House of Representatives
9 November 1965

25th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Sir John McLeay) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.

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Prime Minister · KooyongPrime Minister · LP

Mr. Speaker, I regret to have to announce formally to the House that Dr. Herbert Vere Evatt died last week, on Tuesday, 2nd November. He was a member of the Federal Parliament for 20 years until his retirement in 1960 when he became Chief Justice of New South Wales. His first political experience was in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from 1925 to 1930. From 1930 to 1940 he was a Justice of the High Court of Australia. He resigned from the High Court Bench in 1940 and began his notable career in this House.

Dr. Evatt was AttorneyGeneral and Minister for External Affairs from 7th October 1941 to 19th December 1949. He was a member of the Censorship Committee from March to July 1944 and a member of the Australian Advisory War Council from 14th March 1941 to 31st August . 1945. In 1944 he was Acting Minister for Supply and Shipping. He was the Australian delegate to the United Nations Conference on International Organisation at San Francisco in April 1945. In the same year he was Australian representative on the Council of Foreign Ministers in London and on the Far East Advisory Commission in Washington. From 1st November 1946 to 19th December 1949, Dr. Evatt was Deputy Prime Minister. He was Acting Prime Minister from 15th December 1947 to 1st January 1948 and from 4th to 17th July 1948. He visited Japan in 1947 to study the occupation and to confer with Allied representatives. He was leader of the Australian delegations to the Second Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1947 and to the first part of the Third Session of the General Assembly in 1948. Dr. Evatt was elected President of the General Assembly in 1948. He was Leader of the Opposition from 20th June 1951 until 1960. He was a member of the Privileges Committee from 7th March 1944 to 21st April 1954. In 1959 he was deputy leader of the Australian delegation to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference. He was appointed to the Privy Council in 1942. The parliamentary career of this remarkable man came to an end when he resigned from this Parliament in 1960 to become, as we have recalled, Chief Justice of New South Wales.

Dr. Evatt was a man of tremendous energy and determination and he will be remembered for many years for his record of achievement in the various fields of scholarship, the law and politics. As a lawyer, as I had occasion to point out last week, he made a remarkable contribution to the interpretation of the Constitution, his approach to that task being that the Constitution was not a dead instrument dealing with dead events or people but a living instrument which required to be applied to a living and growing community. This line of approach is to be discerned, I think, in every judgment that he gave on a constitutional matter. As the record shows, he not only played a very active part in the local political scene but also made invaluable contributions in the field of international relations. He had great natural ability which he had enriched by study and by the acquisition of a wide scholarship. He had a really remarkable capacity for sustained work and tremendous tenacity in any cause to which he attached himself. All these tributes are illustrated in the career that I have just briefly summarised. All those who sat in this Parliament with him will long remember him. All of us who had the task of being opposed to him will remember him, not by pretending that we did not have profound differences but by recognising these qualities to which I have referred as those informing his action and his speech in this place.

I should like particularly to offer rather more than formal sympathy to his widow who, as his wife, was with him through all the vicissitudes, all the successes and all the defeats. She was there, always faithful and always a great comfort and strength to him. I should like her to know that, whatever side we may be on in politics in this House, we have a very deep feeling for her and for her family. Sir, I move -

That this House expresses its deep regret at the death of the Right Honorable Herbert Vere Evatt, formerly a member of this House for the Divisions of Barton and Hunter, Minister of the Crown, Leader of the Opposition, President of the General Assembly of the United Nations, Justice of the High Court of Australia and Chief Justice of the State of New South Wales, places on record its appreciation of his long and distinguished public service and tenders its profound sympathy to his widow and family in their bereavement.

Leader of the Opposition · Melbourne

– The Opposition supports the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) in all that he has said. Herbert Vere Evatt has passed to his eternal reward. We who knew him in this Parliament, and the many thousands of our fellow Australians who also knew him, moura his death and honour his memory. In what we say” in this Parliament this afternoon we are joined, I am sure, by that greater assembly whose servants we are, the people of Australia. We not only record our sense of loss at his departure from this life but we also honour him as the very great Australian that he was. The biographical details of the late Dr. Evatt’s life are well known. They have been recited by the Prime Minister in his eulogy and they need no repetition by me. We shall remember Dr. Evatt for his rugged Australianism. He was a fervent Australian nationalist, but he was also a true internationalist. There was no incongruity about this because to be a good citizen of. the world one must first be a good citizen of one’s own country.

The late Dr. Evatt was a man of great courage and determination, and he gave single minded devotion to any cause which he believed to be right and just. It might be said that he was not always right in all that he said or did, or tried to do; but to those who knew him best, his errors of judgment, whatever they might have been, were insignificant in the light of his splendid achievements in so many fields of human endeavour.

He brought to this Parliament, and to the political life of this nation, one of the broadest and brightest intellects in our history. He loved politics because he loved people. And politics is essentially about people. He loved art, literature, and the law. He loved his nation’s history, and, by his own studies and researches, amplified our knowledge and deepened our understanding of that history. He sought power because he believed that power should be exercised by the best men, and that those who had ability had also the responsibility to use their talents in the service of the nation. He bated injustice, intolerance and inhumanity.

Dr. Evatt could, on occasion, be difficult and stubborn, but these were temporary flaws in his character and, in any case, being shared by most people, they served to underline that he was very human as well as very humane. Transcending all else, shining brightly above all else, is the fact that he was a man of compassion, and he showed this in very many ways - real and practical ways.

I have said that he was a true internationalist. The Secretary-General of the United Nations has paid a tribute to his work in the creation of that great body, his positive contribution to the framing of the Charter, and his distinguished presidency of the United Nations General Assembly. The representatives of Israel and Indonesia have recalled his services in the creation of those nations.

Australians have honoured- his valiant work in wartime under John Curtin and his strenuous endeavours in peacetime under Joseph Benedict Chifley. Lovers of liberty here remember and honour him for his resistance - his successful resistance - against men and measures which would have undermined our civil liberties, our rights of free speech and our rights of free association. We of the Australian Labour Party recognise Dr. Evatt’s services in fighting to keep our Party free of alien philosophies and anti-democratic methods. He was a man of many parts. He may have made mistakes, but he was never mediocre. A nation that can produce men of his calibre need not be ashamed of its past and need not fear for its future. He was not always understood by his contemporaries. We now, in this place, do his memory some small measure of the justice he deserved; but in the appeal to history he will, I profoundly believe, be judged as one of the very greatest sons of that Australia which he loved so well and served so well.

To his widow and all his relatives, we extend our deepest, heartfelt sympathy. Mrs. Evatt stood by her distinguished husband in triumph and in sorrow, in success and in defeat

Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP

– In the absence overseas of the Leader of the Australian Country Party, the right honorable Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr. McEwen) I wish to associate the members of that Party with the remarks of the right honorable the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). We join in paying tribute to the character and achievements of the late Dr. Evatt who, we thought, was among the most intellectually endowed and able members ever to sit in this chamber. Although be debated keenly and hard, he was always most courteous in debate. As one who entered the Parliament in wartime I find myself very much in agreement with the view that Dr. Evatt’s greatest years began in 1941 when he took up the portpolios of Attorney-General and Minister for External Affairs. That was- at a most critical period of the war. Whilst members of the Country Party did not always see eye to eye with Dr. Evatt on many political and policy questions, all of us do remember the great contributions he made to the defence effort and the other notable services he gave to his country in the 1940’s. Dr. Evatt’s elevation in that period to the presidency of the General Assembly of the United Nations, an organisation which he helped to form and in which his faith never wavered, was an honour to his country as well as to himself.

Dr: Evatt’s academic record at the University of Sydney, his talents as historian, his great skill as a lawyer, his erudition and judgment as a judge and the remarkable enthusiasm of his approach to every task were recognised at last week’s special sittings of the High Court of Australia and the Supreme Court of New South Wales. He had a special qualification and interest in the law of the Constitution, and it was largely due to his efforts that the Constitution was amended in 1946 to give this Parliament additional powers in respect of social services. That, of course, is one of the few constitutional changes that have been agreed to by the Australian people. In the course of almost 40 years of public service Dr. Evatt provided many examples which can well be followed by his countrymen. He will be greatly missed from the Australian scene. The members of the Australian Country Party also extend their sympathy to Mrs.

Evatt and the members of the late Dr. Evatt’s family in their sad loss.


– I should like to support the motion moved by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies). I have the honour to represent the Federal seat of Hunter. The man we mourn here today was formerly member for Hunter, succeeding my late father, Mr. Rowley James. In turn, I succeeded Dr. Evatt. I had a long and happy association with the late Dr. Evatt, the great Australian whom we saw to his last resting place in Canberra on Thursday last. Dr. Evatt was a Maitland boy. He lived in Maitland with his family for many years. He belonged to us in the Hunter area as he belonged to the people of the world.

While this country is ringing with praise of him as a great international figure, a great lawyer and a great scholar I remember him too for perhaps the simpler things as well as the greater things. He is affectionately remembered by the people of the Hunter area, many of whom saw him standing in the rain at his mother’s grave in Maitland. I remember him calling on the mine workers in the Hunter electorate, in their homes- going into the kitchens in Cessnock and Argenton and having a cup of tea, a sandwich, a pie or whatever it may have been. I have seen him autographing his books in outlying country schools in the Hunter electorate. I remember him shaping the foundations of our thoughts in his pleas for peace and civil liberties and a firm adherence to the Australian way of life. I have seen him spontaneously steal part of the time allotted to a public engagement in order to enjoy a country cricket match as if it were a test match. He would make up the time lost) by having a meal of fish and chips on the roadside. “ The Doc “, as we knew him, was a simple man. In his simplicity was to be found his true greatness. Much has been said today by the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) and the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann). I have no wish to add greatly to what they have said. Dr. Evatt’s greatness inflamed the hatred of his enemies, unfortunately even unto his death. I thought that the leading article of the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ on the death of Dr. Evatt was the most vicious, scandalous and cowardly article I have read for some time. In subtle terms, it accused Dr. Evatt of having been a Communist. In my opinion, the article smeared the face of the dead. I cannot imagine an Australian writing such a bitter epitaph Sometimes Australians become a little bitter. One could not miss the emotional tones in the article published last Wednesday and written by Alan Reid, a man who is well known to us around Parliament House. It was a weeping article but Alan played an important part in destroying this great man. All this hypocrisy would have amused the late Herbert Vere Evatt. Today, he is beyond the barbs of his critics and the hate of little men. Earlier today I was reading in the Library Shakespeare’s “ King Lear “ and I think the following lines are appropriate to this occasion -

Vex not his ghost: O! let him pass; he hates him

That would upon the rack of this tough world

Stretch him out longer.

I say: Leave him to history. It will be kinder than his present day critics.


– I know that the people of the electorate of Barton would want me to express their warm support for the motion moved by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) and ably supported by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), the representative of the Country Party and my colleague, the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James). It was our special privilege in the electorate of Barton to have had Dr. Evatt as our distinguished representative for 18 years, from 1940 to 19S8. I suppose nothing gave many of the people of my electorate a greater thrill than to hear a reference to the right honorable member for Barton, as Dr. Evatt then was.

Dr. Evatt was a vital person. Hardly anybody who knew faim could be indifferent to him. In the hearts of many, he aroused sentiments of enduring loyalty and deep respect. In quite a few he induced a warm and lasting affection. In others he provoked bitter opposition. As befits a man of great public stature, he touched the minds and hearts of most people. Perhaps because of his judicial training and experience and his preoccupation with principles, he conveyed to many the impression of being aloof and impersonal. Such an impression could take no account of his obvious love and affection for so many people and particularly for children. To see him genuinely fondling little ones was quite a heart warming experience.

In a personal way, it is not always by the big things that we best remember a person. Our affectionate memory will often be focused on quaint little human foibles and eccentricities. For many of us, this will be true of Dr. Evatt. We will affectionately remember, for instance, that he would often be the first person to arrive at public meetings that were organised for him. He would invariably berate the organiser, saying that it was foolish to organise such a meeting and in such a place, and would warmly predict that the meeting would be a flop. When, as so often happened, the meeting was quite a success, “ the Doc “, with great enthusiasm and relish, would then berate the organisers for not having organised more meetings of that kind. I think probably his greatest contribution was to be found in the attention he gave to the broad concept of liberalism and democracy. His liberalism was many sided. It was a broad concept involving political, legal, religious, economic and social aspects. He helped to give focus to this more embracing concept. His contribution to the charter of the United Nations reflected this concept. His concern for the underdog was often evidenced. One example of this is his establishment of the Legal Service Bureau in, I think, 1944. to protect the rights of ex-servicemen. The broad concept itself was in some part no doubt a product of his experiences in the courts, especially during the painful depression years, when he saw poverty, misery and personal degradation at close quarters and in brutal clarity. His judgment often reflected his concern for the rights of the ordinary man.

His historical sense convinced him that political suppression could never be the handmaiden of genuine and general freedom. His prime concern was for the small man and the small nation. He was a man of conviction, zeal, application, determination and courage. Never were these traits more fully displayed than in the referendum on the Communist issue in 1952. Only a matter of months before - this is still very fresh in my mind - he had survived by a mere 253 votes in his seat of Barton. He had been the object of what was probably the most powerful and hurtful campaign ever unleashed against any man in Federal politics. Despite the fact that the issue which had come within a hair’s breadth of ruining him politically in 1951 became the central issue of the referendum, he stuck to his principles and fought it with all his might. He, more than most other people in this country, recognised the grave threat to civil liberties that was involved in the measure. The courts and the historians are still assessing the damage wrought by McCarthyism in other places.

Those pf us in public life, with its ups and downs of success and failure, of joy and disappointment, know how very much we depend on the counsel and comfort of our wives. Great as were the powers of Dr. Evatt, I know that he owed much to his very, charming wife. Even on some of his dangerous overseas wartime flights she accompanied him. She supported him on many public platforms during some of his most turbulent campaigns. She never seemed to be ruffled. Over the last few years, she has been his devoted helpmate and nurse in his prolonged and sad illness. To Mrs. Evatt, their son Peter, their daughter Mrs Carrodus, and other relatives, I extend heartfelt sympathy on behalf of their great many friends in the electorate of Barton.

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

Sir Robert Menzies:

– May I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that as a mark of respect to the memory of Dr. Evatt the sitting be suspended until 8 p.m.?


– I feel sure that the suggestion made by the Prime Minister meets with the concurrence of the House. As a mark of respect to the memory of the late right honorable gentleman, the sitting is suspended until 8 p.m.

Sitting suspended from 3 to 8 p.m.

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Dr J F Cairns:

– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation a question. Is it true that a report on the operation of radar equipment on Viscount aircraft was submitted to the Department some time ago? How many or what proportion of the recommendations contained in that report have been carried into effect?

Will the Minister make the report available and will he indicate the extent to which the recommendations have been implemented?

Minister for National Development · FARRER, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– The honorable member realises that I represent the Minister who is in another place. I will treat his question as being on the notice paper. I will see that he gets a reply.

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– I address a question to the Prime Minister. It concerns the wool reserve prices plan referendum. In view of the fact that the impression is being created that the Government has adopted a particular attitude to the referendum will the Prime Minister state what the Government’s attitude is? Is the Government in the same position as my honorable and learned friend, the honorable member for Parkes, and myself, namely, in a state of splendid neutrality on this issue?


– I observed yesterday, or the day before, that somebody appeared to believe that the Government had taken sides on this matter. I therefore must repeat, if it needs to be repeated, that what the Government has done has been to discuss the financial arrangements, either explicit or implicit, in the plan for reserve wool prices and has indicated that if the wool growers, exercising their own judgment, vote for the plan the Government will then be prepared to play its part in the plan as outlined by my colleague, the Minister for Primary Industry, and as now sent to the voters. Of course this is a very important matter. It is so important that the Government itself has decided, as the honorable member knows, to arrange - and this is being done - for the case for and the case against the plan to be sent out to the voters entitled to vote on this issue. Every member of the Government hopes and believes that the wool growers, who have to take a decision that is of the greatest import to the future of the wool industry, will carefully consider the arguments from both sides before casting their votes.

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– I direct a question to the, Minister for Shipping and Transport. I ask: In respect of the recommendations of the Public Works Committee on the proposed site preparation of the north west building area at Sydney airport, has it been decided that the new domestic passenger terminals will be built concurrently with the international terminal? If not, when is it expected that a decision will be made? Further, what steps have been taken or are being taken towards the identification of the «ite for Sydney’s second airport?

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

– The honorable member is obviously asking me this question in my capacity as representing the Minister for Works in this chamber. I will refer the honorable member’s question to the. Minister and obtain an answer for him.

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– Can the Minister for the Army assure the House that every consideration has been given to the provision of amenities for the use of our troops in forward areas? I refer to South Vietnam and those parts of Malaysia where Australian troops are stationed.

Minister Assisting the Treasurer · BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP

– Yes. I can give the’ honorable gentleman that assurance. In fact, only this morning I spoke to the adjutantgeneral whose responsibilities cover this sort of thing. He came back on Sunday from a visit to South Vietnam. Because of a good deal of misleading comment on this matter, I had asked him specifically to investigate this position while in that country. He assured me - and his assurance confirms my own impressions, formed while I was there - that the troops in South Vietnam are completely happy with the amenities provided for them. The honorable gentleman will be aware that the last matter to be resolved in this respect - the provision of Australian entertainers instead of entertainers from the United States of America whom Australian troops have seen quite frequently - has been resolved and we expect that Australian entertainers of high quality, sponsored by the. Army, will visit South Vietnam and other operational areas in which Australian troops are stationed with reasonable frequency.

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– Has the Prime Minister been kept informed by the United Kingdom Government concerning the critical situation in Rhodesia? Is the Australian Government strenuously opposed to a unilateral declaration of independence by the Rhodesian Government? Would the Government, along with other Commonwealth countries, isolate Rhodesia should this drastic step be taken?


– The discussions about Rhodesia are, of course, not finished. It would be the height of folly for me to be making public statements on a matter which is currently being discussed between the Government of Great Britain and the Government of Rhodesia. These are the two Governments immediately concerned. Every Prime Minister at the Prime Ministers Conference has recognised that fact. I am so anxious for a sensible settlement and so anxious that wise counsels should prevail, that I do not propose to say anything that would come between the parties discussing it and a sensible conclusion. The other day, in answer to a question, I indicated that of course this Government would not recognise any government arising from a unilateral declaration of independence. That statement stands. This is quite right. But, for the rest, I think we would all do well to keep a reasonable silence and hope for a good result.

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– The Minister for Health will recall that before his recent overseas trip I drew his attention to the fact that there were some centres in Victoria, and probably throughout Australia, without the services of a medical practitioner. I now ask: Did he find, during his trip, that the shortage of doctors is world wide? Was he able to make an assessment of whether doctors could be secured overseas for practices in the country districts of Australia?

Minister for Health · DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · LP

– During the Commonwealth Medical Conference quite a time was devoted to discussing this problem. It is a fact that, so far as most developed countries in the world are concerned, there is some deficiency of doctors in relation to population, but the deficiency is far greater in the developing countries. In fact, statistics quoted at the time indicated that in the developed countries of the Commonwealth -and I am referring only to the Commonwealth in this particular instance - there is one doctor to 900 people on the average through all those countries. Some of the African countries within the Commonwealth have only one doctor for as many as 60,000 people. One of our tasks is to try to help those countries to overcome this great deficiency. At the same time we have a problem in Australia, particularly in country areas. I can only repeat the advice I gave to the honorable member previously, that the people in country areas where there is a deficiency should take advantage of the situation in, say, the United Kingdom. Whilst we do not actively campaign for doctors to come to Australia from the United Kingdom, it is a fact that about 400 doctors a year do come here from that country. If an advertisement were inserted in the “British Medical Journal” indicating a deficiency in a certain country area of Australia, no doubt it would evoke some response.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Health. Was he correctly reported as saying that the Department of Health would import from Canada 100,000 doses of Salk vaccine because of a temporary shortage of Australian made Salk vaccine which followed a decision to retest 1,200,000 doses produced by the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories? If this is correct, will the Minister consider launching a publicity campaign to acquaint States other than Tasmania of the fact that ample quantities are available of Sabin oral vaccine, which most countries prefer to the Salk vaccine?


– First, Salk vaccine is manufactured in Australia principally by the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories. Secondly, Sabin vaccine is imported. We are examining the possibility of importing some of the ingredients of the Sabin vaccine and completing the manufacturing process ourselves in the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories. At present, Tasmania is the only State using Sabin oral vaccine. If other States wish to change over from Salk to Sabin and approach us on the matter we will consider their requests. As to a suggested shortage of Salk vaccine, there is no such shortage. When the last batch produced by the Laboratories in

Melbourne was temporarily rejected on the first test, we immediately arranged to import enough doses to carry on our normal programme. The first imports will arrive tomorrow and will be distributed immediately. However, further tests which have been conducted on the last batch of Salk vaccine produced by the C.S.L. indicate that it is quite up to standard, and I hope within the next week at the latest to be able to tell honorable members that the necessary protocols have been signed and that the vaccine will be available for release in the community. There is no shortage. If a shortage appears we will see that supplies are imported to relieve it.

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– Has the Prime Minister’s attention been directed to the recent resolution of the United Nations General Assembly’s Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee which called on all States to condemn anti-Semitism and take action for its speedy eradication in territories subject to their jurisdiction? Is he aware that Soviet Russia manoeuvred to frustrate this world-wide condemnation of anti-Semitism? In view of mounting world opposition to the Soviet’s continuing policy of antiSemitism and its failure to grant religious freedom to followers of the Jewish and other religions in Soviet countries, will the Prime Minister assure the House that the Australian representatives at the United Nations will continue to oppose, in the most forcible terms, the racial and religious intolerance inherent in the policy of .the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics?


– -The answer is that we most certainly will. We regard racial discrimination of itself as most undesirable. On this matter in the United Nations we have said so - and said so repeatedly. On the recent occasion the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee was presented by some people with a resolution that involved a certain number of detailed examples. Unfortunately, I believe, from our point of view the ultimate decision from which we dissented was to omit all reference to individual problems. We believe that this problem should be stated categorically and we will continue to work to achieve that result

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– I ask the Minister for the Army: Does he recall that when the honorable member for Barton recently raised in this House the question of amenities, particularly entertainments, for Australian troops in South Vietnam he was accused by the Minister of harming the morale of the troops by raising such matters? Is it a fact that a Mr. Edwards, an American responsible for the provision of entertainments for United States personnel in Vietnam, subsequently stated in Sydney that Australian troops were in fact not being provided with adequate entertainment amenities? In view of the Government’s decision now to provide some such amenities by next Christmas, will the Minister apologise to the honorable member for Barton for the insult offered him in the course of his doing his duty as a member of this Parliament?


– I did not accuse the honorable member for Barton of undermining the morale of the troops. Nothing, that he could say on this issue would undermine their morale, because they, above all, know the true position. What I did say was that the honorable- member, having a number of allegations to make - allegations that subsequently, on virtually every count, turned out to be completely unsubstantiated - could have checked the validity of his allegations before he made them in this House and caused despondency among a lot of people, particularly relatives of the troops up there, who perhaps did not know the true position. I think that the honorable member himself perhaps suspected that he was doing wrong in this respect, because about 10 minutes before he raised the matter in the. debate on the motion for the adjournment of the House he delivered to my office a letter containing these unsubstantiated allegations.

I do not question the right of any honorable member to raise in the House a matter of this sort, but I believe, that when the wellbeing, the morale and the emotions of so many people in Australia are affected a responsible member of this place has a duty at least to go to the responsible Minister - in this instance myself- and determine whether there is any basis in fact for what he proposes to say before he says it and publicises it in this House. If he is then not satisfied about the matter he has a perfect right to bring it to the Parliament. All that the honorable member did was. to cause a great deal of concern to many people who have an interest in the Australian troops in South Vietnam over a matter concerning which most of what he had to say was completely unsubstantiated.

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– I address a question to the Postmaster-General in his capacity as Acting Minister for Defence. 1 refer to the commercial traffic in war decorations which I have discussed with my colleague, the honorable member for Wills. A number of good people in Australia are distressed by reports that the Victoria Cross awarded to the late Private Kelliher is to be offered for sale in London. Could the Minister discuss with his colleague, the Attorney- General, whether the sale of this decoration awarded to a very gallant gentleman transgresses the amended section 80b of the Defence Act and whether the Government can take practical steps to prevent the saletaking place?

Postmaster-General · PETRIE, QUEENSLAND · LP

– I have been advised that an attempt has been made to sell the Victoria Cross which was awarded to Private Kelliher. I am not in a position to indicate the result of the inquiries which the Department is making. I have asked the Department to consult with the Attorney-General. When I have advice from the AttorneyGeneral’s Department I will be in a position to make a statement in the House.

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– I ask the Minister for Health a question. Was the Minister advised of the proposed increase in doctors’ charges, which most doctors have now applied since 6th November, before the new rates were made public? If the Minister was informed of this decision, is he satisfied that the increases are justified? If he is satisfied, when is it expected that the Commonwealth and the medical benefits funds will raise payments to match the increased charges?


– I have made several statements in the House in relation to doctors’ fees and I believe that the honorable member was present when I made them. I stated last October and also early this year and again just prior to the introduction of the new medical benefits tables on 1st April this year that the tables took into consideration the expectation that when the period of stabilisation proposed and agreed to by the Australian Medical Association terminated in November there would be some change in doctors’ fees. At that time the A.M.A. had arranged for an unofficial survey of the movement in costs to see whether any change was warranted. At the Association’s last assembly in May the results of that survey were produced and a decision was later made by all divisions of the A.M.A. within each State that the changes would take place after the agreed period of stabilisation. That was anticipated last year at the time the. new medical benefits tables were being prepared, and I stated in the House that some movement in doctors’ fees was expected. The increase of onethird last year in the Commonwealth benefit, amounting to approximately £4 million, and the change in the tables on 1st April last were made having iri mind that there would be some upward movement in doctors’ fees. The gap at the moment between doctors’ fees and the benefits payable is far less than it was before we increased the Commonwealth subsidy last year. Although I am not going to comment on the. increased fees, because that is outside our control and we have no constitutional powers with respect to doctors’ fees, I can say that this factor was taken into consideration when the tables changed on 1st April last.

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– In view of the acute financial hardship being suffered at the present time by many wheatgrowers due to the failure of this season’s crop and to drought conditions generally, I ask the Minister for Primary Industry whether he will consult with the Australian Wheat Board to see whether it is possible to make a payment from No. 28 Pool.


– Payments are made as rapidly as possible after credits become available. I understand the honorable member to be referring to the crop about to be taken in. The Government will be considering that matter this week.

Mr Ian Allan:

– I am referring to payments from the No. 28 Pool.


– If the honorable member is referring to last season’s crop, then all payments possible from available credits have been made. I understand that the last payment I approved has been made. As the honorable member knows, some payments are made against credits. I do not think the Australian Wheat Board would be in a position to make any further payments immediately but I shall do as the honorable member suggests and consult with the Board.

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– I address a question to the Treasurer. When the right honorable gentleman flew overseas in September last, it was reported that one of the matters he would investigate would be the cost of operating an overseas shipping line. I ask him whether his investigation strengthened his hope that he would live to see the day when there would be Australian ships carrying Australian goods to other parts of the world. The right honorable gentleman will remember using those words eight weeks ago. If his hope was so strengthened, will he emphasise to his colleagues who are meeting behind closed doors in Canberra this week that the Liberal Party’s shipping policy should no longer be limited to coastal shipping alone?


– I am afraid that the report to which the honorable gentleman referred was, as has so often proved to be the case on other occasions, an inaccurate account of what I said. However, I am still living and hoping that there will be a day - I am sure die honorable member would rejoice in it, too- when we shall see an Australian shipping line carrying Australian goods to various parts of the world.

I am glad to be able to report that the discussions which have occurred inside the ranks of the Liberal Party were harmonious and constructive. There is, of course, a happy and refreshing difference between our proceedings and those of the Australian Labour Party. Our supporters have sufficient confidence in their parliamentary representatives to be content merely to make recommendations and to abstain from the quite abhorent and undemocratic practice of regimenting or directing members of Parliament.

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Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– I address a question to the Minister for Primary Industry concerning the forthcoming ballot for the reserve prices plan for wool. Did the Minister say in his statement to the House some time ago that several grower organisations and three wool broking firms - the Australian Mercantile Land and Finance Company Ltd., Winchcombe Carson Ltd., and Pitt Son and Badgery Ltd. - had been asked to join in preparing the “ No “ case to be sent out with ballot papers for the reserve prices plan? Were these three firms in fact asked to assist in preparing the case against the referendum? If so, why are thennames excluded from the list of organisations named hi the pamphlet setting out the arguments against the reserve prices plan for wool?


– I did indicate in my second reading speech on the Wool Reserve Prices Plan Referendum Bill that the three firms which the honorable member has named, and other organisations, had shown an interest in the case against the plan and that I proposed to approach them on the question of their appointing a committee to draft a case for voting “No”. I raised the matter with the wool broking firms and with the grower organisations concerned and they expressed appreciation of that approach. However, after considering the matter, the three wool broking firms advised me that they would not be taking part in the presentation of the case in opposition to the plan because they felt it would be much more preferable to leave that matter to the growers directly concerned.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for National Development. Is it correct that on Friday, 27th August last, representatives of the Government of Western Australia discussed in Canberra with representatives of the Commonwealth Government the damming of the Gascoyne at Carnarvon and also at that time made known their intentions and desires in that regard? If so, was the Minister present at the discussions? If he was not present, was he subsequently advised of what took place? If so, would he now care to explain just what he actually meant when he said on the 21st day of last month that there had been no approach to the. Commonwealth by the Western Australian Government about that matter and that therefore, naturally, it had not been considered?


– I do not recall the actual date that the honorable member mentioned but there has been no approach by the Western Australian Government to the Commonwealth Government for funds. There have been approaches from tha Western Australian Minister for the Northwest on a number of matters and there may have been discussions between the State officials and officials of the Northern Division of my Department. However, as far as funds are concerned - I will check this to make certain that I am correct - to the best of my knowledge no direct approach has been made to the Commonwealth Government by Mr. Court or anyone in the Western Australian Government.

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– Did the Minister for Health, when overseas, appeal for the formation of a worldwide organisation of pharmaceutical manufacturers for better marketing of drugs on a worldwide basis? Has he considered the effect that such an organisation might have in strengthening the existing overseas cartels and the effect that this might have on Australian manufacturers?


– It is not correct to say that I appealed for the formation of an organisation as suggested by the honorable member, but I did suggest to the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry that it might be desirable for a number of reasons to form some worldwide body - be it called a conference or be it given any other name - to deal with a number of common problems. The objectives of such a body would be, first to improve the safety of drugs, secondly to reduce marketing costs and thirdly to establish some common basis for identification of drugs throughout the world. I think that it would be desirable to have such an organisation formed. The proposal, of course, had no relationship to prices, because in Australia we negotiate on price reduction with individual firms direct, not even, with the Australian Association of Ethical Pharmaceutical Manufacturers. That policy has been successful, and over the last five years we have been able to save on drug prices alone approximately £7 million. Over the last 12 months the amount saved has been about £2i million. We will continue that type of negotiation direct with the manufacturers and not with the Association. Because the expenditure on research on a worldwide basis is so enormous there would be some advantage in co-ordinating research without inhibiting it and also in co-ordinating drug evaluation systems, and in efforts designed to reduce marketing costs. In another field, identification of drugs can perhaps be improved by forming an organisation of the type suggested. This proposal was received fairly well in the United Kingdom and the United States and I think it is being considered in those two countries. I will have the opportunity of mentioning the matter tomorrow night when I will be speaking at the conference of the Australian Association.

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– I ask the Treasurer a question. Was the Press excluded from the Liberal Party conference because the conference-


– Order! The Treasurer is not responsible to this House for the actions of the Liberal Party conference.

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– I ask the Treasurer a question. I refer to a joint statement issued by the Minister for External Affairs and the Minister for Territories that the Government proposes to give financial aid to approved organisations carrying on peace corps types of activities. Will donations to such organisations by private parties attract the same tax concessions as attach to certain other classes of charitable donations? If not, what is the basis for the differentiation?


– The Government has given some direct financial assistance to the Australian Volunteers Abroad scheme, which is doing such valuable work in enabling Australians to give help and guidance in other countries, particularly Papua and New Guinea. The honorable gentleman asks whether donations to this organisation will attract the same tax concessions as apply to donations to organisations having charitable objectives and operating inside. Australia. Apart from donations to the Freedom from Hunger Campaign, which operated for a limited period, generally speaking, tax concessions do not apply in respect of donations of this character. The granting of a tax concession is, in substance, equivalent to a grant by the Commonwealth Government from its own revenues. It is a matter of forgoing revenue which the Commonwealth would otherwise receive. Whilst up to the present this has been found desirable in the case of a limited number of organisations with objectives inside Australia, it has not been felt that the same powerful desirability applies in the case of organisations with activities outside Australia. On the face of it, this attitude may seem to clash with the admirable objective of the organisation to which the honorable gentleman has referred. For my part I would be willing to treat this matter as a policy matter to be taken into consideration. I assure the honorable member that this will be done.


– I ask the AttorneyGeneral a question. Has the honorable gentleman examined the practice of large regular borrowing companies of issuing prospectuses stressing their connection with a bank, life assurance company or similar institution? Has he seen the prospectus of H. G. Palmer (Consolidated) Ltd., issued last year, stressing, its status as a subsidiary of the Mutual Life and Citizens Assurance Co. Ltd. and bearing on its cover an illustration of that company’s Sydney premises? In view of the interstate operations of H. G. Palmer (Consolidated) Ltd., will the Attorney-General consider an amendment of the Companies Act to prohibit the use of large shareholders’ names on a prospectus if such shareholders do not guarantee the borrowings solicited therein?

Attorney-General · BRUCE, VICTORIA · LP

– The Standing Committee of Attorneys-General has, over a number of years, given consideration to the Companies Act and has made sure that amendments are made when anything is disclosed to indicate that the Act should be strengthened. One matter that was discussed at - if my recollection is correctthe last meeting of the Standing Committee was whether an amendment should be made to the uniform Companies Act to control the use in prospectuses of references to an association with well known and respected companies. I am not in a position at this point of time to tell the honorable gentleman whether the uniform Companies Act will be amended for this purpose, but I am free to say that a colleague, the AttorneyGeneral for New South Wales, has said that he wishes to have this matter placed on the agenda for consideration by the Standing Committee at its meeting in January of next year. What will be the conclusion drawn by my colleagues who form that Committee I am unable to say, but the matter will, of course, be given close attention.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for Immigration. Does the Minister recall that, when speaking in this House recently, he said” that prospective migrants in Europe now desire detailed information of the area in which they will live if they come to Australia? Is the Department of Immigration expanding publicity and information in this regard? If so, will such information refer only to city prospects or will the advantage of living in Australia’s country districts receive at least equal emphasis?

Minister for Immigration · CORIO, VICTORIA · LP

– Yes, I recall quite well making that statement. It is based on fact. Because of the good economic conditions in Europe, migrants from European countries now require more information about Australia. The Department of Immigration is expanding its publicity and information about Australia. For example, 12 films each of 20 minutes are being made about life in the capital cities and in specially selected provincial cities. A further 12 films are being made about life in provincial cities and country towns. Other films will follow these. Films are being used by overseas stations and are proving extremely popular and informative. The Department of Labour and National Service is co-operating with my Department in selecting towns that would provide employment opportunities for migrants. In our publications we emphasise the virtues and value of country areas. However, I would stress that, if employers in country areas want to employ migrants, they should sponsor as many as they can. The figures show that if migrants do not go to country areas, efficiency in these areas will be seriously impaired because of the number of Australians who go to the cities. I can assure the honorable member that the Department of Labour and National Service tells employers of migrants who are seeking positions in the country. In every way, country areas are receiving their share of publicity and we are doing whatever we can to induce people to live in country areas.

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– I ask the Minister for Health a question. Has the firm Associated Industrial Consultants Ltd. been selected to conduct an independent survey of all aspects of pharmacy costs under the national health scheme? Do major shareholders in this company include Eric White Associates (N.S.W.) Pty. Ltd., the market research consultant to the Australian Association of Ethical Pharmaceutical Industry? Does the Minister consider that this firm is sufficiently independent to conduct an impartial survey?


– I am afraid that I cannot confirm the name of the firm that is undertaking this survey. The Government has joined with the industry in paying half the cost of the survey into pharmacy costs, and the survey is being undertaken at present. The name of the firm of consultants was considered by the Pharmaceutical Guild and my Department and it was accepted as being the most suitable for the purpose. The cost was accepted as being suitable, too. I will certainly make some inquiries and I will inform the honorable member.

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Ministerial Statement

HigginsTreasurer · LP

– by leave - Honorable members may recall that the first occasion on which Australian currency was made available for fund drawings was in March and April of this year when Australian currency amounting to £11.2 million (equivalent to $25 million) was included in two drawings totalling $125 million which India made from the Fund. As pointed out in my statement to the House on that occasion the net effect of these transactions was to reduce our first-line reserves by $25 million (£A11.2 million) and to increase correspondingly our second-line reserves in the Fund.

The New Zealand drawing from the Fund - which is to take place tomorrow - will amount to $62 million (£A27.7 million) of which $10 million (about £A4.5 million) will be drawn in Australian currency. Similar amounts will be drawn in United States dollars, Canadian dollars, French francs and Deutsche Marks and the remaining $12 million in pounds sterling.

In the case of the Indian transactions, the Australian currency was converted forthwith into sterling, thus reducing immediately our first-line reserves. The New Zealand authorities, on the other hand, propose to leave the Australian currency here and to use it, when necessary, to finance New Zealand’s normal trading deficit with Australia. Some little time may therefore elapse before this transaction, which increases immediately by $10 million (about £A4.5 million) our second-line reserves in the Fund, leads to a corresponding reduction in our first-line reserves. As a result of this transaction, the second-line reserves which we hold with the Fund will amount to $535 million (£ A238.8 million) and this total will increase to $660 million (£A294.6 million) when the proposed increase in our Fund quota becomes effective.

In making Australian currency available for Fund drawings on occasions when our own reserves are strong enough to enable us to do so, we are demonstrating a willingness on our part to work closely with the Fund in the field of international monetary co-operation. I am sure, however, that honorable members will share my pleasure that it has been possible for us to participate in this particular transaction which is designed to assist a fellow Commonwealth country with whom we have such a close and intimate relationship.

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Bill - by leave - presented by Mr. Adermann, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP

– I move

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this Bill is to implement a stabilisation plan for the Australian tobacco growing industry. Tobacco growing in Australia has had a long and chequered existence but in the last decade the industry has undergone a marked change. Between 1956 and 1961 the Australian tobacco crop increased from about 6 million lb. per annum to about 30 million lb. per annum. This rapid expansion was not without its problems and tobacco growing was extended into areas considered by some to be unsuitable. After many years of highly successful sales, the 1961 auctions were marked by relatively poor clearances and a substantial reduction in the average price of leaf sold. There was considerable hardship involved for individual growers and it will be recalled that the Government made available £175,000 to alleviate distress in the industry.

Following the 1961 experience, growers’ organisations began to consider seriously plans for the stabilisation of the industry. Sales in 1962 and 1963, however, were generally satisfactory and in this period the movement towards a stabilisation plan received no particular impetus. In early 1964, when it became apparent that the 1964 leaf crop was likely to be larger than average (in fact, it ultimately turned out to be a record at about 34 million lb.) grower activity in relation to the development of a long term stabilisation plan became more urgent and in August 1964 proposals along these lines were submitted to Commonwealth and State Ministers.

In the past, the basis of Commonwealth support for the tobacco growing industry has been the statutory percentage usage system for Australian leaf. Under this system, manufacturers under certain conditions pay a concessional rate of duty on imported leaf used in manufactured blends providing they use in these blends a stipulated percentage of Australian leaf. The proposals submitted by growers to the Government envisaged the retention of the percentage usage system as a basic support of their plan.

Following upon the receipt of the growers’ proposals, Commonwealth and State Ministers met on a number of occasions and agreed on the basis of a stabilisation plan for the industry. As evolved, the plan in summary provides for - (a) an Australian tobacco board to administer the plan; (b) an annual Australian marketing quota of 26 million lb.;

  1. a grade and price schedule, to cover the sale of the marketing quota, designed to yield an average minimum price of 125d. a lb; based on a normal crop fallout; (d) the appointment of a Commonwealth Arbitrator to settle disputes on grading between buyers and sellers. Honors able members will be aware that, in fact, a plan along the lines of the above has been operating on an interim basis during the 196S leaf selling season and the broad functions of the proposed board have been carried out by an interim committee. -

The Australian Tobacco Board will have the following powers and functions, derived from complementary Commonwealth and State legislation - (a) to control and regulate - exports of tobacco leaf; (b) to negotiate with manufacturers, growers arid appropriate Government bodies agreements concerning quantities and grades of tobacco leaf to which stabilisation arrangements will apply each year; (c) to allocate such quantity between producing States according to a specific formula acceptable to the Australian Agricultural Council; (d) as a basis for such allocation to relate the formula to the average quantity of leaf sold from each State over the last five years; (e) to determine policy for the sale of quota and overquota leaf; (f) to determine a satisfactory grade and price schedule; (g) to determine the sales date schedule; (h) to negotiate with the Commonwealth Government as necessary on all matters related to tobacco marketing.

State Ministers in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, the current tobacco producing States, have agreed, and State legislation will be enacted, to confer upon the Australian Tobacco Board such of the above powers as fall within the sphere of State responsibility. The Australian Tobacco Board will be comprised of four grower representatives, four manufacturer representatives, a representative of each of the three State Governments concerned and a representative of the Commonwealth as chairman. The financing of the- Board’s operations is being covered by amendments to existing tobacco charge legislation.

The overall annual marketing quota of 26 million lb. will be divided amongst the tobacco producing States by the Board on a formula approved by the Australian Agricultural Council. Of course, honorable members will appreciate that the allocation of these State quotas among individual growers will be carried out by the States themselves. The figure of 26 million lb., which has been set as the annual marketing quota, is the average of the leaf sold in the three years ending 1964. Having regard to views of both manufacturers and growers, and bearing in mind that manufacturers were carrying substantial excess stocks at the end of the 1964 season, the Government considers that the stabilisation of the annual marketing quota at this level is reasonable.

The development of a satisfactory grade and minimum price schedule is basic’ to the plan: The figure of 125 pence per lb., as an average minimum return for a normal crop, is considered reasonable by Commonwealth and State Governments. Because of the failure of growers and manufacturers to agree on the details of a grade and minimum price schedule, the Commonwealth, in view of the proximity of the commencement of leaf sales in March this year, was reluctantly obliged to construct a schedule, based on the available information, to operate for the 1965 selling season. It was fully appreciated at the time that this schedule would be subject to review in the light of the selling experience in 1965. This will be the task of the new Australian Tobacco Board and it is hoped that it will be approached by all parties in a spirit pf co-operation and goodwill with a view to the construction of a schedule which will represent with advantage the interests of growers, manufacturers and consumers alike.

Because the system will provide for minimum prices applicable to specific grades, provision must be made to settle disputes on grades. A very competent tobacco man, in the person of the late Mr. P. C. South, was appointed to the position of Arbitrator, as a Commonwealth Public Servant, just prior -to the commencement of sales in March this year. Unfortunately, Mr. South passed away suddenly before taking up his duties. In the difficult situation which thus arose, arrangements were made with W. D. and H. O. Wills (Aust.) Ltd. for the secondment for the 1965 selling season of Mr. F. M. Munster to the Commonwealth to carry out the functions of Arbitrator. I would like to express my appreciation of the company’s secondment of Mr. Munster and to Mr. Munster himself for the very able manner in which he carried out a most difficult task. It is proposed to make a suitable permanent appointment for 1966 end subsequent selling seasons.

I have set out the main provisions of the plan for the industry which the Government hopes will bring stability into an industry which has been subject over the years to fluctuations in both production and price. As I have already informed honorable members, the plan actually commenced in 1965 and has encountered some initial difficulties. It must be appreciated that, in any stabilisation plan, it is difficult initially completely to satisfy all parties on every aspect.

From the growers’ point of view, the fact that much leaf had to be re-offered, more than once on occasions, before final sale represented a somewhat costly additional marketing expense. Again, growers could not be particuarly happy that manufacturers passed a large proportion of the crop to the Arbitrator. For myself, I feel that these aspects are part of the teething troubles of a new plan and I would certainly expect under normal conditions that these problems will be solved. It must be remembered that the 1965 season was a difficult one, particularly in drought stricken areas and this in itself resulted in problems as to the types of leaf on offer.

Some manufacturers, for their part, have protested, with some vigour, that the grade and minimum price schedule was not satisfactory to them. In the first place, they say that price relationships between grades were out of line. More importantly, however, they allege that the schedule contains some grades of leaf which they claim are unusable. As I have already mentioned, because of the lack of agreement between growers and manufacturers, a starting point had to be found early this year by the Government, with the recognition that the schedule so determined must of necessity be subject to review in the light of experience. This will be done by the Australian Tobacco Board at a very early date.

In spite of the initial difficulties which have been encountered, the 1965 tobacco sales resulted in a 95 per cent, clearance of all marketing quota leaf offered and the recent dispute between certain manufacturers and the Government concerned only the minor part, that it, the remaining 5 per cent. This result indicates that growers have had an eventual clearance of all leaf and the fact of a 95 per cent, clearance at auction does not indicate that the grade and price schedule problems are insoluble in so far as they now refer only to a very small portion of the crop. The plan as devised provides growers with an assured market of at least a minimum price for a reasonable level of production. Manufacturers are given an assurance against over-rapid and indiscriminate expansion of the local growing industry and the principle of a grade and minimum price directed towards encouraging the production of better quality leaf should ensure continuing improvement in the quality of leaf offered to them by growers.

State Governments strongly support the Commonwealth in the steps being taken to stabilise the tobacco growing industry and I am confident that, given goodwill and cooperation, the various sectors of the tobacco industry, through their representatives on the Australian Tobacco Board, will solve any initial difficulties which have arisen and ensure growers a reasonable standard of living and manufacturers and consumers a readily acceptable product. I commend the Bill to honorable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Pollard) adjourned.

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Bill presented by Mr. Adermann, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Mr. ADERMANN (Fisher- Minister for

Primary Industry) [9.5]. -

I move -

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this Bill is to increase charges on the sale and purchase of tobacco leaf to meet the administrative expenses of the proposed Australian Tobacco Board.

Under the Tobacco Charge Act (No. 1) 1955, the rate of the charge on leaf sold by growers is one halfpenny per lb. The Tobacco Charge Act (No. 2) 1955 provides that leaf purchased by manufacturers shall bear a charge which is twice the rate applicable in the Tobacco Charge Act (No. 1) 1955. The Tobacco Charge Act (No. 3) 1955 makes provision for rates of charge on leaf grown by a manufacturer and appropriated by him for manufacturing purposes.

This latter Act, designed to meet the situation of a grower co-operative manufacturer is not relevant at the present time because no such co-operatives are in operation.

The amendment proposed in this Bill to Increase the rate of charge under Tobacco Charge Act (No. 1) 1955 from one halfpenny to three fifths of a penny per lb. will therefore have the consequential effect of raising the rate of charge under Tobacco Charge Act (No. 2) 1955 from one penny to one and one fifth of a penny per lb.

In a normal year, the additional amount which would be raised by the amendment to the legislation will be £32,500. It is intended that a maximum annual amount of £30,000 will be made available to the Australian Tobacco Board for administrative expenses. As the present purpose of tobacco charge legislation is to raise moneys for research into tobacco leaf, the balance of the additional moneys raised by the present amendment to the legislation will go to the Tobacco Industry Trust Account set up for that purpose.

The amendment which is proposed is a most convenient method of raising the relatively small amount required to finance the proposed Australian Tobacco Board. It avoids the necessity for separate levies on tobacco leaf and, on the changeover to decimal currency, will mean that the charges applicable on leaf sold and leaf purchased will be one half-cent and one cent respectively. This will make for ease of collection and minimise administrative handling of deductions by selling brokers.

I commend the Bill to honorable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Pollard) adjourned.

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Bill - by leave - presented by Mr. Adermann, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP

– I move -

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The amendment to the Tobacco Industry Act 1955 proposed in this Bill is consequential to legislation in which I have already proposed to finance an Australian Tobacco Board and, for this purpose, to increase the rates of charges under tobacco charge legislation.

Section 4(l)(a) of the Tobacco Industry Act 1955 provides that moneys received under tobacco charge legislation shall be paid into the Tobacco Industry Trust Account which is set up under the Act to finance research and associated activities on tobacco leaf. Section 19 of the Tobacco Marketing Bill proposes that moneys be appropriated from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the administration of the Australian Tobacco Board and an amendment which I have proposed to the Tobacco Charge Act (No. 1) 1955 will raise the necessary additional moneys for this purpose. The purpose of this Bill is to provide that moneys to be paid into the Tobacco Industry Trust Account, from amounts received under Tobacco Charge Acts, will be reduced by the amounts which are paid to the Australian Tobacco Board.

As I have already advised honorable members, the additional amount which will be raised by the proposed amendment to Tobacco Charge Act (No. 1) 1955 will be £32,500 in a normal year. It is intended that annual payments to the Australian Tobacco Board will not exceed £30,000 and if the Board’s requirements are less payments will be accordingly lower. The effect will be that moneys received from tobacco charges over and above payments to the Australian Tobacco Board, will automatically revert to the Tobacco Industry Trust Account’. Therefore, research funds will not be detrimentally affected and, in fact, are likely to be somewhat increased.

I commend the Bill to honorable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Pollard) adjourned.

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In Committee.

Consideration resumed from 29th October (vide page 2460).

Second Schedule.

Department of Social Services.

Proposed expenditure, £9,935,000.

Repatriation Department.

Proposed expenditure, £132,818,000.


.- I want to take this opportunity to speak about the care of the aged in the community and to make some recommendations which I trust will be conveyed by the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Sinclair) to the Government. First, I claim that the Government’s legislation in recent years for the care of the aged has been marked with success. While our friends of the Opposition have from time to time, in good Opposition style, criticised the piece of legislation that we know as the Aged Persons’ Homes Act, I believe that they are big enough men to acknowledge that this has been a splendidly conceived piece of legislation and that it has undoubtedly worked in the interests of the elderly people in our community.

When we talk of the Aged Persons’ Homes Act and claim that it is meritorious we must justify that claim by referring to what has been done. I may mention in passing that under this legislation the Government in recent years has provided more than £24 million to aid the charitable bodies and the Church organisations throughout Australia which have undertaken the task of providing modern housing for elderly people. Honorable members know that some years ago many elderly people endured shocking housing conditions. I have referred, from time to time, as have other honorable members, to the tenements and verandah rooms that old people were forced to occupy and also to the exorbitant rents that elderly people were called upon to pay. The money spent by the Government under this legislation has resulted in the provision of modern accommodation for about 24,000 elderly people. The estimates before us show that £3.7 million will be provided for grants under this legislation in the current financial year. Apart from this excellent provision I am sure that all of us approve and applaud the action of the Government, as announced by the Minister for Social. Services recently, in respect of assistance for the Old Persons’ Welfare Council of Australia. The Minister announced within recent weeks that £50,000 would be provided for this Council in the current financial year and that in following years £30,000 would be provided annually. But these are only two aspects of very good work that has been done.

As a member of this place I now come to the point at which I say that even honor able -members on the Government side dare not kid themselves that all is well. We must not feel that our plans are complete and perfect and that nothing else remains to be done. Every man here, whether he be on the Government side or on the Opposition side, with eyes to see and with a heart to feel knows that there is a terrific amount yet to be accomplished if we are to care for our elderly people at the level that we desire. The institutions designed to house the aged, either in the form of independent living or with full institutional care, are soon confronted with the problem of the incurable or chronic sick, Sir. When an organisation draws subsidy money under the terms of the Aged Persons’ Homes Act and that money is applied for the building of a sick bay, I suggest, the object can be achieved only by keeping the cost per person housed in the institution, village or retirement area quite low. Difficulties are then faced because of what we find is a 21 day maximum bed occupancy in such a sick bay. I would be surprised if my colleagues throughout the chamber have not been confronted with this problem as genuine people have said: “We are embarrassed. We do not know what answer to find for the Department of Social Services. Because our sick people are in beds in a sick bay in excess of 21 days and we transgress the regulations we are in difficulty. We do not know what to do.”

There is another problem related to this. I refer to the frightening cost of maintenance. Today organisations may receive only £1 per day per patient under the terms of the National Health Act. Therefore, many elderly patients wonder why they should contribute their pension when they move from a flat or a cottage into a sick bay. They wonder why their full pension should be contributed, together with the £1 per day provided under the terms of the National Health Act, to pay for their accommodation while they receive specialised care in a sick bay, for they recognise that the majority of them are entitled to go to a public hospital, with all its modern facilities, to receive their treatment free. As a result, the bed capacity of public hospitals is under constant strain because elderly people cannot face up to the costs involved in sick bay facilities.

I hope that I can capture the ear of the Minister for Social Services, who is now at the table. I assure him that the sick bay regulations being applied by his Department and the procedure related to aged persons’ homes in this connection need to be urgently reviewed with sympathy and understanding. I imagine that I speak now for every Church and every charitable body that in recent years has built a sick bay and given accommodation to sick residents in retirement communities and villages. I suggest that confidence is built up between the residents and the organisation that is caring for them; and in my view it is a great pity indeed that this relationship should be broken by the transfer of a resident, because of chronic illness, from an established village or community to an unrelated institution or terminal hospital. I believe that we have to. face this as something far from, desirable and find an answer to it, Mr. Temporary Chairman. I trust, that I can suggest an answer or two. .

I ask myself and other honorable members the question: To what extent, does chronic sickness affect the aged section of the community? I am quite convinced that this is an important field for up to date research. I should like the Minister to note how convinced I am- of this and to note also my hope that something can be done to put in progress the sort of research that we need. When I sought here in Canberra for articles, surveys and up to date uniform statistics I found that nothing could be produced. The Department of Social Services had nothing to offer me from its own library and evidently the Department of Health is in a similar position. The Commonwealth “ Year Book “ does not provide me or anyone else with the total number of beds available in this country in institutions for the incurable sick. When I sought urgently a copy of the annual report of the very praiseworthy hospital in my own State that is known as the Home of Peace I was told that it was not filed in the National Library in Canberra. Fortunately the week of recess enabled me to take further measures myself in trying to find some of the figures and information about some of the aspects that I want to mention tonight.

When I turn to the estimates for the Department of Social Services, I find that under “ Incidental and other expenditure “, item 09, sub-division 2, Division No. 470, the Department has provided some funds for survey or research work. So I urgently recommend that a survey be instituted to establish what the nation is really doing for the chronic sick, what the existing problem represents in the community and what steps the Government might reasonably take to alleviate any difficulties in this field. One cannot help but wonder how many incurably sick people are in private homes and what vital relief would be experienced by the public hospitals if elderly people could only be taken out of them and placed in terminal hospitals, thereby releasing many beds for acute cases.

  1. have located a little helpful information relating to some of the charitable hospitals and organisations ‘ in existence. I refer particularly, to a few in Kew South .Wales. I find that the organisation known as the Royal Ryde Homes represents one of Sydney’s havens for incurable patients. This institution has undertaken a programme for the progressive improvement of its facilities, which have existed for many years. Today it provides peaceful and comfortable surroundings for terminal patients of all ages. The most recent renovations of sections of this old institution have been thorough and imaginative. Subject, of course, to the - availability of finance, the new facilities have been carefully chosen for their suitability. There are other organisations in New South Wales also. But when we try to make an assessment of what they are doing and of the number of beds they offer we find that the job that has been done and - can be done is inadequate. The Garrawarra Hospital, which was formerly a sanatorium, can accommodate 62 men and 104 women. Pensioners and non-pensioners are cared for at public ward rates. The Lidcombe State Hospital and Home provides for men of all ages. The Newington State Hospital cares for chronically ill female patients of all ages. I know that the Aldersgate Private Hospital has accommodation for 46 or more of the aged sick of both sexes. This is by no means a complete list. I tried to find the total number of beds available, as I have indicated, and I was alarmed to ascertain how few they were relatively when totalled.

In Western Australia the Home of Peace has had a splendid record of service to the community since it was established in 1901.

Its work is now being extended after many years of wishing for this, and something like £250,000 is being spent with financial assistance from the State Government and other sources. But we have to note that that organisation has no fewer than 400 incurable and chronically sick people wishing to gain admittance immediately. The financial strain falling on churches and charitable bodies that are attempting to provide modern hospital buildings should be lifted, I believe. Let me illustrate what I mean. I am associated with a retirement village that shortly will have 400 aged people living in a modern community. Since it is based on independent living and is not an institution and there is no sick bay, the question arises: What happens when a medical practitioner diagnoses an incurable illness? Where do we send them? Do we break this relationship? They would prefer to remain, their confidence having been established with this organisation, perhaps for a number of years.

The proposal which I bring to the Minister is that we need another small bill that can have the same impact upon the community as the homes for the aged legislation. I believe that such a bill should be drafted under the heading of, say, accommodation for the chronic sick and that it should be supported by the Government in a similar fashion to its Aged. Persons Homes Act and the Disabled Persons Accommodation Act. In this instance the subsidy could be provided, I suggest, by the Commonwealth on a matching basis with the State Governments because of the hospital aspect of this proposal. Such a partnership would seem to be highly desirable and fully warranted. The organisation, charitable body or church, as the case may be, as the voluntary organisation, would be expected to make its contribution to the capital cost. But bearing in mind that these groups or committees would relieve both Commonwealth and State Governments of the heavy expense of maintenance, I feel that their contributions of, say, one-fifth of the capital cost would be fully justified. So I suggest a formula with two-fifths contribution by the Commonwealth, two-fifths by the State Government and one-fifth by the voluntary body. I believe that the Commonwealth Government, at the same time, would need to revise its assistance under the National Health Act as the £1 per patient per day is quite out-dated and needs to be increased considerably.

I conclude in the seconds which remain by reminding all who are interested that in recent years medical science has increased the life of elderly people. Although in 1871 only 1 .7 per cent, of Australia’s population was over 65 years of age, it is estimated that in 1980 no less than 11.3 per cent, will be in this age group. I believe, therefore, that my proposal highlights a very great need in this field of social services, and that the Government should enhance its excellent record by a further development along the lines that I have suggested.

East Sydney

.- I have listened with interest to the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Cleaver), who, on every occasion when the estimates for the Department of Social Services are before the Committee, presents a case on behalf of the chronically ill and also for homes for aged persons. I feel that the Opposition must fully agree with what the honorable member has said because we know that we have a great many of these problems in the areas which we represent. The greatest problem amongst aged persons today is the lack of decent accommodation. If we can overcome this problem I am sure that we will afford them great relief and benefit their health. Every week a great number of aged persons in my electorate come to me and ask me to assist them to obtain better accommodation. I remind the honorable member for Swan that, although he espouses the Government in speaking on the Aged Persons Homes Act, a former Labour government made specific grants to State Governments which enabled the State housing commissions to build special homes for pensioners in the category to which the honorable member referred. However, in 1956 the present Government deleted this provision from the Act and now no specific grant of any substance is made to the States for the purpose of building homes for aged persons. The honorable member omitted to mention one important aspect which I believe is open to criticism not only by the Opposition but also by Government supporters. The Government should include local government bodies in the provisions of the Aged Persons Homes Act and should try to encourage them to build homes for the aged. This will enable us at least’ to try to overcome the great housing shortage that exists among pensioners.

My main reason for speaking in this debate is to raise a matter mentioned by the Joint Committee on Public Accounts in its 73rd Report. Referring to the Department of Social Services at page 158 of the report the Committee stated that a special benefit is paid to wives in Victoria who have been deserted by their husbands or whose husbands are in gaol as no relief is provided by the State Government as is provided in other States for wives in this situation. The Committee added that the amounts so payable continue for six months when a statutory eligibility for a widow’s pension is obtained. I should like to know why the Federal Government makes a specific grant to one State when all the other State Governments are called upon to pay a pension to deserted wives while they are waiting to qualify for the Commonwealth benefit. In New South Wales a deserted wife in this situation receives a pension of up to £6 2s. 6d. a week for herself and receives an additional £2 for each child. In Victoria the Commonwealth Government provides as a special benefit for deserted wives £4 2s. 6d. a week plus 15s. a week for each child. The 24th report of the Director-General of Social Services reveals that 4,009 special benefits were granted during 1964-65 and that 1,485 were for men and 2,524 were paid to women. I suggest that the great majority of the women receiving that benefit from the Commonwealth live in Victoria.

In New South Wales this year the State Government has made a provision in its appropriation of £978,279 for the maintenance of deserted wives and widows. That Government has had to find this money from its own Treasury to provide for deserted wives during the six months while they are qualifying for the Commonwealth benefit. But let us suppose that only 2,000 of the women receiving the special benefit live in Victoria. Over a period of 12 months the Government of that State would be saved about £468,000 which would be required to maintain these people. That takes no account of any benefit that would be paid for children but is calculated only on the special benefit of £4 2s. 6d. The payment of this benefit in Victoria is an injustice to every other State of the Commonwealth. If the

Commonwealth can pay the benefit in one State it can pay it also in the others. Because the Commonwealth provides for the deserted wives in Victoria, in effect the Victorian Government will receive an additional £468,000 this year. Honorable members will recall that when the Premiers Conference was held in June a deal went on behind the Speaker’s chair, as a result of which the Victorian Government received an additional £600,000 from the Commonwealth. Yet that State benefits by another £468,000; so in all it will receive £1 million more than it would otherwise receive. New South Wales has to find £978,000 this year to provide for deserted wives and widows whereas Victoria does not provide this benefit. The State Governments should take more responsibility in this field because the area covered by the Commonwealth is not sufficiently wide. The States are being called upon to provide a greater proportion of their revenue to finance social service benefits. Despite the fact that Victoria receives this favorable treatment from the Commonwealth, the Government of that State still has to provide approximately £li million for family welfare purposes. South Australia finds it necessary to provide £933,000 for its Children’s Welfare and Public Relief Department. Western Australia, which has only a small population, expended £478,254 on child welfare and outdoor relief in 1963-64. According to the Auditor-General’s report the Tasmanian Government provided £1.5 million last year for relief, maintenance, medical attendance, transport and funeral expenses of persons in necessitous circumstances. Queensland, another State in which the population is not as great as it is in New South Wales and Victoria, is providing £141,000 for relief assistance social services. If one State is given some assistance - the amount is not small because this year Victoria is to receive £458,000 - then this Government should treat every other State similarly. The amount expended for social amelioration purposes by the New South Wales Government was £7,549,000 last year. In 1963-64 the amount expended was over £8 million. In the year before that, it was approximately £64 million.

I am led to believe that the special benefit paid by the Commonwealth to Victoria was first granted by a Labour Government in 1948. Therefore, Victoria has now been enjoying this advantage for 16 years and the total amount of money involved would be substantial. I should say it would run into millions of pounds more than any other State has received. If that is not favouritism to one State, I should like to know what is. I suggest to the Minister that he look into the matter and take steps to ensure that every other State receives the same benefit as Victoria does for there can be no denying that these other States do merit some consideration.

I come now to the question of supplementary assistance. Since the Budget was introduced, I have had many deputations from pensioners’ organisations and from pensioners themselves in connection with this matter. I know that this question has been referred to on many occasions by honorable members on both sides of the House, but it is still worthy of mention. Supplementary assistance is granted for the purpose of assisting single pensioners with their rent. I speak now on behalf of the great number of aged widows, widowers and other single pensioners who are home owners and who are finding it very difficult to pay their rates and taxes. Some of these people are paying as much as £1 a week and even more in rates and taxes. It is true that some pensioners are fortunate enough to live in areas in which the local authority waives payment of rates by pensioners. In New South Wales, however, no such concession is granted by the Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board. As honorable members will appreciate, these aged persons would not use as much water as would young people, yet they are still called upon to pay the full amount of water rates. This does impose a hardship on the old people. We realise, too, that a great many shire councils cannot afford to waive payment of rates, which means that home owners in their areas must bear the full burden. Again I urge the Government to give some consideration to assisting single pensioners with the payment of rates. It would not cost a great deal. I have been unable to ascertain from the report just how many of these old people would be concerned. I do not think the Department of Social Services keeps statistics relating to the number of single pensioners who own their own homes but I am confident that if they became eligible for supplementary assistance the Depart ment would receive a great many applications.

One person who interviewed me yesterday told me that because of the increase in the rates charged in the area in which she owns a home, she has decided to make the home over to her son. She cannot afford the cost of upkeep and she proposes giving the house to her son so that he shall become responsible for keeping it in a good state of repair and bearing all other costs related to it. I have had many deputations from widows, widowers and others who own their own homes. All have requested me to make representations to the Government with the view to obtaining for them some assistance in paying both water and general local authority rates. Supplementary assistance along these lines would enable them to live a little more decently on their pensions than they are able to do at present. I think the Minister should try to give them some help. He knows that many of these people purchased their homes years ago and that with rising property values rates have increased continually until now the burden is very heavy. Pensioner home owners are suffering acute hardship and I suggest that the Minister should submit to the Government some scheme designed to help these people to meet the cost of water and general local authority rates.


.- First t should like to congratulate the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Sinclair) on the splendid job he has done in the short time he has held his portfolio. The office of Minister for Social Services can entail a tremendous amount of work if it is fulfilled conscientiously and I am sure all honorable members on both sides agree that the present Minister has made every effort to carry out his duties in this most difficult portfolio to the best of his ability. I know the number of hours he has put in familiarising himself with the requirements of his office and in making this, very difficult Department work efficiently. Already he has been able to persuade Cabinet to give quite a number of additional benefits including assistance to widows, allowances for children, funeral benefits and so on. All of these have helped people in difficult circumstances. The Department of Social Services is- a very big one to administer. The appropriation for it has increased from about £445 million to about £470 million and to administer the distribution of this tremendous sum is no easy task.

There are a number of directions in which most of us agree a little more could be done. We all appreciate that lack of money has presented the greatest difficulty in widening the field of social service benefits, but I suggest, for instance, that the permissible income of civilian widows could be increased. Many of these women have families to rear and homes to pay for. To raise their permissible income would not cost the Government’ a great deal of money but it would assist them considerably.

The same argument applies even more strongly to war widows. In my electorate, I know of war widows who have been left with families to rear and war service homes to pay off. They are having great difficulty in paying off the home, and rearing and educating their families. If the Government can in its next Budget see fit, on the advice of the Minister, to assist both civilian and war widows by allowing them to earn more money it will be a good thing. Many of them are keen and capable of working. Many have held responsible jobs such as school teaching. Nursing is another field in which they can play a part. Many hospitals require part-time nurses and widows who are trained nurses could help tremendously here.

Another field in which the Minister, the Department and the Government should be congratulated for doing a tremendous job is the aged persons’ home scheme. Some £25 million has already been paid out in subsidies. Anyone who moves about and sees what has been done by the various organisations which receive the Government subsidy must realise how successful the whole programme has been. Recently I had occasion to visit a number of these homes. It is a pleasure indeed to see how delighted the old people are to be able to live in a comfortable home. Some of them are in small units enjoying all the modern amenities available. They have no worries about rent other than the nominal rent they are asked to pay. They do not need to worry about repairs and maintenance and all the little things that become a burden to people as they grow older. These people live in a community of people with similar interests and they are able to organise their own clubs. What has been done by the Government in this field alone, apart from anything else, stands greatly to its credit.

Another field of social services is rehabilitation. The institutions in this field provide not only for the aged and the sick but also for people who. have been injured in, for instance, motor accidents. When one sees the devotion to duty on the part of the staff in these institutions and the work that is being done one feels that we are progressing a long way in this field. We are looking after people who need help, as we should in an advanced community. Sheltered workshops are playing a tremendous part in the social services field, but I believe that a good deal can still be done. Some sheltered workshops would be encouraged to expand if granted larger subsidies. In many cases, once these workshops are established they become almost self supporting. People who are incapacitated in some way are limited in their earning capacity, but one has only to visit these sheltered workshops to see the help being given to persons who are unable, because of physical injury of physical inability, to do a worthwhile job and so take their place as independent units in the community. Anyone visiting these shops will see the pride that these people take in their work. A person who has been dependent on charity for a long period is very much in need of the assistance provided by the workshops. In one workshop I visited extension ladders, and step ladders were being manufactured. The people making these ladders very proudly showed us the work they were doing. They maintained that their product was at least equal to, if not better than, similar products being made in outside industry. This was proved by their ability to secure both private and government contracts in the open market. These people take a tremendous pride in their job because it has restored their self-respect to think that they are again useful members of the community after having been incapacitated for a long period.

Another field of social services that has been neglected for many years is that involved in the provision of homes for people who are chronically ill. These people have not reached the stage where they need to become hospital patients, but they are in need of almost hospital care. There is a tremendous gap in our social services field in this regard. In my own electorate there is a home run by nuns of the Roman Catholic church. It accepts people of all denominations without question and is doing a tremendously good job. It is understaffed. Originally the building was a private home and is not at all suitable for what is virtually a semi-hospital. The type of building makes the work much more difficult. Only yesterday I had a look at the kitchen. The staff is working under shocking conditions because the home cannot afford to extend the kitchen. With summer coming on the kitchen is short of proper refrigeration in which to keep the enormous amount of food that is needed in an institution of this kind. What is really needed is a deep freeze as well as other equipment. The Mother Superior in charge, who is a very able and experienced person, told me that she had reached the point where the old linen could not be patched any more. This is a phase of social services that might well receive a good deal of consideration. The home to which I have just referred is short of staff because it depends largely on those who give their services in a voluntary capacity; it cannot afford to pay a large wages bill. This is a phase of social services that very definitely needs urgent assistance.

I am particularly interested in senior citizens’ clubs. They play a tremendous part in the lives of those who have recently lived an active life and very often have become despondent. These people sometimes initially become psychologically ill and later become physically ill, because of the change in their way of life. Senior citizens’ clubs enable such people to remain effective citizens. The clubs are doing something worthwhile not only for the people concerned but foi* the whole of our social services system. The senior citizens come together and not only are they able to help each other but they are able also to help others. They assist spastic and other organisations in the collection of funds and what they are doing gives them a renewed interest in life. My friend the local doctor jokingly accused me of sabotaging his practice. He said that many of these people had no time to become ill any more as they were so busy looking after their club activities and other people.

I have always been in favour of the gradual abolition of the means test and I know that the Minister is sympathetic towards this objective. I realise that there are tremendous difficulties and that many readjustments will be needed before this can be brought about. The application of the means test has always been a deterrent to thrift. In my own town there is a large railway population. Some of the more thrifty members of the railway community who have retired on superannuation have been able to save enough to buy then* own home and earn a small income. They are either completely or almost ineligible for any pension benefits. In a number of instances I have been able to assist some of these people to receive a small pension and thus to become eligible for hospital benefits as well. They have often told me about other citizens in the same town who have not saved a penny and are receiving full social service benefits. I am quite sure that if we could remove the means test it would help towards a very much better standard of living in the community. Time and again one sees healthy people reach retiring age and in no time they become ill and become a burden on the community. So often, a man ceases work with the intention of enjoying his bowls or his gardening and having a wonderful time. For a while life seems rosy, but soon he finds that he does not have enough to hold” his interest. Many of these people seek work again. If they obtain work and earn more than the permissible income, somebody unfortunately reports them to the Department of Social Services and their pension is reduced.

It is not long before those people are seeking to have their full pension restored. Honorable members are aware of the amount of work that they are required to do to help such people to regain the pension they have lost because they were earning a few shillings more than the permissible income. The abolition of the means test could lead to considerable savings being made by the Department because it would not need to employ a large army of people to supervise the payment of pensions and to report on those pensioners who had received more than they should have received or to investigate applicants for a pension to decide whether they should get the full pension. We are all aware of tha army of people employed on what is virtually unproductive work. The abolition of the means test would allow many of these people to be employed on other profitable work. We must move towards the abolition of the means test. I do not think it would cost anything like the amount that we imagine, but it would mean so much to so many of our elderly citizens, enabling them to do effective work for the nation and to live a happier and fuller life. I support the estimates for the Department of Social Services. I congratulate the Minister and his departmental officers on the wonderful job they are doing. I thank them for the sympathetic assistance and co-operation that they have always extended to me and, I am sure, to other honorable members.


– Estimated total expenditure this year under the National Welfare Fund is £470,832,000, compared with expenditure last year of £445,183,000. At this stage, I should like to pay a tribute to the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Sinclair), who has always been approachable. I do not wish to attack somebody who is not present, but I always found the Minister’s predecessor a singularly difficult man to approach. This is not so in the case of the present Minister. I wish, also, to express my thanks and appreciation to the staff of the Department of Social Services in Brisbane and other centres where I have contacted them from time to time. I have always found the staff of the Brisbane office extremely courteous and obliging. They have a full knowledge of the relevant legislation and are always eager to help within the limits of the restrictions placed upon them by the legislation and by the Department.

I do not think anybody on this side of the chamber would wish to deprive the Government of credit for the increased expenditure under the National Welfare Fund as provided in the current Budget. I express the hope that the Minister will be able to increase expenditure by £25 million a. year for as long as he holds the portfolio. If he is able to do this, honorable members on both sides- of the chamber will be happy. Government supporters have claimed credit for the increased expenditure. We on this side. concede them this credit, but I should like to cite some figures produced by Professor R. I. Downing, Professor of

Economic Research, University of Melbourne. The figures show that Australia occupies only 14th position in the list of countries which devote some of their expenditure to social security. The list shows that the following countries devote the following percentages of their gross national expenditure to social security: Federal Republic of Germany, 13.1 per cent.; France, 10.7 per cent.; Sweden, 10.7 per cent.; New Zealand, 9.8 per cent.; Belgium, 9.5 per cent.; Luxembourg, 9.0 per cent.; United Kingdom, 8.7 per cent.; Denmark, 8.5 per cent.; Italy, 8.4 per cent.; Austria, 8.4 per cent.; Finland, 8.1 per cent.; The Netherlands, 7.7 per cent.; Ireland, 7.5 per cent.; and Australia, 6.6 per cent. A number of other countries devote smaller percentages of their gross national expenditure to social security. The list refers to social security expenditures, and not particularly social services. I do not want to be accused later of trying to confuse the Committee. The list proves that Australia, which once led the world in this field, could well afford to look at this matter and determine whether it is time for us to attempt to regain leadership in this field of social security and social services. Expenditure on social services should increase with national productivity. If an assessment is made of movements in pensions and of expenditure on pensioner medical services it will be readily seen that expenditure has not kept pace with increases iri national productivity over the past generation.

In my speech on the Budget I referred to an increase in the base rate of pensions. I do not propose to deal with that matter again. I referred, also, to the suspension of the payment of pensions to people admitted to special hospitals, which, in less happy days, were known as mental hospitals. I argued earlier that some people who are convalescing in a special hospital should receive a social services payment. One must concede that many people in a special hospital would be quite incapable of determining how a pension should be spent. On the other hand, many people in these special hospitals are quite capable of determining how a pension should be spent. Individual cases should be dealt with on their merits. I know that there are problems associated with the payment of pensions to inmates of a special hospital. I know that the law of some States requires all income of these people to be paid to public curators or public trustees. I know that there are administrative problems. The Government’s attitude in the matter is that it is a State responsibility, but if this is so, the States are not facing up to their responsibility -because when an inmate of one of these special hospitals is ready to be discharged he or she receives no support from the State. A woman, for example, receives no money with which to buy cosmetics, which -would aid her recovery.

I join, with the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Pettitt) in appealing to the Government to relax the means test. Public servants, teachers and other people in receipt of superannuation payments have been discriminated against by the application of the means test. The permissible income of £3 10s. a week for a single pensioner has not been increased since 1955. The means test encourages dishonesty. It encourages people to dissipate assets that they might have accumulated during their lifetime. It encourages them not to use their assets so as to obtain an income. Take the case of a man who has been thrifty during his working life and, having put aside a certain amount, has invested in stock. Although the face value of his stock may be, say, £1,000, its market value may be £3,500. If he has a small bank account or other assets, his total assets could well exceed the limit of £4,040. Anything that man earns will reduce his pension. The means test should be applied, not merely to reduce expenditure on “social services, but to enable people to provide more for themselves and to increase productivity in the community where there is a shortage of labour. By obtaining an occupation many of these people would be able to lead happier lives.

I said earlier that some people do not make the best use of their assets. I am sure all honorable members are aware of cases of pensioners - perhaps a widow or a widower - living alone in a house which is falling into disrepair. The pensioner is afraid to take in boarders or to let portion of the house because of the - effect such action might have on the pension being paid. It is all very well to explain to them that their pension would not be affected if their income did not exceed £3 10s. a week. Anything that affects the pension, which is their regular income, is. a threat to them.

They would rather continue to receive the pension than take the risk of having ft reduced, and this could happen with the application of the present means test. I think we would all agree that most pensioners are not well informed as to the application of the means test. There is a need to inform them of their rights either through the social welfare side of- the Department or by the issue of pamphlets from time to time. Many of the homes in which pensioners are living and which are exempt while the pensioner is living there could provide badly needed accommodation. I think we should not look at this merely as a means of reducing expenditure on social services; we should also look at it from the point of view of the community.

My criticism of the Social Services Act is that it lacks flexibility. I suggest to the Minister that he consider allowing his officers at head office, in the capital cities and in the local branches more discretion when they are dealing with cases. I will give a few examples which show how the administration lacks flexibility. First, I take the case of a woman who has been deserted by her husband. He may have gone interstate and disappeared. She must take action for maintenance and a summons must be served on her husband. Then she must wait for six months. If he has not honoured his obligations within that period, she is entitled to a deserted wife’s pension, which is a form of widow’s pension. Some people, who believe, in the sanctity of marriage, have come together again probably through the efforts made by marriage guidance councils or by the local parson or priest.

Mr Duthie:

– Ministers or priests.


– I have been corrected by my learned friend who knows much more about these matters than I do. We should praise the efforts of these people. However, if their attempt to give the marriage another try does not work out and if the husband again deserts his wife, the wife must again go through a waiting period of six months before she is entitled to a pension. Having served the initial period of six months, she should be given some credit and officers of the Department should be able to use their discretion. I realise that some time limit must be set to determine whether a wife has really been deserted, but I think in some instances an injustice is done to the deserted wife.

Another instance in which discretion should be used relates to circumstances in which the absence of prior income prevents a person from obtaining a sickness or unemployment benefit. Take the case of a woman who leaves her work for two or three years to nurse her aged mother who is in ill health. They may have lived on capital or on the mother’s pension. The woman may herself, be ill; she may have been through a pretty agonising experience in nursing her mother through the last stages of her life. But when, on the death of her mother, she registers for employment, and seeks either a -sickness benefit or an unemployment benefit, she may be refused such a benefit because she has. had no income in the period before she made her application. Because she has not worked immediately prior to making an application, she is not entitled to a benefit. Of course, if she does obtain a position and then loses it, even if she held it for only a short period, she is qualified. However, she may be ill and unable to hold a position at ali. In these circumstances, the administration of the Department should be a little more flexible. A similar situation is found with Aborigines who leave a settlement, for instance, in Queensland. While on the settlement, they have been wholly maintained by the State Government. If they leave the settlement and register for employment, they are. not entitled to unemployment benefit because they have not received any remuneration immediately prior to registering for employment. I think the Department should exercise some discretion in these cases.

The Department should be able to make an emergency cash payment to widows in necessitous circumstances. I know that this is the responsibility of the States, but the States are not accepting the responsibility. In Queensland, a woman who is left destitute when her husband dies and who is deemed to be in necessitous circumstances can obtain from the State Relief Assistance Section 23s. 6d. a week for herself and 25s. a week for each child. But the States are doing the job very badly and I think we ought to point out to them, or certainly to Queensland, that they should face up to this responsibility. Alternatively, I think the Commonwealth Department should be able to make an emergency grant to a person in necessitous circumstances. The grant may be only £10. I know that the Repatriation Department is able to help a person in necessitous circumstances while the pension application is being processed.

I would like to suggest that the Department, at least through its officers in the capital cities, provide an information service for old people. Many old people are not aware of their entitlements under the Commonwealth legislation or the State legislation. Many of them do not know of assistance they can obtain, from local authorities. I think the Department of Social Services should provide this information itself or should help to set up an organisation that would inform old people, whether pensioners or not, of the benefits to which they are entitled. Our purpose is not merely to hand out a certain amount of money; it is also to give old people security and happiness.


.- I desire to lend my support to the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Cleaver) who suggested that we should provide care for the aged sick and the chronic sick. Nb-one is better qualified than is the honorable member for Swan to speak on this subject. Starting without anything, he has set up an organisation in his electorate which, by the end of this year, will provide accommodation for 400 aged people. Anyone who has seen the excellent accommodation provided by the Swan Cottage Homes Inc. will realise that no aged person could be better provided for. The honorable member knows from his own practical experience that his organisation can do nothing for the aged sick and the chronic sick, and it was very helpful to hear his thoughtful suggestion. He said that, if the Commonwealth would provide a subsidy of £1 for each £1 provided by the organisation and if the State Government would provide a like amount, he felt sure that the problem could be solved.

At present there is a complete vacuum in relation to the care of the aged sick and the chronic sick. The States, which have the responsibility of providing hospitals, can properly take the attitude that they will care for sick people as long as they can be cured. But in the case of a person who is suffering from an incurable illness, the States very properly say: “We cannot keep this old sick person in our expensive hospitals for all time “. So the poor old soul’s relatives are told that they must take granny away because the hospital can do nothing for her.

The States cannot, and are. not, dealing with this problem. The churches and charitable organisations, acting under the provisions of the Aged Persons Homes Act, can do nothing either. They have received the subsidy for providing accommodation, but they cannot keep the aged sick and the chronic sick in the accommodation they provide. At present the aged sick and the chronic sick are cared for in nursing homes, sometimes of quite doubtful quality but which, if approved under State legislation, receive from the Commonwealth £1 a day or £7 a week in nursing subsidy. In addition the aged or sick people receive from the Commonwealth either the age pension or the invalid pension and, in most cases, supplementary assistance. The nursing home is able to receive an income of £7 a week nursing home subsidy and possibly up to £7 a week from each person - this being the amount of the age pension and supplementary assistance. Although £14 a week may be just sufficient to maintain and provide nursing care for these aged people it is certainly insufficient to provide anything towards the cost of erection of a nursing home or to pay interest on the mortgage of the nursing, home, or depreciation, rates and taxes and meet the cost of repairs. Sp if we are going to solve this problem we have to do something more than is provided today by the combined actions of the Commonwealth and the States.

As this is a problem that concerns the Commonwealth and the States I believe that the suggestion made by the honorable member for Swan is very good. At present public hospitals keep people for weeks or months longer than they wish to keep them, and longer than they should keep them, simply because they have nowhere else to send old people. The hospitals cannot cure them so justification for keeping them in an expensive hospital does not exist. The hospitals have taken them in originally because they have had broken legs or some other ailments that can be cured, but while the old persons are in the public hospital the hospital staff realises that the patients are chronic cases’ who can never be totally cured. As there is nowhere else to send them the community loses. The cost of keeping a patient in a public hospital ranges from £30 to £70 a week, yet we are keeping hundreds and probably thousands of chronic cases in public hospitals at this cost when for about £15 a week they could be kept in first rate nursing homes.

An effort should be made at a conference of the Commonwealth and States so that each would accept its share of responsibility. This could result in a saving of money to them. If the public hospitals in the States could transfer patients to nursing homes immediately the patients were cured of the particular disabilities they first went to hospital with, this could result in a tremendous saving of hospital costs to the States. On the other hand, if the Commonwealth were prepared to provide a subsidy for nursing homes aged and sick people would be cared for at a minimum cost to the community in the most suitable type of home for them. Let us look at this from the humanitarian aspect. If a person is suffering from nothing but senile decay - if she has no curable illness - is it to her benefit to be in a public hospital, at high cost to the community, seeing people being wheeled in arid out for operations? Is it not better that she should be transferred to a nursing home where she can enjoy pleasant surroundings, where television or the wireless is available and where friends and visitors can come to cheer her up? The poor old thing can never be cured, but she can be given friendship.

Mr Reynolds:

– A lot of these people are in mental institutions.


– That is right. Many are sent to mental institutions because there is nowhere suitable to send them. The time has arrived when we must have a definite plan for nursing homes for the aged sick, the chronic sick and people who are virtually senile. What they need is not very skilled nursing care. Of course, they need a trained matron who knows whether or not they are sick, but in the main they need help from a cheery person who need not be particularly well trained but who will know how to attend to their little personal needs - when to move them in bed if they need moving, to wheel them out into the sunshine on a nice sunny day, to take them into the television room when they want to watch television or to ‘ let them hear the wireless when they want to hear it. This type of nursing costs only a fraction of the nursing cost of a person in a public hospital where there must be expensive equipment and skilled nurses and doctors in attendance. The ratio of staff to patients in a public hospital is one to one, but in a nursing home that ratio would be no more than probably one staff member for each six to eight patients. I suggest that this is a matter in the interests of the whole community. There could be a tremendous saving in costs, but it requires the participation of both the Commonwealth and the States. I hope that the Minister will examine this matter and try to find some solution of this difficult problem of the care of the aged sick and the chronic sick.

In the last few moments at my disposal I want to repeat what I have said in this chamber many times. I believe that our social problem will be solved only when we have national superannuation or national insurance. Then we will have to deal in this chamber only with the marginal cases for which care is not provided under the national scheme. If we had national insurance or national superannuation we would have no means test. Benefits would be a right and all the problems that we deal with in this chamber relating to the means test would be solved overnight because there would be no means test. So long as our pension is based on need, as it has been ever since the institution of the age pension, the means test is the measure of need. Therefore, on every’ examination we have to go into the question of priorities. We must realise that every increase of one shilling a week in the age pension costs Australia £2 million. If we make up our minds that the pension should rise by Ss. a week the cost will be £10 million. Therefore we have to consider how best we can spend that £10 million. We have to decide whether it is better to spend it by way of an overall increase in the pension or whether it would be better to deal with the hardship cases - with those most in need. I see that my time has almost expired and I will not be able to develop that point further. I want to emphasise that so long as we have a pension based on need we cannot avoid having to decide priorities as to where need is greatest and how best we can spend the money that is available for social services,

Wide Bay

.- I wish to speak briefly to the estimates for the Repatriation Department. I particularly wish to refer to optical services provided to war service pensioners in country areas. I think this matter has been brought to the notice of quite >a number of honorable members. Over the years that I have represented the electorate of Wide Bay, people from various areas have come to me with complaints about this service. I do not say that every person provided with spectacles has a complaint but quite a number of complaints have been mentioned to me. First of all they point out - and I understand that this is correct - that when the pension was originally granted they were advised to indicate the local doctor to whom they preferred to go for medical attention. They were also provided with a list of the local dentists and asked to nominate the dentist of their choice. But when it comes to optical services they are ‘ not given any choice. Possibly, they do not require the services of an optician as often as those of a doctor or dentist. Yet they are given no choice as to an optician even though many of them have been in the habit of consulting a particular optometrist for a number of years - one in whom they have confidence to do the tests and provide them with spectacles to restore their sight. Yet when these people want to take advantage of the service provided to them as pensioners they are told, in my electorate, that they must go to a visiting ophthalmologist. Quite a number of optometrists to whom I have spoken have questioned whether or not an ophthalmologist is better qualified in refraction tests than an optometrist.

An ophthalmologist certainly is skilled in the treatment of diseases of the eyes. He is trained in that respect. But from inquiries I have made it does not seem that an ophthalmologist spends very much of his time in the study of refraction tests. As you know, Mr. Chairman, refraction is the process or procedure used to decide the type of lens which should be provided to improve the eyesight of a particular person. Once the ophthalmologist has prescribed a certain lens the prescription is sent to a contractor. In Queensland prescriptions are sent to the contractor in Brisbane and spectacles are posted to the people concerned. While the spectacles are in the mail they may be subject to some bumping about which could cause damage. In a number of these cases which have been referred to me, the people have not been satisfied and have found the spectacles unsatisfactory. I know of cases which have been referred to the Repatriation Department. I know of more than one case in which the spectacles have been returned on a number of occasions and eventually the pensioner has put them on the shelf and gone to his local optometrist with whom he dealt in the first place, and has paid for spectacles himself.

What is the greatest concern of the Department: To provide a satisfactory service to its wards, or to give them a service which is cheaper than a satisfactory service would be? The optometrists in the cities of Bundaberg, Maryborough and Gympie approached the Repatriation Department about this matter. I know it was brought up by the Returned Servicemens League in that area. It approached the Department and offered to provide spectacles for repatriation pensioners. In places where there is no visiting ophthalmologist, pensioners are given authority to go to a local optometrist for their spectacles and these are paid for at the usual, price. These people feel that the local optometrists would be able to give better service, particularly after-care service such as adjustments to lenses or frames. In many cases people have found it necessary to go to their optometrist to have some slight adjustment made. If the optometrist is in Brisbane, a couple of hundred miles away, the pensioners concerned either take the glasses to. Brisbane themselves or post them and enclose a note setting out what is wrong. No personal service is given.

The optometrists to whom I have referred made an offer to the Repatriation Department. I know that the Deputy Commissioner of Repatriation in Brisbane was very interested in what could be done to provide this service. He indicated that the Department would review the position towards the end of the year. In August, the Deputy Commissioner notified the optometrists that, following an extensive review, the Repatriation Commission had decided to retain the State-wide contract system. Under this system a firm operating in a fairly large way contracts to provide spectacles for the entire State. I understand that the price at which spectacles are provided is infinitesimal. Perhaps the firm gets some money back in some cases by providing special frames because the frames provided under the contract are not always acceptable to the people concerned. But the position is that, except for pensioners in remote areas, the contractor will provide spectacles.

I have a question on the notice paper asking the Minister for Repatriation (Senator McKellar) whether repatriation pensioners can, at the expense of the Department, obtain their spectacles f-orr optometrists of their own choice, or whether they can at least be granted a refund of the amount that the Department would have had to pay if the contractor had provided the spectacles. I know of one recent case of a pensioner who went to Brisbane and interviewed officers of the Repatriation Department. He was sent to an eye specialist. The Department paid for the treatment and he received the best attention. He was then sent to the contracting optometrist. He received excellent attention in all cases, from the Repatriation Department, from the specialist and from the contracting optometrist. However, the spectacles provided were utterly useless and in disgust he went to his usual optometrist and obtained a pair of spectacles which he assures me have improved his eyesight considerably.

I mention these matters because I believe that generally the Minister for Repatriation and the Department wish to give service, but it appears that they have to take the cheapest way out. I also believe that some discrimination is shown against optometrists. Perhaps it is the same kind of discrimination against optometrists that is evident from the provisions of the national health legislation. If a person obtains spectacles from an optometrist to whom he has been referred by a doctor he is eligible for a refund from medical benefits funds. However, if he goes directly to an optometrist and obtains spectacles, some medical benefits funds deny him any relief. I believe this discrimination is entirely unwarranted. Optometrists are trained in their calling. They would not at any time attempt to treat a person for an eye disease. They have sufficient knowledge to recognise a disease of the eye, and if- they did so they would recommend that the patient consult his doctor with a view to being referred to an eye specialist 1 mention these matters in the hope that something can be done about them. I know there are other speakers to follow me and I do not want to trespass on their time, but before I conclude I would like to direct the attention of the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Sinclair) to discrimination against Aborigines in certain areas in the matter of unemployment and social service benefits. These people are being paid at different rates from those applying to other members of the community and also under different conditions. I repeat, however, that this is being done only in certain parts of Australia.


– I think the problem referred to by the honorable member for Wide Bay (Mr. Hansen) is largely the result of the Government’s approach to the administration of the National Health Act. I refer particularly to the refusal of the Government to include optometrists amongst those practitioners payments to whom may come within the scope of benefits provided under the National Health Act. I do not want to deal with that matter at any great length, because it will be the subject of a later debate. I hope that when the estimates for the Department of Health are before the Committee the Minister for Health (Mr. Swartz) will be able to give explanations not only on that matter but also generally on the Government’s attitude to the representations that have been made to it by the Australian Optometrical Association over a very long period.

I have listened with a great deal of interest to the honorable members who have participated in this debate, and particularly to those who have dealt with social services. At least two honorable members have referred to the Aged Persons Homes Act. I would always be prepared to give the Government the credit that is due to it for introducing this legislation some years ago. As a result of this legislation, accommodation has certainly been provided for many aged people in our community. However, I believe that the time has arrived when the Government has to give serious- consideration to the administration of this Act. The Government must be aware that certain disabilities have arisen as a result of the allocation of funds to the various organisations that have received grants from the

Commonwealth under this legislation on the basis of £2 for each £1 contributed by an organisation.

As a result of this legislation the amount of accommodation available to aged people in our community has certainly increased and many of the hardships that a great many aged people would have experienced have been relieved to a certain extent. Earlier this evening the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Cleaver) referred to the problems that are now arising as a result of the construction of homes for aged people by various organisations. Many organisations accepted grants from the Commonwealth. Initially, the scheme proved to be of great advantage. Homes for aged people were constructed in most States of the Commonwealth as a result of grants made by the Commonwealth Government under this legislation.

However, the Government must appreciate that, as the life span increases, as the number of institutions throughout the Commonwealth increases and as the amount of accommodation available for aged people increases, so difficulties will arise in relation to chronically ill aged people. If. an aged person is admitted to one of these institutions, receives care and attention and lives under very good conditions, obviously his life span will be increased. So, inevitably, we must reach the stage where difficulties will arise because aged people become chronically ill. What is the situation that will develop under those circumstances? What is the solution of this problem? The Commonwealth Government has provided funds to certain organisations, but those funds have been restricted largely to the provision of accommodation for aged people. In very few instances have these organisations provided facilities of the kind that will be necessary for the care and treatment of chronically ill persons.

In this respect, a considerable problem is developing in Australia. I am sure that the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Sinclair) and many other honorable members are aware that a considerable number of these organisations are now faced with the problem of determining what they should do with the chronically ill people who are now inmates of the various institutions in all States constructed with the aid of grants made under the terms of the Aged Persons Homes

Act. The Minister will no doubt acknowledge that this is a problem that will become more acute as the number of institutions throughout the Commonwealth increases and as the life span of chronically ill people increases. Indeed, the problem must become more acute. I believe that it was the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Cleaver) who suggested to the Committee tonight that the Commonwealth now accept a measure of financial responsibility for the provision of hospital facilities in conjunction with homes for the aged. This would provide a possible solution to the problem. This is a problem that will have to be faced up to by the Government. It has accepted responsibility for providing financial assistance to enable aged people to be accommodated, but there is as yet no provision for hospital facilities for those who will inevitably have to be regarded as chronically ill. - I believe that at this stage the Commonwealth should give a lead to the States and in conjunction with them move to institute an inquiry on a national basis to investigate the whole of this problem. The Government should give a lead, in conjunction with the Health Ministers in the various States, by appointing a committee composed of men who are competent to examine the problem and to report to the Commonwealth on the needs of the aged, with particular reference to their social and economic needs and especially their physical needs. Only when information on these matters is available to the Commonwealth will it be possible for this Government to introduce the kind of legislation that we on this side of the chamber and, indeed, honorable members on the Government side believe is necessary if the problems of chronically ill people are to be solved. I believe that this Government has a measure of responsibility in this matter. If it had been prepared, as the Opposition proposed when the original Aged Persons Homes Bill was introduced, to extend the grants not only to private institutions, church organisations and other bodies that have interested themselves in this work but also to municipal authorities and, even more importantly, to government instrumentalities, it might have been possible for the kind of facilities which I have described and which we believe are necessary to have been provided by government organisations.

The bodies that have been providing bornes for aged people have made a very worthwhile contribution, but they have been able to do no more than provide accommodation for the aged. This is not sufficient. Difficulties must continue to arise while no provision is made for the treatment and care of those who sooner or later, because of their age, will reach the stage at which they must be classed as chronically ill. The great majority of the homes for the aged constructed with the assistance of Commonwealth grants under the aged persons’ homes scheme are not structurally suited to providing medical care. They have not the required services or the particular kind, of staff necessary to cater adequately for people who are chronically ill and who are no longer able to care for themselves. I hope that the Government will consider this problem. As I indicated earlier, although this matter has been raised by honorable members on this side of the chamber it is obvious that honorable members on the Government side are also conscious of the problem. I hope the Minister for Social Services will consider the very important point which has been expounded to the Committee this evening.

We cannot afford to continue to make grants to organisations on the basis of providing accommodation for aged persons unless we are prepared to examine the needs that must inevitably arise if those organisations are, to care for people who are chronically ill. I believe the State Governments are the instrumentalities which can accept this responsibility, but until the Commonwealth Government is prepared to recognise their ability to provide the necessary accommodation and to assist them financially, the problem will continue. I suggest therefore that the setting up of a committee of inquiry should be very sympathetically considered by the Government.

I am sure the Minister appreciates that sufficient details are not available from the Commonwealth Statistician or from any other source to indicate to this Parliament or to the State Parliaments the accommodation that is required for aged people in the category to which I have already referred, namely, those people who have been accommodated in homes for the aged which have been built in accordance with the provisions of the Aged Persons’ Homes Act and with a measure of financial assistance from the Commonwealth Government. Neither is sufficient information available relating to homes in which facilities are not available for those people who are no longer able to care for themselves.

I emphasise again that this is a responsibility which must be accepted not only by the Commonwealth Government but also by the State Governments. For this reason I suggest that a committee of inquiry should be established by the Commonwealth Government with terms of reference that have been decided upon by Commonwealth authorities in conjunction with State Ministers for Health. Naturally the State Ministers would know and understand the problems which exist in their own States. Only by inquiry by a competent committee will it be possible to obtain the information which will be necessary if this Government is to introduce legislation, as I hope it will, which will extend the financial contribution which has been made under the Aged Persons’ Homes Act to the type of hospital accommodation to which I have referred.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock:

– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.


.- In 1962 when speaking to the estimates for the Department of Social Services I referred to the high cost of living in the north and north west of Western Australia and compared it with the cost of living in Perth. I pointed out that because of the very high cost of living in the north and because the pension is the same in every part of Australia, pensioners in the high cost areas were at a very serious disadvantage. At that time I quoted a number of prices charged in the north and compared them with the prices charged in Perth. I showed that a parcel of ordinary food items which cost £3 10s. Id. in Perth would cost £5 5s 2d. in the northern areas. My suggestion was that for the purpose of assisting pensioners in high cost areas the Government should pay them some allowance over the base rate pension. Unfortunately my pleas for the pensioners at that time fell upon barren ground or upon deaf ears, as the case may be.

In addition, some time ago I asked the Minister for Social Services - not the present Minister but his predecessor - whether he would arrange to pay pensioners in high cost areas an allowance over and above the base rate in the same way and for the same purpose as a district allowance is paid to workers in those areas. The Minister said in reply that it had been a long standing policy of the Government that the rates and conditions of granting pensions should be uniform throughout the Commonwealth. However, he went on to say -

It is competent for the States to supplement those payments to meet local conditions.

I cannot accept that attitude as being the proper one to adopt. To my way of thinking it is purely a means of avoiding a matter that could be a rather difficult problem. I sincerely hope that the present Minister will take a different view of my suggestion because there is no doubt that pensioners in those high cost areas are at a very serious disadvantage. However, if the Minister does support the answer given by his predecessor I would suggest that the Minister and the Government could give a lead to the States with supplementary assistance, as was mentioned by the previous Minister, by granting an allowance to pensioners in the Northern Territory. I have in my hand a letter from the Northern Territory Pensioners Association dated 12th April this year which I think I should place on record in “ Hansard “. It is an honest and simple plea by the pensioners asking the Government to grant them a sufficient amount of pension to allow them to live in a reasonable manner and as decent citizens. The letter is headed “District Allowance for Northern Territory Pensioners” and states -

As you are aware pensions are uniform throughout Australia, but because of the distance from southern States to the Territory costs of most essential -foodstuffs and commodities are much higher (approximately one-third) due to the extra freight charges.

The following are some price comparisons which will give you an indication of the high costs of living in Darwin.

Then the secretary of the association sets out a graph which shows that a 2 lb. loaf of bread which costs 34d. in Darwin costs 17id. in Adelaide and 19d. in Melbourne; 2 lb. of self raising flour costs 25d. in Darwin, 18d. in Adelaide and 23d. in Melbourne; 1 lb. of rice costs 18d. in Darwin, 15d. in Adelaide and 16d. in Melbourne; 7 lb. of potatoes costs 103d. in Darwin, 54d. in Adelaide and 63d. in Melbourne; 1 lb. of onions costs 18d. in Darwin, 9d. in

Adelaide and 12d. in Melbourne; a 21 oz. bar of soap costs 41d. in Darwin, 29d. in Adelaide and 35d. in Melbourne; 1 lb. of butter costs 70d. in Darwin, 58d. in Adelaide and 60d. in Melbourne, 1 dozen eggs cost 90d. in Darwin, 63d. in Adelaide and 70d. in Melbourne; and 1 lb. of leg of lamb costs 58d. in Darwin, 48d. in Adelaide and 47d. in Melbourne.

A parcel of the items that I have mentioned would cost 38s. Id. in Darwin, whereas if they were bought in Melbourne there would be a saving of 9s. 4d. and in Adelaide a saving of 12s. 2d. That indicates very clearly the disadvantages that pensioners in high cost areas are suffering. The letter continues -

You will appreciate that with the higher costs in the Territory, pensioners can purchase less with their pensions than people living in the south, and consequently suffer more. .

It is pointed out in the letter that public servants receive a district allowance to compensate for those sorts of things, and it then continues -

Pensioners who are desperate can, and do, obtain assistance from the Welfare Branch of the Northern Territory Administration, but there are so many of these needy pensioners and their requests for assistance are so frequent that it would possibly save the Government considerable expense in administrative costs by making this assistance a regular and consistent part of the pension.

The Territory is zoned for taxation purposes so it would not be impossible to zone it for payment of pension subsidy.

The States have power to subsidise Commonwealth pensions from State funds. The Territory has no funds of its own by which to subsidise and therefore it is the Commonwealth’s responsibility to give the extra assistance.

Will you please endeavour to have legislation made to allow pensioners in the Northern Territory to receive a subsidy from Commonwealth funds and not have to rely on charitable handouts from the Welfare Branch with all its degrading means test?

Obviously, pensioners in the high cost areas are at a serious disadvantage and are suffering hardship. Means should be found so that everyone in these desperate circumstances is able to live reasonably and meet the higher costs in those areas. I suggest that the Minister arrange for his Department to make a close study of the position in those areas with a view to providing the assistance that is so obviously needed. If the Government is not prepared to do this over the whole of Australia at least it should make some inquiry into the needs of residents of the Northern Territory. This would give a lead to the States to apply to the Commonwealth Government for additional welfare funds for other people in similar circumstances.

If it is true, as is claimed in the letter I have read, that living costs in Darwin are 334 per cent, higher than they are in the southern areas, this means that pensioners in the high cost areas such as Darwin have only two-thirds of the purchasing power of pensioners in the south and God knows that it is little enough. The letter refers mainly to food items, but no doubt the position is similar in relation to clothing, rents, transport and other costs. This is just another illustration of the need for a committee of inquiry to which members of the Opposition have referred previously, and I hope the Minister will give serious consideration to this matter.

I turn now to the need to establish Commonwealth Employment Offices in the more populous towns in the north of Western Australia to give advice and assistance on social service matters. This need exists in other States also but I am not sure of the position there. As the Minister knows, there are Commonwealth Employment Offices in some of the country areas of Western Australia but to the best of my knowledge there are none north of Geraldton. With the growth of those areas, the time has come when more offices should be established in the northern towns such as Carnarvon, Port Hedland and Derby. The person in charge could handle employment vacancies, unemployment and sickness benefits and all other social service matters.

I appreciate that the officers of the Native Welfare Department do a very good job in obtaining social service benefits for Aborigines, but they also would appreciate the advice and assistance of an officer of the Department of Social Services. I would be surprised if there are not a fair number of persons in the northern areas who are entitled to social service benefits but are not aware of their entitlement or the way in which they should go about applying for them. If an inquiry revealed that there was not sufficient work there for an officer of the Department of Social Services to work on social service matters alone, I suggest that he could handle repatriation matters also. This is a service that is sadly lacking in the far flung areas of Western Australia. I hope the Minister will consider this proposal for a joint arrangement.

I want to raise, now, a matter to which I have referred before without success. That is the need to insert in the social services legislation provision for the right of appeal when an application for social service benefits is rejected on health grounds. Some persons who apply for an invalid pension on the advice of their doctor have their application rejected on information submitted by the referee medical officer. Usually the rejection is supported simply by advice that in the opinion of the referee the person concerned is not 85 per cent, incapacitated. In cases such as that, where there is one opinion in favour of the. applicant and one against him, there is no tribunal to which the applicant may take the matter for decision. I appreciate that as a general rule the Department is willing to have the referee look at the matter again if the applicant can bring forward further medical evidence to support his claim; but this is not satisfactory because even if the applicant submits further supporting certificates from half a dozen doctors, it is not likely that the medical referee will alter today the opinion that he gave yesterday. Nor could anyone expect him to do that. No-one would suggest that the referee did not give an honest opinion in the first place. If he were to change that opinion almost immediately after expressing it, it could be argued that his original opinion was given somewhat carelessly and the same charge could be made about any future opinions that he gave. However, I do not think that we should look upon the medical referee as being infallible. He can make mistakes just as anyone else can and his opinion about a man’s capacity to work might be totally different from that of a more experienced or even a more inexperienced doctor. If the referee errs, it might mean not only that the man concerned will be denied a pension but also that his condition will deteriorate because he is trying to do work that he is not capable of doing.

In these cases, it must be admitted that the applicant’s personal doctor, who has had long experience of the condition and suffering of the applicant, would be in a much better position than the medical referee to give an opinion. I appreciate that it could be argued that a person’s own doctor could be more sympathetic or more generous towards him, and for that reason I quite agree that a. second opinion should be obtained. But I do feel that if that second opinion conflicts with the opinion expressed by the applicant’s private doctor, there should be some tribunal to which the applicant may go to have the matter determined.

I have had considerable experience of this problem of percentage of work capacity. Under the workers compensation legislation of Western Australia, payments are made according to the percentage of incapacity. In my experience, differences of from 20 per cent, to 25 per cent, in medical opinions as to a man’s incapacity due to silicosis were not uncommon. Only recently a former miner showed me a certificate which stated that he was suffering from 45 per cent, incapacity due to silicosis, and a further 55 per cent, incapacity due to other causes. In my book, this meant that this man was 100 per cent, incapacitated; yet, in the comments column the doctor had stated that the man was fit for light work. I should like to know what sort of a position that man would have been in if he were an applicant for sickness benefit. I am certain that if he presented a certificate which stated that he was 100 per cent, incapacitated but was still fit for light work, the Department’s officer would suggest that he go out and seek employment suitable to his capacity.

THE CHAIRMAN.- Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.

Progress reported.

House adjourned at 11.10 p.m.

page 2495


The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated -

Beef Roads. (Question No. 1341.)

Mr Nelson:

n asked the Minister representing the Minister for Works, upon notice -

  1. What was the original estimated cost of the Katherine-Willeroo beef road project?
  2. Is the work being carried out equivalent to the standard set for beef roads in other northern areas?
  3. What amount has been spent, and what is the estimated cost to complete the project?
  4. What was the original date set for completion of this section?
  5. What is the present estimated date of completion?
  6. Was adequate provision made for traffic during construction? If not, why not?
  7. Were private contractors given an opportunity to tender for the project?
  8. If so, were they given a chance to quote at the lower standard to enable them to be competitive?
  9. Does the Government allow private contractors to tender for all other sections of the beef roads in other parts of the Northern Territory?
Mr Freeth:

– The Minister for Works has supplied the following information -

  1. £775,000.
  2. Yes. The Katherine-Willeroo road is being provided with a 12-foot wide bitumen surface, the same as the Queensland beef roads; other beef roads in the Northern Territory and Western Australia are not being sealed in the initial stage.
  3. Approximately £400,000 has been spent on construction to date. The latest review of funds required to complete the road indicates that an additional amount of approximately £420,000 will be required to complete the road to the originally prepared standards.
  4. 30th June 1966.
  5. 30th June 1966.
  6. Financial provision was made for traffic detours during construction and the allowance was considered adequate at the time of allocating funds. The costs of maintaining the sidetracks in a reasonable condition for traffic are, however, proving higher than was expected.
  7. No. As the Department of Works was able to commence construction immediately by day labour and sub-contract, this method was adopted in this instance. The estimated cost of the work being carried out by sub-contractors for the supply of sealing aggregates, bitumen and other materials and also for the construction of bridge slabs, culverts and headwalls, amounts to £310,000.
  8. This question has been covered in the answer to Question No. 7, but there has been no lowering of road standard.
  9. No. Experience has shown the need for the Department to retain a static day labour organisation for road work construction in the Northern Territory Road works not carried out by this organisation, and these are substantial, are executed by the contract method. Some contracts for large sections of the beef road projects have recently been let and others will be advertised in the relatively near future.

Armed Forces. (Question No. 1347.)

Mr Daly:

y asked the Acting Minister for Defence, upon notice -

How many persons are at present serving in the (a) Navy,(b) Army and (c) Air Force and how many are (i) officers and (ii) other ranks in each case?

Mr Hulme:

– The present strengths of officers and other ranks in the Permanent Forcesare-

Armed Forces: Butter and Margarine. (Question No. 1348.)

Mr Daly:

y asked the Acting Minister for Defence, upon notice -

  1. Is butter and margarine available to members of the Armed Forces?
  2. If so, what quantity of each has been supplied to the (a) Navy, (b) Army and (c) Air Force during the last twelve months?
Mr Hulme:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -

  1. Yes.

Norfolk Island: Workers’ Compensation. (Question No. 1369.)

Mr Reynolds:

s asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -

  1. Did he receive a petition from residents of Norfolk Island seeking the introduction of compulsory workers’ compensation provisions in that Territory?
  2. If so, how many signatures did the petition contain, and what advice was given to the petitioners in reply?
Mr Barnes:
Minister for Territories · MCPHERSON, QUEENSLAND · CP

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -

  1. Yes.
  2. The petition contained 3S1 signatures. 1 have told the petitioners that I am awaiting a formal expression of the views of the local community, either through a referendum, or in the form of advice from the Norfolk Island Council.

Servicing of Jet Aircraft. (Question No. 1372.)

Mr E James Harrison:

on asked the Minister for Air, upon notice -

  1. ls it intended to prohibit jet aircraft from landing at the Bankstown aerodrome; if so, why?
  2. ls De Havilland Aircraft Pty. Ltd. equipped to service jet aircraft at. Bankstown?
  3. If jet aircraft are to be prohibited from landing at Bankstown is it the intention to transfer to Western Australia the servicing work now performed at Bankstown?
  4. If so, is it intended to give the jet servicing work to MacRobertson Miller Airlines in Western Australia,
  5. Is MacRobertson Miller a subsidiary of the Ansett group?
Mr Howson:
Minister for Air · FAWKNER, VICTORIA · LP

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -

  1. On 19th August 1965, the Royal Australian Air Force prohibited the use of Bankstown aerodrome by its single-engined jet trainer aircraft, the Vampire. The decision was made by the R.A.A.F. due to the condition of the runway and taxiway areas at Bankstown. The deterioration of the surface of the Bankstown airfield is such that there is a danger that jet engines witll ingest stones and other debris which could result in serious and costly damage to jet engines.
  2. Hawker de Havilland Pty. Ltd.. the successor to De Havilland Pty. Ltd., is equipped to service the R.A.A.F. Vampire aircraft at Bankstown.
  3. The general question of transferring Vampire servicing work to Western Australia is not related to the decision on the use of the Bankstown aerodrome. For some time, it has been planned to transfer the routine servicing work on R.A.A.F. trainer aircraft nearer to their main area of operations. Action was deferred on this policy until the recent Government decision to base the main flying training school using Macchi trainers in the future at Pearce in Western Australia. Servicing capacity is now being sought in that State.
  4. Tenders have been called by the Department of Supply for routine servicing of R.A.A.F. Vampire aircraft in Western Australia. The tenders are now being considered by the Contracts Board of the Department of Supply in the normal manner.
  5. I understand that it is.

Copyright Conventions. (Question No. 1395.)


m asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -

What further countries have, since his predecessor’s answer to me of 9th April 1963 (“ Hansard “ page 540), ratified (a) the 1948 International Convention for the Protection of Literary, Scientific and Artistic Works, (b) the 1952 Universal Copyright Convention and the three pro.tocals annexed to it and (c) the 1961 International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations?

Mr Hasluck:
Minister for External Affairs · CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -

  1. . Upper Volta. In addition, Cameroon, Congo (Leopoldville) and Cyprus have made declarations of continued adherence to the convention after attaining independence.
  2. . Greece, Guatemala and New Zealand.
  3. . Further research has revealed that several amendments should be made to the list of parties to this Convention shown in “ Hansard “ of 9th April 1963. A complete list of countries now party to this Convention is -

Brazil, Congo (Brazzaville), Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Ecuador, Mexico, Niger, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Sugar Substitutes. (Question No. J402.)

Mr Beaton:

n asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -

  1. Has his attention been directed to scientific tests conducted in the United States of America seeking to establish whether low calorie sugar substitutes have toxic effects upon consumers?
  2. If so, is he able to say (a) what were the results of the tests, (b) whether any other tests confirm the results and (c) whether, in the light of this evidence, the promotion or use of these substitutes is in the public interest?
Mr Swartz:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -

  1. I am informed that scientific tests have been conducted in the United States of America by the Food and Drug Administration on the acute, subacute and chronic toxicity of several low calorie sugar substitutes. 2. (a) It has been found that saccharin and sodium and calcium cyclamates produce no significant acute, sub-acute or chronic toxic effects in healthy animals or humans. Excessive use of cyclamates in food or beverages may produce a mild laxative effect. Other sugar substitutes, e.g. dukin (4-ethoxy-phenylurea) and P-4000 (lnpropoxy2amino4nitrobenzenyl), have been shown to have significant toxic effects in animals.

    1. I understand that these results have been confirmed by other investigators.
    2. Under State legislation, the only artificial sugar substitutes permitted to be added to foods in Australia are saccharin and the cyclamates. The use of these substances is not considered to constitute a risk to public health.

Chiefs of Staff Committee. (Question No. 1407.)

Mr Benson:

n asked the Acting Minister for Defence, upon notice -

  1. ls Air Chief Marshal Sir Frederick Scherger’s term as Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee about to be terminated?
  2. When Sir Frederick’s term was extended was it then the Navy’s turn to have an officer appointed as Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee?
  3. If Sir Frederick’s term is to be terminated, who will be appointed to take his place?
Mr Hulme:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -

  1. The term of appointment of Air Chief Marshal Sir Frederick Scherger as Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee was extended in September, 1964 and is due to expire on 18th May 1966. Sir Frederick has given outstanding service to the nation in this post and termination of his appointment before this date would not be contemplated.
  2. No. This is our highest military appointment and the Government considers that the best man available at the time should be selected for the post irrespective of his service affiliations.
  3. The Government has not yet considered the selection of a successor to Sir Frederick.

Australian Capital Territory: Aborigines Welfare Ordinance. (Question No. 1084.)

Mr J R Fraser:

ser asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -

  1. Will the Government amend the Aborigines Welfare Ordinance of the Australian Capital Terri tory to remove sections which discriminate against Aborigines and part-Aborigines?
  2. Does section 7 of the Ordinance give the Minister power, by application to the Court of Petty Sessions, to order an Aboriginal or partAboriginal to be moved from one part of the Australian Capital Territory to another or to be banished from the Territory?
  3. Does section 8 of the Ordinance provide that liquor shall not be given, sold or supplied to a person apparently having an admixture of Aboriginal blood who resides on a reserve, or to an Aboriginal.
  4. Does section 10 of the Ordinance provide that an Aboriginal or part-Aboriginal roust submit to police inspection where this is authorised by the Minister?
  5. Does section 11 of the Ordinance give the Minister, or his deputy, power to direct that wages due to an Aboriginal be paid to the Minister or his agent?
  6. In a general review of the Ordinance will he recognize Aborigines as a group labouring under special difficulties resulting from past treatment and from historical differences of background and accord to them special benefits in respect of adult education and job training?
  7. Will he consider the possibility of Aboriginal people becoming entitled individually to lease or own land within Aboriginal reserves?
  8. Will he consider amending the Ordinance to set up machinery whereby Aborigines may be consulted as to planning and policy concerning their welfare?
  9. Will the Government consider providing lowinterest loans to Aborigines for housing, establishment of businesses and property development?
  10. Recognizing that there are but few Aborigines within the Australian Capital Territory, will he consider that Commonwealth legislation should set a pattern and an example to the States?
Mr Anthony:
Minister for the Interior · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows -

Discriminatory provisions in Australian Capital Territory legislation are being removed and their repeal will be notified in “Gazette” of 11th November 1965.

It should be noted that there are no full-blood Aborigines in the Australian Capital Territory, or the Commonwealth Territory of Jervis Bay. The only people resident in any portion of the Australian Capital Territory or Jervis Bay Territory who have been subject to the Aborigines Welfare Ordinance are, in fact, some half-caste Aborigines and others having lesser admixtures of Aboriginal blood. All of these people have been reasonably assimilated into the community, and may not be regarded as Aborigines in other parts of Australia.

Australian Capital Territory: Aborigines. (Question No. 1088.)

Mr Whitlam:

m asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -

  1. In what respects do the laws of the Australian Capital Territory concerning Aborigines fall short of the standards set by the International Labour Organisation Conventions (a) No. 107, Indigenous and Tribal Populations, 1957 and (b) No. Ill, Discrimination (Employment and Occupation), 1958?
  2. Was his Department represented at the meeting of the Departments of Labour Advisory Committee in April, 1960, when these conventions were considered?
  3. What steps have been taken to amend or repeal the laws which fall short of the convention standards?
Mr Anthony:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -

  1. Steps are being taken to repeal discriminatory provisions in the Australian Capital Territory legislation relating to Aborigines. Repeal of the discriminatory legislation will be notified in the “Gazette” of 11th November 1965.
  2. No.
  3. See 1 above.

Bauxite and’ Iron Ore. . (Question No. 1169.)

Mr Whitlam:

m asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice -

To what extent and by what dates have exporters of bauxite and iron ore undertaken to process them in Australia?

Mr Fairbairn:

– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -

  1. Bauxite.

It is only in the case of the Gove bauxite deposits in the Northern Territory, where the Commonwealth Government has control over the issuing of mineral leases, that commitments have been explicitly required by and given to the Commonwealth Government for the processing of bauxite by those companies currently involved in the development of Australia’s recently discovered bauxite deposits.

At Gove a consortium consisting of Swiss Aluminium and a group of Australian companies has undertaken to construct an alumina plant to refine the Gove bauxite. This plant should be completed by December 1971, with a capacity of 500,000 tons of alumina per annum.

The consortium (Nabalco) will also examine and report on the feasibility of aluminium smelting in the Northern Territory and will build if an adequate supply of continuous low cost electricity is available.

The State Governments have control over the issue of mineral leases in respect of deposits within their boundaries, and the Commonwealth is not privy to decisions to process bauxite from deposits in the various States. Nevertheless, substantial investments have been and are being made in the construction of alumina refineries and aluminium reduction plants in Australia. For example, at Gladstone, Queensland, an alumina plant with a capacity of 600,000 tons per year is expected to commence production in 1967, and the existing alumina plant at Kwinana, Western Australia, is currently being expanded to a capacity of 410,000 tons per year. There is also a relatively smaller alumina refinery at Bell Bay, Tasmania, where there is also located an aluminium reduction plant with a capacity to produce 52,000 tons of aluminium a year; Australia’s other aluminium reduction plant is at Point Henry in Victoria with a capacity of 40,000 tons per annum.

The commitments undertaken in respect of the development of the Weipa bauxite deposits are embodied in a Queensland Act of Parliament, No. 29 of 1957. The commitments undertaken in respect of the development of the Darling Range deposits are set out in the Western Australian Acts of Parliament, No. 3 of 1961 as amended by No. 48 of 1963.

  1. Iron Ore.

In relation to iron ore it is expressed in the announced Commonwealth export policy that ‘in considering any particular application for export approval, the Commonwealth will have regard to the effect of the application on Australian development, and, inter aiia, the possibility of extending operations to include processing within Australia.

Thus, in its consideration of applications for export approvals, the Commonwealth has taken into account the commitments undertaken by the various companies to process iron ore in Australia. The commitments entered into by the mining companies have generally involved some form of secondary processing at a later stage, such as pelletisation and in the case of Hamersley Iron Pty. Ltd. and Mr Newman Iron Ore Co. Ltd. will ultimately involve the manufacture of iron and steel.

The commitments undertaken by those companies which have been granted export approvals are set out in considerable detail in the following Western Australian Acts of Parliament -

Mount Goldsworthy Mining Associates - No. 97 of 1964.

Hamersley Iron Pty. Ltd.- No. 24 of 1963 as amended by No. 98 of 1964.

Mr Newman Iron Ore Co. Ltd. ; No. 75 of 1964.

An export approval has also been granted in respect of a project being developed in Tasmania and which will involve the export of iron ore pellets to be produced at a plant at Brickmakers Bay on the north coast from iron ore mined at the Savage River deposits.

In addition, the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Co., which, I understand, has obtained an export contract but which has not been granted an export approval, and the Broken Hill Proprietary Co. Ltd., which is currently negotiating for an export contract, have undertaken commitments in respect of the processing of iron ore. These commitments are also set out in Western Australian Acts of Parliament, viz. -

The Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Co.- No. 91 of 1964.

The Broken Hill Proprietary Co. Ltd.- No. 103 of1964.

Two other companies which have been granted export approval, but which have not been required to enter into commitments for processing, are Western Mining Corporation (Western Australia) and Frances Creek Iron Mining Corporation (Northern Territory); the quantities involved in both cases are small by comparison with the other iron ore projects.

Bell Bay Aluminium Plant. (Question No. 1232.)

Mr Barnard:

d asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

  1. Under what terms and conditions is the Government’s previous financial interest in the Bell Bay aluminium industry being repaid by the present owners, Comalco?
  2. How much of the original sale price has been repaid, and what was the balance outstanding at 30th June 1965?
Mr Harold Holt:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -

  1. The terms and conditions of sale of the undertaking formerly conducted at Bell Bay by the Australian Aluminium Production Commission are set out in an agreement made on 25th November 1960 between the Commonwealth, the State of Tasmania, the purchaser and the Commission. The agreement was approved by the Parliament by Act No. 81 of 1960, to which is attached a copy of the agreement.

The sale price stated in the agreement is £10,980,000, paybale by a down payment of £2,500,000, four annual instalments of £250,000 each, eleven further annual instalments of £625,000 each and a final instalment of £605,000 payable in December 1976. Payments are shared between the Commonwealth and the State of Tasmania in the proportions of 97 and 15 parts respectively.

The agreement also provides for the payment of interest on the outstanding balance according to conditions set out in the Third Schedule to the. agreement. No interest payments have been made to date.

  1. Payments by the purchaser up to 30th June 1965, amounted to £3,500,000, of which £468,750 was paid by the Commonwealth to the State of Tasmania. The balance outstanding at that date was £7,480,000 of which the Commonwealth and State shares are respectively £6,478,215 and £1,001,785.

Bank Loans for Housing. (Question No. 1257.)

Mr Jones:

s asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

  1. What funds have been made available for home building during each of the past ten years by (a) the Commonwealth Savings Bank, (b) State savings banks and (c) each private savings bank to (i) building societies, (ii) State Housing Commissions, (iii) private individuate and(iv) others?
  2. What were the deposits of each of these banks?
  3. What percentage of their deposits did the loans represent?
  4. What were the rates of interest on these loans?
  5. What was the maximum loan to individuals, and what deposit was required?
Mr Harold Holt:

-Information is not available to enable all parts of the question to be answered on the lines on which it is asked. The statistical information that is available relevant to the question is set out in the following tables -

    1. and 3. Table A below sets out for the Commonwealth Savings Bank, State savings banks and each private savings bank statistics as at the end of June each year from 1960 of: -

Amounts of housing loans outstanding.

Amounts of depositors’ balances.

Percentages of housing loans outstanding to depositors’ balances.

The following comments are in explanation of the statistics in Table A -

  1. Comparative figures for all savings banks are not available prior to 1960.
  2. Figures for housing loans outstanding refer to the balances of loans drawn and outstanding at the dates shown. The amounts of new loans approved by savings banks in each year are available only from 1960 and as aggregates for all savings banks. This information is shown in Table B below.
  3. Available statistics of housing loans by savings banks do not differentiate between the various classes of borrowers for which information is sought in the question, or between finance provided for the building of dwellings and the purchase of existing dwellings.
  1. The following table summarises the rates of interest charged by each savings bank on housing loans since 1956:
  1. The following table shows the maximum loan savings banks to specify a maximum percentage and maximum percentage of loan to valuation by of loan to valuation rather than a miniumum each savings bank since 1956. lt is the practice of deposit.

Postal Department: Purchase of Supplies. (Question No. 1340.)

Mr Cross:

s asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -

  1. Is his Department buying large quantities of imported gumboots and rubber footwear.
  2. Will he set out a table of purchases in Australia as compared with purchases of imports over the last five years.
  3. What preference does his Department give to the products of Australian manufacturers.
Mr Hulme:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -

  1. Generally, no.
  2. The total purchases over the last five years were -
  1. No additional preference is afforded to Australian manufacturers other than that provided under the Customs and Excise Regulations in the matter of duty on imported articles. In the consideration of tenders or quotations, the imported article is loaded with the amount of duty applicable for price comparison purposes.

Eggs. (Question No. 1196.)

Mr Beaton:

n asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -

  1. What sums were recouped from egg producers by the respective State Egg Boards for the purpose of “ equalising “ losses on export sales of surplus production in each of the last five years?
  2. Is it a fact that the per capita consumption of eggs in Australia fell from 255 per annum in 1946 to 210 per annum in 1965? .
  3. What other primary industries receive from the Commonwealth subsidies or contributions towards the promotion of their products?
  4. What are the amounts of these subsidies or contributions in each year?
  5. Is it a fact that egg producers through their respective eggs boards contribute substantially towards the promotion of egg sales?
  6. Will he give consideration to the payment of a Commonwealth contribution to promote the more economic sale of eggs and egg products on the domestic market?
Mr Adermann:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -

  1. The amounts of equalisation charges made by the exporting State Egg Boards to meet their losses on exports for each of the last five years were -
  2. According to figures supplied by the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics estimated apparent total consumption per head of eggs and egg products in Australia, in terms of number of eggs in 1946-47 was 267 compared with 213 in 1963-64, the latest year for which this information is available. 3 and 4. With regard to wool, since 1st July 1964, the Commonwealth Government has matched £1 for £1 the woolgrowers’ contribution for wool promotion in excess of their previous levy of 10s. a bale. The Government’s contribution under this arrangeme:t is about £4 million a year. The arrangement is for 3 years, being subject to review at the end of 1966-67 and requiring a special report by the Austraiian Wool Board to the Government each year.

The Commonwealth contributes on a £1 for £1 basis for joint promotional campaigns overseas with the following primary produce Boards -

The Australian Egg Board.

The Australian Wine Board.

The Austraiian Meat Board.

The Australian Canned Fruits Board.

The Australian Honey Board.

The Australian Dried Fruits Control Board.

The Australian Dairy Produce Board.

The Australian Apple and Pear Board.

These matching contributions are incorporated into world wide campaigns for the general promotion of Australian foodstuffs and are under the control of the Overseas Trade Publicity Committee of which each Board Chairman is a member. All promotion activities carried out under the auspices of the Overseas Trade Publicity Committee are directed towards overseas countries and not to the local market. The amounts contributed by the Commonwealth over the last five years and matched by a similar amount by these Boards were -

  1. Some of the State Egg Boards make charges against producers for promoting the sales of eggs on the domestic market and producers also contribute towards promotion on overseas markets through the charge made on eggs and egg products exported.
  2. The Commonwealth has made substantial contributions towards promoting Australian produce on overseas markets but generally it has left the responsibility for the promotion of primary products on the domestic market with each individual industry or its distributing or selling agents.

Postgraduate Scholarships. (Question No. 1283.)

Mr Crean:

n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. What number of postgraduate scholarships are at present tenable at the Australian National University for scholars pursuing masters and doctorate degrees?
  2. In what schools of study are these scholarships held, and what are the countries of birth of the holders of the scholarships?
  3. Are similar figures available for other Australian universities?
Sir Robert Menzies:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -

  1. The Australian National University has informed me that at present there are 304 people who hold scholarships for courses leading to postgraduate degrees at the University.
  2. The University has also informed me that the distribution of the 304 persons who hold postgraduate scholarships is as follows -

The countries of birth of these scholars are as follows -

  1. Similar information in respect of other universities is not readily available. However, there is some relevant material in the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics publication “Social Statistics: Australia”, No. 31: University Statistics 1964, Part 1- Students; and No. 32: Universities (Preliminary Bulletin) Students and Staff, 1965; and also in Chapter 23, Volume III, Report of the Committee on the Future of Tertiary Education in Australia.

Public Service: Resignations. (Question No. 1319.)

Mr Whitlam:

m asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. What are the names of the First and Second Division public servants who have resigned since his answer to me on 3rd October 1961 (“ Hansard “, page 1603)?
  2. Is he able to state the positions to which they went?
Sir Robert Menzies:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -

  1. The names of First and Second Division officers who have resigned from the Commonwealth Service since 30th June 1961 and the positions from which they resigned, are as follows-
  1. An officer, on resigning from the Commonwealth Service, is not required to state what form of employment he intends to take up. Details as to his new office and employer cannot, therefore, be provided from any official records of the Commonwealth Service.

Department of National Development. (Question No. 1320.)

Mr Whitlam:

m asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice -

  1. What are the duties of the Senior Assistant Secretary (position No. 1) and Senior Assistant Secretary (position No. 3) in his Department?
  2. What is the staff establishment for each?
Mr Fairbairn:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -

  1. The duties of Senior Assistant Secretary, in charge of Northern Division are -

Responsible to the Secretary for the direction and control of the Northern Division, the functions of which are as follows -

  1. In conjunction with other Departments or Government organisations possessing special knowledge or facilities to keep under review the natural resources of Northern Australia.
  2. To examine broad questions of policy which need special consideration in the interests of fostering Northern Development.
  3. To advise on Northern Development including proposals submitted to the Commonwealth by the Governments of Western Australia and Queensland.
  4. To ensure that basic mapping and surveys of resources are maintained and co-ordinated with developmental requirements.
  5. To publish maps, reports and other data relevant to the resources of Northern Australia and their development.

The duties of Senior Assistant Secretary are -

Under the direction of the Secretary -

  1. Examine and report upon aspects and problems of Northern Development, as required.
  2. Carry out special projects on Northern Development as required.

    1. The staff establishment under the control of Senior Assistant Secretary in charge of Northern Division is 31. The other Senior Assistant Secretary is not in charge of an administrative unit. However the occupant will have access to the services of other members of the staff of the Department as necessary.

Search for Oil. (Question No. 1325.)

Mr Beaton:

n asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice -

  1. What amounts have been expended in oil search subsidies in each year since the commencement of the Petroleum Search Subsidy Act?
  2. What amounts have been granted in tax concessions to investors subscribing to oil exploration ventures in each year since such concessions commenced?
Mr Fairbairn:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -

  1. The expenditure in oil search subsidy since the commencement of Petroleum Search Subsidy Act in calendar and financial years is as follows -
  1. The Treasurer has advised that details of claims allowed for deductions in respect of moneys paid on shares for the purposes of petroleum exploration have been tabulated only for the 1959/60 income year. In that year claims allowed were as follows -

Details are to be tabulated again in respect of the 1964/65 income year but in the normal course statistics from those returns will not be available for approximately two years.

Housing Loans Insurance Corporation. (Question No. 1365.)

Mr L R Johnson:

son asked the Minister for Housing, upon notice -

  1. What are the details of investments made by the Housing Loans Insurance Corporation since its inception?
  2. What are the names of authorised dealers in the short-term money market to whom loans have been made by the Housing Loans Insurance

Corporation, and what amounts have been loaned in each case? .

  1. What determinations has the Corporation made with respect to the (a) maximum insurable amount, (b) maximum permissible rate of interest,

    1. maximum permissible period for repayment,
    2. method of ascertaining the maximum percentage amount which shall apply to the various classes of insurable loans, (e) premium to be charged in respect of various categories of contracts of insurance and (f) minimum acceptable building standards?
  2. What lenders ‘have been approved under the Housing Loans Insurance Act?
  3. Can he state whether any private companies have either commenced or announced their intentions to commence business in the housing loans insurance field; if so, what are their names and what capital is involved?
Mr Bury:
Minister for Housing · WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows - 1 and 2. The Corporation has advised that it has invested £50,000 with the Short Term Money Market.

  1. The Corporation has determined that the maximum permissable rate of interest on insurable loans will be 7i per cent, per annum. It is expected that the other determinations that are required to be made by the Corporation will be announced within the next few weeks. The Corporation is not required to make determinations relating to minimum building standards; it will, however, exercise the power conferred by section 23 of the Housing Loans Insurance Act 1965 to decline to insure loans for dwellings that fall short of reasonable standards.
  2. The Corporation has not yet approved any lender. Following my announcement of approved classes of lenders on 17th October, the Corporation issued a statement regarding the procedures to be followed by lenders m the various approved classes who wish to seek approved lender status.
  3. According to a recent press announcement, Mortgage Guarantee Insurance Corporation of Australia, a public company registered in New South Wales, will insure the repayment of home mortgage loans to savings banks and building societies.

Australian Economy: Committee of Inquiry. (Question No. 1383.)

Mr Daly:

y asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

What was the total cost of producing the Vernon Report?

Sir Robert Menzies:

– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -

The total expenditure to 30th June 1965, was £113,228. An appropriation of £36,000 for 1965-66 is included under Division No. 400/3/11 in the Appropriation Bill currently before the Parliament.

In addition, a wide range of services was provided by both Government Departments and nonGovernment organisations, the cost of which was borne by the bodies concerned.

National Service Trainees: Service in Vietnam. (Question No. 1391.)

Mr Daly:

y asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -

  1. Is it a fact that conscripted national service trainees are to be drafted for service in Vietnam?
  2. If so, how many will be sent, and when is it expected that they will join units in Vietnam?
Dr Forbes:

– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows - 1 and 2. Hie inclusion of national servicemen in the Regular Army Supplement and Regular Army Reserve renders them liable for overseas service in accordance with the policy announced when the national service legislation was introduced. The initial intake of national servicemen is at present undergoing Corps training in various Army Schools and units. They will eventually become fully trained members of field force units which, depending on the circumstances at the time, could be posted overseas.

Naturalisations. (Question No. 1392.)

Mr Daly:

y asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -

  1. How many persons who are eligible for naturalisation are unnaturalised at this date?
  2. How many persons were naturalised during the last twelve months?
Mr Opperman:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -

  1. It is estimated that as at 30th June 196S, 192,000 persons, over the age of sixteen years, were eligible to apply for naturalisation but had not lodged applications.
  2. During the year ended 30th June 196S, 32,601 persons were naturalised.

Broadcasting and Television: Advertising. (Question No. 1413.)

Mr Webb:

b asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -

  1. Has there been a relaxation of the control of Sunday advertising on commercial broadcasting and television stations?
  2. If so, why?
Mr Hulme:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -

  1. There has been a relaxation in advertising time standards for Sunday on commercial broadcasting stations applying only to the period after noon. No change has been made in the advertising time standards which apply to television on Sunday.
  2. In making these changes the Australian Broadcasting Control Board has regard for the fact that the audience at weekends has grown to the extent of equalling that for peak listening time on weekdays and that in the contemporary social climate there is justification for some greater extent of advertising on Sundays after noon than had been permitted in the past.

Educational Television Services. (Question No. 1418.)

Mr Whitlam:

m asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

Why has he not tabled the report of the Weedon committee on educational television services, received in December 1964, consistently with his practice in tabling the other educational reports which he listed in his answer to me on the Sth May, 1965 (“ Hansard “, page 1199)7

Sir Robert Menzies:

– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -

The report to the Australian Broadcasting Control Board of the Advisory Committee on Educational Television Services was received by the Postmaster-General in February 1965. The report will be tabled when the Government has completed consideration of it

Schools Science Committees. (Question No. 1419.)

Mr Whitlam:

m asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. Does he intend to table reports by the schools science committees listed in his answer to me on the 25th August 1964 (/’Hansard”, page 590) consistently with his practice in tabling reports by the Australian Universities Commission?
  2. If not, why not?
Sir Robert Menzies:

– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows -

No. It is not usual practice to table recommendations of informal committees of whom a Minister seeks advice. None of the Committees referred to are in any way comparable with the Universities Commission.

King Island : Permanent Leases. (Question No. 1377.)

Mr Davies:

s asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -

How many (a) dairy and (b) sheep farmers are there on King Island on permanent lease with annual rentals for this year in each of the following groups: Below £201, £2017-£300, £301- £400, £401-£500, £501-£600, £601-£700, £701-£800, £801 -£900, £901-£1,000 and above £1,000?

Mr Adermann:

– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -

King Island : Lease Payment Arrears. (Question No. 1378.)

Mr Davies:

s asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -

How many (a) dairy and (b) sheep farmers are there on King Island on permanent lease with arrears after adjustment in each of the following groups: Below £201, £201-£400, £401-£600, £601- £800, £801-£1,000, £l,001-£l,500, £l,501-£2,000, £2,001-£2,500, £2,501-£3,000 and above £3,000?

Mr Adermann:

– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -

King Island Leases: Unmatured Advances. (Question No. 1379.)

Mr Davies:

s asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -

How many (a) dairy and (b) sheep farmers are there on King Island on permanent lease with unmatured advances in each of the following groups: Below £2,001, £2,001-£3,000, £3,001-£4,000, £4,001-£5,000, £5,001-£6,000, £6,001-£7,000, £7,001-£8,000, £8,001-£9,000, £9,001-£10,000 and above £10,000?

Mr Adermann:

– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -

King Island Farm Leases. (Question No. 1380.)

Mr Davies:

s asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -

  1. How many (a) dairy and (b) sheep farmers are there on King Island on (i) temporary and (ii) permanent lease?
  2. How many of these farmers have reverted from permanent to temporary lease in each case?
Mr Adermann:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as foilows -

In addition to the above, one permanent lease of a sheep farm has been sold by the settler to whom it was allotted.

  1. Nil. However, for periods when redevelopment or other factors beyond the control of settlers substantially reduced the level of production of some farms on permanent lease, annual commitments were charged on the basis applicable to temporary lease. Where possible, free agistment has been allowed on vacant farms to offset deficiencies in production.

King Island: War Service Land Settlement. (Question No. 1382.)

Mr Davies:

s asked the Minister for Primary Industry -

  1. What has been the total cost to date to the Commonwealth of the War Service Land Settlement Scheme on King Island?
  2. What amount has been spent on redevelopment?
  3. What amount has been credited to settlers accounts under the 1959 concessions?
Mr Adermann:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -

  1. £5,292,121 to 30th September 1965.
  2. Included in the amount shown in (1) is £814,475 being the cost of redevelopment whether undertaken on the recommendation of the Committee of Investigation or otherwise.
  3. £265,950.

Tartar Guided Missile System.

Sir Robert Menzies:

– On 13th October 1965, the honorable the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) asked me a question without notice concerning the cost of the Tartar guided missile system which is fitted to the three Charles F. Adams Class destroyers Australia is purchasing from the United States. I said then that I would look into the matter and obtain the information he had requested.

I am informed that the cost of fitting the Tartar guided missile system, including a full outfit of missiles, to each of the three Royal Australia Navy destroyers, is £4 million. This is less than half the cost of the ship without its Tartar system, weapons and other equipment.

Purchase of these ships is by GovernmenttoGovernment Agreement and the United States Navy is responsible for making and oversighting all contractual arrangements. The arrangements which apply to all United States Armed Forces procurement also apply to contracts associated with the construction of the Royal Australian Navy destroyers. If a case arose in the United States similar to the situation with the Bloodhound missile and the Ferranti Company involving equipment for the Royal Australian Navy destroyers, safeguards provided for United States Armed Services procurement would apply in respect of our destroyers. I may add that I have been informed that the prosecutions under the Sherman Act to which the honorable member referred have not been in respect of equipment for ships of the Charles F. Adams Class.

Apartheid Victims.

Sir Robert Menzies:

– On 15th September the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) asked me without notice whether the Australian Government was prepared to make donations to a defence aid fund for victims of apartheid in South Africa. I said then that I would look into the matter and I have since done so.

The fund to which the honorable member referred is, I assume, the International Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa. While the Government is not in agreement with the policy of apartheid practised by the South African Government, it does not propose to subscribe public moneys to the fund.

Ship Collision Regulations. (Question No. 1412.)

Mr Whitlam:

m asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -

  1. Can he say why South Australia is taking longer to introduce new ship collision regulations than he expected in his answer to me on 22nd September 1965 (“Hansard”, page 1185)?
  2. Why did the British Government apply tha new regulations to all States except Queensland?
Mr Freeth:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -

  1. It was understood that in South Australia new State Collision Regulations would be brought into force about mid-October 1965. The exact timing is of course a State Government matter.
  2. The reason why the new Order made under the British Merchant Shipping Act, 1894 applies the new International Collision Regulations to all Australian States except Queensland appears to bo that section 418 of that Act, under which the Order was made, applies to all States which have not taken legislative action to repeal such application. Section 735 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, inter alia, empowers a State legislature to repeal any provisions of that Act by Act confirmed by Her Majesty in Council. Section 255 of the Queensland Marine Bill of 1958 was expressed to repeal, inter alia, the application of section 418 to Queensland, and Her Majesty was pleased to confirm the Bill in pursuance of section 735 and to declare Her Assent to it. The Act was brought into operation on 30th October 1958 by a proclamation published in the Queensland Government Gazette of that date.

Government Publications.

Mr Harold Holt:

t. - The honorable member for Hughes (Mr. L. R. Johnson) asked a question without notice in the House on 29th October 1965 concerning the implementation of the recommendations of the Report of the Parliamentary and Government Publications Committee. I undertook to ascertain the present stage of arrangements in relation to the matters referred to, and these are set out below.

A Government Publisher.

Recommendations 1-6, 14-19, 32-33, and 55.

This group of recommendations relates to the Committee’s main recommendation for the establishment of a central Government Publishing Office. This would involve major changes in existing Statutory and administrative responsibilities, e.g. section 20 of the Census and Statistics Act 1905- 1949 requires the Commonwealth Statistician to publish the statistics, or abstracts thereof, collected pursuant to that Act. These recommendations are being studied and will be carefully examined by the Government.

Style and Format.

Recommendations 7-13.

In October 1964 the Treasurer established a committee under the Chairmanship of Mr. Dudley Erwin, M.P., to produce a Style Manual for Government publications. The committee hopes to complete the text of the Manual early in 1966. As the Committee acknowledged, “the services of a competent and imaginative typographer with adequate supporting facilities and staff” are essential to an improved standard of publications. The Committee was advised of the endeavours which commenced in December 1958 to recruit a qualified typographer and culminated in an appointment from Her Majesty’s Stationery Office in February 1964. After the arrival of this officer proposals for the establishment of supporting staff were formulated in August 1964 and recommendations have been made for these further appointments.


Recommendations 20-28.

A Publications Branch has been established in the Government Printing Office to improve the distribution of publications. Additional equipment to improve the mail order service has been installed, and other equipment is being ordered. The first monthly issue of a list of Commonwealth publications available from the Government Printing Office was distributed on 5th November 1965. Negotiations are proceeding for the use of the facilities offered by the New South Wales Government in Sydney. The recommendation for a capital city bookshop will be considered in conjunction with the recommendation for a central Government Publishing Office.

Publications of Other Governments.

Recommendation 29.

Her Majesty’s Stationery Office was unwilling to grant an agency but has agreed to the sale of their publications by the Government Printer. Negotiations have been commenced with Canada.

Depository Libraries.

Recommendations 30 and 31.

The Australian Advisory Council on Bibliographical Services has been asked to nominate the libraries which might be . designated as depository Libraries.

Parliamentary and Ministerial Papers.

Recommendations 34-41, 46-54, 56 and 57.

The Presiding Officers have made alternative suggestions concerning the sizes of Parliamentary and Ministerial papers and the President of the Senate wishes to consider further the proposed binding of the papers in one series. Otherwise these recommendations will be given effect from the commencement of the next Parliament. Advice on imprints has been sought from the AttorneyGeneral’s Department


Recommendations 42-43.

A separate “Treaty” series will be retained but, pending ratification, those treaties in the making of which Australia has participated, will appear in the “Select Documents” series.

Distribution to Senators and Members.

Recommendations 44-45.

Although periodic lists of publications available from the Government Printing Office are now being issued, these recommendations will be considered in conjunction with the recommendation for a central Government Publishing Office.


Recommendation 58.

The committee which is preparing the Style Manual is drafting a statement on the copyright existing over Commonwealth publications.

Acts and Statutory Rules.

Recommendations 59-61.

Figures are now being used in place of words in the references to sections in legislation. The Parliamentary Draftsman endeavours to arrange the reprinting of Acts in pamphlet form, and advice on the frequency with which Statutes and Statutory Rules are consolidated has been sought from the Attorney-General’s Department.


Recommendations 62-66.

On an earlier occasion, following the report in 1954 of the House of Representatives Select Committee on Hansard, the Presiding Officers, after the Leaders of the Parties had been consulted, concurred in their rejection of such a proposal.

A Continuing Parliamentary Review.

Recommendation 67.

This will be considered in conjunction with the recommendation for the establishment of a central Government Publishing Office.

The Committee itself pointed out that, if its recommendations were accepted “some years must elapse before they can be become fully effective “.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 9 November 1965, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.