House of Representatives
7 March 1967

26th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr SPEAKER (Hon. W. J. Aston) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. ls it a fact that the employment system on the Sydney and Melbourne waterfront will be changed as from 1st July this year to provide for permanent employment? Does this mean that 360 persons now employed by the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority will no longer be required? Is the Minister aware that at least 60% of these employees have lengths of service with the Authority averaging twelve years and that they are contributors to the Commonwealth Superannuation Fund or the Provident Fund but have not yet fully qualified for long service leave entitlements? Has the Government any plan to safeguard the superannuation, provident fund and long service leave entitlements of these people and their continued employment in the Commonwealth Public Service on their present salary classifications? Finally, is the Minister aware that the majority of these people are permanent employees of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority and are not necessarily permanent public servants?

Minister for Labour and National Service · WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– Discussions under the chairmanship of Mr Woodward are still taking place. These are directed, as was indicated previously, towards establishing permanent employment. The discussions have not by any means been concluded and no definitive arrangements have yet taken shape. A number of very important issues are still under discussion. As to the employees of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority, I would like to make the general comment that whatever arrangements emerge from these discussions the Commonwealth will continue to have a very deep and abiding interest in efficiency on the wharves, in the way that cargoes are handled and in what happens generally. The functions may well change shape but it is too early to be precise about this. I can assure the honourable member that in order to preserve efficiency and other aspects of the waterfront Industry in which we have a close interest we shall need a number of qualified people., so there is no need for anyone employed by the Authority to have, at least at this stage, any great concern.

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– My question is directed to the Attorney-General. I refer him to proposed amendments to the Victorian Crimes Act introduced in the Legislative Council of that State last week, under which suicide and attempted suicide would no longer be crimes and the law relating to suicide generally would be amended. What progress has been made in the reform or review of the law relating to suicide in the Australian Capital Territory?


– The present Australian Capital Territory law relating to suicide is an adaptation of the New South Wales law. We have not received any representations to change this law. However, the preparation of a new criminal code is being considered at the moment. The Law Council of Australia is preparing a draft to submit to us for consideration. I understand that this has reached the point at which it is complete except for the provisions relating to offences against public order. When the draft is received by us it will be taken into consideration. At that stage the law relating to suicide will be considered.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Trade and Industry. Can he inform the House which of the ten major Australian ports are capable of handling the major iron ore, petrol, wheat and other bulk cargo ships that now dominate world sea transport? Will he list the maximum tonnage handling capacity of each of these ten ports in respect of ships in these categories and also the number of ships now in commission that could not enter these ports? What plans has the Government for dealing with the known deficiences in such ports, either alone or in concert with State authorities?

Minister for Trade and Industry · MURRAY, VICTORIA · CP

– I think the honourable member has indicated that this is not a question that he would expect me to be in a position to answer off the cuff. If he will put it on notice I shall procure what information is available.

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– L address a question to the Minister for Trade and Industry. Can he give the House any information concerning recent negotiations by British Ministers with the European Common Market countries? Has the British Government indicated to the Australian Government officially that an application for entry to the Common Market is being immediately contemplated? With particular regard to the right honourable gentleman’s sphere of authority, can he say whether the British Government has intimated that it is prepared to guarantee the position of Australian trade?


– I. am not aware of any direct communication advising the Australian Government that the British Government or the British Prime Minister has decided to proceed with an application to join the European Common Market. But from all that has been said and published and from all that one could learn from the recent visit to this country by a British Minister it seems to me undoubted that the British Government would wish to join the Common Market on terms that are satisfactory to it. The terms that would be satisfying to the British Government in relation to its own domestic considerations are for that Government itself to decide. The other consideration that has been mentioned repeatedly is that the British Government, other things apart, would wish to join the Common Market provided that the interests of Commonwealth countries were safeguarded. This is a nice, round phrase. I take it as having been uttered in good faith, but what it means is something that still has to be spelled out, I think. The Prime Minister has just reminded me that the interests of the European Free Trade Association countries also have to be considered.

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– I direct a question to the Postmaster-General. Was the electronic mail sorting machine which has proved so inefficient so far at the Sydney General Post’ Office supplied by Telephone and Electrical Industries Pty Ltd, which is a subsidiary of the world wide Plessey group? ls Sir Giles Chippindall, a former DirectorGeneral of Posts and Telegraphs, chairman of TEI and is Sir Charles Davidson, the Minister’s immediate predecessor as PostmasterGeneral, a director of the company? Does the Minister consider it to be desirable that’ former Ministers and senior public servants should later accept positions with companies that have such close interests in huge government contracts?

Postmaster-General · PETRIE, QUEENSLAND · LP

– I understand that the two gentleman named are in fact directors of Telephone and Electrical Industries Pty Ltd. Dealing with the honourable member’s description of the electronic coding machine at the Sydney General Post Office as being inefficient. I once again give an absolute denial of inefficiency. This machine in the days ahead will be the cause of the Australian public receiving mail much more expeditiously than would be possible without it.

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– I ask the Minister for Territories a question. In view of the possibly serious food situation which has developed amongst those communities served only by the Stuart Highway from Alice Springs to Darwin and the Barkly Highway from Tennant Creek to Mount lsa consequent upon the flooding of those highways, will the Minister inform the House of the steps being taken to relieve the situation?

Minister for Territories · MCPHERSON, QUEENSLAND · CP

– I have been in touch with the Administrator of the Northern Territory. He has informed me that the situation is becoming serious. The Stuart Highway is under water in many parts. The Administrator has made an inspection from the air and by road in areas where the road is trafficable. It may be possible to bring in food along the Barkly Highway, although I admit that yesterday’s rain has swelled the Ranken River and other streams, causing the road to be covered in parts. I have discussed this matter with my colleague, the Minister for Air. If necessary we will be able to make other arrangements to bring food not only to the Tennant Creek and Newcastle Waters areas but also to Alice Springs itself.

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– I ask the Treasurer a question. Referring to loans overseas, is he correctly reported to have said:

The interest rate was somewhat higher than we like to pay. We are not prepared to chase money at this rate of interest. … we have to watch the rate of interest, but . . . we welcome the movement of this capital, both public and private.

If the Minister is correctly reported, I ask: is it desirable to entice foreign investors by means of tax and other concessions to invest in this country and receive on their capital dividends of 100% and more or is it preferable to raise loans at 6% or 7% in order to assist Australian development? Should not the Government watch profits going overseas and the amount of taxes which these overseas companies pay?


– I am reliably reported in Hansard. If the honourable gentleman wants to check the answer that I gave to a question, he will find it in Hansard. As to his question, of course if we can raise mortgage capital overseas we like to do so but the Government does not intend to pay excessive rates of interest. We are not prepared to chase money at these rates. As to private capital investment, the honourable gentleman might like to know that the return on private overseas capital investment has fallen substantially in the last few years. The actual return is now of the order of 5.4%. It fell substantially last year compared with the year before and has been steadily declining. I repeat that if large overseas concerns or, for that matter, any concerns want to come to Australia to establish production resources and to provide employment and the opportunity for growth and development of this country on efficient lines, 1 and every other member of the Government will support them.

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– 1 ask the Minister for National Development a question, ls the Commonwealth kept up-to-date on the daily technical development’s in off-shore drilling for oil and gas? In view of recent cryptic comments by the companies concerned about the presence of oil in the Bass Strait fields, can the Minister yet inform the House of the indicated reserves of these fields? Would it be accurate to say that some of the world’s largest oil fields are looming up on our coast with reserves possibly measurable in thousands of millions rather than hundreds of millions of barrels? How soon can we expect the wild cat rig Glomar to be replaced by businesslike drilling rigs and a substantial reduction made in our oil imports?

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

– Yes; the Bureau of Mineral Resources, is kept up to date with the results of drilling off shore. There was one period when we did not get the necessary information from Victoria. We get results from every well which is subsidised under the Petroleum Search Subsidy Act. After the subsidy cut out in Victoria, the results were given only to the Victorian Government which, I believe under its Act, must treat such results as confidential. We have arrived at an arrangement whereby, in return for Commonwealth support for the lease in Victoria, we get full information on this field. 1 am afraid it is not possible to give the honourable member an assessment of the likely reserves there because even the owners of the field themselves do not know that. They have drilled only three wells in the Marlin field. Apparently this is a rather complex field. A band of shale has prevented an accurate assessment. Up till now the assessment has been largely a guess, but there is no doubt whatsoever that this is a relatively large field, judged by world standards. 1 agree that there are disadvantages with a rig of the Glomar type in that it can only drill for a certain number of days in the month because of weather conditions. On the other hand, it has the advantage of quick mobility to other fields. We expect, however, that’ by about the end of the first half of this year there will be five rigs operating in Australia. Two platforms are being prepared for drilling the Gippsland off shore field and there is the possibility of a sixth rig operating in Australian waters before the end of the year. There is no doubt that the offshore search for oil is speeding up.

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– In addressing a question to the Minister for National Development, I refer the Minister to reports that in the past twelve months twenty geologists have resigned from the Bureau of Mineral Resources, most of them to take higher paid jobs with American companies. Are these reports correct? If so, does this mean that the Bureau has lost one-fifth of its staff? Will this mean a serious reduction in geological survey work, particularly in northern Australia? What is the Minister doing to prevent this wastage from an organisation vital to exploration and exploitation of Australia’s mineral resources?


– lt is a fact that there is a constant turnover of geologists at the Bureau of Mineral Resources, but I would not say that this is excessive. The Bureau has always been regarded as a place for training young geologists who have completed their university courses. They go to the Bureau and do perhaps two or three years work there, just as a person might go out jackerooing on a property. In this way they attain greater skills than they bad when they left the university. They then go on and we feel that the Government has done something towards assisting in the training of skilled geologists who can go out and take work with companies exploiting Australia’s mineral resources.

Occasionally some of the higher paid officers resign and, at a period like the present, when there is enormous development in mineral resources in Australia, it is only natural that there should be a smaller number of geologists than we would like. It is quite true that some of the larger firms can offer tempting salaries which cannot be matched by the Government. However, the honourable member need have no worries about the Bureau of Mineral Resources not being able to carry out its work. Although some twenty officers have left in the last twelve months, we have actually recruited more people than have left the Bureau. Only last week we decided to increase the size of the Bureau by something like another sixty officers.

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– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science. Because of the excellent response to the Government’s assistance in building science laboratories, by State schools as well as private schools, and the fact that this programme must be well under way, has the Government any plan to extend this assistance in other forms? Will the Government look at the possibility of encouraging secondary schools to set up proper library facilities, both language and reading, and aid them to establish closed circuit television educational facilities?

Minister for Health · BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP

– It is true, as the honourable gentleman says, that there has been excellent progress in providing science facilities in independent schools and government schools. Indeed, the Government believes that within four years of June of this year all secondary schools in Australia will have been provided with basic science facilities and equipment. I should perhaps make it clear that in relation to some government schools in some States this will depend on the level of the State Government contribution over and above that of the Commonwealth contribution. The question of extending assistance in other directions is. of course, a matter for future policy, but I can give the honourable gentleman an assurance that should the Government decide to extend assistance in other directions the matters raised by him will be considered.

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– I direct a question to the Minister for Trade and Industry. In view of the estimated Australian apple crop of 20m cases this season, including approximately 6i million cases from Tasmania, and in view of the serious decline in the United Kingdom market, especially in respect of price, and therefore the urgent need for finding new Asian markets for our apples, can the Minister tell the House whether our apples can be exported to Japan? If this market is closed to us, what is the reason? Can the reason be overcome?


– The primary responsibility for finding markets for Australian apples and pears is with the Australian Apple and Pear Board which operates under the jurisdiction of my colleague the Minister for Primary Industry. The Board has been quite active in investigating markets not only in Britain but in Europe and in other countries. The only inhibition on selling our apples to Japan is the quarantine restrictions which, when they are validly imposed, we do not argue about.

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– I preface my question to the Minister for Territories by saying that I have always gathered from his remarks that he is keen to see the advancement of the people of Papua and New Guinea and that he will speak up for his Government in seeing that these people gain either selfdetermination or independence when they request it. Has the Minister seen reports over the week-end relating to certain remarks he is alleged to have made? Are his views still the same as those I have outlined, namely, that he is prepared to meet these people and to grant their request when he thinks it desirable?


– I was involved in a most unfortunate experience over the week-end and I am very glad of this opportunity to answer the honourable member’s question. I expected a question such as this, because this is a serious matter. As far as I am concerned personally it does not really matter because it is the experience of most public men that they have to put up with criticism or distorted reporting whether they like it or not. What concerns me is the effect that this distortion has had on the people of the Territory, because naturally any expression from the Minister for Territories is regarded seriously in the Territory.

All this came about on the occasion of my opening a display of photographs, carvings and that sort of thing from Papua and New Guinea in the head office of the State Savings Bank of Victoria. There were two reporters there, one from the ‘Age’ and one from the Australian’. I think most of the trouble has come from the distortion which appeared in the ‘Australian’. I would ask the honourable member, if he is interested to follow it up, to read the report in the ‘Age* of Saturday which presented a completely accurate report. For the information of honourable members, I have written a short summary of that particular report. It stated that I said that the people of the Territory would decide after they had self-government whether they wanted to be independent of Australia; that I said that I doubted whether Papua and New Guinea would ever be completely independent of Australia; that I said that discussions with the natives of the Territory led me to believe that their choice would be to remain closely associated with Australia; that the decision would be influ enced by economic and defence factors; that the people realised that selfgovernment was a considerable way off; that the people in the Territory had the right to choose self-government at any time but that I did not know when this would come about.

I said that the Territory’s ties with Australia would continue because it was isolated with us in the Pacific. Australia was the Territory’s greatest market and the countries were closely allied in defence. I said that, because of this, Australia and Papua and New Guinea would always be closely associated. I might add, Mr Speaker, that these are statements I have made continuously since I made my original statement on Government policy in this House, and this will be the continuing policy of this Government.

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– I would like to ask the Minister for Defence a question. Bearing in mind the claim by certain Opposition members that the war in Vietnam is purely a civil war, has the Australian Government any confirmation of the information given in the statement of the Secretary of Defence of the United States of America, made at a Press conference at Stockholm yesterday and reported in the Melbourne Sun’ this morning, that there are at present 30,000 Chinese soldiers in North Vietnam employed as technicians and in manning anti-aircraft batteries?

Minister for Defence · PATERSON, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– I have noted the report that there are at present in Vietnam 30,000 Chinese. I have no confirmation of this at all. 1 am not sure whether any information is available to my colleague the Minister for External Affairs but I shall discuss the matter with him.

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– My question to the Minister for Territories is supplementary to that asked recently by the honourable member for Batman. Will the Minister make available to the House the exact text of the speech that he delivered in Melbourne last Friday and which has become the cause of some controversy in Australia and in Papua and New Guinea? Will he also indicate to the House how soon he and his Department will give an opportunity to the people of the

Territory - and I quote his words of July 1966 - ‘to choose to exercise the right of self-determination’? Does he agree with Sir Robert Menzies who said in September 1963 that it would be better to grant selfdetermination too soon than too late? If so. will he assure honourable members that the United Nations will be made well aware that Government policy is still to grant independence to the Territory as soon as possible?


– I am afraid I am unable to present a written copy of my speech because it was made off the cuff. I think this experience may be taken as a warning to any Minister in future to have a written statement so that he has some evidence of what he said. The reporter from one of the responsible newspapers, one of the great responsible papers of Australia, had the correct version but had he not been there this would have been quite a difficult situation. Dealing with the other general items of the honourable member’s question, I point out that the people of the Territory have the right to choose self-government or independence at any time. It has been made perfectly clear that they have this right. But they should not be forced by any nation or outside body to make a decision. I think this arrangement is best for the people and I do not think it can be improved.

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– My question is addressed to the Postmaster-General. Automatic or semi-automatic telephone exchanges are urgently needed in many centres and I understand that different types of exchanges are used. Can the PostmasterGeneral advise the House as to the efficiency of the different types of exchanges and whether the Department is fully satisfied wilh their operation?


– We in the Post Office are satisfied with the operation of all systems of automatic or semi-automatic telephone exchanges. Two systems of fully automatic exchanges are used. They are the step by step and more latterly the cross bar. The cross bar gives a much more effective operation for subscriber trunk dialling, where this applies, and subscriber trunk dialling will ultimately apply perhaps to the whole of Australia. The semi-automatic exchanges are the smaller exchanges, and are found particularly in rural areas. Whilst satisfactory, they are nevertheless undergoing field tests and we will evaluate the results of the tests of each of the different systems. We will, I would hope, come down in favour of one system for the rural automatic exchanges.

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Dr J F Cairns:

– 1 ask the Minister for External Affairs a question. He will be aware that on 14th February the Prime Minister of Great Britain said:

As I made clear yesterday, what is lacking for a settlement-

That is in Vietnam - is enough of general realisation thai sooner or later there must be a political settlement.

I ask the right honourable gentleman: docs he agree or not agree with the Prime Minister of Great Britain?

Minister for External Affairs · CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– If the honourable gentleman would be good enough to read several statements that 1 have made in this House on this subject on successive occasions, he will find that I have, on behalf of the Government, expressed exactly that point - that the eventual outcome must be a political settlement. In the view of the Australian Government it should be a settlement that gives some prospect of being an enduring settlement and should be a just settlement. Although there may be many devices or attempts to reach a pause, when we look forward to the eventual settlement undoubtedly it must be a political settlement.

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– I address my question to the Minister for National Development. Was the problem of high salinity in River Murray irrigation water discussed yesterday in Adelaide at the meeting of the River Murray Commission? Is the Minister in a position to refute suggestions that fruit growing may be in jeopardy in towns on the River Murray because of such high salinity early in the season? Has the Minister in mind that a top consultant should be appointed to inquire into future provisions to ensure good quality irrigation water?


– The question of salinity was discussed at some length at the meeting of the River Murray Commission yesterday. I do not think any of the Commissioners believe that fruit growing is in jeopardy in the Murray Valley, because salinity is watched very closely. Readings are taken and if the reading appears to be getting too high water can be sent down the river to flush out the salinity. Nevertheless we recognise that this problem is increasing. We made a decision at the last meeting of the River Murray Commission that we would appoint a consultant to advise us on salinity problems and how to overcome them. Unfortunately the person whom we thought we might be able to get hold of in Australia was not available and we have now had to look abroad to see whether some suitable consultant might be available.

Two applications have been made to the River Murray Commission. One of these appears to be very suitable because the particular organisation concerned did prepare a salinity report in the lower Indus River and appparently the work was regarded to be of a high order. We have also approached the Bureau of Reclamations in the United States, where they have some considerable salinity problems, in California anyway, to see whether a suitable person might be available from there. When wc have word from there we will make a decision on who should be given this job. I hope that will be done very shortly. In the meantime we arranged yesterday to hold a reserve of water in both the Hume Weir and Lake Victoria in order to ensure, during the construction of Chowilla, that if the salinity in the River Murray does rise higher than it should be an immediate amount of water will be ready to flush this out.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for National Development. I ask him to amplify his recent statement on an agreement between the Governments of the Commonwealth and the States and the Esso-BHP group to exploit the natural gas fields off the coast of Victoria. Will the Minister give more precise information of the royalties to be paid by the leaseholders and state whether the proposed royalty rates are to apply to all natural gas fields? Will he say what criteria will be used in future arrangements?


– In the case of the Esso-BHP group there will be 1 1 % royalty. Forty per cent of the standard royalty will go to the Commonwealth Government and 60% to the State, plus a 1% override to the State. This means that we get an actual royalty of 4% and that 7% royalty will go to the Victorian Government. The arrangement arrived at under the common code between the six States and the Commonwealth is that there should be an opportunity for the discoverer of a field to decide whether he or it will retain, out of the nine reticular blocks, five and surrender four - after which the four surrendered blocks will be put up to tender and the discoverer can bid if he desires under tender - or exercise the right to pay an override for the whole field and retain the full nine blocks. The discoverer has the right of selecting one or the other. The States will be able to negotiate the amount of the override, and this falls between 1 % and 2i%. This will be negotiated by the States and will be received by them in lieu of the lump sum which they would have got if the four blocks had been surrendered and put to tender.

Mr Luchetti:

– It could be less or more.


– Tt must be within the 1% to 21% range.

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– Can the Minister for Labour and National Service inform the House what reply he received from Mr Elliott to his telegram to that gentleman asking for an unequivocal answer as to the attitude of the Seamen’s Union of Australia to the sailing of the ‘Jeparit’.


– I did receive a reply, which I understand Mr Elliott has made available to the Press, so some honourable members may already have read it. It was a typical product of evasive action. lt made the plea that the executive did not have authority to give an answer and that the matter would have to be put to a stopwork meeting on Wednesday. 1 should like to point out in this connection first of all that the facts about the Jeparit’ have been known for some time. The vessel has made a series of voyages to Vietnam and there has never been any suggestion that there would not be in its cargo quite a large volume of warlike stores.

Mr James:

– And munitions.


– Munitions and a number of other things. This voyage of the ‘Jeparit’ follows on the normal process. Of course the Seamen’s Union could have put this matter, of which it was fully aware, to the stop work meeting which occurred last week after the Australian Council of Trade Unions had met the Maritime Unions and laid down its policy. The Seamen’s Union did not find it necessary to resort to the authority of its members when it held up the ‘Boonaroo’. Now that we have had this advice I shall be considering this matter with my ministerial colleagues.

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– I address a question to the Minister for Health. Was he correctly reported in the brochure associated with the recent Dental Congress in which he was quoted as saying that the only thing wrong with dentistry in Australia was that there were not enough dentists? If he was correctly reported, what is his Government doing to remedy this serious situation? Does the Minister not agree that any government which has been in office for seventeen years should bear responsibility in no small measure for such a state of affairs?


– I was not correctly reported. I did not speak at the Dental Congress and I have never, either publicly or in private, made such a statement. Therefore, the other parts of the honourable gentleman’s question do not arise.

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– Is the Prime Minister aware that the 1966 census showed that the population of the five mainland capital cities, expressed as a percentage of the total population of Australia, rose from 53% in 1961 to 56% in 1966? Is the Government concerned with the economic, social and defence aspects of this further centralisation of people? Has there been any recent consideration by the Federal Government of this problem and of any action to counter it?

Prime Minister · HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP

– The figures mentioned by the honourable gentleman are within my general knowledge. I made a personal study of the situation in the capital cities relative to the rest of Australia some time ago. I think that is indicative of a concern that I feel lest Australian develop ment becomes unbalanced through too heavy a concentration of population in the capital cities in the coastal fringe and too small a body and tail supporting the remainder of the national entity. As the honourable gentleman will be aware, we have given attention to this matter in several of our policies. In addition, a committee of Commonwealth and State officers has been directing its attention to the matter.

By way of amplification of this answer I should like to be able to give the honourable gentleman some details of that, so far as they can be made known at this point of time. I have welcomed some of the more recent developments, particularly those which are establishing new centres of population in the outlying parts of the Commonwealth as mineral discoveries have occurred, as development in primary industry has occurred and as in various other ways Australia’s population, particularly that of newly arrived settlers in Australia, has been reaching out into the outlying parts of Australia. I believe that this is a matter which rises above party politics. I am sure that we would welcome any constructive suggestion which came from any part of the House in relation to this matter.

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Mr Clyde Cameron:

– I direct a question to the Minister for Territories. Quite apart from any qualifications or modifications made at the time or since, will the Minister categorically deny thai he made the statement that independence for Papua and New Guinea would not be achieved for very many years, if at all? If he did make that statement, does it represent the Minister’s own view on the matter?


– The objective, of course, of the honourable member for Hindmarsh is to have me admit to a part of my statement taken out of context, and this I refuse to do. He can read my full statement in the Melbourne ‘Age’, as I mentioned earlier.

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Ministerial Statement

Prime Minister · Higgins · LP

– by leave - I desire to inform the House that I have this day informed the Premier of Tasmania that the Government has agreed to his request to provide special financial assistance to the State of Tasmania in accordance with the broad terms and conditions set out in the report prepared by officers of the Tasmanian Government and agreed to by officials of the Commonwealth Government, based on the case presented on behalf of the Government of Tasmania. As agreed, the measures of assistance that will be introduced will be State measures with the Commonwealth standing behind the State to provide adequate support for the State’s overall financial position. This would accord with the arrangements agreed with the States of New South Wales and Queensland in connection with assistance for drought measures.

Estimates of the maximum assistance likely to be required by the State indicate that the total amount that will have to be provided by the Commonwealth will be about $14. 5m. This estimate is, however, tentative and may be subject to substantial revision. As in the case of the drought measures, the Commonwealth’s overall financial assistance to the State will be provided partly by way of interest-free loans and partly as grants according to the proportions in which the State’s own expenditures, under the various measures, take the form of loans and grants respectively. Loans made by the Commonwealth will be interestfree and have a term of fifteen years. Repayments will be sought in twelve equal instalments over the last twelve years of the loans.

The Commonwealth is proposing to provide loans to the State free of interest on the understanding that the State will charge interest, where appropriate, on advances for housing and loans to businesses and primary producers. The interest received by the State is regarded as being available to enable the State to meet any losses arising from bad debts. We also expect that any excess of interest received by the State over its requirements should be applied to reduce its dependence on special grants.

As soon as possible a bill will be presented to the Commonwealth Parliament to authorise payments of Commonwealth financial assistance to Tasmania. I expect that the bill will be drawn in general terms to authorise a grant and a loan to the State of Tasmania for measures associated with the fire. In the meantime, our officers will continue to be in contact on detailed arrangements.

From the outset I have, on behalf of the Commonwealth, assured the Tasmanian Government and people that the Commonwealth Government would approach their difficulties in a helpful and, indeed, a generous fashion. I knew that this would be supported by the people of Australia as a whole. I am glad, therefore, to be able to report to the House that we have met in substance the requests which have come to us from the Government of Tasmania, and we hope that this quite substantial assistance will quickly enable the people of that State to be restored to full economic operation.


– by leave- The Opposition welcomes the statement made by the Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt) regarding the difficulties now being experienced in Tasmania as a result of the recent bush fires. The right honourable gentleman has intimated that the assistance to be given will probably total $ 14.5m. I hope he will give an assurance that if a greater sum is found to be needed the Government will sympathetically consider any further request from the Tasmanian Government.

Mr Harold Holt:

– The figure given is the Tasmanian Government’s own estimate. We have accepted that.


– The Prime Minister’s statement has been made following a request by officers of the State Government to which, I take it, this Government has agreed in its entirety. I know that the Tasmanian Government appreciates the kind of assistance that it is receiving from the Commonwealth. But I want to make it quite clear to this House that although the Commonwealth Government has acted wilh great haste and probably quite correctly in reaching a decision that is very favourable to the State Government, it will be a long time before the economy of Tasmania can be restored after the disaster that recently overtook the State, particularly the southern part. I believe that in these circumstances it will probably be necessary for the State Government to seek further assistance from the Commonwealth. The measure of assistance requested will no doubt be dictated by the circumstances existing at the time. As 1 have said. Mr Speaker, the Opposition welcomes the statement made by the Prime

Minister.We concede that on the face of it a grant and loans totalling $14. 5m appear to be very generous. We acknowledge that the Commonwealth Government has acceded promptly to a request made by the Tasmanian Government.

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Ministerial Statement

Mr BARNES (McPherson - Minister for

Territories) - by leave - The Administrator of the Northern Territory has today made a statement which outlines certain proposed amendments to the land ordinances of the Territory designed to improve the law so as to encourage economic development in the Territory. Bills to give effect to these proposals will be introduced into the Legislative Council for the Northern Territory shortly. The statement has been made by the Administrator to enable wide public discussion of the principles involved in advance of consideration of the proposed legislation by the Legislative Council. As this matter may be of interest to members of this House I have arranged for a copy of the statement to be distributed to honourable members.


– I appreciate the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) but I point out that it is the prerogative of the Legislative Council of the Northern Territory first to make its opinions known. At a later date, if the forms of the House permit, this matter may come up for discussion but I think it would be completely improper for us to give our opinions before the matter is dealt with by the Legislative Council for the Northern Territory.

Dr Patterson:

Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a statement on this subject.


-Order! Is leave granted?


– Leave is refused.


-Order! Leave is not granted.

Mr Snedden:

– The Minister for Territories (Mr Barnes) has made clear the reasons why leave has been refused. I had a discussion with the Deputy Leader of the Opposition-

Mr J R Fraser:

Mr Speaker, will you explain whether the Minister for Immigration is speaking by leave or to a motion that is before the Chair?


-Order! The Minister is speaking by my indulgence. I allowed the Leader of the Opposition to speak without having first obtained leave of the House.

Mr Snedden:

– As I was saying, I had a discussion at which the Minister for Territories was present. He indicated quite clearly, as I heard him indicate just now, that this matter will come before the Legislative Council for the Northern Territory and that while he was anxious that the House should be informed, he was equally anxious to see that a matter which is properly for discussion by the Legislative Council should not first be discussed in this House. That is why the Minister has refused leave to the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson).

Mr Barnard:

Mr Speaker, may I claim your indulgence to move the suspension of Standing Orders to enable the honourable member for Dawson to speak on this matter?

Motion (by Mr Barnard) put:

That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the honourable member for Dawson making a statement.

The House divided. (Mr Speaker - Hon. W. J. Aston)

AYES: 37

NOES: 68

Majority .. ..31



Question so resolved in the negative.

page 383



Ministerial Statement

Minister for Civil Aviation · DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · LP

– I ask for leave of the House to make a statement relating to airport development.

Mr Whitlam:

– Will the Minister then move that the statement be noted?


– I shall ask the Leader of the House to move that.

Mr Whitlam:

– The Opposition does not oppose leave.


– Leave is granted.

Mr SWARTZ (Darling Downs - Minister for Civil Aviation) - From time to time, in the Press and elsewhere, statements have been made that the Government and my Department are conspiring to supplant Sydney with the new Melbourne airport as Australia’s premier international airport. Recently, senior officers of my Department have been accused of being ‘married to Melbourne’ and of intending to do everything in their power in favour of Melbourne to the detriment of Sydney. Qantas Empire Airways Ltd, the Government’s own overseas airline, has also been accused of aiding this alleged campaign. I thought it would be useful for honourable members if 1 were to give the House a brief resume of the two major projects so that members (hen can judge the accuracy and truth of these statements.

Let me say at the outset unequivocally that it is the Federal Government’s clear policy that Sydney will remain Australia’s chief international airport. To back up our words, we are putting up the necessary money - many millions of dollars. Some people have said: ‘it is all very well to make soothing statements like this, but we know that they have some sort of underhand plot afoot to supplant Sydney!’ 1 have never been quite able to determine who ‘they’ are. Certainly ‘they’ are not officers of my Department or members of the Commonwealth Government, nor are they officers of the Department of Works, which is building both airports. The facts speak for themselves and show these accusations for what they are - ill informed and illogical supposition.

The new Melbourne airport is being built primarily to cater for the operation of an expanded fleet of domestic jet airliners. Melbourne’s present airport at Essendon has reached the limit of its physical development. It cannot be extended to handle the increasing numbers of domestic jet airliners which are being introduced now into Australia’s domestic airline network. Therefore, for sound operational reasons and to cater for this growing fleet of domestic jets we found it necessary to develop a new airport at Melbourne, which, after all, is the centre of our domestic aviation network. Certainly the new Melbourne airport at Tullamarine will have facilities for international aircraft as well. This Government believes that a major city of Melbourne’s size needs the ability to maintain connections with the international- network of air services. I would merely point out that Sydney already has facilities for international jets, and these facilities are now being expanded and improved. The critics say: They are trying to build up Melbourne to take away Sydney’s status as our premier international airport.’ But how does this square with the facts? Both projects are being developed as parallel projects with no favouritism being shown for either.

Last year the New South Wales Government established a special committee to examine my Department’s plans to expand

Sydney airport and to build the new Melbourne airport. One senior New South Wales Minister, Mr Bridges, was chairman of that committee. Mr Bridges was quoted in several Sydney newspapers at the weekend as saying that Sydney was in danger of losing its status as Australia’s premier international airport and he also questioned the need to build international facilities at Tullamarine. Yet after carefully investigating the matter his own committee, in its report to the New South Wales Government, said:

With the increasing volume of air traffic, both domestic and overseas, it has been obvious for some years that Sydney and Melbourne required airports of international standards. The Committee is only concerned with the need to ensure that Australia, which is so dependent on airline communication, should have first class airports in the locations best suited for the traffic, and it is generally acknowledged that Sydney’s location well justifies its retention as the premier international airport. This principle has already been enunciated and emphasised by both the Minister and the Director-General of Civil Aviation and the Committee has no doubt that this policy decision will be retained.

Mr Bridges’ committee also stated:

The need for an adequate international airport in Melbourne is also beyond any doubt and it is considered that, because of its geographical location in relation to the whole of Australia, it has become and probably will remain the headquarters of the domestic services.

Mr Bridges’ committee even went on to describe Tullamarine as: a favourable development in Australian aviation and one which is well justified.

Indeed, nothing has happened to change this situation in the past few months. When both projects are finished Sydney will have runways of 8,500 feet and 8,300 feet, compared with 8,500 feet and 7,500 feet at Tullamarine. The facilities for handling international passengers at Sydney will be about 50% larger than those at Tullamarine. The international tarmac at Sydney will be about 50% larger than that at Tullamarine. The international terminal will be larger. The timing has not changed. Tullamarine will be ready for international operations late next year, and for domestic operations in late 1969. Sydney’s new runway extension will be ready later this year and the new international terminal will be ready in 1969. Plans are also being considered regarding future requirements for domestic facilities at Sydney.

At Tullamarine my Department is building a new operations centre and control tower complex. This work, together with the necessary roads and engineering services, will cost between $500,000 and $750,000. At Sydney too we are building a new operations centre and control tower, lt will cost an estimated $2. 75m. It will be much larger than the one at Tullamarine and will be the main operations centre for international aircraft operating into and out of Australia. Again I ask how anyone could logically and fairly claim that the Commonwealth Government and the Department of Civil Aviation are trying to usurp Sydney’s position as our major international airport.

Some point has been made of the fact that the Government’s own international airline Qantas has announced plans to progressively build up facilities for international operations at Tullamarine at a cost of about $7£m. I must point out that Qantas has already spent $15m on developing Sydney as its headquarters, and in the next five years plans to spend another $12m at Sydney. Does anyone seriously imagine that Qantas is suddenly going to scrap all these expensive facilities at Sydney and switch to Tullamarine as its main base? Such a proposition, of course, is too ludicrous to be entertained for a minute.

The critics have made much of the fact that my Department has selected a good airport site at Melbourne for the development of Tullamarine. They quite rightly say that Sydney is a ‘difficult’ site and that it is therefore easier to extend Tullamarine in the future. That is undeniably true. But this is a result of geography not Government or Department of Civil Aviation decision. The senior engineers and operations officers of my Department should not necessarily be praised for selecting a good site for the new Melbourne airport. They are professionals and one does not praise a professional for doing a professional job. But I firmly believe that they should be praised for the technical ingenuity and ability they have shown in developing Sydney’s ‘difficult’ site as Australia’s chief international airport. We are committed to the present Sydney airport site. No other site is available within reasonable distance of the city, so we have had to tackle the job of making the most of what we have available at

Mascot. We have spent, or are spending, $27m on ‘making’ land at Sydney airport - diverting major roads, a river and a major sewer line and reclaiming parts of Botany Bay - to ensure that Sydney airport has enough land to do an efficient job as Australia’s major point of international entry.

I have referred to the very expensive improvements now under way at Sydney, and being paid for by the Commonwealth Government. Could I suggest that these should be matched by a good expressway linking the airport with the city. This is the direct responsibility of the State and local authorities - the Commonwealth is only responsible for the roads inside the airport boundary. My information is that the New South Wales authorities will not be able to provide an expressway linking the airport with the city by 1969 - and perhaps even for a few years after that. By contrast the Victorian State authorities seem to be pressing ahead with their freeway very quickly.

Finally let me say that the Government is keeping the runway lengths needed for supersonic airliners and jumbo jets under close scrutiny. We are maintaining close contact with the manufacturers in Britain, France and the United States. If and when either our own or other international operators wish to operate these types of aircraft we will be in a position well ahead of such operations to make decisions regarding runway requirements. We should remember also that Sydney is not Australia’s only international airport. Besides the new facilities we are building there and at Melbourne, the Commonwealth Government has provided facilities for handling the largest international jets at Brisbane, Darwin and Perth as well as international alternates at Alice Springs, Meekatharrain Western Australia, and Townsville. Numerically we are a small country and we do not have limitless sums of money to spend. We have to try to get the best, and a balanced, development of our aviation facilities, within the limits of our resources. We believe we are doing this. I present the following paper:

Sydney and Melbourne Airports - Ministerial Statement, 7 March 1967.

Mr Wentworth:

-I ask for leave to make a statement in reply to the Minister who, I believe, has misled the House in certain directions.

Motion (by Mr Snedden) proposed:

That the House take note of the paper.


-The question before the Chair is that the House take note of the paper.

Mr Charles Jones:

– Is leave granted for the honourable member for Mackellar to make a statement?


– I have already put the question, and I understood that the Leader of the Opposition agreed with the motion.

Mr Whitlam:

Mr Speaker, I take it that the motion is that the House take note of the paper. I thought that the honourable, member for Mackellar wished to speak to that motion.


– The honourable member for Mackellar sought leave to speak.

Mr Wentworth:

-I do not need leave now, Mr Speaker.


– I call the honourable member for Mackellar.


- Mr Speaker, it is not possible, of course, to reply off the cuff to the Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr Swartz), who has had the benefit of advice from his Department, but there are two or three matters which 1 think should be mentioned. Let me deal first with the matter which the Minister mentioned last, the failure of the New South Wales Government to provide an expressway in contrast to the Victorian Government which has done so. Let me point out to honourable members that this arises very largely because of the favoured treatment which the Australian Loan Council has given over the last sixteen years to the Victorian Slate Government. The Victorian Government has received a much larger sum per capita than has the New South Wales Government and therefore it has been in a position to allocate funds for an expressway. This the New South Wales Government has not been able to do. It may well be that the Commonwealth Government is not entirely responsible for the conduct of the Loan Council but I do suggest that the Federal Treasurer (Mr McMahon), who is after all a member from New South Wales, has considerable authority with that body. I do suggest to him that if he wants to remedy the position which the Minister for Civil Aviation mentioned to the House, namely, that the expressway is not being built in Sydney whereas one is being built in Melbourne, then the first thing he should do is to see that the New South Wales Government gets as good treatment as the Victorian Government at the Loan Council meetings so that it can afford to do some of these things.

Secondly, let me mention two matters where I believe the Minister, perhaps unwittingly and by just following the advice given to him by his Department, has misled the House. The first relates to the runway at Kingsford-Smith Airport. The Minister said very fairly that bis departmental officers were not to be blamed for selecting at Tullamarine a site which had a very good runway which could be extended. Fair enough. But I recall to the Minister the discussions which took place in this House and elsewhere only recently when it was proposed to extend the Mascot runway to a reasonable length, a proposal incidentally which the Minister for Works (Mr Kelly) has now endorsed as reasonable. If honourable members will remember what was said at that time, a good part of the cost of the extension of the runway was involved in the long wall at the end of it. That wall was built and it will now have to be scrapped. The money spent on it has been wasted because the contentions put forward by honourable members from New South Wales a couple of years ago were not heeded. What we said then was not only reasonable, it was so eminently reasonable that it is hard to see how an unbiased department could have rejected our submissions. They were rejected and the Department is now shown to have been wrong. This costly end wall is to be scrapped before it is ever used.

Mr Buchanan:

– That is not so.


– This is right because the Minister for Public Works has now admitted the fact that the runway extending into Botany Bay needs further extension. So, the position has been reached, rather artfully by the Melbourne minded Department, where it will be easy to extend the Tullamarine runway but very hard, costly and unexpeditious to extend the runway at Mascot. If my honourable friend from Moreton (Mr Killen), who is trying to interject, will hold his peace for a moment he will find I will have some* thing to say which will be of some comfort to him. The decision not to further extend to a reasonable length that runway into Botany Bay at a time when it would have been easy and cheap to do so was a decision which is now shown to have been wrong, and admitted to be wrong, and it was so illogical at the time that it is difficult to understand how any unbiased department could have taken it.

There has been an extraordinary bungle over the terminal at Mascot. The inter: national terminal at Sydney has been the prime gate of entry into Australia since international airlines were established. The international terminal at Sydney is squalid. Considering the volume of traffic passing through it, I believe it is the worst international terminal of any airport in the world. I do not think there is another terminal which for badness can compare with it. Yet this position has been allowed to go on. There was never the small amount of money which was needed to fix it up but there was plenty of money to build a new terminal elsewhere. Now Sydney has suffered in its reputation, and very deservedly, because its international terminal has been inadequate. The fact that this position has not been fixed earlier is, I think, an indictment of the policy of the Department of Civil Aviation. My honourable friend from Moreton might understandably complain about Brisbane’s terminal which is itself rather squalid. If you compare the position in Melbourne you find that at Essendon there is a domestic terminal which is luxurious compared with Sydney standards; but it is not good enough for Melbourne. Now it is to be scrapped. Let us consider Perth, a city which had the good fortune to be represented by a Minister for Civil Aviation, and there we find a most luxurious terminal. I am reminded of Launceston airport and again, in that instance, a late Minister for Civil Aviation represented that city.

The improvement of Sydney’s international terminal has been by-passed in spite of the fact that the international airport business of Australia has concentrated there up to date. This is evidence that the Department has been biased because it has not given the Sydney terminal the same kind of treatment that any international terminal gets in any other part of the world. I invite honourable members to give me one instance of an international terminal in any country which, considering the business it carries, is as badly served as that at Sydney.

Then we have this further trouble - and this is, I think, perhaps the most important thing - of the separation of the domestic and international terminals which is proposed for Sydney under the Minister’s scheme. The Minister will say that this is temporary. How temporary, I do not know but for many years we are going to have the position at Kingsford-Smith Airport where the international and domestic terminals will be separated. I do not know how far apart they will be by road but I have heard that it will be three miles or something of that order. Yet in developing Tullamarine they are going to abandon the domestic terminal at Essendon which is already-

Mr Stokes:

– Who said so?


– Well, it is to be abandoned for domestic services and it is to be turned into a kind of wayside stop, although the Essendon terminal is better than anything that has been given to Sydney at any time. In other words, Sydney is being given terminals which are not as good as those which Melbourne is ready to scrap at Essendon. The really important thing, however, is the separation of the domestic and international terminals. Mr Speaker, could I have some protection from this Melbourne claque sitting near my microphone and endeavouring to interrupt me? This is, of course, one of the ways that the Melbourne minded people go on. I ask you to give me reasonable protection.


-Order! There are too many interjections.


– I hear from another Victorian member the exhortation to remember that I am an Australian. I do. I wish some of the Victorians would remember this also. All I want for New South Wales is a fair go. I do not want preference. I do not want the kind of preference that Victoria has had for so long from the Australian Loan Council which has enabled it to finance its industrial expansion at the expense of New South Wales. All I want is a fair go as an Australian. I would ask the Victorian members to remember, or try to remember, that they are Australians first and Victorians second. This is the principle that 1 would like to adopt and that I would like other honourable members of this House to adopt.

Let me come back to the question from which I was diverted and that is the separation of the international and the domestic terminals. Because of the bungling of the Department of Civil Aviation and because of its failure in the past to plan ahead, we are now in the position where Sydney cannot get an international terminal adjacent to its domestic terminals - not for many years at all events. I am not at all happy about the details underlying this extraordinary situation. It seems to me that the Department should have been looking ahead. It seems to me that the Department should not. for example - I give this as an example - have allowed fly ash to be dumped in this area as a filling. It has to be re-excavated and this is time consuming. Should an efficient department not have seen this or was the Department of Civil Aviation rather laying for Sydney? Was it perhaps rather glad to allow events to take their course so that it could always say: You cannot do anything quickly for Sydney. You cannot bring the domestic and international terminals together quickly.’ Of course this cannot be done now. But what do we think of a department which, at its prime international airport, has allowed this state of affairs to develop? Where is the foresight in the Department? Why was this not thought of years ago? I give the answer very simply. The Mascot airport was in Sydney and not in Melbourne.

Debate (on motion by Mr Charles Jones) adjourned.

page 387


Motion for Appointment

Motion (by Mr Anthony) - by leave - proposed:

  1. That a Joint Committee be appointed to:

    1. examine and report on all proposals for modifications or variations of the plan of lay-out of the City of Canberra and its environs published in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette on the nineteenth day of November 1925, as previously modified or varied, which are referred to the Committee by the Minister for the Interior; and
    2. examine and report on such other matters relating to the Australian Capital Territory as may be referred to the Committee by the Minister for the Interior.
  2. That the Committee consist of two Members of the House of Representatives appointed by the Prime Minister, two Members of the House of Representatives appointed by the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives, three Senators appointed by the Leader of the Government in the Senate and two Senators appointed by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.
  3. That every appointment of a member of the Committee be forthwith notified in writing to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
  4. That the members of the Committee shall hold office as a Joint Committee until the House of Representatives expires by dissolution or effluxion of time.
  5. That the Committee elect as Chairman of the Committee one of the members appointed by the Leader of the Government in the Senate
  6. That the Chairman of the Committee may, from time to time, appoint another member of the Committee to be the Deputy Chairman of the Committee, and that the member so appointed act as Chairman of the Committee at any time when the Chairman is not present at a meeting of the Committee.
  7. That the Committee have power to appoint sub-committees consisting of three or more of its members and to refer to such a sub-committee any matter which the Committee is empowered to examine.
  8. That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers and records and to sit during any recess or adjournment of the Parliament and during the sittings of either House of the Parliament.
  9. That the Committee have leave to report from time to time and that any member of the Committee have power to add a protest or dissent to any report.
  10. That five members of the Committee, including the Chairman or Deputy Chairman, constitute a quorum of the Committee, and two members of a sub-committee constitute a quorum of the sub-committee.
  11. That in matters of procedure the Chairman or Deputy Chairman presiding at the meeting have a deliberative vote and, in the event of an equality of voting, have a casting vote, and that, in other matters, the Chairman or Deputy Chairman have a deliberate vote only.
  12. That the foregoing provisions of this resolution, so far as they are inconsistent with the Standing Orders, have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the Standing Orders.
  13. That a message be sent to the Senate acquainting it of this resolution and requesting that it concur and take action accordingly.

Mr S. R. FRASER (Australian Capital moved by the Minister for the Interior (Mr Anthony). I am glad to see this Committee re-appointed, but once again I must express my regret that it has not been given the wider powers that the Committee itself has sought. When it was first established some nine or ten years ago, people felt that it would be the watchdog of the Parliament and of the people in the development of this National Capital. But unfortunately the Minister of the Interior at that time and his successors in office have seen fit to impose limitations on the Committee. The first paragraph of the Minister’s motion says:

That a Joint Committee be appointed to: (a) examine and report on all proposals for modifications or variations of the plan of lay-out of the City of Canberra and its environs published in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette on the nineteenth day of November 1925, as previously modified or varied, which are referred to the Committee by the Minister for the Interior:

We had an understanding from the Minister previously that all modifications or proposed modifications or variations to the plan would be referred to the Committee. I see no reason why the limiting words should remain in the motion. We still have the limiting words ‘which are referred to the Committee by the Minister for the Interior’. Part (b) of the first paragraph of the motion empowers the Committee to examine and report on such other matters relating to the Australian Capital Territory as may be referred to the Committee by the Minister for the Interior. I suggest that both those parts of the paragraph hamstring the Committee in its proper role as the watchdog of this Parliament and of the people. The Committee cannot properly exercise an oversight of the development of Canberra if it is limited in its discussions to matters that are referred to it by the Minister, who is the Minister in charge not only of the Department of the Interior, which is responsible for the administration of Canberra, but also of the National Capital Development Commission, which is charged with the task of developing the National Capital.

If mistakes are to be made they will be made by the Department of the Interior or by the National Capital Development Commission, and I think it is proper that a committee appointed by the Parliament should have the power to go into any matter that it thinks is a proper one’ for discussion and report to the Parliament. I think the Committee should be given power to initiate an inquiry. It should be able to say: ‘This is a matter that we should investigate. This is a matter on which we require evidence. This is a matter on which we should report to the Parliament.’ Honourable members from both sides of the House who have served for many years on this Committee have developed a keen interest in the development of Canberra as the National Capital. They express very considerable concern about what is being done in some aspects of this city’s development. Those members of the Committee - I hope that I have the support of honourable members of all three parties on this - believe that the Committee should be given the power to initiate. While the Committee is limited as it is by this motion it cannot properly carry out the functions that I believe the Parliament should allot to it.

I believe further that the Committee should be given statutory backing and should be put on all fours with the other statutory committees of the Parliament. The development of the National Capital is a matter that takes a considerable proportion of public money every year. The development of this National Capital now requires a very substantial budget. I repeat that I would like to see, and I hope the Minister will consider this, the Committee unfettered so that within its own responsibility it can initiate matters for discussion and report to the Parliament.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 389


Motion (by Mr Snedden) - by leave - agreed to:

That Mr J. R. Fraser, Mr Clark, Mr James, Mr Peacock, Mr Turnbull, Mr Crean, Mr Killen, Mr Drury and Mr St John be members of the Committee of Privileges, five lo form a quorum.

page 389


Motion (by Mr Snedden) - by leave - agreed to:

That, in addition to Mr Speaker, the Chairman of Committees, the Leader of the House and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, ex officio members, the following members be members of the Standing Orders Committee, five to form a quorum, viz.: Mr Harold Holt, Mr McEwen, Mr Clark, Mr Fulton, Mr Drury, Mr Bryant and Mr Duthie.

page 389


Motion (by Mr Snedden) - by leave - agreed to:

That, in addition to Mr Speaker, ex officio, Mr J. R. Fraser, Mr Failes, Mr Stokes, Mr Charles Jones, Mr Graham and Mr Hansen be members of the House Committee.

page 389


Motion (by Mr Snedden) - by leave - agreed to:

That, in addition to Mr Speaker, ex offico, Mr Turner, Mr Cross, Mr O’Connor, Mr Ian Allan, Mr Wentworth and Mr Bryant be members of tha Library Committee.

page 389


Motion (by Mr Snedden) - by leave - agreed to:

That Miss Brownbill, Mr Bryant, Mr Corbett, Mr i. R. Fraser, Mr Graham, Mr Lynch and Mr Stewart be members of the Printing Committee.

page 389



– I ask for leave to make a personal explanation.


-Does the Minister claim to have been misrepresented?


– Yes. During question time the honourable member for Brisbane (Mr Cross) asked me a question based on the fact that I had said - and he quoted the words - if I remember rightly: ‘The only thing 1 can see wrong with dentistry in Australia is that there are not enough dentists’. Mistaking the text and believing that the honourable gentleman was referring to an oral statement 1 was said to have made at the recent Dental Congress, 1 denied having made it. 1 now have to inform the House that I used the words in a message for the official Congress brochure signed by me some nine months ago, although in a somewhat different context from that suggested by the honourable member in his question. Nevertheless, I sincerely apologise to the honourable member for misunderstanding him and would like to say that I believe he is entitled to a full reply to the matter of substance contained in his question. I will, of course, immediately provide him with a written answer.

page 390




Debate resumed from 2 March (vide page 370), on motion by Mr Munro:

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

May it Please Your Excellency:

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


– First i should like to congratulate you, Sir, on being appointed to the office of Speaker of this House. You may remember that 1 saw fit, when it was made public that you had been selected as candidate for the Speakership, to send you a telegram of good wishes. When I came into this House I thought there was going to be a straight out affair with no voting. When it was necessary to vote I recorded my vote for you. 1 wish you well in the Chair and also I wish the Chairman of Committees (Mr Lucock) well. I congratulate him on being elected to his office. I congratulate also the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) and his Deputy (Mr Barnard). I hope that they have a successful time in this Parliament and that they are able to further the needs of their party.

During question time last week the honourable member for Bradfield (Mr Turner) brought up the subject of the Voyager’ disaster and referred to some remarks that were made in a book by Admiral Hickling. I hope that the honourable member for Bradfield will read also Admiral Hickling’s previous book, titled ‘A Sailor at Sea’. I think it is most unfortunate that this matter has been raised again. I have great sympathy for Captain Robertson because of all that has happened. I think he received a pretty raw deal and that the Government should have seen fit to give him his full Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund pension. But there are, of course, two sides to any question. There were few survivors from the ‘Voyager’, most of the very gallant men of her crew lost their lives. What is going to be gained by resurrecting this affair? I knew very well come of the officers and men who lost their lives. The captain of ship is not here to speak for himself, nor was he able to leave a message for the wife and children who survive him.

Captain Stevens during the war was a brave, distinguished and gallant officer. Admiral Hickling in his book ‘One Minute of Time’ makes reference to Captain Stevens allowing officers to put the ship alongside the pier. This is nothing new; it happens in ships and in aircraft all over the world. Who would like to be sitting in an aircraft and hear the following announcement made over the intercom: ‘The captain is now taking off in sole command for the first time’? All these things are tried out, and people know nothing about them. The same thing happens in ships. When I was a junior officer at sea my greatest terror was when the captain came on the bridge and threw a lifebuoy over the side and said ‘go and pick it up, and put the ship about’, or lower the whaler’, and then sent a message to the whaler’s crew, ‘Do not come alongside, we will come alongside of you.’ That sort of thing goes on. I know that Admiral Hickling has had far greater experience than 1 have. After all, he finished up as an admiral. I did not, but I have had a lot of training at sea. I think it was wrong of him to bring out some of the matters he brought out in his book. However, I hope that all honourable members who are Interested in this matter will read the admiral’s previous book ‘A Sailor at Sea’ in which he says that he acted against his better judgment in doing certain things. I end this part of my speech by saying that he had more accidents than most people.

I was very pleased to hear the speeches of the new honourable members in this House. They have come here with some very good qualities and I know as time goes on they will be very hard to match. The honourable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr Munro) who opened this debate spoke about the need for another port in Australia. He is quite right. With all the wheat we have in New South Wales at the present time, to use a coalmining term, lying at grass, something must be done very quickly so that our primary produce can be quickly shipped to the various ports in the world which receive our produce. If the Commonwealth Government or the State Government is considering establishing new ports I suggest that

Eden in New South Wales would be an ideal place to establish one. But once a new port is established all sorts of facilities, such as railways and other forms of transport, have to be provided. These facilities are very costly, but new ports must come and the longer their establishment is put off the more costly it will be. I was pleased that the honourable member for Eden-Monaro brought up this matter and I hope that if a new port is established in Australia it will be established at Eden and so enable that part of New South Wales to be opened up.

Last Wednesday week I went down to Flinders Naval Depot at the invitation of the Minister for the Navy (Mr Chipp) to see the raising of the new Australian White Ensign. I wish to thank the Minister for making it possible for me to take part in that ceremony. It was a sad occasion to see superseded a flag which has been identified with Australia and Australian seamen since Australia was founded. Many distinguished men have served under this Hag and many brave deeds have been performed under it. I raised the need for a new Australian flag in the House on 28th October 1965, and I am very glad that Her Majesty gave the necessary approval for Australia to have its own naval flag. This is very good, because now in Australia we have three Hags - a red flag, a white flag and a blue flag - which are identical except for colour. The red flag is, of course, the Merchant Navy flag; the blue Hag, the Commonwealth flag; and the white flag is the Australian Naval Ensign. It was the Royal Navy under the old White Ensign which founded Australia and many Royal Navy officers have served in Australia since that time in various capacities. So we owe much to the Royal Navy and to the officers who served under that flag. It was the presence of the Royal Navy in the early days of Australia that made us secure and a part of the British Empire, as it was known then. It was the British Navy which proclaimed adjacent Australian territory. It will be remembered that in those early days we had in Australia the Dutch, the French and the Germans who were seeking territory in the southern part of Australia. The names of those people are recorded on our present maps and charts to show just where they were - names like Baudin at Encounter Bay in South Australia and other names. But it was the Royal Navy which secured for us British New Guinea, now known as Papua, just in time to stop the Germans from taking over the eastern part of that area. So we have a lot for which to thank those who served under the White Ensign in tha early days of Australia. lt could be said that the White Ensign was on loan to the Royal Australian Navy. If we think of it that way, we have some consolation in knowing that we treated the British White Ensign well and with honour and that we have handed it back with greater honour. For instance, honourable members will recall - 1 mention this merely to put it on record - the brave deeds which were carried out by Australia and the Royal Australian Navy in World War I when we had two submarines, the A.E.I and the A.E.2, which were lost, and when the crew of HMAS ‘Sydney’ which encountered the German cruiser ‘Emden’ at Cocos Keeling Island achieved the first cruiser victory of World War I. But before this, some three or four weeks after the war broke out, an Australian naval force was landed in German New Guinea, as it was called, at Kabakaul, sixteen miles from Rabaul. That naval force took over German New Guinea and, during that action, the first casualties of the whole of the war in the British Empire resulted and the first awards for bravery were made. So it can be seen that Australia has played its part so far as the White Ensign is concerned.

These deeds were followed up by the officers and men who served under the White Ensign in other theatres of war during the Second World War, and honourable members will recall the part played by the Royal Australian Navy in several theatres of war. As an example I refer to the Mediterranean where the milk Tun to Tobruk by the scrap iron flotilla was well known. There were the deeds of the ‘Australia’ which served in all oceans. No ship which served during World War II had a record greater than HMAS ‘Australia’ which served from the Arctic Ocean to the Antarctic Ocean, in the Pacific, off the Philippines, and which took part in the bombardment of Dakar and was badly damaged in the Philippines. We lost many ships, such as the ‘Perth’, ‘Yarra’, ‘Parramatta’, Nestor’, ‘Waterhen’, ‘Voyager’, ‘Vampire’,

Canberra’ and others which are far too numerous for me to mention here.

Now we have our new ensign and the first ship to be commissioned under this flag was the merchant ship ‘Boonaroo’. This was brought about because the Seamen’s Union of Australia, I am sorry to say, refused to man the ship and the Navy was called in to take over. The first Australian naval ensign was hoisted on a merchant ship. I consider that the action by the Seamen’s Union was despicable and treasonable because other unions have been affected. They have approached me and I have agreed with them. Members of the Merchant Service Guild of Australia, the Australian Institute of Power and Marine Engineers, the cooks’ union, the Stewards and Pantrymen’s Association, and the Radio Officers Association have been stood down and put out of work. They have been forced to look elsewhere for employment because one union has said that it would not man the ship. I shall say something about this later. This action by the Seamen’s Union is consistent because remarks were made by the Federal Secretary of the Union to show that during the Korean War not a stick of cargo went from this country on an Australian ship. As recently as December 1965 a report of the Secretary of the Seamen’s Union appeared in publication No. 6 of the World Trade Union Movement of 6 Chichester Chambers, Chichester Rents, Chancery Lane, London. Mr Elliott was reported as saying in Warsaw in October 1965:

On behalf of Australian seamen I deplore the presence of SOO soldiers in Vietnam. We are ashamed. But neither these troops nor any of their equipment were transported to Vietnam in ships employing Australian trade unionists. Many Labor M.P.’s have opposed these acts by our Government, hundreds of protest meetings have been held, and there is widespread opposition from Intellectuals and churchmen. Short protest work stoppages have been held by dockers and seamen.

That is all right if one likes to look at it that way, but that comes from an old member of the Communist Party who identifies the Labor Party. I do not go along with that. Members of the unions to which I have referred have been stood down because of Mr Nolan, a member of the Central Executive of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Labor Party who sits in judgment on other people. Every honourable member in this place recalls with pride the remarks of the honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell) when he was Leader of the Opposition. In this place on 4th May 1965 he said: 1 cannot close without addressing a word directly to our fighting men who are now by this decision committed to the chances of war. Our hearts and prayers are with you. Our minds and reason cannot support those who have made the decision to send you to this war, and we shall do our best to have that decision reversed.

This is the main part of his remarks:

But we shall do our duty to the utmost in supporting you to do your duty. In terms of everything that an army in the field requires we shall never deny you the aid and support that it is your right to expect in the service of your country. 1 am very pleased that the honourable member for Melbourne said that. It is necessary that the mcn in the field be supported. All unions, except one, in the merchant navy have said, under the direction of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, that they will take supplies to Vietnam. But not the Seamen’s Union. How will Mr Nolan get on about this, he being an executive member of the Labor Party? Will he be asked to explain or will he not have to explain? Who will take him to task for breaking Party rules? It will be interesting to see what happens. Will the Federal President or the Secretary of the Labor Executive take him to task? It is very difficult to forecast whether they will do so ar not, but time will tell.


– Wasn’t Nolan a great friend of yours?


– He was a great friend of mine.


– Now you are attacking him.


– Are you in agreement ment with the Australian Council of Trade Unions?


– Never mind that: answer my question. You are using the privileges of the House to launch an attack on this man.


– Order!


– I know what Mr Nolan did.


– He did a lot for you. He helped you to get into the Parliament.


Mr Nolan was not on the Executive when I got into the Parliament.


– He did a lot for you; he pushed you into the Parliament.


– He did nothing for me. He has wrecked the country and if he is left in power he will wreck the merchant navy as well.


– Why don’t you tell that to Nolan himself?


– And if he leaves it to Senator Keeffe the position will be worse still. 1 want to make it quite clear that 1 go along with the ACTU in this matter. J hope the Government will initiate the necessary action to bring the Seamen’s Union into line before it wrecks the whole Australian maritime industry. The sour part of the situation is that this dispute has been initiated not by the Communist Party, as one would expect, but by a member of the Central Executive of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Labor Party.


– That is a lie.


– He was responsible for the ban on the ‘Boonaroo’. Sixty-five per cent or thereabouts of Australian shipping - and I am referring to the interstate trade - is under the control of the Australian Government. It is well that this should be understood by those who now seek to wreck this industry. I well remember a similar position arising in 1928, when lighthouse vessels were not manned. The government of the day was forced to put those ships under the control of the Navy, so that every person who served on a lighthouse vessel at that time became a Federal public servant. I do not want to see that sort of thing happen again, but the fact is that 65% of the ships I have been speaking about are now under Government control and something similar to what happened in 1928 could happen again. I hope it does not happen again.

For a long time 1 have been campaigning for an Australian overseas shipping line, but how could we have an overseas shipping line when this kind of thing goes on? If anybody here thinks that a ship or a line could operate in these conditions I invite him to get up and tell the House. Mr Nolan knows my feelings on this matter. I have not spoken behind his back. The very day after the honourable member for Melbourne said in this House that we should support the troops in South Vietnam by sending supplies to them, what did Mr Nolan do? The very next day he put a black ban on the American ships in the port of Melbourne. The USS ‘Vancouver’ which came to Australia to take part in the Coral Sea commemoration services was forced to berth without tugs because no member of the Seamen’s Union would handle that vessel. This was a ship that came here to take part in the celebrations when we stood to and remembered those who gave their all. Yet the honourable member for Gellibrand (Mr Mclvor) criticises me for speaking about Mr Nolan.


– Certainly I do. You want to use the privileges of the House to attack one of your best friends.


– He can have his attack. I appreciate the efforts of the marine engineers who have said that they will man the Jeparit’. I also applaud the other unions which have said that they will go along with the marine engineers. The necessary arrangements can be made quite easily. In World War II merchant officers and ratings and engineers served together in naval ships. There was an agreement known as TI 24. Those who wanted their merchant service rates of pay under T124 articles received those rates. Those who did not want this arrangement accepted temporary commissions in the Navy and went on to naval rates of pay. The engineers have said they are prepared to serve in this ship on naval rates of pay and I am very glad that they have decided to do this.

As I said before, I am very disappointed that I have had to bring this matter up. But there is an industry at stake in this country. The position is that the Australian Council of Trade Unions says that these ships should be manned. The most ardent champion of the Australian Council of Trade Unions in this House, I should say, would be the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr E. James Harrison). Anyone who reads his speeches on industrial matters must conclude that he is a champion of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. I hope he will rise in his place on this occasion and say that the Australian Council of Trade Unions is right and that the Seamen’s Union is wrong. I hope he will agree that the man ultimately responsible, whether it be Nolan in Melbourne or E. V. Elliott in

Sydney, is wrong. Whether we are for or against the sending of our men to Vietnam, we must recognise that it is treasonable and traitorous to leave them out on a limb and say to them: ‘You will not get a stick of cargo from us’. I just will not go along with that, whether it is said by Nolan or by Elliott, and if this Government does not face up to the situation, the coming storm will be more violent than what we have yet seen.

Minister for Immigration · Bruce · LP

Mr Speaker, in this Parliament there is an unusually large number of new members, many of whom have made maiden speeches during the last two weeks. One of them will make his maiden speech later today. I am sure all honourable members have noted the striking quality of these speeches. I hope these new members will all serve their electors and the Parliament for many years. Whether we are new members or old, we collectively represent the people of Australia, the people of a most fortunate country, lt is not a bad thing to remind ourselves of this fact and to call to mind, if only briefly, the circumstances which make this so.

Nature has been kind to us. Of course we suffer rebuffs from time to time, with floods, droughts and bush fires. But we know and enjoy nature’s true bounty. There is in Australia room to move, room to develop and room to expand and grow. Our country has enormous natural riches ready to be taken in hand and moulded to the good of the Australian people. This we are doing by hard work, skill and inventive ingenuity.

Tolerance and respect for the opinions and habits of other people are our way of life. Every man is free to do as he wishes within the law. Minorities there are, but none is under pressure to change its ways or to submit to pattern. Because of our homogeneous population there have not been thrown up the problems of racial discrimination which bedevil some other countries. We have a political system which is established and democratic, in which the will of the people must prevail. A man is free from arbitrary arrest and has recourse to an independent judiciary of very high standing. Our living standards are high. We have a proper social conscience and nobody is denied opportunity. All these things make us glad and proud to be Australians.

This brief statement is unnecessary in this chamber of representatives. I have made it only to put into perspective that to which I now turn my direct attention, migration to Australia. For it is into this environment that we invite so many thousands of people to come and make their lives. It is a truism that our population is overwhelmingly descended from immigrants. Some in this House are immigrants. Others, like myself, are children of immigrants. There are in our history clearly discernible periods of considerable immigrant intake, but none so intense or sustained as that of the last two decades. Assisted immigration is almost as old as the settlement of Australia. Originally it was the work of the States and it remained so even after Federation. Not until 1945 did the Commonwealth establish a separate Department of Immigration under a Federal Minister. The first Minister was the honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell). He will long be remembered for the contribution he made to Australia’s development while he held that portfolio. I have no doubt that he reflects on it with pride, and justly so. He was succeeded, with the change of government, by the present Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt). That right honourable gentleman’s term spanned the critical years of massive intake of immigrants into a country quite unused to this experience, with all the attendant problems of acceptance and assimilation. His continuing interest in immigration is manifest. He was succeeded in turn by the late Athol Townley, Sir Alex Downer and the honourable member for Corio (Mr Opperman) - all men of outstanding warmth and quality, to whom many tributes have rightly been paid.

The Governor-General, in his Speech to the Parliament, stated:

Increasing population is an essential element in Australia’s programme of national development. Currently, migration is contributing 40% of the annual increase in the work force. There is a valuable flow of migrants from Britain, and my Government aims to stimulate assisted migration from other European countries.

It is with this passage of the Speech that I now deal particularly. We had at the beginning of 1947 a population of 7.5 million. We have today 11.6 million. There has been an increase of 53.5% in two decades. Of this population growth immigrants have accounted for nearly half. The other 2 million, who represent natural increase, will be looked at out of perspective unless we take into account that a very considerable proportion of those births are the children of immigrants. During this period of twenty years the Australian work force has grown by 1.7 million of whom 61%, or more than 1 million people, have been settlers from other countries. It is estimated that if migration continues at its present level the work force will grow annually by about 2.4%. It is estimated that without migration the annual average growth would be only 1.4%.

But this twenty years of achievement cannot be rendered merely in statistics. Migrants are people - people who transplant their skills, their culture and their physical and mental characteristics into the dynamism of the Australian nation. We all have lived through the excitement of the time and felt the impact of these individual people on our own lives. We have welcomed them, worked with them and lived with them. They have influenced our tastes and preferences, our culture and our national character. We impose upon them duties and we expect from them the same participation as we ourselves give. There are no special obligations for them to perform - nor should there be, for when a person speaks of ‘we Australians’ he means all who live here. He means a single Australian people. This is our national achievement and is our national aim. Its performance depends on warmth of welcome and acceptance by the community. Scarcely a person in Australia has not had a share in the process of acceptance - workmates and employers; the mothers on school committees and the children in school; the Churches and their ministry; wonderful people who give so generously of their time in the Good Neighbour Movement and its constituent associations. Every social sporting and cultural club in the country can help to make new settlers feel welcome and wanted.

The purpose of planned immigration can be expressed in various ways but it must always have in essence the context of population growth. Some will look at the matter as one of sheer numbers; others as an accretion to the work force; yet others as a useful means of obtaining skills and professions. Our planned immigration programme is all of these things. So far as population is concerned the Government has for many years seen as an ultimate target to aim at an annual growth of 2.5%. Natural increase it was thought might be capable, on average, of contributing 1.5% and immigration 1%. The birth rate is variable. Circumstances of the past condition the birth rate of today. From a peak of 1.42% in 1952-53 natural increase has steadily fallen to a present rate of only 1.08% per annum. It should rise significantly in the next few years. The contribution of net migration also is variable. From an average of 1.52% per annum in the first five years of full scale post-war migration, with a peak of 2.04% in 1949-50, it has fallen to an average in the last six years of 0.74%.

In the early days of the post-war period there was a ready availability of migrants to Australia. We received tens of thousands of people displaced by the war. This source is now closed. At the height of post-war refugee migration we had exceptional annual intakes of permanent arrivals of the order of 160,000 to 170,000. They were fine people of enormous benefit to Australia. After the flush of refugee migration programmes reverted to much lower levels but have been progressively increased. From a target of 90,000 in the years 1953 to 1956 we have progressed to 148,000 in this financial year. The numbers of incoming people are running to programme expectation. Applications already in hand assure us of achievement of the targets for assisted migration. The flow of unassisted migration is less predictable but there is no reason to expect a shortfall in this component either. The programme of assisted migration is based on an expectation of 92,000 arrivals. Of these 71,000 will come from Britain.

The content of the overall intake, by reference to country of origin, is worth attention. The completed year of 1965-66 will serve for that purpose, being very similar to the current financial year. The settler intake was 144,055. Of these more than 75,000 - some 53% - were from Britain and Ireland. Another 30,500 - some 22% - were from Greece, Italy and Malta. So five countries contributed 75% while all the remaining countries of origin contributed only 25 per cent. This is a marked change from earlier years. People of the countries that I have mentioned are very fine settlers - as indeed are all the others whom we have received - and we warmly welcome them to Australia. I hope that those source countries continue to provide large reservoirs of such fine people. But in that statement lies the difficulty. If circumstances in those countries change the achievement of our planned intake could be seriously impeded. Diversification of sources and a more broadly based distribution are essential to service an ever growing programme. We must, therefore, seek to widen the areas of Europe from which we receive migrants. We should also aim at greatly increasing the intake from those countries not now providing us with the numbers we once received from them. In this latter category I have in mind Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria and Holland. The achievement of these two objects is not easy. On the administrative side we shall simplify and facilitate the procedures necessary to establish that a person meets the standards we require for entry as a resident and potential Australian citizen. But administration is part only of the whole. The size of our immigration intake is conditioned by a variety of factors, some relevant to this country, the others relevant to the countries of origin of the migrants. The internal factors can be expressed simply by the proposition: how many people can we absorb? The external factors can be stated . in the proposition: how many people can we attract?

The policy of the Government over the years has been and will be in future that our intake should at all times be consistent with the preservation of the homogeneity of our people, the maintenance of our institutions, and the capacity of the economy at a particular time to absorb people on arrival. In the past twenty years the massive migration programme has contained within it risks of tension, of dissatisfaction, and of enclaves and minorities. Largely these risks have been averted and have not materialised. Partly this is because of conscious Government effort. Partly it is because of the character and response of the Australian people. We have remained homogenous and our institutions have been undented.

There is every reason to believe that a programme of the relative dimensions of, or even bigger than, recent years will not put the first of these two factors under any unmanageable strain. The degree of capacity to absorb migrants is variable from time to time but such is the inherent strength of our economy and the firmness of our commitment to national development that we may say that massive planned immigration will be an Australian policy for as far into the future as can be seen. To do otherwise would mean a reduction in the rate of population growth and expansion. The last two decades have shown us that immigration is the most important determinant of all developmental activity.

Our current position is one of great strength. We have an economy which is well balanced. The effects of the drought have, generally speaking, passed. We look forward to a record volume of rural production. Prices are not under too great a pressure. There is an increased buoyancy in consumer spending with a corresponding strength of production in consumer goods. There is growing confidence reported from commercial and financial sources. Unemployment is at a very low level. At the end of January 1967, despite the seasonal impact on the work force of school leavers, those registered for employment totalled 88,965 representing 1.9% of the work force. The buoyancy of the economy is everywhere apparent. The work force requirement will continue to expand and will need for its fulfilment a large subvention from immigration. 1 will now turn to the external factors - the question: ‘How many can we attract?’ The conditions in source countries show promise of increasing opportunities for us to attract growing numbers of first class migrants. All members are aware of the pitch of industrial activity in Europe and particularly in Germany, the Benelux countries, Switzerland and France in the last few years. These conditions created a demand in those countries for additional labour of enormous proportions. Apart from full utilisation of the domestic work force this need has been met by contract workers from other European countries as well as North Africa and the Middle East. Our role in some countries became that of a competitor in the attraction of people, notwithstanding that we sought permanent residents rather than temporary workers. Some governments saw advantage in their nationals responding to this short term displacement rather than the permanent displacement that overseas migration involves. Also, geography and distance were heavy competitive weights against us as they always have been. At the same time general conditions of improved prosperity in those countries eroded the impetus of migration interest overall. The German example suffices to illustrate the point I have been making. For some years the ‘guest worker’ force tn Germany has grown till in 1966 it exceeded one million foreign workers - all temporary residents. Australia’s intake of German settlers was 12,000 in 1960 but has averaged about 3,700 a year since then. We would aim to restore it to its earlier level, but this will not be easy. We have been most fortunate that our efforts in Britain have been so successful in maintaining our total intake by ever-increasing numbers of Britons.

There are indications of diminished recruitment of foreign workers by European governments or, what amounts to the same thing, non-renewal of contracts. I am hopeful that increased numbers of migrants to Australia will build up and continue to flow from those countries of Europe from which we are accustomed to expect new settlers. I must make the point that the attitudes of other governments are vital to our success for it is simply not possible to maintain an immigration programme without their goodwill. Our aim is to work in concert with other governments to increase immigration to Australia on a pattern that will avoid interruption to their own economics and yet yield maximum benefit to Australia. For some years we had a migration agreement with Italy. It expired on 31st January 1964. Since then we have been unable to conclude a new agreement. Discussions are currently proceeding and I am most hopeful a successful outcome will be reached shortly. In the absence of the agreement, assisted migration from Italy is virtually confined to a few hundred people who are dependants of earlier assisted migrants. The unassisted migration continues on the personal nomination of new settlers by established residents. I need hardly add that there are no quotas or other numerical ceilings, nor is there any relationship requirement for nomination. All that needs be satisfied by the migrant is the single standard required for all migrant entries.

The task of augmenting existing migrant flows will call for an intensification of effort, simplified migration formalities, exploitation of new sources, and the exploitation of opportunities as they arise in those counttries from which presently our intake is regrettably small. Changed and changing conditions must be matched by flexibility and new initiatives in immigration programmes, especially in those areas where our attractiveness to migrants is being challenged by European progress and prosperity.

There are 188 Australian officers of the Department serving in 20 countries. They are all energetic and devoted enthusiasts to the vital job they perform. They are anxious to fulfil the programmes which the’ Government sets, but such activity by Australian officers in another country requires the co-operation of the host country. This co-operation will be actively sought through all levels of government in those countries where it is a prerequisite to new or revived immigration to Australia.

So far I have stressed the dynamic character of our approach to planned immigration. I now wish to say something about Australia’s immigration policy in relation to people of non-European descent. I see its administration in harmony with the concept of an independent, homogeneous society, free of intolerance, discrimination and friction, characteristically and essentially Australian. Our policies are moulded to meet our own needs which change and develop through our own national efforts and in response to change elsewhere. Our restrictive immigration policy, declared in 1901 in Federal legislation as a result of events in the last century and maintained with few changes until 1939, has been modified since then for various reasons. They include the events of war, the claims of humanity and especially a broadening of our national interests and attitudes. In 20 years we have eliminated undesirable features in our policy and in the methods of its administration. This process of reform must be seen in perspective. It is one factor in the growth of our national influence and potential. While maintaining organic contact with the sources from which it principally derives, the Australian nation is building an orderly pattern against which our relations with allies, friends and neighbours will develop. These, of course, recognise the national interests and policies of ourselves as well as of our friends. The results will include easier and longer stays in Australia for increasing numbers of businessmen and visitors. As we grow, what Australia contributes to the wellbeing of the countries surrounding us as host to their students will become more substantial and more significant.

Our systems of administration and control will be under constant revision to remove unnecessary impediments to the genuine interchange of people and ideas. We will be joined by some people from outside Britain and Europe who wish to become part of our community; to integrate with us, as the phrase has it; to join our march forward; and to accept the obligations and opportunities of Australia’s future. They will share fully in, as well as contribute to, the growth which all our efforts, all our discoveries, all our programmes will produce. Until 1957 such newcomers could not become Australian citizens in the full sense. Since that date 6,200, including over 500 in 1966, have done so. The number of those who have taken up residence since the war, who could not have done so under pre-war policies, is now 30,000, approximately half of whom are people of mixed descent. With the latest revision of policy, which was debated in the House a year ago, the names of the Prime Minister, Mr Holt, and my predecessor, Mr Opperman, will be justly identified.

Admittedly, the numbers are carefully observed and, though growing, are limited. They will, however, continue to grow as the recent changes in policy show their effect and as Australia grows and her contacts with other nations expand. Like our migrants arriving lawfully from anywhere, their prospects are assessed and they themselves are selected in consonance with our belief that all whom we allow to reside here permanently should have a good chance of finding congenial work for which they are trained or fitted and of becoming substantially Australians in a reasonable time, and their children wholly so in the next generation. This belief is basic and it is in the best interest of the newcomers as it is in Australia’s. Our national aim is an expanding Australia which must continue to be generally integrated, fruitfully industrious, politically democratic and socially tolerant. Mr Speaker, there is no doubt that our immigration programmes of the last two decades have been outstandingly successful. We must work with the object of making the programmes of the future equally so.


– By the time this debate on the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply is concluded, most of the twenty new members in this House will have made their maiden speeches. For them, this means that their halcyon days are over and henceforth they can expect the thrust and parry of debate. The new members represent a change of membership equal to one in six. I think this is a turnover which would be regarded as being high by any standards. However, my mind goes back to the beginning of the Nineteenth Parliament which saw not less than fifty new members, this being due to the increase that was made in the size of the Parliament at that time. As, on this occasion, all the new members are Government members, I wish them a very happy but short stay. We have a new Speaker. To him I extend similar sentiments.

Containerisation’ is a word that is very much in the news these days. As the wharves to provide for containerisation are to be bulk on the foreshores of the suburb of Balmain, which is a part of the Dalley electorate, I feel that it is incumbent upon me to speak on this subject. Balmain is on a peninsula surrounded by a deep water frontage, and, because of this fact, a constant battle has been waged down the years to prevent industry moving in to the detriment of existing residences and future residential development. The municipal authorities have been fighting a tenacious rearguard action to achieve some balance, and, just when they thought they had accomplished some success in this direction, they have found in recent years that their plans are to be eroded by the actions of the Commonwealth Government and the Government of New South Wales.

Firstly, the Commonwealth instrumentality, the Australian National Line, decided that the terminal for the New South WalesTasmania service was to be located in Morts Bay. The ANL originally proposed to locate this terminal in another locality. However, certain influences were strong enough to prevent this but, as far as Balmain was concerned, all efforts to have the ANL choose a site elsewhere proved fruitless. Balmain is a very historical suburb. At one time it was a residential suburb of some eminence, but industry, particularly shipbuilding, made its appearance and the residential character of the district declined. It is one of Sydney’s older suburbs, and it contained much of historical interest. Unfortunately, much of this has been destroyed by the spread of industry. Many sites and objects of interest still remain, however, and the historical society which was formed in the district several years ago is doing a worthwhile job in its attempts to preserve these objects.

The attitude of many people in Australia to the preservation of our past, I regret to say, is similar to that of the Americans of many years ago. Today, Americans are consistently lamenting the manner in which their places and objects of great historical importance were destroyed years ago. Today in that country wealthy foundations such as the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations are spending considerable sums of money restoring these things. The Ford Foundation in particular has been very active. It has spent and is still spending large sums of money on restorations in different locales in and around Boston. T am afraid that unless there is a change of policy on the part of the policy makers in our own country much that needs to be preserved and should be preserved will be destroyed. Our policy makers and planners are concerned only with economics.

When Balmain appeared to be on the verge of a residential revival, it had terminals, new wharves for container cargo vessels and a new oil terminal thrown at it, and it now awaits the resultant disruption that must occur. The streets of the district were never planned to take the increase in traffic, particularly heavy traffic, that will result from these new developments. The siring of these facilities in Balmain will not only create hazards and problems for the local residents - and they are by far the worst affected - but it will also create further and unnecessary traffic problems for the City of Sydney itself.

The oil terminal is stated to be only temporary. In this case, it should never have been permitted by the State Planning Authority. The Maritime Services Board of New South Wales should have taken the opportunity of developing containerisation facilities at Botany Bay years ago. This would have solved a cumber of problems. The present decision to proceed at Balmain merely accentuates and exacerbates existing problems. In Victoria, planning on these matters appears to be years ahead of what it is in New South Wales. Vision and initiative on all matters in New South Wales appear to be non-existent. The State authorities appear to be striving all the time to bring themselves up to date. Apparently it would be expecting too much of them to ask that they look ahead rather than have to strive desperately to get into the picture, as they are doing at this moment.

I now propose to speak briefly about what has become known as the White case. William White was a school teacher employed by the New South Wales Department of Education. When he was called upon in a lawful manner to perform duties as defined under the National Service Act, he objected, on the ground of conscience. The Act provides for cases such as this. His application to be treated as a conscientious objector was heard before a stipendiary magistrate. Under the Act, the magistrate can dismiss the application, dismiss the application and at the same time direct that the applicant shall not be called upon to perform combat duties, or uphold the application and accordingly grant the applicant exemption from the terms of the Act. In White’s case, the magistrate upheld the application and ordered that White be exempted from the call-up. lt was not unreasonable to think that White would be granted back his former employment. This has not been done. The New South Wales Department of Education has refused to place him back in his former school. He no longer is active as a teacher in the manner that he was before his appeal. He is now being employed by the Department in its correspondence section. This is not a question of how one reacts to White’s attitude to the call-up. Either there is a very important principle of law involved, or there is nothing. The law has found for White, but, as a consequence, he has found himself jeopardised. What would have been the position if he had been in private employment and his employer had acted as the New South Wales Government has acted? The action of the State Government savours of victimisation. The law demands respect not only from individuals but also from governments, and it will be a very sad day for this country if the contemptuous and insolent attitude of the New South Wales Government is permitted to pass unchallenged.

The attitude of the Commonwealth Government on the subject of inquiries calls for some examination. The present Government has a marked penchant for appointing public servants to conduct inquiries that affect the Public Service on some occasions and the public on others. I disagree most strongly with this practice and I believe that justice would appear to be done if a different policy were followed. On matters of inquiry, this Government follows a remarkable course, to say the least.

An inquiry is being carried out into the air disaster near Mount Isa and as my colleague, the honourable member for East Sydney (Mr Devine), has pointed out in a very telling speech, a representative of one of the interested parties is a member of the Board of Inquiry. I ask: where else would such a policy be tolerated? Our Public Service is a very efficient one. There is abundant proof of this if one is prepared to accept the evidence that is available from the top echelon of the Service itself, and from the Cabinet. But for my part and from my experience there is abundant evidence available to cause grave doubts as to this alleged efficiency. A Government member has described the Menzies era as an era of government by elocution. Most governments are, however, governments by silence so far as the Public Service is concerned. I believe that to appoint a public servant to conduct an inquiry, the outcome of which could embarrass his superiors, to say nothing of the Government, is completely wrong. After all, the first duty of a public servant is to give effect to the policy of the government of the day. The Department of Civil

Aviation is the worst offender in this respect. In the past, in all controversial matters when some form of inquiry has been initiated it has been done, on most occasions, at a departmental level. The policy of the Government is defined in an Act that covers this field of activity, yet the Government continues to ask one of its own departments to sit in judgment on an Act of Parliament which, oddly enough, the Government demands the same department to administer.

During the debate that followed the Royal Commission that was held after the Melbourne’-‘Voyager’ disaster, a member of the Government said that Mr Justice Spicer should never have been appointed to conduct the inquiry. With this viewpoint I concur and I do hope that in the future the Government will act more wisely and permit this learned gentleman’s undoubted talents to operate in less controversial fields.

Mascot air terminal is again assuming controversial aspects, and as a member of the Public Works Committee I feel that I should say something on this subject. From my experience as a member of this Committee I have no hesitation in saying that forward planning is a phrase that finds very little or no place at all in the vocabulary of most Commonwealth departments. I could give quite a number of examples to prove this point, but time will not permit. As far as future development is concerned, Mascot terminal is in a desperate plight. The plans of the Department of Civil Aviation for Sydney are still in the exploratory stage. As yet the Department has no firm commitments. What is helping it maintain this condition of mind is that so much money has been spent on Mascot that the Department feels it is committed to the site and that the future can and will look after itself. If this condition of mind goes on much longer it will eventually result in the by-passing of Sydney as the major overseas terminal. The trend in overseas capitals is to move these terminals out of the precincts of the metropolis.

I said something earlier about the lack of forward planning, but there are to be found exceptions to the rule, and a notable exception is the Tullamarine terminal. As far back as 1956 the Tullamarine site was acquired. Much of it was virgin country. It possesses a great many notable advantages for future expansion - something Mascot b desperately lacking. The trade and commercial interests in Melbourne have been most active over the years in seeking an overseas terminal in that city. I have no opposition to Tullamarine airport. I supported before, and I do now, the establishment of such a project. The coming into existence of an overseas terminal at Melbourne will mean to the trade and commercial interests of that city not less than $10m per annum and, this being the case, their enthusiasm and support for the Tullamarine cause can be readily understood.

The Victorian Government has shown dash and verve, as well it might, in supporting the project, as illustrated recently by the announcement of plans to provide for the new expressway from Melbourne to Tullamarine. By contrast, the Askin Government in New South Wales seems to be overwhelmed by its responsibilities and has not yet got off the ground as far as its commitments to Mascot are concerned. In Sydney, procrastination caused by interdepartmental wrangling is very much in evidence. Difficulties which expert advice said would not arise were, and still are, being encountered at Mascot. I refer to erosion. The State Government and the Commonwealth Government paid $40,000 to the Wallingford Institute to conduct tests as to the probable effects of extending the runway into Botany Bay. The Public Works Committee had this report, which stated that no ill effects would result. In addition, local experts gave similar favourable opinions. So much for the experts. The development of Mascot will undoubtedly be hindered by what can be described only as the peculiar decision of the Commonwealth Government to insist that at Tullamarine internal and external facilities be developed simultaneously, while refusing to make the same conditions obtain at Mascot. Tullamarine could have been used quite easily for some years to come as a domestic terminal, the only disadvantage being that a Boeing 727 could not operate fully loaded out of there on a direct flight to Perth. However, such craft can still operate on a commercial basis - that is, a paying basis - for this particular flight. At Mascot the Committee recommended that the same development of terminals take place but the Government did not support that view.

At the time of the inquiry TransAustralia Airlines was proposing to spend Sim on extensions to its terminal but held its hand pending the outcome of the inquiry. It was ready and willing to move. However, Ansett-ANA did not favour the change being made, as it was not in a position to find the money that it would have required. Its commitment at Tullamarine had exhausted its reserves for proposals of this kind. The Cabinet should, as a matter of policy, explain if it can the distinction it has made on this subject. Mr Ansett is truly the favourite son of this Government. Some day someone will tell just how much this gentleman has impeded the development of civil aviation in Australia. TAA was willing to make the move at Mascot but because Ansett would not agree travellers will now have to contend with this unreal separation between local and overseas terminals, which will cause not only inefficiency but serious inconvenience.

A Press notice appeared recently to the effect that Qantas Empire Airways Ltd would be moving a major part of its staff to the new Tullamarine airport, the inference of course being that this would be to the disadvantage of Mascot I think it is proper to point out that this is not a new development. In fact, it was mentioned in evidence by a representative of Qantas at the Public Works Committee hearing. He then stated that major maintenance would still be carried out at Sydney but that Qantas would be compelled to set up facilities costing approximately S4m at Tullamarine. However, the work force for Tullamarine would be recruited from Victoria and this would in no way affect the work force at the Qantas terminal at Mascot. I think it is also proper to point out that the idea of an international airport in Melbourne is not new. Essendon was such a terminal until about 1957 or 1958 when a new jet aircraft came into service and the Department of Civil Aviation would not grant to operators a licence on a permanent basis. Consequently, such companies as the British Overseas Airways Corporation and Pan American Airways ceased using Essendon. Further, I think it should be stated that, notwithstanding the doubts and criticisms that are in existence about Mascot, the Department of Civil Aviation still maintains that its work is on schedule.

To sum up, I have been attempting to bring before the notice of the House, firstly, something which can be described only as the slaughter of a suburb. Here we have an area ideally suited for residential development but which is being slowly decimated by the ever-encroaching demands of industry. Industry in this instance is being aided and abetted by bureaucracy of the worst kind. In this we have. another example of the foreshores of Sydney Harbour again being desecrated by people who can think only in terms of monetary values, all other values to them being unimportant. The port of Sydney itself, if it has not already done so, will soon assume the characteristics of such ports as London and New York. Even now in these places they are beginning to realise just how unnecessary such industrial development really was.

Secondly, I spoke about the principle involved in the White case. In this instance a very vital principle is at stake. If a citizen is not entitled to receive the benefit of the law then what is the use of making laws which supposedly afford him such guarantees? Thirdly, I referred to Government policy in appointing public servants to preside over inquiries when there can possibly be a conflict of loyalties not only as far as the Government is concerned but also the very department of which they are members. 1 hope the Government will not continue to carry on with this policy.

Finally, I brought to the notice of the House the position regarding Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) aerodrome and the international air terminals at Mascot and at Tullamarine. I believe that many of the issues that appear to be at variance here could quite easily be solved if the Government would reconsider its attitude and permit the simultaneous development of both terminals at Mascot as it has done at Tullamarine. The Government rejected the advice of the Public Works Committee on this particular aspect and the Government alone must be held responsible for the disadvantage that Mascot undoubtedly will suffer in this respect.


- Mr Deputy Speaker, I congratulate you, Mr Speaker, and other officers of the House who were elected to office. I also offer my congratulations to those new members whom we have welcomed to this chamber. I assure them that so long as they remember that they are here as representatives of individuals and not as the delegates of a political party they will find their work rewarding and satisfying.

I want to address my remarks this afternoon to a matter that was not mentioned in the Governor-General’s Address but which has since been discussed quite widely in the speeches of honourable members. It has been the subject of questions and answers at question time and it is the subject of a motion put on the notice paper by the Opposition. I refer to decentralisation. I am very pleased personally to see this awakening of interest in an old subject in Australia. lt is most important that we should give it an airing at this time. What we are beginning to appreciate now is that, deriving from the imbalance of population and industry in Australia, we are having to foot a larger and larger bill. The cost of cities, from the ideal size of about 250,000 people, rises in what is called by mathematicians an exponential curve. This is rather like our scale of income taxation; the bigger our cities become, the steeper the rate becomes, so that as one authority has said, a city of four million people will cost ten times as much as a city of two million people. Yet, here in Australia, we are racing ahead with the size of our cities, particularly Sydney and Melbourne which are both heading for a population of five million people in thirty years time quite recklessly and without regard, up to this time, for the cost burden that will be imposed by those mighty cities on the community at large; that is, ultimately imposed on our standard of living in Australia and on our very independence, because those are the ultimate bearers of the cost of cities - the standard of living and our existence as a free and independent country.

There are ways of curing our situation. There are practical steps that we can take. There is one ideal way which is not immediately practical but which I believe should be mentioned at this time. I will deal with it first. 1 refer to the establishment of new States within the Commonwealth. Those wise men who wrote the Commonwealth Constitution foreshadowed the creation of a number of new States. This has not come about for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the opposition of the Labor Party to the creation of new growth centres in Australia. The Labor Party must bear a heavy share of the responsibility for centralisation in Australia because of its Socialist doctrines. Ever since it adopted the Socialist platform in 1921 it has wished always to establish one immense state monopoly in Australia. I am convinced that when the New England New State Movement referendum is held in the northern part of New South Wales on 29th April the Labor Party will be in for the same kind of shock that it received at the last general election. It will find that the people in that area of Australia will reject that particular item of the Socialist philosophy just as thoroughly as the people of Australia as a whole rejected the foreign policy of the Labor Party at the last election. I say that new States would be the idea] solution but the further we go the more difficult they become to achieve. The complexity of Commonwealth-State relations, particularly since the establishment of uniform income taxation in Australia, has made this so. I regret it very much because there is no better way of decentralising population and industry than by establishing autonomous states even though their sphere of autonomy may be smaller than that of the States in our present Federal system.

I turn from this ideal solution to consider three practical steps which can be taken immediately by this Government towards achieving decentralisation in Australia. These fall into three categories. The first is the development of resources. The second is positive inducement to industry, both primary and secondary. The third is to reduce the level of costs in rural areas in Australia. Dealing firstly with the development of resources, the Commonwealth Government has a very satisfactory record in this respect, particularly in recent years. This Government has contributed very largely towards the development of resources throughout Australia. It has done this by building railways, roads and ports in a variety of places in the Commonwealth. This is very satisfactory. The Government has not done much yet about one resource - a vital one in this dry continent. The Government has not entered the field of water conservation up to this time apart from the Snowy Mountains venture, but has left it to the States. I welcome the offer of the Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt) to the State governments for the Commonwealth to contribute some $50m towards the construction of water conservation projects within State boundaries. I think this is an urgent and timely step and I hope that it will bring from the States the kind of results that we are looking for. I hope that it will bring the kind of long range plans that will lead to, or promise to lead to, an increase of new wealth from the States. Even if the bill is higher than the $50m promised, I am quite sure that the Commonwealth will be there to meet the requirements of the States.

Having said that, I must say that there is little evidence to date that my own State of New South Wales has shown any awareness of the real needs of the area that I represent - that is, the north-west of New South Wales - where we have a number of western-flowing rivers coming out on to an immensely rich plain of black soil, which has been shown in the past few years to be highly productive and to be capable of producing a variety of crops that cannot be grown as satisfactorily in other parts of the Commonwealth. To illustrate the wealth to be derived in this region from the use of irrigation, which results from the conservation of water, I will quote an article printed last week in one of the city newspapers. It contains the remarks of a visiting American rancher, who had just visited my area. According to the newspaper, he said:

I saw the cotton growing areas around NarrabriWee Waa. “

I’ve never seen cotton growing better than there. On pound per acre Australia is the greatest cotton producer in the world. . . . Wee Waa has the largest cotton gin in the world.

Six years ago Australian farmers hadn’t even seen cotton growing. 1 thought Americans were the greatest cotton growers in the world, but we average one and a quarter bales an acre. At Wee Waa you are gelling three bales to the acre.

Your farmers are using the latest equipment and techniques . . .

He went on to say:

Irrigation through new dams could open up thousands of acres of land for agriculture. ] don’t know why the Government does not put more dams across rivers.

A new dam on the Namoi River would mean another 30,000 acres under irrigation.

A dam on other rivers I’ve seen would irrigate 60.000 acres for cultivation.

We who live in the area know full well what the American has just discovered. 1 trust that the New South Wales Government will come to appreciate the immense potential of the area and will come forward with projects for damming the western flowing rivers. This will provide us with the volume of irrigation water that is desperately needed to raise the wealth of the district and to act as a stabiliser in a zone that is subject to violent fluctuations arising from periodic drought.

The second of the categories that I believe the Government should use as a programme for decentralisation is that of offering specific inducements to industry, both primary and secondary, in country areas. Secondary industry is very important. Every 100 workers in secondary industry in a country town means 400 people in the town. That is the average used by experts in other countries and I believe it would apply here. It is most important that secondary industries be encouraged to go to country towns. The methods of doing this by tax holidays, cheap loans and the provision of housing for the work forces are well known and well tried in other countries. There is no reason at all why we should not adopt the best of those techniques, adjusted to meet our local circumstances. The cost to the Government would be small. But I want to mention now an aspect that is perhaps not as important as moving secondary industries to country areas -but is nonetheless of fundamental importance. I refer to the importance of meeting the needs of the ambitious men on the land who have not sufficient equity to undertake the projects for the development of their properties that they wish.

It is quite obvious from the number of complaints about our banking system, and in particular the Farm Development Loan Fund, that there are many of these young men who want to develop Australia. They do not want to wait for some large Government scheme; they want to do it themselves in their own way. But they just cannot get the finance from normal banking institutions, because banks must of necessity lend only on banking terms. A proposition must be sound and the bank must be able to get out of it if the project fails. There is just no way in which the banks can help these men. But there is a way of filling the gap. It has been used in other countries but has not yet been applied in Australia. I believe it is high time that we in Australia used a scheme that has been successful elsewhere, particularly in the United States of America, and that is supervised credit. A system of supervised credit brings together the provider of the finance, the technical expert - that is, the extension officer - and the able, ambitious primary producer who wants to make a go of his project. By instituting a form of supervised credit, we will meet the needs of those men who are now outside farm management clubs because they cannot afford to belong to them. These are the people who must be catered for by the whole community - that is, by the Government institution.

The point is brought home by the curious fact that the proportion of Government employed extension officers in Australia has been falling very steeply in the last few years. The rural extension officers of various kinds employed by the Commonwealth and the States have dropped from 87% in 1956 to 34% in 1966, whereas the privately employed farm management consultants have risen from 4% in 1956 to 54% in 1966. The privately employed consultants reach only the men who have substantial equity in their properties. They do not reach the kind of people I am speaking about, the man who is a goer and a battler, the man who needs expert help, both financial and technical, and who should be catered for by the Government in the interests of decentralisation, of settling and occupying Australia and of making it more prosperous.

The final category that I want to touch on in this programme of practical decentralisation is this: the cost level in country areas is too high and must be reduced. The cost of operating any venture in country areas now is affected by power, transport and communication costs. Many of these costs fall in the lap of this Government. It is we who control telephone charges. We have in the past reduced these charges, but we have not reduced them since 1959. It is about time we had another look at this question. To my mind it is ridiculous that it costs as much to ring Sale in Victoria from Sydney as it does to ring Moree. It is ridiculous that it costs as much to ring Tweed Heads from Sydney as it does to ring Perth. These charges really are absurd. Who in Sale wants to ring Sydney? I should think it is the last place those away down in the deep of Victoria would want to get in touch with. These telephone charges should be geared to the city with which the country town is most likely to do business. Let us really have a look at the cost of telephone calls.

A similar situation exists in relation to power costs. Certainly power costs are in the State sphere, but we must take note that they are extremely high in the country. I do not think that people in the city are aware that people in the country pay infinitely more for power than do people in the cities. This, from the point of view of achieving decentralisation, is manifestly absurd. I turn now to transport charges. Under section 98 of the Constitution we in this Parliament, and this Government, can do something about transport charges, because particularly our railway lines were laid out to serve trade and commerce, and we have power under the Constitution to regulate freights which are concerned with trade, interstate or overseas. On this, I shall quote an opinion that Sir Owen Dixon gave a few years ago. I was reminded of this during a speech the other day by my colleague the honourable member for Canning (Mr Hallett) who talked of the problem of container ships. Sir Owen Dixon said:

Railways which are habitually or usually engaged in interstate carriage in my opinion come under the complete control of Federal legislative powers. Similarly railways usually or habitually engaged in the transportation of goods for discharge into overseas vessels also come within the same power.

So this Parliament, or this Government, has the responsibility for seeing that transport charges in the country are brought to a reasonable level so that primary and secondary industry can operate competitively.

Mr Speaker, this is a wonderful country. lt will remain a wonderful country with wonderful prospects so long as we do not allow our big cities to strangle our growth and to increase the level of costs to the point where we become on world terms an uneconomic venture or an uneconomic proposition. I urge the Government to look at the level of cost imposed upon the country by the cities. Is it not true that the deficit in our balance of payments in the last few years has been made up by selling a bit of the farm, to use my Leader’s expression? Is it not true that we have had to import capital to Australia, to sell out the inner parts of our cities and to sell out a large number of industries, in order to keep afloat? I believe that very largely this situation has been brought about by the tremendous burden imposed upon Australia by the cities, particularly by Sydney and Melbourne. It is high time that we did something about this. Dr Morley of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation says that theoretically Australia can support a population of 400 million. I believe he is right. By the time we approach anywhere near that figure - it is only a theoretical figure based on the supply of surface water in Australia - science will have shown us the way to pump fresh water into inland Australia by desalinating sea water at economic cost. Of course, Australia can support an immense population, but it will not be able to go on to those heights and support that huge population unless we really do something to put our house in order. We must achieve an effective decentralisation policy.

I know that there are advantages to be derived from the cities. There is a convincing argument to be put forward about the mobility of labour, about the advantages of having a large market and, of course, about the advantages to individuals of having plenty of opportunities for employment. These are quite valid arguments but, on the other side of the coin, if we have industry dispersed throughout the congenial parts of Australia we will find counteradvantages. There is, in fact, higher productivity recorded by industries established in the country. There is less absenteeism and an infinitely better social life. From the strategic point of view, from the sociological point of view and, most convincingly, from the economic point of view, I believe that this Government should set about adopting a practical policy of decentralisation of population and industry immediately.

Debate (on motion by Mr Daly) adjourned.

page 406


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

Second Reading

Minister for Labour and National Service · Wentworth · LP

– 1 move:

That the Bil] be now read a second time.

The purpose of this Bill is to fix for the future the rate of the stevedoring industry charge at 48 cents a man hour. The stevedoring industry charge is paid by the employers in the industry. The moneys collected go into Consolidated Revenue and, as provided under the Stevedoring Industry Act, equivalent amounts are paid to the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority. From these funds the Authority pays waterside workers attendance money and makes payments due for sick leave, statutory holidays, long service leave and annual leave.

Since the amount of the stevedoring industry charge was last before the Parliament in 1962 there have been very sizeable increases in the amounts of the money required to service these payments. Firstly, following decisions of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission the hourly rate of pay for waterside workers, on which payments for holiday pay, sick pay and annual leave are based, has increased by nearly 18%. Apart from the effects of this, the annual leave provisions in the waterside workers award have been amended to provide for a maximum of 120 hours annual leave instead of 88 hours; since 1962 payments have increased by 80% or by more than S 1,450,000. Secondly, the daily rate of attendance money payments was increased last year from $2.83 to §3.10 per day, and it is expected that this financial year payments on this account will rise to a record S3,200,000. Thirdly, by the October 1966 amendments to the Stevedoring Industry Act, the long service leave provisions for waterside workers were liberalised; in particular by reducing the qualifying period from twenty to fifteen years to conform with decisions of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and by extending benefits to men at B class ports. This also will mean a considerable increase in payments - of the order of $300,000 this financial year.

Finally, administrative costs have increased, despite the Authority’s effort to keep them to a minimum. For example, while staff has increased by only thirteen since 1957, staff salaries and wages have increased by approximately §300,000 since 1962 due to decisions of the Public Service Arbitrator and increased commitments for staff superannuation. In short, the need to increase the charge now is very largely the consequence of decisions of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and the Public Service Arbitrator. There is regrettably no alternative to an increase in the charge. It is proportionately a large increase but it is no more than is required to enable the Authority to meet its commitments. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motton by Mr Charles Jones) adjourned.

Sirring suspended from 5.50 to 8 p.m.

page 406




Debate resumed (vide page 405).

Leader of the Opposition · Werriwa

Mr Deputy Speaker, a fortnight ago I had the pleasure of congratulating you on being re-elected to your position. Tonight I have the opportunity to congratulate the many new members of Parliament who have made their maiden speeches in the meantime. I want to assure them that as the years pass - it is fourteen years this month since I made my maiden speech - one’s apprehension in speaking for the first time at the opening of a new session in no way decreases. It is chastening for me to recall that the number of maiden speeches I have heard would represent a greater population than there is in this chamber. There are now ninety members in this House who have been in it a shorter time than I. Such is the transience of glory, the mutability of human wishes.

Looking back to the first GovernorGeneral’s Speech I heard in August 1954, I was struck with many points of similarity with the present Governor-General’s Speech. On that occasion we were promised specific legislation. We are again. Some of the legislation is on precisely the same subjects; it is in fact the same legislation that we were promised then. Let me illustrate. We are promised copyright, bankruptcy and trade practices legislation. I deal first with copyright. That was promised, I repeat, in the Governor-General’s Speech in August 1954. In September 1958 the Government appointed a committee to report on the whole subject of copyright legislation. The report was made in December 1959. The Bill has not yet been introduced. The record might be thought to be better as regards bankruptcy legislation. There the committee to report was appointed in February 1956. It reported in December 1962. A Bill was introduced in May 1965 and it was assented to in June last year. It has not yet been proclaimed. At the same time in August 1954 we were promised designs legislation. The committee to consider this has not yet even been appointed.

I mention again trade practices legislation. This has been mentioned in three earlier speeches by Governors-General: firstly in March 1960 and secondly in February 1962. On the latter occasion we were told that discussions concerning the proposed legislation were taking place between the Commonwealth and State AttorneysGeneral. My colleague, the honourable member for Stirling (Mr Webb), was told last Wednesday that only Tasmania has so far introduced such legislation, South Australia has undertaken to do it. The two Labor States are collaborating with the Commonwealth and the other ones have not yet introduced legislation. Nevertheless, in February 1964, once again the Governor-

General promised such legislation. A fortnight ago the Governor-General said that the Government was taking the necessary steps to enable the Trade Practices Act to be proclaimed. It will be seen in how leisurely a way the Government proceeds to carry out the prospectus which the Governor-General is given to read on its behalf. One can see how inefficiently the Government plans its affairs and manages the affairs of this country. I shall illustrate this general theme in some other aspects of the Governor-General’s prospectus.

His Excellency said that ‘most economic indicators point to a high and increasing level of economic activity.’ How happy we would all be if we could see in the performance of the Australian economy over the last two years any convincing evidence that this sweeping generalisation is true. The dominant fact about our nation’s economic life over the last two years has been a very slow rate of economic growth. Let me give some of the more striking examples. Between November 1962 and November 1964 the level of civilian employment in Australia rose by 264,000. This was a rise of 8.1%. In the next two years to November last it rose by only 216,000, a rise of 6.1%. There was a sharp slowing down in the rate of growth of civilian employment. I come to unemployment. Over the last few years there has been a steady rise in this level. In December 1964 there were 44,000 registered unemployed in Australia; in December 1965 there were 68,000; last December there were 76,000. Yet a fortnight ago the Postmaster-General (Mr Hulme) gave two reasons for the general inefficiency of his Department and the mutilation of the mails. One was the increase in business and mail volume; the other was the over-full employment situation. One would think that with an employment situation notably less full, one could expect the mail efficiency to improve, if over-full employment was in fact, the reason for its inefficiency.

In January this year unemployed registrants rose by 12,500 while the number of vacant jobs fell by 2,800 to 50,000. The gap between unemployment registrations and vacancies is greater than normal for January and three times what it was a year ago. The situation is even more serious when one considers that as a result of the increase in the period of secondary education in New South Wales under the Wyndham scheme there are between 12,000 and 15,000 fewer young people seeking employment this year than would have otherwise been the case. As the level of employment has risen more slowly and as the total of unemployed has continued its steady downward glide, our intake of immigrants has fallen. During 1964 the net migration to Australia was over 99,000. In 1965 it rose to almost 105,000. Last year it came down to little more than 83,000. The cumulative effect of a slow growth of living standards in Australia and the increasing difficulty of finding jobs has affected the inflow of migrants.

I come now to houses and flats, one of the other usual indicators of growth. In the December quarter last year the number commenced was only 28,500, which was little different from the total in the comparable quarter two years before when 28,000 were commenced. The other traditional indicator is motor vehicles. In the December quarter last year the number registered was just over 100,000; two years ago it was 105,400. Far from our economy demonstrating vigorous economic growth, as His Excellency stated, the major indicators point to a very mediocre performance indeed over the last two years.

Let me give some detail on immigration. In the December quarter of 1966 net immigration was still only just over 29,000 as against a total in excess of 35,000 a year ago. Whether one reviews the two year period or the twelve months or the last quarter one finds that there has been in many respects a decline, and in no field has the decline been more obvious than in immigration. Our economy is demonstrating, thus, all the signs of slowing down; it is not showing any of the signs of vigorous growth, and this despite the large estimated Budget cash deficit of $270m. Most worrying of all is the decline in the level of immigration; in previous years its rising level has been the most encouraging growth factor.

The Government has told us that Commonwealth Government expenditure on war and defence will reach the huge total of $928m in 1966-67, although until about three years ago Government expenditure in this direction was steady at about $4 10m a year. Over the last four years this kind of expenditure has increased by 126%. Yet this boom in spending on war preparations has not brought the country prosperity. Instead it has brought us a sluggish rate of growth and even a cessation of growth in some areas such as those of housing and motor vehicles. I can see at least two reasons for this anomaly. Firstly, the imposition of a crash defence spending programme has been accompanied by measures to restrain the expansion of the economy. The Government has been, as usual, unduly frightened of inflation and has, as usual, carried its programme of unplanned anti-inflation to the point where the growth of the nation has been materially impeded. Secondly, a high proportion of the spending on defence has been outside Australia. We have been exporting, in large measure, our defence ‘boom to the United States. We have been feeding United States industry with large defence orders while our own industry has languished for want of them. I give one example. Between 1964-65 and the current year total annual expenditure on war and defence will have risen by $372m - from $556m to $928m. Yet of this increase in defence spending fully $148m represents expenditure overseas. Of the increase of our national spending on defence in the last two years. 40% has been spent overseas.

The Government tells us nothing about the direction or economic consequences of this overseas spending spree. Are we to have another big lift in defence spending next financial year? The Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt) has said that he expects that the proportion of our gross national product being spent on defence, which now stands at 4.5%, will level out at about 5%. Are we to expect that 40% of this further increase is to be spent overseas? The rise of nearly 67% in all defence spending over the last two years has been accompanied by a significant and alarming slowing down in the tempo of national economic growth.

The rise in defence spending at this hectic pace over the last three or four years is contracting the whole of our national horizons of economic growth. It is doing this in several ways. Firstly, big rises in defence spending pre-empt scarce national resources which could otherwise be devoted to the development of the vast national resources now being uncovered. Secondly, because so much of the defence spending is going overseas for the purchase of equipment, the defence boom is imposing great new strains on our overseas balance of payments. It is helping to make our economic growth ever more dependent on the availability of foreign capital and it is necessarily increasing the advantages of foreign enterprises which are able to obtain funds from overseas for developing the great opportunities now becoming available in Australia, while domestic enterprise is throttled by shortage of investable funds.

Thirdly, the rise in defence spending is eating into the growth of our national standards of life. Higher defence bills are making it more and more difficult to increase the supply of houses, the supply of motor vehicles and the supply of funds for the improvement of living standards in our unplanned cities.

We are spending more and more money on defence and in the process we are making it easier for foreigners to increase their already large hold over the economic life of our nation. At the same time we are making Australia a less and less attractive country for prospective immigrants. The result is to be seen in the slow growth of our standards of life in the last two years and the failing inflow of immigrants.

The whole result of this increased defence expenditure in Australia is contrary to the experience of other industrial countries which have re-armed in circumstances less than those of total war. When an industrial country re-arms the usual result is that its economy expands, its population increases and its production rises. Normally, secondary industry is boosted if a country re-arms, and population growth is promoted by re-armament. But, in Australia, because for a whole decade the Government never planned for contingencies, we have suddenly had to buy all this equipment, at least 40% of it from overseas. Accordingly, in all those areas of the economy that should be benefiting from a re-armament programme in Australia - the employment of skilled men, the secondary industries - we see in fact a decline. The Government has superimposed this unplanned defence expenditure at record levels on an unplanned economy. It has failed completely to foresee the inevitable consequences of its policies.

Yet at the very time when the rising defence burden has reduced the scope for domestic enterprise, the Government’s policies in the area of the tariff are increasing the profitability of foreign enterprise in Australian industry. Two important recent examples point to the trend of Government support for foreign enterprise in Australian industry. They are the very large increases accorded in the level of protection for the domestic motor vehicle industry and the domestic chemicals industry - two very large industries, both of them controlled and owned from overseas in great measure.

Under the policies of this Government these two major industries have recently been granted massive new protection against imports.

What is the effect of this policy? lt is to raise the guaranteed level of profitability of these foreign interests, to raise the cost to Australia of servicing the large investments involved and to raise the cost of living inside Australia. In none of these important and sweeping tariff protection decisions has the Government given any indication that the companies concerned have been asked to give undertakings about the level of prices they will charge, about the level of profits they will remit to their home countries in return for the extraordinary privileges they have been accorded here, or about the measures to be taken by the industries concerned to become more competitive and to avoid monopolistic practices. The Government has given these major industries - and many others - a virtual guarantee of profitability at the very time when the mass of Australian industry is being held down to provide resources for the expansion of defence spending, so much of which is being done overseas.

This is a dangerous situation for our country. At the very time when we are, through the operation of the Government’s defence policies, becoming more and more dependent on foreign investment for national expansion, this Government, by its tariff and protection policies, its unplanned and uncontrolled policies of hand-outs to big foreign enterprise, is driving up the cost of foreign investment money to even greater heights.

I pass now, Sir, to another area of completely unplanned finance in the public sphere. We have heard a very great deal in recent years about the relationship between Commonwealth finance and State finance, about the burdens of the State governments in raising sufficient money and the difficulty they have in paying that money back. But we never hear from the Commonwealth or State governments about the comparable difficulties - difficulties which have increased greatly over the term of office of this Government - experienced by local government and semi-government and other public authorities quite apart from the Commonwealth and State governments. The public depends on these other authorities for very many community services such as water, sewerage and electricity, the costs of which greatly affect the development of our cities, our towns and our shires. I shall cite figures for 1947 and 1964, the only two years for which it is possible to obtain comparable figures for all the items concerned. The period of seventeen years between those two years is equivalent to the term of office of the Liberal-Australian Country Party governments in the Federal Parliament. From 1947 to 1964 the securities On issue by the Commonwealth have fallen from $3,733m to S3, 172m. State securities on issue have risen from $2,044m to $6,69 1m. Local government securities have risen from $141m to $759m. Semigovernment and public authority securities have risen from $419m to $4,214m.

Honourable members will notice that securities issued by local government, semigovernment and public authorities now amount to about as much as the securities issued by the State governments. So the amount which people have to pay in charges and rates to all these bodies to meet interest on these securities is now equivalent to the sum which the States have to pay. Yet we never hear anything about the problems of local government and semigovernment bodies. It will be noticed that while the Commonwealth’s indebtedness has fallen over the seventeen years period the indebtedness of the States has risen to nearly 31 times the earlier level and the indebtedness of the other authorities has gone up to over five times the 1947 total. There is no sign that the trend will be reversed or even halted. Forty years ago the Commonwealth and the States made an arrangement - the Financial Agreement - under which they reviewed the whole of their indebtedness both Federal and State. It is certainly time that the needs and difficulties of local government were similarly considered. Local government authorities supply services which are just as vital as some which the Commonwealth and the States provide. Their burdens are multiplying. Yet they are allowed to suffer those burdens without any consideration. The plight of local government is dismissed in complete silence. If Australia is to be an evenly developed country, Federal difficulties notwithstanding, we must con sider the burdens which local government and semi-government bodies now bear and which are equal to those borne by the States.

In the time I have available, 1 shall mention one other feature of unplanned Government action. I refer to the dairy and margarine industries. Could there be a clearer example of the Government’s failure to plan? This failure has placed the producers in both the dairy and margarine industries in difficulties. Yet the problem cannot be debated in this Parliament or in any of the State parliaments. The Australian Agricultural Council makes its decisions on this matter in private and members of parliament are denied access to adequate information about or reasons for these decisions. The decisions are made in secret and the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Adermann) then declares that those who presume to question either the decisions or the procedures by which they are reached want to promote the import of foreign products. When the Minister advanced this argument it struck me as a particularly extraordinary one for the right honourable gentleman to use. After all last October he approved of the import duty free of 3,500 tons of whale oil for margarine manufacture. It is grotesque for the Government to impose a quota limiting the production of margarine, using Australian products such as cotton seed oil and safflower, while at the same time it facilitates the import of whale oil for use as a margarine base. The Minister approves this. He has said so in answer to questions. The waiving of the $57,000 duty on whale oil represents a virtual subsidy to overseas producers. If whale oil were subject to the same duty as, for instance, cotton seed oil, which is a valuable by-product of Australia’s cotton industry, the value of the duty waived would be more than $340,000.

Is it not clear, Sir, that in this field as well there ought to be more planning? This Government ought to provide better management and allow the representatives of the people to debate these matters. However, in the last instance which I have mentioned, the State Ministers were silenced - the majority of them are members of the Australian Country Party - by being told that if they did not fall into line the Commonwealth would end the grants which it makes to the States for rural extension services. In whatever field one likes to consider, and especially in defence, secondary industry and rural production, this Government fails to plan.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.

Minister for National Development · Farrer · LP

Mr Deputy Speaker, like the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) I want to begin by congratulating you on your reappointment as Chairman of Committees and Mr Speaker on his attainment of that high office. 1 also congratulate on their maiden speeches those of the many new members on the Government side of the House who have already spoken. It is interesting to note that there are no new members on the Opposition side. I should like also to apologise to the honourable member for Herbert (Mr Bonnett) who has been sitting in the chamber waiting for a long time to deliver his maiden speech. I express my regret at keeping him in suspense a little longer. 1 can assure him that, as the Leader of the Opposition has said, there is no ordeal quite so bad as that of making a maiden speech in this place, unless it be answering one’s first question as a Minister. That, however, is an experience that the Leader of the Opposition has not had and does not appear likely to have.

The Leader of the Opposition took as his text this evening the following sentence from the Governor-General’s Speech -

Most economic indicators point to a high and increasing level of economic activity.

The honourable gentleman attempted, by taking a few random and well chosen alleged facts, to show that this country’s economy is running down. We all know, of course, that on the contrary the very reverse is happening. We recall that some time ago there was a period of stability in which growth was not as fast as it had been earlier. Growth does not continue at the maximum rate all the time. A spurt is followed by a steadying period, which is succeeded by another spurt. Another spurt is occurring now. It is interesting to note that the gross national product rose by 8% in the last quarter. Yet the Leader of the Opposition declares that all the signs indicate a slowing down of the economy. He mentioned housing and the manufacture of motor vehicles. He could not have chosen two worse examples. Housing construction has increased enormously and we now appear likely to achieve an all-time record in the ensuing twelve months - certainly well over 100,000 dwellings completed. A similar trend is apparent in the manufacture of motor vehicles. Earlier there was a period when the production of motor cars declined. There is now a buoyant demand for vehicles and a very strong upsurge of activity in the industry.

As the Leader of the Opposition spoke, I wondered what country he was talking about. I speculated on whether he was perhaps speaking of some Central American republic or Liechtenstein or some other tiny country. Everyone knows of the tremendous drive that is evident in Australia today and of the remarkable growth that it is making. We have had population growth at the rate of 2.3%. Even the United States of America, which has attained a population of 200 million, has recently had a population growth rate of only 1.7%, and that of the United Kingdom has been only 0.5%. Two years ago the ‘Financial Times’ of London bestowed on Australia the award for the best economy and the greatest development among the countries of the free world. This is indicative of what is thought of Australia by those who do not have an axe to grind and who do not feel impelled to try, for some reason or other, to distort the facts. I regret that I must say bluntly to the Leader of the Opposition that his alleged facts are of three kinds. Some are accurately stated and are indeed facts, some are distorted facts and some are complete inaccuracies.

Mr Bryant:

– Which of the facts mentioned by him does the Minister say is not a fact?


– I do not like saying these things to the Leader of the Opposition. I get no enjoyment out of doing so.

Mr Bryant:

– Tell us one instance in which he was wrong.


– The honourable member challenges me to be specific. Let me quote from a Hansard report concerning an incident that occurred when I was Minister for Air. Speaking in the Budget debate the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, as he then was, said:

Now I come to the Air Force . . . The Air Force is equipped, except for the latest Neptunes, entirely with aircraft ordered by the last Labour Government. The P2V7’s were acquired by this Government, but the P2V5’s and all the rest of the aircraft were ordered by the Labour Government.

Naturally I pricked up my ears at that statement and had a Dorothy Dix-er asked by the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen). The honourable member asked: 1 address a question to the Minister for Air. In explanation of my question I point out that recently I listened to a speech made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in which he said -

The Air Force is equipped, except for the latest Neptunes, entirely wilh aircraft ordered by the last Labour Government.

Can the Minister please give me the facts -

I replied:

I also heard the statement of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. As it disagreed with my understanding of the position I checked carefully with the files in my department. I found that - I am excluding the types of training aircraft used in Support Command - we have nine different types of aircraft in use by Operational Command. If the Bloodhound surface-to-air guided missile is counted, we have ten types. Nine of these ten types were ordered by the present Menzies Government and the tenth type- the old Dakota - was ordered by the first Menzies Government. In fairness to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition I point out that a Labour government did quite a lot of the initial work in determining the suitability of one of the ten types- the Canberra. However, it was this Government-

That is, our Government: that decided the type of engine that would be used in the aircraft and finally placed the order. 1 understood the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to suggest that the Government had ordered only twelve combat aircraft. I find in fact that we have ordered 430 and have received 300 of these.

I trust that I have satisfied the request of the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) for one specific instance. Let me give other instances.

Mr Whitlam:

– That is a full file. On what date was this?


– The honourable member for Werriwa made his speech on 27th August 1963. I gave my answer to a queson 10th September 1963. On 1 1th September the honourable member for Werriwa made a further statement in which he acknowledged that he was wrong. But once again he made an incorrect statement. However, by now I was tired of trying to get the honourable member to tell the truth and I gave up.

Mr Whitlam:

– Read the statement.


– On 11th September 1963, after I had drawn his attention to the fact that the statement made in the course of his speech on the Budget was completely incorrect, the honourable member for Werriwa said:

I wish lo correct a statement I made a fortnight ago. In my speech in the Budget debate, in order to illustrate the Government’s tardiness in reequipping the Royal Australian Air Force I asserted that all combat aircraft in service except for the later Neptunes were ordered by the Labour Government which preceded this Government. At question time yesterday the Minister for Air (Mr Fairbairn) told the honourable and gallant member for Moreton (Mr Killen) that the preceding government had entered into negotiations for the Canberra bomber but not for the other aircraft. Later, in the evening, the Minister informed me that the contracts and negotiations for the other two types of aircraft-

I cannot understand why he should refer lo two types when I had said that all told we had ten types in Operational Command: the Sabre and the earlier Neptune - were entered into during December 1950. I must therefore amend my statement to say that all R.A.A.F. combat aircraft in service, except for the later Neptunes, were ordered twelve or more years ago.

Again that is an incorrect statement. All told there were ten types of aircraft in Operational Command. Nine of these were ordered by the then Menzies Government and the tenth was ordered by the first Menzies Government.

Enough of this. Let me give some more details of inaccurate statements by the Leader of the Opposition. While in Queensland during the general election campaign he alleged that the Government was neglecting the north. He is reported in a newspaper to have reached in some extraordinary way the conclusion that in 1961 the Commonwealth Government was allocating $1.8m a year and that this year the sum had dropped to J7.5m.

Mr Whitlam:

– That is right.


– This is quite fantastic. The Leader of the Opposition says that his statement is correct, but he does not say how he arrives at his conclusion. Let me give some facts in rebuttal. At present we are spending at the rate of $31m per annum in northern Queensland. This is apart from various other projects, such as postal, Air Force and Army facilities, on which we are spending $30m. It is apart also f rom expenditure on research and mapping, which amounts to about $13m a year. Yet we are told by the Leader of the Opposition that our total expenditure in northern Queensland this year will be $7.5m. Frankly I do not have the faintest idea, nor, I suspect, does the honourable gentleman, how he arrived at that figure. He has ready access to the true figures. My Department constantly publishes details of our achievements in the field of northern development so as to keep the public and the Parliament fully informed. A figure of $7.5m is clearly out of all proportion to actual expenditure in the north, which is probably ten times greater than the figure suggested by the honourable member.

But these are not the only examples of distortion by the Leader of the Opposition. He is reported in the Press to have said. ‘A Liberal Minister says that we cannot alford to develop the north.’ That statement reminds me of the television commercial which claims that doctors agree with something or other. Nobody has ever discovered one doctor, let alone two or more, to agree that a certain soap is better than another. The honourable member does not suggest who the Liberal Minister is.

I could go on giving examples to show how the Leader of the Opposition distorts the facts. In a recent television interview and again in this House he claimed that Australia had reduced its expenditure on external aid. I remember hearing the honourable member say this on television. The honourable member lor Parkes (Mr Hughes), who also was taking part in the interview, said: But you have counted in $9m worth of wheat aid for India one year and you have not counted it in the next year.’ Nothwithstanding that this omission was pointed out to the Leader of the Opposition he has not corrected it. This is what he has done: in the first year he has taken the total vole spent; in the second year he has taken only the original estimate and not the supplementary estimate. The fact is that already this year we have given $5m more than we did last year. These facts have not prevented the Leader of the Opposition in the last nine months from telling everybody that we have given less in external aid. One could go on indefinitely.

Mr Harold Holt:

– Keep going.


– I will see how many more examples of distortion by the Leader of the Opposition I can find.

Mr Barnard:

– The Minister is struggling now.


– I have a few more here, but I will leave it to my colleagues to give further examples at a suitable time. It is extraordinary to hear anybody in this place run down Australia, which today is going ahead at such a magnificent rate of development and which is so vital in every way. We are told that unemployment is running at a high level. I have never heard such rot. I do not know exactly how many people are now receiving the unemployment benefit. I suppose the number would be 25,000 or 30,000. But remember that many of these people have just finished one job and are waiting to go to another. Others have difficulty in obtaining a job because of certain handicaps. They are able to accept only a certain type of work. What is happening in Labor-led England? What is the unemployment situation there? The Leader of the Opposition knows that in raising the subject of unemployment he selected a time when the number registered for employment is at its peak because we have the school leavers who have just been fed into the system. There are very many of them. This month and next month the number of persons registered for employment will fall considerably until we reach bedrock.

Australia is a vital and developing country, going ahead at a fantastic rate. Let me refer to some of the things that are taking place in the north. When the Leader of the Oppostion goes north and says that the Government is neglecting the north. 1 wonder whom he thinks he is fooling. Has he not been there himself? We have seen the north opened up by the introduction of our beef roads scheme on which we have spent $57m to date. And we have now in hand a seven-year programme for the construction of beef roads. Look, too, at not only the tremendous mineral discoveries but also the development that has taken place in the processing of those minerals. I point, for example, to Gladstone where the largest alumina plant in the world is about to begin operations. Then we have the development that has taken place at Weipa, the McArthur River, Gove, Rum Jungle and other places. Indeed, everywhere one goes one sees tremendous development in the north. And there is still more to come. For example, there is great development in the mining of iron ore. From what a few years ago was complete waste land and desert we have been able to export $3,000m worth of iron ore and pellets to overseas countries. I mention also the development that is occurring at Groote Eylandt. At one time this was a fairly barren island. An officer of the Bureau of Mineral Resources discovered manganese there. It is now known to have a deposit of at least 100 million tons of high grade manganese. Again, Barrow Island is just about to go on stream. We hope that next month the first shipment of oil will come away from that island on which already a reserve of 114 million barrels has been proved at one level, and it is known that there is a lot more oil at two other levels. Yet, despite all this development, we are told that Australia is a stagnant country, a country that is going back, a country in which nothing is happening.

Recently it was estimated by my Department that in five years time, without any new discoveries or any new contracts our export of minerals will have increased by S350m a year and there will also be a saving of something like $100m a year from the replacement of imported crude oil. But, when we point out these things, the Opposition has a fall back position. It says: ‘Yes, the country is going ahead, but the Government is not responsible for that; it is happening almost in spite of the Government.’ The answer to all this, of course, is that we believe in private enterprise. We do not believe in socialist enterprises such as ground nut schemes or the growing of sorghum at Peak Downs. We believe that the Government can help development best by assessing resources, by mapping, by seeing to it that areas are exploited, by fostering a climate which will encourage people to produce and which will encourage people to come from overseas and invest their money here in conjunction with local ownership and local management, and by providing such services as roads, railways, ports and aerodromes.

Dr Patterson:

– Water development.


– I agree - water development. It is interesting to note that when this Government came into office the entire capacity of all the major dams of Australia was 7 million acre feet. Today it is 26 million acre feet, and it will be 36 million acre feet when every project now under way is completed. In fact, if it had not been for a Labor Government in New South Wales which only started and saw to completion one major dam in twentyfour years, the total capacity would have been much higher.

Let me say something about assessing resources. People sometimes wonder what is the use of just mapping, undertaking geological surveys, and that type of thing. Only last Thursday I heard a most interesting story from a senior Australian who is in charge of a very large mining company. He told me how his company came to discover a mineral which was not then known to exist in any large quantity in Australia. As honourable members will know, we have a Commonwealth Petroleum Research Subsidy Act under which this Government has provided S60m for the search for oil in Australia. But we do not just give this money away. We demand certain things of the companies when they spend it. One thing we demand is that these companies give us all the information they possibly can. Another thing is that they take cores and send them to the Bureau of Mineral Resources. After six months, these cores are made available by the Bureau for anyone to examine. The company to which I have just referred examined one of these cores and discovered that it had phosphate in it. The company’s officers then examined the maps produced by the Bureau of Mineral Resources and discovered that this particular geological formation outcropped just 100 miles away. The company had the outcrop pegged out without seeing it. When its officers went and tested the area they discovered that it contained some millions of tons of high grade phosphate.

This is the sort of thing that is happening. These resources are being discovered because of the co-operation and combination of effort that exists between private enterprise and the Government and because of the economic climate which we have created. Australia is now recognised as a stable country, one in which people arc prepared to invest their money on development. Occasionally Opposition members will go so far as to agree with all this but then they say: ‘Yes, but you have lost control to overseas interests’.

Mr Peters:

– Hear, hear!


– We all know one member in the House who never sings any other song. Let us look at this question closely. There are advantages to be obtained from overseas capital. This Commonwealth Government welcomes overseas capital because we know that it brings so many other things with it. We know that with overseas capital we can have greater and much more rapid development than would be possible without it. We have only to look at countries that discourage capital from overseas to see how slowly they are going ahead by comparison with us. This overseas capital also brings with it know-how, the right to exploit patents, access to markets and so on. We could not go ahead and do some of the things we are now doing unless we had this assistance. Overseas companies can carry losses forward for a greater length of time. In some of our major development projects it is necessary to have companies with considerable assets. Overseas capital also increases Government revenue. Further, it leads to an increase in our exports and a reduction in our imports.

Admittedly there are certain disadvantages. One is the servicing of the debt. We were told by the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) this afternoon that we are paying 5.4% interest on our overseas debt. But this is not excessive when we set against it the taxes that are being paid by the companies concerned. I remind honourable members that they have to pay an initial tax of 421% and a withholding tax of either 30% or 15%, depending on the country from which the money comes. Then they have to plough back funds and finally, they have a little left to send home. Australia has not done badly; in fact it has done very well in retaining control, particularly over the newer discoveries and newer developments, nearly all of which are completely or mostly in Australian hands.

We have a great future; but we are not sitting still. We are getting down to work in every aspect of our resources. We are assessing our resources and doing our best to see that they are developed. I have already mentioned the beef roads scheme. In co-operation with the Queensland and Western Australian governments, we are embarking on a seven year programme of contruction of beef roads. The South Australian Government is to get Sim to repair certain crossings along the Birdsville track. We have also increased our provision for water assessment, in order to speed up the assessment and conservation of underground water. We allocated to the States the sum of $2. 75m for the first three years of the scheme, and this is to be increased to $4. 5m.

One thing that hardly anyone has said anything about in the House during this debate is forestry. I point out that this Government is providing a loan of $20m which will enable the States to more than double their rate of planting. This will mean that Australia will be completely selfsufficient in soft woods by the turn of the century. And we intend to step up this work even more. We have also increased the size of the Bureau of Mineral Resources. We have arranged to engage something like sixty more people in order to enable the Bureau to carry out all the work that is required. We have a programme coming forward under which the Government will make available over a five year period an additional sum of not less than $50m over and above what is being spent by the States on water conservation. In the light of all this, this Government has no need to distort or exaggerate any of the figures or facts. They speak for themselves. Australia is entering a period of unprecedented expansion and development.


– Rarely have 1 heard the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) at such a disadvantage as he was tonight when he laboured to defend the Government’s poor policy on national development. I hope he convinced himself, because he certainly did not convince anybody else. As he spoke of the great development of this country and of what the Government had done in the north I could not help but look at my colleague, the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson), who won his seat on the failure of this Government to develop the north and who, at the last election, doubled his majority, so resentful were the people of that area of the failure of this Government. I listened with interest the other evening to the honorable member for Kennedy (Mr Katter). He was not exactly complimentary to the Government he supports when he referred to national development. As the Minister spoke I thought that in seventeen years not once has his Government spent one cent on water conservation in Queensland where 75% of Australia’s water resources are located. If this is indicative of development by this Government, what have we to look forward to with such a government? At this moment, under a government that says it is developing the north, more men are unemployed in Mackay in Queensland than in all Western Australia. About 2,000 men are out of work. I do not profess to be the specialist that the Minister is on this subject, but one could go on all night condemning the Government’s policy for northern development, so the apology given by the Minister tonight is accepted. We are sorry he had to make it as he did, so stirred was he by the facts and figures given by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) - information that could not be denied.

This is the twenty-sixth Parliament and this is the eleventh occasion on which I have listened to speeches during what is termed the Address-in-Reply. Tt has been the worst exhibition I have ever heard. The Governor-General, to his credit, made a good job of a bad document. That is the best that could be said of it. It covered ten small pages of print and one could dismiss in a few words most of its contents, yet the Speech is supposed to outline the Government’s future programme for this dynamic country. The Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt) walked into this chamber flushed with success, with twenty new members behind him, and proudly announced that his Government had been returned. Then we filed into the other place to hear the programme that this Government would implement. Subsequently we have listened to a variety of speeches from many of the twenty new members who congregate behind the Government. I congratulate those honourable members on their success and wish them a speedy passage through this

Parliament. I hope that their deliberations are productive and that many of them do not appear in this place again when Labor occupies the Government benches. Having joined to that extent in the congratulations extended by other honourable members, tet me refer to the type of honourable member the Government has brought to the Parliament. I do not know whether the same person wrote all of their speeches, but almost every new member paid glowing tributes to the Labor members they had defeated. It beats me why, if they were sincere in that, they ran against the Labor members who were giving such service to the electorates they come from.

Let us examine the type of speeches given by new members. The speeches ranged from that of the grizzled, old, range veteran from Maranoa (Mr Corbett), who very effectively pulled the wool over the eyes of Sir William Gunn, to God’s gift to youth - the handsome, jitterbugging, antinightclubbing, go-go member for Adelaide, Andrew Thomas Jones, M.P. I understand that he is no relation to the Mrs Jones, but he is almost as famous at this moment. I do not wish to take issue with him at this early stage of his career, but later in my speech, in my gentle and kindly way, I may chide him on some of his comments which, to my mind, merited attention. The honourable member, to use his own words, is at present a bleating backbencher. I do not know how fast he is going to get down to the front benches.

Mr Ian Allan:

Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise to order. Is the honourable member acting correctly in referring to an honourable member’s maiden speech in this way?


-Order! The honourable member is not transgressing Standing Orders.


– I thank you for your very fair and impartial ruling, Mr Deputy Speaker. I was not even commenting on the honourable member’s speech, but surely when members stand in this Parliament1 and make their maiden speeches those speeches can be criticised. Once a member has spoken and has been heard in silence his speech is the subject of criticism or of support, no matter from what side of the Parliament he comes. If any honourable member thinks that I am doing anything dastardly by referring to a speech in a kindly way - and I hope the honourable member for Adelaide may benefit from my comments later - I withdraw any imputation of unfairness. I am sorry if honourable members opposite are so sensitive about their new members, because when all is said and done there will be other occasions when probably we will not be so generous as we are now. Why did this Government get returned to the treasury benches? One might have thought, from the way the Minister spoke this evening, that the reason was good government, but I do not think it was good government which returned the Government.

Mr Fox:

– It was poor opposition.


– lt was not. What hope has the Labor Party ever had? Every medium of propaganda is used against it unfairly and unjustly. Not one newspaper, one radio station or one television channel gave a fair or reasonable presentation of the case for Labor. It is difficult for any member of a party when he is not given any assistance in putting his party’s case fairly or impartially. Furthermore, we had an apathetic public. In an unreal atmosphere the public was misinformed on the great issues involved and consequently Government members benefitted at the ballot box. Government members pulled everything out of the hat. They even imported the President of the United States of America and put him on view in a political campaign. This was done blatantly in an endeavour to bolster the failing fortunes of the decrepit Government opposite. I do not mind telling the Government why it succeeded, because who could judge anything impartially and dispassionately in the face of the tactics used against the Labor Party? The point I make is that nothing was too low and nothing too bad for those who sit opposite to win government again. Nothing was too low for the wealthy Press, radio and television barons who have been favoured by this Government, to give Government members the support they wanted.

What have we before us today? An uninspiring document has been produced indicating the proposed programme of those members opposite who were elected on the basis I have mentioned. In His Excellency’s

Speech Vietnam was mentioned. I was interested, among other things, to read in that Speech:

Vietnam remains of critical importance to Australia and to the cause of freedom. My Government has progressively increased Australia’s military and civil aid contribution to the combined help by friendly countries to the Government and people of South Vietnam in their resistance to terrorism and aggression - terrorism and aggression which ; are Communist inspired and directed. My Government will persist with its search for the attainment of a just and enduring peace.

Senator Hannaford does not agree with that point of view. Senator Hannaford has left the Government Parties because of the Government’s commitment in Vietnam. Furthermore, U Thant does not agree with the Government’s policy on Vietnam, as honourable members opposite well know. It is interesting to note what the SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations had to say about Vietnam. I suppose members opposite will say that U Thant does not know what he is talking about. This is what he had to say quite recently:

I do not subscribe to the generally held view that the National Liberation Front (political arm of the Vietcong) is a stooge of Hanoi.

These are not my words. They are the words of U Thant. He continued:

In my view, the NLF, although receiving very substantial aid from the North, is an independent entity as the National Liberation Front of Algeria was. [ do not subscribe to the view that if South Vietnam falls, then country X, then country Y, then country Z. J do not agree wilh the so-called domino theory. 1 do not subscribe to the view that South Vietnam is strategically vital to Western interests and Western security. 1 will tell honourable members what 1 think: I support U Thant’s view in its entirety. This Government is committing men to that war, although our security is not in danger, and men are dying at the rate of ten a week. That is being done under the policies of this Government yet this hardly merits attention on the front page of a newspaper. Let honourable members have a look at the front page of the ‘Sunday Mirror’ which I have here. This will show the apathy towards this Government’s policy. This shows the apathy of the people towards the policy which this Government is pursuing in Vietnam by committing Australian servicemen to that war. Here is the headline appearing in the ‘Sunday Mirror’ of 19th February 1967: Teenage Girls in Sex Club.’ A photograph of a girl wearing practically nothing appears on the front page. This is front page news; but on the

Second page - and honourable members on the Government side should bow their heads when they read it - it says: ‘8 Aussies killed, 24 more hit’. Men die and others are wounded and the newspapers that put this Government into power and which support its policies think that a picture of a nude girl on the front page is better than reporting for the public of this country the deaths of boys, conscripted by means of a marble drawn out of a barrel - boys who have no say whatever as to whether or not they should serve - in that part of the world. This is the kind of policy that the Government is following.

Is it any wonder that Senator Hannaford had this to say when he withdrew from the Liberal Party and withdrew his support from the Government’s policy on Vietnam. This is what one newspaper reported:

Trying to stop the spread of communism in Asia by military activity is like Canute trying to hold back the sea,’ was how Senator Hannaford summed-up his objection to Government policy and the reason for his resignation.

Acquiescing in Government policy in this matter for the past six or eight months gives the impression that T condone it. That I cannot do.’

These are the words of a Liberal senator when speaking outside the Senate after announcing his resignation. This is what he went on to say then, according to this newspaper article:

Senator Hannaford said that he had voted for the legislation enacting national service in its present form, but had not believed at the time that conscripts would be sent overseas.

If I had the chance again I would not support it’, he said, ‘I would not support sending conscripts outside Australia unless it was an emergency. I do not think Vietnam is an emergency.

I am opposed to interference in Asian affairs, which I believe Asians are quite capable of handling themselves.

The Government’s Vietnam policy is inimical to Australia’s long-term interests, which would be much better served by cultivating good relationships with Asia than by sending a military force.

I feel it will eventually rebound on Australia. American policy in Asia is very bad. It’s wrong.

We have built up a ridiculous phobia, an obsession, with China, pointing her out as the enemy. We are just following in the footsteps of LB J’.

Do honourable members on the Government side want to know the policy of the Labor Party? I did not think they did. Our policy was published at the time of the last general election. 1 do not want honourable members on the opposite side to think I equivocate on it. I support it without reservation in its entirety. It has not been changed since the election and I have no qualification to put on it at all. Conscripts should never be sent to Vietnam and they should be brought out of that part of the world. They should be withdrawn at the first appropriate time, as enunciated in the policy set out by the leader of this party at the last election. There is no need for honourable members opposite to ask me what is the policy of the Australian Labor Party. The Labor Party is not like the Liberal Party, the members of which change their policy as often as they change their shirts.

Mr Cleaver:

– What is the honourable member’s policy?


– The honourable member for Swan may read it. It is in the Parliamentary Library. That is it without qualification. Here is another point: honourable members opposite say that we are fighting China. Boys are dying at the rate of ten a week in Vietnam now. Over 492 boys are dead or wounded and amongst them are conscripted national service trainees who have had no say at all in their commitment. This is what the Governor-General said in his Address to the Parliament:

My advisers are closely watching developments in China. The outcome of the crisis there will have profound implications reaching far beyond Asia. The greatest impediment to any general relaxation of existing tensions in Asia, and indeed throughout the world, is the attitude of the Communist regime in China.

I suppose those words were written while the Government’s emissaries were sitting around the bargaining table selling our wheat and wool to the people who the Government says are shooting down Australian boys. The Government will trade with China but will not recognise that country. The Government will send boys to war - their names being drawn out of a barrel - but at the same time it endeavours to criticise the Labor Party for the attitude it is taking in respect of Australia’s intervention in South Vietnam.

These are matters the Government might well ponder on. If China is the enemy and is the threat to peace and security which the Government evidently believes, on what ground whatever does it justify trading with the Chinese in any shape or form? Honourable members opposite will say that the people endorsed their policy on conscription and their trade with the enemy. But that does not make the matter right at all. On occasions the people of Australia have supported policies which subsequently were proved to be wrong. There were 42% of the Australian people, with all the Press and other propaganda raised against them, who stood solidly behind the policy put forward by the then Leader of the Australian Labor Party because those people are opposed completely to our intervention in this conflict, possibly for the reasons mentioned by U Thant at the United Nations. These are matters which I think honourable members might well ponder on. Those honourable members opposite who think people are interested in this conflict because of their apathy are somewhat mistaken.

I listened today to the speech of the honourable member for Dalley (Mr O’Connor). He mentioned the case of the conscientious objector, White. That man now has been treated in the most disgraceful way by the State Liberal Party Government even though he has been exempted from national service as a conscientious objector. To have seen him, in this free society - so we are told - carried out by policemen although he was subsequently proved to be right was something which I think is difficult to justify in any democracy. It is to the eternal discredit of the State Liberal-Country Party Government that a man proved right in a court of law is now denied the right to take his rightful place in the occupation he was following at the time he was taken into the armed forces. These are matters which the honourable member for Dalley raised today and I congratulate him on having raised them.

I cannot help but think and wonder what the country is coming to when we find that boys are being conscripted to fight in Vietnam while the Government is trading with the enemy and there is no conscription of wealth. There is business as usual and unlimited profits for those who will exploit. But not sacrifice of any kind is made other than by that small unfortunate section which is in the armed forces because they have had their names drawn out of a barrel. This conflict seems to have no ending. I doubt if anyone in the world at this time can foresee when the grim war in Vietnam will end. The statements made by U Thant and by others might well be kept in mind by the Australian people whose sons are dying at this moment in that part of the world. 1 do not wish to go on at much greater length but 1 noticed that the young member on the opposite side, the honourable member for Adelaide, extended his congratulations and good wishes, and like everybody else he voiced his pride in the sacrifices being made by those men in Vietnam. 1 hope that they appreciate his good wishes. Many of them had no opportunity at all not to go there. I sincerely trust that they get his good wishes and appreciate them and realise that he has been elected .o this Parliament on a policy which is sending them, in many cases, to their doom for reasons that are not really in our interests.

It was stated in the Governor-General’s Speech that this was a country of affluence, and that everybody was doing well, lt was said there was no need at all for anybody to worry about the future of the country. I want to show the Government’s attitude to affluence and matters of that kind. The honourable member for Adelaide is reported at page 309 of Hansard to have said: ‘The present pension of $26 a fortnight is adequate for pensioners to live on, perhaps.’ I do not say more than that. It shows the Government’s attitude to pensions. Pensioners are expected to live on $26 a fortnight when the average income for every person in work is about $56 a week. Pensioners are expected to keep body and soul together on $26 a fortnight. The Government evidently thinks that this amount is sufficient. This is the Government’s policy on social services. In his speech the Governor-General said that the Government will in due course abolish the means test. I remind the House that in 1949 the Government promised that by 1952 it would bring down a programme to abolish the means test completely. Nothing has been done to honour that promise. The liberalisation of the means test, which is mooted in the Speech, has not been changed since 1954. Anyone who hopes to see big improvements in the economic position of pensioners and others dependent on social services will be very disappointed ere many days have gone.

I conclude my remarks by extending at least to you, Mr Deputy Speaker, my good wishes on your re-election. You have shown a degree of impartiality that is not usually amongst honourable members on your side. Although you were opposed at the election, I am pleased to say that you have been generally well accepted. I hope you will continue to give us a fair go, because we cannot expect much from a Government that has such an overwhelming majority. 1 say again that the Government’s programme is disappointing. It shows that the Government is complacent and incompetent. It has no worthwhile programme for the challenging years ahead. It has not shown that it will support efforts to secure peace in Vietnam. It has not shown that it will put an end to trading with our enemies or that it will abolish the policy of conscription that is sending men to their death. In every way, the GovernorGeneral’s Speech is a disappointment. The programme revealed in it by a Government with an overwhelming majority is disappointing. We have not been given any programme that will meet the challenging years ahead of this vibrant young nation.


-I call the honourable member for Herbert and remind the House that this is the honourable member’s maiden speech.


- Mr Deputy Speaker, I apologise if you have difficulty in understanding me; I have a heavy cold. I do not propose to answer the partisan speech made by the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly). I shall keep party politics out of my speech. I take this opportunity to associate myself with the motton that was moved and seconded by my colleagues, the honourable members for Eden-Monaro (Mr Munro) and Kennedy (Mr Katter). I associate myself with the expressions of loyalty to our sovereign, and thank His Excellency the Governor-General for his excellent address when opening the Parliament. I offer my congratulations to Mr Speaker on his election to his office. I wish him a happy and satisfying term of office, although judging by what I have seen in the past fortnight I think it may be a comparatively peaceful one.

I have given a great deal of thought to the subjects that I would like to discuss in this my first speech in the Parliament. I find there are so many matters which to me are of considerable importance that, to avoid wasting the time of the House, I think it would be better if I were to discuss them in only a broad sense now and then submit them in more specific detail at a later date. It has been said that the frequent use of a phrase or sentence generates a familiarity that destroys its importance. However, at the risk of this happening, I should like to speak on a subject that has caused considerable controversy in the House and in other places, and that is the subject of northern development. It rather intrigues me that twenty years ago the subject of northern development would not have rated a mention in the comic section of the daily Press, let alone become news headlines. But then someone discovered that people were living in northern Australia and that they were contributing handsomely to the progress of this country. Ever since, we have been a political football that has been punted in whatever direction various campaign committees and other organisations have chosen to punt it to suit the political expediency of the moment. It is time the whistle was blown to halt this scruffy game and time taken out so that the players and the playing area may be reassessed and then the game continued in an orderly and healthy manner.

The area of land north of the Tropic of Capricorn, which we know as northern Australia, is approximately 40% of the land mass of our nation. Figures taken from the 1961 census show that only 3.6% of our population lives to the north of this Tropic. Though the figures for the 1966 census are not available at the moment. 1 would hazard a guess that the population of the area has increased to approximately 6%. Yet, with this very small percentage of our entire population, our contribution to the nation’s economy or to our gross national product is tremendous. It amounts to many millions of dollars. I think the House will agree that this is quite an achievement. We are extremely proud of our achievement, knowing that it has been gained through sheer hard work under conditions that were regarded fifty years ago as unacceptable to white people and even though we do not have many of the amenities that our fellow

Australians in the south enjoy. This is the reason why, when we ask for assistance to develop our great northland and nothing appears to happen, we become frustrated and irritated and are sometimes blamed, quite wrongly, for complaining.

We are fully aware of the fact that the Government is conscious of the need to develop the north and is doing something about it. Until ten years ago very little had been done. In fact, it was not until the present Queensland Government took office that north Queensland gained much recognition or assistance at all. I pay tribute to the efforts of the Queensland Government in these endeavours. Although a large part of the development of the north is constitutionally the responsibility of the State, lack of State finances would possibly make the undertaking of any large development project impossible. I think that the Commonwealth should take an active interest in this situation because, after all, it is the Commonwealth that will ultimately benefit from any increased productivity. This has already been proved and I will give an instance of the way in which the Commonwealth has assisted the State. I have in mind the construction of the beef road system throughout Queensland. With the completion of this development plan, the roads will penetrate into every productive section of the State. It does not take much imagination to realise the many benefits that can be gained from this, and we appreciate this one instance of Commonwealth assistance to the State in a long range development plan.

Talking of roads leads me to another vital matter concerning our development. This is water conservation. Statistics tell us that Australia is the world’s driest continent, that the total run off from all its rivers averages about 280 million acre feel per annum and that unfortunately most of this run off of water occurs in remote areas where it is difficult to harness and use it. These difficulties are especially apparent in the north. But these facts were known fifty years ago and, for all the advances we have made in science and engineering, in this year of 1967 we are still losing most of this water. I am fully conscious of the fact that the Commonwealth and State governments are trying to come to grips with the problem, but I mention the matter of water conservation and link it with the road construction plan only because I believe that where there is an adequate road system and an abundance of water people will go to live, taking with them their particular skills and knowledge. This in turn leads to greater development. I would like to deal with this subject more specifically at a later date. I sincerely trust that we all learned a very important lesson from the recent drought. It rather intrigued me to read that recently South Australia received a loan of $35m, to establish a gas pipeline. Good luck to South Australia. All I seek at the moment is $lm for the purpose of duplicating a water pipeline to ensure that the City of Townsville, with its 60,000 inhabitants, has a reasonable supply of water. It has not enjoyed a reasonable supply for the last few years.

I would like to touch briefly on one of the most important industries in Australia. This is the sugar industry, the bulk of which is established in north Queensland. We all realise that this most efficient industry is at present experiencing great difficulty due to the extremely low price of sugar on the world market; but I was greatly heartened by the statement made by the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr McEwen) two weeks ago that this serious matter was receiving his closest attention and that he would continue his efforts to ensure that this industry remains one of our great income earners.

Last Friday afternoon I attended the meeting of the Cane Growers Council in Brisbane for a brief period, and the optimism that the members expressed in the healthy future of the sugar industry and the determination they expressed that the industry would survive in spite of the present setback was indeed a grand thing to hear. 1 left the meeting fully convinced that the sugar industry would not fail through any lack of effort on the part of the producer and that men of such determination, optimism and faith in the future of their industry must be protected through this lean period. I realise that the problem is one which cannot be answered overnight, but I am hopeful that with sincere co-operation between the sugar associations and the various State and Federal government departments concerned with this industry the problem will shortly be overcome. I assure honourable members that I will do everything in my power to assist in this direction.

It has been said that primary production and our mineral wealth have been the two great backstops of the Australian economy. We know that the potential in Queensland is tremendous. Up to the present no-one has been able to completely assess our mineral wealth. Our northland is rich in practically every type of commerical mineral. But mineral wealth is not wealth and cannot be regarded as such until it is out of the ground, processed and sold. I am also fully aware that geologists and survey teams are continually searching for these valuable products under Government jurisdiction, and there is no doubt that this industry will expand. But I should like to be assured of two things in connection with the expansion of this industry. Firstly, should overseas capital be required to assist production Australia must retain a major proportion of the holdings and, secondly, wherever possible minerals should be processed as near as possible to the source of supply.

There is one potential industry in north Queensland about which very little is ever mentioned, and that is the fishing industry. If this industry were to be developed progressively and correctly it could add millions of dollars to our income. Over one million pounds weight of fish are put through north Queensland fish boards annually. This fish is for home consumption alone and makes no impression whatsoever on the amount of fish available to be harvested in north Queensland waters. And yet we are importing fish from South Africa and New Zealand for sale to the public. I am aware that the Government has undertaken surveys to try to discover whether the fishing industry could become a profitable one. I am extremely grateful for the interest shown by the Government but to the best of my knowledge no conclusive deductions have been made from the surveys that have been carried out. I know also that other countries are interested in purchasing our seafood products provided they come up to export standard. From information received and investigations made I understand that the establishment of a fish cannery and processing plant in north Queensland could become a profitable venture. I believe that this is a matter which could be investigated in conjunction with the Queensland Government, and I am looking forward to seeing the report of the fisheries conference which was held in Canberra recently. I hope it will contain some mention of the expansion of the fishing industry in the north.

Mr Deputy Speaker, there are many more industries and aspects of northern development I could mention but time does not permit me to do so. I could mention subjects such as communications throughout the north, which have been developed considerably in the last five years and are a credit to the PostmasterGeneral’s Department and to the Government. We appreciate what has been done. Our freight’ problems in some instances tend to force southern industries to shy off extending and establishing their particular industry in the north. 1 cite only those two important matters. I realise that in mentioning these few aspects of northern development, in army parlance, 1 have used a broad brush. If to you, Sir, and to other members of this House I have appeared to be a little parochial I crave your indulgence, but these matters affecting the northland are nearest and dearest to me. I am not unmindful, however, that there are greater issues of national importance that affect us. To give one instance 1 mention the war in South Vietnam, which exercises the mind of every Australian. Since the beginning of time tribe has invaded tribe, country has invaded country and nation has invaded nation. Right up to the present this is still happening. Weapons of war and methods of warfare have changed, but the purpose of war remains the same. A study of the history of mankind will show that this is so.

The actions of men and nations such as Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Hannibal, Alexander the Great, the Roman empire, the Spanish empire, the Danes, the Saxons, the Normans, and in our time, Germany, Mussolini, Hitler, the Japanese empire and now, quite recently, the Chinese - just to mention a few - should prove beyond all doubt that regardless of the progress of civilisation hostile invasions will continue to occur. As I have stated, the purpose of war will remain the same, be it necessity, greed, or just plain lust for power. And how can we possibly survive, or attempt to guarantee freedom for our future generations, if the free countries of the world do not stand together and assist each other to repel a hostile invasion? I venture to say that the greatest lesson Australia could ever learn in this regard can be found in the study of the rape of Tibet which happened only a short while ago. The people who advocate that there is nothing to worry about and who persist in believing and preaching that it cannot and will not happen here I class as shortsighted and starry-eyed dreamers. I believe that our independence and freedom are precious things and that the independence and freedom of the free South East Asian countries are just as precious to them and must be protected. By standing shoulder to shoulder with our allies and helping the South Vietnamese people to maintain their freedom we are also helping to maintain our own.

The people of north Queensland are extremely conscious of this conflict. There is no doubt in our minds whatsoever that if Australia were to suffer the experience of invasion by a hostile power we in north Queensland would be the first chip off the block. Our thinly spread population, the difficulty of our communications and our geographical position lend themselves to this situation. What fools we would be to pretend that the conflict in South Vietnam is no concern of ours. Is there anybody who can deny that if we wish to achieve the maximum rate of development, using all our resources to maintain the high standard of living that we are enjoying at the moment, we must have external security? If they do I say ‘rubbish’. I believe that the decision by the present Government to send troops to help the South Vietnamese people, no matter how unpopular or difficult it was to make, was right and will be proved so in the future. To those critics who preach that our assistance should be in the form of civil aid and not military aid may I say that civil aid is of no value whatsoever without security, and at present security can be gained only through military aid.

Reverting to the subject of northern development, I recall that in his speech my good friend and colleague the honourable member for Kennedy (Mr Katter) made reference to what he termed one- eyed economists. I have read quite a number of articles written by so-called experts on the development of northern Australia. Some of these articles were constructive; others were a mess of complete and utter nonsense. I remember one writer saying something to the effect that if the resources could be used profitably in other parts of the continent they are being wasted in the north and that northern development is proceeding at the expense of the Australian standard of living. What rubbish. I fail to see that our contribution to the economy of this country is reducing the standard of living of our fellow Australians in the south. I would go a little further than my friend the honourable member for Kennedy and say that these experts who wish to write about us and the development of our area should come and live with us, rub shoulders with us and learn about our little problems as well as our big ones instead of paying flash visits to the north of a couple of weeks’ or a month’s duration and then returning south full of what they are pleased to think is a knowledge of the north and then trying to write about our problems. Some of these so-called experts would not know if today was Tuesday or Pitt Street, Sydney. I know that this Government has been and still is vitally concerned with the development of north Queensland. May I suggest that a planned programme for this development is a definite necessity. I believe that there is a Northern Division within the Department of National Development. I should like to meet the gentlemen of this Northern Division and I am sure that my colleagues from Kennedy and the Northern Territory would also like to meet them to discuss this matter of planned development. I may be quite wrong, but I think that development projects in the north are being undertaken piecemeal. In military terms nothing can replace a well organised and well planned attack. The piecemeal attack is normally doomed to failure. Positive action is the only hallmark of confidence and success. I realise that this planned programme may not achieve results immediately, but we cannot afford to ba short-sighted. Working in conjunction with the State Government and with the cooperation of the local authorities there is no limit to the progress we could achieve. But the time to commence planning is now.

We in the north are not asking for anything for nothing. We are prepared to work hard to further our progress as we have always worked hard for what we have achieved so far. But we do need assistance and guidance, and for these things we are looking to the Commonwealth Government.

During the period of my lifetime in which I have been interested in politics this Government has been the only one which has made any constructive effort to understand and develop my northland, and I am exceptionally proud to be one with it. I have worked in the canefields of the north and have cut timber in the northern forests. I have worked on the cattle and sheep properties of the west. I appreciate the personal problems and the problems of developing the north. I have promised my people that I will bring these problems to the notice of the honourable members of this Parliament for their judgment and decision. This I have promised and this I shall do.


– I compliment the honourable member for Herbert (Mr Bonnett) on his maiden speech. It was a thoughtful contribution. I suggest that he and the other new members should make the most of their three years in this place. In his particular case we, like MacArthur, feel that his predecessor, Mr Harding, who served the electorate so well, will return. If Parliament and the Australian people were looking for something inspiring, a speech with imagination looking to the future, they would certainly have been disappointed with the Speech of the Governor-General which we are debating on the Address-in-Reply. Indeed, the only good thing about the Governor-General’s Speech, written as it was by the Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt) and his Government, was that it was delivered by an Australian Governor-General who brings to his office dignity and stature. He is a distinguished Australian who has the respect of all Australians, regardless of political beliefs. It is my hope and the hope of the Labor Party that when His Excellency chooses to end his residency at Yarralumla, another Australian of standing will follow in his footsteps.

Despite our obviously close relationship with Great Britain, and I am as staunch a friend of Britain as most, surely we have grown up and are beyond the situation where we must retain the old colonial habit of seeking the service of the aristocracy of England. This practice, which I hope has been discontinued, has an effect which is more far-reaching than that of which most Australians are aware. Some years ago when I was overseas I visited a number of countries in Asia. In each I found the belief that our British Governor-General was our top man, that he was the bead of the Government and that consequently, in their eyes, we were still a colony of England, not independent but certainly stamped with the stain of Colonialism. Of course the stain of Colonialism is hated in Asia. We know that here in Australia as the representative of the Sovereign the Governor-General has no real power to influence any governments in this country. There is plenty of pomp and circumstance about the position, but it is glory without the power. This is something which is not understood by many Asians. For the sake of our own nationhood, for the sake of our image in Asia with which our destiny is so entwined, it is important that we continue to see distinguished Australians appointed to this high post.

I want to talk about matters of concern to country people and, in particular, of concern to one section of primary producers who are in difficulties. But before doing so I cannot resist the need to say how shallow and how superficial was this Speech in its role of a report to the people and the Parliament upon the situation of the day and the actions that the Government intended to take in the future. The Speech mentioned that we were enjoying a period of stability and economic progress, but it carefully avoided some of the significant economic factors applying today. It did not mention that we face the prospect of a deficit in our trading balance for 1966-67 of something approximating $400m. It did not mention that we have experienced a sharp reduction in capital inflow or the fact that the unemployment figure for January reached 88,965 - almost 2% of the work force. It did not mention that we have experienced a very slow absorption of school leavers, that the gap between registrants for jobs and job vacancies was widening rapidly and that the gap is now three times what it was a year ago. Indeed, all the economic signs indicate a slowing down in the economy, a slowing down from what has been an already slow rate of growth.

Our economic indicators show that overtime and additional jobs - either two jobs or the two married partners working - are now part of our standard of living. Many women have become economic conscripts. Sheer necessity and the needs of their families in this high cost society have forced them to go to work. It is a two pay packet economy. Although I do not object to women working if they want to work, I believe that the situation where a man has to work consistent overtime and a wife has to leave her children to go out to work in order that they may be housed, clothed, fed and educated adequately is undermining the family life of the nation. Accordingly, this so-called affluent society is not enjoying the standard of living which appears superficially and which the Government would like to claim. A United Nations survey shows that since 1949 we have fallen from third to fifteenth in the world scale in real terms of living standards.

The Governor-General’s Speech contained not one word about the health services of the community. Does this indicate the Government’s satisfaction with what it chooses to call the national health scheme? lt is my understanding that probably the greatest single matter of concern for the average family man in Australia today is the financial burden of illness. In Victoria, if a man can pass a means test based on the basic wage, hospitalisation is available for $70 per week. If he cannot pass that means test it is available for S98 or £49 per week. What ordinary Australian family can afford that? Of course, it is true that a family man can be relieved of 50% to 60% of this burden by paying anything from $1.30 to $1.50 per week, if he can afford this, to a non-government organisation called a hospital benefit fund. In many cases these funds are amassing large reserves. There is no cover for a visit to a dentist, a chiropractor or for obtaining spectacles. The average Australian is put into penury for almost a lifetime if he or a member of his family is ill or suffers an accident and is required to spend some weeks in hospital. I believe that there is an urgent need for at least a hospitalisation scheme financed out of taxation, based on the capacity to pay and free of charge to all who wish to take advantage of it.

I should like to say a few words about an important primary industry which was mentioned by the honourable member for Herbert. I refer to the sugar industry which rated only a few sentences in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech and which, unfortunately, is an embattled industry indeed. This depressed sugar industry makes a significant contribution to the economy of Queensland. It accounts for about 25% of the State’s income. It makes a very real and substantial contribution to Australia’s economy, both in respect of overseas earnings and in every other economic aspect. If the sugar industry were dispersed around Australia its depressed condition would be bad enough, but it is concentrated in the north-east coastal area where it is the main industry supporting the cities and towns of tropical Queensland and northern New South Wales. Unlike many other primary industries it offers no prospects for sidelines or for quick changeover to more economic crops, such as from wool to wheat. This dual concentration, geographically and cropwise, has accentuated the adverse effects into a situation where a virtual depression exists in the region. I recall the remarks of the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) a few days ago when he highlighted the situation and mentioned that in the northern city of Mackay about 1 ,700 are unemployed because of this depression in the industry. The major factors bringing about this situation are four in number.

The first reason is the fall in the free world market price to ridiculous levels. Secondly there has been a lack of an allembracing and suitable international sugar agreement to protect the interests of sugar importing nations, including Australia. In the very face of these circumstances comes the third reason - the expansion of the Australian sugar industry, which took place unfortunately with the encouragement and agreement of the Queensland Government and this Liberal Party-Country Party Government. The fourth reason is the failure of the Government to negotiate at least a minimum price in its agreement with Japan. A situation in which Japan, by agreement with this Government, can buy soma 600,000 tons of Australian sugar each year at less than one third the price paid by Australian consumers is, of course, completely ridiculous - and I may add that Japan buys Australian sugar at less than two fifths of the price paid by consumers in Britain and the United States for Australian sugar. In this ridiculous situation we find that Australian sugar bought by Japanese interests and packaged in Japan is sent back to New Guinea where it undersells sugar imported directly into New Guinea from Australia.

Lurking on the sidelines is the constant and growing threat of substitutes, artificial sweeteners which, for medical and other reasons, could strike further at the per capita consumption of sugar. The reason for the fall in the world free market price was, of course, beyond Australian control, but clearly the Government has failed to induce other governments to agree to a return to sanity in world sugar trading. Let me say immediately that I do not doubt that the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr McEwen) is doing his best, but what really astonishes me and the Labor Party is how and why both the Queensland Government and the Commonwealth Government agreed to the expansion of the industry, even until the last twelve months. It is true that it was recommended by the Gibbs report, but when I think of the fate of reports like that of the Dairy Industry Committee of Inquiry and the Vernon Committee of Economic Inquiry and many others I wonder why the Government allowed this report to emerge from the pigeon holes. After all, so many other similar reports have been lost, forgotten or left to languish.

According to the Minister for Trade and Industry, in a statement made by him on 15th March 1966, the Japanese Trade Agreement laid the foundations for this expansion. Surely this was a flimsy and uncertain basis for expanded production, when Japan, unlike Britain and the USA, imports our sugar at the free market price, without a minimum price for even a short term. Clearly, this Government-induced expansion has had a further depressive affect on the sugar situation, and both Governments, the Commonwealth and the Government of Queensland, must share the blame. They must also accept the responsibility to aid those hard hit by uneconomic prices.

What are the remedies for the situations? I say quite clearly on behalf of the Opposition that we will resist any Government proposal - which has already been hinted at in some newspapers - to increase the home consumption price of sugar. The Commonwealth, of course, has the power to fix the price to Australian consumers. This stems from an act of co-operation between two Labor governments, in the Commonwealth and in Queensland, more than fifty years ago which placed the industry on an organised basis. The Labor Party believes that an increase in the home consumption price of sugar would be against the interests of Australian families and the sugar industry itself. As well as lifting the cost of living it would create buyer resistance and give a sales boost to the artificial sweeteners already taking a substantial slice of the home market.

I believe that the reaction of Australian housewives to a sugar price rise would be immediate buyer resistance. They would become reluctant to buy and this would mean reduced sales on the profitable home market for the sugar industry. In addition, manufacturers of jams, biscuits, beer, sweets, icecream and other sugar consuming commodities would tend to turn to other sweetening agents. A price rise would not assist the sugar industry. I would prefer that direct Government assistance be given to the industry. Indeed the Labor Party offered this direct assistance, by way of an industry stabilisation scheme, as part of its policy in the last election campaign. We made this offer in the belief that the industry and the whole sugar regions were in a state of depression. I agree with the honourable member for Dawson that the industry needs and warrants direct assistance in this period of depression. The industry has, in my view, gone beyond the situation in which loans could meet the need. To people who are in hock up to the hilt the offer of a loan is of little benefit. We believe the position can be salvaged and that the Government must make greater efforts and take more initiative in seeking, firstly, a new international sugar agreement and, secondly, a review of the Japanese Trade Agreement to end this farcical condition of no minimum price.

I have been a persistent advocate in this Parliament of the need for balanced development in country areas, the need for industry to be established and for population to be increased in country areas. Decentralisation is the term that is commonly used. I make no apology for my advocacy. I want to say a few words about what might have been a contribution to balanced development by the Commonwealth. It certainly would have represented an indication of Commonwealth interest in the subject. I refer to the proposed building of a new Commonwealth clothing factory in Victoria. In October last the Minister for Supply (Senator Henty) decided that the factory would be built in the Melbourne metropolitan area. The response to this decision was a storm of protest from me, from other members in this House and from many senators, and also from country people and organisations all over Victoria. As a result of this response and these protests the Minister said at the end of October that he would review this decision and consider locating the factory in the country.

That was all we heard about it until the election was over. The result of his review was announced a few weeks after the election and of course the decision was not in favour of a factory in the country. Country people could be pardoned for believing that an election exercise had been indulged in, an exercise designed to take the heat off until the ballot boxes were back in store. One might have expected that country people, through their municipal councils or regional development organisations, would have been given the opportunity at least to put their case. Indeed, the Victorian Decentralisation League, the representative of a great many councils and other organisations, would have leapt at the chance of advancing the country’s cause. But no; we have been given an impressive list of departments which had a hand in this review, but the list contained the name of no person representative of the country’s point of view.

In my own electorate the Castlemaine, Newstead and Bendigo Councils and a number of others were eager to present a case. Perhaps those centres would have been considered unsatisfactory because they could provide no really ready supply of female labour to the extent required. But look at the Latrobe Valley where there is a great concentration of heavy industry and many hundreds of women and girls who could have fulfilled the needs of the Commonwealth Clothing Factory. So I voice the protest of country people and organisations at the Government’s failure to consult country representatives about this review.

The result of the November election left this House aligned eighty-one to forty-one and it would be idle for me and my colleagues to pretend that we were not disappointed and dismayed at the result. But we accept the decision of the people. Some of the people, both inside this Parliament and outside it, have expressed the belief that the Labor Party, having suffered this defeat, should now accept the Government’s policy on Vietnam and remain silent. They call for a bi-partisian foreign policy - that is, all theirs and none of ours. This, of course, is not my conception of democracy. We of the Opposition represent more than two million Australian people, and I have no doubt that some who voted LiberalCountry Party were greatly concerned at and opposed to our involvement in Vietnam. We would be failing them and failing in our duty to democracy if we did not voice our opposition in this and every other field in which we believe the Government is in error, and, regardless of our depleted numbers, this we will do.

Recently South Vietnam’s Air ViceMarshal Ky visited Australia. To some Australians his performance before the Press and on television was impressive, but one statement that he made surely, upon examination, demolished the very basis of the Government’s case for our involvement in Vietnam. The case, of course, rests on the assumption that the Vietnam conflict constitutes part of the downward thrust of aggressive China and that if Vietnam falls to Communism other countries will follow. This is the domino theory. What did Air Vice-Marshal Ky say? I believe that honourable members will admit that his words were significant. He said:

When some people ask me whether there is any possibility that North Vietnam will ask Red China to send troops to North Vietnam I say: ‘No. Because if the Hanoi leaders do so, then I am sure that all the Vietnamese from the North and the South will unite in one bloc, stand up and destroy the regime and defend our land.

Here was a significant expression of the traditional, centuries old hatred that the Vietnamese feel for their giant neighbour, China. It was an admission that both sides in the Vietnam war are nationalist in outlook and that the North is not subservient to China. What else did it mean? It means that basically the war is one between Vietnamese - a civil war. This has always been Labor’s view. This statement by Air ViceMarshal Ky means that the domino theory will not hold water. The obvious conclusion to be drawn from this is that the sooner we bring the combatants together the sooner we shall have peace and the possibility of a settlement in Vietnam.

I want to register my dismay and disapproval at the Government’s continued display of me-tooism in respect of Vietnam. It has never been prepared to take any initiative in bringing about negotiations for a peaceful settlement. Indeed, the only occasions when this Government has spoken out in a positive manner - when it has relinquished the role of camp follower - have been when it has scorned suggestions for scaling down the war and has advocated further involvement. A recent example of this was its hawkish cry for the resumption of the bombing of North Vietnam. The Government’s whole attitude is reflected in its expenditure in Vietnam - a miserable $2m for civil aid and ten times that sum for military involvement. The words of our former Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, still echo in the minds of members of this Government. I recall that in this chamber he stated:

If 1 am the last Prime Minister I will never negotiate.

Nearly one million troops are engaged against the Vietcong. No-one doubts their bravery. But no-one can say that victory is in sight or, indeed, what military victory will mean in terms of civilians and soldiers killed and maimed or of towns, villages and crops damaged and destroyed. I believe that the longer the war goes on the less chance we have of winning the peace. I cannot believe that the destruction inevitably visited on the people and the countryside in the struggle for military victory can do anything but alienate the people - the peasants who are largely uncommitted until destruction comes to their fields, their families and their villages.

Surely America’s strength of purpose and intention to stand firm are clear. Surely concessions made in order to bring about negotiations would not be a sign of weakness. In my view two concessions ought to be made as a test of the sincerity of the Vietcong. The first is suspension of the bombing of North Vietnam. I ask: what is it achieving? Mr McNamara, Secretary of Defence in the United States of Amercia, said that the bombing of North Vietnam was not achieving its objective. Indeed, Mr White, the Secretary to the Department of the Army, in a pre-election slip that was embarrassing to the Government, agreed with this. Let us look at the history of bombing. Can anyone say that the massive bombing of London and Britain or of Berlin and Germany in the Second World War did anything but strengthen the resolve of the people on whom it was inflicted? Can one say that people anywhere in the world would react differently? indeed, I believe that such bombing only deepens people’s hatred of the combatants. I do not believe that Hanoi can call a halt to the war. But its influence is undeniable. Suspension of the bombing would bring that influence to bear.

The second concession that 1 advocate is recognition of the National Liberation Front for South Vietnam’ as a political force. As I have said, I have no doubt that Hanoi has some influence in the conduct of the war. But nothing that has been said in a long debate on our involvement in Vietnam can alter my belief that the war began as a civil war and that the National Liberation Front controls and directs its own actions in South Vietnam. lt is inevitable that the Front must be included in any negotiations. 1 believe that until concessions are made the people of Vietnam will be torn asunder by this dreadful war. Our own soldiers will be killed and maimed in a war that can be stopped. The Government has won the election on the Vietnam issue. But for goodness sake let it not take this as a blank cheque, in effect, and let it not consider that it now has a free hand to take the hard line. Let us have more initiative in seeking the settlement that must inevitably come, rather than prolongation of the war.


– I call the honourable member for Lalor and remind honourable members that this will be bis maiden speech.


- Mr Deputy Speaker, I thank God for the opportunities that have been given to those who live in this young country of ours, for the opportunities that have been given to me, and particularly for the privilege that I now have of serving the electors of Lalor in this Parliament. I would like to congratulate the Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt) on the return of his team to office with a truly remarkable majority. Indeed, had it not been for the record of the Government and the confidence of the electors in the policies presented by him I would not be in this House tonight. I have the honour - for a short period at least - of taking the place of a truly great Australian in the person of the Honourable Reg Pollard. I am sure that we all respect him for the way in which he fought for those principles in which he believes. He holds a distinguished military record in the First World War and was a member of the Victorian Parliament from 1924 to 1932. As a member of this Parliament since 1937 he served on countless committees. As honourable members know, he was Minister for Commerce and Agriculture after the end of the war, from 1 946 to 1949. 1 am well aware of the responsibilities that are mine as the representative of this large and diversified electorate, Sir. I notice that according to the electoral rolls I represent as many electors as there are in the combined total of three electorates in Tasmania. That must surely mean that I could have three times as much to say as any one of the members representing those electorates. I hope that this will not be so, for already 1 have come to the conclusion that some honourable members are on their feet too often and for too long.

Just prior to the Second World War 1 was recruited to the Commonwealth Public Service, and I often used to sit in the public galleries in this House to listen to the members of the day. One was my predecessor as member for Lalor, the Honourable Reg Pollard. Other notable members of the time whose names I recall were the late J. A. Lyons, W. M. Hughes, A. G. Cameron, and G. A. Street, whose son sits next to me in this chamber. Sir Robert Menzies and the present Governor-General were members of the Cabinet at the time. Other greats whom I had the privilege of listening to were the late John Curtin, Norman Makin and the late Eddie Ward. There are a few well known members of that time still with us today. Listening to those men in pre-war days little did I think that I too would have the privilege and honour of speaking in this House. I can well remember how thrilled I was on one occasion to meet the late John Curtin, who, in my memory, was one of the greatest men ever to have entered this chamber. I experienced a great thrill in those teenage years. I wonder today what lasting impressions are being made in the minds of young people who come into the galleries of this chamber. This afternoon some school children were in one of the galleries. I wonder what they thought as they looked down on us. We should realise that we are under very close scrutiny. I believe that we must remain conscious of the fact that debates in this chamber are broadcast over national radio stations. We must be aware that what we say is reported by journalists in the Press Gallery. Daily, more and more tourists come to Canberra, many of whom visit the Parliament. It is only too easy for us to give the impression which was reflected in a remark to me by a friend during the election campaign, who said: ‘Politics is a dirty game; I hope you fail.’ What is the reason for this unfavourable reaction by the public to those whom they elect to this Parliament? Why do people select governments and then refuse to pass referendums which the governments feel are in the genuine interest of the public? The Press, radio and television people have big responsibilities. If they will only report us as they see us, truthfully and well, they will do Australia a great service. It is up to us to improve our image. 1 wonder whether some of the trouble stems from the fact that the public generally is unaware of the amount of work entailed in parliamentary representation. I find that I have to travel long distances and spend many hours in my electorate making myself available to people at all times. Is this picture accurate or after a while do we all get away to the Gold Coast whenever we can? I sincerely hope that the latter is not the picture in the electorate of the average politician. It is high time we took stock of ourselves. Through the country Press, I hope at least to give a report on my doings and to let the people sum up the situation for themselves.

I felt that the honourable member for Grey (Mr Jessop) did a great service when he told us last week a little about his electorate. May 1 take this opportunity of saying something about my electorate which, as honourable members probably know, takes its name from Peter Lalor, a very famous man who was leader of the miners at the time of the Eureka Stockade in 1854 but who, within twelve months, was elected to the legislature of Victoria, serving for twenty-seven years, including terms as Speaker and as a Minister of the Crown. The electorate of Lalor is one of the most rapidly growing electorates in Australia, the number of voters having increased since 1951 by 149%. This is the greatest percentage gain in any electorate with the exception of the Australian Capital Territory. Honorable members will understand the reason for this exceptionally rapid growth when I tell them that the electorate embraces the north western and western fringes of the Melbourne metropolitan area. It is an area where vast industrial expansion is taking place and, coupled with it, enormous residential development. In common with all rapidly developing areas it presents great opportunities but also great problems. One of the greatest problems is that of housing, about which I will say more later. At this stage, however, 1 must stress that the electorate also embraces some very rich farming and grazing country from Lancefield, Woodend and Broadford in the north to the highly productive farming districts of the Werribee area in the south. The electorate also takes in the rapidly developing areas of Whittlesea, Thomastown and Fawkner and the suburbs of Glenroy, Broadmeadows, Niddrie, Sunshine and Altona. So honourable members will see that as the member for Lalor I will have to be all things for all men.

The intense activity throughout the electorate has thrown a severe strain on local government. I pay tribute to councillors and staff in the new areas. I know that the honourable member for Maribyrnong (Mr Stokes) will agree with me when 1 say that often in recent weeks we have been called to go to naturalisation ceremonies where 70, 100 or 120 people at a time have been naturalised. This happens often and entails extra work for council staff in these areas. What a wonderful job they do.

There is a preponderance of young people around the fringe of Melbourne, as I suppose there is in all cities of Australia. The Government has a great responsibility to these folk as they become members of the work force and as they marry and endeavour to establish themselves in their own homes. This is a very thrilling time for young people, yet it can be a very difficult time as they set out in life together. In the majority of cases it is necessary for both husband and wife to work for several years after marriage in order to gain some equity in the home they are buying. This in itself poses problems. I have a great admiration for the young men and women of today for the realistic way in which most of them go about overcoming their difficulties. Because I know something of what is going on at this rather homely and personal level among our younger citizens I was delighted to hear of the Government’s plans to liberalise the benefits of the homes savings grant scheme and to rectify some of the anomalies discovered in the legislation. I am sure that if they cast their minds back honourable members will recall the days when they had not long been married and were struggling to buy a home or even to put a deposit on a block of land. The Homes Savings Grant Act is and will continue to be a very great help to young people.

Recently the daily Press has given a good deal of publicity to conditions obtaining in some migrant hostels. Something has been said on the subject in another place. I too would like to say something. There are two migrant hostels in my electorate, as I have quickly discovered. Yesterday 1 took the opportunity of inspecting the hostel at Brooklyn. I went along without giving prior notice and I believe that I saw the establishment under normal conditions. Certainly it is a hostel geared to accommodate large numbers of people at a minimum cost and it is intended to provide temporary accommodation only. I understand that the average stay at these hostels throughout Australia is about thirty-five weeks. My inspection of the Brooklyn migrant hostel satisfied me that this hostel at any rate is both clean and comfortable. Having inspected the menus and the kitchen I am sure that the meals would be of very good standard. Perhaps the worst feaure would be the closeness of this hostel to an industry from which comes an offensive smell, but I should like to say that plans are already under way to replace this hostel with a new one at Springvale. In the meantime, Brooklyn hostel is being kept as comfortable as possible for incoming migrants whose entry to this country would otherwise have to be delayed. I am sure that none of us, not even the members of the Labor Party, would want that to happen. It is most unfortunate that the difficulties of these hostels should receive such adverse publicity and be magnified out of all proportion to the size of the problems. Who knows what harm this publicity could do overseas to our immigration programme?

I have found that the majority of people who come from overseas are very glad to be here and have settled in very well. Indeed many of them have already been through this hostel. Some have settled in the electorate of Lalor and I have spoken to a few of them recently. Many have contributed to our culture and our skills. 1 do hope that nothing will be said by the members of this House which will prevent a continuance of an even flow of migrants to this country. Mr Deputy Speaker, I have very much pleasure in supporting the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply so ably proposed by the honourable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr Munro).


– 1 think when future historians pass their verdict on the British Commonwealth of Nations there will be agreement that the Commonwealth’s major contribution to the welfare of mankind has been the parliamentary institution and the English language. You, Mr Lucock, are one of thi custodians of the rights and privileges of this Parliament. You are the choice of the House and naturally both you and Mr Speaker have the respect which is the due of your high offices. 1 also tender my felicitations to the new members who have made their maiden speeches.

I am very apprehensive, though, at the lack of meat in the Governor-General’s Speech, which is the subject of this debate.

Of course, as the Speech is the mirror of the Government’s policy, it is naturally barren and vacuous. It is the product of a moribund Government that has degenerated into a mutual admiration society. In November last, the Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt) won, in effect, a referendum on the question of the defence of Australia from potential physical aggression. However he ignored at the same time the stark realities of the current economic agression which is being waged against this country, and the revival of economic colonialism. This Government has no mandate on major internal issues and it is carrying on under the diminishing momentum of the Menzies era. Sir Robert Menzies knew precisely when to resign. He had ridden the crest of the post-war boom. He followed the old Chinese proverb that the wise ruler sits gravely on his throne, does nothing and takes credit for everything that happens for the benefit of the community.

We live in the last third of the twentieth century and it might be of profit to run very quickly through the span of history since 1900. In the first thirty-three years of our century we had the First World War. We also had the introduction of the aeroplane and the automobile. We had a momentous social event, the Soviet revolution, and we also had the great economic depression. In the second era we had the Second World War; we had the destruction of the old empires and of the colonial era; we had the introduction of atomic power and we had the Chinese revolution. From that era we have emerged with a new world map of wealthy nations and miserably poor nations. We have emerged into a third era which one can say commenced in 1966. In it we have atomic armament proliferation, space satellites, the dominance of science and technology in the advanced industrial countries and the emergence of the Soviet Union and the United States of America as world powers. We have also emerged, as I have previously stated, into an era of economic colonialism and one of population explosion.

What does the future hold for the world? Will there be a third world conflict? Will it be not the ideological conflict that so many spokesmen for the Government have harped on for years but rather a racial one based on economic underprivilege? I do not want to anticipate the debate on the statement by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr Hasluck), but his speech did indicate a considerable mellowing of relations between the Government and the Soviet Union - a thawing of the cold war. We now face the grave issues of the current era. These are the issues of food and population, of arms limitation, of control of nuclear weapons, and of the rising conflict between the rich and the hungry nations. The position has been aptly put by an organisation in Britain known as the Political and Economic Planning Association, which said this in a recent publication:

Despite the high hopes and brave efforts of the later forties and the fifties, there have never been so many very poor and hungry people on the earth, nor have their numbers ever been multiplying so fast.

We, in fact, seem to be losing the race with hunger and ignorance in terms of expanding world population. The quotation continues:

The situation of the multitudes of new paupers, heavily concentrated in Asia, is very different. Living in towns sometimes more populous even than London or New York in which they have few possessions and no rights, or swarming in already congested country districts as a landless proletariat they-

This is particularly significant, even if members of the Government are not greatly interested in it - seem destined to create as combustible material as any that history can show.

Our problem is to develop a relatively empty nation and to cope with the deficiencies of a moribund Government which is as empty of ideas as parts of Australia are of people. Mankind as a whole is living today in a cultivated area which represents only about 3% of the world’s area. The major part of mankind finds its subsistence in the river valleys and on the sea shores. The greatest boon required by mankind has been correctly stated to be some method of economical desalination of water because only in this way can we commence to irrigate land that is at present capable of cultivation but lacks water.

At the same time, we have reached a period of relative international insanity. There are some phases of lucidity in more recent negotiations for the control of intercontinental ballistic missiles but if they are not controlled, the anti-intercontinental ballistic missile programme that is under consideration in the United States will cost about $40,000m. Even at the present ratio of population to food, world economic and social problems are almost unmanageable. The world, of course, has never been governed very wisely. We find a notable example of that in this Commonwealth of Australia. Possibly one of the major tragedies of the world today is that the United States, as a major world power, has tremendous strength, indeed the strength of a giant, but the immaturity of an adolescent. Britain, on the other hand, has the wisdom, sophistication and experience of world government, but, because of her part in two world wars, she lacks the ability and economic strength to continue in her former historic role. Within our own country we find that we face many disadvantages in terms of export prices in the post war era. In particular, as a primary producing nation we find that we are running faster and faster on the economic treadmill to achieve exactly the same results. lt is well known, even if the Government does not choose to admit it in debates in this House, that countries relying exclusively on primary production for their export income have found that, as they produce more, export prices continue to fall and the net result has been a continuously greater production to maintain existing export income levels. The fully industrialised countries have forged ahead, and Australia itself faces the cross-roads in its future planning for export income. It is quite clear that there is more wealth below the surface of Australia, particularly in its mineral deposits, than has even been reaped from its soil in primary production. At the same time we find specifically - if honourable members want a crowning example of the ineptitude and incompetence of this Government - that the capital content and the measure of control of the export of iron ore is limited to about 19% Australian participation. This is in respect of the major discoveries that have been developed recently in Western Australia. Whether Britain remains in or out of the European Common Market she represents a dwindling source for future sales of primary products. The mining, smelting and manufacture of Australian mineral wealth must, in the near future, replace exports of primary produce as the main source of

Australia’s overseas income. Despite the huge population of most Asiatic countries their living standards and income are so pathetically low that the sale possibilities there for Australia’s primary products are severely limited. Australia must have a better fate than to be a mineral quarry for overseas manufacturing nations.

Whether or not Britain enters the Common Market the trend of the British economy and the problems arising from it present to us a unique opportunity, if this Government is prepared to take advantage of it. In my considered opinion, over the next decade there will be a mass exodus of at least one quarter of the population of Britain. If we are prepared to make the effort and to do the planning we could receive those people. If we do so, we are well on the way to the major development of this country. I referred earlier to the question of economic penetration into Australia. ‘Economic aggression’ was the phrase I used. Let us contrast the position as between European investors in the United States of America and those of United States investors in Europe. The techniques that are being used there are obvious in Australia. In respect of European investment in the United States it is essentially investment in what the economists call equities, shares, debentures or mortgage loans, but United States investors abroad are able, because of their managerial efficiency, to hurdle Customs barriers, to ignore exchange controls and to go straight into countries to establish industries which are in the commanding heights of the respective economies and where their controllers are in a powerful position to dictate to their host companies.

Australia is paying a most unreasonable price for uncontrolled foreign investment in Australia. Australia’s secondary industries in their postwar development are paying this unreasonable price for unrestricted overseas capital and imported technology. Over the last twenty years Australia has been the only country in the industrialised sectors of the world that has placed no restrictions on overseas investment and has, in addition, apparently no policy for selective control of capital entering this country. It is becoming increasingly clear that the former Menzies Administration quite deliberately acted on the principle that there should be unlimited overseas investment in Australia to force the investing countries to participate willy-nilly in the defence of this country. We have a parallel of that, and it was raised most forcibly by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) recently in the House when he said that all parties have common ground for a strong American presence in this area but that the Government believes it can achieve this only by involving the United States further and deeper militarily. At the same time it has chosen to involve the United States in Australia economically, to this country’s detriment, and quite unnecessarily. While there are certain forms of overseas investment which have undoubted advantage for Australia we are now discovering to our sorrow and alarm that the only major industries in this country not under overseas control are sugar, steel, glass, paper and cement. It is quite clear already, as reported by the Vernon Committee after its inquiry, that 25% of all company assets in Australia are under foreign ownership and that one-third of all manufacturing companies’ assets are similarly controlled. These figures represent only full ownership. When indirect control by overseas minority shareholdings are added the actual position is dangerously close to 50% foreign control of all Australian industry.

Australia’s future development policy is already being controlled by decisions made in company boardrooms in London, Washington, Detroit and Tokyo. Worse still, existing industries, according to the findings of the Vernon Committee, have over 1,100 agreements with their overseas controllers limiting the countries to which they can export Australian secondary production. In many cases overseas investors have prohibited absolutely the export of Australian secondary production in competition with that of a parent company. In earlier days there might have been an undoubted case for an influx of foreign capital into Australia, but wc now have matured to the point where, as they say in the bullring, the moment of truth has arrived and we have seriously to consider the warnings of the Vernon Committee of inquiry. That Committee’s report, we might say, is an economic watershed in Australian financial history. This Government, of course, has the Midas touch of failure. Its policy in relation to the control of overseas investment has been one of empty exhortations, and the best it can offer is for Australia to be an overseas quarry for its industrial competitors.

Overseas investment will be one of the major political issues at the next Federal election and also during the currency of this Parliament. The remedies are obvious and well known, and have been advanced many times by economic experts who are patriotic Australians. Firstly is a minimum participation of at least 50% in new investment coming into this country. That investment, of course, should be limited to such as can bring in techniques of technology or managerial efficiency which may be of use to this country and which will not be in competition with existing Australian industries. In addition there must be an absolute prohibition of the acquisition of established and operating Australian companies by overseas investors. When permitted capital does come into this country, and in a limited form, it should be channelled into such fields of activity as are to the economic advantage of this nation, taking the broadest viewpoint.

Let us look at other features of the Australian economy. We find that the tide of overseas investment is ebbing and that there are real financial problems in 1967. The international reserves of Australia on 30th June last were SA1,375m. On 25th January they were $Al,235m. By the end of this year, and despite the assurances that we have received from this Government which have not been specific on this point there could be a further run down of a further S200m. The Government has yet to tell the people of Australia what is the safe minimum of international monetary reserves to be held overseas.

Mr Chipp:

– What does the honourable member think it is?


– I would say about $800m.

Mr Chipp:

– As a safe minimum?


– Yes. In New Zealand our cousins across the Tasman are experiencing their problems also. The Government would say that we can do what the New Zealanders obviously are being forced to do - have recourse to the International Monetary Fund. But when the bankers are called in and their assistance is needed - and they know it is needed - the terms which will be imposed will be harsh indeed. They mean economic dictation - and that is the last thing that the Government should be offering to the nation. We are now seeing an ebb tide of overseas investment. I want to cite the words of Mr Gibson which appeared in ‘Growth 6’, a very worthy publication by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia. His figures covered the period from 1947 to 1964. In that period there was a net capital inflow into Australia of £2,449m. The property income payable abroad was £ 1,954m. This article states:

It will be seen that during the seventeen years . . ‘Property Income Payable Abroad’ represented 78% of the ‘Net Capital Inflow*. In other words, the servicing cost in that period was nearly four-fifths of the inflow.

The Vernon Committee postulated that in 1974 or 1975 the actual cost of servicing capital inflow, all other things being equal, if the same economic trends continued, would exceed the capital inflow itself. Mr Gibson put the proposition in these terms:

Australia needs foreign capital in order to finance its overseas deficit, which is more than accounted for by the servicing charges on foreign capital. And, of course, each new unit of inflow, in turn, raises the servicing charges and further increases the deficit.

A further reason for Australia’s coming financial embarrassment is the tragic purchase of $ 1,050m worth of defence equipment from the United States of America, a large proportion of which could have been manufactured in Australia. The instalments on these defence purchases paid over the next seven years will add $150m annually to Australia’s overseas trading liabilities. One of the more obvious remedies suggested by the Vernon Committee was something in the nature of an Australian development corporation. One could well consider the Canadian Development Corporation for which the Government of Canada has subscribed 10% of the capital of SCan 1,000m and has underwritten the sale of the balance of the capital. In the light of these facts it will be readily understood why the former Prime Minister so viciously attacked and attempted to discredit the warnings and facts produced by the Vernon Committee in its report. If I might use a homely parallel, one would have thought that the Prime

Minister had been banded a bag of snakes judging by his reaction to the terms of that report. Australia - and this is the hard truth - as the Minister at the table (Mr Chipp) well knows - at the present time does generate, in fact, from within its own savings 90% of the investment capital which is required. It is only a matter of a 1 0% inflow for which we are literally selling our birthright. As the former Leader of the Opposition put it on one occasion, we are in a position of selling the family home to pay the grocery bill. It would be possible by a combination of measures - the establishment of an Australian development corporation, a proper approach to the superannuation and life assurance companies for them to reconsider their predilection for certain forms of investment, the release of certain of the statutory reserve deposits and the curbing of interest rackets in the fringe or black market banking system commonly known as hire purchase - to raise the extra $500m annually that Australia needs in hard cash to finance our future national development. There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that Australia could do this.

Mr Chipp:

– That is tantamount to printing money, is it not?


– It is nothing of the sort. At the same time, 1 would be the last to oppose the importation into Australia of the techniques from overseas which are necessary, but instead of bringing in those techniques and merely paying a proper service charge on them the Government allows the company or patentee or proprietor of the particular technique to come here and establish a full-blooded industry in Australia lock, stock and barrel and ‘o extort the maximum profit that the Australian community will bear.

There is a strong case for technological research in Australia, lt must be encouraged because no nation can rise to industrial greatness while it is as dependent as Australia on other nations for research and technology. The price being paid by Australia and Australian industries is fantastically high. What the sugar, steel, glass, cement and paper companies have done can be achieved equally by the remainder of Australian industry. I might cite the example of Sweden and Switzerland which are both small countries - much smaller in population than Australia. They have had outstanding achievements in both science and technology. In conclusion I might again appropriately quote the words of Mr Gibson who said this:

It is patently evident that a thorough examination by the Australian Government of its policy towards foreign capital is long overdue. Unless Australia throws off its inferiority complex-

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Cope)Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.


– 1 would like to congratulate the honourable member for Phillip (Mr Aston) on his election as Speaker and the honourable member for Lyne (Mr Lucock) on his re-election as Chairman of Committees and to say how pleased I am to be speaking on the first occasion on which you, Sir, have occupied the Chair. I would be pleased if you would convey to Mr Speaker and to Mr Deputy Speaker my congratulations on their election. I listened to the Governor-General’s Speech with interest and noted that it was a progressive speech, outlining a policy of progressive development. I want to say that I believe that the emphasis on growth and development is extremely important because I think you will agree, Mr Deputy Speaker, that this young country of ours is about to enter upon an era of progress and development such as we have not seen hitherto and which perhaps will exceed even the wildest of our hopes and imaginations. This surely is a land of opportunity in which we believe in the principles of private enterprise. We should encourage the man who is prepared to go out and make the effort to develop his own business in this young country. I feel that, too often, we tend to bring that man back into the field, rather than encourage him to go ahead and assist in the vital programme of development. If honourable members carefully read the Governor-General’s Speech they will note that he emphasised three main objectives: firstly, the safety and defence of Australia - because all our development is of no avail if we have no country for our children to inherit; secondly, the development of the whole country; and thirdly, perhaps the next most important thing, education.

Regarding defence, unquestionably the most important thing for us at the moment is the continuation and consolidation of the Australian-American alliance. lt is obvious, to any person who stops to think, that we cannot have any future without the cooperation of our great and powerful ally. This does not mean for one moment that we are following blindly behind America, as someone suggested. But it does mean that we are facing reality with our strong and powerful allies. Until such time as we are strong enough to stand alone - I think everyone will agree that that is still quite some distance off - we must maintain the Australian-American alliance. This means we must prosecute the Vietnam war. We must stop the downward thrust of Communism. I was impressed by what the Prime Minister of Singapore said to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) and other Opposition members who went to Singapore. Few of them have told us what was said, but the honourable member for Batman (Mr Benson) did. The Prime Minister told those members who visited this country at his invitation that if South Vietnam fell Singapore would not last for three weeks and he believed it would not be long before we in Australia were threatened. That is why we have supported the attempt of the Americans to halt the advance of Communism and to give Vietnam a chance to build and to become strong.

A tremendous job remains to be done in the rehabilitation of South Vietnam and indeed in quite a large area of South East Asia. Anyone who studies the position knows that it is futile to give civilian aid until a position has been won. We know what has happened already with the destruction of Red Cross supplies, of stock, of the dairy herd and of other aid we have attempted to give. We are proud of what our own Army is doing behind the lines as it consolidates. It is giving civilian aid and helping with the rehabilitating of the area, but a great deal more must be done. I believe that here in Australia we must ensure that we have an effective fighting force of our own. We have no right to expect that other people will come to our aid if we are not prepared to defend ourselves. I believe that it is the duty of every young man to fit himself to defend the country if the need arises. It is futile to say that we have conscription for overseas service. This is a lie that has been used by the Opposition time and again. Every young man has three choices. He can become a national serviceman and do his two years service with a possibility of going overseas, he can join the Citizen Military Forces and attend his parades or he can join the special units and do two 17 day parades a year. Whichever choice he makes, he should fit himself to defend this country. I and others who fought in the last war saw young men who had been sent into forward areas with totally inadequate training. We do not ever want to see that happen again. Certainly we do not want to go to war, but we must be prepared to meet any emergency.

Our second main objective is the development of our great country. We have only just started with development on both the primary and secondary sides. Certainly we have a tremendous job to do in the north, but we also have a tremendous job to do in the South. We have not even scratched the surface of the potential of Australia, north or south. A great deal remains to be done in every part of this great land. It must be rememebred that we in the south, who are perhaps a little ahead, will in the main pay for the development of the north. There must be balanced development.

One factor that is vital for the development of our primary industries is the provision of long term finance. Despite the assertion of the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) the other day, long term finance still is not easy to obtain. I do not believe that the trading banks are really trying to promote it. Every day I find this situation in my electorate, but the people concerned are reluctant to come forward and give the figures and the facts. They shun publicity; they are afraid of what it may mean. The experience of many men who want finance is that when they go to the bank the first thought is to provide them with an overdraft, if that is possible. Many of these men are already committed as a result of the drought, their own efforts at development and the effects of short term finance. The banks then suggest a term loan, which again provides very limited finance. It is only when the applicant really persists and knows what he is talking about that he is able to persuade his bank manager to put a proposition to the Reserve Bank for a long term development loan. This is the type of finance that we in the Australian Country Party fought so hard to have made available. I believe that it is still not being used nearly as effectively as it should, not only in the interests of individuals but also in the interests of the development of the country as a whole.

The Australian Country Party has for years advocated that a national conservation authority be established. Now the Opposition has adopted this policy. Over the years it has repeatedly lifted parts of our policy and put them forward as Labor’s policy. Already the Federal Government has allocated an amount of $50m - 1 remind the House that this is a preliminary figure - for the conservation of water and the development of the country. The Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority has done a tremendous job. I know that a very strong case can be made for the absorption of the skills, experience and ability of the Authority into a national conservation authority. Opposition members know better than I do that the States have resisted this suggestion. It was only when the Federal Government forced their hand that they proceeded with some major development works. For instance, the former Labor Government of New South Wales would not have started work on the Blowering Dam if the Federal Government had not said: ‘Here is the money, get on with the job’.

My colleague, the honourable member for Gwydir (Mr Ian Allan) proposed a scheme for the development of the Darling River basin. He suggested that a Darling River authority be set up. Here is a scheme that holds out tremendous promise. Over and over again the Federal Government has offered co-operation to the States if they are prepared to get on with the job. We must remember that they are sovereign States; and we cannot get around that fact. A great deal has yet to be done to develop irrigation schemes. Much has already been done, but we should not overlook the provision of stock water.

I once heard it said in this House that a number of major dams would have prevented the tremendous losses of stock during the drought. That is only partly true. If water were reticulated from every major dam that it is possible to build, only a small part of the pastoral areas of this vast continent would be covered. It should be remembered that the very economics of an irrigation scheme require it to be used to the limit. When a drought comes, we find that the water in the scheme is already fully committed to growing fodder, fruit, vegetables or whatever it may be. But the provision of adequate water supplies for stock in pastoral areas would do far more to prevent heavy drought losses than anything else would. The reticulation of water in favoured areas would probably increase production to a much greater extent than irrigation would. There is a growing need for adequate supplies of water for country towns. 1 am conscious of towns in my area that are beautiful until water rationing becomes necessary during the summer months. A country town loses its gardens and lawns and becomes a desert overnight if water is not available. How can we promote decentralisation if this happens every time we have a dry summer?

As I said in my opening remarks, I believe that Australia is on the threshhold of the greatest forward movement that we have ever seen. We will increase production and we can continue to increase production almost without limit. People ask: What about markets?’ Right on our doorstep, we have a third of the world starving, and another third only partly nourished. All of these countries have a growing standard of living. Some of them are growing more quickly than others. We have a world that is starving for protein. Particularly is this so in South East Asia. We have scarcely thought of India yet. It is a world that needs wheat, that needs food of any kind.

After all, finance is very largely a matter of international arrangement. This has been proved in the past. We are asked how these eastern countries could buy our meat and our wheat. They have paid for these things; they have fed their people. I believe that there is a tremendous future for our rural industries; for meat in particular but also for wheat and dairy products. I agree that a tremendous amount of work needs to be done in the dairying industry, particularly in New South Wales and Queensland where the standard of efficiency requires to be lifted very considerably. We heard the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) expounding on the problems of the sugar industry a few days ago. We heard him attack the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr McEwen) who is probably the greatest statesman this country has ever seen so far as the development of trade is concerned. What is more, the honourable member for Dawson attacked him in his absence. The honourable member for Patterson suggested that the price of sugar and the state of the sugar industry today were largely the fault of the Deputy Prime Minister.

Dr Patterson:

– I said nothing of the sort.


– Well, the honourable member suggested it if he did not say it. Indeed the honourable member suggested that the Deputy Prime Minister should have done more about the price of sugar in Japan. No man has done more or tried harder than the Deputy Prime Minister. We know that the position of the sugar industry is the result of the position in Cuba and overproduction throughout the world. These are the things that have created the problems. To say, as the honourable member for Bendigo (Mr Beaton) suggested, that the sugar industry should not have been developed is just too futile for us to even bother considering. Would we say the same thing about the wool industry when we strike a period of bad prices, or about the wheat industry? We would have no export industries at all if we adopted that sort of short-sighted policy. What is more, neither of these honourable members opposite offered any solution to the problem - not any real solution anyway.

Decentralisation means development if it means anything, and development, as 1 said, and I repeat, means development of both primary and secondary industries and of both our north and south. It means development not only of our coastal areas but of our inland areas too. If we are to develop the more remote areas of this country we must have effective and adequate representation. We hear members of the Opposition talk about decentralisation. We even have a motion on the notice paper about it. but in the next breath honourable members opposite tell us that they believe in one vote one value. In one breath the Leader of the Opposition talks about giving the member for the Northern Territory a vote. We believe, of course, that he should have a vote, but in the next breath the Leader of the Opposition talks about one vote one value. Surely it is the height of hypocrisy. Could anybody imagine anything more ridiculous? It is a fact that where the votes are the money goes, and that is why this country is not progressing as it should. 1 did not hear the Leader of the Opposition mention this in the recent campaign in my electorate of Hume. Perhaps his strummers were singing it, but I could not understand.

If we are to develop country industries they must be given some initial aid. This is necessary because of the policy of centralisation that has been followed for so long. I have in my own area industries which were flourishing but which are having difficulty today maintaining their production. I cite one case of a large and successful meat packing house which had a big market in Wagga and a big market in Canberra, but today, because of the tremendous turnover of metropolitan interests, this meat packing house is being forced out of the market. I believe that some substantial system of tax concessions to industries situated outside the metropolitan areas would give practical assistance at this stage. There are a number of steel fabricatting works in my electorate. One man has a very successful and quite large business and yet he is finding, because of the tremendous turnover of large industries in the metropolitan area, that he is unable to compete for the supply of materials and the building of wheat silos even in his own town. His idea that governments should give a lead by giving a premium of 5% or 10% to country based industries would be of tremendous assistance in getting these industries on their feet. A system of tax concessions is not new. Such a system is in use in England, France and Germany. We have such a system here but only to a minor degree. In Europe the further an industry moves out of the congested cities, the greater the tax concession. Such a concession would help the flour mills, for example. This would make it uneconomic to close a country flour mill and manufacture the flour in the city. The grain is grown in the country. The introduction of natural gases will give us fuel which could be taken to country areas and used to run industries comparatively cheaply. Telephone charges and freights are other considerations.

Then there is the matter of communications. One example which comes to mind immediately is a road to link Canberra with Tumut. This project has been by-passed, mainly by the New South Wales Labor Government. The State Government is only now making another cross survey. This road would connect one of the most productive areas in New South Wales with Canberra. It would cut the distance between Canberra and Tumut from more than 120 miles to 70 miles. It would provide a short cut to Melbourne for members of the Federal Parliament and others, lt would open up the tourist industry and make it possible to bring meat, milk and canned goods to Canberra from the big cannery at Batlow. Timber and pine board could be taken to Canberra from the factory costing $4,500,000 which was recently built at Tumut. If this road were built tourism could become a really worthwhile industry. A magnificent route would be provided from Goulburn through Canberra to Tumut, Batlow and Tumbarumba and down the Murray. There would not be a better tourist road anywhere in Australia.

These are matters of national importance. The Alpine road built by the Snowy Mountains Authority is now in danger of falling into disuse for want of comparatively small expenditure on maintenance, lt is one of the best tourist roads in New South Wales. Then there is the need for a road to Bathurst. There is no road to Bathurst from Canberra unless you go through Sydney or through Young and Cowra. Thai vast area of productive country has no sealed road. These are projects of national importance which the Commonwealth Government should examine. 1 come now to the third most important matter and I have left myself only a short time to deal with it. I refer to education, which is of vital importance if we are going to develop Australia and particularly the rural areas. At present there is a tremendous fight over the establishment of a university in the Riverina. The people of that area are unanimously behind the establishment of a university. I attended the engine drivers and firemen’s social at Junee. These are trained men and engineers and they say how vital it is to have a university in that area. To consider this matter purely on an economic basis is to by-pass the subject. Such a university is vital to development, yet the other day Professor Baxter suggested a fourth university for Sydney. This is the effect of one vote one value, as advocated by the Opposition. We need universities, agricultural colleges and extension services desperately if we are to take advantage of all the opportunities offering.

Another school which is needed urgently and which should have been established long ago - one upon which a tremendous amount of work has been done - is the shearing school at Cootamundra. It was set up not merely for Cootamundra but also as a pilot school to train operatives in what is Australia’s most important export industry. Are honourable members aware that no one has ever thought it necessary to train a shearer - he may learn the best way he can - or a shed hand? Now we are running a number of pilot schools and are running them successfully. Men from the schools are getting jobs. I hold letters of support for these schools from every rural organisation in New South Wales, from the State shearing committee, from the Premier of New South Wales, from the Minister of Education and from the head of the secondary education department saying that they are prepared to set up this school and cun it. All they are asking from the Federal Government is something towards the livingawayfromhome allowance for those who are training at the schools. That would amount probably to £5,000 or $10,000 per year. I agree that that will be only a preliminary school, but is it not worthwhile to make it a success, to expand it and to train operatives in our most successful industry so that they are able to do a much better job?

I believe in the words of Lord Casey uttered many years ago, that we in this country, and particularly the young men, should learn to live more dangerously and not be afraid of progress or enterprise. They should get out and make this country move. They should not listen to the story that the Socialists tell. To follow the dead hand of Socialism is to lose initiative. There are only two things which will make a man work: one is fear and the other is incentive. If one or both are taken away, as has happened in Britain, we will have a declining nation. I believe that the Australian nation has a tremendous future, but only by encouraging those who have enterprise, drive and energy will we make this country grow; and only then will we hold it.


– Looking at the programme for 2BL tonight I saw that at 11 o’clock the session listed was entitled

Relax with me’. To the people of New South Wales I say relax with me because what I have to say in the first portion of my address affects every man, woman and child in that State. I am going to speak in the first instance about the most bureaucratic instrumentality that has ever been set up in New South Wales. I refer to the State Planning Authority. That Authority is inhuman in many respects. From the report of the ninth annual Australian Planning Congress I quote the opening paragraph of a paper by Caroline Kelly, who is a member of the State Planning Authority:

In this paper, I wish to discuss the planner and his relation to the Australian social scene. Too often, when one mentions the ‘human’ side of planning, the classic planner will sniff and suggest that his job is to plan but not to involve himself with social issues. The day of this attitude has long passed - planning must concern itself with human values; why else does a city exist if not for those who reside in it?

Planning is still a very new, even raw, discipline and we have to come up with a concise clear definition to describe what we mean by ‘planning’.

Over the past sixteen years in New South Wales property owners have been denied their rights, their liberty and their freedom. How often do we hear that noble phrase: a Parliament to control the Executive and a law to control all? I am pleased to say that in New South Wales we have commenced an association for the abolition of the State Planning Authority of New South Wales. The torch has been lit and we will work until this statute is removed from the books of New South Wales. The next meeting of this association will be held in Blacktown at 2.30 p.m. on Sunday next.

Mr Freeth:

– Will there be refreshments?


– No, there will be no refreshments but there will be very much common sense and very many people with a sincere desire that our democratic way of life will not be taken from us as it has been over the past sixteen years. This instrumentality, previously known as the Cumberland County Council, was brought into being by deceit. The people of New South Wales would never have agreed to such an instrumentality but they were advised that all people whose land had been zoned contrary to what its present use was - such zoning as green belt, special purposes, parks and playgrounds - would be recompensed for injurious affection. Solicitors were employed, valuators were employed, and thousands of claims went in for injurious affection, but when the first case went before the court it was thrown out and the proponents of State planning, I well remember, laughed at the idea that anyone should be so foolish as to think that he should be compensated for injurious affection. But that was the way in which the Cumberland County Council came into being.

Since then, Mr Speaker, many original Anzacs, men of the 1st and 2nd Australian Imperial Forces, who fought for the freedoms that we once enjoyed, have suffered complete degradation and frustration through this instrumentality. But we, the members of this association, are determined that the landowners and people of New South Wales will have their freedom restored to them. All planning is done in secrecy, all done by Star Chamber methods, despite the fact that in some instances hundreds of millions of dollars of public money and private investment are involved. Yet this august body will not in any circumstances whatsoever tell the people .what is happening. We had a case in Blacktown in regard to Mount Druitt. The landowners involved have requested from time to time a detailed plan of 133 acres that is being zoned as commercial area’. They have asked for a detailed plan and they have been refused one. About a fortnight ago all the senior members of the State Planning Authority had a meeting with the Blacktown Council, again in secrecy, and again they refused to produce a detailed plan. They said there was not one in existence, but they evidently have bad memories because in January 1966 at another secret meeting with the Blacktown Council they exhibited a detailed plan of this area.

Just across the road from where this commercial centre is to be developed is an area of hundreds of acres of land without a tree on it, and the landowners in the affected part asked: *Why do you not put the commercial centre there?’ They were told: ‘We have that for another purpose.’ When they asked what the purpose was they were told: ‘We cannot tell you.’ So it goes on ad infinitum.

I am sad at having to relate, Mr Speaker, that the business people of Mount Druitt and Rooty Hill have had imposed on them a restrictive order preventing them from improving or extending their business premises because this Government instrumentality is going to establish a commercial centre which will compete for the business now being done by these people in the two centres 1 have referred to. In effect the Authority says to them: ‘How dare you, the business people of Mount Druitt and Rooty Hill, improve your business premises to meet the competition of the commercial centre that we are going to establish at Mount Druitt.’ I suppose if Karl Marx heard that he would clap his hands with glee to think that the free enterprise Government of New South Wales would allow a citizen to be treated in such a way. But, Mr Speaker, we will not allow this position to continue. I could go on ad infinitum telling you of the distress and frustration and indignity that our fellow Australians have suffered at the hands of this autocratic body.

Mr Daly:

– What electorate is this in?


– This occurs over most of New South Wales. The Authority has managed to get away with it because the people affected have become so scattered that they have not been able to make their protests heard. But we have now formed the Association for the Abolition of the State Planning Authority. The next meeting is to be held at the Civic Centre at Blacktown at 2.30 on Sunday, and 1 can assure honourable members and the people of New South Wales that the State Planning Authority as presently constituted will disappear in a very short time.

I think we were all appalled at the Tasmanian bush fire, but I think we have been very proud of the magnificent response of our fellow Australians. The Tasmanian Government failed to heed the warning it received a few years ago when smaller fires occurred. All precautions should now be taken to prevent a recurrence.

I come now to a matter I have raised previously in this chamber; that is, insurance against a national disaster. The cost to each of us of such a scheme would be infinitesimal. I think this Parliament should consider introducing a form of national disaster insurance to cover catastrophes such as the Tasmanian fires.

I want to refer briefly to the neutrality of Laos. Over the years, private American airlines have done a tremendous job by dropping supplies and rendering great humanitarian services to the people of Laos. Unfortunately the Vietcong has not respected the neutrality of Laos with the result that Laos is now a very sad country. A short time ago on television Prince Souvanna Phouma made it clear that his country was in its present unfortunate position because of the activities of the Pathet Lao and the existence of the Ho Chi Minh trail. It is strange that members of the Opposition never refer to the failure of the Vietcong and the Pathet Lao to recognise the neutrality of Laos. They never refer to the great humanitarian work of American private airlines in Laos. On the contrary, from time to time every effort is made by honourable members opposite, sometimes in a veiled way, to discredit the United States of America, our great friend and ally.

As conditions improve in the southerly parts of South Vietnam I think we should send more civilian aid to that country. Many Australians with the necessary qualifications would be prepared to make sacrifices in order to assist the people of South Vietnam.

A very unfortunate situation has arisen in Rhodesia. Whilst I think that in some ways the declaration of independence by Mr Smith is to be deplored, I believe from my inquiries of people who have lived in or have visited Rhodesia that if we knew the truth of what has been done by the Smith Government and other governments on behalf of the indigenous people, we would be proud of their efforts. I know that the Rhodesian problem is very complex. I believe that the United Kingdom and Rhodesia should be left to endeavour to find a way out of it. The outstanding man in Rhodesia today is Sir Humphrey Gibbs. True to the greatest traditions of the British heritage, he refuses to take his salary from the British Government, though he is a man of not great means, and has remained in Rhodesia to endeavour to attempt to unravel the great difficulties that exist there.

From Rhodesia I turn to northern Australia, Mr Speaker. I want the people of Dawson to know what a great proponent the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) is for the growing of sugar in the Ord River area of the north of Western Australia. I am sure that they will be pleased to know that he wants more sugar grown in the Ord River region so as to increase the surplus of sugar in Australia and reduce the price.

I now return to the State Planning Authority of New South Wales, which I mentioned earlier. This august body has resumed thousands of blocks of residential land at very low prices in operations based on snide business acumen. It is my great wish that the thousands of blocks of land that the Authority has tied up for many years be made available to people in the low wage group at prices equivalent to the values at which the land was resumed. Most of it was bought in 1890 for £50 for a block 40 feet by 150 feet or 50 feet by 150 feet. In some instances, under the zoning scheme, the Valuer-General reduced valuations to f 10 a block. What a wonderful service we would do for those in the low wage group, who have no chance in the foreseeable future of owning their own homes, and for the hundreds of young married people living with their in-laws if we were to make this land available to them. We would relieve them of their bondage.

Mr Curtin:

– They would be able to get away from their mothers-in-law.


– It would be wonderful for them. The honourable member, of course, has not a mother-in-law. So he does not know what many young people are going through. The land that I have mentioned could be made available to those on low wages with the usual safeguards. Once a man owns a block of land he will devise some means of enabling himself to build a home. I trust that my efforts on behalf of those in the low wage group and young married couples will win recognition by the New South Wales Government and that it will make the State Planning Authority disgorge the land that it has tied up.

I believe that all honourable members on both sides of the House will be heartened by the proposalto ease the means test by raising the amount of allowable means by $156 per annum. This relief will not go so far as most of us would wish, but it is a move in the right direction.

I now want to deal briefly with the hospital benefits scheme, Mr Speaker. It is in no way adequate. I do not think hospital funds provide adequate cover. At present a person in hospital is covered for only twelve weeks. Hospitals, at any rate those in New South Wales, are labouring under a great disability because of the improvident people who do not subscribe to a hospital fund. Every hospital in the State is losing money as well as carrying a great debt that it should not be required to carry. It appears to me that the only way to correct the position is for an employer to deduct a contribution to a hospital fund from the pay packet of every employee.

Any fund that is solvent and financially able to increase its benefits should be allowed to do so. The Druids society wants to do this. It does not advertise and it does not take members from other organisations. The society’s actuary has assured it that it can pay higher benefits and I think it should be allowed to do so.


-Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.

Personal Explanation

Dr Patterson:

Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.


-Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Dr Patterson:

– Yes. The honourable member for Mitchell said that I was advocating the growing of sugar on the Ord. For about the fifth time in this HouseI will say that this is a complete untruth. What I did say is that four years ago when sugar prices were high and when consideration was being given to various crops to be grown on the Ord I recommended to the Government of the day that the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation carry out research to see whether the growing of sugar was a profitable proposition.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Presentation of Address-in-Reply Mr. SPEAKER-Order! I have to inform the House that I have ascertained that His Excellency the Governor-General will be pleased to receive the Address-in-Reply at Government House at fifteen minutes to five o’clock tomorrow afternoon. I shall be glad if the mover and seconder of the motion together with other honourable members will accompany me to present the Address. House adjourned at 11.29 p.m.

page 443


The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:

Commonwealth Loans for Youth Clubs (Question No. 12)

Mr Webb:

asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

Will he take action to provide lower interest or interest free loans for the building or extending of youth clubs such as the Police and Citizen’s Youth Clubs?

Mr McMahon:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

It has been the long-standing policy of successive Commonwealth Governments that the provision of financial assistance for such bodies as youth clubs in the States is not a matter for the Commonwealth but essentially one for the State and Local Governments and the voluntary organisations concerned.

The Commonwealth is already making an important contribution towards the welfare of the Australian youth by way of its annual grants to the National Fitness Movement. The current Budget provides for a substantial increase in the appropriation for this purpose.

Civil Aviation (Question No. 25)

Mr Webb:

asked the Minister for Civil

Aviation, upon notice:

  1. Is it a fact that public funds are used to reduce the air fares in the south below those in the north?
  2. If so, does this apply to both subsidised and unsubsidised air traffic?
  3. Do air fares constitute a more important factor in living and production costs in the north than in the south?
  4. What would be the annual cost of subsidising air fares and freights in the north to bring them to the same level as in the south?
Mr Swartz:

– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:

  1. Public funds are not used specifically to reduce air fares. The Commonwealth provides subsidies for the purpose of ensuring the continued operation of certain air services in remote areas, and in the current year $1.3 million has been appropriated by Parliament to this end. Of this amount, it is estimated that approximately $900,000 or 70% will be devoted to air services to and within northern Australia.
  2. Fares on air services in northern Australia are generally higher than those in the south, whether or not subsidies are paid.
  3. I have no precise information on this point. Air travel to and from northern Australia involves long distances and therefore is more costly than it is on many services in the south.

However this does not necessarily mean that, overall, air fares are a more important factor in living and production costs in the north.

  1. A detailed study of this matter has not been made. Without such a detailed study, it is not possible to provide an estimate which could be considered reasonably accurate.

Aged Persons Homes Act (Question No. 35)

Mr Webb:

b asked the Minister for Social

Services, upon notice:

  1. Have State Ministers requested State and local government participation under the Aged Persons Homes Act?
  2. If so, what is the attitude of the Commonwealth to this request?
Mr Sinclair:
Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Industry · NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– The answer to the honourable member’s questions is as follows:

As announced by the Prime Minister in his policy speech of 8th November 1966, the Government intends to amend the Aged Persons Homes Act to include local governing bodies as organisations eligible for assistance and to enable contributions by them towards aged persons homes to qualify for Commonwealth subsidy.

It is not proposed to widen the Act to enable the Commonwealth subsidy to be granted to State Governments.

Telephone Services (Question No. 45)

Mr Collard:

asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice:

  1. How many automatic telephone exchanges were installed during each of the past three years in (a) the metropolitan area and (6) outside the metropolitan area, of Western Australia?
  2. In which country centres in Western Australia were these exchanges installed during each of these years?
  3. How many country centres in Western Australia were listed for conversion to automatic on 1st January in (a) 1965, (b) 1966 and (c) 1967?
  4. At which centres is conversion expected to be carried out in (a) 1966-67, (b) 1967-68. (c) 1968-69 and (d) 1969-70?
Mr Hulme:

– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:

  1. Number of automatic exchanges installed during each of the past three calendar years:

The 1967-68 programme is on a tentative basis only and will be subject to review as soon as the levels of money and physical resources available for capital works during that year are definitely known. It is not practicable at this stage to list the possible centres which may be converted to automatic working in 1968-69 and 1969-70.

Civilian Aid to Vietnam (Question No. 83)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for

External Affairs, upon notice:

What is the (a) nature and (b) extent of civilian aid by other countries to South Vietnam?

Mr Hasluck:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

The nature and extent of civil aid by other countries to South Vietnam is illustrated by the following summary of the non-military assistance which has been provided or is being provided by thirty-six nations. All monetary amounts are expressed in United States dollars.


Argentina has sent 5,000 tons of wheat flour.


Belgium has provided medicine and an ambulance and has given scholarships for nine Vietnamese to study in Belgium.


Brazil has sent a substantial quantity of medical supplies and has also provided coffee.


Almost$US6 million of development assistance to Vietnam has been provided by Canada. It includes:

  1. Personnel in Vietnam: a Canadian Supervisor has been at Quang Ngai supervising construction of a small TB clinic which the Canadians are financing. The Canadians have provided two doctors and four nurses to staff the clinic. A professor of orthopaedics is working at Cho Kay Hospital, Saigon, and there is a Canadian teacher at the University of Hue.
  2. Vietnamese in Canada: 379 Colombo Plan trainees and 462 trainees under all programmes, including those sponsored by other agencies and third countries (as well as Colombo Plan), have been trained in Canada. There are currently some 228 Colombo Plan trainees in Canada.
  3. Since 1958, Canada has provided $US850,000 worth of food aid for Vietnam. Funds generated by sales are used for capital construction projects in Vietnam.
  4. A new science building for the medical faculty at the University of Hue is being built costing about $US333,000, drawn from counterpart funds generated by sales of food supplied by Canada. Construction has passed the half-way mark, with completion expected this year. Canada has also agreed to construct an auditorium for the Faculty of Sciences at Hue University at a cost of about$US125,000.

Canada has allocated$1 million for medical assistance this year (including ten 200-bed emergency hospital units). The first two units have arrived and have been installed at Phan Tiet and at Phu Tho near Saigon. A Canadian doctor and technician visited Vietnam last year to inspect potential sites. Canada has sent over half a million doses of polio vaccine for Vietnamese school children, and another 150,000 doses are being prepared for shipment to Vietnam.


The Republic of China has provided:

  1. An 80-man agricultural team.
  2. A twelve-man electrical power mission under the leadership of Taipower.
  3. A ten-man surgical team.

China has also provided training for more than 200 Vietnamese in Taiwan. In the way of goods and materials, China has provided 26 aluminium prefabricated warehouses, agricultural tools, seeds and fertilisers, 500,000 copies of mathematics textbooks and an electrical power substation.


Denmark has provided medical supplies and offeredto train Vietnamese nurses in Denmark.


Ecuador has sent medical supplies to Vietnam.


Since 1956, France has contributed about $US111 million in assistance to South Vietnam.

France has nearly 500 persons serving in South Vietnam. Among them are 65 experts under France’s programme of economic and technical assistance, including 32 physicians, professors and other medical personnel. Under its cultural programmes, 471 professors (350 French and 121 Vietnamese) are teaching at nine French teaching institutions, and thirty French professors are at Vietnamese institutions. In 1965 France provided fifty-five fellowships for technical training, and eighty-five academic fellowships for Vietnamese to study in France.

France has provided low-interest credits of 100 million francs ($US20 million) for financing imports of French equipment for Vietnamese industry, a grant of 500,000 francs ($US100,000) for equipment for L’Ecole Nationale d’Ingenieurs des Arts Industriels.

In 1960 France extended a low-interest credit for 70 million francs ($US14 million) to aid construction of the major coal and chemical complex at An Hoa-Nong Son south of Da Nang which is well underway. It also provided a low-interest, fiveyear credit of 60 million francs ($US12 million) for construction of Vietnam’s largest cementproducing complex with plants at Ha-Tien and Thu-Duc. In 1964, France provided a 930,000 franc ($US 1860,000) grant for the installation of a training centre for electrical technicians, and in 1965 a gift of 1.25 million francs ($US250,000) for teaching equipment, primarily in the medical field.


Seven Germans (a director and six instructors), are teaching at the new Vietnamese-German Technical High School at Thu-Duc near Saigon. At Hue University there are five Germans (three physicians in the Medical School, a professor of music and a professor of German language) and one German expert in forestry is working at the Department of Rural Affairs, Saigon.

A 3,000-ton hospital ship, the ‘Helgoland’ with eight doctors, thirty other medical personnel and 14S beds is on duty in Vietnam.

Forty Vietnamese have gone to Germany for training and Germany has agreed to accept an additional thirty, primarily for training as future instructors in the technical high school. A considerable number have previously been trained.

Germany has also provided the following credits:

  1. DM 15 million (SUS3.7S million) for import of German products such as machine tools, fertiliser, etc. The piastre funds generated go to the National Office of Agricultural Credit to aid farmers, particularly with loans;
  2. a credit of DM 50 million (SUS12.5 million) for development of the major industrial complex at An Hoa-Nong Son;
  3. a credit of DM 20 million ($US5 million) for construction of an abattoir at SaigonCholon, and three coastal vessels:
  4. a credit of DM 500.000 ($US 125.000) for equipment at the Vietnamese-German Technical High School at Thu-Duc.

In April 1966, the Germans announced a gift of DM 17.5 million (£US4.4) million) worth of pharmaceuticals, the first shipments of which have arrived. Also in the medical field, they have provided two mobile dental clinics and thirty ambulances for the Ministry of Health.

On 29 June, the German Cabinet voted DM 25 million (SUSfi.25 million) for new aid to Vietnam including:

  1. sending twenty-five experts to establish a refugee centre;
  2. building a home for wayward youths:
  3. expansion of eight social centres and construction of a ninth;
  4. establishment of a training centre for social workers; and
  5. the gift of 100 buses and maintenance and repair facilities in Saigon.


Greece has contributed $15,000 worth of medical supplies.


Guatemala has sent 15,000 doses of typhoidparatyphoid serum for use in Vietnam.


Honduras is contributing drugs and dry goods for refugees in Vietnam. Iran

Iran has contributed 1,000 tons of petroleum products to Vietnam and has dispatched a twentyman medical team to Vietnam.


Ireland has contributed £1,000 (SUS2.800) for Vietnamese Hood victims through their Red Cross.


Israel has given pharmaceutical supplies for flood victims.


The Italians have provided a ten-man surgical team and have offered science scholarships to ten Vietnamese to study in Italy.


Japan has provided over $55 million worth of economic assistance to Vietnam, chiefly through reparations. Japan has sent two medical teams, considerable amounts of medical goods (4,544 cases). 20,000 transistor radios and twenty-five ambulances. It has provided technical personnel and funds for the construction of a large power dam across the Da-Nhim River and an electrical transmission line, and has agreed to participate in the construction of a bridge over the Mekong River near Vinh Long.


Seven civilian medical teams totalling 118 doctors, nurses and support personnel are working in provincial health programmes. Korean military medical personnel are also providing some medical care to the local population in areas where ROK troops are stationed.


One million kip (SUS4,167) for flood relief in February 1965.


A contribution of 5US50.000 has been made by Liberia for the purchase of hospital equipment and other medical supplies for Vietnam.


Luxembourg has provided plasma and blood transfusion equipment.


Since 1962, Malaysia has trained about 2,000 Vietnamese military and police officers. Groups of thirty-six are regularly sent for about a month’s training in counter-insurgency with Malaysian Police Special Constabulary. Malaysia has previously provided substantial amounts of counterinsurgency materials, primarily military and police transport such as armoured vehicles.


The Netherlands has undertaken to build five tuberculosis centres in Saigon and sites for three have been selected. In August 1966, the Netherlands announced a contribution of $US355,000 for a four-year United Nations project in social welfare, part of the SUS1 million they have earmarked for United Nations projects in Vietnam. In 1964, the Dutch gave antibiotics and four scholarships for Vietnamese. Previously they had provided a dredge.

New Zealand

New Zealand has sent an eight-man surgical team, and a professor in English language for the University of Saigon. They are presently training sixty-two Vietnamese in New Zealand and have provided $7,500 ($US2 1,000) for equipment for a technical high school. They are also providing approximately £US600,000 for a science building at the University of Saigon.


Norway sent a contribution through the International Red Cross for flood victims in February 1965.


Pakistan made a financial contribution for assistance to flood victims and donated clothing for them.


Some sixty Philippine civic action personnel including military and civilian medical teams have been working in Vietnam for several years.


Spain has provided 800 pounds of medicines, medical equipment and blankets and has sent a twelve-man medical team to Vietnam.


The Swiss Red Cross has sent an eleven-man medical team through the International Committee of the Red Cross to work in a provincial hospital in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam. The Swiss have also provided microscopes for the University of Saigon.


Thailand has provided rice, cement and zinc roofing materials. Thailand has also offered Vietnam a SUS20 million rice credit. The Thais have recently announced they will send a medical unit to Vietnam.


Tunisia has made available a number of scholarships for Vietnamese.


Turkey has provided medicines and also offered to provide a substantial amount of cement.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has provided six civilians for the British Advisory Mission and a Professor of English at Hue University. Twenty-one Viet.namesse are receiving training in the United Kingdom. A pediatric team of four British doctors and six nurses went to Vietnam in August 1966.

In 1963-64 the United Kingdom provided the following goods and materials: laboratory equipment for Saigon University; a typesetting machine for the Government Printing Office; a cobalt deepray therapy unit for the National Cancer Institute; various equipment for the Faculties of Medicine, Science and Pharmacy at Saigon University, the Meteorological Service and the Agricultural School at Saigon, and Atomic Research Establishment at Dalat and the Faculty of Education at Hue. In 1965-66, British economic aid totalled £81,000 ($US226,800) for roadbuilding equipment, diesel fishing boat engines, and portable anaesthetic machines.

United States of America

United States civil aid to South Vietnam is wide-ranging and on a vast scale.

United States obligations for expenditure for the A.I.D. programme to Vietnam for the year 1965-66 (July-June) was SUS589.7 million (as compared to SUS224.9 million for the year 1964- 65. Estimated A.I.D. expenditure for 1966-67 was SUS525 million, proposed A.I.D. expenditure for 1967-68 was $US550 million.

The sum of SUS589.7 million for 1965-66 was broken down to SUS398.2 million for the commercial import programme, SUS180 million for the counter-insurgency programme, and SUS11.5 million for development, grants. Aside from the SUS398.2 million for the commercial import programme, some of the major components for the 1965- 66 A.I.D. programme were agriculture ($US12.6 million), health (3US26.8 million), education ($US5.3 million), public safety - police (SUS22.9 million), public works (SUS29 million), refugee relief (SUS7.1 million), logistics support (SUS40 million).

Expenditure normally runs behind the specific obligation of funds, but funds unexpended in one year can be carried over to following years.

In 1965-66, total A.I.D. expenditure narrowly exceeded the obligation of SUS589.7 million. Actual expenditure in Vietnam amounted to JUS593.5 million.

In addition, expenditure in Vietnam 1965-66 under the PL.480 (food for peace) programme amounted to $US138.3 million (as compared to SUS58.3 million in the previous year). The breakdown of the 1965-66 PL.480 figure was as follows:

Title 1 (sales for local currency) $US114 million,

Title 2 (disaster relief, livestock programmes) IUS17.3 million,

Title 3 (refugee relief and other relief programmes) $US7 million.

With A.I.D. expenditure of SUS593.5 million and PL.480 expenditure of SUS138.3 million, total United States Government economic assistance to Vietnam for 1965-66 was SUS731.8 million. This does not include the cost of the civic action programmes of United States military forces in Vietnam.


Uruguay has contributed $US21,500 for relief supplies and medicines for Vietnam.


Venezuela has provided 500 tons of rice for refugee relief, and two civilian doctors are working in Vietnam.

Television (Question No. 90)

Mr Collard:

asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice:

  1. Has a decision been reached on whether a national television service will be made available to the Geraldton and Greenough districts in Western Australia?
  2. 1C so, what means are to be used to provide such a service, and when will it be available?
  3. If no decision has been reached, can one be expected in the near future? If not, why not?
Mr Hulme:

– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:

  1. No.
  2. See answer to I.
  3. In reply to a question which the honourable member addressed to me in the House on 21st February, I said I am asking Cabinet to look at a report that has been available to me by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board which deals with the extension of television generally and if anything come out of this which has any relation to the Geraldton district of Western Australia, I shall advise the House and the honourable member. The matter will be dealt with by Cabinet as soon as possible.

Naturalisation - (Question No. 27)

Mr Webb:

asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:

  1. How many persons who were eligible for naturalisation at 31st December 1966, were unnaturalised?
  2. How many persons were naturalised during 1966?
Mr Snedden:

– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:

  1. It is estimated that as at 31st December 1966, 222,000 aliens over the age of sixteen years were eligible to apply for Australian cititzenship but had not lodged applications.
  2. During the year ended 31st December 1966, 31,135 persons became Australian citizens through the process of naturalisation.

Petrol Tax (Question No. 54)

Mr Collard:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice:

  1. What was the total amount collected by way of petrol tax in
  1. On what date did the most recent increase in this lax take place? “
Mr Howson:
Minister Assisting the Treasurer · FAWKNER, VICTORIA · LP

– The Minister for Customs and Excise has furnished the following answers to the honourable member’s questions:

  1. The net import and excise duty collected on motor spirit for the specified years was:
  1. The rate of duty applicable to motor spirit rose to $0,123 per gallon on 18th August 1965. No increases have occurred since this date.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 7 March 1967, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.