House of Representatives
13 August 1968

26th Parliament · 2nd Session

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

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Prime Minister · Higgins · LP

Mr Speaker, it is my sad duty officially to inform the House of the death on4th July of a distinguished former member of this Parliament, Sir Neil O’Sullivan, who represented bis State of Queensland in the Senate for16 years until he retired in 1962. Sir Neil, who was 67 when he died, is remembered with respect and affection by all those of his colleagues who served with him in the Senate and, I think, by all those in either House who knew him. He was a colourful figure and a man whose warmth of personality and gift of friendship and willingness to help those newly come to the Parliament won him many friends on both sides of the Senate and in all Parties in this House. I personally had a close and happy association with him in the Senate, where he served as Government Leader whenI first took my seat, having before that time been the Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate at a time when the representation in the Senate was, from memory, 3 Government members and 33 members of the Opposition. This made it extremely difficult for him to carry out his task, but in the face of that difficulty I think he carried it out as well as anybody could possibly have done.

Sir Neil O’Sullivan was a member of the first Menzies Ministry and he held minis, terial rank until 1958. He was Minister for Trade and Customs from 1949 to 1956, Minister for the Navy in 1956 and Attorney-General from 1956 to 1958. From 1956 to 1958 he was also Vice-President of the Executive Council. He was a member of a number of Senate and joint parliamentary committees during his career. He gave particularly valuable service as Chain, man of the Joint Committee on Constitutional Review from 1956 to 1959. In1953 he led the Australian delegation to the International Sugar Conference convened by the United Nations in London, and with the Right Honourable John McEwen he led the Australian delegation to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade at Geneva in 1954. He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire by the Queen in 1959.

During the Second World War Sir Neil served with the Royal Australian Air Force, reaching the rank of Flying Officer before being discharged in December 1944. It was during that period that my personal acquaintance with him began. At the time when I first met him he was Adjutant of, from memory, 75 Squadron, a Kittyhawk fighter squadron which was stationed at Milne Bay, and he was well liked by all the pilots in the squadron and those under his administration. He was marked by being the only officer in the area at the time who wore glasses secured by a thick black ribbon, which gave him an appearance that bears out the example I previously gave of his being a colourful figure well liked by all who served with him.

He came from a family with a long tradition of politics. His grandfather was a member of the first Queensland Parliament and an uncle, Thomas O’Sullivan, was a prominent politician in Queensland’s early history. Sir Neil O’Sullivan will be mourned by the many friends he made on both sides of this Parliament. Those who knew him will recall his vigour, his enthusiasm, his friendliness and the strong leadership and ability he displayed in his service to the nation. We extend our deepest sympathy to his widow and to his two sons. He was always a strong advocate for his State of Queensland and he always was a man who acted as he believed best in the interests of offer the nation as a whole, which in his mind took precedence even of his loyalty to a particular State. He is a loss to all of us. I move:

Leader of the Opposition · Werriwa

– On behalf of the Opposition I support the motion and the remarks made by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) in proposing it. I came to know the late Sir Neil O’Sullivan very well when he was the Chairman and I was a member of the Constitutional Review Committee. He became the Chairman in 1956 when Sir John Spicer became the Chief Judge of the Comonwealth Industrial Court. The members of my Party on that Committee were my predecessor as leader, the right honorable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell), Senator McKenna, Senator Kennelly, the late Mr Ward and Mr Pollard. The members of the Liberal Party on the Committee were Mr Justice Joske, as he now is, Sir Alex Downer, the present Australian High Commissioner in Britain, and Senator Wright, who is now the Minister for Works. The members from the Australian Country Party were Mr Hamilton and the late Mr Drummond.It will be seen that this was a Committee of men, with the exception of myself, of very great political experience. It is a tribute to Sir Neil that in the 3 years that he presided over the Committee it dealt with the greatest range of matters, it sat for more days and for more hours and reached agreement on a greater number of matters than any other Committee appointed by this Parliament. I admired his capacity, his humanity and his temperament in his post.

I was appointed to be a member of the Committee when I had been a member of this Parliament for less than 4 years. It was a formative experience to have served on it, and under Sir Neil. In some years that Committee sat for more days than the Parliament. Inevitably members attended its meetings for more hours than they attended the meetings of Parliament during those years. It is in a very true personal sense that I offer my tribute to the memory of Sir Neil O’Sullivan.

He was a man who had a very great pride in his family, as well he might. His grandfather, as the Prime Minister said, was a member of the Queensland Parliament - a member, in fact, of the original Queensland Parliament. Uncles on both his father’s and his mother’s side were AttorneysGeneral of Queensland and among the relatively few lawyers to hold that position. His own sons officiated at his funeral. J know the pride he took in them. The conclusions reached by the Committee over which Sir Neil presided are still valid. As a measure of my own respect for his memory I shall do all I can during my life in the Parliament to carry out the conclusions which he did so much to bring about with such unanimity and validity.

Minister for Primary Industry · Richmond · CP

– I should like to associate the Australian Country Party with the motion of condolence for the late Sir Neil O’Sullivan and with the remarks of the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam). I recall Sir Neil as a big jovial, friendly fellow. He had a capacity to project his nature and his strength of character so that he gave one a feeling of confidence in him. I think this was his strongest point; whatever he said, people believed. Sir Neil gave very valuable service to his Party, to his State, which he loved dearly, and to the Parliament. Probably his greatest contribution was in the Senate during the years in which he was in opposition. He was one of only three Opposition members in the Senate prior to the election of 1949.

I should like to make special reference to his work for primary producers, in whom he had a very keen interest. It was during his period as Minister for Trade and Customs that he formed a strong alliance with his fellow Queenslander, Sir Arthur Fadden, to work out measures designed to assist the rural industries. He gave particularly valuable service to the Queensland sugar industry. The Prime Minister mentioned that he led Australian delegations to the International Sugar Conference in1953 and to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in1954. He was also responsible for convening the first post-war sugar industry inquiry, known as the McCarthy Committee, in 1952. It had a profound influence on the development of the Australian sugar industry. In1951 he sponsored the acceptance by the Commonwealth of the British Commonwealth Sugar Agreement. Apart from sugar, he was closely associated with the development of the tobacco industry in Queensland during his period as Minister for Trade and Customs.

Sir Neil leaves behind many friends in this Parliament. All of us will remember him for the great contribution he made to our nation. Therefore, I would especially like to express the sympathy of the Australian Country Party to his widow and two sons.

Mr Kevin Cairns:

– The late Sir Neil O’Sullivan came from a very distinguished Queensland family and he had a lifetime of very active interest in business and political affairs. His record has been adequately described by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), but I wish to add a word of personal tribute from one who benefited immensely from Sir Neil’s assistance and advice. The late Sir Neil O’Sullivan succeeded in entering the Senate in 1946, as has been pointed out. He did this 18 years after his first attempt to obtain political representation. Consequently he was never one to worship success for its own sake and he carried the highest principles into his political career and retained them throughout.

It would be a grave injustice to underestimate the influence of the late Sir Neil O’Sullivan on the Australian community, especially the Queensland community. The outstanding support his State gave to the Menzies Government from 1949 to1961 owed more to Sir Neil O’Sullivan than has generally been acknowledged. Sir Neil O’Sullivan always tried to retain a broad view of politics, its personalities and obligations. I am most grateful for the assistance that he always gave me. I desire to add my own most sincere condolences to those which have been expressed by previous speakers in this House and which will be conveyed by this House to Lady Margaret, her children, and the brothers of the late Sir Neil O’Sullivan.

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


– I thank the House.

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Telephone Services

Mr KATTER presented a petition from certain residents of the Winton and Boulia districts in Queensland praying that the House of Representatives take any action necessary to enable the Postmaster-General’s Department to provide for improved telephone facilities in the Winton and Boulia areas.

Petition received and read.

Social Services

Mr SCHOLES 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.

Similar petitions were presented by Mr Peters and Mr Jess.

Petitions severally received.

Aboriginal Ownership of Land

Mr BRYANT presented a petition from certain citizens of the Commonwealth praying that this House make provision for (1) the recognition of Aboriginal ownership of reserves and other lands at present owned and leased by the Commonwealth and (2) the development of mining, pastoral and other enterprises on all Aboriginal land to be subject to the consent of Aboriginal owners and such conditions as their own legal advisers may arrange.

Petition received and read.

Similar petitions were presented by Mr Uren and Dr J. F. Cairns.

Petitions severally received.


Mr HAYDEN presented a petition from certain citizens of the Commonwealth praying that the House make a survey of the full requirements of pensioners of all kinds and adopt a policy of progressive liberalisation of the means test resulting in its removal within 3 years.

Petition received and read.

Similar petitions were presented by Mr Donald Cameron, Mr Fulton, Mr Killen and Mr Katter.

Petitions severally received.

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Prime Minister · Higgins · LP

-I wish to inform the House that the Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr McEwen, left Australia on 26th July on a private visit overseas. It is expected that he will return on 15th August. During his absence the Minister for Shipping and Transport, Mr Sinclair, is acting as Minister for Trade and Industry.

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– I ask the Prime Minister a question which concerns the quadripartite agreement between Australia, Britain, Canada and the United States of America on research into chemical and biological warfare. He will be aware of the debate 3 weeks ago in the British House of Commons arising from an article in the London ‘Observer’ about activities in Australia which the article said were at Innisfail, though I believe they are at Maribyrnong. I call the right honourable gentleman’s attention to the fact that in March last year his predecessor told me:

  1. . a small nucleus of Australian scientists is charged with the responsibility for keeping up to date our technology of defence against chemical warfare, and this involves some research work as well as keeping in touch with allied activity in this field. No work on bacteriological agents is being undertaken in Australia.

As one of the parties to the quadripartite agreement - the United States - is not a party to the 1925 Geneva Protocol, 1 ask for an assurance that the Department of Supply docs not at Maribyrnong or elsewhere receive information or materials from the United States or transmit information or materials to that country in breach of the Protocol. In view of the strong feelings held in Australia and throughout the world about chemical warfare in Vietnam and its cumulative and continuing effects on the soil and its products, will the Government at once support Britain’s efforts to obtain a more comprehensive and effective ban on chemical and biological warfare?


– The first part of the question comes under the administration of my colleague, the Minister for Defence, and I suggest that he reply to it. The second part of the question seems to be concerned with future policy.

Minister for Defence · PATERSON, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– The Leader of the Opposition seems to have answered one part of the question, knowing, as I indicated some time ago in the House, that a small nucleus of scientists are involved in work for the Department of Supply at Maribyrnong assessing what is known about the uses of chemical warfare in particular. It must be understood that other countries which may at some time be opposed to Australia’s interests have available to them a considerable amount of knowledge of such forms of warfare. It would be folly of the wost kind if Australia were not to keep abreast of what is available in terms of knowledge so that if the time should come for us to defend our own troops in action we would know how to do so.

Mr James:

– Shame.


– I do not know about the shame. I would like to go into that at some other time. I point out to the honourable gentleman that we have never been involved in the testing of chemical or biological agents in the field in Australia, nor have we used the test areas of any other nation. The honourable gentleman was a little concerned, I think, about the article which appeared in an overseas journal. I must confess that it was not based on any fact whatsoever. I think the honourable gentleman went to Innisfail, at our arrangement, and saw for himself that Australia is not involved in chemical or biological work in that area. The Prime Minister answered the second part of the honourable gentleman’s question.

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– I ask the Treasurer whether his attention has been drawn to a telecast on ABV channel 2 in Melbourne on 8th August to the effect that the honourable member for Yarra had that day released a statement criticising the operation of the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund, alleging that the acceptance of contributions from national servicemen was a method of increasing an inadequate fund and was an unjust penalty upon them, as also was the fact that upon discharge their contributions were refunded without interest. If so, does the Treasurer agree that such interest is offset by the insurance cover for death and disability and also that the fund is underwritten by the Commonwealth to cover the increased risk of active service? Does the Treasurer also agree that there is no foundation at all in the other allegations made by the honourable member for Yarra?


– It should be obvious to anyone who has read the statement made by the honourable member for Yarra, or has been informed of it, that the honourable member was confused between two different matters - a fact that is not unusual. The Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Act was amended in this House in order to bring national servicemen and people on short service within the range of legislation. When the Bill was introduced it was thought to be a generous measure and one that was truly fitting for national servicemen and men on short service. What happens is that every contributor to the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund, including the national serviceman and the short term man, has to pay the amount of premium payable. When the member leaves the service, provided he has been in for a period of one year, he receives a total refund of all contributions he has made. He also receives an emolument - I cannot remember the exact amount - in respect of each completed year of service.

I answer the three questions asked by the honourable member in this way: Such benefits are generous and are even better than the benefits given under the Repatriation Act. The small amount of interest payable can be regarded as part of the insurance premium, but a very small portion. As to the second question, responsibility for all excess amounts is accepted by the Commonwealth Government The answer to the third question asked also is in the affirmative. Again as to the second part of the honourable member’s question - this is where, I am sure, the confusion of mind occurred - we also gave notice that we would introduce amendments to the Act so far as it covered total payments into and out of the Fund. These amendments are to be based on the actuarial report. What we did in the Commonwealth was to accept responsibility for 80% of the liabilities rather than for 774% as at the present time. In other words, the Commonwealth will accept four-fifths of the total responsibility instead of the smaller amount that is payable at present.

The final contribution that I think I should make - and I am certain that anyone who genuinely understands these two Acts will accept this statement - is that the amendments will be of immense benefit to national servicemen and to all members of the Services who contribute to the Defence

Forces Retirement Benefits Fund. I am certain that my colleague the Minister for the Army will agree with me that far from them being a deterrent to recruitment or re-enlistment in the Services they will be a marked advance and they will be welcomed by most members of the Services.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for the Navy. I refer the honourable gentleman to widely reported comments of Admiral Crabb on the impotence of the Australian Navy. 1 remind the honourable gentleman that these measured and responsible criticisms were made before members from both sides of the Parliament. Is it a fact that Admiral Crabb has not denied or repudiated these criticisms? On returning from Vietnam did the honourable gentleman try to shrug off Admiral Crabb’s criticisms by saying that every admiral in the Navy would like more ships? If so, why did he then issue a subsequent statement rebuking and humiliating Admiral Crabb and reinterpreting his remarks for him? If Admiral Crabb is incorrect in his assessment of the Navy’s need for more guided missile destroyers and patrol boats, why is he commanding the Australian Fleet?

Minister for the Navy · WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP

– I have seen the reports to which the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has referred. It is true that Admiral Crabb is reported to have made certain statements.I point out that by so doing he contravened Naval regulation No. 5914 which states, in part:

Naval Board permission must always be obtained before officers or ratings make public statements relating to the Navy, or make comments of a controversial nature affecting other departments of the Public Service or relating to matters of public policy. This applies whether the statement, opinion or information is for publication in the Press or elsewhere, directly or indirectly, or by broadcasting, televising or public speech.’

I would also point out that Admiral Crabb is not a member of the Naval Board, which has the responsibility of advising the Government.

As regards Admiral Crabb’s opinion on the three guided missile destroyers not being a viable force, I want to make it quite clear that this is not the opinion of the Naval Board, which has the responsibility to advise the Minister in the matter.

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– Will the Minister for External Affairs tell the House of any action which the United Nations has taken either through its agencies or of itself to lessen the number of Biafran deaths from starvation and disease? If the United Nations has failed in this elementary humanitarian duty, will the Minister give urgent consideration to the possibility of Australia taking effective action to succour a group of helpless people, thousands of whom are dying of hunger every day?

Minister for External Affairs · CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– My understanding is that the Secretary-General of the United Nations designated one of the United Nations agencies, the Children’s Emergency Fund, to be the instrument of the United Nations for dealing with this humanitarian emergency. Representations have been made to the Australian Government by the director of the Children’s Emergency Fund and in response we have given a quantity of food in the form of fortified flour to the value of about $250,000. Both the Children’s Emergency Fund and this Government are facing some physical difficulties in actually transporting the food supplies to Biafra in order that they may be used to relieve the distressing situation there, but every effort is being made to overcome these physical difficulties. My understanding is that the Children’s Emergency Fund has mobilised, not only from Australia but also from many other quarters, very considerable food supplies and that it will be doing its utmost to have these food supplies, and also medical and other supplies, sent as quickly as possible to Biafra. In addition to what the United Nations is doing, many other great international organisations, such as the Red Cross and other humane bodies, are similarly trying to relieve the distress in Biafra.

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– I ask the Minister for External Territories a question. Is it a fact that a Government spokesman has indicated that South African Government literature on the racist apartheid policy of that Government may be distributed freely in New Guinea? If so. does he thinkthat the circulation of this sort of racist propaganda will be less detrimental in its effect upon the native people of New Guinea than would be the presence of Professor Rose, a world renowned anthropological authority, carrying out anthropological research with the Australian Aboriginals at Groote Eylandt? If so, will he explain to the House wherein the difference lies?

Minister for External Territories · MCPHERSON, QUEENSLAND · CP

– In reply to the honourable member for Melbourne Ports-

Mr Calwell:

– The right honourable member for Melbourne.


– I beg the right honourable gentleman’s pardon. His question is rather confusing. I am afraid I do not fully understand his meaning. I think it refers to a question directed to me asking whether I would permit literature relating to the South African situation to be forwarded to the University of Papua and New Guinea. 1 readily agreed that I would give my permission for this to be done because I believe that any university should be supplied with this kind of information, and I make no apologies for this.

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– I address my question to the Minister for Labour and National Service. In view of the continued slow turnround of ships in the port of Darwin and the subsequent loss being incurred by and hardship being imposed on the entire population of the Northern Territory, 1 ask the Minister to consider taking urgent action to resolve the deadlock so that Northern Territory development may continue.

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

– About a fortnight ago in my office in Melbourne there was a conference of representatives of all the Commonwealth instrumentalities and departments involved in the Darwin situation, which has caused considerable concern, particularly in recent months. The Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority also has given Darwin and its problems considerable and close attention. There is a bad situation on the Darwin waterfront. It is in the first instance a matter between the stevedoring companies operating there and the North Australian Workers Union. There are a number of remedial measures that the stevedoring companies could take. In the first instance, naturally, it behoves those companies to move in the mutter.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Defence. Is it true that the Government is quitting its essential and very valuable defence industry at Fishermen’s Bend, in Melbourne, in favour of the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation? Have arrangements been made with the CAC to absorb redundant employees of the Government Aircraft Factories? Has any consideration been given to constructing helicopters at the Government Factories? Has the Government any plans at all for a continuity programme to keep this essential defence project in production? Does the Government intend to allow this very vital defence industry to fade into the limbo of forgotten things?


– As 1 have pointed out to the House before, Australia in common with Europe and the United Kingdom has tremendous difficulty in maintaining steady production in its aircraft industry. This is exacerbated by the fact that the demand by the Australian defence services and the civilian demand are not very large. The demand is not sufficiently continuous to enable us lo keep an aircraft factory in constant production. There are three units in the Australian aircraft industry - one in Sydney and two in Melbourne. Close cooperation has always existed between the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation and the Government Aircraft Factories. Both these organisations have been busy with the Mirage programme, which is now coming to an end. The Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation, contrary to what the honourable member for Gellibrand says, will be busily occupied for some time to come on the Macchi programme. So if any unit of the Australian aircraft industry is likely to be reduced it will be the Government’s own aircraft establishments. Unfortunately it has been necessary to dispense with some redundant labour at the Government Aircraft Factories as a consequence of the rundown of the Mirage. Arrangements have always existed whereby if labour is available at the Government aircraft installations and is wanted at the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation factory a transfer can be facilitated at any time. I regret to tell the honourable member that the demand in Australia for other forms of aircraft is generally so small that it seems hardly likely that we will be able to keep the three units of the Australian aircraft industry in being. Rationalisation between the Government Aircraft Factories and the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation is a matter that we must consider. The skill and experience required for the aircraft industry are constantly available in Australia, even though from time to time they may be dispersed in other forms of production. As in the United Kingdom and Europe, it may well be that the ups and downs of the country’s aircraft production constitute one of the prices we will have to pay while Australia is growing up as a nation.

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– I refer the AttorneyGeneral to legislation before the House providing for the abolition of capital punishment and ask him if he will take steps to see that the death penalty is not carried out at least until this legislation has been dealt with by the Parliament.


– I think the honourable member for Kooyong knows that an appeal is currently before the High Court of Australia. Judgment has. been reserved, and until that judgment is delivered it would probably be premature to express any view on this. I can say that it would be unconstitutional for the Government to abrogate the law administratively before any amendment is passed by the Parliament. On the other band, if the appeal in question is unsuccessful and there is no other appeal and the Government has to consider this matter, it will follow the usual practice of taking into account all special circumstances and all public and private facts, including the progress of the Bill to which the honourable member referred.

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– I ask the Minister for the Army whether the Major John Rowe now representing the Australian Government in a senior military post in Washington is a graduate of the Royal Military College at Duntroon and saw active service in Malaysia, Borneo and Vietnam. Is this the same John Rowe who has written a book entitled ‘Count Your Dead’ which is to be released shortly, which is uncomplimentary and derogatory of the Americans and their conduct of the war, and which advances strong arguments why the Vietnamese should be left to settle their own internal affairs? If so, did the Minister or his Department approve of this book being published by the officer? Is it customary for such books to be written by senior officers serving in diplomatic posts in allied countries?

Minister for the Army · FLINDERS, VICTORIA · LP

– It is true that the major mentioned in the early part of the honourable member’s question is the major of that name who has seen active service- It is also true that the major has recently written a book. I understand that it is a work of fiction. That matter is in fact before my Department at this time.

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– I address my question to the Minister for Social Services. I refer to the written representations I made to the Minister recently and ask him whether it is still the practice of his Department to pay student child endowment only by cheque to the mother every twelve weeks and not to a bank account nominated by her. If it is, will the Minister be good enough to arrange for student child endowment to be treated in the same way as other child endowment and paid into a bank account if the mother so desires?

Minister for Social Services · MACKELLAR, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– I will have inquiries made in the Department and ascertain what administrative arrangements are practicable to deal with the situation outlined by the honourable member.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Health. Has his attention been drawn to the recent statement by the Minister for Labour and National Service that 44% of all Australian 20-year olds balloted for national service were rejected because they were medically unfit? Bearing in mind that Commonwealth Liberal Governments have been responsible for the nation’s administration during the lifetime of these 20-year olds, and that on not one occasion during that period has there been a national inquiry into health, will the Minister conduct such an inquiry with a view to rectifying this national scandal?

Minister for Health · BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP

– I had seen reference to statements by my colleague on this subject, both recently and earlier. On one occasion the Department of Labour and National Service supplied my Department with information relating to people who were declared unfit for service. On the basis of that information my expert advisers came to the conclusion that there were no grounds for inferences of the sort that have been drawn by the honourable gentleman. These people were rejected because of the very high standards that have necessarily been laid down by the Army for the enlistment of people who have been called up. These are very different from the standards-

Mr Hayden:

– You said in this House they were low standards.


– Order! The honourable member for Oxley will cease interjecting. He has been continually interjecting during replies given by all Ministers this afternoon, and I suggest that he cease this practice.


– These are very different from the standards usually accepted by the community and used by the medical profession to determine whether a person is fit for normal employment.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for the Interior. Is he aware that the Commissioners who undertook the redistribution of electoral divisions have refrained from defining what is a metropolitan and what is a country division? If the Commissioners do not designate the divisions as metropolitan or country, who will?

Minister for the Interior · GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · CP

– I regret to say that [ cannot help the honourable member as I personally as Minister have no influence on the Redistribution Commissioners nor would I seek to obtain any. It may be as well for the honourable member to make the point he raises to the Commissioners in New South Wales by Saturday, 17th August, as that is the closing date for the lodgment of objections and comments.

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– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. I ask: Does the Prime Minister know that his refusal to grant a special $5m loan for housing in Western

Australia means that other urgent loan works have to be curtailed in order to provide houses? Is it a fact that the percentage growth of population in that State has been higher than for the average of the whole of Australia, due mainly to the high migrant intake? Has the Premier of Western Australia guaranteed that the expenditure of extra money on housing could be achieved without placing undue stress on the economy or the building industry? Will the Prime Minister give further consideration to the request of the Western Australian Government for a special loan of $5m for housing?


– This matter was discussed at some length by the Treasurer and myself with the Premier of Western Australia. 1 do know that a considerable amount of that money which was set aside by the Western Australian Government last financial year to build houses was in fact not spent and therefore can be carried forward to be added to the same amount this year as was set aside last year to provide a considerably increased amount which can be spent on building houses in Western Australia through those two sources. It is true also - 1 think anybody coming from Western Australia would admit that it was true - that the provision of money alone is not a solution to the building of housing in Western Australia where the provision of manpower - building tradesmen - and materials is at least as important, unless the provision of money is merely to push up the cost of houses without advantage to those who have to buy them.

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– My question without notice is addressed to the Minister for Primary Industry. As members of the Australian dried fruits industry are concerned at delay in an announcement by the Government regarding compensation to be paid covering losses to the industry as a result of the United Kingdom devaluation of currency, I ask: Can the Minister state the cause of the delay and when such an announcement can be expected?


– All cases dealing with compensation for devaluation losses have been referred to the Devaluation Reporting Committee. This Committee has reported first of all on immediate losses regarding statutory marketing boards and the Commonwealth has made an announcement on this matter. The Government has stated also the amount of compensation that will be payable to the dairying industry, the hone) industry, the canned fruits industry and the sugar industry. The dried fruits industry is still being looked at by the Devaluation Reporting Committee. No doubt it will present a submission to the Government as soon as it reaches a conclusion.

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– I ask the Minister for Civil Aviation: Can he inform me whether Here are any plans for the improvement of the hard standing area at Port Hedland airport where there are at present some 2,000 aircraft movements a month? Will he confer with his colleague, the Minister for the Interior, with a view to obtaining a 24-hour meteorological service at this airport which is the sole area meteorological centre between Perth and Darwin and which is, I understand, the sole reporting station outside of Perth in Western Australia in an area which is equivalent in fact to a flight path from Melbourne to Cape York?

Minister for Civil Aviation · DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · LP

– On my last visit to Western Australia, 1 had the opportunity of studying the aviation requirements in that State, particularly in the north west. This of course included Port Hedland. There is some obvious substantial development taking place there principally due to the expansion of the mineral industry. With this development in mind, we did arrange to include in the works programme this year an amount of $50,000 to provide an additional apron area and that will be constructed during this financial year at Port Hedland. I hope it will be completed early in 1969. This apron will meet the requirements, I think, for about three airline aircraft and about ten light aircraft to be parked on the apron at one time. This, in accordance with our assessment, will meet requirements for some considerable time in the future. The other matter referred to - the meteorological services - comes under the control of my colleague, the Minister for the Interior, as the honourable member mentioned. I will see that the matter is referred to him for consideration.

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– In view of the apparent concern within the Navy about whether there will be any real future role for the Fleet Air Arm, will the Minister for the Navy spell out clearly what that role will be - especially whether the Fleet Air Arm will be provided with much needed extra equipment such as aircraft and a further carrier - so that Fleet Air Arm members will know whether they should continue with their naval careers or whether they should start searching about for alternative civilian employment?


Mr Speaker, as I think the honourable member for Oxley would be aware, the present defence situation is receiving close examination and reassessment. It would be foolish of me at this stage to pretend that I know what the result of that assessment will be. It would be equally foolish to give an answer to a question when you do not know exactly what your needs are. For that reason, I have to tell the honourable member for Oxley that I can give him no useful information on this question at this stage.

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– The Acting Minister for Trade and Industry no doubt will be aware of the depressed condition of the Australian fat lamb market and of the concern of Australian fat lamb producers about the effect on the market of importing New Zealand lamb into Australia under the New ZealandAustralia Free Trade Agreement. I refer not only to the quantity of lamb imported this year but also to the effect on the market of the free availability of any quantity of New Zealand lamb at any time.


– Order! The preface to the question asked by the honourable member is far too long. I ask the honourable member to direct his question.


– I ask the Minister whether or not this places a ceiling on the Australian fat Iamb market.

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

– It is true that in the last few months some considerable concern has been expressed in all parts of Australia at the low prices generally received for lamb at meat markets and stock markets throughout Australia. It is true that over this time it has been suspected by many producers that one of the contributing reasons for the decline in prices was the importation of lamb from New Zealand. At the same time, from a very comprehensive examination of the position that has been undertaken by officers of the Department of Trade and Industry, it is true also that there are many other factors which necessarily must be taken into account. For example, in the first 6 months of this year there has been a considerable increase in yardings of lambs, particularly in the Sydney and Melbourne markets, predominantly as a result of the recovery since the drought which has affected without doubt the return that is being paid to producers. Beyond this there are other factors associated with the decline in returns for wool which have diverted producers into lamb production and other factors that are in no way related to the New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement and the importation of lamb from New Zealand.

Earlier in the year, both the Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr McEwen, and J replied in this place to a number of questions on this matter. Since that time, there has been a continuation of imports from New Zealand. At the same time while the importations in May were 214 tons and in June rose to 278 tons, it is estimated that in July these importations declined to approximately 1 17 tons with the prospect that they will decline even further in the future. From departmental estimates, it appears that only approximately 2 of the 10 main importers of lamb into Australia will continue to import lamb in the next few months. There is a prospect that as the price here in Australia is not economically profitable to the importers the imports of lamb will continue to decline.

Quite a number of factors need to be taken into account. The New ZealandAustralia Free Trade Agreement is only one of the factors that has influenced the importers of New Zealand lamb. Devaluation, the New Zealand market diversification scheme and the prospective implementation of roll-on roll-off snipping will play some part. With all these things transpiring, it would be premature of the Australian Government at this stage to take action under the Agreement to curtail lamb imports. At the same time it is necessary for a constant watch to be kept on the changing situation. For this reason and as a result of representations of industry organisations, the Government has offered to establish a panel with producer representatives to keep a watch on the situation and, should there be a decline in lamb prices that can be related to the importation of New Zealand lamb, to determine whether action might be taken. I say to the honourable member, and all other honourable members who over the past few months have been so concerned, that in respect of any particular product the import of which constitutes only about i% of the total Australian production - which in this particular case is in excess of 220,000 tons annually - it would appear to be irresponsible for the Australian Government to take firm action against New Zealand at this stage.

page 13


Or EVER1NGHAM - Will the Minister for Health respond to the call made last night by His Excellency the GovernorGeneral for closer co-operation between public authorities and the medical profession in protecting society against the mentally unbalanced? In view of assassinations and attempted assassinations of national leaders in America, South Africa and Australia in the last few years will he cooperate with the authorities in other countries that are investigating this problem? As doctors placed under restraint an American officer in charge of atomic weapons, and as Australian officers have been found guilty of inhumane treatment of enemy prisoners and of our own servicemen in prisons, will the Minister cooperate with his colleagues to use medical measures to help prevent the acquisition of any responsible office by inhumane or unbalanced persons?


– In the light of the comments made by the honourable member 1 shall be glad to consider the text of what His Excellency the Governor-General had to say.

page 13




– Can the Minister for National Development say whether it is correct, as reported, that in the next 10 years the Government will spend up to $1,000m on exploration and development in coastal waters? Will this exploration include research within the continental shelf of Australia? If so, what international legalities need to be finalised before we proceed too far in this research?


– The Commonwealth Government itself is spending only a small amount of money on investigation and research in off-shore areas. I think that the figure to which the honourable gentleman referred includes the amount being expended by private enterprise as well as by governments. At present, as the honourable member knows, the annual expenditure on exploration for oil in the off-shore areas of Australia is about$60m. When one adds to this amount the sum required to develop off-shore discoveries, the total expenditure is probably of the order stated by the honourable member. The search off-shore for other minerals is in its infancy. About $2m or$3m annually is being expended on the search for such minerals as phosphate, gold, tin and beach sands. The law involved falls within the jurisdiction of my colleague the Attorney-General. He has recently had officers of his Department and of my Department at the United Nations looking at the law of the sea. At present we can issue licences to search for oil off-shore in the coastal areas of Australia out to the 200 metre mark.

page 14



– For the information of honourable members I lay on the table a copy of my address delivered on12th July 1968 at the conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers responsible for Aboriginal affairs.

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Report of Public Works Committee


– In accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1966, I present the report relating to the following proposed works:

Replacement of Accommodation - Phase 1 at the Naval Air Station, HMAS ‘Albatross’, Nowra, New South Wales

Ordered to be printed.

page 14


Motion (by Mr Snedden) agreed to:

That leave of absence for 1 month be given to the honourable member for Batman (Mr Benson) on the ground of parliamentary business overseas.

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Assent to the following Bills reported:

Overseas Telecommunications Bill 1968.

Post and Telegraph Bill 1968.

Post and Telegraph Bill (No. 2) 1968.

Victoria Grant (River Murray Salinity) Bill 1968.

Queensland Grant (Maraboon Dam) Bill 1968.

Canned Fruits Export Marketing Bill 1968.

Conciliation and Arbitration Bill 1968.

Customs Tariff Bill 1968.

Loan Bill 1968.

Railway Agreement (Queensland) Bill 1968.

Tasmania Agreement (Hydro-Electric Power Development) Bill 1968.

Railway Agreement (New South Wales) Bill 1968.

States Grants (Beef Cattle Roads) Bill 1968.

International Development Association (Additional Contribution) Bill 1968.

Loan (Airlines Equipment) Bill 1968.

Northern Territory (Administration) Bill (No. 2) 1968.

States Grants (Deserted Wives) Bill 1968.

Superannuation Bill 1968.

Western Australia Agreement (Ord River Irrigation) Bill 1968.

National Service Bill 1968.

Science and Industry Research Bill (No. 2) 1968.

States Grants (Technical Training) Bill 1968.

United States Naval Communication Station (Civilian Employees) Bill 1968.

Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Bill 1968.

Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Bill (No. 2) 1968.

Superannuation Bill (No. 2) 1968.

Commonwealth Employees’ Furlough Bill (No. 2) 1968.

Public Service Bill 1968.

Income Tax Assessment Bill (No. 2) 1968.

Pay-roll Tax Assessment Bill1968.

Navigation Bill 1968.

Copyright Bill 1968.

Designs Bill 1968.

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– I have received a message from His Excellency the GovernorGeneral informing the House of the Queen’s assent to the Privy Council (Limitation of Appeals) Bill 1968 which was reserved for Her Majesty’s pleasure.

Mr Whitlam:

– Was that assent given on the advice of her British or Australian Ministers?


– I am not prepared to comment. This matter comes under the heading of business of the House. Tt is not my prerogative to advise the honourable member.

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Discussion of Matter of Public Importance


– I have received a letter from the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) proposing that a definite matter of public importance be submitted to the House for discussion, namely:

The Government’s delay and confusion in discharging the mandate given at the referendum on 27th May 1967, to promote health, training, employment and land rights for Aboriginals.

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.)

Leader of the Opposition · Werriwa

– Fifteen months ago, on 27th May last year, the people of Australia, in the most massive expression of the general will ever known in this country, gave this Parliament the power to pass laws for the welfare of Aboriginals. The referendum was not designed merely to remove discrimination against Aboriginals; its purpose was to give the National Parliament and the National Government authority to grant especially favourable treatment to them to overcome the handicaps we have inflicted on them. Ninety-one per cent of the formal votes cast favored the proposal. This was more than a mandate: It was a virtual command by 5,700,000 Australians that the national Government should take a lead to promote the health, training, employment opportunities and land rights of Aboriginals.

Four months elapsed before the Government appointed a Commonwealth Council for Aboriginal Affairs. The late Prime Minister set up an Office of Aboriginal Affairs in his Department. The present Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) appointed the present Minister-in-Charge of Aboriginal Affairs (Mr Wentworth) at the beginning of March. This gave rise to hopes that the new Government would indeed strike out on a new and national approach to Aboriginals.

No appointment by the Prime Minister aroused so much favorable and expectant speculation. Nowhere were hopes higher than among the Aboriginal people themselves. Like so much about the new Prime Minister, hopes have been raised only to fizzle and die.

On 12th July the Prime Minister addressed in Melbourne a conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers responsible for Aboriginal affairs. It was indeed his only formal address d uring the recess. The document repays more study than it has so far received. The Prime Minister defined the role he intended the Commonwealth to play in Aboriginal affairs. He made it quite clear that, as far as the Government is concerned, nothing has been changed by the referendum and that there are to be no special initiatives - no new policies pursued and pressed by the national Government. There was nothing in the policy he enunciated that required an amendment to the Constitution. He referred to the Commonwealth’s specific responsibilities in the Northern Territory. These existed for 50 years and more from the time South Australia transferred the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth. These responsibilities did not require a referendum to be passed for the Commonwealth to discharge them. In his address the Prime Minister said:

I believe that the Minister and the Council, in their relations with the States, should seek to discharge three main functions:

To allocate funds from the Commonwealth to the State tor Aboriginal advancement, using State machinery to use these funds for an agreed purpose to the greatest possible extent.

To gather information regarding Aboriginal matters (especially welfare) and to act as a clearing house for such information both as between the various States and as between States and Commonwealth.

Where appropriate to assist the States in the co-ordination of their policy and in setting the general direction of the Australian approach to Aboriginal advancement.

Not one of these three items required an amendment to the Constitution. All that has happened is that the States are to receive specific grants rather than general grants to pursue their present policies. It was always open to the Commonwealth under section 96 to make such specific grants. The change is a change of bookkeeping, not of policy. As far back as 1965 full blood Aboriginals were included for the first time with the rest of the population of the States in the population figures governing the calculation of Commonwealth grants to the States which we colloquially call income tax reimbursements. This change had particular advantages for Queensland and Western Australia, where most full blood Aboriginals reside. The Government has thus, through its leader, revealed to the world that the referendum was just a sop to the Australian conscience and international opinion. The referendum proposal was put to the people by the unanimous vote of both Houses of this Parliament. If no real Commonwealth leadership is now given - if no real Commonwealth initiatives are now taken - we shall ultimately have to face one of two accusations: Either this Parliament put a confidence trick over the people, or the voters put one over the Aboriginals.

Nothing indicates better that there has been no real change, that there is no new policy, than the fate of the MinisterinCharge of Aboriginal Affairs. In a spirit of optimism and goodwill, he went to Wave Hill in April. The Melbourne ‘Age’ reported on 9th April:

The Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Mr Wentworth, silt in the dust with the elders of the Gurindji tribe at Wave Hill yesterday and heard them ask for the return of tribal land. Later in the Pres: conference at Government House, Darwin, Mr Wentworth said he was impressed with what the Gurindji were doing. ‘I said quite openly they deserved help without making any specific promises,’ he said.

Later the Minister submitted to Cabinet a proposal to detach 8 square miles of Vestey’s Wave Hill property consisting of 5,186 square miles - the biggest cattle station in the world - to enable the Gurindji people to run and break in b; limbics.

On 30th April I asked the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon):

What steps is it necessary to take to resume or detach portion of Wave Hill Station for the occupation and benefit of the Gurindji people, as promised on behalf of the Government by his colleague, the Minister-in-Charge of Aboriginal Affairs? What steps have already been taken to carry out this promise?

The Minister replied:

The administrative steps required are relatively simple. The proposal put forward by the Min’sterinCharge of Aboriginal Affairs is now under consideration by the Government. Until some decision is taken on that preposal there is not much point in ray saying anything on it.

On 2nd July the Cabinet rejected the Minister’s proposal. Clearly, the Country Party and the Minister for the Interior have determined the Government’s policy on this matter. The Minister-in-Charge of Aboriginal Affairs was to lead the Gurindji into the promised land. He came in out of the wilderness and found the Country Party worshipping the golden calf.

The Minister for the Interior has subsequently made quite misleading statements about the nature of the original request from the Gurindji and the Government’s response to it. He said in Darwin on 8th August:

They were asking for a residential area where they and their families could live with possibly the opportunity to run a contract droving and mustering business if any of them so wished.

This is a thoroughly false statement of the wishes of the Gurindji. The MinisterinCharge of Aboriginal Affairs at least must know how false it is. The Minister for the Interior went on to imply that the Government had partially met the request. He said:

The Government has answered this proposal by agreeing to establish a residential area on Crown land at Wave Hill where facilities for education and medical care of Aboriginal* in the area have been established for some years and to provide land to run horses if any of the people set up as contract musterers and drovers.

This is a proposal altogether irrelevant to the original petition of the Gurindji and it does nothing to meet the wishes or needs of the people now congregated, not at Wave Hill but at Wattie Creek. All that the Commonwealth is doing is providing basic amenities that it would be morally and legally bound to provide in any case. It is cruel enough to raise false hopes and to dash them: It is more cruel to pretend that the Commonwealth has gone some way to meet these hopes.

The real intentions of the Minister for the Interior were shown later in his statement of 8th August. This is the real statement of the Government’s policy on Aboriginal land rights as far as the Country Party is concerned. The Minister said:

Sonic Aboriginals will find their future ns land owners. Others will choose to follow a different vocation. The Government’s approach is- ilia! those who want to take up land and work it in the same way as other Australians do should be assisted to secure land under normal titles. Those who want to find their future in other occupations should a!so be assisted where necessary

This is a spurious and brutal statement. It is a statement that would have graced any Legislative Council in Australia in 1868. It disgraces this Parliament in 1968. It is the cry of the squatter through the ages: ‘Keep off.’ If this policy had prevailed there would have been no Australian Country Party today. For more than a century, almost all land settlement in Australia has been made possible only by special government assistance. We have assisted soldier settlers. Governments have provided opportunities for settlers in the brigalow lands in the last few years at a cost of $26m. We annually subsidise dairy farmers by S31m to enable them to stay on the land. We subsidise wheat farmers to enable them to trade with China. Since 1954 there has been a Northern Territory (Lessees Loans Guarantee) Act under which a man can obtain a guarantee of S60.000 to enable him to take up and work a lease. One man has obtained such a gurantee. Is he an Aboriginal? We subsidise overseas companies to enable them to take over vast areas of our oil and minerals. The entire history of land development in this country has been characterised by special government assistance. But, according to the Minister for the Interior, no special assistance can be given to Aboriginals to help them to recover 8 square miles of their own tribal lands and to apply on it the skills in which they specialise.

What an irony. The heir of the old New South Wales squattocracy has been rubbished by the spokesman of the new. Nothing demonstrates the unreality of the present policies more than the constant use of the word ‘choose’ to describe what should happen to Aboriginals. The Minister for the Interior says: ‘Others will choose to follow a different vocation’. The Prime Minister says:

The policy of assimilation seeks that all persons of Aboriginal descent will choose to attain a similar manner and standard of living to that of oilier Australians and live as a member of a single Australian community.

How can there be a real choice unless special assist ance, especially favourable treatment, is given? How can there be true choice until there are good health, proper education, decent housing, and adequate employment opportunities at award rates?

The health of Aboriginals is an indictment of this country. In 1963 a survey carried out under the auspices of the Australian National University and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies showed that there was an infant death rate of 208 per 1,000 live births in central Australia. The report on the survey staled that this ‘must be among the highest infant mortality rates in the world’. The Aboriginal infant mortality rate is about ten times greater than that among other Australian infants. The incidence of leprosy among Aboriginals in the Northern Territory is among the highest in the world. In 1960 members of an American-Australian scientific expedition said that in four places they had visited in the Northern Territory ‘leprosy is considered endemic’.

Very few Aboriginals complete a secondary school education. It is estimated that in the Northern Territory, 5.400 Aboriginal children and 7,100 other children are of school age. There are, however, twice as many other children receiving primary education as there are Aboriginal children receiving it, and there are four times as many receiving secondary and post primary education. There is one Aboriginal child receiving assistance to study outside the Territory and there are nearly 200 other children receiving similar assistance. For years the Commonwealth pleaded that it did not have the constitutional power to adopt conventions of the International Labour Organisation and Unesco to legislate for Aboriginals in relation to the principal matters set out in the terms of this proposal for discussion. The Commonwealth now has unquestioned power but has not applied the conventions. What is needed is a policy of equal rights and special privileges. If we cannot reverse history, we must redress it. The Commonwealth now has full power to do this but still fails to exercise this power.

Minister for Social Services and MinisterinCharge of Aboriginal Affairs · Mackellar · LP

– The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) used the world ‘cruel’. This is the word that I would use in respect of what he has said, because what he is doing is cruel. He is trying to use the Aboriginals for a political purpose. He wants to exploit their position. He suggests that nothing is being done and exaggerates one incident in a way that will prejudice the future of a people. The Leader of the Opposition is doing a cruel thing for a political purpose. Let me explain this to the House. As the Leader of the Opposition said, in July the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) addressed a meeting of State Ministers who are responsible for Aboriginal welfare throughout Australia. At this meeting he laid down a clear, constructive and large policy. The only thing he did not do was to put a figure on the cost of implementing the policy. If the Leader of the Opposition takes the trouble to look at the text of the Press statement issued by the Prime Minister, he will see that the Prime Minister said that the figures would be revealed in the Budget and that thereafter action would be taken. The Budget will be presented tonight. In the last few hours before the Government announces the sum that will be spent on Aboriginals in accordance with the Prime Minister’s statement - the money that will be provided to back the Government’s policy - the Leader of the Opposition has tried to cash in for political purposes. It is cruel to do this today. If he wishes to criticise, he should do so in the light of the facts. The facts will be out in a few hours time. I say that the Leader of the Opposition has acted for a political purpose.

The Government has not been idle in the field of Aboriginal advancement. Indeed, as a result of the referendum, there has been a quickening of expenditure in the field of Aboriginal advancement. I want to cite figures to illustrate this. The figures, which are not always comparable between States because they are not on the same basis for each State, represent the amount spent per head on Aboriginal welfare in each of the States in 1966-67 and in 1967-68. During this period the amount of money spent in New South Wales rose from $52 per head to $63; in Victoria, from S70 to $107; in Queensland, from §64 to $89; in South Australia, from $187 to $204; in Western Australia, from $97 to $114; and in the Northern Territory, which is the Commonwealth’s special responsibility, from $229 to $272.

Mr Bryant:

– Is that per head of Aboriginal population?


– It is per head of Aboriginal population. So even without any special measures which have resulted from the referendum conducted by the Commonwealth and which will be included in the Budget to be presented tonight, as a result of the encouragement that the Government has given and the way in which it has approached this field in its own Territory there has been this very great quickening of expenditure. There will be a further quickening, as will be indicated in the Budget to be presented tonight. I have already arranged to meet the State Ministers in charge of Aboriginal affairs and to discuss with them in the coming weekend the ways in which extra moneys made available by the Commonwealth will be applied. No time will be lost immediately after the Budget is presented. Furthermore, I remind the Leader of the Opposition that the Federal Government has undertaken a new kind of measure, applicable throughout Australia, for the advancement of Aboriginal people. I refer to the provision of capital moneys for viable Aboriginal enterprises on an individual or co-operative basis. This means that funds will be available for the development of reserves and of Aboriginal enterprises outside reserves. Tonight a figure will be announced for this purpose. This money has been set out by the Prime Minister. This is a constructive policy. It will be known that funds will be available as from tonight. But perhaps to gain cheap political advantage, and willing even to sacrifice the interests of a people in order to gain such advantage, the Opposition rushes in a few hours before the presentation of the Budget trying to say that the Government has done nothing.

The Government has acted. There have been continuous consultations ever since I became Minister-in-Charge of Aboriginal Affairs. In the last fortnight I personally have visited all the Aboriginal settlements and missions in central Australia to see at first hand the kind of problem which the Leader of the Opposition has spoken of. I know of these things. It was I who instigated the inquiry into infant mortality. I know that infant mortality is bad, but that is not the point. The point is: What constructive measures can we take to improve the situation? Constructive measures are not always simple and easy to find. I know, of course, that leprosy is bad in the Northern Territory. I know also that at the present moment all possible measures are being taken by a most efficient health service in the Northern Territory to cope with this situation. Unhappily, leprosy lies dormant, sometimes for decades, before it manifests itself. We are today seeing a much smaller number of new infections than in the past, but we are still seeing cases of infection which was contracted, perhaps, decades ago. Let the Opposition be fair and reasonable about these matters.

Much has been made of this affair at Wave Hill. I did go to Wave Hill and I am assured, from what I heard from the Aboriginals themselves, that what they have asked for is a homestead area and the opportunity to have some place where they can keep their horses for mustering and where they can have a vegetable garden and an orchard. The Government has offered this. The Government, in point of fact, has offered a great deal more than the Aboriginal people asked for. It has told them that they may stay on the site beside Wattie Creek if they so desire. Also, the Government has told them that it will provide them with a township site 4 miles away - not at Wave Hill station, which is some IS miles distant, but at a point adjacent to the Wave Hill school, where they can get education for their children and can have access to medical facilities and supplies. The Government will provide them with houses, which is more than they expected for themselves, and will give them the facilities they need to keep their horses and to do those things which they themselves said that they wanted to do.

I know that agitators are going around and are trying to bring this plan to nothing. I know this. I know - I am not saying that the Leader of the Opposition knows this, because I imagine he is not particularly well informed about these matters - that it is unfortunately true that some of the people connected with this agitation are of very poor political reputation indeed and are not trying to help the Aboriginals but are trying to exploit them for subversive purposes. But what I have just said is by the way. I repeat that the Government has offered to provide a township site at the Wave Hill police station, not at Wave Hill station headquarters which is some 15 miles away. It has offered to provide all the facilities which the Aboriginals were seeking, and more. This will be costly. It is certainly more than I would have hoped when I first went to Wave Hill. The Wattie Creek site was chosen, although it can be isolated during the rainy season, because it was adjacent to a water supply which could be cheaply tapped. The Government will provide a water supply at another place although it will be at greater cost. It will be at a place which cannot be isolated by floods but which is adjacent to the air strip, to the school, and to medical and supply facilities. In place of the very rough huts which the Gurindjis were asking for, the Government has offered to provide proper housing which can be individually owned. This is very much more than the Gurindjis were seeking. In many respects it is a much better deal than they were asking for. It will be much more costly than anything about which they had any pretensions. However, the Government has decided to do this.

I know that there have been misleading statements about the sacred nature of the Wattie Creek site. I have inquired into this; those statements are not true. It is correct that there is a sacred site 4 or 5 miles from the Wattie Creek site. This is true. But the camp site at Wattie Creek has no such significance. Honourable members may have noticed in the statement made by the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) and myself that there was a definite and specific proposal to implement what has always been inherent in government policy for the Northern Territory - that is, to define and further protect sacred sites, not only at Wave Hill but also at other places.


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


– In the long history of parliamentary humbug that last statement by the Minister for Social Services and Minister in charge of Aboriginal Affairs (Mr Wentworth) would be hard to beat. The Minister came to his office with the good wishes of everybody in Australia, including mysel’f. But this afternoon he has abdicated the responsibilities that we imposed upon him some 6 months ago, because he has surrendered to the pressures of people like the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon).

What did the Minister for Social Services tell us this afternoon? He said that the Government will allocate more money for Aboriginals. But we are concerned with 30 or 40 families comprising 150 people who want 8 or 10 square miles of particular space. The Minister has ignored all those matters which have made the Aboriginal’s life so miserable for so long. Despite all the good wishes, all the good speeches and all the fanfares and trumpetings around the country, the facts are that thousands of Aboriginal people will be shivering on river banks tonight and that dozens of Aboriginal children who will be born in the next week or so will1 die. This would not happen if they were white children. This is happening approximately 15 months after a referendum was held, concerning Aboriginals, when the Australian people said to the Government: ‘Get on with the job’. An overwhelming vote in favour of Commonwealth action to help Aboriginals was given in every sub-division, electorate and State in Australia.

I expected the Minister to tackle some of the spiritual and psychological problems which face the Aboriginal1 people. I believe that the question of the health of Aboriginals is an environmental one as much as anything else. The Minister intends to shift the Gurindji people to an area where he will build houses for them. Why should he not build houses for them? The Government spends $10,000 on housing any other citizen in this country and it does not ask questions concerning their social status or their economic means. The housing is supplied for them. Over the last 15 months there has been a miserable effort made regarding the Gurindji people and there is very little evidence that during the last 6 months the Minister has been able to shift the Government in this matter.

The Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) congratulated the States on the way they have gone about their business of dealing with

Aboriginals. He said: ‘I take this opportunity of congratulating the States on their work’. In fact, using the Commonwealth’s own standard as the measure, every State Government has performed miserably in regard to Aboriginals. This year the Commonwealth will spend $272 on each Aboriginal citizen under its control. South Australia, which had a Labor Government in office for a certain time, will spend $204 on each Aboriginal under its control, and that is the highest figure spent by any State government. No State government approaches the standard that the Commonwealth sets for itself. Yet the Prime Minister, in the document which has been circulated, says that he will hand the authority and responsibility concerning Aboriginals to the States, together with the money. It is not a question of money.

I propose to deal with the question of land for Aboriginals as I see it. Of course, land settlement in Australia has been difficult for all Australians. In most instances, white people or people of European ancestry fail in their first experience on the land. I suppose that 90% of Australians of European descent would not make a fist of working on the land. The 10% of Australians who are on the land seem to need a lot of assistance by way of subsidies and so on to keep them there. I am not one of those people who say that simply by giving land to the Aboriginals we will solve their economic problems. I believe that we need to adopt a totally new approach to this problem. I remind the House that the referendum which was held 15 months ago resulted in an emphatic demand by the Australian people that the Government get on with the job. How mean can you get?

I must admit that I have not been to Wattie Creek, but 1 hope that during the first break in the parliamentary session some of us will be able to visit the area to check the facts. My information is that one of the best areas on Wattie Creek is the area where the Aboriginal people are at the present time. That is the area they want. It does not matter whether there is a better area 20 miles away. Every one of us is conservative about his own home and his home territory. The Minister in charge of Aboriginal Affairs is, of course, a descendant of a family which has a long and distinguished record regarding land in this country.

Australia is one of the richest countries in the world and space is almost unlimited. In a country where you can drive for hundreds of miles without seeing one person, we are denying these people an area of 8 or 9 square miles. Why is this? Is it because the particular area is unhealthy for them? They do not think so. All the evidence that has come to us from the far north indicates that this is the area they want. They are not asking for much. They want 8 square miles. In my experience, Aboriginals have always been very humble in their demands. They want 8 square miles of land. Why cannot they have it? Is it because the land is part of the dominion of the Vestey imperial interests and this Government is not prepared to challenge the precedent and everything else involved.

How mean can we be? This question has nothing to do with the Budget which will be presented tonight. It has nothing to do with politics. For 10 or 11 years a number of honourable members on this side of the House, in concert with the Minister for Social Services, have been raising this issue. In my view it has never had anything to do with politics nor with the time at which it has been raised. So far as I am concerned, any time is the right time.

What do the Gurindji people want? There are dozens of things that I could discuss this afternoon, but I am informed that the Gurindji people want the area of land on which they are living at the present time. They want the kind of rights that for two centuries have been granted to the people of North America as a result of the proclamation by King George III in 1763. Of course, the history of other peoples’ attitudes to Aboriginal land goes back to the Spanish proclamations a century or two before that of King George III. I think that Australian Aboriginals are entitled to receive the traditional benefits that should flow from their early and original occupancy of the land. They will not get this.

It is fruitless to talk of money. In my opinion, it is a spiritual question. Each one of us can place his own interpretation on this question, but 1 was a member of the Select Committee on Grievances of Yirrkala Aboriginals, Arnhem Land Reserve, and the Reverend Edgar Wells said that Aboriginals receive a kind of spiritual refreshment from their traditional domain. Honourable members opposite can scoff at that if they wish, but we are people of great traditions and attitudes. We cannot knock down a building wall because it has been hallowed by something and we cannot tear up some turf because it is part of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. We are traditionalists of the first order. But we deny this simple reaction to the simplest people on this continent. For a century and a half we have denied these people their place on this continent. We need a new concept regarding land tenure and land occupancy, and the Gurindji people offer us an opportunity to do something in this regard. People, including myself, do not say that if we gave them 500 or 5,000 square miles they would turn it into an economic asset. They would need the same type of assistance that is provided to everybody else.

This is a unique opportunity to do something regarding Australian Aboriginal affairs. The Minister in charge of Aboriginal Affairs may deny that if he wishes, and I have no doubt that the Minister for the Interior, who will follow me in this debate, will scoff at this do-gooder from the south who advances this sort of argument. But this is a unique opportunity to assist people who have shown an unusual defiance of their environment to establish themselves in a self reliant situation. They want to be treated as if they can be self reliant on their own account. This is an area in which we can carry out an experiment. What does it matter what it costs? I believe that Australia is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. For most national objectives money is no problem at all. Tonight a Budget will be delivered which will dispose of innumerable millions of dollars in all sorts of ways - some of them good and some of them bad. We live in a capital in which money is no problem.

We are dealing with 30 or 40 families, comprising 150 people who want one particular area of land. This is a test of the Government’s integrity. I understand that the site that has been offered to them could be in a more desirable location. I understand that it is on public land which is between a couple of roads. It is near a school. Why should people become the victims of earlier decisions as to where schools should be situated? Why cannot we shift the school instead of the people? f understand that the area at Wattie Creek is a more desirable piece of land. We on this side of the House will challenge the attitude that the Government has developed. If the Minister faces up to his colleagues in the way that 1 think he probably can, we will be with him. But for myself, 1 propose to follow this matter through, as long as I am a member of this Parliament, in the hope that in the end the Australian Aboriginal will receive some of the just rights and entitlements which have been granted to Maoris in New Zealand and Indians in

North America. Wattie Creek is one place in Australia where the Government could start with some guarantee of success and with some recognition for the spirit which the people have indicated.

Minister for the Interior · Gippsland · CP

– The honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) said that probably I would scoff at the do-gooder from the south. It is not my intention to do that. I intend to point out to the honourable member where I believe he has been misled - genuinely or otherwise - regarding this whole question.

The honourable member said he has not been to Wattie Creek. I have had the pleasure of going to Wattie Creek. I was there in June and I spoke to the Aboriginals concerned in this matter. 1 spoke to various Aboriginal leaders, and I spoke again to Aboriginal leaders in Darwin on Friday. As a result of these discussions I issued a statement setting out why the Government had to say no to the request for the piece of land at Wattie Creek. The simplest and easiest thing for the Government to do would have been to hand over the piece of land. As the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) said, quoting a reply of mine given during question time in the last sessional period, it would have been a simple matter to obtain the piece of land. But the Government took what was in fact the harder course and what it believes to be the course that is proper and right, not only for the Aboriginal people but for Australia as a whole.

Mr Curtin:

– Why?


– The honourable member asks me why. I suggest that he look at the statement I issued in Darwin on Friday afternoon after talking to Captain Major and Philip Roberts, who also asked why. If he studies the statement he will get some idea of the reasons. I have not time in this debate to read the whole statement, but with the concurrence of the House I will incorporate it in Hansard. 9th August 1968

page 22



(Statement by the Minister for the Interior, the Honourable P. J. Nixon, MP.)

The Minister for the Interior, Mr Nixon, today urged that the question of land rights for Aboriginals be considered in a wider context than the emotional plane on which it is frequently presented.

The Government is in favour of Aboriginals gaining title to land but believes that this should be under the land tenure system which applies to the rest of the community and under conditions which will give them real prospects of improving their position in life.

The Government’s aim is to ensure in the most effective way possible that all of the opportunities which the Australian community offers for a full and satisfying life are open to every Aboriginal and that all Aboriginals are equipped to take advantage of those opportunities in the way which most appeals to them.

Singling out the issue of land rights and pressing for areas of land to be granted to groups of Aboriginals in remote places would not serve this purpose. On the contrary we could end up with a series of depressed Aboriginal communities tied to a form of sub-standard living with a barrier between them and the rest of the Australian community. Separatism and segregation of Aboriginals would create here problems now being faced in other countries.

The Aboriginals in the Northern Territory are not deprived of land rights. A substantial part of the Territory - nearly one-fifth - had been set aside by reservation for the use and enjoyment of Aboriginals. Government efforts are being concentrated on the best way of establishing Aboriginals on the land in economic areas.

This is being done by an examination of resources of reserves to assess the opportunity for development and land settlement. Legislation to provide for titles of land on reserves to be granted to Aboriginals is at present before the Legislative Council for the Northern Territory. Funds will come from royalties for mining and forestry projects on reserves which are paid to a special trust fund to assist Aboriginals. Also the Prime Minister has announced that a special fund will be set up to provide capital assistance for Aboriginal enterprises. As further land is required Aboriginals will be given opportunity to obtain economic blocks. The Aboriginals’ future in the Northern Territory is not a bleak prospect - it is a prospect of great promise.

Government policies are directed towards the objective of the assimilation of Aboriginal Australians as fully effective members of a single Australian society. The Government wishes to avoid measures which are likely to set Aboriginal citizens permanently apart from other Australians through having their development based on separate or different standards.

Demands for land grants built up from protests, with only vague generalisations about intended use, and with no thought about how the people could live at a reasonable standard and what opportunity there is for the children, will be detrimental to Aboriginals.

So far as the claim made on behalf of some of the Gurindji tribe in the Territory for rights to traditional land is concerned, it is by no means clear that the Aboriginals themselves had in mind an area of 500 square miles on which to run their own cattle station. They were asking for a residential area where they and their families could live with possibly the opportunity to run a contract droving and mustering business if any of them so wished. The Government has answered this proposal by agreeing to establish a residential area on Crown land at Wave Hill where facilities for education and medical care of Aboriginals in the area have been established for some years; and to provide land to run corses if any of the people set up as contract musterers and drovers. In time this residential area will be developed as a town to serve the needs of all the people in this part of the Territory.

Neither Wattie Creek nor the site for the township is known to contain sites which are of special sacred significance. As previously announced, arrangements am being made to ensure that Aboriginals who have been living at Wattie Creek will not be disturbed in their occupancy should they wish to remain there. The laws of the Northern Territory also protect the rights of Aboriginals who wish to camp, roam or hunt anywhere on the pastoral properties in the Northern Territory.

There are perhaps 130,000 people of Aboriginal descent in this country - there are about 20,000 full-blood Aboriginals in the Territory. A significant proportion of people of Aboriginal descent are living and making their own way in the community without special assistance. The majority however need some form of assistance and guidance. They all have a legitimate claim to participate in this assistance - no one group has a greater right than the remainder. Whatever is done for one must be capable of application and be applied to all who might seek the same help.

Some Aboriginals will find their future as landowners. Others will choose to follow a different vocation. The Government’s approach is that those who want to take up land and work it in the same way as other Australians do should be assisted to secure land under normal titles. Those who want to find their future in other occupations should also be assisted where necessary.

Land rights should be regarded not as an end in themselves but a means to an end. The ultimate end the Government seeks is full participation by Aboriginals with other Australians in the life of a single Australian community.

That statement shows why the Government had to say no. There is no doubt in my mind that the Aboriginal people themselves are somewhat mixed up about this question. The trouble commenced at the time of the wage dispute at Wave Hill when the Aboriginals first settled on the land at Wattie Creek. As my colleague, the Minister-in-Charge of Aboriginal Affairs (Mr Wentworth), has rightly said, since that time there have been several stirrers urging the Aboriginals to take up this claim for land rights. From my conversations with the Aboriginal leaders I have concluded that they do not understand what land rights are really all about. But in any case the matter was explained to them after my conversations on Friday in Darwin. I was satisfied that Philip Roberts and Captain Major were being misled, either intentionally or unintentionally, by certain people with regard to this question and they were pleased to hear a full explanation of the Government’s position.

When I was at Wattie Creek in June there were ten people there. 1 had been informed by various persons that there was a fairly large establishment there, but in fact when I arrived I found that it was a quite small settlement. The people are living in humpies at Wattie Creek. That is the only description one can give to the places they are living in. Their efforts with vegetable gardening have not been very successful. The leaders informed me themselves that in fact there were no brumbies within 80 or 100 miles. So the prospect of a brumby breaking operation seems fairly remote.

The Leader of the Opposition challenged me when I said that the Aboriginals wanted a residential area. Let me tell him that the leaders came back to this proposition and said that what they really needed was a residential area so that they could get away from the stations at any time and have houses to return to. This is a reasonable proposition, as my colleague has said. We have met it by setting out a plan for a town on the commonage, where there are a hospital, a school, a police station and an airstrip, and where there is available sufficient land to give each Aboriginal a title to an individual piece of land. When I explained this to the leaders in Darwin on Friday they seemed to respond to it, because they realised that there is a genuine desire on the part of the Government to assist them in this matter. That is how the situation stands at the moment. The plan for the township at Wave Hill is in my office at the moment and is available for inspection by anybody who is interested.

I want to say something further about the Leader of the Opposition because I am quite sure that he has initiated this debate this afternoon for purely political purposes. I must thank him for the compliment he has paid to me as an Australian Country Party Minister by saying that I had been able to twist the Cabinet’s arm and get it to agree to a policy designed to suit the squattocracy in the Northern Territory. This, as he well knows, is far from the reality of the situation. The simple fact is that the Country Party won the Northern Territory seat from the Australian Labour Party at the last election, and the Leader of the Opposition has brought on this debate as one way of trying to discredit the honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder). The Leader of the Opposition cannot deny this. His statements, as they will appear in Hansard tomorrow, will show how little he appreciates the real significance of the argument about land rights.

In the time remaining to me I want to point out what we are doing in the Northern Territory. I want to demonstrate that much is being done to protect the rights of the Aboriginals, to train them and to find employment for them. With the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate in Hansard a list of the various settlements and missions, which show also the various training schemes and employment opportunities at those missions and settlements.

Again with the concurrence of honourable members, I incorporate a list of the vocations of the various people who are active in training Aboriginals on the settlements.

1 would like to mention some of the tasks in which the Aboriginal people are being trained. First, we are giving them driving lessons. This may seem a fairly fundamental matter, but to drive a car is to know something in this modern age. We are teaching them home management, vehicle maintenance and carpentry. We are teaching them to bake bread, to operate market gardens and orchards, to care for poultry, to make bricks and to erect fencing. We are teaching them to make artifacts. They are learning the arts of painting and welding. Some are being taught dressmaking. They have cattle projects in which they learn not only how to become stockmen but also how to husband the stock. We are encouraging them to retain their traditional dances. We are teaching them to cater for tourists. Some are being taught building maintenance and others how to become butchers. We are teaching forestry, sawmilling. and mechanics. They are learning how to build houses for themselves and to prospect for minerals. As honourable members can see, we are teaching them a wide variety of occupations. It is sad to hear the Leader of the Opposition denigrate the efforts that have been made, and it is sad to hear the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) assert that nothing has been done for the Aboriginals. It is sad to hear them denigrate the efforts of the Welfare Branch of the Northern Territory Administration.

Like the Minister-in-Charge of Aboriginal Affairs, I have recently come back from a visit to several reserves and missions in the Territory. Let me tell the House some of the prospects there at this moment. At Roper River I sat down with members of the council to talk about the future of the place. The church missionaries wanted to hand the Roper River Mission over to the Welfare Branch of the Administration. I talked to the members of the council about how they saw the future of the mission. Out of this discussion arose a proposition to develop a Roper River council which will have certain local government powers such as similar bodies in other places enjoy. I went to Beswick Creek and looked at the cattle stations owned by the Aboriginals. 1 have talked to Aboriginals who are putting up a proposition to try to obtain a sum of money to start their own cattle station in another place. I went to Bamyili and heard what is being done there. As one listens to the honourable member for Wills and the Leader of the

Opposition one realises how little they know of the real situation in the Territory. My advice to them is to go and learn something about it instead of simply talking about it.


– The referendum, as the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) stated clearly, showed in no uncertain terms that the Australian people demanded that the Aboriginals be treated as Australians. Up to the present time the treatment of the Aboriginals in many, if not most, parts of Australia has been something of which we as a nation cannot be proud. The first real test of the Government’s sincerity in carrying out the demand made of it by the people of Australia came when the Minister-in-Charge of Aboriginal Affairs (Mr Wentworth) was allotted that portfolio. In support of the Minister we can say that prior to his becoming a Minister he made it his business to find out something about the Aboriginals. He travelled, many times with his wife, in the most remote areas of northern Australia to learn about and to study the habits and the problems of these people. We do not say, and he would not claim, that he knows intimately the anthropological background of the Aboriginals, nor would he claim to be an expert on their culture or problems; but at least he knows more about the Aboriginals from a practical point of view than does any other Minister in this Parliament. His actions have gone further than the philosophical thinking, for example, of the Minister for External Affairs (Mr Hasluck).

In 1964 I was in the Karunjie area, one of the most remote areas you can find, when the Minister-in-Charge of Aboriginal Affairs went through the area. He would have seen, for example, at Gibb River a Mr Russ who successfully integrated the Aboriginals into his own way of life - a magnificent effort. Then he would have gone to Karunjie and he would have seen the reverse, which is so common in the Kimberleys and the Northern Territory. He would have seen on the creek bed a tribe of Aboriginals consisting of mothers, children and stockmen. All they were given to eat by the absentee owners were tins of jam. When I was there three children under 6 years of age had flyblown eyes and no welfare officer or any Western Australian officer had visited that area for 5 years. One can see this contrast on me cattle stations, We know, and the Minister knows, that this Parliament and the people of Australia must take positive action to improve the conditions of the Aboriginals, particularly in the more remote areas of the north. The Minister has been able to take his views to the Cabinet. I sincerely believe that he thought he would succeed, because he knew the problem. If it had come to a referendum he would have succeeded. In terms of votes there would have been a landslide of voters telling this Parliament and the Cabinet to do what the Gurindjis want, give them their tribal lands and treat them with some respect. But did anyone, seriously knowing the history of the Northern Territory and this area embracing the Vestey empire, believe that the Minister had a chance of succeeding?

The Vestey station at Wave Hill is said to have an area of 6,000 square miles, but that is only one station. Other stations, including Waterloo, Limbunya, Mistake Creek, Ord River, Helen Springs, Manbulloo and Nutwood Downs, make the total area of the Vestey empire in northern Australia 17,000 square miles. Vesteys had 8,000 square miles in the Kimberleys but the area is now only 5,000 square miles. Did anyone seriously believe that the company which owns the Blue Star Line, which has the greatest meat works capacity of any company, and which has tremendous international ramifications would allow the Aboriginals to have 8 square miles of the mighty Vestey empire? The Minister must have felt ashamed at the Cabinet for not giving the Gurindjis at least the right to keep their own tribal grounds. It is of no good saying that they may stay there. They want their rights and they want to keep the land. They do not want stockmen from Wave Hill or from other properties such as Camfield, Montejinni or the bottom part of Victoria River Downs coming in after wild, mickey bulls or other cattle. They want their land; they want to preserve their paintings; they want to preserve the relics of their forefathers. But this Government could not fight, one might say, this Vestey empire to ensure that they gain these things.

Make no mistake about it I am not an ideologist in regard to the capabilities of the Aboriginals. I have had some experience of them. It is claimed, for example, by those who oppose the Aboriginals that they are irresponsible. In plenty of places it is said that they are irresponsible. Nothing is more damaging to the Aboriginal than to take the specific and argue that it applies to all Aboriginals. First of all, there is a tremendous difference between the tribes. There is a tremendous difference between the Gurindjis at Wattie Creek and the tribes west of Alice Springs, in Arnhem land, Queensland or the northern Kimberleys. All these tribes have their own problems and have different principles with regard to their treatment It is very difficult and it is very dangerous to generalise. It can be shown that the Aboriginals are irresponsible if one lakes a specific case, but it can be shown that they are highly intelligent. In 1953 I spent 5i months, night and day, with an Aboriginal as a guide and a cook in the Cape York Peninsula and the Gulf country while engaged on land classification and cattle survey work. I can say that I learned more about many aspects of the soil, grass and trees than I would have ever learned or ever could learn at a university.

Let me give an example of the way these people are treated. I gave one of the top stockmen at Central Mount Wedge a lift into Alice Springs in 1952. He was a top stockman, not according to me but according to the owner. He went to Alice Springs with £27 in his pocket for a holiday. Within 24 hours he had been taken down by the white man. Certainly it was his own fault. The first thing he did was to buy a shirt with ‘Hawaii’ or ‘Honolulu’ on it, which cost him £9. When his money ran out he traded his £9 shirt for 2 ounces of Log Cabin tobacco. In 24 hours he was broke. This was not his fault; it was our fault. The Aboriginal wants constructive help. In this case the Minister-in-Charge of Aboriginal Affairs and the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) should have said: ‘We will give him his tribal land’. Instead they said: ‘We will give him a place to build a township in an arid area to grow vegetables’. Have you ever heard about anything so ridiculous as growing vegetables in a semiarid area? This is the sort of nonsense that is being talked. What the Aboriginals want is something on which they can build progressively, but there is no plan. Perhaps we will hear about this plan tonight but I very much doubt it. They should have enough land on which to run their horses and progressively to enter into some commerical enterprise. But what has happened? This

Parliament and this Government are ridiculed throughout Australia for not being able to defeat the Vestey empire to earn a few square miles of country for the Aboriginals.


– I have a specific reason for taking part in this debate. I am very concerned about this problem. I have worked with the Aboriginal people in my district. I have no knowledge of the Gurindjis, but I know the people of my district. The honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) may think that he is the only person concerned with this problem, but I can assure him that he is not. I listened to the three Opposition members who have spoken in this debate and it is apparent to me that they are concerned only about land in the Northern Territory. I did not hear any constructive suggestion come from them. As they want to talk about land for Aboriginals in the Northern Territory I remind them, because they seem to have forgotten, that the Government has earmarked more than 60 million acres of land in the Territory for these people.

It would seem that Opposition members are losing sight of one very important point. They are attempting to create an issue over only one section of the coloured Australian community and do not seem to be concerned about the problems of welfare and advancement for the whole of the coloured Australian community. It would seem that they intend to adopt the policy of opposing all the Government’s actions, and in my humble opinion this will do more harm than good to the people that they profess to want to help. We all know that there is an administrative structure within each State Government that handles Aboriginal affairs. As the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) said, an additional section was recently formed within the Prime Minister’s Department to coordinate submissions and suggestions from the State Governments for the benefit of the coloured Australian community as a whole in much the same manner as other Commonwealth Departments co-ordinate suggestions for the benefit of the entire Australian community.

I have spoken to people in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Thursday Island and New Guinea and I am positive that all sections of the community realise that solving the problems of the Aboriginal people is no easy task. What may suit the coloured people of my district, for instance, may not suit the people of the Northern Territory, whilst Western Australia and South Australia have their own particular problems. Surely the difficulties are evident and, from all the collective ideas and suggestions that originate with State governments, seminars, interested organisations and individuals, I am sure a satisfactory solution to the problems will emerge. I have my own personal ideas for the advancement of our coloured people. I do not confine myself to the people in one district and I would be the last to insist that, while these ideas may suit the people of my district, they would also suit the people of the Northern Territory. This would be wrong.

I firmly believe that education is of tremendous importance. Sound education is the foundation for all advancement, and its value cannot be stressed too earnestly. But I did not hear this mentioned by any of the Opposition members who have spoken. I feel that a stable plan of progressive education for the Aboriginal people should be implemented as soon as possible, and it should commence at preschool age. A good, sound education will give these people confidence in themselves. The honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) said that they have ability. Education will give them confidence and the ability to compete with others in the employment market. Honourable members opposite did not mention employment.

In the field of employment we are all aware that mechanisation of industry including primary industry has reduced the demand for labourers and that there is a greater demand for skilled workers. In this respect I feel that trade training centres should be established to instruct young coloured people in the fields of industry, commerce and agriculture in order that they may compete on an equal footing as skilled tradesmen, typists, stenographers, farmers or for any other occupation which requires skilled tuition. This would also enable the young people to plan their careers for the future. I have heard some speakers, not from the Opposition but from other organisations, recommending crash training programmes for skilled workers, but I will not go along with this idea. In my opinion it would create unjust competition on the employment market. It would mean competition with other skilled workers who had to serve a full apprenticeship and this would only produce the very conflict that we are trying to avoid.

I refer next to housing. Honourable members opposite seem to be against the idea of housing these people in conditions which should be available to them. Every coloured Australian is entitled to a comfortable house with its attendant amenities in which to rear his family, if that is what he desires and if he is prepared to work for it. This can be achieved and it is part and parcel of the Government’s programme. When 1 listened to honourable members opposite this afternoon I was unable to follow their reasoning in refering to a change of living standards. They have been hammering one subject - land rights for one section of the community. The changeover from the present living standards of many of our coloured people to equal status with sections of our white community cannot happen overnight. Only a complete fool would think otherwise. We must face the fact that there are all sorts of problems in all States to be contended with. It will take time, a lot of hard work, a lot of study, a definite amount of self help, a sincere desire for advancement and, perhaps above all, a lot of patience and tolerance from all people. The more people who can be encouraged to take an interest in this problem the quicker our chances of success.

After listening to members of the Opposition this afternoon I feel that the remark by the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) was very appropriate when he asked who was being cruel. I repeat that piecemeal attacks by the Opposition on Government measures designed to help the situation, and the singling out of various sections of the coloured community to be used as a launching platform for the Opposition’s propaganda purposes can do more harm than good for the people whom the Opposition professes to wish to help.


– I have listened to the debate with considerable interest and I should like first to reply to some of the matters raised by the honourable member for Herbert (Mr Bonnett). He covered a range of matters related to the Aboriginal question. I hope very much that later in this sessional period the Parliament will be given an opportunity to debate at length the whole range of matters involved in the Australian Labor Party’s attitude to Aboriginals and other minority racial groups in Australia and what we should be doing for them. But we do not have the opportunity to do this today because the Government has not spelt out in any detail what it feels its policies towards the Aboriginal people should be, apart from the objective of assimilation, which has been the ambition of the Commonwealth Government and all State governments for a long time. We were told by the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth), who under the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) is also Minister-in-Charge of Aboriginal Affairs, that the Labor Party was cruel in introducing this matter today because of what was about to happen in the Budget which is to be presented tonight. 1 imagine that all honourable members, particularly those on this side of the chamber, hope that his words will be translated into reality when the Budget proposals are made known to us.

The Australian Labor Party’s reason for taking the opportunity to introduce this matter this afternoon - the very first opportunity that presents itself for any political matter to be introduced in this sessional period - is the vital importance of land rights to the whole future of the Aboriginal people of Australia.

So it was not for some blatant political purpose. It was not some attempt to score a point. This action was taken merely to emphasise to this Parliament and to the people of Australia the vital importance that the Federal Opposition attaches to this question of the land rights of our Aboriginals.

We have known about these matters for a long period. We have heard various Ministers and members on the Government side make statements on these matters. Some of us have asked questions and in our speeches in the Parliament have asked the Government why it has not accepted certain International Labour Organisation conventions. I refer for example to Convention 107 on the rights of tribal and of other indigenous peoples. We have been told over that period or for much of the period that this was because this matter was a responsibility principally of the States. But the Australian Labor Party sees an opportunity for the Commonwealth Government, unrestricted by any other consideration, to turn the Northern Territory into an area of enlightened policies and into an example to all of the Australian States. All of us realise that to solve these problems requires a great deal of co-operation between the various State departments and the Commonwealth Government now that the Commonwealth has this constitutional responsibility. Aboriginals are now under the control of the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth). I look back to the days when the activities in the Northern Territory were more completely the responsibility of one ministerial head than they are at the moment because possibly in those times the way ahead for the Aboriginals was a little less complicated than it is today.

While not disregarding the matters raised by the honourable member for Herbert, I should like to deal with the question of land rights. This question is one that has been with us for a long time. The record of governments in this regard and the administration of it back to convict days has not been a proud one. In Canada, South Africa, Rhodesia and indeed in many other parts of the world the land rights of the indigenous peoples have been recognised. The Spanish and the Portuguese gave greater recognition to the land rights of native peoples in their colonies than we do in the Australian Commonwealth. For some considerable time we have had a policy of protection - a policy in earlier days of easing the dying pillow for the Aboriginal people. As part of that policy of protection reserves were created by order-in-councfl for the Aboriginal people. There is no security of tenure in a reserve. We know of Yirrkala and what happened there. We have found this to be the fact in other places in the Northern Territory. An area of a reserve may be easily excised by Cabinet decision published in the ‘Gazette’, without the opinions and wishes of the Aboriginal people being taken into account. Honourable members will all recall what happened at Yirrkala. It was only the action of members of the Opposition that caused an all-party inquiry to be held into the land rights of the people at Yirrkala when these rights were threatened by the exploitation of the bauxite deposits on that land.

Recognising the deficiencies in the system of Aboriginal reserves, some people have suggested that tribal titles should be given. This seems to me to be a little unrealistic because tribal titles have been tried in other parts of the world. Very few Aboriginal people in Australia are tribalised or even partly tribalised today. The estimate of the number of Aboriginal people in Australia who are tribalised ranges from approximately 1,800. I took the opportunity when I was in New Zealand earlier this year to look at some examples of the systems of lands tenure there. In one case, 5,000 Maori people share a tribal title. No development can take place because it is quite impossible to get agreement to develop this area of land with so many people having an interest in the title.

We on this side of the Parliament have taken the view that some form of land trust similar to what was done in South Australia by a Labor government is probably a very useful thing for us to initiate. What the Opposition is seeking this afternoon is to ensure that the Gurindji people obtain an area of approximately 10 square miles at Wattie Creek where they are at present residing, and extending to certain areas in the near vicinity of great significance to their tribe. One might well ask: Who are the Gurindji people?

The honourable member for Riverina (Mr Armstrong), who is to follow me in this debate, has asked what were their tribal areas. I think we all recognise that at one time the Gurindji people were an extremely large tribe with a tribal area probably extending over thousands of square miles around the areas where many of them still reside. But Gurindji people are different from many of the other Aboriginal peoples of Australia in that, despite the fact that they have worked in the pastoral industry as stockmen and the like for many years, they have retained a great deal of their tribal cohesion. They want to continue to do this. While they work on stations and take on certain other activities, they want to retain communities of their own where they can maintain their own tribal relationships, where they may go during the time of the year when they do not wish to work, or when work is not available to them, and where their old people, their young people and their children may reside.

This is the opportunity they seek, and this is the opportunity that the Government could have given them had it acceded to their request. We know that there have been a number of requests, not perhaps that they be given 500 square miles but that they be given a reasonable basic area of land - probably 10 square miles or thereabouts - at Wattie Creek where they can establish and maintain a community of their own. We have heard much about what the Government proposes to do for them in the way of building fine houses and providing other facilities which may be of advantage to them, but I think the Government should realise that in any area there is a great disaffection towards the various welfare organisations. I am not saying that these organisations do not do something, but I have spoken to Aboriginals in the Northern Territory and many of them have said that they do not want to be bagotised, that they do not want to be living in the circumstances in which Aboriginals are living near Darwin and elsewhere. There we have proof that the Aboriginal people wish to preserve their tribal integrity.

The purpose of this proposal by the Labor Party this afternoon is to help these Aboriginals. I should like to say that honourable members on both sides are delighted that the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) was given this responsibility by the Prime Minister. We are not here to attack him. We are here to support him in what we believe he wants to do for the people of Australia. If he feels that we are submitting this proposal for political purposes I remind him that what we are suggesting today is not necessarily politically popular in the Northern Territory. The Labor Party recognises that some of the things we have suggested would cause a certain amount of concern to certain people in the Northern Territory and the north of Australia, but, irrespective of whether it gives them some concern, this is the right action to be taken. Until we solve the problem of land rights for the Australian Aboriginals, no matter what amount of money we spend on health, education or housing, we have not achieved our purpose.

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


– We all agree that the problems of the Aboriginals in Australia have to be faced and that the matter is one of urgency. Because of its urgency, the Commonwealth Government has given the matter a high place on its priority list, as has already been demonstrated by those who have spoken from this side of the House. One of the difficulties facing not only the Commonwealth Government but also the State Governments at the present time is that there are too many people having too much to say about Aboriginals who know too little about them. For example, a few moments ago I heard the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) speaking. He gabbled at about 400 words a minute about the Gurindji tribe and Wattie Creek. Then, in the next breath, he admitted that he had never been there, but he believed certain things. He had heard that certain things had happened. 1 am happy to be able to say - and all credit is due to him for it - that the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) has been there. He has personally assessed the situation on the spot. He has discussed this matter with the Gurindji people themselves. The honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder) has also been there and discussed this question on the spot. The Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) has also been there and looked at this problem personally. Subsequently they got together to see what could be done to help these people. It is quite ridiculous to say that the Government has done nothing to implement the spirit of the referendum of May of last year. Such statements are typical of the shortsighted attitude of people like the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) who would use these good people as pawns to be pushed around in an attempt to embarrass the Government.

The late Prime Minister, Mr Harold Holt, appointed Commonwealth Council for Aboriginal Affairs under the chairmanship of Dr Coombs, who began his duties officially last week. An office of Aboriginal

Affairs was set up within the Prime Minister’s Department. Our present Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) made a wise decision in appointing Mr Wentworth as MinisterinCharge of Aboriginal Affairs because he is a man who has made a close study of the Aboriginal people over many years. He endeared himself to many of these people through his personal interest in their welfare before he was appointed to the Ministry. He has demonstrated an even greater interest and a more aggressive interest since he was allotted this portfolio. State governments have done a lot in their way to help further the interests of the Aboriginal people within their borders. Recently a meeting was held in Melbourne of all Ministers responsible for Aboriginal affairs. The meeting was called by the Commonwealth Minister and it was designed to assess ways in which the Commonwealth and the States could co-operate to further the interests of the Aboriginals. The Prime Minister in his address at that function indicated that each State had different problems. He mentioned also that the Commonwealth would devote specific attention to assisting the States in respect of the health, education and housing of Aboriginals. In respect of his specific reference to the different problems in the States I would go further and say that there is no single answer to the problems within the States. For instance, in my electorate the problems of the people at the Yalata Reserve are quite distinct from those at the Koonibba Reserve. The people at Davenport Reserve, near Port Augusta, have different problems from the problems at Oodnadatta. 1 am attempting to correlate facts concerning the different problems of the Aboriginals in my area, and on two or three occasions I have visited the reserves that I have mentioned. As a result of consultations I have bad with members of Aboriginal councils as well as with departmental officers and others who have worked among Aboriginals for many years I hope to assess what the Aboriginal people want for themselves in order of priority, what the State has done and is doing, and where Commonwealth assistance can be directed to the best advantage. In this way I believe that some constructive information can be given to the Commonwealth bodies that have been established, and this may assist them in their mammoth task. The honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder). the honourable member for Herbert (Mr Bonnett), the honourable member for Kennedy (Mr Katter) and many other honourable members on this side of the House have done and are doing this sort of work and are assessing the situation in their electorates. If honourable members opposite did something similar and ceased birring up propaganda, which it has been said does nothing to help the Aboriginal people, we might progress more quickly and find satisfactory answers to the problems.

Dr J F Cairns:

– I think that the progress of the debate this afternoon has clarified a number of issues. The first issue that is of importance relates to what the Gurindji people want. The Minister in Charge of Aboriginal Affairs (Mr Wentworth) said that the Government is giving them everything they want and more. In the last 24 hours I have been talking a lot to people who have been in the area during the last few days and have come back with an account of what is happening there - an account that I have no reason to disbelieve. I refer particularly to a gentleman who has been in the House all day - Dr Olaf Bils, who is a lecturer in physics at the University of New South Wales. He has become concerned at the plight of the Gurindji people near Wave Hill. He went to the area at his own expense and spent 9 days living with them and talking to them. I have no reason to believe that he is biased or prejudiced or that he would not tell the truth. What is the truth can easily be established from people who are in the House today. He has listened to what the Minister says and he states that what the Minister says is not true. He states that the Gurindji people quite clearly and quite definitely have asked for an area of about 8 or 10 square miles which includes portion of the Wattie creek or river, portion of the gorge nearby which is regarded by them as a sacred ground, a dreamland-

Mr Nixon:

– Seven miles away.

Dr J F Cairns:

– It does not matter if it is 19 miles away. Does the Minister deny what I have just said? Apparently not. The point I am making - I hope that it has not escaped you - is that this is the area that these people arc asking for. Do you deny that?

Mr Wentworth:

– No.

Dr J F Cairns:

– Well, they are not getting what they are asking for so what you said earlier in the debate is not true.

Mr Wentworth:

– I said they were getting more than they were asking for.

Dr J F Cairns:

– They are not getting what they are asking for. You are splitting hairs and being deliberately ambiguous.


– Order! The honourable member will address the Chair.

Dr J F Cairns:

– The Minister is splitting hairs and he is being deliberately ambiguous. The position is clearly, I take it - and the Minister now agrees with me, apparently - that the Gurindji people are asking for an area of 8 or 10 square miles in which are situated various of the grounds in which their ancestors have been buried and which have particular significance for them. This is the area that they would like to have granted to them and this is the area that is not being granted to them. So the Government is not giving them what they want. Why is the Government not giving them what they want? The answer is obvious. It is because this small piece of the 3 million square miles of which Australia consists that these people want is on property leased to Vesteys. Therefore if you had to give them this property you would have to give them a piece of property that is leased to Vesteys until 2004 at10c an acre per annum. So the situation is, as it always has been, that when it is a clash of the interests of the Aboriginal people and the interests of the big pastoralists of whom a number of members of this House are obvious spokesmen, although some of them, like the honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder) have not spoken at all-

Mr Katter:

– He made his statement in the Territory.

Dr J F Cairns:

– Here is the place to make it and here is the placefor the honourable member for Kennedy (Mr Katter), too, to make his statement if he wants to make it.

Mr Nixon:

– Well sit down and let them do it.

Dr J F Cairns:

– I can understand that the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) would be happy if I did sit down.

Mr Nixon:

– Give them a chance.

Dr J F Cairns:

– I will give them plenty of chances. After I have finished talking they can talk and say exactly what they want to say and it will be in the hands of the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) whether they get time or not. This is not a question of money. This is a question of land. Any proposals that the Government might be going to make in the Budget tonight to provide increased money for the States will not meet the requirements of these people. They want land and they have made it clear that they want land, and it is time that the Australian Government was compelled to face the question of whether or not it is going to give the Aboriginal people land. The answer that the Minister has given is*. No, it is not. The Minister knows very well what the crucial point in this matter is. He spent 8 minutes of his speech this afternoon talking about what wonderful things were to be provided in the Budget, avoiding the question that he knew was the essence of the matter as far as the Gurindji people are concerned, putting up a front for himself and for the Government - a front that the Gurindji people at least will see clearly as a front - avoiding the question of land at all. This motion proposed by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) is concerned with land, not with money. 1 know that although an area of 8 or 10 square miles of this territory is of very great value to the Gurindji people, it is not an economic proposition. They are not asking for the land as an economic proposition - not even to corral their horses or to do some of the other things which the Minister thought were appropriate to some of their needs. They do not necessarily seek the land even to grow vegetables. They seek it because this portion of the 3 million square miles of Australia is of particular and special value to them. In a situation like this the question that faces the Government, the Parliament and the Australian people is whether a small’ number of badly situated Aboriginal people will be given a mere 8 or 10 square miles or whether the Vestey group - this enormous international monopoly that is continuously and effectively pulling strings in this Parliament - will continue to receive the great hand-outs of land which this Government and its predecessors have been prepared to give at fantastically ridiculous rentals.

The Gurindji people have a good claim to more than a mere 8 or 10 square miles, but let us concentrate on this area. Are they to receive the 8 or 10 square miles near Wattie Creek and near the gorge at Wave Hill? Obviously, the Minister’s refusal to deal specifically with that matter means that the Gurindji are not to get this land. Instead, a village is to be built for the Gurindji at the intersection of two roads. This will1 be at a most unattractive situation - one which has no real meaning for the Gurindji people and one which will not allow them even to grow vegetables or to corral horses satisfactorily. The village will be situated on a miserable piece of land. This is not more than they asked for; it is far less. What particular quality does the chosen site have to warrant its being offered to the Gurindji as the site for a village? One particular quality it has is that it is not on the Vestey lease. That is its only quality. Consideration for Vestey’s lease and Vestey’s money power will continually determine what the Minister for the Interior and his hillbilly friends in the Government do or do not do about the Aboriginal people. The tragedy in all this is that the Minister-in-Charge of Aboriginal Affairs has lost on this issue in the Cabinet.

More must be done. We must look further ahead. We must look perhaps to a time when the Gurindji people should have more land than 8 or 10 square miles. We must look to a time when, with assistance, they can establish a co-operative running cattle - not departmental assistance but proper, humane, imaginative assistance enabling them to work together and devise ways of making money for themselves so that they will not be dependent, as they are now, on pension handouts through welfare authorities or on the receipt of low wages while working for the Vestey organisation.


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


– Let me first explain why the honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder) has not spoken in the debate. Advice that this debate was to take place came rather late and it was not possible to include on the list of speakers all honourable members who wished to participate. If anything exposes the obvious political content of this debate it is the speech which we have just heard delivered by the honourable member for Yarra (Dr J. F. Cairns). In this debate the Opposition has placed great stress on the position of the Gurindji people at Wattie Creek. Opposition speakers have made very little reference to the health, training and employment of Aboriginals in general all round Australia. These are matters which should excite the minds of all parliamentarians. They are matters to which we should devote our energies. With the greatest respect to the informant of the honourable member for Yarra regarding the land claims of the Gurindji, during my visit to the Northern Territory in the last few weeks I discovered that there is considerable and weighty opinion in favour of the proposition that the land required by the Gurindjis is not land sacred to them. In fact at this very moment the majority of people at Wattie Creek are not members of the Gurindji tribe. It is more likely that the area is that of the Walbri tribe. Nevertheless the area that has been allocated to the Gurindji has very considerable advantages in that it cannot be cut off by flood and is adjacent to schools and other facilities. That is the point that has weighed in the minds of the Government and the two Ministers who have had this matter under consideration.

I think it would be a bit much to expect that the Australian people, particularly those of Aboriginal descent, would not realise why this motion has been brought forward, especially since the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) mentioned in his statement of 12th July that this matter would be raised in the Budget and that when, the States indicated the way in which they thought they best could be assisted the matter would be proceeded with and funds would be allocated.

The question of Aboriginal rights is very complex. Before I go on to deal with that aspect in greater detail I should like to read something that was written by the person who is advising these people to some extent in relation to Wattle Creek. In a a recent publication ‘The Unlucky Australians’ Mr Frank Hardy quotes Mr Stan Davey as saying:

I want to be frank. I have worked with Communists in the Aboriginal movement for many years,. Aborigines often support Communists because Communists say a lot of the things the Aborigines want said. But Communists frac- tionalise - and they often manipulate the Aborigines for their own purposes.’ He-

Referring to the man who made this statement - went on to deplore the fact that all the whites working with the NT Rights Council were Communist..

I do not know whether that is right but it was written by Frank Hardy and is alleged to have been said by Mr Stan Davey. That is the source of a lot of advice the Aboriginals are being given. Those are not my words, they are the words of Frank Hardy, an avowed Communist. I remind the House that Davey is secretary of the Victorian Aboriginal Rights Council.

In the few minutes at my disposal I want to refer to the complex problem of advancing the interests of our Aboriginal people. They are entitled to such advancement because they are decent Australians, not because they are Aboriginals. They do not want privileges, they want only fair rights. This whole problem can be divided into several divisions and several subdivisions. First of all there are the full blood Aboriginals who are living more or less in their traditional circumstances. There are very few left today, probably only a few hundred. Then there are the full blood Aboriginals who are working mainly on cattle stations and under the jurisdiction of missions. Then there are those of part blood who are fringe dwellers living on the edge of town and, tragically, probably getting the worst of both worlds. Then there arc the Aboriginals who live in cities. They are largely of part blood and do not get the best of either world. Then there are those who are fully assimilated.

Superimposed on these problems is the fact that the Aboriginals are deserving of health, education, ‘housing and employment opportunities as well as better training. That is what is aimed at in the Government’s policy, and after tonight when this principle is put forward in the BudgetI am certain that it will be given practical application.


– Order! The discussion is concluded.

Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.

page 35


Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation for proposed expenditure announced.

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

Mr SPEAKER (Hon W J Aston:

– In accordance with Budget practice. I now call on the Chairman of Committees to take the chair as Deputy Speaker.

Second Reading (Budget Speech)

Treasurer · Lowe · LP

– I move:

In so doing, I present the Budget proposals for the financial year1968-69.

It will be remembered that, when opening the Parliament on 12th March 1968, the Governor-General said:

My Government will review the field of social welfare with the object of assisting those in most need while at thesame time not discouraging thrift, self-help and self-reliance.

Earlier this year the Prime Minister established the Welfare Committee of Cabinet to make a comprehensive examination of existing health and social welfare schemes and to suggest new approaches where desirable. The Committee has been engaged on that task and will continue with it.

The proposals I shall elaborate flow from these deliberations. While they do not provide final solutions they do represent significant steps along the road the Government is determined to follow. Some of them have not before been included in Commonwealth social welfare programmes. Indeed

I believe it will be clearly seen that the Government has placed the objective of helping the aged, the sick, and the needy in the forefront of its domestic programmes.

From the economic standpoint we have aimed to provide a budgetary context for stable and well-balanced growth. Although, 12 months ago, the economy was, in the main, growing strongly, there were some depressive factors at work, such as droughts in south-eastern Australia, and there was some productive capacity to spare. Moreover, an imbalance had developed between the public and private sectors and we thought it right to tighten the reins on public spending to make room for a stronger expansion of private sector activity. Despite unforeseen drought relief payments that had to be made to some of the States, we succeeded in keeping the rise in Commonwealth expenditure to 10% of the previous year’s total. This was close to the Budget estimate and less than the increase of 12% in the year before.

As we intended, and despite the drought, private expenditure increased in all of its main branches a good deal faster than in 1966-67. In that year the increase, excluding the change in farm stocks, was 5.3%; last year it was 9.1%. The growth in employment also was notably stronger. In the 12 months to June 1968 employment grew by 131,000. In the preceding year the increase had been 83,000. Private employment absorbed 71% of last year’s increase; in 1966-67 it took only 59%.

In these major respects, then, the objectives of the Budget were achieved.

Throughout 1967-68 consumer spending continued to rise and has lately been growing at an annual rate of about 8%. The rate 12 months back was about 7%. Demand for consumer durable goods was particularly strong - most markedly in respect of sales of motor vehicles. New registrations totalled 443,000 in 1967-68- a rise of 14% on the 1966-67 figure - and in the recent June quarter reached a seasonallyadjusted rate of nearly half a million per year.

Private capital expenditure accelerated rapidly. Compared with the year before, private expenditure on housing in 1967-68 increased by 11% and on other building and construction by 20%. Private expenditure on plant and equipment, which lagged in 1966-67, rose by 2% over the year.

Last financial year, gross national expenditure - which is the sum total of public and private spending in Australia - increased by 8% to $24,832m. It must be emphasised that this was S618m more than gross national product, which increased by 6% at current prices to $24,2 14m. Nonfarm production increased substantially - by some 9%. Drought cut farm output and slowed the rise in national product as a whole which increased by about 4% at constant prices. This is below the average increase in real product of recent years.

The excess of total spending over local output inevitably caused a spill-over of demand into overseas purchases. On the one hand, drought and poor, export prices reduced earnings from -exports of farm products. On the other hand, imports and other payments abroad, particularly for defence, increased. In consequence, the external deficit on current account widened to about $ 1,000m. This was more than covered by a surplus of over $ 1,100m on capital account. Bigger Government loan raisings abroad and the exceptionally large inflow of portfolio investment and institutional loans produced the means by which a record addition to the supply of resources from abroad could be financed.

Our international reserves would have risen by some $78m had it not been for the devaluation of sterling, which reduced the value of our London balances in terms of our currency by about SI 13m. As it was, at the end of 1967-68 our gold and foreign exchange holdings, together with our reserve or ‘gold tranche’ position in the International Monetary Fund, amounted to $l,341m - a reduction of S35m over the year.

page 36


We have entered 1968-69 with a generally buoyant economy. Employment is high and rising and, with it, the level of wage and salary incomes. In recent months, good rains have fallen over practically all parts of the continent. If the season holds there could be a record farm output this year. Depending on prices and the level of rural costs, this could bring a considerable lift in rural incomes. Consumer spending can be expected to go on rising. Private capital expenditure, on both housing and other forms of building and construction, has gained a momentum that should keep it going strongly in the months to come. Investment in plant and equipment is now rising. With the ending of the drought, sales of farm equipment can be expected to pick up. It can fairly be assumed that with so much construction going on in so many places, the demand for plant will not only be sustained but will increase.

Net immigration is rising and employment could increase by 3% this year. If gains in productivity are as good as the average of recent years, this could mean an increase of as much as 6% or more in gross national product at constant prices. The big lift in mining and farm output which seems to be feasible would of course contribute to this; but it would be an addition to exports much more than to supplies for local use. It is to a rise in non-farm product that we must chiefly look for the means to match an overall rise in demand. If the rise in demand is over-strong so that there is a relative shortfall in domestic supplies, there could be a still greater diversion of purchases to imports. More than likely also there would be some forcing up of local costs and prices.

page 37


Since Commonwealth expenditures constitute a fairly large element in overall demand, the Government gave careful thought to the level of expenditure for which it should provide in the Budget. The proposals we are now putting forward will take Commonwealth expenditure to a total of §6,591m. This is an increase of $479m or 7.8% on last year’s expenditure which was 10.4% greater than that of the year before. It will be realised therefore that we have achieved a significant slowing down in the rate at which our expenditures have been increasing. Statement No. 2 attached to the Budget Speech gives details of the expenditure estimates. With the concurrence of honourable members I incorpor ate in Hansard this statement and others to which I shall refer in the course of my speech.

A detailed analysis is set out in a different way and for a different purpose in national accounts form in Statement No. 6 attached to the Budget Speech. The figures indicate that Commonwealth expenditure which makes a direct demand on the supply of goods and services will increase by Si 80m or 10.1%. Last year the increase was 15.7%.

In contrast with last year, all of the net increase in total expenditure from the Budget will be concentrated on payments in Australia. Although defence spending abroad will be greater, total Budget outlays overseas this year - about $645m - will not increase - which will of course help the balance of payments. Total domestic outlay, including pensions, other transfer payments and loans for capital works and housing, is estimated to increase by 8.5% - that is, just about the same rate of increase as last year. Although the increased spending from the Budget will be concentrated at home, its impact on the domestic economy will probably be much the same as that of last year.

We have estimated that, without any change in rates of taxation or charges, our revenues this year would increase by about 9% to $5,950m. In the main the increase would be the product of rising incomes and expenditure within the economy and so would do relatively little to offset the domestic impact of the increase in Budget expenditure. Receipts of this amount would, moreover, leave a deficit to be financed by borrowings of $641 m, approximately the same as last year’s deficit of $644m.

Last year’s deficit was heavily financed, directly and indirectly, by the banking system, whose holdings of Commonwealth securities increased by $323m. So far as domestic spending by the Government is financed by the banking system it will make net additions to deposits in banks and hence to the supply of money. As Government securities are included with the liquid assets of the banking system, bank financing of a Budget deficit adds also to the liquidity of the banking system and hence to its capacity to increase lending.

This year, as I have just pointed out, domestic outlays through the Budget are estimated to increase at about the same rate as they did in 1967-68. But the economic prospect to which the Budget must be shaped differs significantly - and for the better - from what it was a year ago - and indeed the year before that. So far as we can discover, there are no seriously depressive influences, like drought, as there were then. There is not the same need today to give a boost to private spending by allowing public expenditures to rise without offsetting the rise to some extent by adding to taxes or charges. In fact, the economy is buoyant and demand is strong. For some time now average earnings have been rising at a rate of 6% per year or thereabouts - a rate well above the best increase in productivity we could expect - and pressure on costs is building up. We have reason to expect this year an improvement in our external current account but it would be risky to count on another record flow of capital from abroad to finance a large over-spill of demand for imports.

Having regard to the still-rising level of defence expenditure, the obligations we have to improve standards of welfare in the wide sense and the pressing requirements for greater and still greater developmental outlays, we think we have done well to bring the rate of increase in Commonwealth expenditures back to a more supportable level. In the present buoyant economic conditions, it nevertheless seems prudent to modify a little the stimulus flowing from this increase in expenditure by seeking at least a modest addition to our revenue resources. What we propose in this regard 1 shall explain later.

page 38


I now turn to the expenditure estimates. Many increases in expenditures flow from new policy decisions. Although a fraction of expenditure as a whole, they can greatly affect the well-being of many members of the community and can affect too the impact of the Budget on the economy. Pensions and other welfare payments help to relieve hardship and bring comfort to those in greatest need. They also add to the spending power of a large number of people, and give some additional stimulus to business activity in general.


I take first the estimates of defence expenditure. Last year, expenditure on defence totalled $l,115m. This year it is estimated to be$1,217m - an increase of 9%. Defence expenditure overseas this year is estimated to beabout$375m or $31m more than last year.

To help finance procurement of military equipment from the United States, we expect to draw on United States credits of $122m.

The estimate of$1, 2 17m is based on a careful assessment of the cost of maintaining our defenceservices and establishments and proceeding with their planned expansion and re-equipment. It is expected that, over the year, the strengths of the Permanent Forces in the Navy will increase from 16,450 to 17,510, in the Army from 45,350 to 46,700 and in the Air Force from 21,560 to 22,950. These increases are required to man new ships and aircraft coming into service, meet operational commitments overseas and provide supporting elements in Australia. The Citizen Military Force is expected to increase in strength from 35,760 to 38,000.

The Government’s military advisers are now engaged upon a most comprehensive review of Australia’s strategic situation and prospects. The review will assess the basic assumptions which underlie our defence policy, and is a vital step in formulating our long-term defence policies. When this review has been completed, a new defence programme will be drawn up to carry the planning of our defence capability forward into the1970’s.

We are including $240,000 in this year’s defence vote for the cost of a new postal concession that will grant free postage on letter-class mail and voice tapes passing both ways between our servicemen in Vietnam and addresses in Australia.

Social Welfare

I come now to the expenditures that can be grouped under the general heading of welfare. The Government has given very special attention to the immediate needs of the less-well-placed people in the community and it has done so on a broad and, we believe compassionate basis. The Welfare Committee has already considered a wide range of proposals in its search for ways to assist those in the greatest need. The proposals which I now present are based upon the Committee’s present findings and recommendations.

Adoption of the proposals will add substantially to various classes of welfare payments this year. Expenditure on social services, repatriation, health and housing benefits taken together is estimated to rise to $ 1,446m, or $11 lm more than last year’s total. The expenditure on this group will be exceeded only by payments to or for the States, which themselves include some payments of a welfare nature.

Payments from the National Welfare Fund relating mainly to age, invalid and widows’ pensions, child endowment, medical and hospital benefits, pharmaceutical benefits and other health services are expected to increase by $85m to a total of $l,!6lm this year.

Expenditure on repatriation pensions and benefits is expected to total $286m this year, a rise of $2Sm.

page 39


Nearly a million pensioners will benefit from the increases we propose in pension rates.

The maximum weekly rate of pension for single age and invalid pensioners and widows with children will rise by $1 to $14. The combined age pensions of a married couple will increase by SI .50 to bring the maximum weekly rate to $25. These increases will apply also to Service pensions - which are repatriation benefits - and there will be comparable increases in the allowances paid to tuberculosis sufferers.

The pensions of widows without children will be raised by 75 cents to a maximum of $12.50 a week.

To relieve the difficulties faced by the surviving partner of a married pensioner couple and to help these pensioners to adjust to a single pension, the Government has decided that the equivalent of the combined pension will be paid to the survivor for twelve weeks after one of them dies.

To help women widowed in Australia - and we have migrants particularly in mind - we propose to remove the present requirement of at least one year’s residence before a pension is payable. In future, if a married couple are residing permanently in Australia when the husband dies, the widow will immediately become residential!)’ qualified for a pension.

The Government is aware of the difficulties that can be faced by widowers of relatively small means who are left to care for a family of young children. It is hoped that measures of relief for these widowers will be formulated and announced soon.

To assist families without a breadwinner we propose to increase by $1 to $7 a week the allowance payable to the nonpensioner wife of an age pensioner who is permanently incapacitated or has a dependent child and to the non-pensioner wife of any invalid pensioner. We shall also add $1 a week for each child of age, invalid and widow pensioners to bring the total payment for each child, excluding child endowment, to $2.50 a week. The child’s allowance of $1.50 a week for a first child will be replaced by the addition of the same amount to the parent’s pension. This will raise by $130 a year the amount a pensioner with a child may receive and remain entitled to a pension.

Other new or improved benefits will include an increase in the training and livingawayfromhome allowances payable to those receiving benefits from the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service and the introduction of a training scheme for widow pensioners to help them rejoin the work force.

These proposals will require amending legislation. The additional and new pension benefits will be payable on the first pension pay day after the legislation comes into operation.


In conformity with the proposed increase in age pensions, it is intended to raise the income tax age allowance exemption granted to residents of Australia who are of the qualifying age. This age is 65 years for men and 60 for women.

At present no tax is payable by an aged person whose taxable income does not exceed $1,196. In future the exemption will apply to taxable incomes not exceeding $1,248. For a married person qualified by age, the exemption will be granted where the combined taxable income of the husband and wife does not exceed $2,184, as compared with $2,106 at present.


In considering what we might do to improve repatriation pensions and benefits we have again concentrated our attention where the need is greatest.

Priority has been given to the totally and permanently incapacitated war pensioner. His pension is to be increased by $3 to $33.50 a week.

We are introducing a new special compensation allowance ranging from $2.25 to $3 per week which will be payable to certain more seriously incapacitated general rate pensioners. The pensioners concerned will be those - but not all - with assessed incapacity ranging from 75% to 100%. The intermediate rate of war pension payable to those able to work only part-time or intermittently because of a war-caused disability will be increased by $3 to $24.25 a week.

The pension payable to a war widow is to be increased by $1 to $14 a week. With the policy of need in mind and particularly the need of those without a breadwinner, we intend to increase the pension payable to war orphans. The pension for a war orphan who has lost one parent through war service will rise by SI a week. That will make the pension $5.40 for the first child, and for other children S4.25 a week. Where the other parent also is dead, the pension will increase by $2 to $10.15 a week.

Other policy changes will include increased allowances for certain war pensioners in respect of attendants and clothing, and increases in certain education allowances payable for war widows’ and special rate pensioners’ children.

Service pension eligibility will be granted to those who have had ‘special service’ under the Repatriation (Special Overseas Service) Act. As I have already said, those receiving Service pensions will obtain the same increases as those for age, invalid and widow pensioners.

The Government has already provided as a gift specially equipped motor cars for seriously disabled ex-servicemen who as a result of war service have lost the use of their legs through paralysis or had both legs amputated above the knee. It has now been decided to extend the scheme to certain ex-servicemen who have suffered other types of multiple amputations. The increased benefits will be payable from the first pension pay day after the necessary legislation has been passed.

The Minister for Repatriation will announce the full details of those proposals.


In the field of health services we have given special attention to the burden of costs that can fall on those afflicted with long continuing illnesses. We had already undertaken to assist those suffering in this way. Toward fulfilling this undertaking, two additional benefits are proposed.

First, an insured hospital patient suffering from chronic, pre-existing or long-term illness will be paid, regardless of the length of stay in hospital, the full amount of benefits, including the Commonwealth hospital benefit, for which he or she is insured but the amount so paid will not exceed the hospital charges. This increased benefit will replace the present benefit of $5 a day and will operate from 1st January 1969.

Secondly, we are introducing a supplementary benefit for those patients in approved nursing homes who are medically classified as in need of intensive care in a nursing home. It will be payable from 1st

January 1969 and will add S3 a day to make the total benefit for these patients $5 a day, regardless of the length of illness.

We are introducing a new benefit also for children under 16 accommodated in homes for handicapped persons conducted by religious or charitable organisations which provided medical or paramedical treatment and nursing care. This new benefit will be payable from 1st January 1969 at the rate of SI. SO a day for each child.

We intend to increase as from 1st September 196S the subsidy now payable to approved organisations providing a home nursing service. For organisations established before September 1956, the annual subsidy for each nurse over and above the number employed at 30th September 1956 will be increased from $2,200 to $2,600. For organisations formed after that date, the subsidy for each nurse employed will be increased from $1,100 to $1,300 per annum.

As I have said, the Government has been prepared to go beyond established fields of welfare assistance to areas where facilities are not at present available or adequate. We are convinced that there is a need to develop home care and related services, particularly but not exclusively for aged persons. We have therefore invited the States to discuss this matter with us, at the official level initially, with the aim of working out a comprehensive and coordinated programme of home care, in which the Commonwealth will participate financially and with which would be associated an offer of Commonwealth assistance of up to $lm a year towards the provision of additional State nursing home beds for the infirm aged with little means.

As another measure to assist particularly in home care, we propose to increase the grant payable to the Australian Council on the Ageing from $60,000 to $100,000 a year.

For States prepared to conduct vaccination campaigns, the Commonwealth proposes to provide measles vaccine free of charge. Victoria intends to conduct a measles vaccination campaign in 1968-69. Vaccination campaigns will be initiated also in the Australian Capital Territory and in the Northern Territory.

The proposals I have outlined for additional assistance in the fields of social services, repatriation and health are estimated to cost $57m this year and at least $87m in a full year. Details of the proposed new rates of social service and repatriation benefits are given in Statement No. 9 which outlines the existing and proposed benefits. The estimated costs of particular proposals, both in 1968-69 and in a full year, are shown in Statement No. 2.

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The Commonwealth has given the Royal Flying Doctor Service financial assistance for many years. This year, and in each of the next two years, we propose to increase the Commonwealth subsidy from $280,000 to a maximum of $350,000 a year, of which $180,000 will be for operational costs. In addition, we are making a special capital grant of $480,000 to meet the cost of changing the radio equipment on the 12 radio controlled bases to conform to new international requirements. The total cost of this assistance this year is estimated at $390,000.


In this nationally important field, the Commonwealth will continue to co-operate with the States and other education authorities to develop and improve the facilities and the opportunities for the education of the Australian people. This year the Commonwealth will provide an estimated $2 10m for education or 19% more than expenditure in 1967-68.

The Commonwealth science laboratories and technical training programmes, now in their fifth year, have proved highly successful. As an entirely new policy and to fulfil the assurances the Government has given, we now propose to establish a separate programme for libraries in Government and non-government secondary schools throughout Australia. For approved capital projects under this new programme, we propose to make the sum of $27m available to the States over a three year period beginning in 1969. Projects put in hand after the date of this announcement will be eligible for consideration under the programme. Later in the Session we shall introduce the necessary legislation.

The estimates of the Department of Education and Science include $150,000 for the first annual instalment of a Commonwealth contribution over 5 years to a major project for the development, in cooperation with Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, of curricula and related teaching materials for a junior secondary science project which covers the first 4 years of secondary school science.

As a new policy, the Commonwealth will make a direct contribution to the development of pre-school education. This will be done by unmatched capital grants to the States to increase the capacity of approved pre-school teachers colleges throughout Australia. The sum of $2.5m will be made available over 3 years for distribution among institutions in each of the States. The necessary legislation will be introduced as soon as possible.

Commonwealth scholarships have been reviewed and we have decided to increase the number of open entrance university scholarships by 1,500 to 7,500 a year and the number of scholarships at Colleges of Advanced Education by 500 to 1,500 a year. The number of new post-graduate awards will be increased from 500 to 650 a year. All of these new scholarships will become available from the beginning of the 1969 academic year.

The Government has direct responsibility for education in the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory. It has decided on certain new measures in those Territories, the details of which will be announced by my colleague, the Minister for Education and Science.

The total cost of this new Commonwealth assistance in education will add about S4.7m to the Commonwealth’s expenditure on education in 1968-69.

The greater part of government expenditure on education is, of course, carried by the Budgets of the States. If receipts from business undertakings are excluded, the States spend on education about onethird of their revenues. Commonwealth grants, however, provide more than half of these revenues so that, indirectly as well as directly, the Commonwealth is making a large contribution towards the cost of education in Australia.

Aboriginal Affairs

As citizens, our Aboriginal people have a right to share in the educational and other community and welfare services provided by the various public authorities. This year special provision will be made for Aboriginal people in the fields of health, education, housing and productive enterprise. For these purposes, we are seeking an appropriation of $10m to be set aside in an Aboriginal Advancement Trust Account. Of the $10m to be paid to the Trust Account, $5m will be used for assistance to Aboriginals in the fields of housing, education and health. The other $5m will constitute a fund for assisting enterprises carried on by Aboriginal citizens alone or in association with other Australians. It is unlikely that this amount will be fully spent this year. Any unexpended balance will be carried forward in the Trust Account and will be available for expenditure in the following financial year.

Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation

In keeping with the Government’s policy of making progressive improvements, as and when justified, in the conditions relating to employment by the Commonwealth, we propose to introduce legislation to increase the rates of weekly payments for incapacity provided under the Commonwealth Employees Compensation Act 1930-1967. The weekly rates will be increased from $25.35 to $28.15 for an unmarried adult employee and from $19 to $21.10 for a minor. The additional weekly allowances for dependants will be increased from $6 to $6.80 for a dependent wife. These increases will come into operation as from the date on which the amending legislation receives the Royal Assent.

War Service Homes

We propose to increase the maximum loan under the War Service Homes scheme from $7,000 to $8,000. Pending assent to the necessary legislation, applications for the increased loan will be accepted from eligible new purchasers and borrowers. In conformity with existing policy, applications will be accepted, as soon as the legislation is assented to, for additional loans within the new loan limit for essential extra accommodation and approved utility services.

For expenditure under the War Service Homes scheme $S0m has been provided.

Housing Loans - Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory

We propose also to increase the lending limit under the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory Housing Loans Schemes to the same level as that proposed for War Service Homes - ie, by $1,000 to $8,000. As well, the maximum loan that may be made from Commonwealth funds by co-operative building societies in the Australian Capital Territory will be increased from $7,500 to $8,500. These increases in limits will require an additional $1.2m and a total provision of $10m this year for housing loans in the Territories.

Drought Bonds

In the preparations for the Budget, the Government has reviewed the assistance given to industry, particularly rural industry.

The Government has decided in principle to introduce a scheme of Drought Bonds in order to assist those people, mainly in arid areas, who derive the bulk of their income from grazing sheep and cattle and are unable to conserve fodder and water. They will be able to set aside funds as a provision against drought, fire or flood by investing in these bonds within limits to be specified. The amounts so invested will be deductible in the assessment of taxable income and will earn interest. The bonds will be redeemable in time of drought or if substantial losses are suffered through fire or flood. The amounts received on redemption will be taxable.

The bonds will also be redeemable on sale of the property but subject to payment of the tax that would have been paid if the investment in the bonds had not been made. As an alternative to redemption, provision will be made subject to conditions to be specified for transfer of the bonds to the purchaser of the property, if he so wishes.

Legislation to give effect to this scheme will be introduced when the details have been settled.

Superphosphate Bounty

Since the bounty of $6 a ton on standard superphosphate used in Australia as a fertilizer was introduced in August 1963, use of this fertilizer has increased considerably with beneficial effects on rural output and exports.

Superphosphate is by far the most widely used fertilizer in this country. It is essential for the improvement of pastures in the better rainfall country, for cereal cropping and for the development of new land, including the establishment of pastures in tropical areas. The cost of superphosphate is thus a material element in the cost of production of many forms of rural output.

We have decided to extend to October 1971 the legislation authorising the bounty on superphosphate and to increase the standard rate of bounty to $8 a ton with effect from 14th August 1968.

We have decided also that approved compounds of trace elements, where incorporated with bountiable phosphate fertilizers, should attract the same rate of subsidy as standard superphosphate. We are extending the bounty in this way, with effect from tomorrow, in recognition of the fact that mineral trace elements are essential for successful pastoral or crop production in many parts of Australia and it is usual for these elements to be incorporated with superphosphate.

At the new rate, the bounty is expected to cost $37m this year or $13m more than last year.

Gold-mining Subsidy

The Government has considered, too, representations from the gold-mining industry for further financial assistance from the Commonwealth and has decided to liberalise the present treatment, under the subsidy scheme, of receipts by subsidised producers of premiums from sales of gold. At present, the relevant Act provides that producers’ subsidy entitlements are reduced by the full amount of such premiums. The Government has decided to bring legislation forward to amend the Act, with effect from 1st July last, to provide for retention by subsidised producers of 25% of premiums received in excess of the present official price of $31.25 per ounce. On the amended basis, the subsidy is estimated to cost $2.7m in 1968-69. The necessary amending legislation will be brought down shortly.

Other Expenditures

Up to this point I have outlined particular decisions affecting expenditures that were taken in the context of this Budget. In doing so I have covered some of the main classes of expenditure. I shall now refer to the others. A more detailed analysis is to be found in Statement. No. 2 attached to the Budget Speech.

Among the main classes of expenditure, the largest absolute increase, $113m, is expected in payments to or for the States, which are estimated to rise to a total of $ 1,466m this year. That is an increase of 8.3%. The largest segment of these payments comprises the general revenue grants to the States, estimated this year to rise by $65m to $ 1,022m, an increase of 6.8%. Specific purpose payments of a capital nature to the States are expected to increase by $45m to $340m, an increase of 15.3%. These special capital payments are, of course, distinct from the State works and housing programmes which this year will increase by $33m to $7 10m, an increase of 4.9%.

Departmental running expenses are expected to increase by $24m, or 6.6%, to $384m.

Expenditure in the Australian Territories, other than Papua and New Guinea, is estimated to increase by $9m or 15.2% to $7lm. This does not include expenditure on capital works and services. The provision for expenditure in the Australian Capital Territory is nearly $30m, an increase of $4m or 16.8%. For expenditure in the Northern Territory, close to $40m is being provided, which is 13.8% above last year’s expenditure.

External aid, including the grant to the Administration of Papua and New Guinea, is estimated at $144m, or 13.6% greater than last year’s expenditure.

The grant to the Administration of Papua and New Guinea will be $87m - $9.4m or 12% greater than the grant for 1967- 68. This grant has more than doubled over the last 6 years - which is convincing evidence of the Government’s unswerving aim to maintain the pace of economic and social development in Papua and New Guinea.

Over and above the grant, Commonwealth Departments are expected to spend more than $23m in Papua and New Guinea. The Territory will thus make a total call on this Budget of at least SI 10m. The amount could increase if the need of the Papua and New Guinea Development Bank for funds seems likely to exceed its resources and the Government considers it necessary to assist the Administration to make an additional contribution towards the Bank’s capital.

Apart from the grant to Papua and New Guinea, external aid to developing countries continues to grow and absorb an increasing proportion of our national resources. The cost of international aid programmes is expected to rise this year to $5 6m, or 16% above last year’s expenditure. Our international aid to the less-developed countries of the world, given in grant form, is thus continuing to increase rapidly while certain major aid-giving countries have either reduced their assistance or slowed down the rate at which it has been increasing. Statement No. 8 attached to the Budget Speech gives details of the estimates for international aid.

Commonwealth payments to industry will, on present estimates, increase by $38m or 21% this year. I have already referred to the increased bounty to be paid on phosphate fertilizers. In addition, it is expected that the bounty on nitrogenous fertilizers will cost $ 14.4m or $4m more than last year. Payments under the wheat industry stabilisation arrangements are expected to increase by $27. 5m to $43m, and devaluation compensation for primary industries is estimated at $35m, or $14m more than last year. Compensation in respect of manufactured exports is estimated at $2m.

Total payments to rural industries are estimated to rise by 25% to SI 79m in

1968- 69.

I have already mentioned some of the expenditures grouped in Statement No. 2 under the heading ‘Other Expenditures’ - for example, some expenditures on education and Aboriginal welfare. I also want to draw attention to one other item in this group and that is the assisted immigration passage schemes. This year we are expecting an increase in the intake of assisted migrants, and we are providing more than S34m for assisted passages or nearly S8m more than we spent last year for this purpose.

In relation to the item - Advances for Capital Purposes - I draw attention to the new financial arrangements for the Post Office, which came into force on 1st July 1968. For the Post Office we now have a single line in the Estimates that provides the amount of new capital the Post Office is to receive from the Budget. This year the amount to be provided is $222m, an increase of Si 8m over the comparable figure for last year. The Post Office will also draw on its own internal resources of funds - comprising in the main depreciation moneys - and, altogether, it should be able to undertake a capital programme in 1968-69 of $280m. This programme is geared to the continuously increasing demand for new and improved communication facilities.

For other Commonwealth capital works and services we are providing $189m - $15m or 8.8% more than the amount spent last year.

Debt charges are expected to increase by $3.6m to nearly $110m this year. In all, expenditure is expected to amount to $6,590,887,000.

I now turn to the method of financing the proposals to be put to the House.

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We have based this year’s estimates of receipts, except from borrowings, on the expectation of a strong increase in incomes and spending in Australia. We have assumed that the rate of increase in average earnings will be a little below last year’s rate - 5.5% as against 6% - and that the rate of increase in average employment will be faster - 3% as against 2.5%. Expenditure on goods subject to excise duties and sales tax is expected to rise strongly again in 1968-69.

As I said earlier, total receipts, other than from borrowings, are estimated to amount to $5,950m at existing rates of taxes and other charges - an increase of S482m over receipts in 1967-68. The increase so attained, however, will flow very largely from the growth of the economy. It will mainly be a product of economic growth and not a restraint on it. This is a point to he kept well in mind in any attempt to assess the impact of the Budget on the economy.

Receipts of S5,950m would fall short of total expenditure of S6,591m by §64 lm, which would be almost the same as last year’s deficit. For the reasons J have given earlier we think we should do something to offset the rise in Commonwealth expenditures this year by seeking to raise additional revenues.

Income Tax - Companies

It is proposed to increase by 2.5 cents in the $1 the rates of tax payable on incomes derived by companies during the income year 1967-68. The rate of 50 cents in the $1 payable where there is an insufficient distribution of income by a private company will not be changed.

The investment income of a superannuation fund that does not invest a sufficient proportion of its assets in public securities is taxed at the same rates as the mutual income of a life assurance company. As the latter rates are being increased by 2.5 cents in the Si, the rates for a superannuation fund whose investment income in 1968-69 is taxed in this way are being increased by a corresponding amount.

The gain in revenue from the increased company rates is estimated to be S60m in a full year and $56.5m in 1968-69.

Sales Tan

As another measure to secure additional revenue, it is proposed to increase the general rate of sales tax from 121% to 15%. The increase will apply to ail classes of goods to which the present 12£% rate applies, and will be effective as from tomorrow, 14th August 1968.

The 124% class includes commercial vehicles, motor spare parts and accessories, tyres and tubes, printed matter and paper products, confectionery, soaps, detergents, potable spirits, imported wines and beers, typewriters, office furniture and equipment, sporting goods, toys and other goods.

It is estimated that the proposed sales tax increase will produce additional revenue of S44m in a full year and $34m for the financial year 1968-69.

Broadcasting and Television Licence Fees

In recent years, the cost of the national broadcasting and television service has been exceeding the annual revenue from broadcast listeners’ and television viewers’ licence fees by an ever-widening margin. The television licence fee was increased by $2 a year in 1964 but this merely offset the loss of revenue resulting from the removal of excise duty on cathode ray tubes at that time. Neither the broadcasting licence fee nor the television licence fee has been effectively increased since 1956. To reduce the annual deficit on the operations of the national broadcasting and television service, it has been decided to increase the combined broadcasting and television licence fee from §17 to $20 a year. The television licence fee will rise from $12 to $14, and the broadcasting licence fee from $5.50 to $6.50 in Zone 1 and from S2.80 to $3.30 a year in Zone 2. The licence fee for pensioners will remain unchanged.

These increases, which will apply from 1st October next, are expected to bring in additional revenue of S5m in 1968-69 and $7m in a full year.

Air Navigation Charges and Passenger Service Charge

In each of the last 6 years we have increased by 10% the rates of air navigation charges in pursuance of the policy that the air transport industry should meet a greater proportion of the costs incurred by the Commonwealth in providing, maintaining and operating airports and airway facilities. We propose to make a further 10% increase this year. It will apply from 1st January 1969 and is expected to yield additional revenue of $460,000 in 1968-69 and SI 01 0.000 in a full year. We propose also to adjust the scale of aircraft weights used in calculating these charges to lake full account of the fact that it is the operation of heavier aircraft that usually necessitates major capital expenditure at airports.

In my Budget Speech a year ago I announced the Government’s intention to introduce a passenger service charge to be payable on both domestic and international air services to help progressively towards reducing the gap between the annual cost and the annual revenue from the use of aviation facilities. The basic charge is to be 50 cents for embarkation and 50 cents for disembarkation at Commonwealth airports, making a total charge of $1 for a single domestic journey between two such airports. The charge will be $2 for embarkation by departing international passengers. Legislation to give effect to the charge will be introduced after arrangements for collection have been discussed with the airlines.

Light Dues

The charges at present paid by shipping companies for lighthouse services and other aids to navigation are insufficient to meet the annual cost to the Commonwealth of providing these facilities. It has therefore been decided that light dues should be increased from the present 15 cents per net registered ton per quarter, to 18 cents. This is expected to yield additional revenue of $480,000 in 1968-69, and $640,000 in a full year.

Post Office Tariffs

Despite the fact that certain postal and telephone charges were increased last year, the Post Office incurred a significant loss in 1967-68. On the basis of present tariffs it would incur another loss in 1968-69. The adverse result in 1967-68 was due partly to the delay in introducing the new tariffs as a result of the Senate’s rejection of the tariff proposals in June last year, and partly to the fact that substantial cost increases have occurred since the new charges were introduced. The postal service in particular is labour intensive, and there is a limit to how far the Post Office is able to offset increasing labour costs by improvements in productivity. The postal strike also contributed to the adverse result in 1967-68.

As a step towards restoring the POS Office’s financial position, it has been decided to adjust the charges for certain postal services. The services involved were not affected by last year’s tariff increases.

In some cases reductions in charges will be proposed where it is expected that in consequence demand will increase and additional revenue will accrue as a result of the increased business. The PostmasterGeneral will outline the measures proposed.

The revenue measures, which will apply from 1st October next, are expected to increase Post Office revenue by some $5m in 1968-69, and S7m in a full year. Even with these adjustments, it is expected that the Post Office will still incur a loss in 1968-69.

Total Estimated Receipts, 1968-69

Apart from the increases in postal charges, which will not directly affect Budget revenues under the new accounting arrangements that apply to the Post Office, the net effect of the new revenue measures I have outlined will be an estimated addition of S94.4m to Budget receipts this year. This will raise the estimated total receipts to S6,044m and will reduce the estimated deficit to $547m or S97m less than last year’s deficit of $644m.

The reduction of the gap between expenditure and revenue is a critically important feature of the Budget. How this deficit is to be financed has implications for the supply of money and hence for the indirect impact of the Budget on the economy.

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The deficit will have to be financed from borrowed funds, including the net amounts we are able to raise abroad. Last year, we raised overseas a net $132m in public loans, aircraft loans and defence credits. This year we expect net drawings under aircraft loans and defence credits to be some $80m less than they were last year. As against that, redemptions and repayments of our public loans overseas should be reduced by about $40m. Whether we can raise more in public loans overseas this year than the $7 7m we obtained last year remains to be seen. We have already floated a deutsche mark loan which will bring in $2 1.3m and we shall lose no opportunities to raise additional amounts abroad on acceptable terms and conditions. All told, however, our net official borrowings abroad from all sources seem likely to fall short of last year’s $132m.

That would leave a net amount of more than $400m to be raised in Australia. Last year net public loan raisings in Australia were S297m. Because of a smaller volume of maturities, redemptions this year should be less than last year’s $293 m so that net raisings in Australia could be larger than those obtained last year. We can expect a sizeable proportion of the subscriptions to public loans in Australia again to come from the banking system and we shall have to call on the Reserve Bank to finance that part of the deficit for which funds are not available from other sources.

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The likely economic effects of a Budget can be assessed only in the context of all of the more important influences operating at the time in the economy as a whole. The critical question is not so much whether the Budget is expansionary or otherwise but whether its effects when combined with the other influences at work will be likely to keep the economy growing in conditions of internal and external stability.

Statement No. 6 attached to the Budget Speech presents the estimates of the receipts and outlay in economically significant categories and analyses the changes which are considered likely to have effects on demand and incomes in Australia.

The Statement suggests that the impact of Budget outlays in this respect will be much the same in 1968-69 as in 1967-68, but that when allowance is made for the measures on the revenue side, the overall effect of the Budget will be a smaller contribution to the growth of demand and incomes than was made by the 1967-68 Budget.

We are seeking this effect because or the judgment we have made as to the strength of other influences operating to raise expenditures. We do not wish to see total spending in the economy run ahead too fast this year - as we believe it would if the Budget impact were not moderated.

The annual Budget is a time for taking stock of where we stand and what lies ahead of us. It should never be confined wholly to a short-term view. On the most sober assessment, .great opportunities have opened up for Australia. The new resources so far proved are now adding more and more lo the ever-increasing output of national wealth. These developments hold possibilities of immense future growth; and it is safe to assume that there are more to come. This does not mean that the path ahead has suddenly been made easy for us. To turn our resources to the best account will require a great and manysided effort and careful management of our national affairs. It is important to maintain full employment and a high growth rate; it is equally important to hold costs down to keep our industries viable and enable them to trade effectively abroad. Our task, in any event, is more than one of development in the narrow sense. The great problem of external security will be with us for many a day to come and must call heavily on our resources. Our task is far loo big for a community of 12 million people to handle with the means of production they can provide. And so we must keep our country attractive to immigrants and to capital. If it is a task for our generation it is still more a task for the generation coming on; we owe them the training they will need. We owe another debt - a debt to those who have done their day’s work and are now aged and infirm, to the sick and the handicapped and to those who have sustained disabilities in war. A budget has largely to be a process of analysis and calculation; but it ought never to exclude humane and social values. We have sought to give them an honoured place in this Budget.

I commend it to honourable members.


*NOTE: A number of changes has been made to the way in which the Budget figures are presented in this year' 's Statements, other than in* Statement No. 5 - Budget Result, 1967-68. *These changes are outlined at the end of this Statement. It is to be noted that the concept of the Budget* deficit *now used in the 'conventional' classification is identical with that now used in the national accounting classification.* The Budget estimates for 1968-69, in the revised 'conventional' form, provide for: . . an increase of $479 million, or 7.8 per cent, in Commonwealth expenditures, which compares with an actual increase of 10.4 per cent in 1967-68; .. an increase of $576 million, or 10.5 per cent, in Commonwealth receipts, which includes a net $94 million estimated to accrue from the new revenue measures announced in the Budget Speech. In 1967-68, receipts increased by 9.7 per cent; . . a reduction, from $644 million to $547 million, in the Budget deficit. Classified in national accounting form, the estimates imply: . . a substantial moderation, from 10.3 per cent in 1967-68 to an estimated 7.5 per cent, in the rate of increase in total Commonwealth outlays, and from 15.7 per cent to an estimated 10. 1 per cent in the rate of increase in outlays on goods and services; .. a small reduction in Commonwealth outlays *overseas,* in contrast with a large increase - 27.3 per cent - in 1967-68; .. about the same rate of increase as in 1967-68 in outlays *within* Australia - about 8.5 per cent as against 8.6 per cent in 1967-68; and . . an increase in receipts of 8 . 5 per cent on the basis of existing rates of taxes and other charges, and of 10.2 per cent after taking account of the revenue measures announced in the Budget Speech. This compares with an increase of 9 . 6 per cent in 1967-68. The estimated reduction of $97 million in the Budget deficit, under both classifications, compares with an increase of $92 million in 1967-68. {:#subdebate-37-0} #### The Economic Context The Budget for 1968-69 has been prepared with the expectation that private spending for both consumption and investment purposes, the growth of which quickened during 1967-68, will continue to increase strongly in 1968-69 and that the rate of growth of Gross National Product will be higher than in 1967-68, mainly because of a recovery in farm output which was cut back heavily last year by drought. Estimates of the main components of Gross National Product and Gross National Expenditure in 1967-68 are given in detail in the document 'National Income and Expenditure 1967-68' presented with the Budget papers. Those estimates show the following main changes from 1966-67: .. an increase of 5.7 per cent in Gross National Product at factor cost, comprising an increase of 9 per cent in the gross value of non-farm output and a decrease of 21 . 1 per cent in the gross value of farm output; .. an increase of 7.8 per cent in Gross National Expenditure, including increases of 8 per cent in personal consumption, 7.7 per cent in private gross fixed investment, and 11.1 per cent in public authority expenditure on goods and services; and . . partly because of the faster rate of growth in spending than in supplies available from local sources, an increase from $228 million in 1966-67 to $618 million in the excess of imports over exports of goods and services. Gross National Product is expected to increase, at a faster rate in 1968-69 than in 1967-68 - in terms of constant prices, the increase could be 6 per cent or more as compared with about 4 per cent last year. This assumes that average employment will be about 3 per cent higher than in 1967-68 and that farm output, which dropped sharply in 1967-68, will recover strongly. A large part of any increase in farm output will represent an addition to supplies available for export rather than for meeting domestic demand. This will also be so with a good deal of the increased output that can be expected from the mineral industry. Thus the rate of increase in supplies available from local sources to meet domestic demand can be expected to be smaller than the prospective rate of increase in Gross National Product. As to demand, spending by the private sector can, on present indications, be expected to continue to increase strongly in 1968-69. Average earnings are likely to increase at a high rate- an increase of 5.5 per cent has been assumed - and this, with a strong rise in employment, suggests a continued high level of spending by wage and salary earners. With recovery from the drought, a sizable increase in farm income, which would make a contribution to the rise in spending, appears to be in prospect. Company income has, in general, been rising strongly, and a continued high level of investment spending by companies also appears likely. Budget expenditures, including provisions for additional benefits and services in the welfare and other fields, will contribute substantially to the growth of demand and activity within the economy. With further strong growth in private spending in 1968-69, this could, in the absence of action to reduce the expansionary influence of the Budget, lead to excessive pressures on available resources and on costs and prices and prevent improvement in the external current account. Accordingly, provision is made in the 'Budget for additional taxation and a reduction of the deficit. 'Conventional' Budget Figures The Budget estimates for 1968-69, in the revised 'conventional' form, are compared in the following table with actual expenditures and receipts in 1967-68: The estimates for 1968-69 include provision for new expenditure proposals announced in the Budget Speech. These include, in particular, the proposed new measures in the field of Social Services and Repatriation Benefits which are estimated to cost $56.6 million in 1968-69 and $86.8 million in a full year. The main elements in the prospective increase in expenditures in 1968-69 compare with actual increases in 1967-68 as follows: The estimated increase of S102 million in expenditure on Defence Services in 1968-69 is the smallest increase for four years. Total expenditure, excluding defence expenditure, is estimated to increase by 7.5 per cent, compared with an increase of 9.1 per cent in 1967- 68. Further details of the 1968-69 estimates of expenditure are given in Statement No. 2. Before taking into account the effects of the proposed revenue measures, total Commonwealth receipts are estimated to increase by §482 million, or 8.8 per cent, in 1968-69. Of this increase, S409 million is estimated to come from taxation collections. Higher incomes in 1967-68, which are subject to tax in 1968-69, and a further strong increase in employment and average earnings in 1968-69 are expected to produce an increase, on the basis of existing legislation, of §284 million in income tax collections from all sources. But for the effects of the drought on incomes of primary producers in 1967-68, this figure would be considerably higher. Collections of taxes on commodities, that is, customs duty, excise duty and sales tax, are estimated, on the basis of existing rates, to yield an additional $107 million in 1968- 69. This estimate allows for a further strong increase in private spending in the current financial year. The proposed new revenue measures are estimated to yield a net amount of $94.4 million in 1968-69 and $109.6 million in a full year, as follows: After taking the effects of these proposed new revenue measures into account, total Commonwealth receipts are estimated to amount to $6,044 million, which would be $576 million, or 10. 5 per cent, more than in 1 967-68. Further details of the estimates of receipts are given in Statement No. 3. Budget Estimates in National Accounting Form The presentation of receipts and outlays in national accounting terms facilitates the analysis of the relationship between the Budget and the economy as a whole. The Budget estimates in national accounting form are considered in detail in Statement No. 6 and in the Supplement to the Treasury Information Bulletin which accompanies the Budget documents. The following table contains a summary of the main Budget aggregates in national accounting form: In contrast with 1967-68, when there was a very large increase in Commonwealth outlays overseas, it is estimated that there will be a small decline in these outlays in 1968-69. Thus the whole of the prospective increase in outlays in 1968-69 will be an addition to outlays within the economy. As a result, domestic outlays are estimated to increase by 8.5 per cent in 1968-69, which is about the same as in 1967-68. As regards the composition of domestic outlays, direct expenditure on goods and services by the Commonwealth is estimated to increase by II per cent as against 1 1.2 per cent last year and transfer payments and net advances are estimated to rise by 7 . 6 per cent, the same as last year. On the basis of existing rates of taxes and other charges, total receipts are estimated to rise by $470 million, or 8 . 5 per cent, in national accounting terms. The greater part of this increase is expected to result from the increase in activity and spending in the private sector which appears to be in prospect in 1968-69. As it is largely the expected product of prospective trends in the economy, this estimated increase in receipts would provide little offset to the expansionary effects of the prospective increase in Budget outlays. However, the new revenue measures which are proposed in the Budget, and which can be regarded as being superimposed on the trends in the economy, should exert some moderating influence on the overall increase in demand. On a national accounting basis, these measures are estimated to yield $93 million in 1968-69 and $108 million in a full year. {:#subdebate-37-1} #### The Budget Deficit The Budget deficit, under both the revised 'conventional' classification and the national accounting classification, is estimated to be $547 million, or $97 million less than the deficit in 1967-68. The size of the deficit and the way in which it is financed can have important effects on monetary conditions, particularly insofar as the use of bank credit is involved. The financing of last year's deficit of $644 million involved, directly and indirectly, a substantial call on bank credit. The prospective reduction in the deficit in 1968-69 should reduce the call on bank credit. The financing of the 1967-68 deficit and prospects for financing the 1968-69 deficit are discussed further in Statement No. 4. Note on Changes in Budget Presentation *A number of changes has been made in the presentation of the Budget figures to take account of changes in accounting arrangements, to remove inconsistencies and to facilitate interpretation of the figures. The changes affect both the 'conventional' and the national accounting presentations of the figures.* *The changes in the national accounting presentation are explained in Statement No. 6.* *The more important changes in the 'conventional' presentation are summarised below:* {: type="a" start="a"} 0. *advances made from the Budget for capital expenditures by the Australian National Airlines Commission and Qantas Airways Ltd. are included in the aggregate Budget figures, under the heading 'Advances for Capital Purposes'. The figures also reflect loans raised overseas for the Commission and Qantas Airways Ltd. and recoups from these authorities;* 1. *transactions associated with Australia's subscriptions to the International Monetary Fund and drawings by other countries in Australian currency from the International Monetary Fund are treated as an element in the financing section of the accounts. These transactions are in the nature of overseas loans or investments by Australia and their only significant effect is to change the way in which Australia's international* 2. *the State Works and Bousing Programmes are shown in gross form and State domestic loan raisings are included as loan raisings in the financing transactions;* 3. *items under the former receipts heading 'Net increase in other Trust Fund balances' have been dissected to distinguish between transactions which are in the nature of financing items and those which should be regarded as elements in the normal receipts and expenditures of the Commonwealth;* 4. *because of the new accounting arrangements for the Post Office, the Budget documents no longer show Post Office revenue, capital expenditure and operating expenditures separately, but instead show a single payment representing the net funds provided from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for Post Office operations. This payment is treated as a capital advance to the Post Office and included under the heading Advances for Capital Purposes'. The new Post Office accounting arrangements also result in changes to the figures for 'Other Revenue'. The figures for 1966-67 and 1967-68 have been adjusted on to this new basis to maintain year-to-year comparability;* 5. *the net receipts of the Business Undertakings, the railways and broadcasting and television services, have been included in the item 'Other Revenue'. This accords with the presentation adopted for national accounting purposes;* 6. *accounting changes affecting the figures of expenditure on Defence Services and Departmental running expenses of the Departments of the Interior and Works have been introduced into the Budget documents this year. The 1966-67 and 1967-68 figures have been adjusted to maintain year-to-year comparability; and* 7. *some new classifications of expenditures have also been used this year, for example, Commonwealth Payments to Industry, External Economic Aid (including Papua and New Guinea), and Advances for Capital Purposes.* {: .page-start } page 54 {:#debate-38} ### STATEMENT No. 2- ESTIMATES OF EXPENDITURES, 1968-69 Commonwealth expenditures are estimated to increase by $478,930,000, or 7.8 per cent, to $6,590,887,000 in 1968-69. The estimates for 1968-69 are compared in summary form with actual expenditures in 1966-67 and 1967-68 in the following table. Tables setting out the composition of the various items of expenditure and notes on the main variations follow. Payments for materials and equipment financed under credit arrangements with the United States of America, which are included in the figures above, are as follows: Repayments of principal amounted to $14,106,000 in 1967-68 and are estimated to be $37,000,000 in 1968-69, so that net drawings under the credit arrangements were $118,032,000 in 1967-68 and are estimated to be $85,352,000 in 1968-69. There were no repayments of principal in 1966-67. Defence expenditure abroad from cash and credits, including costs of maintaining forces as wel as purchases of equipment and stores, was approximately $344,000,000 in 1967-68. Substantial payment! were made in respect of aircraft (Tracker, Skyhawk, Fl 1 1-C, Orion, Mirage, Macchi, H.S.-748, BAC-1 1 1), ships (Submarines, Destroyers) and other equipment purchased under the recently concluded three year Defence Programme. Expenditure abroad is expected to rise to about $375,000,000 in 1968-69, the increase being mainly in respect of further progress payments on equipment, including most of that mentioned above, already ordered. The foregoing figures do not include defence expenditures in Papua and New Guinea or Defence Aid for Malaysia and Singapore. This item includes payments in the nature of financial assistance to or for the States except payments to the States for the maintenance of tuberculosis hospitals and payments under the States Grants (Deserted Wives) Act, both of which are charged to the National Welfare Fund, and contributions towards the cost of development of an integrated township at Exmouth, which ate charged to Defence Services. Further details of the various payments are given in the White Paper 'Commonwealth Payments to or for the States, 1968-69'. General revenue grants are expected to rise in 1968-69 by $64,946,000, or nearly 7 per cent. The financial assistance grants payable under the present provisions of the *States Grants Act* 1965-1967 are tentatively estimated to be $81,461,000 greater than in 1967-68. In addition, as agreed at the Premiers' Conference in June 1 968, it is proposed that an amount of $1 5,500,000 be paid to Western Australia in lieu of a special grant. Special grants recommended by the Commonwealth Grants Commission for payment in 1968-69 are $17,392,000, comprising an advance payment of $18,000,000 to Tasmania for the current financial year, a completion payment of $582,000 to Western Australia in respect of 1966-67, and a negative adjustment of $1,190,000 in respect of that year in the case of Tasmania; in total, these are $18,015,000 less than the grants paid in 1967-68. Payments amounting to $14,000,000 were made in 1967-68 to assist the States of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia, whose budgets had been adversely affected by drought; no provision has been made for any similar payments in 1968-69. Specific purpose payments of a revenue nature are estimated to be $2,566,000 greater than in 1967-68. Estimated increases of $4,493,000 in payments to the States for education purposes are partly offset by an estimated decline of $3,490,000 in drought relief payments. Specific purpose payments of a capital nature are estimated to increase by $45,223,000 in 1968-69 to $340,199,000. Payments to the States for education are expected to increase by $19,214,000; this includes an amount of $3,350,000 on account of two new policy measures relating to school libraries and pre-school teachers colleges announced in the Budget Speech. In accordance with the Commonwealth Aid Roads Act, provision has been made for grants to increase by $10,000,000 in 1968-69. Provision has been made for $14,000,000, or $8,700,000 more than in 1967-68, to be made available to Tasmania to help in financing the Gordon River Hydro-electric Scheme and for $15,000,000 to be made available to South Australia to help in financing a natural gas pipeline. These increases are partly offset by estimated reductions of $11,664,000 in payments for railways projects, $6, 1 75,000 in payments relating to the Tasmanian bushfire, and $3,250,000 in payments to New South Wales in respect of the Blowering Reservoir. {:#subdebate-38-0} #### Item No. 3 - State Works and Housing Programmes At its meeting in June 1968, the Loan Council approved a government borrowing programme for 1968-69 of which $710,000,000 was for State Works and Housing. The Loan Council approved borrowing programmes of $357,000,000 for State semi-government and local authorities with programmes in excess of $300,000 in 1968-69, and $1,634,000 for Commonwealth authorities. The Loan Council also decided that no overall limit should be placed on borrowings by authorities for which the State Governments approve individual programmes of not more than $300,000 in 1968-69. The approved allocations for State Works and Housing in 1968-69 compare as follows with the actual allocations for 1967-68: State domestic raisings are estimated to produce $16,000,000 in 1 968-69 which would leave $694,000,000 to be provided from Loan Fund to complete this year's borrowing programme for works and housing purposes. This compares with $659,293,000 in 1967-68. Details of the manner in which the State Works and Housing Programmes have been financed since 1958-59 are given in the White Paper 'Commonwealth Payments to or for the States, 1968-69'. The National Welfare Fund Act requires that the payment from Consolidated Revenue to the National Welfare Fund each year be equal to the actual expenditure from the Fund in that year. Expenditure from the Fund was $1,075,049,000 in 1967-68 and, after taking account of the cost of the Budget proposals, it is estimated at $1,160,512,000 in 1968-69. The measures announced in the Budget Speech are estimated to cost $45,942,000 in 1968-69 and $72,410,000 in a full year. The estimated costs of the particular proposals are as follows: The additional full-year cost in 1968-69 of measures introduced in 1967-68 is estimated to be $2,700,000. Existing and proposed rates of benefits are outlined in Statement No. 9. Expenditure on Repatriation Services is estimated to increase by $25,426,000 in 1968-69 to $285,517,000. The proposals announced in the Budget Speech are estimated to account for $10,679,000 of this increase. The full-year cost of these proposals is estimated to be $14,360,000. The estimated costs of the proposals are as follows: A factor contributing to the increase in expenditure on repatriation benefits in 1968-69 is the occurrence of one more twelve- weekly bank payment of pensions and allowances than in 1967-68. This is estimated to have added $10,901,000 to the prospective increase in expenditure. Interest payments under the Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Act are estimated to be 93,462,000 less in 1968-69 than in 1967-68. This decrease results mainly from a reduction in the debt outstanding under ' this Act. The *National Debt Sinking Fund Act* 1966 revised the percentage contribution payable from the Consolidated Revenue Fund to the Sinking Fund and the basis for determining the amount of debt subject to percentage contribution. The estimated increase of $7,979,000 in contributions for 1968-69 reflects two factors. Net debt, on which the 4 per cent contribution is calculated, increased by $130,321,000 in 1967 -68. resulting in an increased contribution of $5,213,000. Also, under the Act, the payment to the Sinking Fund from Consolidated Revenue is reduced by interest. earned from investments of the Sinking Fund. Interest income is expected to be $2,765,000 lower in 1968-69 and the estimated payment from Consolidated Revenue to be correspondingly higher. Of the estimated increase in wages and salaries of about $15,831,000 between1967-68 and 1968-69, increased staff accounts for some $10,033,000 and the remainder is due to higher wages and salaries paid on account of arbitration determinations, increments and higher duties allowances. Expenditure on the Australian Capital Territory is estimated to increase by $4,289,000 and expenditure on the Northern Territory by$4,847.000 in 1968-69. Apart from an initial advance of $340,000 to a new trust account - the Australian Capital Territory Suspense Trust Account - which was created to facilitate the costing and accounting procedures of the Department of the Interior, the major increases in both the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory reflect the additional costs associated with providing services to expanding communities. The figures in the foregoing table summarise clearly identifiable items in the Budget which are in the nature of economic assistance to developing countries. Details of expenditure on external economic aid, including certain items not included in the table above, are set out in Statement No. 8. The estimated increase of $37,997,000 in Commonwealth Payments to Industry in 1968-69 is the net result of an estimated increase of 835,566,000 in payments to rural industries, an estimated increase of $4,908,000 in payments to manufacturing industries, and estimated decreases of $1,974,000 in payments to mining industries and $503,000 in payments to transport industries. Comments on the main changes in the estimates for 1968-69 are set out below. *Primary Industries* *Raw Cotton Bounty.* Expenditure under the *Raw Cotton Bounty Act* 1963-1966 is estimated to be $2,175,000 less in 1968-69 than in 1967-68 because the Act expires in 1969; the estimate represents the cost of meeting the remaining commitments under that Act. *Wheat Industry Stabilization. The* estimated average export price of wheal of the 1967-68 crop is expected to be lower than the average export price received for the previous crop, in addition, the guaranteed return on exports of 150 million bushels from the 1967-68 crop is 9 cents per bushel higher than that Tor the previous season. These two factors account for the estimated increase of $27,492,000 in the Commonwealth payment to the Wheat Prices Stabilization Fund. *Phosphate Fertilizers Bounty.* As a result of a proposed increase from $6 to $8 per ton in the standard rate of bounty, and an expected increase in sales following the drought, it is estimated that expenditure on the bounty in 1968-69 will increase by $13,436,000 to $37,000,000. *Devaluation Compensation.* Payments of $35,000,000, or $14,000,000 more than in 1967-68, ara expected to be made to rural industries in respect of reduced returns in Australian currency arising from the devaluation of sterling and other currencies. *Nitrogenous Fertilizers Subsidy.* Expenditure on the subsidy is estimated to increase by $4,092,000 in 1968-69 as a result of an expected increase in sales of nitrogenous fertilizers. *Marginal Dairy Farm Reconstruction Scheme.* An initial provision of $1,000,000 has been made in 1968-69 for the purpose of this scheme. *Sugar Industry Assistance.* In 1967-68, $23,767,000 was made available to Queensland to enable the State to make loans to the sugar industry to supplement returns from the 1966 and 1967 sugar crops. No provision is made for similar payments in 1968-69. *Manufacturing Industries* *Shipbuilding Subsidy.* Ships are purchased by the Commonwealth from the Australian Shipbuilding Board and sold at prices of up to one-third less than cost. The expected increase of $6,075,000 in expenditure in 1968-69 is attributable to increased shipbuilding activity. However, because of an expected higher incidence of progress receipts in 1968-69 from sales, the subsidy cost is estimated to decrease by $1,132,000. *Industrial Research and Development.* In 1967-68, the first year of operation of the grants scheme, expenditure amounted to $654,000. A provision of $4,000,000 has been included for payments in 1968-69. *Devaluation Compensation.* A provision of $2,000,000 has been included for payments in 1968-69 to manufacturing industries in respect of reduced returns in Australian currency arising from the devaluation of sterling and other currencies. No payments for this purpose were made in 1967-68. *Mining Industries* *Cold Mining Industry Assistance.* The expected reduction of $1,662,000 in 1968-69 reflects the fact that advances of subsidy were made at an accelerated rate in 1967-68 (thus reducing the final payments to be made in respect of 1967-68 production) and the expectation that deductions from subsidy entitlements in respect of premium gold sales will be higher in 1968-69. As announced in the Budget Speech, it is proposed that in 1968-69 subsidised gold producers will receive 25 per cent of premiums above the official price and that 75 per cent of the premiums will be deducted from subsidy entitlements. Other Expenditures comprise expenditures and estimated expenditures under annual and special appropriations from the Consolidated Revenue Fund and the Loan Fund, which are not included under other headings. The main factors giving rise to the estimated increase of 831,831,000 are: {:#subdebate-38-1} #### Education and Science *Australian National University.* Payments to the Australian National University are estimated to be (2,126,000 greater. These payments are based on the level of grants recommended by the Australian Universities Commission over the 1967-69 triennium plus the effects of subsequent decisions which have given rise to increased academic and other salaries. *Commonwealth Scholarship Schemes.* The estimated increase of 34,339,000 includes $3,297,000 for university scholarships, $701,000 for post-graduate awards and $226,000 for advanced education scholarships; these amounts reflect, in part, the cost in 1968-69 of the additional awards and scholarships referred to in the Budget Speech. *Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.* Under revised accounting arrangements the Organization will retain, in 1968-69, certain classes of revenues that in earlier years were paid to the Consolidated Revenue Fund; these revenues are estimated at $800,000 in 1968-69, an increase of $36,000 over the preceding year. The total increase in Treasury funds to be made available to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in 1968-69 is expected to be $2,S61,000, of which $36,000 arises from the change in accounting arrangements and the balance of $2,525,000 by way of contributions from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. {:#subdebate-38-2} #### Immigration *Assisted Passage Schemes.* Payments under the assisted passage immigration schemes are estimated to be $7,811,000 greater because of an expected increase in the intake of assisted migrants *Postmaster-General s* *Overseas Telecommunications Commission.* Provision of $600,000 has been made for payment to the Commission in respect of the sale of Commission-owned land at Applecross to the Western Australian State Government at a concessional price. {:#subdebate-38-3} #### Primary Industry *Wool Promotion and Research.* The estimated payment of $1,424,000 more than in 1967-68 is based on the expectation of a larger wool clip in 1968-69, with corresponding increases in both the industry levy and the matching Commonwealth contribution of up to $14,000,000 per year. *War Service Land Settlement.* Payments to the agent States under the *States Grants ( War Service Land Settlement) Act* 1952-53 for the acquisition and development of properties and for the provision of credit facilities to soldier settlers are financed from loan moneys and amounted to $5,212,000 in 1967-68. Of the estimated payment of $5,500,000 in 1968-69, approximately $5,100,000 will be in respect of the provision of credit facilities. Estimated expenditure in 1968-69 compares as follows, on a State basis, with actual expenditure in 1966-67 and 1967-68: In addition, administrative expenses under this scheme, to be met from annual appropriations, were $786,000 in 1967-68 and are estimated to total $800,000 in 1968-69. {:#subdebate-38-4} #### Prime Minister's *Aboriginal Advancement.* As announced in the Budget Speech, an amount of $10,000,000 is to be paid to an Aboriginal Advancement Trust Account to finance, during the course of the financial year, approved programmes in this field. *Other.* The main increases under this heading relate to increased provisions of $372,000 for assistance to the Arts and $200,000 for the Office of Aboriginal Affairs. *Treasury* *Superannuation.* The estimated increase of S3,509,000 is due to normal growth and the Pull-year effects of the increases in pensions granted in the *Superannuation (Pension Increases) Act* 1967. *Transition to Decimal Currency.* A decline of $5,393,000 in payments associated with the transition to decimal currency is expected to result from the near-completion of the machine conversion programme. The estimated decrease in expenditure on Advances for Capital Purposes of $18,576,000 in 1 968 - 69 is the net result of a number of significant variations. *Post Office.* Provision has been made for an increase of $17,928,000 in advances to the Post Office for capital purposes. This increase is due to the continuing need for additional telecommunications equipment to meet increased requirements for subscribers' telephone services, trunk facilities and associated equipment. *Australian Coastal Shipping Commission.* An advance of $9,000,000 is to be made to provide extra loan funds for shipbuilding and terminal development. No similar advance was made in 1967-68. *Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority.* The decrease of $10,102,000 in advances reflects the nearcompletion of the capital works associated with the Scheme. *War Service Homes.* An increase of $4,000,000 results from the decision, announced in the Budget Speech, to increase the maximum loan from $7,000 to $8,000; in the absence of this decision, a provision of $44,000,000 would have been made in 1968-69 in the light of the declining demand for War Service Homes loans. *Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory Housing Advances.* The increase of $2,715,000 mainly reflects estimated increases in 1968-69 in the number of applications for housing loans and increases to $8,000 and $8,500, respectively, in maximum loans by the Australian Capital Territory Commissioner for Housing and Australian Capital Territory co-operative building societies. *Australian National Airlines Commission ami Qantas Airways Ltd.* Advances to the Australian National Airlines Commission are estimated to increase by 82,223,000 while those to Qantas Airways Ltd. are estimated to decrease by 543,202,000. These advances are for expenditure on current aircraft purchasing programmes. Expenditure on Other Capital Works and Services is estimated to increase by $15,347,000 to $189,083,000 in 1968-69. *Broadcasting and Television Services* The estimated increase of $1,065,000 in expenditure on this item is the net result of several factors. These include an increase of $1,417,000 in expenditure on equipment for the Radio Australia booster station at Darwin and an additional $1 ,040,000 mainly for engineering equipment and services in connection with the medium frequency radio service and Stage 6 of the National Television Programme. As well, an additional $621,000 is estimated to be required for work on television studios, mainly at Gore Hill, Sydney. These and other increases are partly offset by an estimated reduction of $2,138,000 in respect of buildings and works consequent on the completion of the Darwin booster station. *CM! Aviation* {:#subdebate-38-5} #### Housing An increase of 82,223,000 in expenditure by the Department of Housing is estimated for 1 968-69. This increase will reflect the first full year of a construction programme of self-contained flats for the temporary accommodation of newly-arrived migrants. {:#subdebate-38-6} #### Immigration The estimated increase of §2,953,000 in expenditure on capital works and services under this heading is associated with a programme of improving and replacing sub-standard accommodation at migrant hostels. {:#subdebate-38-7} #### Interior Expenditure under this heading is estimated to be $2,621,000 less in 1968-69 than in 1967-68. The main item accounting for this is an estimated decrease of $2,067,000 in expenditure on acquisition of sites and buildings for Commonwealth Departments. {:#subdebate-38-8} #### Treasury Capital works and services for the Bureau of Census and Statistics are estimated to decrease by $1,951,000 as a result of a decrease in expenditure on additional computer equipment. {:#subdebate-38-9} #### Works *Civil A nation.* Expenditure by the Department of Works on civil aviation works is estimated to increase by $4,726,000 mainly for the continued development of the Sydney and Tullamarine airports. *Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.* The reduction of $941,000 in estimated expenditure under the civil works programme for the Organization results from reduced expenditure on major laboratories. *Customs and Excise.* A reduction of $633,000 is estimated in expenditure on works for the Department of Customs and Excise. This decrease reflects the completion of the new Customs House in Melbourne. *Immigration.* The increase of $3,061,000 in estimated expenditure is for the construction of migrant hostels at Randwick (New South Wales) and Springvale (Victoria). *Interior.* Expenditure under the civil works programme for the Department of the Interior is estimated to increase by $2,993,000 mainly because of expenditure associated with the construction of new Commonwealth Offices in Perth. 70 *Appropriation Bill (No.* 1 ) [REPRESENTATIVES] *Appropriation Bill (No.* 1 ) STATEMENT No. 3- ESTIMATES OF RECEIPTS, 1968-69 Total receipts are estimated to increase by $481,545,000, or 8.8 per cent, in 1968-69 to $5,949,739,000 at existing rates of taxes and other charges. After taking into account the revenue proposals referred to in the Budget Speech, total receipts in 1968-69 are estimated at $6,044,179,000. This would be $575,985,000, or 10.5 per cent, more than in 1967-68. The following table compares the estimated receipts in 1968-69 with actual receipts in the two preceding financial years. {:#subdebate-38-10} #### Taxation Revenue Total taxation revenue is estimated to increase by $497,890,000, or 10.2 per cent, in 1968-69 to $5,366,500,000. Notes on the main changes in estimated taxation collections in 1968-69 as compared with actual collections in 1967-68 follow: *Customs Duty.* In 1967-68, recorded imports amounted to $3,268,800,000, and customs duty collections to $313,668,000. It is estimated that collections of customs duty in 1968-69 will amount to $330,000,000. This assumes a smaller increase in dutiable imports in 1968-69 than in 1967-68. *Excise Duty.* On the assumption that expenditure in the economy, including consumer spending, will again increase strongly in 1968-69, it is estimated that excise collections will increase by $46,442,000 as follows: The estimated increase in revenue for 1968-69 is slightly smaller than that which occurred in 1967-68 ($47,647,000), as there appears to have been abnormally large increases last year in clearances of tobacco products and beer. *Sales Tax.* The estimate of sales tax collections for 1968-69 assumes a slightly greater rate of increase in total sales of goods subject to sales tax than occurred in 1967-68. On the basis of existing legislation, sales tax collections are estimated to increase by $43,988,000, or about 10.S per cent, to $461,000,000 in 1968-69. After allowing for the effects of the proposed increase in the general rate of sales tax from 12.5 per cent to IS per cent, it is estimated that sales tax collections will increase by $77,988,000 to $495,000,000 in 1968-69. The increase in the general rate of sales tax is estimated to yield an additional $34,000,000 in 1968-69 and an additional $44,000,000 in a full year. {:#subdebate-38-11} #### Income Tax - Individuals: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. *Pay-as-you-earn Instalment Deductions.* In 1967-68, average employment in terms of 'male units' rose by about 2.5 per cent and average earnings by about 6 per cent. On the assumption that the rate of increase in average employment in 1968-69 will be about 3 per cent and the rate of increase in average earnings about 5 . 5 per cent, it is estimated that, on the basis of existing legislation, gross collections of pay-as-you-earn instalment deductions will increase by $239,200,000 in 1968-69 to $2,080,000,000. As refunds of excess deductions are estimated to increase by $36,656,000 to $370,000,000, net pay-as-you-earn collections are estimated, on the basis of existing legislation, to increase by $202,544,000 to $1,710,000,000 in 1968-69. 1. *Other.* Collections on assessments of individuals in 1968-69 are expected, on the basis of existing legislation, to be the same as in 1967-68, i.e., $670,000,000. Total income other than salaries and wages is estimated to have been almost the same in 1967-68 as in 1966-67. Net business income of primary producers is estimated to have declined by about 19.5 per cent in 1967-68, while incomes of other individuals subject to provisional tax are estimated to have increased by about 7.5 per cent. These 1967-68 incomes are subject to tax in 1968-69. Total income tax collections from individuals at existing rates of tax are, therefore, estimated to amount to $2,380,000,000 in 1968-69, which would be $202,595,000 more than in 1967-68. The change in the age allowance announced in the Budget Speech is, however, estimated to result in a reduction in revenue of $2,000,000 in 1968-69 and $3,000,000 in a full year. After allowing for this change, it is estimated that total collections from individuals will increase by $200,595,000 to $2,378,000,000 in 1968-69. *Income Tax - Companies.* Taxable incomes of companies in 1967-68, which are subject to tax in 1968-69, are estimated to have increased by over 9 per cent. In 1966-67, company income subject to tax appears to have increased by almost 6 per cent. It is estimated that income tax collections from companies, at existing rates, would increase by $76,336,000, or about 9.1 per cent, to $913,000,000 in 1968-69. The proposed increase in rates of income tax on companies by 2.5 cents in the $ announced in the Budget Speech is estimated to yield an additional $56,500,000 in 1968-69 and an additional $60,000,000 in a full year. After allowing for this increase, it is estimated that income tax collections from companies will amount to $969,500,000, or $132,836,000 more than in 1967-68. *Pay-roll Tax.* On the basis of assumptions adopted as to movements in average employment and average earnings (referred to above in relation to pay-as-you-earn instalment deductions), it is estimated that gross pay-roll tax collections will increase by $17,702,000, or about 8.5 per cent, to $227,000,000 in 1968-69. However, rebates of pay-roll tax under the export incentive scheme are estimated to increase by $5,118,000, or 21 per cent, from $24,882,000 to $30,000,000, so that net pay-roll tax collections are expected to increase by only $12,584,000, or a little less than 7 per cent, to $197,000,000. *Estate Duty.* The estimated increase of $5,283,000 to $60,000,000 reflects the expected growth in the value of estate duty returns available for assessment in 1968-69. Other Revenue is estimated to increase by $57,449,000 in 1968-69 to $470,434,000. The largest increases are $11,000,000 in interest payments from the Post Office on capital provided by the Commonwealth, and $11,772,000 from Qantas Airways Ltd. and the Australian National Airlines Commission in repayments of loans provided to these authorities for aircraft purchases. Other variations include: {:#subdebate-38-12} #### Civil Aviation *Air Navigation Charges.* Of the estimated increase of $1,300,000, an estimated $460,000 is attributable to a proposed increase of 10 per cent in the rate of the charges operative from 1 January 1969. This proposed increase is estimated to yield $1,010,000 in a full year. *Passenger Service Charges.* The charges, announced in the 1967-68 Budget Speech .are expected to be introduced in 1968-69. They are estimated to yield $2,100,000 in the current financial year. {:#subdebate-38-13} #### Interior The decrease of $1,518,000 is mainly the result of estimated lower sales of surplus property and material in 1968-69 than in 1967-68. {:#subdebate-38-14} #### Labour and National Service *Stevedoring Industry Charge.* The estimated decrease of $1,259,000 in collections in 1968-69 is mainly due to the lower number of man-hours expected to be worked on Australian wharves during 1968-69. {:#subdebate-38-15} #### Postmaster-General's *Broadcasting and Television Services.* Net receipts from broadcasting and television services are estimated to increase in 1968-69 by $3,035,000. Gross revenue is expected to increase by $6,984,000 in 1968-69, mainly as a result of proposed increases in television viewers' and broadcast listeners' licence fees which are estimated to yield an additional $5,000,000 in 1968-69 and $7,000,000 in a full year. The operating expenses of the Australian Broadcasting Commission are estimated to increase by about $2,400,000 and an increase is estimated in expenditure by the Postmaster-General's Department on operating and maintaining transmitting stations. {:#subdebate-38-16} #### Shipping and Transport *Commonwealth Railways.* The estimated increase in the net receipts of Commonwealth Railways of $4,263,000 arises mainly from an estimated increase in receipts of $3,061,000 because of expected increases in goods traffic on the Trans-Australian Railway and increased carriage of iron-ore from Frances Creek by the North Australia Railway. Expenditure is expected to be $1,202,000 lower, largely as a result of the near-completion of track-upgrading work on the North Australia Railway. *Other.* Of the $1,305,000 increase in this item, $663,000 is represented by an increase in light dues. The proposed increase in the rate of the charges announced in the Budget Speech is estimated to yield an additional $480,000 in 1968-69 and $640,000 in a full year. {:#subdebate-38-17} #### Treasury *Reserve Bank.* The payments received in 1967-68 and those estimated to be received in 1968-69 reflect certain consequences of the devaluation of sterling in November 1967. *Payment by the Overseas Telecommunications Commission.* It is expected that the Commonwealth will receive a payment of $5,000,000 this year in respect of funds which are surplus to the Commission's immediate requirements. {:#subdebate-38-18} #### Supply *Repayments from United Kingdom - Weapons Research Establishment.* These repayments are estimated to decline by $2,800,000 because of a reduction in the scope of the Joint United Kingdom/Australia Project. *Other.* The estimated increase of $6,023,000 in this item results principally from the fact that, in 1967-68, $3,192,000 received from other administrations, which would normally have been included in the Other Revenue figures, was used to establish the Supply - Projects for Other Governments and International Bodies trust account. In addition, an initial contribution of $1,600,000 from the United Kingdom for the operation of Research and Development Laboratories at Salisbury will be received during 1968-69. {:#subdebate-38-19} #### Receipts of National Debt Sinking Fund Details of the estimated receipts of the National Debt Sinking Fund are shown in the following table. Net Increase in Government Balances in the Trust Fund The estimated increase in 1968-69 of $8,417,000 is due mainly to an increase in the interest on investments held by the Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve. {: .page-start } page 76 {:#debate-39} ### STATEMENT No. 4- FINANCING THE DEFICIT The estimated deficit of $547 million in 1968-69 compares with deficits of $644 million in 1967-68 and $552 million in 1966-67. The following table shows how the deficits in 1966-67 and 1967-68 were financed. *Financing Transactions, 1967-68.* In 1967-68, $132 million was available from overseas towards the financing of the deficit of $644 million. A net amount of $118 million was available from drawings under the credit arrangements for the purchase of defence equipment in the United States of America; drawings amounted to $132 million and repayments to $14 million. Borrowings overseas to finance advances to Qantas Airways Limited and the Australian National Airlines Commission for the purchase of aircraft amounted to $65 million while repayments of borrowings of this type amounted to $16 million, so that the net amount raised was $49 million. The proceeds of other loans overseas fell short of redemptions and other expenditure on the reduction of debt overseas by $35 million, leaving net proceeds available from oversea loan raisings of $14 million in 1967-68. As $132 million was available from overseas, this left $512 million of the deficit of $644 million to be covered by financing transactions in Australia. The amount which had to be raised in Australia, however, was $571 million because it was necessary to provide $59 million from the Budget to finance drawings from the International Monetary Fund in Australian currency by other countries in 1967-68. In Australia, net loan proceeds amounted to $297 million (including $18 million from State domestic raisings) and $184 million was available from proceeds of subscriptions to Treasury Notes. A further $39 million was also available from other financing transactions which include drawings on balances available to the Commonwealth. This left $51 million to be financed by borrowing from the Reserve Bank. The borrowings from the Reserve Bank do not indicate how much bank credit was drawn on in the financing of the Commonwealth deficit in 1967-68. Other transactions in Commonwealth securities by the banking system are also relevant. The extent to which the banking system increased its holdings of such securities provides a more useful indication of the direct and indirect use of bank credit in the financing of the deficit. The following table shows the changes in holdings by the banking system of Commonwealth securities (at face value) redeemable in Australia for the financial years 1963-66, 1966-67 and 1967-68. The extent of the direct and indirect use of bank credit in the financing of the Budget deficit does not, by itself, provide a measure of the influence of the Budget as a whole on the monetary situation; but the more such credit is drawn on, the more expansionary that influence will tend to be. The figures set out above indicate that the use of bank credit in the financing of the Budget deficit made a relatively large contribution to the increase in the money supply both in 1967-68 and in 1966-67. *Prospects for 1968-69.* In 1968-69, the Commonwealth's deficit is estimated to be $547 million. As to oversea transactions, net drawings under the credit arrangements for purchases of defence equipment in the United States of America are expected to be less than in 1967-68. New drawings may amount to $122 million while repayments are estimated at $37 million. Moreover, repayments of previous borrowings to finance advances for the purchase of aircraft overseas will probably exceed new borrowings in 1968-69. Against these, maturing securities of other loans, which will have to be redeemed in 1968-69, will be substantially less than in 1967-68. It is not possible to make a reliable estimate of the amount that might be raised by other new borrowings abroad. In total, however, it does not seem likely that the net amount available from overseas will exceed the amount of $132 million obtained in 1967-68. On that basis, the amount to be financed in Australia - apart from any financing transactions arising from transactions in Australian currency through the International Monetary Fund, which cannot be predicted in advance - could be upwards of $400 million. It is impossible to predict how much will be raised by way of loans from the non-bank public or the direct or indirect role the banking system may play in financing this requirement; this will depend on many other factors affecting the monetary situation. However, the reduction in the size of the deficit will tend to reduce the extent to which bank credit is drawn upon. *Loan Bill.* In view of the possibility that some borrowings from the Reserve Bank might be necessary in 1968-69, authority will be sought in a Loan Bill to borrow as necessary for defence purposes. The Loan Bill will also seek authority for the proceeds of any borrowings made under it to be expended on Defence Services. The effect of charging expenditure on Defence Services to the Loan Fund would be to increase the amount paid from the Consolidated Revenue Fund to the Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve for which provision has been included in the Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1968-69. {: .page-start } page 78 {:#debate-40} ### STATEMENT No. 5- BUDGET RESULT, 1967-68 *NOTE: In this Statement, the Budget result for 1967-68 is presented on the basis used to present the estimates in the Statements attached to the 1967-68 Budget Speech. A number of changes has been made in the presentation of the Budget figures in other Statements; these are explained in the Note at the end of Statement No. 1. The figures presented in this Statement are not, therefore, directly comparable with those appearing in other Statements.* {: .page-start } page 78 {:#debate-41} ### SUMMARY In 1967-68, the excess of Commonwealth expenditures over receipts - the amount to be met from borrowin s - was $595 million. This was $1 million less than the Budget estimate. Expenditures, receipts and th .1 excess of expenditures over receipts in 196 -68 compare as follows with the Budget estimates: More detailed comments on expenditures and receipts in 1967-68 and further information on the financing of the excess of expenditures over receipts are contained in later sections of this Statement. {: .page-start } page 79 {:#debate-42} ### EXPENDITURES The main differences between actual expenditures in 1967-68 and the Budget estimates for that year are shown in the following table: Variations from the Budget estimates were, on the whole, relatively small. The larger variations were as follows: *Defence Services.* Expenditure on Defence Services fell short of the Budget estimate by $9 million. Expenditure on the purchase of equipment and stores for the R.A.A.F. and R.A.N. were (7 million and $6 million, respectively, less than estimated. Expenditure on naval construction and the repair and maintenance of ships and aircraft for the R.A.N, was $2 million less than estimated, while that on arms, armament and equipment for the Army was also $2 million less. The expenditure on the purchase and manufacture of aircraft was $6 million more than estimated and that on pay, salaries, allowances and administrative expenses, $4 million more. An accounting adjustment in respect of transactions for other administrations increased expenditure by $3 million. *Payments to or for the States.* Although these payments were in total only $6 million above the Budget estimate, there were some sizable variations under this heading. Payments of special revenue assistance to drought-affected States, decided on after the Budget, amounted to $14 million, and other drought assistance to these States exceeded the Budget estimate by $12 million. Financial assistance grants were $7 million greater than the Budget estimate. Grants to States for universities fell short of the estimate by $10 million and the amounts provided for assistance for Colleges of Advanced Education and for Teachers Colleges were both $3 million less than the Budget estimate. Assistance for railway projects was $3 million below the estimate while South Australia did not require in 1967-68 the amount of $5 million included in the estimates for assistance towards the financing of a natural gas pipeline in that State. *Other Special Appropriations.* Expenditure under Other Special Appropriations exceeded the estimate by $47 million. Drawings of Australian currency from the International Monetary Fund by other countries involved payments of $59 million for which no provision was made in the Budget estimates. On the other hand, expenditure on the phosphate fertilizers bounty was $6 million less than estimated and the amount required for financial assistance in respect of the 1967 sugar crop was also $6 million less than the estimate, mainly because world prices of sugar were higher than had been expected at the time of the Budget. *Departmental Running Expenses.* Expenditure on Departmental Running Expenses was $10 million above the Budget estimate because of higher staffing levels and increases in wages and salaries resulting from arbitration determinations made after the Budget was presented. *Other Services.* Expenditures on Other Services were $15 million above the Budget estimate. Payments amounting to $21 million were made to rural industries in respect of reduced returns in Australian currency as a result of the devaluation of sterling. No allowance was made in the Budget for these payments, which could not have been foreseen at the time. Payments under assisted passage immigration schemes exceeded the Budget provision by $2 million. There were shortfalls of $4 million in payments under the Commonwealth Scholarship Schemes and $2 million in industrial research and development grants. {: .page-start } page 80 {:#debate-43} ### RECEIPTS The main differences between actual receipts in 1967-68 and the Budget estimates for that year are shown in the following table: The main variations from the Budget estimates were: *Customs Duty.* Collections of customs duty exceeded the Budget estimate by $11 million, mainly because the proportion of imports subject to comparatively high rates of duty was larger than had been expected at the time of the Budget. *Excise Duty.* Excise duty collections were SI 1 million greater than estimated. Clearances of tobacco products, which were expected to show a small decline, increased substantially. Clearances of beer and spirits were also greater than had been estimated at the time of the Budget. *Income Tax - Individuals.* Net collections of P.A.Y.E. instalment deductions exceeded the Budget estimate by about S23 million, mainly because the increase in average earnings during the year was greater than expected. Collections on assessments, mainly of individuals subject to provisional tax, exceeded the estimate by $22 million; incomes in 1966-67, which were subject to tax in 1967-68, were higher than had been estimated at the time of the Budget. *Income Tax - Companies.* Collections were $12 million greater than estimated; company incomes in 1966-67, which were assessed to tax in 1967-68, were higher than had been estimated. *Business Undertakings.* Post Office revenue fell short of the estimate by $16 million mainly because of the effect on Post Office business of drought conditions and postal branch industrial disputes, and a shortfall in the additional revenue expected from tariff adjustments. *Other Revenue.* Other Revenue exceeded the Budget estimate by a net $1 million. Unrequired balances of trust accounts were $12 million more than the estimate, and receipts from the Stevedoring Industry Charge exceeded 'the estimate by $3 million while the Poultry Industry Levy was $2 million greater. Against these, payments from the Reserve Bank were $18 million less than estimated mainly on account of effects of the devaluation of sterling. Recoveries from the sale of ships and Australian Capital Territory revenue were both $2 million less than estimated. {: .page-start } page 81 {:#debate-44} ### FINANCING OF THE EXCESS OF EXPENDITURES OVER RECEIPTS The excess of expenditures over receipts of $395 million in 1967-68 was financed as follows: Credit Arrangements for Defence Purchases in the United States of America Arrangements were made in 196S and 1966 for the financing on extended payment terms of purchases of defence equipment in the United States of America. These arrangements were authorised by the *Loan (Defence) Act* 1966. In 1967-68, finance amounting to $132 million was obtained under these arrangements. Repayments amounted to $14 million. Cash proceeds received during 1967-68 from public loans in Australia and overseas and from the Export-Import Bank amounted to $647 million. As redemptions totalled $404 million, net loan proceeds for the year amounted to $243 million. In Australia, loan proceeds exceeded redemptions by $279 million, but oversea loan proceeds fell short of redemptions by $36 million. Two public cash loans raised overseas in 1967-68 - a £stg 14 million loan in London and a loan for DM 100 million issued in Germany - yielded $53 million, after deducting loan expenses. In addition, net proceeds of $22 million were received from an ExportImport Bank loan. Oversea redemptions in 1967-68 were $112 million. The London loan which matured on 1 July 1967 was paid off at a cost of $37 million and the London loan which matured on 1 February 1968 was redeemed at a cost of $22 million. Repayments on International Bank loans were $23 million and other contractual commitments and repurchases in New York, London, the Netherlands and Canada totalled $30 million. There were four Commonwealth public cash loans in Australia in 1967-68. Securities totalling $492 million were issued in these loans and the cash proceeds, after allowing for discounts on the issue price, were $492 million. After excluding loan proceeds received before 30 June 1967, but including receipts in 1967-68 from outstanding instalments and advance subscriptions received up to 30 June 1968, proceeds from public cash loans in 1967-68 were $493 million. Cash proceeds of $79 million from the sale of Special Bonds during the year brought total borrowing proceeds to $571 million after deducting net expenses of $239,000 charged during 1967-68. Of the $772 million securities maturing in Australia (other than Special Bonds) which were offered for conversion in 1967-68, an amount of $216 million was redeemed. In addition, Special Bond redemptions of all Series, including Series D and E Bonds which finally matured in 1967-68, amounted to $54 million. Market repurchases and other contractual repayments in Australia in 1967-68 amounted to $23 million. Total redemptions and repurchases in Australia were $293 million. In 1967-68, expenditure on Defence Services amounting to $329 million was charged to Loan Fund. To finance this expenditure, a similar amount was borrowed from the Reserve Bank, by the issue of $329 million of Treasury Bills. As this was in excess of the amount required for residual financing purposes, $89 million of Treasury Bills were redeemed from the Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve and $5 million were redeemed from Loan Fund. There was an increase of $184 million in 1967-68 in the value of Treasury Notes on issue. The proceeds were applied to redeem Treasury Bills. During the year, the value of Treasury Bills on issue increased by $51 million as follows: {:#subdebate-44-0} #### Net Loan Proceeds {:#subdebate-44-1} #### Residual Financing {: .page-start } page 83 {:#debate-45} ### STATEMENT No. 6- BUDGET ESTIMATES IN NATIONAL ACCOUNTS FORM The presentation of receipts and outlay in national accounting form facilitates the analysis of the relationship between the Budget and the economy as a whole. The following table summarizes in this form the actual outcome in 1967-68 and the prospective outcome for 1968-69 implied by the present Budget estimates. A more detailed table appears on pages 42 and 43(1). The estimated increase of $465 million in total outlay in 1968-69 is substantially less than the actual increase of $575 million in 1967-68. In percentage terms the estimates imply an increase of 7.5 per cent this year, compared with an actual increase of 10.3 per cent in 1967-68. The estimated increase in total receipts in 1968-69, *before* talcing into account the effects of the proposed revenue measures, is $470 million, slightly less than the increase in 1967-68. With the estimated additional revenue from these measures taken into account, the expected rise in total receipts in 1968-69 is $563 million or 10.2 per cent, compared with an increase of $483 million or 9.6 per cent in 1967-68. The effects on the economy of particular classes of outlays and receipts, within these totals, differ significantly one from another. The more important distinctions for purposes of assessing the implications of the Commonwealth's transactions for the economy are considered in the following sections. (') A Supplement to the Treasury Information Bulletin entitled 'National Accounting Estimates of Public Authority Receipts and Expenditure', being published concurrently with the Budget, provides corresponding data for Commonwealth authorities outside the Budget and additional information on various aspects of the national accounting presentation employed in this Statement. *Payments in Australia and overseas* On the outlay side of the Budget there is an important distinction between payments made within Australia and payments made overseas. To assess the impact of the Budget on the domestic economy in the year immediately ahead it is useful to deduct from total outlay direct payments overseas,?). This is done in the following table: The table shows that the substantially smaller increase in total outlay this year is attributable to the trend in the overseas component. Overseas outlays are estimated to be fractionally less than in 1967-68, following a substantial increase in that year. In 1968-69 an estimated *decrease* of $41 million in gross advances to T.A. A. and Qantas to finance purchases overseas offsets estimated increases in other overseas payments(2) After deducting overseas outlay the estimated increase in domestic outlay is $469 million compared with an actual increase of $436 million in 1967-68. This represents an actual increase of 8 . 6 per cent in 1 967-68 and an estimated increase of 8 . 5 per cent this year. *Composition of domestic outlay* Within the domestic component of outlay there is a further basic distinction to be made between expenditure on goods and services, and transfers and advances from the Budget. Expenditure on goods and services adds directly to demand within the economy (gross national expenditure) while transfers and advances increase the capacity of other sectors to purchase goods and services. In either case, 'multiplier' effects induce further increases in demand, additional to the initial effects here described. The impact of transfer payments and net advances on total demand depends on their effects on the spending of the recipients. Over one-half of such payments from the Budget are to Commonwealth authorities (mostly the Post Office) and to the States. These funds are available to finance the expenditure of the authorities receiving them, which are predominantly expenditures on goods and services. The bulk of the remainder of transfer payments from the Budget are cash benefits to persons which would also largely be spent by the recipients on goods and services. The effect on spending of some of the remaining items, such as interest and subsidies, is more conjectural. The following table compares, for each main component of domestic outlay, the estimated increase in 1968-69 with the actual increase in 1967-68. The estimated percentage increase in total domestic outlay is much the same as in 1967-68. This is true also of the two main components - net expenditure on goods and services, and transfer payments and net advances. A much smaller increase than in 1967-68 is expected in transfer payments and net advances to the States. The comparison is affected by sugar industry assistance amounting to $24 million in 1967-68. Apart from this item, the increases in transfer payments and net advances to the States are estimated at $136 million in 1968-69 compared with $160 million in 1967-68. Cash benefits to persons are estimated to increase by a much greater amount than in 1967-68. For the purpose of judging the influence of such payments on *rates* of income or expenditure *within* a year, these increases should be adjusted to remove the effects of variations in the incidence of pay-days and to allow for the 'full-year' effects of changes in rates of benefit(1). After these adjustments, the estimated increase in cash benefits in 1968-69 is $128 million compared with $51 million in 1967-68. *Elements of the change in receipts* On the receipts side, the main initial impact(²) of the Budget arises from the proposed changes in rates of taxes and charges, which are estimated to contribute $93 million to the increase in revenue in 1968-69. For the purpose of analyzing the impact of these 'discretionary' changes on expenditure and incomes, their effects should also be expressed in 'full-year' terms. On this basis the changes in rates proposed in the 1968-69 Budget are estimated to yield an additional $108 million in a full year, whereas the concessions in the 1967-68 Budget had an estimated full-year cost to revenue of $37 million. The remainder of the change in receipts - that is, the increase at unchanged rates of taxation and charges - is estimated at $470 million in 1968-69. As in most years, the greater part of this increase is expected to be induced by the prospective growth in expenditure and incomes in the economy. Thus in 1968-69 gross collections of P.A.Y.E. instalment deductions and receipts of indirect taxes at unchanged rates are estimated to yield an additional $359 million of taxation revenue. For the purpose of measuring the initial impact of the Budget this 'induced' increase in receipts does not offset the effect on demand of increases in budgetary outlays. O A table showing how this adjustment is derived appears on page 12 of the Supplement to the Treasury Information Bulletin being published concurrently with the Budget. (') The meaning of this term is discussed in detail on pages 18 to 20 of the Supplement to the Treasury Information Bulletin entitled 'National Accounting Estimates of Public Authority Receipts and Expenditure', being published coocurrently with the Budget. {:#subdebate-45-0} #### Review The implications of the Budget for trends in expenditure and income in the economy depend not on *total* outlays and receipts, but primarily on the increases in domestic outlays and the 'full-year' effects on receipts of changes in rates of taxation and charges. The following considerations are therefore relevant to a comparison of the initial impact of the 1968-69 Budget with that of 1967-68: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. domestic outlays are estimated to increase by $469 million in 1968-69, compared with an actual increase of $436 million in 1967-68. In percentage terms, the increases are similar in both years; 1. the 'discretionary' *addition to* receipts arising from the revenue measures proposed in the 1968-69 Budget, which is estimated at $108 million in a full-year, must be *set against* the demand-inducing effects of rises in outlays in judging the impact of the Budget on demand and incomes. By contrast, the 'discretionary' *reduction* in receipts arising from the taxation concessions in last year's Budget, which was estimated at $37 million in a full-year, operated to *reinforce* the effects of rises in Budget outlays in 1967-68; 2. thus the impact of Budget outlays is expected to be about the same in 1968-69 as in 1967-68, but when allowance is made for 'discretionary' changes in receipts, the overall effect of the Budget will be to make a smaller contribution to the growth in demand and incomes than the 1967-68 Budget; 3. it should not be inferred from the apparent precision of these comparisons that precise assessment of the relative impact of successive Budgets on demand and incomes in the economy is possible. They are quoted in order to illustrate the magnitudes of the main elements which are relevant to an assessment; and 4. although the outlays and receipts of the Budget have an important influence on trends in the economy in the year ahead, the likely economic effects of a Budget can be assessed only in the context of all of the more important influences operating at the time in the economy as a whole. {: .page-start } page 87 {:#debate-46} ### NATIONAL ACCOUNTING CLASSIFICATION OF COMMONWEALTH BUDGET, 1959-60 TO 1967-68 AND 1968-69 (ESTIMATED) The table on pages 42 and 43 shows the Budget in detail in national accounting form since 1959-60. In this form, transfers between different parts of the Commonwealth's accounts are eliminated so that the figures shown relate to the transactions which occur between the Commonwealth Government and the rest of the economy or overseas. These transactions are classified into economically significant categories, corresponding with those for which similar information is provided, in respect of past years, for the entire economy in the White Paper on National Income and Expenditure. The classification shown in the comparable table in the 1967-68 Budget documents has been amended by including a number of advances to financial institutions in outlay and, in order to obtain comparability between years, by incorporating Post Office transactions in the figures for 1967-68 and earlier years on the basis which applies from 1968-69 on(1) {:#subdebate-46-0} #### Outlay *Net expenditure on goods and services.* This heading covers direct purchases of domestic output and imports from the Budget, and includes wages and salaries of government employees and pay and allowances of defence forces. Any recoupments of such expenditures from other sectors of the economy or overseas are netted off. Current and capital expenditures are shown separately, and each is further classified by function. In accordance with national accounting conventions, all equipment purchased for defence purposes is classified to current expenditure. *Transfer payments.* Current payments to other parts of the economy or overseas, other than payments for goods or services supplied, are listed in their various forms under this heading. *Net advances.* Loans, advances and additional capital made available by the Common* wealth are shown in the respective items under this heading. Repayments of loans and advances are deducted to arrive at the net figures. {:#subdebate-46-1} #### Receipts *Taxation.* This heading includes, in addition to the larger items listed under 'Taxation' in the Consolidated Revenue Fund, some minor indirect taxes included in 'Other Revenue'. Small amounts of expenditure are offset against receipts. *Interest, rent and dividends.* Interest on loans to the private sector is not included in this item, but is treated as financial enterprises income and included in the next item. *Gross income of public enterprises.* This item represents gross income, *less* operating expenses, of enterprises which operate within the Budget. It includes interest received on advances to the private sector, which is treated as financial enterprises income. *Net sales of existing assets.* The principal components of this item are sales of land, houses and other buildings, *less* acquisitions of sites and existing buildings. {:#subdebate-46-2} #### Deficit This item is the difference between total outlay and total receipts. It consists of net sales of Commonwealth securities other than to Commonwealth Government trust funds, *less* net purchases of other investments by Commonwealth Government trust funds, *less* the net increase in cash, *less* funds provided for the International Monetary Fund, *plus* minor changes in other liabilities. (') These changes are explained on pages 5 to 9 of the Supplement to the Treasury Information Bulletin being published concurrently with the Budget. {: .page-start } page 90 {:#debate-47} ### STATEMENT No. 7- ASSISTANCE TO INDUSTRY THROUGH THE TAXATION SYSTEM Item No. 10 in Statement No. 2 sets out details of payments by the Commonwealth to industry in 1966-67 and 1967-68 and estimated payments in 1968-69. These payments, which ncreased from $130 million in 1966-67 to $179 million in 1967-68, are estimated to increase further to $217 million in 1968-69, an increase of 67 per cent in two years. Payments to industry are but one of the means employed to protect and assist Australian industry. Most protection is given by means of tariffs. Many rural industries benefit from arrangements that allow sales for domestic use at prices higher than export prices. Further assistance is given to industry through services and facilities provided by the Commonwealth for which no charge is made, or for which charges fall well short of covering the costs incurred. In addition, grants are made to various bodies which promote the sale overseas of Australian products or services or which undertake research or extension services for the benefit of Australian industry. Assistance is also provided to various industries through the taxation system, in particular by means of income tax concessions which permit firms and individuals to make deductions from their incomes for taxation purposes beyond those normally permitted in accordance with the principles underlying the income tax law. The effect of these concessions is to reduce the tax liability of the beneficiaries below those of other taxpayers who derive the same amounts of net income after deduction of operating expenses. Concessions of this type confer financial advantages on the beneficiaries and reduce correspondingly the amount of taxation the Commonwealth collects. Assistance provided by way of tax concessions results in a reduction of Commonwealth revenues, and is as much a call on the Budget as direct payments which add to Commonwealth expenditures. The relevant concessions in the income tax law can be grouped in three broad categories: Precise statistics of the cost of these concessions are not available. However, the following are estimates of the revenue forgone in 1967-68 as a result of particular concessions in categories *(a)* and (6). Particular concessions in category *(c)* are: . . special depreciation allowable to 'primary producers'; . . allowance of immediate deduction for fencing and underground piping instead of depreciation; .. special rate of depreciation on plant used for scientific research; and . . deduction in year of purchase and/or appropriation of income for plant used in mining and exploration which would otherwise be subject only to depreciation. While these provisions do not allow any greater deduction over the life of plant and equipment than do the normal depreciation provisions of the income tax law, they result in a deferment of tax which involves a cost to the Commonwealth Budget and a benefit to the taxpayers concerned. Normal depreciation allowances are designed to allow taxpayers to write off the cost of plant and equipment against income as the plant and equipment is used up in producing that income. The value of accelerated depreciation allowances to taxpayers depends on how much sooner they receive tax savings than would be the case if the allowances had been based on the usage of plant and equipment, and on the value to them of having the use of these funds. * Note: The cost will be much greater in years subsequent to 1967-68 because income *of* the large iron-ore mining companies against which capital expenditure is deductible will be much greater. t Note: This estimate is based on the income exempt under section 23 (oV- gold mining, section 23 *lp* - sale or rights to mine gold and other prescribed metals and minerals, section 23a- exemption *of* one-fifth of income from the mining of prescribed metals and minerals, and section 23c - exemption of income from export of gold produced in Australia. The expansion of activity which is occurring and is in prospect in the mining and petroleum exploration and production industries seems certain to result in an increase in the cost of the various concessions which these industries enjoy. In particular, as the income from production of Australian petroleum increases, there will be an increasing cost to revenue of the special allowances permitted for petroleum-producing enterprises. These allowances effectively free from tax income from the sale of Australian petroleum and its products until the capital expenditure incurred in rinding and recovering the petroleum has been recouped out of the mining profits. Dividends paid out of that tax-free income are exempt in the hands of shareholders of the mining companies. Apart from the concessions in the income tax law, there have been numerous concessions in the sales tax field in the form of special exemptions to assist particular industries. In the case of pay-roll tax, there is the export rebate scheme, which involved a cost to revenue of $25 million in 1967-68 and is estimated to cost $30 million in 1968-69. {: .page-start } page 93 {:#debate-48} ### STATEMENT No. 8- EXTERNAL ECONOMIC AID As shown in the following table, the official economic assistance which Australia provides to developing countries, including Papua and New Guinea, is estimated to increase by $15,000,000, or 11 per cent, to a total of 8155,029,000 in 1968-69. Excluding Papua and New Guinea, in respect of which Australia has special responsibilities, the increase in Australia's multilateral and bilateral aid programmes in 1968-69 will amount to $7,792,000, or 16 per cent. The figures shown above differ from those quoted in Statement No. 2 - -Esitmates of Expenditures, 1968-69, by virtue of the inclusion of the estimates of direct expenditure of an economic nature which various Commonwealth Departments incur in Papua and New Guinea out of other votes in the Budget. No allowance has been made in respect of Australia's official contributions to the regular budgets of the United Nations ($1,534,000) and of such UN Specialised Agencies as the World Health Organization ($766,000), the Food and Agriculture Organization ($493,000), the International Labour Organization ($431,000) and the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization ($432,000), significant amounts of which are, however, used to finance aid projects in developing countries. Nor do the figures allow for the hidden 'subsidy' involved in the fact that the Commonwealth and State Governments make large subventions towards the running costs and capital expenditures of various educational institutions in Australia which numerous private and officially-sponsored overseas students attend. Finally, it should be observed that the above figures relate only to external economic aid to developing countries: they do not include the further defence aid, amounting to $9,005,000, which Australia will provide to Malaysia and Singapore in 1968-69. This aid will, however, indirectly assist the economic development of these countries by reducing pressures on their own domestic resources for defence purposes. Nor do the figures include expenditures of a military nature that are being incurred in Papua and New Guinea. The various items in this table accord with the criteria of external economic assistance adopted by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD and the figures shown are, therefore, broadly comparable with the statistics published by that body for all major western donor countries. In fact, the figures which the DAC publishes for Australia tend to be somewhat higher because they include portion of the official contributions made to the various UN organizations mentioned in the preceding paragraph. The DAC also treats as official aid net purchases by Governments or central monetary authorities of bonds issued by international institutions such as the World Bank. Some brief comments follow on the more important items in this table. *International Development Association.* IDA is an affiliate of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), whose chief function is to assist poorer member countries with limited capacity to borrow on conventional terms. This the Association does by providing loans, or development credits as they are called, repayable over fifty years without interest (although a small service charge is imposed to cover administrative expenses). Notwithstanding these soft terms, IDA subjects the projects which it finances to the same rigorous analysis with respect to their economic benefit and technical feasibility as the IBRD applies in its own lending operations. When IDA was set up in 1960, Australia agreed to subscribe approximately $18,000,000 towards its initial capital stock over a five year period. In 1 963, Australia agreed to contribute a further $17,700,000 to replenish the Association's resources over the ensuing three years, 1965-1967. Earlier this year, agreement was reached on a second replenishment exercise for the Association at a substantially increased rate but with a reduced percentage share for Australia, which will involve contributions of approximately $7,140,000 in each of the next three years. Contributions to IDA are initially paid in the form of non-negotiable non-interest-bearing securities which are cashed as and when the Association requires funds. During the period to 30 June 1968, actual cash payments to IDA amounted to $27,913,000. In 1968-69, the Association expects to make calls totalling $8,366,000 against Australia's outstanding commitment, compared with $7,134,000 last year. *Asian Development Bank.* Australia has agreed to subscribe approximately $75,900,000 to the capital stock of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) which has been set up in Manila to promote the economic growth of developing countries in the ECAFE region. This is the fourth largest subscription to the Bank. One-half will remain at call as security against any funds which the ADB might borrow on international capital markets in future to supplement its subscribed capital. The balance is payable in five annual instalments, half in convertible currency and half in domestic currency. The amount of $3,795,000 provided in the Budget estimates represents the third annual instalment of the convertible currency portion of Australia's subscription. As in the past, the corresponding domestic currency instalment will be paid in the form of a non-negotiable non-interest-bearing security which will be cashed as and when the Bank requires funds to purchase goods and services in Australia. Although the ADB has recently commenced providing loans to member countries, it is not expected to make any calls on the domestic currency portion of Australia's capital subscription in 1968-69. *Other Multilateral Programmes.* With the exception of the estimate for the World Food Programme, which allows for an increased rate of expenditure in 1968-69 against Australia's pledge of $US2,250,000 for the 1966-1968 triennium, the estimates provide for a continuation of existing rates of contribution to various UN aid programmes. A new vote entitled 'Regional Projects for Economic Co-operation in Asia" has been created to provide funds for various minor projects of a multilateral character which were previously financed under the Colombo Plan. *Colombo Plan.* This is the largest and most important of Australia's various bilateral aid programmes. It covers technical assistance through the training of overseas students and officials in various fields in Australia and the provision of experts to serve abroad in developing countries. It also embraces gifts of machinery and equipment required for projects of a capital nature undertaken in collaboration with other Governments, such as the construction of highways in Thailand and Malaysia, and dams in Laos and Cambodia; the equipping of bakeries in India and a vocational training institute in Singapore; the installation of aeronautical telecommunication facilities in Indonesia and Nepal; to the gift of such items as railway wagons to Burma, motor trucks to Bhutan, a dredge to the Republic of Korea, pumps to Cambodia and railway sleepers to Pakistan. Gifts of wheat to Pakistan, flour to Ceylon and various other commodities to Laos were also made under the Colombo Plan in 1967-68. In addition, the Government decided last year to extend special emergency assistance to Indonesia under the Colombo Plan in order to help that country to stabilise and rehabilitate its economy. Subject to various stipulations, this special assistance has been used to finance what are, in effect, commercial exports to Indonesia of predominantly Australian-made goods on the so-called B.E. list which that country has drawn up to reflect its most pressing requirements. After allowing for gifts of flour worth $3,500,000 to be financed out of Australia's food aid commitment under the International Grains Arrangement, the total amount of aid to be provided to Indonesia in 1968-69 is $12,700,000, or more than double the corresponding figure for last year. Most of this aid, including the gifts of flour, will be made available under the B.E. aid arrangements which have been entered into with the Indonesian Government. The total provision for the Colombo Plan as such in 1968-69, at $20,680,000, is $2,499,000 greater than actual expenditure last year, but this understates the real increase because the 1967-68 figure includes food aid to Indonesia, Pakistan and Ceylon, worth approximately $4,000,000, plus expenditures on certain minor 'multilateral' projects which will be charged against different votes in 1968-69. *International Grains Arrangement - Food Aid Convention.* As a consequence of the GATT cereals negotiations in the Kennedy Round, Australia has undertaken to contribute 225,000 metric tons of wheat or flour equivalent each year for three years to a food aid programme embodied in the new International Grains Arrangement which entered into effect on 1 July 1968. The cost of this commitment is estimated to be about $12,000,000 on the basis of current world prices for wheat. This is the first time that Australia has formally instituted a food aid programme. Previous gifts of food aid have usually been made in response to requests for assistance from countries facing an emergency food shortage as a result of some natural disaster. It is expected that the bulk of this food aid will be provided to traditional recipients of aid from Australia; as previously indicated, $3,500,000 will be used to finance shipments of flour to Indonesia. *Indus Waters Scheme.* Australia has undertaken to contribute a total of §23,269,000 to the Indus Basin Development Fund to help finance the construction of dams, link canals and barrages on various tributaries of the Indus River designed to divide the waters between India and Pakistan in an equitable manner. Total expenditure for this purpose to 30 June 1968 amounted to $14,229,000. It is expected that the IBRD, which is responsible for administering this scheme, will call up $3,465,000 of Australia's outstanding commitment in 1968-69, compared with $1,996,000 in 1967-68. *Other Bilateral Programmes.* By and large, the estimates for 1968-69 provide for the same level of expenditure on other bilateral aid programmes as occurred in 1967-68. Provision has been made for a contribution by Australia of up to $40,000 to the Cultural and Social Centre which is to be set up in Seoul, Korea, under the auspices of the Asian and Pacific Council. *Papua and New Guinea.* Provision has been made for an increase of $9,406,000 to $87,000,000 in the grant to the Administration of Papua and New Guinea in 1968-69. This increase is designed to continue the Government's policy of expanding the economic and social development of the Territory. On the other hand, direct expenditures in the Territory by various Commonwealth Departments are expected to decline this year. Growth in Australia's Aid The total official economic aid which Australia provides to developing countries each year has increased by more than $110 million over the past decade, from $41,897,000 in 1958-59 to an estimated $155,029,000 this year. As the following table reveals, there has been nearly a six-fold increase over this period in expenditure on bilateral aid programmes apart from Papua and New Guinea. Expenditure on external economic aid has increased at a much faster rate than both National Income and total government spending since 1958-59. All told, Australia has provided, as outright gifts, more than $1,130 million in official economic aid to developing countries since the end of World War II: a further $155 million is expected to be provided in 1968-69. {:#subdebate-48-0} #### International Aid Comparisons As a result of the large increases which have occurred in Australia's aid expenditures in recent years, and the fact that aid expenditures by certain other major donor countries have, for a variety of reasons, tended to stagnate, if not actually decline, since 1961, Australia has progressively improved its position in the international aid scale. Australia now ranks second only to France in terms of the net transfer of official resources to developing countries expressed as a percentage of National Income. In this respect, it is relevant to mention that, unlike any other donor, Australia provides all of its official aid on a grant basis and, therefore, has not contributed to the debt-servicing problems which many developing countries are experiencing today. The following figures derived from data recently published by the DAC compare relative official aid performances of member countries on a net transfer basis in recent years: 1951 1/6S- «- it j {: .page-start } page 98 {:#debate-49} ### STATEMENT No. 9- OUTLINE OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND REPATRIATION BENEFITS {: .page-start } page 98 {:#debate-50} ### SOCIAL SERVICES (/) The Commonwealth provides a benefit for services set out in the Commonwealth Medical Benefits Schedule for medical treatment given to members of approved medical insurance organizations and the dependants of those members. The increases in benefits which are proposed in the 1968-69 Budget are, with minor exceptions, greater than would be determined by reference to the movement in the Consumer Price Index since the particular benefit was last varied. The exceptions relate to attendant's, education and clothing allowances. In the following examples, proposed increases in certain benefits are compared with the increases (shown in brackets) that would result from applying the relevant percentage increase in the Index: special rate pension. $3.00 ($1 . 81); intermediate rate pension, $3.00 ($1 . 26); general rate pensioners assessed at 100 per cent incapacity and eligible for the proposed special compensation allowance, $3 ($1 . 66); war widow's pension. $1 . 00 ($0.77); and war orphan's pension (both parents dead), $2.00 ($0.23). Domestic allowance is also payable to a war widow if she has a dependent child or children under 16 years, or is 50 years of age or over, or is permanently unemployable or has a child over 16 years who is undertaking education or training approved by the Department and who. in the opinion of the Department is not receiving an adequate living wage. Group1 - two arms amputated: or been blinded and also afflicted with total loss of speech o total deafness. Group 2 - two legs and one arm amputated or two legs amputated above the knees; or been blinded or deemed by the Repatriation Commission to be in need of an attendant. Where a service pension is granted to an ex-serviceman on the grounds that he is permanently unemployable or suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis, or if there is an eligible child, service pension may also be paid to his wife and the first four eligible children. Where the serviceman's wife is receiving a social service pension, a tuberculosis allowance or a service pension as a 'member of the forces' the rate payable to him is the married rate. Guardian's allowance may be payable to a service pensioner who is unmarried, widowed, divorced or married but separated and who has the custody, care and control of a child. Supplementary assistance at a maximum rate of $2.00 per week is payable, subject to a means test, to a service pensioner if single (or if married, where his wife is not receiving a pension from the Department of Social Services, or a service pension as an ex-servicewoman) who pays rent. Debate (on motion by **Mr Whitlam)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 103 {:#debate-51} ### APPROPRIATION BILL (No. 2) 1968-69 Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation for proposed expenditure announced. Bill presented by **Mr McMahon,** and read a first time. {:#subdebate-51-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-51-0-s0 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMAHON:
Treasurer · Lowe · LP -- I move: >That the Bill be now read a second time. This Bill contains details of the proposed appropriations for expenditure on: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. the construction of public works and buildings; 1. the acquisition of sites and buildings; 2. items of plant and equipment which are clearly definable as capital expenditure; 3. grants to the States under section 96 of the Constitution; and 4. new policies not authorised by special legislation. The main points regarding the proposed expenditures in this Bill are dealt with in my Budget Speech. I commend the Bill to honourable members. Debate (on motion by **Mr Whitlam)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 103 {:#debate-52} ### BUDGET 1968-69 {: #debate-52-s0 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMAHON:
Treasurer · Lowe · LP -- I present for the information of honourable members the following papers in connection with the Budget for1968-69: >Estimates of Receipts and Summary of Estimated Expenditure for the year ending 30 June 1969. > >Commonwealth Payments to or for the States 1968-69. {:#subdebate-52-0} #### National Income and Expenditure 1967-68 Government Securities onIssue at 30 June 1968. Commonwealth Income Tax Statistics for income year 1963-66. Civil Works Programme 1968-69, circulated by the Minister for Works. Ordered to be printed. {: .page-start } page 103 {:#debate-53} ### POSTAL DEPARTMENT {:#subdebate-53-0} #### Ministerial Statement {: #subdebate-53-0-s0 .speaker-KIF} ##### Mr HULME:
PostmasterGeneral · Petrie · LP -- I lay on the table the following paper: {:#subdebate-53-1} #### Post and Telegraph Act - Postmaster-General - First Annual Statement: Post Office Prospects and Capital Programme 1968-69 In other years this document has been referred to as the Post Office White Paper. I ask for leave of the House to make a statement on adjustments of postal charges. {: #subdebate-53-1-s0 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- There being no objection, leave is granted. {: #subdebate-53-1-s1 .speaker-KIF} ##### Mr HULME:
LP -- The Post Office has adopted a business attitude to the provision and pricing of its wide range of mail services. Each service must reflect the real and changing needs of the customer who uses it, the actual cost of each service and the value the customer places on the service. This is consistent with the Government's attitude to the operation of the Australian Post Office on modern business lines. As a business enterprise the Post Office must not only provide a range of services but be prepared to attract and develop new business while constantly surveying its markets. Any modern mail system, which is a highly labour intensive enterprise, must necessarily introduce changes. No longer can the mail system of today be regarded as a social service which was once necessary in the days of less literacy and less development. The growing volume of mail and the logistics of its handling have caused a rethinking of what a modern mail system should be. The sheer enormity of today's mail system can be gauged from the fact that each article is handled many times both individually and in bulk between its posting and delivery. With a wide variety of mail articles, from lightweight aerogrammes to heavyweight parcels, from urgent business mail to purely social mail, the correct business approach is to assess what each group of articles costs to collect, process and deliver. Market surveys have been made to evaluate the varying types of services which people really want. Cost/ benefit analyses have been studied. One inescapable fact is that the Australian mail system is running at a loss in the vicinity of $15m to $20m per annum. However, Australia's postal losses are not as heavy as those of many overseas countries. Its standards of mail service are still higher, despite its unique size and population spread. This is because of Australia's ready acceptance of postcode and our world leadership in mechanised mail handling. That the Australian mail system makes a loss is attributable to four things. These are: Firstly, any highly labour intensive industry is hit hard by wage rises - $6m last year. Secondly, rail, road and air transportation of mails accounts for 25% of its operating costs. Thirdly, there is practically no revenue from some classes of mail; and fourthly, it must provide many uneconomic but nationally important services for outback country areas. Twenty million items of mail are posted at a half cent each. The time that it takes to pick up an item, read the address and sort it, costs more in wages than the payment received. Against this background and the posting habits of people which are varied and variable and mostly confined to the very last minute, changes are therefore inevitable and necessary. There are two possible courses: Firstly, to subsidise the many special categories of mail by making an increase in the basic postage rate, and secondly, to hold the basic rate for the overall community benefit and to adjust the rates for specialised services. The second course has been chosen. Added to this there will be a drive for new business which will help ensure a return on investment and thus help to contain the overall costs of providing Australia with a modern national and international mail service. The reasons for price adjustments, which are set against the philosophy of providing adequate and dependable services at realistic and reasonable prices, are dealt with in more detail in the following comments. {: .page-start } page 104 {:#debate-54} ### PARCEL RATES WITHIN AUSTRALIA Interstate parcels will be charged on a 'per pound' basis, with a minimum charge per parcel set at average cost. Modern parcel carriers use this pricing system. Following a close study of costs and competition, some parcel rates are being reduced and some increased. Heavier parcels will generally be cheaper than at present. Lighter weight parcels will be dearer. Since 1959, when the present rates were set, sorters wages have risen by 48% and rail freight and other costs by 19%. Far distant States have been grouped into a separate charging zone because of the heavy transport costs involved. {: .page-start } page 104 {:#debate-55} ### SPECIALISED SERVICES Changes in fees for private boxes, private bags and private posting receptacles are designed to reflect more realistically the cost of providing such services. There will be no change to private box rentals where the private box holder is not served by a postman or mail contractor. The last adjustments to the charges for these services were over 12 years ago. {: .page-start } page 104 {:#debate-56} ### BULK PRE-SORTED MAIL Although pre-sorting of mail has been a feature of the Australian scene since 1911, only since last year has a special rate been set for bulk pre-sorted mail. The users of this service have modern office systems which can be readily programmed to print out accounts, labels, envelopes, etc., in postcode order. Handling of this mail results in substantia] economies for the Post Office - no facing and postmarking, less sorting, surface transmission instead of air, and deferred delivery. The special' rate represents a return to the customer of a share of these economies, making this service an attractive one. This category of mail has already created a substantial volume of completely new business for the Post Office of about 10 million items. The potential for its further growth is encouraging. It also generates other normal rate mail as people order by mail, are supplied by mail, are billed by mail and pay by mail. Several international companies which previously posted their Australian mailings from overseas countries now post in Australia. This brings the revenue to this country. New business has meant expanding employment for postal workers - sorters, drivers and postmen - and considerable benefit to the paper, printing and envelope manufacturing industries. The new rates will encourage greater use of the service. New features include extension to cover Australian books. Exporters will also be able to participate as this service is extended to overseas countries, commencing with New Zealand. {: .page-start } page 104 {:#debate-57} ### MAIL FOR OVERSEAS A re-assessment of charges for overseas air mail - excluding aerogrammes - and surface parcel mail has become necessary because of transportation costs and handling charges made by overseas countries. The charge to the Post Office for carrying air mail to Britain and Europe is 29c per half oz. The new rate of 30c will leave the Post Office with only lc to cover its costs. For parcels sent overseas by sea freight, rates have gone up by 24% since the last rate adjustments in 1959, wage rates have increased by 48% and handling charges made by overseas countries have risen sharply. On a 22 lb parcel for Britain, the freight is $1.30 and the British Post Office charge is $3.70. The Australian Post Office is left with 10c of the new rate of $6, providing domestic handling costs can be held at 90c. {: .page-start } page 105 {:#debate-58} ### MAIL DELIVERIES There has been a review of the mail delivery system in Australia. Present day living places less dependency on mail since many more people have access to telephones and telegraph services. Surveys have shown that with a once-daily delivery service less than 10% of mail would be affected. They also point up that in 25% of the suburbs and country towns where one delivery a day has long been the order, there has been no interruption to business activities. This once-daily delivery system has proved that it meets the needs of modern communities in many overseas countries including New Zealand, Canada and the United States of America. The plan for Australia's new mail system is to provide two deliveries a day in inner capital city areas, and in certain concentrated industrial and commercial! areas, and one delivery elsewhere. For the main business areas in cities, suburbs and towns, the time of delivery will be much the same as it is now. Residential deliveries will be from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. There will be a morning delivery by postmen on Saturdays to handle letter mail. The Post Office will continue to provide service for private boxes and bags and special1 delivery mail. In addition the special despatch mail service will be expanded to handle urgent interstate mail for the suburbs. The new arrangements will improve the working conditions of postmen. For most it will mean the end of the long break of up to three and a half hours between their morning and afternoon shifts and will reduce the length of their working day which commences before 6.30 a.m. No present member of the staff will be retrenched but there wiN be some lessening in the recruitment of new staff. Consultations with the unions on the staffing implications will, of course, take place before the changes are introduced. With the concurrence of honourable members 1 incorporate in Hansard statements showing proposed adjustments of postal charges. BULK PRE-SORTED MAIL- PRINCIPAL CONDITIONS (As from 1st October. 1968) {: .page-start } page 109 {:#debate-59} ### LOAN (WAR SERVICE LAND SETTLEMENT) BILL1968 Bill - by leave - presented by **Mr Anthony,** and read a first time. {:#subdebate-59-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-59-0-s0 .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr ANTHONY:
Minister for Primary Industry · Richmond · CP -- 1 move: That the Bill be now read a second time. This Bill provides for the raising of loan moneys amounting to $5,500,000 for war service land settlement in the States of Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania during the 1968-69 financial year. As honourable members are aware the Commonwealth is responsible for the provision of the whole of the capital moneys required for the scheme in those three States. It is anticipated the money will be made available in the following approximate amounts: Western Australia, $2,500,000; South Australia, $2,192,000; and Tasmania, $808,000. As has been stated in previous years when similar Bills have been introduced to the Parliament, the bulk of this money is required to make advances to settlers for annual working expenses and for purchase of stock and replacement plant. Most settlers under the War Service Land Settlement Scheme started with little or no capital of their own. Adverse seasonal conditions have, from time to time, affected income in diverse areas where settlement has taken place. Some primary products upon which some settlers are dependent have experienced, and are still experiencing, a costprice squeeze. It will be appreciated that all these factors have militated against a proportion of settlers, particularly those on the later allotments, being able to accumulate sufficient financial reserves to enable them to carry on without further borrowing. For such settlers access to the credit arrangements of the scheme is an advantage, particularly in the concessional rate of interest applying to advances. Expenditure on development is largely a matter of tidying-up on farms provided from the large scale developmental projects which are a feature of this scheme. It also includes continuing work on block drainage for irrigated horticultural holdings in the Upper Murray region of South Australia and on the irrigation headworks, including channels and pipelines, which supply water to settlers on holdings at Loxton in South Australia. I commend the Bill to honourable members. Debate (on motion by **Mr Beaton)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 110 {:#debate-60} ### LOAN (HOUSING) BILL 1968 Bill - by leave - presented by **Mr Bury,** and read a first time. {:#subdebate-60-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-60-0-s0 .speaker-JTP} ##### Mr BURY:
Minister for Labour and National Service · Wentworth · LP -- I move: >That the Bill be now read a second time. The purpose of this Bill is to authorise the Treasurer **(Mr McMahon)** to borrow a sum of $126m to be advanced to the States for housing. The Australian Loan Council agreed, at its meeting last June, that the total borrowing programme for States works and housing for 1968-69 should be $7 10m. Of its share of the total programme each State nominated the proportion it wished to receive as advances in accordance with the provisions of the Housing Agreement Act 1966. In aggregate, the States have sought $126ra for this purpose distributed as follows: This represents an increase of $3,160,000 or 2.5% over the amount advanced to the States last year. These advances are repayable over 53 years and bear interest at 1% per annum below the long term bond rate. They are made under the authority of the Housing Agreement Act 1966 which continues in operation until 30th June 1971. One of the provisions of the present Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement is that at least 30% of the amount advanced to each State annually is to be allocated by the State to a home builders account. Advances are made from this account to building societies and other approved institutions which in turn make loans to individual home builders. Honourable members will be fully aware of the significant contribution made by this arrangement. Under the Housing Agreement Act 1966 the Commonwealth has advanced almost S243m to the States for housing purposes. Of this amount, about $82m has been advanced through home builders accounts which, together with moneys accruing in the accounts from earlier advances, has assisted some 15,800 familes to acquire their own homes. The balance, supplemented on account of dwellings for the defence forces, has enabled State housing authorities to construct more than 21,000 dwellings. I commend the Bill to the House. {: #subdebate-60-0-s1 .speaker-JOO} ##### Mr BEATON:
Bendigo -- I move: >That the debate be now adjourned. May I mention that, perhaps not because of Standing Orders but certainly by tradition, the representative of the Opposition at the table has always been provided with a copy of the speech made by a Minister when introducing a bill. All too often during the last sessional period we were not given a copy of the Minister's second reading speech and that practice apparently has started again. I should like to remind the Government that the Opposition is a part of this Parliament. Question resolved in the affirmative. SALES TAX BILLS (Nos 1 to 9) 1968 Bills presented by **Mr Freeth,** and together read a first time. {:#subdebate-60-1} #### Second Readings {: #subdebate-60-1-s0 .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH:
Minister for Air and Minister assisting the Treasurer · Forrest · LP -- I move: >That the Bills be now read a second lime. The purpose of these Bills is to give effect to the proposal announced in the Treasurer's Budget Speech to increase the general rate of sales tax from 12i% to 15%. The increase will apply to a wide range of goods. Among the more important classes of goods affected are commercial motor vehicles, motor cycles, caravans, motor vehicle parts and tyres, office furniture and business equipment, advertising matter, stationery and other paper products, confectionery, potable spirits, toys and sporting equipment including yachts and boats, soaps, detergents, polishes and chemicals, lawn mowers, travelware and musical instruments. The proposed increase will not affect passenger motor cars or other goods now taxed at 25%. The rate of tax on household furniture and appliances at present taxed at *2i%* will also remain unchanged. As the Treasurer **(Mr McMahon)** mentioned earlier, the increase in rate is expected to yield additional revenue amounting to $44m in a full year. The increases are to be effective from tomorrow, 14th August 1968. This accords with the normal practice under which changes in rates of sales tax take effect from the day following their introduction into Parliament. I commend the Bills to honourable members. Debate (on motion by **Mr Beaton)** adjourned. House adjourned at 9.37 p.m. {: .page-start } page 112 {:#debate-61} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS UPON NOTICE The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated: {:#subdebate-61-0} #### Public Service (Question No. 14) {: #subdebate-61-0-s0 .speaker-KXI} ##### Mr Webb: asked the Prime Minister, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Are applicants for admission to the Third Division of the Public Service required to have the New South Wales Leaving Certificate or its equivalent? 1. Is it a fact that migrants applying for admission to this Division who have the equivalent of the New South Wales Leaving Certificate are not accepted and that university matriculation is required? 2. If so, is this unfair discrimination against the migrant, and what action is proposed to abolish this double standard? {: #subdebate-61-0-s1 .speaker-KH5} ##### Mr Gorton:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's questions are as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Broadly yes, although some elaboration is required. In 1960, when introducing the Bill to amend the recruitment and appointment provisions of the Public Service Act, following the Boyer committee recommendations, the then Prime Minister made clear that an examination at the level and standard of the New South Wales Leaving Certificatewas to be the bench mark. However, with the introduction of the Wyndham scheme the bench mark is now English and three other recognised subjects at the Higher School Certificate examination. It must also be recalled that the Boyer committee itself in recommending the Leaving Certificate standard as the normal minimum educational qualification for all forms of entry to the Third Division recorded the following: Theterms "Leaving Certificate" and "Intermediate Certificate" referring to entry qualifications tor the Public Service, have been current for many years. They are misleading in their implications of uniformity. There is at present no uniformity between the several States in courses and standards for the various public examinations, nor for the examinations conducted by Education Departments at similar levels. 2 and 3. A list of Australian examinations which qualify persons to compete for entry to the Third Division is published in the 'Gazette' annually and is modified from time to lime. It is a fact that migrants applying for admission to the Third Division who have the equivalent of the New South Wales Leaving Certificate have not been accepted and that university matriculation has been required. However, in the light of various representations and of changes in the various State educational systems, the Board has had this matter under review. As a consequence, conditions have now been notified in the Commonwealth 'Gazette' of 10 April1968. which provide that persons with overseas qualifications will be eligible to compete for entry to the Third Division if they are qualified for matriculation at an Australian or United Kingdom university, or if documentary evidence is produced that such qualifications have been assessed by a State education authority as equivalent to a pass at the level required by the Commonwealth in the approved examination conducted by the State. {:#subdebate-61-1} #### Government Contracts (Question No. 24) {: #subdebate-61-1-s0 .speaker-KXI} ##### Mr Webb: asked the Prime Minister, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that the Australian Government is letting contracts to foreign countries, and in particular to Japan, for prefabricated materials to be sent from overseas to Australia? 1. Has this matter been referred to him by the Boilermakers' Society? 2. If so, has the Society painted out that numbers of their members have been dismissed and were findingit difficult to obtain employment? 3. Will he arrange for Government contracts to be let10 Australian firms? {: #subdebate-61-1-s1 .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEwen:
Deputy Prime Minister · MURRAY, VICTORIA · CP -- The answer to the honour able member's question is as follows: 1 and 4. The basic principle in Commonwealth purchasing is to obtain the best value for money spent. Inadministering this policy when tenders are received from both overseas and Australian suppliers, the cost of freight and insurance and the appropriate amount of any duties which would apply if the goods were being imported for commercial ratherthan Government use are included in the overseas tender price. In this wayAustralian manufacturers are afforded the protection to which they are entitled under the Tariff. The Government keeps under close supervision the letting of Government contracts abroad in order to ensure that Australian industry is adequately safeguarded. The matter of overseas ordering was raised with **Mr Molt** late lastyear by a branch of the Boilermakers' Society which alleged that, as a result of such ordering, a number of its members had been dismissed and had subsequently found difficulty in obtaining employment. It is to be noted that, while there has been some letting of Commonwealth contracts to foreign countries, the major Commonwealth ordering authority, the Department of Supply, has not placed any significant overseas orders during the past 2 years for prefabricated work of a nature that would have allowed employment of members of the Boilermakers' Society had the contracts been let to Australian suppliers. The honourable member will no doubt be interested to know that, according to the latest Commonwealth Employment Service statistics the number of vacancies for boilermakers and blacksmiths greatly exceeds the numbers registered for employment in these trades. {:#subdebate-61-2} #### Security (Question No.57) {: #subdebate-61-2-s0 .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr Hayden: asked the Prime Minister, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many applications for appointment to the Commonwealth Public Service have been rejected because of a security report in each year from and including 1930? 1. How many members of the Commonwealth Public Service were not promoted because of a security report in each of those years? 2. Did any of these persons have any right of appeal against the decision concerning them based on the security reports; if so, what was the avenue of appeal, how often was it used and in how many cases was it successful during each of the years referred to? {: #subdebate-61-2-s1 .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEwen:
CP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >Since December1949 the practice instituted under the previous Government has been continued whereby security reports are obtained before appointments are made in certain employment categories in the Public Service. The number of persons rejected for appointment or refused promotion on security grounds is very small. > >The possibility of instituting a system of appeals from decisions based on security reports has been considered but it is not proposed to depart from the present procedures. Vietnam (Question No. 67) {: #subdebate-61-2-s2 .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr Hayden: asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many prisoners have been taken by Australian troops in Vietnam during each year in which the Australian troops have been committed there? 1. How many prisoners are now held by Australian authorities? 2. Where are they held? 3. How many prisoners were given over to the South Vietnamese authorities from Australian custody in each year? 4. In what way did the transfer of prisoners accord with the Geneva Agreement, etc. on the treatment of prisoners of war? {: #subdebate-61-2-s3 .speaker-KEN} ##### Mr Fairhall:
LP -- The answers to the honour able member' s questions are: For the12 months prior to the arrival of the First Australian Task Force in June 1966 Australia deployed one battalion only in Vietnam. This battalion was under the operational control of a United States brigade. The 31 enemy prisoners taken by Australians were not processed separately but were dealt with in accordance with procedures employed by the brigade. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Nil. 1. The disposition of prisoners captured by Australian forces as at 31 May 1968. was as follows: {: type="1" start="4"} 0. Prisoners captured by Australian forces are transferred to the South Vietnamese authorities through the United States authorities at Long Binh. 5.In all respects. Minerals (Question No. 140) {: #subdebate-61-2-s4 .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Which minerals are still required to be located in Australia in order to make Australia less dependent on imports? 1. What was the value of imports of these particular minerals in each of the last three years? {: #subdebate-61-2-s5 .speaker-KDT} ##### Mr Fairbairn:
Minister for National Development · FARRER, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP -- The answer is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The main minerals still required to be located in Australia in order to make Australia less dependent on imports are: All types of asbestos Diamonds (gem and industrial) Petroleum Potassium Sulphur The list docs not include phosphate rock as substantial deposits of this mineral have been discovered in Queensland. Petroleum is included because the life of known deposits, at announced extraction rates, is expected to be rather short. Development of these deposits will, however, make Australia less dependent on imports. 2. Elemental sulphur has not yet been discovered in Australia. There are, however, indigenous sources of sulphur in the form of pyrites and investigations are being made by various companies into the possibility of establishing sulphuric acid plants based on these minerals instead of imported sulphur. 3. Imports of potassium in the form of fertilisers are expected to decrease as a result of developments at Lake MacLeod, Western Australia. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. The value of imports of minerals in the above list and phosphate rock in each of the last three years was as follows: {:#subdebate-61-3} #### Vietnam: Prisoners of War (Question No. 158) {: #subdebate-61-3-s0 .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: asked the Minister for Defence upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many prisoners have been taken by the Australian forces in Vietnam? 1. Where are they located at present and in whose charge? 2. Are the prisoners generally maintained by the Australian command or passed over to the South Vietnamese authorities? 3. What steps are taken to ensure that Australian obligations under the Geneva Convention are complied with when prisoners are handed to non-Australian control? 4. What inspections of allied prisoner of war camps have been carried out by the Australian command? {: #subdebate-61-3-s1 .speaker-KEN} ##### Mr Fairhall:
LP -- The answers to the honourable member's questions are: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Eighty-one to 31st May 1968. Of these thirty-one were captured between June 1965 and May 1966 when Australia deployed one battalion only in Vietnam. This battalion was under the operational control of a United States brigade. The thirty-one enemy prisoners taken by Australians were not processed separately but were dealt with in accordance with the procedures employed by the brigade. 1. The disposition of prisoners captured by Australian forces as at 31st May 1968 was as follows: {: type="1" start="3"} 0. Prisoners of war captured by Australian forces are transferred to the South Vietnamese authorities through the United States authorities at Long Binh. 4 and 5. The commander of the Australian force is well informed of Australia's obligations under the Geneva Convention. Apart from inspections by the International Committee of Red Cross of which the Australian force receives reports, regular inspection visits are made by Australian officers to the South Vietnamese compounds where prisoners of war captured by the Australians are held, to check on their health and wellbeing. These indicate that all prisoners of war captured since June 1966 are being adequately cared for. {:#subdebate-61-4} #### Ord River Scheme (Question No. 164) {: #subdebate-61-4-s0 .speaker-JZX} ##### Mr Collard:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice: >Will he make available to honourable members the information supplied by the Government of Western Australia subsequent to October 1966 which finally convinced the Commonwealth that the second stage of the Ord River project should be proceeded with? {: #subdebate-61-4-s1 .speaker-KDT} ##### Mr Fairbairn:
LP -- The following answer is supplied: >The Commonwealth Government as a general rule does not disclose the terms of communications between the Prime Minister and Premiers unless it is mutually agreed to make the information public. > >My second reading speech introducing the Ord River Agreement Bill and the information paper which 1 issued at the same time contains considerable background information on the project and on the Commonwealth's decision to assist the Western Australian Government with finance for the second stage of the Ord River Project. {:#subdebate-61-5} #### Water Conservation (Question No. 168) {: #subdebate-61-5-s0 .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: asked the Prime Minister upon notice: >What is the name of each water conservation project located north of Brisbane for which the Queensland Government requested financial assistance from the Commonwealth from (a) 1st January 1963 to 31st December 1964 and (b) 1st January 1965, and what amount was involved in each case? {: #subdebate-61-5-s1 .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEwen:
CP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >On page 1247 of Hansard for 22nd September 1966 is printed the answer provided by the then Prime Minister to an identical question asked by the honourable member. The honourable member will be aware that on 1st November 1967 my colleague, the Minister for National Development, announced that the Government had decided to make financial assistance of up to a maximum of $20m available to the Queensland Government to enable it to proceed with the Emerald irrigation project {:#subdebate-61-6} #### Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Question No. 189) {: #subdebate-61-6-s0 .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr Hayden: asked the Prime Minister, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. When did Australia become a signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? 1. What does Article 23 (2) of that Declaration state? 2. What practical steps has his Government taken to fulfil its responsibilities under this Article, especially insofar as Commonwealth Crown employees are concerned? 3. Has the Government power to legislate, if it so wished, to provided that the right referred to in Article 23 (2) shall apply to Commonwealth Crown employees? {: #subdebate-61-6-s1 .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEwen:
CP -- The answers to the honourable member's questions are as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Australia supported the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10th December 1948. The Declaration was embodied in a resolution of the General Assembly and was not open for signature by member States. Australia has thus not 'become a signatory' of the Declaration. As the honourable member will be aware the General Assembly has power under the Charter to make recommendations but not to bind the membership by a majority vote and the designation of a resolution of the General Assembly as a 'declaration' rather than a recommendation cannot make it binding. 1. The text of Article 23 (2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is as follows: Everyone, without any discrimination has the right to equal pay for equal work. 3 and 4. The Government's attitude regarding the introduction of equal pay for Commonwealth employees has been stated on numerous occasions. It is the view of the Commonwealth Government that the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission is the proper body to make a thorough and dispassionate examination which a question with such far-reaching economic, social and industrial consequences as equal pay requires. The Government does not consider that it would be acting responsibly if it were, by its own decision, to apply the principle of equal pay to its own employees in advance of a definitive determination by the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme (Question No. 200) {: #subdebate-61-6-s2 .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice: >Was it the planned intention of the Government in the early 1950s to programme the work of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority over a period of 30 years with the earliest date of termination given as 1982; if so, why was this plan altered? {: #subdebate-61-6-s3 .speaker-KDT} ##### Mr Fairbairn:
LP -- The answer is as follows: >The Commonwealth-States committee report of May 1950 entitled 'Proposals to Divert the Snowy > >River' proposed that the Snowy generating capacity when installed should comprise approximately 30% of the total requirements of south eastern Australia. On this basis and having regard to the growth in electricity demand assumed at that time, completion of the Snowy scheme would not have occurred until the late 1980s. > >Shortly after it was established, the Authority drew up a programme which envisaged a construction period of about 30 years. This programme was based on the development of the resources of the area prior to detailed investigation of the alternatives available for optimum usage as well as assumptions as to power requirements of the States and as to rate of provision of funds by the Commonwealth many years in advance. > >The present - 1968- electricity demand exceeds that estimated in 1950 by the CommonwealthStates committee for the year 1985. Being aware of this extremely rapid growth in demand and in a desire to provide the maximum assistance from the Snowy power stations, the Commonwealth has made funds available at a much greater rate than previously envisaged. This enabled a shortening of the original programmed period by some 8 to 10 years. This accelerated programme to meet the States' power requirements would not have been possible without improvements which had occurred during the 1950s in speed of construction, particularly in hard rock tunnelling and in construction of earth and rock-fill dams. > >The advancement of the rate of construction has had two marked advantages. First, large blocks of electric power became available to the States of New South Wales and Victoria at a time when they were having difficulty in keeping pace with the rapid increase in demand in their systems. Secondly, the scheme was able to supply large quantities of water to irrigationists during the 1967-68 irrigation year when, despite record low stream flows, only relatively mild restrictions were imposed on water use. Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority (Question No. 201) {: #subdebate-61-6-s4 .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice: >Were engineers who joined the staff of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority during the period 1950 to 1963 informed that they would be employed on a permanent or 'lifetime' basis? {: #subdebate-61-6-s5 .speaker-KDT} ##### Mr Fairbairn:
LP -- The following answer is supplied: >Whilst the great majority of advertisements for staff in the early 1950s did not contain any reference to a 'permanent' appointment, a few advertisements offering permanent positions were inserted in the press. So far as can be ascertained a total of 34 staff were offered 'permanent' appointments, of whom 16 are still in the Authority's employment. Of the 16 staff mentioned. 8 have professional engineering qualifications. Other than in the instances outlined, which occurred between 1950 and 1952, no undertakings as to permanency of employment have been given. Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority (Question No. 202) {: #subdebate-61-6-s6 .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice: >Is it a fact that the Government, through the Secretary of the Department of Labour and National Service, informed the Association of Professional Engineers, Australia, in 1961 that the prospects for the future re-employment of highly qualified engineers facing retrenchment from the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority were not bright and that employment at equivalent salaries would be difficult to find? {: #subdebate-61-6-s7 .speaker-KDT} ##### Mr Fairbairn:
LP -- My colleague, the Minister for Labour and National Service, has provided me with the following information in reply to the honourable member's question: >In May 1961 the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority Group of the Association of Professional Engineers, Australia, wrote to the Department of Labour and National Service inquiring about the demand for experienced professional engineers over the age of 45. In reply the Department pointed out that much would depend on (he general economic situation and the supply of engineers in the years ahead, the per sonal qualities and qualifications of the engineers concerned, and the type of employment sought and its location. The observations made were related to the circumstances then prevailing. In commenting on the prospects for engineers over the age of 45, attention was drawn to the possibility that at that time not all could expect to obtain initially positions of equivalent status to those they might then be holding because of the tendency for employers to promote from within the organisation. {:#subdebate-61-7} #### Commonwealth Buildings: Parking (Question No. 206) {: #subdebate-61-7-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister representing the Minister for Works, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What buildings have been constructed or reconstructed for the Commonwealth in the Sydney metropolitan area in the last 10 years? 1. In which cases and to what extent have park ing facilities been provided for (a) employees working in those buildings or (b) members of the public resorting to them? {: #subdebate-61-7-s1 .speaker-009MM} ##### Mr Kelly:
LP -- The following answer has been furnished: {:#subdebate-61-8} #### Pensions (Question No. 213) {: #subdebate-61-8-s0 .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr Scholes:
CORIO, VICTORIA asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What is the estimated cost of abolishing the means test on all age pensions? 1. How many persons of pensionable age are at present not in receipt of (a) a full pension, of (b) a part pension? {: #subdebate-61-8-s1 .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr WENTWORTH:
MACKELLAR, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; IND LIB from Oct 1977 -- The following answers are now supplied: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. My Department has estimated that if the age pension was paid to all persons of pensionable age having residence qualifications, the additional annual cost would currently amount to some$370m. However, thisfigure would be partly offset since certain persons of pensionable age are already in receipt of a service pension or a widow's pension. In addition, under the existing legislation, inmates of mental hospitals are not eligible for a pension apart from a retrospective payment on ceasing to be a mental hospital patient covering the final twelve weeks of hospitalisation. It is estimated that these factors would bring the net cost of abolishing the means test on the age pension to the order of $340m. 1. Based on data available at present, my Departmenthas also estimated that at 30th June 1967, there v.ere some 544,000 persons of pensionable age who were qualified by residence and not receiving any age pension. As stated in 1 this estimate would include certain persons who were in receipt of a widow's pension or a service pension. At the same date there were 587,000 receiving a full age pension and 64,000 receiving a part age pension. {:#subdebate-61-9} #### Social Services (Question No. 224) {: #subdebate-61-9-s0 .speaker-KUX} ##### Mr Stewart:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What is the estimated cost of processing a normal, straight forward application for an (a) age and (b) invalid pension? 1. What is the estimated cost of processing an application for an (a) age and (b) invalid pension when income and/or assets investigations are required? 2. How much of this cost would be eliminated in the event of the abolition of the means lest? MrWentworth - The following answers are now supplied: The direct labour costs, including fees for medical examinations, of processing claims for age and invalid pensions are as follows: 1. (a) $3.50; (b) $7.70. 2. (a) $4.50; (b) $8.70. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. The processing of a pension claim involves a lengthy sequence of events including receipt, indexing, filing, examining, determining, coding, card punching and various payment procedures necessary for proper financial control of public expenditure. Savings from abolition of the means test would occur in the examining and determining sections of the process and would amount to approximately $1 per claim or about $80,000 a year. This saving would be offset by the greater number of claims to be dealt with since currently only about 54% of persons of pensionable age are in receipt of an age pension. The bulk of the administration cost of the department arises not from the processing of new pension claims but from benefit payments now running at over 40,000,000 annually and which involved expenditure in 1966-67 totalling over $846m. {:#subdebate-61-10} #### Television Documentary Film (Question No. 236) {: #subdebate-61-10-s0 .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is he able to say whether a television documentary made in Australia last year by an independent Canadian producer, **Mr Bruce** Lawson, dealing, in particular, with race relations within Australia and Australian attitudes towards other races, has been screened by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and is under consideration for screening by the British Broadcasting Corporation? 1. Was this film, in January . 1968, offered to the Australian Broadcasting Commission for screening, and was a Kine recording sent to the Commission for audition? 2. If so, what was the decision of the Commission regarding the screening of (his film? 3. If the Commission has decided against the purchase and screening of the film, was this decision taken for (a) reasons of quality, (b) technical reasons or (c) because the Commission's attitude towards the acceptability of the subject matter? 4. If the Commission has decided not to screen the film, is he prepared to make arrangements for a screening of the Kine recording to interested members of this House? {: #subdebate-61-10-s1 .speaker-KIF} ##### Mr Hulme:
LP -- The answers to the honourable member's questions are as follows: 1. (a) Yes. (b) No. 2. (a) Yes. (b) No. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. The ABC decided not to screen the film. 1. The ABC's decision was based on its assessment of the quality of the programme. 2. As far as the Commision is aware, there is no copy of this film at present in Australia. {:#subdebate-61-11} #### Statistics (Question No. 247) {: #subdebate-61-11-s0 .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice: What are the reasons for not recording in statistics the tonnages of bauxite used for domestic purposes? {: #subdebate-61-11-s1 .speaker-KDT} ##### Mr Fairbairn:
LP -- The following answer is supplied: >The Commonwealth Statistician has advised that statistics relating to the tonnage of bauxite used in Australia in the production of alumina are collected by the Bureau of Census and Statistics under the provisions of the Census and Statistics Act 1905-1966. Section 24 of that Act states that 'the Statistician .... shall not divulge the contents of any form filled up or any information furnished (a) in pursuance of this Act or (b) at the request of the Statistician for statistical purposes'. > >Because of the small number of producers of alumina in Australia, this provision in the Act precludes the publication, by the Statistician, of information relating to bauxite used for domestic purposes. {:#subdebate-61-12} #### Mineral Exports (Question No. 248) {: #subdebate-61-12-s0 .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What is the reason for the Government refusing to divulge to the Parliament the quantity of bauxite shipped overseas annually from the port of Weipa? 1. Why should these figures remain secret? 2. Are the quantities of all minerals exported by all foreign-owned companies in Australia kept secret? {: #subdebate-61-12-s1 .speaker-KDT} ##### Mr Fairbairn:
LP -- The following answers are supplied: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The Commonwealth Statistician has advised that he cannot publish statistics of exports of bauxite from the port of Weipa because the confidentiality provisions of the Census and Statistics Act 1905-1966 preclude him from divulging this information. See reply to question 247. 1. See reply to 1 above. 2. No. In compiling export statistics no distinction is made between exports of foreignowned companies and those of other companies. {:#subdebate-61-13} #### Public Service: Rental Subsidies (Question No. 252) {: #subdebate-61-13-s0 .speaker-JWX} ##### Mr J R Fraser:
ALP er asked the Prime Minister, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What conditions apply to the grant, in Canberra, of rental subsidies under the provisions of regulation 97 of the Commonwealth Public Service Regulations? 1. Are these subsidies or allowances paid to officers transferred or promoted to Canberra to assist with rents they must pay to private landlouts while awaiting an allocation of Government housing? 2. Is it a condition of the grant of subsidy that the premises in respect of which subsidy is paid must be subjected to fair rent assessment by the Rent Controller in the Australian Capital Territory? 3. Have some houses in Canberra been excluded from fair rent provisions? 4. Are regulation 97 subsidies being paid in respect of any of these excluded premises? 5. Does the rental subsidy payable vary upwards with the salary of the officer concerned or is the subsidy related only to the assessed fait rent of the premises, irrespective of the salary of the officer who is the recipient of the subsidy? 6. In respect of how many premises in Canberra is rental subsidy currently being paid? 7. What is the average amount of subsidy being paid at present? 8. What is the average rent of cottages or houses which are the subject of subsidy payments? 9. What was the total expenditure on rental subsidy under regulation 97 in Canberra in the last financial year? {: #subdebate-61-13-s1 .speaker-KH5} ##### Mr Gorton:
LP -- The answers to the honourable member's questions are as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Married officers transferred, promoted or appointed to Canberra from another locality may be granted a rental subsidy under regulation 97 in respect of the occupancy of privately owned furnished premises if they have registered for a Government house for which they have to await allocation. 1. Yes. 2. The conditions relating to payment of a subsidy under regulation 97 do not restrict payment to only those premises which have been fair rented. However, an upper rental limit is used in the case of furnished premises for subsidy assessment purposes. If a tenant in receipt of a regulation 97 subsidy chooses to rent premises above the rental limit the excess rental above that limit must be borne by the tenant. It is open, of course, for a tenant to make application, under the Landlord and Tenant Ordinance, to the Department of the Interior for a fair rent assessment if he so desires but he is not compelled under the legislation to make such application. 3. No. 4. Not applicable. 5. Subject to an upper rental limit the amount of subsidy depends on the officer's salary and the rent paid. The officer is required to pay any rental in excess of the upper rental limit. Of two officers paying the same rent, the officer on the higher salary receives less subsidy than the officer on the lower salary. The subsidy is not related to the fair rent of the premises. Departments hold a delegation to approve rental subsidies up to certain limits; consequently, it is not possible to give an immediate answer to the specific details required in parts 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the question without seeking advice from each department. This information is being sought and the answers will be included in a' supplementary answer. {:#subdebate-61-14} #### Vietnam: Civil Aid (Question No. 273) {: #subdebate-61-14-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice: What changes in the (a) nature and (b) extent of civilian aid by other countries to South Vietnam have occurred since his answer to me on 7 March 1967 (Hansard page 445)? {: #subdebate-61-14-s1 .speaker-ZL6} ##### Mr Hasluck:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: The changes in the nature and extent of regular civil economic and social assistance to South Vietnam since that reported on 7 March 1967, are listed in the following summary. All monetary amounts are expressed in United States dollars. Special emergency aid since the Vietcong offensive in February is recorded in a separate schedule. No additional aid is reported for the following countries: Argentina, Denmark, Ecuador, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Laos, Liberia, Luxemburg, Norway, Pakistan, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay and Venezuela. Belgium Belgium has given three additional scholarships for Vietnamese to study in Belgium. Canada {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Canada has offered more vaccines against polio, tuberculosis and smallpox. Consideration is being given to the establishment of a rehabilitation centre in Vietnam. 1. Canada is printing half a million copies of a social sciences text book for Vietnamese school children. 2. Training in Canada: One more Colombo Plan trainee has been trained in Canada, bringing the total trainees under all programmes, including those sponsored by other agencies and third countries (as well as the Colombo Plan), to 463. There are currently 231 Vietnamese students in Canada. China The Republic of China has provided: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. An 18-man psychological warfare team. 1. An increase of 22 in the personnel of the electrical power mission, under the leadership of Taipower (Taiwan Power Company). 2. An increase of six in the personnel of the surgical team. China financed the training of 40 Vietnamese power engineers and technicians in 1967. It has provided additional medical supplies and cement. Costa Rica Costa Rica has provided an ambulance for use by the Ministry of Health. France France has contributed about $4m since the last report, largely in the cultural field. Most French personnel now in Vietnam are serving as staff in some secondary schools in Saigon and as university staff. French training programmes which began in 1965 are continuing but on a reduced scale. Germany Approximately 200 technical and medical personnel are now serving in Vietnam. German aid to Vietnam averages about $7.5m annually. No further details are available. Japan Additional aid covering activities in recent years has been reported: Scholarships for students and experts, the construction of a neurological surgical ward in Saigon, medical supplies for refugees, lecturers for Saigon schools, technical experts and several medical teams. Japan now has a medical team stationed in Saigon. A medical aid agreement (Sl.lm) was signed in June 1967. Malaysia Approximately 900 more Vietnamese military and police officers have been trained since the last report. Netherlands Additional information indicates that the Netherlands aid programme, which began in 1965, has financed scholarships for Vietnamese doctors, for construction and equipping of three tuberculosis centres, and the renovation and equipment of a hospital in Cholon. New Zealand New Zealand assistance has averaged $347,500 annually. Civilian expenditures in 1968are expected to exceed $417,000. This finances a 15- man surgical team at Qui Nhun, scholarships for 80 Vietnamese in New Zealand, medical and teaching equipment for Hue University, equipment for a technical high school and a contribution towards the construction of a science building at the University of Saigon. Philippines In non-military aid, the Philippines has financed a 12-man medical team and donated clothing, food and medical supplies. Spain Spain has provided a further 1,400 lb of medicines, medical equipment and blankets. Switzerland A second Swiss medical team arrived late in 1967 to work at Da Nang. A government grant is financing the construction of a paediatric wing at the Da Nang hospital. Tunisia The number of scholarships made available for Vietnamese is between 15 and 20. United Kingdom Information recently received indicates that the United Kingdom has supplied economic aid valued at $2.4m in the past 3 years. In the current fiscal year, beginning 1 April, expenditure of approximately $1,152,000 is planned. Approximately one half of this amount is to be spent on a paediatric team, about $285,000 on a police team, and the balance is unspecified. It has provided 7 police advisors and technical experts. The paediatric team which went to Saigon in August 1966, is to be expanded to 18 members, and X-ray and other equipment is being supplied to a new hospital block. United States of America Actual United States expenditure for assistance in 1966-67 was $459m. Of this $200m was spent on the commercial import programme, 5284.8m on the project programme, $4.8m, on administrative costs and $5.5m on programme support. The most recent estimate of United States expenditure for 1967-68 was $4 70m made up of the commercial import programme $200m, the project programme $25 lm, and non-regional funds $2m. Details of project programme expenditure for 1966-67 and estimated expenditure 1967-68 are given below: Expenditure in Vietnam in 1966-67 under the P.L. 480 (food for peace) programme is estimated at J 139.2m, and in 1967-68 is expected to be about $ 166.4m. The commodities include rice, tobacco, dry milk, cotton, wheat, flour, corn and sweetened condensed milk. Through sales of Public Law 480 rice, cotton, tobacco, wheat, flour and sweetened condensed milk AID will help to stabilise the economy. AID will also provide about $35m of Public Law 480 bulgar. oil, flour, raw cotton, milk and corn to be used as relief supplies. The following schedule reports details of emergency aid given following the Tet offensive, all monetary values being expressed in United States dollars: {:#subdebate-61-15} #### Teacher Trainees (Question No. 295) {: #subdebate-61-15-s0 .speaker-YF4} ##### Mr Cross: asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What number of students at teachers colleges in each State sat for their final year examinations in each year since 1961? 1. What number of students failed in each case? {: #subdebate-61-15-s1 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr Malcolm Fraser:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- Questions seeking information on matters which are the responsibility of State Ministers for Education, and therefore not matters as to which the Commonwealth Minister is responsible to the Parliament, should be addressed to the relevant Minister in State parliaments. {:#subdebate-61-16} #### Social Services (Question No. 300) {: #subdebate-61-16-s0 .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Will he give favourable consideration to the establishment of regional offices of his Department in (a) metropolitan and (b) country centres in the various Slates? 1. If not, why not? {: #subdebate-61-16-s1 .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr WENTWORTH:
MACKELLAR, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; IND LIB from Oct 1977 -- The following answer is supplied: >The Department of Social Services has had regional offices established in the principal country centres since 1948 and now has a total of thirtynine such offices. There are also two metropolitan offices in Sydney. The locations of these offices are as follows: The establishment of metropolitan offices, which commenced in 1967, is still in the developmental stage. So far only two such offices have been opened but others are planned in both Sydney and Melbourne. Additional offices will be established in country centres where it is found that the volume of business is sufficient to warrant the additional expenditure involved. Northern Territory: Annual Leave (Question No. 301) **Mr Whitlam** asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice: >What awards for (a) public and (b) private employees in the Darwin area provide for (i) five, (ii) four and (iii) three weeks annual leave? > >How many weeks annual leave is provided in comparable Commonwealth awards for employees in the southern States? {: #subdebate-61-16-s2 .speaker-JTP} ##### Mr Bury:
LP -- The answers to the honourable member's questions are contained in the following schedule: Notes: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. This schedule excludes provisionsfor shift workers. Generally Federal awards provide an additional week's leave for 7 day shift workers (except for journalists). 1. Annual leave provisions for employees in the airline and maritime industries have not been included. Provisions in awards in these industries apply uniformly throughout Australia. 2. The Groote Eylandt Mining Co. Pty Ltd, Award, 1966 has not been included in the Schedule as this award operates outside the Darwin area. However, it provides 4 weeks annual leave. Similarly the Aluminium Industry Award, 1966 has not been included. Under a private agreement between the parties bound by the Aluminium Industry Award 4 weeks annual leave is provided in the Gove area, however elsewhere in Australia this award provides for 3 weeks annual leave. {:#subdebate-61-17} #### Monkeys (Question No. 315) {: #subdebate-61-17-s0 .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: asked the Minister for Health, upon notice: >In view of the refusal to allow a monkey to be kept in captivity in a rural area, for howlong do his veterinary advisers estimate that an escaped monkey could live in a low rainfall area of Australia under natural conditions when the only food is low protein native grasses, predominantly speargrass? {: #subdebate-61-17-s1 .speaker-KFH} ##### Dr Forbes:
LP -- The following answer is supplied: >My advisers would not care to advance an opinion as to how long escaped monkeys could survive in the area referred to, but they have a real appreciation of the danger which wild monkeys would present to human and animal health. 1 regard this risk as being too great for the existing policy to be conducted on the basis of how long monkeys might or might not survive in any particular area of Australia. {:#subdebate-61-18} #### Monkeys (Question No. 316) {: #subdebate-61-18-s0 .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: asked the Minister for Health, upon notice: >Why is it considered that a monkey, free from exotic diseases, securely housed under stringent specifications approved and inspected by Queensland veterinary and stock authorities, has more chance of escaping that a large number of lions roaming the bush and contained only by an unattended fence? {: #subdebate-61-18-s1 .speaker-KFH} ##### Dr Forbes:
LP -- - The following answer is supplied: >As advised in answer to Question No. 314 the attitude that is adopted by my Department does not depend on the relative risks of animals escaping but on the quarantine and disease risks that could arise should any escape take place. {:#subdebate-61-19} #### Military Corrective Establishment, Holsworthy (Question No. 328) {: #subdebate-61-19-s0 .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr James: asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many (a) conscripts and (b) members of the Regular Army have been confined to Holsworthy barracks since 1st July 1967? 1. How many servicemen in each of these categories were ordered into solitary confinement and fed on bread and water? 2. Are the military gaolers at Holsworthy required to submit particulars of all such cases to Eastern Command Headquarters in Sydney daily or weekly; if not, why not? 3. My I expect a full reply to this question within the next 7 days? {: #subdebate-61-19-s1 .speaker-KIM} ##### Mr Lynch:
LP -- The answers to the honourable member's questions are as follows: 1. (a) Eighty-one national servicemen. (b) One hundred and forty-seven members of the Regular Army. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Three national servicemen and two members of the Regular Army. 1. Solitary confinement and bread and water diet at 1st Military Corrective Establishment, Holsworthy, can be awarded only after summary trial for an offence committed under the Australian Military (Places of Detention) Regulations. A copy of each charge and offence report in such cases is sent to Headquarters, Eastern Command. {:#subdebate-61-20} #### Oil (Question No. 338) {: #subdebate-61-20-s0 .speaker-KDP} ##### Dr Everingham:
CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has his attention been drawn to a 'Current Affairs Bulletin' on oil which was published years before commercial quantities of oil were discovered in Australia and which gave evidence that (a) oil search in Australia could not be seriously considered as risky investment, (b) Australia would certainly become self sufficient in oil reserves and (c) if oil research investment bad been undertaken at the rate of the French investment in Algerian oil search, comparable results would have been achieved? 1. Is he able to say whether Australia has an equity in risk or development capital it places at the disposal of private enterprise to the same extent as French equity in Algerian oil search organisations? 2. Will he consider legislation to compel bene ficiaries of public incentive payments to disclose proof of the rate of financial return they receive before government sanction of prices they charge to Australians? {: #subdebate-61-20-s1 .speaker-KDT} ##### Mr Fairbairn:
LP -- The following answers are now supplied: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. No. In all the mass of material published concerning oil in Australia, this 'Current Affairs Bulletin' of some unknown date in the past has escaped me. But for every article giving an optimistic view of the prospects of oil search in Australia that the honourable member for Capricornia can produce, it would be possible to find a number setting out a pessimistic view of the chances of making worthwhile oil discoveries in this country. Even as late as July 1966, **Dr Alex** Hunter, who is frequently quoted by members of the Opposition, said in an article published in the Melbourne 'Age': 'Without doubt Australia is a below average country for oil production - well below'. 1. The Australian subsidy on exploration is in the nature of an assistance to approved exploration; it is not a direct governmental participation as is the French equity in Algerian oil search. 2. No. {:#subdebate-61-21} #### Food Surpluses (Question No. 346) {: #subdebate-61-21-s0 .speaker-KDP} ##### Dr Everingham: asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice: 1, Will he consider the provision of low interest loans or grants to canneries and other food preserving industries to help them avoid destruction of food in times of glut by installing equipment with a reserve capacity? {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Will he consider, in food industries which arrange rational production quotas, the advantages of Commonwealth purchase of unsold surpluses at cost for sale below cost to needy organisations and countries? {: #subdebate-61-21-s1 .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr Anthony:
CP -- The answer to the honourable members' questions is as follows: >Canneries and other food preserving industries are commercial ventures, and it is not the normal function of the Commonwealth to make capital grants or loans to private companies or firms to finance commercial or industrial enterprises. The provision of loan finance for ventures of this nature is a normal function of the banks, who are well aware that it has been a long standing policy of the Government that the trading banks should give preferred treatment in lending to rural and other export producers. > >The Commonwealth Government does purchase foodstuffs for distribution under local schemes such as the free milk scheme and for overseas programmes such as the Colombo Plan and the World Food Programme. With these latter programmes it is customary to permit the recipient government to suggest which commodities it wishes to receive. It is generally the case that a recipient country specifies some form of capital equipment which will aid its development programme. In certain cases countries have indicated that they would like foodstuffs to be supplied to meet an emergency situation and in every such instance the Government has been prepared to meet the wishes of the recipient country. Examples of this are wheat to India and Pakistan and flour to Ceylon. The Commonwealth Government does not attempt to influence these countries to request particular commodities, foodstuffs or other. Under the World Food Programme Australia has stated its willingness to donate egg pulp and powder, canned and dried fruits and/or dairy products to the limit of its pledge. It is sometimes these commodities which are difficult to sell at satisfactory prices. > >Programmes such as the Colombo Plan and the World Food Programme are being gradually expanded but the Commonwealth Government is not prepared to make a practice of purchasing foodstuffs from primary producers who are unable to quit them commercially. There is a limit to total Australian aid and the Government considers that the money available is being used to the best effect. At the present time there are few, if any, Australian primary industries which have stocks which could be regarded as surplus. {:#subdebate-61-22} #### Pensioners Travel Concessions (Question No. 348) {: #subdebate-61-22-s0 .speaker-KXI} ##### Mr Webb: asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice: >As the Minister for Shipping and Transport has indicated that travel concessions for pensioners on railways related to a social service concession, will he discuss with the States the question of granting pensioners travel concessions when travelling interstate and also on the Commonwealth Railways? {: #subdebate-61-22-s1 .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr Wentworth:
LP -- The honourable member's attention is invited to the answer given on 17 October 1967, to his question on notice No. 609. I am taking steps to have this matter referred to the relevant State authorities on the basis of that answer, and when their attitude is known I shall refer to the Government the question of Commonwealth conformity with their decision. {:#subdebate-61-23} #### Tourist Facilities (Question No. 351) {: #subdebate-61-23-s0 .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: asked the Minister representing the Minister-in-Charge of Tourist Activities, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What sums have been contributed by the Commonwealth to the State of Queensland for jetty construction? 1. On what projects have these Federal funds already been expended? {: #subdebate-61-23-s1 .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEwen:
CP -- The following answer is now supplied: >The Department of Shipping and Transport has advised: > >Funds for the purpose of financing works which are not roads but which are directly connected with transport by road or water, including jetty construction, are provided under the Commonwealth Aid Roads Act 1964 and expended within the provisions of section 5 (3.) of that Act. The State of Queensland may elect to spend up to approximately $365,000 annually under this section of the Act. > >No information is available on the specific projects which the Queensland Government has elected to develop with these funds. However, between 1964-63 and 1966-67, total Queensland expenditure under section 5 (3.) was as follows: {:#subdebate-61-24} #### Tourism (Question No. 352) {: #subdebate-61-24-s0 .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: asked the Minister representing the Minister-in-Charge of Tourist Activities, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Why is the Federal Government not represented at official opening ceremonies of jetties constructed in Queensland principally with Federal finance? 1. Why was an official representative of the Federal Government not present at the official opening of the Lindeman Island Jetty on Saturday, 1st June last? {: #subdebate-61-24-s1 .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEwen:
CP -- The answers are as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. SenatorIan Wood, who has played a prominent part in the development of tourism in Queensland, was invited to attend the function at Lindeman Island on 1st June last but was unable to be present because of parliamentary duties. 1. It is the prerogative of the Queensland State Government or the local authorities in question to decide who shall be invited to official opening ceremonies of jetties constructed in Queensland. {:#subdebate-61-25} #### Economic Injustice (Question No. 356) {: #subdebate-61-25-s0 .speaker-KDP} ##### Dr Everingham: asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has his attention been drawn to the statements of the Reverend Father Thomas Melville in the 'National Catholic Reporter', Kansas, of 31st January that (a) in the previous 18 months 2,800 were assassinated for organising opposition to armed landowners who perpetuate malnutrition, hunger, sickness and ignorance of most of the Guatemalan people, and (b) having advised the Guatemalan Indians that they alone will and must defend their rights, he and his colleagues and followers have been called Communists and asked by United States and church authorities to leave the country? 1. Has his attention also been drawn to the statement attributed to the New South Wales Premier in the Sydney 'Daily Telegraph' of 10th May that there could be no real hope of peace while one half of the world was underprivileged and the other enjoyed a high standard of living? 2. Is it accepted that economically depressed classes must at times resort to direct action to obtain economic justice, especially as the starving proportionof the world's population is growing due to recent medical advances which have lengthened life expectation in depressed communities? 3. Is there evidence that economic injustice is an essential element in most of the fertile breeding grounds of Communism? 4. Is it the view of the Government that the spread of Communism is combated most economically by military force? {: #subdebate-61-25-s1 .speaker-ZL6} ##### Mr Hasluck:
LP -- The answers to the honourable member's questions are as follows: 1 and 2. My attention has been drawn to them by the questioner. 3 and 4. These questions ask for an expression of opinion. {: type="1" start="5"} 0. No. Royal Australian Navy (Question No. 359) {: #subdebate-61-25-s2 .speaker-K6T} ##### Mr Costa:
BANKS, NEW SOUTH WALES asked the Minister for the Navy, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Why are warships which are needed for Australia's defence built overseas? 1. Is it necessary to send such warships to overseas dockyards when repairs and refittings are required? {: #subdebate-61-25-s3 .speaker-009MM} ##### Mr Kelly:
LP -- The answers to the honourable member's questions are as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. In recent years the only ships built overseas for the Royal Australian Navy have been Charles F. Adams guided missile destroyers built in the United States of America, and the Oberon class submarines built and building in Britain. The considerations which led to the decisions in these cases to build overseas were basically time for construction and cost, due to the complexity of the designs. However in the decade 1961-1970, a total of 28 fleet units of Australian construction will enter service, including 6 destroyer escorts, a destroyer fender, a specialised survey ship and 20 patrol boats. 1. It is not necessary to send RAN warships, including those built overseas, to overseas dockyards when repairs and refitting are required. Bauxite {: #subdebate-61-25-s4 .speaker-KDT} ##### Mr Fairbairn:
LP -- On 2 1 st March the honourable member for Dawson **(Dr Patterson)** asked mea question on notice No. 1 1 1 about the estimated value of current export prices of the reserves of certain minerals. When the answer was prepared I did not have the information he sought on the reserves of bauxite at Gove. My Department has since been given details of reserves by the operating company. I am informed that prospecting carried out at Gove during 1966-68 of S.M.L. No. 1 has proven the presence of 158 million metric tons of extractable bauxite, as defined in the agreement with the Government with a minimum of 44% available alumina and less than 5% silica. By selective mining and provided the overall economics are reasonable, an additional quantity amounting to approximately 52 million metric tons of bauxite may be available. {:#subdebate-61-26} #### Ord River Scheme (Question No. 7) {: #subdebate-61-26-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice: >What negotiations have been held or arrangements made with Western Australia concerning inundation and irrigation in the Northern Territory (a) since the answer of the Minister for Territories to me on 14th March 1967 (Hansard, page 651) or (b) since the statement by the Minister for National Development on 1st November 1967 (Hansard, page 2523) concerning Commonwealth financial assistance to Western Australia to proceed with stage 2 of the Ord irrigation project? {: #subdebate-61-26-s1 .speaker-009OD} ##### Mr Nixon:
CP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >No substantive negotiations have been held with Western Australia covering extension of the Ord Irrigation Project into the Northern Territory. The Commonwealth is, however, represented on the Ord Co-ordinating Committee set up by the Western Australian Government following the announcement of Commonwealth financial assistance to that State to proceed with Stage 2 of the project. This affords the opportunity for discussions between the State and the Commonwealth on aspects of the project affecting the Northern Territory. No portion of the Northern Territory will be inundated by the storage of the main dam. {:#subdebate-61-27} #### National Service Training (Question No. 226) {: #subdebate-61-27-s0 .speaker-KVG} ##### Mr Stokes: asked the Prime Minister, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many Commonwealth public servants employed in a permanent capacity (a) have been accepted for national service, (b) have served or are presently servingin Vietnam and (c) have been discharged from the Forces at the equivalent of Class B or Class C disability cases under the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Act? 1. What are the numbers, ranks and names of those contributors to the Commonwealth Superannuation Fund who have served or are now serving in the Australian Regular Army Supplement (National Service)? 2. How many in this category have been promoted to commissioned rank? {: #subdebate-61-27-s1 .speaker-KH5} ##### Mr Gorton:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's questions is as follows: >Information available to the Public Service Board indicates the names of 1163 permanent officers of the Commonwealth Public Service as at 30th June 1968, who have been called up for National Service training since the commencement of the Scheme in 1965. A statistical analysis is being prepared for the honourable member and will be made available as soon as it is completed. {:#subdebate-61-28} #### Housing (Question No. 283) {: #subdebate-61-28-s0 .speaker-KXI} ##### Mr Webb: asked the Minister representing the Minister for Housing, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that a person purchasing a Stats Housing Commission home cannot get the Commonwealth grant of $500, even though the person qualifies in other respects? 1. If so, will the Minister consider amending the Act to include purchases of State Housing Commission homes? 2. If the Minister will not consider amending the Act, why not? {: #subdebate-61-28-s1 .speaker-JTP} ##### Mr Bury:
LP -- The Minister for Housing has provided the following answers to the honourable member's questions: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. No. A person who purchases a home built by or for a State housing authority with moneys provided by the Slate from sources other than the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement may qualify for a Home Savings Grant if the person is eligible in all other respects. 2 and 3. Homes built by State housing authorities with funds provided under the CommonwealthState Housing Agreement are already being subsidised by the Commonwealth. It is not considered appropriate that they should be subsidised by the Commonwealth a second time through the Homes Savings Grant Scheme. Ord River Scheme (Question No. 304) {: #subdebate-61-28-s2 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice: As the Western Australia Agreement (Ord River Irrigation) Bill was introduced on 15 May, when does he expect that he will be able to make a statement on the development of the50,000 acres of irrigable land which will be available in the Northern Territory as a result of the arrangements set out in that Bill? {: #subdebate-61-28-s3 .speaker-009OD} ##### Mr Nixon:
CP -- The answer to the honour able member's question is as follows: >Investigations regarding the extension of Stage 2 of the Ord Irrigation Project into the Northern Territory are not yet completed. The development of irrigation farming in the Northern Territory, based on water supplied from the main storage dam to be constructed in Western Australia, could proceed only after the completion of that dam and the necessary reticulation works within Western Australia. These works will not be completed for some time. {:#subdebate-61-29} #### Vietnam (Question No. 353) {: #subdebate-61-29-s0 .speaker-KRK} ##### Mr McIVOR:
GELLIBRAND, VICTORIA · ALP asked the Prime Minister, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has his attention been drawn to an article in the London Times of 7th March 1968 headed United States Biological Weapons in Thailand' and stating that the United States Navy Department admits by implication that the United States has moved biological weapons into Vietnam and neighbouring countries? 1. Has his attention also been drawn to an article in the Melbourne Herald of 30th April 1968 reporting recommendations by the Williamstown Council's Medical Officer and the Victorian Health Department concerning the introduction of bubonic plague by ships from Vietnam? 2. If so, do these articles allay his suspicion that 1 may have been misled by somebody close to Chinese Communist sources in asking him a question without notice on 4th June 1968? 3. Will he now take any of the courses of action suggested in my question? {: #subdebate-61-29-s1 .speaker-KH5} ##### Mr Gorton:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's questions is as follows: l to 4. If anything, the London Times article of 7th March confirms the impression I had when I answered the honourable member in the House on 4th June 1968, that the honourable member has been misled on this subject. I draw the honourable member's attention to a letter to the London Times of 30th March 1968 where in a footnote to the letter the Times acknowledges that **Mr Goldstein's** letter referred to in the March 7th article is a forgery. There is also an article on page 5 of the Times of 30th March which states inter alia that 'a skilled forger, believed to be a communist agent, is operating in India and is reported to be behind a number of documents which have been distributed to discredit Britain, America, and the pro-Western lobby in Parliament'. The reported incidence and prevalence of bubonic plague in South Vietnam are known to health authorities in Australia and are reported in the World Health Organisation 'Weekly Epidemiological Record'. The linking of the incidence of plague in Vietnam with United States' action has been a feature of Communist Chinese propaganda for some years, and increases in intensity with the seasonal rise in plague cases between January and April each year. This propaganda links the natural disease problems of South Vietnam to United Stales' action and it is directed to areas of the world where there is some knowledge of the effects of this disease. The honourable member may rest assured that efficient and proven measures to prevent the introduction of such diseases are continually being taken by the Australian Quarantine Service, which has a long-standing record of thoroughness in these matters. {:#subdebate-61-30} #### Medical Benefits (Question No. 360) {: #subdebate-61-30-s0 .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: asked the Minister for Health, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What are the (a) numbers and (b) names of approved medical benefit fund organisations in each State? 1. Of these organisations which of them (a) pay a fund benefit for eye examinations and (b) require the contributor to be seen by an eye doctor? 2. Which fund organisations pay a benefit for spectacles? 3. Which organisations require the contributor to have had the spectacles prescribed by an eye doctor before benefit is payable? 4. What are the names and occupations of members of the Board of Management of the Medical Benefits Fund of Australia? {: #subdebate-61-30-s1 .speaker-KFH} ##### Dr Forbes:
LP -- The answers to the honourable member's questions are as follows: 1 to 4. The medical benefits organisations registered under the National Health Act are: New South Wales- 28 The Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows Friendly Society in New South Wales, Sydney. BDE Australasian Holy Catholic Guild of St Mary and St Joseph Friendly Benefits Society, Sydney. BD Protestant Alliance Friendly Society of Australasia, Grand Council of New South Wales, Sydney. BCDE The Grand United Order of Oddfellows Friendly Society of New South Wales, Sydney. BDE Medical Benefits Fund of Australia Limited, Sydney. ABD The Store Hospital and Medical Fund, Newcastle. DE United Ancient Order of Druids Friendly Society, Grand Lodge of New South Wales, Sydney. BD The Phoenix Welfare Association Limited, Newcastle. BCDE Independent Order of Odd Fellows of the State of New South Wales, Sydney. BCDE The Hunter Medical Benefit Fund Limited, Cessnock. BCDE Newcastle Industrial Benefits Limited, Newcastle. BCDE New South Wales District, No. 85, Independent Order of Rechabites, Salford Unity, Friendly Society, Sydney. BDE The Lysaght's Hospital and Medical Club, Port Kembla. Commonwealth Bank Health Society, Sydney. BCDE Mechanics' Medical Assurance Scheme, Newcastle. BD Northern District Miners' Medical Fund, Newcastle. Hibernian-Australasian Catholic Benefit Society of New South Wales, Sydney. BD South Coast Medical Benefits Fund, Wollongong. BDE The Australian Chilling and Freezing Company Limited, Medical Benefits Scheme, Aberdeen. BCDE New South Wales Teachers' Federation Health Society, Sydney. BCDE Western District Medical Benefits Fund, Lithgow. BDE The Commercial Banking Company Health Society, Sydney. BCDE M.M. Hospital and Medical Club, Port Kembla. BD E.R. & S. Hospital and Medical Club, Port Kembla. BDE Reserve Bank Health Society. BCDE The Hospitals Contribution Fund of Australia, Sydney. ABD Post Office Mutual Benefit Society of New South Wales, Sydney. BDE Manchester Unity of Australia Limited. ADE Victoria- 19 Australian Natives' Association, Melbourne. ADE The Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows in Victoria Friendly Society, Melbourne. BDE Latrobe Valley Hospitals and Health Services Association, Morwell. ABD Mildura District Hospital & Medical Fund, Mildura. The Hospital Benefits Association, Melbourne. BD Hibernian-Australasian Catholic Benefit Society, Victoria District, No. 1, Melbourne. The Ancient Order of Foresters, in Victoria, Friendly Society, Melbourne. DE United Ancient Order of Druids, Grand Lodge of Australia, Melbourne. DE Protestant Alliance Friendly Society of Australasia, Grand Council of Victoria, Melbourne. DE The Victorian District No. 82 of the Independent Order of Rechabites Friendly Society, Melbourne. Irish National Foresters' Benefit Society, Melbourne. Grand United Hospital Benefit Society, Melbourne. DE Independent Order of Oddfellows of Victoria, Melbourne. DE Yallourn Medical and Hospital Society, Yallourn. B Army Health Benefits Society, Melbourne. BCDE The Mutual Benefit Society of the Employees of the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board, Melbourne. Grand United Order of Free Gardeners of Australasia, Melbourne. Geelong Medical and Hospital Benefits Association. BD Naval Health Benefits Society, Melbourne. BCDE Queensland - 6 United Brisbane District of the Ancient Order of Foresters Friendly Society, Brisbane. BDE Protestant Alliance Friendly Society of Australasia, in Queensland, Brisbane. BDE The Grand United Order of Oddfellows, Queensland, Brisbane. BDE The Queensland District, No. 87, Independent Order of Rechabites Friendly Society, Brisbane. BDE Hibernian-Australasian Catholic Benefit Society, Southern Queensland District, No. 5, Brisbane. BDE The Queensland Branch of the Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows Friendly Society, Brisbane. BDE South Australia - 8 The Whyalla Hospital (Incorporated), Whyalla. B. Hibernian-Australasian Catholic Benefit Society, Adelaide District No. 7, Adelaide. B The Albert District No. 83, Independent Order of Rechabites, Salford Unity, Adelaide. B The South Australian District, No. 81, Independent Order of Rechabites Friendly Society, Adelaide. B National Health Services Association of South Australia, Adelaide. B The Mutual Hospital Association Limited, Adelaide. B South Australian Police Department Employees' Hospital Fund, Adelaide. B Machester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows Friendly Society in South Australia, Adelaide. B Western Australia - 8 The Hospital Benefit Fund of Western Australia Incorporated, Perth. BD Friendly Societies Health Services, Perth. BC Goldfields Medical Fund, Boulder. B Warren Medical and Hospital Fund, Manjimup. B Yarloop District Medical and Hospital Fund and Ancillary Benefits Fund. Pemberton Medical Accident and Hospital Fund, Pemberton. Norseman District Hospital and Medical Fund, Norseman. Government Employees' Hospital and Medical Benefits Fund Inc., Perth. BC Tasmania - 9 The United Ancient Order of Druids' Friendly Society, Grand Lodge of Tasmania, Launcceston. BDE The Tasmanian Government Insurance Office, Hobart. BD Friendly Health Services, Hobart. BD Electrolytic Zinc Employees' Medical Union, Hobart. St Luke's Medical and Hospital Benefit Association, Launceston. BDE Patons and Baldwins Employees Medical Benefit Association, Launceston. The Queenstown Medical Union Hospital and Medical Benefits Fund, Queenstown. DE Associated Pulp and Paper Makers' Council Medical Benefits Fund, Burnie. The Rosebery Hospital and Medical Benefits Society, Rosebery. {: type="A" start="A"} 0. These organisations operate in more than one State. 1. Benefits provided for eye examinations by qualified medical practitioners where spectacles are prescribed. (All registered organisations provide a fund benefit for eye examinations by medical practitioners where spectacles are not prescribed.) 2. Benefits provided for eye examinations by a person other than a qualified medical practitioner. 3. Benefits provided for spectacles when prescribed by a medical practitioner. 4. Benefits provided for spectacles when prescribed by a person other than a medical practitioner. Note - Payments for the services B, C, D and E above are those made from the registered medical funds only. Some of the organisations provide similar benefits from separate unregistered ancillary funds. {: type="1" start="5"} 0. The Annual Report of the Medical Benefits Fund of Australia Limited for the year ended 30 June 1967 lists the following persons as members of the Executive Committees in the three Slates in which it operates. New South Wales **Sir Ronald** Grieve **Dr S.** P. Bellmaine **Dr D.** A. Brown The Hon. H. V. Budd, M.L.C. **Dr W.** A. Conolly **Dr R.** S. Day **Mr R.** A. Donald The Hon. W. R. Dovey **Mr J.** M. Gosper, O.B.E. **Dr G.** L. Howe **Dr A.** M. Johnson **Mr W.** I. Miskoe Prof. A. H. Pollard **Dr D.** P. Rowe **Dr A.** Rumore **Dr J.** R. Sands **Dr W.** F. Simmons, C.M.G. **Dr E.** S. Stuckey Queensland **Dr J.** G. Wagner **Dr J.** R. Adam **Mr J.** L. Amies, C.B.E., E.D. **Mr J.** H. Buckle **Mrs E.** F. Byth, O.B.E. **Dr D.** A. Cameron **Mr A.** R. Charity **Dr R.** S. Cohen **Dr C.** E. Elliott **Dr J.** F. Lee **Dr C.** Roe **Dr N.** L. Sherwood **Dr H.** Stuart Patterson Tasmania **Mr T.** Giblin **Mr N.** O. Brink **Dr A.** J. Dobson **Dr P.** Gill **Mr J.** Gray, D.F.C. **Dr ft.** M. Kelly **Mr T.** R. Lorimer **Dr R.** Wall **Dr W.** W. Wilson **Mr J.** W. C. Wyett **Dr. A.** W. O. Young The annua] report does not show the occupations of the members.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 13 August 1968, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.