House of Representatives
3 October 1967

26th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr SPEAKER (Hon. W. J. Aston) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.

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-I have to inform the House that the Right Honourable K. J. Holyoake, Prime Minister of New Zealand, and the Honourable N. S. Reddy, Speaker of the Lok Sabha in the Indian Parliament, are within the precincts of the chamber. With the concurrence of honourable members, I propose to provide them with seats on the floor of the House.

Honourable Members ; Hear, hear!

Mr Holyoake and Mr Reddy were seated accordingly.


– As honourable members know, Mr Reddy is leading a delegation from the Parliament of India. Members of the delegation are at present in the Speaker’s Gallery. On behalf of honourable members, I extend to them a warm welcome.

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– I wish to direct a question to the Prime Minister. In view of the severe censure of the Government by the people of Capricornia in Queensland on Saturday for the. discrimination by the Commonwealth against that State in water and power development, will the right honourable gentleman give the Queensland people an undertaking that he will accelerate action to provide Queensland before the Senate election with Commonwealth funds for water and power development, or is it his intention to make no such decision and to fight the Senate election in Queensland on the Government’s development record in that State?


– Order! I point out that the question concerns a matter of policy.

Prime Minister · HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP

– The honourable member is easily pleased. It is true that his Party increased its support in the Capricornia electorate by about 1%. The Government Parties, however, increased their support by 1.6%. How he reads into that-

Mr Webb:

– Who won the seat?


– Well, who had it? The Australian Labor Party has had it for 6 years. During the last 2 or 3 weeks of the campaign, it was obvious all round this chamber that honourable gentlemen opposite, from the Leader of the Opposition down, and particularly the honourable member for Dawson, were scared stiff that Labour would lose the seat. The Leader of the Opposition, I understand, paid five visits to the electorate. This shows how anxious he had become about this matter. As time goes on we will be able to assess whether the honourable gentleman has acquired an asset or a liability. However, if it is correct that he did not get the candidate of his choice then I hope in the fullness of time we shall see to it that the electorate of Capricornia gets the candidate of our choice.

In regard to the development of Queensland and Australia generally, I do not think there is an observer from anywhere around the world who, when coming here, is not impressed with the developments and rate of progress being achieved in this country under Governments from this side of the House. The State of Queensland itself has made enormous strides since Labour, which held the State back for so many years, was displaced and the Country Party-Liberal Party coalition took over development.

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– Early in this session I asked the Minister for Civil Aviation whether he would tell the House why the British charter lines had been refused the opportunity to provide a service to fly migrants here and to provide return flights to Great Britain at greatly reduced fares. On that occasion he said, in effect, that the proposal was still being examined. I now ask the Minister: Has any further consideration been given to this question? I remind him that a British charter company has decided to go ahead with a scheme to fly Australian travellers from Singapore to Europe and return at nearly half the tourist fares asked by regular airlines.

Minister for Civil Aviation · DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · LP

– A short time ago 1 did indicate the basic reason why we were not able to approve the proposals for special charter flights as put forward by two British companies at the time. I also indicated to the House that for some time my Department had been undertaking a review of this position in conjunction with Qantas Airways and other international operators and anticipated that some announcement on this could be made at some time in the future. I might say that this review has been a very intensive one and has occupied about 8 to 9 months. I am now happy to bs able to inform the honourable gentleman, in view of his interest in this matter, as well as other honourable members who have raised it in the House, that we have now finalised the investigations and have some proposals to put forward. I will be asking for leave after question time to make a statement on this subject.

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– Has the Prime Minister seen a statement by the Prime Minister of Singapore addressed to the annual conference of the British Labour Party at Scarborough, England, pointing out that any sudden evacuation of United States forces from South East Asia would upset the stability of this area? Does the Prime Minister agree with this statement? Further, if South East Asia’s stability would be upset by the withdrawal of the United States, would not Australia and New Zealand also be affected?


– I have not had any formal or official confirmation of the text of the statement made by the Prime Minister of Singapore but his statement, as quoted by the honourable member, is consistent with comments I have heard him make in other places. I think we would all agree that a great contribution to security, stability and peaceful economic progress in South East Asia has resulted from the display of American interest and strength in this area. I know of no indication that American interest is waning, nor that America would wish to leave in a situation of insecurity and instability as a result of its own withdrawal the countries which are striving to maintain their freedom and to pursue their own development. In this connection it may be of interest to honourable members to hear part of a message which President Johnson sent to me on the occasion of the opening of the North West Cape communications centre a couple of weeks ago. This is what the President said in a considered message:

The station is a symbol of Australia’s welcome to United States forces and of the firm intention of the United States to play a continuing role in this part of the world in pursuit of peace.

Coming from such a source, this assurance of the continuing interest of the United States and the help that we can expect as a result is, I am sure, an encouragement not only to the Prime Minister of Singapore but to all of us who have to make our way peacefully in this area of the world.

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Mr Kevin Cairns:

– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Last night at Monash University the Leader of the Opposition publicly repeated a statement he had made previously that United States officials had told him that the Prime Minister had embarrassed President Johnson by his outspoken support of the bombing of North Vietnam. Has the Prime Minister any reason to believe that this statement accurately or faithfully represents the views of President Johnson of the speech in which this support was stated?


– The Leader of the Opposition made a statement along these lines in the course of the Corio by-election campaign. Although I answered it promptly at the time I confess that I regarded it as a certain degree of political licence taken by the honourable gentleman in the excitement of the election campaign. That he should have chosen to repeat this statement knowing that it has no substance is to me quite remarkable and noteworthy. Putting the statement at best from his own point of view, it reveals a disclosure of discussions held in confidence - discussions, I may say, that were, if the honourable gentleman has the decency to acknowledge it, largely made possible by my own intervention with the United States Government. That is putting the statement at its best But the fact is that it quite falsely represents the relationship between President Johnson and me. There can be few other pairs of countries in the world in which the heads of government have a closer understanding and a more profound mutual respect than exists between the head of state of the United States and the head of the Government of this country.

I have already quoted a part of a message which indicates the reality of interest on the part of the President of the United States.

Now I shall quote a passage from an article published in the London ‘Daily Express’ last week. It is in these words:

The President spent part of his war service career in Australia. His enthusiasm for this country is overpowering. He has been known to say: ‘Australians are the most magnificent people . . just about the finest nation that Britain has sired-

That is, saving the country of our distinguished visitor today although I may say that I include New Zealand in this general description because we have gone hand in hand along these paths. The article continued, quoting the President of the United States:

When you have an Australian for a friend you don’t have to worry when there’s trouble. They’re stand-up fellows and you never have to look around for them. They’re right up there with you or more often half a step ahead.’

Part of this enthusiasm is due to the fact that Australian forces are with the Americans in the Vietnam war. But it would be unfair to think that it is a simple matter of gratitude. Those close to him say that he has become pre-occupied with the overall future of Asia, about which he is far from pessimistic.

That reflects the attitude of the President of the United States to a people and a government who have pursued policies of the kind that he has indicated. I do not think that he would adopt quite the same attitude to a country which in time of conflict withdrew its troops who were serving alongside the United States forces in Vietnam.


– Has the Prime Minister seen the evidence given before the United States Senate committees by Admiral Sharp and Defence Secretary McNamara? If he has done so, will he now agree that at Los Angeles, in his first public speech on his recent visit to the United States, he expressed views which had been urged on him by Admiral Sharp in Honolulu and that he expressed views different from those expressed by Mr McNamara, in each case concerning the continuance and intensification of the bombing of North Vietnam?


– Admiral Sharp urged no views upon me whatsoever. Together with other members of the official party, I had the benefit of a briefing in Honolulu about the effectiveness of the bombing of North Vietnam, the way in which this was reducing the infiltration of troops and material to the south and the way in which this was helping to the save the lives of Vietnamese, American, Australian and other allied forces in that area of the world. I knew this to be consistent with the policy of the United States Administration with whom we are virtually in daily contact. I am not so naive in political matters that I make significant statements in another country without being fully confident that those statements would be endorsed by the Government of that country to the extent that they purport to reflect the views of the administration of that country. I have had the benefit of close discussion with Mr McNamara, Mr Dean Rusk, the President and other senior members of the Administration.

I do not know whether the honourable gentleman is now trying to imply that the unnamed official with whom he spoke and to whom he attributed this remark about my embarrassing the President was Mr McNamara-


– No, I am not.


– Because if he is, let him have the honesty and decency to say so, so that Mr McNamara can deal with it himself, rather than have this sort of cloud cast over his relations with his President and his colleagues in the Administration. If it is not Mr McNamara, what officials, according to the Leader of the Opposition, made the statement which was inconsistent with the views held by the President and other senior members of his Administration? If we follow the course of events since my visit we will find that far from abating the bombing of North Vietnam, it has been increased as an American recognition that this was the one offensive factor, as my colleague, the Minister for the Army very ably pointed out last night in his talk at the Monash University, in what is otherwise a defensive situation of resisting infiltration and aggression in South Vietnam.

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– Can the Acting Treasurer say whether there are statistics available which show how much money is claimed as exempt from taxation through payment of royalties and fees for technical services or management skills by overseas companies in Australia? As it is claimed that these companies pay 424% tax on their profits, can the Minister demonstrate that such companies are not able to avoid tax through interpretation of technical laws covering exemption?

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

– Fees and royalties for technical services and managerial skills paid by overseas affiliates in Australia to their parent companies are subject to tax in the ordinary way, provided they relate to income earned in Australia. This is the general position but there are some exceptions of a rather complicated character which have to be read in conjunction with some of our double taxation agreements. No statistics are available to show what exemptions have been claimed, either because the claims are from sources which are not earning income in Australia or the exemptions result from particular provisions of our double taxation agreement.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Social Services. I refer the honourable gentleman to page 14 of the report of the Director-General of Social Services for 1966-67. The section dealing with unemployment, sickness and special benefits shows that grants for unemployment benefits increased by 31.9% during the year. It shows also that some 72.1% of all grants were made to males compared with 67.5% in 1965-66. The report reveals also substantial increases in benefits current at 30th June 1967 and in expenditure on unemployment benefits during 1966-67. Can the honourable gentleman account for what appears to be an alarming rise in the payment of benefits and the number of people receiving benefits?

Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Industry · NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– 1 am not in a position to confirm or deny the percentages which the honourable gentleman has read into the figures presented by me the other day in this House in the Director-General’s report. However, it is a fact that as a result of pension increases over the years there has been a substantial increase in the amount of money paid out by the Government to persons who are in receipt of social service benefits. It is a fact also that under the Labor controlled Government in South

Australia there has been some increase in unemployment. Perhaps if there is any increase in the number of persons in receipt of the unemployment benefit, some of it at least is attributable to the unemployment figures in that State. Beyond that I am not in a position to comment on the statistics, other than to say that for the most part over the last 12 months there have been substantial areas of Australia which have suffered adversely from drought. I should imagine that possibly some of the figures to which the honourable gentleman has referred are attributable also to persons who have suffered as a result of the drought.

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– Has the AttorneyGeneral’s attention been drawn to an incident in Cyprus involving two members of the Australian Police Contingent who assisted in saving the life of a British explosives expert? What recognition has been made of the efforts and bravery of the officers involved?


– 1 take it that the honourable member is referring to an incident which occurred early in August of this year when two members of the Australian contingent, Sergeant Raw and First Class Constable Walker, took very prompt action. This was an incident in which a lorry carrying Cypriot Turks moved over a mine and was blown up although no one was injured. A British explosives expert, a Major Pritchard-Davies, was called to the scene to explore the area. He trod on a mine and his leg was blown off below the knee. The two Australian police officers acted with very great presence of mind and gave first aid without regard to any possible danger in the area. It is said that due to their efforts his life was saved. They have been commended by the Commander of the United Nations forces in Cyprus. The person who conveyed that appreciation to them was Superintendent Smith of South Australia who is Commander of the Australian Police Contingent and was at the time acting as police adviser to the United Nations Commander. I. can only say that the action of these two men was very commendable. It brings credit not only on themselves but on the United Nations forces there, lt is a further example of the high standard observed by the Australain contingent in that area.

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– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Supply. Is it a fact, as reported in today’s Australian’, that the Government has received inquiries from three countries interested in buying the Australian built version of the Italian designed Macchi jet trainer aircraft? If so, what steps are being taken to accommodate the three interested countries, and does the Government intend to investigate the possibility of obtaining further orders from other countries so as to increase the volume and thus lower the costs of these aircraft? Finally, if a satisfactory export programme can be achieved will the Minister give serious consideration to the re-establishment of a South Australian section of our aircraft industry?

Minister for Defence · PATERSON, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– It is some little time since 1 personally had anything to do with the Macchi programme in relation to the possibility of export sales. When the agreement was first made with Aeronautica Macchi for the purchase of this aircraft we were given certain rights about the prospective sale of the aircraft to countries in our particular sphere of interest. How far those proposals have worked out I do not quite know, apart from the fact that there was some early and keen interest in the possibility that we could manufacture the aircraft in Australia for sale overseas. I think the honourable gentleman will appreciate, of course, that the territory in which Australia would be permitted to sell the aircraft would not be particularly wide because the Macchi company itself maintains a considerable network of overseas sales organisations. Regarding the possibility of making overseas sales and then extending our aircraft facilities, I am afraid that I would not like to give the honourable gentleman a lot of room for optimism. The fact is, of course, that there are three units in the Australian aircraft industry in general and our problem constantly is to provide a sufficient work load to keep them all busy. I think that any further fragmentation of the aircraft work load would work irreparable damage against the cost structure of the industry.

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– I address a question to the Prime Minister. It concerns the opening of the North West Cape naval communication station which, as we all know, is of great importance to Australia’s defence. Can he assure me that invitations were issued to the Leader of the Opposition and the front bench of the Opposition so that they would have the opportunity of attending the opening of this most important base?


– I cannot recall all the details of the arrangements in connection with this matter. I do remember, however, making it my business to see that the Leader of the Opposition-

Mr Whitlam:

– I was represented.


– Yes. I did make it my business to ask the Leader of the Opposition whether he wished the Opposition to be represented at the opening of the base. He pointed out that he had a prior commitment. As I recall it, it was a commitment in Capricornia. No doubt it was more important to him at the time than was this symbolic and very important occasion of the collaboration between the United States of America and Australia in a centre which will mean so much not only to the security of the area but to the assistance given to commercial shipping throughout the Indian Ocean and elsewhere. We, on this side of the House, regarded it as of sufficient importance for myself to be present with the Minister for Defence and the Minister for National Development. The Ambassador of the United States was present as was the Commander in Chief of the United States Pacific Command. The Leader of the Opposition chose to be represented, not by one of the front bench members of his Party, but by the estimable honourable member for Kalgoorlie whom we were glad to see-

Mr Webb:

– And in whose electorate the base is situated.


– Yes. We were glad to see him there with us, but I was not altogether surprised, having regard to the history of this matter and the way in which the Labor Party first opposed the establishment of the base and then, by a bare majority, agreed to its establishment on conditions which it must have known would have been unacceptable to the United States of America.


– 1 ask the Prime Minister a supplementary question in the hope that 1 will refresh his memory about the opening of the North West Cape naval communications station. Does he remember that in thanking him for his invitation I pointed out to . him that I had some months before accepted an invitation to be the guest of honour at the Victorian Branch of the Air Force Association’s Air Force Week celebrations in Gippsland on that day?

Mr Stokes:

– Haven’t you a deputy?

Mr Cope:

– Oh, shut up.


-Order! The honourable member for Watson will withdraw that remark.

Mr Cope:

– What did I say?


-The honourable member knows very well what he said.

Mr Cope:

– I said: ‘Shut up’.


– That is right. The honourable member will withdraw that remark.

Mr Cope:

– No, I will not withdraw it.


-I beg your pardon?

Mr Cope:

– I said I will not withdraw it.


-I name the honourable member for Watson.

Motion (by Mr Harold Holt) put:

That the honourable member for Watson be suspended from the service of the House.

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

AYES: 68

NOES: 33

Majority 35



Question so resolved in the affirmative.

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– I again ask the Prime Minister whether he recalls that in thanking him for his invitation to the opening of the North West Cape naval communications station I regretfully declined because, as I told him, I had, months earlier, accepted an invitation from the Victorian Branch of the Air Force Association to be its guest of honour at functions in Gippsland in the morning, afternoon and night of Friday, the day preceding the day on which the North West Cape station was to be opened. The functions were attended by, among others, the honourable member for McMillan - at my instance I might add. Does he recall that I explained that no aircraft, commercial or official, were available which would have been able to get me from Gippsland to Learmonth in time for the ceremonies held there on the Saturday?


– I do not question the facts that the honourable member gives to me. It would not, as he would understand, be norma] for replies on ceremonial matters of this sort-

Mr Whitlam:

– You thought I was in Capricornia.


– The honourable gentleman was in Capricornia so much about that time-


– Order! The House will come to order.


– Let me just say this by way of reply to the question: I do not doubt that the honourable gentleman - well, perhaps I do doubt - but my own practice when I accept invitations several months ahead of an event is normally to qualify my acceptance by saying that if any matter of overriding importance occurs I would have to be in touch with the organisers to notify them of my inability to attend. The honourable gentleman was able to make his own assessment and form his own judgment as to whether the opening of the communications centre at North West Cape was of overriding importance. However, the honourable gentleman does not stand alone on the Opposition front bench. He has a Deputy Leader of the Opposition who is the shadow Minister for Defence of the Australian Labor Party.

If the Leader of the Opposition wished to be fittingly represented and found himself, by a prior commitment, unable to attend, I would have thought, in my innocence, that rather than have the local member, admirable fellow though he may be, attend on an occasion that was of sufficient importance to warrant a personal message from the President of the United States of America, he would have had either his shadow Minister for Defence and Deputy Leader or one of the front bench members of his Party from Western Australia represent him at the ceremony. He chose on the other hand to be represented, and to be solely represented, by the honourable member for Kalgoorlie. I can let the Parliament draw its own inference from that.

Mr Webb:

– I rise to make a personal explanation. The questioner asked-


-Order! Is the honourable member asking a question or does he want to make a personal explanation.

Mr Webb:

– I want to make a personal explanation.


-I suggest that it would be better to do so after question time has concluded. We are now dealing with questions without notice. I will call the honourable member immediately question time finishes.

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Mr Donald Cameron:

– I direct a question to the Minister for the Interior and in so doing I refer to a speech on the subject of postal voting I made last Thursday during the debate on the estimates of his Department. I also refer to an article in a Melbourne newspaper last Friday which dealt with allegations that six people had committed 450 breaches of postal voting regulations during the elections for the Melbourne City Council. Will the Commonwealth Government show the way in eliminating the present irregularities which, I am convinced, are a blot on our cherished democratic ideals?

Minister for the Interior · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– I have not seen the article in the Melbourne newspaper but I know of the speech made by the honourable member last week. He does a service to the Parliament when he brings this matter forward. It has been causing some concern to the Chief Electoral Officer of the Commonwealth. Some people are tending to prevail upon others to take a postal vote to which they are not entitled or are tending to influence the way in which another votes. Both of these matters are contraventions of the Act. If any person brings to the notice of the Chief Electoral Officer breaches of this nature, I will see that they are investigated immediately. I will also have the Act examined to see whether its provisions can be tightened up to prevent such breaches from occurring in the future.

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– I direct my question to the Prime Minister. Is he aware that the United States of America, through its Secretary of State and other diplomatic channels, has brought public, political and private pressure to bear on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and Central Treaty Organisation allies to provide military forces to support United States action in Vietnam? Is it a fact that all these nations have refused this request? Is he aware also that the Canadian Prime Minister received a standing ovation from both sides of the Canadian Parliament when he announced Canada’s refusal to participate in military action in South Vietnam?


– I do not have any direct knowledge of what approaches may be made to other governments by the United States of America, but 1 do know the position of the Australian Government, the New Zealand Government and other governments that have joined together in resisting aggression in South Vietnam. I am fully conscious of the fact that this Government’s policies are completely repudiated by honourable gentlemen opposite. But they remain our policies, and those policies were endorsed by the Australian people.

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– I wish to make a personal explanation, Mr Speaker.


-Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?


– Yes. When the honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess) asked his question about the official opening of the North West Cape naval communications station, he stated that members of the Opposition front bench had received an invitation to attend.

Mr Jess:

– I asked whether they had received one.


– I did not receive an invitation to the opening of the station. The Prime Minister, in his answer to a later question on the same subject, mentioned Western Australians. I am the only Western Australian on the Opposition front bench and I received no invitation. If I had received a persona] invitation, I would have attended.


-Order! The honourable member may not debate the subject matter. He has made his personal explanation.


- Mr Speaker, have I the right to make an explanation concerning the same matter?


-Does the Minister wish to make a personal explanation or a statement by leave?


– I should like to make a personal explanation. The Department of Defence dealt with the invitations to members of the Parliament to attend the opening of the North West Cape naval communication station. It is true that not all members on both sides of either the Senate or the House of Representatives received written invitations. There was a very good reason for this: Accommodation at an outpost settlement like that at North West Cape is not easy to come by. Until a week before the opening of the station, it was not possible to say just what accommodation would be available. The quota of accommodation first notified was for less than 100 places. These were occupied by those persons from the State and Federal spheres and from United States departments who were entitled to be present. My Department made every possible effort to obtain accommodation for those who might wish to attend. Ten days before the opening, I sent to every Whip of every Party in the Parliament a circular to be displayed on the notice boards in the party rooms, apologising for the shortness of notice given and pointing out that it had become apparent only on that day that we would be able to accommodate additional invited guests. At the same time, I sent a covering circular to the Whips of the various Parties asking them to ensure that at their Caucus meetings on that day an invitation was extended to those present to attend the opening ceremony, repeating my apology and asking those who wanted to attend to nominate. In the upshot, there were three nominations, I think - two from the Senate and one from the honourable member for Macarthur (Mr Jeff Bate), who sits on the Government side of this House.

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Ministerial Statement

Minister for Civil Aviation · Darling Downs · LP

– by leave - The statement I am about to make refers to the Government’s policy on international charter flights to and from Australia. I should make it clear, at the outset, that a review of international charter policy has been under way for some time. The effects of the application of existing policy have been investigated and the situation of migrant groups has been taken into account in this study. 1 personally, have made a point of discussing this aspect with my colleague the Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden) and I am sure that what I now have to say on the subject has his endorsement.

In April 1959 the Minister for Civil Aviation made a statement in the Senate setting out the principal features of the policy which was to govern international charter flights to and from this country. He stated explicitly that it was then the Government’s firm policy, as it is now, to promote the development of scheduled international air services between Australia and overseas countries. It is only through the continued development of such services between Australia and other countries that we can meet the needs of the travelling public and the requirements of our expanding commerce and industry. Ability to rely on regular and rapid services is an imperative requirement for a country separated by vast distances from other areas of importance to it. I need hardly add that it is considered by the Government of equal importance that Australia’s international airline, Qantas Airways, should be so supported that it is given the utmost opportunity to maintain its reputation as an efficient and safe airline with a deservedly high standing amongst the airlines of the world. It is imperative, moreover, that the financial strength of Qantas be maintained. It should not be imagined, of course, that any international airline relying mainly on operating the kind of routes which Qantas has developed so successfully over vast distances, could expect to be highly profitable. It would, nevertheless, be a most unfortunate situation if our international airline should be obliged to rely on direct government financial support. To permit non-scheduled charter airlines to operate flights into and out of Australia at fares of their own choosing means an almost certain reduction in the number of passengers who would fly on scheduled services, even though it may permit some travellers to travel by air who would not otherwise do so. Qantas is sure to suffer from any loss to non-scheduled operators of passengers travelling to and from Australia as it carries, as most national carriers do, a solid proportion of passengers into and out of its own country. Moreover, in the national interest Qantas’s role as a substantial earner of foreign exchange cannot be overlooked. lt is equally desirable that, whilst traffic on the routes between Australia and other countries increases it does so at such a rate that the scheduled international operators will consider that the operation of services into and out of Australia is a worthwhile proposition. Otherwise the scheduled airlines of the other countries will turn their attention to more attractive areas of traffic development. In turn the Government’s capacity to achieve for Qantas the privilege to carry traffic in and out of those other countries, on routes to and from Australia, will be impaired with consequent adverse effects on Qantas’s revenue. Another very important objective for us must be to ensure that this country is served by the most efficient and modern aircraft. This will only bc guaranteed if the scheduled operators believe that traffic growth and its potential, on routes into and out of Australia are sufficiently encouraging to lead them to plan to operate on these routes the most up-to-date jet aircraft available. I am thinking, in particular, of the position which will develop within 2 to 3 years when the large jumbo jet aircraft become available with their outstanding improvements in comfort for the passenger. By the mid-seventies too, the supersonic airliner is likely to be available for operation, and this aircraft will be most appropriate for the very long haul routes linking Australia with other countries. These aircraft will be extremely costly and with the immensely increased capacity of the jumbo jets, in particular, will hardly be an attractive proposition to employ on services into and out of this country unless the scheduled operators can attract enough passengers to allow them to operate at satisfactory loadings. Their cargo capacity will be extremely important for the continuing development of Australian industry and could be most significant in the promotion of Australian export markets overseas. The ability of Qantas to operate such aircraft will clearly be related to the capacity of our national airline to maintain a steady rate of growth in the number of passengers and volume of cargo it carries on its routes into and out of Australia.

It is sometimes suggested that the financial problems of the airlines would be solved if they decided to recommend to governments that international air fares be considerably reduced. It is worthwhile noting at this point that international air fares are an example of a sector in which there has been very little increase in price over a considerable period of years. Indeed in some regions, where great traffic density has permitted it, there have been reductions. The idea that fares could be substantially reduced ignores the basic fact that airline costs have increased heavily and there is virtually no room left for such economies in the administration of major scheduled international airlines as would produce any real effect on the cost situation.

I should also like to remind honorable members of a point which the Minister’s 1959 statement rightly emphasised. Charter operations have an unfair advantage over regular services in that the charter operator has no obligation to perform a flight unless it is commercially attractive. The tegular operator must adhere to his advertised schedules whether individual flights are profitable or not. Another factor often ignored is that the scheduled operators - and I am speaking specifically about routes into and out of Australia - have developed concessional fares. The Australian Government strongly supported the successful efforts of Qantas to win International Air Transport Association agreement to concessional group fares. These fares involve a reduction of 30% on the economy fare and they have clearly had a wide impact. Other more specialised concessional fares have also been developed for tourists and special categories of travellers. It has been particularly pleasing to note from reports of scheduled operators that migrant groups have been increasingly availing themselves of these concessional group fares to make trips to their former homelands.

I believe there is no doubt that the policy enunciated by the Minister for Civil Aviation in 1959 served the interests of this country by promoting the steady development of international air services linking us with almost every major continent. This policy also helped considerably to assist international scheduled operators, after the introduction of jet aircraft in the early sixties and the resultant substantial increase in capacity for passengers, to provide Australia with first class jet services in spite of a period of intense economic difficulty for the scheduled airlines when the initial effects of the jets were being absorbed. These economic problems were experienced even in the North Atlantic area where traffic has continued to expand at a very rapid rate for many years.

I should mention, incidentally, that comparisons between the fares available on the North Atlantic and the number of charter nights in that area with the situation on routes into and out of Australia completely ignores the vast difference in the traffic density between the two areas. This is brought about basically by the vastly greater number of potential international air travellers in North America and Europe. Even in this area, however, the intrusions of nonscheduled charter airlines are very carefully watched and limitations are applied by governments to the operations of such airlines.

Fundamental considerations of the type I have been describing have naturally had to be taken into account very fully ir the review of the Government’s policy on international charter operations into and out of Australia. Representations made over a period by interested parties such as scheduled and non-scheduled airlines, and by migrant groups, and authorities and persons interested in the welfare of such groups, have all been given careful consideration. The following conclusions have been reached:

To permit extensive intrusion by nonscheduled charter operators into that carriage of passengers to and from this country now handled by more than a dozen international scheduled airlines would not be in the public interest. These scheduled airlines must continue to enjoy the support of the Government in their progressive development of air services to and from this country. They operate in vigorous and healthy competition with one another and this in itself ensures that standards are maintained at a high level. No international airline can afford merely to rely upon the fact that the Australian Government will not allow scheduled airlines to suffer from unfair or uneconomic competition from nonscheduled operators.

Nevertheless there is some room for the development of charter operations between Australia and other countries. Whilst looking primarily to the scheduled operators to provide this facility the Government will not continue to insist that only scheduled airlines should be allowed to operate charter flights to and from Australia. The rules for the guidance of airlines which my Department is currently preparing on this subject will make it clear that, in the first instance, the opportunity to operate charter flights to and from Australia must be offered to the national carrier, that is the international scheduled operator of Australia - namely Qantas Empire Airways Ltd - or to the national scheduled carrier of the country to which or from which the charter flight originates or is destined. The national carrier will decide, when an application for a charter flight is received by it, whether it can provide the charter arrangement requested either through a flight with its own aircraft or through other arrangements such as a sub-charter to another airline. Where no national carrier wishes to apply for approval to operate a charter flight and notification to that effect has been received applications may be made by any other operator whom the group seeking the charter decides to approach.

A second modification of existing charter policy will be made in connection with the fare which charter passengers will be charged. It will be appreciated that under the contributory group charter arrangements individual members of the charter party contribute towards the cost of the charter, directly or indirectly; in effect, each individual passenger paying a fare. In December 1959 the then Minister for Civil Aviation announced that the Government would permit the airlines operating charter flights to charge fares as low as 30% below what were then known as tourist class fares and in 1960 became known as economy fares. Since that date concessional fares have been introduced on the recommendation of the International Air Transport Association which represents the interests of international scheduled operators, enabling, as 1 mentioned earlier, groups of passengers - under certain defined rules concerning the nature of such groups - to travel on regular services at a fare of 70% of the approved economy class fare. In the interests of providing an opportunity for passengers to travel on international air services to and from Australia at lower rates, it has now been decided to approve a contributory group charter fare, applying, of course, only to charter flights, at as low a rate as 60% of the approved economy class fare on a regular service. This is expected to give increased incentive to the promotion of charter flights into and out of Australia by creating a fare differential between the minimum rate for the charter flight passenger and the group fare on regular services. This should, amongst other things, assist towards the achievement of the objective of migrant groups wishing to make visits to their former homelands. The return fare between Sydney and London via the Kangaroo route, for example, under such arrangements would be, at the present time, in the vicinity of $A700, the full economy fare on regular services being $A1,178.

I must, however, emphasise that it is essential that the International Air Transport Association’s rules regarding groups and their eligibility for concessional arrangements must be observed. This requirement remains an essential element in our revised charter policy. I should mention one other basic requirement, namely, that a chartering group must charter the entire capacity of the aircraft. The scheduled international airlines provide potential charter groups with full information on these requirements. I shall also ensure that the basic rules are set out in a statement which my Department can make available to inquirers.

There is one further matter about which T want to make special mention. It is clear that, on humanitarian grounds, everything possible should be done to make it feasible for migrants now residing in Australia to be given an opportunity to be reunited here with their parents. Accordingly, because of the importance of this objective, it has been decided than an exceptional concession should be made available for the parents or guardians to travel on charter flight to this country. Under this special concession parents may travel at 50% of the approved round trip economy class fare. The normal rules affecting charter flights generally will, of course, apply and the parents groups will need, therefore, to observe, in particular, IATA requirements. I believe that this exceptional concession should make some contribution towards achieving the aim of reuniting in Australia migrants and their parents. It is expected that these changes should go into effect as from 1st November after airlines and - interested organisations have had an opportunity to be informed of them. I must add, in conclusion, that the rules, to which I have referred, in connection with applications by airlines for charter flights are essentially rules of guidance. The Australian Government, as does any other government, must retain the right - and has a duty for that matter to decide upon each application, in the light of background and policy considerations. Likewise the Government must, of course, be prepared to review the application of the guiding rules in the event that the scheme envisaged does not serve satisfactorily the national interest. I present the following paper:

International Charter Flights - Ministerial Statement, 3 October 1967.

Motion (by Mr Snedden) proposed:

That the House take note of the paper.

Debate (on motion by Mr Webb) adjourned.

page 1566



Ministerial Statement

Minister for Immigration · Bruce · LP

– by leave - At question time last week and also a couple of weeks ago I was asked questions, one by the honourable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr Collard) and one by the honourable member for Stirling (Mr Webb), on the subject of

Japanese employees in Australia. In order not to take up time during questions today I have left it until now to make a statement on the subject and I shall do so as though I were answering the honourable members’ questions.

On 17th August the honourable member for Kalgoorlie asked me where the application originated for the entry of the 60 Japanese working at Port Hedland, the reasons advanced to cause approval of the application and whether other Japanese industrialists have applied to bring Japanese for other projects. On 26th September, in asking again for this information, he questioned me also as to whether the Western Australian Government had been consulted, whether the Japanese were permitted to enter solely for dredging and if not, what other work they were permitted to do. On 27th September the honourable member for Stirling asked whether I knew of the dispute arising from replacement of Australians by Japanese workers, whether it was right to import foreign workers under contract or indenture to do jobs that Australians can do and why approval was given for these workers to come to Australia to displace Australian workers.

I do not propose to comment on the industrial implications. They are essentially a matter for my colleague the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Bury). I say immediately that the questions asked of me are founded on a basic misapprehension. The Japanese in question were not imported under contract or indenture and they were not brought here to displace Australians. The application was made by Utah Construction and Mining Co. which, in joint venture with Japan Industrial Land Development Ltd, has the contract for the dredging of deep water port facilities to be constructed at Port Hedland. This is a very important developmental project and obviously if the iron ore projects were held up by delays in the dredging this could only react to the detriment of Australia and not least to the opportunities for the employment of Australian workers. Next to be recalled is that the dredges involved are very complex pieces of equipment and clearly call for highly skilled people in a number of, but not all, categories. The significance of this will bec: me apparent as 1 proceed.

The application proposed the employment of 76 Japanese in specified, and specialised, occupations in company with 65 Australians and 25 Americans, on and about two dredges Alameda’ and ‘V..1.–: Maru’ and on specialist ancillary services to them. The former has been in operation at Port Hedland, with a combined Japanese-Australian-American crew for over 2 years on another dredging project, but its Japanese crewmen were due for repatriation. The ‘Kokeui Maru’ was about to be brought to Australia. The normal rules relating to entry of nonEuropeans as specialists provide that they may be admitted on temporary entry permits valid for up to 2 years for specialised work for which Australians are not available. This latter question of availability was, as is normal, the subject of close scrutiny by the Department of Labour and National Service, in consultation with my Department.

The first consideration was: Were there available or could there be found within a reasonable time Australians to perform any of the jobs involved? The second consideration was to ensure that Australians had the opportunity to gain experience and skill in dredging work both in the immediate case and for use in subsequent dredging projects. The Department of Labour and National Service was able to divide the labour requirements between those where long experience and specialised skills were necessary and those where Australians could be used or trained to do the necessary work in a reasonably short space of time.

In the light of all this, permission was granted for the specialists to come in under normal arrangements applying to specialists on the basis that if vacancies occurred in their ranks efforts would be made to fill the vacancies with Australians. In the less specialised categories entry permits were granted initially for 6 months. Their renewal after that - at 4 monthly intervals - was made subject to the Department of Labour and National Service being satisfied that a genuine attempt had been made to engage Australians willing to work for a reasonable time. Obviously to keep the project going efforts had to be made to avoid the difficulties that would be presented by high labour turnover necessitating the sending of Japanese home and bringing them back from time to time as might be necessary. For the purposes of satisfying the Department of Labour and National Service it was stipulated that the company would be expected to make efforts through the Commonwealth Employment Service, advertisements in the Press and- through union sources to secure suitable Australian labour. It was of course a further condition of entry that Australian industrial laws would apply to those given entry.

These conditions of entry were conveyed to the Western Australian authorities, who considered them to be a matter for the Commonwealth, and also to the Trades and Labour Council in Western Australia and the Australian Workers Union. Later on the Secretary of the Department of Labour and National Service met with officers of the Trades and Labour Council and later with representatives of the contractors and the Western Australian Employers’ Federation. In these discussions the whole of the circumstances leading to, and the reasons for, the entry of the Japanese were discussed and understandings were reached about the arrangements that would operate regarding the continued employment of the Japanese and the recruitment of suitable Australians. In fact these arrangements are being currently implemented. Action by the Commonwealth Employment Service to recruit labour and advertisements by the contractors for labour have begun. Sixty Japanese have been admitted for the work in question. They will be permitted to engage in employment on the dredging project only. My Department has had no further applications for the entry of Japanese workers for employment on other projects.

Not to be lost sight of is that at no time was it ever suggested that Australians should not be employed on this project. It was clear from the start that they would be employed in a number of categories and so they are. In the talks which the Secretary of the Department of Labour and National Service had in Perth, he secured agreement that Australians would, as. they became experienced in lower categories, be promoted to higher categories which the applicants originally argued should be occupied by Japanese. What I have said demonstrates that so far from the Government acting in a manner detrimental to the rights and interests of Australian workers, it has set out to advance those interests. There have been do departures from normal principles. It would be the greatest disservice to Australian interests at large if efforts were made to introduce politics into a situation where there is no warrant for them. I only add that both the Departments concerned will continue to keep in close touch with the situation.

page 1568


Discussion of Matter of Public Importance


-I have received a letter from the honourable member for Bass (Mr Barnard) proposing that a matter of definite public importance be submitted to the House for discussion, namely:

The Government’s failure to maintain the purchasing power of repatriation payments and general benefits.

I call upon those members who approve of the proposed discussion to rise in their places. (More than the number of members required by the Standing Orders having risen in their places)


– The Opposition raises as a matter of urgency today the Government’s failure to curb the drastic erosion in the value of repatriation pensions. We do this because the Government has obviously sought to prevent a discussion on repatriation matters. We believe that the Government has a case to answer and we believe also that the Minister should take the opportunity to reply to some of the questions which were addressed to him last week during the debate on the Repatriation Bill and questions which will be raised this afternoon in the debate on this motion. We shall outline what we consider to be extremely discriminatory provisions in the Repatriation Act and the recent Budget Speech delivered by the Treasurer (Mr McMahon).

Firstly I should like to comment briefly on the contemptuous treatment by the Government of repatriation provisions in this House. We had the spectacle here last week of the Government introducing by far the most restricted legislation that I can recall in this place. Last week’s Repatriation Bill was framed so as to circumscribe completely the debate in this House. The honourable gentleman representing the

Minister for Repatriation made a speech of 171 words. I spoke for some 10 minutes and tried to raise urgent issues of erosion of pension values and discrimination in payments. Because of the terms of the Bill I could not outline at any length the feeling of extreme urgency that the Opposition has in respect of current repatriation provisions in Australia. I moved an amendment which was disallowed and I then moved dissent from the Speaker’s ruling. When the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) sought to continue the debate he was gagged. According to Hansard the whole course of the Bill lasted less than 40 minutes. This is the cursory treatment which the Government gives to measures which affect 631,000 Australians who have given service to this country. This fiasco follows a disgraceful episode in the Parliament last year when the Opposition moved amendments to bring the Repatriation Act into line with the pension plan conceived by the Returned Services League. One of these amendments which gave free hospital treatment to First World War and Boer War servicemen was carried in the Senate. The amended Bill was subsequently returned to the House of Representatives, but the Government did not proceed with the debate. Instead it introduced a substitute Bill which cancelled the Senate amendment without further debate and prevented any amendments being moved in future.

By making Repatriation Bills money Bills the Government has stifled the right for the Opposition to move, debate and vote on amendments to Repatriation Bills. Yet over the years this has been a traditional procedure in the Parliament. Honourable members on this side of the chamber have had the opportunity when repatriation measures have been before us to move amendments in line with the policy of the Labor Party and in line with suggestions from the Returned Services League. But the Government has stifled even those amendments which have the approval of the RSL. When this occurred last year the present Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) described this as a shabby subterfuge. His criticism is pointed up by last week’s episode in this House. The Government has cancelled the procedure by which Parliament has debated repatriation legislation on every occasion since the first Act was passed in 1920. Until last year the Repatriation Bill had enabled free discussion by honourable members on both sides of the chamber, but last year the Government decided to introduce the Bill as a money measure and it has done so again on this occasion. This has saved Government supporters the embarrassment of voting against amendments which have the complete support of the RSL.

The comparative position of repatriation pensioners has deteriorated alarmingly even in the past few months. I should like briefly to compare the special rate and general rate pensions with the present minimum wage decided by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. Prior to the Commission’s hearing in July of this year the Commonwealth basic wage was $32.80. The special rate and general rate pensions were 93% and 37% respectively of that amount. Honourable members will recall that the hearing abolished the principle of a basic wage plus margins and introduced instead the total wage concept. It continued the minimum wage system established at a hearing in July last year. The minimum wage was introduced as the lowest wage any employee in any industry was permitted to receive. For all practical purposes it supplanted the traditional Commonwealth basic wage introduced about 50 years ago. The minimum wage was introduced in July 1966 and was assessed at $36.55 a week. In July 1967 it rose by $1 to $37.55. It is an equitable assumption that the special rate pension or totally and permanently incapacited rate of pension, should be equal to the minimum wage. These pensioners should not be offered any less in the light of their sacrifice. However, we find now that the present TPI rate is 81% of the new minimum wage. This compares with the figure of 93% of the old basic wage which I mentioned earlier. Comparatively, the TPI pensioner is now 12% worse off.

The general rate pension is now 32% of the minimum wage compared with 37% of the old basic wage. In other words, the TPI pensioner is 12% worse off and the general rate pensioner 5% worse off because of the radical change in the wage structure produced by this year’s decision of the Commission. It would have been reasonable to have expected the Government at least to have maintained parity with the minimum wage. This should have been done in this year’s Budget. Instead, the Government completely ignored this sharp deterioration in comparative status of repatriation pensioners. It failed to make any increase in pension rates, except for one or two small amendments which the Government announced in the Budget and which applied to children of deceased servicemen. It failed to make any increase in the main provisions of the Repatriation Act. By allowing the purchasing power of repatriation pensions to deteriorate relative to the minimum wage level fixed by the court, the Government has been guilty of reprehensible and shameful neglect. An examination of wage levels and pensions over the years emphasises the way pensioners have relinquished purchasing power. In 1949 the TPI pension was 84% of the Commonwealth basic wage. It is now 81% of the present minimum wage. In 1949 the general rate pension was 43% of the basic wage. It is now 32% of the minimum wage. This is an appalling decline. In 1950 the Government, in a burst of commendable post-electoral benevolence, increased the special rate to 101% of the basic wage and the general rate to 51 % of the basic wage. In that year the special rate exceeded the basic wage. Today the comparative value of the special rate pension has fallen by 20% of what the Government thought it should be in 1950. The general rate pension has fallen even more alarmingly in comparative purchasing power. It has plunged by 40%.

Over the years these pension rates have always maintained a reasonable degree of parity with the basic wage. In 1920, when the TPI pension was introduced, it was 103% of the basic wage and the general rate pension was 54%. This, in the opinion of the Opposition - and I have no doubt in the opinion of the Returned Services League - is the final illustration of the way this Government has allowed the purchasing power of the major repatriation pensions to lag sadly behind. There is one other important category of pension to which I have not referred and in respect of which I have not supplied comparative figures. I refer to the war widow’s rate. There, again, the Government has allowed the purchasing power to fall far below what anyone would accept as a reasonable degree of generosity on the part of a responsible government. As I suggested during a speech last week on the Repatriation Bill, the Government has a case to answer, not only to those who served this country in a period of adversity but also to those who now represent these people through the Returned Services League.

I should like briefly to refer to a matter which 1 have raised in this House on two previous occasions. This is what the Opposition regards as an inexplicable and intolerable discrimination in the repatriation provisions of the Budget. The Treasurer (Mr McMahon) has extended the provisions of the defence forces retirement benefits legislation to admit national servicemen who enlisted for 2 years. This, in itself, is an admirable reform which the Opposition approves. The first intake of national servicemen was discharged from the Army on 30th June, and it is just that they should be entitled to the maximum benefits and rights under our repatriation legislation. However, we believe that the Budget puts servicemen totally and permanently incapaciated in special areas, such as Vietnam, in an immensely superior position to servicemen similarly disabled in earlier wars. Under the new provisions, a married private soldier who was totally and permanently incapacitated through war service in Vietnam would receive a pension of $31.50 a week under the defence forces retirement benefits legislation and the base pension of $34.55 under the repatriation legislation. This means that a TPI pensioner from Vietnam could receive as much as $66.05 a week. However TPI’s from earlier wars are entitled only to a base pension of $30.50 a week. In other words, their maximum entitlement is less than half the maximum entitlement of a TPI from Vietnam. Even without the defence forces retirement benefits provisions, a TPI from Vietnam is entitled to $4.05 more than a TPI from an earlier war. It is impossible to understand this discrimination.

The Government rejected a request from the Totally and Permanently Disabled Soldiers Association for a modest increase of $2.50 a week in the special rate pension. However, the Government has granted a special rate pension of $34.55 to TPI’s disabled in special areas, such as Vietnam. This is an inequitable provision, completely without logic and justice, and it is time the Government explained it. I cannot conceive how the Government differentiates between the Vietnam war, Korean war and the First and Second World Wars. There can be no distinction in the degree of sacrifice of persons totally and permanently incapacitated in any way. We urge the Government to rectify this illogical and unfortunate distinction. Last week when I discussed the repatriation legislation the Minister declined to give any answer at all. 1 posed these questions to him. Why the distinction between those who are now serving in special areas and those who served this country in other wars and who are totally and permanently incapacitated as a result of their service? Let me remind the Minister that an ex-serviceman who has already been discharged from service in a special area will not be eligible for the new rate under the amending legislation if later he is classified as totally and permanently incapacitated as a result of his service in a special area.


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

Minister for Civil Aviation · Darling Downs · LP

– The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard) commenced his speech by stating that the Government had endeavoured to prevent a debate in this House on the subject of repatriation. He was referring to a Bill which was before the House last week. I have a copy of last week’s Hansard which indicates that the honourable member managed to cover practically every aspect of the Repatriation Act. He was not prevented from debating the subject.

Mr Barnard:

– I was prevented.


– If the honourable member has a look at Hansard he will see the range of subjects he covered.

Mr Bryant:

Mr Deputy Speaker, is it in order for the Minister to misinterpret completely the proceedings of the House as indicated in Hansard?


-Order! There is no point of order.


– The Repatriation Bill 1967 was designed to deal with a specific matter. The long title, which was that of a money Bill, defined the Bill and referred to that specific matter. This is completely in accordance with the procedure ot the House. The point that the debate was gagged was raised by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. I draw his attention to the fact that the arrangement was that only one speaker would speak for the Opposition because there was other business awaiting the attention of the House. However, a second Opposition speaker commenced to debate the Bill. If it was essential that the debate continue then a speaker on the Government side should have had the call. I was precluded from replying to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition by virtue of the action taken. There was no restriction of the scope of the debate; in fact the debate went well beyond the limitations of the Bill. The leniency of the Speaker in allowing an opportunity for the debate to extend beyond the ramifications of the Bill was unquestionable.

The Deputy Leader of the Opposition spent some time comparing the relationship between the total and permanent incapacity pension and the basic or minimum wage over the years. But he did not take into consideration a very important matter. I refer to the other benefits which are available under the Repatriation Act to the TPI pensioner particularly, and which have been substantially increased over the years. Therefore there is no valid foundation for his comparison and his argument stands refuted.

The application of the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund to national servicemen is a matter which is really outside the scope of the repatriation legislation but I was surprised that there could be any form of criticism of this very worthy proposal which has been supported in principle by the Opposition. Variations in benefits relating to various periods of service have been made over the years. When a change is made the serviceman is entitled by virtue of his service to whatever new benefits are prescribed. I think that we should fully support that principle.

When examining repatriation benefits we should consider whether the various pensions and allowances are reasonable for their purposes. The TPI or special rate pension today is $30.50 a week and the general rate or 100% pension is $12 a week. The allowance for a wife for those two types of pensions is $4.05 a week. The pension and domestic allowance for a war widow totals $20 a week. In all cases there are additional amounts for children. In addition, the Government has provided that the receipt of a war pension does not preclude eligibility for means test pensions and this has been of great assistance over the years to quite a number of people in receipt of a war pension and the service pension at the same time.

Repatriation payments have been maintained at what is considered to be a reasonable level by the practice of the Government in constantly reviewing the situation and making adjustments when they are warranted. A review is made not just occasionally every few years but every year. In fact there has been some change for the better in repatriation legislation in every year since this Government came into office and in almost every year there has been some increase in the pension rates. The very substantially increased amounts payable now as compared with the rates in 1949 are an earnest of the Government’s interest in this matter. For example, the TPI rate has risen from $ 10.60 a week in 1949 to $30.50 a week in 1967, which is an increase of $19.90 a week; the general rate has risen from $5.50 to $12, an increase of $6.50; the war widows’ pension has risen from $6 to $13, an increase of $7; and the domestic allowance for a war widow has increased from only 75c to $7, an increase of $6.25. These are very significant increases and they have all taken place during the tenure of office of this Government.

Pensions and allowances are vitally important but they must be regarded in perspective as part of a generally comprehensive system of repatriation benefits. The Australian repatriation scheme provides for a wide range of other benefits that T will briefly quote for the benefit of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. Perhaps the most important element is medical treatment. Benefits are available for training and education; these are re-establishment measures, payments for funeral expenses, a furniture grant, immediate assistance grants, gift cars for seriously disabled; there are a variety of other fringe benefits such as an attendant’s allowance, a clothing allowance, a sustenance allowance during treatment, a recreation transport allowance and a special education allowance. All these must be taken into consideration when comparisons are being made with basic pensions and allowances.

When I was Minister for Repatriation some years ago an analysis was made of the repatriation systems operating in various comparable countries throughout the world. That analysis included monetary benefits and other benefits such as medical treatment. The result of the survey clearly indicated that there was no better repatriation system in the world and I believe that holds good today. This Government is proud of that fact and intends to see that the standard is maintained. This should be the objective of all honourable members. But the standard will not be maintained by destructive criticism; honourable members would be more helpful if their criticism was more constructive. An indication of the amount expended in the field of repatriation may be obtained from a perusal of the Budget and the annual reports of the Repatriation Commission. The latest report of the Commission shows that last year more than $265.3m was spent on repatriation in Australia. This year an amount of $278.5m is being appropriated for this purpose. When this expenditure is measured against expenditures in other sectors of the community we get a very sound indication of the importance which the Government places on maintaining our system of repatriation benefits, which is comparable with any system in the world.

I conclude my remarks by referring briefly to the changes that have taken place in our repatriation system since this Government came to power in 1949. I will refer to additional benefits that have been introduced and to acceptance of a wider range of eligibility. In 1950 the Repatriation Act was extended to cover ex-servicemen from the Korea and Malaya operations. At that time all pension rates were reviewed and increased. Gift cars and an allowance of £120 a year were granted to ex-servicemen whose accepted war disability was double amputation of both legs above the knees or complete paraplegia. A gratuity equal to the amount of one year’s pension at the rate she was receiving was provided for an ex-serviceman’s widow who remarried. In 1952 the disabled members and widows training scheme was introduced to provide training for ex-servicemen of the 1939-45 War and for widows of ex-servicemen of that war. In 1953 travelling expenses and subsistence for forward and return journeys were provided for widows being admitted to repatriation general hospitals for medical treatment. This benefit was extended in 1959 to war widows travelling to other hospitals or places for medical treatment. In 1956 the Repatriation (Far East Strategic Reserve) Act was passed. In 1957 the Native Members of the Forces Benefits Act was passed.

In 1958 an allowance of 10s a week was granted to service pensioners by way of supplementary assistance under special conditions. Medical treatment facilities were granted to all nurses of the 1914-18 War, irrespective of whether they were receiving a war pension. In 1959 clothing allowances for amputees and other accepted persons were introduced. In 1960 full medical treatment facilities were granted to exservicemen receiving service pensions. In 1961 the special rate sustenance allowance was extended to ex-servicemen receiving inpatient treatment for war caused incapacity and who required convalescence immediately following discharge from hospital. Also, payment of allowance for loss of salary or wages was extended to self employed ex-servicemen. In 1962 rates of pension to Torres Strait Islanders were increased to an amount equivalent to the rates paid to Australian ex-servicemen. Also the Repatriation (Special Overseas Service) Act was passed. In 1963 the Repatriation Act was amended to provide a uniform commencing date for payment of pension. Service pensions were granted to Torres Strait Islanders. A funeral benefit of £10 was granted to service pensioners.

In 1964 service pensioners temporarily absent overseas were granted continuance of their service pension in the same manner as social service pensioners. Also, a substantial extension of the range of repatriation benefits was made available to Torres Strait Islanders. In 1965 an intermediate rate of war pension was instituted. This has been most helpful, as I am sure the Deputy Leader of the Opposition will agree, to pensioners who are able to do only part-time or intermittent work. At the same time medical sustenance eligibility was extended substantially. In 1966 improvements were effected to the means test applied to service pensions. In addition we saw the introduction of a new benefit for member service pensioners who are discharged after treatment in a mental hospital. Other minor benefits were also introduced. Last week a Bill was passed in this House which introduced further benefits for the children of repatriation pensioners.

The improvements in pensions and allowances to which I have just referred are an indication of the progressive policy pursued by this Government in the field of repatriation. I assure the House that it is the Government’s intention to see that repatriation benefits are continually improved and that the present high standard oi our repatriation system, which is already equal to the best in the world, is maintained in the future.


– It was pleasing to see the Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr Swartz) back in the old form that he displayed when he was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Trade and Industry during the time of import licensing. In those days he was able to give all the reasons in the world why an import licence could not be granted to somebody but he could never give any reasons why a licence should be granted. Today he was in the same form. The speech he has just delivered is the same as the one he gave in 1962 or 1963 before the Congress of the Returned Services League. It is the speech he has made year after year before Congresses of the RSL. Today the Minister deliberately refrained from replying to any of the arguments advanced by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard). Did the Minister give any indication of how payments to totally and permanently incapacitated exservicemen from Vietnam will be made? Will the Opposition be denied an opportunity, as has happened in the past, to debate the subject of repatriation benefits payable to exservicemen from Vietnam? Will these benefits be introduced by regulation so that the Parliament will not have an opportunity to debate them? The Minister for Civil Aviation has concluded his speech, but later today we are to hear from the Minister for Social Services (Mr Sinclair). Perhaps he will go into hurried conference with advisers from the Department of Repatriation and ascertain how the proposed benefits are to be introduced. As the Deputy Leader of the Opposition said, the Government is placing totally and permanently incapacitated ex-servicemen from Vietnam in a completely different category from all other TPI pensioners. Will the Parliament have an opportunity to debate this matter or will the benefits be introduced by some back door method, as happened last year to the Repatriation Bill? On that occasion the Bill was amended in the Senate, but a completely new Bill was introduced into this House so that we could not argue the merits or demerits of the provision that had been passed in the Senate.

The Minister for Civil Aviation said that ample opportunity is given each year to debate repatriation matters. I suggest that a perusal of Hansard will show that most debates on repatriation matters take place on a Wednesday, when the proceedings of this House are not broadcast. They take place either in the late hours of the night or the early hours of the morning. Repatriation is a most embarrassing subject for the Government. In 1949 the Liberal Party and the Country Party, in an endeavour to obtain votes, chose as their candidates ex-servicemen with brilliant service records. The Parties which now form the Government made definite promises in 1949 to maintain the value of repatriation benefits. These benefits may have been increased slowly and surely but this has happened only because of the attitude of the Opposition in attacking the Government’s record on repatriation time and time again.

The Minister recited a long list of increases in benefits. Let me counter his argument by reading from the submission presented by the RSL to the Ex-servicemen’s Committee of Federal Cabinet earlier this year. The Minister for Repatriation (Senator McKellar) will list before the next Congress of the RSL, to be held in a matter of weeks, the benefits that this Government has granted. But what does the repatriation committee of the RSL think about the benefits that have been introduced by this Government? In its submission to the Exservicemen’s Committee of Federal Cabinet the RSL said:

The Government’s reply has been on the one hand to ignore these submissions for sizeable increases in major pension categories and on the other hand to point to a number of other benefits that have been introduced since 1950; the suggestion being that these would offset the loss in pension values. This proposition does not stand up to close analysis. It is true that an impressive number of improvements have been introduced into the repatriation system in the past 16 years. However, an analysis of these shows that the only items that have resulted in any sizeable increase in repatriation expenditure have been those applying to two categories. The war widows domestic allowance was extended in scope in 1950, 1952 and 1953, resulting in a current expenditure of approximately $15m and in 1958 and 1960 hospitalisation of non war caused disabilities suffered by nurses of the 1914-18 war and ‘member’ service pensioners was introduced, at an approximate annual expenditure of $5m. While these were necessary and welcome benefits they, in no way, improved the position of the general and special rate pensioners who are still forced to rely on compensation that is substantially less in value now than it was in 1950.

The position then is that by any method of assessment pension values in the major categories have reached a level that is totally inadequate. The League again asks the Government to reconsider this position and take measures to rectify this grave injustice to those ex-servicemen and their dependants who have made sacrifices in the nation’s interests.

That is the submission of the Returned Services League to the Ex-Servicemen’s Committee of Federal Cabinet. They are the arguments that honourable members on this side of the House advance - that despite the Government’s promises in 1949 and despite its high sounding phrases about what we owe to the ex-service men and women, it has fallen down in its task time and time again. I hazard the guess that the next increase of repatriation benefits will take place prior to the next Federal election. We have only a Senate election this year; it does not much matter. But before the next election for the House of Representatives, the benefits available to returned servicemen will be increased.

It is appropriate that the Minister who led for the Government in this debate was formerly the Minister for Repatriation. I have here the 1963 annual report of the Returned Services League. It was presented by the National President to the 49th National Congress at Hobart on 26th October 1964. The Minister for Civil Aviation commenced his speech by saying:

It is in a context of confused world politics, of a split between the two major Communist powers, and of disquieting events not too far away from us here in Australia that I am speaking on the subject of repatriation today.

He then followed his usual pattern of advancing reason after reason for not giving further benefits to ex-servicemen and women. I remind honourable members that it was at this Congress in Hobart on 26th

October 1964 that the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes), who was then the Minister for the Army, made his famous statement that it is against the unanimous advice of our military advisers for us to introduce conscription’. But by 10th November 1964, a matter of 14 days later, the Prime Minister at the time, Sir Robert Menzies, came into the House and announced the introduction of conscription or national service training. So when Ministers speak about repatriation they use two voices - one when they speak to the executive of the RSL and the other when they introduce into the Parliament legislation that is completely opposed to assurances they have given at RSL congresses.

Opposition members have demonstrated time and time again that they have the interests of the ex-servicemen and women at heart. It was the activities of the Labor Opposition in the Senate and in this place that led to the conscript soldiers in Vietnam being covered for repatriation benefits from the time they left Australia until they came back. Again surreptitiously legislation was introduced by the back door and the credit for introducing it taken away from the Opposition and given to the Government. It will be interesting to see how many members of the rank and file committee of ex-servicemen on the Government side take part in this debate. They will be failing in their duty on this occasion as they have on previous occasions. They speak about ex-servicemen but they do nothing to help them.

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

Minister for Social Services · New England · CP

– Anyone who has heard this debate cannot fail to be impressed by the fact that the Government’s repatriation benefits are adequate. Throughout the debate criticism has been directed at two issues. One is that no opportunity is given to honourable members to speak about repatriation benefits and the other is that there has not been some nominal increase in the pension rates over the years. On the first point, I say that opportunity has been given to honourable members to debate the value of repatriation benefits. I have been in the House when this subject has been debated into the wee small hours of the morning. Of course it is debated into the wee small hours in order to give honourable members an adequate opportunity to debate the full range of entitlements for those people for whom all honourable members agree some provision should be made. To my mind our repatriation system is one of the most notable and one of the most comprehensive systems implemented by any country in the Western world to assist its war veterans. Probably this country more than any other owes a tremendous debt to those who have given some part of their lives and of their livelihood to help to preserve democracy and those things we hold dear.

Over the years the system of repatriation that has been introduced into this country has been progressively extended to recognise the contribution that mankind has made. Today the repatriation system in Australia covers a tremendously broad band of benefits for the well being of war veterans. It provides not only financial benefits and the aspects we are discussing in detail here today, but it also covers medical treatment. This includes a rehabilitation service for war caused disabilities and rehabilitation treatment that provides an opportunity for ex-servicemen to re-train so that they may re-enter the normal community. It also provides re-establishment measures, lt provides opportunities for war veterans to come back into the community by giving them specific assistance in various forms. It gives various forms of additional assistance by way of pension and medical treatment for the more seriously disabled and the needy. It has, of course, also provided a wide range of supplementary benefits and allowances. My colleague, the Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr Swartz) has referred to them.

In addition to the normal payments that are made through the Department of Social Services for which I am responsible, the Australian repatriation system provides a method of assessment which is to my mind unique and which is designed primarily to enable all people who have an entitlement to receive the maximum possible consideration. Members of this House and members of the Returned Services League are well aware of the series of appeals to independent authorities that enable a person’s entitlement to repatriation benefits to be determined. Every consideration is given to the person who thinks he may, for one reason or another, be entitled either to an extended or a new repatriation benefit. Indeed, the whole Repatriation Department is constituted as a service department which is operated with a peculiarly extensive form of humanitarianism. I am sure that everyone who has had anything to do with the Repatriation Department will give to its officers full credit for the leniency with which they have administered the provisions of the Act and will also recognise the generosity of those provisions.

The first part of the speech of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard) contained a comparison of the purchasing power of pensions as they exist today with the purchasing power he says they had when the Government first came into office. I thought it would be of interest for the House to look at some of the variations of the consumer price index since 1949 and to see just how the full range of benefits measures up to the index. In September 1949 the consumer price index was 64 and in June 1967 it had increased to 140.6. I have looked through the full range of benefits and I have found, for instance, that the special rate has increased by 188%. This increase is substantially greater than the increase in the consumer price index. As the Minister for Civil Aviation said a few minutes ago, the intermediate rate was only recently introduced. It has increased by 166%. The increase in the general rate has been 120%. So it goes right down the line. Some of the allowances that the honourable member for Lang (Mr Stewart) mentioned are new benefits and therefore perhaps they are not altogether comparable with the other rates. The increase in one rate has been as much as 833%. The rate for children has risen by 151% and the rate for orphans who have lost both their parents by 371%. The standard rate of pension for a widowed mother has increased by 206%, and the attendant’s allowance by 170%. So the story goes on as we run down the list.

Therefore, Mr Deputy Speaker, I contend that by comparison with the consumer price index there has been a progressive increase in the value of repatriation pensions. Indeed, the Minister for Civil Aviation mentioned the continuing increase in the Budget allocations for the Repatriation Department. A system of pensions and allowances having been established, in respect of the Repatriation Department equally with the Department of Social Services and the Department of Health and every other sphere of Commonwealth expenditure, the Government each year makes an assessment of both the existing range of benefits and the range of potential new benefits and modifications to the old. The available resources are so allocated as to allow expenditure to be apportioned according to need. This has meant that repatriation has received progressively increasing allocations year by year. In the financial year 1965-66, the allocation for repatriation was $265. 3m. This financial year, it is $278.5m. Year by year, there is a natural upward progression in the funds allocated to repatriation. I believe that this represents a sufficient recognition of the contribution that is being made by the present Government in the field of repatriation.

All this, of course, does not deny that in the future there will be a continuing need for revision of what is being allocated. There will continue to be a need for reassessment of the adequacy of the rates of pensions and allowances. No doubt there will continue to be a need for the assessment of the merits of possible new benefits. All these aspects of repatriation are being assessed constantly in determining how much of the funds available annually can be allocated to this sphere.

The honourable member for Lang mentioned one specific matter that I should discuss briefly, I believe. This is the alleged discrepancy between the rate of total and permanent incapacity pension available to a national serviceman injured on war service in Vietnam and one injured on war service in another theatre of war. Both the honourable member and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition mentioned particularly an observation made by the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) a few weeks ago in his Budget Speech in these terms:

Thus, for example, a married private soldier totally and permanently incapacitated as a result of war service will receive a pension of 831.50 per week under the defence forces retirement benefits legislation, together with a basic pension of $34.55 per week under the repatriation legislation.

Let me explain to the House how the $34.55 a week is made up, Mr Deputy Speaker. It is the sum of the serviceman’s TPI pension of $30.50 a week and his wife’s war pension allowance of $4.05 a week.

Mr Stewart:

– Who else but a TPI pensioner will receive $31.50 a week under the defence forces retirement benefits scheme?


– 1 am not in a position to explain now, but I shall get the information for the honourable member. The difference between the rates comes about because of the increment in the amount mentioned by the Treasurer in his Budget Speech, due to the wife’s war pension allowance.

The course of this debate in my view, Mr Deputy Speaker, has supported the assessment that this Government, through the administration of the Repatriation Department, has extended a wide and increasing range of entitlements to those who, we all think, deserve them. We on this side of the chamber contend that continuing consideration is being given to the rights and needs of those persons. Accordingly, I submit that the case put by the Opposition has not been substantiated. Indeed, I believe that the Government should be commended on the continually widening range of benefits at increasing rates that are provided through the Repatriation Department.


– It is only to be expected, perhaps, that a young man like the Minister for Social Services (Mr Sinclair) should think that everything is all right in the best of all wonderful worlds when he, as a Minister, receives, I think, a travelling allowance of something like $24 a day. That is twice the weekly rate of the 100% general rate pension as indicated at page 16 of the annual report of the Repatriation Commission for 1966-67. Today, we are discussing not whether this Government is mean, miserable and miserly - the fact that it is undoubtedly is clearly recognised - and not whether anything that was done in 1949, 1939 or 1919 was adequate, but what a country such as this should do for men who have made great sacrifice during service undertaken either by decree or voluntarily for the benefit of this country and who as a result of their service have been totally incapacitated for the rest of their life. The interesting fact that impresses itself on me in all these discussions is that nobody on the other side of the chamber ever tells us what should be the standard of living to which an Australian who has been sacrificed in this way ought to be able to aspire. I shall be interested to learn whether the honourable member for Henty (Mr Fox), who, I understand, will be the only backbencher on the opposite side of the chamber to take part in this debate and support the Government, will tell us that.

This repatriation problem is a continuing one. The Australian Parliament and the Australian people have sought diligently for some measure of justice and right for former servicemen but Governments have always kept a tight hold on their wallets. One can see this evident right back through debates on this subject. Turning up the debate on the estimates for repatriation in 1949, I find that Mr Eric Harrison, now Sir Eric Harrison, a former Minister and former Australian High Commissioner in the United Kingdom; said:

One of the anomalies which inflicts the greatest degree of hardship is that war pension rates are not sufficient to enable the recipients to maintain a reasonable standard of living.

We all heard what was said by the Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr Swartz) who conducts the most luxurious and lavish exercise of this Government - the provision and maintenance of airports. The provision of VIP aircraft might perhaps be considered its equal but this is not administered by him. It is handed over to special echelons. The Minister said that what we are doing for ex-servicemen is reasonable for their purposes. We on this side of the House say that what the Government is doing is not reasonable for their purposes.

There are one or two other matters on which I should like to put the record straight. The honourable member for Lang (Mr Stewart) said that the Government had been restrictive in its attitude to this Parliament. This is true. He mentioned an earlier occasion on which a debate was gagged. The Minister for Civil Aviation said that the debate had been gagged after honourable members on this side of the chamber had wandered all over the place. However, if he turns to the appropriate page of Hansard, he will see that while I was comparing prices and the rates of pension payable to repatriation pensioners I was gagged in the middle of my address. Unfortunately, it is true that this Government has chosen to restrict in every possible way every debate on repatriation benefits that takes place and that we on this side of the chamber are forced to take matters to a division. This Government has adopted a contemptuous attitude to the Parliament. It has been restrictive and hypocritical in its attitude towards ex-servicemen and its approach to their needs.

The Minister for Social Services, in a passage of which I tried to take a note at the time, said that we owe a tremendous debt to those who have done certain things. Exactly what does the phrase ‘a tremendous debt’ mean to those who have served? The object of this debate is to determine whether we are applying reasonable standards of gratitude and generosity in our approach to those who have served this country rather than contenting ourselves by merely giving them assurances. It appears to me that the community has a clear cut duty to accept a full commitment to anybody who has accepted a full commitment to the community and served the country. Most servicemen enter on their service in the prime of their lives, probably about the ages of 20 to 25 years. On completion of their service, many of them are partially incapacitated and many are totally incapacitated. Let us consider the appalling situation of those who for the rest of their lives are totally incapacitated. They receive - according to the Minister for Civil Aviation it is adequate for their purposes^ - a special rate pension of $30.50 a week. In good old fashioned currency, this is little more than £15 or somewhere about the basic wage. No-one in the community would claim that the basic wage was really adequate for the needs of a family in modern times. In fact, in a debate on wage systems, honourable members opposite have said that the basic wage has nothing to do with the matter because everyone gets more than the basic wage. Unfortunately this afternoon we have not the time to carry out an appropriate analysis of that subject. We on this side of the House say that the pension is not reasonable for the purposes.

It is interesting to see that today there are very few members on the other side who want to take part in the debate or who have been sitting in the chamber. The Government supporters did not support us when we opposed the gag last week. Tomorrow, when we take the other end of the spectrum of priorities and talk about VIP aircraft, the debate is going to be off the air. The Australian Government has been searching for a way to meet its duties to servicemen since federation. On 18th July 1917 the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Millen, said:

Now, although much unrelated private effort has been made in many of the Allied countries, it is unquestionably true that up to the present no comprehensive scheme for the repatriation of returned soldiers has yet been submitted by any Government anywhere.

So, from the beginning Australia was in the forefront of repatriation. This should be the case. I believe that comparisons of today with 1949 and consideration as to whether we did something or someone else did not constitute a completely invalid argument. We are speaking of a group of people who have made the maximum sacrifice for the community’s cause. Also, we are speaking of one of the wealthiest countries in the world. My learned friend, the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean), has informed me that we have the fifth or sixth highest standard of living in the world. In a total of about 130 countries, four or five countries have a higher standard of living than Australia. We should be right out in the front in regard to repatriation pensions. Take the case of a young man who is conscripted to fight in Vietnam. Of course, in the past most people who have gone overseas have been volunteers, although this was not exclusively the case in the Second World War. However, it is largely the case with many young men who are being wounded in Vietnam. They are being conscripted into service for a cause in which many of them do not believe. However, from all the evidence, every one of them is serving with the greatest capacity, with a skill second to none and with a devotion to this country whether they approve of what we are doing or not. That cannot be challenged. What is the position when they return? I understand there is a young man in a repatriation hospital who has lost both legs and one arm. In any case, his injuries render him equivalently incapacitated. When all the benefits are added up this young man will perhaps receive about $40 a week- less than the basic rate that any skilled tradesman would receive. The country is demanding of these people a maximum sacrifice. Yet the Government is so miserable that it will not give these people a reasonable standard of living upon their return. In fact, these people are being conscripted into a lifetime of poverty and no amount of sophistry or hypocrisy from members on the other side of the House can deny that. If any honourable member opposite can prove that $40 a week is adequate for a person with a family to live on these days let him stand up and say so. This is the Government’s attitude in spite of the fact that it is spending literally millions of dollars on items such as VIP aircraft and has been lavish in acceptance of allowances for people in high places in this country.

It is interesting to examine the schedule in the annual report of the Repatriation Commission for 1966-67. On the front of the report is a beautiful picture of the boys coming home. It is entitled: ‘Welcome Home’. The schedule indicates that children of servicemen who are totally orphaned - this subject was raised last week although we were not allowed to debate it at length - will receive $8.15 a week each in maintenance. This is in the case of a child who does not have any parents. Also, the schedule lists a person on the 100% rate who receives $12 a week and a person on the special rate who receives $30.50 a week. These people have to live at a time when it costs literally thousands of dollars to buy a home. The average home costs between $8,000 and $10,000. If they are living in a housing authority home financed by this Government at a high rate of interest they have to pay between $8 and $15 a week, as a minimum. Today a television set costs about $300 and even a push bike for a child is around the $50 to $60 mark.

The Opposition is not saying this afternoon that the Repatriation Department is ungenerous or inhumane or that it is not well administered. We are saying that the responsibility that lies with this Government to discharge its financial obligations to the citizens of Australia who have served this country is being ignored. Yet the Government’s attitude is miserly in the extreme. It is compelling people to live lives of great deprivation in the midst of plenty. Let the Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt) talk about the Lotus Land if he will. However, the fact is that hundreds and thousands of people, who have made heavy sacrifices for the community including widows who have been deprived of husbands and children who have been orphaned, are living lives of poverty, many of them in degradation and misery. This is because the Government will not face its responsibility and see that such people are adequately recompensed for the sacrifices they have made.


– The honourable member for Bass (Mr Barnard) who opened this debate for the Opposition stated that war pensions had deteriorated alarmingly. Let us examine this statement because I believe that under examination it will not stand up. I also believe that Australian Labor Party speakers are not prepared to examine what Labor Governments paid when they had the opportunity. They have ignored totally the new benefits that have been introduced by this Government during its period of office. Opposition members have had their heads in the sand. The honourable member for Bass referred to the total wage and he said that this is the lowest wage that anyone should have to accept. Also, he said that the totally and permanently incapacitated pensioner should not be offered less than the minimum wage. However, the honourable member completely ignored the facts. What did the Labor Government offer the TPI pensioner when it was in office? Did it offer him less than the minimum wage? When Labor left office in 1949 the basic wage was $12.90. At that time, Labor paid the TPI pensioner $10.60 which represented 82% of the basic wage. Today, the TPI pensioner receives in excess of 90% of the basic wage.

Let us have a look at this matter a little further. Take the case of a TPI pensioner with a wife. When Labor was in office its rate was slightly less than 101% of the basic wage. Today the TPI pensioner and his wife receive in excess of 102%. Admittedly this is not a very great increase. However, this Government has removed the bar which prevented the TPI pensioner from qualifying for a service pension as well as a repatriation pension if he could meet the provisions of the means test. Today quite a number of married TPI pensioners receive in addition to their TPI pension the service pension. They are receiving 119.8% of the basic wage. The honourable member for Bass said that the purchasing power of a war widow’s pension had been allowed to fall far below what could be regarded as reasonably generous. Let us have a look at what Labor did. In 1949 the Labor Party paid the war widow $6. Today the war widow receives $13. The Labor Party paid the magnificent sum-

Mr Bryant:

– I want to know whether the honourable member for Henty thinks the rate paid today is enough.


– I will answer that if the honourable member for Wills will tell me whether he thinks that Labor’s rate was sufficient. When Labor was in office in 1949 the war widow received the magnificent sum of 75c a week as a domestic allowance. Today she receives nearly ten times that amount - $7. So, instead of receiving $6.75 she receives $20 which is an increase of over 196%. In case honourable members opposite say that all war widows do not receive the domestic allowance, let me refer them to the Repatriation Commission’s annual report for 1966-67 which refers to the fact that this year the number of widows receiving the domestic allowance increased from 41,655 to 43,268. This represents 96% of the total number of widows who are being paid war widows* pensions.

I suggest that this looks after all of the cases of need. Let us now consider the service pensioner. Labor permitted the service pensioner to have an income in addition to his service pension of $3. Today he is permitted to have an income, not of $3, but of $10. Labor permitted him to have $400 worth of property. Today he is permitted to have in excess of $4,000 worth of property, and in addition to the means test being eased the rates have been increased by 206%. In the meantime the basic wage has increased by 162%. If we consider the consumer price index, we will find that it has increased by a lesser amount than that. The rate for a totally and permanently incapacitated ex-serviceman is 192% above the 1949 rate. The tuberculosis pension rate is up 165% as compared with the 1949 rate. The married TPI with a service pension receives 211.6% more. The war widow’s rate has gone up.

The honourable member for Lang (Mr Stewart) tells us that what we have done for the ex-serviceman has been done only because of pressure from the Opposition. Apparently we cannot win. We are blamed for what we have not done and we receive no credit at all for what we have done.

Mr Bryant:

– That is justice.


– The honourable member for Wills says that that is justice. Labor has two policies - one for when it is in office, when it is miserly in the extreme in its attitude to ex-servicemen, and another for when it is in Opposition, which is a policy of carping criticism and promising what it would do if it achieved office again. The honourable member for Lang made a prediction that the next time there is an increase in repatriation benefit rates will be just before the next election. He said that this does not apply to this year because the election to be held is only a Senate election. I will warrant, however, that if an increase in war and repatriation benefits did happen to be granted before the Senate election we would receive no credit for it but would be told that we had made the increase only because of the approaching election.

The honourable member for Lang mentioned the reference by the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) to the $31.50 which is paid to Vietnam ex-servicemen as compared to the $30.50 which is paid to TPI pensioners from other wars. The Treasurer’s figure of $31.50 plus $4.05 wife’s allowance was applicable to payments under the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Act. The Treasurer was not referring to repatriation pensioners. All contributors to the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund would have exactly the same entitlement if they contributed on the same scale.

The honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) spoke about what he said we ought to be doing. I have already told the House what rates were paid by the Labor Government and what percentage of the basic wage those rates represented, and I have compared that with what this Government is doing. I can assure the honourable member for Wills that we do accept our obligations to ex-servicemen and that we will continue steadily to increase the benefits that are paid and to introduce new benefits, as we have done in every year in which we have been in office. This has been pointed out already by the Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr Swartz). Let me refer to some of the new benefits that have been introduced by this Government. I have already pointed out that we removed the bar which prevented a married TPI from receiving a social service pension or a service pension in addition to the war pension. We introduced a rent allowance for certain service pensioners. This is something that Labor did not give at all. In the case of those who receive the rent allowance, their service pension has increased by 216%. We introduced a guardian’s allowance of $4 a week for service pensioners who have children in their care, and this represents an increase of 300% on the Labor Government’s rates for the man who receives a guardian’s allowance. For those who receive both the guardian’s allowance and the rent allowance, as many do, the increase over the Labor Government’s rates is 335%, which is more than double the increase in the basic wage.

We introduced a gratuity for war widows which entitles them upon their re-marriage to 1 year’s payment of the pension at the rate at which it was paid to them before such re-marriage. We introduced a scheme for granting cars to certain disabled servicemen such as double amputees and paraplegics. Under this scheme we have already provided 214 cars. In addition to the cars themselves we give an allowance of $240 a year to pay for registration and running costs. An eligible ex-serviceman can get not just the ordinary car with manual transmission, but a car with automatic transmission if he wishes it.

We pay the travel expenses of war widows who wish to visit their next of kin, and we have provided for the payment of travel expenses for the next of kin who visit seriously ill relatives in repatriation hospitals. We have extended the age of eligibility for benefits of children of service pensioners from 16 years to 21 years. We have provided clothing allowances for certain disabled ex-servicemen. In 1958 we made all the First World War nurses eligible for hospital treatment and in 1960 we extended this benefit to all service pensioners, so that they may receive free hospitalisation and have medical or dental treatment in any repatriation hospital, whether the disability is war-caused or not.

Ex-servicemen should realise that actions speak louder than words. They should compare the record of this Government with Labor’s very sorry record when in office. If they do they will surely realise that members of the Opposition speak with their tongues in their cheeks and that it is this Liberal-Country Party Government which has their real interest at heart.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury)Order! The discussion is now concluded.

APPROPRIATION BILL (No. 1) 1967-68 In Committee

Consideration resumed from 28 September (vide page 1550).

Second Schedule

Department of National Development

Proposed expenditure,$33,549,000.


– In the short time at my disposal I hope to give the Committee a clear picture of the Government’s real attitude towards national development, particularly in the field of water conservation and power generation. The more one studies the position the clearer it becomes that the Government uses this field simply as a political convenience. It tells a good story just prior to an election, but this is conveniently cast aside and forgotten as soon as the election is over. The Government’s actions and statements in relation to the Snowy Mountains Authority give a fairly good idea of its attitude towards national development and how it will use national development for political purposes. I have before me a clipping from a newspaper dated 25tb November 1966 - just before the last general election. It is headed ‘$50m for water resources would start National Conservation Authority’ and this is what it says:

Fifty million dollars the Federal Government had promised towards developing water resources would be the start of a National Conservation Authority, the Minister for the Interior, Mr A. D. Anthony, said in Tumut on Tuesday. He said he was quite sure the conservation scheme would be undertaken by the Snowy Mountains Authority. Mr Anthony, speaking at a street meeting in support of the Country Party member for Hume, Mr Ian Pettit, said he envisaged the future Snowy Authority as a planning, consultative and, sometimes, construction organisation.

Those statements were made just a few days before a general election and the Minister was speaking in an area in which the people were urging the retention of the entire Authority. Honourable members will have noted the reference to the use of the Authority for future construction. But now the election has been won and the Government feels safe. What is its attitude now towards the Snowy experts? I will read what the same Minister said about the Snowy Mountains Authority about a month ago. It was reported in the ‘Telegraph’ of 13th September 1967 under theheading “ Political play “ on SMA, says CP Minister’. It reads:

The Minister for the Interior (Mr Anthony) said yesterday that the Snowy Mountains Authority had been the subject of a lot of nonsense talk and political play.

The Labor Party had made great play of the Government’s announcement to disband the construction section of the Authority.

Don’t be taken in by this nonsense,’ be said.

Mr Anthony said the Snowy Mountains Authority was of no great importance as a construction authority.

In Queensland any use to which the construction section was put could be equally well catered for by either the Queensland Coordinator General’s Department or the Queensland Local Government Department.

Here we see that what the Minister promised before the last election he now describes as a lot of nonsense and political play.

Now let us look at the views expressed by the Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt) regarding the retention of the Snowy Mountains Authority. I have here a cutting from the ‘Daily Advertiser’ of 24th July last. Under the heading ‘Holt Sounds the death knell of the SMA’, the article states:

Australia did not have sufficient work to justify keeping the Snowy Mountains Authority intact, the Prime Minister, Mr Holt, said on Saturday during the official opening of the Murray 1 power station near Khancoban.

There would be understandable criticism if the Authority were retained in its present form but had no major project to sustain it’, he said.

Then he went on to say that a few specialists would be retained. He said:

Staff in these sections will not form a nucleus for construction activities, but with their specialised skills will be available to assist inmajor civil engineering work.’

The main point in what he said was that in his opinion Australia does not have sufficient work to justify keeping the Authority intact. Let me compare the Prime Minister’s remarks with those of (he Minister for the Interior, who, only a few months earlier, had said he was sure the conservation scheme would be carried out by the Snowy Mountains Authority. lt seems quite obvious that before an election Government supporters are prepared to advance anything at all as policy if they think it will capture the imagination of the people in a particular area when, in fact, they have no intention of carrying out that policy. I have another newspaper article which sets out the opinion expressed by the Country Party Premier of Queensland. It states:

The Premier (Mr Nicklin) yesterday urged that the Snowy Mountains Authority be kept together, and that the Authority be used in water resource projects in North Queensland.

Mr Nicklin named the Fitzroy, Burdekin and gulf rivers as having potential for large-scale development.

The Authority could be used for investigation and planning of development in these areas, and this would keep it together,’ he said.

It would be wrong to let the vast, expert machinery of the Snowy organisation be dispersed.

The Premier of a State which is in desperate need of water conservation and power projects takes a completely different view from that expressed by the Prime Minister and the Minister for the Interior. Of course, there is no doubt that the Premier is quite right in what he said, that it is wrong to disperse such an organisation which could do so much in the way of water conservation and power supply in Queensland and Western Australia. Neither the Liberal Party nor the Country Party in this Parliament can see any value in retaining the Snowy Mountains Authority. Apparently they profess to know more about certain departments in Queensland than the Premier of that State knows himself. But even worse than that, it is quite obvious that the Parties - and that means the Government - have no ideas or plans for worthwhile projects in either Queensland or Western Australia for the future. The Prime Minister says that there is no work for the Authority. Apparently the Minister for the Interior, the Deputy Leader of the Country Party, holds the same views.

I turn now to the 18th annual report of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority, for the year ended 30th June 1967. Under the heading ‘Personalities’ it states:

Retirement of Sir William Hudson. On 26th April 1967 Sir William Hudson-

And then it sets out his qualifications: retired at the age of seventy-one. Sir William was appointed Commissioner of the Snowy Mountains

Authority at the inception of the Authority in August 1949. Before this appointment Sir William held the position of Engineer-in-Chief of the Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Board, Sydney.

Upon his appointment as Commissioner of the Snowy Mountains Authority he shouldered the responsibility of constructing one of the largest hydro-electric and irrigation developments in the world. With the single mindedness and tremendous capacity for work that has characterised the whole of his engineering career he dedicated himself to the Snowy Scheme. The general success of the Scheme is due in large measure to his untiring personal efforts.

His achievements were officially recognised in June 19SS, a few months after the opening of the Scheme’s first power station, when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II bestowed on him the honour of Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Here is a man who has been closely and actively associated with water and power projects over a great number of years. He has well and truly proved his ability in that field, and that ability has been acclaimed and officially recognised. Sir William Hudson, to my mind, surely must be recognised as Australia’s leading practical expert on water conservation and what is required to develop water and power resources. Therefore, I feel sure everyone will agree that his views and observations must be treated with great respect. If this is so, let us consider his views on water conservation and also on the Snowy Mountains Authority.

When speaking at the annual dinner of the Chamber of Commerce in Perth only yesterday week, he said, amongst other things:

I believe that anything associated with the development of Australia’s wafer resources is of great national importance and that the use we make of its water resources will be one of the main factors determining the ultimate growth of the country.

Later he said:

At present the total water used for irrigation throughout Australia is about 5 million acre feet a year, whereas the total annual flow of all our mainland rivers amounts to something like 240 million acre feet a year.

Admittedly, nothing like the whole of this 240 million acre feet a year can be turned on to land, but a considerable portion of it could be used effectively.

He added:

It is unthinkable that the delay in tackling the major scheme on the Ord, which Western Australia is supporting so strongly, should continue indefinitely.

Let us see what he had to say when he was interviewed in Perth. In the Melbourne Herald’ of 26th September 1967, under the heading ‘Sir William hits Snowy loss’ the following article appeared:

The Commonwealth Government had acted deplorably’ in not using the skills of the Snowy Mountains Authority in other parts of Australia, the Authority’s former Chairman, Sir William Hudson, said in an interview today. Australia searched the world for an expert project team. Now it would vanish, he said.

Sir William said the Government was discussing using the Authority’s investigation section. But it was disappointing to see only a small part of such a big organisation retained. Sir William said the argument that water development was a State function was not a valid reason against using the Authority. State legislation, as had been done in Victoria and New South Wales, could easily overcome this.

In America, the Bureau of Reclamation worked successfully with the States. Sir William said the Ord River Scheme should be pressed ahead immediately. This was a project on which the Authority could assist.

Now let us have a look at a couple of newspaper leading articles concerning Sir William Hudson’s attitude to this Government. These articles appeared in newspapers which normally would back the Government. The editorial in the Melbourne Herald’ stated:

The opinion Sir William is now free to disclose is widely held by Australians. It is not enough for the Government to retain a small nucleus of consultants from what has become a highly skilled and experienced force in the planning and building of public works. The Government’s argument that there is not sufficient work for the Authority, following completion of the Snowy project, is miserably short-sighted.

The Canberra contention is that other tasks of water development should be undertaken by the States, using State engineering services. The fear seems to be that the Commonwealth would be left to meet the costs if the SMA took over the direction of what are regarded as State works.

This is a narrow, timid view of Australia’s future. Sir William Hudson mentioned the Ord River Scheme in Western Australia as one on which the Authority could help. There are others, not yet planned, which could bring wasted water in many areas into national service.

Before we lose more skilled men in this field we should look again at the projects that are crying out for bold thinking and perhaps bolder action.

The editorial in the ‘West Australian’ stated:

Against Sir William’s broad concepts, the Federal Government’s so-called national water resources development programme, under which the States will share $10m a year to combat drought and expand primary production, is paltry.

No-one can doubt Sir William Hudson’s great knowledge and ability. Surely no-one would discard his views for those of the Prime Minister or the Minister for the Interior.

Sir William has referred to several projects in the north of Queensland and to the Ord, Fitzroy and Gascoyne Rivers in Western Australia and has said quite clearly - there is no doubt about this - that the skills and knowledge of the Snowy Mountains Authority team could be used very effectively on those projects. He has pointed to the great national importance of trapping and harnessing the water which now escapes to sea. He has pointed out how so much of this water could be captured and put into use on irrigation projects. Notwithstanding the views of this expert on water conservation - nobody will disagree that he is an expert - we find the Government, the Prime Minister and the Deputy Leader of the Country Party saying that it is nonsense to suggest that the Snowy Mountains Authority could be used in this capacity and that there is not sufficient work in Australia on which it can be engaged. Government supporters are suggesting that they have greater knowledge of water conservation than Sir William has. Government supporters are claiming to be greater authorities, but there is no doubt what the views of the Australian people would be. They would support Sir William when he deplores the attitude of the Government. This is the same attitude as the Liberal Party adopted when it opposed the Labor Government’s proposal to construct the Snowy project.

This Government shows interest in national development at election time only and quickly forgets it as soon as the election has passed. As I said earlier, I hope to give the Committee a clear picture of the Government’s attitude towards water conservation and power. The picture is there for everyone to see. How ridiculous it is to suggest that there is nothing upon which the Authority could be properly occupied. Surely it is the Minister for the Interior and the Prime Minister who talk nonsense. Surely no one would suggest that Sir William Hudson was talking nonsense when he referred to the several rivers which could be harnessed and controlled. I agree with the Melbourne ‘Herald’ when it points out that the fault is with the Government in not being prepared to measure up to what the costs would be to harness these rivers and to develop our water conservation potentialities. The Government wants to leave it to the States, knowing full well that the States are not in a financial position to be able to undertake these projects.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Hon. W. C. Haworth) - Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.

Monaro · Eden

– I am sure that the Committee is grateful to the honourable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr Collard) for reading to us his latest file of Press clippings and is grateful also for his announcement that he agrees with some of them. He has demonstrated in his remarks on the estimates for the Department of National Development an attitude which is very typical of many honourable members who occupy the Opposition benches. I propose to say something about that a little later. We are now discussing. the proposed expenditure of $33,549,000 for the Department of National Development. In order to get this figure into perspective, although it is a large sum of money we must consider the development which is now proceeding in Australia and we must study some of the figures which appear in the Estimates. Although this is a large sum of money it obviously does not even begin to indicate the work, scope and nature of the Department of National Development. More than one-third of the proposed expenditure is to be spent in oil subsidies and in subsidising oil search. It seems from evidence so far that this will be an extremely profitable exercise.

As an example of the scale of expenditure of the Department, one of the authorities which is responsible to the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn), the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority, on its own will be spending more than that amount this financial year. The title “national development’ for this Department is all embracing. It should not be supposed that this Department is the only one in the Commonwealth Government engaged on developmental projects. Perhaps we can get this figure for the Department’s expenditure into some sort of perspective if we look at one part of its responsibilities. The Department is concerned with mineral resources and their development. The Department produced in April this year a brief summary of major mineral developments in northern Australia. Glancing at this summary, which I stress is of major mineral developments only and in northern Australia only, we find that we are looking at some twenty-two companies and at a capital investment, including Government expenditure, which will exceed $l,350m. This brief summary indicates also fifteen additional potential future mineral developments in northern Australia. The details are far too complex for me to go into them in limited time, but they are available readily to all honourable members opposite if they care to seek them out. The Minister will be very glad to supply this information to them, although I believe that many of them prefer not to see it as it would hinder their view that nothing is happening in the north.

Let us consider some of the figures which were put together in 1965 to make up the total value of output of the Australian mineral industry. For 1960 the figure was $469m. Then moving in 5 year jumps we see that in 1965 it was about $726m. It was estimated that in 1970 the value would be about $l,100m, and that by 1975 it should be in the neighbourhood of $ 1.700m. These projections were based on the constant 1965 prices for other than known long term contracts. The 1975 projection includes a figure for the value of exports at some $ 1,000m with the projected value of imports in that year being $270m, giving us a value of apparent consumption within Australia in 1975 of $970m. I merely quote these figures by way of illustration. As I have said, they are readily available to honourable members opposite if they want to find out what is going on in national development. They have shown that they do not seem to know what is happening.

I am sure that the Minister for National Development, who is now at the table, will be happy to arrange a guide for the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden) who pretends to a certain amount of blindness in this direction and says that he cannot find the Northern Division within the Department. I am sure that a guide can be arranged for him. For the benefit of the honourable member for Oxley, the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) and other honourable members opposite 1 should like to quote from an address given by the Honourable C. W. M. Court, M.L.A., as Minister for Industrial Development, Railways, and the North-West in the Government of Western Australia, to the Victorian branch of the Economics Society of Australia and New Zealand at the University of Melbourne on Monday, 6th September 1965 - two years ago. He said in his opening remarks:

Already we can see that the north is moving. And I have no hesitation in saying that you and I will never see another time like this in Australia’s history - because at this point of time we are witnessing the beginning of major development in the northern half of Australia.

A minute later he said:

Above all, let us do it on purpose so that the harvest springs from the seeds we planted and not from wild oats blown by the wind.

I have suddenly realised that for months I have been searching for an apt and short description of the policies of honourable members opposite and that I have now discovered it - wild oats blown by the wind, lt could not be better expressed. I am grateful to Mr Court for having said this. I believe that what honourable members opposite have been proposing cannot be summed up better than in these words, which I repeat for their benefit: ‘Wild oats blown by the wind.’

Mr Court sees northern development, as we see it, as part of a great programme of national development and balanced development. For years now the Opposition has adopted an ostrich like attitude with its head firmly in the sand in its thinking on external affairs and defence. Equally in national development honourable members opposite have displayed at least some consistency in refusing to alter their stance when looking at national development. To give them credit where some credit is certainly due, they are on the whole a little more ingenuous than the average ostrich in that they have lifted their legs off the ground and are now standing firmly on their heads. I have nothing against standing on one’s head as an exercise, but as a permanent posture it is certainly a little ridiculous and immobile. However I do sympathise with honourable members opposite because, unless they adopt some such posture the overwhelming evidence on national development would force them to see what is actually going on and this in turn would force them to change their own thinking. I believe that would be a painful process to them. It is to be hoped that their new leader will eventually persuade them to try to stand on their own feet again.

However insofar as honourable members opposite have a policy on national development, it is quite the opposite to ours. As the honourable member for Kalgoorlie and others who have spoken in this debate have made quite apparent, Opposition members can see national development only as a function of government, whereas the Government sees it as a function of the whole nation. Honourable members opposite stand, if only on their heads, for government development; whereas we stand for national development. By national development we mean co-operation and team work between government and private enterprise so as to draw on all the available resources within the nation. This integration of government and individual enterprise draws on all our resources and not merely those within government departments. Of course one realises that, if ever the people of Australia gave Labor the opportunity, present Labor policy would make government departments coexistent with the population and then everybody would be in one or another of the government departments. So there is a kind of topsy turvy logic about their position. Their present policy provides for nationalisation of banking, radio, television and sundry industries. I understand that Dr Everingham, the member elect for Capricornia, advises going one step further and nationalising all sources of information. No doubt if that came to pass the nation would certainly speak with one voice. That one voice would still, I believe, have the hide to proclaim that Australia had freedom of speech. No doubt we would have freedom of speech, but we on this side of the chamber prefer also to be free after making a speech.

The honourable member for Oxley is quite correct in saying that I have great faith in the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority, but he is quite wrong in drawing the conclusion that this is an indication of dissension which is allegedly riddling the ranks of the Government. In the same way the honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor) is mistaken in concluding, from a copy of a draft report of a subcommittee of the Government Members National Development Committee, that there is great dissension in the Government’s ranks over the retention of the Snowy Mountains Authority. Incidentally, the honourable member for Cunningham has admitted that he or one of his associates purloined this draft report from a committee room. In my view the honourable member for Cunningham stands condemned by his own words and action. I note that the honourable member is not in the chamber at the moment. In fairness, I should say that the honourable member for Cunningham would not have treated a $10 note in the same way if he had found one which had been left in the committee room by a member of a committee looking at treasury bill design or something like that. If the honourable member would not have treated a £10 note in the same way - I believe that he would not do so - it only shows that he is operating on a double standard of morality for which there is no possible excuse. The papers in question were fully identified. The honourable member could quite reasonably and decently have handed them over to any member on the Government side to hand to any member of that Committee.

As my friend, the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Armstrong), pointed out, it is no secret that the Government Members National Development Committee has been working on this matter in close cooperation wilh, and in an advisory capacity to, the Minister for National Development. In these discussions members of the Committee have found it convenient, in order to distinguish between the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority, the Snowy Mountains research, investigation and design team, and a future organisation to carry on this work, to refer to a possible future organisation as the Commonwealth of Australia National Development Organisation or CANDO. However, it is not the name that matters but the details of the final terms of reference of the organisation so that it can be most effective in the context of balanced development of Australia’s resources. I am confident that this will, in fact, occur. It is a pity that the honourable member for

Cunningham saw fit to use that paper in the way he did, but I do not think it matters.

The honourable member for Bennelong (Sir John Cramer) has drawn attention to the necessity for project evaluation for national development from a national point of view. I believe that an organisation such as CANDO would provide an invaluable Federal instrument which could be used effectively to help produce much of the essential data for these purposes, as well as being directly involved with great advantage in specific civil engineering projects. Finally, I should like to remind members of what I consider to be some of the most significant words in the Budget speech, because they apply directly to national development. In his closing sentences the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) said:

As far ahead as we can see Australia has all the potentialities for sustained growth and we in Australia are in truth making creditable efforts ourselves. I say this against the background that we plough back a quarter of all we produce into investment for the future, allocate 5% of our national production for defence, and make a large contribution to international assistance.

I do not know of any Western country that has such a good record in denying itself the immediate benefits of consumer expenditure in the interests of its own national development and defence. With policies like this I think we can have considerable confidence in the development of this nation.


– Before commencing my remarks on the estimates for the Department of National Development 1 should like to offer my warmest praise and commendation to two former distinguished servants of Australia, Sir William Hudson and Sir Harold Raggatt. Both of these gentlemen rendered outstanding service, not merely to a department or to a parliament, but to the whole of the people of Australia, and in coming generations their names will live and will be respected by patriotic Australians and by good citizens who fervently believe in this country, its destiny and its future. It is a regrettable thing that the honourable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr Munro) in reading a prepared speech to the Committee took the liberty to attack a member who does not sit in this place - the member elect for Capricornia, Dr Everingham. Surely decency should have demanded that the honourable member for Capricornia might have made his maiden speech in this place before being attacked. After he had made his maiden speech, then let the dogs of politics and war rage and rave and le! the people who engage in this kind of smear and character assassination do their worst; but to introduce this in a discussion on the estimates for the Department of National Development cannot be excused. If an honourable member were to make an attack in the heat of the moment, carried away by rhetoric and because of a feeling of passion that he wanted to say something, it would be a different matter, but in this case it was a carefully prepared speech. It does little credit to the honourable member who uttered the words and less credit to the person who prepared them.

I also pay tribute to the former member for Eden-Monaro, Mr Allan Fraser. He is a good Australian. He was a faithful servant of the people of Eden-Monaro for many years and was an unremitting fighter for balanced development in this country. Year in and year out he fought for the establishment of the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority. It having been established by a Labor government, he fought just as zealously and just as hard for its retention. He deserves well of the people. His name will go down in the history of this nation as one who has served it. Of course, he is competent to, and will, speak for himself.

I address myself to the estimates for the Department of National Development. Perhaps I will break some new ground, because I will refer to the actual estimates.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN - That would be a very good idea.


– Thank you very much, Mr Deputy Chairman. In this debate we seem to have ranged over quite a number of matters. The estimates seem to have received secondary consideration. When I look at the administrative section of the estimates for this Department I note that last year $924,037 was spent on salaries and this year that expenditure is to be raised to $1,015,000; that last year the expenditure on administrative expenses was $314,828 and this year the expenditure is to be $400,000; and that last year the expenditure on other services was $265,500 and this year that expenditure is to be $267,000. Those figures are not startling in any way.

When one considers the tremendous growth in the mineral plunder of our country, the quarrying of our iron ore and the finding of nickel, phosphate rock, oil in Bass Strait, on Barrow Island, at Moonie and elsewhere and natural gas in many parts of Australia, one sees that those figures are certainly not exciting by any stretch of the imagination. For the year that we are considering the administrative vote represents an increase of SI 77,635 over last year’s expenditure.

The figures are not at all adequate. They do not meet the situation. I can only express my keen disappointment that the Minister has not sought a greater vote for his Department which in every sense should be the glamour department. It should he an exciting department, lt should call for the most money for a greater effort in the building of this country. I am sorry for the Minister. I have no doubt that at Cabinet meetings he speaks up and puts forward his submissions. He knows the inadequacies. But what this Committee has to consider is not some words spoken in another place but the facts of life. These figures are hopelessly inadequate.

For the Northern Division of the Department of National Development there is a very slight increase in the appropriation. This year’s appropriation represents an increase of $10,680 over last year’s expenditure. That figure is quite insignificant when one considers the great problems posed in the development of northern Australia and the need to have skilled people, a brains trust or people with the heart and mind to do a job. Yet this is the best that can be offered. There is also an increase in the appropriation for the Bureau of Mineral Resources. I am delighted to know that some changes have been made in the Bureau and that its vote has been increased by $2,883,500. That is commendable. It is a step in the right direction. But when we consider the case that has been presented to the Parliament, the Minister and other people on previous occasions, we realise that this appropriation is deplorably inadequate. It does not meet the needs of what the Opposition regards as the adequate role of the Department of National Development, and particularly the Bureau of Mineral Resources. We feel that there ought to be in every sense a union between private capital, State capital and national capital for the development of this nation.

There should be teamwork. The Federal Government has a bounden duty to give leadership in this field and to show to the world that it can play its part. It is not sufficient merely to grant bounties, subsidies and other assistance to private companies to search for oil and gas and to seek- out minerals. Surely this is a field in which the Commonwealth should be actively engaged for the sake of the nation.

One cannot help coming to the conclusion that the Australian Government is a planless Administration. There is no doubt about that. The Government will not accept responsibility for development, decentralisation and water conservation. It says that these things are matters for private enterprise or for the States concerned. Or there is some other excuse. When it is asked to get on with a major scheme similar in nature to the Snowy Mountains scheme it puts the responsibility on the State concerned or says that its aims and ideals will not allow it to interfere with a matter of this kind.

The Government does not believe in a national energy policy. Year in and year out we have tried to get the Government to formulate such a policy but the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) has merely outlined a point of view to the Parliament. Let us take the classic case of the finding of gas and oil in Bass Strait on the continental shelf outside Victorian waters. This is the responsibility of the nation and yet there is no national policy. The oil companies can declare a policy; the Victorian Government can declare a policy, but the Commonwealth Government wil not declare a policy. The vital needs of this nation are being ignored.

I have in my hand a statement tendered by Alderman R. J. Harris, the Mayor of the City of Wagga Wagga, which is an important centre of the electorate of the Minister for National Development. Speaking on behalf of his city councillors the mayor puts forward the proposition that the pipeline commission should encompass both the Commonwealth and the States; that they should work together for the distribution of natural gas so that it will serve industry in the country no less than it will serve industry in great cities; that the dominance of Melbourne in this field should not prevail and that cities like Albury and Wagga Wagga as well as some country towns, should be give an opportunity to share in this great wealth that belongs to all of the people of Australia. When oil is found in Australia and it is subsidised by the Australian taxpayers, is it brought to an Australian refinery? It is sent off to Singapore. I put to the Committee that this is an untenable and hopeless situation. Some direction should be given. Surely the national policy should be that people finding oil in this country have a bounden duty and a responsibility to use this discovery in the interests of the people of Australia. The oil should be refined in Australia for Australians by people who pay their taxes in Australia. What happens in Singapore is another matter. We know that the Bureau of Mineral Resources has not been kept up to the strength required. It has been built up to some extent. Information made available to the Parliament on other occasions by officers of that organisation clearly indicated that the organisation was below strength. I have the figures here but time will not permit me to cite them in the discussion on this bracket of estimates. 1 do ask the Minister not to allow the brain drain from the Bureau of Mineral Resources to go on. I ask him to build his Department up to maximum strength and to see that these men are engaged in the all important job of dealing with those blank spots which exist and have existed for some time in relation to the mineral resources of our country. The production of phosphate rock, uranium, nickel and all such minerals needs the greatest effort on the part of the Commonwealth of Australia. I ask the Minister to take note of these things and to see that the Bureau of Mineral Resources is built up in strength and that we are able to hold these valuable officers in the service of Australia. The Department of National Development is a department of the Commonwealth Government but development of this nation under the present administration is utterly meaningless. The Government on every occasion permits the work of development of this country to be left, as the previous speaker has said, in the hands of a few people. Water development demands and commands attention. I refer to the Darling River system and the border rivers of New South Wales; the Burdekin, Fitzroy and Dawson systems of Queensland; and the completion of the

Ord project in Western Australia. All of these are important matters. The need for development in the Northern Territory, too, should receive attention without further delay.

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


– This Department ranges over a very wide field. I want to speak about only a very small part of that field. Particularly do I want to commend the work which all members of this Committee may not know has been done by the honourable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr Munro) in his efforts to have the Snowy Mountains Authority kept on for research activities and the construction proposals he has put forward. In this regard also 1 want the Committee to pay particular attention to what was said last week by the honourable member for Robertson (Mr Bridges-Maxwell) in regard to the possibility of using the Authority for the discharge of the departmental responsibilities in Torres Strait and in the north of Australia. The question of Torres Strait is one which is of considerable importance to Australia. The passage there, restricted as it is to vessels of moderate tonnage, may constrict all of the developments round the Gulf of Carpentaria and it may constrict also the movement of ore from Western Australia not only to eastern Australian ports but also to the coast of America.

This is not just a matter for the Department of Trade and Industry and it is not just a matter for the Department of Shipping and Transport. This is the kind of thing for which the Department of National Development was specifically created, namely, to further national policies which overlap the functions of various departments. For that reason I hope that the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) - I am glad that he is at the table - will think that the responsibilities of his Department, in regard to Torres Strait, for example, should be more adequately discharged. The honourable member for Robertson has told us of the technicalities involved. I do not want to repeat what he has said; I merely indicate my agreement with it. We do not know at this moment what the position really is in this Strait because no adequate survey has been made for a very long time. The positions of the sandbanks may have changed. It may be that at some point well to the north of Thursday Island there is an unsurveyed passage through the coral reefs. We do not know this for certain. We do not know whether it is possible to deepen the channel around Booby Island or whether it would be better to go south by the old Endeavour Strait passage. We do not know the best route. Surely in this situation the Department of National Development should be looking for an instrumentality - perhaps commissioning an instrumentality - to survey the area and give it adequate advice. To some extent the Navy could be used. It is a reproach to all of us that in this area we should still be to some degree dependent on old charts compiled 150 years ago by Matthew Flinders. I know that these charts have been supplemented, but people in the area will tell you that at times they have to use the old charts and that as far as some features are concerned those charts are inaccurate by as much as 5 miles.

Today there is a new feeling about shipping. lt is true that the merchant ship may not be a colossal ship because of the necessity, particularly as far as the Australian trade is concerned, of maintaining a regular frequency of service. But for oil and for minerals - there are oil fields and mineral deposits in this area - the big ship appears to be the natural means of transport. Whereas we used to think of a port with a depth of 30 feet as being satisfactory, today we must think in terms of a depth of 60 feet. We must change our views. I suggest to the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) that we may have to change our views on our system of ports. Not many of our ports can take ships of 60 feet draught and some of them cannot be economically converted to take such ships. So, if you are to think in terms of the economical transport of these mineral products - I am speaking now not of the merchant ship but of the mineral products - we may have to create along the Australian coast a small network of deepwater ports to serve those major industries which use heavy mineral products.

I have spoken of the need to bring traffic through the Torres Strait not only for our eastern ports but also for ports on the West Coast of America and perhaps in other places. I have spoken of the iron ore and oil which lies or may lie to the west - products for which giant carriers may need to find deep waterways. Now let me speak about the Gulf of Carpentaria itself - perhaps the most underestimated part in the whole of Australia. Only recently, together with the honourable member for Kennedy (Mr Katter) and the honourable member for Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns) I was able to investigate on the spot some of the problems affecting the Gulf. The southern shore is not adequately surveyed. There is no deepwater port upon it at all, not even a moderately deep one. Yet this may be an area in which we have to create at least one major port. The reason for this is that the phosphate in the Mount Isa area is likely to be exported through the Gulf of Carpentaria. Phosphate is a low value material, lt can only be handled if it is handled in bulk or in the most economical way. This means that if we are able to have a big trade in phosphate rock from Australia we will need to have a port with a great depth of water, certainly with 9 fathoms and preferably with 10 fathoms.

Where are we going to get such a port? Well, we do not know. Surveys have been carried out at Bentinck Island and Mornington Island, and in that general area, but they were inadequate surveys. They were not backed by information about the nature of the mud at the bottom of the Gulf; they were not backed by adequate information as to the nature of the currents and how they shift that mud. We simply do not know the correct answers to these questions. Yet it is highly desirable that we do ascertain the correct answers. Having found them we should then be in a position to ascertain whether these immense phosphate deposits could be economically worked. It may be - ‘I think it is - that some part of these deposits will be within 120 miles or 130 miles of Burketown and it may be possible to create a deep water port in the vicinity of Burketown. Until the necessary seismic work and hydrological work are done I do not think we can answer these questions. Having done the work we shall still be faced with the problem of the moderate draught through Torres Strait, Australia’s northern gateway. Tn this area also investigation work has to be done.

I suggest to the Minister for National Development that this kind of work, which embraces the functions of a number of Commonwealth departments, is his responsibility because this is what national development is for. If this is not his responsibility it is scarcely worth while calling this Department the Department of National Development. This is the kind of responsibility which lies in his Department and I suggest to him that we get on with this project. As the honourable member for Eden-Monaro has pointed out so well, not only in this House but elsewhere - outside this House he has done a tremendous amount of work on this subject - the Minister for National Development has, in the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority, the kind of instrument of investigation which could be used for a project such as this. I am not saying for one moment that the Minister should not co-ordinate the activities of other departments. Obviously the Royal Australian Navy would bc used. Obviously the Snowy Mountains Authority would be able to follow its normal procedure of enlisting the technical support of private enterprise, as it has done in the past both in relation to surveys and construction.

What would come out of such an investigation? It is, perhaps, too early to tell but the work should be co-ordinated. We should investigate the four or five main ports on the east coast of Australia which should be developed in order to take super draught ships - vessels which would have been considered fantastic only 10 or 15 years ago but which are now becoming commonplace on the waterways of the world. This is something in which the Department of Trade and Industry must be interested; the Department of Primary Industry must be interested in it; the Navy must be interested in it and the States must be interested in it. This is a project of Australia-wide significance. It is the proper kind of project for the Department to concern itself with and it is the proper kind of project from a national point of view. The States are involved and my proposal also has a defence significance. The deepening of the Torres Strait itself is not without its defence significance. In the Snowy Mountains Authority we have a co-ordinating instrument that can, by using government departments and private enterprise, find out the facts about the new kind of waterways that we need. Having found the facts we can think about the next stage of construction. But until we get this detailed information, it is futile to set out on a piecemeal scheme of constructing a little bit here and a little bit there. This may not fit into the final pattern that we want to achieve. We can add immensely to our national wealth.

Finally, I remind the Minister of the tremendous mineral wealth that lies around the Gulf of Carpentaria. At Weipa we have bauxite but the port has been developed for ships of only moderate draught. Perhaps it has been developed in this way because of the limitations of Torres Strait. Gove is another centre at which we have bauxite, but I think we have not decided on the extent to which the port should be developed. Certainly this will be governed by the limitations of Torres Strait. Then we have McArthur River. As yet we are uncertain as to whether this deposit wilt be developed because of the metallurgical difficulties, but it is the biggest known deposit of zinc in the world. Then we have phosphate deposits. These may be the most important of all. The phosphate may provide fertiliser for Asia as well as for Australia. The phosphate deposits lie within a small distance of the coast but phosphate cannot be shipped from the coast unless there is a deep water port. Let us put the pieces of this jigsaw together. This is the sort of activity that the Minister’s Department should be undertaking.

Sitting suspended from 6.28 to 8 p.m.


- Mr Chairman, my contribution to this discussion on the estimates for the Department of National Development will concern two schemes which, although they are in my electorate, are essentially of national importance. If I were to talk about all the schemes that are emerging in my electorate and areas that are similarly situated, I could speak at great length this evening. The first project that I wish to mention is the Emerald irrigation scheme or, as it is known in my part of the world, the Nogoa Gap scheme. It is generally accepted now that the era of ‘something must be done’ has long since passed, and it is expected that when we approach the Federal Government, or any government, for that matter, and particularly the Department of National Development, we come along with some specific and constructive proposal.

After a good deal of forethought and as one who has been very closely associated with the background of the Nogoa irrigation scheme, I saf that 1 do not think that there is any scheme more worthy of approval by the Department of National Development than this scheme at Emerald. 1 claim this with the complete conviction that I am submitting to the Committee, as I said at the outset, a scheme which is of very great importance not only to the central highlands of Queensland - the area directly concerned - but also to Queensland as a State and to the whole national economy, because it will make a vast contribution to the production of huge quantities of grain for fodder conservation, and this will alleviate the effects even of droughts approximating the magnitude of the disastrous drought through which we are now going. I say that we are still going through it because many segments of the country are still drought stricken. In the light of these considerations, the Nogoa scheme is really of national importance.

The wool industry, which has been so severely affected by the present drought, is worth something like $800m annually to the nation. A scheme like the Nogoa project, which will prevent an important part of this industry from being all but destroyed must be regarded very seriously. I speak with complete confidence when I say that the National Government cannot help but be impressed by the irrefutable facts of the case for the construction of the dam on the Nogoa River. The most important fact of all is that the Queensland Government, without qualification, through the Premier, Mr Nicklin, after a lengthy period of research and investigation, and practical experimentation, which, 1 suppose, is even more important, has claimed that this scheme has No. 1 priority in the State.

May 1 briefly set out some of the facts supporting the case for the construction of this dam and, of course, the case for a substantial Federal financial allocation to permit its construction. The storage capacity of the Nogoa Dam will approximate 1,170,000 acre-feet. The assured annual supply of water will be 120,000 acre-feet. I had hoped that it would be rather more than this. The scheme will serve 130 farms, thirty of them being held by landholders who are presently in the area. Let us try to be as concise as possible and say that production will be principally lucerne and other pastures for hay and stock feed, as well as cotton and grains such as wheat, sorghum and maize. It is believed that the production of grain offers the greatest prospects for development there.

I am particularly aware of the drought mitigation contribution that the scheme would make for Queensland as a whole. The Drought Mitigation Committee, which was formed in that State 2 or 3 years ago, has estimated that central Queensland suffers from drought about 1 year out of every 3. It is estimated that drought feeding would be required for 200 days in a drought year. So honourable members can imagine the amount of grain and fodder that would be required to alleviate the effects of drought in one year alone. I am stating virtual facts. We are not guessing. Some property owners in this part of Queensland have experienced drought for periods ranging from 5 to 8 years on occasions. It is reliably estimated that out of a population of 8.1 million sheep more than 2 million were lost in 2 years in the present drought. The cattle population of 2,210,000 beasts was reduced by 255,000. Thinking in terms of even the most conservative price for a beast, honourable members can appreciate what a great national loss this involves.

I indicated a few moments ago that the most impressive contribution made by the State Government was in practical experimentation, Mr Chairman, and I would like to give the Committee the results of actual cultivation programmes on the first pilot farm established on the Nogoa River. It was established in 1965 and its productive capacity is still increasing. In 1965-66, 58 acres of cotton were planted. The estimated yield was 1,876 lb of seed cotton per acre, and the actual production was 2,400 lb per acre. This is a very impressive figure. Fifteen acres of wheat were planted and it was estimated that the yield would be 45 bushels to the acre, but the actual yield was 53 bushels to the acre. In 1966-67, 74 acres of cotton were planted. It was again estimated that the yield would be 1,876 lb of seed cotton per acre, but the actual yield was more than 3,000 lb per acre. These figures are irrefutable facts. I am sure that the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) will be impressed by the results achieved at the pilot farm. Sorghum is a very important crop in the area. In 1965-66, the first year of operation of the pilot farm, 54 acres were planted. It was estimated that the yield would be 80 bushels per acre, but a yield of 83 bushels per acre was achieved.

I believe that the, case for the construction of the Nogoa Dam is so strong that the Federal Government should approve the project and make substantial funds available for it. Furthermore, this should be done almost without delay. Even if the work were begun tomorrow, the benefits would not be felt for 6 years. In the meantime, there is the very important matter of fodder conservation to be considered. That is a subject on which I hope to have very much more to say in this chamber in the near future.

The other project that I want to discuss is perhaps much more colourful and possibly grips the imagination even more. I refer to the development of the phosphate deposits that have recently been discovered in the Cloncurry area. Let me give honourable members briefly some approximate statistics relating to this find. The first point is that almost the entire deposits are open cut in the best possible fashion. In other words, protruding from the ground is a huge bulk of phosphate rock. The thickness of this deposit is estimated to be 43 feet and the phosphate content - this will startle the whole mineral world - varies between about 21% and 40%. We have only to consider that commercial operation is possible with phosphate rock at about 18% to realise the fantastic value of this find. A conservative estimate of the quantity of this find is 10,000 million tons. However, one authority claims that it could be up to 40,000 million tons. So we can see that this discovery is almost unbelievable. This find was almost providential because in 1964 the Federal Government established a commission to carry out a survey to see whether there were any phosphate deposits in the Pacific Ocean area in the vicinity of Australia which might meet what was becoming a critical situation in regard to the supply of phosphate rock. Of course, the results were nil. Then, out of the blue came this find.

The point I want to make is that here we have a great potential for the establishment in the very near future of a great primary industry. We must evaluate this find in relation to the dramatic development which is taking place along the northern frontiers of Australia and particularly the valuable experimentation that is taking place on a small scale and on a large scale with the usage of Townsville lucerne primarily, but also with other grasses. This will involve, in high rainfall areas, the massive distribution of superphosphates. Here we have the perfect set-up. Let us hope that as the future reveals this situation we shall not again see a great primary industry being exploited in inland and remote areas for the benefit of the more industrialised and centralised areas hundreds and possibly thousands of miles away. As I said, here is the perfect set-up. We have huge deposits of phosphate rock right on the borderline of this area which is to be developed and which will produce an infinite increase in cattle production on the frontiers of northern Australia. However, this will require massive quantities of superphosphate. Also contributing to this perfect set-up is the availability of sulphuric acid from Mount isa Mines which has unlimited quantities of this commodity. So we have 10,000 million tons of phosphate rock and a demand for it on its threshold. Also, we have the supply of sulphuric acid. I am not suggesting that the Federal Government will exploit these resources itself but I do say that there is a tremendous responsibility for it to make a very close evaluation of this situation with the object of giving concessions and creating a climate which will stimulate the development of secondary industry in this area. I believe that this must be done now.

I am not very impressed with the constant demands to search for ways of sending phosphate rock to remote areas. I believe that a large scale plant for the treatment and production of superphosphate should be established in the area in which the deposit to which I have referred lies. This does not preclude the establishment of other plants in adjacent agricultural areas on the coast of Queensland and further south because the quantities available will be so vast that we could keep several plants supplied. Therefore, I would respectfully submit that two things should be considered, the Nogoa Gap scheme and the development of this huge phosphate rock deposit. If this were done not only would Queensland and the areas concerned benefit but so too would the national economy.


– The Federal President of the Australian Labor Party said that the Commonwealth Government had failed in northern development.

Mr Curtin:

– Hear, hear!


– We get an echo of this from an honourable member on the Opposition side and the brigade of knockers or the millions of knockers come into play. Knocking everything is a famous Australian industry. The charge made by the Federal President must be answered. In the first place, I point out that Western Australia has some interest in this matter. In the years between 1953 and 1959 during which the Hawke Ministry was in office, not one single project was started in Western Australia. The present Brand Government took over on 2nd April 1959. Some of us arrived on the Ord River on the 1st August of that year. However, in 1957, the Menzies Government had offered $5m for north west development. This had not been taken up by the then Labor Government of Western Australia. The then Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, in a Federal policy speech in 1958, offered $10m for north west development. Following this came the Ord River development. On 21st August 1959 the Ord River Diversionary Dam Agreement was signed. Then, during the years of the Brand-Nalder Ministry in Western Australia a fantastic boom took place. One might be pardoned for quoting some of the figures on what has taken place in Western Australia. The present Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt) in a speech given at Monash University a few days ago talked about growth. In this speech he said:

We continue to be the world’s leading wool producer and one of the largest wheat producers.

We are the world’s largest producer of lead and the third largest producer of zinc. We have 35% of the world’s known reserves of bauxite and enough to support the free world’s needs for more than 100 years. We are the world’s largest producer of strategic rutile and zircon. We have increased our known reserves of iron ore twelvefold in less than a decade. There are 15,000 million tons of new iron ore discoveries in Western Australia alone.

I think this figure has doubled since the Prime Minister made his speech. I think that Hancock and Wright have a lot more under the lap. The Prime Minister’s speech continued:

We have doubled our known coal reserves since 1960 and trebled our coal exports. Our known resources of bitumen coal are around 20,000 million tons. We have silver, copper, nickel, tin, manganese, tungsten and uranium.

I think we are the largest producer of nickel in the world. The Prime Minister’s speech continued:

We have oil and gas.

I believe we are on the way to being selfsufficient in oil. The speech continued:

The total output of our mining and metal industries has a value now of $900m and it should reach $l,700m by 1975.

This is the Prime Minister’s figure which was probably supplied to him by the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn). However, Edward Ward and Company, who are members of the Stock Exchange of Melbourne, forecast much higher levels than these. This company is said to be an extremely conservative stockbroking concern although it is not as conservative as the Minister for National Development or the Government. This company has said that in 1975 we should be on the way to receiving over $2,000m from mining and metal industries and that by 1982 we should receive $3,771 m. A great quantity of this will come from the north of Western Australia. I repeat that this national development has occurred since the BrandNalder Ministery took over in April 1959 and that not one single project was started in Western Australia in the 6 years prior to this. The Prime Minister went on to say:

The capital investment for planned developments and the expansion of major projects in northern and North-Western Australia exceeds $ 1,300m.

My information is that already it is away ahead of that amount, and I remind the Committee that this statement was made a few weeks ago. In Western Australia alone iron ore exports could be worth more than $2,400m over the next 20 years. The figure has already doubled. Every time one picks up a paper one is almost bored to read about the new discoveries and new developments. I think that at Cape Lambert already two or three big companies are competing for the use of the new wharves that it is proposed to construct. Incidentally, on the subject of pelletising, I understand that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) said in Perth that the people who make the most money out of any mineral are those who do the processing of it, the beneficiation. That was quite an intelligent remark; but he made it 2 years after the first of the agreements which contained provisions for pelletising and making steel out of the iron ore in Western Australia. I might also remind the Committee that the pelletising plant for Hamersley will be producing by the end of the year - 12 months ahead of the target date. This is the kind of progress one sees under governments of the political colour of the present Commonwealth Government.

It was interesting to study Labor Party propaganda in Queensland on national development. Honourable members will recall that at the luncheon today the Leader of the Opposition mentioned that cheap power will be provided in New Zealand by the installation at Manapouri, and that this could be a suitable place for processing the bauxite from Weipa. It will be remembered that the Queensland Government insisted on Queensland bauxite being processed at Gladstone so that a large body of men could be employed there. Now, 48 hours after the Capricornia by-election, the Leader of the Opposition says that we could have the Queensland bauxite processed in New Zealand. Within 48 hours of the by-election he has pulled the mat out from under the developments in Queensland. This is quite interesting. Was the Labor Party fair dinkum about what it said in Capricornia? Has it not shown, within 48 hours of the by-election, just how far it can be trusted in relation to the processing of Queensland bauxite? I think most honourable members heard the Leader of the Opposition make this statement. Let the people of Capricornia consider it - if it is allowed to appear in their newspapers. Let those people think about this question: Would the policies that have been followed by the Queensland Country Party Government through a period of fantastic development in that State be supported if a Labor Government was in office in the Federal sphere? They must realise that no Labor Government has ever had any idea of development. 1 notice that this man Hancock, according to the report in today’s newspapers, says he is a fanatical hater of Socialism because of what it would do to progress in Australia. We are told by people who come here from foreign countries that we have stable Government in Australia. Not for one moment do they realise what would happen if there was a Socialist government in Australia. In other words the policy of socialisation of the means of production, distribution and exchange would extend to the socialisation of national development. Not one more dollar would be spent in Australia on national development if a Labour Government took over in Canberra. This seems to be forgotten by some, but it certainly is not forgotten by Hancock and Wright. 1 ask honourable members to consider what has happened in Queensland during the last 8 or 9 years. On beef roads in Queensland alone $20m has been spent. A very much larger amount has been spent on such roads in the Northern Territory and Western Australia. It has been spent in accordance with the argument that a person cannot sell cattle unless he gets them to a market. If a man takes 3 months to drive his cattle to the market they will be emaciated by the time they arrive, unless he picks up a few at stations along the way in exchange for the spent ones. In Queensland the enormous project of clearing brigalow lands has been undertaken. The honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) knows this well. The Commonwealth Government spent tens of millions of dollars to co-operate with the Queensland Government in getting this project under way, and now tremendous production will come from the very rich brigalow country in central Queensland. 1 have already mentioned Weipa bauxite and Gladstone alumina. I also remind honourable members of the North Queensland University that is being provided at Townsville with Commonwealth funds.

Here is a fabulous institution in the making. It appears to me to extend for miles. Next to it is the Army establishment which extends for about 5 miles with many buildings of three and four storeys. This huge Commonwealth installation in Townsville extends as far as the eye can see. Then, of course, there is the Mount Isa railway which was rebuilt with funds provided by the Commonwealth so that the enormous copper reserves may be more readily exploited. Development of this kind, of course, creates great demands on services providing water and power. It increases population and this in turn results in extra demands for services.

In the Gulf of Carpentaria and in the waters around Darwin and over to the west coast of Australia huge concentrations of fish, prawns, lobsters and so on are now being discovered. Experts of the CSIRO - Dr Ian Munro for one - have been able to pinpoint great concentrations of prawns. I am informed that there are prawns to an export value of $50m a year in Northern Territory waters and another $50m worth in the Gulf. These are rough figures. Any figure that one uses in relation to northern development can be doubled and doubled again because of what can easily happen in this great monsoon area where the overwhelming bulk of Australia’s water resources is to be found. The flow of the Ord River alone can within a few hours increase to such an extent as to equal the whole of the water flow in the Snowy Mountains area. In this area where the CSIRO people have pointed out the possibilities private enterprise has become actively interested. Kailis fisheries and also, I believe, the Gunn organisation are looking at the situation so that they can get in before the Russians and Japanese take over. This, of course, could quite easily happen if Australians did not step in.

Everywhere one looks in the north there is wealth. There was nothing at all before this Government took over in 1949. In Western Australia there was nothing before the Brand Government took over in 1959. All of this fabulous development has taken place under governments of the political complexion of the parties which comprise the Commonwealth Government. There is not the slightest doubt that if the Hawke

Ministry had remained in power in Western Australia there would still be whitening bones in the north west, there would still be disappointment and there would still be disillusionment. The north west would still be the graveyard of men’s hopes - the men who believed in the area and went there to develop it. Now we see this tremendous boom in the area. There is the excitement of a new nation apparent in the north. Yet we hear members of the Opposition making statements such as that made recently by Senator Keeffe, the Federal President of the Australian Labor Party. I have been told that barristers frequently fight along the lines of their weakness. Senator Keeffe says that the Commonwealth Government has failed in the development of the north. As a matter of fact it has been estimated - and this is a conservative estimate - that by 1975 the export income of the north alone will be greater than Australia’s present total export income of $3,000m a year. At present we rank twelfth among the trading nations of the world. Australia could well be in fifth or sixth place when the policies initiated by this Government, and by the governments of Western Australia and Queensland, come to fruition. I believe there is no greater Australian than Charles Court. He has brought verve and drive and vigour to the development of the north, together with a degree of skill almost unsurpassed in Australia’s history.

Minister for National Development · Farrer · LP

– I have listened with great interest to the speeches that have been made on the estimates for my Department. It is impossible in the time available to reply to all the points that have been brought up. I was for a time Leader of the House and I know that the job of the Leader of the House is to get legislation through. With that in mind I did not speak in the estimates debate last year. But this year, not being the Leader of the House, I shall take a modest amount of time to reply, because some most thoughtful and constructive suggestions have been advanced by a number of honourable members who have taken part in the debate. The honourable member for Macarthur (Mr Jeff Bate) made some very good points. I support everything he said concerning Charles Court, the Western Australian Minister for the North-West. I visited the north west recently in his company and saw some of these projects. At Dampier I saw, almost completed, what will be the largest pelletising plant in the world. In fact, only this week I received word that the largest export of iron ore ever to be made from Australia has just taken place - 90,000 tons in the one ship. This very nearly broke the world record of 94,000 tons, which was established recently in South America.

We have heard interesting contributions made in this debate. The honourable member for Kennedy (Mr Katter), who spoke immediately after the resumption of the sitting, referred to two projects in which he is interested in his own electorate. Recently when I was doing a tour of the north I had the opportunity of going down to Duchess to see some of the phosphate deposits. In fact, I even brought some back with me. I shall say something about that matter later. The honourable member for Kennedy also referred to the Nogoa Gap scheme for which the Queensland Government has applied to the Commonwealth Government for funds. He and I visited this project, again only a few months ago. It is interesting to note that we were unable to complete the tour that had been organised for us because of rain. We were to be taken out and shown some of the magnificent lucerne that can be grown under irrigation in this area. The farmers get approximately ten cuts per year, or approximately 10 tons per acre per year. But because of rain we were unable to complete this part of the tour. We would have become bogged. Our plane did get bogged and we almost failed to get the Premier of Queensland to Rockhampton in time to open a new cement factory. Because I was unable to see this lucerne, enclosed in a letter which I received today from Mr Haigh, the head of the Irrigation and Water Supply Commission in Queensland, were many photographs depicting lucerne growing in this particular area. This matter is under very close and active consideration by the Commonwealth Government in the configuration of the $50m programme in the next 5 years for water conservation in the States, over and above what they have spent themselves.

As I have said, I do not intend to go through and comment on every point that has been made in this debate. I think that the honourable member for Gippsland (Mr

Nixon) made an excellent contribution regarding the Ord River project. What he and the honourable member for Kennedy have said highlights the fact that a vast amount of agricultural research is being carried out in the north, and research is the most important question in any project. The easiest task in projects is to build a dam. But the most difficult task is to select a site where you have adequate soils, where you know you can grow maximum crops and keep pests and diseases away from them and where you know you can grow crops which are marketable on the world scene. Australia is a country which will have to rely on exports. Either we have to grow crops for export or we have to grow and conserve fodder and then feed it to our stock in order to get meat for export.

The honourable member for Robertson (Mr Bridges-Maxwell) and the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) have spoken at some length on the need for deepening Torres Strait. 1 listened with interest to what they said, but although I have a lot of hats in my portfolio, the deepening of channels off shore or the building of harbours and ports is not one of them. This function belongs to the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Freeth). I certainly have an interest in this matter because we want to develop adequate channels so that ore, in particular, which is moved from the north can be shipped to wherever it is required. I have had some discussion on this matter with the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Basically it is a problem in which his Department is more knowledgeable and more able to take the lead than my Department. It is true, of course, that we are interested in the hydrographic work that is being carried out in the north. This work has been stepped up considerably. The Navy is doing a considerable amount of hydrography, but where mining companies desire to develop certain ports and harbours and are not able to get the work done immediately by the Navy, we are subsidising them so that they can get it carried out by private enterprise.

This matter is interesting in this debate on national development because there are some people who say we are not doing enough in regard to national development and there are some who say we are doing too much. When one reads some of the correspondence in the newspapers one sees the comment: lt is dreadful how the cost of Government has increased’. Of course it must increase. If an award gives workers a higher income, without sacking a few workers it is impossible to maintain the status quo as regards costs. But in my own Department the main reason for an acceleration in costs is because the Government has made a decision regarding national development which necessitates a greater number of people being employed in the Department and which provides subsidies of one sort and another to assist in greater production. A decision was made regarding the national mapping programme. As honourable members know, we are about to complete a map of Australia to the scale of 1 in 250,000. It was decided that we would have a 10-year accelerated programme in order to produce a larger scale map. This one is to have a scale of I in 100,000, with contours. Because of this decision work has increased considerably. Many people do not realise the contribution that is being made to the development of Australia as a result of this mapping programme. Even though it is basic to every form of development, some people might not even know that this work is taking place. We must have a national mapping programme and now we are getting one. Because of the amount of work required in this programme we are increasing the number of employees. Of course, this increases costs.

There has been an increase in the size of the Bureau of Mineral Resources. Already approximately 60 additional positions have been agreed to, and we are in consultation with industry to see whether further additional positions are required over and above this figure. The Bureau is taking a greater participation in geological mapping. To mention one aspect, there is the Timor Sea marine gravity survey on which approximately $500,000 will be spent. Yet this is just a part of the vast programme being undertaken by the Bureau of Mineral Resources in order to encourage national development. The oil search subsidy is to be increased this year by almost $2m. We have agreed to contribute to the important work being carried out by the Australian Mineral Development Laboratories in South Australia. The work of the

Laboratories is expanding rapidly because of the great requirement by industry for this work, in recent travels through the north I discovered that a considerable number of mining firms and companies are relying on this research work being carried out in order to show them how to improve the extraction of minerals.

The softwoods programme of planting additional forests is now coming into operation. In one year approximately $4m is being provided by way of loans. Over a 5-year period $20m will be provided to the States by way of loans to enable them to double their softwood plantings. Already approximately 12,000 acres of additional softwoods have been planted under this programme. This will be of enormous benefit to Australia which at the present time imports considerable quantities of timber. We have expanded the Australian Atomic Energy Commission. It has been decided to increase the staff. Because of the expansion of the Atomic Energy Commission, approximately $lm additional will be spent on the Commission this year.

The debate today has highlighted the basic difference between the thinking of the Labor Party on national development and the Liberal and Country Party thinking on national development. I believe it was the honourable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr Munro) who said that Labor thinking is on government development whereas we think of national development. We think that private enterprise is the basic unit which undertakes development. As the south has been developed by private enterprise, so will the north, and it is up to the Government to provide the climate and the assistance that is required, not for a government ground nut scheme as in Africa, or growing sorghum as at Peak Downs or something like that. Some honourable members opposite have said that they would go in for drilling for oil themselves. But we do not believe that that is national development. We believe that we get national development when we get co-operation between government and private enterprise.

We know what happened when the Labor Party was in office. We know, for example, that a company came out from America and started looking for oil in Australia. The then Prime Minister, Mr Chifley, announced that he intended to nationalise all banks and the company immediately withdrew. They said that they had had enough of their assets being confiscated in other parts of the world by this Socialist kind of Government and they decided not to come into Australia, ft was not until we came into office that the great search for oil which is now paying off so handsomely got under way.

Mr Hulme:

– Where would Labor get its money for all these schemes?


– Money cannot be created; it can only come out of the pockets of the people and I suppose that that is where they would seek to find it. We must have a stable economy, the right climate and a stable government. Goodness knows, we could not find anything more stable a government which has been in office for 18 years. We hope that we will be here for many more years. It is the provision of the right climate, the assessment, the discovery and the mapping of resources which enables this development.

The honourable member for Kennedy (Mr Katter) mentioned the discovery of phosphate at Duchess, lt is most interesting to note that this was a typical case of cooperation between the Government and a private company in the discovery of resources. Honourable members will recallthat we have been worried for some time about phosphate and have done our best to try to encourage the search for phosphate in Australia. First of all in the 1950s we looked in the South Sca Islands, but without success. We turned then to the mainland. We brought out to Australia from the United States geological service Dr Sheldon who is probably the leading world expert on phosphate. He advised us of certain areas in which to look, including two basins one of which was the Georgina Basin. Broken Hill South Ltd, in co-operation with the Bureau of Mineral Resources, started looking at every core that had been returned to the Bureau as a result of our petroleum search subsidy act. Eventually they discovered in a core from 1,000 feet in what was known as Black Mountain Well north of Boulia some phosphate which was not of a particularly high grade but was reasonably high grade. Then by going to the geological maps which had been produced by my Department it was discovered that this formation at Beetle Creek outcropped 100 miles away. The Broken Hill South company went to the site and within 3 days of going there discovered this vast quantity of high grade phosphate which is about 20 miles long, 4 miles wide and about 40 feet deep.

Mr Nixon:

– How much is there in tonnage?


– 1 have heard estimates of 10,000 million tons. This is by no means all proved, but there is no doubt that there is enough high grade phosphate for the honourable member, for me, for our children and for our grandchildren. This is just an example of the work that the Government is doing in the assessment of resources. Honourable members opposite think of some big scheme and suggest, perhaps: ‘Why do you not put money into a water storage dam?’ It is terribly easy to say that something which has not been done ought to be done. But what is the record of the Labor Party while it was in office? We know that the Labor Party is not interested in schemes of this sort because the vast majority of the Party always will come from the metropolitan industrial areas. Therefore, a project of this kind receives very little hearing in caucus. Although the Labor Party had 4 years after the war in which to get major development schemes under way, when we came into office the total capacity of dams in Australia was only 7 million acre feet. Today the capacity is 26 million acre feet, and it will be 36 million acre feet when everything which is now under construction is completed. But of course we do not intend to stop there. We have these plans which have been announced for greater water conservation.

I do not intend to speak longer on this subject. One could say much about what the Government is doing. All I need to say is that the development of Australia is going ahead at a fast rate. Honourable members heard the New Zealand Prime Minister today say how impressed he was with Australian development. I looked at a list only recently and saw that there are twenty-six major projects in the north for the development of minerals and that there are another eleven major deposits. Undoubtedly they will be developed. ISo we will have something in the order of forty major industrial mineral developments being worked in the north. This is only part of a vast scheme to increase beef production, to improve roads and everything else associated with the development of this vast country. Australia is going ahead and I am sure that we can be proud of what is being achieved.


– I do not want to delay the Committee but there are a few things that I should like to say in relation to the estimates which are now being debated. I wish to do so now because of their importance to Australia as a whole and, perhaps, their somewhat greater importance to the State from which I come. We see from the documents that the proposed expenditure for the Department of National Development is S33.5m. This does not of itself indicate the tremendous amount of development which is going on in Australia. As J see it the Department of National Development sets the pattern and the climate in which to carry on the development in Australia. I refer first to the development of mineral resources. I was interested tonight to hear the honourable member for Macarthur (Mr Jeff Bate) elaborating to some extent on mineral development in Western Australia. This development is progressing with tremendous speed. The only point on which I might have disagreed with him was in relation to the figures which he cited. They may be a little out of date, in some cases by only a week or so but in others by about a year. Discoveries are being made almost every week. The magnitude of this development is tremendous. No doubt we will see development of this kind in other parts of Australia also.

The Department of National Development is doing a tremendous job in making this development possible. One aspect of this is mapping, which the Minister for National Development has mentioned this evening. This is an extremely important aspect in the development of Australia because when we get down to tin tacks we realise that we know very little about it. This is a vast country and even today some of it has not been seen by man. Minerals are available and they will be found and exploited by the people of Australia. We have resources not only of iron ore which has been mentioned but also of bauxite and nickel. It is remarkable to notice just how rich some of this ore is. For example, nickel ore returns up to 14% or some times a little more. In Western Australia the iron ore is returning a high rate. Admittedly some of it is not so rich, but we have many rich mineral resources.

We must ask ourselves how many more resources we have available to us. We need these if we are to maintain the standard of living which we enjoy in Australia. If we are to continue the immigration programme that we have now we must make use not only the potential which is in our soils and minerals but also the potential which we have in mankind, for example, in engineers. Skilled personnel are in short supply. Not only Australia but most other countries also are clamouring for trained men. I have not seen the figures recently, but I do know something of the number of engineers who leave our shores to work in other parts of the world. Some come back but some do not. This is another important aspect of development. When we have found minerals and other wealth we must develop it. This has been done in my own State in no uncertain fashion by those who have taken on this responsibility. Railways have been built and towns and ports developed. Even at this time such works are continuing. This week a record ship load of 90,000 tons of iron ore left Dampier. Compared with the ship loads we will see in a few years time this is only a small load. Today ships that can carry 200,000 tons and even 500,000 tons are being built and there is conjecture as to which country will build the first 1 million ton ship.

Mr Nixon:

– The Japanese.


– That is probably right. If we are going to develop Australia we must get with it - we must go with the world. Big ships will come to our shores to take away our iron ore. We have heard much about our oil and natural gas deposits recently. No doubt considerably more oil and gas will be discovered in Australia. I believe that we are in the initial stages of development. When we look at the large tonnages of raw material that are going from Australia, we must recognise that this represents only a small percentage of the actual tonnages available. It is reasonable to expect that we should export such tonnages, but it is equally reasonable to suggest that we should look further ahead to determine what we must do.

The honourable member for Macarthur mentioned some of the developments that will take place in the future. We must look, in the future, at developing our raw materials to the finished article. This process will not happen overnight, nor will it be done in one stage, but we must look at this field. If we are going to undertake this work, now is the time to be determining what we must do. If we are going to make steel in Australia - and I am not talking about next year or the year after, but in years to come - we must be considering the situation now and planning for that time. I believe it takes about 1 million gallons of water to make one ton of steel. In Western Australia we are asking: Where is this water to come from? Where will we get the power? The water supply in the southern part of Western Australia is limited. This area has no snow and no large rivers, but we do have a lot of water in the north where there are tremendous rivers with tremendous power potential. The Department of National Development should be looking at this situation. I know that the Department is undertaking survey work and is mapping and finding out all it can about Australia. The Department will be in a better position, before long, to determine Australia’s power potential. If we are to develop our mineral resources, and if we are to grow more food, we must have more water and more power.

Many words have been spoken inside and outside this chamber in recent years and, in fact, in the last week or two - by prominent Australians about the future of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority. The Authority was set up for a particular purpose and I wonder why people continue to talk about what is going to happen to the Snowy Mountains Authority. My concern is what is going to happen to the men in the Authority. These men were employed for a special project. They will have done a tremendous job, when it comes to a conclusion, but the men have potential and great know-how. Let us not lose this. Let us not talk in terms of the Snowy Mountains Authority but in terms of the manpower and engineers who will become available for other work in Australia. Perhaps all members are looking at the same possibility, but we are not looking at it in the same vein. I firmly believe that we cannot afford to lose one engineer or other employee from the Snowy Mountains Authority.

I know the constitutional rights of the States. I am familiar with the constitutional position of the States and the Commonwealth and I know that the States are jealous of their situation, but have the Sates sufficient engineers? I am sure they do not have enough engineers to face up to the future problems that I am looking at. I am concerned not only with our mineral and manufacturing potential, but with our agricultural potential. I believe that the engineers currently employed by the Snowy Mountains Authority could solve many of our water problems. Perhaps it is not appropriate for me to talk about lack of water in view of the rain that is falling in Canberra at the moment, but from the west coast of Australia to the east coast Australia is suffering from extremely dry conditions which will cost us millions and millions of dollars. No-one can estimate what the ultimate loss will be. I believe that there is tremendous potential in the water in the north of Australia, and I believe that the Snowy Mountains Authority engineers could do much to enable us to exploit that potential. I know that irrigation is not the complete answer to our drought problems. If we look at the records over the last century we can trace the history of droughts in Australia. Droughts have caused tremendous losses of very valuable breeding stock. This is happening in Victoria and elsewhere at the moment. Men who have built up their flocks over the years are now in serious trouble and are losing them. This, in my book, is not good enough. We can remedy the situation to a large extent. How we can do it is not clear at this stage, but I believe it can be done. We cannot go on indefinitely suffering as we do from droughts. We cannot afford the losses that we experience and I believe every engineer in Australia, and every engineer undergoing training at present, should consider how we can harness the resources of Australia.

It is not the job of the Department of National Development to develop Australia, but to make development possible. I will be very disappointed if within the next 10 to 20 years we do not have plans to increase our water conservation. The Minister mentioned the increase in water conservation this evening, but there are tremendous rivers in Australia that have not been really harnessed up to the present time. Within a few miles we have seen thousands of head of stock die from lack of water. In my book it is not good enough that water should run out to sea. We invest heavily in securing know-how in relation to stock breeding. Yet in a couple of years there are heavy losses because under drought conditions we cannot save our stock, which die or must be slaughtered. We have tremendous rivers and our stock should not be dying because of lack of water. Work is being done at present but >t is not being done quickly enough. We must get on with the task of harnessing our tremendous rivers. We must get ourselves a plan which can save the situation.

We have had some experience of this situation in Western Australia where the Commonwealth Government is matching, on a dollar for dollar basis, the cost of reticulating water throughout agricultural areas. When the present project is completed I hope that similar work will be continued elsewhere. The provision of reticulated water in the inland areas of Western Australia commenced because of gold mining and it was continued afterwards in developing agricultural areas. I know, from practical experience, what can be saved, in terms of dollars and breeding stock, through the provision of reticulated water supplies. However, if one had a map of Australia on which was marked the water pipelines, one would see that they do not cover much territory. More could be done, but money is required, as is knowhow. This is why I am anxious that the engineers in Australia should remain with us and work on these programmes. T have no doubt that some system can and will be worked out and I am sure that the Minister will succeed in exploiting this particular field. The Minister mentioned the forestry activities of his Department. This is one avenue in which we do find the sort of thing that I have been speaking of tonight. Vast areas of country that in the past were considered to be of waste have been put into production through afforestation. It is in fields such as this that I feel we can progress.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Department of Immigration

Proposed expenditure, $44,638,000.


– I hope that when the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard) joins in this debate we will find that the views of the Opposition on the important subject of immigration have not substantially altered. In this country we have enjoyed a general appreciation, both by the Government and by Her Majesty’s Opposition, of the necessity to maintain the flow of migrants into the Australian community and I am keen to hear the Deputy Leader of the Opposition speak to see whether there are any unfair criticisms or whether there still remains a due appreciation of the problems which the Government has faced in this field.

The total appropriation this year is $44.6m for the whole programme. I draw attention to the fact that this amount exceeds the actual expenditure of $43. 4m in the last financial year. The estimates before the Committee indicate that the problem lies in the fact that although the provision for embarkation and passage costs under the United Kingdom-Australia assisted passage scheme is down some millions of dollars this year, this is well and truly offset by the next embarkation item in the estimates which is for general and special assisted passages. This highlights the need to assess Australia’s requirement and to maintain a high level of immigration. I think most of us appreciate that a high and continuing immigration programme is required. Our manpower demands are increasing rapidly due to the new resources which are being discovered and which were amply described by my colleague the honourable member for Macarthur (Mr Jeff Bate) only a few moments ago in the preceding debate. The honourable member referred for instance to the amazing discoveries of iron ore in Western Australia. Day after day and week after week we seem to be finding new resources, development of which will put a strong demand on manpower.

The economy of the country as it is now geared requires a continuance of migrant inflow or real frustration and embarrassment will be caused to the businessmen of Australia who have become accustomed to facing the challenge of new discoveries of iron ore and other minerals. Leaders in the industrial field are accustomed to working out a programme of development and they expect that the necessary manpower will be supplied to them. T am sure that the Committee will realise that if there were a drastic or sudden restriction of immigration, a lack of confidence would quickly follow and harmful effects would be seen throughout this stable Australian economy of which we are proud.

  1. am not pleased to see our birth rate declining. This stresses again the necessity for a high level of immigration. In the last year or two we have had severe competition around the world from other immigrantseeking countries. Our friend in the Commonwealth, Canada, has not left any stone unturned in its efforts to gain a higher proportion of migrants and we have had difficulty in maintaining an inflow. So it is pertinent to draw attention to the fact that in the last year’s programme set at 1 48,000 settlers, we achieved - after every effort had been made by the Government - an intake of 138,678. I am proud to point out that notwithstanding our growing difficulties the Government has retained for this year the same target of 148,000 migrants, made up of 92,000 assisted and 56.000 unassisted settlers.

During the Budget debate the Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden) stressed that extra money would be required to face competition from other countries. He pointed out that we would have to increase the provision of embarkation or passage moneys; that we would have to enter into more expense for publicity and information services; that the counselling given before embarkation would need to be improved; and that there would need to be a strengthening of overseas operations by the opening of new posts, some of which have already been announced. He also said that the Government was determined to provide better facilities for migrants on arrival to offset any reasonable criticism that might have been raised in the past.

We all recognise the importance of maintaining as high a flow as possible from the United Kingdom, whence so many of our migrants have already come. I am convinced that the interest of United Kingdom people in migrating to Australia is real and deep and I do not think this interest will bc substantially affected just bceause a few disgruntled migrants, about whom a lot has been written in the Press, are returning to the United Kingdom. It is my belief that this small group, although vocal and, unfortunately, supported by the Press on many occasions, will have only a minimal influence on prospective migrants. I recognise as I am sure all honourable members do that, accepting a measure of temporary inconvenience, the majority of United Kingdom migrants hold on with tenacity and eventually break through to success, security and potential advancement for themselves and their families.

What we are facing at the present time is a not inconsiderable difficulty due to the economic conditions in the United Kingdom. I believe that these conditions represent the basic obstacle to us in seeking to attract migrants quickly and in a constant flow from this source.

I learned with some interest that the Australian migration office in London presently has on its books no less than 14,000 prospective migrants who want to come to Australia but find that their assets, particularly their homes, cannot be realised at a satisfactory figure. This underlines the point that I am making that economic conditions in the United Kingdom are holding down our immigration figures. Depleted values in the United Kingdom mean that people who want to come to Australia cannot begin ‘ their planning to move.

There are other areas in which the Government can be encouraged, because we have not recognised a problem in one area, such as in the United Kingdom, and have done little about looking elsewhere for migrants. The Government and the Minister have been surveying the whole world. We have learned in recent days with a great deal of interest of the attraction that Turkey holds for Australia in this respect. Turkey has become a major source of guest workers workers for other European countries. One cannot help but be interested in the fact that 180,000 Turkish workers have found employment in various western European countries, where they have earned a high reputation as workers. We have taken notice of this in Australia. The Minister on his recent visit to Turkey, and officers of his Department on earlier trips, discovered with a great deal of satisfaction that authorities in Turkey are looking more and more towards Australia as a suitable home for their many surplus workers who cannot be absorbed annually into industry in Turkey. Only last week we were delighted to receive here in Canberra a deputation from Turkey. Members of that deputation have been in consultation with Australian immigration officials in the hope that an agreement might be reached between Australia and Turkey on the matter of Turkish immigration. One would not expect immediately a large flow if something comes of these consultations. J am sure that we would hope to see a gradual acceptance of Turkish workers in Australia. A modest beginning would no doubt lead to continuing interest and as the first migrants became settled they would tell their friends and relatives back home of conditions in Australia and those friends and relatives might follow them here. So I praise the Government for its part in early negotiations with Turkey as a potential supplier of migrants.

We note with pleasure the achievement in the last few days of a renewed agreement with Italy. We have been delighted to have the President of Italy visit this country. The warmth and sincerity with which President Saragat has been greeted in Australia surely illustrates the growing ties between Australians and Italians. If one had the time it would be interesting to refer in more detail to the flow of Italians to this country. The new migration and settlement agreement so recently signed with Italy should result in a larger scale of assisted migration from Italy. As.sis.ted migration was unfortunately interrupted when the previous agreement expired and some difficulty was encountered in immediately renewing the agreement or negotiating a new agreement. We must however note that at this stage it is difficult to predict when and how the flow from Italy will he effected. One would hope that we will not proceed too far into this financial year before once again seeing the larger numbers coming from Italy that we enjoyed in earlier years. 1 have noted in my representations over recent months that more and more people, embarrassed with conditions in Burma, are extremely keen for the Government to accept their applications for entry into Australia. During postwar years in excess of 15,000 persons of mixed descent have come to Australia to settle. They have come mainly from Ceylon, India and Pakistan. In recent years the number admitted from Burma has increased. I stress with the Minister that conditions in Rangoon are extremely embarrassing for a number of people who would, I believe, be very fine migrants.

The naturalisation list resently issued shows a rather large number of Chinese people as having received naturalisation. I point out to the Committee that this is due to the relaxation some 12 months ago of conditions for residential qualification. The 1,086 Chinese so recently naturalised represent only the result of that decision to relax the residential qualification. That number should not be interpreted as the annual flow of Chinese for naturalisation purposes. I am proud of what the Government is doing in the field of immigration. I commend the estimates and the planning of which I have been pleased to speak.


– -If there is one activity of government about which there is unanimity on both sides of the House it is the work of the Department of Immigration. We have fewer criticisms of this Department than of most government departments. There is a great deal of unanimity between the Government and the Opposition on the subject of migration and its vast and complex attendant problems, for when we are dealing with people we are dealing with problems with a capital P, as all honourable members know. When you are dealing with the problems of millions of people you are dealing with a matter of tremendous dimensions. The Department is to be commended for the sympathetic and humanitarian attitude it has adopted in giving effect to its programme for bringing folk to this country.

But too many migrants are returning to their homelands. This is the subject with which I shall deal tonight. I will suggest one or two ways in which we can persuade migrants to stay in this country. One way is to approve the operation of charter flights between Europe and Australia so that migrants may return to their homelands for a visit. What are the statistics in this sad story of migration in reverse? I take as my authority the progress report, dated October 1966, of the Immigration Advisory Council on its inquiry into the departure movement of migrants. In the last 8 years 78,419 migrants to Australia have departed permanently from these shores.

Mr Turnbull:

– Sometimes they return.


– Only a small trickle would return. Let us look at the figures. In 1964 a total of 7,828 migrants departed from this country. By 1965 the number had almost doubled to 14,803 and by 1966 it had increased to 18,343. We cannot afford such a large number of departures amongst our migrants. We must ask ourselves: How can we stop this large number of migrants returning to their homelands? The evidence clearly shows that the major culprits in this case are the British. The following table, taken from the progress report of the Immigration Advisory Council to which I have already referred, sets out the percentage of various birthplace groups departing after more than 5 but less than 6 years residence in Australia. The table is as follows:

The table shows also that in the case of migrants from the British Commonwealth, 86.4% are still in Australia whereas in the case of migrants from all other countries, more than 90% are still in Australia. So the British people are the main culprits. From my experience as a member of the Parliament I can say that that is so. But I have also come across some wonderful British people who have become virtually a department within a department in my State. They have sponsored Britisher after Britisher and every one of the sponsored migrants has stayed and made a wonderful success of life in this country. I know of one lady who, with her husband, has sponsored about 50 people who have become permanent residents of Tasmania. All the entries are not on the debit side of the ledger, but the story of permanent departures is a sad one.

We know that many migrants become homesick. We Australians forget that migration from Britain to Australia requires a journey of 13,000 miles. That is a very long way to go. These migrants leave the people with whom they were brought up, the home in which they were bom and the town in which their ancestors lived and all their friends and relatives live, and set off on a journey of 13,000 miles to an unknown country in which they will start a new life. This is a very serious decision to make and has an effect on their later life. Things do not always turn out as the migrants expect. When they arrive in Australia they are completely on their own. All their friends and relatives are back in the home country. Big though the decision to migrate may be, a bigger decision comes after 5 years when the migrant is asked to become naturalised. The person who makes the decision to renounce allegiance to a former sovereign or country is making the greatest decision of all. I have often asked myself what I would do if I were living permanently in Germany, Poland, Yugoslavia or America and had to renounce my allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II and the country in which I was born. If we put ourselves in the place of the migrant we can understand the human factors that are involved.

Of course, some migrants become very homesick. Some are single when they come here. They marry and have children. They may have a reasonable job and start paying for a home, motor car or something of the sort. They are caught up in the economics of migration. Then as the years go by the children come and they need to be educated. Education is a costly business in any Australian State and the migrants want their children to be as well educated as any other child is. They want a share of the material benefits of life in this country, and that is only natural. But they must spend money on substantial purchases and cannot save enough to go back home. The years go by and they become frustrated. Some may become bitter because they cannot visit their aged father or mother who may still be living or the old mates with whom they grew up, worked and played football. They find that they are trapped here. They cannot afford to go by Qantas Airways Ltd, our great airline of which 1 am very proud. There must be some alternative to this costly way of getting back to their home country. They can get to their home country by Qantas but they cannot return to Australia, so they stay in the land of their birth.

Many migrants after 10 years or so in Government service qualify for 3 months long service leave. They take their leave and go back to England or Europe to see their mother and father, perhaps for the last time, and to visit their old friends. They have every intention of returning to their home in Australia. This is a natural reaction for anybody to have and the Government should consider the human aspects sympathetically. This is an intensely human problem and I can understand why many migrants go home and stay home. They do not have enough money to come back. As my friend the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Turnbull) said, some of them do come back but they must start all over again, and that is a very difficult job for anyone. The charter system which will enable migrants to visit their homeland is full of merit. Today the Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr Swartz) read a document to us on this subject. This is the first breakthrough for all of us who have been striving to get the Government to agree to a charter service with cheap fares to Europe and England and return to Australia. I commend the Minister and the Government for this breakthrough. It is not exactly the scheme that we would have liked, but it is a very big step forward from the hard and fast rule of 1959 when the late Sir Shane Paltridge laid down that Qantas was not to be subject to any interference, that it must have the whole sky to itself and that it must not face competition from charter flights.

The Minister for Civil Aviation read for three pages before he announced the decision. If we did not know the decision, we would be discouraged now by the introduction. If we get a letter from a Minister that takes up the first foolscap page and then goes over to the next, we can bet our bottom dollar that ninety-nine times out of 1 00 the answer is No. If the answer is Yes, it will be said in the first paragraph and there will be no second paragraph. The statement by the Minister covered more than three pages. If we did not know the decision, reading it now we would say after the first page or two: ‘Good-bye to charter flights. The Government has knocked it back again.’ But lo and behold, the favourable decision is given on the fourth page. The Minister said:

Nevertheless there is some room for the development of charter operations between Australia and other countries.

Coming from the Minister for Civil Aviation, that is the statement of the century. The decision is that the scheduled airlines will first be given the opportunity to operate charter flights from Australia to Britain and back. Only the national airlines of the two countries, the country of destination and the country of departure, will have this primary opportunity. If they cannot undertake the operation or do not want to sub-let it to some other contractor, the flight may be offered to another airline. When no national carrier wishes to apply for approval to operate a charter flight and notification to that effect has been received, applications may be made by any other operator whom the group seeking the charter decides to approach. That is a long way round to get a charter flight, but it is a start and I commend the Government for its action. This is getting the project off the ground.

The second factor about this remarkable breakthrough is found in this statement: lt will be appreciated that under the contributory group charter arrangements individual members of the charter parly contribute towards the cost of the charter, directly or indirectly, in effect each individual passenger paying a fare.

The Government decided in 1959, in consultation with Qantas, that group passengers would be charged 70% of the approved economy class fare. This has now been reduced to 60% of the approved economy class fare on a regular service. Briefly, the scheme means that the return fare between Sydney and London by the Kangaroo route - I am not sure which route that is, though I am sure it is genuine - under such arrangements will be at the present time in the vicinity of $700. That is the lowest fare that Qantas can charge for a charter. Migrants were hoping that the return fare would be $500. However, the scheme is a tremendous breakthrough and perhaps when this scheme has been working for a year or two the fare of $700 will be reduced.

The Minister also said: 1 should mention one other basic requirement, namely that a chartering group must charter the entire capacity of the aircraft.

Whether it takes a week or a month to arrange such a group does not matter; the requirement is understandable. The aeroplane must go out with a full load. The Minister said further:

It is clear that, on humanitarian grounds, everything possible should be done to make it feasible for migrants now residing in Australia to be given an opportunity to be reunited here with their parents.

So a special concession of 50% of the round trip economy fare is to be given to assist parents to visit their migrant children in Australia, many of whom now have families of their own. This is assisting grandparents to see their grandchildren, as it were. This sort of arrangement will also work the other way in principle, Mr Chairman. Migrants will be able to travel on charter flights back to their homeland on long service leave, for example. This scheme is to begin on 1st November. 1 believe that in Australia as in the United States of America a charter flight company should be established. We should not depend on overseas charter companies. Already, Mr Neil McDonell, who is 27 years of age, has registered the McDonell Aircraft Corporation Pty Ltd to provide this sort of service.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock:

– Order! I suggest to the honourable member that that matter could perhaps be more appropriately discussed during the consideration of the estimates for another department.


– You have stopped me altogether, Mr Chairman.


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


- Mr Chairman, I am not quite sure whether the honourable member for Wilmot (Mr Duthie) was advocating that the Government should send migrants back to their homelands for a holiday at government expense or whether he was advocating something else. He said that 13%, I think, of migrants from the United Kingdom go back there for good. We ought not to overlook the fact that they have to pay to go back. This indicates that while they have been in this country they have met with success in their employment. I was very interested to hear the excellent speech made by the honourable member for Swan (Mr

Cleaver), who happens to be chairman of the Government Members Immigration Committee. He dealt very well in a short time with many aspects of the immigration programme.

I would now like to discuss the new migration agreement recently negotiated with the Italian Government. I congratulate the Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden) and the officers of his Department on the progressive arrangements that have been made and on the Minister’s recent and highly successful tour of Europe and parts of the Middle East. I believe that our search for migrants puts us somewhat in the position of a merchant who travels about trying to buy in a seller’s market.

Mr Snedden:

– That is perfectly true.


– I know how very difficult that is. We have to compete for migrants with affluent and prosperous countries such as South Africa and Canada, and in particular West Germany, which was mentioned by the honourable member for Swan and which is currently very prosperous and employs, T believe, several hundreds of thousands of migrants from countries such as Spain and Turkey, where we are seeking migrants. I would like to mention particularly a couple of points in the new agreement with Italy. I do not think that they have been- mentioned before. One feature of it is the provision for young Italian men who have served in the Italian Army to be exempt from national service training in our Army. This provision is the result of forward thinking and is highly desirable. In my maiden speech, I suggested that the reverse arrangement should apply, and I suggest this to the Minister again now. At some stage in the future some yoting men who have served in the Australian Army may go back to Italy to live.

Mr Snedden:

– The arrangement is reciprocal.


– This is excellent. I hope that a similar arrangement can be extended to Greece, with which at present, I understand, there is no reciprocal arrangement. The making of arrangements such as these is good. The agreement with Italy also makes provision for the assistance within Italy of prospective migrants who travel to migrant centres to undergo medical examinations. 1 understand that the cost in relation to the income of the persons concerned is quite significant. I think that the arrangement under which we in Australia shall bear some of this cost is based on forward and constructive thinking. 1 would like to discuss in some detail the provisions in the agreement relating to the Australian Government’s efforts ‘to use its good offices’ to advance the acceptance in Australia of the professional qualifications of Italian migrants. I wish particularly to direct attention to this matter, because I believe that serious deficiencies occur in the arrangements made in Australia. These are hindering not only our immigration programme but also our national progress. Recognition of overseas professional qualifications is outside the control of the Australian Government. There are many anomalies even intrastate in the requirements for the registration of, for example, dentists, medical practitioners, nurses and engineers. As a result, many intending migrants, both assisted and unassisted, are lost to us every year. I would like to mention three recent examples of first class professional migrant material that has been lost to us because of the disparity that exists between the legislative requirements of the respective States and because of the conservatism of the registration boards within Australia. In April of this year, a United States doctor of dental surgery had his application for registration rejected by one Dental Board on the ground that there was no reciprocity of registration between the United States and the Dental Board in question. Yet his degree is listed in the Schedules to the Dental Acts of two Australian States. In another case, an American doctor’s application ‘ for registration was rejected by one Medical Board though he had been accepted in an adjoining State. The third case is that of a doctor with British qualifications who was disqualified from registration in one State because he had done the early part of his course at a university in a country with which the Australian State in which he wanted to settle did not have a reciprocal arrangement.

This question of reciprocity is a problem. Fortunately, it has been overcome in relation to the skilled trades, largely, I believe, because of co-operation between the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the

Department of Labour and National Service and the Department of Immigration, this co-operation having made it possible for the Minister to negotiate agreements such as the one announced in principle last week under which migrants from Turkey will be brought to Australia. I understand that there will be predetermined percentages of skilled and unskilled labour, though this is subject to confirmation. The tradesmen brought out under arrangements such as this are assured of certification under the Commonwealth Tradesmen’s Rights Regulation Act. Entry into the professions in Australia is much less satisfactory. It seems to me that the professional bodies themselves should be taking the initiative to rationalise their requirements from State to State and taking steps to modernise their thinking. Foreign born professional people must surely regard the professions in Australia as presenting one of the worst examples of restrictive practices to be found anywhere in the world.

In my opinion, the worst feature revealed in any research on the subject is the insistence on various and somewhat vague degrees of knowledge of the English language and recognition only of universities within the old British Empire, excluding those of central Europe and the United States in particular. But even in this attitude there are inconsistencies. I mention as an example the disparity between the relevant sections of the South Australian Physiotherapists Act and of the Victorian Masseurs Act. The former simply provides that a person holding qualifications other than those prescribed may be registered if the registering board is satisfied that he is competent to practise, is of good character and has an adequate understanding and command of the English language. The Victorian Act, however, insists that the recognition of all qualifications gained outside Victoria depends on the existence of statutory reciprocal arrangements. Under this provision, members of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, in London, whose recognition goes without question elsewhere in Australia, I imagine, and probably throughout the world, cannot be fully registered in Victoria.

While each Australian State automatically recognises degrees in veterinary science, dentistry and so on gained at universities in other States, they do not automatically recognise the qualifications of everyone registered in another State. Thus, foreign born professionals may find themselves eligible to practice in one State but not across the border in another. State legislation often requires an adequate knowledge of English for the practice of medicine. In at least one State this is interpreted as meaning that the applicant must be fully conversant with Australian colloguial speech. Surely it is important that we have in the community some physicians who speak the language of migrant patients. In any case, who is going to determine what is an adequate knowledge of the English language? Is the Minister going to determine this?

In April of this year, the Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt), at the request of the Minister for Immigration, wrote to all State Premiers, suggesting that registration requirements in medicine, dentistry and nursing be discussed at the conference of State Ministers for Health which was to be held in Perth in April. It was decided at that conference that the States should reply to the Prime Minister on an individual basis. By 2nd August only Western Australia, I believe, had submitted a reply of any substance to the Commonwealth’s suggestions. It seems to me that the Commonwealth has taken the initiative in this matter. However, even in the Australian Capital Territory severe restrictions in some professions still apply. They are placed there by the registering authorities. The Australian Capital Territory recognises a medical practitioners’ qualification gained in the United Kingdom, New Zealand or any other country which is part of the Queen’s dominions, or in any country which grants recognition to medical practitioners entitled to be registered in each State or Territory of the Commonwealth. There is also provision for registration if the applicant is registered in another country approved by the Board, but no list of the countries so approved is available. To achieve uniformity is certainly going to be a tremendously difficult and frustrating experience but the longer it is delayed the more difficult it must become.

I would now like to say something about the dental profession. In New South Wales, the board which registers dentists in that

State will register applicants with overseas qualifications gained in some British and Commonwealth universities and sometimes to a person holding foreign qualifications but subject to a fairly severe degree of supervision. New South Wales is the only State providing for automatic registration of dentists moving from other States. All States do not appear to recognise the same degrees and further difficulties are placed in the way of holders of foreign qualifications because only where university examinations are conducted in the English language are the qualifications recognised.

This is similarly the case with doctors. Recognition of the qualifications of medical practitioners is even more complicated because most of the licensing boards insist on a reciprocity arrangement. In Western Australia each application is treated on its merits but even then only if the country in which the applicant obtained his qualifications recognises without further examination the qualifications of medical graduates of the University of Western Australia. Tasmania recognises all United Kingdom and Irish qualifications but requires that medical practitioners be British subjects. Similar problems face possible migrants in nursing, veterinary, physiotherapy and engineering professions. Frequently, the provisions are so ambiguous or restrictive that it is simply not possible for even the most desirable person to practice his or her profession on any basis at all.

I believe that the situation is ridiculous and intolerable and action must be taken to clear up the mess and remove all unreasonable restrictions. The States should insist that professional requirements be standardised and that the professions should each draw up a uniform and sensible list of overseas institutions with satisfactory qualifications and that the principle of reciprocity be abolished for ever. Australia spends a great deal of money and effort in bringing migrants to this country. The efforts of succeeding Governments have been exemplary and official attitudes have changed promptly with the times. I urge the State Governments once again to appeal to the professional bodies in Australia to come to grips with the problems inhibiting’ professional migration, to throw away these old nineteenth century attitudes which influence most of the regulations and place the welfare of the country before their own personal considerations.


– We are discussing the estimates of the Department of Immigration. As honourable members are aware a dispute occurred recently at Port Hedland in Western Australia involving a number of Japanese who had apparently been given permission by the Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden) to enter Australia for a certain length of time to he employed upon a particular project of work. Unfortunately, we have found it well nigh impossible to gain from the Minister details of the specific purpose of entry; the conditions under which permission for entry was granted; and why he or his Department considered it necessary that permission for entry should be granted. On 17th August I asked the Minister the following question without notice:

Is it correct that permission has been given for some sixty Japanese to enter Australia to work on a Japanese dredge at Port Hedland? If so, where did the application for entry originate and what reasons were advanced to cause the Government to grant it? Have Japanese industrialists also made representations for permission to bring more Japanese to Australia to work on other projects in which Japanese companies are associated? If so, is it correct that those representations also have been acceded to by the Government?

In his reply the Minister for Immigration said:

In considering the admission of persons such as Japanese for the purpose mentioned, each individual case would be judged on its merits, with due regard to both the individual concerned and the prospective employer. I shall have to treat the question as being on the notice paper, but I undertake to provide a full arid detailed answer.

Today, almost 7 weeks later, I eventually received an answer which as far as I am concerned could not be described as being full and in detail as the Minister promised. The Minister in his reply stated quite definitely that in his opinion the questions which were asked were founded on a basic misapprehension. I hope to show the Minister that even if that were so we have very good reason to be rather apprehensive in relation to this matter. Personally, I find it rather difficult to accept that the Minister was unable to give me an immediate answer in relation to the situation at Port Hedland. This is because if, as he did say, each individual case is judged upon its merits with due regard being given to both employee and employer, surely the Minister before granting permission would in such an unusual case as this, have made or would have directed his Department to make a very searching inquiry into all the aspects of the circumstances causing the request for permission to be lodged. If he did make the investigations which he claims today were made and gave the proper consideration which the application would appear to deserve as it would surely be an unusual and rare occurrence, it is very hard to believe that he would have forgotten so easily the terms and conditions of entry, and the reasons why it was considered that the application to enter should be agreed to. The fact that an answer was not forthcoming until almost 7 weeks after the question was asked raises some doubt as to whether a proper investigation was made or, if it was, whether the Minister acted correctly and wisely in granting permission, or whether the conditions of entry were properly submissioned in the circumstances.

Speaking of the apprehension referred to by the Minister, I want to say that for quite some time now there has been a certain amount of concern relating to the entry of Japanese labour into Australia for certain purposes. This is because it has been the experience that either the Minister or the Department of Immigration do not make the conditions of entry sufficiently specific, or if they do, that they are never properly policed or the employer deliberately ignores or flouts them. We had such an experience back in 1963 when a few - about half a dozen if my memory serves me correctly - were given a permit by the Department of Immigration to enter Australia to work in a supervisory capacity on a mine in which a Japanese company had the controlling interest. It was not very long before those people were doing work other than the supervisory work for which they had been granted permission to come here, to the exclusion of Australian workmen. The work they were doing was work which was apparently not specified in the permit, or at least it was work that one would not expect to be specified as work that they would be permitted to perform. As a result of approaches made to me with regard to that situation I asked the then Minister for Immigration, then Mr Downer and now

Sir Alexander Downer, certain questions on the subject. He told me in reply, amongst other things:

People who come here for short term purposes are naturally expected to observe the conditions for which the permit to enter has been granted. There are, of course, exceptional cases but again, in instances such as those mentioned by the honourable gentleman, people who are given special permits to come here are most certainly expected to abide by the conditions of their entry. That would certainly be the case in those instances which I think the honourable gentleman has in mind.

I would suggest, Mr Deputy Chairman, that we can arrive at only one conclusion from that answer; that is that any Asian, or European for that matter, who seeks permission to enter Australia on a short term basis would be permitted to do so only on certain conditions, conditions which he would be expected to observe if he wished to stay for the length of time for which permission was sought. If the entry was allowed in relation to a certain job of work, that job of work would be or should be clearly specified. This surely should have been the position with regard to those persons to whom the Minister granted permission to work at Port Hedland. Surely conditions would have been laid down with regard to their occupation which they would have been obliged to observe. My understanding is that they were supposed to work only the Japanese dredge .V -1,…. Maru’. I am referring here to the sixty-odd recently brought from Japan. 1 do not include those who may still have been in Port Hedland and who had been brought out previously to work on the ‘Almeda’. The Minister told us in his reply today that the Japanese working the ‘Almeda’ had been in Australia for two years and were due for repatriation and that other Japanese had to be brought out to take their place.

It seems to me rather strange, if any genuine effort had been made to train an Australian or European crew during the two years the Japanese have been here, that it is still not possible to complete the crew without more Japanese. If the first permit given by the Minister or his Department has expired, as it evidently has, and Australians with the proper skill are still not available, then I suggest the Minister has not paid much attention to the policing of the conditions laid down - unless, of course, on the previous occasion no conditions relating to the training of Australians was included. But if the normal rules, as referred to by the Minister, in relation to the entry of nonEuropeans had been applied, then surely we would have been entitled to expect that Australians would have been trained. Although it is plain that Australians were not available I noticed with surprise that the Minister stated, in the answer he gave today, that action by the Commonwealth Employment Service, and advertising for labour by the contractors, had only just begun.

Referring again to the Minister’s claim that my questions were based on misapprehension, I wonder whether he realises just how and why suspicion is immediately aroused when permission is given for any number of Japanese, no matter how large or how small, to enter Australia, and particularly when they are brought in to work in the north of Australia, and more particularly still when no-one can ascertain exactly what is behind the move and also when, as has been the practice in the past, the decisions, the reasons for the permits and the conditions attaching to them are cloaked in secrecy. There are very good reasons for these suspicions and 1 would like to put the Parliament and the Minister in possession of a few of the reasons for the concern that is felt. I do this because ] believe it would be not only wise but also fair and proper in the circumstances, and because of what has happened in the past, to make all the facts public when such permits are granted.

Any permission given to people to enter Australia under an indentured labour system, or any system which may even suggest that it could be of an indentured nature, immediately and quite naturally causes concern, particularly since early 1965 when the president of the Employers’ Federation in Western Australia was reported as having said that the Federation had initiated positive action to build up the work force of Western Australia by a system of identured labour. The committee will note that he said that positive action had been initiated. He did not say may be or could be, he said it had been, and of course it is realised that this would have required the help or the backing of the Minister for Immigration who would have to give permission for this kind of labour to enter Australia.

The concern that was felt at that time was intensified later in 1965 when a Japanese industrialist was reported as having said while in Western Australia:

Japanese steel makers feel that Western Australian iron ore mines, ports and railways belong to them and should be manned by Japanese labour.

He went on to say:

If a Japanese tender to deepen the Geraldton harbour was accepted the Japanese would expect to do the work under Japanese labour conditions.

A reply given subsequently by the Liberal Premier of Western Australia indicated strongly that a State Liberal Government would not raise any serious objections to such an arrangement. In those circumstances it can readily be appreciated that the workers and the people generally in Western Australia become rather suspicious and concerned when they see Japanese being brought out to work on particular jobs, especially in the northern areas. 1 subsequently asked the Prime Minister of the day, Sir Robert Menzies, whether he would make a statement declaring where his Government stood in relation to the whole matter of Japanese intrusion into Australian industry. This was the reply I received: l regret to say I had not heard of the statement by the Japanese or of any comment by the Premier of Western Australia. I will certainly look into this matter. I think I might have pretty strong views on it myself.

If he did look into it he never gave us any indication of the result of bis investigations. Neither did he say what his or his Government’s attitude was to the situation which the Japanese industrialist had suggested. Certainly he never told us what his strong views were, whether they were strongly in support of what the Japanese gentleman had said or whether they were strongly against it - and of course we are never likely to find out now. But I would like to hear from the Minister for Immigration what his views are. In the circumstances [ have related it is no wonder that Australian workmen become concerned, particularly when neither the Minister for Immigration nor the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Bury) bothers to make any statement as to why it was found necessary or considered wise to grant permission for the entry of Japanese into Australia.

In his reply today, the Minister stated that the question of availability of Australians to perform the specialised work at Port Hedland had been the subject of close scrutiny by the Department of Labour and National Service, in consultation with the Department of Immigration. He went on to say that the first consideration was whether there were available, or whether there could be found within a reasonable time, Australians to perform any of the jobs involved. As such a close scrutiny was carried out to ascertain how many Australians were available, I have no doubt that the Minister would now have at his fingertips details of the methods of conducting this scrutiny. He would no doubt be able to say, for instance, whether an advertising campaign was conducted in the various States. I hope he would also know the number of Australians who had qualifications necessary for the specialist work to which he has referred. I would also be pleased if the Minister could tell us what is considered to be a reasonable time in which to find these people.

In his reply today the Minister stated that it would be the greatest disservice to Australian interests if efforts were made to introduce the question of politics into a situation where it was not warranted. I agree that it would not be proper to introduce politics into this matter. 1 raise this issue tonight because of the facts 1 have placed before the Committee, because of what has been said in Western Australia and because of the fact we have found it very difficult to get a reply from the Minister. He has dilly-dallied. Because of this, this question has caused a great deal more concern in Western Australia than it should have done. Perhaps if the Minister had come out into the open and given a complete answer to the question the dispute which has occurred would not have occurred.


– I wish ;o address myself to one aspect of the estimates for the Department of Immigration which has already been referred to by the honourable member for Wilmot (Mr Duthie). I refer to the returnee problem. Last year more than 20,000 former settlers left Australia. This is a loss which we cannot afford. The ‘Canberra Times’ of 31st May 1967 quotes the then Acting Minister for Immigration in an address to the Good Neighbour Council, as stating that Australia’s loss of migrants is too big to view with complacency. Since 1959 approximately 80,000 former settlers have left Australia. The Melbourne ‘Sun Herald’ of 10th September referred to the fact that in April this year more people left Australia than arrived. It stated that this was the first time that his had happened since 1946.

The Audior-General’s report points out that assisted migration last year cost Australia more than $26m. I am not suggesting that all of the departing migrants were assisted migrants. The Auditor-General’s report also pointed out that the cost of assisted passages ranges from SUS104 to $US266 per migrant. Overall I believe that the cost of bringing migrants to Australia is approximately $A150. I think it is generally accepted that within reason we need all of the migrants we can get. Only last week the Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden) signed an agreement with Italy. We are also seeking migrants from Turkey and other countries. I think it is generally accepted that we should find it easier to keep people who are here than to attract new migrants.

The question which is exercising the minds of many people is why migrants leave. Undoubtedly there are many reasons for their leaving, and the reasons that I shall give are not necessarily in the order of importance. Firstly there is housing, secondly home-sickness and thirdly employment. The honourable member for Boothby (Mr McLeay) has already referred to the lack of recognition of some overseas qualifications. I think that some migrants leave merely because they have failed to be assimilated or to settle down and possibly language difficulties have some bearing on this matter. It is possible for us to do something about some of these matters, but not about all of them. I think we should ask ourselves whose responsibility it is to do something about these matters. Is it the responsibility of the Government or of the people? I suggest that we each have some responsibility. The Government certainly is not responsible for all of these matters.

I believe that the Department of Immigration has first class officers both in Australia and overseas. These men are held in the very highest regard. They are doing everything possible to recruit migrants to this country. In spite of the keen competition which we are receiving from Canada and other migrant recruiting countries, these officers are meeting with success in their work. Perhaps we, the people, are letting the officers of the Department of Immigration down. The Australian people as taxpayers have a stake in holding as well as attracting migrants. After all, taxpayers’ money is involved. We should be seeing that we get the best value for the money we spend. We should not leave the matter entirely to the Government.

Recently I discussed with a very good friend of mine in the Melbourne Scandinavian community the returnee problem and also the matter of obtaining migrants. The question of the recruitment and assimilation of migrants from Scandinavia was raised. I believe that his views might assist in overcoming the problem of holding our present settlers not only from Scandinavia but from all countries. He suggested that up to date information ought to be available at our overseas offices regarding current employment vacancies. I believe that something along these lines is done, but a weekly bulletin should be published. This question is of particular interest to skilled workers and also to other workers. This friend of mine also raised the possibility of arranging employment, where possible, before migrants departed from Europe. He sugegsted that it might be possible in some instances to have a 3 months trial period, that is, a work contract, which would give both the employer and the migrant an opportunity of discussing the position and seeing whether they were suited to one another. He suggested that this would give the migrant a greater feeling of security during his initial period of adjustment. I believe that industry could well co-operate with the Government in such a scheme to its own advantage.

The Government could help by doing all it can to assist in the recognition of overseas qualifications. This question was well and truly covered by my friend, the honourable member for Boothby. On a couple of occasions I have travelled on a migrant ship from Fremantle to Melbourne or Sydney. I have asked migrants why they decided to migrate to Australia. Quite frequently they have answered: ‘Because I believe Australia offers me a better opportunity for my children’. I think that one of the things which upsets some migrants and causes them to return home or prevents them from being assimilated as they should is the fact that sometimes they are put in possession of false information. Recently I read in a newspaper a statement attributed to Mr James Jupp, a political science lecturer in Melbourne. 1 do not know whether he said what he is quoted as saying or whether it is correctly reported. But a newspaper reported him as saying that it is absurd to urge migrants to come to Australia to improve their chances for their children if we then deny these children scholarships if they and their parents are not Australian citizens. On checking with the Department of Education and Science I was told that that statement is quite wrong; that so long as migrants come here as permanent settlers and not as visitors and so long as their children sit for an examination in Australia, they are just as entitled to Commonwealth scholarships as are any other children. But they must qualify by passing an examination in Australia, not one in the country from which they came. I think that if this matter were given publicity it would clear up misunderstanding which exists among migrants. 1 wonder how many of us are prepared personally to welcome migrants? Quite often many of us, including members of the Opposition because I believe that Labor policy regarding migration is identical with our own, praise the Government but then leave it to the Government, to churches and to the Good Neighbour Council to make migrants happy after they arrive here. It is very easy to say: This is not my responsibility.’ We could all help by seeking out at least one recently arrived migrant family in our suburb or town. If we invited members of that family to our homes we could see whether they had any particular problems regarding assimilation. If we did this we would help some migrants to overcome home-sickness. Perhaps it might make all the difference between some migrants returning home or remaining in Australia. I also suggest that we would find such a practice very rewarding for ourselves by making many new friends.

I also believe that if we want to do more than pay lip service to our migration scheme, we ought to be doing something at the Government level to overcome the problem regarding residential qualifications for home finance and for the rental of housing commission homes. If we are to pay more than lip service we ought to give migrants who have come here as permanent settlers the same opportunities as are given to Australians. Once we accept migrants as settlers, wherever possible we ought to put them on the same basis as Australian born people. I realise that it is not always possible to do so and that it is not reasonable to put them on the same basis in all matters. For instance, I would not suggest that a migrant should come here and be able to become appointed to a permanent position with the Public Service immediately. I would not think that a migrant could come here when he is more than 60 years of age and immediately qualify for an age pension. But where it is possible to place migrants on the same footing as ourselves we ought to be doing it.

Some migrants have difficulties settling in Australia because of language problems. I know that the Department of Immigration has spent millions of dollars establishing a sound migrant education programme. A few weeks ago it was my privilege to open in Melbourne on behalf of the Minister for Immigration a migrant education vocational school. A suggestion was made to me by one of the teachers attending that school that the Government might give consideration to producing a television session using the situation method with home audience participation as a means of improving migrant education. I pass on that suggestion for what it is worth for the experts to deal with. Finally 1 believe that we ought to be doing more to inform migrants that we have a deep sense of national pride and that in becoming naturalised Australians they are becoming citizens of a country of which they can be justly proud. I have in my hand the 1963 edition and the annual report of the Immigration and Naturalisation Service of the United States of America. A paragraph relating to citizenship states:

Each year September 17, the date of the signing of the Constitution, is proclaimed by the President as ‘Citizenship Day’ and the beginning of ‘Constitution Week’. In many instances, Service representatives appeared on radio and television or participated personally in suitable public observances sponsored by civic, fraternal, and patriotic organisations. Whenever possible, final naturalisation proceedings were conducted on ‘Citizenship Day’ in conjunction with the commemorative ceremonies held in local communities. 1 realise that we encourage naturalisation ceremonies to be held on Australia Day, but I believe that if we did something along the lines of what the Americans are doing it would quite likely help us to retain a greater percentage of the migrants whom we are now able to attract to Australia.


.- I regard the Department of Immigration as perhaps the most worthwhile department that we have. How satisfying it has been over the years to see families coming into Australia from many other countries and making a new life in Australia. Some have suffered great hardship and sadness. Some of the earlier settlers had lost practically all their worldly possessions while they were overseas. Many had their properties and farms confiscated and had to start new lives right from scratch. The steady stream of migrants has come mainly from Europe, but that is now a much more settled area and is much stronger economically. In recent years in Europe there has been a heavier demand for labour. Consequently it is not so easy now to attract these folk. To add to our difficulties, other countries are competing strongly with Australia for these people. But this is not the time for pessimism and inaction. I was pleased to hear of the overseas visit by the Minister for Immigration in order to call on the governments of other countries and to see our various migration officers in Europe and the Middle East. I believe that of all the visits overseas by Australian businessmen, members of the Cabinet and other Ministers, the visit by the Minister for Immigration could have the most favourable results for Australia. I think he should go more often.

Despite obvious difficulties this could be the beginning of an exciting period in our migration programme. Only last week in King’s Hall we witnessed the signing of a new migration and settlement agreement between Italy and Australia. Perhaps the most important benefits of the scheme are the assisted passages to Australia. It will make settling in this country a very attractive and exciting proposition. Fiances, wives and unmarried sisters of migrants already in Australia will be eligible for this assistance. These provisions will be welcomed by the Italian community living in Australia. In any activity a difficult year tests the ability of an organisation to prove its worth. I believe that the Department could well rise to the challenge this year. It has begun the year well with the Minister’s visit overseas. The signing last week of the document to which I have referred was a direct result of that visit.

The Greek Government also has agreed to permit the fiances of Greeks in Australia to receive assisted passages for the journey to Australia, subject to the production of a certificate from the civic or ecclesiastical authorities in Greece attesting the engagement. It is well known that many young Greek men come to Australia, establish themselves by working very hard and then bring out their families. These people, because of their industry and capacity for long hours of work, have filled a gap in the work force and in our business community. I was delighted to hear this encouraging news. I believe that we will see a considerable increase in the number of migrants who come to us from Greece.

I am confident that the flow of migrants will snowball. These people will return to their native countries in future years, as friends of mine did recently to Italy, and will help to increase the flow. Eight years ago a Finnish carpenter came to Australia. Later he joined the Lutheran Church as a pastor and in June of this year he took a group of thirty-four of his parishioners back to Finland on a 3-month visit. This trip aroused great interest in the Press in Finland. Honourable members can imagine the impact that this visit had on people in that country when they realised that this group, after a few short years in a country on the other side of the globe, could afford a 3-month holiday. It stirred the imagination of the Finnish people and the migration programme was stimulated accordingly.

This is not the end of the benefits which will be derived from the Minister’s over seas visit. We heard earlier in the evening about his visit to Turkey and other countries. I am quite sure that in the near future further results will flow from his visit.

The results of the earlier migration programme are now being demonstrated. I should like to mention one instance of a family which came from Malta. The family arrived in Australia 12 years ago bringing with it very little money. The family had to rent a house in Melbourne for which they paid $24 per week. There was a father, a mother and a family of six ranging from young adults down to a child of 9 years. The father came to see me the other day. He and his wife now own their home and he works as a court interpreter. The eldest son, Anthony, is now aged 37 years. He is married and has a very good job in the Victorian Railways. He has three children. The next son is married to an Australian girl and they have three children and they are expecting another. The third son is highly qualified and works in a Commonwealth department. He is married with two children. The fourth son is an electrical inspector with a very progressive public company. He is quite young but is married and already has one child. They all own their own homes and each has a car. The fifth son was married last week. The baby of the family, a girl, is expected to be married in December to an Australia boy. What one family has been able to achieve in Australia within a few years can be seen.

We hear much of the few disgruntled people who want to return to their own countries, but what of the thousands of happy families who have settled into the community? The case I have mentioned can be multiplied many times. I stress that the Minister should place strong emphasis on this aspect of our overseas publicity. More emphasis should be placed on family units who come to Australia like the family I have mentioned. These happy people should be encouraged to take periodic trips overseas. They are well established in Australia and would not fail to return. I should like to see them go to their own countries for brief holidays. It may be worth while for the Government to consider subsidising such trips. The members of these families could be used on occasions in the Australian immigration posts in European countries.

They could tell the people, in their own tongue, of their happiness in Australia. The results could be quite dramatic.

Before I conclude 1 should like to refer to the special assisted passage programme that was established last year. This scheme provides up to $335 towards the fare of a migrant to Australia, and it is already showing results. The programme is designed to help people who are ineligible under bilateral assistance schemes. We are already getting a larger proportion of skilled workers through this scheme which has placed the proposition of migration to Australia within the reach of some firstclass people, but if skilled workers are to come to Australia employers must make the best possible use of their skills, their workmates must be asked to make them welcome and the community must accept them into the street where they will live. About 6,000 of these folk came here last year under this scheme and we are expecting up to 17,000 this year. In closing I emphasise the need for attracting more family units to Australia and I urge that the happy well settled migrants should be enabled to go overseas to encourage other people to come to Australia.

I know a man in the Sunshine area who has helped 5,000 people to settle in Australia. He is a migrant. He is the kind of fellow who should be sent overseas to talk to his countrymen, who could be used overseas as a means of publicising this great country and who could influence his countrymen. I strongly support the provision of funds for the important work of the Department.


– I think we are all agreed that the migration programme since the war has been a spectacular success. Whether we be in Opposition or in Government, we agree that the continuation of this migration programme is of realimportance to Australia as a nation, and its development could be seriously hindered if the programme were to slow down. In the years immediately after the war we were operating virtually in what could be crudely called a ‘buyer’s market*. There were people in Europe who had nowhere to go and all we had to do was to select the people we wanted and provide them with the necessary transport to Australia. These people are now well settled here and are part of the Aus tralian community and are doing a good job for Australia. Most of these people, because of the manner in which they came here, have had to suffer some set backs in standards. They possibly have not been able to enter into those trades that they worked in in Europe before the war or before they became what was then called displaced persons’. It is strange but we seem to use more names for migrants than for any other group of people. These people were easy to acquire in the immediate postwar years. Our major problem then was deciding which people should come to Australia and which of the millions who wanted somewhere to go should be excluded. With the passage of time migration has moved from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market and it is now far more difficult to attract migrants from some countries than it was in earlier times.

One person in every six in Australia at the present time was born outside Australia. The percentages of migrants in Australia show that British and Italian migrants are the largest single groups in the country. However, the percentages show a disturbing falling off in migrants from those countries in northern Europe where the standards of living, possibly because of the European Economic Community and possibly because of the recovery of those countries, are equal to or nearly equal to the standards of living here. The number of migrants from those countries who are returning home is alarming. Dutch migrants are leaving Australia at the rate of one for just more than every one who comes here. German migrants are leaving at the rate of one for every four who arrive. This is a high rate.

I have worked with migrants and have discussed the situation with them and, whether or not their grievances are real or imaginary, they are dissatisfied with the social services to which they become entitled in Australia as compared with those available in their home countries. Environment is another important factor. However, their main concern is with the lack of availability of medical treatment and social services. This seems to be very important to them. The southern European migrants come to Australia and set up chain migration patterns by bringing their relations to Australia and establishing their whole family grouping here. These people are becoming a bigger sector of our migration population ever)’ year and it will not be long before the Italian migrants are the highest single group in Australia.

Among the problems that cause people to leave Australia - and whether they are right or not, they should be brought to the attention of the Committee - are homesickness, disappointment with housing, disappointment with the employment standards they are able to achieve and loneliness. Loneliness must be a big problem for a person who comes to Australia and who is unable to speak our language. Many southern European men are virtually without female companionship because there are not sufficient girls of their own nationality available. This causes serious loneliness which can be relieved to some extent in the inner suburbs where such migrants live in large communities, but some southern Europeans have little hope of settling down to married life and raising a family because there are not enough girls to go around. This problem is being partially solved but it is a major problem and is the cause of a lot of migrants leaving Australia.

When a migrant first arrives in Australia he normally goes into a migrant hostel. Whilst the Department has plans to improve the standards of hostels, over a long period of time the hostels have had anything but a friendly and bright atmosphere for people arriving in a new and strange environment. They were probably satisfactory as temporary emergency measures when they were first constructed but they are highly unsatisfactory now. They give migrants a bad impression at the start. It is quite possible that migrants could get a chip on their shoulders when they are in these hostels and subsequently develop the attitude that everything else is wrong.

The honourable member for Boothby (Mr McLeay) mentioned the number of people who were able to return to their homelands and said that this was an indication that these people had done well in Australia. I suggest that many more migrants would leave Australia if they were able to raise the necessary finance and could afford the economic loss involved. Homesickness is one of the problems that beset migrants, especially women, who come to this country and leave their friends and families. The Government could assist by making it easier for these people to visit their homelands at least once in their lifetime. The financial burden of a visit to Europe on a normal family is such that it could never be borne out of wages without some assistance. The Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr Swartz) made a statement today on charter flights. The importance that migrants place on getting home for even a short visit can be seen from the number of British clubs that sprang up all over Australia in 1965 and 1966. People joined these clubs to charter planes to go home to England for a holiday or to bring their relatives to Australia for a few weeks. They were prepared to spend large sums of money in order to do this. They felt that the expenditure would be worthwhile because they could satisfy themselves that their families were all right or that their homelands were as they remembered them.

I think it is important that migrants, especially women, should be able to make a short visit to their homeland at some stage. Consideration should be given by the Government to the introduction of a scheme to make this possible. I think that after 5 or 6 years residence in Australia a migrant quite obviously is a permanent settler and the Government could well allow the reasonable cost of a trip to his or her homeland and return as a tax deduction that could be claimed over a period of 4 or 5 years following the return to Australia. I also think that satisfied migrants who are able to go to Britain or elsewhere in Europe on holiday are the best form of advertising that we can get. There is no better advertisement than a contented migrant. The worst form of advertising that we can get is discontented people and these constitute the majority of migrants who are returning to Europe. They go home and tell other people about conditions in Australia although perhaps the real reason for their return is homesickness, failure to adapt to a new way of life or something of that kind. Some may have had professional qualifications which could not be used in Australia and which were too valuable to be lost and so a return to their homeland was the only solution. T think that it is worth considering the possibility of helping those who have settled in Australia to visit their homelands at some stage during their lifetime. This is probably the best thing that we could do to encourage further migration to Australia.

Few of us can imagine the problems that confront people who come to a strange country and who do not speak the language or understand the customs. Something more should be done to help migrants to become assimilated. The language problem is particularly difficult. Children are most important because no matter what their age they must immediately fit into an education pattern. Many children suffer because they are not capable of coping with the language difficulties at school. I recently read of a case in Victoria in which a Greek boy of about 14 was put in form fi at high school because of his age. He had a limited knowledge of English. When it was found that he was making no progress whatsoever investigations were made and it was found he had completed about 2 years schooling in Greece. He was in fact close to being classified as illiterate in the Greek language and therefore had little or no hope of coping with the English language at this particular level.

I think that far more could be done to make sure that migrant children are capable of coping with the courses that they will have to undertake. It may be necessary for children to be placed in special schools for a short period so that they can be brought up to the necessary standard. I think it is most unfair to put a migrant child who has a limited knowledge of English into a normal school and expect him to cope because quite obviously he will fall behind. But more important is the fact that he will suffer from an inferiority complex due to the mental stress of trying to cope with something which he has no hope of doing. There is nothing worse than being confronted by a task that one cannot possibly do. If migrant children are forced to leave school and take up employment in the lower paid ranks their parents will be less satisfied than they would be if they knew that their children were receiving all the opportunities that had been held out as an inducement to migrate to Australia. The children of migrants will benefit this country every bit as much as the migrants themselves and I think it is worth while spending a little money to make sure that the children receive the maximum benefit from being in Australia and that Australia receives the maximum benefit from having them.

Mr Andrew Jones:

– I congratulate the honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes) on the moderation in tone of his remarks. I was fortunate to be congratulated last Thursday afternoon by the honouable member for Lang (Mr Stewart) upon the moderation in tone of my speech. So it seems that some newcomers to this Parliament are learning after all. Before I say something that I hope will be of substance tonight, I want to draw the attention of the House to some statements by the honourable member for Bonython (Mr Nicholls) as reported at pages 932-7 of Hansard of 7th September this year. The honourable member saw fit to criticise me on some statements that I had made in a Grievance debate 2 or 3 weeks earlier. On reading Hansard I find that his sole contribution during a 27-minute speech was simply to say that I was wrong and that he was right. He did not say that my remarks as reported in Hansard were incorrect. In fact when talking about the State immigration scheme he said: This is the complete reverse of the immigration scheme administered by the Commonwealth Government*. I only hope that the honourable member is quite happy in his own electorate in South Australia because there are many South Australians who are not particularly happy with the position that exists in that State at the moment. I stood up in the Grievance debate to speak on this subject, not with the view to undermining the development of a once prosperous State but merely to point out to honourable members on both sides of the House the deplorable position in which we in South Australia find ourselves today. Even the Premier of South Australia has been forced to agree that there is a high degree of unemployment in that State - in fact the highest in Australia - and that the position does not seem to be improving. So I trust that in future the honourable member for Bonython will be more cautious in his remarks and that before delivering a 5-page speech he will concede that perhaps there was some substance in what I had to say originally.

It is not my intention to detain the Committee for long but I wanted to add something to what was said in this debate by the honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes). No doubt immigration is playing an important and useful role in the wellbeing, welfare, and economic security of Australia. It would seem that under the scheme started by the former Leader of the Opposition, the right honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell), Australia has been highly successful in obtaining migrants from foreign countries. Not having had a great deal of experience in immigration - I have not been here long enough to gauge what is right or wrong - I would like to confine my remarks to one specific aspect of immigration. I agree with the remarks passed by the honourable member for Corio on the aspect of education of migrants. This is a problem in the community today but it is heartening to read the annual report of the Department of Immigration and to learn of the steps that are being taken to deal with this problem. 1 am concerned about the young people, married or unmarried, in the 18 to 30 years age group, living in Europe and the United Kingdom. I must compliment the Government on its initiative in signing a migration agreement with the Italian Government. I also compliment the Government on its initiative in negotiating with the Turkish and Dutch Governments. I am sure that the announcement made at the weekend that assisted passages will be made available for single Dutch migrants will be well received by the Australian people. But there is one thing that we in Australia would do well to look at. I am aware that to date a great deal of time, money and energy has been spent in trying to impress upon prospective migrants in Europe and elsewhere that Australia is a lucky country. We claim that Australia is a young people’s country. In my opinion Australia is a young people’s country. I believe that we would do well to spend more time encouraging recently married young people in Europe, and particularly England, to migrate to Australia.

In my opinion the ideal migrant is not necessarily the person in the 30 to 40, 40 to SO or SO to 60 years age groups because most people over the age of 30 years have settled down. They have applied themselves and gained their job qualifications. They have settled into industry. They have roots in their homeland and in many cases they would be reluctant to migrate. If our immigration programme is to continue to operate successfully greater attention must be paid to prospective migrants in the 18 to 30 years age group. We must impress upon these people that conditions in Australia are as good as, if not better than, conditions in their homeland. But J am firmly of the opinion that young people today cannot easily be convinced that great opportunities exist in Australia. Only this afternoon I was speaking in Canberra with two officers of the Department of Immigration. The conclusions I drew from the informative and frank discussion were that on the one hand young people in the world today are prepared to go for opportunities and forget to a certain extent security, but on the other hand they are reticent about getting up and getting out, especially when they live in a welfare state or in the type of economy that exists in certain European countries. This attitude is most important for Australia.

I think that at present between 31% and 32% of our migrants are in the 20 to 30 years age group. This is a high percentage but this is the type of migrant we must have, not only now but in the years to come. This sentiment has been echoed before and honourable members on both sides will be aware of it. But if we are to interest young people from Italy, Holland, Scandinavia or Turkey, if an agreement is signed, in migrating to Australia it is not enough for us to say that we have opportunities in this country; that we have a high standard of living and a high level of sophistication. We must show them that Australia is big enough to accommodate them and that we want them to come here. I firmly believe that in the years to come many more people will be interested in migrating to Australia if they can be sure that they can take advantage of the opportunities which certainly exist here, because youth today is not so much concerned necessarily with security as with consolidating the opportunity to build bigger and better things. Some older members of this Parliament on both sides may not know what I am getting at, but to a certain extent I am an example of what I have been talking about. A greater number of people in America, Europe and elsewhere would be prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that exist in Australia if only they knew where those opportunities existed and how they could take advantage of them. Certainly this job is being performed effectively at the moment by the Department of Immigration.

So my intention in speaking tonight is nol so much to qualify or to reiterate what has been said by other people, although I am aware that I have done this, as simply to pose a question the answer to which I do not know, although I am working on it. If in fact Australia be a young country, and if in fact we must have greater migration in the years to come in order to build up our economy and make a greater Australia, how do we influence o greater number of young people to migrate to Australia to take advantage of the opportunities that exist here? Do young people today want security or opportunity? How can these questions be answered? What in fact can be done? I think the answer generally is that young people are prepared to stick their necks out - I have done so a couple of times and I know what it is like - if the goal is worth while.

I compliment the Government on its overall migration programme but I know, as do many honourable members, that there are many more possible migrants in those countries from which our successful new settlers have come. I would like to see the Government paying greater attention to our overall immigration programme particularly with a view to appealing to people in the 18 to 30 years age group now living in European and Latin countries.


– 1 speak on the subject of immigration for a few reasons.

Mr Nixon:

– Who is this honourable member? Is this a maiden speech?


– Although I may be something of a stranger in this place, this is my 25th year in Parliament. I have seen the immigration scheme grow from the time of its inception. I have just returned, as honourable members are probably aware, from a private tour of Europe during which I took the opportunity, as a matter of personal interest, to study the progress of what is a great Australian achievement - our immigration programme. Only one or two matters have unanimous support in this Parliament and one of them is the immigration programme sponsored by the Labor Government. I do. not say that in any party political sense, but one of the great political achievements of our time has been the growth of our immigration programme and the unanimous support it has received from both sides of the Parliament. Immigration has made a substantial contribution to the growth and development of Australia, the country we love so much.

I recently had the opportunity to go abroad and, with the co-operation of officers of the Department of Immigration and the Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden) to study the immigration programme at first hand. I express my thanks to the Minister and to his officers, whom I see here tonight, for the assistance given me. They helped me to see what it is possible to do and what must be done. I pay a tribute tonight to the staff of the Department, not only those at home but also those abroad. They render a magnificent service to this country by their zeal, their energy and the real Australianism that they express throughout the work) in their support of the programme that means so much to us. The officers overseas are well chosen. They are making a great contribution and do all they can to further the immigration programme. For my part, I thank them for their co-operation. They made it possible for me to see what was being done in Europe and in Great Britain in an effort to attract migrants to Australia. These officers face many problems in the administration of the immigration programme.

I know that in the political game it does not do to praise an opponent, but I think that the Minister, on his recent tour abroad, gave an impetus to the Australian immigration programme. The Minister for Immigration should travel abroad as much as does the Minister for External Affairs. These days the competition from Canada and other countries for migrants is keen, and unless our name is constantly before the people in the countries where we seek to obtain migrants we will not get them, no matter how good we think our country is. The Minister created a tremendous impression in Greece. That is the information that I gathered during a recent visit to that country. He also made a substantial contribution in other parts of the world to our scheme to attract migrants. The Minister for Immigration, whether he be a member of the Australian Labor Party or the Liberal Party, must travel. He should present himself in other countries and put the credentials of Australia before other people. If he does not, we may not attract the type of immigrants wc need. Without wanting to praise a member of the Government, I think the Minister, to the utmost of his capacity, made an impartial appeal to the people of Europe to migrate to Australia. He realises how valuable and necessary it is for us to have more people here. I mention this tonight because I had the opportunity to see the effects of his visits and 1 know the impact that a representative of the Government, or of the Opposition for that matter, can make on people who may be thinking of coming to Australia.

I have heard it said that increased efforts to attract migrants do not matter much. In one European country - for the moment I forget which it was - the Canadians have set up an immigration centre. A prospective migrant can go there at the beginning of the day and, provided he passes the security checks, he will be accepted for migration to Canada within 24 hours. This is the type of competition that Australia faces in Europe, ft is no good saying that Australia is a country with plenty of sunshine and so on. Many other countries also can offer sunshine. Anyone who has been in Europe during the summer knows that it is not necessary to sell sunshine to Europe. At that time of the year, it is quite hot. Our migration officers, as representatives of this country, aTe doing a tremendous job all over the world in trying to attract migrants. I commend them for their efforts wherever they may bc, because they have a difficult task. But migration has the united support of all members of the Parliament. Quite impartially and non-politically, I say that, whichever side of the Parliament we come from, we want to see the immigration programme succeed, because it means much to Australia. I conclude my comments on that point by congratulating all the responsible persons, from the right honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell) to the present Minister, for their contribution to the development of Australia and for their efforts to attract migrants.

A number of problems face the officers who are trying to attract migrants to Australia. I will not avoid the issue. Our involvement in Vietnam mitigates against the attraction of migrants from Great Britain and other countries. People will not come to Australia if they think that their children ultimately will be engaged in a war. I do not say that in any party political sense, but a person would not be human if he did not consider that factor when thinking of migrating to Australia. Advertising and publicity are tremendously important. I notice that for this year the Government has allocated $1,439,000 for advertising and publicity out of a total expenditure on immigration of $44m. I say quite frankly that that is not enough. Unless the Government - this Government or any other Government - is willing to increase substantially the expenditure on this item it will not be able to attract to this country the type of migrants we want. Any business with a financial outlay of that kind would spend many millions of dollars in an effort to sell its products.

I had the opportunity while I was in Great Britain to visit centres where the Department of Immigration has set up offices. I say to the Department that if it wants to attract migrants it is no good going into back streets. Its shop front must be. in the centre of the great cities of Britain and other places. If the Department has offices in back streets it will not attract the migrants. If a country such as Australia, with all the advantages that it has to. offer, cannot spend a few million dollars on advertising, it will not attract migrants. Other countries are witting to spend money on advertising. The days are long gone when we could say that we have sunshine, fresh air and a span of 10,000 miles from Europe and attract migrants. Last year half the migrants to Australia flew here inside 44 hours, lt is no good saying that we will take migrants away from Europe and give them a 4 or 5 weeks tour on a ship so that they can forget the troubles of

Europe. All these problems must be faced at this time. That is why I say to the Minister, to his officers and to the Parliament that we must spend money on publicity and that we must advertise extensively the advantages we have to offer to people. In every way we must try to attract migrants. If we do not, we will find that migrants are not available.

One of the greatest barriers is the lack of housing in Australia. I do not envy the officers of the Department who must try to sell migration to people in Europe and other places when they cannot offer a house for almost an unlimited time. The secret of the success of an immigration programme is not only to be able to offer people employment and so on but to be able to say: Within a given time we will provide you with a home similar to the one you have left or a home of the type you want and so settle you in a new country in a way that will be beneficial to you and that will make you happy and contented’. Housing is very important and must be considered in framing an immigration programme.

Now I want to say a few words about the way that people are treated by the Department of Immigration when they enter this country. I think the most incompetent, inefficient and overbearing immigration officials I have ever seen are those in the United States of America. I recently had the experience of lining up for a wait of 2 or 3 hours so that I could obtain permission to spend a couple of hours visiting a certain part of America. But when I arrived at Fremantle in Western Australia I found that within li hours the officers of the Department of Immigration in a most competent and courteous manner - they did not know me from Adam; I just lined up in the ordinary way with other passengers - had with little inconvenience processed up to 2,000 passengers from a huge liner. I suggest that Americans and others who complain about the treatment given to them by immigration officials in this country should go back to their own countries and see how their own immigration officers process people who are passing through on transit visas.

Let me say, without praising the Minister for Immigration, the Department and its officers unduly, that they do a commend able job for this country. It is good that we have a bipartisan policy in immigration. I hope that the efforts of the Department and its officers to attract people to Australia will be successful in the ultimate. I just want to say, however, that I believe that the Department is in some ways a little old fashioned in its methods, lt ought to give women more opportunity. The Minister is a handsome and progressive young man and I admire him for some of his ideas on immigration. 1 believe that women in the service of the Department should be afforded an opportunity to participate in our immigration programme both at home and abroad. They should be appointed to posts in other parts of the world, for example. Women must be encouraged to play their part. In many respects, they can make a great contribution to our immigration programme.

I believe that every member of this Parliament knows that the efforts of all associated with the Department since its inception have been guided by the idea that people wishing to come to Australia should be encouraged. In this respect, the officers of the Department arc setting a fine example to others in the Public Service who sometimes seem to be motivated by the wish to knock people back. The Department and its officers have always done their utmost to give just treatment to all and to accede to representations made by all members of the Parliament. 1 believe that the departmental officers have always endeavoured to do justice to those with whom they deal and to make a worthwhile contribution to Australia’s immigration programme.

I trust that my few observations will be helpful to the Minister and that he and whoever may succeed him in the portfolio will acknowledge the need to travel extensively abroad and sell the wares of Australia, in the immigration sense, to the people of other countries. Only in this way shall we attract all the migrants that we want. To all associated with the Department of Immigration, both at home and abroad, let me express my personal thanks for the co-operation that they have always given to me in relation to the affairs of my electorate and all other matters on which I have made representations to them in the course of their administration of a great humanitarian programme that has meant so much to the people of this country.

Minister for Immigration · Bruce · LP

- Mr Chairman, this has been a most exhilarating debate for me to listen to. Speakers on both sides of the chamber have manifested a great deal of genuine interest in the problems of immigration and especially those involved in integrating into the Australian community the great number of newcomers who have arrived here under our immigration programme. Honourable members have also demonstrated a detailed appreciation of the changed circumstances that now exist compared to, say, 15 years ago. We are now seeking migrants in a seller’s market, as it was described by the honourable member for Boothby (Mr McLeay) and the honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes). I shall consider all the points that have been made. I do not believe that at this point of time I should respond immediately to the suggestions that have been put to me. I would prefer to give them mature consideration. They have been made in a spirit of helpfulness and constructive criticism and I shall consider them in that light. Where

I have an opportunity to adopt them or to develop ideas arising out of them, I shall certainly do so.

The only matter raised that calls for any immediate reply by me, I think, was that mentioned by the honourable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr Collard). The fact is that this afternoon I had already given the answer to the question that he raised. Listening to the honourable member in this debate, one might have been excused for thinking that he had either not heard or not read what I said this afternoon. I reiterate it now. though I shall not take up the time of the Committee by restating it. I am quite sure that if the honourable member looks at the report of what I said this afternoon and gives it due consideration, as I hope he will, he will realise that the answer that he was seeking had already been given.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Progress reported.

page 1623


Bill returned from the Senate without amendment.

House adjourned at 11.6 p.m.

page 1624


The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:

Northern Electorates: Booths and Votes (Question No. 361)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister tor the Interior, upon notice:

  1. Which polling booths are located at (a) cattle stations, (b) church missions and (c) government settlements in the Northern Territory and in the electoral divisions of Kalgoorlie, Kennedy and Leichhardt?
  2. How many votes were cast at those polling booths for each candidate at the last House of Representatives elections?
  3. How many votes were cast at the polling booths in those divisions for and against each of the proposed laws at the last referendums?
Mr Anthony:

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

Polling Booths in Northern Territory:

At cattle stations - nil.

At Church missions - Angurugu, Bathurst Island, Croker Island, Daly River, Elcho Island, Goulburn Island, Hermannsburg, Milingimbi, Oenpelli, Roper River, Rose River, Santa Teresa, Yirrkala.

At Government settlements - Amoonguna Areyonga, Bagot, Bamyili, Borroloola, Delissaville, East Arm, Hooker Creek, Maningrida,Papunya, Snake Bay, Umbakumba, Warrabri, Yuendumu.

Polling Booths in Division of Kalgoorlie:

At cattle stations- Cherrabun, Christmas Creek, Gibb River, Go Go, Ord River, Tableland.

At Church missions - Beagle Bay, Cosmo Newberry, Cundeelee, Forrest River, Kalumburu, Lombadina, Mowanjum.

At Government institution - Derby Leprosarium.

Polling Booths in Divisionof Kennedy.

At cattle stations - Lake Dunn, Barcaldine Downs, Malvern Hills, Terrick, Minnie Downs, Toliness, Strathmore, Tiree, Glenlyon, Mantuan Downs, Nandowrie, Malboona, Werna.

At Church missions - Mornington Island.

At Government settlements - Woorabinda.

Polling Booths in Division of Leichhardt:

At cattle stations - Nil

At Church missions - Aurukun Mission, Hopevale Mission, Hammond Island, St Pauls Mission.

At Government settlements - Yarrabah, Edward River Mission, Lockbart River Mission, Weipa, Kowanyama, Badu Island, Bamaga, Boigu Island, Coconut Island, Cowal Creek, Darnley Island, Dauan Island, Horn Island, Kubin Village, Stephen Island, Mabuiag Island, New Mapoon, Murray Island, Saibai Island, Warraber Island, Yam Island, Yorke Island.

To preserve the secrecy of the poll, the law provides that where the number of votes recorded at a polling place is less than 100, such votes must be amalgamated with votes recorded at other polling places before being scrutinised. Accordingly, it is not possible to indicate the number of votes cast for each candidate at each small centre but the following tables show the number of votes cast for each candidate at several groups of polling places which include the polling places referred to in Question 1.

  1. To preserve the secrecy of the poll, the law provides that where the number of votes recorded at a polling place is less than 100 such votes must be amalgamated with votes recorded at other polling places before being scrutinised. Accordingly, it is not possible to indicate the number of votes cast for and against each of the proposed laws at each small centre but the following tables show the number of votes recorded for each question at several groups of polling places which include the polling places referred to in Question 1.

Conventions (Question No. 383)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for

External Affairs, upon notice: 1. (a) To what conventions drafted or reviewed at international conferences at which Australia was represented since his answer to me on 27th October 1966 (Hansard, page 2366) could Australia become a party?

  1. Where, when and under what auspices were the conventions drafted or reviewed?
  2. Which were supported and which were opposed by Australia?
  3. Which have entered into force?
  4. To which has Australia already (i) become a party and (ii) decided not to become a party?

    1. What further developments have taken place in relation to the conventions referred to in my questions which he answered on 12th October 1965 (Hansard, page 1722) and 27th October 1966.
Mr Hasluck:

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

  1. (a), (b), (c), (d), (e). The following conventions were drafted at conferences at which Australia was represented:

    1. Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
    2. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Additional Protocol

These two Covenants and the Additional Protocol were drawn up by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at New York on 16th December 1966. Australia supported the adoption of the Covenants and Protocol and the question of Australian participation is under consideration. None of the instruments has yet entered into force.

  1. Treaty on the Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space including the Moon and other Celestial Bodies

This treaty was drawn up by the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and was commended by the United Nations General Assembly on 19th December 1966. Australia supported the commendation of the treaty and has signed it. The question of Australia’s becoming party to the treaty is under consideration. The treaty has not yet entered into force.

  1. Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees

The text of this Protocol was drawn up by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees following the Colloquium on Legal Aspects of Refugee Problems at Bellagio from 21st to 29th April 1965. It was commended by the United Nations General Assembly on 16th

December 1956. Australia supported its commendation. The question of Australia’s participation in the Protocol is under consideration. The Protocol has not yet entered into force.

  1. Convention on the International Hydrographic Organisation

This Convention was drawn up by the International Hydrographic Bureau at the Ninth International Hydrographic Conference in April 1967 at Monaco. Australia supported its adoption and has signed the Convention. The question of Australia’s becoming a party to it is under consideration. The Convention has not yet entered into force.

  1. International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to Maritime Liens and Mortgages
  2. International Convention relating to Registration of Rights in respect of Vessels under Construction
  3. International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules relating to the Carriage of Passenger Baggage by Sea The text of these three Conventions were established at the Diplomatic Conference on Maritime Law held at Brussels from 16th to 27th May 1967. Australia abstained from voting on their adoption and is not a party to any of them. The question of Australia’s becoming a party to these Conventions is being considered. None of the Conventions has entered into force.
  4. Maximum Weight Convention, 1967 (No. 127)

This Convention was drawn up at the International Labour Conference held at Geneva from 7th to 29th June 1966. Australia opposed its adoption. The question of Australia’s becoming party to it is being considered. The Convention has not yet entered into force.

  1. Invalidity, Old-Age and Survivors’ Benefits Convention, 1967 (No. 128)

This Convention was drawn up at the International Labour Conference held at Geneva from 7th to 29th June 1966. Australia supported its adoption and the question of Australia’s becoming party to it is being considered. The Convention has not yet entered into force.

  1. Memorandum of Agreement on the Basic Elements for the Negotiation of a World Grains Agreement

This Memorandum of Agreement was drawn up by the Cereals Group of GATT at Geneva and opened for signature on 30th June 1967. Australia supported its adoption and is a party to it. The Agreement has entered into force.

  1. International Grains Arrangement 1967 with two Legal Instruments, a Wheat Trade Convention and a Food Aid Convention

This Arrangement which consists of a Preamble and two Conventions was drawn up by the International Wheat

Council in co-operation with UNCTAD at the International Wheat Conference held at Rome in July and August 1967. The Conventions incorporate the basic elements agreed on in the GATT Kennedy Round negotiations on cereals as recorded in the Memorandum of Agreement mentioned in (xi) above. Australia supported the adoption of the Conventions and it is proposed to introduce legislation in the present session to approve Australia’s becoming a party to them. The Arrangement with its Conventions is not yet in force.

  1. Convention establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization, 1967

This Convention was adopted by the Stockholm Intellectual Property Conference. Australia supported adoption of the Convention. The Convention has nol yet entered into force. The question of accession by Australia is under consideration.

In additionto those treaties and conventions listed in my answer of 28th October 1966, one other convention drawn up since October 1965 should be included:

  1. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 1966.

This Convention was drawn up by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 7th March 1966. Australia has signed the Convention. Ratification, by Australia is being considered and to this end consultations are taking place between the Commonwealth and the States. The Convention has entered into force.

The following conventions were reviewed at conferences at which Australia was represented:

  1. Protocol extending the Arrangement regarding International Trade in Cotton Textiles, 1962

This Protocol was drawn up in Geneva by the Cotton Textiles Committee of GATT in April 1967. Australia supported its adoption and the question of Australia’s becoming a party to it is under consideration. The Protocol has not yet entered into force.

  1. International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law respecting Assistance and Salvage at Sea, 1910

A protocol modifying this Convention was drawn up at the Diplomatic Conference on Maritime Law at Brussels from 16th to 27th May 1967. Australia supported its adoption and the question of Australia’s becoming a party to it Is under consideration. The protocol hasnot yet entered into force

  1. Internationa] Wheat Agreement, 1962

A protocol for the further extension of this Agreement was drawn up in London by the International Wheat Council in April 1967. Australia supported its adoption and is a party to it. The protocol has entered into force

  1. International Sugar Agreement, 1958

A protocol for the further extension of this Agreement was drawn up in London by the International Sugar Council on 23rd June 1966. Australia supported its adoption and is a party to it. The protocol has entered into force.

  1. Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, 1886, as revised at Brussels on 26th June 1948

This Convention was revised at the Intellectual Property Conference held at Stockholm from 12th June to 14th July 1967. Australia supported the revision of the Convention. The question of including in the Copyright Bill 1967 now before the Parliament the changes made in the Convention at Stockholm is under consideration. The Stockholm revision of the Convention has not yet entered into force.

  1. Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, 1883, as revised at Lisbon on 31st October 1958

This Convention was revised at the Stockholm Intellectual Property Conference. Australia cannot become a party to this Convention until the legislation necessary to give’ effect to certain changes in the Convention made at Lisbon in 1958 as well as to the changes made at Stockholm this year has been enacted. The question of this legislation is under consideration. The Stockholm revision of the Convention has not yet entered into force.

  1. ‘Madrid Agreement concerning the International ‘ Registration of Trade Marks, 1891 as revised at Nice on 15th Juna 1957
  2. Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration, 1958

These Agreements were revised at the Stockholm Intellectual Property Conference. The Stockholm revision of these Agreements has not yet entered into force. Australia is not a party to the principal Agreements and consequently did not vote on the revision.

  1. Agreement of the Hague concerning the International Deposit of Designs and Industrial Models, 1925, revised at London on 2nd June 1934 and at the Hague on 28th November 1960 and completed by the additional Act of Monaco of 18th November 1961

The Act of Stockholm on 14th July 1967 complementary to the above Agree-, ment was adopted by the Stockholm Intellectual Property Conference. This Act has not yet entered into force. Australia is not a party to the principal Agreement and consequently did not vote on the revision. (xxtv) Nice Agreement concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services to which Trade Marks are Applied, 1957

This Agreement was revised by the Stockholm Intellectual Property Conference. The revision was supported by Australia. Adoption by Australia of the Stockholm revision is dependent upon accession by Australia to the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

  1. In relation to the conventions to which the honourable member’s question refers, the following developments have taken place:

    1. The undermentioned conventions entered into force on the dates shown:
    1. International Telecommunication Convention - 1st January 1967.
    2. 1962 Amendments to the Convention on the Pollution of the Sea by OilAmendments to Articles I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XVI and XVIII on 18th May 1967, and the Amendments to Article XIV on 28th June 1967.
    3. Convention on the Transit Trade of Land-locked States- 9th June 1967.
    4. 1964 Amendments to Articles 17 and 18 to the Convention on the International Maritime Consultative Organisation will enter into force on 6th October 1967.
    5. The International Convention on Load Lines, 1966 will enter into force on 21st July 1968.

    6. Australia has become a party to the following conventions:
    1. Convention against Discrimination in Education, 1960 - Australia’s Instrument of Accession was deposited on 29th November 1966 and the Convention entered into force for Australia on 1st March 1967.
    2. Convention concerning Customs Facilities for Touring, 19S4 and Additional Protocol - Australia’s Instrument of Accession was deposited on 6th January 1967 and the Convention entered into force for Australia on 6th April 1967.
    3. Customs Convention on the Temporary Importation of Private Road Vehicles, 1954 - Australia’s Instrument of Accession was deposited on 6th January 1967 and the Convention entered into force for Australia on 6th April 1967.
    4. Customs Convention on Containers, 1956 - Australia’s Instrument of Ratification was deposited on 6th January 1967 and the Convention entered into force for Australia on 6th April 1967.
    5. Customs Convention on Welfare Material for Sea-farers, 1964 - Australia’s Instrument of Ratification was deposited on 9th January 1967 and the Convention entered into force for Australia on 9th April 1967.
    6. International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea, 1960 - Australia’s Instrument of Acceptance was deposited on 13th January 1967 and the Regulations entered into force for Australia on that date.
    7. International Telecommunications Convention, 1965 - Australia’s Instrument of Ratification was deposited on 25th January 1967 and the Convention entered into force for Australia on that date.
    8. 1962 Amendments to the Pollution of the Sta by Oil Convention - The Commonwealth Pollution of the Sea by Oil Act has entered into force and the Pollution of the Sea by Oil Regulations have been amended to give effect to the 1962 Amendments of this Convention. Australia has notified the Depository Organization that the Amendments have been put into effect in Australia.

    9. Action is being taken on the following treaties and conventions:
    1. Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and Optional Protocol concerning the Compulsory Settlement of Disputes, 1961 - Legislation to give effect to the provisions of the Convention is now in force and it is proposed to ratify the Convention and Protocol shortly.
    2. Convention on the Safety of Life at Sea, 1960 - Australia has indicated its intention of accepting the Convention when appropriate legislation is in force. The necessary amendments to the Navigation Act have been made and drafting of the comprehensive amendments to the regulations is well advanced.
    3. Convention on Load Lines, 1966 - Amendments to the Navigation Act and the Load Line Regulations are being prepared to enable the Convention to be accepted by Australia.
    4. Convention for the Suppression of Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, 1950 - Consideration is at present being given to Australia’s becoming a party to this Convention.
    5. Convention on the Political Rights of Women, 1953- Australia’s position in respect of this Convention is presently under review.
    6. Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, 1954 - Consideration is at present being given to Australia’s becoming party to this Convention.
    7. Convention concerning the International Exchange of Publications, 1958 and
    8. Convention concerning the Exchange of Official Publications and Government Documents between States, 1958 - The question of Australian participation in these two Conventions is at present under consideration.

Universal Copyright Convention, 1952 - Legislation to enable Australia to accede to this Convention and the Protocols associated with it is contained in the Copyright Bill 1967 which is now before the Parliament.

  1. In relation to the International Labour Organisation Conventions, 1 refer the honourable member to the answer provided by the Minister for Labour and National Service to his Question No. 391 on 7th November 1967 (Hansard, page 1021).
  2. The undermentioned countries have become parties to the following conventions listed on pages 3059 to 3063 of Hansard (16th and 17th November 1964):

    1. Democratic Republic of the Congo.
    2. United Kingdom.. 10. (a) United Kingdom. 10. (b) United Kingdom.
    3. Democratic Republic of the Congo.
    4. Democratic Republic of the Congo, Greece, Yugoslavia.
    5. Ireland, Malta, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago.
    6. Ireland, Trinidad and Tobago.
    7. Ireland, Norway, Singapore, Portugal, Romania.
    8. Netherlands (1965), United Arab Republic (1965), Iran (1966), Democratic Republic of the Congo.
    9. Ireland, Portugal.
    10. Italy, Finland.
    11. Brazil, Czechoslovakia, China, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Trinidad and Tobago. In addition New Zealand and Nigeria should have appeared in the original list.
    12. Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Gambia, Indonesia, Ireland, Romania, Somalia. In addition Denmark and Finland should have appeared in the original list.
    13. Iran, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
    14. Information has now been received that the following states are parties to this Convention: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, Iraq, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland. Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia.
    15. Information has now been received that the following states are parties to this Convention: Austria, Belgium.. Bulgaria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Finland; France, Hungary, Iraq, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain,

Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia.

  1. Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  2. Belgium, Finland, Iceland, Israel, Switzerland. The Amendments to Articles I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XVI, XVIII are now in force for all Contracting Parties and the Amendment to Article XIV for all Contracting Parties excepting Poland.
  3. Denmark, Norway, Sweden.

Commonwealth Aid Roads Funds (Question No. 474)

Dr Patterson:

asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

Is he able to say whether Federal funds for main roads in Queensland are being used on many low priority jobs and whether high priority development and export producing roads are being ignored?

Mr McMahon:

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

Under the Commonwealth aid roads legislation each Stale has to spend not less than 40 per cent of the moneys which it receives each year on rural roads, other than highways, trunk roads and main roads. Apart from this condition, however, the detailed allocation of these road grants as between various road projects or various areas is a matter entirely for determination by the Government of each State. The States are not, therefore, required to submit details of the projects on which they spend these grants and in many cases it would not be possible to say whether a particular road project was financed from Commonwealth aid road grants or from funds derived from State sources. Accordingly, I am not able to comment on the honourable member’s question.

Commonwealth Aid Roads Funds (Question No. 475)

Dr Patterson:

asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

Can he say whether Federal funds are being used by the Queensland Main Roads Department to construct a highly expensive four-lane highway to the Mackay Harbour in the electorate of the Queensland Minister for Main Roads when other main roads and bridges in the same electorate, and in adjoining electorates, with more urgent priorities, are being ignored?

Mr McMahon:

– See answer to question No. 474.

Transport in the North of Australia (Question No. 479)

Mr Collard:

asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

  1. Did the report of the Loder committee suggest that it was desirable that sales tax on motor cars and station sedans, etc., should be substantially reduced if the vehicles are purchased and used in the north of Australia?
  2. Did it also suggest that sales tax should be removed from tyres and spare parts purchased and used in the north?
  3. Was it also suggested that precautions may be necessary to ensure that the vehicles are used almost exclusively in the north for at least three years?
  4. Has the Government made any investigations into the ways and means by which the suggestion could be implemented? If so, with what result?
Mr McMahon:

– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows: 1 , 2 and 3. Yes.

  1. Yes.- Administrative and constitutional considerations would preclude implementation of the Loder committee’s suggestion.

Transport in the North of Australia (Question No. 480)

Mr Collard:

asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

  1. Was it stated in the Loder report that sales tax might be abolished on (a) air conditioning equipment, (b) electric fans, (c) electric stoves, (d) refrigerators and (e) all other major household electrical appliances sold in northern Australia?
  2. Was the opinion also expressed that such items were essential in the north because of the climate and were also conducive to a better home life and a more contented and stable population?
  3. If so, does the Government intend to take action during this Parliament to implement the recommendation?
Mr McMahon:

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

  1. Yes.
  2. Yes.
  3. At the time the Loder committee submitted its report, in September 1965, domestic electric stoves were already exempted from sales tax. The rate of tax on household fans and air conditioners, then 121/2%, was reduced in the 1966-67 Budget to 21/2%, the rate applicable, both then and now, to domestic refrigerators, domestic electrical appliances, domestic deep freeze units and washing machines.

Revenue considerations have precluded the general exemption from sales tax of such items of domestic equipment; administrative and constitutional considerations preclude an exemption restricted to items sold in Northern Australia.

Transport in the North of Australia (Question No. 482)

Mr Collard:

asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

  1. Was it stated in the Loder report that the generally allowable rate at which transport vehicles used almost exclusively in Zone A are depreciated for income tax purposes might be trebled?
  2. If so, has the Government given the suggestion any serious consideration?
  3. If the Government has considered the matter, has any decision been made in relation to its implementation?
Mr McMahon:

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

  1. Yes.
  2. Yes.
  3. It is not considered that a case exists for, or that any purpose would be served by, disturbing the present provisions of the income tax law under which rates of depreciation on vehicles are determined by the Commissioner of Taxation on the basis of the effective life of the vehicles. Any taxpayer who is dissatisfied with a decision of the Commissioner in relation to a rate of depreciation determined for his vehicles may have the decision reviewed by an independent Taxation Board of Review.

Beef Roads in Queensland (Question No. 484)

Dr Patterson:

asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

  1. What are the criteria used by the Federal Government in assessing the justification for providing funds for individual beef roads in Queensland?
  2. What guarantee has the Commonwealth that the State Government will spend beef road funds on the most urgent priority roads within these specific criteria?
Mr McMahon:

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

The roads included in the beef roads programme for which the Commonwealth has been providing financial assistance to the Queensland Government were selected having regard predominantly to the contribution they are likely to make to the economic development of the beef industry, as compared with the costs involved. The roads were selected by the State Government and the Commonwealth Government in consultation, and specified in the agreement between the Commonwealth and the State governing the provision of the Commonwealth’s financial assistance.

Commonwealth Aid Roads Funds (Question No. 485)

Dr Patterson:

asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

In the allocation of Federal Funds to the States for main roads construction is any direction given to the States by the Federal Government in regard to the manner in which these funds should be spent on particular priorities or areas?

Mr McMahon:

– See answer to Question No. 474.

Electoral (Question No. 513)

Dr Patterson:

asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:

  1. Which polling booths are located at (a) private houses, (b) farms and (c) tents or sheds in the electoral division of Dawson?
  2. How many votes were cast at those polling booths for each candidate at the last two elections for the House of Representatives?
  3. What was the cost to the Commonwealth of operating each of these booths at each of these elections?
Mr Anthony:

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

  1. Polling booths in Division of Dawson -

    1. At private houses, Koonkool, Alton Downs, Kunwarara, Bushley, Nebo Road.
    2. At farms- -Coreen, Kooingal, Alma Creek, Don River, Goomaram, Coominglah, Harrami, New Cannindah, Splinter Creek Bridge, Drummer’s Creek, Ferry Hills, Moolboolaman, Tirroan, Melrose Station, Mt Dalrymple, Netherdale, Cliftonville, Sunnyside, Mt Martin, Dumbleton, Etowri, Conway, Lower Gregory, Mt Proserpine, Mt Marlow.
    3. At tents or sheds - Scotia, Redbank Gully, Yukan Siding, Wagoora.
  2. and 3. To preserve the secrecy of the poll, the law provides that where the number of votes recorded at a polling place is less than 100, such votes must be amalgamated with votes recorded at other polling places before being scrutinised. Accordingly, it is not possible to indicate the number of votes cast for each candidate at each small centre but the following tables show the number of votes cast for each candidate at several groups of polling places which include the polling places referred to in Question I.

Loan Council: Semi-Government Borrowings (Question No. S56)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

  1. What was the text of the resolution passed by the Loan Council concerning the size of the borrowing programmes for State semi-government authorities which require the Council’s approval?
  2. What were the dates and texts of previous resolutions passed by the Council on this subject?
Mr McMahon:

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

The minutes of the Australian Loan Council are confidential to the members of the Council, and 1 am therefore unable to provide the precise texts of resolutions. However, at the conclusion of its last meeting on 29th June 1967 the Loan Council authorised me to say that in future the borrowing programme for semi-government authorities for which approval should be sought under the gentlemen’s agreement should include those authorities seeking to borrow amounts greater than $300,000 in a financial year Up to 1961-62 the gentlemen’s agreement, originally entered into by members of the Loan Council in May 1936, applied to authorities seeking to raise £100,000 ($200,000) or more in a year. As a result of a decision reached at the June 1962 meeting of the Council, authorities subject to the gentlemen’s agreement were defined as those proposing to borrow more than £100,000 ($200,000) in a year. This arrangement applied for the financial years 1962-63 to 1966-67 inclusive.

National Gallery

Mr Harold Holt:

– On 30th August, the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden) asked me a question without notice about the possibility of a national art gallery being established in Canberra. In reply I said that I would examine the present position.

A committee was appointed by my predecessor to report on the proposal for a National Art Gallery in Canberra. On 16th October 1965, the committee inserted an advertisement in the daily Press in all States inviting suggestions from persons and organisations interested in the development of an art gallery in Canberra. I am told that all submissions received were acknowledged and carefully examined by the committee. However, if the honourable member gives me the name of any person whose submission was not acknowledged, I shall be glad to have further investigations made into the matter.

The committee’s report is at present under consideration and I propose to make an announcement when a decision has been reached.

Film Censorship (Question No. 542)

Mr Hayden:

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

Will the Minister institute an ‘X’ certificate for films which would allow them to be seen uncut at cinemas by adults?

Mr Howson:
Minister Assisting the Treasurer · FAWKNER, VICTORIA · LP

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

The provision of an ‘X’ certificate for films would not guarantee their being shown uncut. Countries which use ‘X’ certificates do cut films to which that classification is subsequently applied. The purpose of an ‘X’ certificate is .to indicate that children cannot view the film concerned.

The classifications currently applied to films for theatrical use are provided for in the legislation of those States which have agreements with the Commonwealth. They are imposed by the Commonwealth Film Censorship Board which is named as the appropriate authority in the laws of the States concerned.

The introduction of an ‘X’ type certificate is therefore primarily the responsibility of State Governments. The enforcement of such a certificate would demand State legislation restricting the admission of children to theatres screening ‘X’ certificate films.

Should the States agree that variation of the present classifications is desirable, I would be prepared to consider any proposals they might make on this matter.

Film Censorship (Question No. 543)

Mr Hayden:

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

Will the Minister review the banning of the film Ulysses’ with a view to allowing it to be screened uncut to those mature, adult Australians who would choose to see it should it be so screened?

Mr Howson:

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

No. The film was refused registration after screening before the Commonwealth Film Board and, subsequently, the. Appeal Censor, on the grounds that it contravened Regulation 13 of the Customs (Cinematograph Films) Regulations.

Regulation 13 relates,- inter aiia, to films which, in the opinion of the Board, or on appeal, in the opinion of the Appeal Censor, are blasphemous, indecent or obscene or likely to be injurious to morality or to encourage or incite to crime.

Film Censorship (Question No. 544)

Mr Hayden:

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

Will the Minister accord the internationally recognised Australian Film Festival freedom from censorship consistent with the practice in other countries which provide this freedom for internationally recognised film festivals?

Mr Howson:

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

No. The membership of film festivals in Australia is both extensive and representative within the community. For this reason it it considered that films for festival screening should not be treated differently for censorship purposes from those intended for normal commercial exhibition.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 3 October 1967, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.