House of Representatives
28 August 1969

26th Parliament · 2nd Session

Mr SPEAKER (Hon. W. 3. Aston) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.

page 793


Aircraft Industry

Mr CHARLES JONES presented from employees of Hawker de Havilland Australia Pty Ltd a petition showing that dismissals are taking place in the aircraft industry.

The petitioners pray that the Federal Government will take urgent measures to plan a light aircraft industry based on the requirements of general aviation and the commuter airlines; that offset payments be negotiated with the aircraft manufacturers; that the requirements of the services be co-ordinated and standardised.

Petition received and read.

Aircraft Industry

Mr DEVINE presented from employees of Hawker de Havilland Australia Pty Ltd a petition showing that dismissals are taking place in the aircraft industry.

The petitioners pray that the Federal Government will take urgent measures to plan a light aircraft industry based on the requirements of general aviation and the commuter airlines; that offset payments be negotiated with the aircraft manufacturers; that the requirements of the services be co-ordinated and standardised.

Petition received.

Captain Cook: Bi-Centenary Celebrations

Mr DALY presented from certain residents of the State of Victoria a petition showing that 1970 is the 200th Anniversary of Captain Cook’s landing on the east coast of Australia; that the Australian Government intends to spend large sums of money in arranging celebrations to mark this historic event; that all Australians should be able to participate in these celebrations and share in the benefits of Australia’s prosperity.

The petitioners pray that, as part of the bi-centenary celebrations of Captain Cook’s landing on Australia’s east coast, the Government make a special payment to each pensioner of an amount at least equivalent to the pensioner’s fortnightly payment.

Petition received.

Great Barrier Reef: Ofl Drilling

Mr CROSS presented from certain electors of Queensland a petition showing that the Great Barrier Reef is a wonder of nature which must be fully protected for all time by and for all people. The petitioners consider that offshore oil drilling or similar activities may seriously endanger the nature and character of the reef if not the very existence of the reef itself.

The petitioners pray that the Commonwealth introduce legislation to ensure that such activities shall cease forthwith and if necessary beseech the Government of Queensland to introduce matching legislation.

Petition received.

Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport

Mr DALY presented from certain residents of the State of New South Wales a petition showing that aircraft arriving and departing from Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport by routes which pass over the residential area of Leichhardt create noise which causes great inconvenience and disturbance to residents.

The petitioners pray that the House of Representatives take any action necessary to ensure that aircraft using Sydney (KingsfordSmith) Airport use flight paths which would avoid residential areas.

Petition received.

page 793




– With my voice choking with emotion I ask the Prime Minister: Has his attention been drawn to a report that the Woden Branch of the Liberal Party in the Australian Capital Territory had the pleasure two evenings ago of being addressed by Mr Alexander Eximenko, an important Soviet diplomat recently arrived from Moscow, on Australia’s attitude to Soviet proposals for collective security arrangements in Asia? Did the Government approve, if it did not arrange, that this historic meeting should take place?


-Order! I think the right honourable gentleman knows full well that this is not a question indeed for the Government.

Opposition supporters - Oh!


– I bow to the ruling of the Chair.


– I understand that it is the right honourable gentleman’s birthday today. Perhaps we could allow him to proceed.

Mr Cope:

– Twenty-one today.


– I am 73 years young. Mr Speaker, I thought I might have been sailing close to the wind, so I will alter course. Now that such a highly successful meeting has taken place, will the Government arrange for further Soviet-Liberal Party dialogue to take place throughout Australia? Finally, has the Prime Minister any idea of the reaction of the Australian Democratic Labor Party to this latest encouraging development in the field of the Government’s new and welcome policy on Australian-Russian relations, and does he think that this development will affect the. Government’s prospects of survival on 25th October next?

Prime Minister · HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP

- Mr Speaker, I noticed a Press report of the matter referred to by the right honourable member for Melbourne. I am not sure whether he is prepared to verify the Press report, but we will let that go for the moment. If the report is correct, it would appear that the facts were as stated by the right honourable member for Melbourne. I can only suppose it possible that Mr Eximenko had wandered into a branch meeting of the wrong party by mistake. I am very sorry indeed if the right honourable member should feel in any way deprived or upset by what many supporters of the Labor Party might regard as a defection. I can only say that I would do my best insofar as within me lies to see that in future these meetings with these people are carried on as I think they normally are and that his own branch party meetings can have these get-togethers.

page 794




– I ask the Treasurer: Will he prepare a statement for the House on the tax concessions for aged people that will flow from the introduction of the tapered means test? Will he give the House some examples of these concessions? Will he advise the House when these concessions will become effective?


– Already the Prime Minister has given three sets of illustrations of the way in which both the taper and the shading in provisions of the income tax laws will apply in the future or as soon as the relevant social service and income tax legislation is introduced. I hope to be able to introduce the Bills dealing with the shading in of income tax some time today. The Leader of the House, I believe, has made arrangements already for that to be done. What I am sure of is that every member of the House will be delighted when he or she sees the figures that were issued by the Prime Minister on a weekly basis now presented on an annual basis, I think that when we look at them on this annual basis we will see that enormous benefits will flow to those who now come under the new benefit provisions of the two laws.

I can give the honourable member several illustrations now as this seems to be a very good opportunity to highlight the Actuation. Looking at the position from the point of view of means as assessed and then the total disposable income that will become available to pensioners, I point out that a single individual on $1,300 a year will have his disposable income increased by $390 per annum. In the case of a man or a woman on $1,560 the increase will be $314 per annum. Turning to married couples, I point out by way of illustration, that a married couple on $2,600 a year will have an increase in disposable income of $520 per annum. These are just two or three illustrations that I can give now, and when the complete schedules are made available to the House I believe that even the Leader of the Opposition will congratulate the Prime Minister on what has been done.

page 794




– I ask the Prime Minister: Was the Nimmo Committee an independent and impartial committee appointed by the Government to investigate our present health insurance scheme? Did that Committee find, among other things: Firstly, that the present scheme was unnecessarily complex and beyond the comprehension of many Australians; secondly, that the cost was beyond the capacity of some members of the community and a considerable hardship to others; thirdly, that an unduly high proportion of contributions was absorbed in operating expenses by some hospital and medical benefits funds; and, fourthly, that the level of reserves held by some funds was unnecessarily high? If so, how can the Prime Minister hold the view that no improvements need to be made in the operation of the present health insurance scheme in Australia.


– The first point 1 would like to make in answer to the honourable member is that I have never taken the position that no improvements need to be made to the health scheme in Australia. All 1 have done in this place is to say that the proposals of the Labor Party are not improvements but regressive. In relation to the other matters the honourable member asked me about, yes, the Nimmo Committee was appointed as an independent authority and it made a number of findings which the honourable member himself can read in the report which we tabled. One of them was concerned with assistance to low income families who could not afford either insurance or sufficient insurance. The honourable member will remember that in the Budget we have taken steps towards remedying this situation. I say ‘steps towards remedying it’. He will remember that. For the rest, all I think I would like to add is that the Nimmo Committee did say - and this should be known - that the vast majority of the voluntary benefits funds at present in existence were being economically and efficiently run for the benefit of those contributing to them.

page 795




– I ask the Treasurer whether he can tell the House the reasons for the heavy increases in interest rates in the major capital markets overseas? Why is it that even banks in the United States of America are charging interest rates of the order of 8i% to 10%? What effect will this phenomenon have on interest rates in Australia, and what impact must it have on overseas investment in Australia where the net return on capital is appreciably lower than 10%?


– In the annual report of the Reserve Bank of Australia there is a detailed analysis of what the Bank regards as the reasons for the increasing interest rates overseas and also, I believe, an analysis of whether this increase is likely to have an impact in Australia in the foreseeable future. I think that the main reasons why interest rates have risen overseas are, firstly, because of the strong inflationary trends that are taking place there which are much in excess of those taking place in Australia, and of course investors will want some sort of premium on the interest rate they get if they are to get a proper discount of the inflation that is occurring. The second reason is that because of inflation the central banks in most parts of the Western world are ensuring that the supply of money is reduced. As demand is very high and is increasing, competition for funds is great. Consequently interest rates are rising. The second point raised by the honourable gentleman was whether increased interest rates overseas were likely to have an impact on Australia. I do not think that they are likely to do so. My advisers have informed me that for as far ahead as we can see it is improbable that this increase in interest rates will have any significant direct impact upon interest rates in Australia.

In the last part of the question, the honourable gentleman asks what impact it is likely to have on us in relation to capital inflow. So far as official loans are concerned we have to recognise the fact that in the United States the base rate of interest for the best type of security is about 81%. In the Euro-dollar market it is probably as high as 11 ½%, and Australian bonds are now giving a yield on London markets of well over 10%. So it does look probable that in these markets it will be difficult for us to raise official loans for the time being. But we still have available to us not so much the Euro-dollar market as the German market, and the Swiss market as well. We are testing those markets, and I have hope that we will be able to raise loans there towards the end of the year. Private capital movements will not be affected to any substantial extent by the changes in interest rates because private capital will move to those areas where the prospects are greatest. So we do not expect the higher interest rates to have a very great impact upon private capital flow in the period immediately ahead of us.

page 796




– Has the attention of the Minister for Education and Science been drawn to articles in the August edition of the Teachers’ Journal’, the organ of the Victorian Teachers Union, which highlight the high standards that the Commonwealth insists on in private school libraries which it helps to finance? In view of the fact that, in contrast, the Victorian Government will use Commonwealth money to build government school libraries at the secondary level at standards lower than those set by the Commonwealth for private schools, what steps does the Minister intend to take to ensure that the less privileged children in state schools have benefits at least equal to those of children attending the wealthier private schools?

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– I think the honourable member is ill informed. I have not seen the articles to which he has referred.

Mr Bryant:

– He is well informed.

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– I think the honourable member is ill informed. My Department has had discussions about this matter with officers of the Victorian Education Department, and also I have had discussions with the Victorian Minister for Education. It is quite true that the Victorian Minister wanted to examine the use of Commonwealth funds for libraries in government schools. But I believe that when the official decisions are announced there will be no complaint about any difference in the standards in the two groups of schools. It would be proper for the final decision in this matter to be announced by the Victorian Minister for Education. That is the position that should prevail. While I am sure that the honourable gentleman’s question was prompted by the articles to which he has referred it was based on conclusions drawn from discussions and negotiations that have been proceeding when there was no evidence from which such conclusions could be drawn. I am quite certain that the conclusions were wrong.

page 796




– The Minister for Health will be aware of the representations I have made to him concerning the shortage of doctors in Katherine to treat the rising outbreak of influenza in that town. Can he tell me what steps are being taken to reduce the delay in receiving treatment and the subsequent inconvenience to the townspeople?

Minister for Health · BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP

– Since the honourable gentleman made his representations on this matter to me I have examined the situation. I have found that influenza is very widespread in the top end of the Territory and that no place in the Territory has been hit harder than the urban parts of Katherine. As a result of the widespread nature of the flu epidemic in Katherine, the medical services there are strained. After examining the situation and taking into account the honourable gentleman’s strong representations, I have decided to send another medical officer there on a temporary basis, and he will arrive on Sunday.

page 796




– I ask the Treasurer a question. Is it a fact that annual average income, after allowing a deduction for a wife and two children, has increased by 96.83% between 1956-57 and 1968-69? Is it also a fact that tax payable on that income has increased by 265.41% in the same period? How does he justify this extremely inequitable trend? If he does not justify it, why has he allowed this accentuating trend to develop for such a long period?


– I thought I had given the answer to this question, not only in the Budget Speech, but in answer to a question that was directed to me in the House during the course of last week. If the honourable gentleman looks at what has been said in the Budget he will see that those areas of greatest need have been attended to. We intended that Budget to be one based upon humanitarian needs.

Mr Hayden:

– Ha, ha.


– The honourable member has asked his question. He should be man enough to take the reply. I also pointed out in the Budget Speech that at this stage when we have an economy that is fully employed and when we do not want to create any excess demand pressures - and we are, in fact, taking action in the monetary field to restrain growth in the monetary supply which would build up those pressures - it was difficult for us to introduce reforms in taxation measures this year.

Mr Hayden:

– What about last year, and the year before that?


– If the honourable member had a memory he would realise that I pointed out the matter had been referred to the Treasury for more detailed consideration. I went on to point out last week that what the Government has decided to do - and it aims to complete it as soon as possible - is to make a detailed review of the total income tax and the indirect taxation of the Commonwealth. In my view it is wise that this review be taken because then we can decide, when the Government does have a look at it, what the incidence of taxation is and where the heaviest burdens lie. If we want to make reforms, particularly in the lower and middle income groups, we will be able to do it against a basis of known and complete fact, rather than based on partial information and facts that are known to the Government at the moment.

page 797




– I ask the Minister for External Affairs a question concerning Indonesia. Has an invitation been issued either by the Prime Minister or by the Minister himself to the distinguished leader of that country, President Suharto, to visit Australia at his earliest possible convenience? If not, would such an invitation be issued to him in the warmest possible terms?

Minister for External Affairs · FORREST, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– I understand that when the Prime Minister visited Indonesia some time ago he conveyed a very warm invitation to the President to visit Australia at a time suitable to the President. It was made clear that owing to his very busy itinerary this year, it was not suitable to the President to come just at present. When I was in Indonesia in April I repeated the invitation in general terms and assured the President that he would be welcome if he could come to Australia. That invitation still stands. Again the President advised that he had a very busy itinerary ahead of him, but that at some future date this invitation would be taken up.

page 797




– I direct a question to the Attorney-General. Is it not a breach of the law to use the Commonwealth Coat of Arms for commercial purposes, except with special permission? If so, will the Minister investigate the use of the Coat of Arms on the dust jacket of the second edition of Don Whitington’s book ‘The House Will Divide’? Is not the feeble subtefuge of depicting the emu and the kangaroo turning their backs on the central shield an insult to the intelligence of all Australians? Furthermore, are these tactics likely to be typical of overseas firms which take over Australian publishing houses, as has happened with the Paul Hamlyn takeover of the publishers of this book, Landsdowne Press?


– There are, of course, statutory restrictions on the use of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms. I am not aware of the particular use to which the honourable member has referred, but I shall have some inquiry made into the matter and let him have an answer based on the result of that inquiry.

page 797




– I direct my question to the Minister for Social Services. Is he aware that the Leader of the Opposition is misrepresenting the provisions-


-Order! The honourable member will be out of order if he makes imputations in that manner.


– Is the honourable gentleman aware that the Leader of the Opposition claims that the provisions of the Social Service Act as they apply to benefits to civilian widows, and particularly those in the class A field with children, are not in accordance with fact? Did he claim that a certain statement critical of these provisions was made by a very influential body, the New South Wales Council of Social Service? Did the Leader of the Opposition also claim that the statement was made only last year? Do the facts reveal that the statement was made by a Miss Swan and was it also made in 1961 and printed in 1962? Did the presentation of the case in this manner tend to indicate that the benefits that are being made available this year are the only ones that have been made since the statement was made whereas in fact, is it not true that cash benefits to the class A civilian widow with 3 children have risen $17 per week since the statement was made or by 103%? Also, is it not true that the permissible income has been increased by $12 per week or 120%?


-Order! The honourable member is now giving information.

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

– I am afraid that what the honourable member has raised does have some serious implications. The matter has been brought to my attention. I have therefore taken the steps of verifying the facts. They will be found at page 390 of Hansard where the Leader of the Opposition was making his speech on the Budget. In endeavouring to criticise the provision that had been made for widows the Leader of the Opposition quoted in ex ten so from a document of the New South Wales Council of Social Service. The honourable member for St George asked, by interjection: ‘When was that said?’ The Leader of the Opposition - and I quote exactly - said: ‘Last year. The Budget leaves their situation unchanged’. The question of timing was important; it went right to the root of the statement.

I checked the statement that the Leader of the Opposition had quoted and it was not made last year as he had claimed. Of course, the date the statement was made was vital to his argument. The statement was made some time ago. I find at page 4 of the book ‘Widows in Australia’, written by Miss Aitken Swan, that this publication was issued by the New South Wales Council of Social Service in 1962. I know that the Leader of the Opposition is perhaps a little impetuous and not always entirely careful with his facts. Probably without thinking, in trying to bolster his case, he said something like this. It is important to realise that here was a matter where time was of the essence. When he was challenged absolutely on the fact the Leader of the Opposition said something which unfortunately was untrue and it went right to the basis of the argument. I would not, of course, go so far as to say that he was deliberately misleading the House. 1 am sure that he will now take the opportunity of apologising and withdrawing this statement which was misleading and untrue. I am sure that he was just pulling it out of the air in impetuosity in order to bolster his case and cover the thing up; that he was not deliberately and of set purpose going so far as to try to mislead the House. I know that he will take the opportunity to make amends.

May I come to the other part of the honourable member’s question? This Government and its predecessors have done more for widows with children than has any other government. I want to put this situation on the line so that honourable members will realise the true position. Take the case of a widow with two children - the case referered to by the Leader of the Opposition. In 1949 when we took over she would have been drawing a total of $4.75 a week. If you adjust that sum to changes in price levels it comes to a little more than $11 a week on today’s prices. Let us see what this woman will get under this Budget. She will get a basic pension of $15 a week, mother’s allowance of $4 a week, and an allowance of $6 a week for her two children, giving a total of $25 a week. In addition if she has no other means she will get $2 a week supplementary assistance. If one of her children is under 6 years of age or an invalid she will get a further $2 a week, making a total of $29 a week. In 1949 she would not have received any fringe benefits and would not have been eligible for the pensioner medical service. She will now qualify for the pensioner medical service in respect of herself and her children. She will get other benefits as well. Nobody wants to say that widows with children should not be helped and are not deserving of help and more help. In terms of actual purchasing power, under this Budget this widow with two children, whom the Leader of the Opposition took as his illustration, will get nearly three times as much as she was getting in 1949. It is not true to say that her position is unchanged by this Budget because under it she will be eligible for benefits additional to what she is getting now. I apologise to the House for taking up its time. I am sure that the Leader of the Opposition will now take the opportunity to apologise for his impetuosity in saying something to the House which, although relevant to his argument, was untrue.

page 799




– As I have said on a number of occasions, question time gives honourable members an opportunity to seek from Ministers information based on facts. In most cases recently - not in all - we have had a good deal of co-operation from honourable members regarding the length of questions. I would request that in replying to questions without notice Ministers co-operate with the Chair and the House so that question time may function as it should.

page 799




– My question to the Treasurer concerns internal interest rates in Australia. Has his attention been drawn to a report issued by Mr Crowley, research director for the Australian Housing Industry Association, calling attention to what he calls a vicious practice’ that should be wiped out, namely, short term housing loans at excessive rates that are detrimental to the genuine home builder? Does he not agree that there is a real need to investigate such practices - and I repeat that they are internal to Australia - not only to regulate these interest rates but to stamp out snide practices and extortionate charges associated with the negotiating of such loans?


– I have not read the article to which the honourable gentleman refers but I will obtain a copy of it. If the gentleman who wrote the article can give me practical examples of where this practice is occurring I will make-certain that the Reserve Bank analyses the situation immediately and we will then see whether there is something we can do. But unless I get practical illustrations I cannot do very much about it and, for that matter, neither can the Reserve Bank.

page 799




– Is the Prime Minister aware that a recent survey by a Melbourne university psychologist, Mr K. Wyman showed that 45% of those questioned failed to recognise a photograph of the Leader of the Opposition? Is he concerned that just prior to an election for the government of this country almost half of those interviewed did not recognise the man who aims to be Prime Minister in 8 weeks time? Will the Prime Minister give consideration to the question of allowing selective television broadcasts of proceedings of this House to help stimulate interest in Parliament and to assist members of the public to recognise what the Leader of the Opposition and, of course, other honourable members, are really like?


– I did see the article referred to by the honourable member. I am not sure that the televising, or partial televising, of the House of Representatives would come within my jurisdiction but rather possibly within the jurisdiction of the Presiding Officers, so that I cannot give a definitive answer as to whether I would look at it or not if it is not within my jurisdiction. If it were, I might be attracted for a short time towards what the honourable member suggests because I think it would be only sporting for the Australian public to see the man who is the Leader of the Opposition so that they can recognise what a continuing Leader of the Opposition would look like.

page 799




– Last Thursday, in reply to a question asked by me, the Treasurer stated that there would be a fall in private capital inflow this financial year. I ask the Treasurer: Is it a fact that the cost of invisibles in the balance of the current account was over $ 1,000m last financial year, which was an increase of over $200m on the previous year? Will invisibles cost this country over $1,1 00m this year? If there is to be a fall in private capital inflow this year what action does the Government intend to take to protect our overseas reserves?


– First I shall try to get down to facts and try to prevent misrepresentation. I did not say that there would, in fact, be a fall of capital flowing into Australia this year. There is a probability that it will fall but no-one at this stage of the year can possibly estimate the extent to which this is likely to happen to us over the course of the next 12 months. Having said that, might I mention that in the Budget I did draw attention to the fact that even if there were some falls in our balance of payments we had sufficient overseas reserves and drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund to be able to handle them without a great deal of difficulty. That is what they are for.

I then went on to point out in my answer what the fall had been in the last 2 months and the probable fall that would occur during the month of August. The last question is what we shall do to try to handle this kind of difficulty. I have already emphasised, and I emphasise again, that our overseas reserves are sufficiently strong, together with our second line reserves, to permit us if this happens to be necessary - and no-one can estimate that at the moment - to cope with this without any great difficulty and without it having an adverse impact upon the Australian economy.

The honourable gentleman also referred to the deficit on current account and not on capital account. I point out to him that one of the components of the current account deficit is retained profits. Last year retained profits were of the order of $250m. This year we expect them to be higher - of the order of $250m to $300m. Therefore, when looking at our current account deficit, we must always take these payments into consideration. Whilst statistically they represent an overseas debit, they are in fact profits retained here and to that extent reduce the amount payable overseas. So as I see it at the moment there is no reason for us to be unduly worried. We can expect that our export income will substantially increase. We in fact estimate that our gross national product in real terms will increase by about 6%.

Mr Uren:

– What about imports?


– Of course imports will increase, too, and we expect them to increase. I emphasise again, because it needs to be emphasised, that if there is some fall in our overseas balances we should be able to meet the amount from both our first and second line reserves.

page 800




– My question is directed to the Minister for Trade and Industry. It has been reported that the Japanese Food Agency yesterday accepted tenders for Aus tralian and other wheat. Has this any bearing on the problems of the International Grains Arrangement?

Deputy Prime Minister · MURRAY, VICTORIA · CP

– The facts are that the Japanese Government Food Agency invited tenders for the supply of 448,000 tons of wheat. It in fact accepted tenders for only 226,000 tons of wheat. The bulk of this went almost equally to the United States and Australia. A very modest amount - I would call it a small amount - went to Canada. This cannot be regarded as satisfactory from the point of view of fair shares of the market. I do not think one should draw any dramatic conclusion from it, because the Japanese still obviously need about i million tons more wheat for October and the Canadians may get their full share out of that. On the other hand, it might well be argued that some unjustifiable pricing disparity has produced this result. I do not think for a moment that that is the explanation, but it does point up in my mind the need for a closer measure of consultation at the technical wheat expert level to avoid the danger that I mentioned yesterday of an accidental price war.

I am glad to say that the United States intimated to me yesterday that it has accepted my suggestion for the establishment in Washington of a small technical group to keep close watch on the pricing of the member exporting countries of the International Grains Arrangement. I have not yet had a reaction from Canada, but I sincerely hope that Canada also will accept the suggestion. I would hope that the European Economic Community would join in, because we just cannot afford to take the risk of what I describe as an accidental price war’ in wheat.

page 800




– I ask the Treasurer a question. Does the right honourable gentleman realise that under the present tax schedules the usual maximum contribution to a medical and hospital benefit fund - some $84 a year - when reduced by the value of deductions under the income tax legislation costs the taxpayer $67.36 if he just misses out on the Budget proposal, for instance, if he has a taxable income of barely $2,000; it costs the taxpayer $60.66 if he has a taxable income of $3,000; but it costs the taxpayer only $40.57 if he has a taxable income of $10,000? Can the Treasurer justify this regressive burden on taxpayers who adopt the only method at present available to them to secure government assistance in meeting their hospital and medical expenses?


– I think most members of the House would recognise that it is a somewhat absurd question to ask at question time because I could not possibly keep this SC-t of information in my head and be expected to give an answer. I do not think any other person could. Nevertheless, so that the honourable gentleman can for once be accurate I will obtain the detailed figures for him and let him have them this afternoon.

page 801



– I wish to make a personal explanation.


-Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?


– I do. Last night and again this morning a commentator in a radio session named ‘Canberra on the Line’, or something of that kind, made and reiterated a statement that the Budget debate has ended and referred to honourable members - and I take myself to be included - as rubber stamps who had been a party to this abrupt ending. I, with my colleagues, have been misrepresented on three scores; Firstly, that the Budget debate has not ended - the second reading only has been completed - and a long debate on the Estimates will follow and end in the third reading; secondly, that backbenchers on this side of the House object to being called ‘rubber stamps’.


-Order! The honourable member will be out of order if he wishes to canvass the opinions that have been expressed.


– I maintain that I have been misrepresented.


-The honourable member has not made clear to the Chair that he himself has been misrepresented in this matter.


– I am a member of this House so designated to my constituents.


-Order! The honourable member will resume his seat.

page 801


Report of Public Accounts Committee


– I present the one hundred and tenth report of the Public Accounts Committee which relates to the Australian Broadcasting Commission, and I seek leave to make a short statement.


– There being no objection, leave is granted.


– Your Committee’s inquiry into the Australian Broadcasting Commission arose from remarks made by the Commission in its annual report for the financial year 1966-67. In that report the Commission drew the attention of the Parliament to some of the difficulties under which it was working, particularly in relation to its accommodation, which, it claimed, impeded effective supervision and control of its staff. At the same time, however, your Committee took the opportunity to examine the operations of the Commission in the wider context of its total administration.

As a result of our inquiry, which included inspections of the Commission’s accommodation in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra, your Committee found that, except in the cases of Perth and Canberra, the capital city accommodation of the Commission, particularly for radio and administrative purposes is inadequate and in many cases is substandard. In the interests of efficiency we believe that sustained and urgent efforts should be made to provide the buildings required by the Commission. At the same time, however, your Committee believes that, at the earliest opportunity, the Commission should establish a central planning unit to co-ordinate the efforts of its building section and to provide it with control, co-ordination and forward planning. We also believe that the Commission should consult the Department of Works at the earliest possible opportunity in the formulation of its works proposals. The evidence indicates that the Department of Works should continue to make available to the Commission the services of its bank unit which, in recent years, has given effective assistance to the Commission in the efficient programming of television studios and other building complexes. It appears to your Committee that the Commission might be assisted in regard to its future planning in Sydney and Canberra if it were to be advised of the likely date of transfer of its head office to Canberra.

In terms of its general administration, your Committee considers that the Commission should seek to strengthen the capacity of its secretariat department and should complete its current review of the structure of its programme division in all States. The Commission should also examine the adequacy of the duties performed by its Organisation and Methods Department. The evidence indicates that the results of a survey conducted in 1967 by a management consultant in the Queensland office of the Commission should be applied without delay to the branch offices of the Commission in other States. It appears to your Committee that the development by the Commission of an adequate system of programme unit costing should be undertaken as a matter of urgency and that the Commission should explore fully the extent to which it can use the computer facilities which it is at present developing to obtain cost analyses as aids to top management. Finally, your Committee considers that the Commission should publish in its annual reports to the Parliament appropriate details of its staff establishment The Commission’s annual report should also contain as much information as possible regarding the factors that have given rise to variations in the level of its expenditure from year to year. I commend the report to honourable members.

Ordered that the report be printed.

page 802


Motion (by Mr Erwin) agreed to:

That the House, al its rising, adjourn until Tuesday, 9 September, at 2 p.m.

page 802


Bill presented by Mr Malcolm Fraser, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– I move:

Thai the Bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this Bill is to authorise adjustments to the program of colleges of advanced education in the States for the present 1967-69 triennium. Provision is made for additional sums for recurrent expenditure and for a few variations in the capital program. However, because of savings elsewhere, due principally to delays in proceeding with major capital projects in New South Wales and Tasmania, the present changes can be accommodated within the total sums available from the Commonwealth under the approved program for the 1967-69 triennium. The net effect will be a saving of approximately $1.3m in Commonwealth grants. The level of Commonwealth grants for recurrent pur- - poses will be increased by $2,014,440 as is shown by a table which compares State by State the maximum recurrent grants available under the existing legislation and the new maximum levels for recurrent grants as proposed in the Bill. 1 have also prepared a statement showing the variations, college by college, in the Commonwealth’s contributions under both the recurrent and the capital programs. With the concurrence of honourable members, I will have both the table and the statement incorporated in Hansard, the statement to appear at the end of my speech.

While the situation varied from State to State, the Government agreed that for this, the first triennium of college development, there were sound reasons for adjusting the levels of recurrent grants. Among the factors which led us to this conclusion are:

  1. There were increases in academic and non-academic salaries which could not have been foreseen adequately or borne within the existing programme.
  2. The States were given little time to prepare estimates for developments five years ahead.
  3. There is growing autonomy in the college sector with the result that certain charges were revealed as proper charges for advanced education. These had hitherto been hidden within the votes of the various State departments concerned.
  4. Unlike the universities, the colleges are multi-level institutions and experience was necessary before charges appropriate to the advanced education work could be accurately separated from the general running costs of the institutions.

The following additional projects are to be included in the capital programme for the present triennium:

Maximum Commonwealth Contribution $

Mitchell College of Advanced Education, Bathurst . . 230,000

Orange Agricultural College 124,250

South Australian Institute of Technology, Computer Centre . . . . 75,000

The proposals now before the House arise from investigation and report by the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Advanced Education after requests had been made by the various States. Each State has signified its willingness to support the higher levels of recurrent expenditure and, where appropriate, the variations in the capital programme, under the usual matching arrangements for Commonwealth grants. The schedules to the Bill are the original schedules adjusted to meet the new situation.

Whereas the Commonwealth has agreed in this first full triennium for the colleges of advanced education to supplement the recurrent programme and to admit new projects to the capital programme it intends for the future to follow the triennial principle. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Luchetti) adjourned.

page 805


Bill presented by Mr Malcolm Fraser, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

-I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this Bill is to provide legal authority for a number of variations in the building programmes of universities and teaching hospitals associated with universities in the 1967-69 triennium.

It is now more than 4 years since universities made the submissions to the Australian Universities Commission upon which the 1967-69 building programmes were based. Circumstances have changed in that time necessitating variations in the building programmes for a number of reasons. Some changes have arisen as the more detailed planning of the particular project was developed - for example, in the case of the grant provided for the erection of a building at Moggill for veterinary clinical studies in the University of Queensland, it has been found to be more satisfactory to provide two separate buildings, one for reception and administration purposes and the other for animal laboratory purposes and the two buildings will be provided within the total grant approved for a single building. In other cases, cost increases have necessitated the deferment of portion of an approved project until a later triennium, or a development since the submissions were made has led to a request for a variation in the programme. An example of the latter is that of the University of Western Australia where four plant environmental control growth cabinets have been made available to the university from wheat industry research funds. The university wishes to use part of the grant approved for glasshouses for the faculty of agriculture to provide a building to house the growth cabinets.

All the variations made by the Bill are supported by the Australian Universities Commission and have been agreed to by the State governments concerned. I would like to emphasise that the variations do no more than provide for a re-allocation of the approved capital grants to meet changed circumstances and do not increase the total grants provided for the universities in the current triennium.

In commending the Bill to the House, I would remind honourable members that I shall shortly be introducing a further Bill authorising the grants for the 1970-72 triennium, which I outlined to the House on 21st August, and there will be an opportunity to debate matters relating to the forthcoming triennium at that time.

Debate (on motion by Mr Luchetti) adjourned.

page 805


Reference to Public Works Committee

Minister for Air · Ballaarat · LP

– I move:

That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1966, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report: Construction of instructional buildings, HMAS Cerberus, Westernport, Victoria.

The proposal involves the construction of three buildings: A Marine engineering administration building, a marine engineering class room block, and a weapons electrical engineering administration building. The estimated cost of the proposed works is $1,350,000. I table a plan showing the location of the proposed works.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 806


Second Reading

Debate resumed from 14 August (vide page 276), on motion by Mr Wentworth:

That the Bill be now read a second time.


– The Opposition does not oppose this measure. That, of course, is not to be taken as meaning that the Opposition does not believe that the Aged Persons Homes Act is not open to objective criticism. We believe that it could be improved considerably, and it will undoubtedly be amended when the Australian Labor Party takes office on 25th October. Because of the limitation of time placed on the Opposition, and to enable other members to speak, I will not be able to give the rather extensive survey of this legislation that I would desire to give. However I hope to be able to offer some objective criticism to show the shortcomings of this legislation and to show where it could be improved. I hope to show also that in some respects the Government’s approach to helping the aged, the sick and the needy has completely failed because of its failure to provide an overall plan.

The Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) said in his second reading speech that the purpose of this Bill is to assist organisations conducting homes for the aged to meet the cost of providing adequate accommodation and personal care services for residents who, while suffering from a degree of frailty, do not require full time nursing care. The assistance to be provided will be a subsidy of $5 a week for eligible persons. The subsidy will be known as the personal care subsidy and will be paid to organisations providing approved personal care services in what is generally known as hostel accommodation. The subsidy will be paid at intervals of four weeks, but it will cover only persons 80 years of age or over. The Minister told us that this age group makes up 46% of the total number of people in homes. He conveniently forgot to mention that 42% of those in homes are aged between 70 years and 80 years. Evidently the people in this age group are forgotten people.

This legislation will provide assistance for 6,500 people at a cost of $1.7m for a full year. The Minister stated that the assistance provided under the legislation would not be available to people in this age group who were living independently in cottages, flats or home units and who are covered by the States Grants (Home Care) Act. I will show later that no worth while benefit is being provided under the States Grants (Home Care) Act because of the failure of the States to take up the Commonwealth’s offer. Furthermore, the Minister said that the Aged Persons Homes Bill does not apply to residents occupying beds in registered nursing accommodation for whom Commonwealth home nursing benefits would already be payable. Again he conveniently forgot to mention that not one State as yet has asked for money to be made available for plans it has in that respect So it is clear that there are a number of people who are still not covered. To be eligible for assistance under this legislation, an organisation must be a non-profit organisation under section 2 of the principal Act. Payment of the subsidy will not be interrupted by temporary absence from homes, provided that the period of absence is not in excess of 28 days.

They are broadly the fundamentals of the scheme. In principle it is very humanitarian and no-one can object to the purpose behind the Bill. It will provide assistance to the aged and the needy. The Bill also contains a machinery measure which will repeal a certain section of the Act, but there is no need for me to go into the details of that. All honourable members will agree that the legislation certainly has a splendid objective. I know that the aged persons scheme has provided considerable assistance to those people needing it within the categories mentioned. Consequently, on this occasion we have to endorse another proposal designed to give some assistance to people who are very aged or very sick.

I would like the Minister to explain how he can justify leaving out of consideration 42% of people in homes and who are in a very sick state. If the people between the ages of 70 years and 80 years were included under the legislation, another 6,000 people would receive assistance. However, assistance has been limited to people over 80 years of age. Provision is made for a minimum number of people at the extreme end of those in needy circumstances. But many people who are just as needy have been left out of consideration. The Government’s approach to social welfare can be criticised because it does not provide for all people in need of assistance. Why does the Government favour one section of the sick and the needy? Legislation of this kind should cover every Australian who is sick, in need or unable to care for himself. The sectionalisation and categorisation of people into age groups are matters which I will deal with later.

The Minister in his second reading speech stressed the fact that local governing bodies will now come within the scope of the legislation. Let me refer to a debate that took place in this Parliament in 1963. On 10th October 1963 the Labor Party moved an amendment to the Disabled Persons Accommodation Bill, which was then before the Parliament and which is wrapped up with the legislation we are dealing with today. The amendment, which appears at page 1730 of Hansard, related to the following sub-clause of clause 5 of the Bill: (3.) An organisation conducted or controlled by, or by persons appointed by -

  1. the Government of the Commonwealth or of a State; or
  2. a local governing body established under the law of a State. is not eligible for assistance under this Act.

The amendment was designed to include local governing bodies. At that time the Government had a majority of only one in this Parliament. So it called the Speaker out of the chair, moved the gag, and then the Speaker sat with the Government and voted on the motion to gag the Opposition. Hansard shows at page 1731 that the Committee divided on that question, and listed amongst those who voted in favour of the gag after the amendment had been moved was the then Minister for Social Services and the then Speaker, Sir John McLeay. When the vote on the amendment was taken, both the Minister for Social Services and the Speaker voted against the amendment. I will admit that things were desperate. The Government won the division by 57 votes to 56. That is the biggest shock the Government will have had until the one it will get on 25th October.

In 1967 the Government and the then Minister for Social Services got a remarkable inspiration from the Labor Party. They decided that local governing bodies should come within the scope of the Disabled Persons Accommodation Act and the Aged Persons Homes Act. The Minister for

Social Services at the time, the present Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Sinclair), with great gusto introduced into the Parliament a Bill to include local governing bodies as though he had got a new idea from the Cabinet welfare committee. It is nice to see that the present Minister for Social Services has seen the error of his ways and will not vote against the inclusion of local governing bodies on this occasion. In his second reading speech he paid tribute to the remarkable advance that had been made in the field of assistance to aged people by including local government bodies amongst organisations eligible for assistance. But he said that only a small number of local government organisations had taken up the Government’s offer to participate in the scheme. How can they participate when this Government denies to the States and local governing bodies the money necessary to run their councils and their facilities, and which would enable them to put money into these organisations?

The real fault in all legislation designed to help the aged and the sick, whether it be the Aged Persons Homes Act or any other legislation, is that the Government is sidestepping its responsibilities. Under the Constitution the Commonwealth has the full responsibility to care for the aged, the sick and the infirm. Right down through this legislation and other legislation, the approach of this Government has been to pass its responsibilities to the States, knowing full well that the States have not the money to carry out these schemes, because they are denied money by the Treasurer (Mr McMahon). He refused one State Premier $5m for schools and then a few months later announced that an unlimited amount of money would be made available. He said that the money would be obtained from a source which was not available to supply money in the way that the State Premier had requested. So, as I have said, the Minister is side-stepping his responsibilities.

I want to deal with the Minister’s speech, particularly that part which says that certain people in these homes will not be covered by this legislation because they are covered under the States Grants (Home Care) Act or the Commonwealth nursing home benefits legislation. The Minister said thai consequently there was no need to include these people in this legislation. I point out to the Minister that to date practically no benefits have been given under that legislation to the people concerned. Let us take the home care programme. An offer was made to the States in order to assist people requiring home care. So far Queensland and South Australia are the only two States which have accepted the offer. It means that none of the aged people in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia, who come within the scope of the legislation, are receiving any benefit from the legislation at all. I suppose it is because the Government has not made funds available whereby the States could take up the offer. So why did the Minister say that these people are benefiting under that legislation and so deny them benefits under this legislation? This matter is a Commonwealth responsibility.

Let us have a look at the legislation dealing with deserted wives. I make a passing reference to lt. When the legislation was introduced into the Parliament I said that if the States did not take up the offer the people would get nothing. That great Liberal Premier of Victoria who is always with the Government and who is always a great humanitarian and a great supporter of liberalism, has not said yes and he has not said no; he has not done anything about it. Consequently, deserted wives in Victoria, under legislation similar to that which we are discussing today, are getting nothing at all because the State Government will not take up the offer, or cannot afford to take it up.

Then we come to the legislation which provides for Commonwealth nursing home benefits. I understand that the States have only to get approval before money is made available to them to be used on projects to assist in this category. But the simple fact is that none of the States has yet made application for approval. That means that there are no benefits at all going to any of the States under the Commonwealth nursing home benefits legislation. So although the legislation which the Minister has brought down looks good on the books, when we go behind the scenes we see that practically nothing has been done for aged people from these legislative programmes. The conception of the programmes was no doubt very good, sound and humanitarian, but there is one thing wrong with them - they will not work. If we want things to be good for people, it is terribly important that they should work. It gets back again to the point that the Commonwealth Government has a great record on the books but it has not much to show in practical performance. That is why I repeat that all the legislation regarding social services brought down by this Government in effect gets down to passing the buck onto the States which have not the money to provide the wherewithal to do the work which is necessary to carry out the projects for which the legislation provides.

I am one who disagrees completely with this Government’s approach to the overall problem of the aged, whether they be people in aged homes, pensioners, or people who require medical attention in homes such as those which we are discussing today. The point I make is that every citizen who is aged, needy or sick should get benefits from the Government. Let us look at what is happening. We are becoming a categorised society. The Government has a pigeon hole for every section of the sick, the aged and the needy. For instance, the Minister has the categories of the aged and the frail aged - you can take your pick, according to the Minister. Then there are the categories of care and intensive care, the sick and the walking sick - take your pick. As regards poverty, mind you, there is absolute, comparative, personal or acceptable poverty. Have you ever heard anything like it? If you are poor, you are poor and you need not worry about working it all out. Then there are the categories of comfort and, as the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) says, frugal comfort. Then there are the failing and the ailing pensioners. How do we work these categories out? It is a photo finish in most cases. Then there are the aged and the failing aged. I suppose that the Government shortly will have the dead and the almost dead, or something like that. This is where it all ends. Benefits should be available to every section of the aged, the sick and the needy. When we are dealing with a great human problem, it is scandalous and shocking to categorise people like this.

We remember recently the legislation under which S5 a day was given to people under the Commonwealth Government’s nursing home grant scheme. Do honourable members know what came out of that proposal? The Sydney ‘Daily Mirror’ of 15th January this year contained an article under the heading: ‘$2 a Day If You Can Walk; $5 If You Can’t’. The article went on to show how the legislation was so categorised as to deny people, on the flimsiest reason, any of the benefits which should have flowed to them. This is what one woman said:

Because only bed-ridden cases fall within the department’s definition of intensive care, patients who are nursed so well that they are helped to move around are disqualified from $5 a day benefit. The $2 a day benefit falls far short of meeting the fees of a reputable convalescent home.

Earlier the article stated:

Others refused the increased grant included a stroke victim with a paralysed arm and leg, a blind and partly deaf man of 86 who broke his thigh, a 75-year-old woman with Parkinson’s Disease and a man with serious heart trouble who cannot move without help.

These people were ruled to be ineligible to receive this benefit because they did not require intensive care. While the Government categorises people who are sick, aged and infirm into intensive or not intensive, aged or frail aged and sick and walking sick, we will get these injustices by the thousand. Surely the answer is to spend more of the millions of dollars which the Government is spending in other directions on the frail aged or the aged, whatever the Government might call them, and so spread the benefits throughout all categories that are involved. A great deal of money is to be spent on the Captain Cook celebrations. A big water spout is going up in Canberra. Millions of dollars are being given to Askin and to everybody else. Yet the Government categorises sick people.

Under this legislation, people in one section of a hospital will receive benefits while people in another section will not receive such benefits. Under this legislation patients in hospitals can be categorised. People of 80 years of age and over will receive a benefit, while people under 80 years of age will not. Does the Government realise the discontent that this will cause in hospitals? There could be the situation where a 79- year-old man would not receive a benefit while an 80-year-old man in the next bed would receive a benefit. Why is this? It is because discrimination of the worst kind is being practised in a very petty way. The cost of the whole scheme will be only $1.7m in a full year. Surely the Government could have done something which would have given full coverage to everybody. Instead of providing benefits to people who are ailing and frail and who want attention and comfort, the Government is discriminating against them in a way that I think does little credit to those people, no matter what their objectives might be, who say that they are doing something humanitarian for those really in need. 1 would not like to have the responsibility in a hospital of categorising patients in wards and sorting them out. I suppose that a departmental official will have the responsibility to say whether people are sick walking or walking sick or whatever the case might be. I think that the Government is placing too much responsibility on, and giving too much authority to, those people who have to make a judgment in these matters. I believe that this legislation will create problems similar to those which exist in relation to the question of whether people who apply for pensions are 85% incapacitated. I would have given the Government more credit for this legislation if it had extended coverage to the full range of sick people, so that it would cover ali people and not limit it to a few. I hope the Minister will give us an assurance that people who come within the ambit of this legislation will not be treated in the same way as those referred to in the article in the ‘Daily Mirror’ when the $5 a day nursing home grant scheme was introduced.

I say to the Minister that whilst he had great ambitions when he was not a Minister and spoke very freely on matters such as the means test and the need to care for the aged, I am surprised to see him now being a party to the categorisation of people who are the most needy section of the community. I do not know what would be the full cost if all the people were included within the scope of the legislation, but in a $7,000m Budget, I do not think it would have broken the Government to have included all people. Whether a person is 69 or 89 he is still in a frail state. If a person is in an aged persons home this is the time when he really wants attention. I can well visualise the bitterness that will be felt in some of these homes by reason of the discrimination that the Government is practising.

I just want to summarise the Opposition’s approach to this problem by saying that we welcome the legislation though we are opposed to the categorising of those who are sick. We believe that this legislation will bring great unhappiness in some homes by reason of the fact that some people will be covered and some will not. For every person who is covered by this subsidy in an aged persons home at this stage there will be at least one who is not covered. These people will live side by side in the homes; their families will be associated with them. It seems amazing that if a person is, say, within a week - or even a year for that matter - of his 80th birthday he will not be covered even though he may be just as ill as someone who is covered.

I say to the Minister today that the legislation should first cover all sick and needy and should not be exclusive to those over 80. Secondly, 1 say that the Government should get out of the approach of categorising those people who are aged, sick and infirm. When all is said and done, about three-quarters of a million people - so we are told - and many many thousands of them pensioners, live below the poverty line in this country. To legislate for sections of this group of people, as I have said before, and set out degrees of poverty is something that I believe has no place in a comprehensive social services programme in Australia. 1 would also like to know what the Government intends to do for the 42% of aged people who are between 70 and 80 years of age. Are they to wither on the vine, as it were, until such time as they qualify for assistance at 80 years of age? I also believe that the Government of the day should change its approach to legislation of this kind. If the Government is to pass the buck to the States it should in turn see that money is available whereby the States can take up the Commonwealth’s offer. Evidently there is no problem under the State aid grant system of making huge grants to the States when the States say that they cannot spend money on independent schools. People do not quibble with this. But why say that the Government is putting legislation through to assist aged people who require nursing home services and everything else, by giving grants because the States say they cannot raise funds - some of them cannot but others, like the State administered by Bolte, will not - when at the same time the Government merely puts on the Statute Book proposals which will have no benefit in the ultimate because there is no money at the source at which the benefits are to be produced?

If this approach continues we will have a mass of legislation here with no effect at all in the States. As I have shown by reference to the Acts that were put through only a couple of States have taken up any of the offers with a consequent loss to the people concerned. The overall scheme of this Government in regard to aged persons homes, pensions and welfare and social services generally is to give little by little and keep the benefits, if it can, till an election year, to make people suffer till the very eve of the poll and then to give the very minimum to the greatest number. People with the greatest need get the least benefit from this Government. This applies particularly in legislation of the kind we are considering at the moment. What is wanted is a complete welfare plan which Labour will outline to the electors in the immediate future and which, I believe, will have endorsement of the people. Such a plan will cover all the sections coming within this legislation and not only a portion of those really in need.

The Opposition does not oppose the measure. Members on this side of the House regret, due to the limitation of time and the need for other honourable members from both sides of the House to participate in the debate, that our prospects of criticising the Bill as extremely or objectively as we might and giving the Government some ideas which no doubt it would take up if an election was not intervening hence been curtailed. I regret to say at this stage that we support this measure because anything that comes from this Government is the very minimum to the needy and must be accepted because it is so little, so rare and so long between drinks, as the saying goes. Therefore, on behalf of the Opposition I do not oppose the legislation. I hope that I have constructively given the Minister for Social Services a few new ideas for his welfare plan, even if not for this election for the one after that when he is trying to get back into government.


– In rising to speak on this Bill I would like to discuss two amendments that have been proposed to the Aged Persons Homes Act The first amendment seeks to make a grant or a subsidy of $5 per week for personal care to organisations which are running hostel type accommodation. The subsidy will be paid to the organisations on the basis of $5 per week for each resident who is over 80 years of age. I think it is unfortunate that the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly), who spoke for the Opposition, failed to understand the point that the subsidy is being paid to the organisation and not to the individual. I think it is worth repeating a statement that was made by the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) in his second reading speech. He said:

While the basis for payment will he the number of aged persons aged 80 and over, it will be expected that the home receiving approval will provide personal care service to any of their residents in need of it, irrespective of their age.

This subsidy will not be paid to the individual as was inferred by the honourable member for Grayndler. It is not a question of whether someone who is 79 will be in a bed next to someone who is over 80 and who will receive a subsidy. The person does not receive it; it is the organisation. The subsidy is being made so that the organisation can give better service to help aged people in hostel type accommodation. It will help these organisations to give all people in their care better conditions in which to live.

It has been stated that the subsidy proposed by the Bill will cover 46% of the 12,500 aged people who are in hostel type accommodation. Some 6,000 of them are over 80 years of age. In other words, approximately $1.7m will be made available to approved organisations to help all people in the hostels and not just those who are over 80 years of age. It is also unfortunate that the honourable member for Grayndler, for his own purposes, chose to mix up the proposals that we are discussing with the various other health Acts. He even tended to mix up this measure with education for some odd reason.

The second amendment that we are discussing is to make eligible for the $2 to $1 subsidy land that has been held prior to 1957. This, of course, only affects those organisations which built aged persons homes units before 1957. This amendment removes an anomaly. The two amendments proposed by the Bill further improve this legislation - it is good legislation and will help the needy and elderly. I think we should pay credit to those who did so much to get this legislation started in 1954. 1 refer particularly to Sir Keith Wilson, the former member for Sturt; Dame Pattie Menzies who took a particular interest as did the then Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies; my colleague the honourable member for Swan (Mr Cleaver) who in his State has done so much; and to other members of this House. I also include all the churches, the charitable organisations, the exservicemen’s organisations and more latterly the local government bodies which are now involved in this very important field of assisting elderly people to overcome a housing problem of not only the individual but of the country.

In 1968-69, $ 12.7m was made available by way of grants to organisations to build more units. With the capital raised by the organisations nearly $20m was expended by the community - governments and church and charitable organisations - for bousing elderly people. Of course this legislation goes much further. It is not just a matter of housing. Under this legislation far more is done for the total care of elderly people, not just in the provision of hostel type accommodation which we are discussing today but in the provision of a subsidy of $2 for $1 for approved organisations to build nursing homes. So a total care approach is being developed. So far since 1954 units for 32,617 people have been built. In that time the Commonwealth has expended $92. 4m in grants. This is a major effort.

When considering this legislation I do not think we can disregard the broad picture of what has been done by this Government. I think of the subsidy of $2 a day, to be increased to $5 a day, paid direct to nursing homes, not to the individual, for patients requiring intensive care. I think of the home care legislation which we hope will be fully operative throughout Australia in the near future. I refute the claim of the honourable member for Grayndler that the home care legislation is not working. He failed to recognise that the legislation was only passed by this Parliament at the end of the last sessional period, at a time when State Parliaments were not in session and so they have not had an opportunity to consider it. Whether this scheme will work depends on the co-operation that is being manifest not just between the Commonwealth and the States but also amongst the Commonwealth, the States, local government and the people of Australia.

In my opinion care of the elderly or the sick is a matter that should not be taken over completely by a government. If that happens the cold clammy hand of bureaucracy will come down. You will lose the personal touch. You will destroy the inherent charitable instinct of the people of Australia. This is good legislation. It embodies what is good in the heart of this nation. If you take an authoritarian approach to the care of the sick and the elderly and allow government to take over completely you will undo a lot of good in the community and destroy a lot that is of great credit to the people of this country.

This legislation must be considered as part of a total programme of assistance to the sick and the elderly. In this legislation we are making provision for accommodation. By way of capital grants and subsidies we are encouraging the building of nursing homes. This legislation must be considered in conjunction with the home care legislation, the provisions relating to district nurses, the encouragement that has been given to the community to start such organisations as Meals on Wheels and the development that will come in paramedical services. Now, when a medical crisis arises, our elderly people will be able to decide whether to stay in their home, assisted by the Commonwealth or, if they have a housing or financial problem, to go into a home where cheap accommodation is available under this legislation. Today there are some 32,000 units available to elderly people. Our concern for the aged and the elderly indicates that Australia is growing into a nation in its own right. A nation is not judged solely by its economic or military strength. The whole field of its welfare services is taken into account. Here we have a system whereby aged people are assisted through the community as well as by the Government. We have decentralisation of the scheme because although the Government approves applications for grants and sets certain criteria for the building of units, the administration of aged persons homes lies not with the Government but with people who are trained to help those in need - people who are capable and willing and who understand the problems of the aged and the sick.

Mr Arthur:

– How many units were in existence under Labor?


– The legislation was not introduced until 19S4, so there were no units in existence when Labor was in power. In the last 16 years under Liberal-Country Party governments we have seen the development of a new and valuable scheme to aid elderly people, controlled not by the Government, as was advocated by the honourable member for Grayndler, but a scheme in which the people participate with the Government. In my belief this is the criterion of good legislation.

I support the amendments to the legislation. I commend the Minister, his predecessors and the many people in the community who are making this scheme a viable one through their efforts and their willingness to give large measures of assistance which is subsidised by $2 for $1 by the Government. In particular I commend the subsidy of $2 for $1. All of this indicates that the heart of this nation is sound.


– Until now the single pension of $15 a week has been supplemented, subject to a means test, by $2 for boarders in institutional homes and elsewhere. Those partly bedridden or needing special nursing care get $14 a week extra and heavy nursing cases in nursing homes $35 a week extra, but hostel type homes will, under the Bill, now get $5 a week for boarders over 80 years of age. The Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) has estimated that nearly 50% of residents in these homes are over 80 years of age. I think he will find that in Queensland this large group is more likely to be found in nursing homes. Queensland has a long tradition of free hospitalisation. It has many homes for old people which still charge for board less than the age pension. The honourable member for Robertson (Mr Bridges-Maxwell) stated sonorously that the wells of charity dry up when a government takes over. This, of course, is the plea and the waffle that we hear from the conservative parties whenever a welfare measure is mooted which they do not like and which they oppose. In this Parliament they have opposed all radical departures because they do not want the extra expense involved.

The Minister has shown a little more foresight in this matter than most of his colleagues. It is to his credit that he has gone into the factors which are most necessary to the welfare of the aged in deciding a system of priorities for helping these homes according to the types of people who need help. As for the remark that when a government takes over the wells of charity dry up, I must point out that under Labor governments Queensland provided all of the services that I have listed at State government expense. This was not in a time of affluence - not in this lotus land - but at a time of austerity. They provided these services when returns to the State from the Commonwealth were not at today’s level. As soon as a Country Party-Liberal Party government came to power in Queensland building was stopped on the State Eventide Homes. Lines that had been laid down and stakes that had been driven into the ground for the building of new wards were pulled up again and the old people were forced into private homes or public hospitals or were compelled to remain in their own homes confronted with a long waiting list. So do not let us hear this talk about the taking over of this type of service by governments being a means of drying up the wells of public charity.

There are just as many good community charitable services helping out State old people’s homes in Queensland as there are helping the private homes. If these essential services, such as the Government is now facing up to as a Commonwealth responsibility, are provided these charitable organisations will be left free to do other things which are not so urgent but which are necessary for the happiness and contentment of aged people. Until they are left free to do this they will be forced to do what is not their responsibility, that is to provide urgent essentials. Of course, we commend the Bill because it goes some way towards removing from charitable organisations the burden of providing essentials. As time passes the provisions that are being made for aged people will have to be extended to other handicapped groups in the community, some of whom are already in aged persons’ homes of the hospital type.

I must at this stage point out to the Minister for Social Services an anomaly that concerns, in particular, invalid pensioners in these homes. They frequently share these homes with the aged. There are some institutions which have a very praiseworthy record of doing more for these frail or handicapped persons than just sheltering, visiting, covering, nursing and doctoring them. They try to restore to these drab and often burdensome lives some spark of interest, a zest for living, a sense of usefulness, achievement and self esteem, even, to an extent, some measure of economic self-dependence. One of the best ways of doing this is by setting up a sheltered workshop which enables the handicapped person to earn revenue for the organisation which, unfortunately, still has to depend on public charity and voluntary help in many cases but which still cannot cope with all the reasonable calls on it and has to keep people out who should be admitted. It is therefore most disappointing to me and to the workshop supervisors and their trainees that the recent, easing of the means test does not relate to the supplementary allowance. The result is that these trainees are deprived of the fruits of their labours beyond $1 a week, at which stage the means test cuts in for the supplementary allowance. Most efficient workers should be able to expect more than $1 a week for their efforts. I therefore ask the Minister to extend the tapered means test to apply to the supplementary assistance jointly with the rest of the pension.

Monetary incentive - motivates the Government, I think, at least as much as it does the Opposition, so I am sure that the Minister’s well known compassion will extend to these plucky people. It is urgent that this be done before the proposed rise of the supplementary allowance from $2 to $4 which could virtually destroy any capacity for incentive payments by many of these workshops and so perhaps completely destroy these projects. They cannot pay a trainee $4 if it is to be taken off his pension. I know that the Minister has already received representations to this effect from the Society of St Vincent de Paul Sheltered Workshop Committee in Rockhampton, but the same hardship applies throughout Australia.

I refer now to a further anomaly. I am getting a little far from the present legislation but it is a logical extension of the spirit of the Act in what we hope will be future legislation along these lines. This concerns day trainees at these workshops. Most of them earn something over $3.99 a week, which is the maximum allowable deduction for fares from the means as assessed. Some of these trainees spend more than that in fares going each day to the centres.

I thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, for your tolerance in permitting me to draw the Minister’s attention to these matters which go beyond the provisions of the present Bill but which are a logical extension of the spirit in which the Bill has been brought forward. I commend the Government for its continued interest in this field, and particularly commend the Minister. I sincerely hope that it will not be very long before the Commonwealth takes full responsibility in this matter. That this is a Commonwealth responsibility - the welfare of the aged, frail and the handicapped - is a principle which has been laid down in the Prime Minister’s speeches on many occasions recently and which is still a long way from being attained.


– I am delighted again to contribute a few thoughts relative to aged persons’ homes legislation and to support, in particular, this Bill which brings in once more an expansion of the service that is being provided by the Department of Social Services. When the Aged Persons Homes Act actually came into being in 1954, who would have anticipated its widespread approval throughout the country and its amazingly successful results? The concept of the legislation has been proved to be beyond the criticism of Her Majesty’s Opposition. Individual members of the Opposition, I have noted over the years that I have been here, have bad to resort to attacks upon the voluntary bodies which are responsible for the initiative, the vision and the drive essential to lifting building schemes off the drawing board and which, once the building of these new homes for elderly people has been completed, have from day to day and year by year carried the administrative task of making viable a non-profit organisation. Yet these are the very bodies - the organisations, the churches and the benevolent bodies - that are being criticised and sniped at constantly by members of the Opposition.

The churches, benevolent bodies and charitable organisations have not been exempt from this cutting criticism. Some of these organisations have sent their representatives to me. They have been distressed over alleged suggestions of improper practices. I make the point, therefore, that nothing hurts our opponents in this Parliament more than Government success similar to what is achieved by this legislation. Notwithstanding their passive attitude towards the legislation, and their very rare practical assistance by taking a seat on boards of management of such homes, members of Her Majesty’s Opposition see the expansion of this accommodation in their own electorates and do not acknowledge it.

If I turn to the last approval list, the one for July, helpfully distributed by the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth), I find that there are nine Labor held electorates in which organisations have built substantial premises. The local members should be aware of what these organisations are doing and surely should be encouraging the churches, charitable bodies and benevolent groups. Many honourable members, if not all of them, should offer their services by way of advising how this work can be expanded. They should take a seat on the boards of management of these homes. Some of us have already done so, and we devote a fair proportion of our recreational time to helping the homes. This list alone bolsters my suggestion that there should be more setting aside of the passive attitude. Members of the Opposition might well demonstrate, with members of the Government Parties, that there is merit in getting in and setting a standard for what can be done. What a pity, therefore, that the whole of the scheme has not been more enthusiastically supported by honourable members as a complete whole.

Our critics inside and outside the Parliament imply that our care of the aged falls short of the provisions that exist in the Scandinavian countries. I do not want to discount what has been achieved in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Those countries have set an example for the world in the interest they show in those who are the elderly citizens of their communities. 1 have often thought that I could benefit, because of my interest in this field, if I could visit the Scandinavian countries. But I would not want to go there merely on a superficial visit to their establishments, their retirement villages and their settlements. I am one who believes that superficial criticism is sometimes unfortunate. I would prefer to .spend several months in Scandinavia to do a detailed analysis of the provisions made by the legislation there, perhaps to live under the aegis of one of the organisations and to see the programme for the elderly people for a week or two.

With this in my mind, I was delighted recently when a Danish lady, a grateful resident in the retirement village with which I am associated, handed me a booklet that her relatives had sent out from Denmark. The booklet is called ‘Kiar Besked’. I am afraid that I do not have the full translation of its contents, but it will be available within a matter of days and I will be pleased to pass it on to the Minister, who may not have seen it. This lady pointed out to me that, when she had shared with her relatives in Denmark information about the privileges under this Act that she is receiving, the facilities available to her in the retirement village that saw the light of day only because of this Act and when they knew of the minor maintenance charge she was being requested to pay from her social service benefits, they wrote to her in positive terms and said: ‘My dear, we in this country have nothing further to offer you. You are better off under this Act in the retirement village in which you live in Western Australia than we are here*.

Mr Bridges-Maxwell:

– Is that the Swan ‘ Cottages?


– Yes. This indicates to me that our critics, who highlight what our friends in the Scandinavian countries have done for the elderly people, do not have very much basis for saying that we lag far behind. I am confident from my discussions with this lady that we have gone the extra mile; but it will be seen as I conclude my short speech that I am not suggesting we have reached the end of the road.

At page 34 of the booklet there is a very inspiring photograph of an elderly couple in their lovely unit, which is similar to the units that are available in Australia. With the elderly couple there is the evident presence of a lady who might be termed the ‘cleaner’. Under some home care programme she has come in to do the chores which the husband and wife are beyond attempting. That is a reminder to me that earlier this year this Government brought down its home care programme, which has a relationship to the Aged Persons Homes Act. I want to applaud once more this programme. The honourable member for Capricornia (Dr Everingham), who spoke before me, was quick to criticise it, but we have seen fit to provide practical assistance for those who may live in a unit or in one of these independent living-in villages. As the years creep on, it is important that they should have assistance in cleaning their unit or flat.

I also want to point out that there are other areas in which the Government might well come in to assist. We have not reached the end of the road in our assistance for our elderly citizens. The Government’s latest report, which I mention once more in this debate, shows that 1,875 grants under this legislation have been approved by the Department of Social Services. This means that $94m of the taxpayers’ money has been humanely and sensibly approved for expenditure and almost 33,000 of our esteemed elderly citizens have been given accommodation of a high class and at a low maintenance cost to them.

I want, if I may, to look into the crystal ball. In settlements and villages facilities such as social centres, food centres, therapy centres, workshops for the elderly men, surgeries where doctors can see the residents within the settlement without their incurring taxi fares or bus fares and office units for those who must administer the establishments must be constructed now with extreme strain and difficulty, because the grant of $4,400 for single people and $6,000 for married couples is surely provided not to construct these extra facilities but to provide the living unit. Some of our organisations have achieved amazing results in building all these other facilities within the grant. But this can only be done by a close control on building costs.

I want to envisage, if I may, that the Minister and his Department will devise a special formula for those who develop settlements and retirement villages and will say to them: ‘If you can bring to us a case for special grants for these other buildings, we will apply a formula under which assistance can be forthcoming’. The large organisations, too, will find that they need trained and qualified administrators. Qualified accountants will be needed to administer the larger organisations. This may prove to be beyond the limited income of the larger organisations and perhaps some special grant, similar to that now approved as a partial subsidy towards the salary of a social worker, might be considered. In relation to home care, I have time only to suggest that there are elements, such as the entertainment of the elderly people who become homebound in their units, that should be considered. If we give them home care and cleaning and if we give them paramedical assistance and chiropody services, surely as a measure beyond voluntary assistance we may in the future need to consider some grants to the organisations so that the elderly people may be lifted by bus and taken out to see the community at large instead of being bound all the time within their own communities.

The specific provision in the Bill is that there should be, for those organisations giving hostel-type accommodation to people 80 years and above, a special and helpful grant of $5 a week. This I would applaud, but I would say that it has its limitations. Later, this provision may need to be revised so that it includes those of a lower age than 80 years. In my limited time, I am happy again to underwrite and to emphasise the value of what is being done and what has been done, and I challenge my friends of the Opposition to do more to support a very wonderful scheme for housing elderly people.


– The Bill before the (House seeks to amend the Aged Persons Homes Act by adding a section which will provide for a subsidy to be paid to organisations approved by the Director-General or his delegate where those organisations provide certain personal care services for aged persons in approved homes. I support the Bill because it should at least go some way towards helping some aged people who require special care, but 1 deplore the fact that once again - this is a practice that the Government is unfortunately developing - a distinction has been drawn between people in similar circumstances. The Government has for some time now, as the House knows, drawn a distinction between married and single pensioners with regard to the rate of pension, lt pays a lesser amount to a married pensioner than it does to a single pensioner and it has allowed the gap between those people to widen on the few occasions that it has increased pensions.

In the Bill now being debated the proposal, according to the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth), was to pay a certain amount to assist towards the care of aged people who are physically frail. But the proposal breaks down because the Bill is discriminatory in that the money will only be paid on account of aged people in hostels who are 80 years of age or more. When the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) introduced the Bill he said:

The purpose of the Bill is … to assist organisations conducting homes for the aged to meet the cost of providing adequate accommodation and personal care services for residents who, while suffering from a degree of frailty, do not require full-time nursing * care. . . . The assistance we now propose to introduce will, in effect, take the form of a 85 a week subsidy for eligible residents.

Had the Bill followed what would at least appear to be the intention of those words we would have no argument in that respect because it would have provided that the amount in question, $5 a week, would be paid for every person who was suffering from a degree of frailty and this would have meant, of course, that practically everybody in the hostels would have been included. But unfortunately this is not the case. This Bill limits the assistance only to people of a certain age, the age of 80 years or over. The Minister later in his speech told us that it had been estimated that persons of 80 years of age and over comprise, on the average, nearly one-half of the residents in aged homes. Later on he said it would be about 46%, but we will not argue about that as 50% is a nice round figure to use, anyway.

As usual, this Government has adopted an easy way out, where near enough is good enough even if it does mean some homes could receive a lesser amount than their actual entitlement would be if it was properly based on the frailty that the Minister referred to. I say that, because if frailty itself were the only factor to be considered it would certainly mean that in some homes, if not in most, a further 25% - more or less - of those residents who are less than 80 years of age would still qualify. Also, of course, if the number of 80-yeat- olds and over does average approximately 50% it must mean that in some homes there would be approximately 661% of the residents of or over 80 years of age while in some others these would be only approximately 33 j%. This would not necessarily mean that in the latter case only 33i% are frail to any degree. It is quite possible that a large majority of those under 80 years of age are frail to a very large degree, but this Bill does not protect that possibility, which is in fact a probability.

We cannot accept as a fact that every person who has reached the age of 80 is physically frail; neither on the other hand can we accept as a certainty that every person under 80 years of age is not frail, and yet this is exactly what this Bil] does. This means that some homes will be denied the additional assistance they actually deserve and in fact it will deny all homes - if the criterion is frailty - some further assistance which they also deserve for the purpose of helping towards the care of those of their residents who are frail even though under 80 years of age. For an organisation to qualify for subsidy it must, according to the Bill, provide adequate accommodation and personal care services approved by the Director-General. It would appear, then, that the personal care service would need to include nursing care, because the Minister said in his speech that the proposal was to assist elderly people who, because of advancing years and frailty, are unable to live in a normal domestic environment without help, but who do not require full time nursing care. Apparently, one is not of advancing years, in the Government’s view, until he reaches 80 years. This can only mean that some nursing care will need to be available which, in turn, may mean the provision of special equipment and the employment of additional staff and the cost of that equipment and employment of additional staff may be, and undoubtedly will be, substantially more than the subsidy, particularly where the number of persons of 80 years of age or more may be very small.

In those circumstances I am wondering who will pay the difference. Will the aged people themselves be required to do so? I would hope not. But I believe that the people living in Swan Homes in Perth, of which the honourable member for Swan (Mr Cleaver) is a director, have to pay so much per week towards the maintenance and cleaning of the homes. If they are called upon to pay something more a week towards the personal care services which this Bill refers to the small increase in their pensions which the Government intends to give will be very seriously depleted. Also, in using the form this Bill uses to determine eligibility there is a danger that the directors of some homes, such as Swan Homes, may decide that as only 80-year-old residents will attract the $5 a week or $20 a month additional assistance frail people, unless they are 80 years of age, will not be admitted. In fact, they may even go further and say that only people who are 80 years of age and who are not frail will be admitted.

It seems to me that if the average of 80-year-olds in all homes is near enough to 50% of the total number of residents, and if the money involved in this Bill is as much as the Government is prepared to allocate towards the care of the frail, it would have been a much fairer proposal to grant $10 a month for every aged person in every aged persons home instead of $20 for those of or over 80 years of age. I appreciate, of course, that argument could then be raised that homes with more than half their number of residents being 80 years of age or more would not receive the equivalent of the $20 they would receive on the 80- year-old system. But to argue that way simply assumes that every 80-year-old Ls frail and that everyone under SO years is not. But that, of course, is far from correct, and if it is not simply age but frailty which counts in relation to additional care and attention being required, then I feel sure that the proposal of so much per resident, as I have suggested, is the most appropriate. I think it is completely wrong and completely unfair to restrict the assistance by introducing an age limitation. It is a form of discrimination and can also operate against many aged pensioners who desperately require accommodation and care but have not reached the age of 80. The Act which this Bill proposes to amend gives this definition of aged persons:

Aged person’ means a man who has attained the age of 65 years or a woman who has attained the age of 60 years.

I agree that we should accept those ages as establishing eligibility for admission to aged persons homes. In fact, I suggest that we should go further and include invalids of an adult age, particularly if the Government is really concerned about the care of the frail. But if we accept those ages as establishing eligibility for admission, if we are going to deal with averages, we should also accept the fact that on the average we can expect those same people to be frail to some degree. Those are the words that the Minister used: ‘frail to some degree’. Then in turn we should accept that any payments in relation to care and attention for the frail should include every person in the home. We should not lay down a definite age well above the admission age - 15 years in the case of a man and 20 years in the case of a woman - as being the earliest age at which the additional assistance becomes payable. The Minister also said:

This qualifying age of 80 years has not been selected arbitrarily but because it is generally accepted as the age beyond which people can be said to be in the frail category.

He also referred to a decision in New Zealand as a prop for what the Government is proposing. I would not imagine for one moment that anyone would be silly enough to argue that people of or over 80 years of age should not be generally accepted as being frail, but my argument is that many people well below that age are also frail. The fact that someone in New Zealand recommends 80 years of age as a starting point should npt be sufficient to convince us that it is the ideal or the perfect situation. The fact is that some homes could be and most likely are accommodating a number of frail people who have not reached the age of 80, and if the Government is honest in expressing a desire to help those who are frail it should ensure that the legislation is wide enough to cover them all and not just a few. If a survey can be made to determine the average number in homes who are 80 years of age or older, surely it could just as easily be carried out to determine the average number who have some degree of frailty and who require special care. But, of course, we all know that the average in relation to frailty would be much higher than the 50% that the Minister quoted and would be most likely nearer 80% or 85%. Apparently the Government is not prepared to go that far. Its desire to help the frail goes a short way only.

There is another point Why has the Government decided that the age should be 80 years or more for both sexes? Why has it not followed the normal course which is to adopt a lower age for women than for men? 1 certainly would suggest that it is generally accepted that a woman reaches the stage of frailty much earlier than a man. If the Government were to approach this matter honestly, it would at the very least make this assistance available to women at the age of 75 or even 70. But, of course, Mr Deputy Speaker, the Government is not greatly concerned about the welfare of the aged frail. It only wants to make it appear as though it is. The Government obviously does not wish to be put in a position where it would be required to provide any more money than it can possibly help. If it were to reduce the qualifying age for women in this Bill, it would have to provide a bit more money. Apparently, it is not prepared to do this.

The report of the Director-General of Social Services for the last financial year shows that 74,1% of residents in aged persons homes were women. If we did as the Minister did, in regard to percentages, we would say that about three-quarters of the residents in these aged persons homes are women. The report also shows that approximately 12,900 aged persons are residing in aged persons homes which are of the hostel type with which this Bill deals. Therefore, approximately 9,700 of those in these hostels are women and approximately 8,700 of these women would be 70 years of age or more. Many of them would be frail to some degree, and a large majority of them would be frail to a very large degree. If the qualifying age for women was reduced from 80 to 70 years of age, it would mean providing only a further $850,000 per year. But this Government, as I said earlier, apparently is not prepared to do that.

This Bill, in my eyes, has the brand of a cheap election stunt. It is like other measures that the Government brings forward just before election time. If the Government was dinkum in its concern for the frail aged, at the very least it would have reduced the qualifying age for women to 70. In fact, the only honest approach would be to place no limit on qualification because of age whatsoever. I have quite a bit more to say, but I understand an agreement has been made between the Whips that another honourable member should have a few minutes before the sitting is suspended. I conclude by saying, as I said in the first place, that I support the Bill because it will help some aged people. But I deplore the discriminatory attitude which the Government has applied again in this field.


- Mr Deputy Speaker, I am glad to commend the Government and the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) on bringing forward this amending Bill. I am surprised at the reluctant support of the Opposition to such a great measure as this Bill is. When the Aged Persons Homes Act was first introduced, the Government provided for the first 12 months a £1 for £1 subsidy, as our currency then was. After 12 months experience, the Government found that this move was one of the most successful and most appreciated steps that it had taken. It readily agreed to double the amount oi its contribution so that it contributed £2 for every £1 provided by a State to assist these very worthy organisations.

The history of this matter shows just how the scheme has advanced. In this measure we find another improvement and another advancement in this worthy Act. The Minister points out in his second reading speech that up to date $92m has been paid out, of which approximately $13m was paid in the last financial year. I notice that the limits on the allowances for each unit are $4,400 for a single unit and $6,000 for a double unit. These amounts have enabled the organisations concerned to provide very effective and very fine units. In addition to two amendments which have been mentioned by the honourable member for Robertson (Mr Bridges-Maxwell) - . these allow for the subsidisation of land purchased before 1957 and for an allocation for those over 80 years of age - a very worthy amendment has been made in that the organisations may now pool their nursing bed entitlements. Where an organisation has two or three establishments in a city or in certain districts it can pool its entitlement for nursing and can concentrate more on nursing accommodation. The provision allows one nursing bed for every two residential beds. This is a very necessary thing.

When I listened to members of the Opposition, I saw the false premises on which they were arguing. They are doing this. Let me read a section of the Minister’s second reading speech to show that honourable members opposite are barking up the wrong tree. The Minister said:

While the basis for payment will be the number of aged persons aged 80 and over, it will be expected that the homes receiving approval will provide personal care service to any of their residents in need of it, irrespective of their age.

So, the homes are entitled to provide for any aged people who are in these homes, irrespective of their age. That is my reply to all the barking we have heard from the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly) and the honourable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr Collard) and also the honourable member for Capricornia (Dr Everingham), who said that the voluntary homes system is waffle and who advocates, as he did in effect in his speech, that all these things should be run by the Government.

How will humane attention and kindly consideration be given to residents of these homes if everything is under the control of government audit and government regulation? Opposition members want to kill all humane instincts and the desire of people to help one another. That is the approach of the Australian Labor Party. It is not the approach of this Government which encourages this incentive on the part of people who want to help one another. We ought to retain that great desire to help, otherwise a home away from home, which we find is provided by all these aged persons homes today, would not be provided. I commend the Government on introducing these extra improvements and advancements in such a worthy Act. I do not need to say any more than that. I give my full approval to what the Minister has done.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.

Third Reading

Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.

Bill (on motion by Mr Wentworth) read a third time.

Sitting suspended from 12.49 to 2.15 p.m.

page 820


Report of Public Works Committee


– In accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1966 I present the report of the Public Works Committee on the following proposed work:

Customs Building and Incinerator at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport.

Ordered that the report be printed.

page 820


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

Second Reading

Treasurer · Lowe · LP

– I move -

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this Bill is to declare the general rates of income tax for the financial year 1969-70. As honourable members know, a Bill of this nature comes before the House each year. The rates of tax proposed by the Bill do not differ from those which applied for the 1968-69 financial year. While there is to be no change in general tax rates, the Bill does provide for the liberalisation of the income tax age allowance that was foreshadowed in the Budget Speech.

The income tax age allowance provisions have, since their introduction in 1951, provided complete exemption from income tax for residents of Australia of qualifying age - 65 years for men and 60 for women - whose income, or combined incomes in the case of married couples, did not exceed certain levels. To easethe progress from complete exemption from tax into tax at norma] rates, ‘shading-in’ provisions limit the amount of tax payable on incomes somewhat in excess of the exemption levels. For the year ended 30thJune 1969 an aged person was entitled to exemption if his or her own taxable income did not exceed $1,248, while a married aged person was exempt if the combined taxable income of the husband and wife did not exceed $2,184. It is proposed to increase these exemption levels to $1,300 and $2,262 respectively for the year ending 30th June 1970. These adjustments correspond with the proposed increases in age pensions for single and married pensioners.

For the year ended 30th June 1969 the shading-in’ provisions operated to limit the tax payable by ‘single’ taxpayers whose taxable incomes did not exceed §1,532, and by married taxpayers where the combined taxable income of the couple did not exceed $3,514. For the year ending 30th June 1970, the upper limits of the ‘shading-in’ ranges are to be raised to $2,275 and $4,121 respectively. In the ‘shading-in’ ranges, the tax payable for 1968-69 was limited to nine twentieths - that is to 45% - of the amount by which the aged person’s taxable income (or combined income in the case of married couples) exceeded the relevant exemption point, plus the 21% additional levy. For 1969-70 the tax payable in the ‘shading-in’ ranges will be limited in a different way. Where, for 1969-70, the limit on tax payable is to be calculated by reference to the income of a single taxpayer, and the taxable income does not exceed $1,532 (that is, the upper limit of the ‘shading-in’ area for 1968-69) tax will be limited to 161% of the amount by which taxable income exceeds $1,300. Tax for a taxable income of $1,532 will thus be limited to $38.66. Where taxable income is between $1,533 and $2,080 tax will be limited to $38.66 plus 20% of the taxable income in excess of $1,532. For a taxable income of $2,080 tax will, therefore, be limited to $148.26. Where the taxable income is, between $2,081 and $2,275 the tax will be limited to $148.26 plus 661% of the taxable income in excess of $2,080. Tax at the upper limit of this ‘shading-in’ range will, therefore, be limited to $278.26.

In cases where, for 1969-70, the limit on tax payable is to be calculated by reference to the combined taxable incomes of a married couple, and the combined taxable income does not exceed $2,500, the tax will be limited to 161% of the combined taxable income in excess of the exemption point of $2,262. The tax at $2,500 will, therefore, be limited to $39.66. Where the combined taxable income is between $2,501 and $3,000 tax will be limited to $39.66 plus 331% of the amount by which the combined taxable income exceeds $2,500 so that, at $3,000, the tax will be limited to $206.32. Between $3,001 and $3,640, the tax will be limited to $206.32 plus 45% of combined taxable income above $3,000, so that at $3,640 the tax will be limited to $494.32. Finally, where the combined taxable income is between $3,641 and $4,121 the tax will be limited to $494.32 plus 661% of combined taxable income over $3,640. The tax at $4,121 will be limited to $814.98. The 21% additional levy will not be added to the amounts calculated in accordance with the new ‘shading-in’ rates. The new ‘shading-in’ rates were designed to take into account the proposed tapered means test for age pension purposes.

Under the tapered means test, an aged person’s pension is reduced by 50 cents for each $1 by which his ‘means as assessed’ exceed the permitted amount, until no pension is payable when ‘means as assessed’ reaches $2,080 or, in the case of a married couple, when combined ‘means as assessed’ reaches $3,640. Although the highest shading-in’ rate is greater than the existing nine-twentieths rate, the amounts calculated to be payable as tax under the proposed graduated scales will, in every case, be lower than amounts calculated under the ninetwentieths rate. Although newcomers to the pension group due to the liberalised tapered means test will not participate in the pensioner medical service or other subsidiary fringe benefits, the application of this reduced taxation requirement together with the new pension provisions will, in a great many cases, exceed the value of such benefits had they alone been extended to these people. I emphasise that the ‘shading-in’ rates are used only to calculate a limitation on the tax that would otherwise be payable at normal rates. They are applied only to income in excess of the exemption levels and not, as ordinary rates of tax are, to the whole of the taxable income, they apply only when they result in a reduction in tax that would, without their application, otherwise be payable, I have spoken about the reduction in tax that will be available under the new age allowance provisions. In themselves, these reductions will do much to benefit aged members of the community. When one looks at the whole picture, however, it will be seen that in its various Budget measures the Government is providing significant assistance to elderly people, the proposed reductions in tax will increase the disposable income of elderly taxpayers by the amount of the tax forgone by the Commonwealth, over a wide range of incomes there will be further increases in disposable income from the proposed pension increases and tapering of the means test for pension purposes. I have prepared a table which sets out the total increases in disposable income from these measures, and, with the concurrence of honourable members, I will have this incorporated in Hansard.

Assessable income' is the gross income that is subject to tax, before allowance of deductions. 0 The taxable income shown is the amount that would remain after deducting from an assessable income equal to means as assessed - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. the appropriate concessional deduction for a spouse having regard to present and proposed pension levels and assuming the spouse has no income other than pension; and 1. assumed concessional deductions, other than for dependants, as follows - May I interpolate here to explain something for the benefit of the House and particularly for the member who will lead in this debate on behalf of the Opposition. Already the Prime Minister **(Mr Gorton)** has circulated three papers showing calculations made on the basis of weekly payments. Because most social service and welfare payments are based on the annual level, I thought it better to have these figures converted to annual figures rather than leave them as they were. So honourable members will find that these will be of great help to them in making comparisons with the past. Reference to this table will show how much the Government is doing in this field. For example, a single aged person with means as assessed in the form of a superannuation pension of $1,560 per annum will, assuming that concessional deductions of some $156 a year are allowable to him, gain an increase in total disposable income of $314.62. If he were married and had a superannuation pension of $3,120 per annum, against which were allowable a concessional deduction of $312 for his wife and other concessional deductions of $416, the increase in disposable income would be $334.28. At this stage, I do not think I need say more than this about the Government's proposals. They are important ones. In respects other than those I have mentioned the Bill follows the pattern of previous Bills declaring rates of tax. Technical features of it are explained in the explanatory memorandum which is being circulated. I commend the Bill to the House. {: .speaker-JAG} ##### Mr Crean: -- Can the Treasurer give any indication of what the loss of revenue will be by allowing these concessions? {: .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr MCMAHON: -- Yes, it is in the Budget Speech itself. I will let the honourable member know later, but I think he can take it that in a full year the loss due to the shading in provision will be $l9m and the loss due to the tapered means test will be about $42 m. I will check that. Debate (on motion by **Mr Crean)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 825 {:#debate-26} ### INCOME TAX (PARTNERSHIPS AND TRUSTS) BILL 1969 Bill presented by **Mr McMahon,** and read a first time. {:#subdebate-26-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-26-0-s0 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMAHON:
Treasurer · Lowe · LP -- I move: That the Bill be now read a second time. This Bill will declare the rates of Income tax on income of certain superannuation funds, trust estates and members of partnerships for the financial year 1969-70. These are special rates fixed for the purpose of legislation enacted in 1964 to counter certain types of tax avoidance arrangements. The Bill follows the same pattern as previous Bills declaring these rates, which are not being changed from those that applied for 1968-69 and earlier years. A rate of 50% is declared by the Bill in respect of the income of a trust estate, other than a deceased estate, to which no beneficiary is presently entitled and which is not taxed as if it were the income of one individual. The rate of 50% will also continue for the taxable income of a superannuation fund that is not exempt from tax. This rate does not, however, apply to the investment income of a superannuation fund that is subject to tax only because of the fund's failure to comply with the 30-20 rule concerning investments in public securities. in relation to income from a share in a partnership over which a person lacks, or is deemed to lack, real and effective control and disposal, a rate of further tax sufficient to bring the aggregate rate on the income up to 50% is declared by the Bill. This further tax has not in past years been payable by taxpayers who fall within the income tax age allowance provisions. For 1968-69 the further tax was not payable by an aged person whose taxable income did not exceed $1,532 or, where the married couple provisions applied, if the combined taxable income of the couple did not exceed $3,514. This exemption from further tax will be continued for 1969-70 but, consistently with the changes proposed by the Income Tax Bill 1969, the income levels I have mentioned are to be increased, for the current year, to $2,275 and $4,121 respectively. I commend the Bill to the House. Debate (on motion by **Mr Crean)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 825 {:#debate-27} ### INCOME TAX ASSESSMENT BILL (No. 2) 1969 Bill presented by **Mr McMahon,** and read a first time. {:#subdebate-27-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-27-0-s0 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMAHON:
Treasurer · Lowe · LP -- I move: That the Bill be now read a second time. This Bill has three major purposes. Two of them are associated with incentives provided through the income tax law for investment by Australian residents Lt companies searching for - and exploiting discoveries of - petroleum or other minerals in Australia, Papua or New Guinea. The other is to extend the scope of capital expenditure made by primary producers which is eligible for full deduction in the year in which the expenditure is incurred. In broad terms, it is proposed by the Bill to amend provisions of the income tax law - at present contained in sections 77a and 77aa of the Income Tax Assessment Act - to remove difficulties which now exist for companies whose activities extend to general prospecting and mining as well as to petroleum prospecting and mining. The incentives are also to be modified by the elimination of a feature which, in the Government's view, is resulting in unwarranted taxation benefits being obtained by people who, in general, cannot rightly be regarded as providing long term capital for mining companies. The incentive scheme relating to petroleum prospecting and mining was introduced in 1958. In 1962, a similar scheme was introduced in respect of general prospecting and mining. Under each of the schemes a company is able to declare to the Commissioner of Taxation that it will expend, or has expended, on prospecting or mining operations capital moneys raised from Australian residents. Subject to the Commissioner's being satisfied on these points, the persons subscribing the capital are entitled to income tax deductions for the amounts subscribed, but the company forgoes any deductions to which it is otherwise entitled for its own expenditure of the declared moneys on prospecting or mining operations. The two schemes are at present mutually exclusive. To take advantage of the petroleum scheme, a company's principal business must be prospecting or mining for petroleum. To take advantage of the general mining scheme, a company's principal business must be prospecting or mining for minerals other than petroleum. This means that an enterprise interested in both branches of the mining industry must conduct its petroleum operations and its general mining operations through separate companies if it is to enable subscribers of capital to receive the full benefit of taxation deductions available. Until recently, this need for separation has not caused any major difficulties. Of late, however, it has been found that an increasing number of enterprises wish to engage in the search for petroleum conjointly with other minerals, without conducting the two activities through separate companies. For this reason, the Government has decided to amalgamate the two schemes. It is therefore proposed by this Bill that, for capital subscribed after 30th June 1969, a company will be able to make a declaration to the Commissioner in respect of moneys expended, or to be expended, by it on both petroleum and general mining activities. Declared moneys actually spent by the company on petroleum operations will be offset against deductions otherwise allowable to it for expenditure on those operations and a corresponding adjustment will be made as regards declared moneys actually spent by the company on general mining activities. Whereas the existing provisions were due to expire on 30th June 1970, the proposed provision will not have a specified limitation on the period for which it will apply. The Bill also proposes that a declaration by a company shall not include moneys paid on redeemable shares, which are more in the nature of a repayable loan to the company than a contribution to its permanent capital. This is in harmony with the policy adopted last year when other provisions of the law authorising deductions for calls paid on mining shares were reviewed and amended. I turn now to the second major amendment proposed by the Bill. This amendment is designed to eliminate a feature of the mining investment incentives which, in the light of experience, the Government judges to be unnecessary. Provisions for tax deductions are being availed of by persons classed as 'share dealers', who then sell out to others who, in effect, supply the funds to finance exploration and development, but who do not receive any tax concession on their original payment. It is a general rule of the income tax law that an amount of expenditure is only deductible once. There are, however, some exceptions. One of these relates to capital subscriptions to petroleum exploration companies, which are deductible in full, and another to calls paid to mining and afforestation companies, which are deductible to the extent of one-third of the amount paid. A dealer in shares - that is, a person who, under longstanding principles of the income tax law, is taxable on profits made on share transactions and receives deductions for losses made - is not only entitled to the special deductions for capital subscribed to mining companies, but the same amount is also deductible in determining a taxable profit, or deductible loss, made on a sale of the shares. For capital subscriptions to petroleum exploration and mining companies, the amount deductible can be as much as 200% of the expenditure actually made. For calls to general mining or afforestation companies the amount deductible can be 133i% of the actual outlay. As announced in the Budget Speech, the Government has decided to amend the law so that the deduction available to share dealers cannot exceed the outlay actually made. By so doing, the provision of funds on a continuing basis will not be significantly affected; in fact one result will be a wider spread of new issues of mining shares among the Australian public. It is proposed that the amended law will apply in respect of expenditure incurred by a dealer after 12th August 1969 unless the shares on which the expenditure is made came into his ownership on or before that date, or after that date pursuant to an application lodged or an agreement made on or before that date. The final amendment contained in the Bill will give effect to the proposal mentioned in the Budget Speech to assist primary producers. It is proposed that the cost of certain structural improvements which is now deductible for income tax purposes by way of depreciation allowances over 5 years will be deductible in full in the year in which the expenditure is incurred. This amendment will apply to expenditure incurred in the 1969-70 income year and subsequent years on improvements made for conserving water or fodder, such as silos, hay sheds, and concrete tanks. Explanations of technical aspects of the Bill are contained in a comprehensive memorandum being made available to honourable members. I commend the Bill to the House. Debate (on motion by **Mr Crean)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 827 {:#debate-28} ### AUSTRALIAN-NEW ZEALAND CO-OPERATION IN DEFENCE SUPPLY {:#subdebate-28-0} #### Ministerial Statement {: #subdebate-28-0-s0 .speaker-KEN} ##### Mr FAIRHALL:
Minister for Defence · Paterson · LP -- by leave - I have to advise the House that the Australian and New Zealand Governments have decided to pursue common objectives in providing logistics support for their armed forces. A memorandum of understanding setting out these objectives has been agreed upon and will receive formal signature at an early date. Agreement has been reached to facilitate common defence and integrated military planning in the interests of the long term national security of both countries. This will involve sharing of defence supply oppor tunities and continuing economic cooperation between Australia and New Zealand. A considerable measure of standardisation of defence equipment has already been achieved by the defence forces of both countries, examples being the 7.62 mm rifle and Hercules and Orion aircraft Now that there is an agreed policy objective more concerted efforts will be made to achieve standardisation with consequent economic and military advantages. Arising from the decision to integrate and rationalise defence production to the maximum practicable extent, together with maximum reciprocity feasible in defence procurement, industry of both countries should benefit from the increased orders likely to be placed in the area. Regular meetings will be held between Australia and New Zealand Ministers and officials to discuss progress and to decide further action required to overcome difficulties and problems which may arise in achieving the objectives laid down. The agreed objectives represented a notable step forward in defence supply relationships between Australia and New Zealand and were mutually beneficial. {: .page-start } page 827 {:#debate-29} ### APPROPRIATION BILL (No. 1) 1969-70 In Committee Consideration resumed from 27 August (vide page 789). Second Schedule. Department of External Affairs Proposed expenditure, $71,002,000. {: #debate-29-s0 .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr DALY:
Grayndler -- -It is very rarely that I intervene in debates on external affairs, but 1 believe that a number of developments in more recent times have necessitated an exposition to the public of certain trends in Liberal Party thinking which, on external affairs, conveys a totally different impression to that which the Party has endeavoured to convey at all previous elections. Before I do so, however, along with other members of the Australian Labor Party, let me again express my opposition to Australia's military participation in the war in Vietnam. I believe that at this next election the people must be told more clearly than they have that the continued commitment of 8,000 troops in Vietnam, a full complement, whilst America is withdrawing troops by the thousand, is something that cannot be tolerated in all justice to the men who are called upon to fight there. The fact of the matter is that 50% of the forces are conscript Australian national servicemen. At this stage they have suffered tremendous casualties. To date 147 Australian national trainees have died in action and 951 have been wounded. Similarly with the Regular Forces, we find that there have been 194 fatally wounded and 1,268 nonfatal casualties. A total of 341 Australians have been killed already and 2,219 wounded. I do not know on what grounds this Government can continue not to make a pro rata withdrawal of Australian troops whilst the Americans are indicating that they will get out of that war as fast as they possibly can. The Minister for Defence **(Mr Fairhall)** recently said that there is no immediate threat to this country. We were given to understand that the whole approach to external affairs policy including defence in Vietnam was designed to protect this country. When we see the Government of the day embracing the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in the Indian Ocean, we must wonder whether the legs of Australians are not being pulled in regard to their safety and security in Vietnam. Today I express my opposition to the continued commitment of Australian troops in Vietnam, and I repeat the final paragraph of the Australian Labor Party's recently announced policy regarding the withdrawal of troops from Vietnam. It states: >On the Party becoming the Government it will take immediate action to notify the United States of America Government that all Australian armed forces will be withdrawn from Vietnam. I subscribe to that policy unreservedly, because I think one of the tragedies of our time is that Australian conscript boys should be fighting in a war in which I believe the security of this country is not involved. I want to look at a couple of other examples of the hypocrisy of the LiberalCountry Party Government on the question of Vietnam. My mind goes back to 21st August last, I think it was, when the Minister for External Affairs **(Mr Freeth)** made a statement to this Parliament regarding the changed attitude of the Government to Soviet interests in the Indian Ocean. He made a statement. He said in effect, that the Soviet would be somewhat welcome there and would be received in a co-operative way. We would be prepared to co-operate with the Soviet but, naturally we would not give way all the time. I will quote the Minister's words. He said, among other things: >The Australian Government has naturally - This is on the subject of the Indian Ocean and Soviet participation - kept these and related developments under observation. Australia has to be watchful, and need not panic whenever a Russian appears. This is a bit of a change from the views expressed by the Minister for Social Services **(Mr Wentworth)** and others at election time not so long ago. The Minister for External Affairs went on: >It has to avoid both facile gullibility and automatic rejection of opportunities for co-operation. I do not want to go further into the statement other than to say that when the statement was made all hell broke loose in various circles in this country. We found, for instance, that the Government's bedmates and running companions, the Australian Democratic Labor Party, have practically agreed to disown the Government on this question. We found that the Minister for Defence **(Mr Fairhall)** offered his resignation a few days later. He made the significant statement: 'On occasions, you know, one must make a liar out of himself to save a situation'. Everyone knew the views of the Minister for Defence on this matter. We had the amazing situation of a Country Party member who, instead of being bitterly anti-Communist or anti-Soviet, welcomed this new approach to co-operate with the Soviet. I think the member concerned here was 'the honourable member for Kennedy **(Mr Katter).** This attitude was not unusual for the Country Party because previously it had traded with but criticised the Soviet in days gone by. In addition to that we found that the statement by the Minister for External Affairs completely destroyed Liberal Party propaganda about the association of the Communist Party with members of the Labor Party on this side of the fence. In fact, I will show later that the statement has revolutionised the Liberal Party because Soviet diplomats are now even invited to Liberal Party branches to address members on foreign policy. This has occurred in regard to the selected and endorsed Liberal Party candidate for the seat of the Australian Capital Territory. Honourable members opposite should look at these things somewhat seriously. It was only a couple of elections ago that members on the other side of the Parliament said that Labor men were guilty by association when they marched in trade union rallies with .members of the Communist Party who were officials. The same situation applied if members of the Labor Party were seen at the Sydney Trades Hall or the Queensland Labor Council with a member of the Communist Party. If they happened to be alongside a Communist, Liberal propaganda on television, radio and in every other way put forth to the Australian public that the person concerned was a Communist. Why, even a distinguished member of this Parliament was treated in this way a few days ago because he had been seen talking to a Russian diplomat in Kings Hall. This episode produced a 7 or 8 years challenge in the courts to protect his name against the charge of being pro-Communist and other disloyal utterances of that kind. Consequently, who will now forgive quite easily the approach of the Liberal Party to these matters? Remember the debates in this Parliament on unity tickets when the Labor Party was supposed to be tied hand in glove with the Communist Party? This propaganda was used viciously, ruthlessly, and I might say shamelessly against the Labor Party to win political office. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- It is not true. {: .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr DALY: -- It is quite true because I was on the receiving end of it with others here. Why, your own propaganda at election time set out slogans such as: 'Look to Our Perilous North before You Vote'. This particular piece of propaganda went on to say: 'The defence and foreign policies of the Menzies Government are directed to that end.' This document further said: 'The purpose of these policies is to stop the southward march of Communism well away from our shores.' That is a long way since from sleeping in the Indian Ocean with the Soviet at this time. I just want to bring to the attention of the Parliament the full circle that this Government has travelled. I have in my posses- sion an advertisement which appeared in The Canberra Times' of 23rd August 1969. The advertisement states: >Liberal Party of Australia, Woden Valley Branch. Next Meeting. August 26th at 8 p.m. at the Woden Valley Club. The advertisement then states: >A guest speaker from the Soviet Embassy will talk on: 'Soviet-Australian Relationships'. The advertisement carries the name of S. Wilcox, President. A copy of 'The Canberra Times', which carried a report of the meeting under the heading 'Russian in Talk to Liberals', said: >We cannot expect that it would be possible to do anything in a few days or months. It will take time to consider and discuss', the third secretary at the Soviet Embassy in Canberra, **Mr Ekimenko,** said last night. > > **Mr Ekimenko** was addressing a Liberal Party meeting on Australia's attitude to Soviet proposals for collective security arrangements in Asia. > >Speaking at a meeting of the Woden Valley Branch of the Party, he said, 'Let us live in peace and try to do what we can do to prevent the next war and live, if not as good friends, at least as good neighbours. > > **Mr Ekimenko** arrived from Moscow 3 days ago- He hardly knew where Canberra was - to take up his new post in Canberra. **Mr Ekimenko** then went on to say: >We cannot consider and take too seriously into consideration our differences. Then, in the most important part of the report, the following comment was made: >While speaking **Mr Ekimenko** wore a badge carrying the words 'Liberal Party - Maher for MHR' that was handed to members by branch officers for distribution during the coming election campaign. > >Although the badge carried a picture of **Mr Maher,** the candidate, in asking a question, had to identify himself to **Mr Ekimenko.** The article went on to point out that **Mr Ekimenko** was 40 years of age and was living at the Embassy with his wife and daughter. I do not mind him being there. He is entitled to be where he likes. I am making no criticism of this Russian official. The people I criticise are those who sit on the other side of the House who charge Labor members, when they march in trade union rallies, with guilt by association. Now we go on. This is all interesting. Yesterday, the Minister for Supply **(Senator Anderson),** in answer to a question by a Labor Party senator about the Liberal meeting at Woden said: >I think it would in no way contradict the Liberal approach. He said this amid laughter from Labor senators. The Minister went on: >Liberal Party members are sometimes even seen with members of the Labor Party. The point I make is this: Is it not amazing that the Party that rode to office on guilt by association now embraces the Soviet even to inviting its members to their meetings? Of all things, the Government and the Soviet are real good buddies in the Indian Ocean. I do not know **Mr Maher** of Canberra but I think he must be in the left wing or the right wing of the Liberal Party. I could not see the honourable member for St George **(Mr Bosman)** being game enough to ask the Soviet Ambassador or anyone else from the Soviet Embassy to his electorate. When the matter was raised in this Parliament this morning by the right honourable member for Melbourne **(Mr Calwell)** the Prime Minister **(Mr Gorton)** said that he believed the diplomat had gone to the wrong meeting by mistake, ls the Prime Minister so ill-informed on national affairs that he did not know that the advertisement was inserted by the Liberal Party? Was the Prime Minister serious or was he trying to mislead the House when he said that no Soviet diplomat had been there? Are we to take the word of the Prime Minister on these matters? In answer to a question seriously put by the former leader of the Labor Party, the Prime Minister said that the man went to the wrong meeting when the evidence showed clearly that the gentleman was invited by the Liberal Party to address it. Probably it hoped to raise funds and assist in some way the campaign of the candidate for the ACT. I only mention this matter today to show that the propaganda against the Labor Party on unity tickets and other things has certainly been exploded by what has happened in the Woden Valley Branch of the Liberal Party and by the statement by the Minister for External Affairs. I make no criticism of what he is doing in that respect - it is probably a change from the old tory attitude - but I think that the Minister for Social Services must have some restless nights. I wonder what the honourable member for Chisholm **(Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes)** will do when he enters this chamber again. I wonder what the honourable member for Angas **(Mr Giles)** will do because he sees a red around the Parliamentary dining rooms and everywhere else. Now he is to be a bedmate with the Soviet, let us say. Far from being a threat to our security now, conveniently the Soviet - it has nothing to do with Vietnam or our boys dying there - must be welcomed in this country. The Russians are social buddies at meetings of the Liberal Party to add prestige to the Liberal candidate. They drink their vodka and their scotch and soda. I suppose they would take a cup of red wine with the Liberals as they drink at this rally. The Liberal smears seem to be dying. In foreign policy we now see a remarkable change. The kangaroo and the Russian bear are in close embrace on the high seas of the Indian Ocean. They dance to the tune of Tie My Kangaroo Down Sport'. This is how they are today. Does not this relationship show up the ridiculous way that the Liberals smeared Labor in regard to Communism and laid the charge of guilt by association? The smear was meant to be sheer, downright political propaganda irrespective of its effect on the Party concerned or the minds of the Australian people. If the Minister has done nothing else he has exploded the grounds of this criticism on the eve of an election. The foreign policy issue we will fight as we always have fought. At other times our attitude was destroyed by honourable members opposite for the reasons I have mentioned. This Party will defend this country, and will give expression to policies which will mean much to the people. Members of the public need be in no way alarmed, as the Liberals would have them alarmed, by the foreign policy of the Labor Party. I believe that the Minister has opened new avenues and new vistas for some members of his Party by this association with the Soviet in the Indian Ocean. I think he may also have stirred the possum amongst some Government supporters. He has certainly stirred many people in other places. I do not doubt that the Country Party will welcome the idea that its trading companion can now come reasonably close to our shores without being regarded as an enemy. I wonder whether sales of wheat had anything to do with this. Perhaps they did. This change of policy has led to a revolutionary change of attitude in the Parliament. Little did I believe I would ever see this Government, which has so bitterly wailed about the Labor Party's attitude to foreign affairs, not only extending the hand of friendship to the Soviet and welcoming it to our shores but also entertaining its officials at Liberal Party branches in the heart of the Australian Capital Territory. **Mr McLEAY** (Boothby) 12.56]- It is as well that it was the honourable member for Grayndler **(Mr Daly)** who raised this matter of the influence of Communism within the Australian Labor Party. If I or one of my colleagues on this side had raised the matter I suppose we would have been branded as Fascists or McCarthyists As far as the Australian public is concerned I do not think anything has changed over the years. You have only to listen to the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr Whitlam)** and such people as **Mr Harradine** from Tasmania talking about the Communist influence within the portals of the Labor Party to know whether there has been any change of attitude in that Party. I say there has not been any change. We came here to talk about foreign affairs. I would like to refer particularly to the statement made last week by the Minister for External Affairs **(Mr Freeth),** which was referred to briefly by the honourable member for Grayndler. The honourable member claimed that the Minister said that the Soviet was somewhat welcome. That claim simply is not true. The Minister did not say that. Let us get that straight for the record. A lot of publicity has been given to the Minister's statement. Most of this publicity has been, unfortunately, highly inaccurate. It was a good statement; a comprehensive statement. I was in the chamber and heard the Minister make it. I have since read it. It is a pity that many critics of the statement, including no doubt the honourable member for Grayndler, have not read the statement because nowhere in it did the Minister say anything to reflect any change in the Government's attitudes. The Government has not adopted a soft line on Communism - to the Russians, the Chinese or anybody else - as has been suggested in some sec tions of the Press. The Government has indicated an awareness of the external influences that may affect Australia in the future. It has said that we will look at all propositions, no matter which country puts them forward, but that Australia's first consideration must always be Australia's self interest. Surely every country must make judgments which are in this way materialistic. We have to do what suits us. The Russians do what suits them. All we have to remember is that the Russians are very much better at it than we are and that they play the game much harder. They play for keeps. If you want confirmation of this, ask the Hungarians, the Latvians, the Estonians, the Lithuanians, the Czechs and others. The misinterpretation of the Minister's statement suits the Labor Party because it shifts attention from Labor's obvious and severe shortcomings in the areas of foreign affairs and defence. We on this side believe the sincerity of Communists when they say that their aim is world domination. We believe that the struggles of so-called national liberation fronts organised from outside such countries as Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand are simply vehicles for Communist colonialism. The Labor Party does not believe that any man can be quite so devious. Unfortunately it does not understand that in Vietnam we are not fighting the North Vietnamese as a nation but an ideology. The attitudes of the Labor Party are based on the premise that there is no danger to Australia from Communism and that people under attack to our north will be just as well off under a Communist regime as under a non-Communist regime. The Labor Party says that the need for involvement does not exist and therefore we do not need for our defence all the items which the Government claims we need. I thought that the speech made in Victoria last Friday by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr Barnard)** illustrated clearly the official Labor mentality on these matters. It is interesting to note that the speech was made to the Fabian Society, where the honourable gentleman took great pains to emphasise that he and presumably all good Labor men are democratic Socialists. He used the expression six times in his speech. I have never heard him use it in this place. So perhaps we on this side can forget the word 'Labor' when we think of honourable members opposite and use instead the word 'Socialists', because that is what they are. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition described his speech as a 'crash policy' on defence. I have always thought that in this context the word 'crash' meant taking urgent and immediate steps to implement something. For example, a 'crash dive' is an expression describing the submerging of a submarine in an emergency. Surely a crash programme of defence means the immediate increase of defences by all sorts of urgent measures. I would have expected the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, when expounding on a crash programme of defence, to advocate universal national service. I would have expected him to advocate the immediate purchase of aircraft carriers, aircraft, tanks and other armaments. I would have thought that a crash policy on defence would mean a crash building programme - new camps, new bases, more airfields - in the manner enumerated a couple of nights ago toy the Minister for Defence **(Mr Fairhall).** Surely such a programme would include a crash training programme in all of the Services, even the appointment, for example, of British or American instructors. One day we may have to consider such appointments if we need a crash programme. These are the sorts of initiatives I would have expected the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to advocate. But he was dealing in Socialist dialectics. His crash defence policy is not a defence policy at all. It is just the opposite. He wants to dismantle our whole defence effort and to endanger our treaty arrangements with our allies. Let me tell honourable members what the honourable gentleman advocated. This is official Labor policy. A Labor government would tell the United States that Australia will withdraw its troops from Vietnam. A Labor government would discontinue the whole process of recruitment, and reinforcement of our forces in Vietnam would be suspended. A Labor government would immediately suspend call-ups for national service. This would mean that all conscripts already in the Army would not go to Vietnam. Labor would abolish immedi ately selective conscription and all conscripts in the Army would be released as soon as possible. A Labor government would work to return the entire task force from Vietnam within 6 months of election. After Vietnam the matter having highest priority would be negotiations for the return of military units stationed in Malaysia and Singapore. Labor would cancel or renegotiate with the United States the contract for the purchase of the Fill, notwithstanding that more than twothirds of this programme has already been paid for. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition was very, vague on the subject of an aircraft to replace the Fill. Labor would immediately sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and ratify it, knowing full well that such countries as France, Soviet Russia, the United States and Communist China, which already posses nuclear weapons, have not themselves ratified the Treaty. What Socialists are saying on this issue is something like this: 'We will not risk Australian involvement in the event of a global nuclear conflict. We are too small for that. Those taking part would almost certainly be sure to spare us if we show them we do not have any nuclear capability.' I think this is a craven, irresponsible attitude. Australia cannot afford to sit on the fence in this way. We believe that it is in our own interests to share the security of American preparedness. Any non-defence policy of the type spelt out by the Deputy Leader is a sellout, a surrender policy risking the freedom of future generations of Australia. Surely the whole basis of our security in a hostile world, which is growing smaller all the time, is the degree to which we can rely on the support of a powerful ally. To get something we must give something and in my mind that is what the ANZUS treaty and the Australian-American bases at Pine Gap and Woomera are all about. The existence of ANZUS and the locations of the installations in Australia make us part, in a demonstrable way, of the United States defence system. The Labor Socialist Opposition is determined to destroy it. The Australian Labor Party non-defence policy would return Australia to a similar state of unpreparedness that it endured prior to World War II. Any of my colleagues who served in World War II will know how ill prepared we were. I well remember serving in Papua and New Guinea in an artillery unit with artillery pieces that were manufactured in 1909. To say the least of it they were highly inaccurate and it was a case of hit or miss and of whether we hit our own troops or not. I never want to see Australia in this position again but if ever we are faced with the catastrophe of Labor forming a government and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition becoming Minister for External Affairs, Minister for Defence or something of equal importance, Australia will know what to expect - an early implementation of isolationism and gutless defeatism. {: #debate-29-s1 .speaker-JUX} ##### Mr MINOGUE:
West Sydney -- I intend to speak this afternoon on a subject on which I asked a question yesterday, namely, current events in Northern Ireland. I have just returned from Northern Ireland. During my visit I lunched with two members of the Parliament of Northern Ireland. Naturally, on my return to Australia, I sought information from the Government. I have been a member of Australian delegations at meetings of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and realise that the north of Ireland is a Commonwealth country. Strange to say, the Prime Minister **(Mr Gorton)** practically wiped his hands of the whole situation and said that it was the responsibility of the United Kingdom Government to take whatever action was necessary in Northern Ireland. However, the situation is serious. Men, women and children are affected. During the last 4 or 5 weeks eight persons have been shot. The people cannot get redress anywhere. I read in a copy of the 'New York Times' the day before yesterday that the British Prime Minister threatened that if the conduct of the people in Northern Ireland did not improve he would withdraw the subsidies that are now being paid by his Government to keep Stormont going. It is commonly reported, and not denied, that it is costing the British Government £120m annually to maintain Northern Ireland at present. This is a lot of money. People have condemned Miss Bernadette Devlin who was appointed recently to represent Northern Ireland in the British Parliament. They claim that she is not responsible for what she is saying in America at present about the conditions in Northern Ireland. One would naturally think that the Commonwealth Government would be able to supply information on happenings in Northern Ireland, even if it could not suggest a solution to the problem, but not one word has been said in this Parliament about the situation. The people of Australia do not know what is happening. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- The Government knows more about Russia. {: .speaker-JUX} ##### Mr MINOGUE: -- Government members delight in arguing the toss about Russia and Asian countries. Night and day this Parliament discusses - and, I suppose, rightly so, - the pros and cons of what is happening in those areas. When the Russians invaded Czechoslovakia honourable members in this Parliament voted unanimously to condemn Russia. In fact, I think the right honourable member for Melbourne **(Mr Calwell)** was the only member to support what was happening in Czechoslovakia. He said it was better to have the Russians take over than to have some other country do so. At present, when Irish people are suffering and dying, there is not one word from the members of this House who claim to be fighting for liberty, condemning or approving occurrences in Northern Ireland. It has been left to the people of Ireland to collect money to help, in some small way, to relieve the distress of SOO homeless families. The police force in Northern Ireland is about 9,000 in number. The police are supplied with firearms and with all the ammunition they need. They do not have to hand their weapons in at a barracks when their day's work is finished. Of the 1.5 million people in that country, half a million have no guns to enable them to put up a fight, yet we are told that they are the people who are causing all the trouble. A minister of religion, **Mr Paisley,** committed all the offences in the book and his own government had him sentenced to 4 months imprisonment. He appealed against the sentence and the very same government that committed him initially increased his penalty to 6 months. {: .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr Cope: -- You never know what the Protestants are going to do next. {: .speaker-JUX} ##### Mr MINOGUE: -- The honourable member might hear something about them here. **Mr Paisley** served his 6 months term and as soon as he was released from gaol he commenced his activities again - dressing up and leading the rebels in Northern Ireland. The book I have here states that at the head of the Government of Northern Ireland is a Governor appointed by Great Britain. Naturally the only government that can alter the situation is the Government at Westminster. The book also states: >He is advised by the Executive Committee of the Northern Ireland Privy Council, properly known as the Government. It consists of the Senate and the House of Commons. The Senate has two ex officio members, namely the Mayor of Londonderry and the Lord Mayor of Belfast. I represented Australia in Canada 3 years ago. During debates on Rhodesia and other countries, I directed attention to what was likely to happen in the north of Ireland. At that time the same sort of skirmish had started there and two people had been killed. This is happening every 3, 4, 5 or 6 months. If the Government of Great Britain allows this to continue, can we say that Northern Ireland has what we can call British' freedom? When I was in Canada I spoke to the head of the Senate of Northern Ireland and a nicer chap you could not meet. He said: 'I am a very sorry man that the division is as large as it is. I am the head of the Senate, but what can I do?' I said: 'How many senators do you have?' He said: 'I have twelve.' So a dozen people can make the laws and refuse absolutely to make any provision for the 500,000 people, mostly Catholics, who have no chance of getting a job or an education that is at all comparable with that given to others in general. In Sydney we have the Irish National Association. Young boys and girls, and old ones too, come there and tell us about the treatment they have received in the north of Ireland. I hope and trust that the people who talk so much about war will get the facts and will help in some way to solve the trouble in the north of Ireland. We in Australia are blessed with laws that protect us. No-one is shot during the night because he does not agree with the ruling people. But apparently it is quite all right for those who are living in the north of Ireland to be treated in this way. Police have been sacked for firing shots into homes and killing people, including young boys, in their beds at night time. I was in the north of Ireland for 2 days and I saw this trouble. We are now accused of being Sinn Feiners. We are accused of getting money from Castro and from everybody under the rising sun. But the money we should be sharing is the money that the British Government pays into Stormont Castle. That, as I said before, is more than £100m a year. If that money is poured into the north of Ireland only to buy guns and ammunition to shoot defenceless people, I should like to know what the Labour Government in Great Britain is doing. The man who pays the piper usually calls the tune, and I would expect the Wilson Government to call the tune now, to take over and to see that the wrongs are righted. One member of the United Kingdom Parliament is in America now and the other side is sending three men to New York to try to prevent her from collecting money there to support the people in the north of Ireland. She is trying to raise money to place people in homes and to place them in hospitals. At present if they go into a hospital, other than the hospital they know will treat them properly, they are likely to be gaoled. Many people have been treated in that way. We have opened an organisation in Sydney to collect money for this good cause. Whether the money comes from Irish, English or Scots people, it will not be knocked back. People who see that their duty is to help and protect those who are being mercilessly shot by the English Government {: #debate-29-s2 .speaker-KIH} ##### The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock:
LYNE, NEW SOUTH WALES -- Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: #debate-29-s3 .speaker-KB8} ##### Mr GILES:
Angas -- I deeply regret having to take time from the honourable member for West Sydney **(Mr Minogue).** I think he was just getting into full stride. As someone who wears the second name of O'Halloran and who belongs to a family that came from Northern Ireland many generations ago, I found myself very interested in the honourable member's remarks. But perhaps in this debate we should be thinking of Australia's interests in foreign affairs, no matter how informative the honourable member's remarks were. I cannot remember a more fascinating occasion on which to debate foreign affairs than this occasion. The honourable member for Fremantle **(Mr Beazley)** has dealt with the history of Russian interference going back to Czarist days and we have had the honourable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr Clyde Cameron)** performing in a highly unusual fashion in relation to the Indian Ocean. AH of this arose because of two references made by the Minister for External Affairs **(Mr Freeth),** who is now at the table. Those references sum up my attitude to affairs, as I see them, and furthermore represent extraordinarily little change, if any, in the policy of the Government. The honourable member for Grayndler **(Mr Daly)** made a great song and dance in his inimitable fashion, to the amusement of all. It all boils down to the fact that the Liberal Party, whether at branch level or at any other level, is a Party that is open minded enough to ask all sorts of people along to talk to it This has always been the attitude of members of the Liberal Party; there is no change. I recently had to suffer the indignity of listening to a man called Eric Butler at one of my branches and I have listened to another man of the same colour called Edward Rock. The Liberal branches have always acted in this way and I would hope that the branches of any political party, with the possible exception of one, would be open minded enough to hear the views of anyone who had something interesting and worthwhile to say. Of course, this is just what the honourable member for Grayndler **(Mr Daly)** succeeded in saying this afternoon and it is just what does not happen. I have no doubt, in that highly traditionalistic, historically dead Labor Party electorate called Wills because, let us face it, we get the following gems coming good every now and again. I think back to that most respected Leader of the Australian Labor Party in this Parliament, the late **Dr Evatt.** From memory, it was 21 years ago that he said that if Australia did so much as introduce a company - a small battalion - of soldiers into Malaysia within a short period of time Australia's name would be blackguarded and would be mud amongst the nations of Asia. Now that has happened? Over the 21 years the reputation and the popularity, if you like, of the Australian nation has risen higher and higher in these areas. What do we find the Opposition saying now? It is saying precisely the same thing today as **Dr Evatt** was saying 21 years ago. It is still historically bogged down in its own trade union background which relates back to the 1930s. I am not being critical of the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith **(Mr Curtin)** - I know how proud he is of it - but there is a point of time at which one has to accept change, and one has to accept the fact that nations change, that nations think, and that nations have different attitudes from one year to the next and, indeed, from one decade to the next. It is this ability, particularly of the Minister for External Affairs **(Mr Freeth)** to perceive different attitudes, to perceive changes and to guide the Government's thinking in the field of foreign affairs that is of very great importance to this nation at this time. In passing - and I hope I will not need to get back to it - I congratulate the Minister on a profound statement of real worth based on reality, not based on hypothetical nonsense and on unreality as regards the attitudes of other nations to Australia, but based on what other countries, to my knowledge, are thinking about Australia today. It is based on attitudes that we must adopt as members of the Parliament of Australia, not of Northern Ireland and views that represent the interests of this nation first and foremost. It is a truism to say that as long as foreign affairs represent the totality of protection of the national interest the means of protection are the defence forces. I would like, if I might be allowed because of the close connection between those two points, to touch on the remarks made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr Barnard)** a little while ago - I think it was the week before last - not to the Victorian Executive of the Australian Labor Party, although it would have been fascinated by what he had to say, no doubt, but to the Fabian Society of Victoria. In this document there are phrases that are qualified and therefore the ones I intend to quote may not be in perspective with the entire speech, but these are things he had to say. For instance, he said with regard to Vietnam: >The basic policy decision is perfectly clear. The first act of the Labor Government will be to tell the American Government that Australia will withdraw its troops from Vietnam. It does not aim to do this when a period for negotiation has been reached. It does not aim to do this on any judgment of the military position. It does not aim to do this after taking into account the safety of our allies 'and other forces in the area. It just makes the pointblank statement that when the tour of duty of the three battalions in South East Asia is over these tours of duty will not be repeated no matter what the strategic situation is and no matter what the position is as regards the safety of our allies. This, in my view, is a dreadful repudiation of Australian obligations - indeed agreements in one or two cases - by the Opposition if the Deputy Leader of the Opposition presents its viewpoint. One can with profit go further and further in this speech, which I have not time to do in an estimates debate, but one or two gems might be worth following up. On page 17 of this document we get more of the lovely Utopian language of the Fabian Society of Australia: >We have now reached an almost Utopian situation where a Labor government has withdrawn completely from Vietnam, negotiated a satisfactory disengagement from Malaysia . . . 1 would like to stop there and take up the next point. If we are to adopt the highly irresponsible measures put forward by the Opposition and pull battalions out of Vietnam and, indeed, out of Malaysia and Singapore, what then is the Opposition's attitude - I would like this question answered by some subsequent speaker - to the increase in Russian activity in the Indian Ocean? Does it or does it not take into account the fact that if we did not show any interest in that area by some small demonstrable and recognisable force the Russians therefore would be quite welcome guests of the governments of Singapore and Malaysia. Has the honourable member for Fremantle indeed forgotten what Lee Kuan Yew told him many years ago when he was in the area, because it seems that it is a point that is extraordinarily applicable to the current situation? There are very vast differences today between the policy of the Government and the policy of the Australian Labor Party. Many of these I heard very well set out the other night on the programme 'Four Corners' by the Minister for External Affairs. But in general terms, as I understand the paper produced by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, it represents a denial of our proper responsibilities and obligations to a minor degree under the ANZUS treaty, to a slightly more marked degree under the SEATO treaty and to the interests of Australia. The Labor Party's refusal to have anything to do with national service is to the complete detriment of our ability to mount any sort of a defence structure in the future. It aims to pull out and go against agreements only recently entered into between ourselves and the governments of Singapore and Malaysia as regards our presence there. It aims to pull out of Vietnam with complete disregard for the interests of that highly patriotic section of the Vietnamese people who have been valiantly fighting a war for many years now and suffering far greater casualties than the Americans, the Australians, the Thais, the Filipinos or any other allies there. I think sometimes that there is another aspect to this. What is Parliament coming to today when we hear from one side of the Parliament, from a party which represents an alternative government of the Australian nation, a vast tirade of sympathy and admiration for John Zarb? I do not deny that there are some- reasons why one could consider, according to one's beliefs, this to be justifiable, but at the same time we have not heard - or I have not heard - one mention of Warrant Officer Simpson, V.C., a man whose name will go down in the history of this nation as having that rare honour and having the courage to risk his life not once but on many, many occasions; a dedicated Australian, an instructor - or whatever they call them these days - who goes out with Vietnamese troops, helps them, trains them, brings back their dead and looks after their wounded with complete disregard for his own life. This man deserves the congratulations, support and encouragement of the Australian nation because he represents the finest of Australian character today. I do not know him but I have no doubt that having been given a V.C. he is a man with extraordinary disregard for his own personal interest and safety. I am suggesting to the Opposition today that we need more people like this man in Australia. We need more people who are prepared to look at considerations other than the safety of their own skins. I am suggesting to the Opposition today that, no matter how John Zarb is motivated regarding his own principles, he is fundamentally still thinking of his own skin whereas Warrant Officer Simpson has been showing complete disregard for the safety of his own skin. I hope that members on both sides of the Committee today will support exactly what I have had to say along those lines. I return, if I may, to where I started. Let me say this: I look with a great deal of horror on the statement made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. 1 regard this statement in many ways as being a sellout of Australia's interests. 1 do not believe that those members of the Opposition who have had the chance to study this speech will give it uniform support. I do not think the speech will attract uniform support within the Opposition Party. I hope that I shall hear from honourable members opposite some disagreement with some of the principles stated in that speech. The only thing left for me to do is to congratulate the Minister for External Affairs again on what I regard as a noteworthy statement on foreign affairs and one with which I find myself in complete agreement. {: #debate-29-s4 .speaker-YF4} ##### Mr CROSS:
Brisbane -- 1 have followed this debate with some interest this afternoon. I went to the notes kept on our Whip's table a few moments ago just to check whether in point of fact we were not debating matters relating to external affairs and defence conjointly because a great amount of the time in this debate has been devoted by Government speakers, not the least of whom was the honourable member for Angas **(Mr Giles)** who has just resumed his seat, to matters that were outside the field of external affairs. The honourable member for Angas made much of the fact that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr Barnard)** had spoken to a meeting of the Fabian Society in Victoria. He referred to the philosophy of the Fabian Society. We on this side of the Committee are not ashamed of the Fabian Socialist principle, a principle of gradualism which has motivated the British Labor Government, the Socialist administrations in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries and this Party throughout its existence. The whole idea of Fabian Socialism is that it is democratic Socialism, lt is Socialism carried out through the ballot box. Wc members of the Australian Labor Party, which is the Opposition Party at this point in time, will not run away from those principles on which our party was founded. I wish to deal with some of the other matters that were introduced into this debate by the honourable member for Angas. He suggested that the speech made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition would not receive uniform support from members on this side of the Committee. 1 think this statement comes rather strange from a supporter of the Government, because, when I was listening to the Minister for External Affairs **(Mr Freeth)** make his speech on foreign affairs the other night, I saw a variety of expressions on the faces of various members of the Government side, members of the Liberal Party and the coalition partner, the Country Party. I would think that this is rather an unfortunate expression for the honourable member for Angas to use at this time when obviously there is so much disagreement, so much discontent and so much disillusionment on the Government side of the Parliament as a result of the speech made by the Minister for External Affairs. I feel that the Minister for External Affairs spelt out some very commonsense criteria in his speech. The basic fact of foreign affairs in recent times is that the United States of America, like the Soviet Union, has come to learn the limitations of its power. We no longer have these powers trying to play a dominant role throughout the world. They realise that there is a great future in co-operation and that competition and opposition are not the way ahead. These lead only to increased armaments. They could lead at some time in the future to confrontation and perhaps nuclear confrontation, which would be disastrous to all of the people of the world. Britain learnt the limitations of her power after the Second World War when the Government at the time under **Mr Attlee** found itself unable to handle the situation that existed then in Greece and in Turkey and called for the assistance of the United States. So, we had the Truman doctrine. Now we are living in the age of the Nixon doctrine. The statement made by the Minister for External Affairs was in many ways a realistic appraisal of Australian foreign policy in the light of these changed circumstances. Today we are debating the estimates of the Department of External Affairs which will give effect to the policy spelt out by the Minister. Before I get on to the estimates, I wish to say that I am not heaping praise on all aspects of what the Minister said in his statement. I would have liked the Minister to spell out more carefully and in greater detail the attitude of the Government to what is going on in Laos at the present time. It does seem that the position in Laos is deteriorating. It would have been interesting to know just what the views of the Government are and, indeed, just what the Government proposes to do, if anything, about the situation that exists there. The estimates for the Department of External Affairs show an increase from actual expenditure in 1968-69 of $64,400,334 to an appropriation this financial year of $71,002,000. This means, in round figures, an increased vote of $6.5m. When one studies the Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1969-70 to find out where this increased appropriation will go, one finds that the appropriation for 'Salaries and payments in the nature of salaries' has increased by approximately $300,000. For the purposes of my argument I am using round figures. One finds that the appropriation for 'Overseas Service' has been increased by approximately $600,000. This means that most of the increases have taken place in other appropriations in the divisions relating to the Department of External Affairs. The appropriation for Cultural Relations Overseas' has been increased by $80,000. The appropriation for the International Labour Organisation has increased by $50,000. The appropriation for the United Nations has risen by $70,000. The appropriation under the heading Colombo Plan - Economic Development*, is increased by $1.5m. An increase of $2. 65m has taken place in the appropriation for the 'Colombo Plan - Technical assistance - Experts and equipment'. The appropriation for the 'South Pacific Aid Programme' has increased by $80,000. An additional $300,000, approximately, has been appropriated for the 'United Nations Development Programme*. These increases reflect a change in emphasis. We on this side of the Committee are quite happy to see these changes taking place. For my part, I would have preferred to see a larger increase in the amount made available for the South Pacific Aid Programme because I do believe that Australia must play a much greater role in Pacific affairs in the future than it has in the past. I am not saying that the aid that we have given to India and other nations is not valuable. But, indeed, we all recognise that with the huge population, the enormous economic problems and the administrative problems that exist in India it is very difficult for Australia to play a decisive role. In the Pacific, where the problems are different, the distances are great and the populations are small - although some countries in this region are overpopulated because of the extremely small size of the islands - Australia does have a very great capacity to play a decisive role. I feel that, notwithstanding the commitments that we have cheerfully assumed to assist people in Asia and in Africa who are less fortunate, we should place a higher emphasis on the Pacific than we have done in the immediate past. Another section of the estimates to which I wish to refer relates to Division 250 - Administrative. I refer to the item 'Colombo Plan - Special Aid to Indonesia'. The appropriation for the financial year 1969-70 is $7,365,000 as against an expenditure in 1968-69 of $5,916,214. 1 would be interested to learn from the Minister why SI. 5m of the amount that was appropriated for special aid to Indonesia was unexpended in that vote last year and also why the increase in this amount this year from the appropriation last year is so small. It seems to me that, when we look at these other great nations and realise that much of what has happened has been brought about by the fact that they are spelling out priorities, surely Indonesia should have a very high priority with Australia at this present time. When I consider the amount of money spent in other fields and the fact that our special assistance to Indonesia is just over $7m it seems to me that this amount is very small indeed. I realise that there would be other votes under which assistance is given to Indonesia, but this is the area where we should be doing more than we are doing now. The development of democracy in Indonesia, the solution of its economic problems and the continuance of friendly relations in the difficult circumstances in which that Government has been placed in recent times should surely have the highest possible priority with the Australian Government. I believe that a Labor government, if elected later this year, would ensure that relations with Indonesia and indeed with all nations close to Australia are nurtured in the way in which they should be. There are a couple of other matters I want to raise concerning the Estimates. One of them arises out of a visit I was privileged to make with a parliamentary delegation to South East Asia some time ago. At every place that delegation visited, including universities and teachers' colleges, one of the things I looked for was the library and in particular the books available on Australia in those libraries. It is very important for young people who are learning English in teachers' colleges, high schools and universities in South East Asia to have in their libraries up to date information about Australia - what we stand for, what we believe in, what we have achieved, the way in which our democratic system of government works, and the like. I was somewhat disturbed to find that in many of those teachers' colleges, including some that had received assistance from Australia, the information in the libraries relating to Australia was meagre. {: type="A" start="I"} 0. can recall going to the library at the teachers' training college in Sabah and finding there about a dozen books on Australia. From memory, there was a 1936 Australian 'Year Book', a copy of 'Cobbers', and an Ion L. Idriess book published in the 1930s and nothing of any significance as far as Australian books were concerned. I was told at that time that the system was that Australia made grants to those institutions that asked for a grant. 1 know that the University of Singapore and the University of Malaysia at Kuala Lumpur have received very extensive gifts of books through Department of External Affairs on behalf of the Government and the people of Australia. But these library facilities are available only to those people who can get to the tertiary level of education in those places. It is not good enough to allow many of the schools to remain without up-to-date information on Australia. Some schools perhaps do not realise that facilities exist for them to obtain on request a gift of books on Australia. I believe that the Department of External Affairs should undertake a programme to ensure that all schools, teachers' colleges and universities throughout South East Asia where young people are taught English have available up-to-date information on Austrafia. Anyone who has learnt a foreign language knows that the people who are really going places arc those who are looking around for other books to read. I suggest that the present system is not fair to our own officers and it is not as efficient as it might be. It seems that with the very large amounts of money we are spending, with the increased appropriations for cultural activities and the like, this is one field in which the Department of External Affairs could play a very fruitful role in developing goodwill1 with the young and better educated, who are the potential leaders of these countries, insofar as their attitude towards Australia might be concerned. I join my colleague, the honourable member for West Sydney **(Mr Minogue)** in the hope that the Westminster Government and the Northern Ireland Government will resolve the problems existing in Northern Ireland fairly and equitably. I must say that it came rather as a shock to me - and I suppose I can be accused of being isolated from information about that part of the world - to know that a system of unfair discrimination against Catholic residents of Northern Ireland still exists after almost half a century. I am pleased to see that the Wilson Labor Government - and perhaps some people might say this action is belated - is taking some action. It is obvious that since 1922 most governments of a conservative political complexion in the United Kingdom have been prepared to allow this festering sore to exist in the fair land of Ireland. I know that the honourable member for West Sydney, who has supported many causes in his long term in the Parliament, has always nurtured a great affection for the land of his birth and it gives me some satisfaction to be able to support him in this modest way this afternoon. In conclusion I want to say briefly that members on the Government side have today, as they have in the past and doubtless will during the remainder of this debate, stood up and suggested that the Labor Party, if it gained the Treasury benches, would be a danger to Australia in matters of defence and external affairs policies. On behalf of the Labor Party I repudiate any such suggestion. The Labor Party would be just as zealous, just as keen, and indeed I would say more zealous, more keen and more energetic in pursuing the interests of Australia in this part of the world. Australia is a small power. In earlier days **Dr Evatt** used to refer to Australia as a middle power. We have a role to play in our part of the world and under the leadership of the Australian Labor Party Australia would play that role proudly and in keeping with the best democratic traditions for which our troops fought in two world wars. {: #debate-29-s5 .speaker-JMC} ##### Mr ARTHUR:
Barton -- Several speeches have been made by honourable members on the Opposition side today but there are only two about which I want to comment. We heard a speech by the honourable member for Grayndler **(Mr Daly).** I do not think he has any trouble in writing or preparing his speeches because he seems to give the same speech time and again, with alterations according to the circumstances, whether the speech is on social services, defence or external affairs. {: .speaker-KSB} ##### Mr McLeay: -- It is like a long playing record. {: .speaker-JMC} ##### Mr ARTHUR: -- It is like an LP record, as my honourable friend says. A common feature of all the speeches made by the honourable member for Grayndler is that while he purports to be speaking about Liberal Party policy the things that he speaks about, as in this instance, are in fact very far from our policy. In fact his speech today was such a travesty of our policy that I do not think I need waste time in answering it. No so with the honourable member for Brisbane **(Mr Cross),** who is a very gentle man at heart. Because of this one always hesitates to be critical of him. The honourable member for Brisbane has found out to his amazement that defence has some connection with external affairs. I have always thought that external affairs and defence were very much connected with one another. However, I can understand the honourable member's confusion on this point because the policy of the Labor Party on defence would have to be administered by the Minister for the Interior as it is a craven policy of withdrawal into Australia and isolationism, a policy to which I cannot subscribe. As I said, the honourable member for Brisbane is a gentleman and he is a very honest person because he has said that the statement of the Minister for External Affairs **(Mr Freeth)** - and I think that I am quoting him accurately - was a realistic appraisal of the position of Australia in the world today. I thank him for that statement. He should get together with the honourable member for Grayndler who said very much the opposite thing and in quite definite terms. But this difference is typical of Labor Party thinking, with the right and left wings pulling in opposite directions and both dictated to by an outside body which was not elected by the people. It is a sad state of affairs but one that we must recognise. I want to refer to something that has not been referred to in this debate by any other speaker, and that is that this week is the anniversary of the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Soviet Russia and the Warsaw Pact countries. This attack by Soviet Russia on one of the members of their so-called family of the Eastern bloc is something that should be mentioned at this time in this House because this week celebrates another year of suppression and brutality. It has been a tragic year for Czechoslovakia which was once the model of democracy in Europe. I think it has been a year that is typical of the years since the brutal take-over of Czechoslovakia by the Russians over a decade ago. There has been a continuous history of murder, terror and brutality. The world should remember these events, particularly at this first anniversary of the invasion. I know that the sympathy of Australia goes out to the Czechs and I know that Australians still reject the reasons given by the leaders of Soviet Russia for this invasion. This same Soviet Russia has been aiding the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese to prolong the war in South Vietnam. This is the same Soviet Russia which still has as its avowed aim the ultimate conquest of the free nations of the world. Russia of late bas been trying to penetrate South East Asia. Its avowed aim is to contain the expansion of Communist China in Asia and to encourage mutual defence pacts in this area. The Australian Government has said - and said this only - that it is prepared to have a close look at any proposals that the Russians want to put up. It has said nothing more. It has not expressed sympathy with any proposals that the Russians are likely to put up in the future or have put up in the past. It has only said that it is quite willing to examine proposals put up by Russia or anybody else with regard to South East Asia. The Australian Government is well aware of the history of Soviet Union in world affairs. lt will naturally take all these things into consideration when looking at any proposals from that country. As Australia is a part of this area, the Government naturally wants to know what Russia's proposals are. The only way in which it can do this is to have a look at any of the proposals that are put forward. The Australian Government likewise is aware that the Indian Ocean has assumed enormous strategic importance. Since the Suez Canal has become, in effect, a Communist dominated canal it will never again, in my opinion, be used freely by the world's shipping. Communist influence has moved right down to the Zambesi River in Africa, and the Communists, whether they be Chinese or Russian, have penetrated Africa and have become an influence in all those countries. Since India has been offering the Communists the use of naval bases in that country, and since Britain has projected that it will shortly withdraw from Singapore, there is only one large naval base in existence today between Britain and Australia - that is at Simonstown. It is very easy to see what the Communist strategy has been in Africa. It is an old, old saying, uttered not only by Communists but by every world strategist who has talked about war, that if you can cut off your enemy you have in effect conquered him. This has made the Indian Ocean one of the most strategic areas in the Southern Hemisphere. I believe that there is need for a Southern Hemisphere defence pact. We have talked a lot about Asian defence pacts, and 1 am all in favour of them, but I believe it would be a very positive and vital thing for Australia if we could examine the possibility of having a defence pact with southern Africa - with countries south of the Zambesi River - some Asian countries, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile and Brazil. This- is something the Government could examine, and doubtless it has thought about it. I repeat that the Australian Government is very much aware of the dangers of Soviet and Chinese Communist expansion in this world, and it has said that it is prepared to investigate thoroughly any suggestion that is put forward by any country that will affect the region in which we are very much involved. I believe that there is also one other thing that the Australian Government is very much aware of. One of the dangers of Soviet Russia becoming an influence in the Asian area is that one day it will possibly once again become friendly with China. The dispute it has with China at present might be cleared up. If Russia were a force in the Indian Ocean area and there was once again a coming together of these two great Communist countries there would be a fearsome future for Australia. At the moment this seems to be a remote possibility. But the Government has shown in the past that it has the ability to look into the future when it is deciding its foreign policy. I have no doubt that the Government will continue to look into the future when it is considering proposals put forward by the Russians, if it ever gets proposals from the Russians. My personal position is very clear. I support the Government. I have faith in the Government, the Minister for External Affairs and the Prime Minister **(Mr Gorton).** I have been in these Communist countries. I have worked with the underground of one of them and I have shared in a very real way physically and emotionally the terror, the fears, the drabness and the sadness of these faces. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- Which side were you on? {: .speaker-JMC} ##### Mr ARTHUR: -- I was not on your side. I have felt the marked power of the ruthless Communist system. I do not trust the Communists, be they Chinese or Russian. I know that the Government is aware of these things and I know that it will conduct its affairs with full cognisance of them. My final comment is that I would much rather have the future of this country in the hands of the Prime Minister, the Minister for External Affairs and our Government than in the hands of an outside body which is influenced by Communist trade union bodies which decide the policy of the Australian Labor Party in this Parliament. This is what happens in the Australian Labor Party in this day and age. Its policy is decided every 2 years by its Federal Conference, the bulk of which is not elected by the people. A member of its Party who was a delegate to its last Federal Conference stated that many of its people are under Communist influence. I believe that this is the alternative offered to the Australian people, and I believe that when they realty understand what was said by the Minister for External Affairs and what was meant by the Government they will fully support the Government. {: #debate-29-s6 .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr BRYANT:
Wills -- If it were not for the love and affection that I have for everybody I would be rather indignant at the speech that has just been made by the honourable member for Barton **(Mr Arthur).** First of all, his knowledge of the Australian Labor Party is monumental in many ways in its ignorance. His understanding of Australia's foreign policy and his own philosophy seem to be way out. We have just heard him say that his heart bled - indeed I am with him in this - for the people who were under oppression in eastern Europe. But at the same time he is taking to his bosom the South African Government, the Government of Argentina and the Government of Brazil. Of course, all these governments are notable contributors to democratic thought. It is interesting that when anything occurs in foreign affairs and honourable members opposite have to look for friends, they look for people who are in fact under the control of Fascist governments, military dictatorships, racists and everything else you can say against them. {: .speaker-KSB} ##### Mr McLeay: -- What side are you on? {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr BRYANT: -- I will tell you in a moment if you cannot sit still long enough. If you cannot fully understand what I am saying, I will send it to you by post. The facts are that honourable members opposite always look for the most mischievous, reactionary and Fascist-type governments with which to co-operate. I am one of those who have no sympathy with the Russian Government. Sometimes the Russians are on the side of the angels, but not very often. They were between 1942 and 1945. Most of the time since then they have not been, and that applies to most governments in the world, including this one. The honourable member for Barton referred to our craven policy of withdrawal. This afternoon we have not time to debate military policy, although I agree with him that it is bound up very closely with external affairs. What does he mean by such terms? What does he mean by putting troops somewhere beyond the blue horizon and beyond our possible support? I only say in this brief context on that issue that anybody with any memory of the Second World War and what happened to Australian forces who were isolated beyond support from the home front will realise that what the Government is doing today is the greatest possible strategic folly and is an act of irresponsibility beyond belief. Have honourable members opposite no sense of history? Can they not read? Can they not remember? They talk about Fortress Australia but not about Fortress Japan, Fortress India, Fortress Ireland or Fortress Mexico. There are dozens of countries who do not send troops all over the world. For the past 12 to 15 years we have always been right and this Government has been wrong. Vietnam is a classical example. The honourable member for Boothby **(Mr McLeay)** is laughing to himself. Let him go and talk to the President of the United States of America, who has awakened to the fact that the Government is wrong. And let him talk to most people in Australia. They will tell him that the Government is wrong about Vietnam. Yet Government supporters sit here and keep young men of their own political persuasion and military age on their side of the House instead of sending them to gaol or to Vietnam because in relation to politics and foreign affairs this is a Government of no principle. It is completely cliche struck. The whole of Australia's foreign policy over the last 20 years has been a collection of myths and legends. We are always talking about how weak we are; how much we need other people's help. This is true enough. We need friendships and we need allies. We need all such arrangements. But the Government has developed a national inferiority complex as part of its foreign policy. One might say that the Government is an apron skirtist in foreign policy. When somebody round about is belligerent and wrong, the Government will be with that person all the way. When the Americans are belligerent and wrong in Vietnam, the Government is with them all the way. About 10 or 12 years ago when the British were belligerent and wrong in Suez, the Government was with them all the way. Of course, there is another mystique - our dangerous neighbours. This has flowed through Australian history. We have always had terribly dangerous neighbours, but the Government is very careful never to specify who they are. I am reminded of what Anthony Trollope had to write back in 1870. He said: >I was much surprised at the fortifications of Sydney Harbour. Then he spelt them out and continued: {: type="i" start="1"} 0. . armed, or to be armed, to the teeth with numerous guns - four, five or six at each point - Armstrong guns, rifled guns, guns of 18 tons weight . . . Further on be said: >There was a boom to be placed across the harbour, and a whole world of torpedoes ready to be sunk beneath the water, all of which were prepared and ready for use in a hour or two. It was explained to me that 'they' could not possibly get across the trenches, or break the boom, or escape the torpedoes, or live for an hour beneath the blaze of the guns. 'They' would not have a chance to get at Sydney. There was much martial ardour, and a very general opinion that they' would have the worst of it. For a time I could not gather who 'they' were to be. At that time in 1870 it happened to be the Americans. The period was a little later than the time of the American Civil War. Of course, we have always got these difficult and dangerous neighbours. Who does the Government mean? Does it mean Indonesia? I believe that Indonesia has been eccentric to the point of a grievous error in West Irian, in its confrontation with Malaysia. But is there anybody who seriously suspects that Indonesia has the capacity to assault us in the way of which the honourable member for Barton would speak? Of course, the Minister for External Affairs **(Mr Freeth)** does not talk like that any more, and neither does the Prime Minister **(Mr Gorton),** because people who can read can see that it is not true. Does the Government mean Singapore or Malaysia or Cambodia or the Philippines or Thailand or South Vietnam? {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- Or Timor? {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr BRYANT: -- Or Timor, as my friend, the honourable member for Hindmarsh points out? Then, of course, there is another element in the Government's foreign policy. The policy is riddled with generalities, and the Government never gets down to an effective analysis. Another matter is the China neurosis. Of course the honourable member for Barton has a Russian neurosis. Now the Russian Government is as bad as any other government. Of course it has ships floating all over the Indian Ocean, and this is a terrible thing. Of course, one of the odd things about navies is that they do sail across seas. Now we have a new concept coming into the picture - the tremendously important and strategic area of the Indian Ocean. It ought to be important because it takes up about one-fifth of the world's surface. There are only three areas of ocean in the southern hemisphere - the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. I suppose that they are all important, strategically. But if one talks like this, of course, one can end up by being close and bosom friends of the people of South Africa. The next proposition of Government supporters concerns the downward thrust of Communism. We all know that Communism has a militant political philosophy, but it has not been terribly effective in seeping across borders. Then there is the last proposition which I think is particularly mischievous - the idea of an Australian presence; that being dinkum, one might say, means diggers; that Australia cannot be around anywhere, that it cannot be effective anywhere unless it bases troops on the ground. This is an outmoded militaristic philosophy which cannot be sustained any longer. I believe that the time has come for us to exercise, not the power that we could exercise through our military strength, which is not inconsiderable when one considers the country's present means, but our force and influence through some kind of diplomatic dynamics- ones which we have overlooked over the last few years. Of course, life in this part of the world is not like that. Our neighbours are not aggressive and they are not militaristic. They may be badly administered. They do not have compulsory military training. Indonesia has not a conscription system in the sense in which we have one. Singapore has such a system but Malaysia has not. Cambodia has not a conscription system, and I suppose that, although Thailand tries in some sort of a way, it has not got one. The Philippines and Japan have not got a conscription system. We are injecting into this area outmoded Western European attitudes because we come from a part of the world where all through history neighbours have been bad neighbours, where Germans have fought Frenchmen, Frenchmen have fought Englishmen, and Englishmen have fought Spaniards. We are inclined to think that this is the way in which people in this part of the world have continued to live with one another; that the Thai3 have fought the Cambodians, and vice versa, around the clock. At times in history they have fought one another, but in the last 200 or 300 years this has not been the case. I believe we have crossed the watershed of history and that the world is astonishingly different from what it used to be. Let me take the period in the 1930s, before the last World War. If you wanted a decision made in Saigon it was taken in Paris; if you wanted a decision made in Delhi, it was taken in London; and if you wanted a decision made in Batavia, which is now Djakarta, it was made in The Hague. It is not like that any more. There is a bank of independent nations. Some of them are well governed, but most of them are not well governed. Our potential for influence is almost infinite in this part of the world. Unfortunately, part of the pattern of our thinking is that we are inclined to say we are too small. We are not small in relation to the people in these other countries. In relation to some of them we are small as regards population. But so far as our potential for influence, our diplomatic expertise when we care to use it and all the other things that go to make up relations between nations are concerned, we should be the exemplar in this part of the world. That is my great grief about the last 20 years. We have abdicated our particular responsibilities in this part of the world. Nothing exemplifies this as much as the position of West Irian. I believe that we have been very remiss in not expressing very strong national disapproval of the behaviour of the Indonesian Government in West Irian. Of course, it is true that the Indonesians will be our neighbours for a long while. There is very little we can do to turn the clock back. It is probably no use saying to the Indonesians: 'You cannot do that there*. But there is public opinion in the world that is ours to be made and moulded, as Indonesia attempted to mould it some 12 or IS years ago when it launched a campaign to make West Irian a part of Indonesia. We have neglected to do this. We should have applied all kinds of diplomatic, friendly, and unfriendly - if necessary - pressure on the Indonesian Government to ask it not to behave in this way. It is all right to shed tears about the people of Eastern Europe. What about the West Papuans, as they call themselves, the people of West Irian, as it is now called? When have we heard one word from, honourable members opposite about this matter? I am afraid that the Minister for External Affairs did the people of West Irian a great disservice when he said that the act of free choice, as it was announced to be, was reasonable enough. I believe it was unreasonable in a very great measure. We should have done something amongst the people around the world. We should have used whatever resources were available to get the Security Council to do something about it. We should have used every device available so that we could make our opinions known. I think it is terribly important that the Indonesian Government, which will live with us for centuries ahead - not the same one, of course, but we will be associated as neighbours with the people of Indonesia for a long time - should understand that principles of humanity are at stake and that we at least will stand up for them, no matter what. The fact that they are 100 million people and we are 12 million is of little account. I believe that we abdicated our responsibility in a most grievous manner by allowing Indonesian behaviour in West Irian to proceed unchallenged. Of course, honourable members opposite talk about threats and they talk about defence. I have not time this afternoon to debate these matters. I visited the border between West Irian and Papua and New Guinea. When I was there - and I believe it is probably still the case - there had not been a satisfactory communication established between the border post at VVutung and the military post at Vanimo, some 20 miles away. It is idle to talk about threats to the north, threats to the west and threats to the east when your own particular personal, close and local responsibility - the border itself and the people themselves - is completely ignored in the way that has occurred in the last 2 or 3 months. If there is any reason why the people of Australia ought to vote against this Government's foreign policy, it is that when the question was raised right at its own doorstep, when the question of humanity and the right of refugees to be received were raised - and they have been received lately in a fairly useful manner but in a most, one might say, inhibiting manner - there was a failure to express our principles and demand that the principles of humanity and democracy be observed in West Irian. The Government has abdicated its right to continue. There is one thing that I would like to say in the few moments that are left. Probably, despite the importance of the Indian Ocean and all the rest of it, the most important area to us, from the point of view of ordinary human relationships - its geography and all the other things that go to make it up - is what one might call the west Pacific', in which I would include Papua and New Guinea, the British Solomon Islands Protectorate, Fiji and New Zealand. This is not an insignificant area of the earth's surface. It runs for perhaps 4,000 to 5,000 miles from north to south and 5,000 to 6,000 miles from east to west. It will include, in the next 10 to 15 years, perhaps 20 million people. We will be the major metropolitan population for some 12 to 15 years - and a very powerful people, industrially, all lumped together. But we have to work out special relationships with these people, and this will not be easy. While I have strong feelings against racism, I recognised the difficulties of travel, relationships and so on, so far as these people are concerned. But there is no doubt in my mind, from the little knowledge that I have of the area from the number of visits I have been able to make to it, that there is continuing and increasing resentment on the part of the people in those areas over some of Australia's policy. As far as the people of Fiji are concerned some of it is associated with our migration and tourist policy and some of it with industrial actions of Australian companies. As far as people from the Solomon Islands are concerned, again, they have to look upon us as a metropolitan power. I believe that we ought to be doing something special in this field as indeed we ought to be in the field of international trade. We ought to be doing something to dispose of our wheat on terms favourable to the people who eat it and to preserve the rights of the people who grow it. This ought not to be beyond the wit and will of man. But at the moment the abrogation of our responsibilities in West Irian and our failure to develop special relationships with the people of the west Pacific lead me to believe that this Government's policy - the policy as expressed in the Estimates - and most of the action of the Minister for External Affairs ought to be rejected by the people of Australia. {: #debate-29-s7 .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN:
Reid -- We are discussing the estimates for the Department of External Affairs. Since we last discussed these estimates 12 months ago a new Minister for External Affairs **(Mr Freeth)** has been appointed. I might say that the statement made by the Minister on 14th August in this House was in many ways an historical one. It was particularly challenging. It was so challenging that it probably will upset a great many Government supporters. I believe that we will find division in the Government ranks. The statement has certainly confused supporters of the Government, particularly migrants that have come to Australia; it certainly has confused Australian Democratic Labor Party supporters who have been supporting the Government for so many years. It has also confused many other Government supporters. I would like to say something about the Minister for External Affairs on a personal note. 1 served with the Minister on a delegation to the European Economic Community last year. I found that the Minister was a man of great capacity and integrity. I also found that where one had an understanding with him he was a man who stood by his word. He led our delegation which was a particularly successful one. When he was promoted to his present post I was pleased with the appointment, because I thought that in many respects it was a good appointment for the nation. There were many people at the time, particularly in the Press, who were critical of his appointment, but as time has gone by they have found him to be far more challenging and far deeper than they had imagined he was. Having said that, I would like to say that I disagree with the policies that he enunciated the other night. Honourable members on this side of the House have a completely different approach to foreign affairs from that of members on the Government side of the House. Whether this is in relation to Vietnam, to the people of West Irian, to our relationship with the great powers and particularly with the establishment of bases in Australia that may involve Australia in a nuclear war, there is a definite difference between the approach of the Government and that of members of the Australian Labor Party. I think that if we analyse the basic differences that exist between the policy of the Government and that of the Labor party, particularly in regard to South East Asia because I feel this is the sphere of influence we must be concerned about more than anything else, we will find that the Government has wanted to keep the big powers involved in South East Asia. The Government wants to be involved, militarily on land supported by the sea and air forces of the big powers. The Government has tried, firstly, to retain the British militarily in South East Asia. Also, it has been trying to retain the United States which, of course, is still involved on the mainland of Asia. The latest proposal is that the Government is even considering entering into regional security arrangements with the Soviet Union. The Opposition, on the other hand, has argued consistently over the years that it is not in Australia's interests to become militarily involved in South East Asia and particularly to become involved on the mainland of Asia. This is because we believe that the mainland of Asia is a quagmire. We believe that it is historically wrong for Australia or our ally the United States to become involved militarily on the mainland of Asia. Arguments about this participation have been going on for many years in the United States. We know the thesis of the whale and the elephant - that America with its great sea power supported by its air power is depicted as the whale and China and most of the Asian masses are depicted as the elephant. We know how the whale, America, is out of its element when it is on land. It is important that we analyse the history of development over the years. In this way we will find that even the wealthiest nation in the world, the United States, has not been able to sustain its involvement in the quagmire of Asia. America has suffered a great drain of economic wealth and manpower. Involvement in Asia has cost the country $30,000m a year. The war in Vietnam had reached such a stage and the wealth of the United States had been drained to such an extent that even the dollar was under threat. There was a rush on gold and a fear grew that the United States dollar would be devalued. It was only then that the United States determined that this situation could not go on. The United States then came into line with the policy of the Labor Party. Firstly America ceased the bombing of North Vietnam and later it was prepared to sit around the table with the representatives of its adversary, the National Liberation Front. The United States said that it would not recognise the National Liberation Front but representatives of the United States have sat down to talk to them. The Labor Party has said that if we want political reality we have to accept this position. We have challenged the Government to do the same things. But at no time has the Australian Government come forward with a positive policy of, for instance, the cessation of the bombing of North Vietnam. Also, the Government has not put forward a policy for entering into negotiations with the people with whom our troops are fighting in Vietnam. The United States has been forced by circumstances to try to solve this problem and to get out of the quagmire of Vietnam. The negotiations that are taking place are drawn out. It will require time and patience before this matter is resolved. I hope all the American soldiers will withdraw from the quagmire of Asia. This is the difference. We have said that we do not encourage the United States to become involved on the mainland of Asia militarily. We have said that if the United States is to be involved in Asia it should be involved by sea and air, where it has superiority. This is where we should ally ourselves with the United States in the defence of Australia. We are not talking isolationism in this regard. This is the attitude of the Labor Party. We believe that the Department of External Affairs should be used as our front line of defence to build up a basis of goodwill towards an understanding of all Asian people. We should make sure that the Department of Trade and Industry is used as the bastion of defence for this country. This Department could use trade as a basis of goodwill with Asian nations. We should use our economic aid to raise the standard of living, education, hospitals and social conditions of the people of Asia. We should build a basis of goodwill, and raise the standard of living of the people of Asia because they are our markets of the future. We should stop fearing the people of Asia. I turn now to this new line of thought put forward by the Minister for External Affairs on 14th August. The Minister referred to Soviet activities in the Asian region and said: > **Mr Brezhnev's** speech in Moscow on 7th June when he told the World Conference of Communist Parties that the Soviet Union was 'of the opinion that events are putting on the agenda the task of creating a system of collective security in Asia'. The Australian and USSR Governments have also been in contact, both in Canberra and in Moscow, on matters of bilateral interest and also in discussing wider issues. The implication is that those discussions are being held with a view to entering into regional arrangements, which can only be military arrangements. I have been critical of our policy in the past of getting involved through regional arrangements - through defence arrangements - on the mainland of Asia. We on this side have always said that it is morally and historically wrong for the Australian people to be involved in the war in Vietnam. It is morally and historically wrong to become involved in a regional or security treaty - it can only be a military alliance - with the Soviet Union even if the Minister might think that such a treaty is in the chauvinistic interests of the Soviet and Australia as a defence against China and the rising powers of Asia. As I have argued time and time again, we cannot solve these problems by military means. The only way to build friendship with these people and to avoid wars in the future is by fostering their goodwill and entering into economic, educational and social ties. These are the ties we should have. Military intervention in South East Asia is unnecessary, unjustified and dangerous. I stress the word dangerous'. The Soviet Union has over-magnified threats in the past. We are all aware of the propaganda which the Soviet engaged in over the Czechoslovakian affair. I was in Czechoslovakia prior to the invasion by the Soviet, which pushed out the propaganda that West Germany was about to make a drive through Czechoslovakia to strike at the under-belly of the Soviet Union. When the delegation of which I was a member last year visited the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation its weaknesses were clearly pointed out on a map. Not since the Berlin air lift had NATO been weaker militarily. The withdrawal of France from NATO and the neutrality of Switzerland and Austria has meant that member countries in the northern part of Europe are cut off from direct access to such member countries as Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey. If these latter countries wish to make contact with other NATO countries they cannot do so in the most direct manner but must travel north by sea. Every NATO power was under strength militarily. The United States was under strength because it has had to send forces to Vietnam. Belgium and Canada were thinking of withdrawing from NATO. Italy and all other member countries were under strength militarily. The Soviet Union magnified its fear that there was a weakness in Czechoslovakia and that it may be swinging away from the Soviet; that Western Germany would be able to threaten the Soviet by moving through Czechoslovakia. This was a fear brought on by Soviet chauvinism. So the tanks of Russia and other Warsaw Pact countries drove into Czechoslovakia and crushed freedom. The border disputes between China and the Soviet Union are caused by chauvinism and could involve us in a war with China. Our involvement in security arrangements with Russia is against our interests. 1 would like Australia to have greater dialogue with the Soviet Union, China and all nations in order to build up our good will with those nations and break down barriers but to enter into regional arrangements and military pacts of any kind is not in our best interests, even though in the short term it may appear to have a chauvinistic appeal. I hope that the Government will discredit this so called new line of looking afresh at the big powers. In the past this Government has always been depicted to migrants and supporters of the D.L.P. and many others as a fighter for freedom but it has not been a fighter for freedom; it has been a supporter of the big powers. First it tagged along behind Great Britain. When Britain became weak we followed blindly behind the United States. When the United States fell to its knees - it is on its knees in Vietnam - we turned to the Soviet Union. It is time we stood on our own two feet and expressed our views as an independent nation. It is time we pursued a policy of good will to other countries and stopped fearing people, particularly people to our north. If we pursued a policy of good will towards other countries there would be less fear in this country and we would have a stronger Australia. {: #debate-29-s8 .speaker-KDP} ##### Dr EVERINGHAM:
Capricornia -Australia can take initiatives at all levels in foreign affairs. In fact it can take the lead. The doctrine that big powers must lead while others follow is just as true and and just as false as the doctrine that big men or big organisations must lead while others follow. Powers that are big in armament must lead in armament, but this does not mean that they must lead in disarmament. Post-war Japan is a classic example of a country far more vulnerable than Australia to invasion, with a concentration of population and industry and with the powerless position it was in following the Second World War, which has taken on a new lease of economic life by virtue of its antiwar constitution, which gave it breathing space to build up a dynamic peacetime industry before it rejoined the shortsighted arms race. But it is not Japan to which I point as an example to Australia. I would point to the examples of Scandinavia. Here we have a peaceful democratic Socialist community - Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland. All have been under more immediate threat for centuries than Australia has ever been or is likely to be in the foreseeable future. All are highly efficient in defence preparedness without using our insolent, arrogant, jackboot theories of forward defence that we exhibit in South East Asia today. All have lower poverty ratings than Australia. All are more self-dependent in every aspect, including defence manufacturing. They are more ready to negotiate interlocking economic arrangements with each other. Yet they do not have as much in common as we have with New Zealand, Canada or the United States of America - not even a common language. The majority of their parliamentarians of all parties have joined their national parliamentary groups for world government. This is not the idea of some sort of Scandinavian king. There have been many such groups for many years, from all major American countries in the west to Japan in the east. There are now seventeen countries, including Australia, with parliamentary groups. The main person who can make the Australian group effective is the Prime Minister **(Mr Gorton).** He can advise outspoken advocates of this movement in his Party to join, and they will. I fear that this will not happen while we have the present Prime Minister and his Government in office, because every approach that I have made to them officially, unofficially, through speeches in this House and through questions on notice to the Prime Minister and to the Minister for External Affairs **(Mr Freeth)** has met with a casual brush off as though this was something that could wait until after we have tidied up the Estimates, the Budget and every other thing but the most vital question that faces any national parliament in the atomic age. As convenor of the group I offer here and now to nominate the Minister for Social Services and Minister-in-Charge of Aboriginal Affairs **(Mr Wentworth)** as president of the group. He is a well known, publicly outspoken advocate of world federation, and he is not the only one in his party in favour of it. A lot of people are still of the mind that this is an impractical idealist attitude and that practical politicians never have anything to say about it. I am not going to read out a list of all the national leaders who have spoken in favour of world federation and who have joined the movement but let me say that it includes leaders in English speaking countries and Western democracies as well as one of the Communist countries. Among the presidents of the movement have been Earl Attlee, a British Prime Minister and president of the World Association of Federalists; leaders of the United Nations Organisation like Lord Boyd-Orr who was a British Minister for Health and later Director of the World Health Organisation and Scandinavians like Larsen, who is one of the most successful businessmen in the world with an association with Scandinavian Airlines. I shall now quote a few statements by some of the world leaders to show what they think of the idea of world federalism. His Imperial Majesty, the Shah of Iran, representing one of the smaller powers, said: >The time will come when a sense of participation in an extended human society will outgrow policies of isolation and supremacy. Then will the great powers identify their future with that of the UN, as the small states already have to do. Thus the world will be able to undertake disarmament and, as a corollary, to allow the UN to have a permanent force at its disposal, capable of guaranteeing world peace and enforcing the world law made by a world legislative body. The serious and imminent dangers which threaten the existence of humanity itself lead us to seriously consider if this day has not already arrived. I will pass over another small power leader, the President of Senegal, and will quote Radhakrishnan, a former President of India, who said: >We have to aim at a world federation if the world is ever to be free from the scourge of war. He is not the only Indian leader who has said this. Pandit Nehru was a member of the movement, and so have been many eminent people from our sister nations. Lester Pearson, a former Canadian Prime Minister, said: >The goals of the World Federalists deserve the support and encouragement of all who are concerned for the future of international co-operation to prevent war, promote justice and satisfy the basic needs of people everywhere. We have not heard anything like this from our Prime Minister. The only leader of any party in Australia who has ever spoken like this was the late **Dr Evatt,** who was a pioneer of the United Nations charter and who fought very hard for these principles when that charter was drawn up. Harold Wilson, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said: >We remain, in office as in Opposition, wholly committed to the concept of eventual world government. Per Haekkerup. a member of the Danish Parliament, of which 98% of the members belong to world movement groups, said: >Organisations like the World Federalists are the stimulus for the creation of a world political structure that will enable us all to benefit from the resources at our disposal. I am quoting authorities not because I think that Australia should follow authorities. I am asking for Australia to have as much independence as the little nation of Denmark which has written into its Constitution that it will join such a world federation when a sufficient number of other nations agree. This is what I meant by saying that we do not have to leave it to big nations to lead. Australia can give a lead in this direction. We can be a big nation when it comes to giving a lead in big principles. Australia is respected in the councils of the world because it has given a lead in many respects - in enlightened social welfare legislation, in enlightened extension of the franchise; and in enlightened and diligent use of the time of our delegates who go to Inter-Parliamentary Union meetings and to Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meetings. The ball is at our feet and we can do a lot to sway our big allies and small allies, our big opponents and small opponents who respect our voice in the councils of the world just as they respected the late **Dr Evatt** and made him President of the General Assembly of the United Nations Organisation, which is the world government in embryo. I want to refer now not to the thirtyodd countries that have world federalist groups and movements but to the aims of parliamentarians themselves who are in parliamentary groups. I want to say, first, why these groups are coming into existence. In the past 20 years many leaders of national governments and heads of State have spoken brave words about the need for a system of world order based on law, for a United Nations strengthened towards this purpose or for the creation of a world security authority which may be autonomous but linked with the United Nations. But little or nothing has developed from these statements. This is partly because the spokesmen do not represent mankind but only governments. They speak for only one section of the human race. In fact they are often blinded by their duty to put national interests above everything. It turns them against accepting the necessary changes and they sometimes even hinder the work of international institutions which have been created to defend world peace. That is the reason for the emergence of the groups of members of parliaments speaking as representatives of the people. These groups can voice the anguish of mankind. These groups, which are exclusively of parliamentarians, are linked internationally. In our next week of sitting we will see one of these links when Joe Hiley of the British House of Commons comes to visit us. I hope that honourable members will speak with him. He has something in common with honourable members on this side of the House because he is in Opposition in Britain. He is a Conservative. What can these groups do? First, they can make it clear what world laws need to be enforced and on whom and by whom. It is not necessary that they take over the sovereignty of nations in matters that are of national concern. Nobody would want the Commonwealth Government to take over the administration of matters that are purely of concern to Tasmania or Queensland, nor would the States want to take over the administration of matters that are purely the concern of Sydney or Melbourne or one of their suburbs which are administered by local government. But it is wrong morally in international law for nations to take into their own hands decisions on matters that are of international concern. Until we can administer international law in a democratic way, which is the Australian and the British tradition, adjudicate it in a democratic way by the extended use of world legislatures, enforce it in a democratic way by the use of a police force responsible to the world courts, until we do these minimum things, we will not have the rule of law in the world but we will have the rule of the jungle. We will have chaos and anarchy, with every nation acting as the judge and executioner in its squabbles. We have been told of the chaos that would result if there were no arbitration between unions and management. This would be as nothing to the chaos that would result if there were no arbitration between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland or between the Democratic Labor Party and the Liberal Party in Australia. If there were no constitutional body to hammer out their differences, we would have bloodshed. We were on the point of bloodshed between the States of this country before Federation, and bloodshed was very near in America recently when the Governor of Georgia was thinking of calling out the militia to prevent the integration of the schools. This can be prevented by federation- {: #debate-29-s9 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: #debate-29-s10 .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH:
Minister for External Affairs · Forrest · LP -- I am grateful to honourable members for having tried to inject some life and interest into a debate on the estimates for the Department of External Affairs which, if adhered to literally, would mean discussion of the large number of figures appearing in the documents: It has almost become a tradition that honourable members try to avoid discussing figures and discuss everything but the figures. I suppose it is natural that, because national survival is a basic element in foreign policy, there is a tendency to think of foreign affairs in such debates as this almost entirely in terms of threats, power and defence and the attitudes we adopt in these fields. Of course, it is true that our national self-interest must predominate in all our policies. But external affairs does cover a far wider field than the strategic or military considerations. Diplomatic relations enter into many aspects, as do trade, development, international conventions and agreements and the like. Shortly I hope to say a few words about one of the very important aspects of our foreign policy and that is aid to developing countries. But before doing so I would like to deal with some of the matters that have been raised by honourable members who have spoken in this debate. I would like to set the record straight immediately in relation to some of the remarks of the honourable member for Grayndler **(Mr Daly).** He has a reputation for speaking in an entertaining way, but entertaining the Committee and being accurate are two different things. He quite falsely accused me of welcoming a Russian presence in the Indian Ocean. Nowhere in the speech that I made will he find any reference to that. What I have sought to do is to put this matter in its right perspective. There is no difference between myself and any of the Government's strategic advisers or any of the strategic advisers I know of in any of the Western powers in relation to this. What *I* did say was that we had to look at the scale of the Russian presence in the Indian Ocean - and I spelled out the scale previously - the methods the Russians were adopting and the objectives they are seeking. Anyone who studied those elements and canvassed them fully - I do not have time to do it today - would agree that at present they pose no immediate threat to Australia. I come back to those three elements. They are the scale of their present presence, the methods by which they are conducting themselves in the Indian Ocean and the objectives which as far as we can see they now have. I ask people to consider those elements carefully. The honourable member for Grayndler then went on to suggest that all elections in recent times in which the Australian Labor Party has been defeated have been based on a false propaganda campaign which accused the Labor Party of being Communist in policy. That is a deliberate confusion of the real issues that have been debated at great length throughout this country in general elections, and I want to direct attention to six of them, which I can list immediately without stopping to think of others, in relation to foreign affairs and defence. The first one that comes to mind is, of course, a nuclear free zone in the southern hemisphere. This was an issue at an election. It has now been absorbed into the nuclear non-proliferation treaty issue. But honourable members will remember that the idea of a policy of a nuclear free zone in the southern hemisphere was advanced by the Labor Party as an important part of its policy and it was rejected by the Australian people. It did not have any of the safeguards or guarantees that have been sought to be written into the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Anyone who suggests that this was not an issue carefully debated at previous elections is not living in a real world. The next one that comes to mind is the question of conscription and national service. There has been a complete difference of view between the Opposition and the Government on this and at least two elections - I think three - were fought on this very issue. The people of Australia rejected entirely Labor's propositions relating to conscription and national service. It is quite idle to suggest that this was confused with any accusation of Communist policy dominating the Australian Labor Party. This was debated fairly and squarely as an issue and on that issue the Government won. It is still an issue and I am still confident that the people of Australia will think along correct lines in relation to it. The third issue is the presence of Australian troops in South East Asia. This has been a point of difference between the Government and the Opposition from the days of the emergency in Malaya as it then was. The Opposition has always been opposed to Australian troops being anywhere outside Australia since World War II. Therefore, to suggest that this was not a real issue which was debated throughout Australia and on which the people of Australia expressed a clear decision is again being quite unreal. There is our commitment in Vietnam in relation to the SEATO treaty and in relation to the request of the South Vietnamese Government that we should help it to prevent the imposition on its people of a regime and an ideology that they were clearly unwilling to have. The honourable member for Wills **(Mr Bryant)** said we had been proved to be wrong about Vietnam. I ask him: Where have we been proved to be wrong? Is it *wrong* that the people of South Vietnam should be helped? Is it wrong that they should be allowed to determine their own future by free elections for democratic institutions? If this is wrong, then we are wrong. But we have said that this is what we stand for and this is why we are in Vietnam. Until three things happen we will continue, with the Americans, to be in Vietnam. Those three elements have been clearly stated. The first is that the progress made in the Paris peace talks should lead to far better arrangements being made for a settlement in the Vietnam dispute. The second is that the attitude of the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese troops on the ground in Vietnam must show a disposition to withdraw and to cease aggressive activities. The third is that South Vietnam's capacity to defend itself against aggression should have increased to the point where our assistance is no longer necessary. Are these things wrong? Are we to throw away all the things on which the people of Australia have made a very clear decision over several elections? I think it is quite idle to suggest that this issue has been confused by simply accusing the Australian Labor Party of being Communist, as the honourable member for Grayndler **(Mr Daly)** so glibly suggested. The fifth issue that I can think of immediately is the unconditional recognition of mainland China which the Labor Party has called for time and again. This has been an issue in previous elections and the Government has argued its case at election time as no doubt it will on this occasion. Sixthly - and this has been a very live issue in recent elections - is the question of American and joint bases in Australia which have been created in the spirit of ANZUS for our mutual strength and support. The honourable member for Grayndler was entertaining, but what he said was glib and not related to fact. I was asked by the honourable member for Brisbane **(Mr Cross)** why there was in fact a short fall in relation to our aid to Indonesia. He was referring to a part of the estimates which dealt with bonus export aid, and in the remarks I am going to make about our total aid programme he will see that this was part of the Colombo Plan aid section which was itself part of a very much larger programme. That particular short fall was more apparent than real. It was due to two factors. First of all, we have what we call bonus export aid funds which are available to Indonesian importers to buy Australian goods. They did not take up quite as quickly as we had anticipated the amount of funds available under our aid programme for 1968-69. Further, our liability to pay against the documents was not realised to the full extent in that financial year. But there is still that continuing liability to meet that amount of money which was taken up by those Indonesian importers. Again, this explains the slight reduction in that element of our aid programme this year because an allowance has been made in committing new funds for the fact that there was this lag last year. There will again be liabilities to be met but our commitment in issuing new bonus export funds this year has been reduced slightly. As will appear in a moment, however, our total aid to Indonesia in every aspect has been increased considerably during this financial year. I will deal with those figures in a moment. As I said, our aid programme is a very important part of the work of the Department of External Affairs and it occupies a considerable part of our estimates. This year the Budget provides for $54,055,000 to be given as external aid. This is an increase of $3,727,000 or 7.4% on our 1968-69 aid expenditure. Aid given under multilateral programmes, including the International Development Association, the Asian Development Bank and the various United Nations programmes, is expected to increase by $253,000 or 2%. A much larger increase is provided for in respect of bilateral aid given directly by Australia to recipient countries. These programmes are expected to increase by $3,474,000 or 9.2% to $41,127,000. As honourable members will know, the Colombo Plan is by far Australia's largest bilateral aid programme. It embraces much of the project aid and assistance which Australia provides to the developing countries of South East Asia. This year's Colombo Plan appropriation, which includes the $15m aid to Indonesia in 1969-70 committed earlier this year, is $23,500,000, an amount which represents an increase of almost 25% on the previous year's appropriation. The importance which the Australian Government places on its participation in the Colombo Plan, and to the furtherance of the economic development of the developing countries of the Colombo Plan region is, I think, further underlined by the fact that this year's appropriation will bring the total of aid provided by Australia under the plan since its inception in 1951 to more than $200m. External aid expenditure has more than doubled since 1963-64. The increased allocation which the Government has given to aid reflects, I think, the growing public awareness of and concern with economic improvement in the developing countries. For both humanitarian reasons and on the grounds of enlightened selfinterest an effective aid programme must form an important part of our overseas relations. In recent years there has been a lot said about public disillusionment and dissatisfaction regarding the effectiveness of aid, and this is being reflected in the reduced allocations of the principal donor, the United States of America. This disillusionment is, to some extent, a product of the idealistic view of the way an aid programme could work and the results which could be achieved. Success tends to be judged in part by how many thank you's are received, and at times there have been precious few. At times it seemed that aid was being poured into a bottomless well, but aid results are not easily quantifiable. We do not know what the situation would have been in the developing countries had no aid been provided. There were too many cases where aid programmes patently failed to achieve results. All too often the cases where aid has failed to achieve its aims have been highlighted but a successful aid project seems to have less news value. Therefore it has been difficult to answer the pundits who have criticised aid programmes. The tragedy of this is that as we enter the 1970s some of the developing countries are, in fact, reaping the benefits of earlier aid programmes in terms of increased production and improvement in living standards. As well, the opportunities for effective aid - and by this I mean the effective absorption capacity of the developing countries - are now greater than ever before. The critical need now is to maintain and expand the flow of aid. I believe that Australia is pulling its weight here. While no developed country has any reason to feel self-satisfied about the volume of its aid programme or complacent about the economic progress in the developing countries, the Australian programme is increasing substantially at a time when official development assistance is stationary or declining. In terms of the percentage of gross national product devoted to official development assistance Australia is ranked in third place by the Development Assistance Committee. Not only is the volume of Australian aid increasing, but an examination of aid programmes now being undertaken will show that we have an effective programme. Perhaps the effectiveness of our programme can best be illustrated by a brief description of our current programmes to two countries which occupy positions of special importance in Australia's aid programme. The first of these is Vietnam and the second is Indonesia. The total provision made in the Budget for civil aid in Vietnam in 1969-70 is S2m, the greater part of which will come from the SEATO Aid Programme. The plan of improvement at the Bien Hoa hospital, where one of the Australian hospital teams is working, will be continued and completed. In addition, an important new project, the provision of a town water supply for the city of Can Tho, will enter into its main construction phase. This project, which is being carried in collaboration with the Government of Vietnam, is expected to cost Australia $1.7m in the form of materials, equipment and engineering services. Provision has been made also for the continued operation of the Australian hospital team at Bien Hoa throughout the year and for the operation of a team at Long Xuyen until the end of 1969. The team, sponsored by the Repatriation Department, which has been serving in Vung Tau completed its tour of duty in June 1969 and is not being replaced. The second country which has an important place in Australia's aid programme is Indonesia, our nearest neighbour in Asia. The level of aid set for Indonesia in 1968- 69 was $12.7m, which was more than double the expenditure in the previous year. The Prime Minister **(Mr Gorton)** announced in March that there would be a further increase in 1969-70. This Budget provides for a total expenditure of $15m on Australian aid to Indonesia. I wish to conclude my remarks on aid by quoting from President Nixon's message to Congress earlier this year on the United States foreign aid programme. He said: >No single government, no matter how wealthy or well intentioned, can by itself hope to cope with the challenge of raising the standard of living of two-thirds of the world's people. Still less can Australia hope to do this on its own. But, in our own way, with our modest aid programmes, we are, I believe, making a very worthwhile contribution. {: #debate-29-s11 .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN:
Reid **- Mr Chairman,** the Minister for External Affairs **(Mr Freeth)** made certain criticisms of the charge levelled against the Government by the honourable member for Grayndler **(Mr Daly)** that at election time it kicked the Communist can. I saw the Minister for External Affairs on 'Four Corners' last Saturday night. It was a healthy thing to hear the Minister say that there were sufficient differences between the Government and the Opposition without accusing the Australian Labor Party of being associated with Communism. So, I exclude the Minister from those people who made the accusation. I return to the Government and point out the accusations made by the Government members during the 1966 election. The 1966 election was fought on the basis of hysteria and fear. Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of pamphlets were printed showing a map of China. When the then Prime Minister, the late **Mr Harold** Holt, appeared on television, behind him was a big map of China. Large red arrows were radiating from China to Australia. Those arrows appeared on the pamphlets. **Mr Holt** asked: 'Where do you draw the line against them? Do you draw the line in South East Asia or do you fight them on our shores?' This great fear was put into the minds of the people. Yet, today, this Government is sitting round a table with the same people and negotiating a peace settlement of the Vietnam conflict. The Government said that these people would come down to Australia and that we would have to fight them on our shores. The advice of the Labor Party was: Stop bombing them and start negotiating with them. Regarding this matter of the fear and hysteria on which the 1966 election was fought, let me say that in my electorate during that campaign every Labor Party election sign had painted over it a big red rat. On that red rat were the hammer and sickle. It was not the supporters of the Australian Democratic Labor Party who painted them there; it was the campaign director for the Liberal Party in the Reid electorate. I inform the Committee that we had several witnesses to prove that was so. I went to the Merrylands police to see what action could be taken. I found that the only action that I could take was to take an action for defamation. The by-law of the local government dealing with this matter had been infringed but it was only a technical infringement. If I wished to take action against the person who had done this, I would have been restricted to taking action on the grounds of defamation. I am not trying to allege that all members of the Liberal Party have this mentality. But, unfortunately, for years, this sickness has been present in the Liberal Party. Members of the Liberal Party have smeared and made these accusations against members of the Labor Party. I am pleased that the Minister for External Affairs made the statement that he did last Saturday night. I hope that the coming election campaign will be fought free of smears and accusations from this side against the Government side and from the Government side against our side. I hope that the election - {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! The time- {: .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN: -- . . . is fought on policy and not on personalities. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! The honourable member for Reid will resume his seat. The time allotted for the consideration of the proposed expenditure has expired. Proposed expenditure agreed to. Attorney-General's Department Proposed expenditure, $16,106,000. {: #debate-29-s12 .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON:
Dawson **- Mr Chairman,** at the outset I wish to say to the Attorney-General **(Mr Bowen)** that on the number of occasions on which I have had to discuss certain matters with officers of his Department those officers have always given me answers as positive as possible to the best of their ability. This is greatly appreciated. I wish to address my remarks to some of the implications arising with respect to oil drilling on the Great Barrier Reef, particularly in relation to the opinions expressed by two judges of our High Court, the Chief Justice, **Sir Garfield** Barwick and **Mr Justice** Windeyer, in a recent case. The judges who constituted the bench dealt at some length with matters which are of great interest to members of Parliament and the Australian people with respect to the delineation of constitutional rights between the Commonwealth and the States on the matter of off-shore legislation and the powers under which companies will operate drilling rigs or mine in waters or on the seabed off the shore. One of the most remarkable aspects of this case is the attitude of the Commonwealth itself. I hope that the AttorneyGeneral will deal with this attitude today. It is one which has been reported at length in the newspapers and one which has been referred to several times in this Parliament. The Attorney-General, speaking no doubt on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia, argued that the judges constituting the Bench should not express any opinion as to the precise definition of territorial waters particularly with respect to the inner limits. {: .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr Killen: -- Our High Court cannot deal with that matter- {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON: -- Get back to the Condamine waters. The Attorney-General did not desire to argue the meaning of the expression 'territorial limits' as used in the Constitution or as used in the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act, or the meaning of the expression 'waters that are within the territorial limits of a State or of a Territory of the Commonwealth'. In adopting this attitude that there was no point in reaching a judgment or in expressing an opinion on this he was supported by the SolicitorGeneral of the State of New South Wales who sought leave to intervene in the proceedings merely to agree with the submission of the Attorney-General that in this case it was unnecessary to determine the inner boundary of the Australian waters to which constitutional power extended or the actual inner limits fixed by the proclamation. The reply of the Chief Justice is of interest. He said: >I have carefully considered the request of the Commonwealth and of the State of New South Wales made through their respective law officers that the Court should not decide the inner limits of the Australian waters which fall within the ambit of the constitutional power. But after much consideration I have concluded that I cannot really dispose of the matter without doing so. In other words, the Chief Justice said that irrespective of what the Commonwealth or the Attorney-General or the Solicitor- General might wish, he himself would decide and in such way as he thought fit, and this is what he did. The decision of the Chief Justice makes interesting reading. As one not trained in law I was impressed with the precision of the language used by **Sir Garfield** Barwick. The judgment was very easy to read compared with many of the textbooks that I have tried to plough through on this subject. The decisions which he reached were also ones which should certainly be consistent with those of the Supreme Court of Canada. In reaching his decision the Chief Justice traced the history of this issue right from the days of colonies and he made it very clear that there is no doubt in his view that as far as the waters beyond the low water mark of the Australian coast are concerned they are under and should be under the exclusive jurisdiction of Australia, with certain exceptions relating to fishing. He developed his argument from the territory of New South Wales; he said that the territory of New South Wales other than the islands does not extend beyond low water mark on the eastern coast, and that although the colonies were competent to make laws with respect to the extra-territorial rights beyond their margins these legislative powers were derived from their plenary powers with respect to the power to make laws for the peace, good government and order of the particular colony or State, and the Chief Justice said that this did not in any way mean that they had any specific right or authority with respect to these waters, that is as distinct from the plenary legislation, and he went on to say that in his opinion, the territorial limits of an Australian colony at Federation did not include any part of the territorial sea or the seabeds adjacent to it. Further on in his judgment he said that Federation did not increase those territorial limits, so since Federation the territorial limits of a State are to be found at the low water mark on its coasts. This judgment was virtually the same as the opinion given by **Mr Justice** Windeyer. The other three justices did not give an opinion on that particular subject. When one looks at what is happening to the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland one realises that it is high time that the Commonwealth Government came out in the open and declared a positive policy on the development of the Reef. For many years the Government has been referring to the magnificent tourist potential of the Great Barrier Reef, but in real financial terms it has done practically nothing towards the development of that area. The present attitude of the Government is one of subterfuge and ambiguous statements regarding oil exploration in the waters surrounding the Reef and this only adds to the confusion surrounding the proposed programme of building operations on the coast of Queensland. Wc have had in the last week off-the-cuff personal statements by the Prime Minister giving a personal opinion strongly opposing oil drilling operations in Reef waters. Those statements make a complete mockery of the situation. The Prime Minister is the head of the Government in Australia. He is the head of the Cabinet. What sort of a government is this that introduces legislation endorsing these oil leases which have to be approved by Cabinet, and when the head man in the Cabinet makes public statements which are contrary to the decisions made by the Cabinet? The Prime Minister does not believe that drilling operations for oil should be carried out on the Great Barrier Reef. Is it any wonder that the Prime Minister has been severely taken to task by the Australian Press? Next we will have the Deputy Prime Minister **(Mr McEwen)** coming out and making a personal statement on wheat contrary to the views of Cabinet. This view of the Prime Minister is a personal opinion. There is no such thing as a personal opinion in Cabinet; a member of the Cabinet either agrees with the decision reached by the Cabinet or he does not agree. When Ministers come out of the Cabinet room they all agree with the majority decision. It is an extraordinary state of affairs for the Prime Minister, the head of the Australian Government, to make these personal, of-the-cuff statements. The Government has full constitutional rights to veto oil drilling operations in the Reef waters, and if it does not take this action considerable damage may be done to the Reef and thereby to Australia. {: .speaker-KB8} ##### Mr Giles: -- In effect that is what he said. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON: -- Why does not the Government veto these operations? Can the honourable member answer that one? Last March in this House the Minister for National Development **(Mr Fairbairn)** implied that no further oil drilling would take place in Great Barrier Reef waters. This has turned out to be false. The credibility of the Government is involved in this issue. No government has the right deliberately to mislead this Parliament or the people of Australia. The Prime Minister is playing a very risky political game, because what he is trying to do is to place the blame for the granting of these leases to drill on the Reef on other members of the Cabinet who, it is noted, have not expressed a public opinion on this. It is quite possible that other members of the Cabinet agree with the view of the Prime Minister in respect to this matter, but they have not said so because apparently the decision to endorse these leases was a majority decision or a unanimous one. It is wrong for the Prime Minister to imply that the Queensland Government is at fault because the Gorton Government endorsed these leases over which this controversy is now raging. With a budget of $7,000m the possible payment of compensation by the Commonwealth of SI Om to companies which probably are mainly foreign-owned, in the event of a suspension of drilling - and it may need to be only a temporary suspension - is only chicken feed if - and I stress this - serious risks of an oil blow-out do exist. I am not saying that they do exist; I say: if they do in fact exist. This is something for the geological and biological experts to decide. It is patently clear that a crash programme of geological and biological research should be undertaken if oil drilling is inevitable in this area. If the Commonwealth Government is not prepared to delay operations such research should be concentrated initially on areas which fall within the influence of the drilling operations. If these drilling operations cannot be prevented this should not stop scientific research. Let us have research complementary to it. The grave uncertainties regarding the validity of the present offshore oil exploitation legislation should be cleared up without delay. I mentioned earlier the opinions that were expressed by the Chief Justice of the High Court and **Mr Justice** Windeyer. They made it perfectly and patently clear - I do not think that anyone could disagree with the clarity and logic of their conclusions - that the legislative power of the Queensland Government to grant oil drilling leases may be invalid and that territorial waters are almost entirely the responsibility of the Commonwealth. One thing that the controversy over the Great Barrier Reef has highlighted is the economic importance of the Reef to the nation. As such it demands that the Federal Government recognise its great tourist potential, and the way in which to recognise it is to make available long term finance so that it can be developed in a progressive and systematic way, particularly as a tourist attraction. We have had nothing from this Government about the tourist industry except superfluous words. It is quite obvious that something has to be done about this oil drilling controversy. If there is a risk let the Government admit there is a risk. If one accepts the statement of the Prime Minister and the Minister for National Development on behalf of the Government that no further drilling will take place, how can one accept the credibility of the Government in other matters? There is no question that the Government is embarrassed about it. The Prime Minister is also embarrassed. But the Commonwealth has the power to veto these leases if it desires. {: #debate-29-s13 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: #debate-29-s14 .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr KILLEN:
Moreton -- It was not my intention to speak on the estimates for the Attorney-General's Department, and indeed I would not have sought to speak if it had not been for the rather extraordinary behaviour of the honourable member for Dawson **(Dr Patterson)** and the rather peculiar speech that he delivered. I suppose that I could fairly say that I am not the most frequent interjector in this place, but when I sought to interject during the honourable member's speech, not in any hostile way but in my characteristically friendly way, to make the helpful suggestion that the High Court of Australia cannot consider hypothetical questions, he rebuffed me with such a surprising degree of surliness that I have been emboldened to seek the time of the Committee for a minute or two. He adverted to a recent decision by the High Court that concerned the validity of Commonwealth legislation with respect to fishing within the 12-mile limit. He also referred to the judgments that were handed down by the Chief Justice of the High Court, **Sir Garfield** Barwick, and **Mr Justice** Windeyer in a recent case. What my honourable friend fails to observe is that there was an incredible amount of depth of perception in his remark when he said: 'I do not know very much about the law'. I do not want to indulge in any didactic performance, but I am bound to tell the honourable gentleman that there is a world of difference between a judge deciding an issue and making an observation on an issue. In this case their Honours did not express a harsh, stark opinion, but merely expressed the view that the boundaries of the colonies, that is the boundaries of the States of Australia, finished at the low water mark. But that is not part of the decision in this case, and unless it represents part of the decision plainly it would not be binding upon their Honours. If one could so describe it, it would be of purely persuasive value and nothing else. But seeing the honourable gentleman has raised this matter, may I agree with him that it is a matter of extraordinary complexity. The honourable gentleman was a little unfair when he chided the Prime Minister **(Mr Gorton)** and the Government regarding the drilling on the Great Barrier Reef. I come clean and I want no person in the Committee to be under any misunderstanding. As a personal view - I hope I can express a personal view as a private member - I am completely opposed to any form of activity which would in any way put in jeopardy the continuation of the Great Barrier Reef, which is one of the marvels of the world. Having said that, may I say that the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act is neither an assertion of Commonwealth power nor an assertion of State power. As I recall the preamble to the Act, it spells out fairly particularly that it does not decide whether the Commonwealth has power to legislate in this field or whether the States have the power. It does not settle the respective constitutional positions of the Commonwealth vis-a-vis the States, lt is, as it were, a pooling of the constitutional and legal powers of the two bodies, the Commonwealth and the States, the States representing the other body. This matter has a history which, while interesting, is not by any means settled as to the conclusions that have developed. I have mentioned that the High Court of Australia cannot decide hypothetical questions. No citizen or government can go along to the High Court and say: 'Will you please give us an advisory opinion on this?' This is in contrast to the Canadian Supreme Court. The Canadian Supreme Court in 1967 handed down an advisory opinion, saying that the boundary line of the Provinces finished at the low water mark. The only other federation that I can recall comparable in character to Australia would be the United States of America. In 1950, in the case United States of America v. California, the United States Supreme Court reached precisely the same conclusion as the Canadian Supreme Court, that is to say, that the boundary of the States of the United States finished at the low water mark. But opinion on this varies. It varies from the opinion that was handed down by the Canadian Supreme Court to the opinion of a distinguished scholar in this field such as **Dr Daryl** Lumb of the University of Queensland. His opinion is contrary to mine. He says that in his view - I hope I am not doing him a disservice by giving an off the cuff account of my understanding of his view - the States' territorial limits extend out to 3 miles. One could go to the views expressed by Professor O'Connell of the University of Adelaide. He is a world authority. He asserts the view that there is powerful argument in favour of the proposition that the States do finish at the low water mark. Where does the history of this begin? It begins in approximately the year 1876, when thirteen judges of the Court of Crown Cases Reserve had to decide whether or not the captain of a German vessel could be tried for negligence within the 3-mile limit. The Court for a variety of reasons - and it is difficult to extrapolate from their respective judgments any precise view or any identity of view - decided that they did not have jurisdiction over the captain for this particular offence within the 3-mile limit. Subsequently legislation was introduced which it was thought cured that, but it cured it to the extent that it has given jurisdiction over crimes within the 3-mile limit. Apparently it did not determine - at least the controversy has not been settledwhether or not it extended the boundary of the littoral State, that is to say of the United Kingdom. When the founding fathers drew up the Australian Constitution they proceeded from the assumption that the boundary line of the territories of Australia extended from the 3-mile limit. Whether Keyn's case, to which I have alluded, determined that the boundary of the State was at the 3-mile limit is a matter of substantial conflict. We still have this conflict with us today. **Sir Percy** Spender has made the suggestion that to settle the issue there should be a friendly suit between the Commonwealth and the State. This seems to me to represent admirable sense. As far as the Commonwealth is concerned, it would be difficult to know whether the power to legislate with respect to all waters running out from the low water mark to embrace territory related to the convention on the continental shelf and so forth would have its origin in the external affairs power or not. Some people take the view that the external affairs power would be sufficient to enable the Commonwealth to introduce legislation to deal with these matters. But what the honourable member for Dawson, with great respect to him, does not seem to understand is that unless the Commonwealth Parliament can point to a particular head. of power within the Constitution, it simply cannot legislate on it. The honourable member for Dawson referred to tourism. The Commonwealth has certain activities, but they would be highly dubious if any attempt were made to assert authority regarding these activities. They are persuasive, and persuasive only. There is no tourist power, as I understand it, in the Commonwealth Constitution at all. So far as territorial waters are concerned, the first thing to be determined is what is meant by 'territorial waters'. Once having determined that, the next question is: Who owns the territorial waters - the State or the Commonwealth? The honourable member for Dawson tries to simplify an extraordinarily complex point. So far as leases are concerned, it is my understanding that the drilling proposed in Queensland relates to leases granted prior to the 1967 pet- roleum submerged lands legislation. This raises a matter of great difficulty. There was in force in Queensland legislation which purported to confer upon the Queensland Premier power with respect to drilling 30 or 40 miles off the Queensland coast. I thought at the time - I said so at the time and I still say so - 'that this was a very peculiar attempt by the Queensland Government to seek to use power of that nature. I do not think it had the power. I still do not think it has the power. There is, of course, the argument that if a State of Australia can link up - if there is some nexus between the activity going on outside the territorial limits and the State itself - then the State can found legislation to control that particular activity. The authority on that point is Giles and Tumminello, which I think was a case in South Australia or Western Australia dealing with crayfish. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr James: -- You know your case law. {: .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr KILLEN: -- I am indebted to you, Sergeant, for that compliment. But the point I want to make is that the honourable member for Dawson is a little unfair in saying that the Prime Minister **(Mr Gorton)** has expressed an off the cuff view, and that as a consequence his Cabinet is somewhat beleagued and does not know exactly what it should do or what it could do. The fact of the matter is that the Commonwealth entered into the States, for better or for worse, on the petroleum submerged lands legislation. It is saddled with that legislation. I have as a personal view - and I so express it - the gravest of doubts as to the validity of that legislation, but that is my own view. I do not settle the matter. It can be settled only by some litigant in the High Court. The only party that could reasonably become a litigant in the High Court on this matter would be one of the States because here you have the States and the Commonwealth seeking to give what they genuinely believed at the time to be some point to the federal system. My view is that the petroleum submerged land legislation should have given power exclusively to the Commonwealth, and I will tell the honourable member for Dawson why I hold this view. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: -- I agree with you. {: .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr KILLEN: -- I am delighted to find that at long last the light has dawned. It is the Commonwealth of Australia which is the contracting party in the international community. It is the Commonwealth of Australia that has international personality. The States have no international personality. I do not say that offensively. I make the observation technically. When the Commonwealth of Australia enters into substantial obligations dealing with a complicated subject, such as the law of the sea, I think that the definition or delineation of power should be made precisely and emphatically. I would hope that at some time in the future - and I think that the AttorneyGeneral **(Mr Bowen)** has an open mind on this question - an effort will bc made to settle this highly complicated matter. The last thing I want to say on drilling is to point up some of the growing complexity in this field. The convention dealing with the continental shelf has an exploitability test; that is to say, in 1958 it was provided that drilling could be carried out to the 200 metre mark or such further depth as may be exploited. Today there is drilling going on at a depth of thousands of feet. Such has been the technological progress that the exploitability test is no longer valid. Finally, the honourable member for Dawson dealt with the fact that the Commonwealth could veto drilling on the Great Barrier Reef. Again he is not being completely precise. From memory I think that clause 11 of the agreement reached between the Commonwealth and the States provides that the Commonwealth can exercise a veto power provided it can be related to a particular power in the Commonwealth Constitution, for example, the defence power, the external affairs power, the quarantine power, and customs and excise power of a sort. I think that is to be found in the agreement. I do not think it is to be found in the prior legislation. I think it is entirely in the agreement. Unless the Commonwealth can say to the States: 'Well, in our opinion you are infringing,' or, 'You are putting in jeopardy some defence activity,' it would not reasonably be open to the Commonwealth to veto the activity. {: #debate-29-s15 .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES:
Hunter -- The matter I want to raise refers to an unusual case. Perhaps the Attorney-General **(Mr Bowen)** might be able to introduce some legislation which could prevent a repetition of a case that happened in my electorate this week. I refer to the deaths of Australian nationals in foreign countries, where difficulty is experienced by the next of kin in having the bodies cremated if they are returned to Australia. As the Attorney-General would know, in order to have a body cremated in New South Wales it is necessary to submit to the coroner two medical certificates specifying the cause of death. In the absence of medical certificates the coroner's hands are tied in so far as he cannot issue a certificate for cremation. This unfortunate constituent of mine, with whom I went to school and who is very highly regarded, met his death motoring between Kiev and Odessa in the Soviet Union. He was accompanied in a vehicle by his wife and daughter. The vehicle got out of control and he was thrown from the vehicle. His wife and daughter immediately noticed that he was unconscious. He never regained consciousness. His body was brought back to Australia. The Newcastle coroner was very courteous. He is highly regarded. But he found himself bogged down by the law, because to carry out the wishes of the next of kin he had to have certificates as to the cause of death of the deceased. The Russian authorities - and I am not condemning them for it - did not send out with the body or by any other means certificates as to the cause of death, although they expedited the delivery of the body to Australia in a properly sealed metal container. A photostat copy of the deceased's passport accompanied the body. So there was no question of identification of the contents of the metal container. But despite that, the body had to be identified. I do not object to that. I can understand the coroner adopting that attitude. I appeal to the Attorney-General to try to introduce some legal machinery which will overcome this sort of difficulty. The machinery could remove the anxiety of the next of kin. Also, if such machinery were adopted a burial would not be held up; the decision on whether the body was to be cremated or buried would not be delayed. I think the Parliament would agree with me that there will be more cases of a similar nature. This will be due to the increasing number of Australians visiting other parts of the world, particularly with the introduction of jumbo jet aircraft that will come into operation in Australia next year. One of these aircraft will carry about 400 passengers. Tourists will be going from Australia to other parts of the world. They will be hiring cars and accidents such as the unfortunate one I have mentioned will occur. When the bodies are brought back to Australia the people concerned will have to go through this legal rigmarole in relation to the disposal of the bodies. Funerals will be held up, thereby adding to the mental turmoil of the next of kin, caused by the death. I want to pay credit to the USSR authorities for the manner in which they expedited the delivery of the body to Australia and provided appropriate certificates, in the absence of the death certificate, to accompany the body. I understand that there was a similar case occurred recently, due to the unfortunate killing of an Australian artist in Vietnam. In this case the relatives had the body brought back and I understand that there was some difficulty in meeting the wishes of the next of kin. I understand that they wanted the body to be cremated. In this case a similar situation arose in that a medical certificate as to the cause of death was not supplied. The Attorney-General would know that it would be most unpleasant for an Australian medical officer to have to carry out a post mortem on decomposed human remains. Some coroners are reluctant to give a certificate for a cremation unless a post mortem is carried out on the body after arrival in Australia. I repeat that most medicos are reluctant to carry out a post mortem on decomposed remains. I believe that the Attorney-General could confer with his colleague, the Minister for External Affairs **(Mr Freeth),** with a view to instructing Australian embassies and consulates in various parts of the world to arrange for the provision of a medical certificate of the cause of death when a body is to be returned to Australia. I believe that in itself could prevent a recurrence of the situation that arose in my electorate the other day. As I said, I believe that there will be more situations of this kind. I understand that this difficulty does not arise in respect of the bodies of Australian servicemen that are brought back from Vietnam because medical officers attached to the Army give certificates as to the cause of death and those certificates accompany the remains. The difficulty does not arise in relation to Army personnel as it does with civilian people. I hope that the Minister can devise some legal means of overcoming these unfortunate incidents. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr Duthie: -- What happens when a body is sent from Australia? {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- This could involve the relatives of a visitor or a new Australian who want the remains to go to his native land. Of course, this would depend on the law of the country to which the human remains are to be sent. I only have some knowledge of how the law works in Australia and particularly in New South Wales. 1 would like the Attorney-General to have a look at this matter and try to overcome the unpleasantness that does arise from the sort of incident that I have mentioned. {: #debate-29-s16 .speaker-JRN} ##### Mr BOWEN:
AttorneyGeneral · Parramatta · LP -- I would like to deal first with some matters that were raised by the honourable member for Dawson **(Dr Patterson).** The honourable member referred to a case that was decided by the High Court in relation to territorial limits. This was the case of Bonser and La Macchia. The honourable member made some comment about the attitude of the Commonwealth in the conduct of that case, in which I appeared as Attorney-General for the Commonwealth. I think it is necessary to remember what that case was about. It was a case of the prosecution of a fisherman for a breach of the Commonwealth Fisheries Act in using a net with too small a mesh. The offence occurred about *6)* miles off the coast of New South Wales, that is to say, well outside the 3-mile limit but within 12 miles. A challenge was made by the defendant to the constitutional power of the Commonwealth to pass its fisheries legislation. The Commonwealth fisheries legislation operates only outwards from the 3-mile limit at present; it is not in terms which operate within a 3-mile limit. Since Federation the fisheries legislation of the States has in practice operated out to 3 miles and the Commonwealth fisheries legislation operates from there on. But the Commonwealth fisheries legislation does not stop at 12 miles. It goes out to a proclaimed limit which at some points would be as much as 200 miles off the coast of Australia and in areas which are described as Australian waters. The Commonwealth's power under section 51 of the Constitution over fisheries is to legislate with regard to them in Australian waters. Australian waters have been proclaimed in a fashion which takes them out to this very wide limit. In order to determine whether the Commonwealth Act was valid or invalid, extending as it did from 3 miles out to the proclaimed distance, it seemed that it was not essential to say whether or not the Commonwealth had power to legislate from the low water mark outwards. It had not in fact done so. The offence occurred 6i miles off the coast and therefore this point was not involved necessarily, as it seemed, in the actual case before the court. On behalf of the Commonwealth I submitted to the court that it was not necessary therefore to decide the very difficult question of whether the territory of a State finishes at low water mark and whether the legislative jurisdiction over the seabed and in the waters above thereafter applies only to the Commonwealth. The State of New South Wales, which was represented by its Solicitor-General, took the same view. It is true that when those submissions were made the Chief Justice said if the Court found it necessary to decide the point it would of course do so. We both accepted that position. I think in the result it is true that the Chief Justice and **Mr Justice** Windeyer did express a view on that point. Both of them expressed a view that the States' territory finished at low water mark and Commonwealth jurisdiction commenced from there outwards. I was extremely interested to read their judgments. However, I think it is not sufficient just to read their judgments alone. I call the attention of the honourable member for Dawson to the other judgments. If he reads the judgment of **Mr Justice** Kitto and the judgment of **Mr Justice** Menzies at least he will begin to understand why as a matter of judgment I deemed that it was not advisable at that point of time to address a full argument to the Court on that particular issue. This is a matter of judgment and I still believe that the judgment I then made was perfectly sound. As the honourable member knows, it is not sufficient to get the judgments of two justices in a bench consisting of seven. Indeed, having received a lot of very learned opinions recently, which I have obtained on behalf of the Commonwealth, and having given a great deal of study to this point, I would say that on a full argument it would have been a very long case and the result could not have been forecast at that stage with certainty. It is true that now the Commonwealth has two favourable judgments so far as its jurisdiction is concerned and it has expressions of opinion tending the other way on the record from **Mr Justice** Kitto and, to a less definite extent, from **Mr Justice** Menzies. **Mr Justice** McTiernan did not express a view on this. **Mr Justice** Owen did not express a view. Although **Sir Alan** Taylor was present when the case was argued he died before judgment was delivered. One should remember that international law is developing in this field. In the interim after the case was argued the International Court of Justice in February this year handed down a decision which will be helpful to any argument which the Commonwealth might now wish to advance on this matter. This decision related to two disputes - one between Germany and Denmark and one between Germany and the Netherlands - about sovereignty over the sea bed off the respective coasts of the countries concerned. The view expressed by the International Court is that the sea bed is to be regarded territorially as an extension of the territory of the particular state. This is a recent development in international law It was not the position in 1901 when the Constitution came into force. If that would be a new international law right arising it would attach to the only international person in the Australian Federation, namely the Commonwealth Government. Trends in international law are also to be taken into account in determining the time at which it may be appropriate to litigate this issue. The honourable member for Dawson referred to the Barrier Reef and its protection. It is agreed on all sides that this is a great national asset but it must be remembered that it is not one reef; it is a series of reefs extending for about 1,200 miles, at some points 8 miles off the coast and at others 200 miles off the coast. When the off-shore oil legislation was arranged between the Commonwealth and the States agreement was reached applying all around Australia - not only in relation to the reef - designed to give to people security of tenure so far as permits and licences were concerned so that they might be encouraged to explore for oil off the coast of Australia. Queensland came into the picture naturally as one of the States involved. The Commonwealth felt that it was proper to agree to one condition which the States sought. The Commonwealth agreed that if the joint legislation came into force it would honour permits previously entered into by the States. The Queensland Government had granted permits in relation to practically the whole extent of the reef before the off-shore oil legislation came into force. Since then I think a permit has been granted in relation to one small area near Cape York, out on the seaward side. Permits to which objection was taken are those granted by the Queensland Government before the legislation came into force. We have honoured an undertaking to confirm them. Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m. {: .speaker-JRN} ##### Mr BOWEN: -- Prior to the suspension of the sitting I was speaking of the off-shore oil legislation, which is complementary legislation in the Commonwealth and the States, governing the exploration for oil and the exploitation of it off the coast. I was dealing with the question of competing claims to power as between the Commonwealth and the States. At the time negotiations for this legislation were taking place, from 1962 onwards, the Commonwealth advisers were quite conscious of the fact that they could make a claim to legislate in respect of the seabed and exploration in it from low water mark outwards. I have looked at the papers relating to that time. **Sir Garfield** Barwick was Attorney-General then and there is no question that the Commonwealth was conscious that this was a possible claim of jurisdiction that it could make. On the other hand, the States claimed to be able to legislate certainly out to 3 miles and possibly beyond. They made the further claim that even if the territory of the State, as has been suggested by two judges in the case of Bonser v. La Macchia recently, finished at low water mark they had power to legislate extra-territorially. In addition they claimed that whether or not the Commonwealth had power to grant licences to explore in the seabed, at some point of time a licensee from the Commonwealth would need to use a State port or State land area and the States were not prepared to concede the use of their ports or land areas if the Commonwealth purported to exercise legislative power exclusively in the seabed. In this situation it became obvious that if we wanted companies to risk their capital in exploring off-shore - and a drill would cost $8m - some security of tenure had to be offered to them. Therefore the States and the Commonwealth decided that they would talk together and try to determine not what was the division of power between them but what was the best thing to do for Australia, and talk about power afterwards. As a result of these discussions - and in the latter part of them I became Attorney-General and took part in them - it was decided that the Commonwealth and the States would pool their powers without deciding who had what. Whatever powers the Commonwealth had would be put into the pool and whatever powers the States had would be put into the pool. Together they would authorise the grant of permits and licences with complete security of tenure for people to drill. The result of this has been that of the 1 million square miles of continental shelf off the coast of Australia the greater part has been taken up in permits and licences for off-shore oil exploration and drilling. We could not have done it otherwise. I think it was the wise thing to do. But when we came to Queensland, which was one of the States concerned, we were faced with the problem of the Great Barrier Reef. As I was saying before the suspension of the sitting, the Reef extends for 1,200 miles and before these discussions took place the Queensland Government, which at that time was a Labor government under a gentleman who is now occupied in another place here, had granted permits to drill over the length of the Barrier Reef. Now, what should the Commonwealth do when it came to talk with Queensland and the other States? It brought Queensland into the fold and said, as it did to all the other States: 'If we pool our powers the Commonwealth will honour what the States have done in the past, but for the future we require a power of veto*. In point of fact what has happened on the Reef is that we have honoured our undertaking to confirm the titles granted by the Queensland Government before these talks took place and we have put a veto on the issue of further permits to drill on the Reef. That is the present position. When the honourable member for Dawson suggests that because the Prime Minister **(Mr Gorton),** when he was in Queensland, said that it was his view that nothing should take place which would endanger this great national asset it was in some way inconsistent with what the Commonwealth was doing, I suggest that he is not talking sense. This is completely consistent with what has been done because in the exercise of our power under the joint off-shore oil agreement we have put an embargo on the grant of permits to drill in that area. I pass over the valuable contribution of the honourable member for Moreton **(Mr Killen)** on this subject and should like to address a few remarks to the matters raised by the honourable member for Hunter **(Mr James).** He raised two difficulties which happened in the case of Australians who were overseas. One was the difficulty where debts are incurred, a death occurs and children and family have difficulty in recovering assets from overseas. The second related to the death in Russia of someone from his constituency and to the difficulty with the coroner back in Australia because the Russian authorities had sent the body back without a death certificate. I will undertake to inquire into the possibility of making some arrangements in this field whereby some improvement to the situation can be effected, but I would point out that in respect of the coroner and death occurring overseas, with bodies being transported back, this is a matter that depends on the law of each State. It depends to some extent on the powers of coroners in the various States, because they are not always the same. But as to any negotiations that should be undertaken with foreign countries in order to improve the position, apart from the local law, I will inquire to see what action can be taken at Commonwealth level. {: #debate-29-s17 .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON:
Dawson -- Up to a few minutes ago what the AttorneyGeneral **(Mr Bowen)** said before and after the suspension of the sitting was listened to with much interest, but then he attempted to introduce blatant politics into this serious question of the Great Barrier Reef by blaming a Queensland Labor government for the present controversy over the drilling by Japex (Aust.) Pty Ltd at Repulse Bay. In other words he implied that a Labour government granted the company its lease. This was sinking to the depths that we can expect from the Liberal Party in the forthcoming election. The Japex lease was not granted by a Labor government, as the Attorney-General knows full well. The present controversy in Queensland concerns the drilling of one well only off the coast of Mackay. {: .speaker-JRN} ##### Mr Bowen: -- Oh, come come. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON: -- That is the present controversy. The implication by the Attorney-General was that a Labor government granted this lease. It was implied by the honourable member for Moreton **(Mr Killen)** as well as by the Attorney-General that the Prime Minister **(Mr Gorton)** - the Leader of the Government and perhaps the most important man in Australia - had the right to go to Queensland and make a personal off-the-cuff observation that he does not want any drilling on the Great Barrier Reef despite the fact that his own Cabinet, in the words of the Attorney-General, has honoured its obligation to endorse all of the leases that had been granted by the Queensland government. In other words, the Cabinet has endorsed the Japex lease over which we are having all the trouble at present. Yet the Prime Minister went to Queensland and, defended by the AttorneyGeneral and the honourable member for Moreton, said that he personally does not believe in drilling on the Barrier Reef. He tries to put the blame on the rest of the Cabinet. {: .speaker-JRN} ##### Mr Bowen: -- We have vetoed all future permits. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON: -- You did not veto this one. {: .speaker-JRN} ##### Mr Bowen: -- We have vetoed all future permits. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON: -- Now we are getting the truth. The controversy at present is over this one hole which it is proposed to sink off Repulse Bay. The issue does not arise from the pros and cons of the sinking of this hole. The issue is the credibility of this Government. The issue is whether we can trust the Government. It boils down to that. The Minister for National1 Development **(Mr Fairbairn)** in March of this year gave an implied undertaking in the House that further drilling would not take place on the Barrier Reef. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! The time allotted for the consideration of the proposed expenditure has expired. Proposed expenditure agreed to. Department of Customs and Excise Proposed expenditure, $25,055,000. Department of Primary Industry Proposed expenditure, $68,814,000. Department of Trade and Industry Proposed expenditure, $32,130,000. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 864 {:#debate-30} ### SNOWY MOUNTAINS ENGINEERING CORPORATION {:#subdebate-30-0} #### Ministerial Statement {: #subdebate-30-0-s0 .speaker-KDT} ##### Mr FAIRBAIRN:
Minister for National Development · Farrer · LP -- by leave - Last year I announced that the Government had decided to continue in existence in the national interest certain elements of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority organisation. For this purpose it would set up by Commonwealth legislation a statutory corporation which would provide an expert engineering consulting service to Australian industry and would also engage in similar work overseas. The corporation would be staffed by officers drawn from the investigation, design and scientific service staffs of the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority. These staffs had built up expert collective skills during the course of the Authority's history. Since that time I have discussed the Commonwealth's decision with the States and as a result it is my belief that the majority and perhaps all of the States are prepared to introduce legislation matching that of the Commonwealth's. It is pleasing to note that in the intervening period the demand for the Authority's services has been steadily increasing. It has been providing consulting services not otherwise readily available from local sources and has amply justified the Government's belief that such a service is required. Without it overseas consultants would have had to be employed on many of the projects and the expertise built up by the Snowy Authority would have declined. Again State instrumentalities have been able to effect savings by being able to call on the Authority's services to assist with the peaks in their programmes and in particular on projects which are not of a repetitive nature such as underground railways and complex water storage schemes for the metropolitan areas. The Commonwealth nevertheless was fully aware of the services in the engineering field already provided by Commonwealth and State works organisations and by private consulting bodies. It did not wish the Authority to intrude into fields already adequately served by existing organisations. Accordingly it will limit the categories of projects the Authority might undertake in Australia to the following: Dams and other works for the storage and conveyance of water; power stations and pumping plants; underground works for conveyance of water or for other purposes; work ancillary to the above, such as electricity transmission lines and roads; and work in the disciplines involved in the above work, such as hydrology, hydraulics, soil and rock mechanics. Outside Australia the corporation will be empowered to go beyond these categories to enable it to undertake work of a kind it has already been doing overseas, such as work on mountain roads, and other jobs appropriate to its special skills. The functions it may undertake within Australia will be work of an investigatory, design and advisory nature including supervision of contracts in the engineering field. Such work may be done for Commonwealth and State governments and their various authorities and also for private organisations when commissioned by private consultants. Outside Australia its functions will be of a similar nature but will extend to all phases of construction. In addition it may undertake work directly for private organisations. I shall now briefly indicate other features of our recent decisions. Firstly, I refer to the form the corporation will take. This is to be similar to that of the present Snowy Mountains Authority. A corporation sole will be created to be assisted by two statutorily appointed associates. An advisory committee will be appointed from which I may seek advice on whether individual projects might or might not be appropriately undertaken by the corporation. The committee will comprise officers from several Commonwealth departments and two persons from private enterprise. My approval will be necessary before the corporation may undertake a project and in this connection I will have due regard to whether it might be more appropriately undertaken by private Australian engineering consultants. The consultative committee will provide assistance to me in coming to decisions in this area. I will be empowered to limit the maximum staff of the corporation. The various limitations I have indicated above will confine the Authority to fields wherein it has a special expertise and thus retain the collective skills the Authority has built up in the last 20 years. In this regard I would remind honourable members that, although we may now be approaching the stage of taking the Snowy Mountains scheme for granted, it is still the largest development project ever undertaken in Australia and will possibly remain the largest ever undertaken. Its basic concepts and the skill, drive and imagination with which they have been carried out have received world acclaim. The hard won skills acquired in such an undertaking should not be dissipated. {: #subdebate-30-0-s1 .speaker-KID} ##### Mr LUCHETTI:
Macquarie -- by leave - I thank the House for its consideration in giving me leave to speak on this topic. The Opposition believes that a national water resources authority is urgently needed to plan and construct major projects throughout Australia. The statement read by the Minister for National Development **(Mr Fairbairn)** clearly shows that the Government has no intention of establishing such an authority. This Corporation is a tapering off process. It salvages a section of the skilled and expert force of the Snowy Mountains Authority, but it will not in the future proceed along the lines of the great Snowy Mountains Authority. Had those in office when the Snowy Mountains Authority was established created an organisation similar to that proposed by the Minister this evening, there would have been no Snowy Mountains Authority, no world records would have been broken in the construction of tunnels, the conservation of water and the production of hydro-electricity, and this outstanding work would not have become a reality. The Opposition is not happy with this proposal, for it fails to achieve objectives that ought to be targets in Australia today. Over recent years leaders of industry, thoughtful people in all sections of the community, editorials in the Press and the former head of the Snowy Mountains Authority, **Sir William** Hudson, have spoken of the need for a national water authority. This is the tenor of the attitude throughout the land. There has been no project in Australia's history that has aroused national sentiment to the extent that the great Snowy Mountains project has done. People visiting the area feel proud of the fact that they are Australians, that this great undertaking has been organised and has been a financial success. It has brought wealth to the country and yet the statement we have heard tonight brings about the dismemberment, the breaking up of this wonderful organisation. This is not of recent origin because engineers on the Snowy Mountains project have come to Parliament and addressed members on the Government side and members of the Opposition. They have written to the leaders of the Government and to the Minister for National Development and they have warned of the breakup of this great organisation. The 'Sydney Morning Herald* of 6th January last year drew attention quite clearly to these facts. Again, the engineers have written to members of Parliament, and in one of their letters addressed to the Leader of my Party they point out that three of the top experts employed by the Snowy Mountains Authority had left the undertaking and had sought work elsewhere. It is not surprising that these gentlemen - **Mr Moye, Mr Mclntyre** and **Mr Anderson** - left the Snowy Mountains Authority because quite definitely under this administration there was no future there for them. No great projects were being developed. The Commonwealth itself had abandoned its desire to proceed with great ventures similar to the Snowy Mountains project. It is true that the former Prime Minister, the late **Mr Harold** Holt, announced in 1966 a $50m five-year water programme which the Minister for National Development further reported on to the House on 1st November 1967, and since then funds have been made available to the States. An amount of $20m was provided for the Emerald project - now the Fairbairn scheme - in Queensland; $20m was provided for the Copeton Dam in New South Wales; a salinity project in Victoria received $3m, the King River project in Victoria $4m; and the Tailem BendKeith project in South Australia received $6m, making a total of $53m. But in a period of 5 years only $33m is expected to be expended, and this amount is all to be spent on small projects. They are scattered throughout Australia under the control of State Governments and their departmental organisations. One of the requirements of this country - this is the view not only of the Opposition but also of some members at least of the Country Party, including the former member for Gwydir, **Mr Ian** Allan - is a project on the Darling River. That is one of the great projects that might be undertaken to the advantage of Australia, helping to droughtproof this nation, helping to provide water for the new industries being established in the north west, such as the growing of cotton and tobacco and the irrigation of the great river plains. This is something that might well have been adopted. The Government by this proposal is quite properly trying to secure the services of a section of the skilled experts of the Snowy Mountains Authority. Whilst it is of value in that it will salvage something from the loss of the Snowy Mountains Authority, it certainly does not go the distance that it ought to go. It is true that these men have the capacity to do great things. They have proved that in the Snowy Mountains Authority, but will they get the opportunity unless the Commonwealth itself comes in as the national constructing authority planning great works? It is most unlikely that these things will happen. {: .speaker-JSY} ##### Mr Buchanan: -- That is pure socialism. {: .speaker-KID} ##### Mr LUCHETTI: -- The honourable member for McMillan said something about socialism. Very few people in Australia would object to the type of socialism being practised by the Snowy Mountains Authority. The Labor Party would like the people who formed the Snowy Mountains Authority, with all their skills and knowhow, to be used in a national conservation authority providing the life-giving water so essential for the development of this country. This is a disappointing statement. The Opposition realises that nothing better could have been expected from the Government because its policy in matters of this kind is not to go along with the expansion of national undertakings. It believes in leaving the work to someone else. It has a laissez faire attitude. Leave it to private enterprise, leave it to the States, leave it to someone else. Time does not matter. But time is urgent, time is pressing and it is for this nation to go forward as the Chifley Labor Government sent it forward by planning the Snowy Mountains project and the other great undertakings of this country. I should like to draw the attention of honourable members to what has been taking place within the Snowy Mountains Authority and to the loss of the skilled work force. The nineteenth annual report of the Authority shows that there were 63 fewer professional and technical staff and 86 fewer finance and administrative staff - a total of 149 fewer - at the end of the financial year than there were at the commencement of the year. Of course, this statement does not indicate how many of the officers at present retained by the Snowy Mountains Authority will be invited to join the new authority and how many will be required to provide expert knowledge and tender information to the States, private enterprise and to others. The brilliant experts of the Snowy Mountains Authority have been assisting on projects in Australia and also overseas in conjunction with the Colombo Plan in the Indus Valley and so on. They have made their services available and it is quite unnecessary therefore to have a new authority of this kind which will reduce the Snowy Mountains Authority in this fashion. I can only hope that more practical steps will be taken in the future. The Snowy Mountains Authority, as far as this Government is concerned, is doomed; there is no hope for it. But if on 25th October the people of Australia return a Labor government to power we will use the people engaged in the Snowy Mountains Authority. We will seek to bring back to the organisation those who have left, to take on the great challenging works of conservation of precious water in this country, the driest continent in the world. I thank the Minister for his comments and I thank him for allowing me the opportunity to speak on this matter this evening. The great works awaiting attention include those proposed on the Darling River system and the Burdekin. The nation can afford to do these things. The recent Budget proved that beyond any shadow of doubt. Providing water which produces wealth is something which this country must not fail to do. I am disappointed in the statement and I can only hope that the people of Australia will give the Labor Party an opportunity to correct this mistake. {: .speaker-JVO} ##### Mr Munro: -- I ask for leave to make a statement on the same subject. {: #subdebate-30-0-s2 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Is leave granted? {: .speaker-KDO} ##### Mr Erwin: -- No. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Leave is not granted. {: .page-start } page 867 {:#debate-31} ### PRINTING COMMITTEE {: #debate-31-s0 .speaker-KCQ} ##### Mr GRAHAM:
North Sydney -- I present the ninth report of the Printing Committee. Report - by leave - adopted. {: .page-start } page 867 {:#debate-32} ### APPROPRIATION BILL (No. 1) 1969-70 In Committee Consideration resumed (vide page 864). Second Schedule. Department of Customs and Excise Proposed expenditure, $25,055,000. Department of Primary Industry Proposed expenditure, (68,814,000. Department of Trade and Industry Proposed expenditure, $32,130,000. {: #debate-32-s0 .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE:
Wilmot **- Mr Chairman,** the subject on which I wish to speak tonight in the time allowed me relates to ali three of the appropriations now before the Committee. It concerns the crisis in the Tasmanian hop industry. This subject is rarely aired in this Parliament and, of course, is vital to all those throughout Australia who partake of the product of this industry. It is not one of my vices. I mention that 77% of Australia's total hop production is grown in Tasmania. In fact, 86% of Tasmania's hop production is grown in my electorate in the Derwent Valley which is some 23 to 30 miles from Hobart. During July, I visited this area. I toured that part of my electorate. I met many of the growers. I met groups of hop growers who put their problems before me. I have since taken these problems up with the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr Anthony).** I am very disgusted that the Minister is not in the Committee tonight; nor is his representative in the Committee. This is typical of the Government in many respects. It shows just how arrogant and unconcerned it is about these important matters. Each Minister has an absolute duty to be in this Parliament when we are speaking on the estimates for his Department. Neither the Minister for Trade and Industry **(Mr McEwen)** nor the Minister for Primary Industry are present tonight. Of course, the Minister for Customs and Excise **(Senator Scott)** is not present because he is in the other place. The overall picture of the hop industry is a very disturbing one. No doubt exists that there is a crisis within it. This crisis has been brought about by several factors that came to a climax in this year. For 35 years, since the depression, this industry has been trouble free. It has never sought assistance from the Commonwealth Government or the State Government of Tasmania. This is a marvellous record when we consider all the primary industries that have had to be assisted during those years. I would say that the problem has been brought about by the following factors: Firstly, the past year has seen a bumper harvest; secondly, the importation of hops by brewers has been too high; thirdly, brewers have imported hop extract, a pound of which does the work of 4 lb of hops and this means more beer with less hops; fourthly, the swing to the Ringwood variety which produces more and better hops per acre; fifthly, the deliberate increase in hop growing in Victoria which has reduced the need for brewers to seek Tasmanian hops. The increase in production in that respect has been from 2,800 bales in 1959 to 5,200 bales in 1969. In Tasmania, growers sell their hops to two buyers who usually contract with them each season. Our production has varied very considerably, lt depends a lot on weather conditions. These vary. As an illustration, I mention that in 1969, 13,500 bales were produced. In 1962, 11,500 bales were produced. The production in 1964 was 6,500 bales. Production in 1966 stood at 12,000 bales. In 1969, 14,000 bales have been produced. The two buyers are H. Jones and Co., which has many other interests besides the growing of hops, and Ferguson (Merchandising) Pty Ltd which is associated with the TOP group. Jones and Co. buy 75% of the Tasmanian hop production and the other firm buys the remaining 25%. Jones and Co., being a large company, has many other interests and has paid all its growers this year although it is understood that it has about $400,000 worth of hops in cool store in Hobart and elsewhere unsold. The problem this year is largely overproduction. It is a problem of marketing more than anything. The other firm, which has been in existence for 50 years or more, is not as financially powerful and has not paid all its growers yet. It has paid some of them for portion of their crop but it has paid others nothing. One grower is owed $10,000. The contract system in this case has broken down. These growers, selling to the second firm, produced 1,900 bales and they are in desperate need of payment. Interestingly enough, the problem of the industry is not to be found in the price offered by the brewers. This is 76c per lb. The problem is to be found not in production, know-how or quality but in marketing. There has never been a marketing board nor a hops stabilisation plan. This is strictly a private enterprise industry. The processes involved are the growing of the hops, the brewing of the hops, the merchandising of the hops and the selling of the product in hotels and elsewhere. It is a private enterprise industry from beginning to end. Some startling facts about the industry may be of interest. During the past 10 years, Australian brewers have imported $3,656,000 worth of hops with the peak year being 1966 when they brought in $1,055,000 worth of hops. This practice is followed to offset a bad season caused by weather conditions. Brewers must have a certain reserve of hops in case the growing of Australian hops breaks down in Victoria and Tasmania. In respect of extract, the brewers brought in $4,000 worth in 1965-66 but $69,000 in 1966-67. Already this year $29,842 worth of extract has come into Australia while, in Victoria, Carlton United Breweries last year installed a Sim extract plant. This means that more beer is being obtained from less hops. This will mean fewer workers and a greater crisis at the level of production in this industry. I refer to the crisis facing growers. Official statistics show that beer consumption in Australia rose from 249 million gallons in 1962 to 293 million gallons in 1967. Significantly, in this same 5-year period, the brewers' use of hops declined from 17,500 bales to 14,004 bales proving that more and more beer is being produced from less and less hops to the growing detriment of the hop producers in Victoria and Tasmania. As far as the Commonwealth is concerned, I point out that, though it takes no active part in the growing, the planning, the organising or the marketing associated with this industry, its revenue from excise on beer sales is absolutely fantastic. In the past 10 years, excise on beer alone netted $2,588m without a cent of Commonwealth investment or expenditure. In 1968, the excise collected reached $338m. So, in seeking Commonwealth aid, this industry is proud of the fact that no aid has ever been sought by it before. Ferguson (Merchandising) Pty Ltd and the TOP group in a desperate effort to recoup themselves and to pay their growers exported 610 bales, which is equal to 152,500 lb of hops, in April of this year in five ships to Western Europe and South Africa. This was done in a desperate attempt to find an overseas market for our hops. It had never been done before. They may get 60c per lb, which is 15c below the home price this season. I have heard that the testing of these hops has been very satisfactory, especially in Germany, but that the price has not yet been decided upon. It is now nearly the end of August and many of these growers have not yet been paid. I believe that the answers to these mounting critical problems must be continuing ones and must be given quickly to save many growers from bankruptcy. The big grower can survive this crisis, but the small grower cannot if faced with a similar year in 1970. The seriousness of this is emphasised when I inform honourable members that there are 60 growers out of the 106 in the industry in the Derwent Valley who grow 10 acres or less. It is possible for a grower to make a good living on 6 acres or up to 10 acres. The vast majority of these men have been growing hops for their lifetime - and their fathers before them. They are experts in their field - there is no inefficiency in this industry - but they are experts and they must be paid for their crops or they go under. Surely it is not asking too much for the Commonwealth Government to come to their aid. The answers lie in the following actions which I have suggested to the Minister: Firstly, a prohibition on the importation of hops; secondly, a prohibition on the importation of hop extracts, at least until the surplus hops have been used; thirdly, freezing of acreage by negotiation with the Hop Producers Association in Tasmania; fourthly, a Federal subsidy could be paid to bridge the gap between the sale price overseas of exported hops and the home price on local markets - this could be about 15c a lb, and on an export total of 610 bales it would cost the Commonwealth about $22,500; fifthly, a Federal plan giving some stability to the industry by allocating the excess hops amongst the brewers in proportion to the hops used by each brewer, the cost of these hops to the brewer to be deducted from the excise duty payable by the brewers. The merchants and the Government could assist in finding overseas markets for the surplus and the proceeds of these exports could be allocated to the Department of Customs and Excise and the brewer in proportions to be negotiated. This plan means that the grower would receive his full return for his entire crop each year, with negotiation between the brewer and the Government on the taking of surplus hops solving the problem in that sense. Wrapped up in this, of course, is the freezing of acreages at the 1969-70 level. Already Jones and Co., who own a great number of hop fields in the Derwent Valley, are grubbing out over 100 acres in four fields controlled by them, and next year they will reduce their contracts by 10% on each grower. If at a later date all the methods which 1 have suggested fail or partly fail then a hop industry marketing board might be sought to handle organised marketing for this industry. The final answer in the future may well be in a hop industry stabilisation plan, if the growers decide on this, thus giving the controls and guarantees necessary to stabilise the small, efficient hop grower, and there are 60 of these out of the 106 I mentioned, so they are the majority. It is the small grower about whom I and the Labor Party are concerned. Throughout Australia the small family unit farmer is the sheet anchor in the economic strength of the nation. He is the key to the survival of country towns in Australia. If the small farmers disappear the town will also disappear. The big man can make his holding bigger and bigger by gobbling up the small farms. This is disastrous to the towns. The big man generally gets all his produce direct from the wholesaler in Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane as the case may be. He gets all his liquor and groceries and other goods direct from the wholesaler. This means that the ordinary businessman in a country town would die or starve to death if his survival depended on the big producer. For the sake of the economics of our country towns this Government must take more positive action to help preserve and save the small farmers of Australia. As I said, the small farmer is the sheet anchor of our whole economy. {: .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: -- The family farmer. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- That is right, the family farmer, the dairy farmer, the small sheep man, the mixed farmer, the small hop grower or the sugar cane grower. These men are the very foundation of Australia's agricultural economy which last year earned the Commonwealth by way of income from exports about $4,000m, that is 60% of total import income. It is up to the Government to try and solve the problem of the hop industry which I have brought to the notice of this Parliament tonight and of the problems facing the small farmers throughout Australia. The Labor Party will help the apple and pear industry in Australia with a stabilisation plan. {: #debate-32-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! The honourable member's time has expired. **Mr BUCHANAN** (McMillan) [8.46)- In my opening remarks in dealing with these three Bills I want to register a small protest at the method of grouping three items on which a large number of people in this House would like to speak individually but they are debarred from so doing, partly by the guillotine and also because the number of honourable members who are allowed to speak in this debate has been cut down. I do not register this protest merely from the point of view of the present sittings. It has become the practice of those in charge of these arrangements to group these items, and I suggest that the Parliament would be better served if each item were dealt with individually, even if less time were allowed for each item when the guillotine is operating. I would like to be able to speak for a full period of IS minutes on each of the three Bills. I want to make a few remarks about the Department of Customs and Excise and the remarkable change that has taken place in by-law entry. The procedure has been streamlined to cut down the amount of work that is thrown on the officers of that Department, and those officers have my sympathy. But when it comes to the interpretation of suitably equivalent materials I do not believe that a sufficiently thorough examination is made; particularly when suitably equivalent materials are available in a lot of cases which are refused. I will give an example, even though it may not be strictly apt. If there were a carburettor manufacturer in Australia producing a certain carburettor every manufacturer of tractors in Australia would be required to change the design of his tractor to suit that carburettor and would not be allowed to import an article designed to give the best results on his particular machine. To me that seems a bit crazy. I want to spend more time than is available to me in dealing with censorship roles. Books are sent from other countries to people in Australia. These books are freely on sale in more sophisticated places than Australia. As an example, a friend of mine had a book sent out from America. From my inquiries there is nothing really dreadful in it although it may not be the sort of thing that everybody would discuss at the dinner table. My friend has not been allowed to get possession of it. If people want to read these sort of books in private then 1 think this is all right. It is not foisting this type of book on the public as a whole as is done in some of the television commercials that I see pushed into our lounge rooms. Someone in America realised that this was a good book and sent it out to this friend of mine in Australia, but, as I said, he is not allowed to obtain possession of it. In another case the daughter of one of our intellectuals while travelling in America picked up some book because it was a good seller over there and she sent it out someone in Australia but that person is not allowed to get it. I venture to say that there are quite a lot of books in the Parliamentary Library, which honourable members can obtain quite freely, which are a lot more lurid in their descriptions of the things about which I speak. I move on from the Department of Customs and Excise. The estimates for the Department of Primary Industry are the second in this group we are taking tonight. I would like to comment on the new provision to allow expenditure on structural improvements for conserving water or fodder to be added to the list of items that are already fully deductible for taxation purposes. The existing items include fences, water pipes, tanks and windmills. The new list will include dams and any buildings, such as silos or sheds, for storing fodder. That is very good. It will deprive the Treasury of about $3m in revenue in a full year, but it will cost only $200,000 this year. So obviously people will not be able to take full advantage of these concessions in this year's income tax returns. Compared to the treatment of manufacturing industry, this is very generous treatment. Or perhaps I should put it around the other way and say that the treatment accorded to manufacturing industry is a bit niggardly. Primary industry and manufacturing industry have many areas of similarity. This is a reason why both of them require sympathetic government assistance. They both have strong claims for the sort of encouragement that results in increased production. This incentive can be given in the taxation field by granting concessions. I would just like to divert for a minute and refer to the report of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation that was tabled this week. In that report it is argued that to obtain the maximum benefit from its natural resources Australia must take every opportunity to increase the proportion of primary products, especially minerals, that are processed in Australia before export. Primary industry - the mining industry - and manufacturing industry have a great deal in common, and they should be treated in a similar manner in the taxation field. Both primary and manufacturing industries enjoy the same investment allowance of 20%. They are on similar terms in this regard. But there is a great difference in the allowances for depreciation and the provisions for the replacement of equipment. We all know that for quite a long time primary industry has enjoyed a concession which enables primary producers to write off a lot of their capital improvements and plant over a period of 5 years. They may allow 20% for depreciation each year. This is a very good scheme. In manufacturing industry there are two possibilities. First of all. the Commissioner of Taxation may assess the life of a piece of machinery as being a certain number of years, and the owner may write it off over that period. If the life of the machinery is assessed at 20 years the owner may write off 5% a year by way of depreciation - not 20%. If the Commissioner of Taxation decides that the life is 10 years, the rate of depreciation is 10%. Secondly, equipment may be written off by making provision for depreciation on a diminishing value. Under this method it takes very much longer to write off an item; the amount of depreciation becomes less and less each year. This is just one more reason that can be added to the many reasons that I could give if I had the time why manufacturing industry should be the responsibility of a Minister and of a separate department. Directly and indirectly manufacturing is the major generator of employment in Australia. It needs a Minister to work for it the same as primary industry has a Minister to look after rural interests. There has been talk on this subject for a long time. Indeed, I made reference to it in February 1962. The Minister for Trade and Industry **(Mr McEwen)** is sitting on the front bench at the moment. He is responsible for a section of his Department known as the Office of Secondary Industry. I have nothing but praise for the work that has been done by that section, and I hope that no-one, particularly the Minister for Trade and Industry, will think that I am in any way suggesting that he has not played his part in administering this section of his Department. I have not time to go into the magnificent job he has done for manufacturing industry and for all our export industries. No man has done more to enhance Australia's reputation and acceptance as one of the leaders in world trade. This does not mean that we cannot improve the status of manufacturing industry. It has been reported that the Deputy Prime Minister will be retiring from politics some time next year. I applaud the fact that he has decided to stay on because of the work in which he is engaged overseas, particularly in connection with our grains problem. In normal circumstances this would mean that his Department would carry on as it is until he resigns from the Parliament. However, some changes could be made before his retirement in the reshuffle of portfolios that will take place following the return of the Liberal-Country Party Government in October. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- Is the honourable member expecting to become a Minister? He need not answer that if he does not want to. {: #debate-32-s2 .speaker-JSY} ##### Mr BUCHANAN: -- Why not? Manufacturing industry needs to be represented by somebody who has had business experience. There are very few people in the Ministry at the present time who have had this experience; indeed there are not a great number of these people on the benches of the Liberal Party or the Country Party. We have lawyers, accountants, fanners and a lot of other people, but people who have had actual experience in business administration are very few and far between. It would not be a bad idea if I were that Minister. {: .speaker-0095J} ##### Mr Howson: -- There are more businessmen on this side of the chamber than on the other side. {: .speaker-JSY} ##### Mr BUCHANAN: -- As I am reminded,, there are a lot more on this side than on the other side who understand what business means. That is why the other side remains in Opposition. I am suggesting that it is most desirable that the pattern for the new Parliament should be set right from, the start. If a change is to be made in the structure of the Ministry, we should tackle it straight away. I realise that if a new portfolio were created we would require one extra Minister. This has its problems,, but they are not insuperable. I suggest that perhaps the Customs and Excise portfoliocould be brought in with the Trade and Industry portfolio to fill the gap. **Mr Carmody,** the head of the Department of Customs and Excise, would be better suited to a dynamic department which was responsible for our growing manufacturing, industry than to the Department of Customs and Excise, where he has demonstrated his ability in relation to the changes that have been made to the by-law provisions. I would very much like to be able to spend a little more time on the estimates for the Department of Trade and Industry because there are several matters under the heading of tariffs on which I would dearly love to speak. This is why at the beginning of my remarks I said I felt that the estimates for these three departments ought to be in three separate compartments so that we could have an opportunity to speak on each of them. I commend this suggestion to the Leader of the House **(Mr Erwin)** and to the Government for consideration when it is drawing up the list of departments to be discussed next year. {: #debate-32-s3 .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr COPE:
Watson -- In speaking of the estimates for the Department of Trade and Industry, I shall confine my remarks to the vital necessity of permanently maintaining adequate protection for our Australian manufacturing industries against imported articles, particularly from lowwage countries which, undoubtedly, can be classified as unfair competition. The Tariff Board report tabled in the Parliament on 9th October 1968, being the latest report, prompted the Associated Chamber of Manufactures of Australia, representing 22,000 manufacturers, to convey an open letter to Parliament. The full text of this letter appeared on page 3474 of Hansard of 28th November 1968. In consequence, I shall not cite the contents. However, the paramount points must be emphasised. For example, the manufacturers are duly concerned that the Tariff Board has gone far to take the initiative in tariff making power from the hands of the Government where is traditionally and properly belongs. It is apparent, inter alia, that the manufacturers have been apprehensive about paragraph 44 of the report, which states, in part: >In the case of areas of production which are found to have little prospect of operating with an effective rate below 50%, the Board would not recommend protection sufficient to allow the industries concerned to compete for resources on the same terms as low cost industries. That paragraph is self-explanatory. It simply means a recommendation for the closing of those industries requiring 50% or more tariff protection. It makes interesting reading to examine a brochure entitled Australian Tariff Policy, 1969, a Survey of the Situation', compiled by the Australian Industries Development Association. This Association opposes the adoption of the Tariff Board's new policy of an arbitrary 50% effective rate ceiling on tariff protection because, firstly, there has been no public presentation of facts justifying such a policy; secondly, there has been no analysis of what is will do to our economic development; and thirdly, the Association believes it will damage and retard Australia's economic growth and population build-up. This is the firm belief of leading industrialists. The survey also points out two main reasons why industry needs protection. They are firstly, to overcome the advantages of low labour costs existing in the Asian standard countries, or the sell-at-any-price philosophy followed by State trading countries, and secondly, to overcome the advantages of scale and technology associated with large markets and enjoyed by the highly industrialised European standard countries. Now let us examine some aspects of industries that need the fullest protection if they are to expand and keep pace with the economy. Firstly, I refer to the British Motor Corporation situated in my electorate. This Corporation employs about 4,000 people the majority of whom are per manent settlers in Australia from overseas countries. This particular Corporation produces an excellent quality motor car which has been a credit to this industry. However, over the past few years its production has been affected by imported vehicles, mainly from Japan. Due to the indecision of the Government in defining a long range policy regarding measures designed to give full protection, the Corporation is unable to plan positively for future expansion to meet an increasing demand due naturally to population trends. While it is true that the recent increase in the price of cars from Japan on the Australian market has assisted the industry to some degree, the fact still remains that the imported car could still vary in price below that of the Australian product. This is due principally to the differential in cost of production in Japan and Australia. Now I refer to the Australian electronic and radio industry. This particular industry has been sadly neglected by the Government, principally due to the failure of the Department of Defence in placing orders for equipment overseas which could be adequately supplied in Australia. The quality and price of the Australian product compares favourably with that of the United States product, yet we find that country has received contracts for some type of equipment obtainable in Australia. Most honourable members would have noticed in the newspapers over recent years reference to Australian technical and scientific experts going overseas because there is little opportunity in Australia to further their careers in their respective professions. With the world-wide rapid advance in electronic and scientific technology, one would imagine the Government would have taken the necessary steps to encourage and foster this Australian industry for two important reasons: Firstly, in time of emergency the electronic and radio equipment is vital to our defence; secondly, to retain our scientific and technical brains in Australia. I was an employee of Standard Telephones and Cables Pty Ltd prior to entering Parliament, and I can truthfully say that the standard required by the thorough inspection of the finished product made it well nigh impossible for any article to leave the premises unless it was of top quality. Doubtless similar standards of quality would obtain at Amalgamated Wireless (A/asia) Ltd, the Philips organisation and other industries in this field. There seems to be a type of inferiority complex existent in the community that Australian manufactured products are not up to world standard. This false impression should be dispelled at once. For example, recently by invitation I visited and made an inspection of Bernard-Smith Pty Ltd of Alexandria in my electorate. This firm of construction engineers specialises in heavy equipment and is fulfilling orders throughout Australia, particularly for equipment for the alumina smelting works at Gladstone in Queensland. The quality of the equipment and the speed at which the orders are fulfilled are indeed a credit to efficient managerial control under the guidance of **Mr Gluckman** and to the excellent workmanship of our people engaged in the industry. This, like other manufacturing industries, is in the process of building a future of participation in an expanding economy. Finally, I refer to the textile industry which is vitally concerned at facing competition from imports from low-wage Asian countries. It is interesting to note the labour costs in Hong Kong. For example, a general worker in a two-shift cotton weaving plant receives SHK284, the equivalent of $A42, per month of 30 days on a 60-hour week. A mechanic employed in a knitted piece goods factory receives SHK473, or $A70, per month. According to the latest figures issued by the Hong Kong Labour Department, through the Executive Secretary of the Trade Union Council, **Mr Fung** Hoi-Chu, the average wage of skilled workers is SHK450, or SA65.70, and the average monthly wage of unskilled workers is between $HK270 and SHK300, or $A40 and $A44. In addition, it must be emphasised that there are only 3 or 4 public holidays a year in Hong Kong, with no annual leave, long service leave, workers' compensation or penalty rates in excess of 40 hours per week, as applicable in Australia. A **Dr S.** Y. Chung, Chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, recently stated that wage rates in Hong Kong were 20% higher than those in Singapore, 50% higher than those in Taiwan, and 70% higher than those in the Republic of Korea. Similarly, these countries do not enjoy the industrial conditions applicable in Australia. The United Kingdom has imposed restrictions on Asian textiles. For example,, on goods from India the United Kingdom imposes annual quotas and import licensing; for Pakistan annual quotas; for Hong Kong annual quotas; and for Japan annual quotas on woollen fabrics and knitted garments. The Japanese Government also exercises voluntary export control over numerous other textile articles. In the case of China, Japan imposes annual quotas on manufacturers of textiles and woven fabrics. The United Kingdom also has quota restrictions applicable to various European nations. In addition, Austria uses quotas; Belgium and Luxembourg use quotas and import licensing; Ceylon has a requirement that domestic products must be purchased in a specified ratio to imported products; Cyprus has import licensing; Denmark has quotas; Finland has quotas; France has quotas; Italy has quotas; Korea bans many items and has licensing control on others; the Netherlands has import licensing and quotas; New Zealand has import licensing and quotas; Norway has quotas; Portugal has quotas; Switzerland has import licensing; Sweden has licensing control and quotas; Turkey has quotas; the United Arab Republic prohibits imports; the United States has a quota system; and West Germany uses a quota system. The source of this information is the United States Congressional Record of the Senate of 7th March- 10th April 1969. The information has also been gained from trade sources. Yet, we find that imported knitted goods into Australia have increased over the past 6 years. The Australian knitting industry is seeking not the total local market with a complete prohibition on imports, but a share approximating that which it traditionally supplied before low priced Asian imports began their inroads into the Australian market. In summarising my remarks, I should like to make the following points. Firstly, job opportunities for an expanding population and a continuing migrant intake are to an overwhelming degree dependent on our manufacturing and ancillary industries. Secondly, our industrial conditions which are a permanent feature of our economy such as the 40-hour week, long service leave, annual leave, workers' compensation, sick leave and so on make it impossible to compete on an open market with goods from low wage countries. Thirdly, it is most desirable to adopt a quota system for imports as practised by other countries rather than be dependent on tariffs as a protection to local manufacturing industries. Finally, I would like to make the point that excessive imports are a drain on our overseas credit balances. {: #debate-32-s4 .speaker-KXX} ##### Mr PEARSALL:
Franklin -- I wish to devote my remarks tonight to the estimates of the Department of Primary Industry although I find myself in general agreement with those honourable members who spoke earlier and who claimed that they should have the right to speak to every one of the three departments now under consideration. I listened with a degree of interest to the honourable member for Wilmot **(Mr Duthie)** who devoted his time to an industry in Tasmania which we thought was one of the soundest based primary industries in the whole of our State. Yet, we have found this year that difficulties have presented themselves during the marketing season to hop growers. I do not have a great deal to offer in comment on the remarks of the honourable member except to say that it would appear to me to be most unjust that an industry which over the years has supported this most important brewing industry in Tasmania to the extent of producing over 90% of the Australian requirement now finds itself faced with the possibility of extinction. I would suggest that perhaps the industry itself ought to look to certain aspects. I know that the honourable member for Wilmot made five suggestions that could be submitted as solutions to the problems that confronts the hop industry. The initial suggestion was that as the very survival of this industry is dependent upon immediate action a decision ought to be made about whether an appeal should go to the Tariff Board. If there is any truth in the suggestion that an extract is being imported by the brewing industry which is using less hops and producing more beer, there may be a possibility that other countries which are also over-producing may dump their product on the Australian market. If that happens to be the case I suggest that an appeal should be made to the Special Advisory Authority as soon as possible. The sooner the industry receives the result of such an appeal the better. I have no more to say on this matter except that it illustrates the point that 1 come to now - that most of the primary industries in Australia are facing some difficulty. This is also the case in other sophisticated countries where primary industry is playing a tremendously important part in their development and at the same time is suffering difficulties in marketing. In Tasmania in particular - this also applies on the mainland - primary producers are suffering from the adverse effects of enormous freight rates. It should be remembered that Tasmania is one of the farthest parts of the world from its traditional markets. We are confronted with a tremendous problem. Most of the larger and supposedly more stable industries in Australia are enjoying the benefit of some form of subsidy from the Federal Government. However, every primary industry is confronted with constantly rising costs. I would like to refer now entirely to the fruit industry. Some 74% of the Australian exports from this industry comes from Tasmania. Of that 74% the great part is exported from my own electorate. The big difficulty that we have been confronted with is, primarily, freight. Secondly, increased costs have been thrust upon us by Australian industry which in many cases is enjoying tariff protection of its own. I refer to industries producing fertilisers, sprays, cartons and other products that must be used by the fruit industry for the outturn of its goods. These things are matters over which the fruit industry has no control. The prices from these producing industries can be passed on to primary industry but primary industry has reached a stage in its performance, I suggest, where it can no longer continue to absorb this enormous increase. Something must be done about this situation. The fruit industry earns for Australia only about $24m, whereas the wheat industry brings in export earnings of $320m or $330m. But when one reduces these figures to a fraction, the fact emerges that the direct assistance given to the wheat industry is one-ninth of import earnings while the fruit industry's request represents one-ninth of import earnings. The fruit industry is asking for some form of stabilisation, for one of several reasons. The old system of selling upon our traditional markets has changed. There was a time when most of the fruit was purchased f.o.b. Some was sold afloat and some producers themselves consigned forward at their own risk and on their own account. Some used a combination of three systems of marketing. In recent years, however, particularly following the devaluation of sterling, the buyers on the traditional markets have been less willing to buy f.o.b. or to offer a price that is within the bounds of the cost of production. This has forced growers into the invidious position of bearing the whole of their cost of production - to prepare their crops and to put their product on the market. The growers have covered the whole of their presentation costs. They have then had to take a gamble of what they will receive. This situation cannot be tolerated any longer. The system has already proved to be inefficient and the industry is faced with ruin unless something is done to rectify the position. Over a period of years the fruit industry, together with some other smaller industries, has been prone when times of difficulty have occurred to ask the Commonwealth Government for a section 96 grant. We now know that unless this is a situation that affects other States which are engaged in a similar form of production, such a request cannot be granted. It therefore behoves those of us who are interested in the future of this industry to devise some system which will restore confidence to the growers and give them a greater degree of security. With this in mind an industry assistance committee has been formed. All States have expressed an interest in the committee, notwithstanding that some produce very little fruit and others have a restricted outlet on traditional overseas markets. For them it is almost an exercise in futility to join such a committee. Nevertheless, this would appear to be the only solution to the problem. Some form of stabilisation must be introduced before the next export season. The industry is only asking for something that is reasonable. The Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr Anthony)** has received a deputation from officers from most of the State boards. They have re quested the Commonwealth Government to underwrite a stabilisation scheme which will provide the industry with the security that it deserves. Unless the Commonwealth agrees to this proposal I fear for the industry. If the industry collapses there will be a recession in Tasmania. All we are seeking from the Commonwealth at the moment is a guarantee along the lines given to the wheat industry at present, to the dairying industry at present, to lie sugar industry in some cases and to many other primary industries. The fruit growing industry is simply asking for common justice; it is asking to be dealt with in the same manner as other primary industries. This is not an unreasonable request. The Commonwealth supports the wheat industry by way of a direct grant of about $37m a year. Assuming the worst possible marketing season overseas for our fruit, the scheme we envisage would involve the Commonwealth in an outlay of about $4m only. If this stabilisation scheme were introduced it would ensure continued production. It would ensure that the growers continue to produce the finest fruit in the world, enabling Australia to satisfy the traditional markets that we have enjoyed over a long period of time. The scheme would ensure the return to the coffers of this country of something in excess of $20m a year in export earnings. This is not asking for too much. I hope that we may achieve our objective in the immediate future. I hope that our proposal will receive the approval of the Minister for Primary Industry and that a scheme will be introduced before the next export season. The growers are entitled to some form of protection. I referred earlier to cartons. It is possible to import into Australia a cardboard carton at a price lower than that for which we can make it in this country notwithstanding the large amount of paper pulp that we produce in Australia. The carton that can be imported from Scandinavian countries is far better than the Australian product. Its fibre is longer. It is stronger. It is cheaper, notwithstanding that it must be imported from overseas. All this sounds foolish when we can produce a similar article in this country, but it is true. The locally made product is protected by tariffs and this protection is a form of penalty on the fruit growing industry of Tasmania. If the fruit growing industry goes out of existence the lumber industry may lose an outlet for its products. It will no longer need tariff protection. Many of the spray materials used in the orchards are produced in Australia and protected by tariff. The fruit grower has to pay for this protection, and all he can hope to do is recoup his outlay. The Commonwealth has entered into an agreement with the Conference Lines so that it may participate in overseas shipping. Ships may come out here from England in ballast, take on a shipment of fruit and return to England, showing a handsome profit on the one way haulage. One wonders how long the fruit growing industry can continue to support the shipping industry. When the Commonwealth decided to enter into overseas shipping it decided to join the Conference Lines, but I think it should have embarked on an independent system, carrying its own freight, negotiating its own business and accepting the profit or loss that occurred as a result of its operations. The Commonwealth should renegotiate the agreement under which it entered into overseas shipping. Fruit growers have been examining their industry. They have examined the production side and they have investigated the manner in which fruit is handled in England. They have examined the difficult and delicate channelling system whereby growers attempt to land fruit in the English and continental markets when the northern hemisphere fruit has finished but before the South Australian fruit is ready. This is difficult to do, particularly when one is producing a crop that takes eight weeks to reach its market. This situation presents enormous problems, but they are problems that must be faced. If we do not face them we will have no hope in the future. Through our Department of Trade and Industry we should be sending trade missions to such places as Malaysia, the west coast of America, Manila, Singapore and Hong Kong. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr James: -- What about China? {: .speaker-KXX} ##### Mr PEARSALL: -- Unfortunately China grows plenty of fruit. Nevertheless we sell other things to China. Why not apples? I would have no objection to our selling apples to China. The industry is facing a difficult situation. The problems are not insoluble but the first and paramount step in the long term interest of the welfare of the industry is for the Commonwealth to agree to a stabilisation scheme, which I hope will be implemented before the next marketing season. {: #debate-32-s5 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- Like the honourable member for McMillan **(Mr Buchanan)** I strongly protest at the Government's action in compelling us to consider the estimates of three departments in one debate. This means that we may make only one speech and must try to encompass in that one speech our criticism of three departments. Sitting on the Opposition side of the chamber it has been strange to hear so many Government supporters criticising the Government's policy. All day we have heard honourable members opposite criticising the Government for all manner of things. It has been criticised for being too rigid in its censorship laws. The honourable member for Franklin **(Mr Pearsall)** asked why the Government was not paying any regard to the interests of primary producers in Tasmania. He criticised the Government for entering into overseas shipping by joining the Conference Lines instead of operating an independent line. If those honourable members opposite think so poorly of the Government why do they offer themselves as Government candidates at the elections, knowing that they will have to pursue, if elected, the very policies which they now condemn? This is an amazing situation. Nevertheless, they do offer themselves as Government candidates and they do not seem to be ashamed of doing so. Of course, the Government does not take any notice of them. Parliament has always been treated as a rubber stamp by this Government. Anything said here is treated with utter contempt by the Government. So I suppose my friends opposite feel that as nobody will take any notice of them, there is nothing wrong in speaking out as they have done. I join with many honourable members on the Government side in condemning this Government's performance. I again ask the Government to examine the tariff duties that have been imposed upon machinery needed in the building industry. I refer particularly to brick making. I suppose that one should be grateful for small mercies. I have been successful in persuading the Minister for Customs and Excise **(Senator Scott)** to allow into Australia free of duty a cutting table, a de-airing extruder and another piece of machinery needed by Hallett Brick Industries Ltd of South Australia. However, the Minister's letter permitting entry of these articles concluded with the warning: 'Do not expect any more of this.' If the Government wants to reduce the cost of home building it has to reduce the cost of producing building materials and one way of doing this is to allow those who make building materials, including bricks, to import free of duty the machinery that is needed to make their industry more efficient. Who pays for the import duties imposed on brickmaking machinery? In the final analysis it is not the brick manufacturers who pay it; the person who buys the bricks does. Obviously this must be so. When I tell the Parliament that one brickmaking firm in South Australia had to pay $80,000 in import duties on brickmaking machinery before it could commence operations, members will understand why the average cost of building in Australia has risen from $2,000 a house in 1948 to $9,000 in 1968. This is because all of the factors that go towards the cost of home building have been magnified by the Government's attitude. It is not fair to these basic industries that they should be compelled to buy inferior and more expensive Australian machinery when superior and less expensive machinery can be obtained from overseas. It does not matter to me whether the machinery is bought in West Germany, England or the United States of America. It so happens that, generally speaking, the United States is perhaps the most efficient manufacturer of brickmaking machinery. I am concerned with trying to enable people to buy homes at prices a little lower than the prices they are now compelled to pay for them. I ask the Government to do more than it is doing to help the building industry. An industry must be helped at its base. It is not fair to the building industry or to the people who have to buy homes that the Government should impose on the industry the tremendous burdens now being imposed upon it. An extruder will cost $9,000 in duty, a cutting table $2,000, a Fawcett grinding pan $5,000 and a fine roller $3,000. Some of the big brickmaking plants have two or three of each of these machines, all of which have to be paid for by the person who buys the finished article. I want now to take up where the honourable member for McMillan **(Mr Buchanan)** left off on the question of censorship. I think that this Government is acting like - and I do not know how to describe it- {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr James: -- A yahoo. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- If I said what I do think my words would be regarded as unparliamentary. It is not acting in a grown up way but in a juvenile way in respect of censorship. I have seen in the Parliamentary Library, freely available for any honourable member to read, books that can get into the country without any trouble at all, whereas other books which are no worse - and probably no better - are on the banned list. I have had my attention drawn to one book in the Parliamentary Library. It is entitled 'The Empty Canvas' and is by the famous writer Moravia. All of the antics that anyone could imagine a depraved person capable of performing are set out in detail in 'The Empty Canvas'. I hope that the people listening to me will not rush out to buy the book, but I am afraid that that is what they will do. If an author wants to increase the sales of his book the best thing for him to do is to have it banned for a year or two by the Censorship Board. It is not possible to arrange for a book to be banned, because censorship officers are not open to bribery or anything like that. As soon as the ban is lifted on a book people rush to buy it. This indicates that the public mind is not quite as straitlaced as the Censorship Board would have us believe. I should like to state the policy of the Australia Labor Party on censorship. I have time only to paraphrase it but it is that the censorship laws should conform with the general principles that adults be entitled to read, hear and view what they wish in private or public and that persons and those in their care be not exposed to unsolicited material which is offensive to them. That is the important part, 'unsolicited material that is offensive to them'. The chief criticism that I have of people who publish pornographic literature is their habit of posting it through the mail unsolicited to people who do not wish to see the filthy trash that comes from other countries, particularly from places like Sweden. If a person's mind is such that he can get enjoyment and satisfaction out of reading this trash and he wants to write to Sweden for it, that is his business, but people in other countries have no right and ought not be allowed to impose upon citizens of Australia per medium of the post the material to which I am referring. I draw attention to one example of stupidity in the administration of censorship. The Postmaster-General's Department banned a book entitled 'Cinderella Dressed in Yella'. The spelling was not as it should be, but that is how it sounded. The Department said: 'It sounds erotic. It must be crook. We have not the time to read it but we will ban it so that it cannot go through the post'. When an authority subsequently read the book he found that it was a book of nursery rhymes that anybody could read. There was not one single phrase, dot or comma to which anyone could have taken exception. But at the same time books like 'Kama Sutra', which is, I believe, a record of Indian love lore or of the performances of some old sultan many years ago who decided to perpetuate his memory by having his feats recorded for the benefit of posterity, is available. It was banned in Australia for a long time until suddenly **Senator Scott,** the Minister for Customs and Excise, decided after having read the book that it ought not to be banned, that it was a piece of magnificent classical literature that should be available for all to read. I had a look at this book. I opened one page and I thought I was reading about an exercise in gymnastics so I closed the book because I am not young enough to engage in those kinds of exercises and it did not interest me any more. But when **Senator Wheeldon** asked **Senator Scott** why he had lifted the ban he was told by the Minister that he had lifted the ban because after he had read it he found himself in a very difficult position. He thought he could extricate himself from the difficult position in which he found himself after reading 'Kama Sutra* by lifting the ban so that everybody else could get in the same position. The whole thing is ridiculous. Some twenty books were released from the ban last year. I am not criticising the authorities for releasing the books but the titles do not sound any less erotic than Cinderella Dressed in Yella'. Among those released were 'The Crowded Bed' and The Love Laboratory'. 'Oriental Orgies' is another book that can now be bought freely. 'Barney Ship Artist' was also released as was "The Ticket That Exploded', a title that lends itself to all kinds of imaginings. Books that are still banned, but which I venture to say would be no more erotic than the ones I have just listed, and certainly no more erotic than 'Kama Sutra', if **Senator Scott's** word can be taken for granted, are 'Jacklove', The Passion Players', 'Freewheeler Frank', 'Venus Examined' and 'Portnoy's Complaint'. Before he came to the Parliament the honourable member for Wilmot **(Mr Duthie)** was a gentleman of the cloth, a Methodist minister, who feels very keenly on these matters. He read out a list of books that were on the banned list at that time. I can recall quite clearly such titles as 'Indian Love Lore', "White Thighs' and Lady Move Over'. Since the honourable member for Wilmot said how dreadful they were, they have all become best sellers. The irony is that we are supposed to be protecting the young from contamination. The excuse given for this nonsense is that it must be done to protect the young. Let me tell the Committee that it is not the young who bother to read these books. The employees of a marketing survey company recently stood at the airports of the capital cities and found that most of the books with erotic titles or erotic pictures on the cover were bought by elderly men going through the change of life and not by young people. Generally speaking, the young are not the least bit interested in these books, but the people who are no longer young are. Let us face the situation. The people who decide to ban these books are people who, having read them, decide they will not extend the joy to anybody else. It is high time that we took a more realistic attitude. This is not to say that there are not some books that ought to be banned. Some years ago I was treated to the dreadful experience - I have recovered from it now, I think - of reading some selected extracts from a banned book called "The Memoirs of Fanny Hill'. I am perfectly satisfied that the decision to ban that book was a very proper one. It should never be admitted into the country. It is in the Library and honourable members can read it if they want to do so, although someone stands there with a sixshooter in case it is taken away without permission. Some honourable members who believe that all books should be allowed to enter the country should have a look at some of the books that were banned years ago. They will agree with me that the situation is not all black or white and that we can say: 'Let them all in'. This cannot be done. The majority of books that are kept out are no worse than those that have already been allowed into the country. For that reason I think we are being a little bit juvenile about it. I do not want to say any more. I wish I had time to go from eroticism to the primary industries. However, my friend, the honourable member for Dawson **(Dr Patterson),** who is regarded as Australia's leading expert in this field, will follow me for the Opposition. He will no doubt put the Opposition's point of view on the question of the parlous position in which the wheat industry now finds itself. I thank you, **Sir, for** the tolerance you have shown me. The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Hon. Sir William Haworth)** - Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: #debate-32-s6 .speaker-JMA} ##### Mr ARMSTRONG:
Riverina -- Like other honourable members who have spoken in this debate, I will confine my remarks to one aspect of the estimates that we are discussing and very largely to one aspect of primary industry. Our primary industries today are going through a period of difficulty and anxiety and I am quite certain that very few of the people who dwell in the cities realise this. Farm income as a percentage of the net national product has fallen in 5 years from 9.9% in 1963-64 to 6% in 1968-69. It is now 66% of the 1963-64 figure. The net rural indebtedness to major institutional lenders, which excludes private lenders, has risen from $76m in 1960 to $l,006m in 1968. The Budget provides some concessions that will ease the situation. The impact of probate on rural estates has been eased and, small though it is, it will provide great relief. It is a recognition of the insidiousness of probate and the effect it has had not on large land holders but on small land holders. Taxation concessions have also been given for some types of improvements and we also have the bounties for fertilisers. But there are still other fields that should and could be considered where one could give some relief to the situation, particularly for primary producers in the inland areas. I refer to freights, interest rates charged by fringe finance companies, marketing costs and insurance. This evening I want to confine my remarks particularly to wheat. The wheat industry is going through a period of great difficulty that calls for a calm review of the situation. In the 'Age' on 6th August Professor Lloyd, who is Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Melbourne, said: >Contrary to some views, the wheat industry has not been heavily protected; the little protection it has had is not the cause of the current crisis; and it is unreasonable to claim that the Government should have 'curbed' wheat years ago. He referred to comments in the editorial of the newspaper and to the remarks of a **Mr Donath.** They stated that the Commonwealth had paid over $150m to prop up the wheat industry. The Professor said: >This is misleading to the general public when there is no mention of the fact that the $150m represents the total subsidy payout over the 8 years from 1960-61 and represents only *5%* of the total repayments to growers over this period. Nor is there mention that over earlier years the wheat stabilisation scheme operated in favour of the Australian consumers and reduced growers' income ... by considerably more than $150m. The present situation of the wheat industry follows a bountiful season and another season that has every prospect of being bountiful, at least in eastern Australia. However, as Professor Lloyd said, the difficulties of the industry are not due to the protection given to it in the prices that have been offered. There is no evidence to show that this has been a significant factor in the greatly increased production. In fact research shows that other elements have had a greater influence. The lowering of wool prices caused a great many people to devote more of their activities to wheat growing. Pasture improvements have converted quite large areas of land from unproductive to potentially productive wheat growing land. The nitrogenous content of the land has been built up. There has been a great improvement in technology and improved varieties of wheat have been introduced, so that we now have high yielding varieties. The blame for the increased production that is occurring is placed by some quarters on the Government. Some people have blamed the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr Anthony)** and sometimes the Minister for Trade and Industry **(Mr McEwen).** But there is no evidence to back up these accusations. In fact there is not one scrap of evidence to support them. Not one instance can be laid at the door of either of these Ministers. When the International1 Grains Arrangement was first debated in the Parliament only 2 years ago, the honourable member for Yarra **(Dr J. F. Cairns)** said: >I have no objection, not one scrap ot objection, to the way the Australian Country Party has handled Australia's wheat in recent years through its Minister tor Trade and Industry and his assistant. I have not one word of objection to offer about it. That was his opinion. On a number of occasions the Minister for Primary Industry uttered words of warning about what might happen if the industry expanded to any large extent. On 9th October last he said: >Anyone familiar with the international wheat situation will appreciate the tremendous pressure that will be exerted on wheat prices should there be a further increase of stockholdings by the major grain-producing countries. On 4th November, upon the announcement of the first advance, he said: >This year's prospective harvest comes at a time when the pressure of world supplies is very great and the Wheat Board faces considerable difficulty in finding remunerative markets for all the wheat it will have available. Should there be large stocks at the end of this season and another very large crop next harvest, these difficulties would be compounded. He reiterated those sentiments on 26th November, 21st November and 7th November. It is difficult to understand how the honourable member for Dawson **(Dr Patterson)** could have said in his speech during the Budget debate that over the years the wheat growers have been encouraged by the Government to increase production. The situation today is one in which the wheat grower should look very carefully and very thoroughly at the people who are giving him advice. The Australian Wheat Board is a grower dominated Board. The Australian Wheatgrowers Federation, of course, is elected entirely by wheat growers. The Australian Wheat Board is elected on the most democratic basis that one can imagine. Anyone who sows SO acres of wheat, irrespective of what he harvests, has a vote so it cannot be said that it is an undemocratic body. Let us look at some of the utterances of these so-called experts - most of them city based theorists who have never grown a stalk of wheat and have done no more than turn over earth with a shovel - and assess whether they are putting forward viewpoints to help the industry or viewpoints that they hope will help them politically. A great deal of publicity was given in certain areas regarding illegal sales of wheat and a lot of criticism was directed at the Minister for Primary Industry. Let me recall what **Mr Cass,** a senior member of the Wheat Board and most highly respected in the community and highly trusted in the wheat industry had to say. He said that this question of illegal wheat sales and how the Australian Wheat Board and the Minister for Primary Industry stand should be clarified because a lot of things had been said that were incorrect. Anything that wheat growers may have read or heard to the effect that the Commonwealth Government or the Minister in particular was responsible for the Commonwealth Police investigating farmers in regard to their being in possession of illegal wheat was totally incorrect and any charge that **Mr Anthony** was responsible was completely false. Similarly, the charges levelled at the Government about political pressure in relation to the quota system have been amply refuted by **Mr Price,** the Senior Vice-Chairman of the Australian Wheatgrowers Federation. He said: >I would strongly refute that there has been any political pressure exerted on the Australian Wheatgrowers Federation, either before the implementation of quotas or since their introduction. Are the wheat growers to be guided by their own representatives when they are facing the difficult situation of extra storage and over quota wheat or are they to be guided by the members of a political party who, when they were in power, sold 18 million bushels of the growers' wheat outside the Wheat Board at less than half the current world price? Are they to be guided by a party whose leader in the Senate made every endeavour to call the members of the Wheat Board before the bar of the Senate to give intimate details of their commercial practices in selling wheat to Communist China? Are they to be guided by a party whose submissions on the redistribution of electorates would have had the effect of eliminating three wheat seats? Yet honourable members opposite pretend to the wheat grower that they are putting forward the viewpoint that will help him. Are the growers to be guided by and accept the advice of a party whose leader is quoted in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' of 21st August 1965 as having said: Cities and civilisation go hand in hand. By derivation, civilised men are those who live in cities - pagans are those who live in the country. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -- Who said that? {: .speaker-JMA} ##### Mr ARMSTRONG: -- That is a quotation from the 'Sydney Morning Herald' of 21st August 1965 of a statement by the present Leader of the Opposition **(Mr Whitlam)** who was then the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. This is a very delicate situation today and anybody who has been in the industry is sympathetic towards the growers. People have sown large areas of wheat but it is impossible to forecast wheat yields. Two limited falls of rain in the spring last year increased the production of wheat in New South Wales by at least 50 million bushels. This delicate situation in the wheat industry is caused by a sequence of events that could not be accurately forecast. It is true that this **Mr Donath** whom I have mentioned has been forecasting a wheat glut for some 10 years. He has to be right in the end. If droughts or surpluses are forecast in any primary industry for long enough eventually the forecast is bound to be right. But he said that action should have been taken. What action, and by whom? It would have been economically disastrous for this country, and politically absurd for this Government to have limited production before this, and it is time for careful consideration. As a wheat grower I say that we must be doubly careful as to whether our advisers have the interests of the industry at heart and whether the advisers who are making so much noise are simplifying what is a difficult situation and suggesting solutions for their own political ends and not for those crf the wheat grower at all. {: #debate-32-s7 .speaker-KCB} ##### Mr DAVIES:
Braddon -- I would like to deal for a while with the estimates for the Department of Primary Industry. The section in which I am vitally interested relates to the war service lands settlement scheme. The estimates this year provide for South Australia $1,946,000, for Western Australia $1,900,000 and for Tasmania $654,000. These are the three agent States which are still involved in this scheme which was commenced after the last war. It is a scheme which we had hoped was coming to an end but, as I indicated briefly in my speech in the Budget debate, although the honourable member for Chisholm **(Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes)** when he was the Minister in charge of war service land settlement had hoped in 1954 that the scheme would end 5 years after that in 1959, we find 10 years later that we are still struggling along with it. Valuations have been carried out and are still being carried out on the farms under this scheme. Once the valuations are done they are considered and an offer is made to the settler. The settler has the choice of two things - the cost of development to this country or the market price of the block, which ever in the lower. When this money that the Commonwealth expects to recoup from the settlers in the three agent States is totalled up the Commonwealth looks at the total cost of the scheme to the taxpayers and the difference between the two amounts is then called the excess costs. This is divided up between the Commonwealth and the State in the proportion of three-fifths to the Commonwealth and two-fifths to the States. If ever an industry was needed - and we have asked for one for years - an inquiry is needed now into this whole question of valuation. At the State Congress of the Returned Services League in Tasmania last year there was a request for a Royal Commission into the whole setup and the whole ambit of war service lands settlement. This was approved. It came forward to the national congress of the Returned Services League and was adopted. The national executive d? the Returned Services League took it up with the former Minister *m* charge of war service land settlement and it was rejected by him. The national executive of the Returned Services League then took it to the former Prime Minister, **Mr Holt.** It was considered by Cabinet and rejected. But we urgently need an inquiry. In the middle of this year at the State Congress of the Returned Services League in Tasmania this matter was brought up again and a motion of no confidence in the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr Anthony)** and the Commonwealth Government was moved and carried. The settlers under the war service land settlement scheme only hope now that possibly the Senate - where the numbers, because they are so close, would permit this to happen - will move in this regard and set up a select committee to inquire into the whole business. Let me give some figures as at 31st July of last year to illustrate what I mean. The cost of this scheme in Western Australia was $53,042,000 in respect of 1,017 farms - an average cost of $52,000. In South Australia, the cost was $40,497,000 for 1,028 farms at an average of $39,000. The excess costs in Western Australia totalled $21m. The Government of Western Australia will be required to bear $8.5m of that amount while the Commonwealth will provide the remaining $12.5m. In South Australia, the State Government will bear $3. 5m of the $9m excess costs, and the Commonwealth's share will be $5.5m. I come now to the position in Tasmania. Tasmania is the smallest State and the one least able to find the money. The total cost of the war service land settlement scheme in Tasmania at 31st July last year was $49m. The excess costs totalled $32m. Of that figure, the share of Tasmania runs into $12.8m. I am interested in the settlements at King Island, which is in Bass Strait midway between Victoria and Tasmania; at Togari, which is in the Circular Head municipality; at Meunaa which is commonly known as Preolenna; and at Morbunna which is in the Circular Head municipality also. The total number of applicants placed on farms at King Island 223. Of that number, 112 walked off, leaving 111 in occupation. At Togari, 50 settlers were put on blocks, and 5 of them left, leaving 45 in occupation. At Meunaa, 8 people were placed on farms, and 3 have gone, leaving 5 in occupation. At Morbunna, 14 people were placed on farms, and 5 have gone, leaving 9 in occupation. Let me deal with the total cost of these farms at 31st July of last year. The total cost of King Island was $13,496,000 for 1 1 1 occupied farms making and average value for each farm of $121,500. I speak of the occupied farms because some of the farms that settlers have walked off have been divided and added to other farms still occupied in order to strengthen them. Some of the vacant farms have been put up for sale to the general public. At Togari, the total cost at 31st July last year was $7,028,000 for 45 occupied farms giving an average cost of $156,000. At Meunna, the total cost for 5 occupied farms was $364,000 making an average cost of $73,000. The total cost for 9 occupied farms at Morbunna was $493,000 making the average cost for each farm $54,800. We seek an inquiry into the valuations that have been adopted. We want to know, as we have asked on several occasions, whether these valuations have been dummied up to bridge the gap between what the the Commonwealth will expect to get from the farmer and what the final book pay out entry will be. The Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr Anthony),** when we asked him for some advice on the method which he adopts in determining the option of purchase price - this is the option of purchase price which is given to the settler for a certain time - said: >The responsibility for determining the option prices is, under State legislation, a matter for the Closer Settlement Board with the consent of the Minister for Agriculture in Tasmania. However, in practice and in view of the Commonwealth's financial interest in the scheme, the option prices are agreed upon between the Commonwealth and the Board. The Minister went on to assure me that: in determining the option prices, full regard is had to the advice tendered by the Taxation Branch and there are good reasons for any variations from its valuations. The Minister said that the responsibility under the State legislation falls on the State Government through the controlling authority, which is the Closer Settlement Board, acting in conjunction with the State Minister for Agriculture. The Board and the Minister have the responsibility of setting the option of purchase price which is the market value of the farm. If this is so, we want to know why the Commonwealth has moved in and taken over this responsibility. This is illegal. Why did the Commonwealth have to do it? Why did the Commonwealth not leave the matter completely in the hands of the State controlling authority and the State Minister for Agriculture? The Commonwealth Minister has said to us that it was a matter of consent between our authority and our State Minister. But, at the State Congress of the Returned Services League earlier this year the Acting Director, **Mr Wherrett,** who is in charge of the war service land settlement scheme in my State said: 'We don't see the valuations. They go straight to Canberra.' Why is this overriding control exercised by the Commonwealth? Why has it taken this matter out of the State when, under the existing legislation it is a State matter? This is one of the matters the answer to which I feel will be brought only in an inquiry. As to the good reasons for any variations, I think it is only fair that the farmer should be told what these good reasons are. We have argued before why there cannot be two valuations in respect of any one property at any one time. The relevant Act provides that settlers will be offered their properties at market value rates. On 20th February 1969, the then Treasurer of Tasmania, the Hon. Eric Reece, in answer to a query as to whether the capital value placed on a property by the State Valuation Branch can be considered a reasonable market value for the property as at that date, answered yes. If the State of Tasmania is prepared to accept the valuation figure of the State Valuation Branch as representing a reasonable market value figure for a property - and, this is provided for, as I said, in the legislation dealing with the war service land settlement scheme - why does the Commonwealth step in and in every case inflate the value and the cost to the settler? I wish to give the House one or two examples of what I mean. I do not like quoting figures, but I must put them on the record. I wish to speak about some properties at one of the places that I have already mentioned. I refer to Morbunna The figures that I will give set out Commonwealth valuations and State valuations in 1955. We have argued on the bases of the best authority, the best books available to us and the best references regarding valuation procedures that two valuations cannot be made in respect of any one property in any one year and that we should accept the State valuation. I take as my example two properties described as lots 1 and 10 where there was a combined lease. The farmer was offered an option price for his land only of $23,604, the 1955 valuation. I want honourable members to understand that this price is for the dirt only. It is for the soil or the land only. He was offered $23,604 as the Commonwealth valuation. The State valuation in the same year, not only for the land but also for the dwelling, the structures, the improvements and the rest, was only $14,500. So, the Commonwealth figure, in the same year as the State made a valuation, was inflated to $23,604 for the land only. I repeat that the State valuation for that year not only for the land but also for the dwelling, the structures, improvements and everything else on it, was $14,500. Why is there this inflation? I turn now to lot 2. The Commonwealth valuation in 1955 for land only was $12,252. The State valuation was $11,500 for land, dwelling, structures and all improvements. Regarding lot 3, the Commonwealth valuation was $10,880 for the land only while the State valuation, again not only for the land but also for the dwelling, structures and improvements, was $10,500. The Commonwealth valuation for lot 5 was $11,050 for land only, while the State valuation was $8,000 for land and improvements. I ask honourable members not to forget that the State figures include the valuation for the land, the dwelling, the structures and the improvements on the property. For lot 8, the Commonwealth valuation was $9,988 as against the State valuation of $9,500. For lot 9, the Commonwealth valuation was $12,498 as against the State valuation of $9,000. It is true that that State valuation which is $3,498 below the Commonwealth valuation includes the value of dwelling, structures and improvements. If we allow for the valuation of structures, which are a separate count for the settler, we find that the Commonwealth valuations are at least 200% higher than those of the Valuation Board in the State of Tasmania. I ask the Minister for Primary Industry: Did he take away from the State of Tasmania the legal right of determining valuations simply to inflate them and suit his own bookkeeping records? If not, why did he do it? The Government takes State valuation figures as a guide when it puts the vacant farms up for sale. If these farms had been offered to the settlers at the same rate the settlers would never have walked off their properties - I mentioned the 100 or more who walked off properties on King Island. In one instance at Mawbanna the State valuation figure in 1955 was given as $9,500, and this was complete with the structures, yet the Commonwealth offered it to the settler for $12,700 - for the dirt only. That was a very inflated case, but differences like this $3,200 crop up time and time again. It is not just one isolated case. Time does not permit me in this debate to deal with cases in every settlement in my area. There should be an inquiry into the situation. Years ago when the war was over these people were put on the farms and they were promised the world to go on to the properties with no capital. They were promised every assistance possible by a socalled grateful country. But what is the situation today? These places which settlers have left have been put on the market at very attractive terms and we just cannot understand it. The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN - Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: #debate-32-s8 .speaker-JSO} ##### Miss BROWNBILL:
Kingston -- Although my remarks will refer to the estimates for the Department of Primary Industry they do have quite a bearing on trade. I want to say at the outset that I believe trade is one of the most important things that is discussed in this Parliament. Throughout history no-one has denied its importance. I am quite certain that although we do spend a good deal of time in this House talking about how we can spend money, some of our time ought to be directed towards the problem of earning a bit more. I want to say that although what I am about to say may sound rather like criticism- {: .speaker-KSB} ##### Mr McLeay: -- I do not think so. {: .speaker-JSO} ##### Miss BROWNBILL: -- The honourable member for Boothby would not agree that I am being critical. He knows that I am constructively critical. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- Hear, hear! {: .speaker-JSO} ##### Miss BROWNBILL: -- And the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith agrees, and that is praise indeed. To come back to my theme, it is said that no-one but a woman can go on and on with unabated zest in saying the same thing, but I am going on saying the same thing- {: .speaker-KSB} ##### Mr McLeay: -- Some men do too. {: .speaker-JSO} ##### Miss BROWNBILL: -- Yes, some men do too. I am going to go on saying the same thing with unabated zest. Unless this country has a look at all the money which it is spending then I am afraid that it will be in great trouble. I think that we have reached the stage where there is only one other way to earn extra money unless we are prepared to tax the people further - because that is after all a method of getting money - and that is to earn money abroad. Because of this and because time does not permit me to go into a lengthy song and dance about advertising abroad, I want to deal with one particular aspect of our promotions abroad, and that is the way in which we attempt to seH our butter. Honourable members have heard tonight quite a touching speech by the honourable member for Riverina **(Mr Armstrong)** who told us of many of the difficulties facing the primary producer. These we know, and because of this I suggest that we should not go on putting more hurdles in their way. I want to quote some figures. Like the honourable member for Braddon **(Mr Davies),** I am not terribly fond of figures because not only do they sometimes lie but I think they are a bit confusing. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- Some of them are all right. {: .speaker-JSO} ##### Miss BROWNBILL: -- Yes, some of them are all right, that is true. The Estimates of Receipts and Summary of Estimated Expenditure for the year ending 30th June 1970 shows the total estimate for the Department of Primary Industry as $51m. The expenditure for that Department for the year 1968-69 was $95.5m. The first figure which I mentioned is almost half the second. In short, the estimate for expenditure for 1969-70 is almost half last year's expenditure. When one looks at a breakdown of the figures under Dairy Produce - Sales Promotion the figure for 1969-70 is $880,000 as against last year's expenditure of $808,000. On the one hand there is a decrease and on the other an increase ot nearly 9%. I can only assume that some of this money for sales promotion is going to be spent in the United Kingdom. It is because of this that I specifically want to draw attention to this hurdle I spoke of earlier hi my speech. Can any honourable member imagine any country which depends, as we do, on primary industry, and which is struggling to place its products abroad and which year after year, in the face of a competitive butter market, sells its butter, pound after pound under the brand name of 'Kangaroo'? This may not seem to be terribly important to honourable members but I assure them that if they had spent any time at all in the advertising world they would realise that the time has gone, in fact it went out with elastic-sided boots, when a product needed identification with its own country. I give a classic example. A few years ago it was sufficient to say that a clock was made in Switzerland or that binoculars were made in Germany. These were the days when the country of origin of a product really mattered, but if one looks at the trade figures one will find that Japan with singular intelligence and with quite simple marketing has made tremendous inroads into the industries producing clocks, watches, binoculars and precision instruments. This is the reason why I make an earnest plea, not only to the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr Anthony)** but also to the Australia Dairy Produce Board, to look into this important matter. It is all very well to say that it is important to know that this butter comes from Australia, but the average buyer - and the average buyer is not always a woman - wants to know what kind of a product it is. If one were to go back into the history of advertising one would find the classic example of a very well known and wealthy organisation, the name of which I will not mention in case it causes embarrassment, which endeavoured to market abroad products which were sold very readily and very profitably in this country. Unfortunately, that organisation had as its trade symbol a bird and when this product was taken abroad, because it had a very attractive looking bird on the label it was thought - and I suppose it was reasonable to think this - that the contents of the tin were birds. It may be argued that nobody in his right sense would suppose that wrapped up in a pound of butter would be anything to do with a kangaroo. I am not assuming that the ordinary average person who buys a pound of butter thinks that he is going to get some part of a kangaroo, but it is clear that this country cannot have it both ways. If it believes that the imprint of a kangaroo is a jolly good imprint for Qantas Airways Ltd it cannot also believe that it is a jolly good trade name for butter. In addition, there is also a thought abroad that perhaps we strange Australia, being very strange indeed in the eyes of people abroad, might make our butter from kangaroo milk. This sounds extraordinary to you people, I know, particularly to members of the Australian Country Party who may feel that it might not be a bad idea and it might even be profitable. The honourable member for Kennedy **(Mr Katter)** suggests we might make it out of hops. I think that might be a good idea too but it might have repercussions. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- It would sell better. {: .speaker-JSO} ##### Miss BROWNBILL: -- It might sell better. That is the point I am trying to make. There are certain things about the Kangaroo brand that are standing in the way of sales of our butter overseas. I can think of numbers of products which have names which better describe them. Margarine, which is one of the greatest competitors of our native butter, is one of the products that immediately come to mind. It is marketed under the more acceptable names Meadow Lea and Vidale. This country should acknowledge that the primary producer has enough problems already in selling his butter overseas without being saddled with this unfortunate name 'Kangaroo*. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- It is like Emu wine. {: .speaker-JSO} ##### Miss BROWNBILL: -- I was about to say exactly the same as the honourable member for Hindmarsh has said by way of interjection. I remember only too clearly - I was living in England at the time - the absolutely crippling situation in which we put our wine industry because by some dreadful stroke of misfortune we decided to market our wine under the name 'Emu'. I do not know which genius dreamt up this name. I can only imagine that bit by hit he intends to work his way completely through the emblems on our coat of arms. I cannot stand by and see him go through all those appendages on the coat of arms, which is now displayed in this chamber. {: .speaker-009MM} ##### Mr Kelly: -- What about Wombat wine? {: .speaker-JSO} ##### Miss BROWNBILL: -- I did not hear what the Minister for the Navy said, but if he writes me a letter or puts the question on notice, 1 will give him an answer. That is precisely what he did to us yesterday at question time. I was commenting on the Australian coat of arms. This morning the honourable member for Grayndler **(Mr Daly)** made a very pertinent remark about the coat of arms. It has taken us 68 years to get it up in this chamber. I would like to think that it will not take another 68 years to stop the use of the various emblems as trade names for Australian products which we are trying to market overseas. I repeat that the days when the country of origin was important have gone. At the time when this sort of thing was introduced people did most of their marketing, in England at any rate - I am dealing with this country - either at the local corner store or through a very large organisation called Sainsbury, which at that time sold butter in a very large container of SO or 60 lb. It did not have any name on it, so at that time it did not matter much. These are days of supermarket trading. These are days when the initial impact is of tremendous importance. With butter the initial impact is this wretched and amateur trade name Kangaroo*. Time is very much against me, but I would like to say that I am extremely proud of our coat of arms. I repeat that I do not want to live through the marketing of Kangaroo butter, Emu wine or Wattle this, that and the other. I am extremely proud of our coat of arms, but like a great many other people I do not want to eat it. {: #debate-32-s9 .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON:
Dawson -- In the debate on the estimates for the Department of Primary Industry tonight I want to speak briefly about the current position of the sugar industry. Not very much publicity has been give in the last week to the drastic decline in the world free market price for sugar on the London daily market and on the New York market as reflected in the annual quotations. This is a very serious matter and one which is rearing its head at a time when the Australian sugar crop is being prepared for sale overseas. When one considers that more than 60% of our total sugar production has to be sold at prices equivalent to the world free market price, it is clear that we must get the best possible price for our sugar growers. One of the most puzzling aspects in this decline in the sugar price is the reason for it. The Committee will recall that when the International Sugar Agreement was signed and the Minister for Trade and Industry **(Mr McEwen)** introduced into the House the relevant legislation to give the Parliament an opportunity to voice its opinion on the Agreement, it did seem that one of the most important problems had been solved. The International Sugar Agreement provided the opportunity to regulate supply and demand, particularly supply. It was one of the most complex sugar agreements, and it had inbuilt safeguards in the event of a price decline or a price rise. In other words, it allowed for variation in the basic quotations. But what has happened in the last 10 days is something for which I cannot find an answer. It seems to defy the very basic laws of supply and demand. This movement in price is very similar to the remarkable increase that took place immediately after the International Sugar Agreement gave all indications of being a goer towards the end of last year. The price rose from nearly bedrock in the early months of this year to £stg39 a ton. This rise could not be explained by supply and demand. It could be explained only by a high degree of renewed confidence, particularly on the part of some of the smaller speculators - the dealers, one might say - operating on the London daily market. The explanation for it was not based on the relationship of supply to demand but on the degree of confidence in the future. This price has remained at a fairly good level of between £stg36 and £stg37 a ton for most of the year. But in the last 10 or 11 days something has happened which has caused the price to plummet not only on the London market but also on the New York market. The price is now at the relatively low figure of £stg28 a ton. What has caused this? This is what has to be explained. When one looks at the supply and demand figures one sees that the price should be about £stg36 a ton, judged on this year's performance. Over the past 12 months the price of sugar has gone up very fast and has now gone down again very fast. Whether the present price of £Stg28 is the stabilised price or only the temporary price is the question facing the sugar industry. It would seem that certain factors are responsible for this decline. One of the greatest problems facing the sugar industry is the determination and behaviour of this London daily market price. It is not generally recognised that although about *Si* million tons of sugar is traded on the world market at free market prices, probably only threequarters of a million tons, if that, go through this sample market or the London daily market. This phenomenon must give any country like Australia a headache. When there is only a very small proportion of the output being traded on a market which in actual fact is determining the overall price - and as I said previously, probably less than 1 million tons being traded on the London market is determining, to a large degree, the free market price for the rest of the sugar amounting to 8 million tons - one can ask whether it is possible for this market to be manipulated or not. As this is a common practice for gauging the particular world price of many other basic commodities, particularly minerals, at one point of time, one must assume that even though it may be possible to manipulate the market to cause variations in the price of sugar, it is most unlikely that one could manipulate the market for any length of time. Therefore, I think it is fair to say that the present position is only a temporary one. I keep emphasising the point that if one looks at the stocks and if one looks at the supply and demand, there is no reason why the price of sugar should be as low as it is today, unless the market is being manipulated and unless this is the true price. Because of the fairly inelastic demand with respect to price, it is possible that small parcels of sugar have suddenly come onto the market. In Mexico there has been an understating of the shortfall by some 80,000 tons. There have been rumours with respect to the hardship fund, which might not eventuate this year, and there are a lot of other factors which could have had a depressing effect on the world free price for sugar. There are rumours circulating about the possibility of additional supplies of the European Economic Community's beet whites. There is also uncertainty with respect to Cuba's behaviour towards the International Sugar Agreement. But these things are all intangibles. The only tangible reason seems to be that perhaps a little more sugar has come onto the world free market at this point of time than was expected. But the very puzzling aspect is why, when Australia is getting ready to sell its sugar on the world market, should the price of sugar suddenly drop from a fairly stabilised figure of approximately £Stg36 a ton to £Stg28 a ton, when related to both the London market and on the New York market? At first it looked as though the price on the New York market would remain at around 3.2c per lb, but it has dropped to 2.75c per lb. This is a matter to which no doubt the Government is giving serious consideration. It is a matter about which cane farmers and the sugar industry are most concerned. At the present time we are faced with a position which is quite different from that which existed before the expansion in the sugar industry took place. We are very fortunate in having a good domestic price for sugar and a sound agreement in the terms of the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement. We are also fortunate in having quotas under the United States Act. We are fortunate in having quotas in Vietnam. Nevertheless, we have over 50% of total production, or approximately 1.1 million tons of sugar, to be disposed of on a highly volatile world free market. This is the pressing problem which is facing the sugar industry at the present time. It is unlike the problem facing the wheat industry, because one can put his hands on the crux of the wheat problem. The problem in the wheat industry is one of over-supply at this point of time. But surely it is not right for the price of sugar to drop from £Stg36 a ton to £Stg28 a ton, if there has been only a little bubble as regards increase in world supply. This is a complex problem and one to which serious thought must be given. I think also that the Government must give very serious consideration to watching closely the behaviour of the London market and how it is working. As I have said, it would seem from the size of this market- only 500,000 tons or a little more - it may be possible to manipulate the market. For example, a big buyer might be able, through some device, to manipulate the market, but certainly he could do it for only a short period of time before somebody woke up to it. 1 suppose we can argue that the ups and downs would balance out. But the important point is that up to the present time the Australian market has received very little benefit this year from the relatively high world free prices that have prevailed on the international market. We are entering the period now when we want to receive a relatively good price for the 1.1 million tons of sugar to be sold, particularly as, if the price remains at its present level of 2.8c per lb, we can expect that there could be pressure to reduce the quota further under the agreement, which now stands at 90%. In fact, there might be pressure to reduce it to 85%, and this, most certainly, would not be in Australia's interests. We do not want to reduce our quotas; we want to increase them, and we can only increase them if the average price of sugar increases overseas. The other point regarding our own production of sugar at the present time is that there are areas that are in a very serious and critical condition, so far as mill peaks are concerned. This applies particularly to the Burnett-Isis area. It is of paramount importance that cane growers should receive the best possible price for their sugar, because these areas are in such financial trouble and have been belted with drought over the years, because of insufficient water and soil moisture. Although in my own area of Mackay, Sarina and Proserpine we have been fortunate in having a relatively good year in terms of production, I am quite certain that some mills will not reach their peaks and the commercial content of the sugar is still very low. Nevertheless, compared with the Bundaberg and Maryborough districts, the Mackay district has been extremely fortunate. But as the Government well knows, over the last 5 years prices have been depressed. I did not intend to speak tonight because of a sore throat, but the problem facing the sugar industry is a very serious one. It is serious because there does not seem to be any explanation for it. If the explanation simply is that the present position is only temporary, that it is just a small bubble, something on the surface which has caused a lack of confidence, then we can expect the price of sugar to rise in the future, but is this the explanation of the present unsatisfactory position? {: #debate-32-s10 .speaker-KVM} ##### Mr STREET:
Corangamite -- First of all, I should like to refer briefly to the Budget proposals relating to primary industry, and to express my appreciation to the Government for the very valuable concessions made in the Budget, including the raising of the bounty on superphosphate by 50%, on which I spoke last night; the ability to write off all expenditure on fodder and water conservation projects in 1 year; the Government's taking over half the growers' contribution to all research and promotion in the wool industry; and the raising by 20% of the existing exemption level for Federal estate duty and additional relief on estates up to $250,000. Details of this relief will be awaited with great interest. I intend to concentrate my remarks on the Australian meat industry. This industry, which is worth over $200m in export income, is facing disturbing difficulties. The most immediate and important difficulty is our limited access to the American market. It is well known now that we have voluntarily agreed to limit shipments to America, and this action has emphasised our dependence on this outlet for our meat. Earlier in the year I had the opportunity in Washington to hold detailed discussions on this problem, and immediately on my return I prepared a paper on the subject, which I sent to the Chairman and other members of the Australian Meat Board, to the leaders of primary producer organisations and to several other people whom 1 knew would be interested. I have had a remarkable response supporting the views in this paper in which I pointed out that since Australian beef exports to the United States account for nearly 80% of our total beef exports and as no other country appears to have both the demand and the purchasing power to replace this market, it is vitally necessary that our existing share of the market be at least maintained and if possible increased. I stress that the United States will assume even greater importance as the potential meat production from northern Australia becomes a reality. The United States is also a major buyer of mutton and lamb so both sheep and cattle producers have an interest in the market. Improved prospects for selling meat in the United States depend on several factors, the main one being the problem of import restrictions. There is no doubt that a demand for manufacturing type meat will grow but there are very powerful influences to overcome if we are to gain a share of this larger market. One factor brought to my attention which I had not appreciated before is that it is important to remember that the feed lot sector of the beef industry is very widespread. It is not confined to traditional cattle breeding States - almost all States have feed lot operators and therefore this industry has a correspondingly wide political base, particularly in the Senate. In addition, it seems that the United States is determined to allow more meat imports from Latin American countries and in these circumstances it is very difficult to see any possibility of improvement in Australia's percentage of the market or of even getting back to the percentage we held before the voluntary restrictions of last year unless we make a major effort at all levels. Another factor growing in importance is the possibility of greater use of soya bean substitute for meat. This is of particular relevance to us as it would mainly affect the market for hamburger type beef. In these circumstances it is clear that positive action is required. Australian producers and exporters must understand the very significant part played by political lobbying in the United States and the fact that in the case of meat our export trade of over $200m a year will just not look after itself; perhaps of more importance, it will not just increase by itself. The Government via the Department of Trade and Industry or semi-government bodies such as the Austraiian Meat Board, can do only a certain amount. They can operate only on an official level with the Administration, and here again Australia must appreciate the different political system in America where the Executive, that is, the Cabinet, is not chosen from the legislature. Therefore, while the Administration might be willing to make some concession in, say, meat imports or wool tariffs, Congress could reject legislation it had proposed. It is vital that approaches be made at two levels - one at the official level through government and semi-government departments and the other at Congress or Senate level, by people directly representing the industry concerned. These people preferably should be Americans and the success or influence exerted by such representation is obviously governed by the choice of representative. To get the best advice on whom to approach for representation would cost a considerable amount of money. I had quoted to me perhaps $10,000 to $15,000. The subsequent cost of representation could run into perhaps $200,000 a year. In my opinion this seems a small price to pay for an industry worth over $200m a year and I believe that the first move should be made now. Australia has a tremendous capacity to produce beef and there is general agreement that the United States market could absorb greatly increased quantities of imports. However, to get better access for imports will require an organised effort on the part of industry as well as by the Government. There are enormous consumer interests that are potential allies in such efforts but little has been done so far to gain their support. For instance, apart from consumer interests as exemplified by the housewife, there are large chain stores which specialise in selling manufacturing type beef and which, if properly approached, could I feel, be very useful to this country. If the Australian meat industry is not prepared to contribute to the cost of a programme such as I have described, it cannot complain if the present United States policies are continued. It might even be possible to gain support from some United States cattlemen - for example, stud breeders - if Australia would allow some importation of cattle or semen from the United States. In my opinion this campaign should be financed by the industry rather than the Government for the following reasons: Firstly, the Australian Meat Board should not be expected to stretch its present resources too far as it might at any time be called upon for funds to deal with some emergency situation. Secondly, to be successful - I stress this point - the type of representation I have described must have as free a hand as possible. Any connection with the Government or a statutory body might inhibit its freedom of action. Thirdly, by being financially involved producers would be more likely to take an active interest in such a scheme rather than leave it to the Government. Producers should not expect any dramatic results from this plan. In my opinion it represents the premium needed to try to insure against the loss of our present share of the market. If it did this it would be considered a success, while any increase in our share of the market would be a most welcome bonus. The next point to be considered is how to raise this money. It would seem that either an increase in the slaughter levy or an allocation from the Deficiency Payment Fund would be the best and most equitable way of raising this money, but I emphasise again what I said a moment ago - to be successful whoever is responsible for spending this money must have as free a hand as possible, and if the money is contributed by a statutory authority and this would inhibit freedom of action, then producers might have to consider raising the money in some other way. There is another and less publicised danger to Australian meat exports, namely the possibility of import levies on foodstuffs being imposed by the United Kingdom. I feel that neither the Australian producer nor the United Kingdom consumer is fully aware of the results which would follow such a policy. On the surface such a policy certainly holds attractions for a government. Import levies in fact amounting to a tariff would lead to increases in prices for domestic produce. This would relieve the Government of its responsibility to pay subsidies to local producers, and at the same time provide revenue for the Government. Figures given to me indicate that such levies could amount to between Si 00m and $200m a year. Such a policy would have serious implications for Australia and would represent the abandonment of the traditional policy of cheap food for the people of the United Kingdom since these levies would have to be paid eventually by the United Kingdom consumer. As shown by the interim report of the Australian Meat Board this market, previously our largest, is still of real importance to Australia, particularly for lamb. Last year, our exports to that market were 14,000 tons of beef, 4,000 tons of mutton, 13,500 tons of lamb and 14,000 tons of offal. There is no doubt that imposition of import levies or a tariff, call it what you like, on food imports into the United Kingdom would increase significantly the cost of living in the United Kingdom. I feel that we should be making this fact quite clear to the consumers in the United Kingdom. In my opinion there should be tremendous opportunities for increasing Australia's exports of mutton. Good quality mutton has been selling at prices which make it the cheapest red meat of its standard available anywhere in the world. We have seen the tremendous expansion in the consumption of mutton in Japan. It has risen from nil in 1962 to 40,000 tons in 1968 and 23,000 tons last year when slaughterings were down following the drought. This proves that Asian people soon acquire a taste for red meat provided they can afford it. Because of its price mutton would be the first red meat that people in developing countries would be able to afford, and for this reason opportunities seem almost unlimited. It enjoys the additional and very important advantage of having much freer access to markets than is the case with beef. For example, although Japan imposes severe quota restrictions on beef it allows free access to mutton. While the European Economic Community has a common support price programme for beef, it merely imposes a 20% tariff an sheep meats. So far as lamb is concerned, the position at present is not encouraging. Prices are low, and this in conjunction with greatly increased costs has placed the industry in a critical position. There is no single reason for the depressed prices for lamb. Increased yardages due to carryover lambs from the drought have had a considerable influence. Increased production has had an influence and, lastly, there is the matter of imports from New Zealand. The importance of these imports may have been exaggerated but nevertheless they cannot be disregarded. It is perfectly true that the proportion of total consumption represented by New Zealand imports is very small. However, it now has been established that when Australian lamb reaches a certain price - by no means an exorbitant price - New Zealand lamb can be imported and sold at a profit Therefore it can be said that New Zealand lamb can put a ceiling on Australian prices without any imports at all. The mere knowledge that imports become profitable at a certain level is enough to exercise a considerable dampening influence on prices. At a time when Australian producers are working on a very slender profit margin this is particularly disheartening, especially for the producer who goes to great trouble and expense to market his lambs out of season and so get a premium price. In these circumstances I was pleased to see a joint consultative committee formed to deal with this problem. I trust that it will ensure that local producers are not called upon to operate under even more severe disabilities than they experience now. A combination of rising costs, New Zealand devaluation and the advent of roll-on roll-off shipping is making it very tough to stay in the fat lamb business. International marketing today, particularly of primary products, requires constant positive aggressive action. Producers must realise that this will cost money. They must be prepared to foot at least part of the bill themselves. With their tradition of enterprise and initiative I feel sure that our primary producers will accept their responsibilities and that their efforts will, as in the past, receive every support from this Government through the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Primary Industry. {: #debate-32-s11 .speaker-KEC} ##### Mr KENNEDY:
BENDIGO, VICTORIA · ALP -- This Government deserves severe censure because of the contempt it shows for the Australian wheat farmer in this Budget. The wheat industry faces crisis and chaos. The Government has no answer to the problems confronting the industry, for so much of which the Government itself is responsible. With incredible irresponsibility the Government will allow this industry to collapse. It will allow hundreds of wheat farmers in Victoria alone to go under and yet it will not lift a hand to help them. Vast problems face the Australian Wheat Board in selling Australian wheat. Some of the problems facing the Board are not of the Government's making. We do not blame the Government for the over-production and glut of wheat but we do say that the Wheat Board, which has been one of Australia's best overseas marketing authorities, deserved to get more help from the Government than it has received. The sale of wheat is a competitive business. The Wheat Board has done well to sell so much but the Government has not been as helpful as it could have been. I would like to instance a few examples of lack of co-operation - sheer pig-headedness if you wre - by the Treasury under **Mr McMahon.** Too often it seems that the Treasury dominates wheat policy. I refer to someone who should have some knowledge of the subject, if experience means anything. In a report in the 'Bendigo Advertiser' of 7th July this year **Mr Jim** Nuske a growers' representative on the Australian Wheat Board, refers to three specific cases in which the Wheat Board was thinking of reconsidering its traditional policy of offering credit terms extending no further than 1 year. There was a possibility of selling wheat on credit longer than 1 year but the Treasurer apparently refused to accept this system. **Mr Nuske** said: >Treasury people regard themselves, it appears, as experts in this field. The world is chock-a-block full of wheat and there is an increasing inability to sell it. We are restricting our credit at a time when our marketing competitors are entering a new phase of credit sales. **Mr Nuske** referred also to another case of what he described as dilly-dallying by the Government over the possibility of selling on extended credit to the Western Milling group in the United Kingdom. The fiercely competitive Canadians, who subsidise also the export of flour - this is something this Government could well think about - are considering offering 3-year repayment terms to some thirty-nine developing countries. It was soon discovered that, of these, sixteen were customers of Australia. In other words, competitive credit terms at least raised the possibility that the Canadians would cut into markets we have already and possibly would pre-empt markets that we want. I am not in a position to say what present Treasury policy is. 3ut in early July, when **Mr Nuske** raised certain matters, no satisfactory reply from Treasury was forthcoming. The shortsightedness of Treasury policy is evident in the fact that in denying credit assistance to the Wheat Board the Treasury was merely increasing the problems of storing wheat at the very time when it was all the more necessary to sell it. **Mr Nuske** said: >Even if it only means that we get the grain out of our silo systems at this stage - if wc get it overseas and get some foreign capital to flow in, then look at the savings - on our overdraft with the Reserve Bank; in our storage costs, which in certain seasons runs as high as $4 a ton to keep wheat for 4 months. We in the Labor Party would at least look for better credit terms to our overseas buyers. Again, the attitude of the Government to China certainly is not calculated to get the best trade possible with her and it is clear that the policy of co-existence pursued by France and Canada has enabled those nations to get a better sale of their wheat to her. We do not guarantee that a more realistic policy would increase our sales to China, but it would increase the likelihood. Let no-one raise the old bogey to deter us from what is, in any case, a practical policy of recognising the reality of China's existence. The fact is that the wheat farmer of Australia is vitally dependent on the Chinese market. Our aim must be to increase our trade with her. I have mentioned the difficulties experienced by the Australian Wheat Board, whose problems have since been intensified by the price cutting of our rivals. I have pointed out that the Government cannot say that the inadequate sales of wheat overseas are not its fault. The internal problems faced by the wheat industry deserve mention also. Too often the Government blames the industry for the problems it faces. It passes the buck back to the wheat farmers and says: 'There is a pretty mess. Now straighten it out'. Of course, the fact is that the Government has encouraged the expansion of wheat production. The dropping of prices encouraged pastoral companies and big graziers to come into wheat production just when the Government needed to protect the traditional wheat farmers. The measures that have been introduced to deal with the problem of overproduction and underconsumption are discriminatory against the small farmer and favourable to the big farmer; they protect the pastoral and land companies and the big graziers while threatening destruction to many small farmers and share farmers. Many of the small farmers have been given no quota at all. The quotas of some are just worthless. I have spoken to a number of wheat growers in my electorate. Several have said that amongst the expenses they have encountered has been the cost of land they have bought up to compensate for bad earlier years. They have higher commitments to meet but, thanks to the incidence of the quota, they have a reduced ability to meet those commitments. They are not happy with the way the quota restrictions strike at the smaller men, although they are willing to accept the necessity for restrictions of some kind. When a meeting of wheat growers took place in Bendigo on 25th June, 1 believe that of a total of about 700 people some 259 farmers voted in favour of a sliding scale of quotas, while 250 voted against it. In other words a majority of these wheat growers, even if it were only a narrow majority, wanted a more equitable quota scheme. On another issue debated at this meeting, I believe some 500 of the 700 present indicated that they opposed the present quotas. Despite these feelings among wheat growers we have a system of quotas in Victoria which favours the larger farmers. The result will be that many farmers will go under. Their income will be worthless. What are they to do? Many of them will simply allow their wheat to rot; many will burn it down in the fields. The smaller farmer cannot diversify into other areas. Even the larger farmer will find this difficult because other sectors of primary production are facing problems of oversupply. The threat of wheat farmers diversifying seriously worries other primary producers such as producers of poultry, wool, cotton, coarse grains and pork. In contrast to the irresponsible negligence of the Government, the Labor Party has policies which will offer a livelihood to all wheat growers. We will offer a minimum quota of about 8,000 to 10,000 bushels. These will be stored in a No. 1 pool. We will also restore the one price system. I note, with pride, a report in the 'Australian' of 22nd July that the grains division of the Victorian Farmers Union intends to propose to the Australian Wheat Growers Federation such a proposal. This will help to curb the serious threat of black market wheat sales, which could destroy the traditional concept of marketing through a single authority. We will also deal with the problem of wheat storage. This Budget deserves the severest censure for its inadequate handling of the problems of storage. Offering tax deductions on storage facilities is all right, but it must be seen against the cost to the individual himself of providing these. If he has not the money - and many farmers wilt not have the money - he will have to get an overdraft from the banks at the inflated rates that the Government has just introduced. Then of course, his business has to be a sound enough proposition to persuade the banks to lend. In many cases the banks simply will not lend. But the most important fact is this: There must be one storage authority. Without this, the possibility of black marketing is not eliminated, and with the sort of crisis facing the wheat industry, and with the temptation on the farmer to sell what the Wheat Board will not take, there will not be enough Commonwealth police in the nation to police the two-price system. So every grain of wheat should be got into storages managed by the traditional authorities. The Budget does not provide for this. The attitude of the Government is beyond belief. As long ago as late June the Victorian Government requested the Prime Minister **(Mr Gorton)** to give the State Government $lm to provide for extra storage. On 16th July, according to a Bendigo Advertiser' report, the Acting Premier, **Sir Arthur** Rylah, repeated his request. Nothing has yet come of it, apparently. Only last week, a member of this House asked the Prime Minister a question without notice as to whether the Prime Minister had received such a request, and when Victorian growers could expect a favourable reply. The Prime Minister was edgy, stating that the problem was basically a State matter and stressing that the reply he would give to the Victorian Government in the next few days would only be a reply and suggesting that the reply might not necessarily be favourable. In fact, both the Prime Minister and the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr Anthony)** are now busily trying to build up a climate of opinion to the effect that extra storage facilities provided by the Government might not be prudent. That is how interested the Government is in providing storage facilities. In contrast to the irresponsible evasions of the Government, the Labor Party has a policy which is crisp, clear and convincing. We say that additional temporary and permanent storages should be provided for non-quota wheat. In other words, we will guarantee a minimum quota in the vicinity of 8,000 to 10,000 bushels to every grower. This will be stored in the No. 1 pool. The surplus will be stored in a No. 2 pool. The wheat from the No. 2 pool will be sold on the basis of feed grain prices. Incidentally, it is interesting to note a report in the 'Weekly Times' on 13th August, to the effect that a somewhat similar plan has been advanced by a member of the Wheat Board, **Mr Cliff** Everett. According to this report, the plan had the support of a majority of grower members. **Mr Everett's** views are worth noting. He said: >No quota plan, or restriction of production, would work smoothly unless all the wheat was taken into storage by the State Grain Elevators Board under the control of the Wheat Board. > >Wheat on farms was a potential danger to the concept of orderly marketing, particularly when growers were pressed by banks and other financial institutions. There is one other aspect of the wheat situation that I want to stress. The wheat farmer is vital to the economy of the cities and many country towns. A blow to his income will be a blow to the stability of these regions. I wish to stress what the broader consequences of the shortsightedness of the Government will be, and I want to point out to other people in my electorate how dangerous to them the Government's negligence will be. Towns will shrink in size, and the general income of whole regions will be bit. According to an 'Age' report of 4th August, already about 6,000 people, farmers and their families, are forced from the land in Australia every year through lower returns, debt and the cost-price squeeze, coupled with inadequate holdings. In the next 2 years this figure will grow as wheat men - big and small - are forced off their properties. The small wheat farmer who depends on wheat alone for his income will go under. That is in the longer term. But more immediately, the wheat farmer's income will drop. There will be falls in the sales of farm machinery, vehicles and other articles that the farmers use. Already farm machinery companies are preparing to tighten their belts and to cut down on staff. Banks and other financial institutions are getting edgy over the threatened effects of wheat quotas. I hope that the Government is aware of this threat to the country towns and cities - the threat to incomes and to employment. I hope that even in the last weeks of its life the Government will take measures to save the wheat farmer and those in country areas who depend upon him for their living. However, I believe that the Government will do nothing. The Budget clearly illustrates this. Only the Australian Labor Party can save the wheat fanners now. {: #debate-32-s12 .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL:
Mallee -- I listened very carefully to what the honourable member for Bendigo **(Mr Kennedy)** read. I do not want to be too difficult as the honourable member is a newcomer to the Parliament and everybody knows that newcomers strike certain difficulties, especially if they are not familiar with the subject on which they are speaking. If the honourable member were speaking on education I would have to accept him as more of an authority on the subject than I am because he has been in that profession for so long. I object to an honourable member reading a speech for the simple reason that I think it is representation by proxy. His speech sounded quite all right, but did the honourable member prepare it himself? {: .speaker-KEC} ##### Mr KENNEDY:
BENDIGO, VICTORIA · ALP -- Of course. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- The honourable member can read. He is not a member of the Country Party. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL: -- Of course he can read, but did he prepare his speech? I wish to say one or two things about the remarks that he made. One thing that I want to question for a start is the fact that when the honourable member commenced his speech he found fault with the Government for not providing money so that more wheat could be sold on terms. [Quorum formed.] When attention was drawn to the state of the chamber I was about to refer to a meeting at Bendigo that was mentioned by the honourable member for Bendigo. He said at the very start that he found fault with the Government for not providing more money so that more wheat could be sold overseas, chiefly in the east, at longer terms. I think he referred to a period of 18 months. The Government has shown great foresight for the simple reason that if it had provided money during, say, the last 6 or 8 months and more wheat had been sold Australia would have been transgressing the International Grains Arrangement. It is well known that the Minister for Trade and Industry **(Mr McEwen),** who is the Leader of the Australian Country Party, had to go overseas to attempt to patch up problems that had resulted from Australia selling too much wheat. That was the start of more or less indiscriminate selling. Only yesterday I asked the Minister a question on the subject. He said that more meetings are to be held. He went on to say that he hopes we will get back to operating on the same basis as the International Grains Arrangement provided for in the initial stages. A lot of factors have brought about the situation in the wheat industry. The honourable member for Bendigo said that the Government tried to encourage wheat growers to grow more wheat. Of course, if the Government had decided not to continue the stabilisation scheme every member of the Labor Party would have been down on the Government. The simple fact is that the stabilisation scheme is one of the basic means of ensuring prosperity in the industry. The wheat industry was on a very good basis and people who were not doing so well with wool started to grow wheat, if they had land that was suitable for wheat growing. This caused a large increase in Australia's wheat production. But the main trouble has been caused by gluts overseas. If we could sell any additional wheat we grew, we would be all right. The honourable member for Bendigo also said that the Government has done nothing whatever for the wheat industry. I have been told on good authority that by the second week in January next the overdraft for the wheat industry from the Reserve Bank will be in the vicinity of $650m. The point is that the wheat growers wanted a first payment of $1.10. The Government could provide a certain amount of money and this money had to be used as the basis for calculating the number of bushels that could be delivered with a first payment of $1.10. Let us take the situation in Victoria. We hear a lot about Victoria. I am a Victorian member and so is the honourable member for Bendigo. In that State it worked out at 65 million bushels. However, in a good season Victoria produces about 80 million bushels. So it looks as if we will have a surplus of 15 million bushels and we will have to try as best we can to give the grower some return for that surplus. When the situation became clear, the Australian Wheat Growers Federation, which is the main body in the wheat industry, held a meeting in Western Australia and decided on a quota system. When the Victorian members of the Federation returned from Western Australia, they worked out the scheme of quotas with the Grain Elevators Board and the Grains Division of the Victorian Farmers Union. A lot of growers have already been told what their quota will be, but some have not yet received this advice. I was speaking to a man tonight and he said: 'My father received his quota a fortnight ago but I have not received mine yet'. However, it will not be very long before all the farmers know what their quotas are. As far as I can see, this is the only way to work the scheme. No-one here or anywhere else has suggested a better scheme. After all, only a certain amount of wheat can be taken into the storages at $1.10 first payment. I advocate storages be built in appropriate places so that wheat may be stored and kept in good condition. I am not in favour of storing wheat on the farms. I do not think such a system could ever be a success. But if we build more storages and fill them with the additional wheat that we have, we may then need additional storages next season. Some Opposition members have said that building additional storages is their long term plan. However, if things go on as they are now, eventually the position will be reached where more storages could not be. built. The position is recognised very clearly in the Wheat Industry Stabilisation Act. I have a copy of it here. Very stringent penalties are provided for selling wheat. As far as I know, under the quota system 5% of the money available was kept back to meet applications by people who were suffering hardship or who had not been given a fair deal under the quota system. They have the right of appeal and I believe that by exercising that right many who may have been dissatisfied at the start of the scheme will get some redress. I point out also that the Australian Wheatgrowers Federation was the body mainly responsible for the introduction of quotas. Does anyone suggest that the Government should step in, override the Federation and take charge of the industry? Why, at that meeting at Bendigo I saw what was tantamount to a complete cycle of the wheel. Long before I came into this Parliament, which is many years ago, wheat growers and other primary producers were fighting for producer control. I do not like mentioning the famous sale of wheat to New Zealand, but we all remember that. It was a tragedy for the wheat industry. The former honourable member for Lalor, **Mr Pollard,** is often accused of making that sale. He did not. In fairness to him, when he was a member of this Parliament, I stated on many occasions both in the electorate and in other places that he did not make that sale. But when it was made, growers clamoured more and more for an end to government interference. Finally, the wheat industry was able to achieve producer control and those wheat men who know the industry are anxious to maintain that control. They do not want the Government to come in and take charge of their industry. If it takes charge there is the disadvantage that the Government also has the responsibility of protecting the interests of the taxpayers should it ever become necessary to consider putting some of their money, apart from advances, into the scheme. All in all, I think that everything that possibly can be done is being done at present. The members of the Victorian Farmers Union and the Australian Wheatgrowers Federation are dedicated to giving the wheat industry the best deal they possibly can. And why should they not be anxious to do this? They are wheat growers themselves. They are men who have been engaged in the wheat industry all their lives. I come back to the honourable member for Bendigo. Someone said that I made an attack upon him. I am not attacking him in any way at all. No-one can say that I have ever made a personal attack on anyone in this House, but when the honourable member for Bendigo comes in here and reads a speech that has been prepared for him- {: .speaker-KDP} ##### Dr Everingham: -- I rise to order. I saw the honourable member preparing his speech. It was not prepared for him. The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Hallett)** - There is no substance in the point raised by the honourable member. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL: -- Let me put it this way: If the honourable member for Bendigo, having come into this Parliament very recently, after having been a schoolteacher all his life, can prepare that speech then he is a much brighter and smarter man than I give him credit for. The honourable member for Capricornia **(Dr Everingham)** said definitely that he saw the honourable member for Bendigo preparing his speech. Did he see the honourable member sitting down writing it? {: .speaker-KDP} ##### Dr Everingham: -- *Yes.* {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL: -- Anyway, we will take that for what it is worth. There is no doubt that at the present time the primary industries are going through a period that is not good. The primary industries of Australia are the vital industries, despite what might be said about minerals and all these other sidelines. Australia was built up on primary industry and it is my opinion that primary industry will continue to be the force that sustains this nation. {: #debate-32-s13 .speaker-KDP} ##### Dr EVERINGHAM:
Capricornia -- First may I reply to the point raised by the honourable member for Mallee **(Mr Turnbull)?** He said most definitely that the honourable member for Bendigo **(Mr Kennedy)** did not prepare his own speech. I have been In and out of the Party room during the last hour or two watching the honourable member for Bendigo preparing his speech. I have seen the material from which he prepared it. I saw the extensive amount of research material he obtained from the Parliamentary Library. They are documents prepared by experts including the experts of this Party. {: .speaker-KVG} ##### Mr Stokes: -- What about the wheat farmers? {: .speaker-KDP} ##### Dr EVERINGHAM: -- He has already told honourable members in his speech what he said to the wheat farmers, what they said to him and how he consulted with them. He is quite as capable of listening to them as listening to the waffle we have heard from the honourable member for Mallee **(Mr Turnbull)** on this subject. I might add that the honourable member for Mallee himself attended a meeting of wheat farmers in Bendigo on one occasion and informed them- {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -- On two occasions. {: .speaker-KDP} ##### Dr EVERINGHAM: -- On one particular occasion he made the remark that the Minister in charge of this matter, a member of his own Party, was just a messenger boy and that they should not take any notice of what he said on the subject because it was all decided in Cabinet and cut and dried there. This is the sort of apology that he has made for his own Minister. {: .speaker-KET} ##### Mr King: -- Are you going to give us your knowledge on wheat? {: .speaker-KDP} ##### Dr EVERINGHAM: -- I also have been on wheat farms in my own electorate and in other electorates and spoken to the wheat farmers on some of their problems. They have been into my office and consulted me as their local member. I have spent time on this matter and I have also studied source material. I have it here if the honourable member would like to look at it. I am sure the honourable member for Bendigo will show him some of his source material too of he wants to see it. Our conclusion is that most of the proposals that are now put forward for over-production by the Government are half baked, panicky schemes which are being accepted here and there but will rebound on the Government when the full impact of this quota scheme is felt. As honourable members have heard from the member Bendigo, the Labor Party is concerned about the small producer who will be squeezed out and hurt by overproduction. He needs the stabilisation and price support schemes which the Labor Party has proposed. The important feature of our disposal is a minimum quota on which a farmer can obtain a decent living, and this is a proposal that can be very well applied to other fields of primary industry. I am not saying that these are all original thoughts of mine. I can give the honourable member for Mallee and the other gentlemen who are interjecting plenty of quotations from people who are actually farmers who have published this material and suggestions in farmers' journals and other journals and who want some sort of action to protect the small farmer - not to protect pounds of butter, bushels of wheat or tons of something else. The want to protect people, individuals, farmers and families who depend on this production, and there is very little sign of any measurement of the family need in any of these stabilisation schemes. The sugar industry is an example where acreages are set aside on what is a living area, and this is pretty basic to most industries where over production is a problem. The time will come when some of these industries will have to have some sort of allotment of areas and nobody else will be allowed in with a quota in times of over-production. This is one basic principle which will have to be far more widely accepted in all kinds of primary industries where there is overproduction. Another principle is what I have called a minimum living allowance. It may be fixed at about 8,000 or 10,000 bushels in the case of wheat or it may be fixed at varying other levels depending on the prices of the various commodities and the needs of the families which are concerned with the production. Another principle which has to be recognised is the two-pool system. I believe that this is the only way in which this minimum quota arrangement will work effectively. Otherwise there will be the headache of stopping people from producing. This is a headache that they have had in America for several years. They tried about six different ways, but no way was perfect. However, there are lessons that we could learn from them, particularly in relation to wheat. It is basic to our proposals for wheat that we should not restrict the total production from anybody. We should let them take their chance on the open market for anything produced beyond their quota. I want to quote briefly from some of the United States policies. There are some small aspects of these that we might consider, although I do not think by any means that these are the most important ones or the most urgent ones to consider at this time. I refer first to a letter from a Montana wheat farmer to the 'Countryman' on 8th May 1969 in which he discusses United States problems of over-production. He stated: >In the case of dairy products they found a price drop led to more overproduction, as each farmer had to work harder to pay his way and most could not afford to turn quickly to other kinds of production. Since the mid-1930s quotas have been used. A national wheat acreage allotment was used in 1938 and restored in 1931 after the war. The national allotment is about *55* million acres divided among wheat States, then the counties of each State and finally each grower in the country I think there is a point in that which we could consider - that is, the need for regional boards, similar to the county boards in America, to fix individual quotas for growers. The writer of that letter went on to say that a government loan agency makes loans on the crop produced but that the loan need not be taken; the crop can be sold or stored. They allow a certain amount of overplanting or overseeding of allotments, provided that grain from the extra acres is stored under bond and is used later to make up shortfalls of the normal yield to be expected on the property. If this overplanting or overseeding is not done under bond the grower loses his entitlement to loans and government subsidies and protection. From 1956 to 1962 there was a fallowing or 'soil bark' incentive payment which was about half the yield price for that acreage. This has been applied to other crops besides wheat. This also is something that we could consider to a limited extent because there are still some wheat farmers who do not realise the need for fallowing or diversifying their crops from year to year. Most of us learnt about this in primary school when we were taught about Turnip' Townsend. But there are still farmers who are neglecting this rule and destroying their land, as a result of which they get subnormal yields through planting wheat too consistently in some areas. There could be incentive payments for fallowing or turning the land over to other uses in times of over-production. In America they usually have to sign up with a programme for 5 to 10 years to receive these payments. Another alternative is to take the normal scheme of yearly payments, instead of taking them over 5 or 10 years, and to take the payment in a lump sum to use for diversifying or changing production to something other than wheat. They do this also in relation to other feed grains. In 196S they adopted a two price scheme. The loan price at that time dropped down to what was considered the normal export price. The farmer was paid for the minimum of 35% of his expected yield whether he got it or not. If his crop failed, a certain amount of insurance was provided for him. They have adopted other schemes. A lot more detail is to be found in the quite long article in the 'Countryman' of 8th May. I think that some of these schemes could be adopted. I certainly do not think that their two-price scheme is very effective. I certainly think that is it a long day behind the scheme that the Australian Labor Party is proposing. I recommend to the Minister and to the Government that they think twice about their stiff-necked attitude that only farmers know what is good for a farmer and only farmers may listen to other farmers and get ideas from other farmers. The honourable member for Bendigo, as he said, has learnt to read and he has learnt to consult his constituents on what their needs and suggestions are. He has come here with a concrete proposal. He put his name down on a list containing a limited number of speakers. The reaction that he received was a sneer. The reaction was: Unless you are a farmer, you do not know anything and you cannot say anything'. This sort of attitude will rebound on the Country Party because being a farmer does not let one know what all farmers think, and does not give one the right to criticise somebody who comes here to give the opinions of the farmers in his own electorate. It is very significant that these farmers voted for the honourable member. We may see some more very significant votes in some other wheat areas in a couple of months time which may bring home to the Country Party that it does not have a monopoly on concern for wheat farmers. Unfortunately, they are very often, and far too often, dominated by a concern for profit, according to the amount that a farmer can produce. They are concerned for a subsidy according to production which helps the bigger producer who in turn gives more support to governments of the same colour as the Country Party-Liberal Party Government of this country. This is the sort of motive that we condemn. It is not the sort of motive that the small farmers are calling out for and crying out for at this time of distress and at this time of drought in my own area. What they want is a government that will say: We are not concerned just with producing the most at the cheapest and in giving the biggest return to somebody just because he makes his living on the land. What we are concerned about is that the people who are doing their best to keep this country going are getting a fair recognition as human beings. When we have attended to that matter, then we will think about the matter of profits per bushel, profits per pound and profits per ton.' **Mr TURNBULL** (Mallee)- **Mr Chairman,** 1 wish to make a personal explanation. {: #debate-32-s14 .speaker-KIH} ##### The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock: -- Order! Does the honourable member for Mallee claim to have been misrepresented. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL: -- Yes I have been misrepresented by the honourable member for Capricornia **(Dr Everingham).** After all, he chided me on certain things. But what he himself has said is not correct. He referred to the meeting at Bendigo. I certainly attended it. I wrote down what the honourable member said. He said: 'The honourable member for Mallee said that the Minister was only a messenger boy for the Cabinet and not to take any notice of him'. I tell this Committee and Australia that this is absolutely untrue. I will state what I said. I want to explain the circumstances that led to my remarks. As for me telling that meeting at Bendigo not to take any notice of the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr Anthony),** all I can say is that I do not know where the honourable member got that from. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: -- What did the honourable member say? {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL: -- I did not say that. Let me deal with the circumstances and give the explanation of what I said. The Wheatgrowers' Federation was making representations to the Minister for Primary industry. On each representation, he had to get a Cabinet decision. He went backwards and forwards to Cabinet. This was wasting a lot of time. I said that the Minister had to act as a messenger boy going backwards and forwards to Cabinet. The suggestion that I made was that the representatives of the Wheatgrowers Federation should come to Canberra to meet here not only the. Minister for Primary Industry but also the Prime Minister **(Mr Gorton)** and the Treasurer **(Mr McMahon).** That suggestion was supported by the honourable member for Wimmera **(Mr King).** It was supported by that big meeting at Bendigo. It was adopted. {: #debate-32-s15 .speaker-KVG} ##### Mr STOKES:
Maribyrnong -- I must confess that I have not followed the debate on the estimates now before the Committee as well as I might have. No doubt in some of the contributions that have been made some references have been made to tariff matters. No doubt, in particular somebody has mentioned some of the difficulties being experienced by the textile industry at the present time. I refer particularly to those garment manufacturers who have to face competition from imported articles from low wage cost countries. Their claim is that the protection that tariffs afford them is not as adequate as it might be. To add to some of these disabilities, in some cases in the textile industry duties are imposed under by-law on accessories used with imported spinning machinery. This is another burden that is imposed on some of the textile manufacturers. I think we have to admit that in a high wage cost country such as Australia the main answer to this low wage competition is efficient production. This efficiency is obtained in a number of ways; but surely the ability to use the best equipment available in the world, equipment with a high performance and a low labour content, is the sort of thing that assists in meeting this type of competition. In some areas there is no doubt that Australian manufacturers of equipment for the manufacture of textiles can provide a reasonable standard of equipment. But undoubtedly there are some areas in which the Australian manufacturers cannot reach the high criteria required for certain sophisticated machines. In Australia accessories are manufactured, perhaps for less sophisticated imported machines, but they cannot stand up to and cannot do the job properly at the high speeds demanded by more sophisticated and more efficient machines. Yet just because there happens to be a similarity in nomenclature between the types of accessories, irrespective of their performances, the Department of Customs and Excise raises the cry 'suitably equivalent'. Despite the fact that the spinning of man-made fibres calls for far different types of equipment and accessories from those called for in the spinning of natural fibres, the bobbins that are used in one place are considered suitable in the other. So the industry is saddled with these duties which further inflate the cost structure in manufacture and reduce the ability of its article to compete against the same sort of made up article which is imported from low cost countries. One large textile factory in Victoria has spent several years and quite an amount of money endeavouring to assist the local Australian manufacturer to improve his particular accessory, which was a silk loom pirn. The factory endeavoured to do all it could to get this Australian manufacture*, to improve his article, because it was not standing up to the strains, the humidity and the high speeds which were called for and which had to be used on the imported machine that the factory had, which was an Italian machine. Having spent this money, the factory altered its processes. It made suggestions such as: 'Let us spin it a different way. Let us make the sleeves backwards instead of frontwards, or something of that sort. Let us make the garment in two pieces instead of one.' It altered its whole process in trying to adapt the Australian pirn to its production; but it failed The Australian manufacturer said: 'It is hopeless. I cannot produce the sort of thing you want.' This company is now compelled to spend many thousands of dollars in duty to import from overseas the other article which will do the job. Some of these manufacturers of manmade fibre textiles are up against the same trouble in relation to special bobbins made for up-thrust spinning. Someone in the Department of Customs and Excise comes along and says: 'Look, Australia makes a suitable equivalent'. This is after a brief and, in my opinion, non-expert investigation. Recently, one such investigator interviewed two Australian manufacturers of silk loom pirns and both manufacturers certified in writing that the production of a particular pirn which is necessary in the trade was completely outside their economic capacity and they could not produce anything like it. But the investigating officer reported back to the Department that it was the general opinion in the trade that the Australian pirn was suitably equivalent. He seemed to overlook the facts to make his conclusion fit his preconceived idea. This pattern of what ls suitably equivalent and what is not, and the attitude adopted, runs right through the Department at the moment, because I have come up against it myself in several cases of a similar nature, but fortunately I have had reversed several decisions which had been held up by the Department for many months and in some instances years. One such case was related to pre-stressing strand. This is a wire cable used in prestressed concrete girders which are used for major bridge constructions. The Australian manufacturer in this case did not make a heavier cable than 0.5 of an inch and the specifications called for 0.6 of an inch. This may not seem to the layman to be a very great difference in the diameter of a cable, but if 0.5 is used much more concrete and a much bigger girder have to be used. This means that there will be more weight and extra transport costs. However, someone had said that 0.5 inch cable was suitably equivalent Fortunately, we were able to get this matter straightened out. it appears to me that a hard line has been adopted within the Department of Customs and Excise. No doubt that Department is troubled by the large number of applications which are clogging up the administrative machine. If one type of battery is made in Australia and someone wants to import another type of battery, the Department should not say as a matter of course that the Australian product is suitably equivalent. This has been happening in many cases. An Australian manufacturer of carburettors makes a carburettor for one make of car. Does this mean that people importing carburettors to fit other makes of cars must ipso facto pay duty? It is time that a more realistic approach was adopted. If the bottleneck is administrative and the Department needs more staff then something should be done about this. If the investigating officers have had adequate experience in these fields, well and good. But the Department should make sure that they have had experience in the fields in which they investigate. If they have had experience and it is simply a matter of carrying out a hard-line policy on what is suitably equivalent, then we should know about it. It is time that a more factual and realistic policy was introduced. I agree that Australian industries, when economic and efficient, should be protected, but it is difficult to justify the imposition of burdens on manufacturers whose activities have no detrimental effect on other manufacturers. Much has been said over the years about the operations of tariff protection. I suppose that we will hear a good deal more about the definition of 'economic and efficient' in the tariff field. As to the bylaws much remains to be said on the definition of 'suitable equivalent'. Expressions of anger have come to me from quite a number of people in secondary industry because of their difficulties in importing articles without the payment of duty, or because they have been compelled to pay duty under by-law as an Australian manufacturer produces a similar article. The procedure has got to the stage where it is clogging up the efficient production of many of our secondary industries. It is time that the whole matter of tariffs was investigated and put in order. {: #debate-32-s16 .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL:
Mallee -- We are dealing with the estimates of the Department of Customs and Excise, the Department of Primary Industry and the Department of Trade and Industry. The Minister for Trade and Industry **(Mr McEwen)** is the Leader of the Australian Country Party. In his capacity as Minister for Trade and Industry he has done much to promote sales of our exports. One of his best moves was to negotiate the Japanese Trade Agreement. New members of the Parliamentary Labor Party should realise that every Labor member who was in this House at the time of consideration of ratification of the Agreement voted against it. lt is on record in Hansard that Labor is pledged to rescind the Agreement should it get into office. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: -- That is absolute rubbish. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL: -- It is recorded in Hansard that a leading member of the Labor Party said that Labor will rescind the Agreement. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: -- Who said it? {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL: -- From memory I think it was **Dr Evatt,** but I am subject to correction on that. Anyway, he was a leading member of the Labor Party. Every Labor member in the House at that time opposed ratification of the Agreement. In negotiating the Japanese Trade Agreement, in addition to the many other steps **Mr McEwen** has taken for the benefit of Australia, he has given great service to this country. Because the hour is late, I wish to pay only a brief tribute to **Mr G.** V. Lawrence, organising secretary of the Murray Valley Development League, an organisation devoted to developing the fertile Murray Valley. Primary production is prolific in the Murray Valley. I wish to draw the attention of honourable members to two publications placed on the market by the Murray Valley Development League. The first is a reference handbook which sets out details of primary industries operating in the Valley, including canned and dried fruits, citrus fruits, dairying, beef cattle, wool, fat lambs and so on. The Murray Valley Development League has pledged itself to work for a million people living in that area. I believe that it is one of the great organisations of Australia. It operates on both sides of Australia's greatest waterway, the Murray River, and it operates in three States, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. Very briefly I want to pay tribute to the organising secretary of the Murray Valley Development League, who has occupied that position for about 23 years. He is a man dedicated to obtaining greater production in the Valley, greater decentralisation to it and greater population there. Proposed expenditures agreed to. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 902 {:#debate-33} ### ADJOURNMENT {:#subdebate-33-0} #### Health of Aboriginal Children - Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation Motion (by **Mr Erwin)** proposed: >That the House do now adjourn. {: #subdebate-33-0-s0 .speaker-KDP} ##### Dr EVERINGHAM:
Capricornia -- I wish to mention briefly a matter concerning the health of Aboriginal children. In Queensland official research has been done over the past few years which has completely vindicated statements made by **Dr Kalokerinos** of Collarenebri and myself to the effect that there is a nutritional deficiency in Aboriginal children. Aboriginal children in their second year of life have a death rate twenty-eight times that of the average Australian. Very interesting findings have been brought forward from this research. One is that in their second year of life these children have virtually no weight gain. Their average weight is well below normal during this period, and it takes several years to pick up again and reach normal. By feeding them with four times the recommended treatment dose for vitamin C deficiency, their weight gain have increased from 1 oz a month, which is the weight gain on SO milligrams of vitamin C daily, up to 18 oz a month on 200 milligrams daily. In other words, through the use of four times the recommended treatment dose for scurvy in children they have gained far more than the normal rate of weight gain for children of their age. I must repeat that this completely vindicates the clinical impressions independently arrived at, without the benefit of research figures, by **Dr Kalokerinos.** The reason why I bring it up at this late stage before the House is that I am very concerned that this research has not been published and will not be published until the month of October, the month when the Federal election will be held. I do not know that there is any ulterior motive in this. After all, this matter has been brought to the notice of at least a few medical men in Queensland, and I must assume therefore that steps are being taken to notify all doctors who may be able to make use of this information. But why is it that only a few doctors in a few centres are being told these things and the findings are not to be published in the Medical Journal of Australia until October? I am not poking an accusing finger at anybody but a suspicion remains in my mind that there was some political motivation. The Queensland department knows of this research. The Minister-in-Charge of Aboriginal Affairs **(Mr Wentworth)** also knows of it and has taken immediate steps to do something about it He has now provided supplementary feeding to pre-school children in Aboriginal settlements. It is supervised feeding. I commend him for this emergency action but of course this is a paternalistic approach to the problem. It is not the approach I appealed for months ago in this Parliament. I appealed for a high pressure programme of educating these people. I know it is very difficult to get the right sort of people to work in these places and that such a programme will take time. I have no doubt that the Minister is well aware of this and will act accordingly. On the other hand I do not think the Minister has really absorbed what I suggested when I last spoke on this subject. At that time I recommended the use of colour films and television films and all sorts of other measures to educate these people who are culturally deprived and unable to absorb these lessons. However, they are capable of absorbing the needs of their children. They know what makes a child stop crying and there is an inbuilt instinct in mothers, even if they cannot read or write, to give a child the thing that makes it happy. Unfortunately, in this machine-made culture of ours which we have foisted onto these gentle people, the Australian Aboriginals, we have made no allowance for this instinct and for the fact that children are kept quiet by something sweet. We have made no allowance for the fact that the majority of sweet products that we make freely available to them at mission stores, settlement stores and other places, and which are very vividly portrayed in advertisements on television and in colour films, are denatured foods. They have no vitamin C whereas in nature there is practically no sweet food which is not very rich in vitamin C. Therefore I appeal again to the Minister to use a less paternalistic and less stop-gap method of educating these people. They can be educated. It has been done to an extent by a nursing sister in Western Australia. She has made three annual reports on many of the cultural problems of these people. She painstakingly taught them to be proud of vegetable gardens. This was not easy and was not done overnight because they have no agricultural heritage at all. They are without a culture that depends upon cultivating plants. To do this required painstaking work and several seasons. These people managed to do this and were able to supplement their diets in a very effective way. It can be done. This woman was a trained nursing sister but she was certainly not a trained agriculturist One does not necessarily require technical knowledge to be a good farmer or to teach people farming; all it requires is goodwill, interest and the basic knowledge that most parents have to do the right thing by their children. The will is there and the wish is there. Aboriginal parents are not neglectful by nature. The impression gained from newspaper reports of the recent case in Queensland is that **Dr Kalokerinos** was ridiculed and discredited. Yet at that very time the knowledge was in the hands of the Queensland Government which provided the prosecutor, the public defender and the judge. The knowledge was in the hands of the Queensland authorities to vindicate **Dr Kalokerinos** and to say: 'You clinical impressions were right. There is a nutritional deficiency and Vitamin C does play a vital part in it. We have proved that with figures'. **Dr Kalokerinos** saved children from fatal infections by giving them massive doses of vitamin C. Other children are now being saved by the Queensland authorities who are using knowledge which, I submit, must be made public now, not 2 months from now. {:#subdebate-33-1} #### Friday, 29 August 1969 {: #subdebate-33-1-s0 .speaker-JVO} ##### Mr MUNRO:
Monaro · Eden -- -I want to congratulate the Minister for National Development **(Mr Fairbairn)** and the Government on the decision announced today concerning the establishment of a Snowy Mountains engineering corporation. This decision ensures the future of the Snowy Mountains team. The main point to realise is that this decision will enable the future corporation to do everything that the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority has done in the past. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: -- That is not right. {: .speaker-JVO} ##### Mr MUNRO: -- This is right. If the honourable member for Dawson listens, he will hear why it is right. While the future corporation will not be able to employ the day labour used by the Snowy Mountains Authority for minor ancillary works, these could have been done by minor contracts and sub-contracts, and in the future it could be done in this way. So the way in which this decision will work will enable the corporation to carry out all the tasks which the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority has carried out in the past, is carrying out now and has in the pipeline for the immediate and distant future. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: -- Where is the money coming from? {: .speaker-JVO} ##### Mr MUNRO: -- I will tell the honourable member about that shortly, because it rather fits into the context of what I have to say. The most significant sentence in the Minister's announcement today was: >The functions it may undertake within Australia will be work of an investigatory, design and advisory nature including supervision of contracts in the engineering field. This means that the corporation will be able to follow its designs through all construction phases, thus ensuring the essential feedback between practical work in the field and the designers. Personally, this has been my own greatest single political involvement while I have been the member for EdenMonaro. The Snowy Mountains Authority and the people of Cooma will be thrilled to know that the Snowy Mountains team will be able to carry on in a major role in future developments within Australia. Outside of Australia the corporation will be virtually unrestricted, except for the overriding provisions requiring the Minister's consent to projects and total staff numbers. The scope of the Snowy Mountains Authority's involvement in projects other than the Snowy Mountains Scheme - and I think this is the point about which the honourable member for Dawson was inquiring - can be gauged from the present list of more than thirty-six projects involving an estimated total Snowy Mountains Authority expenditure of more than $57m, and it will be considerably more than that. The total estimated value of these projects is well in excess of $700m. With the concurrence of honourable members, J incorporate in Hansard a list of these projects. The staff involved in the Snowy Mountains Authority and the Snowy Mountains scheme is not suddenly melting away. During last financial year there were additional staff members transferred from the Snowy Mountains Authority to the Snowy Mountains Council which will have the job of running the completed scheme, and is already progressively taking over that operation. The total number of staff for both organisation at 1st July 1968 was 1,296, and at 30th June 1969 it was 1,273 - a decrease of 23, which compares with a decrease of 144 in the previous financial year. About sixty of these people have actually left. These were mostly administrative personnel associated with the administration of those regions of construction of the Snowy Mountains scheme that are closing down as sections of the scheme are completed. I am advised that all of these have found satisfactory employment. I have a table giving staff numbers at the beginning and the end of the year ended June 1968 and staff numbers at the beginning and the end of the year ended June 1969. With the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate the table in Hansard. Staff numbers at the beginning and end of the year ended June 1968 were: Staff numbers at the beginning and end of tha year ended June 1969 were: Another figure that should be looked at in this context is the total Commonwealth expenditure on water conservation in this financial year. This is some $56,547,000. The figure includes expenditure on the Snowy Mountains scheme that is over $2m more than the amount provided last year. Who will benefit from the activities of this corporation? The beneficiaries will be the people of Australia and, outside Australia, primarily the peoples of South East Asian countries. The Commonwealth Government will benefit from the expert advice and practical experience of this corporation. Private consultant engineering organisations throughout Australia will benefit through consultation and the amplification of their own activities which will be made possible by being able to operate in consultation with the Snowy Mountains corporation. This will in fact add to their operations significantly and will mean that they will be able to compete and tender for contracts. Where they lack some skills they will be able to obtain this additional expertise from the Snowy Mountains corporation rather than seek the services of an overseas consultant. This will not be the invariable case but will often apply. I repeat and emphasise that this decision will enable the corporation to carry out all the tasks it has carried out so successfully in the past. This is the best measure of its capacity for the future. I am particularly happy to know that the headquarters of the corporation will continue to be where it is now - in Cooma. I know the pressures that opposed this decision. I believe that these pressures came from people who were shortsighted in their vision and understanding of how the corporation will act to their benefit as well as to the benefit of all Australians. I congratulate the Government on having reached a courageous and imaginative conclusion to what has been a hard fought argument I congratulate the Minister because I know that he has fought for this and has never looked like giving up the fight although there have been times when people did not realise that he was fighting so hard. The successful conclusion to these arrangements has been something for which the Minister has never ceased to battle. I am certain that the Snowy Mountains team will more than justify the confidence placed in them by the Australian Government in coming to this historic decision. Question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 12.9 a.m. (Friday) until Tuesday, 9 September at 2 p.m. {: .page-start } page 911 {:#debate-34} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS UPON NOTICE The following answer to questions upon notice were circulated: {:#subdebate-34-0} #### Minerals: Export Income {: #subdebate-34-0-s0 .speaker-KVM} ##### Mr Street: asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice: (Question No. 1486) How much of the $1,285 million, which minerals (excluding local crude oil production) are expected to earn in export income in 1973-74, will be represented by dividends and/or interest on overseas capital. {: #subdebate-34-0-s1 .speaker-KDT} ##### Mr Fairbairn:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >The proportion of the $1,285 million estimated income from mineral exports in 1973-74 which will be represented by dividends and/or interest on overseas capital would depend on both the level of overseas investment in the mineral industry at that time and the profitability of individual firms engaged in mining and processing of mineral products. > >It is not possible to formulate an estimate of the future profitability of each firm involved and I regret that it is accordingly not possible to make any realistic estimate of the proportion of the estimated export income in 1973-74 which will be represented by dividends and/or interest on overseas capital. > >The latest statistics available indicate that income payable overseas on direct investment by companies in the Australian mineral industry, whether employed in the production of minerals for export or for Australian consumption, amounted to $41 million in 1967-68. During that year the total value of output of the industry is estimated at $1,027 million, while the value of exports of minerals and mineral products (excluding refined petroleum products) amounted to $517 million. > >Details of income payable overseas on portfolio investment and institutional loans are not available on an industry basis. {:#subdebate-34-1} #### Migration Act (Question No. 1598) {: #subdebate-34-1-s0 .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr Hayden: asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Will he consider taking steps to amend the Migration Act so that any refusal by him of an entry permit or application for naturalisation would be accompanied by an explanation of such refusal which would be challengeable in the courts. {: #subdebate-34-1-s1 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden:
Minister for Immigration · BRUCE, VICTORIA · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Under the Migration Act and the Citizenship Act, the grant of an entry permit or of citizenship is not a right but is a matter of Ministerial discretion in the exercise of which many considerations can have a bearing. It is long-standing policy that reasons should not be given concerning the refusal of application for entry to Australia. Applications for citizenship may be deferred for want of knowledge of English or of the rights and privileges of citizenship on the part of applicants or because they do not meet residence requirements at the time of application. These reasons for deferment are notified to the applicants, but other reasons for refusal or deferment are not given. The question of an appeals tribunal has previously been considered by the Government but not adopted. No changes in the present arrangements are contemplated. {:#subdebate-34-2} #### Health Ministers Conference (Question No. 1648) {: #subdebate-34-2-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for Health, upon notice: >What requests or suggestions were made at the meeting of Commonwealth and State Health Ministers in Adelaide in June for legislative or administrative action by (a) the Commonwealth, (b) the Territories and (c) the States. {: #subdebate-34-2-s1 .speaker-KFH} ##### Dr Forbes:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >The Ministers who attended tin's Conference agreed that public statements on discussions at the Conference should be limited to the following matters: > >Cigarette Smoking > >Synthetic Detergents ' > >The Nimmo Report > >The Mentally ill and Intellectually Handicapped > >I will forward the honourable member copies of the statements issued on these matters. Vietnam: Minefield in Phuoc Tuy Province (Question No. 1739) {: #subdebate-34-2-s2 .speaker-JO8} ##### Mr Barnard:
BASS, TASMANIA asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. When was the construction of the minefield across Phuoc Tuy province begun. 1. When was it completed. 2. How long Is the minefield. 3. How deep is it. 4. How many yards of wire were laid in the perimeter of the field. 5. What type of mines were laid. 6. What Australian units were deployed in laying the field. 7. How many men were {: type="a" start="a"} 0. killed and 1. wounded. 8. What arrangements were made with the army of South Vietnam to patrol the minefield. 9. Were these arrangements ever carried out. <11) What {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Australian, 1. South Vietnamese and 2. Other units have ever patrolled the minefield. 10. What aerial surveillance units have patrolled the minefield. 11. What units are now patrolling the minefield. 12. How many Viet Cong corridors across the minefield have been detected. 13. How many mines have been removed from the minefield by the Viet Cong. 14. Have sections of the minefield been destroyed by the Australian Task Force; if so, by what units. 15. What methods have been used in the destruction of these sections of the minefield. 16. Is it planned to destroy the whole minefield and its perimeter. 17. What was the cost of laying the minefield. 18. What has been the cost of maintaining it. 19. What is the estimated cost of destroying it. {: #subdebate-34-2-s3 .speaker-KIM} ##### Mr Lynch:
Minister for the Army · FLINDERS, VICTORIA · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The minefield construction commenced in March 1967. In explanation the minefield is part of a barrier that runs generally south from a dominating feature known as the Horseshoe along the east of Dat Do and the populated area some 10,000 metres to Long Phuoc Hai. In addition to the minefield, this barrier comprises 4 to 5 posts and multiple wire fences. 1. The system was completed in May 1967. 2. Approximately 6,000 metres of the system contain mines. 3. The minefield varies from 70 metres to 100 metres in depth. 4. The perimeter fence totals approximately 21,000 metres, but (he actual amount of wire used is not known. 5. United States M16 anti-personnel mines, of two types, the M16 Al and the M16 E3. 6. 1st Field Squadron Royal Australian Engineers. 7. 4 killed, 1 died of wounds, 6 wounded. 8. The Province Chief and the Task Force Commander mutually agreed on the following arrangements for the protection of the minefield: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. The basic protective unit was the Australian company group at the Horseshoe near Dat Do. This had the task of providing artillery cover for the local Vietnamese posts, patrolling the eastern side of the fence, providing a base for operaations further to the east and keeping close liaison with the Vietnamese forces and authorities. 1. Three new platoon posts were established between Dat Do and Phuoc Hai and two company posts between Dat Do and Xuyen Moe. These were to do local patrolling but mainly cover and control the three lanes and check points. 2. The ARVN battalion at Dat Do was to conduct mobile operations, back up the RF/PF posts and patrol the western side of (he fence. 9. Yes. The Task Force Commander of the time has reported that he and the Province Chief agreed that to make the plan work close personal supervision by each would be necessary. He further reported that on the rare occasions when he had cause for complaint the Province Chief had acted quickly and effectively. It must be recognised however that no system of protection of a minefield could guarantee complete day and night protection for an extensive minefield in varied terrain against a fanatical enemy prepared to accept the risks involved in removing mines. Small VC minelifting parties did in fact gain access to the minefield but information from enemy sources indicates that the VC sustained at least 30 fatal casualties in removing mines from the Dat Do minefield. {: type="1" start="11"} 0. The minefield has been patrolled by many units. These are units such as the Australian Company at the Horseshoe, elements of an ARVN Battalion, and Vietnamese Regional Forces and Provincial Forces located in the area. The pattern of protection has been necessarily changed by the clearance operation, requiring particular attention to certain areas. In addition, as part of our pacification programme, elements of both Australian and ARVN battalions have been operat. ing in close proximity to the minefield since early May of this year and thus have contributed to the protection of the minefield. 1. Surveillance is included' in the tasks of all aircraft flying in the area and specific checks by air were also ordered. First and last light visual reconnaissance of the minefield has been carried out in recent months. 2. Vietnamese Regional and Popular Forces some of which have small Australian attachments. In addition elements of both Australian and ARVN battalions have been operating near the minefield since early May 1969 as part of the pacification programme. 3. No record of the number of VC corridors has been maintained. Until clearance operation* commenced recently these corridors were closed as soon as detected. 4. The enemy is known to have removed some mines. The actual number lifted cannot be determined due to the rough nature of the groundin which they were buried. M16 mines in enemy hands would have come from a number of sources, as this mine is the one commonly used by all forces including local Vietnamese security forces throughout Vietnam. la addition the VC has H> own supply of mines both from outside communist sources and from local manufacture. (16)Clearance of mined areas is now in progress under the supervision of 1 Field Squadron, Royal Australian Engineers with assistance from Infantry and Cavalry. Substantial progress has already been made and nearly half of the total length has already been cleared. Dependent upon enemy counter measures, and if the current rate of clearance can be maintained, the main task should be completed about the end of September. This does not mean that all mines will have been destroyed. It will not be possible to get into some small parts of the atea until the dry season. In addition there are some other areas where the mines have been buried by shifting sand so that it is not possible to guarantee that every one will be destroyed under the current programme. 5. Both manual and mechanical methods have been used. In April 1968, demolition mats were dragged behind tanks stripped of all exterior fittings. Some mines were exploded but unacceptable damage was caused to the tanks. In May 1968, another method was introduced, using a boom both in front and behind a tank, from which heavy chains were dragged. However the damage to the tank continued to be too great. Manual clearance using mine detectors and separate extraction was also employed but apart from being slow this method was considered to expose Australian troops to excessive risk. A new idea was introduced recently, using heavy rubber tyres mounted on axles offset from Armoured Personnel Carriers. This method has proved successful, and is now in sustained use. Substantial progress is being made. {: type="1" start="18"} 0. It is planned to destroy all the mines within the minefield. It will not be possible to get into some small parts of the areas until the dry season. No decision on the removal of the perimeter fence has yet been made. This decision will be made in consultation with the Province Chief in due course. 1. No direct labour costs were incurred in laying the minefield as the work was carried out by members of the Task Force as part of their normal operational role, no additional labour being required. So far as materials are concerned, the mines were made available from United States Ammunition Dumps for general operational use. No specific charge was made for the mines used at Dat Do, as an assessed figure is calculated for all ammunition as a basis for adjustment with the United States. Some part of the pickets and wire also came from United States depots, and precise costs are not known for similar reasons. 2. The task of maintaining the minefield, repairing fences, etc.. has been carried out by Australian and Vietnamese forces as part of their normal operational role and no special costs were therefore incurred. 3. Apart from a small amount of fuel being used by the Armoured Personnel Carriers, and the cost of the improvised roller attachment welded to these vehicles, there is no special cost associated with clearing the minefield, as the work is being performed by Task Force personnel as part of their operational role. The exact cost of the roller attachment is not known but would be very small, as is involves only short lengths of steel pipe, a few pieces of steel plate, and unserviceable truck tyres. {:#subdebate-34-3} #### Vietnam: Australian Mine Detection Units (Question No. 1740) {: #subdebate-34-3-s0 .speaker-JO8} ##### Mr Barnard: asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What specialised units of the Australian Army are trained and employed in the detection of mines in Vietnam. 1. How much training are these units given in {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Australia 1. Vietnam before starting operations. 2. Are infantrymen given training in mine detection. 3. If so, how much training are they given in {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Australia and 1. Vietnam. {: #subdebate-34-3-s1 .speaker-KIM} ##### Mr Lynch:
LP -- The answers to the specific questions are as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1st Field Squadron Royal Australian Engineers. Elements of other Arms and Service Units which may come into contact with mines also receive training in mine detection. For example, Assault Pioneer platoons in infantry battalions and crews of armoured vehicles. 1. Specialised mine warfare tasks are part of the role of the field engineers who receive their corps training at the School of Military Engineering. This training includes one week on all aspect of mine warfare. This period of training is the same as that given during World War II and the Korean War and has been found adequate. It is equal in amount to that given to field engineers in the British Army and more than that given in the United States Army. Special training is given to selected personnel who are then made available to units as mine warfare instructors to assist in the training and supervision of unit personnel. These courses total 124 periods and attendance of a certain proportion ot officers and NCOs from specified units prior to operational service is compulsory. On arriving in Vietnam members of the combat arms are given specialised in-theatre training on mine warfare. This is to up-date knowledge on enemy mines, how and where he uses them, and how he marks them, together with such matters as the action required on a mine incident occurring. In addition, further specialist training to a total of 12 hours is given to engineers and infantry assault pioneers on such aspects as the deliberate search and neutralisation of mines and booby traps. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. Yes. All soldiers posted to Vietnam are given the training in mine warfare appropriate to tha particular role they are required to fulfil. 1. The basic infantry man is given instruction during bis corps training and when posted to his unit, receives follow up training under unit arrangements in the use, detection and the clearance of mines. All soldiers proceeding to Vietnam complete the Battle Efficiency Course at the Jungle Training Centre, Canungra where a section of the course is devoted to enemy mines and booby traps. Within the infantry unit, assault pioneers are given wider training in all aspects of mine warfare at the Infantry Centre. In addition to the specialised in-theatre training on mine warfare given to members of combat arms on arriving in Vietnam, and the further specialised training totalling twelve hours given to engineers and infantry assault pioneers, refresher in-theatre courses in mine warfare are held regularly in Vietnam for all combat troops. In general it should be added that training in mine warfare like all Army training methods, is under continuous review in the light of operational experience and new developments. In addition to this normal review the Engineer-in-Chief, Brigadier Flint, visited Vietnam recently to examine all aspects of mine warfare including training in particular and has reported that he is satisfied that our mine warfare training is well balanced and effective. Vietnam: Civilians Employed by Australian {:#subdebate-34-4} #### Task Force (Question No. 1741) {: #subdebate-34-4-s0 .speaker-JO8} ##### Mr Barnard: asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many Vietnamese civilians are employed by the Australian Task Force. 1. What type of work do they do. 2. How many Vietnamese civilians does the Logistics Support Unit have at Vung Tau. 3. What type of work do they do. 4. Does the Army plan to increase the employment of Vietnamese civilians. 5. How many members of the Australian Task Force employ Vietnamese. {: #subdebate-34-4-s1 .speaker-KIM} ##### Mr Lynch:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. There are no Vietnamese civilians employed by 1st Australian Task Force. However at Headquarters, Australian Force Vietnam, 40 civilians are employed. 1. The employment categories are typist, clerical assistant, domestic and labourer. 2. The Australian Logistic Support Group employs a total of 508 civilians. 3. Civilians in the Australian Logistic Support Group are employed as labourers, cleaners, gardeners, waitresses, cooks, typists, cooks helpers, storemen and hygiene dutymen. 4. No. 5. No members of Australian Force Vietnam employ Vietnamese except in billets. Members in billets contribute to the cost of employing Vietnamese for cleaning laundry and concessionaire duties. 'Vietnamese are also employed as bar and snack bar attendants in 'closed clubs' which are the equivalent to messes. Such Vietnamese are paid out of club funds usually built up from bar profits. {:#subdebate-34-5} #### Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (Question No. 1747) {: #subdebate-34-5-s0 .speaker-KUX} ##### Mr Stewart: asked the Minister for Educa tion and Science, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is he able to say whether grave dissatisfaction exists within the ranks of CSIRO professional officers on the question of pay increases to (hem. 1. Have several approaches been made to him on this matter by the CSIRO Officers' Association. 2. Has he declined most of the requests; if so, why. {: #subdebate-34-5-s1 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr Malcolm Fraser:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. It is a fact that the professional scientific staff are at present expressing considerable dissatisfaction with the current salary levels apply to CSIRO. 1. The CSIRO Officers' Association wrote to me on the 15th April 1969, petitioning me to arrange for the Executive of CSIRO and the Public Service Board to grant an appropriate interim salary increase pending the finalisation of the current salary claims, some of which were partheard. The Association's correspondence also raised the question of alternative means of salary fixation for CSIRO Professional staff. I met representatives of the Association on 22nd May 1969, and there has been one further exchange of correspondence. 2. The Association asked me to short circuit the normal process of arbitration. I have no power or wish to do this. It should be noted that I have no executive responsibility in the area of wage fixation in CSIRO or elsewhere. I have been regularly in contact with the Executive of CSIRO who are constantly reviewing the salary situation and who have also been involved in discussions with the Public Service Board as required by Section 22(1) and 23(4) of the Science and Industry Research Act 1949-68. It is also necessary to indicate that interim salary adjustments are not granted as a matter of policy. The increases in recent months granted to occupational categories such as Third Division clerical and administrative staff, postal workers, and professional scientists (i.e. chemists, geologists and other designations for which a science degree is required) represent firm conclusions by the Public Service Board as to the rates which are justified following pay reviews carried out by the Board of rates payable elsewhere in the community. In fact, the increases granted restore the salary relationship ofthe groups affected to their counterparts outside the service. These reviews have been made in accordance with the established policy of reviewing separately the rates of pay for individual employment groups. They neither create a new situation as to principle nor constitute 'interim' adjustments. Additionally in respect of the research scientist area in CSIRO the Executive, the Public Service Board and the CSIRO Officers' Association agreed in 1968 that the only satisfactory way to resolve the question of the salary relationship of research scientists in CSIRO to other categories of employment either in the Commonwealth sector or in the community in general was by recourse to the Arbitrator. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (Question No. 1749) {: #subdebate-34-5-s2 .speaker-KUX} ##### Mr Stewart: asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has the CSIRO Officers Association been negotiating with him and the Executive of the CSIRO for salary increases for professional officers since March 1965. 1. Have various memorials on behalf of professional officers been lodged with the Public Service Arbitrator from April 1966. 2. Did the first hearing of some of the claims take place on 2 December 1968. 3. Is it anticipated that a decision cannot be reached on any of the claims before 1970. 4. Will he intervene to expedite a decision or take action to grant interim increases pending the decision of the Arbitrator. {: #subdebate-34-5-s3 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr Malcolm Fraser:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. In so far as the Executive of CSIRO is concerned the answer is yes. The answer to part (2) of question No. 1747 covers the situation regarding negotiations with me. 1. The date of filing of the various CSIRO salary claims are as under - Chief of Division, Chief Research Scientist - 20 April 1966. Research Scientists (all grades) - 4 December 1967. Experimental Officer (all grades)- 4 December 1967. Scientific Service Officer (all grades) - 4 December 1967. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. The public hearing of the claims for Chiefs of Division, Chief Research Scientists and Research Scientists effectively commenced on 2 December 1968. However, there had been inspections of CSIRO laboratories on and from 15 November 1968, 1. The case referred to in (3) above is scheduled to conclude on 14 November 1969. The date of announcement of a decision is a matter for the Deputy Public Service Arbitrator. In respect of the other CSIRO claims there has been agreement between all of the parties that these should be deferred until appropriate guidelines are available from other arbitral proceedings. 2. (a) It would be improper for me to attempt to intervene to expedite a decision; (b) As to interim increases, see the answer to part (3) of question 1747. {:#subdebate-34-6} #### National Service: School Teachers (Question No. 1750) {: #subdebate-34-6-s0 .speaker-1V4} ##### Dr J F Cairns:
YARRA, VICTORIA · ALP ns asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many teachers were in the January 1969 national service intake. 1. How many of them were allocated for education duties. 2. How long will the teachers who are not allocated to education duties be employed in other duties. 3. What will be the cost of training the teachers in the January 1969 intake who are (a) allocated to education duties and (b) employed on other duties. {: #subdebate-34-6-s1 .speaker-KIM} ##### Mr Lynch:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. One hundred and thirty-one national servicemen in the January 1969 intake held formal teaching qualifications. 1. Forty-four were allocated for education duties. 2. Those not allocated for education duties may expect to be employed on other duties in accordance with military requirements. From the date of completing training in the corps to which they are allocated, they will be employed on those duties for approximately 18 months. 3. The Army does not train national servicemen in the teaching profession. Teachers who are called up for national service training undergo basic training and corps training as do any other national servicemen. The national serviceman undertakes basic training during the first 10 weeks of his service at an estimated cost of $1,150 including his pay allowances. Qualified teachers who are called up for national service and are allotted to the Army Education Corps because of their professional qualifications would not require Corps training in the same sense as those allotted to most other Corps. However, because they are liable for service anywhere it is desirable that they acquire some military skill. For this reason national servicemen allocated to the Education Corps undertake Infantry Corps training of 10 weeks duration. Therefore the total training cost of national servicemen allocated to the Education Corps is the same as the cost of training similarly qualified national servicemen allocated to infantry and, depending on variations in the length of courses, would approximate the cost of training in a number of other corps. Sinking of 'Voyager': Compensation Claims and Common Law Suits (Question No. 1762) {: #subdebate-34-6-s2 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for the Navy, upon notice: >What has been the (a) number and (b) amount of payments and what is the number of outstanding claims under (i) the Commonwealth Employees' Compensation Act and (ii) common law suits arising from the loss of the. 'Voyager'. {: #subdebate-34-6-s3 .speaker-009MM} ##### Mr Kelly:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="a" start="i"} 0. Commonwealth Employees' Compensation Act- 1. Number of payments - 62 2. Amount of payments- $228,863.91 3. Number of outstanding claims - 3 Note- The three outstanding claims were made by survivors of the collision. Two were received recently and are being processed. The third claim, received in May 1966 from a former member, cannot be finalised because his present whereabouts are not known. {: type="i" start="ii"} 0. Common law suits - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Number of payments - 42 1. Amount of payments- $618,658.87 2. Number of outstanding claims - NIL. {:#subdebate-34-7} #### Transport of Dangerous Goods (Question No. 1711) {: #subdebate-34-7-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has the Australian Dangerous Goods Transport Committee completed the model code relating to the classification, labelling and transport of dangerous goods within Australia. 1. If so, when was the code completed and what action has been taken on it. {: #subdebate-34-7-s1 .speaker-5E4} ##### Mr Sinclair:
Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Industry · NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. and (2) No. However the first four sections of the draft model code covering classification, labelling and listing of some fifteen hundred items of dangerous goods and their hazardous properties have been completed. These sections, in the form of document No. 1052 printed by the Standards Association of Australia, have been circulated to industry and other interested Bodies for public review. Many constructive comments have been received and the sections amended accordingly. The remaining sections dealing with packaging details, compatabilities, stowage requirements, vehicle placarding and transport procedures' 'are in draft form. These are now under final review by members of the Committee, assisted by representatives from the road transport and chemical industries. I am hopeful that the code will be ready for presentation to the Australian Transport Advisory Council next year, when Council Members will decide what further action should be taken. {:#subdebate-34-8} #### Australian Array: Recruiting (Question No. 1806) {: #subdebate-34-8-s0 .speaker-JO8} ##### Mr Barnard: asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many recruits joined the Army for the first time in each of the last 5 years. 1. What were the enlistments from each State, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory in each of those years. 2. What was the enlistment in each State and Territory as a percentage of total Commonwealth enlistment in each year. 3. For each State and Territory, how many enlistment were, and what percentage of the enlistments was, from (a) metropolitan and (b) country areas. {: #subdebate-34-8-s1 .speaker-KIM} ##### Mr Lynch:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: Note: Separate figures are not maintained for Australian Capital Territory. These figures are of male general enlistments and exclude Women's Services, Apprentices, Officer Cadets, national servicemen who transfer to the Australian Regular Army and officers on direct appointment. {: type="1" start="4"} 0. Information relating to area of residence is not maintained. In any event, many recruits do not necessarily enlist in their home state or area but through Combined Service Recruiting Centres, and their address on enlistment may not be a true indication of their residential origin. {:#subdebate-34-9} #### Vietnam: Australian Casualties . (Question No. 1828) {: #subdebate-34-9-s0 .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice: >How many casualties in all categories have been suffered to date by (a) national service trainees and (b) the Regular Army in Vietnam. {: #subdebate-34-9-s1 .speaker-KIM} ##### Mr Lynch:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >As at 22nd August 1969 (a) National servicemen > >Battle casualties Non-battle casualties (b) Australian Regular Army > >Battle casualties Non-battle casualties > >Fatal Non-fatal 140 668 7 183 members > >Fatal Non-fatal 170 944 24 324 {:#subdebate-34-10} #### War Pensions: Relationship to Average Wages (Question No. 1767) {: #subdebate-34-10-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice: >What percentage of average weekly earnings did the (a) special (T.P.I.) rate pension and (b) general (100% per cent) rate pension represent in the June quarters of 1968 and 1969 (Hansard, 20th September 1967, page 1175). {: #subdebate-34-10-s1 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
Minister for Civil Aviation · DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · LP -- The Minister for Repatriation has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question: T.P.I. General (100%) June 1968 .. 46.28% 18.21% June 1969 . . 46.92% 16.81% {:#subdebate-34-11} #### Repatriation Benefits (Question No. 1638) {: #subdebate-34-11-s0 .speaker-KXI} ##### Mr Webb:
STIRLING, WESTERN AUSTRALIA asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice: >Will the Minister take steps to amend the Repatriation Act to provide that all national servicemen become eligible for repatriation benefits as from the date of their enlistment. {: #subdebate-34-11-s1 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
LP -- The Minister for Repatriation has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question: >Repatriation legislation traditionally is applicable to war service. The present legislation providing repatriation cover for service in war-like operations applies equally to national servicemen and to other members of the regular forces. {:#subdebate-34-12} #### Repatriation: Free Hospital Treatment (Question No. 1636) {: #subdebate-34-12-s0 .speaker-KXI} ##### Mr Webb: asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice: >Will the Minister take steps to provide free hospital treatment for all Boer War and World War I returned servicemen. {: #subdebate-34-12-s1 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
LP -- The Minister for Repatriation has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question: >Repatriation medical and hospital treatment is already provided for all war-caused disabilities; and, for disabilities which are not war-caused, it is available to those who receive the 100% General Rate pension or higher, to service pensioners and to nurses of the 1914-18 War. This is a reasonable provision. {:#subdebate-34-13} #### Repatriation: Funeral Grant (Question No. 1634) {: #subdebate-34-13-s0 .speaker-KXI} ##### Mr Webb: asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice: >Will the Minister take steps to provide an increase in the repatriation funeral grant to at least $100. {: #subdebate-34-13-s1 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
LP -- The Minister for Repatriation has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question: >This type of request is normally considered in the Budget context. The Government's Budget decisions for the financial year 1969-70, which provide significant advances in repatriation pensions and allowances, have already been announced in the Parliament. Repatriation: Benefits for Cancer Sufferers (Question No. 1633) **Mr Webb** asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice: >As it is difficult to prove that cancer is warcaused, will the Minister take steps to ensure that all servicemen who suffer from this disease are granted full entitlement to repatriation and war pension benefits. {: #subdebate-34-13-s2 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
LP -- The Minister for Repatriation has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question: >Ex-servicemen are not required to prove that cancer (or any other disability) is war-caused. The repatriation legislation- Section- 47 of the Repatriation Act - specifically relieves them of that obligation. The Government's view is that the only satisfactory approach is to look at the circumstances of each individual claim in the light of the evidence, and of the special provisions of section 47 relating to the onus of proof and the benefit of the doubt. This is in fact done and many cases of cancer are accepted. {:#subdebate-34-14} #### Repatriation: Medical Benefits (Question No. 1632) {: #subdebate-34-14-s0 .speaker-KXI} ##### Mr Webb: asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice: >Will the Minister take steps to grant free medical benefits to the wives of totally and permanently incapacitated soldiers. {: #subdebate-34-14-s1 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
LP -- The Minister for Repatriation has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question: >Consideration has been given on a number of occasions to the provision of free medical treatment for the wives of T.P.I, pensioners and the matter has been debated in the Parliament: However, no Government has found it practicable to grant the concession, priority being given to compensation and treatment services for ex-servicemen themselves. Repatriation: Allowances for Student Children (Question No. 1635) **Mr Webb** asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice: >Will the Minister take steps to provide for the payment of repatriation dependants' allowance for student children until they have completed their tertiary education. {: #subdebate-34-14-s2 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
LP -- The Minister for Repatriation has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question: >This is a matter of policy. The honourable member will be aware of the substantial assistance already given under the Soldiers' Children's Education Scheme to tertiary students who are the children of T.P.I, pensioners and war widows. Education: Junior Science Curricula (Question No. 1678) **Mr Whitlam** asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice: >Which other States have joined Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania in the project to develop junior science curricula and teaching materials, and when did they do so. {: #subdebate-34-14-s3 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr Malcolm Fraser:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: Western Australia- 27 May, 1969. Queensland- 28 July, 1969. Aboriginals: Unemployment Benefit (Question No. 1786) **Mr Collard** asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice: >Is it a fact that 1,175 Aboriginals were in receipt of unemployment benefit at 28 June 1968. > >If not, how many were receiving benefit. > >How many of those who were receiving unemployment benefit at 28 June 1968 are still receiving it. > >Of those who are not continuing to receive benefit, how many ceased to be eligible as a result of being found employment of a permanent or seasonal nature. > >How many of those receiving unemployment benefit at 28 June 1968 continued to receive benefit for a period of (a) 1 month, (b) 2 months, (c) 3 months, (d) 4 months, (e) 5 months and (f) 6 months after that date. {: #subdebate-34-14-s4 .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr Wentworth:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. to (5) Quite rightly the claim for unemployment benefit does not contain a question concerning the race of the claimant. In the circumstances the information asked for by the honourable member is not available from the records of my Department {:#subdebate-34-15} #### Aboriginals: Unemployment Benefit (Question No. 1787) {: #subdebate-34-15-s0 .speaker-JZX} ##### Mr Collard: asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many of the Aborigines registered for employment at Port Hedland during the 12 months ending 28 June 1968 were in receipt of unemployment benefit. 1. How many remained on this benefit for a period of (a) 1 month, (b) 2 months, (c) 3 months, (d) 4 months, (e) 5 months and (f) 6 months after 28 June 1968. {: #subdebate-34-15-s1 .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr Wentworth:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >Please see my answer to your question number 1786. Medical Benefits: Returns to Contributors (Question No. 1689) **Mr Whitlam** asked the Minister for Health, upon notice: >What is now the average percentage return which contributors receive from their medical benefits ments have been made pending a comprehensive review, which is currently in progress, of the present legislation. Department of Health: Research Division (Question No. 1685) **Mr Whitlam** asked the Minister for Health, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many persons are employed in the Research Division of his Department. 1. What are the qualifications and length of service of each of these persons. {: #subdebate-34-15-s2 .speaker-KFH} ##### Dr Forbes:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The establishment of the Research Section of the Department of Health consists of twelve organisations for the cost of (a) confinements, (b) home visits and (c) surgery visits in each State. {: #subdebate-34-15-s3 .speaker-KFH} ##### Dr Forbes:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >Information is not available from which a calculation could be made of the average percentage return received by contributors to medical benefits organisations for particular medical services. However, on the basts of fees commonly charged by doctors for the services mentioned, the Commonwealth benefits for these services, and Fund benefits under the ceiling medical table in each State, the percentage return to contributors is as follows: Uniform Poisons legislation (Question No. 1698) {: #subdebate-34-15-s4 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for Health, upon notice: >Which States and Territories have yet to pass the uniform poisons legislation. {: #subdebate-34-15-s5 .speaker-KFH} ##### Dr Forbes:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >The National Health and Medical Research Council has recommended the principle of eight schedules for the uniform control of poisons. This principle has been adopted in all States except Tasmania where legislation is currently under review. The Commonwealth has, by Ministerial notices issued under present legislation, given substantial effect to the Council's recommendations, to far as the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory are concerned. These arrange- positions. As at 14 August 1969 ten of the positions were filled, two other officers being on temporary transfer elsewhere. > >The qualifications and length of service In the Section and in the Commonwealth Public Service of the officers employed in the Research Section as at 14 August 1969 were as follows: > >Two other officers, one a Bachelor of Economics and one two-thirds towards completion of the course in accountancy, are at present on temporary transfer elsewhere in the Department. Hospital and Medical Benefit Funds: Contributions (Question No. 1688) **Mr Whitlam** asked the Minister for Health, upon notice: >What is the weekly family contribution charged for maximum insurance by the major registered (a) medical and (b) hospital benefits organisation in each State. {: #subdebate-34-15-s6 .speaker-KFH} ##### Dr Forbes:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: Pensioner Medical Service: Entitlement Cards (Question No. 1690) **Mr Whitlam** asked the Minister for Health, upon notice: >How many pensioners in each State hold Pensioner Medical Service entitlement cards. > >How much was paid to public hospitals in each State in the last financial year in respect of pensioners treated without charge in public wards. {: #subdebate-34-15-s7 .speaker-KFH} ##### Dr Forbes:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The number of pensioners in each State who hold Pensioner Medical Service Entitlement Cards is not available. This is because, in the past, the practice has been to issue only one card to each married pensioner couple unless the wife specifically has requested a separate card. Also entitlement cards not normally issued to Aboriginal pensioners whose pensions are paid wholly, or in part, to authorities in charge of missions, settlements or pastoral stations. However, the number of pensioners who were enrolled in the Pensioner Medical Service in each State as at 30th June 1969 and therefore entitled to the benefits of the Pensioner Medical Service was: In addition 204,483 dependants of the above pensioners were entitled to the benefits of the Pensioner Medical Service as at 30th June 1969. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. The following amounts were paid to public hospitals in each State in the financial year 1968-69 in respect of eligible pensioner patients and their dependants accommodated In public wards. Separate figures for pensioners are noi available. {:#subdebate-34-16} #### Pharmaceutical Benefits: Approved Suppliers (Question No. 1691) {: #subdebate-34-16-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for Health, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many (a) pharmaceutical chemists, (b) friendly society dispensaries, (c) medical practitioners, (d) hospital authorities and (e) other organisations have been approved for the purpose of supplying pharmaceutical benefits. 1. What was the average payment made in 1967-68 and 1968-69 to each supplier in each of the foregoing classifications. {: #subdebate-34-16-s1 .speaker-KFH} ##### Dr Forbes:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The number of approvals for the supply of pharmaceutical benefits as at 30 June 1969 were: - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Pharmaceutical Chemists - 5,659 *Cb)* Friendly Society Dispensaries - 147 {: type="a" start="c"} 0. Medical Practitioners - 66 1. Approvals have been granted to hospital authorities in respect of 850 hospitals. 2. Other Organisations - It is not practicable to supply this information since approvals cover a wide range of categories such as bush nursing centres, centres served by the various branches of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the States in respect of the supply of prophylactics for large scale immunisation campaigns against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. The average payment made by the Commonwealth to each classification of approved suppliers during 1967-68 and 1968-69 was:- The details shown in reference to pharmaceutical chemists, friendly society dispensaries and medical practitioners represent payments made by the Commonwealth only. Additional payments by way of the 50 cent per prescription patient contribution were as follows: {:#subdebate-34-17} #### Therapeutic Goods Act (Question No. 1699) {: #subdebate-34-17-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM:
WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP asked the Minister for Health, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. When will the Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 be proclaimed to come into operation. 1. (a) When did the Commonwealth send to the States the draft of the code of good manufacturing practice based on a system of licensing and inspection, (b) Which States have enacted the code, and when did they do so. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. (a) When did the Commonwealth send to the States the draft of the uniform procedure for the recall of dangerous and substandard drugs, (b) Which States have adopted the procedure, and when did they do so. {: #subdebate-34-17-s1 .speaker-KFH} ##### Dr Forbes:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 will be proclaimed to come into operation when proposed regulations under the Act have been finalised. The drafting of the regulations has reached an advanced stage. 1. (a) The first draft of the Code of Good Manufacturing Practice was sent to the States in April, 1967. As a result of discussions with State Health Authorities and the National Council of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industries many amendments were made and the final draft was distributed to the States in May, 1969. At the Health Ministers' Conference in June, 1969, it was agreed that this should form the basis of licensing of manufacturers of pharmaceutical preparations, (b) The exact date of implementation has not yet been determined. In order that Commonwealth and State action may bo co-ordinated my Department is at present negotiating with State Health authorities. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. (a) The draft of the Recall Procedure for Dangerous and Sub-standard Drugs was first distributed to the States in July, 1968. Since that time it has served as the basis for drug recall in Australia, (b) The procedure has been formally adopted by all States and the Commonwealth. {:#subdebate-34-18} #### Hospital and Medical Benefits Funds (Question No. 1744) {: #subdebate-34-18-s0 .speaker-KUX} ##### Mr Stewart: asked the Minister for Health, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many approved (a) hospital and (b) medical benefit funds exist in each of the States. 1. How many of these funds operate both hospital and medical benefit funds. {: #subdebate-34-18-s1 .speaker-KFH} ##### Dr Forbes:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. (a) The number of registered hospital benefits organisations in each State as at 30 June 1969 was: {: type="1" start="2"} 0. The number of these organisations that operated both hospital and medical benefit funds was: Quarantine: Return of Dogs from Vietnam (Question No. 1846) **Dr Everingham** asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice: >Will he, well in advance, inform animal protection organisations of his policy regarding tha return of trained dogs from Vietnam. > >Will he give an assurance now that tha necessary quarantine expenses will either be paid by his Department or accepted from interested organisations. {: #subdebate-34-18-s2 .speaker-KIM} ##### Mr Lynch:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. Animal protection organisations who have made representations to myself or my Department will be informed, well in advance, of any policy determined for tracker dogs should the circumstances of their employment in Vietnam change in the future. . 1. As I have said this policy in regard to the tracker dogs being used in Vietnam will depend on the circumstances at the time and will be reviewed in the light of any changes in these circumstances. No assurance on any particular course of action in the future can be given until the matter has been reviewed at the appropriate time.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 28 August 1969, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.