26th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr SPEAKER (Hon. W. J. Aston) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
Mr BENSON presented a petition from certain citizens of the Commonwealth praying that this House will make a survey of the full requirements of pensioners of all types and adopt a policy for the progressive liberalisation of the means test resulting in its removal within three years.
Petition received and read.
Similar petitions were presented by Mr Fox and Mr Bryant.
Petitions severally received.
Mr CHARLES JONES presented a petition from certain electors of the Commonwealth praying that the Government implement Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by providing increased social service and housing benefits for the aged, the invalid, the widowed and their dependants.
Petition received and read.
Dr J. F. CAIRNS presented a petition from certain citizens of Australia praying that the amending National Service Bill be defeated so that it may have no effect.
Petition received and read.
-I ask the Minister for Shipping and Transport a question. I have read, and have verified, that at a function that the Minister attended after the launching of a tanker in Newcastle last Friday, his Australian Country Party colleague, the New South Wales Minister for Public Works, said, certainly not for the first time, that the Federal Government had not followed through the policy it announced 5 years ago for having coastal oil tankers built in Australia and the Minister for Shipping and Transport himself said that all was not well in our shipbuilding industry and that government subsidies might not be enough to enable the shipyards to compete. I ask the Minister what the Government has done or is doing to ensure that coastal tankers are built in Australia and when the Government will ask the Tariff Board to report again on the shipbuilding industry. I point out that previous references to the Board were made at much shorter intervals - in March 1954, December 1957 and September 1962 - that the Board’s first two reports were presented to the Parliament 2 years after reference and the last one 20 months after reference, which is 4 years ago next month.
– It is true that after the launching of the fourth Australian built tanker at Newcastle last Friday night I made some comments about the necessity for the Australian shipbuilding industry to take an introspective look at its present efficiency. I made a statement which suggested that towards the end of this year it would be necessary for the Tariff Board again to look at the assistance that the Government might provide for the shipbuilding industry, and the extent to which the Tariff Board would make this inquiry one of the factors in which it would be interested and in which the Government would be interested would be the capacity of the industry to play a continuing part not only in the employment of Australian labour but also in the utilisation of the skills that we regard as being necessary at this stage of our industrial development.
At the same time it is necessary that there should be a measure of competition with those shipyards outside Australia which are building ships principally for operation in international trade. Throughout the operation of the Government’s shipbuilding subsidy there has been an increased availability of techniques and skills here, but at the same time perhaps there has been within some yards not the measure of economic operation that one might wish to see. At this stage I am not able to advise the Leader of the Opposition as to the future and the results of an examination by the Tariff Board other than to say that towards the end of this year it is expected that another reference will be made to the Board. Then it will be for the Government to examine the Board’s report in due course.
– Is the Treasurer aware of the chaotic conditions existing because of the lack of deliveries of fruit to ships in
Tasmania? Does he realise that such conditions may be alleviated by the long awaited decision of the Devaluation Reporting Committee? Can the right honourable gentleman give the House any indication as to when a decision will be announced?
– I knew that the apple and pear industry in Tasmania was undergoing great difficulty. Unfortunately we have not yet been able to obtain a report from the Devaluation Reporting Committee on the effect upon the price of Tasmanian apples of the British devaluation of sterling. The Government instituted inquiries in Tasmania and the information obtained is now being collated. It is expected that the committee will report to the Prime Minister next week. To get an Australia-wide appreciation of the problems inquiries have been made in Western Australia as well as in Tasmania in order to ascertain the average price there and consequently the average price for Australia as a whole. As late as this morning I had discussions with the Acting Minister for Primary Industry in order to see whether we might hasten the recommendations of the Committee. I have been informed that it is hoped that the Committee’s report will be in the hands of the Government by some time next week. I hope then to be able to discuss the situation with the Acting Minister for Primary Industry and the Prime Minister so that we can later make a quick decision in the matter.
– I ask the Prime Minister a question. By erecting a wall around the Lodge, at a cost of $20,000, is the right honourable gentleman following the example of Louis Napoleon who redesigned Paris in 1860 to make revolution more difficult and to prevent hostile demonstrations by frenzied crowds? Is the wall designed to keep the right honourable gentleman out, to keep him in or to keep people out? Does he seek protection from demonstrators against the Vietnam war or the hordes of advocates of local government and revolution from Deakin, Yarralumla and Forrest, or is he afraid of an uprising amongst members of the Diplomatic Corps? Is the wall modelled on that of Berlin and patrolled by armed conscript national service trainees, instructed to shoot on sight any citizen or demonstrator venturing into the twilight zone? If so, will the Prime Minister arrange to advertise the time of the changing of the guard at Gorton Hall in order that visitors and residents of the area may witness this historic ceremony?
– Some of the reasons suggested by the honourable member for the construction of a wall around the Lodge are somewhat fanciful. The real reason for the wall is the widening to a six-lane highway of the road which runs beside the Lodge and which is now coming so close to it that a wall appears to be necessary.I would like to assure the honourable gentleman and all of his colleagues on the other side of the House that the wall will have none of the features which the Berlin Wall is said to have and therefore there will be no danger to any honourable member opposite who may seek to cross it in order to defect.
– I ask the Minister for the Army a question. Have the minimum periods of training per year in the Citizen Miltary Forces been altered recently? If so, why? Is the change in the interests of saving money or reducing efficiency?
– There have been some changes in the training periods operative within the Citizen Military Forces. Those changes are not new. They are effective as at July of last year, although their promulgation did not take place until February of this year. The changes do not constitute any major change of policy and certainly do not entail any downgrading of the CMF. The compulsory number of training days has not been altered, although the number of days which a member of the CMF can take at his own volition has been reduced from 53 to 33. Against this, the maximum number of days which a member of the CMF may take should he be interested, and should his training justify, has been increased from 78 to 100.I emphasise that overall there has not been, nor is it intended that there should be, a reduction in the total number of training days or in the financial appropriation available to the CMF. While on this subject might I reply to some Press comments about the role of the CMF. In the first place the CMF is designed to produce backup forces in the case of defence emergency. In the second place it is designed to produce a nucleus of trained nien to enable expansion of the Army to take place in case of general war. I believe that the CMF is playing an effective role in meeting these objectives. But 1 certainly would not want the House to take this answer as a manifestation of any disinclination to believe that there are challenges associated with the Citizen Military Forces. There are challenges, and they are receiving my close attention at the present time.
– Did the Minister for Education and Science imply in his answer to me on Tuesday last that the amount of $5m envisaged by the Martin Committee as an interim Commonwealth contribution to the capital cost of teacher training payable in 1965-66 was in fact the .only contribution for this purpose intended by the Committee? Did he compare this $5m for 1965-66 wilh an amount of $24m promised by the Government 2 years later and payable subsequently in three instalments of S8m? Did he omit to mention that the Martin Committee recommended, in addition to grants for capita) expenditure, grants for recurrent expenditure in the same way as grants are made for other forms of tertiary education? Did he omit to mention that the Government has refused to make such grants? Having all these matters in mind, will the Minister admit that his suggestion that the Commonwealth has done more for teacher training than was recommended by the Martin Committee is unfounded?
– I would not admit that my suggestion that the Commonwealth has done more than the Martin Committee recommended is unfounded. The honourable member mentions a figure of S5m. This would have been provided under the arrangement by which the States would provide a matching amount, so that the Commonwealth would have been involved to the extent of only $2.5m. Even if the honourable member projects this amount in a capital manner into the future he will find that it would take some time to work up to the figure of $24m, which is an unmatched capital grant by the Commonwealth to the States for this purpose.
Furthermore, the proposal to provide unmatched capital funds for teacher training - the figure of S24m may not have been precisely stated - was one which I believe had the unanimous support of the State Education Ministers. Certainly it was put to the Commonwealth that teacher training was one of their greatest needs. The contributions being made by the Commonwealth will considerably increase the places available in the various States for trainee teachers. I do not believe that the honourable member can truly contend that if the precise recommendations of the Martin Committee - and precision in this respect may bc difficult because the recommendations were not very clearly expressed - had been followed we would in fact have been doing more. I do not believe this. I believe we would have been doing less.
– Has the MinisterinCharge of Aboriginal Affairs seen reports of typhoid fever at the mission station on Elcho Island? Js it true that as a result of outbreaks of this disease certain quarantine restrictions have been imposed and some Aboriginals have temporarily lost their employment? What social service relief will be given to Aboriginals who are out of work because of these quarantine restrictions?
– I have seen such reports and they have concerned me, particularly as they are not the first reports of typhoid fever in this area. There have been earlier reports of the occurrence of this disease. I have already asked my office to get in touch with the Department of the Interior and the Department of Health so that the background to this may be thoroughly investigated and measures may be taken, if necessary, for the protection and benefit of the Aboriginal community. Quarantine restrictions naturally have been imposed in the area, and as a result probably some Aboriginal people, particularly at Elcho Island, will be temporarily out of employment. I have discussed this with my Department, and those Aboriginals who are out of work because of quarantine restrictions will receive exactly the same social service benefits as are available to other
Australians. As the House may know, in the past my Department has paid a special benefit at the normal rates to Australians in other parts of Australia who have been out of work because quarantine restrictions have had to be imposed on them to protect the general health of the community. Exactly the same arrangements will obtain in the Northern Territory.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Health, ls it a fact that substandard drugs are being manufactured in Australia by organisations using the well known names of reputable overseas firms such as Knolls of Munich? ls it true that the paracetamol substitute takes 120’ minutes to disintegrate when taken as against 2 minutes for the high grade drug and that as a result patients do not obtain the expected relief from pain and often experience gastric upsets afterwards? Does the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee insist that doctors prescribing drugs must use the generic name of the drug rather than the trade name? Can the Minister explain the reason for this or is there any truth in the suggestion that the use of the generic name allows bogus or unscrupulous manufacturers to produce a drug of inferior quality which, although a little cheaper to purchase, is actually dearer in the long term because the recovery time of patients is much slower?
– I am interested in the point of view put by the honourable member in his question because I clearly remember the Leader of the Opposition on several occasions making speeches in which he put exactly the opposite case and told us how much money the Government could save if we compelled generic prescribing of drugs instead of the use of brand names. I think the honourable member should get together with his leader on this matter. The answer to the honourable member’s question about whether the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee compels prescribing pharmaceutical benefits by generic names is no. The pharmaceutical benefits list contains both the brand name and the generic name. A doctor can prescribe drugs for his patients by the brand name. In fact I am informed that most doctors do this.
In relation to the other matters raised by the honourable member, I am not aware of the particular drug or the particular company he has mentioned. The Commonwealth Government has control only over the quality of drugs imported and which are listed as pharmaceutical benefits or are used for the Commonwealth’s purposes. All these drugs are tested by the National Biological Standards Laboratory, which is controlled by my Department, both initially, before being placed on the list, and from time to time thereafter to ensure that the quality is maintained. In respect of drugs manufactured in Australia and which are’ not listed as pharmaceutical benefits, the responsibility for ensuring adequate standards rests wilh the States.
– I address my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Works. Does he recall that over the past 18 months I have made constant representations tq him, as has the honourable member for St George, for urgent reconstruction work along the waterfront at Brighton le Sands, Botany Bay? Has the Minister heard the news that in the past 2 days over half a mile of Brighton le Sands waterfront land has collapsed into the bay, including a large number of historic pine trees and several hundred yards of concrete promenade? Does the Minister further recall that approval was given to the Department of Works last September for the spending of $220,000 on this reclamation work? As this work has not been started yet does the Minister agree that the Department of Works has been dilatory in tackling this urgent problem? Finally, will the Minister for Works see that his Department concentrates its efforts immediately on the waterfront at Brighton le Sands to prevent further erosion, the destruction of dozens of houses in Grand Parade, and the destruction of General Holmes Drive, which is the main artery to Mascot Aerodrome?
– During my term as Minister for Works I received many requests from both the honourable member for St George and the honourable member for Barton in relation to .this matter. We admit that the erosion has been caused by the extension of the runway out into Botany
Bay. It was a difficult technical question to decide what effect the extension of the runway would have on the action of the waves. The wave action that has taken place has certainly caused a considerable erosion problem, and this was the problem to which the two honourable members drew my attention while I was the Minister for Works. I am glad to be able to tell the honourable member for Barton that the Department of Works went to tender on this matter in, I think, March of this year. Tenders closed in April, I think, and today a letter of acceptance is to be sent to the company which won the tender with a price of $105,000. This will set in motion further work to remedy the position.
– Has the Prime Minister noticed a considered statement by the Liberal Premier of Victoria, Sir Henry Bolte, that the Commonwealth Government regarded people as just statistics and that the Commonwealth Government was solely responsible for restrictions upon the use of drought relief funds in Victoria for the purpose of eliminating drought-caused unemployment in the metropolitan area, particularly among meat workers? Is Sir Henry correct in attributing the blame to the Commonwealth Government? If so, can the Prime Minister really say that the drought did not cause the unemployment? If not, why is this restriction imposed? Will he remove the restriction, which is bringing hardship to many people?
– I have not seen the considered statement from Sir Henry Bolte but I have seen Press reports of a statement on the lines suggested by the honourable member. But as T think I have explained to the House before, drought relief funds are made available, insofar as they are made available to overcome unemployment, to help those in drought affected areas who have become unemployed as a result of the drought. The provision of this money is, as to 75% if I remember correctly, for wages and for such things as channelling, guttering, improvements and whatever else might be required. This will continue to be the policy of and the guideline followed by the Australian Government.
– My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. We are aware of the right honourable gentleman’s statement yesterday about the appointment of an advisory committee to help develop plans for Australian participation in Expo 70 which is to be held in Osaka, Japan. I refer to a recent edition of the respected magazine ‘Japan Architect’ and specifically to an article under the caption Expo 70 News’ in which reference is made to ‘the regrettable withdrawal of Australia because of economic difficulties’. Because of its worldwide circulation I view this statement as being both regrettable and damaging to the confidence that we command in the eyes of other nations. 1 ask the Prime Minister: At any time was there any foundation for such a claim? Secondly, will he, through his Department, request this magazine to make a correction in an attempt to repair the damage already perpetrated?
– The answer . to the honourable member’s question is: No, there was never at any time or any stage any question of Australia withdrawing from Expo 70. In fact a great deal of work has been done already. Architectural design has progressed to a very considerable extent. The Commissioner, Admiral Morrison, has left or is leaving within a few days for Japan to make further advances in this field. I confidently believe that the Australian exhibition at Expo 70 will be at least as good as the Australian exhibition at Expo 67, which attracted considerable support from all parts of the world. I imagine that if this report appeared in the magazine to which the honourable member refers it must be a complete and pure mistake on the part of the editor of the magazine, lt is possible that he mixed us up with another country with a similar name. I will suggest to the editor of the magazine that a correction be made, though just on what page the correction would be printed would be a matter for the editor of the magazine.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. Has the Minister yet turned his attention to the confusion that can, and I think must develop in award making within the Federal system in less than 3 months time when the 30% deferred metal trades assessment of December last comes before the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission at the same time as the promised economic review case is to be heard? Will the Minister specially turn his attention to this matter and, keeping in mind the present build-up before the Commission of award work value applications, most of which will not be, and cannot be, heard before August, see whether it is not possible to have suitable objective instructions given to counsel representing the Government as will assist the trade union movement and the Commission in resolving the industrially explosive elements resident in the present situation?
– I think the honourable member somewhat exaggerates the situation. The first step that I particularly have in hand at the moment is increasing the number of commissioners to handle this work. As the honourable member knows, on Tuesday I announced in the House the appointment of one commissioner. 1 hope to add to the number as quickly as I can. He also will realise that there is a Bill before the House which, if approved, will facilitate the appointment of suitable commissioners. The honourable member referred to the’ instruction of counsel. This is one of the matters that is- always- given consideration. As and when required, we do take the appropriate steps. But it ‘ is difficult to answer such a question in general terms. In practice, we act in response to specific cases. The honourable, member may be assured that I shall always do my best to facilitate the proper workings of the system.
– My question, which, is addressed to the Minister for the Army, is further to the question asked by the honourable member for Chisholm. Has the Minister seen a letter written by Paul A. Cullen, Major-General, retired, which was published in the Press last Saturday? If I. may, I will refresh his memory by reading one short extract. The letter stated:
My own experience in the AIF and CMF, and on the Military Board until retirement, has convinced me that given the financial allocation so often requested and equally often refused, the CMF could carry out all necessary roles with absolute reliability.
At present, however, the Army is suffering
-Order! The honourable member will ask his question.
– I ask the Minister whether he can explain to me how a reduction in the days of training from 52 to 33 makes for a more effective backup force or a more effective mobilisation force. Can he advise me whether Major-General Cullen, retired, was formerly member of the Military Board and preceded the present sitting member of the Board?
– In the first place the reduction has been from 53 to 33 days, not from 52 to 33. In general terms, as I emphasised in reply to an earlier question, the net effect of the changes which are being made will not involve any overall reduction in the number of training days. This is because, although the number of days of training which a member of the Citizen Military Forces can take at his own volition has been reduced from 53 to 33 - and in this sense obviously . there is a reduction in training at the same time - the maximum number of days- which a -member can take should he be interested’ and should he justify further training has been increased from- 78 . to 100. Overall, this change is designed merely to rationalise previous procedures to allow for greater flexibility in thatching the value of expenditure on pay in the CMF with training requirements. 1 have no doubt that the arrangement will meet - this objective. As I understand the situation, there is no overall reduction in training. The present conditions, which have been operative for some time, will meet the requirements of the CMF. I understand that when the matter went before the Military Board there was a unanimous decision.
– I address a question to the Postmaster-General. It is now 2 years since he tabled the report of the Weeden Advisory Committee on. Educational Television Services which was appointed in January 1964. My question is based on paragraph 63 of the report which in part states:
Insofar as an immediate policy for educational television is concerned,- if the remaining channel in each of the larger capital cities is not reserved the opportunity to develop educational television in the VHF band will be permanently lost
I ask: What steps have been taken in the 2 years since the tabling of the report to ensure that if educational services are intro- ‘ ducedthey can be picked up by our present television sets? What progress has been made in introducing educational services in the form recommended by the Weeden Committee or in any other form during these 2 years when such services have been greatly expanded in comparable countries?
– Following receipt of the report of the Weeden Advisory Committee on Educational Television Services, the Commonwealth Government, knowing something of what was happening in relation to educational! television in Australia, asked the State Education Ministers to meet with representatives of the Commonwealth to discuss the matter. The present Prime Minister, who was then Minister for Education and Science, joined with me in those discussions. lt was ascertained that in some States there was considerable keenness to use television for educational purposes but in other States there was a lack of general enthusiasm. It was decided that the State Ministers should look at the. situation and, if necessary, we would have another meeting. Last year, after the passage of 9 or 10 months, I wrote again to the State. Ministers asking them whether they desired to have another meeting to discuss the matter. Three of the Ministers indicated that they were interested and three indicated that they still wanted to do a good deal of work in their own States before they would.be ready to consult again with their opposite numbers in the other States and with Commonwealth Ministers.
– Can the Minister say which three States?
– I could not indicate this to the honourable member offhand. As to the reserving of a channel for educational television, the general view of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board is that the one remaining channel in the VHF band will be insufficient if there is to be a comprehensive educational television system in operation throughout Australia. The belief is that if we are to have an appropriate educational television system it will benecessary to use more than one channel. Because of this it would be necessary to go into the ultra high frequency band rather than the very high frequency band so that there would be an adequate- number of channels available for school’ purposes. It is believed that as this is something which would be used in the school rather than in the home special sets would be necessary and- it would not really be inconvenient for the schools to have sets appropriate to the receipt of transmissions on the UHF band as against the VHF band. So I say to the honourable member that this is not something which has been overlooked. It is something in which I am actively interested. But it is a matter of the States showing a real interest in this question rather than its being something of spasmodic interest.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Social Services. As there appear to be strong moves for the abolition of the means test on age and invalid pensions, before such removal1 takes place or even before there is a substantial easing of the means test will the Minister give aa assurance that any easing will not be at the expense of the present pensioner and that in future pensions will be at the highest level which our economy can stand?
– I can give the honourable member the assurance that the Government is looking with the greatest attention at this and related questions. The honourable member will remember the Prime Minister’s own statement in regard to this matter, which is the guide line for the members of the Government who are considering it and who will be making recommendations concerning it. Obviously the question raised is one of policy at the highest level. It would , appear that there is some kind of competition regarding the best application of valuable resources. I can give the honourable’ member the assurance, however, that in the words of the Prime Minister, the needy will have their requirements, met, which is a matter of special concern to this Government, and this will be done without impairing the thrift and selfreliance of the community.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether tie has yet received a report from the Federal and State departmental committee investigating decentralisation, which was established approximately 4 years ago and which I understand has met on only two occasions. If the Prime Minister has received a report, is it his intention to have a meeting between Commonwealth and State Ministers and later to present a White Paper? Further, will the Prime Minister tell the House to whom inquiries should be directed regarding matters affecting decentralisation and development within Australia?
– I have no recollection of having received such a report, nor have I any knowledge of such a report having been presented to my predecessors. I will check and see, but I think the situation is that no such report has come in. I suggest that the honourable member could direct his questions concerning matters of decentralisation to the State Ministers or the State Premiers, who are to a degree responsible for it, or if he has suggestions to make he should make them to the Commonwealth Government or to the State government.
– To whom in your Government should inquiries be directed?
– If the honourable member has suggestions to make and questions to pose, I would be always happy to listen to them.
– My question is directed to the Postmaster-General. The Minister will recall that my colleague the honourable member for Robertson recently asked him to investigate allegations that the Australian Broadcasting Commission was the only news medium to have its representatives submit to a form of political censorship imposed by the Executive of the West Australian Branch of the Australian Labor Party. Has the Minister had an opportunity to investigate this matter?
– The information given to me is that the Australian Labor Party meeting, which, of course, was a private meeting but nevertheless of considerable public interest, did invite news media to be present but on the understanding that any news report was to be approved by officers associated with the organisation. Most of the news media were not prepared to accept the invitation to be present on that basis.
The ABC decided that its representatives would be present and that it would submit to the officers of the organisation a report of what it intended to say in its news services. What it did submit was approved in toto and was used. So, the ABC was the only news medium which in fact used any information from this meeting. It is the pure responsibility of the people concerned themselves that they did not take the opportunity similar to that taken by the ABC to make such information flowing out of the meeting available to the Australian public.
– I wish to ask the Postmaster-General a supplementary question to that asked by the honourable member for Corangamite. Did his inquiries reveal that the newspapers concerned ultimately did accept the conditions which the ABC accepted and that this information was conveyed to the president of the party by telephone by the chief of staff of one of the newspapers concerned?
– The answer is no.
– My question is addressed to the Attorney-General. Is APRA an agency of the Commonwealth Government? Does APRA make available details of the musical works in respect of which it has been appointed agent of the owner of the copyright so that those who wish to play musical works in public may, if they choose, select programmes which do not infringe APRA’s rights? If this information is not readily available, will the Attorney-General take any action to see that it is made available so that those who play musical works in public should be required to pay subscriptions to APRA only if they play musical works, knowing that APRA has rights over such works?
– In answer to the question asked by the honourable member for Sturt, let me state that APRA - that is the Australasian Performing Right Association Ltd - is a private association and in no way is an agency of the Commonwealth Government. I understand that it claims to control practically the whole of the performing right in musical works in which copyright exists in Australia. This list is changing constantly by the expiry of existing copyright and by the creation of copyright in new works. I understand that any- one can apply to APRA to find out whether or not it controls a performing right in a particular work. However, if any difficulty is experienced in a particular case and that difficulty is put to me, I will be willing to inquire into the matter and even to explore whether some general procedure can be agreed with the Association.
– Mr Speaker, I seek your indulgence and that of the House to give a brief supplementary answer to a question asked of me recently by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam). On 8th May,the Leader of the Opposition asked me whether I had taken or was contemplating steps to reinstate Mr J. W. Jeffrey in the Public Service pending a decision by the Government on a proposal to excise part of Wave Hill Station for the benefit of the Gurindji people. Mr Jeffrey was a temporary employee of the Commonwealth Public Service. He was dismissed by the Chief Officer in the Northern Territory under provisions of the Commonwealth Public Service Act and Regulations. The Leader of the Opposition will know that it is not the practice for Ministers to intervene in matters relating solely to the administration of the Public Service. If Mr Jeffrey were to apply for further employment in the Public Service his application would be dealt with under normal Public Service procedures.
– I seek the indulgence of the House to give some supplementary information in reply to two questions asked of me this week. In answer to questions asked by the honourable member for Gwydir and the honourable member for Bennelong in relation to rewards for information leading to the conviction of anyone found damaging public telephones I might have inadvertently given the impression that rewards were not paid. I had the impression that the two honourable members who asked the questions were seeking some special or additional rewards in view of the recent high incidence of damage to telephone instruments. A reward of up to $40 is paid for information leading to conviction of persons damaging any property of the Post Office, not only public telephones. I thought I should make this brief statement to put the record straight.
– by leave - Late last year I announced the Government’s decisions to provide financial support under the national water resources development programme for the Emerald irrigation project in Queensland and for two small projects in Victoria to reduce the salinity of the River Murray. The Queensland Government had requested Commonwealth finance forthe Emerald project some time before the national water programme was announced, and there was a particular urgency attached to the salinity projects because of the serious threat to irrigation supplies next season. The above projects were therefore considered ahead of the other submissions by the States. In the meantime, Commonwealth studies of the other submissions have been pushed ahead as rapidly as possible, and a selection has now been made of the projects which, on the basis of the information supplied by the States, appear to havethe greatest merit for early consideration for inclusion in the programme. It is proposed, as soon as arrangements can be made, that Commonwealth officers will visitthe States concerned for discussion of the points requiring further clarification, and to initiate such studies as are considered necessary before a final assessment and decision can be made as to whether the projects selected at this stage are in fact suitable for approval under the national water programme.
State Premiers have now been advised that the following projects have been selected for closer study:
These six projects have been selected from the twenty-eight remaining in the State submissions apart from those which received special early consideration.
There are several important points in connection with this so-called short list that honourable members should keep clearly in mind. First, it cannot be assumed that each of the projects listed will in fact be included in the programme. I repeat that it is simply a list of the projects which, on the basis of study of information supplied by the States in the first instance, warrant closer study as a basis for a final decision. Secondly, the list is not final in another sense. Just as some projects I have listed may in the event be excluded from the programme, others may in due course be added. In a number of cases State submissions are as yet incomplete, and due consideration will be given to other proposals as the required information is received. Thirdly, the total estimated cost of the projects listed above is about $69m, whereas $23.6m has already been allocated out of the sum qf about S50m proposed in’ the original announcement on the programme. Consequently the Commonwealth could be expected to contribute only a part of the total costs of the above projects, and because of the possible need mentioned above to consider other proposals I expect these financial limitations will apply whether or not all of the projects selected at this stage are in due course approved.
Honourable members will be interested to note the wide , range of projects. The Gwydir, King and Mitchel! Rivers projects all involve storages to regulate river flow for diversion by .private irrigators downstream, as compared with the Emerald project in which water is to be delivered to farms through a comprehensive channel system. In the Booroorban domestic and stock water supply scheme a channel system will be provided in order to make more efficient use of the surface drainage from the Coleambally irrigation area, while in the Tailem Bend-Keith scheme, water pumped’ from the lower Murray will be delivered by pipeline. Water for the CressyLongford irrigation scheme in Tasmania will be diverted from the tail race of the Poatina power station. It can also be seen that size is not a factor determining possible Commonwealth interest.
It will, I think, be of some interest to honourable members to know a few of the main particulars of these proposals as they have been submitted by the States concerned. The dam on the Gwydir River will be over 370 feet high, and is planned to be built in three stages. The storage capacity will be 1.1 million acre feet. There is a large area of land downstream .which appears suitable for the irrigation of a wide variety of crops, and it is estimated that the supply from the regulated flow of the river will be sufficient for the irrigation of some 90,000 acres. The Gwydir River is the most important of the New South Wales tributaries of the Darling River on which a large regulating storage has so far not been provided.
The Booroorban project will involve some 350 miles of channel and associated works to serve an area of approximately 850,000 acres in which wool yields and lambing percentages are adversely affected by the present poor quality water supplies.
Irrigation along the King River in Victoria has reached the limit of development without regulation, and an earth and rock fill dam 110 feet high is proposed, with a storage of 10,000 acre feet. This will enable irrigated production on the existing area of nearly 2,000 acres to be stabilised, and will provide for an expansion of irrigation to over 6,000 acres. A somewhat similar situation applies on the Mitchell River, where a dam about 120 feet high is proposed in order to provide for an expansion of the existing irrigated area. This is an established dairying area, but in recent years it has been found that the combination of soil, water and climate is peculiarly suitable for the production of beans for freezing, and it is expected that the provision of additional supplies of water will result in a further rapid expansion in this industry.
The Tailem Bend-Keith project is the basis for intensification of development in an area which is at present retarded by dependence on groundwater supplies of inferior quality. The scheme, which comprises nearly 90 miles of trunk main and over 500 miles of branch main, will serve a total of thirteen country towns, and provide domestic and stock water supplies for nearly 2 million acres of wheat and sheep country. In the Cressy-Longford project in the northeast of Tasmania, 60 miles ot channels and pipes will distribute irrigation supplies to an area of 7,700 acres.
I realise that there must be disappointment in some quarters that this or that project, which may appear to have great merit and urgency, is not included in the above list. Obviously it is impossible to satisfy everyone. I believe that the important thing is that through this programme the Commonwealth will be helping to increase the rate of development of soundly based water resources projects in Australia, since the States are to continue their own programmes at a rate which will be unaffected by any Commonwealth assistance that this programme may provide. I would also assure the House that, as far as the Commonwealth is concerned, the further studies which may be required on the projects listed above before a final decision can bc made will be carried out as quickly as possible, and I have no doubt that the States will do everything they can towards the same end.
Motion (by Mr Snedden) proposed:
That the House take note of the paper.
– by leave - Let me say at the outset that the Opposition welcomes the admission by the Government that water conservation is a national responsibility. In making this admission the Government has indicated that certain projects in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia will be investigated immediately with a view to their inclusion in the national water resources programme. But I have no hesitation in condemning this Government without qualification for its deliberate and unwarranted omission from this programme of further investigations in Queensland and the Northern Territory. The Government has virtually said that because it has given to Western Australia assistance for the Ord River project and to Queensland assistance for the Nogoa project, those States will get no more assistance under the water resources programme. In his statement today the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) did not say one word about projects in the Northern Territory.
The Government’s neglect of projects in the north of this country indicates a hypocritical approach to the subject of water conservation. Some time ago the Minister, in answer to a question asked by the honourable member for Herbert (Mr Bonnett), stated categorically that the Government was investigating the Burdekin River scheme, but no mention was made of that scheme by the Minister today. In other words the Burdekin River scheme has been given a priority of zero. In statements published in newspapers the Queensland Premier has said that the Commonwealth is considering the Kolan and Burnett Rivers scheme, the Broken River scheme and the Burdekin River scheme, but not one of these schemes appears in the priority list which the Minister referred to as a shortlist. A short list means only one thing: It means that the projects have been considered, investigations have been made and the six projects in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania have been agreed upon as top priority projects for the future. Very valuable water conservation projects in Queensland, such as the Burdekin River scheme, the Dawson River scheme, the Nathan Gorge Dam and the Gap Dam have been completely omitted from the Government’s programme. The Gap Dam will impound 10 million acre feet of water. The Burdekin River scheme will impound 6.5 million acre feet of water.
I do not for a moment suggest that the projects in Queensland should have a higher priority than is accorded to the six projects mentioned by the Minister. All I say is that the Government has no right to omit from its investigations the projects in Queensland to which I have referred. The decision to undertake investigations of the six projects referred to by the Minister has been taken solely for political reasons. Because the Commonwealth has already provided some financial assistance for the Nogoa project and the Ord River project, it . will provide no further finance to Western Australia and Queensland in the immediate future. I submit that the Government’s attitude should be condemned not only by members of the Australian Labor Party but by all honourable members from Queensland, irrespective of .their party affiliations. The Government will certainly be condemned by. the Queensland Government because the Commonwealth has made monkeys of the Queensland Government and the Queensland Premier, who has stated repeatedly that the Commonwealth is investigating the Burdekin River scheme and the Kolan and Burnett Rivers scheme. It is shattering news to Queensland to know that in the immediate future it may not ask for more financial assistance for water conservation.
Debate (on motion by Dr Patterson) adjourned.
– by leave - The Government has had under consideration for some time representations made both by the elected and non-official members of the Legislative Council for the Northern Territory and by the member for the Northern Territory in this House that the three nominated nonofficial members in the Legislative Council should be replaced by elected members. In informing the House on. 4th May 1967 of the results of discussions between Ministers and representatives of the Legislative Council, the Minister for Territories (Mr Barnes) said:
The general attitude of the Commonwealth. Government is that the Legislative Council and the Administrator’s Council are intended to provide the means by which the representatives of the Northern Territory community have ‘ the greatest possible opportunity to participate in the government of the Territory. At the same time, because of the dependence of the Northern Territory on financial provisions made by the Commonwealth Parliament; because of the smallness of the population; and because of its importance in the future development of Australia, matters would arise from time to time on which, in order to discharge the responsibilities resting upon it, the Commonwealth Government needed to retain the right of final decision.
In respect of the representations for the replacement of the non-official members by elected members the Ministers had pointed out in the discusisions that the present structure of the Legislative Council provides a careful balance between the eight elected members, the six official, members and the three non-official members and that any change which disturbed that balance would need to provide means by which there would be reasonable opportunity for the Executive to secure passage of necessary official legislation. The Legislative Councillors had made the point that they did not accept that the removal of the non-official members should be accompanied by any subtraction from the present authority of the Legislative Council.
The Government has now decided, after full consideration, to agree to the replacement of the non-official members of the Legislative Council by three elected members. It is not proposed that there will be other changes in the constitutional arrangements for the Northern Territory at this stage, other than the inclusion of a provision enabling the Governor-General to withhold assent from part as well as the whole of an Ordinance. The decision to remove the provision for non-official members gives effect to and does not alter the Government’s general attitude to the Legislative Council and the Administrator’s Council which I quoted above. In the present circumstances of the Northern Territory there must remain subjects which are of special concern to the Commonwealth as affecting the responsibilities it retains.
The decision to introduce the new arrangements has been made in the expectation that there will be a reasonable recognition of the Government’s responsibilities by the elected majority of the Legislative Council and that the arrangements will work on a basis of give and take which will enable the Government to take major decisions and conduct important development negotiations with a reasonable prospect of securing passage of necessary ordinances. This is I believe a reasonable expectation. If there is not in practice a proper balance between the responsibility for making decisions of government on the one hand and the exercise of the legislative power associated with the implementation of those decisions on the other, the arrangements will not be satisfactory to anyone. If the expectation is not in fact realised then the Government will have no alternative but to reconsider the arrangements so as to find ways of discharging its responsibilities. As I have said, I am confident that such a situation will not arise. In seeking the change, the elected members stressed that their approach to the governing of the Territory is a responsible one. The decision I am announcing will put them in the position to demonstrate this responsibility.
Mr Speaker, this decision is an important one. I hope to introduce the necessary Bill into the Parliament at an early date.
An election must be held for the Legislative Council about October next. It has consequently been necessary to appoint a distribution committee immediately to commence preparations to determine the boundaries of eleven electorates for the Territory instead of the present eight electorates. This is why I have considered it desirable to inform the House of the Government’s decision in advance of introducing the legislative proposal.
I present the following paper:
Northern Territory - Legislative Council - Ministerial Statement, 16 May 1968 - and move:
That the House take note of (he paper.
Debate (on motion by Dr Patterson) adjourned. [Quorum formed.]
-I have received a letter from the honourable member for Cunningbam (Mr Connor) proposing that a definite matter of public importance be submitted to the House for discussion, namely:
The prospect of progressive increases in the price of petrol and petrol products as more Australian crude oil is used for them.
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).
– Mr Speaker-
– 1 raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Will there still be time for the Grievance Day debate which was listed weeks ago for this morning, or will this move by the Opposition to block the debate succeed?
– I am not prone to make predictions, but I would say that as the Grievance Day debate is provided for in the .Standing Orders, if there is time for it after the conclusion of the debate which is now about to commence, it will proceed.
– In proposing for discussion this matter of public importance I wish to direct the attention of the House to the crazy paradox of progressive increases in the price of petrol and petroleum products as more Australian oil is produced. This is a matter which is dismaying Australian consumers and has already caused justifiable criticism of the Government by motorists, transport operators and responsible motoring organisations throughout Australia.
On Tuesday, 7th May, the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn), in reply to a question I asked, stated that from April 1969 to September 1970 the increase in Australian petrol price if related to Australian crude oil price, would average 1.7c per gallon. He also stated, as reported in the Press but omitted from Hansard: ‘I do not know if the Australian motorist will benefit so much’ - by inference, from the oil discovery - and he continued by saying that the real benefit would be to our national trading balances. The Minister further stated that the production incentive and quality premium on Australian crude oil payable by Australian refineries would continue until the expiration of the current legislation late in 1970. This $1.02 loading* is additional to the $2.48 per barrel assessed by the Tariff Board in 1965 as being the landed cost of imported crude oil in Australia and the base for the Australian crude oil price structure. The Minister also said that present studies would determine the further subsidy after 1970. Of course, it is the Australian consumer who will pay the full extra cost under the policy of this subsidy-happy Government.
Extreme pressure is already being exerted by major producers for the full incentive arid premium to continue after 1970. At that stage - and this is of the utmost importance^ - Australia will be producing 60% of its crude oil requirement, a matter of 244,000 barrels per day from the EssoBHP group on the Gippsland shelf, from 9,000 to 10,000 barrels a .day from the Moonie field and 5,000 barrels a day from the Barrow Island field. At present Australia is producing only 9% of its needs - hence the Minister’s attempt to minimise the progressive rises in petrol prices, by quoting average figures. Each increase of 10% in
Australian crude production will add at least half a cent per gallon to present petrol costs.
On Friday last in the ‘Canberra Times’ - and again this morning, I might add - articles appeared written by Dr Alex Hunter, an economist and Senior Fellow of ‘ the Institute of Advanced Studies at the Aus- . tralian National University. . Dr Hunter stated that he had been engaged recently oy the Australian Automobile Association to make a study of the price of petrol. He said that under present policies petrol would cost from 3c to 5c per gallon more by 1 970; that aviation turbine fuel would rise by 10c per gallon; and that there would be increases in the cost of domestic heating oil and electricity generated by fuel oils. Dr Hunter, as is well known to most honourable members, is the. most authoritative independent expert in Australia on the price structure of the petroleum industry. As production approaches 100% of Australia’s needs - and that is more than conceivable,” it is a probability today - petrol prices will rise by 5c to 7e- per gallon unless the present subsidy policy is abandoned. # With the discovery of a major oil’ field by Esso-BHP on the Gippsland shelf, Australian consumers fondly hoped for national independence from overseas oil imports. They hoped for a reduction in prices and theybelieved that there- would be substantial benefit in the relief of Australian tax-payers so far as State1 and Federal revenues were concerned. All reasonable people agree that ‘ a fair return should be given to the discoverers and producers for their risk capital.’ The present position, However, is that the Australian consumer and motorist will be paying a price which will give to the major Australian oil producer’s, and especially Esso-BHP, the. highest profit per barrel of crude oil in the world whilst at the same time they will hold the largest areas for prospecting and development, pay one of the lowest rates of royalty and enjoy the longest terms of lease and lease renewal benefits. To say the least, the Government has been extraordinarily generous to the Esso-BHP group. The conditions on which it now holds an oil principality are without parallel. No country in the world is more in need of motor transport than Australia and no country pays more for its motor vehicles and their fuel. The proportion of gross national product, namely 25% to 30% which is currently payable by the Australian people for their transport requirements, is also amongst the highest for all the developed nations.
Here are the cold hard facts from Dr Hunter. Let the Government deny them if it dare. The actual well head overall cost price for Gippsland crude is from 79c to 80c per barrel. Adding royalty, 1 1% at well head price - and I understand that there has been a death bed repentance in recent clays in respect of the Halibut field where the Esso-BHP group has agreed to pay another H% - and piping undersea and to Melbourne, the real cost at the refinery gate in Melbourne would be. between $1.10 and $1.20 per barrel. Full capital outlay has been taken into account in these figures. This oil is to be sold to Australian refineries at. $3. 50 per barrel under the Government’s subsidy policy, providing a gross profit for EssoBHP of between $2.30 to $2.40 per barrel. That is the greatest profit per barrel received by any major producer in the world. This profit per barrel will be more than twice that of the overseas oil companies on. their crude oil imported into Australia from the Persian Gulf. At the present time the Persian Gulf . area is still the source of nearly 70% of our crude oil imports.
Persian Gulf crude is landed in Australia at a listed price of $2.48 per barrel. A discount of up to 25c per barrel is available and the Commissioner of Taxation bases his calculations on the true landed price of imported crude of approximately $2.25 per barrel, ls it to be - and let the Minister answer this question - from this $2.25 base that company tax is to be calculated for Esso-BHP or will it be from the figure of $1.20, which will be the true cost of the crude landed at the refinery gate? I will leave the Government to squirm on this one before it answers the question.
To sell Esso-BHP crude to refineries- at even $2.50 per barrel provides an outrageous profit. To sell it at $3.50, including the production incentive of 75c per barrel and a quality premium of 27c per barrel, .s absolutely scandalous. Esso- B HP’s estimated production of 244,000 barrels per day late in 1970 from the Martin, Kingfish and
Barracouta fields on the Gippsland shelf would yield a gross yearly profit rate of $204m. Its subsidy income alone would be $244,000 per day or $87.6m per year. Well within 2 years the group would completely recoup its capital outlay. Its production licence term is 20 years with successive options for further 20-year renewals. Half this money will or can leave Australia under Esso’s 50% interest as it is a wholly overseas owned company. All this wealth, mark you, will come from only three oil fields whose total area is only a small fraction of the 14,000 square miles held by Esso-BHP, the very pick of the Gippsland-Bass Strait oil area. In area and production potential it is an oil principality by world standards. Production from the remainder of its holdings is yet to be explored but it could be equally fantastic.
The production incentive payment principle was first recommended by a Tariff Board inquiry in July 1965 when the Board was dealing with the economic problems of oil from the Moonie field. Its recommendation was for a 25c per barrel production incentive. This was trebled to 75c by the Government in ils legislation al the instance of the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr McEwen). Its further recommendation of a quality premium of 27c for Australian crude was also adopted. Long before the Tariff Board report - and this is of vital importance - the Esso-BHP group had already chosen its off-shore areas and had commenced drilling operations. The group is now to be the main beneficiary of a production incentive and quality premium which it never contemplated when acting on the accurate advice of the world petroleum authority, the American, Mr Lewis Weeks. In common with all other oil explorers in Australia the group was already receiving in 1965 the 30% to 40% Commonwealth cash subsidy for exploratory drilling costs and claiming the most remunerative reductions to which it was entitled under our income tax legislation. Exploration drilling - and this is the vital point because the Minister will come in with his apologia suggesting that this is vital for the Esso-BHP group - would have continued regardless of whether a production subsidy had been offered or not.
Another major scandal has been the abandonment by the Government of its previously announced graticular policy under which five-ninths of any area in which oil was discovered would have returned to the Government for sale or development, the profits to go to the Treasury. Can anyone estimate the value of the production rights to five-ninths of the Esso-BHP area containing an admitted 1,200 million barrels? The abandonment was secured by Esso-BHP by offering a paltry increase of 4% in well-head royalty after it had proved, by drilling, the wealth of its holdings. The Commonwealth Government and the Victorian Government1 have been played for suckers by this crafty closemouthed consortium of Australia’s largest public company, and the world’s largest oil company. They have been outwitted and outmanoeuvred by two sophisticated companies, whilst remaining stary-eyed about political kudos for the discoveries.
The Minister’s argument in reply will be based on the high yield of company tax and the saving in foreign exchange on oil imports. To the former I reply that the company tax payable will not be as great as the 50% to 60% royalties payable by Esso to the Arab sheiks. To the latter my reply is that up to 50% of the Esso-BHP profits can be repatriated to the United States of America by the Esso company. A royal commission is necessary to probe the whole scandal, and a return to the graticular system is essential. In special cases a production incentive could be considered where unusual difficulties arise. Incentive payments for major profitable oilfields must certainly be discontinued, and petrol and petroleum products must be sold to Australian consumers at reduced instead of increased prices.
– If has been said by many distinguished people and distinguished geologists that if cheap oil is wanted the world’s cheapest should He bought, that it should be obtained from the Middle East where there are tremendous fields, and that a country should not try to find its own oil. I hope that honourable members soon will take the opportunity to read a book by a most distinguished geologist who probably has- had more to do with the discovery of oil in Australia than has any other person. I refer to Sir Harold Raggatt who, until comparatively recently, was the head of my Department. Let me quote a few sentences from his book. He said:
We must recognise, however, that unless we find large high-yielding fields -similar to those in Die Middle East the Australian community must continue to pay a premium for the attainment of self sufficiency in oil supplies. If all we want is cheap fuel we should rely on imports. That, however, we cannot do without undue risks to our security and the payment of large sums in foreign exchange. The finding of large quantities of oil will, therefore, add greatly to our trading solvency and our security but will not result in an industrial revolution.
Those words are well worth marking because I do not think anyone has contributed more to the discovery of oil in Australia than has Sir Harold Raggatt. The Government decided that it did want local oil. It was not prepared to have the constant worry of getting oil from overseas. For security reasons we have had constant worry and apprehension. We hold only about 9 weeks supply of petrol on hand. This quantity varies, of course, but there have been times when flare-ups in the Middle East have been of vital concern to us and every day we have had to see how much oil has been on the sea. So for security reasons it is urgent for Australia to have its own oil. The balance of payments situation is another factor. At present we are paying $340m per annum for imported crude oil. Surely it is worth any sort of incentive to try to see that crude oil is produced locally. The Government has provided a great many incentives and encouragements to. see that it secures local oil, and the Government is under criticism today because its efforts have been successful. Had the Government failed to get oil nothing would have been said. When incentive payments were introduced there was no word from the Opposition but now that we have been successful and the incentives have encouraged people to find oil we are under criticism.
The search for oil has been long and arduous. After all, there are only about five commercial fields in Australia at present. As I have said, I hope that honourable members will take the opportunity to read Sir Harold Raggatt’s book ‘Mountain’s of Ore’ because in it he points out that originally Sir William Walkeley tried to interest overseas companies in coming here to assist him to discover oil. At one stage he thought that he had gained the interest of a Californian company but proposals at that time for the nationalisation of banking and the nationalisation of airlines caused that company to get cold feet and withdraw. It was not until the LiberalAustralian Country Party Government came into office and offered some stability and incentive that the Rough Range discovery was made. Unfortunately this field did not last for very long. Shares slumped and in 1957 it looked as though the search for oil in Australia would cease. That is when the Government made its decision to do everything possible to encourage the discovery of oil in Australia. Its first action was to step up expenditure, by the Bureau of Mineral Resources on geophysical and seismic work as well as on the delineation of basins. It then provided the oil search subsidy.
I think I am correct in saying that Australia is the only country which provides a subsidy for drilling, but we insist that cores be returned. From an inspection of those cores we have been able to do a lot of geological mapping. In fact, the discovery of phosphate in Queensland was due directly to the rinding of phosphate in one of the returned cores. We have given favourable tax concessions. We have decided - I think it is one of the most vital decisions that the Government has made - that all indigenous crude oil produced here must be taken before there is a free by-law entry of overseas crude oil. This is the sort of thing we need if we are to encourage people to find and produce oil locally: I am sure that all honourable members will recall that for more than 12 months oil produced, at Moonie was hawked around Australia without one buyer being found. The Commonwealth Government had to step in, knock heads together, and say that the Moonie oil had to be taken. Now as a result of Tariff Board decisions and a Government decision we have a system under which we assure producers that Australian indigenous crude will be taken before the overseas oil will be allowed in.
We have the incentive price, which has been mentioned today. This is another incentive for people to discover oil. They know that over a 5-year period they will be guaranteed sufficient to meet the extraordinary costs which have been imposed upon them. We have the off-shore oil agreement. Australia is the only federation in the world where it has been possible to obtain agreement between State governments and the Federal government under which there will be no litigation. There is no need for me to repeat whatI have said before about other federations which are involved in litigation. In the United States of America, for example, vast sums are held in escrow because no-one knows whether the Federal government or the State governments own them. The courts have tried to decide the matter, but they have not succeeded. I do not think they will decide in my lifetime what actually is the position. We have been able to avoid this situation. This has given more encouragement and incentive to people to come here and invest vast sums. Lastly, we have a favourable economic climate and stability of government. The present Government has been in office for 19 years and from the way the Opposition is going at present it seems that we will be here for a lot longer. But who can say which one of all the incentives was the one that really encouraged people to come to Australia to look for oil? We have been told that if we did not have incentives they still would have done so. This reminds me of a remark I once heard made by a famous British businessman, Lord Leverhulme, who used to sell a lot of soap and who spent a tremendous amount of money on advertising. He said he was quite certain that 90% of the money spent on advertising was wasted but he did not know which 90% it was. This is also our situation. We have various forms of incentives and we do not know whether people would still be induced to search for oil if we abolished one form of incentive.
We have had success, and very great success, in the search for oil. I congratulate the companies on the excellent work they have done under great difficulties. Some of their wells are drilled to a greater depth under the sea than is done anywhere else in the world. But the Gippsland field is not really large by world standards. Certainly it is a good field, but the reserves of fields in Saudi Arabia and other countries are fifty times larger than the reserves in the
Gippsland field. Gippsland will provide Australia with only a small part of the crude oil it requires. In the next 20 years we will need about four times the reserves that have already been discovered, even to be selfsufficient. After all, why should we not aim at something more than just self-sufficiency? Of course, the sin that Esso-BHP has committed is to be successful. With the Australian Labor Party, a company is perfectly all right if it is unsuccessful, but the moment it is successful and starts to make a profit, it has committed a sin and is in error. That is the sin that has been committed by Esso-BHP.
Let us examine the incentive price. The matter was put to the Tariff Board, which heard evidence from many people. Some of these, of course, as one would expect, sought a much larger incentive loading of $1. 50 a barrel. Twenty-eight other companies and the New South Wales Chamber of Manufactures also sought a loading of $1.50. The Associated group sought a loading of $2.22 to $2.40. The Tariff Board recommended that there should be an incentive payment - this was based on a similar situation in California - but said that the incentive payment should be only 25c a barrel. The Government believed that this was not a sufficient incentive and raised it to 75c a barrel.
– What did Fitzpatrick say?
– I know what he would say, because he imports oil and does not want it to be found locally. Expenditure by companies so far is of a vast order. All told, since the search for oil commenced in Australia, companies have spent $44 2m, which is close to $450m. Until now they have received virtually no return of any kind. Two very minor fields at Moonie and Barrow have been discovered and a small sum in royalties has been returned on them. Over and above the $450 already spent, BHP and Esso between them may have to put up another$3 00m to bring the field into production. All I can say to the House at the present moment is that the Government is looking at the position in the light of the altered circumstances. Production may reach 60% of our requirements, but this will be 60% for 1 year or at the most 2 years. After that, field flow will decrease and consumption will increase. and so the percentage of local requirements met by the fields will decrease. However, the position has altered since the Government made its decision. At the moment an inter-departmental committee is examining the situation as it will be both before and after the end of the 5 year period suggested by the Tariff Board. It is considering whether an incentive price will still be required after the end of that 5 year period. Some time ago we engaged Dr Frankel from London. He is a world authority on petroleum prices.
Let me refer to one point made by the honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor). He claimed that by abandoning the graticular system we had made a great gift to BHP. I am perfectly certain that the governments are now doing better than they would have done if they had kept to the old system of relinquishing, which meant that out of the nine blocks in an area a permit holder could keep five but would have to relinquish four. Under the present system, the companies will pay an override of 21% on every barrel produced from those nine blocks. If we take the value of oil at $2,400m - actually it would be more than that - we find that the total payment by override royalty to the State will be at least $60m and will certainly be more. No one can tell me that the system of relinquishing blocks would have returned $60m. I am certain it would not have brought anything like that.
Every one of the State Ministers agreed to the system we have adopted. It was accepted by the then Labor Government of South Australia and the Labor Government of Tasmania. The big advantage of the system is that we do not have to overdrill the structures. A tremendous amount of waste has occurred in the United States because everyone has a small area and must drill his own area to get a royalty from it. We believe that we are getting an adequate royalty. We are getting a very adequate tax return. It should never be forgotten that probably half the profits made from this oil field will revert either to the State Government or to the Federal Government through royalties, taxes and other means. Esso-BHP claim the return to the governments is slightly more than half, but I do not think that is correct. Undoubtedly the return to the Government will be considerable. There is also the return of security and we will not have to import vast quantities of expensive crude oil from other countries.
– I regret that the Standing Orders allow only 10 minutes in which to reply. We are dealing with a subject that affects every motorist in Australia. Some 3,100,000 Australian motorists will be called on to pay an extra $4 to $20 a year for petrol while the Esso-BHP group reaps an enormous profit. This is reflected in the price of shares in Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd which rose from $9 to $25 in less than 12 months. The Government should have continued the policy started by the Chifley Government and should itself have engaged in the exploration and drilling for oil. The Australian Government bought an oil rig. This Goverment sold it. We should have been buying more oil rigs instead of selling the one we had. The Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) has admitted that the man chiefly responsible for the discovery of oil in Australia was Sir Harold Raggatt, who was at the time the Chifley Government was in office employed by the Government for the purpose of discovering oil. This man should have been fully supported by the present Government. He should have been given the salary that his position deserved and he should have been given the financial support necessary to ensure that the oil in Australia was discovered by the Australian Government for the Australian people so that the value of the discovery could be reflected in a reduced price for petrol.
Instead of being able to buy cheaper petrol as a result of Australia discovering its own oil, the Australian consumers of petrol must now pay more than they would pay if the oil were obtained from the Middle East sheikdoms. This is one of the greatest political scandals that this country has ever seen. Unfortunately this is only the beginning. Generations yet unborn will pay for the tragedy that this Government invited by handing over to private enterprise, half owned by foreigners, the control of the fabulously wealthy oil reserves in Bass Strait. These are oil reserves which, according to the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth), were worth $350m per square mile. Altogether private enterprise has an area of 14,000 square miles, every square mile of which, if resources prove to be as valuable as those already discovered, will be worth $350m.
The Minister for National Development skirted round the chief charge that was laid against the Government by my friend, the honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor), who asked: ‘Can you deny that at the well head petroleum from Bass Strait should cost no more than $1.10 to $1.20 per barrel?’ This figure allows for the miserable royalty of 11%, now increased to 124%, which is paid in this country, compared with about 16% paid in the United States of America and as much as 50% paid for the oil of the gidgea whiskered sheikhs in the Middle East. The figure allows also for the cost of piping the oil. According to no less an authority than Dr Alex Hunter, a senior fellow in the Institute of Advanced Studies at the Australian National University, the cost of oil at the well head ought not to be more than a maximum of $2.50 per barrel. This is a price that would give the oil companies a very handsome profit after deducting the cost of producing the oil.
This is not good enough when we consider that there are 4,171,000 registered vehicles in Australia today. Of this number, over 3 million are owned by private citizens. The total amount of petrol consumed in Australia last year was 1,868 million gallons. Consumption will go up by 8% to 9% each year if the present trend continues. This is a very small rate of increase when one bears in mind the fact that the rate in Japan is 20% per year. If we work it out, we find that the average motorist consumes approximately 400 gallons of petrol per year, for which he is now to pay an extra lc a gallon. It is anticipated, according to the ‘Canberra Times’, that in 2 years time the price to the motorist will have increased by 5c a gallon. This is the figure given by Dr Hunter who was recently engaged by the Australian Automobile Association to make a study of the price of petrol. According to an article published in the ‘Canberra Times’ of 10th May 1968, he stated that we could anticipate an increase in the price of petrol of anything up to 5c per gallon in 2 years time. If he is correct, petrol will cost every motorist in Australia about $20 a year more in 2 years time. If any Government had a cheek to put a $20 per year increase in taxation upon the motorist, it would be thrown out of office neck and crop.
Let us consider the person who has shares in the Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd. If the shareholder were a motorist and was to obtain any benefit from local oil production, even if BHP dividends were increased by 100% he would, at present share prices, have to hold shares to the value of $6,000 for the extra dividends to meet the annual cost of the additional 5c a gallon. Of course, I do not blame the companies for welshing on the public because they are monopolistic capitalists whose job it is to make the maximum profits irrespective of the effects of doing so. I blame this Government and its cohorts in Victoria for the crooked and rotten deal which they have made with the Esso-BHP interests in handing over our oil resources to this group, half of which is foreign controlled. We could have found and developed our own oil resources had we followed the policies of the Chifley Government. Had the present Government done this, it would have done something to be proud of. The prices of BHP $2 shares have risen from $9 to $25 in about 12 months. This is because shareholders have been selling their anticipated share of the profits that the company would extract from the Australian community as a result of the exorbitant prices that are to be charged.
When we take into account the full effect that’ the 10% increase will have, we find that the extra cost of petrol to Australian motorists will be more than double $98m a year. So that, in 10 years time, we will be paying about $200m a year more than we are now paying for petrol from the present sources of supply. Just imagine the roads, freeways and highways that could be built and the financial assistance that the Government could give to those authorities responsible for the upkeep of roads if this money which will now go into the pockets of the foreign investors who own the oil wells in Bass Strait went to the Commonwealth and State governments and local government bodies. Just imagine the improved roads that motorists would get if this money was not paid to foreign investors. However, Australian motorists are denied these benefits because of the Government’s sellout. This is the most disastrous Government that this country has ever seen. When historians write the history of Australian oil supplies, this Government will go down in the record as the most treacherous Government this nation has ever seen. Generations yet unborn will pay through the nose for petrol belonging to the nation which should never be given away to foreign investors in the way it is being given away now.
I only wish I had more time to debate this matter. I would like to refer quickly to the additional cost which petrol users in South Australia will have to pay in 10 years time. If the anticipated increase of 5c a gallon in the price of petrol comes about, South Australia’s share of the extra cost will be about $22m a year. Just imagine what could be done in my State if its 143 local government bodies and the State Government had another $22m a year to spend. I am sorry I cannot follow in the debate the honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Graham), who is about to speak, because he is a liaison officer for the various oil companies throughout Queensland-
-Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– It has been very interesting for the House to hear the honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor) and the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) tell their version of the complication story related to the discovery and development of the oil fields of Australia and the production of oil from them. There is some validity in the claim that has been made by the honourable member for Hindmarsh to the effect that a Labor government in the post-war period had intentions of participating in the complicated business of oil exploration. There is every reason to believe that had such intentions been pursued over the 10 years prior to 1954, the year when oil was discovered in Western Australia, members of the Australian Labor Party would have become very tired of the effort. They would have reached the conclusion that the risk capital necessary for this type of operation ought quite properly to come from the natural sources in the economy where it is found. I believe they would have come to the conclusion that most governments throughout the world are of the opinion that this is not the type of economic operation which governments as such should undertake. The effort of private enterprise in Australia has shown, when figures are quoted, that over 20 years some $442m has been provided by companies in an effort to find oil, and that $96m has been provided by governments. The ratio is approximately 1 to 4, and the Government’s participation, if not 100%, has been effectively tuned to almost 25% . The whole story throughout the world is one of constant frustration and constant failure over great tracts of country. Some people come close to bankruptcy while others have the good fortune to receive additional funds which have been denied to previous searchers and perhaps are able to discover fields. The story of the Darcy company in the Middle East in the years prior to World War I is a good example of this. There are fields in the north of West Irian, which was formerly known as Dutch New Guinea, which are virtually uneconomic, and having an uneconomic oil field is worse than having no oil field at all.
The honourable member for Cunningham referred to the need for the appointment of a royal commission. He also talked about the ‘scandal’ over the arrangements between the governments and the exploration and development companies in this field. It is curious that the honourable member does not seem to realise that these arrangements are precisely the same as those of the late Mr Chifley’s Government, which was the Government in the Eighteenth Parliament of Australia. At that time permits to explore were granted and the then Labor Government allowed companies to come in and take part in the search for oil. I have no doubt that the Labor Government looked forward to the royalties which would be forthcoming if oil were discovered. In the period immediately after the war guide lines were laid down and they have been followed by subsequent governments.
The honourable member for Hindmarsh referred to the fact that royalties of 60% were paid in some areas of the Middle East and royalties of 16% were paid in the
United States of America. But the confusion that flows from comments of this nature is reflected by the fact that the honourable member does not seem to be able to differentiate between producing and developed areas in which there are known commercial oil fields, and areas in Australia which are still very much in the developmental stage. An enormous amount of further exploration work is required in Australian areas before we can feel that we have begun properly to develop the great resources in this country. As the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) said, further expenditure of $300m is facing the Esso-BHP group in the development of the field which has been discovered to the south of Victoria. When you consider that $442m has been spent by oil exploration companies and $95m by governments during the period from the end of the Second World War to the present time - a total of approximately $540m - and you realise that the Esso-BHP group will have to spend a further $300m on developmental work, you can see that there is an enormous amount of work to be done and that it wilt cost an enormous amount of money.
There is no guarantee that these oil exploration companies will not encounter all sorts of technical difficulties which will perhaps restrict production and make production more expensive. Such problems have now been solved in areas in the Middle East, and the product that comes from the Middle East has reached the stage where it can compete economically with the products from any of the other oil producing areas throughout the world. There are many areas in South America, Australia and Papua and New Guinea where it would be virtually uneconomic to find a commercial oil field unless the oil were in quantities greater than the optimum size which has been worked out by the economists in this field. I cannot help feeling that the honourable member for Hindmarsh and the honourable member for Cunningham are aware of these matters, but they look for some political advantage from attacking the minds of the Australian motorists, of whom there are 4 million. They hope that the prospect of a reduction in petrol prices will encourage people to vote for the Labor Party on future occasions.
On the last occasion when the Labor Party was in office the motorists had a pretty rough time. If I remember correctly, the rationing of petrol in Australia was one of the critical political issues which helped the Liberal and Country Parties to gain office. One of the reasons why the LiberalCountry Party Government was elected to office was that the late Mr Chifley’s Government - the Government in the Eighteenth Parliament - was unable to cope with the problems concerning petrol at that time. The Labor Government insisted on maintaining petrol rationing. I do not believe that the Australian motorist will be confused by the largely nonsensical attacks that have been delivered by members of the Labor Party today. I believe that in all fairness Australian motorists, like other Australians, will understand that if the exploration programme is to continue there has to be a contribution from the consumers as well as from the developers, the workers, the owners and the managers within the industry. When one considers that $300m has to be spent on one field in Victoria one realises that thousands of millions of dollars will have to be found in the next 20 years for the development of Australia’s oil potential.
– The Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) has made a disappointing and unconvincing reply to the honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor), who has charged the Government with permitting an increase in the price of petrol in Australia. When the Minister gave the reason for the increase in the price of petrol in his reply to a question in the Parliament on 7th May he referred to the finding of vast quantities of oil in the Bass Strait area of the continental shelf. Today the honourable member for Cunningham has brought home clearly and strongly the Labour Parry’s point of view on this matter. It also represents the point of view of the members of the Australian community who, as a result of this Government’s policy will find themselves paying more for petrol and petroleum products. The Minister did not attempt to answer the case presented by the honourable member for Cunningham. He skirted round the matter. Like the honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Graham) the Minister would rather go back into history and refer to the days of petrol rationing than deal with the question of why the finding of a substantial quantity of oil in Australia, which should add to our wealth, should not result in a reduction in the price of petrol to the Australian people.
What is the position? According to Dr Alex Hunter, the price of our oil will be increased and air fares will rise. Petrol prices could rise to the extent of 5c per gallon, despite the fact the Minister said that over the next few months petrol prices could rise, on the average, by 1.7c per gallon. In any case, it has been made clear that the price of petrol will be dearer. Let us look at the facts. Why should this be so? It can be justified only because the Australian people are perhaps the most cheerful givers. They are the champion givers. They give the highest price for oil found in Australia. They give the longest term leases. They give the biggest areas - in fact, nine graticular blocks to 25 square miles. They pay the highest royalty for oil discoveries and give the greatest and most substantial assistance. In every way the Australian Government is prepared to give and give to the oil companies without concern to the Australian community.
I was astonished, whilst the honourable member for Cunningham and my colleague from Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) were speaking, to hear interjections from members of the Country Party respecting this matter. One would have thought that the Country Party would have been on the side of the Australian Labour Party in this instance because the Country Party is concerned with the man on the land and the small man using his lorry, his car or his other vehicles to take his produce to the market at the nearest town. The small man is involved in questions of development and of cost of transportation. But the community will pay. The increased price of petrol will add to the staggering burden being borne today by transport industries in this country. According to the Commonwealth statistical services, for the 12 months ended 30th June 1967 not less than $223,672,000 was levied in net customs and excise duties collected on motor spirit. To that staggering burden being borne by transport industries in Australia there will be added the increased cost of the price of petrol.
What does Australia do about this state of affairs? Is this price increase justified? The Minister for National Development did not answer that question. He did not attempt to answer it. Surely it is the responsibility of the Minister who speaks for the Government in these matters to justify this price increase. Australia gives aid to the exploiters by subsidies for drilling, tax concessions, graticular blocks and by assistance through the Bureau of Mineral Resources. We guarantee the exploiters and help them with subsidies and price advantage. When it is all worked out, the cost of oil from Bass Strait landed at the refinery gate will be approximately $1.20 per barrel. But this Government which is concerned not wilh the struggling factory, the struggling farmer, the struggling community or the struggling pensioner who may own a car, will allow these struggling oil producers, about whom the Government is concerned, to charge $3.50 per barrel. This is the sort of plan that we have from the Government at the present time. We are told that we have need of all these concessions. But what special costs have oil companies exploring in Australia to face that are not faced by oil companies producing oil overseas?
The Minister for National Development in the course of his remarks spoke of the added problems overseas. He referred to over-drilling because graticular blocks schemes which are adopted in Australia are not adopted overseas. Oil companies operating overseas in the main pay higher royalties. They do not get subsidies. They do not receive taxation concessions. They must pay shipping costs for large tankers to bring oil from the Middle East around South Africa to Australia. So it is that the costs are great for oil and petrol from overseas. What new element comes into this matter that causes the cost of oil produced in Australia to be so much higher that the Government should be taxing the Australian people to give assistance to Esso-BHP? This organisation has done so amazingly well. It has stimulated the Australian stock market with its prospects of success. Why should we be giving such organisations permission to increase the price of petrol whilst loading the additional cost on to the poor people in the community? According to the ‘Australian Financial Review’ of 14th November last year, those to profit as the result of these discoveries will be: Mr Lewis Weeks to the value of $5. 3m per year; the Federal Government with its subsidies and its royalties of $8.5m per year; the Victorian Government to the extent of $ 15m per year; while Esso and BHP will have takes of $35m each. So it is that these companies which will be doing so well out of their discoveries have stimulated the stock exchange.
Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.
- Mr R. N. Irwin, the President of the Automobile Association of Australia, in a recent publication is reported to have said:
The unhappy truth is that the more oil we get in Australia the dearer will become the price of petrol to the Australian consumer. The Opposition believes that a fuel policy should benefit all. The Government has adopted not a national policy but a sectional policy. The exploiters of our latent wealth are not disadvantaged in Australia; they have many advantages. The Minister has outlined these advantages on numerous occasions. Royalties paid in this country are not as high or as large as those paid by oil companies in other parts of the world. We have to be realistic; we have to be fair and just to the Australian community. The Australian people should not be called upon to pay excessive prices for petrol and oil to make Esso-BHP shareholders richer.
The Minister has been at pains to try to make out a case for the increased price of petrol to Australian consumers. But let us look at the ‘Australian Financial Review’ of 14th November last year. Under the heading ‘Dizziest five minutes listed BHP to $2,270m’ these words appear:
In their dizziest 3 minutes in years, Australian sharemarkets yesterday increased their valuation of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company by some (206m to &270m.
That was because of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company’s share in the offshore exploitation of oil in Bass Strait. This is what the public has to pay for. Is this the struggling company that needs financial support from farmers, producers and the ordinary people of this country? Surely not.
Mr SPEAKER (Hon. W. I. Aston)Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– The narrow parochial outlook of the honourable member for Macquarie (Mr Luchetti) who alleged that this subsidy, which has been one of the principal reasons behind the discovery of petrol in Australia, is in fact harmful to Australia’s national interest really horrifies me. Frankly I cannot comprehend how the Opposition can have the effrontery to rise in this House and claim that we do not want to discover oil, that we do not want to develop our natural resources, and that we do not want to reduce the amount of money that we are presently paying to other countries by replacing necessary supplies of crude oil with those we can discover ourselves. The Government has always realised the importance of Australia finding its own crude oil from the viewpoints both of national security and our balance of payments. We all remember only too well the difficulty Australia faced during the last war as a result of petrol rationing. We have been dependent on unstable areas of the world in the Middle East and to our near north for our supplies. In building up our industrial capacity we have been dependent not on resources that we could exploit within Australia but on outside resources.
In today’s remarkable industrial development it is increasingly important that we should have reliable sources of supply of this vital ingredient of industrial capacity. At the moment it is the largest single item of significance in our balance of payments. The outlay on refinery feed stock in 1966-67 was $23 lm. If we add overseas freights, the landed cost was $300m. It represented 9.4% of Australia’s total imports. This Government was really prepared to tackle the problem. So it introduced the Petroleum Search Subsidy Act and provided for subsidies for geological and geophysical research costing $90m. As my colleague, the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) has already explained to the House, this sum of $90m has to be related to the sum of $442m that has already been spent in oil exploration in Australia without any return, and to an additional sum of $300m which is still required to bring the fields into production. When, as a result of this expenditure of $90m, we see the remarkable contribution that industrial gas and crude oil found in various regions of Australia are making to our balance of payments situation, we should compliment the Government and the Minister upon the results of their far-sighted policy. At the time the legislation was introduced no oil was being produced. When it was introduced, there were prospects of local crude providing 10% of our needs. In an earlier statement, the Minister for National Development explained that the cost of providing an incentive for that 10% was 0.62c a gallon of motor spirit. That was the inducement to step up exploration and to ensure rapid development of the fields once discovered. The Opposition is now criticising the Government for its success. Today we have prospects of supplying from 50% to 60% of the crude oil needed in Australia. Our policies have succeeded. We have been able substantially to do what no previous government was able to do.
This success having been achieved, this tremendous fillip to our national economy having been achieved, an improvement in our balance of payments having been achieved, and with prospects of significant taxation revenue coming from the added income of these oil producers, the Opposition wants to snatch away the prize. The Opposition wants to prevent the possibility of anyone else being given an incentive to discover more oil and to increase the capacity of our oil-fields. The Opposition points to possible increases in the price of petrol. If the present policy is continued there could be a significant rise in the cost of petrol, but it is not a major item in the figures which I have been given and which differ somewhat from those presented by Dr Hunter. According to my figures it will be 1.7c a gallon until 1970. This is not a negligible addition to costs and it certainly does affect every motorist in Australia. Noone can deny this.
The Government is fully conscious of the importance of restraining cost increases. It was for this reason that a few years ago the Government introduced a subsidy scheme to stabilise the price of petrol in isolated country areas of Australia. In the financial year 1966-67 we paid $ 15.2m in subsidy to try to stabilise the price of petrol in country areas. The simple reason was that we recognised the disadvantage that people in country areas would suffer. One must realise that certainly some slight increase will occur in the price of petrol, but Australia still has one of the lowest prices for petrol of any nation in the world. The Government does not wish to see continuing burdens placed on petrol users. It is for this reason that the Government is constantly perusing policies which enable us to expand our national assets; it is constantly examining them in their present and prospective application.
It is necessary that the petroleum producing and refining industries be able to plan ahead and it is necessary that the Government looks to see where those plans are leading the industry. The Government’s policy was clearly stated in this House in 1964 at the time of the reference to the Tariff Board. In that reference it was stated that the Government’s desire was to encourage oil exploration especially while Australian production was not capable of satisfying a large proportion of our demand. Clearly, our prospective crude oil supply indicates that the Government’s original objective has to a considerable degree already been met. The Government is examining the application of the subsidy and the effect of increased costs to purchasers of petroleum products, but it is also looking at the total advantages that have been gained as a result of the application of its policy. No honourable member would deny that there is a continuing need for exploration in Australia. We have not yet found sufficient reserves to safeguard our future completely. In fact, I am advised that discoveries to date in Australia will provide only 24% of our requirements up to 1990. We have been able to expand opportunities for oil companies to pursue exploration.
Having created the environment within which companies have been able to pursue exploration, we have been able to expand our reserves of oil and our horizons in terms of industrial development. As a result we have been able to see in the long term a substantial net gain to Australia. We have achieved a most important objective. The Opposition now criticises the Government for the success of its policy. I cannot understand how the Opposition can bring itself in this way to throw a wet blanket over the prospects for the future discovery of reserves in this country. We are trying to give exploring companies an opportunity to pursue their exploration programmes. This must be the Government’s objective. The Government’s policy of paying a subsidy to exploration companies has proved successful. It has brought results. Viewing the overall benefits to Australia, which I think will be enormous, I do not think that the Australian consumer will be called upon to pay a cost that is too high. I completely disagree with the remarks made by the honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor), and I stress that our main objective as a Government must be to encourage expansion of our natural resources in every way possible and to increase the opportunities for industrial development. The efficacy of the Government’s policies has been aptly illustrated in the results of oil exploration.
– Order! The time allotted for this discussion has now expired.
Bill presented by Mr Bowen, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Honourable members will recall that in May last year I introduced the Copyright Bill 1967.I said then that I intended that the Bill should be allowed to stand over until the Budget session of the Parliament in order to give interested parties an opportunity to examine it. Some of the provisions of the Bill caused a good deal of controversy and it was not possible to deal with all of the issues in time for it to be debated further last year. The 1967 Bill lapsed when the Parliament was prorogued. The Bill which is now before the House differs from the 1967 measure in a number of respects. I have circulated to honourable members a memorandum which will enable them, by looking at the 1967 Bill, to see the alterations that have been made to that Bill and that are incorporated in the present measure.I will come presently to an explanation of the more important of these changes.
Before explaining the substance of the Bill I should like to say a word or two about the general importance of copyright law. Honourable members will be aware that it is a prime purpose of copyright law to protect creative works so that authors, composers, artists and sculptors may, during the continuance of copyright protection, control the uses to which their works are put and get some return for the exploitation of their works. But it is not only creative works, as that term might commonly be understood, that are protected by copyright law. Any literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work which has some slight degree of originality is protected, no matter how prosaic that work might be. For the purposes of the copyright law, a road map or a collection of classified advertisements in a newspaper receives the same protection in copyright as a great novel. Furthermore, the existing law extends copyright protection to records. A record is protected as if it were a musical work. Copyright also provides the basis for the publishing industries. Without this protection, it would not be likely that large sums would be invested in the production of books and magazines or the publishing of music.
But it is also necessary to have regard to those who use copyright material. The broadcasting and television industry, the record industry and much of the entertainment industry depend on being able to use copyright material on reasonable terms. Especially in the musical field, owners of copyright have so organised, through licensing organisations, that they are in a strong bargaining position. For example, the Australasian Performing Right Association Ltd claims to control the performing right in virtually all copyright music in Australia. It is thus in a position to dictate the terms on which music may be performed in public. Honourable members will therefore appreciate that any alteration in the existing copyright law will affect substantial economic interests which have been built up on the basis of that law. The interests affected will be the interests of both producers and users of material protected by copyright. The present Bill recognises that there are changes in the use of copyright material which have been brought about by changes in technology and the Government has been concerned to see that authors receive due payment for the use of their material. At the same time the Government recognises that existing practices and existing relationships in industries which depend upon copyright material cannot be ignored. la framing this Bill, the Government has had due regard to interests which are often conflicting interests. In many cases, it has not been possible to satisfy completely all parties. Nevertheless, I hope that this Bill will be widely accepted as a reasonable compromise in cases where there are conflicting interests. Earlier this year I circulated to interested parties a memorandum of proposed alterations to the Copyright Bill 1967. This memorandum proposed those alterations which the Government thought to be necessary to meet the representations that had been made to me following the introduction of the 1967 Bill. I am pleased to be able to say that, although the proposed alterations did not satisfy all parties, the proposals have been given a generally favourable reception.
The present copyright law in Australia dates from 1911. It is contained in the British Copyright Act 1911, which was applied in Australia by the Copyright Act 1912. This is, therefore, the first complete revision of copyright law in Australia for 56 years. The British Act of 1911 was replaced in the United Kingdom by the Copyright Act 1956. I do not think I need do more than mention again the work performed by the Copyright Law Review Committee under Sir John Spicer, on whose report this Bill is largely based, and the considerable task of examining that report and the many representations which resulted. This Bill is the result of an exhaustive review and careful assessment of all of the interests affected by copyright law. I need hardly remind honourable members of the substantial changes which have occurred since 1911, when our present copyright law was enacted. Radio, television, the cinema, the modern record industry, the tape recorder,- new methods of printing, photographic methods of copying cheaply and in large quantities, and satellite transmission of radio and television programmes have all made significant changes in the exploitation of copyright material. In revising the copyright law, all of these changes have had to be taken into account.
Generally speaking, the Bill confirms the rights given to authors by the existing law and specifically provides that these cover the methods of dissemination .of copyright material that have developed since 1911, such as broadcasting. In so doing, the Bill confirms in statutory form the decisions of the courts which have, over the years, extended the provisions of the 1911 Act to cover new situations. But the Bill confers a number of new rights, particularly in respect of broadcasts, cinematograph films and printed editions of books.
As I indicated in my second reading speech on the 1967 Bill, the changes proposed by the Bill will enable Australia to become a party to recent international agreements on copyright. I said then that the Bill would enable Australia to accede to the Brussels Revision in 1948 of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and to the Universal Copyright Convention. The Bill will also give effect in part to the Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms, Broadcasters and Performers, commonly known as the Neighbouring Rights Convention. That Convention requires certain rights to be given to record manufacturers, to broadcasters and to performers of musical and dramatic works. The present Bill will give effect to that Convention in so far as it relates to records and to broadcasts, it being appropriate to deal with these matters in a Copyright Bill. The matter of performers is dealt with separately in the United Kingdom by legislation of a different character. It has not yet proved possible to devote attention to the task of examining what legislation should be enacted in Australia to give effect to those provisions of the Neighbouring Rights Convention relating to performers. I understand, however, that there is as yet no substantial problem caused by the broadcasting or recording of performances of musical and dramatic works in Australia without the prior approval of the performers themselves.
Since the 1967 Bill was introduced, the Berne Convention has been again revised at a conference in Stockholm at which Australia was represented. Those further changes in our copyright law which would be required to give effect to the Stockholm Revision have been incorporated in this Bill. The Government has not yet decided whether Australia will accede to the Stockholm Revision of the Convention. Some of the changes made in the Convention at Stockholm, which do not require legislation in Australia, but which give certain rights to developing countries to grant compulsory licences for the use in defined circumstances of copyright material, will need careful examination by the Government to see what effect they would have on Australian interests.
I turn now to an examination of the main features of the Bill and of the main differences between this Bill and the 1967 Bill. The Bill deals in the first place wilh copyright in literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, which are the traditional subjects of copyright protection. Generally speaking, this part of the Bill would not make any fundamental changes in the existing law. Secondly, the Bill deals with copyright in sound recordings, cinematograph films, broadcasts and published editions. This part of the Bill is largely new. Thirdly, the Bill establishes a Copyright Tribunal with the function of arbitrating in disputes between copyright owners and users of copyright material.
The provisions relating to copyright in literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works are contained in clauses 3f to 83 of the Bill. Clause 32 of the Bill sets out the circumstances in which a work is protected by copyright. It must be an original work; that is to say, it must not simply be a work which is a replica of another. It it is an unpublished work, the author must have been a qualified person when the work was made. A qualified person is one who is an Australian citizen, an Australian protected person, or ordinarily resident in Australia. In addition, a work will qualify for copyright protection if it is first published in Australia, or if, at the time it is first published, the author is a qualified person. This differs from the existing law in a number of respects. At present, an unpublished work is protected if the author, at the time of making the work, was a British subject or was resident in a part of Her Majesty’s dominions to which the 1911 Act extended. But a published work is protected only if it was first published in a part of Her Majesty’s dominions to which the 1911 Act extended. Thus the work of a British subject may cease to be protected if it is first published outside the Imperial copyright area. Clause 32 (3.) of the Bill provides that copyright subsists in a building situated in Australia, or in artistic work that is attached to or forms part of such a building. This applies irrespective of the nationality or place of residence of the architect. This is a new provision, required by a change in the Berne Convention at Stockholm.
So far I have spoken only of copyright in relation to works by Australian authors or works first published in Australia or by Australians. It is intended that copyright protection in Australia will be extended, by regulations to be made under the power conferred by clauses 185 to 189 of the Bill, to works made by, or first published in or by, nationals of member countries of the Berne and Universal Copyright Conventions and persons who are resident or ordinarily resident in those countries.
The rights which are conferred upon the owner of the copyright in an original, literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work are set out in clause 31 of the Bill. The owner of the copyright in a literary, dramatic and musical work is given exclusive rights of reproduction, publication, public performance, broadcasting and communication of the work to subscribers to a diffusion service. A diffusion service is one in which transmission is effected by landline and not by broadcasting. Apart from the right of public performance, which is not applicable in the case of an artistic work, the rights I have mentioned are also given in relation to artistic works. The owner of the copyright in a literary or dramatic work also has exclusive rights in respect of translations into other languages, and of the conversion of the work into another form as, for example, the conversion of a novel into a stage play. Generally speaking, the effect of the clause is to spell out rather more fully than does the present law what these rights are. As I have already indicated, the Bill incorporates the effect of judicial decisions on the relevant provisions of the 1911 Act and, in particular, those decisions in which it has been held by the courts that the right of public performance given by the 1911 Act includes the right to authorise the broadcasting of a work.
The duration of copyright in original works will remain, with two exceptions, substantially the same as under the existing law. In general, the term of copyright in an original work will be the life of the author and 50 years thereafter. Where a literary, dramatic or musical work is first published posthumously, copyright will continue to subsist for 50 years after first publication. The same applies to copyright in an engraving. Copyright in a photograph will continue for 50 years after first publication of the photograph.
These provisions involve only two changes in the existing law. In the first place, the term of 50 years is to be computed not, as at present, from the date of the relevant event, whether it be the death of the author or the publication of the work, but from the end of the year in which that event occurred. It is usually much easier to remember or to find out the year in which a particular event occurred than the actual date on which it happened. Secondly, the term of copyright in a photograph which, under the existing law, continues only for 50 years from the making of the original negative, will continue for 50 years from first publication. In other words, there will now be a perpetual copyright in an unpublished photograph.
The Bill generally follows the existing law in providing that the author is the owner of the copyright in a work. There are two exceptions to this rule. The first is that copyright in a photograph, portrait or engraving made under commission from another person vests in the person commissioning. If the photograph, portrait or engraving is commissioned for a particular purpose, however, the author is entitled to restrain its use for any other purpose. The second exception is that copyright in a work made by an employee other than a journalist in the course of his employment vests in his employer. In the case of a journalist, the proprietor of the newspaper or magazine by whom he is employed owns the copyright in his work for the purposes of newspaper publication or of broadcasting. The provisions relating to commissioned works and to works made in the course of employment are subject to any special agreement between the parties.
Clauses 36 to 39 of the Bill specify what acts constitute infringement of copyright in original works. These differ only in minor respects from the existing law. In the matter of infringement by importation, the Bill differs substantially from the 1967 Bill. Under that Bill, a person would have infringed copyright if he imported an article into Australia, otherwise than for his private and domestic use, if, to his knowledge, he would have infringed copyright by making it in Australia. This would have changed the existing law, under which importation is only an infringement if the articles concerned are imported for sale or hire. It was explained to me that it is the practice of many libraries to import books directly from abroad and of broadcasting stations and, in particular, the Australian Broadcasting Commission, to import records of musical works from abroad for the purpose of broadcasting. There seemed to me to be no good reason to disturb these existing practices. Accordingly, with one small modification, the present Bill would substantially continue the existing law.
The Bill provides certain exceptions from the rights given to the copyright owner. It permits what is called fair dealing with copyright works for the purposes of research or private study, criticism or review and news reporting, lt permits librarians to use modern photocopying techniques for legitimate library purposes. Copyright material may be used in the course of classroom instruction. Short extracts from copyright works may be included in anthologies for use in schools. It is not an infringement of copyright to use a radio or television receiver or a record player in the lounge of a guest house or the like. None of these uses of copyright material really affects the interests of the copyright owner.
I come now to the making of records of musical works. Prior to the 1911 Act, a person who made a record of a musical work did not infringe the copyright in that work. The 1911 Act gave, for the first time, the copyright owner the right to authorise the recording of his music. Fears were expressed that this could result in the development of a monopoly in the record industry if one or two companies, by employing the best artists and entering into contracts with the leading composers, gained control of the record market. To avoid this, the 1911 Act provided a statutory licence to record a musical work once the work had been recorded with the consent of the copyright owner. The record industry has developed on the foundation of this statutory licensing system.
The 1967 Bill proposed to continue this system, but with some significant changes. It followed what had been done in England in the 1956 United Kingdom Act and, with one significant exception, what was recommended by the Spicer Committee. The record manufacturers complained that provisions of the 1967 Bill would narrow the scope of the system to the point where it would cease to apply to the greater part of their business. The owners of musical copyright sought an increase in the royalty required to be paid on records made under the compulsory licence, and opposed any change in the scope of the licence.
After full consideration of the arguments that were put by both sides I came to the conclusion that some changes should be made. The most important changes relate to the conditions precedent to the operation of the statutory licence and to control by the copyright owners of the release of records made under the licence. There is to be no change in the royalty payable.
In the 1967 Bill, the statutory licence did not apply until records of a work had, with the consent of the copyright owner, been made in or imported into Australia for the purpose of retail sale. Now it will be sufficient if records of a work have, with the consent of the copyright owner in the country concerned, been made in. or imported into, Australia or a member country of the Berne or Universal Copyright Convention for the purpose of retail sale. The statutory licence will also apply if a record of a work has been made, again with consent, in Australia or a Convention country for the purpose of making records for retail sale.
But a new provision has been introduced, under which the consent of the owner of the copyright in the musical work involved is necessary for the release of records made under the compulsory licence. The right to withhold consent to release will, with some exceptions, operate only for a limited period from the date on which records of the work were first released in Australia or, in the case of records first released overseas, from first release overseas. The exceptions relate to the case of musical works embodied in musical stage shows or musical films. The copyright owner is given an unlimited right to withhold consent to the marketing of records of these works. This would enable the owner of the copyright in a musical comedy work to prevent release on the Australian market of records of that work before the stage show comes to Australia and so prevent the music from becoming stale.
The royalty payable in respect of records made under the compulsory licence remains at 5% of the retail selling price of the record. The Spicer Committee had recommended that the royalty should be increased to 6i%. The royalty payable in the United Kingdom has been fixed at 6i% since 1928 but this royalty is calculated on a different base to the royalty in Australia. The English royalty is calculated on the retail price of the record excluding purchase tax. The Australian royalty is calculated on the retail price of the record including sales tax. The copyright owners have argued that the royalty should be increased, having regard to changes in the value of money, the introduction of longplaying records and pre-recorded tapes, and changes in the marketing of records.
The extent to which these factors justify an increase in the rate of royalty is a matter which, in my opinion, could only be determined after a proper examination of all of the relevant factors by a tribunal competent to take evidence on oath and to have that evidence tested by crossexamination. I have, therefore, come to the conclusion that there should be no increase in the rate of royalty until there has been a full investigation by the proposed Copyright Tribunal. The Bill provides the machinery for that investigation.
While the provision in clause 58 of the Bill for review of the royalty by the Copyright Tribunal is much the same as the equivalent provision in the 1967 Bill, there is one significant change which has been made at the request of the copyright owners. Under the relevant clause in the 1967 Bill it was necessary, before a review of the royalty could be instituted, for a prima facie case to be made out that the existing rate of royalty had ceased to be equitable. This would have required those seeking a review of the royalty to show that there had been some change in circumstances since the new law came into force. What is required to be shown by clause 58 of this Bill in order to institute a review of the royalty is a prima facie case that the statutory royalty is not equitable. Thus it will not be necesary for those seeking a review of the royalty to show any change in circumstances between the date of operation of the new law and the date on which the review of the royalty is sought.
Apart from some re-drafting to take account of procedural difficulties which were found to exist in. the compulsory licensing provisions of the 1967 Bill, two other changes of some substance have been made. Clause 60 of the Bill will enable a record manufacturer to make, under the compulsory licence, a batch of records some of which he does not intend to sell but intends to give away for review or for promotional purposes. He must pay the full royalty on the records which he gives away. The second change is contained in clause 63 of the Bill. This clause deals with the recording of musical works which were published before the date on which the Copyright Act 1911 came into operation. In order to make records of these works under the compulsory licence, it is not necessary, under the existing law, to show that a record of the work had previously been made. The Berne Convention was amended at Stockholm to remove the special provisions which related to these old musical works. The Convention provides that these special provisions should cease to apply in respect of a country two years after the date of its accession to the Stockholm Revision of the Convention. Accordingly, to give effect to that change in the Convention, sub-clause (3.) of clause 63 of the Bill provides that the special exception relating to old musical work ceases two years after the commencement of the new Act.
The Bill gives a statutory right to broadcasting stations to record copyright works or to make films including copyright works for the purpose of broadcasting those works under certain defined conditions. Modern broadcasting practice often requires the prerecording of a programme for subsequent broadcasting. Clause 47 of the Bill gives a statutory right to a broadcasting station to record or to include in a film a copyright work which it is authorised to broadcast and to use that record or film for the purposes of its own broadcasts without payment to the copyright owner. Such a record or film may be used for the purposes of broadcasting the work by any other broadcasting organisation which is authorised to broadcast the work provided that a royalty is paid to the copyright owner in respect of the making of the record or film. The amount of the royalty is to be determined by agreement or, in default of agreement, by the Copyright Tribunal. A record or film which is made in pursuance of these provisions may be retained for 12 months, when it must be destroyed or transferred to the archives of the National Library.
Both the Australian Broadcasting Commission and the commercial broadcasting and television organisations had asked for a more extensive right of making what are known as ‘ephemera? records than is given by clause 47 of the Bill. In my opinion, however, the Berne Convention permits only the making of ephemeral records by a broadcaster for the purpose of his own transmissions without any obligation to the copyright owner. But since the Convention also permits the recording of musical works under compulsory licence, on payment of compensation to the copyright owner, it has been thought reasonable to include in the Bill what is in effect a statutory licence for the making of ephemeral records by a broadcasting organisation for use by other broadcasting organisations.
Clause 107 of the Bill permits commercial records of copyright works to be included in an ephemeral record made by a broadcasting organisation subject, to the same conditions as apply in the case of the original work. The relevant clause in the 1967 Bill would have permitted a broadcaster to make . a copy of a single record and to use that copy for broadcasting for 12 months. This was not intended. What was intended to be given was the right to copy commercial records for the purpose of making up programmes. Consequently, clause 107 now provides that the right to include an existing record in an ephemeral record is limited to a right to include that record in association with other matter. The jurisdiction of the Copyright Tribunal has now been extended so that it may arbitrate where the owner of the copyright in a work and a broadcasting organisation wanting to record that work for broadcasting purposes in circumstances where the ephemeral recording provisions do not apply cannot agree on the royalty to be paid.
Clauses 74 to 77 of the Bill deal with the relationship between copyright in artistic works and registered designs. They should be read in conjunction with amendments to be made to the Designs Act by a Designs Bill which I shall be presenting to the House. Apart from some drafting changes to take account of criticisms which have been made of the relevant provisions in the 1956 Act, these clauses follow the scheme of the 1956 Act. Adoption of that scheme was recommended by the Spicer committee. There would be a substantial change in the existing law. At present, an artistic work which is produced for the purpose of being applied as an industrial design, or which is so applied at the time it is made, is not protected under the copyright law. Nevertheless, subsequent use as an industrial design of an artistic work which is not produced for that purpose will not deprive that work of copyright protection. Thus the public may not know whether an artistic work which has been applied as an industrial design may be freely used as such. It is desirable that there should be a reasonable degree of certainty in this respect. There are many circumstances in which an artistic work may find, or may be created especially for, industrial application. For example, a statuette, which is an artistic work within the meaning of that term in the copyright law, may be reproduced in quantity for use as a lamp base. Similarly, the drawing of a Donald Duck or a Mickey Mouse cartoon character may be reproduced as a children’s toy. Insofar as an artistic work may be applied as an industrial design it can be, if it qualifies for registration, registered under the Designs Act as a registered design. If it is so registered, then the proprietor of the design obtains a monopoly for a maximum period of 15 years in that design. Protection under the Copyright Act exists, however, for a much longer period.
The Bill adopts the approach that the use of a work as an industrial design should disqualify it from copyright protection in respect of its use as an industrial design after the expiration of 15 years from the time the articles incorporating that design first come on the market. But outside the field of application of an artistic work as an industrial design, copyright in that artistic work will still continue. Thus, if a cartoon character is used to decorate children’s plates, so to use it after the expiration of 15 years from the time those plates came on the market will not infringe any rights in respect of the artistic copyright in the drawing of the character, but to reproduce it in a magazine would be an infringement of copyright. I shall explain these provisions more fully when I come to the Designs Bill. I said in my second reading speech on the 1967 Bill that these provisions would be reviewed when the Designs Act is next revised. Although it has not yet been possible to institute this revision, I hope to put this in hand as soon as the work on the introduction of the new copyright law is completed.
I turn now to those provisions of the Bill which provide for copyright to subsist in broadcasts, cinematograh films, sound recordings and published editions. These provisions are to be found in clauses 84 to 113 of the Bill. These clauses involve substantial changes in the existing law and, in respect of the rights given in sound recordings, substantial differences from the provisions of the 1967 Bill. Broadcasts are not protected at all under the existing copyright law. Some protection against the use of broadcast material is given by the Broadcasting and Television Act. Sub-clause (2.) of clause 9 of this Bill specifically preserves the operation of the relevant provisions of that Act. Under the Bill the owner of the copyright in a radio or television broadcast is given the right to control rebroadcasting of that broadcast. In the case of a television broadcast he is given the exclusive right to make a cinematograh film of the broadcast or a copy of such a film. In the case of a sound broadcast, or the sounds accompanying a television broadcast, the rights include the exclusive right to make a record of that broadcast or reproductions of that record. These provisions are contained in clause 87 of the Bill.
A cinematograph film is protected under the existing law in two ways. Inasmuch as an ordinary cinematograph film consists of a series of individual photographs, each frame is protected as an artistic work. But if the arrangement or acting form or the combination of incidents represented in a cinematograph film give the work an original character, the film is protected as a dramatic work. The present Bill establishes a separate protection for cinematograph films. The rights given to the owner of the copyright in a cinematograph film are set out in clause 86 of the Bill. The copyright in a cinematograph film continues until the expiration of 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the film was first published. For many purposes, ordinary cinematograph film and videotape are interchangeable. Thus, a scene may be recorded by a television camera on videotape and the videotape later copied on to and ordinary cinematograph film. The incidents recorded may be seen either by viewing the videotape on a television screen or by viewing the cinematograph film on a cinema screen. The Bill therefore assimilates videotape to ordinary cinematograph film for the purposes of copyright protection and- -the - term cinematograph - film’appearing in the Bill is defined as including videotape.
Honourable members will1 be aware that the provisions of the 1967 Bill relating to copyright in sound recordings were, in some respects, the subject of much controversy. The provisions in the present Bill represent an attempt to reach a reasonable compromise between the conflicting claims of record manufacturers and of broadcasting organisations While neither party would, 1 think, regard the present provisions as entirely satisfactory from its point of view, my understanding is that each is prepared to accept these provisions as a workable corncompromise. In the circumstances I do not therefore think it necessary to traverse the whole of the controversy that centred on the provisions of the 1967 Bill relating to broadcasting rights in records. Under the present law, a record is protected as if it were a musical work. The present Bill creates a separate species of copyright in sound recordings. I should like to make it clear that the term ‘sound recording’ as used in the Bill does not denote the physical object, whether it be disc or tape, but the aggregate of the sounds which are embodied in that physical object. The importance of this distinction is that copyright depends on the making of the sound recording, that is, the making of the original master or tape. The making of records from that original has no significance in determining whether copyright exists.
I- should also explain that the complete scheme of protection of sound recordings which is intended does not appear from the provisions of the Bill. Some of it appears in the Bill; other parts of the scheme will be contained in regulations to be made under the Bill. It is intended that there shall be copyright in all sound recordings made in Australia or in a member country of the Berne Convention or the Universal Copyright Convention, or made by a national of, a resident in, or a company incorporated in Australia or a Convention country. There will also be copyright in a sound recording first published in Australia or in a Convention country. For this purpose ‘first published’ has the extended meaning given to it by clause 29.(5.) of the Bill; that is, a work is regarded as being first published in- one-country notwithstanding that it- was~ previously published not more than 30 days before in another country.
Generally speaking, copyright in a sound recording comprises the rights set out in clause 85 of the Bill. These are the right to authorise the making of records embodying the recording, the right to cause the recording to be heard in public and the right to broadcast the recording. But if a sound recording is protected by virtue only of the fact that it has been first published in Australia or in a Convention country, the copyright in that recording is not infringed by causing it to be heard in public or by broadcasting it. Furthermore, the broadcasting right in a sound recording made in a country which does not itself give a broadcasting right in sound recordings will cease to exist in Australia at the expiration of a period to be prescribed from the date when the recording was first published overseas or, if the recording is first published in Australia, from the date of its publication in Australia. The effect of this provision will be that a sound recording first made in a country such as the United States of America, which does not give a broadcasting right in sound recordings, may be freely broadcast after records have been released in Australia or after the expiration of a limited period from the time those records are released overseas. The particular period has yet to be worked out; it is contemplated that it will be of the order of 6 to 8 weeks. This will be sufficient. I believe, for a record company to decide whether it wishes to put a particular record on the market in Australia. This limited period will protect the record manufacturer and the owner of the copyright in the musical work involved from any overexposure of the record to the public by excessive broadcasting of the work before it is on the market in Australia.
The scheme will also provide that, in the case of a sound recording in which the broadcasting right continues, permission from the owner of the right to broadcast the recording will not be necessary after records embodying the recording have been released in Australia, or after the expiration of the prescribed period from the release of records overseas, whichever is the earlier. Nevertheless, a royalty must be paid by the broadcaster to the owner of the copyright in the sound recording. The royalty will be such as is determined by agreement or, in the absence of agreement, by the Copyright Tribunal. In the case of a commercial radio station, the Tribunal may not fix an amount payable in respect of the broadcasting of records by that station which exceeds 1% of the gross annual revenue of that station. In the case of the broadcasting of records by the Australian Broadcasting Commission by means of its radio broadcasts, the Tribunal may not fix an annual royalty which exceeds one-half cent per head of population.
These limits have been set to allay fears expressed by both the commercial broadcasting stations and the Austraiian Broadcasting Commission that the payment of royalties for the broadcasting of records could impose a substantial financial burden on them. The limits have been fixed in the light of the special circumstances now existing in Australia in relation to the broadcasting of records and are not intended to imply that any particular royalty or rate of royalty is appropriate for the broadcasting of musical copyright .works.
Clause 153 of the Bill provides a procedure for the revision of these maximum royalty limits. No review of the maximum royalty can be instituted until the new Act has been in operation for 5 years. If a prima facie case is made out to the Attorney-General that, by reason of a change in circumstances, the maximum royalty should be varied, he may request the Copyright Tribunal to hold an inquiry and to report to him. Following the report of the Tribunal, the maximum royalty may be varied by regulation.
The Bill establishes a completely new category of protection for published editions. Modern printing processes have made it easy for a printer to copy, by photographic means, a published edition of a work. A publisher who goes to trouble and expense to produce an edition of a work which is itself out of copyright has no protection under the existing law against a printer who photographically reproduces his edition. What is proposed in clause 88 of the Bill is to give a publisher the exclusive right to make, by means including a photographic process, a reproduction of a published edition of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work.
I come now to those provisions of the Bill which establish the Copyright Tribunal and define its functions. Briefly stated, the main functions of the Tribunal will be to arbitrate in disputes between owners of copyright and persons who wish to make public performances and broadcasts of copyright works. But, compared with the 1967 Bill, the jurisdiction of the Tribunal is now extended to arbitrating in disputes concerning the royalty to be paid in respect of the making of records or films of a work for the purpose of broadcasting it and concerning the royalty to be paid to the owner of the copyright in a sound recording for the broadcasting of that recording or for causing it to be heard in public. As I have already indicated, the Tribunal will also have the functions of conducting public inquiries into the statutory royalty payable in respect of records made under the compulsory licence and the maximum royalty payable by commercial broadcasting stations and by the Australian Broadcasting Commission in respect of the broadcasting of sound recordings.
Some changes have been made in the provisions relating to the Tribunal other than those I have already mentioned. The Bill now provides that the Tribunal shall be constituted by not less than two members when any party to an application before the
Tribunal requests that it should be so constituted. Under the 1967 Bill, the Tribunal was required to be constituted by two or more members only when all parties to an application so requested.
There have also been some changes in the provisions entitling copyright owners to sue for amounts payable under orders of the Tribunal. Broadly speaking, the effect of these changes is to put the copyright owner in the same position as if the user of copyright material covered by an order of the Tribunal were under a contractual liability to pay the amounts ordered to be paid by the Tribunal.
As 1 indicated in my second reading speech on the 1967 Bill, all parties have welcomed the proposed establishment of the Copyright Tribunal. It is intended that the Tribunal will have a sufficient status to ensure it the confidence of all parties. The qualifications required for appointment as a member of the Tribunal are substantially the same as those_required for appointment as a Judge” of the High Court or of the Commonwealth Industrial Court.
The position of the Crown is more clearly defined under the Bil1! than under the present law. The Crown will continue to have copyright in respect of works produced or published by it. The Bill puts beyond doubt that the Crown is bound by the copyright law. Provision is made, however, for the use of copyright material for the services of the Commonwealth or the States upon payment of compensation to the owner of the copyright.
The provisions of the Bill relating to what is commonly known as the ‘droit moral’ differ somewhat from those contained in the 1967 Bill. The change is intended to give effect to a change in the Berne Convention made at Stockholm last year. Under the 1967 Bill, the duty imposed on persons not to attribute to a person the work of another or to attribute an altered work as being the unaltered work of an author existed only during the lifetime of the author. The Convention was amended at Stockholm to require that these rights, or some of them, should extend during the term of the copyright in the work. This change has been incorporated in the present Bill. The Stockholm Revision also required member countries to recognise the appointment by a member country of a person to represent, or to act as, the owner of the copyright in a work of folklore. A provision to give effect to this obligation is contained in subclause (4.) of clause 185 of the Bill.
Except for some minor alterations on drafting matters, the transitional provisions in the Bill do not differ from the transitional provisions contained in the 1967 Bill. I think that all I need say about the transitional provisions is that they are based on the proposition that, unless specific provision is otherwise made, existing works are brought under the provisions of the proposed law. This is what was done in the 1911 Act and in the 1956 United Kingdom Act.
This Bill represents a significant milestone in Australian copyright law. It is the first major change in our copyright law that has been made for a long time. It contains a number of distinctive features dealing with copyright problems which are peculiarly Australian. I have already indicated my hope that the Government has, in this Bill, achieved a reasonably satisfactory compromise in areas where there are conflicting interests. If and when the Bill becomes law, the Government will carefully watch the effect of the Bill on the operations of those who are affected by it, so that if it appears that further changes need to be made to the law, those changes can be made.
I referred at the beginning of this speech to the changes in technology which have occurred since the 1911 Act came into operation. Significant changes in technology which affect the operation of the copyright law are still continuing. At the Stockholm Conference last year, Mr Kawminstein the Registrar of Copyrights in the United States of America, forecast that there might need to be another meeting of the member countries of the Berne Convention within the next 10 years to take account of the effect of copyright law on the widespread introduction of computers for data processing and information storage and retrieval. It is as yet too early to see in what ways changes will need to be made in the copyright law to accommodate these new developments or what other developments in communications will require other changes to be made. These are matters for the future. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Connor) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Bowen, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill is a companion to the Copyright Bill which I have just introduced. I explained, in the course of my second reading speech on that measure, that it traces out a new borderline between copyright protection and industrial design protection. Honourable members will appreciate that many artistic works can serve as the basis for an industrial design. A painting of a vase of flowers may be applied as a design to chinaware. A statuette may serve as the design for the base of a lamp and be reproduced in quantity for this purpose. It is the function of the designs law to provide a system of protection for industrial designs. That system differs from the protection under the Copyright Act in four ways that are relevant to the present problem.
In the first place, it depends on registration. No protection is given to a design under the Designs Act unless it has been registered. Registration is not a prerequisite for protection under the copyright law. Secondly, a design may not be validly registered unless, at the date registration is applied for, the design is both new and original. A work is protected by copyright, notwithstanding that it is not new, so long as it is not derived from a previous work. Thirdly, design registration confers a monopoly type protection, so that a person who uses a registered design without authority from the owner, commits an infringement whether he copies the registered design or derives the design quite independently. Fourthly, copyright lasts for a longer period than design registration. Copyright in an artistic work lasts for the lifetime of the author and 50 years thereafter; design registration lasts for a maximum of 15 years.
A person who makes an artistic work, intending to use it as an industrial design, gets no copyright protection under the existing law. If the work is not made for this purpose but is subsequently applied as an industrial design, he does not lose the copyright protection which attached to the work when it was made. This system is unsatisfactory in a number of respects. In the first place, the author of an artistic work made for the purpose of applying it as an industrial design has no copyright protection, even though registration of the work as an industrial design may not cover the whole field of possible application of the work. Secondly, third parties cannot easily ascertain whether an artistic work which has been applied as an industrial design is subject to copyright protection, since this may involve an inquiry into the intention of the author of the work when it was made.
A different approach to this question of the borderline between copyright and industrial design is now proposed. In summary, it is intended that the use as an industrial design of an artistic work will not affect the protection of that work under the Copyright Act for purposes other than the use of that work as an industrial design. If the owner of copyright in an artistic work applies it as an industrial design, copyright protection will cease in respect of the field in which the work is applied as a design. At the expiration of 15 years from its first use as a design, copyright protection will cease altogether in respect of the application of that work to any articles for which it might have been registered as an industrial design. If an artistic work is to be applied as an industrial design, and the author of the work wishes to have protection in respect of that use of his work, he should obtain registration under the Designs Act. The purpose of this is twofold. In the first place, design protection lasts only for 15 years from the date of first registration. The limited protection given to industrial designs is intended to stimulate inventiveness in the design field and the development of new designs. Secondly, it is intended that the public should be able to know, by searching the Register kept under the Designs Act, what may or may not be used as an industrial design.
A design can be validly registered under the Designs Act only if it has not been published before the date of registration. Unless some change is made in the Designs Act, therefore, the new copyright law would put the owner of the copyright in a published artistic work in a dilemma. If he applied his work as an industrial design, he would lose his copyright protection in the field in which it was so applied. On the other hand, he could not register it as an industrial design because it had become known to the public. This Bill provides the following solution to this dilemma. The owner of the copyright in an artistic work may register it as an industrial design under the Designs Act. The validity of his registration will not be affected by any previous publication of the work, but he must apply to register it before he uses it as an industrial design. If he does not do so, he cannot get a valid design registration. Furthermore, so that the copyright owner may obtain maximum protection under the Designs Act in the application of his work as an industrial design, the Bill also provides that the registered proprietor of a design may subsequently register it in respect of additional articles. The subsequent registration, however, endures only during the life of the original registration. These provisions could lead to the situation where design registration would last beyond theperiod of copyright protection. For example, a photograph is protected under the Copyright Act for 50 years from first publication. If that photograph were registered under the Designs Act, 40 years after publication, for application to plates, the design registration could last for 15 years; that is, beyond the lifetime of the copyright in the photograph. Clause 8 of the Bill therefore provides that in such cases the design registration is deemed to expire when the copyright expires.
The Bill makes a third change to the present designs law. It is intended to exclude from the registration under the Designs Act designs for articles which are primarily literary or artistic in character. Clause 5 of the Bill empowers the making of regulations to provide for this exclusion. It is intended to exclude from registration under the Designs Act works of sculpture, other than casts or models which are used or intended to be used for patterns to be multiplied by the industrial process, wall plaques and medals and printed matter primarily of a literary or artistic character such as greeting cards, postcards, stamps and the like. The purpose of excluding these articles from design protection is to make it clear that copyright protection is not lost by reproduction of an artistic work in these fields. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Connor) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Bowen, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a secondtime.
The Government has reviewed the Judges’ Pensions Act 1948-1961. In view of the number of changes proposed in the existing provisions, this Bill provides for a completely new Judges’ Pensions Act, repealing the present Act altogether. The changes from the law in the present Act include increased rates of pension payable to widows, increased pensions in the case of a judge dying or retiring through ill health in the early years of his service as a judge, the widening of the area of recognition of previous judicial service, the alteration of benefits payable in respect of children, and, finally, making statutory provision for, and increasing, the pensions presently being paid to retired judges and widows of judges. I shall refer to these in a little more detail shortly.
The first legislative provision for pensions for Commonwealth Judges was section 48a of the Judiciary Act, which was inserted in 1926 and which provided a pension of 50% of salary for justices of the High Court who retired, regardless of age, after 15 years service. Similar provision was made in respect of judges of the Seat of Government of the Supreme Court and of the Federal Court of Bankruptcy in 1945 - section 8b of the Seat of Government Supreme Court Act 1933-1945 and section 18bb of the Bankruptcy Act 1924-1945- and in respect of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration in 1947 - section 22 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1904-1947. None of that legislation made any provision for judges’ widows or children and it was repealed by the Judges’ Pensions Act 1948.
The Bill now introduced applies to the justices or judges of all Federal courts and of the Supreme Courts of the Territories within the Commonwealth, and to persons who by virtue of an Act have the status of a judge of one of those courts. As honourable members know, presidential members of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission have the status of judges, and they are covered by the provisions of the Bill. The Bill does not apply to judges of Papua and New Guinea courts; they are covered by a Judges’ Pensions Ordinance of that Territory. In common with the position under the existing Act and under most judicial pensions schemes in the Australian States, the benefits provided by the Bill are non-contributory.
The full Judge’s pension under the Bill remains at 50% of salary on retirement, as at present. The full pension is payable on retirement, after at least 1 0 years judicial service, at the age of 60 or over. There is a change from the present law with regard to retirement due to permanent disability or infirmity. If the Attorney-General certifies that a judge’s retirement is due to permanent disability or infirmity, the judge will be entitled to a pension of 40% of his salary on retirement, plus 2% of that salary for each completed year of service in excess of 5 years, with a maximum of 50% of salary on retirement. The present rate is 14%, plus 4% for each completed year of service after the first, with a maximum of 50%. Under the Bill, the widow of a judge or retired judge is to receive five-eighths of the pension the judge would have received had he retired for permanent disability at the date of his death, or that which the retired judge was receiving at the date of his death. The present widow’s proportion is one-half. The new provision will be identical with that now operating under the Superannuation Act. No pension is payable to a widow who married the judge after his retirement, and the pension payable to a widow under the Bill terminates on the widow’s remarriage.
Also, the basic annual rate payable in respect of a child, which is at present $104 is doubled under the Bill. In respect of an orphan, a special annual rate of $520 or a rate of $208 plus a fraction of what would have been the widow’s pension - this fraction being arrived at by dividing the widow’s pension by four or the number of eligible children, whichever is the greater number - if the latter rate would be higher, will be payable. At present, an orphan is entitled only to the usual child’s pension. The existing qualifying age for children under 16 years is raised to under 21 years in the case of children receiving full-time education at a school, college or university. These provisions will restore judges’ children to the position of equality with children of contributors under the Superannuation Act, which they enjoyed before the 1 967 amendments to the Superannuation Act. Children’s pensions are payable under the Bill only if the judge or retired judge himself is dead, and are normally payable to the widow or, if she is dead, to the child’s guardian. However, provision is made for the Attorney-General to authorise the payment of a child’s pension to a person other than the judge’s widow if the child concerned does not live with the widow. The present Act requires payments to be made to the widow in such circumstances. Where appropriate, the Attorney-General may also authorise a child’s pension to be applied direct for the benefit of a child - for example, in payment of the child’s living and educational expenses at a residential school or university.
The Bill provides that judicial service in a State counts as judicial service for the purposes of the Act. This is the position also under the present law. It does not mean, of course, that the Commonwealth undertakes to pay the pensions of State judges, but that a former State judge, when becoming a Commonwealth judge, is credited with his State service for the purpose of calculating his pension entitlement when retiring from Commonwealth service. The same applies in the case of his widow or orphan children. Judicial service in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea is to count as judicial service for the purposes of the Act - this latter service does not so count at the present time. However, in relation to judges appointed after the commencement of the Act, and in relation to their widows and children, there is to be deducted from their Commonwealth pension the amount of any pension to which prior State or Territory judicial service of the judge concerned had established an entitlement. Under the present legislation, a judge could receive full judicial pensions both under the Act and under State or Territory legislation. The legislation in one of the States makes adjustments in such circumstances, and the Government believes that the Commonwealth legislation should provide likewise.
The Bill also provides, following in this regard a corresponding provision of the existing legislation, that if a judge, instead of voluntarily retiring, is removed from office, the pension provisions of the Act will apply in respect of that judge, his widow, or his children, only if the Governor-General so directs. The last matter I mention in relation to this Bill concerns pensions at present paid to retired judges or widows. There are fourteen persons at present in receipt of judges’ pensions or judges’ widows’ pensions. The Bill determines and sets out the pensions payable to those persons after the new Act comes into operation. In addition, the children’s pensions as provided by the Bill will be payable in respect of any eligible children of those persons. All payments to existing pensioners are placed on a statutory basis by the Bill. At present one of the pensioners has no legal pension entitlement, because her husband died before the commencement of the relevant judges’ pensions legislation, and there are a number of others whose present pensions are made up in part of a legal entitlement and in part of ex gratia payments approved by the Government at various times.
The pensions set out in the schedule to the Bill represent increases on the pensions paid at present. The Government has examined each individual pension and has made adjustments that appeared desirable in the light of the principles incorporated in the general provisions of the Bill and in terms of comparable fairness to the pensioners in relation to each other. This Bill brings up to date the Commonwealth’s judges’ pensions legislation. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Connor) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Bowen, and read a first time.
Mr BOWEN (Parramatta - Attorney-
General) [3.30] - I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill is complementary to the Judges’ Pensions Bill. There are a number of references to the existing Judges’ Pensions Act in section 16 of the Law Officers Act 1964. That section deals with the pension rights of persons who at any time hold the office of Solicitor-General of the Commonwealth. The section applies the provisions of the Judges’ Pensions Act to and in relation to a solicitor-general, and to and in relation to the widow and children of a deceased solicitor-general, as if the solicitorgeneral were, or had been, a judge to whom the Judges’ Pensions Act applies. There is one exception to this - the provision of the Judges’ Pensions Act including prior judicial service in a State as part of the service on which the calculation of pensions entitlement is based has no application to the solicitor-general, or to his widow or children.
Section 16 of the Law Officers Act also provides that, if a solicitor-general or former solicitor-general is appointed to be a judge, his service as solicitor-general is counted as service as a judge for the purposes of calculating his, or his widow’s or children’s, pension entitlement. Provision is also made for a former solicitor-general’s pension to cease when he becomes a judge and for a retired judge’s pension to cease when he becomes Solicitor-General. This Bill ensures that these provisions will operate in relation to the new Judge’s Pensions Act as they do at present in relation to the existing Judges’ Pensions Act. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Connor) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Bowen, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
It may be recalled that in November of last year I introduced into the House a Patents Bill similar to the present Bill. In introducing the Bill, I made reference to the fact that the Bill bad largely resulted from the recommendations of a small committee which had been set up by my predecessor and of which I was the Chairman. The Committee included representatives of the Bar, the Institute of Patent Attorneys and industry. I also said that the changes proposed by the Bill were of considerable interest to patent attorneys, to industry generally and to other sections of the community and that it was intended the Bill should lie over until the present session of Parliament so that the changes might be studied by interested groups. Since then the Bill has disappeared from the notice paper and it has become necessary to introduce a new Bill. The present Bill, while being substantially the same as the previous Bill, includes certain changes made as a result of representations which I have received.
I do not propose to traverse in detail all of the matters I dealt with in my speech last November. Nevertheless, it may assist the House if I mention again in general terms the nature and purpose of the main amendments made by the Bill and explain in a little more detail the reasons for one or two of the new matters that have been included. Honourable members may recall that the principal reason for making the changes to the present patent legislation is the need to mitigate a serious problem that has been developing with regard to arrears of unexamined patent applications in the Patent Office.
Under the present Act an application must be examined If a complete specification is lodged in respect of it. The proportions of the problem confronting the Patent Office may be seen from the numbers of complete specifications received and on hand. In 1939, 3,360 complete specifications were received; in 1950 there were 4,723 - a substantial increase in the rate but nothing by comparison with the increases in succeeding years; in 1960 there were 9,250 and last year, that is in 1967, there were 13,255. Despite the best efforts of the Commissioner of Patents to recruit and retain staff and to maintain efficiency in the operations of the Patent Office, the numbers of unexamined applications had risen from 12,456 at the end of 1960 to 41,500 at the time I introduced the Bill last November. They have now risen to a figure in excess of 44,800. The present arrears alone represent more than 4i years work by the present staff of the Patent Office.
As I mentioned last November, the Australian Patent Office is not alone in its difficulties; practically all patent offices that have an examination system are troubled by mounting arrears of work. The growth in the number of patent applications is caused not only by an increase in the number of inventions for which patent protection is sought but by the practice of seeking protection for an invention in more countries than previously. I will give some figures at a later stage which will show that the majority of applications received in the Australian Patent Office emanate from outside Australia. This is the result of increasing trade and increasing transfers of technology to this country. The very great increase in patent applications in Australia is, in fact, a measure of the growing industrial development of the country.
Let me now deal broadly with the changes that are proposed. As I have mentioned, an application must be examined if a complete specification is lodged defining the invention for which patent protection is sought. An examination in accordance with the Act involves a consideration of the specification from a number of viewpoints by an examiner on the Patent Office staff. The examiner reports whether the application and complete specification comply with the requirements of the Act. His report is sent to the applicant or his patent attorney. In the majority of cases, amendment of the specification is required to meet the matters raised in the report. There may be correspondence with the applicant or his patent attorney and further reports by the examiner before the specification is in order for acceptance. Altogether, the examination of each application involves a considerable amount of work.
The first change proposed is to the present procedure whereby every application and complete specification comes up for examination. A new procedure is to be introduced under which an application will not be examined unless the applicant specifically requests examination. An applicant will have 5 years from the date of lodging the complete specification to decide whether he wishes to proceed with his application. If he does not ask that it be examined in that time, the application will lapse. This procedure will alford an applicant opportunity to assess the value of his invention from time to time in the period up to the examination stage and decide whether it is commercially worthwhile to proceed wilh his application. In this regard honourable members will bear in mind that a patent application is generally made at a time when the commercial value of the invention is still largely a matter of speculation. In the nature of things the initial expectation of the inventor is not realised in every case. If a number of applicants decide not to proceed with their applications, there will be a saving in the work of the Patent Office. The system of deferred examination has been adopted or is under consideration in Holland, the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States of America. The system is also provided for in the draft patent law that has been prepared for the European Common Market countries.
Before passing from this aspect of the Bill there are two differences in these provisions compared with the 1967 Bill that I think I should mention. In the first place new section 57 has been redrawn so that the identity of a person who gives notice to the Commissioner of matters affecting the validity of a claim will not be disclosed to the applicant. This change was sought by the Institute of Patent Attorneys because it was thought that a person might alert a competitor to his interest in a particular field if it were known that he had challenged a claim in his competitor’s patent specification in this way. Secondly, section 54c will be amended so that a patentee cannot sue for infringement in respect of an act done before his patent is sealed unless it would fall within the scope of both a claim of the complete specification as it stood at the time the act was done and a claim included in the specification of the patent as granted.
I turn now to the second change in procedure made by the Bill. This change is the introduction of a procedure of modified examination and is made by clause 14 of the Bill. Very broadly the system seeks to reduce the amount of work required of examiners in certain cases by relying on the examination of equivalent specifications by the Patent Offices of certain prescribed overseas countries. The countries which will be prescribed are the United Kingdom and the United States of America. These countries have been chosen because their requirements as to patent specifications are so like our own that a specification meeting the requirements of these countries may be regarded as sufficiently meeting our requirements.
Honourable members will recall that I mentioned earlier in my speech that a large proportion of applications are received from overseas applicants. In 1967 approximately 88% of all complete specifications were received from overseas. Of even greater significance in view of the proposed introduction of the modified examination procedure is the fact that approximately 60% of all complete specifications originated either in the United Kingdom or in the United States of America, the two countries that are to be prescribed. Also, in the case of many applications that originated in other overseas countries, there would have been equivalent applications lodged in the United Kingdom or in the United States of America.
I would make it clear to the House, nevertheless, that it will be a matter for the applicant to decide whether his application is to be dealt with under the system of modified examination or under the ordinary system of full examination. In order to avail himself of the modified examination procedure, the applicant must amend his Australian specification to make it the same, except as to matters of form, as the specification of a patent granted in the United Kingdom or in the United States of America in respect of the equivalent application. It is thought that it will still be necessary for the Australian examiner to make some of the search that he would make if he were conducting a full examination. The extent of the search required will vary according to a number of circumstances. It is not possible to provide in the Bill for all the contingencies that will arise, and, accordingly, it is provided in subsections (3.) and (4.) of proposed new section 52b that the extent of the search to be made by the Examiner under modified examination should be prescribed by regulation.
In some respects, these proposals anticipate likely international developments. Consideration is being given at an international level by member countries of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property to a scheme to avoid the duplication of work that occurs where applications in respect of the same invention are lodged in several countries. Last October Australia was represented at a meeting of a Committee of Experts in Geneva which was engaged in the preparation of a Draft Patent Co-operation Treaty. Although the discussions in that Committee indicated that anything in the nature of an international patent application valid in a group of participating countries is very much a matter for the future, these discussions are continuing this year and Australia will continue to participate in them. The scheme proposed in this Bill is, nevertheless, in keeping with what could well be the outcome of these discussions.
The present Bill would extend the scope of the amendments which an applicant may make during the course of examination. Honourable members will see from subsection (4.) of the new section 49 that an amendment of a specification is now possible so long as the specification does not, as a result of the amendment, claim matter not in substance disclosed in the specification as lodged. I want to explain the reason for this change in some detail, because it may be thought by some that an important safeguard to third parties will thereby be removed from our law. lt is part of the function of the complete specification to define the scope of the monopoly sought by the applicant. This is done in a series of paragraphs appended to the specification which are called claims. The function of a claim was once aptly described by Mr Justice Maugham in the case of Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Co. Ltd v. Philips Lamps Ltd as being like a miner’s claim. His words are worth quoting. He said: lt is not sufficient for the inventor to discover his gold mine: he must also peg out his claim. Outside the pegs, the gold, if it be there, is free to all.
The Patents Act at present prescribes two relevant limits on an applicant’s freedom to amend his specification following an adverse report by the examiner. The first limit is that the applicant cannot amend so that his specification would claim matter not in substance disclosed in the specification as lodged. That is, he cannot claim an invention which he did not disclose to the Patent Office when he lodged his specification. Secondly, he cannot amend his specification so that it would claim’ matters which did not fall within the scope of the claims before amendment. That is, he cannot subsequently lay claim to matters that he did not previously claim. It was thought that this second limitation would be of value to third parties; by looking at the claim they would know the outer limits of the prohibited territory under the patent which might be granted.
It has been decided to abandon this second limitation. That decision has been taken for two reasons. In the first place, it has been found in practice that it serves no effective purpose in many cases, lt has become a fairly common practice for draftsmen of specifications to include a claim that virtually covers the whole of the matter described in the specification. The applicant is thus subsequently able to contend that any amendment he may make which satisfies the first limitation about disclosure also satisfies the second. If the second limitation can be defeated in this way by a technicality of drafting, then it serves only to complicate the law unnecessarily. When the draftsman has drafted his claims in this way, the limitation ceases to have any value for third parties. In the second place, the countries from which most of our patent applications come do not have such a limitation. Much valuable examiner’s time is taken up with rejecting amendments proposed by applicants from those countries, which are allowable in those countries but not in Australia. It will be apparent that this will cause further difficulties with the introduction of a modified examination system. I am told that a significant proportion of applications would not qualify for modified examination unless this second limitation were removed. The amendments that would be allowable in the United Kingdom or the United States would not be allowable here.
Summing up, 1 point out that the prohibition against extending the scope of the claims causes a great deal of work in the Patent Office, it would reduce the value of modified examination, and it can readily be avoided by appropriate drafting. In these circumstances it has seemed to me that it ought not to be retained. A number of other changes have been made in this Bill. They do not involve questions of principle and have been included in response to specific criticisms that have been received. Apart from the two main changes I have mentioned, the Bill will also make some other changes in the principal Act. I shall mention only one of these briefly - that is, the amendment made by the Bill to afford recognition to an inventor’s certificates. These certificates are granted by the Soviet Union and some east European countries that are parties to the Paris Convention. The amendments are made having regard to amendments made to the Paris Convention at a conference in Stockholm last year.
I have mentioned earlier my desire that effective steps should be taken to mitigate the difficulties being experienced by the Patent Office. But my concern is not merely that there should be a reduction in the time an applicant must wait to have his application examined. Once the pressure of arrears is relieved it will be possible for greater attention to be given to other aspects of the function of the Patent Office that are of importance to industry. The Patent Office is a repository of vast amounts of technical information, but unless that information is adequately classified it cannot be made readily available to industry. I hope that as a result of this Bill, it will be possible to make staff available to give greater attention to this classification work. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Connor) adjourned.
Motion (by Mr Bowen) - by leaver - agreed to:
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent Order of the Day No. 1, Government Business, being called on and the consideration of the question That grievances be noted’ being continued for 40 minutes.
r Anti-war Demonstrations- Fishing in Northern Australian Waters - Transport and Communication in the Northern Territory - Darwin Harbour.
That grievances be noted.
– I wish to refer to the statement made earlier this week by the Attorney-General (Mr Bowen) about anti-war demonstrations in Canberra. I am greatly concerned about these demonstrations. I believe that they are Communist inspired. We are used to seeing demonstrations here inspired by Communists, but one of these to which the Attorney-General referred was much different from those that we have been used to. It was a demonstration by school children. We have seen the Communists take over the so-called peace movements, but this is the first time we have seen them moving among school children. The Attorney-General referred to a trade union lobby day in Canberra, a students’ peace ride to Canberra and a non-violent sit-in. He referred to an earlier statement by the Acting Attorney-General (Mr Snedden) which dealt with the Australian Congress for International Co-operation and Disarmament. He did not say, as has been suggested, that this was a Communist organisation but he said that the statement showed a close relationship between the Congress and the Communist Party of Australia.
Before I came into the chamber I received a communication from the Association for International Co-operation and Disarmament, which should be put straight on this matter. Perhaps it would not hurt to mention in passing that one of the sponsors is a Mr W. Gollan who is a member of the National Executive of the Communist Party of Australia, a member of the AICD committee and a member of the World Peace Council. In 1963 Mr Gollan in his article “The Peace Movement in Australia’ said:
It is, of course, obvious that large numbers of people who support the movement for peace do not realise that in backing peaceful co-existence and calling for disarmament they are, in fact, engaged in a political struggle against imperialism.
Honourable members should look at this statement. I also point out that the organiser of the demonstration to which I have referred was Ernest Albert Boatswain, who I notice is the Secretary of the Trade Union Sub-committee of the AICD and a member of the Communist Party. I first became aware of this proposed demonstration early in May when I happened to read an extract from the Communist newspaper Tribune’ of 1st May. This mentioned that a group of secondary school students would conduct a peace ride to Canberra during this week, which is a school holiday. It referred to an alleged Press release by school children and to the fact that 100 students would undertake a peace ride by bus. It referred to them as being students but I think we should all think of them as school children. The report stated:
It will be over two days: the first day will be spent visiting country centres; on the second day Dr Cairns will present the petition to Parliament.
The students state they have received assistance from many individuals and organisations, among them the Rev. Alan Walker, the Rev. Noffs, Mr K. Thomas-
I imagine the Mr Thomas would be the founder of the Liberal Reform Group, which was responsible for distributing a lot of incorrect propaganda in South Australia during an election campaign. According to The Tribune’, the other sponsor of this demonstration was the Association for International Co-operation and Disarmament. When the Attorney-General made his statement in the House earlier this week, certain honourable members were not prepared to accept the tabling of a report, although in fact it was tabled. I should like to read some of the extracts of that report. They have a direct bearing on the demonstrations currently taking place in Canberra which 1 claim - the Minister supports me - are Communist inspired.
Let me mention one aspect of Communist psychological politics which, as far as I am aware, has not been mentioned in this House. In their textbook on psychological politics the Communists say:
If we could effectively kill the national pride of just one generation we will have won that country. Therefore there must be a continual propaganda abroad to undermine the loyalty of the citizens in general and the teenager in particular.
I was distressed to read in the Press this week that the school children who demonstrated in Canberra were addressed by a member of this Parliament who told them that they deserved great credit for their actions, especially in going to the cost and trouble of coming to Canberra.
– Which honourable member was that?
– The honourable member for Yarra (Dr J. F. Cairns). He told the school children never to believe people who told them that they could not do anything about the war in Vietnam. I believe that in taking such a line the honourable member is only assisting the Communists to wage psychological warfare in this country and to achieve their form of peace, which in our language means surrender. The report of the Project Vietnam Committee, which was tabled in the House last Tuesday, states:
It was agreed that the possibility exists for developing education and activity about conscription and Vietnam in high schools. Already there has been a certain influx of high school students into the anti-war movement. Young people are attracted to the demonstrations in large numbers. Many young industrial workers are concerned about conscription.
Various attempts at organisation in high schools were discussed. One attempt at organisation in a Victorian high school struck opposition from teachers, even to activities of school students out of school. One student was expelled. High school students’ support for their teachers when they were on strike was more successful, however, and may lead to a better teacher attitude. One high school student organised a very successful mainly student vigil outside Holt’s home. A peace group has been set up successfully at one Victorian college . . .
The report continues in that vein for several pages. I point out that the sponsors of the Project Vietnam Committee are not all Communists and fellow travellers; they include sincere pacifists, ministers of religion and members of Parliament, including, I regret to say, members of this House. The report refers to the work that can be done in Christian high schools and states:
Christian high school students could become active in such bodies as the ISCF and taking up such topics as Christ’s role in the Vietnam war. Some participants suggested challenging conservative aspects of school discipline, such as the “refect system, and campaigning for elementary civil rights in schools, such as the right to have lunch hour meetings.
There is in this report a tremendous amount of material which I do not have time to read to the House.
At the twenty-first congress of the Communist Party of Australia a Mr Ogden suggested investigating the possibility of a number of unions putting out an attractive racy youth magazine dealing with records, fashion, sex and other interesting and useful material. I have in my hand a magazine which a constituent of mine picked up in a lady’s hairdressing salon recently. To is magazine is the direct result of Mr Ogden’s suggestion. It is titled Target’ and is the magazine of the Eureka Youth League of Australia, which I believe is now known as the Young Socialists League. The magazine is an official Communist organ.
I do not have time to refer to it in detail but on page 8 of the issue for July-August 1967 there is a photograph showing the honourable member for Yarra taking part in a protest meeting. What annoys me about the magazine is that the first half of it is comparatively attractive and poses the question: ‘What is wrong with our society?’ It refers to Vietnamese children injured by napalm bombs, to overcrowded universities and to Aboriginals living in substandard conditions. At the next page, we find the question: ‘What can we do about it?’ The magazine urges that young people should campaign in the streets, destroy their draft cards and follow the shining example of William White. In every respect this is totally unsatisfactory propaganda.
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– I wish to raise a matter which is causing considerable concern in the northern half of Australia. 1 refer to the activities of foreign fishermen and foreign boats in the area. On 20th March last the Government introduced into the Parliament the Fisheries Bill .1968. As the increasing and uncontrolled invasion of northern waters by foreign fishermen and foreign boats is causing widespread concern throughout northern areas, the Opposition welcomed this opportunity to hammer home to the Government the need for Australia to assert control over the waters of the Barrier Reef and the Gulf of Carpenteria without delay. But the Government has refused to proceed with this Bill. The Government knows full well that every responsible organisation in the north which has become interested in this problem fully supports the view that the natural resources of the Barrier Reef and the Gulf of Carpentaria should be protected against exploitation by foreign interests, whether they be fishing or mining. The waters must be controlled to preserve them against exploitation.
The Government knows that Liberal Party and Australian Country Party members representing northern electorates could lose considerable electoral support if they refused to back Labor’s proposals for the control of the waters of the Barrier Reef and the Gulf of Carpentaria. I mention particularly the honourable member for Herbert (Mr Bonnett). He knows that this is a hot issue in his electorate, and he would, I think, be rather foolish if he did not support the views of the many organisations which are pressing for Federal control over these most valuable waters. I know also from the public statements of Senator Sir Kenneth Morris that he is most outspoken against the uncontrolled operations of foreign fishermen in northern Australian waters. Other Queensland senators apart from Labor senators and Queensland members other than Labor members are also conscious of the seriousness of the exploitation of these natural resources. Similarly, if the honourable member for Kennedy (Mr Katter) and the honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder) continue to give their full support to this Government’s condoning foreign interests exploiting northern waters, and particularly the waters and islands of the Great Barrier Reef, with ruthless greed, they do so at their own electoral risk.
The people of northern areas are fed up with this Government’s reluctance to patrol northern waters. As long as foreign interests have complete freedom of the seas they can exploit our waters and our reefs. There is the ever present danger of exotic diseases being introduced by indiscriminate and unlawful landings on remote northern shores or by direct contact with Australian fishing vessels. It is comically tragic to see the feverish haste which gripped the Government in its implementation of action when foot and mouth disease was suspected to have broken out in New Zealand recently. But this southern dominated Cabinet sits back with utter complacency, blind to the present dangers and the havoc which would be wreaked in the northern cattle areas if one of the illegal landings by foreigners accidentally introduced a dreaded exotic disease such as foot and mouth disease.
The Federal Government even argues with the Queensland Government as to which Government shall pay for the operation and maintenance of incinerators at the main ports, where ships’ refuse, which could be a potential carrier of exotic diseases, is burned. The cost is chicken feed when compared with the tremendous national loss which would result if an exotic disease such as foot and mouth disease entered our northern areas. The Government is currently acting in a secretive and furtive manner which must be condemned. Despite the tremendous body of criticism which has been generated, and is mounting daily, against the intrusion of foreign fishing interests in northern waters, the Government, unbeknown to this Parliament, has now given permission for some foreign interests to operate within the 12-mile limit. Because there is no semblance of activity by naval patrols, foreign fishing interests will have a free go within the 3-mile limit also. They may freely roam around the many islands, the remote northern coastline and the numerous reefs contiguous to that coastline. Whereas it had been illegal for foreign fishermen to operate in these areas, they are now being given full protection by the Federal Government.
This is a scandalous state of affairs, and it is more scandalous because it has been brought about behind the back of this Parliament. No notice whatsoever was given to the Parliament of this agreement with foreign interests. Here we see just one more example of the Government’s attitude to the resources in the northern parts of Australia and to the foreign interests which covet those resources. Previously these fishing interests had no legal right whatsoever to land on Australian shores, but now they have full legal rights not only to land but also to construct processing works. This is a tremendous gain for foreign interests because it has solved many problems with which they were previously beset, such as refuelling and obtaining fresh water. These problems had seriously reduced the intensity of their operations in northern waters.
It is also a fact, although it is not well known, that foreign fishermen have been landing for many years, and are still landing, on both Cartier and Ashmore Islands, the two islands that were concerned in the amendment that was to come before the House but which for some reason has been shelved. What is the Government doing to check these illegal landings? Why will it not debate this issue in the Parliament? Why introduce a Bill and then chicken out before the Opposition can state its case? Why make private arrangements with foreign interests to exploit our fishing areas and keep those arrangements secret from the Parliament? The Government knows full well that in a debate in this House it would be exposed for its neglect, for its inability to have our northern waters patrolled, for its failure to provide suitable naval vessels capable of patrolling these areas and catching foreign fishing vessels and their mother ships, and for its having given the green light to foreign interests to exploit any areas in the north that they wish to exploit.
Now we see the Country Party at the conference being currently held at Townsville proposing motions in line with Labor Party policy, for the control of the Great Barrier Reef waters and the waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Why does not the Country Party do something about the matter in this Parliament, in which it has the opportunity and the numbers to do something? It is obvious that the Government must take positive action to assert control over the resources of our northern waters. Extraneous and learned arguments by the Attorney-General (Mr Bowen) purporting to make excuses for Australia’s failure to take the necessary unilateral action will fall on deaf ears in the north. These stalling tactics are to be condemned. If Canada can validly claim exclusive control of Hudson Bay, which has a far greater area of water than the Gulf of Carpentaria, then surely Australia can assert its claim to the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Great Barrier Reef waters. Other precedents for such a claim can be found in other parts of the world.
We do not ask for legislation to exclude foreign interests for all time, without qualification, from Australian waters. The Labor Party welcomes technical know-how. It agrees that the judicious introduction of foreign capital can have many benefits. All we ask is that Australia should have complete control over these waters, in the interests not only of its present population but also of posterity. Preservation of these resources, through control of them, is, I believe of the utmost importance.
– I rise to speak about the chaotic situation of transport and communications in the Northern Territory. Once again I am imploring the Government to treat this matter as urgent. The Port Augusta-Alice Springs railway has already been cut six times this year. The railway commenced operating only yesterday after the last occasion on which it was cut. The longest period during which it has been out of action was, I think, 5 weeks, when the bridge over the Finke River was washed away. The operators of this line now consider it an operational and economic embarrassment. Until 3 years ago, when the seasons changed in central Australia, this line was operated at a profit. During the last 3 years, however, what with flying passengers to and from Oodnadatta, trains being delayed all over the place and costly repairs having to be carried out to both bridges and track, the operation of the line has been carried out at a considerable loss.
So today 1 stand here and again ask the Government to consider very seriously constructing a new standard gauge line from Tarcoola to Alice Springs. The line would pass by Coober Pedy, where there is now a population of 1,000 or 1,200 people, with cattle stations in the vicinity, then through Mt Willoughby and Kulgera, which is starting to grow into a small township, Erldunda and Palmer Valley, which are cattle stations, and then on to Alice Springs. The new line would run 100 miles west of the present track and through country which is considerably higher than that through which the existing line runs, and where the creeks and rivers are much smaller and would not give nearly so much trouble.
Blockages of this line and breakdowns in communications affect the whole of the Northern Territory and not just the Central Australian area. Large quantities of perishables are off-loaded in Alice Springs and carted up the Stuart Highway to Darwin. All kinds of general cargo are taken up that highway to Darwin and other centres en route. Tennant Creek obtains some fuel in this way. Some 30,000 tons of copper concentrate is carted down the road from the Peko mine at Tennant Creek. This forms a major export item. The local newspaper at Tennant Creek, the ‘Clarion’, frequently complains about the irregularity of communications which puts mining operations in jeopardy. Tourist agents are also embarrassed by breakdowns in communications. An article in today’s ‘Australian’ says:
Stranded tourists squelch their way soggily into the town days late.’ This article refers to the north-south road which, of course, is very bad in wet weather.
– Some people have been forced to sell their cars, have they not?
– Yes, some of them have had to abandon their cars in Coober Pedy and other places because they have been unable to proceed. Building contractors find themselves stuck for cement when they are half way through a project. We can hardly carry cement by air, although last year at the time of the major floods we arranged for a Hercules aircraft to take a load of cement to the area in order to keep workers going. The Northern Territory is developing at a great rate and the building trade is a very real one. Therefore, if there are delays in obtaining builders supplies there can be a tremendous amount of trouble.
While I am speaking about railways I shall mention the line further to the north, the North Australia Railway, which is carrying iron ore to Darwin. Shortly it may also carry sorghum. This line has been upgraded from Pine Creek to Darwin but there is a serious shortage of locomotives and rolling-stock and cattle men in the Territory are facing serious trouble in getting beef to the meatworks for export. Only last week 320 head of cattle bound for the Darwin meatworks had to be transported by road at a cost of $8 more per head than if they had been put on the train at Larrimah.
These are the things that are happening. Transportation in the Territory is in a chaotic condition. Every time there is a decent fall of rain the southern railway line goes out of action. The south road to Adelaide, which carries a tremendous number of tourists, is just a dirt track. Last week there were hundreds of tourist vehicles bogged along this north-south road and generally in that area on roads between Alice Springs, Ayers Rock, Darwin and Adelaide. Tourists have had to send for money for air fares in order to return to their homes. Transport schedules are haywire and everything is in a chaotic condition. This is why I raise this subject today. Many tourists travel along the pastoral roads in buses. These roads are graded flat. Had the roads been crowned during the last 50 years a lot of the present trouble would not have occurred. I make a plea for a greater allowance for the grading of pastoral roads and a different approach to the operation. Flat grading results in the roads becoming creeks in times of heavy rain. In the past the authorities have merely flatgraded a new road and this has become another creek, and the road built to replace it has simply become another creek, and a third road to replace the second road has also become a creek. Had they been crowned in the first place they would now be 3 or 4 feet high and there would not be this creek effect.
I want also to mention the shipping position at Darwin harbour. This port is growing very quickly. A big iron export trade is building up and with the successful harvesting of sorghum from the Tipperary area many more thousands of tons of cargo will be moving through the port. At the moment if more than two ships are alongside the Stokes Hill wharf there is utter confusion. There is a very slow turnround on the waterfront, mainly because the wharf labourers are going slow. The wharf labourers are working to regulation. It took them 48 days to turn round a 5,000 or 6,000 ton ship, which was one of the last vessels in the port. This turnround time is quite incredible. However, they have something because there is utter confusion on the wharf when there are two or three ships berthed. I urge the Government to look into the causes of this confusion, step in and do something for the Northern Territory which is developing so rapidly and to such a great extent. The Territory will soon be doing a lot for Australia.
-1 would like to support the remarks of the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) about the fishing industry in the northern waters of Australia. I agree wholeheartedly with him that the Gulf of Carpentaria should be declared Australian waters. To do so would not be anything new as other countries have taken similar action regarding great gulfs and bays. I read recently a newspaper report about a foreign fishing vessel being apprehended in the Gulf of Mexico. The vessel and its operators were fined $22,250. Recently this
Government increased the extent of Australian territorial waters so far as fishing rights are concerned from 3 miles to 12 miles. However, as the 3-mile limit was not policed how are we going to police th: 12-mile limit? It is not worth while passing legislation if we do not enforce it. There is today in the Gulf of Carpentaria a fishing industry worth between $50m and S80m. It was rightly said by the honourable member for Dawson that during the last fishing season there were over 100 foreign fishing vessels operating in the Gulf of Carpentaria and along the east coast of Queensland. Perhaps this Government will wake up when the foreign operators come down near Brisbane and then to Sydney and Melbourne.
There is also a very serious problem arising because the men on these fishing vessels come ashore and wander inland. I have known them to speak to miners and to Aboriginals. They also collect wood and water. It is a serious matter when these people wander about the Australian mainland. We speak about the money we spend on the defence of Australia yet we cannot even keep fishermen off our shores. Overseas fishermen do wander around and they can present a very serious disease problem. All honourable members read of what happened in England when foot and mouth disease broke out. We were amazed at the consequences. Well, whether honourable members believe it or not Queensland and the Northern Territory are still part of Australia and if disease is carried into those areas it will spread throughout the Continent.
I want to refer to the arrangements made between the Japanese and Australian fishing companies to operate in conjunction. I do not know what the arrangements are but at the present time these companies are using Japanese vessels and crews. Have these Japanese interests put an amount of money into the organisations? lt was said that eventually, over a period of 3 to 5 years, the Japanese crews would be replaced by local people in the area. Such a scheme was suggested once before, as honourable members may remember, when the cultured pearl industry was started in the north of Australia. Technicians from other countries were allowed to come here on the understanding that they would teach the indigenous people how to cultivate pearls. They have never taught anyone; nor will they. So, unless the agreement for the Japanese-Australian fishing operations is policed it is foolish to allow them to continue. The position is exactly the same with other laws that we pass in this Parliament. If they are not policed then we are just wasting our time.
I have said before in this House andI say again that we will have to introduce a coastguard service. If policing our northern waters is not the responsibility of the Royal Australian Navy, the Army or the Royal Australian Air Force then we will have to do what other countries have done; that is, institute a coast guard. Such a service is very necessary not only to police our laws but also from the point of view of health and customs regulations. There is no way in which a coastal service would not pay for itself. Not only would it protect Australian fishermen and Australian fishing interests but it could also safeguard the Great Barrier Reef. This is one of the wonders of the world. There is nothing similar elsewhere. It must be protected. We are the closest nation to it and we should accept responsibility for it. I am not sure, because the Attorney-General (Mr Bowen) has not indicated, whether we have the right to protect it. I do not know whether Australia owns the Reef. However, this does not matter particularly, but action must be taken before it is destroyed. I have tried on other occasions to tell honourable members what has been going on but no action whatever has been taken to stop people from despoiling the Reef or from intruding on to the mainland of Australia. I leave it at that.
I refer now to the Herberton Ore Producers and Prospectors Association. I had the opportunity to attend a meeting of the Association in Irvinebank during the week before last. The people in this area live hard, believe me. They deserve assistance and encouragement. They work as individuals, but there are a lot of them. They do not employ other persons. The Australian Tin Producers Association has approached the Government requesting that the pay-roll tax rebate scheme be not disallowed after 30th June. These people are not against that proposal, but it does not help the small miner. Costs for crushing ore have risen whereas the world market price for tin isdown. It is essential that we keep these miners and their families in the area. We do not want centralisation. We want the country to be developed and individual persons can help. The Government can assist them in many ways. For instance the taxation zone allowance has not been increased since it was first introduced. Why cannot we increase it to encourage people to remain in remote areas?
I have been asked to request the Federal Government to give serious consideration to subsidising the Australian tin price, such subsidy to bring the ruling price of tin concentrates to $30 a unit, and when the quoted price exceeds $30 a unit no subsidy should be paid. Such a subsidy could be reviewed periodically as cost structures alter. This would not involve a big sum, but it would give these people some incentive to stay in this area and to produce the valuable minerals that abound in Cape York Peninsula. Many minerals have yet to be discovered and some are not being exploited because at present they have not sufficient commercial value, but they will become valuable in time. The provision of a subsidy would be an incentive to these people and to those producers who employ labour. If the pay-roll tax rebate scheme continues after 30th June it will enable the production of more ore and perhaps encourage the producers to look for probable markets overseas. The Government should give these people every consideration and it should police the laws that are passed in this House.
– Order! The time allowed for the grievance debate has expired.
Question resolved in the affirmative. [Quorum formed]
Motion (by Mr Lynch) agreed to:
That the House, at its rising, adjourn until Tuesday, 28 May, at 2.30 p.m.
– I move:
Customs Tariff Proposals (No. 11) and Excise Tariff Proposals (No. 2), which I have just tabled, arise from the Tariff Board report on essential oils and other substances. In this report the Board examined the question as to whether assistance to the Australian production of essential oils and other substances by means of concessional duties under the excise tariff should be continued.
The position in the past has been that Excise Tariff Item 2 (L) provided for concessional rates of duty of $1 to $1.20 per proof gallon of spirit used for essences and $1.40 to $1.60 per proof gallon of spirit used for scents and toilet preparations provided that prescribed quantities of locally produced essential oils or certain other specified flavourings or perfuming substances were added to the spirit. Manufacturers who did not add locally produced oils or specified flavourings or perfuming substances to spirit used in their products were required to pay an excise duty of $2.50 per proof gallon on spirit.
The Tariff Board found that excise concessions had not enabled local producers to capture the major part of the local market for oils for use with spirit nor did those concessions encourage users to use more of the specified products than was necessary to obtain the concession. The Board concluded that assistance through the excise tariff was no longer appropriate and recommended that assistance to essential oils, where warranted, should be accorded by means of protective duties under the Customs Tariff. The Government has accepted this recommendation. The Board has recommended protective rates of import duties on citrus oils, oil of ginger, gingerin menthol and vanillin. On other goods under reference non-protective import duties were recommended. The Customs Tariff changes are set out in Customs Tariff Proposals (No. 11).
At present only about 5% of spirit used for industrial purposes attracts excise duty; the remaining 95% is available free of duty. The principal reason for imposing duty on that small part of spirit was to permit assistance to the local essential oil industry through the Excise Tariff. Now that the Government has accepted the Tariff Board’s recommendation that assistance to the essential oils industry should be through the Customs Tariff it has decided to remove excise duties from spirit used for industrial and scientific purposes. Excise Tariff Proposals (No. 2) gives effect to that decision. The corresponding adjustments to customs duties are contained in Customs Tariff Proposals (No. 11).
Consequent upon the decision to remove the excise duties on spirit used in industrial and scientific products, spirit used in these products will be required, wherever possible, to be denatured - that is, methylated - before delivery for home consumption. It is proposed to introduce further legislation to require spirit used for these purposes to be denatured. I commend the proposals to honourable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr Charles1 Jones) adjourned.
Reports on Items
– I present the report of the Tariff Board on the following subject:
Essential oils and other substances.
I present also the following reports by the Tariff Board which do not call for any legislative action:
Glazed ceramic wall tiles (Dumping and Subsidies Act).
Pneumatic rubber tyres (Dumping and Subsidies Act).
Ordered that the reports be printed.
Bill presented by Mr Sinclair, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Mr Speaker, the Customs. Tariff Bill now before the House provides for amendments to the Customs Tariff 1966-1967. The amendments include those changes made by tariff proposals that were introduced into the last Parliament from 4th October 1967. As that Parliament did not have time to debate the measures, the collection of customs duties in terms of the proposals was validated by the Customs Tariff Validation Act (No. 2) 1967. The Bill now before the House will enable the tariff alterations to be debated. This Bill also includes the changes introduced into Parliament as Tariff Proposals on 21st March, 28th March, 2nd April and 3rd April 1968.
Broadly speaking, the Bill covers changes arising out of fourteen reports of the Tariff Board and three reports by the Special Advisory Authority. Other changes in the Bill include amendments arising out of the completion of inter national negotiations, a further extension of the New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement and some administrative changes to simplify the Tariff. I do not propose to reiterate all that was said at the time of the introduction of each of these proposals but with the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate in Hansard particulars of each of the proposals including the pages in Hansard when the tabling speeches were made.
In addition Hansard extracts relating to these Proposals are available in my office for any honourable member who desires a copy. There is also a summary in some detail covering all the amendments in the Bill which is now being circulated for the information of honourable members. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Charles Jones) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Sinclair, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill is associated with Excise Tariff Proposals No. 2 which I introduced earlier. The main amendments sought in this Bill will remove the prohibition on the use of denatured (i.e. methylated) spirits in scents and toilet preparations. Spirit used in these products is currently subject to an excise duty of $2.50 per proof gallon and the prohibition was designed to avoid the substitution of denatured spirit, which is free of excise duty, for dutiable undenatured spirit.
With the removal of excise duty from spirit used in toilet preparations the need for the prohibition ceases and, in fact, the Department of Customs and Excise proposes to require that spirit for use in such manufacture be denatured or rendered unpotable by the addition of approved substances to ensure that there is no diversion of such spirit for potable purposes. The vast majority of spirit used in industry is denatured before delivery for home consumption. The requirement that spirit for scents and toilet preparations be denatured will merely be placing the manufacturers of those goods on the same footing as the manufactures of other goods in which the use of denatured spirit is possible.
The remaining amendment contained in this Bill, clause 7, relates to the establishment of a Collectorate of Customs in the Northern Territory. Honourable members will recall that this House recently passed a series of Bills dealing with similar amendments to various other Acts administered by the Department of Customs and Excise made necessary by the setting up of a separate departmental office in the Northern Territory. I commend the Bill to honourable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr Charles Jones) adjourned.
Bill - by leave - presented by Mr Sinclair, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill seeks the approval of the Parliament to an agreement between the Commonwealth and the State of New South Wales, embodying arrangements for a Commonwealth contribution of $10m towards the cost of improving the existing railway between Parkes and Broken Hill. The Bill also seeks the necessary authorisation of expenditure for the purposes of the Agreement. The circumstances in which the work became necessary are well known and I do not propose to discuss them in detail. In brief, the existing railway between Parkes and Broken Hill, although of the 4’8½” standard gauge, is a pioneer line of light construction, carrying relatively light traffic. When the current rail standardisation projects are completed, they will join with the Parkes-Broken Hill railway to link all the mainland States by standard gauge railways. When this happens, towards the end of next year, there will be dramatic changes in traffic, more so over the Parkes-Broken Hill section than for the others. Fast express interstate passenger and freight trains will be introduced. Initially two passenger and seven freight trains will run each way each week, in addition to the present traffic. It is confidently expected that the traffic will steadily increase, and probably double in 3 years.
It would be quite inappropriate that this new traffic be subject to the load and speed limits that would be necessary if it ran over the present railway. The New South Wales Government, while recognising the need for improvements, felt that expenditure of the order necessary was outside its capacity in the time available, and accordingly sought Commonwealth financial assistance for the improvement works. The Government agreed to assist with a direct grant of $10m. This form of assistance is different from that given in the case of the rail standardisation projects, for the very good reason that the work is not standardisation. In fact, the terms of the assistance are overall not quite as favorable as those accorded to the standardisation projects, but the Government believes them to be appropriate in the circumstances and they have been accepted as such by the New South Wales Government.
The work will be done by the New South Wales Railways, and in fact they already have commenced work using temporary financing arrangements. The present programme is expected to cost about $llm, and of this the Commonwealth will reimburse the State up to a maximum of $10m. All costs in excess of $10m will be contributed by the New South Wales Government. In addition to the current programme, there will be further expenditure on signalling improvements and at a later stage again it will be necessary to provide new rails with a weight of at least 94 lb per yard, as the existing 80 lb per yard rails reach the end of their useful life. This will be done progressively over the next 8 or 10 years and will cost a further $12m. All this additional expenditure will be met by the State. As honourable members will see, the total cost of all these works is expected to be at least $25m, of which the Commonwealth contribution is limited to the maximum of $10m already mentioned.
The detailed terms of the Agreement follow the usual lines for projects of this nature, and include provisions to ensure the necessary co-operation between the Commonwealth and the State in respect to establishment of standards, the planning and supervision of the work, and the control and audit of expenditure. I must say that the State authorities have already afforded every consideration and co-operation to the Commonwealth officers concerned, and we are very favourably impressed with the way they have set about the work, using their own finance in the interim in anticipation of reimbursement by the Commonwealth in terms of the proposed agreement. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Charles Jones) adjourned. [Quorum formed]
Debate resumed from 15 May (vide page 1500),. on motion by Mr Bury:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– I am as much opposed to this Bill to amend the misnamed National Service Act 1951- 1966 as I was to the 1964 legislation and to later legislation in 1965 and 1966. As Leader of the Opposition I called for divisions on the motions for the second and third readings of all three Bills. The proper title of the Bill now before the House should be ‘Conscription Amendment Bill* and its purpose should be stated as the establishment of a system of pimps, spies and informers to help the Government to sacrifice youths who do not wish to go to the war in Vietnam. There is no legislation to parallel our national service legislation in any other country. The United Kingdom has a big army East of Suez. It has another army in Hong Kong as well as a big army in West Germany. Also it has a not inconsiderable navy and air force. But every serviceman and servicewoman serving in the British Army, Navy or Air Force is a volunteer. There are no conscripts in the United Kingdom forces today.
On 4th May 1965, in a speech in this House, I said:
Therefore, on behalf of all my colleagues of Her Majesty’s Opposition, I say that we oppose the Government’s decision to send 800 men to fight in Vietnam. We oppose it firmly and completely.
On 8th March 1966 the -then Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Harold Holt, a man whose passing we lament, presented to the House a statement of the policy of his Government. On taking up the debate on the motion: That the House take note of the paper’ - that is the statement - I was authorised by the Opposition to move:
That all words after ‘that* be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: this House records:
its most emphatic opposition to the dispatch of conscripted youths for service in Vietnam and the increased military commitment in that country . . .
I asked why the Government had introduced conscription a fortnight after the present Minister for Health (Dr Forbes), who was then Minister for the Army, had said in this House that the Government was opposed to conscription and when the leaders of the Services had advised the Government against it. Again, I ask: Why? The reason is simple. This was done because the Government could get no-one of military age in this country to volunteer to go to Vietnam. This is the reason, and the only reason, why we have conscription. In 1968, the Australian Labor Party is still protesting against the iniquity of the Vietnam war and Australia’s participation in it. It is still protesting at the even greater iniquity, the shocking injustice, of compelling one out of every eight of our 20-year-old youths to go to Vietnam to kill or be killed, or should I say, be murdered in a war it which our youths do not want to serve, because their consciences and high moral and ethical principles tell them to keep away from it
It is argued by the Government and its supporters that someone has to go to Vietnam because of a mythical Communist thrust down through the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. They argue that the Chinese Communists are coming down on to us and that they may be here any day. Honourable members opposite should realise that no Communist Chinese soldier could get to Australia. If Napoleon and Hitler could not cross the English Channel, what hope have the Chinese of getting to Australia - except by using sampans?
– They could swim.
– Of course they could, if they were good swimmers. But I believe that every Chinese soldier would have to sail his own sampan; this is the only way in which the Chinese could invade this country. Honourable members opposite also believe that it is better to fight in someone else’s backyard than in one’s own. This is a completely immoral doctrine. In any case, we are finding it increasingly difficult to fight in Vietnam’s backyard.
The injustice done to our young men by conscription becomes even more tragic when it is realised that only those forced at bayonet point to serve in Vietnam make any sacrifices at all. They and their parents are the ones who are making sacrifices. The majority of others in the community, including the youths who are lucky enough to escape in the lottery of death, wallow in their own affluence. The Government has left a number of avenues open to those who wish to avoid or evade service in Vietnam. I am glad of that and I congratulate all who take advantage of their good fortune - with one exception. It is the official policy of the Australian Democratic Labor Party to advise all its members to encourage their sons to join the Citizen Military Forces and to leave the fighting in Vietnam to the sons of other people. As a consequence, very few sons of DLP families are serving overseas in any of our three Services. At the same time the DLP howls for more conscripts to be sent, for an escalated war, for the dropping of more napalm and phosphorus bombs, for a bacterial war, for a defoliating war and even for the dropping of nuclear bombs. Such people are beneath contempt. They are the Fascist minded friends of the neoNazis of West Germany and are, therefore, enemies of Australian democracy and everything decent in Australian life.
I have always been opposed to conscription for service outside Australia. I will remain so until I die. I could say a good deal about this but my time is limited. Conscription has been proposed in the past only when the nation has been officially at war. We are at war in Vietnam but there has been no declaration of war. We are engaged in a filthy, bloody war; a cruel, dirty war; an immoral, unjust, unwinnable civil war far removed from our shores. We are not engaged in the defence of freedom; not in a crusade; not in a jehad; not in a holy war against Communism. On the contrary, we are engaged in an outrageously desperate and indefensible adventure. We are fighting as a stooge of the United States of America in what can be described only as the rape of Vietnam. This is the situation as the people of the United States, of all Asia, of Europe and of Oceania are beginning to see it.
I admit that the Labor Party is paying a heavy price for its opposition to the filthy, bloody war in Vietnam, but it is a price worth paying. We must continue to uphold our principles and fight and lose, if necessary, rather than become a party of warmongers and sycophantic, unquestioning followers of the United States. In the long term we will be vindicated. It may take another two or three elections before we again become a government. But what does that matter if the price we have to pay for office is the abandonment of our opposition to the Vietnam war and the Australian commitment to it. After all1, what doth it profit a political party to win an election and suffer the loss of its own soul?
The Fairhall family was very fortunate recently. In early March the only son of the Minister for Defence (Mr Fairhall) returned from Vietnam. A photograph, which was published in only one newspaper, showed the Minister and his wife welcoming their boy back from Vietnam. The young conscript was all smiles and so were his parents as he declared that the first thing he wanted to do was to get out of the Army. I congratulate him on his statement. My congratulations go to his parents too on the safe return of their son and his desire to get back to civilian life. But what about the other 8,000 young men still serving in Vietnam in the subhuman war in that country? When are they, their parents and their loved ones to enjoy happy family reunions like the Fairhall one? There are other families for whom there will be no home comings at all. I read in today’s Melbourne ‘Sun’ that our Vietnam casualties are now approximately 1,000 - 189 dead and 823 wounded. For the families of these people there will be no happy homecomings. The figures that I have quoted are growing and they will continue to grow until all remaining Australians are brought home, whether they be conscripts or whether they be regular soldiers, because no regular soldier has volunteered for this war either. Are there no tears left in this country to be shed for our dead and wounded because so many people are prone to forget them? We live in a community today that is as selfish as it is cowardly and as unfeeling as it is unkind. The United States has lost 20,000 men dead and 100,000 have been wounded.
I want to say something about what seems to me to be the most significant things about Vietnam. The first is the unanimous desire of returning Australian and American servicemen to get out of the forces as soon as possible; the second is that the great majority of the South Vietnamese support the Vietcong; and the third is that whenever and however the war ends, a unified Vietnam will be Communist controlled. The United States has made the political triumph of Ho Chi Minh inevitable and there is no way now to retrieve the situation. When I was Leader of the Opposition other members and I challenged both Sir Robert Menzies and the late Mr Harold Holt to say whether they had ever received a request from the Government of South Vietnam for Australian troops to help South Vietnam and, if so, would they produce the request. Neither of them could, or would, produce such a request. I now ask the present Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) whether he can produce such a document and, if so, will he do so.
It is my firm belief that we are fighting in Vietnam because we were asked to send troops there by the United States and not by South Vietnam. It is also my firm belief that the conscription of a section of our 20-year-olds to kill or be killed in Vietnam, against their wishes, is immoral, unjust and a violation of human rights. I have always held this view and I will never be deterred from saying it. However I may be criticised, fairly or unfairly - and I think mostly unfairly - on other issues I hope nobody will ever accuse me of being a hypocrite or a coward or a backslider on Vietnam. I shall continue to speak the truth as I see it, and I hope everybody else will do the same.
Why this cruel, unwinnable civil war should continue and why it cannot be ended angers and amazes the world. The Wilson Government gives lip service to the American commitment in Vietnam but refuses to send any troops to the terrible conflict. The Wilson Government never received any request from South Vietnam to send troops there. It was only the Americans who asked us to send troops there.
– France sent no conscripts.
– France is not interested in the Vietnam war. The West Germans, the Dutch, the Belgians and the Italians among the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation powers adopt exactly the same attitude. France, which is now half in and half out of NATO, does not support the American commitment and refuses to help the Americans with troops or equipment. The British Labour Party Conference, at its meeting in Scarborough in October last year - and I was present at it and heard the debate, as was the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) - expressed the views of most Europeans, whether Socialist or non-Socialist, in the following resolution:
This Conference calls upon the Labour Government to dissociate itself completely from the policy of the United States Government in Vietnam and urges it to support U Thant and the overwhelming majority of the United Nations in trying to persuade the Government of the United States of America to end the bombing of North Vietnam immediately, permanently and unconditionally.
Conference believes that any settlement must be based upon the 19S4 Geneva Agreement, which required the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Vietnamese soil, and the reunification of Vietnam under the government chosen by the Vietnamese people.
Yesterday a deputation came to Parliament House and honourable members were honoured by its presence. It came to discuss the question of Australia’s participation in the Vietnam war. The documents circulated by the Trade Union Committee of the Association for International Co-operation and Disarmament reads as follows:
Participants in the Trade Union Lobby Day for Peace support the Trade Union policy of opposition to the Vietnam war and to Australia’s participation in it.
We consider that the war is immoral and unjust.
It is causing the most tragic loss of life and destruction in Vietnam.
It poses a constant threat of world war which can be a nuclear war.
It is harmful to Australia’s interests in its diversion of Australia’s economic resources to war purposes and its loss of young Australian lives.
It substitutes relations of hostility and war in place of relations of peace, trade and friendship with the peoples of Asia.
We therefore call upon the Australian Government to take positive steps to end the war, and request all members of Parliament, irrespective of Party affiliations to support in Parliament the following proposals-
All of them, in my view, completely unexceptional -
That the Australian Observer at the Paris Peace talks be instructed to publicly declare that the Australian Government is in favour of immediate action by the United States Government to stop the bombing and all hostile military acts against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
That agreement be reached for an end to military hostilities by all sides.
The commencement of peace negotiations with the basis of such negotiations to be the provisions of the 1954 Geneva Agreements.
The withdrawal of the present proposed amendments to the National Service Act.
That the Government introduce provisions to Section 29a of the National Service Act which would allow conscientious objectors to the Vietnam war or any particular war to be granted exemption from service.
I have received a statement from the Methodist Youth Fellowship of Armidale, New South Wales, and it says the same things. To summarise, it calls on the Government to repeal the National Service Act 1951-65; urges the Government to set up further systems whereby Australians may take part in the development of the underprivileged nations; and urges the Australian Government to encourage young men and women to give such service, either at home in a local social problem, or overseas in civil aid projects.
– Well, of course, to some people everything that is contrary to the Government’s views is either Communist controlled or Communist inspired. I have even heard suggestions that the Central Executive of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Labor Party is under Communist control.
– That is only partly true.
– It is not a Communist organisation. The Australian Council of Churches on the subject of conscientious objection to military service has said that there are at least three positions of conscience that are possible. These are:
The Australian Council of Churches is not under Communist control, although I have heard this allegation from some honourable members opposite. They said that Communist influence in the Australian Council of Churches was real and was growing. Of course, there are a lot of people in the community, particularly those belonging to the Australian Democratic Labor Party, who are really good churchmen. They go down on their knees every night. But they do not go down on their knees to pray. They go down on their knees to see how many Communists are under their beds.
The Australian Council of Churches, which is lily white as far as I am concerned, recommends in the report of its special committee on conscientious objection to military service that: . . clear provision be made for the exemption of persons who conscientiously object to participating in a particular war, declared or undeclared.
There are other points that I wish to make. But I know, Mr Speaker, that you will be calling time presently and suspending the sitting. I know that I have to stop some time; so I think I had better conclude now.
Sitting suspended from 5.7 to 8 p.m.
- Mr Speaker, I desire to speak on this. Bill but I understand that, before I do so, the Government wishes to proceed with other business. Therefore I ask for leave to make my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Mr FAIRHALL (Farrer- Minister for
Defence) - by leave - On behalf of the Australian Government the Minister for Supply (Senator Anderson) today concluded an arrangement with the United Kingdom for the continued operation of. the Joint United Kingdom-Australia Project for the next four years. Mr John Storehouse,. Minister of State, Technology, represented the United Kingdom Government at the negotiations. The Australian Government welcomes the continuation of our close association with the United Kingdom Government in this very important and worthwhile defence and space research activity. The formal negotiations concluded today were based on detailed and intensive joint planning: carried out during the past twelve months.
Since the establishment of the Joint Project in 1946 the prime objective has been to develop the range at Woomera and the support facilities at Salisbury in South Australia for the testing and development of guided weapons and for other research projects. During this period a significant first class Australian scientific and technological staff has been assembled at the Weapons Research Establishment. The basis of the negotiation of future arrangements included two important objectives. Firstly, it is the aim of the Australian Government to re-organise the scientific and technical organisation at the Weapons Research Establishment to enable us to deploy valuable technological resources to important tasks for the Australian Services. Secondly, it is the aim of both governments to retain a viable range at Woomera to meet the weapons testing and space requirements.
The arrangement concluded today provides for the development of two organisations, one to meet the requirement for important support to the Australian Services, and the other to operate the range resources. The former will be brought under the policy direction of Australia while the latter will continue to be operated and maintained in accordance with the agreed joint United Kingdom-Australia requirements. The new Australian organisation will undertake tasks for the Australian Services using many skills in modern technology. These skills include the whole field of electronics, micro-circuitry techniques, data transmission, radar, and computer techniques. Increased emphasis will be devoted to what is commonly referred to as software, which includes such scientific investigations as the preliminary studies of military environments leading to the specification of military equipment requirements and the subsequent studies of the equipments to ensure their most effective operational use and exploitation. The programme of work at the Woomera range is quite high for the next 2 to 3 years. Major projects currently being tested at the range include the British developed Sea Dart surfacetoair shipborne weapon, the British developed Rapier low level anti-aircraft system and the Australian developed Ikara anti-submarine weapon system. Firings of Skylark and other upper atmosphere research rockets will continue as will the bomb research programme. Firings on behalf of the European Launcher Development Organisation extend to early 1970, and early next year the first of a series of firings of the British Black Arrow rocket for the purpose of developing satellite technology is planned to take place.
The agreed financial arrangements provide that the cost of the Joint Project operation will be shared equally by the two governments. In addition, the United Kingdom has agreed to make contributions towards the cost of the Australian organisation phased to reflect its progressive redeployment over the next few years to Australian requirements. Whereas the Australian organisation will be engaged primarily on scientific and technical tasks for our own Services, the new arrangement with the United Kingdom provides for projects to be undertaken in co-operation with the United Kingdom where there is a mutual defence interest. These projects will be considered jointly as they arise. This new arrangement not only provides therefore for the continuation of an important and intimate tie with Britain but also for the deployment of first class scientific and technical resources developed under this joint enterprise in the past to meet increasing important requirements of the Australian Services.
Bill - by leave - presented by Mr Fairbairn, and read a first time.
– I move:
Honourable members will recall that the late Prime Minister made a statement to the House in November last outlining the Government’s intention to provide financial assistance for a further programme of beef road construction in Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia. The purpose of the Bill now before the House is to seek the approval of the Parliament to the provision of this assistance. The Commonwealth, in conjunction with the State governments concerned, has been continuously associated with beef road development in northern Australia since 1961. Under legislation enacted in 1961, 1962 and 1966 the Commonwealth has provided an aggregate of $28. 9m for this purpose to the governments of Queensland and Western Australia covering the period up to 30th June 1967. This earlier legislation does not authorise payments to the States after that date.
For the information of honourable members, I will summarise the main particulars of the assistance provided by the Commonwealth up to 30th June 1967. For Queensland a total of $20.5m has been provided, of which S 11.95m was a direct grant and $8.55m was in the form of an interest bearing loan. For Western Australia a total of S8.4m has been provided as a direct grant, subject to matching expenditure by the State on roadworks north of the 20° parallel of south latitude. By 30th June 1967, more than 600 miles of roads in Queensland had been completed and work was in progress on a number of other roads aggregating an additional 600 miles. In Western Australia, the State has concentrated work on progressive upgrading by stage construction of some 1,300 miles of roads in the Kimberley region. As well as providing financial assistance to the governments of Western Australia and Queensland, the Commonwealth itself has engaged in a programme of beef road construction in the Northern Territory and by 30th June 1967, it had expended $10.4m on the construction of roads totalling nearly 1,100 miles, of which about 800 miles had been completed at that date.
It will be seen that the investment by the Commonwealth in beef road construction in northern Australia from the commencement of the scheme in 1961 until June, 1967, amounted to nearly $40m. The Government is now proposing further investment in beef road construction by the Commonwealth and the Bill now before the House provides for the authorisation of grants amounting to $50m over the 7-year period commencing 1st July 1967. It is proposed that the Commonwealth will provide this assistance to Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia in the form of direct grants with no requirements for matching or complementary expenditures by the States. I should explain, nevertheless, that the Premiers of the States have assured the Commonwealth Government that they will continue to make their own additional contribution to the programme.
Broad agreement has been reached in discussions between Commonwealth and State authorities as to the roads to be covered by the programme and as to the level of construction for which financial assistance will be made available. Provision is made in the Bill for variations to the programme if these should prove to be desirable as the works proceed. Honourable members are aware that the beef cattle industry in northern Australia is going through a period of pronounced development and that it is possible that some change in the programme may be warranted in the light of some future development. The Commonwealth will, of course, consider any possible variation only after the closest consultation with the State Government concerned. Other provisions in the Bill relate to such matters as the Commonwealth’s reservation of the right to approve routes, design standards and construction arrangements, the supply of information by the States, and the provision of working advances to the States. It is also provided in the Bill that expenditure by a State government for which reimbursement from the Commonwealth will be available under the programme shall be deemed not to be expenditure by the State for the purpose of the Commonwealth Aid. Roads matching arrangements.
I turn now to the details of the 7-year programme on which, as I have said, broad agreement has been reached between Commonwealth and State authorities. Queensland’s share of the finance will amount to $39.5m, which will be used to complete or continue the works under construction at the end of the previous programme, that is, at 30th June 1967, and also to commence work on a number of new roads. The work to be undertaken on roads approved under the earlier programme comprises: The construction of a bridge over the Flinders River on the Julia CreekNormanton road; the completion of sealing on the Georgetown-Kennedy Highway road, together with the construction of a major bridge over the Etheridge River and a number of smaller bridges; the sealing of a further 38 miles on the Winton-Boulia road; the completion to sealed standard of the Mount Isa-Dajarra road; the completion to mainly gravel standard of the Dingo-Mount Flora road; the completion of the existing contract, plus further section to sealed standard on The BatteryTownsville road; the completion of bridges under construction plus the upgrading of selected sections of the road to gravel standard and the construction of a number of other bridges on the Mareeba-Laura road; and the continuation of construction to sealed standard on The Lynd-Charters Towers road.
New works will be undertaken with Commonwealth finance on the following roads: A road through May Downs linking the Dingo-Mount Flora road with the Marl,borough-Sarina road; the Oxford Downs-Mackay road; the CloncurryBurketown road; the GeorgetownCroydonNormanton road; the Mount DouglasCollinsville road; the Mount Coolon-Nebo road; the Mungana-Highbury road; and the Windorah-Currawilla road.
Western Australia’s share of the finance will amount to $9.5m which will be used for the continuation of upgrading of the roads in the earlier programme, namely, the Great Northern Highway, between Broome and Wyndham; the Duncan Highway, Halls Creek to Wyndham via Kununurra; and the Derby to Gibb River road. In connection with the upgrading of the Duncan Highway, I would draw the attention of honourable members to the provision in the Bill for the Government of Western Australia to undertake certain works which will lie within the Northern Territory, and which become necessary because of the projected construction of the Ord Dam. Water to be stored by the dam will inundate sections of the existing Duncan Highway, making a relocation necessary. The most feasible route for the relocation lies partly within the Northern Territory.
South Australia will receive a grant of $lm for permanent works on the Birdsville Track between Birdsville and Marree. This amount is the major part of the amount calculated as justified by the increased cattle turnoff expected from improvements to the Birdsville Track. Although this amount is not sufficient to improve the road to a standard equivalent to beef roads necessary for high traffic densities, it is considered sufficient to alleviate to a significant extent the considerable cattle transport problems which exist in this region of South Australia.
In addition to the proposed programme of works covered by this Bill, I would remind honourable members that the Government has already announced a new programme of beef road construction in the
Northern Territory. It is estimated that roadworks to the value of $17.7m will be constructed in the Northern Territory over a period of about 6 years commencing on 1st July 1967. It will be seen therefore that, on the passage of this Bill, the total amount of finance already provided or approved by the Commonwealth for beef road construction in Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory for the period that commenced in 1961 will be no less than $107m. This is tangible evidence of the importance which the Government attaches to beef cattle roads as a means of developing our northern areas and of increasing Australia’s export earnings through greater beef production.
I should add that this substantial investment in northern roads by the Commonwealth reflects the Government’s confidence that there will also be substantial investment, in the private sector, by members of the beef cattle industry in northern Australia, by hauliers and by meatworks. The Government considers that the programme it is now proposing will make a significant contribution to the development of the beef cattle industry in the north and to northern development generally. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Dr Patterson) adjourned.
The following Bills were returned from the Senate:
Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 1967-68.
Supply Bill (No. 1) 1968-69.
Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 1967-68.
Supply Bill (No. 2) 1968-69.
-I have received the following message from the Senate:
The Senate acquaints the House of Representatives that Senator Wood has been discharged from attendance as a member of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory.
I have also received advice from the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson) that he has appointed Senator Dame Ivy Wedgwood to be a member of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory.
Debate resumed (vide page 1558).
– It has been said that warfare breeds three distinct types of men - heroes, cowards and conscientious objectors. In considering this legislation, we are not concerned with heroes. A conscientious objector is one who, on moral or religious grounds, declines to serve as a combatant or one who refuses obedience to military service on the grounds that the state has no right to force the individual to perform military service of any kind. I stress the words ‘of any kind’. I do not agree with Shakespeare, who wrote: Thus conscience does make cowards of us all’. It can take great courage for a conscientious objector to hold to his beliefs. I believe that in a democracy the treatment of conscientious objectors is a test of the state’s ability to reconcile the exercise of its sovereignty with the protection of the individual. That is why the rights of the genuine conscientious objector are protected under the National Service Act. This is as it should be. From 1965 until the end of June 1967, 197 youths were granted total exemption by the courts on the ground of conscientious objection, and a further 171 were allotted non-combatant duties. The courts held, however, that 86 who applied for exemption were not genuine conscientious objectors within the meaning of the Act. From these figures it is apparent that among Australians there are only a few genuine conscientious objectors to military service.
This Bill is designed to bring up to date what has become outmoded legislation, to close the loopholes and iron out the difficulties which have come to light with the effluxion of time. The legislation has not been prepared specifically because of the Vietnam war, although the circumstances surrounding that war have no doubt brought to the surface some of the shortcomings of the Act and have shown the necessity for streamlining the legislation. Amending legislation has become necessary to enable more effective action to be taken to counter the efforts of those seeking to evade their obligations. The last election was fought by both sides on the issue of Australia’s role in Vietnam and on the question whether we should have conscription to provide enough servicemen for Australia to meet adequately its commitments to its allies. Without national servicemen Australia would not be able to maintain its present commitment in Vietnam. These views are not held only by me. On this point I can quote no less an authority than the former Leader of the Opposition, the honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell), who on Monday, 29th April 1968 told university students in Melbourne, according to a report in the Melbourne University students’ newspaper Farrago’:
Australia’s contribution to the Vietnam war would not be possible without conscription.
He was also reported in the same edition of ‘Farrago’ as saying that he blamed failure of his 1966 anti-conscription platform on the stupid, fear-stricken, cowardly and non-thinking Australians’. I do not believe that name-calling in a debate like this, or at any time, gets us anywhere. The honourable member may have called us hillbillies in the past, but I believe that it is a great pity that this man who over many years has rendered long and valued service to this country should, in the twilight of his career, make statements such as this. I believe that like most members of this House the honourable member must basically have a great respect for the common sense of the average Australian voter.
Perhaps the Labor Parry’s opposition to national service during the last election campaign sprang from the influence of that secret and outside organisation of which the present Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) has been talking so much lately. I do not know, but I do know that the Australian people overwhelmingly endorsed the policy of this Government and returned it to office with a record majority. The great majority of young men and their families accept the obligations imposed by the national service scheme, and these young men render efficiently the service for which they are liable. A small number, however, do .seek, for various reasons, to evade their obligations to their country. It must be remembered that if men wish to avoid national service they have the opportunity to elect, prior to call-up, to serve part time in the Citizen Military Forces. Genuine conscientious objectors, as we have seen, can have their rights protected by application to the courts. But this Bill is concerned with those who deliberately try to avoid their obligations, either for their own selfish reasons or because, while not being conscientious objectors, they are not prepared to fight in this particular war. In other words, they will fight in a war, but not a war against Communism.
These self-styled objectors seem to regard patriotism as some sort of dirty word. I have before me a cutting from the ‘Australian’ of 3rd May 1968 in which is related the case of a young gentleman, the chairman of an organisation called the Sydney University Students for a Democratic Society - whatever that may be. This person admits that he has not registered for national service for some 9 months and states that his organisation gives moral support to the Communist National Liberation Front and to the Vietcong. Communist front and peace front organisations have subjected this community to organised protests against national service and the Vietnam war and, as we have all seen, these protests have often been far from peaceful. In many instances young men have publicly burnt their call-up cards. However much one may respect the sincerity of purpose and even the principles of the honourable member for Yarra (Dr J. F. Cairns), one cannot help but regret that he should see fit to assist and advise young men who are eager to avoid national service. This is the man who sits at the table now and who, many people believe, will take over as Leader of the Labor Party in the near future. This is the man who would then be the alternative Prime Minister offered to the country by the Labor Party.
Here in Canberra we have seen the Australian flag torn from the masthead by anti.conscriptionists and publicly burned. During the past few days we have witnessed one of the usual so-called spontaneous demonstrations against the Vietnam war and against conscription. Most of us were present two nights ago when the AttorneyGeneral (Mr Bowen) gave the House some information about these demonstrations. Following his statement, the ‘Canberra Times’ of 15th May 1968 carried an article which said, amongst other things:
Anti-war demonstrations by trade unionists, university students and school pupils were not spontaneous, but planned and organised from outside, the Attorney-General (Mr Bowen), said in a special statement to the House of Representatives last night.
In an assault on peace demonstrations, Mr Bowen linked them to activities of the Communist Party and the World Peace Council - ‘an instrument of Soviet policy’.
Last year we read of an anti-Vietnam-war parade from the Hotel Canberra to this House. Let me read to the House extracts from an article which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald’ of 19th January 1967:
In the parade were Bags of the Vietcong, some carried, one worn by a girl as a dress, as well as signs with inscriptions such as . . . *Long Live Ho Chi Minh’. … Mr Calwell led the march. . . . Federal politicians who accompanied Mr Calwell were Messrs A. W. James, T. Uren, G. M. Bryant, Dr J. F. Cairns, M.P.’s, and Senators J. H. O’Byrne, S. H. Cohen, L. K. Murphy, J. P. Ormonde, A. G. Poyser, J. M. Wheeldon and L. D. Wilkinson.
I know that there are members of the Labor Party who, like John Curtin before them, accept the need for national service, and there is a hard core of left wing members, some of them listed in the article I have just quoted, who although protesting against the present Bill are in reality opposed to any form of national service at all. The honourable member for Melbourne, of course, is one of these. I for one find the attitude of the former Opposition Leader to national service curious, to say the least. I find particularly curious his oftrepeated phrase ‘the conscription of voteless 20-year-olds’. I find it curious, because in 1942 I was a voteless 18-year-old who was conscripted by a Labor Government in which the honourable member soon afterwards accepted a post as Minister. I believe him, as I think we all do, to be a man of principle, but he certainly did not take the course that I should think most men of principle would have taken. I think that as a man of principle he should have refused to serve as Minister in a Government whose policy he so strongly opposed. Perhaps the reason for the change in the attitude of the Australian Labor Party towards conscription is that in those days we were fighting Fascism whereas today we are fighting Communism. It is widely believed that there are some people in the Australian Labor Party who are not very keen on fighting the Communists either at home or abroad. We have only to turn to the recent statement by the present Leader of the Opposition for verification of this statement.
It is amazing how the Australian Labor Party can change its policy when it finds that it is politically expedient. During World War I John Curtin - and our friend the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr Curtin) has often told us that two of the finest members of this Parliament were called Curtin - was gaoled for 3i days when he was secretary of the Anti-conscription League during the campaign on the conscription referendum in 1916. It is ironic that in 1942, as the Labor Prime Minister, it was John Curtin who was to introduce conscription without thought of a referendum. Curtin was faced with the situation that with the return of the Australian Imperial Forces from the Middle East there were two armies in Australia. One was a volunteer army which might be used anywhere and the other was the Australian Military Forces which might be used only in the Commonwealth and its Territories. Curtin realised the almost impossible difficulties that this situation created for the Army. At the Annual Conference of the Australian Labor Party on 17th November 1942 Curtin announced his conviction that conscription for service in the South West Pacific was desirable.
There was bitter opposition from the Victorian delegates and from the Queensland delegates. Times do not seem to have changed, Mr Deputy Speaker, and one of the chief opponents was the former Leader of the Opposition, the honourable member for Melbourne. I turned up Hansard of 10th December 1942 and found a few of the remarks of the honourable member for Melbourne. I want to read them because, unlike his leader in those days - Prime Minister John Curtin - the honourable member for Melbourne did not see the gravity of the danger facing Australia. I think all of us realise today that without national service in those years we may not be here now to debate this Bill in this Parliament. John Curtin saw the danger but the former Leader of the Opposition, the honourable member for Melbourne, refused even then to admit it. This is what the honourable member for Melbourne said in this very House on 10th December 1942:
As a youth, as I was a anti-conscriptionist in the 1916 and 1917 campaigns, and I am as much Ari anti-conscriptionist in 1942.
He went on to say:
I see no fundamental difference, and I moved a resolution at the meeting of the Victorian Central Executive of the Australian Labor Party expressing the view that there was no fundamental difference between the proposals enunciated by the Prime Minister (Mr Curtin) in 1942 and those enunciated by the right honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Hughes) in 1916. To me it does not matter where a man goes after he leaves Australian Territory on compulsory service. To me geography does not matter.
– Who said this?
– That was said by the honourable member for Melbourne who was soon to become a Minister in the Labor Government which introduced conscription to which he so much objected. The honourable member for Melbourne continued:
Whether the compulsion is for the South-west Pacific or for Europe, it is still military- conscription for overseas service, and, therefore, abhorrent to the traditional democratic principles of this country, and something that should be abhorred and shunned.
So the honourable member for Melbourne opposed his Government and the now famous Prime Minister of those .wartime years, Mr John Curtin, at a time when John Curtin believed that national service was necessary for the defence of Australia. The honourable member for Melbourne is still opposing national service today. The honourable member for Melbourne moved at a Victorian State Executive meeting of the Australian Labor Party that-
– They accept their money.
-Order! The honourable member for Watson will cease interjecting.
– As I was saying before I was interrupted, as a result of a motion moved by the honourable member for Melbourne in 1942 the question of conscription was referred back to the State Executives of the Australian Labor Party before coming up at a special conference held on 4th and 5th January 1943. The conference endorsed conscription by twenty-four votes to twelve but only for a circumscribed area. Accordingly the Defence (Citizen Military Forces) Act (No. 2 of 1943) provided for the use of Australian conscripts in the south western Pacific zone, an area bounded on the west by the 1 10th meridian of longitude, on the east by the 159th meridian of longitude and on the north by the equator.
The present Government’s decision to send national servicemen to Vietnam only extends the distance beyond the ares adopted by the Curtin Government by a few hundred miles or so to Vietnam. Much talk has emanated from the Opposition over the proposal in the Bill for more effective detection of those failing or refusing to register. Let us face this fact squarely. The Australian people showed very clearly at the last election that they believed we should be in Vietnam and that we should have national service. If we accept the result of the election then it is not fair to the young men who obey the law and -register if others can break the law, not register and go undetected. Just as the taxation authorities have power to make inquiries about people who break the law and avoid taxation, so too should die Department of Labour and National Service have power to make inquiries of persons or organisations which will reveal the existence of those who are liable to register or render service but have not done so. As the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Bury) pointed out, a number of authorities are voluntarily and willingly co-operating with his Department in supplying names, addresses and dates of birth of men of national service age. A small number, however, have not agreed to the Department having access to their records. Therefore it is just and right that the Department should have this means of detecting the law breakers.
I took the trouble to look up an Act on another type of law breaker to make a comparison with this Bill. I am no lawyer but, as an accountant, I do have some familiarity with the Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assessment Act which contains similar provisions to those in this Bui.
It requires persons to give information about people breaking the law. Section 264 of that Act states:
The Commissioner may by notice in writing require any person, whether a taxpayer or not, including any officer employed in or in connection with any department of a Government or by any public authority:
to furnish him with such information as he may require; and
to attend and give evidence before him or before any officer authorised by him in that behalf concerning his or any other person’s income or assessment, and may require him to produce all books, documents and other papers whatever in his custody or under his control relating thereto.
Section 224 of the same Act states:
Any person who refuses or neglects to duly attend and give evidence when required by the Commissioner or any officer duly authorised by him, or to truly and fully answer any questions put to him by, or to produce any book or paper required of him by the Commissioner or any such officer, shall, unless just cause or excuse for the refusal or neglect is shown by him, be guilty of an offence.
The penalty for this section is not less than $4 and not more than $200. That penalty is very similar to the penalty under the Bill being discussed tonight. Section 235 of the same Act states:
In any taxation prosecution in the High Court or a Supreme Court, the case shall be tried and the penalty, if any, adjudged by a Justice or Judge of the Court.
I am assured by legal people from whom I have sought an interpretation of that section that it does not mean trial by jury. From my inquiries I understand that no person charged under the Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assessment Act is entitled to trial by jury. I believe that the amendment which has been introduced by the Government to clarify the position regarding information to be obtained from parents, doctors, lawyers and ministers of religion is sound. It removes any genuine objection to the Bill.
The number of youths who escape national service is not large but the Government should, and must, clamp down on all dodgers so that the scheme will operate with even justice and so that no unfair burden will be placed on those who obey the law. The Bill will iron out a lot of the anomalies which have existed in the past. However, there is one aspect of the administration of the National Service Act that I should like to place before the Minister. A similar case to this was mentioned by the honourable member for Balaclava (Mr Whittorn) during question time last week. The Melbourne ‘Herald’ recently published a letter from a young lad who was included in the ballot on 15th March. He could not have his medical examination and learn whether he would be in the Army or not until 14th May. This was a delay of some 2 months. As the young man said in his letter, his employer did not know whether to start training a new man, and the lad’s studies had reached a standstill. I have had similar complaints within my own electorate. This is a matter that the Government could well look into. I understand that the Department of Labour and National Service draws its examining doctors from private practice and that medical boards are held every 3 months to deal with the four intakes a year. This should be speeded up even if it meant the use of interim boards. It is in the interest of all concerned that they should know one way or another about national service as soon as possible.
The Government’s policy on national service has been adopted for high reasons of national security, and it has been endorsed by the public of Australia. The Western form of democracy is on trial in the world today as never before and the greatest challenge to Australia lies in South East Asia. We must never be lulled into believing that Australia can long remain safe if South East Asia falls to Communist domination. While seeking peace it is our duty to the Australian people who have elected us to this Parliament to see that we have a modern and efficient fighting service. Without national servicemen this would not be possible. As John Curtin realised before he died, it is not possible in time of danger to defend this country adequately without some form of national service. There is little sympathy among the Australian people for those who avoid their duty to their country. The Bill ensures that national service is fairly and efficiently administered, and for that reason I commend the measure to the House.
Dr J. F. CAIRNS (Yarra) [8.43)- I oppose the Bill and support the eleven amendments to it that have been foreshadowed by the Deputy Leader of the
Opposition (Mr Barnard). I do so for the same reasons that have been advanced by the right honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell). I oppose the Bill and support the amendments primarily because I am satisfied that conscription as it has been introduced by this Government, for the purposes of the Government, is wrong. Conscription, like any other act, is wrong or right according to the nature of it and according to what it is used for. Conscription can be right if it is used for a good purpose. This point was made vividly clear in the comments of the honourable member for Deakin (Mr Jarman) about the attitudes of the late John Curtin. The honourable member apparently did not realise and did not have the sense to see that conscription like everything else - even the practice of accountancy - has to be judged according to the purposes for which it is used. The differences between the situation that exists in Australia today and the situation that existed when we faced a Japanese invasion in 1941 and 1942 are so vast that I find it difficult to imagine that even the honourable member for Deakin could miss the contrast. The differences are so vast that I should not think that even supporters of the Government, who rarely seem to do any individual thinking at all on questions like conscription and hardly ever seem to debate it in their party councils or anywhere else-
– How do you know what goes on in our party councils?
– We get quite adequate reports about what happens in the honourable members’ party councils. Dressing the way he does, I am sure the honourable member is running very great risks m the company he is keeping. It is a wonder he has not been described as a Red by those who sit next to him.
– He is only a red herring, and he stinks like one too.
-Order! The honourable member for Darebin will withdraw that remark.
– I withdraw the remark, Mr Deputy Speaker.
– Conscription, like everything else - even the honourable member’s vest - has to be judged according to the purposes to which it is put. I am satisfied - I think a great many people in Australia are satisfied - that conscription is being put to a bad purpose by the present Government. In my opinion we are the aggressors in Vietnam. What we are doing in Vietnam is morally wrong. It is contrary to the United Nations Charter. It is not based on any of our international obligations, including those under the South East Asia Treaty Organisation. It is not legal. The characteristics of our involvement in Vietnam make conscription for that purpose unjustified. It is clear that conscription as applied in Australia by the present Government is unfair. It is a discriminatory system and it could never be used to share the burdens of participation in a war. Little weight is given to the argument that it has validity because it has public support. If it has public support, that is a very poor argument, because it does little credit to the Australian public if they are prepared to support a system of conscription of this kind.
I do not suppose there has been anything in Australia’s international relations - any situation or incident in any war in which we have been involved - that was more unfair than this involvement in Vietnam. The cost of the involvement is being imposed upon 7,000 or 8,000 young Australians in the vicinity of 20 years of age. The greater part of them have been compelled to give that service while the rest of the Australian community has been allowed to continue in its apathy and its. affluence quite unaffected by the war in Vietnam. The Government has not been prepared to ask the Australian community to contribute even a little more in taxation so that the burdens of involvement might be more evenly spread. To say that the public support, even if they do support, an unequal, unfair and discriminatory system of this kind is no compliment either to the Government that introduced the system or to the public that the Government claims support it. The question is still in issue, and as far as I am concerned I would rather lose with Labor’s policy on this matter than win with the Government’s policy. In this week’s Melbourne ‘Advocate’ I saw a paragraph which stated:
Once again, we would point out that the real question which Australians have to answer is whether the Government’s National Service Act is well founded and necessary or not.
The question the Australian people still have to answer - I for one will not at any stage facilitate their escaping from the obligation to answer it - is whether the National Service Act is, in the words of the Melbourne Advocate’, well founded and necessary or not. The debate is not over and as far as we on this side of the House are concerned it “will go on.
This system is unfair and discriminatory. We have never had a more unfair and discriminatory system when we have been involved in any war than this is, and the Opposition will not allow the matter to close in this way. The whole question is involved nowadays in defence. The Government’s defence policy has fallen into ruin. At a recent meeting of his Party, the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton), before he was able to inform the House of this policy, envisaged a new defence policy, envisaged the withdrawal of Australian forces from their forward bases and envisaged the, establishment of a system that is completely parallel to the system of defence that has been advocated by the Australian Labor Party for years. These matters are not beyond dispute. We are waiting for the Government to make some statement on its ideas for a future defence policy. Recently, although the Minister for Defence (Mr Fairhall) made a long speech, he was quite unable to, quite incapable of, making any statement about the future. The Government and every one of its supporters know that the defence policy, if one can call it that, which it has practised in recent years is no longer applicable to the problems it must meet.
Let us put aside for the moment the unjustifiable nature of conscription because of the purpose for which it is being used, and let us look at the Bill for what it is. If we accept just for the argument that it may be judged on its merits, we must ask: Is it good law? It has been said that the Bill mainly seeks to deal with those who try to avoid their obligations. If we consider it within that narrow purview we must ask ourselves whether it is good or bad law. I ask honourable members to look at the Bill closely. I fail to understand why some honourable members on the other side of the House who have regard for liberal principle and liberal practice - liberal with a small T - are willing at the same time to accept the Bill. A close examination of it shows that it is objectionable, that it is unnecessary and perhaps that it is largely unworkable. One sometimes wonders whether legislation that introduces amendments like this, or like the amendments to the Crimes Act which we debated over long periods a few weeks ago and which have not been used at all by the Government, is intended ever to be used or whether it is introduced to create an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear and to induce conservatism and conventional practice. One wonders whether legislation of this type is introduced for the purpose that is stated or for the purpose of creating the atmosphere that I have mentioned. We have now had several bouts of these police state Bills which have been introduced by the Menzies, Holt and Gorton Governments in recent years, but no-one can point to a prosecution under, for instance, the thoroughly objectionable sections of the Crimes Act. One wonders whether in 2 or 3 years’ time, though this legislation has been introduced with such a flourish of importance - the Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden) called it ‘high policy’, whatever that is as distinct from any other sort of policy - there will have been any prosecutions under the Bill or whether it has been introduced merely to foster the atmosphere upon which Liberal backbench members live politically.
The Bill is bad because it establishes one aspect of a police state. It makes compulsory the extraction of information from people. It compels people to become informers or to suffer a penalty. Informers have never been popular in any society that knows what freedom is. Anyone who knows of the struggle for freedom, in whatever country it may have taken place, knows that the informer is a very unpopular person. I wonder sometimes whether some of our political opponents have any concept of these struggles for freedom, judging by the way they speak. This Act is institutionalising a system of informers. It is making the compulsory giving of information an accepted institutional practice in Australia. This creation of an institutional system of informers is the work of a government that calls itself Liberal and is supported by men who regard themselves as liberal.
Never in the history of Acts that have created the crimes of murder, armed robbery, rape or other serious offences that have appeared for generations in our criminal code has it ever been thought necessary by any authority to include sections similar to sections 21, 22 and 26 of this legislation. However serious the offences of murder and the others in the calendar may have been, no-one has ever thought to write into a Crimes Act a section making it compulsory for people to give information about those who may have committed murder. But the Government thinks that this little system of conscription, this token contribution to an insurance policy for the future defence of Australia, which is taken on a very arguable basis at best, is strong enough to allow the introduction of provisions giving powers to the authorities that no government has ever included in legislation dealing with such serious offences as murder. This is excessive by any standard and I wonder how the honourable member for Bradfield (Mr Turner) and others who have some real sense not only of what is liberal but also of the practice of liberality over the decades are able to stomach this legislation.
Let us have a look at some of the clauses of the Bill and see how they will work. The Opposition is concerned to amend clause 20. We want to see a provision that gives the right to a trial by jury. The only answer that I thought had been given to our objection on this aspect was given by the Minister for Immigration, who said that, because a jury may occasionally include a person who objects to the principle of this legislation, the Government cannot afford to allow a jury to sit in judgment on an offender. What sort of principle is that? The Sydney ‘Sun* today said in the editorial:
For the record, let it be known that Mr Billy Snedden, MHR, is not only a Queen’s Counsel but also a former Attorney-General.
With a background like that, we can only boggle at his peculiar assessment of a jury’s worth.
In Parliament yesterday, trying to justify the absence of jury trial in the Government’s new call-up legislation, he seemed to be making this bizarre point:
That a jury hearing the case of a draft-dodger might not convict because just one member could have ‘strong views on national- service’.
Presumably the Government is establishing: a principle that trial by jury is taken away if some member of the community objectsto what it is doing politically. This argument would apply equally to anyone who objects to capital punishment. Quite a number of people object to capital punishment, so is it not equally logical to take away trial by jury in capital cases?
– Perhaps the honourable member will explain later why it is not logical. Once the Government starts to take steps of this kind on a matter that is at least very arguable, where will its steps come to an end? We should look very closely at clause 20 of the Bill.
Proposed new sub-section (1.) of section 52, which is in clause 21, provides that the Secretary of the Department of Labour and National Service, not a Minister, may, by notice in writing served on a person require that person to answer within 14 days such questions as are specified relating to a prescribed matter. The Secretary, by serving a notice, may also require that person to attend somewhere to be cross-examined about a specified matter. The Government has had to make concessions already in regard to this clause. It has had to prepare an amendment excluding from the application of the proposed provisions parents and close relatives of persons who may be concerned, together with medical practitioners, clergymen and legal advisers. Why not members of Parliament? After all, from time to time a good many members of Parliament, and occasionally even one or two on the other side of the House, talk to someone who objects to military service. I will not answer any questions which might be directed to me about any such persons. I think the opinion expressed in today’s Advocate’ is one that the Government might listen to and take some notice of. This journal stated:
The amendment to the National Service Act proposed by the Gorton Government, which includes a coercive clause imposing on parents and relatives of those refusing such service-
It is now intended that this be changed - a legal obligation to aid the authorities in coercing them, by way of information and assistance, is an astounding piece of political stupidity, as well as an outrage against public morals bv its attack on family life. Fortunately, since the Democratic Labor Senators have a clear sense of their public duty and Christian and human obligations, it will certainly be excised from the Bill in its final form: But the fact that it was proposed at all throws a strong light on the arrogance, as well as the ineptitude, of those who thought that they could get away with’ this infringement of our human rights.
The Government may have been driven away from this position by the pressures that have been brought to bear against it, but the ‘Advocate’ is right when it refers to the ‘arrogance, as well as the ineptitude, of those who thought that they could “get away with” this infringement of our human rights’.
Proposed section 52aa in clause 22 provides that the Secretary of the Department may, by notice in writing served on the principal executive officer of an educational or other institution, require such officer to give information. In other words, the Secretary, by serving a notice on such an individual, may require him to open up all his books and records so that a search can be made. What are institutions? The Minister for Labour and National Service has not given us any information about this. What are the institutions he has in mind? Are they universities? Only a very small percentage of those who may not have registered, or for that matter those who have registered, would be found in universities. So, does the Government propose to go back to secondary schools? Does it intend to require headmasters and principals or officers in the Education Departments to give this information? Does the Minister intend to bring Boy Scouts organisations within the purview of these inquiries?
– The proposed amendment will eliminate all but educational institutions.
– Will the amended provision apply to secondary schools?
– It will apply to all educational institutions.
– Obviously, the Minister is not yet prepared to tell us how far this intervention of the police state type will go. The universities would hold no more than one-fifth or one-sixth of the people who are required to register. Will the Government be satisfied to look at onesixth of the people who are eligible to register? I would like to know whether it intends to go further and require the principal executive officers of secondary schools to answer questions. I belive that when we begin to consider questions of this sort we realise how much of an invasion of private lives this measure could bring about. I believe that anyone who appreciates liberal values and practices should not support the Bill.
The Australian Labor Party proposes to move an important amendment designed to protect conscientious objectors. I believe the individual conscience is the heart, the essence, the foundation not only of democracy but of a good society. I believe democracy cannot exist when a government refuses or fails to protect the individual conscience. The exercise of the individual conscience is freedom. This is where liberty begins, and where it can end. I do not hear with any pleasure the sneers that frequently come from Government supporters when they refer to the exercise of individual conscience by those who object to military service. Not once, but many times, we have witnessed the sneering attitude of honourable members opposite who have not themselves been game to discharge responsibilities that they are asking young people to discharge. Honourable members on the opposite side of the chamber sneer at others who are willing to run the risks that conscientious objectors take. I have seen honourable members opposite trooping off in step with everyone else, completely unconcerned about conscience. I believe the people who stand up for their consciences show more courage than do those who: simply follow the lead they are given and are content to do the same as everyone else. It is conscience with which we are concerned now - conscience in a matter that is deeply significant and not to be taken lightly. Freedom to exercise the responsibility of deciding must lie with the individual in any free and democratic society. No society can be free and democratic unless the individual conscience is given full rights and ample protection. I suggest this is not recognised in this legislation. I ask the Minister to consider very seriously the amendment which will be moved by the Opposition and which is aimed at achieving what was well described in a recent document issued by the Interchurch Committee on Peace. This document, quoting from a statement by the United States Methodist Board of Social Concern, stated:
Those who are conscientiously opposed to the war they are asked to fight are not less conscientious because they are prepared to generalise about past or future conflicts which are irrelevent to the choice currently confronting them.
If conscience is to mean anything in relation to a law of the kind we are now asked to pass, it has to be related to the particular choice confronting the man who is making the choice at the time. It is not of; much good to say to him: ‘We will not accept your objection as genuine, because* under different circumstances you might be prepared to render military service’. As I have said, in relation to conscription some: thing may be right or wrong according to the circumstances. A man can conscientiously object to a certain kind of military service without at the same time having a conscientious objection to another sort of military service. I commend to the Minister a long letter which appeared in the Melbourne ‘Age’ two days ago and which makes this point quite clear. I also commend to him another statement in the Advocate’, from which I have been quoting this evening. After discussing at length the justification for treating conscientious objectors in the way I have just described, the ‘Advocate’ concludes by stating:
It follows, therefore, that those who do seriously and conscientiously object to participation in what they honestly believe to be an unjust war should be lawfully exempted from participation and be given the alternative, as the Vatican Council document says, of serving the community *in some other way’.
Here again, I wonder why it is that some Government supporters are not prepared to accept an amendment of the kind we propose, and clearly defined in all Christian doctrine as being legitimate and acceptable.
– That simply is not true.
– The honourable member has not spoken in the debate yet,
Mr Killen Yes, I have.
– The honourable member will have a chance to say something at the Committee stage. Perhaps he would be more effective speaking than interjecting. During the Committee stage of the Bill he will have an opportunity to try to disprove what I have said. I recommend to him the article that I have just quoted from this week’s Melbourne Advocate’, which refers to the Vatican Council’s documents with which I have dealt. I ask him to deal with that matter on its own merits.
The final point I want to make, if I have an opportunity to do so, is to suggest to the Minister that the kind of amendment which the Labor Party proposes to move is the amendment which it seems to me the Government quite clearly intended to enact in the first place. This kind of basis for conscientious objection which we will include in the amendment and which I will support was first introduced in law in England in the National Service (Armed Forces) Act of 1939. In 1942 the Labor Government in office in this country enacted the same principle in No. 80 of the statutory rules of 1942. I ask the Minister to have a look at those two sources of law and see whether what I say is correct. If it is correct, what was established in Australia by 1942 under those statutory rules was an objection to perform military service of a particular kind, the choice currently confronting the person required to serve. If he conscientiously objected to that kind of military service in the choice that was currently confronting him, then he had a proper basis for objection. Not only was that true in 1942. On 21st November 1950, the late Mr Harold Holt, who was then Minister for Labor and National Service, and later Prime Minister, introduced the Bill for the parent Act that we are now amending. Here again the Minister and other honourable members can check the relevant speech if they wish. In the course of his speech the late Mr Holt said:
It has, therefore, decided-
That is, the Government had decided - to adhere to the principle established by the National Security Regulations and to admit conscientious objection as a ground of exemption from service under the Act.
In other words, what that Minister in 1950 thought he was doing was to introduce the same principle that was in the statutory rules of 1942. No one thought otherwise. Then we had the obiter dicta by Mr Justice Windeyer in the High Court, in which he said that the words in the Act that we are trying to amend - ‘any form of military service’ - meant, in effect, every form of military service. According to Mr Justice Windeyer’s obiter dicta, which was not called for and which was not relevant, an objection had to be an objection to every form of military service. A couple of other judges, including Judge Norris in Melbourne, have followed the opinion given in this obiter dicta. I think that in all fairness this matter ought to be cleared up. I am sure that the Labor Party is submitting an amendment which is consistent with the British Act upon which the National Security Regulations of 1942 were based and upon which this Act itself was based in 1950. I think that the amendment we will submit is sound philosophically and sound in accordance with religious principle. In fact, it is the principle that this Government in 1950 thought it was enacting into law.
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– With respect, Sir, the House seems to have lost track of the issues involved in the Bill. The Bill has been introduced by the Government to stop discrimination against young men who properly register for national service and national1 servicemen who subsequently serve with our forces in Vietnam or elsewhere. It is no earthly use, so far as I am concerned, for members of the Australian Labor Party to discuss this Bill on any other basis. This is the reason for the introduction of the Bill, and every time Opposition members vote against either the Bill or the amendments which will be moved by the Government, they will place themselves in the position of voting cor discrimination against ordinary, decent Australian youths who, acting in accordance with the law of the land, have done the proper thing.
– How many are involved?
– Wait until your voice breaks and then interject like a man. I shall deal with the points raised by the honourable member for Yarra (Dr J. F. Cairns). Tonight the honourable member for Yarra spoke about loyalty, about service to his country and a few other things. I believe it is on record that his own leader stated that the Central Executive of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Labor Party is under Communist influence. I point out that the honourable member’s leader has made this statement publicly more than once. If my memory is correct, the honourable member for Yarra himself has been a member of the Victorian Central Executive for 4 years. I suggest it is quite possible that the Victorian Central Executive is more under the influence of the honourable member for Yarra than vice versa.
– I hope so.
– I have the greatest respect for the honourable member’s ability to coerce people, whether they be mature men or whether they be children, into thinking along the line that he wishes them to think along.
– That is why I find it easy to deal with you.
– Is that why? Well, I am delighted. 1 will join issue with the honourable member any time he is ready. 1 want to say one thing before he leaves the chamber, because I would not want to stab him in the back in the way I have noticed other deputy leaders and other members of the Labor Party have done to their own leaders on more than one occasion, although they discuss loyalty in this debate. This is an interesting proposition and I will enjoy joining issue with the honourable member for Yarra any time he is ready.
– Do not say that.
-Order! I warn the honourable member for East Sydney.
– I do not want to belabour what is politics at this point, because I have a few constructive propositions to make. I think that the Australian people are getting a trifle fed up with the knowall attitude of the former Leader of the Opposition, the honourable member fo Melbourne (Mr Calwell), who thinks he knows more than the people. The same attitude was adopted tonight by the honourable member for Yarra when he said: We know best. We do not need to take any notice of the opinion of the people of
Australia. We should tell them. We should influence them.’ What will he do? If he does not watch out, he will ruin democracy in this country, not the other way round, because he will break the Opposition in this Parliament which has ex-servicemen and many other good and sincere people in its ranks. If the honourable member for Yarra does not watch out, the Opposition in this Parliament will sink into disrepute.
– You leave that to the Opposition.
– I am thinking of democracy. I am not concerned with the personal business of the Labor Party itself. But if the honourable member disrupts the Opposition in this place, if he disrupts the Parliament and if he disrupts the democracy in Australia, history will have a lot to say about a matter on which I am noi prepared or competent to comment tonight. I think that we should have a look at another contention of the honourable member for Yarra, and that is his contention about an unfair system. A previous speaker suggested that we need national service today in order to have a competent and uptodate defence force, in the general term. I am here to say that I go along with that, and I am here to say that a most important side of budgetary requirements of any responsible government is to take care of the defence of the nation. I shall continue this argument later in terms of national service and in terms of conscientious objectors. But all I say at this point of time is that it is no use the Labor Party in this House saying in a high-handed fashion that it does not believe in national service when, of course, it introduced precisely the same system in, I think, 1909. I do not know whether the honourable member for Melbourne remembers this, but in 1909 the Labor Party, in peacetime, brought in compulsory national service. What dispensations or reasons for deferment did it allow then, if it is to put forward now such a democratic, small liberal - thank heavens - viewpoint on this subject?
Mr Killen - Billy Kent Hughes was born in that year.
– That might account for quite a bit. The point I make is: Let us have some consistency. Ti the Opposition is going to try to bash the Government on this matter, either as a debating trick or maybe even sincerely, let us have a look at the history of the Labor Party in this regard. Quite frankly I do not think - and I hope that my views are approximately right - that the honourable member for Melbourne has very much to be proud about as one who attempted earlier to discuss loyalty. At a time when his country was under direct and personal attack - enemy submarines were later in Sydney Harbour - what was the honourable member for Melbourne doing? He was being disloyal to his own leader who was trying to introduce conscription to save the people of the Australian nation. I will grant the honourable member for Melbourne one thing: He is consistent in his stupidity. I must give him full marks for this. He believes what he says and he has stuck to his guns.
But is this sort of attitude a responsible one in this day and age if it represents the view of the alternate Government? It is all very well for an Opposition to say: ‘We will do this and we will do that’. I put it seriously to the House - and I mean it very fairly - that it would be a pretty irresponsible Australian Government that did not attempt to ensure the protection of this country to the best of its ability both in foreign policy and in defence against the possibility of take-over by attack. All we have heard from the honourable member for Melbourne today has been the same phrases, unfortunately, that he has used many times before. He asked: Could a Chinese army reach Australia in a sampan? It is very funny. It is very amusing. We all appreciate the remark. We have heard it a good many times before. But it is no argument. The people on this side, contrary to the point of view of the Opposition, as far as I know, do not think of China as a military threat to Australia except indirectly through national liberation fronts or political arms, maybe. But nobody in the wildest stretch of his imagination really can treat this debating point of the honourable member for Melbourne - that is all it isHseriously. A sampan
The honourable member for Melbourne went on to talk about this ‘dirty, filthy, bloody war’. We have heard this same phrase before. We have heard this and -similar cliches. We have heard these generalities. We have heard these banalities over and over again in this House. I do not know why - perhaps it is because of his background - the honourable member for Melbourne cannot see that any war is a dirty war. What is war about? In this case, it is about individuals. It is about ordinary peasant farmers. It is about 70% or 80% of the South Vietnamese people, ordinary little people without much education, without any mass media, without any means of getting information and being able to make up their own minds. That is what it is about. Also it is about whether in this day and age we should allow the military takeover of one nation by another, ls it not fair enough in this enlightened age and time to say that we are living in a pretty peculiar sort of world if there is no respect for the status quo of boundaries and if we cannot stop the aggressive takeover of one nation by another? That is what this war is all about.
I do not know whether it is useful to point out to this House that some of us do go repeatedly to South Vietnam and do try to get into the countryside in order to learn something about the 70% or 80% of the population who live there. I think this is important although nobody would pretend that because a man goes there he is an expert in this field. If a man has more knowledge than the next person on the subject, possibly it is because of the contacts he makes. Possibly it is because of the economists whom the honourable member for Boothby (Mr McLeay) and I have met up there. We have met other people. A man gets to know those to whom he can write and with whom he can keep in touch. Perhaps knowledge is gained because a man can talk to a person like Keith Hyland. I am glad to learn that it looks as though Keith Hyland is still alive although he was taken by the Vietcong 3 months ago. A man can speak to the people who live in South Vietnam. They may be indigenous inhabitants or they may be expatriates. But a man can talk to these people who may have a counterview to the Embassy point of view. They may acknowledge the same set of facts but they may come to a slightly different conclusion on those facts. These are the people, I think, from whom one can learn.
I find - I will come back to this subject later on in my comments - that grave danger exists that people will try to make up their minds on important issues without having knowledge of the facts. I hope I am not becoming as arrogant in my attitude as the honourable member for Yarra is in bis attitude. I think it is very good that people should have some knowledge of the facts on which to make up their minds and on which to base a judgment. Might I give the House a brief example of the sort of thing that I mean? It is this: I found myself not long ago doing an unusual thing. 1 did not quite like it in some ways; however, I accepted an invitation to debate the Vietnam issue inside a church against a clergyman of the denomination of that church.
After a prayer and a hymn, the debate on Vietnam started. I was allowed to speak for, say, 15 minutes and then the very reverend gentleman spoke. It was almost beyond belief, I think, to find a man of the church not debating Vietnam on the morality of war or on high moral principles but rather debating against me on his assumed knowledge of the position in that country. This was extraordinary. It is not easy, as honourable members will appreciate, to debate the morality of war against the clergy. One would think that this would be the natural way for a clergyman to approach the subject. But one finds people who are in a very influential position in thenown groups in our society today debating Vietnam after having read a couple of biased articles or having listened to a militant monk who came out here from South Vietnam. On this sort of information, these people are prepared to influence their flock and the people whom they meet. They occupy a powerful position and are readily accepted within their vocation.
A remark that this clergyman made to me during this debate is one that astounded me. This man said: ‘The Americans have built in the demilitarised zone a hospital of 200 beds. Having built this hospital of 200 beds in the middle of the DMZ, the Americans, suspecting that six Vietcong were hiding there, shelled and blasted that hospital out of existence.’ I remembered this remark because I think it is very important in this regard: How can people subject to views such as that possibly make up their minds in a proper fashion? How can they exercise judgment when people, intentionally or accidentally, are putting forward ill informed views. I must admit that on this occasion, contrary to my standards of proper behaviour, I rose to my feet and said that I did not know of the Americans even building a tent in the demilitarised zone, and I did not think that it was likely that the Americans would do so for some period of time.
It is this sort of problem that we on this side of the Parliament face. It is so easy for people who wish to attack the Government to indulge in lovely, blithe generalities. They do not have to go into the matter in depth. They need not know a brass razoo about Vietnam or the conditions of the people there. But they make up their minds firmly - maybe because of prejudice, or maybe not - that something or other is right. So often those who go around and listen to these debates or take part in them hear the same phrase or the same series of words being used over and over again.
I should like to ignore further remarks of the honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell) tonight and follow up the point that I have reached. As I suggested earlier this evening, I think there is a direct relationship between the future of our democracy and the stand that people who are against this sort of Bill are taking tonight. I commend the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen) for touching on the subject of democracy. I think it is tremendously important. Perhaps we can start off by being fair and unbiased. Sometimes we are a little too apt to take up attitudes of black or of white; this may be because we sit on opposite sides of the Parliament.
If we look at the youth of Australia today and those who are at our universities, we find that they are there largely because of scholarships provided on the basis of mental competence. This is judged in various ways. When these young people get to a university, and frequently before they do, they are inspired by their lecturers critically to examine and analyse conventions, attitudes and beliefs and generally are stimulated into thinking for themselves, not necessarily accepting matters that perhaps their parents or grandparents believed, sometimes blindly. That is why they are there. They are there to be trained, educated, stimulated to think and to make up their minds for themselves. By and large this probably goes further than it did in the universities of Australia prior to the Second World War. One might decide that perhaps university lecturers go too far. Frankly, I shall not take issue one way or the other. I merely point out that the cream, if you like, of the people of Australia at these universities are subjected to this sort of thing and have their views influenced. If they are taught to think for themselves, then by the time they complete their university course they should be balanced enough to form a proper judgment
So far I doubt whether anybody would disagree with what I have said. However, when we get to an issue such as Vietnam, other factors come into question. My friend the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) would be one factor; the honourable member for Yarra (Dr Cairns) would be another. In the State from which I come perhaps the high proportion of English university lecturers - maybe some from the London School of Economics - have an influence. But they have a responsibility to put it in perspective, to exercise it on proper lines. What I am frightened about - we will have to make up our minds about this sooner or later - is where pressuregroups, inspired by one side or the other, are likely to get us by, say, 2000 AD. If one looks at West Germany, many of the other European nations, many of the African nations, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, where there may be a colour bar problem to a degree, one sees really a breaking down of the parliamentary principle of consent. I should say that no-one here respects more than I do the values in which we take pride under our democratic system. I refer to the ability to talk freely, to speak one’s mind, to strike and, I think equally, the ability to demonstrate. All these are values which by and large we Australians value; but the problem is whether these values will be part of our democratic process in the future. One can see early signs of their erosion in this country. What a shocking occasion it was when the honourable member for Melbourne, then the Leader of the Opposition, was shot at and wounded. What a dreadful thing it was when the late Harold Holt, as Prime Minister of the day, was subjected to physical violence at a political meeting.
One of the problems that we have to face is whether this sort of thing might be caused by individual pressure groups or by the process of mental stimulation, perhaps at university level, going too far. I am not sure about it. It is something of which we should have to be aware. What we have to do as members of Parliament, when we go into our electorates, is to convey wherever possible, the fact, as doubtless honourable members do, that in a parliamentary democracy we have a responsibility to behave according to the law. We have responsibilities in terms of parliamentary consent, which means in effect that the majority view must be accepted. We must not do as is done in some States of Africa - resort to force to fix an opposition or to get rid of a government. I realise that these are early days of independence in Africa and that with added time and responsibility these views will change. I am perturbed by actions in this country which might make irresponsibility more likely in the future in a situation where it should be less likely.
We must look at some of the forces that are opposed to this Bill. This, of course, is where I connect what I have been suggesting with the Bill. I should think that in our democratic situation people have a right to hold opposite views, but I do not think it is right to encourage the breaking of the law or to bring the law into disrepute. If the parliamentary principle of consent is fo work between one election and the next, the redress that someone who disagrees with the law has is not to put himself in a position where he will be prosecuted but to throw out his member of Parliament. That has been the principle.
– How would Martin Luthe King have got on in the United States of America if he had not broken the law?
– 1 would say for a start that one associates the honourable member for Reid with all sorts of factions, and the factions I have in mind are people who disrupt the law. Does the honourable member respect the law or not?
– If a law is wrong it should not be respected.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury)Order! The honourable member for Reid will cease interjecting.
– The honourable member for Reid knows very well that there are occasions when he does not respect the law. He knows very well that he is associated with people who have an even more profound disrespect for the law. I do not want to get political for one moment, but I take up the honourable member on that matter. No-one in Australia who believes in the democratic processes can have a bob each way on issues like this. Those who believe in the democratic process, those who value their right to demonstrate and to strike, and who value freedom of speech, must if they want to value them in the future respect the law. If people do not respect the law, they may well stait an influence that will disrupt the smooth flow of democracy in the future. I shall be just to the honourable member for Reid. I do not think I know of anyone who would be more sorely disgusted if the three rights that I have mentioned were to disappear from the Australian democratic scene. What he does not realise is the dangerous situation in which he is placing himself and the country by suggesting things of this kind.
The Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden) and other Government supporters have been under fire tonight in relation to offences coming within the ambit of proposed section 51a of the principal Act. Honourable members opposite have suggested that under certain conditions offences under proposed section 51a should be tried by a jury. Because he has made a careful study of the law, and bearing in mind the capable speech which he made last night, I am sure that the honourable member for Parkes (Mr Hughes) is as good an authority as any on this subject. I would respect his point of view. No member of the Opposition has refuted what the honourable member for Parkes has said. In my opinion his remarks were entirely right. 1 would think that the Opposition may be very misguided if it continues to press for trial by jury of offences coming within the ambit of proposed section 51a. Sub-section (I.) of the proposed section reads:
Where a notice has, whether before or after the commencement of the National Service Act 1968, been served on a person under section 26 of this Act and the person fails to render the service-
Bear in mind that this is after notice: thai he is liable to render under this Act in the Regular Army Supplement, the person is guilty of an offence and, upon conviction, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a period equal to the period of service that he is so liable to render.
It is in these circumstances that we should consider whether there should be a right of trial by jury. In his speech on this Bill last night the honourable member for Hughes said:
The simple inescapable ‘ fact is . that a person charged with this offence will have to answer a case in which the Crown’s proof consists of three simple matters. First, the Crown will have to prove that a notice under section 26 of the Act has been served. Tn 19 years experience of the law I have never found it difficult or controversial to prove service of a notice. It is the simplest matter of proof.
It is well to highlight that point. The honourable member suggested that the Leader of the Opposition would not dissent from that statement. The second matter requiring to be proved will be that the accused person is liable to render service. This again is a simple matter of proving the age of the person concerned. The third matter requiring proof will be that the accused person has failed to render service, notice having been served. The honourable member for Parkes said:
I should have thought that this would be easy of proof; but more importantly, it would be virtually non-controversial.
-Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– I am at a loss to know just where to start, due largely to an interjection made by the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen) when the honourable member for Yarra (Dr J. F. Cairns) was speaking and to certain comments made by the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles). The honourable member for Angas said that when talking about this subject of national service we should look at the facts. Let us look at the facts. Let us examine the Bill which we are discussing. It deals with national service - with the calling up of 20-year-old boys for Army service in Australia. The Bill has nothing to do with the war in Vietnam. The honourable member for Angas spent a good two-thirds of his time referring to the war in Vietnam.
In so doing he indicated that he knows nothing about the reasons for the introduction of national service in Australia. Not one thing does he know about them.
National service was introduced by this Government in 1951. The Australian Labor Party did not oppose the Bill on that occasion. Further national service legislation was introduced into the Parliament on 11th November 1964 and by the present Treasurer (Mr McMahon), who at the time was Minister for Labour and National Service. On the preceding day, the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, had made a speech in which he had devoted a good deal of his time to saying that national service was being introduced because of the confrontation of Malaysia by Indonesia. At that time national service had very little to do with the situation in South Vietnam.
In his speech on 10th November 1964 Sir Robert Menzies said:
If Indonesian attacks continue, Malaysia may find it intolerable to confine defensive measures to the guarding of Malaysia’s shores and jungles against Indonesian intrusion. These Indonesian attacks may create a real risk of war . . .
That statement gave the reason for the reintroduction of national service in 1964. If we go back further over the records we find that on 20th August 1964 the present Minister for Health (Dr Forbes), who was then Minister for the Army, spent 20 or 30 minutes in a speech on the Budget answering criticisms that had been levelled against him and the Government by Government supporters, one of whom now sits silent and docile on the front bench. I refer to the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth), who in 1964 was critical of the Government for not having introduced national service. On 20th August 1964, as reported on pages 436 to 441 of Hansard, the present Minister for Health said, among other things, that the introduction of national service would be against the unanimous advice of Australia’s military advisers. On 26th October that year the same honourable gentleman addressed in Hobart the National Congress of the Returned Services League of Australia and reiterated the statements that he had made on 20th August. On 26th October the introduction of national service would have been contrary to the unanimous advice of our military advisers, so we were told, but on 10th November - 15 days later - the Prime Minister announced that national service would be introduced. The next day the then Minister for Labour and National Service introduced the necessary Bill and made a second reading speech relating to it. So somebody was played for a sucker. One person in particular who was played for a sucker was the then Minister for the Army. But I think all the people of Australia were played for suckers on 10th November 1964. There was no real reason then for the introduction of national service on the basis that was announced. There is no reason now for the continuation of national service in Australia, particularly if it said to be based on the need to obtain servicemen to send to Vietnam.
This Government has not tried to enlist a volunteer force for service in Vietnam. When I look at the ranks of honourable members on the other side of this House I see men ranging in age from 23 to 33 years, and if any one of those went to join the Army tomorrow and asked to be sent to Vietnam, there is no guarantee at all that he would ever get there. Not one attempt has been made by this Government to form a volunteer force for service in Vietnam. The question whether the war in Vietnam is right or wrong does not at this stage enter into my argument. The fact is that the Bill we are debating is a National Service Bill, and I want better reasons for the continuation of the present national service scheme than have been given to us by either the present Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Bury), by his predecessor or even by the former Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies. The confrontation of Malaysia is a thing of the past. We are looking towards Indonesia for continuing friendship. I hope that our friendship with Indonesia will always continue. I hope we will not have need, as the former Prime Minister said in November 1964 we may have need, to defend Papua and New Guinea.
These are some of the points that escape government members. They take the easy way out with legislation they bring before this Parliament. Then as soon as a couple of newspaper editorials are written criticising their policy, as soon as a couple of organisations write to them and say that this or that clause is wrong, they hasten to amend the legislation. Yesterday in this House the Minister for Labour and National Service brought down amendments to the Bill we are now discussing. Today the AttorneyGeneral (Mr Bowen) brought down yet another Copyright Bill, the third such bill if my memory serves me correctly, or certainly the second, since a summary of proposed copyright legislation was brought before this Parliament years and years ago. This Government takes the easy way out with all its legislation. It is a lazy man’s government. It is a government that does not look into the heart of the issues before it.
Now I would like to turn to the interjection made by the honourable member for Moreton while the honourable member for Yarra was speaking. The honourable member for Yarra said something about a Christian attitude towards non-military service, and the honourable member for Moreton said that that was not the Christian attitude. I am no longer certain who is a Christian or what is a Christian attitude, but at least 1 can tell the House what the leader of my Church, His Holiness Pope Paul, had to say on the subject’ in a recent encyclical letter to the bishops, priests, religious, the faithful and to all men of good will on the development of peoples. I pay similar respect to His Holiness the Pope as the leader of my Church as I do to Her Majesty the Queen as the leader of our country. In this encyclical letter His Holiness said at paragraph 74, under the heading Appeal to Youth’:
Many young people have already responded with warmth and enthusiasm to the appeal of Pius XII for lay missionaries. Many also are those who have spontaneously put themselves at the disposition of official or private organisations which are collaborating with developing nations. We are pleased to learn that in certain nations ‘military service’ can be partially accomplished by doing social service’, a ‘service pure and simple’. We bless these undertakings and the good will which inspires them. May all those who wish to belong to Christ hear His appeal: ‘I was hungry and you gave me to cat, thirsty and you gave me to drink, a stranger and you took me in, naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, a prisoner and you came to see me’. No one can remain indifferent to the lot of his brothers who are still buried in wretchedness, and victims of insecurity, slaves of ignorance. Like the heart of Christ, the heart of the Christian must sympathise with this misery: ‘1 have pity on this multitude’.
To me at least that embodies something of the Christian attitude. I had no intention of saying these things at all, and I would not have done so were it not for the comments of the honourable member for Angas and the honourable member for Moreton. 1 wanted to deal explicitly with the Bill before us. I wanted to start off my speech by quoting first two speeches that were made on 1st May and 2nd May of this year, 14 or 15 days ago. Part of the first speech was as follows:
The overwhelming majority of young men and their families accept the obligations imposed by national service. … A small number, however, are seeking to evade, or are defaulting in, their obligations at one or more of these stages. Amending legislation is necessary to enable more effective action to counter these efforts and ensure that such men do not escape their obligations.
The other speech, which was made in this House, as was the one I have already quoted, contained the following passage:
The national service scheme has been an unqualified success, lt has provided the Army with the strength it needed to carry out the role allotted to it, where no other form of recruitment could have done so. National servicemen have been integrated with voluntary Regulars, without distinction either in conditions of service or training or indeed in anything else.
The first speech was made by the Minister for Labour and National Service, who is now at the table, and the other by the Minister for Defence (Mr Fairhall). They agreed that the national service scheme has been a success, but one of them said that the amending legislation was necessary because a small number were seeking to evade their obligations. He gave no number. The challenge was issued last night by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) when he asked: ‘How many have tried to evade their responsibilities?’ No definite answer was given. Because a small number try to evade their responsibilities this Government brings down legislation which is obnoxious and repugnant and which has earned the criticism not only of honourable members on this side of the House but also of newspaper editors, church leaders and other people in the community. If the national service scheme has been an unqualified success why is this legislation necessary? Why must this Government, like a person fishing illegally, get the biggest net it can find, with the smallest mesh, so that it can catch every little fish, forgetting that there are bigger issues, that there are more fundamental necessities than the catching of a few people who try to evade their responsibilities under the National Service Act.
– Does the honourable member not believe in justice?
– Justice! ‘ Justice! No consideration has been given to the rights of employees, employers, shipping companies or airline companies. Until yesterday, no consideration at all had been given for the rights of parents. This Bill was designed to turn Australians into a race of informers. Parents are expected to pimp on their children. Employers are expected to pimp on their employees. Shipping lines and airlines are expected to do the job of the Department of Immigration. This Bill reminds me of my days in the Army when, because someone had committed an offence, an officer would say that the whole platoon or the whole unit was confined to barracks for 7 days. That was the easy way out.
This is lazy man’s legislation designed to punish all. The Government is casting its net so wide that it will do the wrong thing not only by itself but by our country. In a court in New South Wales in the past week a certain fellow called ‘Joe Smith’ has been getting Australia-wide publicity. ‘Joe Smith’ was the sort of man that the Government ‘was looking for when it introduced this legislation. I want it to be clearly understood that I have no time for the law breaker, Whether he breaks civil laws, military laws or national service laws. But I have still less time for the informer, the pimp and the stool pigeon. I am afraid that if the Government continues to introduce legislation such as this it will finish up with a secret police.
This legislation is repugnant to a great majority of Australians. I think I am correct in saying that there are officers in the Department of Labour and National Service who will absolutely dislike policing this legislation and will absolutely dislike sending people out to inquire of this person or that person. The Australian Labor Party has been criticised because it says that this Bill is obnoxious and repugnant. But let me quote an article from the newspaper ‘Muster’ of 8th May which was written by a man named Stewart Howard. I am certain that every Country Party member will recognise the newspaper ‘Muster’. In this article Stewart Howard - I am not certain that that is his real name - wrote:
The Commonwealth Government is going to earn itself a lot of criticism over the new National Service legislation it introduced in Parliament last week.
The writer went on to state:
This is the proposal to impose an obligation on the principals of universities, colleges and schools to furnish the names, addresses and dates of birth of present or former students, to make responsible for furnishing similar information about 20-year- olds, persons or institutions of which the 20-year- olds are likely to be clients or members.
The imagination boggles at the possibilities that this opens up, and even on the parents and guardians of draft dodgers to betray the whereabouts of their offending sons or wards.
The writer concluded by stating:
The loss to Australia of the handful of draftdodgers who manage to avoid the call-up ir. the existing circumstances is negligible compared to the loss sustained by sacrificing the principles of the type of free society we claim to be defending.
– Is that a Labor newspaper?
– 1 do not think so. I think ‘Muster’ is the organ of the Country Party. An editorial in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ on Saturday 11th May, stated:
A disturbing feature of the bill is the contrast between the Government’s keenness to deal with the few avoiding their obligations and its unwillingness to recognise legitimate and genuine dissent from the National Service provisions.
The editorial concluded:
Are these the kind of powers to be exercised by a Government department? Under the Common Law no one can be punished for the knowledge of a crime not yet committed.
Some honourable members on the other side of the House criticised the Labor Party for daring to voice opposition to this Bill and I use those two quotations to show that it is opposed not only by us. There are thousands upon thousands of people in the community who appreciate that this Bill has gone much too far. Members on the other side of the House have accused the Labor Party of not being interested in defence; of not being interested in our armed forces; of not being interested in national service.
I have m my hand the Platform, Constitution and Rules of the Australian Labor Party as approved by the 27th Commonwealth Conference held in Adelaide in 1967. This booklet is freely available to any honourable member on the Government side who cares to contact our office in Canberra. In this booklet under the heading of Defence’, honourable members opposite will find many comments. There are comments about the need for Australia’s national policy to ensure our territorial security; about the provision of strong regular and citizen defence forces which can be rapidly mobilised in time of war; about the need for Australia not to isolate itself from the struggles of the people of the world; about economic development, security and self-government; about the need for co-operation between us and our neighbours in South East Asia; about the need for us on occasions to send troops overseas to help in some declared war when our obligations are set out in a treaty that is clear and can be understood by all; about the need for Australia not to use conscripts except in time of declared war. These are some of the things honourable members will find in this booklet.
I dislike it immensely when honourable members on the other side of the House tell us that we are unpatriotic, that we are unAustralian and that we are not prepared to defend our country. The Labor Party conscripted 18-year-old boys when it had to between 1941 and 1945. We are against conscription now. I am against it now. I will always be against it unless, the Government can give better reasons for the need to do this than it has done up to this stage; unless the Government can stand by the statements that it has made about national service from 1964 onwards. Until that stage is reached the Government will not convince me and I am reasonably certain that there are more and more people in Australia who refuse to be convinced. There are more and more people in the United States of America who refuse to be convinced about the war in Vietnam. No honourable member on the Opposition side intends to encourage - and I am certain not many of them will protect - any of the weirdos, the beardos or the great unwashed who take part in some of these demonstrations. These people, I think, make up a reasonable proportion of those who take part in demonstrations but certainly a number of conscientious objectors also take part. They are entitled to be heard, to express their opinions and to have the protect:on of the amendment that the Labor Party intends to move at the Committee stage; but there are not many on this side who would want to protect the weirdos, the beardos and the great unwashed. However, in order to protect the few genuine conscientious objectors, it is sometimes necessary to appear to take the part of those people whose side one does not want to be on.
The Minister said that 326,000 men are registered for service, that 24,000 have been enlisted for national service and that 10,000 have elected to serve alternatively in the Citizen Military Forces. These 326,000, but especially the 34,000 that are serving in either the Regular Army or the Citizen Military Forces, deserve our support and encouragement. It is not the handful, the very few, the small number - to quote the exact words of the Minister for Labor and National Service - who try to evade their responsibilities that get our support. Bad and all as I think those responsibilities might be, it is those boys who are unlucky enough to have their dates of birth drawn out of the hat that we want to protect and encourage. If I may I shall quote from a speech of the former Leader of the Australian Labor Party, the honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell) who, on 4th May 1965, said in this House:
I cannot close without addressing a word directly to our fighting men who are now by this decision committed to the chances of war: Our hearts and prayers are with you. Our minds and reason cannot support those who have made the decision to send you to this war, and we shall do our best to have that decision reversed. But we shall do our duty to the utmost in supporting you to do your duty. In terms of everything that an army in the field requires, we shall never deny you the aid and support that it is your right to expect in the service of your country.
They are, I think, the sentiments of every honourable member on this side. We do not like the boys being in Vietnam. We do not like conscription for national service except in times of declared war. We want better reasons than any member on the Government side has been able to give us before we will be prepared to accept these things. The cliches about the downward thrust of Communism, the domino theory and so forth that fall so glibly from the lips of members opposite are not sufficient. We are dealing with human beings - with 20-year- old boys - and I do not think anyone on the other side or on this side has the right to send anyone overseas to fight in another country unless there is good and sufficient reason for so doing. If there is good and sufficient reason than it is up to every member on the Government side to give us, the Opposition, and the people of Australia that reason.
– We have witnessed two remarkable events this evening. I did not think that on the one evening and within an hour or each other, we would have the honourable member for Yarra (Dr J. F. Cairns) quoting at great length and with some approval a very selective passage from one editorial in one issue of a Melbourne newspaper, the ‘Advocate1, and then an hour later the honourable member for Lang (Mr Stewart) quoting a passage from Pregresso Populorum and deeming to make from that quote something to support his own case. I am less amazed at the first instance than at the second instance. When the honourable member for Lang used ‘Progresso Populorum’ to support an attitude to the war in Vietnam - he made this quite clear in his speech - it was remarkable indeed. I hope that before he quotes out of context again he will check with the Holy Father to ascertain what his intentions were in sending to South Vietnam Archbishop Pidgenali, who in no way disapproved of the allied attitude or effort in South Vietnam. I hope he checks with the appropriate clergy in Saigon, who do not have the view of events which the honourable member for Lang purported to give. I reflect only that the honourable member’s attitude to this war has become a little more vigorous in opposition as support for it seems to have grown among some sections of the community. I do not regard that as displaying character; I regard it as merely swimming with the stream. We say that we have a responsibility to South Vietnam and that we are going to accept that responsibility whether it is popular or unpopular. We are not the ones who are courting popularity, but I suggest that the honourable member for Lang has quite carefully calculated where the winds are taking him.
At this stage of the debate perhaps one or two new thoughts can be offered. The thoughts I would offer are rather uncontroversial; they concern national service and conscientious objection. The background to the National Service Bill goes back to 1963. In May 1963_ a former Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, viewing our situation in this part of the world, stated clearly that there was a desire to expand the Australian Army to 28,000 or 29,000 by mid-1964. The expansion of the Army was to be accompanied by an expansion of the Citizen Military Forces. At the beginning of 1964 it had become apparent that on the then basis of pay and emoluments we would not achieve the expansion that we desired, so measures were taken to try to attract volunteers into the Army. It was found quite clearly that we could not attract volunteers in the numbers that were appropriate to a responsible Australian military force, and national service was introduced with all the safeguards that we could contrive.
This Bill has been introduced largely as a reflection of the fact that we are choosing very few national servicemen. We have a problem in choosing a few from the many that are available. We have the difficulty of choosing between 7% and 8% of the young men who turn 20 years of age in any one year. It is because we desire to preserve equity for each person chosen that we run into difficulties. It is the desire to preserve equity that has moved us to introduce this legislation. We know that 100,000 young men turn 20 years of age in any one year and that between 6,000 and 8,000 are chosen for national service. It is with the desire to preserve equity for each of those 6,000 to 8,000 men and between those 6,000 to 8,000 and the rest of the community that we have introduced this Bill.
One or two matters that have been emphasised by the Opposition deserve some comment. The matter for conscientious objection obviously has been one of the principal matters on which the Opposition has expressed its attitude. Let us examine it. It has been stated by the honourable member for Yarra that conscientious objection has to be understood as conscientious objection to a particular war. In other words, he says that a man and his conscience are to be considered in relation to this war and in relation to nothing else. We say that a man and his conscience and his attitude to this war are to be considered not in isolation but in relation to a whole host of other events. I suggest that is the principle to be applied. No man exists in isolation; he has a continuity of existence. He does not exist only at this time and for this purpose; he exists for other times and purposes as well.
The principle of conscientious objection that we apply is the same principle of conscientious objection that has been applied, for example, by many honourable members opposite. Some of them have been secretaries of unions that have applied preferences. This is the same principle of conscientious objection as they have applied in their callings. Let me give an example. In some States - the honourable member for Leichhardt (Mr Fulton) will be aware of this - there has been included in awards, by tradition, a clause known as preference to unionists under which all people working in a certain calling are obliged to enrol in a certain union. The principle of conscientious objection was allowed to apply in those callings, but the principle of conscientious objection of a person not wanting to join one union rather than another was never allowed. Such a principle of conscientious objection has not been allowed by honourable members who sit on the Opposition side of this House. Just as that principle of opposition to one calling has not been sufficient reason for refraining from becoming a member of an industrial organisation, principally in Queensland and Western Australia, so the principle of conscientious objection merely to the Vietnamese conflict is not judged to be sufficient for a person to be exempted from national service. We apply the same principle and we make no apology for it. Selective conscientious exemption is insufficient.
Let us look at conscientious objection in another way. We know that in this country organisations, churches, people of genuine religious persuasion and people of no religious persuasion have made the case for conscientious objection. Fair enough; we do not argue with that. But then political parties have made the case for conscientious objection. How do they stand? Only two political parties in Australia have emphasised conscientious objection as one of the principal methods of opposition to the Bill. I do not mention them together in order to embarrass one or the other. They have been the Australian Labor Party and the Communist Party. No two organisations have denied so vigorously the principle of a personal conscientious dissenter from their own policies and attitudes. This has been contrary to their traditions and practices. When we see that this kind of organisation makes the case for a conscientious objection, we must doubt its credentials.
If we are asked then to widen the principle of conscientious objection to emasculate the Bill, 1 suggest that the Opposition have a look at its own attitudes on the same matters. The honourable member for Batman (Mr Benson) is standing testimony to the fact that the Australian Labor Party does not know what conscientious objection means. It does not know what personal dissent means. It has never allowed it to apply in its own organisation. So we have fairly good reason to doubt the motives and the motivation of the Party opposite when it says that conscientious objection is the most reprehensible section of the Bill. We know that conscientious objection widened to include opposition to a particular event is a way of emasculating the Bill, lt is a way of emasculating the whole principle of national service or of conscription.
Let me go no further than to quote the words of a great Socialist leader of the past, a member of the Party opposite. He has been quoted with approbation by honourable members opposite. Let us see what he had to say about exemption being used to emasculate national service. I quote Frank Anstey, who was a member of this House for many years and who was referred to by the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) with deep affection some weeks ago. He is reported to have said: if the principle-
That is, of national service: was to be adopted he would like to see it affirmed, for he did not favour any hybrid system of granting exemptions.
He appreciated that exemptions widened could make a Bill completely meaningless. That is the attitude that the Opposition has adopted to this measure.
The hour is rather late and I will not speak for very long. There is another way in which we can consider the Bill. If the
Bill were not to be passed, we would have an Australian Army dependent completely on volunteers. Some of us, looking at the history of volunteer armies, would argue that they are not equitable. They are not equitable as to the persons involved and as between different sections of the community. We know very well that the great Socialist leaders of the past recognised this. Let me remind the House of a statement of Mr Watson, a Prime Minister who has been quoted by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) on many occasions. He spoke at the 1908 Labor Conference about the matter of volunteer armies. He at least was a Labor man who became a Prime Minister and who has been respected since. The principle is supported by Fisher and by Frank Anstey. He said, quoting the great Socialist Quelch and making the words his own:
We Socialists advocate the military training of all citizens. . . . With the responsibility for war brought home to every household there would be far less jingoism than there is today when ‘respectable’ people put out their fighting as they do their washing, for others to do.
This is a principle of volunteer armies that honourable members opposite obviously support. Watson and Anstey appreciated the justice that had to be done not only to each member of society but as between sections of society.
Let us consider the creation of a volunteer army. A volunteer army attracts two types of personality to it. It attracts the patriotic and those who have been traditionally in the military service and it very often attracts the poor in disproportionate numbers. As to the patriotic and the poor, we have only to go back to a recent report on enlistments in the British Army, the Grigg report, to see that that principle has been verified not only in the nineteenth century but also in the twentieth century. But we do not have a situation in which we obtain troops because there is abject unemployment or because poverty is rampant in the community. We do not have an army which could be described, as Wellington would have it, speaking of his own army, as being ‘composed of the scum of the earth, the mere scum of the earth, all enlisted for drink.” We do not have a situation in which we would have that type of army or an army for that kind of reason. We are very pleased that we do not have such a situation. The only way to distribute the burden equitably as between the different sections of the community is quite clearly to distribute it through the principle of national service. It is because we want to preserve equity in choosing the few from the many that this Bill has been introduced. If we go a little further we can see that these matters have been enshrined in Labor tradition, unless Labor forgets its own tradition as it has forgotten many other matters.
I turn now to some specific aspects of the Bill. Great opposition has been expressed in relation to the provision that will become section 52aa. The appropriate part of the section reads:
That is, of the Department: may, by notice in writing served on the principal executive officer of an educational or other institution, require the person on whom the notice is served to furnish, within 14 days after the service of the notice, such information as is required by the notice relating to the names, dates and places of birth and addresses of the . . students . . .
This provision has been criticised by the Opposition. The Leader of the Opposition found that the use of the word ‘pimp’ created a certain awe in the Australian community. Probably the use of this word would create even for him a certain amount of support. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard) spent some time on this part of the Bill. He is reported at page 1446 of Hansard as having said:
The effect of this section will be to give statutory recognition on an unparalleled scale to common informing.
The honourable member for Yarra (Dr J. F. Cairns), defended the belief that informers have never been popular in our society, to use his own words, and branded the proposed section 52aa as undesirable.
This deserves a more considered analysis. Let us look at some of the attitudes of honourable members opposite in respect of informers and pimps or, rather, those whom they would call informers and pimps. Does it mean that if we go to a university and require simply the names, addresses and places of residence of students, we are asking officers of the administration of the university to become informers and pimps? In such a case there is a relation merely between the administration of the university and the Government. It is not a teacher-student relationship. These are separate matters. We could take this a little further. When a union secretary suspects that people in a factory or workshop are not being paid adequate wages and makes it known that he would like an arbitration inspector to inspect the time and wages book for the names, ages and places of residence of the employees, is he an informer and a pimp? We cannot make double standards in this respect.
– That is too stupid for words.
– It has been a number of years since the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith was active in the boilermakers’ union and no doubt he has grown apart from the practices that apply in this field. Unions do this sort of thing, and quite rightly, to protect their members. The attitude expressed demonstrates quite clearly that the understanding of what is an informer or pimp has been misinterpreted by the three principal speakers for the Opposition. It has been misinterpreted by the Leader of the Opposition, it has been misunderstood by his Deputy, and it certainly has been misunderstood by the honourable member for Yarra.
It is not my intention to speak at great length on the second day of this debate. However, let me indicate the broad philosophy upon which we support this Bill. We support it because there is placed upon us a requirement to establish an army of appropriate size for this country. We were unable to do this with volunteers alone. So, national service was introduced. The maximum safeguards possible have been introduced into national service legislation in order to protect a conscientious objector who exercises the proper use of personal conscience. These safeguards have been introduced to preserve equity as between different sections of society in which most members habitually are prepared to serve in the Army. We can only say that conscription has come about because we judge that Australia needs it.
Let us go back to the days of governments led by Fisher and Watson, who were two very respected Labor Prime Ministers. The Commonwealth ‘Year Book’ of 1912 contains an interesting sentence which indicates that the Defence Act of 1909 preserved and expanded the principle of universal liability to military training, which had been introduced by the Labor governments I have mentioned. In other words, conscription was made law, for the first time in any English speaking community, by a Labor government. The Party opposite was responsible for doing this. Its members judged that there was a need in the Australian community to introduce conscription. At the time, Australia was not in a state of war; it had not declared war. This was the period between the Boer War and the First World War. Australia, at this time, still had the protection of the British Navy, did not have to contend with a resurgent China and did not have the problems arising from the withdrawal of the British from the area east of Suez. In that time of peace the Labor Government increased its Army strength to 92 battalions of infantry, 28 regiments of light horse and 50 batteries of light artillery. This was the response of the Labor Party then to what it felt was a threat to Australia. Again, I emphasise that this took place in a period when Australia was not at war and when we had greater protection than we have at present. I suggest that this kind of attitude has vanished from the Party opposite. One regrets that it has vanished. One regrets also that the honourable member for Lang (Mr Stewart) should feel it proper to criticise the Vietnam commitment and to become suddenly a most vitriolic opponent of national service. Previously, his voice has been much more mute in these matters than has been, the case in the debate tonight. One can only say, looking at history, at the tradition of the Labor Party, and at the statements and practices of former Labor leaders such as Watson, Fisher and Anstey, that the present Leader of the Opposition has come to look like the little mannikin of Brussels - found a little late but in a very embarrassing situation.
– It is with considerable joy that I join with other Opposition members in opposing this Bill. I shall also support the amendments foreshadowed by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard). I believe that in this debate, Government supporters have been left completely defenceless with respect to the legislation which is now before us. There has been little logic in their submissions. They have referred back to former leaders of the Australian Labor Party who were in office just after the turn of the century. Honourable members opposite have been floundering for some reason to justify the introduction of this legislation.
We have been told that Mr Curtin introduced conscription in World War II. But honourable members opposite have carefully refrained from drawing a comparison between World War II and this civil war in Vietnam. They are all men with some degree of conscience, and they all know that the war in Vietnam is not a war which is being fought for territorial gains by either of the opposing sides, but is clearly and distinctly a civil war. Civil wars have taken place on this planet for centuries. If we look at history, we find that in the seventeenth century the British people revolted against an oppressive ruler who was cutting off people’s heads and trying to usurp the powers of Parliament. The British people rose and were frowned on by the rest of the world for a time. Later in history we come to the French revolution. The French people rose against an oppressive ruler. There was another civil war and the French people were frowned on for having taken the law into their own hands. The American War of Independence, which American children in public schools today are still taught to revere, was another fight for independence. In this case, the Americans fought their British rulers. In 1917 the Russian Revolution took place. This was another civil war. More recently, we have had the Chineses revolution and the Cuban revolution. Today we have the Vietnamese revolution. The Vietnamese people are fighting for their freedom against oppressive rulers. They are fighting for a better way of life.
– They are fighting against the Communists.
– I am disgusted at the way in which the honourable member for Griffith has fallen into the role of Redbaiter. The Vietnamese people are fighting for a better way of life. In my opinion, there should not be any intervention by any outside nation. The honourable member for Griffith is about 26 years of age. There are at least seventeen members on the Government side of the House who are under 40 years of age. They are prepared to support legislation such as that which we are now discussing in order to send other people’s sons to this shocking war in Vietnam, but not one of them has made a move to enlist in the permanent forces to go to Vietnam and defend the cause which they propound in this National Parliament. It is an utter disgrace that these members are prepared to commit other people’s sons to Vietnam but, although they are eligible to join the armed forces, are not prepared to do so in order to go to Vietnam and run the risk of losing their own lives.
– They are over 40.
– They are not over 40. There are seventeen members on the Government side under 40 years of age. The honourable member for Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns), who has just resumed his seat, referred to pimps and squealers. I do not get a great deal of joy out of mentioning this fact, but not so long ago the honourable member for Lilley would have been in a very serious and embarrassing position had two members of his family decided to inform. They went into a court in Brisbane and under cross-examination they refused to disclose the name of the third man who escaped from the police one night when the election signs of a true Labor man were ripped down, torn and destroyed. Two of the honourable member’s relatives were arrested, but the third man got away. He knows who the third man was as well as I do. He was virtually throwing hares out of his path as he skipped away. When the former member for the Corio, Mr Oppermann, made his last speech in this Parliament he advocated the establishment of a ministry for sport. I thought that the best way to get funds for it was to arrange a foot race on the lawns outside Parliament House. The two opponents could have been Ron Clark, Australia’s champion runner, and the honourable member for Lilley. My money would have been on the honourable member for Lilley. Provided that a policeman had been the starter and had said, ‘go’, one could have backed the honourable member with safety. He would not have run a slanter
Now to return to the nauseating legislation that has been introduced by the Government: We find that it does not contain one of the cherished principles in regard to people charged with a criminal offence for which the penalty is more than 12 months imprisonment - the right of trial by jury. If my memory serves me correctly, in the mother country, Great Britain, even a person charged with the offence of driving under the influence of liquor has the choice of having his case tried before a single magistrate or before a jury. We know that there is only one mind to convince in a magistrate’s court. When a person is accused of draft dodging it is much easier to get a conviction when you have to convince only one person than it is when you have to convince a jury. One would have thought that the Government in preparing this legislation would have done the right thing and provided for trial by jury. But it knew that very often juries would not convict boys of draft dodging, because of the basic principles of the war in which this Government has involved Australian youth. The honourable member for Denison (Mr Gibson), who is not in the chamber at the moment, is so disgusted with the Government’s policy on the Vietnam war that he is resigning from the Parliament at the next election. His conscience will not allow him to continue to support a government which is constantly taking away the rights and freedoms of the Australian community.
– You know that that is wrong.
– I believe it could well be true, but the honourable member for Denison would not confide in you, because he does not trust you; you are too bigmouthed. The French Government during the 10 years that it fought a war in Vietnam never saw fit to introduce conscription, for two reasons. Firstly, it knew that the French electors would not support it if it introduced conscription in order to send young French boys to war in Vietnam. The second reason was that the French Government did not consider Vietnam important enough for it to introduce conscription. But this Government, tied to the apron strings of a foreign power, this Government which has become drunk or blind in following entirely the foreign policy of our friend and ally the United States of America, continues to introduce this nauseating type of legislation.
The introduction of this legislation is Ill-timed. It comes at a time when there is every possibility of the war coming to an end as a result of the peace negotiations that are now taking place in Paris. I think that the North Vietnamese negotiators would be entitled to say at the peace talks: How sincere are you? Even the Australian Parliament is stepping up and tightening up its legislation against draft dodgers.’ Is this an indication that we are sincere in endeavouring to obtain peace in Vietnam? To my mind it certainly is not. One would have thought that in view of the peace talks that are now taking place regarding the Vietnam war, the Government would have had sufficient tact and discretion to delay the introduction of this legislation, at least until the Budget session of the Parliament
The Government has tried continually to frighten the Australian people by referring to the possibility of an invasion of this country by the yellow hordes - that is the phrase used - north of Australia. That is absolutely ridiculous. What country north of Australia or in Asia is likely to invade us in the next 20 years? Is it India? Certainly not. Is it Burma? Certainly not. Is it Pakistan? Certainly not. Is it Thailand? Certainly not. Is it Indonesia, - Ceylon or Singapore? Certainly not. The. Government tells the Australian people that China could be a threat to Australia. I remember referring in this House to an article in the American magazine ‘Newsweek’ which stated that the Chinese air force and navy were in a shocking state; that China had only five old vintage type submarines and its air force was shockingly lacking for the want of high octane fuel and spare parts. But the article went on to say that a high official in the Pentagon in the United States had stated that China had the most powerful army in the world, which was well’ equipped with small automatic weapons. What are ‘small automatic weapons’? The Owen gun that our troops once used, and the FN rifle. These weapons are designed entirely for defence. The former Leader of the Opposition, ° the honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell) made a speech on this subject with which I entirely agree. During his speech he asked: ‘How will China ever invade Australia?’ An honourable member interjected and said ‘By sampan or by swimming’. Whilst that remark might have been made in jest it is very true. We have learned today from the resources of the Parliamentary Library that China has not got one troop outside her own borders. Let us face the truth.
– What about in Tibet?
– Tibet has always been regarded as being a part of China.
– I was only asking a question.
– I appreciate the dignity of the honourable member for Mallee. I shall refer the honourable member to a book in the Library which he might care to read. The book in the Parliamentary Library to which I refer is entitled. ‘The Slaves of the Cool Mountains’. If the honourable member for Mallee reads that book he may alter his opinion. He is not pigheaded as many members on the Government side are. This book is written by an Englishman named Alan Wilmington. If the honourable member reads that book and believes what it contains, I think that he will agree that China has done a hell of a good job for Tibet. He will probably agree, when he reads that previously in Tibet it was common for slaves to own slaves, that it is a good thing that China invaded Tibet. This had been going on for many years. According to the book, those people or slaves virtually have been liberated. Even the Formosan Government admits that Tibet is a part of China - just as Canberra is a part of Australia. The honourable member for Mallee will probably regret making that interjection when he reads the book to which I have referred.
Seldom has a Bill with so many objectionable provisions been brought into this House. It denies the right of trial by jury in criminal cases, something that the British people fought for centuries ago and something that they cherish. They fought to establish the principle that every Britisher shall be tried by his peers. A conviction and gaol sentence under this legislation will mean that no longer will our youth who are convicted of draft dodging go into a military detention camp. Instead they will go into our civilian gaols. They will be among perverts and perjurers, kidnappers and murderers, rapists and criminals of the most violent type. These innocent boys practically after leaving school - due to the extension of the period of high school education to 6 years these boys will now leave school at approximately 18 years of age - will virtually be snatched from the cradle before they have had any real life at all. They will be sent to a civilian prison if they are convicted under this nauseating legislation.
– Before they even get a vote.
– As the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith said, this will happen before they get a vote. Let me place on the records here how unpopular this war is. We find that 1,470 million people in the world are opposed to the war while only 180 million people support the Vietnam conflict. Some of the countries that support the war are: The Republic of China or the Taiwan Government, South Korea, Laos, South Vietnam, Turkey, the Philippines, Iran, Thailand and Malaysia. The population of those countries totals 180 million. But let us look at the countries of the world that are strongly opposed to the war in Vietnam. These include: The People’s Republic of China, which has a population of 650 million; India, with a population of 450 million; Japan, with a population of approximately 100 million, which will noi send troops to Vietnam; Pakistan, Indonesia, North Korea, Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Burma, Afghanistan and Ceylon. The total population of those countries is 1,470 million. Those countries will not allow their people to become involved in this filthy, unwinnable war.
Senator Stennis of the United States of America recently released figures as to the cost of the Vietnam war to the United States Government. The war in Vietnam which, for every day that we continue our involvement in it, lowers further the good name of Australia is costing the United States $US2 billion monthly. The cost of conducting the Vietnam war on the average for 12 minutes is $US400,000. The cost of killing each Vietcong or each member of the National Liberation Front is $US400,000. The cost of the war to American taxpayers daily is $US50m while the cost for each minute that the United States continues to be involved in the war is $US34,000. If the expenditure were diverted to proper channels, the amount that it is costing America to prosecute this war in Vietnam for 60 seconds would provide a family with a home worth $25,000, a car worth $3,400, a food budget worth $2,000 and a medical and dental budget worth $1,000. Instead, for the year 1967, America spent only $1,500,000 on its war against poverty. How can she expect to win friends when she administers her economy in this way? To date, on the now obsolete XB70 long range bomber America has spent $1,500,000. I repeat that this bomber is now obsolete. This is why I believe the United States would like to bring about a cessation of hostilities in an honourable way as soon as possible.
The South Vietnam Government is opposing a cessation of hostilities, but it is a corrupt government, lt was not elected by the people of Vietnam in the way that governments here and in other advanced countries of the Western world are elected. A former President of the United States, who was a guest of this Government, now says that America is in Vietnam for the purposes of colonising the area and for her own selfish interests. I register my bitter protest at this nauseating legislation. It is very seldom that the Government does introduce legislation of this type and I think that this Bill must be disturbing the consciences of each and every member of the Government. I have much pleasure in joining with the Opposition in expressing my indignation on behalf of the electors of Hunter and I will have the utmost pleasure in voting against the measure at the appropriate time later tonight.
– In his closing remarks, the honourable member for Hunter (Mr James) referred to the consciences of honourable members opposite. It is my sad conviction, after 12 years in this place, that when it comes to questions such as this the members of the Liberal Party and of the Australian Country Party are completely insensitive so far as conscience is concerned. When it comes to a question of an honest, ethical attitude to defence, foreign policy and civil rights, they seem to me to be largely against the very traditions to which this country is an heir. We seem to be continually bringing into this House agreements, legislation of the type now before us and statements on foreign policy and the like which offend every principle which we have inherited from the past and in respect of which Australia ought to be setting standards for the rest of the world. The new procedures proposed in this Bill which seeks to amend the National Service Act are no exception. That is why I am anxious to stay here tonight to fight this Bill to the last full stop, no matter how long it takes.
I point out that even before this Bill which has already aroused such hostility throughout the community . has passed through its second reading stage the Government has introduced some amendments. It is significant, too, that I am following another Labor speaker, ho member on the Government side is prepared to stand up and support this legislation or accept the responsibility of publicly declaring what he stands for.
Where are all the Ministers? I have looked down the list of speakers and I think the only Minister who has spoken is the one who introduced the Bill.
– Where is the Prime Minister?
– Exactly. The Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) has avoided confrontation with this Parliament ever since he accepted his high office. I only hope that the people of Australia realise this fact. What are the reasons why this Bill is before the House? Like every other piece of legislation, it has a history. On 10th November 1964, the then Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies gave reasons for the introduction of the Bill under which the present system of national service was set up. The first reason he gave was the deteriorating position in South East Asia. We know that the people of South East Asia have personal, social, economic, and perhaps political problems, but not one honourable member opposite has chosen to expand on them. Sir Robert then dealt with the paramount needs of defence and the preservation of our national security. I believe that this has nothing to do with our security. I believe that it is quite false to describe the situation in South East Asia as deteriorating. After all, 3 or 4 years ago when this legislation was introduced there was confrontation between Malaysia and Indonesia. There were several areas of conflict throughout that area which now no longer exist. We have reached the stage where many of the reasons for the introduction of the original legislation are no longer valid.
Let us look at the state of the war. What is the position today? Peace talks are taking place in Paris, though they might drift on for many weary and tragic months. The United States of America, even at this stage, is reducing its draft. The whole tendency in other parts of the world is to regard the situation as moving toward at least a stalemate rather than as being one of deterioration and increasing escalation of the war. What staggers me at this stage of the game, as one might say, is that the Government should consider .bringing in such legislation. What is the position with this legislation? In the first instance it is selective. Selective service is part of the pattern in many parts of the world, but the kind of selection we have inflicted on the young people of Australia is immoral in the extreme. As I have said before, this Government’s action and the support it was given by the Australian people - if that is actually what happened at the ballot box - constituted an act of national immorality of which the perpetrators were honourable members opposite. The whole system of selection by ballot and all the things that go with it, the fear-mongering that has produced it, and the failure to face up to the facts of life as they appear in this part of the world reek of immorality. The honourable member for Hunter (Mr James) has referred to the irresponsible and unethical attitude of honourable members opposite who believe there is a war to be won or a freedom to be fought for to our north but who sit here safely at home sending others to pay the supreme sacrifice.
In the past 3 years we have had 170 or 180 killed and 800 wounded in battle, with the total number of casualties running to almost 1,200 men - almost two battalions. I understand that we have eight battalions in the Army. What is it all about? Nothing has better demonstrated the whole approach of this Government to this issue than the events of the past’ tragic week. Australian troops have been operating to the south of Saigon. Last Sunday an Australian battalion and support troops were moved to Bien Hoa, a province to the north and a new area. The Australian forces were immediately struck by the Vietcong. Eleven or twelve were killed and a larger number were wounded in the past few days. These men should never have been moved. No person with any sense of responsibility to the men would have put them where they were.
I have strong views about the commitment of Australian troops to another nation’s command, lt is almost inevitable that such an action will bring tragic results. The complete lack of responsibility that the Government has displayed in recent times seems to indicate a dulled moral sensitivity. These casualties were described as being light. I believe this is a serious reflection on the capacity of honourable members opposite to think straight and on the whole system of values they have brought to bear in relation to the war. I only hope that, even if honourable members opposite are not willing to stand in public and say so, they will insist that Australian troops be withdrawn from actual combat. What good can they achieve by sacrifice? What possible satisfactory military result can they produce by being moved into new fields of action and being dispersed as they have been in the past week? 1 believe that this is the kind of operation that used to take place in the First and Second World Wars when we sacrificed our own men under commanders from other countries.
We are here tonight to discuss the genera] principles behind this measure and the whole history of the system. One of the things that bothers me is how the people have somehow become confused and how the honourable member for Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns) was confused about peacetime military training as such and the present conscription system. One of the astonishing things is that the Australian community has accepted this system. I have been bothered for the last 3 or 4 years as to how a community such as this could accept this system. This is a community where the generally conceded principles are: One in, all in; one out, all out. We stand together with equality of sacrifice, and so on. I do not understand how this system could be foisted onto the community unless people were confused, just as the honourable member for Lilley was confused. One could refer to him as one of the philosophers of the radical right, hut at least he should be able to understand this. He is able to look up the ‘Year Book of the Commonwealth of Australia’ for 1910; he is even able to read out the sentences; but he is not able to understand what they mean.
In 1910 or the years following there was introduced a system of compulsory military training. Every young man in Australia had to serve for quite a long period. I believe that some honourable members of this House served at that time. They were required to attend one night a week, a weekend now and again and to attend at a certain number of camps. That system lasted until the period about 1929-30 when it was cancelled for economic reasons. Literally hundreds of thousands of people served under this system. During the period of the First World War there was an attempt to introduce conscription, but that was conscription for overseas service. It was a completely different system from the continuing system of home training which was a part and pattern of the Labor Party’s philosophy of that time. At that time there was no ballot; everybody was in it.
But conscription in this context and in this country has two meanings, it is completely different from military training. This might not be the rational way to use the English language, but to honourable members and to the community in general conscription means calling up people and putting them in the permanent service and making them serve anywhere in the world. ‘Compulsory military service’ was the term used in reference to the Defence Act. Part IV of the Defence Act was re-proclaimed in 1939. It has been said quite often that the Labor Party re-introduced conscription during the last World War. But it did not do so. Compulsory service was re-introduced in 1939, in November or thereabouts, by the reproclaiming of Part IV of the Defence Act and, as the years went by, the period of service increased for people who were called up. Eventually, by the Defence (Citizen Military Forces) Act (No. 2) 1943 service by members of the Citizen Military Forces was authorised outside Australia in the South West Pacific zone. This system prevailed for the duration of the war. Then people returned to the paths of peace. But from 1945 until about 1947 there was not even a honeymoon period. The cold war began. Before very long the Communist hordes and all the rest, of them were being engendered again in people’s minds so that in 1949 we had this rash of young people who came into this place, covered with ribbons and glory from” the last war, convinced that the only thing that could save the nation was the re-introduction of compulsory military service. At that time we had the tussle with the Senate. There was a report of a select committee and plenty of evidence to show that the Government was not prepared to accept parliamentary responsibility at that time. So in 1951 we were back in business again with compulsory military training. It was not conscription in the sense in which this word is currently used. That system of training went on for 7 or 8 years until we started to lose faith in it when 1 came here at the end of 1955. In 1956 and 1957 we started to realise that we did not need so many young men to paint the stones outside the officers’ mess in Puckapunyal, Kapooka, and other places. We spent $300m, the price of 24 Fill aircraft, or one-third of the cost of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric scheme, to find that that system did not produce any satisfactory military result.
This is why honourable gentlemen opposite have been able to get away with their policy: National service conditioned people over two generations to the idea of young Australians serving. Two wars have conditioned people to believe that young Australians serve overseas. But the people have forgotten to worry why they are serving. In the First World War about 330,000 Australians served overseas. Honourable members opposite have spent days and weeks in debates such as this sneering at the voluntary system. In the First World War 8% or 9% of the population volunteered to serve overseas. In the Second World War about 10% of the population - about 750,000 men - voluntarily enlisted to serve anywhere in the world. The Australian community has become conditioned to generation after generation of young men leaving the country to serve overseas. Three years ago people said: ‘Why should they not go? My father went; my brother went and my husband went.’ In those cases you usually find that the families were confined to daughters under the age of 15 years who were unlikely to be called up.
So in 1964 we had this system of national service foisted on the nation. People may turn to the Hansard of November 1964 to discover how the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, introduced national service. At that time very few people realised what it was all about. Very few people realised that this was not compulsory service of the kind that existed under the system of the 1920s, the 1930s, the 1940s and the 1950s. It was not the same system that took thousands into the Army in the Second World War. This was a system under which people were conscripted into a regular ‘ armed service of the ancient European pattern. It was a system quite foreign to Australian traditions and was being foisted on the people either because of a false analysis in Australia of the situation in South East Asia or a failure to make the armed services attractive to sufficient young people in Australia.
I think it was said at the time that the Army wanted 30.000 young men but was not able to get them. There were all sorts of ways in which the Army could have got sufficient recruits. The Government could have made service more attractive. It could have provided at the end of a young man’s Army service a training scheme that would enable him to re-enter civilian life with all1 the advantages of his service. The Government could have accepted more responsibility for service than it did. But it would not do that. The Government would rather place the burden of service on one group in the community. I might have some regard for the Government’s political courage if it had said: ‘Let us call up the 30 year old men, the people who have had the vote for 8 or 9 years and who have wives and families who can get out and kick up a fuss, march down the street in a body and say their piece.’ But the Government did not do that, lt selected one of the most helpless groups in the community, the 20 year old men, who, according to the honourable member for Indi (Mr Holten), are pleased to serve. Young men of 20 years are often pleased to serve. They find in service - at least they did until recently - glamour, travel and all the other things that go with the glory of the uniform and the parade. But it is a different business when the bullets start to fly.
It is one of the sad commentaries on Australian political life that so many of the people making the essential judgments in these matters - this is no reflection on their personal careers - do not know anything about live ammunition. I will mention no names and so cause no heartbreaks, but look at the record and see who makes the ministerial decisions. Where have those people been when the bullets have started to fly? Most of the executive authority in relation to this matter lies with this kind of people. I believe that a good deal of the trouble about national service stems from the fact that those responsible for it do not realise what they are committing people to. War is sacrifice; war is death. It is all right to talk in this place of abstractions and equity, as the honourable member for Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns) did. Why did he not serve in Korea, for instance? I do not think he should have gone to Korea, but if 1 felt as he does about the Communist threat I would at least have offered to serve in Korea. He may have offered; I do not know. I know of very few honourable members opposite who volunteered to serve in Korea. A.s far as I know there has not been one starter from the ranks of honourable members opposite for the war in Vietnam.
The real challenge to the position taken by the Government in relation to foreign policy is that Australians believe in that policy. It may well be that in the last two decades the Government has engendered in the minds of the people of Australia such a mistrust of the people to our north that Australians believe somebody should go there to defend Australia. In the past two generations when it was thought necessary to defend Australia, people enlisted in their hundreds of thousands. Turn to the record: This is the challenge. What has the Government done to the community? It has so smashed the fabric and structure of our society that today not one soul is prepared to volunteer for overseas service. Apart from all of the other things it has done, the most damaging thing to the Australian community over the last few years has been the sowing of discord and dissent, by political gimmickry, in order to create this atmosphere of fear mongering, as I call it. The stage has been reached at which the Attorney-General (Mr Bowen), speaking in this House, has traduced good Australians who choose to use political dissent in a public way as a political weapon. Yet the Government uses McCarthyism and engenders all the difficult and dangerous features of authority which do a disservice to democracy.
What is this debate all about? Why have we reached this stage? Are we in fear and trepidation of the people to our north? I have not heard any honourable member opposite say against whom we are mobilising. We know that there are 8,000 Australian troops in Vietnam. But what is this national service scheme all about? Do we need it? Who are our neighbours? Does anybody know what the military system is in Indonesia? The Indonesians are considering some form of compulsory service; they do not have any at present. I understand that 2 million Singaporeans, if that is what they are called, will soon have a system of compulsory service. Is this fact to be used as a threat against us? Japan does not have compulsory military service and I understand that neither India nor Ceylon has it. Cambodia is a country that has compulsory service and Thailand has some kind of military service that does not seem to work. The Philippines has selective military service but does not enforce it. We have introduced a system of national service which is foreign in this part of the world.
It so happens that over the last three or four centuries the aggressors in the world have been the people of Europe. The people of Asia are not aggressive, nor are they imperialists. This fact is something that is difficult for honourable members opposite to face up to. The Government has sown the seeds of discord in the community by the introduction of this system of national service and has thereby engendered ill will throughout the community. It has damaged the whole fabric of our society with a continuing scale of McCarthyism. This is a disgrace.
The honourable member for Parkes (Mr Hughes) spoke about the law and the right to resist. He said that it is fundamental to the working of our parliamentary democracy or any parliamentary democracy that once the law-giving authority has made the law the subject owes a duty to obey the law and cannot be permitted to set himself up in opposition to the law on purely political grounds. Does not the honourable member remember the principles laid down at the Nuremburg trials, at which it was held that we in fact have a personal responsibility to see that moral values prevail over the legal ones foisted on people by parliaments. 1 remind the honourable member of what people were saying back in the seventeenth century. For instance, Pym said that parliaments without parliamentary liberties are but a fair and plausible way into bondage. This Parliament is being converted into that type of parliamentary structure. This Parliament is being used not to perpetuate democratic practices but to impose further control over the community. Why does the Opposition oppose the National Service Act? Why does the Opposition oppose the principles of this Bill? Firstly, let us consider the harshness of the penalties provided for - a maximum of 2 years imprisonment. Proposed section 51a (3.) states that an offence against this section is punishable on summary conviction and not otherwise.
The honourable member for Indi (Mr Holten), the legalist in the Australian Country Party, last night said that the people who will be affected are guilty anyhow and do not need a trial but should be sent to gaol. The honourable member for Hunter (Mr James) has just pointed out what this means to a young boy of 20. I express my admiration for any person like Bill White and for the resistance that he put up. While I may have felt as he felt, I would not have been game to do as he did. I know quite well that the honourable member for Bradfield (Mr Turner), who is interjecting, would not be game to do it He writes articles to the newspapers about parliamentary democracy but never breaks the party discipline imposed on honourable members opposite. What have these young men done? They do not want to serve. A lot of honourable members opposite do not want to serve, but they do not happen to be 20 years of age. The young fellows concerned are just boys. I speak of this with some vehemence, because I am the father of boys, whom I see as ordinary young Australians and who, by the way, have offered to serve in whatever capacity they may be needed.
The Government is committing an offence against the young people of Australia. It is going to take young men whose offence is that they do not want to serve and turn them into criminals, making them liable to 2 years gaol. Have honourable members opposite ever thought of turning to the books to see for what other crimes a person can get 2 years gaol? We oppose the harshness of the penalties.
We do not like the provisions with regard to travel. Once you step into thi. field of inhibitions and prohibitions you impose restrictions on people whether they are in the dragnet or not. The Government would say to young men in the particular age group: ‘You cannot buy a ticket to go overseas without special permission*. So if a young man looks as though he is 20 years of age - and who can tell when he enters a travel bureau whether he is 19 or 21 - he must produce some evidence that he is not 20 years old. So the Government is imposing inhibitions and prohibitions which no democratic community ought to tolerate.
Then I come to the provisions about informing which I suppose are the most serious inflictions contained in the Bill. The provisions apply to educational institutions, employers, families - no, the Government has wilted on families. The Minister has suddenly found that he does not need to get families to inform. I have no doubt that he will be able to get his spivs and spies and pimps and his security service to go through the books and documents of every section of the community, so that he will not have to worry about families. But there is no need for me to say very much about these provisions; the whole community has taken objection to them.
We are not happy about the provisions regarding conscientious objectors. Why is it that we are more restrictive in this field than most, other countries are? Great Britain, I understand, has a system of alternative service, as has Germany and, I believe, Sweden. In New Zealand, and perhaps also in Great Britain, an applicant has wider grounds on which to establish his conscientious objection. We want to see that people are protected in respect of their right to object. We are prepared to put forward the proposition, although we oppose the Bill, that there ought to be alternatives to compulsory military service.
We are prepared to challenge every clause and dot and comma of this legislation. I do not think it has anything to do with the defence of Australia. I do not think it will produce any satisfactory solution to our defence problems. I do not think it is a valid reflection of the situation in South East Asia. I think it is part of the continuing theme of power politics and a further manifestation of the misunderstanding of history of which the members of the Liberal Party are continually guilty. I think it is a reflection on the people of Australia, particularly the 20-year-olds. It is a black stain on the legislative record of this Parliament. False views of the historic attitude of the Labor Party, both to conscription and to the military service system, have been continually injected into this debate. Tonight, for instance, an honourable member. I think the honourable member for Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns), suggested that a former representative of the area which I now represent, the late Frank Anstey, was in favour of conscription. In fact he was in favour, as I take it, of the system of military service and military training that prevailed at the time.
I wish that somehow we could awaken the people of Australia to what is happening. I wish we could show them how the Government has chosen to take a handful of young Australians who have very little power to resist, and to feed them gradually and continuously into the jungles of Vietnam and into other places where it may suit the Government’s purpose to use them. The Government has shown that it has taken a false view of history and has adopted an attitude of complete legislative and national selfishness which is a disgrace to the country.
– Before any Bill is brought into this House notices are displayed on the notice boards in the Party rooms of the Labor Party, the Liberal Party and the Country Party, so that any member may affix his name if he wishes to speak on the Bill.
– I raise a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker, ls the honourable member speaking to the Bill?
– Order! There is no substance in the point of order.
– Every member has the chance of affixing his name to the notice.
– On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker, I wish to know to what section of the Bill the honourable member is addressing himself?
-Order! The honourable member for Ballaarat will address himself to the Bill.
– Yesterday we had an agreement in relation to this Bill. .
– On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker-
-Order! The honourable member for Ballaarat has said that he will address himself to this Bill. I take it that he will do so and I will listen to what he has to say.
– The Leader of the House (Mr Snedden), who is sitting here now, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard), the Australian Labor Party Whip (Mr Duthie) and myself had conferences and agreed on certain procedures.
– Mr Deputy Speaker-
-Order! The honourable member for Ballaarat has said that he will address himself to the Bill and I propose to hear what he has to say.
– I wish to raise a point of order. It is quite obvious that the honourable member for Ballaarat proposes not to address himself to the Bill but rather to speak of arrangements that were never made, to my knowledge. Consequently the honourable member is completely out of order when he speaks of lists in Party rooms or anything of that nature, which have nothing at all to do with the Bill and which are quite contrary to the arrangements that I know were made.
-Order! I am prepared to hear what the honourable member for Ballaarat has to say. The honourable member has assured me that he is going to address himself to the Bill and I am going to listen to his arguments.
– I am addressing myself to the Bill. I am speaking to the Bill and of the course of proceedings concerning the Bill. The Leader of the House, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, the Labor Party Whip and myself agreed on certain procedures and timing.
– I wish to raise a point of order. The honourable member for Ballaarat has been speaking for some 3 minutes and so far has not made one remark in reference to the Bill. The honourable member is only trying to give the reasons why he intends to gag the Bill. Therefore I believe that the honourable member for Ballaarat should either speak to the Bill or resume his seat and give honourable members on this side of the House an opportunity to speak.
-Order! The honourable member for Reid will resume his seat. The honourable member for Ballaarat has assured me that he is going to address himself to the Bill. If honourable members keep rising and taking points of order how can the honourable member for Ballaarat address the Chair?
– I move:
– I second the motion.
Motion (by Mr Snedden) proposed:
That the question be now put.
– I have moved a motion totally different from that moved by the Minister for Immigration. My motion was seconded. Accordingly I ask that the question in relation to my motion be put.
-Order! The honourable member for Grayndler has been a member of the House long enough to know that he cannot move such a motion. It is contrary to the Standing Orders.
– To which standing order is it contrary.
-Order! The question is:
That the question be now put.
– I wish to raise a point of order. In the chamber tonight we have beard submissions to the effect that arrangements and agreements were made with the Opposition as to how the debate was to be conducted and how many speakers were to be permitted. I would say that there was no agreement whatever. The Government has made a decision without co-operating with the Opposition.
-Order! 1 have no idea what arrangements were made. The Minister has moved that the question be now put. There is no substance in the point of order.
– I seek your guidance, Mr Deputy Speaker. Under what standing order do you say that I have no right to move that an honourable member be heard if no other honourable member was on his feet at that time?
-Order! The ruling of the Chair is that there is a motion before the House that the question be now put.
– Mr Deputy Speaker-
-Order! The honourable member for Grayndler will resume his seat.
That the question be now put.
The House divided. (Mr Deputy Speaker - Hon. W. C. Haworth)
Mr Deputy Speaker. Is the honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder) being counted in his first vote in this House on matters other than those dealing with the Northern Territory?
Honourable members ; Yes!
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The House divided. (Mr Deputy Speaker - Hon: W. C. Haworth)
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Drury) - Is it the wish of the Committee to take clauses1 to 13 together?
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN - Order! I ask the Deputy Leader of the Opposition whether he wishes the Committee to take clauses1 to 13 together.
Clause 1 (Short title and citation).
– Clause 1 (1.) states:
This Act may be cited as the National Service Act 1968.
As far as the Opposition is concerned it is a national disservice. It has nothing to do with national service at all. It is an imposition arising from the Government’s completely false judgments of the history of Australia, of the needs of this part of the world and of our relationships with Asia. I believe we ought to reject this legislation out of hand. What is the Government doing? It is not even inflicting this legislation upon the nation as a whole. It is not a national matter. The Government has chosen a small proportion of our young men- some 8,000 out of 360,000.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! I point out to the honourable member for Wills that the wording of clause 1 is:
This Act may be cited as the National Service Act 1968.
He is permitted to speak only to this particular clause.
– That is correct, sir, and I am making the point that the three words National Service Act’ are applied incorrectly to the purposes of this Bill; that, in fact, the demand upon the community is not national; that, in fact, it is not a national service; though it may well be an Act by the time we have finished with it. I believe this is the challenge that is before the Committee and I want to make it quite clear to honourable members opposite that in the last half hour they have showed exactly-
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN - Order! The honourable member is not entitled to discuss what has happened in the last half hour.
Motion (by Mr Daly) put:
That progress be reported.
The Committee divided. (The Temporary Chairman - Mr E. N. Drury)
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I find it surprising that the member of the executive of the Opposition who is in charge of the Bill-
– I take a point of order, Mr Chairman.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! There is no point of order.
– Why isn’t there?
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! The honourable member will resume his seat. I am listening to the Minister.
– I find it surprising that the Opposition is not prepared to take clauses 1 to 13 together. There is no point of issue arising from the Bill until clause 13. It was my expectation that we would have taken the clauses together and that we would have had very little difficulty in proceeding to the point where the first Opposition amendment would be moved and that is the proposal to insert a new clause 13a.
– On a point of order, Mr Chairman. I take it that at this stage-
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN - Order! Actually there can be no point of order at this stage. The Minister is discussing a point of procedure. We should hear the Minister before a point of order is taken on what he has said.
– Speaking to your ruling, if I may, he has the right to ask to be allowed to make a personal explanation or he can speak to the clause. They are his only rights under the Standing Orders.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! The Leader of the House is entitled to discuss procedure. I rule that he is in order.
– It is natural that Opposition members should have some concern about the hour to which we will sit.I have frequently said, and I repeat now, thatI do not wish to sit late on any night. On the other hand it would be perfectly clear to any. body that at 25 minutes or 20 minutes to 1 2 o’clock, whatever it was, having regard to the Government’s programme of legislation and having regard to the time we have lost today,I could not agree to the House rising. I thought we should reach the Committee stage. I said earlier today and I repeat now that it is not my intention to complete the Bill tonight. On the other hand, I wish to make progress with the Bill through the Committee stages to a reasonable point. What I had in mind then was to see the point of time at which a particular clause was reached. It was therefore not possible to fix a point of time for finishing. As I have indicated to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, it is not my intention that we should sit beyond 1 a.m. Again, having regard to the progress made with discussion of the clauses, it may have been found more convenient to rise prior to that. I am sure the honourable gentlemen will recognise that it was not practicable, having regard to the programme in front of us and the time we have lost, to adjourn at 25 minutes to 12. I therefore say openly so that it can be heard by everybody - obviously that is the best way for it to be said, because everyone in the chamber will know the arrangement I wish to make and can judge whether it is reasonable - that the arrangement I have to offer is that we take clauses 1 to 13 as a whole. If any honourable member wants to make a point or to discuss those clauses, he will do so as one would expect. If there was no discussion on them - I should think there would be no discussion except for the purposes of delay or frustration - we should find that in the course of the programme the Deputy Leader of the Opposition would introduce his proposed new section 13a dealing with exemption on the grounds of conscientious beliefs. After there had been some exposition of this matter, in addition to that in the second reading debate, we could then make a decision to suit the convenience of the Committee and the demands of the programme, and rise at a suitable time. This is the statement I make, and I should like the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to give his opinion of it. The Government does not want to do either of two things. It does not want to sit excessively late or to put this legislation through more hastily than it need be. There is a third thing which must be done. We must act here with a sense of responsibility for the legislative programme before us.
– Why did you gag the second reading debate?
– The final thing I want to say is in response to the interjection. The reason is that the lists of speakers on the Bill have been published for 2 days for everybody to see, and the names of the members who rose after the honourable member for Gellibrand (Mr McIvor) were not on that list. It was clear that the reason for their rising and wishing to speak was to delay the Bill. Though we have a majority of forty members, the gag has never before been moved during this session. I should be glad if the Deputy Leader of the Opposition would answer my remarks.
– I rise to order. The Minister in his explanation on procedure has cast a reflection on honourable members who wished to speak in the debate. He imputed improper motives to them. I spoke in this debate, as I have in every other debate associated with defence in the last 12 years, with a feeling of purpose and confidence in what I had to say on the subject. We regard the Minister’s reflections on honourable members on this side of the House as quite unbecoming.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! There is no substance in the point of order. I call the honourable member for Bass.
Friday, 17 May 1968
– In view of what has been said by the Leader of the House, I think I should make one or two comments. I am sure that no arrangements were made concerning the second reading debate or the committee stages. Three more members of the Opposition wanted to speak at the second reading stage but the Leader of the House chose to gag the debate.
– The honourable member asked me to gag the debate.
– That is what the Leader of the House did.
– But the honourable member asked me to gag the debate.
– No, I did not.I want to make it perfectly clear that a number of Opposition members were listed to speak during the second reading debate. I agree that the list had been exhausted. But if other Opposition members chose to speak in the debate, they had a perfect right to do so. At the same time, I agree that the Leader of the House has the right to gag a debate if he believes it ought to be terminated. When I had discussions with the Leader of the House and the Government Whip, it was agreed that the House would not continue to debate this Bill into the early hours of the morning. The Leader of the House will remember this. I think it is perfectly legitimate, bearing in mind that it is now midnight and that three members of the Opposition have been refused the right to speak at the second reading stage, for the Opposition to request that consideration be adjourned at this stage. If the Leader of the House chooses to continue with the Committee stage then we are quite perpared to accept the challenge. Every member on this side of the House has a right to discuss every clause in the Bill. There is no agreement on this.
Clauses 1 to 13 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.
Proposed new clause 13a.
– I move:
That the following new clause he inserted in the Bill: 13a. Section 29a of the principal Actis amended -
by omitting from sub-section (1.) the words “any form of military service” and inserting in their stead the words “military service, whether in relation to a particular war or otherwise”; and
by omitting sub-sections (3.) and (4.).’.
Two important principles are involved in this amendment. In the first place, the Opposition wants exemption for conscientious beliefs to be granted to those who object to a particular war. The present section 29a provides only for universal objection to military service. That means that a person seeking exemption must object to all forms of service in all wars. The Opposition believes that that requirement is much too rigid and that it has led to confusion in interpretation of the law. We want the Act changed so that a person who objects in principle to a particular war may be granted exemption.
My search of the records shows that there have been two cases in which magistrates have granted exemption to objectors who confined their basis of objection solely to the Vietnam war. One was the case of David Monaghan, who was exempted in a Melbourne court by Mr Murray SM on the ground that he had a conscientious belief that Australian involvement in the Vietnam war was morally wrong. In the other case Roland Hovey was granted total exemption from military service in the Magistrates Court in Brisbane on 7th August by Mr P. D. Peel SM. In giving his decision, Mr Peel said that he was satisfied that the applicant held a conscientious belief that did not allow him to take part in or to assist in any way in the Vietnam war. The magistrate held that the applicant’s engaging in any form of national military service under the National Service Act would or could have the effect of his taking part in or assisting in the Vietnam war. That is the sort of enlightened interpretation that the Opposition would like to see extended over the whole range of applications for exemption based on objection to the Vietnam war. Unfortunately, the trend of opinion in the higher courts has been against that sort of interpretation of section 29a. We would like the section amended so that specific objection to the Vietnam war can be a ground for exemption.
There can be no doubt that dissent from the Vietnam war is growing in the Australian community. If widespread Press reports circulated in the past fortnight on deliberations in the Government Party room can be accepted, the growing doubts about the war have penetrated even to the back bench ranks of the Government parties. I notice that the former Minister for the Navy has been quoted as saying that there are now widespread doubts among members of the Government parties about whether the Americans are winning the war in Vietnam. If the honourable gentleman has been correctly reported, that represents a remarkable change in attitude on the part of one of the most belligerent members of the Government parties. With this growth of dissent, it can be expected that more and more applications for examption will be based on objections solely to the Vietnam war. That will be the inevitable product of the great rethinking of attitudes to the war that is now apparent in the United States and Australia.
It should be remembered that many men who served steadfastly in the trenches in World War I became conscientious objectors in World Warr II. This principle was accepted in the United Kingdom during World War II: A person should be expempted from liability to serve if he conscientiously objects to participation in a particular war, declared or undeclared. I am sure that honourable gentlemen opposite would concede that the United Kingdom was able to adopt that enlightened principle despite an immeasurably greater threat than any that confronts Australia at the moment.
I urge the Goverment to accept this amendment so that sincere objectors who regard the Vietnam war as unjust and unjustifiable may be granted exemption. The Opposition has moved this amendment because it believes that the people of this country will come to the country’s support in a time of national crisis. No one can validly deny that during the 1939-45 War Australians enlisted for service on a completely voluntary basis because they realised there was a threat to Australia. During the
Korean War Australians again offered their services on a voluntary basis because that conflict had been accepted as one in which a United Nations force should engage. There was no question about an insufficiency of volunteers from this country to fight in World War I, World War II and the Korean War. That is not the situation that applies in Australia today. Of the Australians serving in Vietnam, 50% are conscripts. They have no alternative but to serve in Vietnam as directed by this Government.
We of the Opposition believe that there are people in this country who should have the right to state their objections to the war in Vietnam. Because they are opposed to the conflict in Vietnam they ought to be accepted on that basis as conscientious objectors. That is the purpose of our amendment. We believe that it is morally correct for the Government to recognise that opponents of the war in Vietnam should be allowed to state their opposition. If they genuinely believe that the Vietnam war is morally wrong they ought to be able to state that belief and on that ground should be able to prove that they are conscientious objectors to service in that war.
I have moved this amendment on behalf of the Opposition. Since the Government has acknowledged that some people in Australia will raise objections to war in any form, and particularly objections to the war in Vietnam in which national servicemen are being directed to engage, those people ought to be able to state unequivocally their objections to that kind of warfare. We believe that the Opposition has made a point concerning objectors to the war in Vietnam and we believe that our amendment should be accepted.
– I wish to oppose the amendment proposed by the Opposition. I do not think that the Opposition has made any point at all. It is quite easy to argue in an artificial and limited sense that a form of war can be objected to. In fact, some honourable members opposite have argued that we would look with sympathy towards German conscientious objectors living in Germany during World War II. That is fair enough. But it is an artificially limited argument. It completely neglects to make any honest comparison between the way in which Germany was behaving not only in the war but internally, and the way in which countries opposed to Germany were behaving no*t only in the war but internally. I am sure that most honourable members opposite would admit that the way in which Germany was treating its own people was sufficient reason for a German who recognised what was happening to object to taking part in the war. Perhaps not alt of them realised what was happening. I remind honourable members that many people who objected to the situation, as they saw it developing, got out of Germany, if they possibly could. But it is absolute nonsense to compare that situation with the present position in Australia. To do so is to completely ignore the fact, which was made plain, in the second reading speech of the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Bury) and by many speakers on this side of the House, that those who register for national service have a choice. Surely honourable members opposite know by now that those who register for national service have a choice, and if they wish to exercise the choice they do not have to propose any reasons. They have the choice of entering into the ballot for national service or fulfilling their national service obligations by service in the Citizen Military Forces for a total of about 6 months spread over some 6 years. They are able to exercise this option of their own free choice.
– They can still be sent overseas if they join the CMF.
– That is so. If we reach the situation that honourable members opposite seem to want, of declaring war and calling for total mobilisation, every able bodied person will be trotted off . to some war front, whether in Australia or overseas. [Quorum formed.] The honourable member for Wide Bay completely forgets that this is not the present situation. We are dealing with an evolving situation. We hope that it will improve. It is ridiculous to base an argument on extreme cases, on artificially limited cases or on some hypothesis about an improbable future.
I should like to make one point concerning the way in which honourable members opposite have put their case for themselves, and no doubt for other people, in objecting to the Vietnam war. They have based their argument, to a large degree, on an assertion that this is not a declared war.
They seem to forget completely that what we- are trying to do is to avoid getting into a situation in which it would be necessary to declare war. I do not wish to belabour the point but if honourable members opposite cannot see that, I do not see how they can possibly propound any reasonable ideas or policies for defending this country. I oppose the amendment. I believe that the Opposition is not merely one-eyed on this subject; it is blind.
Bill returned from the Senate without amendment.
Motion (by Mr Snedden) proposed:
That the House do now adjourn.
Mr Deputy Speaker, I do not wish to detain the House very long at this late hour. But I have a matter of importance that I desire to raise in this Parliament. I wish to bring to the attention of the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr McEwen) and the Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden) the fact that the Matsushita Electrical Industrial Co. of Japan is proposing to establish a manufacturing operation in Australia. This company manufactures under the well known trade mark ‘National’ and is likely to be followed by other Japanese companies that cannot afford to see Matsushita make a move into Australia unless they match it. The whole situation is causing concern to a number of Australian industries, particularly the electrical industries, in view of the intense competition due to over-capacity which currently exists in the radio, television and appliance industries. Of equal concern is the fact that it would appear that the Matsushita operation is to have a number of Japanese executives controlling it, together with other personnel.
The first indication of this came from Mingays Electrical Weekly* of 10th May 1968. This publication had this to say:
Matsushita Electrical Industrial Co. of Japan executives have just completed an Australian marketing survey to determine which of the company’s products should be produced here.
The study by the advanced- group of executives follows Matsushita purchase of the Singer factory premises at Penrith, NSW, earlier this year and the setting up of an Australian subsidiary, Matsushita Electric Co. (Aust.) Pty Ltd under the directorship of Morri Kaneko and Martin Van Koesveld
When interviewed earlier this week, acting managing director of Haco Distributing Agencies Hans Oostergo said ‘Matsushita has long planned to become part of the Australian scene and has now elected to establish an assembly plant here’.
The article went on to say that certain executives were in Australia and enumerated the products that would be made.
I desire to ask a few questions of the Minister for Trade and Industry and the Minister for Immigration on this matter. Firstly: Are the Ministers aware that this company is to establish manufacturing operations in Australia in the radio, television and appliance field? Further: Are the Ministers aware that already there is considerable over-capacity in this industry and that the Japanese plan that the top executives of the company, including the managing director, the secretary/ accountant and the general assistant will be Japanese nationals while other Japanese nationals may well take senior positions? I ask: Do the Ministers consider in the light of this that there is a likelihood that the company will extend the request for Japanese personnel very extensively and that Australians may well be displaced from employment in this industry and probably not have proper representation in this company? I should like to ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr McEwen) whether he knows these things.
I now desire to direct a question to the Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden). What will be the attitude of the immigration authorities concerning the employment of Japanese nationals on a large scale in an executive capacity, presumably on a permanent basis, and in other capacities in this country? Let me point out firstly that in 1966, in this Parliament, the then Minister for Immigration brought down certain legislation relating to the employment of non-European nationals. I have omitted to bring the document with me, but it was expressly stated at that time - and it was because of this that the Labor Party supported the measure - that permits to employ non-Europeans in industry would be granted only on the understanding that they took positions for which Australians were not available. I am sorry that I have not the relevant document before me, but the Government did give an assurance at that time that under no circumstances would Australian personnel be displaced and that no permits would be granted for the permanent settlement here of non-Europeans to work in the industry concerned if labour of the required type was already available in this country. That assurance was given with respect to the filling of executive positions and any other vacancies that there might bc.
The companies already engaged in this industry in Australia which employ many Australians are naturally somewhat concerned about the impact of this new proposed industry on their operations. I remind honourable members of the occasion recently, when a number of Japanese employees were brought to Australia to work on a dredging project at Port Hedland in Western Australia on the understanding that they were to be employed only for such time as it took them to teach Australians who might be available how to do the work. I understand that this obligation was not honoured with the result that there was industrial trouble, Australians were displaced from employment and there was a considerable amount of discontent and friction between Australians and Japanese.
I should like to know firstly just what is the attitude of the Minister for Trade and Industry with respect to this matter and, secondly, I should like the Minister for Immigration to- outline to the Parliament the Government’s attitude towards it. I have no reason to doubt that the Government will endeavour to give effect to the arrangement that was made with the approval of both sides of the Parliament, but at the same time I can see that if this sort of thing grows, certain dangers could confront us.
I point out with all due respect to the Japanese that the Minister for Trade and Industry was quite outspoken recently when he announced that there had been a colossal putover by the Japanese in connection with the importation of Japanese motor vehicles into this country. The Japanese are very progressive. They are very anxious to establish industries, or to buy out industries already established and to increase their personnel. To say the least, they are very cheeky in some of the requests they make with respect to our immigration laws. The Japanese nation has been one of the nations most consistently opposed to our established immigration policy from a long time back.
It was suggested to me in correspondence that had been brought to me that a demand might be made, supported by an attempt at duress, to be allowed to establish an industry in this country and to employ Japanese nationals in that industry. The establishment of such an industry and the employment of Japanese nationals in it could be detrimental to the continued operations of industries already established here and could lead to the displacement of Australians from employment.
Evidently this new company is to be granted the permission it seeks. I hope that it will not lead to trouble similar to that experienced in connection with the Port Hedland scheme. I do hope too that we can get some assurance that, before this industry is established here, the Government will take into consideration the present over-production of Australian industries, which can easily be verified from inquiries in trade circles here, and the other aspects that I have mentioned tonight.
I note that the Minister for Immigration is now in the chamber. I have no reason to doubt that the safeguards that have been required will be honoured. I rise tonight to warn the Parliament of what might happen in connection with this important industry and of the problems that could arise. I hope the two Ministers concerned will let me have their views on these matters.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 12.30a.m. (Friday) until Tuesday 28 May, at 2.30 p.m.
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:
Postal Department (Question No. 33)
Hearing Aids (Question No. .181)
In the areas where the scheme is in operation, pensioners who think they might be in need of hearing assistance should obtain an application form and then consult their doctor. These forms are available from offices of the Commonwealth Department of Health and the Department of Social Services, from outpatient departments of large hospitals and from pensioner organisations.
If the doctor considers that a pensioner has a hearing defect which might be assisted by a hearing aid and he endorses the application form accordingly, the Commonwealth Acoustic Laboratories arranges an appointment for a hearing test and assessment to see if a hearing aid would be of assistance. In cases where the assessment shows a hearing aid would be of benefit, an aid is fitted by the staff of the Laboratories and the pensioner is given all necessary instruction and assistance to obtain the best use from it.
Hearing aids are issued on loan for a hiring charge of $10 for each aid supplied. This charge also covers all normal repairs and maintenance without further cost to the recipient. Aids are issued with batteries fitted but replacement batteries, which are readily available from normal commercial sources, are a personal responsibility. The hiring charge of $10 is also made for an aid issued to replace one that has been lost or damaged bayond repair, but does not apply in the following circumstances:
Where a more powerful aid is required because of changes in hearing ability. This could involve a change from Type E to Type T.
Cost of Illness (Question No. 187)
Canhe state, or will he provide facilities to find in conjunction with the Senate Committee concerned -
what is the cost of illness per head to Australians including (i) lost income training and promotion, (ii) lost production, population and development, (iii) home and other help employed because of incapacity of the employer or his family or employees, (iv) government, World Health Organisation, overseas and charitable organisations’ payments, including government-subsidised home nursing, care and special education for the handicapped, etc., (v) health insurance premiums, (vi) fares for patients, attendants and hospital visitors, including government-issued travel passes, (vii) maintenance while in or visiting hospitals and convalescent homes, less maintenance costs for similar periods when not in hospital, etc. and (viii) other costs, and
what percentage of these costs is incurred (i) on the patients’ initiative and/or (ii) on professional advice when the patient thereby (iii) loses or (iv) gainsfinancially?
Employment (Question No, 191)
Labour and National Service, upon notice:
Telephone Services (Question No. 220)
General, upon notice:
What was the number of outstanding applications for telephones in the Sydney telephone districts LM, WB and MW at the end of December in each of the years 1965, 1966 and 1967?
It has been assumed that by outstanding applications for telephones the honourable member is referring to deferred applications, that is, those on which service cannot be offered pending major extensions of plant. On this basis the information sought by the honourable member is as follows:
Defence Equipment (Question No. 87)
Defence, upon notice: !. Which countries have placed restrictions on the use or replenishment of (a) defence equipment which Australia has bought from them or (b) similar defence equipment which other countries have bought fromthem?
It would not be appropriate for the Australian Government to comment on the arms sales policies of other Governments in relation to third parties.
Armed Forces Pay and Allowances (Question No. 120)
Vietnam (Question No. 149)
Is he able to say (a) how many civilians have been killed in South Vietnam, (b) how many United States servicemen have been (i) killed and (ii) wounded, (c) how many South Vietnamese Government Forces have been (i) killed and (ii) wounded, (d) how many Australian soldiers have been (i) killed and (ii) wounded and (e) what is the estimated number of National Liberation Front and North Vietnamese Forces killed since the commencement of the Tet offensive on 30 January by the National Liberation Front and North Vietnamese Forces?
Casualties from the beginning of the Tet offensive up to 14th April 1968 were:
Taxation (Question No. 239)
Transport of Handicapped Persons
The current practice is for drivers to lift, or assist, wheelchair patients into vehicles, but where patients are too heavy to be moved in this way, arrangements are made for ambulances to be provided. We are hopeful that the South Australian experiment will be successful, and that this type of vehicle will be introduced progressively so as to eliminate the lifting of the less heavy cases where ambulances are not used.
Pensions (Question No. 99)
With respect to the review of social service pensions payable to persons who are in receipt also of a Commonwealth Public Service superannuation pension, what number of age, invalid and widows’ pensions were (a) reduced and (b) cancelled and what was the total amount of reduced liability per annum in each case?
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 16 May 1968, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1968/19680516_reps_26_hor59/>.