27th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr SPEAKER (Hon. Sir William Aston) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– Mr Speaker, it is with deep regret that I have to advise the House of the death last night of Senator the Honourable Colin McKellar. Senator McKellar was born in Gulgong, New South Wales, on 29th May 1903. He served in the 6th Light Horse from 1936 until 1941 when he commenced full time duty with the Australian Military Forces. He enlisted in the 2nd Australian Imperial Force in 1942 and retired in April 1946 with the rank of major. Senator McKellar was a prominent grazier in Gilgandra until 1959 and had a long association with rural industry. He held the position of chairman of the Australian Country Party in New South Wales from 1957 until his election as a senator for New South Wales in 1958. He was a member of a number of parliamentary committees and was Chairman of Committees from August 1962 to December 1964. In 1964 he was appointed Minister for Repatriation and served in this portfolio until he resigned in November 1969 on account of ill health.
Mr Speaker, 1 knew Senator McKellar well both as a colleague in the Senate and as a Minister in my first Ministry. He was dedicated to serving the interests of those he represented and his very real interest in the problems of ex-servicemen assisted him in the successful fulfilment of the responsibilities of his portfolio. I think this Parliament has lost a very able and respected colleague - a man who, like the late Jim Fraser, had no meanness anywhere about him, and a man of transparent integrity and transparent honesty in all of his dealings. I move:
– On behalf of the Australian Labor Party I support the motion that the Prime Minister has moved. Senator McKellar was much better known in the day to day affairs of the Parliament in another place than in this House. Nevertheless he had a portfolio - that of Repatriation - with which all honourable members have constant dealings. Under him - I think it must be acknowledged - no department more promptly and sympathetically acknowledged representations. I had some opportunities of being at public meetings in country parts of New South Wales with Senator McKellar. I was able to see at first hand what an excellent rapport he had with primary producers in a variety of fields. There was one particular characteristic for which I was able to assess him and for which I now express my admiration in the later years as Minister for Repatriation. It was not an easy portfolio at a time when costs in health and living were rising and men on repatriation benefits were suffering the pinch of fixed incomes or only spasmodically assisted incomes.
I saw the senator at conferences where he had to represent the Government. He stood by the team of which he was a member. He never equivocated or prevaricated. He gave no impression that he was not standing by the decision of the team of which he was a member. It would have been very easy for him to have taken refuge in collective responsibility. He very loyally and forthrightly expressed the view of the Government. I admired the man very much on these occasions. Those of us in this place who had the opportunity to be with him or to talk with him would have had borne out the impression we had of him as a man of wide experience in many fields of public life, not only in this place but also in producer organisations and local government, and our impression of his quite exceptional strength of character. I associate the Australian Labor Party with the opinions expressed on behalf of us all by the Prime Minister and which no doubt will now be expressed by the Leader of his Party of which he was such a stalwart member both in this Parliament and for many years before.
– Mr Speaker, speaking as Leader of the Australian Country Party
Parliamentary Party, 1 wish to associate myself and my parliamentary colleagues with the motion proposed by the Prime Minister and supported by the Leader of the Opposition. 1 first wish to offer the thanks of myself and my colleagues to the Prime Minister and to the Leader of the Opposition for the remarks that they have made about our late colleague, remarks which were extremely generous but remarks which none of us would regard as extravagant in any sense. Although Senator McKellar had a quite short serious illness earlier in the year, his sudden death now has come as a great shock to myself and to my colleagues. It was completely unexpected. I am sure no man in the Parliament was more respected than Colin McKellar. When T say *in the Parliament’, I mean and believe that this applied not only to the Australian Country Party but to all members of the Parliament irrespective of their Party affiliations.
He was a man to be respected and a man to be liked, and certainly a man to be trusted. He had a very long record of service in respect of both national matters and the peculiar requirements and problems of rural communities and rural industries. He served as an officer in the AIF in the armoured division and rose to the rank of, I think, major. In his Party work he operated within the New South Wales branch of the Australian Country Party with such dedication and effectiveness that he was appointed Chairman of the Party in New South Wales, a position which he occupied for 2 years. He was then chosen as a Senate candidate, was elected as a Country Party senator for New South Wales, and served for a period of 1 1 years in the Senate. In that chamber his worth was recognised, and he became the Chairman of Committees in the Senate. His worth was further recognised and he was appointed as Minister for Repatriation, an office which he occupied for approximately 5 years until he indicated to the Prime Minister that he no longer wanted to be regarded as being available. This took place just prior to the last election. So his period in office terminated in those circumstances.
As Minister for Repatriation he was regarded by returned soldier organisations and by the relatives and friends of returned soldiers as being most sympathetic, most understanding and most compassionate in the course of his administration. He was a man of unquestioned integrity and high character, and indeed a very likeable person. Colin McKellar will be greatly missed by his Country Party colleagues in the Parliament and I am sure that he will be greatly and sadly missed by all members of the Parliament in both the Senate and the House of Representatives who had come to know him. Among those who served most closely with him in the Ministry there had grown up not only a respect but also a measure of affection for the man.
So, Mr Speaker, I extend from myself and my colleagues the deepest sympathy to Mrs McKellar and their 3 sons in this sad loss.
– I should like to be associated personally with the motion proposed by the Prime Minister and supported by the Leader of the Opposition and the leader of my own Party. Senator McKellar’s eldest son and I went onto the land at Tamworth at about the same time nearly 20 years ago. Our holdings were not far separated each from the other. Senator McKellar at that stage gave to me, in my private capacity as a new farmer, a great deal of personal advice and assistance for which I shall always be grateful. Since that time, in associations through the Australian Country Party organisation, the Parliament and the Ministry, I came to know Senator McKellar in a different role and a different sense. I came to know him as a friend for whose judgment, stature and standing T had profound respect and admiration. He was one Australian to whom I felt any man could turn on all occasions. I know that the many people who were associated with him in the Repatriation Department, particularly those ex-servicemen for whose care and guidance he was personally and ministerially responsible, looked on him as a friend and colleague and one who understood their problems.
To his wife, his 3 sons and his grandchildren, for whom he had such care and affection, I should like to extend my own deep sorrow at his passing.
– I rise to support the motion proposed by the Prime Minister and supported by the Leader of the Opposition and to express my own deep sorrow at the loss of a friend. 1 should like to express my sympathy to Mrs McKellar. their 3 sons and other members of the late senator s family. I had the honour of knowing Senator McKellar for many years and also of working with him within the Australian Country Party organisation in New South Wales for 17 years. I knew him as a man of great character, integrity and warmth. At all times he drove himself with unusual zeal and energy. On many occasions his profound common sense and wise decisions made a lasting contribution to sound and stable government, in Australia.
Last year he had the distinction of being made a life member of the Australian Country Party in recognition of his long, loyal and valuable years of service to his Party. He served on the Central Executive of the Australian Country Party of New South Wales for over 20 years, having served as the State Chairman from 1957 to 1958 when he was elected to the Semite, where he served with distinction.
The late senator was active in public life long before entering the Senate, having among other things served on the Dubbo Pastures Protection Board for a number of years, and as a councillor of the New South Wales Sheep Breeders Association. In 1964, of course, he was appointed as the Minister for Repatriation and as. such he worked unceasingly to help ex-servicemen with their repatriation problems. In 1966 he visited New Zealand to discuss and to sign an agreement between Australia and New New Zealand for repatriation benefits to ex-servicemen. We well remember the 2 occasions that he visited the servicemen serving in Vietnam, spending Christmas with them in 1966 and I think again in 1967.
As an ex-serviceman, having served in the Light Horse as a captain and then as a major in the Second Australian Imperial Force, he was well qualified to work with ex-servicemen in the field of repatriation and he never ceased to visit the repatriation hospitals throughout Australia taking with him that cheerful, amiable, kindly and sympathetic personality to those suffering in the hospitals. The late Senator McKellar was a man of great public spirit; he was dedicated to the service of his community and he served his country in peace and war. But above all, he was an exemplary husband, father and loyal friend. He will be sadly missed by all of those with whom he had an association.
– As one of the dwindling number of Light Horsemen still riding around the landscape of Australia, I would like on their behalf to pay my share of tribute to a Light Horseman who has served his country so well in peace and war.
-The question is that the motion be agreed to. I ask all honourable members to signify their approval by rising in their places.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honourable members standing in their places.
– Thank you, gentlemen.
Mr JARMAN presented from certain residents of the State of Victoria a petition showing that because of uncontrolled shooting for commercial purposes, the population of kangaroos, particularly the big red kangaroo, is now so low that they may become extinct. There are insufficient wardens in any State of the Commonwealth to detect or apprehend those who break the inadequate laws which exist. As a tourist attraction, the kangaroo is a permanent source of revenue to this country, lt is an indisputable fact that no species can withstand hunting on such a scale, when there is no provision being made for its future.
The petitioners pray that the export of kangaroo products be banned immediately, and the Commonwealth Government take the necessary steps to have all wildlife in Australia brought under its control. Only a complete cessation of killing for commercial purposes can save surviving kangaroos.
Petition received and read.
Mr STEWART presented from certain electors of the Division of Lang a petition showing that in the national interest, it is essential that there be an effective and respected Commonwealth Conciliation and
Arbitration system; that the decision given by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in the professional engineers’ case on 3rd December 1969, which has followed to the letter in both magnitude and date of operation the salary increases for engineers employed in the Commonwealth Public Service which were announced before the arbitration hearing had concluded, has given rise to utter dismay and has indicated a lack of independent assessment; that recent statements made at the Australian Workers Union Conference and by the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions have indicated disillusionment with the Federal arbitration system and have particularly referred to the professional engineers’ case; that an unacceptable arbitration system must inevitably lead to industrial unrest throughout Australia.
The petitioners pray that the Australian Government take positive action as soon as possible to re-establish confidence in the Commonwealth arbitration system.
Petition received and read.
Mr N. H. Bowen presented from certain electors of the Division of Parramatta a petition showing that in the national interest, it is essential that there be an effective and respected Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration system; that the decision given by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in the professional engineers’ case on 3rd December 1969, which was followed to the letter in both magnitude and date of operation the salary increases for engineers employed in the Commonwealth Public Service which were announced before the arbitration hearing had concluded, has given rise to utter dismay and has indicated a lack of independent assessment; that recent statements made at the Australian Workers Union Conference and by the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions have indicated disillusionment with the Federal arbitration system and have particularly referred to the professional engineers’ case; that an unacceptable arbitration system must inevitably lead to industrial unrest throughout Australia.
The petitioners pray that the Australian Government take positive action as soon as possible to re-establish confidence in the Commonwealth arbitration system.
– 1 wish to inform the House that the Minister for External Affairs (Mr McMahon) left Australia on11th April to visit Bangkok and Saigon. He is leading the Australian delegation to the opening stages of the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East ministerial meeting beginning in Bangkok on 14th April, after which he will go to Vietnam for a 4-day visit. Mr McMahon is expected to return to Australia on 21st April. During his absence the Minister for Supply (Senator Anderson) will be acting as Minister for External Affairs and the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz) will represent the acting Minister in this House.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Has the Government accepted the reported offer by the United States to lend Australia 24 Phantom F4E aircraft until its F111 aircraft are proven structurally sound? If so, is this an exercise to support the views expressed on a number of occasions by members of the Australian Labor Party? If Australia has accepted the offer, will the right honourable gentleman inform the House what cost this will entail additional to the original order?
– The honourable member’s question is based entirely on Press speculation and what he has read in the paper without any official backing whatsoever. The Press speculation to which I refer arises from the visit by the Minister for Defence, Mr Fraser, to the United States, and after Mr Fraser has returned and there is any statement to be made it will be made in this House.
– I desire to ask the Minister for the Army a question concerning equipment which has been purchased for the Australian Army from some overseas countries which later seek to direct where this equipment can be used and where it cannot be used. I refer particularly to Swiss and Swedish attempts to prevent the Australian Army from using equipment bought from these countries in Vietnam. Will the Minister point out to these countries that once we have purchased this equipment it is ours and we will use it wherever it suits us to use it? Secondly, will he point out to these Governments that their unsuccessful attempts to prevent us from using aeroplanes and guns where we please must undoubtedly make it more difficult for them to sell any more equipment to us in the future?
– In answer to the honourable member’s question I would say that the attitude of foreign governments towards the use of equipment originating in their countries is a matter I could little influence, bearing in mind the factors operating within the foreign country which might bring that attitude about. I assume that the honourable member is referring to the Pilatus Porter aircraft and the Carl Gustav anti-tank weapon. I can assure him that the Swiss Government’s attitude does not necessitate the withdrawal of the aircraft from Vietnam nor has the attitude of the Swedish Government affected the supply of ammunition for the Carl Gustav weapon.
– I address a question to the Minister for Health. Is it a fact that Australia’s public hospitals write off more than $6m each year as bad debts and that one State alone, Victoria, writes off 30% of public ward fees because of this? Is the Minister aware that Queensland’s nonpaying public hospitals desperately need the sum of nearly $2m a year that they are at present deprived of by Federal policy and which the Nimmo Committee urged they should receive? In view of the gravely overstrained condition of State finances will he take prompt steps to ensure adequate finances for Australia’s public hospital services from Federal sources to stave off collapse of the system which otherwise will occur this decade?
– I do not propose to comment on the honourable genteman’s opinions about the state of the hospital system, but I do remind him, as announced by me in the House - -
– Are you happy with the system?
– The honourable member asked his question; let me answer it. As I announced in the House, the group of recommendations by the Nimmo Committee which relate to the hospital benefit system are currently being discussed by the Commonwealth Government with the States. I indicated at the time that when full discussions had taken place the Government would consider these recommendations of the Nimmo Committee. Until then I have nothing further to add.
– My question to the Minister for the Interior concerns one of the major deficiencies revealed in the Cyclone Ada disaster, namely, the inability of the Bureau of Meteorology to determine accurately by radar the wind velocity and intensity of cyclones which are a menace to the northern half of Australia. Will the Government rectify this deficiency and make available from its large fleets of aircraft a technically equipped spotter aircraft to allow the Bureau to measure and forecast accurately the intensity of cyclones? This practice is used effectively in other countries susceptible to tornadoes and cyclones and it is sorely needed in Australia.
– The honourable member will know that I am awaiting a report from the Director of Meteorology who is making an inquiry into the effects of the cyclone in Queensland in all its aspects. Until I get that report T do not want to make too much comment about it other than to say that the point raised about an aircraft has been raised with me before. I have been looking at the implications of this proposal. I am awaiting some further information from the Director of Meteorology before I do anything more about it.
– Is the Minister for Primary Industry aware of Press statements that already this year Australia has exported 90% of the meat it is allowed to export to the United States of America? Has this statement any foundation in fact? If not, can the Minister indicate the present position of exports of meat from Australia to the United States? Further, has the Minister any knowledge of the source of these statements, which have caused concern and financial loss to meat producers due to market fluctuations resulting from them?
– I believe that today there was a report in one of the newspapers stating that already this year 90% of our meat entitlement on the United States market had been exported and the indication was that there would have to be some cutting off of supplies to the American market if we were not to violate the understanding on the quota that we have for that market. That report is completely untrue; there is no foundation to it whatsoever. The shipments that are made to the United States market start in November and go through to the following October. For the 5 months period up to 31st March approximately 96,000 tons of beef and mutton had been exported to the United States. This is approximately 41%. At the February meeting of the Australian Meat Board there was some concern expressed at the rate at which beef and mutton were being exported to the United States market so the diversification factor was decreased. In other words, greater emphasis was put on exporting more to non-United States markets. At the March meeting so there would be no likelihood of having to restrict supplies it was also decided that from May onwards all exports to the United States market be by agreement with or the approval of the Australian Meat Board. It does seem strange that each year now we have had reports coming up that the quota will be reached before the prescribed time. I do not know where these rumours start but I can imagine that some people are using them to try to depress the market and to buy at an advantage to themselves.
– 1 direct my question to the Minister for Health and ask: In what month and in what form did the Commonwealth first raise with the States or did any State first raise with the Commonwealth the cost and method of carrying out the hospital recommendations made by the Nimmo Committee a year ago?
- Mr Speaker, the first meeting between Commonwealth and State officials on this matter took place on 2nd April of this year.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry. I preface it by saying that the rapid expansion which is taking place in the production of butter resulting in increasing proportions having to be sold on depressed world markets is further substantially reducing returns to producers. As a guide to the Australian dairying industry in formulating its future production plans will the Minister give an indication of the Government’s proposals with regard to the dairy produce price underwriting arrangement for the 1970-71 production year?
– It would not be possible for me to make an announcement at this stage as to what the underwriting would be. For the past 11 years the Commonwealth has announced annually that there would be an underwriting of 34c per lb. This decision is generally made about July. I think I would be right in saying that the Government is very concerned at the present trend in the dairying industry. I have expressed in this House before my concern at the increasing production that is taking place. If there- is to be a national policy it should not be towards holding production but, if anything, reducing it. At the moment it appears that this year’s production will be approximately 220,000 tons. This means more butter going on to the overseas market and reducing the return to producers. The situation has been made more acute by the fact that for the first time it looks as if we will have a surplus of butter in this country; we may have 5,000 tons that we cannot even get rid of.
The Commonwealth Equalisation Committee, which gives us a forecast of the next year so we can determine what the interim payment will be. has told us we must start thinking in terms of 230,000 tons. If this happens it means at the end of the year 1970-71 we will have a surplus of 20,000 tons of butter. This is a crazy situation and I do not think the Government can be expected to continue to guarantee an underwriting of 34c when one calculates what the Government’s commitment would be in these circumstances. My Department informs me that, in addition to the bounties that are given now, if 34c is to be maintained for the year 1970-71 an additional $20m will be required. This is a terribly serious situation for the dairy industry, for the Government and for the taxpayer.
I have spoken already to some dairy industry leaders. I have said that they will have to do some very serious thinking on this question to try to bring forward plans at least to seal off production where it is or put some deterrent on people continuing to produce more. Unfortunately, most of this increased production is taking place in Victoria where, .today, approximately 64% of Australia’s butter, production and about 85% of the butter that is being exported overseas are produced. Every year, production is increasing there. This is practically the only State where we have seen this increase taking place although production in Tasmania is increasing by a small amount annually.
If the industry expects the Government to maintain and to underwrite the payment of 34c, it certainly will have to put up some suggestions and some proposals to the Government as to how some disincentive might be introduced against people who will increase production. In conclusion, while people might say that the Commonwealth Government should step in and formulate some method of holding or controlling production, may I again add, as I have mentioned regarding the wheat industry, that the Commonwealth Government has no control over production. This is one of the sovereign rights of the States and, therefore, it is a matter that concerns not only this Government but also the State governments.
– I ask the Minister for the Interior: Is he aware that in every State that has been visited by the Queen during the Royal tour which is currently taking place a public holiday has been declared by the Government concerned? What arrangements have been made or what arrangement does the Government intend to make in relation to employees in the Australian Capital Territory? Will they be given a public holiday when the Queen visits the Australian Capital Territory next week and, if not, why not?
– A lot of mis-statements have been made about holidays granted because of the visit by the Queen. The facts are that Tasmania is the only State to have granted a holiday for the purpose of the Queen’s visit. New South Wales has granted a holiday to celebrate Captain Cook Day on 29th April. Victoria did not grant a holiday at all, nor has Queensland.
As far as the Australian Capital Territory is concerned, might I say that, when the Queen comes to Canberra, the majority of events at which she will be present and which will be public will be held on a Saturday or a Sunday. It is felt, therefore, that the people of Canberra will be given ample opportunity to see the Queen while she is here. I might add one further thing: School children of the ACT are receiving a holiday because of the Queen.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Shipping and Transport. I refer to the investigation by an interdepartmental committee into the upgrading or rebuilding of the Central Australian Railway and/ or the construction of an all weather road between Port Augusta and Alice Springs. I ask: Can the Minister advise the House whether any decision has been reached on this matter or when a decision may be expected?
– As the honourable member knows, on a number of occasions we have been trying to examine the best ways in which communication access to the Centre and to Northern Australia could be improved. As a result of this examination, the naming of the ‘Darwin Trader’ last week in Newcastle sees the impending introduction into service for Darwin of an entirely new type of vessel which, we are hoping, might bring to people at the top end an improved communication facility beyond that which is available at present.
As to the road or rail access to Alice Springs, this is still the subject of an inquiry within the Government. An interdepartmental committee has almost completed its findings. I am hoping that it might not be too long before the Government is in a position to consider that report and to come to some decision as to whether or not either one or other of the propositions which the honourable member has put before this House - that is, the upgrading of the road or the construction of a new rail link - can be implemented.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether he has had an opportunity to study the proposals contained in the report from the Senate Standing Orders Committee which was prepared by Mr Odgers, the Clerk of the Senate, and presented to that chamber on 17th March. Has any consideration been given to the preparation of a similar report for the benefit of members of this House? If not, will he arrange, as a matter of urgency, to have such a report prepared and submitted? Will he also consider arranging for a thorough review of the procedures and practices in this Parliament?
-I have not studied in what I would call any depth whatever the report of the Committee in another place. The question of parliamentary committees generally - not only standing committees to which, I think, the report refers, but also select committees to inquire into particular matters - is one which has been receiving the attention of the Government in the belief that it has been demonstrated that, in particular, select committees inquiring into particular subjects can be of assistance not only to those from each side of the House who are engaged on them but also to the Parliament as a whole. This consideration will be continued and the honourable member in due course will know the results.
– I refer the PostmasterGeneral to my question of 5th March in which 1 asked how much longer listeners to Australian radio are to be denied the quality of sound that they could have by the introduction of frequency modulation broadcasting. Has the Minister seen the open letter addressed to him in the Australian’ which gave certain facts indicating that frequency modulation would enable the Postmaster-General’s Department to overcome some of the problems that it is not able to overcome with amplitude modulation? Is he aware that frequency modulation stations in America get higher ratings than stations operating on amplitude modulation and that serious proposals are being made for the abolition of amplitude modulation radio? Will the Postmaster-General now revise his answer and instruct the Australian Broadcasting Control Board to make a re-assessment of the possible advantages to the listening public of the introduction of frequency modulation in Australia?
– I have not seen the open letter referred to by the honourable member for McMillan and therefore am unable to comment on the detail given in it. The extension of television or radio is a matter for Government decision. The Australian Broadcasting Control Board constantly informs me, and I inform the Government, of matters related to these areas and from time to time the Government conies to a decision. The Government has not altered its earlier decision, which I announced to the House and have confirmed on several occasions, about frequency modulation broadcasting.
– I ask the Minister for Shipping and Transport whether he is aware that house rents in Port Augusta and other localities for Commonwealth Railways employees are to be increased by up to 40%. Does the Minister consider this to be just in view of the fact that these houses are tied to Commonwealth Railways employment, that the employees have to vacate the houses on retirement and that families have to vacate them in the event of the death of an employee?
– It is true that rents for houses of the Commonwealth Railways in Port Augusta are to be increased. It is also true that to attract people to work for the Commonwealth Railways houses for rental have been available to persons working in Port Augusta at a very concessional rate. 1 have not in my mind at the moment the exact figure for present rents, but I understand that those rents are more than comparable with those charged by other bodies in the area and are far more attractive than the average charged in any other major provincial town and, of course, are much more advantageous than those charged in capital cities. So while it is true that the rents are to be increased, I assure the honourable member that the rate that will now be charged to employees of the Commonwealth Railways is at a concessional level and consequently I do not think that they will be affected prejudicially.
– 1 ask the Minister for Labour and National Service a question. Is all now serene on the waterfront? If so, how long will this situation last?
– There has been a settlement of the dispute. Recently in the House I had the opportunity to inform honourable members that one of the features of the settlement was that the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Waterside Workers Federation proposed to sign an agreement the terms of which, if I recall them accurately, are that there will be no stoppages of work on any issue of wages or conditions which were the subject matters of these negotiations.
– Now answer the second part of the question.
– I will. A further term of the agreement, I understand, is that there will be no stoppages in relation to national wage cases but waterfront employees will get the benefit of national wage case increases. There will be no stoppages on these matters but that is as far as the undertaking to refrain from strike action goes. The situation is serene at the moment. I would hope that it will remain serene for 2 years. I would hope also that no other issue will arise which will lead to strike action outside the agreement.
– How soon will the Minister for Education and Science be able to state the number and proportion of qualified students who unsuccessfully sought enrolment this year in universities and colleges of advanced education?
-I think it will be some time yet before these figures are available. The Leader of the Opposition will understand that many applicants for scholarships apply for different types of scholarships and many applicants seek enrolment at more than one university and perhaps also at a college of advanced education. So those who are not enrolled at a particular institution are not necessarily 100% genuine applicants. It is necessary to screen the figures in order to obtain an accurate result. In addition, the figures are still altering for the current year. I think it will be some time before final figures are available so that I may answer certain questions which are on the notice paper.
– Is the Prime Minister aware that one of the largest mines in Kalgoorlie, employing between 400 and 500 men, closed down recently? Is he also aware that another company employing approximately the same number of men has announced in today’s Press that it intends to close down? Is he further aware that other mines employing between 1,500 and 2,000 men may be obliged to close down in the nol: too distant future? Does the right honourable gentleman realise that only a small number of the men displaced could be absorbed into the nickel industry, that no other large scale employment is available locally and that further mine closures will cause widespread suffering and seriously affect the district generally? Will he treat this matter as serious and urgent and immediately arrange for officers of the appropriate departments to visit Kalgoorlie to ascertain what financial or other assistance is required to ensure the survival of the gold mining industry and to preserve the livelihood of the people concerned?
– The honourable member did not at the beginning of his question indicate that he was speaking solely about gold mines but towards the end of it he mentioned gold mines and I take it he is. I have not been personally aware of the shutting down of gold mines in the Kalgoorlie area but I think the honourable member could scarcely expect that a gold mine would run at a loss or that the public should be required to finance the running of a gold mine at a loss. That, I think, is all I can say to him.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Primary Industry whom I commend on the extremely useful answer which he gave to a question asked earlier on the position of the dairy industry. Will he use the utmost of his powers to bring together the two organisations which are squabbling over what sort of plan should be put into operation to reduce the production of butter fat? If necessary, will he knock their heads together and get them around a table so that .they may come up with a plan which can be adopted by the Government?
– The honourable member mentioned two organisations. I find often that quite a number, of organisations have different points of view on these matters. Up to date there has not been any major thinking in the dairy industry on this matter apart from that of the Australian Farmers Federation which has been trying to formulate plans for curtailing production, As a result of the discussions that I have had - I had . them last week with the two organisations which the honourable member mentioned - I think that all of them will be putting their heads together in an attempt to formulate some positive thinking on this very frightening problem. It is a problem which is made ever so much worse by the nightmare hanging over their heads of the possible entry of Britain into the European Common Market and what we will do if we are prevented from selling the great bulk of our butter on the United Kingdom market. I hope to be in constant touch with all of the dairy industry organisations. I have told them that if there is any help which my Department can give them it will be there, ready and waiting, and whenever I can be of help in uniting and co-ordinating the industry I will certainly do my best.
– I address to the Prime Minister a question relating to the recently announced increase in interest rates by banks and the preferential treatment proposed to primary producers. Will the concession for primary producers apply only to those who derive their entire income from primary production, or will it apply to everyone engaged in primary production to some degree or another? Is the preferential treatment intended to give relief to a section of the community in necessitous circumstances? If so, what preferential treatment can home buyers in necessitous circumstances expect to receive?
– The assistance will apply to those who receive the major part of their income from primary production. It will not necessarily be confined to those who receive ail their income but it will apply to those who receive the major part of their income from primary production, as 1 recollect the matter. I would not say that the action was taken in order to help those in necessitous circumstances. I would say that the action was taken in order to dampen down by the use of interest rates a demand which was outrunning the supply of labour and materials generally throughout Australia and that we looked at this. We believed that this was happening generally throughout Australia but was specifically not happening in the rural areas, because the income that primary producers have been getting has dropped so low. As the honourable member would know, wool prices are as low as they have been and we have heard about butter. Generally speaking there was not being generated in country areas a demand which it was necessary to curtail. That being the case we believed that it would be quite unjustifiable to inflict on primary producers already suffering grave disabilities an additional burden in order to curtail a demand which was not there.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry. I refer to the Government’s proposal for a scheme involving the expenditure of $25m to assist the re-organisation of the dairying industry. In view of the very serious difficulties confronting the dairying industry will the Commonwealth use every possible persuasion to have the States which have taken so long to consider and agree on this proposal treat it as a matter of extreme urgency?
- Mr Speaker, I have been treating this as a priority matter in my Department. In fact, I have had the Secretary of my Department take part in most of the negotiations with the States - he is the most senior man I can put on the job - to try to bring this matter to finality. It is near finality. There are a few points that 1 am debating with the State governments and I desperately hope that I can have all States in agreement within the next few weeks. However, failing an agreement of all States, I intend, provided the legislation can be drawn up in time, to bring legislation into the Parliament this session to enable Western Australia to commence the agreement entered into between the Commonwealth and that State.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister who is Acting Treasurer a question. The right honourable gentleman would probably be aware that a well known American entertainer recently was paid $200,000 plus expenses for a 2 weeks contract in Australia. How much, if any, taxation on these amounts will this entertainer be obliged to pay to Commonwealth revenue?
– I cannot answer that question without having a chance to study all the circumstances surrounding the case. I will certainly do that and let the honourable member know the answer.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether he will consider removing all employees in commercial and industrial undertakings of the Commonwealth from the jurisdiction of the Public Service Board.
– I am not sure I really heard all of that question. Was it that those employed by the Commonwealth of Australia should be removed from the control of the Public Service Board?
– Yes, employees of commercial and business undertakings.
– I am not sure what the honourable member has in his mind. Perhaps he might be able to talk to me about it in a little more detail. I would believe that the Public Service Board over the years as an employer of those who work for the Commonwealth has been of great advantage in removing from the political arena questions of what should be paid and what the conditions should be in most cases. In a sense it acts as the arbitration court acts, and I am sure that that too would be regarded by honourable members as a proper course to be followed in industrial relations.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Health. Has the Queensland Government raised in any way any objection to the Nimmo Committee’s recommendation that public beds in Queensland, which are made available free and without means test, should attract the full amount of bed subsidy of $2 a day? If Queensland made no objection, what other possible delay can there be in implementing this recommendation of the Nimmo Committee, except some outdated or discredited view that Queensland should be penalised for-
– Order! The honourable member is now giving information.
– As the honourable gentleman is aware, the Nimmo Committee made a number of recommendations affecting the financing of hospitals and the relations between the Commonwealth and the States in the hospital benefits scheme. Most of these interact, one on the other. It would be utterly irresponsible of the Government to make a decision in respect of one of those recommendations without making a decision in relation to all of them. Therefore the Government will wait until consultations with the States have been completed and it will make its decisions properly on the basis of all these recommendations.
-I ask the Prime Minister a question. Did the various State Premiers indicate that they were obliged to introduce State receipts taxes because of a failure to obtain sufficient funds from the Commonwealth? At the most recent meeting with the Premiers did the Prime Minister indicate that he would give the States better grants and incorporate a growth factor on a yearly basis? Bearing in mind the injustice of the receipts tax - it is based on a flat rate and it affects all people, particularly those who are least able to pay, namely, pensioners and people on fixed incomes - can he now indicate the nature of the growth factor which he has in mind, and can he explain why it would not be sufficient to obviate the necessity of presenting validating legislation in this chamber?
– The honourable member will probably know that some considerable time ago the States wished to raise revenue additional to the revenue grants provided to them by the Commonwealth. It was within the competence of each State to decide how it would proceed to do this and whether it would proceed to do it by a States receipts duty or in some other way, and, indeed, the degree to which it would impose such taxation. This was a field of State taxation, as are many other fields. It had started, of course, in Western Australia when receipts duty was imposed on incomes many years ago. It varied from State to State but, by and large, it was an attempt by the States to raise revenue additional to that which they received from the Commonwealth and it was left to them to do so. This was challenged in a court case and it was held that it was invalid for the States themselves to impose that kind of taxation. They therefore did indicate to us that they would like us to take action on their behalf to validate their own taxation requirements, and this is what we propose to do in that field.
– Is the Minister for Social Services really aware of the sometimes extremely difficult plight of deserted and widowed fathers who are trying to raise young families and at the same time to provide for those families? Does the Minister believe in the equality of sexes? In view of the fact that widows are helped substantially, will he look very closely at the question of the means with which to assist the male of the species? Will he assure the House that this question, which has been before the House for some 2 years now, will receive his urgent consideration so that this great social need can be met?
– I can indeed give the honourable member that assurance. The matter is not altogether a simple one because, as the honourable member will know, the widow’s pension, to which he refers, is paid subject to a means test, which, if it were applied to widowed fathers, would in nearly every case disqualify them from receiving a pension. However, I entirely agree that this is a matter which does merit consideration. It is receiving consideration and I am not without hope that there will be some solution.
– I address my question to the Postmaster-General. When a person makes a trunk call and is requested by the exchange to supply his connect number is it possible for him to give an incorrect charge number in breach of the law and remain undetected?
– I think that the short answer to the honourable gentleman’s question is yes. This system has been developed throughout the Western countries to avoid a good deal of the cost associated with the implementation of trunk calls. The Post Office and other telephone organisations in Western countries have adopted the principle that on complaint an automatic check shall be made. It is not for me to indicate publicly the type of check which is made within the telecommunications area to detect a person who is using a wrong number. Upon reasonable proof being furnished there is immediate cancellation of an incorrect charge. I cannot say more than that at this time other than to repeat that if this system were not in operation the costs associated with trunk telecommunications would be much higher and trunk charges would have to be increased to cope with them.
– I raise a point of order. Earlier, Mr Speaker, you ruled a question of mine to be out of order. Standing order 153 states:
Questions shall not be asked which reflect on or are critical of the character or conduct of those persons whose conduct may only be challenged on a substantive motion, and notice must be given of questions critical of the character or conduct of other persons.
Do you interpret that to mean that a person who has pleaded guilty to defalcations amounting to S5m and has been sentenced to 20 years imprisonment is free from criticism in this Parliament?
-The decision that I made at the time was correct. It has been held, with fairly wide application in this House for many years, that questions which are critical of the conduct or character of a person outside the House should be placed on the notice paper.
– by leave - Honourable members will recall the circumstances associated with the grounding of the Oceanic Grandeur’ in Torres Strait and the removal of her cargo to which I referred earlier in this House, particularly in my second reading speech on the Bill to amend the Navigation Act which eventually became Act No. 1 of 1970. In order to establish the facts and to assist in determining what action may be desirable to prevent a recurrence of such an incident, on Tuesday, 10th March, I instructed a senior departmental technical officer to proceed to Thursday Island to carry out an investigation into the cause of the grounding. Captain P. B. Eccles, a principal marine surveyor in the Department, carried out the investigation and reported on 20th March. For the information of members of this House, I give the text of his report to me:
Hydrographer to be coincident with that of an existing 6. fathom 1 foot shoal which on Admiralty Chart 3783 lies approximately 400 feet south of the recommended track and on Australian Chart 293 some500 feet south and is the patch referred to in paragraph 8. As pieces of unrusted steel were found in the vicinity of this obstruction it would therefore appear that this was the patch hit by the vessel. The Hydrographer has confirmed that the patch comprised a pinnacle of rock protruding 8 feet vertically out of the sand and measuring about 4 feet across.
Oceanic Grandeur’, whilst proceeding on a normally acceptable route, would appear to have come into contact with a rock ever which there was 3 feet less water than indicated on the chart.
Captain Eccles’ report having been received it has been subjected to careful study by my Department. In the result I wish to advise honourable members that the following action has been implemented: Two buoys have been laid, one on the site of the obstruction struck by the ‘Oceanic Grandeur’ and one on the 5 fathom 5 ft patch which lies in the track marked by the East Strait Island leading lights. The laying of these buoys will give further assistance in navigating vessels along the recommended track and action to remove the rock by explosives will commence within the next few weeks. Upon successful completion of this removal the buoy marking this obstruction will be taken away.
In the meantime a meeting has been arranged for later this month between Departmental representatives, the Hydrographer to the Navy and representatives of the Torres Strait Pilot Service with a view to implementing more detailed recommendations for improving the safety of navigation in the area.
In addition, discussions are being held with the officers of the Queensland Government on the form of control which may be possible to cover the passage through the Torres Strait of vessels of deep draught particularly where their use of the Strait could result in a hazard to the ship itself or to other ships or would be likely to pollute the sea or the coastline.
These several measures will both improve the safety of navigation in Torres Strait and minimise the risk of further groundings. Taken in conjunction with the installation of additional tide gauging stations in the area, I am confident present knowledge of Torres Strait waters will be substantially increased, draught limitations more accurately determined and the possibility of pollution in the area reduced.
– by leave - There are several points in the statement just made by the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Sinclair) that I think need some further clarification and on which I think honourable members are entitled to more information. Firstly, I should like to know whether the Minister is satisfied that when the pilot altered course the ‘Oceanic Grandeur’ was on course, or whether the patch is incorrectly marked on the charts? I would like some more information about the difference in the charts that was set out in paragraph 9 of the circulated copy of the statement just delivered by the Minister. Paragraph 9, in parts, states:
This position has been stated by the Hydrographer to be coincident with that of an existing 6 fathom 1 foot shoal which on Admiralty Chart 3783 lies approximately 400 feet south of the recommended track and on Australian Chart 293 some500 feet south and is the patch referred to in paragraph 8.
In discussions that I have had with experienced navigators my attention has been drawn to the question: In such confined waters why is there a difference of 100 ft in 2 charts? I would just like some clarification on this point. I would be quite happy to agree to give the Minister leave to reply to the questions - to this one in particular - that I am asking.
In paragraph 7 of the circulated statement the Minister made reference to the recommended track which takes a ship over the 5 fathom 5 ft patch. Paragraph 7, in part, states:
This alteration 2 miles before the position of touching is common practice with pilots to give a safety margin to southward of the S fathom 5 feet patch which the recommended track passes over.
Just let us have a look at the real position had the ‘Oceanic Grandeur’ maintained the recommended track. There was a limited clearance of 35 ft - that is at the 5 fathom 5 ft patch. There was a tide at that stage of 4 ft 10 in which gave a clearance of 39 ft 10 in. The still water draught of the tanker, according to the Minister’s statement, was 38 ft 8 in which gave a clearance of 1 ft 2 in. We should also have a look at what the Minister said in paragraph 10 of his statement, which reads:
Because the vessel would be squatting, that phenomenon whereby a large vessel proceeding at speed settles deeper in the water, contact with the pinnacle would have been inevitable. 1 suggest that if the ship had been on the recommended course over the 5 fathom 5 ft patch, with only 1 ft 2 in to spare under perfect conditions - under still water conditions - there was a very serious possibility that the ship would have struck in any case. The ship would not necessarily have struck the pinnacle, the position of which apparently was not known to any of the pilots using this channel. So even under normal still water circumstances, 1 ft 2 in was not sufficient clearance. The pilot, apparently realising that there was this limited clearance, had moved into deeper water. This comes back to my original question of whether the ship was on course when course was changed. As far as coastal waters are concerned, any coastal master would not take his ship within li miles or 2 miles of such limited clearance. Yet, this risk was taken in these waters and apparently was still being taken up until the time of this incident. Even when one looks at the depths which were available under perfect conditions - and 1 am quoting figures that apply to perfect conditions only - one realises that the change of course from the recommended track to a 6 fathom 1 ft patch which gave a depth of 37 ft plus the tide depth of 4 ft 10 in, gave a total depth of 41 ft 10 in. The still water draught of the ‘Oceanic Grandeur’ being 38 ft 8 in, this gave a clearance of only 3 ft 2 in less whatever was involved as far as the squatting of the ship was concerned. The practice that the Department has allowed to continue is a dangerous one.
So that it cannot be said that attention was not drawn to this fact, I would like to read a letter written by an experienced mariner which appeared in the Queensland Littoral Society Newsletter, copies of which I think all honourable members received last week. I refer to page 17 of this publication. 1 do not want to take up the time of honourable members by reading the whole of this reference but if it is required I shall do so. Under the heading ‘The “Oceanic Grandeur” Incident’, the publication states:
The ‘Oceanic Grandeur’ incident, a neardisaster which might have been avoided, began almost 3 years ago.
In a letter to the Secretary of the Great Barrier Reef Committee, Dr P. Mather of the University of Queensland, Lieutenant Commander F. T. Roberts RAN (Ret.) (in April 1967) drew (he Committee’s attention to the danger of large tankers moving through Torres Strait waters. Commander Roberts referred in particular to the tanker ‘Oceanic Grandeur’ of 58,062 D.W.T.-
He named the ship, and this is most important: with a draught of 38 feet. His letter reads in part, The latest sailing directions by the authority of the Marine Board of Queensland state, “Considerable ingenuity would be needed to navigate a deep-draught vessel of 38 feet draught with safety in the Prince of Wales Channel. ‘
It was in the Prince of Wales Channel that the ‘Oceanic Grandeur’ struck the uncharted object. The publication continued:
They also state, “This route cannot be considered a safe route for a vessel of 38 feet draught.” ‘
In response to this letter, the Great Barrier Reef Committee wrote to the Portmaster of Queensland, Captain J. Beckingsale, forwarding Commander Roberts’ information and received the reply (in part):
Regarding the element of risk by deeply laden tankers grounding in the Torres Straits and Great Barrier Reef areas thereby causing widespread pollution ] feel that the danger whilst present is remote.’
I emphasise the last part of the statement: The danger whilst present is remote.’ Commander Roberts was 3 years ahead in his fears of what could happen and what ultimately did happen in Torres Strait where this tanker went aground. As I have said I consider the risk was too great because a 3 ft clearance under perfect conditions was totally inadequate. There has been negligence on the part of the Department of Shipping and Transport in allowing ships of this tonnage, carrying the amount of cargo with which this tanker was laden on this occasion, to use these passages. There has been negligence on the part of the authorities in allowing ships of this size to use these passages. The Department has adopted the attitude: ‘It cannot happen here. We will give it a go and hope for the best.’ As the Captain said in his letter to Commander Roberts: ‘The danger whilst present is remote.’ The danger was present and it was not remote. Commander Roberts was only a matter of some 3 years out in his prediction, naming the ship which finally struck.
I am pleased to note in the concluding passages of the Minister’s statement that this question of the continued use of the Strait by ships of this size is being considered. I think it should go even further. That is not sufficient. Tankers of all tonnages should be completely excluded from Torres Strait and Whitsunday Passage. They should be made to go around the outside into the open sea, thus eliminating the possibility of some irreparable damage being caused to the pearl industry or the Great Barrier Reef itself. I am pleased to see that the Minister is at least considering the size of tankers which may be permitted to use the Strait. I trust that we will receive a statement from the Minister in due course that the discussions have resulted in tankers being completely excluded from this section of the Australian coast. There are just a few other points on which I would be pleased to have a reply. Is the Department going to blow the tops off all the 5 fathom 5 ft patches around the Australian coast or is it to restrict these activities to the confined waters of Torres Strait, Whitsunday Passage and like passages? Finally, will there be a court of marine inquiry, and if not, why not, having in mind what could have eventuated as far as this incident was concerned in which millions of dollars worth of damage could have been caused.
Mr SINCLAIR (New England- Minister for Shipping and Transport) - by leave - The honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones) has raised several points. His last question related to whether or not the intention is to remove all 6 fathom patches from around the Australian coastline. This obviously is not our intention either generally or as far as this particular object is concerned, as the honourable member will ascertain from re-reading the passage relevant to the rock itself. He will realise that the obstruction to which the passage in my statement refers is to the pinnacle of rock on which the ‘Oceanic
Grandeur’ itself grounded. As far as the discrepancy to which the honourable member referred is concerned, and the fact that there is a variation between the 2 charts, it is obvious that this pinnacle of rock was unknown. It is something which appeared on no charts and consequently there does appear to be a need to establish an exact sounding of the depths in the channel, and it is towards this end that part of the recommendation of Captain Eccles is directed. In the result, when the pinnacle of rock has been removed the location of the shoals will also need to be exactly pinpointed so that in the future a later dated chart will be able to be used by ships passing through the channel.
– In other words, the Admiralty charts and Australian charts will be brought up to date.
– As far as any discrepancy is concerned. It will not be a matter of bringing them up to date. We will have one later chart from which mariners will operate. As to the draught of vessels passing through the Strait and whether or not the pilot was on course and whether the chart was in error, the findings of Captain Eccles indicate that the pilot and the Master of the vessel were both operating as they should and with the due exercise of the skills of their callings.
– It is an individual finding.
– This is a finding as a result of the inquiry by the officer of my Department. This officer is, of course, a senior technical officer and his findings, coming as they do in the form which I have now presented to the House, are such that it is not at this time intended to appoint a court of marine inquiry. In terms of future navigational facilities, it is true as the honourable member for Newcastle has pointed out that only a minimal depth of water is available through the channel, but the former member for Robertson in this place raised on many occasions the difficulties that beset Australia as a result of having only shallow draught vessels able to navigate Torres Strait. To the extent to which vessels are excluded from the use of that Strait, of course, the added steaming time must be passed on to consumers and the Australian public through added freight and other charges. This will result from ships having to go an alternative way whatever their points of origin and destination might be. For this reason it is difficult to see why all vessels of a reasonably safe size should be excluded from Torres Strait, but nonetheless it is towards determining what the reasonably safe draft of vessels should be that the inquiries by my Department and the Queensland Government are now to be directed. It is also true, as honourable members will recall, that there are to . be a number of tide stations placed in Torres Strait, with the objectives of determining more accurately the movement of the sea bed in Torres Strait and, if possible, of seeing whether there might ultimately be a way to achieve some deepening of the passage, so enabling the passage through the Strait with safety of ships of larger draft than is presently possible.
– Is 3 ft 2 in, minus squatting, a safe margin?
– I understand that when a Master has slowed his ship down it is safe, technically.
Mr CHARLES JONES (Newcastle)- by leave - The Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Sinclair) clearly stated that under the best circumstances therewas 3 ft 2 in, less squatting; he has used that term.
– There is to be an inquiry into what is the safe draught for vessels using the Strait in future, and obviously as a result of this grounding that is one of the factors to be considered.
– Do you propose appointing a court of marine inquiry?
– That is not what a court of marine inquiry does. It is what the Commonwealth and the Queensland Government are inquiring into.
– With a ship of the size of the ‘Oceanic Grandeur’, carrying the dangerous cargo that it was carrying, does the Minister not consider that some independent authority-
– This is the result of the inquiry which I have tabled in the House this afternoon.
– That was a departmental inquiry which is completely different.
– It has completely exonerated everyone concerned. This was set out in the statement which I presented to the House, but there are certain recommendations which are being implemented and to which my statement referred.
– Whilst the recommendations are acceptable I still feel that sufficient inquiry of an independent nature has not been conducted. All we have is departmental justification for its own inaccurate and impractical system of working and that is what should be brought up to date. I do not think it is satisfactory. There is only one way to clean it all up and that is to have an independent inquiry to determine what has been happening and whether the practices followed by the Department of Shipping and Transport have been safe practices in the best interests of shipping and the people as a whole. Until such time as such an inquiry is conducted I consider the present report unsatisfactory.
– In accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969, I present the report relating to the following proposed work:
Development Works at HMAS ‘Tarangau’ at Los Negros Island.
Ordered that the report be printed.
Bill received from the Senate, and read a first time.
Bill presented by Mr Gorton, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
On 26th September last year I announced to the House that the Commonwealth Government was prepared to provide a loan of up to $80ra to the Queensland Government to help the State finance the construction of a proposed large scale power station at Gladstone in central Queensland which would provide low-cost power and, through it, attract a viable export oriented industrial complex to central Queensland. The offer was conditional on the State being able to satisfy the Commonwealth that it could attract such special industrial development to the region. Since that announcement negotiations have progressed between the State and Organisations likely to establish industries in the central Queensland region, and also between the Queensland Government and the Commonwealth. The result of these negotiations is that the Queensland Government has satisfied the Commonwealth that major export oriented industries are likely to be attracted to central Queensland through the provision of the low-cost power; and the Commonwealth and Queensland governments have reached agreement on the terms and conditions of a Commonwealth loan to the State to assist with the necessary works. On 8th April an agreement between the 2 governments was signed by myself and the Premier of Queensland. The purpose of this Bill is to seek Parliament’s approval for the agreement to come into effect and for the provision of the financial assistance specified in the aggreemen.
The estimated cost of the proposed power station together with local reticulation at Gladstone, at 1968 prices, is $155m. It will have an approximate total installed generating capacity of HOO megawatts, of which about 600 megawatts will be reserved by the State for special industrial purposes in central Queensland. For the purpose of the agreement the Queensland Government shall produce evidence satisfactory to the Minister for National Development that the State has entered into or proposes to enter into agreements, arrangements and options for the consumption of electrical power by industrial organisations which will export a substantial proportion of their products or which will produce goods of a kind which will be supplied to industries producing goods predominantly for export.
As in other similar arrangements, provision is made in the agreement for the approval by the Minister for National Development of the letting of major con tracts - in this instance those for the performance of works to a value in excess of $lm. The actual amount of the Commonwealth financial assistance will depend on the cost of construction of the power station and local reticulation. The agreement provides for a variation in the amount of finanical assistance above or below $80m according to any variation which occurs in the total cost above or below $155m. Thus the amount of financial assistance may be expressed arithmetically as 80/155ths of the total cost of the project. Commonwealth financial assistance will be available towards expenditure by the State on the project during the period commencing on the date of my announcement, 26th September 1969 and ending on 30th June 1977. The assistance will be in the form of an interest bearing loan repayable over a period of 30 years commencing when the power station is completed. The loan will carry interest at the rate of 6.4% per annum to accrue and to be capitalised during the construction of the project. There is, however, provision for the State to make payments of interest, instead of allowing the interest to be capitalised, once integral components of the station are commissioned and producing power. There is also provision for interest charges not to be payable during the early stages of construction of the project, thus reducing the overall interest cost to somewhat below 6.4% .
Honourable members no doubt will be interested in an outline of the background to this important project. Prior to its consideration of a major power station at Gladstone the State had already envisaged the construction of a thermal power station in the region as part of its programme for a general expansion to meet normal growth in the demand for electricity. The initial planning involved interconnection of the supply networks located in southern and central Queensland. A number of studies of the prospects for development of central Queensland, including a study by the Department of National Development in conjunction with the State Department of Industrial Development, have pointed to the imposing array of natural resources which exist in the region. These resources have been shown to be outstanding in both variety and magnitude, yet still relatively underdeveloped. The official studies and various industry inquiries have indicated that these resources could well be a base for the establishment of large scale export oriented industries.
In saying this, it should be remembered too that impressive developments have already been taking place in the region. For example, large coal mining and export operations have become established, the ports of Gladstone and Port Alma have been considerably developed and a large scale alumina project established at Gladstone is entering a major expansionary stage. The region possesses very large resources of steaming coal, considerable quantities of which are mined and produced together with coking coal by companies principally engaged in the production and export of coking coal in the region. This steaming coal will be regularly available to the State at low cost.
Against this background of resources and potential the Premier of Queensland in September 1968 raised with me the possibility of the Commonwealth assisting the State with capital in order that a power station could be built at Gladstone to provide the high load factor and low-cost supply required to attract’ major export oriented industries to central Queensland. At that time negotiations had commenced between Queensland Ministers and officials and several companies interested in major industrial development in the region. Since then the proposals put forward by the Queensland Government have been closely examined by the Commonwealth. I would mention that, in the course of these investigations, the Snowy Mountains Authority was engaged as consultants. The Commonwealth, as a result of these investigations, is greatly impressed with the potential of the power station project both for attracting major industries to central Queensland and for bringing about a substantial lift in exports.
Naturally the negotiations between the Queensland Government and the companies concerned are confidential. I can say that the Commonwealth is satisfied from the evidence presented to it that major export oriented industries will be establishing in central Queensland. In fact, the Government believes, as the Governor-General said in his speech on 3rd March, that the power station will result in the construction of an aluminium smelter, possibly the biggest in the southern hemisphere, and in other industrial development. We are confident, along with the Queensland Government, that the power station will attract a major chemical industry using the extensive salt resources in the area and we have high hopes that operations in this field may commence in 2 or 3 years time. There is indeed a whole range of industries which could be attracted to central Queensland by the power station. To the best of my knowledge these have not been brought to finality, but it is fully expected that that will happen. The Government believes that its support of this project, besides encouraging new industrial development and a lift in exports, will prove to be a concrete example of decentralisation.
There is one further matter which I should bring to the attention of honourable members. The Queensland Government has also asked that the Commonwealth give consideration to further financial assistance at a later date should the demand for power from the special export oriented industries to be established in the region increase to such a pronounced degree that further enlargement of the power station would then be required. While the Government cannot at this stage give any commitment in relation to decisions that will have to be taken by a future Government in the circumstances existing then, we have informed the Queensland Government that we would approach the matter sympathetically when it arrives.
I would like to give to the House an example of the kind of development to which this project might lead. If the aluminium smelter to which I have referred should be established in this region it is likely that at its first stage of production it could be producing 240,000 tons of aluminium a year at a value on present day prices of about $126m. At a later stage, should all go well, it could be producing 320,000 tons of aluminium at an export value of $165m. The taxation revenue alone from such a development, should it come to fruition, would make this indeed a proper business proposition. But this is not only a business proposition. It is, as I have said, a concrete example of decentralisation and it may well prove to be the greatest step yet taken to awaken in that area of Queensland - a State which has been called a sleeping giant - really significant industrial development, a real increase in population, a real benefit to the State, and, through its exports, a real benefit to the nation. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Stewart) adjourned.
Bill presented by Dr Forbes, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
On 4th March last I was privileged to announce in the House the details of the Government’s decision to implement its new health benefits plan. This decision was influenced to a very large degree by the recommendations of the Commonwealth Committee of Enquiry into Health Insurance - the Nimmo Committee - and the plan will bring into effect the major recommendations made by that Committee relating to medical benefits and the administration of the voluntary health insurance organisations. The advances made possible by this Bill, in conjunction with the other improvements introduced by this Government in 1968 and 1969, will bring financial protection against the costs of medical and hospital treatment within the reach of every person in the community. At the same time the new health benefits plan will retain the basic principles which the Government believes are essential in any national welfare measure.
The Bill now before the House provides the machinery for the payment of higher rates of Commonwealth and fund medical benefits, introduces new measures concerned with the administration of registered medical and hospital benefits organisations and provides assistance on a wider scale towards the cost of health insurance for families on low incomes. The new medical benefits plan is founded on the lists of most common fees that have been established throughout the whole range of medical services. These fees were determined by the Australian Medical Association on the basis of factual information regarding actual fees charged as shown in doctors’ accounts submitted to medical benefits organisations. This information was supplemented by surveys carried out by the Australian Medical Association.
There are 7 schedules in the Bill. The First Schedule sets out the new rates of Commonwealth benefit payable for each medical service and replaces the schedule of Commonwealth benefits contained in the present National Health Act. Supplementing this First Schedule are 6 associated schedules - 1 for each Slate. These supplementary schedules list the fund benefit payable in each State for each medical service and the amount that is to be met by the patient when the doctor charges the common fee. The legal phrase used in the Bill for the portion of the common fee to be met by the patient is ‘specified excess’. The common fees that have been determined reflect existing charging patterns of the medical profession in the various States, and vary from State to State. It follows that if contributors are to receive adequate benefit rebates, then the benefits to which they are entitled must also vary as between States. The Bill provides for the fund benefits payable by organisations to vary from State to State and consequently it will be necessary for the contribution rates to be charged by organisations also to differ accordingly. In accordance with the practice since the medical benefits scheme was first introduced, Commonwealth benefits payable will be the same throughout Australia.
The First Schedule in this Bill is different from the Schedule to the present Act in one important aspect, in that it provides for differential rates of Commonwealth benefits to be payable for 340 selected medical services depending on whether the service is rendered by a general practitioner or a specialist in the practice of his specialty. Since my statement to the House on 4th March, this aspect of the new medical benefits arrangements has been the subject of some controversy within the medical profession and, for that reason, I desire to bring the relevant facts to the attention of honourable members.
The case for payment of differential benefits could not be better expressed than in the AMA’s published statements of the material it submitted to the Nimmo Committee and the Senate Committee which stated, andI quote:
From the contributors’ point of view, the greatest weakness in the medical benefits scheme is the varying and unpredictable gap between fees charged and rebates received. . . . The major reason for unsatisfactory rebates is that many procedures are customarily performed by either a general practitioner or by a specialist. Typical examples are confinements and other obstetric procedures and common operations such as tonsillectomy, appendicectomy and hernia operations . . .
Recommendation: There should be a differential benefit for certain procedures which are commonly carried out either by a general practitioner or by a specialist, to provide a greater Commonwealth Benefit for each such item in the Schedule, when performed by a specialist, when the patient is referred by another medical practitioner.
I repeat that the case for differential benefits in the interests of the patient could not be better expressed than it is in that evidence given to the Nimmo Committee and the Senate Committee by the Australian Medical Association. Some medical practitioners now dispute the equity of differential benefits. They claim that the Government is discriminating against general practitioners by not imposing what would be, in effect, a financial penalty against patients treated by specialists. They also claim that the introduction of differential benefits will mean that many patients will seek the services of specialists for treatment which general practitioners are competent to provide and that, in turn, this will ultimately have an adverse effect on general practice. The Government does not accept this viewpoint, which implies that general practitioners do not enjoy the confidence of their patients. The Government believes that patients will continue to respect the judgment of their general practitioner as to whether they require specialist attention and that the protection against the cost of specialist treatment afforded by the new health benefits plan will not in any way prejudice the traditional relationships between patients and their general practitioners.
I should also stress that, although we are seeking to provide patients with security against the costs of specialists’ services, the Government does not wish to create a situation in which the cost of the new plan is inflated by unnecessary and frivolous demands for specialist treatment. For this reason, the payment of higher benefits for these specialists’ services will be firmly based on referral to the specialist by another doctor, usually a general practitioner. It will be noted that clause 48 of the Bill provides authority for referral conditions to be prescribed by the regulations. The referral system is currently under review and discussions are being held with the Australian Medical Association. Upon the conclusion of those discussions a decision will be taken regarding any referral conditions to be prescribed by regulations - one proposal to be examined in this regard is that, to be valid for the purposes of the National Health Act, a referral should be in writing and on an official form.
The identification of specialists for the purposes of the health benefits plan has also received the Government’s attention. The registration of medical practitioners including specialists is, of course, a State government responsibility. However, not all Stales have implemented legislation providing for the registration of specialists and because of this, the Bill provides machinery for the recognition of specialists for the purposes of the National Health Act. The machinery will revolve around Specialists Recognition Advisory Committees which will be set up in each State. The membership of these committees will be made up of appropriately qualified medical practitioners appointed by the Minister on the nomination of the Australian Medical Association.
Provision has been made in the Bill for adjustments to the schedules to be prescribed by regulation. Such adjustments may be necessary as more comprehensive data, collected over a longer period, comes to hand regarding fees commonly charged by doctors; mainly in regard to medical procedures infrequently carried out. Also appropriate amounts for new medical procedures introduced from time to time will be fixed initially by regulation. However it is proposed that the amounts fixed in this way will be ratified by amendments to the Act.
The Bill makes provision for the patient’s share of the cost of an operation and the services directly associated with the operation not to exceed $5 where the doctors concerned charge the common fee. This principle will also be applied in the situation where a patient undergoes 2 or more operations on the 1 occasion. Clause 10, providing as it does the machinery for paying an additional Commonwealth benefit, achieves this objective. As I said in my statement to the House on 4th March 1970 the cost to the Commonwealth of increasing
Commonwealth medical benefits payments is estimated to be $29.5m in a full year. The new definition of ‘professional service’, in the Bill, recognises for benefit purposes services rendered by oral surgeons in operating theatres of approved hospitals. The services to be recognised under this provision will be prescribed by regulation. In future there will be only one table of fund medical benefits available to contributors in each State. This means that within each State all registered organisations will pay the same rates of benefits for medical services. Rates of ancillary benefits payable by organisations may vary as they do now.
Under the new plan, contribution rates may vary as between organisations. The contribution rate to be charged by a particular fund will depend on an assessment of its future financial experience and the level of its reserves. A policy will be applied under which larger funds’ free reserves - that is, reserves in excess of amounts held against unpresented claims and contributions paid in advance - will generally be limited to the equivalent of 3 months’ contribution income. As in the past, proposals to vary contribution rates will be examined by the Registration Committee established under section 70 of the National Health Act and approved by the Minister for Health before being put into effect.
Eligibility of individual contributors for the higher benefits authorised by this Bill will be dependent on contributions being made to the new table of fund benefits fixed for the State in which the fund is operating. Arrangements are being made for registered medical benefits organisations to have the new tables of fund benefits introduced by the date of commencement of the new plan. It is expected that a majority of contributors will have enrolled in, or transferred to, the new tables with effect from the date of commencement of the new arrangements. At the same time, however, it is recognised that in some cases delays may occur before contributors make arrangements to enrol in the new table and a transitional period of 3 months will be allowed to enable arrangements to be made in all cases. This period may be extended where a contributor has paid his contributions in advance for a period extending beyond the 3 months. Registered organisations will, of course, if the contributor wishes, adjust con tributions paid in advance so that he may become a contributor to the new table without delay.
These are the main provisions included in the Bill in relation to the new medical benefits scheme. An essential factor in the successful application of the common fee concept is that there be a proper understanding throughout the community of what the new plan aims to do. In order to further public understanding of the plan, my Department is arranging for the publication of information booklets explaining in detail bow the plan will operate. This explanatory information, including details of the most common fee for the most frequently used medical services, will be made widely available to the general public.
I should like to stress again the Government’s belief that the co-operation of the medical profession in adhering to the lists of most common fees will be vital to the success of the new medical benefits arrangements. The Government is confident that this co-operation will be forthcoming because the common fee concept on which the new arrangements are based provides a satisfactory method of financing medical care in a way which takes account of the unique relationship that exists between the medical profession and the general community. As I have stated on many previous occasions and emphasise again now, the Government strongly supports the common fee concept primarily because we earnestly desire to provide the Australian people with a substantial degree of security against the cost of medical treatment The Government is also cognizant of the desirability of conducting the health benefits plan in such a way that the standards of medical practice and the legitimate interests of the medical profession are effectively safeguarded. We are convinced that, with the co-operation of doctors in adhering to the common fees, patients can be provided with the security which they require and to which we firmly believe they are entitled. At the same time, the profession’s wholehearted co-operation will provide it with the best possible guarantee of preservation of the freedoms which individual doctors now enjoy and the best possible protection of the profession’s own interests.
I should like to refer now to the provisions of the Bill relating to the administration of the registered medical and hospital benefits organisations. The main provisions in the Bill concern the new requirements that the ‘organisations will have to observe if they are to participate in the plan. All organisations will be required to obtain specific registration by the Minister in respect of each State in which they wish to carry on business. For the purposes of separate State registration, the Northern Territory is deemed to be a State but the Australian Capital Territory is deemed to be part of New South Wales.
Open organisations - those in which membership is open to the public - will be required to establish and operate a separate fund in each State in which they are registered to carry on business and to maintain and submit separate financial statements each year in respect of, each fund. This will enable the separate identification and assessment of the financial experience of the organisation’s operations in each State. Approval for an open fund to operate in a particular State will not be continued unless it is shown that economic and efficient operations in that State can be expected. lt will be practicable for this course to be taken without undue interference with the fund or funds operated by the organisations in other States. So that new conditions of registration may be uniformly applied at the one time, and existing conditions of registration reviewed, the Bill requires that each organisation shall apply for re-registration before 1st October 1970. In applying for a new registration, an open organisation operating in more than one State will, in accordance with clause S3, be required to submit a scheme for establishing separate funds in each State in which it wishes to operate.
In the event of the Minister deciding to cancel the separate State registration of an organisation or the total registration of an organisation, such cancellation may not be finalised until all the contributors involved have been given the opportunity to transfer to some other fund conducted by a registered organisation of their choice without any loss of benefit rates or entitlements. Restricted membership organisations will not be required to maintain separate funds in the various States in respect of which they are registered and will not be required to submit separate financial returns in respect of each State. Of course, restricted mem bership organisations will, as now, be expected to operate efficiently and economically overall. In future a report, comprising the financial returns submitted by registered medical and hospital benefits organisations, will be tabled in both Houses of Parliament. For this purpose, organisations will be required to submit returns each year in respect of the year ending on 30th June. The first report tabled will be in respect of the year ending 30th June 1971.
I wish to turn now to the position of low income families under the new health benefits plan. In October 1969 the National Health Act was amended to provide free health insurance for persons receiving unemployment and sickness benefits, for families with weekly incomes not exeeding $39 and for migrants during their first 2 months in Australia. As a result of the increase in the Commonwealth minimum weekly wage in December 1969 it is proposed to increase the eligibility level for full health insurance for low income families to $42.50 per week. The Bill also provides for graduated assistance toward the costs of contributing for health insurance to families with weekly incomes not exceeding $48.50.
In future, families with incomes of up to $42.50 per week will be entitled to full medical benefits and also to hospital benefits equal to the cost of public ward treatment without any payment of contributions. Families with incomes between $42.50 per week and $45.50 per week will be eligible for the same benefits on payment of contributions at one-third the usual rates, while families with incomes between $45.50 and $48.50 per week will be eligible for the benefits on payment of contributions at two-thirds the usual rate. It is estimated that some 84,000 families and 271,000 persons will be eligible for assistance, because of the extension of the assistance, and that the additional cost in a full year will be $3m. Families eligible for this assistance may secure insurance cover higher than that needed to meet public ward hospital charges by paying the extra contributions involved.
Finally, I would like to mention the amendment to section 9b of the National Act authorising the provision of rubella vaccine for mass immunisation campaigns. Because of the developments in rubella, vaccine research and the grave consequences of infection with rubella to the unborn child, the Government has decided that the safe and effective rubella vaccine now available should be made available free of cost. The vaccine which has been chosen is manufactured in Belgium from the Cendehill strain and it will be imported and distributed on behalf of the Commonwealth by the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories.
A Bill to amend the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories Act to authorise the Laboratories to undertake the importation and sale to the Commonwealth of any vaccine that the Commonwealth may wish to make available for immunisation campaigns is also proposed. The rubella vaccine will be made available on similar terms as for poliomyelitis and measles vaccine, namely, the Commonwealth will provide the vaccine free of charge and the States will be responsible for their campaigns, including planning, administration and the maintenance of the necessary records.
In conclusion, I wish to advise honourable members that to facilitate the understanding of the amendments proposed by this Bill, it is intended to make available to the House a memorandum containing a consolidation of the National Health Act as it would appear after amendment by this Bill. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Hayden) adjourned.
Bill presented by Dr Forbes, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The Bill before the House is to authorise the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories Commission to import and sell to the Commonwealth, for the purpose of immunisation campaigns, those vaccines referred to in section 9b of the National Health Act. At present that Act refers to poliomyelitis and measles vaccines and included in the amendments to that Act which are before the House is one which contains a proposal to include rubella-German measles - vaccine in section 9b.
The Serum Laboratories have for a number of years been purchasing from overseas poliomyelitis vaccine, and more recently measles - Morbilli - vaccine on behalf of the Commonwealth which makes the vaccines available free of charge to State and Territory authorities for mass immunisation campaigns. Once the vaccine is cleared for issue in Australia the Commonwealth Department of Health, on receipt of requests from the States and Territories, asks the Commission to forward the appropriate quantities of the vaccine to the States and Territories. The Commission then claims reimbursement from the Department of Health for the vaccine supplied in accordance with a price that has been determined by the Minister under section 22 of the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories Act.
It was during consideration of making rubella vaccine available for immunisation campaigns that doubt was expressed whether the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories Act 1961-1966 authorised the Commission to import vaccine and sell it to the Commonwealth. Legal advice is that the Act as it stands does not authorise the Commission to import vaccine for the purpose proposed. It is for this reason that it is proposed to amend the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories Act, I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Hayden) adjourned.
– I move:
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969, it is expedient to carry out the following proposed work which was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works and on which the Committee has duly reported to Parliament: Construction of additional storehouse building at stores depot, Tottenham, Victoria.
The proposal involves construction of a single storey storehouse building measuring 480 feet by 244 feet and having a clear inside height of 20 feet. It also includes an extension of the standard gauge railway spur line to the storehouse. In reporting favourably on the proposal the Committee recommended that the proposal should include the work required to facilitate the provision at a later date of a broad gauge rail connection to the new storehouse and that the height of the vehicle access doorways should be increased. These amendments wa be incorporated in the final plans. The estimated cost is $975,000. Upon the concurrence of the House in this resolution, detailed planning can proceed in accordance with the Committee’s recommendations.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
High Schools at Casuarina (Darwin) and Alice Springs
Mr CHIPP (Hotham- Minister for
Customs and Excise) [4.47] - I move:
The proposals involve construction of 2 high schools comprising classrooms, assembly areas, craft blocks et cetera. Each school will provide teaching facilities for 1,100 pupils. The estimated cost of each school is $2.4m. In reporting favourablly on the proposals the Committee recommended that single contracts be let for both schools and that construction be staged to allow occupation of Alice Springs High School stage 1 at the commencement of the 1972 school year, stage 2 at the commencement of 1973 year and occupation of Casuarina High School in 1973 and 1974 respectively. The Department of Works has advanced planning of the second stages and tenders will be called for single projects as recommended. The Committee asked that planning of access to the Casuarina school be reconsidered. Amendments have been incorporated in the plans which provide for greater segregation of vehicular and pedestrian traffic to improve pedestrian safety and minimise congestion. Grassing of the Alice Springs school oval will be included in the proposal as recommended. Upon the concurrence of this House in this resolution, detailed planning can proceed in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee.
– The Opposition wishes to be associated with this motion. The high schools at Casuarina and Alice Springs have been the subject of debate in this House. The Opposition has stated that the schools are greatly needed. It is noted that each school will be constructed to house approximately 1,100 pupils which is a fair sized school by Darwin or Alice Springs standards. It is noted also that a craft block is to be constructed. This is a great innovation in that it will allow the elements of trades to be incorporated in the basic curriculum of the schools. The Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp) did not state the advantages of having a single contract for both schools. I assume that there would be decided economic advantages. I expect that is the answer. If materials and plans were available in a single contract there would be less scope for duplication and therefore a saving on construction costs could be made. One of the points made to me about the original plans was that not sufficient thought was given to the access provisions at Casuarina. I understand from listening to the Minister that the Committee has taken this into account and that improvements have been made. The Opposition supports the motion.
Mr CALDER (Northern Territory) 14.52] - I rise to support the motion concerning the building of these 2 schools at Casuarina and Alice Springs at a cost of $2.4m each. 1 know that (o some extent there has been a re-design to alter the flow of traffic. I commend the Committee on this because Darwin is a city which is growing at the rate of about 12% per annum and these traffic problems can be overcome if the original planning is carried out. Concerning the Alice Springs school and indeed ail the schools in the Northern Territory, I have been very active in putting up a case for grassed ovals. In the past there have been no sporting facilities at schools such as that at Tennant Creek, other than a bit of asphalt, gravel and dirt. Physical education is very important in the upbringing of the young, especially in towns where there are coloured and part coloured children playing and working alongside white children.
It is a great idea to plan these ovals and I commend their inclusion. I would also like to mention the planning staff and the work that went into havingthe estimates and the plans for these schools brought forward so that the work would not be held up by delay in the Public Works Committee consideration. I commend the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I move:
The proposal includes construction of a twin unit office building, blocks 6 and 7. of 3 storeys, a 3-storey building of part office space and housing a cafeteria, recreation area, PABX and a data processing centre. The information and display centre will be in a small single storey structure. The estimated cost is $3. 3m. The Committee has reported favourably on the proposal and upon the concurrence of the House in this resolution, detailed planning can proceed in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee.
The Opposition supports the motion. Extra administrative buildings are needed in Darwin because many members of the technical staff are housed in sub-standard buildings. In fact, these buildings are the aftermath of the Second World War. Those people who know the Northern Territory are aware of the problems experienced by the technical staff and others who are not properly housed, particularly those who work in buildings which are not air conditioned. I understand that a cafeteria service will be available. This is the type of building which is warranted in a progressive area like Darwin. The Opposition supports the motion.
– I also support the motion, which recommends the construction of administrative blocks 6, 7 and 8 and an information centre. I note with pleasure that the Government is continuing to pursue its interests in the Northern Territory. This is another instance of its doing so. An amount of $3.3m is to be provided for the construction of these administrative blocks. As has been already mentioned, some Commonwealth employees are working in, to say the least, sub-standard accommodation. They are doing so in a climate which is - let us face it - particularly torrid for at least 2 or 3 months of the year. I am glad to note that a cafeteria is envisaged. It will mean that Commonwealth employees will not have to walk down the street in very humid and hot conditions or, during the wet season, in driving rain to obtain meals. I support the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– by leave - For some time past certain people have been planning a series of events called the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign, which are to be held on 8th, 9th and 10th May. I propose to state the objectives of the Campaign, to identify its origins, to analyse the methods of operation advocated by its promoters or likely to be developed, and to comment upon those methods. I hope that what I say will be borne in mind by persons who, up to now, have sponsored or supported the Campaign. I hope that this statement may induce those persons to reconsider their support and to withdraw from the position they have taken up. I hope also that what I say will be heeded by people in places of political influence who, by virtue of that influence, may be able to persuade others not to embark upon or persist in a course of conduct calculated to damage the great interest we all have in maintaining a stable democratic society ruled by law. Further I hope that my remarks will be borne in mind by people who, not yet having made up their minds about the Campaign, may be assisted to do so by an exposure of the relevant facts.
The stated aims of the promoters of the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign are to secure the withdrawal of Australian and all other foreign troops from Vietnam and the repeal of the National Service Act. The origins of the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign are not difficult to trace. The description ‘Moratorium’ is essentially deceptive. It originated in the United States of America, where certain people conceived the idea that a series of nationwide strikes, increasing progressively in length by 1 day a month, should be organised to protest against the Vietnam war. These people, not lacking in ingenuity and aiming to attract as much support as possible from the community at large by creating the impression amongst decent-thinking people that violence or disruption had no place in their plans, thought that a word such as ‘strike’ carried overtones too radical for their purpose. They hoped by the use of the word ‘Moratorium’ to create an impression of lawfulness and respectability. They announced a Moratorium on business as usual’ but their intention, as subsequent events showed, was to provoke strikes and other disruptive activity for avowedly political purposes. The Vietnam Moratorium Campaign’ in the United States provided the inspiration for the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign in Australia.
On 25th November 1969, the Reverend A. J. Lloyd, Secretary of the Congress for International Co-operation and Disarmament, Victoria, acting on behalf of that body, convened a ‘national consultation’ of peace movement representatives in Canberra. According to certain literature published for the Congress this meeting was arranged to plan a major, national ‘end the war’ project for early in the New Year. The literature to which I have referred reported that the meeting was attended by twelve Labor senators of this Parliament, and that it was resolved to organise a nationally co-ordinated Vietnam moratorium campaign’. A national co-ordinating committee and provisional State convenors were elected at the meeting held on 25th November. On the following day, a spokesman held a Press conference in the course of which he announced that 68 Federal members and senators had headed the list of public sponsorship of the project.
The origins of the Congress for International Co-operation and Disarmament, Victoria, ought to be publicised. It is the continuing organisation of the Australian and New Zealand Congress for International Co-operation and Disarmament which had operated under that name in Victoria from 1959. The Victorian section of the CICD was constituted at a meeting held in Melbourne in May 1967. The circumstances of its foundation make it quite clear that it was the intention of its founders that the basic policy pursued by the Australian and New Zealand Congress for International Co-operation and Disarmament and its related organisations since 1959 should remain unchanged.
It has long been well known that the Australian and New Zealand Congress for International Co-operation and Disarmament is in effect the creature of the international Communist-front organisation known as the ‘World Peace Council’. The nature and extent of the relationship between these organisations is amply detailed in statements made in this House by my last two predecessors in office on 3rd September 1964 and 4th May 1968. I shall not repeat those details here. It suffices to remind the House of one fact clearly made out in those statements: This fact, which is as true today as when those statements were made, is that the founding and the activities of such a body as the Australian and New Zealand Congress for International Co-operation and Disarmament were part of a well known and widely practised Communist tactic. That tactic is to invest with an aura of respectability activities designed to promote Communist ascendancy, by the process of persuading well-known people to lend their prestige and their support to unworthy causes that, by a process of calculated deception, are made to appear worthy.
– Is it dishonourable to want to end a dishonourable war?
– Order! The honourable member for Oxley should cease interjecting.
– I always like to hear from the honourable member for Oxley, Mr Deputy Speaker, because whenever anyone on this side of the House draws a bit of his blood he squeals. It is part of this process to claim, quite falsely, a monopoly of interest in world peace and to use pretentious titles for what are essentially Communist-front organisations.
I accept that in this country many wellintentioned citizens are, for reasons in which they genuinely believe, opposed to Australian military involvement in support of the Government of South Vietnam. I accept that many of those citizens object in good faith to the present, or any, system of national service. They are fully entitled to express their opinions upon these great issues and fully entitled, if they can, to persuade others, including a majority of the electorate or of the Parliament, to their way of thinking. While I respect their right to express their dissent lawfully and peacefully, I do not share their views, indeed, I am completely opposed to them. But whether their opinions, as against those held and implemented by the Government, are opinions that ought to prevail, is, I believe, no part of the present question, which is a very different one. Primarily, it is whether the methods proposed or likely to be practised in this campaign for a change of the law and of Government policy are calculated to serve the public interest.
In approaching this problem, one must first consider what conduct is permissible in a democratic society on the part of those who wish to see a change in Government policy or a change in the law. One must then ask whether those responsible for organising, and those who have consented to participate in, the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign really have it in mind to contain the Campaign within permissible limits. In a parliamentary democracy, any attempt to change the law should be made within the framework of the law. Any other path to change is potentially anarchical. If men are given an effective means of attempting by 1 peaceful processes to secure majority acceptance of their political views, anyone with a concern for the preservation of true freedom should see to it that those means are used to the exclusion of others. Otherwise the rule of law may cease to be part of our way of life.
This principle, applying as it does to all citizens, applies with special force to members of parliament. Members have special opportunities, which are not available to all citizens, to advocate, in proper constitututional form, changes both in Government policy and in the law. Correspondingly, they t have a special responsibility to ensure that efforts to secure changes in law or policy are directed along proper channels or at the least along peaceful lines. This special responsibility is underlined by the fact that each of us - the members of this House - take an oath of allegiance or its equivalent upon taking a seat in this place. To be in parliamentary opposition to a democratically elected government must at times be galling and frustrating. But this affords no excuse for resorting to, or encouraging, activities, based simply on the naked physical power of a mob, designed to force or embarrass a government into taking steps in conflict with the policies upon which that government secured a mandate to govern. Such an illicit and dangerous abuse of power must have no place in our national life.
The honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) is prominent in the activities of the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign. On 18th December last, when he held office as Acting Chairman of its Victorian organising committee, he wrote me a letter which, if it establishes nothing else to his credit, shows at least that he is a practising optimist. He sought my support for the Campaign. I have the letter here. I will table it if honourable members would like to see it. He asserted that 75 members of the Federal Parliament had signed statements sponsoring it. In this letter, which I believe was a circular, the honourable member asserted that on ‘the recent Moratorium Days’ in the United States, vast numbers of Americans had taken part in a series of dramatic, peaceful events calling for an end to the war’. The publicly reported facts are that, in the course of the Vietnam Moratorium Demonstration held in Washington on 15th November last, more than 100 people were injured and demonstrators, by looting and other forms of violence, did extensive damage to private and government property.
The honourable member’s departure from the facts on this point cannot but detract from his reputation - the more so as he is given to claiming an intimate knowledge of the subjects with which he has dealt in this House. But I feel bound to emphasize this departure in order that the methods of persuasion adopted by the honourable member and by the promoters of this Campaign should be widely known for what they are - utterly devoid of candour. I must next refer to an example of gross dishonesty to be found in a full page advertisement inserted in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ of 11th April by those sponsoring the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign in New South
Wales. Part of the text asserts that certain persons, including one dressed in clerical garb, whose photograph appears in the advertisement, are ‘average Australians’ who ‘can’t condone the war crimes committed in our name’. The clear, and wickedly false, meaning of these words is that Australian servicemen in Vietnam are committing war crimes. Perhaps some of the many members of the Opposition who are sponsors of this Campaign will tell us whether they agree in that allegation. There are many members in that position on the other side of the House this afternoon. As well as the honourable member for Lalor, there are other political activists running and supporting the campaign. They include an assorted collection of Communists, Communist-sympathisers, Trotskyites and anarchists.
The Communist Party of Australia is heavily involved in the Campaign. No doubt, its degeneration into violence would not be anathema to it. The participation of the Communist Party of Australia and other extremist groups in the Campaign deserves attention; for it is with such people and, by necessary inference, their proposed methods of operation that 75 members of the Parliamentary Labor Party will be in league if, in the light of current developments, they do not recant. Unless they do, we shall gain a sharpened appreciation of the significance of the words used by the honourable member for Lalor in 1964, when writing in a publication called Dissent’, he said of his Party: ‘We are situated in the political spectrum next to the Communists and they will stand for many things for which we also stand’. ‘We’ means the Australian Labor Party. He continued: ‘We cannot therefore oppose those things. Because of our position in the political spectrum we will find ourselves in the same place as Communists on some occasions, doing the same things for the same ends’.
The question which is of paramount importance to the Government and to all responsible people in the community is whether a campaign along the lines proposed by the organisers of the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign can in truth be conducted without violence. Some wellintentioned peace activists have become discouraged from lending their support following the Campaign organisers’ failure to obtain the official endorsement of the Federal Executive of the Labor Party or the official backing of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. The waning support of non-Communist activists has led to tightened control by Communists, Trotskyites and irresponsible elements. All this can only increase the risk of violence. The honourable member for Lalor has admitted this risk; he has said that he ‘cannot guarantee non-violence’. He should know.
On 1st February last a public meeting of friends and supporters of the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign was held in the Richmond Town Hall under the Chairmanship of the honourable member for Lalor. At this meeting, Mr Arthur Robert Quinn, described as an executive member of the co-ordinating committee, is reported as having moved a resolution to delete from the statement of the aims of the Campaign the condition that ‘all actions taken be of a peaceful, non-violent nature’. That was the condition which this gentleman moved to delete from the charter of the campaign. That motion was carried. The implications of that resolution need little elaboration; but according to the Melbourne ‘Sun’ of 2nd February, the mover said that the taking over of the Melbourne streets would be a form of violence. 1 agree with him. Another speaker - that is, another speaker at this meeting chaired by the honourable member for Lalor held at the Richmond Town Hall - described the stoning by demonstrators of the United Slates Consulate-General in Melbourne in July 1968 as ‘an effective form of protest’. For proposing that the condition forbidding violence should be retained, Mr John Ryan, Editor of the ‘Catholic Worker’, a Melbourne publication, was derided by loud heckling. All I can say is that - as we know it to be a fact that the honourable member for Lalor was the chairman of that meeting - any chairman, being a member of Parliament with even a minimal sense of responsibility, when that motion was proposed and the approving reference made to the stoning of the United States Consulate-General in Melbourne would then and there have left the chair and closed the meeting.
– Crocodile tears.
– I have no crocodile tears but I think you have some real tears, my friend, because you are seeing your Party in a very awkward SPOt. lt cannot be laughed off. Such is the prevailing climate in Melbourne. But no description of the situation there would be complete without reference to even more recent activities of the honourable member for Lalor. At a Press conference held in Melbourne on 25th March, he is reported to have called on workers and students to occupy the streets of Melbourne’ on Friday 8th May; and to have called on all workers, students and citizens to stop work and take over the streets of that city and of provincial towns. He expressed the hope that the Campaign would bring industry, commerce, offices, traffic, schools and universities to a standstill. That is the way he is reported. I wonder. Does he believe that this sort of activity can be undertaken without violence? Does he really want to use school children as his pawns? In referring, as he has, to ‘a threat of police intimidation’ of the demonstrators, he has attempted in advance of events to convict the police of responsibility for any violence that may occur. I have no hesitation in saying that that is a most disreputable device.
I referred earlier to the honourable member’s claim that 75 members of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party have publicly supported the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign. 1 believe, however, that the following members of the Opposition side of this House, have not done so: the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard), and the honourable members for Darling (Mr Fitzpatrick), Macquarie (Mr Luchetti), Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones), Prospect (Dr Klugman), Fremantle (Mr Beazley), Perth (Mr Berinson) and Braddon (Mr Davies). It is a short roll, but at least it perhaps represents those in the Labor Party with some sense of responsibility. They are in a very small minority. While their good judgment is commendable, their separation from the majority of their colleagues disposes of any suggestion that the Parliamentary Opposition is a united and happy band of brothers. In recent years we have witnessed in this country the appearance of a variety of radical dissident groups. These groups are entitled to their radicalism and to their dissent. But their activities have in many cases been militant to the point of violence. In the past, organisers of relatively small protest marches and demonstrations have been unable, even when they wished to do so, to exclude or control those extremist minorities whose methods of operation are repugnant to all decent citizens.
We should not forget the riots in Melbourne on 4th July 1968 and 4th July 1969, when the United States Consulate-General was the target of extremist violence. In those riots 31 people were injured and 88 arrested. There is no evidence that the organisers of the Campaign will be able to maintain control of all those who intend to participate. There is positive evidence that certain persons prominent in the Campaign, including the honourable member for Lalor, are encouraging action which they must know is calculated to lead to serious breaches of the peace. Each member of the Parliamentary Labour Party who has sponsored the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign now has in my judgment a great decision to make. Will he continue to sponsor the Campaign or will he now withdraw his support? In making his decision he will inevitably disclose his attitude to violent protest. But there is another member of this House who ought to speak. The Leader of the Opposition, my honourable friend sitting at the table, has a public duty to denounce the methods of campaigning proposed by the honourable member for Lalor and their undoubted potential for violence. I ask whether he will perform it. This is no time for the Leader of the Opposition to sit on the fence. He has not said anything yet. I hope we hear from him tonight in terms of outright denunciation of the methods to be used in this Campaign. For it is a time for anyone who believes in the rule of law to speak out in its defence. I am charitable enough to believe that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, leaving aside the events of last week, has some respect for the rule of law.
It is the belief of the Government that the people as a whole will reject the dangerous invitation to violence and lawlessness that I have described. They will reject it because these things are repugnant to all the traditions and standards that Australians respect and wish to see preserved. 1 present the following paper -
Vietnam Moratorium Campaign - Ministerial Statement, 14 April 1970. and move:
That the House take note of the paper.
– Mr Deputy Speaker, I move:
That the following words be added to the motion: and this House (a) affirms the right of peaceful demonstration and the right of Australian people to express opposition to the war hi Vietnam, as do the great majority of governments and peoples in the world, (b) supports efforts by the United States Government to achieve disengagement from that war and (c) declares this disengagement to be an urgent need of humanity.
Mr Deputy Speaker, for a quarter of a century we have listened to the Communist can being kicked in this House. After the speech by the Attorney-General (Mr Hughes), its sound is but the sound of tinkling brass. The curious relation between Senate elections and sedition is a subject for our political scientists. In 1964, we had the great debate on the Sydney Congress for International Co-operation and Disarmament; in 1967, we had the great Hong Kong petition debate; and now in this third successive Senate election year, we have this.
The real perspective of this debate is not the events which are to take place throughout Australia during 5 days in May. The true perspective is what has been happening in Vietnam for the past 5 years. It is 5 years this month since Sir Robert Menzies announced Australia’s commitment in force to the war in Vietnam. Australia’s token involvement goes back years longer. Australian forces have never been so long engaged in a single theatre of war, much less a single country. The United States of America has been engaged even longer - by far the longest war in her history. Both countries have experienced greater dissension and division over this war than any either has fought. In the United States especially, the division is so deep that it threatens the very fabric of her society. The internal disruption his own policies had created destroyed one of the strongest Presidents of the United States. Three years after he had won the largest majority of votes accorded a democratic leader, not only in the history of the United States but in the history of the world, he had to announce his abdication. Yet in all these years of America’s agony at home and abroad, despite the near disruption of her society, despite demonstrations by the scores, despite the demoralisation of the world’s oldest and democracy’s largest organised political party, the Democratic Party of the United States, no responsible leader or organ has ever effectively charged that Communists were behind the dissenters or even significantly among them. It has been left to the Gorton Government - the most divisive, unrepresentative government ever inflicted on this country.
The thing which distinguishes the Gorton Government from all others, the thing which distinguishes the Australian Liberal Party from every significant party in every other significant democracy in the world, is mis: This Liberal Party alone has tried consciously, consistently, as an act of deliberate policy, to indict half the nation for treason. And this statement, shot through with inaccuracies, distortions and suppressed hysteria, is just another shabby episode in the long, discreditable and totally unsuccessful story.
We have heard a great deal in the past few days about democracy. The point is that the speech of the Attorney-Genera! is designed to limit democracy. The Attorney implies that political activity by the people - mark you, the people, not just politicians - should be restricted to voting at parliamentary elections or to such activities as are related directly to the mechanics of the established parties. This has never been true for any democracy. In particular, it has never been true for the greatest of all the parliamentary democracies - Great Britain. Demonstrations, peaceful demonstrations, are as legitimate and as necessary a part of the democratic processes as elections themselves. This liberty - freedom of assembly and freedom of speech of which demonstrations are a physical expression - cannot be limited without being lost.
The gravamen of the charge of the Attorney-General is that the Moratorium rallies may be violent. No, he does not say that they will be violent; only potentially violent - potentially menacing, to use the words from another context. And the basis for this belief is what he purports to be reports of alleged statements attributed to the honourable member for Lalor (Dr. J. F. Cairns). The particular report on which I presume the Attorney-General relies - with all the care and circumspection that marks the chief officer of the law, the Minister in charge of Australian security - is one which the honourable member for Lalor has twice corrected to the newspaper in which it appeared. The honourable member has stated in this House that he gave those corrections. But it never occurs to honourable members on the Government side, or to Ministers to whom they put their prearranged questions, to ask whether allegations are authenticated or checked.
A week ago the honourable member for Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns) put a question to the Minister for External Affairs (Mr McMahon) about my participation in a Vietnam Moratorium being arranged by the Brisbane Trades and Labour Council. In fact I have never discussed the matter with that Council. I have never corresponded with it; it has never raised the matter with me. I have never seen any report about this. However nobody bothered to authenticate or to check.
But this is part of the regular practice which we see at every question time. Members on the Government side of the chamber ask a series of questions, ostensibly without notice, of Ministers who are then able to give prepared replies. If Ministers were to make statements in the House then the members affected could reply. They could follow immediately afterwards. But because an answer is given, with preparation and with malice, to a question ostensibly without notice, under the processes of the House nobody can give any answer on his own behalf or on behalf of his Party. If he does so by way of making a personal explanation he is said to be squealing.
The Attorney never has made any attempt to contact the honourable member for Lalor, any more than did the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) before he issued his incredible, intemperate, petulant, spiteful - I think those are the in words at the moment - statement attacking the honourable member for Lalor on this very subject on Maundy Thursday. Now, the fact is this: The theme which stands out above all else in the statements by the honourable member for Lalor, and, as far as I can see, by all my colleagues who signed this document on 25th November, is that its basis and essence is non-violence. In his statements the honourable member for Lalor specifically calls for peaceful and orderly demonstrations. Of course the honourable member for Lalor hopes that the Moratorium demonstrations will be a success. And the measure of their success will be their size. Therefore quite properly he has called on as many people as possible to participate - that is, if you like, ‘filling the streets’. The same hope was expressed and fulfilled by the farmers in Melbourne. Yet this is described by the Attorney-General as resorting to, or encouraging, activities, based simply on the naked physical power of a mob, designed to force or embarrass a government into taking steps in conflict with the policies upon which it secured a mandate to govern … an illicit and dangerous abuse of power’.
The Attorney-General referred to the deplorable demonstrations outside the American Consulate-General in Melbourne on Independence Day in 1968. On that occasion the Prime Minister immediately made the first of his law and order pronouncements. He called on the AttorneyGeneral of the day to bring in new riot laws. When, in March last year, I asked the Prime Minister what had been done about the laws he said that presumably the Attorney-General was still looking into them and discussing them with the State Attorneys-General. In fact, since that time there have been four meetings of the Standing Committee of Commonwealth and State Attorneys-General. I have asked the last two Commonwealth Attorneys-General what matters were discussed at those meetings in Hobart in March last year, in Brisbane in July last year, in Adelaide in December last year and in Wellington in February this year, and I find that this subject never yet has been discussed. Almost 2 years have gone past. Of all the people who were arrested there how many have in fact been convicted? When I interjected to ask that question the AttorneyGeneral did not have the answer or would not give it.
– I do not take any notice of idle interjections.
– I would have thought that it was a thoroughly relevant interjection. How many have in fact been convicted? I repeat that the demonstrations will be peaceful and orderly, as far as their sponsors can guarantee these things. Great assemblages of people always run the risk of marginal disturbance. Our own campaign meetings run that risk. The Prime Minister himself expressed to members of my Party remarkable equanimity at the prospect of demonstrations against him during the last campaign. He welcomed the distraction. He even devised a microphone technique to provoke it. I anticipated this and at my public meetings I made it quite plain that every disorder was helping the Liberals and harming Labor’s policy. Indeed, in 1966 a violent demonstration against the late Mr Harold Holt put the honourable member for Barton (Mr Reynolds) out of the Parliament for 3 years. Government supporters were hoping that there would be demonstrations 3 years later, but there were not.
The honourable member for Lalor finds himself in precisely the same situation, subject to precisely the same attacks from precisely the same source as those directed against the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley), the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden) and myself in New Guinea. The honourable member for Lalor appeals for peaceful and orderly demonstrations. The honourable member for Fremantle, the honourable member for Oxley and I made speeches in New Guinea whose whole theme was that the Mataungan Association should promote its aims only by peaceful and orderly means. We repeated this again and again, yet on 3 occasions in the following week the Prime Minister issued statements in which he used such expressions as ‘resort to violence’, ‘support of this attitude’, ‘use of force’, ‘trouble and violence’, ‘methods including violence’, ‘violence’ and ‘increase the risk of violence’. These things were the direct opposite of what we were advocating in New Guinea. The aim of the Prime Minister on both occasions has been to fix on members of the Opposition responsibility for any incidents which may occur even though such incidents are completely beyond their control and though they have been specifically condemned in advance.
This afternoon the Attorney-General did a little coat trailing. He asked me to
Denounce the methods of campaigning proposed by the honourable member for Lalor and their undoubted potential for violence’. In fact I shall address a meeting organised by the Canberra Vietnam Moratorium Committee. The meeting will take place at 12.30 p.m. on 6th May outside Parliament House. This is a convenient place and time for me to speak. In writing to me the Canberra committee said:
The purpose of these activities is to promote peaceful expression of dissent to Australia’s continued participation in the Vietnam war. We also feel that the people and the Government of Australia should be made aware of the larger context of national and international problems that remain to be solved in the aftermath of the war.
I wholeheartedly endorse those objectives for this meeting outside Parliament House before lunch on Wednesday 6th May.
The Attorney-General would like me to explain why I am not a sponsor while the majority of my colleagues are sponsors of the document circulated on 25th November last. I have taken the same attitude to this request as I do to all similar requests. As Leader of this Party I will not sponsor organisations created for internal political activity where those organisations are ones to which I am not responsible or for which I am not responsible. It is a plain responsibility falling within my particular duty to protect the policy of the Party and the Party itself. I share that responsibility with no others. I recall to mind only one organisation of a political character to which I have subscribed my name, to which I give my support. That is the South Africa, shortly to be altered to Southern Africa, Defence and Aid Fund. I do so because at least some person holding office in this Parliament must do his best to rid Australia of the complicity of the Gorton Government in policies of apartheid in South Africa and Rhodesia.
I believe that the principle I have enunciated is the appropriate principle I should follow in all cases and it says nothing one way or the other about my attitude towards my support for the aims of the moratorium campaign. It is a rule for me as leader. It is not a rule that binds any other member of the Party except the Deputy Leader. The only rule that binds other members is the rule that they shall not be members of organisations proscribed by the Party. None of the various Vietnam moratorium committees has been so proscribed.
There is one very special and commanding reason why the war in Vietnam is the subject and must be the subject of demonstrations of this sort. The reason lies in the complete abdication of responsibility by the Australian Government for our own commitment. On Saturday last the Minister for External Affairs (Mr McMahon) arrived in Bangkok. He told reporters:
Australia will announce a partial pull-out of its troops in South Vietnam if President Nixon gives a specific withdrawal figure on Thursday.
If the United States does not pull out Australia will follow the negative move.
In the face of such an abdication of the responsibilities of this Government and this Parliament is it any wonder that the people of Australia - that majority which now opposes this war and our participation in it - are bitterly frustrated? This is the root of the matter. It is this that is the real threat to democracy and our system in Australia. It is this which has injected into demonstrations on Vietnam a singular note of despair and anger. To the Liberals violence is a brawl - a few arrests; a sit-in. The supreme violence - the violence of all violence - is Vietnam. In Australia the Liberal Party is the party of Vietnam; the Liberal Party is the party of violence. The Attorney-General made one really significant statement. That it was totally untrue is of no relevance. He said that the waning support - that is, for the campaign of opposition to Vietnam - of non-Communist activities has led to tightened control of Communists, Trotskyites and irresponsible elements. The truth is that because the Labor Party - the largest, the greatest party in Australia - has led and maintained the opposition to the war the Communists have failed to take charge of opposition to the war. It is because opponents of the war have had the channel of a great party for their views that the opposition to the war has been characterised by non-violence.
The pathetic impotence of the 2 or 3 Communist parties in Australia is wholly due to that fact. The Communist parties in Australia are held in proper contempt by the Australian people, by none more so than by young Australians. Once again we have this attempt by the Liberals to promote the influence and prestige of this aging, faction torn, discredited group. The Liberals want to keep the Communist Party going for the same reason they want to keep the war in Vietnam going, namely for the most disgraceful internal political reasons. The people are sick of this hoary tactic. One of the ways they can show their contempt is to attend meetings in a peaceful and orderly but determined manner, to expose the conduct of the present Government of Australia, and to substitute at the first election available a Federal Labor government which will end the conscription of Australians, which will end the participation of Australians in the war in Vietnam, and which will do all that an Australian government can do to stop the prolongation and spread of this war.
– Order! Is the amendment seconded?
DrJ. F. Cairns - I second the amendment and reserve my right to speak.
– Doubtless the interjections from Opposition members are an indication of the support which one is going to obtain from them with respect to the statement by the Attorney-General (Mr Hughes). Before I deal in detail with the case presented by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) let me say that I think it is important to state that there would not be any members in this House who would not suggest that at the appropriate time and place appropriate protests in this country against laws can be valuable. Also one would never contest the case that there was a special obligation on members of Parliament, whatever their Party, and on any other members of those parties to protest in a way which is most likely to conduce to the welfare of the country. But in this case there is a special obligation on the Opposition which did not lie upon it in the last Parliament. As a result of the recent election the Labor Party has come to be within a few seats of obtaining government in this nation and for that very reason a special obligation was placed upon it, its leaders and each of its members to observe the laws and the appropriate ways in which to protest.
If one bears that in mind and puts against those points the speech which has just been made by the Leader of the Opposition one finds it to be an incredible document. It is a document, because he read it. In the first place he said there was a meeting of the Brisbane Trades and Labour Council, from which he tended to disavow himself. It was a meeting to support the Vietnam Moratorium and he was not going to indicate support for such bodies or such processes. Then he immediately condoned the activities of many members of the Opposition in supporting the Vietnam Moratorium. He said: ‘This body and its activities have not been proscribed by my Party’. I propose to look at that proposition a little more closely later on. Finally the Leader of the Opposition made this point; I think it is worthy of examination: He did not indicate whether attempts to change the law by illegal means were deprecated and opposed by him. For example, he did not go as far as the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden) who, curiously enough, dissociated himself from the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign when it became a little too hot.
– That is not true.
– The honourable member might like to rise later and explain his own personal position. The Vietnam Moratorium Campaign clearly began a little earlier this year when a meeting chaired by the President of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Labor Party was held in Melbourne. That meeting clearly called upon Australian troops in Vietnam to mutiny. We well know his statements and we well know the resolution passed by that meeting. The resolution urged national servicemen to lay down their arms in mutiny against the heinous barbarism perpetrated in our name upon innocent aged men, women and children. The comment of the chairman of that meeting. Crawford, on that resolution was this: ‘It was not an unpatriotic resolution; it was a moral one’. What a curious view of morals! The Leader of the Opposition, thinking at the time that it was best to promote the view of moderation in the community had this to say in a letter of 18th December 1969, when commenting upon a statement by the secretary of the West Australian Branch of the Australian Labor Party:
Members of the Party-
In matters of foreign defence policy - should not give the false and damaging impressions that under a Labor Government foreign policy would be determined at mass meetings or by public petitions.
And so we come to the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign. Mass meetings and public petitions are involved in this Campaign. The Leader of the Opposition has now turned to the left sufficiently to endorse both of these actions proposed by the Vietnam Moratorium committees and some of whose activities are proposed for the very centres of the great cities where they are most likely to provoke opposition by the other citizens of those cities. To wit, one has only to look at the demonstration planned for Bourke Street in Melbourne at a time when the maximum of opposition and the maximum of dissension would be provoked. Yet the Leader of the Opposition has said: ‘1 find nothing wrong in the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign’. But at the same time the Leader of the Opposition desires to appear to both dissociate and associate himself from and with the activities of the Campaign.
Let me deal first with the Brisbane meeting at which there were a significant number of Communists. I shall refer to a report of the Queensland Vietnam Moratorium Campaign co-ordinating committee bulletin dated 12th March this year. Associated with the Moratorium Campaign in that State are such enlightened personalities as the honourable member for Capricornia (Dr Everingham), Senator Keeffe and of course Senator Georges. Honourable members should bear in mind that the Leader of Opposition desires to dissociate himself from that meeting.
At page 2 of that bulletin this report appears:
Mr E. G. Whitlam had attended the meeting.
He attended a meeting of unions at the Trades Hall which was designed to support the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign. The minutes of that meeting were confirmed on 25 th March 1970. Associated with that Trades Hall is the greatest proportion of Communists in leading positions of any
Trades Hall in Australia. The Leader of the Opposition associated himself with those proposals and those activities.
I think it is appropriate for the House to consider those activities. After all, the Australian Labor Party over a great number of years has purported to dissociate itself from meetings and activities which were designed to promote the interests of Communists and the Communist Party, and in which Communists were involved at an organisational level. Let me read from 2 documents which are appropriate and which clearly indicate that the members of the ALP who signed the Moratorium and who are associated with Communists should be expelled by their own Party in the same way as the former honourable member for Batman was expelled from his own Party for being interested in the defence of Australia. 1 go back to 1928. The ALP Federal Executive rule of 16th February 1928 made the position perfectly clear. I will read only 2 resolutions the Executive made in the last 30-odd years. One resolution states:
Individual members of the ALP are prohibited from advocating the policies of the Communist Party.
Of course it might be said that individual members of the Australian Labor Party are not involved here.
The Federal Executive of the Party took care of that in Canberra in 1959. The Federal Executive ordered State branches to take action against ALP members proved guilty of any offence involving unity tickets. lt stated also:
If State action is not taken this Executive will, without hesitation, take appropriate Federal action to preserve the integrity of the Party.
Between those 2 resolutions there were resolutions in the 1930s, the 1940s and the 1950s which indicated that members of the Party opposite who had had an individual association with Communists on this Vietnam Moratorium committee should and would invite expulsion. I now invite the Leader of the Opposition to look at the evidence in this respect, because it is extremely significant. If there is a unity of purpose and a unity of action between these people, they obviously invite expulsion.
I turn now to the central organising committee in Queensland. On that committee are 2 well known Communists, one called Hugh Hamilton, the treasurer of the committee, and the other one known as Jack Sherrington, a trade union official of the Brisbane Trades Hall. Associated with that same committee are the honourable member for Capricornia, Senator Georges and Senator Keeffe, so they would invite expulsion just as did members in the past.
Now we come to Victoria and we find the same unity of purpose and the same unity of action. We find the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) involved in a committee with Mr Lawrie Carmichael of the Amalgamated Engineering Union and an assorted group of Trotskyites, anarchists and others. Quite clearly the rules of the Australian Labor Party require that the Leader of the Opposition take action in this case because he is finding a unity of purpose between these people and ALP members. The honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) can laugh but he should realise that this is an extremely serious situation for his own Party. The Federal Executive of the Party time and time again has warned against this kind of association and this kind of activity. Similar unity is found in New South Wales and other States. The Vietnam Moratorium committees on which so many members of the Opposition are involved are not merely sprinkled with Communists. In some States Communists and ALP members provide the substance and the innards of the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign.
Let us look at the Campaign a little closer and ask: Why should this Campaign delineate merely Vietnam? Why should it protest against Vietnam and against nowhere else, no other organisation and no other country? I can only think of the ingratitude of some members of the Opposition. Why do they not take time off to protest with regard to Cambodia? It would be appropriate. The honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) and the honourable member for Lalor went to Cambodia a few years ago. They were guests of the authorities there. You do not go to Cambodia unless you are a guest and quite acceptable to the authorities. At a time when Cambodia is under attack in significant parts of its territory and North Vietnamese troops are involved, as acknowledged by leaders of that country - past as well as present leaders - these honourable members as well as others take the time, not to protest against those facts, not to protest against facts concerning the massacres of Hue, not to protest against facts concerning other Communist massacres and terrorist campaigns, but to protest merely against the Vietnam campaign. In doing so they make their protest extremely narrow and curiously selective. We can go a little further and ask: Why do they make this Campaign so selective? Why do they not choose others? Why do they fail to return the gratitude of the Cambodian leaders for their excursion in 1966?
– Why not exercise a little Christian charity?
– Justice might have its way today. They do not make those protests because they have invoked their version of the Brezhnev doctrine. Recently during an address to one of the universities in Melbourne the honourable member for Lalor was asked a question concerning Cambodia and the interests of North Vietnam in Cambodia. He said that the Government of North Vietnam was entitled to secure that it had friendly governments in neighbouring countries. That was his gratitude for a visit to that country just a few years ago. So it becomes perfectly clear that there is not only a curious selectivity in this Campaign but also a curious association of so many members of the Opposition with certain people. For that association they would have been expelled a few years ago. They make the same kind of defence for the North Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia as was made for the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia for which the Leader of the Opposition blamed not Russia but America and her activities in Vietnam.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– The attitude of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) to this Campaign is a very sad event. A few years ago when we investigated the origins of the Council on Peace and Disarmament, the Australian Congress for International Co-operation and Disarmament and others, which were clearly of Communist origin, the Leader of the Opposition twisted in every direction to evade responsibility. The balance of forces has now changed in his Party and it is such that he dare not even appear to evade responsibility. As he is the alternative Prime Minister in this country this is an extremely serious event for this Parliament, for this nation and for the allies with which this nation is associated.
Our concern with the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign runs to 3 facets. Firstly, we are concerned with the very nature of its organisation, the united front which is clearly the driving force behind this campaign but which is now tolerated within the Labor Party. A few years ago it was not tolerated. Men were expelled for tolerating and assisting in this kind of campaign. Secondly, we are concerned with the irresponsibility and the effect on our allies and their soldiers in Vietnam and overseas who would believe the kind of campaign and propaganda put out by the Opposition in this respect. If I may give one example of this kind of thing, Australia has allies and it has irresponsible politicians just as the United States has allies and irresponsible politicians. It is clear that much of the disaffection in Thailand towards the United States has been related to irresponsible statements on the part of a number of United States senators. The change in attitudes of men such as Thanat Khoman has been related to statements by United States senators. Thirdly, there is the curiously selective attitude to war and violence of the Opposition.
If we transpose that kind of situation to Australia we see that statements in the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign and curiously selective attitudes on the part of its sponsors, its protagonists, and the Leader of the Opposition have a disastrous effect, not only on those in Vietnam who are faced with immense problems but on other allies in other nations. Our concern, then, runs to these 3 events. As I said a moment ago, the Leader of the Opposition no longer attempts to disavow the influences behind him which he tried to ignore for so many years as Leader of the Opposition and as Deputy Leader of the Opposition. The evidence is clear that he and others are associated with Communists and others in this campaign. I invite refutation of the evidence.
– How silly can you get?
– 1 am interested to see the honourable member for Barton back in this chamber and merely observe that over the 3 years between 1966 and 1969 his voice did not break. So we see the Leader of the Opposition very much in the position of the Vicar of Bray. He has to alter and shift according to the forces behind him. If we may be a little unkind to the Vicar and may devise a little, we could say. ‘No matter ever what executive may reign, Sir, I would still be the Federal Labor Leader, Sir.’
– I wish to make a personal explanation.
-Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes, I do. In the early stages of his address to the House the honourable member for Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns) claimed that I had publicly disassociated myself from the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign. That is not true. The only public statement that I have made, other than to sign a petition in support of the Campaign, appeared in the Brisbane Telegraph’ of 31st March, in which I said:
I support all reasonable and responsibly controlled demonstrations against the completely unjustified intrusion of Western powers into the Vietnam civil war.
I also expressed reservations about how effective demonstrations can be ‘because of the selfishness of the Australian public which remains largely unmoved at the awful slaughter in this unjustified war as Jong, of course, as they are not involved in the fighting’.
It is quite clear from the statement that I said nothing which disassociated me from that moratorium. To make such an assertion is foolish fatuousness, but then of course the honourable member for Lilley is undoubtedly qualified in this field.
-Order! The honourable member cannot debate the question.
Mr KEVIN CAIRNS (Lilley) - I wish to make a personal explanation.
-Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– It is correct that I said that the honourable member for Oxley had disassociated himself from the campaign. I regret having ascribed to him a virtue which he obviously does not possess.
– In his statement today the Attorney-General (Mr Hughes) said very little that could be pinned down to facts at all, but he did say one thing that could be pinned down. He said that I had said that the United States moratorium had been peaceful. The Minister went on to say that the Moratorium Campaign was violent, that extensive damage had been done and more than 100 people had been injured.
– In Washington.
– I am speaking about Washington. He said that what he said was truthful and that what I said was not, and he went on to embellish it by saying that my departures from the facts on this point could do nothing but detract from my reputation, the more so as I am given to claiming an intimate knowledge of this subject. What are the facts? The Minister made no reference to them. He made no mention of authority for his assertion.
I have a copy of the ‘New York Times’ for 16th November 1969. The headline reads: ‘250,000 War Protesters Stage Peaceful Rally in Washington; Militants Stir Clashes Later’. Then the details of this are given as follows:
At dusk, after the mass demonstration had ended, a small segment of the crowd, members of radical splinter groups, moved across Constitution Avenue to the Labour and Justice Department buildings where they burned United States flags, threw paint bombs and other missiles and were repelled by tear gas released by the police. There were a number of arrests and minor injuries, mostly the result of the tear gas.
It seems to me that where we can pin the Attorney-General down as we can in this case, his statements do not stand up to examination, but for the great part of his statement it is quite impossible to pin him down to anything. The argument by the Attorney-General is that the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign is not genuine - that it is not made up of people who genuinely feel strongly about what they are doing; they do not really know what they are doing. His argument is that it is the result of influences from overseas without which, in effect, there would be no campaign at all.
The Minister may not know how people feel about this war in Vietnam. He may not even know how people feel about conscription, but there is a very deeply felt opposition to what is happening in Vietnam and to conscription of young Australians without a fair principle of conscientious objection. There is a deeply felt opposition to all that the Government does. I concede the Minister may not even know this but there is a very deeply felt opposition in the community to the Government. There is a deeply felt opposition in the world to what is happening in Vietnam. This opposition includes Hanoi and Peking and Moscow but it also includes U Thant, Madame Pandit, the Pope, thirty American senators and many leaders in almost every country in the world and in almost every political party in the world except this one of the Australian Government.
Recently, the ‘Australian’ not only recorded Cardinal Cushing’s stand in America against the war in Vietnam but stated ‘Cardinal Joins United States drive against war’ and reported that he had supported the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign in Washington last October. Opposition is intensive and it is international. There need to be no suggestions from Hanoi or Peking to bring out this opposition. Nothing that the Attorney-General has said is based on fact or evidence. No facts or evidence have ever been given by himself or any of his predecessors to support their assertions of links with Peking or some other place. There is no need for any conspiracy theory to explain the opposition to what is being done in Vietnam. It exists all round the world. It is only in Australia that this Communist conspiracy theory is ever put forward by responsible people. In most other countries a person is given credit for his views on any matter at all and these views are examined on their merits. But that does not happen here. The favourite manoeuvre of practically everyone on the Government benches who speaks of the opposition on these matters is to divert it to a question of Communist influence and Communist association. Hardly ever is the argument put forward treated on its merits. If this Communist conspiracy is not the explanation for it, as I believe it is not, what then is the explanation for opposition to this war? It can be found in what is happening in Vietnam.
Vietnam is a small peasant country that has suffered foreign occupation for over 130 years and a movement to resist it has existed unbrokenly for all those long years. That movement resisted and fought French occupation from 1847 to 1941 and suffered severe and appalling casualties. Perhaps 500,000 people were killed by bullets and bombs and millions died directly as a result of the war. The Vietnamese were deprived of human dignity, even of human identity, and were demeaned and depraved by the war. Then between 1941 and 1945 Vietnam was treated as a mere pawn in the game of big power by the Soviet Union, China, America and Britain. There was no Atlantic Charter for Vietnam.
Then when the Vietnamese movement for national independence had become so strong that the French were forced to recognise it, they immediately began a campaign to undermine and destroy it. In this campaign from 1946 to 1954 about 550,000 Vietnamese, mostly civilians, were killed and as many were maimed and wounded. But the Vietnamese won their battles against the French and for a short time they appeared to have won their independence. Then they were deprived of it by a big power arrangement at Geneva. Then the world’s greatest industrial and military power, America, stepped into the shoes of the French - with the expressed intention of holding as much as possible of Vietnam under its control.
And so the fighting went on. Between 1946 and 1970 perhaps as many as 250,000 armed Vietnamese have been killed and 350,000 civilians have also been killed by bullets and bombs in South Vietnam alone. As many as 90,000, mostly civilians, in North Vietnam have been killed. Much of the rest of the country has been burned and bombed half-way back to the Stone Age. In South Vietnam what is not some kind of den of corruption is a brothel. That is what has been done for Vietnam and that is why the opposition to the war is natural and understandable.
There is intense and widespread opposition to the death and destruction. It needs no messages or control from Hanoi or Peking. Is it surprising that there is intense opposition to what has happened in Vietnam from students, workers and all sorts of people all around Australia and in every country of the world? There is surely a limit to the number of human beings anyone will kill - even if they are coloured, foreign and Communist - to achieve any particular purpose. What is the limit in Vietnam? Is there any limit? It is not those who oppose the war who are in such a strange position that they should have to explain their conduct. It is not those who oppose the war who need some international system of obedience and orders, or rewards and benefits to explain their conduct. It is the supporters of the war in Vietnam who need to explain what they do. It is not they who are responding to orders from abroad.
It is not those who act as they do because they feel that what is happening in Vietnam is wrong who should explain their conduct. It is not those who resist conscription for military service who need to explain their conduct. It is for those to explain their conduct who conscript others whilst they avoid any cost, inconvenience or embarrassment for themselves, and who as well gain votes, profit and promotion from their militaristic attitudes and policies. Opposition to the war in Vietnam and to conscription for it is a normal and natural way of feeling about a situation which is possessed by tens of thousands of normal human beings who need no conspiracies from overseas or anywhere else to explain their conduct.
A question now arises: What is such a person expected to do if he feels this way? Is he expected to retire into apathy and disinterest? The answer to this question requires an understanding of what democracy is. Some people seem to think that democracy is just Parliament alone. They seem to think that all the ordinary citizen has to do is to vote once every 2 or 3 years and then leave everything to the Constitution and to those who happen to be elected to Parliament. But times are changing. A whole generation is not prepared to accept this complacent, conservative theory. Parliament is not democracy. It is one of the manifestations of democracy and it can become a most important manifestation of democracy if people are prepared to come out of their apathy and do something about it. What has to be done is not merely to refuse to talk politics or religion, as is almost the general custom, to vote once very 2 or 3 years and leave everything to those who win seats in Parliament. This is the way to make Parliament a hollow ritual and a fraud, which it has recently been called by leading journalists who observe its proceedings. This is the way to make it a fossilised institution and into a talking shop - or, even worse, into a talking shop which is hamstrung by rules and gagged by men who seek to run it as if it were a government department, a factory or a departmental store.
The weaknesses of Parliament have been widely recognised. They will not be cured by accusations of anarchy and mob rule whenever anyone decides to do something about it. Democracy is government by the people, and government by the people demands action by the people. It demands effective ways of showing what the interests and needs of the people really are. It demands action in public places all around the land. The authorities of today are not accustomed to that. The laws restrict this action, and governments panic and even stimulate fear and insecurity.
I believe that in normal circumstances action by the people should be peaceful, inoffensive and dignified. We can guarantee that only if fair and reasonable outlets are available for protest and dissent. They are not available today, and so no-one can guarantee that result in those circumstances. I deplore violence and repudiate anyone who initiates it or deliberately uses it. I think I may be able to claim to have more power to modify it in political affairs than perhaps anyone else in Australia. But J live also in the radical tradition and I have learnt more of that tradition in the United States of America than anywhere else. Recently Professor Staughton Lynd wrote about the principles of 200 years of American radicalism in these words:
The proper foundation for government is a universal law of right and wrong self-evident to the intuitive commonsense of every man; that freedom is a power of personal self-direction which no man can delegate to another; that the purpose of society is not the protection of property but fulfilment of the needs of living human beings; that good citizens have the right and duty, not only to overthrow incurably oppresive governments, but before that point is reached to break particular oppressive laws; and that we owe our ultimate allegiance, not to this or that nation, but to the whole family of man.
– Who wrote that?
– Professor Staughton Lynd wrote that as a summary of the great American tradition of radicalism, which is my political philosophy. This radical tradition is the very opposite of authoritarianism and centralism and, being that, is the very antithesis of Communism. But this radical tradition has no room for witch hunting or the creation of political pariahs. In a given situation Communists can be right. If they are right I will never say that they are wrong. If a Communist stands for something that is right and if that thing concerns me I will stand with him for that thing. Communists believe that it is right to oppose the war in Vietnam. I believe that it is right to oppose the war in Vietnam. I will oppose the war in Vietnam with anyone who opposes it. I will not be deterred from doing so by threats or pressures or intimidation. I sincerely hope that no-one else will be deterred. Communists can be a threat to democracy, but threats to democracy in Australia come from a different direction. They come from some of those who can draw upon all the traditional and conventional values and who, because of their status and authority, can make people look over their shoulder, lapse into silence in the presence of injustice and sneak off out of sight. It is not Communists in Australia who can silence people, who can sack and fail to promote. It is not. in Australia, Communists who can set up a system described a long time ago by Ben Chifley as a system of ‘spies, pimps and perjurers’. It is the people who have prestige and authority who can do that: they do so far more than is necessary in this country. The police state in Australia will ride on the back of anti-Communism, if it ever rides at all.
I will not be deterred from reasonable public political actions by fears that something might go wrong. I will do everything in my power to prevent it from going wrong - but I am not going to work within the limits imposed by my political opponents. I am not going to be driven into a corner away from action that is even in the slightest bit radical just because if I come out of that corner I might find myself standing near some Communist. I have no intention of doing this. As I said,
I stand on this matter where J. B. Chifley stood a long time ago. On 1st June 1951 J. B. Chifley said:
I can only hope that you will be inspired by the same things which inspired the pioneers of this movement, and that you will not be frightened . . over to the ‘right’ because of the whispered word ‘Communist’. I could not be called a young radical. But if a thing it worth fighting for, no matter what the penalty is I will fight for the right, and truth and justice will prevail.
Ben Chifley had no intention of being frightened over to the right because of the whispered word ‘Communist’. He took the occasion of his last speech to make that clear. I think it is not any longer possible to solve political problems in this country in terms of hanging a Communist label on them and thinking that you have solved the problems and dismissed the issues. 1 do not think that anyone must be deterred from working against the immoral and unjust military invasion of Vietnam by the Australian Government and its allies. I hope that every Australian citizen will realise that if he is to govern himself he cannot perform that task by leaving it to others. He must perform that task himself.
Democracy begins on the farms, in the factories and in the streets, and if people will not, often at risk to themselves, stand up for their rights in those places there will be no democracy. I do not think the generation over 35 years of age realises the significance of how thoroughly this thinking has gripped the younger generation. The younger generation is not going to be satisfied with all the trappings of the past. It is going to endeavour to determine effective ways of governing itself. The important thing for the authorities to realise is that unless reasonable opportunities are given to those people who hold these views - who feel strongly about issues such as Vietnam and conscription and many other issues - then the authorities will be failing in their responsibilities in government and will be forcing the very circumstances to develop that they appear not to want. Today in Australia we need an understanding that the old methods are not going to be adequate for the solution of new problems. All round the world there is an inability by people to be fooled as easily as they once were. All round the world there is a determination to do something about the issues that people feel strongly about and to find ways of expressing those issues in the making of decisions, not only in Parliament but in every other part of the community that determines and influences the lives of the people concerned.
I think it is a tragedy that so few people on the other side of the House are capable even to be aware of this situation. They never seem to express any sympathy or understanding of it at all and constantly take the attitude that everyone who expresses dissent or protest is either an idiot or a Communist and should not be taken seriously. I think it is a tragedy that the generation that has acquired powers of government and powers of authority has today, in Australia, so many in it who take that view. Of course, unless there is a change there will be difficulties in the future in the development and extension of democracy, because democracy is government by the people. What is being done in the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign is an example of government by the people; it is an example of people taking action about issues that are important to them, actions which they believe will be influential in the making of national decisions in the ways that are open to them and in the ways in which they can make1 their decisions effective. The important thing for us, to my mind, is to work for a proper, peaceful and dignified expression of that activity and not endeavour to blackguard it, as the Minister did by his statement this evening, or to drive it into corners so that it would become the problem that the Minister seems to think it is already.
-Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– I would like to assure the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J, F. Cairns) that as far as I am concerned, and as far as anything I can do to influence the people of Australia is concerned, his speech most certainly will not be taken with anything but seriousness. I would start by saying to this Parliament and to members of the Australian Labor Party, and mainly to the people of Australia, that they should get a copy of what the honourable member had to say and analyse it. The honourable member said, as he said on television tonight, that the Parliament is a hollow ritual. He said that people have the right to take matters into their own hands and implied that laws were made to be broken and that what one cannot win in the ballot box one is entitled to take by violence and anarchy. Let him deny this as he wishes. 1 do not intend to reply to the honourable member for Lalor because I treat with contempt what . he said. What concerns me more is what was said by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), because to any student who over the years has studied the statements of he Leader of the Opposition in respect to the Vicorian ALP Executive and Communist influences on certain sections, his speech tonight was a very new rendition. However, we understand it. It was a capitualation
What has been done? It was the duty of the Government to make the statement that we are discussing tonight so that the people can understand as best they may wish all the facts and circumstances of this Vietnam Moratorium Campaign. The Government does not wish to compel anybody, but it has a responsibility to let the people know what the facts are. If I make one criticism, it is because I think it would have been better to have made these facts known earlier before innocent people who believe that this is a genuine protest and who believe there is no underlying importance to it or underlying usage being made of it, signed the moratorium document. I think the Attorney-General (Mr Hughes) is wasting his time when he asks Labor members who have signed to dissociate themselves from the Campaign. They are where they want to be; they are with the people they know. Frankly, as far as I am concerned, they can stay there. However, I would like to read to the House the shrewd amendment that was moved by the Leader of he Opposition. The amendment reads:
That the following words be added to the motion: and this House (a) affirms the right of peaceful demonstration and the right of Australian people to express opposition to the war in Vietnam, as do the great majority of governments and peoples in the world, . . .’
The Attorney-General said in his statement earlier today:
I accept that many of those citizens object in good faith . . . They are fully entitled to express their opinions upon these great issues and fully entitled, if they can, to persuade others, including a majority of the electorate or of the Parliament . . .
We admit that they have the right and we will fight for it; but they do not have the right to break the laws of this country, as has been the cry of the honourable member for Lalor. Of course, he always claims a week later that he was misunderstood by the Press. So the first point of the amendment is out because, as the AttorneyGeneral has already said this in his statement, we accept this point.
The second point of the Opposition’s amendment is that this House: supports efforts by the United States Government to achieve disengagement from the war . . .
We support the endeavours of the United States Government to reach a peaceful settlement. I have not heard one word from the Opposition about the offers made by President Johnson and by President Nixon to negotiate for peace anywhere, to stop the bombing and to include the National Liberation Front in negotiations in an endeavour to obtain peace. Not one word of commendation comes from the Labor Party or from the so called peace group which it waltzes with on every occasion. The next point of the Opposition’s amendment is that this House: declares this disengagement to be an urgent need of humanity.
We agree on that. So in fact there is nothing in the amendment that has not been agreed to by the Government. But let the Leader of the Opposition bring to me or bring to this House any speech made by any member of the Labor Party in which that member when talking of disengagement, has mentioned the North Vietnamese, or mentioned the fact that the North Vietnamese are in Laos and Cambodia.
The amendment is a hollow mockery when one looks at the words that have been so very skilfully contrived by the Moratorium organisers. They always talk about foreign troops but never mention the North Vietnamese. So what they in fact say is that the Communists, the foreign troops from North Vietnam, are entitled to be in South Vietnam. A number of people in Australia think not and the South Vietnamese think not, but what the Opposition is suggesting and supporting is the sell-out of the South Vietnamese. Let me read from the ‘Tribune’ of 1st April 1970, in which was published an article headed ‘Thanks for efforts against war:’ Viet CP’. The ‘CP’ does not stand for Country Party; it stands for Communist Party.
– Which paper is this?
– It is the Communist ‘Tribune’. It says this:
Sydney: The Vietnam Workers’ Party, in its message to last weekend’s 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of Australia, expressed the sincere thanks’ of the Vietnamese people to the party and the Australian people for their efforts to secure the withdrawal of Australian forces from Vietnam and to end the Australian policy of tailing after the US in the Vietnam aggression.
That is thanks that the honourable gentlemen opposite well deserve and it is an expression of thanks that the honourable member for Lalor should frame and hang in his drawing room. When he stands with his Communist friends - he spends half his time arguing that he does not stand with them - when he denies any association with them and so on, let him well remember that. But this is not necessarily the most important point. The first thought should be: What do the people of this country want? Do they want a demonstration on a Friday afternoon in the middle of Bourke Street, outside Myers as the honourable member for Lalor says, when it is full of women and children who are doing their shopping and who may well in this way help to create the impression that the crowd is swelled by supporters? Is it not true that if such a group as the Students for a Democratic Society should endeavour to blockade the street, as has been suggested, there will be panic? Will the honourable member for Lalor then take responsibility for what may occur? He was not prepared during his television appearance tonight to take much responsibility for anything.
– He would not even go against me.
-I can undestand that. Who is supporting this Moratorium? It is being supported by 68 weak-minded members of the Labor Party. A small number of members have refused to sign a document giving their support to it, and they have been named. One member wrote his reasons. He said that while not agreeing with the Vietnam war he could not go along with the Moratorium because he felt that if we pulled out of Vietnam the massacre, murder and bloodshed would be even greater. I give him my congratulations. He is a new member of Parliament and I only wished to God that he could stand in this House and state what he wrote. I do not ask him to do that because I know what would happen.
Let me revert to what the Leader of the Opposition said. He said that he had not signed the document. I bet he did not. He will appear at the demonstration outside Parliament House. That will be courageous indeed. But let us look at what is happening in Victoria and at the headlines in the newspaper this morning. The honourable member for Lalor has been down whipping up the trade unions. Mr Stone, the Secretary of the Trades Hall Council, has told him to take his cotton picking fingers out of it and to leave decent Labor men and decent unionists alone. Furthermore, an analysis of what he said shows that he was addressing the rebel group of the Trades Hall Council, the rebel unionists, the same people who were involved in the O’Shea case, the same people who put on that innocent little protest outside the Industrial Court, the same people who wanted to tip over the police car, and the same people who wanted to press onto the police. These are the representatives that this man wants to come with him.
I give Mr Stone and the decent Labor people of this country credit. There may be many who do not agree with the war in Vietnam. This is their right, but many people have shown publicly, as has the Trades Hall Council in New South Wales and Tasmania, that they will not be involved in Communist front organisations, Communist techniques and the techniques of my friend from Lalor. But let us go back to what the Leader of the Opposition has said. He said today that there is nothing to stop members of his Party giving their support to the Vietnam Moratorium. He encourages it. He thinks it is real beaut. He says: ‘I am a radical at last. Hurrah, hurrah!’ But he said: ‘There is only one thing which stops a member of my Party joining a group and that is if it is a proscribed organisation*. I thought that there was once a section in the rules of the Australian Labor Party - I doubt whether there is now - that stated that members could not appear on the same platform as a Communist. I accept that this is no longer so.
The honourable member for Lalor has given his reasons and the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren) has given his reasons why this is so, but the people of this country want to know and should know this.
What are the organisations proscribed by the Labor Party? One such organisation is the Defend Australia League, which was set up to see that Australia had defence. The only person that I know of who has been expelled from the Labor Party in the last 10 years is the former honourable member for Batman, who stood up for the defence of Australia and who joined the Defend Australia League. 1 take it that it is now all right for a Labor member to speak from the same platform as a Communist, but do not let any member of the Australian Labor Party join any organisation that may talk about defending Australia. Before coming back to this question of violence I want to make one further point. Nobody has denied that this Moratorium Campaign has been inspired by the Australian and New Zealand Congress for International Cooperation and Disarmament, that Mr Goldbloom is up in front and that Reverend Hartley and Reverend Dickie and others are connected with it. Is it not a fact that the Leader of the Opposition has said that it is not a proscribed organisation? But is not the World Peace Council proscribed by the British Labor Party? Is not this the great difference between the party which calls itself the Australian Labor Party and the great United Kingdom Labour Party? I can understand why the World Peace Council is not proscribed in Australia. We have had a full dose of the reasons today.
Let me go further. The Reverend Hartley, who is a councillor in the City of Prahran and is on the organising committee of the Moratorium, wrote to the Town Clerk of the Prahran Council on 16th March 1970 and said:
Dear Mr Lucas,
I have been asked to represent Australia at a Presidential meeting of the World Council of Peace.
That is the organisation behind this Moratorium. He continued:
On this occasion the Presidential meeting will be held in Moscow from the 2nd to 5tb of April.
And he will be back in time for the Moratorium. Let us now consider the question of this peaceful demonstration, and whether it will be violent. I refer honourable members to a circular put out by Councillor Fred Farrall, of the City of Prahran, Reverend Hartley and others. I quote one paragraph as follows:
The Vietnam Moratorium Committee’s Victorian Headquarters has asked groups and individuals to vigorously participate with whatever slogans and forms of protest they feel appropriate to end the war in Vietnam. This public meeting will elect a committee-
This will be a committee to organise the demonstration. I emphasise the words ‘whatever forms of protest’ they may wish. Indeed, it is interesting to read articles in the Tribune’ as well as Press reports of Dr Cairns’s statements, which he claims have been wrongly reported. The ‘Sun’, which was accused of having wrongly reported him, said that he did not ring and complain until 10 days later, which was after he saw the Press report and after he had got his message over to those who wanted to see that message. Then he started to move and manoeuvre, and there is no man of greater ability than he is in this regard. I draw attention to a statement by the National Executive of the Communist Party of Australia issued on 28th January 1970 and published in the ‘Tribune’ of 4th February 1970. The statement contains these words:
Communists believe that the only basis for the required mass political expression is one which is non-exclusive in character, where every group and organisation can be represented in decisionmaking, and make its own contribution.
We don’t want a Moratorium limited to traditional peace marches to the exclusion of more militant expressions of opposition.
It is the duty of the Minister and of the Government to put before the people of Australia the facts, because in the end the judges are the people themselves. They have to make their decision no matter how earnestly, how honestly and how strongly they may desire peace in Vietnam. This desire is shared by all, but the people must ask themselves whether this is a genuine protest and whether it is intended to be violent or non-violent, bearing in mind that it will be held in Melbourne on a Friday afternoon, the most busy shopping afternoon, in the busiest block, when school children, young children and women will be present. They must ask themselves how far they are prepared to go. I know how far the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) would go, so there is no need for him to say anything.
I should like members of the Opposition, the Peace Corps and the Corns to show rae where in any of the discussions on peace they have made any suggestion that the North Vietnamese should retire from South Vietnam and that the South Vietnamese should be given a chance to live in peace. If the North Vietnamese got out, and the Americans got out and the allies got out there may be peace. But the Opposition’s song has only one side to it. Members opposite cannot see the other side. They ignore, and never speak about, what happened in Hue and the massacres that have occurred. It seems to be of no interest to them that people have been killed. I am sure it is of interest to some members of the Labor Party and to a large number of trade unionists in Australia. It is of interest to the silent majority of Australians who can be nothing but disgusted by what has now emerged, not by inference or suggestion but from an admission tonight by the honourable member for Lalor, from a statement on television by the honourable member for Reid and from what was said by the Leader of the Opposition.
People have a right to protest in Australia but they do not have the right to place in jeopardy the lives of other people or to break the law. When one clown finds he has not sufficient influence to sway the people of Australia he calls on his supporters to break the law. He knows what he intends. He knows what some hotheads may well do but he says: ‘No, the police are to blame’. Yet there are usually 300 police against 4,000 demonstrators. I am confident that the genuine people of Australia, whatever their sympathies, will repudiate this Moratorium which is hypocritical and is intended only to strengthen the Communists in North Vietnam and their underlings.
– I must answer certain statements made by the honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess). First, he said that Dr Cairns had not rung up a newspaper and complained about false reporting for some 10 days. That is false. I have been informed by the honourable member for Lalor that he rang up on the day the report appeared. The honourable member for La Trobe made accusations concerning my attitude to freedom of association. The best thing that a member of Parliament can do is to be frank at election time to tell the people what his attitude is and what his philosophy is. I issued a pamphlet, and I quoted the words ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’. They were the words of Martin Luther King and I subscribe to them. In that pamphlet I also said To represent people one must stand for tolerance and for freedom of association with anyone who stands for what is good, irrespective of his race, religion or polities’. I signed it ‘Tom Uren. M.P. for Reid.’ That is my philosophy and I will stand by and with anybody who stands against the war in Vietnam, irrespective of his politics.
It was interesting to hear the statements of the Attorney-General (Mr Hughes), the person responsible for law and order in Australia. Where are the Ministers to support him in this debate? There is none. He brings in as his first lieutenant the honourable member for Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns), followed by the honourable member for La Trobe. The honourable member for Parkes, the present Attorney-General, is a well-known hawk, as are the two honourable gentlemen opposite who have supported him in this debate. They are men who have stood for the escalation of the war in Vietnam. They stood in the House night after night with the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen) calling for the bombing of British shipping in the harbour of Haiphong. They advocated the escalation of the war and the bombing of North Vietnam.
The United States of America was spending $US30,000m a year on that war and it was only when General Westmoreland asked for an additional 206,000 troops and the request was examined on the basis of economics that it was calculated that these additional troops would cost a further $US1 2,000m. At that time there was a run on gold. There was insecurity in the United States dollar. General Westmoreland was promoted upstairs. President Johnson stopped the bombing of North Vietnam and sought peace negotiations at the conference table with the people against whom America was fighting. What happened to Wall Street which, in fact, was supporting the military machine? Instead of shares dropping in price as they would have done the year before they rose because the financial powers of the United States knew that they had over-extended their position to such an extent that the United States Treasury was in jeopardy. There had to be a cessation; there had to be a deescalation of the war. The hawks advocated escalation, they had never advocated deescalation and negotiation.
– Tell us something about law and order.
– Again and again I have expressed the opinion - the honourable member for Lalor and many other honourable members on this side of the House have expressed the view, too - that if we are to have peace negotiations in Vietnam there has to be negotiation and compromise on both sides. We believed it was possible to bring about these negotiations. We still believe it is possible to bring about peace in that country. Now the Attorney-General wants to know something about law and order. When this so-called eminent lawyer is talking about the rule of law, he is referring to rule of legalism? When he talks about the rule of law and order the question to be asked is this: Whose law and what order? After all, if one looks at the history of mankind one finds that Socrates stood against the law of the land. Jesus of Nazareth stood against the law of the land. Does anybody argue that Pandit Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi stood against the law of the land in British India? Of course they did, and they finished up in a British gaol. Does anybody question that Chief Albert Luthuli of South Africa - he was a Nobel prize winner, for the information of the honourable member for La Trobe - stood up against the law of the land? Did Martin Niemoller oppose the so-called law of the land in Nazi Germany? Does the AttorneyGeneral worry about the law of the land in Nazi Germany? What about those eminent lawyers who were tried at Nuremburg? And did Martin Luther King stand against the law of the land? Of course he did.
Let us stop this rubbish about the law of legalism. That is what the AttorneyGeneral’s position is - not the law of the land. I listened with interest to and read the Attorney-General’s statement closely. It was a repetitive and dreary document; it was a conservative, conformist statement. It was supposed to be based on fact, but was it? 1 want to give an example of the actual facts we are dealing with. In his statement the Attorney-General said:
The honourable member for Lalor is prominent in activities of the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign. On 18th December last, when he held office as Acting Chairman of its Victorian organising Committee, he wrote me a letter … the honourable member asserted that on ‘the recent Moratorium Days’ in the United States, vast numbers of Americans had taken part in a series of dramatic, peaceful events calling for an end to the war.’
Then the Attorney-General stated:
The publicly reported facts are that, in the course of the Vietnam Moratorium demonstration held in Washington on 15th November last, more than 100 people were injured and demonstrators, by looting and other forms of violence, did extensive damage to private and Government property.
The honourable member’s departure from the facts on this point cannot but detract from his reputation - the more so as he is given to claiming an intimate knowledge of this subject. But I feel bound to emphasise this departure in order that the methods of persuasion adopted by the honourable member and by the promoters of this Campaign should be widely known for what they are - utterly devoid of candour.
Let us look at the facts. Let us look at the credibility of the Attorney-General and the honourable member for Lalor. I propose to quote from a very informative source, probably the most respected newspaper in the world. I shall quote from the New York Times’ of 17th November 1969. I hear laughter from the opposite side but does anyone in the Press gallery, does any responsible person in Australia, say that the New York ‘Times’ is not one of the great news media of the world? I challenge anyone to do so. Of course the honourable member for La Trobe would. He would say that the only newspaper you can really trust is the Sydney ‘Daily Telegraph’. The following article appeared in the New York Times’:
Demonstrating Against the War
No American political leader can afford to ignore a demonstration of public sentiment as large, as fervent and as preponderantly dignified as last Saturday’s peace rallies m Washington and San Francisco. . . .
With only a relative handful of extremist exceptions, the demonstrators conducted themselves with a gracious good humour and self-assurance that stood in marked contrast to the nervous distemper of the Administration they challenged.
It seems to me that is being repeated on this occasion. The article continues:
The general peacefulness of the protests was especially impressive in view of the efforts of some high Administration officials and others to create an atmosphere of alarm. Much credit is due to the demonstrators’ own marshals and to the restrained District police . . .
As Jong as the fighting goes on and there is evidence that the United States and its allies are not doing all they could to promote peace, Americans opposed to the war must continue to make their views known in every possible legitimate way. That is their right and their duty as citizens, even if their actions invite the scorn of VicePresident Agnew.
We have not a Vice-President Agnew but we have an Attorney-General, and there is not much difference between them. That was the editorial in the New York ‘Times’. The Attorney-General, who has a large research staff available to him, has the ability to bring in here a report based on the facts instead of the bilge that he has put before this House. What he has said is, in the light of the information put forward, utterly false.
– What about ‘Newsweek’?
– The Attorney-General interjects and mentions ‘Newsweek’. 1 do not mind his coming in here and talking to the amendment. He may bring in ‘Newsweek’ and put it before the House so we may analyse it. But there was not one quotation or one authority in his speech to back up what he describes as facts. Everything, said this man of the law, was a well known fact. But there was no evidence, no authority, to support his statements. I ask honourable members to judge the credibility of the honourable member for Lalor and the AttorneyGeneral. Let us examine the facts about these demonstrations. In Washington, 250,000 people marched and 150,000 people marched in San Francisco. They marched in this non-violent way and they were applauded by the editorial that I have just quoted from one of the great newspapers of the world. Yet, the Attorney-General brings this diatribe before us.
I wish to deal with the question of violence also. Throughout his speech, the Attorney-General talked about the question of violence. If this Government is so concerned about the question of violence here in Australia and about demonstrators, what about the men who are dying in Vietnam? Probably some of the most barbaric actions ever perpetrated in the name of a government are being performed in Vietnam. I have said this before: I believe that the actions - the war crimes - that are being committed in Vietnam are as bad as the Nazi atrocities during the Second World War. Will anybody here say that there is anything worse than the use of napalm on a family? These bombs are dropped indiscriminately. In fact, napalm burns so deeply that it melts the skin and melts the bone. This is the sort of inhuman action that this Government supports. Yet, it talks about violence.
More bombs have been dropped on Vietnam than were dropped on the whole of the Axis Powers during World War II. I point out further that two-thirds of these bombs have been dropped on South Vietnam. Do not let us think that all the bombs are being dropped on North Vietnam, because twothirds have been dropped on South Vietnam. The American forward air command is made up of men who fly in helicopters and who play the role of God. What do they do? They see a movement on the ground and they call in bombers to strafe the area. The bombers strafe in such a way that it is true to say that no Americans have ever had fire power applied to them in the same way that it is applied to the Vietnamese.
In areas that are known Vietcong areas just a movement is needed. The consequence is that the people there are condemned to death. Yet the Government talks about violence. Let us equate this question of violence with the indiscriminate killing which follows the sighting of a slight movement in a known Vietcong area and results in that area being devastated. What right have honourable members opposite to talk about violence? Their Government is a guilty Government. It has done nothing to bring tolerance and restraint to the war in Vietnam. It has been a ‘hawk1 Government only. That is why not one reasonable or rational honourable member from the back bench and nobody of responsibility on the front bench on the Government side has risen to support the statement made by the Attorney-General. The statement shows the irresponsibility of this Government. It wants to continue to smear.
In my view, we should ask questions about our so-called democratic society. Let us look at this matter. We must recognise that Parliament is only a part of a democratic society. We should welcome people who participate in our society by expresing their views publicly. If our society is to be a healthy one, surely we all should agree that it was a healthy thing to see the farmers walking down the main streets of Melbourne. Surely this is good for our society and surely it is good that we should witness these demonstrations.
I turn to the rights of the individual. If it is the right of the farmers to walk down the streets of Melbourne to seek economic justice - and I support them - surely it is the right of men who feel appalled that their Government is supporting actions in Vietnam which are equal to the Nazi atrocities in the Second World War to demonstrate? Why should not young men, old men, people of all ages and of all fields of political thought have the right to demonstrate by marching through the same streets? Why have they not the right to take to the streets? Why have they not the right to say: ‘Wc want an end to this war in Vietnam. We want to see peaceful negotiations. We want to see all foreign forces withdrawn from Vietnam. We want to see the people of Vietnam determine their own affairs in their own way’.
I conclude with the remarks made by John Fitzgerald Kennedy in an address on 26th October 1963. He said:
The men who create power make an indispensable contribution to the nation’s greatness. But the men who question power make a contribution just as indispensable, especially when that questioning is disinterested. For they determine whether we use power or power uses us.
Mr JESS (La Trobe)- Mr Speaker, I claim to have been misrepresented.
-Order! I take it that the honourable member wishes to make a personal explanation?
– I do indeed, Sir. The honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren), I am sure in his emotion and without intent, said that I told a deliberate lie with respect to the actions of the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) in his call to take over the streets. I did not tell a deliberate lie. I quote from the Melbourne ‘Sun’ of 26th March 1970 which has the big headline: ‘Take Over Streets of City: Cairns’. The article reads:
The chairman of the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign, Dr Cairns, MHR, yesterday called on workers and students ‘to occupy the streets of Melbourne’ on Friday May 8.
Dr Cairns called on all workers, students and citizens to stop work and take over the streets of Melbourne and provincial towns.
The honourable member for Reid went on to say that the honourable member for Lalor had been to the newspaper and had demanded–
– Order! The honourable member for La Trobe will not debate the subject matter. I ask him to come to his point.
– The honourable member for Reid said that I had told a deliberate lie. I am endeavouring to prove that I did not.
-Order! The honourable member, in his personal explanation, can explain only where he has been misrepresented.
– I am doing that. With your assistance, Mr Speaker, 1 will continue. On 6th April 1970 in the Melbourne ‘Sun’- I draw attention to the fact that the original article was published on 26th March 1970 - an article appears which refers again to Dr Cairns. At the end of this article is an explanation from the newspaper. The first two paragraphs-
– I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. I did not refer to what appeared in the newspaper. What I said was that the honourable member for La Trobe said that the honourable member for Lalor had stated that it took him 10 days to have a retraction or alteration made. I quoted the honourable member for Lalor as saying that, in fact, he informed the newspaper that very day, the first time the article appeared. In no way has the honourable member for La Trobe been misrepresented. He is just quoting what is in the newspaper.
– Order! The honourable member for Reid will not proceed to debate the matter. The honourable member for La Trobe is taking a fairly long time to come to the matter on which he claims to have been misrepresented.
– I hope I am allowed, as was another honourable member-
– Order! The honourable member for La Trobe has had some leniency from the Chair already. I suggest that he make his personal explanation.
– May I complete the quotation?
– Yes. .
– In the second article, the newspaper states:
The first two paragraphs of the ‘Sun’ report on March 26 said:
The chairman of the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign, Dr Cairns MHR-
I have already drawn notice to this:
The ‘Sun’ continues to quote its report of 26th March. Then it states:
The ‘Sun’ believes that the report on March 26 was an accurate account of what Dr Cairns said and that the heading was a fair representation of what was contained in the report.
Dr Cairns has made no complaint to the ‘Sun’ in the 10 days since the report was published.
I was called a deliberate liar. Perhaps the honourable member for Reid may wish to withdraw that remark.
-Order! The objections should have been taken at the time.
– The first thing that struck me, Mr Speaker, when I saw the list of speakers in this debate was the line-up of talent on the Australian Labor Party side of the chamber. When discussing the line-up of speakers someone suggested during the suspension of the sitting for dinner that the only speaker on the Labor side who did nol have left wing tendencies was the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam). I am inclined to dispute that claim. I am inclined to sympathise deeply with the agony of decision which was his lot. You will remember that some years ago when a debate on Vietnam, foreign affairs or such matters arose, the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) and other honourable members who saw eye to eye with him were excluded from the list of speakers. It is obvious that this happened. It is revealed by reading Hansard. There is no question about it. Then came the Harradine affair - the first one - there is quite a distinction - and the Leader of the Opposition threw his future into the ballot box. I think 6 votes decided the leadership of the Labor Party at that time. The Leader of the Opposition, being a good general, decided there and then that he had better re-orient his views if he was to achieve the unachieveable and become Prime Minister of Australia. Then we saw a transformation.
– I rise to order, Mr Deputy Speaker. Are the matters which the honourable member for Kennedy is touching on relevant to the issue being debated here tonight?
– Order! There is no substance in the point of order. This matter is as relevant as other matters discussed in this debate.
– Then we saw in the ranks of the Opposition a unity which was almost unbelievable prior to some months ago. I am leading into the Vietnam Moratorium. If members of the Opposition think that I am going to by-pass the Moratorium then they are in for a bit of a shock. Then, in the ranks of the Labor Party, we saw what any party leader would dearly love to achieve - almost complete party unity. In the process the honourable member for Macquarie (Mr Luchetti) and his very congenial and smiling friend, the honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor) were relegated to the back benches. The dynamic speaker who just preceded me, the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren), and my Queensland associate, the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden), took their places on the front benches of the Opposition. Here again great unity was achieved.
So much for the list of speakers. Referring now to Vietnam, I am just a simple country boy. I am not sophisticated. I have put some fairly simple questions about Vietnam but the answers never seem to be forthcoming. I do not want to go into detail about the great complexities of the Vietnam war because they have been covered time and time again. I want to ask a few simple questions, Mr Deputy Speaker, and I would like someone on this distinguished list of speakers for the Opposition who are to follow me in this debate to answer these questions: Does the Opposition believe that if the stand by the United States of America and Australia and their allies had not been taken, would there have been any aggressive intent at all aimed at Vietnam? Would there have been an occupation by Communists or North Vietnamese or Vietcong? If we do completely withdraw our foreign troops, as the Opposition speakers put it, would there be any danger at all that Vietnam would be occupied. If it were occupied would there be any greater threat to Australia?
Perhaps members of the Opposition are in a safe position but my friend the honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder) and I live in the north and we look across the waters almost into these countries of South East Asia. My next question is another fairly simple one. I ask: Have 2 countries, Cambodia and Laos disappeared off the face of the earth? These 2 countries are never mentioned these days. Are they ugly words? Are the troops that are marching down the Ho Chi Minh Trail on a walkathon or something? Or are they attacking South Vietnam, infiltrating it and occupying it? Has the domino theory been completely exploded? Nobody refers to it anymore.
So much for the Vietnam part of the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign. 1 want to refer to a grand deceit being perpetuated throughout Australia. I must indict my own government for allowing this deceit to be perpetrated and spread abroad. It is said that there is now a simple highly educated intelligentsia which is completely harmless and which has not been infiltrated by left wing ideas. Honourable members opposite may scoff but the point is that there has been a growing inclination to use this particular technique of infiltration. I will refer to an earlier time. I remember one of the most prominent Labor men that this nation will ever see, a great Queenslander, who told Queensland generally, in many an article that he wrote against Communist infiltration and influence on the Labor Party, that he stood four square against anything that was suggested from this sinister and foreign creed. He fought it. I refer to the great Labor man, Clarrie Fallon. He told us on one occasion that there would be a grand design and a grand deceit perpetrated by the Communist forces. It would be based on 3 specific things: The first would be control of the transport system of
Australia. The scheme even went to an extreme degree and involved the airline pilots. Whether they know it or not I do not know. I do not know how they are influenced but they were to become part of this scheme.
Then there is the poor old waterside worker. I have worked on the wharves and I think they are a greatly maligned group of people. Even though as a body they are swayed, perhaps, by inflammatory people, there are many fine people working on the wharves. I was once one of them. The second, and perhaps the most sinister onslaught, which would undermine our Western nations, would involve the use of mass media to completely subvert the morality of the Western nations. Let me explain the reasoning behind this. Where there is complete disregard for ordinary, decent moral standards there is a flabby sort of civilisation. History proves that this is so. Our young people have been led to believe that all these pornographic films and that sort of thing are part of a perfectly natural and acceptable way of life. But let us consider what is happening while this is going on. If someone takes one of these pornographic magazines to Soviet Russia or to Communist China just how far does that person get? In other words, Mr DeputySpeaker, while we are subject to these influences and have fallen for this great deceit, young people in Communist nations have remained virile and highly trained. The young people there are disciplined. They are proud of the fact that a great nationalism has emerged and that it is based on decent, virile, rural and moral principles. Lest you think that the character of the Labor Party has changed drastically just look at the smirks on the faces of honourable members opposite.
Let me remind the House of the subjects dealt with by some of the newly elected honourable members opposite in their maiden and other speeches during the last few weeks. Perhaps the subjects they chose are an indication of the attitudes which they have brought into this Parliament. The honourable member for Maribyrnong (Dr Cass) spoke about abortion. The honourable member for Prospect (Dr Klugman) spoke about uncontrolled homosexuality and the free use of drugs. The honourable member for Kingston (Dr Gun) advocated the com plete removal of censorship. My good friend from Rockhampton, the honourable member for Capricornia (Dr Everingham) - he is not a new member - said in a recent speech that it is morally right to oppose any law considered unjust. In fact he said that just men have a duty to disobey an unjust law.
– I rise to order. What does a reference to homosexuality in a maiden speech have to do with the war in Vietnam or the subject of this debate?
– There is no substance in the point taken by the honourable member.
– There is a very real relationship between what I am saying and this Moratorium because many good solid Labor men throughout the length and breadth of my electorate are bewildered; they cannot understand this new Labor Party. They belong not to pseudo Labor but to old type Labor, grass roots Labor such as the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly) never knew. I am sure that he feels out of place like a goanna running up a Christmas tree. These old type Labor supporters must be protected from this grand deceit that has been perpetrated by the Leader of the Opposition and those who sit behind him - this new technocratic type of Labor Party. I repeat: There is a definite relationship between what I have said and the planned Moratorium.
Let us examine one of the very ugly features of the Moratorium. With his Liberace sneer the Leader of the Opposition referred to the pathetic impotence - he may be an authority on the subject - of the Communist Party. Its apparent impotence is the culmination of a grand design. Why need it be potent when it has in this place these people opposite who quite innocently express in the national Parliament the Communist Party’s views - the rotten sinister ideas of the Party that are completely un-Australian. Honourable members opposite sponsor those views. Whether they do so deliberately I cannot say. Throughout my campaign prior to the last elections I adopted the very sound policy of telling the truth. That policy was accepted by the very knowledgeable people of Mount Isa. If honourable members on this side of the House make the blue they made prior to the last election and fail to reveal the extent of Communist infiltration - if they fail to reveal the Communists for what they are - they will betray the people of Australia and deceive the decent Labor man. The Communists must be exposed for what they are.
Last week we heard some honourable members opposite claim that they had come to Canberra to do a job but were not allowed to get on with it. One of them sounded like James Mason. My wife said, after listening to him: ‘Doesn’t he speak beautifully.’ I said: ‘He does. He is English.’ The honourable member concerned claimed that he had been sent here to represent his constituents but that he was muzzled and not allowed to speak. I assume that he will be here for 3 years so he will have ample opportunity to speak. So far, according to him, he has not had such an opportunity. The ‘Daily Mirror’ - not the Sydney Telegraph’ - recently interviewed 8 kids and sought their opinions on the actions of the Labor Party in this place last week. Those 8 kids were disgusted with the Labor Party’s performance. All of this is related to the matter of violence. Last Wednesday night the Leader of the Opposition stood on the front bench after the sitting had been suspended and harangued his supporters. I thought a two-up game was in progress. I thought about getting into it. My colleagues and I also tried to have the volume increased on the microphones that were picking up the conversations of Labor supporters, so that we might hear more clearly what was going on. The Leader of the Opposition harangued pressmen, telling some that they should be there and others that they should not. We had the spectacle of my good friend the honourable member for Grayndler - we both kick with the right leg - being promoted to Prime Minister in a mock government. I believe he said ‘On with the revolution’. The honourable member for Lalor who had assumed the Chair, adjourned the Parliament until 1975.
– I rise to order. Is it true that the honourable member’s leader once called the Speaker a gangster?
– Order! The honourable member for Sydney will not abuse the Standing Orders.
– One of the most sinister aspects of the Moratorium is its influence on the minds of the young. In an article headed ‘Students to Learn Ways to Dodge National Service’ the Melbourne ‘Age’ reported:
Vietnam Moratorium campaigners will send literature into all Victorian high schools in the next month. . . . The Minister for Education, Mi Thompson, last night criticised the plan to take the campaign into the schools. He said: ‘We believe that direct politics should be kept out of the schools. The children have enough problems of their own. The over involvement of children in politics overseas has brought chaos and disaster.’
My goodness it has. Those who understand the reactions of youth can readily influence the minds of young people going through the no man’s land of adolescence. It is at this time that they are most vulnerable. Believe me, it is no secret that this is a plan of international design. Why is it happening in every country? Why do people with strong left wing inclinations work so intimately with a handful of students? Do not get any wrong ideas: All a student has to do is pull some LSD out of his pocket or get a group around him and start talking about pornography or what he did last night and a television camera will appear in the flicker of an eyelid. But I know of a group of young people who painted the buildings of an orphanage and received no publicity for their efforts. I understand how this can happen. I was once a freelance journalist. Editors have to sell their newspapers. But this one-sided publicity gives the wrong impression and discourages the 90% of university students who are quite decent people.
We will knock this Moratorium and all stupid demonstrations. I would support a demonstration tomorrow if it was a good one, but violence is completely foreign to this country. It is quite unacceptable to us. Every decent Australian will treat the Moratorium with the contempt it deserves. Do not fall for this business about peaceful demonstrations. Tonight on the television programme This Day Tonight’ the honourable member for Lalor would not say what degree of violence he would tolerate. Good luck to him; he has always been honest. I will say that much for him. You know where you stand with him. As for the other man for all seasons, the Leader of the Opposition, with him you do not know where you are going. The sooner honourable members opposite put the honourable member for Lalor in control of the Labor Party and clear up all the uncertainty in its ranks the better. We will feel much better when this has been done. But he did say that he would not guarantee that there would be no violence. He would not even say what degree of violence he would tolerate. If I were a betting man I would take a fair shade of the odds that there will be violence and plenty of it on Moratorium Day.
-Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– In the long history of human humbug the honourable member for Kennedy (Mr Katter) would be hard to beat. We have heard him this evening talking about something about which he knows nothing. He is already Australia’s most mobile political figure. I understand that he has been in the Australian Democratic Labor Party, the Liberal Party, the Australian Country Party, but I do not think the Communist Party has been able to find room for him in the telephone box in which they meet in his electorate. What are his particular problems in this issue? Is he afraid that on Moratorium Day the surging crowds in Dingo or in Burketown or in Blackwater or down around Julia Creek will overflow and flood him out of political existence? He does not know what he is talking about. He has no understanding of the issues that face the metropolitan areas of Australia. He does not understand what the moral issues are that face the people of Australia who have a conscience. He has no idea at all of what the Communist Party is about. The Communist Party is one of Australia’s most microscopic political groups. It survives on the efforts of a handfall of very capable people, and that is all.
The Communist Party has now reached the stage where its meetings are minute proportions of politically sensitive people. They are of little significance at all in this country and to spend so much time in this House writing them larger than life size does no justice to this Parliament and does the country no sense. We are here tonight discussing a matter which I believe should affect the conscience of every person in Australia. It is not so long now before we will be marching down the streets on Anzac Day to remember the 60,000 people who died in the two World Wars. What steps have been taken by any of these people opposite, by all these people who oppose our point of view, to remember the 350 dead in Vietnam? Not for them any memorials; not for them any special services; not for them any marches; not for them any wreaths. For none of these do honourable members opposite shed a tear.
A few months ago I took part in a demonstration in the city of Melbourne. I did so after a lot of deep thought. It was the marching down the street with the names of these young men and the burning of a registration card in the city of Melbourne. I did not want to do it. I did not feel particularly keen on that kind of demonstration. But a few days before the event I was turning the pages of a Melbourne newspaper and on page 3 or 4 I saw that 2 more young men had been killed in Vietnam. 1 read out the item to my wife and she said: ‘And nobody cares. The mothers of those young men will weep and the fathers will be sorrowful; people will be regretful and we will get on with business as usual.’ I decided then whatever I could do I would do to see that the conscience of the people of Australia, whether in public or private, were roused to see what is being done in their name. That is what we are doing here tonight and that is what we will do on 8th May. Have no doubt that not only do I support the Vietnam Moratorium but I will be there and I will encourage everybody who supports me in my political views to be there with me likewise. That is why we are here tonight discussing this matter and nothing which has been said by members on the other side of the House has challenged the morality of that point of view.
I will associate with whomsoever I shall please. I have said that ever since I came here. If the honourable member for Cook (Mr Dobie) and I attend a conference of public servants I am quite happy to stand beside him on subjects about which we agree. If the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) attends our Aboriginal conferences I will stand on the platform and talk beside him and praise those things that he has done - which he ought have done. If the Leader of the Australian Democratic Labor Party comes to an education or migrant meeting - although I deplore most of his politics - I will stand beside him. That goes for anybody in this country no matter what his politics, Communist or non-Communist, Democratic Labor Party or Liberal-Country Party. I believe that is a fundamental principle of Australian political life and society. One associates with whom one pleases. We associate as free men. We assemble wherever we like to assemble. We wish no man ill-will but we stand up and be counted when great issues are at stake. I believe that the challenge of a modern democratic society is this: The government has to be responsive and responsible to the governed. Australians feel increasingly frustrated about this.
We are here tonight debating one of the great national issues in which most people believe that they can have no influence upon the course of Government action whatsoever. The Attorney-General (Mr Hughes) said that the Government has a mandate from the people of Australia. What kind of mandate is it? The figures of the last Federal election show that the Liberal Party which supplies most of the members of the Cabinet polled 2,125,000 votes. The Australian Labor Party, which is vigorously opposed to the war in Vietnam and our participation in it, polled 2,870,000 votes. Even when the 500,000 votes for the Country Party are added to those of the Liberal Party the figure is a long way short of the total number of votes for the Labor Party. If the votes for the DLP are thrown in the anti-Labor forces do edge slightly in front. How many honourable members opposite carried their own electorates with an absolute majority in the last election? Is it not true that only about 45 of the 65 members opposite could obtain an absolute majority for their point of view and their personal campaign in their own electorates? The Government has no mandate from the people of Australia. This is the most savage challenge which faces democracy today. Somehow we have to make governments responsive to the people that they govern, and that is why we have to go out into the streets. We have to do it because to me there seems to be no other way. There is no other way of rousing the conscience of the people, to make the Government, its membership, its Ministers and its servants responsible and understanding of what it is all about. What else are we to do? In the long history of human endeavour we have been unable to resolve this democratic problem of making a society responsible to the will of its citizens.
The Attorney-General made a great play of the term ‘a democratic society’. It is of course true that in the world at large there are about 130 nations none of which are democracies in the true sense - well, except perhaps one or two. Happily we belong to the dozen or 15 nations that are pretty close to being democracies. But how democratic is Australia? What about the Crimes Act, the National Service Act, the Conciliation and Arbitration Act and the Electoral Act? I have with me a copy of the Crimes Act which was passed by this House. How democratic is section 78 (2.) of that Act which reads:
Such an accused person can be found guilty. That is a provision in the Crimes Act. Would you find that in a democratic society? Of course you would not. Have you thought about the provisions of the National Service Act? The provisions that require people to register for national service; the provisions that require airlines to refuse the people the right to leave this country. Are those provisions symbols and actions of a democratic government? Of course they are not. The honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess) spoke about marches in the street to get O’Shea out of prison. Why were the marches necessary? The answer is because the Conciliation and Arbitration Act includes some of the most undemocratic clauses on the statute books of any democratic country in the world. I understand that there are only 3 countries in the world which have legislation containing the kind of penal provisions that we have in our legislation. Ours is not a democratic society. Nor is Australia an electoral democracy, because in the late hours of a night not so very long ago we passed through this Parliament amendments to the Electoral Act to ensure that the seat of Malley should have 45.000 voters and the seat of Wills should have 58,000 and also that around Australia there would be some people whose vote would count for 4 and others for 3. So we have negated democracy. It is not true that Australia is democratic in the sense in which we think of the word. Therefore the challenge goes out to every citizen to do something about it. Having failed at the ballot box, despite the advantage of numbers; having failed to persuade, despite the logic, there is only one thing we can do, and that is to get out amongst the public and try to convince and gather everybody into the fold and get them to oppose the war in Vietnam and Australia’s behaviour in it.
The honourable member for La Trobe said: ‘Why are you so silent about North Vietnam and its aggression?’ Many of us on this side have spoken about this matter. We are not happy about the North Vietnamese Government. We are not happy about most governments. We would write no charters or guarantees for them. The fact is that the events in South Vietnam in which Australia participates are our responsibility. Our men are sent there by the actions of this Parliament and a Government which gets its charter from its membership of this Parliament. That is why we take up this issue, and this one almost solely, but not this one alone. What are honourable members opposite doing about some of the moral issues that are involved here? What about the bombing of North Vietnam and the bombing of the various parts of South Vietnam. It is true that I have no time for the National Liberation Front and its bomb-throwing, but we can have no responsibility for them. But we can perhaps exert remote influence on it, but it is indeed a remote influence. But upon the actions of our allies in Vietnam we ought to be able to assert some influence.
What about the fate of prisoners? Does anyone care for the prisoners that Australian servicemen capture and pass over to the Saigon Government and its tender mercies? Do we ever care? Do we ever find out? Do we ever search to see? What about the villages that have been destroyed in the search and destroy operations? They are our responsibility. They are on our conscience. We cannot deny or escape this, and that is why we have to assert ourselves against the war in Vietnam. Why is it that none of the honourable members opposite will debate the Vietnam war any more? Why is it that we can plead in vain to get one of them to come on a platform somewhere? Why is it that students at the university will say: ‘We cannot get any Liberals to come’? Why is it that churches will say: ‘But we cannot get any Liberals to come and debate with you’? Why is it that there are no Liberals who will debate this issue? Is there any honourable member of the Country Party or Democratic Labor Party who will come to Melbourne on 8 th or 9th May and debate with us somewhere publicly the very issues that we are discussing here tonight? Of course there is not. They are hiding safely behind the numbers that they have gained through the amendments of the Electoral Act and all the other devices which prevent the will of the people being heard. They hide away and pour scorn upon the actions of other devout people who want the nation’s conscience scarified a little, because it is time to scarify it on this issue.
We have a right and we have a duty to dissent. The problem is that so many people believe that it is somebody else’s job. We cannot leave it to others. We are the inheritors of a long history of dissent. Over 3 or 4 centuries there has been successful dissent. There has been dissent against kings, dissent against Parliaments, dissent against employers and dissent against all sorts of wrongs. We have had the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. What did the Nuremberg decisions mean? They meant that every one of us has a conscience and we cannot avoid it.
So the Vietnam Moratorium is not only about the Vietnam war but it is about those things that make a democratic society tick - the right of freedom of association and the right of freedom of assembly. I was sickened to hear the Attorney-General, who came to this House with a pretty formidable reputation as a man of intellect and as a man of great professional capacity. I find through his statement a continuing and specious series of phrases - phrases which can be brought from anywhere and which mean nothing. They are plausible and persuasive but meaningless. He referred to: conduct calculated to damage the great interest we all have in maintaining a stable democratic society ruled by law’. That comment could easily have been followed by these words: ‘It is completely out of the question, but under the cover of criticism support should be given to activities which one can only characterise as treason to the interests of people’s own life’. The phrasing is almost identical and the wording follows on. One could hardly determine, without a very close examination, that the authors were not the same person. One of the authors is the Attorney-General of Australia, who was sitting at the table; the other was the late unregretted Adolf Hitler giving one of his numerous speeches.
I believe this is part of the menace of the system - that it is words, words, words; no conscience, no clarity, no facts. This country has been beset too long with McCarthyism. It has had a long and dreadful history, and it is in this country that its last lingering traces are to be found. Some of us can remember, even if we were not here, the time when the former Prime Minister of Australia, the Right Honourable Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, said when introducing the Communist Party Dissolution Bill that he had a great list of trade union leaders who were all Communists. Two or 3 days later he had to withdraw his assertion, just as the notorious McCarthy had to withdraw his list. Of course, that was Sir Robert Menzies. He was a particular sort of person, and it was so long ago.
Then, of course, there was Lord Casey who is equally distinguished. At an appropriate time he found a nest of traitors in the Commonwealth Public Service. It would be a worth while exercise for honourable members who have joined this Parliament in recent years to turn back to the Hansard of the time. They will see how my friend, the honourable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr Allan Fraser), continuously challenged him. Not only could he not find the nest but he could not find even one traitor. As far as I can tell, as far as the records show and as far as this Government has been able to challenge anybody in the courts, Australia has never had a traitor. Yet here tonight we have heard honourable member after honourable member, including the Attorney-General himself, the honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess), the honourable member for Kennedy, all with allegations of treachery and treason hidden behind the smears that they place upon decent and honest Australians. They presume that there are Communists everywhere. The honour able member for Kennedy referred to the grand design and the great deceit. These allegations, of course, must be stopped.
Apart from that, there are other issues that ought to be faced by the people of Australia. Many honourable members opposite are of military age. Where are they when the guns are barking? Why are they not there? Why is my friend, the Minister for the Army (Mr Peacock), not there? Is he not of the age that would enable him to be there if he were dinkum? Is that not also the case with the Minister for Immigration (Mr Lynch)? What about my young friend, the honourable member for Diamond Valley (Mr Brown)? In my day and age people who believed in wars went to them themselves. Other honourable members who are of military age should also be there. I have not had time to check on the age groups, but I ask any honourable member in that age group to come out on a platform in his electorate or in my electorate and say where he stands when these issues are at stake. The honourable member for Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns) has poured scorn on us. I understand that the Army is short of dentists. That is his profession. Why does he not go?
The issue is the access to the streets of Australia. My friend the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) called for people to take over the streets. What does he mean by that? Every shopping day the streets are taken over by commercial activity. We want them to be taken over by the nation’s conscience. If it is good enough for the men of commerce to use the streets for their purposes, for the newspapers to sell their wares, for the farmers to march down, and for the people of Australia to stand still on them or march down them on the two historic days of each year, Armistice Day and Anzac Day, it is good enough at some time for private people, calling on the conscience of the nation, to demand the same right. Why is it that these matters must be left to governments? Why is it that we can have a conscience only when it is officially sponsored? That is not the way our society works. That is not the way democracy works. On 8th May, which should have a particular significance because it is the 25th anniversary of the end of the war in Europe, we should get out into the streets and demand the people’s conscience? What we ask is: Do the streets belong to us all?
There are very few public places in this country where we can assemble. In my electorate I think we have established the right amongst the citizenry to get out in the streets if we wish. We have established a pretty close rapport with the police force. We have no grudge against the members of the police force. They have their duty to do. I presume, like the rest of the community, their political views are divided. But there is only one thing that will change the course of this nation’s thinking, and that is a public demonstration of our beliefs. For too long politics has been the business of the letter box at the dead of night with no people attending the public meetings, with a disembodied voice coming over the radio or a depersonalised picture on the television set. What we seek is a personal confrontation on a political issue and a matter of conscience. So we have moved an amendment which I hope honourable members opposite will support. We affirm the right to peaceful demonstrations, support the efforts of the United States Government to achieve an end to the war and declare that this disengagement meets the urgent needs of humanity.
– I am glad we have heard that sincere though misguided democrat, the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) tell us of some of his beliefs. Some of them are very plausible and some of them, of course, do not bear analysis. I refer, for instance, to his remark about the decent, honest Australian. There are many decent, honest Australians who do not agree with the honourable member for Wills, who do not agree with anything that he stands for and who in fact would have nothing to do with him. I hope he takes that comment in a kindly fashion, because it was meant in that way. I remember that in a previous debate some time ago the Australian Labor Party was under attack. The contention then was that there was too much coincidence in demonstrations being held country by country, State by State and city by city in chronological order. I remember very clearly that the honourable member for Wills rose and completely denied this contention, saying that all the demonstrations in this country were spon taneous demonstrations. He knew very well; he had organised plenty of them. Frankly, at the time this was treated with good humour by the honourable member for Wills who realised that he had put his great foot in his tiny little mouth once again. If he is going to hold himself up as the great democrat, let him be consistent.
– You should be consistent on the Chowilla Dam.
– Precisely. I am just as much in favour of the Chowilla Dam being built - in its proper time - as I ever was. I do not know where the honourable member for Port Adelaide (Mr Birrell) stands on that issue; he is probably wobbling as the leader of his Party in South Australia is wobbling. The problem with people getting up and posing as great democrats is that they are very rarely consistent. I do not like to mention this, but last Wednesday night we heard the honourable member for Wills dissenting. Many of us have dissented. I seem to remember the former honourable member for Kooyong dissenting and being ordered out of the House at the pleasure of Parliament and the Chair. Many of us have been born and bred on dissent in some way or other. But on Wednesday night we saw the difference between a democrat and one who poses as one. The honourable member could not obey the dictates of Parliament or the dictates of the Speaker of this House. Let him be consistent. If he is going to be a democrat he should not be a demagogue. If he is going to pose as a democrat he should be consistent and have some respect for the society in which he lives and for the law. I would not be so stupid as to say that every law I know of receives my entire approval. I can think of the speed limit law with which 1 seem to differ from time to time. We all have our idiosyncrasies. Unless there is a very major issue, a matter of a big minority being down-trodden by an appalling law such as the law of Nazi Germany, it is not proper and reasonable to say to people that they must have no respect for the law and that they should therefore break any law they feel like.
If we look at places like Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen, Sachsenhausen and Ravensbruck and visit the memorial to these places in Jerusalem today - because it was mainly Jews who suffered - we can see the prime importance of not allowing ourselves - in certain circumstances - to be down-trodden and deprived of our rights by a law, but I maintain that there is nothing in Australia today which can be remotely compared with the situation in Nazi Germany. The nearest we could get to it, I suppose, is the situation resulting from the National Service Act. This Government has been democratically elected on two occasions. The honourable member for Wills and his cohorts, front, back and inside out, have had every chance to express their opinions on this matter. They have not done so. The nearest they have come by way of an argument is to produce a trend on a graph and project it to a certain month in the future. Then they say: ‘Aha! Now the people of Australia are no longer in favour of our connection with the people of South Vietnam in a military fashion.’ This is absolute nonsense. The honourable member for Sturt (Mr Foster), who is trying to interject, would not have any idea what he is talking about, and he should get back to his seat before I ask the Speaker to name him.
– I am going to do that.
– The honourable member for Sturt is still out of order in interjecting even when he is in his own seat.
– I suggest that what we need from the honourable member for Wills and from a great many other members of the Australian Labor Party at present is a little bit of sincerity. I would not for one moment question that the honourable member for Sturt has sponsored the Vietnam Moratorium movement but I would question whether some of his colleagues from my own State of South Australia had signed it. Not many days ago I was at a meeting in South Australia where people were curious to know which members of the Labor Party from South Australia, the so-called new look party, had signed or had not. I did not know. I do not follow these things very well. I am not usually concerned with worrying about left-wingers, pro-Corns or Communists - that was until I met the honourable member for Sturt. I am not usually concerned but I regard it as the proper duty of many of the new Labor members to get up and say whether they have signed the sponsorship. There are people in their home States who would like to know. Until this afternoon when I saw the Attorney-General’s statement I had not seen a list of those members of the Labor Party who had enough principle to run against the tide, due to their conscientious beliefs, and decline to sign the sponsorship. It was news to me that some had not signed. I am learning quite rapidly about these things, and the honourable member for Sturt is not helping me at all. On the other hand, he does not worry me very much as long as he continues interjecting as he is at present.
The issue becomes one that is intensely a matter of our own personal beliefs in a democracy, one way or the other. I accept - perhaps others do not, and I could not care less - the principles of free speech in a democratic society, but I am against the use of sincere people for political purposes. I include in the case of school children the use of propaganda photographs of the type just issued by the Moratorium movement. This is one of the most despicable photographs I have even seen. It is of the standard of one or two others that I have seen and it depicts a child - if it is a child - or a woman killed quite probably by the Vietcong, lt follows the usual pattern. When these pictures are produced it is always claimed that the victim was killed by an American or, worse still, by an Australian. It is pretty despicable action for people such as the honourable member to produce these photographs while having no idea of their authenticity. The honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess) could be quite correct in saying that this is the sort of photograph that could be distributed in schools in Australia today to stir up emotional feelings in innocent children. If this is the idea of the Vietnam Moratorium movement, which honourable members opposite support, then it is a pretty low form of tactic indeed. As I have suggested before, I do not know much about these things because I have never worried about studying what trade union secretaries-
– I do not know about that.
– I have studied all right, but I have not studied you. I have not worried about studying which trade union secretaries are Communists and which are not. I am not profoundly interested. What has driven me to my feet tonight is my sheer horror at the alternative government of this nation allowing itself to become associated with Australians of whom we have no particular reason to be proud. This is a crying shame. I will come back to this matter later in my speech. If violence does occur-
– It will be caused by the police.
– That is a typical remark from the honourable member: ‘If in doubt, blame the police.’ I have great respect for the police. The police in the honourable member’s home State of South Australia are second to none. I hope that he realises it. I hope that his interjection was as flippant as other interjections of his sometimes are, because without protection from a worthwhile, respectable, sincere and decent police force for the honourable member and his family he would be in a pretty odd situation from time to time after some of his more provocative speeches. We have only to think back to the dispute involving the Barrier Council, the strike at Mount Isa and several other occasions when the rule of law meant nothing at all to the honourable member for Hindmarsh. In fact, all he did was to stir and try to bring to the top unruly elements that could well have remained where they were. This is the danger to which I refer. I do not mind people like the honourable member for Sturt - if he has any sincerity in his makeup at all - being quite sincere and signing a sponsorship for the Vietnam Moratorium movement. It would not surprise me if he signed anything; I am quite sure that he would. But if any trouble eventuates from the Moratorium movement, then all the members of the Opposition who have signed this document will be tarred with their own dirty brush. The people of Australia, not I, will judge them according to the trouble that occurs. I hope that no trouble occurs. I hope that Opposition members can skate out of their difficult position.
– You need not worry about us.
– Order! The honourable member for Port Adelaide and the honourable member for Sturt will cease interjecting.
– I apologise, Mr Deputy Speaker, if in any strange way I am stirring them up, because I do not mean to. To prove the point that has just cropped up I shall quote from the Adelaide ‘Advertiser’ of a few days ago. Under the heading ‘Bomb plan for SA’ this article appears:
Violent demonstrations were being planned and Molotov cocktails being made for the Vietnam moratorium’ campaign to be held in Adelaide
Student groups, concerned that the campaign’s activities would be too passive, were planning their own deliberately violent demonstrations
Evidence was given that:
They might not be used- but there will be violence in Adelaide and it will be deliberately fostered’.
Of course, this article was produced by a very responsible person in South Australia.
– Tell us who it was.
– I would be very glad to. It was the Secretary of the Australian Democratic Labor Party in that State - a Mr Martin Posa.I do not mind how much members of the Opposition laugh. I know Martin Posa and I see no reason to disagree with that view because the Democratic Labor Party expressed it. Do honourable members opposite see any reason to disagree? They are a little quieter now, are they not, Mr Deputy Speaker? They are thinking of those swinging seats. As they do not have much of a majority in any seat that they hold they are starting to worry about the DLP and are not necessarily going to say that they do not believe the DLP leader in South Australia. This is a classic case of what happens when a party gets completely out of the control of its leaders, as happened last week. Unfortunately, Sir, you witnessed the appalling mob rabble situation that occurred. But there was a basic reason for this. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard), who are not game to sign the Moratorium document, have scuttled out under the cover of saying: Aha, we do not commit ourselves to these sorts of things’. This is also the case with the Opposition Whips.
The Labor Party has got out of all control of its leaders and is being run by such incredible people as the honourable member for Sturt, the honourable member for Hunter (Mr James), and the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren). This state of affairs was quite apparent last week. It is not good for the future of this nation when we see a once great Party starting to run like a rabble without any leadership. This, of course, was the main reason for the debacle the other night. I wish the leaders of the Labor Party the very best of luck, because the sooner they establish some form of authority over the more irrational members of their Party the better it will be not only for them but for the Parliament and for the nation as a whole.
There are many things that one could say but I think that perhaps the best way for me to complete my remarks in the few minutes that remain is to go very quickly through some of the meetings that have been held by people who are working in association with those who have sponsored the Vietnam Moratorium. I refer to a report from the Communist Party of Australia which is headed ‘Tribune, 4th February 1970’. I shall quote only excerpts from the report because that is all I will have time to mention. One part of the report states:
We do not want a Moratorium limited to traditional peace marches to the exclusion of more militant expressions of opposition.
Another part states:
Immediate withdrawal without conditions is a crucial demand of the National Liberation Front and the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam.
I do not know who propounded these fine views for the Communist Party, no matter how big or how small it may be. I have visited Vietnam on 3 or 4 occasions for a small period of time, and I believe that no-one would seriously regard those sorts of remarks as having any value at all. Anyone who has been to Vietnam and has got out of the grips of our own officials who tend to look after us when we are there, who has got away from the Australian sphere of operation, who has friends who have taken him out into the countryside - I hope the honourable member for Sturt, who is interjecting, takes due note of this - has not for one minute seen our troops or our involvement doing other than help the poor peasant farmers who live in the area concerned. In Vietnam 80% of the population is made up of peasant farmers and the high majority of these farmers have never seen 2 miles over the hills in any direction.
When I first went to Vietnam 4 years ago I found that it was very difficult for these peasant farmers to make up their minds how to vote. They had no experience on which to base an opinion. When I went back subsequently I noticed a tremendous change. The Vietcong were there in diminishing numbers and North Vietnamese soldiers were virtually invading other parts of South East Asia in increasing numbers. The peasant farmers had had same experience of their schools being burned. But they had also had some experience of their special forces being sent down to train at Nui Dat and elsewhere and coming back trained in mothercraft, post-natal and prenatal care and other arts such as road building and local government. These were the people whom the Vietcong were going after; these were the people who were being slaughtered. The last occasion on which I was in Vietnam in areas off the beaten tracks and in the countryside made me quite certain that the people there were building day by day and week by week the means to form an opinion and to know how they should vote. Long may this trend continue. Let us take no notice of the hasty, impetuous and, in my view, irresponsible ideas of the Opposition. I believe that in 2 years time we may well have a great success story to tell about Vietnam.
I conclude my speech by saying that I hope that Opposition members who take a high moral stand, they think, in relation to the Moratorium for Vietnam, give some thought in due course to Tibet. Did the Tibetans remember that the law was meant to protect them? Does the Moratorium, supported by the Labor Party, take into account the people of Tibet and of numerous other countries?
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– The honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) has spoken feelingly about the protection of innocent children. I wholeheartedly support the feelings that he has expressed. I do not have pictures with me as did the honourable member for Angas, but let me quote from the ‘Australian’ of 4th December 1969. An article in this publication states:
Just outside the village there was this big pile of bodies. This really tiny kid - he only had a shirt on, nothing else, came over to the pile and held the hand of one of the dead.
One of the Gls behind me dropped into a kneeling position and killed him with a single shot’.
It is because of this that I adopt what the honourable member for Angas has described as the high moral stand of supporting the Moratorium.
Last night I had the privilege of being called upon to speak by a Moratorium committee representing the genuine, peaceloving people of my electorate of St George. The chairman of this meeting was the Reverend Michael Horsburgh, Vice-Principal of Wesley College at the University of Sydney. My co-speaker was Mr Colin McDonald, President of Catholics for Peace and Vice-President of the Ex-servicemen’s Human Rights Association of Australia. The organiser of the meeting, Mr Bill Weekes, had been the campaign director for 3 campaigns for the State Liberal Party member for the electorate of Earlwood and for 9 years was President of the Earlwood Liberal Party State Electorate Conference. Present at this meeting were 4S0 decent, honest Australian citizens. Are these the sort of people that the Attorney-General describes as an assorted collection of Communists, Communist sympathisers, Trotskyites and anarchists?
The Attorney-General referred to what he described as the wicked falsehoods in an advertisement. Let us now have a look at some of the wicked falsehoods of this Government’s propaganda. I would like to refer to an infamous publication of a department of which I had the honour to be an officer for 20 years. I refer to a publication entitled ‘Vietnam - Questions and Answers’. May I take as my first point in going through this publication, a publication filled with what the Attorney-General describes as wicked falsehoods, a statement which appears on page 19. This statement was made in reply to a question on why we are in Vietnam:
But the matter is that while Australia values the closeness and strength of its friendship and alliance with the United States, our forces are in Vietnam to help the government of the South at its request.
It is a matter of some significance that in the several volumes of the documents on Vietnam published by the Department of External Affairs - and I have read each and every one of them; as a matter of fact I have contributed material to them - the much referred to official request from the Government of South Vietnam has never appeared. On 24th May 1962 the then Minister for Defence, in announcing the dispatch of a group of military instructors to Vietnam, referred to an invitation by the Government of the Republic of Vietnam, but the very volume in which that statement appears does not print any such invitation. Again on 29th April 1965 the then Prime Minister, is a circumlocution for which he achieved justifiable acclaim, stated:
We are now in receipt of a request from the Government of South Vietnam.
But again what one would have regarded as a historic and unprecedented document which occasioned Australia’s sending forces abroad to participate in an undeclared war was not and has never been published. Perhaps we should analyse not so much what the Prime Minister said on this occasion but how he said it. I quote from a document entitled ‘Vietnam - First Half of 1965’ published by the Department of External Affairs, which reports the Prime Minister as having stated:
The Australian Government is now in receipt of a request from the Government of South Vietnam for further military assistance. I think I should say that we decided in principle some time ago, weeks and weeks ago, that we would be willing to do this if we received the necessary request from the Government of South Vietnam and the necessary collaboration with the United States.
He is admitting that whatever message may have turned up the decision had been made before the receipt of that message. This document also contains the facts about the New Zealand commitment. It is curious that the New Zealanders did not get what was a message from the Vietnamese Government or what was said to be a message from the Vietnamese Government until 1 0th May. The New Zealand Government at least had the discretion and the propriety to leave its announcement until 27th May. The plain fact is that we did not respond to the request of the South Vietnamese Government; we bowed to the pressure of the United States Administration - and we were not the only country to do so.
The myth of the so-called free world involvement at the request of the South Vietnamese Government was dealt a mortal blow in the case of the Philippines. President Marcos stated - and listen to these dates - on 19th February 1966 that the request for the Philippines’ intervention was made by the South Vietnamese Government on 14th April 1965. Three months prior to that date, in January 1965, the United States Government had signed an agreement with the Phillipines underwriting all the costs of the Philippines’ participation in Vietnam. Two points are clear from this statement: Firstly, that a Vietnamese request, if it ever arrived, was a mere and contrived formality; and secondly, that the Philippines, as with Thailand, was bribed by the United States Government to intervene. This is the course of action which caused the Chairman of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee to comment. He said:
This seems to me to be the ultimate in corruption for us to make deals like this in pursuit of an illusory policy all designed to prove to the world that we have great support in Vietnam, which we do not have at all.
The position of the United States is even more equivocal. The United States has never received a request from any of the multitude of governments of South Vietnam to intervene because, in spite of repeated requests by the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the United States Administration has never been able to produce such a document. The United States Administration was not interested in the contribution of the bribed and pressured members of the free world. It was interested, as Senator Fulbright pointed out, only in seeking to gain acceptance of the illusion of world wide support. President Johnson found it expedient to bolster his own Administration’s standing in the United States domestic political scene. It was a public relations exercise, and Australian sons, brothers, fathers and husbands have died for a Maddison Avenue victory.
I would like again to refer to this publication ‘Vietnam - Questions and Answers’ on the question of Vietnam’s breaching of the Geneva Agreements. It is stated at page 13 that the International Control Commission had reported that unarmed and armed personnel, arms, munitions and other supplies had been sent in from the zone in the north to the zone in the south with the object of starting, organising and carrying on hostile activities. But as a part of the falsehood of the propaganda of this Government it did not mention what that same report said about the United States and what it said about the Republic of South Vietnam. The International Control Commission’s report states in section 20:
Taking into account and basing itself on its own observations and authorised statements made in the United States of America and the Republic of Vietnam, the Commission concludes that the Republic of Vietnam has violated articles 16 and 17 of the Geneva Agreements in receiving the increased military aid from the United States of America in the absence of any established credit in its favour. The Commission is also of the view that though there may be not any formal military alliance between the Governments of the United States of America and the Republic of Vietnam the establishment of a united Military Assistance Command in South Vietnam as well as the introduction of a large number of United States military personnel beyond the stated strength of the Military Assistance Advisory Group amounts to a factual military alliance which is prohibited under Article 19 of the Geneva Agreements.
One would assume from a further statement in the report ‘Vietnam - Questions and Answers’ that the infiltration of North Vietnamese personnel started immediately after the signing of the Geneva Agreements. But what are the facts? I should now like to refer to the United States Committee on Foreign Relations report entitled ‘Background Information Relating to South East Asia and Vietnam’. What do we find? Under the date, 1st January 1955, 6 months after the signing of the Geneva Agreements, it says that the United States promises to render direct assistance to Vietnam on the basis of existing agreements of December 1950 for the support of Vietnamese armed forces. On 12th February 1955 the United States Military Assistance Advisory Group took over the training of the South Vietnamese Army following the relinquishing of the command authority by the French. We can study this background information for year after year but it is not until 10th November 1960 that we find, in this American publication, the first reference to any North Vietnamese incursion of South Vietnamese territory. In that statement it says that the South Vietnamese Government reported that Communist attacks were made across the border. What we have to think of this is that 6 months after the signing of the Geneva Agreements which prohibited infiltration and which prohibited any military alliance the United States, on its own evidence, was in action. It was not until 1960, again on the evidence supplied by the United States Senate, that there was information that the North Vietnamese had come into action.
Perhaps we should look at some of the conscious deceptions also contained in the further reports in ‘Vietnam - Questions and Answers’. On page 8 of that document it states that the South took the position that until the people of the North were able to have genuine elections it would be impossible to hold free elections over the whole country for the purposes of unification; for the South to have taken any other decision would have been unrealistic and wrong. Bui what do we find when we look up what the Geneva Agreements said about those elections? It says that ‘the elections shall be held by secret ballot and that they shall be held in July 1956 and under the supervision of an International Commission composed of representatives of member States of the International Supervisory Commission’. That was an agreement signed by the United States. That was an agreement signed by the South Vietnamese Government. We, in co-operation with the United States and with the puppet regime of Ngo Dinh Diem set up by the United States, aided and abetted the Vietnamese to defy that agreement. We even said that it would be wrong for them to act in accordance with the Geneva Agreements which honourable members opposite have many times said should be the basis of Government policy.
The Australian people are now realising that they have been deceived and that this Government has lied and lied and lied. This position is becoming untenable. What passes as Australian foreign policy is bankrupt and motivated by fear of revelation. The Government, by this device introduced by the Attorney-General, is desperately seeking to shift ground. But the Government will find, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, that not all the people can be fooled all the time,
– As an amendment to the amendment proposed by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), I move:
One notable feature of this debate has been the admission by one Opposition speaker after another that it is legitimate to have co-operation in this matter between the Communist Party and the Australian Labor Party. This is quite a new line for the opposition which usually takes the view that there is no co-operation between the Communist Party and the Labor Party. The Leader of the Opposition says that this is not significant because the Communists are not important. The importance of the Communists in this can be seen in relation to the observed policy of the Labor Party. Maybe the Communists are only small in numbers. Maybe the Australian Labor Party is a considerable Party. Nevertheless the Communists, as I shall show in a moment, appear to determine Australian Labor Party policy in this matter. It is as though one may ask: How can a great 50,000-ton ship be made to answer to a small rudder that weighs only 10 or 15 tons? This may be judged by the course that the ship takes and by looking at what happens. I would say that on the observed facts the great Australian Labor Party answers to the red rudder.
This Moratorium, so-called, is not an exclusively Australian performance. Indeed, what is planned for Australia is only a pale reflection of what happened overseas. Perhaps the planners of it would like it to be something more than a pale reflection, lt is, therefore, to be looked at in the main setting. This Moratorium is a good instance of the 2 main Lenin tactics. The first tactic is the tactic of the United front. Lenin says: We will use the Labor Parties as a transmission belt to the masses and by using them as our front we will involve innocent people who do not know what we are really up to in our Communist designs.’ This is the united front in action. Every now and again there comes a time when it becomes important, as it was at a time in the past and as it has become important now. The united front between the Communists and the Labor Party is now acknowledged officially by the Labor Party in this House. So the second Leninist tactic is that of revolutionary defeatism: In war one must try to bring about the defeat of one’s own country because if you can get defeat and demoralisation you can get mob rule, violence and anarchy - all kinds of agitations which the Communists want properly under way. Revolutionary defeatism is the second great tactic of Leninism and the present Moratorium agitation - so-called - instances both these main tactics, united front and revolutionary defeatism: Try and get your country defeated in war so that there will be demoralisation and disorder. This title of ‘Moratorium’ some innocent people think refers to an attempt to get some kind of moratorium and cessation in the hostilities in Vietnam. If that were so surely the appeal would be directed to Hanoi, which has refused negotiations. No. Moratorium’ is chosen because it is thought to be a respectable word, better than ‘strike’, riot’, or ‘mass action’. ‘Moratorium’ is used in the sense that it refers to internal tactics and not external policy.
There has been a succession of peace fronts. The present Moratorium is part of that succession. We had Stockholm, the world peace council, and the Association for International Cooperation and Disarmament. Moratorium begat the other. It is a consistent line. It was only a few years ago that even the Australian Labor Party proscribed as a Communist front this spurious peace organisation which is directed not to peace but to weakening us so that we will be beaten. This is an appeal for demoralisation of our side; it is not an appeal genuinely for peace. It is directed to our side. This kind of thing is not allowed to occur on the other side. They can meet in Moscow as they are doing this month to have their World Peace Congress, but heaven help anybody in Moscow who tries to agitate for Russia or the Soviet’s allies to withdraw their forces. This is not allowed; this is to be one sided. It is the policy of this infamous organisation
– Why did you want a security pact with Russia?
-Order! The honourable member for Reid has already spoken in the debate and I suggest that he cease interjecting. He knows full well that all interjections are out of order.
– I well know what the honourable member for Reid is at and what he is trying to cover up. I say ‘this infamous organisation’ but I do not mean that all the people connected with it are infamous - very far to the contrary. Many of them have been deceived and betrayed because they have trusted Labor leaders and their honesty. Many are good people who do not know what they are being used for. It is not the adherents, it is the organisation which is infamous. The same people that were in the old peace organisations, which even the Labor Party proscribed and which 1 understand the Labour Party in England still proscribes as Communist fronts, are now running the Moratorium. The documents are here. There is not time to go through them in the House. It may be possible to produce a paper setting out the details and the names but there is no doubt whatsoever about the involvement of the same people in the same kind of activity.
Indeed the Communists themselves say this. I take the last 3 available issues of the Tribune’, 8th April, 1st April and 25th March. Each one of these gives details of organisation and shows very clearly the extent of Communist involvement. If one looks at the literature which is being put out by the organisation one will see that it is being mainly sponsored by Communist controlled organisations and Communistcontrolled trade unions. Are honourable members opposite proud of their associates? I wonder. I wonder whether they really are proud of them. At all events they have now come out into the open which they have never done before and have said: ‘There is this organisational link between Communism and Labor in a matter which is Communist policy, which was initiated by the Communists, and we have come round to their way of thinking.’ They say they do not want mob rule. The honourable member for Lalor does not want mob rule; he only wants to mobilise the mob and hopes something will happen. He would like to have some kind of alibi if it did. He had better remember that mob rule is minority rule. There is no substance or sense in the proposition - the Communist proposition - that is being peddled by the Opposition that there is something great and democratic in mob rule. Mob rule is minority rule. The small crowd of activists, the minority, are the mob in action.
I have been speaking about changes that the Communists have been able to bring about in Labour Party policy. One of the saddest things is the way in which the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has been changed and -brainwashed in this matter. I quote from the Press of 29th May 1967, when the Deputy Leader of the Opposition had been in Vietnam and had been able to see things at first hand. He is reported to have said:
The Australian Labor Party may need to take a hard look at its defence and foreign policies as they apply to Vietnam.
The report continues:
Mr Barnard said he was satisfied that there was a large scale invasion of South Vietnam by North Vietnamese troops. ‘I am satisfied that this is more than just a guerilla war and I suppose it can be compared with the earlier conflict in Korea’, he said. Mr Barnard was speaking at the end of his S-day visit to South Vietnam, part of a general fact finding tour of South East Asia.
I have not time to read this statement in extenso but you will see that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, having been in Vietnam, learned the truth. He learned the truth that we were there to try to save the South Vietnamese from invasion and incursion by the northern Communist criminals. He told us the truth as he saw it. The sad thing is that this man - I do not know whether he was the Deputy Leader of the Opposition then but he is now - has reneged. He has gone back on what he then knew to be true. I give it as 1 instance because it relates to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and this should be remembered because it shows the way in which the Communist Party conducting a reign of terror through its pre-selection control of so many Labor seats, is able to intimidate Labor leaders and bring them around to its way of thinking. There are other instances of this but 1 have chosen to concentrate on this 1 instance because it concerns the man who is the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. He has now to explain his conduct and exactly why he has gone away from the things which he knew to be true.
Now, the main policy of the Australian Labor Party has been switched and determined by the Communist Party in the same way as a little rudder steers a big ship. The great Australian Labor Party has answered to the red rudder. In the past the Australian Labor Party did not take this same kind of attitude towards the Vietnam war, as honourable members can see. Its policy has been changed because the left wing has changed it. I think that it is quite right to say that honourable members such as the honourable member for Lalor have been consistent all the time. He himself has always taken on this matter the same line as the Communists. He has been able, through his great influence in the Party, to bring his Party around now to his way of thinking. One does not want to underestimate the influence of this man.
One of the great things that is emerging from this debate - I think that my honourable friend for Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns) drew attention to this - is the great selectivity which the Australian Labor Party uses in determining what it is to support. If it had been really honest in this matter, if it really wanted a cessation of hostilities, if it in point of fact were not being operated upon to act only in the Communists’ interest, the Australian Labor Party would have come into this House and its members would have condemned Hanoi. They would have said that Hanoi has been the aggressor and that Hanoi is refusing to answer to the call for negotiations. These are just plain simple facts.
Even if honourable members opposite take the view that all war is wrong - certainly, all of us hate war and hope for peace - why are they not comminating against both sides. Why are the diatribes reserved for our side only? Why do not honourable members opposite say something against the enemy for a change? Or is it that our enemy is their friend? That is the way honourable members opposite behave. That is the way that the Australian Labor Party is behaving. All its venom is for our side. None of its strictures are for the other side
at all. In this whole debate T have not heard one word from the Opposition condemning the Communists. I have heard plenty of things about how our side is guilty of atrocities. Nobody wants to defend atrocities. If these things have happened they are terrible and should be censured and punished in every way. But the Opposition has said nothing about the well documented Communist atrocities. It may be, if one were to believe the reports, that some individual people on our side have committed atrocities. That may be so if the reports are true. But the reports also say that terrorism, murder and torture are accepted features of the tactics of the Communists.
What happens on our side regrettably and reprehensibly on some occasions perhaps, certainly happens as a matter of set policy all the time with the Communists. For over a decade now the Communists have conducted a campaign of terror in South Vietnam. We have not heard one word from the Opposition against this - not one word. Why is this so? My honourable friend from Angas (Mr Giles) was remarking a few moments ago that the rape of Tibet never aroused any demonstrations from some kind of moratorium committee, or Save Tibet Committee or anything like that. Oh, no, this did not occur, because such committees, although they involve a number of innocent and decent people, are in fact the arms of the Communist Party and part of the Communist campaign against us and the rest of the world. Do not think that this is academic. Australia and Australia’s existence and security are bound up with the holding back of Communism in South East Asia.
– The further amendment which has been moved by the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) omits 3 sections of the amendment moved for the Opposition by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam). The first section of the Opposition’s amendment that it omits is:
That part of our amendment which the Minister has moved to omit is substantially the substance of his own amendment in which he moves: and this House affirms the right of dissent designed to change the law and Government policy by lawful and orderly processes but condemns the concept that such dissent may be properly expressed by violent demonstrations, by attacks on persons and property, and by interference with the peaceful activities of other citizens.
The Minister for Social Services is spelling out in a series of phrases - ‘violent demonstrations’, ‘attacks on persons and property’, and ‘interference with the peaceful activities of other citizens’ - what we have said in our phrase: ‘the right of peaceful demonstration’. When the Minister says: ‘the right of dissent designed to change the law and Government policy’, he is saying exactly what we are saying when we state: ‘the right of Australian people to express opposition to the war in Vietnam, as do the great majority of governments and peoples in the world’. So I think we can say that, substantially, the Opposition is very happy with the statement in the amendment moved by the Minister.
But we are not happy with the fact that the Minister wants to omit 2 other sections of our amendment. The second section reads:
Are we to take it, then, that the Minister wants not to support efforts by the United States Government to achieve disengagement from the war? Through his speech, he made no mention either for or against disengagement. I submit that any honourable member who accepts the amendment moved by the Minister is saying: ‘I do not want to pass in this House a motion that we support the efforts of the United States Government to achieve disengagement from the war.’ What is more, the Minister also in effect is removing the third section of the amendment moved by the Opposition which says:
There was no note of urgency about disengagement. In fact, there was no note about disengagement in the Minister’s speech. His whole speech was completely in line with statements made by him in this House in the past. I do not propose to go through the history of his co-operation and unity with Communists. He told us that he has now found out what the Communists are up to and that he does not do that sort of thing any more. It is we of the Opposition who have found out what the Communists are up to. However, the Minister for Social Services speaks in line with a very fine tradition which has been strongly enforced in his family, even to the extent that third and fourth generations of the family use the same christian names as well as the same surname. I quote from what was said by Sir Henry Parkes:
Mr Wentworth exhausted his great powers of invective in denouncing the new party of reformers as Socialists, Communists, uprooters of law and order and everything else for which a vile name can be found though it included many of the most respectable men in the country. I was myself at that early stage of my public life denounced by him from his place in the Legislative Council as the arch anarchist.
That tradition has been well and truly followed and served this evening.
– When was that?
– That was about 1840. The quotation is from a book by Sir Henry Parkes entitled ‘Fifty Years of Australian History* which was published in 1892. The quotation appears at page 25. Referring now to the question of association, we have been told not only by the Minister for Social Services but by many others tonight that the Communist Party is a proscribed organisation, that no member of the Australian Labor Party is allowed to belong to it. I would like to ask the Minister whether he knows that we have proscribed the Liberal Party? No member of this Party is allowed to join the Liberal Party. I could list quite a number of respectable organisations that are proscribed to members of the Australian Labor Party.
But let me point out. Sir, that ours is not the only Party which stands united in principle with the Communist Party. The Minister for Social Services has done this. He did it in respect of the referendum to give rights to Aboriginals. We commend him for doing that. We say that it is the right thing to do. When the Communist Party does the right thing it is up to us to stand with it and support it as it supports us. The Labor Party adopted this united front on the question of the rights of Aboriginals. It is a united front that we adopt with Communists over the Vietnam question. Of course, when a united front is adopted about Aboriginals it is all right but if we adopt a united front over Vietnam we are, it is said, being duped. It is said that we do not understand that we are being led by the nose. Of course, the Communists were not leading the Minister by the nose over the question of Aboriginal affairs because he really was leading the Communists by the nose. He subverted the Communist Party, as we heard the other night, but I will not go into that.
Another little story brought forth by the Minister was to the effect that the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) wants mob rule. The Minister said that mob rule is minority rule. Nowhere in the statements of the honourable member for Lalor have I found anything to indicate that he wants anybody to rule anything in the streets of Melbourne. He has told the people to whom he has appealed that he wants them to take over an area for a period. This is in contrast to activities that have taken place in those areas at other times. He has said that because, to us, this is a more important issue than buying and selling wheat, wool and other things for which the streets of Melbourne have been taken over.
It is the blood of our young people that is being shed in Vietnam. There is also the blood of innocent people on our hands. As the honourable member for St George (Mr Morrison) told us so ably this evening, we are the allies of the chief nation that has broken the Vietnam Accords, that has disrupted the peace in Vietnam and that has started the aggression from our side, as the International Control Commission report told us - and I am quoting from what was said in the American Senate. Yet we are told that we are supporting mob rule; that we are supporting a minority. I would remind the House that back in April 1969 a gallup poll was taken on the Vietnam issue. We know that such polls involve a little bit of crystal gazing and cannot entirely be relied upon. However that poll was the best gauge we had at that time as to what the majority thought about Vietnam. If honourable members look at the figures for the gallup polls of May 1967,
February and December 1968, and April 1969 they will see a convergence of the figures for those who say that we should continue to fight in Vietnam and those who say that we should withdraw our troops. The question put to the people at that poll was:
Do you favour continuation of fighting in Vietnam by Australian troops or do you favour withdrawing them?
That is much the same as what the Vietnam Moratorium is asking. The results of the 4 gallup polls conducted show that there has been a steady decline in the percentage of the population favouring continuation of the. fight. The figure has fallen from 62% to 48%. Honourable members will notice that that latter figure represents a minority. On the other hand the percentage favouring withdrawal of the troops has risen from 24% to 40%. It was apparent that about mid October - honourable members will remember that the Government decided to have an early election in that month - the figures would be reversing if that trend continued. In fact 2 weeks before the last Federal election 55% of Australians were in favour of withdrawing our troops. So much for the Minister’s statement that this is minority rule. Let him produce some more reliable measure, if he can, to show what the majority of people think. We know that the last election for this House returned a Government majority only on second preference votes. We know that the Government’s re-election was not a mandate for it so far as its Vietnam policy is concerned. We know that the Gallup polls show that the people were not in favour of the Government’s Vietnam policy before the election.
The Minister for Social Services said that we of the Opposition were being brainwashed. Well, he did his best but I submit that we are not brain-washed yet. He spoke about a Communist reign of terror in the pre-selection of Labor members of Parliament. I experienced this reign of terror in my own preselection. A record number of 8,000 people voted in the plebiscite of Australian Labor Party members and I had an absolute majority over 8 candidates. I ask the House to remember that none of those Australian Labor Party members are allowed to be members of the proscribed Communist Party or Liberal
Party. Of the affiliated unionists, a small percentage of those who voted in that plebiscite belonged to unions which had Communists on their executives. But every one of them was bound to state when be voted that he was not a member of any other party. Nearly everybody who voted in that plebiscite knew what my stand was on the Vietnam issue.
– That is why Lionel Murphy helped you so well. He was very helpful to you, was he not?
– The honourable member for Lilley was very helpful to me because he produced a document which purported to show that I supported the Communist Party but in fact it showed the opposite.
– I produced no such document.
-Order! The honourable member for Lilley has spoken in the debate and will remain silent.
– The prize Press comment on that event is still the subject of litigation and I cannot go into it.
The point is that I have never before or since my election refrained from associating with Communists - as the Minister has done - when I have believed that the cause was just. From the outset my stand in Vietnam has been consistent. Just before the last election the issue was raised again. On one occasion I arranged a debate on Vietnam on behalf of my predecessor in the seat of Capricornia, the late George Gray. The honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen), as he then was, agreed to oppose me in that debate, which was held just before an election. That was the first time a public debate was held on Vietnam immediately prior to an election. My predecessor was returned at the election with a handsome majority.
Shortly before the last general election a challenge was thrown out by a young gentleman who opposed me in the election. He was a major who had returned from Vietnam full of zeal to expound the Government’s policy on Vietnam. He was a very able speaker, so they told me. He challenged anybody to debate the subject with him at any time, so of course we had a public debate in the streets of his and my home town. I was returned with the biggest swing ever achieved by any candidate in Queensland. So let us have no more of this clap-trap that we on this side are being terrorised by the Communists to support their policy on Vietnam. The Minister for Social Services asked why the Labor Party did not oppose the enemy. I ask: Why did you not set up a save-Tibet committee? How many troops have we sent to Tibet? The Minister said that the Labor Party has not spoken up for the people of Czechoslovakia and other places who are the victims of Communist aggression. Perhaps one occasion has slipped the Minister’s memory. I refer to the occasion when every member in this House voted as one to condemn Russia for walking into Czechoslovakia.
– Some rode. We condemned Russia as a body. We have condemned aggression wherever we have seen it. We do not condone warfare by any side. I reiterate what the honourable member for St George said tonight: According to the only reliable report put out by the American Government the International Control Commission places the primary responsibility for the war in Vietnam not on North Vietnam or South Vietnam but on the United States of America for its interference and its failure to abide by the Geneva Accords. It is this policy of America that has led to the state of the war as we see it today - a war that will be settled only when we retreat to those same Geneva Accords because they represent the only basis on which a settlement will be reached without obliterating all the people there.
I must get back to the matter of breaking the law. We were told that a massacre took place at Hue. Of course it did. There was saturation bombing of Hue. Great mass graves were discovered there. But no postmortems were conducted on the thousands of people who were buried in Hue.
– Their hands were tied behind their backs.
– Did they all have bullets in their backs? We cannot say the same for most of the other casualties in Vietnam. Nobody has managed to ascertain whether most of the civilians killed in Vietnam were shot in the back or in the front or who was responsible. I submit most of the casualities in Hue occurred when that very ancient cultural city was obliterated by a hail of explosives.
– From which direction?
– From the only people who had bombers there - the Americans.
– A typical Labor approach.
– The honourable member for La Trobe dismisses this as a typical Labor approach because he believes that these people were killed in some other way. He believes that the Communist snipers and infiltrators who held the fortress for a time systematically killed all these people. If this is so how is it that after all these years and after so many bombs have been rained on Vietnam - a bigger tonnage than was rained on the Axis powers in World War II; when half the countryside looks like a landscape of the moon, according to various journalists - they are still fighting? Where are they getting all the bodies with which to fight if they are killing everybody with whom they come in contact? The international laws have been broken by America. The laws of humanity have been broken by this Government in its conscription law. This Government has disregarded the appeal of the Pope in Vatican II when he asked people to lay down their arms - mutiny if you like - if they were told to disobey international law. The Government has acted contrary to the appeals of U Thant who has said that America’s actions in Vietnam amount to a breaking of international law. You will see statements such as those not only in Communist newspapers but also in such radical journals as ‘Muster’, the journal of the Graziers Association of New South Wales. ‘Muster’ quotes from the American magazine ‘Newsweek’, which has been referred to quite a bit this evening. Those publications show that not only in Australia but also in America the vast tide of public opinion is turning against the Government’s persistence in the war.
Mr WENTWORTH (MackellarMinister for Social Services) - Mr Speaker, 1 wish to make a personal explanation.
-Does the Minister claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. Firstly, may I say that as far as I am aware I did not cooperate with any Communist organisation in the referendum on Aboriginals. Secondly, as regards Labour Party pre-selections, the honourable member for Capricornia (Dr Everingham) has forgotten what happens in Victoria and has ignored the big influence of the Communists in that State.
Debate (on motion by Mr Fox) adjourned.
National Parks - Rural industries - Defence - Water Conservation - Social Services - The Parliament - Emergency Cardiac Units - Government Rural Policy
Motion (by Mr Snedden) proposed:
That the House do now adjourn.
– 1 rise on a matter which affects the environment of life in one of the oldest settled parts of our nation. The unfortunate trend in Australia is for settlement to become more and more concentrated in south eastern Australia. Sydney and Melbourne are spilling all over the countryside. In the process they are submerging many of the essential green belt areas in a positive avalanche of concrete. In other instances they are tearing the heart out of key park areas in the interest of temporary profits for industrial complexes. In some cases these areas are a vital heritage for our children, many of whom will, on present trends, face a series of giant metropolitan complexes in which a tree will be a curiosity.
I want to refer specifically tonight to the Kanangra-Boyd National Park. Nearly all of us are aware of the incredible decision of the New South Wales Government to grant a special lease for the mining of limestone at Mount Armour in the Colong Caves Reserve. This unique set of caves, with its colony of rare wallabies, located in the beautiful Kowmung River valley, may be destroyed at any time because of a mining lease granted over public park lands by the self proclaimed champions of conservation at present in the New South Wales Govern ment. This shocking decision has been and is being contested by the Colong Committee, which now represents 90 community bodies with members drawn from all political parties. This battle against the despoliation of the Colong Caves continues.
Meanwhile, what has been described as the rape of a new reserve is being carried out. 1 want to direct the attention of the House to this development and appeal for action tonight. A firm called Timber Industries Ltd, of Oberon, is carrying out savage logging operations on the Boyd tableland. Some of the areas involved are part of a reserve for the preservation of native fauna and flora. The Boyd Plateau is an uplifted granite dome, 50 squares miles in area, with an average altitude of about 4,000 feet, it includes the highest top of the historic Blue Mountains with the finest collection of waterfalls in Australia. It was in the last century that the great scenic potential of the Boyd Plateau was first recognised. Now, 80 years later, we are engaged in the despoliation of a beautiful, unique and historic area. The Boyd Plateau has been strongly recommended as a park by the National Parks Association. It is the only 4,000 feet granite plateau which can be reserved between Kosciusko and New England.
In a world-wide awakening to the need to conserve unique, rare and beautiful areas, the majority of Australians sleep on oblivious of ugly acts of rape in various parts of our country in the interests of stripping natural resources, often by foreign firms for transitory profit gains. The Boyd Plateau is disappearing today. It is one of the few areas still abounding in wild life near Sydney. Today, yesterday and for some months, bulldozers of Timber Industries Ltd have been operating on the Boyd Plateau. Sir Edmund Hillary watched them and was understandably angry. Yet the Ministers of the New South Wales Government avert their eyes from the scene and take no action.
Tonight my appeal is directed to the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz). I ask him to take an appeal to the Minister for Civil Aviation, Senator R. C. Cotton. Timber Industries Ltd is 43% owned by the Cotton family. Senator Cotton is a director and his brother, Mr M. C. Cotton, is the Managing Director. The other major share holding is that of the North and South
Broken Hill companies. So at least we have a situation different from the foreign cement company which is despoiling Colong. We have an Australian company with a distinguished legislator and his family as a major force in it. It is evident that the New South Wales Ministers concerned will not move on this matter. Tonight I ask the Minister for National Development to make an appeal to his colleague in another place to investigate the damage being caused by his firm, with a view to suspending operations which will lead to the destruction of the proud peak of the Boyd. Let it remain as a symbol of our determination to preserve unique aspects of our rapidly disappearing heritage.
Perhaps in this case the private citizen, the private company, will put the New South Wales Government to shame and take the first step. I hope Senator Cotton will help. Even those who support his firm’s operations, such as the Sydney branch of the Institute of Foresters of Australia, agree that there is a need for an independent examination of such operations. The branch Chairman, Mr G. S. Lugton, has supported the concept of an independent land use authority in these matters. With time running out on this matter, I renew my appeal to Senator Cotton, through his representative in this chamber, to intervene on the side of posterity.
– I rise tonight to accuse this Government of having this afternoon instituted a debate which is nothing more than a smoke-screen to cover up its own mistakes across the board-
– Order! The honourable member will not be in order if at this stage he canvasses an earlier debate in today’s proceedings.
– I will exclude from my remarks any reference to the debate this afternoon. This Government ought to stand accused, and does stand accused, before the people of Australia of its gross neglect across the continent of Australia. I find it difficult not to refer to the earlier debate. This Government has endeavoured to convince the people of this Commonwealth that it has shaped up to the problems which face the rural industries and in particular to the enormous wheat surplus which is now held in Australia. This Government has shown a complete and utter disregard for the very serious position in which the wheat industry finds itself and also for the situation in the meat industry. The Government has shown an inferiority complex in regard to trade.
The Government has done almost nothing to get rid of surplus agricultural products produced in the last 3 or 4 years. It has done nothing to place a suitable plan before the farming community. All that we have heard in this House since the resumption of the Parliament in this year 1970 is that certain interests within primary industry have been requested, required and conned into making some submission to the Government. The Government has not offered any direction to the primary producers, who are in dire need of leadership. It has displayed an inferiority complex, I repeat, in regard to overseas trade. Its attitude is deplorable, indeed almost criminal. To our north is a country which we were supposed to have defeated in 1946 but which today is developing at a far greater rate than any other country in the world, both industrially and economically. That country .is now a principal trader with Australia. It relies on the mineral wealth of Australia to continue its expansion in the industrial field. What does this Government offer to do to use the great wealth which exists in Australia? It almost gives away our wealth to Japan, but having done so it has not the foresight to embark upon a policy of trade with Japan which would result in great benefit to the people of Australia. The Government neglects to do this.
– You are against the trade agreement, or your Party is.
– I never said I was. The honourable member is a member of the Australian Country Party, which stands as the most guilty of all parties. I admit that I have interjected a great deal in this chamber, but I have been forced to do so by the shocking treatment that has been accorded to me by members of the Country Party. With the indulgence of the Chair, or perhaps at some risk, I shall continue to interject. I will not sit here and be run over by people such as those on my immediate left.
– What about the produce on the wharf?
– The honourable member for La Trobe sees fit to interject. If I were permitted to refer to the earlier debate I would give him the reply which he deserves. The Government is guilty not only in regard to trade. It fought the last election on a proposed health scheme, but we are still waiting for this relevant measure to be debated. The people, who want a new health scheme, are still waiting but the Government has done nothing about it. The Minister for Defence (Mr Malcolm Fraser) is at present in the United States of America, and no doubt he is wondering whether or not the Apollo XIII astronauts will return to earth safely. But I imagine that he is worrying too about whether Australia will ever get the Fill aircraft
– He is in Hollywood at present.
– He could act in Hollywood instead of being out of Hollywood; that is all I can say. One night a few weeks ago in this House he attempted to tell the people of Australia how good the Government’s defence policy was. The fact is that the Government has squandered almost $2 00m on a single unit of defence. How can this Government stand up and say that it has adequately provided for the defence of Australia when almost 8 years ago it entered into an open-ended contract for suitable aircraft to defend Australia but which we do not yet have? Australia has contracted a tremendous debt but it has nothing whatever to show for it.
If we are going to be attacked, as some people continually tell us is likely, the Government is more guilty than ever because it has not provided this country with a replacement aircraft for the Canberra bomber, which is almost as old as I am. The Government is the guilty party in that regard. What play on the letting of Australian contracts the Minister for Defence made in his recent statement in this House. In spite of the so-called overfull employment position, there are in South Australia industries that one could regard as defence industries which have been laying off men during the last couple of weeks. 1 refer to shipbuilding yards and other industrial enterprises.
That type of thing goes on while this Government hypocritically endeavours to tell the people of Australia that it is doing a job for Australia. It has no intention of doing a job. lt is concerned with elections and not with governing properly or with bringing political matters before this chamber. In that respect the Government is quite hypocritical. The Prime Minister told the State Premiers earlier this year about the big deal that they would get. If the State Premiers are not too thick in the head, despite the fact that they are members of the Liberal Party, the penny ought to drop in regard to what the Prime Minister proposes to do.
The Prime Minister over the last few weeks has made some reference to taxation relief. In the last day or so we read in the newspapers that he had even backed off from that semi-assurance which he gave the electorate on a number of occasions. Insofar as water conservation in the State of South Australia is concerned - and we had a debate on the Dartmouth Dam here last week - let us make a comparison. The honourable member for Wakefield, Mr Kelly, can laugh. He is a South Australian. I believe. He might tell me how much money has been spent by this Federal Government in South Australia so far as real water conservation is concerned compared with what has been spent in Western Australia, in Tasmania and in New South Wales, and with what is envisaged for Queensland. I do not begrudge those States any of these works. All I am saying is that the State of South Australia ought to have some rights in regard to this matter and ought to bc accorded something from this Government. I can recall that the Prime Minister went to South Australia and tried to get Steele Hall into power a couple of years ago. He said to the people of South Australia: ‘Look, vote for the Liberal Administration in South Australia and we will all be one big happy family’. That happened with a bodgie vote and all I can say is that it has been somewhat in the family way ever since.
We saw the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) entering the debate earlier this evening. I have not sufficient time to enumerate the wants and the needs in the field of social services, but yesterday I sat in my office in the parliamentary office block in Adelaide and listened to the stories of some 25 pensioners. They were irate. The Prime Minister had informed me in reply to a letter I had written within the last couple of weeks that the paltry increases given to pensioners in the last 2 Budgets were more than adequate to meet the cost of living increases that had occurred. These aged people are not prepared to accept that. What does the Government propose to do about it? It continues to do nothing at all. 1 reiterate that the Government ought to stand damned and condemned before the people of Australia for its ineptitude and the attitude it has adopted over the years.
– During last week there were unprecedented happenings in this House. Some people in the community are inclined to think that the Labor Opposition was entirely to blame for what happened. Tonight I intend to deal with 3 things that are happening, not only to back bench members of the Opposition but also to back bench members of the Government, in order to show that the Labor Opposition was almost entitled to do what it did last Wednesday and Thursday. Over the last 2 or 3 years 1 have been completely dissatisfied with the treatment that ] have been receiving in regard to written representations I have made to Ministers of this Government On behalf of my constituents. I have no intention this evening of naming the Ministers concerned in the breaches of courtesy, efficiency and protocol that have taken place as far as I am concerned. But I intend to say tonight that, if the position does not improve and if the written representations that I make to Ministers are not answered far more swiftly than they have been answered in the past, the next time I speak on this matter I will name the Ministers concerned.
I wish to complain about the length of time that it takes for Ministers of this Government to answer representations made to them, and 1 now intend to quote examples which are aimed at 5 or 6 different Ministers. The first one is a letter written on 11th February this year. An acknowledgment was received to that letter, certainly, but there was no reply. A follow up letter was written by me on 24th March and I received a reply 5 or 6 days later. 1 wrote a letter to another Minister on 12th December 1969 and a follow up letter was written by me in January 1970, and another follow up letter was written by me in February, and still I received no final reply. 1 also wrote a letter on 4th February this year, a follow up letter on 10th March, another follow up letter on 18th March, and a reply was received on 23 rd March. To another Minister a letter was written on 16th February, a follow up letter on 2nd April, and still no final reply has been received. There was a letter written by me to another Minister on 20th January, a follow up by me in March, another follow up by me in April, and still no final reply has been received to that letter.
All these representations, Mr Speaker, have been made to different Ministers. These are only 5 examples that 1 have picked out of my files of 10 or 12 cases in which it has taken no less than 8 weeks - 10 weeks in some instances - after 2 or 3 follow ups, and even a telegram in some cases, asking for a reply. Yet 1 have not received a reply for up to 3 months after the initial representations, lt does not matter how Ministers treat mc. I am almost used to it now after 16 years in this Parliament, but I complain because not only do the M inisters let me down but they also let down my constituents, and if 1 let down my constituents they are entitled to blame mc for not having done anything at all in ihe matter. 1 rarely write to a Minister unless I have already approached the relevant department and received from it a policy decision to say that this thing cannot be done. I then approach the Minister and I expect from the Minister greater courtesy and more prompt replies than I am receiving. 1 think 1 am speaking not only on behalf of the members on our side of the House but also a number of members on the Government side of the House. 1 might add at this stage that when I send my representations - whether they are to the Treasurer (Mr Bury), the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes), the Minister for External Affairs (Mr McMahon), the Postmaster-General (Mr Hulme), or any other Minister - in most instances 1 receive an acknowledgment from the private secretary. I do not complain about the private secretary writing the reply to me, but my constituent comes to me as a member of the Federal Parliament. I write to the Minister but the Minister has insufficient courtesy even to sign the acknowledgment addressed to me. In many instances it is a Minister acting for the Minister concerned who sends the final acknowledgment back to me. If the Government is treating members of the Opposition in this way it is also treating supporters of the Government in this way. lt is not good enough. I bow to no man and I do not use my authority unless I have to use it. If I write to a Minister I expect him to give me the courtesy of a reply under his own signature. That is the first complaint I make tonight. I intended to make this speech during the course of last week but because of the situation which developed I did not make it. I make it tonight because I feel that it is essential that the people of Australia should know how the ordinary member of Parliament is being treated by the members who sit on the front bench on the Government side of the chamber.
The next point that I come to is the matter of questions without notice - the questions that we ask in the Parliament. Since 1945 there has been no increase in the amount of time allocated to questions without notice. In all that time we have had something like 45 minutes allowed for questions without notice. In 1945 Parliament consisted of 75 members, 49 of whom belonged to the Australian Labor Party which was then the Government, and 24 of whom were in the Liberal-Country Party Opposition. In the 1955 Parliament, which was increased to 123 members, still only 45 minutes of questions without notice were allowed. The Government then had 65 members and the Labor Opposition had 58. In 1961 there were 124 members in the Parliament. The Government had 62 members and The Opposition, including the members for the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory, had 62, and there was the Speaker in the Chair. Still only 45 minutes were allowed for questions without notice.
In 1967 and 1968 the average number of questions asked without notice in each sitting was 19. In 1969, the last year of the previous Parliament, the average dropped to 18. The average for the present Parliament, in the 3 or 4 weeks in which it has been sitting, is still only 18. Since 1945 the numbers in the House have increased from 75 to 125, but no extra time has been allowed for questions without notice. That means that Opposition members and Government back bench members are allowed 9 questions per day or 27 questions a week. Each back bench member of the Parliament is therefore entitled to one question every 9 days, at the very best.
– Every 9 sitting days.
– Yes- 3 weeks of Parliament. Question time in this Parliament is supposed to be the highlight of the Parliament. It is supposed to be the opportunity for the ordinary member of Parliament to interrogate the Ministers on the administration of their Departments.
-Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– I shall take only about 2 or 3 minutes, Mr Speaker. About 4 weeks ago the honourable member for Maribyrnong (Dr Cass) tried to upset honourable members by suggesting that at least 25% of them had broken the law regarding illegal termination of pregnancy by having in some way conspired to break that law. To my knowledge there has been little evidence that members were upset. That is probably explained by the fact that polls have shown that some 90% of United States citizens - I assume that ours are no different - have admitted to breaking a law which, if prosecuted, could have led to their imprisonment. At this stage it may sound as if I intend to speak on the argument that we were having earlier in the day; but I assure the House that I am not.
Today we have been shocked by the sudden death of Senator McKellar. May I try to upset honourable members by referring to their most likely mode of death. Probably some 33% of all the members of this House will experience one or more episodes of myocardial infarction or coronary occlusion. Probably some honourable members have already survived one. In 1967 about 29% of all deaths in Australia were due to coronary disease, and the proportion in males is much greater than that in females. Of all men between 40 and 60 years with no evidence of coronary disease at the present time, 1 in 14 will develop the condition within 6 years. Statistically 50% to 60% survive the first episode.
Most cardiologists would now agree that the biggest improvement in salvage rates can be obtained by prompt treatment in the first few minutes or hours. Some 30% of victims die almost immediately, and we know of no feasible way of preventing this. However, 20% out of the other 70% could benefit from almost immediate treatment. Death before or during transfer to hospital is too frequent. This mortality could be reduced if personnel and facilities now available in coronary care units in many of the major hospitals could be transported to the patient awaiting the ambulance and could accompany him to the hospital. These would include doctors or specially trained nurses, electrical monitors, direct current defibrillators, intravenous infusions and drugs. This should be possible in large urban areas.
The scheme has been successful in overseas cities and has been introduced in Perth and in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. In Sydney the scheme is run by St Vincent’s Hospital, and I understand from newspaper reports that last night the St Vincent’s Hospital special coronary ambulance was called to Senator McKellar but he could not be saved. Overseas figures suggest that a 9% increase in the salvage rate is possible with this special equipment, and the proportion is even greater in younger victims.
I therefore urge the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) to ask the appropriate people in his Department, possibly in co-operation with the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon), to set up such a unit in Canberra where, 1 think we all would agree, so many valuable lives could be saved and to see whether money could be given to the States or to teaching hospitals to enable city hospitals and ambulance services to establish such emergency units. I commend this matter to the Minister for Health.
– As I have said before, my electorate is a rural electorate that covers quite a variety of farming activities ranging from butter fat production, which has been providing very low returns to the farmers, to coarse grain growing and fruit production. During the last 20 years the State and Federal LiberalCountry Party governments have been going to the electors not only with the red bogey but also with the claim that they have been responsible for the development that has taken place in Australia, even though Australia is a young country and had to develop, especially given the long period of relative peace that has existed since the Second World War. They have claimed that this was something for which they were directly responsible. Both the Liberal Party and the Country Party have claimed credit for it. collectively and separately.
However, this development and this growing prosperity have occurred at the same time as farmers in my area, particularly those producing butter fat. have seen a continuous decline in returns over the period of 20 years whereas those in other forms of farming enjoyed for a time some semblance of prosperity or relative prosperity. But now they have come to the stage where they too are suffering from the consequences of lack of action and lack of policy on the part of the Liberal-Country Party Government. The interesting thing out of all this is the development that has taken place within my electorate in Western Australia in the last month. In the Press about a month ago, under the heading ‘Move to form policy committee*, the following item appeared:
The convention yesterday voted unanimously for the WA Liberal Party’s rural committee to be replaced by an agricultural policy committee.
The report states that the:
Liberal Party in order to get stabbed in the back by the Country Party’, he said.
Some people might be surprised that the Libera) Party had a rural committee, he said. It was certainly not an active organisation.
The agricultural policy committee would be responsible for determining WA’s agricultural requirements in the Federal sphere and for forming State agricultural policy for submission to the State Liberal Party.
There we find that at this late stage, when things had reached a state of crisis, the Liberal Party in Western Australia - at least the Young Liberal Party as can be seen from that article - has seen the need to look for a policy, to begin developing a policy. The Liberal Party is going to shove all the blame over on to the Country Party and say that that Party is directly responsible because it has been left to handle this matter and to develop the policy for the Government in the past. However, this does not concern the Young Liberals only. Last weekend the Liberal Party had its Forrest divisional meeting. The ‘West Australian’ of today’s date states:
The Liberal Party will announce a rural policy before the next general election.
It is going to get one cooked up in this time:
This assurance was given by State president Peter Durack. . . .
The agenda contained three resolutions demand-‘ ing that the Government announce a rural policy.
Mr Durack said: ‘The Premier recognises that in the past there has been a tendency to leave rural policy to the Country Party.
It has been decided that there will be a special Liberal Party rural policy.’
One of the motions put forward was amended to read that the Party should not make a pact with the Country Party before an election and that if one was made after an election the agriculture portfolio should go to the Liberals. Here we can see the state that exists between and within these two parties. Previously the parties were willing to claim the credit for the natural development that took place in this country. But now that they have reaped disaster through their inactivity, their unconcern and, according to the Liberals, through their complete lack of a policy, the Liberal Party now turns on the Country Party. These people who preach loyalty, friendship, trust and all those fine things now turn on their colleagues because of the situation that exists. They try to gain capital from this situation and hope to win seats from the Country Party. They are hoping to have Liberals returned in what have been traditional Country Party areas. They are springing upon their colleagues to suck their blood and destroy them. They hope to form a policy to do this. In 1970 the Liberal Party hopes to form a rural policy to put to the people. I think here we see cause to condemn the Liberal Party and to condemn this Government, because the Party has admitted tacitly that it has failed to produce a policy and that it had not grasped the position until the position had reached crisis point. All the Liberal Party is endeavouring to do is to save itself at the expense of those who have kept it in office for 20 years. This is not good enough. I should like to take down into my electorate members of my Party so that they can see the conditions that exist, the conditions that have caused members of the Liberal Party to realise that there is a crisis in the country. If people in the city suffered the conditions under which people in the country live, their houses would be condemned. It would be said that they were living in slums. There would be great activity to find the answer to their problems, to provide better housing for them and to cover up for the conditions under which they were living.
Only in this week’s ‘Countryman’ it was said that there are people in the country living in houses where there is no running water; where there is nothing but a hole underneath the lavatory - there is not even a pan system - where there is no electricity; and where the people cannot afford telephone services because of this Government’s policies. They live in the most deplorable conditions. Many of these people have not had a sufficient education because their parents were unable to afford to pay for hired labour while they attended school. The wives and children have had to work. As soon as the children have turned 14 years of age they have been taken away from schools and they have been forced to carry on with the family farm.
Of course, to give the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Anthony) his due, he has recognised that this situation exists, and he has devised the dairy rationalisation scheme which he said, 3 years ago, would be implemented within weeks. Under this scheme he said he was going to release $250m, I think, over a period of 3 years in order to rationalise the dairy industry. I wrote to the Minister last December, and in late January I received a letter from him saying that an important meeting was to be held in Sydney on 4th February and that out of that meeting would come the necessary decision to allow a Bill to be introduced into this House. Today he said that another important meeting is taking place and that after it is concluded a Bill will be introduced within a few days. He has been saying this for a period of 3 years, and he has been saying it in the face of the conditions which I have described. If the Government is to wait until other farmers are living under the conditions which I have described before it acts, and if it acts with the same speed and resolution, I feel very much afraid for the people who live in country areas, for the people whom I represent and who have been very badly served by this Government. These people now see that the earlier situation arose as a result of a natural course of events that took place under Liberal-Country Party governments, for which they tried to take credit in the early stages, and that the present situation has arisen as a result of a natural course of events. The members of the Liberal Party realise that this is the position and they are looking desperately for a policy in order to save themselves at the expense of their own colleagues.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 11.48 p.m.
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:
asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
British Commissioner: Sir Alexander Waddell, K.C.M.G., D.S.C.
New Zealand Commissioner: Mr R. B. Tennent, C.B.E.
(a) Australian Commissioner appointed, 15th February 1962; British Commissioner appointed, 1st January 1965; New Zealand Commissioner appointed, 1st April 1958.
The salaries are as follows:
Australian Commissioner:$A3,200 per annum (plus SA800 per annum for services as Chairman).
British Commissioner: £Stg2,600 per annum. New Zealand Commissioner:$NZ2,200 per annum (under review).
asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The High Court Rules make provision for a person whose financial resources are below a certain standard, with the leave of the Court, to proceed in that Court as a poor person. In such a case no court fees are payable, and the Court may assign counsel or a solicitor to assist him without fee. I am not able to say whether Mr Romeyko’s resources are such that he may qualify for assistance in this fashion. His letter dated 27th August 1969 did not give any details of his financial position.
It may be that Mr Romeyko is eligible for legal aid in the Slate where he resides. Whether or not legal aid would be granted would depend on the provisions of the relevant State legislation or scheme.
asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:
What proportion of cargo carried between Australia and Japan is transported by -
the Australian National Line; and,
other Australian shipping companies.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
In addition to these regular operations with the Conference, there have been from time to time voyages by Australian bulk carriers to Japan, carrying cargoes on a charter basis.
asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The Bureau customarily publishes the results of its inquiries and it can be expected that it will follow its normal practice with respect to its present investigations. It should also be mentioned that the Bureau will be providing information on the present economic situation of the industry and on other subjects to assist in the investigation which is being undertaken by the Advisory Committee of the Wool Board and this Committee will also be reporting on all the aspects which bear on the profitability of the woolgrowing industry.
Electoral Position on Ballot Paper (Question No. 142)
asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
Can he state what further national, State or provincial legislatures have granted citizens the right to vote under the age of 21 years since his answer to me on 24 Sepember 1968.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
In addition to the list supplied to the Honourable Member on 24 September 1968, the latest available information indicates that the citizens of the following countries or provinces under the age of 21 years have been granted the right to vote at elections:
Vietnam (Question No. 33)
asked the Prime Minister, upon notie:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Security Council resolution No. 253 of 29 May 1968, provides for the exemption from sanctions, in special humanitarian circumstances, of foodstuffs. Medical supplies and education and news materials are also exempted.
Australian wheat sales to Rhodesia now form the bulk of Australian exports to that country. The remaining balance of exports is accounted for by other products (e.g. medical and educational materials) the export of which is permitted and by goods exported between the time of the passing of the United Nations Security Council resolutions and the enactment of the necessary customs regulations to enable Australia to conform with the terms of the sanctions resolutions.
These regulations are administered by the Minister for Customs and Excise and, together with the Banking and Foreign Exchange Regulations, form the basis of Australia’s administration of sanctions.
On 18th November 1965 the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations were amended to provide that the importation into Australia of tobacco grown in Southern Rhodesia is prohibited unless a permission, in writing, to import the tobacco has been granted by the Minister (Statutory Rules 1965 No. 167).
On 17th December 1965 the prohibition was extended to cover chromium ore, including chromite, produced in Southern Rhodesia; asbestos produced in Southern Rhodesia; and ferro-alloys manufactured in Southern Rhodesia (Statutory Rules 1965 No. 190).
On 10th April 1967 the prohibition was further extended to cover the following:
Iron ore produced, and pig-iron manufactured, in Southern Rhodesia;
Copper ore produced in Southern Rhodesia;
Copper and articles containing copper, being goods falling within an item in Chapter 74 of the First Schedule to the Customs Tariffs 1966, manufactured in Southern Rhodesia;
Meat, food prepared from meat and food of which meat is an ingredientproduced or manufactured in SouthernRhodesia; or
Hides, skins and leather, being goods falling within an item in Chapter 41 of the First Schedule to the Customs Tariffs 1966, produced or manufactured in Southern Rhodesia. (Statutory Rules 1967 No. 41).
On 19th December 1968 the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations were amended to provide as follows: 40c - (1) The importation into Australia of goods specified in the Sixth Schedule to these Regulations that were grown, produced or manufactured in Southern Rhodesia is prohibited unless the Minister has, by instrument in writing, consented to the importation of the goods.
In November 1965 the export of arms and military equipment to Southern Rhodesia was prohibited in terms of the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations unless the consent in writing of the Minister to the exportation of the goods is first obtained.
On 10 April 1967 the prohibition was extended to include:
Equipment and materials for the manufacture, or maintenance of arms or ammunition;
Equipment and materials for the manufacture, assembly or maintenance of aircraft or motor vehicles. (Statutory Rules 1967 No. 42)
On 19th December 1968 the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations were amended to provide as follows:
asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
and (2) The Bureau of Agricultural Economics has not conducted such a survey and I am not aware of a survey of this nature having been undertaken by any other organisation. Because of the Bureau’s experience in its efforts to obtain data of this nature which is both comprehensive and reliable, the Bureau does not now attempt to collect such data regularly in its surveys of the economic and financial position of properties in individual rural industries.
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:
What is (a) the number of Allied military personnel from each nation engaged in Vietnam at this date, and (b) the total of all Allied forces?
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The precise figures for. Allied strengths in South Vietnam at any one time depend on troop rotations, the numbers of soldiers on leave outside the theatre, and other factors which in the aggregate can cause totals to fluctuate by 1 to 2%. During the last fortnight of March 1970, the figures were approximately as follows -
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
– The Public Service Board has advised me as follows:
The Board’s recent decision was not novel: similar representations had been made by the A.C.T.I7. in 1964 and on that occasion, following consideration of relevant factors including market rates of pay for the staff categories covered by the representations, adjustments were made to the value and number of increments for tradesmen and associated categories and support staff.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The most important of the remaining studies are those dealing with the relative costs of providing public services in various locations. The New South Wales study of the estimated cost of hypothetical future development, and the Victorian study of historical costs, have reached an advanced stage. The position regarding a Victorian study of the estimated cost of future development is unchanged from that indicated in the reply to Question No. 1179. This position will be reviewed in the light of the New South Wales experience in dealing with several difficult conceptual and methodological problems encountered in this part of the study. Work is also nearing completion on the study of city water supply costs and the study of traffic congestion. The timing of the Committee’s general report is dependent on the progress of the main individual studies.
Aboriginals (Question No. 517)
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
Will he, in an effort to encourage employment of Aboriginals and thereby reduce the chronic unemployment problems that exist amongst these people in many areas, issue instructions that where Commonwealth Departments and Instrumentalities operate in areas where these conditions exist employment opportunities are to be made available to Aboriginals, particularly in the apprenticeship trades and female clerical grades.
– The Public Service Board has advised me as follows:
Aboriginals are eligible for employment in Commonwealth Departments and Instrumentalities in the same way as non-Aboriginals. Aboriginals are already employed by the Commonwealth and their number will no doubt increase. However, because Commonwealth employment is largely concentrated in the capital cities, the private sector of industry can offer the widest variety and volume of employment opportunities to Aboriginals at this stage, having regard to their location and qualifications. The Department of Labour and National Service (through its employment training scheme and augmented services to give special assistance to Aboriginals) is actively encouraging the employment of Aboriginals and is successfully placing Aboriginals in employment, including apprenticeship trades and clerical positions.
Public Service (Question No. 526)
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
– I have been advised by the Public Service Board that the answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Except with the approval of the Board’, that is, the Public Service Board, ‘the occupants of offices the minimum salary of which exceeds $7,670 per annum in the case of male employees and $7,242 per annum in the case of female employees shall not be eligible to receive overtime.’
The salary rates for Second Division officers range from $11,822 per annum to $17,899 per annum and therefore occupants of Second Division positions are not eligible to receive overtime payments except with the approval of the Public Service Board. No such approval has been given by the Public Service Board.
Prior to 1964 there were a few positions in the Second Division with salaries which would have made the occupants of those positions eligible for overtime payments but those positions are no longer in the Second Division.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
– The Public Service Board has advised me as follows:
A person is not eligible for appointment to the Commonwealth Service unless:
The existing medical standards for permanent appointment to the Commonwealth Service will, in certain circumstances, admit people suffering from faulty eyesight, epilepsy, or diabetes to the Commonwealth Service.
These standards reflect:
The standards are being reviewed continually to take account of developments in the diagnosis and control of medical conditions.
The Provident Account established under the Superannuation Act 1922-1969 facilitates the appointment of those who cannot meet the higher standards required for admission to the full pension scheme of the Superannuation Fund. Persons accepted for the Provident Account may of course subsequently apply for transfer to the Superannuation Fund as provided for in the Superannuation Act 1922-1969.
Applicants for temporary employment are not normally required to undergo a medical examination. Medical examination may be required for employment in certain occupations which demand a particular standard of medical fitness or where particular types of medical unfitness could expose an employee or others to risk.
Applicants for temporary employment are required to state on the application form whether they suffer from any physical disabilities. If an applicant stated that he suffered from faulty eyesight, epilepsy or diabetes, he may be referred for medical examination and his fitness for the employment sought would be determined in the light of the results of that examination.
asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:
Which are the security organisations in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea about whose operations the Attorney-General consulted with him before answering the question by the honourable member for Deakin and me on 17th March (Hansard, pages 452 and 458).
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
I am not prepared to add to the information supplied by the honourable the Attorney-General.
Papua and New Guinea: Driving under the Influence of Liquor Offences (Question No. 577)
asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:
In how many cases of driving under the influence of liquor and related offences were (a) expatriates and (b) indigenes (i) charged (ii) convicted (iii) lined and (iv) imprisoned in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea last year.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The following figures relate to proceedings in respect of charges of driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a drug contrary to section 9 of the Motor Traffic Ordinance 1950-1967 during the year ended 30th June 1969:
asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Mr L. G. Matthews
Mr E. G. Deverall
Mr S. G. Hastings Assistant Members -
Mr Kwamala Kalo
Mr Gavera Rea
Dr Reuben Taureka
Mr To Meriba Tomalaka
(a) Two. These hold statutory office under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act.
asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:
The following comments relate to the use of runway 34 for landings with aircraft approaching over Botany Bay: 14th March
Ten of 11 movements between midnight and 0645 and between 2200 and midnight utilised runway 34 for landings. Six of 21 movements similarly used runway 34 between 1900 and 2200 hours. There was no use of runway 34 between 0645 and 1900 hours for landings. 15th March
All of 10 movements between midnight and 0645 and between 2200 and midnight utilised runway 34 for landings. Twelve of 28 movements similarly used runway 34 between 1900 and 2200 hours. There was no use of runway 34 between 0645 and 1900 hours for landings. 16th March
Weather precluded the use ofrunway 34 for 3 arrivals between midnight and 0645. However, runway 34 was used for all arrivals after 2200 hours of this day. Tw.elve of 27 landing aircraft used runway 34 between 1900 and 2200 hours. There was no use of runway 34 between 0645 and 1900 hours for landings. 17th March
Eleven of 13 movements used runway 34 for landing between midnight and 0645 and between 2200 and midnight. Twelve of 29 aircraft used runway 34 for landing between 1900 and 2200 hours. There was no use of runway 34 between 0645 and 1900 hours for landings.
Winds were light and variable from midnight to midday and during the evening hours. In afternoon hours the winds were from 060° at 10 knots, easing to 5 knots. There was no cloud of significance. Visibility was reduced to between 3 and 4 miles during the early morning. 15th March
Winds were light and variable from midnight to late morning and then from 060° at 6-12 knots for the remainder of the time. After daybreak, low cloud remained throughout the period. There was 5/ 8th clouds cover at 1,800 feet during one period in the early morning and later about 5/8ths at 2,800 feet with lower patches. Visibility was reduced to 4 miles in the early morning due to smoke haze. There were some light showers in the afternoon. 16fb March
Winds were light and variable from midnight to midday and from early evening. There were occasional winds of 5-7 knots from the south-east in these periods. In the afternoon the winds were from 070° at 5-10 knots backing to 010°. Low cloud was present throughout the period but in the afternoon hours there was little cloud of significance. Until approximately 0830 hours instrument approaches were required with cloud as low as 1,500 feet (6/8ths) and lower patches. Rain and storms were in the area during this period and there were passing showers. Visibility was reduced to as low as 2 miles at times prior to 0930. 17th March
The winds were light and variable until approximately 0915 then south to south-east winds until 1300 hours, strength 5-8 knots, and in 1 period 15 knots. During the afternoon there were some south-easterly winds but at other periods they were from 070° at 8 knots. In the evening the winds were light and variable. Low cloud amount did not exceed 3/8ths during the 24 hours with the cloud base about 2,500 feet. There were early morning periods of reduced visibility in smoke haze.
Runway 34 was used for landing in the preferred direction across Botany Bay during the late night hours in all but a few cases. Traffic and weather conditions permitted similar use of runway 34 for many arrivals during the early evening hours.
The use ofrunway 34 for landing in opposition to a noise abatement need for the reciprocal direction (16) to be used for take-off is practicable in light traffic periods if wind and weather conditions are suitable. Consequently, Sydney operational noise abatement procedures regarding the use of runway 34 for landings specify two periods of graded application of the opposing runway concept. Assuming other factors permit, runway 34 is used for landings in the late night hours from 2200 to 0645, and it is used for landing in the early evening hours, 1900 to 2200, subject to traffic density, pilot/controller workload, and delays to Individual aircraft which quickly become excessive when departing traffic uses runway 16. Runway 34 is not preferred for landing in the busy day traffic from 0645 to 1900 hours. In the day period the preference for runway use for landing aircraft is to distribute as best as possible the arrivals into the remaining three runway directions.
asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:
How many of the female (a) indigenes and (b) expatriates employed by the Administration of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea as (i) typists and (ii) telephonists are married (Hansard, 18th March 1970, page 616).
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Married female indigenous staff
Married female expatriate staff
Interstate Standing Committee on Uniform Building Regulations (Question No. 123)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Housing, upon notice:
– The Minister for Housing has provided the following answers to the honourable member’s questions:
Australian Capital Territory -
Northern Territory -
L. S. Smith, Senior Designing Architect, Commonwealth Department of Works.
N. Lynagh, Chairman, Northern Territory
New South Wales-
A. Whalley, Chairman, Building Regulations Committee.
D. H. T. Lim, Senior Research Architect, Department of Local Government.
South Australia -
R. Paust, Secretary, Department of Local Government.
B. Dechaineux, Building Surveyor, City of Hobart.
F. D. Stewart, Assistant Parliamentary Draftsman and Chairman, Building Regulations Committee.
A. Granger, Building Advisory Officer, Department of Local Government.
J. Drysdale, Director, Commonwealth Experimental Building Station.
G. Miskin, Senior Architect, Commonwealth Experimental Building Station.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 14 April 1970, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1970/19700414_reps_27_hor66/>.