility of all things evil.
I do not propose to enter upon a discussion of the merits of the last paragraph of the letter - they leave me uninterested - but I ask the House to focus its attention briefly on the second last paragraph - the paragraph about the. decision of the State Council of the South Australian Branch of the Australian Labour Party as to the attitude its delegates were to adopt at me Federal Conference towards the proposal for the establishment of a communication base.
– Not so dead as you are politically. I should have thought that the decision of the State Council of the A.L.P. in South Australia on this very vital question was a matter of great confidence, especially at the very time when the Federal Conference was proceeding. It is clear from this paragraph of the honorable member’s letter that he was writing about the decision of the State Council of his Party in terms of disapproval and disapprobation. That is a view which I, for one, would be the first to concede that he was entitled to take at the time. I make no criticism of him for that. I am sure he held his view honestly and sincerely. But this was a matter of confidence in the councils of the Labour Party. How could it have been otherwise?
What I want to know, and what I think the House would like to know, is why a member of the front bench of the Parliamentary Labour Party, and a figure of great power in the Labour Party in South Australia, should, at a time when a matter of great national importance was under consideration in the councils of his own Party, speak in terms of complaint to a person whom he then knew to be a Communist about a decision of his governing body in South Australia. I should have thought that political loyalty, which is supposed to be a great part of the Labour creed, would have dictated that he should not write to a person whom he knew to be a Communist in terms of complaint and disapprobation about this decision of the Council of the South Australian Branch of the Labour Party. The House is entitled to know why in March 1963 the honorable member for Hindmarsh infringed against what anyone with even a slight knowledge of politics knows to be a fundamental principle of Labour politics, namely, that if you intend to criticise or to join issue with a decision of the governing body of the Labour Party in any particular sphere you must not do it except before the public forum of the Party.
Why did the honorable member for Hindmarsh infringe against a fundamental rule of loyalty which has been applied to the extent that it resulted in the explusion of a Mr. Johnson when he criticised Dr. Evatt privately years ago? Why in the name of Heaven should he infringe this fundamental rule of loyalty by disclosing to a person whom he knew to be a Communist a confidential decision - it could not have been other than confidential - of the State Council of the Australian Labour Party? The House should hear from the honorable member on this score. The country will be interested to hear why the honorable member for Hindmarsh saw fit to disclose matters of great confidence to a Communist. I suggest that the governing body in South Australia of the party to which the honorable member belongs might well think that this is a proper case for a little disciplinary action. If what the honorable member did was not disloyalty to his party, it would be difficult to imagine what would be. Let us hear from the honorable member for Hindmarsh.
– Mr. Speaker, I should have expected more from a person who gained his living for many years as a paid legal adviser and counsel for the “ Dalby Telegraph “ and Sir Frank Packer. If ever a man jumbled his brief - if he had a brief - the honorable member has done so tonight. He was hopelessly astray. The chief line of attack has been to assert that I divulged to a Communist confidential information about the activities and decisions of the Australian Labour Party. This gentleman began by saying that he did not know Mr. Dougherty personally. He seemed to be at great pains to emphasise that he did not know Mr. Dougherty. I thought it was as though he wanted to prove that Mr. Dougherty had not arranged for him to deliver this talk tonight. It seemed to me that he protested just a little too much on this point. Quite frankly, I did not see the relevance of it.
– Do not sidetrack the issue.
– I will not sidetrack the issue. I am keeping the best things till the end. I think this ought to be put on record, because it might give the House some idea as to why the Liberal Party through the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Hughes) felt obliged to spring to the defence of Mr. Dougherty on this particular occasion.
It is quite true perhaps - I emphasise the word “ perhaps “ - that the honorable member does not know Mr. Dougherty. But it does not surprise me to learn that the honorable member should spring to his defence, because Mr. Dougherty is a very close associate of Sir Frank Packer. It should not be forgotten, Sir, that during the last general election campaign the honorable member was widely known throughout his district as Packer’s Pea for Parkes. The phrase rolled off the tongue nicely. It contains three P’s. Of course the result is that the honorable member now has to do what he is told by Sir Frank Packer. It is not without significance that this tie-up between Sir Frank Packer and Mr. Dougherty and Mr. Hughes from Parkes was manifested in this morning’s issue of the “Daily Telegraph”. In that newspaper Mr. Alan Reid, who is so admirably informed always on these kinds of matters, was able to have published, in full, this silly little article that appeared previously in “ The Worker “. He was able to do this because a proof of the front page had been sent to him some days before “The Worker” actually arrived in
Canberra. In this respect he had a decided advantage over the other press men in the gallery.
When anybody offends any of Packer’s friends they can always count on the loyal and unflinching support of Packer’s puppet from Parkes because he will be there to protect them. Now we find that Packer’s puppet from Parkes seems to be terribly upset when one Eric was hopping mad over a certain thing.
– That upset me not at all.
– I beg your pardon; then I will move on to what did upset you. The thing that upset the honorable member, apparently, was simply that instructions given by the State Council of the Australian Labour Party in South Australia to its delegates had been disclosed by me to a Communist on the very day, mind you, before the conference was to meet.
– While it was meeting.
– Well, while it was meeting - this is better still. Even after the conference had begun operations I was writing to a Communist and telling him of the secret instructions we had received from our State council. What the honorable member does not know, evidently - if he had known he would not have made such a silly and ill-informed speech - was that the State Council which issued the instructions was open to the Press. The newspapers were represented at it and they published a full account of it next morning. The Adelaide “ Advertiser “ published a full account of it next morning. It was clearly stated in the Press report that the delegates had been instructed by the Council to vote for the base. I, of course, was not even present at the council meeting, but it is true that at a previous executive meeting I had opposed it, and it was the executive decision arrived at on that occasion which was upheld by the council. But that was all in the Press. Every paper in Australia published it, and our venerable friend up there in the gallery, Alan Reid, published an article about it. What was it that he called me? If he could only speak from the gallery now he could tell me the phrase he used. He called me a crow, or a tiger that does not talk, or something of that kind. What Alan Reid was complaining about was that I had had the audacity to come to Canberra and to loyally support the decision of my own council, even though I had personally disagreed with it. What greater loyalty can any man show than this?
I say that the honorable member for Parkes - Packer’s puppet from Parkes-
– Order! The honorable member must refer to him only as the honorable member for Parkes. That is sufficient.
– The honorable member for Parkes should surely feel answered by what I have had to say. Let me repeat that this wonderfully secret and confidential information that I allegedly gave to a Communist had been published in every newspaper in Australia some three or four weeks before the conference took place, and all I did when I came to the conference was to carry out the instruction of my council, even though I did not agree with it. That I will always do. I have never voted against a majority decision of my party in my life. Whether the decision has been made at a meeting of the executive or a meeting of the convention or caucus, I have never voted against a decision of my party and, what is more, I never will.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 11.25 p.m. until Tuesday, 13th October 1964.
The following answers to questions were circulated -
m asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows - l.-(a)-
d asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows -
The Seamen’s War Pensions and Allowances Act provides for the establishment of seamen’s pensions and allowances committees, but as the number of claims to be determined (in 1964 the committee has considered 52 cases) would not justify the appointment of different persons to each such committee the Government while it has established committees for each of the States has appointed to those committees the same persons for each State.
The members of each of the committees are -
Mr. George Ross Cadd, an officer of the
Repatriation Department (Chairman).
Secretary of the Professional Radio Employees’ Institute (the representative of seamen, nominated by the Maritime Transport Council), and
The Chairman and members are not appointed for any specified period.
y asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -
In view of the responsibility of the Commonwealth for age and invalid pensions, will he take appropriate steps to reimburse State Governments by direct subsidy for any concessions given to pensioners by way of rebate of rates on homes, transport concessions, provision of spectacles and other forms of assistance?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -
The question of grants to the States for any purpose is discussed and resolved between the Commonwealth and the States at regular intervals.
y asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -
What is the estimated cost of (a) age pensions, (b) invalid pensions, (c) widows’ pensions,
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows - 1 and 2. It would be unusual, if not unique, for a national superannuation scheme to spread itself over all the benefits listed by the honorable member. For example, in the United Kingdom there are a number of separate schemes each of which covers portion of the wide range of benefits outlined by the honorable member. Thus the usual social security benefits are provided under the national insurance scheme and there are separate schemes covering national health and industrial injuries respectively. In addition, their family allowances (child endowment) scheme, while administered by the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance, is financed wholly by the Exchequer. Were a scheme to be devised to cover the range of benefits suggested, the cost would of course depend upon the level of benefits provided. For example, at the rates of age pension contained in the legislation recently introduced to this House, a national insurance scheme to cover this benefit alone would involve additional annual expenditure of the order of £150 to £160 million. Considerations involving a scheme embracing health and allied benefits are, of course, more properly matters for my colleague the Minister for Health.
y asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows -
The information sought on social services expenditure and the benefits provided is set out in the annual reports presented to this Parliament by the Director-General of Social Services, to which I would refer the honorable member. Information on income and expenditure of the Commonwealth is contained in the Budget papers available from the Department of the Treasury.
Pensions. (Question No. 594.)
y asked the Minister for Social
Services, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
The Commonwealth commenced to pay age pensions from 1st July 1909, and invalid pensions from 15th December 1910. 2. (a) to (d). The information sought is set out in a departmental handbook entitled “ Commonwealth Social Services “. I will arrange for a copy to be supplied to the honorable member. ‘
Department of Social Services. (Question No. 595.)
y asked the Minister for Social
Services, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
The Hon. Sir Frederick Stewart, M.P.- U.A.P.
The Hon. E. J. Holloway, M.P.- A.L.P.
Senator the Hon. J. M. Fraser ; A.L.P.
Senator the Hon. N. E. McKenna; A.L.P.
Senator the Hon. W. H. Spooner ; L.P. The Hon. Athol Townley, M.P.- L.P. The Hon. W. McMahon, M.P.- L.P. The Hon. Hugh S. Roberton, M.P.- C.P.
Pensions and Cigarette Prices. (Question No. 596.)
yasked the Minister for Social
Services, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
s asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows -
All Australian citizens other than the nomadic are eligible for social service benefits subject to normal conditions and regardless of their ethnic origin.
y asked the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows - 1.Yes.
Migration between Australian Territories. (Question No. 567.)
m asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
Under what circumstances can inhabitants of each of Australia’s overseas territories, including trust territories, migrate to another territory?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -
Inhabitants of the overseas territories have no automatic right to migrate to other territories. Each has its own separate immigration laws. In Papua and New Guinea an applicant for entry must, as a general rule, be eligible to enter Australia in similar circumstances. Apart from that, there are requirements of good health and character, an availability in the Territory of secure employment and accommodation or the possession of sufficient capital for support in the Territory. An indigenous inhabitant of Papua and New Guinea must, unless exempted, obtain from the Administrator a permit to proceed to places outside the Territory. In Nauru, Christmas Island and Cocos Island there is no opportunity for settling except in employment with governmental and semi-governmental agencies and, in the case of Cocos Islands, with the Clunies Ross Estate. Proposals for migration into these territories, therefore, only arise where persons are going to such employment. Such persons may be coming from another Commonwealth Territory and need not be eligible to enter Australia. Norfolk Island has no mixed population and the rules applying to immigration are generally the same as apply to Australia.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 1 October 1964, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1964/19641001_reps_25_hor44/>.