26th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr SPEAKER (Hon. W. J. Aston) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– Mr Speaker. I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the memory of the late Dr Zakir Husain, the President of the Republic of India, who died on 3rd May. Shortly after the news of his death was known, the Governor-General and I sent messages of condolence to the Acting President of India and to the Prime Minister of India respectively. Australia was represented officially at the State funeral for Dr Husain in New Delhi by the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Sinclair).
Dr Husain was a distinguished scholar who made a most significant contribution to the Indian national life in the field of education. For more than 20 years, he was closely concerned with the development of new forms of education rooted in Indian national culture. Dr Husain was associated also for many years with Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian struggle for independence. After independence, he continued to play a vital role in the national life and he became a member of the Indian Upper House in 1952. In 1957, he was appointed Governor of Bihar and he continued in that office for 5 years until he was elected Vice-President of India in 1962. In 1967, he was elected President and he assumed office on 13th May of that year. Dr Husain brought the greatest distinction to his high office. His passing is deeply mourned. It is fitting that we in the Federal Parliament should record our sorrow and convey our sympathy to the people of a fellow Commonwealth country.
Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa - Leader of the
Opposition) - Mr Speaker, it is fitting that the Australian Parliament should pay homage to the late President of India, a distinguished statesman in his own right, and, in so doing, pay tribute to the great democracy of which he was the third President. India is the most populous democracy in the world. It is exceeded in population among all the 15571/69- lt- 163) countries in the world only by China. It is a nation of fascinating and perplexing diversities with many faiths, cultures and races. In the Indian sub-continent, religious beliefs and spiritual values are pervasive and intense. Islam is the main unifying force in Pakistan which has been at war with India. Islam is the faith of but a minority of the citizens of India.
The late President was a Moslem. This serves to remind us of the great flexibility and vision and tolerance that make India the most hopeful, as it is the most difficult, experiment in democracy in modern history. It is a predominantly Hindu country with a Moslem President; it is a country in which women formerly held a subordinate pos i’on and which now has, like Ceylon before it and Israel since, a very great woman as its Prime Minister.
Like his predecessor, Dr Radhakrishnan, the late President was a great Indian intellectual and, like him, saw the role of the intellectual in India not merely as passive and contemplative but active and constructive. With Mahatma Gandhi and the late Prime Minister Nehru, he was active in the movement which secured Indian independence 22 yea is ago. Thus at every stage in the rebirth of India and its refashioning into the world’s greatest democratic Socialist nation, Dr Husain played a memorable and honourable part.
– I ask you, Mr Speaker, to convey to His Excellency the High Commissioner for India for transmission to his Government the remarks which have been made here today.
– I will make the necessary arrangements to convey to His Excellency the High Commissioner for India the remarks that have been made in this House today.
Mr McEWEN (Murray- Acting Prime
Minister and Minister for Trade and Industry) - It is my sad purpose to inform the House of the tragic death this morning of Senator Keith Alexander Laught at the age of 62. Senator Laught collapsed while walking from the Hotel Canberra to Parliament House, and later died. Senator Laught was born in Mitcham, South Australia, was educated at Scotch College, Adelaide, and graduated as a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Adelaide. He was a solicitor at the time of his election to the Senate for South Australia in the general election in 1951. He was subsequently elected to the Senate in the elections of 1953, 1958 and 1964.
Senator Laught had a distinguished record of parliamentary service. He served on the Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances from 1956 to 1962. He was a member of the Australian Delegation to the 47th Conference of the InterParliamentary Union at Rio de Janeiro in 1958. He was also a member of the Council of the Australian National University from July 1959. Senator Laught was a member of the Committee of Disputed Returns and Qualifications from 1962 to 1965, and served on the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs from 1962. He was a member of the Parliamentary Delegation to South East Asia in June-July 1963. Senator Laught had been Temporary Chairman of Committees since 1964. He was Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on the Metric System of Weights and Measures from 1967. During the last war, Senator Laught, who enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 6th July 1940, served in Syria and Egypt, including El Alamein, with the 9th Division Cavalry Regiment. I move:
– Of very few men on occasions such as this can it be said so sincerely that they had many friends and no enemies. Keith Laught was known to everybody in the Parliament and had been known to them for many years. He had given honourable service in his profession, in the armed forces, and in our Parliament. He was in every sense a gentleman; a man of very great courtesy in all his conduct. He gave steady support to a whole range of activities which are open to members of the Parliament. The Acting Prime Minister has referred to his particular interest in the Senate Select Committee on the Metric System of Weights and Measures, of which he was chairman. He had a deep interest in scientific matters. Indicative of this is the fact that he was Chairman of the Lord Florey Appeal in South Australia. All my colleagues would wish to be associated very genuinely with the expression of sympathy to his widow, a very gracious woman, and to his family.
– I would like to join in this condolence motion, principally on behalf of my colleagues from South Australia in this chamber. Senator Keith Laught was the senior Government member of this Parliament from South Australia. In that capacity he was always ready with wise, unobtrusive advice and always ready to help in whatever capacity and whatever part of South Australia he was needed. Despite his quiet demeanour he was an activist in the sense that once he was convinced something should be done he never let it alone or the people concerned alone until he had achieved his objective. With this characteristic he made a much greater impact on the affairs of this country than many people realised. He was well known and deeply respected in every corner of South Australia. This was partly because of the ceaseless travelling he did around that State as a senator, but partly also because he practised for long periods as a solicitor in two important country towns, Clare and Mount Gambier, the latter in my electorate. I had an opportunity to observe at first hand the affection and regard with which he was held in Mount Gambier, and I can honestly say that everyone in that town regarded him as a friend.
It was characteristic of Keith Laught that although he had a heart attack a few years ago, as soon as he recovered he carried on his energetic life as if absolutely nothing had happened and, indeed, some of his most important achievements took place after that illness, particularly his work as Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on the Metric System of Weights and Measures, to which reference has already been made. Those of us from South Australia have lost a wise and helpful colleague and also a very good friend. Our thoughts go out to his wife. We know them to have been a most devoted couple.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honourable members standing in their places.
– I have to inform the House that the death occurred on Friday, 9th May 1969, of Mr A. K. Dein, a former member of this House for the Division of Lang from 1931 until 1934 and subsequently a senator for the State of New South Wales from 1935 to 1941. I am sure, Mr Speaker, that this House extends its sympathy to Mr Dein’s widow and family.
– My Party desires to be associated with the expressions of sympathy to the wife and family of the late Mr Dein. The Acting Prime Minister is one of the few present members of Parliament who served in the Parliament at the same time as did Mr Dein. In fact, the Acting Prime Minister came into this chamber, as did the honourable member for Darling, in the same election as Mr Dein left it. Mr Dein was later elected to the other place. Some of the surviving Australians, apart from the Acting Prime Minister and the honourable member for Darling, who served with him are the right honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell), Lord Casey, Sir Robert Menzies, Sir Percy Spender, Mr Dedman, Mr Forde, Mr Pollard and Mr Riordan. He spent active years in this Parliament as a contemporary of theirs. I believe that only last year he became Mayor of Manly. He therefore had had decades of active honourable public life.
I notice that ‘Who’s Who in Australia’ records that as a teacher serving in the remote parts of New South Wales in the 1920s he passed unaided all grades of the teachers examinations. It is interesting to note thai partly as the result of efforts by him and his contemporaries it is easier for men now to achieve their education in the remote parts of New South Wales and indeed throughout Australia. Mr Dein served his municipality, his party and his nation well.
-I inform honourable members that on behalf of the House I have forwarded a message of sympathy to the relatives of the deceased. As a mark of respect to the memory of the late honourable gentleman, I invite honourable members to rise in their places. (Honourable members stood in their places)
-I thank the House.
Mr DOBIE presented from certain citizens of the Commonwealth a petition showing that because of increased costs of educating children attending Catholic schools relief is urgently required.
The petitioners pray that, as a first step in 1969 towards relieving the immediate difficulties of Catholic schools in Australia, the Commonwealth Government make grants available equivalent to a capitation grant of $50 per primary and secondary pupil, per annum, for running costs, in whatever form the Government finds it is able to make the grant and that, subsequently, the combined Commonwealth and State subsides for running costs should be progressively raised to at least half the cost of educating a primary and secondary child in the various State systems.
Petition received and read.
– 1 inform the House that the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Sinclair) is leaving Australia tomorrow for Japan. He will attend on 17th May the launching ceremony of the freighter ‘Australian Enterprise’ which is being built for the Australian National Line for the Australia-Japan trade. While he is in Japan the Minister will have discussions with the Japanese Minister for Transport and officials on matters of mutual interest. Mr Sinclair is expected to return to Australia on 21st May. During his absence the Minister for the Navy (Mr Kelly) will act as Minister for Shipping and Transport.
– I ask the Minister for Trade and Industry whether he said recently that the Tariff Board gives to the Government only advice that it knows the Government will accept. If so, was this said to indicate that the Tariff Board is wasting its time with the 50% and over tariff provision? Can the Minister sum up what guidance the Government has given to the Board which would allow it to decide whether or not to recommend protection of more than 50% in a particular application? Does he agree that there is some significant uncertainty in several Australian industries because of the position taken by the Board and what is felt to be inadequate guidance by the Government? Will the Minister choose to ignore or deny this situation, or does he agree that there is some need for greater clarity?
– As 1 understood the honourable gentleman, he asked whether I said recently that the Tariff Board gives to the Government only the advice which it knows is acceptable. That would be a completely incorrect report of what I said. In making a speech recently - I am sure it is to this that the honourable gentleman refers - 1 pointed out once again that the Tariff Board is an advisory body and that it is completely independent. The Government has given no general guidance to the Board other than that which has been historic - that is, that the Board should make a report having regard to its judgment on the economics and efficiency of the industry concerned.
However, on special occasions where the Government has a particular policy in respect of which it seeks advice, the Board will find within the reference a statement of the Government’s policy attitude on that particular matter or that particular industry. This is published immediately and is known to all concerned. These are the only occasions on which the Government offers to the Board a requirement in the character of its advice; never otherwise. In the speech in question I did go on to make what seems to me to be nothing more or less than a quite simple, commonsense statement, and one which I have uttered in this House on a number of occasions, namely, that if the Government has made clear its policy attitude on a certain matter then it is rather futile for an advisory body to tender it advice inconsistent with that declared policy.
– My question is directed to the Attorney-General. Having regard to a recent statement made by him concerning planned student demonstrations, I ask: Is the Minister aware that ninety-three student dissidents led by members of the Monash University Labor Club yesterday invaded the University’s administration building and took charge of the University Council chamber? Is he aware that due to the actions of those students the Acting Vice-Chancellor found it necessary to cancel yesterday’s lectures and tutorials? Is the Minister aware also that the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Westfold, is reported to have said that as long as the students did not cause any damage he did not think that the Council! would bother to take action? With a view to preventing the disruption of lectures for the other 8,000-odd students who are at the Monash University to study, and in the interests of the taxpayers who are footing the bill, will the Minister inform the House whether the Monash University Council has the power to stand down disruptive elements for a period, or what other means exist to maintain discipline within the University?
– I did see the newspaper reports to which the honourable member has referred and 1 have consulted the Monash University calendar which sets out the disciplinary provisions available to the Professorial Board of the University. They are somewhat lengthy but perhaps I could mention a few points in answer to the honourable member. The Professorial Board is given authority to make regulations for the conduct of students in lectures, laboratories and in the University precincts. A breach of discipline or an act of misconduct by a student within or beyond the University precincts may be punished by a fine, or by exclusion, or by both. These various powers are given to professors, and others, to the Vice-Chancellor and ultimately to a disciplinary committee. This disciplinary committee consists of the ViceChancellor and the deans of the various faculties. It sits with a quorum of three and it has to exercise general supervision over the conduct of students at the University. Therefore, the disciplinary powers which are vested in the University would appear to be sound and adequate.
Fill AIRCRAFT AVIONICS SYSTEM Mr BARNARD - I direct my question to the Minister for Defence, as the Minister for Air is not present. Which avionics system has been Installed in Australia’s F111 1 1 aircraft? If it is the Mark I system, has this system been found unsafe and inadequate by the United States Air Force? If it is the Mark II system, has the cost of this system risen dramatically since the contract was awarded, and if so, what effect will this have on the cost of the FI 1 1 to Australia?
– 1 did read the newspaper article on which the honourable gentleman appears to have based his question. 1 am bound to say that it was so garbled in its alleged facts that it is pretty hard to find out exactly what the story was about. The fact is that the Mark I avionics system has been incorporated in the Australian version of the aircraft. Of the fourteen crashes which have occurred during the flying life of the FI 1 1 - a record which, I may say, is not surpassed by other than one of the ‘F series of aircraft in recent years - three of the crashes were unaccounted for because the aircraft have not been recovered.
– I would say that that is odds on.
– I am not concerned about the honourable member’s betting pre.delictions. But in respect to the other aircraft crashes, not one of these has been due to any failure whatsoever in the avionics system. In those circumstances the avionics system presently incorporated in the Fill must, in my view - I underline ‘in my view’ at this time - be regarded as safe. I have not had any report from our experts, either at the factory in Dallas or in Washington, as to any of the matters alleged in the unattributed newspaper article. Until such time as I have some definite report from some authoritative source I would be prepared to regard the Press item as so much conjecture.
– I direct my question to the Attorney-General. Has his attention been drawn to certain collections made at the Monash University in support of the National Liberation Front? Is there at present in existence an Act called the Defence Forces Protection Act? Is any action intended against these students? If not why not?
– There is, of course, an Act called the Defence Forces Protection Act. It is the responsibility of the police to enforce this Act. Should there be breaches of it occurring then the necessary action will be taken. I have had various cases referred to me of individuals who have stated to the Press that they have breached the Act. They have challenged the Government to deal with them. On inquiry it has been found that the facts are not as stated by these people. The facts have not supported their assertions, but these people have got the publicity that comes from making such a statement while being safe from prosecution.
– I ask the Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Industry a question. The right honourable gentleman will remember telling the House in February 1967 that there will be feeder container services from all Australian ports to the major terminal ports of Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle and that the cost of the feeder services will be absorbed so that there will be a single Australian freight rate. I gather that last week he wrote to the People the North Committee and said that feeder services from northern Queensland can be provided only when it is economically feasible to do so and that studies into this problem are proceeding. I ask the right honourable gentleman: When and by whom were these studies initiated? When are they expected to be completed?
– It is true that I informed the House - I forget the date but I have no doubt that the honourable gentleman has the correct date -
– It was 23rd February 1967.
– Yes. I informed the House that when this innovation of container shipping services was in operation to Australia it was the intention of those operating it that feeder services would be provided from outports to those three ports in Australia where the main container services would operate - Fremantle, Melbourne and Sydney. This is the information that was conveyed to and accepted by the Government. I think I said that from the outset feeder services would come from the capital cities and Newcastle. 1 am speaking from memory, and I think I am correct. I did not say that all this would take place on the day the container service was introduced. Ii is still the intention of those operating container vessels to provide services from the outports and to absorb the cost in the freight to Britain or the Continent. In the case of freight from Hobart to Melbourne the price quoted by other shipping services to bring a container from Hobart to Melbourne has been of an order that would make the through freight to London quite uneconomic. This charge has to be negotiated and I believe that in due course a successful conclusion will be reached.
In the meantime the conventional ships will provide a full service to Hobart and all other outlying ports. The freight charged on conventional ships will be precisely the same as the freight charged on the sea leg of the container service. This even goes to the point that if it is uneconomic for conventional ships to lift cargo from outports at the same freight as the container ships charge for the sea element of the journey, then the parties owning the container ships will subsidise the conventional ships to enable them to lift the freight at the same cost as container ships. The Government understands that it is still the intention of the entrepreneurs operating container ships to provide, as soon as it is economically possible to do so, the feeder container services of which 1 first spoke. Ail I add in conclusion is that if in due course there appears to be undue delay in introducing the feeder container service I, or whoever may be at the time Minister for Trade and Industry, would be concerned immediately to see whether there was some unjustified failure to carry out the declared intention.
– When will the studies be completed?
– 1 do not know that, but I think that the studies are being conducted by the shipping lines themselves. The Australia to Europe Shippers’ Association, which represents the shipper interests, would I am sure be kept abreast of the studies.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for the Interior. He is doubtless aware of the disastrous fire which destroyed the Katherine meatworks last Friday morning. In view of the effect that this will have on the employees at the abattoir, the town of Katherine and the beef producing hinterland, will the Minister assure the House that every assistance will bc given to the very progressive firm which operated the meatworks in order to minimise the hardship that the loss will bring to all concerned?
– lt was with some dismay that 1 learned of the destruction by fire of the Katherine abattoir. I say ‘some dismay’ advisedly because of the important part that the abattoir has played in the economic life not only of Katherine but also of the cattle industry in the Northern Territory. Two figures which I shall mention will demonstrate to the House just how important a part this abattoir has played. In 1963 when Northmead began to operate it killed about 12,000 head, and in 1967 it killed about 33,000 head, which was approximately 25% of the Northern Territory turnoff and I think more than half of the boneless beef that was exported from the Northern Territory to overseas markets. As I understand it, the fire started in the engine room but its cause is not yet known. The honourable member asked whether I would do anything I can to assist Northmead to get its operations under way again. I understand that it was expected that Northmead would not operate as an export abattoir again this season, but the only thing I have heard Mr Dick Condon, who is the manager of Northmead, say is that it will be back in operation within 3 months. I think this typifies the progressive spirit Mr Condon has shown in all his approaches to development in the Northern Territory. 1 inform the honourable member that this morning I sent a telegram to Mr Condon assuring him that I would offer any assistance practicable.
– I ask the Minister for Health or the Minister for Social Services, as may be appropriate: Does the Commonwealth accept any responsibility for or make any financial contribution towards the cost of the institutional care and maintenance of mongoloid children born in and surviving in the Australian Capital Territory? Is it true that the Commonwealth provides some form of assistance or accepts some form of responsibility until the unfortunate child reaches the age of 2 years, at which time the parent must bear the financial burden which must follow? Will the Minister responsible do whatever he can in the way of financial assistance or the provision of any other form of assistance to the parents who must accept this heavy financial burden on top of the sadness of having a child of this type?
– Broadly speaking, the Commonwealth Government fulfils the same function in the Australian Capital Territory in relation to mental deficiency and mental retardation as the State governments do in the States. As the honourable gentleman would be aware, we currently have under review the whole question of the provision for mental illness and mental retardation in the Australian Capital Territory. This was started off, of course, by the appointment to my Department of a Director of Psychiatry. I will be very glad to take into account the honourable gentleman’s observations on this matter in the process of making this review and examination.
– 1 address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Housing. Has his attention been drawn to an assertion by the Leader of the Opposition that the War Service Homes Division is being wound up? ls there any truth in the statement to this effect, which has been made on at least three occasions by the Leader of the Opposition, including once in my electorate of Barton? If not, will the Minister state what the true position is in relation to the provision of war service homes benefits?
– I am aware of the statement mentioned by the honourable member. It was brought to my attention by my colleague in the other place and 1 find it quite extraordinary. The truth is that the War Service Homes Division has been operating for a long time and will continue to do so. Only a few months ago this House passed a Bill to increase the amount of the loan available from the Division. What the motive of the Leader of the Opposition was, I find it difficult to understand. We know that truth and accurate statistics do not normally interfere with his policy statements, nor does cost. There is, of course, the theory that the more often a blatant statement or falsehood is repeated the more likely some people are to believe it. Both the Minister for Housing and I find the statement quite extraordinary. Indeed, the only way I can describe it would be quite unparliamentary.
– I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service a question supplementary to that asked him, no doubt to his surprise, by the honourable member for Barton. I ask the Minister how he explains that in the course of the last 16 years the number of war service homes loans provided annually has dropped from about 15,400 to 6,500 and that in the last 6 years the amount expended on such loans has dropped from $75m to $42m and in particular how, in the course of the last 3 years, the number of new loans approved has dropped from 9,800 to 6,500 and the total amount of the loans has dropped from $65m to $42m. When does he expect that this trend will be reversed, and in particular what proposals does the Minister whom he represents in this place have for expending the net profit which the Division will make this year of $25m, which is the surplus of repayments over expenditure in the Consolidated Revenue Fund for war service homes?
– I would not like any statement of mine to overlay the misdemeanour which I implied in answering the previous question. It does not seem to me mysterious that there should be a fall. The people who participated in World War II and subsequent hostilities are, as the years go by, growing older, are mating more rarely and are forming fewer households. Quite a good proportion of those who apply for war service homes loans are those who later in life want to move and make some retirement arrangements. They get this assistance. Contrary to the expectations of the Leader of the Opposition, I would expect these requests to continue to diminish.
– It is to be wound up.
– Really, Sir, the Leader of the Opposition has to do a little better than that to deny the statements he has already made so blatantly and which have been publicised so widely. No doubt, as other ex-servicemen become eligible - perhaps on a smaller scale because there are not so many of them - the figures may go up, but I would expect that for some time the trend would continue to be downward.
As far as the honourable member suggests that a profit is being made, it must be remembered that these funds have been provided at very much below the market rates of interest, on extraordinarily generous terms of about 3i% for 45 years, the finest deal anybody could find. One would expect, as these loans are paid off, that the payments into Consolidated Revenue would for a time exceed the payments out of Consolidated Revenue for this purpose. This seems to me quite plain and obvious and in no way justifies this curious statement to which the honourable member for Barton drew our attention.
– ls the Treasurer aware thai, in 1955, 4.7% of male taxpayers in Australia had a money income in excess of 54,000 per annum. At present, if is estimated that 40% of taxpayers are now in that group. I ask: ls it possible to reduce the severity of the taxation now imposed? Further, does the Treasurer think that the imposition of such a tax is not in the best interests of Australia having regard to its negative effect on the social and economic energies of those concerned?
– On two occasions, 1 have presented submissions to Cabinet showing the rising incidence of taxation on the income group between $1,000 a year or $2,000 a year and $18,000 a year. Also, I have made comparisons in those statements between the taxation schedules of other countries, particularly the United Kingdom and the United States of America, and the rates payable in Australia. What the honourable member says about the severity of the comparison is regrettably true. But this is in the nature of change. With rising inflation and a progressive rate of taxation, the problem of a progressive rise in the incidence of taxation will continue.
The difficulty, as I pointed out in a speech that I made to the Chartered Accountants Research Society in Western
Australia a few weeks ago is: How can we reduce the incidence of taxation on these groups? We found that if we wished to make a reduction of, say, 10% it would cost the Commonwealth Government approximately $250m in a year. With increasing demands being made on the Commonwealth not only by the States but also for other kinds of benefits, it would have been difficult to carry out reforms of the taxation scale during the lust Budget. I have not very great hopes that we can make any reforms in the Budget that is looming up in front of us.
Nonetheless, we do keep this problem under consideration. 1 think that the groups that the honourable gentleman has mentioned or, more properly, the ones that I have mentioned, are those which are making this economy tick and which make the greatest contribution to our future development.
Motion (by Mr Erwin) agreed to:
Thai leave of absence for 1 month be given to the honourable member for Isaacs (Mr Haworth) owing lo his absence from Australia.
– Mr Speaker, I ask for leave to have incorporated in Hansard letters which I have received from the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Anthony) and the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) in further answer to questions that I asked those honourable gentlemen on the 29th and the 30th of last month. One was concerning the delay in bringing into force the Continental Shelf (Living Natural Resources) Bill passed last November and the other concerned expenditure by health funds on publicity.
– Is leave granted?
– It would be unusual to incorporate in Hansard letters written by Ministers to members.
– But each refers to a question I have asked.
-Is leave granted?
– Leave is not granted.
– I have received letters from the honourable member for Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns) and the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) proposing that definite matters of public importance be submitted to the House for discussion today. I have selected the matter proposed by the honourable member for Lilley.
-Order! There shall be no reflection upon the Chair. As I said, I have selected for discussion the matter proposed by the honourable member for Lilley, namely:
The need for the continuation of overseas investment to ensure that regional development, employment, and living standards shall be maintained in Queensland al levels which otherwise would be adversely affected. 1 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)
-I call the honourable member for Lilley.
– I rise on a point of order, Mr Speaker. May 1 ask on what basis you decide which of two matters submitted shall be discussed first?
-Order! The honourable gentleman is out of order. He may ask the Speaker a question relating to his administration. This has nothing to do with my administration.
– Perhaps it would be a little unkind to suggest that this matter of public importance has been raised merely because of the proximity of a State election in Queensland next weekend. Perhaps it would be a little unkind also to suggest that after next weekend the Opposition party in this place will be confirmed out of office in every State as well as in the Commonwealth sphere - a situation which it has not suffered for the last 60 years. However a number of citizens in Queensland - and I suggest in some other parts of this country - are concerned that adequate provision be made for the regional effects and the economic development which have accompanied overseas investment. I want to say a few words particularly in relation to overseas investment in Queensland. lt is well known, of course, that the two States of Australia which have benefited rather more than others from overseas investment have been Queensland and Western Australia. Consequently the matter which has been proposed is the need for the continuation of overseas investment to ensure that regional development, employment and living standards shall be maintained in Queensland at levels which otherwise would be adversely affected.
Of ail the Slates of the Commonwealth, Queensland is the one with the most diversified and decentralised population. There is a sparsity of people and resources throughout the State. The difficulties associated with decentralisation and maintaining adequate standards have always existed in that State much more so than in the other States. A great number of solutions have been proposed, but the solution which has been found to he most beneficial and which has ensured the best result is overseas, investment in the development of existing resources. A solution, which has been rejected out of hand, was proposed by the present Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) when, at a rural conference of his Parly in New South Wales, he suggested that the principle of concentrated dispersion of population should be adopted. The principle which he suggested was that one or two cities should be adopted as ones to attract public investment and that those cities .should he built in contradistinction to other cities. The cities which he nominated were Gladstone and Townsville. This afternoon I ask whether those members of the Opposition who represent cities such as Rockhampton. Maryborough, Bundaberg and Mackay are al one wilh the proposals which haw been made by their ‘e ider n respect o! Gladstone and Townsville. I should like to have those members give their view on the principle involved.
We know that within recent years mineral resources have been won in a number of parts of Queensland, and usually the concentration is on the export value of the production. Little attention is drawn to the regional effects of investment in these areas. I want 10 draw attention to these regional effects, because they are unique and they have not required that certain towns be ignored in spite of the development. I want to spend one or two moments on these regional developments which have been made in response to developments involving a majority of overseas equity. 1 refer to the developments at Weipa and Moura, the coal’ field at Blackwater, the alumina project at Gladstone, the proposed project at Goonyella which is not far from Mackay and the proposed projects in other parts of the State. It is a fact that in all the towns in proximity to these developments there have been persistent and chronic problems of unemployment and under-employment. These problems are one of the difficulties of dispersed population. It is also a fact that because of investment in these mineral projects and other projects nearly 6,000 men will be employed in winning the resources. These men would not otherwise have been employed. Of these 6,000, or 5,800 to be precise, nearly 4,000 are employed by corporations and organisations which have a majority of overseas ownership. The question which concerns the people of Queensland is simply that this kind of employment opportunities would not be available were implementation given to the principle advocated by the Opposition of not allowing a majority of overseas ownership in these projects.
Let us look at the projects concerned and the ones which would have experienced great difficulties if the Opposition’s principles had been implemented. Weipa has an investment of 50% from the Kaiser Aluminium Corporation and 50% from Conzinc Riotinto of Australia Ltd. It is obvious that there is a majority of overseas equity in this development. This is the kind of development which, as it has been stated repeatedly, does not invite support from the Opposition. If we look at the Moura development by the Thiess, Peabody, Mitsui interests, we find that 20-odd per cent of the equity in this project is of Australian origin. The overseas equity in this development is approaching 80%. Again, the employment opportunities which have resulted from this development would not have occurred had the Opposition been in power. If the Opposition had been in power these employment opportunities would have been disadvantaged. Then there is the
Blackwater coal field project, the alumina project at Gladstone and other projects. Altogether 5,800 men are or will be involved directly in these mining projects when the Goonyella and other projects come into operation. Nearly 4,000 of these men will be receiving good wages and will be engaged in full time employment as a result of the development of projects which are, in the majority, overseas controlled.
I go a little further - and this matter should be examined. The Opposition says that this overseas investment is winning primary resources but that it is not so concerned with the secondary field. This is not correct. At present consideration is being given to the construction of a giant powerhouse for central Queensland. It has a capacity of 1,000 megawatts. As a result of the establishment of this powerhouse and the subsequent development, and if there is sufficient demand for power, there will be an increase in population of more than 100,000 people. But what is the demand for the power? The principal demand will come from two projects. One is concerned with aluminium fabrication and the other with caustic soda processing. It is quite clear that there will have to be a substantial overseas equity in both of these projects if the powerhouse is to be an economic proposition. If the aluminium project and the projected caustic soda project come into operation, the overseas investment will be the catalytic agent which will enable substantial regional development to occur.
So, once again, not only in the primary extraction field but also in a field a little removed from it, were overseas investment to be disadvantaged the reward would be substantial unemployment. When one has a look at the multiplier effects of this, it becomes perfectly obvious that the case of the Opposition for disadvantaging overseas investment is a case to breed and spread stagnation in the provincial cities. The provincial cities to which I refer are Maryborough, which is represented in this place by a member of the Opposition, Bendigo, Rockhampton, and, of course, Mackay. We want to know whether the honourable gentlemen who represent these cities in fact support the policy of their Party which is clearly in opposition to the kind of development to which I have referred. On a number of other occasions, speakers for the Opposition have referred to their analysis of the way in which overseas investment should be permitted or curtailed.
J refer with some trepidation to a speech made by the Leader of the Opposition in this place a short time ago. The Leader of the Opposition made his speech at the beginning of the present sessional period. On that occasion he made it perfectly clear - I should say tragically clear - that he was going to curtail overseas investment by forcing the insurance companies of Australia to invest with their overseas partners in these projects. The tragedy is that this policy is contrary to the policy in respect of insurance organisations which are administered in every substantial economy overseas. Every movement with respect to insurance companies overseas is a movement to guarantee that there will be adequate preservation of the savings of people who have invested in insurance companies. I remind the House that the Leader of the Opposition had this to say on 25th February this year:
The Commonwealth Parliament has the same legislative authority over insurance companies as it has over banks. It could have exercised this authority quite clearly in regard to Gove.
Gove was a particular project. It is perfectly clear that contrary to the practice overseas, insurance companies which have the savings of significant and rather less significant people in this country, are to be restricted as to the areas in which they might be able to apply the savings of those who have invested with them. Tn other words, it is clearly a manifestation that the savings of many people would be plundered because of their false ideas of economic nationalism. We say that with a great deal of regret.
There are one or two questions which I hope that the honourable gentleman who follows me will answer. The questions are these: Will he support the Leader of the Opposition in continuing to oppose overseas investment in those projects where overseas investment represents a majority of the capital concerned? Will he continue to criticise the principles which have motivated Australian governments in negotiating with overseas investors? The principle which has motivated Australian companies, when we look at the matter of employment, is simply this: There is a price on capital, but there is also a price for labour and the price for labour has been the price of employment and of adequate wages. Those with a good knowledge of the history of the Party opposite would realise that many years ago, when it was more respected, its policy was to inject that factor into the equation with respect to any investment. There was a price for labour, a price for workmen as well as a price for capital. That is the second question that I would like answered.
The third question to which I request an answer is: Do members of the Opposition intend to support the Leader of their Party with respect to the manifest threat he has given to insurance companies that they are no longer committed to invest in those areas which will give the greatest return to their policy holders but rather in those areas which will satisfy some false principles of economic nationalism that they happen to have at the appropriate time? Many people in Queensland are concerned about these matters. They are concerned about the principles of decentralisation which have been stated by the Opposition. They are rather happier with the principles of actual decentralisation, of work opportunities and of development which are being put into effect in the States. These may be anathema to those who say thai they are at one with full employment and are against unemployment or underemployment but at the same time criticise the very investment which makes the maintenance of full employment and the abolition of underemployment possible.
Motion (by Mr Erwin) - by leave - agreed to:
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the honourable member for Dawson speaking for 15 minutes.
– The honourable member for Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns) has moved that a matter of public importance be discussed. A matter of public importance has always been interpreted as one of some urgency. In fact, these motions have commonly been called urgency motions. I sought to move a motion of urgency at the same time as the honourable member for Lilley and Mr Speaker decided that the motion which I proposed to move on the ravages of drought and water in Queensland was, in fact, under the Standing Orders, not as important.
– Order! The honourable member shall not reflect upon a decision of the Chair. For the edification of thu House, standing order 107 states:
In the event of more than one matter being presented for the same day, priority shall be given to the matter which, in the opinion of the Speaker, is the most urgent and important, and no other proposed matter shall be read to the House thai day.
I suggest that there is no means, under the Standing Orders, whereby that decision of the Chair can be canvassed.
- Mr Speaker, with respect I had no intention of putting another matter to the House. I am referring only to the motion which I had in fact submitted. AH I said was that the motion I had submitted to you on the ravages of drought and water was obviously not considered by you as important as the matter we are now discussing.
– Order! The honourable member will withdraw that statement. I have warned him that there shall be no reflection on the integrity or impartiality of the Chair.
– I withdraw the statement.
-I again inform the honourable member that there is no provision under standing order 107 whereby the opinion of the Chair, which has been given in accordance with and under the authority of the Standing Orders, may be canvassed.
– lt is very clear from the priorities accorded by the honourable member for Lilley that he has an appalling understanding of the priorities which exist in Queensland today. In the last 10 days I took the opportunity to travel as much as I could in the region stretching from the lower portion of the Gulf of Carpentaria into the northern and southern Burnett areas. These are the areas which today are being devastated by drought. Most serious problems are confronting those areas. The honourable member for Lilley stands up and argues that the matter he has raised is one of priority. Had he wanted to put some constructive proposition to the House, he would have stood up and raised something concerning the serious problems which are confronting the people in those areas of Queensland today and which are top priority problems.
In spite of the ravages of drought, the terrible disaster that is impending in the livestock areas, the complete failure of summer crops, the complete failure of grain crops in the central highlands, the complete failure of agricultural crops in some of the coastal areas, the drying up of underground water and the drying up of surface water, we find that as far as this Government is concerned the most important priority in the promotion of regional development is the attraction of foreign capital to Queensland. I wonder just how many people in Queensland would subscribe to that view.
When the honourable member for Lilley talks about the Burdekin, Mackay, Maryborough, Bundaberg and Isis areas, apparently his solution to their problems is to attract foreign capital to them. I do not know where he has been in the last 10 days; but, if he took a little notice of what the Premier of Queensland has been saying in Queensland, what the Acting Prime Minister (Mr McEwen) has been saying in Queensland and what Ministers of this Government have been saying in Queensland, he would find that in these depressed areas the most important priority today is the solving of the drought and the contribution that this Government could make towards providing further water resources in the areas.
From all accounts, the Premier of Queensland apparently is quite happy with the inflow of foreign capital to Queensland. But he is most certainly not happy with the attitude and performance of the Federal Government in the fields of water conservation, drought and electricity and power, which is one of the most serious problems in regard to the industrialisation of Queensland. It is very interesting to note, for example, that the honourable member for Herbert (Mr Bonnett), who would know more about the problems of the depressed areas in the north of which the honourable member for Lilley has spoken, is not taking part in this debate. He has more sense than to do so. It is obvious that the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) is taking no part in this debate because he knows what the priority problems are in Queensland today.
The honourable member for Lilley, members of the Country Party and the Queensland Government in particular are all stressing this matter of foreign investment. When it comes to analysing the real problems of these areas and the problems that the people themselves are putting forward as priorities, do the people suggest that the No. 1 priority is to attract more foreign capita! into these areas? Can one imagine what would happen in the BurnettIsis area - an area devastated by drought today? Apparently the solution for that area is to bring foreign capital into it. Does the honourable member for Lilley want us to believe that foreign companies should come in and take over our land resources and that they should come in and take over our water resources? That is the type of argument that he is putting forward.
Let us have a look at these depressed areas. How do we define a depressed area? One definition obviously is an area in which there is a high rate of unemployment or an area which periodically is devastated by recurring droughts, so that agricultural and livestock industries are affected. Today 85% of Queensland is in the grip of drought, going into winter, which is normally dry, and to be followed by spring, which is normally dry. Yet it is only May. Another definition of a depressed area is one in which there is an absence of water conservation projects where they are feasible and where large losses are being incurred in the livestock and agricultural industries. The Burdekin, Burnett-Isis, Pioneer and Monto areas are all areas which are gripped by drought today and in which it is feasible to undertake large scale water conservation projects.
It is incredible that the honourable member for Lilley and the other members of the Liberal Party who are so vocal in their interjections believe that unlimited foreign investment is the solution to the most urgent priority problems in decentralisation or in the depressed areas in Queensland today. It is so incredible that it is absurdly pathetic. As I said before, the answer for the depressed areas in Queensland, according to the honourable member for Lilley, is to bring foreign investment into them to take over the land of the struggling sheep and cattle farmers, to take over the cane lands and to take over the water resources. 1 suppose the next thing he will be advoca ting is the building of a powerhouse in central Queensland with foreign capital so that the foreign companies can control the power resources and set their own electricity charges in Queensland.
Let us have a look at some of the areas that are depressed at the present time. I say ‘at the present time’ because this is supposed to be an urgency motion. The Burnett-isis area is one of the most depressed areas in the State today. Some of the farmers there will not cut even one stick or 1 ton of sugar cane because the drought has struck with such tremendous momentum. What is the solution there? The No. I priority, bar none, is known to the Acting Prime Minister because in a remarkable statement last week he said how important it was and that his first joh was to go to Canberra to wring out of the Commonwealth $40m for the project. Why did he nol wring the money out of the Commonwealth when he had the chance to put the project on the so-called short list of priorities? The Bundaberg scheme was completely omitted from that list.
The Burdekin is another area in which there is tremendous worry and concern today. Only last week the chairman of the local shire informed me that the level of the underground water is dropping so fast that it will be only a matter of months before some parts of the Burdekin area will be in very serious difficulties. Is the priority there the attraction of foreign capital to the area to build the Burdekin dam? Is the priority there to get foreign capital into the area to take over the cane farms? Perhaps that is what the honourable member for Lilley believes; but I am quite certain that the honourable member for Herbert does not believe that.
The central highlands is another area of Queensland that is devastated by drought. Not one acre of grain sorghum will be harvested in the central highlands this year. What is the answer there? It is a depressed area. The solution to this problem is obviously a constructive policy to provide long term and carry-on finance and to provide sufficient transport in an area in which starving stock are forced to exist on subsistence feeding. What can the Federal Government do here? The Queensland Premier has taken this Government to task in no uncertain manner for its hard attitude to these drought areas as regards feed wheat. What is this Government doing? It is going to charge the owners of starving stock a higher price for feed wheat than the price at which it sells its own wheat overseas. That is this Government’s policy with respect to drought areas. Is it any wonder that even the Queensland Premier objected in the strongest terms to this type of treatment? The way to overcome this problem is to have a constructive policy in regard to drought areas, and certainly not to bring foreign capital into the central highlands, for example, where the most pressing problem has always been recurring droughts. 1 come now to an area that has perhaps the greatest potential in Queensland today, namely, the Fitzroy basin verging on to the Burdekin. The Fitzroy basin has tremendous resources, but today it is gripped by drought. If one goes to Monto, Theodore, Banana, Biloela and many other places one will find the same sorry picture. The No. 1 priority all the time is water. If one asked any of the people in those places whether tha way to solve this problem was to bring in foreign capital, they would say no. That idea is too absurd to be thought about.
Let us have a look at some of the industries in places such as Rockhampton and Townsville. Is the most important priority in the building up of industries in those cities the introduction of foreign capital? The greatest deficiency as far as secondary industry in such cities is concerned is in the field of power. The central and northern areas of Queensland have the highest rates for power in the whole of Australia. Is it any wonder that that State was unable to attract an aluminium smelter, despite the fact that it has tremendous reserves of bauxite and an alumina works at Gladstone? The reason for this failure is the cost of power. Queensland was completely out of the question, and the foreign companies in question went to the southern areas of Australia.
What is needed is a constructive approach by this Government, on behalf of the Australian people, to provide sufficient funds to the Queensland Government to build a plant to provide power for secondary industry. We should not have to go cap in hand to foreign companies and permit them to build a powerhouse. Perhaps this is what the honourable member for Lilley wants.
What he virtually is advocating is to let the foreign companies have a free hand in this country and to let them take over what they want - take over our farms, our water resources, and our food processing plants. As far as I am concerned this is so poor in priority that it would not matter. The matter of highest priority in Queensland today is a constructive policy in relation to drought and water resources. The honourable member for Lilley referred to my own area. One constructive- decision relates to loans for the tourist industry. The Mackay district alone would attract a large number of tourists if the Government took a constructive view on development finance.
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– If there was any need to emphasise the importance of the matter under discussion and the Australian Labor Party’s attitude to it, it could be seen in the way that the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) dodged the issue. He was not prepared to face up to the facts as they were put to him. He was not prepared to accept the attitude and the policy of his own Party. He dealt with subjects which are of importance to Queensland, but he dodged the issue which is now being discussed, that is, the need for a continuation of overseas investment to ensure that reasonable development, employment, and living standards shall be maintained in Queensland at levels which otherwise would be adversely affected. Surely this is a matter of public importance. Yet it was discounted by the honourable member for Dawson.
There is a very great need for overseas investment in this country. Overseas investment can offset some of the unemployment caused by the tragic effects of drought. It goes beyond that. There is a need for further development in Queensland and throughout Australia and this can best be brought about by the effective use of overseas capital in conjunction with our own capital.
The contribution of overseas capital to the development of Queensland and Australia as a whole hardly needs to be emphasised. However, it has to be emphasised because of the unrealistic and un-Australian policies adopted by the Australian Labor Party, lt is of great importance that we develop this country at the fastest possible rate, and we can do this only by using overseas capital under conditions prescribed by the Government. There is no question of selling out everything to overseas companies as the honourable member for Dawson said exaggeratedly in concluding his speech. Because of the attitude of this Government towards the utilisation of overseas capital together with Australian capital this country is now one of the most attractive investment countries in the world, and with the use of more overseas capital we could make it even more attractive to overseas companies.
One has only to look back over the years at the development of the United States of America. The United States used overseas capital in its development and later was able to buy back the equity in that country which had been taken up by the overseas investors. I have no doubt that this pattern will be followed in Australia.
Reference has been made to regional development. I refer, for example, to Mount Isa. The honourable member for Dawson did not even touch on that section of the matter under discussion although it is vital. This is understandable. Honourable members who represent Rockhampton, Bundaberg and Maryborough have been silent on this issue. Regional development is of tremendous importance to Australia. The development of Mount Isa is a classic example of what can be achieved by the effective use of overseas capital. How long did the people who invested money there have to wait for a return? Could we have found that risk capital in Australia? It was up to us to find it but we were not able to find it. There were of course early difficulties in the development of Mount Isa. It started in 1924 and the first dividend was not paid until 1947. If overseas capital had not been used could we have found the capital to develop this great national asset in the north west of Queensland? What has the use of overseas capital meant in the development of Mount Isa? Has it robbed the people of the north of anything? Only some of the reserves of minerals in that part of Queensland have been used. The development of Mount Tsa by the use of overseas capital has assisted the development of north Queensland as nothing else could have. In days gone by the Labor Party might have agreed, but just how far has the Labor Party drifted from the stand that it took in those days?
There is no doubt that there is very substantial Australian equity in Mount Isa. What has it meant to the people in that area and to the people in Townsville, a large growing city on the north eastern coast of Australia with its tremendous development, based in the first instance upon what has happened at Mount Tsa? The reason for urging this development is to be found in the policy which is being adopted by the Australian Labor Party in relation to Queensland. If the policy of the Labor Party were to become the rule in this country, it would be the most retrograde step that Australia has taken since it commenced to develop its mineral industries.
To say, as Labor does, that our mineral reserves are a quarry for other countries is no excuse for not supporting the development of part of these reserves to promote progress, population and development now and not at some time in the future when probably substitutes will be found for some of the minerals that we are using at the moment. How long will we be able to use coal in competition with other sources of power such as nuclear power? Can we afford to let our power resources lie in the ground? The development of our reserves at Goonyella is limited to 30% of the available coal. Surely this is not a development of our mineral resources to any great extent. We are using them for progress, the building up of our population and the development of Australia now. To keep our place in this world and to develop our country and its population we need the maximum local participation of our resources, but if such resources are not available surely we will not accept a slowing down of the progress which can be achieved by the controlled use of overseas capital - not capital brought in with complete disregard of Australian equity. As time goes on we will find that the pattern of development will be that Australian equity will become more widespread.
In the limited time that is available to me I will go on to another matter. I want to quote a few figures. Six hundred men are employed by Queensland Alumina Ltd at Gladstone. The honourable member for
Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns) mentioned a total of some 5,800, but I want to quote some of the commodities being used. Next year Queensland Alumina Ltd will consume 2m tons of Weipa bauxite. What a wonderful thing for Queensland. Weipa could not have been established if overseas capital had not been available for that development. Again, 150,000 tons of fuel oil will come from a refinery in Brisbane. Is this not of great importance to Queensland and the Commonwealth? Also 60,000 tons of central Queensland limestone and 2,000 tons of central Queensland sorghum flour will be used. Is not that to the advantage of the State of Queensland? Further, 370,000 tons of central Queensland coal will be used; and so the list goes on.
I feel that one of the things that should be stressed about Goonyella, which has been criticised so strongly by the Opposition, is that at the opportune time Australians will be permitted to invest in the project. Let me refer for a moment to the return coming from this project. Admittedly, the cash return on royalties is only 5c a ton. The Labor Opposition has bandied this about as though it was the only benefit. It is a minimal benefit. The surplus from railway operations after meeting all costs of operation and maintenance, refund of security deposit of$36m and interest thereon, amounts to 23c a ton, making the total cash return 28c a ton. The total capital value of the railway, which was built without any cost to the taxpayer, including locomotives and rolling stock, has been paid for by freight charges met by the company. In other words, it has been provided : at no costto the taxpayers of Queensland. It amountsto 75c, making the total return from the coal won at Goonyella$1. 03 a ton.
Finally I want to talk about the unemployment that has occurred in Queensland. Mention has been made of the drought. The drought in Queensland could have caused even greater unemployment than occurred there but for developments like this. This project will help us to develop this great State of Queensland. In fact it will help everybody because it will reflect its benefits right across the board. It is an indictment on theLabor Party and the leader of the Opposition in this debate that he was not prepared even to debate this issue. He was not prepared to face up to it and neither were the other people 1 have mentioned. What about the questions that the honourable member for Lilley put to them? Are they going to answer them?
– You answer them.
– I do not have the lime to repeat them. The honourable member asked his questions of the Opposition, not of me. The Opposition has not answered them: it has dodged the issue completely. The Opposition is not prepared to face up to the issue of the development of Queensland.
– First let me reply quickly to two points made by the honourable member for Maranoa (Mr Corbett) during his speech. Probably they are the only two points he made. The first related to the Leader of the Opposition not taking part in this debate. He did not do so for the same reason as the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) did not do so. Should the Minister or the Government care to extend the time available for this debate, the Leader of the Opposition will be happy to accommodate the major Government spokesman. The honourable member for Maranoa referred in his second point to making a quarry out of Australia. He seemed to heap scorn on such a suggestion. May I remind him that the suggestion was initiated bythe Leader of the Country Party, the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr McEwen), in this House and it is perhaps further evidence of the sort of friction that is causing a rupture within the Liberal and Country Parties of the coalition government in Queensland. Apparently it has also affected Federal members from that State.
What 1 want to speak about is the empty bombast, the meaningless statements coming largely from members of the Government on the subject of foreign investment. The sorts of statements they make are reflected in the wording of the matter before the House. There is implicit in the matter before us an assumption that without foreign investment coming into this country on the foreign investors’ terms, completely unregulated, without any qualitative direction at all, this nation’s economy will fail. Of course, in the case of Queensland which we are discussing, the implication is that the standard of living in Queensland would decline without it. This is an appalling statement. There are other ways in which money can be raised internally for investment in this country to minimise or reduce our dependence on overseas investment. But more of that in a few minutes.
At this point 1 want to refer to a couple of salient features involved in the matter raised by the honourable member for Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns). He talked about the need for foreign investment to ensure regional development. It was clear from his statement that he believes that without overseas investment there will be no regional development. Surely he will appreciate that an important economic factor in regional development is the provision of adequate and cheap power. A recent answer to a question asked in this House revealed thai of the 20 biggest provincial centres in Australia, 8 are in Queensland. Of the 20 provincial centres, those 8 have the highest electricity charges. Several other States in the Commonwealth have benefited from Federal financial assistance which has resulted in a reduction in charges in New South Wales and Victoria for electricity produced by the Snowy Mountains Authority. Commonwealth assistance to construct the Leigh Creek to Port Augusta railway, on which coal is carried, has resulted in cheaper electricity charges in South Australia. Tasmania also has received Commonwealth assistance for the Gordon River project. But, Queensland continues to receive no Federal assistance in this field. It is a Commonwealth responsibility to assist in the provision of cheap power for State development. This has been fulfilled in several States, but Queensland has been excluded from this form of Federal assistance. Why has not the honourable member for Lilley approached this subject? The provision of adequate water supplies is also an important matter. The Snowy Mountains Authority which has a very important function to fulfil in conducting research in this area was to be disbanded. A few years ago the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Anthony) stated during the by-election campaign for Capricornia that the Snowy Mountains Authority had no role to fulfil in this area. The Authority has been maintained only because of pressure brought to bear in this House and outside it by spokesmen of the Australian Labor Party.
Government members have referred in this debate to the need for foreign investment to ensure regional employment. They are quite ignorant of the fact that the Queensland Government has purchased railway wagons for the Queensland railways, using Queensland money to pay for them, thus reducing the opportunity for Queensland workers to obtain employment and reducing the opportunity for expansion of that State’s economy. Over the past 4 years more than 800 wagons have been purchased by Australia from Japan, the United States of America and Canada. Clearly there is a deficiency in the economic thinking and planning of the Queensland and Federal Governments. This is one of the reasons for areas of regional unemployment that have caused the member for Lilley so much concern and encouraged him to make critical statements on this subject in January of this year. Let me make one suggestion. Evans deakin and Co. Pty Limited, Walkers Limited, and Bundeng Shipyards Pty Ltd. of Bundaberg, are all Queensland shipbuilding firms capable of building patrol boats. Why have not these firms been given a contract to build the extra twenty patrol vessels that Admiral Crabbe said the Royal Australian Navy so badly needs?
The honourable member for Lilley has not dealt with these subjects. He has referred to living standards as being very high in Queensland and claimed that any loss of foreign investment would affect them most critically. Let me point out that because of bad economic planning by the Federal Government, discriminating against Queensland - I have mentioned electricity charges - and because of inept handling of industrial development, Queensland has the lowest per capita production of any mainland State of the Commonwealth. Last year production per capita in Queensland was $706.5 compared with the next lowest State, South Australia, where it was $736.6. Queensland has the lowest personal income per capita of all States. It spends the lowest amount per capita on education of any Australian State. Queensland also spends the lowest amount per capita of any State on a broad area of social services.
Anyway, if we are concerned about industrial development perhaps the honourable member for Lilley would like to explain why Queensland spends much less per capita on industrial development than does Western Australia or Tasmania. This information is contained in the latest report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission. The figure for South Australia is not quoted. The figure for New South Wales is higher than that for Queensland, and only Victoria - which has a large industrial base anyway - has a lower per capita expenditure in this field. The deficiencies are not based solely on foreign investment, and there is confusion in the mind of the honourable member for Lilley. We sympathise with him because of this. We might, after the conclusion of this debate, have helped to eliminate or remove some of it.
Let me conclude with a few points on foreign investment. The honourable member for Lilley said here today in this debate, and has said publicly on a number of occasions, that we need an unfettered inflow of foreign investment. The assumption of the honourable member for Lilley is that we are completely incapable of raising this sort of finance ourselves for development, or at least some of it which is presently being covered by foreign investment. First, I make this point: Foreign investment is covering only 10% of the investment in this country, but it is coming in to the important sectors of the economy. So we find that a quarter of Australian industry is foreign controlled. We find, however, that 90% of important sectors of the economy such as petroleum manufacture and refining, mineral extraction - in regard to mineral extraction the figure perhaps would not be as high as 90%, but would be over 70% - automobile manufacture and pharmaceutical manufacture is controlled by foreign investment.
So we then ought to look at ways in which we can possibly avoid this dependence on foreign investment. This is all that the Labor Party has ever said. We have never said that we want to eliminate foreign investment completely. We believe, we have always believed, and we will continue to believe that there are benefits to be gained from foreign investment; but we believe also that there is a responsibility on us to apply qualitative controls and that there is a responsibility on us to develop ways in which we can avoid some of this dependence at least. A recommendation such as the one made by the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr McEwen) for an industrial finance development corporation, which was buried because of the friction between himself and the Treasurer (Mr McMahon), has much value. A foreign investment council could be set up to oversee the areas in which this capital is being invested and the manner in which it is coming in. We can thus avoid much of our present dependence on this capital.
We ought to use much more the opportunity available through overseas loan money, the use of royalties to pay knowhow, the so-called turnkey process, and the marshalling of small aggregates into big aggregates such as the Australian Resources Development Bank has done in raising over $80m in one day by public subscription call and accepting only $20m. The opportunity is there if the Government is prepared to take the initiative. Any failings which appear in the Queensland economy do so because of the ineptness of the people administering that economy at the State level and because of the discrimination of Federal Government policies.
-Order! This discussion is now concluded.
Debate resumed from 1 May (vide page 1624), on motion by Mr Snedden:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– in reply - This has been a most interesting debate. I think I said during the second reading speech that I regard this legislation as of great importance in establishing the status of Australian citizens. I believe it is of very great significance to us as Australian citizens establishing for the future the primacy of Australian citizenship which is, so far as Australians are concerned, either their birthright or, in the case of those who have adopted Australian citizenship by naturalisation, an act of their free will choice. I have no doubt that as time goes on this country will grow not only in population but also in international stature. I am quite sure also that it will retain the characteristics which we as Australians find very important to us in our way of life. In establishing these characteristics it is important that we do establish - as this Bill will provide when it becomes an Act - the primacy of our Australian citizenship.
This will relieve us, on many occasions, from small irritations which have proved very difficult in the past for many people, simple things like the trouble in filling in a form at census time when a person is required to state his nationality. This has now been put beyond doubt. The answer will simply be ‘Australian citizen’. People leaving the country or coming back to the country will be able to answer in the same way, as will a person overseas filling in the entry forms for any country.
The other matters that are encompassed by the legislation are in their own way very important, but in my view, of a subsidiary degree of importance, compared with the principal matter contained in the legislation. In relation to those other matters there were some points raised by various speakers during the course of this debate. One was raised by the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron). He raised a matter which I can perhaps paraphrase in this fashion: The reduction in the residence requirements for citizenship by naturalisation to 3 years for persons who are well qualified should be accompanied by a provision which would allow citizenship to be withdrawn in cases where a crime for which the person could be deported if he was not a citizen is committed before 5 years residence is completed. He said that we should have the same right to deport a migrant as is now given to us in the case of migrants from Commonwealth countries.
I considered this over the interim period and I say to the honourable member for Hindmarsh that I am not prepared to accept this recommendation. 1 understand the base upon which it is put, but I am not prepared to accept it for these reasons: Other concessions are made which reduce the period of residence required before a person is granted citizenship. For instance, persons who have lived in other Commonwealth countries can be given credit by me, as Minister, for that period of residence. People who served under the command of British forces during the war - some Czechs, Poles and Yugoslavians - have received naturalisation with a reduced residential period on that basis, and this has not occasioned us any difficulties. Taking that as a criterion I would not wish to do what the honourable member suggests. But I think the major point is that I would not want there to be a return to the position before 1958.
Prior to 1958 there was a provision in the legislation whereby a person could be deprived of the citizenship which he adopted by naturalisation if his character was bad. This occasioned a great deal of concern among migrants. They felt that having obtained Australian citizenship they could not with certainty say that they were entitled to that citizenship for all time. So in 1958 the Parliament altered this provision. At that time it was put as an argument that such people were second class citizens in the sense that they could have their citizenship taken away. In 1958 Parliament provided that once a person had become an Australian citizen his citizenship could not be taken from him unless he had made false declarations in his application for naturalisation. For this reason I would not want to revert to what the Parliament had to correct in 1958.
The next point made by the honourable gentleman was that application forms for the granting of citizenship should include questions relating to previous criminal convictions which applicants would be required to answer. What the honourable gentleman had in mind was that if called upon to state in the application form whether they had a criminal’ conviction, if they gave a wrong reply then they were in fact giving misleading information and ought to have their citizenship taken away for that reason. Again, I am against that. 1 must say that this had been under consideration before, lt is not something new, and it is quite a reasonable proposition to put forward. It was rejected because we want to encourage citizenship. In fact, I am bound to say that there is very little that one can say is a material benefit that flows from citizenship. There are very real moral and spiritual benefits - for instance, a sense of belonging - which I believe are important, and we want to encourage as many people as possible to apply. We therefore keep the form as brief and as simple as possible.
Experience has shown that when a person is required, on making an application, to state whether he has had any convictions a convicted person generally does not give the correct answer anyway. Thus, if you have to rely on the failure to give information, he first becomes a citizen and then at a later time it would be taken away. It is much better that the question of whether one would grant him citizenship having regard to his criminal antecedents should be taken before the act of granting of citizenship. Also, of course, it is embarrassing to the great bulk of applicants who have no criminal antecedents - perhaps a conviction for a speeding offence or some similar minor offence. If this should go in. it. is embarrassing to people, and we decided not to include it. I am bound to say that the Department does and must rely on its own thorough inquiries.
My colleague, the honourable member for Sturt (Mr Wilson) made two principal suggestions in. if 1. may say so, a most thoughtful speech. The first was that the term ‘British subject’ is a fiction and should be abandoned in the legislation. In fact it is not a fiction. An Australian citizen while in Australia is an Australian citizen. The primacy of his Australian citizenship is dominant, but the term British subject will retain the original concept of 1947 to give a common status to all Commonwealth citizens. By retaining in the legislation the provision that an Australian citizen shall have the status of a British subject, we are continuing this common status. There are two alternatives: One is ‘Commonwealth citizen’ and the other is ‘British subject’. We could not adopt the term Commonwealth citizen. Being a Commonwealth ourselves, we would merely be saying that a Commonwealth citizen is a Commonwealth citizen. This would have been confusing. We therefore retained the term ‘British subject’ as giving effect to the 1947 solution that there should be this common status.
The next point raised by the honourable member for Sturt was that Australian citizenship should not be lost in cases where the citizenship of any Commonwealth country is acquired by voluntary and formal act. He said - and I think this is correct - that this would conform to the New Zealand legislation. I have an entirely opposite view. The reason is that I do not believe in duality of citizenship, which I think results in confusion to the individual. We have had this operate in a very unfortunate manner in the past where a person, originally the citizen of another country, comes here and adopts naturalisation, but under the law of the other country - for example, Greece - remains a Greek citizen. Then you get the principle of master citizenship applying. Let us take the case of a young man, originally a Greek citizen, who becomes an Australian citizen and continues to be an Australian citizen while remaining in Australia, but on his return to Greece, under the principle of master citizenship, becomes a Greek citizen again and is subject to all the duties and obligations of Greek citizenship, including army service. Very often he may regard the obligations as greater than the duties. I personally believe that the best international course is to have singularity of citizenship in adulthood. Of course, up to the age of 21 there is good reason for duality of citizenship so that the person concerned can decide which citizenship he prefers after attaining the age of 21. This is as the law stands, and will continue to stand under this legislation.
The honourable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr Collard) raised two or three points. He asked whether the Minister, if advised that an applicant for citizenship does not understand the nature of the application, must reject the application on the ground that the applicant’s mental capacity is deficient. My answer is that this legislation will alter the substance of that statement. Let me recapitulate briefly: A person under the age of 16 years who is mentally deficient can become an Australian citizen if his name is included on the citizenship application of his parents, but if he is over the age of 16 that facility is not available. Therefore, the situation could arise in which a parent wishing to become an Australian citizen could not include his mentally deficient child aged 17 on the citizenship application, and that child could never become an Australian citizen. This would lead to turmoil in that man’s mind and would be conducive to an unfair result. This legislation provides a means whereby a mentally deficient person can become an Australian citizen though he does not understand the nature of the Act.
Under it, the decision of his father or mother, acting in loco parentis, will decide the issue for him.
The honourable member for Hughes (Mr Dobie) raised a matter which is, I think, of considerable significance. Let me explain it to the House. Shortly, it operates in this way: If a person becomes an Australian citizen because he is under the age of 16 years and is included in the citizenship of his parent, a large number of countries throughout the world accept this fact of his citizenship. Indeed, I think the great bulk of countries would accept his Australian citizenship to the exclusion of his original citizenship. They would certainly recognise his option to become an Australian citizen entirely after attaining the age of 21. However, difficulty has arisen when a person applies for citizenship in his own right between the ages of 16 and 21. The governments of a number of countries - for instance, Austria, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands - do not recognise Australian citizenship acquired by a person between the ages of 16 and 21. The consequences can be serious, as shown by a factual situation which came to the notice of the honourable member for Hughes. This was the case of a young man of 22 years or thereabouts who, originally a citizen of one of these countries, had obtained Australian citizenship in his own right between the ages of 16 and 21. When he returned to the country where he had been born, the authorities there did not recognise his Australian citizenship and he was subject to military service and other duties and obligations of citizenship of that country. There seemed to be no way out of the impasse except by the application of good sense, and in fact in this case good sense prevailed and he was released from the obligations that 1 have mentioned. But there seemed to be no statutory way by which he could ever acquire Australian citizenship which would not be questioned by the country of his birth. This legislation will change that situation. Under it, Australian citizenship acquired in these circumstances will be recognised.
Perhaps I should relate from information which I have with me the way in which this will be allowed to happen instead of saying it, so to speak, off the top of my head. It will be important to people between the ages of 16 and 21 who in future will have no difficulty in acquiring Australian citizenship during that period which they will know will be recognised in their former countries. They will have to take an additional step after attaining the age of 21. Migrants from Germany, Austria, Italy and the Netherlands acquiring Australian citizenship in their own right while between the ages of 16 and 2.1 do not lose their former nationality. As a result, these particular migrants may be disadvantaged on returning to the country of their former residence, and consideration has been given to finding some solution to the problem. The laws of the four countries concerned provide for the loss of citizenship if another citizenship is acquired after attaining the age of 21 years. The Government has therefore decided that the only way to solve the problem is to enable these migrants to divest themselves of their Australian citizenship when they reach the age of 21 years, after which they can be granted Australian citizenship again without delay in accordance with the provisions of section 1 5 (4) (v) of the Nationality and Citizenship Act. which gives me a discretion to grant Australian citizenship by naturalisation to persons who were formerly Australian citizens. While the terms and administration of foreign laws are beyond our control, 1 am confident in the light of the Department’s knowledge of the laws in question that upon the people in question re-acquiring our citizenship as adults, they will effectively divest themselves of their former citizenship.
Administratively it will be arranged that the young people in question, when applying for our citizenship between the ages of 16 and 21 years, are carefully told that their acquisition of Australian citizenship will not, as my Department understands the position, result in their losing their former citizenship, but that the procedure of renunciation and re-acquisition will be available to correct this situation. This procedure should ba made as simple as possible. I foresee that a young man will make an application for renunciation of Australian citizenship and at the same time make a fresh application for Australian citizenship.
Under the terms of this Bill he will be able to renounce his citizenship, whereas formerly he would not have been able to do so. He can now renounce his former citizenship and at the same time acquire Australian citizenship.
– Will this be before leaving Australia to go overseas?
– Yes. In fact, 1 would recommend that he do it as soon as he is 21 years of age. He could apply for citizenship at 17 years of age, acquire it, and as soon as he has had his twenty-first birthday he can fill in a form. I have not yet decided whether it should be one form used specially for the occasion or two forms. In any event, administratively it will be a single entry, so to speak, of the renunciation and the acquisition.
The honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly) asked whether the Government would consider reducing the qualifying period for all persons seeking naturalisation as under this Bill it had been reduced in certain cases. This matter was considered but it was decided not to reduce the qualifying period in all cases. We felt that 5 years is pretty much an international norm. We were reducing the qualifying period in special cases but we felt that this provision should not cover all people who would be eligible for naturalisation. The qualifying period will not entail any difficulty for people because the average period of residence of persons applying for citizenship is between 7 and 8 years.
The honourable member asked for an assurance that the changes proposed by clause 6 of the Bill do not substantially vary the intention of the original Act. The change does not alter the principle of the common status of citizens of the Commonwealth countries. The newer countries express their status in terms of Commonwealth citizens. Because Australia is itself a Commonwealth, adoption of the expression ‘Commonwealth citizen’ would lead to confusion. We therefore propose to express the common status in terms of having the status of a British subject, which is preferable to the present situation of being a British subject.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– I refer to clause 8, which reads in part:
After Division 1 of Part III. of the Principal Act the following Division is inserted: - “Division1A. - Citizenship by Notification. “11a…… “11c. - (1.) Where a person to whom this Division applies gives notice, as prescribed, to an officer authorized by the Secretary to receive notices under this section stating that the person desires to become an Australian citizen, the person is an Australian citizen by notification as from the date upon which the notice is received by the officer. “ (2.) A notice under the last preceding subsection may not be given personally by a child who has not attained the age of sixteen years but may be given on behalf of such a child by the responsible parent or the guardian of the child.”.
After sub-section (2.) of proposed section 11c, insert the following sub-section: “ ‘(3.) Where the Secretary is satisfied that a person to whom this Division applies has duly given a notice under this section, the Secretary shall, on application by that person, cause an authorized officer to issue to that person an evidentiary certificate in relation to the Australian citizenship of that person. “ ‘(4.) An evidentiary certificate under this section shall certify that the person specified in the certificate is an Australian citizen. “‘(5.) Where the Secretary is satisfied that a person to whom an evidentiary certificate has been issued under this section is not an Australian citizen, the Secretary may, by order in writing under his hand, revoke the certificate. “ ‘(6.) An evidentiary certificate issued under this section is, unless the certificate is shown to have been revoked, evidence that the person specified in the certificate is an Australian citizen. “ ‘(7.) The Secretary shall cancel all evidentiary certificates that have been issued under this section and have been revoked. “‘(8.) An order under sub-section (5.) of this section may be proved in legal proceedings by the production of a copy of the order, together with a certificate signed by an authorized officer certifying the copy to be a true copy. “‘(9.) An evidentiary certificate under this section or a certificate under the last preceding subsection is admissible in evidence in legal proceedings without proof of the signature of the person signing it or of the fact that he was an authorized officer. “‘(10.) In this section, “authorized officer” means an officer authorized by the Secretary to issue certificates under this section.’.”.
The amendment is essentially procedural. It provides for the issue of an evidentiary certificate in relation to the Australian citizenship of a person who is given notification in accordance with new section 11c, which clause 8 of the Bill proposes should be added to the Citizenship Act. Apart from its practical purpose the amendment will provide a legal safeguard for persons who become Australian citizens on notification. By entitling such persons to an evidentiary certificate as of right they will be able to take appropriate legal proceedings in the event of any dispute arising between them and the Department of Immigration as to their status. It is necessary, of course, to provide for such an evidentiary certificate to be revoked if it is found subsequently that it has been issued to a person who is not an Australian citizen as provided for under section Ils of the Act. This is proposed by clause 8 of the Bill. Proposed new clause 17a, which I will move shortly, is designed to ensure that certificates revoked in this way are surrendered for cancellation.
Amendment agreed to.
Proposed new clause I 7a.
– I move:
I have already explained the purpose of the proposed new clause.
– I would like to ascertain the position of Papuans. As the Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden) is well aware, Papuans are British subjects and Australian citizens. They have been since 1907. Three generations of Papuans have grown up under the Australian flag. What will happen to these people when the time comes for them to accept independence, which they must do? I know that the Government has said that they may have independence when they desire it but when the time comes some of them may wish to remain Australian citizens. This is a matter which the Government should examine. It should examine also the requirement that a permit must be obtained by persons wishing to travel from one Australian Territory to the other. The Government has a right to stop people other than Australians from visiting an Australian territory - every country has a similar right - but for a long time I have felt that it is wrong to require people wishing to visit Papua, which has been part of Australia since 1907, first to obtain a permit. We do not need a permit to come into the Australian Capital Territory or to visit the Northern Territory or Norfolk Island. No permit should be required of Australians seeking to visit Papua and New Guinea. I would like the Minister to say whether the people of Papua, as distinct from those of New Guinea, are Australian citizens and British subjects like the rest of us. As I understand the position they are. If I am right we are only heaping trouble on ourselves by requiring people to obtain a permit before visiting Papua. I hope that the Minister will consider the points that I have raised.
– The honourable member for Batman (Mr Benson) has raised this matter on other occasions. Let me say at the outset that 1 do not have ministerial responsibility for the future development of Papua and New Guinea but if I may express my own view, I think it would be inconsistent with Government policy. Papua has been an Australian Territory for many years. Because it is an Australian Territory the Papuan people have Australian citizenship. The Territory of New Guinea on the other hand is a Trust Territory. For many years the Government’s policy has been that the Papuan Territory and the New Guinea Territory should be administered by the Government as a single whole. If I recall correctly, on many occasions the Government has said that it regards Papua as a Trust Territory. Frequently my colleague, the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes) and his predecessors have said that the obvious solution to the future of Papua and New Guinea is independence as an entity. I hold that view. When that time will arrive is, as has been said constantly, a matter for determination by the indigenous people of the country. Whether they would wish the country to be a single unit or more than one unit would be a matter for them to decide in association with the Australian Government. But what is certainly correct is that those peoples are headed for independence. I do not think anybody in this Parliament or any member of the Australian public would want to see it otherwise. 1 have heard other solutions suggested. None of them appeals to me. For instance, it has been said that Papua and New Guinea might become a seventh State of the Commonwealth. I would not for a moment feel that that would be a correct solution, either in terms of Australia’s development as a nation - the homogeneity of which is so important to us - or for the people of the Territory. One obvious result of becoming a seventh State would be that people of the Territory would be entitled to representation in this Parliament on the same basis as people living in the other States. The problems for the future which would arise from this need only be stated to be understood. It is not my purpose to spell them out. Given that that is the background - that we believe that the two territories are headed for independence - I believe we ought to do what we can to retain their identity and aid the territories in their progress towards that independence. In adopting that attitude we say to the people of New Guinea, which is being administered with Papua as a single unit: The New Guineans are people protected by Australia whereas the Papuans are Australian citizens.
– Legally they are different.
– Legally they are different; that is the point I made. The New Guineans are Australian protected whereas the Papuans are Australian citizens. We administer the two territories as a single entity. We apply the same rules to both territories. The particular rule we are referring to is the one requiring that the people of both territories need authority to come into Australia. I gather from what the honourable member said that he objects to the situation in which an Australian citizen cannot enter Australia without authority and permission to do so. I understand that the honourable member is motivated by the highest ideals. However, I am bound to say that this is Government policy. In my view it must remain Government policy that there should not be freedom of movement of the people from those territories to come into Australia - at this time. I am only stating the policy as it is at the moment. One would not want to foresee what will develop in the future but so far into the future as I can see, the policy will remain the same. We in Australia have an entity such that we make a determination as to whom we shall invite here and for what purpose we shall invite them. Accordingly, before a person comes here for permanent residence he must be able to satisfy criteria, which are well established in our policy. For that reason they require a permit.
– I listened with interest to the comments of the honourable member for Batman (Mr Benson). I am in complete agreement with the excellent explanation given by the Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden). We all agree that there are unusual features associated with Papuans who are British subjects and Australian citizens in that there are certain restrictions on travel which, I think, are quite rightly applied, as the Minister explained. I believe that the ultimate objective, as the Minister stated, is independence for Papua and New Guinea collectively. I think it would be a very false and premature approach to endeavour at this stage to absorb them into Australian citizenship and all that goes with it. If we start to pui the cart before the horse at this stage we will be doing a disservice to those people. The ultimate objective on all sides of politics is collective independence as one nation. Those people of the two territories will then assume all the rights of a nation and will be able to enjoy all the privileges of citizens in their own right instead of being absorbed into Australia as the seventh State or whatever other course might be followed.
I do not wish to belabour the situation. I merely rose to say that I endorse the sentiments of the Minister. I do not take away from the honourable member for Batman credit for the motive that prompted him to raise this matter. I think the problem will be solved when independence is granted. T would not like to see us at this stage advance arguments as to what will or will not be, or whether some citizens will be able to contract out of an ultimate decision by popular vote - a popular vole, incidentally, which I hope would be on a better basis than that proposed by Indonesia for West Irian. Once a nation decides to have independence I do not think some people should be able to contract out of it. However, that is a technical matter upon which
I do not pass judgment. The ultimate answer to the query raised by the honourable member for Batman will be found when independence is granted, achieved and accepted. For my part I think that independence is infinitely more preferable to absorbing those people into a seventh State of Australia and making them part of the Australian nation. I do not think the latter course would be in their interests or ours because of our approach to problems. I believe that what the honourable member for Batman seeks today will be brought about when independence is achieved in a way which will be satisfactory to us and to the people of Papua and New Guinea.
– 1 rise to ask the Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden) one or two technical questions about his amendment. I support his idea that the power of issuingthe evidentiary certificate should be delegated. However, 1 am concerned because proposed subsection 11c (10.) states:
In this section, ‘authorised officer’ means an officer authorised by the Secretary to issue certificates under this section.
There are two questions I would like the Minister to answer. Does this mean that persons so delegated or authorised will be within his Department or will this delegation apply to such people in the Department of External Affairs as our ambassadors overseas? Will a British subject seeking to acquire his Australian citizenship by means of an evidentiary certificate be able to obtain it when he is overseas? This matter is not clear in my mind. Secondly, does the Minister have any power of authorisation in determining who will issue the evidentiary certificate? I think that the easing of the evidentiary certificate is a very forward move. I would like to mention to the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly) that 1 know he is fully aware that in Papua and New Guinea we already have universal franchise. The next time that there is an election in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea I would gladly have him come up there with me.
– There is a reason why the Secretary of the Department issues the evidentiary certificate.It is simply a matter of administrative convenience. It is better for the Secretary, the public service head, to do it rather than for the Minister to do it. Proposed sub-section (10.) states:
In this section, ‘authorised officer’ means an officer authorised by the Secretary to issue certificates under this section.
The primary point is that the Secretary is authorised. The secondary point is that we assume that a great number of these certificates will be required. I think the honourable member for Hughes (Mr Dobie) will remember me stating during the second reading debate that of about 600,000 eligible people only 30,000 or 40,000 have actually taken out Australian citizenship. They do not take out Australian citizenship because they feel no need to do so. However, they run into the problem whenthey apply for a passport. What we want is to create a situation in which a person can opt for Australian citizenship at that point of time when the matter first comes to his notice. He can declare: ‘I wish to become an Australian citizen’; then we can go ahead with the issue of an Australian passport rather than have to say to him as we do now: We are terribly sorry but you will have to go the the British High Commission office and make application there.’ The Secretary will designate a person in the passport issuing section. That person might bethe Commonwealth migration officer in Sydney or Melbourne, or, more likely, it would be the officer in charge of the passport section at the various places.
As to the second question relating to whether persons overseas will be authorised, it was not my intention that they should he. I will again look into this matter. 1 had in mind that the person who would make this declaration for Australian citizenship would be a person resident in Australia. If he had been resident but had left Australia he would have left by means of a passport other than an Australian passport and there might be some assumption that he did not want to acquire Australian citizenship or alternatively that he was not going to retain his residence in Australia. At any rate I had not contemplated that the authorisation would be done outside Australia. 1 will examine the matter to see whether there is a reason for doing so.
Proposed new clause agreed to.
Bill, as amended, agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments; report - by leave - adopted.
Bill (on motion by Mr Snedden) - by leave - read a third time.
Debate resumed from 30 April (vide page 1539), on the following paper presented by Mr Sinclair:
Overseas Shipping - Australian Entry - Ministerial Statement, 22 April 1969 - and on the motion by Mr Erwin:
That the House take note of the paper.
– The Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) has been talking extensively and travelling extensively throughout the world since his recent appearance at the Prime Ministers Conference in London. He was most careful to note the point that Australia must stand on its own feet by becoming a self contained unit in the British Commonwealth. They are just windy words, of course, when one looks at the disastrous lack of achievement on the home front. I would like to point out the small area in which our Prime Minister thinks and works when one takes into consideration his remarks in an interview on the television programme ‘Four Corners’ on Saturday, 14th December 1968. He said:
One of my greatest achievements-
He emphasised the word ‘my’ - in this my first year in office, 1 am happy to state, is that our Government is now in shipping, which is all to the good when it means the carriage of Australian goods to all ports of the world by Government initiative.
Then he went on to say:
My Government has invested $6m in a very small percentage partnership with the overseas conference.
That is just peanuts and is a token investment in such a body. It appears that the Australian National Line has applied for membership of the Australia to Europe Conference, the United Kingdom-Australia Conference and the Outward Continent to Australia Conference and, after negotiations, to enter into partnership with Associated Container Transportation (Australia) Ltd and to charter one of the three container ships now under construction for this consortium of British shipping lines.
Mr W. R. Russell, the Conference Chairman, said in London that the British and Continent lines forming three conferences would welcome the participation of the Australian National Line. This must have prompted the members of the shipping conferences to burst into uproarious laughter, as the action of the Prime Minister makes him appear to be easily led by his advisers and to have a very naive approach to the situation as it applies to shipping in Australia.
Everyone knows that the Australian continent has 12,000 miles of coastline which is studded by beautiful rivers and wonderful bays and harbours. As a matter of fact, Port Jackson - pardon my pride - is the most beautiful harbour in the world and, if the Prime Minister does not know it, has accommodation for the safe anchorage of most ships trading throughout the world. This Government, led by the so-called great Australian, allows the shipping conferences north, south, east and west to exploit our export and import trade, which is valued at many thousands of millions of dollars, at will, charging high cargo rates for shipments of those goods and increasing rates from time to time. The conferences have found it so lucrative that the Russian Government is making a new bid to get an assured share of the Europe to Australia freight shipping trade. This is implied in private talks which two top Russian shipping men have had in London recently with the Chairman of the Australian Conference lines, Mr Russell. The Soviet representatives are Captain Venjamin Fakorovich, Vice-President of the Baltic Steamship Company, and Mr Nikolai Zuev, Vice-President of Sovfracht, the Soviet Government Agency which controls the movement of freight. The talks with Mr Russell were at their request. Though no comment was made, it appears that the Russians were anxious to reach a settlement with the Conference on their sailings on the Australian route and to join the Conference either as full or associate members.
This is a renewal of the bid which they made some months ago to secure the co-operation of the Australian Conference lines in their Australian route operations. The Russians earlier had asked for thirty-six sailings a year for Soviet ships. The Conference said that this was out of all proportion to the cargo that Russia brought to
Australia and pointed out that Russian exports to Australia were virtually nil. According to the Conference, the Russians asked the Conference lines to hand over more than 25% of the outward trade from Europe to Australia to Soviet shipping. Those negotiations foundered in August last after the Conference representatives agreed to go to Moscow, but the Conference decided that in any case the gap between ils position and the Soviet demand was so great that there was no possibility of agreement. It appears that the shipping Conference in London and the Russian representatives can fight like cat and dog over the Australian export and import trade while our Government, led by this so-called great Australian and with so-called great Australian members, sits idly by and takes no notice whatsoever. But, strange to relate, this never looked like being an end to the story. The Russians were operating their shipping independently of the Conference, and it is very doubtful whether this was economic. There is increasing pressure on all Soviet commercial agencies from Soviet policy makers to pay their way. It seems that this can be achieved only by Soviet shipping on the Australia route if it reaches an accommodation with the Conference.
There are three factors, therefore, in the new effort by the Russians to come to terms. Firstly, Soviet shipping has to get an assured share of the freight on the Australian route so that it does not incur heavy losses, if necessary by far fewer sailings a year than the thirty-six originally demanded. Secondly, it may secure at least an associate membership of the Conference before the Soviet position is further weakened by Australia’s own National Line joining the Conference. The third factor is likely to be that the Soviet Union has eyes on joining in the new container service which eventually may dominate freighting on the Australian route and feels that it must prepare for this by reaching an accommodation with the Conference as soon as possible. Things are starting to move. These huge profitable export and import freights are very valuable, and great profits are assured if the Conference can keep outsiders at bay. It is believed that stringent conditions are laid down by the various conferences now operating - outside Australia, of course. They are telling us what to do and they are contemptuous of the Australian Government. It is known that the overseas shipping conferences are heavy subscribers to the Liberal-Country Party election funds. That is the reason why they can sustain heavy pressures on our weak kneed Prime Minister and his followers.
Let us go on a little further and examine a report in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’, of all papers, which says that the 6-month war between Russia and the shipping companies ended with Russia winning a share of the lucrative Europe-Australia freight runs. The warring parties agreed, the Herald’ said - again contemptuous of the attitude of the Australian Government - that Russia would join the shipping companies conferences which control sailing schedules and freights, especially for Australian wool. That would be very interesting to the Country Party, lt is interesting to note how these monopolies operate. Apparently the Russians had been undercutting conference rates, especially for Australian wool. This is sensational news - this is news for the Country Party members. Russia had the co-operation of the Australian wool barons. Now the Russian ships are expected to get 5% of the $720m Australian trade with Europe now that Russia is a member of the shipping conferences. This will pose a problem for at least six European buyers who earlier decided to ship their wool, in conjunction with the Australian wool barons, at the Russian shipping company’s cut rates. How patriotic! The buyers has-e been told that if they wish to ship again with that body they will have to pay rates 20% higher than those they paid previously.
A notable omission from the announcement about Russia’s admission was the position of the Polish ships which were operating hand in glove with the Russians in their cut rate war. So it appears that now the Russian Government agrees to be part of the shipping conferences to exploit the Australian people and the Country Party members in particular by generally agreeing to increased rates and shipping freight charges. Wonders never cease. In an official statement after the agreement was signed, the Vice President of the Sovfracht in Moscow, Mr Zuiv, was quoted as saying that the Russian steamship line was necessary for Soviet ships to provide a service for its own importers and to provide facilities for possible expansion of Soviet trade with Australia. Of course this was looked upon as a contradiction of earlier Russian statements that it woUld still be making a profit if it charged rales 15% below those charged by the conferences. The question also arose as to whether a Russian will ever become Chairman of the Conference Shipping Board. So the exploitation of the Australian public goes on its merry way. When will this Government wake up? The Government goes hand in glove with the shipping conferences, which have a large interest in the Australian-owned airline and other transport activities run by the firm called Ansett Airlines of Australia.
Year in and year out since my election to this honourable House in 1949 - 20 years honourable membership of this House - being a boilermaker-shipbuilder by profession, 1 have urged this Government to consider the establishment of a Commonwealth shipping line, which I am sure would be of great benefit to the Australian economy and to the people generally. I repeat what 1 said before: lt is a source of great wonder to me why this Government, which so loudly declares - the Prime Minister being the loudest mouthed of all - that it is comprised of men - listen to this one - of great business ability - Mr Minister, I wish you would note that one - has not set about establishing a shipping line as quickly as possible to ensure the transport of our produce to all parts of the world at an economic figure which would be beneficial to our primary producers. Other nations are alive to the value of our exports and imports and the great profit that is to be made from their transportation. I also wonder why our Deputy Prime Minister, the Leader of the Country Party (Mr McEwen) - which Party is supposed to represent the primary industries throughout Australia - sits idly by and allows this important industry to be held to ransom by members of the said shipping conferences. Of course our Deputy Prime Minister is a man noted for his very windy speeches, but when it comes to action, especially against the exploitation of our primary producers, he is found wanting.
Again I suggest that the overseas shipping conferences are very lavish in their contributions to the Liberal-Country Party elec tion funds; otherwise how could they maintain their unbreakable grip of control of inward and outward cargoes to and from Australia? lt prompts one to wonder who will control the paltry vote which will be allowed in the shipping conferences due to the contribution made by our astute Prime Minister of $6m. Will this affect the policy of exploitation by the conferences or will it strengthen their hand by having the Prime Minister softened to such a degree by pandering to his vanity that he will run along with them without interfering? That is for the future to decide.
A Commonwealth shipping line is vital to the future development of Australia as a nation. I would be pleased if the Prime Minister would note that it is needed to reduce Australia’s crushing freight burden, to increase cheques to farmers and other exporters, to open vital new markets to Australian producers and to provide very badly needed employment in the shipbuilding, metal, marine and related occupations. Need one ask why Australia must have her own overseas shipping line? Australia is situated in the southern hemisphere, of which 90% is ocean, and is dependent on imports from the northern hemisphere, where 50% of the area is land with resultant larger population. It is not generally known that Australia ranks in the top eight exporting nations in the world and has an annual export income of more than $l,000m and pays approximately 25% - one-quarter of that $ 1,000m - to various foreign shipping and insurance companies. We know how the insurance and shipping companies hunger for more.
Australia has its own shipping line of over forty ships, but they are restricted by this anti-Labor Government to the least profitable cargoes and are restricted almost entirely to coastal shipping trade due to the pressure brought to bear by wealthy overseas conferences. It would be amusing, if it were not so tragic, to recall that Indonesia, a so-called backward nation which is actually receiving monetary aid from Australia, is now developing its own overseas shipping fleet. Norway, with a population of three million, has a vast fleet of vessels, as has Sweden. Switzerland, with no coastline at all, has a large fleet of vessels. New Zealand, with a population of a little over two million, has more than twenty-five overseas ships manned by New Zealand seamen while Australian seamen walk the streets. This is the price that Australia pays for being the only country in the world which does not have a suitable ship trading overseas. I must note that India refused to submit to the demands of foreign interests and now has its own fleet. There again one asks what is the evil influence which has control of our Australian Government and of our Prime Minister and one wonders whether it is generally known that once we had a fleet of over sixty vessels sailing overseas, which kept freight charges down to a very reasonable level and still showed a profit in its own right. Most of the ships were built here by the best metal tradesmen in the world - Australians - and were very successful in keeping freights down, despite extreme pressure from foreign interests. But a Liberal Party Prime Minister of the day, a Mr Stanley Bruce - yes, a Liberal Party Prime Minister - betrayed the people of Australia and sold the Australian Commonwealth line to its rivals, the foreign shipping combines, at a small fraction of its value. All honourable members will remember that betrayal. A prominent, historian of the time, referring to this sell-out, stated that intelligent creatures such as the kangaroo and the emu should be replaced on our coat of arms by a shorn sheep.
– Who said that?
– A prominent historian of the day. The reward received by the antiLabor Prime Minister for his betrayal of this great Australia of ours was a seat in the House of Lords in England. Shame on the Prime Minister of Australia, the supposed great Australian, Stanley Bruce, who betrayed this nation. He sold the country out to get a paltry seat in the old motheaten House of Lords in London. I urge this super-patriotic Government to give deep consideration to the building of a Commonwealth line of steamers to serve our very urgent need for the transport of Australian produce to overseas markets at the cheapest possible rate. Finally, I make an urgent appeal to the members of the Australian Country Party to see the wisdom of my remarks.
-Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– I want to congratulate the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr Curtin), because every chance he gets he brings up the need for Australia to have an overseas shipping line. I am very glad to know that from nothing all of a sudden we will be trading on three different lines - to the United Kingdom, to North America and to Japan. It is a great credit to all concerned that they have been able to make this arrangement. I make one comment about the management and the people who are responsible for this achievement. We have probably the finest shipping managers in the world, and I hope this state of affairs continues.
If we. look back into history we see that the first progressive move ever made to have refrigerated cargoes carried in sailing ships originated in Australia. It was Australian know-how and the will to get our produce to overseas markets that enabled this to be done. A man by the name of Mort put a freezing plant into a sailing ship and so was able to get his produce overseas. In 1947, when I was working ashore - I claim a little bit of credit without trying lo pat myself on the back - the first lines for a container vessel were drawn on a board and it was conceived at the yards of the Adelaide Steamship Co. Ltd at Waterview Bay. Most of the work was done by a man now departed, the late Mr Owen of Huddart Parker Ltd, who pressed ahead with this idea. However, it was many years before a cellular container vessel was built. The first container vessel in the world was designed and built in Australia for service between Melbourne and Fremantle. That was the ‘Kooringa’. It was not very long before the wisest shipping people in the world said: This is what we need’. The Americans started a container service between San Francisco and Hawaii. Then the English shipping people said: ‘This is what we want’. Now we have Overseas Containers Ltd and Associated Container Transportation Ltd, which have very fast and very big ships that will trade between the United Kingdom and Australia.
Australia will have one ship in the trade and will be part of the Conference Line. Therefore, it will take part in all the negotiations and other aspects that are necessary for the successful running of the shipping line. As I said before, I hope that this state of affairs will continue for a long time. But the shipping service must continue efficiently. If it does not, it will soon fold up. As I see it, it will be quite some time before this venture can get on a financial footing. We have read with pride the reports of the Australian National Line, but we must gird ourselves to expect that the next report - I hope this does not happen - will not show the same financial returns that we have seen in the years gone by. I make this point because it is not only the responsibility of the shippers and those associated with the shippers, but it is also the responsibility of the unions, to see that these ships are never held up. They must operate non-stop. If they do not, they will be in financial difficulties.
While I am on my feet in this House I make a plea to all concerned to ensure that our venture now into overseas shipping will have continuity. If we do not get continuity the money will come out of the pockets of the people of Australia. If that happens too often they will say: ‘Let us get rid of this unfinancial undertaking.’ Then the ships will be sold, and I never want to see that happen. However, if a venture continues unprofitably for a lengthy period, something must be done about it. As I said when 1 started, we in this country are very lucky to have people with know-how running this line.
I am glad to see the arrangements that were made when the ships were bought. The ship for the United Kingdom-Europe trade will be bought on terms from Germany. I would have liked to have seen the ship built here, but the project came about so quickly that I think the Government was right in saying: ‘Three ships are being built there. Let us get one now so that we can get in when this line starts.’ I think that is the reason the Government agreed to take a ship from Germany, although. 1 agree with the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith that we have the people in Australia who could build such a ship. The terms for the purchase of the ship were a deposit of 20% with the balance payable over 8 years at an interest rate of 5i%. In the business world, they are pretty agreeable terms, and being able to obtain such terms says a lot for Australia.
The trade between Australia and Europe and between Australia and North America will be altogether different from the trade between Australia and Japan and different types of ships will be used. The ship that will be used for the trade between Australia and Japan will be a roll-on roll-off ship. Heavy forklifts will be used to stack unit loads and four-wheeled vehicles will be able to roll on board. The ships operating between Australia and Europe and Australia and North America will be cellular container ships. As I said before, it was Australian know-how that enabled refrigerated cargoes to be carried. Mort came along and put some refrigeration machinery into a sailing ship and started the trade between Australia and England.
The first roll-on roll-off ship in Australia was operated by the Australian National Line for the trade between Melbourne and Tasmania. It proved to be successful. Many people said it would not work and the private shipowners would not have a bar of it. They said the ship would be a failure, but it has proved to be a great success. Another such ship, the ‘Empress of Australia’ is operating between Sydney and Hobart, and another is coming on the board very shortly. We are now entering the trade between Australia and Japan with a roll-on roll-off ship, in association with the K Line. This will be a shorter haul and I think we will handle it much better than we will handle the haul to England.
We will have a wages problem which must be considered. I am very glad to know that the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission has registered an agreement for the Seamen’s Union. It provides for high wages. The judges of the land and even Sir Ian Potter, chairman of directors of Associated Steamships Pty Ltd which now runs two container ships between Melbourne and Fremantle, have agreed to pay a seaman $6,300 for 7 months work. I say good luck to the seamen because they have to work hard. The agreement says a lot for the people who negotiated on their behalf and for the people who have accepted it. ft must be remembered, however, that once we are in competition on the overseas routes with one ship against five others the problem of the cost of running the Australian ship will arise. That is why I say that these ships must be kept in continuous service. I hope that they will be. I hope that both sides will pull together and see that the number of ships is increased, that trade expands and that the Australian flag is seen flying proudly in many countries of the world.
– I give very great credit to the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr Curtin) for his consistency over the years in advocating the establishment of an Australian national shipping line and for attacking this Government and its predecessors for the despicable part they have played in sabotaging every attempt in that direction. The honourable member for Kingsford-Smith referred to a claim by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) that one of his greatest achievements in his first year of office was Australia’s entry into this field. I would hate to see his worst. Having regard to the agreement to which the ministerial statement that we are discussing relates, I believe that it will be measured as an even greater tragedy and financial fiasco than the proposal to purchase the Fill aircraft.
On this issue the Government is without a friend in the responsible Press of Australia, whether it be the daily journals or the publications which carry articles by financial commentators. In my experience in parliamentary life I doubt whether I have ever seen such a consistent, bitter and justified attack on a government. In 1956 a committee was set up to inquire into the stevedoring industry. The gravamen of its report was that the shipping combine of that period had only one rule in relation to the fixing of freights inwards to and outwards from Australia, and the rule was to impose by way of freight charges all that the traffic would bear. The arrangement that has been put before the House by the Minister is of the same kind.
In this debate the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Sinclair) has been sent in to bat. Where conceivably there was some glory or publicity to be gained last November, of course the Prime Minister came in like some young Lochinvar to take all the kudos that there was in it, but there was never such an anticlimax and never such a fiasco as we have seen in this instance because the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr McEwen) did not do his sums. I suppose a boy at school would be caned for that. It appears that the more we probe into this matter the more we get an ancient and very fishlike smell. The deal was negotiated overseas originally as a gimmick for the aborted federal election which was planned for the end of last year. It leaked out through the London financial Press and the Government had to put the best face on the disclosures. Of course the kick lies in the fact that a junior Minister has had to bear the burden, and for that he gets the respect and sympathy of the House.
– There is no need to be sympathetic.
– I am sympathetic. You are a competent Minister but you are the fall guy on this occasion for the Government and its incompetence, lt is very notable also that no Minister, with the exception of the Deputy Prime Minister who for shame’s sake had to come in, has participated in this debate; nor will any do so. Let us look at the background to the new proposals. Originally we were to charter these vessels, one for each of the three trades, on eminently favoured terms, we were informed. We were given some very elaborate details as well on that occasion. We are not given very many on this occasion. Let us cut nearer to the bone. All the real experts on the shipping business - the Australian National Line, the shipping section of the Department of Trade and Industry and the woolgrowers study group - recommended against the container form of shipping for Australia. Let the Minister deny that. It was accepted for certain types of cargo but it did not make sense for the really major Australian exports, particularly wool. Not so long ago the Australian National Line printed a brochure in which it stated that the unitisation method was more economic than containerisation. The Department of Trade and Industry too was of the opinion that the Scandia type cellular ship which could take unit loads as well as containers was superior to the British pure container ships.
Who can teach Australia much on the question of shipping? As the honourable member for Batman (Mr Benson) said, we were practically the first in the field in the world with the ‘Kooringa* as the first container vessel. Who would know more about the operation of such a vessel than would Australian shipping interests, the Australian National Line and, in particular, the proprietors of that vessel? By the same token, if. experience is to be the guide was it not the Australian National Line which pioneered the concept of the roll-on roll-off vessel which is to be used in the trade to Japan and to the west coast of the United States? Of course the Government was not prepared to listen to the advice of the responsible experts and the big three - the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and Sir Alan Westerman- -did the job.
This Government believes in gimmicks, ll governs by gimmickry. In its case secrecy is, in fact, an instrument of government. This is characterised by lack of frankness on the part of members of the Prime Minister’s own Party. There has been secrecy abou! the space station, about the swing wing bomber, about oil prices and now about shipping. The three questions raised by the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones) who led for the Opposition in this debate have yet to be answered. The Government is not prepared to answer them. We are being held up to ridicule by other nations as the thirteenth trading nation of the world - a nation which apparently is noi capable of running a full national overseas shipping line. The Deputy Prime Minister advanced very weak excuses for changing the intention to charter the vessels and deciding to purchase them by saying that under the original proposal we could not fly the Australian flag and that the present proposal would avoid industrial trouble. There has been a very mysterious reluctance on his part to give real information to the House. What a contrast between his original garrulousness at a Press conference last November when he was prepared to give the fullest details as to the profits that could be made from the operation of the container ship on the United Kingdom trade. Then ‘ he said that it had been calculated that the gross revenue from the first full year of operation would be £Stg2m, for the second year £Stg3.4m and for the fourth and subsequent years £Stg4.3m.
The same gentleman finds it impossible to give information on revenue now. He gets into the coward’s castle of claiming that the Commonwealth is in a business relationship with an overseas consortium. The earlier statements, of course, are to be scrapped and nothing is to be put in their place. The Acting Prime Minister (Mr McEwen) conveniently hopes that the people of Australia and this Parliament have very short memories. I can assure him that they have not. We want to know the facts. We want to know the answers to the questions that were asked in the first place by the honourable member for Newcastle. As for the Government’s switch of policy, it was first heard of at Ottawa when the Prime Minister, in his usual form, blurted out something overseas and showed his contempt for both his Cabinet and the Parliament, lt was then, when it was latched on by the local Press, that for the first time we realised that there was to be a change in policy.
There is not the slightest doubt that in the whole of this transaction we are being played on a break. There is an old saying that when you wrestle with a bear you are not quite sure whether you have hold of the bear or the bear has hold of you. In this case we have gone into the embrace of an overseas shipping combine. We have rushed in foolishly and inadvisedly at the worst possible time. We have delivered Australia and the freight of Australia as a hostage to this consortium, because containerisation is the greatest revolution to hil shipping since the days of steam - since the days when the full rigged sailing ship was displaced by the primitive steamer. Naturally a major consortium committing itself to a very substantial capital outlay sought to close up any possible chance of failure. The first thing to make certain of was to get Australia into its clutches; and it has done precisely that. The Government has, in fact, committed every possible blunder in the whole of this transaction. In the first place it has become a minor partner in a major combine. It has committed itself to the decisions of that combine. It claims that it cannot disclose certain information.
Need I remind the House and the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Sinclair), who is sitting at the table, of Part XA of the Trade Practices Act, which was introduced by the Minister’s own Government, not when the Act was first introduced but subsequently, and operative from 1967? The Government has the right to force every overseas shipping company taking cargo out of Australia to register the agreement between it and the exporters. In addition to that these agreements are available to the Minister. Most drastic penalties are provided: 550,000 is the major penalty for an offence. As well as being available to the Minister, the agreements can be taken further than that and can be used in evidence in. court. Yet we are told by the Government that it cannot possibly divulge the trade secrets of its co-partners. Furthermore an overseas shipping company must have a registered agent in Australia and must negotiate through that agent on notice from the Minister administering the Act. The Minister is allowed to have his representative present at those negotiations to raise such matters as might be thought fit and to take the information back to his chief. Does the Minister still suggest that adequate information is not available?
The Trade Practices Act is being shunted into the discard and the Government chooses to take refuge in a coward’s castle. One of the worst features - the howling error of it all - is that we are committed to containerisation. A full container vessel does not carry its own cargo handling gear. Accordingly the major ports of Port Kembla and Newcastle will be in the discard with containerisation, or in respect of the possibility of container vessels calling at those ports, because the particular type of container handling cranes will not be available there. The Scandinavians are not fools. They are the most experienced maritime carriers in the world today. They have plumped very strongly for the Scandia type ship which is capable of playing it every way. Experiment is what Australia needs at this stage. Because it has its own cargo handling gear and its own derricks the Scandia type vessel can go to any port in Australia and can lift off any container.
We have lost also the opportunity to bargain. There will be acute over-tonnages in the Australian export trade. Of course, it is reasonable and understandable that no more than 50% of the exports or imports, as between major exporting countries and importers, is handled by the importing nation and by the exporting nation. Instead of that, Australia settles for a paltry 7i%. In the last 12 months our shipping freight bill for exports and imports has been of the order of $600m. Earlier in the debate the honourable member for Newcastle gave figures which showed that the cost of freight and insurance on imports alone for a 10- year period was over $2,900m. We have committed Australia irrevocably to the concept of the full container vessel. In doing so the Government has chosen to ignore the very specific and very positive recommendations of the Senate Select Committee on the Container Method of Handling Cargoes. Its report was tabled in June 1968, and the recommendations are worth reading. Firstly, in its conclusions the Committee states:
Australia cannot avoid involvement in the development of the container method of handling cargoes.
That is granted to some extent, but by what type of ship has not yet been decided finally by the best brains in the modern transport industry. The Committee’s conclusions continue:
There exists the possibility of the development of a monolithic global shipping operation.
That is precisely the relationship that will exist between Australia with a 7i% interest in a consortium and the major hard nosed people who run these concerns. Let the Minister answer this question also: Where did the initiative come from in the first place? I say that the initiative came from Sir Basil Smallpeice, the head of Cunard Steamship Co. Ltd, because it was definitely to the advantage of that gentleman, his company and his associates to get into Australia on the terms that it has. Let us consider a further conclusion of the Committee. It reports that there has been an element of haste in introducing the container system to Australia without sufficient time for adequate consultation between the many interests involved. The Committee strikes a warning as to what will happen to the ports in Tasmania and to the other major regional ports in Australia. The Acting Prime Minister gave some sort of an answer this afternoon to a question on this matter. It might be a death bed repentance or something like that. At least it will be broadly acceptable until the State election in Queensland is over. But in due course the position will be different. These things have happened before and they will happen again.
A further recommendation by the Committee is that the Government should take no action which will result in a situation of preference to any one type of shipping operation which might be used to protect the operators from a wrong- investment decision. That is precisely the reason for getting Australia lined up in and tied hand and foot with the Associated Container Transportation (Australia) Ltd consortia. The people of Australia are not satisfied with the transaction negotiated by the Government. It is a disgraceful transaction and a measure of the Government’s incompetence. Australia will continue to be one of the most backward countries in the world in modern transport.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury)Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– in reply - I disagree with the honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor) on just about every score. I commence by referring to his suggestion that the proposal for Australia to enter into the overseas shipping trade was purely an election gimmick. The fact that Australia was to enter into the overseas shipping trade has been known by the House for quite a considerable time. During the time that the present Minister for External Affairs (Mr Freeth) was Minister for Shipping and Transport he made a statement in the House on Australia’s initial entry into the Australia- Japan trade. That was the first of the new forms of entry by Australian vessels into the general cargo carrying of Australian goods and overseas goods in overseas trade. Of course, this is not in fact a new entry. I am told that the Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd already carries something like 25% of the goods that it exports - amounting to a very substantial sum of money - in its own bottoms. 1 am also told that it carries a substantial percentage of the goods it exports in chartered bottoms and sells them ci.f. at the port of sale. So, it is by no means a new departure in the present day and age for Australia to go into the bulk handling of cargo overseas.
A significant point regarding Australia’s desire to enter into the overseas shipping trade at this point of time is the fact that Australia lies at the end of long shipping lanes. Lying as it does at the end of these long shipping lanes it is necessary - and this has been found to be most efficient for the purpose of determining freight rates - to have closed shipping conferences. Closed shipping conferences mean that the number of vessels and the number of operators are stabilised over a period of time. Freight rates are established by negotiation between the shipper bodies and the conferences. The result is the establishment of a freight rate which is satisfactory to the buyers and sellers of Australian goods and the buyers in Australia of overseas goods. ‘
If Australia were to have entered into the overseas carriage of general cargo goods at a time when the closed shipping conferences were not subject to a process of change there would have been a very substantial over-tonnaging. The result might have been an unnecessary increase in freight rates. But this being a time when the overseas shipowners, of which the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr Curtin) spoke in terms of derision, have decided as an investment to enter into container shipping, the shipping conference between Australia and the United Kingdom-Europe is obviously subject to a process of change. The same shipowners, operating in this instance as cross traders, in association with Japanese shipowners have taken the same decision for the Japanese trade. There is also the prospect that they will be doing the same thing for the trade between the east coast of the United States and Australia and for trade in other parts of the world. It was in this environment that the Australian Government gave further consideration to the matter. It could see that if Australia were to enter into the carrying of general cargo goods in Australian bottoms this was a very propitious time to seek entry. This was the climate within which the Government took a firm decision to examine in what way we could enter into these conferences with the minimum of disruption to freight rates and with the certainty that it would be possible for us to achieve entry without causing overtonnaging.
Mention has been made of the fact that in the various trades in which we have been accepted we have not negotiated the right to carry in Australian bottoms 50% of the’ goods we sell and 50% of the goods we buy. What we have’ in fact done in our negotiations is said to the conferences that we believe that we are entering into a time of increased bilateral carriage of cargoes. This in fact means that the countries which are trading with each other should have the primal right to carry the goods they are selling to each other and that the cross traders should come in only to the extent to which the two principal partners are not capable of carrying the goods in their own bottoms. In this instance it means that we do not believe that Australia is capable at this stage of carrying 50% of all the cargoes to and from Australia in each of the trades. I do not believe that the Government wants to go that far anyway. But we have said in negotiations that we believe that we have a right to carry up to 50% of the goods we sell and we have sought entry up to the extent of the capacity of the ships we are now putting into the trades. As a result, in our trade with Japan we have secured the right at the pool points to carry something like 12i% of the northbound goods and 9% of the southbound goods. In the United Kingdom-Europe trade we have secured the right to carry 7±% of the goods going both ways.
– You are satisfied with that, are you?
– I am saying that what we are doing in this instance is negotiating to the capacity of Australian interests, both the private and public sector, to carry Australian goods in Australian bottoms. That is the limit in the capacity of Australian vessels. At this stage, of course, the Japan trade is being supplemented by the shared right of an Australian public company, the Flinders Shipping Go. That company also has an allocation of pool points in the general cargo handling of the trade. So, what we arc doing is going into three trades.
It has been said by honourable members opposite that we are going into only one form of transportation and that we are unnecessarily putting all of our cargoes into the one type of ship. What we are in fact doing is going into the overseas handling of general cargo in three types of ships. Certainly, we are going into the United Kingdom-Europe . trade with container vessels. In this way we will be able to supplement the power of determining the level of freight rates under section XA of the Trade Practices Act, to which the honourable member for Cunningham referred, with the knowledge that we will have the total operation and not just the sea leg. As well as the sea leg we will have the land leg, which includes warehousing, handling on the wharves and handling to the factories. In this day and age it is not sufficient to know only the cost of handling the sea leg section of the trade; it is necessary to have the capacity to cost right through from the door of the seller to the door of the buyer, which is the object of the container method of handling cargoes. As well as participating in the container method of handling cargo for goods transported between Australia and Europe and the United Kingdom, we have gone into the vehicular deck concept in the Japan trade. We will be able to run a searoad service. Three vessels will be involved. One will be owned by the Australian National Line, one by the Flinders Shipping Co., in which an Australian public company has an interest, and one by a Japanese partner. So, we will have three vessels operating a vehicular deck service.
These vessels will be operating in direct competition with the container services operated by the Japanese interests and the cross traders. This will mean that we will be able to assess the relative efficiency and costing of the vehicular deck vessels as against container vessels in the Japan trade. Of course, we will also have the opportunity of comparing the relative operating efficiency of these vessels with the vessels operating on the United Kingdom-Europe trade. Another type of vessel is coming into service on the United States east coast trade. This vessel is not to be either a purely container vessel or a purely vehicular deck vessel, lt is to be what is called a Pad vessel, which is a combination of both. It will mean that in that trade we will have an opportunity to try out another type of ship and to cost its operational effectiveness against that of the other types of ships. We will have a shop window view into the various forms of new transportation at a time when the overseas handling of general cargo is going through a revolution.
– You will not have the Scandia type, of course.
– The honourable member for Cunningham has mentioned the Scandia vessel. The Pad vessel which, as I said, is to be used on the United States east coast trade is really a combination of the three modern types of vessels. As I understand it, it is intended that this vessel will have a forward crane which will be capable of handling cargoes into the forward hold. In some instances the cargo will be handled by a crane mounted on the wharf.
That already happens with the vehicular deck vessels operated by the Australian National Line. This ship will be a combination of the Scandia vessel and the other types of vessels, and it will enable us to assess their relative efficiency. lt is suggested that the Scandia vessel is a type of its own and that we have not been able to assess its operational effectiveness. But what we are doing is to move into the container trade in which already there has been very substantial capital investment by overseas ship owners and for which wharf facilities have already been provided. So it is not a matter of providing these facilities anew. Certainly we will have to buy into the land terminal facilities. We will do this so that we can get a chance to assess the cost, of the operation. But we are entering this trade after these other shipping lines have decided to make this investment: whether or not Australia entered the trade, the overseas shipping companies would have made this investment. I am suggesting that if we do not participate directly in this trade it will not be possible for us to assess effectively the cost of the operation. The Scandia vessels will still provide a very economic service, particularly to the outports. They will provide a direct service in many instances where, because of the operation of the principal port concept, perhaps it will not be possible to operate the container service competitively. In the result, 1 think it will be possible to make a comparison between all forms of shipping and that this will be very much in the interest of the Australian Government and the Australian people.
In the few minutes I have left I want to examine some of the other basic criticisms which have been levelled against the Government’s proposition. One of the criticisms, which was put forward by the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones), related to the Government’s decision to buy instead of charter ships. First of all, let me make it perfectly clear that the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) referred to this matter in his statement at Ottawa when he said that initially the Government proposed to charter ships but that it had an obligation to purchase them. If honourable members care to refer to the statement I made when introducing this debate they will see that 1 specifically referred to this matter. At the end of 5 years the Government would have been in the position where the overseas consortia could have required us . to purchase the vessels. What we are doing at this stage is suggesting that it is preferable for us to purchase the vessels at the outset. Various factors influenced this decision. When the original details were made public the matter had not been finalised. We were still in a process of negotiation, trying to find in what way the interests of the Australian consumer and the Australian producer could best be protected. Consequently, we referred to our negotiating position. Since then, as a result, of consideration of various factors, it has appeared quite obvious that it is preferable for us to buy the ships immediately so that they will fly the Australian flag and will be manned by Australian crews and we will have direct Australian participation in this general cargo overseas trade.
Honourable members will remember I said that one of the reasons, why we decided to purchase the ships immediately was that the finance was available. I think the honourable member for Batman (Mr Benson) referred specifically to the terms of the financial arrangements which have already been announced for the purchase of the ship for the United Kingdom-Europe trade and the United States east coast trade. Reference was made to the British investment grant. This would Have been available in a sense if the original proposal had been pursued. But then again if we had provided for the crewing which was required under the British Act, this would not have given us the Australian participation which so obviously is desirable. Also, there was the question of possible industrial disturbances. All these matters affected the shape of the total arrangement. It seems to me that the significant element in our decision to purchase the vessels is that we have now decided to do what ultimately we might have been required to do.. We are doing this in circumstances which will give us immediately Australian crewing. These ships will fly the Australian flag and we will have Australian ownership. All these matters, to me, put into perspective the significance of the decision to purchase, these vessels.
The next matter of concern which was raised by a number of honourable members relates to the Government’s decision to buy ships which have not been built in Australia.
As the Minister responsible for the application of subsidy to Australian shipyards, and having a genera! responsibility for shipping in Australia, I believe very strongly that the Australian ship building industry has made and is making a very worthwhile contribution to Australia’s industrial development. But our decision to enter these overseas trades was made because we believed it was necessary for us to get into these trades at a time when the conferences were going through a process of change. If we had decided to have the vessels built in Australia - I dealt with this question earlier when referring to the building of the vessel for the Australia-Japan trade - we would not have been able to get our vessels into service at a time when it would have been necessary for us to gain entry into the conferences. The big problem which we have to face in maintaining reasonable freight levels is to ensure that there is no overtonnaging. If we had decided to have these vessels built by Australian builders the vessels would net have been in the water in time for us to have commenced operation and to have gained entry into the conferences without there being a real risk of over-tonnaging.
As I understand honourable members opposite, they are suggesting either that we should have gone in outside the conferences or that we should have gone in with our own total operation. 1 do not believe that it is possible for a newcomer into international shipping to have adequate control over the handling of cargoes at both ends, without entering into a partnership with somebody else. If we are to operate in the overseas shipping trade it is very necessary that we have partners to operate with us who are knowledgeable in the shipping field and who can give us very Teal assistance. That, of course, is one of the real reasons why our engagement with the overseas consortia is so significant. It has given us an opportunity to get into the conferences and to have partners who can help us in the operation. I believe that this will enable us to contain freight costs in a way which would not have been possible if we were operating on our own account. So far as the building of ships in Australia is concerned, I personally hope that future vessels required for the Australian National Line can be built in Australia. The Australian National Line is already having its vessels for the coastal trade built in Australia, and it is the Government’s intention that the placing of orders in Australian shipyards should continue.
One question which was raised by the honourable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr Munro) and which I must answer related to the cost of handlingwool as a result of the introduction of container ships. Honourable members will recall that the honourable member for Eden-Monaro sought an assurance that shipments of wool by the container method would not force freight rates for wool shipped by other methods to higher levels. The sea leg rate - that is, the freight rate - will be the same for all ships in the conference. That is Government policy. But container service rates offer reductions. In the Sydney to Bradford trade, for example, through rates for conventional shipping, under ordinary dumping, were $15.04 a bale. The container rate of shipping for an ordinary dump of 63 bales is $14.69 a bale, a reduction of 21/3%. For a medium dump of 75 bales the rate is $14.60 a bale, a reduction of almost 3% below the ordinary dump conventional shipping rate. For a high density dump of 90 bales, the rate is $14.52 a bale, a reduction of 3½%. This wilt not increase rates for other wool shipments. It will mean that this system can be continued in future. We see a continued effective reduction in wool freight rates as a result of the introduction of this form of shipping. In general, I believe that this House and the people of Australia will support this proposal of the Government. It will give us a shop window into shipping and I believe it is very much in the interests of the people of Australia.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Sitting suspended from 6.2 to 8 p.m.
Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.
Bill presented by Mr Swartz, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill and of the associated Appropriation Bill (No. 4) is to obtain parliamentary authority for expenditure for which provision was not made in the Appropriation Acts (No. 1 and No. 2) 1968-69. The total appropriations sought in this Bill amount to $76,034,000. The various items included in this Bill can be considered in detail in Committee and I propose at this stage to refer only to some of the major provisions.
The additional requirement for salaries is $11.9m mainly because of the increases in salaries arising from national wage cases and other arbitration determinations, reclassification of offices and additional staff. Further appropriations totalling $ 12.2m are required for departmental administrative expenses which cover a multiplicity of purposes. Additional appropriations amounting to $16. 8m for departmental other services include $4.6m for embarkation and passage costs of migrants, $1.5m for oil search subsidy, $1.8m for the Australian Broadcasting Commission, $1.lm for repatriation benefits and $1.3m for expenditure under the Industrial Research and Development Grants Act.
An additional amount of S3 5. 2m is sought in the appropriations of the Service departments to carry out the current defence programme. However, because of shortfalls in expenditure in some appropriations, mainly as a result of rephasing of payments on aircraft and lags in delivery of equipment, it is not expected that the total expenditure, on Defence Services will exceed the original Budget estimate. The additional appropriations being sought in this Bill are not to be taken as an indication that actual expenditure will exceed the appropriations in Appropriation Act (No. 1) 1968-69 to the extent of the full $76,034,000. The greater part of the additional authority sought is expected to be offset by savings in expenditure under other appropriations in that Act. I commend the Bill to honourable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.
Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.
Bill presented by Mr Swartz, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time. The purpose of this Bill is to obtain parliamentary authority for additional expenditure in 1968-69 amounting to $21,754,000 on various items relating to capital works and services, payments to or- for the States and certain other services: Although additional appropriations of $16.1m are sought for capital works and services, it is not expected that the total expenditure will exceed the Budget estimate of $5 12.3m because of savings in similar appropriations, in the Appropriation. Act (No. 2) 1968-69. The major requirements are $2m for overseas establishments for the Department of External Affairs, $6.5m for acquisition of sites and buildings, $1.4m for .expenditure under the Snowy Mountains. Hydro-electric Power Act, $2.1m for departmental buildings and works and $l.lm for buildings and works in the Northern Territory. .
Additional appropriations of $5. 5m are sought for payments to or for the States, including $3.2m for drought assistance in New South Wales and $1.3m for drought assistance in Queensland. However the greater part of this additional . expenditure is expected to be offset because of savings in other similar appropriations in the Appropriation Act (No. 2) 1968-69. The only appropriation item, required for other services is an amount of $102,000. for an additional capital grant towards the construction of Calvary Hospital, Canberra. As I have mentioned before, “ this Bill provides for additional appropriations of $21,754,000. However, because of estimated savings in expenditure under other appropriations in Appropriation Act (No. 2) 1968-69 it is not expected that the total expenditure will exceed the Budget estimate of $577,162,000.* I commend the Bill to honourable members.
Debate (on motion’ by Mr Crean)’ adjourned. ‘
Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation for proposed expenditure announced.
Bill presented by Mr Swartz, and read a first time.
(8.9] - I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time. The purpose of this Bill and the associated Supply Bill (No. 2) is to appropriate moneys to carry on the necessary normal services of the Government during the first 5 months of the financial year 1969-70. The total amount sought in this Bill is $1,020,715,000, comprising:
Departmental . . $553,655,000
Defence Services . . $447,060,000
Advance to the Treasurer $20,000,000
In general these amounts represent approximately five-twelfths of the 1968-69 appropriation and make no provision for new services. However, the amount of $447,060,000 for Defence Services makes provision for large contractual payments due in the first 5 months of the financial year. An amount of $20m is sought to enable the Treasurer to make advances which will be recovered within the financial year, and to make moneys available to meet expenditure on services of the Government, particulars of which will afterwards be submitted to Parliament. I commend the Bill to honourable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.
Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation for proposed expenditure announced.
Bill presented by Mr Swartz, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to appropriate $221,540,000 for certain expenditures to carry on the necessary services of the Government for the first 5 months of 1969- 70. The total amount sought comprises: Capital works and services……………………….. $181,813,000
Payments to or for the States….. $19,727,000
Advance to the Treasurer . . . . $20,000,000
The amount for capital works and services is required in general for the orderly continuation of works programmes. The amount of $20m is sought to enable the Treasurer to make advances which will be recovered within the financial year, and to make moneys available to meet expenditures, particulars of which will afterwards be submitted to Parliament. I commend the Bill to honourable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.
– I move:
This report is a result of a motion that I moved in this House on 17th October 1968 when I sought the support of the Parliament for an examination of the feasibility study of the Capital Hill and Camp Hill areas for the new and permanent Parliament House building. Honourable members will recall that this is a joint committee of the Parliament with representatives of all parties of this Parliament. It is therefore important to remember that this Committee has similar standing as the Joint Committee on Public Works and the Joint Committee on Public Accounts have. This Committee was a properly established joint committee of the Parliament. The Committee advertised widely throughout Australia in the daily Press inviting anyone interested in this subject to give evidence before the Committee. The advertisements went into all the Australian newspapers in each capital city, including the ‘Australian’ and the ‘Canberra Times’, on 14th December 1968 and again on 18th January 1969. Also at that time all senators and members of this House were invited to make submissions to the Committee.
Evidence was taken from ten people whose names are listed on page 6 of the report which has been circulated to honourable members. I trust that all honourable members have read the report carefully. The Committee very carefully studied illustrative material which demonstrated the potential and the opportunities of both the Capital Hill and Camp Hill sites. A copy of the evidence presented to the Committee is available in the Parliamentary Library to all honourable members who wish to study it. The Committee saw a crane placed on Camp Hill. This crane from the base to the top is exactly the same height as is the flagpole on Capital Hill from the base to the top. The Committee during a tour of Canberra looked at this crane and compared it with the flagpole on Capital Hill. lt was evident that many members of the Committee were amazed at the dominance of the Camp Hill site in comparison with Capital Hill from the central areas. For instance, I noted while coming in from the airport this morning that the crane on Camp Hill is a more dominant feature than is the flagpole on Capital Hill.
The Committee has done its work very thoroughly. If honourable members have read the evidence they will know that the people who gave evidence to the Committee are expert in their respective fields and that the evidence was given openly, truthfully and without bias. It was as a result of the evidence presented to it that the Committee decided overwhelmingly in favour of the Camp Hill site. There were only two dissenters from this decision; they were in favour of the Capital Hill site. It is important to establish early in this debate that we are discussing the site for a new and permanent parliament house. We are not discussing a building or the time of construction of any building that is proposed. What we are trying to do is to select a site so that ancillary buildings that are important to the Canberra scene can be properly planned. This proper planning can only be done when the decision on the site is taken. Because a final decision has not been made, the whole area under consideration is sterile and will be until such time as this Parliament makes a decision as to the site. As I have already said, it is important to bear in mind that what we are discussing tonight is the site for a new and permanent parliament house and that we are not discussing anything else but the site.
I have no doubt in my own mind that all previous thinking about the Camp Hill site - and this present building is part of that site - has been inhibited because of the very presence of this building. It is interesting to note that the Public Works Committeee of the day in 1923 said that if a mistake were made and a temporary building were placed on this site it would inhibit the planning of Canberra in the future, and I believe that this has definitely been the case, lt is remarkable that all the evidence which came before the Committee points to the simple fact that, irrespective of which site is chosen, this building has to come down, sad as that may be for those of us who believe in the traditions of this Parliament and those of us who have a feeling about this building. The evidence put before the Committee convinced the Committee of this, and 1 noticed that the dissenters in their report did not vary in this.
Therefore, 1 take it to be the unanimous view of the Committee that this building, because of increasing maintenance on it yea! after year and because of inconvenience in its use, must come down. Another point is that aesthetically, particularly from Capital Hill, it is impossible to leave this parliamentary building on this particular site. Parts of it might be preserved, retained or removed into a new building, but any decisions on that will be made in the future by the government of the day when a decision is taken that a new parliament is to be built. Our concern at this point of time is to recognise the simple fact that irrespective of the sites, Camp Hill - and this is part ot the Camp Hill site - or Capital Hill, this building must go. The matter ought to be looked at in proper perspective because what we are talking about is the planning of a parliament house that it is considered »vill have a minimum life of several hundred years. In that context I think one can recognise that a temporary building which is now overcrowded, inconvenient and very costly to maintain will not be much of a loss from this particular site.
In the last debate it became clear that some members of this Parliament were concerned about several points. I want to try to answer some of those points tonight. The areas of the possible sites was one of the main points of concern. Many members believed when we were discussing the lake site that there was not enough area there I shall give the area available on both the Capital Hill and Camp Hill sites to demonstrate to members that there is very little difference between them. Capital Hill contains within the State Circle 135 acres and within the ring road and the commemoration gardens an extra 25 acres, or a total of 160 acres. Camp Hill between King George Terrace and Queen Victoria Terrace contains 34 acres, between Queen Victoria Terrace and State Circle 31 acres, and between State Circle and the continuation of the avenues to the summit of Camp Hill, plus the commemoration gardens, another 85 acres, or a total of 150 acres. So there is little difference in area available on the two sites. I acknowledge that these figures have been challenged before, but they have been measured and checked by those who are expert in this field, and I am satisfied as to their accuracy.
– Why was not the Committee told? We asked for this information and we were told that it would become available.
– I cannot recall all the evidence that was given before the Committee. I assure the honourable member that what I am telling him now, even if the Committee was not told it, is factual.
– Does it include the roadways?
– It includes all the area between the roads 1 have recounted. Let us compare the areas available here with the position in other capitals. First of all, Washington, which serves a population of some 200 million people, has a government complex including buildings that are not included in our proposed area. So it is not completely comparable with the position in Australia on two grounds, both population and the buildings that stand on an area of 197 acres. Ottawa which is more comparable to Australia has 35 acres. In Kuala Lumpur where a new parliament has been constructed recently, the building site is about 8 acres. In Brasilia an area of 29 acres is occupied for parliamentary purposes. In New Delhi the area of 25 acres on which the parliament stands includes the supreme court. So it can be seen from the figures I have just read out that both the Capital Hill and Camp Hill sites are more than adequate for the task.
The other point concerning members last time this matter was debated was in regard to the Capital Hill ring road. I assure the House that extensive study has been made over a long term to ascertain the traffic needs of routes in this area. Expert advice has been sought within Australia and, I understand, also from overseas. All alternative methods and plans have been studied. As far back as 1962 a number of alternative solutions to traffic requirements were examined, including the upgrading of State Circle by the introduction of interchanges, loops and so on. It has been established that they would seriously break up the Capital Hill area. The provision of an additional route on one side of but within State Circle was considered, but it was concluded that it would not be effective unless grade separation loops were built intruding deep into Capital Hill. The provision of a bypass over Lake Burley Griffin at Acton was also considered. So, over an extended period, a great deal of study has been given to an alternative to the Capital Hill ring road. All conclusions that have been reached point to the retention of the Capital Hill ring road as an essential to proper traffic planning in Canberra. I believe that this conclusion is more related to the Capital Hill site than the Camp Hill site.
Another question that has been continuously raised is what will become of Capital Hill if the new parliament house is constructed on the Camp Hill site. Firstly the Committee agreed, I think unanimously, that there should not be a building on Capital Hill. This is one of the Committee’s supplementary recommendations. The Committee believes that there ought to be some feature such as an architectural shaft or flagpole, or something of that simple order, on Capital Hill, but definitely not a building to compete with the parliament house, which has to be the dominant building in Canberra. It is recommended that there be no connecting building in between; rather, that a commemorative garden of some type be established. The report contains several supplementary recommendations, and I trust that every member of this Parliament has taken the time and trouble to read it.
The members of the Committee devoted themselves studiously to bringing down what they believed to be a considered judgment on these two sites. I trust that each member of Parliament will read the report and the evidence that was given to the Committee and read also the evaluation of that evidence by the members of the Committee. The supplementary recommendations contain a clear and I believe an explicit statement of the Committee’s views. It is obvious that some questions of detail and timing will arise from the supplementary recommendations but, taken as statements of principle, they appear to contain helpful refinements of opinion.
As this area is part of the Camp Hill site I suggest that before members vote on this motion tonight or, if the vote is not taken tonight, tomorrow, they walk on to the front steps of this Parliament and look down on the view to the lake and up Anzac Parade. I suggest that no finer view in the world can be obtained from a parliament than from the front steps of this Parliament House. The opportunity is available to build a new parliament on this site where there are no traffic problems - traffic being diverted around it - plenty pf space and no architectural problems on the site. We are completely used to this site and it would be an integral part of its surrounds. Furthermore, 1 suggest that the Camp Hill site was the one originally chosen by the designer of Canberra,. Walter Burley Griffin. For this reason alone it ought to receive the mature consideration, of this Parliament. Although there were two dissenters on the Joint Committee, I am one of the members of the Committee who gave very serious consideration to this matter and I am certain that Walter Burley Griffin was correct in his choice of the Camp Hill site.
– I move:
I have moved the amendment for reasons that I shall give. 1 challenge some of the statements that the Minister has made tonight, with a full regard for his personal integrity and so on but recognising the possibility of bias creeping in even into the high office of Minister for the Interior. First of all there is the question of space. I agree with the Minister for the Interior. Let honourable members go and take a look, let them walk around or get in their cars and go beyond the area that we see here. They should go over to the other side of the lake, out on the airport road and over the other side to Red Hill and Manuka and have a look for themselves at the various spaces and the way one approaches this area. Then they should examine the Minister’s speech very carefully tomorrow when they receive Hansard and examine the map as well to see the areas to which the Minister refers. My information is that there are 130 acres inside State Circle; that there are some 31 acres in the area that is actually Camp Hill; that there are another 35 acres included in the general area, gardens and so on, around this building and that there is in fact a significant difference between the area available inside State Circle and the area available here. The area inside State Circle is, of course, an integrated whole. It is all there, nothing has to be done to it. All the roads lead to it. I believe these are some of the considerations that are before us tonight and 1 will amplify them directly.
It is true that the Committee heard all kinds of evidence. It is also true that most of the evidence before it came from professional people, greatly respected architects, who in fact did suggest that Camp Hill was the site. But no real effort was put into finding alternative views. For instance, there was a written submission given to the Committee by an architect in Sydney named Munster. I do not know what his capacity is or what his architectural qualifications are. I simply know that he is an architect. He did not come before us as did a lot of other people, so in fact we received what I consider to be a fairly biased view towards the Camp Hill site. I say that without any reflection upon those people who made the recommendation for the Camp Hill site because each one of us, in this instance, had to arrive not so much at some set of absolutes but at a valued judgment of our own. The Minister has said that we agreed that this Parliament House should be taken down, that it should be demolished. It is true that this was dealt with by the Committee but it is not true, however, that I agree absolutely at this moment. I am not for it at the moment and I am not against it. I would just say that, being a sentimental person perhaps, I would not be the one to knock down the first brick.
There is something to be said for this building. It is a distinctive building, one of the few in Australia, simple as it is. I suggest that it is not universally regarded as being of low estate. I think in his book The Great Australian Ugliness’ even Mr Robin Boyd’s references to it are not hostile. These are matters that should be before us. Again, the Minister said that he was surprised at the way the crane stood out this morning. Some of my friends remarked that they did not even notice that it was there. Of course, the crane sits here behind the House on Camp Hill. It is 120 feet high or thereabouts, the same height as the flagpole on Capital Hill. Of course, if one comes down here it looks higher. The closer one stands to anything the higher it looks. It is only a question of geometry or trigonometry - whichever term you choose. The facts are that if you move from one place to another you can make either of them the higher, but over the 360 degrees of the great sweep of the arc of Canberra the place to be seen most easily and with the greatest access is Capital Hill.
Honourable members should ask themselves what this Parliament House will be like. At the present moment we are considering a building twice the size of the National Library. At its peak during the day, so I am informed, this building accommodates some 800 workers. Even at this level, with no staff for members, with a Library operating in the most meagre fashion because of lack of space and with all the other ancillary services there is a very large number of people working in this building. We are considering a building, at least to begin with, twice the size of the National Library and therefore we are considering something of substantial importance. The important points so far as my fellow dissenter, the honourable member for Macquarie (Mr Luchetti) and myself are concerned are the size of the building, the space available and the access to it. The Minister referred to other parliament houses. It is true that some of mem have been very delightfully designed. The one at Kuala Lumpur looks very good on postcards but it is not a very good parliament house. The one at New Delhi was designed by an Englishman 40 or 50 years ago - a man not necessarily a parliamentarian - and built by people without parliamentary, experience. The Parliament House at Ottawa - has grown out of the past and the Canadians are shackled with some of the past in regard to access to it. They are worried about how they can park there now.
The German Parliament, of course, meets in Bonn but members’ hearts are in the Reichstag in Berlin. In Washington they find themselves already circumscribed although the space allotted 170 or 1 80 years ago was substantial by anybody’s, measure. In London, of course, the Germans kindly bombed the Parliament House and knocked it down for the British, but being British they built it again in the same way and it is inadequate too. As far as I can tell there are no adequate parliament houses built by people who know what parliament is about, built for parliamentarians in a parliamentary representative democracy. This is a unique parliamentary experience and opportunity and it is a unique architectural opportunity. It is not really an architectural question; it is a symbolic national, social, and political question, which is more important than any architectural problems that may or may not be before us. So I suggest that honourable members read Professor Crisp’s written submissions to the Committee in which he stressed the importance of the symbol of Parliament as far as Canberra is concerned. The facts are that Parliament is the reason for the existence of Canberra. If the House was shifted somewhere else Canberra would become just another large, .pleasant and livable country town. The most important building that is to be built in . this city is Parliament House itself, and any glance at the map will show that the most central point, regardless of the height, is the Capital Hill site itself. Height is no object in modern architecture. If a building 1,000 feet high is required it can be run up to 1,000 feet.
I happen to like the Capital Hill site, but the facts are that it is not really a question of height but a question oS the central position as it is related to. the rest, of Canberra and as Canberra is related, to the re?; of Australia. It is true, of course, that both sites are first class. It is not often that people faced with such a problem have such an embarrassment of riches. It is true that the lakeside site, the Camp Hill site and the Capital Hill site are all first class sites, on which we could build wonderful buildings, but I myself and many members of this House - and, I believe, large, numbers of the public - have chosen Capital Hill for various strongly held reasons. The reasons are these: First of all, there is the question of the area available. Inside State Circle there are 130 acres, lt is all there and is not occupied by anything else. There is no ring road. It is true that most of us know very little of the general geography of the area. We do not have many opportunities to walk about this place and know which street is called King Edward Terrace, which really is Parkes Place, which is Melbourne Avenue and where the ring road is to be. One can walk out there and find that there is as yet no ring road.
I do not believe that the area inside State Circle and Capital Hill ought to be used to solve traffic problems. Then there is the question of access. If we look at the map we see that every major avenue in Canberra leads to State Circle. Eight or nine of them link up to the two bridges, and once one crosses the bridge there it is. They all lead to it. I believe this is the most important factor in the decision we have to make, and I am fortified in that resolve by my visit to Washington. I visited Washington last year with the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House. The people there have found that the city itself is gradually crowding in around the Congressional buildings, so I cabled the people in Washington to find out exactly what space they have, the number of visitors and so on. This is something we must not overlook. Canberra is not exactly a point of pilgrimage, perhaps the word ‘visitation’ is a better one to use, but in fact hundreds of thousands of Australians will visit this place every year. They are already visiting it in very large numbers every year. In 1790 George Washington himself allotted 130 acres for the use of Congress in Washington. There are now 150 acres. The cable I received in reply to my request reads:
Grounds total US acres. Acquisition of additional land pending before Congress. Gross area Capitol office buildings shops and garages 6.5 million square feet. Visitors increasing rate about 200,000 per year. Visitors now total 6 million to 7 million annually. All figures exclude Library and Supreme Court.
In 1937 there were only 200,000 or 300,000 visitors. This matter of visitors will be one of the most significant problems that will have to be solved by the people who control this building. There is a symbolic nature to our task too. I believe that we ought to realise that we are erecting an important national building, lt is true that Camp Hill has many advantages. It was in Burley Griffin’s plan. Burley Griffin, of course, belonged to a past age, an age in which the monarchy was the symbol of the nation. The monarchy is no longer the symbol of the nation: the symbol of the nation is now its representative institutions. These are the places which people visit. They do not visit Yarralumla to see Government House. In Washington they do not pour by the million past the White House; they go to Congress. In London they visit Westminster, not Buckingham Palace. The representative institutions of the people are in fact the symbolic representations of the nation, but Burley Griffin could not realise that. It was not part of the thinking of that time. But he did not write off Capital Hill, or Kurrajong Hill as it was then called. Let me quote from the evidence he gave to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works in 1923. At page 115 of the report of those proceedings he said in relation to Kurrajong Hill:
I would not for a moment consider that to be a serious objection, Kurrajong Hill is eminently adapted to a structure symmetrical from at least four sides, dominating a site which spreads all round it. A Parliament House is a working organization which cannot be manipulated into such a square form without doing violence to the necessities and also to the actual expression of a bi-cameral Legislature, lt is not beyond the capacity or the bt a ins of the architects to design a building of symmetrical architecture for erection on Kurrajong Hill as a Parliament House.
Burley Griffin preferred Camp Hill, but he realised that a parliament house could be built on Capital1 Hill. One of the arguments advanced to us - it was put up by one of our leading architects - was that a parliament house on Camp Hill would be part of a controlled environment. If we are talking of concepts, I believe that Australia is not a country of controlled environment. Australia is a country of limitless environment. Australia is a special kind of civilisation, a special kind of nation, and it has a special kind of geography. The last thing that we want to develop is a controlled environment. I believe that Australians are entitled to space, both in concept and in reality, and we must think of the conceptual nature of this development as part of the symbolism of the building that will be put up. It was also said that at Capital Hill the building would be isolated. Would it be isolated? What do we mean by ‘isolated’?
– A long way away.
– There speaks a man who represents the great broad acres of South Australia and owns a good number of them himself. Let me return to the Capital Hill site. Is it isolated? It is not isolated to anybody who knows Canberra, to anybody from Red Hill, Manuka, Deakin or Civic, to anybody driving in from the airport, or to anybody who can read a map. People talk about isolation; the interesting thing is that one of the most isolated buildings in Canberra - using the term in the geographical sense - is the Australian War Memorial, which attracts a large number of visitors. In a world that is mechanised and motorised, distance is no problem whatsoever; access is the overwhelming problem. What is the difficulty about putting a building on Camp Hill? If the building is put at Camp Hill, where will the thousands of cars be parked? I suppose the honourable member for Angas would bury them. Look around the National Library, the Treasury and everywhere else. At Camp Hill, where would the thirty or forty buses that arrive at once be parked? These are matters of some moment to be considered. I do not care what the honourable member says; this will be a serious problem. How can thousands of cars come in and go out during the day unless there is multiple access? Where is the multiple access to the Camp Hill site? Is it not a fact that the Camp Hill area has two buildings on it, East Block and West Block, which are both due for demolition under the scheme? Working from a map and using rough primary school arithmetic, or I suppose a little more advanced than that, I have deduced it to be an area of 30 acres. If the relative handful1 of people who work in those humble edifices, East Block and West Block, need that area for parking, how much more space would be needed for the great many more people who would wish to park at a parliament house? This is an important aspect of the question.
Another important aspect is the visibility of the building. I do not think it can be shown by any legerdemain, cranes, visions, or what-you-will that a building on Camp Hill would be more visible than one on
Capital Hill. It just is not true. Of course, a building can be as high as we like. It can be spread out on the ground or it can go up. Capital Hill is one of the most visible places in Canberra, no matter what is said. We must consider some very important matters. First of all, there is the very concept of the Australian countryside itself. It is a countryside of space and life. I do not think we can scoff at’ these concepts. The building will, I hope, incorporate these things. It will be a great advantage to see from the building right across the Australian countryside for dozens of miles, across the city which is the capital of this country to the mountains in the distance. One gets beautiful views from so many places in Canberra that it is an embarrassment of riches, but if one, wants to see the real richness of the Australian countryside, the place to do so is from the top of Capital Hill.
I have outlined the important considerations. I hope that although the Committee had before it great and valuable considerations, the considerations I have put before the House tonight will be the ones to prevail. It has been said that Capital Hill is a difficult site because one must look at buildings in the round. Would this not be so if parliament house were built on the lake site? Would it not have to be looked at all round on that site? Does it matter? Will that be any difficulty? It has been said also that if parliament house is built in isolation it will be much more difficult architecturally. What about the Taj Mahal? When talking about space, what about the city of Chandrigar itself?
I believe that the Camp Hill site is in fact restricted; it is not adaptable to the task that some members seek to impose on it. It is true that probably a working building could be built there. There is no doubt that occupants would get some views from it and that some of the traffic problems could be overcome, but I believe that the whole direction of Canberra’s planning leads to the view that inside State Circle is the place to put the Parliament of Australia. As the Minister suggested, honourable members shall not vote tonight on this issue. Tomorrow they should walk around, look around, take a drive throughout the whole local community and study very carefully the traffic problems that already loom large in this city at the peak hours in the early morning and at night. We must not allow anybody to solve those problems by ring roads and underpasses and overpasses and through-ways through Capital Hill. It is the logical place for the Parliament in the capital of Australia.
– I second the amendment and reserve my right to speak.
– 1 wish to support the amendment moved by the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant). It is not very often that 1 accept any of his theses, but tonight 1 am very much attracted to his arguments and I think he has made out a very good case indeed. I draw the attention of the House to his remarks with regard to practical problems such as parking, and also his remarks on space. He has covered this aspect admirably. I have seen many beautiful parliamentary buildings the appearance of which has been detracted from .by an ever, encroaching clutter of neighbouring structures.
I would like to express my gratitude to the Committee for its thorough work. Its members put a lot pf hard and sincere effort into this task. The report was not a unanimous one. 1 wish to discuss the report and to indicate my reasons for disagreeing with the main report and agreeing with the dissenting report. First of all, I shall1 point out the statements with which I am in disagreement. Under the main heading Reasons for the Committee’s Conclusions’ and the sub-heading ‘Visual Eminence’, the report reads:
The summit of Capita] Hill is at the apex ‘of the Parliamentary Triangle. Two of the city’s main avenues lead up to H, both physically and visually, as do five other important avenues. These avenues will always give clear views of the summit unaffected by the later growth of buildings in Barton or the Parliamentary Triangle.
I might say that the honourable member for Wills pointed out how important this was in the very correct concept of having a parliament house on Capital Hill itself. The report continues: lt is, indeed, the road pattern rather than the height of the Hill which gives prominence to this site. lt is the view of this site from the avenues and from the central area of Canberra which is the main and probably the only factor which excites the imagination and establishes this site as preeminent in lbc opinion of those who have not studied the matter re all its aspects. It is, for instance, far more difficult to visualise the impact of a building on Camp Hill.
I am completely unable to accept that last statement. 1 disagree violently with it, as I am sure every thinking person does. It is every bit as possible to visualise a building on Camp Hill as on Capital Hill. Certain elementary facts arise in considering this matter. I ask the House to disregard entirely what has been said about sighting boards. This is referred to in the report. The view of the sighting boards is an optical illusion that will not be realised when the building is on the site. Capital Hill is higher than Camp Hill, so any building constructed on Camp Hill will not be viewed in its entirety from the whole circumference of the area. The future parliament house will be surrounded by an ever-increasing city. Therefore it is proper that it should be in the centre. Moreover, it will be more symbolically and aesthetically correct if this building can be viewed in its entirety. It will be viewed piecemeal if it is situated on Camp Hill because the higher Capital Hill will obstruct the view from much of the surrounding area.
I turn now to that part of the Committee’s conclusions described in the report under the sub-heading ‘Ease of Building’. The report reads:
That architects of the highest Australian or international repute could not today design a line building for Capital Hill is inconceivable. However, your Committee comprehends the architectural problems associated with this site as stated by the Commission and other witnesses, namely, that because it will be seen from alt sides, it must present a fine appearance from each avenue.
One must accept that. The report continues:
At the same time it must be designed to allow for expansion and also look finished and complete at each stage of its growth. . . . Further, the extension areas must harmonise with the existing structure and even add strength to its architectural form. Now, to make these provisions about one axis is not an easy task, but to make the same provisions about several axes is far more restricting for an architect.
On the other hand, the Camp Hill site has ‘ a directional character and being subject to less restrictions. . it gives greater flexibility and so logically should enable a finer concept to be produced.
That statement is not correct either. I point out firstly that the structure on Camp Hill will be viewed from all angles. It is absurd to suggest that it will be viewed only from the War Memorial or the lake. Moreover, it is not correct to suppose that a finer concept is available because it is being produced under less restrictive circumstances. I believe that in most branches of art - surely architecture is an art - restrictions in form and other restrictions lead to a finer work of art. In music and the plastic arts - mainly in music - we see that the restriction of form produces a far greater work of art than one in which fewer rules are obeyed. This reasoning definitely is applicable in this instance. There is no doubt that an equally fine or finer structure may be produced within the restrictions imposed by the fact that it is a dominating structure on Camp Hill.
Something has been said about the land axis. Dealing with this matter the report reads:
Town planners have commented on this axis as being too long and uninteresting. Lord Holford described it as ‘too long and too uneventful to register any marked impression on the beholder’.
In the first place I question whether any marked impression has to be made on the beholder of this land axis. I think that is irrelevant. The impression we want to make is the impression of a fine building - our parliament house - on the crowning eminence in the capital city of Australia. The axis may be too long but it will be longer if the House is moved up to Capital Hill. I put it to the House that the present form of the axis is ideal. We have here a very fine vista - referred to by the Minister - with the War Memorial on the one side and this House on the other. I make a plea for the retention of this building. I believe that it is correct to have this building here for many reasons. It is suggested in the report that a building be used as a museum of peace. This is an ideal place for such a museum. The axis will be perfect. The present building is regarded by very many people, of whom I am one, as being beautiful.
– Hear, hear!
– Thank you. This is certainly a distinctive building. It could become a museum of early Australian political history as well as a museum of peace. Other offices could be accommodated here. To do this would make for greater economy. It would obviate the knocking down of this beautiful building and the construction of another elsewhere. The present land axis between this building and the War Memorial, which
I am sure is perfect, would be preserved. So I make a plea here for the retention of this building. If it is believed that the view from Capital Hill of this building is less than perfect it would be a simple matter for an architect to make certain alterations to the building which would make it beautiful from both aspects. Such alterations need need not be costly.
– You must be joking.
– I am not joking. There is no doubt that such alterations would be a simple matter and by so doing a beautiful and historic building would be preserved. This building is the first permanent home of the Federal Parliament. That is sufficient argument in itself for retention of the building.
– It is not a permanent home; it is a temporary home.
– Well, let me describe it as the first considerable home. The Committee’s report contains some remarks about cohesion. The report refers to the evidence of Mr Walter Bunning, an architect, that Parliament House would have no cohesion with other buildings in the triangle in a civic design sense. I must admit that I am completely at a loss to understand what Mr Bunning is talking’ about when he refers to a civic design sense. I maintain that there is no reason for any cohesion between the crowning building in any capital and other buildings. In the Parliament House we have the raison d’etre for Canberra. The Parliament is the reason for the construction of this city. Therefore the most imposing eminence which is also at the apex of the parliamentary triangle should be used for the construction of Parliament House. Symbolically it is correct to build Parliament House on Capital Hill. .
Let me refer to another difficulty associated with this report. It is generally agreed that something at least symbolic of the Parliament should be placed on the summit of Capital Hill. It obviously will be a messy business to have a parliament house on Camp Hill and a symbolic, structure on Capital Hill, lt would be difficult to have on Capital Hill a symbolic structure and only a few hundred yards away the building which that structure symbolised. This would be absurd, redundant and artistically and symbolically incorrect.
– I would hate this man to remove my appendix.
– To do so would give me the greatest pleasure, Mr Minister. So a structure on the top of Capital Hill, whatever it is to be - some gentleman has suggested a campanula’ - would interfere with the view of the Parliament House from other angles and would make for clutter, which is aesthetically wrong. I mention just in passing the suggestion in this Report that if a new parliament house is to be constructed it would be handy to have the old building nearby so that honourable members would have temporary accommodation. This is such an absurd suggestion that it does not warrant further consideration. Obviously, if a new building were to be constructed the old one would remain at least until the new structure was fully available. It is really dredging the bottom of the barrel in the search for arguments in favour of the Camp Hill site to include such a trifling suggestion.
There is another point in favour of having the new parliament house on top of Capital Hill and that is the magnificent view obtainable from that site. The report itself quoted Walter Burley Griffin’s remarks on the views from Capital Hill. It stated:
The views command not only the entire city, but, through gaps, the Yarralumla valley and mountain chains of the Murrumbidgee watershed, the most spectacular features of the landscape. . . .
That is a very compelling argument. It is not only symbolically correct; but it undoubtedly would be uplifting to the minds of the inhabitants of such a structure if they were able to cast their eyes over the surrounding Australian countryside. This must have an impression on honourable members. Obviously the view from Camp Hill is an inferior one and therefore the Committee called it a ‘controlled view’, whatever that might mean. Obviously it means restricted. One can see the magnificent countryside from Capital Hill; one can see a very pleasant vista from Camp Hill, but it is an inferior view. The Committee has adopted the use of semantics in this regard and we should understand that the phrase controlled view’ means an inferior view. It is important to have the best possible view from the new parliament house and it is available by deciding to place the structure on Capital Hill. In a section of this report relating to the Capital Hill area we read:
Asked about a structure for the summit of Capital Hill, Mr Bunning said he envisaged something like a circular form and of a symbolic nature - in the form of a vertical campanula with lifts to take people up to the top. lt should be done in a way which would not conflict with towers which might possibly be built on the Parliament House.
One honourable member opposite has interjected and said that this is rubbish. I agree with him. I have taken up this point before. It would look too cluttered, it would interfere with the view and it is absurd to suggest a symbolic structure a few hundred yards from the structure which it is mainly symbolic of. The report, goes on to state:
Mr Harrison favoured the development of a national, peaceful symbol of. Australian civilisation forming a fitting counterpart to the Australian War Memorial at the opposite terminal of the land axis.
I have mentioned, .this previously, ‘ Mr Speaker, and obviously this present building is the venue for such, a museum.
Once more I make a plea for the retention of the present building. It retains the balanced and beautiful axis across Lake Burley Griffin to the Australian War Memorial, and it does not ‘ interfere with the view from Capital Hill, as has been incorrectly stated in the report.
– Have you been up to Capital Hill?
– Yes. As I previously mentioned, this building would make a useful museum. It is a historic building as it is the first Federal Parliament House. I hope the honourable member for Swan (Mr Cleaver) will accept that formula for it. Before I sum up my main argument for the Capital Hill site I would like to draw to the attention of honourable members the models which have been constructed - and which are on view in the Parliamentary Library. No doubt a lot of care has been put into the construction of those- models but one must not be misled by them. On top of the model of Capital Hill there is a most absurd trio of square plastic blocks which could not possibly resemble any parliament house which any architect with feeling would put on the site. It covers and clutters the site. I ask honourable members to look at these models and to then visualise the building which would go on Capital Hill and not confuse it with the absurd plastic blocks which have been put on the model, possibly with the intention of misleading them. Parliament house should be on Capital Hill. Firstly, this is practicable. It is possible to build it there. To do so would be symbolically correct as this site is at the apex of the parliamentary triangle. It is not some meaningless area within the parliamentary triangle; it is at the apex, at the highest point in the vicinity and all roads lead to it. The Capital Hill site is artistically more correct. There would be no clutter around it as there would be if there were other columns and campanulae and things like that about it. It would be visible in its entirety from all directions. This would not be the case if the building were erected on Camp Hill. The Capita] Hill site provides the best and most uninterrupted view of the building from all surrounding areas and also provides the best and most uninterrupted view of the beautiful Australian countryside. More importantly, the concept of spaciousness would be preserved. This is very important when we are considering our country. We do not want clutter and old worldly compactness. We want spaciousness and this would be provided if the house were built on Capital Hill. The present Parliament House is a small and modest structure. It was designed and built when Australia was a small country and when it had a very modest reputation throughout the world. Let all of us now think broadly and opt for a structure which will symbolise a great Australian present and an even greater Australian future.
- Mr Speaker, 1 think the honourable member for Bowman (Dr Gibbs) had better remain a doctor rather than become a planner or architect. I support the Camp Hill site. The previous debate on this matter had too much levity about it. Not enough sincere thought was given to the evidence and not enough investigation was made of it. That spirit of levity is again present tonight, Mr Speaker, and I very much deprecate this attitude. I have been a member of the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House since its inception in October in 1967. If the Committee’s report is rejected by the
Parliament then I will resign from the Committee immediately. I will do this in protest at the way that the report will have been treated. I knew that this intention will not make any difference to the way that honourable members will vote, but I do not care about that. I have my own views on this subject. I know how the Report was brought into being.
I know the amount of work put into it; I know the work done by the National Capital Development Commission; I know how many hours were- put into formulating this report. 1 for one will not be fooled. I will not waste my time sitting on a Committee which is going to be treated in such a fashion. There is another point, Mr Speaker. Not on one occasion in the 22 years I have been in this place has a report of the Parliamentary Public Works Committee been rejected by the Parliament. Reports have been altered but never rejected wholesale. The, Public Works Committee has recommended to the Parliament that millions and millions of dollars be spent by it but never, in my experience, has one report been completely rejected. Why was the Joint Select . Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House established? Was it established as a timewasting exercise? Are they set up for the decisions to be made by people who have never gone into all the facts and who have never listened to the men ‘who know most about architecture and the planning of cities? I am not an expert. I listened to the experts and I have been convinced by them, especially by Mr Bunning. The Committee that was set up consists of the following members: The President of the Senate; the Speaker of the House of Representatives; the Prime Minister; Mr McEwen, the Deputy Prime Minister;- Mr Whitlam, the Leader of the Opposition; Senator Devitt; Senator Drake-Brockman- -
-Order! The honourable member for La Trobe will cease interjecting. It is not often that I intervene when there is a spirit of levity in the House. But I believe that the House tonight is not treating the remarks of honourable members with the dignity and decorum that is usual. I ask honourable members to realise the seriousness of this debate and to refrain from unnecessary interjections. I also remind all honourable members that all interjections ‘are out of order.-
– Other members of the Committee are Senator Dame Ivy Wedgwood; Mr Barnard, Deputy Leader of the Opposition; F. R. Birrell, MP; G. M. Bryant, MP; myself; Hon. G. D. Erwin, MP; E. M. C. Fox, MP; G. O’H. Giles, MP; and A. S. Luchetti, MP. On 6th March this year the following members were added to the Committee: Senator K. M. Anderson, Minister for Supply and Leader of the Government in the Senate; Senator L. K. Murphy, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate; and Senator the Hon. V. C. Gair, Leader of the Australian Democratic Labor Party. We heard report after report, and witnesses who appeared before this Committee gave evidence using visual aids and the like. A tremendous amount of work went into the preparation of this report. Both sites are good sites, but the point is to decide which is the better of the two.
– The Capital Hill site.
– I wonder how much the honourable gentleman has read of this report. The gentlemen who came before us and gave evidence gave it in good faith. They were not trying to belong to any clique, group or school of thought. They came quite free from pressure to give their evidence. Their evidence has been the basis of our report, which recommends the Camp Hill site, taking everything into consideration. Walter Burley Griffin also recommended this site in the first place. We have a habit in Australia of knocking the men who know most about a subject. We are the best nation of knockers in the world; we love knocking experts. We call them experts and then we decry them. We elect them to these positions and then we want to pull them down. We are great builders and great pullers down in this country. We should be ashamed of ourselves as a nation. This is one way that we do it. These men came before us voluntarily and gave evidence because they knew their subject. But then this Parliament knocks them over because some honourable members think that we are more expert than the experts. We are not.
This Committee consists of responsible members of this Parliament who have been elected by their Parties. We have had many meetings and given many hours to this subject from October 1967 right up till now. As I said before, I do not intend to con tinue as a member of the Committee if this report is rejected by this Parliament. I have other, far more important things to do than to be rubbished by this Parliament for the work this Committee did. I mean this. I say it quite sincerely. I have given it a great deal of thought. I was proud to be elected to this Committee by my Party as the Whip of the Party. I have done all I can to understand the problem and to come to a decision in my mind, but I will not remain on a Committee that is to be rubbished by this Parliament. Someone else can take my position for my Party on this Committee if this report is rejected by the Parliament. 1 ask myself what did former members do when they decided on the site for the present Parliament House? How was that dealt with? I went back into history by obtaining from the Library a book called “The Long View’, which was written in 1963. It tells the story : of what took place back in 1923. One passage reads:
Further action tor early transfer of Parliament to Canberra resulted from a motion by W. C. Mahony, Labor member for Dalley, New South Wales, in the House of Representatives on 28th June 1923 (in the early days of a Bruce-Page Ministry) which in effect determined that Parliament would meet there-
That is Canberra - in 1926. To make this possible the then Minister for Works and Railways, P.. O. Stewart, representing the Victorian electorate of Wimmera, set up on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee a works department in Canberra with Owen in charge and virtually responsible to him only This sliced through at least some, of the red tape which had tethered Canberra to Melbourne. Proposals for erection of a nucleus of a permanent Parliament House or a ‘provisional’ one -in the sense of being more than temporary but less than permanent, had been referred to the Public Works Committee in March. Murdoch, chief architect in the federal service, submitted sketches he had prepared at the request of the Advisory Committee in which the permanent building was shown on Capital Hill, and department buildings were on its slopes. Griffin-
He was the designer of this wonderful city of which we are so proud - as a witness before the committee, emphatically opposed this idea, and the general outline of his plan was again upheld. The committee recommended that the nucleus of a permanent Parliament House be erected, at a cost of £350,000, though if a provisional building, to cost £174,000, was preferred it should be built at the foot of Camp Hill.
That is where we are at this moment. This place here is the provisional Parliament House. The passage continues:
To this latter alternative Griffin objected that it would defeat the possibility of having the permanent building on Camp Hill, the site he bad planned that it should occupy. Parliament nevertheless decided in its favour-
That is, in favour of the committee and against Griffin - and on 28 August 1923 Stewart turned the first sod for the building-
That is, the building we are now using - whose estimated span of life was 50 years.
That committee, reporting to the Parliament in Melbourne, which was the site of the Federal Parliament right up to 1927, recommended that the provisional Parliament House shoul’d be built here at the foot of Camp Hill. This was against Griffin’s idea. But the Parliament accepted the recommendation of the committee that had been set up to investigate the erection of a Parliament House in Canberra. It knocked over the experts’ opinions in doing so, but the Parliament upheld its committee’s decision. 1 use that as an illustration of what happened in the early days. Of course, Griffin was right. By building the present Parliament House here both the Capital Hill and Camp Hill sites have been made lesser sites for the erection of a permanent Parliament House, because some .day this building will have to be removed. I love this building. I think it is a wonderful building and a dignified building. Its panelling is unequalled. lt has some wonderful features. But if we are to build a parliament house to last for the next 400 years - that is what the Committee is planning - and if the new and permanent parliament house is to be built on Capital Hill or Camp Hill, we will have to remove the present building.
– Where will the honourable member be in 400 years?
– None of . us will be here, of course, but at least we should give our sincere thought to where we should put the building. So I believe that those who speak about preserving this House arid siting the new one on Capital Hill do not realise the effect that such a concept will have on the whole triangle. The view from the new parliament house, across the Lake, along
Anzac Parade and up to Mount Ainslie would be cluttered up and spoilt. Much as we like the present Parliament House and much as we know that in some sense it would be criminal to demolish it, we cannot have it both ways; we have to decide on a new and permanent parliament house and demolish this building or we have to forget all about the new parliament house, keep this and add to it. Those are the only alternatives we have in the matter. 1 know that 1 would not like to be a member of the government that decided to start demolishing this building, because this building has a tremendous impact on Australia; there is no doubt about that, lt was the first true home of the Federal Parliament. Emotion and sentiment must go if we are to build here for eternity - if we are to build a parliament house that will last 400 years which will be the pride of generations yet unborn. Honourable members can study the sites from every angle. The Committee has studied them from every angle. One witness suggested that the front of the present House be saved. What architect could incorporate the front section of this building into a new parliament house? That would be blending the old with the new, and it would not work. Any architect would tell you that. No citizen would like that type of structure - a half patched up building that would be our home for the next 400 years.
I have not time to read to the House Mr Bunning’s very considered statement, which impressed the Committee very much indeed. Some of the members of the Committee intended to vote for Capital Hill until they heard Mr Bunning’s statement read to the Committee. The statement is included in the report. Mr Bunning, in his final summary, pointed out why he thought Camp Hill would make a better site than Capital Hill. He stated:
Capital Hill looks down on a cluster of homes - backyards and the like. It is not the best position for a scenic site, as honourable members would see if they went there with an open and unprejudiced mind. For a start, 30 feet has to be taken off the top of it before construction can be commenced on the site. This brings it down nearly to the level of Camp Hill, but there is half a mile between Camp Hil1! and Capital Hill. If parliament house were built on Capital Hill it would be built on an isolated part of the triangle and there we would be in contemptuous isolation from the rest of the community. I think that kind of attitude is running through the minds of some honourable members. They think that the site should be up on Capital1 Hill so that people can look up to them. Democracy is for the people. Parliament is controlled by the people. We should stay among the people and not put ourselves above them. Anybody with an elevated idea of himself who thinks he should put himself up on a hil’l for everyone to see is arrogant.
– How would the senators walk up the hill?
– I am expounding the point of view of those in favour of Capital Hill. Mr Bunning’s statement continued:
That is, the Camp Hill site. His statement continued:
That is true. The statement continued:
That is, this building. His statement continued: .
That was in the first place. Therefore I say that if we go against the advice of these men who understand the problems and who gave their evidence freely and without prejudice we should not set up any more committees, because they will be a waste of time and a rotten waste of public money.
– Oh! That is rot.
– They are a waste of public money.
– Originally the honourable member was in favour of the lakeside site.
– I was, hut the Parliament knocked that over. 1 think we should support the recommendations of the Committee. I think that if we do not support the recommendations we might as well regard the National Capital Development Commission as being of no use. The Commission has done a tremendous amount of work in this story of deciding on a site for the new parliament house. I for one respect the Commission. I respect the witnesses who appeared before the Committee. They convinced me that Camp Hill is better than Capital Hill as the site, because of the great distance from Capital Hill to the other end of the axis, which would leave parliament in inglorious isolation.
– It would so. If the present building were demolished there would be a large open, space for nearly 2 miles. The new parliament house would be isolated on a hill at one end of this empty area and would be away from everywhere. A lot of the buildings wherein we have dealings, like the National Library, are down here. They would be nearly If miles from the parliament house if it were built in that isolated position. The design of the building would be limited if it were built on a hill like, that, from which the top 30 feet would have to be removed. The architect’s flexibility would be limited. Here on Camp Hill there are far wider spaces, the triangle concept is kept intact and the area is adequate. The Capital Hill site presents the ring road problem, which will exist for many years and which will, I think, worsen as the city. grows. The Camp Hill site is nearer to the centres of administration, it does not have the road problem and it has plenty of parking space in any case. I firmly come down , on the side of Camp Hill. I trust the Parliament itself will make that decision also.
– I agree entirely with the approach adopted by the honourable member for Wilmot (Mr Duthie), with whom I have had the pleasure of serving- on the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House for quite some time. In fact, I think I am among the members who were originally appointed earlier than 1967. If I remember correctly, I was appointed towards the end of 1965. So I think I could claim to have some fairly comprehensive knowledge of the subject under discussion, because over quite a period we have gone into many aspects and, in recent times, have gone into those aspects with some professional witnesses of Australian and indeed worldwide standing. I think the honourable member for Wilmot is quite right when he emphasises that we should take heed of the experts. After all, if I have toothache I do not go to an architect; I go to a dentist. If I need a surgical operation I go to a good surgeon. If I have an engineering problem I do not go to a lawyer; I go to a good engineer. If I want to build a town and if I want a good planner I go to an architect and town planner. This is exactly what the Committee did. Throughout the length and breadth of this country we advertised, inviting people of professional knowledge and status and, indeed, anybody in the country, to submit views to the Committee and, if they were willing so to do, to appear before us, give oral evidence and be examined.
A number did this. Some have been mentioned by name already. One was Mr Walter Bunning, who is well known to members of this Parliament as the architect of the National Gallery, which stands down near the lakeside and is a magnificent structure by any standards. I was most impressed with the professional evidence given by Mr Bunning, by Mr Rudduck, by Mr Billson and by the various other architects and town planners who appeared before us. As well as taking a great deal of trouble and time to give us written submissions so that we could study these matters in detail and objectively, they were willing to give, in some cases, the best part of a day and even more to come to Canberra, appear before the Committee, iron out problems and answer every question and every point that we wanted elucidated. I do not think I can stress that first point too highly. I am inclined to think that my friend the honourable member for Bowman (Dr Gibbs), with whom I generally agree but with whom I strongly disagree on this occasion, has underestimated the evidence. I am sure he has read the evidence, but I do not think he has read the evidence as carefully or as objectively as some of us who were on the Committee have. Obviously we have had more time and we have had to bend our minds to this task.
The honourable member for Bowman swept aside the value of the sighting board to which the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) referred - the sighting board 120 feet in height erected on Camp Hill to enable members of the Select Committee, and indeed honourable members now wishing to take part in the debate on this subject, to see for themselves from any angle they wished just how the sighting board compared with the top of the flagpole 120 feet high on Capital Hill. As one member of the Committee observed at the time, any difference in height is really negligible and it disappears in the line of sight depth as you drive in a coach.
I think a point that needs to be stressed is one that tends to be overlooked because it has not been mentioned so far tonight. It is that a far greater amount would have to be taken off the top of Capital Hill if the parliament house were to be built there than would have to be taken off Camp Hill if that were the site decided on. I think that is quite an important aspect as 1 understand it from the diagrams, sketches, models and the evidence that we heard from witnesses, not only from the National Capital Development Commission but also from a number of independent persons of very high professional standard. Personally I am convinced that the Camp Hill site is the correct site. It is the historical site. It is the symbolical site. It is the site which is supported by the great weight of professional opinion best qualified to give an opinion on this matter.
– You have heard only one side.
– I hope that those who are being facetious tonight will have another look at the report and will study the evidence that has been given. I ask those honourable members who are interjecting please to be objective and to have a thoroughly good look at all the evidence. Simply because someone in a prior debate supported the Capital Hill site does not mean that he necessarily need do so in this debate because a great deal more evidence now has been given.
– Did you support the lakeside site in the first instance?
– I did support the lakeside site because at that time we had to choose only between the Capital Hill site and the lakeside site. I quote Mr Bunning again because he is an architect. I am an accountant and I know nothing about architecture. I have great respect for architects of national and international repute and I am much more inclined to bow to them than J am even to the honourable member for Hindmarsh who has been interjecting.
– You would put it in the Mumimbidgee if they told you to do so.
– The honourable member is entitled to his own view, but if he intends to treat this matter facetiously I suggest to the House that he is being very unfair not only to the people of Australia but also to the succeeding generations yet to be born because I hope that whichever site is chosen by this Parliament, some future Parliament in years to come ‘ will build a magnificent edifice which will last not for SO years, as this one was estimated to last, but for 100 years. 200 years or, as has been suggested, 300 years or 400 years. I think it is of crucial importance.
– Who will build it?
– The question of who will build it is something for the future. All we are deciding in this debate, as mentioned earlier by the Minister - I make no apology for bringing it up again - is which is the better of the two sites. Some ancillary matters may have to be considered. I believe that perhaps the question of a complex of buildings may have to be considered, lt came out in one or two places in the evidence that if the Parliament were to decide on the Capital Hill site it might be more difficult to build a complex of buildings if some future Parliament or some future government employing some architect decided to build a complex of buildings. I refer to the possibility of a central parliamentary block with inter-connected buildings or blocks, perhaps one for the executive, one for senators, and one for the Press. According to one or two expert witnesses, it may be more difficult to build, a complex of buildings on Capital Hill than on Camp Hill.
As to the total area, I think that what the Minister said earlier completely demolished the arguments put forward by the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant). I am entirely with the honourable member for Wills in wanting plenty of space for future expansion because I have the advantage of having been a member of the delegation which went overseas last June and July. In practically every parliament house we inspected in the various countries we visited we found the same situation and were told the same story - there was a shortage of space because they had not planned largely enough in the first place. So the honourable member for Wills is quite right in wanting plenty of space, but the argument I want to underline is that on the evidence before us there is plenty of space on both the Camp Hill’ site and the Capital Hill site.
– How much is there on Camp Hill?
– The honourable member for. Hindmarsh seems to have, a lot to say. He is more intent on putting me off my stroke, which he will not do, than in studying analytically the evidence of professional witnesses. I suggest that he is not being fair to the House. I point out that Capital. Hill is a much more formal site than Camp Hill and that the professional evidence given to us indicated that there would be more difficulty - much more of a challenge - in building a notable parliament house on Capital Hill which would be seen from all angles. I think the honourable member for Bowman overlooks the fact that you would not be able to see a building on Camp Hill, where we are now, from the southern end. I think I am right in saying that. It would be visible on three sides whereas a structure on. Capital Hill, as I understand it, would be visible from four sides.
This point was underlined strongly by several witnesses who said that it was most important in the choosing of a site to select one on which the building could be erected in stages over a long period of time, perhaps over 100 years or 200 years as the Parliament grew. Additions would have to be made so you have to think of symmetry and you have to think of the total impact on the eye from every possible point of view. Not only that: Talking about impact on the eye I think the honourable member for Bowman rather underestimated the aspect of the land axis. I think land axis is most important and it is essential that we realise that from points other than on the land axis - in other words, points off the land axis - Capital Hill is seen to be remote and distant from the parliamentary triangle. I am not arguing my case merely on historical grounds. I mink that symbolical grounds are also important as are the architectural aspects.
Let me refer to the symbolical aspects: I do not think that Parliament is meant to be build on an acropolis. Parliament is the Parliament of the nation. This is the people’s Parliament. It does not belong to the members who sit in it at the present time. When the hew parliament house is built very few of us may be here. I can certainly think of some who will not be here. I believe that this symbolical aspect clearly underlines the importance of Burley Griffin’s approach and the approach of some of the notable witnesses who gave evidence before the Committee, in relation to the people’s Parliament - the aspect of association rather than the aspect of dominance. As the honourable member for Wilmot said in his contribution, if honourable members want to build a structure on an acropolis - on a high site - they might as well build one on Mount Ainslie, because, as I understand it, that is the highest point in Canberra. How ridiculous can you be? It is not a matter of building on the highest spot. It is a matter of building in the most appropriate place in the light of all the expert evidence that can be collated, and we have collated a lot of expert evidence.
The evidence is not contained merely in the conclusions of the Committee set out on 16 or 17 pages of the report. The evidence is to be found in small print on the succeeding pages of the booklet. It takes a great deal of time and a great deal of effort and application to study and to work out for oneself exactly the. various points involved. I dare say that some honourable members have taken the trouble, as I have done, to tabulate the various points for and against the sites under various headings. I stress again that the aspect of symbolism is, in my view, very important indeed. I do not think that the people of Australia would appreciate the attitude of some honourable members who have said that Parliament should be in a building dominating the landscape and thus dominating the people because that is, from a symbolic aspect, what they are saying. What we want is a parliament of the people - a parliament in the forum. The people met in the forum. In the old days of Athens they met not in the Acropolis but in the Agora; down below and not up on the hills. I do not intend to go into matters of ancient history. I illustrate that throughout the ages people have been in the habit of meeting not on the hilltops but around the foothills, in the valleys and in forums readily accessible to the people.
On the best evidence that we have had, the Capital Hill site is dominant, remote and relatively isolated. Half a mile may not seem much and in some contexts half a mile is little or nothing, but I believe that having regard to the professional evidence that we have received, to the models that we have seen, to the sketch plans and diagrams that, we have seen and to the basic concept of Burley Griffin himself, symbolically, aesthetically, topographically and architecturally Camp Hill is the better site of the two. The Camp Hill site is prominent. Parliament house requires a prominent site; not a dominant site. The Camp Hill site is prominent and is associated with other buildings in the parliamentary triangle and with general public activity. My colleague, the honourable member for Bowman, referred to visual eminence. I agree that visual eminence is important and the evidence brought out the fact that good visual eminence can be obtained from either site.
We are faced with a difficult decision in many respects because both sites are excellent. Mr Bunning, in the course of his evidence - and those who read it in total will recall it - said that if he had been given the choice of the three sites of Capital Hill, Camp Hill and the lakeside he undoubtedly, without any hesitation, would have chosen the Camp Hill site in the first place. Those of us who were here and took part in the earlier debate as between the Capital Hill site and the lakeside site put out of our minds any possibility of the Camp Hill site because at that time it had not been contemplated as a possible site. We did not consider it; we ruled it straight out. Now that we know that the Camp Hill site is available and now that we have had an opportunity of assessing the advantages of one site as opposed to the other, I say unhesitatingly that I agree with the professional witnesses who have given us concrete and most impressive and convincing evidence in favour of the Camp Hill site. Mr Bunning, speaking in favour of the Camp Hill site, said: 1 feel that this sweep of buildings would create an on-flow with Parliament House as the edifice at the top so that they are all related and so that one helps to build up the other.
Later, he said:
Set in the parliamentary triangle, however, 1 feel that it needs supporting buildings in order to make it more important.
He illustrated this by showing us slides of the parliament house of Brasilia. These visual aids were a great help to us in assessing this particular aspect. Another architect and town planner, Mr Purkis, stressed the importance of the parliamentary triangle and said:
Parliament must, in fact, be the pivot point of the whole triangle.
If we put Parliament on Camp Hill it will be the pivotal point of the parliamentary triangle. It will be in association with supporting buildings, as Mr Bunning says it should be and as other witnesses said it should be. If we put it on Capital Hill it will be remote and not part of the parliamentary triangle. Then there is the question of the traffic problem. The Government’s traffic advisers have said strongly that it is most important to maintain the inner ring at Capital Hill.
– That is all they are concerned with.
– The honourable member for Hindmarsh would be better advised to study the evidence and cease interjecting during my speech. He probably has not read any of the evidence. The conclusions set out in the report are overwhelmingly in favour of Camp Hill. I agree with the idea of an architectural shaft or some symbolic structure - not of a nature that would compete in any way with the new parliament house on Camp Hill - being erected on Capital Hill. I agree with the idea of developing the Capital Hill area into some form of commemorative gardens. This has great appeal and would lend beauty te
Canberra. I suggest that we should not be thinking in terms merely of a parliament house, although we are mainly bending our minds to the question of the choice of a site. I suggest earnestly and I plead with honourable members- who have not studied all of the evidence - and it is obvious that some have not - that before they vote they study most carefully, objectively and analytically all the evidence that there is available to them. I suggest that they can come to only one conclusion, and that is that the Camp Hill site is the best.
I want to say one final word in appreciation of the trouble taken by Professor Crisp of the Australian National University. He made a most helpful suggestion to us in relation to setting aside a reserve of land which would be under the control of the Presiding Officers and the Parliament and which would preclude the land in this general area - the Capital Hill area, the Camp Hill area and the area in between - from being used for purposes other than parliamentary purposes. I support Camp Hill.
– I seconded the amendment moved by the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) that the new and permanent parliament house be situated on Capital Hill. 1 did so because I believe that the democracy of our country is the first consideration of the Parliament. When the new and permanent parliament house is built it should occupy the centre of the city, lt should have a primary place, not for the glorification of members of parliament but because Parliament is the essence of our democracy an whatever we may say of one another and of parties and no matter how we engage in bitter political disputation our parliamentary system of government is the centre of our democracy. I support the Capital Hill site because it is the centre of the city. Capital Hill occupies a preeminent place. It is a desirable place because of its beauty, because of its elevation, because it is the focal point and because, as the report describes it, it is the geometric termination of the avenues. That seems to be an artificial description but I think that anyone walking around Canberra cannot help but observe the Australian flag flying proudly on
Capital Hill. It is an inspiration to anyone who needs a tonic for his courage and an inducement to better effort.
This delightful hill is an outstanding hill. It has beauty; it has elevation, lt is 175 feet above the surface of the lake, lt will be remembered that a number of honourable members sought to have the lakeside selected as the site of the new and permanent parliament house. The reluctance of some of our colleagues to retreat from the lakeside is extraordinary. In the first instance they did not consider these aspects because they wanted the new and permanent parliament house at the lakeside. Camp Hill was excluded from their considerations: The very thought of the destruction of the present Parliament House was a matter that could not possibly have been considered. I am astonished at some of the things that have been said by the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon). Capital Hill is 75 feet higher than Camp Hill and has the advantage of being suitable for any type of construction. But what did the Minister say? He said that Camp Hill is a more dominant landmark. This is despite the fact that Capital Hill is 75 feet higher. On one hand we are told by the Minister that Camp Hill is more desirable because it is the dominant site and on the other we are told that Capital Hill is too big and because of this it is not a desh able site, lt is obvious that the hill which is 75 feet higher is the one which will be the dominant site.
Members of the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House who visited both sites and who travelled around the area could not help but observe from all points the Australian flag flying on top of Capital Hill. It was not necessary to have a crane placed on top of Capital Hill to identify it, but it was necessary to use a crane - a Frankenstein monster, a forbidding sign of authority - to identify Camp Hill. The Minister said that there were only two dissenters on the Committee. I think he will find that there are more than two dissenters when the numbers are counted. Two members of the Committee signed a dissenting report, but there are other members of the Committee who feel the same as the honourable member for Wills and I feel about it.
A matter which has been brought to my attention by the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly) is that he and other members of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory were advised by the National Capital Development Commission that the ring road round Capital Hill would not affect the choice of sites. But we hear tonight that the Capital Hill site is not desirable because it will be circumscribed by a ring road. We have also been told this evening that we should accept the views of the experts. Who are the experts? Surely the members of the Committee, who have been appointed by their respective parties and endorsed by the Parliament, are competent to consider fairly the views placed before them by the various experts. What greater expert is there in the field of democracy and of political science than Professor L. F. Crisp, professor of political science at the Australian National University. Surely his views should be considered. I feel strongly about this matter. When I and other members of the Committee sought information as to the urea of the respective sites and other features we were told that the Capital Hill site encompassed 130 acres. That is a desirable area. lt is about the area that is needed today for a parliament house which is to last for a thousand years. We were told that the Camp Hill site - and this information was given begrudgingly following penetrating and insistent questions by the honourable member for Wills and myself - encompassed 30 acres.
We have heard some entirely different views on this aspect this evening. I wish to put to the House the fact that to obtain 30 acres on Camp Hill it will be necessary to demolish the present Parliament House, together with East Block and West Block. Those honourable members who oppose the Capital Hill site are apparently reluctant to use the space that is available; they want to have a compressed building. Spaciousness finds no place in their vocabulary. Australia covers an area of 3 million square miles. We have an abundance of land, but the fact that an area of 130 acres is available on Capital Hill seems to daunt them. They are prepared to do anything to get their own way. They are prepared to demolish East Block, West Block and the present building.
I believe that there is no need to demolish the East Block or the West Block. The demolition of those buildings should never have been considered. The wasting of money in this way cannot be endorsed by this Parliament under any circumstances at all. The buildings are sound and can be used for many years to come for the purposes for which they were constructed. This is not something for the sweet bye and bye. According to the report that we are asked to endorse, the proposal submitted by the Minister is as follows:
If. as the Committee has recommended, the new parliament house is sited on Camp Hill, then the Commission recommends that East and West Blocks should be phased out concurrently with that construction programme. The Committee endorses this suggestion.
So it is not something to be done in the future; these buildings are to be phased out concurrently as the new parliament house is being erected. So, too, will this excellent building be demolished, destroyed and lost to the public. Have we so’ much money that we can afford to do these things? Is this the sort of planning that we are asked to engage in? I think that we should not be guilty of such wasteful destruction of our assets.
The question of area is an important consideration. The honourable member for Wills has dealt with this aspect in some detail, lt is a matter of placing the building on Capital Hill in the 130 to 13S acres of land that is available inside the State Circle and where there is space for future development, or of placing it on the 30 acres of Camp Hill. I do not think that there should be any argument about this. There can be no doubt which is the more desirable site.
Let us examine some of the views expressed in the Committee’s report. I should point out that in its recommendations the National Capital Development Commission said that it was satisfied that Camp Hill and Capital Hill afforded two excellent sites. This view was confirmed by other witnesses. But there seems to be an attitude that we must accept some of the worst features of architectural development in countries where, because of the lack of space, buildings must be compressed and brought together. The idea of having a parliament removed from other buildings seems to be objectionable. In my opinion it is an idea that should be pursued in Australia. When one thinks of the old cities in the world one thinks of industrial buildings compressed together and of slums. We see this to some extent in Sydney and in Melbourne. Unhappily, this is the picture in Westminster in London, although it is true that this has not prevented great Acts from being brought into existence. But when one thinks of the great and beautiful places in the world, of the cities of great charm and attraction, one appreciates that buildings on hillsides reflect grandeur and beauty. One city which comes to mind is Edinburgh with its castle on the hill and its churches and glorious buildings. The honourable member for Grayndler reminds me of the Parliament at Stormont in Belfast, which is delightfully placed on a hillside. When we think of the future of this great nation, this great Australia unlimited, why should we want to restrict the area upon which the new and permanent parliament house is to be built and so circumscribe its development? Surely we do not want a repetition of what has occurred with the present Parliament House, with additions every few years to provide for the growing nation and the wider representation in our democracy. Surely we can decide now the type of parliament house which will satisfy us for many years ahead. Sir John Overall, in his evidence before the Committee stated:
The summit of Capital Hill is 17S feet above the lake surface and 75 feet above the summit of Camp Hill. . . .
Some criticism has been offered because of this feature. The great elevation of Capital Hill would not detract from the beauty of the new and permanent parliament house, because some part of the hill could be removed. It could be graded and some use could be made of it. It could be used to provide deep basements and shelters in which to store valuable documents and papers. Who knows but that in the future such an area will be required? It is important to remember that a parking area will be required for motor vehicles. Underground parking could be provided on the Capital Hill site. That is a feature which might not be available on another site. Sir John Overall went on to say:
The summit of Capital Hill … is the geometrical apex of the central triangle. Seven avenues radiate from State Circle and this broad pattern has increased the natural prominence of Capital Hill so that any building or group of buildings on its summit would be clearly seen from the major avenues.
Is this area to be dwarfed? Of course it is not. Sir John Overall acknowledges the prominent position of Capital Hill. Are we to reject what he so clearly admitted to the Committee? Capital Hill unquestionably offers the greatest opportunities for building the parliament house of the future. One must respect the view of Sir John Overall, who is the Chairman of the National Capital Development Commission. He went on to say:
Capital Hill is sufficiently dissociated from other development in the parliamentary triangle to be considered as a separate site which is independent of other buildings. The all-round nature of the site requires an architectural solution which is equally satisfactory when viewed from all sites, ft also needs a treatment which will allow later additions that will not reduce the impact of the original design. Of course, the building must grow. The site is a formal one and will need very skilled and careful design.
– Who said that?
– This is Sir John Overall’s view of the Capital Hill site. The only question is that Capital Hill challenges architects to construct a building of beauty, elegance and grandeur which can be viewed from all sides. Surely the architectural capacity in this country and throughout the world has not been so dwarfed that we have to. remain tied to a front door and back door design. Surely we have . architects in Australia who have the capacity to construct a building such as Australia Square in Sydney. I am utterly tired of the architect who wants to build a matchbox type of construction and who has no vision or enthusiasm for any other sort of construction. Surely we ought to regard Capital Hill and Camp Hill as twin sites which are necessary for the future development of the whole of the parliamentary complex. We could design a building which showed the parliamentary complex to great advantage and which could be viewed with great satisfaction from any place within the capital. We want the people of Australia to be proud of our democracy. We want our parliamentarians to serve our country well as shining examples of what they mean and what Parliament means to our community. We want to see a parliamentary building which will radiate the character and capacity of Australians to build well for the future, to secure for this nation something which people will come from all over the world to see. During the school holidays, as at present, thousands of young Australians will come to view the new parliament house.
It has been submitted that if the new parliament house were placed on Capital Hill it would be too remote. The question has been asked: ‘How will people get there?’ How do parliamentarians come to this Parliament House now? Most come by car and leave by car. They travel in motor vehicles and some of the people who live in Canberra have to travel some considerable distance to come here. I sum up my remarks by saying that we need for the new and permanent parliament house an area which will be adequate for a future of a thousand years or more. . We. do not want to destroy existing buildings.’ The idea of preserving this Parliament House as a museum, as a building of beauty to be visited by our people should be encouraged. Above all. East Block and West Block buildings should not be wantonly destroyed.
– I want to say right at the start Of my remarks that as a member of the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House, which investigated alternative sites for the new and permanent parliament house, I am certainly in favour of the Camp Hill site. I was preceded in this debate by the honourable member for Macquarie (Mr Luchetti). The honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant), the honourable member for Ryan (Mr Drury), and the honourable member for Bowman (Dr Gibbs) have also spoken in this debate. The first three honourable members I have named were also members of that Committee. I give credit to members of the Committee for their sincerity and the amount of work they have done in investigating the value of. alternative sites.
Let us have a look in some detail at some of the remarks made by previous speakers in this debate’ and try to get at the substance of those remarks. In the last 20 minutes or so I have written down some comments which T think deserve attention. The first is: ‘Parliament should be the centre of the scene in terms of Canberra*.
I agree. The only catch is that on this occasion the argument was used to support selection of the Capital Hill site and not the Camp Hill site. Really and truly, I find it hard to imagine how any honourable member could seriously make that remark in that context. I could not follow the argument used by the honourable member for Macquarie to support that statement. I believe that it is correct but that the conclusion he drew is badly wrong.
The second remark to which I wish to draw attention is: ‘Support Capital Hill because it is the centre of the city’. This is similar to the first remark I have quoted. By no stretch of the imagination could it be said, unless one went back for 30 years, that Capital Hill is the centre of the city. The third statement I wish to consider is: ‘If you look at the flag on top of Capital Hill it is an inspiration to those who need it’. I acknowledge the right of people to take this high handed or ethereal view of the flag on top of Capital Hill. As the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) said: Long may it remain there’. The great merit in that view is appreciated by those honourable members who had the advantage of seeing coloured slides shown to the Committee of various buildings of some importance in different parts of the world, photographed against their respective backgrounds. But in this specific instance we will see the new parliament house against a background of Capital Hill on which will be erected some symbol for the future - perhaps some symbol for peace, or something of that nature. As to what that symbol should be I do not know. Perhaps the decision should be left to the members of Parliament and the people of Canberra in the future. Perhaps they should have some say as to whether a symbol of this type should be there.
I do not ask everyone here tonight to accept my views, but I remind honourable members that throughout Europe and elsewhere in the world there are many places where an important historical building is set against a backdrop of a higher projection with great benefit to the building and the backdrop. Those who have had the opportunity to view coloured slides and photographs of structures in this setting would be as deeply impressed as I am with this concept. The honourable member for
Macquarie asked: ‘Who are the experts?’ This question has been harangued and debated ever since the honourable member for Bowman, who is a doctor of medicine, spoke about architectural matters. I do not intend to deal at length with this subject. Others have said that if they were sick they would go to the honourable member for Bowman but if they had a toothache they would go to a dentist and if they wanted architectural advice they would go to an architect. But they would not go to one architect only; if the facilities were available to them they would call in many architects. They would do exactly as the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House has done; they would advertise among all sections of the Australian community, seeking views on this important matter of where the successor to this building should be erected. There is a choice of two sites, both on hills. One, contrary to the view of the honourable member for Macquarie, is much closer to the centre of Canberra, and the other situated well back is a more isolated site.
I refer next to Professor Crisp whom the honourable member for Macquarie cited as an expert in these matters. No matter on which side of the political fence one may be and what we may think of Professor Crisp, we must all agree that he is a professor of political science. He is not a town planner and he is not an architect., I think I am correct in saying that he was the one expert who gave evidence to this Committee who did not come down in favour of the Camp Hill site. Because the case must stand or fall on one point, I ask: Does this House see significance in the fact that every architect and every town planner favoured Camp Hill and that, of those who followed up their papers by giving evidence, the only one to take the opposing view was a professor of political science? Is this significant or is it not? One can take this question a bit further and say that, in spite of their deep sincerity, both the honourable member for Wills and the honourable member for Macquarie are only two members of the Committee appointed from both Houses of the Parliament to listen to expert views who have not come to a conclusion in favour of Camp Hill. They are 2 among 21. The honourable member for Macquarie may be quite correct when he says that more than two may be in favour of Capital Hill. I hope in a way that he is right. If he is right it is an indication that some members of the Committee are prepared to swing the lead, that some of them perhaps did not attend every session of the Committee, as so many of us did, and that some have not the sheer intestinal fortitude to put forward their views as honestly as did the honourable members for Macquarie and Wills. But I suggest that, if there are additions to the list of those who favour the Capital Hill site, they are pretty suspect.
To continue with the points raised by the honourable member for Macquarie, he said at some length that it would be a dreadful waste of national resources and money if East Block or West Block were to be demolished. But it has been proved that they are due for demolition anyway. One has only to inquire as to when they were built and as to the cost of maintaining them to realise that they are due for reconstruction. The same argument applies to them - only more forcibly - as to this provisional Parliament House. In both cases - whether the new parliament house is built on the Camp Hill site or on the Capital Hill site, East Block and West Block will go in due course. The evidence suggests that no matter which site is selected the present Parliament House eventually must be demolished.
– The honourable member for Adelaide is laughing at you.
– T/he honourable member for Adelaide would not bc laughing at me. He must be laughing at the honourable member for Hindmarsh. If anyone really and truly wishes to stand up tonight, full of emotion, and to say that the present Parliament House is a building of great historical significance and that it is a masterpiece of architectural design, either he has not an office in the old block or he is quite unaware of the fact that the report says that in both cases this building must go.
I ask honourable members to look back at the evidence that the Public Works Committee took prior to the construction of this building. The Committee accurately prophesied exactly what is happening tonight. It said: ‘If you build not a temporary building and not a permanent building but this imprecise middle type of building - a provisional parliament house - in time you will find people on their legs saying:- “This is an historic building; it must never be taken down”.’ I suggest very seriously to the House, because I have put in some time and some work on this Committee, that this is not the time for emotion; it is not the time for frivolity; it is the time for people - in this case members of this House - to make up their minds as to whether they will prepetuate a mistake made many years ago when this building was constructed. If they are to perpetuate it, to muck around with emotion and to muck around with patchwork thinking, then frankly they should have voted for the lakeside site so that this building could stay here. But that has not been done. I suggest that the only future course that people with some responsibility can take in this matter is to have a cold, calculating look at this problem and to decide quite unemotionally what is the best course to take in regard to the future parliament house.
Let me take up another point mentioned by the honourable member for Macquarie. I believe that perhaps inadvertently he hit on the exact key to this side of the discussion. He said that honourable members, and indeed visitors, come to the present Parliament House in cars, and that is as much notice as they would take in travelling to parliament house in cars.
– That is true.
– That is quite so. The honourable member for Bowman until the very last sentence of his speech talked for some time about the view of the countryside of Australia from a prominent site such as Capital Hill. He fell into the- same trap. In viewing this problem and this discussion, it is a grave mistake to think as members of the Parliament sitting in some ethereal white tower and looking out of tower windows. The important matter in terms of the future site of parliament house is other people looking at parliament house; not how we look out at other people.
It is in exactly this context that 1 suggest that honourable members take a great deal of notice of the evidence put. before the Committee and referred to at about pages 8 and 9 of the Committee’s report. I suggest that they take a very careful look at the limited vision side of the argument. The honourable member for Bowman poohpoohed this. I believe that if he stopped and had a careful and sincere look at how lines of vision can be confined he would find himself taking the very opposite point of view. I believe that the fallacy in this argument is that from this point one looks out at the Australian countryside. Whether one looks for kangaroos, daisies, lost members of parliament or voters is not important.
I think that any architectural design posture today must be on a site within a limited sphere of vision from the point of view of other people. Those people who stick to the argument that Capital Hill is the site must consider the fact that Canberra has grown way beyond its planned limits. It is not good enough, as I heard during the previous debate on this topic, for people to get up in this House and say: I have been here for 20 years and I have always been in favour of the Capital Hill site’. I cannot imagine an argument that nauseated me more than that one did. I regret to say that it was not a member of the Opposition who said this, although perhaps some Opposition members may have said it also. If there is ever a complete admission of the complete inability of some people to pay any attention to evidence and to pay any attention to the growth of Canberra, it is this sort of argument.
I hope that having had the fun and games that various members did have during the last debate this matter can now be considered seriously. Let us face it: Many of us did not like the attitude taken by the Executive in the past in saying that perhaps we would like to have a parliament house where we could reach it by barges going up and down the lake with banners and things. Perhaps many of us took the opportunity to have a tender poke - if I might put it in that way - at civil servants in general. Many of us probably felt that the National Capital Development Commission may have promoted one site more than the other in the last debate. Many of us sincerely felt during the last debate that the Capital Hill site was the better site than the one down by the lake. But I suggest that these matters have now gone.
We are now concerned with debating alternative sites on hills. The Camp Hill site is much nearer to the centre of Canberra itself. Although I have heard arguments from people who have said that they do not understand why a monster in the shape of crane was raised on the Camp Hill site it is fairly apparent to those who are prepared to think about it that it is put there so that one can have a line of vision from various points around Canberra and the same line of vision is at a very decreased level when you consider the exact similar height of the top of the flag pole on Capital Hill.
I do not intend to go over the matters mentioned tonight, matters which were referred to very concisely and accurately in the report itself. I will however take up one point which I omitted, and that is the point that deals with the size of the site. I think that this has some relevance, as put forward by the honourable member for Macquarie, and I think his statements should be answered. The Capital Hill site has within the State Circle 135 acres; within the ring road and the commemorative gardens it has 25 acres. That makes a total of 160 acres, the Camp Hill site has 34 acres between King George Terrace and Queen Victoria Terrace; there are 31 acres between Victoria Terrace and State Circle; there are 15 acres between State Circle and the continuation of avenues to the summit of Capital Hill, plus the commemorative gardens of 70 acres. That makes a total of 150 acres. On the admission of one of the honourable members who spoke a while ago the Capitol site in Washington is 155 acres.
– That is little enough.
– I accept the honourable member’s view. Within that area there are shops, libraries, museums, the supreme court and many buildings that are not contemplated for Camp Hill. If that is not bad enough, we can go a stage further: The complete list of parliamentary buildings, the Library of Congress, the supreme court and many other buildings on top of those to which I have referred in the Washington site add up to 230 acres. The equivalent area that is available for the Camp Hill site in this context is 270 acres. What is the population of the United States of America? I suppose it would be 210 million. No matter how far ahead this country looks in terms of a site, I doubt whether we can anticipate having as large a population as that. Yet in effect we have allowed for more room than is available at Washington, more room than the Americans have at the end of a programme that included an attempt to acquire more land than is at present available to them. I really feel, and probably I should not say this, that there are none so blind as those who do not intend to see. There are one or two honourable members to whom that comment applies. I say sincerely that there is no room for frivolity, emotion or bigotry on a matter that concerns the future and the beauty of the national capital of Australia.
The factor that probably is more important to me than any other is that, no matter how the sites are compared from Mount Ainslie, none gives the scope of architectural design possibilities of Camp Hill. It is no earthly use honourable members tangling themselves up with such ethereal arguments as: ‘If it is more difficult and the challenge is bigger, we will produce a better design’. What a stupid argument. If the design possibilities are greater, there is a better chance of a better building, and that . is the end-all and be-all of that argument. With a great deal of sincerity I support very definitely the Camp Hill site.
– In my view the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House was the most incompetent, hopeless and unrepresentative committee that the Parliament has ever appointed. I say that even though I was on it. Originally, at least, a commonsense view was expressed. What do we find about this large Committee? It was almost gargantuan in its proportions. Every day when the experts came before them the members of the Committee rose and bowed in subservience. Indeed, they bowed at an angle of 45 degrees and accepted everything they were told. Virtually on the first page of the report they state: ‘We must accept what we have been told’. The majority of Committee members recommended the lake site. The Parliament decided that the new and permanent parliament should be on a hill, that a hill was better for a parliament house than a lake side which, on occasions, could be nothing better than a mosquito ridden swamp.
– That is right.
– Of course 1 am right, even though the honourable member for Wilmot (Mr Duthie) thinks I am wrong. The Parliament repudiated the recommendation of the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton), seconded by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam). The Parliament said: We do not want that site’.
– Keep it clean.
– One cannot do other than keep it clean when one is telling the truth. That is what happened.
Then the Government, advised by the experts, said thai it would try Camp Hill. It could not get the lake site so it tried Camp Hill. 1 feel that there are many reasons why we should support Camp Hill. Historically it was the site on which Lady Denman, a very young woman,’ announced the name of Canberra-
– You know that history well.
– I do, and. 1 respect it, 1 am a traditionalist and the older I grow I find that I am becoming more and more conservative. But I am a conservative in the right sense of the word. I want to conserve what is good and not something that just happened. Lady Denman was a young woman of around 26 or 27 and her husband was the youngest Governor-General ever appointed. He was appointed. in 1911 at the age of 37. I met the daughter of that couple here a month or so ago.- She is a lady well into her sixties now and she told me about being on that site when she was a girl aged 7. I think there are good reasons why perhaps Camp Hill should be considered, but it should have been considered from the beginning and should never have been thrown in as an alternative in order to try to save the face of the Committee which wanted to put the Parliament ;On the lake site.
– The Committee never considered the point before.
– lt was never ‘given the chance. Camp Hill was thrown , in at the last minute when the Committee and the Minister thought that if they did not do something about it Capital Hill would he the site. If the former Prime Minister of Australia, Sir Robert Menzies, had not saddled up with Lord Holford, an itinerant English town planner, Camp Hill would have been the site. It was only when these planners said to us in this Parliament: ‘You do not know anything about the matter. You will do what we tell you’, that we said: ‘Like something. We will not’. If this nonsense is to be perpetuated, where town planners and architects tell the Parliament what to do, why do we not hand over the war in Vietnam to the army and say: Do what you like’? Why do we not say to the Government: ‘You do what the Tariff Board tells you. You have no say in the matter. Do not try to exercise a say because you are dealing with experts and you, the members of the Government - to use the vernacular - ‘are just a lot of mugs’? Is that not the attitude that all these so-called experts adopt? I hear a voice over my left shoulder telling me that I am wrong.
– Where do you go when you get toothache
– I go to a dentist, but I choose my dentist. When I am sick I go to a doctor-
– Some of them bury their mistakes.
– Of course they do. At least I am still alive, thanks to Almighty God, at my age and still feeling very fit and still able to stir the possum. When I listened to the honourable member for Wilmot, my very dear friend, ask whether we wanted a parliament on a hill so the people could look up to us I thought he was misrepresenting the situaton. All of us from our earliest days were taught - and it was a good teaching - to look up to our parents.
– And put them on a pedestal.
– Yes, and put them on a pedestal. All through history people have liked to see the ediffices of power and authority - whether they be parliamentary, ecclesiastical or anything else - on eminences. They like to look up to the hill. Why do we look up to the flag? We do so because it is a symbol of our unity, security and greatness. We look up to the flag; we do not look down on it. I am not convinced by the Tarsene conversions of these lakeside advocates who now have come down in favour of Camp Hill. If they had had their way, we would have been down on the lake in the years to come - those of us who lived to 200 years.
I think it is important to choose a site for a parliament house in the context of history and tradition. I like to see a parliament on a hill, and all around the world most parliaments are on a hill. It so happens, of course, that the parliament at Westminster is on the Thames, and most important people come up to it in barges. I think Charles I came up in a barge before his head was cut off. However, I see no reason why someone should come up Lake Burley Griffin on a barge to open the Parlaiment there. I think the Parliament should be in a place where people will respect the institution of parliament, not the individuals who constitute the membership of parliament. I think that is almost axiomatic. The honourable member for Wilmot (Mr Duthie) exaggerated the situation, I think, in trying, to turn it into a personal matter.
– He did not do himself justice.
– I do not think he was doing himself justice. I think he was speaking from a brief. He had to speak that way because he voted that way previously. Let us forget about the lake and let us decide between Camp Hill and Capital Hill. I have had several talks over the years with Earl Mountbatten. He told me in the days when Dr Evatt was the Leader of the Opposition and later when I was the Leader of the Opposition that every time he came to Canberra he went to Camp Hill because he was there with the former Prince of Wales, now the Duke of Windsor, when he laid the foundation stone. But times have moved since then. If we are to consider the future of Australia, I think Capital Hill would be a preferable site to Camp Hill despite its historic associations. When I first became a member of this Parliament for good or ill - and that was 29 years ago - there were only 7,000 people in Canberra. Now there art 117,000 people here.
Those who try to decry Capital Hill by saying that it is an empty waste do not seem to be conscious of the fact that even in 10 years time there will be 70,000 more people here, making the population close on 200,000. It will not be much longer after that when there are 250,000 people in Canberra, and in those days Capital Hill will be a well developed site. I have a feeling that we ought to think in terms of bigness; we ought to think about the future. We should not be ridden down by the opinions of people who, with all due respect for their ability and competence, I think are trying to save something out of this discussion that will justify their recommending the lake site as against Capital Hill. Capital Hill is a very important site. It is the highest point in Canberra. I know that the embassies in Canberra always want hill sites. In 1942 or 1943 when the Americans were building their first legation here, and later their embassy, they asked for the best site. We were so indebted to them at that time that we gave them the best site that we could.
– On a hill.
– Yes. All the other embassies want to be on hills, and there are plenty of hills in Canberra.
– We do not want to be on boot hill.
– 1 do not understand that reference. What we must do is build on Capital Hill a parliament house which will be as good as the building in Washington. The honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) has suggested that there is more room on Camp Hill than on Capitol Hill in Washington. That may be right, but Capitol Hill in Washington is not big enough to hold all of the agencies of government and all the authorities of Congress that members of Congress would desire or that Congress as a whole would want today. I have been on Capitol Hill in Washington. I have seen leaders of great parties in the United States working under cramped conditions equally as bad as those under which we work in this Parliament.
We must plan for the future in a big way. We must not be niggardly about it.
We must provide every member of Parliament with adequate accommodation. We must envisage the day when the Parliament of the Commonwealth will have not 124 members in the House of Representatives and 60 in the Senate but 400 or SOO representatives.
– No Senate.
– If the Senate still exists, but I believe in pole-axing it as a useless anachronism. But if it exists we have to make provision for everybody who wants to come here and for those who serve here.
– We have planned that way.
– How far have you planned?
– Well into the 2 1st century.
– For 200 years ahead? The honourable member for Wilmot (Mr Duthie) has suggested that you are planning for 400 years ahead.
– That is right. We are.
– I think you are going a bit far. I would settle for 200 years. Capitol Hill in Washington, which is the focal point of the American nation, is not yet 200 years old. Why, America has not completed 200 years of independence yet.
I have mixed feelings about this matter but there has been so much skulduggery going on in the Committee and so much nonsense talked by so many members of the Committee, from both sides of both Houses that I think it would be far better to decide on Capital Hill and on that issue I am prepared to stand and be counted.
Debate (on motion by Mr Munro) adjourned.
House adjourned at 10.44 p.m. 45571/69- rt-67j
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
By what percentage in each of the last 10 financial years did the Commonwealth increase its nonrepayable grants to each State?
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The percentage increase in non-repayable grants to each of the States in each of the last 10 financial years is shown in the following table. The information in this table is derived from the document ‘Commonwealth Payments to or for the States 1968-69’ which was presented to Parliament on the occasion of the 1968-69 Budget. Further details are given in Tables 56 and 57 of that document. It will be noted that, apart from the relatively small group of payments shown in Table 57 as ‘Payments of a Capital Nature - Loans’, all other payments to the States are non-repayable.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
What progress has the Statistician made with his developmental programme covering finance statistics for all public authorities including semigovernment authorities (Hansard, 27th November 1968, page 3385)?
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Statistics for all public authorities including semi-government authorities are published regularly in the following publications issued by the Treasurer or the Commonwealth Statistician: Quarterly Estimates of National Income and
Expenditure (latest issue December 1968, tables
Nos 9 to 17).
National Income and Expenditure (Budget
Paper- latest issue 1967-68, tables 5 and 10 to 16).
Australian National Accounts - National Income and Expenditure (latest issue 1966-67, tables Nos 6, 19, 26, 57 to 68 and 74 to 78).
Supplements to the Treasury Information Bulletin - National Accounting Estimates of Public Authority Receipts and Expenditure (latest issues August 1968 and December 1968).
Improvements have been made in these figures over the years, and developmental work is directed towards further improvement and greater detail. More detailed tables will be included in these publications and in the Commonwealth Finance Bulletin and the State, Territory and Local Government Authorities’ Finance and Government Securities Bulletin from time to time as and when the problems mentioned in the answer to which the honourable member referred are resolved. However, no early solution to some of these problems is likely. As indicated previously, these problems include a number of questions related to confidentiality of information supplied by individual States and authorities, as well as that of satisfying these authorities that the attempt to impose uniformity in the methods of analysis has not distorted the figures for individual States and authorities.
asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
Is the Government engaged in or contributing towards the cost of research into the use of seaweed and plankton as low cost food sources?
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Division of Food Preservation in co-operation with the Antarctic Division,
Department of Supply, recently began preliminary investigations of the composition, processing, and nutritive value of trill, which is a form of zooplankton known to be abundant in Antarctic waters. No research is presently being undertaken on seaweed as a food source with direct Government support.
asked the Minister representing the Minister-in-Charge of Tourist Activities, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
In addition to the above special leases, there are many other leases granted in town areas for purposes related to or having a connection with tourism, e.g. leases for booking offices, motels, hotels, restaurants, caravan parks, tourist courts, operators of coach services, etc. The Northern Territory Reserves Board has also granted two licences to R. J. Groves to provide accommodation for visitors etc. to Katherine Gorge.
Ansett Hotels Pty Ltd.
Redline Coaches Pty Ltd.
Lance Rust trading as Boomerang Tours
Alice Springs Tours Pty Ltd.
Ayers Rock Tourist Services Pty Ltd.
asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Medical authorities have stressed that persons who are vaccinated against influenza during the autumn have the highest immunity during the winter months. Consequently, the minor supply and distribution problems that have occurred should not have prejudiced the chances of persons to acquire maximum protection at the time it could be most needed. 2 and 3. In the production of vaccine it is necessary, in order to protect the patient, to set very high production standards. I understand that several weeks ago a batch of vaccine was rejected because it did not meet this high standard. Since this vaccine had not reached the final stages of manufacture, however, it has been possible to reprocess it so that there was no loss.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
How many companies have amended their articles of association along the lines he discussed with the President of the Australian Associated Stock Exchanges on 5th December 1968?
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
It is for the shareholders of each individual company to determine whether any amendments are to be made to their articles and companies which are registered under the laws of the States are not under an obligation to inform the Government of amendments made to their articles of association.
I am informed that, as at 18th April 1969, no companies registered in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory have lodged amendments to their articles, for the purposes suggested in the honourable member’s question, with the Registrar of Companies.
Commonwealth Revenue from Fuel Tax (Question No. 1257)
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The figures of Excise duty collected on automotive diesel fuel relate exclusively to automotive diesel fuel consumed by motor vehicles using public roads. In the case of motor spirit no dissection is available as to the amount used in motor vehicles as distinct from that used for other purposes. However, by far the greater proportion of motor spirit is used in motor vehicles.
In 1964-65 net collections of Customs duty on automotive diesel fuel were $532,000. Net collections of Customs duty on automotive diesel fuel were not recorded separately in the years 1965-66, 1966-67 and 1967-68.
Expenditure on Roads (Question No. 1273)
asked the Minister for
Shipping and Transport, upon notice:
What percentage of the gross national product was spent on Australian roads in each year from 1960-61 to 1967-68 inclusive?
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics has provided the following figures:
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
What are the anticipated total Commonwealth receipts, exclusively from motor vehicle users, from fuel tax in each of the financial years 1969- 70 to 1973-74, inclusive?
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
I am not able to supply the honourable member with forward estimates of collections of Customs and Excise duties on motor spirit and automotive diesel fuel beyond 1968-69 (see answer to question No. 1257).
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Cape Keraudren Project (Question No. 1346)
ns asked the Minister for
National Development, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The primary purpose of the Committee’s studies was to provide data for use by the U.S.A.E.C. in determining whether or not detonation of nuclear explosives in the Cape Thompson area would be hazardous to local inhabitants. It is interesting to note that the Committee concluded after a most detailed study that the Eskimo, and the species of plants and animals from which he derives his livelihood, would not be threatened, if the project were to go ahead.
I remind the honourable member that the environmental studies for Project Chariot had important scientific value quite independent of the conduct of the Chariot experiment. The U.S.A.E.C. has stated that its decision to conduct a survey of the total environment provided the first substantial opportunity for scientific evaluation of an area on such a scale, and made the Ogotoruk Creek area of Cape Thompson one of the most thoroughly studied areas of the world. Notwithstanding safety considerations, the U.S.A.E.C. promoted Project Chariot in an attempt to establish scientific baselines against which the effects of the experiment could be judged.
No nuclear detonation had been scheduled for Project Chariot. The data which could have been provided from the Project became available from other nuclear excavation experiments, and in the circumstances, there was no requirement for the experiment to proceed.
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: 1. (i) The Australian Forces who served in the 1914-18 War comprised (a) 414,100 males and (b) 2,700 nurses,
Population in Electoral Divisions (Question No. 1359)
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
Can the Statistician provide a table of the estimated population for each of the 1968 elec toral divisions at the time of the 1961 census as he has provided for each of those divisions at the time of the 1966 census (Hansard, 27th March 1969, page 1046).
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The Commonwealth Statistician has provided the following table giving the estimated population as at the Census of 29th-30th June 1961, for each of the Commonwealth Electoral Divisions as revised by the 1968 redistribution.
As the electoral boundaries do not correspond exactly with Census collection boundaries, the population figures shown in the following tables have been based on the nearest complete collector’s districts and must therefore be regarded as estimates only.
The figures are based on final results of the Census but are exclusive of persons more than 50% aboriginal and of ‘Migratory’ population.
Vietnam (Question No. 1372)
asked the Minister for
Air, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: 1 and 2. My Department reported in a news release issued on 28th September 1968 that an estimated thirty-three Vietcong were killed and twenty injured when a Canberra jet bomber dropped four 500 lb bombs on a target from 15,000 feet at night.
asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The Australian Wheat Board has established minimum specifications or standards for wheat to be received in the various grades. Factors in the specifications are soundness and cleanliness of the grain, minimum bushel weight and maximum moisture and unmillable material content.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
What action has been taken to give effect to the recommendation of the Loder Committee regarding concessions in income tax, sales tax, pay-roll tax and customs duties to encourage the development of northern Australia?
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The honourable member addressed a similar question to me on 1st May 1968. I refer him to the answer to that question which I supplied on 15th May 1968 (Hansard Page 1501).
International Court of Justice: Commonwealth Disputes (Question No. 1423)
asked the Minister for
External Affairs, upon notice:
– The answer to the honour able member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice:
In view of the views expressed by Ministers concerning possible challenges to Australian fisheries laws, has consideration been given to making a new declaration of acceptance of the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice?
– The answer to the honour able member’s question is as follows:
Yes. The terms of Australia’s acceptance of the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice are under review.
Aid to Developing Countries (Question No. 1436)
asked the Minister for
External Affairs, upon notice:
– The answer to the honour able member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice:
Do Army regulations prevent the staff and cadets of the Royal Military College at Duntroon from being members of a political party? If so what are these regulations?
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
There is no military regulation which prevents the civilian or military staff or the cadets of the Royal Military College at Duntroon from being members of a political party.
However, Australian Military Regulation 210a makes it an offence for members of the permanent forces to take an active part in the affairs of a political party. This regulation applies to cadets and those members of the staff at the College who are members of the permanent forces.
asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice:
How many Australian (a) military advisers, (b) national servicemen and (c) members of the Regular Army have been (i) killed and (ii) wounded in the South Vietnam conflict to date?
– The answer to the honour able member’s question is as follows:
As at 24l h April 1969 Australian Army battle casualties in Vietnam were:
Note - The military advisers are members of the Australian Regular Army and as such are also included in the regular Army casualty figures.
Medical Aid in Vietnam (Question No. 1471)
asked the Minister for
External Affairs, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Drs T. A. Sale; N. R. Scott-Young; G. E. Lynch; N. R. Wyndham: K. M. Doust and M. K. Smith, team leaders: Dr W. S. Davidson, Commissioner of Public Health, Perth; Dr J. Lindell, Victorian Hospitals and Charities Commission: Messrs E. S. R. Hughes; G. L. Grove; J. Kendall Frances and P. J. Ryan, Melbourne Hospital team convenors: Dr F. K. Wallace, Repatriation Development Medical Service: Dr J. D. Villiers, adviser on anaesthesia; Professor S. Sunderland, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the Melbourne University; Dr J. S. Boxall, Department of Health; Messrs L. W. Engledow, W. L. Morrison, A. H. Maudouit and B. J. Walsh, Department of External Affairs.
asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:
What Directorships and Shareholdings does Sir John Williams, Chairman of the Australian National Line, enjoy in
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Under an agreement dated 15th July 1968, Fleetways (Holdings) Limited were appointed a Road Transport Contractor by the Constituent Lines comprising Associated Container Transportation (Australia) Limited. These Lines recently became parties to a joint venture arrangement with the Australian National Line under date of 22nd April 1969. From the beginning 6? his involvement in negotiations between the Commonwealth and the ACT Lines, Sir John Williams advised me and the Commission of the association between Fleetway (Holdings) Limited and the lines which led to the agreement of 15th July 1968. 4. (a) Excepting his Managing Directorship of Fleetways (Holdings) Limited and Fleet Forge Pty Ltd, Sir John Williams does not hold any directorships or shareholdings in any of the foregoing companies. He is not a shareholder in Fleetways (Holdings) Limited or Fleet Forge Pty Ltd.
Sir John Williams has at all times fully and frankly disclosed his interests or possible interests in any companies holding or likely to hold contracts made with the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission. Any necessary disclosure and procedure as required under Section 13 of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission Act 1956-68 has been faithfully complied with.
asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Public pronouncements are not necessarily made on all matters that are discussed by the Council and it is not practice to release publicly the details of any discussions by the Advisory Committee.
The following answers are in relation to the Australian Minerals Council:
asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister-in-Charge of Aboriginal Affairs, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
A complete reply is not possible at this stage as accounts for fares paid by the States on behalf of the Commonwealth have not yet been received. Full details of costs of fares are only available for Western Australia.
The cost of the out-of-pocket expenses (including loss of wages) was in the vicinity of $1,133.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Housing, upon notice:
– The Minister for Housing has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 13 May 1969, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1969/19690513_reps_26_hor63/>.