25th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Sir John McLeay) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
Mr. TURNER presented a petition from ]9 electors of the Division of Bradfield praying that the Australian Government seek to persuade the United States of America to agree to an immediate cease fire in Vietnam so that a negotiated settlement may be reached under the auspices of a re-convened Geneva Conference.
– I direct a question to the Acting Treasurer. Yesterday, in New York, Sir Roland Wilson is reported as having said that Australia’s external reserves have been placed under strain and that Australia wild have headaches in servicing overseas loan commitments in the next few years. 1 ask: Is there any connection between this statement and the big falls now taking place on the stock markets throughout Australia? Is the Prime Minister able to inform the House what steps he intends to take in the approaching Budget to cure the headaches referred to by Sir Roland?
– I may he capable of a few indiscretions, but anticipating the next Budget is not one of them.
– The Minister for Labour and National Service is aware, and it is well known, that thousands of citizens throughout Australia contributed to the Mount Isa distress fund administered by the Queensland Trades and Labour Council. Is the Minister satisfied from statements issued so far that there has been a fair, full and proper distribution of the money contributed to the fund?
– I rise to a point of order. How can the Minister answer whether he is satisfied that money is being properly distributed from a trade union fund?
– I think the honorable member is in order.
– If the Minister is not satisfied, does he feel that the widespread concern expressed is in any way related to the absence of progress accounts for the fund, in contradistinction to the practice of the Australian Council of Trade Unions and of other trades and labour councils?
– Order! The honorable member is now making his question too long.
– Does the Minis.ter know of any process whereby an investigation can be made?
– Large sums of money were collected and handed over to the Queensland Trades and Labour Council for the purpose of helping Mount Isa workers who lost their jobs as a result of the strike. It is usual in cases like this where large sums of trust moneys are involved for those who have received the trust moneys to give a full accounting, not only to those who have made contributions, such as the constituent trade unions themselves, but also to other people not associated directly with the trade union movement. The second part of the honorable member’s question relates to the expenditure of the funds. I think those who have contributed to the funds and who anticipated that they would be spent in the interests of the Mount Isa workers will expect a statement showing that the moneys have, in fact, been expended for the benefit of those workers. This has not been done.
– How does the Minister know whether it has not been done?
– I have read all the statements on the matter. This has not been done. Recently the Secretary of the Queensland Trades and Labour Council stated that considerable sums of money were in hand. I believe there is a moral obligation - I do not know about the legal obligation - on the Queensland Trades and Labour Council to show details of receipts and expenditure. As to the legal position, as this matter is wholly within the jurisdiction of the Queensland Government I believe the situation should be brought to its attention. I am having a. look at the Conciliation and Arbitration Act to see whether something can be done within my jurisdiction but up to the present I have not received advice that this is practicable. I regard this as a very important matter. If we are not able to take action I will see that the matter is referred to the Queensland. Government so that if it wishes to do so it may take action.
Mr. -WHITLAM. - I ask the Minister for Trade and Industry a question. The right honorable gentleman will recall that last September the Minister for External Affairs told the honorable member for Isaacs, and he himself told me, that the Government would not protest to the Arab countries against threats to boycott Australian firms trading with Israel since the threats had been made by an unofficial committee advising the Arab States. I now ask the right honorable gentleman whether the Government of Jordan has boycotted three Australian firms for trading with Israel. Those firms are, I believe, Mutual Underwriters and Development Ltd., Redevelopment Ltd. and John Webster Industries Ltd. What steps has the Government taken to end this boycott and to assert the right of Australian firms to trade with any countries they wish?
– I have been told by third parties that the Government of Jordan has blacklisted certain firms. I think they are the firms to which the Deputy Leader of the Opposition referred.
– Did Mr. Bolte tell the Minister?
– Yes. Mr. Bolte announced that he was going to tell me and wrote me a letter some weeks later. J have made some inquiries into the matter. My advice is that none of the firms mentioned does, in fact, trade with Arab countries. This is my advice. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of it but this is the information I have. I think the substantive part of the reply that I give to the honorable member is that none of the firms named, nor any other firm, has complained to the Government. I think it will be time for the Government to consider what it may do. if anything, if complaints are made that indicate there has been an actual interruption of trade. The facts of the matter are that the Arab countries are good trading partners of Australia and that Israel also is a good trading partner of Australia. I would not wish gratuitously to exacerbate a situation which may not in fact be a problem at all.
– Has the Minister for Health recently issued an instruction that inmates of the Mount Royal Hospital in Melbourne, who have been in the habit of returning to their homes at night, will no longer be allowed to do this? Does the instruction apply to all patients in all hospitals which receive the Commonwealth subsidy? If so, will the Minister state the reason for issuing these instructions which, it is said, will react detrimentally to the morale of the patients affected by them?
– No changes whatever have been made recently in the system covering the payment of Commonwealth subsidies to hospitals. No recent instructions in relation to this matter have been issued. by me. I know that the Mount Royal Hospital in Melbourne has a number of wards which are registered for Commonwealth purposes under separate classifications. The hospital has some general, admission and geriatric wards which are classified in one instance for hospital subsidy and in another to receive a subsidy as a nursing home. The hospital also has some beds for ambulant patients who are regarded by us as outpatients. Where patients are treated in the hospital or the nursing home wards, the Commonwealth pays direct to the hospital a subsidy of 36s. a day for eligible pensioners or £1 a day for nursing home patients. No subsidy is paid in respect of ambulant patients who do not stay overnight. This system has always applied and applies to every hospital in Australia.
– I address my question to the Prime Minister. Is he aware that, in opening the conference of the Australian Country Party at Warwick, Queensland, the Premier, Mr. Nicklin, charged the Menzies Government with frustrating the efforts of his Government to undertake certain developmental works which would foster exports and increase overseas earnings? Is it a fact, as claimed by Mr. Nicklin, that while receiving splendid co-operation from Commonwealth departments, the Federal Cabinet is displaying a Rip Van Winkle enthusiasm in dealing with proposals submitted by the Queensland Government? In view of the Government’s failure to reply to the submissions and requests of the Queensland Government for assistance amounting to £9 million for certain developmental works, can it be understood that the Fairbairn policy of defence through development has been defeated by the Paltridge line of defence by armed forces expansion?
– As far asI could follow the question, it purported to report what had been said by the Premier of Queensland at a conference.I was not there and I have not seen the report. My colleague, the Minister for Trade and Industry, was there and he tells me that the report is quite erroneous.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Tirade and Industry, who is the Leader of the Australian Country Party. A report has been circulated in Western Australia that lack of support from the Australian Country Party is principally to blame for the failure of the Ord project to attract Commonwealth support at this time. The report states -
The Country Parly Leader, Mr. McEwen, has never committed himself.
I ask the Minister for Trade and Industry whether this report is warranted.
– I have seen the report. I saw it in a prominent newspaper yesterday and I say that it is false. The Government has not made any recent decision that has been communicated and that therefore could provide the basis for a report. I feel it due to my party, however, to make it perfectly clear that when the original decision was taken by the Commonwealth Cabinet to support the first stage of the Ord project, I and my Country Party colleagues in the Ministry took the same attitude as the rest of the Cabinet did and in subsequent discussions that have been conducted on this matter I and my Country Party colleagues in the Cabinet have not been out of line with our colleagues in partnership in government. I hope there will be an end to this false campaign that has been continuing for a long time in Western Australia. I think it is not designed to damage me but to damage my colleagues from Western Australia who represent the party.
-I ask the Acting Treasurer: Has the Treasury yet ascertained the reasons for the slide in share prices in the last few days? To what extent has this slide been accelerated by the failure of confidence arising from the gloomy predictions by the Treasurer and the Minister for Housing that Australia faces an economic recession? What measures does the Government propose to take to restore business confidence? Finally, does the right honorable gentleman not agree that a major factor in the restoration of confidence is the return of the highly experienced and competent Labour Government in New South Wales, whose Premier’s brilliant exposition at the Premiers’ Conference last week made, in the words of the “Sydney Morning Herald”, the Treasurer look “ jejune and inept “ ?
– I think that was a wonderful question - marvellous. I will make a bargain with the honorable member. I understand that the contest that seems to be in his mind comes off on Saturday. I suggest that he put the question on the notice paper and I will answer it on Tuesday.
– I wish to ask the Minister for Health a question with regard to pensioners who hold medical cards which entitle them to free medical services but who wish to obtain additional benefits by joining a medical benefits fund. One of the additional benefits is the freedom to choose for themselves specialist attention. It is known that a large component of the costs of the funds, which are reflected in the rate of contributions, is due to the number of general practitioner consultants who are free to the pensioner because of his medical entitlement. Will the Minister consider the possibility of encouraging funds to establish a special scale for contributions by pensioners in this position?
– Eligible pensioners receive a fairly full range of medical and hospital treatment free of charge. I know that in some cases they desire to extend, by contributing to a fund, the facilities that are available. However, the funds base not only their contribution rates but also the benefits which they pay on the Commonwealth basic subsidy. This, therefore, is a matter of Commonwealth policy as well as a matter for consideration by the funds themselves. As the question is on a policy matter it is not one which I can answer at this time. However, I assure the honorable member that I will consider the matter that he has raised.
– My question is directed to the Postmaster-General. Is it a fact that in the construction of the short wave radio booster station at Darwin orders for the supply of transmitters have been placed with Collins Radio Co. (Aust.) Pty. Ltd. for manufacture in their works at Dallas in the United States? Were tenders advertised in this instance? Was the tender of the Collins organisation the lowest received? Will this machinery be subjected to the usual tariff charges? Was any investigation made to ascertain whether Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Ltd. or some other Australian firm was capable of carrying out the work? If not, why? Finally, will the Minister provide the House with details of the tenders so that honorable members may have some appreciation of why Australian firms and their employees are being passed over in favour of foreign industry?
– There was a full investigation by me into the calling of tenders for this transmitter. Knowing that it had been recommended that American equipment should be purchased, and knowing personally that the Government has an interest in Australian production, I caused this investigation to be made, in the first place by the Department. I then took a personal interest in the matter myself. I have no doubt that the action being taken is the correct action under the circumstances. No section of Australian industry has produced a transmitter of this nature.
Therefore an order placed with them would be in the nature of an experiment or developmental project. This, of course, might delay considerably the installation of a suitable transmitter in Darwin. All these were parts of the circumstances. As to the other detail for which the honorable member asks, I shall look at his question when it appears in “ Hansard “.
– I address a question to the Minister for the Navy. Can the Minister inform the House when H.M.A.S. “Hobart”, the second guided missile destroyer on order for the Navy will be launched? Further, will he see that arrangements are made to ensure an early visit of the vessel to Hobart whose citizens are eager to see the ship that bears the name of their city?
– The ship in question was launched in January 1964. It will undergo its sea trials about October of this year and will be commissioned some time in November. It will then come to Australia, and I can assure the honorable gentleman that at the first possible moment it will visit the town after which it was named.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether he will seek to have recently reported allegations of brutality by Vietnam Government troops against Vietcong prisoners of war investigated and, if they are found to be untrue, publicly discredit them. If they are found to be true, will he take steps to express the abhorrence of Australia at such inhumane practices and seek their immediate cessation, pointing out that any evidence of similar behaviour on the part of the Vietcong is not justification for this type of barbarity from the side backed by the West while the West maintains itself as the representative of a better way of life based on an appreciation and defence of human values?
– I am at a loss to understand why, whatever events occur in the defence against the aggressor, they are always treated with great criticism by people like the honorable member for Oxley who never has a word to say about the atrocities committed by the North
Vietnamese - not a word. It is a very curious thing.
– In other words-
– Order! The honorable member has asked his question. He will remain silent.
– I am quite capable of answering a question even from so great a cross-examiner as the honorable member. Of course we are not in favour of atrocities but, speaking for the Government and for most of the people of Australia, we are strongly in favour of the defeat of these people who are seeking to deny the South Vietnamese their right to exist. It is a wonderful thing to me that when somebody of the Vietcong throws a bomb into a restaurant, an office, or a building of some kind, and a lot of innocent people are blown to pieces, I do not hear any protest, but when tear gas is used to disperse a crowd who have contained or concealed the man who’ threw the bomb, this is a crime. This crooked kind of reasoning will not find much favour in Australia.
– I address a question to the Minister for Trade and Industry. Has the Department of Trade and Industry a roving representative who could at any time proceed to parts of the world where Australia is not represented by a trade commissioner and where reports of certain circumstances indicate there may be a market for Australian products? This roving representative could also coordinate the work of Australian trade representatives throughout the world in a way which has proved successful in private enterprise. If such a representative is not already active, will the right honorable gentleman give consideration to such an appointment?
– There is no provision for what the honorable member for Mallee describes as a roving representative of the Department who may go on such a mission, but I point out that that does not mean that there would not be facility to provide a special envoy if the case warranted. For example, at many of our trade posts overseas the trade commissioner is accredited not only to the country’ in which he resides but also to neighbouring countries where we have not a resident trade commissioner. In such a circumstance the trade commissioner would clearly be available and it would be his duty to go if the situation warranted. If, on the other hand, there were some special circumstances that warranted despatching a trade commissioner from Australia then we have here, at all times, a small pool of men who have been trained or who, having served a period overseas, have come back to Australia to report on their experiences in their particular posting and to be retrained for a further posting. So from that pool there is always someone available if the case warrants.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. I ask the Minister whether he said in an address to businessmen within the last few weeks: “ We say to the U.S. - If you go ahead with this policy of restricting capita] inflow to Australia you must think of the consequences.’” And did he then add: “ We ‘have not contemplated what action we may take”? If the position is as serious as he depicts, why has the Government not even contemplated what measures it may take? Or, in view of the slide of confidence on the stock exchanges in Australia of recent weeks, has the Government now begun the process of contemplation as being at least some sort of substitute for the action it might now decide it should have taken years ago?
– Before the Houserose for the Easter recess I made a speech in this House and the Leader of the Opposition has quoted it in part only.
– The Minister said this to businessmen.
– I did not. I said this in this House, so obviously the honorable member did not hear or did not listen to what I said.
– I was otherwise engaged.
– Yes, badly engaged in trying to win the New South Wales elections; and the honorable member will fail. I will obtain a copy of the complete speech for the honorable gentleman and let him have it. What I did say was that the Government had a wide range of measures that it could introduce if it felt this was desirable. I will obtain a copy of the speech and deliver it to the honorable gentleman immediately after question time.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Territories. In view of recent reports of alleged crossings of the West Irian and Papua and New Guinea border can the Minister say whether these are true and, if so, to what extent have border crossings been taking place?
– A review of the border situation has been made for the 12 months ended January last. In that period we had 27 instances of persons crossing the border. This, of course, was apart from the people actually living in village communities on the border. No account was taken of people who travelled from their villages to their farming areas. But for all other people the number of crossings was 27. In all cases but one, the international border situation was explained and they returned. One person claimed special consideration on political grounds and he is at present with his family on our side of the border.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Labour and National Service. As a subscriber to the Mount Isa relief fund who is satisfied, I ask him whether he can say if, in his knowledge, any of the subscribers are dissatisfied? If not, what business is it of his? Has any law been broken by the subscribing registered unions?
– It is surprising to me that any person in this House questions the right of an honorable member to ask whether moneys that were subscribed for a trust purpose were in fact used for that purpose.
– The matter has nothing to do with the honorable member who asked about it.
– This subject is of great concern, particularly to every member of this House, at least on the Government side. If a great moral issue is involved, it should be a matter of great concern for every Australian. This is of interest to the Mount Isa miners themselves. The money was collected for their benefit. What we are entitled to know is whether the money has in fact been spent for their benefit. If it has not, how much is in trust? If it has been spent for some other purposes, those purposes should be disclosed.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Air. According to an article in the “ Canberra Times “, curiously enough dated 1st April, it is alleged by the Primary Producers Union that butter does not appear on the menus at the Royal Australian Air Force base at Wagga, and it has been inferred by the Union that, therefore, margarine is being substituted for the product of the cow. If this happily is true, can the Minister assure me that this is being done - if it is being done - to safeguard the health of Air Force personnel rather than for the paltry purpose of economy?
– I saw the report and I thought that I had better make some inquiries. I found that butter is used in the mess at Wagga. Indeed, in the previous 28 days, a total of 1 ton of butter had been consumed. I asked the catering officer about the matter. In effect, he said: “ It is true that butter does not appear on the menus. But neither do pepper, salt and tomato sauce. You can tell the Primary Producers Union that those also are available for the airmen if they want them.”
– I ask the Acting Treasurer: Is he aware that, after two consecutive years of drought, many primary producers are experiencing difficulty in obtaining bank finance to carry on working their properties? This applies particularly to cane growers who wish to clear land for the planting of new assignments. Can particular consideration be given to farmers in the cane growing areas so that they will not be turned out on the labour market because they are unable to work their properties?
– I cannot profess to have any personal knowledge of this matter, but I will be very happy to convey the honorable member’s question to the Treasurer, who will be present when we meet next week. In the meantime, if the honorable member has some particular cases that he can mention to me, perhaps he will be good enough to give me a note of them so that the Treasurer will have that information to work on.
“EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA.”
– I direct my question to the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Is he aware that the popular, ultra modern passenger and vehicle ferry, “ Empress of Australia “, is without lift facilities to aid the movement between decks of elderly and handicapped passengers, and that this omission has been the subject of unfavorable criticism? Can the Minister say whether it will be possible to have a lift installed and whether, even if this is not possible in the “ Empress of Australia “. such facilities will be provided in any similar vessel built in the future?
– I am aware that there are no lift facilities in the “ Empress of Australia” and that some comment has been made about the fact. The Australian National Line has examined the question of whether it would be practicable at this stage to install a lift. This would involve considerable structural alterations to the interior of the vessel and would require it to be taken off the run for some time. At present, therefore, it is not considered practicable to install a lift. However, the matter will be kept in mind when any similar vessels are constructed in future.
– I should like to ask a question of the Prime Minister. As he no doubt once sang in his local church choir and often in the bath or under the shower since-
– So far I can deny that.
– As he has probably acquired over the years a love of good music, can he tell me how far he has progressed towards a decision to create a Commonwealth music fund along the lines of the Commonwealth Literary Fund as a practical way to encourage not only musical composition by Australian composers but also a new field of distinctive Australian music? Does the Prime Minister recall that the Fellowship of Australian Composers made its initial request for a Commonwealth Music Fund in, I think, March 1962?
– Just imagine him singing in a choir.
– I made a voluntary abstention from the choir, but I am sure that the honorable member would never have got into a choir under any circumstances - for obvious reasons. This matter has been before me for some little time. It has not yet been decided. As soon as it has been, I will let the honorable member know.
– I address a question to the Minister for Health. The honorable gentleman, in a recent statement, said that new tables to be offered by health insurance funds would be checked by the Department of Health to ensure that they could be. operated on a financially sound basis. I ask: Do the funds seek this assistance from the departmental officers or is it imposed upon them? I further ask: What has happened to the basic principle of the whole scheme - that provided organisations matched the Commonwealth benefits they would be left quite free to govern themselves?
– The medical and hospital benefits funds are permitted under the National Health Act to operate as business organisations, but obviously there must be some form of control because a Commonwealth subsidy is involved and also because it is part of the national health scheme to ensure the liquidity of the funds - to ensure that they can provide the benefits which are laid down in the tables and that the contributions are within economic range. So it is a requirement of the National Health Act that all funds, when contemplating any change in either benefits or in contribution rates, must first submit their application for change to the Department of Health. These requests are then examined by a registration committee which makes a recommendation to the Minister who, in turn, finally approves or rejects the application. This is a procedure which is written into the National Health Act and has always been in operation.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Territories. Is it a fact that no workers compensation laws exist at Norfolk Island? If so, when does the Government intend to introduce such legislation, which I understand is desired by the great majority of Norfolk Islanders?
– It is quite correct that no workers compensation laws exist for the local community of Norfolk Island; but the honorable member was quite incorrect when he said that the majority want compensation laws to be introduced. We are ready to introduce them as soon as we have a request from the local community; but no request has come forward.
– My question, which is addressed to the Minister for Health, is consequent on assurances given by him that a New South Wales fund now entering the field of health insurance in Victoria will be required to conform to the rates and .conditions operating in Victoria. Has the Minister noted advertisements of this fund offering contributors a special benefit, which it calls a “no claim bonus”? As this fund limits benefit to 84 days, which may be extended 7 days by this no claim bonus to 91 days, can this honestly be offered as an inducement to join it when Victorian funds allow 91 days as normal practice and, in addition, certain friendly societies have always had extended terms? Has the Minister also noted, particularly in the fund’s expensive television campaign, the misleading statement that contributors “ retain full continuity of membership “ and the urging of contributors to transfer from other funds? Will the Minister request this fund, in the terms that his predecessor used in similar circumstances, to “discontinue its present practice of featuring advertisements which invite or encourage contributors to transfer from other registered organisations “?
– I know that the honorable member and several other honorable members on the Government side are particularly interested in this matter. A major fund from New South Wales has now commenced to operate in Victoria. Some problems are inherent in that. The fund’s action has been approved and the conditions under which it is now operating in Victoria are completely in accordance with the National Health Act. We have examined very carefully the advertisements that have appeared. The ones that I have seen and the ones that the Department of Health has seen conform with the conditions laid down by the Government in this respect.
In regard to the question of the 91-day period, the limit in that field has been set at 91 days by the funds. A change could be made by the Victorian funds, if they so desired. However, I will examine that matter to see whether such a change would conform completely with the requirements that have been laid down.
Finally I should mention that there is no control by the Government over the decision of funds to operate in any State. In other words, if this fund wishes to operate in Victoria, provided it conforms to the requirements of the Act and State requirements we have no authority to prevent it operating in that State. In these circumstances we would not take action to prevent a fund operating in another State. This fund has conformed with the agreement between the funds themselves in the Commonwealth Health Insurance Council to the effect that they will adhere to the basic tables in operation in any State in which they operate. This fund has moved into Victoria and is operating in accordance with the basic tables of the existing funds in that State. In fact, it is operating only one of the higher tables at the moment. Of course, I am referring to medical benefits tables. Medical benefits was the main point raised in the question. In the hospital benefits field, quite a different set of circumstances applies. A full range of tables is in operation in that field. The honorable member mentioned a statement by my predecessor. That statement referred to a small fund and was entirely correct in the circumstances that existed at the time it was made.
– I ask the AttorneyGeneral: What progress has been made by the Government in drafting the restrictive trade practices legislation which has been promised for so many years but which has not yet eventuated? Does the Minister intend to bring down a bill in this sessional period or in the Budget sessional period? Is it intended to proceed with the bill immediately after it is brought down or to allow it to lie on the table to enable criticisms and comments to be expressed before the House finally gets around to the work of enacting it?
– On two or three occasions when similar questions have been put to me, I have said that this legislation will be introduced into the House as soon as it is ready to be introduced. In fact, the Government is giving close considerationto the provisions of the proposed legislation. I feel able to say that I hope that it will be introduced into the House in this session.
– In this sessional period?
– Yes, before we rise in May or June. I hope that it will be so introduced, but whether it will be depends on whether it will be ready to be introduced. My own feeling is that it is better for a little time to elapse and to leave it until the next sessional period, rather than have it introduced at a stage when it is not in its best form.
As to whether or not the legislation would be debated forthwith, the answer is “ No “ It will be introduced into the House and left for a close examination by honorable members and, indeed, by the general public.
– Can the Minister for
Labour and National Service indicate whether General Motors-Holden’s Pty. Ltd. or any other manufacturing company in Australia has applied for authority to use American craftsmen for a period in various manufacturing plants? Due to the shortage of skilled labour in Australia, can the Minister say whether the Government would favorably consider such an application?
– General MotorsHolden’s has not applied to me and, so far as I know, has not applied to the Department for permission to bring American technicians here for its manufacturing purposes. That being so, as the question asked by the honorable member is hypothetical, I think he will forgive me if I do not reply. However, if I do receive any request I will let him know.
.- I move -
That this House notes with grave concern -
The abnormal concentration of nearly 60 per cent. of Australia’s population in the five mainland State capitals.
The overwhelming concentration of defence and other key industries in Sydney, Melbourne, Newcastle and Port Kembla.
The serious social problems confronting country communities as the result of lack of employment opportunities for young men and women leaving school.
That more than one-third of the total popu lation of Australia is centred in Sydney and Melbourne, and recommends to the Government as a matter of extreme urgency in the interests of balanced development and defence that -
a joint parliamentary committee consisting of Government and Opposition members from both Houses be appointed to inquire into and report on the best means by which the Commonwealth, by co-operation with the States and local government, may secure more balanced development of population, industry, communications and administration;
the committee make recommenda tions in regard to -
those industries which should be established in provincial, country and northern areas;
concessions in individual, company, sales or other taxation to encourage such industries;
other concessions and assistance;
government investment either alone or jointly with private investment to develop or establish such industries;
communications, housing, transport, water, power, light and fuel;
the decentralisation of government administration;
education, medical and other facilities in decentralised areas; and
any related matters which in the opinion of the committee will assist in obtaining more balanced developments; and
the committee be empowered to call evidence from any person, organisation or authority it sees fit.
My purpose in moving this motion is threefold: First, to spotlight the critical imbalance in Australia’s development, surely an abnormal situation with which every honorable member is acquainted; secondly, to emphasise the urgency of the need for remedial action on a national basis; and, thirdly, to propose machinery by which a course of action to achieve a more balanced development may be outlined. The first three paragraphs of the motion outline the startling facts concerning Australia’s development.
Paragraph (1) states that this House notes with grave concern -
The abnormal concentration of nearly 60 per cent. of Australia’s population in the five mainland State capitals.
The Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics indicates in its estimated figures for 1964 that 56.63 per cent. of Australia’s population lives in the capital cities. This is a percentage which, having regard to our vast continent, is remarkable to say the least. It is an abnormal situation which no other country would permit to exist
Paragraph (2) states that this House notes with grave concern -
The overwhelming concentration of defence and Other key industries in Sydney, Melbourne, Newcastle and Port Kembla.
In previous wars concentrations of population in large cities have been the taget of disastrous bombing attacks with conventional weapons. In this modern nuclear age the massive concentration of population and of key defence industries in capital cities lays any country wide open to crippling attack by nuclear weapons. I make this comment specifically about the capital cities. There should be a greater spread of defence industries. There should be more Port Kemblas, more Newcastles and more Wollongongs to lessen the effect of possible attacks. Nuclear attacks on Sydney and Melbourne would end Australian participation in any war.
Paragraph (3) states that this House notes with grave concern -
The serious social problems confronting country communities as the result of lack of employment opportunities for young men and young women leaving school.
That there are social problems confronting country communities is well known to those who live in country and outback areas. Lack of employment opportunities causes youngsters leaving school to join in the drift to the cities. Their families face the agonising choice of letting them at the age of 16, 17 or 18 fend for themselves in the capital cities or of packing up and going with them. It means the separation of families or the movement of whole family units - internal migration we could call it. This is caused in the majority of cases not by choice but by sheer economic compulsion.
Paragraph (4) states, in part, that this House notes with grave concern -
That more than one-third of the total population of Australia is centred in Sydney and Melbourne . . .
We find that the estimate of “more than one-third of the total population of Australia” mentioned errs on the conservative side because, in fact, more than 40 per cent. reside in the two major capitals. The census figures collated by the Bureau of Census and Statistics show that the percentage of the people in capital cities in Australia has progressively increased. This drift to the cities - this internal migration - is progressing unchecked. The figures show that in 1951 49.8 per cent. of Australia’s population lived in the capital cities. In 1956 the percentage was 54.47 and in 1964 it was 56.63. By 1980, under present trends, 65 per cent. of Australia’s population will live in the capital cities. By the year 2000, who knows? It could be 75 per cent.
While farming productivity has increased, the farming population has fallen away remarkably. Whereas the Chifley Labour Government, the initiator of the immigration programme, envisaged the swelling of rural and country populations by migrants, we find that the great mass of new citizens flock to the cities. There exists no plan, no encouragement, for them to do otherwise. The facts I have quoted are indisputable. In moving this motion 1 am voicing the concern and the disquiet of a great many Australians, both country and city dwellers, who feel that the time for action has come.
At this stage I am not aware of the Government’s attitude to the motion. I hope that the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon), who will follow me, will indicate, in the interests of more balanced development of the social economy and for defence reasons, that the Government will accept my proposal and will create an all party committee to examine means by which action can be taken to meet the current situation. Undoubtedly we can expect the Minister for Labour and National Service to present a recital of the Government’s deeds in relation to the problem. I make the point that whatever he might say, and whatever might have been done, the plain fact is that the abnormal concentration of population continues and worsens. Clearly, greater measures are needed to achieve more balanced development of our nation.
Some might say that it is a matter for the States, but it is surely evident that it is beyond the capacity of the States to overcome the problem. Some States have Ministries of Decentralisation. The New South Wales Government, for example, offers loans for the construction of decentralised factory buildings. It pays 75 per cent, of the cost of technical services. It provides for developmental freight rates on the New South Wales railways to reduce by 75 per cent, the cost of transporting raw materials to industries in country areas. This is an example of what States can do, but all States will agree that Commonwealth action is urgently needed. It is a matter of national concern needing action on a national scale.
Over the years a great many words have been said about decentralisation - words bandied about, unfortunately at election time. Unfortunately, too, in the view of many country people, often the words are swiftly forgotten afterwards. Indeed, “ decentralisation “ is not the ideal word. It means literally the shifting of population and industry from the metropolitan areas to the country. No-one that I know who is interested in more balanced development is unrealistic enough to believe that this is practical or advisable. People and organisations seeking more balanced development - this applies to the Labour Party - want action to end the continuous drift to the city, to end discrimination against country and outback areas and to give country communities a fair share of the nation’s development.
The statistics do not lie. The drift to the cities is a reality, and, as 1 will prove later, discrimination does exist against country people. I know that many honorable members have a conviction that to set up industries in country or outback areas would be uneconomic. In some cases this is so as far as individual industries are concerned. I do not deny it. It is true that an industry located in a capital city enjoys certain advantages. The city itself supplies a major market for the article produced by the industry. The cities are focal points of rail, road, sea ‘and air transport. The necessary service industries are readily available for, as an example, the repair and maintenance of plant and machines. These are good reasons for individual industrialists establishing themselves in city areas. But I do not believe that industrialists should look at only one side of the picture. Counterbalancing the advantages of operating in a city, the country offers more stable labour conditions, better man hour production figures and a lower incidence of industrial accidents. Hours of tiring train, tram or confused and nerve straining road travel by employees going to or from work are unknown in the country. Of course, cheap land in country areas is another counterbalancing factor. But the advantages of city industry are advantages to the individual industrialist. For the community collectively the city sprawl creates great cost. In the capital cities the concentration of industry and population has meant replanning on a massive scale. A great backlog of public works, sewerage, water reticulation, roads and footpaths has presented the State Governments with tremendous problems and tremendous associated costs. Freeways, subways, overpasses, expressways and overburdened transport systems all are a costly legacy of the city sprawl. All mean the expenditure of millions of pounds of public money. The individual, too, pays the price.
The worker who seeks to own his own home has to bear a tremendous burden. In the Melbourne “Age” of 26th April on the page listing property sales there appears a summary of the weekend house and land auctions. It reads -
Nineteen lots offered at auction … at Keilor on Saturday brought £34,505. The average price was £1,816 with lots ranging from £1,725 to £2,100.
Keilor is 9 or 10 miles from Melbourne. Surely we have reached a ridiculous situation when the average Australian is forced to pay half as much, for his block of land as he pays for the house that he builds on it. Just think of it. An average of £1,816 paid for land. That is three times as rauch as a person would pay for a block of land in the country.
The Victorian Government has announced a five year £30 million programme for Melbourne road reconstruction. Melbourne, of course, contains 65.8 per cent, of Victoria’s population. So, individually or collectively, the Australian community pays dearly for its concentration in the capital cities. In the light of these tens of millions of pounds spent and to be spent on the congested capital cities, can anyone say that the encouragement of industries to the country is uneconomic? I think not. What we need most is a re-appraisal of the problem. We need to get away from the city complex. Some of the money - I emphasise that it is public money - spent on the capital cities could with benefit to the community be spent on encouraging industry to go to country areas, along with improved educational, health and other services. I do not say that we should stop attempting to solve the problems of congestion faced by the cities, but certainly this Parliament should attempt, on a national basis, to prevent the cities from throttling themselves to death by arresting the drift to the metropolitan areas.
Contrary to the city advocates’ ideas of economy in industry, decentralised industries can survive and prosper. Let me cite a few examples. The foundry of Thompsons Ltd. at Castlemaine in Victoria employs hundreds of people and competes in the heavy engineering field with its city competitors. Admirers of the Snowy Mountains scheme may not know that much of the plant and machinery used on the scheme was made at Castlemaine. Email Ltd. at Orange, New South Wales, employs more than 1,500 people and successfully and economically manufactures electrical consumer goods, such as refrigerators. Bruck Mills (Aust.) Ltd. at Wangaratta, John Brown Industries Ltd. at Bendigo, and Cleckheaton Ltd. at Shepparton are thriving textile industries, playing vital roles in the economies of their provincial cities. What they are doing can be done by many other industries - industries which need encouragement from the Government. Every country community seeks the solution to this problem. Local industrial development groups strive to bring about greater economic growth for their districts, but without the stimulation, guidance and assistance of governments their task remains virtually impossible. Surely it is in the interest of the community that governments, both Federal and State, should seek to counterbalance the preference of individual industrialists for the capital cities by encouraging and attracting them to country areas.
While no other country has exactly similar development problems as ours, many countries have this centralisation of population. In France, the National Government has designated certain provincial cities as poles of attraction and vigorously encourages industry and population to those areas. In the United States of America a programme of development in what is termed, in a highly industrialised nation, “ distressed areas “ is under way. In Japan, a major insurance company has its headquarters 50 miles from Tokyo. Is there any reason other than prestige for an insurance company in Australia to locate its headquarters in a massive building in the heart of the metropolitan area, at great capital cost? Surely, more than 90 per cent, of its business is done by mail. Why not then follow the Japanese lead and move to the country? Poland, New Zealand, Israel and many other countries are meeting their problems with vigorous programmes and imaginative leadership.
Contained in the motion is a recommendation that an all party parliamentary committee be appointed to inquire into and report on the best means by which the Commonwealth, in co-operation with State and local government, may secure a more balanced development of our continent. I believe that such a committee should examine this situation, which is one of national concern. A more concentrated national effort is needed to promote greater settlement of population and development of our resources in country, outback and northern areas.
The Australian Labour Party is anxious to tackle this problem. In 1945 the Chifley Labour Government, in consultation with the States, agreed that decentralisation or balanced development was a joint responsibility. As a first step we ask for this all party committee to outline a course of action, to establish priorities and to recommend the means by which the Commonwealth can demonstrate its willingness to promote a more balanced development of our country and its resources. There can be no question but that the Commonwealth has the means at its disposal to do this. To promote the population of remote areas in the north of Australia the Commonwealth has created zones for taxation purposes. Two separate zones exist where concessions are given in respect of personal income tax. Surely it is constitutionally possible for the Commonwealth to create zones in respect of company and pay roll tax so that companies and industries establishing themselves in those areas may be given incentives by exemption from or a rebate from a proportion of those taxes. The Commonwealth gives rebates in pay roll tax as an incentive for the expansion of exports. If it is possible for this incentive to be given it is possible for balanced development to be encouraged in the same way. Obviously such taxation incentives would be attractive to companies and industrialists contemplating the establishment or expansion of industries. There exists now discrimination against country and outback areas in respect of sales tax. The practice is to levy sales tax on the production cost of an article plus transport costs. In other words, if an article is produced in a capital city, as most Australian manufactured goods are, the metropolitan consumer pays sales tax on the total of the cost of the article and a small transport cost. The country consumer, perhaps 200 miles away, pays sales tax on the cost of the article plus a greatly increased transport cost. On the same article, the country consumer pays greater sales tax. This, to my mind, is unquestionably a penalty for living away from the manufacturing centres in our land, the capital cities. I find it difficult to believe that this discrimination could not be removed.
Obviously, decentralised industries can best prosper where resources capable of development already exist. In many places around our continent mineral resources have been discovered. These resources are eagerly sought and are capable of development. They include iron ore, rutile, bauxite and natural gas. Unfortunately, Australia seems to have become a giant quarry for other countries, which dig up our minerals and transport them overseas. In Western Australia, we have the ridiculous situation of Australian iron ore being sold by an American company to the Japanese. Australia produces 78 per cent, of the world’s supply of rutile. Australian syndicates originally held the majority of rutile leases. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation developed the only known method of refining pure titanium from rutile. Australia held the world patent rights, but for £250,000 the Menzies Government sold these rights to the United States. After American interests purchased the patent rights, they reduced the price of rutile to the point where most of the Australian leases were uneconomic. The Americans took them over and now, where once we had the raw material and the know-how to refine and process rutile, we have only royalties. Surely this was an opportunity to develop an Australian industry - a vital defence industry, for titanium is a vital defence material. Another vital mineral is beryllium, which is used in hardening steel. It is refined from beryl ore. Australia sold it to British interests, which in turn sold it to America at a handsome profit. Time and time again we have had opportunities to develop our own industries to process our own mineral resources. But the Menzies Government says we either lack capital or the know-how to develop those resources.
The motion I have moved suggests that the all party committee could recommend, if it saw fit, government investment, either alone or jointly with private investment, to develop industries and resources. If insufficient private capital were available from Australian sources, why could the Commonwealth not join in partnership with private enterprise to develop our own resources? I know that the Menzies Government shrinks from participation in industry. But surely Australian Government part ownership is preferable to ownership and exploitation by foreign interests. Foreign interests come not with the high minded motive of assisting our development but, naturally enough, with the motive of the highest profits possible. With respect to know-how, as it is popularly termed, I am reminded of the establistment of a steel industry by the Indian Government. It brought in foreign know-how on the hire and fire method. Foreign experts were hired to set up the industry as a going concern. When this task had been completed, the foreign experts departed, leaving the industry in the hands of the Indians. If we are to develop our resources in outback and northern areas and settle our people in centres of papulation around them, such as at Broken Hill and Mount Isa, we must take the steps that I have outlined.
The Commonwealth can, of course, do more to encourage population to move to country districts. Government administration can be decentralised to a much greater degree than it is now. Better health services are needed in country areas. In many small country districts, immediate medical attention is impossible. Towns of only a few hundred people cannot provide medical practitioners with the incomes they seek, and I have no quarrel with the medical practitioners about this. Salaried doctor services paid by the Commonwealth could overcome this disability. Here again, another disability in country living occurs. In these days, the medical profession is highly specialised. Country practitioners often refer their patients to city specialists. The fees for the specialists are a deductible item for taxation purposes, but the high cost of travel and overnight accommodation necessarily incurred by the country patient is not a deductible item. So, in comparison with his city brother, the country dweller is at a disadvantage. The high cost of trunk line telephone calls necessary for country industries is again a disability that they have to overcome. These are costs that their city competitors rarely have. Again the Commonwealth has the power to remedy this disability. The Commonwealth in cooperation with the States could implement a national programme to improve and increase Australian forest resources so that we might become self-sufficient in timber supplies. This in turn could create greater decentralised employment in sawmilling and other forest industries and would also save the cost of importing timber, which is a matter foremost in our minds in these times when we have balance of payment difficulties.
The Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr. McEwen), who is the Deputy Prime Minister and the Leader of the Australian Country Party, in May of last year expressed alarm at the continued drift of population to the cities. He said -
The trend should be a matter of real concern to every Australian.
The Victorian State Country Party Conference at Lorne recently called on the Federal Government to act on decentralisation. The conference unanimously adopted a resolution urging the Government to call a special Premiers* Conference to get agreement on limiting further industrial development in the State capitals. This is radical indeed and, to my way of thinking, constitutes a direct challenge to the members of the Australian Country Party in this House. In the light of the statement made by the Minister for Trade and Industry, this motion today is a test of sincerity. It will show where members of the Australian Country Party stand. Over the years, we have heard many words from these honorable members about decentralisation, and it will be interesting to learn where they stand.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, I have outlined some of the disabilities that face country industries. I have suggested some of the remedies that are available for Commonwealth action. A committee such as I have proposed may or may not agree with them, but I believe, in the interests of the nation, such a committee should examine the problem of our centralised population. It seems that in this immense continent of ours, with vast wide open spaces available for development, spaces not without resources of different kinds, we are becoming increasingly a nation of capital city dwellers. We need new provincial cities, new centres of attraction that can offer employment, educational opportunities, recreation and cultural activities, in competition particularly with the over-grown capital cities of Sydney and Melbourne. This city of Canberra is an excellent example of a decentralised city created by Government action. I believe that Canberra itself has reached the stage where, without much further Government assistance, it could be self-generating. The development of existing provincial cities and towns could be an investment of public moneys that would reap rewards in many ways. In the interests of balanced development, and the social, economic and defence necessity for such development, I commend this motion to honorable members.
– Is the motion seconded?
– I second the motion and reserve my right to speak.
– The Government welcomes the motion moved by the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Beaton), not only because we think this is a problem that well deserves spotlighting in the Commonwealth Parliament but also because it gives the Government the opportunity to show exactly what it has done in joining with the State Governments to achieve a greater degree of decentralisation and dispersal of population. Before I mention the concrete achievements of the Commonwealth Government I want to paint the picture on a fairly broad canvas. I wish to refer to the kind of background that we have to consider, and the technical problems we face in this subject of decentralisation.
First, in this country there is the major problem of efficiency and the need to keep our costs low. We are an exporting country and our standard of living depends to a considerable extent on our exports. Unless our export income remains high our rate of development must fall. So, efficiency and the cost factor are important. When industry grows - when new industries are introduced or old industries are extended - it is always important to consider the problem of the availability of material resources, transport facilities and markets for the commodities that are produced, as well as a dozen and one other problems that are intimately involved in the problem of efficiency. With Australia this is all the more important because ours is a country that is plagued periodically with inflation. We must always be conscious that if too great a percentage of our resources is diverted to the less efficient parts of Australia the consumer price index is likely to rise, and that can have an immediate impact upon the wage structure.
The second point I want to mention is the availability of manpower resources. I am not so much criticising the honorable member for Bendigo as wishing to direct his attention to this matter. It is obvious that he has not grasped the fact that there is a lack of people in country areas who can be employed. This is a matter of great pleasure to me because I do not like to see large numbers of unemployed people anywhere. Yesterday I issued some figures showing the number of school leavers available in country areas for employment. Throughout the length and breadth of Australia there are only 469 male school leavers registered in the country areas for employment. I quote only two sets of figures, 199 in New South Wales and 93 in Victoria. The figures relate to the total numbers registered for employment. From my point of view they illustrate clearly that we have not enough manpower resources to build up large scale industries in country areas to the extend we desire. We have to face the difficulty of where our resources are. Industry must be built up where the manpower is available. While we want to play our part in decentralisation we cannot make people move to country areas if they wish to go to the cities.
The third point I wish to mention is this: In my view one of the answers to the problem of decentralisation, and a greater and wider dispersion of population, lies in the growth in the numbers of people we have in Australia. As our migrant intake increases some decentralisation will automatically occur. We all know that as agricultural industries become more efficient and their productivity increases the number of people needed to produce the same amount, and even a greater amount of goods, continually decreases. Most agricultural industries are finding that although their productivity is increasing they can employ fewer and fewer people. The people not required must find their occupations in secondary and tertiary industry. It is against this very strong background that the problem has to be considered. It is not an easy problem to solve. It is not something you can achieve easily like switching on a light or winding up a clock.
What is the part played by the Commonwealth Government? As I have said, the Government welcomes the opportunity to make a contribution. I am sure that when honorable members look at the facts they will come to the conclusion that the Commonwealth’s Government’s contribution has been a massive one. Fundamentally, under our Constitution the responsibility for the dispersion of population to bring about decentralisation is exclusively a State one. The Commonwealth has not this head of power granted to it under the Constitution. Nonetheless, whenever the opportunity has arisen and the Government has believed that manpower and resources were available and could be used in the country areas, the Government has taken the opportunity to support the States and to provide additional stimulus.
Let me speak of what the Commonwealth has done on a very general basis to support the country areas as a whole. I shall deal first with the problem of taxation and taxation concessions and then move on to the stabilisation, marketing and research schemes that have been introduced during the period that the Menzies Government has been in office. In regard to taxation, as the honorable gentleman did mention, the Government decided to introduce zone allowances in two areas of the Commonwealth. This has been done. Provision has been made also for the total deduction, for tax purposes, of certain kinds of expenditure in the years in which the expenditure was made. Recently a 20 per cent, investment allowance was provided in respect of certain types of equipment and machinery, and, of course, as all honorable gentlemen associated with rural industries will know, there is a depreciation allowance of 20 per cent, per annum in respect of the purchase of other types of equipment.
Then, Sir - and this is of importance - in order to stabilise industries, and in many cases to promote increased production, this Government, through the work of the
Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr. McEwen), has been most active in implementing policies to ensure the success of wider marketing and in introducing com,modity stabilisation schemes and schemes for research and development. I mention the wool promotion scheme and the butter stabilisation scheme. Under the latter the Commonwealth Government pays a subsidy of £13,500,000. There is also the stabilisation scheme for dried vine fruits and the stabilisation scheme announced recently by the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) in relation to the poultry industry. Also there is the improved scheme for the production and marketing of tobacco. All these schemes were designed to stabilise primary industries and to encourage people engaged in primary and rural industries to extend their activities, and also to encourage others to take part in the healthy growth of these industries.
Lastly I mention something novel introduced by this Government, because I do not think that the Labour Party ever engaged in this. I refer to extended research and development schemes in relation to sugar, butter, wool and tobacco. These schemes were introduced during the lifetime of the Menzies Government and they are continually being improved.
– There was a wool research scheme under the Chifley Government.
– To a minor degree which could not compare with what is being achieved today. I now turn to some of the wider problems. One is the question of Commonwealth-State relations. I have mentioned that under this heading the Commonwealth complements the activities of the State Governments. Next year under the tax reimbursement scheme, as it was formerly called, the Commonwealth will be allotting to the State Governments about £33 million more than they received this year. What that means in precise terms is this: It gives to the State Governments a wonderful opportunity to use part of these extra funds for the development of country areas, and k gives them the opportunity to provide the incentive for the diversification of industry and the allocation of industry to country centres.
I move now to my own Department of Labour and National Service. The honorable member for Bendigo made much of the fact that there was large scale, or considerable, unemployment in country areas. That is not correct. I quote from the statement that I made yesterday and which was published in some of the newspapers today. Taking the unemployment figures themselves
– They have all gone to the cities already.
– In a moment I will talk about school leavers who cannot move to the cities within a matter of three or four weeks. Again, I do not want to be provocative in what I say to the honorable member, but he does not understand the facts. Let me say this: At the end of last month there were only 4,406 school leavers of both sexes registered with the Commonwealth Employment. Service as a whole, compared with 8,567 at the same time last year. As to the non-metropolitan or country areas, I now repeat what 1 said previously. The number of males registered for employment was only 469. and of females, 2,202.
What more have we done? Even in those cases we have tried to ensure that inducements and incentives were given in the country areas. Take the case of apprenticeships. What we did here was to provide that if any employer would take on more than his normal number of apprentices the Commonwealth Government itself would grant him a subsidy. The Government has also decided that if country apprentices are compelled to live away from home it will provide a living away from home allowance. This has been remarkably successful. The purpose behind it all was not only to get an increased number of skilled people but also to ensure that this policy of decentralisation was in fact carried out.
This is to give greater mobility and more opportunities for country people to move about. That, in itself, should be both an inducement to opening up further opportunities and a means of giving the country people an opportunity to shift their products more effectively.
Let me take two of the major projects. I do not want to mention them in great detail; I merely want to sketch in a little detail a considerable part of what the Commonwealth has achieved. As I say, I shall mention two major decentralisation projects. The first is a railway line between Townsville and Mr Isa. Not only does this line permit of the expansion of mining operations but it has also permitted refining operations to be carried out in Townsville, and we can now expect a concentration of population in the Mr Isa and Townsville areas. Likewise, in Western Australia, the Commonwealth Government has granted funds - repayable in some cases, it is true - for the building of a railway line between Koolyanobbing and Kwinana. Those are just two illustrations of what the Commonwealth Government has done to promote rapid transportation between country areas and the cities.
I mention two other decentralisation projects. The first is the assistance given, as a result of the Prime Minister’s policy speech, to provide additional port facilities in New South Wales and Queensland. Moving on to what I regard as one of the critical features, because it is on this feature that Australian development must depend, I now mention water conservation and reticulation. I do give full credit to the Labour Government for conceiving the Snowy Mountains scheme, but I do say that, apart from turning the first sod, not one other bit of work was done there by it.
– And the sod was turned in the wrong place.
– The honorable gentleman reminds me that it was turned in the wrong place. That does not matter because we have corrected the errors of past governments. This is a magnificent scheme providing water over a wide area and providing opportunities for thousands of people to live in the Murray-Murrumbidgee area. I come, now, to other water reticulation and conservation schemes. I mention those in Western Australia. I mention also the Murray Valley Development Association. All these schemes are designed as single items in the Government’s policy for the greater decentralisation of industry and to demonstrate our avidity to help the States to have greater diversity in the country areas.
Now I want to deal with the problem of defence. This is one area in which I doubt whether any of us can contemplate too wide a dispersion of effort, particularly in the disposition of defence forces. It is here that efficiency and immediate mobility are of vital importance. Nonetheless, if we look at the record we see that recently the Government has decided to place one of the new training camps in the Rockhampton area. Of course, we do have large scale concentrations of Air Force personnel at both Townsville and Darwin. So we see that much has been done. I regret that time does not permit of my painting a complete picture, but I do say that honorable members will gather from what I have said that the Menzies Government is playing a magnificent part in ensuring that country areas are given greater inducements for prosperity and progress, and I can assure the House that this policy will be continued.
Now, I come to the actual motion that has been put to the House. The main suggestion in it is that we should appoint an all-party parliamentary committee. Let me mention that already the Government has decided to divide the Department of National Development into two sections and established the Northern Division. This has the purpose of ensuring that where decentralisation projects can be carried out, and where resources are available, funds will be provided by the Commonwealth in co-operation with the States. Secondly, the Commonwealth Government has appointed a committee to examine the question of transport costs in the north. I should have mentioned when I was dealing with the question of transportation in country areas that already the Government has decided on measures to reduce the differential between petrol prices in capital cities and country areas to 4d. a gallon.
The last point I want to make - and this is a complete answer to the honorable gentleman’s request for an all-party parliamentary committee - is that in June last year the State Premiers asked the Commonwealth whether it would co-operate and agree to a pooling of knowledge so that when decentralisation projects were being considered we would have a common fund of knowledge and a common pool of information on which we could base our decisions. The Prime Minister did have a full meeting of our own relevant departmental officials and, as a result of that meeting, he has decided that, now that the basic papers have been prepared, the State officials will be called into conference and, when a common paper can be prepared setting out the resources available, the problems we have to face and the opportunities for further development and decentralisation, he will preside over a. meeting of the State Premiers to permit this matter to be thoroughly considered and have rational decisions made.
Again I say we welcome this debate. I particularly welcome it on behalf of the Prime Minister because it does give us the opportunity to prove what a magnificent contribution we are making under our Prime Minister to the development of this country.
.-I rise to support the proposal submitted by my colleague the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Beaton) who presented the case on behalf of the Opposition. The facts he has placed before the House should prove, if proof is necessary, that our proposal is well founded and should receive the support of the Parliament. I was surprised to bear the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) simply rely on past deeds in his reply. The fact is that no matter what has been done, it has not been sufficient to halt the trend of concentration in the capital cities. It is that trend which we must stop. Reference by the Minister to past deeds will do nothing in that regard.
I also understood the Minister to say that there were very few people in country areas seeking employment. If that were so - it is not completely correct - it would simply be because there is not sufficient employment, attraction or amenities in country areas to entice people to stay in those areas. To show that the Minister is not quite correct in his claim about unemployment in country areas I shall refer to one of our big problems in regard to employment in these areas, and that is the difficulty in finding positions for young girls. This is a problem which must be attacked unless we wish to see a continuation of the practice of these girls moving into city areas. The officer in charge of the Commonwealth Employment Service in Kalgoorlie is reported to have said only last month that of 160 people awaiting placement in employment in Kalgoorlie, 150 were juniors and most of those were girls. This trend is apparently Commonwealth wide, or so that officer said. Of course, while heavy industry is the industry to encourage a large work force into country areas, there is not very much opportunity in those industries for girls. Therefore, one of the things which we must pursue is to ensure that some types of light industry are set up in country areas so that we will not continue to see our young females drifting off to the cities. “ Facts and Figures “ issued by the Australian News and Information Bureau on the population estimates for 1963 show that 57.8 per cent. of the Australian population was concentrated in capital cities at that time. But whilst that may have been the exact figure as far as capital cities was concerned it would be wrong to conclude that the other 42.2 per cent. of Australia’s population was actually spread over what is generally referred to as the country, rural or northern areas. The true position is that a large number of that 42.2 per cent. of the people are actually concentrated in areas very close to the capital cities - not in the capital cities themselves, but very close to them. For instance, the population concentration in Perth, the capital city of Western Australia, is estimated to be some 56.7 per cent. of the total population of the State, but if we include the local governing authority district of Swan, which has only an area of 1,885 square miles and which, together with the metropolitan area, gives us a total of 2,077 square miles, we find that 65.3 per cent. of the entire population of Western Australia is concentrated in that small area - in the metropolitan and near metropolitan or capital city and near capital city area. So, of the 42.2 per cent. of the population outside the capital city, some 17.5 per cent. is concentrated in an area that is practically metropolitan.
To people from the smaller States the 2,077 square miles to which I referred might seem to be a fairly large piece of country but it must be remembered that Western Australia has a total area of 975,920 square miles. Therefore, we find ourselves with 65.3 per cent. of our total population concentrated in . 2 per cent. - not 2 per cent. but 2 per cent. - of the total area of the State. We have 65.3 per cent. of the population concentrated in an area whose furthest point is no more than 40 miles from the Perth Post Office, when the furthest point in the State would be something like 1,500 miles away.
This unbalanced and undesirable concentration has gradually worsened over the years. Unless it is checked it will continue to worsen for we find that whereas in the 1954 census, the population in the area of Western Australia to which I have referred was 60.2 per cent. of the State’s total, by 1961 it had increased to 64.5 per cent. and the 1963 estimate, as I have just said, was 65.3 per cent. If this trend is allowed to continue it will mean that, within 20 years, 75 per cent. of the total population of Western Australia will be concentrated in that small area of . 2 per cent. of the State.
With the exception of Tasmania, all other States seem to be in a somewhat similar position. Surely this cannot be in the best interests of Australia or of the States themselves and something must be done to halt the trend of concentration in capital cities. Honorable members know that most, if not all, local governing authorities and also a very large number of interested citizens outside the metropolitan area have, over the years, been campaigning and doing everything possible to encourage people and industry to come to or remain in country areas. But to have any real success in this regard it is necessary to have complete cooperation and co-ordination between the Commonwealth Government, and State and local governments, with a positive plan for the expansion of industry, employment and population in country areas.
The Australian Labour Party is of the opinion that a positive move should be made immediately. We feel that the implementation of our resolution would be a major step in the right direction - a step towards extending industry, employment and population to country areas and the creation of new country towns. With the concurrence of honorable members I shall incorporate the resolution in “ Hansard “.
That this House notes with grave concern-
That more than one-third of the total popu lation of Australia is centred in Sydney and Melbourne, and recommends to the Government as a matter of extreme urgency in the interests of balanced development and defence that -
any related matters which in the opinion of the committee will assist in obtaining more balanced developments; and
There is nothing complicated about our resolution. It is clear and straightforward and its intention is obvious - to pave the way for more industry and population in country areas outside the capital cities, to set in motion a positive plan for more use to be made of country districts with less emphasis on and less concentration in city and near city areas. If this resolution receives the support of the Government, as it should do - particularly of members of the Australian Country Party - and is carried today and not simply allowed to lapse by expiration of time, it can and should be the. means whereby something definite will be achieved in regard to decentralisation in a reasonably short space of time.
It should not be necessary for honorable members on this side of the House to advance arguments on the value or merits of our resolution. It should be obvious to all honorable members, and must be agreed by all honorable members, that there is an urgent need for a move to be made as quickly as possible to encourage industry and population into towns and districts situated well away from the metropolitan cities. The only difference of opinion that could or should arise with regard to the expansion of industry and employment is as to the best means by which this can be achieved successfully. Surely a committee of responsible people with authority to make investigations into the various aspects of the matter, to call witnesses and to do other necessary things, and to subsequently present its recommendations to this Parliament is the obvious answer. Most certainly we cannot achieve what is required simply by arguing in this chamber without having anything concrete to act upon. This is an urgent matter and there is certainly no time to be lost. This resolution should be passed today. A committee should be formed almost immediately so that it can commence its activities no later than during the coming recess, for there will be a tremendous amount of work and investigation to be carried out before the committee will be in a position to place its recommendations before this Parliament.
The time allowed to me in this debate does not permit me to outline even briefly the results of an examination of this subject on an Australia-wide basis, so I have to be satisfied with dealing with it as it applies to Western Australia alone. I have cited the Metropolitan-Swan area in Western Australia because I feel that it is a very good illustration of the concentration of population, work force and industry in or near a capital city. However, on the Australia-wide basis
I did notice in the 1961 census figures that 10,200,000 people lived south of the Tropic of Capricorn and only 350,000 north of the Tropic. Of those living below the Tropic, 6,600,000 lived in 15 cities of 50,000 people or more, and 4,700,000 lived in the two great conurbations of SydneyNewcastleWollongong and MelbourneGeelongBallarat. This means that some 42 per cent, of Australia’s population was living in 0.09 per cent, of the continent’s land area. Quite obviously, sir, we have nothing like balanced development of Australia as a whole or of economic growth. lt is essential, for social as well as economic reasons, for Australia to take positive action to halt the drift of young people from country towns and districts to the capital cities, and to reduce the abnormally high percentage of the population and work force resident in the capital cities and nearby. To do this, it is necessary to establish industry in country districts and to make living and working in country areas more attractive to young people. At this stage, it is not for us, I think, to argue how this can be done, where it should be done or what industries should be chosen. That would bc the duty of the committee that we ask the Government to establish. The Committee could do that and present to this Parliament details of its recommendations so that they can be examined and acted on.
An examination of the 1961 census figures shows that 63.2 per cent, of the total work force in industry in Western Australia was in the metropolitan-Swan region, which, as I said earlier, represents only 0.2 per cent, of the area of the whole State. Furthermore, 56.5 per cent, of the entire work force of the State was in the metropolitan area, which represents only 0.02 per cent, of the total area of the State. Another interesting but rather disturbing feature of the concentration of the work force in the city area is shown by the fact that 74.8 per cent, of the total of about 9.500 employed on the administrative side of public authority and defence were, at the time of the 1961 census, in the metropolitan area itself, and 83.3 per cent, in the metropolitan-Swan region. I do not know, and I do not think I am expected to know, whether it is practicable to extend this kind of occupation more into the country areas of the State. It may well not be practicable or wise. But the figures certainly show that, if this could be done, it should be done.
I have here a report that appeared in the “West Australian” on 21st April. It contains figures prepared by the Western Australian Employers Federation relating to future employment. The report states -
The work force was likely to grow by about 9,000 per year in the next six years.
The federation estimated that each year about 1,800 of these would go into manufacturing, fewer than 1.200 into building, construction and mining and about 6,000 into commerce, finance and other service industries.
If the figures quoted prove to be correct, this means, on the basis of the 1961 census, that of the 54,000 to enter industry over six years, 41,322 will be concentrated in the metropolitan-Swan area. The report states that 10,800 will go into the manufacturing industries. The census showed that 80.8 per cent, of those engaged in manufacturing in 1961 were in the capital city and the nearby area. On that basis, only 2,060 of the 10,800 will be outside the capital city and its immediate surroundings.
Also, according to this newspaper article, fewer than 7,200 will go into building, construction and mining over the next six years. The census showed that only 7.1 per cent, of those engaged in mining were in the metropolitan-Swan area, whereas 59.9 per cent, of building and construction workers were in that small section of the State. The census figures showed that in 1961 there were some 3i times as many building and construction workers as there were workers in mining. This means that, of the 7,200 mentioned as an addition to the work force in building, construction and mining over the next six years, only about 2,000 will go into mining and of these about 1,860 will be outside the capital city and the near city region. This proves the value of mining in building up the work force and population in country areas. Of the 5,200 expected to enter building and construction industries, only a few over 2,050 will be engaged outside the city.
This newspaper report also states that some 36,000 additional workers can be expected to enter commerce, finance and other service industries over the next six years. At the time of the 1961 census, there were 4½ times as many engaged in commerce as in finance and property. On the basis of those figures, we find that some 29,400 will enter commerce and about 6,600 finance and other service industries. The census figures showed that 74.8 per cent. of those engaged in commerce and 83.9 per cent. of those engaged in finance were in the metropolitan-Swan region. On this basis, about 22,050 of the 29,400 who will go into commerce will be in the city and near city area, and about 5,540 of the 6,600 who will go into finance, etc., will be in the city and near city area. So, of the 54,000 workers who, according to the newspaper report, will be added to the work force in Western Australia over the next six years, about 76.5 per cent. will be in a region that represents only 0.2 per cent. of the area of the whole State, and the other 23.5 per cent. will be spread over the remaining 99.8 per cent. of the State.
I suggest, Sir, that the figures which I have quoted prove conclusively that it is necessary for governments to take positive action to encourage industry and population to expand in country areas well away from the capital cities. There is no doubt that if such action is not taken the present trend will gradually - perhaps even quickly - become worse. I want to point out also that the fact that some 93 per cent. of those engaged in mining are employed outside the metropolitan and near metropolitan areas proves beyond doubt that a thriving mining industry has great value in promoting decentralisation. This industry provides one of the best, if not the best, means of promoting a rapid increase of employment and population in country regions. One substantial mine can provide work for 200 or more men. This would mean a total increase in population of 400 or 500 and perhaps even the establishment of a new town. Therefore, it is obvious that means of encouraging mining for all ores should be examined.
At present, the iron ore projects in Western Australia provide a wonderful opportunity for the proposed committee to investigate the possibilities of decentralisation. There is no doubt that a large number of men will be required in the north west of Western Australia for these projects. However, the trouble is that very few of them will go there with the intention of remaining for any great length of time, and very few of them will take their families there. As happens so much in other industries at present, the men who go to the region will have no intention of remaining there more than a couple of years. Their whole idea will be to make money to help them live better in the Western Australian capital or some other capital city. The situation will be even worse if the system of indentured foreign labour that has been mentioned is introduced. Under such a system, labourers from overseas would go to the north west of Western Australia only for the purpose of saving as much money as possible and spending as little as possible while remaining there for as short a time as possible before returning to their own country with the maximum possible savings. This would be of absolutely no value to Australia generally or to the north in particular.
In the few moment that I have left, I just want to say that many factors relating to decentralisation ought to be examined, with particular attention to government munitions factories, and establishments to produce fertilisers, building materials, defence equipment, furniture, foodstuffs and motor car parts. The tourist industry and many other activities also should be considered as suitable means of promoting decentralisation. I suggest that only a committee such as that now proposed by the Opposition, vested with the necessary authority, can do the job of making a thorough examination of the possibilities and thereby enable us to ascertain which industries are best suited to particular districts.
– Order! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
.-I think that all honorable members who are conscious of this great problem in Australia, that is, the imbalanced development of Australia, the crowding of our cities and the drift of people from the country areas, welcome this motion which was introduced by the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Beaton). His suggestion that a joint parliamentary committee should be set up to deal with this problem is a bit late, really. His proposal would not fill the bill as well as what the Government has proposed already.
At the Premiers’ Conference held in July last year it was suggested that there should be joint meetings between Commonwealth authorities and State departments to go into this problem of decentralisation throughout Australia. On 5th and 6th March this year there was a meeting of representatives of the States and the Commonwealth, which shows a positive action to try to do something about this major problem.
I sympathise with the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. Collard) who has mentioned the difficulties that exist in his electorate. Under federation the States have responsibilities and the Commonwealth has its responsibilities in this problem of decentralisation; but there is no better electorate than Kalgoorlie to spotlight what the Commonwealth is doing to overcome the problem and to meet its responsibilities. It was the Commonwealth Government that brought in the Gold-Mining Industry Assistance Act. Where would Kalgoorlie be today if it did not have that Act to assist the mining companies? It is in his great electorate that we see the benefit of such things as the wheat stabilisation scheme which ensures a guaranteed price for that commodity. It is in his electorate that we see the benefit of trade arrangements and agreements to sell our wool, wheat and meat on the world markets. These are. functions which the Commonwealth Government undertakes to ensure that the basic income of districts is maintained at a high level. It is in the electorate of Kalgoorlie that we see the benefit of Commonwealth grants to the State for the construction of jetties in places such as Derby and Broome. It is in the honorable member’s electorate that we see the development of the Ord River scheme, which is financed by a Commonwealth grant. It is in his electorate that the Commonwealth has provided money for the construction of beef roads. It is in his electorate that we have seen the benefit of the Commonwealth decision to attract foreign capital for the development of iron ore projects. These are just some of the things that spotlight what the Commonwealth is doing to try to give a more balanced development.
I have used this electorate as an example to show what the Commonwealth is doing. But the States also have a responsibility. I am sensitive to this question of the drift of population because in the district from which I come the problem is more accentuated than in any other district in Australia. I refer to the north coast of New South Wales. This area has had 24 years of Labour administration in New South Wales. The problems in country areas in that State are becoming more and more acute. The last statistical figures for New South Wales showed that in 11 of the 14 statistical divisions of the State there was a drift of population to the three city statistical divisions of Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong.
– The Minister is electioneering now.
– I am stating facts. From the north coast of New South Wales there has been a drift of 28,000 people - young people - in three years. Those young people are able to find jobs and housing only in the great metropolitan areas of New South Wales. Why are these people drifting to the cities? As I have said, they cannot find employment in the country areas. Under the present Government in New South Wales, for every five children born in the country areas, three are destined to move to the city for their future and livelihood. So I agree that this is a problem and I commend the honorable member for Bendigo for bringing it forward. I only hope that the next New South Wales Government - whichever party is in power - will place greater emphasis on decentralisation. Nevertheless, there is an indictment on the present administration for not trying to do more about the problem while it has been in office. It is the basic income industries in an area that determine whether employment will be available in the area. As an example I cite the dairying industry on the north coast of New South Wales. This is a case where the State Government has given no assistance whatever in 24 years.
– Order! As it is now two hours after the time fixed for the meeting of the House, the debate on the motion is interrupted. The Minister for the Interior will have leave to continue bis remarks when the debate is resumed.
Motion (by Mr. Duthie) put -
That the time for the discussion of notices be extended until 12.45 p.m.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Sir John McLeay.)
Majority . . . . 20
Question so resolved in the negative.
Debate resumed from 23rd April 1964 (vide page 1404), on motion by Mr. Turner -
That this House condemns the action of persons and organisations having no direct responsibility to the Australian electorate in issuing instructions to elected Members of the Australian Parliament that they refrain from publicly expressing views held by them on issues affecting the safety of this country.
.- I hope that the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Anthony) does not have to wait as long as I have had to wait to continue my remarks on this motion, which were interrupted on 23rd April last year. The honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Turner) was good enough to bring up for debate in the House the subject of outside control of members of Parliament. I was rounding out the picture that he painted by detailing the pressure from outside sources, very often anonymous, on Liberal Party and Country Party members of this Parliament and other Parliaments.
Since 23rd April last year the position in the Liberal Party has deteriorated. We know that in New South Wales some former, respected representatives have been ousted by the Ash Street junta. Mr. Doig has been ousted from the seat of Burwood, Mr. Hearnshaw from the seat of Eastwood, and Mr. Jackson from the seat of Gosford, not because the members of the Liberal Party in those electorates did not want them but because the Ash Street junta did not want them. In addition, the vendetta that the Liberal Party has pursued against Mr. Darby is continuing and has been extended to Mrs. Darby, and the vendetta against Mr. Hearnshaw has now been extended to Mrs. Hearnshaw, too. I will leave the New South Wales Liberal Party to the people of that State.
I come to this Parliament. Only a few months ago the Leader of the Country Party (Mr. McEwen) asked at a Cabinet meeting: “ Who runs this country - this Government or the Shell company?” Well might he ask that question, recalling that Mr. W. H. Anderson, a director of the Shell company, was the federal president of the Liberal Party. The Leader of the Country Party was speaking at that time about the fracas over the Miller tankers and the attempt to preserve the Australian coastal tanker fleet for foreign oil companies.
– Where was he speaking?
– He was speaking in the Cabinet. The honorable member was not there. Since then the Leader of the Country Party has been frustrated further by the Shell company and other foreign oil companies, because he has been waiting for 20 months to get through his subsidy legislation to reduce rural petrol prices. The Shell company has blackmailed the Government to such an extent that that legislation has not yet been introduced; 18. months have passed and the Menzies Government’s promise in this regard is still unfulfilled. His experience has been the same as that of the late Ernie Evans, Country Party Minister of Mines in Queensland, in finding purchasers for Moonie oil, namely that the Shell company and the other oil companies were running the Liberal Party.
Icangofurther, because Country Party testimony on the Liberal Party in this respect is very persuasive. Only six months ago Mr. Chaffey, the Deputy Leader of the Country Party in New South Wales, said -
The man in the street feels that the person who is dictating civil aviation policy in this country is Mr. Ansett.
A former Leader of the Country Party in New South Wales, Mr. Davis Hughes, said -
The people of this State cannot be blamed for assuming that Ansett-A.N.A. has too much influence in determining airline policy in Australia.
It is for that reason that the new Liberal Party headquarters in Canberra are called the Ansett control tower. If, in two days’ time, Mr. Askin wins the New South Wales election, we will have in the Ansett-Askin government in that State the same sort of government as we have in the MenziesAnsett government in the Commonwealth sphere. The Menzies Government is underwriting every expense that Mr. Ansett undertakes. The Menzies Government is providing the money for Mr. Ansett to finance Mr. Askin’s campaign. If Mr. Askin wins on Saturday, it will be the people of New South Wales who will be taken for a ride.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
Motion (by Mr. Duthie) put -
That the honorable member for Werriwa be granted an extension of time.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Sir John McLeay.)
Majority . . . . 20
Question so resolved in the negative.
Sitting suspended from 12.49 to 2.15 p.m.
Bill presented by Mr. Snedden, and read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill, like the Act it is designed to replace, is concerned with the exemption of designated persons from jury service in the States and in Commonwealth Territories. Except in relation to jury service in the Territories, the present Act has received little legislative attention since its enactment some 60 years ago. The present Act, which will be repealed, has but two operative provisions and I shall briefly describe them. Section 2 exempts from jury service the Governor-General, the members of the Federal Executive Council, Justices of the High Court and of other courts created by the Parliament, senators and the members of this House and employees of the Commonwealth Railways Commissioner. Also exempted are officers of the Commonwealth Public Service.
The exemption conferred by section 2 standing by itself would be a total exemption. It is qualified, however, by section 3 in the case of officers of the Commonwealth Public Service. Section 3 provides that, as to jury service in any Territory forming part of the Commonwealth, those officers are liable to perform jury service unless they are specifically exempted by regulations. Section 3 was introduced into the Act in 1932 and was made necessary by reason of the fact that at that time public servants constituted a very large percentage of the total population in some Territories. In the case of the Australian Capital Territory, for example, nine out of ten potential jurors were public servants. In the States, however, the position of officers of the Commonwealth Public Service has remained unchanged since 1905. That is to say, they have continued to be wholly exempted as a class, regardless of the nature of the duties that they may perform.
The main purpose of the present Bill is to make provision in relation to jury service in the States by officers of the Commonwealth Public Service. The Bill does this by applying in the several States the same system as is now applied to jury service by officers of the Commonwealth Public Service in the Territories - that is, officers will be liable to serve on State juries unless they are exempted by regulations made pursuant to this Bill.
There is a history of CommonwealthState negotiations behind this proposed alteration to the jury exemption law which I think it will be useful to bring to the notice of honorable members. In recent years, three States - Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania - have made the majority of the officers of their Public Services liable to perform jury service. Previously there had been a total exemption similar to that accorded to Commonwealth public servants under the Commonwealth Act. The change had regard to the increased number of persons in Government employment and the consequently greater extent of the exemption accorded than when the jury exemption legislation was first enacted. The three States have requested the Commonwealth to accord the officers of its Public Service only that exemption which is given to the officers of the Public Services of those States.
The question was raised in the Standing Committee of Commonwealth and State Attorneys-General and was also extensively discussed between the Commonwealth and State Public Service Boards with the object of securing uniformity. It has not been possible to achieve uniformity. Three States - New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia - presently intend to retain their system of total or substantial exemption. After full consultation with the Commonwealth Public Service Board, the Government has decided on legislation which will enable the Commonwealth to vary the exemption in those three States that have made the bulk of their own public servants available for jury service. The Bill does this by abolishing the present unqualified exemption but providing for exemption of specified public servants or classes of public servants by regulations. In that way the Commonwealth will be able also to continue to apply a system of wide exemption in the other three States that, for the present at any rate, are continuing to give such exemption to their own public servants.
The Bill also adds to the categories of Commonwealth personnel to whom the jury exemption legislation will apply. First, it is clearly desirable that Commonwealth police officers should be exempted just as their State counterparts are exempted by State legislation. Next there are the members of Commonwealth statutory bodies. No members of Commonwealth statutory corporations, boards or commissions are exempted, or can be exempted, under the Jury Exemption Act at present, because the expression “ officers of the Public Service of the Commonwealth “ as used in the Act refers only to permanent officers of the Public Service. While it is not necessary that all members of all Commonwealth statutory corporations, boards or commissions should be exempted from jury service the Government takes the view that all members of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and the Tariff Board should be so exempted. The Bill gives power to make regulations to exempt in other appropriate cases, for instance, in relation to such bodies as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority, and the Australian Atomic Energy Commission. The Bill gives power to exempt also specified employees or classes of employees of Commonwealth statutory corporations, boards or commissions. Under the present Act, there is no such power, although all employees of the Commonwealth Railways Commissioner are exempted by the Act itself.
The present Bill will have the effect also of bringing within the area covered by the Jury Exemption Act the exemption presently provided for members of the forces by the defence legislation. Section 43 of the Defence Act exempts from jury service anywhere in Australia or in its Territories all members of the Permanent Naval Forces, the Naval Emergency Reserve Forces, the Active Permanent Military Forces, the Regular Army Emergency Reserve, the Permanent Air Force, the Air Force Emergency Force, and, while called out for continuous service, members of the Regular Army Reserve and of the citizen forces.
It is desirable that the Jury Exemption Act should deal comprehensively with the matter of exemption provided by Commonwealth law in relation to Commonwealth personnel. This Bill includes, therefore, provisions exempting members of the armed forces from jury service. In the Bill the various branches of the armed forces I have just mentioned are covered by the composite term “ defence force “ which, under the provisions of the Defence Act, the Naval Defence Act and the Air Force Act, includes all naval, military and air forces of the Commonwealth. The term “ citizen forces “ which, along with the Regular Army Reserve, requires continuous service for the exemption provisions of the Bill to apply to it, is defined in the Defence Act as including the Citizen Naval Forces, the Citizen Military Forces and the Citizen Air Force. Section 43 of the Defence Act will be repealed by another bill. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Whitlam) adjourned.
Debate resumed from 1 7th March (vide page 69), on motion by Mr. Fairbairn -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
.- This short amending Bill deals with the banking of money by the Joint Coal Board and the power of the Board to borrow money on overdraft. The measure is very restricted. The Opposition does not oppose it. We should like to discuss the wider aspects of the coal industry - the operations of the Joint Coal Board - but we appreciate that this is not the time to embark on a wider and fuller discussion. The Bill does not disturb the principle of banking existing now. It validates what has taken place and it confirms present practices. For these reasons the Opposition gives the measure its blessing. We feel that the banking that has taken place over the years, first with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and now with the separate banks under the Commonwealth Banking Corporation all conforms to the general principles of the Opposition.
A new section 19a is to be inserted in the Act which will authorise the Board to maintain accounts with an approved bank or banks. An approved bank in this instance is the Commonwealth Trading Bank. Legal sanction is given to the continuation of banking with the Commonwealth Trading Bank as a part of the Commonwealth Banking Corporation. The banking that has taken place with the Reserve Bank will be continued. Opposition members would have liked to have had the whole matter spelt out much more clearly and to have had the sections of the Commonwealth Bank named without any reference to approved banks. We believe that any banking done by a Commonwealth instrumentality should be done with the Commonwealth Banking Corporation or the Reserve Bank without any question or reservation. The Joint Coal Board has hanked with the Commonwealth Bank and this being so we approve of th” measure.
This amending legislation is necessary because the Commonwealth Bank Act 1953 separated the central and trading bank functions of the Commonwealth Bank. The Commonwealth Trading Bank was formed to render a very special service, and the normal banking activities of the Joint Coal Board continued with that Bank. The Commonwealth Bank continued its central bank operations until 1959, when legislation was introduced to establish the Reserve Bank as Australia’s central bank. This created one of the problems that we now have.
The Opposition has no fault to find with the banking arrangements of the Joint Coal Board. We are aware that the Commonwealth Trading Bank has offices at Newcastle, Wollongong, Lithgow and Cessnock and that in those districts the Board banks with the Commonwealth Trading Bank. This activity will not be disturbed by the legislation. A situation that has been found to be satisfactory for a number of years will be maintained. As I said at the commencement of my speech, the Opposition would have welcomed an opportunity to discuss the Coal Industry Act generally, but we appreciate the restricted nature of this legislation. We would have liked to discuss the charter of the Joint Coal Board. The Opposition is most anxious to have an early opportunity to discuss the place of coal in our development. Perhaps some honorable members would criticise the Joint Coal Board for its failure to use its power to raise money. However, the restricted nature of this measure precludes a worthwhile discussion. It is my view, of course, that the authority given to the Board in various Acts of Parliament should be implemented and that the Board should fill its historic role. 1 do not intend to canvass these points. All I say is that the measure before us has the support of the Opposition and that we will look for opportunities in the immediate future to discuss the coal industry, particularly the activities of the Joint Coal Board, in a broader fashion.
.- As the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Luchetti) said, the Bill is very short and very simple. It seeks merely to validate the banking arrangements of the Joint Coal Board. As honorable members are aware, the preamble to the Coal Industry Act requires that the Commonwealth and New South Wales Governments agree to any amendment to the Act. I understand that the New South Wales Labour Government has already agreed to this amendment. The purpose of the Bill could hardly be said to be controversial. As the Bill deals in effect with the administration of the Joint Coal Board, I have an opportunity to take stock of the coal industry in New South Wales and to consider the future of this vital industry. I think we must ask the question: What are the prospects of coal compared with those of competing fuel sources?
– Order! I remind the honorable member for Warringah that the Bill before the House deals purely and simply with an amendment to the Coal Industry Act and that this debate is restricted to the banking activities of the Joint Coal Board and the validating of action already taken by the Board.
– What I would seek to do, of course, is to show the importance of the Joint Coal Board. After all, this Bill deals with the financial arrangement of the Board. At this stage, I am saying that there are interests, and political interests at that, seeking to abolish the Board. In that atmosphere, I think some development of argument beyond the very strict limitations to which you have drawn my attention should be permissible at this stage.
– Order! I rule that the debate must be restricted to the banking activities of the Board and the validation of action already taken by it. The Bill relates only to banking and does not deal with the administration of the Joint Coal Board. I would point out that in bis second reading speech on the Bill the Minister for National Development (Mr. Fairbairn) said -
The purpose of this short Bill is to amend that part of the Coal Industry Act which deals with the Joint Coal Board’s banking operations and with the power of the Board to borrow money on overdraft.
I rule that the debate is to be restricted to the banking operations of the Board.
– I thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for drawing my attention to the restriction. The Opposition obviously does not seek to develop an argument in relation to the coal industry. I join most wholeheartedly in supporting the Bill and hope that there will be no delay in implementing the wish of the Joint Coal Board to have its banking system amended. I join with the honorable member for Macquarie in expressing the hope that we will soon have a full discussion on the coal industry, particularly in New South Wales. I support the Bill.
– I support the Bill. I shall not trespass too much on your tolerance, Mr. Deputy Speaker, but I think one remark can be made about the Joint Coal Board. Its banking function is, of course, an important function. It is important because of the highly significant part that the Joint Coal Board plays. The honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Luchetti) said something which I thought very relevant and which we should, perhaps, keep in mind. He said he hoped that at some future date there would be an opportunity to open up in debate the wider issues of this subject. With that I agree entirely. I think it is time we had such a debate. However, I agree with your ruling, Sir, that the wider issues should not be canvassed now, except one urgent point which I think should be mentioned now because time requires it to be mentioned now and not later. As you know, the Joint Coal Board has been making certain submissions to the Tariff Board. I believe that it is right in asking for the protection of the coal mining industry by the imposition of some kind of duty on crude oil.
– Order! I suggest to the honorable member that his remarks are completely outside the scope of the Bill.
– I was going to say that I hoped that if this were done there would be a corresponding remission in excise duties so that the price of oil products would not be raised.
– Order! The honorable member is contravening the ruling of the Chair.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for Third Reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr. Fairhall) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 8th April (vide page 762), on motion by Mr. Opperman -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
.- The Aliens Bill which is under discussion will not be opposed by the Opposition, but we desire to offer some constructive criticism of the measures proposed in it. Before doing so, however, I will trace briefly the history of this legislation in order that the Parliament may know of its origin and also the purposes behind it. The present Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) who was then Minister for Immigration, on 19th March 1947 introduced the Aliens Bill 1947 which became the Act which is to be amended by this legislation. At that time he stated -
This measure is considered necessary, not only to ensure that we shall have some knowledge of the aliens in our midst, but also to provide for an analysis of Australia’s alien population, so that the Government may implement its immigration policy on sound and scientific lines.
He went on to state that registration of aliens was first introduced in 1916 as a war time necessity but that it fell into disuse after World War I. Subsequently the Aliens Registration Bill was introduced in 1920.
That Bill provided for registration to be effected by the State police departments, as was the case under the National Security Regulations. Owing to a breakdown in the negotiations under which police assistance was to become available, the Act did not come into operation and it was repealed in 1934. From 1922 to 1927 there was practically no oversight of aliens beyond the collection of their passports.
In 1927 the Immigration Act was amended to require all aliens entering Australia to complete a form giving their personal particulars. This proved to be inadequate because there was no follow up system, or because of things of that nature associated with the implementation of the legislation. In June 1939 a new Aliens Registration Bill was assented to. This provided only for the registration to be carried out by registrars of the electoral divisions of the Commonwealth. Subsequently this was replaced by the Aliens Control Regulations under the National Security Act. This was all-embracing and necessitated a large organisation to trace and control aliens during the war years. It required the expenditure of much time and money to obtain adequate knowledge of their numbers and nationalities. Because of lack of control it was very difficult to deal with the question of aliens at the outbreak of war in 1939.
The Aliens Control Regulations subsequently promulgated under the National Security Act placed very severe controls on aliens. In 1945, following the discontinuance of the security service, the responsibility was transferred to the Department of Immigration, and later came under the Defence (Transitional Provisions) Act, which was assented to in December 1946. The purpose of that Act was to enable a full coverage of the activities of aliens to be kept - their addresses and matters of that kind. A similar registration was required at that time as is required for the ordinary elector of the Commonwealth. That is a brief survey of the legislation with which we are dealing today.
The Government has introduced a measure to amend the principal Act. It is not an extensive alteration to the Act but it is one that the Opposition thinks requires some criticism. The Bill will require aliens resident in Australia, in addition to their obligation to register initially under the Act, to notify the Department of Immigration annually, at a specified time, of their address, occupation and marital status. This amendment will replace the existing obligation to notify change of address or occupation within a specified time of any such change taking place. At present, these alterations in status have to be notified within periods ranging from 7 to 30 days. The amendment will make it obligatory for an alien to notify such changes in status, or continuance of existing status, between the 1st and 30th of September each year.
The main purposes of the Aliens Act of 1947, which are naturally worth repeating, were stated as follows -
The principal provisions of the Act were that a register of aliens should be maintained in each State or Territory of the Commonwealth and that aliens should be required to register. It was also required that an alien should notify any change of address, occupation or marital status, and that the Minister’s consent must be obtained before any alien might change his surname.
In support of reasons for the present bill the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Opperman) stated that the failure rate of aliens to notify changes of address is extremely high. He said that the register is less accurate than is desirable as far as the current movements of aliens is concerned. He told us that a check on the present alien population would require a separate approach to each individual alien in the country.
An annual notification will provide, according to the Minister, the basis for an immediate check on aliens who, after initial registration have failed to comply with the requirements of the Act. The follow up will be confined to defaulters only - those who fail to comply with the annual requirement. This, he said, will avoid chasing each alien up individually. It will result in a more accurate and up-to-date register of aliens and will be less onerous on aliens who in the early years of their residence change their addresses frequently. The Minister went on to say that between 15th and 30th September of each year will be the period when registration will take place. The Government believes that theamendment will cover up some of the loopholes that exist.
AsI said at the outset, the Opposition does not oppose this measure, but at the same time it believes that there are certain matters which should be brought to the attention of the Government, and where criticism should be levelled in respect of the aliens situation as well, probably, as the administration of the Act. The Opposition believes that the number of persons who could be described as aliens today includes - I will quote figures later - a large number of people who are eligible for naturalisation but who, for some reason or other, are not prepared to accept citizenship. In his second reading speech the Minister indicated that the present system of registration was a failure and almost impossible of supervision and of administration. The Opposition does not believe, let me state clearly, that the change requiring aliens to register in the month of September is a solution to the problem. We consider that at the very best this is only an attempt and there is no certainty that it will work any better than the system at present in operation. We believe that this is only a mild step towards getting a complete register of aliens and will nowhere near meet the situation.
The growth of the alien population in Australia since 1939 is a matter which must concern every person in the country, particularly members of this Parliament. Complete figures are not available for the number of aliens in Australia in 1939, but, for the purposes of comparison I have been able to obtain certain accurate figures for other years which I believe are worth quoting. As they come from an official and authentic source, I shall ask permission later to incorporate them in “ Hansard “. No doubt they will be of interest to honorable members. They relate to the growth in our alien population since 1947 and disclose that whereas there were 38,653 aliens in Australia in 1947, by the end of 1954 the number had grown to 403,392, and by 1961 it had increased to 523,477. These figures have been taken from the Commonwealth “ Year Books “ for the years 1960 and 1964. As the 1940 census was deferred owing to
World War II, figures could not be obtained for that year. The figures which I am using were compiled by the officers of the statistical section of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library. The number of aliens has increased progressively from 109,983 in 1949 to 402,495 in 1964. According to the figures available to me, the number of aliens eligible for naturalisation, having completed five years residence in Australia, has increased from 196,737 in 1949 to 257,617 in 1964. According to the Department of Immigration, approximately 20 per cent. of that number would be children under 16 years of age and who, therefore, are unable to apply in their own right for naturalisation. I repeat that these statistics are worth recording as they do show that the number of aliens eligible for naturalisation consistently has been between 50 per cent. and 60 per cent. of our alien population. That is rather a big proportion, and I shall deal with that matter later, for it has already had the attention, not only of the Government, but also of the Australian Citizenship Convention which was held earlier this year. With the concurrence of honorable members, I shall have these figures incorporated in “ Hansard “.
Aliens eligible, having completed 5 years residence as at June 1964 -
At the present time, the total number of aliens is 402,495, which represents a fraction over 3 per cent. of the Australian population. All kinds of problems arise as a result of having such a large proportion of aliens in our population. Indeed, so great are these problems that at the Australian Citizenship Convention held in Canberra in January of this year the theme adopted was: “ Every settler a citizen “. The reason for adopting that theme was the large number of persons still classified as aliens who are eligible for naturalisation - that is, citizenship - and who up to that time had not availed themselves of the right to become citizens.
I also propose to cite figures to show the numbers in this category and to ask a few questions as to why we still have so many aliens eligible for citizenship but not prepared to accept it. In answer to a question asked of him by me on 3rd September 1964, the Minister for Immigration stated that at that time there were 250,090 persons eligible for naturalisation who had not taken out citizenship. Included in that number were people of 41 nationalities. For example, 29,744 of them were former Dutch citizens, 25,230 were former German citizens, 29,591 were former Greek citizens, 87,625 were former Italian citizens, 13,143 were former Polish citizens and 15,115 were former Yugoslav citizens, while the remainder were citizens from a number of other countries. With the concurrence of honorable members, I incorporate the Minister’s answer to my question in “ Hansard “.
-The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
I thank the House for allowing me to incorporate those figures because I feel that they will be regarded as very important by those people who are interested in this aspect of naturalisation.
The Australian Citizenship Convention quite rightly asked why persons eligible for naturalisation are still in the alien category and, for some reason or other, will not accept citizenship. When opening the Convention, the Minister for Immigration said this in a printed message to delegates -
Welcome to the Fifteenth Australian Citizenship Convention. The theme for 1965 is “Every Settler a Citizen “, a challenging topic which I hope will provoke the most important and searching examination yet made in this forum of the problems and policies associated with the integration of settlers in the Australian community.
It is a theme which involves immediately the whole question of the 250,000 residentially qualified settlers who have not yet applied for citizenship. Obviously, we must consider what measures, if any, should be taken to encourage these settlers to acquire Australian citizenship; but I believe there are much wider issues to be examined.
That does indicate that the Government is naturally concerned at the proportion of people who are in effect Australians but who will not accept citizenship. Later I shall show from reports submitted to the Australian Citizenship Convention that some very constructive suggestions were put forward for reducing the number of aliens. I mention these matters to Parliament today because we are debating a Bill which brings the problem before the notice of everyone.
The question of our alien population is a serious matter. It is very serious if the register of aliens is incomplete. If, for instance, war should break out - we hope this will not happen - we will be faced with the task of having to intern or at least contact every enemy alien numbered amongst the 402,000 to whom I have referred. Every enemy alien might well have to be interned. The total could be, probably, 200,000, 300,000 or 400,000. It would be a colossal task in itself for any Government to have to round up approximately 500,000 people in a time of war. No doubt in some cases also, if the register were not accurate, injustice, hardship and suffering would result to people who, for no apparent reason, although eligible for naturalisation, had failed to become naturalised. I mention that as a special reason why we should endeavour to reduce the list of aliens, particularly of those entitled to citizenship.
I think we might well pose the question today: Why do people remain alien when so many are eligible to become citizens of a free country which is giving them protection and prosperity? I wonder whether we have removed the incentive for these people to transfer from the position of aliens to the position of citizens because we defer so much to those who are within our boundaries, whether they be aliens or citizens? This point of view is worth considering. I know the problem is not peculiar to this country. What do we offer every citizen of this country whether he be an alien or an Australian? This point is worth looking at. Those aliens who are eligible to work, or who settle here for short or lengthy periods, enjoy practically everything an ordinary Australian citizen is entitled to. For instance, they enjoy good industrial working conditions, they are protected by industrial awards, they enjoy all the provisions of long service leave if they are lucky enough to be in a State governed by a Labour government, and they enjoy holiday pay and things of that nature. They have a right to trade, to go into business, to purchase property and to invest. They also have a right to such social service privileges as sickness, unemployment and certain other social benefits. They are also entitled to the homes savings grant of £250. They are entitled to free education at certain schools. They enjoy the protection that Australia gives in world affairs and which our allies help to provide. They are entitled to health and medical benefits, to housing and other amenities. I do not complain at this. I am merely pointing out to the Parliament the rights they are entitled to enjoy. Finally, they enjoy equally with Australians who are conscripted for military service many other privileges that are not available in other countries of the world. They are completely exempt from any form of military service to protect this country whilst our Australian boys are conscripted by ballot. At this stage, 21,000 Australians have been conscripted by ballot for military service whilst the aliens, who number 402,000, have no obligation at all to serve. They may volunteer if they wish. I make only passing reference to this matter. But, what more can a country give to its own citizens, let alone those not bound as citizens to protect and defend our shores as Australians are compelled to do by law at the present time? In other words, are we removing the incentive for people to take out citizenship? What would be the effect on naturalisation, I ask, if these benefits were not available to those eligible for citizenship who, for some reason or other, will not be naturalised. It is an interesting thought and it is one aspect which we might ponder.
Let us look at the drawbacks of naturalisation. I made passing reference to this when I spoke of compulsory military service at home or abroad. In the United States of America, when an alien enters the country he is immediately entitled to all that the American citizen is entitled to. All the benefits apply. He is entitled to be a naturalised American citizen after five years’ residence and no compulsion applies. But the day he enters America he must register for military service and could easily be drafted the next day if his name were drawn at a ballot. In other words, conditions in America are completely different to ours. All the privileges apply; there are no exemptions, and the alien accepts all the responsibilities. I think in common justice that it is reasonable that if all the benefits and advantages are to apply, the sacrifices also should be accepted. I instance this matter today only to suggest, without any reflection on anybody that because of human reactions, the rate of naturalisation in Australia is slow. As I have shown, we have about 250,000 unnaturalised people, of whom about 50,000 are children.
At the recent Citizenship Convention, speaking for the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), I dealt at some length with the need to reduce the number of aliens. I think that “ alien “ is an unfriendly foreign word. I mentioned the possible effect of exemption from military service on the rate of naturalisations and the friction that this may cause in our community if it is allowed to continue. I said that with 250,000 migrants eligible for naturalisation the theme of the Convention, “ Every settler a citizen “ was urgent and appropriate. I mentioned that for the first time in the history of Australia there had been changes in our military law. I pointed out that aliens, that is, unnaturalised migrants, were exempt from call-up but would not be prevented from volunteering.
Subsequently, at meetings of the Convention committees this question of military service was raised as one which might mitigate against any improvement in the rate of naturalisations. It certainly will not make the officers of the Department of Immigration any happier or their task any easier. Subsequently, the point of view that some thing along the American lines might well be done was endorsed as a recommendation to the Government. I hope that the Minister, in his reply, will tell us whether anything has been done about that matter. Undoubtedly, not only is it affecting naturalisations but it might well affect the spirit of integration that is necessary in a community with such a great migrant population. I invite the Minister to study the Convention’s report on the question of naturalisation. There was a feeling at the Convention that naturalisation should not be compulsory, but that people should be encouraged to accept it as a matter of course.
One suggestion made at the Convention was that in order to reduce the alien content of our population there should be, after a period of say five or ten years, an automatic progression from alien to citizen. I do not know whether such a procedure could be accepted. I do not think that it applies anywhere else in the world. However, that suggestion was made at the Convention by very prominent personalities and it indicated that there is a feeling among a big section of the community that action might well be taken to stimulate the rate of naturalisation by some method or other because continuance of the large numbers of aliens in our midst may well disturb the atmosphere of unity that should prevail.
What is the answer to the problem of reducing the large number of aliens? One hesitates to suggest compulsion but as this Bill changes the method of registration of aliens, one may well ask: For how long are we to condone the situation where hundreds of thousands of young settlers enjoy our liberty and way of life yet in many respects have no responsibility for maintaining our standards? It should be unnecessary for me to show what effect the alien population has, for instance, on electorates. There are 200,000 adults here today who are not even counted in our population for electoral purposes. I notice that the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Anthony), who is responsible for electoral matters is now present. One could say that in any redistribution of electoral boundaries, roughly the equivalent of five Federal electorates will not be counted because 200,000 potential electors will not be entitled to enrol. This affects our democratic system and our parliamentary representation. Aliens enjoy the same access to goods and services as the Australian citizen enjoys but there is no responsibility on them to enrol for electoral or military purposes. To all intents and purposes they can live in complete peace without any obligation whatsoever.
I mention these facts not critically, but as a problem which must be faced if we are to reduce the alien content in the community and to make Australia one country with one people. I do not urge drastic action but I believe that world tensions and public opinion may well force the Government to change its approach and at least take a firmer stand on the question of naturalisation. Unless the Government tackles this problem seriously, beyond question its weak attempt to ensure registration of aliens will fail completely. In the light of matters such as military and electoral responsibilities, this Bill is a tin-pot arrangement for the registration of aliens when probably, with drive, energy and salesmanship we could reduce substantially the number of aliens who have chosen not to seek citizenship. The answer to this problem is, as the theme of the Citizenhsip Convention put it: “ Every settler a citizen “. Unless positive dynamic steps are taken to achieve this objective the list of aliens will continue to grow larger with all its related problems of defence and disharmony.
The Government might well consider statements by Convention delegates such as the Rev. C. J. P. Mackaay, of the Australian Council of Churches, Mr. H. F. Ferrier, of the Associated Chamber of Manufactures, and the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Opperman) himself. All of these men spoke of their concern at the growing alien content of our population and the need, not just for registration, but for a more effective solution of the problem.
The approach of the United States of America to this problem is interesting. I have spoken of the liability of aliens to military service in that country. The World Almanac of 1961 states that, between 1820 and 1961, 42 million migrants entered the United States and that in 1961 there were 271,344 admissions. Aliens in the United States are subject to military draft immediately, but I am advised by United States officials that no record is kept of the number of aliens. There is no registration system except the visa records at the point of entry, and there is no record of the number of aliens eligible for naturalisation such as we have. That seems an amazing situation in a country the size of the United States but that is its approach to the problem we are endeavouring to cover up. The difficulties faced in the United States at the time of the outbreak of war when the nation was in peril can well be imagined. I mention these things in order to show that this sort of problem exists in ali countries.
A great number of migrants have come to Australia. We all are aware of the drive that we are putting behind our immigration programme, which, as I mentioned earlier, involves bringing new settlers to Australia from more than 40 countries. I do not think that we can continue much longer just to register aliens without making a special effort to see that all who are eligible to become citizens are naturalised. We must get away from the unfriendly term “ aliens “.
Having in mind the advantages enjoyed by aliens, especially exemption from compulsory military service, I suggest that officers of the Department of Immigration would have to be wizards or super salesmen to sell naturalisation to a number of our new settlers. They have many benefits without naturalisation, including the protection of their lives. Yet we expect departmental officers to implore migrants to become naturalised. Let us consider just one aspect. If a migrant couple have a son of 18 or 19, from the day they are naturalised their son is liable to call-up for military service and may end up anywhere in the world in the defence forces. I do not say this is a dominant factor, but it certainly is not an incentive to migrants to become naturalised. Therefore, I suggest that the Government would do well to consider the matter earnestly. The Minister for Housing would do well, when he replies to the remarks made in this discussion, to explain how the Government expects departmental officers and others who are interested in this great problem to increase the number of naturalisations, particularly in view of the advantages enjoyed by those whom we still describe as aliens.
Having said so much, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I go on to say that I hope that the Government’s efforts to compile an effective Register of Aliens will be successful. I hope, above all else, however, that the
Government will reduce the number of aliens by adopting a more effective approach to the problem. I have no wish to stir up differences between ourselves and migrants or between different nationalities. I trust that the Government will remove the difficulties that arise. Certain factors undoubtedly are a big barrier to integration and a common cause of friction. Liability to military service does not extend to aliens as it does to Australians, and aliens have the advantage of not being subject to certain other obligations that are imposed on Australians. The Opposition supports the measure, but has no confidence that it will solve the problem. This Bill does not present the solution to the problem, particularly as such large numbers are involved. What is required is a reduction in the number of permanent aliens and insistence on compliance with the terms of the Act. I wonder how many aliens have failed to obey the provisions of the Act and how many prosecutions have been launched for failure to comply with it. I notice that the Act provides for a penalty of a fine of £50 or imprisonment for three months for failure to comply with certain provisions.
– In this measure, we are concerned only with notification of address.
– That is all very well. But suppose war were to break out tomorrow. I do not deny that during World War H, under governments from both sides of politics, injustices were done in the internment of aliens. This happened because there was no proper register. Aliens should be required to have their names on the Register, just as electors are required to have their names on the electoral rolls. It is very important in a country with 402,495 aliens for all aliens to be registered. If, as an honorable member opposite would have us believe, this matter is not very serious, why is a penalty of a fine of £50 or imprisonment for three months imposed for failure to comply with certain provisions of the Act? It is important to know those in the community who may well be in the category of enemy aliens in time of war. I should like to know how many aliens have been prosecuted for failure to comply with the Act. This does not mean to say that we should be content merely to fine or imprison people. However, it would be interesting to know how many of our 402,495 aliens have been prosecuted for failure to register, to notify change of address, or whatever the case may be.
At the risk of being political, Mr. Deputy Speaker - far be it from my mind to adopt a party political line on this issue - may I ask the Government why, if its achievements are outstanding, and if its record is notable, 250,000 people qualified for citizenship will not become naturalised. Perhaps, this is a reflection on die Government and indicative of’ lack of confidence by migrants in the future under this Administration. In any event, I throw in this problem for consideration. Along with the other matters that 1 have mentioned, it is worth more than passing thought. From the statements made from time to time by the Minister for Immigration and others, one would think that every migrant ought to rush in, become naturalised overnight and forthwith make himself a citizen of this country. That attitude may well be a reason why some migrants think that, under the administration of the present Government, the future is not as bright as it might be. I throw that thought in for the speaker who follows me in this debate to take up.
This problem that I have been discussing will not be solved by changing any provision of the Act. It will not be cleared up by giving aliens 12 months in which to notify a change of address. The solution to the problem is to be found in a successful campaign to induce all who are eligible for citizenship to become naturalised. The policy of the Government, along with the Opposition, should be directed towards ensuring that we have more Australian citizens and fewer aliens, with common loyalty to one flag, and one future for all.
.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, this Bill may be described as a machinery measure that is designed to provide for a businesslike method of maintaining the Register of Aliens. I think all honorable members will agree that a register of aliens is essential, though not for the reason suggested by the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly), who maintained that we need a register of aliens in case of war so that we may be able to intern them. That is not the reason why we need a register of aliens. Most migrants who come to Australia leave relatives in their country of origin. A migrant may be unfortunate enough to have an accident or become ill after arriving in Australia and it is then most important for us to know the name and address of his nearest relative so that the relative may be informed of his circumstances.
In the past, the Register of Aliens has been compiled from the information supplied by a migrant on his arrival in Australia or perhaps at the time of a visa being granted prior to departure from his country of origin. A great many migrants, on arriving in Australia, take the first job that is in any way suitable to them and often they quickly find that they can obtain a better job. Indeed, they may change jobs two, three or four times during the first year, and on each occasion change their address. Under the present law, they are required to register every time they change their address. This imposes an impossible burden on migrants and it is almost impossible to police. Under the new proposal, a migrant will be required to notify change of address or change of occupational status in September of each year. The Department of Immigration will be able to follow up these notifications, find out those who have failed to comply with the Act and no doubt be able to obtain the required information from them. This Bill is based on commonsense and sound principles and is designed not to impose an unduly heavy obligation on migrants or unduly heavy burdens on the Department in trying to see that the law is complied with. Therefore, it is pleasing to note from the remarks of the honorable member for Grayndler that the Australian Labour Party is prepared to support this very necessary measure, which is designed to overcome an administrative difficulty that has arisen in the past.
The honorable member expressed concern about the number of aliens who have not applied for naturalisation. He referred to those who were eligible for naturalisation but had not applied as people who will not accept citizenship. I believe that that is quite an erroneous approach. I am perfectly satisfied that the overwhelming number of those eligible who have not applied for naturalisation are not people who will not accept citizenship; they are people who will readily accept citizenship when they are able to do so or, if I may put it in other words, when they get down to it. I suppose I have had as much experience with migrants as any other honorable member in this place and I have never, in the whole of my experience, found a migrant who is eligible for naturalisation who has said to me: “ I refuse to be naturalised “. Whenever I ask why they are not naturalised I invariably get the answer: “ Ob, I have not thought about it “. When I point out the advantages to be gained from naturalisation and ask then whether they wish to be naturalised, invariably they say they do, go down to the office and get the forms and formally become naturalised within three, four or six months.
Honorable members may ask why it is when they have been here for four and a half or five years or more they have not got down to it. I remind those honorable members that when these people arrive in Australia they come, as a rule, with nothing. They endeavour to obtain and do secure jobs. They acquire their own accommodation. They have pretty heavy commitments to meet in establishing themselves in their new homes and getting the normal facilities that Australian citizens are used to having. They are so busy getting these things that the question of naturalisation does not not occur to them. It is true that after they have been here four and a half years they receive a letter from the Minister informing them that they are entitled to apply for naturalisation; but, of course, they get not only that circular from the Minister but also all sorts of letters and correspondence from land agents, shops and other establishments. Those circulars normally go straight into the waste paper basket, and I should think that not more than a small proportion of aliens would actually see, read or understand the letter that they receive from the Minister after four and a half years. It is only when something arises that makes it advisable for them to become naturalised that many of them get down to it.
There are many cases, of course, where perhaps a relative has become ill in their country of birth and they wish to make a trip for a few months back to their own country. When they apply for a passport they find that they cannot get one. They immediately apply for naturalisation then because they want a passport. Some of them find that their boys, having done well at school, apply for a job in the civil service but are told that their boys are not eligible for permanent employment in the civil service because they are aliens. Consequently, the parents then panic and often go to see their member of Parliament. They cannot quite understand why their boy is not acceptable for permanent employment in the Public Service. We merely have to tell them that they should have applied for naturalisation, to go down and do it straight away, and invariably they do so. Then, sometimes elections come along. Canvassers call at their house and although they are quite keen to vote they find when they go to a polling booth that their names are not on the roll because they have not become naturalised. Those who value the vote go immediately to the Immigration Department and apply for naturalisation.
We need a somewhat different approach to this matter. We need a publicity campaign or a public relations campaign which in some way will bring to the notice of these people the great advantages to be gained from Australian citizenship. All honorable members will agree that Australian citizenship is a great privilege and something of which we can all be justly proud. One only has to go, as I did last year, on a trip overseas to find hundreds or a thousand Australians coming back from an overseas trip every one of whom realises that he is coming back to the best country in the world and is extremely proud of his Australian citizenship. Therefore, I believe that if we can only bring to the notice of our new settlers, people who are now called aliens until they become Australian citizens, and convince them of the tremendous, advantages and pride that they can acquire as a result of Australian citizenship, we will overcome this difficulty that seems to worry the honorable member for Grayndler - this problem of the 250,000 who are eligible for naturalisation but who are not naturalised. If we want to get away from what I believe is the real reason that one would want to be an Australian citizen - because one can feel that this is the best country in the world and have a feeling of pride in Australian citizenship - and if we want to get down to the more mundane commercial things of life, it can be stated that Australian citizenship is a tremendous advantage. It entitles a person, qualified by residence, to an age pension. I have had many extremely sad cases of people who have come to me because having reached the qualifying age for a pension and having been in Australia for 10 years, they have gone to the Department of Social Services only to find that they are not eligible for an age pension because they are aliens. I am then asked to make an immediate application to the Department of Immigration in an endeavour to hurry up their application for naturalisation. I will say that the Department of Immigration is most helpful and its officers do everything possible ‘o hurry up the naturalisation.
I do not propose to go right through all the advantages to be gained from Australian citizenship; but let us consider, for example the entitlement to a pension which is dependent upon becoming an Australian citizen, the entitlement to a job in the civil service which is dependent on a person becoming an Australian citizen, the right to vote which is dependent upon a person becoming an Australian citizen, and the right to an Australian passport which is dependent upon a person becoming an Australian citizen. Surely, Sir, quite apart from the pride that we can take in being Australian citizens, there are also many other advantages. Therefore, a settler has everything to gain by becoming an Australian citizen. The honorable member for Grayndler mentioned what he regards as a disadvantage in that a person who is an alien is not liable to be called up for military service. I should think that our new settlers, whether they are naturalised or not, would be and are extremely proud to serve this country. Although I do not see any reason why a settler - a person who comes here for permanent residence - should not be liable for national service training, whether naturalised or not, I would not regard as a barrier the fact that the law which has made citizens liable for national service for the time being exempts aliens.
The assertions of the honorable member for Grayndler have been completely disproved by history. Only a few months ago, when we did not have compulsory military service, we had equally as great, proportionately, a lag in naturalisations as we have now. Therefore, although I agree with the honorable member for Grayndler when he says that people who come to setle here permanently, as well as Australian born citizens, should be liable for military service, I cannot agree with the assumption that he makes, namely that the fact that an alien is not liable for military service is a reason for him not to be naturalised. I do not know of anything that supports that assumption. I do not think that is in the minds of our new settlers. The whole attitude of our new settlers, as I understand it, is that, having made up their minds to leave their own countries and to live in Australia permanently, they want to be treated as Australians, to be subject to the same obligations as Australians and to be entitled to the same privileges as Australians.
I wish to develop a little more the reasons that I see for people not becoming naturalised. I mentioned that in my opinion the reason is that they just have not got around to it. Another factor enters into the matter, lt is that under our present law a person cannot be naturalised unless he has a working knowledge of the English language. We have to realise that many of the people who migrate to Australia come from countries in which the standard of education and the proportion of literacy are not nearly as high as they are in Australia. Unless people have an educational background, it is extremely difficult for them to learn a new language. So in Australia today we have many thousands of people whose sons and daughters have been to Australian schools, speak perfect English and are almost indistinguishable from Australian born boys and girls. The father, having worked in a factory, probably has picked up enough English to enable him to perform his work satisfactorily. But the mother has been at home all the time. According to the customs of many European countries, a woman’s place is in the home. So the mother has stayed at home, where she uses her native language. She has not learnt the English language. Many of these women have not the slightest hope of ever learning the English language.
– Why not?
– Because they just have not an educational background. I venture to say that if the honorable member for Watson, at his age, went to Russia, Czechoslovakia or Germany and tried to learn the language of that country he would not be able to do so.
– He is not as old as he looks.
– He is too old to start learning a new language and he is probably like many of our migrants in not having the educational background to do that.
– Language laboratories can do a lot; it does not have to be academic study.
– I know that a lot can be done, and I hope that a lot more will be done; but I think the honorable member for Fremantle will realise the difficulty of conveying a language lesson to people whose whole lives are wrapped around their homes. I do not have to mention any particular nationalities. We know that, for people of many nationalities, their whole lives are centred around their homes - I think this is a very good trait - and that they hardly ever leave the environs of their homes. Therefore, we can have all the education classes in the world for them in the universities and at the schools, but the mothers and daughters will not go to those classes. People may ask: “Why not use the radio?”. I know that we do use the radio to a certain extent. But the probability is that the people whom we are trying to reach have not radio sets and would not understand the lesson anyway.
So, among these 250,000 people we have a very large number of people who cannot speak the English language or who are members of a family, one member of which cannot speak the English language. I know of many people who say that they will not become naturalised because they want all the members of the family to be naturalised together and the mother cannot speak the English language. I would like to say, not only to honorable members who are in the House but also to people who are listening, that if they are worried about the language question they should see their member of parliament or the Department of Immigration. The departmental officers are extremely sensible and generous in the application of the language test. They have their job to do and their rules to observe; but, when all members of a family except one - perhaps the mother- can speak English, usually arrangements are made to teach that one member sufficient English to enable all the members of the family to become naturalised together.
I do not believe that we should get into a panic or be unduly worried because 250,000 people are eligible for naturalisation and are not naturalised. We should do everything possible to encourage them to be naturalised. The reason why they have not been naturalised is not unwillingness. I believe that the present policy of giving to the people concerned further education on their right to be naturalised and the advantages to be gained from naturalisation is all to the good and should be continued. Every member of parliament has a duty and responsibility in this respect. We all see a great number of migrants. They come to us with their problems. Let us play our part as members of parliament. Let us ask them: “ Are you naturalised? “ If they say “ No “, then let us tell them the advantages to be gained from naturalisation. Do not let us use pressure, lt must be an act of their own free will. I believe that honorable members will find, as 1 have found, that the reason why people have not been naturalised is that naturalisation just has not occurred to them. It occurs to them only when they come up against the requirement of being naturalised. I hope that honorable members will not get this matter out of all proportion. There is nothing to become panicky about. There is no sign of any alien intent, if I can put it that way, or feeling against Australian citizenship. I believe the whole attitude of our new settlers is in favour of Australian citizenship. I believe they all want to become Australian citizens and that they all will become Australian citizens when some occasion arises which makes it important for them to do so. I wholeheartedly support this Bill because it makes the registration of aliens sensible and workable. I say to the honorable member for Grayndler: Do not become panicky because a number of persons eligible for naturalisation are not naturalised; they will become citizens in their own good time.
.- This is a Bill for an Act to amend the Aliens Act 1947-1959. As stated by our worthy Chairman of the Immigration Committee of the Australian Labour Party (Mr. Daly), we are not opposing the Bill. We examined it to ascertain what it really meant. We queried whether it was to assist aliens or to assist the Government.
– Well, we could not discover what was behind it. However, the Bill will not be offensive. It was stated originally that the two main purposes of the Act were to ensure that the Commonwealth had a knowledge of aliens in Australia, to provide basic data for an analysis of Australia’s alien population, and to enable the Government to implement its immigration policy on sound scientific lines. Previously an alien had to advise the Department of Immigration of any change of address or change of marital status. I shall cite an actual occurrence during the term of the previous Minister for Immigration. This is not mythical, but factual. A young alien student came here for a five year period, but at the end of three years he could not go any further with his education course. He was released from it and he went seeking a job. He put an advertisement in a daily newspaper and, lo and behold, he was employed by a Commonwealth Government department. He spent 18 months to 2 years at Woomera, during which time the immigration authorities were looking for him. He eventually came to my electorate and when he heard that the authorities were looking for him he came to me. He had been working in one of the most secret areas of Australia as an employee of the Commonwealth, yet no-one questioned him, and the authorities could not find him. He was a studious young man who did not try to evade his responsibilities. He thought he was doing the right thing in seeking employment because when he left the college after three years be believed he should remain in Australia for the remaining two years.
If the authorities cannot keep a check on aliens when they must notify every change of address or a change of marital status, how can they be expected to do so when an annual notification of address, occupation and marital status will apply? A person may change his address three or four times in a year. I thought that one of the objectives of the Bill was to make it easier for the Minister of Immigration (Mr. Opperman) and his Department to persuade people to become naturalised: After all, about 250,000 aliens are still not naturalised. I do not think that the honorable member for Sturt (Mr. Wilson) was correct when he said that some aliens just never get around to becoming naturalised.
I believe there is something more behind it. In the early days a person seeking to become naturalised had to appear before a magistrate, in a court where criminals appeared, and the atmosphere was not good. The Government tried to make it easier and, thinking it was a good idea, entrusted naturalisation ceremonies to local governing authorities. However, the local authorities decided to make these ceremonies big shows and invited V.I.P.’s to attend. This frightened many aliens. The whole atmosphere was too hifalutin for them. I had the experience, when I was active in local government, of people coming to me and asking me to naturalise them in the mayoral chamber. They did not want a big show with people all around them. I think that many aliens are shy. It is not a question of never getting around to becoming naturalised. They are embarrassed by big ceremonies. I may be wrong, but that is my impression, and I am entitled to have it.
I think that the Minister and his Department should give some thought to making it easier for aliens to become naturalised. 1 feel sure that many more of these people could be encouraged to come forward to be naturalised. The honorable member for Grayndler has pointed out the advantages they gain in this country. They should be willing to be naturalised, but if they are not going to come forward to be naturalised what are we going to do about them? Are we going to introduce legislation to provide that after 10 years residence in Australia they automatically become citizens? We may have to consider such a possibility. There are many barriers to naturalisation. The Opposition mentioned one recently. If aliens do not become naturalised their children are not subject to military training as are the children of naturalised persons or of natural Australians. This could be one reason why some people will not become naturalised. After all, a husband and wife must both agree to becoming naturalised and it is only to be expected that any mother will be dubious about her son being compelled to enter the armed forces and, as a result, be shot at. This is a natural reaction. Australian mothers often say: “ Why should my Tom be in the armed forces when so and so is not?” This consideration is a barrier to some people becoming naturalised. We must study means of encouraging people to become Australian citizens.
In his second reading speech the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Opperman) said -
The necessity for the alien, after registeringinitially on arrival, subsequently to notify his address, occupation and marital status during a specified period each year would be the subject of wide publicity in advance of its being introduced.
We have about 250,000 aliens in Australia representing 41 different nationalities. Will this proposed change be publicised in 41 different languages? How can we expect these people to know their obligations if they cannot understand English? Will the requirements be printed in pamphlet form in a language the alien can understand so that he will not be ignorant of his responsibilities? This is something the Government must consider.
Many of the people who reneged under the existing legislation did not do so deliberately. They did not know or understand that they had to register every change of address or a change of marital status. When this Bill becomes law the alien will be required to notify his address and marital state only annually. If the Department could not get these people to notify a change of address whenever it occurred, how will it get them to notify their address annually and how will the Department catch up with them? They could be in Timbuctoo or Darwin and the Department would not know where they were. I gave one example of this. I know of several other cases of men who wander around the country looking for work. Sometimes they do not leave forwarding addresses because they do not expect mail. If they do receive mail they obtain it through relatives or other people. The Department would not know where those people were.
I have spoken to officers of the Department of Immigration who have come into the cane growing area after the cane cutting season seeking, say, Bill Smith. They have been told that he went south. They have no way of tracing him. Under the Act as it now stands aliens have to notify the immigration authorities whenever they change their address. Under this legislation they will be required to notify their address only once a year. If they fail to do this how will the authorities catch up with them? You will need a mighty police force or security force to trace all these fellows if you give them 12 months start. I do not suggest that these people will deliberately fail to notify.
Many will not understand what is required of them if the publicity is printed only in English. You must remember that the 250,000 migrants who are not yet naturalised represent 41 nationalities. How will you get across to them the advice that they must notify every year their address and their marital status if the publicity is printed only in English? If this is done the legislation will have no better effect than the existing legislation.
– It will be much better.
– I ask the honorable member to show me how it will be better. The honorable member nods his head, but I remind him that the Department has been unable to enforce the provisions of the existing legislation. Now it proposes to give these people 12 months. I do not know how the authorities expect to keep track of these aliens. If it could not be done under the existing legislation, how does the Department expect to do it under this Bill?
The honorable member for Sturt said that he did not know of any migrant who did not want to become an Australian citizen. I know of some in my area who do not want to become naturalised because some of their fellow countrymen to whom they objected have become naturalised. Having seen Australian citizenship conferred upon those people, they did not want it for themselves. The people to whom they objected were in the main Poles and Germans who had worked with the Nazis and other enemies of this country. In my area some people who are alleged to have been in the S.S. have been naturalised and because of this other people do not want to be naturalised. Another reason for the reluctance of some people to become naturalised is their shyness. They do not like the flamboyant naturalisation ceremonies. The big gatherings of V.I.P’s frighten them.
I should like to refer to Asiatics, who must be resident in this country 15 years before they may be naturalised. Some of these people live in my area. They make good citizens. Some are probably better citizens than are aliens from other countries. Nevertheless, they must wait 15 years before they can become naturalised. This is a matter that should be investigated by the Minister and his Department in an effort to shorten the time. I know some
Chinese who live in my area who are very good citizens. They assimilate into the community. They are active in church work and in sporting and youth movements - much more so than some migrants who are qualified for naturalisation after five years residence.
– To whom is the honorable member referring?
– I refer to the Chinese who are mixing in the community and who have become a force in the community, despite the fact that they must reside here for 15 years before they may be naturalised. They should receive better treatment than this. They make good citizens and they are eager to become Australian citizens. I do not suggest that blanket approval be given for citizenship at an earlier date for these people but each case should be dealt with on its merits. The Department should decide whether the individual is fitting into the Australian way of life. Many of these people are living under a handicap because of their inability to obtain Australian citizenship in less than 15 years.
– Do they come from the British colony of Hong Kong?
– Yes, from Hong Kong and other British colonies. I know of nothing against these people. They are good citizens and go about their work in the spirit of the community. Consideration should be given to enabling them to be naturalised sooner than is now the case. We do not oppose the Bill because we could not see any harm in it. If it will help the Government, well and good. But we cannot see how it will be of any greater help to the Government than was the previous legislation under which the migrant had to give notification every time he changed his address. Now he must notify only every 12 months. This may be a satisfactory position if the migrant honours his obligation, but if he does not how will the Department catch up with him? I leave the matter there and support the Bill.
.- I, too, rise to support the Bill, which is designed simply as a machinery measure to amend the Aliens Act. The honorable member for Leichhardt (Mr. Fulton) said that he could not see who would be assisted by this Bill.
I say to him in all sincerity that his statement amazed me because the second reading speech of the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Opperman) reveals clearly that the aliens themselves will be assisted and that the amendments contained in the Bill will improve procedures within the Department of Immigration. The Bill is designed to bring about a more efficient result more economically.
In his speech, my honorable friend from the north suggested that there should be an easier approach to naturalisation as far as migrants are concerned. I ask my Mead what he means. How does he feel that the approach can be made any easier? Why should it be easier? First, the application for naturalisation was so simplified a few years ago that I do not think it could be made more simple. From my office I am glad again and again to hand out this very simple document which requires only the signature of the migrant who has been in this country a minimum of four and a half years.
– lt is the ceremony to which I referred.
– My friend is apparently convinced that you cannot make more simple the request for naturalisation. When one compares our ceremony of naturalisation with those of a similar kind held in other countries one finds that ours is brief, friendly and simple, while at the same time being challenging.
– To whom, you or the alien?
– To the alien- the migrant. I say that because we have questioned them. Ours is a very happy ceremony. That is why so many of us, as members, never begrudge the time we give to attending citizenship ceremonies. When we see four or five at a time or even in excess of 100 receiving their certificates of naturalisation we believe we are justified in being present because to the new citizen it is a very vital occasion and we are pleased to represent the Commonwealth Government. I stress that our ceremony is well conceived. It is well handled. We express our gratitude again and again to mayors and presidents of shires throughout the country who handle these ceremonies.
The honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly), who led for the Opposition in this debate, admitted that he was worried about the term “ alien “. When we look at the term in good fellowship with our honorable friend, we must agree that it is not a pleasant term. But when we turn to the dictionary we find how difficult it is to locate an alternative word to describe these people. The dictionary says that an alien is a stranger or a foreigner. Therefore, we must of necessity term a list on which their names will appear as an aliens list, a strangers list or a foreigners list. I do not know that any term can be found that would be more appropriate than the one we have chosen. 1 notice that my honorable friend did not give any synonyms that he would prefer to the term “ alien “. I think he must be as nonplussed on this point as I am.
The honorable member for Grayndler was a little misled when, towards the end of his speech, he placed his blessing - a very happy choice of words - upon the Government’s intention to set up this aliens register. 1 want immediately to point out to him that under the Aliens Act, which has been operative for a number of years, the register has been in existence. No move is made here to set up a register. I want to point out in a few moments that all we are doing is to make one small alteration to a procedure that refers to the aliens register. The two main reasons for the Aliens Act of 1947 were simply that the Commonwealth needed to have a knowledge of the aliens in the country and needed to have basic data for an analysis of the Australian alien population to enable the Government to implement its immigration policy on sound and scientific lines. That is the foundation for the small Act. The main provisions to implement these objectives were, first, that there should be a register of aliens maintained in each State or Territory of the Commonwealth and, secondly, that aliens should be required to register. It is in relation to the second provision that the penalty under the Act has its main application. I should imagine that only those who deliberately avoided registration would attract the penalty. The third provision was that a registered alien should notify any change of address or occupation or if he marries, and that is the one item that the
Bill now before the House amends. The other provision was that the Minister’s consent should be obtained before any alien could change his surname. The importance of this we note in passing. I think it is important that we should bear in mind that the register is operative, that it is quite simple and has very clear and acceptable objectives, and that all we are setting out to do with this amendment is to make one small procedural change.
As at 31st December as I think my friend from Grayndler said, the aliens list contained some 402,495 names, including the names of migrants over 16 years of age who are not naturalised. The list included 257,017 people who were residentially qualified for naturalisation, and 20 per cent. of these, or about 50,000, would be children who were dependent upon their parents seeking naturalisation. The list would also include many people who would on average - we find that this is the trend - apply for naturalisation when they had resided here for six, seven or eight years rather than apply for naturalisation after a period of residence of four and a half years, as they are entitled to do. I would quickly remind the House that the first figure I gave of some 402,000 includes very many students and other visitors to Australia who would have no intention of migrating to our country but who are here for a variety of reasons. These people would expect to be listed as aliens, would expect to report their movements and would expect in due time to have their names deleted from the list when they returned to their home countries.
I have already mentioned the penalty under the original Act. 1 firmly believe that the main intention of the penalty is to sheet home a responsibility to those who deliberately flouted the main purpose of the Aliens Act, and that is, registration.
We are dealing here with a very small measure which has one distinctive purpose. However, my friend from Grayndler ranged widely over the whole fieldof migration and naturalisation; so we are permitted to follow him a little. On the question of naturalisation, let me say that I am one who believes that, with so many advantages attaching to residence in Australia, it is best to have a voluntary application for citizenship. We have no vestige of a police state and we want no compulsion in the field of citizenship. With open arms we have said to people, so many of them refugees and under-privileged: “ Come to our country, help us to develop it and help us to expand our population.” When we welcome them in this fashion and offer them citizenship through naturalisation in a friendly and free spirit, how incongruous it would be if we were to apply pressure on them and make them sign an application for naturalisation. So I say again as I have said before: Let naturalisation be a voluntary act. Let it be something they want. When they want it, I believe they will seek it, and the more attractive it becomes the greater will be the number who submit their certificates when they have satisfied the residential qualification of four and a half years. I believe that fewer and fewer will wait for eight or nine years or more before they seek naturalisation.
I do think, however, that the Government might consider, if not immediately then at some reasonable time in the future, providing even greater incentives. One of the greatest incentives that we have provided as a Government in recent years to those who were hesitating for one reason or another is the reduction of the residential qualification from 20 years to 10 years for people who seek social service benefits. This was a big encouragement indeed. Because naturalisation is virtually effective after five years residence, I would like the Government to say: “ We are prepared now, subject to naturalisation, to provide social service benefits after five years residence in this country “. It would be most interesting after a year or two from that decision to take note of the impact on those who were entitled to apply for naturalisation. We offer general benefits, but I believe that these distinctions should be gradually removed so that after five years residence a migrant would find that he is entitled to the same benefits and the same privileges as those accorded to people who were born here or have resided here for a much longer period.
– How can it?
– Do not anticipate my argument. How will this be done? It will be done, as the Minister said in the last few words of his speech - which my friend from Leichhardt mentioned - by wide publicity. Our friends from overseas, the aliens, even though they may not be free with the English language, do pick up essential words. They learn to read danger signs. They learn words that are on posters, and they know what a police notice says. They know, probably, what an election notice says. They learn these things, and the publicity which will go out from the Department of Immigration during the months of July and August will highlight by reminder that the aliens on the register must take action within the month of September. I do not think that it is necessary for 20 or 30 languages to be used to convey this reminder; it can be conveyed quite effectively in English.
I would imagine, too, that an alien on the register might get through the mail a reminder that in the month of September he is required to notify his current address and any change in marital status or occupation. This will provide for the Department a programme of annual action, and those who fail to indicate by reply will be isolated in the records and the section of the Department dealing with the matter will be able to take action. It is as simple as that. The amendment will save a continuous stream of action through the Department so much of which is nullified because of omissions by the aliens themselves.
I think that with these words of explanation we on this side of the House have most adequately answered the points raised by the honorable member for Grayndler and the enthusiastic but misplaced criticism of the honorable member for Leichhardt. I believe that this is just a common sense move. It hardly justifies all the words we have been forced to use this afternoon in our support of it. I have much pleasure in supporting this small measure.
.- The honorable member for Swan (Mr. Cleaver) made great play on the fact - and it is a fact - that a very small change only is to be made in the Aliens Act. The Opposition knows that, but it believes that the change is of no value if the intention is to correct the Department’s inability to obtain the knowledge that it requires about aliens. The honorable member for Swan referred to the frequent changes of residence of aliens. Although the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Opperman) said that it was only the current addresses of these people that were required by the Department the honorable member for Swan applauded this amendment which will, in my opinion, only delay the supplying of this information to the Department.
When the Minister introduced this Bill to amend the Aliens Act it appeared from the way he spoke that the Government was very concerned because the existing requirement in relation to an alien’s responsibility under the Act to register was not being met. Under the Act as it stands an alien is a person over the age of 16 years who is an alien within the meaning of the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948-50 and is required to give notice of any change of address. He also may be required by regulation to give notice of any change in occupation or marital status. Apparently these requirements are not being observed by a large number of aliens and the Government seems to think that the provision which it has introduced will meet the position.
Under the Nationality and Citizenship Act an alien is a person who is not a British subject, an Irish citizen or a protected person. Therefore any person who does not by birth come within that category, and who has not become a British subject by naturalisation, is an alien. This in turn means that every person who has been in this country a sufficient length of time to be eligible for naturalisation but who has failed to become naturalised is obliged, by the existing legislation, to notify any change of address etc. Under this amending legislation those people will be required annually, during the month of September, to notify the Department of Immigration, or some prescribed person, of their address, occupation and marital status. The difference between the existing legislation and the proposed legislation is that even though there has been no change of address, occupation or marital status the alien will still be obliged to notify the Department of his existing state in the month of September each year. I can see nothing wrong with that. I think it is important that the Department should have knowledge of the movements of these people and should know whether they are at their former address. However, I just do not see how this proposed legislation will overcome the problem of aliens failing to notify the Department.
The main problem is the difficulty of knowing the whereabouts of aliens. If this is so, the amending legislation could in some cases worsen the position, because an alien who under the existing legislation was very careful to notify any change of address could, say, in the month of October of one year change his address and, under this legislation, would not be obliged to notify the Department of the change until about 12 months later. His whereabouts would npt bc known to the Department during that lapse of time. By the same token, an alien who changes his occupation, would not be required under the proposed legislation to give any early notification of such change unless it took place just before the month of September.
By deleting sections 9 and 10 of the existing Act the Government, to my mind, is loosening the liability of an alien to provide the required information instead of tightening it, as it suggests is desirable. After all, it could be very desirable for the Department to know the whereabouts of certain aliens at very short notice under certain circumstances. If that is so, there seems to be no good reason why the provision should be deleted that requires aliens to advise the Department, or the prescribed person, very shortly after any change in abode. There is no intention, apparently, to delete section 1 0a of the existing Act which provides that an alien who marries must advise a prescribed person of the marriage. Surely if that is important it is equally important that an alien also should advise the prescribed person within a short time of any change in his or her marital status, for instance, by divorce or separation. Under the new provision aliens will have to make that information available to the Department only once every 12 months.
This proposed legislation will not make it any easier for those who have always abided by the terms of the Act, but it will certainly give any alien who wishes to go into smoke just as much chance, if not more, of doing so, and certainly a longer period of time in which to do so.
They can change their address, and, even if the Department knows they have left, there would seem to be no purpose in the Department’s chasing them up to find out where they were because at that stage the Department would not know whether the aliens were going to do the right thing and notify the Department of change of address in the next twelve months. When introducing the Bill, the Minister said -
The two main purposes of the Aliens Act, which was introduced in 1947, are, first, to ensure that the Commonwealth will have knowledge of aliens in Australia, and, secondly, to provide basic data for analysis of Australia’s alien population to enable the Government to implement its immigration policy on sound and scientific lines.
The Minister then outlined the principal provisions of the legislation, and went on to say -
The Register of Aliens is complete so far as initial registrations are concerned, as these are effected under official supervision. However, the degree of failure to notify subsequently a change in address or occupation is high, despite endeavours to encourage compliance by aliens, and the introduction of procedures to facilitate the notification process. We have therefore been concerned for some time that the Register is far less accurate than is desirable, so far as the current address and occupation of the aliens are concerned.
The Minister expressed the concern of the Government at the lack of accurate information relating to current address and current occupation. But, later in his speech, he contradicted that expressed concern when he said that the proposed legislation would contain a less onerous requirement for the aliens themselves, especially those who in their early years of residence frequently change their address. I gathered from the Minister’s speech that he was concerned about the notification of current address and current occupation. If the existing legislation which requires notification of change of address or change of occupation and which, if complied with would keep the Department or authority fairly up to date with alien movements is not having the desired effect, and if what the Department requires now is information relating to current movement and occupations, surely we should not do anything that would tend to relieve the aliens of their obligation. Surely we should not make the notification provisions any easier. Surely we should tighten them up if the desire expressed by the Minister is what is required. I do not think we should be concerned at all about less onerous requirements for the aliens in in this connection. It is certainly no hardship to them to make the required information available. It is certainly no hardship on them to do it before they see fit to become naturalised, and they should not have any complaints about having to do it. As a matter of fact, I suggest that this particular provision could be a means whereby we could step up the naturalization of migrants. It could be the means whereby, if it were enforced rigidly, a lot more of them might be induced to decide to make application for naturalisation.
There are far too many people in this country who are eligible for naturalisation and who have done nothing at all about it. Apparently they have no desire to do anything about it. Apparently they are not prepared to become British subjects by becoming naturalised. When they are enjoying the benefits of this country, as they have been doing for a long time, they should have no complaints against the government of the day for making it obligatory upon them to keep the Department of Immigration supplied with full and up to date knowledge of their whereabouts and occupation. If they have been here for five years and feel that they should not be obliged to supply the Department with this information, they have the remedy in their own hands. They can either leave the country altogether or become naturalised. Quite naturally, in practically every instance, we would much prefer to see them adopt the second alternative and become naturalised citizens of this great country.
My experience of migrants generally is that they make good citizens. I have nothing against any migrant. All I say is that they should become subjects of this country if they are eligible to do so. If we could ensure that all eligible aliens became naturalised, the major part of the problem at which this legislation is directed would be remedied. It is a pretty large order for the Department to keep tab on over 400,000 people in this country to ensure that they carry out the requirement of the Act to supply certain information to the authority or person prescribed in the Act. Quite naturally newcomers to the country could fail to realise there is a need to register, but those people who have been here for five years or more, except in rather extraordinary cases, should be aware of their responsibilities and obligations in this connection. Certainly those who have failed once and who have either been advised, notified, fined or dealt with in some other way, should not commit the offence again.
We have not heard from the Minister what action is usually taken against offenders or whether many do repeat the offence. All he has told us is that the degree of failure to notify is rather high. He has not told us what percentage of approximately 400,000 aliens have failed to give the necessary notification or whether the failures have been almost solely on the part of those aliens who have been in the country only a short time and are not eligible for naturalisation. He has not told us whether the people who have been here for many years are the main offenders or whether they are offending to any major or minor degree. Without knowing these things, it is rather difficult for us to determine what amendment should be made to the Aliens Act to ensure that this requirement is carried out. There may be some provisions elsewhere, but I cannot find in the Aliens Act any provision under which newcomers to the country are advised either verbally or in writing of their obligations under the Act. I appreciate that ignorance of the law is no defence, but I would be interested to hear whether, for example, any of the offending migrants have been advised of what is expected or required of them under the Act.
Reverting to the desirability of having all eligible aliens naturalised, I want to point out that we do not seem to be making any great strides in that direction. On 10th October 1962, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) was told by the Minister for Immigration, in answer to a question, that at 31st December 1961 there were 240,372 persons in Australia eligible for naturalisation and who had not applied. On 22nd May 1963, the Minister told me, in answer to a question, that at 31st December 1962 there were 244,972 persons who were eligible for naturalisation but who had not applied. On 7th May 1964, in answer to a question, the Minister told me that at 31st December 1963 it was estimated that there were 240,871 persons eligible to apply for naturalisation who had made no attempt to do so. This indicates an apathy or disinclination on the part of migrants to become naturalised citizens. Certainly, of the 240,871 in 1963 there were some 48,000 persons under the age of 16 years; but that was also the continuing position in the previous years so that we have not made much progress towards reducing the number of aliens by way of naturalisation. This is something which we should be pursuing with vigour. If, by way of naturalisation, we could reduce the number of aliens from this fairly steady 400,000 to even 300,000, we would be achieving something worthwhile. Certainly we would be relieving the Department of a large amount of work in trying to keep in touch with these aliens in order to make an accurate record of their movements.
We want these people to become naturalised. We do not want to continue with the present position in which some 400,000 people in this country who are eligible to be naturalised fail to do anything about it. There seems no good reason why they should not become naturalised. If they think they have good reasons and we find that they have, then, provided we do not do anything to harm the standing of the people of this country or our principles, we should do what we can to remove those objections.
Aliens are entitled to many benefits in this country. The are entitled to child endowment, unemployment and sickness benefits. They are entitled to workmen’s compensation under either State or Commonwealth laws, depending on the type of work or the State that they happen to be in. They have equal right of employment with Australians. They have the right to take up land and grow crops etc., and to benefit from laws which provide minimum prices or other protection for the industries in which they happen to be engaged. One wonders what their attitude would be if it were decided that once immigrants had been in Australia for the period of eligibility for naturalisation, these benefits should be taken away from them if they did not become naturalised. There is no doubt in my mind what would occur. How often do we find applications for citizenship from elderly migrants who are almost of the age where they become eligible for pensions if naturalised? This is not a rare occurrence. We do strike those things and I think they prove that often there is no real objection to becoming naturalised, but only an apathy. I feel that if an approach were made to aliens and if we could get the message to them in some way, they would seek earlier naturalisation.
If there is difficulty now in keeping the register of aliens up to date I do not see how this Bill will make the position any better. In fact it could be the means whereby persons desiring to avoid giving information will have a much better chance to do so. I cannot see that the proposed amendment to the Act will be of much value at all but I am not opposed to it. We have gone so long now apparently without sufficient or accurate information on the movements of aliens that it will certainly not hurt us to give this proposition a trial. If it fails, as I think it will, we can do something more about it. If it is successful I will be the first to appreciate it.
– in reply - Mr. Speaker, the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly) although, I am very glad to say, supporting this Bill on behalf of the Opposition, made one or two remarks which I think call for comment. In supporting this change in the Aliens Act, which should improve the register of aliens, he expressed the view that the amendment would be inadequate to meet the problem. I assure the honorable member that there is no need for him to be purely negative in this matter. If his fertile mind has any practical constructive suggestions to make which would help solve this problem, the Government, open-minded as always, will certainly examine them with the greatest of care and attention.
The honorable member for Grayndler referred to the fact that there are 250,000 persons in Australia who are not naturalised but who had been here for five years or more. He pointed out, very appropriately, that the number of migrants who had not become naturalised was the main theme of the Australian Citizenship Convention held earlier this year. However, I think that we can scale down this figure a little. If we examine it a little more closely, we find that out of that 250,000 about 20 per cent, are children below the age of 16 years. So that makes the figure about 200,000. This is the number of people who, theoretically have become eligible for naturalisation because they have been here for about five years but the general experience seems to be that it is about seven or eight years before immigrants finally get round to becoming naturalised. As the honorable member for Sturt (Mr. Wilson) and other honorable members have pointed out, often some particular event occurs in an immigrant’s life, such as seeking employment in the Commonwealth Public Service or requiring a passport to go overseas, which jogs him into becoming naturalised. I think that the honorable member for Sturt very rightly pointed out that perhaps the honorable member for Grayndler laid slightly too much emphasis on what might happen to 400,000 aliens in the event of war. The honorable member for Grayndler spoke of the possibility of internment and so forth. Of course, this is a theoretical possibility but it is not really the main object of having a register of aliens. I think the purposes of this are well known to honorable members.
The honorable member for Grayndler also touched upon the question of compulsory military service. The recent legislation for compulsory military service does provide that non-British people may be called up, but there are certain practical international difficulties in this. Aliens are nationals of other countries and therefore their governments and political authorities need to be consulted in this matter. So this is not a simple question. Of course, it does remain open to non-naturalised persons to volunteer.
– How does the United States of America get away with compulsory military service for aliens?
– At the moment I must deal with the Australian position. In the few days that I have had the temporary responsibility of the Immigration portfolio I have not acquainted myself with the full details of the arrangements in the United States. The honorable member for Grayndler, at the risk of being a little political, so he said, claimed that perhaps some immigrants had not become naturalised because of some want of confidence in the present Government. But I am sure that immigrants have great confidence in the Australian people and of course, the good sense and sound judgment of the Australian people are reflected in the kind of government which they sent back to Canberra. However, the main answer to the honorable member’s claim lies in the fact that so many of the folk already in Australia, very many of whom are not naturalised, are anxious to bring their relatives to bask in the sunshine of the confidence that is spread throughout the Australian community, at the head of which is this Government. Clearly, the large number of immigrants still coming to Australia shows that the kind of dissatisfaction referred to by the honorable member is unlikely to be a cause of immigrants not becoming naturalised.
The honorable member for Sturt, who has a very keen and continuing interest in these matters, went very thoroughly into the advantages of citizenship, following upon the remarks of the honorable member for Grayndler who suggested that most advantages of citizenship were, in fact, enjoyed anyway by people who were still aliens, so that there was not quite the premium on becoming naturalised that there might be. The honorable member for Sturt dealt adequately with this aspect. He pointed out that there are indeed very solid and practical advantages in becoming a citizen. The honorable member’s great sympathy in these matters is reinforced by a family marriage and he has a very close practical knowledge of many cases. Indeed, so has the honorable member for Grayndler because many immigrants live in his area.
The honorable member for Leichhardt (Mr. Fulton) did bring up a point which I think we should consider and that is that some persons might be deterred from becoming naturalised because they were rather overawed by the environment of the ceremony. I must say that when looking at the honorable member for Leichhardt - it is unfortunate that he has just left the chamber - although he appears very formidable, in fact he is a very kindly and genial man and one would not have thought there would be any deterrent to becoming naturalised under his auspices when mayor of that noble city of Cairns. However this matter is something which merits attention and the Government will give consideration to it.
The honorable member asked how under this new system whereby aliens register only once per annum, the Government will catch up with the situation. It is acknowledged that the present system of registration is not working well because many immigrants change their address six or eight times in their first year in Australia. So, the system does not work and there is very little practical prospect of having a useful up to date register on this basis. Opposition members, for the most part, seem readily to agree with that proposition. The honorable member also asked how the present proposal will be publicised and made known to migrants. As enunciated by the Minister for Immigration, in his second reading speech, the Department of Immigration intends to conduct a large scale publicity campaign in all the languages concerned. This will bring the proposal to the notice of aliens in the most direct way possible.
The honorable member for Leichhardt and, I think, the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. Collard) also, asked how we will ensure that we have up to date information. It should be simpler to make sure that the requirements are complied with under the new procedure, which will require registration in one month each year. If an alien does not register, his name will no longer appear on the Register of Aliens and the matter can be gone into immediately. Under the existing procedure, normally nobody knows whether or not an alien has changed his address if the change is not notified. Under the new procedure, if an alien fails to register in September of any year, his omission immediately becomes an offence and he will be liable to a maximum penalty of a fine of £50 - that represents a considerable sum to most of us - or imprisonment for three months. The new requirements should be very much easier to police than the old ones were.
In conclusion, Sir, I should like to say that I appreciate the co-operation of the Opposition in the consideration of this measure. The points that have been made will be given close attention.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
.- Mr. Temporary Chairman, the Minister for Housing (Mr. Bury) has already given the answer to one question that I wished to ask. That relates to the manner in which the requirement to register annually will be made known to aliens. He has told us that there will be a publicity campaign in all the relevant languages. I should like some clarification of another matter. This Bill will repeal the existing sections 9 and 10 of the principal Act. It seems to me that the repeal of those sections will not help to achieve what the Minister claims is desired. By repealing those sections, we shall not assist the Department of Immigration to obtain knowledge of the current whereabouts and occupational status of aliens. I see no reason why the existing sections 9 and 10 should not have remained in the Act, with the addition of a new section to provide for annual registration of those aliens who have not changed their address or occupation. I cannot see anything wrong with that idea if the Department wants full knowledge of the aliens in this country. I believe that the retention of the existing sections 9 and 10 would help to satisfy the requirements that are claimed to be necessary.
– Mr. Temporary Chairman, the basic reason for the introduction of this Bill is the failure of the present system of registration to work satisfactorily. Changes of address and occupational status are not being made known to the Department of Immigration under the existing arrangements. The system has broken down and become impossible to police because of the very large number of unnaturalised migrants that we have. Therefore, the change proposed in this measure is necessary. It is true that if the present system could be adequately policed, some additional information would be available, but it is considered that annual registration will provide the required information with a reasonable degree of certainty and that this system will be better than the existing one, which, as I have said, does not work. I think it would be of dubious value for us to try to retain the existing system and impose the new procedure on it, for the information obtained under the present arrangements has been so incomplete.
– Does the Minister mean that the information that the existing arrangements were designed to provide is not actually required?
– It is not necessary, provided annual registration is fully observed. In the broad judgment of the Government, this is sufficient.
Bill agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Mr. Bury) - by leave - read a third time.
Debate resumed from 28th April (vide page 976), 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, 24th March 1965.
Upon which Dr. J. F. Cairns had moved by way of 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 “.
.- Mr. Speaker, I listened with very great interest to the debate yesterday on the report of the Committee on the Future of Tertiary Education in Australia, which is commonly known as the Martin Committee. Before I proceed to discuss the report, I should like to pay tribute to my colleague, the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. BridgesMaxwell), and congratulate him on his maiden speech, which he made in this debate yesterday. The manner in which he delivered that speech and discussed this subject made it clear that in him we have a very welcome addition to the ranks of those who serve in this Parliament. I congratulate also the members of the Martin Committee on the production of this very worthwhile report. In the words of one very eminent educationist, this is a wholly admirable report. I support his view wholeheartedly. I shall confine my remarks to the technical and technological aspects of education dealt with in the report. I do so because, over the years, I have had a keen and lengthy interest in both these aspects of education, as a former member of the Apprenticeship Council of New South Wales, as an industrial executive and court advocate, and also due very largely to my very close association in an industrial relationship sense with the metal trades industries through the Metal Trades Employers Association. That Association is one of Australia’s major organisations of manufacturing industrialists. As we all know, technical training is very important to our developing Australia. As a matter of fact, I would say that it must take a position of priority above almost all other forms of training and education.
The report of the Martin Committee has dealt in a very comprehensive and exacting manner by way of a survey of Australian industry with technical requirements. Chapter 5 of the report begins by saying -
The technological progress of the nation depends essentially upon the combined efforts of craftsmen, technicians and technologists.
One can only say how true this is. In this challenging world the technician and skilled tradesman is depended upon more and more as the years go on and, if Australia is to continue to develop, trained technicians in increasing numbers will be needed more and more. This is especially so in this age of automation, of electronic computers and highly technical and delicate machinery. We could take as an example the skills that are required today in our Navy and Army. The technicians needed to operate the Royal Australian Navy’s new guided missile destroyers is an example of the skill required by the men who operate modern electronic equipment.
We must not overlook the fact that there is a human side in industry today. Any man who is now unemployed would, I suggest, be certain of employment if he had technical training. In other words, no qualified technician is unemployed in Australia due to the fact that he has had the opportunity to undergo and participate in this field of technical training. I cast no aspersions whatever when I say that the technical college can be regarded as the poor man’s university. In my view, and in the view of a very large section of the community, the technical college is as important as the university in this technological age. It is essential that technical colleges and technological institutions be developed so that a large body of people can obtain free tertiary education to enable them to gain a proper professional standing in industry.
In section 5 (iv) of chapter 5 of the report the Committee has these important words to say about technical colleges -
The principal objective of the technical college is to equip men and women for the practical world of industry. The Committee holds the view that the education which can be provided by these institutions has long been undervalued because of the overvaluation of the social status of a university degree. Nor is the wide function of these colleges in fulfilling the various needs of commerce and industry fully appreciated by the public. The Committee therefore recommends that efforts be made to strengthen and raise the status of technical colleges.
I emphasise the words, “ to strengthen and raise the status of technical colleges.” To my knowledge this recommendation has been acclaimed very widely in industrial circles. It has been received with great enthusiasm in industry throughout Australia and, especially in the industrial state of New South Wales, industry has been heartened and delighted by the Government’s proposal to adopt the recommendation to raise technical education to the level of importance enjoyed by universities.
In recent years in New South Wales technical learning has been treated rather as an ugly Cinderella. I say this whilst acknowledging the excellent work performed by the New South Wales Department of Technical Education. It has been our experience in New South Wales over the years that too few employees in industry have been receiving a tertiary education. I shall state the major deficiencies as I see them in technical education in New South Wales. First, there are inadequate accommodation facilities and inadequate equipment. Secondly, not enough young people are being trained. Thirdly, there is a dearth of teachers of required standard. Fourthly, and perhaps to a large extent most importantly, there has been a disproportionate allocation of finance for technical education by the New South Wales Government. I suppose that it is proper for me to say at this stage, as no doubt honorable members would expect me to say, that this disproportionate allocation will be corrected after 1st May under a Liberal and Country Party government which will ensure that more money is directed efficiently and properly to technical education.
But in my view there is a need for greater emphasis on technological education at the tertiary level. There is a need for greater diversity in higher education. Perhaps in this respect I should inform honorable members who are not already aware of it that in Great Britain there is a three-tier system of tertiary education. In the top bracket are the universities, in the second bracket are the teachers’ colleges, and in the third bracket are the technical colleges. The people and government of Great Britain have recognised how essential it is to have well trained technicians. I invite honorable members to compare the situation in New South Wales with what I understand is the position in Victoria. I refer to the proposals which I believe Mr. Bolte, the
Premier of Victoria, has in mind. Some technical colleges will be required to take advanced courses to the degree level. Some time ago, if my recollection is accurate, Mr. Bolte announced the formation of a Victorian Institute of Colleges to formulate, co-ordinate and administer these courses. I thought at the time that that was a particularly progressive move and I hoped that New South Wales would recognise it as a course worth following.
In a public statement paying tribute to the work of the Martin Committee and speaking about its report and the Government’s intended treatment of it, Mr. Ron Fry, a very well known executive of the Metal Trades Employers Association, had this to say -
The Association has no hesitation in congratulating the Martin Committee for its very thorough report
Time will show that the Government’s virtual acceptance of the report is an important milestone in the industrial development of this country.
Mr. Fry went on to say
We simply cannot develop industry without more emphasis being placed on technical education. … To this end the Commonwealth Government is making a sound practical contribution by awarding scholarships to technical institutions.
In considering this important report, one must be influenced also by the views of eminent educationists in the technical field. One such person is Mr. W. E. Crisp, the Principal of the Sydney Technical College. I believe that his views are worth recording. He had this to say -
The Martin report could result in a changed status for diploma and technical college students.
The new college may be the beginning of the eradication of false values in the community.
It is wrong to think of a diploma as something inferior to a degree; they are quite different.
Mr. Crisp went on to say that the report had got down to some basic modern thinking on tertiary education. He added -
Technology, as a result, will receive its proper emphasis. The report recognises the need for highly trained people of an order of those proposed by technical institutions.
From those words, which were uttered publicly by those two eminent gentlemen, we can see that they are very impressed with the report and fully support the implementation of the recommendations that have been made in it.
One’s mind goes back to the days of World War II, when the need for technicians and technologists for the production of armaments and munitions increased tremendously. Many people will remember that during the war years the Industrial Training Division co-ordinated the training of about 120,000 students under the defence training scheme. Bringing history more up to date, I remind the House that up to 31st December 1950 approximately 233,000 exservice men and women had commenced courses of training in technical subjects, which included part time training, full time training and correspondence courses. In those slight references to history we see the development of the need for increased technical training. Technical education has been the hub around which there has been keen controversy concerning after-school education.
One must emphasise the fact that Australia is lamentably and dangerously short of technicians as well as of scientists and technologists. The shortage is becoming worse as Australia develops. So technical colleges, in greater numerical strength and providing far more accommodation than they provide at present, are essential if we are to have technicians, skilled tradesmen, skilled workers and highly trained and highly paid technologists, who actually come between the scientists on the one hand and the technicians on the other.
There are differing schools of thought on who should train the technologists. Should they be trained in technological institutions, or should they continue to be trained in universities such as the University of New South Wales? The latter course would not relieve the strain on the universities in providing accommodation for the large lineup of students who want to undertake this kind of education. There is a school of thought that technological training should not continue at the universities. I believe that the train of thought that technological institutions should be developed is followed by the industrialists of Australia. My substantial view is that technological institutions should grant diplomas and should provide practical training instead of doing mere research. That would conform with the general principle of the expansion of non-university technical education to which I have referred already. It would do two essential things. First, it would provide a large area and facility in which to train additional technologists; and secondly, it would ease the strain on the universities.
Manufacturing industry is vitally concerned with all stages of education. The desire of employers is to have all the people who are employed in industry adequately educated arid equipped commensurately with industrial needs and the improving standards of our community, especially in the manufacturing field. So, manufacturing industry recruits the greater proportion of its employees from people whose formal education, in the main, ends at the age of 15 or 16 years. The provision of the labour force which is essential really demands the development of technical colleges. A high proportion of employees in manufacturing industry already pursue additional education at the tertiary level, after they leave school at the age of 15 or 16 years.
In this age of automation and electronics and with the increase in the number of people requiring technical training, obviously there is a tremendous burden on technical college accommodation and equipment. It must be realised, of course, that the elevation of technical colleges to higher standards appropriate to the granting of diplomas, no doubt, will raise additional and serious problems such as staffing, the provision of libraries and administrative arrangements. I will watch with keen interest, as will all other members of this Parliament, the implementation of the recommendations that are contained in the Martin Committee’s report. As I understand the position, once they go forward from this Parliament, it will be left to the States to implement the recommendations in whatever manner they see fit.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- The Martin Committee was strongly influenced by the technical and industrial considerations to which the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Cockle) devoted his attention in his speech. Therefore, he must be disappointed that the Government has rejected the majority of the Committee’s recommendations concerning benefits to technical college students and has failed to carry out all of the Committee’s recommendations concerning grants to the States to co-ordinate technical colleges and other non-university tertiary institutions. The Committee recommended that there be 2,500 new scholarships for students pursuing full time tertiary courses at technical colleges and that the same benefits as for Commonwealth university scholarships should attach to those scholarships, except that each should carry a minimum allowance of £100 not subject to a means test. The Governmen decided to award only 1,000 such scholarships in the coming year. It decided also that there would be no additional allowance for even those 1,000 scholarships.
The Committee recommended also that there should be an autonomous Institute of Colleges in each State to develop and coordinate technical and other non-university technical education. The Government considered the approach but rejected it. It said that it would not make its grants to the States conditional upon their establishing any machinery to co-ordinate technical and other non-university tertiary education. The Martin Committee was better qualified to report on technical education than on most other aspects of education. One would have thought, therefore, that its recommendations in this respect had all the more authority. The honorable member for Warringah should have deplored the Government’s failure to carry out the Committee’s recommendation.
The House has had to wait a long time for the report of the Martin Committee. Where the report has been most vague the Government has been most disposed to accept it. Where the report has been most precise, as in regard to teachers’ colleges, the Government has been most disposed to whittle it down. The Committee was appointed in August 1961 and it reported in August 1964. The House received the report a month ago. We have become accustomed to the delay of the Menzies Government in implementing reports on educational matters. There is a sedulously fostered legend that education will be the Menzies Government’s greatest monument. It could not possibly have done less than it has done.
Let me recall the principal instances of delay. When the Government assumed office, it had before it the Madgwick proposals for secondary and technical scholarships. The Government did nothing about those proposals during 1950. Finally in 1951, when the Budget was presented, it rejected the proposals for secondary and technical scholarships but proceeded to adopt the accompanying proposals for university scholarships. The next large committee to be appointed was the Murray Committee. Its recommendations were implemented completely. The Murray Committee has been the quickest of all the committees in its deliberations, and the Government acted upon its recommendations in the quickest possible fashion. There have been several subsequent committees. In April 1959 a committee was appointed to inquire into teaching costs at medical hospitals. That committee reported in May 1962. The Government accepted its recommendations on capital costs but deferred, and has never since revived, its recommendations in regard to recurrent costs. The Government had to wait for over three years for the Martin Committee’s report, and the House has had to wait for it for another eight months. Now the Government is rejecting half of the Committee’s recommendations.
The basic reason for our having to wait so long for these reports is that in 1951 the Government halved the size of the staff of the Commonwealth Office of Education. The Office was set up under the Education Act which was passed by this Parliament 20 years ago. Under section 5 of that Act the Office is empowered, indeed bidden, to carry out all the work that has been entrusted to these spasmodic and ad hoc committees. In 1951 the Office of Education had 375 employees. Two years later it had 158, and at the moment it still has only 184. That is why the Commonwealth has to rely upon outside experts. The experience has not been readily available on a continuous basis, as it should be. Men on ad hoc committees all are busy in their own fields and they need a long time in which to prepare their reports. In the time taken to propare a report the position deteriorates. The same thing happened in another field with the Vernon Committee.
The Government’s excuse for seeking the advice of these ad hoc bodies is that education is not a Commonwealth responsibility but a State responsibility. But this excuse is never offered in regard to universities. The
Commonwealth has long since ceased to plead that universities are not a Commonwealth responsibility. Indeed, it takes great pride in the fact that universities are more a responsibility of the Commonwealth than of all other governments combined. But the constitutional basis for the Commonwealth’s interest in universities - namely, benefits to students under paragraph (xxiiiA) of section 51 and grants of financial assistance to the States under section 96 of the Constitution - applies also to every form of education that is mentioned in the Martin Committee’s report and every form of education in relation to which the Australian Labour Party has for some years urged there should be a national inquiry and national action.
There is delay also in the submission of reports to the Parliament by the Office of Education. The report of the Office for the last financial year was tabled only yesterday. I know of no subject upon which honorable members have to wait so long for a reply from the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) as upon educational matters. The academic year starts in February or March, but it is impossible to get answers to questions relating to the commencement of that academic year or to the conclusion of the previous academic year until September, October or November. Consequently, honorable members have not the necessary facts upon which to debate the Commonwealth’s existing educational commitments until the Budget has been passed and the Estimates have been debated. I have had on the notice paper for nearly five weeks questions the answers to which would have been relevant to the debate that is now proceeding.
I now pass to an examination of the Committee’s report. I support the motion that has been proposed by my colleague, the honorable member for Yarra (Dr. J. F. Cairns). We condemn the Government’s rejection of the recommendations in regard to scholarships. In 1953, 30 per cent, of new university students received Commonwealth scholarships. Last year, 19 per cent, received such scholarships. As a result of the Government’s rejection of the proposals relating to scholarships, only about 20 per cent, of new students will receive scholarships when they enter university next year. The Committee recommended also that all full time students who completed their first year should receive Commonwealth scholarships. The Prime Minister said that this was a novel idea. He said: “This is quite new to me. I was born in the 19th century. I used to know a good deal about scholarships, having won quite a few of them in rather harder schools of competition “. That is characteristic of the right honorable gentleman’s attitude to education. He believes in higher education for an elite based on competition. For the last 100 years the most brilliant student has always been able to receive a good education. Nevertheless, a very great number of individuals of more modest talents cannot receive an adequate education and the benefits of such education without increasing government assistance. The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck), who is perhaps the most academically experienced and qualified member of the Government parties, delivered himself of these sentiments in September last -
In the light of my own experience and the experience of other hoys- who attended the same school that I attended and who had been able to enter it only because they had passed a competitive examination, and who mostly came from low income families, I do not believe that low income alone had any relevance to our ability to pass examinations.
The Martin report at least disposes of this belief. It states clearly, giving figures to support the statement, that there is a handicap to receiving full secondary education, let alone technical or tertiary education, if parents have certain occupations, residential disadvantages or limitations of income. The better off your parents are, the more likely it is that you will have full secondary education and some tertiary education. The Labour Party wants to see that the children of all parents are given an opportunity to have an education appropriate to their talents. The Government adopts the attitude that because universities have not enough places for all who qualify for entrance to them, some people must be priced out of the universities. Fees are put up - and explicitly put up - by vicechancellors on the ground that in this way the pressure on places in the universities will be relieved. If there is to be any rationing of places in the universities, it should be solely on the ground of talent, not on the ground of means. Students should not be priced out.
In fact, to give a free place - which is what is involved in a scholarship - to every student at present in a university would cost only slightly more than £3 million a year. We are not asking for the special allowances which are given to all university students in Britain. According to the statistics for 1963, universities in Australia received from fees a total income of £5.1 million, of which £1.8 million, or something less than 40 per cent, came from scholarships paid by the Commonwealth Government. An extra expenditure of just over £3 million would enable every present student to receive a free university education. There should be no test other than comparative talent for admission to the universities.
The next great fault of the Government was to reject the recommendations on teacher training. In 1963 the Premiers’ Conference was given a report by the State Education Ministers that in State schools alone there was a deficiency of 5,200 teachers. But the number of teachers and the size of classes alone do not indicate the deficiencies in our schools. A survey conducted by the Australian Science Teachers Association in 1960 showed that 59 per cent, of science teachers in public and private schools in Australia had no science degree and that 31 per cent, had no passes in any university science subject. The qualifications of teachers are declining in the public and private schools. The size of classes is increasing in both. The recommendations of the Martin Committee on teacher training were the most important that it made. Those recommendations were basic to all forms of education in Australia - primary, secondary, vocational, technical and tertiary inside and outside universities - and to research itself. The Martin Committee said that to reduce classes to a reasonable size, with the present curricula, 10,000 new places would be required in teachers’ colleges by 1975. To extend the training period to three years, as it recommended, would involve another 7,000 places.
The Martin Committee recommended not only that there should be a longer period of training for teachers and more places at teachers’ colleges, but also that the colleges should be given some autonomy - that they should be under supervisory bodies in each
State, such bodies to include representatives of the Department of Education, teachers’ colleges, universities, non-government schools, the Universities Commission and others with special knowledge of education. The main purposes of the proposal were to give teachers’ colleges some autonomy and to take teacher training out of the bureaucratic grip of State education departments.
Teacher trainees must be free of bonding in all States. The Martin Committee referred to bonding as an unfortunate differentiation. It recommended that scholarships at the tertiary level, without bond, should be provided for 10 per cent, of teachers’ college students, that those students should receive their training free of charge. Thereafter they should be free to accept appointments wherever they chose in State or independent schools. No other provision would make a greater improvement of educational standards in this country, particularly in the State schools and the Catholic schools which are over-extended in finding adequate and properly qualified staff.
The third provision I wish to criticise is the Government’s decision regarding research funds. The Government has rejected the Martin Committee’s recommendations, particularly those relating to an Australian national research foundation. By its delay it is seriously hampering university research. The Government has decided to set up an advisory body concerned with research generally and an advisory committee concerned with university research. No details are given of what it has in mind for these bodies. It is years ago that the Academy of Science requested the Prime Minister to set up a national science foundation. The Prime Minister does not say that his proposals arc meant to be an answer to the Academy. At all events, there is undoubtedly a need for some kind of Australian science commission to bring forward plans for the growth of Australian science research in universities and in all other institutions, most of which are financed by governments. Most of the research in the social sciences and the physical sciences is carried out with government money.
The need for more research and for better co-ordinated research in all the sciences is plain. The Martin Committee made recommendations in this respect which have been rejected. The alternative decisions which the
Prime Minister has made are fragmentary in the extreme.
The dilatory and partial character of this report are due very largely to the Government’s failure to have a standing expert staff either permanently employed or seconded to investigate and implement educational proposals in general. One has only to compare the speed, comprehensiveness and relevance of the Martin Committee’s report with that of the Robbins Committee in Britain to see how we would have been advantaged by having had a preparatory report such as was prepared by the Crowther Committee in Britain. We would be advantaged by having a Ministry of Education in this country, as was suggested by the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Bridges-Maxwell) in his maiden speech, upon which I compliment him.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I begin by congratulating my colleague, the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. BridgesMaxwell), on his maiden speech. I hope that his stay in this House will be long and pleasant, although, if I may strike a discordant note, I must say that if he hears many speeches of the calibre of the one we have just heard from Australia’s leading unificationist I doubt whether it will be a completely rapturous stay. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) is now walking out of the chamber. He has got the sulks very early.
– I have to catch a plane.
– I would be delighted to welcome the honorable member back. It would delight my heart. The honorable member started with a lament about the delay in the presentation of the Martin Committee’s report to the Parliament. If he looks at the report he will notice that the printing says “August 1964”. So I imagine that the timetable would have been something of this order: It would have gone to the Government, to the appropriate Ministers; it would have been considered by the Government and it was presented to the Parliament this year. I do not think that any person could reasonably describe that delay as being inordinate. I think that it was a reasonable delay. It provided those concerned with a reasonable opportunity to consider the ramifications of the report.
It is a very substantial report, although I describe it as an incredibly diffuse report. I think that it is a badly prepared report in terms of its presentation. We have received only two volumes of it: the third volume is yet to come. It shows a touch of strange unreality to expect that people should be able to grasp all of the fundamentals involved in this field in a short space of time. I hope that in future reports of this nature some attention will be given to conciseness. This is a very difficult report to read. I am expressing my own views which may not be shared by others. I do not express them disrespectfully. That is the way I find the report.
Resident in the report there is, I feel, a basically wrong assumption which was carried into the speech of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. The members of the Martin Committee completely failed to understand the problems of government in Australia. We have a federalist system of government or. at least, the remnants of a federalist system of government, whether we like it or not. The basic misconception in the Martin Committee’s report and in the speech of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition was that the central government, first, has all the requisite power in the matter of education, and secondly, that it should have all the power. It is a highly intelligible argument for people to say that the central government should have all the power, although I violently disagree with that proposition, as I shall proceed to demonstrate.
– The trouble is that we have centralised finance and decentralised power.
– Precisely. This false dichotomy which has been perpetrated since the introduction of uniform taxation in 1942 will exacerbate the problems of government more and more as time goes by. There has been a disposition for many people to believe that because recommendations are put forward in a report they should automatically be accepted. That is a strange and, I think, very silly doctrine to propound. For example, the report recommends that the system of external studies in universities should gradually be phased out. As one who has had the benefit of being an external student, I doubt very much indeed the value of that course. In a large State, such as Queensland, which services people interested in education as far north as New Guinea, what is the point in saying to these people: “ In another five or ten years there will be no opportunity for you to do a university course “? I am merely illustrating the proposition that because a recommendation is put in a report, we should not possess ourselves of the idea that we should automatically accept it
Over the years there have been powerful centripetal forces which gradually have been bringing more and more power to Canberra. I refer to the legislative power. Nowhere is this better or more clearly demonstrated than in respect of education. I wonder whether the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) 25 years ago would have contemplated with any measure of equanimity a Minister being described as the Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research. It is one of those long compendious terms and does not seem to have much charm about it. This is a process that has been continuing. I venture to suggest that if it is not checked or, at least, if there is not a delineation made between the States and the Commonwealth in the matter of education, within 10 years all worthwhile power with regard to education will be found in Canberra. The line of responsibility between the Commonwealth and the States is quite blurred.
I a gree with the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, that the Commonwealth Government has assumed responsibility in respect of universities but is reluctant to assume responsibility for primary and secondary education. I am not a unificationist; I am a federalist. I know that there are many honorable members on the other side of the House who believe in a unitary system of Government. They are entitled to that view. I believe in the division of power in Australia. I hone that the present procession of power to Canberra in respect of education will be checked. If it is not, ultimately all power in respect of education will be found in Canberra. The concomitant will be a system of stark uniformity in education in Australia.
– That has not to be at all.
– That is my submission. The honorable member may disagree with it. I am not going to sit down and sob if he does. Once there is complete power in Canberra, there will be a tremendous temptation to say that from Cairns in Queensland to Kalgoorlie in Western Australia there will be the same system. My honorable friend’s instincts and inclinations may run against that proposition. The fact remains that the temptation would be there. I therefore respectfully agree with the suggestion put forward by the honorable member for Robertson the other evening that there should be a federal minister for science and education and a ministry with meticulously defined power, because little by little the power will be transferred to Canberra.
The second fallacy that I apprehended in the speech of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition was his view that there is nothing much wrong with universities that a splurge of spending will not cure. That is simply not correct. I think that millions of Australians are entitled to inquire whether or not they are getting value for the present expenditure on universities. In the limited time that I have left at my disposal, I want to refer to some of the problems. I think that the difficulties of a student moving from a secondary school to a university are not completely understood. The Martin Committee report has referred to the fact that this is so. Why should it be so? Is it because a student of a secondary school is. in a sense, mollycoddled, assisted and led all the way during his time at a secondary school, and when he gets to a university he finds the business of going it alone, so to speak, is too much for him? The gap is too big and the transition too great. There are thousands of young girls and boys moving from secondary schools into universities who psychologically are hopelessly illequipped to face university life. It is a completely different life from the comparatively sheltered life of a secondary school.
We must come to grips with this problem. The wastage among first year university students is enormous. This should not occur. Many of these youngsters are quite talented but they find that they are just not able to cope with university life. Let me spell out the problem. I frankly confess that
I do not have the answer to it other than to suggest, tentatively at least, that some effort should be made in the final year at secondary school to encourage students to do research for themselves. We should try to stimulate a greater sense of independence and self-reliance at the secondary level.
I agree with a lot that has been said on both sides of the House about teacher training but again I submit that the Opposition’s view is too simple. It says that the Commonwealth - this is the recommendation also of the Martin Committee - should assume a responsibility for teacher training. The Prime Minister has explicitly rejected that proposition. He has said that this is exclusively a responsibility of the States.
– If the States decide to implement those sections of the report, the Commonwealth still will have to find the money.
– This is so and we come back to what I regard as an area of agreement. You have responsibility and power here and they have been divorced one from the other. I can reveal my thoughts to my friend: If the Commonwealth did have complete responsibility in this field I certainly would expect the Commonwealth to exercise complete power in the field. That is my view. I make no humbug about it at all.
To come back to the subject of teacher training, I think teacher training in universities has been sadly neglected. Simply because a person gets a degree - perhaps in a post-graduate course or in an honours course - does not mean that he is necessarily equipped to be a good teacher. There are many very fine lecturers within universities but it should be recognised that there are a number of appalling lecturers in universities. Is there any formula that solves this problem in a ready and simple way? I doubt it, simply because some people have neither a capacity nor an instinct to impart the knowledge that they possess.
– The majority of teachers are not trained in universities.
– This is so. I turn now to the quality, accuracy and relevance of a lot of the material handed out in universities. In other words, I refer to the curricula. I hope nobody will charge me with wanting to run universities or to interfere with academic freedom. I intend nothing of the kind. I want to give the House a few illustrations of the kind of thing I have in mind. I deal first with the matter of accuracy. The extracts that I will quote are taken from an historic work edited by James Hagan and published by Longmans, Green and Co. It deals in the main with contemporary history and has been approved, I take it, by universities in Queensland and New South Wales. The whole work is slanted against the British, but the Soviet Union emerges in a most favorable light. My feelings about this work may reflect prejudice on my part. Referring to Von Ribbentrop the work states -
He was popular in pro-German and extreme Tory circles in Britain, whose strong influence on the Government was for appeasement.
At the very best, I think that is argumentative material. I doubt very much whether any person could reasonably describe Duff Cooper, Eden and Sir Winston Churchill - the extreme right of the Tory wing - as being for appeasement. One is entitled at least to challenge the accuracy of material such as that. Again, dealing with what are described as Communist successes in East Germany, the work states -
After the Red Army had pushed the Germans back in eastern Europe, Communists, Social Democrats and Peasant Party representatives had formed anti-Fascist Governments. *
These governments began the economic restoration of their countries and took action against Nazi collaborators. . . These measures provoked a powerful reaction among conservatives in the United States of America and Britain, who resisted attacks upon property rights everywhere.
Again, I venture to describe those remarks as tendentious and argumentative and not sharply pertinent to a study of contemporary history. Dealing with the war in Korea, it is said that “ fighting broke out “. No mention is made of the fact that there was an invasion of South Korea.
If I may give a sharp illustration of what I regard as the difficulty associated with the sheer waste of time within universities I refer to a paper read by His Honour Sir Richard Windeyer before the Australian Law Convention in 1961 dealing with learning the law. I hope that my legal collleagues will study His Honour’s remarks. I will deal with relevance, bearing in mind that we are pouring a lot of money and time into university activity. Referring to the problem of relevance His Honour said -
But, is it necessary to know what, in complicated circumstances, would in 1642 have been the effect of husband and wife, devisees for their lives with a remainder to their issue male in tail male suffering a common recovery (with a double voucher) assuring a fee simple absolute, and thereafter an heir male seeking to recover the land from their conveyee by ejectment or by formedon? Or to know what would have been the effect in 1400 of proceedings, again in complicated circumstances, of a writ of formedon in the descender? Probably there are many people here who have never known and never will know anything of a formedon whether in the reverter, the descender or the remainder. Yet those very questions, and others of the same kind, were recently asked of first-year law students, boys and girls one year out from school.
This is a problem. I hope it will reflect the fact that there is in my submission a lot of irrelevant material taught in universities. His Honour went on to quote from Dicey - the function of a trained lawyer is not to know what the law of England was yesterday, still less what it was centuries ago, or what it ought to be tomorrow but to know and be able to state what are the principles of law which actually and at the present time exist in England.
I submit that this should be carried over into every discipline within all universities. There should be a thorough-going examination of the relevance, accuracy and quality of material taught in universities.
I now would refer briefly - but not as an afterthought - to some of the problems of students. The percentage of students in this country paying their own fees within universities is substantial. I would hope that the Government will recognise the very grave difficulties under which many of these students carry out their studies. At the present time they get no income tax concession. I would hope that the Government will, at the first appropriate time, provide assistance of that nature. Some of the examination methods in this country should be revised. Dealing with this subject the Martin Committee reported -
Universities should thoroughly and critically study examination methods.
At the University of Queensland I have seen students lining up day after day on incredibly hot tar to undergo examinations. I am glad to say that the practice of taking two examinations on the one day has been discontinued. This matter of examinations should be investigated within universities.
Finally I would hope that no person would ever succumb to the notion that because people go to universities and come out they are in fact a race apart. They are people who have been very privileged. They are people to whom less privileged people, very properly and rightly, look for assistance in the use of their skills and knowledge.
.- In speaking to the Report of the Martin Committee on Tertiary Education, I do not intend to canvass the many issues involved. They have, in my opinion, been dealt with by other speakers and, in fact, the only thing that has not been mentioned so far is the pill. This has been a rather conservative Committee, as I think the honorable member for Yarra (Dr. J. F. Cairns) pointed out. The Government has looked at this matter in an ultra-conservative manner, as we would expect it to do. It is mainly because there is a University College in Townsville, where I live, that I am speaking on the subject. I am putting forward the opinion of the people who live there, as well as my own, but I want to deal with a few matters before I get to (hat.
The main problem with the whole system is money, and the State Governments, as we all realise, are really pushing it today with regard to education, because of the huge increase in secondary enrolments over the past few years. In Queensland we have even seen our hospital scheme suffering from economic restriction. I think that this is largely because the State Government has had to put such a lot of money into education. I think that most honorable members are aware of this and appreciate that the shortage of money can be made up only by the Federal Government, which is the taxing authority. We will never have an end to the problem unless the Commonwealth Government faces up to this.
Today, education is something to which every child is entitled. I have heard this said many times in the last couple of days. But the average working parent with an average family and the usual commitment for a car, which ties him to the payment of so much a week for life, for the simple reason that no sooner is it paid for than he has to turn around and buy another one, finds it very difficult. Then, of course, there are the television set, refrigerator and wash ing machine, all of which have a limited life, and expenditure on them represents a part of every £1 that the average person earns. It is very hard for this type of citizen to keep his children at school even to the end of the secondary education stage. I think most of us have seen this in our time. If we have not, we have not looked around very much. When we take the cost of books into consideration - a point which was made last night by the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Gray) - the problem is seen to be even bigger. In Queensland, we have a special problem at present. The books that we buy for children this year will be of no use next year, for the simple reason that two or three paragraphs or one or two chapters will be different. It is a big problem and I do not think that the people of Queensland will put up with it for very much longer. They will show their reaction next year at the polling booths if something is not done.
I should like to refer particularly to that part of the Report which deals with the Townsville University College, which is unique in many ways. Some years ago, it became clear to people living in the north that the drift of the popualtion from north to south for university training was quite undesirable, for the good reason that the children never came back to the area, but made homes in Brisbane and Sydney. Families were broken up and the north did not retain the population to which it was entitled. It was realised a long time ago that the University of Queensland could not continue to cope with the then rising numbers that wanted to go to it. As a result of the pressure which was brought to bear, the Government shopped around for areas for a university site. The Townsville City Council purchased 650 acres of land - which it proposed to hand to the Government and this it has almost done - for the purpose of establishing a centre for tertiary education. That is briefly how the Townsville University College came into being.
We have been fortunate in attracting to the area a particularly good type of young and enthusiastic lecturers, and these people have contributed a great deal to the culture of the area. The public of north Queensland has supported the College very well with money. Tens of thousands of pounds was raised for furniture for hostels and there was assistance from churches and other organisations. The original university buildings were provided as temporary housing for the university and they will later be used, we hope, as a teachers’ training college. For this purpose they are eminently suitable, being of the most modern design for the tropics.
This brings me to the point that the Government’s refusal to take any part in teacher training is regrettable. This must have a detrimental effect in the long run on the solution of the problems that led to the Martin report. North Queensland is about 1,000 miles away from Brisbane, but any. child who wishes to become a teacher must go to Brisbane for training. There is no other training centre. I should have thought that even apart from the need for decentralisation, about which some of our friends seem to be so keen to talk, the expansion of higher education without expanding the teaching forces was like trying to have more fowls without keeping the eggs to hatch. The people where I come from are unhappy about the whole business. It is a great shame, because big savings could be effected by the provision of a teacher training centre in the north. Many young trainees could remain under the roofs of their parents. Even with teacher training scholarships, the average parent has to fork out £5 a week or more to keep the trainee teacher in modest circumstances. As we all know, the youngster of today does not put up with what we put up with in our time.
I make these points to illustrate that the report has shown not a great deal of consideration for the special circumstances which prevail in areas such as Townsville. It is pleasing to note that we were not forgotten as an individual unit entirely. I note that the report did make recommendations on the future development of the Townsville University College, as it is called now, which we hope will later be a university. Special reference is made to the matters that concern that area mainly. One is the field of tropical agriculture. It was broadly pointed out that at present Australia has no agricultural teaching institution in the tropics or an institution where the special problems of tropical land use are studied. Naturally, such subjects are studied in Brisbane, but greater attention is needed than can effectively be given in a course which must of necessity deal with the more intensively used sub-tropical region. In view of the awareness of the agricultural potential of the north, the development of which must be based largely on the adoption of more scientific principles, on which the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Stock are accumulating basic knowledge, it is important that an agricultural faculty be established in that area. That was one of the recommendations. It is only common sense that it should be done at the Townsville University College.
The suggestion for a veterinary centre is also relevant and, if adopted, would give a well balanced course dealing with agricultural and animal problems of the area. Forestry is a most important aspect of the northern economy and the fact that at present only two forestry schools are considered sufficient for the whole of Australia is ridiculous in the extreme. One should be established in the tropics. It would fit in quite well in the Townsville area. Honorable members will realise that forestry is important to the tropics from an economic point of view. For many years the timber getters have been hauling millions of superficial feet of timber out of the scrub and in many cases the scrub has been crushed and burned so that farms may be made. The Government supervises timber hauling and has collected royalties amounting to millions of pounds, but little if any is ever put back into research, so far as I know. Tropical timbers take a long time to mature. Already, some varieties are scarce and others are quite unobtainable, yet it is only 60 years since we started hopping into the North Queensland timber. If we are to know anything about tropical timber, something will have to be done about research in this direction.
The subject of veterinary science was also mentioned in the report, in relation to Townsville. Reference was made to a suggestion by the Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Queensland that a veterinary centre should be established at Townsville, in view of the fact that the Commonwealth Government is spending so much money on beef roads, but that it should not duplicate such research as is already being done in Brisbane. There is a station at Belmont, near Rockhampton. It was suggested that further research into the peculiarities of tropical diseases of cattle should be carried on at Townsville. If there is one thing that we should realise - I am sure that most Country Party members do - it is that we face a tremendous shortage, in the tropics as well as in the rest of Australia, of veterinary officers. The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Stock has stationed at Townsville one veterinary field officer who has an area twice the size of Victoria to look after. To say that he had an impossible task would be an understatement. The side effects, of course, are frustration and unhappiness, and unless he happens to be a dedicated person, as most such officers fortunately are, he will not stay long. He will be snapped up by somebody else and go to happier surroundings where he can work on the problems that have to be faced in the area. Many problems, such as buffalo fly and botulism, would have been solved long ago if a sufficient number of veterinary officers had been available. J believe, as do those people who are dedicated to their jobs, that the development of a tropical university is most desirable and will play a very vital role in the future development of the north of Queensland and of northern Australia, about which so much has been said in the past. Not much has been said about this subject in the last few years; the main topic in this period has been defence.
The University College at Townsville in its first four years has grown much more rapidly than was envisaged in the second report of the Australian Universities Commission in 1963, in which allocations were recommended for the 1964-66 triennium. The college was opened in 1961. As I said earlier, it now has an enrolment of approximately 500. Full degree courses are available in arts and civil engineering, and the first year or first two years of courses in most other subjects are available. Full time enrolments are in fact 100 or 35 per cent, in excess of the Commission’s estimates. In the sections dealing with the financial proposals for 1965-66, the Committee indicated that it had decided not to recommend recurrent grants for 1965-66, but capital grants were recommended for the new universities, including Townsville, as well as other tertiary institutions. The recommendation for a grant of £100,000 for site work, additional to the £45,000 previously allotted, will permit an accelerated development of the 650 acres, which are ideally situated some way out of Townsville. This area of a square mile has a most beautiful setting. It is one of ihi most attractive settings for a university in Australia, lt is under Mount Stuart, on which the television stations have built, and is adjacent to the tropical pastures laboratory of the C.S.I.R.O. New Army barracks will also be built near this area. This should pave the way for a major building programme in 1967-69.
It is a pity, however, that, as I said earlier, the Committee did not give more consideration to the fact that this is now and will remain for a long time the only university college in a tropical area. It is a pity that the Commission did not see fit to recommend additional recurrent grants in special cases such as this, where extreme difficulty is being experienced in meeting the rapid growth within the present recurrent allocation. The effective implementation of the Committee’s recommendations for the future development of Townsville will depend on an extensive building programme in 1967-69, coupled with balanced academic development over the whole period. Every effort is being made to obtain detailed information pertinent to the future plans of the University College. The Warden of the College is at present overseas. He left a few days ago on a fact-finding tour. It is hoped that the information he will gain will be invaluable in supporting the submissions of the College, which embody the Martin Committee’s recommendations lor the 1967-69 triennium, to the Australian Universities Commission.
I say again that more consideration should have been given to the unique aspects of the Townsville University. I have in mind such factors as its tropical location, fundamental and applied training and research in tropical aspects of science rural problems which include C.S.I.R.O. research and engineering for human comfort. All of these factors are essential for human comfort in these areas, and more money should have been made available. The C.S.I.R.O. tropical pastures laboratory has already demonstrated that a vast field of research awaits investigation, and when some of the problems are solved, dramatic results in pastoral and other industries will follow. At present,
C.S.I.R.O. has established a tropical station outside Townsville, near the site of the University. This is the main laboratory of the Organisation in the area and experiments are being conducted with natural and imported grasses. It is hoped that now the problem of botulism has been solved a solution will be found to other problems. Botulism causes very ‘high stock losses. Some members of the Australian Country Parry will probably know that this disease was caused because phosphate was leached out of the coastal plains. The lack of phosphate caused the animals to eat bones, which infected them with botulism. They died and infected the soil. After some time, the C.S.I.R.O., in collaboration with the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories Commission, developed a multiple vaccine which overcame the problem.
The point I am making is that if we had had the facilities that are proposed in this report, this problem and others would have been understood and solved years ago. This would have saved Australia many millions of pounds, because until the problem was solved this year millions of head of cattle were lost. We hope that the people engaged in research will now be able to get a break through and solve other problems such as tick fever and spear grass. The solution of these problems would result in more money flowing to members of the Australian Country Party, who do not vote for me but who own large areas of land. The fact that the main laboratory of C.S.I.R.O. is next door to the site of the new university and that Army barracks will be built here makes this a most important area.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Turnbull) adjourned.
Sitting suspended from 6.1 to 8 p.m.
– by leave - The House in recent weeks has conducted an important debate on foreign affairs in which the situation in Vietnam was fully and anxiously discussed. My colleague, the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck) devoted a large part of his statement to Vietnam, explaining developments there and the critical significance of those developments for South and South East Asia as a whole. Nor of course do the implications end with South and South East Asia. Whether an externally directed Communist guerrilla subversion is to succeed or fail has world wide consequence. It has particular consequence for Australia.
In the first half of 1962 the Government decided, following upon a request from the Government of South Vietnam, that Australia should contribute militarily to the defence of South Vietnam. We sent at that time a group of some 30 military instructors to provide military training assistance. Since then additional military aid has been provided. The strength of the Army training team was, in the first place, doubled, and later still - comparatively recently - increased to 100. A flight of six Caribou transport aircraft has been provided. We have progressively increased our programme of economic aid to South Vietnam so that it now runs at the rate of about £1 million a year. A devoted body of Australian experts is at present at work in different parts of South Vietnam, experts in agriculture and the like. In addition to Australia and the United States, some thirty other countries are providing assistance or have undertaken to do so in the military or non-military aid fields. This includes assistance from a significant and important group of Asian countries, including the Philippines, Malaysia, Japan, Thailand, and the Republic of Korea, who are contributing either economic or military aid.
The Australian Government is now in receipt of a request from the Government of South Vietnam for further military assistance. We have decided - and this has been after close consultation with the Government of the United States - to provide an infantry battalion for service in South Vietnam. In case there is any misunderstanding, 1 think I should say, Sir, that we decided in principle some time ago - weeks and weeks ago - that we would be willing to do this if we received the necessary request from the Government of South Vietnam and the necessary collaboration with the United States. This is not to be regarded as something that has suddenly arisen out of more recent events.
There can be no doubt of the gravity of the situation in South Vietnam. There is ample evidence to show that with the support of the North Vietnamese regime and other Communist powers, the Vietcong has been preparing on a more substantial scale than hitherto insurgency action designed to destroy South Vietnamese Government control, and to disrupt by violence the life of the local people. The rate of infiltration of guerrillas from North Vietnam has been increasing and last year rose to some 10,000. The infiltration of a battalion of the North Vietnamese regular Army has recently been confirmed.
We have not of course come to this decision without the closest attention to the question of defence priorities. We do not and must not overlook the point that our alliances, as well as providing guarantees and assurances for our security, make demands upon us. We have commitments to Malaysia which we are meeting. We have to bear in mind, and make preparations against, the possibility of other developments in the region which could make demands on our Australian defence capacity.
Assessing all this, it is our judgment that the decision to commit a battalion in South Vietnam represents the most useful additional contribution which we can make to the defence of the region at this time. The takeover of South Vietnam would be a direct military threat to Australia and all the countries of South and South East Asia. It must be seen as part of a thrust by Communist China between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The task of holding the situation in South Vietnam and restraining the North Vietnamese is formidable. But we are conscious of the magnitude of the effort being made by the Government and people of South Vietnam in their own defence. In recent months the United States has taken historic decisions to extend further military assistance to South Vietnam. South Korea has also committed substantial forces.
We have noted and welcomed the attempts to open the way to agreement which have been made, so far unsuccessfully, by President Johnson and by the Prime Minister of Britain through his representative, Mr. Gordon Walker. We also welcome President Johnson’s proposals for a wide-ranging economic programme. We will certainly continue to play our part in the economic development of the region.
I make it clear that the Government has no desire to have Australian forces in Vietnam any longer than is necessary to ensure the security of South Vietnam. In terms, that is practically what President Johnson said quite recently about the presence of American forces in Vietnam. We and our allies are not seeking to take over North Vietnam. The North Vietnamese must not take over South Vietnam by armed force or subversion.
Let me add one item to my statement. Arguments have been going on for some time, publicly and privately, about this matter. Some attempt has been made occasionally - I do not think in this House - to suggest that we are in some way at odds with the United States on this question. Therefore, I am happy to tell the House that today I received from the President of the United States of America a message which I have his full authority to make public.
– Yes, I am like that. I never publish a message without having full authority to make it public. Therefore, the honorable gentleman may be interested to hear it. I do not assume for a moment that he will like it, but I think he ought to hear it. It is in these terms -
Dear Mr. Prime Minister: I am delighted at the decision of your Government to provide an infantry battalion for service in South Vietnam at the request of the Government of South Vietnam.
This action simply underscores the full cooperation and understanding that has existed between our two Governments, and between both and the Government of South Vietnam, in assisting South Vietnam to maintain its independence. Like you, we have no desire to maintain military forces in Vietnam any longer than necessary to ensure the security of South Vietnam. But we share your belief that we must both respond to the needs brought about by the aggression being carried on from North Vietnam.
More broadly, this action proves again the deep ties between our two countries in the cause of world peace and security. As you know, my personal experiences in association with Australians during World War II have made this a particularly deep and abiding feeling for me. I am confident that our two nations, working together, can continue to make great contributions to checking the spread of aggression and to bringing about the peace that South Vietnam and South-East Asia deserve.
I present the following paper -
That the House take note of the paper.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Crean) adjourned.
– by leave - This is a small and simple matter. I wish to make a statement relating to a drawing by India from the International Monetary Fund, which took place yesterday.
Honorable members will remember that Australian currency to the extent of £5.6 million - equivalent to 12.5 million dollars - was included in a drawing of 100 million dollars which India made from the Fund on 29th March, 1965. The Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) made a statement to the House on 30th March in which he explained fully the implications of this transaction, including the effect on our “ first-line “ and “ second-line” reserves. He also mentioned that the Australian Government had made known to the Fund its willingness to make a further £5.6 million available should a further drawing be requested by India. India made a second drawing yesterday. The drawing amounted to 25 million dollars and included £5.6 million in Australian currency - the same amount as in the earlier drawing. As previously, India is converting the Australian currency into sterling. This second transaction involving Australian currency is therefore similar in all respects to the earlier transactions.
-I have received a message from the Senate acquainting the House that Senator Webster has been appointed a member of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts in the place of Senator Drake-Brockman, who has been discharged from attendance.
Message received from the Senate intimating that it does not insist upon its amendment of this Bill disagreed to by the House of Representatives.
Debate resumed (vide page 1060).
.- It seems rather an anti-climax to be the first speaker in a resumed debate on education after such an historic statement by the Prime Minister of Australia (Sir Robert Menzies) on so serious a matter as the position in Vietnam. His statement has fully awakened us to the responsibility that we have in this Parliament in making decisions to send members of our fighting forces overseas into deadly combat. However, realism dictates that we must go on to talk about the subject that is before the House at this time, namely, the report of the Martin Committee.
Like other speakers, I congratulate the members of the Martin Committee on producing an extremely comprehensive report, full of statistical information which will be very valuable in the field of education - a field which is second in importance only to that of defence at this moment in the history of this country. The Martin report will be extremely valuable over the years to people who have the responsibility to guide education in Australia.
The acceptance of the major recommendations of this report is a further demonstration of the Commonwealth Government’s interest in the field of education, particularly at the tertiary level. I am one of those who strongly support the interest that the Commonwealth has taken in education in Australia. I think everyone would agree that the Government has, over the last few years, demonstrated a much greater interest in education other than at the university level than it has done in the past. That is a good thing. I think the people of Australia approve of the greater Commonwealth interest, both financially and administratively, that has been shown in education over the past few years.
As all honorable members are aware, this report, of which at the moment we have only two volumes - the third volume is to come - covers an enormous field. It seems to me that three major factors are involved. I should like to quote from volume 1, page 171, chapter 6. This chapter contains the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee. The Committee said -
The present systemof tertiary education in Australia places an undue emphasis on university education. As a result, the weakness of nonuniversity tertiary institutions prevents the latent abilities of many young Australians from being fully developed.
The Committee considers that there should be a greater diversity of tertiary educational institutions than is available today, and that this could be achieved by the development of three distinct categories of major tertiary institutions:
Institutes of Colleges.
Boards of Teacher Education.
Dealing with the institutes of colleges, to which I want to devote the main part of my remarks, the Committee went on to say -
The Committee has given careful consideration to the submissions advocating the establishment of university institutions outside the metropolitan areas. While the Committee is convinced that there is no case for the immediate establishment of universities in extra-metropolitan areas, it believes that some tertiary institutions should be developed in the country and that they might become constituent members of the various Institutes of Colleges. The Committee has recommended the development of tertiary colleges at Bathurst, Wagga, Toowoomba, Rockhampton, Ballarat, Geelong and Bendigo. The Committee envisages that diploma courses will be the main concern of the constituent members of the Institutes of Colleges.
I was very interested and pleased to see that agricultural colleges were included in this section.
These new colleges, as the Prime Minister has called them, which will be colleges of technology in the main, will provide for students who, though qualified to attend a university, do not wish to undertake a full university course, or whose chosen course is not considered appropriate for a university, or whose level of passing matriculation indicates a small chance of graduation from a university in the minimum time or minimum time plus one year. These colleges will fill the gap between technical training for apprentices and tradesmen provided by the normal technical colleges and the full university courses in engineering.
The report also recognises the urgent need for technical training at a high level without the requirement of the more academic approach of the courses at a university. There is no question that a vast number of technologists will be required in this era of automation with first rate training in electronics, mechanical engineering and other engineering trades combined, as the Martin Committee’s report recommends, with subjects in the liberal arts. Many subjects also could well be taught to a standard acceptable as units towards a university degree later if required.
One of the most important matters to be stressed in connection with these new colleges of technology -if they can be members of the Institute of Colleges which the State Governments are invited to set up in each State -is the possibility of them being built in country areas.In other words, they would provide for decentralisation of population and of education and also an upgrading of the agricultural college system throughout Australia. The report suggests that a population of 100,000 people in a radius of 50 miles of a town or city could support a technical institute of 1,500 students. There is no doubt that throughout Australia many major country towns have a catchment area of 100,000 people within a 50-mile radius and therefore they are logical sites for technical institutes of the type recommended. I can think of four in my own electorate -Wangaratta, Wodonga, Benalla and Euroa. The courses in such an institute, while providing the normal general courses, would also relate to the practical interests of the area. They would be basically engineering in various forms, but would also include wool technology, technology of the canning industry, agricultural engineering, and courses in conservation of natural resources in the broadest sense.
Last but not least, the provision of facilities for shearing schools could be included. The honorable member for Hume (Mr. Pettitt) covered this subject yesterday in this debate. He has raised it on many occasions previously with skill and persistence. Certainly the Australian Country Party supports the persistent efforts of the honorable member for Hume to gain support for the establishment of shearing schools in Australia.
The establishment of an institute of 1,500 students would probably demand an annual capital expenditure of at least £500,000 and the Commonwealth has offered to provide £1 for £1 for this with the State Governments. Recurring expenditure would probably be about £500,000 a year and here the Commonwealth is offering £1 for every £1.85 from the States. This is the same basis as used for universities and is the result of the report of the Martin Committee. There is no doubt that if a town in a country area were to have such an institute established in it, this expenditure, combined with the expenditure of the students on the services required for them, could revolutionise the economy of a country town.
The second important aspect of the recommendations with which I want to deal is that of tertiary training for primary industries mainly dealing with agriculture, forestry and veterinary services. This recommendation is of particular interest to me. I have taken a keen interest in the provision for training more experts in agriculture and associated spheres as have other members of the Australian Country Party. We realise the importance of such work to Australia and its economy. The aims of agricultural education at the colleges are sometimes quite confused and clouded at present. According to the Martin Committee’s report there does not seem to be a disciplined or organised aim set for the courses at the various agricultural colleges. I feel confident that if the recommendations of the Martin Committee are implemented - and I can mention only a few - we will be getting towards the system that is adopted in the United States of America. That embraces a very successful education system associated with the farm extension cooperative department. In chapter 9, volume IT of the Martin Committee’s report under the heading of “Tertiary Education and the Land Industries “, the Committee presents its conclusions and recommendation”?. I cannot cover them all in detail but there are seven or eight points to which I wish to refer. The Committee stated -
Colleges in its State. The Institute would then be responsible for the maintenance of standards.
That means they should have that knowledge before they undertake these courses. In other words, the Committee is saying that it believes a number of people who take up courses in agricultural colleges attempt to do subjects that are too difficult for them at the start. It would be better if they concentrated on a different set of subjects for the first two or three years at the beginning of their course and went into more complicated subjects towards the end of the course. In its conclusions and recommendations, the Martin Committee then makes this reference to farm management -
Farm management requires practical experience and training in this - should be available at the post-graduate level.
In other words, the Committee has said that there is rather too much concentration on farm management and farm procedures in the agricultural colleges whereas this should be the subject of post-graduate study. I was interested in the reference in the conclusions and recommendations to textile technology. The report states -
No specific recommendation is made regarding textile training. The number of students taking advanced courses in textile technology is small. These courses should be valuable for the growing textile industry and are matters for specialist consideration.
The Committee then goes on to discuss the shortage of veterinarians and the important subject of forestry. To sum up my thoughts on the report very briefly, it is very heartening to see the recommendations made by this Committee with regard to the agricultural colleges of Australia. I have felt for a long time that the agricultural colleges could alter their standards of entry and that they could make more practical use of their instructors by altering their curricula in various directions.
A third aspect with which I should like to deal is the appointment of a teacher training board in each State. This board would be divorced from the employing authority - the State Department of Education. The Committee also recommends a three year course and suggests that the teacher training boards may develop into degree giving institutes in the future. There is no question but that there are many reasons other than educational standards why people are unable to attend universities at the present time. Therefore, I agree in principle with the recommendation that teacher training boards should be established. The Commonwealth has indicated that it does not intend to provide funds for the implementation of that part of the Committee’s report, but the level of funds stated by the Committee to be necessary for the establishment of teacher training boards is such that the establishment of such boards, in the first year anyway, is well within the scope of finance of the States. I am confident that with the establishment of teacher training boards on this basis, and a growing demand from them for additional Commonwealth finance, this Government is likely, in the future, to take the same generous view as it has done in the past at the university level and as it is taking now at the tertiary level so Far as technical education is concerned.
There are some other important recommendations wilh regard to other types of colleges in the report. To mention a few, they relate to institutes providing paramedical training for nurses, speech therapists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists, all of which are worthy of consideration. Again I believe that once the technical colleges are properly established the Commonwealth will turn its attention to these fields. I feel that the report is a comprehensive one. I have not had the time to read every word of it, but from what I have read, I would say that this Committee deserves the deepest possible gratitude from the people of Australia.
– We have not got the legislation.
– Obviously all the recommendations cannot be financially or physically handled at once.
– It is naturally the job of the Opposition to criticise the Government for not implementing all the recommendations, but anyone who has any sense of responsibility knows that all these recommendations cannot be handled at once. The decisions of the Commonwealth, as announced by the Prime Minister, who, I am sure, everyone will agree has done more for education than anyone else in the governmental history of Australia, are a significant start towards increasing the technological standards of Australia.
– I claim to have been misrepresented. A material part of the contribution I made earlier in the debate has been misquoted by the Tasmanian Press, and I should like to take this opportunity of setting the record straight. Under the heading “ Education Grants “, the Hobart “ Mercury “, on page 2 contains an article which reads in part -
Attack on Minister by Mr. Gibson.
Only a few Tasmanian colleges had been recommended for interim capital grants under the Martin report on tertiary education, Mr. Gibson (Lib., Tas.) told the House of Representatives last night.
At no stage did 1 suggest that any Tasmanian college had been recommended. Quite the contrary. That was part of the brunt of my attack on the Tasmanian State Minister. What 1 did in fact say and what has been transposed was that only a few Australian colleges had been recommended for an interim government grant. I refer to “Hansard” of 28th April 1965 at page 965, where I am reported as having said -
I would remind Mr. Neilson that throughout Australia only a few colleges were recommended for interim capital grants.
Again, on page 966, I am reported as having said -
The Martin Committee had the opportunity to see the current trend of activity at the Hobart Technical College and at the Launceston Technical College, lt did not see fit to include either of these colleges or any other sub-standard Tasmanian college in its recommendation for an interim grant.
I thought it proper to bring this matter before the notice of the House at this stage because the Tasmanian “ Examiner “ and Tasmania “ Advocate “ have also followed this error. It is a slight error but I would like to have it corrected. I am grateful to the House for the opportunity of doing so.
.- -We on this side of the House believe that the section of the Martin Committee’s recommendations which was not adopted by the
Government is just as important, if not more important in some respects, than that part which has been adopted. We feel that it is a poor way of treating a report which took four years to produce to pick out certain sections for adoption and to reject the others at this stage. We are quite serious in saying that.I refer in particular to that section dealing with teacher training which occupies several pages in the report and which has been completely ignored by the Government. That is one of our greatest criticisms of the Government’s handling of this voluminous report submitted by Sir Leslie Martin and his team. As yet we have received only the first two volumes of the report for discussion. There is still another volume to come. The subject of education is growing more and more important every year. We appreciate the tremendous amount of work put into this report by Sir Leslie Martin and his team, including Mr. Dexter, the Secretary.
We are shocked at the thought that it was several months after this section of the report was completed before we received it in the House for debate. Perhaps we shall have to have another debate or even several more debates before we have adequately dealt with the report in this Parliament. We have not as yet before us any legislation to implement even that part of the report which has been approved. There is a lot more to be said for and against the report, and for and against the Government in particular for what it proposes to ignore to the detriment of education as a whole.
At this stage I wish to comment on some of the statements that were madelast night by my Tasmanian opposite number, the honorable member for Denison (Mr. Gibson) who took our Tasmanian Minister for Education to task in no uncertain terms.
– It sounded well, too.
– It always sounds well when one is attacking someone. The Press just loves that. To the Press, that is meal and drink. I wonder how much publicity I will get of my refutation of some of the wild and unfair statements made by the honorable member for Denison last night? I shall wait until morning to see what the Press does about that. Of course, everyone sits up when somebody is tearing strips off someone else. It is easy to tear strips off another but it is not so easy to say something constructive about another person. The temptation is always to tear them to pieces because one knows one will get more publicity in next morning’s Press. The Tasmanian Minister for Education is ill. I was not able to get in touch with him.
– Do you suggest I made him ill?
– No. He was ill before you made your speech, but he is probably now worse if he heard it. I was able to get in touch with the Deputy Director of the Department of Education in Tasmania. I want to refute the inference to be drawn from the honorable member’s speech last night that Tasmania treated this Martin Committee very offhandedly. This could not have happened because the Committee did not come to Tasmania. Tasmania was the only State which the Committee failed to visit. I point out here that Sir Leslie Martin himself invited the Tasmanian Director of Education to visit Melbourne. They spent the whole day together discussing details of the Tasmanian problems and the Tasmanian request. Tasmania was willing and most anxious to supply any information to the Martin Committee, but members of the Committee would not come to the State. We could not force them to come to Tasmania. They decided against coming over. I think that was a very bad move. It was a bit of discrimination against our State for this important Committee to wipe Tasmania off its schedule. Perhaps it was because the Committee did not want to cross the water or because Tasmania is too small a State to worry about.
– There was not one Tasmanian on the Committee.
– No, there was not one Tasmanian on the 17 man Committee which inquired into tertiary education. I am always fighting for Tasmania in this Parliament. We have to keep talking about our State or the Government will forget that there is an island down there.
The Education Department in Tasmania filled in an extensive questionnaire for this Committee. Yet, the honorable member for Denison gave the House the impression last night that Tasmania did nothing much about this inquiry simply because the Committee would not come to our State. In other words, he suggested that Tasmania sulked. It did nothing of the kind. Tasmania co-operated right up to the hilt. It gave the Martin inquiry all that it asked for, short of the inquiry coming to Tasmania. The Hobart Technical College made a statement of its needs to the Martin Committee. The Education Department made general submissions, as well as filling in the questionnaire I mentioned, about its needs. So, Sir Leslie Martin and his Committee had the whole story on Tasmania before them.
At page 965 of “Hansard” of 28th April 1965, the honorable member for Denison criticised a statement made by the Minister for Education in Tasmania, Mr. Neilson. He quoted Mr. Neilson as saying -
The honorable member for Denison went on to say that Mr. Neilson had quoted a larger number, 7,587, as representing Tasmania’s technical education force. He said that, in fact, the Minister missed the diploma courses which could not be included in the tertiary education aspect of the Martin report and that diploma courses totalled 947. Then he took the number of 947 to pieces bit by bit and he came down to the figures on page 163 of the report where it says that there are only 24 students doing full time courses in pharmacy and 1 1 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 honorable member for Denison went on to say -
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.
The honorable member continued -
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.
All sorts of interpretations can be put on a table in a document such as the one we have before us. Page 163 does set out the figures that the honorable member for Denison mentioned. But for the honorable member to say that the Tasmanian Minister for Education is misleading the Tasmanian people because he quotes the total number of students rather than the diploma figure is quite wrong. The Minister was not misleading them. What is more, he studied this report. I have evidence in a long letter that he has written to the honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant).
– The Minister does not say that in his Press statement.
– The Press statement may not be his full statement. Our statements get chopped to pieces quite a bit in the Press.
– The honorable member for Denison has just been complaining about a Press statement himself.
– Yes. The honorable member has just complained that his speech last night was not truthfully reported this morning. So, the Tasmanian Minister could have the same trouble.
Page 162 of the report of this Committee deals with Tasmania. I cannot understand the honorable member for Denison saying that only pharmacy and technical teacher training come within the scope of technical training. Table 105 of the report sets out the enrolments in diploma courses in technical colleges in Tasmania in 1963. There we find Accountancy, Architecture, Art, Art Teachers, Building, Chemistry, Engineering, Management, Metallurgy, Pharmacy and Technical Teacher. The honorable member for Denison picks out Pharmacy and Technical Teacher courses but there are others mentioned in this section that come within the range of the Martin report. This information was given to the inquiry about two years ago. The Deputy Director of Education in Tasmania told me today that the number of diploma students in Tasmanian technical colleges has increased considerably in the last two years. Also, diploma salaries were raised last year by the Public Service Tribunal. So, the picture is a lot better than that that was given by the honorable member for Denison last night.
There are so many different sections in education that one could be quite confused with all the different shades of meaning in this report. For the layman the language of the report is very confusing. The Minister for Education in Tasmania had no intention of misleading the Tasmanian public because he is a good and able Minister for Education. The honorable member for Denison attacked the Tasmanian Minister for Education at page 967 of “ Hansard “ where he said -
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.
That is a scandalous attack on one of the ablest Ministers of Education in Australia. Mr. Neilson is the youngest Minister for Education in this country. He was the youngest Whip ever to be elected in any Parliament. He is only in his early thirties now. The Honorable Bill Neilson is one of Tasmania’s most active, energetic and able Ministers. Most people have a tremendous regard for his activity and energy. He is the first Minister for Education in Tasmania who has visited all our schools personally to see how they are getting along. That is a big programme to undertake. The assessment of our Minister by the honorable member for Denison was most unjust, unfair and completely inaccurate. I doubt whether anybody else apart from the most rabid Liberal would agree with the honorable member in that shocking assessment of an able Minister. Mr. Neilson definitely read this report. I have evidence that he advocated studying (his report in a letter dated 9th April 1965 which he sent to the honorable member for Wills who asked him for his comments on the Martin report. The Opposition has an education committee of which the honorable member for Wills is secretary and the honorable member for Barton (Mr. Reynolds) is chairman. In this letter of 2,000 words - I want to emphasise that, 2,000 words - plus a table at the back, the Tasmanian Minister for Education gives absolute evidence to anybody that he has thoroughly understood the report and thoroughly absorbed it.
In this letter, the Minister deals with the main points that were left out of the Martin Committee report, particularly the training of teachers in Australia. He quotes various pages and sections of the report in detail and then comments on them. I have not time to read the letter in full, but I. hoped
I could have it incorporated in “ Hansard “ because it is so good and it is such a thorough analysis of the report. The letter shows that the honorable member for Denison was wide of the mark last night when he accused the Tasmanian Minister for Education of having a cursory look at the report only. Here is an interesting reference in the letter -
The whole emphasis of the Committee’s recommendation is precisely that State action alone cannot meet the present and future need in the preparation of teachers. If one examines figures in the Martin Committee’s Report, Table 12 shows that University enrolments between 1947 and 1962 have risen from 30,476 to 63,317; Technical College enrolments from 23,002 to 57,030 and Teachers College enrolments from 1,158 to 14,103, thus University increase shared by the Commonwealth and States has been in the order of 24 times; the Technical College increase … 2.5 times but the increase for Teachers Colleges for which the Commonwealth has assumed no responsibility whatsoever and presumably does not intend to do so has increased by 12.2 times.
That emphasises that one very vital part of the report has been ignored by the Government. The Committee recommended many changes which would assist in the training of our teachers.
– The Government was frightened so it left everything to the States.
– That is probably so. The Prime Minister, if it suits him, will give money quite freely for university education but everything below that level he claims to be a State responsibility. The Martin Committee’s report made it quite clear that the State Governments cannot handle the training of teachers on their own and it recommended that the Commonwealth enter the field. That recommendation has been rejected by this Government.
I want to refer to another interesting point in the letter sent by the Tasmanian Minister for Education to the honorable member for Wills. The Minister said -
This highlights the comment of the Martin Report “ The Committee deplores the view that a University is the only place in which young mcn and women can get a worthwhile form of education; for many students, other types of tertiary education may be more desirable and more rewarding “. And again (The Committee) “ doubts whether the customary undergraduate courses in the faculties of Arts, Science, Economics or Commerce are in all cases the most suitable element in a pattern of education for secondary school teachers “.
Interestingly enough, the honorable member for Denison also criticised the references to the part time students doing the diploma courses in Tasmania and, indeed, in all States. But when we consider that the Prime Minister himself, in his speech on 24th March when he tabled the report, stressed part time courses, we have no need to be ashamed of the fact that many thousands of people are doing such courses. At page 268 of “ Hansard “ the Prime Minister is reported as follows -
These scholarships are recommended by the
Committee to be available to students for full time study only but the Government does not accept this recommendation.
Here is one case in which the Government is, in the opinion of the Opposition, doing the right thing. The Prime Minister continued -
We believe there may well be many valid personal reasons why a student chooses to do a part time course, and that no student who does wish to do such a course, and who has earned a Commonwealth Scholarship, should have his preference subject to a veto. Furthermore, the new Institutes of Colleges . . . and the industrial leaders with whom they will no doubt confer, may desire to include part time courses as part of their curricula, and in some States considerable emphasis may be placed on part time as distinct from full time courses. If this happens students should not be prevented from winning a scholarship to take up such courses. Our scholarships for tertiary education will therefore in the future, as in the past, be available for either full time or part time study as the scholarship winner chooses.
That is very interesting and we are glad that the Government is giving this recognition to part-time students. The Minister for Education in Tasmania referred to this section of the report in his letter to the honorable member for Wills. He said -
I feel that the Prime Minister is quite right in saying that there are many reasons for not discouraging the part time undergraduate and also that part time courses and external studies have a valuable part to play in providing refresher courses for graduates or non-graduates whether such people are seeking to obtain a Degree from such part time study or merely to master a subject.
Obviously the Prime Minister acknowledges the need for them and encourages the States to cater for part-time students. Clearly, anyone but a crank in education would agree that a percentage of part-time students is not necessarily a danger to diploma standards. There are sections of industry in all States which welcome the part-time provisions. The Opposition is grateful for the Prime Minister’s support and we are glad that scholarships are to be made available to part-time students.
Commonwealth teachers college scholarships were proposed by the Martin Committee. It suggested that 10 per cent, of places in teachers’ colleges should be allocated to Commonwealth scholarship holders. The special point about these scholarships was that the winners be unbonded just as is the case with university scholarships. These young teachers would be free to teach in any kind of school once they finished their courses. This scheme would be an excellent way of helping to provide properly trained teachers for all our schools, including private schools, yet so far as we know the Government is not accepting this proposition from the Committee. In fact it is rejecting the proposal. When honorable members consider the Martin Report in a fair manner they will see that the Government has made some serious rejections although it has accepted some good points. In conclusion 1 would like to say-
– Order! the honorable member’s time has expired.
– Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a personal explanation. The honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) misrepresented me on three separate counts. First, he said that 1 suggested that the Department of Education in Tasmania treated the Martin Committee lackadaisically. At no stage in my speech did I suggest that. What I said was - and it appears at page 967 of “ Hansard “-
Due to lethargy, indolence and a disregard of the needs of the Tasmanian people, the Slate 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 to be given an equal opportunity along with other States.
The second point is that the honorable member, intentionally or unintentionally, again misrepresented me in that he suggested that in my speech I said that the Minister for Education had sulked. At no stage did I suggest that. What I did say appears at page 967 of “ Hansard “. Referring to the West Australian education probe plan, 1 said -
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-
– I raise a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is this really a personal explanation?
– The honorable member for Denison sought an opportunity to correct certain misrepresentations. He cannot enter into further debate. He may only show where he was misrepresented.
– The third point on which I claim to have been misrepresented is that the honorable member for Wilmot suggested that I had criticised the part time aspect of the Tasmanian technical colleges and, indeed, the part time aspect of the entire educational set-up in Australia. Let me correct him first on the suggestion that I enlarged my remarks to include the whole of Australia. At no stage did I do that. 1 referred to Table 105 at page 163 of the Martin Committee report to distinguish between part time and full time diploma course students in technical colleges in Tasmania and pointed out - I thought adequately - that only 35 were full-time and that, therefore, this did not even reach the criterion-
– Order! I think that the honorable member has had his opportunity.
.- At the outset I would like to congratulate warmly the new member for Robertson (Mr. Bridges-Maxwell) on his excellent maiden speech. I think that his fine contribution to the debate showed considerable thought and sound preparation of the subject. 1 only hope that honorable members will hear much more from him in the future; I propose to enter into this debate in order to refer to the comments made by the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) in relation to what was said by the honorable member for Denison (Mr. Gibson). I am really only concerned with the Martin Committee’s report as it affects Tasmania. Shortly after the report was published the Tasmanian Minister for Education indulged in quite an hysterical outburst in the local Press. My colleague, the honorable member for Wilmot went through the great mental contortion of forgetting that during the course of this outburst the Minister made quite a substantial attack upon the honorable member for Denison and, out of the kindness of his heart, included me also. The honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) complained that the honorable member for Denison (Mr. Gibson) - who in fact gave a calm and cool appreciation of the whole situation - had indulged in attacking the Minister for Education in Tasmania. I submit that the provocation - if any - came through a quite unwarranted attack by the Minister for Education in Tasmania upon the honorable member for Denison. I submit that it was clearly proved that the Minister had not read the report with any real appreciation and had completely failed to understand its nature as an interim report. He has totally misrepresented “the position in regard to technical education. 1 propose to demonstrate this, as did the honorable member for Denison, who carefully analysed the figures. Let me state just what the Minister for Education in Tasmania said, according to a Press report which he has not denied. He said that-
Notwithstanding the fact that 7,500 technical college students were seeking something belter 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 States recognised for interim capital grants to colleges for 1965 and 1966.
I want to point out again that at page 162, under the heading “Tasmania “, the Martin report states -
Total enrolments in 1963 were 7,587, comprising 5,564 males, 2,023 females. Diploma courses accounted for 947.
I emphasise the figure 947 in regard to diploma courses, because it is diploma courses with which we are concerned in tertiary education. As I said, the Minister for Education in Tasmania used the large figure, 7,500. To make the position quite clear I repeat once more that this report deals with tertiary education. Table 105 on page 163 of the Martin report deals with diploma courses in technical colleges in Tasmania in 1963. The source of the information is given as the Tasmanian Department of Education. There are, as the honorable member for Denison correctly pointed out. only 24 full time pharmacy students and only 1 1 technical teacher trainees. So there is a total of only 35 who come under the definition of “ diploma courses “ and under the definition of “ full time trainees “. Of the 805 remainder, who are in part time training, there are 63 in the art course and 36 in the art teachers course. I again repeat that it must be clear that the definition is “ diploma courses “ and, further, “ full time courses “. The Minister’s complaint, so loudly taken up by certain newspapers in Tasmania, was so far off the beam that I think worth repeating to the House an answer to a question given by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) to the honorable member for Denison. This is substantially what the Prime Minister said -
The Commonwealth has not discriminated against Tasmania-
This was the Tasmanian Minister’s claim - in any way in its grants for technical colleges.
Technical colleges were the bone of the Minister’s contention -
Tasmania is receiving equal treatment with the other States in the grants for technical facilities in schools which were announced at the 1963 election and were subsequently given legislative form. During this financial year, under this scheme the Commonwealth has paid to Tasmania £167,100 towards the total construction programme estimated by the State to cost £285,000.
That is, £167,100 out of a total of £285,000.
The Prime Minister continued -
I do not know how much of this money has actually been spent, but clearly the Commonwealth has more than matched what the State itself is doing in the way of capital facilities in technical colleges this year. The Commonwealth will provide the same amount of money for this purpose in each of the next two financial years.
I completely fail to understand how the Minister for Education in Tasmania can claim that his State has been discriminated against. The Prime Minister finished by saying -
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. However, it is true that no Tasmanian technical college was included in the list of colleges recommended by the Martin Committee on the Future of Tertiary Education in Australia for interim-
I repeat the word “ interim “ - capital grants during 1965 and 1966. Presumably the Commitee 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.
I wish to emphasise also the point put by the honorable member for Denison - of which I was well aware too - that inertia is certainly the case in Tasmania. But in regard to Western Australia, where we have a Liberal Government, the “ Australian “ on 27th March under the heading “ W.A. Education Probe Plan “ said -
The West Australian Premier, Mr. Brand, said today the Government intended to set up a top level committee to inquire into tertiary education.
I am prepared most decidedly to concede that the officers of the Tasmanian Minister’s Department have not been idle by any manner of means, but in the course of the statement made to the Press after the Committee’s report was released, the Minister made great protestations about the urgency of this matter. He said he would fly to Canberra immediately to discuss the matter with the Prime Minister and, I assume, with Senator Gorton, as Minister assisting the Prime Minister in education matters. It is now over one month later and the Minister has not, as yet, left Tasmania. Quite frankly, I think that the Tasmanian Minister is playing a very poor game of party politics over a matter of immense importance to every Australian and, in particular, to every future Australian. For the honorable member for Wilmot to hit at the honorable member for Denison because he retaliated in quite a calm manner - and gave figures to prove his case - as the result of an unjustified attack by the Minister for Education in Tasmania, is a fine example of mental gymnastics by the honorable member for Wilmot. Honorable members who have studied this matter know that certain leading members of the education community in Tasmania have been extremely interested in this report and I at once say that the Director of Education in that State has been interested also, as is proven in a statement reported in the Hobart “Mercury” on the 2nd of this month. In an article in that newspaper appears the following -
Mr. Neilson said that the Committee had confined its inquiries about Tasmania to obtaining comprehensive and accurate details of expenditure on technical and teacher education.
This information had been given in written answers to questionnaires from the Committee and through the Director of Education (Mr. V. R. Long) visiting Victoria.
So the Minister cannot blame the head of his Department I was very interested to read that the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Tasmania, Professor Isles, was not surprised - recognising that the report was an interim report - that there was no direct financial assistance to the University, as there was to several of the new emerging universities in other States on the mainland. After all, the University of Tasmania was begun in 1890 or thereabouts. Similar comments were made by Mr. Justice Crisp as Chairman of the State Library Board in Tasmania. All in all, Sir, on this whole matter, I simply repeat that in my opinion the Minister for Education in Tasmania made a most unwarranted attack, little knowing what he was talking about and, in the result, rather made a fool of himself.
I now want to make one or two further comments on the report of the Martin Committee. Before doing that, I say that we have seen a most impressive acceptance by this Government of financial responsibility in the field of tertiary education, in which the present Government, ever since 1949, has been the real pioneer. I believe that the report before us is so important as to warrant my restating for all those who are interested precisely what the Committee’s recommendations were and what action the Government proposes to take. The Committee has recommended that the number of Commonwealth university open entrance scholarships be increased at intervals in accordance with movements in the number of candidates successful at university examinations, the standard to be not lower than that applying at the end of 1963. What does the Government propose to do about this recommendation, Sir? It will increase by 1,000, to 6,000 the number of new awards to be made in 1966, and will review the number of scholarships periodically.
The Committee recommended that all full time university students who successfully complete their first year at the first attempt receive Commonwealth scholarships. The Government will increase the total number of these later year awards by 250 to 1,530 in 1966, and it will continue to keep the number under review. The Committee recommended that 2,500 scholarships be awarded to students who pursue full time courses at technical col leges. The Government will award up to 1,000 of these technical scholarships in 1966. The benefits applying under the terms of these scholarships will be the same as those for Commonwealth university scholarships. There will be no additional allowances. The Martin Committee recommended that all Commonwealth tertiary scholarships be available for full time students only. The Government, however, intends that these scholarships shall continue to be available for part time as well as full time study. The Committee recommended that the benefits available to the holders of Commonwealth scholarships be kept under constant review and that a textbook allowance be considered. The Government will continue to review benefits regularly and will consult with the ViceChancellors of the universities about the best means of ensuring that books and essential equipment are available to students who hold Commonwealth scholarships as well as about immediate grants to universities, these being of substantial importance to the universities themselves.
The Government accepts the Committee’s recommendation that it provide half of the following interim capital grants to universities during 1965 and 1966: Macquarie University, £1 million; third university in Victoria, £750,000; University of Adelaide at Bedford Park, £400,000; University of Queensland for works for the Townsville University College on the Ross River site, £100,000; Newcastle University for works on the Shortland site, £100,000; and a second university institution in Brisbane, £100,000. That is a total of £2,450,000. The Martin Committee made many more recommendations, the vast majority of which have been accepted by the Government and will be implemented by it.
I conclude, Mr. Speaker, by saying, as I said earlier, that in my opinion this Government has shown the way as a pioneer in tertiary education. I hope that future generations will never forget what the present Government has done in this field. In its efforts in tertiary education, this Administration should have the support of every member of this House, because it is aiming at the objective of raising the level of tertiary education and extending greater opportunities to the individual by making tertiary education more easily accessible to him. For this reason, the report of the Martin Committee must commend itself to the House.
.- Mr. Speaker, earlier in the debate, the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) and subsequently a number of speakers from the ranks of the Australian Country Party dwelt on the responsibilities of the States in implementing parts of the Martin Committee’s report, particularly those parts which the Commonwealth does not intend to implement. When the honorable member for Moreton was discussing the fact that, in Australia, power is decentralised between the Commonwealth and the States, and was stressing that there were State responsibilities, I interjected to point out that there was in fact in Australia today a condition of centralised finance and decentralised power. No-one can make recommendations for expenditure on education by the States and expect their implementation unless the Commonwealth is prepared to grant the funds required. This applies to all the recommendations of the Martin Committee on teacher training. If a State decides to lift to what is virtually university level the standard of teachers colleges and have teaching degrees conferred by autonomous teachers colleges, that State will be involved in heavy additional expenditure. The Commonwealth can veto such a proposal at any time simply by declining to grant to the State the additional money required. I do not say that the Commonwealth will do this, but I do say that it is quite unreal to talk about education being a State responsibility. If education were a State responsibility, there would be no Martin Committee report.
The Commonwealth is increasingly involved in education simply because it is increasingly dominant in finance. Deploring this tendency to centralisation in finance is of no use. As the threat of world conflict grows and defence expenditure rises, power will gravitate increasingly to the government that is responsible for Australia’s national security - the Commonwealth Government. In 1939, the Federal Government was completely insignificant in the economy of Australia. Its Budget now absolutely dominates the Australian economy. The statement made this evening by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) concerning South East Asia and Australia’s involvement there necessarily means that greater power will gravitate to the Commonwealth. This, in turn, means greater centralisation of finance and a shrinking sphere of State authority. State rights will always shrink before national needs. That is the lesson of the last 25 years.
The second fallacy that seemed to me to underlie the reasoning of the honorable member for Moreton and certain Country Party speakers who followed him is contained in the suggestion that if the States are left to make the decisions in education there will be a decentralisation of educational facilities. That there has been a very extensive decentralisation of educational facilities in Australia has been due entirely to centralisation of financial power in the Commonwealth Government. If Western Australia established at Albany, Geraldton or Bunbury a university college affiliated with the University of Western Australia, this will be done as a result of a decision by the Commonwealth Government, not by the State Government. The spreading and decentralisation of educational facilities in Australia will take place only as a result of Commonwealth decisions. To suggest that before the Commonwealth became completely dominant in finance the States were running some marvellous decentralised system of education is simply to state a historical fallacy. They were not doing this. Education advances in proportion to the Commonwealth’s interest in it and for no other reason. All we can say about these arguments that certain State Governments have good educational policies and that certain others have poor educational policies is that the policies of all the States depend on finance, and all have pressed for more funds, but no State Minister for Education has been satisfied with what he has received. I do not attack the Commonwealth about this. In a condition of centralised finance and decentralised power it is very hard to assign responsibility to anybody for the situation which exists.
– The States press for money for roads and everything else.
– That is right. Any advice tendered to the Commonwealth Government on the future of university and tertiary education in Australia must give a clear lead on five problems. The first is the question of free university education and in this respect the Martin report is profoundly disappointing. I went to a free university - the University of Western Australia. It has been forced by Commonwealth policy to cease to be a free university and to charge exactly the same level of fees as is charged by other universities. I personally regret the change. I know that the Hackett endowments in an era of inflation no longer have anything like the meaning they had in 1939, but a free university in Western Australia was a very important institution. The fact that there was very little change was a very important principle.
– Why does the honorable member think that free they are necessarily a good thing?
– For the reasons that the Martin report hints at but fails to clinch. It contains a section on the socio-economic significance of a student’s position; on the socio-economic factors which determine whether a student can attend a university. It points out that there are large numbers of people who cannot afford to go to a university but who have the capacity to do so. I agree with the post-Keynesian economists that the level of education and training in the community is the most important factor in economic advance.
For years we have been complete materialists. We have spoken of investment in machinery and of capital; but the watch I am wearing is a Swiss watch and there is not a single ingredient of it which comes from Switzerland except the human skill which is a product of the Swiss technical education that has made that country dominant in the watch making industry. In the economy of Switzerland, what is the determinant? Is it the investment that has gone into education? Galbraith and other post-Keynesian economists have pointed out that to bring as high a percentage of the population as possible to the highest levels of education and technical training is the most important factor in economic advance. If the group which cannot afford tertiary education can be assisted to attain that education, a much more efficient population will result. A faster social and economic advance will be gained in the country.
Of course, the Martin Committee referred to socio-economic factors. I am looking only at the economic factors. There may he social factors. An example may be that the son of a doctor of medicine wants to be a doctor of medicine; the son of a civil servant may want to be a civil servant. I am aware that there are family predispositions. The children of a labourer may envisage themselves only as labourers, even if some of them have the capacity to go on to higher education. I do not discount that factor, but 1 say that in my opinion the Martin report just leaves this question in mid air.
– Will not the bright ones come through anyway, through scholarships?
– Scholarship holders are a declining percentage of the university population. The second thing I wish to say about scholarships is that the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Chaney), who is at the table, and myself were both teachers at one stage. I think it is an established fact that certain children who obtained scholarships at the age of 11 plus were not those who obtained exhibitions at the leaving standard. Those who obtained exhibitions at the leaving standard - they were the equivalent of scholarships today - were not necessarily those students who did best in university education. Other factors such as studying capacities and perception of the relevance of their studies had an influence on the results obtained. So I do not believe that in a working class family on a basic wage income the only thing that should count is whether one son gets a scholarship. If he does not happen to do so, he does without a university education. If a student comes from a higher social stratum he is not dependent on a scholarship for university education. I do not think that is an adequate form of selection.
I regret that the Martin report seems to get close to the implication about free university education but then edges back from it. In 1962 the total income of the universities in Australia was £50 million. Of that £50 million £4.5 million came from fees, lt is clear that if universities were completely free, in that year it would have cost another £4.5 million. Included in the £4.5 million which came from fees, £1.8 million was paid by the Commonwealth as fees which came from scholarships. So in point of fact out of £50 million the universities received £2.7 million from fees which had no relationship to Commonwealth or special grants.
I do not have available any figures later than 1962, but if £2.7 million was the cost of a free university system in Australia in 1962 when the total universities’ income was £50 million, I ask: Why should not the Commonwealth give that £2.7 million and have a totally free university system of education? The answer is because of growth, of course. In determining who can enter universities and who cannot, the factor of parental income ought not to be a criterion.
The second aspect which I think is a tragedy seems to me definitely to relate to Sir Leslie Martin’s thinking. I refer to his total failure to discuss liberal arts colleges and his persistent movement towards the American idea of junior colleges. The Australian Universities Commission is a very interesting body. If is the Commonwealth’s expert body. The Commonwealth looks at its recommendations and says: “ This is expert university advice “. The universities look at the Australian Universities Commission and say: “ It gives constant political advice “. That is to say, over a long period of time, with one Prime Minister in office for 15 or 16 years a relationship has developed whereby commissions that have to advise him know his thinking. The situation is comparable to that in South Australia where, after Sir Thomas Playford had been Premier for 26 years, no advice was tendered to him that would make Sir Thomas titter. In Australia no advice is tendered to the Prime Minister that would make Sir Robert raise his eyebrows.
– That is not fair.
– It is fair in this respect: The universities have a unanimous feeling that the Universities Commission interposes a veto before the Cabinet does. They say: “ Oh no. You will never get away with this, old boy. We know them.” They feel that the Universities Commission should make its statements for optimum education and not trim its sails to what it considers is the constant prevailing wind in Canberra. I cannot prove that. I merely say this is a feeling among the universities.
– The honorable member is suggesting it is suborned.
– I am not suggesting it is suborned. People are forced into political realism and if you have one prevailing philosophy always emanating from the Commonwealth Government which just wipes off free universities, then it does not go into this report. If you have them seizing at some idea for the establishment of junior colleges, then in it goes into this report.
The disastrous nature of their advice on junior colleges seems to me to be that they look at the wrong American examples. In the United States of America there is a form of university which I believe is highly desirable in this country. Such a university is Dartmouth College. At that university a 4-year course is given to the bachelor’s degree. It does not intrude into the superstructure of post-graduate education, which is so expensive. It gives the first degree. It is not a junior college. Its degrees are highly respected and are internationally recognised. It does not attempt to develop all the faculties so it is not called a university, but it would have arts, economics, commerce, science and probably law. This is a highly effective type of university without developing all the faculties. The second expediency in Australia which is better than the junior colleges is the idea of affiliated colleges. I cannot see why if the University of New Zealand has part of the university in Otago and part of it at Wellington - I know that they have now broken up into separate universities - the same could not be done with the University of Western Australia with full university colleges at Albany, Bunbury and Geraldton. This seems to me to be more desirable than what the Martin Report seems to get near to in relation to education in country areas.
But I do feel that the model we should look at is the liberal arts college of the Dartmouth type. A very careful study of community colleges, that is, junior colleges of the United States, has been made by Margaret Gillett and published in the June 1962 edition of “Vestes”. In her report she said -
The attitudes of other institutions of higher learning towards the community colleges range from the wholehearted endorsement, through tolerance, to contempt. Generally, small liberal arts colleges which tend to consider their fouryear programme as a single unit, and the elite colleges of the East, are not well disposed towards receiving transfer students in their third year.
The Martin report lacks clarity in this respect. We do not know whether the Committee favours a kind of secondary top or whether it conceives this as a filter into the universities where the student does the first couple of years in a junior college. If it is desirable that there should be a diploma or associate degree after two years of tertiary education, it would be better in the liberal arts college or in the universities after two years to grant a diploma than to create a separate sort of tertiary education which will inevitably be regarded as inferior. We feel that this would prevent the development of the liberal arts colleges, would prevent the development of adult education with national backing as it should be developed here, would be regarded as a substitute for reforming the secondary education through which most of our children go, and would inevitably be used to undermine the principle that those students who matriculate can go on to a full university course, if on somebody’s decision they can be steered off to a junior college.
The question of a nationally accepted teaching certificate is urgent. One of the most surprising omissions in this, considering that there is one Minister in the Cabinet who has strongly campaigned for it, is the omission to point out that the Commonwealth has a responsibility for teacher training. The Commonwealth has more children of school age in Papua and New Guinea than the number of children of that age in Victoria. There ought to be a teachers’ college in Canberra where the Commonwealth takes responsibility for training teachers for the Commonwealth territories. It is. quite tragic when one goes to Papua and New Guinea to see the dependence on teachers seconded from State schools. The teachers go up there for a couple of years. They just find their feet in the very special problems of teaching children in a language in which the children do not think. That is to say, they are teaching in English children who have various other languages and they have to go through special procedures whereby they can start switching the child towards thinking in English - dramatised forms of sentence structure and so on. Just when they have the hang of teaching in this way, back they go to the States.
The Minister challenged me to go and see education in Papua and New Guinea, which I did a couple of years ago. lt was very obvious to me, as a teacher, that Christian Brothers, Marist Brothers and Lutheran mission schools - I am speaking about the good mission schools which had been there for 14 or 15 years - were providing a much better type of education than some of the Administration schools which were getting more money but which were dependent upon seconded teachers who had not had a chance to find their feet. The Commonwealth has no right to be filching from State education departments teachers for Papua and New Guinea. It should have a teachers’ institution in the Australian Capital Territory and should train its own teachers for the very vital services of the Commonwealth.
.- I congratulate the Martin Committee for producing an excellent report. I congratulate the Government even more for its enlightened approach to the report. First, I should like to refer to the remarks made by the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) in the earlier part of his speech. He showed clouded reasoning in the matter of the authority of the States in the field of education. Admittedly the Federal Government has a great deal of responsibility from the financial point of view, but there is still absolute autonomy in the States in respect of their own educational systems. 1 believe that the Commonwealth Government is simply holding its hand until it sees whether the States are going to accept the Martin report, and I believe that if they show, a willingness to adopt the recommendations of the report the Federal Government will then take appropriate action. After all, there is no finality so far as this Government is concerned.
The Opposition naturally sees it as its duty to oppose, but the amendment made by the Socialist party to the report, and therefore its opposition to the Government’s decision in relation to the report, is completely untenable. That the amendment which was moved by the honorable member for Yarra (Dr. J. F. Cairns) is untenable is obvious from the fact that we have all waited in vain for any closely reasoned arguments from the Opposition in support of the amendment. Even the mover, the honorable member for Yarra, simply enunciated his amendment and, instead of debating it, drew out his blunt old ideological sword and began hacking away at an illusory enemy in the prosecution of an entirely imaginary class war. If it would not have savoured of a chauvinistic chivalry which would have been entirely distasteful to the honorable member, I would have put him on a horse like Don Quixote, and possibly like the honorable member forChisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes), tilting at windmills. As it is, the vast majority of the people of our country now realise that class war in Australia is a thing of the past and those who attempt to keep it alive simply do so because of a vested interest in sectionalism.
The people know that sectionalism can only be harmful to Australia - probably more so than at any other time in her history. Fortunately, sectionalism is dying, and the sooner it dies the better. The honorable member for Yarra said -
There isan enormous reservoir of untapped ability amongst the sons and daughters of those fathers whose socio-economic position-
That has lately become a favourite phrase with the honorable member - handicaps those sons and daughters as severely as … a physical or mental handicap would do.
Then the honorable member referred to social standards which are long long out of date prevailing in this country. I particularly take exception to this latter remark and I challenge the honorable member for Yarra successfully to demonstrate a country with a more up to date social system than our own, a more dynamic one or a freer or better one. I hope that he is still not naive enough to believe that the society in his spiritual fatherland - Russia - has a better, a more egalitarian, or a more up to date structure. What the Martin report says is that we must provide for those with the inclination and capacity. The report says that many able boys and girls do not complete their secondary education and I freely grant that financial difficulties could be a factor here. If they are, I certainly deplore it and I shall associate myself actively with any really constructive plan to eliminate this as a cause. But one can only guess at present as no survey has been made to demonstrate whether or not this is so and, if it is, what is the magnitude of the problem. What is certain is that increasing wages and improving working conditions minimise incentives to higher education. In many cases, too, as the honorable member for Fremantle has said, the decision as to one’s occupation in life is frequently an emotional one and the child often follows, broadly, in his father’s footsteps. Moreover, academic work is exacting and, in the short term, unrewarding.
This conflict certainly is not new. Indeed, it was expressed more than 300 years ago by Milton when he bad the shepherd in “ Lycidas “ ask whether academic work was, in fact, worth while:
Alas, what boots it with uncessant care
To tend the homely slighted, shepherd’s trade,
And strictly meditate the thankless Muse?
Were it not better done, as others use.
To sport with Amaryllis in the shade.
Or with the tangles of Neaera’s hair.
There are two other points in the speech of the honorable member for Yarra to which I wish to refer. The first concerns automation. I agree entirely that further education is urgently needed to help fit people for the advent of automation. But we certainly part company here, for the honorable member speaks of “ those few who areleft to work the machines “. What a narrow, conservative imagination he must have. Almost certainly there will be more and more machines producing an exciting range of consumer goods which will make our standards of living unimaginably higher. The Socialists are worried about automation, because of their inherent conservatism and the out of date and restricted range of their thought. The progressives - that is, the liberals - are vastly excited by the prospect. There will certainly be difficulties and problems of readjustment, but the eventual outcome will be to the great material advantage of all.
Automation demands education, partly because of the greater training that is needed to work the more complex machines, but mainly because of the political and spiritual dangers that are inherent in this impending revolution. We must be able to use increased leisure to our own betterment and not to our downfall. Above all, we must preserve our perspectives and our spiritual values, which we must remember are absolute. They must be maintained and defended against the inevitable onslaught of the technocrats. Government by computer and rule by the technologist are a very real threat to mankind.
The honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Malcolm Fraser) eloquently put the case for a more vital approach to the humanities, which must be cultivated at all costs if our friends and servants, the technologists, are not to become, perhaps unwittingly, our terrifying masters. The honorable member said -
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 . . .
He also said -
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 rights of man adequately protected.
– Who said that?
– It was said by the honorable member for Wannon, and it was very well said. If I may return from the sublime -you know, Sir - to the speech of the honorable member for Yarra, the other point he made to which I wish to refer is only a tiny one. He spoke of the honorable member for Denison (Mr. Gibson), then of myself, and then of complacency in high places. The honorable member for Denison and I have discussed this matter. We emphatically deny any complacency and can only believe that the reference to high places concerns room U40, the tiny office far from the madding crowd which we share with two other honorable members and which, admittedly, is high up on the top floor of this building.
Sir, the problem of education is a most absorbing and vital one. I regret that time will not permit me to make further reference to the preceding debate. The Martin report is of great importance and interest, and its recommendations must be studied with respect. Indeed, I am quite sure that a very careful study of it by the Government is the reason for the delay in its publication. I believe that one of the Committee’s early findings should be shouted from the roof tops. At page 1 of the report the Committee said -
The Committee recognises that in certain specialised fields there may be conflict between individual aspirations and community needs. However, it believes that, in general, such eon- flict should be resolved by the operation of supply and demand. Research into future requirements for certain types of training is useful; but the Committee does not believe that the entry of students into various courses should be restricted to forecasts of future needs. This would circumscribe educational opportunity and involve the risk of grave error.
We must preserve a student’s freedom to choose his own course, provided he has first matriculated in that course.
But, Sir, this excellent report has been made by fallible humans and is not an ex cathedra statement as some members opposite choose to believe. It has a tendency to be rather heterogeneous in form, and it is sometimes not at all clear how certain decisions have been reached. On the other hand, unnecessary detail creeps in. For example, at page 54 the following passage appears -
The Committee considers that the proposal of the University of Essex-
Essex! - to exclude the study of Greece and Rome, France and Germany, and to begin instead with the study of Russia . . .
Sir, I think that is a positively ghastly suggestion. To study Russia, which is still a shadowy country and which only a few short centuries ago began, under Western influence, to throw off the darkness which blanketed its diverse peoples who for the most part lived in a savage state of nomadic brigandage, in preference to Greece and Rome, the very fountainhead of our culture, is unthinkable. Let us study Russia and the other countries suggested by all means. It is most important to do so. But let us not study them until we have a proper background from which to do so.
The Committee’s report is fallible, too, and to the possible detriment of my own State of Queensland. For example, at page 34 Queensland, with a population of 1½ million people, is shown as having 11,500 university students. That performance is more than comparable with that of any other State in the Commonwealth. New South Wales, with a population of 4 million people, has 27,750 students and Victoria, with a population of 3 million, has the surprising small number of 14,750 students by comparison. But when the future requirements are projected at page 39 of the report, it is estimated that by 1975 Victoria will more than double its present number of students and New South
Wales will almost double its number, yet Queensland will add only a meagre 4,700 students to the present total of 11,500. Again, the report anticipates that all States will have at least the same number of students enrolled in the new technological schools in their universities as in their universities, except in Queensland, which will have 100 fewer students in those colleges. The people of Queensland deserve an explanation of this obvious inconsistency. - My time has almost gone, but 1 must make the briefest references to a few fundamentals. First, I quote the following passage from the magnificent statement of the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) made in the House on 24th March - . . I wish to emphasise two important points. The first is that the aspects of education discussed in the report are ones for which the States have normal constitutional responsibility. Therefore, while it is necessary for the Commonwealth to determine its attitude and to announce what it, for its part, stands ready to do, it will also be necessary for each State Government, in the knowledge of what the Commonwealth is prepared to do, to decide what it is prepared to do - and for consultation and discussion between the Commonwealth and each State to take place.
The Opposition has conveniently forgotten to take this into account during this discussion, but it helps to explain much of the Government’s attitude to the report. The main responsibility is still with the States and until their attitude is expressed it would be folly to advance too quickly or to distribute too freely the taxpayers’ money which is also sorely needed for the defence of this country and for our liberal social welfare programme. In any case, the report did not suggest the part to be played by the Commonwealth in teacher training, so it cannot be said that this Government has rejected the Martin report in this respect.
I cannot do better at this stage than to quote the honorable member for Evans (Dr. Mackay), who said -
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 foi 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.-
Our Government cannot be expected to grant money freely for teacher training when all students are bonded to their respective State Governments and when their courses are, according to the report, substandard. I do expect that some of the unbonded students in the independent teaching colleges - and this is expressing a personal opinion - will receive some of the 2,000 new scholarships being made available by this Government for non university tertiary students, but until the States do their part for example, by freeing their students of their bonds, by appointing autonomous boards of teacher education and by having more adequate courses, I believe this Government’s attitude is responsible and proper. Once more I congratulate the Prime Minister and the Ministerincharge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research for a brilliant, fair and responsible reaction to the Martin report.
– I should like to join my friend the honorable member for Bowman (Dr. Gibbs) in congratulating the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) and the Minister-in-charge Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research (Senator Gorton) for taking out of what I found to be a rather difficult report to read, those parts which I believe are valuable. I found much in the report to commend. 1 thought that after the years of study by the Martin Committee many worthwhile factors emerged in its report. However, tonight I want to be critical for most of my speech because I want to dwell on one particular subject on which I find myself largely at variance with the Committee’s recommendations. I should like to restrict my remarks to universities in Australia and in particular to the manner iri which they are administered and to their performance in basic contributions to research here. I make it perfectly clear that I believe that the standard of Australian universities is so high as to make every Australian proud and every graduate proud.
The Martin Committee’s charter, which is contained in its report in the form of the reference by the Prime Minister, was as wide as possible. One might even suggest that it was a little too wide. Do not let us forget that the Committee sat and deliberated for almost four years to bring down this report. I should have thought that one of the first things the Committee would have done would have been to ask itself two basic questions. The first is: Are the funds which the universities are receiving now in revenue being spent wisely and well? A moment ago the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) told us that £50 million is being spent annually by the universities on revenue items. The second question is: Is the full capacity of universities, consistent with preserving the high standard which they already have, being utilised? These are the questions I would have asked myself as a businessman and I do not know that this description would necessarily have disqualified me from sitting on the Committee, because among the distinguished members of the Committee were recognised experienced businessmen.
What are the answers to those questions? We know that today hundreds of students who have reached at secondary school the entrance standard demanded by universities and set by the universities themselves, are precluded from entering universities because of an alleged shortage of accommodation and for other reasons within the universities themselves. Would it not have been reasonable for this Committee to have said: “ Before we talk about building new universities or spending more money, is what we are doing now satisfactory?” The recommendations regarding the new types of colleges - halfway houses we might call them - will stimulate further pressure on universities. I have not .the slightest doubt that those late developers among our children - and there are many - having been given a taste of tertiary education at these new colleges will demand the right to go on to degree status in our universities. However, the Committee seems to have proceeded on the assumption that universities have quotas and cannot accept all those requiring tertiary education, so the simple solution is, first, to grant more money to the universities and, secondly, to relieve the present pressure on them by excluding part time training, This exclusion of part time training is a recommendation I deplore and violently oppose and I am delighted that the Government has thrown it out. Thirdly - and I hope I am not being offensive - the Committee said: “ Because some people cannot get into the universities we will establish as a consolation prize the junior type of college”. I do not disagree with the establishment of these colleges, but I agree with the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Malcolm Fraser) that if these colleges are constituted they must be tied to a specific university so that they can act, as the honorable member for Fremantle said, as a filter into the universities of those who seek university education. If they are to be mere appendages cut off from the university system, I fear that we will have created something of which we will not be proud in the years to come.
I am bold enough to suggest that if the Committee had gone into these matters it would have found, as I have found - I have done much research into this, although not as much as I would have wished for this debate - that the administration of some Australian universities is appalling, and that inefficiency in the use of buildings, staff and facilities is such as to cause nightmares to any self-respecting business man. The Committee might also have found that the capacity and capability of some universities to take more students could, without heavy additional capital expenditure, be greatly increased. I am not criticising individuals, I am not criticising any particular vice chancellor or registrar, but I am criticising the. system.
Let us look at the system. I shall refer to one university, but I am not singling it out as being incompetent. I just refer to it to show how a university is administered, and to show the kind of big business that a university is. I have here a copy of the 1964 Calendar of the Melbourne University. It is the latest one I could get from the Library. It contains the income and expenditure statement for the year 1962 - strangely enough, that is the latest year whose accounts appear in the 1964 Calendar. The university received £U million from the State Government. £li million from the Commonwealth Government and £1.3 million from fees, making a total income of £4.3 million for the year. Presumably the figure will be much greater for 1965. Of that amount, £2.8 million was spent on salaries and £1.5 million on other expenditure, making a total expenditure of £4.3 million for the year. There were 13,000 students enrolled in 15 faculties at the
University. This is big business. This is expenditure of some magnitude.
Who administers it? There are 34 individuals who serve on the Council. They are the arbiters of the affairs of the University, the board of directors as it were. Other universities are in the same position. Of the 34 members, eight are appointed by the Governor, ten by the Convocation, two are co-opted, three are appointed by the professors, one by the teaching staff, two by the students, two from the colleges, and on it goes. I hope I do not offend any of these fine gentlemen who serve on the Council of the University of Melbourne or on any other university council, but looking through the list of 34 people, I counted five of them who are businessmen. These 34 men, including only 5 businessmen, control the income and expenditure of £4.3 million a year. They are engaged in a task of enormous magnitude.
I make the suggestion - 1 am sorry that the Committee did not even touch this particular problem - that I would like to see the university councils replaced by boards of trustees consisting of businessmen who know how to get the most out of every pound that is received by the university and who know how to expend it to the greatest benefit of the students. This concept is not new. This is the practice that is adopted throughout the United States. But all of our universities in Australia have accepted the old British system, which when it was evolved was a fine system of honorary service by people on university councils. If the proposition of appointing boards of trustees is accepted - I am sure that it must be done at some time in the future - it will have to be accepted by every university in Australia, because as soon as you change the administration of one university, which tightens up on laxity and inefficiency, you will certainly have a run of academic and other staff from that university to other universities.
It is the prerogative of State Governments to take more care in this particular field. I fear that State Governments now are concentrating their efforts on primary, secondary and technical education to the exclusion and detriment of university education because of the Commonwealth’s intrusion into the field. If the State Governments do not play a greater part in the administration of universities I think that we, as a Commonwealth Government, should put pressure on them until they do. I am disturbed that a committee which sat for almost four years had virtually nothing to say about this question of administration except one puny paragraph on page 46 of its report where it said that the work of the vice-chancellor should be relieved by the appointment of senior administrative officers. At the risk of walking on what I might call hallowed ground, I am bold enough also to ask: Did the Committee satisfy itself that the academic staffs at universities were contributing their services as assiduously and as conscientiously as they might? This is a question which has bothered me for some time. To what extent did the Committee inquire into the simple and obvious matter of teaching loads on professors at universities? I have done some work on this subject. I will not mention by name the universities concerned, for obvious reasons. I took four of them. At the first I examined, the maximum teaching load of a lecturer is 14 hours a week, but the actual load is about 10 hours a week. At the second university the teaching load was between 9 and 13 hours a week. At the third university it was between 8 and 12 hours a week, and at the fourth it was between 7 and 8 hours a week.
– What about the time spent in preparing for lectures?
– I was about to come to that aspect. Of course there is some preparation in some faculties, but not in all. I know that in respect of many contemporary subjects your lecture this year is not worth anything next year and that you must virtually rewrite your whole lecture, but I assure the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) that there are many subjects in universities - languages for one-
– And divinity.
– Perhaps divinity - in which the curricula do not change. But leaving that matter aside, I often ask myself - perhaps I am not qualified to do so because I do not have the time; I do not have four years in which to do research into this matter - whether the academics at universities in Australia are working hard enough. We should never compare the academic, who has, say, an eight-hour teacher-class contact a week plus his preparation, with a man working a 40-hour week. What professional man in Australia works only 40 hours a week? I do not know of any. I do not know of any member of this House who works less than 40 hours a week. I know that everybody works considerably longer. I ask myself: Why did the Committee not investigate this particular aspect? On page 46 of the report - this disturbs me - the Committee states -
In order to maintain the staff student ratio at the 1963 level, approximately 1,420 new staff will be required between 1964-1967 …
This Committee, which sat for four years, reached a conclusion on a premise it had not even investigated. This, to me, does not seem to be a scientific way of going about it. I should have thought that the first thing the Committee would have done before reaching its conclusion that exactly 1,420 new staff were required was to ask: Is the present ratio satisfactory or could the academics work harder?
On the subject of academics, I must talk about research. I know that here I am treading on hallowed ground and that I will be declared by many academics their enemy for life. We all can be proud of the fine results of research done in Australian universities over the past 10 years in the sciences and in some other fields. We may be extremely proud of those results because they contributed significantly to world research, but I wonder whether any of us can be proud of the research produced by faculties concerned with the humanities. I wish I had time to develop the excellent theme propounded yesterday by the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Malcolm Fraser) and developed tonight by my friend the honorable member for Bowman (Dr. Gibbs).
There is an abysmal gap in real research in this country in the humanities. Some subjects are crying out for good minds to bear upon them and to come up with some answers. For example, I do not know of a university in Australia that has considered the effect that the extraordinary progress in technology has had on the Australian people - its effect on their religious motivations, their social behaviour and their personal habits. This is a matter which affects every family in the nation. The technological progress through which we have passed and through which we are about to pass is a revolution and a phenomenon that no other century has seen. Nobody has done anything much about it.
One of the greatest problems of the world in my view, which is even greater than the monster of international communism, is the evil of racial or colour prejudice. Has anybody done any work on this? Has anybody sat down on a project, as one expects people to do in the sciences, and asked: What is racial prejudice? Is it a physical thing? Is it a traditional thing? Is it a psychological thing? Has it some Freudian connotation? Is racial prejudice to be with us forever? Is it inevitable? I know that this sort of talk will offend some academics. I know that they say that academics cannot be driven, that they have to sit in their ivory towers and be allowed to pontificate and think beautiful thoughts, and the thoughts will come. This I reject out of hand, because I know that some of the greatest contributions to real and basic research in the world have come from private enterprise companies such as the I.C.I, and Du Pont organisations - one could go on naming them. One knows that in this kind of business if he does not produce he is out of a job.
I should like to see a system evolved whereby university academics would be asked to come up to a barrier system every three or four years before they got promotion of any description or even substantial rises in brackets Qf pay, to meet a board of their fellows and to show that board the results of their previous year’s research. I know that this will be unpopular, but I am persuaded, in the limited knowledge that I have, that very much more could be done by some of the academics of this country than they are doing at the moment.
I have been critical of some aspects of the report. I should have liked to see the Committee investigate the possibility of expanding the accommodation at our universities by simply lengthening the time for which the universities are open. If a university opened at 7 o’clock instead of at 9 o’clock as it does now, and if it functioned through the lunch hour, this would increase the capacity or accommodation of the university by 27 per cent, without one additional penny of capital expenditure, but there is not one mention of this in the report. I do believe that more can be done. I commend the Minister for what he has done. The matters that I have raised are, I believe, fundamental to the future of the children of this country who want a university education. May I end as I began by saying that the principles must be applied universally to every university in the country.
.- Perhaps one of the problems of academics, as the honorable member for Higinbotham (Mr. Chipp) has said, is in the difference in appointments of academics to universities in Commonwealth countries from those in the American world. One of the great problems is that here, once academics are appointed to a university, no matter at what level, the appointments are almost completely permanent, whereas in the United States, for example, appointments of academics to universities are reviewed and renewed yearly. By this means a certain test is placed upon the work which they did during the previous period.
The debate on the Martin report has now proceeded for nearly two days and nights and there has been a fount of almost universal praise for the report. There are certain grave deficiencies in it, I think, and one has to be grateful to the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen), for mentioning earlier in the day the very diffuseness of the report, which is one of its weaknesses. It is perfectly clear that the report has been written by men whom one would class as technocrats. They have concerned themselves with certain technical aspects of education - whether it be engineering, scientific or legal education - in a certain sense law is a technical field - or whether it be medical education, including para-medical education. They have covered this multitude of fields. They have made demand and supply analyses with respect to the various professions, but they have devoted almost no attention to the philosophy of education which ought to be possessed by those people who would undertake technical disciplines. A neglect of that philosophy and a neglect of the departments of philosophy in universities is certainly an extremely grave defect. Other nations have trained very skilled technical men. We have examples of Germany at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries and we have examples of Germany between the two wars. But what was missing in the technical men of that country was a philosophy of life - certain sound general ideas which technical men perhaps need more than anybody else. This just was not forthcoming.
It has been said, of course, that the very analysis in which men are induced to engage in technical learning causes them to make the mistake of believing that when they have broken something down into its constituent parts they have understood what that something is. A philosopher would never make that mistake. But a technical man who makes that mistake does himself and his country a very grave disservice. It has also been pointed out that we could make the corollary that a society in which the conception of education is continually becoming more scientific has a singularly pressing need to do what it can to restore sound general ideas. A neglect of this field of education is, I think, the missing keystone in the Martin report. One could ask whether it was possible for the men who investigated university education here since 1961 to investigate this aspect of education. It certainly was. When one looks at the directions under which they drew up their reports, one finds that it was open to them to investigate this missing keystone of whose existence they seem to have been completely ignorant.
During the debate, Opposition members have become wedded to a few ideas. They have not been worried about setting up a unified system of education in this country. As other honorable members have pointed out, they have become great and grand unificationists in this field, and this is a grave deficiency in the field of education. A central Minister of Education in a completely unified State is a man of immense power - a power which probably nobody else would enjoy. The fact that he has this power can give us grave cause for disquiet. Let me give an example. If in Australia it were intended to adopt many recommendations contained in the Martin report concerning the interests of a central government in teacher training colleges and a multitude of other activities, a Minister of Education in the Commonwealth Parliament would have power that could not be broken down by Ministers of Education in the various State Governments. We should remember that in the situation that is envisaged no brakes are placed on his power. In this situation we could have a man whose moral outlook was this: In the distribution of funds for education, people have not the right to funds for education who teach what is significantly inconsistent with socialism. This has been said, and it has been said by a person who is bent on the unification of this country, of doing away with the brakes on the Commonwealth power which the State Ministers of Education have. In such a situation, the power given to this man would probably frighten the parents of children.
Other nations have centralised their systems of education and they have done so, certainly, to their ultimate detriment. We have the example of Italy under Mussolini in the early ‘twenties. The Minister of Education at that time was a man named Gentile. He had this power of a central Minister of Education. There was no brake on his power, and there were no States as we know them. He said quite clearly -
The Government demands that the school should be inspired with the ideals of Fascism.
This pronouncement by the Minister could not be disputed. It was implemented immediately. We know that for a fact. Another country in which the brake upon central Ministers of Education was done away with was Nazi Germany after 1933. In this case the Minister of Education was a famous Nazi educator named Frick. He stated -
The German school has to form a political man, who in all his deeds and thoughts … is inseparably bound with the history and fate of his State.
This is the kind of danger one courts if one unnecessarily and without due consideration expands the power of a central government in the field of education. We must be very aware of this situation and, I suggest, rather frightened of it.
Other matters in this report have been referred to but it is quite clear that its compilers have been somewhat concerned with the techniques of education. We know that faculties of education in Australian universities are rather infant faculties. In some universities they just do not exist. It has been stated that they turn out only approximately 2 per cent, of the graduates of Australian universities. The criticisms which have been made of this report - some have been made by Professor Bassett in Queensland, and I suggest they were justified criticisms and suggestions - rested on the presumption that when students left the secondary system and went to a university the failure of the secondary system of educa tion became manifest by the mere fact of the great number of failures in the first year at university. We have heard this statement often enough.
The solutions which have been advanced have been financial solutions and administrative solutions concerned with the reorganisation of education itself. But I think that in many ways a lot of the solutions which lie within the hands of the States themselves have not been pursued. It is valid to say, as others have said, that you have to turn out so many more teachers each year; you have a rather large number of children per teacher; and the childteacher ratio is too high. But let us face the facts of the situation that now confronts us. We have large numbers of students. They are the product of a relatively high birth rate over previous years and, having regard to the number of teachers who have been turned out in the immediate past and will be turned out in the immediate future, the child-teacher ratio will remain reasonably high. So we may ask ourselves this question: Have those responsible for education in the various States pursued all the avenues open to them to solve the problems with which they are faced now? I suggest they have not.
One of the systems of education that is open to practice in large classes is that which has been used in Germany and the United States in recent years. The practice is known as teen teaching. One teacher teaches a certain common subject with the use of certain aids, certain types of blackboards and certain types of television. The students then break up into classes to be taken by other teachers. The scientific treatment of teen teaching has not been investigated in Australia and it certainly has not been practised in Australia. This is a remedy that lies within the hands of the States themselves. It should be investigated and tried.
Another system which has been attempted very half-heartedly is in-service training. The Martin report mentioned this. In this field one has to respect the report and the deliberations of the members, but I know that in my own State of Queensland inservice training of the type that is carried on overseas just is not practised. It is true that teachers are gathered together every second or third holiday for three, four or five days of concentrated teaching, or of being taught at, ifI may put it that way. But when this is done, the effects are not sufficiently persistent. Overseas, in-service training goes on for some months and is highly effective. It is a way of getting the greatest benefit out of the available teacher work force.
I give the Tasmanian Government credit for having led the way in many innovations in Australian teaching methods. It certainly deserves a great deal of credit for the adoption of in-service training. It has certainly led the way also in attempting to associate a teachers’ college with a university.
– What Government is that?
– For once we do not want to play politics, if you do not mind. These are remedies whichlie within the teaching services themselves and within the States themselves. They can and ought to be investigated and practised far more than is the case at present.
One of the grave deficiencies which this report comments upon is the inbreeding which occurs in respect of teachers’ colleges. Each State trains teachers, appoints them and employs them once they have graduated from the colleges. General interstate advertisements for appointments to teachers’ colleges are not allowed. This of necessity lowers the standard within the colleges and is a matter which ought to be investigated. All these things should be investigated, but one wonders whether, in many cases, a sincere, continuous and persistent effort has been made to remedy the system which we have now.
I should like to touch upon a problem which concerns the administration of education. It has occurred since the Commonwealth Government has granted what are known as Commonwealth scholarships. It is all very well to propose that the Commonwealth should enter directly into the teaching field, but one of the great dangers of the Commonwealth entering into certain fields is that State Governments then contract themselves out of those fields. Honorable members will know that last year as part of the 1963 election commitments the Commonwealth Government for the first time made available what are known as Commonwealth scholarships to students for their last two years at high school. During the debate on the Commonwealth scholar ship scheme it became very clear that it was not the Commonwealth’s intention that State Governments should withdraw their own scholarships once the Commonwealth scholarships were awarded. This was both the unstated and the stated presumption of the legislation.
In Queensland certain scholarships are awarded to students who attend nongovernment schools during the last two years of their courses. These scholarships are awarded right throughout their high school period, but I am concerned only with the last two years. They are known as extension scholarships because they are an extension of the old tuition scholarship. Unfortunately when Commonwealth scholarship winners in Queensland attend a non-government school during their last two years, the Queensland Government is now withdrawing its own scholarship commitment in respect of those students.I do not think that this is in the spirit of the legislation which this Parliament brought in. Certainly it is not in keeping with the intention of the legislation.
We have had certain disagreements with the authorities in Queensland over this matter, but the reply that has been made to me is: “Well, in these scholarships £75 is made available for fees. You cannot expect the fees to be higher than £75, so we will withdraw our £20.” This is a strange kind of reasoning, because the Queensland Department of Education spends between £108 and £112 upon each student in a State high school: but somehow or other it places an upper limit of £75 on the tuition allowance for a student in a non-government high school. Consequently, it has withdrawn its own small commitment.I suggest that this is unreasonable and rather illogical and one looks forward to the day when it will be remedied.
I think this illustrates also one of the great dangers of the Commonwealth expanding into State fields. There is often then a substitution of the Commonwealth commitment for a previous State commitment, and this would be rather unsatisfactory in this case. The canvassing of this report has been significant. Many men in Australia have commented upon it. In the short space of 18 or 20 minutes one cannot say much about it and can merely point out some of its deficiencies; but to recapitulate:
This report lacks something in that it fails to deal with the philosophy that ought to motivate and inform men who are trained in certain technical fields. In these days when physicists and scientists are infinitely more significant and powerful than they were before, this is all the more necessary. To illustrate my point, I remind honorable members of the great treason trials of the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. In one particular case, when Klaus Fuchs was asked why he had done the things he did, those who had asked him the question merely emphasized that he seemed to be possessed of a certain type of infantile egoism. This was an insufficient philosophy informing a man who had immense power and responsibility in his hands.
So in the field of educationthis, one would suggest, is the missing keystone of the Martin Committee’s report. In looking at the report the Commonwealth Government has to be aware that while we are operating under a Federal system with brakes on the central power, it is tremendously important that there should always exist a brake on the central power, or the central authority, of a Minister for Education in a unified State, which we do not have in Australia.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Mr. Hulme) - by leave - agreed to -
That the following Orders of the Day, Government Business, be discharged -
No. 11 - Commonwealth Education Conference (Third)- Reports- Ministerial State ment -Motion to take note of Papers - Resumption of debate upon the motion, That the House take note of the papers.
No. 17 - Australian Congress for International Co-operation and Disarmament - Ministerial Statement - Motion to take note of Paper-Resumption of debate upon the motion, That the House take note of the paper.
No. 19 - Foreign Affairs - Ministerial Statement - Motion to take note of Paper - Resumption of debate upon the motion, That the House take note of the paper.
No. 20 - Meat Export Marketing - Ministerial Statement and Agreement with United States of America - Motion to take note of Paper - Resumption of debate upon the motion, That the House take note of the papers.
No. 21 - DC6B Airliner Incident, Melbourne - Ministerial Statement - Motion to take note of Paper - Resumption of debate upon the motion, That the House take note of the paper.
No. 22 - Cereals Agreement between Australia and United Kingdom - Ministerial Statement - Motion to take note of Papers - Resumption of debate upon the motion, That the House take note of the papers.
No. 23- SEATO Council of Ministers- Ninth Meeting - Ministerial Statement and Communique - Motion to take note of Paper - Resumption of debate upon the motion, That the House take note of the paper.
No. 24 - Commonwealth Secondary School Scholarships - Ministerial Statement - Motion to take note of Paper - Resumption of debate upon the motion, That the House take note of the paper.
House adjourned at 10.34 p.m.
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated -
y asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows -
The combined Commonwealth and fund benefits meet by far the greater portion of medical expenses incurred for most of the medical services coming within the scope of the Medical Benefits Scheme. As the honorable member is aware, it is the policy of the Government that this combined benefit shall not exceed 90 per cent. of the medical charge. This policy is in accordance with an important principle of the Medical Benefits Scheme, namely, that individuals must accept their proper responsibility by bearing a portion of the cost of each medical service at the time it is incurred.
t asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -
Are Commonwealth medical and hospital benefits granted to Australian citizens living in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea who are members of an approved health organisation; if not, why not?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -
The National Health Act, in sections 29 and 63, makes provision for the payment of Commonwealth medical and hospital benefits to residents of Australia who are temporarily absent from Australia. Such persons who are members of an approved health organisation would be eligible for Commonwealth benefits under these provisions.
Commonwealth medical and hospital benefits are not payable to persons who are permanent residents of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. The Papua and New Guinea Act 1949-1964 provides that a Commonwealth Act cannot apply to the Territory unless specific provision is made in the Act for that purpose. No such provision exists in the National Health Act.
m asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
The Bill was debated, and the Act received the Royal Assent on 30th September 1959.
The effect of this amendment taken in conjunction with the definition of “ pensioner “ in the National Health Act 1953-64 is that Aborigines who are eligible for a social service pension are, in general, enrolled in the Pensioner Medical Service, subject to their qualifying under the Pensioner Medical Service means test applicable to all pensioners. Many Aborigines are provided with medical services without charge, e.g., at Northern Territory hospitals conducted by the Commonwealth, and in such cases the issue of Pensioner Medical Service entitlement cards is unnecessary.
m asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows - 1, 2 and 3. Only one determination has been made for the purposes of section 9 of the Tuberculosis Act 1948. Among other things, it sets out the conditions relating in general to eligibility for tuberculosis allowance. There is no determination relating specifically to Aborigines. The determination was first made on 14th June 1950, and the scheme of tuberculosis allowances came into operation on 13th July 1950. It is essentially a working document for the instruction of officers engaged in the administration of the scheme of tuberculosis allowances, and the original determination and subsequent amendments, all of which were of a relatively minor nature, were issued in roneoed form. In 1961 it was decided, for the sake of convenience, to consolidate the determination as amended to that time and to have it printed as a booklet. As the text of the determination is too lengthy to reproduce in this reply, I am forwarding a copy of the booklet to the honorable member for his information. 1 can assure the honorable member that there has never been any discrimination against Aborigines in connection with the payment of tuberculosis allowance. The only reference to the eligibility of Aborigines for the payment of tuberculosis allowance occurred in paragraphs 52 and 53 of the determination, but those paragraphs were amended on 26th February 1965, to exclude reference to Aborigines in order to avoid any possible misinterpretation of the provisions in question and to make it quite clear that the scheme of tuberculosis allowances is not discriminatory on racial grounds. I am also forwarding a copy of this amendment to the honorable member, together with a copy of an official statement of the conditions of eligibility for tuberculosis allowance which is handed to every person admitted to a tuberculosis ward for investigation and to every person who is notified to the public health authorities as a tuberculosis suspect, irrespective of racial origin. 4. (a) At the end of March 1965, there were 1 , 598 persons in Australia in receipt of tuberculosis allowance, (b) and (c) It is not known how many Aborigines outside the Northern Territory are receiving tuberculosis allowance, as applicants are not required to state their racial origin and no record is therefore maintained in the States of the number of recipients of the allowance who are Aborigines. However, in the Northern Territory the Welfare Branch of the Administration is responsible for the welfare of the aboriginal population, and for the information of that Branch a local record is kept of the number of Aborigines in receipt of the allowance. I understand that ten of the persons currently receiving tuberculosis allowance in the Northern Territory are Aborigines. 5. (a) and (b)In the calendar year 1964, 3,446 cases of tuberculosis, in all its forms, were notified to governmental health authorities throughout Australia. The number of cases notified in each of the previous ten years varied between 3,500 and 5,000. It is not known how many of these persons are still suffering from the disease or, indeed, how many sufferers there are who are unaware that they have contracted tuberculosis because of the insidious nature of the disease in its early stages. It is therefore not possible to say how many persons are at present actually suffering from tuberculosis in Australia or how many sufferers are Aborigines.
b asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
In view of the importance of these clubs in training for the defence of Australia, will he consider -
s. - The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
The Government’s military advisers can see no military role or task which could be effectively allotted to rifle clubs. The answers to the specific questions raised by the honorable member are therefore -
d asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
d asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The following statement sets out the position in the various areas -
k asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
In respect of each of the national and commercial television stations to be established at Broken Hill, what will be the (a) power output of the transmitter, (b) effective radiated power of the station, (c) polarisation of the antenna, (d) operating frequency of the station, (e) antenna radiation pattern, (0 date of commencement of transmission, (g) hours of transmission and (h) weekly content of local programmes?
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows -
see answer to (b);
n asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
n asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
a asked the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice -
What was the total amount of excise duty collected in the year 1963-64 on (a) beer, (b) cigars and cigarettes, (c) whisky and other spirits and (d) locally refined petrol?
– The Minister for Customs and Excise has furnished the following answers to the honorable member’s question -
m 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 -
What (a) number and (b) percentage of university students held Commonwealth scholarships in each of the last ten years?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are set out in the following tables. Table 1 contains details of numbers of all Commonwealth scholars in training at universities during the period 1955-64 inclusive, and the percentage of these scholars to total enrolments in Bachelor degree, Diploma and Certificate courses. Table 2 provides details of numbers of full-time Commonwealth scholars in training at universities during the same period, and the percentage of these to all full-time students enrolled. Information for 1965 is not yet available.
y asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 29 April 1965, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1965/19650429_reps_25_hor45/>.