27th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr SPEAKER (Hon. Sir William Aston) took the chair at 10 a.m., and read prayers.
Mr WHITTORN presented from certain citizens of the Division of Balaclava a petition showing that our national symbol, the red kangaroo, is through shooting for commerce being reduced to a numerical level where, if the shooting is not stopped, the animal will become extinct. Reports from scientists, conservationists, tourists, graziers and shooters, confirm that State governments are unable to effectively enforce legislation to control shooting and that kangaroos are already extinct in many areas where they once were prolific. Science has established that kangaroos seldom come into direct competition for forage with sheep; there is, therefore, no reason why this unwarranted killing, which is branding us internationally as barbarians, should be allowed to continue. We, the residents of this nation, want the kangaroo, which can be found nowhere else in the world, to be part of the Australian landscape. We believe that tourists, who will play an increasing part in the national balance of payments, want this too.
The petitioners pray that the House of Representatives will (i) Ban the export of products made from kangaroos; (ii) Quickly pass the legislation necessary to make the kangaroo a protected animal throughout Australia - the culling of herds for the protection of the few property owners genuinely threatened by excessive numbers, or for the welfare of kangaroos themselves, to be carried out by or under direct supervision of Government officers.
Petition received and read.
Mr DOBIE presented from certain residents of the State of New South Wales a petition showing that the red kangaroo and many other marsupials, through shooting for commercial purposes, have been reduced to a numerical level where their survival is in jeopardy; none of the Australian States has sufficient wardens to detect and apprehend people breaking the laws in existence in each State, and in such a vast country only uniform laws and a complete cessation of commercialisation can ensure the survival of our national emblem; it is an indisputable fact that no national resource can withstand hunting on such a concentrated scale, unless some provision is made for its future.
The petitioners pray that the export of all kangaroo products be banned immediately, and the Commonwealth Government make a serious appraisal of its responsibility in the matter to ensure the survival of the kangaroo.
Petition received and read.
Mr MacKELLAR presented from certain residents of the State of New South Wales a petition showing that the red kangaroo and many other marsupials, through shooting for commercial purposes, have been reduced to a numerical level where their survival is in jeopardy; none of the Australian States has sufficient wardens to detect and apprehend people breaking the laws in existence in each State, and in such a vast country only uniform (aws and a complete cessation of commercialisation can ensure the survival of our national emblem; it is an indisputable fact that no national resource can withstand hunting on such a concentrated scale, unless some provision is made for its future.
The petitioners pray that the export of all kangaroo products be banned immediately, and the Commonwealth Government make a serious appraisal of its responsibility in the matter to ensure the survival of the kangaroo.
Dr MACKAY presented from certain residents of the State of New South Wales a petition showing that the red kangaroo and many other marsupials, through shooting for commercial purposes, have been reduced to a numerical level where their survival is in jeopardy; none of the Australian States have sufficient wardens to detect and apprehend people breaking the laws in existence in each State, and in such a vast country only uniform laws and a complete cessation of commercialisation can ensure the survival of our national emblem; it is an indisputable fact that no national resource can withstand hunting on such a concentrated scale, unless some provision is made for its future.
The petitioners pray that the export of all kangaroo products be banned immediately, and the Commonwealth Government make a serious appraisal of its responsibility in the matter to ensure the survival of the kangaroo.
Mr TURNER presented from certain citizens of the State of New South Wales a petition showing that the red kangaroo and many other marsupials, through shooting for commercial purposes, have been reduced to a numerical level where their survival is in jeopardy; none of the Australian States have sufficient wardens to detect and apprehend people breaking the laws in existence in each State, and in such a vast country only uniform laws and a complete cessation of commercialisation can ensure the survival of our national emblem; it is an indisputable fact that no national resource can withstand hunting on such a concentrated scale, unless some provision is made for its future.
Mr CHIPP presented from certain residents of Victoria a petition showing that because of uncontrolled shooting for commercial purposes, the population of kangaroos, particularly the big red species, is now so low that they may become extinct; there are not sufficient wardens in any State of Australia to detect or apprehend those who break the inadequate laws in existence; as a tourist attraction, the kangaroo is a permanent source of revenue to Australia; it 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 take the necessary steps to bring all wildlife throughout Australia under its jurisdiction; only a complete cessation of killing for commercial purposes can save surviving kangaroos.
Mr GARRICK presented from certain residents of Victoria a petition showing that because of uncontrolled shooting for commercial purposes, the population of kangaroos, particularly the big red species; is now so low that they may become extinct, there are not sufficient 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; it 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.
Mr MORRISON presented from certain electors of the Division of St George 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; and 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 MacKELLAR presented from certain electors of the Division of Warringah 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; and 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 ask the Minister for External Affairs a question. J am sure that the right honourable gentleman has noted that the South Pacific Conference will meet in Fiji next September, that is, in the most populous of the countries in the area other than the Territory of Papua and New Guinea and on the eve of that country becoming a member of the United Nations and of the Commonwealth. I ask him whether arrangements are in train for Australias commissioners at th s meeting of the Parliament of the South Pacific to be drawn predominantly from his own Department and to include Cabinet Ministers. I point out that Fiji’s own delegation will again be headed by her Prime Minister and that Fiji is a highly political and literate community with strong political and commercial links with the major English speaking nations of North America and India as well as Britain and Australia.
– The Leader of the Opposition must know that we in Australia will do whatever we can to assist Fiji in its bid for independence and I have gone out of my way to try to help the local sugar industry there achieve its goal of ensuring that South Pacific Sugar Mills will in fact mill sugar products over the course of the next few years. If there is anything that we can do I am sure that Ratu Mara will contact us and let us know what his wishes are. As to the actual question by the honourable gentleman, as yet we have not come to the problem he has mentioned but I can assure him we will look at every aspect of it and make up our minds according to where we think the best interests of Fiji lie.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for External Affairs. Has any date yet been fixed for the regional conference which has been suggested by Indonesian Foreign Minister, Adam Malik? Has the Minister seen the recent report from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Embassy in Australia referring to the United States of America’s interference in a civil war in Cambodia? Does this not follow the same pattern of propaganda which continually flowed from the same Embassy concerning the war in South Vietnam?
– Mr Speaker, I have read the propaganda document that was issued by the Soviet representatives in Canberra, lt is written in the same turgid phrases that we have been accustomed to from this propaganda agency. It lacks both literary and also intellectual quality and is but a ceaseless repetition of the tripe we get from this propaganda organisation and have received for very many years. As an illustration of the tendentious quality of these articles I mention that one of them states that Indonesia is supplying arms and equipment to the. Cambodians. This, Sir, is false. The Indonesian Government has denied it and to the best of my knowledge no arms and equipment are being provided from this country and you, Sir, would not expect it to be as it is a neutral country and now has taken the initiative to call a conference to try to ensure the neutrality and the independence of Cambodia.
Secondly, Mr Speaker I think you can find running through the article the unhelpful attitude of the Soviet not only to peace in South East Asia but for that matter, Sir, so far as peace in the Middle East is concerned. As to the conference called by Mr Malik, who is the Foreign Minister of Indonesia, all I can say is that he has asked many, many countries, including Communist China to be present. It is not his fault that it is only those countries that are associated with the ANZUS Pact, and the ASPAC countries that have decided to go. But what this does mean is that Communist countries do not want peace in South East Asia. We on the contrary - the countries that are going - have but one object and one goal in view: That is to play our part, however humbly, and however good it might be, in trying to ensure there is peace on one condition, and that condition is that we want these people to be able to make up their minds as to how they should govern themselves and that they should be able to govern free from interference.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. I ask: What was the basis of the representation made to the Federal Government by the Tasmanian State Government in regard to Commonwealth assistance for those fruit growers of my electorate who were severely hit by frost damage? Secondly, is it not a fact that the Commonwealth has given assistance to other primary industries in other States in similar circumstances? Thirdly, what was the reason for the Federal Government’s refusal to help the Tasmanian grower?
– I am not aware of the matter that the honourable member raises. I will have a study made of it and convey the information to him.
– I ask the Minister for Social Services a question about the provision of assistance for child minding centres catering for the mentally retarded. 1 understand that his Department subsidises day training centres for mentally retarded children. It has been suggested that assistance to child minding centres is the next logical extension of a programme to help these unfortunate members of our community. Will the Minister give consideration to the provision of a subsidy to these centres?
– As the honourable member will be aware, there is at present before the House the Handicapped Children (Assistance) Bill, under which the Commonwealth will provide a $2 for $1 capital subsidy to institutions giving training to handicapped children. If training is given to children coming within the definition of handicapped, which includes mentally handicapped as well as physically handicapped, the institution will be eligible, upon the passage of the legislation, for a capital subsidy of $2 for $1. The Government has been giving some consideration to helping child minding centres as well. I am not at present in a position to give the House any commitment in relation to the other aspect which is an extension of the legislation now before the House.
– The Treasurer will recall that in reply to a question asked on Tuesday by the honourable member for Bradfield he referred to a statement made by Mr Hobart, Chairman of Stramit Boards Ltd, which supported the recently imposed credit squeeze. Is the Treasurer aware that materials produced by Stramit are used almost entirely in the building industry for commercial and industrial building? Is he aware that about 1% only of Stramit’s production is used in domestic building or villa construction? In view of these facts how can the Hobart statement be used as a measuring rod for the condition of the home building industry due to the credit squeeze imposed upon it by this Government?
– If the honourable member looks further into the qualifications of Mr Hobart I think he will find that they are extensive and that he has a good knowledge of the entire building industry. It is true that the commercial and industrial sector of the building industry is now rather harder pressed than the dwelling construction sector. The credit squeeze, so called by the honourable member, is merely the rise in interest rates charged by the banking system to relieve the tremendous pressure for loans on those bodies-
– Why restrict home building loans?
– Home building loans are not restricted. The whole system works as before. An incidental effect is that some costs by way of interest rates, particularly to home builders, have gone up and it is true that this situation is likely to exercise some restraining influence. It is also likely to have some effect in bringing the price of housing down and impeding the continuing rise in costs for dwelling construction. This is in the interests of all intending home purchasers.
– J ask the PostmasterGeneral whether a number of small rural post offices have recently been downgraded to non-official status. In view of the fact that many of these post offices are subject to drought and seasonal circumstances, will the honourable gentleman undertake to have his Department review the policy in this matter so that the temporary and passing adverse conditions may be taken into account before such decisions are made? Will he assure the House that when their statistics are restored, post offices already reduced in status will be raised to their previous classification?
– Within the Postal Department there is a continuous review of post offices to determine whether they should be classified as official or nonofficial. I would not believe that there has been any reduction of post offices to nonofficial status as a result of the movement of population from drought stricken areas. Rather I believe that over a considerably long period, and applying the general
Questions 1 779 formula used, it has been shown that there has been a permanent movement of population and a permanent reduction of the work performed at the particular post offices about which the honourable member is concerned. In those circumstances I do not think it would be necessary to have a special review when the drought ends. Any review will be part of the review which takes place constantly within the administration.
– J ask the MinisterinCharge of Aboriginal Affairs whether he is aware that the reduction of leprosy s closely linked to living standards. Ls he aware that secondary infections of leprosy, resulting from poor living conditions, have been responsible for most of the deaths caused by that disease? If the Minister is aware of these things, has he arranged for a special survey of the living conditions of Aboriginals in those areas of Australia where leprosy is known to exist or to occur? If so, what stage has the survey reached? Finally, if no such survey has been arranged or carried out will the Minister treat the matter as being urgent with a view to obtaining an early and substantial improvement in the living conditions of Aboriginals in those areas?
– The question raised by the honourable member is serious and complex. One of the difficulties is that manifestation of this disease very often is separated by years from the time of original infection and therefore it is not easy to link cause and effect. In the Northern Territory we have carried out special surveys and an organisation has been set up within the Department administered by my colleague the Minister for the Interior, and with the co-operation of my colleague the Minister for Health, to cope with this problem. I am fairly satisfied that in the Northern Territory everything that can be done is being done. One of the difficulties in the past has been the problem of getting sufferers in areas where the manifestation of the disease is evident to report to the authorities. In the past - but not at present - there has been a tendency for these people to go bush, to hide themselves in order to avoid being sent to the leprosarium for cure. [7 May 1970]
I am happy to say that this attitude of mind no longer is prevalent in the Northern Territory.
In Western Australia and Queensland the State departments, in conjunction with the Commonwealth Department of Health, are paying special attention to this matter. I have asked my officers to do what they can to co-ordinate and help this campaign. I believe that in both States the rate of new infections is very much less. I have had statistics before me to show that this is so and I will be happy to discuss them with the honourable member if he wishes. The rate of new infections is, I think, much less than it was but always there is this difficulty of the time lag, sometimes of years, between infection and manifestation of the disease and therefore it is not always easy to be dogmatic about these statistics.
– My question relating to frequency modulation broadcasting is directed to the Postmaster-General. Is it a fact that broadcasting by means of frequency modulation results in high fidelity reception free of static and atmospheric interference? In the ultra high frequency band could a large number of channels be made available for this form of broadcasting, providing the public throughout Australia with a much greater choice of programmes than is presently available? Has this form of broadcasting been developed in every other advanced country in the world, and many that are not, including Europe and South America and large parts of Asia and Africa? I ask the PostmasterGeneral whether he would be prepared to appoint a select committee of this House, and ad hoc committee of independent persons or the Australian Broadcasting Control Board to conduct a public inquiry into the feasibility and desirability of introducing a system of frequency modulation broadcasting into Australia and to report to him on the matter and through him to Parliament and the public?
– As I have indicated to the House on a number of occasions, the Government regards as its first responsibility the provision of broadcasting and television facilities for all the people in this country.
At the present time there are quite a number of areas in Australia which do not have a proper reception either of broadcasting or television. Many of these are outback areas of the larger States. The introduction of frequency modulation broadcasting would of course be an expensive operation. There is no doubt that with this system there is high fidelity of sound, avoidance of static and so on, and that there are a large number of channels available in the ultra high frequency range. As to the economic aspects, from the point of view of cost to the producer, the cost of establishment of stations, the cost to the individual who would purchase a set and the number who would purchase a set. I cannot express a view. It has been indicated to me that there is considerable doubt about the economics, and that has been the experience in other countries. The situation would be more doubtful here in Australia.
– Why do’ American cities the size of Sydney have up to a dozen or more frequency modulation broadcasting stations if that is true?
– I thought I was answering the question. That is what I propose to do.
-Order! I would suggest that the House come to order. When a Minister is answering a question asked by an honourable member other questions should not be asked. They are definitely out of order.
– I know there is a good deal of public interest in this matter. The Australian Broadcasting Control Board made an investigation and held an inquiry in 1957 or 1958. I think it was a public inquiry. A good deal of water has flowed under the bridge since that time. There seems to be a good deal of public comment on this matter. Much of it is, I believe, uninformed and merely picks up a catchcry from the comments of those who may have some knowledge. I believe the time is opportune for a further public inquiry to be held and I will ask the Australian Broadcasting Control Board to conduct such an inquiry. Within the course of the next few days I will make available to the Parliament the terms of reference for that inquiry.
– I direct a question to the Minister for External Affairs. Will he protest on behalf of the Australian people to the President of the United States of America against the slaughter of 4 students at Kent University, Ohio, by National Guardsmen while the students were exercising their democratic right to dissent from American policy in Cambodia and Vietnam? Will he also assure the House that police will not use firearms against those engaged in the Moratorium Campaign in the event of violence which may result because of the inflammatory and provocative statements made by Government supporters against those who seek an end to the war in Vietnam and object to the invasion of Cambodia by United States forces?
– This is a somewhat frivolous question. The language in which it is couched shows an attitude of frivolity to what is a very grave and unfortunate incident. I think that everyone in this House ought to regret deeply the loss of life in the United States as we would regret deeply the loss of life in this country. The incident there, while it is regrettable and is a cause of very deep concern for us, is one that primarily involves the United States Government. Already, the President has made his statement regretting the deaths and pointing out what will happen if demonstrations become violent and there is resort to use of force by those who participate in them.
Sir, this lesson ought to be taken to heart by all those who are taking part in the Moratorium marches during the course of the next 3 days. The lesson ought to be learnt particularly by the honourable gentleman who asked the question and by all those honourable members who wear Moratorium badges and who sit near and behind him. As to what should happen domestically-
– Our record is well known.
– Yes, it is- and for the worst.
-Order! I would suggest to the honourable member for Reid that he should refrain from interjecting. I have warned him already during question time in this regard. Does the Minister for External Affairs wish to continue?
– Yes. As to the domestic problem, it would have been wise if, before coming into the House, the honourable gentleman had read the statement made by Mr Askin-
– He is the one who started it.
-Order! I warn the honourable member for Reid.
– What did he say? Run over the bastards!’
-Order! The honourable member will withdraw that remark.
– I withdraw it.
– I do not regard this as a matter for the type of hilarity which is coming from the other side of the House. I think that it is a serious matter. I repeat the last part of what I was saying a few moments ago. If the honourable gentleman had read the statement made by Mr Askin as reported in today’s Press, he would have seen that the Premier of New South Wales understands the nature of this problem, is determined that the police will not use firearms and in fact has warned them that they are to exercise the greatest care and show the greatest discipline to see that where there are minor infringements of the law the people involved are not interfered with.
– I ask the Minister-in-Charge of Aboriginal Affairs: Is it a fact that a football team of Aboriginal boys at present is playing a series of games against junior teams throughout Australia? What is the purpose of this programme? What success has the team achieved?
– Some time ago, my office constituted an Aboriginal Sports Foundation which, I am happy to say, is being run by Aboriginals, but which we assist. Arrangements were made to bring down from various parts of the Northern Territory a team of Aboriginal footballers. I have seen the team in action. This team managed to defeat a combined New South Wales team. It beat by a very substantial margin a combined Canberra-ACT team. When it went to Victoria, it beat the team of St Patrick’s at Sale, which is highly rated, and a team at Moorabbin which is highly rated also. As far as I know - I am not up to date as to what has happened in the last few days - it has been undefeated in Victoria. We are considering the possibility of endeavouring to find in Victoria a team of sufficient standard to be sent to the Northern Territory during the football season to see whether it could give the Aboriginals of the Northern Territory a decent game. I refer, of course, to junior football, but I have no doubt that the same kind of thing is true of senior football.
I remind the House of something that is sometimes forgotten, that is, that the first Australian cricket team that ever went to England was an all-Aboriginal team and it performed rather more successfully than a European team would have been likely to perform. This team came mainly from the districts of western Victoria, and it is interesting to note that it would have included kinsmen of Lionel Rose. Although I think he lives in the east of Victoria now, his family comes from the west of Victoria and there would seem to be, in that area, great athletic ability among Aboriginals. I repeat that if we can find in Victoria a team of footballers of sufficient merit we shall endeavour to see whether it can go to the Northern Territory during the season to give the Aboriginal team a decent game.
– Has the Minister for the Army received the Fox report relating to Duntroon? If so, will he have the report tabled and make a statement on it to the House?
– I have received the report of the Fox Committee and, together with officers of my Department, I am examining it at present. The honourable member will recall that I released a statement in late December concerning an interim report. That statement dealt with changes which were to be made, and which, in fact, have been made, regarding fourth class cadets at Duntroon. It is my feeling at this juncture that I should arrange with the Leader of the House to make a statement here concerning the report I have received. As soon as I have concluded the discussions with officers of my Department I will discuss this proposition with the Leader of the House. I hope that it will be soon.
– My question to the Acting Prime Minister refers to the statement by the Prime Minister detailing additional drought relief measures for Queensland. I ask: Has any request been received from the Western Australian Government for similar relief to the many farmers in that State who are presently making the most praiseworthy efforts to regain a semblance of financial solvency following the disastrous drought which devastated many areas last year? If such a request is or has been received, will the Government give it the same sympathetic consideration as has been given to Queensland?
– I understand that the Premier of Western Australia has addressed a request to the Prime Minister seeking Commonwealth aid to help rehabilitate those who have suffered in Western Australia from the quite serious drought that was experienced there all last year. The Government is at the moment studying the facts of the situation and I am sure I can advise the honourable member and those affected in Western Australia that the Government will, in response, apply precisely the same principles of aid in Western Australia as it has applied in Queensland. This is not merely a matter of compassion, which is a powerful factor. It is the desire of the Commonwealth to contribute to rehabilitating the productive capacity of those affected in Western Australia.
– I address a question to the Acting Prime Minister. It is only the second question which he has been asked during his present tenure. My question concerns the ban on the export of merino rams which the honourable member for Farrer and I raised at question time 4 weeks ago. Since then there has again been a debate on the matter in another place where it emerged that the majority of members were still of the opinion, which they expressed by their votes a year earlier, that the ban should not be lifted. I now ask the right honourable gentleman whether the Government will sponsor a debate and a vote on this issue in this House. In case it is suggested that the Opposition should propose a motion on this matter, I would point out that not since March 1965 has it proved possible to have a vote in this House on any of the numerous motions introduced by private members on either the Government side or the Opposition side.
– The subject matter at issue involves the property of those who own the merino rams sought to be exported. I believe that those who ought to be considered in this matter are the private citizens who own that property. Quite frankly, I see no reason why the right of a private citizen to dispose of his property, which he has produced at his own expense, and with his own labour and industry, should be submitted to the decision of those who are merely trying to transform a situation to their political advantage. That is really what is inherent in the question asked by the Leader of the Opposition. The Government is extremely disappointed with the attitude of the Australian Labor Party in helping to incite trade unionists in defying the law relating to this matter. It is, unhappily, totally consistent with the whole sequence of attitudes of members of the Labor Party, whose predecessors in the last century fought with great vigour, great consistency and great determination to get a right for all people to vote to elect a Parliament which could govern with authority. Today it is the clear purpose of the Labor Party to destroy the objective of their predecessors by trying to prevent the Parliament that has been elected by a full franchise of all people, male and female, from operating.
– Can the Minister for Labour and National Service say what degree of response is likely from trade unions to the call for strike action by the organisers of the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign?
– Is the Minister wearing a Moratorium badge?
– I am wearing a national badge, not the badge of the Comintern that is worn by honourable members opposite.
It is a very melancholy picture, not for the persons who find in the Moratorium deceit by the organisers, but for the organisers because the unions are not responding in anything like the way it was hoped they would. Furious activity is going on at the moment amongst the organisers of the Vietnam Moratorium to try to create a little bit more interest. Only in Sydney and Melbourne is any real interest being shown, and essentially even in those cities only 4 unions are active - the Building Workers Industrial Union of Australia, the Waterside Workers Federation, the Seamen’s Union and the Boilermakers and Blacksmiths Society of Australia. Of course the Trades Hall Council in Melbourne is opposed to the Vietnam Moratorium. This is not true in Sydney, where the Trades and Labour Council recently had a meeting that was attended by 20 unions which are trying to organise a 2-hour lay down of tools on Friday. The fact is that in the other areas of Australia there is very little interest. It looks as though union activity will be confined to the maritime unions. So the response of unions makes a melancholy story for the organisers of the Vietnam Moratorium. Quite clearly the only people to whom they can look for support are the Labor voters, whose purpose is to attack the Government in contrast to the purpose of the organisers which is to attack democracy. Indeed it is very important to try to distinguish between the organisers and the participants. I can think of the organisers only as political bikies who pack rape democracy.
– My question is addressed to the Treasurer. Did he tell the Australian Finance Conference some days ago that, largely as a result of the large domestic surplus which the Government had built into the last Budget, the liquidity situation in the current quarter was tightening markedly and that money was becoming scarcer and dearer? If this is a fact, was the amount of S552m built into the Budget and was the Government’s action deliberately designed to curtail liquidity for the purpose of restricting home building and the general development of the building industry? Will the Minister tell the Parliament how the Government proposes to use this domestic surplus? Is it a fact that the Government is working towards a further domestic surplus in the 1970-71 fiscal year. If so, why is it doing this in the present circumstances?
– I deal with the last part of the question first. The Government’s policy for the Budget of 1970-71 will not be brought before the House for some months. I have had my remarks run off and circulated to all honourable members. If the honourable member has any doubt about what I said and if he has not received a copy I will be pleased to supply him with one.
To answer the remainder of h’s question, I point out that the effect on the building industry is incidental to the general position. What I said was that in this last quarter, in which there always occurs annually and seasonally a tight liquidity situation, the Budget surplus emerging from last year’s Budget would operate to restrict liquidity. The Government’s action was not designed directly to have any effect on the housing industry. It was designed to restrain demand and excess of money over goods and services available over the whole of the community, of which the building industry is a part. If the honourable member wants any figures which he has not been able to find in the Budget papers or in my speech, he can put a question on the notice paper and I will supply the precise details.
– My question is directed to the Minister for the Army. Did the Minister see the ‘Four Corners’ segment on the Royal Military College at Duntroon televised last weekend wherein an apparently faked and staged portrayal of bastardisation was televised? Does he believe the programme was unbalanced, lacked objectivity and in fact portrayed an utterly distorted picture of Duntroon? Will he refer this matter to his colleague, the Postmaster-General?
– I have seen the segment to which the honourable member has referred. I should say to the honourable member that according to my advice ‘Four Comers’ sought permission to produce a programme showing in effect a day in the life of a cadet at the Royal Military College, Duntroon. The timing was related to the presentation of Colours by the Queen, which ‘Four Corners’ proposed should be the culmination of its film. I approved the request on that basis. My Department provided full facilities to the ‘Four Corners’ team. A week was spent filming most aspects of a cadet’s life, including academic studies, military training, range practice, a class room sequence, lectures and discussion groups, as well as a ceremonial and drill segment. I understand that it is common practice to film considerably more material than will be shown. However, in this instance the editing appeared to be deliberately couched to give an unbalanced picture. For example, persons alleged to be cadets were shown doing pushups and showering in uniform. This is hardly honest filming in that I am assured the persons were not cadets. Therefore this sequence was faked.
Furthermore, although three-quarters of a cadet’s life is taken up with academic studies at degree level this aspect was hardly mentioned. I agree with the honourable member’s description of the film as projecting a distorted picture of Duntroon. Personally I regard the film as a shallow portrayal and projection which lacked depth and analysis and was not up to the standards which one would expect of a ‘Four Corners’ production.
– Yes it was.
– Well, established institutions must expect that they will be periodically analysed and criticised, but I believe that they have a right to expect that such analysis and criticism will be fair and objective. Fortunately, the fact that this particular analysis was neither fair nor objective will hardly tarnish an institution as great as the Royal Military College, Duntroon.
– Can the Minister for External Affairs say whether any request was made by the Lon Nol Government in Cambodia to the Government of the United States of America or to the Thieu Government in Saigon to send into Cambodia American and South Vietnamese armed forces? If such requests were made will the Minister provide details of them and tell us when they were made? Finally, will he say whether, in view of the entry of United States and South Vietnamese armed forces into Cambodia and the widespread hostilities that exist, the Australian Government intends to support the conference suggested by the Indonesian Foreign Minister? If so, what will be the objectives of the Australian Government at that conference? When will the conference take place?
– As to the first part of the honourable gentleman’s question, the Lon Nol Government did not ask for the assistance that was given by South Vietnam and the United States of America but yesterday the Premier himself, Mr Lon Nol, issued a statement in which he said that the liberation government of Cambodia recognised that the action by the United States and South Vietnam was taken in order to achieve the freedom, the independence and the realisation of the highest ideals of the people and the Government of Cambodia. The Government is now known as the Salvation Government. Mr Lon Nol went on to say that he wished that they had been able to achieve the same goals and the same objectives themselves. We find that he did not ask for the assistance. That is understandable, because he was under such strong pressure from Communist sources. But he does welcome the operations that are now taking place in three separate parts of Cambodia.
As to the second part of the honourable gentleman’s question, which related to the Indonesian initiative, particularly from Mr Malik, the simple goals of the conference are as follows: Firstly, it is to be related to Cambodia if it can be kept that way; secondly, to try to ensure that there is no interference in the affairs of other countries, particularly Cambodia; thirdly, Cambodia to have the right of self determination and the people, by a free vote, to be able to express their opinions and have their opinions brought into legislative and constitutional effect; finally, that the International Control Commission for Cambodia be reinstated. All of these goals are firmly held by the Australian Government. I hope to be able to represent the Government at the meeting on the 16th and 17th of this month.
– On 21st April last the Leader of the Opposition asked me a question in relation to the action by the
Inter-Parliamentary Un on in regard to the treatment of Greek parliamentarians. I now have an answer. As it is fairly lengthy I incorporate it in Hansard:
The following record of action taken by the Inter-Parliamentary Union since 2 1st April, 1967, in respect of Greek Parliamentarians and citizens, has been compiled from the agreed minutes of the Union:
On 11th September, 1967, at its 143rd session held in Geneva, the Executive Committee of the Council of the InterParliamentary Union unanimously adopted the following resolution: The Executive Committee, Having been informed by the Secretary-
General of the dissolution, last April, of the Greek Parliament. Notes in consequence: that the affiliation of the Greek InterParliamentary Group must be considered as being in suspense from this date.
The Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union took note of this resolution on 13th September, 1967, during its 101st Session.
In his report to the 101st Session of the Council, the Acting President of the Union, Mr Abderrahman Abdennebi (Tunisia) stated that on 16th May, 1967, he had sent a telegram to the Head of the Greek Government requesting that imprisoned members of Parliament be treated in accordance with the principles of humanity, enjoy guarantees for their defence, and be released as soon as possible. The Acting President remarked that, upon being informed of this initiative, the Executive Committee had reviewed the possibility of making further demarches on behalf of Greek deputies who found themselves in difficulties and had decided that, should the Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union approve this step, the Greek Government should be informed of the fact. Subsequently, the 101st session of the Council unanimously approved the following resolutions put forward by Mr Roberts (Great Britain) -
The Inter-Parliamentary Council,
Having heard the report by Mr Abdennebi, Acting President, on his activities since the 100th session of the Council,
Approves the decisions and steps taken during this period. At its 101st session the Council also unanimously approved the following resolution put forward by Mr Kruczkowski (Poland) - The Inter-Parliamentary Council, Expresses its approval to the Acting President of the Union for the steps taken in connection with the persecution of members of Parliament in Greece and renews its request that practices contrary to the principles of democracy and humanitarianism should cease.
The Inter-Parliamentary Council,
Notes the initiatives undertaken by its Acting President with regard to respect for the fundamental rights and liberties of Greek parliamentarians and citizens and for the re-establishment of parliamentary democracy in Greece; 5. Reiterates its confidence in him to continue the efforts already undertaken and requests him to make a report to the 103rd session of the Council at Lima. The 102nd session of the Council also referred for consideration by the Political Committee of the Council, at its next meeting in Lima, a draft resolution entitled Violation by the Greek Authorities of the Citizens Fundamental Rights and Liberties, which had been submitted by the USSR Parliamentary Group.
In accordance with a decision of the Union’s Executive Committee, the draft resolution originally submitted by the USSR Parliamentary Group to the Dakar meeting of the Council was considered by the Council’s Committee on Parliamentary and Juridical Affairs, (rather than its Political Committee) at a meeting in Lima on 9th September, 1968. The Committee on Parliamentary and Juridical Affairs by a vote of 17 in favour, 9 against, and 5 absentions adopted a proposal put forward by Mr Williams (Great Britain) for adjourning sine die consideration of the draft resolution submitted by the USSR Parliamentary Group.
– As Chairman, I present the 116th Report of the Public Accounts Committee which relates to Treasury minutes on the Committee’s 100th and 109th Reports. I seek leave to make a short statement.
-Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– As the 116th Report is the first report presented by your Eighth Committee in relation to Treasury minutes, it would seem appropriate that honourable members should be reminded of the basis of the Treasury minute arrangements which have operated since 1953 when the Committee presented its first report to the Parliament. Upon tabling in the House by the Chairman and in the Senate, by a member of the Committee, a copy of each report of your Committee is forwarded to the Treasurer with a request that he consider it and inform the Chairman of action taken to deal with your Committee’s conclusions. It should be mentioned that as part of the tabling procedure, copies of all reports are forwarded to the Prime Minister, to Mr Speaker, to the President, to the Leader of the Opposition, to leaders of the Government and Opposition in the Senate and to each Minister whose department has been reported on.
The Treasurer’s reply comes in the form of a Treasury minute and is examined by your Committee. Should your Committee find during that examination that there are recommendations and conclusions not fully dealt with or which are subject to a further minute, explanatory discussions are held with officers of the Department of the Treasury. When your Committee is satisfied with the Treasury minute, it is published, together with the conclusions of the report to which it relates, in a subsequent report to the Parliament. This is the background to the report being presented today. In reporting a Treasury minute to the Parliament your Committee, acting on behalf of the Parliament, reserves the right to make comment on the Treasury minute as it thinks necessary. Such comments, taking the form of Committee observations, are included as the final chapter of the report. The need to make such observations, however, has arisen on only 10 occasions in the past 17 years. You Eighth Committee believes that the Treasury minute arrangements have proved their value over the years as an important element in ensuring that, through your Committee, the Parliament maintains an important and significant role in the financial administration of the Commowealth. The 116th Report affords further evidence in support of that view. I commend the report to honourable members and move that it be printed.
Ordered that the report be printed.
Bill presented by Mr Bury, and read a first time.
– I move: That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to bring the formula that determines the category entitlements of more senior members contributing under the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Act into line with the corresponding formula in the Superannuation Act. Between 1963 and 1969 the formulae in the 2 Acts were comparable, producing maximum pension entitlements tapering down from 70% of salary or pay for the lower paid members of each scheme to approximately 50% of salary or pay for members at the highest level. With effect from 4th June 1969 the formula in the Superannuation Act was varied to produce a pension entitlement for staff at the highest level of approximately 60% of salary, if all available units were taken up on a contributory basis.
The change now to be made to the formula in the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Act will have a similar effect. The change is to operate from 4th June 1969, the date from which (he Superannuation Act formula was varied. The change does, however, have some implications for the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund.
Unlike the superannuation scheme or that part of the defence forces retirement benefits scheme relating to members who entered the scheme before 4th December 1959, the contribution rates of members who have entered the scheme since that date, that is, post-1959 members, are fixed as percentages of pay. Consequently, the change in the formula and the resultant increases in entitlements of post- 1959 members in higher categories will not be matched by an increase in contributions to the Fund.
Only the entitlements of officer members will be affected by the formula change. As the rates of contribution for post-1959 officer members have been determined separately from those applying to post-1959 other rank members, the contribution rates applicable to post-1 959 officer members will be examined in conjunction with the quinquennial investigation of the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund as at 30th June 1969 to see whether there is a need to vary the rates because of the change in entitlement levels. As I said earlier, members who entered the scheme before 4th December 1959, that is, pre-1959 members, contribute on a different basis from those who have entered the scheme since that date. Since 1965, pre-1959 members have had the right, when faced with an increase in contributions, to elect to limit their contributions. Thereafter, additional category entitlements, when they become available, are granted without additional contributions, the benefit accruing from these additional entitlements being a proportion of the corresponding contributory benefit.
Pre-1959 officer members who have not already exercised their right to limit contributions will be able to do so, if they wish, in respect of the additional contributions that will become payable in respect of the additional category entitlements flowing from the formula change. The Bill also extends this right to pre-1959 officers serving on 4th June 1969 who have since retired on pension or, if they have died, to their widows or orphan children to whom pensions are being paid. I commend the Bill to honourable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Sinclair, and read a first time.
– I move:
The purpose of this Bill is to increase various rates and amounts of workers’ compensation payable to seamen under the Seamen’s Compensation Act. The payment of compensation to seamen covered by the Bill is made by shipowners and not by the Commonwealth. Compensation for seamen serving in intrastate ships, to whom the Bill does not apply, is paid under State Workers’ Compensation Acts. These increases are in line with the increases contained in the Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Bill already awaiting debate in this House. It is of course desirable that the rates of compensation under the two main compensation Acts administered by the Commonwealth be kept uniform and that changes be effected simultaneously.
The weekly rate of compensation for a seaman is being increased from $28.15 to $31.80 and there is provision also for increases in weekly rates from $6.80 to $7.70 for a seaman’s wife and from $2.50 to $2.80 for each of a seaman’s children. The increase for seamen who are minors is from $21.10 to $23.85. The basic lump sum death benefit, to which other lump sum benefits for various injuries are related, is being increased from $10,000 to $12,000, and the minimum total payment for a dependent child rises from $200 to $280. The Bill is in the interests of all classes of our merchant seamen and accordingly 1 commend it to honourable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr Charles Jones) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Chipp, and read a first time.
– I move:
The purpose of the Bill now before the House is to amend the present bounty legislation in order to enable bounty to be paid on approved books manufactured by private enterprise for the Commonwealth or a State. Honourable members will recall that in the original legislation introduced into this House in September of last year books produced by, for or on behalf of the Commonwealth or a State were excluded from bounty consideration. Experience in administration of the Book Bounty Act 1969 has shown that books so excluded represent a significant part of the output of local printers and that there exists a risk of a section of this market being lost to lower cost overseas printers.
As the book bounty was introduced originally as an interim measure of assistance to local book manufacturers pending a Tariff Board inquiry and report on the printing industry it would be inconsistent with that policy if the Government did not act to remedy this situation. Production of approved books covered by this Bill will be eligible for bounty payment if manufactured in pursuance of orders dated on or after 21st April 1970. Work done directly by the Commonwealth or State printers will continue to be excluded from the bounty. I commend this Bill to honourable members.
– Before I move the adjournment of the debate, I ask the Minister whether he could supply some details of the nature of the books and value per annum of the books that are printed for the States or the Commonwealth. This seems to be a bit mysterious.
– I think that information is available and I will be pleased to supply it to the honourable member if possible.
Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.
Motion (by Mr Chipp) agreed to:
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the consideration of Order of the Day No. I, Government Business, Grievance Debate, being continued until 1 p.m.
Commonwealth Employees Compensation - Vietnam Moratorium Campaign - Chowilla and Dartmouth Dams - Land Valuations in Rural Areas - Tapping of
That grievances be noted.
– I wish to raise 2 matters, both of which are of concern and both of which directly affect Commonwealth employees. The first is related to the payment of invalid pensions and the conditions under which invalid pensions are paid to persons who are awaiting settlement by the Commonwealth of claims for workers’ compensation. It has been brought to my notice by a specific case that where an invalid pension is paid to a person who has a workers’ compensation claim pending, it is not normal for the Commonwealth to seek to recover the moneys paid in the form of an invalid pension, lt is normal for the Commonwealth to seek to recover moneys paid in the form of sickness benefits. In the case drawn to my attention, which involves workers compensation paid to an employee of the Department of the Army, the person concerned sought advice as to whether it would be necessary to repay amounts received by way of invalid pension. He was informed that it was not normal for the Department of Social Services to seek repayment of these amounts. I would imagine that the amounts involved in payment of invalid pension which were not considered recoverable would have been taken into consideration in the final settlement.
Following settlement of the claim by the Commonwealth the Department of Social Services notified the person concerned that he had been illegally paid more than $900 in invalid pension and that this amount was recoverable and would be recovered by reductions in the levels of continuing pension to be paid to him. In other words the payment of $11 a week which that person was entitled to after settlement of the workers compensation claim was to be cancelled until a repayment of $900 had been made to the Department of Social Services. It is my considered opinion that when the Commonwealth settled this claim without pre viously advising the person concerned or his legal advisers that it would seek to recoup the amounts paid in invalid pension, which is not the normal practice in the case of persons in private employment, the Commonwealth acted improperly. I do not argue whether these amounts should or should not be recoverable but 1 contend - I think the House will agree with me - that if a person seeking compensation from a private employer does not have to refund amounts paid in invalid pension it is improper for the Commonwealth to seek repayment in the case of persons seeking workers compensation from it. The situation is that Commonwealth employees are placed at a very serious disadvantage visavis private employees and are in fact discriminated against. T do riot intend to pursue this mat er further at this stage. I hope that the relevant Ministers will examine it to make sure that Commonwealth employees enjoy the same rights in this area as other members of the community.
The other matter I wish to raise is of considerable concern to employees of the Government Aircraft Factories in my electorate. The Minster for Supply (Senator Anderson) has indicated vaguely that proposals exist for rationalisation of the industry. What a beautiful word: It means nothing. But the whispers and rumours going through the industry - they have been going through it for some time - are that the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation and the Government Aircraft Factories will be merged in some way. Employees in the industry, aware of the Government’s reputation in matters of this nature, are extremely concerned that any merger will mean that the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation will take over the Government’s interest in the Government Aircraft Factories. If this happened there would be a grave risk that employees in the Government Aircraft Factories would find themselves out of jobs, out of the industry and lost to the industry forever. I hope that the Government will give an assurance that if a merger takes place in this industry in the name of rationalisation the Government Aircraft Factories will retain a controlling interest in any merged industry, because it is an industry which at this stage is engaged solely in operations of a defence nature, lt is an industry which can justify its existence only by defence needs. If the Government intends to merge these organisations in any way I ask the Minister to give an absolute assurance to the people engaged in the Government Aircraft Factories that their jobs will be protected. I believe that those jobs can be protected only by the Government’s retaining control of the industry.
Over a long period a lot has been said by various Ministers about seeking to maintain this industry but on many occasions opportunities to produce or assemble military or civil aircraft in Australia have been passed up. It is my understanding that when the Friendships were being purchased by Australia the Department of Civil Aviation suggested that it would be economically feasible for the Australian aircraft industry to assemble them, but the Government would not back such a proposal. If I am correct this was a short-sighted policy which has lost to an important industry numerous skilled operatives who cannot be replaced without extensive and long term training programmes.
We do not appear to recognise the need to build up skills over several generations in an industry like the aircraft industry. If periodically those people who have developed skills in the industry are to be wiped out by retrenchment or the up and down nature of employment in the industry over recent years we will not have an industry if and when we require it - heaven forbid that we do - for national defence purposes.
During the last war the Government Aircraft Factories did a magnificent job providing Australia with much needed aircraft. If we were placed in a similar situation again it is the Australian industry which would have to provide the basic maintenance and production facilities necessary to maintain Australia’s aircraft needs. The outlook for the future is gloomy if we are continually to white ant the people who have built up skills in the industry over a number of years. It is ridiculous for the Government to retrench people in this industry at every opportunity. The industry at Avalon is currently employing not more than 50% of the people who were employed there 3 years ago. The retention of those skilled operatives is far more important than the money that has been saved by their retrenchment. It would be far better to retain these people in employment than to send millions of dollars down the drain on the Fill.
I hope that the Government will take note of the first matter I have raised this morning because I believe that Commonwealth employees are being viciously discriminated against. I hope that some definite statement of Government policy will be made about the aircraft industry so that people engaged in the industry will have some confidence in the security of their employment.
– Tomorrow we are to witness in many Australian cities the culmination of the activities of Australia’s own fifth column movement - the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign. In addition to the occupation of public places by its supporters another well known Communist controlled group of patriots - the Seamens Union of Australia - is to go on strike for 24 hours in support of the moratorium. We should not forget the riots that occurred last year when the United States Consulate-General was the target for extremist violence and 31 people were injured and 88 arrested.
– That is a filthy statement.
– My advice to my fellow Australians is that they should ignore the Moratorium in the same way that I ignore the interjector.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Order! The honourable member for Wilmot has interjected 3 times in about H minutes. I suggest that he restrain himself.
– The Premier of South Australia, when asked to comment on the human trash littering the steps of Parliament House in Adelaide last Monday said: ‘This is the worst form of pollution I have ever seen’. I think he went on to say something like this: ‘I advise all South Australians to have a look at the pollution in front of Parliament House’. At question time today my colleague the honourable member for Isaacs (Mr Hamer) asked the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Snedden) a question relating to the involvement of the trade union movement in the Moratorium. The Minister replied that in his view there was a positive diminution of trade union support and that it appeared now that only the maritime unions were supporting it. This is significant, because as all honourable members know the maritime unions without exception are Communist unions. The Minister went on to say that the main additional support for the Moratorium seems to be coming from Australian Labor Party voters whose purpose is to attack democracy. He described them very adequately, I think, as political bikies packraping democracy. 1 would describe the Moratorium as the most blatant CommunistAustralian Labor Party unity ticket ever conceived. Of course this so called peace movement is a creature of the Communists. 1 can never understand why Opposition members knowing of the Communist involvement, are marching shoulder to shoulder with Communists, wearing their Moratorium ribbons so proudly - even in this place, as they are today - and shouting Fascist’ or ‘Mccarthyite’ at the faintest suggestion of Communist infection.
Tomorrow’s Moratorium programme in South Australia includes public speeches by the State Leader of the Opposition, Mr Don Dunstan, in spite of Labor Party rules but in line with the new Australian Labor Party submissiveness. He will be speaking on the same platform as Mrs Freda Brown, who claims to have visited North Vietnam recently and who is president of the Union of Australian Women and a publicly declared ticket holding member of the Communist Party. The Moratorium Steering Committee in Queensland for example, is heavily loaded with Communists. What more obvious unity ticket is there than this Red Moratorium committee?
It may be worth mentioning some of the names, so that they will appear in Hansard. The chairman in Queensland is Mr Rod White, president of the Queensland Peace Committee. Of course we all know that the term ‘Peace Committee’ really means peaceful submission. The joint secretaries include Mr Joe Harris, a card carrying member of the Communist Party of Australia, and Mr Hugh Hamilton, a member of the Communist Party. Two of the committee members are Mr Jack Sherrington and Mr Phil O’Brien, who is also vice-president of the Queensland Peace Committee - the vehicle used as a front for this fifth column peace movement, the Association for International Co-operation and Disarmament, lt is laced with Communists. Its name really means disarmament of the allies. Then there is Mr W. E. Gollan, a member of the national executive of the Communist Party of Australia and a delegate to the Peace Council in Khartoum; E. Boatswain, who organised the secondary schools march in Canberra last year or the year before; and A. Outhred, a former secretary of the Sydney University Labor Club and a candidate for election to the Senate of the University.
– Did the Security Service give you this information?
– All this information is publically available and 1 am glad the honourable member for Calare (Mr acknowledging it. Then there is Robert Gould, our old friend the proprietor of the Third World Bookshop who describes himself as more to the left than the Communists. I. think he calls himself a Trotskyist. As the Minister said, there are many varieties these days, not to mention the undercover and indistinguishable Communists better described as revolutionary Marxists and disguised in all sorts of ways from professors to housewives.
I wonder whether the honourable member who has interjected and other members such as the honourable members for Adelaide (Mr Hurford), Kingston (Dr Gun), Sturt (Mr Foster), Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron), St George (Mr Morrison) and Wills (Mr Bryant), who wear their Moratorium ribbons, insult their intelligence by ignoring these facts; or are they haunted by the nagging thought that the Communists are very close to controlling the majority of the important trade unions, and therefore their Australian Labor Party endorsement? AH these honourable members wear their Moratorium ribbons and make predictable Socialist speeches. The honourable member for Adelaide is not present in the chamber at the moment but he should be worrying about having to rely on Marxism for a political living because he is the most active capitalist of us all. [Quorum formed].
The people of Australia should realise that the device of calling a quorum has just been used by the Opposition merely to silence me and anybody else who is prepared to draw attention to the way in which the Communist Party controls the people on the Opposition side of the chamber. I ask the honourable member who called for a quorum - I think it was the honourable member for Chifley (Mr Armitage) - a very simple question: Does he want the North Vietnamese to win? The Labor Party has called for a withdrawal from Vietnam, the abandonment of national service, and the betrayal of Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and other South East Asian countries. Every time Hanoi hears such calls North Vietnamese aggression is encouraged and the war actually is lengthened. In the few moments left to me I want to quote what was said in April 1958 by Mr Harold Holt:
What Australia needs is what the Communists themselves are preaching in their own objectives, that is, a united front - not a united front for communism, but a united political front against communism. How can we in this country hope to get a united political front against communism when we have the kind of leadership, and the kind of support behind that leadership, that we find in honourable gentlemen on the opposite side of the House?
Those words are equally true today. I deplore the tactics of the Australian Labor Party. I deplore its involvement in the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign. I find it very hard to be associated with members of the Opposition in any other place.
– The honourable member for Boothby (Mr McLeay) has made a delayed appearance in the debates after hibernating following upon a rather extraordinary trip to South Africa. By one of those remarkably fortunate coincidences I have his file before me. I think I should read parts of it to the House to show what type of honourable member it is who has just attacked members of the Labor Party, people who fight for democracy in this country, prominent church men, editors of Catholic newspapers and others as being Communists and supporters of a fifth column in this country. Already a minister of religion has taken out a writ against the honourable member for outrageous and libellous statements. Today the honourable member listed amongst those whom he said were in the fifth column myself and other honourable members on this side of the Parliament who support the Moratorium. He listed
Catholic and Protestant clergymen who support it. He listed John Ryan of the editorial board of the ‘Catholic Worker’ of Melbourne and numerous others who support this fight against the Government’s policy and the American policy in Vietnam. If any member of the Parliament but the honourable member for Boothby had mentioned these matters we would take him seriously. But the honourable member is discarded and disowned by his own members because no more McCarthy-like or Fascist statements have been made in this Parliament in my time than those that have come from the honourable member fdr Boothby.
Let us look at this member who has just spoken. He said he finds it difficult to be with us. I can assure the House that I do not want to be with him in any other place than this Parliament. He went to South Africa. I have the report of an interview he had in that country. He was being interviewed on television and he was asked:
How similar do you think Australia and southern Africa are both in climate and outlook and so on?
Well, we are very similar as far as climate and people and in outlook, but politically we’re a little different, I think. You’re much more advanced in some ways than we are. At the moment we are almost a Communist state. Sounds incredible doesn’t it?
We can see the honourable member’s little eyes twinkling as he said that on television. Then he said:
Oh, I deplore it. And it’s interesting to come and see the way that you’ve got on top of this problem. In fact, I’m taking home some of your pieces of legislation, and 1 aim to introduce them as Private Members’ Bills to see if we can do something about this. We’ve got three Communist Parties in Australia and they’ve subverted the trade-union movement, churches, universities and, I am afraid, some of the Press.
If there are three Communist Parties in Australia I will tell this House who they are. They are the Liberal Party, The Democratic Labor Party and the Country Party; and I will tell honourable members why.
Their policies are to trade with the enemy, to sell strategic metal, chemicals, scrap iron, tallow, wheat and other essential goods to China and wool and wheat to Russia and others who they ‘say are our enemies. They have secret police eavesdropping on and tapping the telephones of political opponents throughout this country. They restrict the movement of visitors to various parts of our nation, such as Pine Gap. The movements of their political opponents are restricted. There is censorship and in every way the society in which we live under this Government might be said to be a Communist type, if we take the honourable member’s views correctly. There is refusal to grant citizenship to people. There is imprisonment for political beliefs. There is centralisation of power. There is the promotion of rivals to other positions. There is brainwashing in this country. There is imprisonment of 20-year olds who are conscripted to go and fight for people of the type of the honourable member we have just listened to in this Parliament. There is suppression of the right to dissent. There is use of the police. There is smear and character assassination. There is imprisonment of demonstrators and conscientious objectors and there is water torture for prisoners of war.
– I take a point of order. T think it is a regrettable statement that the honourable member for Grayndler has made about the honourable member for Boothby. I would ask him to withdraw it. He fought for his country whereas the honourable member for Grayndler did -not.
– Order! The honourable member for Grayndler cast a reflection on the honourable member for Boothby and I would ask him to withdraw it.
– I thought he was uninsultable but if he is offended I withdraw the statement. The honourable member for Boothby who has just spoken said he was going to introduce some South African and Rhodesian legislation in this country. I wonder if he will bring in the Suppression of Communist Act which allows the South African Government to ban people, political parties, newspapers, unions and organisations, Is that the first plank of the platform of this honourable member who supports Rhodesia? I wonder whether he supports those laws prohibiting persons from attending gatherings of a common purpose, gatherings where politics were discussed, gatherings of an educational nature and social gatherings. Does he support the penalty for the breach of a banning order, which is generally imprisonment for up to 3 years without the option of a fine? Certain cases such as failure to report at specified times to the police carry imprisonment for 1 to 10 years. Is that the policy that he seeks to bring to this country? Similarly, section 17 of the General Law Amendment Act empowered the Government to arrest without warrant and to hold in solitary confinement for up to 90 days any person suspected on reasonable grounds of having information about offences of a political character. The Act was suspended in January 1965 but 1,095 people were detained under its provisions during 1963 and 1964. Is that the policy of the honourable member for Boothby? Is that a plank of the policy he is bringing to this country?
What a disreputable and contemptible thing that is for a man who calls himself a democrat. He stands here and opposes people and labels them as part of a fifth column - people who have the courage to stand up to the type of opposition that honourable members opposite put on, with the police and the baton and the boot to keep people from expressing their dissent. These are the policies he says are better than ours. South Africa and Rhodesia seek to abolish the monarchy. Did the honourable member for Boothby, an anarchist, supporting Rhodesia, attend a function for Her Majesty the Queen? I suppose he would like the honourable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) to be the president of the new Australian republic with all these suppressive laws.
– Did you fight for your country?
– The Minister for Health has enough on his plate dealing with the doctors. When he picks me he is fighting out of his division because he cannot beat the medicos and they cannot even talk. Let me tell the honourable member for Boothby that in June 1965 the Criminal Procedure Act was passed. It allows the Government to detain without trial any person likely to give material evidence for the State if the Attorney-General deems it to bc in the interest of such persons or of the administration of justice. In other words, the honourable member who has just attacked the Labor Party and those opposing the war in Vietnam - the undeclared war where men are dying under this Government’s legislation which, it claims, are in the cause of peace and security - is one who seeks to bring in that type of legislation, the most Fascist kind since the days of Hitler. It is now the basis on which the Rhodesian Government acts. Is it any wonder that we on this side of the Parliament have been waiting for him to come out of his hibernation? He hid from the light of day in this Parliament. He has made one speech and asked one question in 3 months in the Parliament. If any person has loafed on the Australian taxpayer in the last 3 months it has been the honourable member for Boothby. He has not been game to express his opinions because he knew we have been waiting to reply. How fortunate it was that I just happened to have my files about me. The statement I have says that officially Rhodesia admits having about 140 political detainees. Although almost 5 years have passed since the Unilateral Declaration of Independence none has yet been charged or allowed a trial. The estimated figure is probably slightly higher - about 158. Unlike South Africa where detainees cannot be detained for more than 158 days without trial - the Government there is really liberal - in Rhodesia they can be held indefinitely. As long as the country is in an official state of emergency - and it still is - the regime can hold prisoners as long asit likes.
Let the honourable member for Boothby get up and admit or deny that that is the policy he supports for Australia. He said he had brought back legislation to introduce into this Parliament. He was going to prepare a private member’s Bill. I challenge him to stand in this Parliament, introduce that legislation and show whether he believes in what he said and whether he is a full supporter of democracy or a straight out supporter of Fascist causes and all they stand for. I regret I have to say these things but far be it from me to sit in this Parliament and hear Labor members, good Australians, church men and other prominent citizens attacked by this honourable member who in every way is espousing the cause of Fascism, in fighting which countless thousands of men died in the last great conflict. Therefore I hope the honourable member will rise again some time and speak on these matters because, like all democrats, I do not want to see Fascism. I do not want to see suppression without trial. My forebears fought against it for generations and the Labor Party and other organisations were moulded to fight against it. That is why today I place on record my opposition to the statements of the honourable member for Boothby.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
Mr McLEAY (Boothby) - I claim to have been misrepresented by the larrikin from Grayndler.
– Order! The honourable member for Boothby will withdraw the remark.
– I withdraw it. The remarks mentioned–
– I take a point of order upon the point of order the honourable member for Boothby has raised and the manner in which he is raising it. He referred in insulting terms to the honourable member for Grayndler.
– I have already have asked the honourable member for Boothby to withdraw the remark and he has done so. The honourable member for Boothby now is claiming that he has been misrepresented and he is entitled to speak on that matter.
– The interview that was referred to by the honourable member for Grayndler did not occur in South Africa. That country has no television service. The television interview occurred in Rhodesia. I was attacking Communist subversion in Australia - in the trade union movement, the churches and the universities. If I had known what I know now, I would have attacked it in the Australian Labor Party too.
- Mr Deputy Speaker, I listened with a great deal of interest, I suppose, to the last 2 speeches. I think that it is apparent to everybody that the honourable member for Boothby (Mr McLeay) made certain allegations to the effect that every step that the Opposition takes is geared towards the encouragement of North Vietnam winning the war. This was the one thing that the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly) did not answer, though he went all over the countryside in his speech, left, right and centre.
The honourable member for Grayndler has not answered that accusation because he knows that a strong element of truth is to be found in precisely what the honourable member for Boothby said.
While he was about it, the honourable member for Grayndler also accused the honourable member for Boothby and, I think, honourable members on this side of the House of being Fascists. I suppose that there is nobody within our Party who disagrees more than I do on some issues with the honourable member for Boothby. I think that it is open knowledge that, in our Party, we encourage a divergence of views. We are not dictated to on policy by a mob of people not elected by the Australian public. We have, I do maintain, a democratic notion within our Party of which the Opposition is jealous because it is dictated to.
– Mr Deputy Speaker, I take a point of order. The honourable member said that his Party encourages differences on that side of the Parliament. Mr St John thought differently.
– Order! No point of order arises. The honourable member for Grayndler will resume his seat.
– All I must do, because I wish to get on to another issue, is to point out quite plainly, as I think it is apparent to everybody, that the honourable member for Grayndler did not attempt at any stage to answer the case put forward by the honourable member for Boothby. Instead of that, he adopted a policy of character assassination.
-Order! I suggest to the honourable member for Sturt and the honourable member for Mallee that if they wish to cany on a discussion they go outside the chamber to do so.
– I am not carrying on any discussion. I cannot hear the honourable member for Angas because of the honourable member for Mallee.
– He won’t let up.
-Order! The honourable member for Sturt will resume his seat.
– I. think that this is quite typical of the element of buffoonery that the honourable member for Grayndler always succeeds in introducing and encouraging. I do not think that the honourable member for Sturt needs much encouragement. If I may return to the point that [ was making, we on this side of the House do encourage a divergence of views. We are an anti-Socialist party. We are a party that has some regard for small people and small countries -
– And small minds.
– I have regard even for the mind of the honourable member for Wills. Thanks for the interjection. We are a party that takes its duties seriously and that does not wish to be flippant, to joke or to buffoon about them. I deeply deprecate the speech made by the honourable member for Grayndler and his attempts by sarcasm and by other means to try to downgrade the character of the honourable member for Boothby who is rather famous for his courage as indeed was his father who represented the same seat before him.
What I really wish to do today is to mention a matter that happened in the South Australian Parliament last week. The South Australian Government last week was defeated on the floor of the House of Assembly, not by the people but by 1 man - an Independent - frantically trying to hold his seat and trapped by a tape recorder - and by an Opposition having no regard for technological facts and no regard for founding its opinion on proper grounds. This Opposition, not able to succeed in passing its amendments during the last hours of the debate there, was frantically scuttling for political advantage by tacking its support on to the amendment moved by the Independent. The carrying of that amendment brought down the South Australian Government. What is the position? A little while ago, 4 leaders of Governments signed an agreement to ratify and to build the Darthmouth Dam. A tremendous advantage for the State of South Australia was built into this agreement. This advantage was the alteration of the entitlement for water in South Australia from 1.254 million acre feet to 1.5 million acre feet. This represented an increased supply of water to that State of 37% . This increased entitlement to water meant that
South Australia had first call on the Murray system. The 2 upstream States, not having an entitlement to a quota, would receive only whatever is left. Built into that agreement was the best protection for South Austral a that we possibly could have expected. By the regrettable action of 1 Independent and by the capricious action of a totally irresponsible power hungry Opposition, we are now back, regarding an entitlement to water, to where we were at the 1915 level. It is about time that this fact was well recognised and the totally irresponsible action for anyone interested in the future well-be:ng of South Australia was pinned home to those responsible.
– Tell them about the Legislative Council and how-
-Order! I warn the honourable member for Sturt to cease interjecting. He has done so continually.
– I maintain that this regrettable action is completely against the interests of South Australia. The current position is that the State is back to 1.254 million acre feet whereas our entitlement was to be 1.5 million acre feet. The Leader of the Opposition in South Australia, Mr Dunstan, has said that he will try to renegotiate the 2-dam project. The 2-dam project is quite ridiculous. May I explain briefly to the House what it means? The entitlement of South Australia under the Dartmouth Dam Agreement Act has been increased from 1.254 million acre feet to 1.5 million acre feet. This means that if 2 dams are to bc built, any increased yield that Chowilla may give if it is built by a stroke of the magic wand - and I cannot really see at least 2 parties to the Agreement ever agreeing to its establishment - must be considered.
What it means is that instead of an entitlement of 1.5 million acre feet - our quota now - an addition of 0.2 million acre feet will be made to the flow of the Murray River system. South Australia will move from the level established under the Agreement to the level that would result from the building of both projects. It is very problematical whether, if Chowilla were built, South Australia would get any increase in its entitlement, because it is only the entitlement that governs the quantity of water coming into South Australia. This is not governed by whether or not water flows up hill or down hill or whether or not dams are built north, south, east or west. It is the entitlement that is of importance.
No doubt, if Chowilla appeared by some stroke of the magic wand, South Australia would put forward a case for a proportion of the 0.2 million acre feet. It would be awfully lucky to get it if from 1915 to 1970 our entitlement remained the same. In a very marginal increase, with our entitlement now being so great and so beneficial to the State, I think a great deal of doubt would arise as to whether we would receive any extra water from Chowilla, because we have first call on our entitlement now. So, in a state of drought, we would still have this entitlement of 1.5 million acre feet while the 2 upstream States, taking what is left, would have approximately 0.9 million acre feet each. At this point in time there is no case for a dual dam project. It is totally irresponsible for a major party that claims to have new intellectual qualifications to put itself in such a ridiculous situation.
I will conclude my remarks by saying one thing. It is possible that Chowilla will be be built. It is to my interest ultimately that it should be. It is something for which I will fight on behalf of my electorate when I see any possibility. But it will be built, in comparison with other schemes whether they be upstream or not, in order in due course to substantiate the entitlement of South Australia to 1.5 million acre feet. If there are further diversions upstream there will be a case for new damming of water. That will be the time when Chowilla may be built. But any party that tries to play ducks and drakes on a matter so important as water is to South Australia deserves the censure it will unquestionably get at the State election to be held soon.
– Since coming to this House I have been subjected to a conscious and co-ordinated attack by both the Minister for External Affairs (Mr McMahon) and the Minister for Defence (Mr Malcolm Fraser). I have been appalled by the immaturity of the attack - by the petticoat pettiness of the Minister for External Affairs and by the fourth form prefect posturing by the Minister for Defence. I find it reprehensible that senior Ministers should devote so much of their time and that of certain officers to such pettiness instead of revamping foreign and defence policies which have become demonstrably bankrupt. I could, perhaps, regard this as flattering but it is, in fact, pathetic.
The Government is desperate. Its policies are based on myths and are perpetuated by lies and deceptions. The facade is crumbling and all it seems that the Ministers can do is to pick up a few fallen bricks and throw them indiscriminately. Yesterday we heard the Minister for External Affairs attacking a commentator who, as the Minister well knows, has not been a friend of the Labor Party and whose only sin is that he is stating facts that the Liberal Party cannot face up to. In a speech in this House on the Vietnam Moratorium I quoted from the Fina] Declaration of the Geneva Conference the section relating to the agreement to the holding of elections in Vietnam. I said that this was an agreement that the United States of America signed. The Minister, in reply to an arranged question, denied that the United States had done so. The United States attached itself to certain aspects of the Geneva Agreements, as the Minister for once correctly pointed out, by issuing a declaration. The Minister has apparently relied for that reference on a publication by his Department entitled Vietnam Since 1954 Geneva Agreements’. On page 17 of that publication there is what purports to be the United States declaration issued in July 1954. The declaration was, in fact, made by the United States Under-Secretary of State, Walter B. Smith, in Geneva on 21st July 1954. For a very curious reason the text of the actual statement is not as reproduced in the publication of the Department of External Affairs.
To set the record straight I should like to add from the real text the very next paragraph that follows the truncated version that appears in this Government’s publication. I quote from the Department of State Bulletin, Volume 31, No. 788, dated 2nd August 1954, page 162, as follows:
In connection with the statement in the declaration concerning free elections in Vietnam my Government wishes to make clear its position which it has expressed in a declaration made in Washington on 29th June 1954 as follows:
In the case of nations now divided against their will, we shall continue to seek to achieve unity through free elections supervised by the United Nations to ensure that they are conducted fairly.
The United States, by that declaration, agreed to the holding of elections. The 1954 Agreement laid down that the elections would be supervised by the International Control Commission, that they would be free elections and that they would be by secret ballot. The Minister for External Affairs persists with the lie that the North Vietnamese alone were responsible for violating the Geneva Agreement. Now, under pressure, he is adopting the rather curious stance that the United States by not signing all of the Agreement and adhering to all of the Agreement could not possibly violate it, but the United States participated in the conference and pledged itself under its declaration to refrain from the threat of force or the use of force.
In previous speeches in this House I have already quoted from the International Control Commission reports proving that the United States was guilty of violating the Agreement. I want now to quote from the 1962 report of the ICC which proves that South Vietnam and the United States hindered the operations of the Commission. I quote from age 41 as follows:
Since December 1961, the Commission’s teams in South Vietnam have been persistently denied the right to control and inspect, which are part of their mandatory tasks. Thus these teams, though they were able to observe the steady and continuous arrival of war material, including aircraft carriers with helicopters on board, were unable, in view of the denial of controls, to determine precisely the quantum and nature of war material unloaded and introduced into South Vietnam.
– How important!
– It is very important for one simple reason: It makes a lie of everything the Australian Government has been saying in the last 3 weeks. We have circumstances when publications that carry the imprint of this Government fail to give the full text of those sorts of agreements that it finds itself not happy with; and I have pointed out on previous occasions where in official publications of the Department of External Affairs, approved by the Minister for External Affairs, 1 side of the case has been given and the other side completely omitted. This is the sort of Government we have - a government that can only thrive if it falls back on the lies and deceptions that it has perpetrated.
– Much of the debate this morning has centred on the Vietnam Moratorium, as well it could on an occasion such as this, lt is a grievance with me, but it is not the grievance about which I wish to speak now. I deplore the whole of the circumstances surrounding the Vietnam demonstrations. I will not honour them with the word moratorium’, which is rather a clever misnomer. My views on this matter have been made known, quite adequately, to the people I represent in this place through the normal channels in the places where they live and work.
Today I want to speak about the valuation of land, particularly in rural areas, and local government rating as it affects people in the rural community. During my speech in the Address-in-Reply debate I touched on this matter, but I did not have time to develop it as I wanted. It could be said that this matter is a State function, but that is not the case for a number of reasons. First. I shall quote part of a letter that I received from the Treasurer (Mr Bury) when I made inquiries to check on the system of Commonwealth valuations. I shall quote 1 or 2 sentences from that letter. It draws attention to the fact that valuations vary from State to State. But the point I want to bring out is contained in the following words in the Treasurer’s letter:
Valuations by the Valuer-General for State death duty or stamp duty purposes are ordinarily accepted without question for Commonwealth estate duty or gift duty purposes.
There is a second reason why this comes into the Commonwealth field. Some Commonwealth properties are within local government areas and are not rateable. Thirdly, the Australian Country Party realises - and I am sure the whole Government does - the impact of local government rates on the rural economy. It was announced in the last Federal election campaign that the policy objective of the Party to which I belong - and I hope it will soon become Government policy - is to grant assistance to local government authorities, through the State
Governments, to provide civic amenities so that the really heavy rate burden about which I am speaking in rural communities will be not increased in future. 1 have some specific figures on valuations. I will confine myself to quoting those that apply to the New South Wales system of valuations. I will quote the figures that apply to my own electorate because they tell a very remarkable story. There are 7 shires which have their headquarters in the electorate which I represent. The total of unimproved capital valuations in the shire of Molong in 1963-64 was $8.4m. By 1969, that is 6 years later, this figure had risen to $ 16.6m. The figure nearly doubled after one valuation. In the shire of Boree in 1962 the figure was $4,182,941. By 1969 it had jumped to the remarkable figure of $15,546,965 in the one valuation. In the shire of Wellington total valuations in 1966 were $7,587,000. Now the total is $16,587,771, which is over double the previous amount. In the shire of Cudgegong the figures rose from $7,752 958 in 1967 to the present figure of $10,735,472. The last one for which I have figures is the shire of Jemalong, where total valuations jumped from $7,477,786 in 1966-67 to the present figure of $23,520,882, which is an almost unbelievable total. There are 2 other shires in my electorate. In one a new valuation is due this year and in the other it is not quite due yet.
What crazy system brings about these figures? If the values are right - and one would only hope that they are - and if a lot of the country could be converted to cash at these values, a lot of people would be doing so. If the values are right now, they were wrong before, and vice versa. They are not right in both cases. I have confined my remarks to New South Wales, but I recall that on 12th March the honourable member for Mallee raised this matter in a question to the Treasurer. From reading that question, I see that much the same type of situation exists in the western part of Victoria. The basis of local government rating is the unimproved capital value of the land, and when the valuations to which I have referred increased they caused a tremendous, staggering increase in rates.
Rates have become one of the major costs confronting the rural industries. In theory, this should not be, because it does not necessarily follow that because a valuation goes up the total rates levied should increase; but in fact something seems to slip up and this situation does come about. Local government rates throughout the areas with which I am familiar have risen very steeply. It is held by organisations in the area from which I come and in other areas throughout New South Wales and the other States that shire rates swallow up about 15% per cent of the gross proceeds from the average wool clip. I will quote an example of the sort of thing that is going on. It is so serious that the landowners in the Waugoola shire held a meeting, and as a result they are refusing to pay the council rates which have been struck for 1970. They say they will pay a rate based on 50% of the 1969 rating because, to use their words, that is a fair and equitable contribution by landowners to local government. It is not a question of discomfort or difficulty. They have come to the position where it is beyond their capacity to pay. We have to look at thos aspect quite closely. In the shire of Waugoola valuations have risen by 100% since 1966.
I lead on to what I think could be part of the solution. On 4th March the Deputy Premier of New South Wales announced that in the next budget the Government would increase the Local Government Assistance Fund to $5m. This Fund is to compensate municipal and shire councils for rates which are not paid on Government property. Four days after the announcement was made the Minister for Local Government called on the Commonwealth Government to contribute to the same fund. He said that he had asked the Commonwealth Treasurer to contribute to this fund on a $1 for SI basis. I do not know what result that approach had. I seek this information from the Government. At the same time I urge that the policy objective of the Australian Country Parly be adopted as Government policy, resulting in Government action. It seems to me that a $1 for $1 subsidy for local government assistance in New South Wales and other States is the type of action that was held in mind when this policy was brought forward.
Finally, as the Commonwealth assesses some of its taxes and duties on the basis of local government valuations, and as the Government is showing so much concern at this time at the position of rural industries, it is up to the Commonwealth Government, when it takes these valuations from a State Valuer-General, to satisfy itself that the valuations have in fact been made on a true and fair basis.
– First of all, I find myself in agreement with the honourable member for Calare (Mr England) for a change. I believe that rural rates in particular are a very heavy burden from which there ought to be some alleviation. They are only matched, as far as the suburban dweller is concerned, by the iniquitous mediaeval system of private street construction in Melbourne, so we are brothers under the skin in that regard. The honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess) who is trying to interject would not know very much about it, but I can tell him at some other time. The honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) denounced the Australian Labor Party for its foreign policy and its moratorium policy. When the honourable member for Boothby (Mr McLeay) spoke it was not quite clear what he was denouncing. He seemed to be denouncing nearly everybody.
This afternoon I want to say a few words about a statement that was recently issued by a very notable Australia-wide organisation, the Returned Services League. A Press statement issued on 27th April 1970 by the National President of the Returned Services League, Sir Arthur Lee, K.B.E., M.C., has been brought to my attention. Having examined it and the political context of it, I can only say that my advice to that gentleman is: Cobbler, stick to your last. But it is not to be treated as lightly as that. The RSL has been a significant national organisation for over half a century. It has involved the loyalty, devotion and work of hundreds of thousands of people over that time. It calls on many people in all sorts of ways to conduct social exercises which are very valuable for the community. To many of us it has always representead something which I felt was part of the Australian spirit, that is, getting together and sticking together and so on. In the past few years it has buried itself deeply in the political mischief of honourable members on the other side of this House in such a way that it has dragged its own name in the dust and has done the cause of returned servicemen little good whatsoever. I regard the statement by Sir Arthur Lee as a personal insult.
– Read it.
– If the honourable member for Mallee subscribes to it, I say the same thing to him. Part of the statement reads:
The proposed Moratorium would play a part in undermining Australia’s security and is a betrayal both of our national interest and of our young men on the battlefield.
He is accusing us.
– He is accusing you.
– That is so. But by inference I am accusing men like the honourable member for Boothby of dragging Australia’s name internationally in the dirt by his idiotic statements overseas. Sir Arthur Lee has accused men who have a record as good as he has of betraying the country. Hundreds of people are involved in the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign in Victoria. Their record would be just as good as that of the honourable member, or for that matter of any other honourable member. There are people on this side of the House who have equally good records. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard) has a good a soldiering record as anyone. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) has as good an airman’s record as anyone. The honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren) and the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) did their duty. The honourable member for Port Adelaide (Mr Birrell) did his duty. The honourable member for Sturt (Mr Foster) was in it from go to whoa. Can all the honourable members opposite say the same? Where are all the young Liberals who speak in this House and smirk? Where are they to be found when the guns are booming and the battlefields are calling? They are sitting here smirking and snarling and sneering. I place the records of these men on the line as being as good as anybody’s - even as good as the President of the RSL, no matter what it was like. Without any equivocation whatsoever I regard this statement as a persona] insult. Let us examine some more of the statement made by Sir Arthur Lee.
– Read it.
– The honourable member can read it for himself. The words are simple enough; even he will understand it. In the first paragraph, Sir Arthur Lee said that the Returned Services League wanted to dispense with rational debate. When will Sir Arthur Lee come out on the platform with us? When will the honourable member for Warringah (Mr MacKellar), who is new to this house, come out on the platform and debate this subject with us? Would any of the honourable members opposite be prepared on Saturday morning to debate it with me in public in my electorate? Let them stand up and speak. But of course they are not prepared to do that. To start with, the point is invalid. Sir Arthur Lee also said:
Attack our parliamentary procedures ….
Little does he know. The people who have damaged the parliamentary procedures in this country are those who sit in the Parliament on the Government side. They are the ones who have made it difficult to have rational and conscientious debate in this place. Sir Arthur also said in this statement:
The appeal is to the mentality of the stormtrooper.
Has he never heard the speeches made by the honourable member for Boothby or the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth)? If there are stormtroopers about they are on the other side of the House, but their activities are never carried on outside the sanctity of this place. Then Sir Arthur talks about ‘a long established Communist technique’. This is another example of an exercise in McCarthy ism. Is it not time we gave this approach away? Is it not time that the RSL and honourable members opposite recognised that this is a matter of great debate in the community and that the consensus is that Australia has been taken into a war? All the evidence over the last few weeks is that more than the people of Australia have serious doubts about Australia’s military participation in the war. Is it not time that this was recognised? Do not honourable members opposite recognise it?
– They did not 3 years ago.
– You cannot carry your own electorate. You are a member of the minority Party in this place. Who are you to speak for the people of Australia? You are the person who is continuing to perpetuate this situation, and that goes for the honourable member who just interjected.
– I rise to a point of order. I would suggest that the House would appreciate the honourable member for Wills addressing his remarks to the Chair.
– I suggest to the honourable member for Wills that he take note of the point of order.
– I address my remarks to you, Mr Deputy Speaker, and to the House. I also address my remarks to the honourable member who interjected and the honourable member who raised the point of order. They form part of the pattern of the present situation. Was not their political integrity, if I might term it that for the service that they give challenged yesterday by the lady in the gallery? Is this not part of the failure of the institution to respond to people’s demands? Is not the repatriation system itself one of the most difficult things to break into? Does it not create the greatest amount of frustration? Is that not what the RSL ought to be attacking, root and branch? A person who is successful in being accepted by the repatriation system does very well indeed. It is Australia’s most effective social service umbrella, as indeed it ought to be. But the frustrations that flow to people who are not accepted caused that very difficult scene that we witnessed in this House yesterday. The RSL ought to be trying to correct that situation.
– Are you a member of the RSL?
– Yes, I am. I played an active and effective part in the local community as a member of that organisation. I believe that it is betraying the interests of its members, of the people who attend the meetings that I do and of the people who attend the reunions of the battalion of which I am a continuing member. The policy of the League is this:
The League shall be national and non-secretarial and on all questions of parly politics as distinct from national questions, as outlined in the policy of the League, shall maintain a neutral attitude.
I admit that this is a great national issue but it is also a very deep political issue. The Returned Services League is denying its charter and is going against the wishes of many thousands of its members in issuing these ultimatums, memos or whatever they are in the form of Press releases such as this. It is insulting not only members of the League and the community generally but also a large body of deep thinking people of great intellectual integrity.
I also have here other Press releases - and the honourable member for Deakin (Mr Jarman) can read them - from people of importance in the church and State who support the idea that the time has come to stop and examine one’s conscience. It may well be the honourable member should do the same. In Sir Arthur’s statement he also says that this is ‘an un-Australian campaign’. As I said earlier, that is a personal insult which does the RSL no good. It is not a credit to the people who designed it, and it is not true. Now I come to the final melodramatic sentence in his statement. He said:
Leave your lights on and join the procession to Australia’s Funeral!
If the people who lead the League continue in that vein they will be leading that organisation to its funeral. That would be to the disadvantage of the people of Australia. The duties of the RSL are quite clear. They are to advance the causes of the servicemen of Australia, to challenge all those eccentricities in the repatriation system which need amendment and to try to make Anzac Day and the Australian flag mean something in the Australian context in modern times and not turn them into the figures of fun as they have done with so many young people of today. This is a matter which I deeply regret.
– I wish to make a personal explanation, the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) referred to what he called an unfortunate occurrence yesterday. Since my name was mentioned, I would like to tell the honourable member and the House that the lady who spoke from the gallery yesterday is receiving a full war widow’s pension. Her husband was a prisoner of war. What she was complaining about had nothing to do with the Repatriation Department.
– It is rather amazing that the debate this morning has been carried on following the remarks of the honourable member for Boothby (Mr McLeay). He said that the contribution of the Australian Labor Party to the Moratorium Campaign was only assisting the Vietcong. Not one member of the Opposition has effectively refuted bis contribution.
I have just 10 minutes to deliver this speech on a subject which I sincerely believe is worthy of far more time, but I hope my remarks on the legal and social implications of the tape recording of telephone conversations will arouse such interest throughout the nation that this occasion will mark just the beginning of discussion of this subject. I remind the House of the case of the late Alderman C. G. Penridge, the then Mayor of Cairns, when approximately 15 months ago he was convicted on a charge of soliciting from an estate agent a sum of money and a commission in the event of the sale of a building to the Cairns City Council. The conviction was made following the Stipendiary Magistrate’s decision to admit a recording of an alleged telephone conversation purporting to be a record of a discussion between the Mayor and the estate agent. Frankly, I am not at all interested in the fact that it was a cheap tape recorder and some parts of the recording were inaudible; there is a far greater principle involved.
Some time after his conviction Alderman Penridge, whom 1 had never spoken to or met previously in my life, rang me at my home in Brisbane from Cairns. He said that he was aware of my public utterances on the subject of civil freedom and asked if I would help him. When I asked why he had not appealed against the decision, he said he did not do so because he was too sick. I clearly recall saying to him that it was not for me to judge his guilt or otherwise but I would, on his behalf, examine the whole question of the admissibility of taped telephone conversations as Court evidence. Within a month of our conversation he died but as far as I am concerned his case is very much alive, as I have assured his widow and daughter since the time of his passing. Nevertheless, for the first time in the history of Queensland, and probably Australia a tape recorded conversation had been used in evidence in criminal proceedings.
The stage having been set, the following events are not surprising. On Monday, 1st December 1969, a . letter appeared in the
People’s Forum section of the Brisbane Telegraph’ from a Mr Des Ney Ian, Secretary of the Liberal Civic Party - incidentally, a political party having no connection whatever with the Liberal Party. In this published letter, Mr Neyland stated:
For the information of the CMO - That is another political party:
I regarded the approaches to me as so vital that I recorded the telephone conversation on tape and will be happy to play it back to the CMO should they desire.
Those who were here in the last Parliament can well imagine how 1 reacted to this. But 1 held my ground and waited a fortnight for a public outcry. Not a word of protest was raised even though there was a statement in black and white - in all probability innocently written - admitting to an infringement upon the rights of the individual. 1 wrote to the Postmaster-General prior to leaving for central and north America on a private trip.
– Did you pay your own way?
– I paid my own way, yes. I drew the attention of the Postmaster-General to my opposition to the happenings in the Penridge case and also to Mr Neylan’s admission in the Brisbane ‘Telegraph’. With the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate in Hansard Mr Neylan’s letter.
The CMO president, Mr Barnes, claims in the Telegraph (19.11.69) that no approach has been made to the LCP to unite with the CMO. Once again, I must defend the LCP and state the facts.
On several occasions, over the past few weeks, a person approached me by telephone asking me to rejoin the CMO and to bring the LCP with me.
I was also told that if I did not co-operate and join the CMO then the LCP and myself would be destroyed and would face political extinction.
Naturally I do not bow to threats of this nature and the LCP, I hope, can continue as the third municipal party in Brisbane, and will be able to overcome the present proposed threat.
For the information of the CMO I regarded the approaches to me as so vital that 1 recorded the telephone conversation on tape, and will be happy to play it back to the CMO should they desire.
I would also like to correct 1 other item. The main reason for the formation of the LCP was not over the method of selecting candidates: this was but 1 of 6 reasons. The main reason was the failure of the CMO to provide an effective opposition to the A.L.P., and that the CMO did not wish to win but merely take the easy way out and remain the opposition. I am still informed that this idea is still being adopted - gain a few seats in 1970 and win in 1973, when it is hoped that Aid. Jones will retire.
Our dispute with the CMO over candidates in 1967 is quite justified when the results of a selection of candidates can be known 3 days prior to the selection meeting taking place.
Finally I wish to point out to the CMO that the same CMO member who approached me recently to ‘have peace talks with the CMO* actually contacted me 6 months ago for another reason, to become the LCP Lord Mayoral candidate. I was unaware of his CMO affiliations at that time, and fortunately we did not accept. - Des Neylan, Secretary, Liberal Civic Party.
Also with the concurrence of honourable members, I incorporate my letter to the Postmaster-General.
December 15th, 1969. The Honourable A. S. Hulme, M.P., Postmaster-General, G.P.O., BRISBANE. My Dear Minister,
For some time I have been worried by the apparent increase in instances of telephone conversations being recorded without the knowledge of the other party.
You will remember that (he late Alderman G. G. Penridge - the then Mayor of Cairns - was convicted following an alleged recorded conversation. I. am still greatly disturbed, by the fact that your Department took no action against the person who recorded the alleged conversation, and allowed the recording to be used as Court evidence.
Following speeches and questions in Parliament, my views on the intrusion into the private life of individuals have been reported in the Press. It was shortly after his conviction that Alderman Penridge contacted me, as be apparently knew of my interest.
A little time after that unsolicited telephone conversation, and my promise to Alderman Penridge that when the time was ripe I would move on his behalf, he died. That happening has not changed my attitude. It is not of my concern whether Alderman Penridge was guilty or not guilty, but the method of his conviction is a principle I am not prepared to see sacrificed. 1 have assured his Widow and Daughter of my determination to fight this prostitution of a basic freedom.
On Monday, the 1st December, in the “Brisbane Telegraph”, the column “Letters to the Editor” carried a communication from a Mr. Des. Neylan of the so-called Liberal Civic Party. I have watched for two weeks to see whether or not there would be public reaction to the statement, following his frank admission that he had recorded a telephone conversation. 1 sincerely hope that this matter has been brought to your attention, because it too is in contravention of the Act. 1 have known Mr. Neylan for a number of years and have no personal desire to bring harm to him. In fact, 1 often admire his efforts in assisting aged people and those in need. But I am of the firm opinion that your Department has no alternative, in the event of the recording having been made without the other party’s knowledge, of taking action against him. 1 am further of the belief that Alderman Penridge was wrongly convicted by virtue of the nature of the evidence brought against him.
In seeking your views of the above mentioned, I assure you that when it comes to the matter of the infringement upon the privacy of individuals, I will go to any length to stop bureaucracy and officialdom, even though when it comes to national security, I have that issue in correct perspective also.
Yours sincerely, (D. M. CAMERON, M.P.)
The Postmaster-General wrote to me on 8th January. When I returned to my office at the end of February his reply was drawn to my attention. Early in March I had discussions with him and he explained to me further the difficulties of prosecuting Mr Neylan in view of the fact that upon interview by departmental officials Mr Neylan had claimed that no recording of a telephone conversation had actually been made.
Honourable members can imagine my utter amazement when I learned that during my absence overseas the Abortion Inquiry in Melbourne had accepted taped evidence of a telephone conversation, the recording being made by a Mrs Berman who has been referred to throughout the case, often with great affection. I am fully aware that from a legal point of view there is a Privy Council decision in the case of Kuramu Son of Kari v. the Queen, 1955, in which it was ruled that the way in which evidence had been obtained, whether proper or improper, did not affect its admissibility. I respect fully the question of sub judice but I am not questioning the decision to accept this evidence.
On 2nd April I wrote to the AttorneyGeneral expressing my fears as to the pattern which seems to be developing in this nation. Regulation 16a under the Telephone Communications Acts was inserted in the Telephone Regulations in 1935. The regulation provided that it was an offence, unless authorised by the Department, inter alia to use any apparatus or device to listen to communications passing over authorised telephone lines. In 1960 the regulation was amended to make the recording of such communications an offence. Two decades ago a penalty of a lousy $50 was imposed for infringement. In 1950 Sir Robert Menzies said that he ‘gave directions to the Director-General of Security with respect to telephonic interception’ and that he required that authority for interception should be given by the Director-General of Security only when on examining a specific case he was perfectly satisfied that the telephone service to be intercepted could reasonably be suspected of being, or likely to be, used for espionage or sabotage or subversive activities’. That is vastly different from the case in Cairns. In 1960 Sir Garfield Barwick, in his second reading speech on the Telephonic Communications Interception Act, said:
Eavesdropping is abhorrent to us as a people . . This Government … has approached this question of permitting the interception of telephonic messages from that point of view It has decided that the security of this Commonwealth is paramount and that it affords good and sufficient reason on appropriate occasions to justify interception. The safety of us all must overbear that desire for individual privacy which we would otherwise wish to accord to everybody.
That is different from the Penridge case and a lot different from the present Abortion Inquiry case in Melbourne.
According to Sir Garfield Barwick, Mr Chifley authorised telephonic interception or telephone tapping about 3 months after he had initiated ASIO and had given his express approval to the then DirectorGeneral of Security authorising the interception of telephone messages. In the 1970s I am completely opposed to the view expressed in 1937 by the then Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia,. Sir John Latham, who said:
The discussions which I had with the PostmasterGeneral and the Attorney-General have led me to believe that these gentlemen do not support telephone conversations being recorded and used as Court evidence. It is my view that the present situation is such that the laws of the Government of Australia in relation to the aforementioned subject are an absolute mockery. I ask: Why did we not prosecute the person who had made the recordings used as evidence in Cairns? Do we intend to initiate proceedings against Mrs Berman? These are questions which deserve an answer.
In this day and age when bugging devices are so easily obtainable it is time we adopted an electronic outlook. I have here a booklet advertising tape recorders, published as a handbook for recorders sold in Australia. On page 19 it actually advertises an instrument to attach to the base or handset of a telephone by a suction cap to record both sides of a telephone conversation. It is time we put an end to this. It is time that we amended the Telephone Communications Interception Act to allow the Commonwealth to prosecute any time up to 20 years after a recording has been made, instead of a few measly months which is the present statutory period and which affords sanctuary to these law breakers and holds our Act to ridicule. It amazes me that the law reform committees and the civil liberties organisations in the various States have never raised this matter. I commend the honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes) for his action last year when he raised the Cairns case in the House. Unfortunately, as is typical of the Labor Party, he dropped the matter quickly and did not follow it through. 1 know that there are great arguments for the use of telephone information in assisting in the detection of crime, but 1 sincerely believe that we have to keep our values and our liberties in perspective. The security of this nation is foremost, but where is this going to stop? If doctors, policemen and nurses in the Abortion Inquiry are to be convicted on the evidence of tape recordings what hope has any man in the street of preventing greater prosecutions once a heavy precedent has been established? I hope that the matter will not rest here and that the Ministers involved, the Cabinet, the Parliament and the people of Australia will examine the question very closely.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Scholes)Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– I rise to direct the attention of the Parliament to the problems of some of our people at home. Behind the facade of words that Australia is the envy of the world for its progress, its material advantages and its economic growth, we find that in the past 10 years we have lagged behind most advanced nations. Behind the words is the performance. The performance is that Australia has not in its economic growth matched the performance of countries such as Italy, Germany, Holland, Austria and even Ireland, or made itself much better at all. Complacency is one of the features of the last 2 decades of administration. Behind the words designed to keep young Australia from being restless about its future or questioning the present is a performance that for 10 years and more has been sluggish and inadequate in a young nation. Australia in the last decade in its economy must be likened to the arthritic who does not want to be found out so he wears a neon sign that says: ‘1 am fit. I am the greatest. But do not look too closely’.
Typical of the way in which important segments of the community have been left to the winds of economic exploitation by disinterested Government, exposed to lack of guidelines and the absence of national planning, is the egg industry. The position facing the Australian poultry industry is that in 1965 the present Government brought to birth a fowl tax. I should say that the word is ‘fowl’ in case there are any worries about it. That means for every adult female bird over 6 months the owner pays $1 a year. Over the years while struggling to pay the levy thousands of small farmers have been driven out of the industry. Recently the Federal Council of the Poultry Farmers Association presented a stabilisation scheme to the Australian Agricultural Council but it was rejected. Now abandoned by the Government we find the march to monopoly control has been accelerated. A leading industry spokesman, Mr S. Sciberras, summed up the position very well on behalf of the industry and the producers when he said: 1 am convinced that without some equity in the industry my time us a farmer is limited. 1 am convinced that well over 80% of the producers in the Commonwealth by ballot would also express support for production control.
The aim of the stabilisation scheme that has been rejected by the Government was to do 2 things: to prov.de stability for the family farmer and cheaper and better quality eggs for the Australian housewife. I raise the plight of this industry today but let us be quite clear that its problems are common to many rural industries at this time - industries based on independent settlement, industries efficient and effective but exposed because of Government policies to a vicious cost-price squeeze combined with a com plete abdication of responsibility to provide production guidelines. If the situation :s, as Government spokesmen claim, that there are no market outlets, that future prospects are grim, that Australia’s troubles arc only part of the world’s troubles, how can they explain that every time a family is banished from a particular plot of dirt because of the costprice squeeze there is always an overseas corporation waiting in line to take it up?
The egg industry to which I direct attention was described by the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Anthony) as one of Australia’s important primary industries. He summed up the problems as increasing production and reliance on export markets. Australia’s export egg surplus has increased from 20.2 million dozen to an estimated 38 million in the current season - an increase of 88%. The Minister said that the industry must relate its production objectives to the market prospects. Then, returning to his Pontius Pilate stance, he washed his hands of the problems and said, in effect: ‘Get on with it.’ But the Minister knows and the Government knows that it is not the industry which controls costs; it is not the industry which determines freights; and it is not the industry which sets the basis for negotiations with countries such as Japan and England to which we sell major quantities of eggs at this time. The first responsibility in this industry, as in other industries, must l e with the Government to determine firstly, whether it wants to have an Australian egg industry; and secondly, whether it wants to see Australian family units as the mainstay of the industry - whether this is Government policy; thirdly, whether it will provide the guidelines necessary for the production required at home and abroad. Once the Government does this exercise then it should of course provide and be prepared to provide the stable basis for the industry to go forward, or if the Government decides that the industry is expendable then it is honest and proper and right for the Government to say so and then take proper steps to phase it out and to reallocate the people and the resources in it
In the present situation with Pontius Pilate presiding - in spirit at least - what is happening is that Canadian and British interests are moving in quickly. The prospects are they will take over and dominate the Australian egg industry in a reasonably short time. This will abdicate control of the family’s breakfast egg to board rooms in Montreal and London. They will determine the size, the quality and the price. In such a situation of absentee control the housewife’s interests will suffer and the Australian egg producer will simply follow the exodus from Australia’s farms which the Government is accepting and by its attitude has been encouraging. If this is to be contested, if this is to be halted, then let the Government make a modest start to stability in the countryside by tackling the urgent problem of an industry of which we are reminded every time an egg smiles up at us at breakfast time. The issue is not one of Sydney or the bush; it is one for all the community and all Australians together. I want to enter a modest plea to the Parliament lh’s morning after so much thunder and smoke. Let us unite in defence of the Australian egg or be prepared to take what someone else gives us for breakfast in the future.
– I wish to raise a matter which concerns me and, I am sure, the general public. Pilots employed by Qantas Airways Ltd again unjustifiably stopped work last week. The reason given is (hat they are being victimised and that their superannuation claims have not been met. I am sure there are few people who would sympathise with them. Their latest exercise shows complete contempt for the travelling public. I strongly condemn their actions. After all, pilots are well paid. A senior Boeing 707 pilot receives a guaranteed minimum salary of $18,700 per annum and works fewer hours than anyone else for it. [ am sure thousands of ex-Royal Australian Air Force pilots have read with complete disgust of the recent strike for increased benefits. If pilots are to receive greater remuneration it is reasonable that they should put in a greater effort for it. Pilots should realise that they are not the only ones who accept responsibility. There are many people who have far greater responsibilities at nowhere near the salary which pilots draw. With all of the modern navigational and safety aids available in aircraft a pilot’s responsibility has been considerably reduced in the last 10 years. Further strike action by Qantas pilots must considerably reduce their prestige and would just about bring them into the same category as engine drivers.
– What is wrong with that? What is wrong with engine drivers? There is 1 in the Chair now, namely, the honourable member for Corio.
– I might add - supporting the honourable member’s remarks - that engine drivers also accept responsibilities. The Qantas pilot strike in 1966 cost $13m and any such repeat performance could be disastrous to our national airline. It would certainly not enable the airline to introduce cheaper fares for the travelling public; this is what the pilots should be working towards. If pilots take further strike action Qantas should consider cancelling its order for Jumbo aircraft, purchase a fleet of second-hand Constellations and make the pilots earn their money. We cannot afford such luxuries as strikes today, particularly from such a privileged group as pilots, whilst so many millions of people throughout the world need succour. The position in many overseas countries where some 10,000 people die each day from hunger and neglect is appalling, and far more must be done to help these impoverished people. The point that I am making here is that the Qantas pilot strike in 1966, which cost $13m, would probably have fed 100,000 people in India for 6 months. I think it is about time pilots realised they are a privileged group and should endeavour to look a little beyond their own self-interests. I am sure I speak for the majority of the public in condemning the unjustifiable strike last week.
– I rise today because of the concerted attacks by. honourable members on the other side of the House over the last couple of days on the Labor Party by trying to associate its members with the Communist Party. I am pleased to see that the honourable members for Boothby (Mr McLeay) and La Trobe (Mr Jess) have gone to their seats so that they can interject. We listened last night to the honourable member for Griffith (Mr Donald Cameron) give one of his magnificent contributions and someone asked why he was not over there in Vietnam fighting - he was just the right age. I had a vision of a young man, fit and strong and a first class example of Australian manhood who ought to be in uniform. My vision was that the honourable member looked excellent. I could see the headlines in the Press: ‘When
Donnie goes off to war’ and then ‘When Donnie comes marching home again’. What a basis that would be for his political career in the future.
We heard the honourable member for La Trobe give his thirteenth or fourteenth anti-Communist diatribe. It would be interesting to know whether he could talk about any other subject, for example, pollution, environment, pensions, health or any other 1 of the tremendous issues that the people of Australia are concerned about other than the anti-Communist tactic. This is just about par for the course. We do not expect much in the way of contribution from those honourable members. But again, again and again we have heard them talk about us for not criticising North Vietnam. There has never been one of you who has ever criticised your own Government. In the United States of America the whole Senate is completely divided. One after another senators have come out against American involvement. There is not 1 of you who will ever come out against it. Senator Fulbright, Senator Mansfield, Senator Hughes and Senator Percy have come out ] after the other in opposition to the involvement. They not only have questioned American involvement but are straight out opposed to it.
– That is 3 out of 100.
– Well, over 50 have come out against it and they are talking about impeaching the President of the United States. The honourable member for Griffith said that he wanted to know where the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) stood. It is an old business to say: ‘You cannot trust Gough - he does not know where he stands’. If you read his statements and if you had gone to the front of Parliament House and listened to what he said yesterday, you would know damn well where he stood and where he has stood all the time. He is totally and completely opposed to you and your involvement in Vietnam.
Guilt by association is one of the great tactics you use. Out in front of Parliament House yesterday it was members of the Nazi Party who were suporting the Government’s position. That means, of course, that you are all Nazis if you use the same tactic or the same implication as you have with us in regard to some of the other associations. Today the honourable member for Boothby has given 1 of his few contributions since his return from Rhodesia. We have been waiting for him to get up and say what legislation he was going to introduce from Rhodesia - legislation which he admired, and what he thought would be applicable to Australian conditions. But he has not brought down some of these private members’ Bills yet. What about the Ustashi that so many of your colleagues are associated with? A previous Minister for Immigration stood on a platform and behind him was a picture of a famous Nazi Party leader. When he was asked about it he said: ‘Oh, I thought he was the President of the club’. That former Minister for Immigration is now somewhere else. What about the League of Rights? Other honourable members in this House have told me privately that this has riddled branches of the Liberal Party. The Minister for the Navy (Mr Killen) is such an admirer of Eric Butler. If you ever feel that you are democrats and support the League of Rights, get hold of some of Eric Butler’s earlier contributions to Australian literature and read works such as ‘Voices of Hate’. Then you will be enlightened about the sort of people who support you and the sort of people you support.
You suddenly found that you were interested about Vietnam in 1960. Most of you did not know where it was.
– I rise on a point of order. I want to be consistent. When the honourable member for Wills was speaking I drew attention to the fact that the House would appreciate it if he would make his speech and seek what he wants to know through the Chair. The same applies to this speaker. In his speech he is saying: ‘You, you, you’, all the time. The honourable member should direct his remarks through the Chair.
– All remarks will be directed through the Chair.
– Speaking through you, Mr Deputy Speaker, may I say that the honourable member for Mallee has just made one of his best contributions since I have been in the House. Where were you in 1960, prior to the American involvement? You - I speak again through the Chair, Mr Deputy Speaker - did not know where Vietnam was. You were not interested. You could not have cared less about the illiteracy, the disease, the repression, the political assassination that went on. Honouarable members opposite did not care whether there were elections. They suddenly got interested when there was some sort of uprising against the regime that was supported by the Americans. Where will the Liberal Party be when the war finally ends and when 1 million to 3 million people are going to be assassinated? What are you going to do? What is the LiberalCountry Party going to do about the 1 million to 3 million people who are going to be assassinated? They are very concerned, Mr Deputy Speaker, that these people are going to be murdered by the North Vietnamese. Will they urge the Minister for Immigration (Mr Lynch) and the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) to accept as migrants a proportion of the South Vietnamese threatened with death?
– The Labor Party would oppose it.
– I will support it and I will fight for it.
– Order! A point of order was taken from the Government side of the House suggesting that all remarks be directed through the Chair, and all interjections are out of order. I ask the honourable member for La Trobe to remain silent.
– It is obvious that the only time Government supporters are concerned about the threat to democracy is when it is from the left. What about the situation in South Africa and Rhodesia? How concerned are honourable members opposite about that? How concerned are they about Greece? I suggest that some of them should do a little research on South Africa and read about the background and history of some of the current leaders that are running the country. They should read about these leaders’ associations with the Nazi Party during the last war. Honourable members opposite should ask themselves or read about how many of them were imprisoned and how many of them were active supporters of the Nazi Party in Germany and the Nazi Party in South Africa. Many members on the other side of the
House are great admirers of the South African and Rhodesian regimes. They have little to say about Greece. No, they are not fair dinkum. They are the greatest bunch of phoneys ever to come inside a parliament in the whole of Australia. Their concern is limited to any threat that comes from the moderate left. Then, suddenly they go, with guns blazing in John Wayne style, attacking right, left and centre. But let me ask them, through you Mr Deputy Speaker, what they are going to do about the situation in the Philippines. Just after the Philippines elections a number of Catholic bishops announced that they were disgusted with and appalled at the repression and the corruption that were going on in their country. This is the classic situation in South East Asia where there are these conditions of no proper land reform, repression, persecution, political assassination, corruption - the whole lot - and then there is a grass roots movement to overthrow the regime. But prior to that you do nothing about it. Honourable members opposite have never bothered to put any pressure on the leader of the country concerned or its government to bring about reforms. But as soon as there is any sort of attempt to overthrow these corrupt regimes you go in guns blazing. This will go on. This is how honourable members opposite will make their domino theory work - if they go on taking this angle or attitude.
I conclude by saying that we on this side of the House are disgusted to see the sort of attacks that are used by honourable members opposite. It is a pity that we cannot get on with the business of debating some of the real issues that are concerning the people of this country today.
– I wish to make my views known to this House and to my electorate so far as the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign is concerned. I see the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby) shaking his head in despair. He, of course, is a signatory to the Vietnam Moratorium but has not yet had the courage to wear his badge. Let him wear it in Riverina. This man who had so much to say about the egg industry-
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Scholes)Order! The honourable member’s Party
Whip raised the matter of honourable members addressing their remarks to the Chair. I would ask the honourable member to do so now and I ask all other honourable members to restrain themselves and refrain from interjecting.
– Now that the honourable member for Riverina has come into the picture let me say that we heard him talk about the egg industry today. Never has an honourable member spoken so often on so many primary industry matters and made so many complaints or so few constructive suggestions to help primary producers as has the honourable member. I will leave him and deal with the honourable member for Robertson (Mr Cohen), who made a typical speech, once again not really answering the charges levelled by the honourable member for Boothby (Mr MacLeay) and other Government supporters. We have heard not one word from Opposition members to show that they are concerned about the Communist aggression taking place from North Vietnam. This Vietnam Moratorium Campaign is, 1 believe, a further attempt to brainwash the ordinary decent people of this country against the desire of the Government and the decent people of Australia to protect the independence of a sovereign state in South East Asia.
I want to draw attention to the insidious objectives of those who, behind the scenes, are leading the Vietnam Moratorium. Have those associated with this campaign ever sought to stop the North Vietnamese or the Vietcong from murdering the people of South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos? Is there a Vietnam Moratorium acting to bring pressure on North Vietnam or the Vietcong to withdraw their troops or to get on with the peace discussions in Paris? Is there a Vietnam Moratorium acting in Hanoi or Moscow or Peking? No.
– I rise to order. The honourable member has referred to the peace talks in Paris. 1 point out that there is not a chief peace negotiator for the United States.
– There is no substance in the point of order raised.
– The action of the honourable member for St George (Mr Morrison) emphasises how fortunate we are that he is no longer in the Department of External
Affairs. All Vietnam Moratorium efforts have been directed to weakening the morale of our people and the morale of those people who are setting out to try to preserve the independence of a non-Communist state in South East Asia. I would like to refer to a statement made recently by Sir Robert Thompson the British expert on counter insurgency. I know that honourable gentlemen opposite will not like to hear his remarks quoted. In today’s Daily Telegraph’ he writes:
Had President Nixon not acted he faced the prospect that within a few months, if not weeks, Hanoi would control the whole of Cambodia. This not only would be a perpetual threat to South Vietnam, but also would prevent President Nixon from withdrawing more American combat troops.
The article goes on to show that it was a necessary action on the part of the United States to try to preserve its position and honour its commitment in order to withdraw its troops by the announced time. What purpose would there be in withdrawing the troops from this free state and leaving exposed the free people to be tortured and murdered by those who have set out to do these things?
Other objectives of those behind the scenes in the Vietnam Moratorium are to ensure that the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese are successful in their campaign throughout Indo-China, to undermine the support of the Australian Government for our allies fighting in the area and to divert public attention from the attempted Communist takeover of South East Asia. In order to mobilise public support they have adopted their current tactics. They have sought the support of genuine decent peace loving Australians. Some clergymen and academics have been sucked into the fold by the architects behind the scenes who are trying to destroy our efforts to preserve the freedom of these people of South East Asia. They have sought to give the appearance of popular support for their actions by organising mob demonstrations, disrupting schools and universities and, where possible, using the trade union movement to cause industrial disputes and unrest. In the last few days we have seen the wisdom of the silent majority within the trade union movement telling those associated with the Moratorium not to use the trade union movement for political purposes.
Is the Moratorium spontaneous? Of course not; it is part of a world wide plot, organised initially from outside this country. Its origins go back to the Committee for International Co-operation and Disarmament. Who are its sponsors in Australia? They are the card carrying Communists, the Labor Parliamentarians who have become involved in this organisation and the leaders of some of the more militant left wing unions. Sadly, some decent freedom and peace loving Australians have also been caught up in this campaign. I know that in my electorate the silent majority of decent people who are well aware of what could happen in Australia if some of these people had their way will reject this insidious effort to undermine our role of preserving a democratic peace in South East Asia. Let us hope that their efforts do not cause violence, bloodshed and lawlessness over this next weekend. I pray God that this does not happen. I hope that this country will at the weekend treat the Vietnam Moratorium with the contempt it deserves - with the contempt that it should bring upon itself.
– This morning the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) claimed that elections were to be held in South Australia because of the attitude of the Labor Opposition in that State and of the Speaker of the South Australian Parliament. [Quorum formed.]
-Order! The time allowed for the debate has expired.
– Mr Deputy Speaker, I-
-Order! I put the question:
That grievances be noted.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2 p.m.
Debate resumed from 6 May (vide page 174 1 ), on motion by Dr Forbes:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Upon which Mr Hayden had moved by way of amendment:
That all words after ‘That’ be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof:
Whilst not opposing the Bill because it represents some improvement this House is of opinion that a National Health Insurance Commission financed from graduated contributions would pay for medical and hospital services for all more equitably and economically’.
– I support the National Health Bill and oppose the amendment moved by the Opposition. One can only sympathise with the Opposition for its weak and ineffective opposition, and its lack of constructive criticism, positive suggestions or proposals. The same tactics are adopted for many Bills that come before this House. You can bet London to a brick that any amendment moved by the Opposition will commence with the words ‘whilst not opposing the Bill’ and then blah, blah, blah. Of course the Australian Labor Party dares not oppose and vote against this Bill because it realises full well that its enactment and implementation will be of immense value and will represent a great improvement to the medical services of Australia.
My friend, the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly), in his usual hilarious manner, gave a discourse in this debate which as usual one could enjoy, but he did not make any worthwhile or significant contribution. He did say that the entire scheme was dependent upon the goodwill and co-operation of the medical profession. But, Mr Speaker, how could it succeed unless the main component involved in it did not co-operate and honestly endeavour to make it function in the best interests of the entire community? It is a well established maxim that any agreement or partnership must be just, fair and equitable to all parties involved and that no party should have a lion’s share of the advantages. Such an agreement is embodied in the Bill before this House and it does require the assistance, understanding and co-operation of the medical profession. Greatly to the disappointment and disconcertment of the Opposition this Bill will get this co-operation from the medical profession.
The compilation, the structure, the building up of this Bill represent one of the greatest expositions of democracy that we have witnessed for many a day. The Minister for Health (Dr Forbes), the chief architect, is to be congratulated for his diligence, assiduousness, patience, tolerance, forthrightness, and energy and, above all, his understanding of this most complex and difficult Bill. He realised from the outset that there would be differences of opinion within the medical profession. In the main those difficulties were propounded by the Austraiian Medical Association on the one hand and the College of General Practitioners on the other. Other groups offered advice and criticism from time to time. It was right and proper that the Minister should confer with the recognised association of the medical profession, the AMA. 1 think 1 would be correct in saying that never before has a Bill attracted so much attention, so many conferences and, certainly, so many meetings of the Government parties as well as many meetings of Government supporters with local branches of the medical profession. As a result of all this great effort, in the next few weeks a Bill will be enacted which will satisfy, as nearly as is humanly possible, the main parties involved in it.
On Sunday night I had the pleasure and privilege of meeting about 40 medical practitioners, 5 of whom were migrants from England. Those 5 practitioners came to Australia not for monetary gain but in order to practise medicine in the highest tradition of that great and noble profession. I was appalled at the genuine and sincere fear of the doctors that as general practitioners their position and influence in the community was deteriorating and that the implementation of this health scheme would further aid and abet this decline. I learnt that one of the doctors present consulted up to 85 patients a day. The minimal number of patients per day for any doctor present was 35. They made it abundantly clear that monetary gain played no part in their concern. They were doing quite well and probably would do better financially under the new scheme albeit that they would have to pay a large portion of their net earnings in taxation.
There were two major problems, as they viewed the situation. The first was an acceptable system of updating rebates. The second was the system of referral. As I understand it the AMA wanted the legislation to underwrite any increase the medical profession may decide upon in the future. They wanted this embodied in the legislation. Of course this was untenable and could not be acceded to. However the Minister for Health has given an assurance that consideration will be given from time to time to updating rebates. This should allay the fears of the medical profession.
The other problem area was the differential rebate system. The doctors said that this was justifiable in itself but that it was bound up with the $5 moiety. The general practitioners do not fear a stampede of patients to specialists but they do fear that there will be a tendency for the patient to have specialists do the work. They fear that this tendency will cause over-utilisation of expensive specialist services when they are not justified on medical grounds. They said it would also lead to progressive general practitioner dissatisfaction with conditions of practice and consequently a lowering of morale. Hence, they said, the number of general practitioners will fall because of four things. Firstly, the scheme would further encourage graduates to specialise. Secondly, it would discourage graduates with specialist degrees from considering entering general practice. Thirdly, it would encourage general practitioners with specialist degrees to convert to full time specialisation. Fourthly, it would discourage the inflow of general practitioners from the United Kingdom. The United States of America may appear more attractive.
I shall deal with the above statements separately. The first is the fear that this scheme will further encourage young graduates to specialise. I do not think this will occur. I trust that they will take higher degrees and practice within a panel or a group. It has been represented - and I know of my own knowledge - that it is difficult for a specialist in the first year of practice to make ends meet, although the establishment of medical centres in the outer suburbs and in larger country towns makes the risk of setting up as a specialist less hazardous. The second reason is that it will discourage graduates with specialist degrees from considering entering general practice. I am honoured and pleased that an assurance was given to me yesterday by the Minister which dispels this apprehension because a practitioner with a higher degree and, of course, with adequate experience who satisfies a board of the Australian Medical Association or some similar authority as to his capability, will be regarded as a specialist and treated as such. I think the foregoing will cover the third point which is that it will encourage general practitioners with specialist degrees to convert to full time specialists.
– There will be an adjournment on that.
– The Minister stated that yesterday in answer to a question I asked him. The fourth point is that it will discourage the inflow of general practitioners from the United Kingdom; the United States may appear more attractive. I think this suggestion is hypothetical and I am of the opinion, as stated previously, that the scheme will be accepted generally after the amendments suggested by the medical profession, more particularly by the general practitioners, have been considered. The Minister has assured the general practitioners that he will watch the overutilisation of the specialist services. They feel that over-utilisation will happen too quickly and it will be too late to do anything about it. I have great confidence in the general practitioners. We must do everything possible to uphold the status and prestige of the general practitioner and at all costs preserve the doctor-patient and doctor-family relationship. I ask the general practitioners where there is a large panel of doctors to roster more doctors for the evening surgery so that patients will not have to wait long periods before being treated.
I know there will be difficulties in regard to referral because there is no standardisation. What one practitioner would be prepared to refer another would not because every doctor’s degree of ability varies according to his experience and training. The lone practitioner may find himself in difficulty but his position under the old scheme is no different from that under the new scheme. With a panel of doctors surely this difficulty, if not resolved, can be alleviated. I point out that in New South Wales it is unethical for doctors to refuse to refer on request. Though there has not been unanimity within the profession and within the Government, and between both sections, no-one can deny that there has been an honest attempt by all to achieve the best possible scheme. As I stated, the task was a formidable one and I again congratulate the Minister, the Australian Medical Association, the College of General Practitioners and others who have made a contribution without spleen but with an earnest desire to achieve the ultimate. I deprecate the unkind, unworthy and irresponsible attacks that have been directed at the medical profession. They arise mainly from ignorance and a lack of knowledge and appreciation of the situation. In all my experience I do not know of any one medical practitioner, whether he be a general practitioner or specialist, who has not been prepared to accept the rebate from the medical funds as full payment for his services where the circumstances of the patient warranted it. I have known of many occasions where doctors have foregone all fees that were due to them by improvident people who have not insured themselves. As the Minister stated, under this scheme patient protection and financial protection were the aims. The Prime Minister said in his speech that the cardinal point was the maximum cost of any one operation would be $5. I think we have to differentiate. We are all apt to think of surgical operations as paramount to other fields of medicine. I think the minimal charge will cause difficulty in the physician-specialist scheme because it will be necessary for the specialist to attend the patient more frequently and many more services will be required. There will be the pathology test and the radiologist will also have to be called. There will be so many services that it may be difficult for the scheme to operate in this field. J would like the Minister to give us some better understanding of this matter.
– And physiotherapists.
– Physiotherapists are another field. This is a new scheme and despite all the conferences and dialogues that have taken place there will still be anomalies that cannot be foreseen at this stage. The medical profession over the years has always been held in high regard. During our earlier years we knew that the local doctor was revered. I trust that the efforts made by all will be of great value to the community, particularly to those people most in need. Opposition members mentioned the rebate that people on the lower incomes would get and then criticised the Government for not going further and for cutting out at $48. They say it should have been extended further. But the paradox of this argument is that although Opposition members criticised the Government for not making services available over a larger range they also criticised the Government because of the cost. It is simple arithmetic that if a range is extended the cost is also extended and the Opposition took the Government to task because of the increased cost. I commend the Bill to the House and I oppose the amendment moved by the Opposition.
- Mr Speaker, the advantages that are to be brought into effect by the introduction of the National Health Bill 1970 are accepted by the Opposition. We applaud the Government even despite its late arrival at the understanding that these things are essential. We are pleased to see that the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) obviously has been converted to the view that his outworn and outdated scheme needs overhauling and replacing. I remember hearing the Minister some years ago argue that the National Health Act did not need any alteration and that it was the best in the world. To back up his argument, he said that this could be proved because between 85% and 90% of the people eligible to be members of medical and hospital benefit schemes were members of those schemes.
As one who is aware of the plight of people on low incomes, I know that many of these people belong to health schemes because they dare not remain outside them. These people belong to hospital benefit schemes not because they cannot afford the payments, not because they agree with their purpose but because they fear the cost of hospitalisation, medical care and so on without the protection of the private health funds. These people are not members of the funds of their own choice. They are not members because they agree with the scheme. They are members because they dare not run the risk of becoming ill and having no coverage.
The Government’s health scheme has been proved by the Committee of Inquiry into Health Insurance, commonly known as the Nimmo Committee, to be run down, ramshackle and in need of complete replace- ment. The Government, before the last House of Representatives election, introduced a Bill to amend the National Health Act. From the Act, the Government took 1 small section. From that 1 section, the Government took a small part and introduced legislation based on that part. This was done to give the impression that the Government was acting quickly on the report of the Nimmo Committee. But the Minister for Health himself has said in this session that to take 1 section of the National Health Act and to introduce legislation amending that section would be completely irresponsible. He said that the recommendations of the Nimmo Committee had to be taken as a whole or not at all. The fact that the Minister took 1 part of the Act and introduced legislation to amend one third of that part in the last Parliament shows, from his own argument, that he had been irresponsible. The spaciousness of his argument for the maintenance of the old scheme has been shown also.
I think that the Government’s introduction of the idea of the subsidised medical scheme is to be commended. I believe that the people who will benefit from its introduction have been greatly in need of just this service for as long as this health legislation has operated. However, this Bill does not cover sufficient people. Because of the cost of living and the strains upon those on low incomes, the qualification governing those who are eligible to benefit under the scheme should have been set at a higher level. Its operation should have more of a tapering effect. Also, the scheme should take into consideration the number of children in family units. The legislation sets a family unit as being at least 2 persons and no consideration has been allowed for the large family even though the expenses incurred by large families are quite considerable. Also, the legislation does not pay attention to a sufficient degree to the needs of pensioners. The plight of pensioners and the sort of things that can happen to pensioners have come to my notice recently. I was informed by the Collie division of the miner’s union in Western Australia that some of its members are single pensioners, widowers and widows, who are in just as tight a financial situation as are family units where there are 2 persons who can benefit under this scheme. Yet, these single pensioners receive no allowance and no consideration is shown to them regarding the expenses which they incur through illness.
I think that the scheme should have been made to operate with respect to people living in very poor circumstances and who rely for their existence on very small incomes even though these people may be single persons. 1 wish to illustrate a situation that arises. Persons who are on these restricted incomes - that is, persons who rely upon pensions - find that when an increase is granted in their pension rate they do not receive the benefit of that increase. This illustration does not apply directly to this measure but it shows the way in which the incomes of these people are restricted and eroded. When a person receiving a pension or in receipt of a payment from a superannuation or some other pension scheme is granted an increase in pension, different instrumentalities come in and take a share of that increase so that in fact some of these pensioners are worse off after they have been granted an increase than they were before that increase was made.
The miners of Collie have their own superannuation fund. Recently, that fund gave an increase of $1.50 per week to its members. This adjustment was made because of the rise in the cost of living since the previous adjustment. The Housing Commission of Western Australia, when it discovered this increase, raised by 80c per week its rent charge. I take as an illustration the case of a man and wife who are members of this fund. They were required to meet this increase in rent. As well, this man was receiving a 10% repatriation pension. Following the increase, the Repatriation Department reduced his repatriation pension by 34c per week. The Department of Social Services reduced the pension received by his wife by 50c per week. This man had received $1.50 per week extra to help him meet the increased cost of living, but $1.64 per week was taken from him. So, he was worse off. Allowance is not made in this legislation for this sort of thing and for these people to qualify for the benefits of this National Health Bill.
I believe that a need exists to bring within the scope of this health scheme persons who are single and who are at the level which has been laid down by the Government with respect to its subsidised medical scheme. I believe that the allowance ought to be given also to other persons included in the family unit. Further assistance must be given to people with large families. Preventative measures must be taken to see that people in circumstances of poverty, in lower income brackets or in areas where people are grouped together on low income have available to them measures to help prevent them becoming ill. More consideration should be given to these people in legislation introduced in this Parliament relating to health and social services.
Lastly, I wish to make a plea for chiropractors, phsyiotherapists and people of this kind who at present are not recognised under this legislation. I ask that some measure or means of recognition be granted to those who are qualified in these fields. Bona fide chiropractors and physiotherapists should gain recognition. People who cannot receive the assistance that they require from medical practitioners and who may be directed by medical practitioners to these people for services should have the charges that are incurred met by some provision introduced by Commonwealth legislation. They should benefit under the medical and hospital benefits scheme. I commend the Government for coming - though reluctantly and belatedly - to the point where today we have this legislation before us. 1 look forward to the time when, after the next Federal election, the Australian Labor Party will be able to introduce the scheme which it has made known to the people during the last election campaign and in the last few years and which it is its intention to introduce.
– Before I say, fairly briefly, what I really want to say in this debate I should like to assure the honourable member for Hunter (Mr James), who I think interjected earlier, (hat unfortunate as it may be this side of the House is devoid of members of the medical profession. Those who have the appellation doctor’ in front of their names have it in areas other than that of the medical profession, most of whom are bachelors of that particular profession. Much has been said in this debate, and at the tail end of such a discussion it is unlikely that any absolutely new contributions can be made.
So I want to put I or 2 personal points of view and, as far ‘as I can, to summarise and perhaps to some small extent simplify some of the lines that have been running through the debate during the last several hours, including yesterday.
First and foremost I think it should be stated that the concept of this Bill is protection of ali members of the public against embarrassing medical costs, that is, to make possible for all members of the community access to proper medical care in whatever areas of illness they unfortunately find themselves. There are a few obvious elements in this particular situation. First, of course, is the Government, which is initiating the procedure; then there is the Opposition; then the medicos and then the health funds. 1 have listened with some interest, not entirely throughout the debate but almost so, to what members of the Australian Labor Party have had to say on this matter. I have listened particularly to the contributions of most of its 5 or 6 medicos. I hope that I do not misinterpret what they had to say. 1 have looked in vain for what I would regard as a serious contribution to the solving of any problems which may exist as between the proponents of this scheme, who in one way or another are most if not all the people on this side of the House, and the medical profession in one or other of its various forms.
We have heard a number of useful humanitarian contributions from the honourable member for Scullin (Dr Jenkins) and others, on which I commend them. But the question at issue is the Bill before the House. I think we can agree that there are some basic differences in philosophy. Most importantly, this Government does not adhere to a philosophy of socialised medicine or something approaching that whereas other people quite properly hold, even though they like to call it by other names, that no matter what is the cost everybody shall have exactly equal access, despite the reality or otherwise of need, to medical services. Nobody could dispute that in an ideal community it would be marvellous for people willy-nilly to indulge all their inclinations in this regard. I have even, I think, gone on record as indicating a general interest in the fact that no member of the community should be unduly discriminated against. At the same time I would say that most of what I have listened to from the other side of the House, as on other occasions, has been argument advanced by a counsel of perfection looking for an ideal society. That, perhaps, is not a bad thing in itself, but the means by which we get there is of some interest.
It seems to me that, if the philosophy is that we should implement this concept , in every field right across the board, we legislate for equality - if that is what we want to call it. If in doing so we deny any individual access to incentive, even if the incentive is an incentive to look after himself, then we get towards a situation, as the honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Graham) put forward very clearly last evening, that approximates the situation under the nationalised medical scheme in Great Britain. It is pretty hard going for any individual to say that he can summarise the rights and wrongs of the nationalised medical scheme in Britain. We have I sort of testimony in the large number of British doctors who are resident in Australia and who are practising alongside our native born medicos because, in many cases, they could no longer stomach the socialised medical scheme of Britain. I do not think that can be denied by anyone in or out of the profession. That does not necessarily make them right, but it makes fairly imposing evidence for that point pf view. Within the last dozen years I lived for about 2i years in Britain and certainly my personal observations would lead me to lend my support to much the same assessment as that of the medicos who have emigrated to Australia. Whether or not it is a ghastly scheme, to use the words of the honourable member for North Sydney, I am not quite sure; but certainly it is a highly involved scheme which involves a great deal of waste and which I would not like to advocate here.
During this discussion much has been said about why the Government scheme, useful as it might be - it was conceded that it does not go far enough - does not embrace the philosophy of members of the Australian Labor Party in respect of things medical. A lot has been said about taxation, about the little man on a low wage and so on. Quite frankly I just could not understand the relevance of some, though not all, of it. There has been a great plea for equality of treatment - again, I think the honourable member for North Sydney drew attention last night to what the honourable member for Barton (Mr Reynolds) had to say about this - on the ground that anybody who is on a lower wage than somebody else will not do as well under this scheme, or I might add any similar scheme, as the chap who is earning a lot and therefore gets more back because of his higher rate of taxation. I regard this as being absolutely irrelevant in the sense that it is not a criticism of the Bill before the House.
Surely if a person is in a position to pay little in taxation he cannot expect to get back a lot in reimbursements, whether it is in respect of a medical scheme or anything else. This would be putting the cart before the horse. The important thing is what the person pays, not what he might or might not get back depending on his total level of income. The honourable member for Scullin is shaking his head. If we carry that particular argument to its logical conclusion, I suggest we might argue that honourable members who are entirely dependent on their salaries as members of the Parliament might pay one-half or onequarter of the air fares or bus fares that those members pay who are still in receipt of private income, perhaps quite substantial private income. We might argue that there should be graded bus fares according to the level of income. That is the logic of this sort of proposition if we carry it past the point at which it is convenient for members of the Opposition to leave it at this stage. In that sense the argument is nonsensical, because the operative factor is that the initial payments are within the ambit of anybody, whatever is his income. It is clear enough in black and white in the Bill that persons on low incomes will not be placed in the position of having to pay basically for similar services that other people get.
Attention has been drawn to the fact that the Bill embraces the prospect of an increase in contributions from 60c to 75c. This has been spelt out as though we are talking about dollars, or perhaps even hundreds of dollars. I know that there are people on low incomes, some of them in my electorate, and I am related to some not in my electorate. We are talking about a tiny figure - the price of a beer or of i packet of cigarettes a week. To dress this up as a blatant infringement of the rights of the lower income members of the populace is to draw a red herring across the trail and certainly is not a significant criticism of the Bill.
The honourable member for Capricornia (Dr Everingham) drew attention, among other things, to the operations of the Blue Cross organisation in America. If I remember his words aright, he was favourably disposed to the sort of situation which could obtain here under such a scheme. For a short period when I was travelling in the United States I transferred to the Blue Cross organisation, which is vaguely allied to our organisation. The transfer was at enormous expense, but it was necessary because of the colossal cost of medicine in the United States. I wonder whether this again is a sensible criticism of the legislation we have before us. That is, of course, not to draw attention to the same member’s inclination to discuss the pitfalls of smoking and the cancer that may be derived therefrom, which was hardly relevant to the matter before the House.
Obviously some features of this Bill are lacking in terms of a counsel of perfection or probably not even that sort of counsel. A number of paramedical matters will not be covered by the Bill as they have not been covered before. Various members of our electorates are making submissions on matters such as geriatrics, hearing, the necessity for therapy and aids, and so on. It can reasonably be said that these are things which need to be looked at. As I understand it, these matters have been looked at and I would imagine that they will continue to be looked at.
An integral part of the scheme proposed in the Bill - I am sure the House is already aware of this so I will not go into it at any length - is the referral system as between general practitioners and specialists. Unlike some of my colleagues who are decidedly sanguine about this matter, I am slightly less so. I would prefer to wait until the details become apparent when this scheme is put into operation. One can assume that it could operate successfully. However, we have to see that it does operate successfully. 1 for one would suggest to the Minister for Health that, as he well knows, he will need to keep it constantly within his purview. It could well be that the scheme will not operate as we want it to if we do not work with the goodwill of the medical profession. It can only be said that it will operate properly with the goodwill of the medical profession.
Members of the medical profession are tradesmen of a high order who are not unaware of the need for goodwill. It is true that some infinite details are not spelt out in the Bill, despite its length, and I think it is a reasonable proposition that the medical fraternity would understand that, as I have heard the Minister explain on more than one occasion, the Government is introducing this Bill with absolute goodwill and is prepared to remedy any minor or marginal problems which may arise, as they tend to do under the operation of a new scheme of this magnitude.
I would like to make some small mention of the medical profession, perhaps at some slight risk. The medical profession has long been held by some people to be as effective a trade union as has ever existed in this country. Until the last few weeks I was of that opinion. It now appears however that the medical profession, which is comprised very substantially of men of goodwill and men of hard labour, has not been as cohesive a trade union as in fact we suspected it was. The general practitioners are somewhat at variance with the specialists and may probably continue to be so in one shape or form. A question of status is involved. Nobody stands in higher regard in the community than do members of the medical profession. It may be somewhat salutary to mention that in very few, if any, other countries of the world does the medical profession enjoy such prestige and even mystique as it does in Australia. I think that most members of the profession are aware of this. Certainly I have acquaintances in the profession who would readily admit that.
I would suggest that the status of the medical profession results not so much from what it achieves but basically from an often very uncritical acceptance by the Australian public of the standing of the medical profession not only in its own sphere but in relation to all sorts of allied matters in which its members are frequently quite inexpert. At the same time - I would like to make my position clear - I do not for a moment suggest that the role played by medical men in the country is not one which is almost without peer and which is above the level of importance of any other calling. Th: public tends very much to believe that the medical profession stands almost on a pinnacle of its own because it deals most personally, if not personably with the public day by day.
So it is absolutely important that the medical profession should understand that the introduction of certain problems within its own ranks, particularly those that exist between the 2 wings of the profession, the general practitioners and the specialists, are not problems which it is fair to lay at the door of the Government, the Opposition or anybody who may be the proponents of this Bill and who wish to sec it passed in its entirety. The Bill has been before the House for some little time now. It is up to the profession to iron out such problems as those which either it was not previously aware of or which were not sufficiently crystallised for the profession to begin to look at. I refer to such things as lists of common fees and the differentials as between . general practitioners and specialists. So I would make a strong plea to those of the medical profession who feel inclined to blame their problems on the scheme. These are the sorts of problems on which I commented earlier and on which I received very little enlightenment from our medical friends on the other side of the House. I would like to see them accept the Government’s proposition with the utmost goodwill and not try to resolve their internal problems within the confines of this Bill and the discussions relating to it.
Although the matter has been referred to on a number of occasions before, in fact in glowing terms on several occasions, I would like to commend the Minister for his engineering of this operation. The trials and tribulations attending upon it have not been insignificant. Preparing the Bill for presentation lo the House has been a rather protracted preliminary exercise. One would hope that because of the widespread, in fact universal, operation of this scheme as far as the public of Australia is concerned any problems will be resolved in the greatest possible amity and understanding for the general benefit not only of the community but of the medical profession and anybody who is touched by it.
Last but not least, I would like to say that the position of the general practitioner is one which, despite the small criticism I made a few moments ago, I regard as absolutely crucial to the continuing operation of medical services in this country. I am a little apprehensive that some members on both sides of the House, and certainly on this side, think that the trends elsewhere in the world towards a diminution in the number of general practitioners are perhaps not significant enough because they have not been given expression here. But 1 suggest that with the lack of other evidence we must take note of trends of this kind particularly where they are related to similar societies in the western world.
We should take all possible steps within the confines of this Bill, or elsewhere for that matter, to see that the foundation of the medical profession’s operation is sound. I refer to the general practitioner, the family doctor, who is often the recipient of many confidences. Apart from his expertise he has to deal with a great deal of the assumed medical problems. I. think many members of the profession will readily admit this. 1 do not say this is any derogatory sense in relation to their more expert operations. But a large proportion of the cases which come to genera] practitioners have some sort of psychosomatic content. They deal with things which the community does not wish to pay a specialist to attend to until they have been apprehended in the first instance by the general practitioner. So anything in this Bill or elsewhere which would work towards weakening the general position - I do not mean status as such - and operation of general practitioners would in my view be a bad thing.
That is not to say that we should not look critically at the general status of the members of the medical profession. They should be earning their status along with everybody else. But it is important that we do nothing to undermine that position. In that regard the complexities of the relationship between the general practitioner and the specialist, and those who seem to fall in between somehow, were discussed earlier in this debate and I do not wish to traverse that subject any further. I commend the Government on this Bill and I hope that we manage to put it through with as much expedition as possible. I am sure that the general benefit to the community will become obvious when the scheme begins to operate.
– The honourable member for Denison (Dr Solomon) seemed to me to be shedding a general air of complacency over the whole system which has been the pattern of the last 20 years or so, since the late Sir Earle Page precipitated the present system upon us. He used such words as ‘minor and marginal problems’. Minor and marginal problems in health are major tragedies and disasters for the family who is afflicted with them. The criteria upon which I am likely to examine a scheme such as this are: Does it handle this kind of disaster? Does it handle the situation where somebody has to have an air ambulance, for instance, to save a life? At a lower level, what does it do about eye care, spectacles and so on? During the course of this debate there have been ample demonstrations that it does not cover these aspects. In fact, it is obvious that the present system has failed. There are lots of people who are not in the scheme. Those who are in the greatest need receive the least possible cover on occasions. Therefore 1 believe the whole system should be changed. I look at the Bill and see that it amends the National Health Act. Perhaps we should change the name of it. lt is a national insurance system of sorts; it is not a National Health Act.
When I look at the system I ask myself: How many new hospitals will it build? How many new areas of research will it develop? How many new doctors will it train? How many new services will it supply throughout the community? How much greater security will it supply? It is not a national health system at all. It leaves so many areas of assistance to chance to be provided by municipalities. State governments and other areas of Commonwealth action. It is not a nat onal health system at all. We on this side of the House believe that what this country needs is a national health system. The honourable member for Denison, with the wisdom of Solomon, although Solomon is about 2,500 years out of date, referred to a remark made by my colleague, the honourable member for Capricornia (Dr Everingham), but he misquoted or misunderstood the honourable member for Capricornia. I do not blame him for not reading every word of Hansard, unless of course he concentrates on my speeches. The honourable member for Denison said that my colleague, the honourable member for Capricornia, had lauded the Blue Cross system of the United States. However, the honourable member for Capricornia has assured me that he said nothing of the sort. In fact he said that he thought the Blue Cross system was like the present system here - it was shot full of holes.
In fact, the schere that my colleague is advocating is the Kaiser scheme which operates on the west coast of the United States of America. The honourable member assures me that it is fully prepaid, it operates on salaried services, it has 8 million members at the moment, and it is expanding as fast as people care to join it and as fast as it can expand its services. In fact, it is giving great satisfaction to its members. In other words, it is something of the ideal to which we on this side of the House are dedicated. That ideal is that people can pay a fixed sum and get total coverage. I believe this is where we part company with honourable members on the other side of the House. I have no doubt of course that we each have the same social objectives and that we will all do the best we can to assist people who are in need and people who are stricken down by illness. However, honourable members on the other side have this continuing philosophy - I believe it is false in a modern society - that a fair area must be left to private initiative and to private schemes of this sort. The honourable member for Denison mentioned that our objective was to create an ideal society, and he gave his imprimatur to that in a kindly fashion. He seemed to think that it would not be possible to get a total coverage. Why should that be so?
His other philosophical point was that people should be encouraged to look after themselves. I represent one of the industrial areas of Australia where there are large numbers of migrants who wisely come to be represented in the seat of Wills. They are not the kind of people who can prepare for the contingencies of medical disasters. They are not the kind of people who can look after themselves. There are large numbers of people - I would think about 10% of this community, and it might even apply to every other community in the country - who have not the kind of expertise that- is required, who are short of money on occasions, who forget about it, who do not know at all or who cannot manage their affairs. Although there have been changes recently to take up the slack in relation to people who are below a certain level of income, this scheme still does not cover them. We live in a materialistic society. It always interests me that we can put a tremendous effort into the protection of property. If a house catches fire or a motor car crashes and bursts into flame, the first service to arrive will be the fire brigade to put out the fire. It is there on a full time basis and is totally dedicated to the preservation of property. The police will be the next to arrive on the scene to help in the protection of the property. If a motor car is involved, a tow truck will turn up too.
– The tow truck will be first of all.
– First of all in all probability, yes. If the incident occurs on a Saturday afternoon or Sunday night, how long will it take to get medical services for the broken human beings? How long will it take the ambulance if people find themselves 20 miles from anywhere? This is the challenge of modern society. Whether we are dealing with people or property, are they the values which will be enshrined in this legislation? I can think of no reason at all why human beings should not receive the same service and the same immediate attention as property. That is the aim of the Labor Party in its social programmes. That is why we have a different view from that of honourable members on the other side of the House. The philosophical concept of private enterprise, of looking after yourselves, is incidental to the protection and the development of human happiness and human health. We know, of course, that this present scheme is totally inadequate. Over recent years it has been criticised extensively.
There is a multiplicity of funds - over 100 - which spend large sums of money on administration, on advertising, on putting out beautiful brochures with a form on the bottom that can be completed by those who wish to apply for membership. These schemes do not provide a total cover. Everybody in the community is not covered all the time, and there are no funds available for capital development. How are we to build new hospitals? The finance has to come from somewhere else. It would seem to me that research, the capital development of hospitals and so on would be part of a national health scheme. 1 would be willing to pay extra fees because 1 get a higher salary than other people, despite what the honourable member for Denison had to say about it, if it would assist in producing for the community a system in which one’s children, wife, parents, neighbours and friends are totally covered. Those are our objectives. Within the system funds should be readily available for the development of capital work. If we can have a total involvement of the fire brigade, if education and the police services are universal, why can health services not be universal as well? Of course, there has always been the fear of cost, lt is true that health services are very expensive undertakings, that hospitals are very expensive to run, that doctors are very expensive to train and probably equally as expensive to maintain because they deserve the best resources available for the job that they have to do. ft seems to me that our society has arrived at the stage at which the effort we put into giving totality and universality to education ought to be put into health services too. The Labor Party is prepared to embark upon that endeavour. In fact, that is our total objective. lt has been said that the Labor Party’s approach will create all. sorts of difficulties. Let us examine for a moment some of the criticisms that have been expressed in relation to the development of the British health system. The British health system has been the victim for some 20 to 25 years of vigorous hostility from people who have come to this country and from honourable members on the other side of the House who see in this scheme some insidious evil Socialist force which will overwhelm the good health of the community. The national health scheme in Britain was one of the great contributions to British society. There is no doubt that before the last war British health services were inadequate and their hospitals were inadequate. Honourable members may read the same documents as I have read if they want to find out the facts about this. The health of the British people on the lower incomes was at a very low level. These facts and figures cannot be gainsaid.
– They were never healthier than they were during World War II.
– That is right. Then they had a total national service which saw that they were all properly fed and that total medical services were available to them. The best part of their manhood was spent in the Services and they were getting a total national medical service. I am fortified in my belief about this by a quote from the Melbourne ‘Age’, which reads:
UK. health plan is ‘misunderstood’. There is greater misunderstanding of the National Health scheme in Britain by Australians than any other people in the world.
So said Lord Hayter, who is leading the British Hospital Equipment Trade Mission to Australia, in Melbourne . . .
You don’t realise that we will spend $2 1 5m on new hospitals alone this year.’ 1 have heard people say in debates in this House that no new hospitals are being built in Britain. The article continues:
Our public relations have been very bad,’ he said.
The honourable member for North Sydney should listen to this - and Australians aren’t told how it really works.
Doctors who come to Australia from England tend to run down the scheme . . . they over compensate as they praise the good deal they get in Australia.’
The average working class man who arrives in Australia with his family is struck by the inordinate costs of social welfare in Australia both in the field of education and in the field of health, lt would pay honourable members to make a study of the advantages and disadvantages of the British medical service.
An article which I have before me points out some achievements of the British national health service. There is no gainsaying that errors and fallacies developed throughout the system. One cannot embark upon a major enterprise of that sort without producing errors. The first achievement was that it made a whole range of services from the general practitioner to the hospital available to the patient without fear of any financial burden. I ask: What is wrong with that? ls that the kind of objective that the honourable member for Sydney would reject for Australia? The second advantage was that it made regional planning of hospital services possible. I ask: Would not that be desirable in Australia? Would it not be desirable for hospitals not to have to fuss and to carry out bottle drives and make appeals to charity to fulfil their obligations? The third achievement was that it encouraged closer links between the mental and other health services. 1 ask: ls there anything wrong with an integrated health service? Fourthly, and this seems to be contrary to everything we have been told, it encouraged a better distribution of general practitioner doctors in the country by use of negative direction - by restricting entry into over-doctored areas and by offering positive incentives in the underdoctored areas. In 1952, 51% of the population was living in under-doctored areas. Today that proportion is down to 20%. Finally, it has encouraged a better standard of general practitioner work. lt is true that there are disadvantages in the scheme and that there are things that need to be altered. In some areas it has been difficult to make changes. For 20-odd years the national health service of Britain has been under constant attack in this country through the vested interests of people opposite who believe in the sanctity of private enterprise. They have been supported in this belief by the medical profession which until recently, when we on this side had an accession of liberal minded, advanced thinkers from the profession, was generally speaking a fairly conservative group in the community.
The Opposition has been challenged about its proposals, lt is said that a salaried service would be the kiss of death to the medical profession. I ask: Why should a salaried service be the kiss of death to the medical profession, if it is satisfactory for thousands of teachers and scientists and others in the community who are as highly qualified academically as any member of the medical profession? Why do they say the profession would collapse? The Labor Party believes that there is room in the community for both private enterprise and a salaried service. I believe that we will not have a total system in the community until we have such a national health scheme. The way in which it is conducted and controlled is important. Some of the problems that have not been analysed will have to be analysed. It would be desirable if on occasions like this, in across the floor debate on a piece of printed fait accompli such as the Bill, 30 or 40 honourable members could sit around the table and discuss the legislation chapter and verse and have their ideas sewn into it.
T ask: What is wrong with the repatriation hospitals? Are they not salaried medical services? Do they not supply a total national service to the fortunate people who can get into them? Is it not true that at the moment a large number of beds in the repatriation hospitals are empty? I believe that a salaried service can operate satisfactorily. The Minister said that we need a voluntary system. The Opposition believes, and it is obvious from the experience of the past, that a voluntary system in this field is not good enough, lt is the right of the person who is in serious want because of ill health or chronic disease to be attended to. The doctors have a personal duty to do this. The situation can only be resolved by some satisfactory taxation system.
A week or 2 ago my colleagues on this side of the House sent a series of 5 questions to the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes). The Minister has had a distinguished record in a number of fields. He is a man whom 1 would have expected to involve himself deeply in the system so that he knew all about the hospitals of Australia. I would not expect him to know chapter and verse that there are so many beds in I hospital and so many in another, but I would expect him to know from where the information flowed and how accurate it was. As J recall, he was asked the difference between the systems in Australia and countries like Scandinavia and Britain. He was unable to say whether the facts were as stated. Obviously, a total study of the systems had not been developed - at least, it had not been made available to the Minister - nor had he felt, perhaps in view of his political philosophy, that it was necessary that Australia should develop from within its own resources despite the inertia of the past. That only proves that there has been inadequate consideration all along the line. The Minister, the Department and the Government parties have now become hotly involved wilh the medical profession. These are shades of 1948 and 1949. The medical profession would be much better advised to become totally involved with the political forces on this side of the House. If you want to change political systems you have to take political action. It is of little use sending us all nicely - duplicated notices. People have to stand and be counted at the ballot box if they want some action. It is their duty to do so.
The question before’ us is: Does the National Health Bill comply with the requirements of the community? Will it supply us with alt the desirable characteristics that are found in other national medical services? From the evidence that I have read and from those to whom 1 have spoken it seems that Britain is much closer to this ideal than we are, and much closer to it than the United States of America is. I suppose it is very dangerous at this time to quote an instance from behind the Iron Curtain. I beg the House in this instance not to regard what I have to say as a dangerous piece of fellow travelling by the honourable member for Wills. In 1964 I was travelling across Russia on the TransSiberia railway. Honourable members should try it some time. We arrived in the city of Irkutsk. My wife was ill. It was a Saturday afternoon. The guide said to us: You will need to get a doctor.’ I thought of Saturday afternoons in Australia and the general attitude of Australians, that they have to be pretty sick before they call the doctor. We decided that it was desirable. Five minutes later the doctor arrived. Ten minutes later a prescription arrived.
– Which doctor?
– A highly qualified Russian lady doctor. I said: ‘That is pretty good service. How does that happen?’ She said: That is easy enough. I just dial the emergency service, 0.1.’ It is probably the only place in the world, or one of the few places in the world, where medical assistance can arrive quicker than the fire brigade. I believe, and I think most of the community would, that that is a very desirable objective. They have resolved some of the problems by under-paying the medical profession. There were not many things that I saw in Russia of which I approved in general but in fact this was evidence of a social value which is totally lacking from the present system and therefore I commend the amendment to the House.
[3.10J- Mr Speaker, I think that the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) has placed on record what is really in the mind of the Australian Labor Party should it ever come into office and introduce a health scheme. A number of matters have been raised in which members have sought elucidation, mainly from this side of the House. At this stage I propose to refer to only one of them because I know it is of great interest and I will address myself to the others at the Committee stage because I wish to use most of my time in closing the debate in addressing myself to the Opposition’s amendment. One matter that was raised by honourable members - I recall that it was certainly raised by the honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess) and the honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Graham) - is the question of recognition of and referral to specialists. The Bill, as honourable members know, provides for such recognition and the administrative machinery for the recognition will be simple. It is already necessary to recognise specialists for the purposes of the present scheme, and this is our starting point. Due to the greater emphasis on specialist benefits and referral, however, a more formalised procedure is necessary and clause 19 of the Bill provides for specialist recognition committees to be established. A medical practitioner who is registered as a specialist or consultant physician under State or Territory law is also entitled to be recognised as such for the purposes of the National Health Act. That is the first point.
This means that practitioners who are registered as specialists under the present Queensland or South Australian laws, under the present Western Australian workers compensation legislation, or under future State or Territory registration laws, will be recognised as such for the purposes of medical benefits. I might add that at the recent conference of Health Ministers the Ministers of the other 3 States, that is, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, which have not registered specialists, indicated that they proposed to introduce registration in the near future. However, recognition under this Act will not by any means depend solely on registration under State or Territory law. In each State and Territory, including those which have specialist registration laws, a specialist recognition advisory committee will be appointed to advise the Director-General of Health on applications by medical practitioners for recognition as specialist and consultant physicians under the National Health Act. In considering every application by a doctor who practises in a State or Territory which does not have specialist registration laws or by a doctor who practises in a State or Territory which has such laws but who has not been registered under those laws the clearly appropriate criteria will be applied, namely, the doctor’s qualifications, his experience and standing in the profession and the nature of his practice. These criteria will permit of the recognition of medical practitioners who are fully qualified by training and experience to be so recognised whether they practise as individuals or members of groups, including those who also provide services in other areas of medical practice, as well as the recognition of those who practise their specialities on a full-time basis. Regard will be had to the advice of the advisory committees in these types of cases.
Honourable members will also note that provision has been made for a practitioner to appeal to an independent specialist recognition appeal committee against a refusal to recognise him as a specialist or consultant physician under the National Health Act. The Bill will therefore provide a sound basis for the payment of medical benefits at the specialist rate where a specialist or consultant physician renders a service in the practise of his recognised speciality. Consideration is also being given to a referral system under which a general practitioner could refer a patient either for an opinion and immediate treatment or to continue treatment over a period for a particular illness. I am confident that a referral system will be developed which will fully safeguard all sections of the medical profession, the Government and the community generally.
The Bill before the House aims to provide the people of Australia with the most substantially improved medical benefits system in 20 years. What has been the response from the Opposition? The Opposition’s colourful clutch of 5 medical practitioners - colourful in various ways - has contributed not a single constructive idea advanced thinkers from the profession, were among the lot of them. Surely, the Parliament has justification for hoping that these wielders of the scalpel would also have incisive minds, that they would be men able to cut quickly to the core of concern in this debate, namely, the welfare of the people of Australia, the welfare of the patients. Instead, the atmosphere of torpor generated by their soporific waffle has made them appear more like specialists in anaesthesia, which I understand the honourable member for Kingston (Dr Gun) is.
Certainly they receive no inspiration from their mini-minded shadow Minister for Health, the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden). So familiar is he with the endeavours of the Department he aspires to administer that he could not even put his tongue properly to the name of its permanent head. The best he could do in this debate was to open it with a vituperative attack on me, proceed to make a series of ill informed and utterly irrelevant comparisons between Australia’s health scheme and those of other countries and conclude by proposing an inane amendment totally in conflict, with a Bill he says he will not oppose. He has presented this pot-pourri of piffle - if I can call it that - pretentiously garnished with classical allusions, the whole delivered - J am sure all members, at least on this side, and quite a number on his own side agree - with a grotesque display of arrogance. He has revealed himself as a creature of little shadow and less substance.
But what about the patient patient? Who among the Opposition has pleaded the case of the patients? Nobody. The shadowy shadow Minister for Health who supports the Bill yet indulges in an orgy of selfjustification by paying lip service to the hopeless hypothesis which Labor hopes lo pass off as a health scheme proudly labels himself as a Democratic Socialist. Yet he merely demonstrates that he cares much for polemics but nothing much for people. This Bill is based not on some high flown Democratic Socialist ideology - or whatever the honourable member for Oxley calls his Party’s alternative scheme - and not on some hideous hybrid mutation in the minds of those who would hopefully pluck for indiscriminate transplant here, aspects of overseas health schemes which appeal to them; it is based on the facts. Our scheme is bused on the facts of life here in Australia, lt is based on fees now being charged by both general practitioners and specialists. It is based on the need to protect patients against existing disproportionate consequences of illness. Nobody either in or out of this House has come to me with a suggestion which he can demonstrate will give patients a better deal than the one that the Government is offering them now.
By proposing his amendment that a national health insurance commission financed from graduated contributions would pay for medical and hospital services for all Australians more equitably and economically than the health benefits plan as proposed in this Bill, the honourable member for Oxley is rehashing his leader’s confidence trick of the last election. I admit it was a good one - a very good one. A lot of people fell for it. The front men were 2 Melbourne economists, Messrs Deeble and Scotton. They were supposed to give the proposition an air of respectability. The proposition, you will recall Sir, was that a specific set of health proposals could be introduced on the basis of a i% levy on taxable income plus a matching Commonwealth subsidy.
In a particularly scurrilous attempt to add substance to his fraud, the Leader of the Opposition, in this same statement, indeed, in the following sentence, implied that an officer of my Department had approved Labor’s proposals in sworn evidence before a Senate select committee. What the officer said, and this is particularly clear when it is looked at in context, was not that Labor’s proposals were soundly based but that the work - the arithmetical and statistical projections of Deeble and Scotton, insofar as they went, to quote the officers’ phrase - was soundly based. He said nothing about their conclusions; nothing about whether their calculations, as far as they went, could be translated into proposals which were workable.
– How close were your estimates?
– I will come to that in a minute. But even assuming that the Deeble and Scotton proposals were properly costed and could be introduced on the basis of a li% levy on taxable incomes plus Commonwealth subsidy, let us recall what the
Labor Party did to them. What Labor did was to alter and embellish them so that even if they could have been initially financed on the basis of the originally proposed H% levy, they ultimately had but 2 chances of being financed in their amended form - Buckley’s and none. Yet here we have the honourable member for Oxley again wheeling up Labor’s goon type cardboard replica of Deeble and Scotton’s health insurance commission. He is wheeling it up in this amendment to the Bill.
Let rae remind the House of the sort of surgery the Labor Party did on Deeble and Scotton. Originally they declared that a deterrent was necessary in respect of general practitioner and specialist unreferred services and proposed that a patient should have to pay 80c for a general practitioner surgery consultation, $1.50 for a general practitioner home visit and $2.50 for a specialist unreferred consultation. The Labor Party has done away with this patient payment. It has done away with it in spite of the fact that the Saskatchewan Medical Care Insurance Commission - Labor is always quoting Canada - was forced to introduce utilisation fees for physicians services from 15th April 1968, as stated in the 1968 annual report of the Commission. The annual report stated: ‘As a check to the rapidly increasing costs of tax supported medical services.’ The report goes on to state:
For most insured medical services a beneficiary is liable to pay a utilisation fee direct to the physician or optometrist, where applicable at the rate of $1.50 per office visit or $2.00 in the case of a home, emergency or hospital out-patient visit.
In other words, the deterrents that Deeble and Scotton recommended but which the Labor Party brushed aside now turn out to be what the Canadians whom it professes to admire in relation to their health scheme felt to be essential to make the scheme work and keep it within bounds.
The amount to be met by the patient for general practitioner services under the health benefits plan proposed in this Bill are 80c for a surgery consultation and $1.20 for a home visit, where the doctor charges the common fee. By deleting the patient payment proposals in the Deeble and Scotton scheme the Labor Party has made certain that a scheme on the lines proposed would cost a great deal more than the cost placed by Deeble and Scotton on their own particular proposals. Deeble and Scotton proposed that there should be a disincentive to the submission of small claims by patients; that as a contribution to the cost of handling them all claims covering expenditure of less than $1.20 would be subject to a deduction of $1. The Labor Party has abandoned this charge. The Labor Party’s proposed commission would not be able to process medical benefit claims more economically than do the health insurance funds at the present time, despite the assertions to the contrary. It is well established that mere size of health insurance funds is not synonomous with economic operation. Indeed, there is much evidence - a great deal of evidence contrary to what the Labour Party asserts - that the reverse is true.
If the doctors do not accept 85% of the common fee for their services the number of claims to be processed would be the same as it is now. I am talking about what the Labor Party wants to replace our proposals with in ils amendment. 1 invite all honourable gentleman, just on the basis of some of the things that have been said in the last few months, to ask themselves whether the medical profession in Australia would accept 85% of the common fee in full payment, because some people have forgotten that this is absolutely integral to the Labour Party’s scheme. As doctors’ bad debts and accountancy charges do not take up anywhere near 15% of their income I assert that there is no basis for imagining that they would be willing to accept only 85% of the common fee. Deeble and Scotton proposed that there should be a limit on the amount to be levied of $100 for each taxpayer. This has been changed so that the maximum of S 1 00 will apply in the case of a man and wife where both are working. Apart from the administrative difficulty in assessing the amounts that would he paid bv the husband and by the wife there is the consideration of the loss of revenue to the proposed health insurance fund that would result.
The Labor Party proposes to exempt from contributions married couples or persons claiming at least I dependant if their taxable incomes do not exceed $1,600 or their actual incomes $2,000. A proposal of this kind was not included in the Deeble and Scotton scheme. The 2 figures given of $1,600 taxable income and $2,000 actual income are not necessarily linked. For example, a widow with the actual income of $1,950 may be supporting a child and have other concessional deductions of $42 in which case her taxable income would be $1,700. The Labor Party has not seen fit to make it clear whether she would be eligible for exemption under its proposals. The estimated cost of this proposal given by the Labor Party is $3.5m, which would, of course, not be collected by way of the li% levy on taxable income but would have to be found from general revenue.
Deeble and Scotton proposed that their scheme would be financed in part by the withdrawal of income tax concessions on net medical and hospital expenses and contributions to voluntary insurance organisations. The Labor Party has not specifically indicated whether net medical expenses would be tax deductible under its scheme. The question of whether net medical and hospital expenses would be tax deductible is extremely important. If doctors do not bill the fund direct the patients will be required to meet 15% of the cost of each service - not $5 on a very large medical bill but 15%. In the case of a major operation the net cost of the operation and associated services could well be $60 compared with $5 under the new health benefits plan.
The Labor Party has also proposed to replace the present insurance organisation with a national health insurance commission. The role of the voluntary fund will be to provide hospital insurance to cover the cost of intermediate and private ward or private hospital treatment. Even if the funds were to accept this role, which is far from certain, the contribution rates would be proportionately much higher than under the present scheme because management expenses would absorb a greater proportion of contributions. If the hospital fund had not provided insurance against intermediate or private treatment the intermediate or private patient would have to meet the cost of his hospital treatment directly. The expense would be quite considerable, especially in the case of prolonged stays. On the basis that the Labor Party would pay benefits of $10 a day the patient would have to pay an additional $8 a day for private hospital treatment. If he were hospitalised for 60 days the cost would thus be $480. Under the present scheme a contributor may get cover for his family against hospital charges of $18 a day for $1.30 a week.
Yet another embellishment of the Deeble and Scotton proposals is the proposal of the honourable member for Oxley for financial inducements to persuade doctors to practise in areas not adequately served by doctors. Notwithstanding all these costly significant departures from the specific Deeble and Scotton plan the Labor Party still maintains that its proposals can be financed by a 11% levy on taxable incomes together with a matching Commonwealth payment and a levy on compulsory insurance. That claim is simply untenable and I have no doubt that it would be necessary for the Labor Party to provide at least $138m more than was paid in 1968-69. The figure would be very much higher in 1970-71. All this would have to be found from general revenue. We would probably soon reach the position that is applying in Canada, where the Minister for National Health and Welfare has announced that reductions of 25% in votes for both emergency health services and emergency welfare services will be effected in 1970-71. Other areas involved are the combined general and national health grants, which will be reduced by $4m from the 1969-70 level. This has been the demonstrated consequence in Canada of the sort of thing the Labor Party is asking us to vote on by proposing its amendment.
Compared with the Labor Party’s deceit the Government has been absolutely direct. The Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) in his policy speech last year promised improvements to the scheme which would cost $16m. At the same time he told the people that for a small increase in fund contributions they would get infinitely greater benefits. Subsequently the Government decided that its promised cover could be extended and said that it was prepared to spend up to $32. 5m. The honourable member for Oxley, once again well under par for the course in sincerity and veracity, has tried to suggest that the cost of the Government’s original proposals had doubled. The original proposals were accurately costed, as I explained in my statement to the House, at $16m. That was the cost at election time and it would be the cost now for the same proposals. The proposals additional to those made in the policy speech will, of course, cost additional money.
There is another matter which needs to be clarified, and that is the Government’s attitude to differential rebates. This matter has been mentioned a number of times in the course of the debate. In past months on behalf of the Government I have repeatedly made it clear that this legislation, which is based on fees and procedures now existing in the medical profession and recommended for adoption by the Australian Medical Association, is nonetheless flexible legislation. Different fees are now being charged by general practitioners and specialists for the same medical services. I have said that patients must be covered in both instances. However, I have also said that if the profession can collectively guarantee its members’ acceptance of another system which will meet whatever new requirements they may have but which will not disadvantage the patient financially, I will be happy to look at it. That undertaking stands not only in regard to this matter but also to other fears or reservations the profession may have about the new scheme.
Let me conclude my remarks by once again stressing that the Labor Party’s scheme is not the Deeble and Scotton scheme. There is no basis whatever for the claim that it would be more economic and equitable than the plan provided in the Bill. Economic operation is by no means an automatic consequence of giving the conduct of a service to a government monopoly. Decentralisation of administration, which is inherent in the existing plan, produces its own dividends in the form of efficient service and contributor satisfaction. I believe that the Australian people will be rightly sceptical whether the alleged economies promised from a government health insurance fund would ever eventuate. But there is more to this than economy and efficiency. If we transfer the conduct of health insurance to a single government fund we have established one more area where freedom of individual choice is denied - a freedom which all of us would value and the loss of which we would lament if it ever occurred.
It is true that the honourable member for Oxley was at great pains to assert that it is only within the insurance system that the Labor Party wants to impose its socialistic philosophy on us. Our right to select our own doctor, according to the honourable member, is to be retained. But much of what other members of the Opposition said in the debate left us in a great deal of doubt as to whether even this basic right would continue to be enjoyed if the Labor Party were entrusted with the management of our health system. The oft repeated praise by honourable members opposite of the United Kingdom scheme and its socialised base leaves the strong impression that socialised medical services would duly follow socialised insurance in the name of alleged economy and equity. The Government rejects absolutely the amendment proposed by the Opposition.
That the words proposed to be omitted (Mr Hayden’s amendment) stand pari of the question.
The House divided. (Mr Speaker- Hon. Sir William Aston)
Question so resolved in the affirmative. Amendment negatived.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.
Clause I (Short title and citation). Motion (by Dr Forbes) proposed:
That progress be reported.
– Order! There is no substance to the point of order. The practice is for the House to resolve itself into Committee at this stage. The Minister has moved that progress be reported. That motion cannot be debated.
– We arc ready-
– Order! The honourable member for Oxley will resume his seat.
That progress be reported.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman- Mr P. E. Lucock)
– There is no substance in the point of order.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
APPROPRIATION BILL (No. 3) 1969-70 Second Reading
Debate resumed from 5 May (vide page 1571), on motion by Mr Bury:
Thai th: Bill be now read a second time.
– May I have the indulgence of the House to raise a point of procedure on this legislation. Before the debate is resumed on this Bill I would like to suggest that it may suit the convenience of the House to have a general debate covering the Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 1 969-70, the Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 1969-70, the Supply Bill (No. 1) 1970-71, and the Supply Bill (No. 2) 1970- 71. Separate questions may be put on each of the Bills at the conclusion of the debate. I suggest therefore, Mr Speaker, that you permit the subject matter of the 4 Bills to be discussed in this debate.
– There being no disagreement, I will allow that course to be followed.
– There are 4 Bills before the House and perhaps 1 can briefly say that 2 of them relate to the financial year ended 30th June 1970 and 2 of them relate to Supply for the financial year that will begin on 1st July 1970 and continue until 30th June 1971. There are 2 sets each of 2 Bills because what are called normal annual appropriations appear in 1 Bill and capital works appear in the second. As far as Bills for this financial year are concerned, inevitably some expenditure cannot be anticipated at the time a Budget is drawn or at least some purpose cannot be foreseen. Sometimes expenditure exceeds the original appropriation; sometimes a new appropriation has to be made. In Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 1969-70 a sum of about S90m is being sought. In Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 1969-70 a sum of S34m is being sought. The other 2 measures provide Supply for the period 1st July 1970 to the end of November 1970 because the Budget session will not start until August and, as we know, it is necessary to continue government in that time.
Nevertheless measures such as these give us the opportunity to exam ne the impact of Government finance on the economy. This year the Budget provided for expenditure in the region of $7,000m, which is more than a quarter of the gross national product, and States and local government authorities between them will spend a sum or raise taxes themselves of another $ 1,300m or S 1,400m. It will be seen therefore that government is very big business in terms of total activity in the economy. I th think that it is a bit doubtful these days whether the Budget balances the economy or whether, in the final analysis, the economy balances the Budget.
A curious sort of method is adopted now of presenting the Budget accounts in more ways than 1. At 1 time, these accounts were strictly cash only. Technically, of course, that is what is of concern to this House. Nevertheless, for analytical purposes, it is useful to present the Budget in what is known as the national accounts form to show the impact of total expenditure on the part of the Commonwealth Government in an overall context.
I wish to say something this afternoon about what, for want of a better term, might be called the state of the economy. I must say that 1 find myself in substantial fundamental disagreement with some of the measures that have been taken recently supposedly to guide the economy. In particular, I refer to the recent increases in interest rates. These increases have begun to work right through now. A few days ago, when a Commonwealth loan was being sought, the rate of interest being offered for long term Commonwealth securities was 1%. I suppose that one could hark to other times. I note that, at 1 stage during the term in office of this Government, the bond rate was as low as 3i%. So, in approximately a 20-year period there has been a considerable increase in what is known as the gilt edged interest rate.
Of course, people can obtain an interest rate of 7% on government securities which are described as being gilt edged although I would think that some people would be a little dubious about that description. I refer to those people who invested in a loan some time ago when the interest rate was under 6%. Some of these securities were sought as far ahead, I think, as the year 2005. The details of this loan are given in the latest issue of the ‘Treasury Information Bulletin’ for April of this year. This shows that, as far as the previous government loan was concerned, the long term interest rate was approximately 6%. So, anybody who bought those bonds and who has to sell them faces quite a serious drop in the amount that will be received.
I think that, in some respects, the Treasurer (Mr Bury) is in some bother at the moment about managing the refinancing and extending of the national debt. The other day I read somewhere a figure of $ 1,000m in this respect. Approximately $ 1,000m comes up for conversion in the very short term period that is ahead of us. One of the difficulties in recent years is that, because the short term rates have been so attractive, the tendency has been for people to go into short terms securities rather than long term ones. At page 14 of this ‘Treasury Information Bulletin’ we read that for the Commonwealth loan on 11 th February 1970 - that is, the last loan offered before the one which is now current - an interest rate of 5.6% was offered for a loan maturing in July 1971, an interest rate of 5.75% for a loan maturing 2 years later in May 1973, an interest rate of 5.9% for one maturing in July 1977, an interest rate of 6% for a loan maturing in October 1991 and an interest rate of 6% for a loan maturing on 5th July 2005.
The ‘Treasury Information Bulletin’ shows how that loan was subscribed to the extent of $209m. We read that $116m, which is more than half of the amount raised, was in the short term. That is, it falls due by July 1971. Another $42m was taken in the next short term to May 1973. Nearly $30m was subscribed for the loan maturing in 1977. There were virtually no takers for the long terms loans. I think that a shade under $>2m was subscribed for the loan maturing in July 2005. It seems to me that one of the difficulties in the Australian economy has been that the short term rates of interest have been too high and too close to what the long term rates of interest are. A degree of flexibility has not been given. I believe that this flexibility is necessary in the Australian economy to manage the national debt.
Each year, when the October issue of the Treasury Information Bulletin’ is published, details are given as to how Commonwealth securities on issue are held. I quote from page 15 of the October 1969 issue of the Treasury Information Bulletin’. At the end of June 1969, Commonwealth securities redeemable in Australia aggregrated $9.736m. Only approximately fi ,100m - that is about one-ninth of the total - was actually held by what might be called by individuals as apart from institutions of I kind and another - government, financial, and so on. Even of the $l,118m in the hands of other holders, $680m was held in the form of special bonds, which is a form of security tailored for individual investors. So. at least the small man in the community is really not significant when it comes to loan flotations.
I have said before in this House that where the Government is confronted with the major part of its loan holdings - and it has some directed powers of compulsion in some directions; it has some powers of gentle persuasion via tax concessions in another direction - in my view that Government is well equipped as the seller of those securities and also as the buyer sometimes through the Reserve Bank to set a rate of interest that could be lower than is current yet still be acceptable by financial institutions. That is why, for our part, we are irked by the decision taken recently to increase bank interest rates in the community.
It is our view that this increase in interest rates will have very little impact on some sections of the community but that it will have tremendous impact upon those who in no way are responsible for what might be called the speculative upsurge in demand. I think that my colleague, the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren), has pointed out in recent times in housing debates that it does not seem much when the Government says that the rate of interest has gone up from 7% to 8%. But this increase makes a considerable difference to somebody on a moderate income who is required to finance a mortgage at 8% instead of at 7%. Of course the result of rationing the purse is always to force out certain people who, in a sense, may be called the most deserving section of-the community.
I always read with much interest the papers that are written by the Treasurer and delivered at various learned and nonlearned associations throughout the community. With all respect to my friends in the Australian Finance Conference, I do not know whether they regard themselves as a learned group or possibly a shrewd group but on 27th April 1970 the Treasurer delivered an address at the annual meeting of. that Conference and he entitled it ‘The Domestic Economy’. He observed, I think quite wisely, to the finance group that to some extent the rapid growth in business being written by finance companies reflects the fact that the main direct effects of monetary restraint tend to fall on the banking system. Later in his address he pointed out that the banking system supplies less credit now than was the case 15 or even 10 years ago and that the group that has made the most significant increase relatively has been the finance group. He observed that less than half of the balance outstanding to finance companies relates to instalment credit for retail sales. They have gone out of just being the suppliers of credit for automobiles, refrigerators, washing machines and so forth and have gone into such fields as land sales on quite a broad scale. The Treasurer at least acknowledges that when be does put monetary restraint upon the economy via the interest rate, to some extent there is a large section that is outside that restraint. He has gone further and has said that within the ambit of monetary restraint the harshest impact is felt by those least entitled to bear it.
Towards the end of his address he gave what 1 suppose he would call economic indicators. He listed retail sales, new motor vehicle registrations, dwelling approvals, non-residential building approvals, private investment in plant and equipment and public sector spending. In relation to dwelling approvals he said:
Meanwhile at the end of December 1969 there were 69,000 dwellings under construction, 12% more than a year earlier.
In the paragraph immediately following that he said that non-residential building approvals are running 45% above the level of a year earlier in the March quarter. I submit again that the effect of the monetary restraint will be to cause a much heavier impact in the field of dwelling approvals where the upsurge is only 12%. but that very little impact will be experienced in the field of non-residential building approvals because, after all, the interest paid by a business concern that is financing a building is a tax deduction. Even if we increased the interest rate by 4%, because a company is involved and it is paying company tax at the rate of 45c in the SI, the additional burden is in the region of only i%, again indicating the uneven impact of monetary policy.
Honourable members should read the Treasury bulletins, the most recent of which was published a few days ago and relates to the economic situation at the end of March 1970. We could not get much closer to current circumstances than the quarter ended in March 1970. lt would seem to me that some rather contradictory statistics are contained in this bulletin. They seem to suggest that trying to curb interest rates on home dwelling is scarcely the way to combat any disturbance, if inflationary disturbances are prevalent. I want to quote 1 or 2 of these statistics because in some respects they are rather illuminating. On page 11 is a table entitled ‘Financing the Deficit’. It shows what has happened to overall Government finance in the 9 months from July 1969 to March 1970 as against the same 9 months for 1968-69. The interesting point of difference is the item ‘Net change in Treasury notes on issue’. It shows that for the 9 months in 1968-69 the amount on issue was S253m. For the same 9 months in 1969-70 there is an item of $492m from which the sum of $250m is subtracted. A footnote indicates that Treasury notes to the extent of $250m were issued by the Commonwealth Government against the payment of a similar sum of $250m by the Reserve Bank to the Australian Wheat Board. Of course that payment of $250m to the Wheat Board is to finance wheat that has been produced but which cannot be sold.
In the early part of the Treasury bulletin occurs a rather curious phrase. I quote from the introduction on pages 1 and 2:
It has to be borne in mind that the large proportion of both rural and mining production which is exported does not provide an offset to growing domestic demand.
I have marked this quotation with a query because, candidly, I am somewhat per plexed as to what is meant. I think it means that we export wool, wheat, butter, sugar, copper, zinc and so on - goods that we have distributed and on which expenditure has been made within Australia for wages and so forth - but those goods are not available for consumption in Australia. I would hope that they would help to pay for our imports. Surely what we export conditions what we are able to import. I find it a rather curious piece of philosophising to say that we should do everything with the right hand and to forget that we have a left hand. In some respects this is only too true of much of the Government’s action at present. It is prepared to pay - I am not objecting to this particular method of financing - $250m into the pockets of people while there is no equivalent supply of goods coming onto the domestic market. It is to be hoped that we will sell the produce eventually.
– Why not feed it to the starving stock?
– A lot of things could be done with it. But all I submit is that it is rough justice to suggest that it is not inflationary and to solve what the Government calls an inflation problem by putting the penalty on other people altogether by increasing the impact of the interest rate.
I have no doubt that honourable members from time to time read the economic publications that are available in the Parliament Library. It is surprising to find the popular levels at which economic thinking is made available to the public these days. In American journals such as ‘Times’, ‘Business Week’ and ‘Newsweek’ a lot of mention has been made in latter days of a conservative American who, oddly enough, seems to have some fairly radical views about finance. The gentleman to whom I refer is Professor Milton Friedman. I have no doubt that the Treasurer knows who Professor Friedman is. Honourable members may obtain from the Parliament Library a copy of the ‘American Economic Review’ of March 1968 in which appears an article entitled ‘The Role of Monetary Policy’ by Milton Friedman, which is an account of the Presidential address delivered at the 18th annual meeting of the American Economic Association in Washington on 29th December 1967. On page 14. towards the end of the article, he states:
The first requirement is thai the monetary policy should guide itself by magnitudes that it can control, nol by ones that il cannot control.
He is talking in the context of the American reserve system. He goes on:
If, as the authority has often done, it lakes interest rates for the current employment percentage as the immediate criterion of policy, it will be like a space vehicle that has taken a fix on the wrong star. No matter how sensitive and sophisticated its guiding apparatus, the space vehicle will go astray. And so will the monetary authority.
I submit that this is the situation that we may have reached in this country. Again I am fortified by another opinion, this time from a Canadian source. I would hope that some day we will get round to having in Australia a publication such as the sixth economic review by the Economic Council of Canada, which is the sort of body that the Vernon Committee of Economic Inquiry suggested would be useful in the Australian context. This publication which was prepared in September 1969 and which is entitled ‘Perspective 1975’ also makes some mention of the matter to which 1 have just referred. On page 1 59 it states:
During the past year, considerable controversy has arisen in North America about the influence and effectiveness of monetary and fiscal policies as instruments of demand management. We have no doubts about the ultimate power and effectiveness of these policies when properly used. At the same time, we believe strongly that they are necessary, but by themselves insufficient, for achieving and maintaining high standards of performance in our economy.
I submit that that is a very pertinent lesson for Australia. The monetary instrument should be used not on its own but in conjunction with fiscal policies. I want to say something more about fiscal policies in a moment because 1 think that unfortunately we have got ourselves into a situation in Australia where monetary policy is about the only weapon left available to us. As the Treasurer quite clearly underlined in his address to the Australian Finance Conference, monetary policy does not have the same impact on the total economy that it used to have. Therefore if it is to have any effectiveness it has to be rather brutally and crudely applied to that part of the economy which it can affect. Professor Friedman also pointed out some salutory lessons. He said:
A second requirement of monetary policy is that the monetary authority avoid sharp swings in policy. In the past, monetary authorities have on occasion moved in the wrong direction - as in the episode of the Great Contraction that I have stressed. More frequently, they have moved in the right direction, albeit often too late, but have erred by moving loo far.
With all respect to the Treasurer, I would submit that not only has he moved too late but he has moved too far. He should have read a little less gloomily some of the trends that were evident enough in the quarterly figures for the national income and which it seems to me are pointed out in his own Treasury bulletin. One of the things that intrigued me is the statement on page 16 of the April Treasury bulletin about the increase in the volume of money. Those who read Milton Friedman carefully will find that he suggests it is more important to regulate the volume of money than it is to regulate the interest rate. He suggests that there should be a regular increase in the volume of money of between 3% and 5% per annum, which in Australia would be between $500m and $600m. The Treasury bulletin points out that the increase in the volume of money in the 3 months to March 1970 was $172m, which compares with an increase of $295 in in the corresponding months a year earlier. There was not the same increase in the volume of money from 1st January to the end of March 1970 as there had been from 1 st January to the end of March 1 969. The writer of the Treasury bulletin goes on to give further reasons:
The reason behind the smaller increase in the volume of money this year were the much smaller rise in the Rural Credits advances-
I have no doubt that my friends in the Country Party know why that has occurred too. The bulletin goes on:
On page 17, for those who want to read the lesson tn full, there is an analysis of changes in bank liquidity and money, which shows that the upsurge was not as great in the first 3 months of this year as it was in the first 3 months of last year. I am disturbed to some extent about the analyses that are made of the total trend in the economy. Sometimes I yearn for those blessed days when one had to make ones own estimate of the national income. Now it is done for you quarter by quarter and comparators are made in every field. I think at times we are inclined to be puzzled by too much information. It seems to me that what has disturbed the Treasurer is what he calls the ‘rise in the average weekly wage’. I think he said in his address to the Australian Finance Conference that it is expected to go up by 9% this year. Again 1 point out that every year in the last 10 years there has been an average increase in prices of 2i%. In some years the increase has been a little more and some years it has been a little less. Over the same period average weekly earnings have risen by Si% each year. This at least teaches us one lesson, and that is that an 8i% increase in wages has not led to an 8i% increase in prices.
Some people curiously suggest at times that wages are the sole cause of price increases. The increase in average weekly earnings has been 84%; the increase in prices has been only 24%. This situation has continued in Australia under the present Treasurer, under the previous Treasurer and under the late Mr Holt who was Treasurer prior to the other 2 incumbents of that office. Why should the Government suddenly get disturbed because this year wages will increase by 9%? I have asked this question categorically here before. In an economy where, according to the statistics, the majority of people are wage earners, how can the wage earner obtain his proper share of increased productivity, if prices do not fall - and it would be odd to find prices that have fallen in the Australian economy in recent years - unless his wage increases year by year at a minimum of, say, 64% to 7%. He is then getting only his share of the increase in productivity.
Of course the real evil of inflation is that it benefits a few and robs a lot. Not everybody is able to redress his own situation. People on a fixed income, such as pensioners and superannuitants, have no automatic means of insulating themselves against the effects of inflation. That is why sometimes governments have to intervene by fiscal policy and transfer payments. That is the task of government. One of the reasons that we work almost with both hands behind our back in the Australian context is because, as I have said, we rely on monetary policy. But fiscal policy cannot be effective. All that is effective about fiscal policy is that the Government collects what has been described in this American literature as fiscal dividend. As prices rise, if scales of taxation are not altered progressively people automatically pay a higher proportion of their income to the Treasury. This is inevitable in such a system, unless the scale is periodically altered. I submit that a scale of progression which operated in 1954 and which collects well over half the taxes of companies and individuals - I am dealing more particularly with individuals - cannot be equitable in 1969. I do not thing there is any argument about that.
If the average rate of inflation is 24% there is a case for altering the taxation structure every 4 or 5 years. Our taxation structure has not been altered for 15 years. There have been some minor adjustments to family concessions, but if they are related to price increases they are not worth as much now as they were originally. They distort the scale even further. Then if inequity is bowed into the system by allowing deductions for life assurance at the rate of $1,200 per annum - almost $25 a week - how many people in the community could avail themselves of it? This is the sort of review that is needed. There has been talk about it now for 2 years at least. The Minister for External Affairs (Mr McMahon) said 2 Budgets ago that he would like to reform the tax structure, but he felt the time was not propitious. If inbuilt devices in the progressive tax scale are to be relied on to control inflation, a great deal of injustice will be done to people in the lower income groups, and particularly the family taxpayer. This is to say nothing at all about the unequal impact of indirect as well as direct taxation.
Now is the time for taxation reform. It cannot be delayed on the ground that it would be too inflationary to do it. The same amount of tax can be collected but it could be distributed very much differently among various sections of the community. I have made calculations before and I shall certainly quote them again when the tax rates are being dealt with later this year. Let us take as an example an average wage earner on $72 or $73 a week with a wife and 2 children. If the Treasurer is too horrified about the likely impact of his wage being increased by 9%, let us have a look at the tax scale and see what he is paying in income tax. He is paying anything from $3 to $5 per week more than he should. Maybe if the Government did justice to people in this group through tax concessions it might not have to worry so much about what it thinks crf the horrendous impact of inflation.
I have taken this opportunity to explain and expatiate on certain aspects of the economy. Perhaps I can sum up by saying that it is the opinion of the Opposition that the Government and the Treasurer, through the Reserve Bank, have acted wrongly in increasing interest rates recently. If they had looked at other signs available to them they might have seen that there is not quite the upsurge that they thought in certain directions. In any event, it is crude and cruel to solve the demand in building by leaving untouched the activity which occurs in the non-dwelling section which is more than half of the total activity and confining the impact to the dwelling section where most of the people are on average incomes - a little bit above or a little bit less than I have mentioned. I am referring to the sort of people who have just married and who want a modern home which could be financed from their existing income. With the impact of the last i% increase, the previous i% increase and the increase a couple of years ago, they are paying something like li% more now for mortgage finance. If we look at the statistics we will see that this adds something like 25% to the weekly cost of financing a mortgage if the amount is $8,000 to $10,000. We do not believe they should be the victims of the failure of the Government to take the right steps in other directions. We have voiced our protest here on 2 occasions already. I simply underline it here again this afternoon.
– The House has before it 4 Supply Bills. I refer particularly to the proposed appropriation for the Department of External Affairs. This debate gives us an opportunity to discuss matters of public importance. Undoubtedly at the present moment the matter of greatest public importance in our external relations is the position in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. The situation there can be vitally affected by the so-called Vietnam Moratorium. The Moratorium aims to disrupt business and the life of the nation so that it will force the withdrawal of all allied troops from Vietnam. I stress the words ‘allied troops’, because apparently the aim of the Vietnam Moratorium is not to withdraw the troops from North Vietnam and the Vietcong who are the aggressors in South Vietnam. Its aim is to withdraw Australian, American, Thai and Korean troops who are the so-called allied troops. The Moratorium is really an attempt to coerce a democratically elected government by strikes by street violence and by so-called happenings. I ask: What would happen if the Moratorium were successful and it led to the immediate withdrawal of all allied troops from South Vietnam? There is no doubt whatsoever that the South Vietnamese have built up their strength enormously to resist the attacks being made on them. We are told that their forces are now very close to 1 million and that they aim to increase to about 1,100,000 the forces permanently under arms. For a nation of its size that is an enormous contribution. But, if all allied troops were immediately withdrawn, would they be strong enough to resist the attacks not only from North Vietnam but assisted by the Chinese and the Russians? One doubts that they would be able to do so. If they were not, what would happen? As I have already said in other places, one would see a blood bath in South Vietnam if the North Vietnamese were to overrun them. One has only to look at what happened in the ancient city of Hue which, for a fortnight during the Tet offensive, the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese occupied. Immediately in went the political cadres. They had their photographs and dossiers. Although they spent only a fortnight in that town, when the allied troops reoccupied that city they found at least 3,000 people who had been slaughtered by the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese. If this could happen in a fortnight in 1 city it shows what would happen throughout the whole of South Vietnam if the Moratorium were successful and all allied troops were immediately withdrawn, and also if , as a result of that, the South Vietnamese were unable to withstand the pressures placed upon them.
I draw the attention of the House again to a very short quotation which I read here not so long ago. It is a quotation from a book written by a very great expert on insurgencies, Sir Robert Thompson. He visited this country. He was an expert on Malaysia where he assisted in the emergency which lasted for some 16 years. He has been in Vietnam as the expert advising President Nixon. This is what he had to say about the consequences of a defeat in Vietnam in a book that he wrote recently entitled ‘No Exit from Vietnam’: . . the consequences of such a defeat need to be carefully weighed, tn South Vietnam itself a people would go under. Judging from past experience in China and North Vietnam perhaps several hundred thousands, who have supported the war and fought valiantly and who would certainly oppose the conquerors’ subsequent collectivisation programme, might be slaughtered. This will not be shown on television and so may not worry subverted liberals and fellow travellers, but others may have it on their conscience. There is after all no Formosa to which the victims can escape nor has any area been set aside for them in the Californian desert. In a year or two they will be conveniently forgotten and the consequent stagnation of the economy is advanced as a specious argument for international aid.
That is the position. There would be the grave possibility - almost probability - of South Vietnam being overrun. This would be only the beginning of the application of what has been known as the domino theory. There are people who disagree with the domino theory, but I do not believe that the people up in Asia, certainly those in control of a number of small states, disagree with it.
Basically, the domino theory is that there are in the South East Asian area a number of small states, none of which individually would be able to stand up against the might of North Vietnam assisted by the Chinese and the Russians. Therefore, if the strongest of these nations - which is South Vietnam - were to topple, the possibility of any of the others withstanding the pressure that would then be brought upon them would be even less. One could picture Laos, already fully occupied by the North Vietnamese, Cambodia and Thailand engulfed. Would it stop there? Would it go on to Malaysia and Burma? There is no doubt that the domino theory would have a .great chance of coming into operation if the Moratorium were effective and if, as the result of it, South Vietnam happened to be overrun.
Let us face the situation. There are only 2 alternatives in Vietnam: Either South Vietnam will be overrun or it will not. It is of no good for people to say that we should not have become involved. I disagree entirely with that. Are we just to back down wherever there is aggression in the world? I know that there are people who are peace loving and who believe that there should be no war. But what happens if any time there is Communist aggression we just back away from it? History in the past has shown - and history has a habit of repeating itself - that you cannot con:tinually back away from aggression. Sooner or later you have to face up to it. There is no need for me to remind the House of what happened in Europe before the Second World War and how the appeasers backed away when the German troops reoccupied the Rhineland. Nor do I need to remind the House about the appeasement in other areas such as Austria and Sudeten Czechoslovakia. I believe that we should have become involved in Vietnam; but the point is that we are involved. As I said, I know that there are some people who genuinely oppose the war. But aggression should not succeed and should not be seen to succeed anywhere. The moment that it does, the strength of the smaller nations is lessened and the chance of further aggression succeeding is even greater.
The Moratorium is gathering pace - or the organisers hope it is, although it does not seem to be. I was interested to note that we had a little demonstration here yesterday, and I read in the Press today that there were about 5 times as many people there as I thought were there when I looked out the window. No doubt this was a little bit of journalistic licence. The Vietcong have realised that the war will not be won by them and will not be lost by the allies in Vietnam. It will be won or lost in America or Australia by lack of resolution. That is the whole reason behind the Moratorium. The organisers realise that the place to win this battle is in Canberra, Washington and the various other capital cities of the world. I have before me a copy of a document that was captured on 1st June 1969 by a unit of the 9th United States Cavalry Division. It is dated 12th April 1969. It is clear from this document and from other documents that have been captured that the Communists expect complete victory only by way of a number of steps. They recognise that they cannot win militarily but they believe that a process has been set in train, beginning with the cessation of the bombing of the North and including the decision to negotiate in Paris with the National Liberation Front, which though tortuous will end in complete victory. If anyone ever doubted the role played by the protest movement in sustaining the morale of the Communists he could hardly do so any more after carefully reading this document.
There is no suggestion any more, as there was before the Tet offensive in 1968, that the people will rise up in sympathy with the Communists if offered the opportunity; of course they were offered this opportunity during the Tet offensive. The purpose being expounded is clearly this: Inflict as many casualties as possible; spread the killing of selective civilians as widely as possible; destroy as much as can be destroyed of the government’s local administration, but above all hasten the process by serious negotiations. That is, by withdrawal of United States troops and the acceptance of a coalition government may be expected to arise out of American political weakness, the nature of which is accurately described and the intensity of which is in direct proportion to the strength of this protest movement. So we can expect a full reporting in Hanoi of this week’s events. I believe that probably already the photograph of the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) addressing this meeting is on its way there.
– And of the Leader of the Opposition.
– And of the Leader of the Opposition. Thus, as I see it, the Moratorium is wrong for many reasons. Firstly it is wrong because it seeks to encourage Communist control of South East Asia by assisting our enemies. Secondly, it is wrong because it condones attacks on Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. We are told that already there are 60,000 North Vietnamese permanently in Laos and some 40,000 in Cambodia, many of whom are marching on Phnom Penh, but there is no word of course in the Moratorium about withdrawing these troops. Since 1965 about 5,000 tons of supplies a month for the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese have been going through Cambodia, through the Port of Sihanoukville. Thirdly, the Moratorium is wrong because it fails to call on the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese to withdraw. The neutrality of Cambodia should be strictly enforced and it should be properly supervised and effectively guaranteed. Fourthly, the Moratorium is wrong because it fails to condemn the assassinations, the kidnappings, the torture and the ravages of the Vietcong. I saw a figure recently which indicated that some 135,000 people had been assassinated, injured or tortured by the Vietcong. Probably the figure is very much higher than that.
Fifthly, the Moratorium is wrong because it fails to call on the North Vietnamese to pursue the Paris peace talks. The Paris peace talks have been a complete farce. We know that they were engineered by the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese for only one purpose. That purpose was the stopping of the bombing of North Vietnam. The North Vietnamese were being grievously hurt by the bombing. They had no answer to it and it was preventing their production and preventing their supplies from going south. The only way in which they could stop this was to make a farce of showing that they were prepared to negotiate. They said that it was the only thing preventing them from going to the negotiating table and, like suckers, we fell for it. There are so many genuine pacifists on our side - the side of the free world - who are carried away with humanitarian principles. No doubt many of these people are well intentioned but unfortunately they are also ill informed. Sixthly, we say that the Moratorium is wrong because it mentions the so-called corruption and tyranny in South Vietnam but there is no mention of what is happening in North Vietnam. My understanding is that tyranny is more likely to occur where there are no elections and we know there are no elections in North Vietnam, but there are elections in South Vietnam in spite of every attempt made by the Vietcong to sabotage these elections.
The Minister for External Affairs (Mr McMahon) only recently returned from a trip there and he said he was interested and very pleased indeed to meet so many of the heads of various village councils who had been elected. Certainly there are still some who have not been elected but have been nominated by the President. Nevertheless, a great many elections are held despite the attempts of the Vietcong to prevent them. Of course, the rule of law is being established in South Vietnam. In North Vietnam if a person were gaoled for 10 years would you expect him to be able to appeal to the courts and get that sentence quashed? Of course, you would not. He would be lucky if he got away with 10 years. Only recently a person in South Vietnam to whom this had happened appealed to the courts and had his sentence quashed.
The Moratorium is wrong because it seeks to use violence to undermine police authority, lt is all very well for people to say: ‘We do not want to use violence at all. We are going to sit down in the middle of the busiest street in the centre of Melbourne and only if these wretched police come along and start trying to move us will there be violence, but we do not want it at all.’ That is a ludicrous thing to say. [Quorum formed.]
I thank the honourable member for Chifley (Mr Armitage) for calling for a quorum and ensuring that more people will hear my speech, lt is unfortunate that so very few Opposition members are present to hear it. In fact, I think there were about 7 in the House all told. I was saying that the Moratorium was wrong and 1 was giving the reasons why I thought it was wrong. The honourable member for Chifley did not like it when f mentioned that this is a Moratorium which seeks to use violence to undermine police authority. People say that this Moratorium will be non-violent but how can it possibly be non-violent when arrangements are made to sit down in the middle of the busiest, streets of Melbourne and Sydney and make perfectly certain that there will be violence? We all know that a demonstration like this fails unless there is violence in which case photographs are available to be sent to Hanoi to show the way in which this dreadful Government is oppressing the people of Australia and how the people of Australia are just about to withdraw their forces as a result of these demonstrations.
Finally, the Moratorium is wrong because it tries to gain a minority control which could not bc won at the ballot box. lt is only a very short time since we went to the ballot box. We were elected as the Government for a 3-year period. Even in a gallup poll which was held recently only a relatively small percentage of people said that they believed the troops should be immediately withdrawn from Vietnam. The great majority said no, they believed the troops should be phased out as and when Vietnamisation was succeeding. Who is behind this movement, the so-called Vietnam Moratorium? There is no doubt that there are genuine pacifists with humanitarian principles, well intentioned but many of them ill-informed. There are of course, a great many Labor members of Parliament - all, I. believe, except 13 - who have signed this Moratorium. There are left wing unions. The interesting thing is that these left wing unions, which get their funds from their members and which are meant to be used for industrial purposes, are being used for political purposes. One only has to look at one of the advertisements placed in a paper today. This was a full page advertisement and everyone knows the enormous cost of such an advertisement. But, of course, money is no object when one is able to levy this money from people who believe thai it is being levied for industrial purposes.
Then there is the Association for International Co-operation and Disarmament. This is an organisation which even the New South Wales Labor Party said was a Communist front association. The British Labour Party also has said that it is a Communist front organisation. The organisation is one of those peace movement shows and everyone knows from where it is controlled. Lastly there are the card carrying Communists. We have seen a number of names associated with this, all of whom are full and recognised members of the Communist Party. Many are office holders of the Communist Party and are associating with members of the Labor Party. Let me name a few. My colleague the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) has recently distributed a pamphlet in which he lists a number of these people.
The people he lists from New South Wales are: Mavis Robertson of the Communist Party of Australia National Committee: Brian Aarons, who is the son of the CPA National Secretary - and the advertisement that appeared in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ carried the name L. Aarons, who I presume is Laurie Aarons, the National Secretary- and Catherine Macdonald from the teachers body. In Victoria there are such well known names as Laurie Carmichael of the CPA National Executive, John Sendy of the CPA National Committee and Bernard Taft of the CPA National Committee. In Queensland - and my honourable friend from Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns) mentioned this person last night - there is Hugh Hamilton, who is President of the State Committee of the CPA. There are also John Sherrington and James Henderson. In South Australia there is Peter Symon of the State Committee of the CPA.
– It sounds like a unity ticket.
– It is a unity ticket between the Labor Party and the Communist Party. Finally, in Tasmania there is Max Bound who is the State Secretary of the CPA. These are the people who are associated in running this spurious campaign. What a group.
What has happened to the once great Labor Party? A few years ago - I have been in this House I am afraid to say for as long as any Liberal on this side of the chamber - the Labor Party would not be associated with a Communist. The Labor Party would not be associated even with a Communist front organisation. Today it has swung away from that completely. What a shocking sight it was yesterday to see a Vietcong flag waving outside the front of this House and the Leader of the Opposition under that flag addressing the people who were demonstrating against our troops who are fighting in Vietnam. This is an appalling situation. I am told by the honourable member for Lilley also that the Leader of the Opposition has had some rather dubious associations with campaign organisers in his State and that this has never been denied. Every time anything can be done to support the Communists who represent the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese someone in the Labor Party is there to do it for them.
Look at the recent entry into this country of that traitor Burchett, a man who it is admitted was present during the questioning and torture of two American airmen who finally broke under this torture and signed some spurious document on germ warfare. Yet this man received assistance from the Labor Party, not only to get into this country but to do anything that he wanted while he was here. Even platforms were found for him by the Labor Party. The Labor Party backed the refusal to load tanks on the ‘Jeparit’. It called on the troops to mutiny. Why, we even have another place graced by the President of the Labor Party in Victoria who was present when the resolution was passed calling on the troops to mutiny. It seems to me that the Labor Party wants instant peace by surrender. Our Party - and I can say this on behalf of a committee we set up recently - is determined that we should continue to give every possible assistance to the South Vietnamese and to the Americans to see that South Vietnam is not overrun. We have produced a statement which has been signed by every member of the Government parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives, apart from those who are away and, Mr Speaker, of course. Let me read to the House what the statement says:
The Vietnam Moratorium campaign is an assault upon democratic processes, based on fraud and designed to promote widespread disruption and dislocation. It is not calculated to achieve anything except a weakening of the resolution of the Australian Government and the Australian people to secure a just peace in South Vietnam.
We, as the members of the Federal Parliamentary Liberal and Country Parties, urge the Australian people to recognise:
that the Australian Government desires a just peace in Vietnam, based upon the ability of the South Vietnamese people to determine for themselves, secure from aggression, the future development and government of their territory;
that, consistent with this overall objective, the Australian Government has indicated it will withdraw Australian troops as the success of the South Vietnamese Government and its allies in containing the North Vietnamese aggresstion and as the rate of withdrawal of US troops permits.
Accordingly, we urge all Australians to consider the implications of the Moratorium. We recognise the right of dissent and protest within the law - which we ourselves would assert if ever we were in Opposition. But we note that the Moratorium campaign is more, than an expression of legitimate dissent and1 protest. It is intended to be a massive strike for political purposes, designed to inconvenience thousands of citizens and to subject community life to dislocation. It is a wholly unjustifiable claim of right which amounts to an unjustifiable denial of the rights of others.
The Government will not be influenced to alter its policy by mass pressures of this character, nor should it be.
We call upon aH Australians to recognise the tactics of the Moratorium as dangerous and unwanted. Australia is a country where there is unlimited scope for legitimate and lawful freedom of dissent and’ protest and the Moratorium tactics are ro be forthrightly condemned.
I seek leave to table the document.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
– I gave the honourable member (or Farrer (Mr Fairbairn) (he opportunity to have his document incorporated in Hansard because it will become an historical document reflecting the sickness in the Government’s ranks and the fear of any demonstrations or agitation against its policy. 1 expressed my first opposition to Australia’s involvement in Vietnam in this House on 25th October 1962 when we had only a few advisers in what has since become a quagmire. Over 400 young Australians have been killed in Vietnam and over 2,000 of. them have been wounded. Many of the wounded have died. lt is interesting to note, if one looks at the historical position of Australia’s involvement in Vietnam, that a revered senator - Senator Hannaford - in the Government ranks was the one exception who had the courage to break from the Parly on this issue. He had a heart complaint and he was compelled by his conscience to take the stand he did. In fact he killed himself in expressing opposition to the war in Vietnam. With that exception not one member of the Government parties has ever expressed doubts or exercised any restraint in respect of the war in Vietnam.
It was morally, historically, politically and militarily wrong not only for Australia but also for the United States to become involved in Vietnam. General Douglas MacArthur told John Foster Dulles that any President of the United States who committed American troops to a land war in Asia should have his head examined. This was after the experience of Korea. President Johnson’s commitment of American forces to the war in South Vietnam destroyed him. It divided his party and divided his nation. On 6th April 1954 the late John Fitzgerald
Kennedy, who was then a senator, in referring to Indo-China, is reported in the Congressional Record as saying:
The time bas come for the American people to be told the blunt truth about Indo-China . . . despite tremendous amounts of economic and material aid from the United States . . . I am frankly of the belief that no amount of American military assistance in Indo-China can conquer an enemy which is everywhere and st the same time nowhere - an enemy of the people which has the sympathy and covert support of the people … for the United Stales to intervene unilaterally and to send troops on to the most difficult terrain in the world, with the Chinese able to pour in unlimited manpower, would mean that we would face a situation which would bc far more difficult than even that encountered in Korea, lt would seem to me that it would be a hopeless situation.
The war in Vietnam has been a drain on the United States. I have stated publicly before that in my opinion President Johnson stopped the bombing of North Vietnam because of internal moral pressure exerted against his administration by the American people and because of the economic consequences of the war. The war was costing America $30,000m a year. General Westmoreland’s call for a further 206,000 troops meant an additional expenditure of at least $ 1 2,000m a year. America could not deal with the economic inflation within the country and it had to stop the bombing of the north, lt could not win the war, although honourable members opposite wanted the bombing increased. As soon as the bombing of the north ceased the stock market, far from falling, rose. The conduct of the war had undermined the finances of the United States. There was a run on gold in Europe and the United States dollar, which had to support the price of gold at $35 an ounce, could not face that commitment and it was necessary to have 2 prices for gold. As a result this had a great deal to do with the cessation of the bombing and was a step towards sanity. But I stress that although the United States may be withdrawing troops from Vietnam it is still dropping more bombs on Vietnam than were dropped in the time of Johnson. More bombs have been dropped on Vietnam than were dropped on all the Axis powers during the Second World War. Two thirds of those bombs have been dropped on South Vietnam.
Some of the most inhuman actions ever perpetrated on man have occurred in Vietnam. The war is immoral. Every Australian should do everything in his power to try to bring peace to this troubled land. When I talk about the War I speak in terms of what the late President Kennedy said in 1954. We have to solve the problem of Indo-China. It is important that if we are to stop the war we should get out of Vietnam. We are creating genocide there. General Lemay, a former United States Air Force General, once said: ‘Let us bomb them back to the stone age.’ The most powerful nation ever known is doing this to one of the smallest nations in the world; it is trying to bomb this small nation into the stone age. Unless the insanity of this war ceases, this will happen.
– I rise to order. On several occasions the honourable member for Reid has referred to the late President Kennedy’s remarks in 1954. The statement which he read to the House was made before the Geneva Agreements. President Kennedy was referring to the French and Vietminh, not to the present war.
– There is no substance in the point raised.
– The honourable member for Griffith is attempting to use diversionary tactics. To show the nature of this so-called democratic government in South Vietnam, which this Government supports, let me refer to some particulars given in answer to a question which I directed on 27th September 1967 to the then Minister for External Affairs, Mr Hasluck. The Minister told me that the population of South Vietnam was etimated to be about 17 million. Of that number about 8.5 million were entitled to vote. About 5.8 million were registered for a vote and in the elections fewer than 5 million people voted. President Thieu received 1.6 million votes. His closest opponent received 817,000 votes in a first past the post ballot. That was Truong Dinh Dzu. But where is Dzu now? He is in a South Vietnamese gaol. That is the kind of democracy which this Government and the American Government are supporting in their genocidal activities in South Vietnam. I make it clear, as I have year after year, that if there is to be peace in this area there must be compromise on both sides. I have stressed this over and over again. The parties are now sitting at the conference table in Paris. This was thought impossible not long ago due to the attitude of the National Liberation Front. There is a ray of hope now and I believe that all honourable members should be calling for a de-escalation of the war. I do not accept the domino theory. I believe that the situation in Vietnam is more like that in Spain than in Munich.
I rose to deal with the important matter of housing. I move:
That all words after ‘That’ be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: in the opinion of this House the Government should make available immediate finance to all successful applicants for war service homes loans.’
What happens to these young men who wish to acquire a home through the War Service Homes Division after being sent by this Government to Vietnam is ironical. After making application to purchase a home and after everything is finalised they are told that they have to wait 6 months, and they have to arrange temporary finance for that period at very high interest rates. The War Service Homes Division is one sector of the housing field in which the Commonwealth has complete power. That is the reason why I moved my amendment to the motion for the second reading of the Appropriation Bill (No. 3). At present there is a waiting period of 6 months for applicants wishing to purchase a new home or an existing dwelling. This has been the position since 18th March. In its amendment the Opposition is asking the Government to make available immediately finance to all successful applicants for war service home loans and not make them wait 6 months.
It is difficult enough for a purchaser to chose the home he desires but cannot immediately finance. His position is acute enough even if his application is approved. But let us consider the loan of $8,000 at present advanced by this Government. We find that the average cost of land and dwelling for war service homes in the last financial year, according to the departmental report, is in excess of $13,000. Therefore the applicant has to find an additional $5,000 to bridge the gap between the war service loan and the average cost of the land and dwelling.
Recently the Government was forced to raise the value of a home for eligibility for a grant under the homes savings grant legislation from Si 5.000 to SI 7,500 because of inflationary trends in land prices and the cost of building. Why was this necessary? To answer that question we must examine land prices in the many electorates and areas represented not only by Opposition members but by honourable members on the Government side of the chamber. I will cite figures prepared following a survey by Mr Joe Glascott who was a leading writer for the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’. The survey revealed that in an area like Belrose a block of land costs $9,600. The maximum war service home loan is $8,000. How can any young man obtain a homewith a war service loan when a block of land alone costs $9,600?
I could refer to other areas where land is far more expensive but I am trying to be realistic by selecting areas in the outer suburbs of Sydney in which land is available. For instance, the average price at Castle Hill is $6,750. At Engadine, Fairfield and Merrylands it is $6,000. At Guildford it is $6,500, at Heathcote it is $6,000, and at Hornsby Heights it is $6,900. At Pymble West it is $10,000 and at Normanhurst it is $6,500. The figures I stated represent the average cost of land in those areas yet the maximum loan provided by this Government for war service homes is only $8,000. The average loan provided by the permanent building societies is $11,500. We hear honourable members on the Government side speaking in this place about sending young Australians to Vietnam. Four hundred young men have been killed and over 2,000 have been maimed. Yet when they return to Australia and apply for a war service home loan the maximum loan available is $8,000. The average cost even of a housing commission home is a conservative figure of $13,000. The price of the average home in the general private sector would be nearer $14,000 or $15,000. If this were not the case then the maximum figure provided under the homes saving grants scheme for attracting the subsidy would not have been increased from $15,000 to $17,500. The honourable member for Benelong (Sir John Cramer) suggested that the maximum figure under that legislation should he $20,000. I agree with him on that occasion.
It is time this Government stopped talking hypocritically not only about war but about what happens when these young men return from war. It should give them what they are entitled to.
It is about time honourable members opposite recognised that everybody has the right of freedom of association. Many honourable members fought in World War II - and many suffered - for freedom of association. How can they use the term guilty by association’, as did the honourable member for Farrer? This attitude makes democracy sick. This is not what we fought for. We fought for a society in which there was freedom of association and not guilt by association. In our country a man is presumed to be innocent until proved guilty by trial by jury. I have endured smears and innuendos and a long struggle involving litigation as far as the Privy Council. 1 cleared my name after facing 3 juries, all of which exonerated me. There are honourable members on the Government side whom 1 could not imagine surviving the same test.
In the time remaining to me I shall deal with some of the general aspects of housing. The Treasurer (Mr Bury) is in charge of this Bill. I shall quote what he had to say in September 1965 when he was the Minister for Housing. I am quoting from pages 776 and 777 of Hansard for that period. The Minister said:
The Minister then went on to say:
However, lbc deficiency in using housing to dampen demand is that this impedes the achievement of some of our most fundamental national objectives.
The Minister continued:
We live in a fully employed economy without any appreciable reservoir of labour and resources which are not already actively employed. However, we do know now from practical experience that we already have the labour a’nd resources to construct upwards of 110,000 dwelling units per annum without undue strain on the rest of the economy.
It can be noted from the figures that are available that the number of houses that were completed in 1964-65 - the years of which the Minister was talking - was 1 1 2,000 dwellings, flats and houses. In 1965-66 there were 112,000 completed and in the following year there were 110,000 completed. The next year it rose to 120,000 and last year it rose to 130,000. In other words, over a period of approximately 5 years there has been an increase only of some 20,000. I believe that this is not an excessive increase. With our immigration policy and the growth in the number of young people, the demand for homes will increase. Yet the Treasurer when he was the Minister for Housing said there was no planning in this regard. What is he now doing as Treasurer? He is using exactly the opposite proposal to that which he made in 1965. He is applying economic pressure to housing in our community. He is applying pressure on the people who need homes. This policy is affecting the housing sector more than any other sector.
If interest on a loan of $14,000 over 15 years is increased by % from 5% to 5i% the increased cost of that home is $711. If the loan is over a period of 25 years the increased cost is some $1,300. When one looks over the last 5 years, the period of which I am speaking, it can be seen that the interest rates of the Commonwealth Bank have changed from 4f % in 1964 to 61% in April 1970, an increase of H%. On a loan of $15,000 over a period of 25 years the increased cost is some $3,760. This is the pressure that this Government is bringing to bear on the home buyer. The Treasurer said this morning at question time that he had no control over increases of interest rates, that this was the role of the Reserve Bank. Let us look at the attitude of the Treasurer, the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) and the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr McEwen) to the rural sector. They were able to ensure that no increased burden was placed on the farmer or the man on the land. I am not arguing against that; I think it is probably a sensible policy. But if they can give special consideration to the rural sector why can they not give special consideration to the home builder? There has been no appreciable increase in home building during the last 5 years. However there has been an increase in commercial office building. Let me quote some of the figures supplied to me by the Legislative Research Service of the Parlia mentary Library. In 1964-65 the amount expended on commercial building was $117.m. In 1965-66 it was $123m. The following year it was $11 8m and in 1967-68 it had increased to $149m. In 1968-69 there was an increase to $172m and in the first 9 months of this year there had been an expenditure on office buildings of something like $200m. It has increased in the last 5 years from $1. 17m to $200m which only represents 9 months of this financial year.
This is the sector of the building industry that should be dealt with because the Treasurer knows that the insurance companies that were providing money for home building before the action of the Reserve Bank are now diverting that money to a sector where they receive a higher return on their investment. They are lending money to the commercial interests who are constructing office buildings. This is the action of this Government. I ask: Why has the Government not given special consideration to this aspect. If we look at the commencements - I use this term although the Treasurer always uses the term ‘approvals’ - we note that they are less in the March quarter of 1970 than they were in the March quarter of 1969. The figures are down by 100; there were 33,900 in March 1969 and there are now 33,800. In Western Australia it has been reduced from 4,600 to 3,600; in New South Wales it has decreased from 12,400 to 11,800. This is something the Treasurer should look at because there are builders now who cannot sell the homes that are already constructed
-Order! The honourable member’s time has expired. I direct Hansard to omit the words spoken by the honourable member after the expiration of his time. Is the amendment seconded?
– I second the amendment and reserve my right to speak.
- Mr Speaker, I wish to address my remarks to that section of the Appropriation and Supply Bills which relates particularly to our Departments of External Affairs and Defence. I wish to relate my remarks especially to those events which are taking place in this nation at the present moment of which we are well aware because of the mammoth amount of publicity and the tremendously costly activity which has gone into producing what is to be the effect of the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign in the next few days.
Now, the word ‘moratorium’ has been used in various and a varied number of ways. I intend to refer first of all to its meaning ‘to call a halt to”’. While the Moratorium to be held in the capital cities tomorrow and subsequent days refers to a suggestion that we should call a halt to meeting our obligations to our neighbours and to nations under attack, that we should withdraw our forces from Vietnam and that we should come back to the boundaries of Australia and mind our own business - this is a meaning that is being implied by the exponents of this philosophy - I, too, believe that we need a moratorium in Australia in the sense of calling a halt to something. 1 see taking place around us a disastrous polarisation or an attempt at polarising and dividing and lining up the nation into opposing warring factions. An attempt is being made all the time to line up the Australian people into intransigent camps beyond change or amendment. The very extravagance of the propaganda, or the language and the suggestions that are continually being made is in line with the traditional approach of the Communists to foment every grievance, to sharpen the class struggle, and from our school children to our trade unions and from parliament itself to the people there goes out this propaganda embodying the suggestion of the dividing and sharpening of the differences that will lead to this polarisation that 1 deplore.
The seeds of national strife and sectional strife are beginning to bloom. When these things occur inside a nation, tragedies can emerge. We have seen tragedy inside the United States of America. We can see the preparations being made for this very same kind of emotional explosion, this kind of irresponsible mass action, which can give rise only to tragedy as it is augmented. There is, of course, on the other side of this question the temptation to those of us who are in politics to exploit such a situation. It would be too easy and too dangerous if we were simply to take the view of trying to alienate from ourselves any sense of responsibility or to point the hand at the Opposition and say that ‘there lie all those forces which are giving rise to such division’. This is a political temptation and I believe that we must face it honestly.
Let us look at the paradox that is involved in this current situation. The paradox for me is this: I know many members of the Australian Labor Parly and many men particularly in the trade union movement who not only know Communism well but also hate Communism. They have suffered under Communism. They have seen what it has done to them, to their families and to their jobs. They are men whom I like and men whom I trust. But only disaster can follow a programme where men like these are continually and increasingly either being found to be expendable or are forced into positions where they have to go along with the latest Communist offensive.
Unhappily, today, in the Australian Labor Party, there are increasing signs of the fundamental Marx-Leninist objective; the destruction of parliamentary democracy and the rule of law. Lenin was absolutely explicit on this point. Lenin wrote - and I quote his words exactly - that:
While the workers are building up the instruments of their power in the form of Soviets, it follows that the workers must prepare - ideal 06,cally, politically and technically- for the struggle of the Soviets against parliament, for the dispersal of parliament by the Soviets. But it does nol follow that this dispersal is hindered, or is nol facilitated by the presence of a Soviet opposition within the counter-revolutiona ry parliament.
As one reads the words of Lenin, one looks with some dismay at the bloom of black badges of the Moratorium that have appeared on the lapels of honourable members opposite. ( will discuss (he Moratorium to which they refer in a moment. But let mc make the general point that month after month now we see a drift in our political life in Australia into the polarisation that I deplore so that it is virtually certain that every move that the Government makes at this moment or in the future against the activities of Communists in their designs on Australia or in this direction immediately will be attacked by the Opposition; immediately the word ‘Communist’ is mooted, abuse follows with laughing, scorn and the suggestion of kicking the can. Is this not what Lenin meant?
Let me continue the quotation:
The experience of many, if not all revolutions shows how very useful during a revolution is the combination of mass action outside the reactionary parliament wilh an opposition sympathetic to (or better still, directly supporting) the revolution inside it.
These are the words of Lenin for his concept of the way in which revolution can be extended. Indeed, Lenin wrote to a young enthusiast from Glasgow who suggested that good revolutionaries should have nothing to do with such reactionary things as parliaments. Lenin wrote to this young man and said.
The writer of the letter is perfectly clear in the point that only workers’ Soviets, and not parliament, can be the instrument whereby the aims of the proletariat will be achieved . . . but the writer of the letter does not even ask, it does not occur to him to ask, whether it is possible to bring about the victory of the Soviets over parliament, without getting pro-Soviet politicians into parliament, without disintegrating parliament from within, without working within parliament for the success of the Soviets in their forthcoming task of dispersing parliament.
I believe that this is the incipient tragedy in a situation that sees this far advanced, sharpening of the class struggle and of the suggestion that between the 2 Parties - the alternative Government and the Government - there is this wide gulf of allegiance.
Now, I have called this a tragedy - and it is. But can it be averted? Even if it were to cost us on this side of the Parliament office in government - I speak purely for myself - I believe that it would be worth while to lose office if we could see emerge a strongly anti-Communist Labor Party prepared to have a bi-partisan approach once more on the vital issues which affect Australia’s security. Let me repeat that. For me personally, 1 believe that it would be worth while for us even to lose office if in doing so we were sure that there would emerge a strongly anti-Communist Labor Party prepared to have a bi-partisan approach once more on the vital issues that affect Australia’s security.
The issues that Vietnam has assumed in this nation, the issue of this Indo-Chinese peninsula, are not the cause but have become the excuse, the emotive source and the pretext for Communist action in Australia. Others are ready to hand if these issues were to pass out of the pages of history - everything from racism to merino rams. But Vietnam today is a global issue. It is being used across the world with tremendous emotion because of the television cameras, the reporters, and the propaganda which is poured out of this unhappy disorder in IndoChina. Even in Scandinavia the riots go on in the universities, on the campuses and in the streets. Why on earth has this occurred in Norway and Sweden if it is not part of a world-wide Communist offensive against the non-Communist world?
Today, across Australia, certain people are at war against our society. Does anyone deny that these people are inside Australia and at war against Australian society? Does anyone deny what the Communists themselves claim? If they are here, what are they doing? Can we put the spotlight on the particular situation or the particular things that the Communists themselves are setting out to do? How do they work?
Well, to me, that too is quite clear. They work for the most part quite openly. In January of 1967, an Australia Day conference was held in Sydney where a blueprint was laid down for the next stage of Communist preparation for this kind of activity that we see in our midst today. High up among the items on this blueprint was the preparation of school children and students - both at high schools and in universities - for the assault of the Communist propaganda. Now, as we come to the day of the Moratorium, we see how far they have progressed in those 2i years. Today there is a well set up organisation within our schools. ‘Tabloid Underground’, to quote one of the productions, is being disseminated among our children. What kind of literature is going out to our high schools? Let me quote a small extract from a recent issue of ‘Tabloid Underground*, referring to the Moratorium. It talks, firstly, about Australia being divided into 2 classes - the boss class and the working class - and says:
Analyse just about any of the big issues - Vietnam, the right to strike, education, law and order - and it boils down to a class question, meaning that is a conflict as to whose interests should come first - the bosses or the working class.
The reason why bosses are in this position is that Australia is virtually a bosses dictatorship-
And so on and so on. It finishes up:
The boss class never have and never will peacefully hand over their wealth to the working class.
So the solution it proposes is:
Bosses have got guns but they haven’t got the numbers. We believe that the working people can and one day they will, in alliance with progressive students and other sections of the population, overthrow capitalism, kick out the bosses, seize the wealth that is rightfully theirs and establish Socialism.
That is the kind of propaganda - the kind of bilge - that is being disseminated throughout our schools. It is a direct result of this preparation that was made some 2 years earlier. I could go on and refer to training camps for young guerillas up in the Blue Mountains- - the kind of places where photographs of Lenin, Mao Tse-tung and Ho Chi Minh hold places of honour in the galleries.
But what is the basic strategy? It is one of deliberate and skilful distortion and fraudulent pseudo-authenticity in their literature.
A plethora of books has been printed about the Vietnam campaign. We have found authors of all kinds and description distributing a common line, which goes something like this: First, Vietnam was divided by the Geneva Agreements temporarily pending free elections in 1956. We all agree on that. But then this literature - this is from universities, professors, bishops, parsons, parliamentarians and others - goes on and makes the point that South Vietnam was the first to break these Agreements. It says that South Vietnam broke the Agreements by refusing to hold elections and by introducing foreign troops from the United States of America. The literature goes on to say that the majority of people in Vietnam wanted Communist rule but that the United States espoused nationalistic dictators and imposed another type of regime against the people’s will. From that the literature concludes that the Vietcong were those who, in the South, refused to accept this imposed will and are a genuine opposition from within and that therefore the war is really a civil war. The literature claims that the International Control Commission apportioned the greater amount of blame to the South, and that the United States and its allies have been by far the greater transgressors in the use of terror and in attacks on the civilian population.
Honourable members opposite say: ‘Hear, hear’. I take it that that is a fair statement of the kind of picture that has been painted for the people of Australia. I believe that it is a fundamentally false picture. It can be proved to be false, not from my opinion, not from American documents or Australian documents, but simply by systematically taking the very authors that these people claim to be accurate and reliable and, by quoting chapter and verse, proving that this kind of thing is fomented nonsense.
If I believe what I have just read out to be true - if I believed the vast majority of those claims to be true - I would join the Moratorium. I not only believe them to be false, however, but I go even further and say that they have been fraudulently made and documented and sold to tens of thousands of Australian people in publications which all too often bear the imprimatur of leading clergymen, parliamentarians, professors, professional men and others who ought to occupy positions of responsibility and trust. Let me illustrate. I have been claiming a lot; so let me give a concrete example. The great majority of these antiGovernment booklets that have appeared on Vietnam use a very telling witness. They accuse the South of obstructing the holding of elections in 1956. They claim that the government of South Vietnam knew that if it dared to hold such elections then the vote for a Communist country under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh would be overwhelming. Their key witness, the man they quote, is General Eisenhower, and they say that his statement was something like this:
I have never met a person knowledgeable on Indo-China who did not agree that had elections been held probably 80% of the population would have voted for the Communist Ho Chi Minh.
That is the quotation made by not one but many of these booklets, indeed the majority of them and all attacking the Government’s position. It has been more than enough for thousands of Australians. It has been quoted from Bennelong to Burke, but is it what Ike said?
Listen to the exact truth and see how these academics, clerics and the like have misled the nation. What did Eisenhower say? I shall leave out the exaggerations by people such as Mr Gregory Clark who first wrote for the ‘Australian’ and then, for the University of New South Wales Study Group, the book ‘Vietnam and Australia’. He just added little bits. The reference to 80% voting for the Communists was ‘possibly 80%’ in the first issue, ‘probably 80%’ in the next issue and in the last article he wrote it was ‘at least 80%’. Leaving that to one side and regarding it as just enthusiasm, let us look at two vital omissions from what Ike actually said. He said: 1 have never met a person knowledgeable on Indo-China who did not agree that had elections been held as of the time of fighting-
These last words were omitted by all writers - possibly R0% of the population would have voted for the Communist Ho Chi Minh rather than the Chief of Slate Bao Dai.
Again, the last phrase was omitted by them all. What does this mean? It means first of all that ‘as of the time of fighting’ referred to the time when Ho Chi Minh was the leader of the national cause of the Vietminh. It was prior to 1954 that Bao Dai, the feudal emperor and puppet of the French, was in control. He was a man very much despised by the entire nationalist cause. It is, of course, true that in those days when the Vietnamese people were united in a nationalist cause 80% of the people would have preferred their leader to the puppet emperor Bao Dai. Rather than vote for Bao Dai, 80% probably would have voted for the Communist Ho Chi Minh, as Eisenhower expressed it.
Surely what has been written is a telling piece of misrepresentation. But the evidence has to be viewed in the way in which this misrepresentation emerged, because it has been taken up by the opponents of the Government’s position and it is intended that the reader should imply that the particular quotation referred to the elections to be held in 1956 under the Geneva Accords. The evidence, of course, is quite different, because by this time Ho Chi Minh was nothing like the popular leader that he had been before the fall of Dien Bien Phu. By this time different events had taken place in the North. Firstly, when the country was divided by the Geneva Agreement and the International Control Commission into North and South Vietnam nearly 1 million people chose to leave Ho Chi Minh’s sanctuary to go to Saigon rather than live under that regime, compared with fewer than 200,000, most of whom were expatriated to the North because of the terms and conditions of the division. There was a mass exodus away from Ho Chi Minh’s paradise. And what a paradise it proved to be on the Communist’s own documentation, because this man soon emerged - not as the benign Uncle Ho, the father of the Vietnamese revolution, but as the hard line MaoistMarxist - to impose on the North the kind of conditions that he had seen taking place in the Chinese revolution.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– Before the suspension of the sitting for dinner I was charging that the literature that has poured out in pamphlet and booklet form against our stand in Vietnam contains a large number of deliberate falsifications. I was giving evidence of this and showing the way in which quotations from no less a person than General Eisenhower have been subjected to editing and annotation which has completely changed the meaning of the statement, the time in history to which it referred, and the facts on which it was based. The General was alleged to have staled that the majority of persons in North Vietnam would have chosen to vote for Ho Chi Minh in 1956 had only those elections been held that were foreshadowed by the 1954 Geneva Accords.
However, as I said earlier, the General was referring to a time when the whole nation was fighting against the French and when the puppet Emperor Bao Dai was the unpopular national leader. Ho Chi Minh, in the time that followed between the partition of Vietnam and the proposed time for the elections in 1956 had indeed perpetrated in North Vietnam an excessive zeal as a Maoist Communist that brought the whole party into revolt. Let me quote 1 or 2 witnesses. Bernard Fall, who is eagerly quoted by many who oppose the Government’s attitude on Vietnam, wrote in an article ‘Problems of Communism’ published in July-August 1965 the following passage which appears on page 18:
Exact figures remain unavailable, but the number of peasants killed during the North Vietnamese land reform’ drives from 1954 to 1956 is variously estimated at between 50,000 and 100,000.
Hoang Van Chi wrote in his book ‘From Colonialism to Communism’ the following passage which appears on page 211:
Evidently, both Ho and Mao anticipated a strong public reaction against their land Reform policy and concluded that only a deliberate excess of terror would annihilate that reaction . . . the party recommended an excess of violence . . Only when the campaign was all over did it express regret for its failure to honour this or that promise.
The following passage appears in that same book on page 166:
The total number of victims in this campaign has never been made public, but if we are to believe M. Gerard Tongas, a French professor who remained in Hanoi up to 1959, and who claims to have accurate information, this indescribable butchery resulted in one hundred thousand deaths.
The same authors pointed out that the persons butchered were not by any means real landlords but were even elected as such from members of the Lao-Dong or Communist Peoples Party in that area because it was necessary to go through the motions of the same kind of annihilation of landlords as had been seen in China. Time prevents my going on further to demonstrate the way in which Ho Chi Minh had fallen from grace and how the people were disillusioned about his purposes and so the great numbers fled to the south. There is no further time for an analysis of that hoax on the Australian people, but let me quote 1 further classic case. T refer to the falsified horrific colour photographs of maimed children. In particular I refer to the document ‘The Children of Vietnam’, a ‘Ramparts’ special edition, frequently distributed over the signature of clergymen and in which totally dishonest photographs of children who are alleged to bc the victims of American atrocities are reproduced. The Department of External Affairs and others have analysed the evidence and traced the photographs to their origin. Perhaps it would be as well for me to quote the findings of the Department on this issue. One photograph of an alleged victim of US brutality is described in this way:
The background note on the original photograph was ‘Two orphan children enjoy a meal of bulgar wheat and rice at the National Orphanage 10 miles south of Saigon. The boy has been at the orphanage but a short time. The Viet Cong had thrown a hand grenade into the bus in which he was riding with his mother and father. Both parents were killed while the boy suffered shrapnel wounds in the head.’
Yet the publication alleged the exact opposite. This falsification of evidence has been perpetrated on the Australian public all too often. So one could go on producing evidence after evidence. But tomorrow there is to be a Moratorium. It is feared that there will be violence. Why should there be violence, I am asked, when people such as the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) say: ‘Please do not let us have violence. Let us just create all the conditions of violence, all the emotional stirring up, and all the means whereby there will be a reaction by the people against the usurpation of their rights, and if there is any violence blame the police and call them Fascist pigs.’
I remember seeing on television the Reverend Ted Noffs of the Wayside Chapel speaking to university students in Sydney before they went on their most violent crusade of last year. He spoke to them in these terms: ‘I appeal to you young people - and my appeal may sound strange in the light of what you are planning to do this afternoon - but I appeal to you to go out and be more radical in your behaviour than you have ever been in your lives before. Only thus will we draw attention to this iniquitous war and this iniquitous legislation.’ This is the kind of stirring up that is going on. Our young people are being prodded into situations where their emotions will be aroused, where violence must ensue, and where there is inevitably a clash with law and order or with ordinary decent citizens who do not want to see their rights usurped.
An advertisement appeared in the national Press today. It stated over a list of signatories: ‘The time for talking is past’. Mark the words: ‘We must do more than merely voice our dissent. Join in action to end the war’. What does this mean? Does it mean the same thing as those writers who told the children in the State secondary school: The bosses have guns. They are the ones who are in control, and they will not give away their control peacefully. Let us get stuck into it and see that the ordinary people take control.’ What does it mean if it does not mean violent revolution?
Who is organising this Moratorium? The speakers put down for the Yarra Bank in Melbourne tomorrow include Lawrie
Carmichael. I do not have to state that man’s position in the national executive of the Communist Party. Also to speak is Michael Hyde from the Monash Labor Club. 1 wish I had time to quote from that club’s effusions in print and to demonstrate how it has called on people for violence, and achieved it. At the present moment persons who are on the executive of the Moratorium Committee are in gaol because of violence stimulated by articles published in the Monash Labor Club’s journal. The honourable member for Lalor also stands amongst the people who will speak. I ask: ls it not true that a member of the secretariat of this Vietnam Moratorium Campaign is currently awaiting trial on criminal charges for damaging windows in public and company offices in Melbourne? His name is Edward James Blume-Poulton. He and others carried out orders that were given to what is called the ‘Australian Liberation Army’. These are frightening terms. We have heard them before. Who and what is it liberating in Australia? A clear call has been made to ordinary persons to regard themselves as the oppressed, to sharpen the class struggle, to ferment other grievances, thus leading people into a violent revolution.
I could go on. but I must close by stating that I believe the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign is an imported tactic designed to violate the processes of Parliamentary democracy by the use of sectional pressures of disruption and threats of force. It pays no regard to the interests of Australia’s security or the freedom of small’ countries under bitter attack in Indo-China. It is clearly intended to reinforce the world wide Communist offensive against the West. We on this side of the House have no territorial claims in Indo-China. We seek no bases. We seek only the freedom of these people so that they can stand free and determine their own future. It is the expressed intention of Australia’s enemies to bring about increasing national crises so that the Government, the law and the police will be brought under attack and conditions of anarchy will prevail1. We urge all true Australians to do all in their power to ensure that the Moratorium does not succeed, that the areas of its activities are not attended, and that we give as little comfort and aid to our enemies as possible.
– When the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes) was in New Guinea last weekend to open the Public Service Association’s 15th Annual Congress, he made some comments which reveal more about his attitudes than about the actualities of New Guinea. He said, for example, that he had ‘evidence of a drop in morale at all levels’ following the visit made in December and January by the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) and the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden) and me. He claimed that the people were uncertain about their future because my colleagues and I had put forward proposals for New Guinea which departed completely from those of the Government. He further claimed that the people were not sufficiently aware of the difference between Government and Opposition and that indeed in some quarters my colleagues and 1 were regarded as speaking for the Government.
I wonder whether the Minister realises the implications of his claims. In effect he is saying that Australia has been so remiss and ineffectual in fulfilling its clear obligations to prepare and educate the people of New Guinea for political independence that even the basic concept of Government and Opposition in a parliamentary democracy is not understood there. One could not imagine a more complete confession of failure. I have been highly critical of many aspects of the Australian Administration and Australian attitudes to New Guinea but 1 have never made, and would never make, so sweeping a condemnation as the Minister himself: because, if the Minister were correct, it would mean complete failure in the crucial part of our New Guinea task - the political part. What the Minister’s weekend statements really illustrate is his continuing failure to recognise and encourage a feeling of self-confidence in the people of New Guinea, their confidence in their own ability, their own dignity, their own manhood, their own nationhood. He persistently betrays this attitude of paternalism; he actively encourages a feeling of dependence and he desires to perpetuate that feeling of dependence. He rebukes and rubbishes those who would assert themselves, and encourages and elevates the colonial cringe.
The Minister claims that political debate itself is the cause of uncertainty in New Guinea. If there is to be any political debate at all in New Guinea itself or in Australia, it is inevitable that deep differences of opinions and of policies will emerge. This is what the political processes are about. To assert that such debate creates confusion is to deny that there should be any debate at all. If the object of the exercise is to prevent confusion arising from the expression of different viewpoints, then all views which differ from those of the Administration and the Government must be suppressed. The Minister speaks about uncertainty in the Territory. My colleagues did indeed find great uncertainty in the Territory. Far from creating that uncertainty, we felt it our duty to allay it. The uncertainty we found was not about the question of the readiness of New Guinea for self-government and independence, not about the timetable that might be applied by this Government or by a Labor government, but about the role in terms of money and men that Australia would be willing to provide for a self-governing New Guinea and subsequently an independent New Guinea. This is what is creating the uncertainty and this is where the people of New Guinea require reassurance.
It is astonishing and disturbing how widespread is the impression that independence, self’government even, will mean an end to Australian help in money and men. The idea is deliberately fostered by some expatriates, including sections of the Administration. The Minister himself has done nothing to counter this destructive propaganda. Indeed, only recently he used this fear to stifle critical Press comment in Australia and in the Territory itself. In an article in the December issue of the publication ‘New Guinea’, he wrote:
In regard to Australia’s record in the Territory, the danger, as I see it, is that if sections of the Australian Press persist in denigrating Australia’s efforts there the Australian taxpayers who are footing the bill are very likely to lose patience and, perhaps, decide that the effort and expense are futile and want to opt out.
It is not because of failures of the Press that the danger of public disillusionment could come. It could only come through the failures of the Australian Government and the Australian Parliament to provide proper leadership. It is not only the people of New
Guinea who have to be educated about New Guinea; so do the people of Australia. If the people of Australia fail to appreciate where their true interest Tes in our future relations with an independent New Guinea, then it will be because of our failure as members of Parliament to rise to our responsibilities. It is beyond question that aid in men and money to New Guinea will not only continue but will increase, probably for the rest of this century. It will increase along with our aid to the other countries in this region. The Labor Party has clearly accepted this obligation for any government that it may form in the future. It would be contrary to the voting record over 20 years of every member of the Liberal and Country Parties who, along with every member who has been in this place, has supported the quadrupling of Australian aid in the past decade if a similar guarantee could not be given on behalf of the Liberal and Country Parties. The Government parties should lose no time in giving such assurances because it is in this area that the most damaging uncertainty exists in the Territory. This will be the most important question the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) will be asked if he goes to New Guinea in June. If he fails to give unequivocal assurances on behalf of his Party and that section of the Australian people it represents, if he appears to hedge on this matter, to be confused, to be woolly, he will gravely contribute to the uncertainty about Australia’s future role which does exist and which my colleagues and I did our best to allay. To emphasise the solemnity and sincerity of our undertaking, we have suggested that Australian assistance should be made part of treaty arrangements between the constitutional government of an independent New Guinea and the Government of Australia.
There are 4 basic propositions which should govern Australia’s attitude to New Guinea. The first is that it is their country, not ours. Australians in New Guinea have to realise that they are not in their own country. Whatever opinions may exist about the timing of independence, it has to be realised that any prolongation of our colonial rule is inherently artificial. The onus of proof is not on New Guinea to show that it is ready for independence. The burden is wholly on Australia to show cause why it should be deferred. The second basic proposition is that the obligation we assumed to bring New Guinea to independence is one which we sought ourselves. Australia would not have been permitted to remain in New Guinea as trustee had she not promised to prepare New Guinea for independence.
The third basic proposition is that, alone of all the colonial powers - and we are the biggest remaining - our colony is our nextdoor neighbour. In the history of European civilisation, no other nation has had this relation with one of its colonies, with the ominous exception of French Algeria. Therefore we are dealing not merely wilh the emancipation of a colony but the creation of a neighbour nation. And the fourth basic proposition is that the number and calibre of New Guineans now coming forward in their own country for service in and for their own country is greater and higher than is coming forward from Australia for that particular task. We too frequently confuse ourselves and New Guinea by drawing a comparison between the skills available for Australia as a whole and the skills available to New Guinea. The true comparison is the skills available in New Guinea among New Guineans with the skills Australia is able or willing to make available to New Guinea.
Australia’s over-riding objective in New Guinea is to ensure that an independent New Guinea is a friendly neighbour. The crucial question in all that we do in New Guinea is whether our actions and policies are such as to promote good relations between our two countries. Because this is the crucial question, it is quite misleading for the Minister for External Territories to assert that the matters of self-government and independence for New Guinea are matters for New Guineans alone to decide. This will not be a unilateral decision because the interests of Australia and the responsibilities of Australia are deeply involved. Superficially the Minister’s reiterated statement that ‘independence is a matter for New Guineans alone to decide’ looks like a simple and straight-forward statement of the principle of self determination. The Minister knows very well however that in the case of voluntary decolonisation as opposed to revolutionary and enforced decolonisation, the key decisions have to be made by the colonial authority. The rate of advance towards political independence is determined by that authority. This in fact is exactly what has happened in New Guinea under our rule. The decisions to establish the old Legislative Council, to enlarge it, to replace it with the House of Assembly, to draw up a common roll, to set up open and regional electorates, to create ministerial members, to establish local government councils - that is, all the decisions which the Government would claim as being designed to prepare New Guinea, for independence - were decisions of the Australian Government. Advance in these matters is neither uniform nor spontaneous.
In making these decisions, the Administration has doubtless applied a policy which it believes is best for the people of New Guinea; but equally we have to apply a policy which is best for Australia, lt is totally unreal, if not hypocritical, to suggest that while Australia holds all the power the decisions will be made only by New Guineans. Decisions are made where the power resides. The power resides with Australia. In New Guinea the decision which has to be made is not merely when New Guinea will be ready to assume power over herself, but when Australia is prepared to hand over her power, and that is a decision for Australia to make. Further. Australia is not an entirely free agent in this matter. Our obligations and responsibilities are not to New Guinea alone; they are to the United Nations for whom we are the trustee. And the United Nations is overwhelmingly in favour of immediate transfer of political power and economic power.
The uncertainty of which the Minister complains is very largely the creation of his own policies and attitudes. The refusal to lay down any framework at all for the timing of self government and independence is itself a recipe for uncertainty and confusion. As the honourable member for Fremantle has frequently pointed out, the Government uses confusion and frequently promotes confusion about the practical meaning of self government and independence to delay self government and defer independence. Again and again one will find iri New Guinea leaders who will express objection to immediate self government in the abstract but who desire local control over every item and instrumentality of government which in sum make up actual self government. If self government is put in terms of concrete powers and functions instead of constitutional abstractions, one finds among New Guinea leadership a very general readiness to accept real responsibility now.
I repeat, the basic object of our policy in New Guinea is to ensure good relations between our two countries. The fundamental divergence of opinion between the Government and the Opposition is at this point: The Government believes that the longer independence is deferred the better the prospects for good relations will be; we believe that the longer it is deferred the worse the prospects will be. We believe that none of the problems facing New Guinea and Australia’s relations with New Guinea require colonial rule for their solution or easing. On the contrary, we believe that most of them will be worsened the longer we maintain our position as rulers. The clearest examples of this are to be found in race relations and industrial relations. As long as we are rulers there, every Australian who goes to New Guinea, whatever his calibre or character, is automatically a member of a ruling class, a ruling elite. With the best will in the world, no Australian can avoid having this role foisted on him, however unwillingly. There is consequently an inbuilt distortion of the relations between the two races and that distortion will persist as long as we arc there as rulers rather than helpers and neighbours. In industrial relations the distortion is almost total. Overwhelmingly the employers are expatriates, mainly Australian. Thus every industrial dispute is automatically a dispute between an Australian or an Australian company on the one hand and New Guineans on the other. One would have to be totally innocent of all knowledge of history or human nature to believe that such a concentration of political and economic power could persist undisturbed.
The Minister for External Territories chose a most curious occasion - his visit for the Public Service Association Congress - to make his charge about undermining morale, because these are the very people, both the expatriate and local officers, who are in the best position to know the truth. The Public Service Association has drawn the Minister’s attention to the decline in morale at all levels long before our visit. The root of uncertainty lies in his own policies. The Government has delayed the implementa tion of necessary measures to protect the future security of permanent overseas officers in the Public Service. Although a White Paper on this issue was published on 7th June 1966 and an Ordinance based on the Paper was issued as No. 2 of 1968, that Ordinance still has not been put into operation.
In a letter to the Minister on 14th February last the Public Service Association wrote:
The discontent among permanent overseas officers is manifesting itself in frequent resignations of competent men, generally low morale, which will be attested to by any perceptive visitor who travels in the Territory.
The executive of the Association listed the first source of low morale as concern for job security and provision for retirement. At the same time the progress of localisation is being crippled by the failure to lay down a coherent policy on conditions for New Guineans working for Commonwealth departments in the Territory. There are no retirement benefits for indigenous employees. There are no promotions appeal provisions. The number of local employees who have only temporary status is quite disproportionate. The Prime Minister himself was not aware, when I asked him without notice on 18th March, that 4,000 indigenes are employed in the Commonwealth Public Service itself, for which he is the responsible Minister. I am still awaiting a reply to my question to him which I put on notice the following day, 7 weeks ago. In the meantime the Minister for External Territories has been able to answer 40 questions for me. A letter from the Public Service Association of Papua and New Guinea drawing attention to this situation on 23rd October last year has not yet received any written reply. At June last year, only 175 of the 13,218 local officers were on salary ranges concluding with SI, 950 or above.
If there is dissatisfaction among those who earn their living as public servants, either in the Public Service of Papua and New Guinea or in the Public Service of the Commonwealth in that Territory, then how much greater must be the dissatisfaction among those who earn their living as plantation workers. Honourable gentlemen can get the details, which I will now summarise, from answers which 1 received yesterday and the day before. The wage, apart from accommodation and rations, paid to plantation workers in Papua and New Guinea is $52 a year for the first year, $58.50 for the second year and $65 thereafter. In the Solomons workers receive $19.32 per month on copra plantations and on other plantations the predominant rate is $18 per month. In the New Hebrides plantation workers receive $34 to $60 per month. In Tonga the rate is $20 to $24 per month. In Fiji they receive $1.03 per day and in the Gilbert and Ellice Islands $1.20 per day. I repeat that in New Guinea they receive $52 per year. In each case accommodation and rations are additional. If one looks at the average rates for city indigenous workers, they average out at $6.50 a week.
What arc the prospects for indigenes setting up in business? First of all, consider the businesses which depend on the grant of land. The Land Board consists entirely of expatriate officers. In the last 10 years in all gazetted towns leases for commercial purposes were granted to 400 expatriate and 20 indigenous tenderers, and leases for light industry purposes were granted to 572 expatriate and 15 indigenous tenderers. In the last 10 years 312 business and industrial sites have been leased or sold in Port Moresby, 12 to indigenes. The respective figures for Lae are 142 and 4; Rabaul. 18 and 1; Madang. 70 and 1; and Kavieng, 16 and none. The members of the ExServicemens Credit Board, which functioned from 1958 to 1968, were always expatriate officials. This is the Board which granted 126 indigen« i loans of an average amount of S 1 ,700 for blocks of an average size of 29 acres and on the other hand granted 148 expatriates loans of an average amount of $46,225 for blocks of an average size of 528 acres.
Let me give the instance of those who want to set up business in the transport field. Some honourable members who have taken the trouble and have exercised their right to visit New Guinea will know that most of the rural transport - the transport of plantation products - is in the hands of individual indigenes or families of indigines, and they earn out the job very successfully. City transport is in the hands of the Transport Control’ Board, also composed entirely of expatriates. The Board has received 3 applications for bus licences from indigenes in the last 10 years. None was granted. As recently as January last year applications were called for 5 bus services in the Rabaul area. They were received from a partnership of indigenes and from 2 expatriate companies. One of the latter was successful. Almost all taxi drivers in the Territory are indigenes, but only 2 taxis in the whole Territory are owned by indigenes, while before the war there were a great number of taxis owned by indigenes, for instance in Rabaul’. Again, there are many occupations and businesses which cannot be pursued without a licence. In the last 10 years the number of typical licences issued to expatriates and indigenes respectively has been: liquor, 548 and 50; picture theatres, 11 and none; barbers, 151 and 10; drainers, 950 and 15; plumbers, 803 and 15; electricians, 374 and 18. Such are the economic opportunities which we, with our Australian constituted boards, have given indigenes to set up business on their own either by granting teases or issuing licences.
The pathetic attempt by Government members from the Prime Minister down to pin blame for past and future developments in New Guinea on the visit made by my colleagues and me - and for the first fortnight of this year’s session they spent most of their time in this effort - has failed; it has crashed, lt shows a striking contempt for the intelligence of the people, both of Australia and New Guinea, that such an attempt should ever have been made. The statistics I have quoted in the last 5 minutes are entirely drawn from written answers to questions I had put on the notice paper. Every fact I have derived, therefore, from ministerial replies. The truth is that there has been a complete and repeated vindication of the basic truth of all that my colleagues and I said there only 4 short months ago on the eve of the revolution which has now been set in train. It was inevitable, just because it was the truth. Let members read the Minister’s own written answers to me on Will’iam Scott Bloxam’s case on 8th April and again today, and on Damien Kereku’s case last Tuesday and on Councillor ToRangis’s case yesterday. Let them await the answer to my question No. 873, put down on 23rd April, on the leg irons case.
Why the visit by my colleagues and me aroused an hysterical reaction in some quarters was because we dared to speak thi truth. For too long New Guinea has been shielded from the truth. For too long Australians have been shielded from the truth about some of the things that are being done in their name. It was not the honourable members for Fremantle and Oxley and I who created the situation where plantation wages are $5 or less a month and where urban wages are often no more than S6 a week. We have not presided over the decline of all workers associations - with the exception of the Public Service Association throughout the Territory. It was not wc who ignored for months and months wage claims from officially recognised registered workers associations. It was not we who have foisted the multi-racial council on the Tolai people and enabled it to lake over their economic assets, lt was not I but the Acting Chief Justice of the Territory who found a gross miscarriage of justice in tincase of Damien Kereku. It was not we who sent more police to Rabaul than there are in any Australian city except Sydney and Melbourne, and- hired helicopters for them to patrol the peninsula for weeks at a time. It was not we who excluded local police from the police briefings at the time of the disturbances last year and who recruited police from African countries - notably Rhodesia. We did not attempt to impose a blatantly unjust settlement on the people of Bougainville. We did not impose charges for primary and secondary education. It wa> not I but the Public Service Association itself who complained of uncertainty and loss of morale in the Public Service, long before our visit. The problems of New Guinea are real. These incidents are real, lt is not on those who expose them but on those whose policies and attitudes have created them that the blame rests.
It is quite clear thai our visit has led to a reappraisal by the Government. 1 welcome thai reappraisal and 1 welcome the decisions which have already been made as a result of it, such as the new appointments announced this week. Mr Johnson will return to New Guinea with widespread goodwill. Nevertheless, we cannot delude ourselves that the problems of New Guinea are principally problems of personnel. They are problems of policy, of national and international policy. I am convinced that we shall only move towards real resolution of those problems when we accept that all we say and do about New Guinea and in New Guinea is on the basis that we are dealing not only with a colony but with a neighbour nation.
– Tomorrow is the culmination of the long campaign for the so-called Vietnam Moratorium. The debate this afternoon and this evening of course has been weighed in relation to this long campaign, the incidents that are designed to take place tomorrow and the general implications for Australia. But when the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) rises to speak in the Mouse on this occasion, why. it is New Guinea that he talks about. This is a masterly diversion, lt is true that yesterday the Leader of the Opposition spoke volubly and vehemently about the Vietnam Moratorium.
-Order! J remind the House that interjections are out of order. The Leader of the Opposition was given a tolerant hearing and I expect the same hearing to be given to the Deputy Prime Minister.
– 1 was saying before I was rudely interrupted by interjections that yesterday the Leader of the Opposition spoke volubly and vigorously on the Vietnam Moratorium and gave all his views on it. But this was not done in the Parliament. lt was done outside on the la wm in front of Parliament House and surrounded by North Vietnamese flags. That was his forum to speak to the Australian people about this great issue that so concerns the Australian Labor Party. In the Parliament when it is being discussed tonight he is silent. lt was New Guinea the honourable gentleman talked about - a convenient matter to turn to as a masterly distraction but not one that is successful.
The truth of the matter, as has been mentioned a number of times in this House, is that members of the Australian Labor Party have been in association with known Communists in this campaign, in this plan, and excuses have been made along the line, as I have heard them, that if it so happens that a Communist holds a certain point of view and a member of the Australian Labor Party happens to hold the same point of view it cannot be helped if they appear on the same occasion on the same platform.
This is a very plausible statement. But what I want to say and what I will proceed to establish is that all through our involvement in Vietnam and the propaganda campaign mounted and managed by the Communists, the Australian Labor Party, certainly as to the majority and certainly as to its leader, has been wittingly or unwittingly working for the Communists, working for the North Vietnamese.
We have had running concurrently 2 wars. One has been in the field where our troops, the Americans and the South Vietnamese have been fighting in accordance with the attitudes taken by their respective governments. But parallel and absolutely contiguous with this has been the second war - the propaganda war that has been conducted all round the world, originating in the masler planning area of the hierarchy of the Communist Party, operating in the United States, operating in Australia, operating in New Zealand and wherever there has been scope to do so.
The Vietnam situation commenced, so far as we were eventually to become involved with it. with what appeared to be a local insurrection involving the National Liberation Front - the Vietcong. But this organisation was being supported, supplied, aided and managed by what was a foreign country - North Vietnam - and it was clear to the world that that country was being supplied, encouraged and supported by the great nations of the Communist world. For what purpose were the terror, murder, the burning of people’s homes and the reckless cruelty of this campaign? It was to illustrate that the Government of South Vietnam was unable to control the affairs of the country. The campaign of murder and destruction and burning was a campaign to bring down the South Vietnamese Government.
In all this time the supplies were coming from North Vietnam and indirectly from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and China. That these were terrible days, no-one will deny. What was the attitude of the Australian Labor Party in those days? There was utter silence from the Communists in this country and all the friendly western countries; utter silence at this terrible programme that was going on. There was utter silence in respect of what was happening in the field but not utter silence on the political front. The defaming of the South Vietnamese Government, the defaming of the President of South Vietnam and the defaming of the Prime Minister of South Vietnam began in this Parliament. If honourable members look up Hansard they will see that this was the attitude of the Australian Labor Party on those occasions.
The next stage was the more formal invasion of South Vietnam by North Vietnamese forces, by North Vietnamese formations penetrating right into this country which was seeking to preserve ‘ its own independence, just adding to and accelerating the butchery, the terror, the dreadful impositions upon the peasantry in the villages and the poor people in this country. In that atmosphere the South Vietnamese Government, with its own forces desperately trying to handle the situation, asked the United States first and then Australia to send not troops but military advisers to help its forces to manage their own responsibilities. There was no word from the Australian Labor Party, no word from the Communists, about this terrible thing that was going on among the population. But when we sent a few military advisers and when the United States sent a few military advisers they got to their feet instantly, condemning this country and the United States, and mounted a tremendous campaign which was conducted against our national service law.
Constantly there was the illustration of two co-ordinated wars. They were not merely parallel wars. They were coordinated wars. The Vietcong and the North Vietnamese Communists were fighting in the field, and the Communist Party, the Communist front organisations, the Communist led unions and in this country the Australian Labor Party were fighting the Communist cause on the political front. We saw the mounting pressure on both these fronts and particularly on the fighting front in South Vietnam; the increasing terror and the reckless, relentless attacks with mortars, the ruthless murder of village headmen, the systematic murdering of schoolteachers and any people who could give a lead, and the introduction of larger military formations from the North led to the position where the South Vietnam Government, still seeking to protect the independence of its people, asked the United States to send military aid and asked Australia and other countries to send military aid. This was done, as is known and the response was that these countries, recognising not only the threat to the South Vietnamese but what the consequences would be if there was success in that small country, sent military aid. So, at that point we had our own troops fighting in the field for what they believed in, what their Government believed in, and their country believed in. Do not ever tell1 me their country did not believe in it. This was proved in election after election. Taking a parallel course, the Communists have at ali times, in association with the Labor Party both inside the Parliament and outside, attacked the aid given to South Vietnam. They have unceasingly and relentlessly defamed South Vietnam’s leaders. They have constantly attacked the United Slates Government and the Australian Government. This war on the political front has gone on parallel with the war in the field.
What was the next stage? North Vietnam invaded Laos in order to have a supply line into South Vietnam - the Ho Chi Minh trail. That was an unresisted invasion of a country not involved in the war. Was there any word of protest from the Labor Party about that invasion? Could anybody turn up Hansard and point to 1 speech by any member of the Labor Party in protest against the invasion of Laos by the North Vietnamese and other Communist troops so that they might supply their forces fighting our troops and Americans in South Vietnam? Not a word. This was a real war. The Americans and Australians in the field, together with their allies, were making a real effort. The troops knew that they were in a real war. What happened in the United States behind our front? The most intense propaganda campaign ever known in a Western country was waged in the United States against its participation in the war. I do not think anybody bothers with propaganda campaigns in Communist countries, although T cannot be certain.
J am sure that such an intense campaign as was mounted on the civil front in the United States has never been known. The moratorium was produced. I was about to say that it was invented, but I do not believe for a moment that the Americans invented the idea of the moratorium. 1 think the idea was sent to them from the headquarters of Communism as part of its propaganda planning. Concurrently the campaign against our involvement in Vietnam proceeded in this country along precisely the same lines, originating no doubt from the same source. The campaign reached such a stage in the United States that President Johnson, who had been so stoic, so firm, so loyal in the defence of these poor people of South Vietnam, was brought to say that he would not again contest the Presidency. What a victory for Com.mun sm. What a victory on the political front to have a success through propaganda and impel the President of the United States to say that he will not again stand for the Presidency. What encouragement for Communist propaganda in this country and everywhere else.
While this was going on in America there was not the silence on the part of the Labor Party that we observed in the case of the invasion of Laos, when the North Vietnamese sought a supply route by which to succour and supply the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese. No, there was not that kind of silence but rather a vigorous, vocal and continuous campaign against the allies by the Communists and the Australian Labor Party. So the sad story goes on of the political war and the war in the field ensuing parallel to one another, fitting together as they are intended to fit together by those who planned them - by the brilliantly able Communists who planned all this. We have war in the field and war on the political front concurrently. There was not much success in the field for the Communists but unhappily there was great success on the political front.
The next stage was the invasion of Cambodia by the North Vietnamese. By this time the American forces had suffered heavy losses. The invasion of neutral Cambodia was the third violation by the Communists of a neutral country in this war. They invaded Cambodia in order to establish a sanctuary for military bases from which to consolidate their formations in South Vietnam. They felt that from Cambodia they would be able to sally forth into South Vietnam, attack the Americans and South Vietnamese, and retreat to their sanctuary in Cambodia. But such a situation was intolerable for a government which had sent troops into the field, so the South Vietnamese and the Americans went into Cambodia to root out this threat to their existence. But there was not a word from the Australian Labor Party or the Communists against the invasion of Cambodia, although they are consumed with rage at the idea of the Americans going into Cambodia to destroy this Communist sanctuary.
The Australian people must be made aware of these things. Earlier tonight I said that wittingly or unwittingly the Labor Party is working for the Communists in this war. If it is wrong to invade a neutral country why was there silence from the Labor Party when the North Vietnamese invaded Cambodia to establish their great bases? There was utter silence. Not a word was heard. God knows, there has been enough speaking on street corners and under North Vietnamese flags on the lawns in front of Parliament House. There were plenty of vocal people there from the Labor Party, but not a word was said about the invasion of Cambodia.
– Even the Leader of the Opposition was there.
– Yes, he was outside Parliament House addressing the demonstrators. But when our friends and allies enter Cambodia to seek to ensure their safety and survival, up in flames goes the Labor Party in synchronised harmony with the Communists. Was this jointly planned? I do not know. I am not even alleging that it was but certainly, wittingly or unwittingly, the Labor Party has been working for the Communist enemies of our troops in South Vietnam and of the American troops there.
Then, pulling out all the stops of the propaganda machine, the Labor Party produced this crescendo of demonstrations planned for tomorrow. The Communists and the Labor Party will march side by side tomorrow in what they hope will be a great moratorium march, working to have Australian and United States troops returned to their homelands. This is the parallel war: In the field the troops fight the enemy; behind their backs on the political front the Communists and the Labor
Party fight the Governments responsible for having those troops in South Vietnam. The most kindly thing I can think about the Labor Party is that its members are dupes of the machinations of the Communists. What they are aiming to do in this crescendo of propaganda tomorrow is to achieve on the political front what all the military forces of Communism have failed to achieve. The military forces of Communism have failed to drive the Americans and the Australians out of Vietnam, but the Communists hope for success on the political front where their troops have failed in the field. They hope to force the Government to bring the troops home. I do not think T exaggerate when I say that all this conduct can be interpreted to mean only that the Communists who follow this line and the members of the Australian Labor Party who march abreast with them want the Communists to win.
If the Communists drove our troops out into the sea then they would achieve precisely the same result that they are aiming at by political means. Overseas there is a battle in the field against the Communists who are trying to drive our troops out, and at home the Australian Labor Party and the civilian Communists are working to defeat our forces on the political’ front. I again repeat that the Australian people must come to know of this pernicious association with the Labor Party in this Parliament and of the influence that the Labor Party seeks to bring upon this Parliament. The people must come to know that the Labor Party is working hand in hand and to the same end as the Communist Party. They must know that this is happening while our own troops are fighting in the field. It is time for the Labor men who are for Australia and for our troops to stand up and dissociate themselves from this pernicious campaign. It is time that the others who are for the campaign stood out and were clearly revealed.
– It is quite obvious that the Acting Prime Minister (Mr McEwen) is still acting. It is quite obvious that he is trying to take every possible political advantage and that he has lost all sense of responsibility as to the provocation he is arousing. We speak of provocation and of what can occur. I think that a few people should read the editorial which appeared in a newspaper tonight. Honourable members on this side of the House are aware that probably I am 1 of the most hated people in the Australian Labor Party in New South Wales so far as the Communist Party is concerned. I was a full time official of my Party in that State and I do not think anybody would suggest that we in New South Wales are pro-Communist. All honourable members on this side of the House are informed on this matter and know that what 1 say is correct. It is obvious from many of the remarks from honourable members on the Government side of the House that they are not informed. I am concerned about this matter.
The Attorney-General (Mr Hughes) is laughing. I wonder whether he knows what a Com looks like. Of course all of us know his uncle. However, I think all honourable members should look at the editorial which appeared tonight in one of the newspapers in Sydney. This is hardly an old radical paper; it is hardly a young radical newspaper. It. is the ‘Daily Mirror’.
– Is the honourable member for Hume suggesting that it is proCommunist?
– It is pro-Labor.
– Not to my knowledge. It has turned round at the last minute in every election that I can remember for some considerable time and has supported the Government parties. The heading for this editorial is: ‘A time for cool heads’. That is the lesson I wish to bring out tonight, because of the provocation that is taking place. If in this country something happens similar to what happened at Kent University in the United Stales, many of the people who have been unashamedly using this Moratorium issue for personal political advantage, including the Acting Prime Minister, will have to take a hard look at their consciences in the future. Government members are interjecting. I ask the House to give me a fair go. The Acting Prime Minister was given a fair go. If similar violence occurs in Australia, then honourable members on the Government side will have to look carefully at their consciences because of the provocation they have been using.
– They are hoping for it.
– I sincerely hope that that is not so. This editorial in the ‘Daily Mirror* states:
What is involved, primarily, in the Vietnam moratorium is a public demonstration of dissent against Australia’s involvement in the war.
After going on to state that there could be varying points of view on this issue, it concludes:
And if all sides keep their cool - the moratorium marchers will do no more barm than the Anzac marchers did on April 23. Give them a fair go. They have a right to it.
J wish to quote from another publication that I have with me. lt is a copy of a speech made about a fortnight ago on the Vietnam Moratorium, lt states:
Vietnam is a controversial issue, and it is a controversial issue among democrats: among those who value and seek to maintain an ‘open’ and pluralist society. Men of good will and intelligence are to be found on both sides of (lie debate. Indeed, in view of the complexity of the problems of Vietnam it is better to say that nien of good will and intelligence are lo be found in every position in the multi-dimensional continuum of possible views about Vietnam. The facts, including both what happened in the past and what is happening now, are difficult to establish. They arc still more difficult lo interpret. The likely results of different policies that might bc attempted-
– Who are you quoting?
– 1 will tell the honourable member for Cowper who it is and it w” give him a bit of a shock. I repeal:
The likely results of different policies that might bc attempted: for instance, leaving substantial US forces in Vietnam for an indefinite period, Vietnamising the war, trying to force a coalition government with the NLF on the South Vietnam government, withdrawing totally and absolutely, are all exceedingly difficult to weigh and assess.
I ask honourable members to keep in mind the phrase ‘are all exceedingly difficult to weigh and assess’. That is what this man says. He continues:
The moral decisions involved must appear agonisingly difficult to all except those who have very simple-minded views of the nature of man and society.
– Who said that?
– This was stated by Professor Armstrong, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sydney, who authorised the pro-Vietnam war advertisement which appeared today in the ‘Australian’. Even that man, who would not agree with the attitude of the Australian
Labor Party, admits that there must be differing points of view on this very great, very important and very moral issue.
This morning in this Parliament I witnessed one of the worst things I have seen in connection with this Campaign. The honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly) asked what I thought was a most responsible question. I think most people who thought about his question would agree with me. He wanted to know what provocation was going to occur. He asked the Minister for External Affairs (Mr McMahon) to make an example by approaching President Nixon and protesting about the death of 4 young people at Kent University a day or 2 ago. At the same time, in order to ensure that this could not happen here in Australia and in view of the fact that this Government has done nothing but spend day after day talking about the Moratorium, he asked the Minister to accept the responsibility of approaching the State governments in order to ensure that police used the utmost reticence, the utmost care and the utmost forbearance so that an incident such as happened in the United States will not happen in Australia. What was the answer by the Minister for External Affairs?
– It was a shocking answer.
– The honourable member for Prospect (Dr Klugman) says it was a shocking answer and I agree. The Minister’s reply was that it was a frivolous question to ask-
– I take a point of order. The Minister did not say it was a frivolous question.
– Order! There is no substance in the point of order.
– I recollect clearly what was said in this House this morning and so does every honourable member who was here. The Minister stated it was a frivolous question. I ask very sincerely and very simply that this Government take the responsibility of approaching all State Governments, the Premiers or the Ministers responsible for the police, realising as I do - and I would not be loved by the Communist Party by any stretch of the imagination-
– You have been fighting them all your life.
– I am 1 of those who led the fight in New South Wales and I know their antics. The Government should do some work and should not use this for political capital as it has done steadily for the last few days. I ask the Government to take the necessary action and approach the State Governments and the Ministers responsible for the police. I realise that the police have a difficult job, but they should be asked to use every possible reticence, to take every possible care to see that in the days to come we do not have another Kent University here in Australia. I ask honourable members on the Government side - I appeal to them - to stop the provocation, to stop taking this action which is designed not to keep cool heads but specifically for the 1 purpose of gaining political advantage. Wittingly or unwittingly they are provoking the very set of circumstances that they say they wish to avoid.
I wish to deal specifically tonight with the question of war service homes and housing. Quite a lot has been said on the other issue. We have been speaking tonight on Supply, on a financial measure to give this Government the necessary finance to carry on until the Budget is accepted. It is time we got down to the serious issues which confront this Government and this Parliament and talked about some of the issues that are important to the people of Australia. I am surprised to hear the comments of honourable members opposite. I thought they supported returned soldiers and I am surprised to hear them scoff when I say I wish to deal with the important issue of housing and war service homes.
Before I deal with it I would like to touch on 1 other aspect. We heard the Acting Prime Minister deal with the statement of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) on the export of merino rams. I mention this because of the arrogance that has crept into the attitude of Ministers. This arrogance was shown in the reply to the honourable member for Grayndler this morning, which I dealt with a little while ago. This morning the Acting Prime Minister, when asked by the Leader of the Opposition a question in respect of the export of merino rams, said that he adhered to the proposition that this was a matter for the individual to sell his wares, or words to that effect, and to get the best price for them.
– Wherever they could.
– Yes. They were the words he used. Apparently he does not take account of the national interest; the individual can do as he will but the national interest can be ignored. The merino ram has been 1 of Australia’s best assets for many years. The ban on the export was implemented by a Labor government and this Government has chosen to lift it. The Minister said the national interest can be ignored because a few people in the country wish to make a few quid out of the sale. We know what happens if a conscientious objector says: ‘I do not wish to go to war’. The Acting Prime Minister has a different approach then; he says the needs, the will and best interests of this country must be observed and not the interests of the individual. But when it comes to the finances of one of his supporters, he says the individual’s profit must obtain. 1 return to the question of war service homes. An amendment has been moved by the Opposition. It makes the point that the Government should allocate sufficient finance immediately to all successful applicants for war service homes. The purpose of this is to ensure that in the future applicants for war service homes, after they get approval from the Division, do not have to go to the userers, the private banks, the fringe banking organisations or the money lenders to obtain temporary finance for periods of some months. At times it has been up to a year before they can get their loan. The Government has been forcing them into the hands of the userers and this is why we have presented this proposition here tonight. I think in considering this proposition honourable members should keep in mind that in 1963-64 10,573 homes were provided. In 1968-69 the figure had dropped to 7,163. There was not the same demand for housing from returned servicemen. The cost in 1963-64 was $70.02m; repayments plus interest equalled $55. 16m. In 1968-69 the cost was $50. 19m; repayment plus interest equalled $72. 62m. In other words, whilst there was a net outlay by the Government in 1963-64 of $14.89m for war service homes, today there is a net gain by the Government of $22. 43m. Today the Government is making money and its net position from war service homes activities is a credit position. The arguments the Government used in 1964 for the restrictions it placed on war service homes - that is, that there was such a great delay in obtaining finance - no longer exist. The Government is making money from this scheme today. So. all these arguments that it uses against the provision of second loans, the discharge of existing mortgages and the various other proposals are no longer constant today in this year of 1970.
Let us look at why it is that the Government will not provide second loans. 1 refer to the case of a returned soldier who has a war service home. He leaves his home because, for example, he is transferred in his employment to the country or interstate. He is forced to go. Alternatively, he may have to leave his home because of illness. He may not be able to live in the climate of the area where his home is situated. This Government, except in very exceptional cases, will not provide a second war service home and will not even allow that person to transfer the extent of his outstanding mortgage on his war service home for the purpose of financing another home.
The Government talks about the portability of superannuation. I believe that superannuation should be able to be transferred. But apparently, when it comes to the question of giving a returned soldier a reasonable go and giving him portability of his mortgage, the Government says no. This cannot be done. I cannot understand why the Government will not allow the discharge of existing mortgages under the present circumstances in which it is obtaining a net receipt from the operation of war service homes. The Government would do this if it was a fair dinkum Government. Do not tell me that the Government does not refuse to do what I have outlined and does not reject cases such as I have mentioned. One case raised by me has been refused in the last few weeks after I personally saw the Minister for Housing (Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin).
This was the case of a man who at this time is serving in Vietnam. Later, he will be a returned serviceman. He purchased his home 2 months before he received notification of his posting to Vietnam. Surely the proposition that he should be able to transfer his loan for the purchase of his home to the War Service Homes Division now is a reasonable one. Why should he not bc able to do that? If this Government is sincere in its advocacy of the Vietnam war and if it is sincere on all the other attitudes that it has expressed in this House in the last few days, surely the way in which it should be looking at this issue at this time is to say: ‘Yes, this man is overseas in Vietnam now. We must be consistent. We must give him a war service homes loan’. As f have indicated, he purchased this home only 2 months before he received notification of his posting to Vietnam. He obtained his loan before he bought his house. Still, the Government will not give a war service homes loan to him after he has been posted to Vietnam.
– The Government is insincere.
– I think that these are some examples of the point that I wish to make. The honourable member for Sturt said that the Government is insincere in its approach. I think that it is insincere. If it is insincere it is time that it looked at this matter and corrected the anomaly very quickly.
Nothing is done still for former members of the Citizen Military Forces who, for instance, served in Darwin during the 1939-45 War. Those persons who joined the Australian Imperial Force, including honourable members in this House who joined the AIF, are eligible for a war service home loan. It does not matter whether members of the AIF served in Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin, anywhere else in Australia or overseas; they receive a war service loan.
– A man received one even if he was a base wallah.
– Even a man who was a base wallah in Sydney would be entitled to a war service home, as the honourable member for Sturt interjects. On the other hand, a member of the CMF who, during the war, served in Darwin and had an arm blown off in an air raid there is not entitled to a war service home. I have made inquiries on this subject. If the man is a member of the CMF, he cannot get the loan. He is entitled to it if he was a member of the AIF but not if he was a member of the CMF.
– He is discriminated against.
– Yes. This is the situation. Why are not single women who have served in our Forces - nurses and the like who are still single and who still have need of a home because they have depend.dants such as mothers and fathers - eligible for a war service home loan? lt is time also that we looked at the overall question of housing. We must consider the plight of young people today. 1 do not envy any young person or any young married couple who wishes to obtain a home today. 1 do not envy such people because I think that they have a very difficult job today. The mover of the amendment to the motion that this Bill be now read a second time, my colleague the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren), pointed out some of the land prices that exist in the outer areas of Sydney. 1 point out to the House that I have one of the youngest electorates in New South Wales. It is 1 of the youngest electorates in the the Commonwealth.
– One of the famous names too.
– 1 agree. Chifley is a very good name. It is a young electorate with young people. I do not envy those young people who are trying to obtain land in areas where an artificial shortage of land has been created. We should study very seriously and carefully how this artificial shortage of land has been created.
– What do those young couples think of the increase in interest rates?
– The position is, if we look at the situation in the outer perimeter areas of Sydney, that the price of land is rising to a very high level. The main reason for this increase in the price of land and the artificial shortage that exists is that the planning authorities such as the State Planning Authority of New South Wales refuse to release sufficient land so that a shortage no longer exists. I think that the Parliament should consider why this Authority refuses to release that land, lt refuses because it cannot provide the necessary services such as gas, electricity, water, sewerage, transport and the like. The authority says that it cannot provide these services and therefore it will not release the land. As the land is not released, so is an artificial shortage of land created.
Why does this situation occur? The Authority cannot provide these services because it has not received the necessary finance from the State Government. In turn, the State Government has not obtained the necessary finance from the Commonwealth Government so that it can provide money for these necessary services. The situation is reached where we and this Parliament must look at the policy propounded by the Leader of the Opposition in the last Federal election campaign. This proposal was that funds should be earmarked specifically for the perimeter areas of Sydney, these vast developing areas where these necessary services must be provided in order to remove this artificial shortage of land and to give young people the opportunity to buy their own land and to build their own houses. Funds should be provided and earmarked specifically for definite development projects in the outer perimeter areas of Sydney. I refer to areas such as those represented by the honourable member for Macquarie (Mr Luchetti), myself, and so many other members of this House. These areas are covered particularly by members on our side of the House.
I ask the Parliament and the Government to consider this policy carefully. 1 think that when we look at the matter of housing, we should consider the most important question of interest rates that was mentioned earlier by the honourable member for Barton (Mr Reynolds). In answer to an interjection by me, the Treasurer stated this morning: ‘There is no restriction on private home building’. Apparently the fact that a higher interest rate is being charged and that a shortage exists of funds available for housing is not considered by the Treasurer to be a restriction on home building. I would ask the Treasurer to assess his policies on this matter carefully to ascertain whether this is correct or not.
Mr Speaker, I make this point as I made it earlier: I sincerely hope that this Government will look more carefully, more in conscience, wilh some humility and humanity at this issue of providing homes for our younger people so that they may bring up decent young Australian families to live a normal existence in a normal atmosphere. Secondly, I hope that the Government, despite the lack of coolness that has existed in the last few days and despite the obvious attempts to take a political advantage, either wittingly or unwittingly, which is provoking a situation that could result in serious consequences in the next few days, will reconsider these issues. As I have said, I speak as one who would be among the people in New South Wales least liked by the Communist Party. I have some knowledge of its antics. I say to the Government: Be careful in what you are doing because if anything does happen in the next few days those who have taken a political advantage of the situation will have to consider their consciences very carefully. Remember, there are varying views. T have quoted some tonight. I urge members opposite to be a little reticent and to exercise a little care. The most important thing is to see that there is no violence in the demonstrations which will occur in the next few days. [Quorum formed.]
– When the honourable member for Chifley (Mr Armitage) finished speaking about the Moratorium parade that is to take place later this week he said that he was going to get down to serious business and serious issues which should be before the Australian Parliament. The clear implication from that is that he did not regard the Moratorium issue - the question of peace and war - as a serious one for debate in this Parliament. I know full well that the other matters he mentioned have a very real significance and concern for those who are involved in them but to suggest, as he did, that the question of peace and war - of a reasonable and proper settlement in South East Asia - is not a matter of serious concern or is not a serious issue for this Parliament is surely an odd statement to make.
The honourable member said that if anything untoward happens in the next few days members on this side of the House will have to examine their consciences in view of what has been said in this debate. What the people of Australia should recognise is that a significant number of members of the Australian Labor Party, from the
Federal and State spheres, have consistently supported the Moratorium issue, have said that it is right to occupy the streets, and have said that it is right to disturb the normal business and commercial life of the great Australian cities to pursue a cause that they have not been able to pursue successfully through the ballot box. They are, therefore, seeking to change Australian policies by demonstration and this is not part, and should not be part, of our democratic process. If there are any kinds of disturbances during the next few days it will bc the advocacy of the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) and the advocacy, membership and support of members of the Australian Labor Party, that will have contributed quite directly to that.
The whole Moratorium issue is based on a lie. It is based on the lie that if Australians withdraw from Vietnam and if the United States of America withdraw from Vietnam, there will be peace and happiness for everyone in Vietnam. This, of course, is not so. The South Vietnamese who want their own independence have indicated that even without support they would fight as long as they could. In truth, the Moratorium Campaign is aimed at the heart of the democratic process. It is designed to achieve government by demonstration. It is designed to alter the policies that have been supported in election after election by the Australian people, lt also indicates a lack of concern and a lack of willingness by the Australian Labor Party to accept the verdict of the Australian people in elections.
The honourable member for Lalor has said that individuals have a right to break laws. He does not define the terms on which and the circumstances in which individuals have a right to break laws. But this again is not a part of the democratic process, and it should be noted that the honourable member for Lalor time and time again has advocated this breaking of laws. There is in Australia a full opportunity for citizens and for members of political parties to seek to change laws if they muster a majority of the Australian people in their support, but the Australian Labor Party through its long and sorry history in recent years has not been able to muster that majority support and therefore it resorts to the streets to try to achieve what it has not been able to achieve through the ballot box. What the Labor Party is now accepting is denial of acceptance of majority rule, and this is not part of the Australian way. This is a deliberate attempt to interfere with the rights of many citizens who only want to go about their own business.
This is a deliberate attempt to stop the business and commercial life of Australian cities over the next few days. The honourable member for Lalor has said that he hopes that the commercial and industrial life of cities will be held up as a result of these disturbances. He has said that there is a right to occupy the streets. What does this term ‘to occupy the streets’ mean? It is strangely reminiscent of the circumstances that have occurred in Paris time and time again during the course of France’s history, when one republic has been overthrown by revolution and replaced by another. This was the term then used. The citizens of Paris occupied the streets to change their government by revolution. The honourable member for Lalor uses the same term. He asks people to occupy the streets of Australian cities. Honourable members opposite have said at times that it is hoped that the demonstrations will be non-violent, that they will be peaceful, but then with a typical cry of revolutionaries they have laid the groundwork for a violent demonstration by saying that if there is violence it will be as a result of police intimidation.
– But you know that you are a violent man.
– This has been the cry of revolutionaries all around the world.
– You are a violent man.
-Order! On many occasions during this debate I have heard it said that people have a right to present their point of view. I suggest that that thought be carried into this House and that the Minister for Defence be permitted to put his point of view. As has been pointed out on more than one occasion in this House, interjections are out of order.
– I was making the point that revolutionaries around the world have always used the cry that it is police intimidation that has led directly to violence. Those supporting the Moratorium Campaign have laid the groundwork for this same objective in Australia by saying that if there is violence it will be as a result of police intimidation.
– You know you are a man of violence.
– The honourable member for Reid will cease interjecting.
– He is a man of violence.
-I warn the honourable member for Reid.
– He is a man of violence.
-The honourable member for Reid will cease interjecting or I will take action.
– I am not concerned with the honourable member for Reid because I know that he does not really believe the allegation he made.
– But the Minister is a man of violence.
-The honourable member will not make me believe his allegation by repeating it. The Trades Hall Council, which has not been known for its quiescence in all disputes that concern it, has repudiated the active participation of the Labour Party in the Moratorium Campaign. The honourable member for Lalor at other times has indicated that there may well be violence, because he has said that he does not believe it possible to have the kind of demonstration he wants entirely within the law. He has also said - this is significant because no member of the Australian Labor Party would have made this claim 3, 5 or 10 years ago - that if and when the Communist is right he, the honourable member for Lalor, will stand with him. This is at least an honest recognition of the attitude that the honourable member for Lalor has taken for some time but 1 which he has now been prepared to admit freely and openly. It should be noted that last December the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) indicated that the Leader of the Labor Party should avoid demonstrations and avoid any association with the mutiny call which was made to Australian troops when Mr George Craw ford from the Victorian Labor Party was present and in the chair of a meeting. I think it is worth noting that the Leader of the Opposition then said that members of the Australian Labor Party should not give the ‘false and damaging impression’ that under a Labor government foreign policy would be determined at mass meetings or by public petitions. He said that he would concentrate his own actions only in Party and parliamentary channels. That was in December, but this week, speaking in front of a moratorium demonstration, with Vietcong and North Vietnamese flags flying amongst the demonstrators, the Leader of the Opposition supported these campaigns and gave his moral and physical support to that which happened.
– The Leader of the Opposition is for non-violence, and the Minister knows that.
– -Order! I have warned the honourable member for Reid about interjecting. Because of the circumstances of this debate I would be reluctant to name the honourable member, but I would suggest that the honourable member should not continue to interject.
– I respect the Chair’s point of view, but I also feel very strongly about the implication of what the Minister has said.
-Order! The honourable member for Reid will resume his seat.
– What I said was entirely correct. In December last year the Leader of the Opposition said that the Labor Party should avoid the charge that it had agreed to or supported the point of view that foreign policy should be determined by mass demonstration. Now he is giving his physical and moral support to meetings which are deliberately designed to change Australia’s foreign policy by mass demonstation. This indicates a significant change in the attitude of the Leader of the Opposition, a change that has been evident for some time as he has marched closer and closer to the views of the extreme left because he recognises that the only way in which he can maintain unity in the Australian Labor Party is to do what the Victorian Executive of the Australian Labor Party tells him to do.
The objectives of the Moratorium are well known. The objectives are the withdrawal of allied troops from South Vietnam and an end to national service in Australia. These policies are supported by 2 political parties - the Australian Labor Party and the Communist Party. Communists, I am advised, are on the Moratorium steering committees in each State and they have been named outside this Parliament. It should be noted that a few days ago the Leader of the Opposition put up a smoke screen concerning unity tickets. He went to court and alleged that a Communist was using a photograph of him to try to gain additional support in a union election. By this means the Leader of the Opposition no doubt sought to convey the view that he was opposed to unity tickets with the Communist Party. But he and every member of the Labor Party in this House are condoning the greatest unity of all - the unity of the Australian Labor Party and the Communist Parry on the Moratorium Campaign, lt is a unity for which they should be thoroughly ashamed and a unity which I believed we would never see in this Parliament.
The foreign policy of the Communist Party has always been that Australia is wrong, that the United States is wrong, that our friends are wrong, and that our enemies are always right. The Communist Party has never had any other view. It said that the second world war was wrong until Russia was attacked and then it suddenly became a just war according to that section of the Australian Labor Party which gave the then Prime Minister, John Curtin, a great deal of trouble in maintaining the unity of his Party and the Australian people in support of the war. The attitudes are still the same, but now the Australian Labor Party is identified with the same policies and with the same causes, namely, that Australia is wrong, that the United States is wrong, that South Vietnam is wrong, and that the totalitarian regimes of Hanoi. Peking and the Soviet Union are right. If the members of the Australian Labor Party believe it is a proud day for them to have this kind of unity with those who have supported the causes of Australia’s enemies, it is not a pride which we would want to share on this side of the House.
The logic of everything that the Australian Labor Party has said about IndoChina would lead to an enemy victory, and it always would have. Not only should they be prepared to stand up and advocate these policies if that is what they believe in, but they should also be prepared to say that this is what they want, because it is the logical conclusion of their policies as they have advocated them over a very long period of time. I would like to quote something that the honourable member for Lalor said in this Parliament in 1966.
– I rise to order. The Minister is mispronouncing the name of the electorate of the honourable member to whom he is referring. I think that the honourable member for Lalor should bc properly described.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)The right honourable member for Melbourne is correct.
– I accept the correction by the right honourable member for Melbourne. I would like to read something that the honourable member for Lalor said in 1966 concerning Vietnam. He said:
What will happen if negotiations come and a ceasefire and some settlement are reached and the National Liberation Front then has a big share of power in South Vietnam? Certainly the National Liberation Front would then be powerful in South Vietnam, but so too must some religious and regional groups or there can be no negotiations. In such a situation, some of those who fought the Vietcong and some minorities who had done nothing wrong would certainly suffer. But suffering is inevitable whatever happens in Vietnam. Escalated war will kill many tens of thousands. Tt will maim many people and destroy the freedom of even more. A settlement would lead to the killing of many and would destroy the freedom of many.
By reading all of that speech it becomes quite clear that the honourable member for Lalor is prepared to accept the killing of many and the destruction of the freedom of many if it will lead to a northern Communist victory, but he is not prepared to accept the same terms and the same toll of human life if it is to lead to an independent South Vietnam. This is an advocacy of the honourable member for Lalor in this House that I find very difficult to understand. These attitudes are typical of those attitudes which have been expressed by members of the Labor Party on many occasions. This was the attitude of some members of the Labor Party in 1939 who gave the then Prime Minister, John Curtin, trouble in maintaining unity in his Party. It was their attitude that the war was wrong until Russia was attacked by Germany. In the emergency in Malaya in the 1950s the very some charges that have been made on many occasions about South Vietnam were made about the emerging independent Malaya. Of course, these charges have been repeated about South Vietnam.
I think it should be noted that the war in Vietnam has always been more difficult to understand and therefore always more capable of confusion by Australia’s enemies - by those who want to defeat the purpose which is in Australia’s best interests. This confusion of purpose and confusion about what has been happening in Vietnam has arisen out of the nature of the conflict. The Communists learnt in Korea that if ever again they amassed armies and moved across a border at one stroke they would bring the wrath and the power of the free world upon them. So they tried a different kind of tactic. They tried a war of national liberation, a war in which they dribbled a few people over the border at a time. There was never an army marching across a border. It was a war that was aimed at the heart of a country. As the Deputy Prime Minister said, it is a war aimed at the security of those who might be leaders in the country at the national or at the local village level. It tries to undermine the structure of the country to demonstrate that the national government cannot offer and cannot afford security. This is an insidious and evil form of aggression but it is nonetheless aggression although its nature has changed.
As the years have passed these beginnings of aggression have developed into aggression of a more conventional kind. Divisions of North Vietnamese troops have infiltrated down the trails and across the borders into South Vietnam. Despite this, despite the enormous difficulties and the great costs in casualties and despite the tactics which have always been very difficult to combat in Vietnam, there have been significant changes in recent years. There have been a number of nationwide elections; but there has been no free nationwide election in North Vietnam or in any Communist country. There has been great military progress in the performance of the South Vietnamese Army. It has assumed greater and greater responsibility for its own defence as each year has passed. There has been progress in the civil field with greater production of the basic commodities. There has been an increase in rice production despite the war. Given time I believe the tactics and purposes of fighting for the independence and the right of the Vietnamese to determine their own future will succeed.
The policy of the Moratorium and the policy of the Australian Labor Party is to see that that time will not arrive for the people of South Vietnam and to see that there will be such an immediate withdrawal that inevitably they wiN not be able to continue on their own account. In that event, a northern Communist victory would be assured. Did we ever see the aggression in Malaya condemned by spokesmen for the Labor Party? I can remember that efforts to combat that aggression and insurgency were condemned by the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) and other honourable members. But has the aggression or insurgency of North Vietnam, which is supported by China and Russia, not only against South Vietnam but also against Laos and Cambodia, ever been condemned by the Australian Labor Party? Is it necessary for the Communists to be our allies before we will gain the support of the Australian Labor Party in a great national purpose for Australia, in which Australia’s national interests and future security are closely interwoven?
During a debate on Cambodia the honourable member for Bass (Mr Barnard), who is Deputy Leader of the Labor Party, leading for the Opposition, condemned the violation by the United States of America of Cambodian neutrality. He said that this was a country formerly untouched and not embroiled in the war. Is he entirely ignorant of the use that the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese have made of Cambodian territory over the last several years? Is he ignorant of the sanctuaries that have inevitably led to greater casualties of South Vietnamese and other allied forces? But now the condemnation comes hurriedly when President Nixon, in a courageous act, has taken steps to see that those sanctuaries will not be available in the future. There are only 2 logical explanations for the policy of the
Australian Labor Party. The first is that it wants the North to win. if Opposition members want a Communist victory they should have the courage to say that that would be the result of their policies.
– I rise to a point of order. The Minister has just stated that the Labor Party wants the North to win. That statement is false and I ask that it be withdrawn.
As I understood the Minister, he did not say what the honourable member for Reid cla:ms. The Minister for Defence said, as 1 understood him, that there are 2 factors, either 1 or another. I think in that regard there is no substance in the point of order.
– Let me come to the second factor. Mr Deputy Speaker.
– I think Hansard will record what he actually said. He said that the Labor Party wanted the North to win.
– 1 have my notes here and I am prepared to repeat precisely what 1 said.
– The Attorney-General asked me if I wanted the Communists to win. We have always called for negotiations to allow the people of Vietnam to settle their own affairs.
-Order! The point of order is not upheld. The honourable member for Reid will resume his seat.
– 1 was trying to say that there are only 2 logical explanations for the attitude and policies adopted by the Australian Labor Party. One would be that it wanted the north to win, that it wanted a Communist victory. The second point is that the Opposition members are the Munich men of our time. They suggested a threat to a small country is of no concern, that the independence of a small country is of no concern, and therefore there is no need to act. How often do democracies have to learn that lesson? It did not need learning when there were threats to the independence of Berlin, when there were threats to the independence of Greece after the last World War and when the Russians tried to put missiles into Cuba. But the West stood firm on those occasions. Now there is the greatest campaign in history to undermine the will of free peoples to ensure that they do not have that same courage to do again those things that are necessary to prevent the world utimately being engulfed in a larger conflict.
The same lack of resolution has been shown and exhibited by the Labor Party. 1 believe that is the only charitable explanation that is available for the policies that our political opponents in this place support. If our purpose is not achieved in South Vietnam, quite clearly it will be the end for Laos and Cambodia. Perhaps it will be the end for Thailand, for Malaysia, for Singapore or for Indonesia. When does it become important? When is the Labor Party prepared to make a stand and say that the independence of a small country, which has few people as Australia has few people, is something that is important to us just as our own independence would be important to us? Or does the Australian Labor Party say that the independence of a small nation is precious only if that country is governed by a Communist Party? That perhaps would be the logic of the Australian Labor Party policy, which would mean a Northern victory and a Communist victory. Does the Labor Party want that? If it does not want that Opposition members should stand on their feet and express a policy which might give some possibility of an alternative solution to this conflict being reached. But if they do want a Communist victory, which would be the logical result of their policies, they should have the courage to say so. Indeed, they would have a duty to say so so that the Australian people can know fairly where they stand. This unity ticket in this Moratorium campaign between the Communist Party and the Australian Labor Party is the most pernicious unity ticket that we have so far seen.
I would like to make one other point in relation to the change of attitude by the Leader of the Opposition over the last 2 years. He once had firm views on matters of foreign policy. He once had firm views on matters of the course and role that Australia should play in South East Asia. But in the last 18 months it can be demonstrated clearly that he has recognised that he can maintain unity in his Party only by accepting the policies of the Victorian executive of the
Austraiian Labor Party. Let me illustrate that. Throughout last year he had a policy of providing State aid to schools, which he enunciated. This was the great S50m aid scheme which captured the headlines about this time last year. Then when the policies of the Victorian executive were accepted by the Federal Party in about August of last year, of course that policy of the $50m emergency aid had to be dropped. The Leader of the Opposition had a policy of leaving air and naval forces to support Singapore and Malaysia. But when the Australian Labor Party Conference, the outside body, said that it was neither feasible nor practical to maintain forces outside Australia and when it became the policy of the Conference to withdraw our forces immediately from countries with whom we had been operating in partnership for a very long while, that immediately became the policy of the Leader of the Opposition and all those honourable members in the Parliament who supported him. Was there a fight to maintain the previous policy which had been announced and which was of some importance to our allies north of Australia? There was no discernible fight. There was acceptance of the new policy enunciated by the Conference and formed in July or August last year.
In December we saw another instance of determination to avoid demonstrations, to take no part in demonstrations and to make quite sure that demonstrations would not govern Australia’s foreign policy. But now many members of the Australian Labor Party support the Moratorium. The Leader of the Opposition also supports the Moratorium campaign. J believe that Australians should be deeply troubled at the compliant attitude that has been developing in recent times to many things and to aggression not least of all. I have indicated that I believe this to be reminiscent of the attitudes that were prevalent in the 1930s. It is an attitude that is clearly encouraged by the Australian Labor Party, an attitude which can lead one to conclude only that it wants a Communist victory. Professor Arndt who was a one-time member of the Australian Labor Party wrote some time ago and repeated recently that belief. The second attitude which could be an explanation of Labor’s policy is that it does not matter, that it is too far away, that it is not our concern and that the independence of a small country just does not matter. Well, when does it matter? When it concerns our own independence, or does it not matter even then? If these attitudes prevail and are accepted and win through they will inevitably lead to a greater conflict as did the permissive attitudes in the early 1930s about the early Nazi depredations.
– Approximately 2 weeks ago the Government introduced a debate in this House on the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign. Now that the Moratorium has gathered a ground swell throughout Australia the Government, in the midst of the debate on one of the most important pie;es of legislation for the health of the people of Australia - the National Health Bill - has decided to postpone that debate and to reintroduce the debate on the Moratorium. The National Health Bill is 1 of the great measures we have been hearing about from this Government. It concerns the health of the people of this nation. But now we hear nothing but a smearing, rotten campaign by the Liberal-Country Party. Government against the Labor Party. This is the type of debate into which the Liberal-Country Party Government has allowed the Parliament to degenerate. It has reduced the standards of the Parliament to the lowest levels of political filth that we have ever witnessed in this House. We have seen before and we now see again the consistent kicking of the so-called Communist can.
The Acting Prime Minister (Mr McEwen), who is the Leader of the Australian Country Party, one would have thought would have taken the opportunity tonight to talk about the serious plight of primary industry in Australia. But with a fanatical gleam in his 70-year-old eye he told us about the Communist can. So desperate has the Liberal-Country Party Government become that it has to delay the important economic measures of this nation to give us a dissertation to try to associate the Labor Party with the so-called Communists. I wonder how many honourable members on the opposite side have ever seen or heard or met a Communist. The Attorney-General has a grin on his face like a hyena. Going by his dress he looks like one, too.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury)Order! The honourable member must not make such comments.
– 1 am paying him a compliment. Mr Deputy Speaker.
-Order! Personal reflections are out of order.
– I was saying that what the Government, and particularly the Acting Prime Minister, has attempted to do is to smear every decent Australian who has taken an intelligent view on the IndoChina war, as it is today, and to try to associate them with the Communists. The Acting Prime Minister, when he finished speaking, sat in the corner of the front bench with a grin on his face. The honourable member for Chifley (Mr Armitage) described him aptly as an actor. As I said before, he is a 70-year-old actor. I ask: What has this great man, the Acting Prime Minister, the Leader of the Country Party, contributed tonight? Let us look at his record in relation to the Communists. He is the person who formulated the agreements and policy to sell wheat and food to the Communists. He is the one who is sponsoring the selling of wheat to the Communist Chinese. They in turn are sending it to the Communists in North Vietnam who are killing Australian and American troops. This is what the Liberal-Country Party Government is doing.
– But there is a quid in it.
– Yes, and that is the difference. They do it for a dollar. Yet they get up in this Parliament with a sanctimonious attitude and try to condemn decent Australians for taking an intelligent view on Indo-China and the Vietnam war. Did the Acting Prime Minister or the Minister for Defence (Mr Malcolm Fraser) mention anything about the 4 boys and girls who were shot dead in America because they dared to dissent about the filthy war in Indo-China? Not a word was mentioned. Look at them grinning and laughing at the present time. One would expect that. Four boys and girls were shot dead because they dared to dissent against the action of the President of the United States of America in sending American troops to invade Cambodia. If any honourable members looked at television tonight and saw the father of the girl who was shot and listened to what he had to say, they could only bear shame for being associated with the feelings of this Liberal-Country Party Government and its sanctimonious attitude in the chamber tonight.
I raise another point with respect to the Government’s sales of wheat to the murderous Communists, as somebody described them here tonight. The Government is prepared to sell food to Communist China which in turn sells that food or gives it to the Communists in North Vietnam who are killing our troops. The Government sells it at prices less than those at which they will sell it to owners of starving stock in Australia. This is the Government that stands before the Australian people and utters this type of tripe about Communists. As I asked before, where are all these Communists? I would like to know how many Communists the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) has ever met in Australia in his fife. Why does he not get up and tell the truth? He has probably never seen one in his entire life, let alone met one. It was quite interesting to note that a member of the Nazi Party has now decided to hand out literature backing the Government’s stand in Vietnam and Cambodia. We all know the association of the Liberal Party with the Fascist Party. One has only to look at the faces of some of the Liberal members to recognise the association.
The debate tonight happens to be a debate on supply, a debate on the economic and financial measures of this country; but it has degenerated into a kicking of the Communist can. The Government does not like receiving some of its own medicine. This kicking of the Communist can around the country is done by a Government that is selling food to Communists who are selling it to the North Vietnamese who are killing Australian and American troops. This is the type of hypocritical government we are faced with in this country. Is it any wonder that the combined vote given to the Australian Labor Party was 300,000 more than the combined vote given to the Liberal and Country parties in the last election? When the next election is held we will see that 300,000 so significantly increased that this hypocritical Government will not be here with the majority it has today. Instead of attempting to smear and instead of making such a shocking and disgusting display as it has made tonight the Government should have been hanging its head in shame at being associated with actions of the American Government. I have mentioned it before and I say it again. Those 4 decent boys and girls were shot dead. The honourable gentleman who was so magnificently castigated by Mr Chamberlain does not like to hear what I am saying. ] mentioned earlier that this debate was on supply. One would have thought that the Leader of the Country Party and Acting Prime Minister would have taken the opportunity to speak on matters relating to the crises in the country areas. He did not do so. However, we had the Minister for Defence (Mr Malcolm Fraser), who is the member for Wannon and a wool producer, taking the Labor Party apart because it apparently dares to suggest that the people who support the Moratorium should march through the streets of the capital cities. The same gentleman - the Minister for Defence - did not say one word about the 10,000-odd farmers who marched through the streets in Melbourne a month or so ago. He did not say anything about the time when he got onto the truck in the park and he was booed and treated with contempt by the farmers of Victoria. They occupied the streets very effectively and I am quite certain that the people tomorrow will occupy the streets in a similar fashion.
I intend to devote the rest of my time to matters relating to the tariff and matters relating to primary industry. One would have thought that at some time in this debate tonight we would have at least had some discussion on the crisis in primary industry and the steps which this Government intends to take in the future to alleviate the problems, but all that we have heard about, as has been usual in the last few weeks, is buck passing and waiting until the industries of Australia come to this Government with some plan. We are still waiting and while we wait inflationary growth and cost of production continue to increase. The tar fT originated as a means of raising revenue by taxing imports into Australia. It was in fact 1 of the main avenues for raising revenue. Economically it was exactly the some as excise tax, sales tax, income lax, wages tax, property tax or probate tax. In other words, it was indirect tax for raising revenue. It is now significant that as a revenue earner the tariff has declined relatively in proportion to the total amount of revenue collected in Australia. Another purpose of the tariff has been to conserve foreign exchange or to use as a technique to conserve foreign exchange by dampening down the inflow of imports. Another measure which has been commonly used is to generate employment by the tariff. This was used effectively after the depression. The Scullin tariff has been debated al length. This was primarily a tariff to generate employment.
The tariff is a deliberate use of a high protection policy to stifle imports so that an infant industry can be established and then grow into a virile industry which might in turn export goods. Often, however, this type of use of the tariff can backfire. The simple use of a technique to provide high protection to an inefficient industry, an industry inefficiently using resources, can frequently mean a generation of further industries which use capital goods or their equivalent in imports so that the final result is that there is an overall increase in imports and it has defeated the prime purpose of that tariff. There is one basic factor, however, about a tariff. Tt causes an increase in costs in a similar manner to indirect tax. Irrespective of how one looks at a tariff and the various economic measures which have been utilised some sector of the economy gets hurt because directly and indirectly increases are caused in production costs or marketing costs. Over-use of tariff or improper use of tariff through the protection of inefficient use of resources can frequently lead to a serious imbalance in the economy. It transfers resources from efficient industries in terms of resource use to inefficient industries which under a free economy or a laissez-faire economy could not possibly survive or which with even a low level of protection could not survive.
The point to which I now want to go is that there are many people in Australia who take great interest in knocking primary industry. Primary industry is subjected to attacks by those who seem to have various obsessions against the primary sector of the community and they usually base their obsessions on the quantitative or tangible figures given in the White papers or the
Budget in relation to subsidies or bounties or hand-outs to primary industries. They say, for example, that the total annual figure made available to primary industries by way of bounty or subsidy could be in the vicinity of about $200m a year and this is in fact a subsidy to primary industries. But what they do not take into account is the effect of the tariff on secondary industry and how that can be measured in quantitative terms, both directly through increased costs and indirectly through the flow of the first prime movement through the economy. The best estimates that one can get on the effect of the net subsidy equivalent in relation to secondary industry shows that an estimate - rough as it is - is in the vicinity of $ 1,500m per annum, which is the value or the net equivalent of the subsidy to secondary industries. If we take the same calculations for the primary industries we will find that the total value to primary industry of subsidies and bounties, including embargoes, is about $270m per annum. This is the total subsidy and bounty equivalent as opposed to the net subsidy equivalent to secondary industry of approximately $l,500m. When we consider that 60% of our balance of payments, represented by export income, is derived from sales from the primary sector surely there is a good case for the provision of the equivalent of a tariff to efficient primary industries.
Mr Deputy Speaker, it seems that I have stressed this before in the Parliament but I do so again. [ consider there is a need for the establishment of a permanent independent Commonwealth agricultural authority to advise the Federal Government on the justification of the protection of export primary industries along the same lines as the Tariff Board operates in respect of secondary industries.
– There is the Rural’ Industry Board.
– Is that what the Rural Industry Board does? We have been saying this in this Parliament. I have said something about an equivalent to the tariff at least 4 times in the last 18 months. I said it in Western Australia recently. I am glad to know that is what the Rural Industry Board does because I have not been able to find what it means. In addition to the recommendations on the justification of levels of protectionism to efficient primary industries, such an independent authority would also recommend precise levels of bounty after a thorough examination of the marketing prospects for the industry concerned. Primary industries should be given at least equal treatment to the policies governing the provision of tariffs or hidden subsidies to secondary industries.
The apparent indifference displayed by the community to the cost problem which is undermining the economy of the export primary industries is based more on ignorance than on any degree of intent. As I said before, it is estimated that the cash subsidy equivalent of the tariff to secondary industry is of the order of $l,500m annually and the cash equivalent of all payments and taxation concessions made to the primary industry as well as the val’ue of the equivalent of embargoes such as I have mentioned - sugar is an example - totals only $270m annually. As I have said, we should keep in mind the contribution that export primary industries make to the economy of Australia. Over 60% of export income is earned from primary industry. No-one can argue that the wool industry, for example, or the beef industry or sections of the dairy industry and the sugar industry, which are our main export industries, are not entitled to some compensatory finance equivalent to the disability caused by the tariff and other factors.
The Government’s encouragement of high tariff protection for manufacturing industries without any measure of prices control throughout Australia has resulted in continuous increases in the cost of production, particularly in the primary producing sector, and indirectly in living costs in Australia. Coupled with growth policies of full employment, particularly in the cities where most manufacturing industries are located, the high level of immigration and these inflationary characteristics are virtually wrecking many of the unprotected rural industries.
The tragedy of the situation is that the financial stranglehold being exerted by the cost-price squeeze will worsen and in turn can only accelerate the death of small farms unless positive action is taken. The getbigorgetout policy of this Liberal-Country Party Government is to be condemned. The
Government consistently refuses to accept the economic truth that high levels of tariff protection for manufacturing industries are causing serious cost disabilities to the export rural’ industries. The best estimates available suggest that the direct and indirect cost disability suffered by the most important export rural industry, wool, is in the vicinity of 25% of total costs. The report of the Committee of Economic Enquiry, known as the Vernon Committee, and others worked out a figure of about 10% on cash costs: but allowing for the increases in costs and allowing for the total costs including imputed costs, this figure is now estimated to be around 20% disability allowance which is being suffered by the wool industry.
The direct cost of tariff action affects the prices of farm products, spare parts and materials and the indirect costs are reflected in the wage structure and the general costs of materials and services. For example, the high wages that need to be paid to a man driving a transport truck are to a degree determined by the tariff protection related to the spare parts, the tyres and the component parts of that vehicle. The absurd situation which sees a Federal Government giving every encouragement to the growth of manufacturing interests and foreign controlled mineral development to the neglect and at the expense of the primary sector must be changed to allow at least a balanced economy. The progressive deterioration of the economic position of the primary sector - that is of farmers - calls for less buckpassing and the implementation of more positive action by the Government. The Australian export industries are powerless at present against the cancerous-like increases in costs which are destroying the economic heart of the once vital major rural industries.
The latest Treasury data published only last week once again reveals the serious economic consequences for export rural industries as a result of inflationary measures and inflationary growth policies in this country. At present, of the export industries in Australia only beef and sugar enjoy some measure of economic satisfaction because the export prices of the two commodities are at reasonable levels and can offset to a degree the insidious increase in farm costs which are forever marching on. But both beef and sugar are walking an economic tightrope. Anyone who has spoken to the Americans who were out here in the last few days would know full well the intent, the pressure and the lobbying that are going on in America to try to cut down the level of beef exports from Australia to that country. We know what can happen and we have suffered. The sugar farmers of Australia, including those in my own electorate of Dawson, have suffered because of the insidious increase in farm costs on the one hand and the unrealistic collapse in some areas of world prices on the other hand. It is to be hoped that world prices in both of these industries continue at a satisfactory level. It is to be hoped that this Government will take action to stop the insidious increase in farm costs sweeping over this country.
Some people will still argue that there is no such thing as a cost price squeeze in Australia. One has only to look at the published figures to see clearly that the stagnant sector of our economy today is the rural sector. No matter what index you take the same conclusion must be reached. Whether it is the percentage increase in the gross value of rural production or the net value after taking costs into account, all of the indicators show the very serious consequences flowing to the primary producers of this country. As I said earlier, the situation in the primary industries has degenerated because this Liberal-Country Party Government has failed to face up to the real issues confronting primary producers. I can imagine what the farmers of Australia were thinking tonight when they were listening to the Acting Prime Minister and Leader of the Country Party, who failed to say a word about primary industries and the sufferings of small farmers. All he could do was kick the Communist can. This is what the Country Party thinks of the farmers of Australia.
– 1 am sorry to change the subject of this debate but I propose to refer to the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), who introduced the subject of Papua and New Guinea. It is quite easy to understand why he spoke on that subject: He did not want to talk about the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign. You would think that on the day before the Campaign is to reach its height - a Campaign about which this Government has clearly stated its views - the Leader of the Opposition would come out and give a lead to his Party. Instead he sidestepped the issue. He said not a word about the Moratorium. I suppose he thought that all he had to do was get out in front of Parliament House under a couple of Vietcong flags and address the crowd. There he was safe from members of this House taking him to task about things he said. The honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) started his speech very gamely - and very lamely - on the subject of the Moratorium but quickly changed to another subject. 1 congratulate him on his foresight. 1 think every Australian is aware of the damage done to our dependent Territory of Papua and New Guinea by the recent visit there of the Leader of the Opposition. The Leader of the Opposition was very concerned because at a recent Press conference I was asked whether I considered that morale in Papua and New Guinea had declined following the visit of the Leader of the Opposition. I replied that undoubtedly it had. I have had representations from many people in the Territory asking that the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) go to the Territory and reassure the people that they will not be pushed into self-government and independence by 1976. What concerns many people of the Territory, as I mentioned at the Press conference, is that the average Papuan and New Guinean does not understand our particular form of government and the relationship of the Leader of the Opposition to the Government. The average Papuan thinks that the Leader of the Opposition is part of the Government and has a hand in forming Government policy. Because of this the people of the Territory were left confused by the visit of the Leader of the Opposition.
The honourable gentleman’s predecessor, the right honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell), was greatly respected in the Territory. He had the confidence of the community. The Opposition’s present policy of pushing the Territory into self-government by 1972 if, of course, it gets into power - a big ‘if - and independence by 1976 represents a drastic change from the policy pursued by the right honourable member for Melbourne Our policy is 1 of political change sanctioned by the people of Papua and New Guinea through their elected House of Assembly. The visit to the Territory of the Leader of the Opposition has caused them great concern. I do not want to stress only my views on this matter so 1 will read from the ‘Age’ a statement by Mr Lokoloko the most distinguished Ministerial Member for Health, who said:
Economic development must come first. We agree with the Australian Government’s policy that the timing of independence is a matter for the people of the Territory to decide for themselves. The move for independence is being made by the Pangu Party, which has 10 members in the Assembly and claims to be a national party. Its voice does not come from the people. Its members who speak of independence have no experience of PapuaNew Guinea and have never ever worked with the people of Papua-New Guinea. Mr Whitlam has made a bitter attack on the wishes of the people of the Territory. He is trying to impose his own wishes on them. I am afraid his words may encourage more pressure from the Afro-Asian bloc at the United Nations to foe critical of what Australia is doing in Papua-New Guinea.
This is just what happened. The Leader of the Opposition has helped to rubbish by misrepresentation and innuendo the image of Australia in the world.
– What have you done by your tear gas and batons?
– If the honourable member for Fremantle will listen and not disturb me I will give him the story about wages - a subject on which he has so much to say. Tonight the Leader of the Opposition invited the people of Australia to read the answers given to questions which he had placed on the notice-paper. I think he has placed about 102 questions on the noticepaper, all but 10 of which have been answered He did not make use of those questions. He was like the old gold prospector panning away looking for a trace of colour; tonight he did not get pay dirt with any of his questions. The only one to which he referred was an example of- his complete misrepresentation of the facts. He referred to the low cash wage in the Territory. By referring simply to the low cash wage he misrepresents the true position. It sounds like a big issue if you do not take all other factors into account. Certainly there is a cash wage. The officers of my Department went to a great deal of trouble to ascertain the wages paid in various under-developed countries.
Tn Papua and New Guinea the minimum wage is 81c per day - cash 18c, rations 53c, and accommodation 10c.
– Let me continue. In the British Solomons it is 60c per day cash. This is not a minimum wage. This is the genera! wage. Accommodation is supplied but not included in the value I have quoted.
– The Opposition is trying to distract me. Honourable members opposite do not like this sort of thing. In Ghana the wage is 68c per day and it is an all cash wage. That is the lot; they get nothing else. You can have a wonderful life on 68c per day and nothing else. In Kenya the wage is 46c peT day cash plus the value of accommodation. In Tanzania it is 48c per day, and it is an all cash wage. These are not minimum wages; this is the general run of wages. In Ceylon it is 47c per day cash, plus the value of rations. Accommodation is supplied but it is not included in that value. In the Central African Regublic the daily rate is 30c cash plus accommodation. In Malawi it is 25c per day cash and a daily meal is supplied. But these cash wages in underdeveloped countries are misleading. Honourable members must understand the sort of products that these people produce. They are similar to what is produced in Papua and New Guinea - copra, cocoa and coffee. They are products produced by the countries with the lowest standard of living in the world. These are labour intensive industries. The prices for these products are subject to very considerable fluctuations. This is thi basis of prosperity in all these countries. Most reluctantly, we have to accept this. The Leader of the Opposition has not said how he would push up these wages and thereby put everyone out of business.
– I quoted Mr McMahon.
– The Leader of the Opposition would put everyone out of businessThere would be no alternative.
– You pay less than anybody else in the South Pacific.
– I did not interrupt you. Kindly keep quiet.
-Order! The Leader of the Opposition will refrain from interjecting across the table. All other honourable members will refrain from interjecting. I think that yesterday I requested the Lender of the Opposition to refrain from interjecting and talking across the table. 1 suggest that he should comply with that request.
– I can understand the concern of the Leader of the Opposition because he has misrepresented. He has been condemned.
– Mr Speaker, I ask that that remark be withdrawn. I am not sure whether you were in the chair earlier when 1 was speaking, but I quoted from ministerial answers given to me. What I said on this subject was a quotation directly from last Tuesday’s Hansard report of what was said by the Minister for External Affairs concerning plantation wages in the South Pacific area.
-The Leader of the Opposition cannot debate the point of order.
– Mr Speaker, I ask for a withdrawal of the statement that I misrepresented the position.
– Order! The Leader of the Opposition may tell me what his point of order is.
– I ask you to require the Minister for External Territories to withdraw his remark that I misrepresented the position when in fact I was quoting directly from an answer given by the Minister for External Affairs which appears in last Tuesday’s Hansard.
– I do hot think there is any substance in the point of order. The Minister for External Territories is replying to the Leader of the Opposition. If the Leader of the Opposition states that he made these statements in this debate in the manner in which he did, then what the Minister is saying is legitimate comment in the course of reply.
– The Leader of the Opposition when be was in New Guinea said that the wages paid were the lowest in the world. I do not see how he can deny that statement.
– Your colleague says that they are the lowest in the South Pacific.
– I showed the Leader of the Opposition the figures and I am going to stick to them. I will refer now to economic development. We have made great efforts to get the people of Papua and New Guinea into an economic situation and we have succeeded. Australia’s efforts in this regard are magnificent. No other underdeveloped country has advanced to the same extent as Papua and New Guinea. When he was in the Territory the Leader of the Opposition commented that there was no economic development controlled by indigenes in, I think, 5 towns. Incidentally, he stayed at a motel at Rabaul which cost $120,000. Local indigenes have a large shareholding in it and there are 4 indigenes on the board of directors. I will detail some of the operations in Port Moresby. There is the Kila Kila Cooperative Society, the Elavala and Tonabada Co-operative Societies and a very considerable shoe repair shop.
– And a barber shop?
– The Opposition does not like to hear these things. It says there is no economic development in the Territory. This shoe repair shop is a very large operation which has been financed by the Development Bank. Three New Guinea people took over this shop which had been operated by Europeans. They are building it up into a very excellent business. Members of the Opposition do not like to hear this. Then there is Allied Enterprises, a metal fabricators and furniture making business. There are SO small stores in villages within the urban area. Now I refer to Rabaul where there is the Palnamadaku Furniture Manufacturing Co., the Tolai cocoa project and the New Britain Co-operative Association Ltd. The Tolais hold 700 trading licences and there are more than 1,000 native owned vehicles in -the Gazelle, most of which are used for commercial purposes.
In Lae there is the Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd headquarters with a Territorywide organisation having branches at Moresby and Rabaul. In Mt Hagen there is a garage and guest house owned by the local government council. At Madang nothing is wholly owned but Namasu is 40% owned by the Mission and the remainder by indigenes.
On the agricultural side in Papua and New Guinea 40% of the entire produce is produced 6y native people. Here again it is important not to accept the view of the Leader of the Opposition; otherwise some people might suspect my views. Rather I shall quote from the report presented to the United Nations Trustee Council. This is a completely independent body which is not altogether favourably disposed to Australia. An independent mission went to the Territory at the end of 1968 and prepared a report from which I will quote. Actually it is a precis of the views expressed by this mission. It states:
The Trusteeship Council welcomes the 5-year Economic Development Plan which the Administering Authority announced in September 1968. The Council believes that this plan is a step which should accelerate the Administration’s basic goal of increasing the economic self-reliance of the Territory and thus prepare the way for the meaningful exercise of self-determination.
The Council is impressed by the $l,000m level of expenditure envisaged by the plan over the 5- year period and by the important dual emphasis on increased production and on increasing the role of the local population in all aspects of the Territory’s activities.
Not only would the Papuan and New Guinean interests be protected in all enterprises which might be instituted, but the Council also notes the major effort that would be devoted to education and training so as to provide the skills necessary for active participation.
The Council notes that the indigenous involvement in the activities of the plan had been instituted from the start with its submission to, and approval by, the House of Assembly.
The Council recognises that even under the plan, major changes will take time, but it requests the Administering Authority to report to the Council at its 37th Session regarding the progress made during the first year, particularly in the matter of indigenous participation.
The Council notes with approval the Administering Authority’s continuing effort to attract from outside sources the additional capital required for the Territory’s development while at the same time continuing its policy of protecting indigenous interests and consulting them as appropriate.
The Council is pleased that the Administration has pledged not only to consult the Administrator’s Executive Council on investment matters, but has also promised to seek the approval of the House of Assembly for particular projects.
It goes on in that vein and I feel that one can accept it as a quite independent view in favour of our operations there. In agriculture it says:
The Council notes the efforts made by the Administering Authority to increase indigenous participation in the production of major agricultural products, particularly cash crops for export, and urges that this programme be expanded. The Council ako notes that in response to its earlier suggestion the Administering Authority is working actively in the field of agricultural research and is seeking new cash crops which might be successfully introduced in the Territory.
The Council looks forward to further reports on the.’e questions especially indigenous participation in agriculture.
This includes fisheries, forests, land tenure, industry and so on. lt covers aH the social advances. If the Council was concerned about the wage structure surely it would have mentioned this in the report. There is no mention of it in the report. The document goes on:
The Council continues to endorse the recommendations of the 1968 Visiting Mission in this field as set forth by the Council in the report of the 35th Session. The Council notes the efforts to expand the labour inspectorial staff and hopes they will continue and that greater use will be made of indigenous staff.
The Council welcomes <he new ordinance to establish machinery for settling disputes and claims in the Public Service. The inclusion of Papuans and New Guineans on the Conciliation and Arbitration Tribunal, which will deal with these issues, is an important step.
This was part of a Press statement and it is available to honourable members. Of course, no-one takes any notice of this because it spoils an argument against our efforts in Papua and New Guinea. 1 could go on with this point but I do not think I have to do so, because the Leader of the Opposition has condemned himself. He is condemned by the people of Australia for his visit to Papua and New Guinea. We do not have to do anything. It is all his own work.
What concerns the people of Papua and New Guinea is this drastic change in Labor Party policy relating to New Guinea. At least the Leader of the Opposition is consistent. He went up there in 1964 and he said: ‘Independence by 1970’. So he is consistent. Then he went on this visit. He was kind enough to acknowledge my assistance. I hoped he would go and see for himself; I hoped for better results. One would think the leader of a large political party would be careful in making his pronouncements, that he would observe and listen to what people had to tell him. that he would make a survey for himself. But what did he do? The very day he stepped on New Guinea territory he had a policy preconceived here in Australia and evidently supported by the Labor Party. The Labor Party supports this policy of self-government by 1972 and independence by 1976. This is the pronouncement. The indigenes do not have a say in the matter. The Labor Party would impose this on them whether they like it or not. 1 conclude with those remarks.
Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa- Leader of the Opposition) - J claim to have been misrepresented by the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes).
-Does the honourable member wish to make a personal explanation.
– Yes. The Minister for External Territories claimed that in New Guinea and again tonight I had misstated the wage position of plantation workers in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. I have here a text of what I said in Port Moresby on this subject on the last day I was there, 12th January. I referred to the following urgent needs. A reasonable minimum wage; an arbitration system for plantation workers and all labourers; an end to the shame whereby Australia’s name is associated with plantation wages of S5 a month or less, the worst wages in the Pacific and probably the worst in the world. Tonight in speaking on this Appropriation Bill I quoted from the Minister’s answer to me yesterday, which appears in Hansard at page 1760, and from the answer which the Minister for External Affairs (Mr McMahon) gave me the previous day, which is reported at page 1653 of Hansard. The Minister for External Affairs gave me a list of the countries in the South Pacific where there are plantation workers and I showed from his answer how in each case the wages paid to plantation workers were higher than in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. Yesterday the Minister for External Territories gave an answer to this question:
Can he cite any country in which plantation workers are paid less?
He quoted several African and some Asian countries; be quoted only 1 Pacific country, namely the British Solomon Islands Protectorate. On that I need say no more than that his figures for the Solomon Islands do not tally with those given to me the previous day by the Minister for External Affairs.
– I stand by what I said.
– And I stand by what the Minister for External Affairs said.
Debate (on motion by Mr Sinclair) adjourned.
House adjourned at 10.59 p.m.
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:
asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
1 assume that the honourable member is referring to the Preparatory technical maritime Conference which was held in Genoa from 15th- 26th September 1969. The 54lh Session of the International Labour Conference will be held in June 1970. The 55th (Maritime) Session of the International Labour Conference will be held from 14th to 31st October 1970. The Preparatory Technical Maritime Conference gave preliminary consideration to 6 items which will be discussed at the Conference in October. The Australian Government Representatives voted for the adoption of the reports on each of these items.
No. 15 Minimum Age (Trimmers and Stokers) 1921 (20th November 1922)
No. 16 Medical Examination of Young Persons (Sea), 1921 (20th November 1922)
No. 22 Seamen’s Articles of Agreement, 1926 (4th April 1928)
No. 23 Repatriation of Seamen, 1926 (16th April 1928)
No. 53 Officers’ Competency Certificates, 1936 (29th March 1939)
No. 55 Shipowners’ Liability (Sick and Injured
Seamen), (29th October 1936)
No. 56 Sickness Insurance (Sea), 1936 (9th
No. 58 Minimum Agc (Sea) (Revised), 1936 (11th April 1939)
No. 68 Food and Catering (Ships’ Crews), 1946 (24th March f957)
No. 69 Certification of Ships’ Cooks 1946 (22nd April 1953)
No. 71 Seafarers* Pensions, 1946 (10th October 1962)
No. 73 Medical Examination (Seafarers), 1946 (17th August 1955)
No. 74 Certification of Able Seamen, 1946 (14th July 1951)
No. 91 Paid Vacations (Seafarers) (Revised), 1949 (14th September 1967)
No. 92 Accommodation of Crews (Revised), 1949 (29th January 1953)
No. 7 Ratified on 28th June 1935 No. 8 Ratified on 28th June 1935 No. 15 Ratified on 28th June 1935 No. 16 Ratified on 28th June 1935 No. 22 Ratified on 1st April 1935 In addition, Australia has ratified the following Conventions which have not yet entered into force: No. 57 Hours of Work and Manning (Sea), 1936 (Ratified on 24th September 1938) No. 76 Wages, Hours of Work and Manning (Sea), 1946 (Ratified on 25th January
No. 93 Wages, Hours of Work and Manning (Sca), (Revised), 1949 (Ratified on 3rd March 1954).
asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:
In which cases has the Governor-General
– The answer to part 2 (d) of the honourable member’s question as published in Hansard 18th- 19th March (page 612) should read:
asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice:
What protective equipment is issued to members of the task force in Vietnam.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Issues of the following special protective clothing and equipment are made to members of the Task Force in Vietnam either as permanent personal issues or as required for special tasks or operations:
Steel helmet; body armour (.for protection against grenade and shell fragments, mine blasts and fragments - particularly during clearance operations - and shot): boots (general purpose and protective); gas masks; anti-dust respirators; goggles (various types); gloves (various types); armoured fighting vehicle suits; life jackets (for amphibious operations); aural protectors (plugs/ muffs); and electricians’ rubber insulation blanket.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable members question is as follows:
asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice: (!) On what dates has the Commonwealth Sanelions Committee met.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Meetings of the Commonwealth Sanctions Committee were held in London, and attended by the Australian High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, or senior members of his staff, as indicated in the schedule hereunder:
asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice:
If so, does this report, entitled The United Nations: The Next Twenty-five years, propose a draft declaration by all members to the effect that they will take steps to -
– The answer to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:
asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Provinces of Canada - Alberta
British Columbia Manitoba Newfoundland Ontario
Prince Edward Island Saskatchewan Other countries - Ceylon Cook Islands Cyprus India Kenya Malawi New Zealand Nigeria Niue Pakistan Singapore South Africa United Kingdom Zambia
The list of countries so far proclaimed by the States is, with some minor exceptions, the same as the above list.
asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The Public Service Board could not accept that such increases were justified. Thus, in the Board’s view, no basis for further negotiations existed.
asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: (1), (2), (3) and (4) The position of law and practice relating to these Conventions and the considerations affecting ratification are set out in the ‘Review of Australian Law and Practice Relating to Conventions Adopted by the International Labour Conference* published by my Department in October 1969. I have previously provided the honourable member with a copy.
Minimum Wage: Effect of Technological Change (Question No. 809) Mr Clyde Cameron asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
To what extent has technological change during the past 20 years resulted in an increase in the real purchasing power of the nominal minimum wage for a standard working week.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Changes in the real purchasing power of the nominal minimum wage for a standard working week are influenced not only by technological developments but also by other factors such as changes in the stock of capital per worker, movements in the terms of trade, the educational level of the work force, managerial efficiency and economies of scale.
As there are conceptual and technical difficulties in separating out the contribution made by technological change no useful answer can be provided.
asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
What is the average number of hours, including overtime worked by each employee in Australia in each year since 1950.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The information sought is not available in respect of each employee in Australia for the period indicated. However, there are two series of data published by the Commonwealth Statistician which may be of value in providing part of the information which the honourable member is seeking.
In each year since 1962 (except in 1965) the Commonwealth Statistician has carried out surveys of weekly earnings and hours. These are sample surveys in respect only of the full-time employees of private employers subject to pay-roll tax, and are conducted as at the last pay period in October each year. Data from the surveys are only available for the period 1962-1968 and are shown in Table 1, following:
asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
What inquiries did he make before answering Question No. 213 (Hansard, 7 April 1970, page 793).
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Sufficient to enable me to answer the question in accordance with the Standing Orders.
lt is important to understand the difference in the coverage of the persons included in the two tables. Table 1 refers to hours worked per week by fulltime employees of private employers. Table 2 shows weekly hours worked by all persons in the civilian work force. Included in the sample for this table are employers, self-employed and employees, whether working part-time or full-time.
asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
– The answer to the honour able member’s question is as follows:
Foot ami Mouth Disease (Question No. 866)
asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice: What precautions are taken by his Department in transporting migrants from countries subject to foot and mouth disease to ensure that the disease is not brought into Australia.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
In countries where foot and mouth disease is known to be prevalent or endemic migrants are given a booklet (in their own language) before preparing to leave their country drawing attention lo animal quarantine requirements and explaining the reasons for these. This subject is also discussed at interview.
Where charter flights are arranged to bring assisted migrants lo Australia from fool and mouth areas a thorough-pre-flight examination of baggage is made under the supervision of an Australian medical officer. Footwear is scrubbed with a sodium carbonate solution; clothing has lo be clean and well laundered and food stuffs such as meat (tinned or otherwise) and cheese are removed from migrants baggage. All migrants from such countries arc also obliged to walk over a mat impregnated with an alkali formal hydrate solution immediately prior to boarding the aircraft.
Additional measures are taken by Customs and Quarantine on arrival of these migrants in Australia, including thorough inspection of baggage for risk items and disinfection of footwear and clothing where it is thought necessary.
asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
What precautions are taken by his Department in countries of origin to ensure that people likely to be in contact wilh foot and mouth disease do not transmit it (o Australia.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
In countries where foot and mouth disease is known to be prevalent or endemic and from which regular shipping services operate it is usual for migrants who are defined as ‘rural’ types to be given visas which restricts them to travel by sea. The definition of a ‘rural’ migrant for quarantine purposes is one who within the last three months has:
resided on a farm;
lived or worked in a place on which cows, goats, cattle, sheep or pigs are kept; or
worked or lived at a place where meat, milk, hides or any other animal products are processed or stocked.
The reason for favouring sea travel for ‘rural’ migrants is because the longer travelling time reduces the amount of any chance virus contamination that may be present. The persistence of virus decreases with the lapse of time.
In similar countries from which it is not possible for migrants to travel by sea, air movement is permitted but under conditions where a thorough pre-flight examination of migrants clothing and baggage is conducted, with disinfection of footwear as necessary, under the supervision of an Australian medical officer.
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Defence: Project ‘Mallard’ (Question No. 557)
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
and (4) The’ cost to Australia of Phase 1 which is now complete was $A0.593m. The estimated total cost to Australia for the current Phase 2A to which we have been committed is SAl.lm. The total of $ A 1.7m will all be paid to Australian organisations. The cost to Australia of successive phases will be determined when our commitment to these later phases is being considered. I am not in a position to reveal current or total costs to other participating countries.
Their classifications are as follows:
Programme Manager - Colonel
Deputy Programme Manager - Squadron Leader
National Representative on Standardisation - Class 3 Engineer
Technical Clerk - Warrant Officer, Class II
Head, Joint Engineering Agency User Requirements Division - Lieutenant Colonel
Members, Joint Engineering Agency (2) - Class 3 Engineers (2)
A. Contracts under Phase J (feasibility and system studies) of the project have been completed. These were as follows:
Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) - Steerable directional antenna for tactical communications.
Plessey Telecommunications Pty Ltd - Techniques for high tonal quality picture transmission.
Weapons Research Establishment - Speed Buffering and Digital Combining.
Weapons Research Establishment - Multiplexing of Delta Modulated Signals.
RCA Victor (Canada) - Millimeter Investigations.
Lenkurt Electric Co. - RF Combining for
Down the Hill Radio Links.
Computing Devices of Canada - Message
Litton Systems - Character Recognition
British Consortium (General Electric, Marconi, Plessey STC) - System Study (c).
Standard Telecommunications Laboratories - (UK) - Design Techniques for Electromagnetic compatibility.
Marconi Co. - Coding Techniques for Satellite Communications.
Plessey (UK) - Single Channel Access.
British Aircraft Corporation - Electromagnetic compatibility.
Elliot Automation - Traffic Simulation.
Signals Research and Development Establishment - Traffic Requirements and Simulations.
Sylvania - System Study (a). RCA- System Study (b)
IBM - Routing and Network Control Simulation.
Sylvania - Modular Program for Switch Control.
Martin Marietta Corp. - Bit Syncronisation - Atomic Clock vs. Frequency Averaging.
Martin Marietta Corp. - Timing and Farming Techniques for Troposcatter and Line of Sight.
Communications Systems Inc. - Error characterisation of Mallard channels.
Martin Marietta Corp.- Troposcatter Transmission of High Speed Digital Signals.
Patterson Smith Inc.- Traffic Simulation.
Hughes Aircraft - Vulnerability Analysis of Mallard I Systems Design.
General Electric Co. - Directory Development Study.
Westingham Corp. - Methodology for System Analysis of Mallard Communications System.
Martin Marietta Corp.- -RADA Techniques for Project Mallard.
US Army Electronics Command - Error data collection on Satellite Channels.
Communications and Systems Inc. - Mallard Communication Traffic Requirements.
Martin Marietta Corp. - Correlation Bandwidth measurements over troposcatter paths.
Contracts foi Phase 2a (functional modelling and simulations) are current and are as follows:
Standard Telephones and Cables - Static Subscriber Subsystem (Wire Distribution) (Loop Multiplexer/Combiner).
Plessey Telecommunications Pty Ltd - Programme support.
ITTC- Voice Subset and Data Adapter. Acres Intertel - Engineering Support. Northern Electric Co. - Programme support.
Standard Telephones and Cables - Static Subscriber Subsystem (Minor Access Switch).
General Electric Corporation - Combat Net Radio Interface Equipment.
Plessey - Mobile Subscriber Subsystem.
Standard Telephones and Cables - Intranodal Link (Down the Hill Radio Link).
Marconi - Large Scale/Medium Scale Integrated Circuitry for the Minor Access Switch.
Thorn - Power Conditioners.
British Aircraft Corporation - Development of System Availability Models.
British Aircraft Corporation - Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Analysis of Selected Mallard System Designs.
Vitro Corporation of America - Programme Support.
H00Z Allen Applied Research Inc. -
Tasks which are allotted to the US but for which contracts have not yet been awarded are: Trunk/Major Access Switch Large Scale Integrated Digital Switching Circuitry System Control Modelling and Simulation
Static Subscriber Subsystem - Radio
Cost/ Effectiveness Analysis of the
Mallard Communications System Routing and Network Simulations Turbo Alternator
Electro-Magnetic Compatibility Analysis
Internodal Link (Multi-channel SHF
Radio Link Terminals)
Internodal Satellite Terminal Functional
Test Equipment (Built-in and Manual) Shelter and Environmental Control Units
Rank-Mounted Thermoelectric Power Source
Satellite Traffic and Use Study
Bit Error Generators for Radio Link
Simulators Traffic Requirements
National Studies - The following national studies were undertaken by all four participating countries:
Inventory Study Interface Study
Exchange of Technical Information
International Studies - In addition to the national studies the following were undertaken on an international basis: System Electrical Standards Component, Equipment and Environmental Standards.
National Studies - The following national studies are being undertaken by all four participating countries:
Mallard Communications Traffic Requirements
Project Inventory Requirements
Component Equipment and Environmental Standardisation.
Drawing and Data Standardisation
Electromagnetic Radiation studies
Communication System Electrical Standardisation
International Studies - The following studies are being undertaken on an international basis: Communications System Overlay for US
Communications System Overlay for UK
Communications System Overlay for Australian Deployment Model Signalling and Framing Plans for Phase 2 Design of Engineering Order Wire System System Level Design of Error Control for Mallard
Predicted Size, Weights, Configuration, etc.
Proposed for Final Mallard System Mallard Teletype/data Operation
Mallard Features and Functions, Cost
Nuclear Vulnerability System Specification
Physical and Electrical Interconnection Compatibility Study Technical Review of Task Directives Power Quality Power Shelter
Power Requirements for Mallard Shelters System Feasibility Test Plan Test site Requirements. (10) The objectives of the Australian contribution to the project are: (a) Militarily -
To obtain military communications equipment at the best price.
It should be noted that the system is not designed solely for communications between the 4 participants. It is designed to meet the needs for secure tactical trunk and distribution communications systems for the services of the 4 participating nations, and will be interoperable between each national system, in the same theatre of operations.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 7 May 1970, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1970/19700507_reps_27_hor67/>.