25th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Sir John McLeay) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I should like to ask the Prime Minister two questions. 1 should like to ask the right honorable gentleman whether he is in a position to announce the decision of his Government in respect of three matters. The first is the taking of referendums to alter the Constitution, the second is the amendment to the Commonwealth Electoral Act, and the third is as to whether there is or is not to be a redistribution of seats during the lifetime of this Parliament. My next question is: Will the Prime Minister, during his next visit to London in June, extend a warm invitation to the British Prime Minister, Mr. Harold Wilson, to visit Australia as soon as he can find it convenient to do so?
– Taking the second question first: I informed the Prime Minister of Great Britain when I was there last - unexpectedly - that, of course, we would be delighted if at any time he could come out. I know he would like to come for a variety of reasons. He has some family associations in Western Australia. That matter raised by the honorable gentleman will be borne well in mind.
As to the other question: We propose to introduce bills to amend the Constitution, the first in relation to the existing nexus between the numbers of the Senate and the numbers of the House of Representatives, and the second in connexion with the position of Aborigines. I am not in a position at the moment to speak with any particularity of what the form of the amendments will be, because that is not yet finally settled, but in due course, as these things have to take statutory form, the bills will be presented to the House. I welcome the opportunity of saying that we do propose to take steps to deal with these two matters.
The Commonwealth Electoral Act amendments we propose to deal with during the current sittings and my colleague will be presenting the necessary measure in due course, and it will be debated. The question of a redistribution is, of course, very directly affected by what may happen in relation to the referendum. If the proposed amendment to the Constitution is rejected we would need to act under the law as it now stands and proceed to have a redistribution which, it will be agreed, is overdue. There are so many strange anomalies at the present time. If, on the other hand, the referendum were carried - as one would hope it would be - it would be idle to have a redistribution next year as, in the following year, we would have the results of the census and would be able to determine in this place what the numbers in the House of Representatives ought to be. I am assuming that the referendum is carried. There is something strange about having a redistribution one year and another one 18 months later. Consequently, we have come to the conclusion that we should avoid that possibility by rather reluctantly agreeing that there will be no distribution before the next election and that the nature of the redistribution then will be governed by the result of the proposal to alter the Constitution.
I think I have answered the whole of the matters that the Leader of the Opposition put to me.
– Can the PostmasterGeneral tell me why his Department obtains convictions against those people who daily take a radio set to their place of work for temporary use there when, at the same time, his Department advertises that when a householder obtains a broadcast listener’s licence, that licence covers him for every set held including the one used in his car? Are members of Parliament who bring transistor radios to Canberra in order to keep up to date with the news liable to prosecution in this regard?
– The advertisement to which the honorable member has referred is correct in respect of the situation. A person needs to have only one broadcast listener’s licence for all the sets that are ordinarily kept in his home. This applies to a set which is in his motor car or one which he may take to a seaside home or which he may take with him while travelling. There are certain circumstances on which i: is perhaps difficult to express a view in answer to a question such as this. I refer particularly to a person who may be living in a boarding establishment. If the proprietor of the establishment has a set which is available to all the people in his establishment and has a licence for it, then all sets within the establishment are covered by that one licence. If, on the other hand, this set is for the private use of the proprietor only, each individual in the place who has a set must have a licence for it. A member of Parliament who comes to Canberra and brings a transistor with him, provided he has a licence for a set or sets in his own home, would not be liable to prosecution. If the honorable member knows of any case where there appears to be a wrongful prosecution and will let me have the details, I will have it investigated.
– 1 direct a question to the Minister for Labour and National Service. Is it a fact that the Government’s block training scheme for apprentices has mot with success in the Labour-governed State of New South Wales? Is it a fact that the scheme has been a complete failure in Victoria? Is it true that such failure is due, not to trade union resistance as has been alleged, but to the failure of the Victorian Government to meet the requirements of the Commonwealth Government in this matter? What can be done to correct this position?
– I cannot agree with the assumptions of the honorable gentleman that there has been complete success for the scheme for block training of apprentices in New South Wales and failure in Victoria. I think it is corect to say that New South Wales has shown a greater degree of progress than Victoria has. But I suppose, speaking as a New South Welshman, that that is only to be expected. As to the actual cause of the difference, I can say that we have the complete co-operation of the Government of New South Wales and the technical training authorities in that State. We have not had the same measure of success with the Victorian technical authorities in this regard.
– I ask the Minister for the Interior whether his Department will consult with Federal officers in the various States to see whether there could be uniformity in both State and Federal polling hours for the different Houses of Parliament.
– I admit that it is somewhat confusing when the polling hours for State elections are different from those for Commonwealth elections. Fortunately, however, there is a fair degree of harmony between the States and the Com: monwealth in connection with polling hours. The only two States which have polling hours different from those for the Commonwealth are Queensland, where the hours are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Tasmania, where they are from 8.30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Some thought has been given to the question of reducing polling times. 1 think that the main factor to consider when thinking of polling times is that every voter must have an opportunity to cast his vote without unduly interfering with his labours. During harvesting periods, there are many farmers who can only get to polling booths late at night. I agree with the honorable gentleman that if there is to be any alteration of the hours, there should be consultation between the State Governments and the Commonwealth Government.
– I ask the Minister for Shipping and Transport: Is it true that accidents and deaths on the roads are far greater in number in Australia than in many other countries? ls it true also that the alcoholic content of Australian beers is far higher than that of the beers of Great Britain, Germany, Holland, Denmark, France and the United States of America? Is there any connection between our high road death and accident rates and the high alcoholic content of our beers? If so, will the Minister arrange for the Australian Road Safety Council and his Department to prevail upon the breweries to reduce the alcoholic content of their very popular products?
– It is quite true that the numbers of accidents and deaths on the roads in Australia are regrettably high. I could not say with any certainty what is the precise relationship of road deaths in Australia to those in other countries. The standards of comparison used are not always the same. For example, when some authorities speak of the number of deaths per 10,000 vehicles, we do not know whether they are referring to people who die instantly, or within one month or even six months after an accident. There are real difficulties in the way of getting precise standards of comparison.
I have no knowledge or experience of the relative strengths of the beers of the various countries mentioned by the honorable gentleman. This matter, I think, is rather beyond the reach of the Australian Road Safety Council. However, it is an interesting point that the honorable member has raised, and it does bear looking into. I can assure him that it will be looked into.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise. In view of the recommendations contained in the Tariff Board’s report of 1 8th December 1964 on the flax industry, will the Federal Government give consideration to granting assistance to the only flax fibre producing company in Australia, which is situated at Boyup Brook in Western Australia, where flax today is produced on a basis comparable with that in any other country of the world? It might be appropriate to mention here that flax is a very important raw material for the water bag industry.
– I shall convey the question to my colleague in another place and request him to reply direct to the honorable member.
– I ask the Prime Minister: Has his attention been drawn to a certain report which indicates that the effects of a Cabinet decision made a week ago yesterday will be to defer any further consideration of the Ord River scheme for at least 12 months and also to cast doubts upon the future of the Northern Division of the Department of National Development? Is the report substantially correct? Will the Prime Minister take an early opportunity to make a statement to the House, explaining the intentions of the Government in the matters referred to in the report?
– I have not seen the report referred to but, of course, I am not unfamiliar with the problem. I will shortly be communicating with the Premier of Western Australia about it After I have done that, I will be quite prepared to make a statement here.
– My question, which is addressed to the Minister acting for the Minister who represents the Minister for Civil Aviation, relates to the noise made by the Boeing 727 “whispering jet “ aircraft on landing and takeoff. Will the Minister for Civil Aviation introduce a subsidy on sound-proofing insulation, up to, say, £100, for houses beneath the glide path, the cost to be made a direct charge against the airline companies responsible for the deafening din that is affecting the health and damaging the homes of the unfortunate people who live adjacent to Essendon Airport?
– According to the honorable gentleman’s introduction to his question, I seem to be so far removed from the source of this trouble that I think I had better refer the matter to my colleague, the Minister for Civil Aviation.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. In reply to a question concerning Commonwealth secondary scholarships that I addressed to the right honorable gentleman six weeks ago, he said that he would treat the question as if it were on the notice paper and give me a full answer. When can I expect a full answer?
– I know that the answer is in course of preparation. Whether it has actually passed across my desk in the last 24 hours I do not know, but I certainly will see that it is expedited.
– I wish to address a question to the Prime Minister in his capacity of Acting Treasurer. Section 36 of the Wool Industry Act - Act No. 99 of 1962- provides that the Australian Wool Board may invest moneys in securities other than those guaranteed by the Commonwealth or a State only with the approval of the Treasurer. As the Board has been investing moneys on short term with private finance companies, will the Treasurer prepare and publish a list of his approvals of such investments, showing the dates of such approvals and the names of the firms to which tens, if not hundreds of thousand of pounds have been loaned by the Board?
– The Treasurer will be in the House next week. In the meantime, I will convey to him the terms of the honorable member’s question - obviously it is a question that I cannot answer of my own knowledge - and see that a reply is given.
– In the absence of the Minister for Trade and Industry, I ask the Acting Treasurer: Is it true that a large volume of capital inflow comes to this country as imported goods? Is it correct, as stated recently by Mr. C. P. Puzey, Director of the Australian Industries Development Association, that most of the imports coming here are not necessary to our way of life, and, as stated equally recently by Mr. R. W. C. Anderson, Federal Director of the Associated Chambers of Manufactures of Australia, that unneeded imports to the value of £200 million a year are entering Australia? If these statements are correct, would it not be desirable to reduce the flow of unneeded imports as a means of reducing or eliminating Australia’s dependence on the inflow of capital from the United States of America instead of the Treasurer asking that United States investors continue to finance unneeded imports into Australia?
– It seems to me that this is a highly argumentative question. I do not feel called on to engage at question time in a general debate on these matters. If the honorable member will put his question on the notice paper I will see that, insofar as it seeks facts, he is provided with the facts.
– I ask the PostmasterGeneral a question. May I say that I do not expect him to have seen every television programme throughout Australia, but I ask:
Will he draw the attention of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board to a programme shown on, I think, Channel HSV9 in Melbourne late on Friday nights called “ World Championship Wrestling “, wherein members of the audience appear to be of the age group of 9 to 16 years and throughout the programme reach a state of near hysteria and are taught the finer arts of throttling, gouging of eyes, foul blows and brutality? In my opinion the programme is thoroughly undesirable for an audience of this age, particularly in view of the problems that we have with juvenile delinquency in Australia.
– I have not seen the programme to which the honorable member refers. HSV is Channel 7 and Channel 9 may be the station which telecasts this programme. 1 will take the matter up with the Board and ask it whether it will make an investigation.
– My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. I refer to the promise that he made in his policy speech before the last election for the House of Representatives to reduce the price of petrol in country areas to a figure no more than 4d. a gallon above the capital city prices. I ask: Can this House expect the requisite legislation to be introduced before the end of this session? If not, can he indicate when we can expect the necessary legislation to be introduced? Will it be before the end of this year?
– I ask the Minister for Supply to answer this question.
– When this question was addressed to the Prime Minister yesterday, he pointed out the very considerable difficulties which have been met in dealing with this matter. The implementation of the proposal requires Commonwealth and State legislation. The Commonwealth legislation has already been drafted. A conference on this subject was held on 5th February last between the Commonwealth and State Ministers concerned. A report on the conference was released immediately by the Acting Prime Minister. It is expected that the Commonwealth legislation will be introduced during this session.
– I address my question to the Prime Minister. Twelve months or more ago a committee was set up to report on freight and transport costs throughout Australia. Has that report been received? If it has not, when does the Prime Minister expect the report to be received by Cabinet?
– The report has not been received. 1 am sure that my friend will realise that the committee has a pretty wide task to undertake and a lot of examination to make. 1 have no complaints about delay. I do not know when the report will be received. I know that the committee is actively at work and, of course, as soon as we know the end result we will not make it a secret.
– I ask the Prime Minister a question about the recent visit of Mr. Cabot Lodge to Australia. Can he say whether the circumstances and duration of this visit were arranged by the Australian Government so that Mr. Lodge would be sheltered from contact with any opinion opposing official policy or the interpretation by the Australian Government in Australia of that policy? Will he say also whether Mr. Lodge was informed when he was here that there was a very substantial number and proportion of people in Australia who oppose official policy in Vietnam?
– I am very glad to have this question. Mr. Cabot Lodge came here, and I knew about the visit officially - I mean on the official level. He arrived here and, after his arrival, he presented me with a letter from President Johnson introducing him to me as the special representative. In other words, we did not have the carriage of this matter. We had been warned on the official level that he would be coming and, of course, we were delighted to see him. He came here, not to conduct some political inquiry but to exchange views with us about the position in Vietnam and, indeed, about the position in South East Asia generally. We had a very useful exchange of views. He had no requests to make of the Australian Government and made none.
– He heard only your views. He did not hear anyone else’s views.
– The honorable gentleman says that. If a visitor comes as the representative of the head of .the government of another country and says that he would like to talk to me and my colleagues, 1 think I should agree to see him. I do not think it was any part of my duty, since Mr. Cabot Lodge was here for only a few hours, to suggest that he ought to see a lot of other people. After all, we are the Government of Australia and we have to accept responsibility for the policies that we have pursued in support of the American policies. I have not the faintest doubt that the overwhelming majority of the people of Australia agree with us.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Defence a question. On 1st April last I put on the notice paper a question about the recruitment of medical graduates into the regular armed forces. Since then the question has been replied to very largely in the “ Medical Journal of Australia “ and also in an interview that the Director of Medical Services, I think it was, had with the Press. I am wondering whether I can have a reply to my question which was put on the notice paper on 1st April.
– I can only give an assurance that I will refer this matter to my colleague, the Minister for Defence, and see that the honorable gentleman receives an early reply to his question.
– My question is directed to the Acting Minister for Immigration. In view of the fact that this year, 1965, is the United Nations International Cooperation Year and we are obliged to uphold the principles of that body, will the Government reconsider its refusal to grant entry visas to three youths from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics who have been invited to Australia for May Day celebrations?
– I am glad to have this question put to me, because it gives me the opportunity to recall to the House the Government’s policy on this matter, as stated by the Prime Minister. The Government sees value in visits or exchanges in the fields of science, medicine, culture, art, sport and so on between the Soviet Union and Australia. Its view has been that such activities are chiefly of interest to the variety of Australian institutions directly active in the particular field concerned. These institutions, which are representative of the Australian scientists, artists, sportsmen and so on who are likely to take part in visits or exchanges, are free to make suitable arrangements with the appropriate authorities or bodies in the Soviet Union. But the Government is concerned that exchanges which purport to be of a cultural, scientific or sporting nature should be genuinely so. Doubts of that arise if the arrangements are in the hands of bodies which are in fact of a political character.
The request for this visit came from the body known as the Eureka Youth League. That body, of course, is closely under the wing of the Communist Party. In fact, the Communist Party regards the Eureka Youth League as one of its most promising fields of recruitment, so I understand. In the light of that, since the visit seemed to be of a purely political character, for the purpose of disseminating in this country Communist propaganda, against which most decent Australians have very strong feelings, the Government, in line with previous policy, decided to reject these applications.
– I direct a question to the Attorney-General. I refer to the discovery of natural gas off the shores of Gippsland. Can the Attorney-General say whether the Attorneys-General of the Commonweath and the States have come to any agreement about the sharing of royalties if this find proves to be of economic significance?
– At the last meeting of the Standing Committee of AttorneysGeneral in Brisbane about three or four weeks ago the respective State Ministers for Mines and the Minister for National Development met together with the Attorneys-General and also met separately from them. Much progress was made in the resolution of the real problems which are involved in this matter. There was some discussion of the question of royalties by my colleague and the State Ministers for Mines. I understand they did not resolve the problem in terms of finding any formula, but I believe they reached some sort of arrangement whereby they understood each other’s views.
– I ask the Minister for the Army, who is also the Minister assisting the Treasurer, a question concerning the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Bill whose advent he announced yesterday. Since the last amending Bill, comprising 43 pages, was introduced on the second last sitting day in 1963 and had to be debated the following day, and since on at least two earlier occasions - in 1950 and 1957 - amending bills were put through all stages in the last sitting week of the House, will the Minister ensure that the House is given, on this occasion, adequate time to examine the legislation and to seek advice from interested persons before debating it? In view of the frequent representations made to some honorable members by such persons will he make available a collation of the retirement benefits paid to members of the British, American, Canadian and New Zealand forces either with or without contribution by members of those forces?
– I will bring the suggestion of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to the attention of my colleague, the Treasurer, and Leader of the House, when he returns next week.
– A few minutes ago the Prime Minister said he was delighted that Mr. Lodge had visited Australia. If that is so why did he and his senior Ministers go into hiding over Easter so that, if this is not mixing a metaphor, Mr. Lodge was left marking time somewhere out in the Pacific? In other words, in view of the importance of the visit why did the Prime Minister try to dodge Lodge?
– I appreciate the superb wit of this question. I read something to this effect in the “Sydney Morning Herald” a week or so ago. I am interested to know that I was dodging anybody. I happened to be in Sydney and if anybody had wanted to see me he could have done so because, as usual, I was at work every day. The idea that we were dodging Mr. Lodge is, of course, too ludicrous to be entertained by any but the most obfuscated mind. We are, somewhat to the honorable member’s regret, on the closest and best of terms with the American Administration, and any representative of the President is received by us with warmth and with courtesy. Mr. Lodge took an early opportunity, I noticed, of saying when he was in Honolulu that he knew of no urgency about his visit - there was nothing of a critical nature - and that he would be very happy to see us when it turned out to be an appropriate time. He came, it was an appropriate time, he saw us and-
– He went.
– Yes. He came and he went which, after all, is a phrase that can be applied to most visitors.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Shipping and Transport. The Minister will remember that when this House was discussing legislation concerning Commonwealth grants to the States for roads we were given an undertaking that a Commonwealth Bureau of Roads, which is so urgently needed, would be set up. Can the Minister say what has caused the delay in establishing this Bureau?
– The Government is eager to have the proposed Bureau commence operating. At present we are engaged in searching for a suitable person for appointment as chairman of the Bureau. The honorable member himself might make a very good chairman but I realise that he is otherwise engaged at the present time. When we have found a chairman there should be no further delay in getting the Bureau into operation.
– I direct a question to the Minister for the Army. Is it correct that while male members of the Army received pay increases dated back to June 1964, female members have not yet received any increase? Is it a fact that the Government received a report recommending an increase for female Army members at least five weeks ago? Can the Minister say when the Government intends to make a decision on this matter, bearing in mind that at present the female rate of pay is only 59 per cent, of the male rate?
– This is a matter which, of course, affects all three Services. A decision has been made and it is only a procedural question which is holding up the increase of pay for members of the women’s Services. I expect that the question will be resolved before very long, and the increases, of course, will be dated back to the day on which the decision was made.
– I ask a question of the Prime Minister in the absence of the Minister for Trade and Industry. Is it a fact that 38 American states have now passed anti-foreign meat legislation? Is it a fact also that there is a prohibition on the exchange of United States federal food stamps, which are circulated in depressed areas, for meats containing any imported matter? Are shops supplying meat in exchange for food stamps required to exhibit public notices stating that no foreign meat is sold in those shops? Are these measures having a depressing effect on the sale of Australian meat to the United States? If so, will the Treasurer be making specific representations to the United States authorities regarding this matter?
– I am rather at a loss to understand why the honorable member first addressed the question to me in the absence of the Minister for Trade and Industry and then finished up by making some reference to the Treasurer. Obviously the matters about which he is inquiring are not within my immediate jurisdiction. I will refer the questions to the Minister for Trade and Industry, and if it becomes desirable to convey some particular proposition to the Treasurer while he is in the United States of America we will do so.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for the Army. In view of the enormous demand by home-hungry citizens, amongst whom are many migrants, for land on which to build the homes for which they have been waiting for so long, will the
Minister give deep consideration to the proposal that the Army vacate the Long Bay rifle range and hand it over to the New South Wales Housing Commission for subdivision and building? Does the Minister not think that the rifle range should be close to a major Army camp such as the one at Liverpool and not 30 miles away from it, as is the position at the present time?
– If I may answer the last part of the honorable member’s question first, the Long Bay rifle range is used principally not by the Services themselves but by civilian rifle clubs. In answer to the first part of the honorable member’s question, I may say that if the Army had available in areas such as the one referred to any land which could be suitably used for the building of houses, we would first build houses for soldiers who require them.
– In asking the Minister for Social Services a question, I refer to the excellent surveys on social aspects throughout Australia that have been carried out from time to time by officers of the Department of Social Services. While I appreciate that the results of some of those surveys may be confidential to the Department, I am sure that the results of others would be of great public assistance throughout Australia. Accordingly, will the honorable gentleman investigate the possibility of releasing certain of the reports on those surveys to all who may be interested?
– In reply to the honorable member I would point out that any surveys conducted by my Department are made first by means of private inquiries directed to individuals. One of the difficulties about divulging information of this kind is that, in doing so, it would be necessary to divulge confidences. Because of this, it would be extremely difficult to make freely available the results of such surveys. In addition, you have the problem that if surveys are to be conducted on a uniform basis by my Department it would be necessary, perhaps, to inquire into the individual circumstances of recipients of various benefits This, too, may well prove embarrassing to people who are in receipt of those benefits. They may well feel that they are disobliged to provide the information sought. The conduct of a survey in these circum stances might create a quite unnecessary resistance on the part of recipients of benefits. However, I will look into the possibility of publishing results of past surveys and advise the honorable member of the position.
– Is the Postmaster-General able to state the approximate date when the Redfern Mail Exchange will be in full operation? Is he able to say how many persons will be engaged at the Exchange?
Mr. HULME__ I think the Mail
Exchange at Redfern will not be fully occupied until some time next year. However, during the current year some activity will be commenced there. It is impossible for me to remember how many people are likely to be employed there when it is fully occupied.
– I wish to ask the Minister for Labour and National Service how many strikes of waterfront workers have been held throughout Australia in the last month. How many of those strikes were associated with action by the United States of America in South Vietnam? Is it considered that the strikers are part of a Communist and proCommunist campaign within Australia and elsewhere to force America’s allies to withdraw their support for America’s action in South Vietnam and are part of a campaign to induce the United States to withdraw from South East Asia and leave the area open to Communist forces?
– I do not keep in my mind the number of strikes that have taken place in our eastern ports in the last few months. I can say that far too many strikes have occurred and that the loss of man hours is at a very high level. I can go further and say that the reasons sometimes given by the officials of the Waterside Workers Federation for calling the strikes are usually associated with United States support of the South Vietnamese forces in South Vietnam. I believe this matter has reached a stage when it calls for most careful consideration. The United States is in South Vietnam to help a friendly government. It is there to help a people who are attempting to defend their freedom. We take this matter most seriously. I am personally keeping the problem under constant review and so is my Department.
– My question is addressed to the Postmaster-General. Has the Australian Broadcasting Control Board offered any recommendation as to whether and when a national television service should be extended into the districts of Kalgoorlie and Geraldton? If it has not, does this mean that it is most unlikely that these districts will be included in the next phase of television? Does it also mean that it is most unlikely that they will receive a television service before 1970 at the earliest? Does the Postmaster-General still maintain his attitude of last year when he told me that he was not prepared to recommend the expenditure of the finance required to establish national stations in .the districts I have mentioned?
– I cannot answer in detail the many questions that the honorable member has asked. Kalgoorlie and Geraldton are not included in phase 4. The Australian Broadcasting Control Board has not offered any advice to the Government in relation to stages subsequent to phase 4. When I gave the answer to a question that the honorable member mentioned a few moments ago, I referred to the establishment of national stations on a substantial basis. If I remember correctly, I had previously referred to costs of about £1 million. I was not prepared to recommend to the Government that a station of that size be established. But it may be that the Board in its consideration of future areas to be served by television will come up with some other recommendation. I do not propose to hazard guesses as to what the Board may offer as advice to the Government at some stage in the future.
– Just before the Easter recess the honorable member for Hunter asked me a question about the United Nations police force in Cyprus. At the time, I did not have detailed information. I now have detailed information and I would like to give it for the information of the House. The honorable member asked me whether it was a fact that the salary being paid by the Commonwealth Government to the New South Wales members of the United Nations police peace keeping force in Cyprus was below the rate that they would be receiving had they remained here, and that the New South Wales Government was subsidising their wages to bring them up to their former level. Initially, there was a suggestion that the New South Wales Government intended to make some payments to its members serving in Cyprus to increase the basic salary to the amount they would be receiving in their own forces. However, subsequent increases that were approved by the Commonwealth Government in the rates payable to members serving in Cyprus made any such payments unnecessary and I am informed that the New South Wales Government is not making any payments to its members serving in Cyprus. Certainly, it has not asked the Commonwealth Government to pass any moneys on to the New South Wales members of the police element.
The total remuneration being paid to a Constable serving in the Australian police element in Cyprus is £2,101 per annum; the maximum salary of a Constable in the New South Wales Police Force is, I am informed, £1,389 per annum. The rates paid to ranks above Constable are also somewhat higher than the rates payable to members of similar rank serving in the New South Wales Police Force. For example, a Constable First Class serving in Cyprus is receiving £2,194 per annum and the maximum salary of a Constable First Class in the New South Wales Police Force is £1,549 per annum. The rate payable to a Senior Constable serving in Cyprus is £2,380 as against £1,679 at home in New South Wales. There are three grades of Sergeant in the New South Wales Police Force - Sergeant Third Class, Sergeant Second Class and Sergeant First Class. Their salaries are £1,799, £1,925 and £2,034, respectively. Only one rank of Sergeant has been provided in the police element serving in Cyprus, with remuneration at £2,693 per annum. The remuneration of an Inspector serving in Cyprus is £3,070 per annum as against £2,252 in New South Wales. In addition to salary, free accommodation and messing is provided for all members of the police element. The Commonwealth decided that the special rates of income tax applicable to members of the defence forces serving abroad should apply to the police element in Cyprus. I can assure the House that in no case is any member of the Australian police element in Cyprus receiving a lower remuneration than he would in Australia.
– I move-
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1960, it is expedient to carry out the following proposed work which was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works and on which the Committee has duly reported to this House: - Provision of engineering services to Casuarina Subdivision at Darwin, Northern Territory.
The proposal involves the provision, at an estimated cost of £1,136,000, of roads and drainage, water supply, sewerage and electricity supply to a new subdivision in the Casuarina area of Darwin. The Committee has reported favorably on the proposal, and upon the concurrence of this House in this resolution detailed planning for the work can proceed in accordance with the Committee’s recommendations.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I move -
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1960, it is expedient to carry out the following proposed work which was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works and on which the Committee has duly reported to this House: - Construction of the R.A.A.F. Academy at Point Cook, Victoria.
The proposal submitted to the Committee involved the construction, at an estimated cost of £954,000, of instructional, administrative and accommodation buildings, together with associated playing field, parade ground, external engineering services and landscaping, to complete the Royal Australian Air Force Academy complex.
The Committee has reported favorably on the proposal and in addition has recommended the following additional provisions -
It is proposed to accept these recommendations. Consequent on a further recommendation of the Committee that a cheaper appropriate roofing material be used instead of ribbed copper, the Department of Works is investigating alternative materials and a decision will be made having regard to suitability for location, harmony with the type of architecture, availability and cost. Upon the concurrence of this House in this resolution, detailed planning can proceed in accordance with the Committee’s recommendations.
.- I do not want to say much, but I think it may be worth while for honorable members to examine the educational significance of this undertaking. It seems to me that the Royal Australian Air Force Academy, built in isolation as it is, is not carrying out the functions that an educational institution of this nature should, and that apart from the consideration of its structure as a public work and so on, the educational aspects appear to have been overlooked.
It is a very small institution. I think at the moment some 60 students are doing university courses. I am afraid that the academy cannot fulfil the actual duties of a university in the isolation in which it operates at present. I bring this before the House so that honorable members will have an opportunity to examine the position. The Minister for Air (Mr. Howson) might well do so.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 24th March (vide page 274), on motion by Sir Robert Menzies -
That the House take note of the following papers -
Tertiary Education in Australia - Report of Committee on the Future of Tertiary Education in Australia to the Australian Universities Commission (Volumes I and II);
Tertiary Education in Australia - Report of Committee - Ministerial Statement, dated 24th March 1965.
.- During World War II, when we found we were badly in need of essential arms and equipment, the phrase “ too little too late “ became a vivid one to describe the situation. The response of the Government to the report of the Committee on the Future of Tertiary Education in Australia to the Australian Universities Commission, frequently referred to as the Martin Committee, cannot be described as too little too late. It is worse than that; it is too little all the time. There is an urgency about the needs of education in this country that the Government has never really sensed. It is satisfied with the commonplace and it is inspired by the conventional. Its response to the Martin Committee’s report is disappointing and depressing.
The possibilities of, and the demand for, technical education in Australia, and indeed in the world, in the next 30 years are so great and so dramatic that they render quite puny and dull what is now being done to meet them. It has been confidently predicted in the United States that in 30 years* time science and automation will have proceeded so far, even at present rates of development –and they are likely to be speeded up - that today’s gross national product could be produced with 2 per cent, of the work force. Even if something far less than that is achieved in the United States and in Australia a completely radical transformation will be required in the community. This is an astonishing possibility that is confidently predicted by those in expert fields in the United States at present.
This will lead to the necessity for a transformation in our attitudes and in our education and training such as we have never even imagined or envisaged so far. lt will need a transformation not only in those few who are left to work the machines, but above all in the variety of cultural standards of those who have to fill constructively so much leisure time that will be available. This is the task of education. Our contemporary responses are not nearly enough to meet these requirements.
To begin with, the report of the Martin Committee is not in any way a radical report. It is not a pathfinder. It is a report of reasonable men, fairly close to the councils of Government, expecting that what was easily possible for reasonable men to do would be done. But those of the Martin Committee who took that view must be extremely disappointed in the response by this Government to their report. The report recommends no more than the Committee thought had a reasonable chance of being achieved. It sets no new goals. It recommends no more than the development of the ways we have been using already for some long time to achieve our already accepted goals. Indeed, it may do less than this. The report was put forward by a group of men who believed that their recommendations would be fully achievable as a result of the response of the Government. In some respects these innovations, if one could call them that, of the new form of tertiary colleges may prove little more than a dilution of tertiary education. They could become easily a poorer substitute for universities for students who cannot enter universities, not because they should not but because universities on the whole have been kept too small in the aggregate to provide for them. I give credit here to the Government for refusing to accept as final the Committee’s recommendations that no new universities be established before 1975. I consider that is certainly a desirable decision for the Government to make. I think the moderate nature of the Committee’s report is indicated by the fact that it was prepared to put forward a recommendation of that kind.
In all other respects what the Government has proposed to do in meeting the recommendations of the Committee has in fact fallen far short of what the Committee has recommended or, at best, barely meets those recommendations. Therefore, I would like to move, on behalf of the Opposition, as a criticism of the Government’s reaction to the report -
That the following words be added to the motion - “but regrets (1) the Government’s rejection of the Martin Committee’s recommendations on scholarships, teacher education and scientific and social research, (2) the imprecision of the Committee and the Government in their outline of non-university tertiary institutions, and (3) the Government’s continuing refusal to establish a Ministry of Education and to hold a national inquiry into vocational, secondary and technical education “.
Mr. Speaker, the last proposition in the main refers to the Government’s refusal to establish a Ministry of Education and to inquire into all forms of education. I would like to refer to the report of the Martin Committee in respect of this matter. The Committee, in its first set of recommendations on page 1, emphasises in recommendation (iii) the interdependence of primary, secondary and tertiary education. So far in its concern with this matter over the last 12 or 15 years the Commonwealth Government has done little - 1 might almost say nothing - to show this interdependence, let alone provide for it. The Government has chosen during this time, and still chooses, to say that because of the constitutional situation and the sections on education that the constitutional provisions are supposed to provide, it has never been able to view the situation as a whole. We know this is basically an excuse because the Commonwealth Government can overcome, if it so desires, any constitutional limitations by making grants to the States for any particular purpose it wants to choose to do. Of course, it has done so in relation to universities and it can do so if it wishes, and if it wishes to be genuine in the matter, to any other part of the educational system.
– Five million pounds was given to State technical education.
– Of course. The eighth recommendation on page 1 of the report refers to the necessity to provide tertiary education for all those who have the inclination and capacity for it. If we are going to provide today for those who have the inclination and capacity for tertiary education in Australia we will need quite a revolution in our educational facilities. But what is being done and what the Committee recommends should be done is no more than this: What is being done is at best based on expected numbers given, income, social and economic position, and the handicaps these impose are being accepted. These handicaps are indeed most severe. I was pleased to see that the Committee, in its report, has chosen to lay stress upon these social and economic factors which provide handicaps to young people in this country who wish to proceed along towards tertiary education. These handicaps are just as significant as physical or mental handicaps. The report on page 43 states -
Table 42 shows the data collected on 114,000 students of the estimated 145,000 who left Australian schools between 1st April 19S9 and 31st March 1960. The 11 categories of “father’s occupation “ shown in column A are indicative of socio-economic and related circumstances in the families of school leavers. It will be noticed that of the school leavers whose fathers were in the category “ unskilled or semi-skilled “, and who totalled 33 per .cent, of the fathers of male leavers, only 1.5 per cent, entered university. In contrast, only 2 per cent, of the fathers of male school leavers were classified as “ university professional “ but 35.9 per cent, of their sons entered university.
The report goes on to quote W. C. Radford, who made this comment - “ Although there is a good deal of evidence (hat a considerably higher proportion of the sons and daughters of professional men have an aptitude for and succeed in school work, and are more likely to show themselves suited for tertiary study, it is highly improbable that less than 2 per cent, of sons and less than 1 per cent, of daughters of unskilled or semi-skilled fathers have the ability to do university work, as against 36 per cent, of the sons of university professional fathers and 24 per cent, of the daughters of university professional fathers, or 30 per cent, of sons and 14 per cent, of daughters of those engaged in higher administration.”
There is an enormous reservoir of untapped ability amongst the sons and daughters of those fathers whose socio-economic position handicaps those sons and daughters as severely, as I said a moment ago, as a physical or mental handicap would do. In particular, this is so among the daughters of most families who are handicapped by social standards prevailing in this country which are long, long out of date. To make full use of all the capacity for tertiary education that exists in this country, a radical programme of change directed not only at the provision of educational facilities but also at living conditions, housing facilities and conditions for study, in particular scholarships, and new forms of education hardly even foreshadowed in the report would be most necessary.
Neither the Committee in its report nor the Government even begins to think of the practical needs of these changes. There is an enormous complacency today, particularly among those who have had tertiary education and particularly those who have attained some position of status or influence in the community in and around the Government, the universities, the Public Service and elsewhere. There is an enormous complacency today in those people because they have got where they are. There is an enormous reservoir of talent and ability in this country today that is held back by the socio-economic factors that we must sweep away just as we must remove this enormous complacency that now exists.
– Prove it.
– I have just quoted page 43 of the report.
– I asked the honorable member to prove it.
– I would not expect the honorable member who has a medical degree to take this view. But I have not heard anyone with better opportunities to assist somebody else and to miss those opportunities than the honorable member.
– What are the handicaps?
– It is as I expected that those who have gained their positions in society like the honorable member do not know these people are handicapped because of the unsatisfactory homes in which they live and in which there is no chance for them to study because of the bad conditions of their housing and the interference that occurs through the enormous amount of noise from traffic outside. There is also the inability of children in these homes to get books or to read books and the fact that their parents, through no fault of their own, are in no position to assist them. The standard of incomes is another factor. There are probably today over 1 million people in this country who are trying to live in families with an income of less than £20 a week. Perhaps half of that income is being taken up in rent or in the cost of housing. How can they afford education out of this? If the honorable member for Denison (Mr. Gibson), who gained his university degree in Tasmania and also another degree from overseas, and the other interjector, the honorable member for Bowman (Dr. Gibbs), require to be told so much about these matters they are proving completely the proposition I made a moment or two ago that there is so much complacency in high places. They just do not know the conditions under which so many people have to live. Neither the Martin Committee, in its report, nor the Government begins even to think of the practical needs for these changes; but at least the Committee is aware of the socio-economic handicaps that exist and has given evidence of its awareness of these handicaps in the extracts which I have just quoted.
In the field of education, as with everything else, development is limited by the amount of money available. The choices that we are making in discussing the proposals put forward by the Government today are choices between one thing and another. There are differences between the treatment of one group in education and another. Conflicts are being generated inside the system, and one group is being put against another because not enough money is available to satisfy both. All these things are the products of an overall shortage of money. This shortage is responsible for the failure of the Government to adopt the recommendations of the Martin Committee with regard to teacher training facilities. The fundamental importance and significance of teacher training are stressed on page 103 of the report. The need for a revolution in the numbers involved and the necessity for advancement in the training of teachers are not appreciated by the Government, if we are to judge the position on the Government’s response to the report.
There is a complete refusal by the Government to meet the recommendations of the Committee regarding scholarships to successful first year university students, and a failure to couple the number of scholarships to the number of successful candidates at university entrance examinations each year. This number of scholarships as a proportion of successful candidates has been falling all the time. The proportion of scholarships to the number of students entering universities has shown a significant downward trend since scholarships were first introduced. The refusal of the Government to couple the number of scholarships to the number entering at that level is perhaps, compared to some others that have been overlooked, a minor factor. What is perhaps more important is the failure on the part of the Government to introduce the new scheme of technical scholarships recommended by the Martin Committee. Then there is the failure to meet the Committee’s recommendation for a tertiary college scholarship scheme, the failure to introduce a textbook allowance, and the failure to support any scheme to provide loans for students in cases of hardship, the failure to provide adequately for research. And there is the acceptance of a vague tertiary college scheme which may dilute and lower the standards of tertiary education in this country, and the refusal to provide tertiary education with an incentive to raise standards by the provision of means for an institute of colleges. All these things have resulted from the Government’s unwillingness to tackle the task of providing sufficient finance.
On page 13 of the Committee’s report is a table which contains some very startling figures. It shows the sources from which funds have been provided for Australian universities since 1947 and discloses that the main characteristics of the Commonwealth’s contribution have been, first, irregularity, and secondly, instability of the proportion. The proportion provided by the Commonwealth since 1947 has ranged from 14 per cent, to 44 per cent. There has been an upward trend, but an irregularity. The report indicates that there has been constant pressure for funds from university sources and elsewhere, then inquiries, then delay and then action. Never has the Government met to anything like the full extent that which has been recommended. It has always acted too late, always after delays, always after pressure and always after various sections in the tertiary field have been put one against the other in competition for funds. The report tells us that the climate of opinion favours further expansion of education, but the Government has not been prepared to ask the public to provide the money to do this. The Government has failed in its responsibility to take advantage of this climate.
My second point is that shortage of money for education is very much a problem of the States today. The high and constant amounts shown by the figures on page 13 which are needed from the States, which have restricted sources of revenue, are still the main factors holding back the development of education in Australia. It may not be known to honorable members, but the report reveals on page 13 that the proportion of revenue for universities which has to be provided by the States was no more than 40 per cent, in 1950. It dropped to 38 per cent, in 1962, but it was 36 per cent, in 1963. It was 47 per cent, in 1956, 46 per cent, in 1957 and 44 per cent, in 1958. Expansion of education is fixed by the fact that the States responsibility has been kept, at a high level. The States must find a high and constant ratio of the total required - the total has risen from £4 million to £55 million - while their capacities to raise money have remained low. This has meant either that the advancement of education must be checked or that expenditure on other public services must be curtailed. At times both things have happened. More revenue must be raised by the Commonwealth and/ or the States. It does not matter who pays so far as education is concerned. Nothing better can be done unless the Commonwealth or the States, or both, are prepared to face up to their responsibilities to raise more revenue.
– Order! I draw the honorable member’s attention to the fact that three words in the last line of his amendment are out of order, as they are irrelevant to the subject matter under discussion. The amendment will now read -
That the following words be added to the motion - but regrets (1) the Government’s rejection of the Martin Committee’s recommendations on scholarships, teacher education and scientific and social research, (2) the imprecision of the Committee and the Government in their outline of non-university tertiary institutions, and (3) the Government’s continuing refusal to establish a Ministry of Education and to hold a national inquiry into education.
I now call upon the honorable member for Robertson, and remind honorable members that this is his maiden speech.
– In rising to speak for the first time in this House, I would like initially to pay a tribute to my predecessor. Mr. Roger Dean, assisted ably by his wife Ann, served the people of Robertson and this Parliament with great distinction for 15 years.
On behalf of his many friends and supporters, I would like to express our thanks and appreciation to him and to wish him well in his new post as Administrator of the Northern Territory. Secondly, I should like to express my own appreciation to honorable members and through you, Mr. Speaker, to the staff and the officers of this Parliament for the very valuable assistance and advice they have given me in the early days of my time in this Parliament.
I support in principle the decisions of (he Government with respect to the Martin Committee’s report but I prefer on this occasion to confine my remarks to two decisions that were outlined in the statement made by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies). The first is the decision to set up a committee, which I believe is to be known as the Robertson Committee, to distribute the last £2 million of the £5 million allocated for university research in the present triennium. The second is the decision to investigate the setting up of a national science foundation or a national research and development foundation.
This does not mean that I play down the importance either of the other decisions of the Government or the recommendations of the Martin Committee. On the contrary, I believe that the decisions of the Government, following, as they do, its actions with relation to the Murray Committee’s recommendations seven or eight years ago, make one of the most important contributions towards the development of education and the development of this country. Similarly, I believe that the Martin Committee’s report is an extremely important document, that the information and advice contained in it will be helpful not only to the Commonwealth Government and to the State Governments but also to the universities, the professions and industry and possibly to other developing countries as well. If it is not presumptuous of me, I should like to pay the highest possible tribute to Sir Leslie Martin and the members of his Committee, to Mr. Dexter, the Secretary, and the other members of the secretariat, and to the many hundreds of people and organisations who gave evidence to the Committee and made possible the preparation of this very valuable report.
I want to deal only very briefly this afternoon with the Government’s decision to establish the Robertson Committee, Sir. It invokes a completely new principle in the allocation of public funds to research. For the first time, it means that, in terms of public funds granted for research, there will be an outside referee or a scientific audit with respect to the merits of projects being undertaken in the universities. I think that this is of great importance, particularly if the Robertson Committee forms a subcommittee of the proposed national research and development foundation. This also means that research workers in universities will have an additional source of funds not at present available if their normal source runs out. We, as a country, cannot afford to let any would-be or potential Burnet, Florey or Eccles be delayed in his development or prompted to go to another country.
The decision to establish the national research and development foundation is an extremely important one. It is a very exciting and thrilling decision, because it will open up in this country, I believe, a new era of development. To me, it means that we are coming to maturity as a nation and that from now on we shall be able to generate to a far greater extent than we have in the past our own growth from within the country and to develop our own natural resources. In the long term, this decision will do a great deal to overcome some of our chronic problems with overseas investments and other related matters. In one sentence, Sir, the Government’s decision means that we shall be able to enter the age of science on our own account, for the decision will lead to the creation of a new structure of research in this country.
The Prime Minister, in the statement that he presented to the House a few weeks ago, said that the Government, having decided what proportion of national income is to go to research, can indicate to the foundation fields in which advances can be made economically to most benefit the nation. The foundation can then co-ordinate at the national level, advise and allocate finance. This will undoubtedly mean a great increase in research expenditure in the foreseeable future. I believe that this is of great importance and I hope that it will not be long before we have a full Ministry of Science and Education to administer these important developments.
This raises in my mind three questions, Sir. What are our needs and how urgent are they in terms of research? How can we get the best value for our money? What is the end result or purpose of research? There are two kinds of research. First, there is basic research, which represents the seeking of new knowledge and new principles of nature. Secondly, there is applied or developmental research. In Australia, the present situation is that, as a result of the Government’s decisions on the report of the Committee on Australian Universities - the Murray Committee - and now the report of the Committee on the Future of Tertiary Education in Australia - the Martin Committee - we shall create a larger academic community and we shall gain additional scientists, technologists and technicians for industry, universities and other research institutes.
The structure of research in primary industry has been well documented and well developed. It is a simple structure, but it is effective and there is no need for me to recount the many advances and benefits that have been given to the primary industries by organisations such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and, more recently, by the universities, and the effect these have had on the development of primary industries and, consequently, on the development of the nation. But there undoubtedly is need to increase the amount of work being done in both the basic and the applied fields in primary industries. The proposed foundation, when it is established, will examine the merits of the various needs in this field.
However, Sir, in secondary industry, a limited amount of work has been done in Australia. As a country, we have tended to buy our knowledge. As the Minister for Supply (Mr. Fairhall) pointed out last month in an address to the Institution of Radio and Electronics Engineers, we are paying some £50 million a year to overseas companies for copyrights, royalties and processes. I believe that this has been the right policy, for it has allowed us to build up our industry and increase our population and, in the last 10 to 15 years, very dramatically to raise our standard of living. But I think that the future will be different and that we shall have to do far more basic research. Dr. Vannevar Bush, a noted United States scientist, in his book, “ Endless Horizons “, which was written in 1946, stated -
Basic research leads to new knowledge. It provides scientific , capital. It creates the fund from which the practical applications of knowledge must be drawn. New products and new processes do not appear full-grown. They are founded on new principles and new conceptions, which in turn are painstakingly developed by research in the purest realms of science.
Today, it is truer than ever that basic research is the pacemaker of technological progress. In the nineteenth century, Yankee mechanical ingenuity, building largely upon the basic discoveries of European scientists, could greatly advance the technical arts. Now the situation is different.
A nation which depends upon others for its new basic scientific knowledge will be slow in its industrial progress and weak in its competitive position in world trade, regardless of its mechanical skill.
Dr. Bush was the father of the National Science Foundation of the United States and an adviser to two American Presidents. I believe that he is right. In Australia today, we have a high degree of mechanical skill. We work on the ingenuity of other countries and build on their basic knowledge. The situation of patents, I believe, highlights this. Last year the number of patents obtained from companies outside Australia was 2i times as great as the number originated by Australian companies. There is an urgent need for us to step up our basic research in both the primary and the secondary fields if, in the next generation, we are to be able to compete to a far greater extent than we are at present. I think it is true that virtually any product that is manufactured in Australia can, for one reason or another, be manufactured more cheaply by some other country.
There is vast knowledge in the world today because of the enormous research programmes instituted, particularly since the war, by the United States, the United Kingdom, European countries, Russia and Japan. We shall have to increase our applied research, because the circumstances of world trade and the control of franchises and patents mean that we shall have to develop our own patents and our own knowledge in order to create new products and patent them here. We must bear the high cost incurred because of the long term nature of this work. Otherwise, as Dr. Bush has pointed out, we shall lose in world trade in the next 10 to 20 years.
I suggest, Sir, that the Government consider offering greater tax incentives for applied and basic research undertaken by industry in Australia. Because of the very high cost and our small home market, few companies in Australia can afford to establish their own laboratories and research teams, but many Australian companies could afford to support research undertaken by universities, in government institutes or by their own industry associations, such as the new Welding Research Institute, which was established towards the end of last year. In addition to tax incentives, other inducements and encouragements could be offered to companies to support research undertaken outside their own organisations. I believe that if incentives are offered, industry will respond to them. I cite the response to the export action campaign. Some £10 million has been paid out in payroll tax rebates since 1961. Industry has responded in that field, and I believe that it will respond in the field of research also.
I should like to refer very briefly to a report written by Mr. J. van Hoorn, junior, Director of the International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation at Amsterdam, for the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation. That is a study on the tax treatment of research and development of some 23 countries. It sets out the incentives given not only to Australia but to other countries. This brings me to the question of what is the purpose and end result of research. Quite obviously it is necessary, as I have said it is, to lift the amount of research that we are doing in order to be able to compete on world markets, in order to build up further our population and to increase national development. The results of research must be of benefit to the whole community and not just to a few. That means that in the foreseeable future we must continue to increase our standards of living. We are going to face enormous problems. We need, on the one hand, increased population. But science and automation are going to create a situation where there are fewer jobs in particular companies or industries. Also, as medical research will give longer life to people, these things will create great problems for governments in the next 10 to 20 years. No-one can foretell what changes will take place and what will occur. lt is obvious that there will be vast changes, not only in industry but also in the community as a whole. We will undoubtedly have to rethink and possibly remodel much of our industrial, social and welfare legislation in Australia. But in all these changes there is one thing that cannot change and that is our system of government. We have today in Australia a community where no man can govern another without his consent, where the majority rule but the rights and freedoms of individuals and minorities are fully protected. In all the changes that are going to occur, these great principles cannot change. I suggest for the earnest consideration of honorable members, fully aware of my newness in this place, that a committee of the Parliament, with members from both sides and both Houses, be set up to examine what is going to happen in science, not only in its application to industry and our needs, but its effect on the community as a whole. I suggest that if Parliament is going to stay ahead and in control of the changes that are going to occur we set up up this committee. As a nation, we have greater potential, possibly, than many other developing nations, and science and research will open up a new future for us. The Government’s decision in terms of education, and now this new structure of research that is created, opens up a very exciting, a very thrilling, but a very fearful future for this country.
.- At the outset I should like to congratulate the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Bridges-Maxwell) on the maiden speech that he has just made. I hope that we will hear a number of equally well prepared speeches from him in the future. I heartily endorse much of what he said about the promotion of scientific and other forms of research. In many ways what he said endorsed much of what has been Australian Labour Party policy on research for the last two Federal elections. One would hope that he has much more success than his colleagues have had so far in persuading the Government to set up a national science foundation, rather than the sort of substitute advisory committee that has been postulated by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies). I hope also that he will have some effect in preventing the Government from delaying the final 1964-66 triennium allocation of £2 million to the universities for scientific research until possibly beyond the end of next year.
After much expert study over about three years, the Martin Committee has submitted a report which, to my mind, is a very considerable achievement. Without doubt it will be a reference source for educational policy, practice and organisation for some decades to come. My great regret is that, at least for the time being, the Government has not been courageous enough or sufficiently appreciative of the great value of the proposals, both in their individual rights and as forming a logical inter-related pattern, to make more than a half-hearted piecemeal adoption of a selection of the recommendations. Not only does the Government fail to adopt some of the most important, basic and vital proposals, such as those dealing with teacher education, research and the machinery for the coordinated development and supervision of all tertiary education in Australia, but it rather pathetically shirks the responsibility for leadership urged on it by the Committee, even in respect of those items that it adopts in a somewhat insipid fashion. For very sound reasons, for instance, the Committee unqualifyingly recommended the establishment in each State of an autonomous institute of colleges to supervise the development and operational standards of member colleges. This was meant to rationalise and co-ordinate the present departmental and miscellaneous private or semi-private control over tertiary institutions.
The Commonwealth says that it supports this recommendation in principle, but it is not prepared to make its acceptance a condition for the Commonwealth’s co-operation in supporting these institutions’ financial requirements in respect of capital and recurrent costs. This is not a case of filching State rights or imposing the Commonwealth’s will; it is simply a matter of the Commonwealth stating unequivocally its support for the recommendations of the expert advisers, who included State education departmental heads, as a basis of future co-operation by the Commonwealth in creating new or expanding existing tertiary institutions beyond their present level of development. The Commonwealth is simply in the position of offering something on what it considers are sound educational conditions, and the States are at liberty to accept or reject the offer.
In broad terms the Martin Committee recommended three things: First, that all forms of tertiary education - universities, teachers’ colleges, higher technical colleges and institutes, agricultural colleges and the like - should form part of a general pattern; secondly, within this general pattern there should be an up-grading, substantial extension and liberalising of tertiary type technical education; and thirdly, that teacher education should be greatly expanded and qualitatively improved, not only in the interests of all primary and secondary schools but of the Whole of the nation’s educational structure. In all three proposals the Committee believed that a special endeavour of both Commonwealth and States was urgently required to effect the desired reforms. 1 intend to say my few words principally about the problem of teacher education.
The Martin Committee stated that for the year 1964 there would be a need for 10,000 enrolments in primary teacher courses at teachers colleges and it predicted that by 1974 there would be a need of 26,900 places, that is, a rise between those years of nearly 17,000 places in our teachers’ colleges. It said that this would be necessary in order to cater for the increasing school population, to permit primary teachers to have a minimum training of three years and also to bring class loads down to what was regarded as a reasonable level. Put another way, the Martin Committee said that it estimated that we would need 72 per cent, more teachers In 1975 than we had in 1963. The Committee went on to say at page 106 of the Report -
The production of good teachers is, therefore, not only part of the function of tertiary education but is a contribution to the effectiveness of that phase of education.
I want the House to mark this -
Indeed, the effectiveness of the nation’s expenditure upon other types of tertiary education is likely to be reduced unless a high priority is given to the provision of the best possible facilities for the training of teachers.
In other words, what the Committee was saying to the Government was this: Unless you are prepared to step up teacher education, the expenditure that you propose and the expenditure in which you are involved already in respect of other tertiary education will be so rauch waste, or substantially waste; it is uneconomic to spend that money without making proper provision for teacher education. The Committee, on page 115 of its report, makes this point -
In any event, the preparation of a number of teachers adequate to meet the needs of the Australian community must be given a high priority in the total national undertaking at the tertiary level to ensure the further supply of well-educated students.
Of course, what I am leading up to is that the recommendation on teacher education is one of the main recommendations in the report and the Government has thrown it out completely, with no qualifications at all. In respect of some of the other recommendations, such as those dealing with scholarships, research and tertiary colleges, the Government has partially accepted and partially rejected them; but on the fundamental point of teacher education, which is the power supply of the whole educational structure, the Commonwealth has rejected any responsibility whatsoever.
The report of the Murray Committee, which was made some years ago, stated -
Unless the schools can be staffed with soundly trained graduates it is obvious that the whole education edifice is threatened, for the success and the quality of their staffs will determine largely the volume of the flow of students into the universities and of graduates into the community.
In other words, the students who will go into the Commonwealth supported universities, the Commonwealth supported technological institutes and the Commonwealth supported tertiary institutes will be inferior to that extent in terms of ability and achievement because of the Commonwealth’s rejection of the Martin Committee’s recommendation in respect of teacher education.
As a matter of fact, the first report of the committee appointed to inquire into higher education in New South Wales in 1961 stated at page 45-
It is unquestioned that the shortage of graduate teachers for secondary schools is a problem of the utmost gravity.
This has all been said after every kind of survey that has been made. The urgent need for many more and better qualified teachers for our educational institutions has been highlighted by pretty well everyone else; yet the Prime Minister says that teacher educa tion is a State responsibility and is inextricably entwined with the teaching services in the primary and secondary schools of the States.
The Martin Committee said - the Labour Party earnestly supports the Committee’s recommendations in this respect - that both the Commonwealth and the States should provide additional resources for the urgent task of supplying more teachers. Everywhere we look in the report, the references to teacher needs emphasise urgency. That was for 1964. We are only starting to deal with the Prime Minister’s statement on the report - not the legislation - at the end of the fourth month of 1965. The Committee, in its report, expected Government action at the end of last year not only in this respect but in respect of scholarships and other matters. I am sure that the Prime Minister and the Government dodged the implementation of this report. They have postponed action so that the report- will not be implemented until nearly the end of this year. Members of the Government think of the millions of pounds that they will save, but they think nothing of the loss of talent among young Australians who should be receiving their educational birthright but will not be doing so because of the prevarication and procrastination of the Government in order to save a few million pounds.
The Committee recommends that the minimum standard of entrance to a course of preparation for teaching should be university entrance level, and that within the next six or seven years the length of the minimum course of preparation for teaching should be increased to three years. Later in the report the Committee says that if that is not done in the next four or five years it will be much harder to do in the future because the increase in the number of youngsters coming into our schools will take an upsurge once again in the 1970’s. The Committee says that, if we do not grasp by 1971 the chance to implement a basic three year minimum course of teacher education, we will have forfeited the chance to do so, possibly for some decades to come. Yet the whole recommendation is renounced by the Government.
The Committee recommends that teachers in all types of schools should be professionally trained. That refers not only to government schools but also to private schools. At the moment the Liberal Party and the Country Party are parading themselves in New South Wales as being in favour of State aid for private education. Here is the biggest opportunity they have ever had, without getting involved in any of the emotional antagonisms that pervade this subject, to do something for all children, whether they be in public schools or private schools by helping to train professionally all teachers before they are allied with either the public or the private educational system. Here was such an opportunity, but it has been forfeited.
The Committee also recommends the establishment in each State of a board of teacher education as an independent statutory body separate from the Departments of Education, to be responsible for the supervision of standards of teacher preparation, the granting of certificates and professional degrees and the distribution of such funds as may be made available for the more effective preparation of teaching. The reasons that the Prime Minister gave for the Commonwealth not intruding into teacher education are just the reasons that people give for the kind of proposals that the Committee made. Those reasons are that if we want to rescue our educational system from becoming inbred we should throw it open; we should divorce the teacher training authority from the employing authority; and we should make positions in teachers colleges available to all people who want to apply for them and we should not stick to the rigid Public Service tradition under which, if a position is vacant, a person in the service has prior rights if he has the relevant qualifications.
We do not believe that the latter system is good enough for education. It might be all right in other forms of public service; but in teacher education the most urgent need is to bring in fresh streams of information, experience, talent and prior training from outside sources, including overseas if necessary. That is what happens in the universities, of course; and that is what we want to happen in teacher education. But it will not happen. The Prime Minister said that if the States want to set up these boards of teacher education they can do that themselves and it will not cost very much.
– How could the Commonwealth establish boards of teacher education in the States and how could we divorce teacher training in the States from the State Departments of Education, if the States did not want those things done?
– Why anticipate that the States do not want them done? Why not find out whether they do? Presumably the Martin Committee found out. Two of the departmental heads - Dr. Wyndham in New South Wales, and the Director of Education in Victoria - were members of the Committee. Anyway, I have only five minutes left, so I cannot listen to the honorable member for Wannon now; I will listen to him afterwards.
As a matter of fact, I think the Prime Minister used the greatest sleight of hand in respect of figures that I have ever witnessed in this chamber. He said that it would cost only £1.25 million extra a year for the States to do the job that the Committee has asked the Commonwealth to cooperate with the States in doing. He quoted as his authority for that, the “ Statement on Some Needs of Australian Education “ which was made by the State Ministers for Education in July 1963. He went on to say that the recurrent expenses of the teachers* colleges, excluding salaries paid to trainees - why he should exclude them I do not know, but he did - are also, compared to the requirements of universities and colleges, not great.
In the few minutes that I have left, let me look at what is involved in this matter. The Prime Minister quoted the figure of £1.25 million extra a year for four years. That is right. Over the next four years £5 million extra is required from the States in respect of capital costs to do the job that the Martin Committee recommended should be done in teacher education. But the Prime Minister did not tell us that the statement of the State Ministers for Education also said that another £5 million over the next four years is required simply to eliminate makeshift and sub-standard teacher training accommodation. Further expenditure is needed for that. So, for a start, that is just double what the Prime Minister said it would be. Thus the capital expenditure over the four years is £10 million, not £5 million. In addition, the statement of the Ministers for Education was that the running costs would be about £3.7 million annually. What this all adds up to is that instead of just a small outlay, which the Prime Minister would have us believe is necessary on the part of the States acting alone in this matter, what the Ministers said was necessary was the expenditure of not less than £24.8 million over the four years from 1963. It is not £5 million plus a small sum as the Prime Minister tried to make us believe.
Of course, what the Ministers had to say, and their demands, were based on simply primary and secondary education needs. But what about technical education, a growing, expanding department desperately needing better and more teachers? The estimates given by the Ministers’ took no account of increased wastage from primary, secondary, technical and teacher education which will be caused by the expanded technological and tertiary colleges as well as the universities. It adds up. If we are going to create new tertiary colleges and upgrade technological institutes in the way the Prime Minister suggests, from where are they going to get their teachers? Will not a lot come from teachers colleges? Will not a lot be taken out of the upper levels of secondary schooling? Will not a lot of youngsters receiving secondary schooling be faced with the experience of one school class I know which has had 11 different history teachers already this year, hardly one of whom was trained as a history teacher? Many other schools have two-year trained teachers teaching Leaving Certificate classes. Will not this situation be further aggravated? Of course it will. This is why the Committee, in its wisdom, suggested in integrated overall pattern of development of tertiary education in which teacher training is an important segment. The whole lot should be interrelated, but the Government divorces them. It ignores teacher training and sets up a separate advisory body for the Institute of Colleges as distinct from the Universities Commission instead of having the Australian Tertiary Education Commission which is recommended.
In conclusion, I submit that the Government’s proposals mean that this three-year expert study will be riddled with rejections. What the Committee proposes is a coordinated and integrated scheme of tertiary education to meet the community’s need for a wide diversity of professional skills, overlaid and oriented, it is hoped, by a common core of humanistic and social studies. The plan also envisages further opportunities of non-vocational tertiary education. What the Government offers by contrast is a piecemeal and fragmented skeleton programme devoid of a central education purpose and denied the lifegiving sustenance and energy provided by a properly supported and genuinely professional teaching service.
.- I too congratulate the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Bridges-Maxwell) whose maiden speech this afternoon was thoughtful and thought provoking, devoted to one sector of this large and extensive subject to which we are directing our attention. I am sure that his contribution on the topic of research is well worth pondering. Listening to all the speeches made thus far I have to see the debate through two kinds of eyes. The first are those of a person concerned about education generally in Australia. I am delighted to be part of a debate taking place in the Federal Parliament on this level and on this topic. On the other hand, I must admit that I also look through eyes which deplore much of what I can only conceive of as political gamesmanship in a matter which is of vital significance. Some of the extreme statements we have listened to this afternoon have bedevilled the argument on the higher plane to which we should devote ourselves. However, I wish to consider some of the implications of the Martin Report for the people of Australia and for this Government. lt is inevitable, as one looks at the sphere in which we are engaged, to find confusion, diversities and considerable difficulty. To begin with, it is inevitable that there will be a clash of opinion between the two political parties. It is known, of course, from its platform, that the Australian Labour Party strives for unification and centralisation. The party of which I am proud to be a member is seeking to bring about diversity of contribution and to allow for differences of approach. Apart from these diversities, however, there are vast differences in many ways between the States and within the States, and between the different types of schools - State schools and independent schools. lt is my personal conviction that in this sphere there is still, on the part of all political parties, too much ballot box bargaining and not sufficient facing and deciding matters of principle to which we must, as the Australian nation, address ourselves. On the other hand, I would like to stress that the situation is nowhere near as deplorable as one would imagine from listening to impassioned speeches opposite. There has been impressive progress; there has been unity of purpose; and communities of people have been brought together from within all these sectors of diversity which I have mentioned who have made considerable united contributions to this study. The areas of agreement have been many, but I believe a little less extremism in some quarters would be more helpful to all concerned.
Let us look at the existing situation. The Commonwealth Government obviously has certain clear responsibilities to the future. To begin with, as the report makes clear, it is faced with a massive increase in the demand for tertiary education. There is a demand by the consumer, as well as by the producer, if I may use such terms. It is a demand by the market as well as by the individual students. Industry, defence services, education departments and youth itself are involved in this demand. But the facts are that 4.4 per cent, of Australian youth today reach a university and that fewer than 45 per cent, on an average, of that 4,4 per cent, graduate. We also know that slightly more than 16 per cent, of the youth of this nation have an intelligence quotient which would suggest that they could profit from post-matriculation study. Computations made in New South Wales indicate that 16) per cent, of students passing out of our public schools have an I.Q. of over 116. The university average is about 120, but many students graduate in a minimum time with an I.Q. of below 110. So, taking this figure of about 16 per cent, of our youth who are capable of profiting by university education, it is clear that there is a massive unsatisfied demand. Equally clear is the fact that the present machinery is inadequate both at the tertiary and secondary levels. The science grants that have been implemented by this Government were a partial and urgent answer to an emergency, but over the whole field there is this dual area of requirement, first in terms of needed buildings and equipment and, secondly, in terms of teachers. But these needs are enormously complicated between the States and between the different institutions concerned.
The third factor, which is obvious to the Federal Government, is that there is abroad today a national mood for a nationwide approach to these problems. This, of course, immediately brings us face to face with constitutional difficulties. It has been proposed by honorable members opposite this afternoon that this is one more thing which should be put under the umbrella of section 92, which provides that the Commonwealth 1 can give whatever aid it specifies to the States if it feels that it should do so. But of course no competent or responsible government would make such grants except in the light of a total situation and in regard to its complete national responsibilities. So this report has been brought down to advise on just this kind of approach,’ and immediately several major problems emerge. The first that is apparent to me is the inefficiency of the present system at particular points, especially at the point that one could call the bridge between the school and the university. The second point of considerable tension is in the overall failure rates inside our existing universities. The third point is the variation in the secondary preparation that is given to children, or the different kinds of preparation given by State schools, by the Roman Catholic schools, by other independent schools and by coaching colleges - to mention a cross-section of the teaching spectrum.
There is another problem which emerges; it is the growing complexity of the demands made on universities for different types of tertiary training, the proliferation of degrees. Finally, there is that large fringe area of tertiary training which provides for everything from nursing to theology. This is then a massive and very important field and we have been given a massive and very valuable report.
In contradistinction to what the honorable member for Yarra (Dr. J. F. Cairns) says, I believe that there is nothing like what he called an enormous complacency among people with educational attainments towards the extension of such education to others. I believe that what he said in this respect was mischief making in the extreme and wilfully slanderous towards some of the most energetic and self sacrificing people I know. The hours they spend and the concentration they bring to their work during those hours should rouse every drop of protest against long hours and low pay in the honorable member’s veins.
Passing from that aspect, however, the Government has had a long, long look at this report. As is proper, it has looked at it from many points of view, including in the widest and best sense the political point of view, and it has made certain changes. 1 do not intend to address myself to a discussion of the changes which have represented a mere scaling down of the various proposals brought forward. There have been a much more impressive number of agreements and acceptances than have been allowed by honorable members opposite who have spoken. But I do want to concern myself with what 1 believe to be changes in basic principle that the Government has brought about after studying this report.
The vital changes are, first, in the level to be reached at technical colleges, that is, the level of their passing-out qualifications. The second of these changes is in the sphere of teacher training, as has already been mentioned by the honorable member for Barton (Mr. Reynolds). The third change is in connection with the non-granting of loans to students. We have already heard a good deal about research so 1 will not discuss that subject further. In the limited time available I would like to mention the change in principle in regard to part time study, and, if there is any time left, the role of radio and television in education.
Let me discuss the first of these changes, which concerns technical education. I believe the Government has found difficulty here because it has put its finger on what I think is the weakest area in the report. To me the report is confused at this point. Indeed, it would seem that in certain of its statements and propositions it flies in the face of historical experience. The red brick universities in the United Kingdom, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in our own country the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, the South Australian Institute of Technology and the University of Technology of New South Wales which has now become the University of
New South Wales, have all shown a clear developmental pattern. It has been a pattern related to social changes, to economic changes, to changes that have gone on in the very fabric of society, and it has been quite apparent that the change has been towards the proliferation or extension of university degrees to a larger number of fields of training. These are the traditional institutions which train our technologists, among others, from surgeons to nuclear engineers, or the professional people who use applied science. The report in my view reflects a nostalgia for the old system of the diplomates. A suspicious person might go further and feel that perhaps the report reflects in some degree the pressure of industrial leaders - I have not yet heard this mentioned by honorable members opposite - seeking a sub-standard degree or qualification in engineering to get around the professional engineers’ industrial award. This is not just speculation. I have been on a professorial board where these pressures have been apparent; pressures seeking a degree that is not quite a Bachelor of Engineering degree, a qualification of a lower standard after a lesser number of years training. One might expect that people trained in such a way would be given a lesser role than that of present day engineers, on a lesser salary scale.
It is very important that the Government and the people of Australia understand what is behind the concept of the development of this sphere of postmatriculation technical education. Here again we find confusion, because to me matriculation is a technical term related to entry to a university and it is directly related to highly specialised educational standards today. For instance, in the field of mathematics, spheres of pure mathematics are introduced nowadays at matriculation level which were taught at first year university level when I did my engineering training.
A very real need, I believe, is related to another type of student, who is not in the top 16 per cent, as regards I.Q., but who will become, nevertheless, the superior technicians of the future. As an example of this, I was reading a German newspaper the other day in which one of the leading articles was about an entirely new profession being set up inside Germany, the members of which will be known as medical assistants. The official requirements of these assistants are a two-year training period after reaching the school leaving standard, and the course includes many subjects like pharmacology, medical bookkeeping, X-ray techniques and so on. These people will clearly be able to assist the professional physicians. In other words I believe we need to train the people who are seeking a background of know-how rather than of know-why.
However, I shall leave this aspect of the matter as time is short. I do not think there is any need to push this particular sector of that report back to the Committee, but we must face the inevitable outcome of the setting up of such institutions as the ones proposed for post-matriculants in this report. There will be tremendous pressures, not just from the students but also from staff members inside the institutions, to bring the institutions themselves up to a level tantamount to that of universities.
The second sphere in which I believe vital changes have been brought about by the Government itself is that of teacher training. This is a vital field, perhaps the most important of all. On this aspect I sympathise in some degree with what has been said by the honorable member for Barton, although I cannot accept the extreme difference he discerns between what is still, on his own figures, a relatively small requirement of Federal Government assistance and what he calls the complete failure to implement the suggestions of the Martin Committee. I have sympathy with a government facing this situation and concluding that the field is in a mess, because it is in a mess. The teacher training institutions involved include some extremely fine ones, as strongly based in their traditions as any educational institution in the country, but at the other extreme there are also some that are quite inadequate in respect of the training they give to teachers. The Commonwealth rightly feels that the States should put their own houses in order, that there is a relatively small financial need and that it is within the capacity of the States, even on the figures of the honorable member opposite who mentioned £10 million over four years between six States. A few hundred thousand pounds would put the situation right if the States got to work on it. But the clock is our master here and 1 believe that the Commonwealth must also bestir itself because of the vital importance of this area.
Let us look at some of the areas of diversity with which we arc faced. In New South Wales a great clamour is made about what the Commonwealth is failing to do about the training of teachers, but New South Wales gives its teacher trainees who are living at home an allowance of between £260 and £400 per annum. In Victoria the allowance is between £510 and £660 - almost double the New South Wales allowance. That is one area of diversity. We have, also, the propositions that have been made in terms of changing the length of courses and the relationship between teachers and the New South Wales Public Service Board, as well as changed standards of entrance. All these things are well within the ability of the States to handle - their Ministers for Education, meeting regularly, to do some solid work - and to put up a proposition that the Commonwealth may look at simply, clearly and effectively. But, as I have said, all the time we have the clock before us. We cannot wait long, because by 1972 the pressure of the intake of students will make one of these things - increasing the course from two to three years; - a tremendously difficult task. So I appeal for a start immediately by the States, tackling the task on the basis of this report. I appeal also to the Commonwealth Government to bring pressures to bear on the States, to begin now, with a view to Commonwealth assistance being granted at the end of the four year period so that we do give to teacher training the attention that is necessary.
Time does not permit me to deal at length with other topics, but there are one or two that I must mention. Let me deal with the subject of loans to students. I regret that the report did not give a greater degree of significance to this matter. Students would profit enormously by having a pool of financial resources available for loans. If the Commonwealth were to guaranteee these loans it would enable many students to back themselves rather than seek a hand-out on the basis that everyone should get a scholarship. I believe that such loans would add to the responsibility of students and to the development of their character. They would be an incentive to students within universities to pass examinations. I think loans would be fairer to the community also because obviously a student with a degree has an increased earning capacity, as the report states.
I have personal reservations about the decision of the Commonwealth to reject the proposal to reduce the amount of part time study. I sincerely hope that more thought will be given to this matter. It is a tremendously important matter. Great changes have taken place in the quality and output of part time students and study in the last decade as examinations have conclusively shown. Finally, I would like to see a great deal more attention given to the topic of university administration. We are now in the field of big business, with tremendous demands being made on conscientious vicechancellors, as a study of their health records would show. The burden on the heads of schools and deans has increased year by year. I believe that this area of administration, including new patterns for ensuring staff efficiency, is one in which more and more thought is required. But this report is a great beginning. I applaud it and I believe that the Government has set about its task in a workmanlike and practicable manner.
.- The honorable member for Evans (Dr. Mackay) amply demonstrated the strength and correctness of the remarks of the honorable member for Yarra (Dr. J. F. Cairns) with reference to the complacency with which people face some of the problems associated with education. For about 50 per cent, of the honorable member’s speech I was his ally but in respect of the other 50 per cent. I found him to be an apologist for the existing system. Let us deal with his statement made in the closing stages of his speech that this was a simple matter for the States and that the Commonwealth shall look down like big brother and ask the States to press on. What is the position of the States? Every penny is important, I think about an extra £98 million or £100 million is expected from the States in the next four years to keep up with demands in education. In the State from which I come, which has one of the weakest governments in Australia - a Liberal government - the
State Government will not even meet the Commonwealth’s matching grants in order to increase the salaries of lecturers at Monash University. It is useless appealing to the States in this matter. They are a geographic convenience designed more than a century ago. The Commonwealth is in this business because of the inadequacy and the failure of the States through lack of will or lack of resources. In many cases it is mostly a matter of lack of resources.
The honorable member for Evans challenged the Opposition on various things. He said that we were in the field of political gamesmanship and that we made extreme statements. Nothing has been said from this side of the House that cannot be supported by facts and demonstrated by example. One has only to go through the voluminous report that is before the Parliament to find plenty of proof of my statement. I am in complete agreement with some of the remarks of the honorable member. I will deal further with them as I proceed.
What is the position that we face in education today? The Commonwealth has drifted slowly into greater and greater participation in education. It stepped into the field of universities as a result, in all probability, of an off-the-cuff decision by the Prime Minister when he was somewhere overseas. Gradually stepping into the field, it has had a tremendous influence on the direction of university education. The Commonwealth does not have to give philosophical guidance although it should do so. It needs to supply only some kind of strength to the existing structure to get action. Imagine what the results would be to Australian education if the Commonwealth were to step into the field with some dynamics and with a sense of national responsibility.
We reject the proposition from opposite that there is no national responsibility for the quality of education as well as the quantity of it. Education has to do with the quality of the life that our citizens will live and the quality of the nation they will produce. Education is as much concerned with the quality of thinking as it is with the quantity of knowledge that people will acquire. That is why it is very important that the Commonwealth, with all the resources at its disposal and all the fields of education under its view throughout the whole continent, should accept a greater constitutional duty to give guidance and assistance at all points of the education compass. That is why the Labour Party has issued a statement on the Martin report and that is why we have moved for a further inquiry into the whole field of education.
What problems are we faced with in education? First, Australian education is conservative. This report is conservative. The honorable member for Evans amply demonstrated that. We face a conservative Government’s reaction to education. While I think the report is an important step in the direction of a national attitude towards Australian education, I do not hold out a great deal of hope that much will flow from it.
Let us examine the proposition that the report is conservative. First, the committee adopts a utilitarian and functional approach to education. As you browse through the report you come upon proposition after proposition based on this premise. The honorable member for Evans outlined some of them. I think the committee adopts a reasonably modest approach to the future needs of the nation. I agree with the honorable member for Yarra that there is a great deal of complacency about what our education needs are. I live in an industrial area of Melbourne - one in which, not through malice but because of the social structure, a substantially large number of people have been deprived of opportunities for higher education. In that area there has been a tremendous increase in the school population in the higher levels - from 37 in 1961 to 168 in 1964 doing the matriculation examination. That pattern is repeated throughout similar socially structured areas in Australia. It means that in the near future there will be a tidal wave of people knocking on the doors of our tertiary education institutions. I see no evidence in the report that the Martin Committee was fully conscious of this situation - that in its planning it allowed for it. There is certainly no evidence in the Government’s announced plans that the Government proposes to do anything about it. So there is a conservative approach in the report ‘ to the needs of tertiary education institutions.
I do not know what the honorable member for Evans intended eventually to say about part time or external studies. I would gather from what he said that he was in favour of their abolition, as is indicated by the report. I think the proposal in the report that the need for these studies may be expected gradually to disappear is unreal. I do not think the proposition recognises the needs of the community as regards further education of adults. I do not see why opportunities for higher education should cease at the age of 18 years, but this is the age old approach to education. The attitude is that at some stage through life we must step out upon some functional career and that is the end of the road.
It is obvious that tremendous areas of opportunity are available to people in later life. The Australian Labour Party believes that these areas ought to be widened, but I do not think this objective would be achieved by removing part time and external studies from the universities. I am one of those who graduated from the University of Melbourne after the Second World War. I was a part time student. I was one of literally hundreds and hundreds of people who graduated from the University of Melbourne and other universities under the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme, which was established after the war. I cannot believe that the capacity of people now in their thirties or forties is any less than the capacity we had when we studied at a university and I do not see much evidence to suggest that there is not a great number of people who have been deprived of the opportunity for higher education in the past.
The report does not adopt a realist approach to such problems as numbers and the difficulties of students at universities or at any level of tertiary education. A weakness in the approach of the committee is that it has relied on the States for action. The States can contribute no further initiative in the field of education. The States are bedevilled with the problems that face them now. Education is one of the largest industries in the country, if we choose to put it in materialistic terms. This year, some £300 million will be spend on education. Some 2,250,000 children will attend primary and secondary schools. Tertiary education will cost some £75 million, of which £50 million will be the responsibility of the universities. It is pointless and a heartless disregard of the national position and the state of crisis to ask the States to do something further about education. As I remarked earlier, the States are simply areas of geographical and administrative convenience created in the past with no real consideration of what their functions should be.
This is not to say that the report does not contribute something to Australian educational thinking. It does propose greater diversity in the tertiary education field, and 1 think that this is a most important attitude to adopt. It is fair to say that the Australian educational system has been dominated by the universities and the approach at all levels in the tertiary field has been rather narrow. During my recent travels overseas I was struck by the diversity of tertiary educational institutions in other countries. This diversity was particularly apparent in both America and Russia. It creates greater opportunities for people who want to study. Although the measures to implement the proposals in the report are not adequate, the report does provide a means for creating more opportunities. If the steps suggested in the report were taken, more opportunities would be created.
I suppose that the major point in the whole report is the approach to the teaching profession. It recognises that this is the key to the. whole educational system. There is no doubt that unless we do something radical and different about the secondary educational systems of Australia, tertiary education will continue to lack the quality, drive and purpose that it should have. There is no answer to the suggestion that there should be a change in the quality and quantity of teacher training, particularly in the secondary system. I do not say that primary teachers in Australia have had adequate training and that they have adequate resources at their disposal, but a person in the formative years of his life - say between 14 and 17 or 18 years of age - can really take up the challenge if it is offered to him. There is a great deal of under-achievement and under-planning in Australian education. There is a diffidence in the approach to the supply of resources and we are trailing badly behind most other advanced countries in the field of teacher training. So the report, in asserting that this problem ought to be attacked, is taking an important philosophical step in Australian education. I say “ philosophical “ because unfortunately this suggestion will remain in the abstract while ever the
Government merely hands down prayers, protestations or hopeful guidance to the States. I recall that the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Malcolm Fraser) interjected on this point when the honorable member for Barton (Mr. Reynolds) wai speaking. I will answer his comment in a moment.
The report said that it is necessary to have greater mobility in the educational system, that our system is much too rigid. As I said earlier, if a person ceases his efforts in the field of education and steps into the field of work at 17 or 18 years of age and thereafter it is very difficult to return to further education. To that extent, the report is spelling out some important points for Australian educationists. Australian education is very conservative. I suppose all schemes of education are conservative. Education is the conveyor belt of society. It is the way in which generation after generation hands on ils culture, its knowledge and so on to those who follow. But Australian education came into being some 80 or 90 years ago in an effort to solve the social problems of the time and in an effort to creat a literate community. It has, therefore, always been pragmatic and not philosophical. Australian education is not philosophical; it is only a continuation of habits. This is a matter that concerns us all.
Australian education is also authoritarian. In some way this approach can be found everywhere in the Commonwealth. Educationists at lower levels do not have much opportunity to participate in the formation of educational policy in Australia. Parents do not have much chance to participate in the management of the schools which their children attend. There is very little chance for anybody to participate in forming the structure of the curriculum. Australian education has an exclusive nature. It is still based largely on the idea that education is for an elite, for the top few. But, although some of these difficulties are outlined in the report, no adequate approach is made to them.
The honorable member for Yarra pointed out - this is amply demonstrated to those who care to study the report - the economic difficulties faced by the average citizen who wants to give his child a higher education. The very minimum cost of maintaining a child at a university without a scholarship of some sort is £10 to £12 a week. The unfortunate death of Mr. Clay, who was formerly the member for St. George, brought home to me only recently the difficulties that face students at universities and their parents. Both his daughters attend a university. On any judgment at all, it will cost some £20 a week to maintain them. I take it that this is a typical Australian family and, even if the breadwinner were still with the family, tremendous difficulties would have to be faced. No honorable member who is conscious of- the national needs can overlook these problems. The report itself does not recognise them in a way that is positive enough and the Government, of course, completely ignores them.
Education generally lacks mobility. It is difficult to change; it is difficult for a family to move even from one State to another with much hope of finding a suitable niche for the children somewhere along the line. Children who are involved in such a change usually lose some part of their training. Australian education is university directed to a large extent. No matter what the authorities inside the schools do, they must follow the guide given by universities. For instance, in Victoria many of the secondary schools abolished the external examinations, but, with the best wit, the best will and the most skilful teachers, it is impossible to ignore the curricula handed down by the university boards. We must, therefore, challenge the basic structure of Australian education.
It is an interesting exercise to look at the figures of candidature at matriculation examinations. I give the figures for Victoria because that is the State I know best. The latest figures I have show that a couple of years ago 3,600 students sat for matriculation French and three students sat for matriculation Japanese. I do not suggest that the situation ought to be reversed, but I do suggest that we would be much better off if, say, 1,000 students studied Japanese, 1,000 studied French and 1,000 studied Russian, Chinese, Malaysian, Hindi or some such language. The field of foreign languages is the simplest to examine because of its practical nature. But an examination of it shows the difficulty of change inside the educational system. An examination of this field alone shows some of the difficulties that we will face in the future, lt also reveals the need for the Commonwealth to step in with some kind of overall direction and guidance. Very little research into Australian education has been undertaken. If we examine the report we will note that it does set out a few proposals. As the honorable member for Barton (Mr. Reynolds) pointed out, the Australian Tertiary Education Commission was to be an overall planning body in the area of tertiary education. The Commonwealth cannot avoid this. It must take up this proposal. The Commonwealth itself is the only body with the necessary resources at its disposal. lt is the only body which can step into the field of education with an experimental attitude. It has to give some guidance somewhere along the line. The Opposition has moved a motion designed to cover that requirement.
There will be no real progress in the educational field until the Commonwealth takes this step. A proliferation of ad hoc committees will get us nowhere. We will take a step forward here, we will avoid taking another step there, and the matter will finally be brought into the House, the Prime Minister and his Cabinet having examined it beforehand. They will chop some little bits out here at the behest of the Treasury, they will take fright at some constitutional attitude and will shy away from it.
I come now to the question of teacher education. The honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Malcolm Fraser) by interjection implied that it would be impossible for the Commonwealth to step into this field. “ How would it? “, he said. The report has as its signatories Directors of Education of two of the largest States - Mr. McDonell, the retired Director of Education of Victoria and Dr. Wyndham, the Director of Education in New South Wales. What is the attitude of other people? 1 have received a letter from the Minister for Education in Tasmania. He wrote -
What concerns us and I think would concern all the States is that this assistance for tertiary education is for some unknown reason to ignore the field which perhaps needs the greatest degree of assistance, viz., teacher training.
– There is nothing to stop the States from establishing boards of teacher education if they want to.
– I have 90 seconds left. I ought to be able to handle the honorable member in the last 25. The whole emphasis of the Committee’s recommendations is precisely that the States cannot alone meet the present and future needs of the preparation of teachers. The honorable member for Wannon suggests that the States might do so if they are so inclined. They may be inclined, but they are not likely to do so unless they think that they are part of a scheme of national planning. The Commonwealth could sponsor teacher training by granting aid under section 96 of the Constitution. There is nothing like a touch of the purse to encourage State Premiers and State Ministers for Education to adopt a progressive attitude. But the proposal in the report is for the Commonwealth to establish an Australian Tertiary Education Commission which will give guidance by stepping into the field and co-ordinating, encouraging and guiding. In that way we will get somewhere, but to sit in this House and pray, or to stand up in public and hold forth in the manner of the great white father, will get us nowhere. The crisis of education is at its peak in teacher training. To ignore that field is to ignore the whole challenge that faces this Parliament.
– I think that basically most honorable members are very concerned about the educational needs of this community. The Opposition’s attack on the statement of the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies), I gather, is not an attack in principle, on whether or not we need an extension of educational facilities, but - if I correctly understood the honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant) and other members of the Opposition - more whether the Commonwealth should assume full responsibility for extensions in education, not only at the tertiary level but also at the secondary and perhaps, the primary levels too or whether the States themselves be the bodies primarily responsible in this field? In terms of constitutional responsibility it is an accepted fact that at this stage education is primarily the responsibility of the States. The reason why it is suggested that the Commonwealth should increasingly intercede seems to be basically a financial one, and perhaps the supplementary reason is that it is thought that there should be some common standard at all levels throughout Australia. With the latter part of the pro posal I find myself in some sympathy. With the first part, the financial aspect, I am by no means in sympathy.
Referring to the States’ responsibilities in education, I believe that at this stage the States have done a tremendous job, particularly in the post-war years, in developing facilities to cope with the population explosion. This job has been noticeable particularly in recent years when many new high schools have been built and also, many new primary schools. Unfortunately, the demand seems never to be quite met, because when high schools and other educational facilities are provided there always seems to be, as soon as a new building is erected, a demand which is still not satisfied.
I pass now to the financial requirements. In considering this report we must consider whether or not the States at this stage are in a position to provide sufficiently for the educational needs that exist and those that will exist. The report suggests that there is an increasing need, and-a demand, for Commonwealth participation, particularly in the tertiary field. For this reason I welcome the statement that has been made by the Prime Minister, and I welcome the undertaking by the Government to participate to a greater extent in the provision of facilities in the two principal fields for which provision is to be made. There are proposals to assist in avenues within the universities - Commonwealth scholarships, capital grants and so on - and there is a proposal to provide funds for institutes and colleges.
We can relate teacher training to the division of ideas between the Opposition and the Government as to whether or not it is a State of Commonwealth repsonsibility. I think the Commonwealth is adopting the right attitude. Teacher training is very much related to the needs of secondary and primary education and if it is accepted that these fields should remain within the sovereign responsibility of the States then also the training of teachers within those fields should remain within the province of the States. There are, of course, in many universities at this stage faculties of Education which provide supplementary training for teachers at the university level.
The Prime Minister’s statement relates to the whole broad vista of tertiary education as it has been opened up in volumes I and II of what has been termed the Martin
Report. At this stage 1 should like to compliment those responsible for the compilation of the report on the very thorough way in which they looked into the differing requirements of education at this level. Everybody in Australia has his or her own idea of the type of modifications he would like to see introduced into the Australian Education system. In recent years there has been probably more public discussion in this field than ever before, but in terms of the actual need I think that to too great an extent our requirements have been set by the needs of the professions or the trades. The professional and trade bodies have been responsible for establishing the standard of skills required and this has been applied either within the technical colleges, the universities or whatever tertiary establishment might be involved.
The honorable member for Evans (Dr. Mackay) made mention this afternoon of a problem which arises as a result of this. He mentioned the Institute of Professional Engineers. I know that similar problems exist in respect of chartered accountants. Outside professional bodies lay down standards some of which are not exactly met by the training presently provided. I speak primarily of the State of New South Wales. For example, at least until recently graduates of the Faculty of Economics have been required to do certain supplementary examinations for admission as chartered accountants. That was the position, but whether it still is I do not know. The same thing applies within the Faculty of Laws. Certain subjects have been prescribed that are required for a person wishing to gain admission as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of that State. Professional bodies themselves do set supplementary standards.
This is one of the big problems that arise because the demands of the trades and professions are becoming increasingly complex. The role of the specialist involves considerable intricacies of training which in the past have certainly not been necessary. As a result we find that once a person has entered into a professional training course of any type his time seems to be completely occupied with acquiring the necessary skills for practising his particular profession. One of the disabilities that arise is that, at present, whether it is within a technical college or whether it is within a university, there is little opportunity to get broad liberal or scientific education for a person who, in the instance of the liberal education is entering a scientific profession, or in the instance of a scientific education is entering a profession embodying more of the humanities. Relating this back, for example, to a profession such as that of engineering, where this very high degree of specialisation is necessary to maintain efficient practice, students who enter a faculty of engineering within a university seem to find their time completely devoted to acquiring the necessary professional skills. They have little opportunity to pursue studies even into the languages which were mentioned by the honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant); nor have they time to pursue any of the other humanities. But beyond this, they also find there is little opportunity to participate in university life or in the life of a tertairy institute, whatever it might be. This, to me, is a great pity.
Within the Faculty of Law in the University of Sydney this has been even more applicable. The Faculty is within the metropolitan area of Sydney. It is approximately 2i miles from the University. Students who are enrolled in the Faculty have no opportunity to participate in the broader visions of university life. It is only those who reside at colleges or who have done an Arts course or some other course first who have any opportunity to get’ some of the breadth of knowledge and experience which, to my mind, must be very closely related to the whole development of tertiary skills. This, I feel, is a great pity. For this reason, it occurred to me that in the present concept of institutes of colleges it might have been possible to embody a basic matriculation requirement of one year post-secondary training as a result of which students would then enter into their professional course whatever it might be.
Students should be given the opportunity to look into those aspects of education which it will not be their professional lot to enjoy. By pursuing this basic year, it might be possible to avoid some of the problems which seem to arise in the first year of a university education. These problems arise apparently as the result of the change from the type of training provided in schools and also the type of environment present, particularly for those who are entering for the first time an institution where there are not only members of their own sex but where they suddenly find that they are face to face with some of the realities of life. This, Mr. Deputy Speaker, has meant that in many institutions there are people who have obtained the necessary matriculation, but who are not able to pass their first year university examination. Even though they may have the necessary mental capabilities they are wasted completely as far as the practice of their profession is concerned. Whether or not this high wastage will be avoided in future, I do not know. Perhaps by universal enrolment in a basic matriculation year we shall be able to use the universities and the institutes where tertiary education is provided to full capacity, and we may be able to avoid some of the incidence of failures, and prevent wastage of the facilities available at the present stage.
In this report, there is the new concept of institutes of colleges. I feel that these institutes may provide for those who fall by the wayside in the initial stage the opportunity to pursue the education which they are capable of pursuing but which for one reason or other they have missed out on cither at the matricultation level or because of their failure at a later stage. At the same time, I find myself rather glad that the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies), in his statement, mentions that necessarily there are to be further discussions with the States themselves on the whole role and concepts of the institutes. I hope that it will be possible to extend institutes into other areas than those which have been presently announced. I hope, in addition, that it is not intended that these institutions will become tertiary bodies to provide an education of a lower standard than that which is otherwise available.
I feel confident that the idea that the Government has adopted is basically one which is designed to avoid the unfortunate extension of many professions into the training in respect of which they feel they must receive a degree to practise whereas in fact the requirements of the profession would be quite satisfactorily met at the diploma level. The problem is arising from the fact which has been mentioned by the honorable member for Evans (Dr. Mackay) that there is a tremendous demand for a continuing extension of the types of faculties within universities. In many instances, there are professions and trades from which people are excluded because of this up grading of the professional basic requirements. These disabilities, I hope, will be met by the establishment of the institutes of colleges.I trust that in this plan it is not intended to set up by any standards a secondary type of university. There should be no lowering of our professional standards; rather should there be set within these institutes a standard sufficient for the type of professional skills required by this particular trade or that particular profession. There are many instances of trades for which an institute of colleges may provide training quite sufficient and quite adequate for the particular skills required.
Probably within the grounds of the colleges themselves there is also considerable opportunity for further decentralisation and education. In the report itself, I was delighted to see a proposal for the establishment of two institutes within two country areas of New South Wales. I trust that the placement of future institutes may include one in the north of New South Wales. This should at least be considered when the Government of New South Wales sets up a committee to consider these matters. Thought must be given by the States to the establishment of institutes in this way whenever the necessary basic requirements which are set out within the report itself are met.
In terms of decentralisation of education, the University of New England in my own electorate has possibly set a notable precedent from which I am hopeful that, in the future, not only institutes of colleges but also additional universities may be set up in rural areas. In fact one of the most notable facets of the Martin report to my mind is some of the statistics which are provided on the educational facilities coming from the part time and external studies courses of the University of New England. The Martin Committee mentions that, at this stage, nearly 2,000 students are studying externally. These students are receiving in this way an education which not only is giving the opportunity for personal advancement within their particular calling but also is giving, at a stage of life when, perhaps, the opportunity might otherwise be denied them, the chance to broaden their own training and providing the opportunity of advancement in whatever field that training might be. This particular aspect is probably one of the most important facets of the statement made by the Prime Minister. It is one with which I find myself in complete agreement and one with which I disagree as far as the recommendations of the Martin Committee are concerned. 1 feel that part time study and external study have provided tremendous opportunities for numbers of people who otherwise would not have had the advantage of tertiary education. I am confident that by a further extension of facilities such as those available at the University of New England a continuing opportunity will be given for advancement of this type of education. I think that, in terms of the colleges and training that are available, this extension will make for greater utilisation of the tremendous capital involved in university facilities. Those honorable members who have looked into the operation of the external studies courses at the University of New England will be aware that during vacation periods the University’s facilities are used by external students. It is a requisite of the external courses within this University that students shall be resident within the University at a certain time of the year. This means that the external students can be given a broad vista of university education which otherwise would be denied them. As I have said already, this is one of the problems involved in many of the professional training courses within universities at the present time.
In one other field I believe that the Government is making a very notable extension of facilities presently available. In mentioning this matter, I should like to compliment the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Bridges-Maxwell) upon his excellent maiden speech this afternoon. I refer to the extension of research facilities and the proposed establishment by the Commonwealth Government of a committee to consider future research projects. At present there is perhaps some unnecessary duplication of research, but at the same time there is a tremendous field, as yet untapped, within which it is necessary for further research to be undertaken. As to the availability of finance, I know that there is the question whether there will ever bc sufficient funds available to pursue the depth and breadth of the research that is necessary. In this field we are most envious of the opportunities given in the United States of America by private research foundations. lt is a pity that within Australia there are not similar wealthy institutions which can provide research foundation scholarships, if you like to call them that, so that opportunities for research may be provided not only by the Government but also by private industry. However, I feel that by setting up the proposed advisory committee, to which the Government can refer requests for assistance, it will be possible to utilise available funds to the best advantage. I believe that in this field also the Government has provided a new extension which will certainly be to the overall benefit of the Australian community.
.- The House is debating a motion that we take note of the report of the Martin Committee on tertiary education in Australia and a ministerial statement by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies), to which motion the honorable member for Yarra has moved the following amendment -
That the following words be added to the motion - “but regrets (1) the Government’s rejection of the Martin Committee’s recommendations on scholarships, teacher education and scientific and social research, (2) the imprecision of the Committee and the Government in their outline of non-university tertiary institutions, and (3) the Government’s continuing refusal to establish a Ministry of Education and to hold a national inquiry into education “.
That amendment summarises the attitude of the Opposition towards those two papers and all that they involve. Education is a subject of extremely wide dimensions. It is the cornerstone upon which we build our nation. It reflects our outlook on life. It governs the conduct of our society and therefore is a vital element in our everyday lives.
Our attention is now focused on the document known as the Martin Committee’s Report on Tertiary Education and on the ministerial statement made by the Prime Minister. The report is one consideration; the Prime Minister’s statement, which reflects the Government’s attitude, is another consideration. In the limited time at our disposal, it is impossible to cover all of the problems involved in the wide field of education, and the Government’s attitude towards education. The Martin Committee’s report could be described as a cautious and conservative assessment of Australia’s educational needs. The recommendations contained in it fall short of the demands of an expanding educational programme, yet the
Government’s policy of pruning and, in some cases, of outright rejection would indicate that the committee had gone too far. This situation, of course, leaves the Government open to serious criticism.
The Government seems to assess most of the recommendations on the basis of whether they will be costly or not. The needs side of education appears to take second place to the question of pounds, shillings and pence. On this score, the Government warrants criticism. The Opposition is doing a service to the community by drawing attention to the Government’s shortcomings, indecision and imprecision. One thing that becomes self-evident is that there is a great need for a general inquiry into all aspects of primary, secondary and technical education. The Martin Committee’s report asserts a clear need for an inquiry into education at levels other than the tertiary level, the level upon which the committee has_reported
Tertiary education should not be considered in isolation. In some respects, the fact that this has been done weakens the Committee’s report. The Opposition again presses for a Ministry of Education, which would give greater status to this important subject and- indicate more responsibility on the Government’s part towards it. But the absence of such a Ministry does not lessen the need for an overall inquiry into all forms of education, for only by such an inquiry can we hope to get the best results.
Included in the Martin Committee’s report is a recommendation for the establishment of an Australian tertiary education commission. The Labour Party would propose a Ministry of Education to undertake continuous investigation and research into all Australian educational needs, and to guide national action to meet those needs. There should be more active national support for research, including research in the field of the social sciences. The recommendation of the Committee that a national science foundation be established should be adopted.
The Labour Party asserts the need for free university education. In 1962, only £4.5 million out of a total university income of £50 million came from fees. It is estimated that £1.5 million of this £4.5 million was represented by subsidies. This means, therefore, that only approximately £3 million was contributed by way of fees. This sum may seem infinitesimal when related to the overall expenditure on university education, but it is of vital importance to students who are required to pay fees and who in many cases, because of fees and other expenses, suffer great financial hardship in pursuing their university studies.
Free university education opens up a wide field for the less privileged section. Here I refer to those who are less privileged financially, not less privileged in other ways. How often have we heard of brilliant young teenagers who have set out to obtain a university education but, because of financial pressure, have had to forgo their missions and the opportunities to obtain a university degree? If the Australian Labour Party’s policy were adopted, we would open to many brilliant young men and women opportunities for university education that are now denied to them for no reason other than that the financial burden is too great. Worry over financial problems unsettles students and impairs their concentration on their studies. Those students who have financial worries are generally prevented from getting the best out of their university training by this overriding fear of the heavy financial burden, for they are always wondering whether they will be able eventually to meet it.
The Opposition endorses the recommendations of the Martin Committee on education generally, especially the proposal for the establishment of autonomous teacher training authorities and the extending of Commonwealth scholarships to student teachers. The Martin Committee was keen on expanding teacher training sufficiently to meet this vital need of the education system, but it appears that the Government intends to disregard the Committee’s proposals on this matter and to deny financial support. As a consequence, we shall be forced to put up with a continuation of the existing situation, in which the nation’s requirements are completely unsatisfied. We need not only an expansion of teacher training facilities but also the establishment of autonomous authorities to direct teacher training. It should not continue under internal direction as at present. Under this system, teacher training will always be to a degree hamstrung by’ the- inbred nature of the control to which it is subject. If autonomous teacher training authorities were established, we would find a big uplifting in this aspect of education.
One problem that greatly exercises the minds of the Opposition members relates to the big field of people who are unable to reach university standards. Vast numbers of people wish to improve their education, but they have not the capacity to attain university standards and obtain university degrees. They could serve an extremely useful function in our society if they were encouraged to pursue their education in the knowledge that they could subsequently obtain some kind of degree or diploma that would give them a status in our society and enable them to exercise and take full advantage of their own talents. Of necessity, any system that enabled this to be done would have to be institutionalised. Our present means of adult education are giving us good service, but they are able to render it on only a small-scale. They have no status in the eyes of commerce. What we need are institutions that will enable people who cannot attain university standards to obtain recognised diplomas or certificates testifying to their capacity or ability and enabling them to attain some status in the outside world. Many people wish to further their education but, because of lack of opportunity and for various other reasons, have been unable to continue their education beyond their school days. The circumstances of many such people have since changed and put them in a position in which they now wish to undertake further study. Those in our community who are in this situation should be encouraged to further their training to the fullest possible extent. The Commonwealth Government has a responsibility for looking to this phase of education.
I think we can say, generally speaking, that the universities, with all their need for expansion, generally are well looked after. So far as the Government is prepared to act at all, it seems prepared to look after university education, but it pays little attention to the needs of those whose situation I have just outlined. I trust that the Government will in the future give greater attention to this aspect of education and that it will try to provide new institutions1 to cater for the needs of people who are unable to reach university standards, and to enable those people fully to exploit their talents. In the final analysis, the nation will gain great benefit from the education of such people and the exploitation of their talents.
In the few minutes that remain to me, I should like to pinpoint one or two of the attitudes of the Government with respect to some portions of the Martin Committee’s report. The Committee recognised the interdependence of primary, secondary and tertiary education and emphasised that a balanced programme of educational development is essential. The Government, apparently, fails to see this interdependence. It wishes to place different aspects of education in separate compartments, as it were. It is prepared to commit the States to additional expenditure on tertiary education, but it refuses to accept recommendations designed to relieve the States of ari ever increasing financial burden for teacher training. This Government persists in turning a blind eye to the fact that standards of tertiary education depend on standards of primary and secondary education and that high and rising failure rates at universities are due largely to falling standards in teacher training and in schools generally.
On the question of scholarships, the Martin Committee recommended that Commonwealth scholarships be granted to all students at universities who successfully complete the first year of their course at their first attempt. At present, such scholarships are available to only about two thirds of students who meet this condition and are otherwise eligible. The Government has rejected the Committee’s proposal and has agreed only to increase the number of such scholarships available each year from 1,280 to 1,530. The Government says that it cannot accept the Committee’s proposal because an unknown charge would be imposed on future Budgets. This is completely confusing the issue. At a later stage in the report, the Committee stated that it estimated that the likely cost of scholarships to all students in this category would be £1.8 million in 1975. There, the Committee specified a figure. Yet the Prime Minister says that there would be an unknown future charge. This illustrates the way in which the Government is trying to sidestep its obligations to give effect to the recommendations of the Martin Committee. For this, the Government must accept severe criticism.
Time will not permit me to deal with many other points, Mr. Speaker, so 1 should like to summarise the position. The Government has slashed the recommendations -made by the Martin Committee and has attempted to stifle public discussion of the report. The Government held the report and considered it for seven months and then expected the Opposition to formulate its views on the report immediately on receiving it. Furthermore, the Government has misrepresented the attitude of the Committee on several important points. In addition, it has failed to see the inter-dependence of primary, secondary and tertiary education, and the need for a balanced programme of educational development. Above all, it has increased the financial commitments of the States in tertiary education at a time when tremendous financial pressures restrict the performance of the States in the fields of primary and secondary education. The Government’s approach not only is miserly but also displays ignorance of many of our basic educational needs.
– In the last few moments of his speech the honorable member for Adelaide (Mr. Sexton) quoted some figures which might have led one to the conclusion that the Government was increasing scholarships for people in all forms of tertiary education by only 250 at the end of this year. This, in fact, is quite inaccurate. At the end of this year scholarships available for tertiary institutions of all kinds will be increased by 2,250. The amendment moved by the honorable member for Yarra (Dr. J. F. Cairns), which has attracted little support or produced discussion from other members of the Opposition, is open to the same charge of imprecision which he tries to levy against the Government and the Committee in the second point that is made in the amendment. In the terms of the amendment he - regrets the Government’s rejection of the Martin Committee’s recommendations on scholarships, teacher education and scientific and social research.
If the words “ scientific and social research “ are designed to refer to those parts of the Committee’s recommendation on page 58 of volume 1 of the Report then it is clear that the Government has not rejected the recommendations. The Government has already established the Robertson Commit tee to fulfil a very valuable function and, in the terms of the statement made by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies), is examining how these various matters are handled in other countries. It will then come to its own decision as to the best framework for some overall body to devise and to guide research funds to the most appropriate quarters in Australia. This is far from rejection; it shows positive action on the part of the Government.
Before trying to condemn the Government for what has been done in these fields, members of the Opposition should take note of what has been done over recent years with existing resources and with existing circumstances. Let me refer to teacher education. In 1956 the overall teacher student ratio for all Government schools was 28.9. By 1963, despite the enormous pressures that had been placed on Government schools, this ratio had been quite substantially reduced to 26. Over the period of 10 years from 1953-54 to 1962-63 the funds spent on teacher training throughout the Commonwealth had increased from £3.2 million to £11.7 million. To show what one State alone can do, T mention that Victoria’s increase over this period was from £1.14 million to £4.837 million - a very remarkable increase and a major part of the total Commonwealth increase in teacher training over this period. This is in the existing circumstances and with existing resources. It should not need saying that over this period State expenditure on education had increased from £65 million to £173 million a year. These are substantial sums and it is idle to assume that there is not some small degree of flexibility for the States to continue to look after the things which they -have maintained on their own account up to the present time. This is especially so since the Martin Committee says that for the next seven years the main burden of the population growth and of people wanting some form of education will come on tertiary institutions. This, in itself, is not a bad argument for the Commonwealth at this point of time confining itself only fo the tertiary field.
I fear that there is some possibility that the significance of this Report - the very real significance of it and the heart and core of the recommendations - could well become lost in the maze of detail which surrounds the Report and in the particular points of view which are put forward from time to time from the critics of the Report or the Government’s action. But we must recognise that this Report, the substance and heart of which have been accepted by the Commonwealth, if accepted by the States will set a pattern of tertiary education in Australia for many decades to come. It is important, therefore, for us to ask ourselves and for this Parliament to try to decide whether or not this pattern is the right one for Australia having regard to the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Briefly, therefore, 1 should like to try to establish the requirements of tertiary education, the needs of which we are seeking to fulfil in Australia.
I think that honorable members on both sides of this House could agree with the advantages of higher education and that tertiary education in an appropriate form should be available to all those who have the capacity to benefit from it. This obviously includes a much greater number of people than those who go to universities or technical colleges at the present point of time. We would also probably agree that the education provided at tertiary institutions of all kinds should not merely be to educate somebody to get a job or a better paid job, but should provide an education which may perhaps give a person a wider understanding, which may enable him to put his own specialty or his own subject into perspective so that he can see it in the broadest possible educational framework. This is something which many faculties in universities and technical colleges also at the present point of time probably do not do in an adequate sense.
We would also agree that tertiary education must answer the needs of the modern industrial nation. It must supply the graduates and the diplomates, the technologists and technicians to supply the needs of industry. This will become increasingly important in the coming years as industrialisation and automation, which have been mentioned already in this debate, become more evident than they now are.
But there is another requirement- of education beyond these things, one which 1 quite frankly believe has been neglected not only in Australia but also in Britain and the United States for very many years. We should try to establish the circumstances in which people can make some better contribution to the problems of human understanding and human relations. This is one of the most challenging and fascinating of all philosophical studies, and it is a necessary study if liberty is permanently to be enshrined, human dignity maintained and the Tights of man adequately protected. Despite the growth of democracy in the last 100 years, this age has produced little academic advancement in this particular field. It has produced none of the brilliant analyses of former philosophers in this area, such as Locke, Bishop Berkeley, Hume, Descartes, or even the earthy pragmatism of Machiavelli. Philosophy in this sense - in the sense in which those people discussed it - has in many ways lost its sense of direction as a field for pure research, at a time when the physical sciences and physical knowledge are exceeding the bounds of comprehension and understanding of most of us. Indeed, the very marvels of science have pushed philosophy into the backwater and have replaced its former pre-eminence.
While the frontiers of scientific knowledge advance, those of human understanding remain static, or some may even argue that they recede. The fault of this does not lie with the scientist; it lies with the philosopher who has been concerned over very many years - not just this century, not just last century - with the limits of empirical knowledge to expel the metaphysical and the area of belief - anything in the nature of belief - from the area and realm of his study. He has been reasonably successful in coming to some conclusion on these things, particularly in these last few decades. There would be many philosophers who would argue that by about 1920 this particular aspect of philosophical research had been concluded and, as a result, the philosopher has become bereft of this former study and has found himself without stimulus and inspiration for new research in the future. If people and nations are ever to learn to live together without the necessity for a peace enforced through arms, then the free thinker, the creator of ideas, must advance our ideas and knowledge of human understanding. It may well be the destiny of the human race to live in a world in which the balance of terror or of immeasurable destruction prevails; but God forbid that we should ever cease to work to provide something better.
By now, Mr. Speaker, you may be wondering what this has to do with the matter immediately before the House, namely, the problem of tertiary education. I would say that it has a great deal to do with it, because a balanced, well educated and thoughtful society will never be misled and will never be deceived by the false prophets, and such a society is much more likely to achieve some advance in the world of ideas which is so necessary for a better understanding between peoples. A properly balanced system of education, particularly of tertiary education, is the only possible road towards these ends.
Now let me speak for a few moments about the hard core of this report - the part of it which suggests a new kind of institution which the Prime Minister called a new look technical college. The traditional Australian pattern of tertiary education up to the present time has become well known. It is fairly uniform. Up to the present it has been inflexible in its dealings with current problems. The system, as we have known it, is under pressure not only from the point of view of fulfilling the requirements of higher education that I have mentioned but more specifically from the point of view of the numbers of people who are seeking entrance to universities or technical colleges. It is also under pressure from the failure rate which, as the Martin Committee notes, has not improved very much over the last six or seven years from the very high figure of 40 per cent, of entrants.
It is worth noting that, as I see it, the main problem in relation to numbers does not arise so much because of a larger age group as from a much keener desire for higher education and from a much larger percentage of people in the appropriate age group wanting to go on to some institution of higher learning. The level of the failure rate at the universities makes one wonder whether or not the places at our present tertiary institutions are suitable for all the people who find their way to them. These two problems - the problem of numbers and the problem of the failure rate - of course, are closely inter-related. There could be many ways of dealing with one of them or both of them.
The Martin Committee, in its central proposal, has attempted to solve both problems. In fact, the Committee’s proposal is to deal with these pressures by establishing what in other countries, such as the United States, might well be called junior colleges, which will teach a wide variety of courses up to diploma level. There is much merit in this idea. Its implementation will do much to help the late maturing student - the student who was never particularly good at school but who later in life may turn out to be one of the better university graduates. That is not an uncommon occurrence, lt may help the poor matriculant and the person who may be nervous on one particular occasion and who thus performs well below his true ability.
It may help the person who finds the gap between the secondary school and the university - not only the gap in terms of knowledge but also the gap in terms of the alteration in methods of learning - much too large. As we well know, at school everything is fairly well regimented, and then at a university a student suddenly has to do a great many things for himself. For some students it is a difficult transition. The fairly rigid standards of academic attainment at universities also increase this problem.
The establishment of junior colleges or new look technical colleges in Australia will do much to overcome those problems. It will enable more places of higher learning to be established much more cheaply than if we just kept on increasing universities on their present pattern. Incidentally, the latter course would do nothing to solve the problem of the failure rate, which suggests that some people find the standards at the universities difficult of attainment and that a different kind of institution needs to be established for them if they are to continue their education beyond the secondary school level.
If we were dealing with this situation from the beginning, a very firm argument could be made for these new look technical colleges to be established with some organic link to universities. In the United States, the junior colleges with the best standards are the ones that are attached to universities of some kind. That is so because the universities keep a close watch over the standards of the diplomas that are offered. There is another advantage in having an organic link between a junior college and a university. The link makes it much easier for the university to accept a student from the junior college, to give him credit for work done and to find him a place in tha university.
The relationship between the new look technical colleges and the universities will have to be watched very closely.
There must be free transferability by appropriate students from the new colleges to universities. Appropriate credit will have to be given for work that is done at the colleges. That means that someone - it may not be the universities in Australia, because the technical colleges have been established already and they are quite apart from the universities, so it would not be appropriate to suggest that they should be attached to universities - will have to watch very closely over the standards of the colleges. At the same time there must be some supervision of the universities in order to ensure that they do not give undue preference to new undergraduates and so cut off the education of the people who have been at the new look technical colleges for one, two or perhaps three years. The transferability of students in appropriate cases is a very important element of the proposal that has come from the Martin Committee.
These two matters about which I have been talking provide a very sound argument for the States’ acceptance of the suggestion that an Institute of Colleges should be established. Such institutes would be able to carry out the two functions about which I have been speaking much better than the State Departments of Education. One other aspect of this matter should be mentioned. These new look technical colleges, by widening the available scope and type of education, will attract people from a great pool of students who now may be daunted by the thought of going to a university and who do not want to do a technician’s or technological diploma course at a technical college. The thought of gaining from one of these colleges a diploma in arts or something related to the humanities may attract them. We will find that many people who at present do not seek any education beyond the secondary level will be attracted by these new institutions. That may mean that we will have to be prepared for an even greater expansion and to provide even more places than are envisaged by the Martin Committee.
The Committee’s plan seems reasonable. It broadens the scope and fabric of our tertiary education. I am sure that it will do much to answer the future needs of Australian society. I suggest that it is a reasonable compromise between what is practicable and what may be the ideal, bearing in mind the institutions that are already established in Australia and the pressures that are being placed on them.
Sitting suspended from 5.59 to 8 p.m.
.- It has been apparent for some time that the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) is skirmishing about the outer perimeter of a very broad and complex national problem connected with education. He has been skirmishing with individual issues but refusing to come into the centre to grapple with the overall problem. In the matter before us the Government deals with a narrow concept of education and endeavours to convey that it is confronting the whole, problem. We have before us for discussion a report of over 400 foolscap pages, each crammed with details, arguments, points of view, concepts and recommendations, from the Martin Committee on tertiary education. Despite the enormity of this report and despite the depth of the field that the Committee chose to investigate the Prime Minister has dismissed the most important part of the report and has accepted, with very severe qualifications, one other portion of it. He has indicated this in a nine page statement he made to this House.
He has continually refused to confront the problems of how to meet the swelling demand for tertiary education, how to provide the facilities and the decentralised institutions which are being demanded through the Commonwealth, how to overcome first year failure rates at universities, which are alarmingly high, and how to eliminate the growing practice of imposing quotas for entry into universities. These factors have arisen out of shortcomings in the field of tertiary education.. I rather suspect that the Prime Minister has decided on one point of this report and has endeavoured to develop or to inflate it so that it will attract national attention - he suggests it is an exciting new concept in the field of education - for no purpose other than, first, to quell all the concern which has been expressed in the community over the lack of improved facilities in the field of tertiary education; and, secondly, to divert a clogging up, which is occurring in the flow of students who have been seeking entry into universities, directing or redirecting this clogging up into a secondary or inferior level of tertiary education.
My concern is that an inferior level - a second rate form - of tertiary education is being proposed to the community as an imitation of the real thing. I believe there is justification for greater experimentation in the field of education in Australia, and that there is room for another level of education between the university level and the secondary level for a large section of the people; but this is something which has to be closely watched and directed so that it does not develop as a parallel in competition with university standards of education in Australia. I stress that we must be alert to this because we do not want people accepting this concept of tertiary colleges as an easy way of getting a university degree. We must not suggest that there is some equivalence between the qualifications that are going to be offered at this level of education and what is being offered at the university level.
My suspicion that the Prime Minister is endeavouring to get around the Government’s responsibility in the field of tertiary or university education and is settling for a half measure is heightened by the fact that a number of the places recommended in this report for the establishment of this form of college are places where there is a large body of influential demand for the establishment of university colleges. In Queensland, Rockhampton and Toowoomba are the two places recommended. I feel that the very name “ tertiary college “ is the type of thing which will encourage undesirable competition from the students who desire to have the status and prestige of a full university qualification and from the staffs which will be administering these places or lecturing at them. Despite the strictures contained in the report, and the Prime Minister’s strictures, that these things should not take place, the report does add that the aim of these tertiary colleges should be to achieve improving standards. As these improving standards are being achieved there will be no brake on the competition.
In California, whence this concept of junior colleges was extracted, a real problem which has arisen is that the junior colleges have set themselves up as a form of competition with universities and are demanding equal status and equal recognition at the university level. First, I do not think this is the concept that should be permitted for the type of tertiary college outlined in the Martin Report and, secondly, I do not think it is a desirable quality in the educational structure of our community. We do not want in this country what has already developed in the United States of America, where there are varying levels of university qualifications and where a person seeking a job has not only to nominate which degree he holds but the source from which he obtained it, and if the source is not regarded very favorably, or as favorably as perhaps other sources, he either misses out on the appointment he seeks or else has to sit for some form of qualifying examination. We do not want second rate standards in our country.
A real possibility is that this form of inbetween standard of tertiary education - between the secondary level and the full university level of education - is going to encourage the State education departments to recognise its qualifications for teacher purposes. At present the States have a dearth of fully qualified university graduates in their secondary schools and they are seeking the easy way out by resorting to college degrees as an alternative to proper accordilation. They have that problem, but the Prime Minister has done nothing to overcome the problems in the teaching profession which confront the States. In fact, he has rejected the proposals of the Martin Committee to step into the field of teacher training. He has said that these colleges will be set up, but he has refused to accept responsibility for them. He will recognise the State education departments as administering them or he will recognise the Institute of Colleges as administering them. But he will not recognise a Commonwealth coordinating body as administering them. He is not giving these colleges some form of autonomy within the Commonwealth.
Again, there is the probability that industry will be encouraged to accept this second rate standard for its junior executive officers. Donald Home has pointed out in his book “The Lucky Country” that the standard of administrators in business and industry in Australia leaves much to be desired. A visitor to Australia from Great Britain - an industrialist - during the last 18 month said that Australia was becoming a nation of copyists in the field of industry and that she had displaced Japan in this role. This is hardly an enviable reputation for a country to achieve. We should be striving for first rate inventive powers instead of second rate imitative powers. Yet I believe there is now the possibility in this proposal of tertiary colleges that we will encourage an acceptance of second rate standards of mediocrity in our educational structure.
The Prime Minister has grasped at this concept of tertiary colleges to avoid facing up to the problems in the fields of tertiary and university education today. We can glean more evidence of his lack of sincerity in this field by virtue of the fact that of the 2,500 scholarships recommended by the report the Prime Minister is prepared to provide only 1,000. I seriously suggest that these colleges should be involved in a reconstruction of technical college organisations throughout the Commonwealth. They should be clearly limited in their field so that there is no possibility of their setting up in competition with and eventually being in opposition to the universities, and no possibility of their introducing an inferior or second rate degree standard. So they should be restricted, in my opinion, to the issuing of diplomas and certificates.
But the real heart of the problem that has been dealt with by this report, the real cause of concern in this country and the problem that we must tackle if we are to overcome the inadequacies in our present education system is the problem of teacher training. Yet the Prime Minister has rejected out of hand any suggestion that the Commonwealth should assist in this direction. He says that we should not enter this field because it involves State rights. He also implied that there would be constitutional barriers to the entry of the Commonwealth Government into this field. Here we see a most interesting solicitude on his part for State rights. Apparently the only times when he is interested in promoting or protecting State rights is when any suggested intrusion on them is likely to cost him something in financial and administrative responsibility. He certainly has not displayed this solicitude for the State rights of New South
Wales in the dispute involving the Government of New South Wales and the Ansett organisation. In fact in that contest he gave his support to Ansett.
The Prime Minister knows that the argument he advances for his refusal to enter this field is false and hypocritical, because the Commonwealth Government issues conditional grants to various States from time to time and in doing so infringes the theory of the rights of the States. Let me refer the right honorable gentleman to statements he made on 26th July 1945 in this House. He said -
Now I turn to the position of the Commonwealth with regard to education . . . There is, however, no legal reason why the Commonwealth should not come to the rescue of the States on the matters that 1 am discussing. Either by appropriations under section 81 of the Constitution, as to which I agree that there is some constitutional doubt, or by conditioned grants to the States under section 96, as to which there is no constitutional doubt, the Commonwealth could make available substantial sums in aid of educational reform and development … If adequate resources are not available to the States, they will cut their coats according to their cloth, and that should not be allowed to happen. As a nation we cannot afford to do anything less than our best in a campaign the result of which will be to determine whether, in the new world, we are to be a nation of strong, self-reliant, trained and civilised people, or whether we are to be content with second-rate standards, and more devoted to the pursuits of material advantage than to the achievement of a genuine humane community spirit.
This is the very argument that has been propounded in the Martin report; that is, that the Commonwealth should step into this field of teacher training because the States are finding the task beyond their financial capacity. They have a tremendous number of administrative responsibilities but they have limited financial resources with which to meet those responsibilities. As the Prime Minister said in 1945, they must cut their coats according to their cloth. The report says that unless the Commonwealth steps in it will not be possible for the States to deal with this problem adequately in the field of teacher training.
It is very necessary that the Commonwealth, in fact, move into this field of teacher training and that it establish some sort of commission, equivalent to the Australian Universities Commission. It is suggested in this regard that what should be established is a tertiary education commission on the national level, operating the trio of universities, technical colleges and the teacher training system. We have seen undesirable developments in teacher training from time to time in the States. I know that in Queensland in times of financial shortage or because of a lack of planning glaring inadequacies have appeared in the teacher staffing arrangements. The State authorities have resorted to all sorts of convenient practices on such occasions. For instance, for a couple of years in Queensland, the standard of entry into the teachers’ training college was reduced from matriculation standard to a junior standard. I do not think this kind of opportunism should be allowed to develop in our community.
Some of the most important aspects of our social structure are connected with education. Investment in education today repays itself many times over in the industrial growth of the community. It repays itself through increased technical knowledge that the people develop. It repays itself socially through the increased appreciation we gain of human values. I rather suspect that the Government has refused to accept this responsibility purely because it wants to avoid as much as possible the administrative and financial burdens which are concomitant with this kind of undertaking. Yet in this country today we urgently need an investigation of the community’s educational structure. According to the Martin report, indeed -
The effectiveness of the nation’s expenditure upon other types of tertiary education is likely to be reduced unless a high priority is given to the provision of the best possible facilities for the training of teachers.
The report also gave instances of crowding in teacher training colleges and of the poor libraries provided. It referred to the need for refresher courses and the need for a three year course instead of the shallow and narrow two years course. It referred to the need to eliminate bonding of teacher trainees so that they will be on the same level as other tertiary students who have gained some form of scholarship. Tt referred to the most important need for outside appointments to staff these teacher training colleges. The problem of education in the community today at the primary and secondary level is that the teachers - the people who, from the first day they commence teaching, right through until the day on which they retire as school teachers - have been continuously under the influence and control of the education departments in their particular States. This in itself does not give the kind of stimulating challenge with which our educationalists should be confronted. We need outside appointments with new ideas and fresh approaches to the educational structure of our community.
The very fact that there is such a high rate of failure in the first year at universities indicates in itself the inadequate preparation of our students through secondary schools and up to the tertiary level. Under a commission operated at the Federal level much greater recognition and encouragement would be given to people with tertiary qualifications and much greater encouragement would be given to people to obtain these qualifications at the university in order to enter the teaching profession. At present in Queensland - and I have no doubt the position is similar in other States - teachers with one or two university degrees find that it is more profitable in terms of income to stay at a one-teacher or two-teacher school in a small country outpost than to go to a secondary school and teach there. So we find qualified and mature educationalists in these out of the way places while in the secondary schools we have immature and inexperienced young persons straight out of the teacher training college, most often without any university qualification at all. In the field of science we find all too often that they have no more than two or three units of a science degree course at the most. Yet these people are expected to accept the important responsibility of moulding the minds of our young people up to the level of tertiary education.
The fact that the Prime Minister has not only refused to move into this field but has also refused to provide a greater number of Commonwealth scholarships shows that he is prepared to allow the present situation to continue, with entry to the higher levels of education being decided more by the power of the purse than by individual capacity.
A question which was asked by the honorable member for Barton and answered by the Prime Minister today shows that in 1955, 44 per cent, of the total number of students at universities had either later year or open entrance scholarships. By 1 964 this proportion had dropped to 32 per cent.
– From 44 per cent.?
– Yes. Between 1955 and 1964 the number of applicants to receive these entrance scholarships increased by 77 per cent. In the same period there was a 232 per cent, increase in the number of people who had applied for this form of educational support. Obviously the measures that the Government has propounded up to the present time have been inadequate to meet the problems that have presented themselves to this community. The narrow concept of tertiary colleges has been proposed. I feel that this concept, properly controlled, regulated and supported from the tertiary or university could make a contribution in the community. But I suspect that it has been foisted on the public as a second rate stopgap to enable the Prime Minister to skirt around the very real and pressing responsibilities which he is ignoring at the present time in the field of university education.
.- I should like to commence my contribution to the debate this evening by referring to the Martin report in which it is stated, at page 48 -
As the bodies responsible for national standards in academic matters the universities should take a lead in setting standards within their own community and in having these standards accepted by the nation as a whole.
I remind the House that that passage occurs under the heading “Academic Responsibilities of Universities “. Mr. Justice Eggleston, chairman of the committee which recently inquired into professorial salaries, earlier reported - the universities, as was pointed out in the Murray Report, have a third function - to act as the guardians of intellectual standards and intellectual integrity in the community. They should, as that Report said, “be proof against the waves of emotion and prejudice which make the ordinary man, and public opinion, subject from time to time to illusion and self-deceit”.
I would like this evening to consider, first, just how far our intellectual communities - our universities - have been proof against the waves of emotion and prejudice. This matter of academic freedom perturbs me because my own university, situated in my electorate, had been subject to intellectually harmful effects as a result of prejudice and as a result of lack of freedom from waves of emotion. I would like to draw an analogy between the treatment accorded to Mr. Sydney Sparkes Orr and the treatment accorded to Dr. Knopfelmacher at Sydney University. Honorable members will recall that Sydney Sparkes Orr held the Chair of Philosophy at the University of Tasmania. He was dismissed for alleged misconduct with a girl student. Feeling aggrieved, he took the course which is open under our rule of law to any member of the community. That is, he brought a court action. His action in the Supreme Court of Tasmania failed. Still feeling aggrieved, he went, on appeal, to the High Court of Australia, and that Court rejected his appeal. Since then the Australian Philosophers Association has placed a black ban on the University of Tasmania’s Chair of Philosophy. Further to that, the Australian Federation of Staff Associations declared, for a time, all vacancies black at the University of Tasmania.
We turn now to the treatment accorded Dr. Knopfelmacher. At Sydney University the sub-committee responsible to the professorial board - the experts in his field including philosophers, professor of government and professor of psychology - recommended the appointment of Dr. Knopfelmacher as senior lecturer in philosophy. But then the professorial board met and, contrary to the normal practice, Dr. Knopfelmacher was not confirmed in that position. What is the position? The protagonists for Sydney Sparkes Orr said that what an academic did in his private time had nothing to do with the matter. But apparently what Dr. Knopfelmacher does in his private time is an entirely different matter. No one has been able to question Dr. Knopfelmacher’s academic qualifications. It now becomes, not a matter of academic freedom, but a matter of debarring him. I leave it to the judgment of the House and to the average Australian, not to the academic, to decide who has been fairly treated - the students of Tasmania who, as a result of this high-handed action of the Philosophers Association and of the Staff Association have been without a proper course in philosophy, or Dr. Knopfelmacher. With regard to Dr. Knopfelmacher I hope that the die is not irrevocably cast. I hope that the professorial board may yet see fit to withdraw its earlier decision and to confirm him in the position which is rightfully his.
– They say he was an anti-Red.
– This is alleged. I would not suggest that about Dr. May whom I saw on television confronted by Dr. Knopfelmacher. I leave it to those who saw “ Four Corners “ to judge for themselves. I merely make the statement that there is irresponsibility in academic quarters. Mr. Orr is to have freedom of action but Dr. Knopfelmacher is not permitted freedom of thought.
Now let me refer to the position of Dr. Brissenden. He set as compulsory reading for his students at the Australian National University “ Lolita “. I would agree with him that “ Lolita “ is not liable to corrupt his students, but the book is banned by the Commonwealth for entry into this country. I would have thought that it would be more in keeping with academic responsibility for Dr. Brissenden not to set as compulsory reading for his students a book which is not in the first rank of English literature - it is an average book - and knowing the book to be banned by the Commonwealth. I would defend to the last breath Dr. Brissenden’s right to pose and pontificate on the television programme “ The Critics “. I would defend his right to use his spare time - and presumably some university time - in leading demonstrations and marches, but T deprecate his use of his academic position to further his private views. He is. in my opinion, entitled to the view that there should be no censorship but he is not entitled to. use his position as lecturer in English at the Austraiian National University to further his private views.
Having opened on that matter I pass to the matter of the reception of the Martin report in Tasmania. When the Government had decided what part of the report it would implement and what part it would not, the Tasmanian Minister for Education stated in a report published in the Hobart “ Mercury “ on Friday, 26th March, that Tasmania was being discriminated against and that he would visit Canberra as soon as possible to seek a reconsideration of Tasmania’s position and to present a case for special assistance for Tasmania. That report appeared in the Press on 26th March. More than a month has passed, yet this urgent visit to Canberra by Mr. Neilson has not eventuated. Perhaps he does not consider the matter still to be urgent. Mr. Neilson said -
Notwithstanding the fact that 7,500 technical college students were seeking something better in Tasmanian technical education, and that the State had shown its readiness to help by constituting a Board of Technical Education, revising the syllabus, and preparing for new staff and accommodation, Tasmania had not been considered among the Stales recognised for interim capital grants to colleges for 1965 and 1966.
I would remind Mr. Neilson that throughout Australia only a few colleges were recommended for interim capital grants. If Mr. Neilson had read the Martin report he would have seen the reason for this. Either he did not read the report or his technical advisers were not able to get across to him. what was in the report, because the following statement appears at page 162 of the report under the heading “ Tasmania “ -
Total enrolments in 1963 were 7,587, comprising 5,564 males, 2,023 females. Diploma courses accounted for 947 . . .
You will see that Mr. Neilson used the large number of 7,587 as representing Tasmania’s technical education force, but, as honorable members will be aware, the Martin report deals only with tertiary education. Diploma courses accounted for the smaller number of 947.
Let us take that smaller number of 947. Table 105 on page 163 of the Martin report deals with enrolments in diploma courses in technical colleges in Tasmania in 1963. The source of the information is given as the Tasmanian Department of Education, so I assume that Mr. Neilson will not query these figures. We see that there are only 24 students doing full time courses in pharmacy and 11 in technical teacher training, making a total of 35 who would come within the definition - adopted by the Prime Minister - of the Martin report of what amounts to tertiary education, that is, technical diploma courses. The table shows also that 805 students are doing part time courses and that of the remaining students doing full time courses, 63 are in art and 36 in the art teachers’ course. I would think that honorable members on the other side of the House would agree that they do not come within the heading of technical education. So Mr. Neilson is misleading the Tasmanian public. He is also reported as having said -
One wonders what special circumstances apply in some of the regional areas, such as Bathurst and Wagga, which do not apply to Tasmania . . .
The recommendation of the Committee at page 186 is -
The Committee sees advantages in developing tertiary colleges in two country centres - Bathurst and Wagga.
That is what Mr. Neilson saw. This, presumably, prompted him to say, referring to the Hobart Technical College: “ Why do we not get the advantages that Bathurst and Wagga get? “. If he had conducted a little research he would have seen at page 175 of the report, under the heading “The Foundation of New Tertiary Institutions “, the following words -
The need for a new tertiary institution in a metropolitan area can be assessed with some confidence from evidence of the current academic activity in existing institutions . . .
The Martin Committee had the opportunity to see the current trend of activity at the Hobart Technical College and at the Launceston Technical College. It did not see fit to include either of these colleges or any other substandard Tasmanian college in its recommendation for an interim grant. Specifically the point is made, and made clearly, by the criterion that the Committee laid down for Bathurst and Wagga. At page 175, the Committee said -
The problem becomes more complex when a submission refers to a rural area, and the following principles have been accepted for guidance by the Committee:
The first principle is -
A potential enrolment of . 1,300 full-time students . . .
According to the source I have already quoted - that is, the Tasmanian Department of Education - only 35 full time students ace enrolled at the Hobart Technical College. Perhaps now Mr. Neilson can understand why even Hobart Technical College does not reach the standard of Bathurst and Wagga colleges, which have been accepted and included in the recommendation of the Martin Committee. They have also been accepted by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies). It is all very well for a State Minister, who as a member of a Government that has been in office for many years, has ignored this vital aspect of education in Tasmania, to cry to the Commonwealth: “ We are in a mess. What will you do to help us? “.
– The Committee did not go to Tasmania. It put the wrong photograph in its report.
– It may be of interest to the honorable member for Wills, who seems to have some thirst for knowledge of education in Tasmania, to know that Mr. Neilson is also reported to have said -
Perhaps the gravest aspect of the matter was that the high quality staff, which the State might have hoped to attract to a strengthened technical education setup in Tasmania would be attracted away by the grants to new institutions in other States …
Let us look at the record of the staff position at Tasmanian technical colleges. I am indebted to the State Leader of the Opposition for the information that the per capita expenditure on technical education in Tasmania up to 1964 was less than 60 per cent, of the Australian average. It was not until 1 963 that the Tasmanian Education Act was amended - the amendment was not proclaimed until 1964, such is the speed wilh which Mr. Neilson moves - to set up a Board of Technical Education in Tasmania for the first time. The first recommendation of the Board was that the Minister ensure that the salaries of teachers at technical colleges be increased. This was accepted, despite objections by the Teachers Federation. Prior to this, salaries of teachers at technical colleges were fixed by the Public Service Tribunal. It is of interest to note that the head of the Mathematics Department at the Hobart Technical College left and the head of the Engineering Department retired and that up to date Mr. Neilson has not been able to replace them. This is the measure of the drawcard that the Tasmanian Minister for Education had been able to offer to teachers at Tasmanian technical colleges prior to the report of the Martin Committee.
Now we come a little closer to home. On the next day, 27th March, the “ Mercury “ attributed the following statement to the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) -
The Federal Parliamentary Labour Party’s committee on education is extremely disappointed in the Martin report.
The honorable member for Bass is the deputy chairman of the committee. The newspaper report continued -
Mr. Barnard said that the committee failed to understand the complete omission from the report of any suggestion of financial assistance for Tasmania al either the tertiary or technical school level.
All I can say is that the honorable member for Bass must have been asleep in this House when in May of 1964 the States Grants (Science Laboratories and Technical Training) Act was passed. If he had been awake he would have been aware that £167,100 had been given to Tasmania for its use. In fact, so concerned was I by this misstatement that I asked the Prime Minister on the Monday whether he would be prepared to answer a question to inform the Tasmanian public of the true facts. He was good enough on the Tuesday to say in answer to my question -
The Commonwealth has not discriminated against Tasmania in any way in its grants for technical colleges. Tasmania is receiving equal treatment with the other States in the grams for technical facilities in schools which were announced at the 1963 election. . . .
He then referred to the sum of £167,100, which the honorable member for Bass had ignored, and went on to say -
As to the proposals I announced to the House last week for the development of tertiary colleges based on technical colleges, the Commonwealth is prepared to assist Tasmania in exactly the same way as any other State.
He added -
Presumably the Committee did not have before it any specific proposals for capital works in technical education at the tertiary level in Tasmania which could be put to construction quickly.
That, if I may say so, is the nub of the matter. Due to lethargy, indolence and a disregard of the needs of the Tasmanian people, the State Minister for Education, despite expert advice from a competent department, had not been in a position to put before the Martin Committee any information that would enable Tasmania to get its fair share or to be given an equal opportunity along with other States. It therefore ill behoves this State Minister to cry poor at this stage. However there is one ray of hope emanating from Tasmania. Although the recent State conference of the Australian Labour Party, true to its Federal prototype, excluded the Press, the local newspaper, the “ Mercury “, to my astonish ment gave the conference a very good coverage. On 22nd April, under the heading “A.L.P. Committee to Assist Policy on Education”, the “Mercury” reported -
The State A.L.P. conference at Hobart yesterday appointed a standing committee as the first step in building a firm and continuing education policy.
I trust that, as the Australian Labour Party organisation has woken up to itself, the State Minister will at least be given some prod by this committee on education and will at long last move so that Tasmania will not be left behind. Mr. Neilson could well adopt the attitude taken by the only other State that receives help from the Commonwealth Grants Commission - that is, Western Australia - and establish a top level committee to inquire into the whole state of education and tertiary education in particular. On 27th March, the “ Australian “ reported -
W.A. EDUCATION PROBE PLAN.
The West Australian Premier, Mr. Brand, said today the Government intended to set up a toplevel committee to inquire into tertiary education.
Why does not the Tasmanian Minister do this? Why does he not set his own house in order before making extravagant remarks and saying rashly that he will make an urgent mercy mission to Canberra? Although this statement was made more than a month ago, his visit has not yet materialised. Let him set his own house in order and then knock on the door that has been left open by the Prime Minister, who said in answer to my question that Tasmania will be treated just as the other States are being treated. It is up to the State Minister to take some action so that Tasmania can benefit.
The honorable member for Yarra (Dr. J. F. Cairns) accused me of complacency. Yet the same honorable member complacently dismissed the constitutional problem involved in setting up a Commonwealth Ministry of Education. He has, of course, taken this entirely from the policy of the Australian Teachers Federation. It may well be that it is convenient to hold a referendum so that the Commonwealth can have a concurrent power on education.
I do not think it is opportune at this stage for the Commonwealth to set up a Ministry of Education. In 1945 the Commonwealth set up the Commonwealth Office of Education, under the Education Act, and the Commonwealth makes grants to the States under section 96 of the Constitution. In my opinion no case has been made this evening by the Opposition for the establishment of a Commonwealth Ministry of Education. On that point, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I will resume my seat.
.- Having listened to the honorable member for Denison (Mr. Gibson), for the first few minutes of his speech I wondered whether he was speaking on the same subject as I intend to speak upon. His attitude to facts, at any rate, showed a very wide range of academic freedom. One of the things most noticeable about the report of the Committee on the Future of Tertiary Education in Australia to the Australian Universities Commission, particularly from a Tasmanian point of view, is that not only did the Committee not visit Tasmania, but also no Tasmanian was a member of the Committee and the Tasmanian Government was not invited to submit a case.
– It was, and the Director of Education went-
– I have a letter from the Minister for Education in Tasmania. I am prepared to quote from it.
– Has the honorable member his Press statement in which he admits-
– The lack in the report of any stated intention about decentralisation is most obvious. One of the things with which we are regaled inside and outside of this House is the necessity for decentralisation. We are told that a new university is to be established in Sydney. The authorities, as it were, take off from the vicinity of Victoria Park, but they do not land in Wagga or in Bathurst in the electorate of the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Luchetti). They land in Ryde. Yet we hear all this talk about decentralisation. Ryde would be a matter of three or four miles away from the University of Sydney. At least they are decentralising out of Parramatta Road. The same thing occurs in industry. A decision is made to decentralise, but they cannot get across the Nepean
River. They settle down at St. Mary’s. A few more barnacles on the body of the metropolitan area. In the long run, if they keep on going they will reach Bathurst, because they will have development all the Way out.
In the field of tertiary education there are plenty of opportunities to go into the country. In Queensland sound cases have been made for new universities or university colleges to be established at both Rockhampton and Toowoomba, but what do these cities get? They get the booby prize. An amount of £100,000 is to be spent in additions to technical colleges. This will not extend education. It will make the facilities a little better in the technical colleges that are already established, but those colleges are not established to issue degrees. They are established, in the main, to give technical training to apprentices. The colleges are not even interested in diplomas, which are not necessary. Under no circumstances can this expenditure be accepted as a substitute for tertiary educational institutions in Rockhampton or Toowoomba.
If we are not going to make facilities available in the areas from which the students come, we not only fail to make a contribution to decentralisation, but we make a contribution to further centralisation, because students are taken away from the country areas. I realise that it costs a little more to establish a university in the country. We are getting tertiary education on the cheap by keeping the institutions in the cities. In the country areas accommodation may not be available. In the city students take their chance. They get their scholarships, or they pay their fees, and board where they can. Residential universities are valuable institutions. Here is an opportunity to establish them in country areas, but it has been passed by.
Some of my colleagues on this side of the House have pointed out that the Government is apparently not interested in training teachers. It must be perfectly obvious to anyone in the slightest degree interested in this subject that it is useless to build institutions - to use bricks and mortar to erect the buildings - if you do not train instructors and teachers who can go into these institutions to teach the students. Furthermore, the longer we put off doing something about this important aspect of education the more difficult it will be to catch up. It has bee a said that a student is not available to teach in the tertiary field until he is at least 25 years of age. The number of people who are prepared under existing circumstances to meet the greater part of the cost of their training is very small. It is not so much that they would not be willing to do so but that they have not the financial resources.
If we are to water down our standards of tertiary education into the diploma field we will have to be very careful that the public do not get the idea that the people who receive the diplomas are, as it were, getting them on the way down. A diploma is something that you should get on the way up. It should lead to something else where possible. If it is intended that a portion of the student population - that either cannot get into a university or which the authorities consider would do no good if it did get in - is to be shunted back into a tertiary division where the graduates can be given diplomas, the authorities will destroy absolutely and utterly the value of a diploma that anyone else is able to get. A diploma will be considered merely a document that demonstrates the inability of the holder to obtain a degree. Any institution issuing diplomas needs to be very clearly in the field between secondary education and tertiary education on the way up, not on the way down.
The opportunity for our student population to attend a university is very largely a financial one. If a student has the money and a reasonable amount of ability he can make the grade. If he has not the money, irrespective of the amount of ability he may have it is very difficult for him to make the grade. Admittedly, scholarships are available, but they are not very lucrative. None of them carry large sums and very few families can afford to make up the gap between the scholarship and the amount of money required. Those who do make up the gap find it a great financial handicap. I know of a recent case in Queensland where a lad who obtained eight A’s in the Junior Certificate examination was unable to proceed even to the Senior Certificate examination, because bis father died in the meantime and he had to help his mother run a small store. He was rescued to some degree by a Rotary club which agreed to pay at least for his books.
But this was insufficient. A supply of books is not all that a student requires to get a matriculation certificate. I know of another student attending a grammar school who, because of the death of his parent, did not submit his application for a scholarship before the closing date - he was three days late - and he did not receive a scholarship.
These are things that very often sift out the most able of our students and prevent them from reaching the tertiary stage of education. We should be prepared not only to make university education free as far as instruction and the provision of buildings are concerned, but also to provide finance for the student to enable him to stay at a university for the full period of his instruction. This is something that we cannot afford not to do. Are we going to sort out these people purely on the basis of financial circumstances, or are we going to sort them out on the basis of their academic qualifications? There are countries in the; world that pay students to go to a university. The students are paid sufficient to enable them not only to keep themselves but also to make a contribution to their parents’ domestic expenses. This is done in some parts of the world, but not here. The only free university that we have - in Western Australia - is drifting away from this ideal because of the lack of support from the Government of this country.
Furthermore, when students have struggled through their academic training, what do we do? A vast army of them is totally unable to find occupations in this country. There are at least today 2,500 science and technical graduates from our universities permanently resident abroad because they cannot find adequate employment here. So, Mr. Deputy Speaker, we face not only the problem of providing education but also the problem of providing for the graduates after they have received their university education.
Although this Government did not accept the Committee’s proposition that there should be no new universities considered until 1970, in its refusal the Government did not make it clear whether it favoured new universities before 1970.
– Ha, ha!
– The Minister for the Navy thinks that statement is amusing. It will be very interesting to see whether the refusal to accept this proposition actually leads to the establishment of new universities in Australia, which are not already agreed to, by 1970. This may mean that the Government does not agree with the establishment of new universities until 1980.
It is almost a certainty that the granting of additional funds to technical colleges means that the particular centres in which these colleges are established will not get universities. Why waste £100,000 in Rockhampton and another £100,000 in State Government subsidies to a technical college and allegedly raise its status if it is intended in due course to establish a university college there? This is the inference that is drawn by the local people who have every reason to expect, on the talks that they had had with the officials concerned with these matters, that they would get a university in Rockhampton. What did they get? They got £100,000 for a technical college which is not a tertiary institution and will not issue degrees or diplomas either. It issues certificates to apprentices. It fills a very necessary part of our educational system and it does so very well. But, not by the greatest stretch of the imagination can it be considered to be a substitute for a university college.
Not enough money is spent on these matters of education. Although it must be admitted that the public of this country are appreciative of the amount of money that is being spent and the additional amount that is proposed to be spent, I think that the public can with every justification disagree with the volume and scope of it and the direction in which it is aimed. We on this side of the House feel that a great opportunity has been missed in this connection. We feel that the Government had the opportunity to expand teacher training and decentralise tertiary education. There was also the opportunity to appoint a commission to inquire into all stages of education. There are some aspects of education, that are a considerable hindrance to the average parent. One of these is the supply, of textbooks to secondary school students under our allegedly free educational system. Not only are text books expensive to purchase and sometimes hard to procure, but also there is the extraordinary situation where books for study are set out by local school principals and sometimes by individual teachers and not by education departments.
I have personally had the experience of a book which cost £1 ls. being set at the beginning of the school year. A fortnight later, the teacher who set the book left the school and the book which had never been opened was condemned by the new teacher. Another book had to be bought which cost 4s. more than the condemned book. The new book cost me 25s.
– The honorable member wants everything free and a 30 hour week.
– We are told that education is free but anyone with children going to school knows that that is the greatest laugh of the century. We talk about State aid to denominational schools. What we could do with is some State aid for public schools. It would be appreciated immensely. That is just what we are not getting in sufficient volume to enable our children to go as far as they are academically able in our educational system. They are being turned away because of lack of room. They are being turned away because of lack of opportunity. They are being turned away because of lack of family finance. I know a girl in Queensland who obtained her matriculation which enabled her to go to the university. She has a job as a waitress. There was no room for her at the university. She applied for a teacher’s scholarship for which she had qualified but the Education Department had enough applicants and did not want any more. At least, the Department cannot provide the finance to train any more. So, this girl is very busy washing up in a cafe. This is to her credit, but it is certainly not to the credit of the Commonwealth or State Governments which are involved in this state of affairs. Having found out who is capable of undertaking this course, they make no move to see that the students concerned get the opportunity to do so.
I would say that this Government has missed these opportunities. The Government will find that it will take many years to catch up the opportunities which it has now lost of training teachers, of making available additional accommodation, and of expanding its scholarship scheme to take in all those who are able to benefit by it.
– Even the Country Party.
– Yes, even the Country Party. I might have expected a little bit of support from the Country Party for the provincial areas at least. But Country Party members do not seem to be particularly concerned with what happens in what they apparently regard as beyond the pale.
– Of course they are.
– The honorable member for Indi should make a speech, and try to do his best to get more tertiary education facilities in the country. The honorable member should not come here and complain because country children go to live in the cities. The Government sends them there to get their education and they do not want to go back to the country.
– Order! I suggest that the honorable member address the Chair.
– Give country children their education in the country as far as they are capable of going and you will be doing a much better job for Australia than the Government proposes to do with such of the recommendations in this report that it has accepted.
.- I was most interested to hear the opening remarks of the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Gray), I agree wholeheartedly indeed with some of the things he said. Perhaps it is because he has lived so close to the Country Party for so long that we have been able to convince him of at least some of our policies. I refer to the decentralisation of education. I hope he will come with me before next Saturday to see if we can do something to persuade the State Government to establish a university in the south.
I think we all agree that the most important project in Australia today is the education of all our children to the best of our ability. This is our national duty. It is of vital importance to the development of this country. Not so very many years ago, a very famous Prime Minister continually exhorted Australians to populate or perish. That exhortation was never more fitting than it is today, although now we might say: “ Populate and develop or perish “. We must try to develop this country in every way possible, and whether we can develop or not will depend upon whether we can earn export income. I believe that one aspect of education that has been neglected has been the education of those engaged in rural industries. Very often, in our efforts to educate our people, the education of the rural work force has been absolutely and completely overlooked.
I do not believe we can be happy with the state of affairs that exists at the moment, when this country is almost completely dependent upon its primary industries to earn the export income which is necessary to provide jobs for people in secondary industry. We have got to diversify not only our markets but also our products. A tremendously good case can be made for developing our exports of secondary products, but it must be obvious to anybody who stops to think, or who examinesthe statistics, that for many years to come the only way in which we can hope to develop this country is by enabling our great primary industries to increase their production. The need for increased primary production was never more urgent than it is today, with the proposed restriction of the inflow of capital from the United States of America. The only way in which we can replace this inflow of capital is by increasing our exports, and I repeat that it must be obvious to anybody who stops to think that the only way in which we can hope to increase our export income to any extent is by increasing primary production.
We are able to export secondary products. Indeed, we are exporting them. At the moment we are exporting things like electric motors, transformers and cameras to Sweden. We also export quite a number of manufactured products to Japan, South East Asia and various parts of Europe. We are even exporting automotive parts to America. It has been proved again and again that if we really set our minds to it we can compete successfully on the world’s markets with our secondary products. We are now developing a greatly increased market for meat in Europe because of the rising standard of living there. However, if we are to increase substantially our exports of primary and secondary products it is vitally important that we increase the skills of our people. It is essential that we increase not only academic skills but the technical skills of those engaged in industry. We need highly trained trade commissioners who can go overseas and put our case for us. We need business executives who can sell our products on foreign markets. We need overseas representatives who are able to take their places in the world of overseas trade and compete on overseas markets.
The Commonwealth Government has recognised the importance of education by recommending the adoption of a major part of the Martin Committee’s report. It has extended tertiary education beyond the academic stage, beyond those who attend universities, in order to cater for those who want to make careers for themselves in commerce, administration, business or government departments. It seeks to extend to greater numbers of people a vision of what can be done with a wider education.
Because we of the Country Party believe in balanced development, because we have a wide national outlook, we realise the urgency of growth and development. We also realise the urgency of diversifying our markets. We are continually disturbed by the almost complete lack of any serious attempt to make adequate provision for educating those who are engaged in what arc our greatest industries. Today, almost every man employed on a rural property is handling very valuable machinery, a mistake in the use of which could cost a great deal of money in some instances. Even the man working amongst stock is handling dangerous drugs. If he is spraying crops, he is almost certainly using dangerous sprays that could have very serious effects upon man and beast. We desperately need more veterinary officers; there is a tremendous need to train more veterinary officers. We also need extension officers. Perhaps we need them more desperately than any other type of officers. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and other organisations have given us most useful information and wonderful assistance, but we have not the extension officers to get the results of the work of these organ isa: tions across to the people in the country.
Perhaps this lack is more evident in our great wool industry than in any other rural industry. In the wool industry we have an industry on which the economy of the whole country is based. It has been said that Australia rides on the sheep’s back. She is still doing that and will continue to do so for quite a long while to come. This is Australia’s most important export industry, lt is the industry that enables us to grow, to develop and to provide jobs and new industries; yet there has never been any serious attempt to train any of the operatives engaged in it. Whenever we have attempted to set up shearing schools or training schools, we have had the greatest difficulty in obtaining assistance. I point out to honorable members that of every 2,000 shearers who enter the industry every year, fewer than 1,000 remain in the industry for more than 18 months. There is a growing shortage of shearers. At the same time, the number of sheep is increasing. Bad shearing is costing Australia an enormous amount of money. It has been estimated that bad shearing is costing in the vicinity of £500 a shearer each year. We are losing export income that we can ill afford to lose.
The Country Party strongly supports the institution of shearing classes to give the operatives engaged in the industry - the shearers and shed hands - some status in the community, with better training. There is resistance from contractors to the employment of learners, on the ground that they are not very efficient. To become a shearer, a man has to learn the best way he can. It has been proved over and over again in voluntary shearing classes that, with concentrated instruction, a man can be trained to shear reasonably well in about six weeks.
We are trying to set up a school to be administered by the technical division of the State Department of Education. People in New South Wales are very favorably disposed towards establishing an institution to train not only shearers but also shed hands. The graziers’ associations are interested enough to offer quite strong financial support, and the shearing contractors are behind the scheme. The big co-operative shearing organisations have promised pupils. I repeat that this is our most important industry, the industry upon which the whole economy depends; yet no recommendation has been made in the Martin Committee’s report, or in any other report, that scholarships be granted to operatives engaged in it. We must remember that most of these men whom we are seeking to train work for wages. They cannot afford to go to school and pay for tuition. We are not asking for any great sum to be provided to enable such men to be trained. It is estimated that, if we can provide a living away from home allowance of about £10 or £12 a week, we can get quite a number of men to train. The
Government would probably be called on to contribute only about £60 or £70 for each person being trained under such a scheme. This Government must look at the problem, because it concerns a quite important part of the whole system of industry training that has an important bearing on the raising of the standard of performance in employment in this community.
The primary industries in Australia have been labouring under great difficulties for a number of years. We have been more or less living in an artificial economy. All the supplies for the primary industries are produced by secondary industry, which is protected in every way. The costs of primary producers have been rising fast over the years. Yet we are forced to sell on the markets of the world at world parity prices. Few industries can point to the standards of efficiency that our primary industries have shown. It is a fact that the average primary producer in this country produces approximately twice as much, in terms of quantity and value, as does the average American farmer and three times as much as the average British farmer. I do not suggest that we in this country cannot be more efficient. We could be. However, we are already efficient. We could not have survived if we had not been.
The Australian primary producers have no customs tariff protection. Often, when primary producers need imported machinery, they have to pay more than they should. An instance was given to me quite recently. In a certain part of Queensland, a grain drier was essential for the drying of wheat. These machines had been imported, and a local firm then said that it could make them in Australia, but it needed tariff protection. Instead of the local firm being paid a subsidy on the manufacture of this kind of machine, the Department of Customs and Excise increased the tariff on the imported machine and added to its cost.
– Order! I suggest that the honorable member is getting a little wide of tertiary education.
– I shall get back to it, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I have been illustrating the sort of thing against which primary producers are competing. I have done so to demonstrate why we need more efficiency in primary industry. We need more and better trained operators, because our costs are rising all the time. Greater efficiency in our rural industries is fundamental to the wellbeing of our whole economy. It is futile to talk of progress and development if we cannot pay for our imports. I maintain that, again and again, primary producers and their employees have been overlooked. Training has been provided for those engaged in secondary industry almost to the exclusion of those engaged in primary production, although they produce the real wealth of this country and earn our export income. I do not believe that we can accept this situation. We cannot allow matters to remain as they are. I appeal to the Government to look more carefully at the situation and to see whether the Commonwealth can assist in some way to improve the standard of training of those engaged in rural industries, perhaps by providing scholarships for those who are not able to pay their own way at expensive training schools. This is important not only to those engaged in primary industry but also to the progress and prosperity of the whole nation.
– Mr. Deputy Speaker, the report that we are discussing refers in several sections to the pressure of enrolments in the universities and the unsatisfactory ratio of staff to students. Recent Press reports have indicated that faculty authorities at the Australian National University in Canberra are at present working out means of applying quotas to limit the entry of students in some departments in 1966. I understand that already in the Arts and Economics faculties there are first year classes of more than 300 and one class of more than 400, and that there are departments in which the staff-student ratio is appreciably in excess of 1 to 50. In these circumstances, it is hardly astonishing that the University authorities, being worried about the standard and the quality of teaching provided under such conditions, are planning fair and proper means of stemming the rising tide of numbers.
What the people of the Australian Capital Territory and the surrounding districts, including centres like Cooma, with its many families of scientists and technicians, have a right to know from the Commonwealth Government is this: What is the future for their children? If, from now on, the University has to place a ceiling on the numbers to be admitted, what other provision is to be made in this area for matriculated students who are turned away, perhaps from next year onwards? Many people already in this area and many of those pouring into it at the rate of several thousand a year cannot afford to send their matriculated sons and daughters to Melbourne or Sydney for a university education, though they could in the future, as they have done in the past - but not without sacrifice - meet the financial requirement involved in putting their sons and daughters through to degree level in Canberra. On this question of quotas, 1 am informed that the records of the former Canberra University College and the Australian National University contain the names of not a few graduates, some of whom are now of considerable distinction, whose matriculation passes were such as to make it appear that they could very well have been excluded from the faculties in which they studied had there been a quota system in their years at the College or the University.
What the people of the Australian Capital Territory and the surrounding districts such as Cooma have a right to know now is: What is the future for their children? Is a second university or a university college to be ready within the next two or three years to cope with the overflow from the A.N.U.? Is there to be ready within the next two or three years a junior or two-year college of the sort advocated by the Committee on the Future of Tertiary Education in Australia - the Martin Committee - where matriculants could at least work for a diploma and even establish a claim for transfer to a university with some credit for work done in the college? The people in this area have a right to know these things now. They have a right to know that the Government has positive and adequate plans now for their children. Planning, and the beginning of the application of plans, should be under way now. Otherwise, some qualified children will surely be left out in the cold next year or in succeeding years. The problem should he taken in hand vigorously now, because in 1 967 there will be the once for all and never to be repeated breathing space afforded by the relatively low output of New South Wales matriculants from secondary schools in the transition year before the full flood of matriculants under the Wyndham scheme.
After 1967, there will be no respite, Mr. Deputy Speaker. From then on, the numbers of matriculants will rise rapidly. It will be too late then for regrets. So I ask the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies), through the Minister for Air (Mr. Howson), who is now at the table: What answer has he about the university future as it affects the parents in this area and their children?
I turn now to the field of technical, technological and vocational education. At present, the fast growing population of the Australian Capital Territory is rapidly nearing the 100,000 mark, with a quits phenomenal proportion of its numbers in or approaching the 15 to 25 years age group. This city has one technical college to look to. That institution is still divided between some temporary shacks in the suburb of Kingston and some reasonably good but sadly congested buildings on an altogether too cramped site near Civic Centre. I want to make it clear that I do not complain about the location of the Canberra Technical College - it is reasonably convenient to the hub of public transport at Civic Centre - but I do complain about the size of the site that has been allocated to the Technical College. This urgently needs extension to the Reid House site, which is towards Civic Centre and towards the lake. I ask: What attention and what thought have the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Anthony) and the Cabinet given in respect of the Australian Capital Territory, where they have a direct and inescapable responsibility to the future of the Technical College and to the future of technical and technological education generally on which the Martin Committee set such store?
Several years ago the Government appointed an advisory committee to the Technical College. Has the Minister for the Interior ever met this committee or sat and deliberated with it? Does the Secretary of his Department ever meet with the committee? To all these questions I fear that the answer is: “ No “. Has the Minister read the committee’s reports, including one based on investigations which some members of the committee made at their own expense in Britain last year? Again, I fear, the answer is: “No”. How much thought in respect of this matter which the Martin Committee rates as so important have the
Minister and the Cabinet given to the conditions or needs of the Australian Capital Territory where they have, as I have just said, complete, direct and sole responsibility? Have they, for instance, given thought to the development out of the present technical college of a well-balanced junior or two-year college of the American sort which the Martin Committee has commended and which we accept with some reservations? Is the Minister aware that there are bodies in this community which are actively interested, which have not been content to wait for him and his Department to get round to an overdue review of the Australian Capital Territory’s needs in the light of the Martin Committee’s report? Does the Minister know, for instance, that the Australian Capital Territory Group of the Royal Institute of Public Administration, with the blessing of the Commonwealth Public Service Board and after consultation with the New South Wales authorities, has submitted a detailed scheme for a diploma of public administration course at the technical college? Does the Minister appreciate that it is out of the development of courses like this that he could find the growing points for grafting a liberal arts side on the present Technical College to make the sort of junior college that the Martin Committee recommended that Australia should develop?
Will the Minister consider very fully and thoughtfully this whole question of the future development of the Technical College, the provision of an extended site for it and the development of an appropriate governing body for it - a governing body which could direct its transition into a junior college of the sort proposed by the Martin Committee? Will the Minister, spurred on by a consciousness of the rate of development of Canberra, the school age population explosion here, and the planning of the Australian National University for a system of quotas and exclusions present to the House early in the Budget session a considered statement of his plans to apply the Martin Committee’s recommendations so far as they apply to the Australian Capital Territory? In those plans, will the Minister make some provision for teacher training? The Prime Minister has stated that the Commonwealth Government will by-pass any responsibility for teacher training so far as Australia generally is concerned.
There can be a variety of opinions about that decision, but I have not the time to traverse them all now. However, it is becoming more and more apparent that with the multiplication of schools in the A.C.T. and with the home pressures on the New South Wales Department of Education, that State cannot make, and should not be expected to make, on its own, evermore enormous provisions for A.C.T. school staffing.
For the benefit of honorable members who do not understand the position here, I point out that the situation is that in the Australian Capital Territory the Commonwealth provides the schools which follow the New South Wales curriculum and are staffed by teachers from the New South Wales Education Department, the Commonwealth reimbursing the State for the expenses involved. I suggest that the time has already arrived and that an excellent general environment exists in Canberra for the provision of a comprehensive teachers training college for the A.C.T.
– And for the other Territories. South Australia supplies teachers for the Northern Territory.
– That is a point. The teachers training college could supply the teachers needed not only here but in the Northern Territory, in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea and in the defence Services as they are needed. The college here, as I was about to remark, would take some weight off the hard pressed State of New South Wales and it would give the children of this district an opportunity to train locally for a career in teaching. I believe that a comprehensive teachers training college in Canberra in conjunction with the Australian National University on the one hand and on the other with the sort of junior college that I have envisaged being developed out of the Technical College, could provide a most welcome outlet for local children who seek a career in primary and secondary school teaching.
I find it incomprehensible that the Prime Minister should have brushed aside this important recommendation of the Martin Committee. Of course, quite obviously whatever the Prime Minister’s opinion may be about the responsibility of the Commonwealth to the States, the Commonwealth Government must accept full and complete responsibility for this Territory, the Northern Territory, Papua and New Guinea and the defence Services, and I believe that this matter, which has for so long been sought by so many people in this community, should be adopted. This recommendation from the Committee for teacher training colleges should at least be adopted by the Commonwealth in its own Territory and for the training of its own teachers. But let us not limit it to that; let the teachers trained here serve where they will.
There is one more aspect of the Martin Committee’s Report which comes right home to many of our constituents and on which I want to say just a few words. This aspect affects people who come here from all over the Commonwealth. I refer to the section which deals with education in and for the armed Services and the Service departments. I have time to direct attention only to part of this substanial recommendation of the Committee in Volume 11. I point to the emphasis in the report on a matriculation entry standard for Jervis Bay, Duntroon and Point Cook and the provision of facilities and arrangements for a maximum number of entrants to gain, in the course of their training or immediately afterwards, university degrees. I urge the responsible Ministers - the three Service Ministers and the Minister for Defence (Senator Paltridge) - to hasten developments to that end. The complex requirements of modern defence place a premium on high qualifications, whether in scientific and engineering work or, indeed, languages, statistics, and even an effective command of international law and international relations. The Martin Committee’s report lays stress in the recommendations in this section on the importance of training of Service personnel in those aspects. But there is a second reason why I urge this development.
As all honorable members know, with Service personnel subject to retirement at various ages according to rank, many men are faced with the necessity to make a second civilian career in the middle of their working lives. It would be fairer to them and to their families - and incidentally, I should think much more satisfactory to the Services and the Service departments which employ them - if they had acquired, while young, degree qualifications which would stand them in good stead for a civilian career, with the need, at the most, for a short refresher upon . retirement from the Services or from the Service departments, rather than if they were put under the strain of having to turn round in middle life, as so many do, and work part time at the National University or elsewhere in the final years of their Service careers to acquire the degree qualifications which are increasingly essential for professional or other civil careers. I would add only this: I admire the tenacity of the increasing number of Service officers who are buckling down to part time courses at the Australian National University here in Canberra. While admiring them, I sympathise with their families. I believe that those officers and the Services and Service departments would be better served if this need had been anticipated at or immediately after the Duntroon, Jervis Bay or Point Cook stages of the officers’ careers. I hope that the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Chaney) and the Minister for Air, who are in the chamber at present, will give some thought to this matter. I assure them that this is a problem that is perplexing the minds of many serving officers who are stationed in this city at present. Serving officers are being stationed here in increasing numbers.
– The officers at Point Cook get degrees there already.
– Yes, but I am talking about present serving officers who are facing retirement, and about the change that needs to be made in accordance with the recommendation of the Martin Committee which, as the Minister would know, appears on page 125 of Volume II of the report.
– Read the bit about Point Cook.
– 1 have not time to read it now, but I assure the Minister that I have read it thoroughly. I agree with the recommendations that are made and I hope that the Government will act on them.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Cockle) adjourned.
The following bills were returned from the Senate without requests -
Customs Tariff Bill (No. 1) 1965.
Customs Tariff (Canada Preference) Bill 1965.
Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Bill 1965.
Consideration of Senate’s amendment. Clause 5. (1.) The Minister may, by instrument in writing, declare a class of persons specified in the instrument to be an approved class of lenders for the purposes of this Act.
Senate’s amendment -
Leave out “The Minister may, by instrument in writing, declare a class of persons specified in the instrument “, insert “ The regulations may declare a class of persons “.
– I move -
That the Senate’s amendment be disagreed to.
The reason for the decision to reject this amendment is that it relates to a matter which in essence is an administrative one and which properly should be dealt with by a member of the Executive Government and is not appropriate for regulations. I remind the Committee that the legislation, as it was passed by this chamber, would enable the Minister of the day to prescribe certain classes of lenders as being eligible. At the time the Bill was going through this chamber I made it clear that the position was that at first the Housing Loans Insurance Corporation would not be in a position to administer all lenders and, therefore, some of the institutional lenders who are geared already and can be relied upon as approved lenders should be admitted to the scheme straight away, and then, as soon as the administrative resources of the Corporation grew, it would be able to administer additional classes of lenders. Of course, individual lenders will be approved by the Corporation.
The difficulty involved in subjecting this matter to regulation would be that, as honorable members know, the Parliament sits on only 65 to 70 days in the year and on the other 300 days it is not sitting. The bodies with whom the Corporation will be doing business need to be assured that arrangements that are made can be carried out without delay and without having hanging over them the threat that the Parliament might disallow the regulations.
Under the legislation as it stands at present, the Corporation is not entitled to admit all classes of lenders immediately. That is desirable not only for its own administrative reasons but also for the reasonable protection of the public. I have assured honorable members that we will widen the classes of persons and institutions that can be made approved lenders. In fact, that will be done. I repeat that it is not practicable to import undue delays into an administrative matter of this kind. Therefore, I ask the Committee to reject the Senate’s amendment.
.- The Opposition cannot oblige the Minister for Housing (Mr. Bury) by joining in the rejection of this amendment which comes from another place. In the other place the Opposition supported the amendment. Since then my party has had the opportunity to consider it. My party believes that the amendment should be supported in this Committee. There is no dispute that the Minister should be able to specify the classes of persons to be approved for the purposes of the Housing Loans Insurance Act. The only dispute is about the method by which he should specify such classes of persons. My party has supported consistently the Minister’s general objective of extending such classes and of encouraging persons to lend their savings for home building. There have been several opportunities to make that support clear during the last year. We believe, however, that the classes of lenders should be specified in the way that has been laid down by the other place.
The Bill, as it left this chamber, contained an extraordinary anomaly in that it provided that the Minister might, by instrument in writing, declare the classes of persons that were to be approved; that thereafter, the Housing Loans Insurance Corporation might, by instrument in writing, approve a person included in such a class as a lender; and that thereupon the Corporation should cause notice of its approval to be published in the “Gazette”. If this amendment is rejected, the first that members of the public or of the Parliament will know of the Minister’s approval will be if the Corporation follows up that approval by publishing a subsidiary approval in the “ Gazette “. The Senate’s amendment provides that the Minister’s approval should be given by way of regulation. If the Minister’s approval is given in that way, it appears in a public document. It appears in a way which is subject to disapproval by the House. I have been shocked in the last few months to come across an instance of ministerial or administrative approval, or specification, being made in a private and surreptitious manner. This matter is mentioned in my question No. 984 on the notice paper. The Tuberculosis Act of 1948 made it possible for the Director-General of Social Services to make determinations. There is no obligation on the DirectorGeneral to publish his determinations in the “ Gazette “ or in any other place. The Director-General, at some time in secret, made a determination which excluded Aborigines from the payment of tuberculosis allowance. The scandalous position is that the persons in Australia who suffer from tuberculosis more than all other Australians combined receive between them tuberculosis allowances in half a dozen cases only. This is an instance of administrative decision being made under an act of Parliament but being concealed from the public.
In some other cases, such as under the National Health Act, as a matter of practice determinations appear in the “ Gazette “. I do not think it is satisfactory for determinations or approvals by the Minister to be made secretly. I do not think it is satisfactory for the public to find out, if at all, by way of a consequential announcement by the Corporation in the “Gazette”. The Parliament should be able to check the Minister’s approval. If it is made by regulation then it has to be tabled in the Parliament and has to be announced in the “ Gazette “. When either House sits it can take appropriate action to disapprove the regulation embodying the Minister’s approval.
The Minister says that inconvenience can arise through the fact that the Parliament sits on only 60 or 70 days a year. More precisely it should be said that the Parliament sits at the most only between February and June and between August and December and that during other periods it would not be possible for the Parliament to review any regulations. I do not see any inconvenience arising from this. The regulations stand until or unless they are disallowed by the Parliament. I forget what the relevant statute says. It may be that acts done under regulations which are disallowed stand. If they do not, this Act itself can cover that situation. If there is any real difficulty on the point the Minister makes then the Act can provide that the Minister’s approval shall be made in a regulation and that if the regulation is subsequently-
– It is only for the class of lender that the Minister gives his consent, and that appears in the “ Gazette “.
– I disagree with the honorable member; the Minister’s approval does not appear in the “ Gazette “. Surely he will concede that if the Corporation’s consequential determination appears in the “ Gazette “, similarly the Minister’s prior determination should appear in the “ Gazette “ too. Why not have them both in the “Gazette”? Better still, why not have the Minister’s determination in a regulation which appears in the “ Gazette “ and which is then subject to review by the House? When the honorable member made his scarcely audible interjection I was saying that if the Minister thinks there is any disadvantage in having his approval embodied in regulations which can be disallowed, the position can be covered by saying that if anybody has acted on a regulation which is subsequently disallowed that action will remain in force and continue in force; that it will be only actions subsequent to the disallowance of the regulation which will be precluded.
To sum up, the Minister’s discretion in these matters is not in issue, but the publicity to be attached to his actions is in issue. The Parliament should retain control of the Minister’s determinations. To do that, the Minister’s determinations should take the form of regulations. The argument which the Minister has put can be applied to any ministerial or administrative determinations under acts which this Parliament passes. We should not retreat from the Parliament’s supervision of delegated legislation. We should, in fact, extend the Parliament’s control of such legislation.
Question put -
That the Senate’s amendment be disagreed to.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. P. E. Lucock.)
Majority . . . . 14
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Resolution reported; report adopted.
That Mr. Howson, Mr. Chaney and Mr. Bury be appointed a committee to draw up reasons for the House of Representatives disagreeing to the amendment of the Senate.
.- On behalf of the committee I present the reasons for the House of Representatives disagreeing to the amendment of the Senate. (Thereupon the Clerk read the reasons as follows -
The matter provided for by the sub-clause to which the Senate amendment relates is an administrative matter proper to be dealt with by a member of the Executive Government, namely, the Minister. It is not an appropriate matter for regulations, which are legislative in nature.)
I move -
That the committee’s reasons be adopted.
Motion (by Mr. Whitlam) put -
That the debate be adjourned.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Sir John McLeay.)
Question so resolved in the negative.
.- Mr. Speaker, I cannot, of course, reflect on any decision of the House, but I am still surprised that honorable members were willing to vote in favour of considering reasons which they have not seen. The Minister for Housing (Mr. Bury) had the consent of the House for himself, Mr. Howson and Mr. Chaney to prepare the reasons. Nobody was more surprised than were Mr. Howson and Mr. Chaney-
– We spent all evening doing this.
– The honorable and gallant gentlemen have not yet seen the reasons which they prepared. You yourself, Mr. Speaker, have not seen them. They are not even roneoed. I have a mere carbon copy. Who else has even a carbon copy?
– A carbon copy of what?
– I should have thought that the honorable and gallant gentleman would have required general routine orders to be available to all honorable members. This document will be more secret than the Minister’s determinations under the Act. Nobody will see the reasons. Not only are the Minister’s reasons being withheld from all honorable gentlemen, but they are different reasons to the ones he just gave to us. The honorable gentleman’s reasons were that it would be inconvenient to have to give his determinations in regulations because the Parliament might not be sitting when the regulations were made; the Parliament might sit for 14 days or so before it disallowed the regulations; nothing could be done under the regulations until the Parliament had taken or had lost the opportunity of disallowing them. This situation would be inconvenient, according to the honorable gentleman. In the reasons which are being conveyed to the other place, however, no reference is made to the reasons he gave to this House. He has given a completely new set of reasons. In the other place honorable senators will be given reasons for agreeing with this House which this House was not given. Honorable gentlemen in the other place will have to read “ Hansard “ in order to understand the reasons which moved the majority of this House.
The Minister has said that the reason for leaving him the sole and secret discretion for giving approval is that this is an administrative function and therefore something which appertains to him alone and which he should not even publish in the “Gazette”. To lay the matter down in regulations he declares would be a legislative function. In the companion Bill - the Homes Savings Grant Bill - where we were concerned with similar financial institutions Which were approved repositories for savings, the Parliament discharged a legislative function because all those organisations are specified in the legislation. Where a discretion is exercised by the Minister or by the Secretary of the Department of Housing, the discretion is published in the “Gazette”. Under the Bill that we are now discussing, when the Minister decides that any person is to be approved he does not tell anyone except the Corporation and then, if the Corporation decides to pick out any persons in this class, it publishes the fact in the “ Gazette “. If, under the Homes Savings Grant Bill, this was primarily a legislative function but in all events a public function, why should it not be a legislative function under mis Bill and why should it not also be a public function under this Bill?
We have the situation that if a financial institution is to be approved under the Homes Savings Grant Act, it will be specified in the Act or, if it is determined later, it will appear in the “Gazette”. If under the Housing Loans Insurance Act a financial institution is to be approved, nobody will know until, pursuant to the Minister’s approval, the Corporation publishes in the “ Gazette “ the name of some institution which falls into that class. It is a legislative function in each case or in neither case. It at least should be exercised in public in both cases. We will vote against the reasons, partly because we think they are not the reasons which the Minister gave when he persuaded the Committee to reject the Senate’s amendment and partly because the reasons are not valid in any case.
.- Tonight we have been given another example of the way that the Government plays with the Parliament. By a majority vote, the Senate decided that an amendment should be inserted in the Bill to bring a certain part of it under parliamentary supervision. The amendment has been brought to this House, but we have not been given any chance to discuss it further or to hear the reasons for the decision to reject it. What is the choice that we must make tonight? We must choose between the Parliament itself and one of its servants, a Minister of the Crown. The Minister has placed before us the proposition that it is better for him to retain this power in his sole keeping than to explain to Parliament by regulation what he is about. This is an example of the unfailing arrogance of the Executive in these times, and the arrogance of the Executive is increasing. Every Minister in this place is a servant of the Parliament and a member of the Parliament. He holds his office only because he is a member of the Parliament. We must decide whether the sovereignty of the Parliament should prevail or whether the Ministry should continue to administer the country in secrecy.
In the 10 years that I have been here I have seen increasing evidence of the tendency to place power in the hands of the Executive. The Ministry is given the right to make decisions affecting the lives and the affairs of ordinary people but continually fails to explain its actions to the community generally. There is a failure to observe resolutions of the Parliament. Only a few weeks ago, a majority of this House decided that the people of Canberra should be given the right to say at a referendum whether their water supplies should be fluoridated. Nothing has been done to implement this resolution. As far as I am concerned, it matters not whether that was a sound decision. But the Parliament having passed such a resolution, it is a piece of arrogance and conceit on the part of the Ministry to refuse to carry it into effect. Some 18 months ago, a select committee of this Parliament, of which a Minister was a member, decided that a standing committee should be appointed to look into the affairs of the Aboriginal people of Yirrkala and Arnhem Land. Despite the passage of time and the fact that a member of the committee is now a Minister, the Government has refused to give effect to the committee’s recommendation. This is another instance of ministerial arrogance and conceit.
We continually have before us examples of the conceit of Ministers. We see this with the naturalisation of people as members of the Australian community. At least two friends of mine have, by a secret decision, been refused their rights as Australian citizens and no reasons have been given. I mention these matters to the House because they are examples of ministerial abuse of authority. Only in the last few days a decision was made to refuse visas to people who wanted to come to this country from Russia.
– Would the honorable member have let them in?
– Yes. The question before the House in all these matters is the right of people to a fair and open discussion of their position. They have a right to have any decision affecting them brought into the light of public scrutiny. It is in this situation that we must view regulations. Regulations must be considered by the Parliament. They are open to public scrutiny. The very essence of representative parliamentary democracy is public policies publicly arrived at and publicly administered. There is too much secrecy in the administration of this country. There are too many ivory towers around the Australian Capital Territory in which Ministers secrete themselves. This is the issue before the Parliament tonight. There would be no point, of course, in opening anything up for scrutiny by the honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Lindsay), who is interjecting.
– Order! The matter before the Chair is the reasons. This is not an occasion for a broad debate. I ask the honorable member to confine his remarks to the subject before the Chair.
– I gather that it is considered more appropriate for the Minister to make a decision. To me, this is a plain choice between ministerial discretion and parliamentary government. I do not think that Parliament could regard it in any other way, and I hope tonight that honorable members will see that they have before them a decision of this nature. They must decide whether Parliament shall prevail or whether Ministers shall rule in secrecy. I have no doubt that the objective judgment of honorable members opposite, knowing them as I do, despite the differences between us, would certainly lead them to vote as Opposition members will vote on this matter.
Question put -
That the Committee’s reasons be adopted.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Sir John McLeay.)
Majority . . . 15
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Mr. Bury) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
– I referred recently to the report of a speech made at Dubbo by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon). on the airlines dispute. The reference sent the Minister into a tailspin, and in a frenzy and a panic he has by telephone and courier endeavoured to secure a copy of the article. As he was evidently unable to obtain a copy of it by the Dubbo-Canberra air service, I propose to save him worry and expense by reading the article to him. I think it will be interesting, informative and refreshing to all concerned. The article is from the “ Dubbo Dispatch” of Wednesday 3rd March 1965. On its back page the newspaper has an article headed “ No Bull- by ‘ Hec ‘ “. On the other side of the page is an article headed “ All Bull, by W. McMahon “. This is what the second article says -
Just how naive can you be?
Dubbo businessmen were treated on Monday afternoon to the most political of all non-political speeches heard in Dubbo for many years.
Honourable W. McMahon, architect of the AnsettMenzies plan to create an Australia wide monopoly for Mr. Reg Ansett in the Australian aviation field, charmed and delighted with a speech that left Dubbo nauseated with the feeling that if East-West Airlines took over the Dubbo-Sydney route the Commonwealth would not be responsible for the safety of the passengers.
What a shocking thing. The article continues - “There is a deadlock between-
Listen to this -
State and Commonwealth “, he admitted under prompting. “ It could be months before a settlement is reached.” “But not if Mr. Renshaw lost the election,” he hinted.
Cannot you imagine him sparkling on that? The article continues -
Asked if East-West would be capable of running a similar service to the successful one run by Airlines of N.S.W., he hedged. “ At this moment we don’t know if they could “, he said. “There was a time they couldn’t. . .
What unadulterated stuff and baloney.
– Who said that?
– This is what the “Dubbo Dispatch “ says. It continues -
Mr. McMahon repeated time and time again that his visit to Dubbo was not a political one.
He said he only came here to gauge public feeling in Dubbo.
Again what stuff and nonsense.
That is what the article says. It continues -
Mr. McMahon came to Dubbo at the express invitation of Mr. John Mason, Liberal candidate for the vacant Dubbo seat, to support him in his candidature and use every political trick in his dubious trade to assist Mr. Mason.
The article goes on to say that no criticism is implied of the candidate. Then it continues -
A justifiably worried Dubbo Chamber of Commerce fell into the political trap.
A gourmet Amaroo luncheon preceded the deputation’s hearing.
The newspaper then says that the luncheon was attended by prominent citizens including the Minister. Time does not permit me to read the names. It continues -
Mr. John Mason said Grace before the meal.
So the function started off pretty well. The article continues -
And while an unctuous Mr. McMahon, fingers interlocked as if in prayer, preached the Commonwealth Gospel, John Mason sat, like the proverbial Cheshire cat which has swallowed the canary, reverently beaming on his flock.
What a magnificent spectacle. Then the article goes on -
Mr. McMahon told the meeting time and time again that the main responsibility of the Commonwealth was the safety of passengers carried. “ Who knows but there could be a terrible wreck if we did not exercise this right?” he said.
His insinuation was that it could happen if EastWest ran the service.
What hypocrisy and baloney.
What a good newspaper this is. It continues -
The Minister (the Federal one) detailed the airline issue as his Government saw it. “ The N.S.W. Government has won certain rights to license airline operators “, he admitted, “ but we have won the right to look after the safety of passengers and the maintenance of airfields.”
A great thinker, this Minister. The article continues -
Pretending that it was a completely nonpolitical visit to gauge the feeling of Dubbo people Mr. McMahon felt the necessity of having exGroup Captain Waddy, Liberal M.L.A. with the proud record of having been mentioned in recent Macquarie St. (Sydney) dispatches, support him when he felt at a loss for words.
Mr. Waddy went on to say certain things which do not concern us very much here. Then the newspaper article goes on -
Dubbo Chamber of Commerce is rightly deeply concerned at the lack of a Sydney-Dubbo air service.
But it must never again allow itself to be aligned with a political gimmick.
Its members include Liberal, Country Party and Labour supporters.
On this occasion, in an admirable desire to be of service to the community, it allowed itself to be drawn into the malignant vortex of party politics and inadvertently supported Commonwealth propaganda.
Fancy misleading an organisation along that line. The article goes on -
Only one good thing came out of this debacle. After a period of back-scratching, sly smiles and nodding of heads between Waddy, Mason and McMahon, the advice was given that the only thing that could be done for Dubbo’s airline was to ask Mr. Renshaw to explain his position to the people of Dubbo.
This newspaper says - “ Let’s face it Jack “ will now have to do just that thing.
The newspaper then goes on -
We have no mandate for Mr. Renshaw.
We have said so openly. “ Where the hell’s our airline, Jack? “, we asked him recently and the echo was published throughout the State.
We still say the same.
But we just cannot stomach the soothing syrup forced down our throats on Monday with a waddy, and poured by the oh so non-political hand of a professional politician who came to Dubbo just “ to meet the people.”
The article ends with this dramatic note -
Hostess, bring that paper bag.
At the end of the article the following appears -
Soon after the meeting a large black car that looked like a Friendship on wheels, drew up outside the Dispatch office in Church Street.
A worried individual with the look of a harassed secretary rushed into the office and demanded to see the editor. “Mr. McMahon, who is outside, wants to correct one or two things he said this afternoon,” this person panted.
The Minister had him running - “For example he called the N.S.W. Government a reactionary one and he wouldn’t like that reported.”
Is not that really liberal! The newspaper went on to say -
For that reason we have not bothered to include Mr. McMahon’s many indiscreet words in our editorial. After all, it was a non-political meeting.
Then it ends with that famous phrase -
Hostess, bring another bag.
I place that on record tonight. The Minister said, of course, that the article was scurrilous, wrong and incorrect. What 1 have just read is not the hand-out he gave to the Dubbo “Liberal”. This one was written by a reporter who took the notes down. But the Minister is a real democrat. He supports only newspapers that write him up and praise him. To hang with those who happen to print the truth about these things.
The fact that I have read this article indicates that the Minister made this speech in that way, and it completely destroys the argument he has advanced in this House. I hope that the Minister is pleased with what I have submitted to him tonight. I hope that he will have an explanation, and that he will tell the people why the Commonwealth Government has refused to give the Dubbo people an airline. Although the Government lost the case before the High Court and the Privy Council it still will not grant a licence to one of the best airlines in New South Wales, a real countryman’s airline - East-West Airlines Limited.
The Dubbo “ Liberal “ can print what it likes- I have read out the tirade of the Minister for Labour and National Service. Long may he be spared to visit Dubbo to make such orations. It is glorious to know that in a non-political atmosphere he can blossom forth in a way that inspires editors to print words of that nature. It shows the liberal approach of the Minister and the fact that at all times he is prepared to accept whatever he says as having been said, provided, of course, it is not used politically against him, as he said we have endeavoured to do in this Parliament. I know that today the Minister has been in touch by telephone, at Government expense, with the “ Dubbo Dispatch “.
– That is untrue.
– Well, by courier or a roundabout way. I suppose it is like the committee that we heard tonight has been set up. It is one of those mysterious things that work and nobody sees them in action.
To save the Government money, and to save the Minister another worried and harassed night, and in order that he may know truthfully the full substance of whit is in the article, I have read it to him tonight with pleasure. I regret very much that the great reputation of the Minister is so tarnished in this House by the revelation I have made of the proof of the statements about which I asked questions and which the Minister denied. They are now available for all the nation to see and for al! the Parliament to heaT.
.- Mr. Speaker, normally I would not reply to the speech of this silly little man were it not that he has made three statements that are inaccurate. I do not mind what the “ Dubbo Dispatch “ said. What that newspaper writes is its own business. If it attempts to write an article which it might regard as humorous, frivolous or highly critical, I have no comment to make. That is its business, and exclusively its business. I do go on to point out two factors. The first is that apparently I was alleged to have pulled up outside the office of the “ Dubbo Dispatch “ in a huge black motorcar. Obviously this was to try to create the impression that I went in a Commonwealth car. I heard that criticism myself subsequently. The truth of the matter is that the whole of the expenses for this trip were paid by me personally. My expenses up there and back by aircraft, the expenses whilst I was there, and all other expenses whilst I was in Dubbo and in Narromine were paid by me personally. I did not use a Commonwealth car. I was not in a black car the whole of the time I was there. So, if there was an attempt to create the impression that I was in a Commonwealth car or that I was using a car other than that -
– The honorable member for Grayndler did not refer to a Commonwealth car.
– The honorable member said a black car and tried to create the impression that I was using a car other than the car belonging to Mr. Mason.
The second allegation is that I or some other person representing me went into the office of the “Dubbo Dispatch”. To my knowledge no person with my authority or with my knowledge went into the office of the “ Dubbo Dispatch “. We did go into the office of the “Dubbo Liberal”. We made no statement whatsoever to the “Dubbo Liberal “ whilst we were there.
– Who were “ we “?
– Mr. John Mason, Mr. Waddy and myself. So, Sir, you will see that this poor unfortunate creature laughing as he is, giggling his head off-
– Do not let it get you down.
– No, I am not. The honorable member, not able ever to treat this House seriously, has been wrong at least on these two factors. He then went on to say that 1 have attempted today to contact the “ Dubbo Dispatch “. Again he is not truthful. Neither I nor any person to my knowledge or with my approval has contacted the “Dubbo Dispatch” today or since I was last in Dubbo three or four weeks ago. So I point these facts out purely for the purpose of indicating that a statement has been made by the honorable member which is untrue.
There is an attempt to make the implication that I said that the Commonwealth would not be responsible for the safety of aircraft passengers if East-West Airlines Ltd. had a contract to take passengers to and from Dubbo. I did not make any statement from which this implication could be legitimately drawn. I was asked whether East-West Airlines had the necessary aircraft. I replied that I did not know whether or not the company had them. That statement was subsequently verified by Mr. Renshaw, the Premier of New South Wales who, after a meeting of his Cabinet down south, came out of the meeting and said: “ East-West Airlines has not the aircraft to run the Dubbo route”.
– That is not right.
– Is the honorable member prepared to apologise humbly if I can produce the statement made by Mr. Renshaw.
– I want to see you produce it.
– So, regarding the part that is relevant, I made no statement about safety other than that I said that the High Court of Australia itself had on the question of air safety decided that this question was one for the Commonwealth Government and not for the State Government.
I conclude in the same way as I did yesterday when the honorable gentleman asked his question yesterday. When I went up to Dubbo I set out to find out the facts, and these were the facts: The people of Dubbo admitted they had a first class service running three times a day and it was unequalled in the country areas of New South Wales. It was run by Airlines of New South Wales Ltd. I was asked the question whether, if this line was confiscated by a decision of the New South Wales Government, it would mean that it would be confiscated without any compensation for Airlines of New South Wales. I gave the answer: “ Yes, it would.” Then I was asked a subsequent question. I would like this to be known and I hope it is published because it is the honorable gentleman for Grayndler who is getting the Labour Government of New South Wales into political trouble. It will, I am sure, have a decisive impact and will result in the loss of the election by the New South Wales Government this coming Saturday. The honorable member must take the responsibility for his stupidity, not Mr. Renshaw.
I was asked a subsequent question: “ Would not this mean if there could be confiscation of the assets of an airline company by the New South Wales Government that that Government could confiscate my retail business? Would not it mean that it could confiscate my garage business? “ Sir, logically J was compelled to give the answer as you or any other sane member of this House would do that if a Government could confiscate one man’s business without compensation, it could confiscate any other man’s business provided it was in its constitutional power.
I want to point this out. We won an election in 1949 and we have never been defeated since. One of the great issues on which the election was fought was an attempt to nationalise the trading banks and the unhappy gentleman opposite was one of the members of the Chifley Labour Government who made the attempt. I now point out that there is no difference between the activities of him and his peculiar colleagues in 1949 and the activities of Mr. Renshaw and his equally peculiar colleagues in attempting to confiscate the assets of Airlines of New South Wales, without compensation, and hand them over to East-West Airlines. I have said - and I want to repeat - that this matter could be easily settled with common sense on the part of Mr. Renshaw. He has acted arbitrarily and pigheadedly. There is no prospect of settlement if pigheadedness is permitted to prevail over common sense. This matter could be settled in days to the satisfaction of both companies. It cannot be settled to the satisfaction of both companies if Mr. Renshaw persists that there is only one basis for settlement and that basis of settlement is on his own terms, which are the confiscation of the assets built up by a man over 16 years who is providing the best service that any country town has in the whole of New South Wales.
. This is not what I got up to speak about tonight.
– Sit down, then, and allow the debate on the other matter to continue.
– I have sat down several times for other speakers. I do not intend to sit down for anyone else tonight. The Whip is not here to be the doormat all the time. I wish to comment on the speech of the Minister in this way: It was a perfect example of hypocrisy to hear the Minister speak as he did tonight about a government taking over, stealing or robbing the assets of private companies. This Government over the last 15 solid years has just about put Trans-Australia Airlines out of business by a process of nationalisation, the . very thing that the Premier of New South Wales is attempting to do in his state. I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service, who is leaving the chamber, to come back and listen’ to the rest of this statement.
Mr. Speaker, I just want to point out that the honorable gentlemen opposite should be fair about this matter and they are not. The Premier of New South Wales is doing in that State what this Government has done in the Federal sphere in the way of rationalisation. Airlines of N.S.W. Pty. Ltd., the company which the Government is trying to protect, has been given special consideration time and time again. It has been given consideration the like of which has never been given to any private company in any other country. If this airline cannot make a profit in this country, that is not the Government’s fault. The Government has done everything possible for it. It has leant over backwards to help the airline. It has given loans, granted television licences and all the rest in order to keep the airline in operation. I feel that it was absolute hypocrisy on the part of. the Minister for Labour and National Service to speak in the way in which he did tonight in reply to the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly), who shot him down in flames.
Reference to shooting down in flames leads me to the second subject about which I shall speak. I wish to refer to a Tasmanianborn aviator named Harold Gatty who died in Fiji, I understand, in 1957. Tonight I make a plea to the Government to honour this airman in some way. He has been honoured to some extent by the erection of a special obelisk in Campbelltown, in the midlands of Tasmania, where he was born, but, so far as I know, that is the only place in Australia where he has been honoured.
We are loath to honour our own people in this country, although we are prepared to raise thousands of pounds for the Sir Winston Churchill appeal. I point out that many deserving Australians have not been honoured in any way. Once again I refer to my late friend, Mr. King O’Malley, who still has no street or suburb named after him in this wonderful city, which he was responsible for creating. Tn my view, that is a scandalous omission. The question of honouring Harold Gatty may not have been put to the Government yet. I am putting it tonight, and I will continue to fight for the recognition of Harold Gatty just as I have fought for the recognition of King O’Malley.
I remind the House that Harold Gatty made a famous flight around the world with Wiley Post in 1931. Later, when he was with the Douglas aircraft company in the United States of America, he invented certain navigational equipment which became standard equipment in aircraft. It is still being used throughout the world. He was not only an aviator but also a technical and engineering expert. We are deriving benefit from his inventions even now. I shall not give his history in full tonight. I might deal with it in more detail later. In view of all this, and also in view of Harold Garry’s achievements in the Second World War, when he attained the rank of Group Captain in the Royal Australian Air Force, I appeal to the Government to name an airfield after him. For the life of me, I do not know why we should choose a name like Tullamarine, for the jet airfield situated outside Melbourne. What does the name Tullamarine mean? What does it stand for? It stands for absolutely nothing. 1 feel that it is far better to name airfields, especially important national ones after individuals than to give them even aboriginal names, although we do have quite a number of place’s in Australia with aboriginal names. I appeal to the Government to honour Harold Gatty by naming an airfield or airport after him.
Another matter to which I wish to refer relates to those unemployed people in Australia today who are forced to send in to the Department of Social Services on a prescribed form a weekly record of their search for work. This is a humiliating, expensive and embarrassing requirement. Many of these unemployed men are over 50 years of age. Many of them live in country areas, up to 50 miles distant from a city. Because of this, they incur heavy travelling expenses in their search for work. They are forced, under the Social Services Act, to do a door knocking, office and factory crawl every week and to enter on a prescribed form the names of the firms to which they applied and the reasons for their non-acceptance for work. I have on my files records of many people who are caught up in this weekly search for work, in this difficult and embarrassing door knocking weekly grind. I urge the Minister to seek an amendment of the Act to extend the period covered by these reports at least to a fortnight. If an unemployed person fails to record on the supplied form every week the names of the firms or the businesses visited, his unemployment benefit may be suspended. I know cases in which it has been suspended. I appeal for a little humanity to be shown to these people.
I suggest also that the Government introduce a new type of pension in the social services field, to be called an unemploy ability pension, similar to that now payable under the Repatriation Act to about 14,000 ex-servicemen. I am thinking in particular of a small group of Australians who are suffering incapacity of just under 85 per cent., who are, therefore, ineligible for an invalid pension, but are too old to hold down a job. Many of these people are over 50 years of age. and there is just no work for them. They did not have a top class education and therefore never had a chance to become tradesmen. Their health and their age prevent them from holding a job. This is a tragic group of people. They are in what might be termed the no-man’s land of social service, in the shadows between twilight and darkness. They deserve something better than the unemployment benefit, which can be obtained and continued only by performing weekly a wearying, embarrassing tramp from boss to boss and from factory to factory.
A special benefit is provided by the Department of Social Services, but none of the cases I have on my books can qualify for this obscure, meaningless special benefit. I have not yet met anyone who is receiving it, or who has had it. It behoves the Government, and the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Sinclair) in particular, who I am glad to see is now in the House, to hear my plea, to consider my suggestion that much deserved security be given to a small group of men who just miss out on the invalid pension and are prevented by both age and ill health from holding down a job. Let us have an unemployability pension similar to that paid under the Repatriation Act. The Department of Repatriation has led the way in this field. It is up-to the Department of Social Services to follow that lead and to grant an unemployability pension to people who cannot work and who just fail to qualify for the invalid pension.
.- Yesterday I addressed to the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck) a question about Vietnam and the entry into this country of photographs and films which purport to come from North Vietnam. In this morning’s “ Australian “ there appeared a photograph under the heading “ Question “ and the sub-heading “Who Sent This Communist Propaganda? ‘ “. Underneath the photograph are the words - “ Answer - America.
This is one of the photographs to which Mr. Killen referred. It was sent by United Press International, an American news agency, in its normal Press service.”
For the sake of accuracy, I read to the House the question which I asked, lt was -
My question, which Indirect to the Minister for External Affairs, concerns photographs and film shown in this country of what purport to be scenes of destruction caused in North Vietnam by United States of America air strikes and military activity against the Vietcong. Will the honorable gentleman say whether he knows who arranges for. the despatch from North Vietnam of the photographs and film and their entry into Australia?
With very great respect to the “Australian “, I submit that the article conveys the impression that the answer to the question is that it is United Press International, an American news agency. My question plainly invited an answer as to who arranges for the despatch of these things from North Vietnam. I would respectfully submit that, to the best of my knowledge, belief and information, there is no bureau of United Press International in North Vietnam. I am not rubbishing working journalists. I do not attack them for doing a job. But this layout has a quality of cynicism and avant garde sophistication that does not do much credit to journalistic ethics in this country. I invited the Minister, and he undertook, to make some inquiries to ascertain who was responsible for sending this material to Australia from North Vietnam. I make my motives plain. If this material comes to Australia from North Vietnam, I have no objection, provided that equal facilities and opportunities are provided for material of the other kind, as it were, to go into North Vietnam. The principle should cut both ways.
The “Australian” this morning, regrettably, gives the impression, first of all, that this material comes from United States official sources through United Press International. The report bears a Tokyo bureau identification. This does not answer the question. I submit, Mr. Speaker - at least tentatively - that this material, particularly the television film, is sent out of North Vietnam by official Communist sources to Tokyo and from there out into the world. Those are the circumstances as I see them. I hope that if my submission is correct, and if this material is not sent by United Press International, which, in my view, has no bureau in North Vietnam, the “ Austra lian” will find that quality of courtesy at least to offer an apology not only to the United States of America but also to United Press International.
.- Mr. Speaker, I propose to speak principally on the dispute between East-West Airlines Ltd. and Airlines of New South Wales Pty. Ltd., but perhaps I should briefly refer to the matter mentioned by the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen). On 28th October last, I placed on the notice paper a question, addressed to the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck), in these words -
When did the Government first become aware of the procedures adopted by the Government of South Vietnam in interrogating guerrillas and illustrated in Australian newspapers on 28th October?
On 16th March, the honorable gentleman gave an evasive reply in these terms -
I am not prepared to conclude that an unattributed photograph of the type referred to is representative of procedures which have the approval of the Government of the Republic of Vietnam. Nor do I think that it would be proper for me to comment on the affairs of a friendly government on the basis of an unattributed Press photograph. The Australian Government does not, of course, condone the use of torture or ill treatment of prisoners.
That was merely the first occasion on which the Minister avoided accepting any responsibility for what goes on in Vietnam, on the basis that he does not know and will not find out. The photographs on which I based my question appeared at the time in most of the metropolitan newspapers in Australia and probably in a great number of the country ones as well. These photographs came from the usual news agencies. There has been no suggestion that these were faked, inaccurate or untypical photographs. It is quite wrong for the Minister, as he has done, to say: “ Oh, yes, but atrocities and destruction just as great have occurred on the other side “. The Minister, on this question, has adopted the usual unhelpful, negative and obstructive attitude which he and his Government have displayed on the whole question of Vietnam for 10 years, and more particularly in the last 10 months and 10 weeks.
The questions concerning these photographs, about which the honorable member for Moreton asked yesterday, are these: Are they accurate? Are they typical? Nobody has disputed that they are accurate.
Nobody has said that they do not represent what is happening. These photographs of atrocities and so on were published. Atrocities have occurred on both sides, and it ill becomes the Minister to say that these are unattributed photographs, because every newspaper states where it obtained them. There is no dispute that these are accurate photographs. We just cannot be indifferent to the events which are here depicted. The rest of the world will not sympathise with our indifference.
Now, Sir, I turn to the airlines dispute. It is astonishing to hear the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) say that he now wishes this question to be looked at, as he says, in the context of confiscation. I do not think we need to sympathise too much with the financial plight of Ansett Transport Industries Ltd., one of the many subsidiaries of which is Airlines of New South Wales. I said last night, and the Minister in charge of the debate in which I was speaking did not contradict me in any respect, that Ansett Transport Industries is guaranteed by this Government against any loss whatever. Not only is it guaranteed against any loss, but it is guaranteed that it will still show a 10 per cent, dividend on all its capital and all its borrowing after allowing for depreciation, taxes and so on. So, even if Airlines of New South Wales, Channel 10 in Melbourne and the new television station in Brisbane which Ansett surreptitiously bought, in defiance of the recommendations of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board and of the Postmaster-General (Mr. Hulme), lose money, the parent company, Ansett Transport Industries Ltd., will still show a clear dividend of 10 per cent. The Government has given an undertaking to this effect. The present Minister for Defence (Senator Paltridge) has very frankly stated this fact again and again. Ansett Transport Industries is the only private company, according to my recollection, which is enshrined in the Commonwealth statutes. It is the only one to which the Commonwealth Government has given a statutory guarantee.
Let us take Airlines of New South Wales in isolation from the rest of the Ansett interests. What sympathy has the Government exhibited for Trans-Australia Airlines when, as a result of decisions by the Go vernment, it has suffered losses? Nobody in the Government parties complained when T.A.A. was robbed of £400,000 in fuel tax which it alone was obliged to pay until Ansett acquired Viscount aircraft under an agreement of which the old airline of Australian National Airways Pty. Ltd. had refused to avail itself. Nobody in the Government parties complained when T.A.A. lost £400,000 while waiting for the Electra aircraft which it had been compelled to order. There was no cross chartering of Electras at that time, as there was no tossing of a coin to ensure that the Electras were equally shared from the beginning. Nobody in the Government parties has complained yet at the fact that T.A.A. loses £300,000 a year because it has to share the Darwin route.
In the first three years of litigation in the dispute between Airlines of New South Wales and East- West Airlines - this litigation has gone on for nearly four years now - East- West Airlines lost £1.5 million in revenue and £150,000 in profits. Because of the dilatory litigation which took place before the High Court of Australia, (hen before the Privy Council and again before the High Court, East-West Airlines has lost already profits totalling more than £200.000. But nobody in the Government parties talks about confiscation here. When East-West Airlines wanted to import another Friendship aircraft, the Government refused it a licence to do so. When the airline asked the Government to give it a guarantee on the same conditions as those obtained’ by A.N.A., to enable it to get a low interest rate on its borrowings, the Government refused. When the Government dees not want an airline to compete, as happened when Butler wanted to re-establish himself, it does not permit that airline to import the necessary aircraft; it does not help it to borrow the money for purchase in the way in which it helped A.N.A.; and it refuses to license the airline to operate to a particular aerodrome. In fact, all that the New South Wales Government has advocated is that there should be a 50-50 sharing of air transport services within New South Wales, such as the Commonwealth Government for over 10 years has insisted on taking place in airlines air traffic between the different States.
The Commonwealth took part in this litigation, but took so long in filing its pleadings that it took three years to get the first decision from the High Court - not because of any delay by the High Court but because of delay by the litigants. The greatest delay was by the Commonwealth’s own advisers. The whole record of this is in “Hansard” in the latter part of 1962. The then honorable member for Evans and the then honorable member for New England asked the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) questions about it, and the time that the Commonwealth took to file its documents appears in answers which the Prime Minister gave those two honorable gentlemen who were then members of the House. If it is fair for the Commonwealth Government to ensure that air traffic between States is equally shared so that both airlines will be viable, it is equally right for the New South Wales Government to ensure that there will be an equal sharing of air traffic within the State so that there will be two viable airlines. But the Commonwealth Government’s objection, the Askin party’s objection, the Liberal objection to East-West Airlines is that it is the only airline in Australia still competing within a State against the AnsettTransport Industries Ltd. subsidiaries. It is the only airline in Australia giving ontraffic to T.A.A. It operates in the only State where the State Government does not knuckle under to this Liberal Government and to the Liberal Party. The litigation has gone on for nearly four years. The legal position is quite plain. The New South Wales Government has said: “ We will give alternate days for services to both airlines to Dubbo”.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– I think the House will have noted with some regret the left wing attitude that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) took in regard to the Vietnam affair. One would have thought that he would have appreciated the force of what the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) had said earlier and what the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) had said today on this matter. Terrible atrocities have been committed by the Vietcong, atrocities so bad that one newspaper editor said that he was unable to publish the pictures of them. If this thing is to be held in perspective, if we are to realise that there will be reprisals for atrocities, can we not ask whether in North Vietnam today there are means for publishing the atrocities perpetrated by North Vietnamese forces? It is a left wing attitude to demand that this be all on one side, to demand that we should have facilities for them to make their propaganda among us while we do not have facilities to make our propaganda on the other side of the iron curtain. When this repression and Press censorship on the other side of the iron curtain is continuing, surely it is left wing to demand that the balance be all on our side.
But this is what I rose to say. I rose with some pleasure to record the efficiency of the Library; and you, Mr. Speaker, are Deputy Chairman of the Library Committee. It will be recalled that some time ago I was hoping to get for honorable members a text - possibly a verbatim text on tape - of what the Deputy Leader of the Opposition had said in regard to himself. I was unable to obtain from the telecast company concerned-
– But the Library had it when the honorable member asked his question.
– This is what I am saying. Luckily I was able to obtain from the Library - and I have acknowledged the efficiency of the Library - an official text issued by the Australian Labour Party. I should like to remind the House of the relevant section, which I shall read verbatim. This must be correct because it is the official Labour Party text. The following question was directed to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) -
I have read that Mr. Calwell has so much left wing support in Victoria that eventually the plan is to push Or. Jim Cairns in as leader. How do you feel about this?
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition answered -
I read this, too, but of course I am considerably to the left of Mr. Calwell. I am much more in accord, ideologically, with Dr. Cairns than with Mr. Calwell.
I put those words on record as the official text of the Australian Labour Party. It is interesting to see these left wing attitudes develop. The Australian Labour Party is split between right and left. This is not just something which is found only in this Parliament. It is right through the Labour Party and it is not always possible to tell who is left and who is right. For a long time we thought that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition was a right winger, but now he has revealed himself as a left winger. This is what he says of himself. He is going towards Dr. Cairns, whom one would naturally think of as the extreme left winger of the Party. In the Labour Party in New South Wales, for example, it is not always easy to tell which is the right wing and which is the left. I know that the present Premier of New South Wales, Mr. Renshaw, for example, is believed in some quarters to be right wing. But we were reminded only a little while ago, by some of the participants in it, that when it became necessary for the left wing to execute the right wing in the Queensland Parliament it was Mr. Renshaw who led the New South Wales delegation to go up to assassinate Mr. Gair, the then Labour Premier of Queensland, who made the remarkable error of being a sincere right wing Labour Premier. At that time the late Mr. Cahill, who was then Premier of New South Wales and who was, 1 think, genuinely right wing, refused to have any part in this dirty deal, so Mr. Renshaw was sent up to lead the delegation and to assassinate the right wing in the Queensland Labour Party. This is part of a split in New South Wales which has been going on for many years. In regard to that split I think the House should be reminded of the terms of the pamphlet put out by the old right wing executive of the New South Wales Labour Party before it was assassinated by the left wing in 1956. It made this appeal to the Federal Executive, which was then under left wing control. The pamphlet reads -
We have appealed to Federal Conference to realise the threat to the democratic structure of the Party implicit in intervention in New South Wales. We appeal to them to consider another grave issue. All over the world the Communist Party is following a “ popular front “ policy. It hopes that Socialists will forget the bitter lessons of previous “ popular fronts “ and again will fall prey to Communist infiltration and betrayal.
This is contained in an official pamphlet put out by the Executive of the Australian Labour Party in New South Wales in 1956, when it was a right wing executive. This pamphlet shows that it was proposed to attack the right wing and dismiss the right wing executive. That is what happened.
After 1956 it was the left wing rump that was in charge in New South Wales. I say this not on my own evidence but on the evidence of the old, legitimate, right wing executive of the New South Wales Labour Party. It is worth recalling that there was only one member of this Parliament who attacked openly the right wingers in New South Wales. That was the honorable member for Hughes (Mr. L. R. Johnson). I quote the following from the same document -
The final witness against the N.S.W. Executive was Mr. L. R. Johnson, M.H.R., member for Hughes. It is noteworthy that he was the sole member of Parliament prepared to give evidence against the N.S.W. Executive, and he can hardly claim to be a Labour veteran.
Indeed, he cannot, because until shortly before the date of that statement he had been an employee of the Federated Clerks Union in the days when it was run corruptly by the Communists. Those are facts that the House might well remember in regard to the difficulty always of knowing who is on the left and who is on the right of the Labour Party. We used to think of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition as part of the right wing. We now see, on the evidence of his own words in an official document, that all the time he has been sailing under false colours and has been part of the left wing. He himself now admits that.
– Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation. The honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) paid tribute to the Library for having obtained a copy of a telecast that I made. I should point out to the honorable gentleman, and for your own satisfaction, too, Mr. Speaker, that the Library already had six copies of this and all other telecasts made by members of the Labour Party, at the time when the honorable gentleman asked his question of you and later asked a similar question of the Postmaster-General. I would think that the honorable member for Mackellar, as a member of the Library Committee, should have been aware of the resources and efficiency of the Library in this respect.
Motion (by Mr. Aston) agreed to -
That the question be now put.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 11.12 p.m.
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated-
m asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
Shipowners Accident Prevention Organisation has now been extended to all ports at which a register of waterside workers is maintained by the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority with the exception of Thursday Island. These statistics are being made available to the Authority to assist it, by a study of trends, to fulfil its function of encouraging safe working in stevedoring operations. The statistics being collected do not distinguish those accidents which result in injuries that might be compensable.
s asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
What was the number of (a) applicants and
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
As students are permitted to defer taking up their awards for a year, not all who accept awards enter their courses in the year -shown. A small percentage of students who defer, later decide not to enter a course and relinquish their scholarships. The number of Open Entrance scholarships taken up in any year, is, however, consistent with the quota, but administratively it is not possible to award exactly the number of scholarships available. 2. (a) The number of applicants for Commonwealth Open Entrance scholarships for the years 1955-1964 are shown on the following table:
Final figures for 1965 are not yet available.
s asked the Acting Treasurer, upon notice -
Is he able to state in respect of each of the financial years 1955-56 to 1962-63, inclusive, what was the total amount of profits arising from fire, marine and general insurance and re-insurance business remitted overseas by (a) Australian branches and chief agents of overseas insurance companies (incorporated or unincorporated), (b) Australian offices of specialist overseas re-insurance companies (incorporated or unincorporated), (c) Australian agents of overseas insurance brokers, (d) Australian insurance companies (other than those referred to in paragraph (a)) which’ operate branches overseas and (e) Australian insurance companies which do not operate branches overseas?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -
The information sought is not available. The Commonwealth Statistician has advised that income payable overseas by companies whose business is fire, marine and general insurance and re-insurance is included in the Finance and Property Group in Table 9 of the Annual Bulletin of Oversea Investments. However, the principal component in this group other than insurance is trading banks and because of the small number and relatively large size of non-resident trading banks he is unable, without a breach of confidence, to separate the insurance and banking figures.
The total income payable overseas by finance and property companies, from Table 9, is -
These figures include income payable overseas by trading banks and others as well as insurance companies, and undistributed and unremitted profits as well as profits remitted overseas.
y asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
3 and 4. These figures are not available as they are . dependent on the results of, e.g., the medical examinations now being conducted and on the determination of applications for deferment on the various grounds under which deferment may be granted.
y asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
s asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
For each of the years since the inception of the Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme, what was the number of (a) new enrolments in Australian universities, (b) Open Entrance scholarships granted and (c) Later Year awards granted?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are set out in the following table -
As special selection arrangements were in operation in 1951, the year of the inception of the Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme, meaningful and comparable figures are not available in respect of that year.
y asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows -
The Australian Broadcasting Control Board has not issued a questionnaire concerning the Mavis Bramston Show.
y asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
s asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
d asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
It is assumed that “ Post Office buildings “ refers to buildings used for postal activities and not for other Departmental purposes. 1. (a) No. Only one air conditioner is installed (Marble Bar, Western Australia). (b) Yes.
Yes, where local climatic conditions warrant it.
New South Wales, mainly Centre and West; Victoria, a few in the North; Queensland, mainly Centre and West; South Australia, North of Port Augusta, Western Australia, North West.
Evaporative cooling has been tried, but it is not favoured. No other method of cooling has been provided. Increased air circulation is very generally employed, using wall-mounted or desk fans.
m asked the Minister for Supply, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable members’ questions are as follows - 1.In 1952, the following advisory committees were established to deal with broad areas of defence industry which the Supply Department may be expected to call upon in war -
Ammunition Industry Advisory Committee.
Explosives and Chemicals Industry Advisory Committee.
Materials Industry Advisory Committee.
Weapons and their Equipment Industry Advisory Committee.
Military Vehicles Industry Advisory Committee.
Electrical Industry Advisory Committee.
Radar and Telecommunications Industry
Machine Tools, Gauges and Factory Equipment Industry Advisory Committee.
Special advisers dealing with rubber, cotton, hard fibres and bristles were also appointed.
The revised Committees are 12 in number and comprise 100 leading industrialists. The Committees will meet at least twice per year and more often if necessary and be available to deal with particular references I may make to them outside formal meetings.
s asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -
No grants have yet been made towards capital costs of teaching hospitals during the 1964-66 triennium. However, as I mentioned in my answer to Question No. 856, I hope to receive shortly the Report of the Australian Universities Commission’s Committee on Teaching Costs of Medical Hospitals, dealing with both capital and recurrent costs for the current triennium, later this month.
y asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice) -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows - l.
3 and 4. These matters are the concern of the Minister for Labour and National Service and he will provide the information requested as soon as possible.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 28 April 1965, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1965/19650428_reps_25_hor45/>.