House of Representatives
2 September 1970

27th Parliament · 2nd Session

Mr SPEAKER (Hon. Sir William Aston) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.

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– I present the follow ing petition:

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The Humble Petition of electors of Balaclava respectfully showeth:

That they are gravely concerned at what they consider to be the adverse effect on moral standards in the Australian community of the increasing portrayal and description of obscenity, sexual licence, promiscuity and violence in films, books, magazines, plays and, to a lesser extent, television and radio programmes.

That their concern arises partly from the fact that historians, such as J. D. Unwin and Arnold Toynbee, have shown that nearly all nations which have perished have done so because of internal moral decay; and partly because obscenity and indecency are contrary to the teachings of Christianity which is the acknowledged religion of more than 80 per cent of Australians, besides being ‘part and parcel of the law of the land’ (Quick and Garran in ‘Commentaries on the Australian Constitution’, Page 951); and

That, in accordance with the findings of the Australian Gallup Poll, published in the Melbourne Herald on 14 th November 1969, the majority of Australian citizens want censorship either maintained or increased.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that Honourable Members of the House of Representatives will seek to ensure that Commonwealth legislation bearing on censorship of films, literature and radio and television programmes is so framed and so administered as to preserve sound moral standards in the community.

And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

Petition received and read.



– I present the following petition:

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The Humble Petition of electors of Newcastle respectfully showeth:

That they are gravely concerned at what they consider to be the adverse effect on moral standards in the Australian community of the increasing portrayal and description of obscenity, sexual licence, promiscuity and violence in films, books, magazines, plays and, to a lesser extent, television and radio programmes;

That their concern arises partly from the fact that historians, such as J. D. Unwin and Arnold

Toynbee, have shown that nearly all nations which have perished have done so because of internal moral decay; and partly because obscenity and indecency are contrary to the teachings of Christianity which is the acknowledged religion of more than 80 per cent of Australians, besides being ‘part and parcel of the law of the land’ (Quick and Garran in ‘Commentaries on the Australian Constitution’, Page 951); and

That, in accordance with the findings of the Australian Gallup Poll, published in the Melbourne Herald on 14th November 1969. the majority of Australian citizens warn censorship either maintained or increased.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that Honourable Members of the House of Representatives will seek to ensure that Commonwealth legislation bearing on censorship of films, literature and radio and television programmes is so framed and so administered as to’ preserve sound moral standards in the community.

And your Petitioners, as m duty bound, will ever pray.

Petition received.



– I present the following petition:

To the Honourable the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of electors of La Trobe respectfully showeth:

That they are gravely concerned at what they consider to be the adverse effect on moral standards in the Australian community of the increasing portrayal and description of obscenity, sexual licence, promiscuity and violence in films, books, magazines, plays and, to a lesser extent, television and radio programmes.

That their concern arises partly from the fact that historians, such as J. D. Unwin and Arnold Toynbee, have shown that nearly all nations which have perished have done so because of internal moral decay; and partly because obscenity and indecency are contrary to the teachings of Christianity which is the acknowledged religion of more than 80 per cent of Australians, besides being ‘part and parcel of the law of the land’ (Quick and Garran in ‘Commentaries on the Australian Constitution’, page 951); and

That, in accordance with the findings of the Australian Gallup Poll, published in the Melbourne Herald on 14th November, 1969, the majority of Australian citizens want censorship either maintained or increased.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that honourable members of the House of Representatives will seek to ensure that Commonwealth legislation bearing on censorship of films, literature and radio and television programmes is so framed and so administered as to preserve sound moral standards in the community.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

Petition received.



– I present the following petition:

To the Honourable the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled.

The humble petition of electors of the Australian Capital Territory respectfully showeth:

That they are gravely concerned at what they consider to be the adverse effect on moral standards in the Australian community of the increasing portrayal and description of obscenity, sexual licence, promiscuity and violence in films, books, magazines, plays and, to a lesser extent, television and radio programmes.

That their concern arises partly from the fact that historians, such as J. D. Unwin and Arnold Toynbee, have shown that nearly all nations which have perished have done so because of interna! moral decay; and partly because obscenity and indecency are contrary to the teachings of Christianity which is the acknowledged religion of more than 80 per cent of Australians, besides being ‘part and parcel of the law of the land’ (Quick and Garran in ‘Commentaries on the Australian Constitution’, page 951); and

That, in accordance with the findings of the Australian Gallup Poll, published in the Melbourne Herald on 14th November, 1969, the majority of Australian citizens want censorship either maintained or increased.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that honourable members of the House of Representatives will seek to ensure that Commonwealth legislation bearing on censorship of films, literature and radio and television programmes is so framed and so administered as to preserve sound moral standards in the community.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

Petition received.



– I present the following petition:

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of electors of KingsfordSmith respectfully showeth:

That they are gravely concerned at what they consider to be the adverse effect on moral standards in the Australian community of the increasing portrayal and description of obscenity, sexual licence, promiscuity and violence in films, books, magazines, plays and, to a lesser extent, television and radio programmes;

That their concern arises partly from the fact that historians such as J. D. Unwin and Arnold Toynbee, have shown that nearly all nations which have perished have done so because of internal moral decay; and partly because obscenity and indecency are contrary to the teachings of Christianity which is the acknowledged religion of more than 80 per cent of Australians, besides being ‘part and parcel of the law of the land’ (Quick and Garran in ‘Commentaries on the Australian Constitution,’ Page 951); and

That, in accordance with the findings of the Australian gallup poll, published in the Melbourne Herald on 14th November 1969, the majority of Australian citizens want censorship either maintained or increased.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that honourable members of the House of Representatives will seek to ensure that Commonwealth legislation bearing on censorship of films, literature and radio and television programmes is so framed and so administered as to preserve sound moral standards in the community. And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

Petition received.



– I present the following petition:

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of electors of Hawker respectfully showeth:

That they are gravely concerned at what they consider to be the adverse effect on moral standards in the Australian community of the increasing portrayal and description of obscenity, sexual licence, promiscuity and violence in films, books, magazines, plays and, to a lesser extent, television and radio programmes;

That their concern arises partly from the fact that historians, such as J. D. Unwin and Arnold Toynbee, have shown that nearly all nations which have perished have done so because of internal moral decay; and partly because obscenity and indecency are contrary to the teachings of Christianity which is the acknowledged religion of more than 80 per cent of Australians, besides being ‘part and parcel of the law of the land’ (Quick and Garran in ‘Commentaries on the Australian Constitution,’ Page 951); and

That, in accordance with the findings of the Australian gallup poll, published in the Melbourne Herald on 14th November 1969, the majority of Australian citizens want censorship either maintained or increased.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that honourable members of the House of Representatives will seek to ensure that Commonwealth legislation bearing on censorship of films, literature and radio and television programmes is so framed and so administered as to preserve sound moral standards in the community. And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

Petition received.



– I present the following petition:

To the honourable the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of electors of Scullin respectfully showeth:

That they are gravely concerned at what they consider to be the adverse effect on moral standards in the Australian community of the increasing portrayal and description of obscenity, sexual licence, promiscuity and violence in films, books, magazines, plays and, to a lesser extent, television and radio programmes.

That their concern arises partly from the fact that historians, such as J. D. Unwin and Arnold Toynbee, have shown that nearly all nations which have perished have done so because of internal moral decay; and partly because obscenity and indecency are contrary to the teachings of Christianity which is the acknowledged religion of more than 80 per cent of Australians, besides being ‘part and parcel of the law of the land’ (Quick and Garran in ‘Commentaries on the Australian Constitution’, page 951); and

That, in accordance with the findings of the Australian gallup poll, published in the Melbourne Herald’ on 14th November 1969, the majority of Australian citizens want censorship either maintained or increased.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that honourable members of the House of Representatives will seek to ensure that Commonwealth legislation bearing on censorship of films, literature and radio and television programmes is so framed and so administered as to preserve sound moral standards in the community.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

Petition received.

Social Services


– I present the following petition:

To the Honourable the President and the members of the Senate and the Honourable the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned citizens of New South Wales respectfully showeth:

That due to higher living cost, persons on social service pensions, are finding it extremely difficult to live in even the most frugal way.

We therefore call upon the Commonwealth Government to increase the base pension rate to 30 per cent of average weekly male earnings, plus supplementary assistance in accordance with ACTU policy and by so doing give a reasonably moderate pension.

The average weekly earnings for adult male unit wage and salary earner means the figures issued from time to time by the Commonwealth Statistician and published quarterly.

Your petitioners most humbly pray that the Senate and House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will take immediate steps to bring about the wishes expressed in our petition; so that our citizens receiving the social service pensions may live their lives in dignity.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.

Petition received and read.

Interest Sates


– I present the following petition:

To the Honourable Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned citizens of Western Australia respectfully showeth:

That the recent increase in the interest rate on Government bonds has caused hardship to the thousands ofhome buyers throughout this State due to the subsequent increase in interest rates on mortgage contracts by home lending institutions.

Your petitioners most humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will give earnest consideration to this most vital matter and your petitioners as in duty bound will every pray.

Petition received and read.



– I present the following peti tion:

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the residents of the State of New South Wales respectfully sheweth:

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 lawsin 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 natural resource can withstand hunting on such a concentrated scale, unless some provision is made for its future.

We, your petitioners, therefore humbly 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.

And, your petitioners, as in duty bound will ever pray.

Petition received and read.


To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament Assembled: The humble Petition of the residents of the State of New South Wales respectfully sheweth:

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 natural resource can withstand hunting on such a concentrated scale, unless some provision is made for its future.

We, your petitioners, therefore humbly 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.

And, your petitioners, as in duty bound will ever pray.

Petition received.

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– I ask the Minister for Immigration a question. I refer to reports that an extremely well known citizen of the United States, Mr Gregory, has been refused an entry permit by his Department. Since the Minister may have been alarmed by Mr Gregory’s intention to participate in the Vietnam Moratorium, although his major purpose was to play the campus circuit of university unions as the guest of those unions and the Wayside Chapel, I ask the Minister whether he is aware that Mr Gregory called off his plans to disrupt the Democratic National Convention 2 years ago with the statement:

As a citizen and as an American I’m not going to be responsible for any violence or any rioting at all.

Be that as it may, I ask the Minister: in view of the worldwide publicity and damaging speculation which the exclusion of an American negro of Mr Gregory’s celebrity will undoubtedly cause, does he not believe it would be not only in Mr Gregory’s interests but also in Australia’s interests that the reasons for excluding him be stated. I ask him: On what grounds has Mr Gregory been refused a visa to enter Australia?

Minister Assisting the Treasurer · FLINDERS, VICTORIA · LP

– The Government’s policy is to allow the maximum freedom of travel to Australia, and persons are not prevented from entering this country just because their political views are different from the views held by this Government. But this is of course subject to the essential consideration of Australia’s national interest, and the Government is not prepared to allow the entry to Australia of persons whose activities are considered to be contrary to that national interest and where their stated purpose in visiting Australia is not judged to be bona fide. In the Government’s view this applies where the intentions are related to a one sided, distorted anti-war Moratorium Campaign inimical to the objectives for which Australian troops are fighting in Vietnam. If authority were given by this Government to persons to enter Australia for this purpose it would, in the view of the Government, have the following effect: It would represent a betrayal of Australian servicemen in Vietnam. Secondly, it would damage–

Mr Kennedy:

– Are you talking about Mr Gregory?


– Apparently some members of the Opposition are not interested in Australian troops in Vietnam.

Mr Killen:

– That is par for the course.


– Well, it is par for the course. Secondly, it would certainly damage the morale of Australian servicemen in Vietnam. Thirdly, it would give encouragement to those who seek not peace but peaceful submission to those who seek to promote the rule of the streets and the power of the mob with the consequent threat that that involves to the maintenance of law and order in this country. I say to the House that, consistent with these principles, the Government has declined to provide Mr Gregory with a visa for entry to this country. I am informed–

Dr Klugman:

– It is not political.


– Apparently members of the Opposition are not interested in the reasons which the Leader of the Opposition has sought.

Mr Whitlam:

– You are giving the reasons?


-I am informed–


– Order! I suggest to honourable members on my left that they restrain themselves. The Leader of the Opposition has asked a very full, information seeking question. I think that the Minister should be allowed to answer that question with honourable members behaving in a dignified way.


– I am informed that Mr Gregory planned to arrive in Australia on 13th September for a period of 2 weeks during, of course, the September Vietnam Moratorium Campaign. I am informed also - and this may be a matter of some interest to the Opposition - that the purpose as stated by Mr Gregory for his visit to Australia was - and I use the word in inverted commas - ‘sightseeing’. It must surely be obvious to any member of this House, even to the Leader of the Opposition, that that reason must be seen as not bona fide, not genuine and spurious in intent having regard to the recent Press publicity as to the real reason for the visit to this country of that gentleman.

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– Is the Minister for Labour and National Service aware that the secretary of Australia’s largest trade union, the Australian Workers Union, has called upon his members not to work the hours recently awarded by an arbitration court decision, nor to accept some rates of pay awarded by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission? Is it also a fact that . this gentleman has said that any employer sticking to the award will be declared black immediately? Does this action constitute a contempt of the arbitration court? What will the Minister and his Department do to ensure that employers abiding by the law are not victimised by this petty czar?

Minister for Labour and National Service · BRUCE, VICTORIA · LP

– An application was before the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission on which a decision was given on, I think, 17th June. The terms of the decision were to reject an application for a 40-hour week in the pastoral industry. A meeting of the union took place at the end of July. It determined to issue an instruction to its members not to work more than 40 hours a week on a S-day spread of hours. It went further to say that, if any action was taken against any of its members for complying with the instruction of the union, it would declare black the property concerned. So, a very real conflict exists between the Commission’s decision which was given as a result of an application made to it by the union and the decision of the union not to accept the decision and therefore instructing its members to act in the way it did and going further to declare a willingness to impose a black ban.

Just what that black ban would mean, I can only guess at; and, because it would be a guess, I will not state it. We would need to wait time to see whether or not the members of the union do do what they are advised to do and, if they do, what would be the response of the employers and then what would happen with the black ban. I am confident that the employers know what recourse they would have in these circumstances. I leave it to them to see what happens and to take the initiative.

I should mention to the honourable member that, as I remember the decision of the Commission, it pointed out that of approximately 30,000 employees in the industry only about 1,150 - again I test my recollection - are members of the union. So, whether or not the activities of the union will be effective remains to be seen.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. Does the Minister’s Department offer any special assistance in obtaining employment to persons suffering from epilepsy? Is there any job safety assessment made of the type of employment available to them? Has there been any evidence of employer resistance to employing epileptics? If so, what has been done to allay this?


– I will have to obtain details for the honourable gentleman in relation to the disability of epilepsy. I am quite proud of the efforts of the Commonwealth Employment Service in overcoming employer resistance to employing disabled people and also in overcoming the reluctance of disabled people to enter into employment. A very great deal has been achieved. I think that more has to be done. I take particular note of the element of the question concerning safety measures for epileptics. I will give a full answer to the honourable member by letter.

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– Is the Minister for Customs and Excise aware of the concern of the Australian wine industry and grape growers about the effect on their operations of the recently imposed excise on wine? Will the Minister assure me that he is doing all in his power to allay this anxiety?

Minister for Customs and Excise · HOTHAM, VICTORIA · LP

– Last week in answer to a question in this House I made statements concerning the new tax on wine. Notwithstanding those statements, which received some publicity, some spokesmen for the wine industry have seen fit to say in the Press that the Commonwealth Government was levying double tax on wine. In my statement last week I said that the Government was not doing so. The spokesman for the wine industry made other accusations and complaints which I thought I had allayed the week before. Because of this and because the tax is a new one I have requested the Comptroller-General of Customs, who is the permanent head of my Department, to convene a meeting of industry representatives tomorrow afternoon. Members of the industry have indicated that they will be present. The meeting will enable all the bugs to be ironed out and the mechanics to be set straight. Comments on preliminary teething troubles with the tax can be listened to at the highest level in my Department and discussed.

The honourable members for Wakefield and Angas, the Minister for Health and the honourable members for Riverina, Sturt and Paterson have made representations to me concerning the initial levy of the excise which might affect the industry’s capacity to pay in the short run. My Department has been studying this aspect for some time. My personal view is that it seems prehistoric to collect excise on the day on which goods are entered for human consumption. It would seem to me to be common sense that business practices should prevail. I understand that the present practice, which has operated for years, is based on the traditional view that goods cannot be taken out of bond until the excise is paid. It seems to me to be common sense for the excise to be paid periodically, whatever the period might be. 1 am having discussions with my colleague, the Treasurer, on this question and 1 hope to make a submission to Cabinet and a statement to the House in due course.

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– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation. In view of recent petitions to the Parliament, will the Minister consider placing an embargo on the movement of aircraft at Perth Airport from 12 midnight to 6 a.m.? Has the Minister considered or, if he has not. will he consider, shifting the Perth Airport from the existing area because of the increasing nuisance to residents? Will he take into consideration in the flight patterns at Perth Airport the density zoning proposals of the adjacent shires? Will he consider paying compensation or purchasing properties affected by aircraft noise and subsequent zoning restrictions in these flight paths?

Minister for National Development · DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · LP

– I will see that the question is referred to my colleague in another place and that a reply is received.

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– My question refers to the proposed increase in excise on motor spirit as set out in the Budget and, as more than one department is concerned, I direct it to the Prime Minister. Does he know that consumers are perplexed regarding the price of petrol? Does he know that in Victoria it is selling at many different prices per gallon and that in less than 1 hour’s travelling one can see bowser notices offering 3c to 8c per gallon off the general price? Does this indicate that the present base price of motor spirit in Victoria is far too high and that even with the addition of the proposed 3c it could be reduced or at least not altered? Will the Prime Minister cause urgent investigations to be made into this most important subject?

Prime Minister · HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP

– The duty on petrol and other petroleum products which was introduced is, of course, to sustain the general revenue of the Government so that in turn the requirements of the people for various services can be met. 1 have always understood - and I believe it to be a fact - that the oil companies base their prices on the determination of the South Australian Prices Commissioner to whom applications are made. He decides the price at which petrol should be sold. I understand that this is done throughout Australia and is an instance of price fixing which apparently does not meet with the honourable member’s support. Nevertheless this is the position as I understand it. If that is so - and it has been for a number of years - then applications are made, figures are put and cases are presented to the South Australian Prices Commissioner who indicates what he considers to be a fair price at which petrol can be sold. Normally in the past - and, I expect, on this occasion - when additional excise has been put on petrol the retail price has increased by the amount of that excise and usually by no more. If a price is agreed to by the South ‘ Australian Prices Commissioner as the highest price which is a fair price and if garage owners, some importing companies or people of that kind are prepared to work harder, to work longer times and to take lower returns, surely that would not be a matter which we would seek to stop them from doing. I can only answer the honourable member in those terms.

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– Has the Prime Minister received a submission from the Tasmanian Government concerning the proposal to establish a rail link between Launceston and Bell Bay? If so, did the submission contain a request for financial assistance to establish the link? If the Prime Minister has received this submission will he advise me whether it has been considered and whether in point of fact the proposal has been favourably considered?


– I have not seen any such submission from the Tasmanian Government. I would not undertake to say that it might not have come into the Department just recently. I doubt it. Certainly I have not seen it. If such a submission should arise I would not be astonished if it did ask for some financial help. In fact, I would be astonished if it did not, having regard to most applications of this kind.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for External Affairs. Since Fiji is to become an independent nation in a few weeks can he inform the House what diplomatic and trade relations are envisaged with Australia and what representation Australia will have at the forthcoming celebrations and the South Pacific Commission?

Minister for External Affairs · LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– I believe that most members of the House will welcome the fact that Fiji will shortly become indepen dent and that independence celebrations will be held there. We in the Government, of course, take very great pleasure in that fact as we take great pleasure in the fact that many other Pacific islands are also obtaining their independence. We will co-operate closely with them in economic, cultural and political affairs. We wish them well and we hope that they will not only be able to live in peace but that they will also be prosperous. As to the 2 ceremonies that have been mentioned by the honourable member, the Prime Minister has agreed that at both the independence day celebrations and the meeting of the South Pacific Conference 2 Cabinet Ministers will represent the Australian Government - the Minister for Primary Industry at the independence day celebrations and the Minister for Shipping and Transport at the meeting of the South Pacific Conference. So the House will realise that the Government does place the greatest importance on these events and is appointing Cabinet Ministers of the very highest importance and quality to attend them. We have also agreed, in arrangement with the Fijian Government, that High Commissioners should be appointed by the Fijians to Australia and by Australia to Fiji. The present Commissioner there, Mr Birch, will be appointed as our High Commissioner in due course. The Minister for Trade and Industry also has agreed that a trade representative will be appointed and I take it that it will not be long before action is taken administratively to ensure that someone is appointed there. The Government has also taken action to ensure that it supports the application by Fiji to join the United Nations. We believe it will be successful in its application. I will finish my answer again on this note: We want the islands of the Pacific to be prosperous and we hope they will be able to live in peace and freedom from interference by others.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Customs and Excise. Is the Minister aware that duties are currently collected on imported filmed television programmes but not on imported videotaped television programmes? In view of the fact that videotaped programmes form a major proportion of imported television material, will the Minister state what steps he k prepared to take to ensure that this anomaly is removed and further, whether he is prepared to apply a substantial part of the duties collected on all imported television programmes to finance creative aspects of the depressed television industry in Australia?


– The answer to the first part of the honourable member’s question is yes, I am aware of the differential. Secondly, I would remind the honourable member that the 2 commodities are quite different, notwithstanding that in some cases the product is the same, namely, a vision on television. Thirdly, I am not prepared to take any steps because my Department is simply there to administer the tariff policy of the Government and that policy as now determined gives a differential tariff on tapes from film. The industry itself has a crystal clear course of action. The Tariff Board is set up precisely for that purpose and matters can be referred to it after representations to the Minister for Trade and Industry.

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– Has the Minister for Customs and Excise any complaint that the book ‘Portnoy’s Complaint’ which has been banned by his Department as pornographic is permitted to be openly sold in South Australia by the Labor Government in that State?


– If I may correct the honourable member, my Department has not banned ‘Portnoy’s Complaint’ because it is pornographic. The Department has declared it a prohibited import in terms of regulation 4a, the provisions of which should be well known to honourable members. I would like to comment on the South Australian decision. We have had uniform literature censorship in Australia for over 2 years - since 1st January 1968. This has worked extremely well. There have been criticisms of individual cases of literature censorship but I think most of the critics would say that the uniformity has worked quite well since we came out of the Dark Ages of 7 different censorship systems.

If I might express a personal view - 1 emphasise that it is personal - I do not find myself diametrically opposed to the philosophy espoused by the South Australian Attorney-

General that adults in private should be denied the minimum amount of material to read, see or hear. However, senior officers of my Department have told me that in other countries, such as New Zealand, this philosophy on literature censorship is extremely difficult to police. For example, in New Zealand books such as this which have a restricted release are freely available without question after a period of time in milk bars. That would concern me and I am sure it would greatly concern this Government I am sure that the South Australian experiment will be watched with great interest by other Slate governments.

I have not yet seen a text of the statement made by the South Australian Attorney-General; I have seen only the Press reports. I do not know whether his laissez-faire policy would extend to the limit of abolishing censorship for adults. I believe 1 am expressing the view of this Government and honourable members on this side of the House when I say that if be does intend to allow to be printed and sold in South Australia books depicting excessive violence, hard core pornography or incitement to drug taking, we on this side would take a very strong view against, the proposition. As far as I am concerned we would prohibit the importation of such works.

The decision of the South Australian Attorney-General about this particular book came at a most unfortunate time. I was surprised and disappointed that 2 weeks before a conference of State Chief Secretaries and Federal Ministers on the question of censorship, at which ‘Portnoy’s Complaint’ was to be considered, the South Australian Attorney-General found fit to take unilateral action on it. Whatever faults might have been discovered in the censorship laws in the last 2 years, at least there has been uniformity throughout Australia. I think it would be one of the great tragedies of our time so far as censorship is concerned if we returned to the insanity of having 7 censorship systems such as was the case prior to 1968.

TELEPHONES Mr BERINSON- I ask the PostmasterGeneral whether it k a fact that telephone subscribers who wish to avoid the possibility of unauthorised and undetectable long distance calls can have their telephones barred so as to disconnect them from the subscriber trunk dialling service. Is it a fact that for most telephones the cost of the work involved would not exceed about $10 and is a once only expense to the subscriber? If so, how does his Department justify its quoted charge for this barring facility of $20 per telephone per year? If it is intended to discourage manual trunk calls would he not consider that the same object could be achieved more fairly by placing a surcharge on those who actually use the manual system where the STD alternative is available? Will he undertake to review the question of barring charges?

Postmaster-General · PETRIE, QUEENSLAND · LP

– I understand it is not technically possible to bar against STD trunk calls. One must bar across all trunk calls on a particular telephone line. The Post Office has a prime responsibility to provide a sophisticated system for the public of this country. After a good deal of research over many years inside and outside Australia it was decided that we should have a system of subscriber trunk dialling and that not only for technical reasons but also for economic reasons we should avoid manual exchanges because they are tremendously expensive to operate and their use would inevitably lead to substantial increases in trunk call charges. Having regard to what I have said, it would be unfortunate if in fact people asked for a barring of their trunk system. This service would not be available to them unless more than 1 line or channel was taken by them, so that 1 line could be barred while other lines were not. Therefore, the policy adopted by the Post Office-I say this deliberately - is partly to discourage the idea of barring lines in the common interests of users of the telephone services provided by my Department within Australia.

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– I address a question to the Minister for the Interior. I refer to the announcement that a private company - Queensland Mines Ltd - has found on an Aboriginal reserve in Arnhem Land what the media have described as the world’s richest uranium deposit. Does the Minister welcome this discovery as a dramatic step in the economic development of the Territory in particular and Australia in general? Will he say what measures will be Taken to protect the sacred sites of Aboriginals on the reserve and what benefits will accrue to the local Aboriginals?

Minister for the Interior · GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · CP

– I certainly welcome the discovery of this bonanza of uranium in the Northern Territory. The discovery will mean a great deal to Australia in the first place and will certainly mean a great deal to the Northern Territory in terms of development and growth. The honourable member may know that an authority to prospect has to be granted before exploration may commence. This takes care of the concern of Aboriginals that people might march around their sacred areas. Indeed, an officer of my Department made a trip to this area to designate certain areas as sacred sites. Following the announcement of the discovery an officer has again gone to the area to confirm the sacred sites so that they may be declared as such under the Sacred Sites Ordinance. As far as revenue is concerned, double the amount of royalty will be paid as a result of the mine being found on an Aboriginal reserve. The royalties will go into the Aboriginal Benefits Trust Fund. Money from this fund is spent not only for the benefit of Aboriginals in the area of the discovery but also on community projects, small industries and the like which will benefit Aboriginals throughout the Northern Territory as a whole. I believe the Aboriginals will welcome the influx of this further revenue which will assist them in the establishment of their industries. I might say in passing that I read in a newspaper that Queensland Mines Ltd which has made this discovery has already stated that it will make every endeavour to find employment for Aboriginals in the area. I believe it said that it hoped to make sure that the Aboriginals were properly protected in the development of this mine.

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– I ask the Prime Minister, who is representing the Minister for External Territories, a question concerning law and order in New Guinea. Has the right honourable gentleman received the report on the inquiry which Mr Justice Prentice recommended 5 weeks ago into what he called the perfectly disgraceful state of affairs under which an indigenous hospital patient who was too ill even to walk was flown from Lae to Finschhafen to face an attempted murder charge and was then found to be the wrong man? I ask: What amends have been made to the victim and what action has so far been taken against those responsible? Secondly, is it a fact that the 4 expatriate subinspectors of police who were charged and suspended 5 months ago in connection with the assault on an indigenous prisoner near Rabaul have now been reinstated and the charges against them dropped? In this case, too, I ask: What amends have been made to the victim and why was the normal action not allowed to take its course against those alleged to have been responsible?


– In reply to the first part of the question, I. have not had a report on this. I will see whether the Department of External Territories has had one and then let the Leader of the Opposition know. Regarding the second part of the question, I think again I had better get a report on it from the Department of External Territories. Perhaps the honourable gentleman might care to ask his question again when 1 let him know I have the report.

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– The purpose of my question to the Minister for Health is to clear up a point that was raised at a meeting in Brisbane at which I was present. In view of the potential threat to our livestock industries and to the Australian economy will the Minister confer with the Minister for Customs and Excise to ensure that every possible safeguard is taken to prevent the entry of foot and mouth disease into Australia?

Minister for Health · BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP

– As 1 am sure the honourable member is aware, ia Australia we have a quarantine system which is designed to prevent the introduction of exotic animal diseases into this country. If it is not the most stringent, it is among the most stringent systems in the world. This is generally recognised. This situation is brought about by constant vigilance and, in particular, a constant process of consultation and liaison between the relevant departments and governments involved, especially between my Department and the Depart ment of Customs and Excise whose officers, of course, have responsibility to act on behalf of my Department in relation to some of their duties; and between my Department and the Department of Primary Industry and, not least, the State Departments of Agriculture. This process of liaison and consultation is going on continuously. In these circumstances I should not have thought it necessary at this moment to consult specifically my colleague, the Minister for Customs and Excise, but if the honourable gentleman, or anyone else at the meeting to which he referred, has a particular incident in mind which would require consultation between myself and the Minister and he lets me know of it 1 will be only too glad to do so.

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– I address a question to the Prime Minister. I refer to the fact that Mount Isa Mines Ltd for the year just passed doubled its net profits to $55m, trebled its paid up capital to $142.9m at no cost to shareholders and provided the biggest annual dividend payment in Australia company history of 90 per cent. In view of this enormous profit level I ask whether the Government will take prompt action to control excessive profits, especially in view of the White Paper issued by the Treasury which indicated that profits more than any other single cause contributed most to inflation last year. I ask also: Will the Prime Minister introduce a capital gains or net worth tax for the same purpose and also with the aim of redistributing some of this accumulated wealth to those in need in the community and to priority areas of public deprivation?


– 1 think the honourable gentleman, if he puts his mind to it, might agree that a great deal of this wealth is, in fact, being collected for redistribution to the members of the community in that 471 per cent of the net profits come to the Government in the form of company tax and from the Government go to carry out services for the community. He might also perhaps consider that the dividends paid in the hands of individuals bear taxation which goes back to the purposes for which he wishes them to go. He might also consider that the size of the profit - the actual amount of money in a profit - does not make it an excessive profit. Indeed one has to consider the amount of capital that has been invested and the periods of time in which no profit has been made before one can even begin to discuss whether there is a reasonable return or not on what has been invested. So I would say that when companies of this size do as well as this company has done, having invested as much money as it has invested, as a result of the revenue collected by the Government from the company itself and from individual shareholders in the company the community as a whole undoubtedly benefits from it.

page 835



Mr Donald Cameron:

– Has the attention of the Attorney-General been drawn to the reported claim by the Queensland Minister for Justice that, in accord with the decision of the High Court of Australia in the Worthing case, when this House passes the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill that could lead to the successful establishment of floating brothels and casinos outside the control of the State police forces? ls this claim correct or is it just wishful or woolly thinking on the part of the Queensland Minister, whose electorate is situated along the Queensland shoreline?

Attorney-General · BEROWRA, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– 1 have read a newspaper report of some remarks attributed to my State colleague, Dr Delamothe, the Minister for Justice in Queensland. I. want to be quite restrained in my comments because 1 have merely read a newspaper report; 1 have not seen the Hansard report of his speech, and I will ask for it. But really it is nothing short of fanciful to suggest, if he has suggested - and the newspaper report would indicate that he has - that the decision of the High Court in Worthing’s case has any application at all to the proposed legislation, which is designed to assert not ownership of the territorial sea - and that should be borne in mind - but Commonwealth legislative sovereignty over the territorial sea and continental shelf. I emphasise to the House that there is a world of difference between ownership, which is the concept that the Minister of Justice in Queensland has iri mind, and sovereignty, lt is quite erroneous in my judgment for the Minister for Justice of Queensland to suggest that State laws will cease to have any application when the Commonwealth legislation, that is, the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill, is passed. The remarks attributed to the Minister for Justice of Queensland seem to overlook completely the provisions of clause 13b of the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill, because clause 13b expressly provides that nothing in the preceding provisions of the Bill is to be taken as limiting or excluding the operation of any law of a State in force at the date of the commencement of the Act. How it can be suggested in the face of that provision that some legislative chaos is to ensue if this Parliament passes the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill passes my capacity for comprehension.

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– On 20th August the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean), when speaking on the adjournment, asked me why the House Attendants were now stationed in the corridors on the House of Representatives side of the building and not, as they were previously, sitting in the rooms set aside for Attendants. I have replied by letter to the honourable member, but as several other members have inquired about the change, 1 believe I should make this statement to the House.

The change in the stationing of the Attendants has been made following several incidents in recent times involving unaccompanied and uninvited persons reaching members’ rooms, and, unfortunately, making a nuisance of themselves. In my view this was a most unsatisfactory state of affairs. I believe I have a responsibility to all members to ensure that they are not troubled by uninvited persons reaching their rooms. In July, therefore, I approved of arrangements whereby House Attendants were stationed in the corridors so that they might be in a better position to see and to assist or to question any stranger who might wander into areas where they should not be.

The honourable member referred particularly to the Attendants sitting in the corridors on cold days. I assure the House that no Attendant is being asked to work in draughty or cold conditions. The corridors in the older part of the building are centrally heated during the winter months and in the new wing, added in 1965, all areas, including the corridors, are fully air conditioned.

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Appointment of Joint Select Committee


– I have received a message from the Senate concurring in the resolution of the House relating to the appointment of a Joint Select Committee on Defence Forces Retirement Benefits legislation and agreeing that the resolution have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the Standing Orders.

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Motion (by Mr Snedden) - by leave - agreed to:

That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969, leave be granted to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works to meet during the sitting of the House on Thursday, 3rd September 1970.

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Minister for Labour and National Service · Bruce · LP

– I move:

That Government Business shall take precedence over General Business tomorrow.

The motion which I have just moved is in accordance with the practice of the House that while the Budget debate proceeds it has precedence over General Business or Grievance Day on a Thursday. This is to allow honourable members to continue to debate the Budget. The vote on the Budget will not be taken until shortly before dinner tomorrow.

Mr Bryant:

– I would just like to ask the Minister what is his intention in relation to Order of the Day No. 4, in particular? It will be remembered that this was mentioned during the Standing Orders discussion.


-Order! I think the honourable member can ask that of the Minis ter shortly, but we are dealing with another matter at the present time.

Mr Bryant:

– It is a question of the order of business. Anyhow, that is all I need to say.


-I shall let the Minister decide whether or not he will answer it after I put the motion.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


– Would the Minister like to reply to the honourable member for Wills?

Mr Snedden:

– The procedure that I propose for tomorrow night is that there will be a debate on 3 issues which I hope will not take very long. The first issue will be the hours of commencement of the individual day’s sittings in the 3-week cycle which the Parliament approved in principle. The second matter will be the times available for different types of speeches. The third matter will be in relation to the quorum, the Bill for which I introduced yesterday. I expect we will be able to accommodate that business tomorrow night. The next matter on the notice paper would then be the one relating to the report of the Standing Orders Committee. I would not intend to call that matter on tomorrow night.

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Reference to Public Works Committee

Minister for Customs and Excise · Hotham · LP

– I move:

That the following proposed new work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report: Development of the Port of Darwin, Northern Territory.

The proposal includes construction of a small ships facility on Frances Bay, the East Arm bulk port, the general cargo berth at Fort Hill West and associated railway and road works. The estimated cost of the proposed works is $19.03m. I table plans of the proposed works. To enable the Government to meet an established programme of design development and construction which is necessary to ensure effective coordination of the various components of the proposal, I would request the Committee’s co-operation in making it an objective to table its report during the present parliamentary session.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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Bill presented by Dr Forbes, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Minister for Health · Barker · LP

-1 move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this Bill is to extend the operation of the States Grants (Mental Health Institutions) Act 1964-1967 for a further period of 3 years from 1st July 1970 to 30th June 1973. Under the States Grants (Mental Health Institutions) Act 1964-1967, capital assistance grants have been provided to the States iri respect of mental health institutions, on the basis of Si from the Commonwealth for each $2 expended by the States. The 1964-1.967 Act. which is being extended by this Bill, applies in respect of mental health institutions’ which are defined as being institutions ‘carried on exclusively or principally for the care and treatment of mentally ill or mentally defective persons’ and which are conducted by or are in receipt of maintenance grants from a State. Assistance is made available by the Commonwealth in connection with expenditure made for the acquisition of land and buildings to be used as mental health institutions, the construction and alteration of buildings used for this purpose and the acquisition of equipment for use in mental health institutions.

Under the 1964-1967 Act it was necessary for the States to obtain my prior approval, or the approval of a person authorised by me to grant such approvals, before 30th June 1969 for expenditure to he incurred up to 30th June 1970. Because of this time factor, no approvals have been given to any Slate since 30th June 1969. In order to ensure continuation of assistance over the next 3 years, it is necessary to provide machinery for approval to be given for expenditure incurred between 30th June 1969 and the date the new legislation receives royal assent, in cases where prior approval for the expenditure had not been obtained before 30th June 1969. A provision has therefore been included in the Bill which allows the Minister, or a person authorised by the Minister, to approve expenditure incurred during that period.

Any such approvals will be deemed to have been given before the expenditure was incurred. In addition to new projects commenced between 30th June 1969 and the date of royal assent, this provision will also cover cases where final expenditure on projects already approved exceeds the amount previously approved. I anticipate that in practice it will apply mainly in these latter cases. Once the new legislation receives royal assent, the established procedure of obtaining prior approval to expenditure will apply. It will be necessary in all cases for expenditure to be approved before 30th June 1972 if it is to attract Commonwealth assistance. lt will be noted that section 6 of the 1964-1967 Act has been repealed. The purpose of this section had been to ensure continuation of a provision in the earlier 1955 Act which specified certain amounts as the level of the respective States’ entitlement. When amending legislation was enacted in 1964 and again in 1967 not all the States had reached the level of entitlement specified in the 1955 Act and section 6 was necessary to preserve that entitlement. However, all States have now received their entitlement under the 1955 Act and continuation of section 6 is therefore no longer necessary. The Commonwealth has provided material assistance to the States under this legislation, and the 1955 Act. amounting in aggregate to just on $44m. There is »o doubt that the Slates have derived great benefit over the past 15 years, as a result of the Commonwealth’s participation in this particular area of mental health, which has in turn enabled the States to provide greatly improved facilities for mental patients. However, the Government is aware that the various States are now placing more emphasis on expenditure on community mental health projects, such as early treatment psychiatric centres, day centres and hostels and on integrated services, lt also recognises that the emphasis on capital expenditure in traditional mental health institutions is declining in favour of such projects, a large proportion of which qualifies for Commonwealth assistance under the legislation which this Bill proposes to continue. It is evident, from an examination made of the States’ proposed capital works programmes over the next 3 years, that there is still a significant amount of capital works to be done to warrant continuation of the Commonwealth’s participation in the form of capital assistance grants. The development by the States of community and integrated mental health services will be kept under observation by the Commonwealth so that, at the end of the 3 year period, the Government will be in a position to consider what future role the Commonwealth should play in the mental health field. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Hayden) adjourned.

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Second Reading (Budget Debate)

Debate resumed from 1 September (vide page 818), on motion by Mr Bury:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

Upon which Mr Whitlam had moved by way of amendment:

That all words after ‘That’ be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: ‘This House condemns this deceptive and negative Budget because it fails to meet the real needs of the Australian people, especially with respect to (a) standards of social service and war pensioners, (b) assistance to school, hospital and urban authorities and (c) restructuring of stricken primary industries and because it introduces and increases taxes and charges of a regressive and inequitable nature’.


– During the remarks that I made last evening before the adjournment of the House I referred to an immigration inquiry as being a departmental inquiry. The Minister for Immigration (Mr Lynch) has advised me that that statement was incorrect. I now realise, after speaking to him, that the persons to be appointed for the purpose of this inquiry are to come from outside his Department. I thank him for correcting my statement with that advice, but I reiterate that I have not changed my thoughts on the misgivings which I suggested in my remarks I had about that inquiry.

In dealing with the matter to which I was referring last evening, the neglect in the Budget of families, it is fitting to mention the widower and the grave plight that he faces in his endeavour to educate and care for his family without the help of his marriage partner. He has been singled out for special neglect by this Government for a number of years. The Budget White Paper in 1968-69 stated:

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

No mention of the measures of relief has been made in either the 1969-70 White Paper or the one accompanying the current Budget. The questions that I have heard put by honourable members during this Parliament with a view to seeking the latest developments of the review have been fobbed off in a rather uncaring attitude. I hope that my mention of the particular difficulties faced by widowers will assure them that the next Labor government will treat them with more compassion than this ailing, failing coalition.

During the course of this debate many honourable members have referred to the miserable pittance of50c with which the Government has seen fit to insult those unfortunate citizens who are in receipt of social service pensions. None of the weak attempts by a succession of honourable members on the other side of the House has lessened the natural antagonism of all fair-minded Australians to this gross miscarriage of justice. Likewise, none of the valiant efforts by my colleagues on this side of the House has touched the cold conscience of the Government or is likely to stir the arrogant complacency of the Treasurer (Mr Bury) who made this disgraceful pronouncement. Let me further remind all honourable members opposite that, despite their efforts to believe otherwise, the social conscience of the community generally has been aroused by this50c slap in the face that the pensioners have received. I remind the House that the Government has surely breached Article 25 of the Declaration of Human Rights. As a signatory nation we should be bound to guarantee for our people a living standard that is better than the standard recognised as a poverty level. However, all sections of the Australian community that have any association with pensioner organisations agree that poverty exists in this country. To what extent it exists is often the subject of debate, but only the ill informed or the foolhardy deny its existence. Reliable reports disclose that at least 1 million Australians are victims of poverty or at least marginal poverty. During a debate in this House on a matter of public importance moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) last year the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) said:

The Government’s policies are having a real impact on poverty.

I must agree with the Minister. They certainly were having an impact and they continue to have a progressively greater impact. Tragically, that impact does nothing more than accelerate the spread of poverty and ensure its continued existence.

Another important area of need which continues to bc ignored by the Government is the need for a new deal in financial assistance to the pre-school and primary school levels of our education systems. The Government shrugs off its responsibility at these levels and blissfully acclaims: ‘Education is a State responsibility’. It sanctimoniously reiterates: ‘A Federal Government cannot interfere with State rights’. The stark truth is that while this Government continues to hold a tight control on the finances available to the States, no State government can afford to expand its education budget to the extent necessary to provide a more efficient primary school system or develop a complete system of pre-school education. The Acting Principal of the Queensland Kindergarten Teachers College, Miss Banff, is reported to have said when speaking at the Ryan Liberal Party executive education seminar last weekend:

The Commonwealth is not recognising the value of pre-school education.

She said that there was general agreement that the formative years were the spanning period when rapid physical growth and personal development enabled kindergarten teachers to foresee the type of adult that the child would become.

At the primary level of education the greatest current problem in Queensland is the lack of school library facilities. In past years the Government, blinded by the desire to seek popular electoral support, poured finance into the provision of libraries at secondary level without a thought for the obvious situation that consequently has developed in primary schools. The school library is an instrument of education whose effectiveness is based on the success of its functioning as part of the total school programme, lt follows from this principle that the school library is an indispensable part of the whole continuing process of education, playing its due role in sub-primary, primary and secondary schooling. It is as necessary a part of the educational process as is primary education. In Queensland there is a critical condition in this regard.

The small remaining vestige of credibility that this Government had surely has been destroyed by the introduction of the present Budget. Today honourable members who occupy the Government benches are sadly disillusioned in their leadership and scared out of their wits at the certain results if the amendment moved bv the Leader of the Opposition is carried. Wc on this side of the House face the challenge of an election with great confidence. We know that honourable members opposite live in fear of an early election. They will avoid one at all costs, while they desperately try to work out their problems and find an acceptable way to dump the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) and replace him from within their own ranks. With every confidence and with eager anticipation of the possible outcome, I support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition. F urge all honourable members likewise to support the amendment, to sack the Government and to save the nation.


– From what has been stated by the Opposition and from what has appeared in the Press concerning the poor deal that pensioners have received in the Budget it would not be unreasonable for many people to arrive at the conclusion that all pensioners have received a poor deal. For this reason I direct my remarks to social services. Together with the Government, we must all accept greater responsibility for pensioner! in necessitous circumstances. Of the 960,000-odd age and invalid pensioners not all by any means come within this category. I know that many pensioners, particularly those who pay high rents, are having difficulty in getting by on their pension. This group should receive greater assistance. 1 ask: From whom should this greater assistance come? Many pensioners have families. Should they not also accept some responsibility? I know that, for certain reasons, it is not possible for all families to assist, but the majority of young people could do far more for their parents man they are doing at the present time.

Many times I have read in the Melbourne ‘Herald’ when it is conducting its blanket appeal the sad story of an aged person living alone. What astounds me is that so many of them have a number of married sons and daughters living close by, most of whom seem to have forgotten they have parents. Surely such people also have a responsibility along with the Government. What so many of our pensioners need today is a little love and attention from their families. I am sure this would mean far more than an extra $1 a week in the pension rate. Our first responsibility must be to our families. But surely our second responsibility should be to our parents as we can never repay them for the sacrifices they have made. If in the twilight of their lives their families cannot give them a little of their time and care, how can we expect others to show a genuine interest? I am appalled at the situation today. So many families seem to neglect their parents completely and have little respect for them in their old age. Today far greater sacrifices should be made by families to see that their parents are better provided for and have the love and attention they deserve. I am sure many of our young people are missing out on the elementary principles of why we live our lives on earth when they do not accept greater responsibility for their parents. There are always some people who will find a dozen reasons why they cannot assist. However, I am happy to say there are others who have a genuine interest and a deep respect for their parents. No matter how difficult the situation may be they will always find some way to assist them. 1 have taken out some statistics on age and invalid pensioners which may be of interest to honourable members. At 30th June 1970 there were 827,000 age pensioners and 133,766 invalid pensioners. That is a total of 960,766. Of this total 237,519 married pensioners own or are buying their homes and 27,288 invalid pensioners come into the same category - that is, own or are buying their homes. There are 231,598 single pensioners who own or are buying their homes. That is an exceptionally high figure. There are approximately 28,000 pensioners in aged persons homes, 22,289 pensioners living in low rental homes provided by the States and approximately 31,000 living in nursing homes. A further 29,000 approximately occupy public hospital beds. 1 have not been able to assess the many thousands living with their families and friends but this would be a considerable number. As honourable members will agree, a large percentage of the pensioners I have mentioned would not be in necessitous circumstances. The pensioners who are in necessitous circumstances must surely be those receiving supplementary assistance - that is, those entirely dependant on their pensions. There arc 104,720 aged pensioners and 50,931 invalid pensioners receiving supplementary assistance. Honourable members will appreciate that a large percentage of those receiving supplementary assistance are living with sons and daughters and friends and again a certain number would be living in low rental home units, nursing homes or occupying public hospital beds and so on. If I was asked to give the number of those in necessitous circumstances 1 would say there would be approximately 100,000, which is only a little more than 10 per cent of the total number of age and invalid pensioners. This is the group that could no doubt use additional assistance.

Perhaps rising costs in recent years are the pensioners’ greatest worry and industrial disturbances are one of the major reasons for rising prices. Whilst this situation continues it would greatly relieve the anxiety of pensioners if they had automatic adjustments to the pension rate. This would enable them to know where they stood and plan accordingly. However, some formula would have to be worked out other than attaching pensions to the consumer price index. If pensions were based on the consumer price index from the year 1949-50 - that is the year the Government assumed office - the present rate of pensions would be only $10.25 for a single person and $20.50 for a married couple. That is $5.25 and $7 lower respectively.

In addition to age, invalid, widow and Service pensions there is some feeling throughout the electorate against the present voluntary system on the grounds that a superannuation pension or provision for retirement through some other form of savings can, because of the means test, result in the loss of age pensions and associated fringe benefits, which, of course, are considerable. Many people who belong to superannuation schemes feel the means test prevents them from receiving a fair return by way of pension for some of the substantial amounts of income tax paid by them over a period of perhaps 50 years. In other words, although they in effect helped to meet the cost of pensions for other persons the present scheme provides nothing for them. The only fair way to overcome this anomaly is to introduce a national superannuation scheme. This would enable all people to receive a guaranteed return from contributions made during their working lives. However, such a scheme would require considerable Government money to establish and would not help those already receiving pensions. Ft would not help those people one iota and they are the ones, as 1 mentioned, a large percentage of whom are in necessitous circumstances. At the present time there are many people on superannuation pensions who have led frugal lives to provide for their old age and with rising costs many today are far worse off than are a number of pensioners.

Perhaps as a start to the eventual total abolition of the means test on age pensions consideration should be given to the removal of the means test for all persons over 70 years of age who are qualified for the age pension on grounds of residence. 1 feel that many persons who have retired on fixed incomes have contributed a great deal to the prosperity of this country and deserve some help from the Government in their old age. However, as 1 have already stated, the Government cannot be expected to take over all our responsibilities in old age as the young people also have a far greater responsibility than any government and I think it is about time they accepted this fact, lt is quite obvious that if people do not accept responsibility for their parents the Government has to set up some bureaucratic department to provide the services they should be providing themselves and this to me is a very negative approach to a very human problem and is not in keeping with the respect and love our elderly citizens deserve. I support the Budget and congratulate the Treasurer on bringing down his first Budget which has sought to assess fairly the needs of the nation. [Quorum formed.]

Mr LES JOHNSON (Hughes) 14.5] - Unlike the honourable member for Holt (Mr Reid) who preceded me, 1 do not .support the Budget. In fact, I would not have a bar of it at all and I think that when I say that I speak more typically for the Australian people than did the honourable member for Holt. I am mindful of the resolution of the A ils tral ian Council of Salaried and Professional . Association in respect of the Budget. These people are. of course, the white collar workers of the country and they, in a long resolution, summed the matter up in precis or synopsis form:

Conference, conscious of public respectability is nevertheless forced to emphasise its disgust and contempt for this Budget decision and say ‘it is a bloody insult’.

It comes to something when the white collar workers of the country in a very considered and contemplative way use that kind of language, not ordinarily regarded as parliamentary, to express their very strong feelings. From my standpoint I support the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) who, as the House will recall, opposed this Budget and condemned it out of hand. He condemned this deceptive and negative Budget because it fails to meet the real needs of the Australian people, especially with respect to standards of social service and war pensioners, assistance to schools, hospitals and urban authorities and restructuring of stricken primary industries, and because it introduces and increases taxes and charges of a regressive and inequitable nature. That to me seems to be a pretty effective analysis of the situation.

We not only oppose the Budget in iiic forthright way I have outlined but we also propose to oppose as vigorously as we can the iniquitous receipts tax legislation which has been introduced. I do not think people want to be paying additional surcharges for the goods which they have to purchase for their day to day needs. Now, faced with this strategy and faced with our direct opposition both to the Budget and to the receipts tax legislation the Government has decided to invoke a strategy of its own. lt is a strategy of diversion which is called a campaign for law and order, lt is not a campaign designed primarily to bring criminals to heel, and it is certainly not designed to curb the ruthless exploitation that is being allowed to take place in this country. Basically it is designed to put up an Aunt Sally so the Government can knock it over itself. It is putting up a smoke screen, as my colleague the honourable member for Bendigo (Mr Kennedy) has said, and the Government intends, by the utilisation of this smoke screen, to oppose any challenge to the old shibboleths which are so faithfully upheld by honourable members opposite. They will be opposing all those people in the community who are concerned, for example, about Australia’s illegal involvement in Vietnam. They will be talking about mob rule, when people are active in their opposition to conscription for overseas military activities and when people are conducting their meetings and circulating their petitions about the control of monopolies.

The Government will be invoking its law and order technique against those who are active in the campaign against rising prices or the farmers who march for drought relief or, indeed, those who are concerned with the war against pollution or those who might be active in the campaign for better education opportunities. All of these are to be heaped together including the people who are now taking up the cudgels on behalf of the Gurindjis who are seeking land rights. All of these activities are to be heaped together and relegated under the heading of lawlessness in terms of the Government’s new strategy. I do not think that this will be at all appealing or acceptable to the Australian community. We are living in an era which is characterised by a dramatic quest for participation on the part of the people. No longer is the community prepared to have pontifical decisions dropped from great heights by unaccountable people. Even in this Parliament the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) and most other honourable members have expressed their concern about the need for genuine participation by the parliamentarians of this country. They want a diminution in Executive rule. The searchers for genuine democracy are sitting on the benches of this national Parliament and they do not stand alone. Teachers are now anxious to have their say about the manner in which education is conducted. They have attitudes in regard to the examination system and many other matters. They are calling for the establishment in various States of education commissions upon which there is teacher representation. Our young people are showing their desire to participate as citizens in this land.

We find also that there are many people who contend, as I do, that it is not good enough to allow our human resources and our raw materials to be dominated exclusively by one type of directorship and one facet of total involvement. For example, consider the conduct of oil companies. The one factor that can be identified is the capital factor. This is an important one naturally because capital is necessary. But who decreed that it was reasonable that capital should dominate the direction of oil companies? When all is said and done there are people working in those industries and they surely are entitled to be placed on boards of directors. There are also the interests of the motorists. They ought to be represented by the National Roads and Motorists Association or some similar organisation. The service station proprietors could well be represented on oil company boards. The community generally, which is affected by the utilisation of motor cars because of air pollution and many other things, also could be represented.

Why is it that this Government slavishly upholds that old shibboleth that only capital should be represented? We think of the enormous profits being made by companies today and we wonder to what extent Parliament is governing this country when company after company is earning an income in excess of that of some of our State governments. We wonder whether parliamentary democracy is a myth. Only yesterday Mt Isa Mines Ltd declared that its profit had doubled and was $55m. Its earning rate was 116.3 per cent. Of course, that company does not stand alone. We know that the Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd recently announced a profit of $59. 7m. There are many other companies in a similar position. In 1969 General MotorsHolden’s Pty Ltd earned $30.8m. Other examples include the Shell Oil Co. with a profit of $26.5m, Conzinc Riotinto of Australia Ltd earned $26.5m and Hamersley earned $25.3m. Since oil and the capacity of oil companies to pay wages is the topic of the day in a certain sphere I ought to add to the list that Esso’s profit on a world scale was Si, 242m, Texaco earned S769m, Standard Oil of California earned $453m, Caltex Oil in Australia earned $8.1m and Mobil Oil in Australia earned $13.6m. I think I already mentioned that Shell earned $26.5m.

The point I make is that these enormous concerns affect the people of Australia and exploit their resources. In such circumstances interests other than capital are entitled to a say in the directorship and management of great concerns. These great $300m enterprises and $500m enterprises have no trouble in overcoming some of the burdens placed on them because they simply pass the cost on to the consumers. This is the process that has been allowed to develop in Australia. With several of my colleagues a short time ago I was at the Nabalco project at Cove Peninsula. The question of Aboriginal rights came up. We realised that the company probably would not balk at restoring the sacred tree and the sacred rocks there because it would be nothing to it to pass on the costs involved - even the cost of providing a few additional bouses. It would pass the costs on to the consumer in the form of a rise in the price of a beer can or a toothpaste tube. No wonder people are not surprised that the weekly cost of living rose by $1 during one quarter of this year. No wonder pensioners are concerned about these things. All honourable members know that the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission is supposed to base its decisions on the capacity of industry to pay and not on its capacity to pass on costs. Yet after judgments are handed down we find that it is the order of the day to pass on costs and consumers, especially those on fixed incomes such as pensioners, are further behind than they were in the first place.

The number of age, invalid, widow and Service pensioners in Australia exceeds 1 million and represents a very large proportion of the community. As a result of an inflationary economy, in which average earnings and prices rise by 5 per cent or 6 per cent per annum, pensioner poverty is increasing. Superannuation arrangements entered into 10, IS or 20 years ago are as good as useless today because of the combined effects of inflation and the means test. The contrivances of the thrifty and selfrespecting are of no avail. Their savings are being whittled away and there is no benefit for them in their advancing years. After 21 years of successive LiberalCountry Party Government the pension rates still are being decided in the casual ad hoc way which invariably relates more to political expediency than to the needs of pensioners.

The incredible fact is that pensions are dropping in value. The Commonwealth Statistician has supplied official figures showing that the standard and married rates are a smaller proportion of average male earnings than they were over 20 years ago in 1949. In 1949 the standard or single rate pension was $4.23 and average male earnings were $19.40 per week, lt represented 21.9 per cent of average weekly male earnings. Last October, 20 years later, when the standard pension rate rose to $15 and average male earnings were $77.50, it represented only 19.4 per cent of average male earnings. The standard pension rate was 2.5 per cent less as a proportion of average male earnings than it was 20 years ago. The married pension rate has slipped in the same way.

Mr Graham:

– What about all the fringe benefits?

Mr Les Johnson:

– The fringe benefits are available only to a very small proportion of the pensioner community. The honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Graham) would be aware of this if he cared to study the figures. In 1949-50 the married pension rate was 21.9 per cent of the average male earnings. When it reached $13.25 per week, which was the rate before this Budget was brought down, it represented only 17.1 per cent of average male earnings. This was a fall of 4.8 per cent. Similar deteriorations have occurred in repatriation pensions, unemployment and sickness benefits and in many other social services.

The discredited system of ad hoc handouts in the period preceding elections has created social service anomalies which baffle understanding. When this Budget was introduced a married pensioner couple received $26.50 per week. I want honourable members to consider the case of 3 different units of 2 people. A married pensioner couple receives $26.50 a week; an invalid pensioner and his dependant wife receives $22 a week; and a person on unemployment or sickness benefit with a dependant receives $17 per week. In those 3 different cases, each involving units of 2 people, we see a differential. The maximum difference is $9.50 per week. Let us take units of 3 people: A class A widow with 2 children under 16 years of age receives $27 per week; an invalid pensioner with a wife and a child receives $24.50 per week; and a person receiving sickness benefit who has a wife and child receives $19,50 per week. The maximum difference in those 3 rates is $7.50 per week. Can the Minister for Social Services, who is sitting at the table and who is to speak later in the debate, explain the reasons for these anomalies? Can he explain why, under the Social Services Act, couples receive differentials up to $9.50 per week where there are 2 people and differentials up to $7.50 per week where there are 3 people? Units of people may be living next door to one another with precisely the same commitments. They may shop at the same butcher and baker and pay the same rent. But under our Social Services Act we have allowed this kind of schemozzle to develop, lt is time that these unaccountable injustices were swept away and that people in identical circumstances were given uniformly high rates which should be adjusted from time to time in accordance with the upward movements in average male earnings.

If the Minister for Social Services speaks on social services he would make an impact if he indicated the Government’s policy on child endowment. After all, the rate for the first child has remained unaltered for 18 years; the rate for the second child has remained unaltered for 20 years and the rate for the third child for 4 years In 1949 a couple with 3 children received endowment amounting to 11.5 per cent of average male earnings. They now receive not 11.5 per cent but only 5 per cent. If the value of child endowment had been maintained they would now be getting $12 per week in endowment but in fact they receive $6.75 per week. Would the Minister care to comment on this deteriorating situation? Through the Government’s inaction many such families have joined the 1 million who, according to the Australian Institute of Political Science, are now said to be living in poverty. I believe a national inquiry into social services is needed. Social service provisions in this country are now relics of the horse and buggy days. To redress the situation a national inquiry - preferably a royal commission - should be undertaken without delay. Among other things, an examination of the need to abolish the means test and to provide a national superannuation scheme - a contributory scheme if this is considered desirable - should be undertaken. 1 am reminded of a question on notice answered by the Minister for Social Services - it must have been answered with some embarrassment - on 21st April this year. In his answer to the question asked by the Leader of the Opposition the Minister named 123 countries which have a national superannuation scheme. The list commenced with Afghanistan and Albania; it included Bolivia, Brazil, China, Iceland, Peru, Spain and went right down to Yugoslavia and Zambia. As 1 have said, 123 countries have a national superannuation scheme. But where was Australia? It was not listed. This country which once proudly and honestly professed to lead the world in social services is not even amongst the 123 countries that at present have a national superannuation scheme. Would I be incorrect in recalling that in the days before he became Minister for Social Services the honourable member for Mackellar was loud and clear in his contention that a national superannuation scheme was necessary? May I take the Minister’s silence as acquiescence? May I inquire whether he is still forcibly endeavouring to encourage the Government to introduce this provision which even the honourable member for Holt, who preceded me in this debate, contends is so necessary if people are to receive the justice they deserve?

The Budget provisions relating to repatriation benefits are of a meagre nature and fall far short of the Returned Services League pension plan which is upheld by the Labor Opposition. In addition there is still a longstanding need to relieve repatriation appellants of the onus of proof provisions, which are found in section 47 of the Repatriation Act, in respect of claims for disability pensions and medical treatment. I am pleased to see that the Minister for Repatriation (Mr Holten) is listening to me at the moment. I want to draw his attention to a situation equally as serious as that to which I referred under the heading of social services. The 1968-69 report of the No. 4 War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunal shows the unhappy state of repatriation in Australia. The report shows that the Tribunal dealt with 2,432 appeals in the year of which it disallowed 2,061, which in anyone’s language would appear to be an unusually high proportion. The Tribunal in its report trenchantly criticised the Repatriation Commission for shoddy and substandard documentation. I do not know whether the Minister is aware of this but I read from a printed report which has been circulated to all honourable members. The report reads:

The Tribunal views with concern the continuing decline in accuracy of the typed summaries of evidence made available by the Commission in all States.

Many errors are quite grotesque and often most misleading- if not detected and corrected they could actually prejudice the successful prosecution of an appeal. Quite apart from the additional time required before and during hearings, much confusion is caused by advocates and medical advisers being required to work from corrupt copies before the Tribunal can assist at a hearing to set the record straight.

Mr Daly:

– The Minister wants to know what tribunal this was.

Mr Les Johnson:

– This is the annual report of the No. 4 War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunal. Perhaps the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly) might like to hand the report to the Minister. Strong words such as ‘grotesque’ errors, ‘corrupt copies’, and ‘prejudice the prosecution of an appeal’ were used in this report. If ever a Minister for Repatriation had a case to answer it is this frank and forthright assault from one of his official departmental entities which operates under the auspices of the Minister for Repatriation. If the Minister is not inclined to concern himself seriously about this matter I hope that in the interests of justice to Australian ex-servicemen, who are getting a pretty raw deal under the provisions of the Budget, the Prime Minister might have a discussion with the Minister for Repatriation. After that I believe all honourable members will be interested to hear what the

Prime Minister says in answer to the questions which 1 for one intend to raise in this House about misleading information being made available in relation to claims of ex-servicemen for pensions and medical treatment.

I intend to use the short time remaining for some comments on education. 1 know that some honourable members opposite may not be interested in what I have to say. After all, an official survey shows that only 10.5 per cent of Federal Liberal members of Parliament send their children to State secondary schools. The survey shows that none of the children of the 26 Federal Ministers has attended or is at a State secondary school. It also shows that 92 per cent are at private non-Catholic schools and 8 per cent at Catholic schools. This may explain the reason for the continued indifference of the Government about the inadequate educational opportunities for the children of this country. I believe that when the House studies the report of the Australian Education Council, which has been prepared for the State governments, we will have before this Parliament the strongest indictment of any matter that we have had for many years. We know that the States want the Commonwealth to share in meeting the $550m annual cost of running government schools. This cost is rising by $40m per annum. Recurrent expenditure on primary and secondary education is increasing at the rate of more than 50 per cent every 5 years. There is a rapid rise in enrolments. We are reaching an explosive situation so far as the provision of schools and properly trained staff is concerned. Children are staying at school longer. We are finding that more and more unqualified teachers are being pressed into the breach. Resignations from the teaching profession are running at the rate of 4,000 per annum. This represents 14 per cent of the teaching service in New South Wales. By 1975 we are told that 30,000 extra teachers will be needed but at this point of time we cannot see where they will come from. This Government remains inactive, inept and inert in this situation. Is it because 10.5 per cent of Federal Liberal members of Parliament send their children to State schools and no Ministers send their children to State schools? Have they marked them off as inadequate? Have they stopped caring? It seems to me in this regard that we can see for ourselves that there is an indifference which will create great havoc for the people of Australia.

Let me mention some matters in relation to universities. I think honourable members know the present situation. Regardless of scholastic ability only 2 per cent of children of unskilled workers get a university education. We know the other inequalities in education. We know that 40,000 potential students are denied university education because they are females. This is a contention of the experts. We know the Government’s attitude to the indigenes of Papua and New Guinea. Only one-third of those of school age are receiving an education. We know the situation with Australian Aboriginals and the inequitable opportunities they get. My point is that thousands of talented young Australians are being denied the opportunity to advance themselves through higher education because of economic barriers. Barriers that once were barely surmountable have now become impregnable.

Recently, in answer to a question I asked, the Minister for Education and Science (Mr N. H. Bowen) gave me a schedule showing the increase in university fees for 1970. In more than 200 university courses substantial increases in fees have taken place. I give some examples. At the University of Sydney the costs of courses this year were raised by the following amounts: Education, engineering, social studies and 6 other courses by $280; architecture and dentistry by $350; arts honours by $484; medicine by $466; and veterinary science by $450. The fees for 25 courses at the University have been increased in one fell swoop At the University of New South Wales the fees for 49 courses were increased. The hardest hit were those relating to social workers. The fees for the social work course were increased by $487 for a pass and $468 for an honours course. Even Commonwealth departments like the Department of Labour and National Service, the Department of Immigration, the Office of Aboriginal Affairs and the Department of Social Services have but a nominal skeleton staff of trained social workers. While the drug clinics, psychiatric centres and hospitals are crying out for social workers this Government indifferently allows the course fee in one fell swoop to rise by $487. This, of course, is widening the economic gulf that separates many workers’ children from educational opportunities. 1 will be interested to know whether the Minister for Social Services, who is sitting opposite me, has any views on this matter.

We have seen crocodile tears for the rural community. In this year of crisis for Australian farmers it is interesting to see how this Government is prepared to stand idly by while agricultural science courses are sabotaged. The costs of agricultural economics and rural science courses at the University of New England have been increased by $278. The cost of a wool technology course at the University of New South Wales has risen by $274. At Queensland University, where fees have been increased for 24 courses, the cost of the course in agriculture is up by $288, for veterinary science by $210 and for surveying by $257. Every university in Australia is affected by the new and frightening philosophy of education only for the privileged. Let me conclude with this bonanza: At James Cook University the cost of courses in arts, commerce and economics were increased by no less than $627, while for geology, geophysics and science the cost rose by an alarming and unprecedented figure of $675. 1 indict the Commonwealth Government. lt must accept responsibility for this situation. The Gorton Government actually requires the States to slug student fees us it is only by these means that State governments can accumulate funds for universities which attract Commonwealth matching grants. The Commonwealth Government is therefore responsible for massive increases in fees for over 200 courses in 12 Australian universities. Australia is being deprived of technologists and capable people who will be needed in the future. Because of these matters and because of social service, repatriation and education deficiencies the Government stands indicted and. indeed, condemned.

Minister for Social Services · Mackellar · LP

[4.251 - ft is proper at this time of the Budget debate to look at the Budget as a whole and to see how its framework satisfies the real needs of the Australian community. I suppose that every Minister might be pardoned for spending some little time in looking first at the matters that concern his own portfolio. Naturally, of course, I am pleased with the allocation that has been made in the Budget for Aboriginal advancement. I hope that in a few weeks time I shall be bringing into the House a Bill which will enable me to talk about that programme at greater length. Regarding social services, I think that the House sometimes has been inclined to overlook that payments this year from our National Welfare Fund will reach the all-time level of $ 1,473m, which is an increase of SI 31m over last year or an increase of almost 10 per cent. Except for 1969-70 this is the largest increase in the whole history of the National Welfare Fund. Those honourable members who have spent their time denigrating the social service programme and writing it down might perhaps remember that.

Behind this increase in expenditure from the National Welfare Fund there are several factors, and I should like to list three of them. Firstly, improvements granted in rates and services in the last Budget applied only to part of that year but now will operate for the full 12 months. Secondly, of the 10 per cent increase some 3 per cent, or nearly one-third of it, is due to natural population growth. In point of fact this year, for the first time, our total of age, invalid and widow pensioners will exceed 1 million. Thirdly, there are new proposals in the Budget. It is true that the increase in the base rate of pensions is only just marginally greater than the increase in prices. The real value of the pension, it is true, has not been significantly improved in the Budget. On the other hand it has been held at its previous peak and it is now as high, in terms of real purchasing power, as it has ever been. I do not want to adopt an air of complacency about this. I do not want to try to show that there is not room for further improvement. But I do want to remind the House that while the pension rate, which has received so much adverse publicity in the course of the last few weeks, has not improved in terms of real purchasing power, it is being held at an all-time peak.

In the two preceding Budgets the real value of the pension was increased and I know that there is a natural disappoint ment that this continuing increase in the real value of the pension has not been repeated this time. However, I would suggest that the House might consider that one reason for this is that in this welfare field 1970-71 is the year of health services. We are bringing in major changes. Our available resources this year are being concentrated on our health scheme which is important not only to pensioners but to the whole community. Next year, with the health plan consolidated behind us, it will be possible for us to resume what I would call our pensioners’ progress. I think that the House will find that this year of consolidation at the high level will be one which will be of great use in the development of our future co-ordinated plans for the improvement of all our social services.

Very shortly - I think tomorrow - I shall be bringing into this House a Bill to increase pensions by 50c and I shall then take the opportunity to discuss these pension rates more fully and to lay on the table a schedule showing the changes in the real value of the pension compared with price changes. Let me summarise the position in regard to the standard pension in terms of the latest available price index, that is, the one for the June quarter of 1970. I want to make all these comparisons at the price ruling in this latest available price index. In calculating the real value of the standard pension at latest prices I have taken 3 significant dates - the date when the last Labor Government went out of office, the date when the first Gorton Government came into office and the present. I shall lay on the table tomorrow a schedule showing these in full.

Mr Les Johnson:

– Are these the Commonwealth Statistician’s figures?


– Yes. In December 1949, when the last Labor Government ended its regrettable course, the value of the base rate pension, at present purchasing power, was $10.08. When the Gorton Government came into office in January 1968 the value was $13.98. Now it is about to be increased to $15.30. In real purchasing power, therefore, the base pension has been increased some 55 per cent since Labor lost office, but this is far from the whole picture.

During that period other ancillary services have been improved, but in particular a whole new range of fringe benefits has been introduced. Let me set out the more important of these in chronological order so that honourable members will have them in their minds. In 1951 free medical benefits were introduced for pensioners and aged persons were granted an income tax concession. In 1953 free pharmaceutical benefits for pensioners were introduced. In 1954 our aged persons homes scheme came in. In 1956 television licence concessions and an additional pension for second and subsequent children were granted. In 1957 we saw the introduction of the home nursing subsidy, in 1958 supplementary assistance for pensioners, in 1963 nursing home benefits, in 1964 telephone rental concessions for pensioners, in 1965 a guardian’s allowance for pensioners with children, in 1968 the hearing aid service, in 1969 a subsidy for dwellings for aged persons and the personal care subsidy for pensioners and home care and paramedical services, and in 1970 the meals on wheels scheme.

None of these benefits was available in December 1949. They have all added to the real value of the pension. Tomorrow I will lay on the table a schedule showing these fringe benefits in greater detail. If honourable members look at it they will see that these benefits add to the average pension something like $5 a week, lt is not possible to be precise about all the figures but it is possible to give figures with reasonable precision for a little over $4.50 of this $5. Some services to pensioners are not easy to cost but it is quite clear that their extra value is over $5 a week.

I want to look at pensions in relation to what are called average male earnings, which have been mentioned in the House from time to time. It is perfectly true that average male earnings have risen a great deal faster than have prices, so that the real value of the Austraiian wage has been continually mounting. This is something which, to me at any rate, is not a cause of dissatisfaction. Average male earnings vary from quarter to quarter. Last quarter I think they were $71 or $72 a week. This quarter they are about $77 a week. I take the average for the year to be about $75 a week, which after tax would come down to about $63.

Let us look at the person on the lowest pension, the person who has no other resources and who has to pay rent. What is he receiving? He will receive $15.50 under the new rate. He will receive $2 supplementary assistance and in addition he will be getting fringe benefits of the order of $5 a week. So his total benefit, after tax, will be a little above the one-third of average male earnings, after tax, which 1 believe the Australian Labor Party has from time to time set as its target. Of course, the base rate of pension may not be the best instrument for directing our available resources in the way that will most assist pensioners. Instead I think we should be looking at their more pressing needs and finding ways and means of satisfying them. Apart from food and clothing the 2 greatest needs of a pensioner are decent accommodation at a reasonable price and some security against the illnesses which inevitably come with old age. Looking at the framework of our past and present policies, we have tried to direct our efforts and available resources towards meeting these 2 needs.

Let us have a look at how we have tackled the housing problem. Under our aged persons homes scheme we have approved payment of subsidy in relation to nearly 37,000 beds and that number is being added to at the rate of 4,000 a year. I hope that this rate will accelerate still further in the very near future. Last year we provided $25m by way of grants to the States to help the housing of the needy aged. Up to date not much has been spent, but the programme is now getting under way and this year the States expect to spend nearly $6m in providing accommodation for well over 1,000 of these old people. The various State housing commissions have included many thousands of aged people’s dwellings in their normal programme under the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement. Of course, our supplementary assistance of $2 a week helps single pensioners in poor circumstances who have to pay rent. Honourable members can see how we have tried to direct our efforts towards meeting this housing need.

Since 1949 we have dramatically reduced the hardships of illness for the elderly. Our pensioner medical service has added free medical benefits and free pharmaceutical benefits to the free hospital service. Our new nursing benefits - and these are of particular importance-of $14 a week for light nursing and $35 a week for heavy nursing added to the normal pension and added, where applicable, to supplementary assistance, make it possible for even the pensioner without any independent means to receive adequate care. Last year we brought in the personal care subsidy of $5 a week for people over the age of 80 in non-profit hostels. This was to help the needs of the frail who do not require specialised nursing. There are many smaller outlays in this housing scheme and associated schemes. This also applies to the health scheme and the fear of illness - the threat that hangs over the heads of elderly people.

When honourable members look at this record of achievement and see how we have been directing our resources I think they will agree with me that the increase in the base pension rate is one way, but not the only way of helping pensioners who need our assistance. The Government is trying to direct available resources in the best possible way. Of course, our programme goes beyond this. The old oppressive means test has been drastically liberalised and we have recently brought in a tapered means test and further relaxation of taxation on aged persons. These things also will be set out in greater detail in papers which I hope to lay on the table of the House tomorrow.

Having said this about my own portfolios, let me turn to some of the major issues in this Budget. It has 2 main themes or, shall I say, 2 main problems facing the Treasurer (Mr Bury). The first is the problem of potential inflation which had to be met by a balanced Budget, and the second is the problem of the primary industries. Let me say in passing that no section of the community has a greater interest than the elderly in the combating of inflation. I think that the efforts of the Treasurer in this regard, although they may have some aspects which are not entirely welcome, are those which, taking the longer view, will be seen by those on fixed incomes and pensions as really helping them in their need. I am not going to say very much more about this inflation question. It is a long and difficult one and the Treasurer has had to meet it by keeping expenditure this year within bounds.

But I want to say something about the problems of the primary industries, which no Australian would want to overlook. Some of these problems are, we hope transitory. There is the problem of drought. It is a bad drought which may develop into a disastrous one but which may perhaps even now, in certain areas at any rate, be in the course of relief by rain. It is a transitory problem but a serious one. Then there is the technical problem of wool which like other natural fibres, is meeting competition from artificial substitutes. The Government is turning its attention to this problem. It is not easy. Could I perhaps make the side observation that in looking at wool and in looking at our future markets we might perhaps not be altogether oblivious of the possibility of developing further and better markets in mutton and lamb? Then there is the problem of what is known as the green revolution which has swept over Europe and America, and is now sweeping over Asia, where new types of crops, particularly wheat and rice, have increased tremendously the yield potential. So the threat of endemic famine which once lay over half the East now seems to be receding, but it has not yet completely receded, lt would appear that, barring unfavourable seasons and barring an outbreak of plant diseases, the demand of these countries for grain will shortly tail off and indeed may even cease.

This is one of the facts of life which our farmers may have to face. To this there is one question mark and qualification. These hybrid and specialised strains - this homoculture, as it were - are particularly susceptible to disease. At the present moment a disease in maize has broken out in the United States and is making great headway in a very specialised crop which, because it is specialised, is particularly susceptible to its onslaught. I would think it is probable that the United States with its highly developed technology will succeed in controlling the outbreak. It is probable but not certain. But I am by no means so confident that if there should be a similar outbreak among the rice or wheat crops of the less developed countries in the East there would be the same likelihood of a favourable outcome. The green revolution does therefore have a potential backlash and it may be that this will call on Australian farmers once again to start feeding the hungry East. But apart from this possibility our grain exports must seem to have very much of a long term future - a year or two perhaps, a season or two, but nothing much for the future.

There is one other thing and I think that this should be recognised by the Parliament; the trouble with our exports is the primary producer in other countries. All other countries say the same kind of thing as we do: ‘Our farmers are good people. They are socially valuable. We want to maintain them. They can bring political pressures to bear.’ Every country says this, and the enemy of the Australian farmer is not the man in the Australian cities, the city dweller. The enemy of the Australian farmer is the farmer in France, the USA, Great Britain, India, Pakistan, or name it where you like. This is what the primary exporting industries have to face. They have to realise that their real friend is in the Australian city because that is their permanent market, one which is theirs for all time. Overseas it is no use for them to say: ‘Look, we are very efficient. We produce wheat or butter, or whatever it may be, very economically’. This is not relevant when other countries overseas, for social or other reasons, desire as we do to help their own farmers. It is putting our head in the sand to ignore this or to forget that the real enemy of the Australian farmer is the farmer in other countries which are our traditional export markets. 1 do not think we should worry about the theoretical reasons because the practical result is clear enough. There is always a tendency, both in primary and in secondary industries, to bring together the boundaries of economic and political authority. So political entities tend to expand as the Common Market expands in Europe and trade within a political entity tends to contract as every government tries to look after its own. This is something which Australia cannot control. This is something which is worldwide. These are not decisions which we make here. They are decisions made in Washington. Delhi. Westminster, or in numbers of other places. If we look to the future we must look to help our existing farmers and not kid them that Australia has a tremendous future as an expanding exporter of primary produce. This simply is not on. But what we have to do is to look to the protection and help of our existing farmers. They are our Australian people. These are the people whom we want to help. We do not want to harm them by giving them some kind of shadowy prospect in a dreamland which will never come, of their being once again the mainstay of the Australian economy. This is the kind of change which comes over a country not because that country has planned it or desired it but because of the forces which lie outside.

Now, what are the forces outside? Some of them are even less pleasant than the ones about which I have spoken. We know - and we know to our cost - that some of our old securities are no longer with us and that a Treasurer, a Minister for Defence and a Minister for External Affairs working under a Prime Minister must have some kind of recognition and cognisance of this new fact. It is true, I am afraid, that the Opposition, if it had been an agent out to get Australia’s allies to desert it, could not have done a better job. What the Opposition has done in this matter is a conclusive and clinching argument to show why it should never be allowed to become the Government. What Opposition members have said has been almost deliberately it would seem - no, I withdraw those words. I do not think that they knew what they were doing. But it would seem that their actions have been almost deliberately designed to get Australia’s vital allies to desert it if any hour of need should arise. Here we are, nearly isolated in the Pacific and the policy of the Labor Party is to insult our allies and to ask them to abandon their friends in the Pacific, including us. If this were done deliberately, perhaps it could be understood. I do not think that it is quite deliberately done. T do not think that the Labor Party has quite realised what it was setting its hand to because it has had a good deal of prompting from behind the scenes from people who are not necessarily as friendly to it as they seem. lt is said that now the Labor Party is to deal with the Victorian Executive of the ALP. It will get the Reds out and get the Lefts out of the Victorian Executive. Well, this seems to me as though it will be somewhat of a shadow operation. But what is much more important is the other side of the picture. This is the fact that in New South Wales a balanced Executive is to be brought in. What does that phrase ‘balanced Executive’ mean? It means that the members of the Left - the proCommunists - once again have their foothold inside the New South Wales Branch of the Labor Party. Before the Second World War, and during that War, the stronghold of Communism in Australia was in New South Wales. Communism was routed there. But it is coming back now. The fact that a balanced Executive - it is the Labor Party’s phrase - is going to be encouraged and permitted now in New South Wales shows the extent of the Communist reinfiltration.

Some people say that Labor is polarised between the ‘Hawkes’ and the ‘Doves’. In a sense, this is true because I have no doubt of Mr Hawke’s ambition. But, in a sense, it is untrue. In Labor politics, no union is so unnatural that it is impossible. This is something which, unfortunately, has been for long characteristic of the Labor Party - and not of the Labor Party only. Look at past events. Look for Kerensky, the Socialist and the well-intentioned amiable man with Lenin behind him. If I were the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), I would not take my eyes off the honourable member for Lalor (“Dr J. F. Cairns). This is something which is tragic for Australia. It is tragic that, in this hour which could develop, perhaps at any time, into an hour of danger, we should have an Opposition which is becoming infiltrated in its objectives - and this is a matter of public record - wilh the Communist ideology.


– Order! The Ministers lime has expired.

Mr REYNOLDS (Barton) 15.5]- The views of the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) on Communism and international affairs are far too well known for me to take up lime now in dealing with his most recent puerile statements. But I put it to honourable members: If your Party had introduced a Budget that offered pensioners a slap in the face of 50c a week, would you not be looking for some kind of escape route, some kind of alternative, about which io talk rather than social services? I do not intend to speak at length on social services because, as the Minister rightly said - this was one of the things which he did say correctly - Bills will be introduced seeking to provide these new social service benefits and of course an opportunity to debate this subject will be presented when the estimates for the Department of Social Services are before the Committee.

I wish to assure the Minister of this: No amount of conjuring with figures by the Minister will ever convince pensioners that the Budget increase of 50c a week was anything but a slap in the face to them. Equally unconvincing are bis comparisons with previous rates that applied 21 years ago, almost a quarter of a century ago. Surely pensioners as well as other people in the community are entitled to participate in the improvements in our economy in that time. The Minister gave the lame excuse that the health plan will be behind the Government next year and then it will be able to resume its social services programme. The health plan will bc behind the Government? 1 thought the Government still had a monumental task io face up to as far as its health programme was concerned. What about the provisions for hospitalisation, costing millions of dollars, if the Commonwealth is to do something about them? What are the other alternative demands on the Commonwealth in this period in respect of education? Did the Minister not read in this morning’s Press a release by the New South Wales Minister for Education stating that Australia will require Si, 443m in extra funds over the next 5 years if the proper needs of education are to be met? What about all of these demands?

The Minister tries io justify the increase to pensioners of 50c a week. What is 50c? It is 7c a day with an extra lc on Sunday. Now, 7c is the price of a newspaper. The extra lc added to that 7c on Sunday will not buy even a Sunday newspaper. This increase of 7c a day is hardly more than half the price of a pint of milk. That is the increase that has been handed out io pensioners when companies are making profits of between 555m and $58m in this country.

The only real lest as far as pensioners are concerned is: How well are pensioners doing today compared with retired people in other countries of the world and how well are they doing today compared with other people in the community - wage and salary earners, business people and the like? This is the only real test: What can pensioners buy with their pensions? I assure the Minister that pensioners are far from happy about this increase. I have a resolution from one of the pensioner branches in my electorate. It says in part:

This Branch wishes to register our contempt of the Federal Government for the blatant insult handed out in respect of the miserable 50c pension increase in the 1970 Budget. It would seem that this matter indicates that pensioners are expendable in the eyes of the Gorton Government.

I suppose that that resolution is as straight to the point as anything could be as to what pensioners think of the pension increase in this Budget. May I say this by way of advice to pensioners’ organisations: Do not wait to present your petitions to this Parliament during the Budget session. That activity should go on if it must go on - and unfortunately it must go on while we have a ‘Conservative’ Government here - during the autumn session of the Parliament. All appeals by pensioners organisations must come when the Budget is being prepared rather than after it has been presented.

How pensioners must wish that the Australian Labor Party had been successful at the election last October. I am sure that it was no fault of pensioners that we did not achieve power. If the Australian Labor Party had been elected last October pensioners would have received, as promised, a minimum pension increase last November of $1 a week. The pensioners were promised a further increase of $1 a week until pensions reached at least 25 per cent of the average weekly wage. That would amount at the moment to about $20 a week instead of the $15.50 they are getting. The Labor Party also promised that pensions would be adjusted automatically according to changes in the consumer price index. This has been the subject of thousands of petitions presented to the Parliament. The many people who are debarred or partially debarred by the means test from receiving the pension were promised that a national superannuation scheme would be introduced. My colleague, the honourable member for Hughes (Mr Les Johnson), mentioned the great number of countries overseas that already have a national pension scheme operating. How aggrieved must those ex-servants of the

Commonwealth, the persons on Commonwealth superannuation, be about the Budget. They were promised in the last 2 Budgets that there would be a review of Commonwealth superannuation benefits, and yet this Budget provides nothing for them.

I turn to the matter of taxation, which was supposed to be a feature of the Budget. A detailed examination of taxation has been made by my colleagues and will be made during further debates in the Budget session. I want to protest about the inequitable manner in which taxation reductions have been made. The people on incomes of up to $10,000 or $12,000 a year have received the greatest reductions while those on the lower levels of income have received very little. I ask: Why has consideration not been given to lifting the base level of exemption that has not been increased for some years? At the moment anybody earning an actual income of $416 a year has to pay income tax. ft must cost more to collect the tax than the tax returns to the Treasury. According to figures for the year 1967-68, which are the latest 1 have, 134,700 persons earned less than $600 a year in actual income - not taxable income. That means their earning rate was about $11.54 a week. Surely they are entitled to some priority in real relief under income tax concessions. But they received a reduction of a few cents. For that year 303,500 persons earned less than $800 a year in actual income, which is about $15.40 a week. It would not have meant any great generosity on the part of the Government to relieve people up to that level of the necessity to pay any income tax at all. Instead of that the Government gave to the people on high incomes taxation relief of about $500 a year.

The Budget provided for no increase in deductions for the family man. lt would have been even more equitable if, instead of increasing the deductions, a flat rate deduction was made from the actual tax due by the taxpayer. Then those persons on the lowest incomes would have received proportionately more relief, than the people who need it less. Alternatively, increases could have been made for the support of families through child endowment and maternity allowances, things that the Government has forgotten about years ago. Let me indicate the only changes that have been made since 1954 in the maximum deductions for dependent members of the family. The amount of deduction that can be claimed for a totally dependent wife is $3 12. That is an increase from the $208 which was allowed in 1954. As far as the Government is concerned, a wife is worth only $312. The amount of deduction that can be claimed for the first child has been increased from $156 to $208. In 16 years the increase in that kind of deduction has been $52. That is not S52 off the tax. It is just the deduction that can be made from taxable income. The $52 increase in the deduction would be worth very little to a man on a low income. The deduction for other children has been increased from $104 to $156. Over the last 16 years there has been very little increase in the amount of deduction that can be claimed for dependent members of the family.

On the other hand, since 1954 the amount that can be claimed for insurance and superannuation contributions has arisen from $400 to $1,200, which is a threefold increase. I wonder how many people in the community can afford to invest $1,200 a year in insurance or superannuation. The Government abides by the philosophy: To those who have got it, we will give; to those who have not got it, we will give less. The taxation provisions are not only inequitable but downright inflationary. The 50 cents increase to pensioners and the wage increases that many people have received will be frittered away by further inflation. What else could be the result of increasing such an item as petrol tax by 3c a gallon? That must be reflected in increased costs at every stage of production. Postal charges will rise by 20 per cent; telegrams will be increased by 33£ per cent; telephone rentals will be increased by $7 a year to an all time record of $47. Before making a single phone call a person will pay almost a $1 a week for rental. These increases represent costs for the community. The Budget was supposed to aim at reducing inflation, which is riding high enough as it is with prices increasing at the rate of 5 per cent.

What kind of impact are these imposts going to make on the costs of production and distribution? There is no assurance that increased company taxes will not be passed on to the consumer in higher prices.

The Budget almost anticipates that they will be reflected in higher prices. The Commonwealth is persisting in levying the hated receipts duty tax, ostensibly on behalf of the States. The other night the Minister for the Navy (Mr Killen) said that the Commonwealth was not doing this on its own initiative; it was doing it at the wish of the States. I wonder how true that is. The States levied this wretched tax, which is a regressive tax, only because the Commonwealth would not give them a fair share of the income tax, the company tax and the other taxes which it raises. It was imposed because the States had to look for other sources of revenue. The States would give it away tomorrow if they could only persuade the Commonwealth to give them a fair share of the revenue it raises.

Not only is there a direct impact on the consumers by the increases in taxation and other charges but there is also an indirect impact which will take place as those charges and increases are reflected in costs of production and distribution. On top of that there will be the mark-up that the retailer will add to the total cost of the product. We have seen that happen already in the case of wine. We were told that the price of wine would increase by 8c a bottle. Everybody assumed that that would be the increase as far as they were concerned. Then about a day or two later it was announced that the cost of a bottle of wine would increase by 13c, more than half as much again, because of the simple device of the mark-up on the total cost. So the inflationary effect that I have just spoken of is added to the already steep rises in prices caused by a number of factors. One of those factors is the high interest rates. The Government is a notoriously high interest rate government. The high interest rates will be reflected in increased charges to everybody who is paying off an item - to the home owner, to the person who buys land and to the person who buys any other commodity. It will mean an extra charge and it will take him longer to pay off the debt he owes. Land speculation is typical of the activities that have been allowed under Liberal-Country Party governments in both the Commonwealth and State fields. Recently I saw an editorial in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ which indicated that the price of residential land in the Sydney metropolitan area had trebled in the last 10 years. Not many people would need to be convinced of that. The other day in my own electorate, a middle class electorate, people paid $30,000 for a home block at Blakehurst. I would say there are people paying more than that. Prices of $15,000 and $20,000 for home sites are commonplace. This does not reflect increases in wages which the Government would like to persuade us are the main cause of inflation. This is the result of the greed and avarice of people who are conspiring to keep land sites in short supply.

Then there is the matter of profiteering. Prices have increased at an unreasonable rate. The Broken Hill Proprietary Co. Ltd made mammoth profits this year but nevertheless imposed 31 per cent increase in the price of steel. [ wonder what the farmers and their representatives think of this. Increased steel prices along with transport and shipping rate increases are all refected in the cost of the machinery the f farmers buy and the prices they receive for heir products. Not only is there profiteering hut there is also the speculation which evident in the Stock Exchange through the boom period. All this has generated an expectation of higher prices. Then there has been what I regard as sheer wasteful so-called defence expenditure. The United States of America is feeling the pinch strongly by its involvement around the world. It is trying to curtail, restrict and constrain this kind of expenditure. I wonder how many more pensions or schools could have been provided if we had not spent all the money we did on the Fill aircraft. But that is only a dramatic instance of wasteful defence expenditure and the involvement of this country. We have spent millions and we still have a very inefficient defence system in this country.

All this is liberalism let loose. We have inequalities, privilege waste and the things one expects from a government that has been so long in power. Not only are these taxation levies and other charges inflationary but they are inequitable. Let us look at the other items in the schedule affected by taxation increases. An increase to 271 per cent has been levied on a whole range of goods designated as luxury items. I wonder what woman would regard deodorants, nail polish, baby powder, hair spray, hand lotions, baby cream, face powder and lip stick as luxuries. There has been a campaign in this House for years to get this tax abolished. I wonder how the womenfolk in our community feel about it now. Not only has it not been abolished but it has been raised to 271 per cent. The same rate of tax applies to records, cameras, television sets, radios, contraceptives, cars and other items.

The Government made a big noise about reducing income tax but, as the commentators have said, only to take it back with the other hand with more to boot. Of course, the poor smokers and drinkers cop it most when that happens. The price of cigarettes has been increased by 3c a packet and wine by 8c a bottle. But the excise on wine could lead to an increase of 13c a bottle. What is the total effect of all this? The Commonwealth Government has made a reduction of $292m in income tax in the Budget but has taken back $235m in additional indirect taxation, $53 m in increased charges of the PostmasterGeneral’s Department and into the bargain there are the indirect effects of such taxes as company tax. There is also the threatened receipts duty lax still to come. What kind of bonanza is this for the people who voted for the Liberal and Country Parties at the last election expecting to get relief from taxation? Those on the lowest incomes get the least taxation relief and will feel most heavily the indirect taxation increases.

We have to add to this the unhappy impost brought down at the end of the last session, that is, the increased medical insurance charges. Again that was a flat rate charge. Every person, except those on the bottom rung who are exempt, from the worker to the greatest factory owner or company director in the land is compelled to pay the same flat rate of 75c a week in medical insurance charges in New South Wales and some comparable amount in other States. The same kind of thing will happen again. There is a lot more to come. Let the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) not kid the people that the matter of health insurance is finished. Hospital insurance charges are to come and my prediction is that they will be just as onerous. If this Government is as unfair as it was in the imposition of medical insurance charges the people can expect a further burden with hospital insurance.

The Government has budgeted just about to equate its income and expenditure. I wonder how accurate the Government’s predictions have been in the past. Last year the Commonwealth received in payasyouearn taxation $59m more than it had budgeted for. My prediction is that this year, because the progressive nature of the taxation schedule has not been changed and because most people pay a much higher rate of taxation as they improve their positions, the Government will rake in even more than it anticipates in the Budget. People will be paying a lot more than the Government has budgeted for. I want to refer particularly to some taxation matters that affect education. A number of petitions on this subject were presented to this Parliament but like so many others they went completely unheeded. There was a plea for personal educational expenses to be allowed as an income tax deduction for people who educate themselves. We are always asking people to better themselves, by engaging in further education. But I wonder how many people realise that not lc of any educational expenses an individual incurs is deductible. A youngster who undertakes a part time university course cannot claim those expenses as a taxation deduction.

There was a plea for the removal of the present age limit in respect of the educational expenses and maintenance allowance for students. Under the taxation provisions deduction of educational expenses incurred on behalf of a dependent can be made only up to the age of 21 years. Once the student attains that age no claim can be made despite the fact that the costs of his education might at that stage be greater than they ever were. Let us remind ourselves that there is a much greater number of youngsters going on to tertiary education today. In order to receive tertiary education they usually have to complete 6 years of secondary schooling. This means that most youngsters at the beginning of their tertiary education are aged about 18 or 19 years. As any university course and certainly most diploma courses are for a period of not less than 3 years - many of them go well beyond that - many of these students are well over 21 years and are still totally dependent on their parents. Yet once they reach the age of 21 not lc of their educa tional expenses can be claimed as a taxation deduction. Why does the Treasurer not make a more flexible arrangement in this matter? When a student is totally dependent on his parents there should be a full deduction allowed.

Then there is the amount of the deduction. It has been the same for years. The maximum amount that can be claimed is $300 per annum, and in some cases that would not pay more than about a quarter of the cost of maintaining a 20 or 21 yearold student at a university, college of advanced education or any other institution. It is about time these things were looked at. Education is in a mighty mess and this description applies particularly to pre-school, primary, technical and teacher education and education for the handicapped. Not only is the actual position becoming quite desperate but also an increasing proportion of parents, students and the community in general is becoming aware of the situation. More and more parents are writing to their local members, both Federal and State, indicating their grave concern, not to say bitter disappointment. Even more to the point, they are indicating their utter determination to force governments to take notice of their wishes for a decent education for their children.

The unhappy situation in respect of the farming community, people on pensions, the I million people living in poverty or near poverty in Australia, and the plight of pollution, are among the many deficiencies that excite keen community concern - I say this advisedly - but about nothing else, I believe, is there more widespread dissatisfaction and anguish in Australia than about the appalling and deteriorating conditions of many of our schools. By depriving Stale schools of urgently needed basic requirements such as teachers, classrooms, equipment and so on the Liberal-Country Party Government is arousing a ferment of protest and resentment against aid for nonState schools. This is an unfortunate byproduct of the present neglect. I support aid for the education of all children but I can understand the many parents with children in State schools watching the deteriorating conditions in their schools and feeling that they have been deprived simply because the Government is giving aid to non-State schools. I do not see it in that way. There are many alternative sources of revenue other than taking from private schools. I certainly abide by the Labor Party’s policy of aid in accordance with need.

Inequality of educational opportunity is probably the most fundamental and pervasive source of inequality in most other aspects of life. Put more positively, in countries all over the world education is increasingly becoming the major key or passport to life’s satisfaction. It is part and parcel of the quality of living. It vitally affects the cultural, social, economic and political status and well being of individuals and nations alike. What is the Government going to do about the report of the Australian Education Council which was publicised in summary only this morning - the report that tells us that there is a need for an extra $ 1,443m over the next 5 years in order to bring education up to some reasonable standard in this country. It was not the fault of the Commonwealth that the results of the inquiry were revealed. They were revealed by the States, and I dare say it was done to shame the Commonwealth into some kind of action. But there is no provision in this Budget and so the delay and the backlog must continue for at least another year. I ask the Minister for Education and Science (Mr N. H. Bowen) to make available to every member of this Parliament and to the community generally the full report on the needs of our educational system. We are entitled to it. We are members of the taxpaying public. We are members of this so-called democratic society and we are entitled to know what the position is in our schools today, and if there is money to be found to rectify the situation then I think we ought to know about it.

The most alarming aspect - I will be continuing my remarks on this matter in later debates - of the educational problem is in respect of teachers. The position has become quite desperate. It is all very well for the Minister to say that he is going to make provision for so many more places in teachers colleges or colleges of advanced education but the undeniable fact is that many teachers are leaving the teaching service. As a matter of fact, an estimate shows that 11,500 of Australia’s 90,000 government school teachers will resign this year. That ought to alarm any parent. It ought to alarm any responsible citizen. What is to be done about it? Obviously something has to be done to make teaching a much more attractive service and a much better remunerated service than it is. It has to get full professional recognition. I have indicated the dissatisfaction that I feel, and I am sure most citizens feel, about what the Government has not done in respect of social services and in respect of the inequitable treatment it has provided as far as taxation is concerned.


– The Budget of 1970 which is before the House is no doubt an instrument of some importance and one which causes considerable debate. It is never the best seller or the most popular document of the year, but nevertheless it is somewhat important. Before proceeding with the various aspects of the Budget I want to go back to Tuesday night of last week and refer to one or two points that were made. I wish to refer to the remarks made by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) which I think are quite relevant. He said:

The people should have the opportunity to answer this question themselves.

He was referring to the Budget. He continued:

An election is the only way to give them the opportunity. We have no doubt how they would answer. In such an election, on such a cause, the people would be delivering judgment not only on the Budget, not only on the Gorton Government, but on themselves as a nation.

The Leader of the Opposition says that the people would be sitting in judgment. During the course of the address of the Leader of the Opposition to the House he did not pui in any sense at all what in fact the people would be sitting in judgment on. He simply referred to the Budget as we see it before the House and reflected on it. He did not make any counter propositions. This is fair enough, because speaking on the same night was the shadow Treasurer of the Opposition, the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) to whom I as a member of this House listen with great respect. I weigh his words in a general sense and I have considerable appreciation of the arguments that the honourable member does put to this House. But I do want to refer to one point. 1 would have thought that as the Leader of the Opposition had made the challenge that the people should be called upon to sit in judgment perhaps the shadow Treasurer of the Opposition would put forward a proposition on which the people could sit in judgment in relation to the Opposition’s arguments. But what do we find? As reported in Hansard of 25th August the honourable member for Melbourne Ports said:

The honourable member for Lilley always takes the opportunity to ask the Opposition what it would do. The Opposition does not have to do anything al the moment.

Now, in general terms I would agree with the shadow Treasurer of the Opposition if in fact the Leader of the Opposition had not challenged the Government to go to the people. In general terms I would say that what the honourable member for Melbourne Ports said was correct but on this occasion if the Opposition asks the people to sit in judgment in relation to an important document such as this Budget then surely they must be able to look not only at the Government’s Budget but also at the proposition put forward by the Opposition. But this proposition was not put and, to my knowledge, has not been put to this point of time and I have been listening to a considerable amount of the debate which has been proceeding in this House.

To use the words of the Leader of the Opposition, if the people are asked to sit in judgment on the Budget are they instead to give an open cheque, because from the remarks of members of the Opposition in this debate the Opposition would be spending many more millions of dollars on many more items. From what I can see at the moment the people of Australia would be asked to present the Opposition with an open cheque to proceed with government if it ever has the opportunity of doing so. The point I make is that if the Opposition wants to challenge the Government over a document such as the Budget then surely it must put forward some instrument containing alternative propositions. This has not been done.

The Budget this year provides for a total expenditure of $7, 883m. There are some very substantial items included in the expenditure listed. I think the biggest item is payments to the States. This involves a sum of $2,708m which is $291m more than was allocated in the previous Budget. These payments represent 35 per cent of total expenditure. There has been a lot of discussion in recent times about the State governments receiving insufficient money from the Commonwealth Government to carry out the work they have before them. This matter has been referred to by various members of the Opposition. This year this Government has provided a considerable increase for the States. Changes in interest rates and so forth over the next few years will considerably improve the situation of the State governments. All honourable members want to see progress in the discharge of State responsibilities such as the provision of schools, hospitals and other things.

The second major allocation in this Budget is for defence. The defence vote in this Budget is $ 1, 137m and represents about 14 per cent of our total expenditure for the year. The item which possibly has been discussed more than any other in this debate is social welfare. The allocation for social welfare in this Budget is SI, 820m. lt represents 23 per cent of the total Budget expenditure. The 3 items I have mentioned, payments to the States, defence and social welfare, represent about 72 per cent of total expenditure for this financial year.

I believe, as the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) pointed out today in this House, that in this modern day we cannot isolate a particular item within the field of social services but that we must look at the overall situation for which $l.,820m has been allocated. This allocation represents almost a quarter of the estimated expenditure for this financial year, lt is a pretty fair figure for any nation to be allocating to social welfare. This is not to say that 1 would not. like to have seen pensioners receive more than the 50c rise announced in the Budget speech. However we must take into consideration the requirements of elderly people and what has been done for them. This brings us closer to the facts of life. For instance, the aged persons homes scheme is excellent. By building more homes we will give old people a greater sense of security. Health benefits and other items within the social welfare field also give them security and this is what they need.

Before passing on to other matters I want to refer to the wheat growers. I think it was the honourable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr Collard) who said last week, during the course of this debate, that the Budget speech did not contain a reference to wheat growers. I want to point out that there is a provision in this Budget for the sum of $30.5m in respect of exports from last season’s wheat crop. This provision follows the passage a year or so ago of legislation in which the Government guarantees to the wheat growers a sum of $2,000m as part of a 5-year plan now in operation. This allocation of $30.5m is part of that guarantee of $2,000m. Obviously, because we passed an Act of that magnitude a year or so ago, it is not necessary to repeat the performance in this Budget.

In the rural sector generally there is an increase in this Budget allocation of $77,265,000, which brings the allocation to a little over $215m. This is a considerable rise but, as all honourable members know, our rural industries are in real trouble. It is not a bit of good for any honourable member to stand in this chamber and cry wolf. It is no use blaming anybody for this situation. Generally, over the years, our rural industries have had reasonable seasons. However, not for many years can I remember such periods of drought as we have had in recent times, from the west coast to the east coast of Australia. We can try to handle problems relating to sales, prices and costs but when we are faced at the same time with tremendous droughts it is very difficult indeed to handle the situation. The droughts have broken down the morale of country people. 1 use the phrase ‘country people’ because they are all affected. Let us not be misunderstood that if this situation continues more than the country people will be affected, regardless of mineral or other developments in Australia at the present time.

The inflationary spiral seems to be continuing. The nation has been running with full employment and this has been the case for some time. This is very good providing there is full employment in every section of the community. The dangers of intiation can be very great indeed if responsibility is not exercised in this sphere. This is the situation at the moment. The present conditions influence not only thos: people on fixed incomes, such as recipients of social welfare payments about whom I have been speaking, but also industries which earn their returns from exports. Industries which sell their products within Australia have an opportunity to remain level with existing economic conditions but the situation is somewhat different if they are selling outside Australia.

In this respect I want to deal firstly with the wool industry, which is very important to Australia. In recent years and for many reasons there has been a degrading of the wool industry. On 2 occasions since 1951 the Commonwealth Government has tried to do something about the all important aspect of marketing the Australian wool clip. This is an item which should not be meddled with and it cannot be propped up in any way. The wool clip realises something like $800m a year and the industry is quite capable of standing on its own feet. The wool industry is a tremendous one but unfortunately politics within the industry have led to its being degraded. Various factions, either wanting power or having different ideas, have been fighting within the industry for many years. This is still proceeding even though the industry is in dire straits. Yet industry leaders still seem to want to fight. At the same time one thing is very clear; that is that wool growers have come to the end of their tether and many of them want a change. Wool growers realise that many of the leaders, not all of them, who should have been looking after them have not been doing their work properly.

For instance, millions of dollars have been spent on wool promotion - I am just picking out this one item - and this money has come from the pockets of the wool growers. If you want to analyse the situation, this money literally has gone down the drain because there is no evidence to indicate that it has in any way affected the price that wool growers have received for their product. The important point is that there is no relationship between the price of raw wool and that of finished articles. This has been proved time and time again when the price of wool has fallen almost to the point that you could give it to the textile people. I understand, incidentally, that representatives of the textile industry are coming to Australia next week.

Mr O’Keefe:

– They are here now.


– My colleague, the honourable member for Paterson, says that they have arrived. Even if we gave these people the entire Australian wool clip we would not buy the finished article for one cent cheaper. Statistics prove that the price of wool has moved from §2 per lb to about 20c per lb,, which is the price at the moment. This is a disgraceful state of affairs and if it is allowed to continue for any length of time I would say that the problem within the wool industry will become so great that this Government or anyone else in this country will never be able to restore the industry. The present situation is so unwarranted and unnecessary. Wool today is worth a lot more than is being paid for it on the world market. There is no evidence, when a comparison is made with the price paid for textiles, that wool today is not worth a reasonable price on the world market. Wool should have every opportunity of demanding a reasonable price and providing a reasonable return to the wool grower.

Wc are concerned with two distinct areas - one is the wool industry and the other is the textile industry. If we get rid of a lot of the conglomeration in the middle of these 2 areas we might get somewhere. This is the object of the exercise in setting up a single statutory marketing authority. This must be done and it must be done quickly. It has been said that if we try to meddle with the price of wool the factories in the northern hemisphere or elsewhere will go over to synthetics. But representatives of the textile industry would not be in Australia this week worrying about the wool industry if it was so easy to go over to synthetics. They would be telling us that the problems of the wool industry were ours alone to solve. There are big countries that would love to get their hands on the total Australian wool clip. They have the labour and the ability to do this, but not the capital. They have all of the requirements to process the wool and to sell it, and they know that this is the case. These countries have the ability to process the whole of the Australian wool clip and would do so. However, to date they have not had the opportunity.

The people who want to downgrade the wool industry even further in this country should not only look at the economics of this country and the part the wool industry plays but they should also look at the very defence of the western world. These people know, honourable members know and governments know that the world cannot do without the Australian wool clip and wool clips of other countries. We know that this is so from past history. God help us if ever the Australian wool clip is not available to the world. If that day comes we will be in real trouble. The wool industry is too big to play around with; it is too big to be handled by people who know absolutely nothing about it and people with vested interests, such as bankers, stock agents and everyone else who has decried new marketing proposals for as long as I can remember, and that is a fair time. Regardless of what has been said in other circles the Government has to pick up the problems of the wool industry and do something about them. Pressure is always applied immediately the wool industry tries to do something with its own commodity. This industry belongs to the wool grower. Wool is a great fibre and it is time the Government tackled the problems of the industry and demanded a reasonable price for wool on the world market. This can be done. I have no hesitation in saying that the wool industry of Australia, given the chance to market its product in a proper commercial way, will go ahead in leaps and bounds and will return to its former status. I sincerely hope that decisions are made despite what vested interests and other overseas individuals, most of whom are not wool growers, might say to try to weaken such decisions.

We know why the industry is faced with problems. We know the interests that are involved. We have been well aware of this for a long time. We cannot wait while the industry fights about politics or its leadership. The pressures that are applied in the industry are tremendous. The Government has to pick up the industry and do something with it in the name of this country. Wool prices have been down because of many of the reasons I have mentioned. Drought was one of these. Once wool prices go down or the sheep market drops, as it has in parts of Australia in recent weeks, the whole economics of farming is affected. Obviously this problem also has to be looked at. Farm finance has been provided in many ways. It has been made available through the Commonwealth Development Bank of Australia, by private banks, by stock agents, by pastoral houses and so on over the years. The war service land settlement scheme has also helped the farmer. However, all of these areas of finance have to be looked at very closely. We have reached the stage where the financing of farms must be put on an equal footing with the financing of other industries. Except for rather ad hoc finance which has been made available over the years, in many ways the farming industry has never had the benefit of long term finance. We intend to bring down some recommendations that will correct this matter. I think I mentioned in the House last week or the week before when talking about constitutional matters that we have a situation in which the States are reorganising and financing projects concerning the farming industry. Such arrangements must also be taken into consideration by the Commonwealth. The States are primarily responsible in this area. As 1 see it the States and the Commonwealth should get together to work out some satisfactory financial arrangements that will put confidence back into the rural industries.

Australia has developed to its present stage because of the part the rural industries play and have played over the years in producing exports. In many ways we will be in for a big surprise if we think we can get along without our rural industries. I know that minerals are playing a big part in Australia’s development. My own State of Western Australia, more than any other State of the Commonwealth, is producing minerals. At the moment minerals are playing their part. However, minerals have a habit on occasions of being short term contributors to the economy. Minerals are not as reliable as the world’s primary industries have proved to be. The primary industries are of major importance and we should see that they continue to be encouraged. The wheat industry is in trouble because of over production. However, this will level itself out. The wool industry, as I have mentioned, is in trouble because of mismanagement over the years. As I have said, this also can be sorted out. Over the years the meat industry has been reasonably sound although as the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Anthony) has indicated there are problems in regard to various markets. These problems are related not so much to the markets themselves as to the hurdles of the requirements set by the United States of America and other countries. I believe that the United States is playing a very hard game. However, these problems are a challenge to Australia. They are a challenge not only to the producers but to the various State governments and the Commonwealth Government and to industry leaders themselves.

It has often been said that the Government does not give a lead to various branches of primary industry or in fact any other industry in regard to what the future may hold. It is not for any government to direct an industry as to what it shall do. It is for a government to give advice which is available to it of possible trends from time to time. This is done. Quite recently the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr McEwen) delivered in the House a speech which indicated his views on what he had seen in a recent trip abroad. He referred principally to the position relating to Britain’s joining the European Economic Community. The Minister spelt out in plain terms what he thought would be the situation if in fact Britain joined the EEC. He went on to add a warning to country people and to the people of Australia as a whole about the position that would arise if Britain goes in under the terms which I think will apply to her entry. The Minister for Trade and Industry spelt out a warning and this is fair enough. He made quite plain the situation that exists in relation to those matters. I think the position that will in fact result from Britain’s entry into the EEC is clear enough.

Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.


– Before the suspension of the sitting I was referring to the need to rearrange finances within our primary industries. This requirement is paramount in our minds at the moment. It will be of little use providing for long term financial assistance for primary industries unless we can do something to improve their income earning capacity. I had mentioned the wheat industry and the guarantees that have been made available to it by this Government through legislation. This, of course, is a tremendous help. I had dealt also with the wool industry, which is uppermost in my minds at present. It would be of little use doing anything about refinancing properties in Australia without doing something for the wool industry. A reconstruction programme would not be of much use because with the present price of wool, even with good seasonal conditions, it is impossible for the wool industry to be financially sound. The wool industry is the basis of Australia’s primary industry and it needs immediate attention. Of course there are other industries, such as the meat industry, the egg industry and the dried fruits industry, which we should not bypass or forget, but the major problems in primary industries have arisen because of the drop in the price of wool. Millions of dollars are involved. Every lc less that we get for our wool means an overall loss of about $18m. If we were able to secure the same price for wool as we obtained last year - about 10c per lb more - the wool industry would benefit by about $180m. This is a challenge not only to the Commonwealth and State governments but to all industries which must face up to these problems.

Local government is suffering because of the circumstances in which we find ourselves today. Figures that have been supplied to us reveal the percentage increase in the liabilities of local government authorities.In terms of percentages, their liabilities are greater than those of State governments and the Commonwealth Government. Local government comes within the jurisdiction of the States and I hope that the State governments will assist local authorities to overcome their problems. One way by which this could be done is by removing from the local authorities the burden of interest rates they now have. They have to pay higher rates of interest than do the State governments on their borrowings of loan moneys from the Commonwealth and higher than the rates on most of the money that the Commonwealth borrows. The adverse conditions affecting the wool industry apply to local government authorities and to business in country areas. Our whole economic viability is affected. Secondary industries which are engaged in manufacturing machinery for primary industry are now operating at a loss.

Debate interrupted.

page 861


Appointment of Joint Select Committee


– I wish to inform the House of the following appointments of senators and members to be members of the Joint Select Committee on Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Legislation: Senator Maunsell has been appointed by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Devitt has been appointed by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and Senator Byrne has been appointed by the Leader of the Australian Democratic Labor Party in that House; Mr Jess, Mr Hamer and Mr Bonnett have been appointed by the Prime Minister and Mr Barnard and Mr Crean have been appointed by the Leader of the Opposition in this House. The Prime Minister has appointed Mr Jess to be Chairman of the Committee.

page 861


Second Reading (Budget Debate)

Debate resumed.


– I support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam). In so doing I wish to point out that a Budget is an economic, social and political document. It is the blueprint of a government’s policy or the lack of it in these fields. Finance, of course, is government and good government can come only with a broad grip of social, economic and political realities. A good Budget needs frankness, sincerity, competence and determination. It needs compassion, economic and social justice and, above all, national credibility. The present Budget fails in all these fields. The Treasurer (Mr Bury) said that he could not predict with certainty and precision the ruling trends of events. In other words the Government is not capable of fully controlling the economy. He said that during the months ahead he did not know what forces would be at work within the economy. He went so far as to say it would be rash to claim that the Budget would be exactly suited to the requirements of the Australian economy in 1970-71. We can at least agree with him on that point. If honourable members want really to know the Treasurer’s opinion of the economy of Australia they can get it from a Press release which was circulated for distribution on 5th July last. That Press release said:

Mr Bury recalled that a major element in the 1969-70 Budget strategy had been the large domestic surplus, estimated at about $500m, which was aimed–

Mark this - at reducing liquidity in the economy. He said that the estimated domestic surplus had been realised and that it had been a significant factor in the tighter financial conditions of the latter months of 1969-70, which had operated to ease the inflationary pressures which had been building up in the economy.

As a matter of fact, the Government intends to gouge out of the Australian taxpayers, particularly those in the lower income groups - and in any event the cut-off point is an actual income of $5,000 a year - another $800m. In the last 12 months the main contributors to the Government’s surplus were the workers under pay as you earn taxation, because in that period they paid out a total of $480m. In point of fact they paid out $60m more than the Government Budget estimate of 12 months ago.

What is in this Budget for the worker? Here I want to quote from the ‘Australian Financial Review’ of 7th August in which the following comment appeared:

The ordinary worker is as aware of spiralling prices and the national problem they pose as any Government official. Unlike Governments whose job it is to control the economy, however, the worker is caught in the middle.

Consciously encouraged by official policies to buy more and to enter into more credit commitments during the upswing period, he then gets slapped in the face by the crunch of the higher interest rate downswing.

His hire purchase payments do not decline; his housing becomes more expensive; the goods, food and entertainment he has quite reasonably come to regard as necessities all follow the inflationary trend purposely encouraged by the Government as politically beneficial.

That is precisely what the Government proposes to do in this Budget. It wants to live with inflation. It does not know how to handle inflation. In fact it suits the Government to let it run on, provided there is not too much of it. The Government has budgeted for a 4 per cent increase in inflation and it is confronted with a 5 per cent increase in the cost of living. Of course it does not know how to control the cost of living, because to do so would be to control its own political supporters.

What will the workers and the middle income groups get from the additional $800m that are to be extorted from them in the coming 12 months? We are spending money to grow wheat that we cannot sell, to buy fighter aircraft that we cannot fly and to build dams that are engineering wonders but economic disasters. The Government proposes to cap it all by secrecy and backdoor methods, because for its 1970 election gimmick it will be announcing the acceptance of a tender to construct an atomic reactor at Jervis Bay of an outmoded type and in an unsuitable location. We are to have a repetition of the 1963 election fiasco. The Fill swing wing bomber was the gimmick of that day. We are faced with the certainty, if the Government pursues this plan, as it undoubtedly will, and uses its majority in this House for that purpose, of a $5,000m monstrosity this time and a zone of these obsolescent or obsolete stations around Australia each costing 15 times what it costs for 24 Fill aircraft.

This Budget has been described as a high Tory Budget, as a give and take Budget. The Government proposes to take another 11.4 per cent by way of additional revenue from the pockets of the Australian taxpayers. I referred earlier to the cut out point for those who will really benefit by this Budget. A table prepared by researchers at the Macquarie University that was incorporated in Hansard by the Leader of the Opposition caused members of the Government to react like hornets. This table shows the real effect of the much vaunted, much publicised but completely spurious 10 per cent reduction in tax rates. There are in Australia 5 million taxpayers. There are 1,100,000 age, invalid and widow pensioners and recipients of sickness and unemployment benefits who also have within the very slender mercy of the Government some regular income. Of these 6,100,000 people 92 per cent will be the losers because 650,000 taxpayers are in the bracket above $5,000 and the rest are below it. That is the cut out point between the taxation remissions and the concealed increases in living costs which will be duly and even with unseemly haste passed on to the unfortunate consumers and wage earners.

The 8 per cent who will gain - those are the people on an annual income above $5,000 - receive 26 per cent of total taxable income. It is interesting to look at the table presented by the Leader of the Opposition. I commend that table to honourable members, lt shows that the average yearly income for people in the $1,000 to $2,000 a year income group is $1,490. As a matter of fact, the income for a pensioner couple will be almost that amount with a nil tax relief and a total indirect tax burden of $27.85. To add injury to insult, the Government will be collecting sales tax in advance. The pensioners will not get their paltry increase until 1st October, and before they even collect it it will have vanished in the price rises that will result from this Budget.

What is the plight of the pensioner? He is on the political auction block as far as this Government rs concerned. The Government has no conscience, but it has a highly developed sense of political expediency, and if and when there is an election in the offing some increase in pensions is given. Pensions and social service benefits need to be severed completely from the political auction block. The pioneers of Australia, the people who bore the brunt of the burden of the day in their contribution to the development of this country and who produced the generation that is now at work are entitled to better treatment than they are getting. There has been a regrettable weakening of family ties. There has been a regrettable growth of a general concept of pushing the old to one side, as it were sweeping their problems under the carpet. But they are here with us and they should be respected and helped. They should be able to get an automatic adjustment of their pensions without depending upon the very limited beneficence of this miserable Government

I live in an area that has a population with possibly the largest percentage of migrants. I am ashamed to hear the criticism from the average migrant who comes to me for the assistance he is entitled to. When I ask him whether he has been naturalised, in many cases he says no. 1 ask him why and his simple answer is: ‘Because I can go back to my country of birth when I am due for retirement and I can get a better system of social services and health and other benefits there than 1 can in Australia. I would like to stay in Australia - I like the country; f like the people - but in my own interests and that of mv wife I must go back to my country of birth.”

Let us examine where the children of Australia stand in relation to this Budget. According to statistics, about 3,177,000 children are supported by the taxpayers. That includes the first child, the student child and other children of a family. We can add to that the 85,000 children of the aged, invalids and widows and reach a total of just over 3) million. This is a very alarming social equation, because 658,000 are the children of persons in the over $5,000 a year income group. In other words, 2,604,000 children are to be disadvantaged by this Budget As a result of this Budget 80 per cent of the children will be worse off; 20 per cent will gain because their parents will gain from the tax reduction so cunningly contrived in its incidence.

To compound the injury, need 1 remind honourable members that since 1949 there has been no increase in the endowment for the first child? lt still stands at 50c a week. Since 1949 there has been no increase in the endowment for the second child either. That still stands at $1 a week. This is another interesting social statistic: Ten per cent of the taxpayers of Australia are in the income bracket above $5,000 a year. They happen to have 20 per cent of the children. In other words, the Treasury has indirectly and knowingly or otherwise been exercising a form of fiscal birth control. It has been correctly said - and it bears repeating - that when a man marries and has a family he has given hostages to fortune. This Government could not care less, other than to look after the interests of its own friends.

Let us see where the wage and salary earner stands under this Budget. In the year 1969-70 he paid a total of $2,084m under pay-as-you-earn taxation. This year, despite the much vaunted reduction in income tax of S280m, he will in fact be paying an additional $190m. So much for the humbug of the Government and its suggestion that it is actually making a concession. It is doing nothing of the sort. It is merely returning something out of the $480m which it extracted in the financial year just ended- Out of a total of $7,887m, $3,035m is to be paid by the workers and the other salary earners of Australia, the self-employed businessman, the farmer if he can make a profit, and the professional man. In 1954 the average wage earner needed 5 weeks earnings to pay his income tax. In the year just ended he needed 91 weeks of his earnings to pay his income tax. In the current year it will be a matter of 101 weeks. What sort of pious injunction do we get from the spokesmen for the Government? We are told that all will be rosy if the workers just stop trying to get higher wages and that the trade unions must desist from matching wages and prices under the full employment conditions when these conditions themselves are fed by Government induced inflation.

The policies of the Treasurer and the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Snedden) are creating the very pressures which they deplore. An explosive wage price situation has been created by a generation of Government economic formulations based on day to day expediency. The remedy which we are offered for our economic ills is the same mixture as before. No wonder there is a world wages explosion. Today the wage earners of the world in every one of the so-called Western democracies are busy going flat out in the race between wages and inflation. As a further part of the confidence trick that is being played on the wage earners of Australia in the low income groups, let me illustrate the actual deduction that is available for a working man, for his wife and 2 dependent children. The concessional deduction is a total of $676 per year nominally, but in actual fact it boils down to this: With a net taxable income of $2,000 a year and a tax rate of 21c it is a matter of $146 per year. With an income of $3,000 it is a matter of $183 per year; and with an income of $10,000 it is $339 per year.

There is a similar effect in respect of contributions to medical and hospital benefit funds, for rates and the other concessional deductions. I say that there is a need for a reverse taper in the effect of these concessional deductions. The result should be exactly the opposite, and those in the lowest income groups should be get ting the highest deduction and those in the higher income groups should have it gradually tapered off until the $5,000 a year mark is reached. Throughout the world wages are losing in the race with inflation. They never had a chance of catching up with it, anyhow. Today in Australia the only truly national price control that we have is price control on wages. When the workers present their log of claims they are told: ‘Take it to the court.’ When the court is able to deal with it they might get some measure of belated justice. Need I remind anyone in this House of the promise o.’” this Government and its Leader that when it came into office it would put value back into the £1. Exactly the opposite thing is happening today.

Deductions for fares are another entitlement that has been consistently denied to the working man, and the impact of it is worse in my district than anywhere else. I want to read something to this House which will give honourable members some idea of conditions as they really are in respect of migrants and unskilled workers in the lower income groups. 1 received this letter today from a British migrant in the Fairy Meadow Hostel, which is situated within my constituency. It reads:

I am a British migrant and my wife and my J children . . . have been living here for the past 14 months. I have already had one extension of time.

He wants to get a 4-beclrooni house. The letter continues:

I have tried to find a house to rent with option to purchase but on ray base rate at John Lysaghts of $42.80 per week I find it impossible to save after payment of hostel rates.

There are not dozens, there are not scores, there are not hundreds, but there are thousands of men in my constituency on no better wages than that. Shame on the Government which tolerates such conditions and shame on any Minister who denies to any worker the right to fight for a decent fair go in Australian terms for himself. What has the Arbitration Court done in recent years? What are the functions of the Arbitration Court? It is quite a legal freak, as a matter of fact. Constitutionally it has full economic powers and this Government has in actual fact no very direct control over it. But the Government can lean very heavily on it and in recent months we have had quite an amount of leaning by spokesmen for the Government, including even the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton), in suitable post-prandial orations as to what could and ought to be done, and the mailed fist is being shown.

Need I remind honourable members that 6 years ago at least the Leader of the Government of that day maintained the pose of impartiality and kept out of the field. But today the Commonwealth is in boots and all at the Arbitration Court kicking against the workers and on behalf of the employers. In the last 2 years we have had the quarterly adjustments of the basic wage killed. We have had the abandonment of the basic wage concept. The Arbitration Commission has changed relativities between occupations. It has reshuffled its policies on work evaluation. Today we have a pitched battle in the oil industry case and the question at issue is whether the profitability or ability to pay of a company counts. Of course it counts and more power to those who are endeavouring to get a fair deal for the workers. If honourable members want corroboration of the true state of affairs in Australia, the most impeccable reference I can give is a statement made by a Mr B. Callaghan who is the managing director of the Commonwealth Banking Corporation. In Adelaide on 7th July he had this to say to the United States Chamber of Commerce in Australia:

Taxation iti Australia, particularly of lower and middle income groups, is among the highest in the world. There is an urgent need to investigate the whole structure of taxation and develop a more efficient way to raise and distribute public finance.

What is the economic devil’s brew that the Australian worker is faced with - unfair taxation, plus uncontrolled inflation, plus unjustifiable wage fixation. The net result is an industrial explosion, and that is what we are coming to today despite the snuffling hypocrisy of people on the other side of this House. It is not merely direct taxation that affects the working man in this country. We can consider the impact of excise duty. I heard the Prime Minister today in an apologia on behalf of certain of the companies with record profits telling how much was paid by them into Consolidated Revenue. But what is the real position? The people of Australia are paying this year $l,725m in excise duty on beer, spirits, tobacco, petrol, cigarettes and sales tax. Company tax which goes from the highest to the lowest - Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd and all the rest of them-

Mr Foster:

– And Mt Isa Mines Ltd.


– . . . and Mt Isa Mines Ltd, will total Sl,401m. There is today a clamant need for super tax. Super tax should be the order of the day. I hope to see a Labor government introducing it. As further proof of economic stringency, let us consider the percentage of married females who are out in the work force. I do not deny to any woman the right to go out and to earn money in a job. But there is a marked difference between being forced out to work and going to work by preference. In 1965, 25 per cent of married females were in the work force. In 1 970, the figure has increased to 33 per cent. In other words, this is an increase of onethird in 5 years. These women have gone out to work to boost the family budget because the alternative is starvation and financial trouble for themselves and for their families.

Another matter on which I wish to touch in the time remaining to me is the question of general price control. In 1949, price control which had been administered by the Chifley Government under the terms of its defence powers was challenged in and ruled out by the High ‘ Court of Australia. By referendum! the Australian people accepted the advice of Prime Minister Menzies that it was best to leave price control to the States. Today, Australia has record inflation. The new Federal President of the Australian Labor Party, Mr Burns, made a striking comment yesterday in addressing the Federal Australian Labor Party Women’s Conference in Brisbane. He said that he wanted the votes of women in the next Federal election. He said that the next Federal election should be a supermarket election and that the Australian Labor Party was entitled to the support of women. I wish to see, in conjunction with the Senate election, a referendum on this matter. It would sweep through the length and breadth of Australia. The Australian people can discriminate. I have heard the Jeremiahs say that the Australian people will never carry a referendum. Need I remind anyone in this House of the fate of the last referendum when the people of Australia consciously refused to increase the number of members in this House and, by an overwhelming majority, gave what they hoped would be social justice to the Aboriginals? They will do exactly the same again on the issue that 1 have just mentioned.

Can we tolerate the present situation in Australia? We have the greatest proportion of meat on the hoof per head of population, capable of feeding a multitude of people. What do we find? Australian butter is being sold here at twice the price at which it is sold in the United Kingdom. The highest quality butter is going abroad and the inferior product is being retained in Australia. What is the value of the amount of wheat contained in a 21b loaf of bread for which a housewife pays 23c? I would say that it is not more than 5ic. What about the inferior meat which is sold in Australia while prime quality meat goes abroad. We pay double the overseas price in Australia? What about the sugar which today is being ploughed into canefields in north Queensland, a situation to which the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) drew the attention of this House last week? A referendum is needed. The Australian people need the chance to say that they want an end to the rackets which are occurring today in the supermarkets, in the vegetable shops and, in many cases, in clothing outfitters businesses as well. 1 turn to the plight of the young home purchasers in Australia today. What is their plight? Twenty years ago, the assessment made of the capacity of a young couple to pay off a home was based on one-seventh of their income. The figure 5 years ago was one-fifth of their income. Today, in many cases applications are accepted on one-third of a married couple’s income. Twenty years ago land, as a component of the total cost of a home, represented 1 5 per cent. Today it is between 30 per cent and 40 per cent.

Let us take the position over the last 12 months. Since the last Federal Budget, interest on home loans has increased by three-quarters of 1 per cent. On the conventional loan of $4,000 repayable over 26 years this has meant, for the first year, an extra $60 in interest payments. The additional interest for the whole term of the loan is $850. If honourable members wish to know my source for this information, it is the annual report of the Reserve Bank of Australia. In 1951, home loan interest represented 3.87 per cent of the price of a home. Today, it is 6.25 per cent to 7 per cent, an increase of 2i per cent, which means an additional $2,600 to $3,000 on to the price of a home.

In the short time remaining, I wish to touch briefly on one other matter. That is concerned with what the Government is doing with the loan consolidation and investment reserve. The Government is burying the $550m surplus which it will be extracting this year from the Australian taxpayer and is lending that money, putting it into Commonwealth securities, and collecting the interest on it from taxpayers who have been denied the right to subscribe the money voluntarily to Commonwealth securities.

Minister for Immigration · Flinders · LP

Mr Deputy Speaker, the speech of the honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor), who has just resumed his seat, was very long on political rhetoric but very short indeed on economic logic because it must be abundantly clear to members on this side of the House that the Opposition has failed lamentably to come to grips with the economic realities with which this country is faced at this time. It is all very well to put forward glibly a series of proposals to increase substantially Commonwealth expenditure in a number of key fields. But to do so with any semblance of responsibility is to accept the need to indicate how those proposals can be financed. It is this approach - an approach based upon a sense of irresponsibility - to the problems facing Australia at this time which the Opposition has taken in the Budget debute before the House.

I have studied with close attention the terms of the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) and the various proposals and suggestions which the Opposition has put forward by way of alternatives to the Budget which this Government has brought down. Two main themes emerge very clearly. First, it is obvious that the Opposition envisages massive further increases in expenditure, and this is on top of the very substantial increases provided in the Budget. The amendment refers to social services, schools, hospitals and assistance to urban authorities. The Leader of the Opposition has extended the list considerably in his speech. The second theme concerns the revenue side of the Budget. Here we find the Leader of the Opposition critical of the manner in which the Government has reduced taxation and maintaining that the increases in taxation and charges in this Budget are inequitable. I intend to spend some time examining each of these 2 major themes and to go on to consider the implications which they would have if we were to take the various proposals as representing a serious attempt at formulating an alternative Budget strategy.

The Leader of the Opposition makes much of his claim that it is Liberal philosophy to restrict Government expenditure and to regard Government spending as pure loss and private spending as pure gain. Let me digress for a moment to consider the validity of this assertion. If in fact there were any truth in it, it would be reflected in a run down of Commonwealth expenditures. But the facts, however, point to a different conclusion. A very large increase has occurred in Commonwealth expenditure over the years in question. As a result, Commonwealth expenditures have kept pace, and indeed in some areas more than kept pace, with the growth in total national spending. In 1960-61 total Budget outlays as a proportion of gross national expenditure were 21.4 per cent while last year they represented 23.6 per cent. As total Budget outlays are forecast to rise in 1970-71 by over 11 per cent it is expected that there will be a further increase this year in the ratio of Commonwealth Budget outlays to gross national expenditure. In short, the assertion made by the Leader of the Opposition, that the Government is concerned only to restrict Government expenditure, simply does not hold. At the same time the Government accepts its responsibility to ensure that the needs of the private sector are not overlooked and that Commonwealth overhead is at a minimum consistent with the efficient administration of the programmes that the Government has initiated, In the areas specifically mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition as fields in which expenditure is being kept down, the Government has, on the contrary, significantly increased its expenditure in recent years in furtherance of its basic policy objectives.

Commonwealth expenditure on education has increased dramatically. In the 3 years to 1969-70 there was an increase of 74 per cent. There will be a further rise of 25 per cent this year. The 1969 Commonwealth Aid Roads Act provides grants to the States for urban roads for the 5 years to 1973-74 which are greater than those provided for the previous 5-year period. Overseas aid will be nearly 70 per cent higher in 1970-71 than it was in 1965-66 and will have increased as a proportion of our gross national product over the same period. As a percentage of gross national product Australia’s official aid is exceeded by that of only two other countries, France and Portugal. The Leader of the Opposition made passing reference to pollution control and public transport systems. All of these observations refer to greater Commonwealth expenditure, but the Opposition gives little weight to the fact that many of the fields to which reference has been made are areas in which State governments have responsibility. In this connection the Opposition has endeavoured to write down the importance of the very substantial increase in the assistance provided by the Commonwealth to State governments following the Premiers Conference in June last. This increased assistance will allow the States to increase their expenditure in the fields for which they are responsible at a rate considerably in excess of the rate of growth of the gross national product.

Faced with the indisputable fact referred to by the Treasurer (Mr Bury) in his Budget Speech, that Commonwealth payments to the States this year represent ‘a massive diversion of the nation’s material resources to help meet the needs of State government’, the Leader of the Opposition stated that this was ‘a very partial picture indeed of the problems of operating the Australian Federal system’. He argued that it overlooked ‘the requirements of the local and semi-government authorities which the States have created’, and indicated that the finances of these authorities have become a national problem. His evidence is that their debt and debt servicing charges have grown faster than those of the Commonwealth and the States. However, this approach distorts the real situation. Most of the greatly increased assistance to the States this year will be by way of general purpose payments which the States are free to spend as they wish. The States are in a much better position than the Commonwealth to determine how much of these funds should be made available to semigovernment and local authorities. Obviously it is true that the debt of local and semi-government authorities has grown faster than that of the States and the Commonwealth, but the conclusion which the Leader of the Opposition has drawn is very far from the target. The simple fact is that the faster growth of local and semigovernment debt is a natural corollary to the large increases in the borrowing programmes of these authorities approved by the Australian Loan Council each year, which have in turn brought about rapid increases in their capital works programmes. It is therefore more than difficult to see substance in this part of the Opposition’s argument. Nevertheless we must suppose that the Leader of the Opposition seriously advances the idea of a further large increase in Commonwealth payments to the States. I shall leave for the moment the question of how such increases in expenditure might be financed.

Let me turn to some of the more specific expenditure proposals made by the Leader of the Opposition. In the social welfare field the Government is accused of denying benefits to the aged, the sick and the handicapped, to prevent inflation. Here again one can point to significant increases in the size and range of benefits and services provided by the Commonwealth Government. The Government periodically increases the rates of its cash benefits, not only to compensate for rising prices but also to increase their real value. For example, during the past 5 years the actual increases in the rates of the aged pension have been $3.50 a week for a single pensioner and $5.50 a week for a married pensioner couple. If the basic rate of aged pension had been increased by the percentage increase in the consumer price index over this period the increases would have been approximately $2 and $3.70 respectively. Furthermore, if the Opposition cared to listen to the arguments they would realise that the pensioner medical service introduced in 1951 not only provides valuable non-cash benefits but also removes much of the fear of the consequences of illness from beneficiaries. When this and schemes such as the home care programme, the aged persons homes scheme, the sheltered employment scheme and the Commonwealth rehabilitation scheme are taken into account it is clear that the Government is most concerned about the welfare of the less fortunate members of our community and has taken effective action to improve it.

In contrast to the Government’s policy of providing increasing assistance in the areas of maximum need, the Opposition in this debate advocates the introduction of a national superannuation scheme and the abolition of the means test. Both of these projects would involve very considerable costs and probably some consequent neglect of expenditures in other areas. Of more importance is the fact that these proposals would involve a marked departure from the concept that the community should give priority in assistance to those who need it most. The Opposition in this debate put forward a number of suggestions for the expenditure of additional moneys on education. One may question the realism of proposals for a further substantial expansion of Commonwealth expenditure on education beyond the 25 per cent already proposed for this year, given the constraints on expansion of Commonwealth expenditure arising from other commitments and the state of the economy, which were explained by the Treasurer when he presented the Budget. Moreover, as I have mentioned, the Opposition takes little account of the increased capacity which the State governments will have for expanding their expenditure on education and other matters. I do not for one moment argue that any of the individual proposals put forward by the Opposition would not have some merit, particularly if considered in isolation. But it is the essence of Budget making that proposals cannot be considered in isolation. They must be viewed in terms of their overall impact upon the economy and the circumstances in which they are put forward. This signally the Opposition has failed to do.

Mr Daly:

– You do not mean that.


– 1 do indeed because this is signally what the Opposition has in fact failed to do. In his reply to the Budget speech the Leader of the Opposition had a great deal to say about the additional cost of the new health scheme introduced by the Government. In making these comments he has ignored the salient fact that the revised scale of Commonwealth medical benefits, in association with a revised scale of fund benefits, provides a far greater degree of financial cover against medical costs than has previously existed. The Leader of the Opposition also claimed that Labor’s alternative health programme would cost Australians no more than the existing health scheme before the Government’s recent improvements.

Mr Garrick:

– What was your guess?


– If the honourable member can restrain his exuberance for a moment I will tell him. The additional costs of Labor’s proposed health scheme would now be (ess because of the Government’s recent improvements in the health scheme. However, even when the proposed t per cent surcharge on taxable incomes is taken into account there is little prospect that Labor’s universal health scheme could be financed without a significant additional Commonwealth contribution. So here we have a wide ranging array of proposals and suggestions in the direction of a great expansion of Commonwealth expenditure beyond the expansion of over 10 per cent already provided in the Budget. How would the Opposition finance these proposals? Would they eliminate the income tax reduction which the Government has provided? Would they introduce drastic further increases in taxation and other charges or would they envisage, as apparently some Opposition members do envisage, just an irresponsible, inflationary, large budget deficit. On this point it is instructive to see what the Leader of the Opposition has had to say regarding the revenue side of the Budget. Firstly let me turn to the reduction in income tax which the Government has introduced in this Budget. The Leader of the Opposition had a lot to say about what he called the inequity of the particular tax reductions this Government has chosen to make, lt is not altogether clear what line he is taking because at some points he appeared to be saying that much more could have been done for the lower income earners, and less for what he chose to call the ‘privileged’ groups higher up the income range. At other points, however, he seemed to be saying that the new income tax scale would be too progressive. He talked about subsidising tax avoidance’.

The reason why the Government chose the particular form of reduction it did - - that is, the 10 per cent reduction of tax payable on taxable incomes up to $10,000 a year, tapering to a 4.4 per cent reduction at $20,000 a year and nil at $32,000 a year - was simply this: Analysis of the experience of taxpayers in various groups while the tax scale remains constant shows that people with taxable incomes in quite a large range above $10,000 a year and extending beyond $20,000 a year have fared worst. They have made the least gain in terms of real income after tax. The experience of the groups both below and above this range has been appreciably belter. We therefore considered that we should do something to help people in the range I have mentioned to recover at least part of the ground they had lost. Hence the reduction of 10 per cent of the lax payable on taxable incomes starting at the lowest group and continuing up to $.10,000 a year, followed by a taper off of the reduction so that a useful reduction is given on taxable incomes as high as $20,000 a year.

The Leader of the Opposition repeatedly spoke of these people as privileged. The Government does not see them that way. Those income grades from $5,000 to $20,000 a year include most of the managerial, executive and professional income earners in the community. Essentially, they are able people, highly-trained people, hard-working people. The advancement of the community and of the economy depends very greatly on what they do. lt is highly important that they should not be overburdened with taxation in a way that penalises them and saps their initiatives.


– Order! There are too many interjections. I have reminded honourable members on more than one occasion that interjections are out of order.


– It is very difficult for some Opposition members to keep their mouths closed. Nevertheless, one of the options which would be open to a government attempting to pursue the Opposition’s line of thought would have been to have financed some of the proposed additional expenditure by refraining from reducing the weight of income tax. It may be that the Leader of the Opposition and other Opposition members would support this approach. The Leader of the Opposition speaks of a lesser importance of reducing the total tax. But how would he do this? He stresses the importance of tax relief for lower income earners. If their rates are to be cut, without reducing the total, the implication is clear - a savage increase in the tax burden of the managers, the executives and the professionals. In practice, of course, it would be quite impossible to give substantial tax relief to lower income earners, as the Government has done, without reducing the total income tax revenue.

What then of other forms of revenue? What has the Opposition to say here? The main alternative sources, other than personal income tax, are company tax and indirect taxation. The Government has raised all company taxation rates by 2ic in the dollar. The Leader of the Opposition has nothing to say on this either by way of criticism or commendation. He has, however, a good deal to say about indirect taxation. There was, he tells us, no mandate to increase regressive forms of tax. He goes on to speak of a massive change in the balance between direct and indirect taxation. Firstly, it must be obvious even to the Opposition that the commitment to reduce the burden of personal income tax implied some change in the balance between direct and indirect taxation. It was never suggested that the Government could reduce its expenditure commitments or cease paying its bills.

On the second point, it is surely nonsense to suggest that the reduction in personal income tax proposed this year will lead to a massive - I use the word of the Leader of the Opposition - change in the balance between direct and indirect taxation. Personal income tax collections had grown much faster than other forms of tax over a period of years and it was necessary to restore some balance by reducing personal income tax and replacing it with other forms of revenue. In 1960-61 indirect tax collections accounted for about 42 per cent of the total Commonwealth tax collections. Last year - 1969-70 - the proportion was 34.2 per cent while for 1970-71 it is estimated that indirect tax collections will represent 34.9 per cent of our total tax collections. This is scarcely a massive change, and clearly it goes only a relatively small way along the path of restoring the 1960-61 situation. It is also important to bear in mind that the indirect tax increases do not apply to basic necessities such as food, clothing, and rent, but to limited classes of other goods.

Overall we have a situation where the Opposition advocates massive additions to Government expenditure, whilst on the other hand opposing the Government’s indirect taxation measures; moreover, whilst the Opposition adopts a critical stance towards the income tax reduction, I doubt very much whether it would seriously advocate a retention of the old levels. We are left, then, with the usual story of proposals for unlimited expenditure, unmatched by any readiness to face up to the discipline of responsible budget-making - in other words, unmatched by any readiness to answer the question - the fundamental question before this House - how is it all to be financed?

How, then, can these two themes of which I have spoken be drawn together? Let me first remind the House of the functions which the Commonwealth Budget must serve. It is the instrument for carrying out the Government’s policies in the fields of social welfare, health and education, defence, the development of the nation’s resources and other essential areas. A Budget also has profound economic effects. This follows from its sheer magnitude - the flows of revenue and expenditure involved are equal to about one-quarter of total gross national product. In practice therefore each Budget is designed to contribute to an overall economic strategy, aiming, in the context of developments within the economy and expected developments over the year ahead, at perpetuating strong economic growth with full employment, a minimum of disruptive inflationary stresses, and a sound balance of international payments.

What, then, was the economic context in which the 1970-71 Budget was framed? For most of 1969-70, the trends were unequivocal. The labour market was tightening rapidly and there was disquieting evidence of increasing pressures on costs and prices. The effects of these pressures were becoming evident in an accelerating trend in the consumer price index. Some easing of this situation was brought about in the last few months of 1969-70 by the effects of monetary measures directed towards making money dearer and scarcer. But, at the end of July persons registered for employment remained at less than 1 per cent of the work force.

On the demand side dwelling constructions were substantially affected. This was a consequence in large part of the vulnerability of the permanent building societies to a liquidity shortage, following their massive lending activities. Other forms of demand continued to advance strongly right through 1969-70, with a particularly strong trend being evident in the June quarter. Meanwhile price and cost increases have as yet shown no sign of slackening. The consumer price index continued its acceleration in the June quarter, reaching an annual rate of increase of just over 5 per cent.

Clearly this Government with a sense of responsibility could not have afforded to bring down a Budget which would provoke inflationary pressures. This consideration led the Government to adopt an overall strategy of balancing the 1970-71 Budget. That meant a domestic surplus of about S550m or $50m more than last year. Within these constraints, we were able to budget for significant increases in all major categories of expenditure.

Now we find the Opposition, as I have mentioned before, simply advocating larger increases in expenditure all round, and objecting to measures designed to increase revenue. How can this be reconciled with the needs of responsible Budget-making? There have been complaints that we have taken from one pocket by these increased taxes and charges what we put into the other by way of reduced personal income tax. But this is a shallow viewpoint and the people who express it seldom go on to spell out a responsible alternative.

One final point needs to be emphasised, and that is that the Budget is not merely a vehicle for advancing the Government’s policies. As 1 have indicated, it has to be framed in the light of developments in the economy and expected developments over the year ahead, and it must make a basic contribution to the Government’s overall economic strategy, aiming to perpetuate strong economic growth and to maintain stability in the economy and the balance of payments. But this requires the accommodation of policy objectives within the constraint of sound economic management and which is the approach adopted by the Government. The views of the Leader of the Opposition might have merited more serious consideration had he shown some similar recognition of the need for responsibility in the formulation of Budget proposals. 1 commend the Budget to honourable members.


– I would like to make some observations on the Budget which was presented by the Treasurer (Mr Bury) in this House on 18th August .1970. Perhaps the big surprise was the extent of the relief granted on personal income tax, about a 10 per cent reduction on taxable incomes up to $10,000 and tapering off on taxable incomes above this amount with a cut-off point at $32,000. Yet it becomes clear that without this scale of reduction the lower and middle income wage earner would have been severely hit by the increases in duty on cigarettes, tobacco and petrol and on increased postal charges, telephone rentals, etc. When these factors are taken into account along with the increased tax of 2i per cent on companies the Budget may be described as a balanced one with the average citizen gaining very little out of it. Although the increases in social welfare payments will be welcomed, a 50c increase to pensioners will not arouse any degree of enthusiasm. Those words are not mine. They are also not the ravings of some radical Socialist journalist. They are the editorial comment of the latest issue of the official journal published by the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce. Even this Government’s most earnest supporters are critical. I have never heard a Budget which has been damned with so much faint praise. Let us have a close look at the grandiose gesture of the Treasurer in the reduction of personal income tax, a blanket 10 per cent reduction across the board to all in receipt of a taxable income of $10,000 a year and less. In his Budget speech the Treasurer said:

Effective tax rates have increased more on lower and middle incomes than on higher incomes, and hi giving some relief from the effects of (he past trends, there is a clear case for ensuring that most of the relief will go to lower and middle income earners. In the result there will be increases in the take-home remuneration in the income ranges where it is most needed.

Just where is this increase in the takehome remuneration most needed? In my view it is certainly not in the area of persons who are in receipt of a taxable income of $10,000 a year. It is of interest to note that according to the official statistics as published by the Commissioner for Taxation 60 per cent of taxpayers in Australia are in receipt of a taxable income of less than $3,000 a year. And what has the Treasurer done for this group?

Mr Cope:

– Very little.


– As my friend the honourable member for Sydney says, very little. That is very true. A person in receipt of a taxable income of $3,000 a year will have his income tax reduced by $46.12, less than $1 a week. He will still pay $416 a year in taxation, which is 14 per cent of his taxable income. I point out that 26 per cent of the taxpayers have a taxable income of between $2,000 and $3,000 a year. A person in receipt of a taxable income of $2,000 a year will receive a reduction of $21.73. This is a paltry reduction. That person still will have to pay $196 a year. This group with taxable incomes of up to $3,000 a year comprise the bulk of the ordinary working people of Australia. They represent 60 per cent of the taxpaying public. They have been treated to a miserly handout.

I want to contrast this handout with the position of taxpayers with taxable incomes of up to $10,000 a year. On a taxable income of $10,000 a year the reduction will be $348; on a taxable income of $9,000 a year the reduction will be $295; on a taxable income of $8,000 a year the reduction will be $245; and so on down the scale. Referring back to the words of the Treasurer, this is what he said in his Budget Speech:

  1. . there will be increases in the lake-home remuneration in the income ranges where it is most needed.

Who needs it most? The ordinary people who are battling to rear and educate a family and who comprise 60 per cent of the community or the more fortunate people who are doing quite well despite the tax scale? I am afraid that the Treasurer has his priorities mixed and I beg to differ with him as to what is a middle income.

What are the net results of the grandiose gesture by the Treasurer in the personal income tax field? He estimated in his Budget papers that he will still collect $178m more this financial year than he collected in the year ended on 30th June 1970. I think the correct description for this Budget is that it is a bodgie Budget. It should be withdrawn and completely recast.

Mr Cope:

– Even a hippie would not take it.


– Even honourable members on the Government side are unhappy with it. The honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess), with whom I do not often agree, echoed my sentiments when he criticised the manner in which these taxation adjustments were made. In a speech in this chamber last Friday he said:

  1. . I feel it would have been of greater benefit to those people who need assistance - the young married couples in the lower income group and those people with children at school who are buying a house - if the taxation schedule had been reformed in another way. … 1 think the Government made a mistake. [ agree with the honourable member for La Trobe. I think the Government made a grave mistake. There was not one word in the Treasurer’s Budget Speech about any scheme by the Government to prevent plans by taxpayers for legalised tax avoidance. I am certain that there would be recommendations in existence for alteration of income tax laws to prevent these legalised methods of tax evasion. I am fortified in these thoughts by a statement made by a Second Commissioner of Taxation as far back as May 1969. He publicly stated that these tax avoidance schemes were a social evil. If a Second Commissioner of Taxation went so far as to make this statement publicly I have no doubt that these thoughts would have been put on paper to the Government in the form of recommended changes in the legislation. Knowing the way in which the Taxation Branch operates - I worked in it for 34 years prior to coming to this House - I have no doubt that the estimates of revenue lost by these and other legally fraudulent schemes of evasion would have been worked out and also put on paper. It is common knowledge within the Taxation Branch that the revenue loss from these various tax avoidance schemes runs into hundreds of millions of dollars.I know for a fact that there is in existence a continuing departmental committee which is keeping up with the various tax dodges and where necessary recommending legislative changes.

I challenge the Treasurer to produce the figures showing tax losses by these legal devices to avoid income tax. How much revenue is being lost by the inaction of this Government? Why are these legislative changes not being made? Is it right that one section of the community should be paying more than its fair share of the revenue of this country? Is it right that the ordinary wage earner should be asked to substantiate his claim for medical expenses, chemical expenses, gifts to charities and other paltry amounts while that section of the community which can afford to pay is being allowed to defraud the revenue of hundreds of millions of dollars a year?

Last week a Bill was introduced in this House by the Government to amend the Income Tax Assessment Act. Was it a Bill designed to tie up these legal loopholes of tax avoidance? It could have been but it was not; it was a Bill designed to give further benefits to companies which can afford to pay. It is designed to grant them further concessions. It will allow the deduction of interest paid on convertible notes. When this type of interest was made non-deductible by this Government - under a different leader - in1960 the honourable member for Wentworth, who is now the Treasurer, made a statement supporting the measures to disallow a deduction for interest on these convertible notes. I quote from Hansard of 7th December 1960. The present Treasurer said this:

As to the permanent measure indicated by the Treasurer - the taxation on convertible notes - I do not think on the whole that any reasonable person anywhere would challenge a measure of this character, because this operation of convertible notes has clearly been closely tied up with measures to dodge taxation . . .

Has the position changed since then?

Mr Stewart:

– No.


– Then why is the situation being altered now? Is this a responsible Government? Its actions would lead one to have very grave doubts. I further challenge the Treasurer to come out now and publicly state why these tax avoidance devices are being allowed to continue. In reply to a questionI asked in this House on 8th May of this year about tax avoidance schemes, schemes, the Treasurer said:

It is open under the law for any citizen to operate the laws as he can best to his advantage.

That is a rather remarkable statement for a Treasurer to make - a person whose duty it is to see that the taxation revenue of this country is protected. In reply to the same question, in which I suggested various schemes of tax avoidance which should be looked into, the Treasurer said:

  1. . if the honourable member has any good practical suggestions and examples which we could bring in quickly I should certainly be very delighted for the information that he can provide.

How ludicrous can you get? Here we have a trained and efficient staff in the Taxation Office ready and willing to tell the Treasurer what remedies are needed. In fact, [ am certain that they have already told him. However, in answer to a question I asked the Treasurer has said to me in so many words: ‘You tell me what to do.’ Does this mean that he has given up the ghost or has he no confidence in his own staff? If either of these explanations apply he should not remain in office; he should resign.

I consider that there are many more ways of sharing the tax burden in an equitable manner than apply at the present time. The income tax legislation should be completely rewritten, it is a horse and buggy Act in a jet age economy. It is like a patch work quilt - every time a hole is plugged skilled legal practitioners find another one. They are not acting for the ordinary person who can ill afford to pay his tax. let alone legal fees. The tax legislation is a bonanza for the lawyers and the rich. It could well be that there should be only one definition of ‘income’ to bring it into line with the thoughts of a former Justice of the High Court, Mr Justice Dixon, who, when asked to give a definition of income, was quoted as saying: ‘Income is what comes in’. A more practical step would be to follow the example of Canada and set up a royal commission to revise completely the whole structure of taxation. This was done in Canada and action is now in train in that country completely to rewrite the tax legislation to bring it more into line with their modern economy. Every time our income tax law act is simplified it becomes harder to understand. We should scrap it and start afresh.

Possibly the matter most vital to the Australian people is the cost of education, which has reached the stage where it is almost beyond the capacity of the States adequately to provide the necessary finance. Education is the corner-stone on which a country develops. Our future development is dependent to a large degree on the extent to which we wisely spend money on educating our children. This Government has callously disregarded the needs of education and has failed to acknowledge in the Budget the undertaking given by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) in his election policy that this Government would give consideration to the survey of the needs of state education over the next 5 years which was made by the Australian Education Council. The provision of adequate education services is directly related to the supply of Commonwealth funds to the States. The supply of Commonwealth funds to the States for education is totally inadequate. The needs of education must be given their just priority, otherwise the progress of education will be halted.

I have seen schools in New South Wales, in my electorate and in adjoining areas, which are in such a poor condition that any self-respecting farmer would be ashamed to put his livestock in them. Kogarah High School is one such school. There are classrooms at this school which do not have even the benefit of electric light if one can call that a benefit - it is certainly not a luxury. How can we expect children to study under these conditions? Also, there is a lack of trained teachers with the result that class loads are unbelievably high. When a teacher is sick there is no replacement. Is it any wonder that teachers, who are professional people, are forced to take industrial action? Teachers have the interests of the children at heart. Why should it be necessary to recruit teachers from overseas? We have qualified people in Australia anxious to embark on a teaching career but there are insufficient places available for them at teachers colleges due to lack of finance.

Education is a matter of national importance because it concerns the development of an Australia of the future. It has to be looked at on a wide scale, as the quality of education in our schools ultimately will decide whether Australia as a nation has the ability to develop its resources. What is the use of science and library grants unless there is a trained teacher in the class or an adequate building effectively to put these grants to their full use? The education problem is not confined only to State schools. The independent school system is in danger of collapse in many areas, with the exception of a few prestige colleges. In New South Wales only 1 new Catholic secondary schools have started in the last 10 years. There was no mention in the Budget Speech of any additional grants to independent schools. The parents of children attending these schools face a grave financial burden. They are deserving of further assistance. It is economic common sense for any government to see that these schools are properly maintained. How much would it cost the State if these schools were forced to close? The Australian Labor Party believes in a diversified system of education and grants to all schools on the basis of need.

One of the real problems in the Catholic school system is the supply of an adequate number of trained lay teachers who now comprise a large proportion of the teaching staff of Catholic schools. I would like to quote a few figures in this regard which are applicable to the Catholic school system. In New South Wales in 1962 19 per cent of teachers in Catholic schools were lay teachers. In 1968 40 per cent of teachers were lay teachers. In Victoria in 1968 51 per cent of teachers at Catholic schools were lay teachers. We can see the grave burden which is thrust upon the Catholic school system in carrying the load of salaries paid to lay teachers. This Government has not even taken into account the problems which have been caused by our immigration programme, particularly as it affects these schools. Education is a Commonwealth responsibility and the Commonwealth should shoulder its fair share of the burden.

In conclusion 1 would like to state that I agree wholeheartedly with the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) which reads:

This House condemns this deceptive and negative Budget because it fails to meet the real needs of the Australian people, especially with respect to (a) standards of social service and war pensioners, (b) assistance to school, hospital and urban authorities and (c) restructuring of stricken primary industries and because it introduces and increases taxes and charges of a regressive and inequitable nature’.


– A rise in the base rate of pension of 50c is not enough. The philosophy which gave effect to it is inadequate for Australia in 1970. I know it exactly matches the consumer price index rise for the year of an average of 3.7 per cent but the Budget itself points to the fact that in June the rise was at the rate of 5 per cent. I know that many pensioners in 1970 are greatly better off than pensioners previously. 1 know all about the tapered means test. With the former honourable member for Sturt I was one of its chief architects. I know about Meals on Wheels, medical and hospital benefits, home nursing, chiropody, television and radio benefits and so on. Arguing from the past one can justify or perhaps defend the 50c rise. My belief is that right across Australia today few people are prepared to accept that as adequate.

Before 1 state my own belief about the age pension let me make another point to defend the Budget position. This is a period of unprecedented threat in terms of inflation. Demand inflation is being held, with perhaps an unfair burden on home builders, imposed especially by the indirect taxation provisions of the Budget. Cost inflation hangs over all our heads, however, with the bludgeon of strikes and other forms of refusal of labour forcing up wages in unprecedented fashion. There u no matching increase in productivity. Costs must soar and those on fixed incomes must suffer. If pensioners and superannuitants are going to blame anyone today, a very significant part of the blame must be levelled against the manipulators and passengers who are riding to power on the back of organised labour.

Again, take the other side of the picture. A married couple with fringe benefits and full pension today get a little better than $1,500 equivalent annual income. They know that public conscience will force governments to keep this somewhere near the increases of the consumer price index at least. But what kind of savings do a man and his wife have to hold to give that income as well as to assure them of capital growth sufficient to take care of losses in value due to inflation? I doubt whether such a portfolio would give an average yield of much more than 4 per cent per annum. This means that a market value of somewhere near $37,500 is required to give an annual income of $1,500. Even then it would be a bold man who would claim that, with an adequate income today, his investments are such that he can be sure that they will be equally adequate in 10, 15 or 20 years time. So we are talking about big money.

A pensioner who has been able to save nothing at all still has about the same peace of mind as someone who has saved an amount that puts him just outside the pension bracket - $30,000 - and who expects to live another 10 years. Thanks to the merged means test and the tapered means test a married couple with savings within that range, especially with their own home, are catered for relatively adequately. But my complaint, because complaint it is, is not for those who have enough but for a minority in this big booming country who do not have enough, and they certainly exist.

Let me, at this point, explode another illusion if it exists at all. It is by no means true that all pensioners with negligible savings are in that state because they have been prodigal, wasteful or careless. Some are. Some are spongers - the lower fringe of our society. They are included, but they are not a majority. No man alive is more proud of his parents than I, yet if they were alive today they would be drawing the full old age pension. They both served in the First World War. My father was unemployed during the depression, but we never received a penny piece from the dole. He built extra sleepout bedrooms on our home to enable my mother to run a nursing home while he started a little grocers shop. If he did not sell much, at least we got our supplies wholesale. All their lives my parents worked in charitable and public activities. My father was 3 times mayor of Port Adelaide. He was President of the Institute of Marine and Power Engineers. He was Chairman of the local Parents and Citizens Association and of the Group Committee of the Scouts. He was a member of the Municipal Tramways Trust in South Australia. He spent his last years devoting his whole time to she British Sailors Society. My mother was his mainstay. My sister was a nurse and I was a parson. My parents spent their last years getting the full pension. Honourable members would know how much pay either my sister or I could get to add to the luxuries of our home. My parents were age pensioners with a record second to none in the service of Australia. They are not exceptions, for such people are legion. If they were alive today they would have been handed SOc a week each extra for 1970-71 in this Australia that they both fought to build in war and in peace, this Australia of the mineral boom of Hamersley and Gove, and today of uranium in the Northern Territory: this Australia of record growth rates, of security and peace which is the envy of the world. Fifty cents! It is not enough. The philosophy which gave rise to it is not good enough. I pledge myself to do all I can to change that thinking.

I am not going to vote against the Government at this time on this issue. There is no sense at all in opening the door to a burglar because you quarrel with father. Labor in power today means Hawke and Cairns, and the Corns pulling the wires. Labor in power means the end of power for the people and power for the protesters. Labor means a sell-out in South East Asian defence and a yes vote for galloping decline in public morality. Not all Labor is like that; not even a majority. But the majority of workers do not control Labor any more. The minority know how they can win, and we have not seen their nastiest mood yet, not by a long chalk. No, I am not voting to help Labor, not even on this issue on which I feel so deeply. But I will tell honourable members what I am going to do. I am going to work as never before to get my colleagues to accept this programme: First, we must have an end to the policies which still discourage savings and thrift and which make a breadline pension inevitable for numbers of Australians; secondly, we must have an end to the position where some people can bludge on the community, spend all their income on non-essentials and know that they will be just about as well off as a man who struggles to educate his family and who saves only a few thousand dollars before retiring or whose superannuation is little if any better and is doomed to decline to the breadline; thirdly, we must face the fact that the vast majority of Australians do not want old people to suffer real poverty, no matter why they are in that position.

The only answer I can see that is fair to all is in a nation-wide superannuation scheme to which all wage earners must contribute, which would be financially identifiable from Consolidated Revenue and which would provide a retiring allowance a little higher than the present pension rate. This would not destroy the private superannuation schemes, which daily become more precarious anyway because of inflation, because these schemes would then operate to augment the national plan for all who wished to contribute towards a further income. The means test as we know it would, ipso facto, disappear and a very limited welfare fund would exist for cases for dire emergency where a new and much more stringent means test would apply. There would have to be a bridging period, determined on actuarial advice on the way in which the present situation would be phased into the new. In rough terms it could mean that the Government’s contribution to the scheme could be equal to its present Budget for age pensions. This would be augmented by contributions from the work force for an amount per capita equal to the extra sum needed to pay all aged persons at the new rate divided by the number of wage earners.

The number of wage earners is increasing at a faster rate than the number of pensioners. Precise figures are not available for such a plan, for there will still be a period of more than a year before even the cost of the current tapered means test will be known accurately. Contributors to current superannuation schemes would have their contributions divided into 2 parts. The base rate of the national scheme would be subtracted from their present payments and the balance would go into a supplementary scheme to augment that scheme to equal their present rate of entitlement. These are broad principles only, and much adjustment would be required, but there is no doubt at all in my mind that such a scheme could and should be brought into effect.

Whilst one is critical of the welfare aspect of the Budget in particular, it is more important to see the way that the Leader of the Opposition has approached the economy as a whole. If anything is calculated to strike at the roots of the Australian economic and industrial scene it is the philosophy inherent in his attitude. One is accustomed to the lack of emphasis by the Australian Labor Party on its essential programme of nationalisation. It has glossed over it with so much other bait for the unwary. But it is there all the time. It is based on a fundamental fallacy, namely, that we can scrap the profit incentive, sock the industrious, penalise the successful and still produce plenty for everybody. This goes down well with many folk who like to see this big handsome Robin Hood of a man talking of squeezing the rich to give more to the poor.

It is great listening to the ‘class struggle’ bit so long as you do it in the context of productivity as it now exists. There certainly appears to be enough around for everyone’s need. But the whole thing is a farce unless you look equally hard at the other prong - indeed the first prong - of Labor’s Socialist pitchfork: ‘From each according to his ability’. Productivity means: First produce your cake then share it up. The first requisite for productivity is work. The Leader of the Opposition had not one word to say about the need for productivity. If ever there were a pie in the bye and bye philosophy it is his. But while he goes flirting with Hawke, on his own admission, planning a strike for political purposes to boost his own histrionics at Budget time, calling for less work, stoppage of work and stoppage of production to bludgeon his way towards the the Prime Minister’s Lodge, the Leader of the Opposition introduces a yet more dangerous set of financial theses.

He attacks the large amendment and liberalisation of the income tax scale which more than fulfil the Government’s election promise. He wants not a reform but a revolution. What he means is a wholesale change from the present, far more than the Government’s measure in the direction of taxing those on higher incomes and relieving those on lower incomes. This is good Labor stuff, of course. But what is new is his incursion into indirect taxation. The health scheme, for example, in Labor’s plan is also to be paid for in proportion to income. In short, the Leader of the Opposition would not only increase the rates of taxation very steeply on all but the lower brackets of earnings but he would make the higher earners pay more for the same goods and services which they enjoy in common with the rest. Hawke is at the same business at the other end in the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. Tax the higher incomes; make the more profitable industries pay more. The criterion is not to be the value of labour, the worth of the work, but what penalty can be placed on success.

This is the end of traditional trade unionism, of course, and it discards all the benefits of regularised labour awards and conditions for payment based on the industry’s profits without any mention of responsibility for productivity. Can anyone seriously think that Australia as we know it would remain for long under such a pair of leaders as Hawke and his parliamentary counterpart? What a fool a man would be to study and strive and slog away at carving out a successful career when he is confronted by a Socialist attitude in government that outdoes Russia itself.

Nevertheless, I am far from arguing that prosperity should not be shared by the whole community. Quite to the contrary. I am strongly in favour of methods whereby every section of the nation profits by success. What 1 refuse to accept is that workers in a particular field, such as miners at Mount Isa or drillers at Kambalda, should feel that they have exclusive rights to bonuses for success and that the benefits should not go also to the teacher who trains their children, the policeman who guards their security, the postman who delivers their mail and, if you like, the income tax clerk who assesses their two returns. We should not forget in this argument the teachers who trained them and who are now retired, and possibly others who made great contributions to their booming little world and who are now drawing the age pension.

There is great need for us to restress the fact that we are one people and that the whole purpose of our systems of taxation, arbitration, social services and the rest is to even out the rewards as well as the responsibilities of society. The LiberalCountry Party Government believes in enterprise, initiative, rewards for success and so forth. It is not in business to destroy individuality and energy by the dull, hopeless hand of bureaucratic Socialism. But it is not a laissez-faire system either. Australia today is demanding that a reassessment be made of the share held in Australia Unlimited by people on pensions and fixed income and by those least able to go on strike, such as nurses.

At this time of the year one gets many letters. There is always one type which I personally find somewhat distressing. It is the letter of abuse at the size of parliamentary pensions compared with social service pensions. 1 make 2 points: Firstly, members of parliament subscribe heavily to their so-called pension - more than SI, 100 a year goes directly out of each member’s own pocket; secondly, members of Parliament for the most part have about the most precarious job in the country, and there are many, many capable men and women who refuse to consider leaving a secure job for the chances of politics. So I say to pensioners: For goodness sake, lay off that angle; it does not help me or any of my colleagues who fight for your cause when it is so manifestly ill informed.

In conclusion, 1 return to my major theme. I believe that the Government should rethink this pension increase. If the July and August rises in the consumer price index are what I think they will prove to be - well over 4 per cent - this will surely be reason for supplementary action. I ask the Government therefore - and I pledge myself to do all I can personally - to do these 3 things: Firstly, review the age pension base rate at the end of the first quarter of the financial year in the light of known facts about the consumer price index at that time: secondly, set up an ad hoc committee to consider and propose methods for implementing a scheme for national superannuation; thirdly, initiate a nationwide call for restraint in terms of both price rises and wage rises and at the same time give more thought to the ways in which increased prosperity can be shared by both those whose energy and productivity have occasioned it and those in the community who have a right to expect a share in it.

Mr GARRICK (Batman) [9.48 1 - I rise to support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) that this House condemns this deceptive and negative Budget because it fails to meet the real needs of the Australian community. May I preface my remarks by congratulating the honourable member for Evans (Dr Mackay) on his presentation in his earlier remarks of the policy of the Australian Labor Party. His latter remarks made me wonder just when he had done any work to produce something for the people of Australia. However I congratulate him on his charitable attitude, but it is strange that he should speak so strongly against the Budget and yet refuse to vote against it.

This year we celebrate the bi-centenary of Captain Cook’s discovery of this continent’s eastern seaboard. This continent, of course, had been discovered many times in the preceding 200 years, but Cook’s discovery unearthed, if you like, the continent for the British Establishment, which at that time had some problems to solve. More than a few of that Establishment’s savants saw in this continent, with the hope that springs eternal, a place for a new beginning but these hopes were soon dashed. There was no new beginning, merely a transplant. Not of all the worst people but a transplant of all the very institutions and structures that would make this ageless continent the place for the old world to perpetuate itself.

Here we see the very same preservation of privilege based upon ever increasing inequality. If anyone doubts this, let him look closely at this most recent new beginning - a new Treasurer bringing down his first Budget and indicating without equivocation, without ambiguity, that in him are incarnated the very attitudes which benighted the lives of our forebears and which today. 200 years after Cook, prompt the low income earners in affluent Australia to abandon all hope. This nation was founded with great expectations, but for those of our people who suffer hard times their great expectations have foundered wilh this Budget.

That reminds me that not only is this the year of the bicentenary of Cook’s discovery of this dead continent and the year of the nation’s discovery of the dead heart in the Australian Government, but also this year is the centenary of the death of Charles Dickens. Dickens more than any other writer imprinted on every mind that read his works the appalling conditions under which so many people burnt out their lives. Who does not know the passage in which Oliver asks for more? And who does not know Mr Limbkins’s question of Bumble:

Do I understand that he asked for more after he had eaten the supper alloted by the dietary?

The terrible element in the institutional mind as personified by Mr Limbkins is the inability to take into account the needs of individuals. Mr Limbkins could never suspect that Oliver’s request for more reflected not Oliver’s gluttony but the dietary’s insufficiency. I have ceased to suspect that the Treasury fits into the same category as Mr Limbkins

Before discussing the plaintive cries of our municipalities for more, let us glance briefly at other areas in which this Liberal Government’s policies are denying the reasonable needs of more and more of this nation’s hard working citizens for more. Maternity allowances have remained unchanged for 25 years. Child endowment has not been increased for 10 years. Age pensions, as a percentage of average weekly earnings, have in fact fallen by 5 per cent in the past 20 years. In the case of persons in retirement the means test has become more stringent, making it practically impossible for many pensioners to augment their earnings sufficiently to live above the bread line and debarring completely many needy persons from eligibility for pensions at all.

Everyone remembers that the Government some years ago made much ado about its generosity in increasing the allowable income for single pensioners to the princely sum of SIO, and for married couples $17 per week. This was the first increase in allowable incomes for more than a decade - or perhaps not more than but merely a decade. What, I ask you, is the value of $10 today compared with 5 years ago? How much less can $10 buy today than it could in 1965! This Government of robber barons has, I am loath to say, stolen a substantial portion of the staff of life from these pensioners. The Minister and his colleagues on the benches opposite who have to accept the responsibility for the disastrous conditions which afflict the lives of so many of our people, are callous parsimonious and self-righteous. And these, Mr Speaker, are the very attributes which Charles Dickens, for instance, found so distasteful in men of their class more than a century ago.

One could go on quoting statistics and instances, but they all add up to one sad fact - the dismal failure of this Liberal Government to face up to its responsibilities to the Australian people. There is no point in quoting statistics which are merely concerned with the collection and classification of numerical facts. I have yet to meet the human being who considers himself a numerical fact despite the rare creatures that have their origins in mind such as Mr Limbkins and Mr Bumble, ‘a pair of inimitable souls’. I would like to say however, the unhappy reality is that they are of the sort that is to be found in large numbers on the benches opposite.

I know many people personally in my electorate of Batman who are suffering the ill-effects of the short-sighted policies of this Government. They are working men and women who have precious little to show for a life-time of hard work, and small business and professional people, plagued by the constant fear of being denied assistance because they have been able to save some of their hard-won earnings, and on the basis of the new Treasurer’s Budget for the immediate future these people are condemned to further suffering.

We have in recent months heard urgent voices calling for more assistance for local government. The people in local government, being closer to the needs of the people, are well aware of the ill-effects of this Government’s short-sightedness. I am certain there are few better illustrations of the extent to which this Liberal-Country Party Government has lost touch with the needs of the Australian people than the utter irrelevance of this Budget to the problems of our cities. It does not even accept that urban development is a problem. We are the most urban of all nations, not by accident but as the direct result of the policies of this Government. Yet the last 20 years will go down in our history as the period of the emasculation of our local governments.

It is never surprising to a Labor man that this Government is always more effective in pushing the interests of property than it is in looking to the interests of the people. After all, the essential difference between Labor and non-Labor parties is that Labor puts people first, whereas the Liberals and their camp followers put property before everything. This is dramatically demonstrated by the way the Liberals have reduced the local authorities of this country to the position of virtual impotence in the affairs of our citizens. Over the last 20 years this Government has mounted a dual attack on our local authorities. For example, on the one hand through its migration policies, its rural policies and its tariff policies, it has compounded the problems of our cities by driving people and secondary industries into our cities; and on the other hand through its fiscal policies it has progressively deprived our local and semigovernment authorities of access to any income other than rates.

We are one of the most affluent countries in the world, and yet no where else in the world is it seriously proposed that the problems of urban development are not problems of national importance. Where else in the world are foreign owned mining projects in the hinterlands designated national development projects, and sewerage systems and public transport for our cities designated local projects? And this in the most urban of all nations. In the last 20 years the indebtedness of the Commonwealth has diminished. The debts of State governments have risen by 4 times, of local government more than 9 times and of semi-government authorities more than ten-and-a-half times. The day is rapidly approaching when the combined debts of our municipal authorities will cost more to service than the combined debts of the States, and so the people of Australia pay the price of Liberal mis-management.

The breakdown of our primary industries has resulted in the Government publicly recommending that the small farmers, the little people, leave the land and move to the cities. This breakdown, of course, has been accentuated by these little people having to support as part of their production costs the secondary industries protected by short-sighted tariff policies. These secondary industries, often foreign owned, are city based industries and have been encouraged to expand and prosper with the aid of New Australian labour which until recently was brought to this country by a Government which did not even believe it had a responsibility to provide these people with a proper opportunity to learn our language. Naturally this Government docs not believe it has any responsibility to assist migrants with their housing problems or, for that matter, any of the other problems of their living environment. In short, this Government has embraced a policy which, while leading to a serious breakdown of State-Federal relationships, has all but sounded the death knell of local government. And still it has the hypocrisy to accuse the Labor Party of being centralists. lt is not the Labor Party that is afraid of local government; it is not the Labor Party that refuses to accept Federal responsibility for the quality of the living environment of over 80 per cent of our people. What the Labor Party wants is to encourage the growth of local governments as a meaningful force in the affairs of our cities, and we will do this by recognising that the problems of our cities are problems of national development. We in the Labor Party do not accept the view that a country as affluent as Australia cannot afford to make funds available for urban development projects. To argue that we cannot afford to tackle the problems of the living environment of over 80 per cent of our people is nothing less than an admission of incompetent leadership. We in the Labor Party support the idea that services such as kindergartens, libraries, pensioner services, youth clubs, etc., should be predominantly a local responsibility.

What we object to. however, is that local authorities are also expected to finance almost entirely from rates - that indirect tax burden on the little people - all the capital and internal costs of all of the other investments required to make our cities decent places for people to live and raise their families. It is no surprise that the Liberal Government has stood by and allowed the States to milk the local authorities. The Government, of course, is trapped by its own fiscal policies. Were it to recognise it had any responsibility for the living environment of over 80 per cent of

Australians it would have to raise questions about the way the States have treated their local authorities and, of course, it could not do this without admitting the weakness of its own attitude to the States. In a nutshell, the Government has simply stood by while the States have passed on to local authorities the financial problems given to them by Canberra. Thus both the Federal and State governments can stand back and chorus ‘no responsibility’.

Clearly this Government has got itself into a position from which it cannot extract itself even if it wanted to. Clearly the affairs of the living environment of our people are going to have to wait for a Labor Government in Canberra. If there is any consolation in this budget it is the public admission of disinterest in and utter contempt for the needs of our people, which can only hasten the day when even the men men of property - the supporters of this Government - will welcome a Labor Government so that we can tackle the problems of nation building that have been so neglected since the days of Ben Chifley.

Northern Territory

Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise to support the 1970-71 Budget proposals introduced by the Treasurer (Mr Bury). I note that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) in his Budget-cum-election speech appeared to be upset by the fact that the Government had honoured its election promise to reform the taxation structure for those in the middle and lower income groups. Taxation concessions to individual taxpayers give the greatest relief to earners of income less than $10,000 per annum. I remind the House that the average annual male income in Australia is $4,000.

I would rather have seen the scale of benefits in this Budget lower and the money saved in that direction used to provide a worthwhile rise in pensions. I look forward to the breakdown, which the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) said today that he would be giving to the House tomorrow, of the figures in relation to pensions. My main criticism of the Budget is the lightweight increase in benefits for pensioners and particularly the ignoring of the plight of pensioners in the Northern Territory on whose behalf I have been battling continuously. The fact that fixed incomes in the Northern Territory do not have the same purchasing power as fixed incomes have in the southern States must be recognised. I will continue to battle for the recognition of this fact. While on this subject, may I say that by ‘battling’ I mean solid consistent hard work by co-operation and not confrontation.

The Northern Territory has progressed in a most spectacular manner in the last 4 years. To support my contention, I propose to read a few figures. In 1964-65, the gross Commonwealth expenditure on State type functions in the Northern Territory was $38,664,000. In 1965-66, it had risen to $45,974,000. In 1966-67, Commonwealth expenditure stood at $58,438,000. I take now the figures for the last 3 financial years. For the financial year 1968-69 the figure had increased to $69,348,000. The expenditure in 1969-70 was $87,031,000. The estimated expenditure this financial year is $113,417,000. These figures indicate the growth in the Territory in the last few years.

As usual, the Opposition could well be asked how it would finance its vast but indefinite expenditure on defence, social welfare, local government, education and overseas aid, without increasing taxation. The speech by the Leader of the Opposition was a typical effort, put together by his research writers, and read without conviction. It did not get down to specific, even grandiose, proposals. No definite policy was presented. Nothing was said about drought relief, the wool industry or decentralisation. Perhaps the Labor Party cannot formulate a definite policy. The Labor Leader who, no doubt, started his political life as a moderate or even a liberal, is now leaning further to the left. This has been noticeable during the last year. He appears to be making the same mistake as my old and respected friend, the previous Leader of the once great Labor Party, the right honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell) made. For political purposes, the current Leader has moved to the left. Had the old political warhorse from Melbourne not done this 20 years ago, he could well have reached the Treasury benches. The present Leader of the Labor Party has done the same sort of thing except that, in his typical insincere, shallow and grasping manner he has embraced the would be dictator, Mr Hawke of the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

The increased tax on automotive diesel fuel could spell trouble for transport in the Northern Territory. This increase may be OK for people in the south where alternative means of transport by rail, sea and road are available. In the Northern Territory, the only form of surface transport over vast distances is by road. The distance between the Alice Springs co-ordinated road-rail terminal and Larrimah is over 600 miles, 3 times the distance between Albury and Melbourne and approximately the same distance separating Melbourne and Sydney and Sydney and Brisbane. The distance between Alice Springs and the railhead in Mount Isa is 730 miles. It is 780 miles from Mount Isa to Larrimah. Travellers between these towns must rely solely on road transport. That is why I urge the Treasurer to look again at this tax and to give earnest consideration to granting relief from it in the areas where road transport is the only means of carrying large and heavy cargoes across and out into the country.

Freight is a killer in the outback. This extra burden is most unwelcome, in an area so remote from the markets both inside and outside the Northern Territory. The Stuart Highway and the Barclay Highway are lifelines for people living in the north. They are made even more so by the continued and very often unwarranted stoppages on the Darwin waterfront, the most recent of which has driven away one ship already and will break Darwin businessmen and shippers as well as inflicting hardships on Territory citizens. These stoppages could well shut down the port of Darwin completely. I urge the Government to take some positive action to rectify this intolerable situation.

On the subject of the port, I wish to compliment the Government on the introduction of the $10m ‘Darwin Trader’ onto the Darwin east coast run and on the port of Darwin development plan which, today, the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp) on behalf of the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) and the Government referred to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Public Works for its consideration. I commend the Government on its recommendation that the Public Works Committee should make an early report on its inquiry into the proposal to spend $19m on the port of Darwin, with little ship and trawler wharves and a bulk loading terminal. The fact that the report is to be treated as urgent will speed the commencement of construction. I hope that, when completed, this great port will have some ships, but the way the labour position is right now at the Darwin wharf the port could well be closed.

The roll-on roll-off ship ‘Darwin Trader’ represents a genuine effort by this Government to minimise freight charges in the north. Unfortunately, the irresponsible and, I would suspect, Communist organised strikes which beset this vessel on its maiden voyage certainly offset any freight advantage which normally could be expected to follow the introduction of such a ship to the service, [f I recall correctly the figures given by the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Sinclair) in answer to a question I asked recently, 4,500 tons of cargo was unloaded in 38 hours. I imagine the unloading should have been done in half that time because that 38 hours was spread over 9 working days. The extra cost involved was $131,000. This ludicrous situation is typical of much of the approach of labour to the job in Australia today and is helping to raise living costs. It is one of the main reasons for the spiralling costs in the north. Gone are the days when we heard the cry: A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. Today the general idea of many trade unions, especially the Hawke dominated ones, seems to be: An unfair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. The left wingers are out to wreck not only the Government but Australia as well.

Another moratorium is being organised for later this month. The ALP supported the last one which was, to a great extent, aimed at the young people. My own daughters aged 14 and 15 were pressured outside the very gates of their school to wear badges in support of something they did not understand. Had they been told they were supporting the enemies of Australia and of our own way of life, they would not have worn those badges supporting our enemies. The honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) has just returned from organising some of the leaders of those countries which are opposing Australia in the field, and asking (ficm to visit us and to’ speak, doubtless on behalf of the enemies whom our troops are fighting. They are fighting to preserve the freedom and the way of life for which so many already have fought and died. I ask the Leader of the Opposition why he and his Party support such un-Australian activities. Almost every Australian who returns to our shores freely admits that this country is the best in the world. Why then, for the sake of politics, does the ALP support those who are not interested in the welfare of Australia? Why does the ALP wish our nation, with its resources and technical knowledge, to stand idly by and see the dominoes topple one by one, knowing full well that we are one of the last of the dominoes? I have seen recently that no-one believes more sincerely in the domino theory than the dominoes themselves. The ALP policy is to remain at home and see them knocked oft one by one and eventually see ourselves knocked off. Why do the members of the ALP wish this to happen? Because it is the wish of the Communists who have subverted so many of them and who have done the same to so many wellmeaning people all around the world. The Corns need no actual party represenatives in Parliament. They have succeeded in pushing the once moderate Labor leader further and further to the left. He is allowing this to happen, assisted by various other members, in the vain hope that he will be able to retain the leadership of the new look left wing Labor Party. He is the willing tool of men such as the would-be dictator, the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Mr Hawke, whose previous effort, the nation-wide Budget strike, was as unsuccessful as his efforts on an Australia-wide basis in connection with the moratorium. The Corns would have Australia drift into anarchy. We are allowing them to play the game on their terms. The ALP is wittingly in most cases and unwittingly in a very few, assisting those who are not really interested in seeing a strong, economically sound, classless Australia in a position to help our near neighbours and repel the Communist takeovers which are now being made and will be made against them in the future.

The whole conception of doing less work for more pay currently advocated by left wing union leaders eventually will price Australis out of many markets and lead this country away from the great position it could attain, to become a discontented, internationally useless mediocrity. I refer again to the current troubles on the Darwin waterfront and to what happened to the Darwin Trader’ on her maiden voyage. It took 38 hours to unload the cargo. It could have been done in half the time. These crippling go-slow strikes which continue will do nothing but boost freight costs to everyone in the Northern Territory and to people all over Australia. I repeat that they will drive ships away from the harbour, as they did only a few days ago. This is a very serious situation. The future of the port and of Darwin is in jeopardy. That is how the Communists, fellow travellers and the militant left are setting out to destroy this country. They are causing chaos and confusion among the workers and are strenuously trying to overthrow the Government and law and order, and to destroy our way of life. They do not wish us to be strong in our opposition to the downward thrust of Communism, a phrase that one hears continually throughout the countries to our north such as Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. These are our near neighbours, the very people who look to us for a lead and for strength, militarily and economically.

Rather than doing away with national service, as is called for by the Labor Party, we should be urging our youth, both male and female, to serve this country. We should be looking towards universal national service. Gone then would be the ballot system. I am sure that the young people of today are anxious to serve Australia, lt is not necessary for all our Forces to serve overseas in combat. There should be a couple of years military training after leaving school and before commencing a career or profession. Such neutral countries as Sweden and Switzerland have similar systems. Of the countries to our near north, in Malaysia, in Penang Stale alone there are 14 battalions of fully trained and armed police, including field service units, actively engaged with the Communists, Chin Peng and company, who operate-

Mr Stewart:

– The Government wants to put our boys up there.


– They are already there, but the Opposition is objecting to their being there. Chin Peng and company operate on the northern borders of that country. Malaysia also has riot police. I think that would be a good idea here. Indonesia, which until as recently as 1965 was almost the jewel in the Communist crown, is now slowly coming around the corner to economic and social stability under a strong anti-Communist Government.

Mr Grassby:

– No thanks to this Government.


– Australia is doing quite a lot for Indonesia.

Mr Grassby:

– It is doing nothing, or very little. Look at the disgraceful things it has not done.


– That is rubbish. The Indonesians have more than 20 or more divisions mobilised and they are determined to resist another Communist takeover, which no doubt the Opposition would support. They wonder why Australia is not taking more definite steps in the same direction. Let us remember that Djakarta is closer to Darwin than is Sydney. West Irian is 180 miles away from the Northern Territory. Singapore, that so-called Socialist state - I imagine that is what the Australian Labor Party would like it to be - has 3 years national service. Why? Because all the people of Singapore are interested in their national survival. Why should we not be similarly alert? We in this country are being lulled into a false sense of security, as were the Romans and Athenians. If we are not prepared to make some sacrifice in turning away from complete liberality, the permissive plus society, we are doomed as a nation. Let service to Australia and pride in our own nation be the current call to the nation.

I am disappointed in certain aspects of this Budget but it does not warrant a nation-wide call to anarchy. If the country does not accept the Budget the people should vote the Government out of office at the next election. However, they should bear in mind that they will get in its place a radical pro-Communist Labor Government which is committed to smash the treaty with the United States of America, repudiate our support for the antiCommunist efforts of the countries closest to us, in particular Indonesia, which is a country 180 miles off-shore, 3,500 miles long with 120 million people and which is calling for just that sort of assistance which this Government is trying to give it. They are a bulwark against the downward thrust of Communism. We should be helping these people. They are the nearest to my electorate, as I say, they are closer than are the people of Canberra. Why would I not be anti-Communist? Opposition members show by their shouting that they are not and they are supporting two Communistinspired moratoriums. I deplore the left wing inspired wharf labourers’ stoppages which are wrecking the port of Darwin and the economy of the Northern Territory and Australia. If we wish as a nation to be what we should be, we must strenuously reject this left wing takeover bid. We must show strength in meeting destructive tactics of Communist infiltration.

We are capable of taking steps now to ensure our own survival and I call on this Government to take positive action to reject the Australian Labor PartycumCommunist bid to take over this land for which we fought and worked hard - I know some Opposition members have too - just when it is on the threshold of developmental success. As a nation we must resist these moves to destroy us. They are so ably aided and abetted by some of the honourable members opposite. I call on this Government to show the strength of spirit which was so evident in the past in pushing men over the Blue Mountains and across the Continent and which motivated the men who fought and died from Galipolli through France, Korea, Malaya, New Guinea and Vietnam on sea, land and in the air, that we might live in our own country free from the domination and in the manner we wish. I reject the quibble of the Labor Party concerning this Budget.

Mr BRYANT (Wills) (10.24] - I speak tonight principally because a succession of honourable members from the other side of the House were unable to spend even half an hour each in describing the Budget, apologising for the Budget or even saying where they stand. For 20 minutes we have just heard the honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder), representing one-sixth of Australia, telling us that he was disappointed in the Budget and setting out a catalogue of things he would like done in the 500,000 square miles of his electorate, and then telling us how we must have the courage to stand for all the things Australia stands for, instead of being asked to vote for the things he said he used to stand for in this House. 1 happen to like the honourable member personally. T think his record as a citizen outside this House was distinguished and useful to the nation. His record as a member of this Parliament is full of appalling calamities. He has consistently said he stands here as the voice of the Northern Territory. We offered him the opportunity a few weeks ago to vote to give his people more representation. What did he do? He chickened out of it. One could not call him a domino. At least dominos stand up part of the time.

I come to some of the other matters he raised tonight. I mention firstly his highly unparliamentary remarks about the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam). But the Leader of the Opposition can look after himself in these matters. The honourable member spoke about the domino theory. lt is quite obvious that no Australian can go to sleep tonight safe in his bed. Some time tomorrow Singapore will be gone. Next it will be Indonesia, then Alice Springs and soon we will be fighting for the last stronghold on the south slopes of Mount Wellington or somewhere like that. This, of course, is all nonsense. If the honourable member, who had the privilege of an overseas visit a little while ago, would only apply himself more conscientiously to the task of foreign affairs he would see the question of the dominos as it used to be is no longer a question of philosophy or ideology. If there are problems in what is commonly called Indo-China they are military ones and this Government again has chickened out of its responsibilities there. It does nothing at all for the people of Laos or Cambodia by trying to mobilise international action to bring peace to that area. That is why people such as myself are associated with mora.toria. That is why people such as myself ask other folk to get out in the streets and show that we stand for peace, that we want wars to stop and that we want people to stop killing one another. It is not a question of being left, right or centre. It is a question of where one stands when humanity is being destroyed by the folly of war. I cannot understand how an honourable member with a distinguished war record such as that of the honourable member for the Northern Territory cannot see that peace is more profitable than war. That is what the moratorium is about.

Then we come to the question of Mr Hawke. He is one of Australia’s most distinguished trade, unionists and a man who has been chosen to lead one of the world’s greatest and most disciplined trade union movements. He is a man who is going to lead it to greater and continuing distinction. It is part of the fantasy of the honourable members opposite to say the call for a stoppage a few weeks ago was a complete failure. What utter nonsense. I pay tribute to the parliamentary staff. For the first time in history as far as I know and certainly for the first time since I have been here, the parliamentary staff stopped work. The honourable member for the Northern Territory had to boil his own billy if he wanted lunch that afternoon. I pay a tribute to the members of the parliamentary staff who accepted the call to stop work on that day and did so. If there is any better demonstration of the solidarity of the trade union movement in Australia than the stoppage of the parliamentary staff, I do not know what it is. Yet honourable members opposite try to put across to the nation this nonsense that nobody took any notice of the call by the trade union movement. In fact the estimate is (hat somewhere near three-quarters of a million people stopped for 3 hours. They did not go on strike; they stopped for 3 hours to let the nation wake up to itself for a while and see what this country is suffering under this Government.

There were a few other eccentricities that the honourable member bruited abroad during the time he was reading his speech. He said something about the country being lulled into a false sense of security. About the only thing that was being lulled was the House by the way he read his speech. He attacked the right of Australian workers to get a fair day’s wage for a fair clay’s work or he implied that they were not giving a fair day’s work for a fair day’s wage. He represents some of the most underprivileged people in the world, the Aboriginals of the Northern Territory, and I am waiting for the day when he raises his voice on their behalf. Nothing could demonstrate more absolutely the contradiction in the set of values by which honourable members opposite are motivated than the adulation they have poured upon the management of Mount Isa Mines for its multi-million dollar profit and the way m which honourable members opposite have denounced the waterside workers for their efforts to gain a decent day’s wage. This is a contradiction that every decent Australian should recognise and should use in rejecting this Government, this Budget and the whole lot, lock, stock and barrel.

Perhaps I should deal with one other question which the honourable member for the Northern Territory raised and that is the question of law and order. The country apparently is going to ruins. Soon we will have to get out the whips and the knout to keep people in order. In fact, the greatest manifestations of violence are some of the activities of this Government. I will deal directly with the National Service Act. But just consider what the National Service Act does as an act of violence to the young people of Australia. It takes them into the Army. It sends them off to war. If they fail to comply it puts them in prison. This is the very epitome of violence. It is an act of violence by the Government itself against the people whom it governs.

One only has to go back to some of the exercises in which it has indulged, such as the case of Bill White being dragged off to a military prison; the people who have been taken into Holsworthy and awakened every half hour; the people who were taken prisoner by the Australian troops in Vietnam and given the water torture. This Government is a government of violence in its very essence, in law and in every consideration of law it turns first to violence. When the Rorovana people in Papua and New Guinea wanted their land protected we turned out the troops and the police with the tear gas, batons and truncheons. When the Mataungan and Tolai people in Rabaul stand up for their rights we can mobilise great forces of police. Everything which demonstrates the capacity to exercise violence against people is exercised by this Government against its own people. And it talks of law and order.

I represent one of the industrial areas of Australia. It is not a very large area, only about 11 square miles, with a population of 120,000 people of whom 55,000 or 56,000 are voters, lt is a great, throbbing industrial area, lt is part of the real produc tive capacity of Australia and, of course, most of the great productive areas of Australia are represented by Labor members, both in the country and in the city. I look down the Budget and I say: ‘What does this do for the people whom I represent, the migrants who are pouring into Australia by the thousands and who come into my electorate by the thousands?’ No-one can blame them for coming into the electorate of Wills. If they want to be decently represented that is the place to go. I will deal with these matters in more detail in a moment or two. Then we have the pensioners. My electorate is the kind of area in which pensioners form a large proportion of the population. The honourable member for Evans (Dr Mackay) is not often correct but tonight he did show some indication of a charitable attitude and an appreciation of the struggle that people have to live on a pension. He deplored it. Everybody deplores it. People who vote Liberal say that they are ashamed of the Government. At a meeting the other day I heard a person who ordinarily votes Liberal say that it would have been better if the Government had given nothing at all because, as my friend the honourable member for Hughes (Mr Les Johnson) pointed out today, the Budget contains in essence things that are insulting to the people of Australia.

Then we come to the question of external aid. The Minister for Immigration (Mr Lynch) mentioned this afternoon that we were about third in the world in the giving of external aid. Is there any Australian who really believes that our assistance to Papua and New Guinea is external aid? Papua and New Guinea happens to be the subject of a trusteeship conferred upon us by history, by the United Nations and, one might say, by accident. Our external aid outside Papua and New Guinea is often meagre in the extreme. Then my friend the honourable member for Barton (Mr Reynolds) outlined this afternoon, as did my friend the honourable member for Bendigo (Mr Kennedy), the position of education in this country. I look in vain for any action in the Budget which will ameliorate the position. The advancement of the Aboriginal people was referred to on one page of the Budget. What has been done about them? We look down the list at the Post Office, defence and immigration.

One matter that has been brought to my notice over the past few weeks is that thousands of Turkish migrants have come into the country. Nothing has been done to assist them to be assimilated into the community. There are Good Neighbour Councils and all the rest of it, but it is a particular difficulty of the Turks that very few of them can speak English and hardly anybody in the community can speak Turkish. So, one might say, they are shovelled into the community by the Commonwealth Government and left to fend for themselves. Later in this session we will debate the Migration Education Bill. In my electorate there are 26 State-controlled primary and high schools and 10 Catholic schools. Almost every one of them is flooded with migrant children and over the 20-odd years that the present programme has been in existence nothing has been done to make it possible for the schools to cope with them. We will have a chance to debate this later.

On the question of external aid I want to place a particular plea before the House in relation to the people of Laos. During the recent recess a number of us went on a parliamentary delegation to Laos. Laos is one of the real victims of the situation in lndo-China. lt has a population of only 3 million people. It was in some ways, I suppose, a geographical expression as far as the French were concerned, although the Lao people are different from their immediate neighbours. In the war that is going on there at present and has been going on for 15 or 16 years some 750,000 people have had to be re-settled in one way or another. There are actually 40.000 people who are refugees in the classic sense. We visited one of the refugee villages and I said: ‘What would you ask for first?’ Strangely enough in a tropical area, they said: ‘We want blankets.’ These are people who left their homes with nothing but what they stood up in. They might have had something in which to cook food but that is about all. I might say that the Government of Laos, despite the deficiency of the resources at its disposal, in the re-housing of these people does much better than this Government has done in large areas of Australia in the re-housing of the Aboriginal people.

I asked these refugees: ‘What do you want?’ They said: ‘A blanket, and because this is a malarial area we want mosquito nets. Because of the structure of the houses in which we live the only way we can keep out mosquitoes and other insects is by using a ground sheet.’ They want 40,000 blankets, 40,000 mosquito nets and 40,000 ground sheets, of which there must be countless thousands in military stores in Australia. These things would make life much more tolerable for the refugees of Laos, and nobody gives a damn. Nobody cares at. all. I remember that as 1 passed through the place 1 wrote to my wife and said: ‘When 1 come home, if I write any articles on anything I will head the first one “Spare a Tear for Laos” ‘.

That brings me to another matter that I hope the House will have a chance to debate in the near future. This is the question of the Aboriginals of the Northern Territory, in particular those who might well be symbolic of the Aboriginal people of Australia, the Gurindjis of Wave Hill. They happen to live on the territory of the great Vestey combine. We understand from the kind of feelers that have come out from London that the Vestey people would not be averse to allowing the Gurindji people to have some land to develop for themselves but we heard here the other day the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) saying, as emphatically as any Minister could, that as far as this Government was concerned no Aboriginal was going to get any land right vested upon him because he was an Aboriginal. I raise my voice in this Parliament this evening hoping something will be done and that we will decide something.

Then we come to the question of the Post Office which is another matter altogether. The increased postal charges announced in the Budget will be an infliction upon the people in my electorate. We are going to raise postal charges because the Post Office must pay its way - a very laudable sentiment. All the best people would say that all enterprises of this sort ought to pay their way. 1 think the figures show - 1 am subject to correction within Sim or $2m - that we are to charge $122m or thereabouts in interest to the Post Office and then we have to adjust its charges so that it can meet this interest bill. Personally. 1 think the idea of charging interest is a crazy system, but that is by the way. But why do we not apply the same system to civil aviation? Gathering from the multitude of figures in the Budget it seems that we spend somewhere in the vicinity of $50m or $60m on the civil aviation system, supplying airports and all the rest of it. We collect from civil aviation $20m or $25m through all sorts of charges. So there is a deficit, it appears to me, of about $35m between what we pay and what we receive from the civil aviation system. Why is it that the person who posts a letter must pay for the service he receives but the person who travels first class on an aircraft with champagne, supper and hostesses to help him to his seat is subsidised from the community purse? I would not feel so badly about the things that this Government does if there were any pattern of consistency through it. I feel the same way about taxation and so on.

There are a couple of matters I want to deal with particularly. First of all, I want to talk about the national service system. The national service system as at present implemented in Australia is a cancer eating at the unity of the Australian nation. It is one of the most divisive influences which we have ever inflicted upon the country. As a piece of social engineering and as a social exercise it is a particularly disastrous piece of legislation. For that reason alone it has to be abandoned. If honourable members on the Government side had any real feeling for this nation, if they really were concerned about the demonstrations they see taking place and the conduct of young people who are so worried about the national service system that they carry out acts of violence in the universities and the streets and sit down in front of trams, they would take a good look at the situation and realise that national service is an infliction upon the nation which is eating the heart out of our unity. I hope honourable members opposite will realise this and will repeal the national service system.

But that is only a social exercise. I could not disagree more with my friend, the honourable member for the Northern Territory, than I do about the military necessity of national service. In the present situation national service has no military validity whatever. Of course, honourable members opposite, the Minister for Defence (Mr Malcolm Fraser) and all his minions flowing through the 3 services, will say:

We have to keep up the number of people in the Services.’ The question is: ‘How many people do we want in the Services?’ They say: ‘We have to maintain the 9 battalions.’ But why should we have 9 battalions? Why not 19 or 90? Why do we base our requirement on 9 battalions? The answer is that this is a happy accident. That is the way in which this Government makes decisions. We have to maintain 9 battalions because that is some sort of magic figure.

Very few volunteers join the Services. I believe that national service is counterproductive. The foreign policy of this Government and the national service system have made service in the Australian forces abhorrent to many good Australians who might otherwise be willing to serve. The honourable member for the Northern Territory, the most recent advocate of national service in this place, said, I think, that all young men should do 2 years service. I ask: What for, and why 2 years? How many servicemen would that give us? About 120,000 men come into the national service age group every year. Therefore, after a couple of years we would have 250,000 men. Then, after 4 or 5 years, they are put on the reserve and we have half a million in service. But why do we have them? This is a tremendous waste of manpower, administration and everything else. Of course, honourable members on the Government side say: ‘It is good for them; they will get their hair cut.’ But that is not why we are in the business. The Government should say what sort of defence Services Australia wants. It should say how many men it wants in them and it should set out their tasks. Nobody has defined the Australian defence tasks.

Is any honourable member going to tell me that the general body of the Australian public believes that we now ought to be involved in the Vietnam war? The people do not believe this. Even honourable members opposite shirk any opportunity offered to them to debate the Vietnam war on the public platform. Therefore the Government should recast the defence Services and the national service system. The system is an infliction on our young men. Young men turning 19i years of age are faced with travel restrictions. They are torn from the heart of their families. The Sword of Damocles is hanging over the head of every young man entering a profession, a university or anything else. I believe that the national service system is a disgraceful social exercise. I only hope that in this session of Parliament we can repeal it and recast the defence system. 1 want to deal, with necessary brevity because of the time remaining to me, with some aspects of Australia’s foreign policy. The time has come when we should establish in our foreign policy the same moral values that we apply in every day life. I begin with the premise that no man has the right to dispose of another person’s life. I think that the majority of honourable members would agree with me about that premise - if we came to a simple straight vote on capital punishment, for instance. I believe there flows from that a further principle that no Government has the right to use another country’s territory for its own military or political objectives. 1 believe there flows from that the right of free people to defend themselves and to make their own decisions about their own way of life.

This brings me to the folly of our position in Vietnam. We did not enter the Vietnam war because we believed we were fighting for freedom. Back in 1965 nobody could believe that we were fighting for freedom in South Vietnam. In 1965, when we became involved there, nobody could say that we were going to win a military victory. The Opposition has stated consistently - I believe that this Party, of all the large political groupings in the world, has been consistently correct - that we could not gain anything by taking sides in the conflict in Vietnam and that all that our young Australians could do in that country was to pay sacrifice. Australia’s military contribution, no matter how terrible the sacrifice has been by the young people involved - the 450 odd who have been killed and the 2,000 odd who have been wounded, some of them maimed for life - has produced no satisfactory result. This is not to say that our troops are not the best troops on the ground or that as soldiers they are not par excellence. But that is not why they were sent to Vietnam. They were not sent there to be trained. I believe they were sent there following a completely false analysis of the position by the Australian Government. We cannot contribute anything to solving the problems of that part of the world until we bring our troops home.

That brings me to the contradiction in the Governments attitude to Cambodia as compared with Vietnam. The Minister for External Affairs (Mr McMahon) spoke on this subject when he was interviewed on Four Corners’ on. I think. 15th August. He was asked: ‘Are you going to send arms to Cambodia?’ He said: 96 If we send arms to Cambodia it would be a contradiction of our position of wanting to produce negotiations.’ To paraphrase, I suppose he was saying this: ‘If we started to send arms there and then talked about negotiation, everybody would say we were not dinkum. But what are we doing in Vietnam? We are pouring all our wealth and resources into that country. At the same time we maintain the position that we still want to bring about negotiations. How can we possibly have any political influence upon the Vietnam situation while we keep our soldiers there? Therefore I believe it is important for us not to have any troops on the ground in Vietnam and that we have no military involvement in that area.

I visited Vietnam recently for 7 or 8 days. Nobody can become an expert in 7 or 8 days but I have been concerned over this conflict for 5 or 6 years and have kept an eye on it. I have been to that country twice in that time. I believe there will be no military solution in Vietnam. Neither the South Veitnamese nor the North Vietnamese wilt reach a military solution. I believe that within the foreseeable future - 1 hope it will be the near future but I do not suppose it will be - some time in the next year or two, the two conflicting sides will come to the conclusion that they will have to make a political decision. They will have to find a solution around the table and then the war will stop. In the interim I believe they will fight on quite fruitlessly. Without writing a guarantee for the South Vietnamese Government, which in fact has a large number of men under arms and a very large police force and which is fighting what seems to me to be a war of attrition against the flow of supplies to the North Vietnamese forces, it cannot be beaten to its knees by the North Vietnamese forces. Therefore there has to be a political solution and we ought to do our very best to hurry it along. I regret that the people who are trying to find a solution to the Vietnam war meet in Paris. They would find a solution much more quickly if they were carrying on their negotiations on the bomb lines or on the Ho Chi Minh trail somewhere in Laos.

I turn now to the contradiction of our position over Cambodia. No honourable members on the Government side of the chamber seem to care about the people of Cambodia. I received a lot of letters in the last few weeks about the position I have adopted over Cambodia. Some of the letters have been for my stand and some have been against it. I suppose the proportion is half and half. But what disturbs me is that nobody really seems to care about what happens to the Cambodians. Cambodia was a completely innocent bystander and was not involved at all. In 1954 the North Vietnamese signed an undertaking to respect the boundaries of Cambodia, its sovereignty and its integrity. In the meantime the pressures of war in South Vietnam have forced the conflict further and further over the border into Cambodia. The Cambodian Government could do nothing about this.

Cambodia was one of those delightful places which was totally civilian. When I visited that country in 1966 the only soldier I saw was one on guard outside the gate to the defence ministry. It was Prince Sihanouk’s great achievement that he was able to keep the war outside the major parts of Cambodia and he was able to get the North Vietnamese to follow the agreement they signed in 1954. But what has happened in recent times? In the last 2 or 3 years Prince Sihanouk became increasingly disturbed about the pressure of North Vietnamese troops on the Cambodian border. There was nothing much he could do about it. He did make appeals here and there but his forces were so meagre that there was little he could do.

Then we came to the incidents of this year. I want to relate my remarks to the Budget and to the Budget Papers. I want to say how much I resent the fact that when things started to happen in Cambodia the Minister for External Affairs did not make a clear cut statement of the chronology of events in this House. I for one did not get the whole story straight until I turned up in Phnom Penh. On 18th

March the National Assembly of Cambodia removed its confidence, as it was put in the motion, from Prince Sihanouk. They replaced him with Chen Heng, the Chairman of the National Assembly.

Mr Cope:

– Who was that?


– Chen Heng was the name. He is still the Head of State. A few days later Cambodia started negotiations with the North Vietnamese and the National Liberation Front. Negotiations were broken off after a couple of days and the North Vietnamese commenced military operations. It was not until 5 weeks later that the Americans entered Cambodia. I believe that the North Vietnamese committed an act of strategic folly. They should have stayed inside their sanctuaries, as they were called. There was nothing that the Cambodians could do and the North Vietnamese perhaps would have been safe from the Americans and the South Vietnamese. But now the North Vietnamese have opened up the war on 3 fronts. There is a war in Laos, a war in Cambodia and a war in South Vietnam. I believe that the war in Vietnam is a war between the Vietnamese people. It is unfortunate and it is tragic that outside forces are prolonging the war by supplying arms to both sides. The Russians and the Chinese are supplying arms to the North and the Americans and we are supplying arms to the South. So the war goes on.

In the meantime the war has overflowed into Cambodia. Cambodia is becoming the cockpit of this war. It is my belief that with proper diplomatic action we could perhaps produce some rapprochement in Cambodia. It seems to me that there is no real profit for either of the military in continuing the war in Cambodia. While the North Vietnamese had sanctuaries in Cambodia, it was a good thing for them. But when the South Vietnamese entered Cambodia these positions lost their military value. On the other hand, the Russians are still in Phnom Penh. They have not recognised the Sihanouk Government in exile, so there is a point of contact with the North Vietnamese.

The tragedy of the last few months is that governments such as the Australian Government, which express all the great freedom fighting slogans and so on about Vietnam, have not taken even the slightest piece of diplomatic initiative on Cambodia. I believe it is our duty - we have abdicated our duty - to exercise whatever influence we can to reconvene either the Geneva Conference or the Djakarta Conference or to stir up the United Nations to gather the people of this area together to entice the South Vietnamese and the North Vietnamese out of Cambodia. We should be using all of our diplomatic influences to achieve this end. It is sheer hypocrisy for this Government to act as it has done in Vietnam and to ignore the necessity for diplomatic action in Cambodia. I hope that honourable members opposite who speak so freely about principles will recognise that there is a war in Cambodia - I do not believe it is dominos or philosophy or ideology. Warfare has taken over and it is part of the way of life in Cambodia. Somehow we should do everything in our power to stop this warfare. It is a tragedy of the last few months that all of those people who speak with high moral tones in the United Nations and everywhere else do nothing at all about what is happening in Cambodia. To that extent I believe that this Government deserves to be discharged from its duty and that it should hand over to someone else who has a correct and proper appreciation of peace.

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

Debate (on motion by Sir John Cramer) adjourned.

page 891


Assent to the following Bills reported:

Anglo-Australian Telescope Agreement Bill 1970 Book Bounty Bill 1970

page 891


Law and Order - Political Party - Immigration - Memorial to Former Prime Minister - Entry Permits - Vietnam Moratorium Campaign - Royal Australian Navy

Motion (by Mr Lynch) proposed:

That the House do now adjourn.


– For the last week or so law and order has been in the news, or at least in the news handouts from the Government’s Press officers. Liberal-Country Party politicians and officials whether in New South Wales, Canberra or the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, have realised that their policies on such issues as development, welfare, education, financing of health services, rural problems, defence and foreign affairs are obviously not supported by the electorate. A vast credibility gap has developed following this Government’s assurances that the Fill is a super battle bird, the greatest things with wings since angels’ and that it is the ‘Cadillac of the air’. The Government has said that our hospital system ‘is the best in the world’. Also, it has said that the Vietnam war was won in 1967; that the statement of the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) that his main concern was improved social welfare was satisfied by an increase of 50c in pensions; and that the means test for non-contributory pensions was essential and fair, except in the case of $7,500 pensions for those who had rendered special services to the Government.

The credibility gap has become so large that only Liberal Party publications such as the Sydney ‘Telegraph’ and the Adelaide Advertiser’ now feel wholly committed to the Government. Neither Askin nor Gorton can call an election at a time when the campaign would coincide with any of Gretel’s races. The Liberal and Country Parties have now decided that to scare people is the easiest way of retaining power.

Mr Jess:

– On a point of order, if the honourable member is insulting someone we want to hear him on this side of the House. He is mumbling.


-Order! I can assure the House that the honourable member is not insulting the honourable member for La Trobe.


– Law and order seems a good slogan. A majority probably accept it as a reasonable proposition. They do not think whose law and order. It is easy for the Government to talk that way about law and order. If its members or supporters do not like a particular law it can be changed or not enforced.

A lot is said about non-enforcement of the Crimes Act and the National Service Act. But let us look at some other laws the Government does not enforce. Firstly, how many members of Cabinet - this ‘law and order’ Cabinet - have supplied the required information under section 151 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act. This section states:

  1. Within eight weeks after the result of any election has been declared, every candidate at the election shall sign and declare before a Justice of the Peace and file with the Commonwealth Electoral Officer for the Slate a true return of his electoral expenses showing; -

    1. all electoral expenses paid;
    2. all disputed and unpaid claims for electoral expenses.
  2. The return shall be in accordance with Form G in the Schedule and shall be accompanied by a receipted bill of particulars vouching each payment of four dollars or more.

Can the Attorney-General (Mr Hughes), who talks so much about law and order, honestly claim that as required in sections 145 to 147 of the Act no more than $500 was spent by him or on his behalf or in his interest during any of his election campaigns?

Mr Hughes:

– 1 cannot hear you. You are unintelligible.


-Order! 1 think if honourable members were to pay a little more attention they would probably hear. 1 would suggest to the honourable member for Prospect that he speak a little louder and a little more slowly.

Or KLUGMAN - Can the AttorneyGeneral honestly claim that as required in sections 145 to 147 of the Act no more than $500 was spent by him or on his behalf or in his interest during any of his election campaigns? Even allowing for the fact that Sir Frank Packer’s enterprises give him thousands of dollars worth of free publicity I would suggest that his campaign for the safe seat of Berowra cost more than the allowable limit, let alone his campaign for the electorate of Parkes which certainly cost much more. Why not law and order for the Attorney-General and other members of the Cabinet? How many of them have completed form G under section 151 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act? When has the Liberal Party last supplied a declaration under section 152? When did the Australian Country Party last do so? When will the Government enforce the restrictive trade practices legislation? When did the Government enforce the Broadcasting and Television Act? So much for the hypocrisy of the law and order men.

On 21st August when asking the Prime Minister a question regarding the photographing of pensioner deputations by this Government’s secret police, I prefaced my question by reference to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Czechoslovakia exactly 2 years previously. The Prime Minister could see no connection. 1 certainly can. It is not very often that I agree with the honourable member for Boothby (Mr McLeay) but 1 would like to quote from an interview he gave on 24th February 1970 in Salisbury, Rhodesia. He stated that Australians and Rhodesians are ‘politically a little different’. He went on to say: ‘You’re much more advanced in some ways than we are; at the moment we’ - that is Australia - ‘are almost a Communist state’. This was surely only one way of expressing his claim that Australia was becoming authoritarian. In the short time at my disposal may 1 support that proposition wilh some examples. Firstly, I refer to censorship which is in the news at the present time. Last week a Russian film director, Mr Samsonov, arrived in Australia. He said:

Russian film censorship uses (he same controls thai you have in Australia.

He proceeded to explain similarities between Soviet and Australian censorship. He said:

Wc have very definite controls for pornographic and horror films - and also for some films not useful for our country. The main concern in film is that it should lift morality to a high level. Another function of the film ;ind of all art is to instil feelings of patriotism in the people.

The Minister for Immigration (Mr Lynch) in answer to a question today put forward a similar proposition in respect of visas for visitors. Secondly, and more importantly, we have the attempt to scare dissenters and to use secret police. Photographs are taken and dossiers are started on anybody who dares to question Government policy. How can anybody defend the use of secret police against deputations of pensioners at Budget time? Then, thirdly, we have the attempt of the honourable member for Evans (Dr Mackay) at guided democracy. He issues guidelines to television stations on how to conduct current affairs programmes. Will he insist on similar guidelines for the ‘Daily Telegraph*?

Fourthly, we have the proposed introduction of legislation to protect law and order and, of course, the Government. Even the slogans in favour of these laws are similar to those used by the Soviet

Union. The reference to professional agitators, foreign traitors, subversive elements and sabotage of the economy are exact translations from ‘Pravda’ and ‘Izvestia’. Mr Askin says that the laws will be used only against professional demonstrators. Will the accused have to give evidence regarding the proportion of his income derived from demonstrating and agitating? Will fines imposed become a tax deduction as being incurred in obtaining his income?

I conclude with 2 quotations, from President Kennedy and Adlai Stevenson, leaders of one of the very few democratic countries in the world. President Kennedy said:

I want every American free to stand up for his rights, even if sometimes he has to sit down for them.

Stevenson said, and I completely agree with him:

My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.

I suggest that it would be better for Australia to follow the example of those American leaders than of the Soviet Union and those countries which give lip service to law and order. In the 2 minutes remaining at my disposal I intend to refer to the judiciary. Honourable members may recall that last Thursday evening following a discussion on the behaviour of the High Court of Australia and my criticism of the relative priorities as the High Court saw them, the Attorney-General and the Minister for the Navy (Mr Killen) kept on taking points of order and claiming that one should not criticise the courts or the judges. I quote a statement by Mr Justice Jacobs, a Judge of Appeal of the New South Wales Supreme Court. He said:

As Australia grows as an independent nation … it is essential that there develop a more critical attitude towards the Judiciary as a whole and towards Judges in particular cases.

There is an Australian attitude that Judges in their judicial capacity are practically immune from public criticism. 1 firmly believe that this attitude must disappear if the administration of justice is to remain healthy and vital. I think that the history of this attitude can be traced through the reported cases and that it is a fair inference that its source lies in our colonial origins.

For some centuries now the English attitude has been quite different. There, if the need be or if the newspapers or journals feel that the need is there, a Judge is criticised on the worthiness of his appointment, and then during the course of his judicial life if his judicial behaviour falls short of expectations, and even on his death his obituary never spares him.

It is ridiculous for the Commonwealth Parliament to take the line that one can never criticise judges, can never criticise appointments to the High Court or to any of the other courts to which the Government appoints judges, or criticise their judgments. Surely we are entitled to do that. We have, or certainly we ought to have, more power than judges. The Parliament is the supreme body, and above judges as far as I am concerned.


– I rise more in sorrow than in anger, more in disappointment than in happiness, when I see the decay of a once great Australian Labor Party. I recall the names of the great Labor politicians of the past. Although I always differed with them politically I was pleased to call them my friends and I think they reciprocated. I still have many real friends in the Opposition. One has to admire the honesty, sincerity and integrity of these great men of the old Labor Party. They were known as the grass roots of the Labor Party - now a diminishing race. In my 7 years here I have seen them squeezed out. I refer to such men as Ted Peters. I well remember when the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) in a congratulatory farewell speech to Ted Peters referred to him as one of the grass roots and I well remember the snigger on some of the faces of honourable members opposite. But Ted Peters made a worthwhile contribution whilst he was here. The right honourable Arthur Calwell can claim to be one of that band, the grass roots of the Labor Party. We have seen other honourable members opposite - the honourable member for Macquarie (Mr Luchetti) and the honourable member for Stirling (Mr Webb) - relegated to the back benches. Other esteemed honourable members now sitting on the front bench who have rendered great and loyal service to the Labor Party well know that their days are numbered. Truly the grass roots members of the Labor Party are being rooted out.

It is only a matter of time before the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) - of course, still in Opposition - will sit in the front of a team of academics and, on his own statement in yesterday’s ‘Daily Telegraph’, with some people with queer ideas on sex. His recent statements on abortion and homosexuality have branded him for what he is. There has not been a single member of this House since Federation who has committed so many dishonourable acts right in this House. Yet he tried to fit on the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) the charge that he once used physical force against another member of the Senate during the time the Prime Minister was a member of that place. But the Leader of the Opposition committed an act of physical force against a Minister sitting at the table in this chamber. Honourable members who were in the House on that occasion saw him pick up a glass of water and with deliberation throw it right in the face of the Minister. Yet the Leader of the Opposition will come in and speak about people using force and degrading Parliament.

Some honourable members will remember the time he fired an insult at the honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess). He sneered because the honourable member did not have a university degree. The late member for the Australian Capital Territory, Mr Jim Fraser, and 4 other honourable members walked out of the chamber in disgust. The Leader of the Opposition telephoned the then member for the Australian Capital Territory and said: ‘1 did not mean any reference to you. Jim Fraser, great man that he was, said: ‘But I did not go to any university, and I have rendered good service in Parliament. The Leader of the Opposition said: Ah, but the father of the honourable member for La Trobe was a major-general and could afford it’. Of course he was a major-general. He was one of the greatest men in the 1st Australian Imperial Force. He was a great front line soldier, a great administrator; he worked for half pay during the economic depression. He died worth the princely sum of £1,200, and a great and generous country gave his widow the age pension. Yet this Leader of the Opposition would throw a smear at the honourable member for La Trobe. We saw honourable members on the other side who took exception to such behaviour and walked out of this chamber. It is to the everlasting disgrace of the Leader of the Opposition that he should have done what he did. He has now sealed his fate.

Anybody who would make the statement that the Leader of the Opposition made in Brisbane at the weekend about homosex uality and abortion is not fu to be the Leader of the Opposition in this House. Indeed, anybody who condones homosexuality and assists homosexuals, realising what he is doing, is doing a great disservice to this country. I am pleased to note those honourable members opposite who are now laughing because they do not realise the seriousness of the matter about which I am speaking. If they did they would know that almost any adolescent can be led into acts of homosexuality. This is what psychologists and psychiatrists tell us. Yet the Leader of the Opposition would make it easier for homosexuals to attract young people into this most abominable, wretched and filthy state.

Honourable members opposite may laugh but let them beware that this problem does not come home to their own doors. They should realise what I have said to them tonight, that psychologists tells us that almost any adolescent can be attracted into committing these horrible acts. Gaol is not the place for these unfortunate people. They require all the compassion and understanding that we can give them. Parliament House is not the place for them either. Those honourable members opposite who are laughing might do well to remember the effort by the Leader of the Opposition to mimic the strong, manly voice of the Treasurer (Mr Bury). He could do it for only a little while before going back to a squeaky voice.

As I said when I started my address, I rose to speak tonight more in sorrow than in anger. 1 am terribly sorry to see that the men who have rendered great service to the Labor Party have only a few short years in which to retain their seats because with the effluxion of time they will be wiped out. As 1 said before, we will see a team of academics behind the Leader of the Opposition and that, of course, will be the end of the Labor Party.

Mr Lionel Bowen:

111.13] - I wish to draw the attention of the House to a problem that has concerned me as the parliamentary representative of a 19-year-old man called Tan Jin Lee. This young man came out to Australia from Malaysia in February of this year on a visa which enabled him to study for his higher school certificate. His brother wau able to arrange for him to enrol in a private coaching college which is in fact a proprietary company. Because of his age he was not able to enrol in a State school. He went to this college in February. He stayed there only 2 or 3 days because he was completely dissatisfied with the environment and the fact that there was virtually no tuition. He was placed in a room with about 20 other students. There was a master in charge but there was no actual tuition or lessons. Everyone was left to his private studies and the students were all studying at different levels. Is it any wonder that he might feel he should be in a more normal class room atmosphere?

When he became dissatisfied with the coaching college he made inquiries through his brother as to whether he could enrol at another school and he was told by the Commonwealth Department of Education and Science that he would be able to do so and that perhaps the best solution would be to try the Catholic education authorities, which he did. One of the Marist Brothers colleges said it would enrol him, which it did. He then sought a release from the private coaching college which, I mention again, was run by a proprietary company. The fees he was obliged to pay to this private concern were $750 for the year - no small amount. The college refused to release him. That would be a legal problem. Anybody could tell that it would be a legal matter as to whether he should be obliged to pay that money. But the question of a release became a matter with which the Department of Immigration concerned itself. He was unable to get that release from the Department of Immigration, firstly, ostensibly on the basis that he could not be enrolled anywhere else. He came to see me and I discussed the matter with an official of the Department on 6th February. That official did not appear to have much consideration for the case because the conversation was abruptly terminated with his saying that he did not think the particular school the boy was now accepted for might be up to standard; bear in mind that it was also registered with the New South Wales Department of Education.

I wrote on 10th February to the Department of Immigration in Sydney, suggesting a release. It must concern this House to realise that I did not receive an official communication from that Department until June. I got that letter in June after the boy himself had received a letter not from the Department of Immigration but from the coaching college which he had left. That letter dated 8th June said that the college had been advised by the Department that the Department would not consent to his release and he had better go back to the coaching college, or else. The or else’ meant this: He would be deported. This is a pretty savage statement to make on any occasion. Here is a set of circumstances in which a young ran of 19 years has been encouraged to come to Australia to further his education. His wish is to be an engineer. With its whole weight the Department of Immigration says: ‘We will not release you. You will go back to where you came from even though you do not like it.’ It became tantamount to a bulldozer trying to move a thimble full of sand. The issue surely is: What did this young man want to do? He was enrolled in an appropriate school. The logical thing for the Department to do would be to say: As long as he attends an appropriate school that is sufficient. But the letter from the Department to me dated 17th June - not indicating, of course, that already the boy had been told on 8th June through the college that he should go back there - stated, in effect: ‘We regret, Mr Bowen, that we are unable to accede to your request, because the coaching college will not release him’.

I then sought an interview with the Minister for Immigration (Mr Lynch) but he was overseas - we can understand that - and would not be back until July. Knowing that was the case and realising that the boy at this stage had been obliged to leave the college he had been attending from February until June, and in fact was not attending a school at all, I decided to write to the coaching college to see what reason it might give mc. It was not a matter of principle; it was one of money. In other words, it was a legal matter. I am able to say that the boy was obliged to pay out $500 to get a release, on a legal matter. I do not know that he should necessarily have paid that money but it was his right to make that decision. At the same time the Minister wrote to me. I had previously sought an interview with him. I indicated to him what the problem was. He wrote to me on 22nd July. He had the matter under his consideration only for about 14 days and it is to his credit that within 14 days be was able to evaluate the situation that had taken his Department some 5 or 6 months to determine. In that letter be said:

I have carefully considered the points you made to me and I have decided to approve Mr Tan’s return to …. In reaching this decision I have taken account of the fact that he has already spent some time there . . .

I am bound to say however that Mr Tan can hardly be said to have given–

He named the college concerned- a fair trial. . . . The problem I am laced with in this instance is that he was permitted to come to Australia on the basis of an arrangement with this college.

That is not the case at all. The fundamentals of the situation are these: His brother arranged for him to go to the coaching college because there was no State school available because of the boy’s age. The boy did this himself. Having done it himself he was fully entitled to make a decision to leave the college if he was not satisfied. The college itself is a proprietary company with a number of shareholders and it is run for profit. It is carried on in a city building in Sydney. It would not have the normal environment of a school. The boy should be able to make this decision himself in his own interests. No parent in New South Wales would insist that his child should stay at a school at which he did not want to stay. We will overlook the fact that it cost the boy $500 but why should we overlook the fact that although it took the Department 6 months to say no to me, the Minister, having had the case before him for 14 days, was able to say: ‘Well, it will be all right now but I am a bit reluctant.’?

There are fundamental guidelines that ought to be indicated. When a person is allowed to come to this country to further his studies that should be the main principle on which to proceed. We should not interfere with his freedom; we should not have him bonded as a slave so that he cannot leave the place because a private company will not release him. It is not the function of the Immigration Department to say: ‘Because they will not release you we will not release you. If you do not go back there we will deport you.’ This is scandalous. One would hate to see it stated anywhere in the world that we had deported a 19-year old Malaysian perhaps because he would not pay more money or because he would not stay at a school to which he did not want to go. This would be a severe interference with the rights of anybody. To think that it would be done to a person who was encouraged to come here in the first place to further his studies is utterly ridiculous.

It could well be that because he had the opportunity to come to his local member who made representations on his behalf he was the subject of victimisation. This often happens. It would be useless my trying to make representations to the Immigration Department in Sydney in the future. I would much rather make them to the Minister if I was able to do so. But it is somewhat scandalous to think that when one endeavours to make representations one’s telephone conversation is disconnected and one’s correspondence is ignored, and the rights of the boy, which are the main consideration, are rejected. I do not think this would have happened in the past. I hope it never happens again in the future. I think it is appropriate to draw to the attention of the House that the immigration authorities should be concerned with one thing only - that entry in proper circumstances is allowed and that at the appropriate stage the person concerned is able to leave the country. They are not entitled to interfere with the private rights of people who come here and should not encourage avaricious people to extort money from them on the basis that they know they can get away with it because they have the Department behind them. This is completely wrong. This decision was not made on a legal basis. It was made on the basis that they would bludgeon this boy into going back to a place to which he should not have been ordered to go back. Having raised the matter here,I hope it never happens again.

Mr Donald Cameron:

– It is just 200 years since Captain Cook discovered Australia, 182 years since Captain Phillip came with the First Fleet, 69 years since federation, and 25 years since the late Ben Chifley became Prime Minister of Australia. I wish to speak tonight in support of a campaign by the Bathurst City Council to raise money for the purpose of purchasing the home of the late Labor Prime Minister for the purpose of making it a national memorial. This campaign has been given assistance by one or two of the Sydney newspapers. I might say that, having earlier this year been in the United States and seen how that country preserves the homes of some of its great sons and people of the past, I think it is rather shameful that when one of our great sons dies we in Australia cremate him and throw his ashes to the wind. If he happens to have been a parliamentarian his portrait might hang in King’s Hall for a while and then it might fade into the back alleys of the Parliament. If he was a Governor-General he might also earn a position for a little while but after a time he is forgotten.

I think that even though Mr Chifley as a Labor Prime Minister came from an area away from the great centres of population in Australia it should be a task of each and every Australian to make a contribution to ensure that his home is not lost because of lack of public support and public interest. The appeal began some weeks ago. Remembering what I had seen in the United States, 1 waited for some weeks before I wrote to the Bathurst City Council early in August to ask how successful the appeal had been. I was rather horrified to learn in a letter I received from the Town Clerk that up to that time the Council had received only about $2,600 and was worried that it might have to give consideration in the not too distant future to closing the appeal and refunding the money to the people who had made donations.

The home is 30 feet long by 20 feet wide, and the land is 130 feet deep. The home stands on 14i perches, lt is made of brick and plaster, with just an iron roof. It was a present to the late Prime Minister from his wife’s parents - the Mackenzies - in 1914. On the occasion of his marriage they lent the home to him and his wife, and in 1920 it was completely signed over. Until his death it was his only home. Until Mrs Chifley’s death, when it was handed over to a companion of hers, it remained her only home. Upon the death of her companion it became the property of the Presbyterian Church. I am not too certain of what amount the Presbyterian Church is asking for this house; but I certainly hope that the Church will also give sympathetic consideration to assisting the appeal if it possibly can. I believe that it would be a living monument of shame to this nation if only $10,000 were needed to retain this residence and that amount could not be found.

I hope that as we as a nation emerge and mature we will look back upon our great people and make every endeavour to retain some tangible evidence of their being here, instead of just hanging their portrait in King’s Hall, or something like that. Surely in the decades to come our young people will look back at the history of this country. It may happen again, but they should remember that a simple manperhaps not so simple; a man with a very simple background, an engine drivercould become the Prime Minister of this nation. His home symbolises to each and every Australian the fact that this can be done in Australia, although it has not happened on many occasions. We owe it to ourselves to leave this monument standing. Each and every one of us should take an interest in this matter in order to ensure that the house does not crumble away through lack of attention by those who are left in this country.


– I wish to raise tonight a matter which I believe has made a laughing stock of this country throughout the world. This is a very black day for us because the Government has seen fit to ban one of the most significant Negro public figures in the United States from entering Australia. We have heard a lot about people being banned over the years. We have heard about Marxists, Socialists and anyone who does not agree with the point of view of members of Liberal Party. But today they have banned a comedian. We have to think about that. We know that they are frightened of a lot of things, but I did not think they had reached the stage where they were frightened of humour. We know that Hitler was frightened of books, but I did not think members of the Liberal Party would be frightened of a joke.

However, unfortunately for them, the joke is backfiring because already the newspapers have started to give them a rough time. Those newspapers include ones that do not traditionally support this side of the House. I quote the following from the editorial in today’s Melbourne ‘Herald’, which is headlined ‘Again, stupidity in our name’:

The Federal Government refuses to say why it banned Dick Gregory, the American negro entertainer and civil rights leader, from entering Australia. So Australians, once again, are left to draw their own conclusions. Most will see it as another example of a stupid misuse of power. What have we to fear from him?

Gregory is now able to exploit fully, with the widest possible publicity, this refusal of an Australian visa, sought in New York after he was invited here to speak on university campuses and at Vietnam moratorium rallies later this month.

As of now, there is no indication that Mr Gregory intended coming here to burn, incite riot, loot or shoot. Whether one likes or dislikes Dick Gregory’s views is not at issue here. The objection to this ban is that the Federal Government has again made Australia look stupid and illiberal in the eyes of the world.

The case could have merit only if it forced a review of the absurd rules of secrecy which now cloak such Federal Government decisions. Ideas cannot be overcome by banning their spokesman.

I quote once again from the Melbourne Herald’. It reported the Minister for Immigration (Mr Lynch) as saying:

The Australian Government will not giant any visa to anyone who promotes the rule of the streets and the power of the mob.

That might not be exactly what the Minister said. But I have his text here and he certainly said that this would give encouragement to those who seek to promote the rule of the streets and the power of the mob. One extract was a quotation from the Melbourne ‘Herald’ and the other was a direct quotation from the text given to me by the Minister.

The Minister refers to the ‘rule of the streets and the power of the mob’. How does he equate this with Dick Gregory? It is almost unbelievable that this speech could have been made by this Minister in referring to this man. I wish to quote very briefly from an editorial in ‘Nation’ of 29th April 1968, It had the headline: Shoot to Kill!’- Daley’. This editorial, in referring to another matter, states:

On April 15, Dick Gregory called a news conference in Chicago to announce that he was dropping plans for demonstrations at the Democratic National Convention, because in view of the temper of the Negroes and the ‘ethnic’ groups there was no way to insure against civil violence on a scale heretofore unknown in this country. Gregory, a man of proved personal courage, wanted none of this blood on his conscience. His action was that of a responsible public citizen.

I am at a loss to know why the Government has sought to ban this man from entering Australia. I am a little perplexed. 1 think thar. the Government must have mixed him up with somebody else. I know that all negroes look alike, but I think that the Government has carried it a bit far. It must have mistaken him for H. Rap Brown or Eldridge Cleaver, men who are known to have praised violence. But I am at a loss to know why Dick Gregory should be singled out for this insult. 1 cannot believe that this is the action of the Minister for Immigration, a man whom, in the short time I have been here, 1 have grown to respect, a man whom I believe to be a small ‘1’ liberal and a man whom I have praised on other matters in the House. I can believe only that this action represents the result of a majority vote of the Cabinet. Some of the old fire eaters have seen an opportunity to smash down a bit of freedom to try to quieten those voices which wish to dissent. The Minister has been out-voted and he has put up, in his answer to the question asked by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) today, a brave front. 1 cannot believe that this action represents his view. I can believe only that it is the view of the majority of the Cabinet.

What we are finding is that anybody who wishes to visit Australia now must support our policy in Vietnam or must not open his mouth while he is here. The Pope will be visiting Australia very shortly. I understand that he is opposed to war. Will his visa be revoked? I doubt it. I can tell the House of many people who have come to Australia and who oppose the war in Vietnam- Peter, Paul and Mary are close personal friends of mine. They come here every year. They play to crowds of thousands. There would be no 3 people more opposed to the war in Vietnam. They say so publicly every time they play in a concert in Australia. Does the Government propose to stop Peter, Paul and Mary from coming to Australia?

Who is Dick Gregory? He is a 38 year old negro comic. He spent 2 years in the United States Army. He was an outstanding athlete who, in 1952, was ranked third in the United States as a half miler. He is a man who has tremendous qualifications and who is admired by his own race. I wish to quote what was said of Dick Gregory by Jack Parr, a prominent television compere in the United States. He said:

He is the first of his race to come on as an intelligent comedian without any of the stereotypes long associated with negro comedy.

He is known as the black Mort Saw. but as Dick Gregory once said: “In the Congo they call Sahl the white Dick Gregory.’ 1 will now give honourable members a brief background of the gentleman about whom we are talking, using for the purpose ‘Current Biography’ of 1962. Gregory was born at St Louis, Missouri, in 1932 at the depth of the depression. He knew the meaning of abrasive poverty through all his years of growing. The publication goes on:

The second of six children, he is the son of a father who disappeared for a time at the birth of each new baby and who finally deserted the family permanently when Gregory was a small boy, leaving his wife and children destitute. ‘I was on relief from 1932 to 1950’, Gregory has told his affluent audiences. “No matter how rich 1 get I can always kid the poor. Rockefeller can’t.’ He has also informed them that ‘When you came into my house you didn’t have to knock the snow off your shoes, lt wasn’t going to melt anyway.’ His mother, from whom he seems to have inherited his sense of humour, was the one bright centre of security and warmth in his childhood. We’re not poor’, she used to tell her children, We’re just broke’, and she taught her children the difference. When the relief truck drew up before the door she would ask, ‘Aren’t we lucky to get such service?’

That is a brief background which may help to explain this great comedian. He is a great credit to his race. He was to have visited this country and would have contributed to discussions on the issue of Vietnam. Australia has insulted him by banning him from this country and it has made us the laughing stock of the whole world. I hope the Government will reverse this ridiculous, stupid and insulting decision so that Gregory will be made welcome in Australia. We should give him the hospitality that a great country can offer.

La Trobe

– 1 am not sure that I do not agree with the honourable member for Robertson (Mr Cohen), but I probably hold my views for different reasons. I frankly admire the research that the honourable member must have done and the knowledge he has gained about Mr Gregory, lt appears that Mr Gregory has become a national hero. He probably is; I do not know. 1 had never heard of him before and I do not think anybody in Australia had heard much about him until today.

Mr Cohen:

– Then why are you talking about him?


– I am suggesting that it does appear that he has suddenly become a national idol and hero. Here is another gentleman that the Australian Labor Party is coming out to support as a person who should be encouraged to enter this country. This has become another red hot issue. I have used the term ‘red hot* and honourable members may take it whichever way they like. 1 think we are in a rather embarrassing predicament. Perhaps I am rather sceptical or cynical. The honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) made some very powerful statements about the magnificent Vietnam Mortorium Campaign which he was going to organise, lt seemed to me that that, was becoming his prime objective. 1 am not suggesting that he was neglecting his duties as a member of Parliament, but it did seem to me that the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign was taking up most of his time. Honourable members will remember his statements. I presume that he does not deny them because they were reported in the Press and were heard on television programmes. He said that he was going to have the greatest ever moratorium celebration. He said that he would invite members of the National Liberation Front, the Vietcong and North Vietnamese to come to Australia. It did not matter that our boys were fighting them in Vietnam or that at the same time as these gentlemen were being feted and hosted in Australia they possibly were suffering casualties. This did not seem to matter. I presume that the Labor Party does not deny that these statements were made by the honourable member for Lalor. 1 presume that my friend, Mr McCallum, will not deny them, because the honourable member did make them and they were given publicity. So if I appear to be slightly cynical about Dick Gregory and if it appears to me that Dick Gregory is the best that the honourable member for Lalor could get when he was in the United States to get somebody for his moratorium campaign, I suppose that is understandable. I do not think that the great protestors in the United States really would pay much attention to the honourable member. I think he was going to get some famous actress to come out and that she was going to lead the band down Bourke Street. But it appears that she had some other engagement so he could not get her.

Mr Kennedy:

– She was getting married.


– That could be much more important, I agree, if not more risky. We are in an embarrassing situation. I think that the country has a right to look at people who are coming into it with the objective of interfering in the politics or other affairs of that country. I agree that we have let certain people come in, like Peter, Paul and Mary, who are close friends of the honourable member. I remember that one of them was involved in a small incident in the United States. It was probably something that I thought was a bit peculiar when I read it. No doubt the honourable member thought it was an everyday affair. So we let him in. I am not against that. I just wonder why we have to buy trouble all the time and why we have to let all these souls in that the Opposition wants. Let us look at them. There was a professor of the South Australian university who was a member of the Stern gang. There have been various members of the Communist Party who wanted to go here, there and everywhere. Maybe it was wrong. I do not know.

These were the big issues for the Opposition who are not interested in any other supporting parties. Let me refer again to the honourable member for Lalor. This is where we have been embarrassed.

Mr Kennedy:

– When are you going to get on to-


-Order! The honourable member for Bendigo will cease interjecting.


– If my young friend would go back to Bendigo, clip his ears back and endeavour to act like a member of Parliament I think he will be here longer. Let us return to the honourable member for Lalor, who is an efficient parliamentarian, not just a hack. If Dick is not allowed to come here because he might be, as reported in the Press and as the National Union of University Students has said - whether they are right or wrong, God knows, I do not - coming out here for the Moratorium Cam paign I say that he should be banned. The honourable member for Lalor has just returned from a triumphant tour of the United States. When he went he said he was going there to work for the overthrow of the Nixon Government and that he was going to support the peace demonstrations, etc. He may not have created a ripple. I would not know. But if the United States did not ban the honourable member for Lalor why should we ban Dick?

I remember how honourable members opposite, with pride on their faces, sat there with breasts moving in and out like pouter pigeons when the Leader of the Opposition said that he was going abroad on one of the regular trips that he makes whenever the Federal Executive of the Australian Labor Party meets so that he will be out of the country. The honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) will appreciate this because we have seen the action he took while the Leader of the Opposition was away. The Leader of the Opposition said that the reason he was going was to speak to the national leaders of the great countries of our great and powerful allies. If my memory serves me correctly, he said that he hoped to have discussions with the President of the United States in depth. I emphasise the words ‘in depth’. What happened? I do not know. There could be criticism. I do not know. Perhaps the Leader of the Opposition has got a gripe. Perhaps the Department of External Affairs could not make him out to be important enough. Perhaps the President of the United States did not want to see him. Perhaps we have not heard that he did have a meeting. How can I get back to the honourable member for Lalor? He was allowed to go to the United States; he was allowed to overthrow the United States Government; he was allowed to achieve his objective, and if Dick was all he could get to come back, frankly I think the Government should let Dick in. I think he will be fairly harmless. The Opposition made a bit of a mess of it, but I will go along with the Opposition if it thinks that this is all that important. I do not think that the people will.


– The matter I want to raise is similar that mentioned by the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr Lionel Bowen).

Unfortunately this matter could not be dealt with over a period of weeks and months. Instead, it had to be dealt with in a very short time, because it involved a death. Last Friday week when I arrived home from Canberra I found that the member for Collie in the State Parliament had been trying to contact me to raise a matter affecting one of his constituents who had been home from the Navy for a week on compassionate leave because his father was. seriously ill and was expected to die. In fact, he died that morning and the young man wished to have his compassionate leave extended to the Monday to allow him to attend his father’s funeral and to remain with his mother who that day had collapsed.

The State member had contacted the Navy authorities in Fremantle and had asked Commodore Ramsay whether the extended leave could be arranged. He was told that it could not. I then tried to contact the Minister for the Navy (Mr Killen) who unfortunately had been delayed on his aircraft and had not then reached Brisbane. However he later ranghis private secretary and was kind enough to have him ring me back and say that he would see what could be done. The Ministers private secretary rang me first at about 4 o’clock Western Australian time - that is about 6 o’clock eastern Australian time - and, after doing considerable work, rang me last at about half past8 or 9 o’clock. That meant that the Minister’s secretary was in his office in Canberra at half past 10 or11 o’clock that night. He had engaged the assistance of a Mr Wilson in the Department of the Navy who extended himself at that hour of the night to try to make arrangements for this lad to have his leave extended for a few days so that he could look after the affairs of his family, be with his mother and attend his fathers funeral.

Contrary to what I thought would be the case,I, found that the matter was to be dealt with by Commodore Ramsay. I thought it would have been a matter for the captain of the ‘Diamantina’, because the lad had been transferred to that ship, or for the officer in charge at Brisbane since that was where the ‘Diamantina’ was heading. When Mr Wilson rang at about half past 8 that night Western Australian time I was referred to Commodore Ramsay. I rang HMAS ‘Leeuwin’ to see whether

I could contact the Commodore to find out what arrangements could be made.I was told by the Commodore’s secretary that under Treasury regulations the necessary arrangements could not be made, that the Navy was bound by the regulations, that they could not use any initiative and that the lad had to catch the plane at a quarter to one in the morning and be back in Brisbane at the weekend to rejoin his ship.

Fortunately the Commodore changed his mind in the meantime and rang a message through to the boy in Collie telling him that he would see the boy at ‘Leeuwin’ and perhaps arrangements could be made to hold him over forI day. The Minister told me this afternoon that that was the case. They intended to allow him to miss the quarter to one plane on Saturday morning and to remain at home until Sunday. This meant that the boy would have had to drive 125 miles to ‘Leeuwin’ to see the Commodore only to be told when he arrived there that he had been granted a day’s grace. Then he would have had to drive 125 miles back that night and have one more day with the family. He still would have missed the funeral and had to drive 125 miles the next day to catch the plane. His brother or some other relation would have had to drive him and of course had to drive back again. This involved about 500 miles of travelling for 1 day’s extension, when the leave should have been extended for a couple of days to allow him to attend the funeral. The Minister informs me that Commodore Ramsay is an accommodating gentleman. Unfortunately I did not gain that impression. He was attending a boxing match from which he would not distract himself to come tothe telephone. His secretary came to the telephone and told me he would ring me back in 2 minutes.I waited for an hour and rang him myself because he had not rung me. He told me he had not seen the Commodore because he could not distract him from the boxing match. This meant that it was 9 o’clock and the lad had to allow himself 3 hours to get to the airport. He had to leave. He was unable to get to Leeuwin to find out what the Commodore intended to do because they ran into fog and only just made the airport in time to catch the plane. What I am appealing for is for officers to be given latitude to use their initiative over these Treasury regulations, to be allowed to give a day or a couple of days grace especially where it involves a funeral or the death of a member of the family. I want to pay tribute to Mr Liddicoat, the private secretary to the Minister, and Mr Wilson who worked back until such a late hour to assist.

While 1 am on my feet there are a couple of other matters concerning members of the Army who have both fought in Vietnam. One of them was killed and, since he was in the Army, he must have had a will. His affairs had not been cleared up even though a period of more than 12 months had expired since his death. I contacted the Minister for the Army (Mr Peacock) and within 3 weeks the Minister had the matter cleared up. lt should not be necessary for ordinary individuals to contact members of Parliament to get things done when that matter can be cleared up in so short a time when the Ministers gets on to it. The other case is that of a lad who lives in my electorate, is the son of a farmer and is fortunate enough to own a small part of the farm. When he came back from Vietnam and was married he went to the Housing Commission for assistance to buy a home in the town. The Commission told him he did not qualify for State Housing Commission assistance because the area of land that he held was too great. From there he went to the War Service Homes Division but they told him the land he held was not large enough to provide security for a loan, and so he did not qualify under the War Service Homes Act. If he had not contacted his local member of Parliament - and he should not have needed to do this - he would have found himself disqualified by the State Housing Commission and the War Service Homes Division. On the one hand he did not have enough land and on the other hand he had too much. Here again fortunately the Minister was able to assist. Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin sorted the matter out within a couple of weeks. 1 do think there should be some allowance made for people serving this country and that Government officers should be in a position to exercise some initiative and be allowed some latitude to meet the needs of those people who have served this country and probably served it very well.

Minister for the Navy · Moreton · LP

– The honourable member for Forrest (Mr Kirwan) was courteous enough to tell me he intended to raise this matter this evening. I just want to make one or two remarks, not by way of confutation of what he has had to say but rather by way of explanation. In the first instance I would apologise for my apparent discourtesy in that I did not ring him back personally. The fact of the matter is that my aeroplane to Brisbane was delayed by about H hours and I was about 2 hours late for an engagement. I asked my Private Secretary to ring the honourable member, which he did. I thank the honourable member for the acknowledgement of the intrinsic sense of courtesy which my Private Secretary holds. It is very important to me that any honourable member in this chamber should have an opportunity to put his view instantly to a Minister. I think it is fairly well known to members of the Parliament that if they knock on my door and I am available I will certainly see them. I only hope that the honourable member does not think that there was any discourtesy on my part. I do not affect to command all the details of this matter, but I hope that the honourable member does not think that I was lacking in a sense cf compassion or, indeed, that the Royal Australian Navy was lacking in a sense of compassion. However, my understanding is that the sailor concerned had been on compassionate leave for an extended period of time.

Mr Kirwan:

– One week.


– Well, one week. It is very difficult to make judgments in advance for how long compassionate postings or compassionate leave should be granted. In this instance the parent died. I have been informed - and I say this subject to further inquiries which I may make and further information which I may receive - that the Commodore in Western Australia, Commodore Ramsay, was at a dinner with the Governor of Western Australia and he had arranged to return to HMAS ‘Leeuwin’ at 1 1 o’clock, when the sailor was to attend. I have been further informed that for certain reasons - maybe fog or something else - the sailor did not come. Commodore Ramsay waited there until 1 o’clock - this was on the Friday night - but the sailor had not arrived. The airline company then rang to say that the sailor had left. I have also been informed that Commodore Ramsay had made arrangements for the sailor to stay in the Western Australia area until the Sunday night before flying back to the eastern side of Australia to join his ship. That would have enabled my authority to be sought and further inquiries to be made on the sailor’s behalf. Commodore Ramsay is a person who commands a most distinguished record in the service of this country. It would be an impertinence on my part if 1 were not to say that he is a very kindly man.

Mr Birrell:

– it sounds like it.


– With great respect to the honourable member for Port Adelaide, the Commodore is a very kindly man. He returned from this engagement to see the sailor at 1 1 o’clock. He waited at HMAS Leeuwin’ until I o’clock in the morning. Unbeknown to him the sailor bad gone straight from his home to the aerodrome and boarded an aeroplane. Commodore Ramsay was waiting to see him. Indeed, he had made further arrangements whereby the sailor could have left not on the Saturday night, as I informed the honourable member for Forrest this afternoon, but on the Sunday night, which would have given me an opportunity to make further inquiries. Life is hard. I hope honourable members will forgive me if I indulge in a moment of lecture on this matter. Life is very hard in the Services. However, the Services bend over backwards to try to extend compassion. This is a serious matter and not one to be treated in jest, as some honourable members opposite are treating it. Whenever a member of one’s family dies it is a matter of hurt. When a serviceman has to get on an aeroplane or go back to a ship to meet a posting this exacerbates the sense of grief. 1 can understand the sailor’s sense of grief and I can understand his family’s sense of resentment, but in this instance it could well have meant that some person would have had to be posted to the ship in order to take the sailor’s place.


-Order! It being 12 o’clock midnight, the House stands adjourned until 10.30 a.m. this day.

House adjourned at 12 midnight.

page 904


The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:

Nautical Training Institutions (Question No. 1446)

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

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

The question of a nautical academy has been under consideration in my Department for some time. However, in the light of current develop ments in the shipping industry and recent action overseas in this area, my Department has extended its inquiries to encompass the whole field of training and examinations of all seamen in Australia. I am awaiting a further report on the matter.

Melbourne Wodonga Rail Traffic (Question No. 1448)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:

By what percentage has interstate goods traffic increased since the standard gauge railway between Melbourne and Wodonga was introduced in January 1962.

Mr Sinclair:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

The standard gauge line between Melbourne and Wodonga was opened to traffic on 3 January 1962 and up to 30 June 1962, a total of 410,605 tons was carried.

In the first full year of operations (1962-63), a total of 1,083,630 tons was carried. The latest available figures published by the Victorian Railways show that a total of 2,641,369 tons was carried on the standard gauge line during the financial period 1968/69. This represents an increase of 144 per cent on the tonnage carried in the first full year of operations.

Road Safety Statistics (Question No. 1451)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:

What progress has been made by the officers of his Department in solving the difficulties in producing road safety statistics due to differences in accident reporting in the States.

Mr Sinclair:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

At its meeting in July of this year, the Australian Transport Advisory Council directed its advisory Committee on Road User Performance and Traffic Codes to make an examination of reporting procedures with a view to developing a uniform system throughout Australia.

Accordingly, all the major bodies having a professional interest in the improvement of road traffic accident data have been approached by the Chairman of that Committee, an officer of my Department, for a detailed statement of their requirements.

Naturalisations: Local Government (Question No. 1458)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:

How many certificates of naturalisation were conferred in the last financial year in each local government area in which more than 100 certificates were conferred.

Mr Lynch:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

The following table shows the Local Government areas in each State in which 100 or more certificates of Australian citizenship were conferred during the twelve months ended 30th June 1970.

Western Australian Airfields (Question No. 1524)

Mr Kirwan:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:

  1. What airfields in Western Australia conform to Regulation 203 standards.
  2. How many of these airfields are locallyowned.
  3. How many have attracted Commonwealth assistance under the Local Ownership scheme.
  4. What individual amounts have been paid under the scheme in each case.
Mr Swartz:

– The Minister for Civil Aviation has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

  1. The 27 Government owned and 58 licensed aerodromes in Western Australia are all suitable for Regulation 203 operations.

The only authorised landing area used by a commuter service b at Mingenew which is privately owned.

There are no doubt other authorised landing areas which could accommodate ANR.203 service*.. However, the use of these landing areas is a matter between the land owner and the operator concerned. They are created in accordance with standards set by the Department but they are not required to keep the Department informed as to their availability unless there is a specific commuter service proposal.

  1. and (3) Of the 58 licensed aerodiomes in Western Australia 12 are owned by the local Councils and are entitled to benefits under our Aerodrome Local Ownership scheme. Nine of these Council aerodromes have Regulation 203 services.
  2. Grants paid to Council aerodromes where there are ANR.203 services are as follows:

Certain of these aerodrome projects were initiated by Local Government Authority. Others, such as Esperance and Rottnest Island, were Government aerodromes which were then transferred io tocal ownership control. One condition of the transfer is to ensure that the aerodrome is equal to normal and foreseeable operational commitments. Where this in turn requires additional aerodrome works the relevant costs are reflected in the above figures.

Sydney: Alternative Airport (Question No. 1551)

Mr Armitage:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:

When is the report of. the Inter-Departmental Committee which is inquiring into the question of a second airport for Sydney area likely to be released.

Mr Swartz:

– The Minister for Civil Aviation has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

The Minister lor Civil Aviation is expecting to receive the report of the Inter-Departmental Committee within a month. After consideration of this report the Minister intends to refer it to the Government as soon as possible. It is unlikely that any statement will be released on the report until after its consideration by the Government..

Federal Awards and Agreements (Question No. 1218)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

  1. How many employees in Australia are covered by Federal awards or agreements.
  2. What percentage does this figure represent of all employees.
  3. What is the number of Commonwealth arbitration inspectors employed in each State.
  4. Can he say what is the number of arbitration inspectors employed by each of the respective State governments.
  5. Is it a fact that in some States the Commonwealth has authorised State inspectors to carry out inspections in relation to Commonwealth awards.
  6. If so, how many of these inspectors are involved and in which States are they authorised to act on behalf of the Commonwealth.
Mr Snedden:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. and (2) From information revealed in the Commonwealth Statistician’s ‘Survey of the Incidence of Industrial Awards, Determinations and Collective Agreements, May 1968’ it is estimated that 40.1 per cent of employees in Australia are affected by Commonwealth awards. In terms of numbers of employees this estimate could be expressed as 1,740,000. (Excluded from the 1968 survey were all employees in rural industry, in private domestic service, of private employers in hotels, restaurants and other personal services, employees of private employers not subject to payroll tax and employees in the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory).
  1. It would not be appropriate for me to supply information on the staffing of State authorities.
  2. Yes.
  3. State Inspectors are authorised to inspect under Federal awards in New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania. Altogether, 239 State Inspectors are so authorised.

Darwin Harbour: Report (Question No. 72)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for National Development the following question, upon notice:

Since his predecessor’s answer to me on 22nd May 1969 (Hansard, page 2224), has a decision been taken to publish the report on Darwin Harbour which Maunsell and Partners made in January 1969.

Mr Swartz:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

The proposals advanced in the report for new port works at Darwin are still under consideration in the context of the detailed planning and design work which is currently in hand.

Australian Shipping Register (Question No. 1445)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:

What stage has been reached in the plans to establish an Australian shipping register.

Mr Sinclair:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

In my answer to a similar question asked by the honourable member last year, I indicated that legal advice had been obtained on this matter and consideration was being given to the means through which a complete and legally effective system of registration of Australian ships could be achieved under Australian law. The legal advice then referred to had indicated some difficulties in the way of implementing the complete scheme that I had in mind. The further consideration that was given to the matter has caused me to seek additional legal advice, which I am now awaiting.

National Service Ballots (Question No. 1538)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

What was the reason for not publishing the birthdates drawn in the previous national service ballots.

Mr Snedden:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

As I indicated when announcing the decision to publish the birthdates drawn in future national service ballots, publication was not previously undertaken because this had been considered contrary to the interests of the men who were affected by the ballots. It is, however, clearly in the public interest that the fullest possible information about national service and the arrangements adopted, consistent with security requirements and the interests of the men affected, should be publicly available. Following a detailed re-examination it was concluded that to publish future ballot results will be a beneficial step.

Container Ships (Question No. 1444)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice;

  1. What percentage of Australia’s trade is carried on each route served by container ships.
  2. What percentage of Australia’s trade on those routes is now carried by container ships.
Mr Sinclair:

– The answer to the honour able member’s question is as follows:

  1. The percentage of Australia’s total trade (trade carried by cargo shipping operating within the liner conferences and by tramps and bulk carriers) and the percentage of Australia’s liner trade on each route served by container ships is set nut in the following table:
  1. Accurate statistics are not yet available as to the quantities of cargoes carried in container vessels. Apart from the abovementioned trades, container carrying ships are to be introduced into the East and West Coast North America liner trades in the next two years. Operators Anticipate that as their container services become established the larger percentage of liner cargoes will be carried in container ships and current indications are that this may well be so.


Mr McEwen:
Deputy Prime Minister · MURRAY, VICTORIA · CP

– In reply on 21st August to a question asked by the honourable member for Lalor (Dr Cairns) about reduction of tariffs on man-made fibres 1 undertook to ascertain the facts and report to the honourable member or to the House.

Firms in the industry, and the Textile Council of Australia, have made representations to the Government expressing concern about a number of issues raised by the adoption of this Report in April of this year. The industry believed that the lower rates of duty which followed the adoption of the report could be damaging to the entire textile and apparel industries.

I indicated to representatives of the industry that the Government could not consider taking action merely on the expressed disquiet of the parties involved. There was an obvious need for the Government and the industry together to watch the effect of the new duties on the Australian industry. If it could be shown from the evidence available that serious damage was occurring, or was likely to occur, then an application could be made for a reference to the Special Advisory Authority. The Authority has the power to recommend temporary duties.

A Liaison Committee consisting of members of the Textile Council and officers of the Department of Trade and Industry was established shortly after the new duty rates were introduced. Special arrangements were made to supply the Textile Council with advanced statistics on imports and these figures have been regularly discussed with the Committee, along with trends within the Australian industry. I am informed that to date there is no evidence of any upsurge in imports, but the position will remain under close watch.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 2 September 1970, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.