26th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr ACTING SPEAKER (Mr Lucock) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
Dr J. F. CAIRNS presented a petition from certain citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia praying that this honourable House will take action to lower the official voting age within the Commonwealth to eighteen years.
Petition received and read.
Similar petitions were presented by Mr Hayden, Mr Bryant, Mr James, Mr O’Connor and Mr Devine.
Petitions severally received.
– by leave - I told the House last night at the conclusion of what I had to say on the ‘Voyager’ matter that the Government would be taking the opportunity this morning to consult members of the Government parties on the course that it could recommend to the Parliament. I am now in a position to indicate the course that we believe should be followed. My colleagues and I have considered the various possibilities that are open to us. We have considered, among other questions, whether an inquiry should be conducted by a select committee of this Parliament. 1 think most honourable gentlemen will have concluded that, having regard to the involvement of so many members in the debate and the quality and content of the debate, this would not be the most suitable tribunal to consider a matter of this sort.
There is room for a view that, the matter having been thoroughly debated here and all aspects that honourable members could see as being relevant having been canvassed, little useful purpose would be served by a committee of the Parliament conducting a further inquiry. The Government has considered that view, but it believes that, though the detail of these discussions has been well known to us and perhaps to those who have carefully read all that has appeared in the press, many members of the public will be left with a feeling that more should be done to satisfy their minds regarding the matters in dispute. So the Government has concluded that there should be a further inquiry and that it should be a judicial inquiry conducted, probably, by three judges. I have not yet the precise terms of reference which later we will be putting to the House, and I ask that I be not held strictly to what 1 now say as to the substance of matters which the Government thinks should be covered by such an inquiry. Clearly, it should be directed to the allegations made against Captain Stevens and the questions arising from them - that is. whether he was incompetent to command the ‘Voyager’, whether his command of that ship left him open to criticism, whether the allegations have sufficient substance for these matters to have been known or whether they should have been known to superior naval officers who would then have been in a position to deal appropriately with him, and whether they should have dealt with him according to the evidence in their possession. The question arises also as to whether any evidence was improperly withheld from the Royal Commission and. if so, whether that would have substantially affected its findings.
I have not attempted to put what I have said in strict legal parlance, lt is the substance of what we believe should be considered by such an inquiry. Our own view is that there is no need for a second Voyager’ inquiry in the full sense of the one that was conducted before. I believe that the public generally is satisfied that there was a competently conducted inquiry which covered most of the matters in issue at that time. But this is a special area which has been the subject of debate in this Parliament, and the Government thinks that the issues and the allegations can be satisfactorily resolved only by an inquiry conducted on the lines that I have proposed.
– by leave - I welcome the statement made by the Prime Minister (Mr
Harold Holt). It is an interim statement, I gather, and I want to confine myself purely to the question of terms of reference. At this stage, I am firmly of opinion that the terms of reference should be wide enough to cover, as I gather from the Prime Minister’s statement they will, matters raised by honourable members in this House. I also hope that they will be wide enough to cover the matters in the statement that the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) gave to my colleague, the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron). The document is marked ‘confidential’ and we on this side have treated it as confidential. I think 1 should say now that my opinion, and the opinion of those of my colleagues I have been able to consult so far, is that the inquiry would be satisfactory only if its terms of reference were wide enough to cover the matters contained in this document.
– That is the substance of allegations made by LieutenantCommander Cabban?
– Yes, his document of nineteen pages which we received two days ago.
– I ask the Prime Minister: Does he recall that many months ago representatives of the wheat industry sought Commonwealth assistance for the building of additional and urgently needed wheat storages? Does he know that farmers cannot receive their first payment until deliveries are made to the Australian Wheat Board at an authorised elevator or silo and that if they cannot deliver they cannot be paid? Is he aware that some of last season’s wheat is still unsold? As construction of additional storages, even if begun now, would not be completed before the new season’s harvest later this year, will he treat this matter as one of extreme urgency?
– The matter of wheat storage has been under consideration and I understand there have been exchanges between the Government and others interested in the subject. I will consult with my colleague, the Minister for Primary Industry, and give a detailed answer to the honourable gentleman.
(Mr Drury having addressed a question to the Attorney-General)
-Order! The question is on the notice paper. Therefore the question asked by the honourable member for Ryan is out of order.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Social Services. I do so because the business paper today shows a possibility of the session finishing tonight. I have in mind the question I asked the Minister for Health last week, the answer to which revealed that the Government has not yet made its decision in regard to payment for visits by doctors to the new group of pensioners who became entitled to this benefit as a result of the last piece of legislation that the Minister introduced. I now ask the Minister to say whether his Department proposes to issue to this new group of pensioners medical cards covering the pharmaceutical and hospital benefits during the waiting period when the Government is making up its mind whether the pensioners are to be covered for doctors’ visits?
– The position was explained last week by the Acting Minister for Health. Until the position has been resolved in accordance with the statement made by the Acting Minister for Health I have nothing further to add.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Civil Aviation. What foreknowledge is required by him and his Department to ascertain the length of runways and facilities needed for future aircraft types, particularly the prototype jumbo jets and supersonic transports?
– I presume the honourable member is referring to a statement that appeared in the Sydney Press today in relation to this matter. It mentioned a previous statement that I made in the House about our evaluation of runway requirements for jumbo jets and supersonic commercial transport aircraft. The position is that to date we have done a substantial amount of work in this field in order to obtain an evaluation of runway requirements for both these types of aircraft. We have done this in my own Department and in consultation with the manufacturers against the probability in the near future that our own international operator or other overseas operators will wish to use Sydney airport for this type of aircraft. As I said before we cannot have any final evaluation until the prototype is flying. The statement that appeared this morning showed some confusion regarding the difference between prototype and production models. After the design work has been carried out by the manufacturer and before the aircraft goes into production a prototype is produced on which all the test work is done. At that point of time runway requirements are determined and modifications of the prototype are made. It could be up to twelve months after the prototype is flying before production of the aircraft begins. I repeat that our evaluation of the general runway requirements cannot be completed until such time as we have the final results of the flying tests of the prototypes of these aircraft. There will still be time, from then until the aircraft goes into production, for any necessary work to be done.
– I ask the Treasurer whether over the past few years he and other Ministers in various capacities have intimated that consideration was being given to the modernisation and rationalisation of the Commonwealth Employees* Compensation Act. Will the Minister assure the House that this matter is currently the subject of Budget consideration, especially as it now embraces conscripted personnel?
– The honourable member knows that this is a complicated and detailed matter. To the limit of my ability I have been pressing for a report as soon as possible. I assure the House that the officials concerned and the trustees are doing their very best to have the matter completed as soon as they can. I do not think they cam proceed any more quickly. As soon as I am able to give a precise answer I assure the honourable member and the House that I shall do so.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for the Interior. As the amount allowable under the Electoral Act for expenditure by candidates at elections for the House of Representatives has long been out of relation to reality and in most cases has ceased to be recognised, I ask: Has the Minister any intention of submitting to this House an amendment to the Electoral Act with a view to overcoming this definite anomaly?
– During the life of each Parliament the Electoral Act is generally reviewed and certain aspects of the Act are re-examined. The amount of money which candidates are allowed to spend on election campaigns is nearly always considered. In the past the Government has rejected any idea of extending the limit, but no doubt during the life of this Parliament the Electoral Act will again come up for review. I can assure the honourable member that this will be one of the questions which the Government will consider.
– My question to the Acting Minister for Primary Industry relates to the marketing of dried fruits. As the whole of the 196S crop of dried fruits has been sold, when can the growers expect their final payment? When can growers expect further payments from the substantial amount owing to them on their 1966 crop? I point out that many growers are being financially embarrassed and have to borrow money for urgent requirements at 7% interest from their own money which is due to them from the marketing scheme.
– I know something of the problems of people involved in the dried fruits industry. However, I am not in a position to provide a detailed answer to the question. Accordingly, I shall refer it to my colleague, the Minister for Primary Industry, and perhaps he can treat it as being on the notice paper.
– Can the Minister for Shipping and Transport say whether any decision has been reached as to the siting of the terminal for the standard gauge railway in Western Australia? Have any representations been made as to where it should be situated?
– This matter has been canvassed to some degree in the Press in Western Australia. I have said on several occasions that as soon as a decision has been reached after discussions with the Western Australian Government a statement will be made on the matter. No such decision has yet been made. Possibly because this question has been canvassed in the Press some representations have been made to me. I know that the honourable member for Stirling will be interested in this because he has expressed his own views in this place. I have received representations from people such as a spokesman for the Town Council of Midland Junction and the State member for Swan expressing their strong views that the passenger terminal should be centred at Midland Junction. I have not received strong representations from anyone else as to any other locality. However, as I have said, this is a matter which is currently under examination. I hope that some finality will be reached shortly.
– In addressing my question to the Postmaster-General I refer to the proposed extension of national television. I ask: Will the service to Kalgoorlie and Geraldton be provided by high power stations and, if not, what type of stations will be employed? Has the site of the station been determined and, if so, will the Minister advise me accordingly? Can he say what length of time is likely to elapse between completion of the broad band facilities and the actual operation of the stations? Finally, will a high power station be established to extend the service to Darwin and, if so, has the site of that station been decided? If it has been decided, will the Minister also supply me with information in that regard?
– The honourable member refers to a statement which I made in the House yesterday that the Government had, in fact, agreed to an extension of national television to Kalgoorlie, Geraldton, Renmark, Darwin and Mount Isa. Each of these stations will be a high power station. An assessment is being made at this moment as to whether a national transmitter should be installed at each of these places. The Postmaster-General’s Department will undertake, through the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, a detailed study of each of these matters and when I have the information I will make it available to honourable members.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Shipping and Transport. I refer to a recent announcement by the Minister that orders amounting to $7m for fifty-nine passenger cars for the new standard gauge line from Perth to Sydney had been placed with a Sydney firm. I ask the Minister: Did he give every consideration to placing this order with railway workshops in South Australia? Is the Minister aware that the level of unemployment in South Australia is higher than in most other States? Has the Commonwealth Government placed any additional work arising out of standard gauge construction either of rolling stock or other track equipment in South Australia?
– In respect of the order that the honourable gentleman has mentioned, I understand that the South Australian Railways did express an interest in obtaining it. The Department was advised that tenders would be called, and they were called on a world wide basis, but the South Australian Railways did not submit a tender. A Sydney firm secured the order in world wide competition. There is a slight difference regarding other standard gauge work. The South Australian Government is the constructing authority for the standard gauge project from Port Pirie to Broken Hill and the Commonwealth merely approves orders placed for equipment for that work. I am happy to say that the Commonwealth has approved the placing of orders with the South Australian Railways workshops at Islington for about 400 vehicles at a cost of about $4m. In addition those workshops will convert from narrow gauge operation to standard gauge operation about 200 vehicles at a cost of about Sim.
The South Australian workshops has received an order for ten brake vans for the standardisation project in Western Australia and has also been given orders for turning out much of the steel work associated with track laying - crossings, points and other items whose technical descriptions I cannot recite at length. The workshops also has orders, involving a lesser amount of money, for fish plates, bolts and so forth. I can assure the honourable gentleman that every consideration has been given by the Commonwealth Government to the provision of work for railway workshops in South Australia.
– I address a question to the Prime Minister. Fourth Division officers of the Commonwealth Public Service have been denied economic justice for some time now. What is the position? Will they be given a wage increase in keeping with other Divisions and, if so, when? Will such increases be made retrospective to the date when increases were paid to other Divisions?
– I will see what information I can get for the honourable gentleman. I do not have the answer offhand.
– 1 direct a question to the Minister for Labour and National Service and in doing so I refer to a report released by the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Australian Council of Salaried and Professional Associations, which contains a reference to a specific request for the establishment of an advisory committee of government, employer and trade union representatives to consider planned introduction of automation. Will the Minister consider this proposal?
– Some time ago I raised with the ACTU the question of reviving the Ministry of Labour Advisory Council, which we envisage as a forum for discussions by, broadly speaking, the people referred to by the honourable member. One of the main topics for discussion would be automation and technological change. The revival of this Council is now being considered by the Australian Council of
Trade Unions and I hope we will have a decision in the near future. The honourable member might note also that the Victorian Government has recently made plans - I think it was mentioned originally in the Victorian Government’s policy speech delivered before the recent election - to set up just such a body as the one mentioned by the honourable member. We will be working in close consultation and co-operation with the Victorian Government and, indeed, with any other State Government which sets up a similar body and requires our assistance.
This is an important subject and since the honourable member is interested in it I direct his attention to the International Congress on Human Relations which recently held a conference in Melbourne to deal with the subject of industrial efficiency and which covered much of this ground. The conference was addressed at various stages by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, and I also had the pleasure of presenting a paper, under the distinguished chairmanship of the honourable member for Melbourne Ports. In addition to our political contributions some first class papers were presented, and I commend them for the honourable member’s reading.
– I ask the Minister for Territories a question. I refer to the widespread criticism by responsible bodies and persons of the wage discrimination practised against indigenes in Papua and New Guinea and the Minister’s efforts to defend that discrimination. Has his attention been directed to a statement by Dr Gunther, Vice-Chancellor of the University of New Guinea, who said: ‘No matter how Christian you are, if you are earning £6 a week and the chap beside you is getting £25 for the same job you will resent him’? Will the Minister take steps to exercise the authority undoubtedly available to him to provide decent wage rates for indigenes in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea and so remove a very real element of racial discrimination? What programme has he in hand to boost substantially education expenditure in the Territory as part of a plan to replace expatriate officers in the Public
Service with qualified indigenes in order to remove - and I quote Dr Gunther - ‘much of the race tension’?
– To answer fully the honourable member’s question would take up the rest of question time. As I pointed out yesterday, as Minister for Territories I have to look at the broader aspects of the situation. There will be a discussion of this subject at a later hour today, and no doubt the question will be very lully dealt with, l have a great respect for Dr Gunther who has rendered a tremendous service to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, but I have to consider not just Public Service salaries, not just education, but the overall economic advancement of all the people of the Territory. We can make ourselves very popular with a hand-out to a few people. The Territory public servants, the local officers, number about 11,000 people. As I pointed out yesterday in answer to another question from the Opposition regarding local housing, no one seems to have any regard for the 1,100,000 on subsistence standards. No one speaks for them because they are not a sophisticated group. Every increase we make in payments to public servants must be met from within the Budget of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. In a sense it means that these people, who desire advancement with everybody else in the Territory, will be paying for this operation.
– My question is directed to the Minister for the Navy, in that capacity, and also in his capacity as Minister-in-Charge of Tourist Activities. In view of the unqualified success of the recent visit of personnel of the U.S. Navy to rural areas during Coral Sea week, can arrangements be considered for taking a large proportion of service personnel on future official visits to inland rural districts so that they may gain some knowledge of the real Australia?
– This question is still being discussed with the American authorities. As Minister-in-Charge of Tourist Activities it would be my wish that this arrangement could be made. Indeed, each of these servicemen becomes an overseas ambassador of this country and of its tourist potential.
I express the personal hope that this arrangement will eventuate but, as the honourable gentleman would know, it depends on many factors other than the tourist benefit that it might bring to Australia.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether his Government has received requests from the Queensland Government for financial assistance in the construction of the first stage of the Burnett-Kolan scheme for water conservation and recharge of underground water supplies which has now been thoroughly investigated and shown to be a sound business venture.
– The Commonwealth Government receives requests from all State Governments for assistance of one kind or another for projects of the general character that the honourable gentleman has mentioned. I should like to study a little more closely whether it is the practice to make known any approach of this kind and whether the Queensland Government
– Why keep it secret?
– Governments have exchanges which are not necessarily always made public. I hope that some day the honourable gentleman will have an opportunity to discover how a government works, but until he does I can assure him that there are these obligations between governments. However, I have no wish to withhold from the honourable gentleman information which could properly be made available to him. I will see what I can find out about the matter and let him have an answer to his question.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for External Affairs. I refer to the publication ‘Current Notes on International Affairs’ which is produced by the Department of External Affairs and which has proved to be an effective medium for the communication of information in the field of international affairs. I ask the right honourable gentleman: How extensive is the mailing list for this publication? Is there a waiting list of applicants? If so, how many are on the waiting list? Moreover, why is there a waiting list? What action is intended to rectify the position?
– Using round figures, the present mailing list is in the vicinity of 8,000, and the present waiting list would place the total requirement, subject to revision of the present list, at something of the order of 12,000. The demand for this publication is great. We do our best to get it into the hands of persons and institutions who will make the best use of it. For example, a library where a copy might be used by scores of people would be given preference over a person who might only want a single copy out of curiosity. One of the points at issue in respect of the mailing list for ‘Current Notes’ is that at present the publication is distributed free to applicants. The honourable member will realise that the cost per copy under current printing conditions is fairly considerable and that there are rules governing the free distribution of government publications. Those rules are made in the interests of the Australian taxpayer. However, after consultation with my colleague, the Treasurer, I have received approval to expand the present mailing list so that, without raising at this stage the matter of a charge for the publication, we can perhaps accommodate those who have applied to be placed on the mailing list. The purpose of a free distribution, both at home and overseas, must, of course, be subject to the general rule3 governing government publications.
– I ask the Minister for Air a question. Has a Royal Australian Air Force Mirage fighter crashed fifty miles off Newcastle? What was the reason for the crash? Has the Minister any information to offer at this stage concerning this matter? If not, may we expect a statement from him before the Parliament goes into recess? How much longer is Newcastle to be subjected to the danger accompanying these unfortunate accidents which, up to date, fortunately have not caused loss of civilian lives? When does the Minister propose to move the training base at Williamtown away from heavily built up residential areas?
– I regret to have to inform the House that an accident did occur to a Mirage aircraft yesterday afternoon fifty miles off Newcastle, over the sea. An exercise was taking place at 35,000 feet During the course of the exercise the lost aircraft was seen suddenly to break off from the engagement and go into a steep dive. An accompanying aircraft followed the lost aircraft down through the clouds and saw where it went into the sea. No radio message was received from the lost aircraft. There was no indication of any trouble at any earlier stage. So at this point of time I cannot give the House any information as to the cause of the crash. Indeed, it may be very difficult to obtain more information about the accident than is now available. The crash occurred in fairly deep water. If further wreckage or information becomes available we may be able to acquire more knowledge about this accident.
The Director of Flying Safety went to the area last night. Until more information comes to hand it is not possible for me to indicate any ideas that might have been formed regarding the cause of the accident. The pilot is missing, presumed kilted. All of us, I am sure, extend to his family our deepest sympathy. As to the second part of the honourable member’s question, the reasons for locating the main fighter base of the Royal Australian Air Force at Williamtown are well known. It has always been realised that it is important to have a fighter base in the eastern part of Australia near the major complexes of Sydney and Newcastle. I should have thought that the reasons for locating the base over the years at Williamtown in the general interests of the defence of Australia would have been obvious. To move a major base of this nature would be a considerable departure from Government policy and this is not a matter which I would further deal with at question time.
– My question is to the Minister for External Affairs. I refer to articles by a certain Mr Mally, an American journalist, which were reprinted in Australian newspapers, including the ‘Sydney Morning Herald* and the Melbourne ‘Sun’, which detailed his conversation with certain leaders of Red China, including its foreign Minister, Mr Chen Yi. I also refer to the fact that the Red Chinese have now denied the authenticity of these reports. I ask the Minister: Do these reports reveal Red China as a criminal and aggressive power led by a kind of yellow Hitler in the person of Mao Tse-tung - a power whose policy is a direct menace to the peace of the world and the security of Australia? Was it reported that Mr Chen Yi, called for ‘three or four more Vietnams in different parts of the world’? Has the Minister as yet any information from his Department as to whether the reports of Mr Mally are authentic and as to whether the denials of the Red Chinese Foreign Ministry are false and designed to cover up a revelation of the truth which did not suit Red China’s policy?
– The latter part of the honourable member’s question raises two different aspects of the authenticity of certain newspaper reports. It is not within my capacity to enter into the simpler question of authenticity; that is, whether the newspaper correspondent correctly reported the statements made to him. The larger question of authenticity really boils down to this: Did the Chinese Foreign Minister mean what he said? To answer that question will be difficult because it is customary in all the statements of the Chinese Communist Government, whether they appear on wall posters, or in more deliberately considered statements, to encounter what can only be described as a kind of double talk. Statements are made and subsequently denied.
Whether the original statement is the one which the Chinese Government intended or whether the denial is the one it truly intended is a matter of speculation and of comparative study. I suggest to the honourable member that we find a clearer indication of the policies of Peking by an examination of its actions. We see clear proof in the Chinese Communist Government’s actions of aggressive intention both towards its immediate neighbours and the world at large. What I have in mind is the very considerable diplomatic activity on the part of the Communist Chinese Government which has been visible for some years now in South America, in Africa, and throughout Asia.
I also have in mind the clear evidence of the links between Peking and the Communist Party of Indonesia immediately preceding the unsuccessful attempt at a takeover by the Communist Party in Indonesia. There is also the clear evidence of Chinese encouragement and support for the aggressive actions of North Vietnam against South Vietnam. We have the clear evidence of the interest of Communist China in events between North Korea and South Korea; in events on the north eastern frontiers of Thailand, and in events in Laos. We also have the clear indications, which are confirmed by the intense rivalry between Peking and Moscow, in attempts to gain influence in all continents, and particularly to influence events in Asia. We have the clear evidence of Chinese pressure on the frontiers of India and of Chinese interest, if not direct participation, in events inside India. All these add up to a set policy.
Having recounted these facts, which give us some indication of the nature of Chinese policies and intentions, I add this final comment: We have to recognise, as part of reality of the diplomatic situation in Asia, that no matter in which way a settlement in Vietnam may be sought or eventually achieved, that settlement will last only so long as Peking is content to see it lust and that, unless there is a change of mind in Peking and good intentions there towards these events, any settlement will be an insecure one. We have to recognise also, as part of the diplomatic reality, that even a termination of hostilities in Vietnam will not in itself change the total situation on the Asian mainland. Even if a cessation of hostilities in Vietnam is brought about, the risk of further pressures and further attempts at domination breaking out elsewhere will still remain. These are the realities with which we have to live. 1 suggest - and this reflects my own thinking - that in our approach to these diplomatic realities we have to be as flexible, as open minded and as free from prejudice as we can. The ultimate objective is to try to bring about a change of mind in Peking, if that is possible, and to find ways in which Peking, on its side, will share the hope that so many of us have that means will be found by which Peking and the free world can live in the same continent and, indeed, in the same world.
– Two days ago the Prime Minister drew attention to the fiftieth anniversary of the Commonwealth Wai Graves Commission. He will know that during next week the fiftieth anniversary will occur of the Order of the British Empire, the most prolific and exuberant fount of honours, civil and military, for Australians during his regime and that of his predecessor. As awards in an order so archaically named cause embarrassment to our diplomats and servicemen in South East Asia, and bewilderment in the countries where they serve, I ask the right honourable gentleman whether he has noted or considered the system of national honours and awards which Canada has just established during her centennial year and which, in accordance with long standing and bipartisan Canadian practice, do not include any titles.
– I must say that my own experience has not been that people have experienced any embarrassment in the receipt of honours so named. On the contrary, I have found that those who have been fortunate enough to have been honoured in this way regard it as a matter of distinction and pride. After all, an historic significance is associated with the names of some of the honours that flow from the Crown. No-one imagines for a moment that a person who receives the Order of the Bath is expected to go and put himself in a fit state of hygiene.
– We still have baths but we do not have the British Empire.
– That is so. The Cross of St Michael and St George might appear to have an archaic flavour about it, but it is one of the most distinguished orders within the grant of the Crown. I do not want my remarks in this somewhat flippant strain to be interpreted as failure to take quite seriously the suggestion made by the honourable gentleman. I have noted the changes that have been occurring in Canada. Each of the Commonwealth Countries has attempted to work out for itself the system of honours it should pursue. The present method by which recommendations for honours proceed through the channel of the United Kingdom Government also has about it some oddity, having regard to our present constitutional posi tion within the Commonwealth. These are matters that call for consideration and study from time to time, and I shall have the views of the honourable gentleman before me when next I do have this matter under consideration.
– I ask for leave to make a personal explanation.
-Does the Minister claim to have been misrepresented?
– I claim to have been misrepresented both in the imputation in question No. 319 standing on the notice paper and also in this morning’s edition of the Sydney ‘Daily Telegraph’. The question contains a suggestion that I am in some way involved or have been involved in the variation of a lease granted for some land in the Australian Capital Territory and that I am presently involved in the abuse of this lease. There is a suggestion in this morning’s edition of the Sydney ‘Daily Telegraph’ that I am a shareholder in a company operating a motel. Neither I nor my family nor my people hold shares in the company which operates this residential unit in the Australian Capital Territory, but Sinclair Pastoral Co. Pty Ltd is a registered proprietary company in which my parents and I and members of my own family are shareholders.
Some twelve months after the grant of the lease and when a building was about two-thirds erected, this company acquired an approximate 5% shareholding in the company operating the residential block on this land. Neither I nor any member of my family nor my parents are involved in the management of this company; they have never attended a meeting of the company and they are in no way directly concerned with the operations of the company. I have no knowledge of the matters to which the question refers nor do I know anything of the background to the granting of the lease or the variations of the lease that are suggested in the question. It is my hope that my colleague, the Minister for the Interior (Mr Anthony), will be able to reply in full to this question at the earliest possible opportunity. I deplore the allegations that have been made and I completely refute the suggestion of any association by me with any of the alleged abuses or suggested variations.
– by leave - I am the author of the question on the notice paper to which the Minister for Social Services (Mr Sinclair) has referred. I make no imputation against the Minister. The question was put on the notice paper in good faith in the course of my duties as the member representing the Australian Capital Territory and relates to a matter of considerable public concern. I have not seen the newspaper to which the Minister refers and therefore I do not know what interpretation the newspaper has given to the question on the notice paper. It is a perfectly straightforward question capable of being answered by the Minister for the interior.
– As Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee I present the following report:
Ninetieth Report - Treasury Minutes on the Eightieth Report.
The Eightieth Report relates to excise control procedures administered by the Department of Customs and Excise. Particular attention is invited to page 12 and the wording of the minute indicating that the Department anticipates a saving of approximately 300 positions and a salary saving of about $870,000 per annum from the introduction of the system recommended. I commend the report to honourable members.
Ordered that the report be printed.
– I wish to make a personal explanation, Mr Acting Speaker.
-Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. On page 1 of today’s Melbourne ‘Age* a reference appears to the debate in the House yesterday and to the remarks of the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron). The newspaper reports that the honourable member - and these are the words:
He challenged Captain Benson to come forward, put his right hand on the Despatch Box, ‘like Profumo’, and deny that he had been told 12 months ago about the allegations against Captain Stevens.
Some twelve months ago I was advised by a member of Parliament about a statement concerning the late Captain Duncan Stevens. This was an unsworn statement which does not appear in the remarks of the honourable member for Hindmarsh. It does not appear in the newspaper either. When 1 saw this unsworn statement I said to the member who showed it to mc: If you take my advice, you will think twice about this’. At no time have I said that I knew Captain Stevens as ‘Drunken Duncan’. I have never said those words and I have no intention of saying them.
– I have received a letter from the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) proposing that a matter ot definite public importance be submitted to the House for discussion, namely:
The need, for » salary scale for the indigenous Public Service of Papua and New Guinea which will be adequate for family living standards, attract an able Civil Service, and allay the bitterness aroused by discriminatory Public Service salary scales.
I call upon those members who approve of the proposed discussion to rise. (More than the number of members required by the Standing Orders having risen.)
– I move this motion with a very deep sense of its importance and of the need to be entirely constructive and responsible in what is said. During this week the Minister for Territories (Mr Barnes) has answered two questions on this subject, one of them this morning. Earlier in the week he drew an analogy between Mr Matthews, the adjudicator in the arbitration case, and an umpire; this morning he referred to handouts. I want to say immediately that Mr
Matthews and the Arbitration Court case are not in question in this motion; they have nothing to do with it. I am concerned with the framework within which the Arbitration Court case took place. Had the original policy of equal pay for equal qualifications other than the overseas component remained, then Mr Matthews’ adjudication would have taken place in an entirely different framework. We have never assumed that Mr Matthews had the right to reverse what was Government policy, emanating from Canberra - the policy which ended the former equality of pay and in the interests, so it is said, of the government of Papua and New Guinea when it becomes independent, scaled down indigenous salaries to the level which it is assumed that government would be able to afford after independence.
This is not Mr Matthews’ decision but is the one we are discussing. Mr Matthews was never free to reverse that policy decision but his adjudication took place within the framework of this policy. My second point is that I hope that the Minister’s reply was unguarded. I do not honestly believe that the Minister regards the pay of a soldier of the Pacific Islands Regiment or the pay of a policeman of the Native Constabulary, or the wages or salary of any New Guinea civil servant, as being a hand-out. If he did, this would be a sorry situation indeed.
– I answered in the context of the question.
– The honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden) asked about discrimination in salaries.
– He asked me to use my present powers.
– I am grateful that the Minister does not regard the legitimate wage that a man earns as a hand-out. I felt this to be true but I wanted to establish it in the debate. I want to say that those in the lower echelons of the Papua-New Guinea Civil Service are in want. When I say this I speak about policemen. I have been in their houses, I have seen the size of their houses and the number in the family. I have heard from them what are their wages. They are in want. I believe that the discriminatory policy is a form of rejection and must produce bitterness. The Minister is right to be concerned about what Papua and New Guinea will be able to do after independence. I think that a diagnosis has been made of what has happened in Africa. It is right to study what has happened in Africa but I want to say one thing about those African states I have seen. In the Congo and Nigeria the situation has become after independence just about as bad as it could be. Though the Commonwealth is justifiably concerned about the salary structure in New Guinea after independence the tragedy in those African countries was that the native leadership having seen before them the whole time the example of expatriates living in magnificent houses on magnificent salaries felt that the vindication of their manhood was to put their leadership on the same basis. In Nigeria under-secretaries were living in houses which would make the Prime Minister’s Lodge in Canberra look like a relatively humble suburban home. lt is fine to talk about the salaries that New Guinea can afford but the indigenous people are taking their values from the relative state of great privilege enjoyed by European officers who are there now. I do not criticise the standard of the European officers but I say that relatively there is a standard of great privilege. I do not believe that this is any the less dangerous an example. The Minister seems to feel that after independence they would have to cut their own salaries because they would then have a structure of administration which could not afford such salaries. I am inclined to think we will establish sanity in Papua and New Guinea so long as we are associated with it if we give the people justice without race discrimination. What the people of Papua and New Guinea do after independence - I honestly believe the Australian grant will have to go on for a number of years - will be very clearly a responsibility of their own.
As 1 say, the indigenous civil servants are in want. I have been in policemen’s houses. They are not adequately designed. In Papua and New Guinea houses are built on stilts but I have seen rows of houses built on the side of a hill and when it rains, the water runs through them because they have been built on the ground. They are built of concrete and consist of one room. The whole family lives in that one room.
They are big families and one of the touching things one sees when they have teenage children is the pile of books in the corner of what is a bedroom, sitting room, and presumably at some times of the day, a dining room. The teenager will sit down to study a book for a high-school examination in the presence of other members of the family. Apparently we are pursuing a policy of natural selection. Only the very best, or at least those with the greatest capacity for concentration, will pass their exams and get to the top.
The decision has brought about what the Government was proud it did not have, that is, salary discrimination on the ground of race. Salary discrimination on the ground of race is not rational. Honourable members may say: ‘Come independence in 1978, as Dr Gunther seems to envisage, it will be a different situation’. But the indigenous people are concerned with the situation now. I do not believe poverty is a good foundation for independence. The constant correspondence of colour and poverty is producing a bad reaction in Papua and New Guinea. If a man is black he is poor; if he is white he is not poor. I do not say that there are. not some native people with good salaries. Also, the poor grow poorer as they stand still. Poverty cuts across educational opportunity. The Minister speaks about the need to attract private enterprise to the Territory. I think the presence of purchasing power may well lead to industrial advance, and one of the problems in New Guinea is defective purchasing power.
It seems to me that the indigenes fall between two stools. There is no definite date of independence. I personally do not think there should be, although other people take a different view. I think our main task is to establish unity in the country and then independence can come after that. Otherwise independence may well be an unmitigated disaster. But that is not the point. Independence is something for the indefinite future and in the meantime they are to have defective wages. The Minister very rightly suggested this morning in answer to a question that there is a minority of people employed by Europeans on wages anyway. I would say that at the outside there are about 85,000 people employed in some way or another by Europeans. But the population of the country is over two million. That does not alter the fact that those who are employed in a state of race contact and are a very important group for the future. Those people who are living in the village out of their traditional gardens are suffering nothing, but those people who have come into the town and who are dependent on a salary and have not their traditional gardens are facing the competition of Europeans with much higher purchasing power, yet they have to go and buy in shops and elsewhere. The prices are forced up, and so the native people must buy in a market while others buy in a supermarket.
If one stands in a supermarket in New Guinea one finds very few indigenous customers because they have not the money to buy in the supermarkets. I agree that the great majority of indigenous people are not affected, but let us look at the structure of private employment in New Guinea. A number of words have disappeared in our relations with other races. We do not use the word ‘native’. That is a perfectly good and perfectly respectable word, but we do not use it because it has developed insulting overtones. So we use the ponderous word ‘indigine’ instead. In Africa ‘plantation’ is a dirty word and no-one dares to use it. The Seventh Day Adventists who have a magnificent missionary college near Newcastle no longer call it a missionary college because ‘missionary’ also has become a dirty word. There is no criticism of the various missions in what I say. The words native’, ‘plantation’ and ‘missionary’ al] have connotations of race relations and we are retreating from them all because race relations have become an extremely difficult thing. We have retreated from the word native’ in Papua and New Guinea and we talk about ‘local officers’.
But there is another big field of employees employed by Europeans and they are plantation workers. I believe that that is going to become a dirty word in Papua and New Guinea before long as it has become in Africa. But let us face the honest fact that the plantation worker is given a ration and a wage while back in the village his whole family is supported out of the gardens. That represents a native economic effort which subsidises the plantations. Insofar as we accept that the wage does not support a family as it would in our country and the family supports itself, those working back in the villages are granting an economic subsidy to the whole plantation system by making it possible to carry on. We have wanted - I suspect that we have wanted it for the sake of international consumption - to have a trade union movement in Papua and New Guinea. There is no effective trade union movement in Papua and New Guinea, excepting that in which expatriate officers join with the indigenous officers and give them the expertise, the skill and the advice to handle their affairs.
The only significant unions in Papua and New Guinea are the Public Service Association and the Police Association. 1 know that Mr Oala Oala Rarua has some kind of Port Moresby workers association, but when attempts have been made to establish a federation of unions it has been found very quickly that there is nothing to federate. If the plantation wokers join a union they can get nothing. They have no pressure power and a union depends on pressure power. The result is that over a period they get nothing and lose interest. We like to have around people who are said to be leaders of labour in New Guinea, but they have Buckley’s chance of applying any pressure. In truth the whole structure of labour conditions rests now, and will continue to rest, on the conscience of this Parliament. In the long run the Parliament will underwrite the policies which give generosity or do not, which give adequacy or it will not, and they will not come from the kind of unions that exist in Papua and New Guinea.
In the last minute I should like to quote from an article by Mr J. H. Wootten who was the Government’s counsel in the arbitration case. This was an article which he wrote some time before and which got him into trouble in the course of the case. In speaking about the good relationship which existed between Australian servicemen and New Guineans in the war he said:
But the same relationship does not come easily between men divided on racial lines into those who eat rich and varied foods in good houses and those who have plain and monotonous diets in shacks and huts; those whose basic wage is £20 a week, and those for whom it is £3 a week; . . those for whom cleanliness and hygiene is made effortless and those for whom it is burdensome; those who drive cars and those who walk in their bare feet; those who have attained their full physical vigour and those who have been debilitated in childhood by malaria, hookworm and lack of protein; those who have been educated from childhood to the skills their society needs and those who have been catapulted unprepared into a strange and rapidly changing society.
I saw 10,000 indigenes at an Anzac service. They have great dignity. They have adjusted themselves to us more than we have adjusted ourselves to them. They stood at that ceremony with very great discipline. Many of them had ancestors who were cannibals. They have great changes to meet the values that we have given to them and I think we would be wise to stick to the value of equality as we formerly had it.
– The honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) has posed the problems which we have in the Territory, but I am afraid that ne has not given the answers or told us how we can meet our overall responsibilities and achieve our aims for the advancement of people of the Territory. There is one part of his remarks to which I would rake exception. He asked for justice without racial discrimination or anything along the lines of racial discrimination. His interpretation of what is a just approach to many of these problems is open to argument. At all times we have aimed at justice and we have observed the forms which we, in our long experience of the British system, have concluded are just processes. In this situation he mentioned the differences between the expatriate section of the Public Service and local officers. As he rightly pointed out, this is a problem which has existed in other underdeveloped countries. In chose places the expatriate lives in better standards than local people could ever afford.
We must face the situation that if we require the skills of people from overseas to aid in the development aid advance of the community we must attract them from places such as Australia. To attract them to the Territory they must be given standards and rewards far greater than they would get if they were to be based on the local standards of New Guinea. To attract these people to industry they have to be given a greater opportunity for return on their investments. In the case of public servants or other wage or salary earners, the reward must be at least equal to that that they would receive in the country from which they come. In most cases added incentives are necessary in Papua and New Guinea. We must bring people to Papua and New Guinea and we must house them. The salaries we offer must be a little better than the salaries they received in Australia. Many dedicated Australians have gone there and have accepted situations in the remoter areas. If the average Australian could see what these Australians are doing in Papua and New Guinea they would be extremely proud.
We have set out on a scheme of localisation of the Public Service. A committee has been formed to report on the situation. We give preference to local people when their educational standards and capacities are sufficient for the work. The purpose of our localisation scheme is to develop Papua and New Guinea inhabitants so that when they are ready for independence the transition will not be too difficult. We are fortunate to have had the experience of other underdeveloped countries. The honourable member for Fremantle mentioned Africa. In all underdeveloped countries there are differential wage scales so that when the native people take over and become independent there is not a big gap in their wage scales to the advantage of the sophisticated persons in the community. When the governing Western power leaves the country and is no longer contributing vast sums to support expatriate public servants, if the local workers have been enjoying an expatriate wage situation I cannot see the people who come into power reducing standards to what the economy can afford. We do not want to build a mendicant nation, which would happen if we started to dish out millions of dollars, which, of course, we cannot do. We cannot call on the Australian taxpayer to bear a greater burden than he is bearing at present. The Australian contribution on a per capita basis to Papua and New Guinea is $35 per annum.
– About $27m of the annual grant is required for expatriate salaries.
– I am quoting these figures and am relating them to similar figures in other parts of the world. The average per capita contribution to the underdeveloped countries of the world is $4 or $5 per - annum. The Australian per capita provision is far greater. However, this is not important. We have set out to achieve a balanced development of the area. We have seen a situation in Africa where more emphasis has been put on education than on economic development with the result that educated people have nothing to do in keeping with their abilities. In all primary producing countries when people have been taken from rural occupations and have been educated they have not been happy to return to their former situation where lower standards of living apply. If we do not build a balanced economy in Papua and New Guinea and establish small industries in which to employ the people who have been educated then we will be in trouble. What we are doing is in accordance with recognised practice in underdeveloped countries. People with skills must be attracted to ‘he area and they must be given comparable or better opportunities than they had in their native countries. If the people of Papua ani New Guinea are to stand on their own feet we must develop their revenue sources so that they become less and less dependent on the grants they get from Australia. We must build their local industries.
Papua and New Guinea is a primary producing country. Those countries that are solely dependent on primary industry have the lowest standards of living. This must be recognised. What exports do we have from Papua and New Guinea? The basis of the economy in that area is copra, coffee and cocoa. Coffee, we know, is a surplus commodity in the world and I hope that the expansion of this industry will not proceed too fast. Otherwise there will be difficulty in selling surplus production. Fortunately at present Australia is a big buyer of New Guinea coffee, and this is of great assistance, but the products that are exported have to be sold in competition with products from other underdeveloped countries that have low wage scales. In Australia a few men can do the work of hundreds, by using machinery and so forth, but in New Guinea most of the work must be done by human labour. There is the laborious task of hand harvesting the raw material. This is a highly labour intensive industry which is extremely susceptible to any increases in wages. Public Service salaries must be related to the overall wage scale of the Territory.
In New Guinea there are three wage areas - the plantation wage, the urban wage and the Public Service salary. The honourable member for Fremantle referred to the needs factor. What must a man receive in order to maintain his family adequately and to house it? This is important. The needs factor was taken into account by the Arbitrator, but 1 emphasise a point that many people lose sight of - the needs factor varies from centre to centre. Where a person lives close to his garden and food is readily available living conditions are far cheaper than in centres where the natives live away from their villages, as in Port Moresby. The Territory is divided into zones. No arbitrator could determine an overall wage because somebody would get too much and somebody too little and a completely unfair situation would be created. In all the zones the need factor is taken care of.
Recently I answered a question about housing. The honourable member for Fremantle very rightly criticised housing in Papua and New Guinea. This situation caused me concern on my first visit to the area - particularly the housing of the Police Force. It is not an easy matter to get things started quickly, but I am happy to say that great progress has been made in housing the Police Force. Our efforts will not cease there, though, because we do not want to house only the police. We want to house everybody as well as we can. Here again, however, we have not been able to determine what constitutes a reasonably priced house for the indigenous people of the area.
It is quite easy to build a house for an expatriate because, after all, the expatriates are in salary situations in which they can pay, or in which the rent charged is within their economic means. But if we are to build houses for indigenes - and I deplore the word ‘indigenes’, but it is the accepted one and I am afraid we must go along with it until somebody thinks of a better one - we must keep in mind that it must be economically possible for them to meet the rent. We have had experts from Australia working on this problem and it seems that the only way in which we can get our costs down is by building houses from local materials instead of from imported materials. We have done considerable work on this problem and also spent large amounts of money on it, and I believe we are very close to finding the answer in locally produced materials. As soon as we are sure of being able to do this the situation will be eased and we can go ahead and do very much better than we are doing at present.
But again we are faced with the budgetary situation. We have to cater for the needs of two million people and, as I said in answer to a question this morning, 60% of them are living at subsistence level. We are asked to spend millions on better housing and increased salaries, and let me remind the House that the increases in salaries that have been granted are quite considerable in terms of the Territory’s budget. All these extra costs have to be met out of the budget. When people demand greater salary increases and improvements in housing they should think also of the people in the more remote areas who live in grass huts with their families, their pigs and all their other possessions - and 60% of the people of the Territory are living like this. Are we to neglect them or forget about them? I say that we cannot do this. Our problem is to find the necessary funds to provide adequate housing and adequate salary scales for the people who have a degree of education, and at the same time to find the money to develop the other people whom I have mentioned. If we had two or three times as much money as is available to us now we might be able to get somewhere, but our funds are limted
As to racial discrimination I am afraid that a tremendous number of exaggerated statements have been made. The honourable member for Fremantle was kind enough not to exaggerate the situation. Concern is felt about these matters but I do not see how they can be avoided. I would like to make this point: Amongst the Territory people themselves no-one speaks of the racial tensions. Very few people appear to recognise the existence of these tensions.
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– ‘Their wages would be sufficient if they didn’t get high ideas and want to eat meat, bread, butter and jam. If they stick to their native foods they can manage.’ These are the words of a high Government official spoken in the presence of the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Jones), the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly) and myself in New Guinea in July last year. Is it any wonder, then, that the Opposition has found it necessary to propose this matter for discussion? The problem to which we direct attention has been brought to a head by the recently announced award for Papuan and New Guinean public servants. This award has caused a great deal of anger and criticism within the Territory, and it is because of this anger and criticism that I have risen to speak in this discussion. I am afraid that this Government’s policy on wages in the Territory will further weaken already deteriorating race relations and will cause turmoil and bloodshed in the not too distant future.
I would like to make it quite clear that I am not suggesting that all Australians in the Territory take the same view as the high official whose words I quoted at the beginning of my speech. Most Australians in the Territory are trying to help the indigenous people to attain selfgovernment and independence. I also admit the strength of the arguments advanced by the Minister for Territories (Mr Barnes) for the policy that is being followed by the Government and which has now been followed also by the Public Service Arbitrator in making his decision. However, I question whether logic and reason will bs strong enough at this stage to overcome the emotional undertones flowing from the operation of a dual salary scale in the Public Service of the Territory.
Time is running out. The master-servant relationship, the paternalism, the suggestion of white supremacy are all continued while a dual salary scale continues. Nothing we can say or do will convince the Territory’s indigenes that these things do not continue to exist. Many of them in urban areas have worked with or close to Europeans for a number of years. They know that they are the have-nots. Some of them may be able to appreciate that the local economy cannot support an Australian standard of living, but this will not prevent them from resenting the power, privilege and possessions of the Australians. As more and more of the local people receive secondary education or better, their resentment will become stronger and they will become more vocal. The present generation will not be prepared to accept the wide differences that exist between the standard of living of Australians and that of the locals. How can they be expected to remain calm and contented when they see Australians day after day performing work similar to their own but receiving salaries which allow them to live in comfort, with good clothes, food, cigarettes, liquor and servants, while at the same time they must struggle to provide themselves with even the barest necessitites?
The Opposition appreciates the need to encourage Australians to work in the Territory. Financial incentives must be offered, but these incentives should be over and above the base salary and not made part of the salary structure. The same salaries should be paid to local and overseas officers in the same grades.
In proposing this matter of public importance for discussion the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) put it in these terms:
The need for a salary scale for the indigenous public service of Papua and New Guinea which will be adequate for family living standards, attract an able civil service and allay the bitterness aroused by discriminatory public service salary scales.
Our attitude is supported by Mr Fred Kaad the District Commissioner of the Territory, who is now on leave as the result of an accident and is acting temporarily as a lecturer in government at the Australian School of Pacific Administration. Mr Kaad delivered a paper at a seminar held in Armidale between Sth and 12th February of this year. That paper was reported in the March-April 1967 edition of the magazine ‘New Guinea’. Mr Kaad had this to say:
However, there is then some difference between policy and practice - it is very hard for an official of a company or the Administration who has been conditioned over a long period to follow certain attitudes, to change these quickly, if at alt. Nevertheless there has been a marked change in the attitudes of very many Australians, more particularly among those in the field and working with local government councils. As regards ‘localisation’, i.e., employment of indigenes in higher positions of authority, again the policy is for early action, but unfortunately the new Administration indigenous salary scale (which largely influences all employers) is neither an incentive to join the Public Service, nor if in it, to work at maximum output. Instead it has served to alienate a majority of (he local people and, in an endeavour to correct this situation, has increased the wage scale. Salaries for indigenous public servants are at present under review by the Arbitrator. The ultimate success of Australia’s relationship with the Territory will depend, in great degree, upon the decision now under consideration by the Arbitrator.
Mr Kaad went on to suggest that the Papua and New Guinea Public Service should be the authority to show the way not only in the relationships between the Australians and the locals but also in the Territory’s wage structure. It cannot be expected that private industry will take the initiative. Accordingly the Opposition suggests to the Government in this motion that something should be done now to allay the suspicions that have been created by this dual salary scale that has been provided for the Territory and has been perpetuated, or apparently perpetuated, in the last few days. Unless a salaries structure is provided to ensure an adequate standard of living for a family, more and more Papuans and New Guineans will be saying something like the words that I am about to quote from Act 3, Scene 1, of the ‘Merchant of Venice’. 1 apologise for the alterations to this quotation: 1 am a Papuan. Hath not a Papuan eyes? Hath not a Papuan hands, organs, dimensions, sen.-es, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as an Australian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we nol laugh? If you poison us. do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we nol revenge? ff wc are like you in the rest, wc will resemble you in that.
The Opposition believes that unless something is done to show the Papuans and the New Guineans that we do not regard ourselves as superior, that we are there to help them to attain self government and independence, and unless we are prepared to spend more money in the Territory on Papuans and New Guineans than we are at the present time, they will be entitled to adopt exactly the same attitude as did Shylock.
– I rise to support the Minister for Territories (Mr Barnes) in this debate. I should like to congratulate the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) on his speech on this matter. I hold the view that it is of the first importance for the Commonwealth Parliament to be discussing, particularly during broadcasting time, affairs connected with the development of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. The people of Australia should be taught more and more about what is happening to their money and about the policy of the Government in regard to the Territory. If possible, they should be brought to understand our objectives in the Territory. I am quite confident that in the period following the war effort of the Australian Army in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, neither the people who lived there - the natives and the expatriates as they are now called - nor the Australian Labor Party under the prime ministership of Mr Chifley, envisage that the Territory, when granted independence, would be perpetually dependent upon financial support from an outside country like Australia. The policy of the Australian Labor Party at that time was that Australia’s responsibility would be fulfilled when a viable economy was established in an independent nation. The honourable member for Lang (Mr Stewart) has been using the words ‘Papuans and New Guineans’, which are the creation of Australians. The truth of the matter is that the people who are born in this day and age in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea have a long and varied list of terms in about 500 different languages and dialects which they apply to one another.
Some facts should be introduced in this debate in regard to practical problems that face the Government in this area. For example, there are 10,000 indigenous public servants in the Territory. If I include the police and warders, who number 4,200, the total is brought to 14,200. I am leaving aside the Army. The annual bill for all government employed local people in 1966-67 was S15m. We are told that the Arbitrator’s decision has led to this matter being brought before this Parliament. Apparently this decision is part of a protest. Tn 1964 a policy was announced which represented a realistic understanding of Australia’s objectives in the Territory, and the Public Service was reconstructed, ft led to an increase of $2.4m in the annual cost of the Public Service. In 1966 a compromise offer, which will be recalled by honourable members, was made to meet the criticism of the Public Service Association in Port Moresby. It cost $400,000. The Arbitrator’s 1967 decision, which has not yet been worked out in complete detail, will probably cost about $400,000. So since 1964 the additional annual cost of public servants’ salaries in the area may be ut at $3.3m. If the cost of employing the police and the warders is included, this figure rises to $5. 5m, representing 4.6% of the Territory’s Budget for this financial year.
The important thing for the Australian taxpayer is the effect on the Australian Budget. The taxpayer must be put in a position where he can make rational comparisons. A similar increase in Australia would affect the Australian Budget by about $240m. No association of Australian taxpayers would regard this cost as of no moment. In the Territory there are about 600,000 workers, of whom only 92,000 are in employment for which they receive wages. Of this number 41,000 are rural workers; they constitute 45% of the total. No reference has been made in the debate to these people. Also, 22,000 of the 92,000 are urban workers; they constitute 23% of the total. No reference has been made to them either. As I have said, 14,500 of the Administration staff are directly affected, and it is to these people that honourable gentlemen have directed all their attention and their remarks in this debate. The wage of a rural worker - this group represents, as I said, 45% of the total number in receipt of wages - is equivalent to $225. I am ignoring the ancillary aspects of housing and association with a tribal area and a plantation. The cash wage of an urban worker is $338, and the minimum wage for a public servant is now $480. In practical terms this means that 45% of the 600,000 workers each receive $225 per annum, 23% receive $338 per annum and 15%, or 14,500, receive $480 per annum. My friends opposite have so far spoken about only 15% of the work force who are the best paid of the whole group. The grant by the Commonwealth to the Territory has risen from $34,600,000 in 1961-62 to S70m in 1966-67. Surely this fact, if not considered important by Opposi- tion members, will be so regarded by the Australian taxpayer. I believe it is quite unfair to say that the Public Service Arbitrator has ignored present needs. The case that was put in Port Moresby by Mr Hawke, appearing for the unions, has resulted in an increase of $40. The Arbitrator heard much expert evidence about needs and an increase of 9% on the basis of needs was granted. An increase of that order, I remind the House, would never have been regarded as without some merit by members of the Labor Party in considering basic wage increases in Australia.
– But it is a different base.
– The honourable member for Fremantle forgets that he is speaking again of increases that are related to amounts of money provided by the Australian taxpayer. Allowances are paid for dependants in order to cover needs of the family. On the subject of family needs allowances the Arbitrator said: 1 have come to the conclusion not to alter the rates determined by the Administration.
The allowance, of course, is adjusted for different costs in different zones. So needs are covered. The single man at Port Moresby will now receive $480 a year. The married man with three children will receive $930 a year.
Let me turn now to the need to attract good people to the Public Service of the Territory. This was something which the honourable member for Fremantle conceded. Wages now fixed by the Arbitrator are high by Territory standards. They are highest for the 15% and lowest for the remainder. The Territory is a different world from Australia. By way of illustration let me point out that in the Territory the urban cash wage is $6.50 a week compared with the Australian basic wage of $32.80 a week. But the minimum Public Service wage about which we have been speaking in this debate is 40% higher than the urban cash wage and it is double the rural wage. All of this is absolutely vital when considering the future objectives in the Territory. What is most significant is that at present, notwithstanding all that has been said by the Opposition, there is no shortage of applicants for trainee positions in the Public Service of the Territory.
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
- Mr Deputy Speaker-
Motion (by Mr Snedden) put:
That Government business be called on.
The House divided. (Mr Deputy Speaker - Hon. W. C. Haworth)
Majority . . . . 26
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill presented by Mr Bowen, and read a first time.
Mr BOWEN (Parramatta-Attorney-
The purpose of this Bill is to revise the copyright law of the Commonwealth. The present copyright law in force in Australia is the imperial Copyright Act 1911, which was extended to Australia by the Copyright Act 1912 of this Parliament. This law has remained substantially unchanged for more than fifty-five years, during which time there have been great changes in the means of reproducing and disseminating copyright works. The film industry and therecord industry were only in their infancy in 1911. Broadcasting and television have developed almost entirely within that period. Photographic techniques of reproducing books, either singly or in quantity, exist today which wereunknownin1911,andtheyhave brought about considerable changes in library administration and in the printing industry. The invention of the tape recorder provided a means which is widely available for recording and reproducing music. There has also been an increasing acceptance, both here and overseas, of Australian authors, composers and performing artists. Thus the law of copyright is assuming a greater practical and economic importance both within Australia and internationally. These developments have all affected, in one way or another, the operation of the law of copyright and have made necessary a complete revision of that law.
The Copyright Act 1911 was replaced in England in 1956 by a completely revised law, but it has continued to be the law in Australia. The changes made in the copyright law in the United Kingdom in 1956, and the question whether, and to what extent, similar or other changes should be made in Australia, were considered by a Copyright Law Review Committee under the chairmanship of Sir John Spicer. That Committee presented a comprehensive report on the subject in December 1959. Since then (he task of considering the Committee’s report and the many representations which were received following publication of that report, and of preparing this Bill, has continually engaged the attention of my predecessors and myself. On 20th April last year, my immediate predecessor, the present Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden), in a statement to this House announced the Government’s intention to legislate substantially in terms of the recommendations of the Spicer Committee, but with some significant modifications. That statement was followed by a large number of representations from organisations representing those who would be affected by the proposals and I have given these representations the most careful consideration in the preparation of this Bill.
This Bill is brought in, therefore, after a most extensive examination of the subject. But because it affects so many interests it has been my intention that those who are affected by the law of copyright should be given ample opportunity to study its detailed provisions. It is proposed, therefore, that the Bill should lie over until the Budget session. Generally speaking, the Bill confirms the rights given to authors, composers and creative artists by the existing law and specifically extends these to cover the new media of reproduction, such as broadcasting. It confers a number of new rights, particularly in respect of broadcasts, cinematograph films and printed editions of books. In doing so, the Bill adopts, in the main, the recommendations of the Spicer Committee. But it does depart from the recommendations of that Committee in a number of cases where changes in circumstances since the Committee reported have made this necessary or where, on its own examination of the Australian circumstances, the Government has thought it desirable to do so.
The changes proposed by the Bill will enable Australia to become a party to two international agreements on copyright. These are, firstly, the Brussels revision in 1948 of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and, secondly, the Universal Copyright Convention which was signed in 1952 and which came into force in 1955. In particular, Australia’s joining the Universal Copyright Convention, to which the United States of America is a party, will provide our book publishers with a readier access to the United States market by removing a number of impediments which now exist because of the lack of reciprocal copyright arrangements between Australia and the United States in respect of published works. The Bill will also give effect in part to the Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms, Broadcasters and Performers, commonly known as the Neighbouring Rights Convention. This Convention, which was signed at Rome in 1961, came into force in 1964. It requires certain rights to be given to record manufacturers, to broadcasters, and to performers of musical and dramatic works. The present Bill will give effect to that Convention insofar as it relates to records and broadcasts. These matters are dealt with in the United Kingdom Copyright Act 1956 and it is appropriate to deal with them in this Bill. The matter of performers is dealt with separately in the United Kingdom by legislation of a different character. The Government has under consideration the question of becoming a party to the Neighbouring Rights Convention but the legislation to give effect to the provisions of that Convention in regard to the rights of performers will in some respects relate to fields usually within the province of the States, and some consultation with the States may be necessary before a decision is taken to introduce legislation to give effect to the provisions of that Convention which are not dealt with in this Bill. 1 turn now to an examination of the significant features of the Bill. Honourable members will observe that it is a large Bill and, in some respects, a complex one. To this extent, it reflects the nature of the subject with which it deals. The plan of the Bill is to deal separately in Part III with the rights given in respect of original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, and in Part IV with rights given in respect of sound recordings, cinematograph films, broadcasts and what are called in the Bill published editions’. I should mention at this point that, for convenience, I will use the term ‘broadcasting’ to cover both radio and television broadcasting, except where it is necessary to make some distinction between these two forms of broadcasting.
The Bill provides in clause 31 that copyright is to subsist in every unpublished original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work the author of which was an Australian citizen or who was resident in Australia at the time when the work was made. This differs from the existing law, under which copyright in Australia is conferred on the unpublished works of all British subjects and of all residents of those parts of Her Majesty’s dominions to which the 191 1 Act extends who were so resident at the time of making the work. The 1911 Act was, however, intended to set up what might be called an ‘Imperial copyright area’, which was to be co-extensive with the whole of what was then the British Empire. This concept is, of course, not now an appropriate one and, indeed, was not embodied in the United Kingdom Act of 1956. In the case of a published work, copyright is to subsist if the work is first published in Australia or if, at the time of first publication of the work, the author is an Australian citizen or a person resident in Australia. This also represents a change from the existing law, in which the place of first publication is the sole criterion for the existence of copyright in a published work.
Clause 180 of the Bill empowers the making of regulations to extend copyright protection to the works of persons who are citizens of or resident in other countries and to works first published in other countries when those countries have satisfied us that suitable reciprocal arrangements exist. Thus copyright protection in Australia will be extended in relation to member countries of the Berne and Universal Copyright Conventions by regulations made in accordance with this clause.
Clause 30 of the Bill sets out the rights which are conferred upon the owner of the copyright in an original work. In respect of literary, dramatic and musical works, the copyright owner is given exclusive rights of reproduction, publication, public performance, broadcasting and communication of the works to subscribers to a diffusion service, that is, a service in which transmission is effected by land line and not by broadcasting. The public performance right is not, of course, applicable in the case of artistic works; apart from this, the rights I have mentioned are also given in relation to artistic works. The owner of the copyright in a literary or dramatic work also has exclusive rights in respect of translations into other languages, and of the conversion of the work into another form, as, for example, the conversion of a novel into a stage play. Generally speaking, the effect of the clause is to spell out rather more fully than does the present law what these rights are, and specifically to grant rights in respect of the broadcasting of copyright works. In this respect, the Bill incorporates the effect of judicial decisions on the revelant provisions of the 1911 Act in which it was held by the courts that the unauthorised broadcasting of a work was an infringement of the copyright in that work.
The term of copyright protection in respect of original works will, with two exceptions, remain unaltered. In general, the term of copyright in an original work is the life of the author and fifty years thereafter. Where a literary, dramatic or musical work is first published posthumously, copyright continues to subsist for fifty years after first publication. The same applies to copyright in an engraving. In the case of photographs, copyright continues for fifty years after first publication. These provisions involve only two changes in the existing law. In the first place, the term of fifty years is to be computed not, as at present, from the date of the relevant event, whether it be the death of the author or the publication of the work, but from the end of the year in which that event occurred. It is usually much easier to find out or to remember the year in which a particular event occurred than the actual date on which it happened. In the second place, the term of copyright in a photograph will be extended to fifty years after first publication instead of, as at present, fifty years from the making of the negative. In other words, there will be a perpetual copyright in unpublished photographs.
The recommendation of the Spicer Committee regarding the ownership of copyright in commissioned works resulted in many representations from authors and composers organisations asking that the recommendation be rejected. The Spicer Committee had recommended that a person who commissions a work for valuable consideration should, in the absence of agreement to the contrary, be the owner of the copyright in the work insofar as it relates to the purpose for which he commissioned it, provided that his purpose was communicated to the author before the work was made. In all other respects copyright should remain in the author. On examination of the issues involved, it appeared to me that the changes in the existing law which would have followed from accepting the recommendation would have unnecessarily disturbed existing contractual arrangements between authors and composers on the one hand, and such organisations as film makers and broadcasters on the other. The Bill therefore follows, in this respect, the provisions of the 1956 Act, but with a modification in the case of photographs, portraits and engravings. In the case of these works, copyright is vested in the person who commissions the work. Sub-clause (5.) of clause 34 of the Bill provides that if the purpose for which the work was required was made known to the author of the work at the time it was commissioned, the author is entitled to restrain the use of the work for any other purpose. The purpose of this is to empower, say, a painter who paints a portrait for a non-commercial purpose to prevent the portrait being published for advertising.
I turn now to a number of exceptions from the general protection given by the Bill to original works. Clause 45 will permit a radio or television set or a record player to be operated in the guest lounge of a guest house or the like without the person operating it being liable for any infringement of. copyright in music which is broadcast or which is played on the record player. Under the present law, this might amount to a public performance of the music which would be an infringement of copyright. Clause 106 makes a like exemption in relation to the copyright in a record. Generally speaking, the proprietor of a hall or other place which is let out for entertainments is liable for infringements of copyright committed during a performance which is authorised by a letting of the premises. Clause 38 gives a limited exemption in respect of any infringement of copyright committed during the performance of a work on such premises if the proprietor establishes that he was not aware or had no reasonable grounds for suspecting that the performance would be an infringement of copyright or establishes that the hall was let on a non-profit basis. The Bill clarifies, and in one respect alters, the provisions of the present law relating to the use of copyright material in the reporting of news by newspapers, broadcasting or film. Under the present law, fair dealing with a copyright work for the purposes of newspaper summary is permitted. Clause 41 extends this right to news broadcasts and to newsreel films. Sub-clause (2.) specifically permits the playing of a musical work that is part of the news being reported; this has been held to be an infringement under the existing law.
Clauses 47 to 52 will enable librarians to take advantage of modern photocopying techniques for legitimate library purposes without being liable for infringement of copyright in material which is copied, so long as the prescribed conditions are observed. In particular, clause 48 will enable a librarian to copy material for a person who requires it for the purposes of research or private study. Although there is no specific provision to this effect in the present law, it has generally been accepted that no breach of copyright is involved in a student making a copy for himself. This clause will now authorise a librarian to make a copy for a student on a photocopying machines in the library. Honourable members will note that this clause will also permit the parliamentary librarian to continue his practice of supplying library material to members of Parliament for use in connection with their duties as members without being liable for infringement of copyright.
There are a number of provisions in the Bill relating to the use of copyright material for educational purposes. Generally, these provisions will enable the ordinary course of instruction to proceed without requiring the permission of the copyright owner for the use of copyright material, but they do not authorise any reproduction or use of copyright material which would affect the proper interests of the copyright owner. Thus, clause 27 permits a copyright work to be performed in the classroom, and clause 196 permits reproduction of a work by a teacher or student otherwise than by the production of multiple copies. Clause 196 also permits a school to record, for use at a more convenient time, a schools’ broadcast made by the Australian Broadcasting Commission.
Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.
– The present law permits a record manufacturer to make records of a mimical work without the consent of the copyright owner under certain conditions. These conditions are, firstly, that a record of the work must have been made in, or imported into, Australia for the purposes of retail sale by or with the consent of the copyright owner; secondly, that the prescribed notice of intention to make the records must have been given to the copyright owner; and thirdly, that the prescribed royalty is paid to the copyright owner. The Spicer Committee recommended that these provisions should be continued, and the relevant clauses of the Bill are clauses 53 to 64. It was announced last year that in one important respect the Government had decided to depart from the recommendations of the Spicer Committee in these matters. This was in respect of the prescribed royally. The present royalty is 5% of the ordinary retail selling price of the record. This price includes the sales tax payable on the record. The Spicer Committee recommended that the royalty should he increased to 63 7e of the ordinary retail selling price of the record. The Rill retains the present statutory royalty of 5 ft in accordance with the policy announced last year. My own consideration of the representations which followed that announcement has led mc to the conclusion thai the Bill should maintain the present rate of royalty. It is true that in the United Kingdom the rate of royalty is 6k% of the retail selling price but this price is exclusive of purchase tax. The two rates are therefore computed on different base figures.
The Bill also provides that the minimum royalty payable in respect of a record made in pursuance of the statutory licence is to be lc for each copyright work included on the record. Under the existing law. the minimum royalty payable is the decimal equivalent of one half-penny. Clause 57 of the Bill provides for the statutory royalty to be revised following a public inquiry by the Copyright Tribunal established by the Bill. Such an inquiry may be instituted by the Attorney-General at any time after the new law has been in operation for two years. Following such an inquiry, the royalty may be varied by regulation.
The Bill also gives a statutory right to broadcasting stations to record copyright works or to make films including copyright works for the purpose, of broadcasting under certain defined conditions. Modern broadcasting practice very often requires the pre-recording of a programme for subsequent broadcasting. Furthermore, the existence in Australia of widespread networks of broadcasting stations, both of the Australian Broadcasting Commission and commercial stations, the existence of different time zones and the expense of land-line facilities require the recording of programmes which are to be broadcast by more than one station in a network. Clause 46 of the Bill gives a statutory right to a broadcasting station to record or to include in a film a copyright work which it is authorised to broadcast and to use that record or film for the purposes of its own broadcast without payment to the copyright owner. The clause further provides that such a record or film may be used for the purposes of broadcasting the work by any other broadcasting organisation which has a licence to broadcast the work, provided that a royalty is paid to the copyright owner in respect of the making of the record or film. The amount of the royalty is to be determined by agreement, or, in default of agreement by the Copyright Tribunal. A record or film which is made in pursuance of these provisions may be retained for twelve months. At the end of that time, it must be destroyed or transferred to the archives of the National Library.
Both the Australian Broadcasting Commission and the commercial broadcasting organisations had asked for a more extensive right of making what are known as ‘ephemeral’ records than is given by clause 46 of the Bill. The Berne Convention, however, permits only the making of ephemeral records by a broadcaster for the purposes of his own transmissions without any obligation to the copyright owner. What the Bill does is to provide, in effect, a statutory licence for the making of ephemeral records by a broadcasting organisation for use by other broadcasting organisations. This has appeared to be a fair adjustment of the relative interests of broadcasters and of copyright owners, particularly having regard to Australian circumstances in the broadcasting industry, which are quite different from those that exist in the United Kingdom.
Clause 107 of the Bill provides that an ephemeral recording made by a broadcasting organisation may include a copy of a commercial record of the copyright work included in the ephemeral recording subject to the same conditions as apply in the case of original works.
Clauses 74 to 77 of the Bill deal with the borderline between copyright and industrial designs. There are many circumstances in which an artistic work may find, or may be created especially for, industrial application. For example, a statuette, which is an artistic work within the meaning of that term in the copyright law, may be reproduced in quantity for use as a lamp base. Similarly, the drawing of a Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse cartoon character may be reproduced as a children’s toy. Insofar as an artistic work may be applied as an industrial design it can be, if it qualifies for registration, registered under the Designs Act as a registered design. If it is so registered, then the proprietor of the design obtains a monopoly for a maximum period of fifteen years in that design. Protection under the Copyright Act exists, however, for a much longer period, and this leads to the question whether an artistic work which is reproduced as an industrial design should continue to be protected under the copyright law for a greater period than that for which it could be protected as a registered design.
Under the present law, an artistic work which is produced for the purpose of being applied as an industrial design, or which is so applied at the time when it is mad”., is not protected under the copyright law. Subsequent use as an industrial design of an artistic work which is not produced for that purpose will not, however, deprive that work of copyright protection. Thus the public may not know whether an artistic work which has been applied as an industrial design may be freely used as such. It is desirable that there should be a reasonable degree of certainty in this respect.
A different approach is adopted in the Bill, and that is to avoid any overlap between copyright and design protection. The relevant provisions, clauses 74 to 77, are complex but, put briefly, their purpose is to ensure that, if an artistic work is applied as an industrial design, it may be freely used as such by the public after the expiration of fifteen years from the time the articles incorporating the design first come on the market. But outside this field, copyright protection continues. Thus, if a cartoon character is used to decorate children’s plates, to so use it after the expiration of fifteen years will not infringe any rights in respect of the artistic copyright in the drawing of the character, but to reproduce it in a magazine will be an infringement of copyright.
These provisions follow substantially the provisions of the 1956 Act and the recommendations of the Spicer Committee, lt is intended, however, that they should be reconsidered when the Designs Act is next revised. I hope shortly to put in hand the revision of that Act. It will be necessary, in the meantime, to amend the present Designs Act to complement these provisions in the copyright law. I. intend to introduce a Bill for this purpose in the n.-xt session.
So far I have been discussing the question of copyright in original, literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. I come now to those provisions of the Bill which provide for the subsistence of copyright in sound recordings, cinematograph films, sound and television broadcasts and published editions. The provisions relating to these works are found in clauses 84 to 112 of the Bill. These provisions involve substantial changes in the present law. At present, sound recordings are protected as though they were original musical works; that is, a sound recording is protected against copying and it is also protected against unauthorized use of the recording for the purposes of public performance or broadcasting. Thus a person who uses a record for broadcasting under the present law must have permission from two sources. He must have permission from the owner of the copyright in the music which is embodied in the record, and he must have permission from the owner of the copyright in the record itself. I will return shortly to the provisions of the Bill relating to copyright in records. Under the present law, a cinematograph film is not protected as such. It has limited protection in two ways; firstly, the photographs which make up the film are each protected as an artistic work and, secondly, if the arrangement or acting form or the combination of incidents represented in the film gives the work an original character it is protected as a dramatic work. The Bill establishes a separate protection for cinematograph films as such, and, in general, vests the ownership of the copyright in the maker of the film.
There is no copyright under the existing law in a sound or television broadcast. There are provisions in the Broadcasting and Television Act which prohibit the broadcasting by one person of programmes transmitted by another without the permission both of the original broadcaster and of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. The Bill establishes a new category of protection for sound and television broadcasts. It provides that copyright, in relation to a broadcast, is the exclusive right to make a cinematograph film of the broadcast in the case of a television broadcast, to make a sound recording of the broadcast and to rebroadcast the broadcast. These provisions are contained in clause 87 of the Bill. There is also a completely new category of protection for published editions. Modern printing processes have made it very easy for a printer to copy, by photographic means, a published edition of a work. Thus, a publisher who has gone to great trouble and expense to produce an edition of a work, say, of Shakespeare’s plays, by using special type and a well designed layout has no protection under existing law against a printer who photographically reproduces his edition. What is proposed in the Bill is to give a publisher the exclusive right to make, by means including a photographic or similar process, a reproduction of the published edition of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work.
There has been much controversy concerning the extent of the rights that should be granted in relation to a sound recording. No one has disputed that the person who makes a recording should be entitled to prevent others from copying it. What has been in dispute is whether the maker should be entitled to prevent others from playing the record in public or from broadcasting it. Though the record manufacturer has this right under the existing law in respect of records first released in Australia and in a number of other countries including the United Kingdom, the broadcasting organisations have disputed the existence of copyright in Australia in records which were first released in the United States of America. The parties reached an agreement under which the commercial stations agreed to pay no royalty but did agree to give free time to publicising the discs of record manufacturers. The Australian Broadcasting Commission, not being permitted by its statute to enter into such an agreement, has continued to pay some royalties. The Spicer Committee recommended that record manufacturers should be given exclusive rights in respect of the public performance and broadcasting of records, irrespective of where the records originate.
The Government has given much attention to what should be the proper resolution of the conflicting interests in this matter. It was announced last year that the Government had come to the conclusion, on the information which it then had, that there should be no performing right at all in a record after it had been released in Australia. Since then, my attention has been drawn to recent legislation in a number of other countries in which this right has been given, and to the effect on the earnings to be derived from Australian records in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, since such rights are usually given only on the basis of reciprocity. In addition, further consideration has suggested that it would be inconsistent with what is done elsewhere in the Bill in the way of confirming existing rights in other respects, to deprive record manufacturers of a right which has continued for so long under the existing law. Accordingly, the matter has been reconsidered, and it has been decided to give certain rights in respect of the broadcasting or other public performance of records, but in a more limited way than recommended by the Spicer Committee.
The rights given by the Bill to the owner of the copyright in a record may be described in the following way. He has complete protection against copying of the record. He has the exclusive right to control the use of the record for public performance or for broadcasting up to the date on which the record is released for sale in Australia. After that date, he has no right to control the public performance or broadcasting of the record but, if the record is performed in public or broadcast, the copyright owner has the right to be paid a royalty in respect of that use of the record. The royalty is to be such as is agreed on by the parties or, in default of agreement, as is determined by the Copyright Tribunal. Thus, after a record is released in Australia, the maker of that record will no longer have the right to prevent use by a broadcasting station. His only right will be to royalties. Furthermore, it is intended that this right shall exist only in relation to those records which are first released in a country giving a right in respect of the public performance or broadcasting of records. Effect will be given to this intention in the regulations which will be made to give copyright protection in Australia in relation to member countries of the Berne and Universal Copyright Conventions. What is proposed in the Bill in relation to records is in conformity with the provisions of the Rome Convention on Neighbouring Rights. 1 turn now to those provisions of the Bill which establish the Copyright Tribunal and define its functions. These are found in clauses 134 to 171 of the Bill. Briefly staled, the main function of the Tribunal will be to arbitrate in disputes between owners of copyright and persons who wish to perform in public or to broadcast copyright works. The Tribunal has also, as I have already mentioned, the function of conducting inquiries relating to revision of the royalty payable by record manufacturers to copyright owners under the statutory provisions relating to the recording of musical works. So that composers may collect royalties for the public performance or broadcasting of their works, it has long been the practice, both in Australia and elsewhere, for them to form collecting organisations having power to grant licences for the public performance or broadcasting of the music on behalf of the copyright owners and to royalties from those who use music for these purposes. It is, of course, obviously impossible for each composer to do this for himself. The collecting organisation in Australia is the Australasian Performing Right Association Ltd, commonly known as APRA. The Association claims to control the performing right in respect of substantially all copyright music. In practice, it has a monopoly in this field. The activities of APRA were considered by a Royal Commission in 1933. The Royal Commission recommended the establishment of a body with power to arbitrate in disputes between APRA and users of the music it controls. That recommendation was not carried into effect; instead, provision was made in the present law for voluntary arbitration between the parties to a dispute. I believe that all parties welcome the proposed establishment of the Copyright Tribunal. Any person who is dissatisfied with the charges or other conditions imposed by APRA on the performance or broadcasting of works which it controls will be able to have the matter reviewed by the Copyright Tribunal. In addition, APRA will be entitled to initiate a reference to the Tribunal. Performance or broadcasting of music in accordance with a decision of the Tribunal will not be an infringement of copyright so long as the user of the music observes the conditions and pays the royalties determined by the Tribunal.
The jurisdiction of the Tribunal is not limited by the Bill to the determination of disputes between licensing organisations and persons using music controlled by the licensing organisations, as was recommended by the Spicer Committee. It will extend to all disputes between persons wishing to perform in public or to broadcast copyright works and the owners of the copyright in those works. In this respect, it differs from the provisions in the 1956 Act and from the recommendations of the Spicer Committee, and it follows instead the provisions of the New Zealand Copyright Act 1962. It is intended that the Tribunal will be a body having a status which will ensure it the confidence of all sides of the industry. Clause 138 of the Bill sets out the qualifications of members of the Tribunal, lt will be noted that these are substantially the same qualifications as are required for appointment to a Federal court. The Tribunal will not, of course, exercise any judicial power; it will be solely an arbitral tribunal.
The position of the Crown is more clearly defined under the Bill than under the present law. The Crown will continue to have copyright in respect of works produced or published by it. The Bill puts beyond doubt the question whether the Crown is bound by the copyright law; clause 7 of the Bill provides that the Crown is bound. Provision is made, however, for the use of copyright material for the services of the Commonwealth or the States upon payment of compensation to the owner of the copyright. These provisions are contained in clause 179 of the Bill, which in this respect follows the relevant provisions of the Patents Act.
I mention now two other new features introduced by the Bill. The first is that the Bill will confer copyright on works produced by or published by international organisations. Thus, for example, a report which is produced by a specialised agency of the United Nations will be protected by copyright in Australia and the owner of that copyright will be the organisation concerned. The second provision relates “to what is known as the ‘droit moral’, that is the right of an author to the integrity of his work. The Berne Convention requires an author to be given the right to object to any distortion or mutilation or other alteration of his work which would be prejudicial to his honour or reputation. The relevant provisions are contained in clauses 185 to 191 of the Bill. These provisions forbid a person to attribute to an author a work which is not his work or to represent as an unaltered work of an author a work which has been altered. An author has a right of action against a person who does any of these things.
I come now to the transitional provisions in clauses 200 to 242 of the Bill. I think it is sufficient to say in respect of these provisions that they are based on the proposition that, unless specific provision is otherwise made, existing works are brought under the provisions of the proposed law. This is the pattern established by the Imperial Copyright Act 1911, which brought existing works under the scope of that Act, and it follows what was done in the United Kingdom in the 1956 Act. These provisions do not in substance involve any diminution of rights in respect of existing works.
I hope that this exposition of the principal features of the Bill will have served to give honourable members an appreciation of this long and complex Bill, which is one of great importance to many people. It has been eagerly awaited for a number of years and the Government has been criticised for delay in introducing it. It is not possible, however, to complete the preparation of a measure of this kind in a short time. Proper consideration must be given to all of the interests involved. The drafting of the Bill alone involved a considerable amount of work and I would like to pay a tribute to the draftsman of the Bill for the work he has performed. As I have already indicated, the Bill is introduced at this time with the intention that it should remain over until the Budget session of the Parliament in order to give those who are interested in its provisions an opportunity to look at them in greater detail. 1 undertake to give consideration to any representations which are received before the debate on the Bill is resumed. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Whitlam) adjourned.
– by leave - On f 5th March I said, in reply to a question by the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen), that there was a possibility that a statement on the establishment of a new Federal Court could be made before Parliament rose at the end of this sessional period. I am now in a position to inform the House that the Government has decided that a new Federal Court be established and that a Bill for this purpose be introduced. Before I give the honourable members details of the structure and jurisdiction of the Court the Government has decided to establish, it is I think, desirable that I should outline the historical background against which this step should be viewed.
The Constitution made provision for the establishment of the High Court of Australia. It was intended by the framers of the Constitution that the High Court should have the ultimate responsibility within Australia for deciding constitutional questions, that it should act as a general court of appeal from State courts and such Federal courts as might be created by the Parliament, and that it should exercise a limited original jurisdiction. It was therefore contemplated that the High Court would interpret the Constitution and that it would ensure harmony and consistency as between the courts of all parts of the Commonwealth in decisions arising under statute and at common law. The role of the High Court in expounding the Constitution and in acting as a general appellate court has a special importance far outweighing that of the original jurisdiction which it exercises in non-constitutional matters.
The Constitution made provision for the High Court’s original jurisdiction by conferring original jurisdiction on that Court in certain matters and by empowering Parliament to invest the Court with jurisdiction in certain other matters. At the same time the Constitution provided two different means by which Federal jurisdiction might otherwise be exercised. First, it enabled Parliament to create Federal courts, other than the High Court. Secondly, it enabled Parliament to invest State courts with Federal jurisdiction. The latter expedient offered a convenient alternative to the separate system of Federal courts adopted in the United States, whose Constitution had served as a model for the Commonwealth. While Australia had a vast territory, just as did the United States of America, it had also, unlike the United States, within that territory a small and scattered population. This problem was aggravated by the difficulties and expenses of travel and communication. Although the variety of legal problems that could be expected to arise in such circumstances was not likely to be substantially less than in the United States, the volume of litigation could not be expected initially to be great enough to require the establishment of a system of Federal courts to serve the people in all parts of the Commonwealth.
As long as the volume of Federal litigation remained relatively small, the investing of State courts with Federal jurisdiction was, therefore, a simple device which had the merit of economy and of expedition. Not the least contribution to the success of this scheme was the statute and quality of the supreme courts of the various States. These courts were and are the repositories of the common law in Australia and being of the highest integrity they have always enjoyed the confidence of the people of the various States. With the growth of the population of the Commonwealth there has been a corresponding growth in the volume of litigation, both State and Federal. Thus, since 1913 when the number of High Court justices was raised to its present figure of seven, the number of State supreme court judges has risen from thirty-one to seventy-one. Most of this growth appears to have occurred since 1945 when the number of State supreme court judges was thirty-seven.
The growth in Federal litigation has been such as to impose an increasing burden on the High Court. The result of that growth has been that, unless the number of High Court justices is increased, there is a serious risk that the volume of work in the original jurisdiction of the High Court will inhibit the Court’s capacity to fulfil its principal role as an arbiter of constitutional questions and as the nation’s ultimate appellate court. Because of the provisions of the Constitution requiring all judges to have, in effect, life tenure, the Commonwealth, unlike the States, cannot relieve its justices on a temporary basis by the appointment of acting justices to deal with arrears or accumulations of business as they occur from time to time. At the same time the complexity of government has grown very considerably and the activities of the Commonwealth Government and of its agencies have correspondingly become very much greater and much more intricate than they were at the inception of the Commonwealth or than could ever have been anticipated at that time. Yet, there has been no corresponding growth in the judicial organs of the Commonwealth to keep pace with these developments. Apart from the creation of two Federal courts of limited specialised jurisdiction, namely the Commonwealth Industrial Court and the Federal Bankruptcy Court, the High Court in its original jurisdiction and the various State courts exercising Federal jurisdiction have dealt with all matters arising under the Constitution and Federal Statutes.
As these trends continue, there will be an increasing amount of Federal litigation which will overtax the existing arrangements so that they will work much less satisfactorily than they have in the past. Since 1961, a very considerable amount of work was done, first by Sir Garfield Barwick as Attorney-General, and subsequently by the present Minister for Immigration when he was Attorney-General, on proposals for the establishment of a new court to relieve and forestall these pressures on the existing arrangements for the exercise of the federal jurisdiction. The work on these proposals, which was brought to an advanced stage by my immediate predecessor, involved an examination of a number of very involved technical legal problems, particularly as to the extent to which it would be constitutionally possible to make the new court an effective repository of jurisdiction in certain areas of specialised litigation.
The consideration of the proposals has led to the conclusion that, at the present time, particularly in the less populous States, the provision of an entire system of Federal courts would be uneconomic. Nevertheless, the time has come when, with the expansion in population and in litigation, the Commonwealth should now make a beginning and provide the necessary framework to deal with these developments. The Government has, therefore, decided that a relatively small new Federal court of quality and standing be established at this stage which would attract, as judges, lawyers of high professional reputation. Whilst State courts will continue to exercise the bulk of Federal jurisdiction, such as matrimonial causes jurisdiction, the major function of the new Court will be initially to exercise part of the original jurisdiction of the High Court. However, it will subsequently provide a basis for a wider exercise of Federal jurisdiction, if experience demonstrates that a wider jurisdiction is desirable.
It is intended that the new Court should be established at a level below that of the High Court with a status equal to that of the supreme courts of the States. The present Commonwealth Industrial Court will be incorporated in the new Court as a separate Division of that Court. The Court will be known as the Commonwealth Superior Court. It will be presided over by a president. The Court will require the services of four new judges, including the judge who in the meantime will have been appointed to fill the vacancy recently created by death of Sir Thomas Clyne. Commissions will be issued also to judges of the Industrial Court to enable them to sit in the General Division of the new Court as and when required, as well as in the Industrial Division. It is not proposed, however, to issue commissions to judges of the General Division to sit in the Industrial Division unless they have the necessary qualities required for that Division. The President of the Court will be a person qualified to sit in both the General Division and the Industrial Division of the Court and the allocation of the work of the Court will rest with him.
It is intended that, in addition to exercising part of the original jurisdiction presently exercised by the High Court, and the whole of the original jurisdiction at present exercised by the Commonwealth Industrial Court and the Federal Court of Bankruptcy, the new Court will exercise part, but only a small part, of the Federal jurisdiction which has hitherto been exercised by the supreme courts of the States. I have had a statement prepared, setting out the jurisdiction of the new Court, and I incorporate it in Hansard with the concurrence of honourable members.
JURISDICTION OF THE COMMONWEALTH SUPERIOR COURT
Original jurisdiction, that is, all jurisdiction not exercised by way of appeal from a court of law:
Appellate jurisdiction, that is, jurisdiction exercised by way of appeal from a court of law:
In explanation of that statement, I point out that, although the new Court will not initially exercise a general original criminal jurisdiction, the possibility of its later assuming such jurisdiction is left open. In the meantime, its Industrial Division will exercise the criminal summary jurisdiction of the present Commonwealth Industrial Court and the General Division of the Court will exercise the criminal jurisdiction of the present Federal Court of Bankruptcy, and a jurisdiction in respect of taxation prosecutions at present exercised by the High Court and the supreme courts of the States. The Court will be peripatetic and will sit in all States and in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. It will not exercise Territory jurisdiction, which will continue to be exercised by the supreme courts of the Territories, although some judges of the Commonwealth Superior Court will hold commissions as judges of the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court and the Northern Territory Supreme Court.
– by leave - Due to the courtesy of the Attorney-General (Mr Bowen) I was able to see the statement he has read and the document which the House has allowed him to incorporate in Hansard. He will appreciate that 1 am very glad indeed at the step which he has announced and the whole project which he has outlined. It is one to which I have been very much attracted for many years. The first time I went on record about it was, I think, at the Legal Convention in Perth in July 1957. I put my ideas - very similar to these - in the debate on the estimates of his Department in August 1958, and I spoke on the subject a couple of times at the Legal Convention in Hobart in January 1963. On that occasion Solicitor-General Bailey announced that Attorney-General Barwick had Cabinet’s authority to design a new Federal court and had received it in December 1962.
In June 1964 in an article in the initial issue of the ‘Federal Law Review’, the journal of the Law School of the School of General Studies at the Australian National University, Sir Garfield Barwick contributed an article discussing this project. He analysed, in particular, the work load on the High Court in its original jurisdiction. It is clear from answers which the Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden) gave me on 29th September and 27th October last year that this work load, particularly in taxation and industrial property matters, has greatly increased. The establishment of the new Court will undoubtedly facilitate the principal work of the High Court.
I rose to suggest some matters which I hope the Attorney-General will consider including in the functions of the new Court. I have made these suggestions in various places, including Hansard, over the years. The principal one would be as an appeal from administrative decisions. The size of this matter emerges from an answer which the former Prime Minister gave me on 17th August 1965, and which appears in Hansard at page 135, to the following question:
What additional or different methods of appeal from decisions of Commonwealth departments and instrumentalities have come into operation since his answer to me on 14th May 1958?
He set out a new table in substitution for the one of May 1958. The gist of it was that Sir Robert Menzies listed forty-six Acts; eighty-two sections or groups of sections of those Acts under which appeals could be made; and forty-six different categories of boards, tribunals, committees and courts hearing such appeals. A tally of the separate bodies within the various categories. Stales and Territories would run to hundreds. These bodies seldom sit in public or publish reasons. There is too great a diversity in the existing bodies and too great a mystery in the existing methods. The Commonwealth Superior Court would, I suggest, provide an independent appeal body and regulate appeal methods in the Commonwealth sphere, and a model for State and municipal procedures.
Of smaller moment are those matters on which, at present, there is no appeal at all. Surcharges under the Audit Act, compensation for unreasonable arrest or detention under the Crimes Act, and redresses of wrongs in the armed Services are all matters where a decision may be made by the Governor-General.
– The Trade Practices Tribunal.
– I was going to mention that later. It is analogous to the copyright tribunal established by the Bill on which debate has just been adjourned, but I take up the suggestion. It seems from the Attorney-General’s statement that the members of this new Court would include those judges who have, in fact, been commissioned to sit in the Trade Practices Tribunal and also, I should imagine, those commissioned to conduct air accident inquiries. Courts of marine inquiry are included in the list of Acts in the Prime Minister’s answer of August 1965 which I have just summarised.
There are some other matters which honourable members have suggested - and I have too, though less emphatically - might be appropriately reviewed by the proposed Court. Social service payments and security reports can be reviewed by a Department only after representations by a member of Parliament. Such procedures are appeals from Caesar to Caesar. One other function which I suggest might’ be given to the new court is that of a court of disputed returns. I have also suggested that a full court of the new court should hear appeals from the courts of the Territories. From a quick rereading of Sir Garfield Barwick’s article in the ‘Federal Law Review’ it appears to me that Sir Garfield thought that appeals from the
Territory Supreme Courts might come to this Superior Court. 1 certainly would not suggest that there should be such appeaals from the Supreme Courts of the Territories of Papua and New Guinea. Nauru and Christmas Island, since it is not, I think, generally expected that these Territories will be permanent portions of Australian territory or will be permanently within Australian jurisdiction. I suggest, however, that there would be an advantage in providing for appeals from decisions of single judges of the Supreme Courts of the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory to this proposed Court.
I thank the House, Mr Acting Speaker, for giving me leave to make these suggestions for consideration when determining the composition and jurisdiction of this Court, the advent of which I welcome.
– I move:
The proposal involves the construction of roads and drainage, water supply, sewerage and electricity supply to a new subdivision in the Casuarina area of Darwin. The estimated cost is $2,250,000.
In reporting favourably on the proposal, the Committee has drawn attention to an immediate need for a decision to be taken on the financial responsibility for the improvement of the Bagot Road access and for the early commencement of this work. Under section 306 of the Local Government Ordinance of the Northern Territory, the financial responsibility for the Bagot Road rests with the Corporation of the City of Darwin. However, the Corporation has requested the Commonwealth to provide the finance necessary for the reconstruction of Bagot Road. This request is receiving active consideration and a decision is expected shortly.
The Committee has also recommended that a programme for the long-term improvement of the arterial road network should be decided on and work commenced systematically as development requires. The Government agrees that there is a need for a programme for the development of arterial roads where these roads arc required due to the opening up of new Government subdivisions. Steps will be taken to draw up a programme in consultation with th: Corporation of the City of Darwin.
Upon the concurrence of the House in this resolution, detailed planning can continue in accordance with the Committee’s recommendations.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 17 May (vide page 2303). on motion by Mr Sinclair -
That the Bill bc now read a second time.
– This Bill seeks to make provision for the payment by the Commonwealth of grants to assist industrial research and give added impetus to our national development. 1 think it may be conseded that the proposed legislation is realistic, novel and far sighted. The Government is to be complimented in introducing legislation of this kind. As the debate has been interrupted, it may be of benefit to re-state some of the terms and conditions on which a grant is payable, particularly those regarding eligibility, those relating to the various types of grant and, thirdly, those concerning the exclusion of certain activities which will not attract grants.
The grants will be confined to Australian industry and the firms eligible for them must be companies which are incorporated in Australia and which, in the relevant year, are engaged in Australia in the manufacture of goods or in mining operations. Grants will be paid for new research and development expenditures only; that is to say, a grant will be paid only to a company which actually increases its research and development efforts in Australia over those of a base year, and for the purposes of the proposed legislation the base year is the financial year 1965-66. lt is intended chut the scheme will operate for an initial period of five years from 1st July 1967 and will be reviewed at the end of the fourth year of its operations.
There are certain exclusions in respect of activities which may attract grants. In the field of research the Bill excludes methods engineering, operational research, routine property control, routine materials testing, exploration and prospecting for minerals, and design work for a particular customer. lt also excludes market research, sales promotion, feasibility studies, management studies, labour efficiency surveys, investigations of incentive wage systems, and technical services to customers. However, there are three types of expenditure by eligible firms which will attract grants. The first is increased expenditure on professional and technical salaries and wages in a grant year compared with the base year of 1965-66. In a grant year, expenditure of this kind will qualify only in regard to professional and technical staff wholly engaged in research and development, but for the purpose of comparison wilh the base year the Government has decided to accept the salaries and wages both of full time and part time research staffs. The second type of qualifying expenditure is increased expenditure in respect of industrial research and development work which has been done for the company concerned by approved outside research and development organisations.
In both instances the amounts for professional and technical salaries on the one hand, and for outside contributed work and research on the other, are termed in the Bill items of work expenditure. The third type of eligible expenditure is net expenditure on plant and equipment intended solely for use for industrial research and development by the company concerned. The net plant expenditure in relation to the grant year means plant expenditure in respect of that year less any considerations received by the firm in regard to disposal of existing research and development plant and equipment. As to the third type, the Government has taken into consideration that it should not cover large expenditure on plant and equipment when there has been little or no increase in work expenditure. For this reason the scheme provides that the aggregate amount of grant in respect of plant expenditure shall not exceed at any time after the introduction of the scheme the aggregate amount of grants paid in respect of work expenditure.
The grants arc divided into two types - general grants and special grants. The general grant is on a traditional one for one basis. Firms will qualify automatically for grants equal to 50% of their original expenditure up to a ceiling of 550,000 in respect of a grant year. General grants will not exceed S25.000, but a company may qualify as well for a special grant. Again the eligible expenditure shall not go beyond $50,000 in a grant year. I am gravely concerned about two matters arising from this proposal. Both are concerned with taxation. lt seems apparent from the legislation, and from replies to questions I have put to the Minister and the Department, that these grants will be taxable in the hands of the recipient. 1 ask the House to take cognisance of the fact that if a company receives a general grant of $25,000 for work expenditure, and if the company has made a profit before tax, it must add the S25.000 as income received in the taxation year. Therefore it would become subject to at least the 42.5% tax rate. To take a figure of 40% for ease of calculation, if a company attracts a $25,000 grant and pays 40% of it in taxation, in effect the company receives only $15,000. Thus the traditional one for one basis is destroyed. Surely the Government should be sufficiently recouped from the higher taxation obtained in future years out of increased income that results from research and development.
The second matter that is further exacerbated by the taxation provision is the grant for plant. What does a firm do in regard to depreciation of plant? I understand !hat plant used entirely for research can be written off in depreciation over a period ot three years. A fairly large amount of money may thereby be written off each year. Plant must cost $50,000 to attract the $25,000 grant on the one for one basis. But what will really happen in such an instance’ A company will pay $50,000 for certain machinery and the Board will approve, on application, a $25,000 grant. The company will then pay out $10,000, or thereabouts, of this sum in income tax. In effect the company will have received $15,000, but must spend $50,000 on the machine. By simple arithmetic one concludes that the company must find $35,000 to attract a net grant of $15,000. Instead of the grant being on a basis of one for one, it will really be on a basis of thirty-five to fifteen. Again, how does depreciation come into the scheme? If the Commonwealth contributes half the cost of certain plant the company is entitled to depreciate only half the cost of it over three years. This is inequitable for the company concerned. It is disadvantageous in regard to both depreciation and income tax in the grant year. These matters certainly warrant consideration. Either the company should be permitted to depreciate the total cost of the plant and machinery over a three-year period or, if depreciation is to be related to the Government’s contribution to the cost of the machine, it should be on a net pro rata basis. In other words, in respect of a $50,000 item of plant there would be a $15,000 net contribution by the Government and $35,000 put up by the company. Depreciation should be on that pro rata basis.
I turn now to the composition of the proposed Australian Industrial Research and Development Grants Board. Clause 7 of Part II of the Bill sets out its composition and various matters in respect of its government. Sub-clause (2) provides that the Board shall consist of a chairman and two parttime members, and provides further that the members shall be appointed by the Governor-General. Various other things are covered, including remuneration, leave of absence and dismissal. Clause 15 provides for the rights of a public servant who is appointed as chairman of the Board. For example, it provides that if a person appointed as chairman under clause 7 was immediately before his appointment an officer of the Public Service of the Commonwealth, he shall retain his existing accruing rights. In other words, he continues to be covered by the Public Service Act, the Superannuation Act and so on. This is all very well, but Part II of the Bill does not lay down who shall be appointed as chairman. Under this Bill it would be possible for the Minister, through the Governor-General, to appoint without any qualification whatever three Commonwealth public servants to the Board. After all, this Board will deal with research and development grants in the fields of manufacturing and mining. Surely if these part-time members are to be appointed to the Board their advice and assistance in the branches of technology or research in which they are experienced must be of value. I know that there is to be an advisory committee of eight part-time members, but I put that matter to one side. The executive part of this operation is the Board. It is possible that all three members of the Board could be Commonwealth public servants. The fear that something like this might happen was seen in setting up the Australian Tourist Commission. That Commission comprises a Chairman and four members. The legislation lays down that not more than two members of the Commission shall be Commonwealth public servants. But we should go further in this Bill. Not only should we provide that not more than one member of the Board should be a Commonwealth public servant but also, that all members of the Board should be people who have knowledge or experience in the technological fields of manufacturing and mining. I had proposed to move in the Committee stage an amendment to give effect to my submissions. I have discussed this matter with the Minister and I understand that he is prepared to move an amendment which to some degree embodies what I have in mind. If he does that I will be satisfied.
The honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor) has foreshadowed an amendment dealing with the defintion of eligible person. Under this Bill the grant is limited to a company. This is done for a very good reason. A company is bound by the company laws of the State in which it is incorporated. It is answerable to a registrar-general. It must keep proper accounts, books and statements. These things do not apply in the case of an individual, who is not bound as rigidly in the administration of his organisation as is a company. I would say that these are the reasons why the restriction exists in this Bill. But the Opposition has foreshadowed an amendment to bring eligible persons within the scope of the Bill. All I can say on this point is that if an eligible person who is not a company was big enough to attract a reasonable research and development grant, he would be a poor businessman if he did not incorporate himself as a company for the purpose of attracting the grant. So I cannot support the Opposition’s proposed amendment in relation to this matter. The other amendment foreshadowed by the Opposition will provide that companies eligible under this Bill shall be wholly owned and controlled by Australian nationals. Perhaps the honourable member for Cunningham could have gone further with the phobia which the Opposition has about the use of overseas capital and said that all of the work force in the factories shall be Austraiian nationals and all shall bc financial members of their respective trade unions. It is a wonder that proviso was omitted by the Opposition.
The end result is that I cannot accept cither of the amendments proposed by the Opposition. 1 again urge the Minister to look at the matter of the effective taxation on these grants. If something is not done about the taxing of these grants the Government will destroy the value of its traditional SI for SI grants which operate in other fields. Where a sum is paid by way of bounty, as in the case of fertiliser, on the amount produced it is a different matter but by imposing income tax at the full rate on the grant the Government is running the risk of destroying its traditional subsidy of $1 for $1. In addition, persons receiving this grant for research and development purposes are at a disadvantage as regards depreciation for taxation purposes.
As 1 said at the outset, I think this is a good piece of legislation. No doubt it will be improved as time goes by. The amount to be appropriated annually will be about $6m. That sum could increase, but we must start somewhere. The Government is to be commended on bringing down this legislation. The Government has done this kind of thing regularly during its past eighteen years in office. I am pleased to be associated with this legislation. With the reservations I have expressed regarding taxation and the constitution of the Board, I commend the Bill to honourable members.
– The need for some encouragement of research and development expenditure by industry is long overdue and its belated recognition by the Government is to be welcomed. As the honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor) indicated last night, my Party therefore supports the
Bill. The Bill indicates that the Government now recognises, in some degree at least, the importance of industrial research. The manufacturing industries now employ more than twice the number employed in primary production, contribute to the national income more, than twice the amount contributed by the primary industries, and contribute increasingly to our export income. In order to compete on the world market we must either produce new types of goods, sell improved products at the same price as others sell the unimproved products, or sell conventional products more cheaply. This calls for high technical efficiency of our manufacturing industry. This high efficiency can be obtained only if full use. is made of existing scientific and technological knowledge. As has been said many times, the long term prosperity of any industrial country today depends on its making the best use of science.
This country Ls increasingly dependent on imported technique. Buying the necessary know-how from overseas is not satisfactory because making innovations with new materials, techniques and devices requires people with expertise and versatility. This can be gained only by first-hand experience. O’verseas practice has frequently to be modified before it can be applied here. Hence more research and development has to be done by Australian manufacturing industry and the industry has to employ more technically trained manpower. To this end encouragement of industry by the Government is necessary. lt is well known that among developed industrialised nations the proportion of the gross national product spent on research and development in Australia is amongst the lowest in the world. The figures usually given show that the United States of America devotes 3% of its gross national product to research and development, Britain 2.5%, Japan 1.4%, Sweden 1.4% and Australia 0.6%. Of the meagre amount spent on research and development, 85% is spent by government laboratories and only 8% by industry. In Britain, on the other hand, 65% of expenditure on research and development is spent by industry and 30% by government laboratories. So to this extent the performance of our industries has been poor. This is not because Australia is not a well developed and prosperous country by international standards. Our gross national product per head of population is amongst the highest in the world. The proportion that we spend on research is amongst the lowest in the world.
Several factors have brought about this situation, but there are three dominant ones. The first is the attitudes of management. The Minister for Social Services (Mr Sinclair) referred to this in his second reading speech. Australian management has generally been sceptical about the value of research and development expenditure, despite the successful examples of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the government research bodies. The second factor is overseas control of industry. The technology on which Australia’s high per capita income rests is largely imported. In a select group of fiftytwo companies covering a wide range of industries surveyed by the Manufacturing Industries Advisory Council in 1953, onethird depended almost entirely on imported know-how. The situation would have deteriorated considerably since then with the growth of foreign investment in the succeeding fourteen years. In his second reading speech the Minister said that we were in danger of becoming a nation of copyists. The Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt) denies this. Most experts in this field would reject the Prime Minister’s complacency.
The third factor is the cost of research and development. The cost of research and the time involved makes it difficult for all but the largest companies to undertake worthwhile research and development. The effects of this situation are serious in a variety of ways. The lack of research and development in Australia means that our ability to achieve our own economic goals could be seriously hampered. The overseas source of much technology is not a bad thing in itself as long as we do not exclusively rely on imported know-how. In fact a selective use of the best imported knowledge is an efficient way to use technical manpower but we must be able to supply our own innovations where necessary. Much more serious is the fact that in the survey which I have mentioned, two-thirds of the firms manufacturing under licence were subject to considerable export restrictions.
The lack of research and development in Australian industry seriously limits the opportunities for employment of the better graduates from Australian universities and forces them to seek employment either in the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation or the universities, or to leave Australia, often for the most creative years of their lives. The Acting Minister for Trade and Industry referred to the drift abroad of our top graduates. This tends to perpetuate the technical backwardness of industry and means that there is no pool of expert, versatile innovators to undertake local research and development.
Prom these considerations one could suggest the desirable features of a scheme of research and development grants to industry. Firstly, to be effective, a scheme must have the necessary administrative support. Without this support it will be impossible to assess whether the aims of legislation are being achieved. Secondly, the scheme should be selective in encouraging those aspects of innovation which are in Australia’s long-term interests. Presumably such effort would be concentrated in exporting industries in areas in which Australia has some inherent advantages and can compete effectively. It is possible to expect too much of research and development in industry, and especially for a country with a small population like Australia it is essential not to waste valuable technical effort on unproductive ends. It is obvious that we cannot compete in every industrial area and government encouragement should be directed to those fields in which we can specialise and in which we do well.
Thirdly, with this in mind, and the size of most Australian firms being a barrier to effective research and development expenditure, the possibility of co-operative research on an industry basis should be considered. The British research associations are an example here. In 1963 there were twenty such associations with an income of £Stg4.5m derived mainly from industry and partly from government sources. The benefits to small firms were quite considerable. Fourthly, any proposed scheme must not weaken the basic and applied research efforts already under way in the universities and government agencies. In many ways these agencies should be looked to for basic new ideas which could then be developed by industry. Further, it should be accompanied by some controls over the conditions under which imported techniques are introduced into Australia. In particular, export restrictions must be prohibited and the technical knowledge should be available for a definite sum, not for an indefinite and expanding bill for licence fees, which were estimated in 1965 to be $1 00m per annum.
The haste with which this proposal has been brought before Parliament indicates how little time has been available for carefully thinking out the implications and consulting with bodies which might be in a position to give advice. The original proposal was made in the last Budget by the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) in what was virtually an election promise. It has now been transferred to the jurisdiction of the Department of Trade and Industry. From our knowledge of what happens in the Department of Trade and Industry, we can have no confidence that the scheme will be administered in a disinterested fashion. The Department has no great knowledge or expertise in this field and it is likely that the administration of the scheme will be animated by the same spirit as the policy of protecting its industrial friends, regardless of their efficiency or of the benefit to the country as a whole.
A proposal of this kind, involving all sorts of complex decisions and requiring a great deal of information about the operations of research in industry, should not be introduced without suitable administrative support. Such support is almost lacking in Australia. It is evident that the main inspiration for the Government’s scheme comes from Canada where various schemes of this kind have been operating for a number of years. The contrast between Australia and Canada in this field could hardly be more striking. The Canadian Government has, over the years, built up a number of sources of information to guide it in administering such policies and in relating them to other aspects of research and development. For instance, there is the Canadian Advisory Panel for Scientific Policy, comprising the permanent heads of various national government departments with an interest in research, under the chairmanship of the President of the National Research Council, Canada’s equivalent of the CSIRO.
A few years ago, the Canadian Government received a report from a royal commission, the Glassco Commission, on government administration in Canada. One chapter of the Glassco Commission’s report was devoted entirely to questions of research and development in Canada, and contained a large amount of statistical information about the distribution of scientific and technical effort in Canadian industry. A few years ago, the Canadian Government set up the Economic Council for Canada, which was the body borne in mind by the Vernon Committee when it made its ill fated recommendations for the establishment of such a council of economic advice in Australia. The first report of the Economic Council for Canada, published in 1964, and dealing with Canada’s economic goals up to 1970, contains a considerable amount of discussion and information about the possible contribution of research and development to Canadian industry. Finally, the Canadian Government has, since World War Two, conducted periodic surveys of research and development in Government agencies, in universities, and in industry. The information gained in these surveys, and the experience derived from them in assessing the actual conduct of research and development in industry, is of the greatest importance in assisting the Canadian Government to administer its various schemes of tax deductions and grants to stimulate research in private industry.
On a more modest level, our neighbour New Zealand has also moved in this direction. By an Act of the New Zealand Parliament, there was constituted in 1964 a National Research Advisory Council with the task of producing an annual report on problems of research and development in New Zealand. The annual reports of this Council have provided a source of comprehensive information about the research and development effort in New Zealand, of which there is no counterpart in Australia. As a result, the New Zealand Government has already been able to make various decisions about stimulating research and development in particular areas in New Zealand, decisions which could not otherwise have been made without the information available from these reports.
The haste with which this Bill has been introduced, and its lack of relation to any wider scheme or perspective, is underlined by the fact that no attempt has yet been made by any official agency in Australia to collect information of this type. The Bureau of Census and Statistics, which is in a position to organise surveys of research and development in industry and in government agencies, has never been given this responsibility. Without this information, much of the aims of the present legislation will be stultified, because it will be exceedingly difficult to tell how much effect the present legislation is having on the activities of private companies in research and development. It is one thing for the Government to provide a base year upon which increases are to be made, and another to have any idea what kind of activity was actually taking place during this base year. By asking firms to work out their own system for assessing expenditure by 1st July, to provide a basis for the granting of funds under this scheme, the Government is in effect inviting these firms to write their own ticket and to organise their affairs in such a way that they qualify for the maximum possible grant.
There is no evidence in the Minister’s speech of any consultation with other competent bodies, such as CSIRO, or the Department of Education and Science, in connection with this proposal. It would, of course, have been impossible for the Government to consult the Department of Education and Science about the matter since the latter has hardly been set up. However, the Government has already taken five years to introduce a scheme of this kind, despite repeated representations from official and private bodies. It is hardly in a position now to plead urgency.
In his second reading speech, the Minister suggested ‘industrial expansion’ and economic growth’ as the aims of the scheme. These can only be broadly true. There is considerable evidence that there is little direct relationship between economic growth and research and development expenditure as such. Only carefully selected research and development really contributes to economic growth. One of the dangers of the proposed scheme is that it will encourage all sorts of firms to undertake footling research just to collect the grant.
Clause 27(4) suggests that there is some attempt to ensure selectivity but the objectives are very widely drawn. The financial and personnel resources required for the full development and exploitation of world markets of a distinctively new product - for example, a new synthetic fibre - are, in general, of an order of magnitude greater than any Australian company could contemplate undertaking alone. New processes usually require rather smaller resources, and there would be advantages in Australian firms looking preferentially at this field. In this Bill this difference has not been sufficiently appreciated. The examples of the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland point to the fact that such items as sophisticated instruments in which the innovatory component is high and where the market is a specialised one are important fields for a country like Australia. The experience of the CSIRO tends to confirm this expectation.
Although the Government has not attempted to collect any information about the actual character of research and development in Australian industry, a number of people have made studies of the situation. The unanimous conclusion is that the great bulk of research in Australian industry is done by a very small group of large firms. There are. perhaps, three big Australian manufacturing companies with a substantial interest in research and development, and perhaps no more than twice that number of big international corporations with branches in Australia. It is this’ small group of big companies which will be in a position to benefit substantially from the grants which the Government proposes to make. In effect, the Government will once more be making a free gift to those people who are in no need of such gifts. The scheme is too small in scale and too limited in scope to benefit those small firms which, under a more imaginative scheme, might benefit from assistance in stimulating their research and development effort. In the last couple of years, several of the big international pharmaceutical companies have established research departments in Australia. Presumably, they will qualify for grants and, considering the general readiness of the drug industry to finance itself from taxpayers’ money, we may expect that they will make the maximum use of the present scheme.
At present, research and development departments are found almost entirely in the large firms which employ more than 1,000 people. There are about seventy such firms amongst approximately 60,000 manufacturing firms in Australia. About 1.800 firms employ more than 100 people. The smaller firms are those which are in particular need of improved technology and encouragement to produce. The minimum size of a research and development unit has been estimated to be one scientist or engineer, one qualified assistant, and one assistant, the salaries for whom would be about SI 2.500. The same amount would be required yearly for equipment and maintenance. There would be an initial capital expenditure for building or extension to existing buildings, the usual estimate being about 400 square feet space for each worker. These building operations would cost about S25.000. Therefore the limit up to which a firm will automatically qualify for the grant will be reached when the firm establishes one research and development unit of the size that I have mentioned. This is far more generous. A more imaginative scheme could be devised to benefit small firms. However such a scheme would have to recognise the danger of too many small grants to different firms which would encourage small research units to be started where the staff would lack the necessary contact with other scientists and engineers. Many small units would nol be viable.
The scheme outlined by the Minister refers several times to the provision of payments for research contracted to outside organisations. This provision makes it probable that small firms would prefer to get their research and development done under contract, rather than involve themselves in the organisational and financial problems of hiring and maintaining qualified staff able to undertake research and development. Il would also be interesting to know what kind of outside organisations are likely to be approved. For example, would these include CSIRO, the universities, and Hie Department of Supply? This could have important implications for some CSIRO divisions, and possibly for the universities and senior colleges of advanced education.
Another factor limiting the opportunities for small firms is the stipulation in the Bill that expenditure on plant and equipment will qualify only to the extent that it is matched by expenditure on salaries and wages. To establish a research and development unit, the first thing to do is to provide building and equipment. Hence, for a new unit, the initial costs of building and equipment will be far greater than the costs of salaries. The stipulation makes the scheme very limited with respect to the establishment of new research and development units. The restrictions which provide that, in order to qualify, plant and equipment must be used solely for research and development and that the staff must be wholly engaged on research and development will make it very difficult for small firms to qualify. To overcome some of the barriers to effective research and development due to the size of most firms, co-operative research on an industry basis should be encouraged, as 1 mentioned earlier. But the Bill makes no provision for grants to research associations set up by a group of fir ms in an industry.
There are some other omissions from this Bill which should be mentioned. The measure ignores the possibility of important contributions from firms which do not actually manufacture goods in the grant year. Section 5 defines an eligible company. For example, there are several firms which currently import electronic instruments and which have set up laboratories to adapt some units to local requirements and to service the equipment. In such a laboratory the engineers could well develop a valuable idea for an alternative design to the imported unit. Such developmental research should be supported and may require support for several years before manufacture could begin.
The most important discoveries in science and engineering have been made by people who have been working for five or ten years in large research centres owned by firms like the Bell Telephone Company, the General Electric organisation, and the Allis Chalmers Company, or in government agencies such as the Australian Atomic Energy Commission, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the United States of America, the Telecommunications Research Establishment in England, or the CSIRO in Australia. The important feature of these establishments, like the universities, is the comparatively large number of people who contribute to what may, at times, seem to be one person’s invention. Another important feature is the attitude of the administration and management of these establishments which encourage innovation. During the last two decades the most outstanding developments in computers, electronics and special electrical devices have been achieved by people leaving the research centre and setting up to manufacture items based on the discovery made earlier. These people, who are not manufacturers initially, deserve help with selective grants for production developments.
Expenditure by firms on professional and technical salaries and wages related to research is eligible for a grant. However, the general exclusion of librarians is regrettable. If such people are employed as routine processors of books, journals and reports the exclusion is fully defensible; but if librarians include skilled information officers, especially those engaged on fully professional work including patent activities, then it is a bad decision. One revealing aspect of the proposals as a whole is that the word ‘patent’ is never mentioned, though clearly the whole question of patenting is of vital importance. In this country we are seriously short of skilled patent attorneys and counsellors. Further, there is no mention specifically of library materials such as books, journals and abstracts, which are quite expensive. In some fields their ready and almost continuous availability is absolutely essential if fruitless duplication of work is to be avoided. University and public libraries, though generally helpful, are not always conveniently situated for regular use. Library expenditure on books and journals is easily delineated and could well be defined for inclusion under plant and equipment. No thought is given in the Bill to the supply of instruments for research. The cost, per member of staff, of facilities for research in Australia is more than twice as high as in England. This is partly because much of the plant and equipment is imported from high cost countries.
The proposed Grants Board - and I am happy to see that it is now to be named the Australian Industrial Research Grants Board and not the Commonwealth Industrial Research Grants Board - which will administer this Act could perhaps help by establishing a pool of research instruments for loan, hire or hire purchase. This equipment could be exchanged between centres when needed and could be valuable not only in reducing costs incurred for equipment needed for short periods but also in saving time when an imported instrument is required at short notice. The unit from the pool could fill the gap until a new one was obtained. If the Board could not staff such an exchange centre, it could provide a grant and a contract to a firm already doing research to establish and operate the pool.
The question of design is an awkward one. The exclusion from the Bill of design work for a particular customer is sound enough, but the acceptance of functional but not style design may require some discretionary powers. For example, there is no doubt that Swedish industry has often profited greatly from its flair for design, though it is doubtful whether it is always possible to separate styling from functional characteristics. The blanket exclusion of market research from the Bill is debatable in that this activity necessarily forms part of the final development stages of a new product and may be vital to a successful decision to continue or discontinue a line of work. It cannot be denied that market research is very often practised in the wasteful competitive arena - for example, on different brands of the same kind of product. The administering authority could perhaps be given some discretionary powers here. Again, feasibility studies at their worst are rightly excluded, but there are some situations in which this activity is interwoven with genuine research and development efforts.
The great defect of this Bill is that it is attacking the wrong end of the problem. The real difficulty of research and development’ in industry is not simply to encourage a modest amount of research but to provide the necessary funds and other support to develop and market the products and processes that result from this research. Australians are as inventive and imaginative in these matters as are the people of any nation in the world. What they have chronically lacked is development capital and other resources required to bring discoveries to a commercial stage or at least to the pilot plant stage where they can be sold profitably to big companies that are in a position to produce them on a large scale. The history of Australia is full of inventions that have been made here but have lapsed for want of a sponsor to bring them to the stage of production or have been bought by overseas companies either to prevent competition or to provide a profitable new idea which that company can develop and which will bring little good to Australia.
There are a number of outstanding examples of this in discoveries and inventions made by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation which have remained largely in laboratory form because the resources have not been available to develop them for commercial purposes. This kind of activity is much more expensive and much more complicated than research at laboratory level as it is commonly understood. Estimates of the difference of cost vary considerably but the most modest estimates of the relative cost of research compared with development to commercial use put the ratio at 1 : 25. If the Government is really serious about stimulating research and development in Australian industry, it must be prepared to spend sums of this order in ensuring that promising inventions are placed on the market. Otherwise, the supposed objectives of this legislation will not be realised. In addition to finance, the Government must be prepared to investigate the setting up of suitable institutions and organisational methods to make such developmental work possible and to protect enterprising people and companies against the risks that they may run in trying to develop inventions for the benefit of the community as a whole. There is no sign that the Government intends to do any such thing or that it has given any serious thought to the implications of such a problem.
Increased expenditure on industrial research and development will in general enhance the potential for innovation but will not necessarily increase the rate. The return from such expenditure has ultimately to be achieved in the market place from the profitable sale of new products or of cheaper products made possible by the introduction of new processes or from the sale of the new processes themselves. Industrial research and development is only one part of this total process of innovation. The proposed scheme does not tackle the question of capital resources at high risk often required at the stage following successful laboratory and/ or semi-technical scale work. In the United Kingdom this aspect falls within the province of the National Research Development Corporation. At present, there is no Australian counterpart of this Corporation.
To sum up, it is clear that, while this legislation can be supported as a belated move in the right direction, it has many important omissions and inadequacies, lt is questionable whether it is to be administered by the appropriate department, lt lacks relation to a wider plan for research and development. There has been lack of consultation with other bodies competent in the field of research. It will help the large firms who least need help and do little or nothing for the smaller firms. It makes no arrangements for co-operative research on an industry-wide basis. It ignores the possible role of non-manufacturing firms currently conducting research. In a word, it is a fair example of the Government’s piecemeal and planless approach to a complex and important question. The Opposition supports the legislation but can regard it only as a minor instalment of what must become a long range, thoroughgoing plan for stimulating research and development in Australia and ensuring that the maximum advantages accrue to the nation. It illustrates once again that the Government has no science policy.
– Like the Walrus in ‘Alice in Wonderland’, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) has today spoken of many things. But no amount of verbal proliferation in this chamber can hide the fact that the Government is to be commended and congratulated on its initiative in bringing before the House an important measure to stimulate research and development among Australian manufacturing and mining industries. Among the more extraordinary statements made by the honourable gentleman was his criticism of the Department of Trade and Industry. This is an outrageous charge and is not supported by one scintilla of evidence. I want to go on record as saying that the Department of Trade and Industry is one of the most effective departments that we are fortunate to have in Australia.
Mr Acting Speaker, in ‘Morte d’ Arthur’, the poet laureate, Lord Tennyson, commented that ‘the old order changeth, yielding place to new’. Had Tennyson been alive today, he could no more aptly have described the period of time in which we live than in terms of the rapid transition from an old to a new world, a world which has as its daily fare a continuing and accelerating progression of industrial and technological change unequalled in the history of mankind.
Basic science is today emerging as the initiator and leader of industrial practice, and as the British scientist and novelist, C. P. Snow, has observed:
This new phase is certainly related to the great industrial revolution of the eighteenth to the early twentieth century but it is . . . far more deeply scientific, fat quicker, and probably far mare prodigious in its result.
This change conies from the application of real science to industry, no longer hit and miss, no longer the ideas of odd ‘inventors’ but the real stuff. . . .
I believe the industrial society of electronics, atomic energy, automation, is in cardinal respects different in kind from any that has gone before, and will change the world much more.
The significance of this development is clearly evident from an assessment of the past impact of an improved technology on industrial output. Robert S010W of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in his article on Technical Change and the Aggregate Production Function’ has estimated that, of the total increase in United States output per manhour from 1909 to 1949. only 12.5% was due to increase in capital equipment while 87.5% was due to technological progress. In a second study, Moses Abramovitz of the United States National Bureau of Economic Research has calculated that, during the period 1871 to 1951, technological advance in the United States accounted for 90% of the rise in output per manhour, as against 10% for capital formation. And Benton F. Massell in still a third independent study, carried out al the Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, has found that, during the period 1919 to 1955, technological change accounted for approximately 90% of the rise in United States output per manhour. These studies emphasise the need in any growth pattern of industrial activity to focus attention on technological progress and the factors that inhibit or promote it.
Technological advance is an essential common denominator factor in improved profitability, increased capital formation, overall expansion and a rising standard of living. Unfortunately, analogous studies to those already mentioned for the United States, are not available for the Australian environment. However, I refer to an article by D. M. Hocking entitled ‘Research and Its
Application to Industry’ in the Australian Institute of Metals Journal, Volume 3, No. 1, 1958. Assessing product innovations in a group of sixty-six firms between 1939 and 1953, Hocking found that profits on ordinary capital tended to be high among innovators’ and low among ‘followers’, a follower being defined as a firm which in the period considered introduced only innovations which had already been introduced by other firms. With the concurrence of honourable members 1 incorporate Hocking’s table in Hansard:
Hocking also found that, in a sample covering a wide range of chemicals and engineering firms, firms with overseas connections were responsible for 54% of innovations, the rate of innovation being strongest where there were actual financial ties. Ranking innovations by status, 83% of major innovations had overseas links. A systematic programme of research and development is an essential prerequisite for technological progress and this awareness has led to an increasing emphasis in recent years on the need for greater research and developmental effort in Australian manufacturing industry which in the field has been characterised more by a derivative rather than an initiating orientation in its approach to technology. The degree of dependence on overseas sources of technology has been and still is very pronounced. Business leaders in this country are for the most part disinclined to invest resources in their own research and development work.
No one would seriously propose any absolute change in this approach. We as £ nation cannot forgo the obvious benefits of importing overseas know-how; even the science based industries such as chemicals and pharmaceuticals rely heavily on basic information on new processes and products from overseas and will continue to do so even in the long term.
It must also be recognised that manufacturing industry has increased in strength and importance in recent years, with only a marginal emphasis on research and development. What must be understood is that the cost of a deriative technology from overseas sources is very often underestimated. Royalty payments and licence fees are not inexpensive and involve an outward flow of funds that are all too often generated with difficulty in this country. It has been estimated that our annual expenditure for this purpose represents a drain of not less than $100m although Reserve Bank figures suggest a much lesser estimate of the order of $40m. The rationale of these widely divergent estimates is no doubt dependent upon distinguishing between licence fees, royalty payments, the cost of developmental work carried out overseas on behalf of an Australian company, payment for technical advice, and the outright purchase of a process. There are also the costs involved in translating imported know-how to conform to Australian conditions and environment. Additionally, the importance of developing our own national capacity for research and imagineering cannot be underestimated. One example, mentioned by P. C. Stubbs of the University of Melbourne in his address on The Sources of Innovation in Australian Manufacturing Industry’ to the August 1965 meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science is worth quoting. He said:
An Australian company included a small subsidiary, employing about fifty people, whose manager wanted to take out a licence hum an American company to make their product in Australia. The American company was only fifteen strong, with an annual profit of £3,000, yet the Australian company had assumed that it was inferior to the American and must buy, rather than work out, the solution of its problems.
International comparisons are all too often difficult to interpret, but it is interesting to observe where Australia stands in regard to research expenditure. With the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate in Hansard a table headed ‘Patterns of National Expenditure on Research and Development’, based on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development publication ‘Science, Economic Growth and Government Policy, -Paris 1963’, and the United Nations ‘Year Book of National Accounts Statistics 1962’, together with a table of Australian patents filed for the years 1951 through to 1960, as quoted in the Royal Australian Chemical Institute Proceedings, September 1963.
The list of patents filed highlights the stagnation of Australian inventions during the years quoted. The table of patterns of national expenditure on research and development points up the abnormally low Australian expenditure on industrial research, although our assessment of this expenditure should bear in mind our smaller proportion of spending on defence research, aircraft development, space research and atomic energy in comparison with other countries. If defence, space and aviation are excluded, the United Kingdom spends 1.4% of its gross national product on research and development, the United Stales 1.3% and Australia probably about 0.45%. It should be mentioned that because of difficulties of definition and deficiencies in statistical records these figures are subject to uncertainty.
As the Vernon Committee of Economic Inquiry pointed out, the striking difference between the countries lies in the use of funds. In the United States of America, 66% of total research funds is provided by the Government, but only 15% is spent in Government research establishments; the balance flows to industry which, in the aggregate, spends 75% of the total national research expenditure. A similar pattern obtains in the United Kingdom and France and, to a lesser extent, in Canada. In Australia, research funds derived from the Government are almost wholly spent in government establishments and in universities; very little flows to industry. As a consequence, Australian industry spends only 20% of the total national research expenditure of 0.6% of gross national product, that is, it spends a little over 0.1% of gross national product. In the United Slates, industry spends 75% of the national figure of 2.7%; that is, it spends about 2% of gross national product. Thus, the ratio of research expenditure to gross national product is four times greater in the United States than in Australia, and the ratio in respect of such expenditure by industry is about twenty times greater. On the general theme of the development of technology J. B. Condliffe of the Stanford Research Institute, California, in the study The Development of Australia”, commissioned by the Australia Development Research Foundation, had this to say:
In contrast to the import of foreign capital or the purchase of foreign know-how, there is an urgent need for applied research and development to promote, patent and export Australian knowhow and inventions. Australians are an ingenious and mechanically minded people. There is an increasing volume of adaptation and invention. This has been supplemented in recent years by practical applications arising from fundamental scientific research. Until recently, there has been little effort to patent, and profit from, such discoveries and inventions and it is still difficult to find the money necessary to develop an invention through the pilot processes of testing and adaptation to commercial use.
A survey of seventy-five leading Australian companies made several years ago by two staff members of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation revealed that the great majority were either subsidiaries of overseas concerns producing last year’s models’, or locallyowned firms importing ‘know-how’. In neither group was there the desire, or the necessity, to employ research and development staff commensurate with the size and nature of the companies concerned.
The Bill before the House is the first step in the dissipation of this attitude which at the present time is too characteristic of Australian industry. As the Minister pointed out in his second reading speech, the Government will provide under the new legislation up to $6 million per year for a scheme of grants to encourage increased industrial research and development in Australian manufacturing and mining industries. Such a programme will enable the introduction into Australian industry of new products and processes particularly suited to Australian raw materials and the responses of the Australian market; greater long-term industrial efficiency and the development of self-reliant industries; increased stimulus to adjust the present attitude of Australian management towards industrial research and development; a more efficient use of Australian raw materials and natural resources; and greatly increased capacity by Australian industry to service and manufacture the needs of modern defence equipment.
Grants of the type envisaged in the Bill are, of course, only a partial solution, lt is one thing to give financial encouragement to do research and development, and another to provide the facilities to undertake it. Estimates of the minimum necessary expenditure for adequate research establishments vary from $100,000 to $200,000, although some scientists have indicated that useful development work could be done for much less than $100,000. As one economist put it, and I quote an article by C. Stubbs of the University of Melbourne, writing in the June 1965 edition of the ‘Economic Record’:
The individual company contemplating research in Australia must satisfy itself that the exercise is worthwhile from the point of view of the shareholders (preferably in the long run) and not from the point of view of academic scientists or disgruntled members of its staff. It must satisfy itself that there is a reasonable probability that something technically worthwhile will come out of the research and that the market for such developments is big enough to make them profitable. The product must be technically good - at least as good as last year’s model in America - and free from ‘bugs’. This is no easy exercise. I met recently an Australian executive, otherwise extremely patriotic, who said that on principle he would never buy an Australian-designed consumer durable - ‘I buy Brand X (an American design), I know they’ve been selling for two years and more in the “ States “.’ This is the sort of suspicion that faces the local innovator.
Whilst Australia’s research effort leaves a great deal to be desired, it is important to pay tribute to our existing achievements and status in the discipline of applied research, and to recognise a growing interest in scientific research in Australia. CSIRO itself has commented: ‘More firms in Australia are undertaking research to improve their technology’, indicating ‘a movement away from complete dependence on overseas technology’. Some work of an applied character is carried out at universities, particularly in the faculties of engineering and agriculture. The CSIRO conducts a great deal of applied research, spending annually about as much as all industry. Even by world standards
CSIRO is a large research organisation, being surpassed only by the largest companies abroad, lt has an outstanding reputation in the field, and this can no doubt be expected to continue in the future.
Substantial research contributions come also from the Bureau of Mineral Resources Geology and Geophysics branches, the Australian Atomic Energy Commission, the Postmaster-General’s Department and the laboratories of the Commonwealth Department of Supply. Many of the larger industrial companies are engaged in applied research. The range is wide and includes chemicals, food, electrical equipment, brewing, tobacco, steel, building materials, paper, glass, plastics, utilities such as gas and electricity, automobiles and some engineering. Th: scale of research is no doubt, in many cases, frequently relatively small, and it tends to be concentrated in the newer, more technically advanced industries, such as chemicals, rather than in the olderestablished industries. Some collaborative research is sponsored by industry, the more notable institutions being the Bread Research Institute, Australian Mineral Industries Research Association, Australian Coal Association (Research) Limited, Australian Leather Research Association, Sugar Research Limited and the Australian Wine Research Institute. Considerable contributions towards collaborative research have come from the wool, wheat and meat industries. There is great potential for increasing the area of collaborative research in Australia and I hope that Government and industry will give some attention to this, along lines already evident in Britain and other countries.
Mr Deputy Speaker, in the projection of future government policy in this field, I commend to the Minister’s attention several concepts which I put forward without detailed substantiation. Firstly, the Government would make a forceful impact by underwriting and stimulating the establishment of private research centres and by giving tax concessions - for example, double deductibility - to firms establishing their own research divisions. Additional to this should be consideration of measures to encourage businessmen to scrap equipment at the end of its economic life rather than at the end of its physical life. This would enable a faster rate of introduction of technological advance. One step would be to adopt a more realistic basis of calculating depreciation allowances preferably based on replacement price rather than historical cost of the replaced item. This may require the splitting of the calculation of allowable depreciation into two parts - one, the present practice of regularly writing off the actual cost of capital items; and two, reexamining the adequacy of past depreciation allowances relative to the cost of acquiring the most advanced, appropriate machine to replace existing items.
It is interesting to note that the Canadian Government tax concessions for industrial research and the Canadian Industrial Research Assistance Programme introduced in 1964 have considerably encouraged Canadian firms to carry out their own research. Most significant of all, the programme has succeeded in inducing foreign parent firms to extend the research efforts of their Canadian subsidiaries.
Secondly, 1 commend to the Minister j letter by Professor Hogan to the ‘Financial Review’ of 15th July 1965. He suggested that companies should be allowed tax deductions for the direct training of people in a wide range of skills, in both apprenticeships and post graduate studies, as a preparatory measure to the expansion of Australia’s research effort in industry. This proposal has merit. At the present time, manufacturing industry takes a low proportion of the country’s output of scientists, compared with the proportion employed in other countries. Thirdly, one method of stimulating industrial research within companies is by paying them to do it on a contract basis with a government body. This method is used overseas, particularly in the United States of America where it usually has a military purpose, but it is rarely used in Australia. Australia’s industrial concentration in manufacturing firms is much higher than in the United States, and contracts might be more appropriate in our environment.
Fourthly, I refer again briefly to my earlier stress on the potential for collaborative research. This would, of course, be of particular interest to those industrial firms whose size is such that they cannot afford to maintain research and development departments. Fifthly, I mention the need to provide adequate media for the dissemination of technical information through technical communications and advisory services. There is ample evidence that technical information, which is usually provided to firms by co-operative research organisations or trade associations, is very often not further pursued unless it is supplemented by advisory services which convince management of the value of new techniques and assist it in putting these tech a iq lies to ils:. Such advisory services are already of great assistance in the field of agriculture, and have proved to be of benefit in this area.
Finally, 1 canvass briefly here the possibilities of an Australian equivalent of the American Research and Development Corporation formed in 1946, the Technical Development Capital Ltd founded in Britain in 1962, the Canadian Enterprise Development Corporation Ltd formed in 1962, and the European Enterprises Development Company formed in 196^. The purpose of such an organisation would be to provide capital for developing commercially feasible projects, and to bridge the gap between the ideas and initiatives of existing research and their practical realisation in industry. Too often, worthwhile Australian inventions are not marketed duc to lack of financial support or their patents are sold on the overseas market. I am sure that the Bill before the House Will provide a useful catalyst for stimulating increased research and development in Australia’s manufacturing and mining industries and I commend it to the House without reservation.
– This Bill represents a good step forward. It is further evidence of partnership between Australia’s industrial world and the Government, lt is pleasing to see the Government’s recognising the need to encourage research and development in this practical way. I know that many organisations have taken a keen interest in representing this matter to the Government over the past six years - organisations such as the Australian Industry Development Association and the Manufacturers Industry Advisory Council which arc bodies composed of experienced people in the industrial field. An organisation known as the Association of Research Managers, which is virtually a private group, has interested itself keenly in this legislation, which will give many people the necessary incentive to increase research and development. It is necessary to have such incentives to drive Australia forward as well as to benefit individual people engaged in industrial occupations.
One point that is important about this legislation is that it will be complementary to the work of the Industrial Design Council of Australia, which has been doing great work over the past few years in encouraging styling of design. Although the Bill does not attempt particularly to encourage styling of design, the Industrial Design Council will be pleased with it because it recognises the need to encourage work in such fields. Three reasons alone justify the Bill. Firstly, it will give Australia a chance to catch up with the rest of the world, particularly the highly industrialised countries which enjoy such high standards of living. Everywhere else in the world governments have seen fit to encourage an increased interest in industrial research and development. Secondly, it will mean that we will be less dependent on association with overseas companies, as the Acting Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Sinclair) said, and also less dependent on the findings and results of work performed in other countries. Thirdly, it will lessen our dependence on the actual participation of overseas companies in Australian companies.
There is no doubt that the legislation will lead to the development of latent Australian skills. Australians have been noted for their ability to improvise, but there are limits to the gift of improvisation being able to measure up to and keep pace with the progress in industry today. The legislation will abolish much of the frustration and discouragement that must exist in many industrial undertakings. The Bill will benefit industries engaged in manufacturing work in both primary and secondary industrial fields. I think this is important. The word industrial’ tends to give the impression that the Bill is solely for the benefit of people engaged in secondary industry interests, but of course it will be most important to primary industry in relation to the manu- facture of farm machinery and associated equipment. Two types of grant are envisaged: Firstly, the general grant, which will be semi-automatic and which will cover 50% of eligible expenditure up to S50.000; and, secondly, the selective grant, which will apply to eligible expenditure in excess of 550,000. I note that the Bill will provide for expenditure in one base year only - 1965-66. I think this may prove to be unfair and inequitable in the case of some companies. For instance a firm that spent a small amount of money in the base year will have an advantage over a firm that spent a great deal of money in the base year, because the former firm will naturally be able more easily to spend money in the grant year over and above the amount that it spent in the base year and so qualify for a larger grant. A firm may have been engaged on a major project in that year and spent a great deal of money on research and development. To qualify for a grant it will then have to spend in the year in which it applies for a grant more than it would normally allocate in its annual budget for research and development. So it seems that it would perhaps have been fairer to allow firms to average expenditure over three years, as is done under other legislation in arriving at quotas for various industries. I put this suggestion forward for the consideration of the Minister.
The next matter to which 1 want to address my attention is that of taxation, which concerned my colleague the honourable member for Maribyrnong (Mr Stokes).
– Order! 1 direct the attendant to stop the taking of photographs by persons in the gallery.
– I was not told that someone was going to take a photograph of me delivering a speech. As I was saying before I was interrupted, I want to direct my attention to the matter of grants being taxable after being received by companies. I was rather concerned about this, as was the honourable member for Maribyrnong. However, I thought it advisable to take the trouble to consult the departmental officers who were present in the chamber when the Bill was introduced, and they have set out for me what seems a pretty good example of the actual advantage that a firm will receive from this grant. J think this is worth recording, and I shall quote direct from the paper that was handed to me.
A grant is additional income and is to be treated as such for taxation purposes.
This is a principle that has been firmly established and for which there is ample precedent.
Furthermore it is income resulting from expenditure which already qualifies for tax deductions. For example, if a firm has research and development expenditure of $50,000 in a lux year, the whole expenditure is deductible for tax purposes at the rate of approximately 40%; i.e., the firm receives a tax rebate of $20,000 on the $50,000 expenditure, and therefore the net cost of the research and development is $30,000. If the grant were not taxable, the firm would receive $25,000 by way of grant, thus reducing ils total liability for $50,000 of research and development expenditure to $5,000.
That is all that the firm would have to contribute.
That is, the Government would be covering 90% of the expenditure. With the grant taxable, however, the firm would receive a net grant of about $15,000 (i.e., $25,000 less 40%) reducing the firm’s total liability for $50,000 of research and development expenditure to $15,000; i.e., the Government is covering 70% of the research and development expenditure. If the company is not liable for income tax (i.e., it has no taxable income) its position is -
The general grant, which is semiautomatic, and which amounts to as much as 50% or $50,000 of additional expenditure on research and development, will help small companies. By small companies I mean those with between 100 and 500 employees. These make up a large group of important and developing industries. It is important to give a stimulus to proprietors and employees of these companies. Some of these firms, however, may suffer a disadvantage by having to take into account for their base year of 1965-66 expenditure on part time as well as full time employees, thus increasing their base year figure. However, in the grant year they can apply for a grant only on the basis of expenditure on full time employees. This seems to me to constitute a disadvantage and I hope the position will be watched closely.
In these relatively small but important companies with between 100 and 500 employees, most of the research and development work that is done is probably on a part-time basis, say for periods of three months to a year. I agree that they may be able to contract the work out and be eligible for a grant, but perhaps the project under consideration would be found too expensive for a relatively small company. Many firms do not necessarily conduct research in a way conforming to the popular image of research, which envisages a group of scientists in white coats working in a quiet secluded air-conditioned room. Many organisations have their research done by a group of trained employees such as practical tradesmen working under a supervising engineer. This sort of research may be done continuously or periodically. So I submit to the Government that paying the grant on the basis of expenditure on fulltime employees may place some small companies at a disadvantage.
I am sure that the situation will be reviewed in the light of practical experience of the operation of the Act. I note the Minister’s statement in the second reading speech that the legislation will be reviewed in about four years time. In my judgment it will need to be reviewed before then. The legislation is to operate for only five years, and four years is too long a period to elapse before a review is undertaken, particularly if we are to give adequate attention to the interests of small companies.
I have spoken a great deal about research, but I also want to stress the importance of the development aspect of this legislation. Of the two terms ‘research’ and ‘development’ perhaps the more glamorous atmosphere surrounds research, but I remind the House that the development of a product in most cases takes a good deal more time than the research, and costs a great deal more money. Research usually stems from an idea, and the actual commencement of research need not be very expensive. Research will show whether it is worth while attempting to develop a product, and development nearly always costs a great deal more than research. Sometimes the ratio of expenditure on development to expenditure on research is as high as twenty to one. Typical procedures involved in development are the building of prototypes, the testing of them, the modifying of them and finally the testing of them. This can be a very expensive and time-consuming business. Having done all this, a decision has to be made as to whether it is worth going into production. I make these comments to underline the importance of the section of the Bill dealing with development.
Two other basically good points are contained in this Bill. The first of them is that grants will be available only to a manufacturer of goods or a manufacturer who proposes to produce goods in Australia, and to an organisation engaged in mining operations. Also the Bill will apply to companies that axe incorporated in Australia and which in the grant year are engaged in the manufacture of goods or in mining operations. Obviously the Government is taking action to ensure that Australian based and Australian owned companies manufacturing in this nation will be eligible for the grant. A board will scrutinise all applications for selective grants in respect of expenditure over and above $50,000 on research and development. These applications will also be subject to ministerial discretion. The criteria that must be taken into account are worth mentioning, for they are most important. They include the development of Australia’s physical resources, the expansion of exports, import savings, the ability to compete with imports, increased productivity and cost reduction. How desperately and constantly we in Australia need to devote more attention to increased productivity! The last of the criteria will enable assistance to be available to industries engaged in defence production.
Perhaps some of the restrictive criteria provided for in the Bill will have to be modified. Some of the basic provisions might need to be reviewed in less than the four-year period referred to by the Minister. I suggest that, instead of having one base year as the starting point for grants, it might be fairer to average the expenditure of applicant firms on research and development over a period of three years. The provision that only salaries and wages of full time employees will be considered in relation to grants may disadvantage some of the smaller companies that have between 100 and 500 employees. Overall the Bill is sound. It will surely give many Australians who have earnestly interested themselves in this programme over the past five or six years a keen sense of satisfaction that the Government recognises the need to encourage research and development. It will also give many Australian industrialists a chance to develop their ideas and skills to the full extent. The progress achieved and the results of this legislation will be watched with interest by many people. I am sure the Government will be willing to use intelligent flexibility in reviewing the various provisions of this measure.
– It is with some satisfaction that I rise to speak on this Bill for I recall that in my maiden speech in this House about two years ago - not very long ago - I advocated a measure of this kind. However, I regret that the Government has brought down a Bill to subsidise industry by grants in respect of increased research rather than give effect to the tax incentive suggestions that were put forward earlier by many people. I hasten to add that I appreciate the explanation that has been given to me as to why the Government has adopted the course that has been followed in this Bill, which is an important landmark in the industrial growth of Australia, for a number of very good reasons. The Minister for Social Services (Mr Sinclair) outlined a number of those reasons in his second reading speech. Without going into detail, this Bill will encourage innovations and the development of new methods of production and techniques. It will reverse the trends that have been apparent, particularly in the last ten years, in relation to patents and the patenting of new knowledge and techniques by overseas companies operating here. This Bill will complement the export action legislation that has been so successful for secondary’ industry in Australia.
I should like to pay a tribute to a number of organisations that have worked hard in conducting studies in regard to this type of legislation. I pay a tribute to the Australian Institute of Management, the Manufacturing Industries Advisory Council and the other organisations that have done considerable work and have made recommendations to the Government. Other bodies that have helped a great deal include institutes of management, various chambers of manufacture and chambers of commerce that have endeavoured to educate and encourage management in the need for innovations, research and development by their members. As I said, this Bill will encourage innovation in Australian industry. It will greatly assist the larger companies, which have carried the burden of producing new products and of patenting them in Australia. Because of their size the larger companies have been able to afford to do this work but they also have been willing to take some risks in this regard. The Bill will encourage smaller companies which, in association with some larger concerns, have been relying upon knowledge developed overseas in relation to new techniques and equipment.
I suggest to the Government, as did the honourable member for Flinders (Mr Lynch) in what I regard as one of the finest speeches that has been made in this House for many years on the subject of science and research, that an organisation such as the British National Research and Development Corporation is needed in Australia. The establishment of such an organisation need not necessarily spring from government action. If it did emanate from private action so much the better, for I am a firm believer in private enterprise. If such a body did grow up I would ask the Government to encourage and assist it. I ask the Minister to request his colleague, the AttorneyGeneral (Mr Bowen), to speed up work in the Patent Office and thus overcome a disadvantage experienced by Australian companies in the form of holdups that occur because of a shortage of trained, technical people in that office.
I add to the plea I made recently for the Government to assist State reference libraries so that they might become a store house of knowledge for the industrial researcher, because the university libraries are largely closed to industry. The question of taxation has been dealt with in some detail by the honourable member for Maribyrnong (Mr Stokes). I support the Bill. I believe it is an extremely important one. Philosophically it has a greater importance because it is a Bill introduced by a government which believes in, supports and encourages the development of private enterprise in Australia. This matter of private enterprise is what might be called the watershed between this side of the
House and the other side. The Opposition has clearly indicated what it would do if it were in office. I will refer to that matter more fully in a few moments.
Before I do so I would like to analyse some of the points raised by the honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor), who led for the Opposition in the debate, and by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam). I have searched for a way to describe the speeches of the two honourable gentlemen. Perhaps the best description I can think of is contained in the words of the Leader of the Opposition himself in a speech entitled ‘Science and Democracy’, delivered on 2nd May this year to the Fabian Society. He said:
Let me deal with a few of the words used by the honourable member for Cunningham. He made the extraordinarily snide and peculiar statement, for a man of his stature, that the sorcerer’s apprentice had introduced the Bill rather than the sorcerer. I remind the honourable member for Cunningham that only a few days ago in this House the honourable member for Yarra (Dr J. F. Cairns) praised the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr McEwen), whom the Minister for Social Services assists, for the work that he is doing in the Kennedy Round negotiations in Europe at the moment. There is very good reason for the Minister for Social Services, who is also Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Industry, to introduce this legislation. It ill becomes the honourable member for Cunningham to make such a statement, but that is a minor matter.
The honourable member for Cunningham said that there was need to spend $100m a year under this legislation because this was the amount of money that we allegedly paid to overseas companies for patents and licences. 1 find that an extraordinarily strange statement. Australia is a growing country. Our industry is growing. We have of necessity needed to purchase our knowledge overseas. I found it even stranger later when the Leader of the Opposition said that evidence exists to show that we derive little benefit from expenditure on research and development. I would like to refer to a booklet published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development entitled ‘Science, Economic Growth and Government Policy’. Paragraph 21 of chapter 2 reads:
There is, for instance, a group of countries - Australia, Finland, Canada, Iceland, Norway - which show a rather low research ratio in relation to per capita G.N.P. These are countries in which agriculture, forestry, mining and fisheries - all industries with a relatively low research input -still make a relatively large contribution to the gross national product. In the particular cases of Canada and Australia a considerable part of the industrial sector is foreign-owned and uses to a large extent the results of research ‘imported’ from parent firms. Payments for these imports, whether real or imputed, are not included in the statistics, but they are extremely important.
The publication goes on to say that as a country grows from an agricultural type economy into an industrial type economy it is necessary for it to import and buy its knowledge from overseas. As the honourable member grew undoubtedly he went to school and learned. Undoubtedly he went to work, as we all did, and he again learned before he himself started to contribute and to generate. In a similar way a country or an industry must seek knowledge from other people who have greater knowledge. This has happened in Australia. I refer the honourable gentleman to what has happened in Australia in the last seventeen years. Seventeen years ago we had a population of 7.5 million people. Today we have a population of almost 12 million people. There has been an increase of about 50% in the employment rate. Notwithstanding all these things, the honourable member claims that we should be spending under this Bill $10Om per annum on research. We have now reached the stage where we can start to do something about research. Under this Bill we are taking the first step, feeling our way slowly, as we must. The honourable member missed the whole point of the BUI, which is to encourage industry itself to undertake research. The amount spent by the Government will be matched by industry. So the figures which the honourable member starts with must be doubled, and in some cases, more than doubled.
The honourable member compared the quantity of research done in Australia with research in other countries. He, like so many others, told us that the United States of America spends 3.2% of its gross national product on research. This figure, and those for other countries, were referred to by the honourable member for Flinders and by the Leader of the Opposition. 1 find it difficult to make comparisons in this respect between Australia and other countries. The statistics are not as simple as the honourable member for Cunningham would have us believe.
I refer now to the John Joseph Fisher Lecture in Commerce delivered by Professor Williams at the University of Adelaide in 1962. I understand that Professor Williams is Vice-Chancellor designate of the University of Sydney. The honourable member for Cunningham also cited Professor Williams in another context. In 1962 Professor Williams said:
It is usually taken for granted that not keeping up with Britain and America is a sign of ‘backwardness’, and (hat backwardness is bad. If we have a low position in the research league surely we should do something to get to the top. When a problem is posed in competitive terms it is not surprising that Australians should react in this way. It is however a mistake to treat research as a competitive game, lt is misleading-
I stress that it is misleading: to judge performance from our position in the research league’ unless we restrict our play to a league for small economies such as Sweden and Switzerland. Some Australians, used to their highly satisfying role of David in the tennis league, may take unkindly to this suggestion, in which case I suggest that the league table approach should be dropped altogether.
But if we are to take this comparison, as the honourable member for Cunningham did and as his Leader did, let us do it in an honest way. Let us examine the full facts. What are the problems facing development in this continent? Unlike the other countries that he mentioned, we as a nation must develop a continent. We must immediately take from the amount spent on research by the larger countries the amount they spend on defence research. This immediately halves or more than halves the proportion spent on research by a country like the United States. It immediately reduces our own expenditure by 25%, so that the proportion of our gross national product devoted to research comes back to 0.45% . The United States figure comes back to about 1.4%. Then to the Australian component we must add what we of necessity, because of the size of our companies and our industries, have paid for research purchases overseas. I use the figure of the honourable member for Cunningham - $100m. So we add to our component 0.5%, bringing the figure to 0.95%. Then, because of the peculiar problems we face in the development of this continent, we should add the money that is spent in the field of research for development, and I refer to surveys of land for agricultural use. I refer to the search for oil and minerals. These are relevant figures in relation to the development of Australia. In the United States of America, because of the size of industry, it is necessary for industrial research to be carried on so that that country can maintain its position. It is even more necessary to do this in a country such as the United Kingdom. So much for that. If the honourable member for Cunningham has to make comparisons, let him make them honestly. Then it will be seen that Australia’s position is not as bad as he would like to make out, and it is not as bad as is confirmed in the booklet I referred to earlier. As I have said, because of the stage of our development and growth, the crux of this Bill from a philosophical point of view is that it reflects the Government’s belief in and support for private enterprise. Last night the honourable member for Cunningham said: if the Government is to come in on what is virtually a fifty-fifty partnership in making grants to industry, why is it not entitled to 30% interest in the results of the expenditure?
I answered his question by interjecting:
Because we believe in free enterprise.
Actually I said ‘private enterprise’, but the words ‘free enterprise’ appear in Hansard. This is the crux of the matter. The Leader of the Opposition, in his paper ‘Science and Democracy’, presented at a symposium sponsored by the Victorian Fabian Society, defined the issue very clearly. Under the heading ‘Science and Socialism - An Alliance’, he said:
Despite this, however, there is a fundamental alliance between science and socialism. It is an alliance of philosophical tradition, an alliance of basic mental and moral attitudes and an alliance of practical necessity.
The Leader of the Opposition in that speech, referred to the present Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mr Harold Wilson. He said:
It was not just a talent for phrase-making which impelled Harold Wilson to say in 1959 ‘We must harness socialism to science and science to socialism’ or in 1963 ‘If socialism had never been necessary before, the scientific revolution would make it necessary now’.
What does socialism mean? It means the taking over of industry - the controlling of the means of production and distribution. Today, because of the technological revolution, this means - as was defined by the Leader of the Opposition and the honourable member for Cunningham in a very clear manner - that if the Labor Party comes to power it will use this legislation to take over the patents of industry. A 50% interest - that will be the least of it - in the patents of companies will mean that the Labor Party will control those companies. The Opposition’s support of this legislation reminds me of a man who sells fertiliser to a farmer knowing full well that the farmer cannot pay for it. He then makes the farmer bankrupt, buys the farm and harvests the crop himself. That is what the Opposition is out to do. That is apparent from its support of this legislation. One can see this from the definitions given of what is meant by harnessing science and socialism. I support this legislation. I believe it is important legislation that will have a profound effect on the development of the private enterprise system in Australian industry.
– in reply - Before the second reading debate concludes I would like to thank honourable members for the support they have given to this Bill and for their expressions of optimism. Quite a number of people feel that there are more fields in which assistance for research and development could be given. There is no denying that this Bill will open up new avenues for the development of a greater capacity in Australian industry, and that is why it is before us.
I do not intend to deal with the individual arguments presented during the debate. As has been explained so eloquently by the honourable member for Robertson (Mr Bridges-Maxwell), this Government believes that it is necessary to encourage expenditure by private enterprise in research and development. For this reason the Bill has been directed to assist not only Australian owned companies but all corporations within Australia. The idea is to develop Australia’s industrial capacity. Much of the development achieved in recent years was brought about by the introduction of overseas capital. We want this overseas capital. We want to develop our industrial capacity both by utilising overseas capital and by expanding the knowledge upon which industry is based. Opportunities will be provided in this Bill for companies of all sizes.
One criticism by members of the Opposition is that most research and development in Australian industry is now undertaken principally by the larger companies. This Bill does not distinguish between large or small companies. In fact, by providing that funds paid to outside research organisations will attract research grants, it will enable small organisations to employ outside research bodies. I think that answers some of the reservations expressed by honourable members who have said that there should be some facility given for industries to band together in order to carry out research work. As small industries will be able to band together and receive the one for one grant this will allow them to contract out for research in fields which concern them most. It will enable outside research organisations to have a greater through-put of work. The result will bc that the research organisations will have a greater capacity to do active research. Accordingly, I again commend the Bill to the House. I assure honourable members that I too hope that because of the passage of this Bill Australia’s industrial capacity will become greater than it has been in the past.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 4 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.
Clause 5. (I.) In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears: eligible company’ means a company that is incorporated under the law of a State or of a Territory forming part of the Commonwealth and carries on in Australia in the relevant grant year the manufacture of goods or mining operations; mining’ does not include mining for petroleum; the Board’ means the Commonwealth Industrial Research and Development Grants Board established by this Act; (6.) Without limiting the generality of the references in this Act to the manufacture of goods, those references shall be deemed to include a reference to the concentration of a metal or the treatment or processing of a metal after its concentration, or, in the case of a metal not requiring concentration, the application to the metal of a treatment or process which, if the metal had required concentration, would not have been applied until after the concentration.
– 1 move:
After ‘Commonwealth and’ insert, ‘being wholly owned and controlled by Australian nationals and/ or by a company or companies which are wholly owned and controlled by Australan nationals’.
The purposes of the amendment is very obvious: it is to restrict the benefit of this legislation to companies which are owned and controlled within Australia. There has been remarkable diversity of opinion expressed in the debate so far on this Bill, even amongst supporters of the Government. Already my prediction is being fulfilled that in many respects this legislation resembles the Homes Savings Grant Act - it is ad hoc. loosely drafted legislation. I hope we do not have to assume the alternative - that it has been deliberately drafted so that it will not benefit exclusively Australian companies and Australian shareholders. As the Bill stands, the situation is a most difficult one.
Today there is a uniform code of company legislation. A company in one State can register as a foreign company in another State. But that definition does not apply to such cases as this. What the Opposition is mainly concerned about is the very real danger that a number of companies with a substantial overseas shareholding which are operating in Australia, could qualify under this measure in a number of ways. They can, if necessary, register a subsidiary company in Australia, and this in itself will qualify them as an Australian company though all the shares or a controlling proportion of them are held by overseas interests. Control can go even further. For that reason the amendment provides not only for ownership but also deals with control. Control of a company can be execised through a board of directors and the style of drafting of the memorandum and articles of association. Control can be exercised in other ways - for example, through nominee companies which undertake to acquire and to hold shares in trust for particular organisations and individuals.
The situation is a most dangerous one. To illustrate my point 1 repeat some of my comments at the second reading stage. At the present time almost 80% of the assets of Australian companies in secondary industry are owned overseas. Numerically the general figure is 35%. To quote the words of the Minister, we are now in danger of becoming copyists in a wide area of industry with undue reliance on overseas technological development. How does that technological development come into Australia? How does it intrude itself? In the main, it comes in by licensing agreements, which specifically provide for a feed back of information. The Australian subsidiary or associate agrees to provide the parent company or the associated company overseas with the benefit of any research consequent upon the use by it of the technique or the process in respect of which it is licensed. What safeguards does the Government propose in this regard? I should like the Minister to tell the House what precautions are to be taken. Instead of fostering, to some extent Australian industry and research and partly remedying the obvious shortcomings of the Government in its control of overseas interests and investment in Australia, are we to come to the position where we will be covertly subsidising them?
The situation is one that gives honourable members on this side of the chamber very great concern. Under clause 20, which must be considered in conjunction with the clause now being considered, the Minister has the right literally to devise guide lines for the control of the Advisory Board. In doing so he may prescribe the percentage of grant that is to be given. It need not be the full 50%. How is that discretion to be exercised? Are major Australian companies which are virtually in a monopoly position to be given the benefit of a full subsidy? What is the Minister’s opinion about the Broken Hill Pty Coy Ltd, the Commonwealth Sugar Refining Company and some of the major overseas pharmaceutical companies operating in Australia?
Are they to be given full subsidies? What is the policy to be followed? As it stands, the legislation is empirical and contains no adequate safeguards. This Ls a matter of paramount importance. If the Government is sincere in its legislation it will provide definitely that this money is to go exclusively to Australian companies and firms and is to be for the benefit of Australian technology. Anything in this legislation that will in any way assist overseas control of industry in Australia, will be rigidly and ruthlessly opposed.
[5.101 - I am not too sure whether the Minister’s discretionary power comes within the ambit of the amendment that has been moved by the honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor). However, Mr Chairman, as you have allowed him some latitude, may I make this comment: The intention is that there should be some overall control to ensure that if there were some manipulation of a company by, for example, the creation of subsidiary companies, the grant should not exceed that which is intended under the legislation. It is not intended that one company, by creating a number of subsidiary companies, should be able to receive more than the amount of general grant to which it would be entitled were it to apply only as one company.
– If a puppet put in another overseas company, what would be the guide lines there?
– The grants will be looked at in terms of the internal Australian operations of any company incorporated in Australia. Obviously, in a multinational company it will not be possible to look at all the research that is being undertaken by that company, but it will be possible to examine research in Australia. The purport of the Bill is to encourage research in Australia, to the advantage of companies incorporated here. It is for that reason that the definition has been phrased in its present form. In other words, a company that will be entitled to receive a benefit will be one incorporated in accordance with the company laws of a State or Territory and carrying out research in Australia. The intention is that the research itself must be undertaken in Australia and by companies which are registered here.
The honourable member has suggested that it is desirable to restrict the payment of this grant to companies that are wholly owned and controlled by Australian nationals. The Government cannot accept this amendment. The purpose of the legislation is to encourage all companies in Australia to try to broaden the base of their Australian operations. If the Government were to accept the amendment that has been proposed by the Opposition, it would place too great a restraint on that objective. Indeed, several members on this side of the chamber who spoke at the second reading stage have emphasised the need for the Government to ensure the broadening of the base of all companies that are operating in Australia - not just those operated by Australian nationals. For that reason the amendment is not acceptable to the Government.
– Put in another way, the Minister’s answer is simply this: If this Bill is passed, the Government will continue to subsidise overseas companies and major corporations without considering their size or the fact that they might already be exercising a virtual monopoly in Australian industry. The Minister says, in effect, that the Government will be feeding the biggest pigs at the trough, to use the vernacular. I have never heard a more un-Australian statement from any Minister. I have a great deal of respect for this gentleman; he is a. young and able Minister, and I do not want to put him in a difficult position. But this is a crucial amendment. It is of the utmost importance to the Opposition. May I remind honourable members of the experience of the Commissioner of Taxation in former years in relation to the subterfuges that were used by certain major overseas companies, particularly the Shell Company of Australia and General Motors-Holden’s Pty Ltd? When uniform company legislation was introduced in this country, it was necessary to include a special definition to ensure that balance sheets could actually be provided by such companies. By their own behaviour they are not entitled to much consideration from the tax collector. But here we have the spectacle of the Government supporting - this is admitted by the Minister - the menace of overseas tech- nology. If the Bill means anything it must mean that Australian industry will be protected and subsidised. Instead of doing this, the Government will allow overseas companies to establish an Australian subsidiary, use the techniques of the Companies Act and then get the fullest possible benefit of this legislation. This is a disgraceful state of affairs. We propose to divide the Committee on the amendment.
– If the honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor) wants to prevent the overseas control of Australian industries, there are other areas from which he should operate. The object of the Bill is to encourage research work undertaken within Australia by companies that are incorporated in Australia and that manufacture in Australia. Companies have come from overseas, have invested in Australia and have contributed to the technological advance of our industries. This Bill will support a fairly narrow field if the Opposition’s amendment is carried, lt could limit the growth in Australia of a whole range of industries. Until the early 1920s the United States was a net importer of capital and the capital flowed to that country because of its shortage of technological knowledge. It was Dr Vannevar Bush - I have quoted his statements on a number of occasions in this place - who pointed out that even as late as 1948 the United States was dependent on the fundamental technological knowledge that was developed in Europe and in other countries.
We are going through the same evolution as the United States did. The very companies that the honourable member for Cunningham has attacked in his remarks are the companies that have given us knowledge, have enabled us to expand and have helped us to develop a viable economy. This will be the basis of the industrial growth of Australia. But the honourable member and his Party intend to knock these companies on the head, if Labor ever gets into office. I support the Government and reject the amendment.
– The remarks just made by the honourable member for Robertson (Mr Bridges-Maxwell) cannot be allowed to pass without comment. The honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor) has moved an amendment, the effect of which is to channel grants given under this Bill to companies that are majority owned in Australia. This certainly would exclude some companies that are owned by majority holdings outside Australia. It seems to me to be a perfectly reasonable proposition to put. The honourable member for Robertson has not dealt with the amendment on its merits. He has tried to suggest that this is part of some sinister plan that the Opposition has for the future. I think the position of the Opposition, therefore, should be clarified. I do not think it should be necessary to do so, but apparently our position needs to be clarified for the benefit of the honourable member. We are quite ready to support the Government - our amendment does not suggest anything to the contrary - in its intention to use Government revenue for grants to private enterprise, but we think the grants should be made to Australian private enterprise. We think also that some of the larger concerns, particularly the foreign owned companies, should be able to afford to do their own research.
The honourable member for Robertson said that overseas companies have given certain things to Australia. Has any large overseas company ever given anything to Australia? Overseas companies have come here because they can make money - a lot of money - in Australia. Without exception they have done so and I should think that without exception the rates of profit of overseas companies in Australia on the average are considerably higher than the rates of profit of Australian companies. Therefore, rather than make a point presumably for some political effect - I could almost smell the atmosphere of the nineteenth century drawing room when the honourable member for Robertson spoke - ] would have expected him to consider reasonably an amendment that seeks to channel grants made under this legislation to Australian owned companies. However, instead of doing this, he suggested that the Australian Labor Party would knock on the head some of the larger concerns.
I ask that the amendment be considered on its merits. The alacrity with which honourable members on the other side of the chamber have tried to dismiss it does not say much for their willingness to support Australian private industries against the increasing tendency for them to be taken over, controlled or dominated by foreign companies.
– I think I should elaborate on what I understood to be the point made by the honourable member for Robertson (Mr Bridges-Maxwell). I thought his main point was that he thought it was necessary for Australia to expand its technological base. If this is to be done, it is necessary for more money to be spent’ on research in Australia. The point just made by the honourable member for Yarra (Dr J. F. Cairns) seems to neglect the advantage to Australia of an added capacity for scientific research. I do not doubt that the honourable member is aware that the Bill provides for a base year. By virtue of the operations of this base year, many of the larger companies, which the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) explained to us this afternoon are already engaging in research in Australia, will find that the research grants will be available to them only if they incur additional expenditure beyond the expenditure in the base year.
The purpose of the bill is to increase the amount of available research capacity within Australian industry. No doubt, part of the purpose that the honourable member for Cunningham had in mind when he moved an amendment placing the emphasis on Australian nationals was to try to ensure that we would have this added capacity, but I think that the reservations he has are sufficiently answered by the preservation of the base year concept. The point that the honourable member for Robertson made, that Australia needs a greater scientific research capacity, must be paramount in our understanding of the present intention of the Government in making grants available to all companies, with the one proviso that they are registered in Australia and that their operations are in Australia.
– Irrespective of ownership?
– As I have explained, irrespective of ultimate ownership, because the purpose of the Bill is to encourage the expansion of the research capacity available in Australia. The big companies to which the honourable member has referred would at this stage be expending funds on research. This must be taken into account when the expenditure in the base year is related to the additional expenditure to determine eligibility for the grants in the future.
That the amendment (Mr Connor’s) be agreed to.
The Committee divided. (The Temporary Chairman - Hon. W. C. Haworth)
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move:
After the definition of ‘eligible company’ insert the following definition: ‘eligible persons’ means an Australian national or Australian nationals carrying on in Australia in a relevant grant year the manufacture of goods or mining operations;.
The Opposition wants to hear from the Government the exact reason for the refusal to recognise the rights of individuals to qualify for a grant within the terms of this legislation. During the debate we heard quite a number of Government supporters heap paens of praise upon the ability of Australians to invent new mechanical equipment, to patent new processes and t’o discover new forms of technology. Why cannot good, decent Australians, or partners of Australians, who choose to carry on business without seeking the benefits of incorporation under the Companies Act of any of the States, have the right to qualify for a grant of this nature? Already members of the Opposition have had a flood of inquiries from inventors and from many men with small businesses who have carried on without being incorporated and are seeking to benefit by this legislation. We remember the old phrase: The hand is the hand of Esau but the voice is the voice of Jacob’. The Government professes to be interested in every facet of Australian industry but in point of fact it leans in what almost amounts to a reflex action towards the major industries. For that reason it propose* to favour companies and to ignore the rights of the individual.
In other parts of the weld there are separate statutory bodies to support inventors. In Japan, in particular, there is a government department which controls inventions and which seeks to use inventions. It has a policy in respect of them. Inventors notoriously are individuals. It is true that in the age of the major corporation it is by collective research that many technological improvements can be achieved, but when it comes to inventions in the main it is the individual or a small aggregation of individuals who qualify. I can only repeat that the Government is guilty of partiality of a form which can only hold it up to the contempt of the Australian people. Even in respect of companies it chooses to discriminate further by having a class A and a class B. There are a general grant for the smaller companies and a selective grant for bigger companies which are in the inner group so far as the Establishment of this Government is concerned.
There is not much more that I can say at this stage. I want to hear the Minister’s explanation. Are Australians to be ignored? Do corporations - soulless entities - count more than the flesh and blood of Australia’s individuals who started from scratch, who have battled to set up business and who have made the most worthwhile contribution to the real development of Australia? After all, no company is any better than the aggregation of the individuals who are in it and, similarly, it is the little man who is entitled to the consideration and the utmost assistance. Perhaps I could quote in certain respects that the attitude of the Government in this matter parallels its attitude in social services legislation where the greatest benefits are given at the top and they are scaled downwards to the bottom. So it is in this case.
To sum up, it can be said that the Government is trying to spread scarcity unevenly. I have said already, and it has “«v been contradicted by any spokesman on the Government side, that we are paying out SI 00m annually to overseas holders of licences. At the same time the Government proposes to spend only $6m to ultimately offset or stop that leak which can bleed Australia white. Even that S6m will not wholly remain in the hands of the recipients because one-third at least will come back in the form of taxation. What about the Government giving the little man a fair go? What about the individual, the Australian, who is quite as capable of inventing or perfecting technological processes, who is quite as capable as any major company of perfecting management in terms which should qualify him under the Act. I should like to hear the Minister’s explanation.
– The reason for the exclusion of persons is that the Bill by its very nature is intended to cover mining operations and manufacture. These are themselves of such a nature that an individual is not normally involved at the level that this Bill is designed to assist. Consequently, although personally I feel that there is some merit in the case stated by the honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor), I do not think in this instance that, considering the functions of the Bill and the functions of the grant, an individual would normally be so placed as to become eligible. Beyond that, of course, there is the addition that under the Companies Act it is necessary to maintain proper accounts. This grant will be an expenditure of public moneys and, as an expenditure of public moneys, we must ensure that the money is being correctly disbursed and that it is possible to police the way in which it is being spent. Beyond that I think it is really a matter of ensuring that the funds are spent towards expanding the research capacity in [he national interest.
If the grant were available to the individual I doubt whether perhaps the national interest could be emphasised so much as it can be in the hands of a company. Accordingly, I think the exclusion of persons will really operate towards the better implementation of the purposes of the grants - the payment of sums of money towards the expanding of our scientific research and development. Beyond that there is the administrative advantage of being able to ensure that the money which is paid out in grants is properly policed in the hands of the recipients. Accordingly, the Government does not intend to accept the amendment moved by the honourable member on behalf of the Opposition.
Several other points were raised during the second reading debate. When speaking earlier I did not notice the honourable member for Maribyrnong (Mr Stokes) and I had wanted to explain something to him. He mentioned the question of taxation on the grant. I have been advised that benefit from the payroll tax incentive which is given as an export incentive is taxed. The customary procedure in any of these grants which are payable is that they are taxed in the hands of the recipient. I know that the honourable member feels strongly on this. He has spoken to me not only about taxation but also about depreciation. I shall look at both questions. So far the precedent has been that all moneys received from the Government should be taxed in the hands of the recipient. This relates very much to my argument a few minutes ago that if moneys are to be paid by the Government to an individual towards the betterment of that individual’s capacity to earn, that individual has an obligation to pay towards the revenue of the state from the money he receives and from increased income which has been possible for him because of, in this instance, his increased research capacity. Accordingly, I shall look at these matters in detail, but the specific answer at this stage is that it would appear that if we are to pay moneys to an individual he certainly has an obligation to pay back into the Treasury coffers the amount of money which he is thereby given an increasing ability to earn by this grant.
– Will the Minister give further consideration to the aspect of depreciation?
– I shall look further at that question.
– In answer to the comment made by the Minister for Social Services (Mr Sinclair) 1 would say that if he wants to see a contradiction of his own comment he should look again at the Trade Practices Act of his own Government and refer to the debate on that legislation and the evidence which was given there. It was admitted by the Government that Australia is more in the hands of monopoly in terms of secondary industry and trade generally than any other country in the world today. We have a situation in Australia today which is probably paralleled only by the Zaibatsu of the four companies which controlled the economy of Japan before World War II. The Minister has indicated by his statement that the Government is simply not interested in the little man or in small industry, but proposes to give still further assistance to large undertakings.
Let us consider particular industries. In the case of steel one company is in control. In the case of cement a small aggregation of companies decide individually how they will cut up the Australian market. Take the case of paper manufacturing or take the case of sugar refining. In any one of these cases we have some of the mightiest companies in Australia - the economic titans of Australia - who will line up literally as mendicants under this legislation, backing in their barrow for what they can get because they have perfected some advance in technology. They will line up for the grant unless the Minister is prepared to exercise the powers which are to be conferred under clause 20. But the Minister has said already that he cannot give any such guarantee. That is the situation and it is a disgrace. This Government is not interested in the little man; it is not interested in small industry, lt is interested only in subsidising and further adding to the wealth that is being obtained by the monopoly companies that are operating in secondary industry and in mining in Australia.
That the amendment (Mr Connor’s) be agreed to.
The Committee divided. (The Temporary Chairman - Hon. W. C. Haworth)
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move:
Customs Tariff Proposals Nos. 13 and 14, which I have just tabled, relate to proposed amendments of the Customs Tariff 1966- 1967. The amendments will operate from tomorrow morning.
The amendments contained in Proposals No. 13 are of an administrative nature only. The most significant of the changes concerns certain fertilisers. Following the completion of international negotiations, these fertilisers will now be admissible free of duty from all countries in accordance with the recommendation of the Tariff Board in its recent report on industrial chemicals and synthetic resins.
Also included in Proposals No. 13 is an amendment to Item 12 of the Second Schedule. This change amends in form although not in practice the exemption from duty accorded to outside containers. Item 12 provides for free admission for normal outside packages such as boxes, cases and cartons. With the developments arising out of containerisation and palletisation it has been considered desirable to take action to ensure that these bulk containers do not automatically receive free admission under Item 12. This has been done by qualifying Item 12 by making entry subject to by-law prescription. The by-law will prescribe for the normal disposable container but exclude the larger re-usable container and pallet. These goods will however continue to be accorded free admission provided they are exported after they have been unloaded. In due course it is expected they will be dealt with under an international convention for the controlled entry and export of these goods.
The remaining amendments in Proposals No. 13 improve the translation from the Customs Tariff 1933-1965 to the newtariff based on the Brussels Nomenclature which operated from 1st July 1965.
Proposals No. 14 provides for tariff changes which implement the recommendations made by the Special Advisory Authority in a report on hogskin leather. The Special Advisory Authority considered that urgent action is necessary to protect the local industry producing sheepskin leather against increasing imports of hogskin leather. He found that, although hogskin leather is not produced in Australia inported hogskin leather, which can be substituted for sheepskin leather in the manufacture of linings for boots and shoes, is causing detrimentto the local industry.
To provide urgent protection against increasing imports of hogskin leather for use as linings in footwear, and to take account of minor price variations, the Special Advisory Authority has recommended a temporary duty of 6c per square foot on hogskin leather having a free on board price not exceeding 14c per square foot. Above 14c the duty falls by the amount of the excess until at 20c no temporary duty is payable. Having regard to the average price of leather coming within this price area, the 6c per square foot represents an ad valorem duty of about 50%. The temporary protection is a holding action pending the Government’s decision on receipt of a report by the Tariff Board on the matter.
Full details of all the tariff alterations in the proposals are contained in the summaries of tariff alterations being circulated to honourable members. I commend the proposals to honourable members.
Debate (on motion by Dr J. F. Cairns) adjourned.
– Pursuant to Statute I present a Special Advisory Authority report on the following subject:
Ordered to be printed.
Sitting suspended from 5.59 to 8 p.m.
– by leave - I move:
That this House, having studied the arguments set out in the official No case, reaffirms its view that it is in the interest of good parliamentary government in Australia to remove the need now existing under the Commonwealth Constitution to increase the number of senators whenever the number of members in the House of Representatives is increased, and to impose the limit proposed on the extent to which the House of Representatives can be increased.
I have taken this opportunity to propose this motion because, although this House previously assented unanimously to the legislation that enables us to introduce referendum proposals and to present them to the people and this was followed by the support of an overwhelming majority of the Senate, since then the official Yes case and the official No case have been published. Tonight it is my purpose to refer briefly to the elements in the case that we put before the Parliament when the proposal to break the nexus between the House of Representatives and the Senate was adopted, and at the same time to make some examination of the principal arguments that have been advanced in the official No case.
Honourable members will recall that the first of the principal purposes of this referendum proposal is to remove the need to increase the number of senators whenever the number of members of the House of Representatives is increased. This is what we term familiarly as the nexus between the House of Representatives and the Senate under the Constitution as at present worded. The second purpose is to impose a limit, which is put before the people for the first time, on the extent to which membership of the House of Representatives can be increased. It is too seldom realised that as the Constitution stands, the Parliament has unlimited powers to increase the size of the House of Representatives whenever it so wishes, provided at the same time it increases the size of the Senate. I have heard this referendum described by its critics as a proposal to increase the size of the Parliament. We do not need a constitutional change to do that. We need a constitutional change for this reason: If at any time the size of the Parliament is increased, we must accompany an increase in the House of Representatives with an increase of as nearly as practicable half that number in the Senate. I remind the House that section 24 of the Commonwealth Constitution provides:
The House of Representatives shall be composed of members directly chosen by the people of the Commonwealth, and the number of such members shall be, as nearly as practicable, twice the number of senators.
In the official case for the Yes proposal the Leader of the Australian Labor Party, the Leader of the Australian Country Party and I have joined as spokesmen for our respective parties. We have put the case in favour of an affirmative vote. We have put the view that the Senate consisting of sixty senators - ten from each of the six States - needs no increase at this time. Membership of the House of Representatives is based on population growth. We have been going through a period of rapid and continuing population growth, and this situation faces us as far ahead as we can see. The House last dealt with the size of the Parliament in 1949. If this Parliament runs its full course twenty years will have elapsed by the time we reach the next general election. In 1949 each member of the House of Representatives represented on an average 66,000 people. Today the average is 94,000 people, and by 1969 the figure will be well over 97,000.
There are some people - this appears to include those who have presented the official No case - who take the view that there should never be any increase in the size of the Parliament. This is the logical conclusion to be drawn from the argument advanced in the No case. It does not seem to matter that since membership was last increased the population will have risen by 1969 from eight million to twelve million. What does a mere 50% increase in population matter? What does a mere increase in the complexity of the business of government matter? What does a mere increase in the variety and number of subjects that this Parliament is called upon to deal with matter? Even in the eyes of those who have joined together in presenting the official No case there must be some point at which they recognise that the increase in population has brought about some need for an increase in the size of the House of Representatives. However, while the nexus remains the change can be accomplished only if at’ the same time we increase the number of members in the Senate to half the extent of the increase in the number of members in the House of Representatives.
We have proposed that the number ot electorates . in each State should be determined by dividing the population of the State by not less than 85,000. This does not mean that automatically there would be an increase in membership for each 85,000 people, but it does set a minimum. For the first time in the history of this country a limit would be imposed upon the extent to which the numerical strength of the Parliament could be increased. We as members of the Parliament are willing to accept that limitation because we want the public to be assured that we are not seeking any inordinate increase in numbers. AH we want to ensure is a Parliament that effectively represents the interests of the people whom we represent in this place. Of course, there is a different way of going about it. It so happens that we as members of the National Parliament represent on an average more electors than does a member of the House of Commons in the Parliament at Westminster. Yet I have not heard the people of Britain complain that they are over-governed, that they have too many parliamentarians. They value the services they receive from their members. Theirs is a strong democracy.
As I said, we could go about parliamentary representation in another way, as is done in the United States of America. There a member of parliament represents far more people than each of us does or would propose. However, to carry out his duties a member of Congress or a member of the United States Senate needs a very large official staff. Thus the people are served largely by officials. I do not think the Australian people or the people of the United Kingdom want that sort of representation. They have become accustomed to being able to go to their own parliamentary representative and have him look after their interests - not have them looked after by a first secretary, a second secretary or a third secretary as .part of a large staff as has been found necessary in the case of a Federal member in the United States so that he may provide some representation for his constituents. I doubt whether there is very much economic difference between the systems that operate in the United States and Australia.
I repeat that this is the first attempt to write a specific check into the Constitution; the first attempt to limit the rate of growth of the House of Representatives. With today’s population a quota of 85,000 would give a membership in the House of Representatives of 136, an increase of thirteen seats throughout the whole of Australia. The Senate would be left unchanged at sixty. This would mean that each seat in the House would represent 85,000 people compared with the figure of 66,000 when the Parliament was last increased in 1948 coming up to the election of 1949. Unless this nexus is removed any increase in the House of Representatives must be accompanied by an increase in the size of the Senate on a two to one basis. By this proposal that we put forward to break the nexus there is no question, as I shall establish, of eroding the proper role or powers of the Senate or of preventing its future enlargement if the Parliament so decides. The prevailing view is that the Senate of sixty can discharge effectively its role as a house of review and as custodian of the rights of the smaller States.
I have mentioned the United States of America. It has just on eighteen times our population and has a Senate of just on 100 members compared with our Senate at present of sixty. Yet the Senate in the United States enjoys a prestige and an authority which I think would be envied by any upper chamber in any part of the world. So the effectiveness of the Senate does not depend on numbers. Its powers are defined and established in the Commonwealth Constitution. Other countries with a two-house system operate successfully without the need for a nexus between the two houses. I have done some research on this matter and apart from Australia there is only one country which I have been able to discover - it is Norway - with anything approaching such a nexus. The proposal is designed to allow the smallest increase in the House of Representatives which we believe to be consistent with effective representation without the necessity at the same time to make adjustments in the size of the Senate.
I do not want to spend a great deal of time on the positive side of our argument because this was covered quite adequately in the second reading debate when the proposal was originally before us. It is all on the record. I have made my statements on the matter on television and over the radio, as have the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) and the Acting Leader of the Australian Country Party (Mr Anthony), who have joined in the support of the case which is now being presented to the people. But it does become necessary to make some analysis of the official case presented for the No argument. The case has been presented, as I understand it, by the two members in the Senate of the Australian Democratic Labor Party, assisted by a Liberal Party senator, Senator Wright, and certain others of the small group who voted against this proposal in the Senate.
– They are all senators.
– Yes, the only people who have joined in resisting the Yes case - in the official case anyhow - are senators and they are a very small minority of the total membership of the Senate. The voting in the Senate on the proposal was forty-five in favour of what we are now advocating and seven against.
I find the No case saddening. It is quite disheartening in a way to find in these days that men who represent the people in the Senate - they are a small minority of the total membership of the Senate - can resort to these fusty, old-fashioned appeals to prejudice, picking up the sort of cliches that have been bandied around by critics outside the Parliament and with which we have had to cope from time to time. I will refer further to that matter later. To me it is a sad thing that there is still a body of men to be found in the other chamber who cannot make an objective, dispassionate and logical appeal to the people on the strength of the argument they can present but instead must resort to prejudice - to actual dishonesty in at least one instance, as I shall demonstrate - and to misleading argument in order to try to frighten people by the bogies they create or the picture they conjure up of the dreadful things which this wicked House of Representatives, chosen by the people, will do to the people of Australia.
Let me go into that matter in a little more detail. The case for No reads:
Vote NO because:
We do not need more parliamentarians. Australia is already over-governed.
A Yes vote would be a vote against the interests of the States, particularly the small States, and country districts.
Honourable members will note the appeal there to people in the smaller States. The supporters of the No case direct a sectional appeal to country interests. Let us see how these arguments stand up to the most superficial analysis, and I would hope that my analysis could go a good deal deeper than that but it does not have to go very deep in order to explode the arguments for the No case. First I deal with the proposition that we do not need more parliamentarians, stated quite absolutely without any reference to this point of time or any other point of time. The same argument could be applied with as much logic when the population of Australia is 20 million, not building up to 20 million at the 11.5 million stage as we are now. If that is the strength of the argument it can apply at any time. When is the time that you need more parliamentarians? This Parliament has not shown itself over eager to increase its size during the period of our federation. In fact, since 1901 when the federation was formed there has been only one substantial increase in the size of this Parliament. The House of Representatives numbered seventy-five when the Parliament was first constituted. The number had actually declined to seventy-four when in 1948 the Government of the day decided that it had become necessary, for a variety of causes, to increase the size of the Parliament. There was a substantial increase in the numbers in the House of Representatives to 121. This was done because the House had not been touched for forty-seven years.
If this Parliament runs its normal course, by the time of the next election twenty years will have elapsed since the Parliament was last increased and our population will have increased by almost 50%. We are not proposing a major increase. We have set a limit on the increase we can achieve. We say that there must be not fewer than 85,000 persons for each member. I stress that, because if we read the No case we get a picture of this Parliament increasing step by step every few years. It is not in the nature of the animal for that to happen, as we know. It is very rare to find all parties in the Parliament supporting a proposal, as they have on this occasion. It is rare to find a government and an opposition saying at the same time: This is what we should do in relation to the Parliament’. It is even rare to find a situation in which a redistribution of electorates, despite the fact that some may have become disproportionately large in relation to others, should be carried out. They should be carried out. There has not been, on an average, a redistribution every six years in the life of the federation. Usually, changes have merely been in the boundaries. Only on one occasion, as I have mentioned, has there been a significant change in the number of members.
I said that I would demonstrate that there is at least one quite dishonest statement in this document. It is to be found on the first page of the No case. It is this:
In this referendum the Government wants you to remove this safeguard-
That is, the nexus - from the Constitution. If you do that, you will be destroying the only braking device against unnecessary increases in the size of the National Parliament.
How can men of honesty say that, when all honourable members know that part of our proposal is the provision that we cannot increase the number of members beyond the point where there are fewer than 85,000 persons in each electorate. This just baffles me. Either those who prepared this case have not understood the proposal or this is an entirely dishonest presentation of the facts. There is a braking device against unnecessary increases and that braking device is the size of the Australian population. The No case goes on to state:
Moreover, if you vote NO and retain this nexus provision, you will preserve the position and power of the Senate and will prevent the Senate from being weakened.
This is a picture conjured up to frighten people into believing that this upper chamber is to be weakened and shorn of its authority. Will anybody who reads this document pause to ask: If this statement is correct why is it that forty-five out of fifty-two of these senators whose powers are going to be weakened have joined in supporting the Yes case? I hope that in a democratic system majorities still count for something, and when they are overwhelming majorities I hope that they will have some persuasive effect. I have no need to labour the point, Mr Acting Speaker. If the Senate were in serious danger of having its power or authority weakened by this proposal, would the overwhelming majority of senators have joined in supporting it?
I come now to the next argument in the No case. It states:
Always think of the Senate as the States Assembly, which was its name in the draft Constitution. It is your House, designed to protect the interests of your State. Thus any attack on the Senate is an attack on the protection of the interests of your State in the Federal Parliament.
The first comment I make on that statement is that all honourable members in this place, with the exception of my friends the honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr J. R. Fraser) and the honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder), are representatives from individual States of the Commonwealth. If this proposal were an attack upon the position of the States would we have had a unanimous vote in this House by people who are elected from States, who are representatives of States, and who are accountable to electorates in those States? The question has only to be put against the facts for the answer to be automatically supplied. I can go further: The Senate has always been regarded as an additional safeguard for the States - as a custodian of Slate rights. If the interests of the States were threatened by our proposal would we have had forty-five out of fifty-two senators, elected as representatives of those States and charged with the role - as they see it - of safeguarding the interests of the States, joining in this proposal with us?
The next point refers to the interests of country districts. Here again the bogy has been conjured up: ‘Don’t vote Yes because if you do terrible things will be done to the country electorates’. In each of the three parties constituting this House we have representatives of country electorates. Some are in the Country Party - as the name implies. The Labor Party certainly can claim to have representatives from rural electorates. And of course there are many in the Liberal Party. Do those representatives of rural electorates consider that rural interests are being threatened by this proposal? If they do, it is very odd that they should have joined in a unanimous vote on this matter in this chamber. Again, this argument just does not stand up to examination.
In the time available to me I cannot go through all the arguments set out in this document. I do not avoid any of the difficult arguments. I have referred to what the authors of the document have set out as being the central propositions favouring a No vote. However, I would like to refer honourable members to the passage appearing on the second page of the No case. There the authors have set out what they consider the growth in numbers will be in steps over a period of years. I have already pointed out that this is not the way that this system works - as the history of our federation has demonstrated. It is rare for the Parliament to increase its size. I repeat that it has been done but once in the history of our federation. I cannot see - and I am a fairly seasoned politician in this place - the Parliament, or for that matter governments, coming along very frequently with endeavours to increase the size of the Parliament - not when we consider all the discomfort involved in the procedure of redistribution of electorates and all the other implications of that process.
Let me just mention one of the more important implications. Inside this chamber there is a check - an inbuilt safeguard. Three parties are represented. Each of those parties, understandably and very properly, watches closely the movements in the numbers of electors and the size of electorates. If any of the three parties came to the conclusion that what was being proposed was unfair or unreasonable, the parliamentary action which it could take, either here or in what is now almost chronically an evenly divided Senate, could have the effect of checking the process in the lower house. Let me give an illustration. We are a coalition Government. If we brought forward proposals for an increase in the size of Parliament which our colleagues in the Country Party felt would work seriously to their detriment, they would not join with us in such a decision. Nor would we be able to give effect to that proposal without their support. On the other hand, if what we proposed seemed unreasonable to the members of whichever party happened to be in opposition at the time, they could, with the numbers that they could reasonably count upon in the Senate, make the proposal extremely difficult of achievement, not merely by their voting strength but by the campaign they could wage in the electorates throughout the country. Quite apart from anything that the Constitution provides, there is, as any politician in this place would know, an inbuilt check and a safeguard against arbitrary, unreasonable increases by either side of politics.
Some minor arguments have been introduced into the No case and I even regret having to make reference to them because they are in a sense petty and almost puerile in what they convey to the public. However, these arguments are put with some strength and emphasis in the concluding passages of the No case. Honourable members will find there a reference - I deplore that it should have come from a member of either House of the Parliament - to increases in parliamentary salaries and the cost of government which allegedly will flow if the nexus is broken. On the last page of the No case honourable members will find it slated that the last increase in the numbers of members of Parliament resulted in fewer sitting days and that members’ pay increased from $3,000 to $7,000 a year Then there appear, in capitals, the words: What next?’ Does anybody seriously argue that the duties and responsibilities of a member of this House have decreased since 1949, that being the last time when there was a vote on the increase in the size of the Parliament? Certainly no member present would accept that as a statement of fact. We all know the increase in the number and complexity of matters with which’ we, as members of the Parliament, have been called upon to deal.
Let us take the salary aspect. Why do those who support the No case not say honestly in this document that the period to which they are referring is between 1947, when the pay of a member of Parliament was fixed at 83,000, and 1967, when it stands at $7,000? Why do they not go on to say that over that period, there have been quite substantial increases in the basic wage? [Extension of time granted.] I thank the House for its indulgence. These facts are certainly relevant to the argument and are of general interest to honourable members. The increase in the salary of a member of Parliament over the period from 1947 to 1967 has been 133%. Over the same period the basic wage has been increased by 201%, that is, from $10.90 to $32.80. Bat what is more significant - we are dealing now with the community as a whole - is the movement in the average weekly wage. Between 1947 and 1967 the increase in average weekly wages was of the order of 285%. This Parliament has not been greedy. I shall not labour the point. Whatever cheap advantage those who joined in the No case seek to gain from this point, I say that it is not substantiated by the facts.
– The cost of this House is 30c per head of population.
– I will come to that. Those who have put forward the No case begin their great peroration by saying: Vote no - we do not need more parliamentarians’. We say that at the present time we do not need more senators. An overwhelming majority of senators - forty-five to seven - join with us in saying that. They continue: ‘Vote no - protect the small States and country districts’. I have already referred to that argument, and 1 hope that 1 have demolished it. They also say: ‘Vote no - prevent unnecessary increases in the size of the House of Representatives’. In principle at least we can agree with them here. We do not want unnecessary increases in the size of the House of Representatives, and we have taken the responsibility of proposing, for the first time, a limit, not previously imposed by the Constitution, upon the size to which the House of Representatives may grow. Their final adjuration is: Vote no - prevent unnecessary increases in the cost of government’. This terrible burden of the cost of government! Let me give the House the relevant figure.
The total cost of the House of Repre: sentatives and the Senate works out at approximately 40c per head of population or, in the old currency with which some of us are more familiar, 4s a year. That is a shade more than the price of a packet of cigarettes. That figure works out at less than a quarter of lc for each member of Parliament a year. I know that there are some cynics in the community who say that honourable members are not worth much more than that. They can have that opinion of us, but they can scarcely argue that it is a heavy financial burden upon them. If we were to increase the size of the Parliament by thirteen or fourteen members two years from now-
– The cost would go up by one fag.
– I hope that honourable members would not go up in smoke. The additional cost would only be of the order of 3c or 4c per head of population. Perhaps we have dealt somewhat flippantly with some of these arguments. Frankly, if they are examined carefully it is difficult to understand how a serious-minded body of men could argue them seriously. I say that it is not their purpose to do so. Their purpose is to create an atmosphere of prejudice and fear and to play up bogies which will frighten people into casting a No vote, because history has shown that the Australian electorate tends to say no when it is in the slightest doubt as to what should be done about a proposed change in the Constitution. 1 come to my final point. 1 have faith in the good sense and the maturity of the Australian electorate. I am sure that the Leader of the Opposition, the Leader of the Country Party and the Acting Leader of the Country Party, who is with us tonight, think the same. I believe that we have an electorate which has increasingly demonstrated itself to have become much more mature on political issues. I believe the people will dismiss as a lot of fustian the sort of argument, based on prejudice and fear, with which their intelligences have been insulted by those who have put forward the No case. We on the Yes side have not tried to put forward a glamour case. We put calmly, temperately, moderately and logically the case that we see for a commonsense and practical parliamentary reform. Because I believe that the Australian electorate is sufficiently mature to weigh these considerations, I am confident of the outcome when the referendum vote is taken on this nexus proposal.
– When this proposal was last before the House we all supported it. We knew that there would be some persons in the Senate and outside who would be opposed to the matters upon which in this House we had all agreed. We knew that there was a longstanding tradition of resistance to constitutional change in Australia. We knew, too, that it was a long time since the people had been given the opportunity to amend their Constitution. However I do not think that any of us imagined that the official No case would be so flimsy and inflammatory. I welcome the opportunity to support the Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt) in refuting it.
It is said that the general case for a No vote is that such a vote will guarantee that there will be no increase in the number of members of the Federal Parliament. It will do nothing of the sort. A No vote will merely guarantee that when, sooner or later, there is an inevitable increase in the numbers of the House of Representatives, there will be an unwarranted and unwanted increase in the number of senators. The vast majority of senators, belonging to all the political parties that have members in both Houses, proclaim that we do not need more senators.
I must refer to the principal authors of the No case. One is Senator Wright. He is at least consistent in his point of view. He has always wanted to exalt the role of the Senate as the House of Review or the House of the States. He held this view so strongly that he believes there should not be and there never should have been any Ministers in the Senate. He would like to establish the Senate as a non-political House, a House of Review. He always wanted the Senate to be almost like the House of Lords or rather the High Court, as I have always thought, or a House of the States. Conceivably this would have been a good idea, but it has never been so and it can never be so. Senator Wright’s whole attitude on this subject is completely unreal.
The other principal author is the Leader of the DLP. One cannot impute motives in these matters, but nevertheless there is an obvious dividend which he must contemplate if the referendum fails and the Constitution remains as it is. Everybody acknowledges that the time will come when the number of members of this House must be increased. As the Constitution stands, the numbers in this House must be as nearly as practicable twice the number of the senators. Accordingly, in order to increase the number of the members of this House, we must increase the number of senators by half the number of our in crease. The Constitution says that there will be an equal representation in the Senate of every State. Accordingly, if there is any increase at all in the members of this House, there must be an increase of eighteen in the Parliament. Any increase of the size of the Parliament under the Constitution as it is now must be in multiples of eighteen.
In practice, there must be an increase of seventy-two. The only time the number of members of the Parliament has ever been increased was in 1949 and the increase then was seventy-two - twenty-four senators, four from each State, and accordingly forty-eight members of the House of Representatives. This is the inevitable increase if there is ever to be an increase at all. Every three years half the Senate must face the people. Under the proportional system of voting, it is necessary to have an odd number of senators elected every three years in each State. If the number to be elected were even, under the proportional system it is altogether probable that one side of politics would get half those elected and the other side would get the other half. Accordingly, the Senate would always be evenly divided and, under the Constitution, any measure originating in the Senate or going there from this place would fail to pass.
The shallowness, the insincerity, in the case put by the DLP is clear. According to this case, if we want an increase we can have it by having one more senator elected from each State. This is the Odgers plan, I understand. I first learned of it from a report of a speech made by the Leader of the DLP in Brisbane. The idea is, apparently, that at the next election six persons should be elected to the Senate from each State. One would expect that this would produce three from each side of politics. I do not know how this is proposed to be worked out. Apparently the idea is that next time there would be six elected, each for six years. Three years later, five would be elected for six years. Three years after that, six would be elected for six years. Alternatively, it may be that five would be elected each three years for six years, but there would be in addition one elected for three years on each occasion. Either method would mean that tha Senate would always be deadlocked.
But let us assume that the practical approach was made and that the number was increased from five to seven, to the next odd number. This was done in 1949, when the number was increased from three to five. The dividend to the minority parties is that, instead of requiring one-sixth of the votes to gain one of the five positions, only one-eighth of the votes would be needed to gain one of the seven positions. Let me illustrate this by taking an average of 840,000 voters voting for the Senate in a State. At present, a candidate would achieve one of the five vacancies in the Senate if he received 140,000 votes and one vote. Under the Odgers plan, adopted, I take it, by the DLP, to get one of the six positions, a candidate would need 120,000 votes and one vote. Under the practical system that applied when we last had an increase in the Parliament, to get one of the seven positions a candidate would need 105,000 votes and one vote. That is to say, under the Constitution as it is at present, a person would need only 105,000 votes and one vote instead of 140,000 votes and one vote to gain one of the vacancies in the Senate if the number of Federal parliamentarians was increased in a practical way.
It is quite clear what the dividend would be for minority parties. One should not speculate on motives, but as practical people we know that these factors must have been present in their minds. The Odgers plan is a prescription for frustration. I deplore the fact that Clerks of the Parliament should enter politics in this way. In New South Wales, the Clerk of the Parliaments, Major-General Stevenson, who is still using his military title, not for the first time has come into a political campaign in this way. He is lending his name to the No case on the basis that we do not need more parliamentarians. It is quite extraordinary that when a referendum was held in New South Wales to abolish the Legislative Council of that State, which is not elected directly by the people, Major-General Stevenson was lending his name to the campaign to preserve the number of parliamentarians, to keep up the numbers, and so was the DLP. How genuine are these people?
If this country is over-governed, it is not governed by an excess of members in the
National Parliament. A National Government can be formed only in the House of Representatives. Under the Constitution, it is only to this chamber that a Prime Minister can belong. If is only in this chamber that we can have a Treasurer and it is only in this chamber that money Bills can be originated. Whatever may be said about the comparative virtues of the people in the two chambers of this Parliament, and I do not presume to say that one chamber is more virtuous per head than another, the fact is that, under the Constitution, a government can be formed only in the House of Representatives. The initiatives which must be taken in the harnessing of our resources and in giving opportunities to our people can be taken only in the House of Representatives.
The only consequence of keeping the Constitution as it is, with the necessity to increase the total number of parliamentarians by 72 when there is any increase in this chamber, is to give opportunities to certain organisations. One can think of a very large number of pressure groups in the community who would be able to muster the numbers and say: ‘If we can get one-eighth of the votes, we will be able to get a representative in the Senate. We will be able to deadlock any legislation which comes up from the House of Representatives. We will be able to frustrate government in Australia. We will be able to deadlock the Commonwealth Parliament.’ The most fallacious part of the No case was this statement that the Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt) quoted. The Yes case is signed but the No case is not, and one can only go on appearances on television and the voting in the Senate. I cannot understand how the authors, who did not sign the document, could make such a statement. I do not know how any person who understood the facts, or understanding them and honestly wanting to present them could lend himself to - let alone beget - the phrase that the Prime Minister quoted.
If you do that, you will be destroying the only braking device against unnecessary increases in the size of the National Parliament.
If the people vote Yes and this referendum is carried, the Parliament will still not be able to increase the numbers of the House of Representatives without the concurrence of the Senate. Any Bill to increase the size of the House up to the number permitted by the Constitution would still have to be passed by the Senate. If the Senate were evenly divided the numbers in this House could not be increased. This braking device would still operate. The Senate would still have its full powers to pass, defeat or deadlock any legislation originating there or coming from this chamber. We could not increase the numbers of this House of Representatives to suit our own whim; we should still need the concurrence of the majority of the Senate.
As the Prime Minister pointed out, if this referendum is carried a limit will be imposed for the first time in our history upon the extent to which any Commonwealth Parliament can increase its numbers. This limit will stay until and unless the people alter it. It would be impossible to have more members of this Parliament, whatever the Parliament itself wished, than would be determined by dividing 85,000 or more into the population of Australia. We could not have more than that dividend. This would be implanting a brake in the Constitution; there is none at the moment. As the Prime. Minister has said and everyone has to acknowledge, if the Parliament wants to increase its numbers it can do so as often as it likes and by as many as it chooses so long as it provides for two things - firstly, that the number of senators from each State is the same, and secondly, that the number of members of the House of Representatives is as nearly as practicable twice the number of senators. These arc the only two provisions of the Constitution touching our powers to increase our numbers. If No is the wish of the majority of the Australian people, the same power will remain unlimited. The Parliament will be able to increase its numbers as often and by as many as it wants.
The Prime Minister has drawn attention to these prejudicial cries with which the Mo case begins. One of these reads:
A Yes vote would be a vote against the interests of the States, particularly the small Stales and country districts.
There are many more members of the House of Representatives who live in country districts than is the case with the Senate. It is just not true to say that members of the House of Representatives in their party rooms or in this chamber itself are less conscious of the needs of the country districts or smaller States than are the senators. Under the Constitution as it stands and on the basis of the last proposed redistribution Western Australia would have lost one seat. There would have been the loss of a seat in Queensland and the loss of one in New South Wales. Two of the smaller States would have lost seats. Furthermore Country Party held seats would have been lost. The two that the commissioners suggested should go were Gwydir and Dawson. Country districts would have lost seats and so would the smaller States. How honest is this argument that the No protagonists - the antagonists of proper representation - have perpetrated but have not autographed?
Let me give some arguments in relation to the smaller States. No Premier of any State, large or small, has opposed this referendum; no Leader of the Opposition in any State has done so. No member of the House of Representatives from a country district or a small State has opposed it. In the Senate not one member of the Country Party or of the Australian Labor Party has opposed the referendum. Let me now deal with the States from which the opponents of the Yes case come. In Tasmania, where the Liberal vote is the lowest of any Australian State, the referendum was opposed by one Independent and two Liberals. The independent voted against the proposition on this occasion. When it was last before the Senate in December 1965. he was absent without leave but the two senators belonging to the Liberal Party voted against the proposal on that occasion. Are we to assume that the other seven senators from Tasmania are less conscious of the needs of their State than the Independent who is sometimes there to vote and sometimes not, and the two Liberals from a State which attracts the smallest vote of any Australian State?
In fact if men of quality come from Tasmania to this Parliament they receive due recognition. We had a Prime Minister from Tasmania, the Rt Hon. J. A. Lyons. There was only a handful of members from Tasmania in the Party that elected him as its leader and as Prime Minister. The present Deputy Leader of the Opposition comes from Tasmania.
– And the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
– In the Senate the Leader of the Government comes from Tasmania. The man who for a record term held the leadership of the Labor Party in the Senate, Senator McKenna, came from Tasmania. The Opposition Whip in this House and the Opposition Whip and Deputy Whip in the Senate come from Tasmania. If Tasmania chooses good candidates the public will elect them and their parties here will elect them, despite the fact that they will have so few companions on a State basis.
I come to the next smallest State, Western Australia. No senator from Western Australia opposed this proposition in December 1965 or this year. Are we to assume that all the senators from Western Australia - Liberal, Country Party and Labor - are willing to neglect the interests of that State and the people who elected them? In South Australia, the third smallest State - or should I say the smallest State but two - one Liberal, Senator Mattner, opposed the proposition in December 1965 and again this year. There was another senator who on this occasion voted against the proposition, Senator Hannaford. In December 1965 he voted for it. I did not think that this was the issue upon which he differed with his Party. In this House we are unanimous in favour of this proposition. In the Senate, with few exceptions, and none from the Labor Party or Country Party, there has been no opposition to this proposal. In the Senate forty-five senators supported this and seven did not.
I should point out, before going back to the No case, that the work load of members of the Federal Parliament has increased. I think this is the experience of everybody who has been here any number of years.
– One thing has been the immigration programme.
– Yes, and that is a matter of Federal initiative. Let me give a few clear criteria which indicate the extent to which our duties have increased. In 1948-49 the number of Commonwealth public servants was 141,700; last year it was 192,200. In the former year the Commonwealth’s revenue was $1,109 ,000m. last year it was $5,129,000m. Let us lest the size of the Budget. In the 1949 Hansard the Budget speech, appendices and statements amounted to fifteen pages; last Budget presented in the same way amounted to fifty-three pages. Let us look at the Acts of Parliament and, since there might be fluctuations, I shall give these in threeyears periods. In 1947 the Parliament passed 93 Acts, in 1948 it passed 93 and in 1949 it passed 87; in 1964 the Parliament passed 130, in 1965 it passed 156 and in 1966 it passed 93. They always go down in election year. It is not just a matter of the number of Acts. Let us look at the number of pages that the Acts take up. In 1948 the number of pages in the annual volume was 529, in 1949 it was 446 and in 1950 it was 302; but in 1964 it was 973 and in 1965 it was 1,759. If one takes out the largest Act we have ever passed, the Customs Tariff Act of that year which took up over 500 pages, it was still 1,121 pages.
Then let us look at the regulations. In 1949-50 - two years - the regulations took up 906 pages; in 1965 they took up more than in those two years with 1,094 pages. In 1949 the Government Gazette amounted to 3,886 pages; last year it was 6,431 pages. I am not suggesting that honourable members read every page of the Gazette, nor am I suggesting that honourable members read every page of the regulations, although in the Senate there is a Committee which does. However, we do have to read the Acts and not only have they increased in number but they have also increased in size. Nor am I sure that draftsmen these days are simpler in their language than they were twenty years ago; it may be that they have more difficult problems. By any standard the business of the Parliament has increased; the business that the Parliament does through the States, with other countries and with overseas companies has increased. lt is quite clear that if members of this Parliament, particularly members of the House of Representatives, are to cope with the increased population, not only citizens but also, as the honourable member for Maribyrnong (Mr Stokes) says, migrants, there must be an increase in their number. I find in my electorate that one- third of my electoral work comes from people who are not yet naturalised. So if one looks at the population, if one looks at the Public Service, if one looks at the statutes or if one looks at the financial provisions, there is no doubt that the work load has increased tremendously. If we are to represent the people, if we are to safeguard their interest and if we are to take initiatives on their behalf, the time will come when there will have to be an increase in the number of members of the House of Representatives. There is, however, no need to have an increase in the number of senators; it is necessary only to bring about that necessary increase in the number of the House of Representatives. 1 now propose to make a few references to the No case, and to do so I invoke the book by Quick and Garran. I thought I should look up the convention debates. The question of the relative numbers of the House of Representatives and the Senate came up for a vote three times. On each occasion Sir John Quick - Dr Quick at that time - voted against it. That was his view. Garran, of course, did not have a vote, but Quick did, and his view was opposed to this provision. The Prime Minister and I are indebted to the research of the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen) on another basis for this requirement, that the number of members of the House of Representatives shall be, as nearly as practicable, twice the number of the senators. The honourable member has pointed out that O’Connor, Reid and Barton all supported this proposition on the assumption which they strongly held that the number of States in Australia would in time increase: accordingly the number of senators would automatically be increased also. They wanted to ensure that the number of members of the House of Representatives was kept to, as nearly as practicable, twice the number of senators. They wanted to ensure that when the Senate increased in numbers because new States were created, the House of Representatives was increased proportionately. There will not be in our lifetime any increase in the number of States and there will not be an increase in the Senate for that reason.
It is significant that the Constitution does not say that the number of senators shall bc, as nearly as practicable, half the number of the members of the House of Representatives; the Constitution puts it round the other way. The reason why the constitutional nexus is expressed this way is quite plain. [Extension of time granted.] I thank honourable members. The next argument that I want to point out in the No case is the comparison between the number of people in the population and the number of members in the National Parliament in Australia and in the United States of America. No other comparison is given. When we are considering our scale of representation in this country we do not compare ourselves with the population of the United States, which has roughly the same continental area. I am surprised that the antagonists of the referendum did not use the population of India. They would have got more impressive figures.
When it comes to size of area we compare ourselves rather with Canada. In Canada there are 74,000 men, women and children to every member in the House of Commons. If this referendum is carried, there will be at least 85,000 Australian men, women and children to every member of the House of Representatives. Is not this the really valid comparison, if one argues on the basis of area? If one goes on traditional British representational principles, one would take the British House of Commons as an example. As the Prime Minister has quoted, the British House of Commons now has the same basis of representation as we could achieve here if this referendum is carried. If one wants to make comparisons with other countries, like the Scandinavian countries, New Zealand or most of the members of the Common Market, it will be found that this provision in our Constitution will ensure that we have more people in the population per member of the House of Representatives than happens in those cases. It is a tendentious and fallacious comparison which the No authors gave between the United States and Australia. Why not compare us with countries with which in every respect - on population and area - we compare ourselves?
The remaining matter that I wanted to note in the No case was that which reads:
Remember that this proposal to remove the nexus is likely to be only the first step to remove other constitutional safeguards embedded in the Constitution for the protection of the States. The plot was hatched by the Constitutional Review Committee and the next step of the super-planners at
Canberra is for joint sitting of the two Houses to resolve legislation disagreements without any double dissolution.
This is a gross distortion of the Constitutional Review Committee’s proposal, as one of the authors of the No case should have recollected or could easily have ascertained if he had looked at the report. He was the sole dissentient on the report. He presumably knew what the report said.
Let me recall who were the members of this Committee. Sir John Spicer, then Attorney-General, now Chief Judge of the Commonwealth Industrial Court, was Chairman. He was succeeded as Chairman by the next Attorney-General, Senator Sir Neil O’sullivan. The other members from the Liberal Party who supported this report were Sir Alexander Downer, now High Commissioner in London, and Mr. Justice Joske of the Commonwealth Industrial Court and the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory Supreme Courts. The Country Party members were the honourable David Drummond, under whom, as Minister of Education in New South Wales, I had my primary, secondary and most of my tertiary education and whose memory I revere and whose friendship I enjoyed; and Mr Hamilton, the former member for Canning and President of the Country Party in Western Australia. Nobody knowing Mr Drummond or Mr Hamilton would have any illusions that they would pass up any opportunity to serve the interests of their country in the light of the policies of their Party, to both of which they gave or have given a lifetime of service. They were very astute and alert parliamentarians and members of the Country Party. The members of the Australian Labor Party on the Committee were my predecessor, the honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell), who was then Deputy Leader of the Party: Senators McKenna and Kennelly, the Leader and Deputy Leader in the Senate; Mr Pollard; Mr Ward and myself. All of them, except me, had been Ministers of the Crown in the Commonwealth or the States. Two of them had been Ministers of the Crown in both. So this Committee should not be written off as inexperienced.
Let us see what the Committee did say on this question. It is true that it suggested there should be an alternative to a joint sitting after a double dissolution. There has never been a joint sitting in the history of the Parliament. The two double dissolutions have resolved the differences between the chambers, because the winner secured a majority in each chamber. There has never been a joint sitting, but there have been cases - and under the proportional system of voting there are likely still to be cases - of differences of opinion between the House of Representatives and the Senate, lt was suggested that there could be an opportunity for a joint sitting without a double dissolution. If it did not succeed there could still be a double dissolution, but the proposal of the Constitutional Review Committee was that at any such joint sitting before a double dissolution the matter would only be. passed if it were affirmed by an absolute majority of the total number of the members of the two Houses, and in the case of each of at least one-half of the States, by at least one-half of the total number of the members of the two Houses chosen in or for the State.
If one assumes that the Senate is the safeguard of the small States then the proposal of the Constitutional Review Committee was that at any joint sitting before a double dissolution a matter would not be passed unless at least half the members in both Houses from Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia supported it. The Constitutional Review Committee deliberately safeguarded the interests of the States at any joint sitting before a double dissolution. At any joint sitting after a double dissolution it proposed to leave the present position stay as it is. The overall number would prevail, lt is a falsehood to state, as the authors of the No case have stated, that the interests of the State were disregarded by the Constitutional Review Committee which hatched a plot. This is not true. It has been said by many of the antagonists of the referendum on the structure of Parliament that the proposals to delete the references to Aboriginals in the Constitution are a sop or sugar coating. In fact, the proposal to remove one of these references to Aboriginals in the Constitution was proposed by the Constitutional Review Committee in order that Aboriginals could be counted in working out the number of members in the House of Representatives from each State. The situation has arisen where the two States where most Aboriginals reside -
Queensland and Western Australia - would have lost a member because Aboriginals cannot be counted. The other reference to Aboriginals was expressly mentioned by the Constitutional Review Committee but it did not have time to conclude its deliberations on that matter. The subject was raised in respect of representation in the House of Representatives from the States.
I conclude by saying that after reading the No case 1 am more than ever convinced that the only logical and genuine attitude to take at the referendum on Saturday week is for the electors of this country to write Yes in the box against each of the two questions on the ballot paper they will receive. In this way there will be a limit on the number of members of the House of Representatives but there will be no unnecessary increase in the number of senators in order to achieve any increase in the House of Representatives.
Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– On 27th Maythat is, in about ten days time - we will be having a referendum to alter sections of the Constitution. The section of the Constitution which is not clear cut in the people’s mind is that relating to the breaking of the link between the House of Representatives and the Senate. Therefore I feel that the Parliament has a responsibility to the electorate to present all the facts as clearly as it thinks fit.
It is unfortunate that in the debate in this House we are hearing only one side of the argument. We are hearing only the Yes case. But the fact is that this House is unanimously in favour of the proposal. The proposition has come before this House twice in the last two years. The first occasion was in 1965, and at that time the House was unanimously in favour of it. During the two years that elapsed before it came before the House again people had time to consider the matter, to have second thoughts about it; yet when it came here for the second time it received unanimous approval. In the Senate forty-five people voted for it and seven were against it. This is a fairly clear indication that the great majority of senators believe that it is sound and logical to make this alteration of the Constitution.
I believe, furthermore, that it is necessary for this House to discuss the matter because of the fallacious arguments put forward by the people who have prepared the No case. I have said that no-one in the House is prepared to stand up and speak for the No case, and that this is because opinion in this House is unanimous. I am wondering who the Australian people can turn to for an explanation of the No case, because the Yes case is supported by the Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt), the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) and the Leader of the Country Party (Mr McEvven). Those gentlemen have accepted responsibility for the Yes case that has been put forward. They occupy such positions that they cannot afford to say anything other than the absolute truth. But the people who have prepared the No case have not put their names to it. I think it is quite significant that they do not want to be personally associated with it and that their names do no appear on a document that will go down in our political annals.
In considering this question I think it is very important that one clearly understands the function of the Parliament and the purposes of the two Houses. The House of Representatives is constituted on a population basis, with a certain number of people for each electorate. The elected representative for a particular electorate is responsible to the people in it, responsible for the area itself and responsible for the industries operating in the area. The Senate is elected on a State franchise. Senators are responsible basically for the interests of their individual States. Their numbers have nothing at all to do with population. In Tasmania there is one senator for every 17,000 electors, while in New South Wales there are 250,000 electors for each senator.
The House of Representatives is the supreme House of Parliament because it is from the members of this House that the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the majority of members of the Cabinet are selected. The Leader of the Opposition party or parties also is a member of this House. It is in this House that the great amount of Government business is done, that most legislation is initiated and all financial matters arc initiated. It is the Senate’s duty to review legislation that comes before it, to approve it, amend it or reject it. It does not need any particular number of members to carry out this function. It can do so with sixty or with 200. It is not necessary to increase the size of the Senate to give it the necessary authority.
When the founding fathers were framing our Constitution they were obsessed, and for good reason, with a desire to protect the interests of the States. Throughout the Constitution one finds continual references to the preservation of the rights of the States. In those early days, of course, tha framers of the Constitution were suspicious of a Federal Government. They were concerned about the possible consequences for their own States. But as time has passed I think many of these provisions referring to the protection of the States have outlived their usefulness. The nexus or link between the two Houses was of importance in preserving the numbers in the Senate so that the Senate could not be reduced in numbers or in power. There may have been some argument for this in those days, although it has proved to bc only a theoretical argument. lt has been said that the link is necessary in case there is a joint sitting of both Houses. But, as the Leader of the Opposition has pointed out, there have been only two double dissolutions since the time of federation and there has never been a joint sitting of the two Houses. How does a double dissolution come about? It comes about when the Senate rejects legislation from the Lower House and then rejects it again after three months have elapsed. If, after the second rejection, a general election is held and the Senate still rejects the legislation, there is a joint sitting of both Houses. I do not think it is important to retain the existing ratio between the number of senators and the number of members of the House of Representatives, because I believe that the Lower House should be supreme.
Some of the misrepresentations that have been given publicity need to be corrected. The people who have been fostering the No case have indulged in the popular pastime of sniping at politicians. As the Prime Minister pointed out, they have been pandering to the lowest instincts of people with all the anti-politician cliches they can find. As members of Parliament we all accept that criticism and abuse are among our occupational hazards. We accept this, but let me emphasise to this House and to the Australian people that national politics and national government are among the most important activities and functions in this or any other country. For this reason it is important to maintain the image of Parliament and respect for it as an institution. Yet the people who put themselves forward as constituting a citadel of the parliamentary institution by advocating the preservation of the rights of States and the strength of the Senate have been doing nothing but making abusive statements and innuendoes about the members of the Parliament. One has only to look at the publicity given to the statements of these people to appreciate this. We see headlines like ‘Less Work, More Members. More Pay’, ‘Too Many Members of Parliament’.
– They are just rubbishing the Parliament.
– They are rubbishing themselves, too, by saying these things. I do not think they do the institution any good. I do not think they do themselves any good and I do not think they do their case any good. I believe that beneath al) the abuse and criticism that we receive from the public there is a foundation of respect for the institution and its importance to democracy. The people who advocate a No vote lack sound arguments. There is no basis for most of their accusations. They say that the purpose of the referendum proposal is to increase the number of parliamentarians. It is the very opposite. What we want to do is to ensure a minimum of parliamentarians, because if this referendum proposal is not accepted the result will be that when the size of the House of Repesentatives is increased, as it must inevitably be increased while the population of the country grows, we must then have an unnecessary increase in the number of senators.
As I explained earlier, it is not necessary to have an increase in the size of the Senate to give it authority to carry out the duties that are expected of it. What this referendum proposal really means is fewer members of Parliament - that for the first time since Federation a limit will be placed on the number of members of Parliament. We do not now need a referendum to increase the membership of this Parliament. This can be done at any time; but unfortunately in so doing we must increase also the size of the Senate. The supporters of the No case say that the nexus is a braking device. What the nexus really amounts to is a proliferating device, the outcome being that the Senate will increase in size every time membership rises in the House of Representatives. I have already mentioned that the number of members of this House must inevitably increase with the effluxion of time, but I do not think that Senate membership also needs inevitably to rise.
It is being said by the No supporters that we are over-governed in this country. The breaking of the nexus has nothing to do with being over-governed. Again this is an appeal to the anti-politician emotions of people. The Leader of the Opposition has quoted the figures that the No supporters have used in regard to the number of politicians in the United States of America. Let me emphasise that no country in the world has a higher per capita number of politicians than the United States.
– It has 8,000 of them.
– The United States has 7,500 State members; but it must not be forgotten that nearly every official position in the United States is filled by election, whether it is the chief of the fire brigade, the chief of police, or the official responsible for the sewerage system. When the Constitutional Review Committee considered this question and recommended an average of 80,000 people per electorate, it examined the parliamentary institutions of Commonwealth countries, in particular the United Kingdom and Canada. The parliaments of those countries were considered to be more like ours in this respect. The Committee found that at that time in the United Kingdom there were about 81,000 people to each electorate. Today the average is approximately 86,000, which is 1,000 more than the minimum that we are proposing. In Canada the average is 77,000; so our minimum is 8,000 more than the Canadian figure. Do not let anybody claim that we are over-governing ourselves.
The point made in the No case that politicians are underworked is yet another appeal to the emotions of the people. It amounts to misrepresentation. The number of sitting days gives no indication of the duties of a member of Parliament. To make a claim based on sitting days is akin to saying of a clergyman that he works for only one hour each Sunday. The duties of a member of Parliament are quite onerous. He is expected to work every single day of the week, and quite often he does so. I am proud to say that the great majority of members of this House are dedicated to their duty to the Australian people and this Parliament. The Richardson report, which contains one of the most exhaustive examinations of the habits, functions responsibilities and expenses of members of Parliament, had this to say about the duties of members:
Few members are able to obtain remuneration of any consequence from extra-parliamentary duties. Even the minority with resources of private income usually find that the demands on their time are such that their private interests are more and more neglected and suffer accordingly.
The report went on to say:
The case for treating the service of a member of the Parliament as full time seems to us unanswerable.
The Richardson Committee did not pull any punches about any aspect of parliamentary duties or what a member of Parliament should be paid.
Complaints have been made that the Yes case has not been properly explained to the Australian people. The fact is that it is difficult to get into the newspapers any arguments based on commonsense, logic and reasonableness. It is very easy to get space if you have specious or misleading arguments or if you are appealing to antipolitician sentiments. Everyone likes to read such jargon and cliches. Indeed we accept this sort of thing as part of our occupational hazard, but it is very difficult to tolerate on an important issue affecting the Constitution of Australia. Every member has the responsibility of trying to get the facts clearly before the people by 27th May.
Some people are claiming that this referendum is against the interests of the States. The Prime Minister has pointed out that one of the features of the alteration of the Constitution is to set a minimum for the representation of each State in the Senate. This is the first time that a minimum has been proposed. It will guarantee that there will be no reduction in State representation. As I pointed out before, the argument about a joint sitting of both Houses is purely a theoretical one. The referendum, if carried, will not reduce the authority of the Senate. Numbers in the Senate do not mean anything, because numerical strength has nothing to do with the power of that House. The basis of the No case is that the nexus must stay. Those in favour of the No case have little logical argument to support their contentions. Apparently they believe that they should perpetuate a rash of misconceptions in a bid to cloud the issue. They are throwing up a lot of jargon and innuendoes to prevent the people from gaining a clear understanding of the basic issues.
If the people vote against the referendum proposal on this issue they will be deceived. Really they will be thinking that they will prevent an increase in the number of politicians but in fact they will ensure an extravagant rise in parliamentary membership. For a certain senator to say that he docs not believe in more politicians is ludicrous. His whole argument fell to the ground when he appeared on the television programme ‘Four Corners’ and said that his only concern was the link between the House of Representatives and the Senate and he did not care whether the ratio was 1 : 2, 1 : 3 or I : 4. Therefore, he has no right to say that he does not believe there should be an increase in the size of this Parliament. I wonder whether he would support us if we were to alter the ratio. The facts are quite clear. Inevitably there must be an increase in the number of members in the House of Representatives. As 1 pointed out at the beginning of my speech, this House represents tie people, and if there is to be proper representation of them, it can be assured only by having a reasonable number of people to each electorate. If the number of people in each electorate continues to rise, a close relationship cannot be maintained between a member and his constituents. I firmly believe that for good government this close relationship must be maintained.
The Government, having analysed the situation, believes that the most practical figure is an electorate of approximately 85,000 or up to 90,000 people. We know that under the proposed system it will never go below an average of 85,000; but it could rise to about 90,000 because of redistributions of electoral boundaries. This is done about every six years, or perhaps longer. In fact we have had only one redistribution since 1949. Had the proposed formula then existed, it would have been the only occasion when membership of this chamber could have been increased. Anybody who studies the facts must realise that what we are trying to do is ensure that when there is this inevitable increase in the size of the Parliament it will be a modest and reasonable increase. If our proposal is not accepted we must inevitably have an extravagant increase. I think it is only logical and sound therefore to support the Yes case.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill received from the Senate, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time. The purpose of this Bill is to repeal subsection (2.) of section 13 of the Australian Universities Commission Act 1959-1965, which contains a reference to the Commonwealth Office of Education. The amendment is formal and does not affect the functions of the Australian Universities Commission. Honourable members will appreciate that the Office of Education has been absorbed, for practical purposes, within the new Department of Education and Science. I commend the Bill to the House.
Question - by leave - put, and resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr Freeth) read a third time.
– I present the first report of the Printing Committee.
Report - by leave - agreed to.
Consideration resumed (vide page 236S).
– I move:
Reference in the Bill as originally drafted was confined to mining, excluding mining for petroleum. I shall explain to the Committee why the extension embodied in the amendment is desired. The purpose of the amendment is to enable exploration work undertaken off shore which proceeds to the point of production to come, at the production stage, within the ambit of the grants scheme. It is not intended that the grants shall apply to the prospecting or exploration but to production at the oil well level. This amendment is necessary to cover those areas outside Australia but which are still operating to the advantage of Australian industry. I commend the amendment to the Committee.
– The Opposition is by no means happy with the introduction of such an amendment at this stage or with its obvious implications, because today we have in the Bass Strait a drilling operation which is distinctly contrary to the powers of the Commonwealth Government. On the continental shelf far beyond the territorial limits of the State of Victoria drilling operations are being carried on for petroleum and oil and the Commonwealth Government has been notably laggard in exercising its obvious constitutional rights to regulate the activities of the companies concerned. As a matter of fact, sub rosa it has been prepared to lend itself to arrangements between Victoria and the Esso-BHP combine. This is something which we cannot accept under any circumstances.
This amendment should not have been introduced at this stage. In fact, the matter goes deeper - and I do not want to anticipate a further but obviously cognate amendment relating to the definition of minerals. In Rugby League parlance the Government is working the blind side of the scrum. The definition of mining as originally set down specifically excluded mining for petroleum. Now the Government proposes to do exactly the opposite. I want to know at what stage the Government changed its mind. What pressures were brought to bear on it, by whom and for what reasons? What undertakings have been given and what are the consequences of introducing such an amendment as this? This is the thin end of the wedge which will be used at a later stage to justify a whole framework of legislation now being prepared in Victoria being thrust upon the various States as a fait accompli. We reject the amendment. I ask the Acting Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Sinclair) to give to the Committee a further and better explanation than the one he has vouchsafed.
– I will have to anticipate the reasons for the inclusion later in the clause of the extended definition of minerals. It was felt that as pet.troleum prospecting and exploration were already subject to some assistance, it would not be proper for them to be included within this scheme. It now appears that although this assistance is available, it does not relate specifically to some of the difficulties which apparently exist at the time an oil well comes into operation. I understand that all mining in Australia has to work in a geological environment which is quite peculiar to any geological environment in the world. I am told that the prevalence of a wedded zone of rock going down as deep as 400 feet has created special problems in the field of drilling and that it’ could well be capable of being handled only with a specific Australian research effort. In other words, there is a particular need to cover this phase of operations. The proposed extension is nut designed to cover prospecting or exploration but relates particularly to the turning of these natural resources of ours into production capacity. It appears that these particular production difficulties exist within Australia and on the Australian continental shelf as a result of our peculiar environment. 1 regret, Mr Chairman, that I did not give the honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor) an opportunity to see this amendment until a moment ago. However, he will, of course, have received a copy of the other amendment which was circulated in the normal way. The amendment that the Committee is considering at the moment is intended to cover the exploration out on the continental shelf, which is quite distinct from the mainland. As I explained, the research grant is not related to work such as prospecting or exploration, but is related specifically to the task of bringing into production the natural resources which may be found as a result of petroleum drilling operations off the Australian coast. There is a need for research at the production stage specifically. It is because of that need and because of the peculiar geological conditions to which I have referred that ‘.his provision is being included in the Bill.
– In view of the comment just made by the Acting Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Sinclair), I can now take the matter much further. Under the terms of the porposed amendment, and the cognate amendment which is to be considered at a later stage, quite a number of other activities could qualify for a grant. For instance, it would be competent for Esso-BHP or Wapet to come forward and say that a particular drilling rig contained innovations of such a nature as to warrant subsidy under the terms of this legislation. It could be said that particular techniques involved in the transmission of natural gas or oil under the sea-bed should qualify. Let there be no misunderstanding: This legislation could have a very wide range indeed. The Opposition is by no means satisfied with the explanation given by the Minister.
Another question which I now ask the Minister is: Just what is meant by the word petroleum’. Does he accept the definition given in this legislation? The wording is very vague indeed. The definition under the Petroleum Search Subsidy Act is a wider one. Petroleum includes, under that legislation, hydrocarbons in the free state, whether gaseous, liquid or solid, and includes coal or shale or any of the derivatives which can be obtained by distillation. Just how far does the Minister intend that this should apply? Is it to include petroleum in liquid form only, or is it to include liquid, gas and solid? There should be a better definition. Let the Government state clearly what its intentions are. The Minister should tie up the loose ends at least. He is not doing this.
– The honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor) seems to be in difficulty in regard to two specific things. The first relates to the definition of petroleum. I am told by my colleague, the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) that it means a hydrocarbon and, under the definition in this legislation, it includes natural gas. Petroleum is a word which is commonly used but it has a peculiar conotation. I have no doubt that most people have no difficulty in determining what the word means. The definition here specifies that it includes natural gas. Beyond that, I might point out that in the suggested addition to thus clause there is a restriction. From what the honourable member said a moment ago, he thinks this extension might relate to other mineral operations off the Australian coast. The amendment relates specifically to operations for the recovery of naturally occurring petroleum. It does not relate to mining operations of any other sort off the Australian coast.
– Put in simpler terms, the treatment works at Sale will qualify.
Thai the amendment (Mr Sinclair’s) be agreed to.
The Committee divided. (The Temporary Chairman - Honourable W. C. Haworth)
Majority . . . . 28
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment (by Mr Sinclair) proposed:
Omit the definition of “ mining,” insert “ ‘ minerals ‘ includes petroleum; mining operations’ includes operations for the recovery of naturally occurring petroleum;”.
– I ask the Minister whether the definition of minerals’ is to include black coal and brown coal and their derivatives. I have some comments to make if they are excluded. Once again, this goes to the drafting of the Bill.
– In my opinion they would be included, as there is no specific exclusion. The amendment is designed to include petroleum, which pre viously was excluded. All other forms of mining are included in the ambit of the Bill.
– This is a matter of extreme importance to the coal industry because at present one of the greatest potential sources of power, not merely in Australia but in every other country with substantial coal deposits, is perfection of a new method of generation of electricity from coal by the use of plasmaphysics. It is a technique known as magneto-hydro-dynamics. It would result in the thermal efficiency of any thermal power plant being increased from 38% to between 56% and 58%. The only obstacle at the present time to the application of this process is the need to perfect the ceramics that are necessary for the cone through which the gases are projected. For that reason I welcome the Minister’s assurance.
Amendment agreed to.
Mr ERWIN (Ballaarat)[10.6-Imove:
That in the definition ‘The Board’ omit ‘Commonwealth’, insert ‘Australian’.
This is only a small amendment. The use of the word Commonwealth is now somewhat outmoded and rather confusing. Wherever possible it should be replaced. For example, we should be using the words Australian Government Offices’ instead of Commonwealth Offices’. I feel that this is a trend that the Government should encourage in this new piece of legislation.
Amendment agreed to.
– I move:
Once again, this amendment is designed to extend the ambit of the grants to the field of petroleum operations. It is believed this could be of advantage to that industry and the Australian community generally.
– Put in other words, the amendment simply means that new cracking processes that may be discovered in Australia by any of the major oil companies or their subsidiaries are to have the full benefit of this legislation.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 6 agreed to.
Clause 7. (1.) For the purposes of this Act, there is hereby established a Board by the name of the Commonwealth Industrial Research and Development Grants Board.
Amendment (by Mr Erwin) agreed to:
In sub-clause (1.) omit ‘C’wealth’, insert Ausn
Mr STOKES (Maribyrnong [10.9]- This clause established the Board. Sub-clause 2 states that the Board shall consist of a chairman and two part-time members. Subclause 3 states that the members of the Board shall be appointed by the GovernorGeneral. I move:
That the following new sub-clause be inserted in the clause: “ (3a.) A person shall not be appointed as a member unless he appears to the Governor-General to be qualified for appointment by virtue of his knowledge of, or experience in industry, including mining, commerce or research in the field of science, engineerig or echology.” 1 move this amendment because the clause, as it is presently drawn, does not refer to the qualifications of the members of the Board. Nowhere in Part II, which covers the administration of the Board, is any reference made to the people who shall be members of the Board. Clause 15 provides for the continuation of the rights of a Commonwealth public servant who may be appointed as Chairman of the Board under clause 1 and ensures that his existing and accruing rights will be preserved. It provides that, for the purposes of the Public Service Act, he shall whilst Chairman of the Board, be deemed to continue as if he were serving in the Public Service. Although provision is made to meet the eventuality of the appointment of a Commonwealth public servant to the position of Chairman of the Board, no qualifications for the Chairman or the two part-time members are specified. I think it is entirely desirable that the qualities and qualifications set out in the proposed new sub-section (3a.) be provided in the Bill so that there can be no doubt that the members of the Board have proper qualifications.
– The honourable member for Maribyrnong (Mr Stokes) foreshadowed this amendment during his speech at the second reading stage. He also mentioned to me privately his desire to have inserted into the Bill some general restrictions on the type of person who should be a member of the Board. The Government accepts the amendment proposed by the honourable member for Maribyrnong.
– The Opposition does not oppose the amendment moved by the honourable member for Maribyrnong (Mr Stokes). However, it does offer this comment; the amendments that have been moved, including those moved by the Minister, confirm our original forecast that the Bill will meet the same fate as the Homes Savings Grant Act did. It is full of anomalies, it is the product of very loose drafting and very loose thinking, and it fails completely to meet the situation. We agree with the principle that lies behind the Bill, but we do not approve of its application to the circumstances that the Government has in mind. Nevertheless, we do not oppose the amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 8 to 19- by leave- taken together, and agreed to.
Clause 20. (3.) Except as provided in the next succeeding sub-section, a direction of the Minister under this section shall not operate so as to affect prejudicially -
– I move:
This was an error in drafting. The words in this instance have no specific application.
Mr CONNOR (Cunningham) [10.15) - The Opposition does not object to the amendment. We consider this clause to be the most vital clause in the Bill, lt is the pivot, the fulcrum, of the Government’s intentions. Of course, we await with great interest and a good deal of cynicism the application of the provision so that we may see the manner in which the Minister will exercise his discretion. Again we believe that the biggest pigs at the trough will get the biggest share of the food tipped into it We are very cynical of the general approach of the Government. This again confirms our oft repeated criticism, that this Government is going from bad to worse in widening the scope of administrative discretion. The Executive Government is riding high, wide and handsome, and the powers of the Parliament are being progressively curtailed. This is a further example of the trend, for which the Government will eventually answer to the people.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr Erwin) agreed to: In sub-clause (1.), omit ‘Commonwealth’, insert Australian’.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 22 agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr Erwin) agreed to:
In sub-clause (1.), omit ‘Commonwealth’, insert Australian’.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Remainder of Bill - by leave - taken as a whole, and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments; report - by leave - adopted.
Bill (on motion by Mr Sinclair) - by leave - read a third time.
Consideration of Senate’s message.
Paragraphs (1) and (2) of the Resolution of appointment as agreed to by the House of Representatives are as follows:
That at the end of paragraph (2) the following words be added: ‘and one Senator to be appointed by the Leader of the Australian Democratic Labor Party in the Senate’.
– Mr Acting Speaker, Senate’s message No. 29 advised this House that the Senate had concurred in the resolution of this House to the reappointment of the Foreign Affairs Committee subject to a modification to paragraph 2. The modification, if agreed to. would enable the Leader of the Australian Democratic Labor Party in the Senate to appoint a senator to the Committee. A paper showing the relevant paragraphs of the resolution of appointment and the modification requested by the Senate has been circulated to members. I move:
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 16 May (vide page 2180), on motion by Mr Howson:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– This. Bill has a very limited purpose but I cannot say that I am sure what that purpose is. It seems from the second reading speech of the Minister for Air (Mr Howson) and from the wording of the Bill itself that the measure validates only until 1st May 1967 the collection of duties on customs under tariff proposals that are detailed in the Bill. If this is so it would seem that some further action will be necessary to give validity to the proposals after 1st May. As I understand it, no further action is proposed by the Minister. This situation has come about for a number of reasons. This can be understood when we realise that proposals introduced into the House under section 226 of the Customs Act 1901-1966 have a validity for six months. Unless Parliament acts in some other way, the collection of duties under the proposals that have been introduced expires in the case of Proposal No. 1 on 22nd February 1967 and under the others, six months after the dates that have been printed at the bottom of the Bill.
Further to that, a complication arises because Proposals Nos. 1, 5, 6 and 7 were introduced before the Customs Tariff Bill 1967 had been passed by the Parliament. This Bill gave legal effect for the first time to the introduction of support value duties that appear in the Fourth Schedule of the Act. When the Customs Tariff Act of 1967 was proclaimed to operate on 2nd May, Proposal No. 7 was completely incompatible with the Act and Proposal No. 6 was partly incompatible with it. For these two reasons, the Minister told us in his speech, it was desirable that the validity of these proposals be terminated at 1st May and their substance be introduced in a form acceptable to the current Act. Because of this situation the Government has chosen to validate the proposals in such a way that they are allcutoffon1stMay.
– And re-enacted on 2nd May.
– By what means?
– By the previous Bill that I brought down on 2nd May. I shall explain it later.
– I note that the Bill introduced on 2nd May had a specific provision to validate this. That would make it effective for the proposals provided for in the Bill. I accept this as the position. The Opposition has no objection to this and we do not intend to use this occasion to debate in detail the proposals validated by the Bill but I want to say that I am most concerned about a number of these proposals and I intend to take the opportunity, at the expiration of the six-month period from 1st May, when the matters are dealt with to examine more closely several of the proposals validated by this measure. Otherwise the Opposition has no objection to the Bill.
– in reply - I sympathise with the honourable member for Yarra (Dr J. F. Cairns). I have found the procedures that we have been adopting in these two matters as complicated as he has found them. I will try to explain the situation as I understand it. We brought down various proposals in February, March and April. Then we introduced the Bill which came into operation on 1st May. Certain of the proposals that we brought down prior to 1st May were not compatible with the new Bill which came into operation on 1st May. On 2nd May we brought down a new set of proposals in order to bring them into line with the new legislation that had then been enacted. Those proposals will remain on the notice paper for six months until we come to debate them in an enabling Act in the next session.
We are still in the position that certain of the proposals were in operation from February up to 1st May and we have to validate now what was in the form of a proposal up to that time. We are validating and putting into law things which had been done when the proposals were before the House during the six months but before we enacted legislation concerning them. As a Parliament we are giving legal effect to the collection of moneys under those proposals before the new proposals came into operation. Nothing in this Bill relates to what happened after 1st May. After 1st May we brought down once again a new series of proposals which will now lie on the table of the House until we bring down an enabling Act during the next session - but within six months. At that time we shall have an opportunity to debate the new proposals item by item. We had to adopt that procedure to provide for the necessary six months period; otherwise some of the proposals would have been out of time. We have adopted this procedure so that we can debate these matters at our leisure and with due care and responsibility.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr Howson) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 16 May (vide page 2180), on motion by Mr Howson:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– This is a simple matter. The Bill provides validation until 31st December 1967 for excise duties collected on certain canned fruits, in accordance with proposal No. 1. The purpose is to obtain revenue to assist in the marketing of canned fruits and the Opposition supports the measure.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr Howson) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 16 May (vide page 2181),onmotionbyMrHowson:
– There being no objection, I will allow that course to be followed.
– This Bill and the Customs Bill can very well be taken together because they apply to the same thing. I want to say very briefly what the position of the Opposition is at this stage on both Bills. They have been considered at great length in the Senate. After consideration by the Opposition in the Senate, as here, the Opposition has no objection to the Bills in substance. In the Senate a useful, necessary and well justified amendment moved by the Labor Party Opposition was successful and in each case the amendment has now been incorporated in the legislation. I shall remind the House briefly of what that amendment is. It occurs in the Customs Bill, which we are debating, at page 4, clause 9 (3.).
The effect of the amendment movedin the Senate is that where proceedings for an offence referred to in sub-clause (1.) of clause 9 are brought to a court of summary jurisdiction the court may commit the defendant for trial or, with the consent of the defendant, determine the proceedings. Prior to that the defendant had no choice. As a result of the amendment, if he gives his consent, the matter can be dealt with by summary proceedings; that is to say,he has the right to trial by jury unless he consents to summary proceedings. This amendment was accepted in the Senate and we are pleased to see its inclusion in the Bill which has reached this House.
The simple purpose of the Bills is to increase the penalties in respect of the manufacture or possession of narcotic drugs and for a number of other offences in respect of them. The penalty for conviction upon indictment is to be a fine not exceeding $4,000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding ten years, or both. In the case of summary conviction the penalty is a fine not exceeding$ 1,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both. These penalties have been included in Commonwealth legislation following upon their consideration by the Standing Committee of Commonwealth and State AttorneysGeneral and, presumably, as a result of agreement in that Standing Committee. I want to say briefly that the Opposition recognises not only the great social evil of narcotic and other drugs when improperly used but, unfortunately, the growing prevalence of their improper use - partly, perhaps, as a result of the growing intensities and frustrations of modern life, but also, quite significantly, as a result of the fact that a greater and wider range and variety of drugs have been produced in more recent years. More drugs are taken because more drugs are available to be taken, apart altogether from the factors which induce persons to take them. Perhaps more significantly than in early generations, this is now present among younger people. The Opposition thoroughly supports the increase in penalties for those who improperly concern themselves with manufacture, distribution, selling and possession of drugs. We hope that the greater penalties may have the effect of reducing this evil traffic.
There is only one other thing 1 want to say because there can be no disagreement about this. The provisions of the Bill have been carefully examined elsewhere. The Minister for Air (Mr Howson) reminded us that the amendment which the Bill provides was introduced in accordance with obligations which Australia will assume on becoming a party to the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs in 1961. The Opposition regrets that it has taken six years to reach this stage. This matter was raised in the other place and there the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson) did not attempt to explain why it had taken the Government six years to reach the stage of ratifying this Convention of 1961 and legislating in accordance with the obligations acquired from that ratification. We have mentioned before that the Government has been extremely slow in ratifying United Nations conventions. Clearly this is another example of its slowness. With the significance of the growing traffic in narcotic drugs, I should have thought that no delays would have been tolerated.
In the Narcotics Bill to regulate the manufacture of and to make other provision with respect to narcotic drugs the definition of a narcotic drug seems to be simply the definition of a drug, whereas under the Customs Bill, which concerns itself with other drugs and narcotic drugs which are improperly imported into Australia, the definition of a narcotic drug is much more precise. In clause 3 a narcotic drug means a number of substances which are specially named in the definition. Among them is lysergide, which is commonly known as LSD. In the other place Senator Murphy, leading for the Opposition, said that the finding of one of the world’s outstanding medical scientists is that lysergide, known as LSD, is not a narcotic drug. The Minister, Senator Anderson, replied to him that it was not a narcotic drug. So apparently the Minister has no doubt about this. Although it is not a narcotic drug, it is included in the definition of one. This seems to me to be a situation which shows some need for clarification. The Opposition approves of these measures, the purpose of which is to increase the penalties as I have mentioned. Apart from the points I have raised I propose at this stage to comment no further on the Bills.
– in reply - I thank the honourable member for Yarra (Dr J. F. Cairns) for his valuable contribution to this debate. Every honourable member wants to see stronger penalties for people who engage in the horrible practice of drug peddling and the use of narcotic drugs. We want to give as wide advertisement as possible to the increased penalties about to be enacted. The honourable member has raised two important points. Firstly, he referred to the time taken in enacting the International Convention. I point out that it has been necessary not only for the Commonwealth to decide on this legislation but to bring the legislation in every State into line with Commonwealth legislation. While I admit that a number of years have elapsed, many difficulties have had to be overcome and this is one explanation for the delay.
Secondly, he referred to the definition of narcotics. The Bill has been introduced into this House by virtue of the external affairs power in the Constitution whereas the Customs Bill has been introduced under the customs power. When we use the external affairs power we have to use definitions in the International Convention. At the moment LSD is not defined internationally as a narcotic drug. We expect within a reasonably short time that the International Convention will amend the definition to include LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs, in which case we can amend our legislation to bring it into line. Because we have no power other than the external affairs power to bring in a definition we have to use the international definition. I hope that my remarks offer some explanation of the anomaly to which the honourable member has drawn attention. I have much pleasure in commending the Bill to the House.
Question resolved in the affirmative,
Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for the third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr Howson) read a third time.
Consideration resumed from 16th May (vide page 2183), on motion by Mr Howson:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for the third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr Howson) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 3 May (vide page 1698), on motion by Mr Fairbairn:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– After the Bill has been on the notice paper for four days and four nights we have finally got around to discussing it. The Opposition supports the Bill. It believes in the principle of brigalow development and in the eventual success of the brigalow project in Areas 1 and 2 and, as the purpose of the Bill is to extend the scheme, in Area 3. We believe this is an excellent example of planned development using the best available scientific and economic knowledge and applying practical knowledge in achieving results on the more favourable areas. This does not mean, of course, that there have not been problems. One can perhaps ask whether the Government is pushing ahead with Area 3 a little too quickly. One might ask whether, in fact, it would be better to delay proceeding with the development of Area 3 until Areas 1 and 2 have proved themselves as we would like them to do. However, the Government has taken the decision to go ahead and the Opposition gives its full support.
There have been many problems up to now. This has been due principally to two of the worst rainfall seasons in sixty years experience in Areas 1 and 2. There have been major problems associated with the suckering of the brigalow and there have been major problems in finding sufficient water. But despite this most of the settlers are quite confident of the future success of the brigalow scheme and consider themselves fortunate in possessing brigalow land. However, the going has not been easy and rigorous Commonwealth legislation has not made it easy. In fact, the original Act was one of the most impracticable Acts one could wish to see, providing as it did for the regimentation of settlers in brigalow country. The people who drew up the agreement must have thought they were planning a brigalow scheme based on draft board procedures. The agreement provided for two water points per property and up to twenty miles of fencing per property. It is amazing that in the original agreement there was no provision for cattle. The Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) knows that the whole basis of the scheme is cattle, yet no provision for cattle was made in the original agreement between the Commonwealth and the State. It was only when the legislation was amended in 1965 that breeding cattle were introduced into the scheme and settlers were enabled to borrow money from Commonwealth funds, via the State, for breeding cattle.
Because of the inflexible conditions of the Act there has been much heartbreak, and developmental problems have arisen. Anyone who knows anything of land development will appreciate that the Act should be designed to give the greatest flexibility to development. No two farms are the same, no two properties are the same, no two managers are the same. Therefore I say that even now the Act is inhibiting the efficient operation of the brigalow scheme. After all, the Commonwealth is giving the State a fully repayable interest bearing loan. It is not a grant; it is a loan that has to be paid back, lt is our considered opinion on this side of the House that the Act should be amended and we will move an amendment designed to allow complete flexibility so that the State Government may develop this land as it thinks best.
As the Treasury - which, strangely enough, has the final control of this scheme - knows, and as 1 have no doubt the Department of National Development is fully aware, events over the last three or four years have shown quite clearly that complete flexibility is needed if the brigalow land is to be developed efficiently. The two years of disastrous drought have demon.trated this very clearly. As I have said, land classes are not the same, managers are not the same, properties are not the same, and the availability of finance for the buying of cattle varies from one property owner to another. All these things depend on flexibility in management, on judgment and on the availability of finance. The Act as at present framed is still too rigid.
Under the existing legislation a settler may purchase breeding cattle only. Why only breeding cattle? At present the area in question is one of the few areas in the central districts where there is an abundance of grass. Yet the settlers who still have money available to them within the terms of the Act cannot borrow it to buy store cattle. If the Minister cares to go to the area himself he will find this criticism is quite valid. We will move a simple amendment, which I hope the Government will accept, to remove the word ‘breeding’ from this provision of the Act, so that the settler will have the right to borrow money to buy store cattle if he thinks conditions warrant it.
If the grass is there and the store cattle are there producers may not wish to buy breeding cattle. If a man is short of money and can buy stores at the right price - and that is important - and grass is available, he should be able to buy stores if he so desires in order to recoup some of his investment and the losses he has incurred because of the drought. This is simply in accord with basic management policy. Therefore we will move to replace the phrase ‘breeding cattle’ with the single word ‘cattle’. This will not mean that the authority charged with the responsibility of brigalow development in Queensland will have to lend money in all cases for the purchase of store cattle. It simply means that if, because of seasonal or other conditions, it is better to buy store cattle than breeding cattle at a particular time the funds will be available for this purpose. I can see nothing wrong with this and I hope that at the Committee stage the Minister will explain why funds are available at present only to buy breeding cattle. The Minister, as a cattleman himself, knows full well that if the season is right and if the grass is right a man should be able to buy the kind of stock which will prove the most effective in converting pasture to meat and in making a profit for him on his property.
The other amendment we will move relates to the delineation of the area. We have three Bills here, or one Bill and two agreement amendments, and I defy anyone to discover precisely the location of some of the areas that are defined in the Act. There is a page or more of this measure defining the area. To me this reaches the height of absurdity. What is involved in the legislation is a fully repayable interest bearing loan, which is the subject of an agree ment between the Commonwealth and State Governments. I can understand an area being defined in the case of an electorate because there is good reason for it in such a case. But I fail to see why we must have up to two pages in these documents to define the area. We will move an amendment to simplify the provision by saying simply that the area shall be between certain parallels of latitude and certain meridians of longitude. What does it matter if a few acres just outside the defined area are pulled at the same time as a portion within the area? Under this Act it would be quite illegal to go one inch outside the boundary. This is absurd. It is the kind of thing which is being so heavily criticised in the brigalow area. It demonstrates the complete inflexibility of the Act.
Many people would be amazed to learn that when the Act was first framed no provision at all was made for suckering which, as everybody knows, is one of the most serious problems in the brigalow area. Certainly the amendment in 1965 made funds available for suckering, but by that time some of the properties had almost got out of hand because of suckering. Special action had to be taken by the State Government to alleviate the serious difficulties caused by suckering
As I have said before, it may be argued in some quarters - and I believe quite rightly - that there is a tendency to push some areas of the brigalow scheme along a bit too rapidly. I partially agree with this. I do think that in some parts of area 3 there are very serious problems. For example around the Connors, the Funnel, the Mackenzie and the Isaacs areas, the flooded areas, there are difficult technical problems associated with the pulling of the limber, the burning of it and the successful establishment of sown pastures, and these problems are going to cause some headaches.
I would like to have seen greater emphasis by both the Commonwealth and the State on using the knowledge of the cattlemen in the area, who have learnt from experience, much of it pretty tough experience, how to handle flooded brigalow land. Anybody who has seen the regrowth of flooded brigalow that has been treated by being either pulled, burnt or ringbarked knows some of the major problems in the area. For example in the land class of brigalow and coolibah, which is quite a common land class on the Mackenzie and the Isaacs, irreparable damage may be done by ringing the timber because there may be a tremendous regrowth not of the brigalow but of the coolibah. Once there is a regrowth of eucalypts it is far harder to get rid of than the parent brigalow. The same problems are experienced in other land classes such as the brigalow and yellow-wood country. If the brigalow in some areas is ringbarked there will be a heavy regrowth of yellow-wood, which is toxic and can cause the deaths of animals.
These are some of the problems that are faced in these areas. It is my considered opinion that area 3 should have been looked at a little more closely and divided up into those areas which we know can be handled safely, which we know settlers can go to and make a success of their properties on the basis of experience not only in areas 1 and 2 but also with brigalow in other areas. We know that in this way a success could be made of the scheme.
Let the progressive cattlemen in the area be given a chance to develop the areas where these problems are to be found. If they are not willing to develop them, then it is for the Commonwealth and the State to confer about including the area in the brigalow scheme. In the areas of the Mackenzie, Isaacs, Connors and Funnel Rivers there are very heavy floods. According to known technology the best way to treat the brigalow tree is by spraying it rather than by clearing or ringbarking. Existing cattlemen should have been encouraged to stay in the area and develop it under special development conditions and then, if necessary, hand it over to the Commonwealth or the Stale for closer settlement. In other words, I advocate capitalising on the knowledge of cattlemen in the area.
As we are dealing with Areas I, 2 and 3 as a group, it may be as well to recite some of the history of the brigalow scheme. At the request of the Queensland Premier, in August 1961 the Bureau of Agricultural Economics investigated the economic feasibility of developing Area 1 and Area 2. At the time the Bureau was not completely happy about doing an economic investigation involving short term leasehold land. Anyone who is concerned with the formula- tion of benefit-cost analysis well knows that the results one gets are only as good as the underlying assumptions. It was agreed, after consultation, that the title of the land when developed should be conditional freehold and thus firmer assumption could be made. I believe that granting this form of title will b: one of the most important factors in the successful development of the brigalow scheme. As a result of the investigation of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics a total of S14.5m was made available to the State Government to finance development of Area 1 and Area 2. The money was to be used for roads, clearing, pasture improvement and water. At this stage the first fairly tough condition was imposed by the Government on brigalow settlers. Included in the sum of §14.5m was an amount for the construction of the Dawson Highway between Moura and Bauhinia Downs, which is a 100% beef road. In accordance with criteria established immediately before the Cabinet decision on the brigalow scheme, beef roads up to the gravel stage were financed out of a grant and the cost of tar sealing the road was met out of a fully repayable interest bearing loan. This is one of the problems confronting settlers. Obviously the shire has to repay to the State, which in turn will have to repay to the Commonwealth Government, funds made available for this beef road. The section of the Dawson Highway from Bauhinia Downs to Moura is used as a beef road. Therefore its cost should not have been included in the brigalow scheme and financed out of loan funds. Certainly this part of the road should have been financed out of a grant, as was done in respect of the Dingo-Mount Flora Road in Area 3. I hope that all or part of the cost of the latter road will be met out of a grant.
The Bureau of Agricultural Economics investigated Area 3. Its findings were consistent with those in regard to Area 1 and Area 2. Under the assumptions it made, Areas I, 2 and 3 could be justified on economic grounds. Although the Government supported the scheme in respect of Areas 1 and 2. it has only just now come to the party in regard to Area 3. The development and administering of the area are the responsibility of the State Government, which is as it should be. As I said before, the inflexible conditions that were laid down in the first Act were a major inhibiting factor to the State. There was no provision for suckering or for cattle, there were only two water points on each property, and provision was made for only 20 miles of fencing. To my mind, full blame for this situation rests with the Treasury.
We shall move, as wc did previously, an amendment to the effect that the Minister for National Development should have technical control of a technical Bill like this one. The things I have mentioned would not have happened if the Minister for National Development or the Minister for Primary Industry had control of the Bill and the drafting of the agreement. Noone denies the Treasury’s right to be responsible for the accounting or bookkeeping involved in the scheme and the overseeing of the financial aspects, but the agreements drawn up under the brigalow scheme should be the responsibility of the Minister for National Development.
– With whom is the agreement?
– Why does not the honourable member read it and find out? My point is that in considering the development of Area 3, it is most important to consider whether or not Areas 1 and 2 have been a success. There is plenty of room for argument on this score. To take a rather hard line, one thing is certain - that is, that Areas 1 and 2 will be a success for the nation. However, it might mean that some of the first generation of farmers on the area will find the battle to be pretty tough because they have had to go on to the land with insufficient finance. They have faced two years of drought and are heavily in debt, but there can be no question that the brigalow scheme from the national viewpoint will be a success because of the productive capacity of the area.
Approximately eleven million acres are covered by Areas 1, 2 and 3. To understand the development of the brigalow scheme it is necessary to have some idea of difficulties experienced there. They stem from the brigalow tree itself which being an acacia has a root structure that is common to most of these species. Rarely do brigalow forests grow from seedlings. Usually they grow from horizontal roots, structures which may be referred to as root colonies. When one attacks a brigalow tree one in fact attacks a colony of them. If one attempts to dig out a small brigalow tree, one finds its root structure is joined to that of the next tree, which in turn is joined to that of another tree, and so on. When damage is done to a brigalow tree by a bulldozer, ringbarking or frill ringing, the starch and sugar in the root system causes a tremendous increase in the number of suckers. This sort of root damage is a major cause of sucker regrowth. The treatment of suckers varies with soil types. If you are talking about the heavy clay soils of the gilgai country, which are the most prevalent in the brigalow areas, treatment of suckers is a different matter from the treatment of softwood or brigalow on sedentary soils. The soils themselves are variable.
Some people believe that the brigalow soils are unique in that they are confined to the brigalow itself. This is not right. There can be a tremendous variation in brigalow soils. They are alkaline in reaction, and as the profile is deepened acidity increases. In some parts of the melonhole areas there is a heavy salt content. All of these things add to the problems of the settler. One of the most important questions is when to pull. Experience has shown that in most areas it is best to pull when the moisture is in the soil. If you null in the winter or spring months you do so usually at your own risk. Pulling at those times immediately promotes a great growth of suckers because there is not sufficient moisture in the soil to promote the growth of natural grasses.
As to the pulling of the timber, various recommendations are given for various areas. The Tara area, for example, near where the honourable member for Maranoa (Mr Corbett) lives, has always been a major problem area for brigalow. It seems that in areas such as that the plough is the only answer. In areas such as the MackenzieIsaacs area we have a different problem altogether because if producers are to plough the brigalow the only way to recoup their money is by a cash crop. The various studies that have been made by Commonwealth and State authorities suggest that there is a very good case for cultivation in parts of Areas 1, 2 and 3. As one moves further north into Area 3, the argument in favour of cultivation diminishes because of the higher risk factors involved. In this amendment to the Act there is now provision for
Cultivation. This is good. But with continuous cultivation in some of the sedentary clays comes the problem of erosion. This problem of erosion becomes evident in some of the Downs country and some of the Chinchilla and Taroom areas. Problems of salinity occur in some melonhole country through trying to rake the puffs out. As I have said, the problem of suckering is a major headache in Areas 1 and 2 and most producers are very worried about it. It would seem that the most successful attack on the suckers has been to spray with 2,4,5T or equivalent when the suckers are at a reasonable height. If the disc plough or slashers can be used it is possible to convert the suckers into cultivable land. All of these problems are of such a nature that one cannot lay down a hard and fast rule as to the best method of control. That is why in the amendment we will move we seek to get away from the inflexible conditions in the Act so as to allow the brigalow settler to develop his property as he thinks best. Only he, using if he wishes the advice of the agricultural people, knows how to do that.
Nobody can predict the weather. There is quite a difference between developing a brigalow block and building a house. In building a house a person works to a plan and usually can attain accuracy to the Nth degree. That cannot be done when land is being developed. The settler cannot predict the weather, and the weather is the most important variable so far as brigalow development is concerned until such time as the problems of suckering have been overcome. I hope that the Government will accept our amendment to give greater flexibility to the legislation.
When dealing with the brigalow it is important to appreciate that there are various classes of brigalow. This fact in itself constitutes a problem in develpment. As I have said, the brigalow is an acacia. The amount of virgin brigalow in terms of pure brigalow stands is extremely small. In practically every case brigalow will be associated with some other species, be it wilga, belah yellow wood, yapunyah or sandalwood. On the flooded Mackenzie-Isaacs and Connors areas the most common combination is brigalow with eucalyptus and coolibah. All of these combinations constitute different problems in development. All mean different costs of development. So again flexibility is essential in the pulling and the treatment of the brigalow.
I have said that it is generally recognised that in their natural 6tate the soils of the brigalow areas are amongst the most fertile in Australia. The amount of nitrogen and organic matter in them is relatively high. The potash content is adequate. But as I have said, there are problems of salinity with some of the gilgai country. Trials have shown conclusively that there is a deficiency of phosphorus in practically all brigalow soils. The best way to demonstrate this is to conduct a trial with a legume. Pot trials conducted by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, using phaseolus lathyroides. showed conclusively that most brigalow soils are deficient in phosphorus. One of the biggest problems so far as brigalow soils are concerned - this is a problem affecting most of Queensland - is the ability to grow a satisfactory legume. This is one of the most important problems affecting future development of the brigalow as well as the tropical coast. Gypsum is quite common and in the top layers of soil there is free carbonate. All of this adds up to the problems.
I have referred to the problem of erosion in the development of brigalow for cultivation. Most of the brigalow topography is reasonably flat. The softwood country is usually recognised as the area that can be most easily treated because it is possible to pull the softwood and burn it in a matter of hours if necessary - usually in a matter of days or weeks if it is allowed to dry off. The pulling of the brigalow and other species is a different matter. It may be that in Area 3 - the Mackenzie-Isaacs area - the fallen timber will have to stand for twelve months or longer until there is an excellent growth of natural grass in order to get a good burn. If there is a good fire then half the battle with the suckers is won. If there is a poor fire then there can be serious trouble with the suckers. That is the usual fault in most areas. In the Belyando-Suttor areas, for example, most of the people who are forced to pull timber because of the Harrisia cactus, leave their brigalow stands for up to two years.
Again I emphasise that irrespective of what area you are dealing with, whether it be the area in the southern end of Queensland around the Condamine River, or northwards to Wandoan and Taroom, whether we are dealing with Areas 1 or 2, the Dawson area or the Mackenzie-Isaacs area, the conditions are varied and different systems of management are required. Therefore flexibility is required in their development. We must have flexibility in this agreement. It is what the brigalow settlers want. The Commonwealth Government can argue that it is lending the money to the Queensland Government and therefore it should have control over the development. Although this Government is lending this money, it is being repaid handsomely. I have not yet tried to calculate the total interest which the Commonwealth will get from the development of brigalow Areas 1, 2 and 3, but interest amounting to S2m has already accumulated or will be accumulated over a period of years. The Government has made S5.8m available and it will eventually be repaid the sum of $10m. In other words, this Government will get $4.2m in interest. Indirectly the brigalow settlers will have to pay this money. Therefore one would expect that they would be allowed some flexibility in the development. This is what we are seeking in our amendment.
There is another aspect of the brigalow development which I want to mention although it is not directly concerned with Areas I, 2 and 3. Nevertheless it is most important. I refer to the damming of the Nogoa River. This scheme has been put forward by the Queensland Government. It is contiguous to Areas 1, 2 and 3.
– The honourable member told us about this the other day. Do we have to listen to it again?
– The honourable member for Cowper is about the biggest yahoo 1 have seen in my experience in this House. Of course one gets accustomed to him but nevertheless he is one of the biggest yahoos I have ever met. It is a pity that the honourable member would not go up into the brigalow country and let some of the dingoes in the scrub have a go at him. That is where he ought to be. Regarding the development of Area 3, the climate is one of the most important problems to combat. One cannot predict the weather. Rainfall records show that at
Bombandy, which is approximately in the middle of Area 3, the probability of expecting 5 inches of rain in January is 46%. But the probability of getting sufficient rain for planting in June or July is less than 1%. This makes it obvious that if cultivation methods are to be used in the development of Areas 1, 2 and 3, particularly in Area 3, settlers will have to allow a fallow. One of the great virtues of the brigalow soil - and this has been proved by producers and by scientists - is that eight to ten inches of moisture can be stored in the first four feet of the soil. But this in itself is not sufficient. If a producer intends to grow winter crops it is essential to have planting rains so that there is moisture in the first couple of inches of soil.
The Opposition argued last year that the Minister for National Development should have control of the technical provisions of this Act. I have yet to hear the Minister give a satisfactory answer to our argument. If he does then I can assure him that we will not argue further about the matter. The brigalow scheme is an excellent example of a project which should have been technically under the control of the Department of National Development. The scheme would have been much more successful than it has been to date if this had been done. The problems which arose early in the piece would never have occurred. For example, cattle were not included in the scheme of development. Honourable members can just imagine the problems of the producer who borrowed money to pull his country, successfully established pastures and then found that under the provisions of the Act, if he did not have sufficient private finance, he could not get finance with which to buy cattle. The brigalow scheme is based on cattle. Certainly the scheme has been amended to make provision for breeding cattle. I ask the Minister why this Act cannot be amended in order to give flexibility to the producers so that they can buy all types of cattle. If grass and water are available producers should be allowed to buy stock to put on their pastures so that their property will be efficient and will give the greatest return. If a producer wishes to buy store cattle then he should be permitted to do so. If he wishes to buy breeding cattle then let him do so.
Producers should at least be given the right to buy the type of stock that they consider are most suitable for their properties.
Under the provisions of the Act at the present time they can only borrow money to buy breeding cattle. Because of the drought in these areas some producers are seriously in debt. If, in the last six to eight months, brigalow settlers had been able to buy store cattle from the Belyando, Suttor and Clermont areas and move them to their properties they may have been able to get a fair margin of profit. But they had to content themselves with buying breeding cattle and now they will have to wait at least three years before they can get an effective turn-off.
In conclusion I reiterate that the Opposition supports this Bill with the exception of the matters I have mentioned. I will move the amendment in the Committee stage. The main argument that I have put forward is that greater flexibility should be given to the settlers, particularly in Area 3 which has far greater problems so far as development is concerned because of the flood areas of the Mackenzie and Isaacs Rivers. Technical authorities which have had anything to do with the brigalow scheme know full well the problems facing settlers in the area. However, the scheme will be a success. Great credit must go to the Queensland authorities who are administering this development through their technical staff as well as by using common sense.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Cope)Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– People in the outback areas of Queensland and other parts of the Commonwealth have come to regard the Bureau of Agricultural Economics as something like a labour ward. A scheme goes in and out comes a delightful report upon it, or it is stillborn. I do not know whether I have used the term ‘labour ward’ with much finesse. Perhaps I should use the term ‘Liberal-Country Party’ because the brigalow scheme was reported on most favourably. The result was that the Government came forward with a scheme which is to be highly commended. On behalf of the people involved, many of whom I am pleased to say are in my area, I commend the Minister. The Minister has not been commended very much tonight, but I commend him with enthusiasm for being the leader of a team that has produced this really wonderful scheme.
What is the brigalow scheme? An awful lot of people go flippety Bop through our areas like a kangaroo on a red hot roof, and gain impressions which, for the greater part, are vague and nebulous. In any event, they do not know what the brigalow scheme is. Being favourable to the Government and being a magnificent scheme, it has not been presented to the nation in the light in which it should be presented. Under the scheme the Federal Government and the Queensland Government agreed to expend S23m of Federal money over a period of from eight to thirteen years which will culminate in 1975. Vast areas of land were cleared and resubdivided to increase the number of settlers in the area. The holdings were reduced in size and many more people came into the area. I am reducing the whole idea to the language of the ordinary layman.
A new feature in this agreement was the decision that various portions of the brigalow country should be predeveloped One of the great difficulties in the past was that these settlers would go on to the land with a limited amount of money. First, they had to clear and to prepare it for the holding of stock. That more or less absorbed their entire resources. Under the new agreement many of these holdings will be predeveloped so that the settlers can run about 400 or 500 head of cattle on them almost immediately. Some may ask: ‘What is the good of being able to do that? You have to have the finance to purchase the stock, which is a valuable commodity at the moment.’ The Commonwealth Government has come to the party with a far more liberal attitude than previously and money can now be raised on far easier terms.
There is something fundamental about this scheme. Of all land settler schemes that have been introduced throughout the Commonwealth over the last decade this one will lead to repopulating the inland areas which are now suffering drastically from a process of depopulation. Charleville formerly had a population of 5,700 people but now is down to 4,700. Let us be honest and admit that this is primarily due to drought conditions, which are as critical as ever in many parts of eastern Australia, particularly central Queensland. The drought and other contributing factors have forced a great number of people from the inland and the more isolated areas of
Queensland. This has also been the experience of other States with vast rural areas. What is happening? The old fashioned settler is coming in. These young folk - mainly married mcn with young families - who are coming in are old fashioned and wonderful people. The point 1 want to make in the fifteen minutes allocated to me by the Whip - a time limit was put upon me for some reason or other - is that these oldfashioned settlers have limited resources, but they receive what I regard as being quite liberal assistance, which they appreciate. However, they face certain difficulties which I think should be examined fairly closely for a few moments.
The time has come to examine closely the education problems of children living in rural areas, particularly those now being developed under the brigalow scheme. The brigalow area is closely settled by comparison with the western areas, which are far more isolated. By the way, the Queensland Government has played a handsome part in the negotiations for this agreement. This has been an example of two highly efficient and highly qualified governments getting together and doing something that is very much to the benefit of the people of Queensland and which will make a real and substantial contribution to the development of this part of the Commonwealth. I will not refer to it as the northern part of Australia, but one is getting well north when one gets to the central highlands.
The time has come when the Commonwealth Government should consider the possibility of acting in co-operation with the Queensland Government. Honourable members know that the Queensland Government’s resources are strained to the limit, particularly in relation to education where its contribution has been almost unbelievable. The time has come to examine the possibility of establishing in the central highlands an agricultural college of some magnitude - not a limited institution of the type that we now have in Queensland. While we are considering this specialised form of education, the whole question of facilities for these young settlers should be considered. Many of them are fairly inexperienced in this frontier type of living which they suddenly have to face. Honourable members on both sides of the House should keep in mind the fact that there is not much left of the old Australian rural, earthy characteristic. I harp on this theme continuously because this characteristic is the most precious thing that we have in this nation. People with the original Australian rural characteristics are becoming rare; but these characteristics can be found cherished and nurtured in such places as the area where the brigalow scheme is being developed.
Extension of television services is needed in part of the brigalow area, particularly in the Dawson electorate. I do not think that settlers in most of the brigalow country in the Maranoa and Kennedy electorates have the benefit of television. I shall not talk about translators. To provide them would be rather silly. It is ridiculous for anyone to think that they could be established every five miles. I am no expert on these matters; but perhaps booster stations could be established in fringe areas so that the amenity of television could be brought to the people who are opening up and developing the country. One of the most important matters in serious need of close scrutiny is that of telephonic communications. I pay a tribute to what has already been done. Honourable members should not misunderstand me. The provision of telephone facilities has been almost unbelievable in the far flung areas of the State. Again I pay tribute to the men who work behind the scenes - the linemen and others associated with the establishment of these communications. However, there are some rather appalling deficiencies. Let me quote one. In the brigalow area that is in my electorate, a telephone exchange was closed recently. I have mentioned this previously in the House. I am trying to have it reopened and perhaps the more I mention it the nearer I will come to achieving my objective. Twenty-five telephones were connected to the exchange. Since it has been closed, six parties have been connected to one line and six to another. I suppose this helps the housewife to fill in the day adequately. But the other thirteen subscribers do not have a telephone at all. They have been told that they may be reconnected in twelve months time.
Treatment of this sort does not recognise the fact that these people are pioneers and are opening up this country. They are reintroducing a phase of our Australian history that we thought was dead. The very real contribution of the Government to decentralisation has made the pioneering feature of the Australian character a reality. But these little tantalising frustrations make life difficult for these people. They may appear to be humorous when they are related in the House, but the situais not very humorous for someone miles from anywhere who is bitten by a snake or who falls from a height and has to be driven 20 or 30 miles for treatment. When these difficulties are known, people go on the land only as a last resort.
I have heard the great cry in the House that the coalition Government is planning for the big man, that it is handing Australia in one wholesale piece to foreign investors and that it has given the whole game away. Here in the brigalow the small man is given a chance to become progressively a fairly substantial landholder. But he needs two qualities. He must have guts and he must have the Australian characteristics which, though they are disappearing, will enable him to stand up to the difficulties of the early years. Once he gets on his feet, with the liberal assistance provided in this scheme, he can become a fairly substantial producer of good cattle. It has been suggested that this area could become a great breeding area. I think it could, but not on the vast scale that we visualise in the Gulf country. None the less, it could become a substantial and significant breeding area.
I rather think that the people who are investing substantially in the central highlands - I do not mean those who are being assisted by the brigalow scheme - have in mind the fattening rather than the breeding of cattle. I again go back to the example of the two major pastoral companies in Australia bidding against each other until eventually a price of $600 an acre was paid for land. The final price for 42,500 acres was more than SI. 5m. This would suggest that the companies have quite encouraging plans for this area. I hope that, despite the forebodings of the much feared Bureau of Agricultural Economics, the Nogoa Gap scheme will be approved in the not far distant future. We must keep in mind that from the moment the Commonwealth Government approves of the scheme and decides to give the Queensland Government the necessary financial assistance to proceed with it, six years will pass before it is completed. That is looking well into the future. When we discuss a scheme such as the brigalow scheme we should understand that the construction of a dam of this nature is a vital factor.
The Government is sometimes criticised. I most certainly am critical of it in matters of decentralisation and northern development and no doubt I will continue to be one of its critics. I hope I am always constructive and will always come forward with an acceptable proposal. But though we criticise the Government we must keep in mind that very substantial contributions have been made to northern and inland development. This scheme can be quoted as a classic example of assistance given by the Government, and I hope it is the forerunner of many similar schemes. Again 1 commend the Minister and the Government for this substantial contribution to the development of part of my electorate.
– The Bill before the House ls a Bill for an Act to amend the Brigalow Lands Agreement Act 1962-1965. It seeks the approval of the Parliament to an agreement that has already been reached between the Commonwealth and the Queensland Government to develop a further area of brigalow country. It is intended to add some S8.5m to the money that has already been provided, making a total of some $23m. Some of the blocks in the scheme will be sold by auction and a ballot will be held for others. Most of the comments about the agreement will be related to the ballot blocks. The price paid for blocks that have already been auctioned, and I venture to suggest will be paid for blocks that will be auctioned in the future, shows the value of this land.
I do not agree with the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) that we are proceeding too quickly. I believe that this is one of the great areas of the Commonwealth that has been left undeveloped. The area has suffered the most adverse seasonal conditions that it is posible to imagine, but progress is being made. As the honourable member for Dawson said, the area is showing the great value of this scheme and it will be a success. I believe that it is wise to proceed with the development of Area 3. The ballot blocks 1 mentioned will be developed by settlers with the assistance of loans provided by the State Government from funds made available by the Commonwealth under the Brigalow Lands Agreement Act. The question of proceeding further at this time has been raised. The Bureau of Agricultural Economics has examined the scheme and has reported favourably on it. In addition, we can see what has been achieved already in Areas 1 and 2. lt would not be rash to predict that this scheme will be a success. We have the example of Areas 1 and 2 and we have the example of what has been done by people in the brigalow area without any assistance at all. I know this area well. I have brought a raw brigalow block to a stage where it is now fairly well developed, so 1 know some of the problems associated with it. While I agree with the honourable member for Dawson that there are differences in the various areas that grow brigalow, I point out that these differences were present in Areas 1 and 2, which have already been developed, so they will not be an insuperable handicap in the development of Area 3.
I was pleased to note that the honourable member appreciated the value of freehold tenure as a basis for the development of the land. I agree with him entirely on this point. This has been brought about by the Queensland Government and I give it full credit for doing so. I believe that it is a sound basis for the continued development of the brigalow area.
One of the features of this new section of the agreement has been the matter of finance for cultivation. I believe that the provision relating to the availability of finance for cultivation to permit the growing of fodder crops and at the same time controlling sucker growth is a most desirable addition to the agreement. The fact that I say this does not mean that this land will produce anything like the same return as a number of agricultural areas of ou State of Queensland have produced already. I mention this particularly because I do not want to sec any move made to reduce areas. Some of us will agree that this is a desirable addition to the agreement but I believe the land will have to be carefully managed if it is to be put under cultivation. The land will need careful management because despite the fertility of the soil in the early years after clearing it deteriorates in some areas fairly quickly and to a considerable extent. This deterioration can be offset by the careful use of this land - good land management, rotation of crops and putting land that has been used for growing fodder crops to pasture sward for some time. This is a type of land usage which is vitally necessary in this area. I feel that it is wise to emphasise the value of agriculture in the area, but with the proviso that the land must be used with care.
The agreement provides also for the reduction in the number of ballot blocks from 75% to 70%. I regret that it has been found necessary to do this. It has been stated that it might bring back the price of auction blocks if a few more are available for auction. I question this. While I know that the increase in the number of blocks to be put up for auction will perhaps reduce the cost of the scheme, at the same time when we have hundreds of applicants for the ten blocks to be balloted it seems a pity to reduce the number of blocks available to those who want to take up ballot blocks and have the finance to do so. A considerable amount of land is available for those who are willing to buy; there is not so much for those who want to ballot for the land.
Queensland has always been a land of opportunity - and I hope it will continue to be so - for people who go there with a limited amount of money. For this reason I regret that this minor alteration has been made in the agreement although it will have a small financial advantage. I want also to say that the Commonwealth is to be congratulated upon entering into this agreement with the Queensland Government. I include the Minister for National Development in those congratulations. This is an area of land which was left undeveloped for a considerable length of time but under this agreement between the State Government of Queensland and the Commonwealth Government we have seen developed one of the vast areas of highly productive land in the Commonwealth. This land had been left undeveloped for far too long. As a Queenslander I appreciate the fact that the Commonwealth has seen its way clear to come in and help develop this land much more quickly than would have been possible without its assistance.
– It is good northern development.
– As my friend fro Gippsland (Mr Nixon) has said, it is good northern development but it is good Commonwealth development, too. It is fitting that the Minister for National Development should be at the table of the House because this scheme illustrates the good work that he has done in connection with his portfolio. The Commonwealth has come to the aid of Queensland to relieve the position in that State and now Queensland is on the way but I emphasise that it is not a matter of being generous and being kind to Queensland; the scheme is a sound national investment and the development should not be disregarded any longer. Now that finance has been made available for this particular project and the large areas of brigalow are being cleared I hope we shall be able, as the honourable member for Kennedy (Mr Katter) mentioned, to go on with the great water conservation projects which in conjunction with the brigalow development will help tremendously to increase production by primary industries in Queensland, particularly in this area of the State.
The great need for decentralisation has been stressed on many occasions. The continuation of this scheme by bringing Area 3 into it will lead to development over the whole area. It is better to develop an area such as this at the pace and on the scale envisaged by this agreement. There should be no long delay. The only disadvantage in connection with the whole scheme has been the fact that we have struck most unfavourable seasonal conditions. That has been the drawback. The result was that many of the settlers did not have the finance to cope with unforeseen problems and they got into difficulties. The trouble was that the unfavourable seasonal conditions encouraged the growth of brigalow suckers and deprived the settler of his income in that vital period. The Minister referred to that in his second reading speech. This was a difficulty and it has been recognised in the new scheme under the agreement.
A conflict of opinion may arise as to the advisability of pre-development. Some people feel that it is wiser to let the owner of the land plan and develop it according to his own ideas; at the same time there are very decided advantages in pre- development, provided it is done wisely and with an eye to the future development of the land. This is an important factor. If there is pre-development I should say that the disadvantages which may be considered to apply will be more than outweighed by the advantages. The problems that confronted the settlers in the earlier areas dealt with in the brigalow scheme - lack of income, having to wait for pastures to establish themselves, spraying of suckers and resowing - will be overcome by pre-development. It is a safeguard. If we were sure of seasons the area could be just as well left without pre-development but in the light of the fact that we may have to face unfavourable seasons I believe that pre-development is a good idea.
I want to turn to a few of the points raised by the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) who has had considerable experience in that area. He was there years ago as a member of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics when I was in the early stages of developing my land and I consider that he knows something about the area. Nevertheless some of the points that he raised indicate that he is not as well aware of the problems and difficulties of the area as he might have been if he had been compelled to do what I had to do in the development’ nf my block of land. He pointed to the inflexibility of the scheme and referred to the fact that there were to be only two watering points on each block, so many miles of fencing and a few other factors such as that. Perhaps this could be a logical argument if the only money available to these settlers was that which was made available under this agreement, but in point of fact the settler, before being entitled to assistance, must show that he has a considerable amount of financial backing in addition to the amount which is to be made available to him to enable him to develop his block under the scheme. These facilities are to be provided under the scheme, but if he wants to he can go ahead and do more with his own resources or with whatever resources are available to him. The point mentioned by the honourable member for Dawson is only part of the scheme. The settler is not bound to this condition it is merely something which, under the agreement, must be provided.
Touching on the point raised by the honourable member with regard to cattle, the same thing applies. This money is being provided under a scheme agreed upon between the Commonwealth and the State. The honourable member referred to the purchase of store stock. I would say that they would be male cattle, perhaps for growing or fattening. A much greater risk attaches to these cattle than would apply to breeding stock. Again speaking as one who has had experience in this field I suggest that one can buy store stock and find when he comes to turn them off that they are not worth any more than he paid for them. That is a risk that one would hesitate to take when the Commonwealth Government is providing the money. On the other hand, with breeding stock, the money would be provided for a basic herd which was not provided for under the previous agreements. This new provision will enable the settler with limited finance to get the necessary stock numbers in his breeders as a basis for his income. So this provision is a very wise addition. If it does not go so far as the honourable member for Dawson would like it to go, at least it does go far enough to enable the settler to purchase his basic herd. I repeat that this expenditure does not incur the same risk as could apply with the purchase of other slock. I suppose that the governments have given consideration to this and have decided that the element of risk with store stock might be greater than with breeders and, as a result, have restricted the scheme in that regard.
Like the honourable member for Kennedy I do not intend to go on at this late hour for very long. I propose to keep my remarks to a reasonable length. I believe that I have covered most of the points that have been raised. However, I do want to say that the brigalow lands development scheme will be of great value to Queensland. I feel that we in Queensland have suffered a good deal in many ways, but this is an occasion on which the Commonwealth has come to our aid. With the addition of - and I emphasise this - very badly needed water conservation in that area we will be able to assist primary production to keep a balance with the continued growth of secondary industry in Queensland and with the balanced development of our State which we in the Country Party have advocated always. We have tried to keep in the forefront of our policy all the time the balanced development of Australia generally. The balanced development of Queensland will be very materially assisted by this agreement. I can only say that I am in full accord with the agreement. I believe that given a run of favourable seasons wc will see an improvement in primary production in Queensland as a result of this scheme, an improvement which I believe will surprise even the scheme’s most ardent advocates. I support the Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Friday. 19 May 1967
Message from the Administrator recommending appropriation announced.
Clauses 1 to 4 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.
After section 3a of the Principal Act the following section is inserted: - “3b. The Second Amending greement is approved.”.
– I move:
The main purpose of the proposed amendment is to enable more flexibility, if that is necessary, with respect to the area to be developed - Areas 1, 2 and 3. I do not know whether the honourable member for Kennedy (Mr Katter) and the honourable member for Maranoa (Mr Corbett), the two Country Party members who have preceded me in the debate, have in fact looked at the Bill and noticed the area as it is described therein. As I have said previously, I defy anyone to define some of these areas in the precise manner in which they must be defined. For example, the Third Schedule to the Bill contains almost a full page describing part of Area 2. It uses such definitions of area as this: . . by the south western and southern boundaries of Killarney Holding to the Connors Range, by the Connors and Broadsound Ranges . . .
What is meant by the area described as ‘by the Connors and Broadsound Ranges’? What side of the ranges is meant? We are confronted with the problem of defining this area in a simple way. This affects mainly the State which should be allowed to develop contiguous areas if it wants. This happened with the original Areas 1 and 2. The State wanted to develop contiguous areas and it took the Commonwealth twelve months to bring in the second amendment in 1965 to allow the State to do so. This amendment simply gives the State the right, if that is necessary, to develop on the other side of a river, over the range or wherever it needs to go in the contiguous area without having to come back to the Commonwealth to have the Act amended again. As this is a fully repayable interest bearing loan the particular area to which we are referring should be defined in such a way that, if necessary, the State Government will be able to develop contiguous areas with the contractors and the settlers. That is all paragraph (a) of my proposed amendment means. Paragraph (b) simply asks that the Third Schedule be amended to give the flexibility of development that is needed. After all, it means the same thing, but no longer will it be necessary to refer to the establishment of sown pastures, the provision of fencing, the provision of cattle tick control units, the provision of water facilities, the provision of breeding cattle and so forth. My point is that certain other works may need to be done in particular circumstances under seasonal conditions and my amendment would allow individual settlers to be able to undertake such work if it is necessary for efficient management. They will not be bound specifically by the Act.
As I mentioned before, placitum (vi) of paragraph (b) of the Third Schedule enables the provision of breeding cattle. The point made by the honourable member for Maranoa (Mr Corbett) about breeding cattle was well taken. There is great risk in buying store cattle, fattening them and waiting nine to twelve months to sell them, because the export or domestic price may drop and although there could have been a live weight gain of up to 21b per day over the period, a higher price might not be obtained for the cattle. However, most of the settlers are experienced and if they want to buy store cattle the legislation should enable them to do so.
The honourable member for Maranoa suggested that settlers might be able to get finance from other sources. I suggest he take a trip to Area 1 or Area 2 and talk to the settlers there to find out what they think of some of the private banks.
– I said that the settlers had to have their own finance as well as securing finance.
– They have to have a minimum of £12,000, as the honourable member knows. By the time a person builds a house and buys basic amenities he does not have much left. Some settlers have finance and have access to private banks, but a large proportion of the brigalow settlers are desperately short of finance.
– What would the honourable member do?
– There is another yahoo.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Haworth) - Order! That remark was quite uncalled for.
– I understand that a former Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, referred to them as yahoos, Sir.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN - Order! The honourable member will withdraw the remark. It is completely unparliamentary.
– I withdraw it, Sir. Mr Buchanan - Tell us what you would do.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! The honourable member for McMillan is out of order.
– He is out of his mind, too.
– We know that. I was stating that the honourable member for Maranoa had made his point well. If a settler has finance of his own or can get money from private banks or from the Development Bank I have no argument about it. but there are a large number of settlers in Areas 1 and 2 who cannot get finance. In fact, the Development Bank - I cannot remember the precise figures - has advanced finance to about 60% of the applicants who sought assistance. We are discussing a Commonwealth sponsored scheme yet about 40% of those who have applied for financial assistance from the Development Bank have been turned down. This fact was brought out last year and appears in Hansard.
All I am asking is that we make the agreement flexible so that experienced settlers can exercise their own judgment. By way of example, if the honourable member for Maranoa were a settler in the area and he thought that he could get a line of store cattle cheaply enough and could feed and water the cattle and make a profit from them, he should be enabled to do so under the legislation.
The third part of my amendment relates to approval for works having to be given by the Minister for National Development. The Opposition feels strongly about this. The technical provisions of the agreement should be under the control of the Minister for National Development. He is in charge of this Bill tonight. Why should not he be in charge of its technical provisions as they apply to development? Can one imagine another Minister, such as the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr McEwen) or the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Adermann), allowing technical provisions in respect of his Department to be passed over to the Treasury? In fact, that is what is happening in this instance. Let us look at what happens in some other departments. In respect of rail standardisation, the bookkeeping is done by the Treasury but the Minister for Shipping and Transport handles the technical aspects. Extension services are handled by the Minister for Primary Industry. Tuberculosis matters are handled by the Minister for Health.
All I am saying is what we have said before. The honourable member for Macquarie (Mr Luchetti) has made this point many times. The Minister for National Development - not the Treasurer - should have control of the technical provisions of this Act with respect to fencing, water, pasture sowing, tick control and so forth.
Let the Treasury have control of the implementation and supervision of the financial matters, including the collection of the money. That would be consistent with the practice in respect of other matters. All that is required is an amendment of the Administrative Arrangements to bring this matter under the Minister for National Development.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– A vital issue, a matter of principle is at stake here. I support the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) because I believe that the Minister for National Development has a responsibility to ensure that the terms of this legislation are carried out. He will depend on the men who work in the field under his control for advice on what should be done. Yet this legislation comes under the control of the Treasury. If this principle were to be carried through to its illogical conclusion - that is, if every department were to do what is being done in this instance - the Treasury would control all of the spending of every Commonwealth department and organisation.
The honourable member tor Dawson has made it abundantly clear that in respect of some of the practical problems in dealing with brigalow lands it is necessary to have field officers of the Department of National Development on the spot to advise the Minister.
– What about the State Government?
– The Minister in turn should be responsible to the Parliament. The honourable member for Cowper has asked a legitimate question. One would expect that the State Minister for Lands or Minister for Primary Industries would be responsible and answerable to the State Parliament with respect to matters coming within the jurisdiction of the State. But on matters coming within the jurisdiction of the Australian Parliament the Minister for National Development, who is here to pilot this legislation through this chamber, should ensure that it is under his control and jurisdiction. For the position to be otherwise is a vote of no confidence in him. I can only hope that action will be taken in the future, if not on this occasion, to see that all measures of this kind come within the control and administration of the Minister for National Development.
(12.18 a.m.] - I am sure that there is no need for me to detain the Committee for very long. I merely say that the Government does not accept the amendment moved by the Opposition. Apparently the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) does not realise that this scheme is administered by the State and that the Commonwealth’s participation in it is the provision of the money. We have done that on a very large and handsome scale. I appreciate the remarks made tonight by honourable members who have said that they realise that the Commonwealth has made a large contribution which will represent an enormous contribution to northern development and national development.
We reject this amendment because basically its three paragraphs refer to matters that are within the purview of the State. In regard to defining the area, the State provided the boundaries and all we have done is put them in legislative form. The State has not asked for any alteration. The State Government knows that if different boundaries are required it can approach us; but it has not done so, and we have simply set down the boundaries as requested.
The second complaint was that there is no flexibility in the legislation. The 1965 amendment gave the State the right to seek a variation of the schedules. Under this Bill all schedules may be varied on application to the Federal Treasurer, and in fact all conditions requested by the State have been accepted by the Commonwealth. There is no lack of flexibility. If the State wants anything it has only to approach the Treasurer or the Commonwealth Government and it can be arranged.
The third question is one that has been debated before; that is, whether approval should be given by the Treasurer or by the Minister for National Development. This is quite immaterial. The plain fact is that in the consideration of brigalow development there is close and active cooperation between the Minister for National
Development, the Treasurer and the State Government. I see no reason, therefore, for accepting the amendment proposed by the Opposition.
That the amendment (Or Patterson’s) be agreed] to.
The Committee divided. (The Deputy Chairman- Hon. W. C. Haworth)
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move:
At the end of proposed section 3 b add ‘subject to the Agreement, as amended, being further amended by omitting the word “breeding” from sub-paragraph (vi) of paragraph (b) of the Third Schedule’.
I have already explained the reason for this amendment. The brigalow settlers should be given the right under the agreement to buy the type of stock they require, whether it is breeding or store stock, depending upon conditions in the area. As I have said before, in the past six months some properties have had an abundance of grass on them, but due to the shortage of finance from private sources, or the provisions of the agreement, the producers have been unable to purchase cattle to stock their properties. This is the situation in spite of the fact that under the provisions of the agreement they have ample borrowing scope. When I was in the area last week I learned from several settlers that they have $5,000 or $6,000 still available to them under the agreement but, because of the rigorous conditions laid down in it, are unable to buy the stock they need. I should like the Minister for National Development to define the word ‘breeding’. Of course, this raises the question of what is a breeding animal. What happens if it is barren?
– This is the biggest joke of all time.
– Here is the yahoo again.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Failes) - Order! That remark is unparliamentary. The honourable member should address the Chair, and then there will be no trouble.
– All I am saying is that the producers are having this problem. The point is that the rigorous, inflexible terms of this agreement are detrimental to the brigalow scheme. The producers should be able to buy the best stock suitable for the conditions of the day. This is the whole point of the amendment.
– The Government rejects this amendment on the same ground it had for rejecting the previous one. Once again I point out to the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) that evidently he does not realise that the State Government administers this scheme. The State authorities have not requested finance for anything but breeding stock. Apparently that is their decision. They are the experts, even though the honourable member might think that he is one also. Apparently the officers of the State Lands Department who live in the area have made this decision in the belief that it is better for these people to buy breeding stock. It does not take very long to breed up, once breeding stock are obtained. I recollect starting off on my property with nineteen cows and a bull. Since then I have sold 2,500 head of cattle and I still have 500 head on my property. Therefore, members will agree that it does not take very long to breed up. I should add that I had more than one bull. The Government rejects the amendment on the same ground it put forward for rejecting the previous amendment - that the Queensland Government has not sought finance for anything but breeding stock.
Clause agreed to.
Remainder of Bill - by leave - taken as a whole, and agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Mr Fairbairn) - by leave - read a third time.
Debate resumed from 10 May (vide page 1932), on motion by Mr Fairbairn:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
-On 9th March 1966 the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) presented to the Parliament a statement dealing with softwood plantings and a proposed agreement with the States. We now have before us a Bill giving legal sanction to the proposals contained in the Minister’s statement last year. It is not my intention to refer to all the aspects raised by the Minister in the course of his speech, because the subject matter was covered very fully on that occasion. This Bill is an instance where the Federal Government is giving leadership to the States and is providing funds for the purpose of the expansion of the timber industry. Self sufficiency in forest products is important to the balanced development of Australia and to the bridging of the gap in the nation’s balance of payment difficulties. For these reasons the responsibility of preserving and expanding our forests is a national one.
The purpose of this Bill is to give legal sanction to the agreement between the Commonwealth and the States in connection with the softwoods industry. Its objective is to expand softwood plantings over the next thirty-five years by 75,000 acres each year, with an ultimate planting of three million acres by the year 2000. The resources ultimately envisaged would be to serve a population in the vicinity of 20 million. In this broad objective of satisfying the needs of Australia for softwoods the Government is to be commended. The proposals are worthy and if the target is not realised, I think we still have to consider our responsibilities to the people of Papua and New Guinea. We are committed to remain on the friendliest terms with Papua and New Guinea and we have a responsibility to build up its economy. Similarly we have a responsibility in these days to maintain the closest relationship with New Zealand and to buy from New Zealand the softwood timber we require. The financial provisions of this legislation are related to the first five years of its operation - for the term of the agreement. The funds will be interest free for the first ten years. Repayments will be made over a period of thirtyfive years. The Commonwealth is committed to an expenditure of $20m for the implementation of these proposals.
The States have criticised the financial arrangements. This they are entitled to do, particularly having regard to the requirement that they shall begin to pay instalments from the tenth year. Those of us who know anything about the growing of trees, particularly pinus radiata and the other types that probably will be grown - the rapidly growing types - know that there is little hope of their reaching a marketable size in less than fifteen years. Since at least fifteen years will elapse before the
States can expect a return from the trees, they are entitled to expect not to be required to make instalments until at least fifteen years have elapsed. This is a valid objection raised by the States.
But the Opposition welcomes the legislation and will facilitate its speedy passage. I record my appreciation of the administrative organisation relating to forestry and the timber industry. The meeting of Commonwealth and State Ministers in the Australian Forestry Council is an example of teamwork on the part of governments. My only regret is that this teamwork and coordination that is manifest in forestry affairs is not equally evident in other matters affecting the Commonwealth and the States. In addition to the regular meeting of Commonwealth and State Ministers there are regular meetings of the standing committee of officers who assist their governments and plan forestry programmes. This brains trust streamlines matters for the Ministers. This is an approach to a problem that should be followed in other fields. I regret that in the perennial and evergreen problem of decentralisation we cannot get co-operation between the Commonwealth and the States as we now have it in regard to forestry and the timber industry.
In his second reading speech the Minister did not indicate that any steps have been taken to extend the advantages of these proposals to local government. This I regret deeply. The Commonwealth should have made some representations to the States on this matter. As it is providing the funds to the States, the Commonwealth should have asked them to arrange for local government bodies, particularly shires, with great areas of otherwise waste land to undertake planting programmes, thereby assisting the ratepayers and the development of their areas. The Commonwealth should give the lead in this field. One of the heartening developments in the Australian economy is the national plan for the co-ordination of forestry and the timber industry. Here is an example of Commonwealth and State accord in planning the operation of an economically necessary Australian industry. The Australian Forestry Council surely indicates the way in which other national resources could be developed. The powers and functions of the Forestry and Timber Bureau are comprehensive and are set out extensively in the Forestry Bureau Act. This organisation deals with all the diverse aspects of the timber industry, including education, types of trees and the general development of the industry; not one aspect of this all important department seems to have been neglected. When one considers the tier of administration in this field, from the ministerial head, down through the standing committee and the national organisation itself, one realises how strong, worthwhile and commendable it is.
When I was conducting some research into this matter and was going back through the years I was especially pleased to read the names of the gentlemen who took part in the debate on the Forestry Bureau Bill when it was introduced into the Commonwealth Parliament by Mr Arthur Blakeley, who was then the member for Darling. That legislation was the beginning of ali the action that followed and was placed on the statute book during the Scullin Administration. It is indeed fascinating to read the names of the members who were identified with the debate on the Forestry Bureau Bill. A perusal of the records shows that contributions were made by Mr H. S. Gullett and by Mr J. G. Latham - the then member for Kooyong, who later became the Chief Justice of Australia. These gentlemen made interesting contributions to the debate; their remarks were to the point when they spoke of the importance of forestry to the nation’s development. That legislation was but the beginning and one might say, in silvicultural terms, ‘Tall oaks from little acorns grow.’
I am especially interested in forestry for in my electorate are extensive forests on the central tablelands and the Blue Mountains, which are the centre of the timber industry in this area of the State. I hope that the State Government of New South Wales will not depend entirely upon prison labour for the development of its timber industry. A number of prison farms are located in (he central tablelands and, although I realise that prisoners must be put to some useful work and given an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves in civilian life, people who do not transgress against society also are entitled to employment and the chance to obtain a job in this field.
Thoughtful Australians have for many years advocated the protection of our forests; the need to augment our timber re sources is well known, and this country’s deficiency in softwood has been a source of concern to anyone who has given the development of Australia any serious consideration. Before World War II the annual value of forest products consumed in Australia was about $60m, of which $40m came from mills cutting mainly from native forests; the other $20m represented imports. The present annual value of forest products consumed is $700m of which $500m represents products from our own forests and $200m represents imported softwoods. This problem which confronts not only this Parliament but also the State Parliaments must be solved at the earliest possible opportunity. I believe that for far too long the people of Australia have been content to depend upon others. We have been satisfied to leave it to others to do jobs for us and we have been content to import Oregon and other softwoods from overseas. Whenever a building job is to be undertaken we rarely think of utilising our own resources; we set about buying imported timber. We have to develop our forests for our own benefit. The national pattern is such that we cannot depend on the rest of the world to met our needs because it has its own problems.
The use of timber is growing in many countries. The demand of many backward people in various countries for consumer goods is rising with the rise in their standard of living. Because of this their timber will be put to greater use. I saw some interesting figures concerning world demand for timber in an article by Mr A. G. Hanson which appeared in a publication issued by the Forestry and Timber Bureau which comes under the Department of National Development. Mr Hanson set out clearly what the picture is likely to be. In Europe the demand for timber is likely to increase from 8,715m cubic feet, that being the figure for I960, to 12,246m cubic feet in 1975. In the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics the figure in 1960 was 8,817m cubic feet and by 1975 it is estimated that it will be 11 ,003m cubic feet. For North America, the figure in 1960 was 10,900m cubic feet and the estimated requirement by 1975 is 14,046m cubic feet. In Latin America the figure for 1960 was 1,363m cubic feet and by 1975 it is estimated that 2,740m cubic feet will be required. In Africa 837m cubic feet were used in 1960 and it is estimated that by 1975 1,377m cubic feet will be required. In the Asia-Pacific area it is estimated that the requirement will rise from 6,222m cubic feet in 1960 to 11,190m cubic feet in 1975.
This is evidence of the increasing demand for timber. Not all countries are making their contribution to meet this need. We regard Australia as being one of the most progressive and most affluent countries; therefore we have an obligation to show leadership. We need local timber to help cope with our balance of payments problems and to develop Australia. According to Mr Hanson’s article, on a per capita basis the average world consumption of timber is about 48 super feet sawn volume. The United States of America uses about 200 super feet, Japan about 130 super feet, and the whole of Asia including Japan about 18 super feet. These figures reveal the picture quite clearly. When the demands of the Asian countries increase so will the problem of providing timber for people in the rest of the world. It is economically unsound to spend large sums to import timber: it is also wanton and profligate to fail to use the land that we have to grow timber. We have the necessary temperature, rainfall and soil texture to grow the timber we require. The growing of timber is necessary and vitally urgent.
We must take steps to deal with the fire problem. We must ensure that the State authorities do not overlook this matter. Year after year fires devastate great tracts of our best timber. One can see the shells of former forest giants standing as a menace to people or lying in the bush. We must go ahead with plans to meet our own timber needs. It is necessary for us to diversify the types of trees that we grow. I should like to think that we will be doing something to stimulate the growing of cedar. This is a fine timber, and the opportunity should be taken to encourage the growing of it. There is one complaint I should like to make in an otherwise laudatory speech on this occasion. My complaint is that the Government is not doing enough in its own Territories to develop the timber industry. I should like to think that more would be done in this field.
The Opposition suggests to the House that the speediest possible passage should be given to this legislation. We believe it is a step forward. We understand that the States have now all come into line. There was some hesitancy in some places and there were delays here and there, but I can only hope that what has been presented will be accepted. I hope that there will be no procrastination, that the target set out in the Minister’s second reading speech will be implemented and that there will be no delay in seeing to it that the timber required for the development of this nation will be planted.
The schedule to the Bill clearly sets out what is required of the various States. I think that in this matter the Commonwealth will require to be vigilant and that it will have to police closely the operations of the States. When the Commonwealth finds the money, it is entitled to see that the work is being carried out to the satisfaction not only of the States but also of the nation and in a way that is in the interests of the well being of the people of this country. I support the measure. The Opposition is pleased to support it. I can only hope that it will have a speedy passage and that in the course of our lifetime we will see the results of this progressive legislation.
As the honourable member for Macquarie (Mr Luchetti) said, this subject was debated fully in the Parliament last year, and it is not my intention tonight to go over ground covered in that debate. There are one or two points that I should like to make in connection with this measure. I am pleased that the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) is still in the House. I would hope that he will be able to give me answers to one or two of the problems that are exercising my mind.
This Bill makes available $20m to the States over a period of five years. As the honourable member for Macquarie has said, it is to be expended by the State governments on the planting of softwoods. I congratulate the Government on the step it has taken. It has been very far-sighted in connection with this matter and the step now being taken will ensure that there is no shortfall in the supply of softwood timbers when the year 2000 comes around. There is no doubt that without this particular impetus from the Commonwealth.
Government, Australia could find itself in a very embarrassing position in the years to come.
I temper my congratulations with the criticism that I am disappointed to see that the Government has not been able to assist private companies in the planting of softwoods. The State governments are to spend this money through their own instrumentalities. If the Government could see its way clear to lend money to private companies, not only would the investment be well guarded and cared for, but the Government would derive great benefit from the yield in tax returns.
One of the reasons given to me as to why the Government is not interested in assisting private companies is that State plantings can be carried out at a much lower cost than the private commercial planters can manage. I find it hard to discover exactly what it costs a State government to plant trees. Indeed, it is hard to find out just what items are included in the State’s assessment of costs. But I was able to discover what it cost a private company to establish a plantation. The prime costs include all the overhead costs from company administration to land clearing, bulldozing, burning and working up the land. The company to which I refer is Australian Paper Manufacturers Ltd which has a large plantation in my electorate. The private plantings of this company last year approximated 10,000 acres. When one considers that the State of Victoria was able to plant only 6,000 acres last year one gets some idea of the extent of the operations of Australian Paper Manufacturers Ltd. Officials of that company today informed me that their prime costs in these operations were between $60 and $70 an acre. The only way in which I have been able to ascertain what it costs the State governments is by looking through the Minister’s speech and taking the points that he made. He said that $20m would be made available over a period of five years. On 10th May last, as recorded at page 1931 of Hansard, the Minister said that ‘the provisions of this Bill will permit the States roughly to double their base year acreage of softwood plantings’. By a little simple arithmetic I calculated that this means that, having regard to the base plantings of 29,000 acres, the cost to the
States is about $131 an acre. I do npt know what items are included in their costs but comparing this figure with from $60 to $70 an acre for Australian Paper Manufacturers Ltd, honourable members will agree that that firm’s operations are so economical that if the Government were to see its way clear to grant a loan to an organisation like that the plantings would be at the rate of two acres for one, by comparison with the State administration.
I am not sure whether the States exclude the price of their land. I thought that I had this query cleared up for me earlier tonight, but there is still some doubt in my mind. I can scarcely see the Commonwealth subsidising this form of plantation and allowing for the cost of land in the figure of $20m. Australian Paper Manufacturers Ltd told me that the average cost of land in their operations is $25 an acre. Their total costs are therefore, from $85 to $95 an acre, as against the figure of $131 for State administration, obviously without including the value of the land, because States have title to the land. Certainly this is so in Victoria. The other reason given is that companies such as Australian Paper Manufacturers Ltd can raise capital outside in the ordinary way. But they cannot raise it upon the same terms as this money is offered to the States. I ask the Minister again to consider this point. If the figures that I have quoted stand up to investigation, certainly we would be getting a better yield from our investment of $20m, or part of it, if companies such as Australian Paper Manufacturers Ltd received some of that money.
In the previous debate I spoke about private planters and their taxation problems. I do not propose to go over all the points. The matter was raised also at that time by the honourable member for Robertson (Mr Bridges-Maxwell), the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles), and perhaps also by the honourable member for Braddon (Mr Davies). As honourable members will recall, private planters and farmers in Victoria are offered an incentive to grow trees in the form of a loan at the rate of about $20 an acre for 1 00 acres of planting. This is a form of encouragement, but the probate laws of both the Commonwealth and States and the tax laws of the Commonwealth are a discouragement. State probate duties are a matter for the State Government. If it is genuine in its approach to the encouragement of forestry plantings it will do something about probate duties in Victoria. I believe that the Commonwealth too should consider probate relief. I ask the Minister for National Development whether he has been able to consider the matter, and whether there is any likelihood of action in this respect.
The last point I want to make concerns taxation. As the honourable member for Macquarie said, there is no return from the trees for fifteen years after planting, and they do not reach maturity and return a final harvest for forty years. Since the income averaging provisions apply only up to a limit of $16,000, a farmer who went to the trouble of growing trees could find himself in a very embarrassing situation, with a large tax bill over one or two years. This could cause his efforts in planting and caring for his trees over forty years to be virtually wasted, because they might return him no profit at all.
I congratulate the Government on the introduction of this measure. I ask the Minister to consider the remarks that I have made in the few minutes available to me and to give us some hope for the future in regard to the points that I have raised. I hope that he can show us some light ahead.
– Mr Deputy Speaker, although we are in the throes of a process of legislation by exhaustion, as the representative of a coastal constituency I believe that at this stage a few words should be said about the particular merits and needs of the regeneration of certain coastal species of timber. In general, the importation of softwoods is costing this country tremendous sums, which vary from year to year according to the fortunes of the building industry. I have seen figures indicating that imports of softwoods have been of the order of $80m to SI 00m worth a year. If anything can be done to save us the cost of those imports, it is to be welcomed. Accordingly, the Opposition welcomes this Bill. At the same time I point out that the various forestry departments in the States seem to be preoccupied with exotic timbers, and in particular with Pinus insignis
Mr (Fairbairn - Pinus radiata.
– Pinus radiata, or, as it is commonly called in California, its native state, Monterey pine. There is no doubt about its merits. At the same time, however, due consideration should be given to claims of cypress pine for propagation. The species, 1 think, is Callitris calcarata. As the honourable member for Macquarie (Mr Luchetti) has mentioned, the queen of the softwoods in coastal districts, and preeminent among them, is Cedrus Australis - the Australian cedar. There are other softwoods species that are virtually extinct, notably the Illawarra plum pine, Podocarpus elata. This timber can be found in floor boards at Parliament House in Sydney, lt should certainly be given some attention by the forestry departments of the various States. A lead in these matters should be given by the Commonwealth Government, of course.
– The white ants eat that timber.
– The honourable member may be facetious if he wants to. lt is a poor circus that cannot afford one clown.
– I rise to order. Sir. 1 point out that at page 11 65 of Hansard of 26th April 1966 are to be found the remarks now being made by the honourable member for Cunningham. Is it in order for him to make this speech if it is already recorded in Hansard?
– Order! There is no substance in the point of order.
– Among the brush wood timbers sassafras deserves consideration. It is virtually extinct now. The commercial sizes were largely cut out during World War II. Another timber that ought to be considered is the coachwood. This has enjoyed a considerable vogue in recent years. It was formerly known as leatherjacket and it is one of the best of the rain forest timbers. We can point to another species that is on the verge of extinction - the negro head beech - which is still to be found, I understand, at certain parts on the north coast of New South Wales. Another timber with which experiments seem to have been made and which probably needs development is the Caribbean pine, Pinus talda. Again we have the araucaria. There is the Norfolk Island pine and the other
Norfolk pine known as the ‘sugar pine’. Again a word should be said in its favour. In Tasmania we have the Huon pine. It is virtually extinct, but it is a wonderful timber. Again we may ask what will be done about it. Will we confine our activities solely to the propagation of the insignis pine?
Only about 3% of the area of Australia is covered by forests. We are one of the most sparsely afforested of all the countries of the world. As the saying goes, forests precede man and deserts follow him. Our activities over the period of our occupancy of Australia have until very recently been largely directed to the destruction of our native timbers. Nothing was done to replace them until the situation had gone almost beyond the point of correction. The legislation is intended to correct the position. I apologise to the House for inflicting this dissertation on it at this hour. Another timber to which consideration should be given is the Tasmanian blackwood. It is one of the acacias. I think it is acacia melanoxylon
– The table is made out of it.
– Yes. The furniture trade is especially interested in the use of these rare timbers and they will have a considerable market value. A certain proportion of Commonwealth funds should be earmarked for the propagation of the coastal timbers and other rare species.
– in reply - I will speak for only a minute or two. firstly, because the hour is late. Al this time tomorrow night I expect to be on my way to San Francisco. Secondly, we had a very long debate on forestry last year. It was a very full debate both in this House and in the Senate, and I was glad of this. In the Senate we have at least one person who is outstanding on this subject and who has had very long experience in the timber industry. Thirdly, there is general agreement between the Opposition and the Government on this matter. 1 think everyone welcomes the Bill as one of the finest measures in conservation and in the development of our resources that has ever passed through this House.
I rose to make a very short reply to some requests of the honourable member for Gippsland (Mr Nixon). Firstly, I would tell him and the House that what we are doing now is the first step only in a four pronged attack on the problem of forestry in Australia. This stems from an assessment by the Australian Forestry Council, which concluded that unless something were done to stimulate the planting, particularly of softwoods, and the production of timber in Australia our present imports of forest products, which amount to S200m annually, could by the turn of the century rise to well over S600m annually. We considered it most important and a matter of highest priority to step up the plantings by the States to more than double th; present volume. But as I say this is only the first move. Already action is being taken in some of the States to assist private planting. This is particularly so with farmers who are able to obtain loans for the purpose. Both New South Wales and Victoria make loans up to a certain amount available to farmers on very good terms to encourage them to put portion of their properties under softwoods.
But we are looking also at other ways in which we can increase forestry. We are looking at the regeneration of our natural forests. There is no doubt whatever that in Australia today vast areas arc covered with forests the production of which is very poor. In the early days the better (rees were cut out and wc have left forests in which there is not a good regeneration. Such trees as are growing and are regenerating are of poor quality. But again thi State forestry authorities require considerable finance to enable them to improve the natural forests. At the present moment, we are looking at what, sorts of incentives can be given for private planting both by the individual farmer and by those people mentioned by the honourable member for Gippsland, the paper manufacturers or the large industrial producers of timber. A paper is being prepared at the present moment which will be presented to the Australian Forestry Council at its next meeting. This will be debated at length. The paper will set out the means by which we can encourage and increase the planting of timber. I think the areas to be looked at in particular are probate duty and various taxation incentives.
Forestry is a long term project. A person who plants trees is lucky if he can begin harvesting in, say, thirty-five years. For those reasons, there must be special incentives. Also, of course, the harvesting of trees may be over in a few short years although the growth of the timber took more than a generation. Therefore taxation falls very heavily in a short period. This is one other matter that is being looked at as well as the probate side of taxation.
I will have to look at the request made by the honourable member for Gippsland, and get my colleagues in the Government to look at it also. The honourable member suggested ways of making finance more readily available. It is my belief that, generally speaking, finance is available. But it is quite likely that it is available at a higher cost than would be the case under the terms of the measure before the House in which special concessions are given to the States to encourage them to go in for softwood planting. Anyhow. I will have to look at the matter.
I do not agree fully with my friend in his assessment of costs. I realise that it is a most difficult avenue to compare costs of planting, either by private enterprise or by governments. It is my belief and the belief of the Forestry and Timber Bureau that while private enterprise is good so far as its costs are concerned the disparity between the two fields is not as great as that mentioned by the honourable member for Gippsland. I would want to know a lot more about what costs are included. It has been put to me that the costs of private planting compare with the medium costs of planting by State forestry authorities.
I thank the House very much indeed for its reponse to this Bill. 1 believe that it will be a red letter day for forestry in this country when this legislation becomes law.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Message from the Administrator recommending appropriation announced.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr Fairbairn) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 10 May (vide page 1930), on motion by Mr Fairbairn:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– Mr Deputy Speaker, the short title of this Bill is the Petroleum Search Subsidy Bill 1967. This Bill has for its purpose the extension of the present petroleum search subsidy to 1969. The Opposition does not oppose this Bill. We believe, however, that the Commonwealth Government should exercise a greater control over Commonwealth funds for oil search, should police more closely the areas of oil search and, further, through the Bureau of Mineral Resources, should take positive steps to see that the nation is actively engaged in the field of oil search. This is not so at the present time. The Minister, in his second reading speech, revealed that last year the Commonwealth Government paid out $11,900,000 in subsidies. To dale it has spent approximately $60m on the search for oil. The companies have spent $250m on the search for oil and have developed oil assets valued at $400m and natural gas assets of an estimated value of $500m. These were figures of a week ago. Since then we have had exciting news of further finds. Oil has been found off the coast of Western Australia, adjacent to Barrow Island; and natural gas has been found off the coast of Victoria within the three-mile limit. This is particularly heartening to those of us who want to see Australia grow in strength and become independent of foreign countries for the necessities of our economic life.
The disturbing feature is that, despite the fact that public funds are provided by the taxpayers of this country for the search for oil, the money seems to go to overseas companies. I do not see that we can do much about it. Overseas companies have more readily available the know-how and capital to enter this field, but they are reaping rich rewards. The Opposition on this occasion will not adopt the critical tone that it might, or will, on another occasion with respect to the Commonwealth’s receipts from gas found off the coast of Victoria. We say to the Minister that if Commonwealth funds are being found for assistance to overseas companies that are engaged in the search for oil and if they are to have handed to them the great wealth of this country, then the Commonwealth has a duty and responsibility to exercise control especially over fields on the continental shelf.
No State has the right to dictate the tone or character of any agreement or to lay down policy in relation to what is to occur with oil and natural gas. 1 do not intend to enter into debate or discussion upon other matters that will inevitably come before the Parliament, such as the arrangement being entered into in regard to the Barracouta and Martin finds of natural gas, the contracts that will be entered into, the agreements that will be made or what this Government will do in regard to these matters. But J want to emphasise that the Commonwealth Government has a responsibility to protect the Australian people as a whole - not the economy of one State alone. The Government has a duty to protect the wellbeing of all the people of Australia and to ensure that this hidden wealth which has now been tapped and is coming to the surface should be used for the good of industry, commerce and the people of our country. The taxpayers find the money and consequently have a right to be protected. Price is a matter for future discussion. Government policy in respect to the reticulation system is another important matter to which consideration needs to be given. Where an oil search subsidy is paid and licences are granted, the Commonwealth as a sovereign power should insist that the pipeline is controlled by the nation for the overall good of the nation.
The question of price is another matter. We have not been blind to the fact that there has been a great difference of opinion, even in the Government ranks, as to what should be the take in this regard. We know the attitude of the Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt). Apparently it accords, to some extent, with the attitude of the Minister for National Development. We know the attitude of the Treasurer (Mr McMahon). He has indicated publicly that overseas companies have to pay to the sovereign countries involved a considerably greater percentage of their wealth than is being paid to this country. Here we are content to accept 10%. Companies are pay ing up to 16% in other countries. We believe that this situation should be corrected.
At this late stage the Opposition docs not intend to go into the details of these matters, but we are concerned at the fact that the Commonwealth Government is not giving sufficiently close attention to them. We are encouraged by the discovery of natural gas and oil. Although production would not represent 10% of our total requirements at the present time, it is growing. Whilst we encourage oil search, we feel that the Commonwealth Government should take more positive steps now to protect Australian interests in this matter. The Minister stated that the Commonwealth Government made subsidy payments of $11,900,000 last year. Of course, subsidy payments will continue to be made, although it is provided that when gas or oil is discovered the subsidy ceases to be paid. I understand that this question has been watched by the Government. All of these matters clearly indicate the Commonwealth’s responsibility both in granting a subsidy and in demanding that in return the public derives benefit from the investment of Commonwealth funds.
The problem of the distribution of the product is known only too well to the Minister. He has received deputations from local authorities regarding the question of pipelines. All of these matters are very closely linked. I indicate to the Minister that there is a need for the Commonwealth to enter this field of development of oil and gas resources. We should not leave the development of our latent wealth and our rich resources in energy exclusively to overseas interests. We of the Australian Labor Party believe that there should be an Australian energy policy and that this policy should have regard to every source of energy - be it coal, hydro-electricity, oil, natural gas or nuclear power. All of these matters should form part and parcel of an overall policy. In this respect I should like to pay a tribute to the honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor) who has prepared a most interesting and valuable document on our petroleum products. I hope that it will be presented to the Parliament in the way of a policy document when we discuss the question of the price and the distribution of natural gas which has been discovered in Bass Strait. The need for a national energy policy is well known. The need for the Commonwealth to get to work with its own Bureau of Mineral Resources is also well known.
One of the matters that concern me is the limitations that have been placed on the Bureau of Mineral Resources and the frustrations which have occurred. Some weeks ago I placed a question on the notice paper seeking information regarding the operations of the Bureau. I sought information as to the number of officers, and their standing, in the Bureau. I asked for information with respect to various officers in the Geological Branch, and Geophysical Branch and the Petroleum Exploration Branch. I sought information as to the number of geologists classes 1 to 5 who in 1965, 1966 and 1967 were doctors, masters or bachelors with honours. This information does not make good reading. I found that in 1965-66 in the classification geologist class 1 there was one doctor and one master and there were four bachelors with honours and two bachelors, making a total of eight. In 1966-67 there was no doctor and no master and there were two bachelors with honours - two less than in the previous period - and one bachelor, making a total of three in all, compared with eight in the previous year.
How can we build up a department and how can Australia assert her rightful place in this field of exploration and in doing a job for Australia when there is such a falloff of skilled people? As to geologist class 2, in 1965-66 there was no doctor and no masters and there were two bachelors with honours. That was the total strength in that year. In 1966-67 there was one only bachelor with honours. In the Geographical Branch, in the classification geophysicist class 1, there was one master and there were two bachelors with honours, a total of three. For 1966-67 none was shown for that grade. In 1965-66 there was one bachelor only who was a geophisicist class 2, and in 1966-67 there was one bachelor only. As to geophysicists class 3, there was one bachelor only in 1965-66 and none at all in 1966-67. In the Petroleum Exploration Branch in 1965-66 there was one bachelor only with honours who was a geologist class 2 and there was none at all in 1966-67.
At this late time of the evening it is not my intention to proceed with this in detail, but I intend to say that the Opposition is quite disturbed with that information. This is not good enough. The Bureau of Mineral Resources is vital to the finding of oil in Australia for the development of an important industry. It is necessary for our minerals. It is necessary for the finding of natural gas and petroleum products. I put it to the Minister that more positive steps should be taken to build up the strength of that department. I propose now to say one or two words on the question of our world demands, because world demands increasing the need in this country to build up our resources become all the more surprising. It has been stated on other occasions that the problems of the world are being multiplied. Certainly the problem of peace is in jeopardy throughout the world. If Australia is to survive any international test it must have an abundant supply of petroleum products. The publication ‘Petroleum Gazette’ deals in a most fitting way with the subject ‘The World Demands More and More Oil’ and gives statistical information in regard to the increasing number of motor vehicles.
I deplore the fact that in many parts of Australia there is a change from normal sources of energy and power to oil and petroleum products. We are overlooking our other national assets. I bring to the attention of the Parliament now the question of our other stores of energy. If we are tq spend vast sums in the search for petroleum products we should not put all our eggs in the one basket; we should spare a few dollars for a few other sources of energy.
Honourable members know that during the First World War the Royal Australian Navy was provided with a substantial proportion of its oil requirements from Newnes shale oil fields. In the Second World War a substantial proportion of petroleum products came from the Glen Davis field. Some of those who want to forget the past have said that there is no economic future for shale oil at the present time; that we must concern ourselves only with natural gas, which we are finding in great quantities, and with the flow oil which is being found at a number of places like Moonie, Barrow Island, off the coast of Victoria and so on. They claim that these are the only sources of oil. An article which appeared in the ‘Financial Review’ of 16th March 1967 carries the heading ‘New petrol, oil source’ and is in these terms:
Production of oil and petrol from shale, coal and tar sand was forecast at a petroleum symposium in Washington as vital to US energy requirements in the not too distant future.
Addressing more than 500 delegates from the oil and petrol industries at the Interior Department, the head of an oil shale company said additional supplies from these sources will be required to keep up with fuel demands.
The article contains considerable other information. The Opposition supports the search for flow oil. However, I believe it is necessary for a sum of money to be put to one side and used later to develop this other source of energy. We should obtain oil from our known shales - the richest in the world, capable of producing 100 gallons of oil to the ton. If a central location were found and contracts were let, shale could be delivered to centres at a price which would be of benefit to the economy of this country. We would be backing a certainty at a cost of a fraction of the $60m which has been spent on the search for flow oil. One small fraction of that amount would certainly produce in one year in many parts of Australia large quantities of oil.
The ‘Economist’ of 13th May 1967 carries a most interesting article under the heading ‘Whose shale oil?’ This is what it says:
The Secretary of the Interior, Mr Udall, has a headache 16,000 miles square - the immense reserve of petroleum which is locked up in the rocky shale formations of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
The article gives a most interesting recital of the great reserves of oil in the shales of the United States. Those who have cared to look at this subject know that in a number of countries, including Scotland, oil is still being produced from shales despite the fact that they would not yield one-third of the quantity that can be won from Australian shales. In an article in the ‘Materials Handbook’ G. S. Brady deals with the shales of the world. The ‘Petroleum Gazette’ of December 1966 contains a most felling and splendid article which bears the heading Australia’s shale oil industry’. It indicates how big companies, such as the Union Com- pany, interested in Australia and Moonie are dealing with this matter in the United States. Surely what is happening in the land of flow oil, the nerve centre, the very place where policy is being determined in these matters, should be an indication to the Australian Government of what can be done in this land.
I support the proposals that the search for flow oil should be continued. I criticise the Government for its lack of a constructive policy to protect the interests of the Australian people in relation to prices and in relation to the areas in which the search is being carried out. I can only hope that the Government will have second thoughts on these matters and that now that another find has been made in Victoria the Commonwealth will do the right thing and assert its right to deal with gas and oil found on the continental shelf off the coast of Victoria, for that surely is a responsibility of the National Parliament - the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for the third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr Fairbairn) read a third time.
Motion (by Mr Snedden) agreed to:
That the House, at its rising, adjourn until this day -at 9.30 a.m.
Crash of Mirage Fighter Motion (by Mr Snedden) proposed:
– I rise at this time of the morning reluctantly because I have said on numerous occasions that I think it is ridiculous that the Parliament should be sitting at such an hour, but the subject I wish to refer to will not wait. This morning I directed a question to the Minister for Air (Mr Howson) about a Royal Australian Air Force Mirage aircraft which crashed 50 miles out to sea off Newcastle yesterday. lt is obvious that had I not asked that question the Parliament would not have been officially advised that an RAAF aircraft had been lost and a pilot killed in the crash. It is important whenever an accident like this occurs that the Minister for Air. or the Minister of whatever department is involved, should bring a report to the Parliament as early as possible so that honourable members are advised of the happening and, if need be, can take the opportunity to express an opinion.
– Does the honourable member think that the Minister is awake?
– He is away tonight, but I did not intend to bring this matter up in his absence because I put my name on the list of speakers shortly after question time this morning. One matter that concerns me is the number of accidents and crashes that have taken place with RAAF aircraft in recent years. The number is far too great and it is time the Minister told the Parliament what is happening in the RAAF. Are the aircraft that are being flown responsible for the crashes? Is something the matter with them? Is something the matter with training methods? We know that on a number of occasions aircraft have crashed because of faulty training methods. I think that we should be told whether maintenance services are faulty. Is the maintenance sufficient or adequate? We cannot find out this information. 1 have been to a number of coronial inquiries into the deaths of men killed in crashes, but the inquiries have not been held to find out why aircraft crashed or why pilots were killed. They have been held to cover up completely the reasons for the accidents. This just is not good enough.
While I realise thai the Royal Australian Air Force is involved and that it is part of our defence services, the Parliament has to be advised of the reasons for these aircraft crashing. Let me instance some of the crashes. Most of these have been in the Newcastle area and have involved aircraft based at Williamtown. On 10th February 1960 an Avon Sabre jet crashed at Stockton. On 7th March 1960 another Sabre jet crashed near Williamtown airport. On 12th April 1963 at Midowie a young pilot lost his life. On 12th November 1963, after a pilot had bailed out because of what subsequently was proven to be faulty training, an aircraft crashed in the midst of a heavily populated suburb of Newcastle. Fortunately no-one was killed. On 16th August last year an aircraft blew up once again over a heavily populated surburb of Newcastle, The Junction. Unfortunately the pilot was killed. He was also a trainee pilot. In those last two crashes the number of deaths could have been considerable. in respect of the crash in August last year at The Junction, more than 300 claims for damage to property have been made and accepted and met by the Department of Air. That will give honourable members some idea of the proximity of that crash to a heavily populated area. A personal friend of mine, who is a member of the Federal Conference of the Australian Labor Party, put his motor car in his garage and walked from his garage to the back door of his house - a matter of about SO feet. The motor of the aircraft buried his garage and motor car some feet in the ground. Nearby the cannon knocked down two walls of a house and finally expended itself on a third wall. The people from the house had just walked away from that area a matter of seconds prior to the impact. They walked down a lane at their home and the blast from the aircraft when it blew up knocked them over. As I said, the cannon flattened two walls of the house. The undercarriage of the aircraft came flying down the lane and just missed these people.
We cannot continue to have these miraculous escapes from death much longer. I will continue to press the Government to do something about the Williamtown fighter training base. I accept the statement made by the Minister for Air in his reply to me this morning to the effect that it is necessary to have a base at Williamtown as part of the defence complex for Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong. I am not objecting at all to an air base being at Williamtown. What I am objecting to is the use of Williamtown as a fighter training base. I am asking the Government to remove fighter training from that base and to conduct it at a place removed from heavily populated areas. I am asking it to do that before there is some serious loss of life.
In the limited time available to me let me refer to what has happened to Mirage aircraft since they became our front line fighter aircraft. They commenced operations in 1963. In October 1964 the pilot of one of them was able toland it after his oxygen supply had failed. In December 1964 a Mirage crashed near Melbourne from a height of about 35,000 feet. Shortly afterwards atWilliamtown another Mirage lost all of its tyres when they all blew out on takeoff. Fortunately for the pilot, he was able to land the aircraft. Considerable damage was done. It was able to be repaired. I believe that this was used as an exercise in the repair of a damaged Mirage. The pilot was very lucky to be able to get that aircraft down. In February last year on takeoff a Mirage sucked a bird into the intake and lost power. The pilot had to crash land on an old wartime airstrip near Williamtown. I do not wish to talk about that incident because no-one was to blame for it. It was just one of those things that happen. On 29th July last year a Mirage crashed at Queanbeyan. The pilot made this comment:
I was flying along at 35,000 feet and about ten miles west of Canberra when the jet motor flamed out. I declared anemergency andheaded for Fairbairn base with the idea of making a forced landing. Everything looked all right but then I realised the landing gear hydraulic system bad jammed.
He had to bail out. The aircraft crashed. Once again, although it crashed out in the middle of nowhere, so to speak, it just missed landing on top of a house.
In continuing this doleful story of the loss of aircraft, I mention that in April this year we read in the newspapers that an aircraft flamed out and crashed into the sea off Darwin. Now we have the unfortunate incident which occurred yesterday and in which an aircraft crashed fifty miles out to sea from Newcastle. On each of these occasions the aircraft concerned might quite easily have crashed into populated areas around Newcastle, and it is only by a quirk of fate that we are continuing to avoid a really disastrous accident.
There are many other cases I could cite in which aircraft of the RAAF in recent years have crashed, some with loss of life but most, fortunately, without it. Even as late as 26th April this year I believe a VIP aircraft being used by the Minister for the Army (Mr Malcolm Fraser) suffered damage at Port Moresby airport when its motor caught fire while being tested. This is the kind of thing that is taking place, and I bring the position once again before the Parliament and ask the Minister to do something about it. We just cannot go on having these narrow escapes in the Newcastle district. It is time an inquiry of some kind was made into the maintenance of these aircraft. Is it adequate? I have been asking for a considerable time for the fighter training base to be removed from Williamtown; but if we continue losing RAAF aircraft at the present rate I will not have to ask for the transfer of that base because there will be no aircraft left to transfer. None of us wants to see that happen, but it seems obvious that something is wrong when aircraft continue to be lost at the rate at which they are being lost from Williamtown. I do not think the Parliament can continue to sit by complacently and simply say: ‘We are unlucky that this has happened’. I ask the Minister to give the position earnest consideration, to make an investigation and to tell the Parliament just what is happening.
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 1.52 a.m. (Friday)
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:
asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:
asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice:
– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:
Note: The figures contained in the answers to 1 and 2 have not been restricted to permanent officers. Temporary employees have also been included.
asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice:
– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:
asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice: ls he able to say whether the United Kingdom Government has ever explained why it accepted without criticism the report of the Fiji Constitutional Conference of 1965, which recognised that elections on a straight common roll were not practicable in Fiji at present, but is now demanding one man one vote in Rhodesia.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The British Government in its report of the Fiji Constitutional Conference 196S said:
The purpose of the Conference was to work out a constitutional framework for Fiji which would preserve a continuing link with Britain and within which further progress could be made in the direction of internal selfgovernment.
Her Majesty’s Government for their part recognised that election on a straight common roll basis was not practicable for Fiji until a greater degree of integration of the communities had been achieved.’
The British Government is not demanding that the principle of one man one vote should bc immediately applied in Rhodesia.
The British Prime Minister (Mr Wilson) stated in the House of Commons on 1st November 1965:
Although successive British Governments are deeply and irrevocably committed to guaranteed and unimpeded progress to majority rule, the British Government who alone through the British Parliament have the legal power to grant independence do not believe that in the present and tragic and divided condition of Rhodesia that majority rule can come today or tomorrow. A period of time is needed, time to remove the fears and suspicions between race and race, time to show that the Constitution of Rhodesia with whatever amendments may later be made can be worked and is going to be worked and that the rule of law, equally with the maintenance of essential human rights, will he paramount. And the time required cannot be measured by clock or calendar but only by achievement.’
asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:
Esanda House, Edward Street; 360 Queen Street;
Dunstan House, Elizabeth Street;
Qantas House, Queen Street.
asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:
– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:
However, all systems are currently considering a proposal regarding intersystem goods rates which provides for each system’s proportion of freight charges to be calculated on a mileage basis accordingto the actual distance conveyed.
asked the Acting Minister for Health, upon notice:
Which of the decisions taken by the Commonwealth and State Health Ministers at their meeting in Perth in April call for (a) administrative and (b) legislative action by (i) the Commonwealth, (ii) the States and (iii) the Territories?
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The Minister attending this conference agreed that public statements on discussions at the conference should be limited to the following matters:
The introduction of uniform standards for food imported into Australia for human consumption.
The formation of a National Therapeutic Goods Committee.
The effects of certain types of detergent on water supplies.
The issue of a national fitness booklet.
The introduction of Sabin oral antipoliomyelitis vaccine.
Proposals in relation to mental health.
Ambulance services -
suggestions that payments for ambulance services be recognised for the purposes of taxation deductions;
a request for a Commonwealth financial contribution to ambulance authorities, in recognition of services provided at civil airports;
recognition of ambulance services provided to persons enrolled in the Pensioner Medical Service; and
the proposed introduction of standard warning devices on ambulances.
Possible health risks associated with certain pet foods.
Smoking and health.
I will forward the honourable member a copy of the statements issued on these matters. Copies will also be forwarded to any other member or senator who requests me to do so.
Television: Political Telecasts (Question No. 293)
asked the Postmaster-
General, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s questions is as follows:
The following are details of the number of paid advertisements together with the time occupied by such advertisements:
In addition there were a number of paid talks given by the parties. Accurate details of the num ber of talks by each party are not available but the time occupied by such talks was as follows:
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s questions is as follows:
I am sorry that the information sought bythe honourable member is not available. It is the practice of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board to secure from licensees of commercial television stations, statistics relating to telecasts of political matter in connection with Commonwealth and State elections but the practice does not extend to local government elections.
asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:
How many people were (a) killed and (b) injured as the result of motor vehicle accidents in each State during the last ten years?
MrFreeth-The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Road accident fatalities and injuries in Australia for the ten years 1956 to 1965 inclusive, and for the nine months ended 30th September 1966 - the latest available - are as follows:
Broken Hill Railways (Question No. 303)
asked the Minister for
Shipping and Transport, upon notice:
What progress has been made in resolving the legal and constitutional issues involved in ensuring that the Silverton Tramway and the locomotives and rolling stock thereon are acquired and vested in the South Australian Railways Commissioner since he told me on 13th September 1966 (Hansard, page 827) that he hoped the issues could be resolved in the near future?
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Discussions have continued over the last eight months with the South Australian and New South Wales governments on the various matters which need to be resolved to achieve standardisation of the section of line in New South Wales between Broken Hill and Cockburn, and the associated railway works required at Broken Hill. These discussions have dealt with the legal and constitutional issues involved, including the matter of clause 23 of the agreement set forth in the schedule to the Railway Standardisation (South Australia) Agreement Act 1949. It has proved more difficult than anticipated to settle the problems presented by standardisation of this very short section of line. However, substantial progress has been made, and I hope to be able to make an announcement before long in regard to this work.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice:
– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:
1961-62 - Sl.lOOm. 1962- 63- SI. 273m. 1963- 64- $1. 534m. 1964- 65- $1.578m. 1965- 66- $2,001 m. 3. (a) (i) American Telegraph & Telephone Co. - approximately 0.67%.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice:
– The Minister for Information has supplied the following information:
asked the Minister represent ing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice;
– The Minister for Information has supplied the following information:
I cannot recall my attention having been drawn to any case where a medical or other officer has made a false, misleading or derogatory statement about an ex-serviceman.
A medical officer in expressing an opinion about a case must state the facts of the case as he sees them. I would remind the honourable member that the Repatriation Act itself imposes directly on medical officers an obligation to report their opinions on a number of stated matters. In meeting this obligation some comment may be necessary.
However, if the honourable member is aware of a case in which he believes such a statement to have been made, and brings it to my attention, I shall see that it is examined.
asked the Minister represent ing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice:
– The Minister for Repatriation has supplied the following information:
Current departmental instructions about preparation of summaries for entitlement appeal cases require that the names of medical practitioners be included and that the qualifications and speciality of the medical practitioner, where known, should also be included. There has been no recent change in this instruction.
Instructions do not specifically require that the names of doctors be shown in summaries prepared for assessment appeals but recording of the names is a common practice. There has been no instruction to prevent this recording. In practice all files and departmental records relating to an appellant are available to the tribunal dealing with the case. These contain the original signed reports by medical practitioners.
If the honourable member knows of a case in which a medical officer’s name has not been included in the summary in circumstances where he believes it ought to have been, 1 shall be pleased to examine it for him.
asked the Minister for Immi gration, upon notice:
– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:
The settler departures which have been deducted from each year’s settler arrivals to calculate the above annual net figures comprise those settlers who left Australia in that year but they include many who came to Australia as settlers in earlier years. It is therefore unrealistic to relate costs of operation of overseas migration missions in any given period to the net settler gain for that period. 2 and 3. The total expenditure charged to appropriations under the control of the Department of Immigration for each country of emigration where the Department of Immigration has direct representation is shown in the attached table. The (able also shows the results of u calculation in which the total expenditure in each instance has been divided by the net settler gain. The following explanatory notes are supplied in relation to the table:
Where staff and facilities at overseas offices are shared with the Department of External Affairs, the Immigration portion of expenditure for these purposes is provided for in appropriations under the control of the former Department Similarly the costs of locally engaged staff rent and office maintenance costs in Britain are provided for in appropriations under the control of the Prime Minister’s Department.
Costs of motor cars, furniture and fittings up to the financial year 1963-64 were provided for in one appropriation for all Immigration overseas offices. Publicity costs for both Australia and ali overseas offices are charged to one appropriation. In the table, these costs have been apportioned to the overseas offices concerned.
Fluctuations in expenditure between various countries and from year to year within each country of emigration reflect factors such as:
a high rate of intake results in a lower per capita operating cost;
some costs are borne by appropriations under the control of other Departments, vide (a) above;
some countries of emigration provide facilities for interviewing and selecting migrants and promotional activities, free of cost to the Australian Government.
asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:
The net settler gain comprises both assisted and unassisted migrants. The latter do not involve the Australian Government in payment of fares. Whilst it is not possible to dissect the net settler gain into assisted and unassisted migrants, the increase in the cost per migrant calculated above is due primarily to the increasing proportion of assisted migrants within the total settler arrivals in Australia during the years under review. The relative settler arrivals under each category were:
Another influence in the cost per migrant calculated above is the increasing proportion of British assisted migrants in the arrivals in the years under review.
The contribution by the Australian Government to the passage costs of British assisted migrants is greater than for other assisted migrants, the majority of whom are transported under arrangements made by the Inter-governmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM), and receive some financial assistance from sources other than Australia (e.g. from their own Government).
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice:
Mir Swartz - The Minister for Repatriation has supplied the following information:
The following table sets out statistics relating to bed availability and occupancy at Repatriation General Hospitals at 26th April 1967:
asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:
How many Aboriginals were receiving age, invalid and widows’ pensions on (a) government settlements, (b) church missions and (c) pastoral properties as at 30th June 1965, 30th June 1966, and 31st March 1967, respectively.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The numbers of Aboriginals receiving age, invalid and widows’ pensions on government settlements, church missions and pastoral properties - where benefits are not paid direct - at 30th June for the years 1964, 1965 and 1966 were:
The numbers who were receiving pensions at 31st March 1967 are not readily available. These figures are obtained as part of a statistical review at the end of each financial year.
asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:
– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows: 1 and 2. At the request of the person to whom a social service benefit is granted, or where the Director-General is satisfied it is desirable to do so, a benefit may be paid on behalf of the beneficiary to some other person or authority. The main areas in which payments for Aborigines are affected in these ways are the central and northern parts of Western Australia, the northern paris of Queensland and South Australia, and Northern Territory. The persons or authorities to whom payments are made on behalf of Aboriginals are in the main church missions and pastoral managements.
asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:
– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:
Estimated numbers and annual liability at 30th June for the last three financial years are as under for age and invalid pensions, wives’ and children’s allowances, and widows’ pensions.
asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:
– The answers to the honourable members’ questions are as follows: 1 to 4. So far as the determination of eligibility is concerned, the position is that claims for unemployment benefit received from Aboriginals are investigated and dealt with on their merits in the same manner as claims made by other persons. Applicants are not required to state their nationality or race and the Department of Social Services is not necessarily aware that a claimant is an Aboriginal.
To qualify for an unemployment benefit under the Social Services Act a claimant must satisfy the Director-General that he is unemployed; is capable of undertaking, and is willing to undertake, work which, in the opinion of the DirectorGeneral is suitable to be undertaken by him; and has taken reasonable steps to obtain such work.
If a person refuses to accept work which is available at ruling rates of pay for that occupation which are not in conflict with wages awards, the view might be taken that the work so refused was suitable to be undertaken and the claimant had not taken reasonable steps to obtain work.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice:
– The Minister for Repatriation has supplied the following information:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice:
– The Minister for Repatriation has supplied the following information;
asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice:
– The Minister for Repatriation has supplied the following information:
The facilities referred to have been developed in the light of the changing age pattern of Repatriation patients and their need for a particular type of care which was foreshadowed in the second reading speech quoted. In this development, the utilisation of the department’s auxiliary hospitals, as adjuncts to the general hospitals, to provide clinical, rehabilitative and long term care units, for those who can benefit from the environment of the auxiliary hospitals, has proved of great value.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 18 May 1967, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1967/19670518_reps_26_hor55/>.