House of Representatives
3 September 1970

27th Parliament · 2nd Session

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

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– 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 Werriwa 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 and read.


Mr Les Johnson:

– 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 Hughes 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 peititon

To the Honourable the Speaker and members of the House of Representative in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of electors of New South Wales 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 S. 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.

Interest Rates


– 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 of home 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 duly bound will every pray.

Petition received and read.



– 1 present the following petition:

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The Humble Petition of citizens of the Commonwealth respectfully sheweth: Whereas -

the Commonwealth Parliament has acted to remove some inadequacies in the Australian Education system.

a major inadequacy at present in Australian education is the lack of equal education opportunity for all.

more than 500,000 children suffer from serious lack of equal opportunity.

Australia cannot afford to waste the talents of one sixth of its school children.

only the Commonwealth has the financial resources for special programmes to remove inadequacies.

nations such as the United Kingdom and the United Slates have shown that the chief impetus for change and the finance for improvement come from the National Government.

Your petitioners request that your honourable House make legal provision for:

a joint Commonwealth State inquiry into inequalities in Australian education to obtain evidence on which to base long term national programmes for the elimination of inequalities.

the immediate financing of special programmes for low income earners, migrants, Aborigines. rural and inner suburban dwellers and handicapped children.

the provision of pre school opportunities for all children from culturally different or socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

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

Petition received and read.


Mr Les Johnson:

– I present the following petition:

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The Humble Petition of citizens of the Commonwealth respectfully sheweth: Whereas -

the Commonwealth Parliament has acted to remove some inadequacies in the Australian Education system.

a major inadequacy al present in Australian education is the lack of equal education opportunity for all.

more than 500,000 children suffer from serious lack of equal opportunity.

Australia cannot afford to waste the talents of one sixth of its school children.

only the Commonwealth has the financial resources for special programmes to remove inadequacies.

nations such as the United Kingdom and the United States have shown that the chief impetus for change and the finance for improvement come from the National Government.

Your petitioners request that your honourable Mouse make legal provision for:

a joint Commonwealth State inquiry into inequalities in Australian education to obtain evidence on which to base long term national programmes for the elimination of inequalities.

the immediate financing of special programmes for low income earners, migrants, Aborigines, rural and inner suburban dwellers and handicapped children.

the provision of pre school opportunities for all children from culturally different or socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

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 citizens of the Commonwealth respectfully showeth:

Whereas -

the Commonwealth Parliament has acted to remove some inadequacies in the Australian Education system.

a major inadequacy at present in Australian education is the lack of equal education opportunities for all.

200,000 students from Universities, Colleges of Advanced Education and other Tertiary Institutions, and their parents .suffer severe penalty from inadequacies in the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936-1968.

Australia cannot afford to hinder the education of these 200,000 Australians.

Your petitioners request that your honourable House make legal provision for:

The allowance of personal education expenses as a deduction from income for tax purposes.

Removal of the present age limit in respect of the deduction for education expenses and the maintenance allowance for students.

Increase in the amount of deduction allowable for tertiary education expenses.

Increase in the maintenance allowance for students.

Exemption of non-bonded scholarships, for part-time students from income tax.

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 citizens of the Commonwealth respectfully sheweth:

Whereas -

  1. The Commonwealth Parliament has acted to remove some inadequacies in the Australian education system;
  2. a major inadequacy at present in Australian education is the lack of equal education opportunity for all;
  3. 200,000 students from universities, colleges of advanced education and other tertiary institutions, and their parents suffer severe penalty from inadequacies in the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936-1968;
  4. Australia cannot afford to hinder the education of these 200,000 Australians.

Your petitioners request that your honourable House make legal provision for -

  1. The allowance of personal education expenses as a deduction from income for tax purposes.
  2. Removal of the present age limit in respect of the deduction for education expenses and the maintenance allowance for students.
  3. Increase in the amount of deduction allow able for tertiary education expenses.
  4. Increase in the maintenance allowance for students.
  5. Exemption of non-bonded scholarships, for part-time students from income tax.

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

Petition received.


Mr Les Johnson:

– I present the following petition:

To the Honourable the President and Members of the Senate and the Honourable the Speaker and

Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully sheweth:

That the Australian Education Council’s report on the needs of State education services has established serious deficiencies in education.

That these can be summarised as lack of classroom accommodation, desperate teacher shortage, oversized classes and inadequate teaching aids.

That the additional sum of one thousand million dollars is required over the next five years by the States for these needs.

That without massive additional Federal finance the State school system will disintegrate.

That the provisions of the Handicapped Children’s Assistance Act 1970 should be amended to include all the country’s physically and mentally handicapped children.

Your petitioners most humbly pray that the Senate and the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will take immediate steps to:

Ensure that emergency finance from the Commonwealth will be given to the States for their public education services which provide schooling for 78 per cent of Australia’s children.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever 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 showeth:

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 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 residents of the State of Victoria respectfully, showeth:

That because of uncontrolled shooting for commercial purposes, the population of kangaroos, particularly the big red species is now so low, that they may become extinct.

There are insufficient wardens, in any Slate of the Commonwealth to delect or apprehend those who break the inadequate laws which exist. As a tourist attraction, the kangaroo is a permanent source of revenue lo this country.

If is an indisputable fact thai no species can withstand hunting on such a scale, when there is no provision being made for its future. We, the petitioners, therefore humbly pray, that;

The export of kangaroo products be banned immediately, and the Commonwealth Government take the necessary steps to have all wildlife in Australia brought under its control. Only a complete cessation of killing tor commercial purposes can save surviving kangaroos. And your petitioners, therefore, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

Petition received.

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– I ask the Treasurer a question. Before the House rises for dinner tonight a vote will be taken on Appropriation Bill (No. 1.) 1970-71. on which the honourable gentleman made his Budget Speech and in which he stated that the Government would introduce as part of the Budget legislation to impose receipts duties. Will the honourable gentleman tell the House before it votes whether he has decided to introduce a Receipts Duties Bill in the form in which it was previously passed by the House but rejected by the Senate, or in a different form, or not at all?


– We shall be voting on Appropriation Bill (No. 1) which is for the current services of the Government and clearly in that there will not be a Receipts Duties Bil], where it does not belong. Following the vote tonight a series of Budget Bills will be introduced. The Appropriation Bill (No. 1), of course, covers only about one-half of the total outlay of the Commonwealth. The other Bills will come forward in the normal way and be presented to the House roughly in the kind of order which has been followed in the past.

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– Has the Minister for External Affairs seen a report which appeared originally in the ‘New York Times’ which described Australian troops in Vietnam as mercenaries and suggested that the cost of maintaining Australian troops in Vietnam was met by the United Slates of America? Will the Minister comment on this scurrilous report in what so many people-


-Order! The honourable member will be out of order if he asks for comment in his question.


– Will the Minister say whether or not this scurrilous report is correct?

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

– 1 have read the statement published in the ‘New York Times’ and I can inform the honourable gentleman that it is nol only scurrilous but also inaccurate. The House will know, of course, that the ‘New York Times’ is violently anti the cause of South Vietnam and is not to be considered as a reliable journal of record when it is publishing information which it believes will not support the cause that it is supporting. I repeat that it is not notorious for reliability in these circumstances. The Symington Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of the United States has been looking at the commitments of the United States in Vietnam and the relationship between those commitments and those of its allies. I have had given to me a copy of the transcript of one of those meetings and of the discussions. Senator Fulbright, the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, has pointed out precisely that Australian troops are paid for by the Australian Government, that they are not mercenaries and that no financial support is given to them by the United States Government. Subsequently, and this occurred only yesterday, I beard that one of the Bangkok newspapers had been publishing the weekly report of the New York Times’ and a similar statement appeared in that paper. I will take action to see whether a correction can be made in the Bangkok paper. I have little prospect of ensuring that the ‘New York Times’ makes any correction.

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– Is the Minister for Social Services aware that the electorate of Gellibrand is probably one of the most heavily industrialised electorates of Australia? Is he also aware that about 90 per cent of the people in the electorate are the salt of the earth people - working class people? In view of these circumstances will the Minister consider establishing a branch of his Department in my electorate to meet the heavy demand for social services that occurs in the area?

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

-I am aware of the industrialised nature of the electorate of Gellibrand and, without in any way trying to denigrate the electors of Gellibrand and the honourable member’s constituents, I would say that I believe they share the characteristics of the Australian people. I hope that we are all working people. I am very much aware of the honourable member’s personal interest in this matter and I am glad to inform him that my Department does have a policy of endeavouring to place regional offices in those situations where they will be of most benefit. It is true, as he has said, that in his electorate there is a large number of pensioners and prospective pensioners. It is our policy to try to pay pensions to all those people who are entitled to them and to have the knowledge of that entitlement spread as widely as possible. I am also able to inform the honourable member that only recently my Department has made arrangements for the establishment of a regional office in Footscray. I believe, from memory, it will have an area of about 2,000 square feet or a little less. It will probably have a staff of 6 or 7. I think that the site selected for the office is in Nicholson Street. 1 would hope to have it in operation within 4 or 5 weeks. The exact date has not been determined but we are trying to get it into operation as soon as possible. I would like to be able to open it myself but, if it should prove impossible for me to do so, may I prevail upon the honourable member to do me the honour of presiding at the opening ceremony?

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– Is the Prime Minister aware of the very successful conduct of the recent conference in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science? Is he further aware that certain scientists who visited the Territory and travelled widely in it were sufficiently impressed with the rate of achievement there to urge upon me the view that this Government should resist current pressures to accelerate greatly the programme of education for self government?

Prime Minister · HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP

– I was not aware that scientists who had attended this conference had in fact given the honourable member those views but I am extremely interested to hear that in fact they do hold those views. I am not sure that one could agree entirely with the way in which they are phrased which is that one should not seek to accelerate education towards self government. If that is to be taken to mean that one should not accelerate self government, that one should not push independence upon the people of this region before they want it, that we should seek to let them make the decision rather than make it for them arbitrarily, then I am sure the views which have been expressed to the honourable member are proper views and in the interests of all the people of Papua and New Guinea just as they are in the interests of the people of Australia and just as they evidence the Government’s own approach.

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Mr Keith Johnson:

– My question is directed to the Minister for Immigration. Does he intend to apply a political test to prospective immigrants and visitors to Australia so that entry will be permitted to only those who agree with the Government’s Vietnam policy?

Minister Assisting the Treasurer · FLINDERS, VICTORIA · LP

– I do not quite know to which matter the honourable gentleman is making reference, because he spoke about the general question of immigrants. If he was in fact referring to persons who seek admission on a visa basis, he will know full well the attitude taken by this Government. That attitude was made perfectly clear by me at question time yesterday. I am not surprised that this issue has been raised again. I am only surprised, having regard to the fact that the Leader of the Opposition raised this matter in the first question yesterday, that the matter has not been pursued, until this stage of question time today and that it has been referred to by an honourable member who has only recently become a member of this House. In response to the honourable gentleman I do not want to comment about any specific case because the Government’s attitude has been made clear, but I say that if the Leader of the Opposition and members of the Opposition, including the honourable gentleman who has raised the matter, wish to protest concerning the refusal to admit Mr Gregory let me remind them that, according to a Press report today, the executive of the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign has in fact banned the honourable member for Wills from participating in its proceedings.

Mr Bryant:

– I was banned in here too, but I did not take any notice of that either.


-Order! I remind honourable members that all interjections are out of order.

The honourable member for Wills will cease interjecting. I give the warning that I will not have question time disrupted I by some honourable members who continually interject.


– 1 did not hear the interjection of the honourable member for Wills, but it may be that he was simply betraying the fact that he is a great Australian comic. I simply want to know of the Opposition, and particularly the Leader of the Opposition. when they will protest against the exclusion of the honourable member for Wills from the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign, or is it that the attitude of the Opposition is, as in fact the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign is, a distorted and one-eyed approach which bears little relationship to any inclination whatsoever to se:k the truth.

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– Has the Prime Minister’s attention been drawn to a move by the Queensland Trades and Labour Council, as reported by the Australian Broadcasting Commission this morning, to have Mount Isa Mines Ltd nationalised? in view of the damaging effect that such a move could have on investment in Australian compan’e.s from both outside and inside Australia to the detriment of all Australian citizens, will the Prime Minister take all practical measures deemed advisable or necessary to ensure that investors know that they need have no fear that such a move could be successful under the present Government? Will he at the same time draw attention to the great benefits conferred on the people of Mount Isa by Mount Isa Mines Ltd?


-] do not know what practical measures can be taken to do what the honourable member suggests. But I am sure that the people of this country and the people abroad know that such action as has been urged by the Queensland Trades and Labour Council - that action being fully in line with Labor Party policy - would not under any circumstances be accepted or put into operation by this Government. We do not believe that if persons form a company and are succesful and expand, and provide the jobs they provide, provide the revenue they provide - if they do all that - and if they are, indeed, as these are, not only almost 50 per cent owned by Australians but pay almost 50 per cent of their profits into Australian revenue, as a reward for the success of that know-how and that application and that good management they should be nationalised and should be taken over by a government.

Opposition members - Hear, hear.


– As the Opposition has just indicated by saying ‘hear, hear’, it does believe those companies should be nationalised, but we do not. I can think of nothing more designed to damage Australia’s good name abroad or to prevent the inflow of that capital which is needed for the development of Australia itself or could hurt the individual Australian citizens more than this action, being as it is in full line with Labor Party policy. We will have none of it. We can give that firm assurance.

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– Is the Minister for Defence aware that the United States Army has an official known as the SergeantMajor of the Army who acts as an ombudsman to investigate complaints of servicemen about pay and conditions of service? ls the Minister also aware that this official investigates hundreds of complaints each year in acting as an effective link between the men in the field and the defence machinery? Would it be possible to introduce such a post to the Australian Armed Services so grievances can be quickly investigated and redressed?

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– I have not heard of the particular post which the honourable member says is held in the United States Army. 1 will certainly be prepared to examine that and see how it operates.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for Customs and Excise. Whilst it is true that some insurance companies in America and Canada will not issue policies to users of marihuana and other hard addictive drug takers, is there any tendency in Australia to follow this trend? Would the insurance companies here have the authority to check physically applicants for insurance policies in order to assess whether they were users of drugs or not?

Minister for Customs and Excise · HOTHAM, VICTORIA · LP

– I do not know whether Australian insurance companies are adopting the practice which is being adopted by insurance companies overseas of insisting on either a declaration that an applicant for insurance is not a drug user or on a medical examination to delect whether an applicant is a drug user. Any insurance company can demand, and insurance companies often do demand, a medical examination of anybody who takes out a life assurance policy. As far as marihuana is concerned. I am not surprised that insurance companies overseas have taken the step which the honourable member has mentioned. There is an abundance of evidence in this confusing area that marihuana is harmful, can be harmful and can have an effect on life expectancy.

My Government and, no doubt, insurance companies rely on the impeccable verdict of an expert committee of the World Health Organisation which met on this subject as late as last year. This committee comprised a group of expert pharmacologists, scientists and doctors. It stated unequivocally that marihuana was a drug of dependence and should be banned in all countries which were members of the United Nations. Wilh that kind of evidence, only a government full of irrespon sibility would consider legalising this drug. In face of that evidence, I am not surprised that insurance companies are taking the steps that they are taking.

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– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. I refer to his recent advice to me that the question of nursing home fees and appropriate Commonwealth benefits had been examined by the Minister for Health. Did that survey disclose an urgent need for special financial assistance to pensioners in those homes? Docs he consider that the Budget increase of 50c a week in pensions will overcome the grave problem facing pensioners following recent fee increases in Queensland? If not. what action does he propose to take to assist them and when will he announce the Government’s proposals?


– Pensions of various kinds - age pensions, invalid pensions and the other pensions with which the Budget deals - are not in the same category as hospital costs or nursing home costs. The 2 things are completely separate. The question of nursing home costs has been and is under consideration by the Minister for Health and the Government. We will announce our policy on this matter in due course. We will not announce it before we are ready and we will certainly not announce it at question time because I always understood that questions a«, to policy were out of order.

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– Has the Minister for External Affairs any information to give this House regarding Vietcong attempts to disrupt the recent Senate elections in South Vietnam by the widespread use of terror? Did the tactics of the Vietcong include the destruction of an orphanage and the deliberate murder of women and children? Finally, will the Minister see that full information regarding these matters is given to those members of this Parliament who have expressed their support for the Vietcong and who publicly espouse their cause and appear under their banner?


– I read with horror of the detestable actions of the North Vietnamese in attacking the orphanage at An Hoa in northern South Vietnam. The

Army of South Vietnam considered that it was not necessary to defend the orphanage because it felt that the North Vietnamese would not carry out a senseless attack on innocent children and upon those who were looking after them. But, typical of the Communists, they did make this attack, and 12 children were killed and 24 other people were injured seriously. This is an indication of what they are capable of doing. Honourable members will know that on one occasion 50,000 North Vietnamese were ruthlessly murdered because of their religious convictions or because they did not willingly agree with the Communist activities of the regime. Honourable members will also know that at the time of the Tet offensive over 5,800 South Vietnamese were murdered at Hue for very nearly the same reasons.

I notice that the leaders of the Moratorium Committee in this House are anxiously hiding their eyes at the moment. What they must remember is that they are favouring a regime which has committed this kind of ruthless murder. They must ask themselves what would happen if the free allied cause was defeated, not only in South Vietnam but also in Laos and Cambodia. Surely we must assume that exactly the same ruthless measures would be followed. Consequently, what the leaders of the Vietnam Moratorium Committee must ask themselves in conscience is: Do they want this kind of action to continue? They must examine their souls and consciences as to whether they want to continue with the campaign and to have these senseless activities continue.

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– I ask the Prime Minister: Is it a fact that he stated that he rejects the formation of a strong single wool marketing statutory authority which is backed, as a matter of urgency, by the wool growers of Australia, the Australian Wool Board and the top agricultural brains of this country headed by Sir John Crawford? On what grounds does the Prime Minister believe that his preference for a weak, toothless voluntary marketing system would be superior to a strong single marketing authority? Does he not agree that it is a serious breach of long established Cabinet behaviour for him as a Cabinet Minister and Prime Minister to state a judgment on a matter of great national importance before Cabinet has reached a majority decision?


– I think that the honourable member must be basing his question on a newspaper report. I would be interested to know whether he is able to vouch for the truth of that report since it was a newspaper report, as I read it, purporting to say what happened at a private meeting at which no Press or other media were present. Is the honourable member prepared to vouch for the truth of that report? I ask that because I understand that it is required by the Standing Orders that he should vouch for it. However, we can put that aside if he is not prepared to vouch for it, and apparentlyhe is not. All I can say is that the Government has not yet reached a decision or made an announcement on these matters which are under consideration. When such decision is reached it will be announced, and announced publicly.

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– I direct my question to the Minister for Shipping and Transport. In view of the widespread concern being publicly expressed at the present levels of various forms of pollution can the Minister say what action the Government proposes to combat the contamination of the air by motor vehicle exhaust gases?

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

– It is not peculiarly the responsibility of the Commonwealth Government to lay down the terms and conditions of the restraints to be imposed by State governments, within their responsibility, to control air pollution in any field. It is true that through the Australian Transport Advisory Council standards for crank case emission have already been laid down and at the last 2 meetings considerable progress was made towards laying down acceptable standards for the control of emission of exhaust gases. The basic problem with exhaust gases is to determine the acceptable level of unburnt hydrocarbons that should be emitted from motor vehicle exhausts and the extent to which devices can be attached to vehicle exhausts. This will affect the motor vehicle manufacturers’ ability to sell a car at its existing price, lt is necessary to ensure that whatever device is adopted it should be both commercially acceptable and acceptable in terms of controlling pollution in the atmosphere. The pollution agents, I understand, are unburnt hydrocarbons and other chemicals such as. of course, carbon monoxide and lead, to the extent to which lead is in the fuel. The nature of the device to be attached to motor vehicles will very much depend on the establishment of acceptable standards. There are varying standards laid down in different countries but 1 am hopeful that at the next meeting of the Australian Transport Advisory Council there will be laid down the standard acceptable for all Australian conditions and that thereafter that will be the criterion taken by motor vehicle manufacturers to determine what sort of attachment should be used to control the emission from exhausts.

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– The Minister for Trade and Industry has already told the House that the Tariff Board’s report had been delivered to his Department at lunch time yesterday week and was being sent to the Government Printer immediately. He said he would table it as soon as the Government Printer was able to print it. I ask the Minister: Has the printing been completed? If not, will he ensure that it is completed before the House rises tomorrow for its 1 week recess? He will remember that a fortnight ago I urged the prompt tabling of the report so as to avoid any impression that the Government is withholding this expert evidence from the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and the parties to the current profitability case in which the Commonwealth has intervened and in which reference has already been made to the pending report.

Deputy Prime Minister · MURRAY, VICTORIA · CP

– I stated the position earlier when the honourable member asked me the question to which he has referred. I inquired yesterday of my Department as to what the situation is and I was advised that the printing had been put in hand immediately, as I told the House it would be, and that the Government Printer had said the earliest date on which the printing could be completed is - my memory is not certain - 28th October. This I am informed is I day before the statutory limit set by the Parliament for the tabling of the report. The Government Printer was asked from the outset to attend to the printing of this document with all haste.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for the Army. Some time ago I asked the then Minister for the Army whether he would investigate the possibility of issuing an infantry combat badge to infantrymen who have seen active service. Will the Minister for the Army inform me of the present situation in this matter? If there is to be a general issue of this badge is it intended to issue the badge to those personnel who have left the Service since this matter was first raised?

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · LP

– Might I say first of all how much I have appreciated the honourable member’s continuing interest in the provision of an infantry combat badge. The badge is to recognise infantry service in battle and it may be awarded to serving members of the permanent military forces and the Citizens Military Forces in recognition of 90 days satisfactory service, either continuous or in aggregate, as an infantryman in an Australian infantry unit or sub-unit in operations against an enemy. There are also special provisions to cover those who have been decorated, wounded or who have suffered some other disability due to service as well as infantrymen who have served with the Australian training team in Vietnam. I stress that it is a badge for infantrymen only and it will not be issued to those who are no longer members of the Army.

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– I direct a question to the Minister for Labour and National Service.


– He is not here at the present time.


– Very well, I direct it to the Prime Minister. I was amazed and disturbed when I received a letter from the

Department of Labour and National Service stating that my national service registration form did not state clearly the date of my birth. I do not know whether the Government has increased the age limit or the Department is trying to flatter me, but as I am against Australia’s involvement in Vietnam, having served once and taken 6 years to get home - and did not think much of it - I ask the Prime Minister: Will he assure me that if my name comes out of that horrible barrel he will not impose the alternative - gaol - which I do not like either?


– I will give the request of the honourable member consideration.

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– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Do larger capital investments tend to propagate their kind by producing higher rates of profit due to economies of size, work force specialisation and monopoly? Will the Prime Minister implement the Keynesian principle of public control of such profit promotion and capital propagation by imposing a supertax on excess profits leaving Australia to be diverted to consumer, community and employee equity in these large enterprises?


– Again we have an instance of the underlying intention of the Labor Party to seek to interfere with and to take over the operations of any successful free enterprise happening, and I am a little surprised that this specific question should have come from the honourable member from whom it came, because there is at the moment discussion going on and arrangements going on between the Queensland Government and a company which is intending to provide at Gladstone very large processes for making aluminium - probably one of the most important development projects in Queensland, made partly possible by this Government contributing loan funds for the establishment of cheap power. What sort of incentive is it to people to risk their money in this kind of enterprise, which the honourable member himself has agreed is of immense benefit to Queensland, if he is going to get up and say that if this is successful then we should take it over? Again, Mr Speaker, we will have no part of that.

page 918




– My question is directed to the Minister for Shipping and Transport. What action did the Government take to help the Australia to Europe Shippers Association resist the projected increase in the freight on wool. Was this action successful? If it was not, will the Government assure me that it will take steps to arm itself with the authority to see that it can properly protect wool growers’ interests in the future against these seemingly continual price increases?


– There is within the Restrictive Trade Practices Act certain power given to the Minister for Trade and Industry to ensure that negotiations are undertaken between the shipping conferences, represented in Australia by a body known as the Oversea Shipping Representatives Association and a shipper body known here as the Australia to Europe Shippers Association. There is provision for a representative of the Department of Trade and Industry to attend the discussions and to sit as an observer during the course of the negotiations. However, in the instance of wool freights there were not only negotiations undertaken within Australia. Ownership of wool passes at the falling of the hammer and at the point of shipment the ownership is in the hands of, not the Australian wool grower but the wool buyer. Discussions were held in Paris at the request of the British Wool Federation and Intertable which represent all those who own wool at the point of shipment. Australian wool buyers and Australian wool growers were represented at the negotiations. It appears that there was an agreement reached at those discussions, in spite of the standstill position maintained by AESA, for an increase of 4 per cent in wool freights. Subsequently, AESA and OSRA met in further conference here in Australia. While AESA maintained its position, instructions were subsequently issued, following further discussion between Interlace and the Conference, for Australian wool buyers to execute new agreements for the 12-months period which commenced on 1st September at the 4 per cent increased rate in order that there should be no application of the 10 per cent surcharge that would be payable otherwise.

The Government has no power to intervene in commercial negotiations which have been successfully completed. In this instance the negotiations were undertaken in Australia in accordance with the Trade Practices Act between the shipper body and the shipping conference. Australian wool growers are going to be asked to pay the additional price consequential to the added burden of the 4 per cent increase, which represents about Sim.

It is regrettable, Mr Speaker, that they are prejudiced by discussions which have taken place outside Australia relating to a commodity which they do not own at the point of shipment. However, the Government cannot intrude. Nor is the Trade Practices Act designed to enable the Government to intrude in what is essentially a commercial negotiation, lt is a matter of considerable regret that, at a time when a new form of cargo movement is being introduced, the conference did not follow the practice followed by the Australian National Line in respect to Tasmania. In this latter case there was an extended period of price stability in order to enable the new form of cargo handling to be generally demonstrated, accepted and proved. I regret that there has not been a longer period of freight stability during which the new form of cargo handling can be demonstrated. This is particularly so because over the last 12 months there have been taint problems in refrigerated containers. Also, there has been the industrial dispute at Tilbury and there has been the constant change in the timing of conventional container vessels. This means that in the next 12 months there will be substantially more container vessels carrying cargoes than there have been in the last 12 months, In all these circumstances and in view of the crisis in the Australian wool industry I think it is regrettable that an added impost should now be demanded of Australian wool growers.

page 919




– My question, which is addressed to the Deputy Prime. Minister and Minister for Trade and Industry, stems from an answer he gave last week to the honourable member for Corangamite. The Minister then indicated that the growth rate of the chemical industry in Australia was satisfactory but that the increase in the profit rate was not satisfactory. Would it be correct to deduce from the very rapid growth rate of this industry, from the fact that it is one of the most heavily tariff protected industries in this country and that despite these 2 great advantages it is still a very low profit earner, that it is not an industry suited to the Australian economic environment, at least in its major parts, and that it is grossly over-capitalised?


– Last week, in replying to the honourable member for Corangamite. I did not say that the profit earned by the chemical industry was inadequate. From memory, I pointed out that, according to the calculations of the Tariff Board, in 1968 the profit of the industry had been just over 3 per cent, which could not be regarded as satisfactory, but that in the next year it had been at the level of just over 6 per cent, a rate upon which I offered no comment at all. lt is true that the chemical industry as a whole - not that section to which I referred statistically last week - has been expanding. In terms of tonnage, fertilisers and alumina represent the biggest production of chemicals. I could not concede for a moment that it is not desirable to have fertilisers produced in Australia or that it is not desirable to have alumina produced in Australia. T do not wish to offer offhand a general comment on the desirability of the remainder of the chemical industry. But 1 am sure thai the honourable members profound interest, which T respect, is an interest related to the cost of chemicals to agriculturalists - farmers and graziers. I am able to say in respect of the cost of these chemicals that T had published in Hansard some time ago a list of chemicals. That list I shall make available to any honourable members who are interested, lt contains 60 or 70 chemicals and pharmaceutical preparations used by agriculturalists and pastoralists. Tt also sets out details of price movement over a period. My memory is that the upward price movement of chemicals in the list was very limited. Over a period the price of a considerable number had fallen and the once of many had stood still. From the viewpoint of agriculturalists as opposed to the general note in which the Question was nut to me, T say that agriculturalists “suffer no disability be’”.’!’”’” of the expansion of the chemical »rH pharmaceutical industries in Australia. In fact. T know of an occasion when phenothiazine, a very important pharmaceutical product, was cheaper in Australia produced under a tariff duty than it was in New Zealand where it was admitted duty free.

page 920




– May I be permitted to correct a mistake that I made in replying to the Leader of the Opposition? I inadvertently said that I had been informed that printing of the Tariff Board’s report would be completed on 28th October. That was a slip of the tongue. The correct date is 28th September.

page 920


Minister for Customs and Excise · Hotham · LP

– I wish to make a personal explanation.


– Order! Does the Minister claim to have been misrepresented?


– Yes. I claim to have been misrepresented by the Melbourne ‘Age’ this morning. In what is obviously a typographical error the newspaper has quoted me as saying in answer to a question yesterday:

Mr Chipp said he was ‘diametrically opposed’ to South Australia’s liberal view on censorship.

Reading from yesterday’s green what I said was:

I do not find myself diametrically opposed to the philosophy espoused by the South Australian Attorney-General . . .

page 920



– In accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969, I present the reports relating to the following proposed work:

Augmentation of Electrical Supply System Central City Area at Darwin, Northern Territory and Augmentation of Town Water Supply at Alice Springs, Northern Territory.

Ordered that the reports be printed.

page 920


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

Second Reading

Postmaster-General and Vice-President of the Executive Council · Petrie · LP

[11.301-1 move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

Mr Speaker, the prime purpose of this Bill is to increase those charges for Post Office services which require an amendment to the postal regulations or the telephone regulations. Generally these will apply from 1st October 1970, except the proposed air parcels service which is scheduled to come into operation on 1st January 1971. In addition to this, however, the Bill amends the Post and Telegraph Act to provide that government publications are deregistered from 19th August 1970 and will no longer attract a concessional rate.

When speaking to the Post and Telegraph Rates Bill, I dealt with the reasons for the decision to increase certain of the Post Office rates. I outlined for the information of honourable members the more significant of the changes to be made, including those covered by this Bill which deals with the charges in telephone rentals and connection fees and with postal charges other than the basic rates which have been set in the Post and Telegraph Rates Bill. I will not take up the time of the House by traversing again the matters I dealt with in my previous speech. I merely commend this Bill to honourable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.

page 920


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

Second Reading

Minister for Social Services · Mackellar · LP

I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

Mr Speaker, the Bill does two things. Firstly, it increases the base rate of pensions - the standard and married rates and also that for widows - by 50c a week. Secondly, it introduces a long term sickness benefit, at a higher rate than the old scale. In regard to the base rate of pension, I have had prepared some information for honourable members which is fairly detailed and which, with the concurrence of the House, I incorporate in Hansard.

Special Additional Payments for Age and Invalid Pensioners

Certain classes of pensioners receive extra supplementary payments to meet special circumstances. These include:

  1. Supplementary assistance of $2 per week, for all single and married pensioners receiving the standard rate who pay rent and whose means as assessed are under $52 per year, with payments at a reduced rate to pen sioners with means as assessed in the range $53-$ 156 per year. Supplementary assistance is at present paid to some 105,000 age pensioners and 51,000 invalid pensioners. The estimated cost for 1970-71 is $16.2m.
  2. Wife’s allowance: An allowance of $7 per week is paid for non-pensioner wives of all invalid pensioners, of all age pensioners who are permanently incapacitated for work or where there is a child under 16 years of age. There are at present 23,000 wives’ allowances being paid, and the estimated cost for 1970-71 is $8.2m.
  3. Guardian’s allowance: An allowance of $4 per week is paid to single and widowed pensioners where there is a child under 16 or a student child between 16 and 21. Where the child is under 6 years of age, or an invalid, this is increased to $6 per week. There are at present 4,150 allowances paid, the estimated cost for 1970-71 being $962,000.
  4. Additional pension for children: Pensioners receive an extra $2.50 per week for the first child under 16 (or between 16 and 21 if a student) in the family, and an extra $3.50 for each subsequent such child. At present these allowances are being paid for 35,700 children at an estimated cost for 1970-71 of $5.6m.

New Benefits for Age and Invalid Pensioners introduced under the Liberal-CP.

Government 1951 - Medical benefits for pensioners Aged Persons Income Tax concession Pharmaceutical benefits for pensioners 1954 - Aged Persons Homes Scheme 1956 - T.V. Licence concession for pensioners Additional pension for second and subsequent children 1957 - Home Nursing subsidy 1958 - Supplementary assistance for pensioners 1963 - Nursing Home Benefits 1964 - Telephone rental concession for pensioners 1965 - Guardian’s allowance for pensioners with children 1968 - Hearing Aid Service Special Temporary Allowance 1969 - Subsidy for Dwellings for Aged Persons Personal care subsidy for Aged Pensioners Home care and paramedical services 1970 - Meals on wheels subsidy

Fringe’ Benefits for Age and Invalid Pensioners

The following benefits are available to all pensioners except those in the ‘New Taper Area’ - i.e., those without children whose assessed means exceeds $25.50 per week (single) or$48 per week (married).

Those benefits marked with an asterisk are available to eligible pensioners, irrespective of their means.

Pensioner Medical Service

These come under three heads:

  1. Medical benefits
  2. Hospital benefits
  3. Pharmaceutical benefits

Medical benefits: A pensioner receives free consultation from a general practitioner both in his own home and in the doctor’s surgery. He receives free specialist treatment as an outpatient at any public hospital. Thus the pensioner receives what is roughly equivalent to what an insured person would get, but he, unlike the normal insured person, does not have to pay for the ‘gap’ out of his own pocket. (This ‘gap’ is $0.80 per surgery visit. $1.20 per home visit and a maximum of $5- probably an average of about $2.50 - for a specialist service). But it should be remembered that on the average a pensioner with dependants has over 8 GP consultations per year, whereas the corresponding average for nonpensioner insured persons is under 4 such consultations per year. The cost to the Commonwealth Government in respect of medical benefits for pensioners is approximately $20m p.a. for about 1 million pensioners - say $20 per head per year, or 40c per week.

Hospital benefits: Pensioners receive free treatment in public wards of public hospitals, together with all the ancillary medical services which go with it. The direct payment from the Commonwealth to hospitals on account of pensioners is estimated this year at $26. 8m. This represents $5 per day for each pensioner patient; but since the total cost in a public ward is about $18 per day, the total benefit to pen-


sioners for the year would be - x 5526. 8m


-i.e.,$96.5m. Averaged over 1.000,000 pensioners, this would be$96.50 per head per year or $1.80 per week.

Pharmaceutical benefits: Pensioners receive their pharmaceuticals free, without the 50c fee per prescription which other people pay. The list of drugs available under the pensioner medical service includes all drugs on the health benefits list plus some extra. The pensioners average 18.7 prescriptions per head per year, about4¾ times the non-pensioner average of 3.9 prescriptions per year. The estimated cost of pharmaceutical benefits for pensioners this year is $45.9m-i.e., about $45.90 per head per year or about 90c per week.

Summary: The cost of the pensioner medical service is thus approximately

Pensioners are entitled to nursing home benefits of $14 per week for light nursing and $35 per week heavy nursing, in addition to their pension and, where applicable, supplementary assistance. These benefits are available in any approved nursing home, including both profit and non-profit homes. (In practice, about 40 per cent of nursing cases are classified as ‘heavy nursing’).

The cost of nursing home benefits is estimated this year at some $48m. Since three-quarters of the patients are age or invalid pensioners, the pensioner cost is some $36m per annum, or an average of about $40 per head for 900,000 age and invalid pensioners, i.e. 80c per head per week.

This is an average of 6c per for 900,000 age and invalid pensioners.

A payment of $5 per week is made to hostel-type non-profit institutions for each resident over 80 years of age.

The total cost per year is estimated at $1.6m. Averaged over almost 800,000 age pensioners this would be $2 per head per year or 4c per week.

Telephone, Radio and TV Concessions Pensioners living apart from nonpensioners receive:

  1. A concession of of their telephone rental. Approximately 190,000 telephones receive this concession, at a cost to revenue of over $2. 5m per year.
  2. Pensioners’ radio licences cost $1 per year within 250 miles of a national station, as against the normal rate of $6.50. Over 99 per cent of pensioners’ radio licences are in this area; outside it the pensioner pays 70c per year against the normal fee of $3.30. A pensioner’s TV licence costs $3 per year, as against the normal fee of $14.

There are approximately 87,000 pensioners radio licences current, 34,000 pensioners TV licences, and 342,000 pensioners combined radio and TV licences. The value of this concession is over $6.3m per annum.

The total value of these telephone, radio and TV concessions is thus over $8.8m per year - an average of $8.80 per year or 17c per week over 1,000,000 pensioners.


There are three main ways in which pensioners get special housing benefits.

  1. The Aged Persons Homes scheme, established in 1954.
  2. The Dwellings for Aged Persons scheme, financed by the Commonwealth but administered through the States, which commenced in 1969.
  3. Rental concessions for aged pensioners on units erected by State Housing Commissions under the CommonwealthState Housing Agreement, which first became effective in this field in 1950.

Approved subsidies to date total $1 10.6m, and the estimated subsidy for this year is $14m. In addition to this, some $7m will come into the scheme from private charity, so that occupants, over 80 per cent of whom are pensioners, will benefit by some $21m this year. Pensioners among the occupants will benefit by at least $17m this year from the Aged Persons Homes scheme.

Dwellings for Aged Persons: Last year the Commonwealth made available a grant of $25m to the States for the housing of aged pensioners in necessitous circum stances. Expenditure under this head is now gathering way, and in 1970-71 it is estimated that $5.7m will be spent, providing accommodation for over1,000 persons.

Housing Summary -

This is an average of$32.13 per head per year (61c per week) for 800.000 pensioners.

Travel Concessions

State and Commonwealth transport systems give special fare concessions to age and invalid pensioners. These differ from State to State, and may be summarised as follows:

There is no firm information as to the value of these concessions, but they are clearly of major benefit to pensioners. It would not be unreasonable to average them at over 25c per week, but this estimate must be regarded as conjectural at the present stage. It is more likely to be too low than too high.

Local Rate Concessions

New South Wales: Local authorities, at their discretion, may write-off or reduce rates due by social service pensioners and certain repatriation pensioners and receive from the State Government 50 per cent of any rebate allowed. The cost of rate remissions to the State Government in 1968-69 was about SI. 85m, and thus the total cost of remission in that year was approximately $3.7m. Some local authorities allow rates to accumulate and become a charge against the estate of the pensioner, others do not grant any assistance with rates. There are no rebates on metropolitan water board rates but payment may be made in instalments and any arrears at the death of the pensioner are recovered from his estate. In 1967-68 about 66 per cent of local authorities exercised their power to reduce or write-off rates. The extent of deferrals of rates by local authorities is unknown.

Victoria: Local authorities may remit, excuse or defer payment of rates and interest thereon by persons in necessitous circumstances for such time as the local authorities see fit. Payments deferred remain a charge on the property. Similar provisions apply to water and sewerage rates. However, it is customary for the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works to require payment of $20, the opportunity being given to defer the balance.

Queensland: Local authorities may grant rate remissions to pensioners. The amounts remitted are normally between 25 and 50 per cent of the general rate. Some local authorities give no concessions, others allow the rates to accumulate until the death of the ratepayer. The term ‘rates’ includes sewerage, cleansing and water charges.

South Australia: Local authorities may remit or defer rates to a person in necessitous circumstances. Water and sewerage rates may also be deferred. Rates deferred remain a charge on the property and are payable on its sale or at the death of the ratepayer.

Western Australia: Social service and certain repatriation pensioners may claim exemption from the payment of rates and other charges. While the rates remain unpaid they are a charge against the land until its sale or transfer, the death of the pensioner or until the pensioner ceases to be eligible for exemption, whichever occurs first.

Tasmania: The Local Government Act provides that local authorities may remit or excuse all or part of rates upon application from pensioners, persons *in indigent or poor circumstances’, and certain other persons. Payment of rates may also be deferred. The term ‘rates’ includes water and sewerage charges. About 80 per cent of local authorities offer a rebate.

Northern Territory: Land rent may be reduced or remitted to social service and certain repatriation pensioners and other persons who would suffer hardship by their payment. Assistance is also given to pensioners to meet water charges. Garbage charges may be deferred and recovered from the estate of the persons assisted.

Australian Capital Territory: The Land Rent and Rates (Deferment) Ordinance provides for deferment of part of the land rent and rates of certain social service and repatriation pensioners and to other persons who would suffer hardship from the payment of these charges. The deferred amounts are regarded as a debt to the Commonwealth earning interest at 5 per cent per annum. The debt becomes repayable on the sale or transfer of the property or on the death of the owner.

Remission of pensioners rates does not seem to be widespread outside New South Wales, where $3.7m per year is involved. The Australian total is probably about $5m per year - an average of about $5 per year per pensioner (10 cents per week). Deferment of pensioners rates appears to be much commoner, but here again no firm figures are available.

Aged Persons Tax Concessions

Age pensions are regarded as taxable in many countries, but in Australia they are exempt from taxation. In addition, in Australia persons of pensionable age may receive considerable tax concessions on their income from sources other than pension (these tax concessions also apply to non-pensioners). Single persons of pensionable age pay no tax if their taxable income is less than $1,326 per year, and reduced tax if it is in the range $l,327-$2,273 per year. Married couples, where one or both is of pensionable age, pay no tax when their combined taxable income is less than $2,314 per year, and reduced tax if it is in the range $2,315-$4,102 per year. The following tables may give some idea of the position:

It is not possible to ascertain how much of this benefit goes to pensioners and how much to non-pensioners on a modest income. Both will benefit, but those pensioners who are without independent means will obviously not benefit from this tax concession, unless the fine point be taken that the Australian practice of exempting pension income from taxation does in fact confer a tax concession upon them. In calculating the value of ‘fringe benefits’ to age and invalid pensioners it is proposed to disregard this item.

Miscellaneous Benefits Available to Age Pensioners Through State Departments and Agencies

In many cases. State Governments make available assistance on a discretionary basis according to the circumstances in which the individual finds himself.

Cash Assistance

New South Wales: Nil.

Victoria: Certain age pensioners who were receiving cash assistance from the

Victorian Social Welfare Department as at 1st October 1969 are paid a supplementary benefit. It is understood, however, that all payments of this nature will be terminated at 30th September 1970.

Queensland: Supplementary benefit may be payable by the Department of Children’s Services to one-parent families receiving age pension, on the basis of $2.50 per week for each dependent child, subject, however, to a ceiling total income (child endowment being excluded) equal to the basic wage adjusted to take account of family size.

South Australia: A supplementary housing allowance of up to $2.00 per week (to the extent that housing costs exceed $4.00 per week) may be paid by the Department of Social Welfare to age pensioners who do not qualify for Commonwealth supplementary assistance.

Western Australia: An additional allowance may be payable to age pensioners with children at the rate of $2.00 per week (in a one-child family) or $2.50 (where there is more than one dependent child). The allowance is paid by the Child Welfare Department.

Tasmania: The Social Welfare Department may gram supplementary benefit to age pensioners with dependent children subject to a means test. The amount of assistance payable is the difference between assessed means and the appropriate required minimum living income determined according to size of family.

Food relief: Age pensioners are not generally granted food relief by State agencies.

Medical, Dental and Optical Facilities

New South Wales: In cases of need assistance may be given in providing spectacles, hearing aids, surgical aids and hospital transport. The Sydney Dental Hospital as well as certain other institutions provides necessary dental attention free of charge. Fares may also be met.

Victoria: Out-patient and in-patient treatment is given by the Mental Hygiene Department free of charge. Assistance is also available in providing pharmaceutical benefits and medical and optical treatment where corresponding Commonwealth assistance is not available. The Melbourne Dental Hospital provides out-patient treatment and supplies dentures to pensioners free of charge.

Queensland: Free medical and hospital services are available through the State’s free hospital system. The State dental clinics also make available to pensioners free dental treatment and dentures. Surgical aids may be available on a means test basis.

South Australia: Pensioners can obtain free dental treatment at the Dental Hospital, Adelaide. In addition medical treatment may be provided free of charge in cases of particular hardship.

Western Australia: The Perth Dental Hospital and associated clinics provide reducedfee dental treatment.

Tasmania: Pensioners are provided with free dental services, including the supply of dentures, at the dental departments of public hospitals. In addition pensioners residing in country areas may apply to the State Social Welfare Department for a free travel warrant to enable them to attend hospital. Surgical applicances and spectacles may also be made available.

Utilities: Some age pensioners living in area supplied by the Gas and Fuel Corporation of Victoria may be eligible for concessions. In Tasmania rebates on electricity accounts are made available to certain age pensioners by the Hydro-Electric Commission. Heating allowances may also be provided by the Social Welfare Department.

Education: Pensioners in Victoria having the care of high school children may apply to the school principal for financial assistance.

Legal Aid: Pensioners in Victoria and Tasmania may receive advice and, depending on their circumstances, be given legal assistance free of charge.

Miscellaneous: All States may assist pensioners in the provision of certain necessities such as blankets, clothing, funeral expenses, school books, special diets etc., where need is demonstrated. The above list is incomplete, especially since it omits reference to certain services which pensioners share with other less affluent sections of the community.

From the pensioner’s standpoint, the most important items are undoubtedly the dental and optical services (especially dentures and spectacles) and the ancillary medical services (especially surgical appliances and hospital transport). No firm figures of cost are available, the benefits are unlikely to average less than 20c per head per week, but this figure must be regarded as conjectural at the present stage.

Help to Pensioners from Non-Government Sources

Pensioners receive considerable assistance from non-government sources, including entrance to certain cinemas and other entertainments at reduced rates, and discounts for certain purchases. Many voluntary bodies have projects which are of material assistance to pensioners, and many individuals give of their time to help them. Although these benefits are substantial for the average pensioner, it is not proposed to take them into account for present purposes.

Means Test on Age and Invalid Pensions Comparison of 1949 and 1970 Provisions

In 1949 there were, in effect, two means tests, one on income and the other on property. First, if property exceeded $1,500 no pension was payable. Where property was less than the absolute limit, the maximum rate of pension was reduced by (a) any income in excess of $3 a week; and (b) S2 for every complete $20 in excess of $200 but not exceeding $900 and by $4 for every complete $20 of the remainder (if any) of the person’s property.

In 1961 the merged means test was introduced. Under this means test property is equated with income in order to determine a person’s ‘means as assessed’. This is made up of income plus $2 for every complete $20 of property in excess of $400. The maximum rate of pension was then reduced by $1 for each $1 of means as assessed in excess of the permissible amount ($364 in 1961 increased in 1967 to $520 unmarried, $442 married). In 1969 the tapered means test was introduced. Under the tapered means test the principles of the merged means test were retained, but the rate of pension is calculated by deducting $1 for each $2 of means as assessed in excess of the permissible amount instead of $1 for $1 as previously.

This information covers, firstly, the real values of the base pension since 1947, calculated at the latest available prices - that is, prices for the June quarter 1970; secondly, additional information about benefits paid to special classes of age and invalid pensioners; thirdly, a list of additional benefits, apart from increases in the base rate, brought in by the LiberalCountry Party governments since 1949; fourthly, an analysis of the fringe benefits currently available to age and invalid pensioners; and, fifthly, a comparison of the 1949 and 1970 means tests.

As 1 said in the House yesterday, the present proposed increase meets changes in the cost of living since the last Budget but does not increase the real rate of pension to any significant extent. Using the June quarter index, a small increase is indicated, but next month when the September quarter index has been compiled - of course, it is not available now - it will be found that the value at up-dated prices will be almost the same as the corresponding value last October. In real terms nothing has been added to the base rate and nothing has been lost. Naturally there will be some disappointment that the Government has found itself unable to maintain the real progress in this field which has been made in the last 2 Budgets. But this is a Budget for consolidation and for the major adjustment of the health benefits proposal and I have no doubt that before long we shall resume the pensioners progress, whether in increases in the real value of the base rate or in the provision of new fringe benefits or in both directions.

Meanwhile we have at least maintained the status quo. May I contrast this with what happened in 1949? I know it is a long time ago but it is the last time that Labor was in office and is, therefore, the only real indication of the way in which the Labor Party behaves. In the 1948-49

Budget the base pension was fixed at £2 2s 6d - $4.25 a week now - while the cost of living index stood at 43.4. By the time that Mr Chifley’s next Budget came along the cost of living index had increased from 43.4 to 46.1. In spite of this, no increase was made in the pension so that, by December 1949, when the Liberal-Country Party Government took over from Labor, the real value of the base pension had fallen by 7½ per cent. Let me put it in terms of today’s prices. The 1948 Chifley pension at today’s prices was worth $10.89 per week.

Mr Hayden:

– How long ago was this?


– It was the last time Labor was in office. I repeat, 1 am expressing this at today’s prices. By the time Mr Chifley left office the pension had fallen to $10.08 a week. Perhaps I can put it in terms of increase. If we had done what Mr Chifley did to the pensioners, instead of increasing the pension by 50c we would have reduced it by 80c. That is the measure of the difference between us. Contrast Chifley’s $10.08 pension with the $15.50 a week proposed in the present Budget. Better still, contrast what Labor says today with what Labor does when it is in office. I know that all this happened a long time ago but it is the latest available evidence because Labor has not been in office since then. So much for the crocodile tears of the Opposition. May I remind honourable members of the Opposition that supplementary assistance of $2 a week, which we pay as an addition to the base rate pension, did not exist at all under the Labor Government.

Mr Hayden:

– When did you last increase it?


– Order! I would suggest to the honourable member for Oxley, who is the Opposition member in charge of the Bill, that he will have an opportunity to answer this when the debate is resumed. I suggest that he cease his interjections.


– You could hear the crocodile tears splashing on the table. Of course, if honourable members will look at the schedules which I have tabled they will see that the ‘fringe benefits’, most of which were introduced by the LiberalCountry Party Government, add a great deal to the real value of the pension. With today’s average male earnings after tax somewhere in the vicinity of $63, the base rate pensioner who gets supplementary assistance of $2 per week and the fringe benefits which average some $5 per week is well up in the range of average male earnings.

Most emphatically I do not say these things in order to pretend that there are not still pockets of poverty among the pensioners. Even more, I do not say these things in order to give the impression that the Government will not bring in further improvements for pensioners as soon as opportunity offers. Rather, I say these things to put the facts on record and to answer some of the misconceptions which have got about. Sure, this year our welfare programme concentrates on consolidating past gains and getting the new health scheme under way. Sure, this year we have not made any significant increase in the position of pensioners. But sure, also, this year we have maintained their position at its previous peak.

Indeed, in a way, the reaction is a testimony to the policy which we have now pursued for 21 years, and which we shall soon resume as soon as possible, that is, the policy of continuous improvement of the real position of the pensioner. People have become so accustomed to this policy of continuous improvement that any slackening of the rate of advance appears to them almost as a regression. I can assure them that any slackening is only temporary, and that this Government, as soon as it can, will be bringing forward another instalment in its continuous and continuing plan of raising the standards of the pensioners in real terms, whether by increasing the base rate or by instituting new benefits or by both methods.

The Bill increases the married rate of pension by $1 per week, that is from $26.50 to $27.50 per week. It will also, of course, have a further indirect liberalising effect on the means test. The new limits for income (where there is no property component) and for property (where there is no income component) are as follows:

These are the points at which pension cuts out. Where means as assessed include both income and property, the merged means test principles apply. Ready reckoners for this have been compiled by my officers, and are available to pensioners and prospective pensioners at post offices throughout Australia. I should add, of course, that where a pensioner has dependent children the limits I have quoted above are still further increased. The increase of 50c per week will apply to all widow pensioners, so that a B class widow - that is a widow aged 50 to 60 and without dependent children - will now receive $13.75 per week plus, where applicable, supplementary assistance of $2 per week. 1 have a table setting out what the position will be for a class A widow, that is, a widow with dependent children. With the concurrence of honourable members, I incorporate this table in Hansard.

To the amounts mentioned in this table will be added the normal family endowment plus, where there is a child under 6 years of age or an invalid, a further $2. Let me now turn to the other provision of the Bill which will benefit about two-thirds of the total number of persons in receipt of sickness benefit. Honourable members may recall that in my second reading speech on the Social Services Bill last year I said that I was not completely happy with the position concerning sickness benefits and felt that we could be doing more in this particular field. This present Bill fulfils my promise to bring concrete proposals before the House.

Sickness benefits, like invalid pensions, provide a measure of support for the incapacitated and their dependants. The invalid pension is a long term payment for persons who are permanently incapacitated for work to the extent of at least 85 per cent. Sickness benefit, on the other hand, is for persons who are temporarily incapacitated for work and the payment is primarily short term. However, circumstances do occur where an incapacity, although not pensionable, is nonetheless protracted and sickness benefit may be required for a long period. Even assuming that most sickness beneficiaries do not begin their period of incapacity entirely without resources - indeed, many of them get some kind of workers compensation - it seems unlikely that those resources would be intact after a period on benefit. The longer the incapacity continues the more the position of the beneficiary of sickness benefit approaches that of an invalid pensioner.

Under this Bill the existing maximum rate of sickness benefit for an adult who is outside hospital and for an adult in hospital who has depnedants outside it will be increased, after benefit has been in force continuously for a period of 6 weeks, from $10 a week to the same rate applicable to an invalid pensioner, that is from $10 a week to$15.50 a week. Married minors and minors without parents in Australia will, of course, be treated as adults for the purposes of this increase. For unmarried minors outside hospital it is proposed to strike a uniform rate of $10 a week in lieu of the existing rates of $6 a week for minors aged 18-20 years and $4.50 a week for those aged 16-17 years, in cases where benefit has been in force for 6 weeks. Furthermore, it is proposed that an additional amount of $2 a week, equivalent to the supplementary assistance available to pensioners, will be payable where a beneficiary pays rent and is. entirely or substantially dependent upon his benefit. The present rates of benefit for dependants are the same us for pension purposes and they will not be varied.

All persons receiving sickness benefit are covered by the subsidised medical services scheme which assists them in meeting medical expenses and also covers the charges made for public ward treatment in a public hospital. Quite apart from medical and allied costs, however, a person with dependants will invariably have continuing family and domestic expenses; accordingly, the fact he is in hospital will not affect for him the introduction of the higher rate of benefit in such cases. However, this consideration does not apply where a person without dependants is in hospital and existing rates will apply in such circumstances. The higher rate of sickness benefit for long term cases will lessen the incentive for sick or incapacitated persons to seek an early grant of invalid pension. It will also enable rehabilitation potential to be assessed thoroughly so that transfer from sickness benefit to invalid pension will not be made until permanent incapacity is beyond doubt, the rate of benefit, of course, being the same in both cases.

J know that international comparisons are difficult but it seems to me that Australia still has too many people dead-ended on invalid pensions. Nothing is more tragic than the fate of a teenager who is facing a lifetime of useless invalidity. We must help these people to overcome any frustrations springing from their handicaps. Rehabilitation is one of the major objectives of the Government’s social services programme, and we intend to implement here the slogan that the 1970s will be the decade of rehabilitation. The present measure of giving a new long-term sickness benefit may be regarded as a step in that programme - a small step, but nevertheless a significant one. Another step will be made in the Sheltered Employment (Assistance) Bill which 1 hope to bring before this House in the next few weeks.

There will be other measures towards this same rehabilitation objective as our policy develops. I do not want to canvass them now: I simply want to alert the House to the fact that we are looking for the best means to help at least some of those ] 34,000 Australians who are still on invalid pensions to make their way towards a fuller and more satisfactory life. The new rates of pension will be payable on the first pension pay day after the day on which this Bill receives the royal assent and as I have already mentioned, will benefit over one million age, invalid and widow pensioners. The incerased rates of sickness benefit will also become payable from the first weekly payment falling due following royal assent. Mr Speaker, I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Hayden) adjourned.

page 931


Bill presented by Mr Holten, and rend a first time.

Second Reading

Minister for Repatriation · Indi · CP

1.11.52] - 1 move:

That the Hill be now read a second time.

The purpose of the Bill is to give effect to the Government’s Budget proposals in the repatriation war compensation field. This Bill now before the House provides for higher war compensation payments by way of increases in the rates of pension for totally and permanently incapacitated exservicemen and those ex-servicemen who, because of the severity of their war-caused disabilities, receive payments equal to the TPI rate, namely, the war-blinded, those temporarily totally incapacitated, those receiving the special rate of war pension for tuberculosis, and the severely incapacitated double amputees who receive additional amounts under the Fifth Schedule. It provides also for increases in the intermediate rate payable to those whose incapacity allows them to work only part-time or intermittently. There are also increases in payments to war widows and war orphans and in the special compensation allowance. In addition, the Bill makes essential changes which will enable additional Repatriation Boards to be appointed by the Governor-General where this is thought necessary.

I shall proceed now to explain in more detail the changes proposed. The rates for which increases are proposed in this Bill ure to be found in the Schedules to the Repatriation Act. Although they are expressed in the Act as fortnightly amounts it has long been the custom for honourable members to refer to the weekly amounts payable and therefore 1 propose to follow this practice. The Bill provides for amendment to the Second Schedule to the Repatriation Act to give effect to an increase of $2 per week for the special TPI rate of pension which is payable to those people whose war-caused incapacities prevent them from earning more than a negligible percentage of a living wage and to the war-blinded. The increase will apply also to ex-servicemen who are temporarily totally incapacitated and certain sufferers from tuberculosis. The new rate payable will be S38 per week. In accordance with the usual practice, the amounts payable under the first six items of the Fifth Schedule to the Act for serious amputations and loss of an eye are also being increased by 32 per week so that the total amount payable to pensioners with those disabilities will continue to equal the TPI rate of pension although they may be able to work. This figure is arrived at by adding these amounts under the Fifth schedule to the 100 per cent general rate war pension which these seriously disabled exservicemen receive. The intermediate rate payable under the First Schedule to those who, because of war-caused incapacity, can work only part-time or intermittently and are thereby unable to earn a living wage, will be increased by $1.50 per week. The new rate will be $28 per week.

The Sixth Schedule is to be amended to provide an increase in the special compensation allowance. This allowance is payable as additional compensation to those seriously disabled ex-servicemen whose actual incapacity is assessed at from 75 per cent to 100 per cent of the general rate. The increase will be $1 per week at the 100 per cent rate scaling down to 75c per week at the 75 per cent rate. The new rate of allowance will range from $6 per week for those whose actual incapacity is assessed at 100 per cent to $4.50 for those so assessed at 75 per cent. Increases in rates payable to war widows and war orphans are also proposed. For war widows, the Bill amends the First Schedule to the Act to provide for an increase of 50c per week in the war widow’s pension. The Third Schedule will be amended to provide increases of 60c per week for the first child of an ex-serviceman who dies from war causes and 75c for the second and subsequent children. For a double orphan, that is a child who has also lost the other parent, the increase will be $1.85 per week. The new weekly war pension rates will be as follows:

I turn now to the amendments in relation to Repatriation Boards to which I made earlier reference. A Repatriation Board, as honourable members will know, is the first of the independent determining authorities to consider claims for repatriation pensions and associated benefits and is responsible for the re-assessment of pensions as the occasion requires. The boards are appointed by the Governor-General and are comprised of a Chairman and 2 other members, 1 of whom is selected from lists of names submitted by ex-service organisations. There is J board in each State at present, some of which, depending upon their workloads, operate on a parttime basis only. The volume of work submitted to the Repatriation Board in New South Wales last year pointed up the urgent need to appoint a second board in that State if cases are to be dealt with in the way intended by the Repatriation Act. Similar pressures in other States have been met by extending the periods of sitting of the boards all of which had been operating on less than a full-time basis. The Act as it now stands permits the appointment of 1 board only in each State. The amendment I am proposing will provide the necessary power to appoint additional boards if and where required. The Bill also appropriates the Consolidated Revenue Fund to the extent necessary to provide during the current year the additional benefits to which the bill gives effect. All of the foregoing amendments will come into force on the date on which the amending Act receives the royal assent and the pension increases will be paid on and from the first pension pay day thereafter. A table which sets out in full the repatriation Budget details including those covered by this Bill has been prepared. It is available for information and, for convenience of honourable members, has been attached to copies of this speech which are being circulated. The measures I have outlined represent further significant advances in the repatriation war pensions area and I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Barnard) adjourned..

page 933


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

Second Reading

Minister for Repatriation · Indi · CP

– I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

Mr Speaker,I wish to inform the House thatI am making this speech on behalf of my colleague, the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Sinclair). It is the usual practice of the Government to keep the rates of pensions and allowances payable to seamen war pensioners under the Seamen’s War Pensions and Allowances Act in line with the similar rates payable to other war pensioners under the Repatriation Act. The purpose of the Bill now before the House is to increase, in relation to seamen, the various rates of pension as announced by my colleague the Treasurer (Mr Bury) in his Budget speech, and being given effect to by the Bill to amend the Repatriation Act recently introduced by me. Paragraph (a) of clause 3 of the Bill increases the ‘intermediate’ rate of war pension by S3 per fortnight to $56 per fortnight. The ‘intermediate’ pension is paid to seriously disabled persons whose war caused incapacities render them incapable of working other than on a part time basis, or intermittently. Paragraph (b) of that clause provides, in respect of children whose father, having been an Australian mariner coming under the Act, is dead, for an increase of $1.20 in the fortnightly rate of pension for the first child, making the fortnightly rate $12 for that child, and for an increase of $1.50 to the rate of $10 for each other child. Paragraph (c) of that clause provides for an increase of $3.70 in the fortnightly rate of pension payable for each child where the mother also is dead - the ‘double orphan’ - bringing that rate up to $24 per fortnight.

Under clause 4 the maximum rate of the special compensation allowance, provided for those general rate pensioners who, although able to work, are nevertheless seriously incapacitated by war caused disability, is increased by $2 to $12 per fortnight for the 100 per cent rate pensioner.

Under section 22b (2.) of the Act the new rates will scale down proportionately to$9 per fortnight for the 75 per cent pensioner. Clause 5 of the Bill substitutes a new First Schedule to the Act to provide for an increase of $1 in the fortnightly rate of pension payable to widows of Australian mariners, the maximum rate thus becoming $34.60 per fortnight. The Bill does not have to provide for the increase of $4 to $76 per fortnight in the rate of TPI pension or for the increase of $4 in the fortnightly amounts payable in respect of certain disabilities described in the Fifth Schedule to the Repatriation Act, as the increased rates under that Act will apply automatically to seamen pensioners by virtue of section 22a of the Seamen’s’ War Pensions and Allowances Act. As usual, the increases in pensions and benefits will be payable on the first pension pay day after the date on which the Bill receives the royal assent. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Barnard) adjourned.

page 933


Second Reading (Budget Debate)

Debate resumed from 2 September (vide page 891), 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 strickin primary industries and because it introduces and increases taxes and charges of a regressive and inequitable nature’.


Mr Speaker, when the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) spoke in this debate last night, he was rather caustic in his remarks about the National Service Act which he described, I think, as a cancer eating into our national life. He said that it should be abandoned. In fact, he called it an infliction on the nation and asked for its repeal. It is difficult to understand his attitude because the honourable member has just returned from a visit to South East Asia as a result of which he made some very extraordinary statements in relation to Cambodia. I felt that his visit would have changed his mind in relation to the National Service Act. The honourable member found in Cambodia that blatant aggression against that country was being carried out by the Communists and the North Vietnamese. The same situation is to be found in South Vietnam.

Perhaps last night the honourable member for Wills was anticipating the matter and was trying to get back onto the bandwagon so that he might take part in the moratorium celebrations which will occur shortly. The honourable member spoke also about bringing our servicemen home from Vietnam. He said that the solution to the conflict there would not be a military one. The attitude of the Australian Labor Party on this matter is difficult to understand. After all, the decision to reintroduce national service was taken because Australia must have national service to meet the commitments that it has made. At the request of the South Vietnamese, the Australian Government agreed to join with the Americans in attempting to defend South Vietnam and to preserve the independence of that young country. Essential to our ability to do this was the reintroduction of the National Service Act. This was done because it was impossible to recruit into the Australian Regular Army the number of men required in order to carry out that promise. Therefore, the young men of Australia were called upon to serve in the Army under the terms of the National Service Act. This is not, as some people try to describe it, an ordinary training scheme. It is a scheme designed to fill the gaps in the numbers of men required to meet our commitment in South Vietnam. It is the result of a decision made by a properly elected government. I can understand that people have differing opinions in relation to it. Some members of the Opposition, including the honourable member for Wills, have encouraged young men, in the name of Australia, to disobey this law. In my opinion that is almost criminal. It is dreadful to think that a man like the Premier of South Australia could say that he would advise his son to disobey the law in respect to the National Service Act. The position has been created where many people who do not understand the implications of their actions have created disturbances and adopted an attitude that they would not otherwise have adopted had they not been encouraged to do so by people in high places, including the honourable member for Wills. It is disgraceful. The Government has been properly constituted and it has made its decision in the proper way. National Service has been provided for by law, and the law should be obeyed. Surely there is nothing unreasonable in the young men of any country being called upon to defend their country. That is the basis of the National Service Act.

The annual debate on the Budget is coming to an end. Much has been said both for and against the Budget that has been presented. People are mostly concerned with how it affects them personally, but the Opposition must not take it to mean that if people are dissatisfied with one or more matters contained in the Budget they are dissatisfied with the Government. I suppose it is natural that people would like to see certain things changed. I would, too. So would everybody else on both the Government and Opposition sides. But this is a Budget which has been prepared by the Government. While people may be concerned with how it affects them personally, that is not to say that they disagree with the Government. What is a Budget? It is merely a statement by an elected government to show its programme for the year - what it intends to do and how it proposes to get the money to carry out that programme. That is a simple explanation of a Budget. It is an honest judgment of what the Government considers best for the country as a whole. I do not think anybody could dispute that. I do not think it could be said that members of the Government or the Cainbet are men who are prepared to do dishonest things. They consider on the information available to them that this is the best that can be done in the interests of the country. The Government must take responsibility for the conduct of the country’s affairs. It must protect the stability of the economy, which is paramount for everyone in Australia regardless of his walk of life or what he is doing. The Government must ensure that rewarding employment is available for the citizens. It has done that in the Budget. We have a condition of full employment, which indicates that in the past the Government’s judgment on this matter has been good. This country is in a state of great prosperity. Tt is the responsibility of the Government to ensure development and progress for the future benefit of all. This is a very important matter for a young, growing country like Australia.

There will always be criticism and differences of opinion, lt is quite right that they should be expressed. In the present circumstances I believe that this is a well balanced and good Budget, even though ! should have preferred to see certain matters changed. The function of the Opposition is to oppose the Budget. Generally speaking, the Budget debate gives the Opposition an opportunity to state what it would do if it was the Government, because the Opposition aspires to become the Government Party. Very little has been said about what the Opposition would do. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) has moved an amendment asking the Parliament to condemn the Government for what he calls the deceptive and negative Budget. I do not think he should have used the word deceptive’ because that is nol a proper parliamentary approach by a man who aspires to be Prime Minister. Anybody may call the Budget negative. The Leader of the Opposition gives as his reason that it fails to meet the needs of the people in relation to social services, repatriation, assistance to schools, hospitals, urban authorities and the restructuring of primary industries, and because it introduces and increases taxes and charges. T suppose that is the usual way that motions for amendment: are presented.

Let us look a! some of the arguments used by the Leader of the Opposition. He made a very important and extraordinary statement for a Leader of the Opposition. He said: ‘Our purpose is to destroy the Budget and the Government.’ The Minister for the Navy (Mr Killen) made a speech on this theme. He was quite right. In my opinion, the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition was a most irresponsible one for a man who aspires to be Prime Minister of Australia. He did not say that he had something better to offer to the people. All he wants is power to become the Prime Minister of Australia and to bring into effect policies that he did not mention in his speech. It is easy for an opposition to be critical, to pick out the points of disagreement and play up to sections of the community to create dissatisfaction in their minds. The Opposition has no responsibility, lt can say anything to stir up emotions and annoyance in the people. It can promise anything - it frequently does - to try to convince the people that it would be a better alternative government. The people should beware of statements made by the Opposition in a Budget debate because they cannot assume that the Opposition’s promises are what they would get if that Opposition became the Government. lt is difficult to understand the criticism of the Leader of the Opposition of the reduction in taxation. He used very dramatic words and called it a play to the greedy and stupid. These are not words one would expect from a Leader of the Opposition who is aspiring to become Prime Minister. How absurd can one gel? This is merely a political trick that he is using to try to stir up class distinction in relation to the reduction in taxation. He has adopted the theme that a man on a low income receives a smaller reduction in taxation than a man on a higher income. This is only natural. The Leader of the Opposition plays up the idea of class distinction. 1 suppose there would not. be a taxpayer in Australia who would not agree that there was great need to reduce tax on lower and middle incomes. This is something with which everybody agrees. The Prime Minister promised to make this reduction over a period of 3 years but to his and the Government’s credit he did it in I year. This 10 per cent reduction of the worker’s income tax is a substantial reduction. It will be of great help and will be an incentive, which is important, to the worker. It must be remembered that this affects the great bulk of Australian taxpayers. It tapers down to a lesser reduction for those on the higher incomes. Incidentally, company taxation has been increased and this affects company profits. Taxation reductions for lower and middle income earners were not only essential but. in my opinion, will be very beneficial indeed. Notwithstanding his political ambitions, one would have expected that the Leader of the Opposition would have applauded this and not derided it as he did. One just does not understand his attitude.

He then went on to criticise the increase in indirect taxation on cigarettes, wine, motor cars and so forth. Of course this increases the cost of living for those who buy those items but this does not mean that it affects everybody who receives a reduction of income tax. Some people may not buy these things; I do not know. It does not mean that had there not been a reduction of income tax these imposts would not have been made. Some of the items affected are essential, some are luxuries. No-one likes these increases - I do not - but the money must come from somewhere to meet necessary increases of expenditure such as in health and social services. People get a wrong impression. Governments do not have money of their own; they only have money they get from the people by way of taxation. The Leader of the Opposition does not say where he would get the money to avoid imposing these increases which he so vehemently criticised.

He speaks of the credit squeeze and higher interest rates as being unnecessary, particularly as they apply to housing. Why does he pick out housing? It is because he is playing politics and he knows that interest rates which affect so many people are an emotional area. Therefore he plays politics and places the emphasis upon increases in interest rates for housing finance. But the increased interest rate applied to everything in the country. I did not hear htm say anything about higher interest rates being paid by industries struggling to survive or the producers of essential commodities. The Government’s housing record is a very good one indeed because in the period it has been in office there has been a growth of home ownership. This arises from the encouragement of home building and the availability of finance for this purpose, so that we have reached the point where we have a greater percentage of” home ownership than any other country has. Tn this sphere large sums of money are made available through the CommonwealthStates Housing Agreement. The Government is providing large sums of money to the States and to home owners at a rate that is 1 per cent below the long term bond rate.

The Leader of the Opposition knows these things and he knows that every country has increased taxation. It is done because of the real danger of inflation in this country and if these actions were not taken inflation would destroy the value of the workers’ wages. The Government simply had to make these unpopular decisions because it bears the responsibility for the sake of everyone in the community. But the Leader of the Opposition did not care, as long as he thought he could score politically. Still playing politics, he referred to a health tax although there is no mention of a health tax in the Budget. This gave him an opportunity to parade his Party’s scheme for a compulsory health fund. Our scheme is voluntary; people may join if they wish. But the Labor Party’s scheme is a compulsory one to which everyone must subscribe. Of course, this is in line with its Socialist policies. We all know what this means. It means centralising all health controls in Canberra. It means nationalising all doctors, all hospitals, all medicines that we take and the production of medicines. The effect of this kind of health service on the individual is dreadful to contemplate and I hope that people will never be deceived by the scheme the Labor Party has put forward. Centralisation of control is the Labor Party’s policy.


– Tell us about the Budget.


– I am telling you what the Leader of the Opposition thinks about the Budget. I am taking his speech apart. Again a violent attack is made on what he calls the budgetary policy of this Government in relation to the proposed receipts duty tax. I will not say much more about this. He knew full well when he made this statement and placed great emphasis on it that the Commonwealth was merely acting as an agent for the States which previously levied this duty, found it to be illegal and asked the Commonwealth to do certain things. The Government agreed. Why he should take this attitude T shall never know.

Mr Cope:

– I do not think you like him.


– I do not. The sanctity of the Budget is a term that was used. The Leader of the Opposition poohpoohs the idea that a proper calculation is made in the income and expenditure accounts presented to the Parliament and says they are just political and social decisions. I do not think any member of the Parliament should come into this place and make statements like that. It is just not proper in my opinion, not even parliamentary, to call the presentation of authorised accounts merely a political and social decision. How irresponsible can a Leader of the Opposition who is trying to be Prime Minister gel? His inference is that if a government wants to do so it can spend as much as it likes and impose taxes or issue Treasury notes in order to gel the money. In other words, the stability of the economy does not matter. This is the whole tenor of the Opposition’s case. I ask the people: Can Australia trust such a man or such a Party? No, it cannot.

In dealing with the tremendously important field of social welfare the Leader of the Opposition again came forward -with a most confused dissertation that I could not understand. I do nol. think anybody could understand it. He recommended some extraordinary things. Firstly, he said in effect that he wants to establish a retraining programme to teach old people how to live in a Socialist society. The impertinence of it! Secondly, he referred to a national superannuation plan. A lot of honourable members agree with this idea but the Leader of the Opposition does not go info the economics of it. Such a plan would disturb the whole economy and has to be well thought through. On the abolition of the means test the Leader of the Opposition is again just playing to the people because it is not possible - and the people should know that it is not possible - to abolish the means test completely at this time, although this Government has over and over again relieved certain aspects of the means test year by year in every Budget. But what he really means is that Labor stands for a Socialist State and in this Socialist State he is prepared to destroy the dignity of the individual and private enterprise will become a crime.

  1. would like to see certain other improvements in the social service and social welfare legislation, particularly for old people, but this is my personal opinion and it is not backed, as it should be, by the information that is available to the Government. J would have liked to see more encouragement for families because there are certain categories of people in this country for whom special attention is needed. Of course, the Government has given a lot of attention to this matter over the years with homes for aged persons and so on but there is still a lot more to be done for our old people. Neither the Opposition nor the Government is giving proper attention to the encouragement of larger families in this country. I do not think anybody appreciates to the full what the mothers of large families suffer. To my way of thinking, it would be very much better to spend some of the millions provided in this Budget to encourage larger families. We could. of course, spend the lot. While it costs a certain amount to bring an immigrant into this country, it should cost no more and. I would say, somewhat less to produce more people of our own if people were given encouragement to have larger families. But there are many people opposed to this. The best way to increase Australia’s population and to get a better kind of person would be to encourage bigger families through child endowment.

Then we had the Leader of the Opposition getting on to one of his hobby horses, namely, civic government, urban development and payments to the States. I have no time to spend on this at the moment - I hope to speak to it during the debate on the Estimates - but he is quite clear in his attitude. His idea is to abolish State governments altogether and control everything from Canberra. According to him ali land development is to be by Commonwealth resumption and handled through a central bureaucracy, lt is about time Labor realised, as 1 am sure it does not, that the troubles from which we are suffering now in relation to land prices and so forth are very largely due to the interference by Governments in the past. In a later speech I will trace this back to the Labor Government which initiated it and to certain things that this government does. Certainly it is due also to the State planning authorities and other such bodies which have restricted the proper free flow of land in the community. But the Opposition does not understand this, ft has no idea. It favours anything for restriction and control.

Of course, Labor had very little to say on defence. The only thing it seemed to place emphasis on was increased pay for servicemen. I think they should be well paid. I have always advocated this but there is a limit to which one can go. Labor does not seem to realise that a policy of tak inn payment for Service people away altogether from the standards of pay in civil employment and in private enterprise could be very damaging. It would be a dreadful thing if we had competition between governments and private enterprise in a condition of over-full employment in the community. The effect upon the economy of this sort of thing would be devastating so we have to be careful. As I have only a couple of minutes left I just want to referto the remarks made by the Leader of the Opposition in relation to social conduct, law and order and the trade union movement; these remarks were really conspicuous by their absence. The only thing he did was to defend the attitude of Mr Hawke on strikes. I was interested to receive a pamphlet from the Pensioner Community Service the other day which said:

Mr Hawke, the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, is using every group to further his political ambitions - we say political not industrial - because it is obvious that Mr Hawke is usurping the role of Leader of the Opposition.

I think that is pretty right, but in any event the Leader of the Opposition defends the attitude of Mr Hawke on strikes. It occurred to me that Mr Hawke could have made a real killing if, instead of advising 1 million or more workers to strike for 3 hours as a protest against the Government, he had asked those workers to donate 3 hours of their work time to the old people of Australia. If he had done that, and assuming that $3 each were contributed by over 1 million people, that would have amounted to $3m. The Government would then have been forced into the position of giving $2 for every $1 for homes for aged persons. This would have meant another S6m or, in other words, $9m would have been available. That would build about 2,000 homes for aged people in Australia. This would have been a great contribution and one wonders why it was not done. I am not suggesting that people should be obliged to do this sort of thing but it would have been infinitely better understood by the people of Australia than was the calling of a 3-hour strike to disrupt the business of Australia and to destroy, in certain respects, the production of Australia. These are the things we are up against. It will be interesting to see what the Leader of the Opposition will do about this matter of law and order because he has some explanations to make to me. Apparently he is in line with Mr Trudeau, because he has made a statement that there is no place for the courts in the bedrooms of the nation. I wonder what he means by that.

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


– I rise to support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) and to express my opposition to the Budget. I would like to enlarge my criticism to oppose the whole of the Government’s economic policy or, what might be called its non-policy. I say ‘non-policy’ because the Government lacks completely, as far as I can see, any overall economic strategy at all. Its economic performance in the last decade has been miserable. To counter inflation it can apparently think of nothing better to do than to oppose wage rises in the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and to minimise social service increases. There is no indication of any government policy at alt to divide equitably the national wealth between the wage earner, the profit earner and the person on a fixed income. To redistribute the tax burden it can do no better than replace progressive taxes with regressive indirect taxes and still leave the relative incidence of income tax almost unchanged. Finally, and most importantly, it gives no insight whatever as to how any gains in productivity - whatever gains are achieved - are to be translated into a better way of life for the citizens of this nation.

It is easy to make constructive criticisms of this Budget and constructive criticisms of the Government’s economic policy because the Government itself has done nothing constructive. There is simply nothing there to tear down before building starts. On the other hand, the Budget itself contains many destructive proposals and these deserve to be dealt with in like manner.

Nothing is more destructive than the principle which the Government has established in its attack in this Budget on the pensioners. It is impossible to defend the Government’s action. It is impossible to disagree with those spokesmen of the pensioners’ associations who described the rise of 50c a week as an insult, representing, as it does, a 3.3 per cent rise for single pensioners compared with the 8.9 per cent rise in average weekly earnings over the last financial year. It is nothing less than a direct attack on the living standards of those who are dependent on the pension. I am sure that this Government still holds the opinion that a pension is granted as a kind of privilege when it is in a generous and indulgent frame of mind. It should, of course, be nothing of the sort. The pension is a right. It is the right of the person who has contributed, by work and by taxation, to the prosperity and development of this country to enjoy a reasonable living standard when he or she is no longer able to work. There is also a moral obligation on the Government to ensure that nobody in the community in this day and age should be living in a state of poverty or near poverty. Perhaps we would be better off if we ceased to use the word ‘pension’. 1 have a further criticism of the tiny rise in the pension and it is a fundamental criticism. It is this: Pensioners have been singled out in order to protect everybody else from the effects of further inflation. Whether the situation is menacing, potentially menacing, or whatever it is, inflation is occuring. There can be no argument about that. The most helpless person in an inflationary situation is the person on a fixed income. He is the person worst affected. Surely it should be axiomatic that such people should be protected against inflation by automatically adjusting pensions according to fluctuations in average weekly earnings and then to take counter inflationary measures elsewhere. But this Government is giving pensioners double punishment. The pension is being kept down as a counter inflationary measure. The pensioners cop it both ways. Already they suffer more than any other group from the effects of inflation. Instead of compensating pensioners because of the effects of inflation and instead of taking deflationary measures in other sectors of the economy, the pensioners are being used to cushion the effects of inflation on everybody else. Therefore the 50c rise in the pension is more than a quantitative mistake; it betokens a fundamentally wrong economic approach and a total absence of a sense of social justice.

While on the subject of people on fixed incomes I want to point out that the recipients of payments from the Commonwealth Superannuation Fund have not received a rise since 1967, except for those superannuitants who were able to participate in the scheme of non-contributory units introduced last year. I hope that the Government, if it survives this Budget session, will spare a thought for this large group of people who are also in receipt of fixed incomes. I hope it will bear in mind their special problems in times of inflation.

Sitting suspended from 12.44 to 2.15 p.m.


– Already Opposition speakers have opposed the introduction of regressive taxes and indirect taxes on consumer durables. They are an unfair imposition on the low income earner. In contrast the income tax relief of this Budget has been greatest not for those in the low income bracket but for those in the income range of $5,000 to $20,000 per year. Why should this be? The justification for this appears, as far as I can see, in the speech delivered by the Minister for Immigration (Mr Lynch) last night. It should be noted that he is also the Minister Assisting the Treasurer. Therefore I think we can say that his rationalisation for this measure would be the reason behind the Government’s policy of giving the greatest income tax relief to those in the $5,000 to $20,000 income tax bracket. The Minister stated that the people in this income range are executives, managers and the professional people within the community. He said that these are the people we need to provide with incentive. Apparently the argument - this is a frequently canvassed argument - used by the Government runs something like this: We have to lower the incidence of income tax on these people so that they will have more incentive to work harder and to increase productivity; we will not provide any disincentive for them to earn more by making their income tax too high. So the argument is to lower taxation and thus give these people an incentive to work harder because the Government will not reef money off them by way of taxation. However, this argument is completely fallacious.

This system does not work as a positive incentive at all. In fact, lowering income tax in this way can work as a disincentive because if you are an executive, a manager or a professional type you can just as easily say that because the Government has lowered income tax you are earning a greater net income and you do not have to work any harder. So, it can cut both ways There is some evidence, according to economists, that the lowering of income tax in this range acts not as an incentive for people to work harder but as a disincentive. In other words, people in this income tax bracket will be just as well off without working any harder. Therefore, 1 believe that the Government’s justification for this measure is completely fallacious. This is not to say that a Labor government WO Ull not alter the incidence of taxation. However, as a party we believe in progressive taxation rather than regressive taxation. But that is not to say that a Labor government would not - in fact it probably would - redistribute the incidence of income taxation between the people in the various income ranges.

I want to pay some attention to the especially adverse affects that indirect taxes will have on the economy of my home State of South Australia. There is no question that the increased sales tax on consumer durables and the imposition of a tax on wine threatens the South Australian economy. I believe that the Government must have had a false picture of the wine industry when it decided to impose a tax on wine. It is true that there is a boom in the wine industry at the moment, but this condition of the industry may well be a fragile one. I have a report on the wine industry made by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics dated October 1969. This report shows there has been a relative fall in the price of wine. This is to say, the price has risen at a slower rate than the consumer price index. The survey further shows that the demand for wines is very much susceptible to changes in price. In other words, the current wine boom is largely due to the relative price drop. The converse is also true. In 1964 and 1965 there was in fact a surplus of grapes. In the light of this it is worth examining the likely impact of the wine tax on demand. The report of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics notes that a rise in price will cause a more than proporionate drop in sales. Thus, the tax plus the retail margin, have added something like 45c to the price of a flagon and 13c for a bottle - rises of about 13 per cent and 15 per cent respectively. If the predictions of the Bureau are correct a drop in sales of the order of 40 per cent and 20 per cent respectively may be expected. I point out that there has been a great increase in vine plantings, lt would be a disaster if this industry joined the list of those with a surplus just because of a clumsy government measure. I cannot understand the attitude of the Government, which at the same time is paying out subsidies to less viable industries. 1 have in mind, of course, the dairying industry, whose future seems bleak indeed. This impost is being placed on a relatively healthy industry. We are taking from the efficient wine industry and giving to other industries. This is a classic case of misallocation of resources and it is nothing short of sheer economic lunacy.

I would like to remind the Government of the critical importance also of the consumer durables industries to the South Australian economy. If there is any fall in the demand for these commodities the South Australian economy will suffer. In 1965-66 and 1967-68 drought conditions in the eastern States resulted in an economic downturn in South Australia. This year South Australia has already experienced difficulties in the vehicle building industry due to the Government’s high interest rate policy. Only a couple of months ago there was a substantial number of sackings from the Chrysler plant at Tonsley Park. Now South Australian industry has to bear the additional burden of increased sales tax on goods produced in that State. The number of instances in the last few years where South Australia’s interests have been disregarded is large indeed. There is a strong suspicion in South Australia that the motivation of the Commonwealth is political. The Prime Minister (Mr Gorton’) was reported to have said at the last Premiers Conference in June that the special Commonwealth capital payment to South Australia would not be paid because South Australia had made its decision 2 weeks earlier. The decision he was referring to of course, was the decision of the South Australian people to elect a Labor Government. I cannot say whether this Press report is accurate. But this attitude would be consistent with the attitude the Commonwealth has developed towards South Australia in recent years. Whether it is based on party politics I do not know, but I do know that South Australian’s are fed up with the short shrift they are receiving from this Government.

I want to make a few remarks about the Government’s economic policy in general. First of all I would like to say something about productivity because this is a word that has been mouthed a great deal recently by Ministers. I am not one of those who regards productivity or economic growth as the most important reason for our being on this earth. I do not say that the main thing we should get out of life is economic growth. However, we must acknowledge the fact that our living standards are to a large degree dependent on our economic growth. The performance of the Government can be seen from figures in a speech made by none other than the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Snedden). The parameter he used was the rise in gross national product at constant prices per head of population. This is probably the most useful yardstick for economic growth. Australia’s performance over the last 10 or 15 years compared to that of the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and countries of western Europe has been very poor. We are almost second last in the race; the last place is filled by Great Britain. If we juxtapose this fact alongside something else that the Minister for Labour and National Service pointed out - that we have almost the highest rate of capital investment in the western world - we can see that the performance df this Government is pretty bad indeed. Tn spite of a high rate of capital formation our economic growth rate is about the poorest in the western world. What a woeful performance; what a pitiful performance. The reason for this state of affairs of course is misallocation of resources. If ministers are to talk about productivity they ought first of all put their own backyard m order. What we need is sensible planned growth of our economy. This does not, of course, mean complete rigid controls of everything in the economy. Socialism does not mean complete strictures on all the economic activities of the community. But it does mean that we should have some broad idea of which way our economy should be going. The Gov ernment does not seem, at this stage, to have any general or broad idea of which way we should go. It seems to have only one principle and that is that if investment has already been made in one sector of the economy then we must safeguard that investment, however efficient it is and no matter whether it is a good or bad use of resources. This applies in the case of both primary and secondary industries. It means that if someone has established an industry we have to underwrite it. We have to underwrite not only its continued existence but if that industry chooses to expand we have also to underwrite that as well, regardless of its efficiency. I cannot see how we will have a useful allocation of our resources and a maximising of our economic growth if we continue such an economic policy as this. Perhaps it might better be called a non-policy.

Earlier this year the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) indicated useful ways in which our economy could and should develop. He mentioned, particularly, upgrading the ores that are produced in Australia - That is, bauxite and iron ore - so that we could refine and smelt the products and make manufactured goods from them ourselves. Here, indeed, is a useful way in which we could bend our economy in a direction which would maximise our economic growth. But this is something on which we must make a positive decision. I hope, incidentally, that the Australian Industries Development Corporation will do something positive in this regard. Nothing is more fruitless or counter-productive than the endless handing out of subsidies. As far as I can see, subsidies might have one use and that is if we are trying to coax people into an industry. Suppose that we are trying to produce so much of a particular crop or we decide that we can sell so much of a particular cereal. If we need so many people in that industry to produce the quantity needed to maximise our export income and we lack that number of people in that primary industry I say that the rational thing to do would be to subsidise the industry to encourage people to enter it. But that is not the situation. At present we have too many people in primary industry. Therefore T cannot see anything more pointless than endless subsidies. Surely we could have some more positive approach to this than we have at present.

Mr Robinson:

– You just want to cast people to the wolves.


– I did not say that. I said that we should do something positive. One modest back bench member on the Government side - heaven alone knows who he is but we all have our suspicions - once said: ‘Who has ever been subsidised into becoming efficient?’ What we must ask about our products is: How much can we sell? How many people do we need to grow the amount of production that we can sell? How can we maximise the efficiency of the industry concerned? I hasten to add - especially as a speaker from the country is to follow me - that T am not saying we should empty the countryside and overcrowd the cities. This is something we must avoid at all costs and if I have time I will mention this later. But I do not think we can expect to get any long term gain from subsidies. I have in mind particularly the subsidy proposed in the Budget for the wool growers, because that subsidy to wool growers is nothing but a social service payment. It will not help the wool industry or do anything about wool prices, lt is nothing but a social service payment and as such must be compared with other social service payments. For that reason 1 must condemn what the Government has done. Pensioners will get a rise of 50c a week $26 a year; yet some wool growers will get $1,500 a year. Where is the economic sense in that? If it would help the wool industry it would be a different matter, but it will not. It is a sheer social service payment.

Another aspect of productivity that we should be looking at. is our investment in education. I am not suggesting of course, that education should be looked at from the economic standpoint entirely. In fact, it is nol the most important reason for investing in education. However if we want to look at it in that way it is a highly productive economic measure and something that will show a positive return. What the Government should get into its mind is that money spent on education is not money down the drain. What about a sharing of the fruits of productivity? After deciding what is the size of the national cake, how are we to cut it up? The Minister for Labour and National Service and the Treasurer (Mr Bury) have called for restraint by the trade union movement.

This is quite fatuous. In support of that comment I should like to refer to a Government document. I quote from the White Paper on ‘The Australian Economy 1970’ in which it is stated:

What will be said here about the effect which rising wages have bad on prices in recent years is not at all intended to imply that they have been solely responsible for the price increases which have occurred. It is not so. A good many other factors have contributed, larger profit margins probably more than most.

In other words, of the rising productivity in the Australian economy m the last few years a greater proportion of that increase has gone to the profit earning sectors of the economy than to the sector which takes wages and salaries. It is quite fatuous for members of the Government to call on the trade union movement for restraint. What we need is for the trade union movement to be guaranteed a reasonable and just proportion of any increase in productivity. No wonder that Mr Hawke and other leaders of the trade union movement have looked slightly askance at the Productivity Council and its deliberations last week. How can they do otherwise if they can sec that the lion’s share of the wealth of the country is going to those who take the profits rather than to those who put in their own labour? This is something that must be rectified if the Government wants to get increased productivity. If it wants to interest the trade union movement in this, a very hard look must be had at the question of giving a just proportion of reward to those who supply industry with their labour.

What has the Government done about inflation? Perhaps another question that might be asked is: Who are the principal victims of inflation? The principal victims, of course, are those on fixed incomes and the exporters. I have already mentioned what has happened to the people on fixed incomes, particularly pensioners who have received very miserable treatment indeed. Labor government, of course, will automatically tie incomes of pensioners to the average weekly earnings. As for the exporters, to some extent the disadvantages they may have suffered have been offset by inflation occurring in other countries. This has not been the same in the case of many of our primary industries, particularly those that are not party to international commodity arrangements. All that the

Government has been able to do is to go to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and say: ‘Do not put wages up’. The latest thing that the Government has done is to appear before the Arbitration Commission in the oil case and say: ‘We do not think you should take the profitability of an individual company into account in making an award’.

The Government has called on the trade unions to exercise restraint in wage claims, but we have not heard a word about restriction of prices or restriction of profits. What a one-sided view the Government has of this. The answer, of course, is that the Government must have a good look at the excessive profits that are being made by many of the large monopolies in this country. I have in mind particularly the agreement that was made behind closed doors between the Prime Minister and the Esso-BHP company in respect of off-shore oil in Bass Strait. This has been described by at least one economic writer as the economic scandal of the 1960s. I believe that the Government lost an opportunity in 1967 to do something about inflation at the time of the devaluation of sterling. I think perhaps at that time we could have done a lot worse than devalue with sterling and perhaps make some adjustment to the tariff policy. However, it is probably too late to do anything about that now. But I still believe that we can control inflation by proper integration of our policies’ on tariffs, subsidies, immigration, investment, education and profit and price control. Evidently we will have to await a Labor government before we get this.

Finally, I would like to say something about a matter raised in the Opposition amendment relating to a failing of the Commonwealth Government. The Opposition amendment mentions assistance to schools and hospital and urban authorities. I refer to the last one, that is urban authorities, in relation to whom the Commonwealth Government refuses to take any positive interest. The Commonwealth must play a very active role because it is the only government in Australia with the resources to do something about making Australian cities better places in which to live. This matter has been canvassed many times by the Leader of the Opposition. It is high time that the Government did something.

I am not just talking about a question of aesthetics; I am not talking about some abstractions. We have seen a growth in recent years of a lot of human group behavioural disorders of crime, drug taking and drug trafficking and racism. I believe it is no accident that these problems have been worse in the larger cities of the world. I believe that if we want to avoid the disastrous experiences of overseas countries we must take a good hard look at our cities. How big can a city become before it is too big? How can we plan our cities so that their citizens have a feeling of belonging, so that they do not drop out, so that people will not want to fight each other? Let us do something positive about our planning for our cities. Let us do something about decentralisation, not just talk about it. Let us do something not just to appease certain pressure groups but to preserve the quality of life of all Australian citizens. I support the amendment.


– The Budget discussion has brought forth many and varied views. I suppose most subjects have been dealt with. There has been a lot of reiteration. I do not blame honourable members for stating their views, but many of the subjects have been discussed over and over again. The half-hour available to speakers does not allow them to deal with all the subjects involved in the Budget. The honourable member for Kingston (Dr Gun), who preceded me, tried his best to deal with most of them in the short period he had in which to speak. In the course of his remarks he made some reference to primary industry. I note the approach of the Australian Labor Party to primary industry. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) devoted about 60 words of his entire speech to primary industry.

The honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby) is gloating over the misfortune of primary producers because of drought, blaming the Government because it could not make it rain. He has a peculiar policy on marketing. He would stand up our good buyers and make them take our products. This is his approach to solving the problem posed by the European Common Market. In other words he is anticipating the troubles we may have when Britain enters the Common Market, by creating an artificial position 2 or 3 years before. It is obvious that, if we stood up those countries, as the honourable member for Riverina would have us do, with the surplus of so many commodities available they could get them elsewhere and tell Australia to jump in the lake. One does not do business that way. 1 notice that the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson), the man who generally speaks about primary industry on behalf of the Australian Labor Party, has been effectively suppressed. He has not even been given a guernsey in the debate. That is how much value is put on primary industry by the Labor Party. The honourable member for Perth (Mr Berinson) said that primary industry is getting far too much and that urban communities should get more, and the honourable member for Kingston has just said that subsidies are not very effective. He in effect deplores the payment of subsidies to primary industry but be does not deplore - he does not say so, anyhow - the payment of subsidies to secondary industry whence comes so much of the employment in this country. He is prepared to let the Tariff Board help secondary industry to the amount of SI 800m a year and to spend about $100m or $200m on primary industry.

He said that the $30m that is to be made available to the wool industry is nothing but a social service payment. If it is a social service payment, are not primary producers, who are forced to sit at home with no income because of drought, just as entitled to social service payments as anyone in any other section of industry?

Mr Foster:

– There is a big differential in the weekly amounts, though.

Mr Turnbull:

– Not with the Labor Party.


– Not with the Labor Party: that is right. I think the Government ought to look at that aspect and make the conditions easier by correcting the anomaly which prevents primary producers from getting social service payments while the drought is on. These people cannot go away and leave their properties. How can they leave their properties to go to other jobs when they have stock to feed? Surely the honourable member for Kingston and other honourable- members who represent metropolitan areas should not be the only spokesmen for the Labor Party on primary industry. Of course, it does suggest a lack of interest by the Labor Party in its whole approach to primary industry. 1 have time to mention only one or two subjects. J want to give first priority to this drought and its effects. 1 know most honourable members realise there is a drought on, but not all honourable members realise the detrimental effect of drought, particularly in Queensland. The position is nothing less than tragic not only for producers but also for business, financiers and employment. They are all affected. Those who have had employment in the country districts find that no employment is available. Producers have no income. Finance houses and storekeepers have been carrying the burden, it has become so tragic that the banks which have mortgages over properties are approving the grocery accounts that their clients are forced to run up from time to time to be able to feed themselves.

That is the tragic result of drought. The whole economic structure of country towns and districts is affected. The producer has used up his assets plus loans and other assistance that he may possibly have got in the attempt to carry on. It is nol a drought such as the one New South Wales and Victoria had 2 or 3 years ago, which lasted for a season. This drought has continued for 5 years without substantial rain, and in some areas for 10 years without substantial rain. The producer is totally involved. All that matters to him in life is at stake. He cannot ever get out under the present financial set-up, so he must have a possibility of revival and reconstruction made available to him. I will deal with that more fully later.

We need a reconstruction board to examine proposals which would allow recompense to the businessmen, the wool firms and the financial institutions who have carried the producers; otherwise there may be no assistance from them in the future. Nobody will be willing to make loans to those who have lost all their security. All this has affected employment. It has forced a migration to the cities and to other jobs. Therefore I repeat what I said earlier: It is urgent that social service payments be made available to these folk who are forced to remain at home to try to save the stock which are there and to look after the property.

Marketing and costs should be given more consideration, and capital costs should be kept at a minimum by providing in rural reconstruction proposals for payments on a practical basis. Transport costs should not be the burden only of the producer and the other citizens who live in far distant places. In other words, construction costs for such assets as roads and rail transport facilities should not be the financial responsibility of the present day citizen only. Governments should carry commitments forward for future generations of users of those facilities. Unless these costs are kept at economic levels production ceases. More and more of the population will be in the cities and fewer and fewer in the country. Transport costs over long distances destroy any prospect of expansion in decentralisation. Businesses in sparsely settled areas cannot compete with those in populated areas which have little or no transport costs.

Marketing policies must be the joint responsibility of Government and industry. There are some marketing schemes in operation which are effective. Others, as with wool, need urgent action. Where industries are divided, government leadership becomes imperative. But regard must be had to each section of the industry’s activities. Priorities should not be given to financiers, brokers or monopoly newspapers which have a vested interest only in the profits. Consideration must be given firstly to the producer, the buyer and the consumer. We have had too many problems associated with the wool industry because of the detrimental effect of newspapers which are out to condemn everything associated with primary industry and its stability. I think I could say of one metropolitan newspaper that it would be the dawn of a new day if it ever said one good word for primary industry. Therefore we have this detrimental effect. A balanced approach is not achieved. If one sought to make a statement of rebuttal newspapers would not even publish it. So this is where the bias and lopsidedness come into some of these discussions on stabilisation. Who matters most - the broker, the financial house or the producer who does the hard yakka only to see his prices going down?

We feel that it is imperative that a marketing scheme for wool and other commodities which might be in like circumstances should be dealt with. Therefore I say that we must keep this matter in the forefront.

One aspect of costs to producers - both primary and secondary - upon which employment as well as production depends is the turmoil in our wage fixing system. The policy of strikes and more strikes is adding more to increased costs than the actual wage increases. This is a factor which does not seem to be taken into consideration by the courts in their determinations. The disruption in industry, loss of production and the non-success of conciliation are terrific in their impact on costs. I would like to reply to one remark made by the honourable member for Kingston. He said that we do not necessarily require more and more production, if it is overdoing the picture. We do require more and more work from those who are receiving their rightful wages. The honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley), when he spoke on Tuesday last, said: ‘What is the policy of the Government on wages?’ I think he was arguing - I do not want to misquote him - that profitability should be a factor. The policy of the Government is arbitration. We say that the employees should receive their rightful wages, of course. This country would not prosper or progress in any sense if they did not. But there are some companies which are more profitable than others and are prepared under conciliation to concede greater increases than they should concede. This sets an example that others whose profits are not so great cannot live up to.

I repeat that there is non-success of conciliation. In too many cases conciliation gives way to intimidation and I think that today in certain cases increased wages are given under duress. Some industries which are more profitable than others do agree to increases. Thus others are burdened with increased costs which they cannot bear economically. I am not too sure whether the courts are always immune to the effects of intimidation. I am not saying that they are influenced by it but the effects of intimidation by decisions made outside do reach the courts in evidence. We ought to get back to arbitration in its truest sense. We would *vp** a fairer cessment of wages decisions than we are now suffering under the perpetual strike system of intimidation. One freedom that we seem to have lost in this country is the right of a person to work if he wants to work. There is duress and intimidation all the time, and heavy financial losses are always carried forward to industry and production because of the continual loss of time and loss of production brought about by strikes and those who sponsor them. It is time this country did a bit more work. That is one of the reasons - not the only reason - for the continual increase in costs that confronts us today.

Trade unionism today fails to recognise the detrimental effect on employment when the employers’ problems and costs are ignored. If arbitration is to succeed then the merits of both sides must be. appreciated. I said that I wanted to give priority to the drought position and that 1 would come back to the financial re-arrangements that I feel are necessary. We need a financial reorganisation rurally. We must stop and consider whether we can live with the present prices that we are getting for wool and some other products. We must face the fact that world prices cannot necessarily be altered. When surpluses are available and the only market is overseas, we must of necessity accept the best offering on these world prices. We must consider whether present financial arrangements are adequate and must look at the structure which is set up. We have the Development Bank. One of the main conditions of the charter of that Bank is that there must be an element of development in the work to be undertaken for which the finance is made available. We have term loans. We have trading bank activities. We have pastoral companies. We have the State Government banks. We have the Commonwealth Development Corporation. These institutions have done a pretty good job. But not one of them covers the requirements of rural industries today.

Because of the involvement of rural industries with seasonal conditions and seasonal returns, long term financial arrangements are required. Perhaps the Rural Bank of New South Wales might be the institution approaching nearest what we require. Each of the institutions that I have mentioned serves a purpose. Most of them are involved heavily in advances made to rural industries. In most instances, I suppose, they have gone beyond the normally accepted degrees of security because of the excessively severe drought conditions. All would be due for rightful consideration in any rearrangements that might be proposed because of the way in which they have assisted primary producers and country businesses in this time of emergency.

Let us look at future needs. With whom does the function that I have outlined lie? In the first instance, it is really a State responsibility. I say that because of the activities of State Ministers in relation to land and agriculture matters. A financial rearrangement is needed. The present drought conditions are tragic. Many of those engaged in rural industries are so heavily involved financially that they may not ever recover unless a practical reconstruction programme is submitted and agreed to. The Commonwealth Government has provided short terra help by way of grants to wool growers. That action in itself would not be sufficient to remedy the situation. But it has been stated by the Treasurer that this is an interim measure pending the result of investigations which I know are well under way. The purpose of those investigations is to discover a long term arrangement which will meet present conditions. Associated with these investigations for long term action to meet the problems of the wool industry, I wish to see the Government of necessity extend these proposals so that they will cover also grain producers and others who are in the same category as the pastoralists.

Drought assistance has been granted by the Government to the States. No-one can say that this assistance has been other than liberal. The Prime Minister announced this week that New South Wales would be treated in the same way as Queensland had been treated with respect to drought relief. That is, the Commonwealth would be prepared to bear all the cost of such agreed drought assistance in excess of $4m. Drought assistance is something quite separate from reconstruction. What we need today is a debt adjustment bank or institution. I do not care whether it is called a bank, a corporation or a reconstruction board, but we need that type of institution. In 1930, a farmers debt adjustment scheme operated. I am not acquainted with the ramifications of that scheme but it is sufficient to note that it helped materially.

This is the subject to which I give the highest priority in my Budget speech. Perhaps certain States have banking institutions which cater for the requirements of such a scheme. Queensland, the State most affected, has not. It has its Agricultural Bank which is too limited in scope and in available finance. Queensland needs a bank of the type of the Rural Bank in New South Wales. Perhaps the Commonwealth Development Bank might be given a new charter. I do not think that the first priority today is more development. Because of the surpluses that we have, we do not necessarily want to develop more new areas and so have further surpluses. If necessary, let us alter the charter of the Development Bank. Let us widen its charter for reconstruction purposes to meet the present set of circumstances facing Australian rural industries.

Our first need is an investigation. As I. have said, an investigation is proceeding now. The Budget Speech informs us that this is so. We need a planning authority. This could take the form of a provisional board, lt should be an entity to carry out necessary functions while a decision is being made on this matter. Then we want a long term reconstruction scheme. Perhaps the institution required might be based on the New South Wales Reconstruction Board. J do not know whether an organisation of that type would meet our requirements satisfactorily - I am not acquainted fully with all the implications of such a body - but we could study it to see whether it is satisfactory and determine whether its charter needs amendment if it is to be applied for Queensland purposes.

I do not wish to labour this subject any further other than to say that this is my first priority, lt is a necessity to help in the restoration of this country and to help those people whom we wish to see remain in country districts. They are men and women of experience. If we let them go, we will have to replace them with inexperienced people who will not be able to face the rigours of situations which arise such as droughts and other kinds of adverse seasonal conditions. I put that proposal to the Government as my first priority.

Debate (on motion by Mr Turnbull) adjourned.

page 947



Ministerial Statement

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

- Mr Deputy Speaker, I ask for leave to make a statement on adjustments to Services pay.


– Order! Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

- Mr Deputy Speaker, I want to inform the House of adjustments to be made to the structure of the scale of pay of officers of the Armed Forces and of an increase in the area of those allowances which are paid continually to servicemen and women in addition to their pay on a continuing as distinct from a specific or ad hoc basis. These adjustments arise from recommendations put to my colleague, the Treasurer (Mr Bury), and to me by the Defence (Conditions of Service) Committee. The Personnel Members of the Service Boards or their nominees participated in the formulation of the Committee’s recommendations. I will deal as well with proposed reforms to the system of pay and allowances.

The Government has decided to revise the structure of the pay scale of officers of the. Armed Services up to and including full Colonel and the equivalent rank in the other Services. A balanced pattern of increments and of margins between ranks will be introduced to replace the present unsatisfactory pay structure which docs not adequately reflect the increase of responsibilities with rank. The size of increments will increase progressively through the officer ranks and will be paid annually instead of, as in many instances at present, after each 2 years of service. Generally speaking this will enable officers to reach the maximum pay for their rank more quickly than at present and. in addition, the margins between ranks will more adequately reflect the differences in responsibility. Although the revision of the structure is directed towards improved arrangements within the general officer pay scale, the restructuring will result in varying pay increases to all officers but in particular will benefit those in the junior command appointments who will receive increases upwards of 5 per cent as will some senior command appointments also.

The new scale of pay will take effect from the first full pay period in September 1970. The restructuring of the pay scale will cost approximately $2.4m. This restructuring is supplementary to the pay increases for this group of officers which occurred 13 months ago when rates were increased by 9 per cent at a total cost of approximately $4m per annum. A second decision is that, when in future there are adjustments of salaries in the executive and administrative area of the Third Division of the Commonwealth Public Service, and provided any change is a general movement and not a structural adjustment of particular classifications, the salary scale of officers of the Armed Services below Brigadier level will be simultaneously adjusted. Already, for some years the pay of brigadiers and major-generals, and their equivalents in other Services, has been consolidated into salaries having a defined relationship with salaries in the Second Division - the higher executive and managerial area - of the Commonwealth Public Service. The rates of pay of Service medical and dental officers, however, will continue to be separately determined as before. I announced increases in their pay earlier this week. The Government’s objective is thus to ensure for the future that salary benefits accorded civilian employees of the Government in the area described are also shared by officers of the Armed Services. The pay of other ranks, unlike that of officers, is being subject to continuous review and adjustment as a result of the grouping of the various skills of servicemen and women into the appropriate categories, and the alignment of skills with comparable areas in industry where pay increases have been occurring as a result of the determinations of industrial tribunals and other authorities. As a result of this system, other ranks have, in the past 8 months, received pay increases worth $7.23m per annum.

I have directed that a full review be submitted to the Government of the composition and structure of the continuing allowances over and above salary or base pay which are paid to all servicemen and women or groups of servicemen and women. The object will be to permit clear comparisons with scales of emoluments in the rest of the community and to aid understanding of the true value of the benefit contained in servicemen and women’s allowances. In this latter connec tion the soundness of the tax exemption which applies to certain allowances, as against the alternative of an adequate overall level of taxable allowances, will be examined. Because of the present complexity of the allowances of some 85,000 members of the Armed Services, reform of the system in a manner best calculated to produce improved administrative efficiency with proper regard to the interests of the servicemen and women themselves will be a lengthy process. Moreover the time necessary to put into effect any simplified system that may be recommended will be made greater by the necessity to introduce new programmes into the Services’ electronic data processing system. Having regard to this unavoidable passage of time the Government has decided that within the present system it should make an increase at this time in allowances without awaiting the results of the detailed examination of the allowance system best suited for the future. In consequence the Government has decided to increase the service disability loading from 50c to 75c a day. It is estimated that this decision will involve an annual payment of $7.75m to all ranks in the Armed Services.

The new rates of active pay for officers, which with the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate in Hansard, include the increase of 25c a day in the service disability loading. The new rates are as follow:

The combined cost of the new scale of officers pay and the increase in the service disability loading is estimated to be $10.1m a year. Junior officers and those at the more senior level will therefore receive a total increase of upwards of 7 per cent on their current rates.

I present the following paper:

Armed Services Pay - Ministerial Statement, 3rd September 1970.

Motion (by Mr Peacock) proposed:

That the House take note of the paper.


– The statement by the Minister for Defence (Mr Malcolm Fraser) contains some useful improvements to the complex structure of service pay and allowances. In particular, it is a valuable reform to tie the scale of pay rates for officers up to the rank of colonel and equivalent ranks to the executive and administrative areas of the Public Service. When there is a general increase in the pay rates of these Public Service classifications, it will automatically now to officers. As the Minister pointed out, the pay rates of the senior echelons of the Services have for some years been relative to salary scales in the Second Division of the Public Service. The improved pay rates and the tying of the rates to the Public Service may have some impact on the rather alarming wastage rate among officers in the Armed Services.

The Minister referred to the process of continuous review and ajustment in the pay rates of other ranks. He pointed to the broad grouping of these servicemen andwomen into appropriate categories with skills aligned to comparable areas in industry. According to the Minister, pay rates in the Services had been adjusted because of determinations of industrial tribunals and other authorities. What the Minister seems to be putting forward is a three-part structure with officers above the rank of colonel relative to the Second Division of the Public Service, all other officers geared to Third Division pay rates, and other ranks relative to comparable groups in industry. This may be a rational structure with the increasing dissatisfaction evident among servicemen of all ranks in recent years when they try to assess their pay and conditions in relation to their civilian peers, lt is too early to predict how effective such an arrangement will be.

One of the difficulties is that the more the comparison made between the civilian and the. serviceman is pointed up, the plainer it is to the serviceman how unfavourable is his relative status. This has already been a problem in the Navy; it may become an increasingly vexed issue in the other Services. Of course it is much easier simply to tie officers pay scales to the Public Service than to provide an effective yardstick between other ranks and workers in civilian jobs. Obviously where hundreds of awards and determinations apply there can be no simple rule of thumb. But the choice has been made to move in this direction and the Government must face up to the task of formulating acceptable measures of relativity. If this means substantially higher pay scales for the Service groupings then the Government must accept the need to introduce them swiftly if the growing discontent among servicemen is to be damped down.

The Minister referred to the complexity of allowances payable to members of the Services. He pointed to the review under way of these allowances, and announced as an interim measure an increase of 25c in the Service disability loading. The range of allowances payable to members of the Services is a most formidable one. The task of assessing these allowances and making adjustments will be a lengthy one. F.ach Service has a long string of allowances, some of which apply to every member every day of Service life and others of which may apply most infrequently. During the last session I sought to obtain from the Ministers for the 3 Services a list of the principal allowances and an indication of how they have been varied over the past 20 years. The answers are much too complicated to summarise here but I think 2 definite conclusions can be reached from an analysis of the mass of detail contained in them.

The first is that the range of allowances for each of the Services is urgently in need of rationalisation. There seem to be many historical anomalies in them. There is no reason why the system of allowances should not be sharply cut down and simplified. I see no reason why a scale of allowances common to the 3 Services should not be introduced. Such a scale could be left sufficiently flexible to allow for exceptional circumstances applying to only one of the Services. The Minister has emphasised the need for such a scale by seizing on the Service disability loading common to all servicemen to give an interim boost to servicemen. The second point I would like to make is that in real terms the value of most of the allowances has not been sustained over the past 20 years. Admittedly, this is a broad generalisation but I believe it can be justified by a close examination of the allowance scales. The whole question of allowances is certain to be a touchy one in the months ahead. An example is the increases in flying pay which provoked an angry response from airmen.

In summary the measures announced by the Minister represent an improvement. The honourable gentleman seems to be aware that swift action is required to avoid a series of crises in the Armed Services over pay, allowances and conditions of service - all areas where the interests of servicemen have been neglected for far too long. In the first week of the sitting the Opposition moved to extend the terms of reference of the Select Committee on the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund to cover pay and conditions of service. This move was rejected by the Government. We will be taking appropriate action in the next 3 weeks to move a similar motion. The honourable member for Herbert (Mr Bonnett) has since given notice - presumably with the consent and blessing of the Minister for Defence and the other Service Ministers - that he will move for the setting up of a joint select committee to report on the pay, conditions and housing of the defence forces. The Minister’s statement today is evidence of the need to set up a committee of this nature. I believe there is general agreement on both sides of the House on need to bring these areas under parliamentary scrutiny and I urge the Government to sponsor the setting up of such a joint select committee as swiftly as possible.

Debate (on motion by Mr Giles) adjourned.

page 950


Second Reading (Budget Debate)

Debate resumed (vide page 947).


– The arrogance of this Government, particularly the Executive, with only a couple of hours of debate remaining before a vote is taken on the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), is shown by its adjourning the Budget debate so that a statement, for which we have been waiting years, could be made. It had to wait only a few minutes or extend a few courtesies and it could have avoided interrupting this debate. One can ask why the Opposition allowed the Government to make the statement. The Government is so arrogant that if the Opposition had not given it the right to make the statement it would have made it outside by way of a Press statement. This Executive treats the Parliament as a rubber stamp and it is about time honourable members on both sides of the House stood up to the arrogance of the Executive. The right honourable member for Fisher (Mr Adermann) who preceded me expressed some concern about the question of arbitration. He harped on the theme of getting back to arbitration. I have no doubt he also wants to get back the penal provisions. The question that he and other Government members should examine is why over such a wide spectrum, from airline pilots to garbage men, people with diverse ways of life are striking for economic justice. The right honourable member for Fisher who has been either a supporter of the Government, a member of the Ministry or a member of the Cabinet could not help but cry buckets of tears the whole time he was talking about conditions in this country. He also complained that his distinguished nephew, the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson), the black sheep of the family, had not spoken in this debate. The honourable member for Dawson is on the list of speakers and is the next speaker from this side of the House. I have no doubt he will supply some of the answers to the rural problems of this country and maybe show some of the progressive ways in which at least one member of the family can solve these problems.

This Budget is a sectional Budget because it gives direct relief of over S300 per year in income tax to members of this Parliament - and in some cases much more - and to those persons who have equivalent incomes in industry and commerce, and on the other hand gives only $26 a year to the pensioners. The pensioners comprise one of the most needy sectors of our community. The family group with lower incomes and wilh children to rear has been treated even worse mainly because of the great burden placed on them by this Budget through indirect taxation. This is a sectional Budget because it treats all companies making profits in excess of $10,000 a year in the same way. It has increased company taxation by 2.5c in $1, increasing the taxation levied on public companies to 47.5c in the $1 and that levied on private companies to 42.5c in the $1. The Budget does not vary the rate of company taxation on the first $10,000 a year. The Treasurer and this sectional Government have in no way considered the enormous profits of a handful of companies, the monopoly or oligopoly sector of our community. To understand the extent of monopoly control of companies in this country, the control over industry and commerce, I draw the attention of honourable members to a table which has been prepared. With the concurrence of honourable members J incorporate in Hansard this table which has been compiled by the Legislative Research Service of the Parliamentary Library.

An examination discloses that there are 76.000 private and public companies which made a profit in the last financial year of $3, 1 00m. The top profit makers, 198 companies comprising 0.26 per cent of the total, made 36.64 per cent of the total company profit of $3, 100m. The top 1.27 per cent of companies accounted for 57 per cent of the total profit of companies and the remaining 99 per cent of companies shared the other 43 per cent of the total profit. As with people, so with companies. The Government did not tax according to wealth. It is a sectional Budget as it is a sectional Government and it is a continuation of an attitude of this Government year after year. It is a sectional Budget because it gives little or no consideration lo urban or living areas.

There is nothing in this Budget to indicate that the Commonwealth will act independently or even in co-operation wilh the States to stem the urban drought of our cities. No mention was made of any proposed implementation of the findings of the Senate Select Committee on Air Pollution or any proposed action on the recommendations of the Senate Select Committete on Water Pollution. No mention was made of Commonwealth involvement or assistance in the chaotic conditions of our capital and provincial cities. How long must we wait for the Commonwealth Government to do something about the urban drought? How long will it be before we hear some proposals? Action must be taken by the Commonwealth to assist in curbing, controlling and rectifying the drought and stagnation of our cities. There is the problem of unsewered areas, and those areas that are sewered add to the pollution of our beaches and our waterways. The State governments cannot cope with the urban drought of our cities. They need the urgent help, assistance and cooperation of the Commonwealth. If air pollution in our cities is to be controlled it is the Commonwealth which must act. Automobiles are responsible for 60 per cent of the air pollution in our cities. Scientific evidence and experience is available. We should learn from the historic mistakes of the United States of America and countries of the northern hemisphere. I hope to deal in a more detailed manner during the Estimates debate with the problems confronting urban living problems such as pollution, the lack of planning and the destruction of our environment. lt is a sectional Budget because it gives no consideration to the young people, particularly those about to marry or those married couples who are living with their families and are just beginning or wanting to start a life of their own. Their plans have been gradually eroded year after year until last April when the final smashing blow was struck by this Government in the form of the snide sleight of hand use of the monetary policy of the Reserve Bank. No special consideration such as was given to rural interests, was given to the home building sector of the building industry.

This Budget has failed to rectify the position or even turn back the clock to last April. The Treasurer (Mr Bury) has betrayed those who saw some hope for planning and stability in the home building section of the building industry. If one searches the

Treasurer’s Budget Speech where can one find a glimmer of hope for a return to the views he expressed in his speech on the Appropriation Bill (No. 1) in September 1965 when he was Minister for Housing. He said then:

The task of our monetary authorities in keeping the economy on an even keel so that orderly and rapid expansion of the Australian economy can proceed without interruption is one of extraordinary complexity and difficulty. It is subject to so many forces beyond prediction or even domestic control that it requires skill, experience and judgment of the highest order. In such circumstances it is natural that in the past housing has been regarded as one piece of an economic jigsaw puzzle rather than as something of supreme national importance in itself.

That was the Treasurer speaking 5 years ago when he was the Minister for Housing. He went on to say:

However, the deficiency in using housing to dampen demand is that it impedes the achievement of some of our most fundamental national objectives.

That was our present Treasurer. What did he do within the first few months of taking over his present office. He used the same blunt instrument and bludgeoned a mortal blow to the home building sector of the housing industry. Even though he had been warned by spokesmen of the building industry that there had been a downward turn in commencements of new dwellings he would take no heed and would give no special consideration to the home building sector, although with pressure from the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr McEwen) he had discussions with the Reserve Bank and a special formula was found for the rural sector. Why not find a formula for the urban sector where 80 per cent of the population live?

I warned him, and during question time on 6th May 1970, as recorded in Hansard at page 1670, 1 asked:

Is the Treasurer aware that the Master Builders’ Federation is concerned at the difficulty of obtaining finance for homes already constructed or under construction and that the number of houses and flats commenced for the quarter ended March 1970 was lower than in the corresponding period in 1969? Is it a fact that the recent increase in interest rates and the credit squeeze divert money from lower profit bousing to higher profit investment? Will the Treasurer say whether he will work out ways of redressing the balance in the flow of money in favour of housing or otherwise provide assistance to make up for this diversion of funds.

He refused to answer my question. He refused to heed my warning or the warning of the representatives of the home building sector of the building industry, the Master Builders Association. I thought: Is this man so dull or is he ill informed? Is he just being a ‘yes man* or being manipulated by the Treasury? I thought: How can one compare what he said in 1965 when he was Minister for Housing with his attitude now?

In his September 1965 speech he went on to say: . . We live in a fully employed economy without any appreciable reservoir of labour and resources which are not already actively employed. However, we do know now from practical experience that we already have the labour and resources to construct upwards of 110,000 dwelling units per annum without undue strain on the rest of the economy.

He knew that 1 10,000 dwelling units could be constructed in 1964-65 ‘without undue strain on the rest of the economy’. Even though spokesmen from the building industry last April and even before April had given proof that there was no strain on men and materials in the home building sector of the building industry in 1970, he proceeded to place the crunch on the home building sector, contrary to the views he expressed in September 1965. The action of the Reserve Bank insofar as the home building sector was concerned was disastrous.

The Treasurer refused to heed my warning during question time in the House of Representatives on 6th May 1970, to which I have referred. The most junior clerk in the Department of the Treasury should have been able to note the increase in approvals of commercial buildings - in particular, offices - which had increased from $172m in 1968-69 to over S200m for the first 9 months of 1969-70. That was in part the basis of my question of 6th May. The figure is now available for the full year 1969-70 for commercial office buildings. It is $294m, an increase of 7l per cent on the previous year. The fact is that when the credit squeeze hit, money was being diverted from the insurance companies and the big monopoly concerns to the commercial building sector where they could easily pass on the increased interest rates which they could not pass on to the home building sector. In the home building sector building approvals for new private houses and flats were 27 per cent lower in July than they were in July last year. Last year houses and flats approvals for June was 11,379 and for July 13,251. This year the figure for June was 9,974 and for July 9,772. So one can see that the approvals are lower than they were 2 years ago - in June 1968 70,381, and in July, 11,787. After disaster had struck the home building industry, the Reserve Bank - after. I have no doubt, a nudge from the Government - suggested to the savings banks that they extend and increase the volume of their housing loans in the coming months.

The question now is - and we must look at this question seriously: To what extent will the home building section be resuscitated and at what economic level would a young married couple be able to afford to purchase a block of land and dwelling? The average cost of land and dwelling is $14,000. This is only an estimate, as there are no official figures available, but responsible building authorities give their average throughout Australia as $14,000. In Sydney it is probably much higher than that. The average price of land alone is in excess of $7,000. The recent amendment to the homes savings grant had to increase the allowable maximum cost of a block of land and dwelling from $15,000 to $17,500. Tn fact, there would be very few areas in the metropolitan area of Sydney represented by Government supporters where one could buy a block of land for lass than $8,000. I believe very few constituents of Government members in the metropolitan area of Sydney would be eligible for the homes savings grant because of the spiralling costs of land and homes. 1 sought assistance from the Parliamentary Library Statistical Service and I obtained details of loans, interest rates and monthly repayments for loans from the savings banks, the permanent building societies and the terminating building societies. I also requested a table showing the interest paid and the monthly repayments on housing loans of $12,000, repaid over a period of 15 years and 25 years respectively, at interest rates varying from 5 per cent to 8i per cent. With the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate those tables in Hansard.

26 August1970

Dear Mr Uren,

I refer to your request of 17 August for details of housing loans available from Terminating Building Societies. As lending terms vary between States, our enquiries were restricted to Terminating Building Societies in New South Wales. The maximum loan in New South Wales is currently$9,600 and the maximum term is 31 years. Most Societies are operating at present with moneys from the Housing Agreements, with other moneys coming from banks (including the Commonwealth Bank, mainly Savings Bank). If a borrower can find a Society operating with Commonwealth Bank money he could at present, arrange a loan at 6¼ per cent but otherwise he would have to pay 6¾ per cent. A borrower applies for so many shares, at $120 each (and shares are not broken, i.e. he must borrow in multiples of $1 20). If he borrows the maximum of $9,600 he takes out 80 shares and pays the following amounts per share per month. {: type="a" start="i"} 0. Society using Housing Agreement funds, etc.: 4.0 cents Management charges 77.0 cents Repayment of interest and capital {: type="1" start="81"} 0. . 0 cents Total repayments per share per month. {: type="i" start="ii"} 0. Society using Commonwealth Bank funds: 4.0 cents Management charges 73.0 cents Repayment of capital and interest 1. . 0 cents Total repayments per share per month. By taking out a loan of $9,600 for 31 years the borrower has to repay $24,105.60 under (i) above and $22,915.20 under (ii) above. Enclosed is a table giving details of monthly repayments and total repayments under both kinds of loan. If we examine the table giving details of interest repayments on housing loans of $12,000 for a period of 25 years we will see that if there is a.i per cent increase in the interest rate, as happened last April at the instigation of the Reserve Bank, it would result in a $1,180 increase in the amount repaid over 25 years. When the Reserve Bank made the increase from 7½ per cent to 8 per cent, as was the case with the permanent building societies, it meant an additional monthly repayment of about $4 over a period of 25 years for a $12,000 loan. In the last decade the interest rate for a $12,000 loan for a period of 25 years has increased from 5 per cent to 8 per cent. That 3 per cent increase meant that a person paying off a loan such as I have mentioned has to find an additional $6,740 in interest. This is the additional cost arising from the increase of interest rates and does not take into account the effect of the inflationary trend on the cost of land and dwelling. This Government supports usurious interest rates. This involves repayment of something like $22.47 extra and gives some idea of the effect of the rise in interest rates during this Government's term of office. Interest on a loan from a savings bank of $12,000 would be 6$ per cent for the first $8,000 and *Si* per cent for the remaining $4,000 as a second mortgage. Repayments over 25 years would be $112 per month for the first 8 years and $55 per month for the remaining 17 years. A $12,000 loan from a permanent building society would cost $94 a month, repaid over 25 years. In regard to the terminating building societies, the maximum loan of $9,600 repaid over 31 years would cost $81 per month, although this would leave a deposit gap of more than $4,000, taking the average cost of land and building. Therefore young people still have to bridge the deposit gap of from $4,000 to $5,000. In the case of the permanent building societies and savings banks, they would be at least $2,000 to $3,000 short of the deposit gap. The lending authorities assess that the monthly repayment should not exceed 25 per cent of the male's weekly earnings. No-one earning less than the average weekly wage, which is at present $77 a week, would have the slightest chance of getting a loan from the 3 major lending authorities. We must remember that from 65 per cent to 70 per cent of the people earn less than the average weekly wage. In fact very few people would be able to get a loan unless they earned between $90 to $100 a week. Even those people would still have to find $2,000 to $3,000 to bridge the gap if they are able to get a loan of $12,000. lt seems to me that the action taken recently by the Reserve Bank to encourage savings banks to increase their lending will help only a certain sector of the community. Again it is that sector which this Government represents. It does not represent the broad sector, the 65 per cent to 70 per cent of the people who need help most. I discussed the problems of low cost housing in a recent debate on a matter of public importance. Even the interest rates on homes built by State housing authorities have increased from 3 per cent to 6 per cent. I cannot sec any hope for the home builder in this Budget. In no practical way has it rectified the stupidity of the action taken last April. What would the Australian Labor Party do? Our major task would be to give confidence to the home building industry. We would set our targets and plans for future growth. We would not use the home building industry as an economic damper. We would bring uniformity within the industry to assist in making it more efficient. We would support a cheap money policy for home building in both the private and public sectors. We would make available adequate loans to meet the cost of land and dwelling so that young people will not have to meet crippling second mortgage loans. Our most important challenge is to meet the spiralling land costs. I will give an illustration of these by quoting from an article which appeared in the Canberra 'Times' of 10th March this year. lt stated: >Land prices in Sydney have almost trebled in the past eight years, the Housing Industry Association showed in a survey today. > >. spiralling land prices some of which were Belrose, French's Forest and Warringah, $$,000 an acre in 1962 to $14,000 now; Ryde and Epping $4,000 to $16,000; Sutherland $5,000 -to $12,000. > >The survey interpreted increasing land prices as meaning a decline in future housing growth and said low income earners faced an increasing deposit gap. We believe the Commonwealth should involve itself in all our capital and provincial cities as it has done in Canberra. Why not other cities of Australia? Labor would set up a Department of Urban Affairs. One of its functions would be to create multifocal cities on the outskirts of our capital cities similar to the development of the centres in the Woden and Belconnen Valleys here in Canberra. They would have ail the cultural, social, educational, commercial, recreational and aesthetic developments, in co-operation with the States. The first of these cities would be built near Sydney between Menai on the east and Liverpool on the west, bordered by the National Park on the south and Georges River on the north. The land at present is under the control of the New South Wales State Government and the Department of Defence. The State Planning Authority in New South Wales plans a city of 250,000 there. The development of this area by an authority similar to the National Capital Development Commission would allow the public sector to compete with the private sector to dampen down the price of land in Sydney. Under the authority the area could be developed by the construction of homes by private and public sectors similar to Canberra. The land would remain leasehold. Land could be allocated according to need. A ballot system could also be instituted; in certain circumstances, there may be auctions. Need would be the major requirement. Whilst such a project is under way, the Department of Urban Affairs would acquire land in large quantities in all our capital and provincial cities in cooperation with the States, with the possible exception of Brisbane. We would involve ourselves in slum clearance in inner city areas and redevelopment of our capital cities. We are confident that a Commonwealth Labor government would work in co-operation with the States and. local authorities to conquer the urban drought and lift our cities from their present quagmire, so that the young, the old and the not so old might enjoy the security of urban life. This is an important aspect of life which this Budget does not meet. I support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition. {: #subdebate-28-0-s1 .speaker-KCU} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury:
RYAN, QUEENSLAND -- - Order! The honourable member's time has expired. Mt GARLAND (Curtin) [3.46]- Since this debate allows comment on any topic, I propose to address myself to foreign affairs and its effect on this country. Though events change from day to day, the basic reality of Australia's interests and existing conflicts have been static for at least 10 years. But the need for continuous review must . continue because of the deep differences between Government and Opposition in this House. As a nation we have always 2 great needs: To survive and to earn our living. Neither can be done in isolation from world events. Clearly, Australia has a great and increasing capacity to pursue its national objectives. They include security for its people to enjoy a high standard of living with truly satisfying lives in the widest sense and to contribute significantly to the world's less developed nations in every way - by general aid, education, food and contributing to international law and order, by resisting aggression, and influencing to the extent we are able truly peaceful co-operation between nations, based on justice, truth and mercy among men. We have already done much: Our influence is already much greater than our numbers or military power would indicate. Our attitudes and words have been careful and responsible. We have backed our words with deeds. Our neighbours regard us as trustworthy, and we are in the fortunate position of not disputing a claim with any country. But the world in which we must live and make our contribution contains much rivalry for power, great ideological conflicts which directly attack our basic principles and freedoms, a world in which one great group of power holds the principles of the Charter of United Nations in defiant contempt. We face the reality that, for at least 20 years, military power will be the main force in international relations; not reason or law. Yet the probability of world war between major powers has receded because of the deterrent of the nuclear equilibrium and I believe can arise only by miscalculation or accident. Our policy is directed to maintaining the equilibrium of the present world power, underneath which the world may progress and build until more peaceful and co-operative days; protecting ourselves with alliances and a contribution to current issues as they arise; and doing our utmost to encourage all towards restraint and eventual - howbeit exceedingly slow - inert accommodation between nations. How long and by what process of evolution that will happen no-one can foresee. But we must play our part with caution and strength. Having said that, I propose to look at Australia's position in the region in which we live, for I have no time to discuss other world problems, important though they are. Firstly, concerning the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, there is ample evidence around the world of aggressive intent to seize an advantage wherever possible, to exert sustained pressures, and amass an even mightier military power. That part of this may be to service their quarrel with Mainland China is of no consolation. That their policy to support Communism in South East Asia is, in part, an attempt to offset Chinese influence and hegemony is of no consolation. Importantly to our region it is clear that Russia aims to build the world's biggest navy and station substantial units in the Indian Ocean. **Mr R.** Blackman, a British naval expert, has described growing Soviet maritime power in this way 'What the USSR built in the 1960's looks like rising to a flood tide in the 1970s'. He advocates that the 12 nation naval force of NATO should be promoted from an international squadron to a supra-national fleet, to offset the shrinking' United States and United Kingdom navies. This Russian outsurge extends to all the seven seas, and certainly includes the Indian Ocean. How wide and prudent, therefore, is the Government's decision to build our naval base at Cockburn Sound, and. as I have said to meetings in Perth, I look forward to, and urge, continuous expansion right up to and well beyond the point where we have a 2-ocean navy. We will need such naval capacity in the region in which Australia lives. So. the announcement last week by the Minister for the Navy **(Mr Killen)** that good progress is being made at Cockburn Sound is most welcome. Turning to the South East Asian mainland, the struggle in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos today is a struggle with the Communist states for the whole of Asia. The future freedom of Asia is being decided. So Australia's strategic position and consequent defence requirements need to be examined, if necessarily briefly. Our position can only usefully be seen in relation to our neighbours and our international associates. Our main concern is with East and South East of Asia; it is hard to imagine today circumstances in which Australia would send forces elsewhere. In Asia there is a struggle against the offensive Communist states, coupled, let me emphasise, with other important developments in this under-developed region, but using all those varied cold war techniques of subversion, insurgency and a whole variety of threats to the integrity of the small nations they wish to bring under their domination. All the evidence there is of Communist attacks, conduct of diplomacy, insurgency, materia) support - and their own official statements - give the clearest possible proof of these intentions. China is the centrepiece. That country has a standing army of 3,000,000 men - about 150 divisions - and 2,500 aircraft, a greatly expanding military capacity in socalled conventional and nuclear weapons, with ICBM's by 1972, soon sufficient to threaten major powers. This strength has been used already to support aggression and subversion of neighbours and thus upset the world balance of power. We do not yet know the effect of this growing nuclear capacity on her political and military intentions, and the effect on the policies of other states in the region, including India, Japan, Pakistan, Thailand and Indonesia, but we do know that, for some purposes, it is making big military efforts its people can ill-afford. However much China's actions are explained by Communist ideology, its imperialist history or its internal politics and nationalism, China's international conduct in Korea, Tibet, India and Russia and support of so-called national liberation fronts in South Vietnam. Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, etc. and its behaviour iti diplomacy around the world, amount to the clearest warning to us all. One hopes that, in time. China's leadership will change to a reasonable, well-intentioned and co-operative modern state, but it will take a long time. Meantime, our highest possible defence capacity will be our chief influence on events. China's possession of nuclear weapons, especially ICBM's, can only add to a sense of instability in the region and in the world. For instance, even India, and consequently Pakistan, must consider going nuclear. These are new factors emerging in our region. The recent tragic events in Laos and Cambodia are all too clearly results of aggression by a Communist state - North Vietnam - supported strongly by China and the USSR. There are now regular North Vietnamese troops in substantial force in Laos, Cambodia and South Vietnam. Here blatant outside aggression, coupled with insurgency, threatens the independence of 3 States - all the agreements and pious hopes formerly expressed notwithstanding. Here are plain cases of neutrality not respected. of free peoples and independent states overrun because they were, in the main, defenceless. The domestic policies of the Western powers make adequate assistance impossible because of the many who are blind to strategic considerations and historical aggressive intent, and follow carefully prepared Communist propaganda which seeks to convince us that this is none of our concern and offers us, in the short terra, an easy way out - of withdrawing and doing nothing. Those who have criticised Australian and United States intervention and policy and who are dedicated to a world where small countries like Australia can remain free, need to examine whether their words and actions have given encouragement to the Communist nations. One consequence of this is the anticipated withdrawal of Thai forces and perhaps realignment of Thai policy. The Thais have every justification te be fearful. Events in Laos - the Communists have shamelessly ignored the 1962 Geneva Agreements - and the road being built right to the Thailand border in Laos bv Chinese are ominous indeed. In reviewing strategic considerations, some comments on our SEATO and ANZUS treaties ought to be made. As we all know, SEATO has not met all the hopes originally held. Laos and Cambodia are not now protocol states, South Vietnam is. Australia has responded to South Vietnam's call for assistance as a protocol state to SEATO even though some other countries in SEATO have not so responded. That South Vietnam is a sovereign state has been demonstrated many times by a majority of United Nations members. That is as clear as anything can be in international law. It is worth recalling SEATO's value today, as it is not inconsiderable. SEATO provided and has achieved United States intervention in South East Asia - in South Vietnam - and to meet large-scale North Vietnam aggression. It is, of course, not logical or honourable to suggest United States intervention without Australian intervention. SEATO thus prevented the immediate collapse of Indo-China. Weighty reassurance has been given to Thailand and Malaysia. It has provided defence consultants and practical co-operation of forces on South East Asian matters which go beyond ANZUS in making defence contacts in the United States itself, and the opportunity to learn procedures and practices. Concerning South Vietnam. I do not intend to indulge in al' the polemics or argument, moral and political, that is possible. The position as it is now is the one to face. Australia was obliged and has honoured its solemn treaty obligations, as it has every time in its history. We have, in our area in South Vietnam, considerably improved public safety and provided much aid and protection of it. We have provided medical clinics, schools, etc. We have again been a steady ally in difficult times, as we expect others to be to us. That makes an alliance of trust, confidence and moral strength which only true friends know and feel. It transcends ANZUS and cynical comments. ANZUS is important to our security, because agreements by those countries which are parties to it are always honoured, not the empty gestures we see so often elsewhere. ANZUS, of which so much is said, is most substantial because, allowing for wording made necessary by the United States Constitution, the moral obligation, and what is understood by all parties, is a strong one and a military one. The degree of commitment is not vague for, in the event of an overt substantial attack, a party could not absolve itself from action without a complete and public breach of faith which would be seen by the world and which would, rightly, affect a nation's prestige forever. That ANZUS applies to Western Australia too, as indicated by the Minister for External Affairs **(Mr McMahon)** in his statement of 18th August 1965 is, if I might interpose, of more than passing interest to me. But Americans, New Zealanders and Australians have more in common than their treaties. We feel free to criticise one another, as do any working partners. But further, in a real sense, Australia feels a kinship for Americans. It is a mistake to think the relationship is our defence need only: It is much deeper than that. Australians would be the last people to adopt, nationally, an attitude or outlook just to suit another country. We are ourselves and determined to be ourselves. With a family relationship, we are like so many families - fiercely independent. The free world certainly should acknowledge the great efforts of the Americans in South East Asia in the interests of free and small nations. The region has presented them with many problems and difficulties which they have faced with courage, determination and justice as an historical act that again indicates the great and honourable cation it is. Australia's interests were and are greatly assisted, for again and again it has been shown that to refer a matter to the United Nations Organisation for solution is not in itself a constructive policy. In the circumstances, our expenditure is a minimum, even at $l,100m per annum, and must increase steadily. Our defence forces will and must, as a continuing process, seek the best use of that vote among the array of priorities presenting. Naturally, as one who lives less than a mile from the Indian Ocean, I am interested in the defence capacity's relation to Western Australia. As Western Australia is so close to Indonesia, so are the people of Western Australia interested. Our forces in South East Asia and the mobility of forces are of direct interest to them, as I have frequently stated in Perth and elsewhere, and so is the strengthening in Western Australia itself - the upgrading of Learmonth as an air base to take aircraft of any type; the building of the Cockburn Sound base; the $5m for improvements to and enlargement of Pearce Royal Australian Air Force base and, I hope, a new army camp near Perth soon. I am glad that an exercise by Gurkha and Australian troops is to take place later this year in Western Australia. May such defence expansion and training continue. I shall be with those who press for it. Cambodia, traditionally proud but militarily weak and economically poor, is, without blame, to suffer a devastation if it is to remain free - and worse if it is not. It was a pleasant place, contrasted with South Vietnam in war as I saw in a visit to both countries early in 1968, even if badly led. Remembering that visit, how one is reminded of the saying: 'Put not your trust in princes'. Like every South East Asian country, economic development and land reform are prerequisites to progress but ruthless Communist dictatorship makes life insensitive, harsh and without those basic principles which give social expression and the full life their deepest meaning. Cambodia needs badly a harnessing of the rivers for rebuilding an irrigation system, achieved by the dynasty of Ankor Wat centuries ago to get two crops per year. Many such enterprises with foreign aid and local work in LDC's are to give way to war and worse. Real progress of this type can and, I hope, will be done here in Laos, South Vietnam and other countries, but real peace is a prerequisite and aggression puts freedom and progress backward. There is not time to discuss today the growing influence and policy of other countries in the region beyond passing comments on two of them. Japan, with its population of 100 million and defence capacity 10 times bigger than Australia's already, is of rapidly increasing importance in the strategic forces to be felt in the region. Its future relations with China on the one hand and the other nations on the other hand are most important factors which will emerge shortly. Australia must study this position with close interest and perhaps with some concern. Japan's changing relations with the United States, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and South East Asian countries probably will have dramatic influences before long. Indonesia, our closest neighbour, has a population of 120 million. With an army of some 300,000 and a smallish navy its forces are relatively minor in the region and relations with Australia are excellent. There can be little doubt that the resistance of the Indonesian generals to the 196S Communist coup was stiffened greatly by the presence of United States and other forces in South Vietnam. Thus can efforts in maintaining freedom have most helpful byproducts. As is known, Indonesia has vast economic problems and it was most gratifying to hear the Australian Government's recent decision giving, not lending, aid of $60m to Indonesia. I hope we will give every assistance to the development of Indonesia's undoubted mineral wealth - that mineral belt which crosses much of the country from west to east - so that the people of Indonesia can help themselves to derive significant internal income to meet their great needs. Furthermore. Australia should see that Australians and not only Japanese have, an opportunity to bc involved in this development, as I understand that in this development we would be most welcome. From all these comments the only sober conclusion that can be made on our strategic position is that it has not been improved by recent events in the past months; it has worsened. It is appalling and tragic therefore that the Labor Party - the Opposition, and the only alternative government offering - should take so little cognisance of the real position. It seems to depend for policy on the understandable emotion that the war engenders, supported by the technical and practical limits of television as a news medium which tends to see the war exclusively in terms of combat and casualties, to the exclusion of ideas and issues. There is a reluctance to ask: Who is responsible and what is the alternative? It is well to remember that some members of the Labor Party first favoured our commitment in Vietnam. Now the left wing, having apparently taken over in all States, including, now, New South Wales, is opposed to it in every respect. It can be demonstrated that Labor's pleas are always to do less in defence. Occasionally members of the Labor Party speak as though they favour defence measures, but I remind the House that their contributions to debates in recent times lead us to see that they wish an Australian withdrawal from South Vietnam and Malaya. They want less done on defence, though they show a perhaps understandable interest, as we have just heard, in servicemen. They criticise everything - Australia's overseas service, its forward defence concept, conscription and army adequacy, Fill aircraft, Phantoms - they praised them before this Government leased Phantoms - most major defence purchases, Vietnam and SEATO obligations. Their leader in 1954 challenged the preamble to the SEATO Agreement. The Australian Labor Party offered the implausible nuclear-free zone as policy and criticised President Kennedy's stand against the attempt of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to put missiles on Cuba. Often Labor speakers talk of the Labor Government's war effort, implying neglect by the Menzies Government. But prior to the end of 1939 they opposed the creation of the Second AIF, the British Empire Air Training Scheme and compulsory military service, and many and emphatic were the Labor speakers who assured the House that war was not imminent. The Labor Party is historically against defence preparations and ignores external threats and realities of aggression because of bogies about big business and United States imperialism. It is just as silly to think that good will inevitably come from the situation in South East Asia as it is to think that it must be bad. I maintain that our position at present is worsening, but no result is inevitable. We must realistically judge the position from day to day and not be reluctant to resist aggression and plan and build our defence, even at cost. If international law and order existed disarmament would be everybody's aim - let no-one doubt that - but without it Labor's policy is a policy of diminishing defence, which at this moment is a policy of recklessness. Domestic politics in Australia have reached such a pitch that the Labor Party, in particular the Leader of the Opposition, seems to believe in, and be so excited at, the prospect of government that principles, Australian interests and responsibilities have gone out the window. There are many examples. Listen to what the Labor Leader said in the House on 22nd April 1970. He said: >The Government has backed every move for tho escalation of the war and resisted every move to limit it or end it. The result of its policy of prolongation has been that the whole of IndoChina is now engulfed in civil and racial war. This is a reduction of a matter of the most serious character in our age to an appallingly low level. It is purely party politics. No consideration has been given to the aggressive acts of North Vietnamese troops, Russian and Chinese assistance or treaty obligations. There has been not even a small acknowledgment of any influence or presence at all of Communist forces. It is all our fault, according to Labor. Realistic policy cannot be formed in a political vacuum. It is significant that most of those who have visited these countries in South East Asia usually express views which accord with the attitude of this Government and express the belief that the South Vietnamese cause is right. The United Kingdom Labour Government was not for withdrawal and did its best to negotiate, using its position of Co-Chairman of the Geneva Conference, but its official statements were in accord with the Australian Government's view and its successive Foreign Ministers have been quite clear as to the interpretation of events. Theirs was a reasonable attitude. If we were to desert our allies in the field what would the United States - our friends - and our enemies around the world think of us, of the agreements we have signed and the undertakings we have given? These are weighty issues. But if history has any lesson it is that naked, deliberate force must be met. Resistance does not cure every problem - it is only a beginning - but it is the foundation upon which all can be built. It is one thing to express the Opposition's professional gloom about the Australian economy and the Budget but it is quite another thing to take an exaggerated, false and misleading position in matters of this import. Members of Parliament on both sides have a solemn duty to be responsible and to guard Australian security. One would have hoped for at least a lessening of the deep differences in defence policies between the major political parties. Surely this is a time for a bi-partisan policy in the interests of Australia. This is a time for the long view, not the short view. I credit most members of the Labor Party with loyal, honest and patriotic intentions without reserve, but Labor's present policy takes grave risks and would leave us exposed in the face of every warning. Wc Government supporters are chided for making political capital, but these policies need not be the issues they ate. The solution is in Labor's hands. I know that there are many sincere, well-intentioned people who have sought Australia's withdrawal from South Vietnam. 1 equally know that there are many Communists and Communist sympathisers who want us out and want the Viet Cong to win and want Communist states to take over South East Asian countries one by one. We must see the position for what it is and not fall back into a position far worse and costly in days to come. This is no time for any Australian in a partisan mood to react into a policy of dangerous complacency against all the evidence. {: #subdebate-28-0-s2 .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON:
Dawson -- Before commenting at some length on the matters in the Budget relating to primary industry I want to put the record straight on one issue. The right honourable member for Fisher **(Mr Adermann),** when he made his speech, sneered at the Australian Labor Party for excluding me from its list of speakers on primary industry. I can assure him that at no stage was I squeezed out or excluded. If the honourable member likes to consult the official list of speakers in the Caucus he will find that I was on that list at all times. But more importantly, because of the arrogance of this Government of which the honourable member for Reid **(Mr Uren)** speaks, in deliberately introducing Bills this morning that it could have introduced tonight, it has excluded the honourable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr Clyde Cameron)** and the honourable member for Grayndler **(Mr Daly)** who were to have closed the debate on this side of the House. That is the type of arrogance that this Government displays. {: .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr CHIPP:
HOTHAM, VICTORIA · LP; IND from March 1977; AD from May 1977 -- Your Whip did not put your name on the list. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON: -- The Opposition Whip has had my name on the list for 3 days. 1 am not concerned with the inefficiency of your Whip. {: .speaker-KCU} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury: -- I suggest that the conversation across the table ceases. {: .speaker-KB8} ##### Mr Giles: -- I rise to a point of order. I object to these remarks of the honourable member for Dawson- {: #subdebate-28-0-s3 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- There is no substance in the point of order. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON: -- The consistent failure of the Federal Government to give positive leadership and to implement progressive agricultural policies is leading a major portion of the rural sector into economic oblivion. The political expediency of the Government's rural policies has been based almost exclusively on Country Party dealings designed to win votes rather than to implement essential action for the benefit of the Australian nation to counter the drastic changes taking place in international trade patterns. This type of illogical policy as we have seen in Australia in the last 21 years must fail to the detriment of primary producers in Australia. With the decline of wool prices the rural bubble has finally burst in Australia. The Government's self lauded, ill conceived, private enterprise policies which have naively ignored the cutthroat and rigidly controlled agricultural policies of overseas countries have now been shown as archaic and a failure. The Labor Party recognises that the financial mess in which the Government has allowed primary industry to drift must be halted by drastic decisions, even if such action is unpopular in the short term. Urgent and almost revolutionary reconstruction action for the benefit of the rural sector as well as for the nation cannot be delayed any further. Positive policies must be concentrated on the co-ordinated reconstruction of sick rural industries, with the overall objective of adjusting levels of farm production to realistic overseas market demand. Such a policy may mean substantial *cuts* in production in some important export rural industries. This action will involve the Commonwealth in a collision course with those States which refuse to take notice of shrinking export markets and which arc still deliberately expanding production and encouraging policies lo expand production, such as increasing butter production in Australia today. Flexible, controlled levels of production in those rural export industries whose markets ure in jeopardy is fundamental to any programme of reconstruction. Unavoidably, policies of readjustment will involve a major reorganisation in farm size and farm population. In this respect constructive rehabilitation and training programmes for rural families, including children, who have no economic alternative but to leave agriculture, is an essential requisite in Australia. The alternative, of course, is to do nothing and perpetuate the rot which has been allowed to develop by a political expedient government refusing to face economic facts of Australian agriculture. To put the position bluntly, primary producers no longer can tolerate the fools' paradise in which they have been living as a result of a deceitful government refusing to inform farmers of the truth about the serious future of many of our export industries as a result of international marketing arrangements. In fact, it was only last week that farmers had the first official inkling of the truth from the incredibly gloomy speech of the Deputy Prime Minister **(Mr Mc Ewen)** with respect to the possibility of Britain's joining the European Common Market. The fact that the Government has known this for a number of years seems to have escaped the Government. To put the position bluntly, the Government apparently puts votes before principles even if it means creating wide misery amongst primary producers in Australia. The wheat industry has been hurt because the Government failed to heed the inter national warning signals 2 years before the final crunch came which forced the industry to introduce by panic measures rigid controls over the levels of wheat production. The controls in themselves are sound policy, but the formula for quotas by freezing the State levels of wheat production and the formula for individual farmers are unjust and inequitable. Wool is facing its worst economic position since the depression 40 years ago. Its archaic method of marketing has placed the industry at the mercy of overseas buying cartels and foreign shipping freight policies which have bled the wool grower to a condition which he cannot afford to tolerate further. Wool growers in this country will be shocked by the statement made by **Sir William** Gunn that the wool growing industry in Australia has absolutely no say whatsoever in the determination of freight rates. Negotiation of freight rates is completely in the hands of wool buyers or the owners of wool or the overseas principals, and is determined mainly in overseas countries. The economics of canned fruits. Tasmania's apple and pear industry, and some of the fruit areas in northern Victoria are balanced on the brink of a precipice because of dynamic changes in world marketing patterns. The export butter industry has been allowed to degenerate into a hopeless economic position with Government bungling and ineptitude in this industry reaching unparalleled heights,. The refusal of the State governments to face the economic facts of life of increasing butter production has led and is leading more to financial misery amongst dairy farmers. Let me turn to subsidies, in general, the politically motivated subsidy and bounty policies are not achieving the desired objective. Under present economic conditions, the principle of subsidies can be justified for export industries - both rural and secondary - but subsidies cannot be continually divorced from the market equilibrium as has been the case in Australia. The Government's stated rural policy objective of providing subsidies in order to help farmers most in need is now exposed as a political fraud which deserves the highest condemnation. I wonder how many members of the Country Party have done any research to see where these subsidies are going. I doubt that any of them have done so, because if they had they would have been raising their voices in the Parliament long before this. In fact, the unbalanced method of subsidy distribution followed by this Government has been a monumental and costly failure. The distribution of Federal subsidies and bounties is so unjust that 50 per cent of Australian farmers are receiving only approximately 5 per cent of total payments to the rural sector. On the other hand the larger and more affluent farmers - only 10 per cent of the farmers of Australia - are sharing 60 per cent of all subsidies distributed by the Federal Government. Direct subsidies to farmers in need are far preferable to the present methods of payment which are mainly distributed to those who do not need this financial assistance. On the other hand, a legitimate subsidy which is now widely recognised by agricultural economists is one which compensates for the high tariff or other deliberate Government policies which penalise unprotected export industries. This is now recognised. It is painfully clear, however, that the continued production of permanent, unsaleable surpluses generated in part by unsound Government policies is an intolerable and wasteful policy. It will reduce the overall living standards of farmers and their families and will be a continual drain on the resources of this nation. We have had one real fright in the wheat industry Let us learn from that experience. The failure of the rural policies of the Government is shown by the fact that, despite the vast outlays of public expenditure since the last war to encourage, stabilise and prop up primary industry, we now see the farm income of the rural sector declining. In the last 5 years, it has declined significantly. In the same period, income in the non farm sector has increased by 40 per cent, an average of 8 per cent per annum. Whether this Government likes it or not, it can no longer afford to keep its head in the sand. Australian marketing policy must be formulated to toe the line of and to keep in perspective with dynamic marketing policies of overseas countries. The overseas countries with these policies are mainly the powerful trading blocs which are hell bent on self sufficiency and which have no qualms whatsoever about the dumping of deliberately generated surpluses. The European Common Market is an outstanding example. Plaintive appeals by Australia to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade complaining about the cut throat policies of the most powerful trading bloc in the world - the European Common Market - are a useless display of despair. This is a refusal to face up to the inevitable. The repeated excuse of defence offered by the Government for its negative refusal to adjust progressively the levels of farm production to realistic market demands is that such action is the exclusive right under the Constitution of the States. This is passing the buck, a principle firmly inherent particularly in the Country Party philosophy of putting votes before sound economic policy. The plain facts are that the Federal Government controls the Treasury as well as those policies which authorise subsidies, bounties, first advance payments and credit to export rural industries. The substitution of special purpose section 96 grants to individual States in place of the present industry wide subsidy system, which is simply perpetuating the rot and the problems of farm production, should be sufficient to bring home to the States the absurdity of fostering policies of expansion in some export primary industries, notably butter. For example, the continued expansion of butter in Victoria in the face of the huge unsaleable surpluses of butter in Australia and overseas cannot be allowed to continue under existing Federal subsidy and equalisation policies unless accompanied by severe cuts in production in other States. I turn now to wool. Available marketing evidence suggests that world demand for quality wools will continue and should continue at satisfactory price levels. But Australia's archaic marketing system, based on the mythical conception of an auction system controlled from overseas by cartels and at the mercy of foreign shipping companies with respect to shipping freight rates, must be scrapped. It must be scrapped quickly by the Australian Government. A statutory marketing authority incorporating the principle of a single buyer and a single seller with powers of acquisition under a reserve price scheme financed basically by the wool industry is Australian Labor Party policy and is the policy of all major wool growing organisations. But the Government, torn apart by the influence of powerful vested interests spearheaded by the middle men, the brokers and the private bankers, refuses to act despite the national urgency. The honourable member for Maranoa **(Mr Corbett)** challenged me to give the Australian Labor Party's policy on rural industry. I have just given it on wool. What is the policy of the Country Party on wool? What is the policy of the Government on wool? This morning we saw the Prime Minister **(Mr Gorton)** refuse to deny that he rejects a statutory authority. In fact, he is in favour of a voluntary, weak, toothless, clawless marketing authority. What is the policy of the Country Party? {: .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr Chipp: -- The Prime Minister did not say that. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON: -- Members of the Country Party make these speeches outside Parliament. {: .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr Chipp: -- The statement about the Prime Minister is untrue. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON: -- Why did not he deny it? {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -- Why had he to? {: .speaker-L8C} ##### Mr Sherry: -- Why did he not? **Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury)Order!** The honourable member for Dawson will direct his remarks to the Chair. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON: -- H e did not deny it because it is true. It is quite obvious that the policy of the Country Party as regards wool is simply that it does not have a policy otherwise members of the Country Party would rise in this Parliament and would support a single marketing authority. If the wool industry is in as bad a position as they make out it is - and it is - Country Party members would move a motion in this Parliament to force the Liberal Party to act because they have the support of the Labor Party in that motion. But Country Party members have not the guts to do that. Why do they not rise here and do that? Why do they go moaning and bellyaching around their electorates, as they do, criticising the Government? Why do they not move a motion in this Parliament for the establishment of a statutory single marketing authority instead of back- stabbing the Liberal Party in the corridors outside this chamber and saying nothing in the Parliament? The latest effort of powerful vested interests to sabotage the proposed statutory wool marketing authority is the visit to Australia of representatives of the International Wool Textile Organisation. That organisation already has breathed threats of fire in the defiance of woolgrowers pressing for urgent reform. No-one challenges the right of the IWTO to come to Australia to state its case in opposition to a single wool marketing authority. But it is the height of arrogance and of colossal hide if the IWTO thinks that it can dictate to the Australian woolgrower or to the Australian Government through some type of economic blackmail. Why are the IWTO and other similar organisations so anxious to prevent a statutory single marketing authority on wool? Are we so naive as to believe that the reason why the IWTO does not want a statutory authority is because it has a benevolent attitude towards the Australian woolgrower? Are we so naive as not to believe that the IWTO fears a single marketing authority and that the reason why it fears a single marketing authority is that, instead of a disorganised fragmented marketing rabble as we see today, dominated by wool brokers, international cartels and by companies fixing unnecessarily high freight rates, adoption of this proposal would see the substitution of a strong powerful single marketing authority which would transform the Australian wool industry. It could speak with one voice and stand up to the monopolistic pressures being exerted on the industry from overseas. 1 believe quite firmly, however, that the imponderables of the future of wool must be recognised. One has only to read, to study, or to be trained in the scientific field to know that the tremendous advances in technology in the manufacture of synthetics and the streamlined and highly efficient marketing and promotion of synthetics, which are backed by enormous industrial wealth, are a threat of unqualified seriousness to the wool industry. To refuse to recognise this technical and economic fact would be disastrous for Australia. It would be an act of economic madness to allow the wool industry to fall into the same mess as the world wheat industry. It is possible, but at present most improbable, that Australia may eventually have to face up to controlled levels of wool production, like wheat and sugar, to keep it in line with overseas market equilibrium and the cutthroat policies of overseas marketing countries. Such controls may be abhorrent to many of the aristocratic free traders in the wool industry who are mainly the very large wool growers and the wool brokers. World trade policies today, which are dominated by cut-throat and beggar my neighbour economic policies, leave no scope for polite, gentlemanly policies such as the antiquated auction system or for the pious hope that overseas countries will benevolently recognise the great wool potential of Australia. I am glad to see that the honourable member for Maranoa has come into the chamber. Last week when he spoke he was very critical of some aspects of Labor's rural policies. In fact he said we have not any. I challenge members of the Country Party to state their policy on the wool industry. The Minister for the Interior **(Mr Nixon),** will follow me in this debate, but will he state his Government's policy on the wool industry? He will not say anything about it at all. The honourable member for Maranoa challenged me on wheat policy. If he reads Hansard he will see what I have said on at least three occasions. For the benefit of the honourable member I will deal with this again. I might add also that the substance of the comments I made was unanimously endorsed last year by the parliamentary Labor Party and by the Federal Conference of the Australian Labor Party. It is ALP policy. It is patently clear that, except by price fixation by legislation, no responsible Federal Government can adopt unqualified policies of unlimited wheat production which is underwritten by a relatively high first advance for every bushel of wheat produced, irrespective of the total quantity or the quality which is unsaleable at the prices fixed by legislation. {: .speaker-K5O} ##### Mr Corbett: -- Does that apply to last year? {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON: -- This policy has applied ever since the chronic over production when quotas were introduced. There is no difference in our policy now from what it was 2 years ago. {: .speaker-K5O} ##### Mr Corbett: -- Does the honourable member for Riverina agree with you? {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON: -- I am stating Labor's policy. A policy of controlled wheat production financed by Government guarantees is fully consistent with Labor's policy in the present conditions of world trade. One could only imagine the unholy mess the wheat industry would be in if rigorous controls had never been imposed and a relatively high first advance had been guaranteed without any Government limit to the amount of Commonwealth liability, particularly at a time when wool prices were low. Both Canada and the United States of America have reduced drastically their wheat output. For Australia to ignore such action and to adopt a policy of unrestricted production with no regard for these two powerful countries which have cut production considerably would be the height of foolishness. Controlled levels of wheat production based on a quota system will become an integral part of Australia's rural policy unless world trade changes significantly. World wheat demand influenced by the climatic variability of Asia and Russia is the key to the residual volume of world trade. This nation cannot afford any policy of uncontrolled wheat production under the Government's current basic 2-price scheme which includes a relatively high first advance while the delicate world trade conditions still apply. Before controls can be significantly relaxed on a permanent basis world demand will have to change drastically. One basic difference between the Opposition's policy and the Government's policy on wheat is with respect to the formula for quotas. It is no good the Government saying that it has no influence in regard to the policy on quotas. That is ridiculous. There should be transferable and negotiable quotas between States and between farms. What is the Government's policy on dairying? It is a belated reconstruction scheme which, referring to yesterday's 'Courier-Mail', will amalgamate farms and increase butter production. This is the Federal Government's absurd policy of butter expansion. The policy in Victoria is to increase butter production. Perhaps the Minister for the Interior will tell us his Government's latest decision on butter production. Will it reduce production in Australia by influencing the States to do so under equalisation guarantees, or is the industry going to drift along aimlessly and hopelessly with further butter surpluses? What is the Government's policy on sugar? There could be the equivalent of 100.000 tons of sugar ploughed in this year in north Queensland because it has been a fortuitous season. What is the Government's policy on this? Will it ensure that the maximum storage provisions under the International Sugar Agreement are implemented? The Minister for the Interior will tell us this. What is the Government's policy on long term development finance? It has no policy. The Government has to kowtow to the private banking sector and the hire purchase companies. Labor's policy is quite clear. It is the same as that mentioned by the honourable member for Reid **(Mr Uren)** for housing. Our basic policy is to provide development loans at low rates of interest. This Government is incapable of doing that because it might offend the private banking systems and the hire purchase companies. What is the Government's policy on drought? Let the Government read the editorial in today's 'Courier-Mail' and it will see reference to the shameless action of this Government- {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -- Who wrote that? {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON: -- It is in the 'CourierMail' - your friends.In conclusionI would like to deal at length with the problem of costs. If there is one issue that is eating the heart out of the economic sector of Australia, particularly the rural sector, it is the insidious increase in costs. All that the Country Party can say is: 'We want arbitration for the wage earners'. What about arbitration for the big, monopolistic companies in Australia which can increase the prices of their products whenever they want to? Why do they not go to arbitration? 1 fully support the honourable member for Cunningham **(Mr Connor)** who said that if the Government is sincere on costs it should go to the people at the Senate election with a proposal for a Commonwealth referendum on price control in Australia. That would be carried. **Mr** DEPUTY SPEAKER **(Mr Drury)Order!** The honourable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-28-0-s4 .speaker-009OD} ##### Mr NIXON:
Minister for the all my time answering the speech of the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson · Gippshind · CP , other than to say that towards the end of my speechI will deal with some points he has raised. I will deal now with only one or two matters. It is quite obvious on the subject of wool marketing that the difference between the Opposition and the Government is that the Government has the responsibility for bringing into thisHouse legislation that will affect the lives and livelihood of wool growers into the future. The Government will bring in such legislation when it has fully tested and examined the possibilities and prospects of a changed wool marketing authority and not before. It will certainly not be hammered into this action by the emotive speech of the honourable member for Dawson. The Government will not - it would seem after listening to the honourable member for Dawson that he would - desert the farmers in their hour of need by making great emotive speeches and doing nothing to help them. The honourable member for Dawson even had the nerve to talk about rising costs. He is a member of the Labor Party and supported his Leader when **Mr Hawke** led the nation out the other day in another of his 634 strikes in 3 months. This is where our rising costs are coming from. If they are coming from any one single area they are coming from the flow on of costs caused by strikes and other disruptive action caused by **Mr Hawke** and supported by the Labor Party. I want to turn my attention to a matter that has been causing the Government a great deal of concern. There has been a good deal of misunderstanding throughout the community about it. It relates to the Aboriginal people at Wattie Creek in the Northern Territory. The picture most frequently presented is of a valiant band of people, united by tribal ties, fighting the all powerful Government and influential vested interests for the right to establish themselves in an area of land to which they have some tribal attachment deeply rooted in their ancient history. If they could only get title to this land, they would establish a flourishing enterprise, restore their dignity and confidence, and move forward to a glowing future. This picture is a misleading one. I am not going to suggest for one minute that I am satisfied with the conditions of the Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory or that nothing more needs to be done for them, or that the wishes of the people themselves should or can be left out of account. But I do urge that the House and those many people in Australia who feel a genuine concern should resist the attraction of the easy way out. The Government believes that it is wholly wrong to encourage Aboriginals to think that because their ancestors have had a long association with a particular piece of land, Aboriginals of the present day have the right to demand ownership of it. There is the question whether establishing the principle that Aboriginals who can show some association with a piece of land and want to have it should be entitled to it as of right, is a help or a hindrance in achieving the best possible future for the Aboriginals and for all Australians. The Government believes that it would be a hindrance and no help. This does not mean that Aboriginals cannot own land. They can, and do. But the Government believes they should secure land ownership under the system that applied to the Australian community and not outside it. What future do we see for Aboriginals. There are perhaps 80,000 to 100,000 people in Australia who look on themselves as Aboriginals. There are 124 million Australians. It is impractical to imagine that we can put the clock back so that the Aboriginals can remain untouched by the immigrant civilization. They themselves want many things a material civilization provides, and have been increasingly drawn into contact with the wider society. All Governments in Australia reject the thought of 2 separate societies in Australia. The Government's aims are directed at helping the Aboriginal people to take their place in a single society, at the highest level of skill and attainment within their capacity and desires. This does not mean forcing our way of life on them, or trying to stamp out their culture. But it does mean making sure that economic opportunities and social and educational measures are available and that encouragement is given to people to move from the fringes of society to enjoy on equal terms the mainstream of Australian life. Would granting land at Wattie Creek assist the people who are living there towards this objective? lt might if, as sometimes seems to be inferred, possession of a land title somehow transforms people's personality and instantly develops in them initiaitve, confidence and capacity to advance themselves socially and economically. In practice, a land title of itself has no such magic effect. Experience in other countries where there has been a system of customary land ownership which has been recognised by the introduced legal system is that this recognition does not of itself solve problems of social, economic and cultural change, and sometimes hinders solutions. In Papua and New Guinea the complications o£ customary land ownership have been frequently referred to as one of the major inhibiting factors in economic development. The younger more progressive people are anxious to plant commercial crops, but the complexities of a communal land holding system frequently mean that the person who shows the initiative and makes the effort is not assured of receiving the reward. I found in discussions I had in Canada last year that the land rights which were accorded to the Indian bands there had had the effect, in practice, of encouraging divisions between the Indian people and the wider Canadian community. Measures which are based on racial qualification are divisive in any community. It is important for Australia's future that we work towards minimising race consciousness and avoid steps which tend to emphasise divisions on a racial basis. Of course, where there is need for special educational, social or economic measures to help a section of the community which requires assistance, appropriate assistance should be provided. In this sense a grant of land might assist the people at Wattie Creek if there were an economic activity which the people could carry on as thenown. Cattle is one possibility mentioned, and an area of SOO square miles has been referred to. The smallest cattle properties in that region cover about 1,000 to 1,500 square miles of land, with herd sizes of 2,000 to 3,000 head. To establish such a property as a new enterprise would involve capital investment of the order of $300,000, on which a very low return could be expected and it would provide a living only for one owner-operator and one full-time employee. Numbers camping at Wattie Creek vary considerably. In the stand-down on the cattle stations during the wet seasons numbers of people go to Wattie Creek from the stations. There is also movement between Wattie Creek and the Wave Hill welfare settlement. Those with a continuous attachment to Wattie Creek seem to number from IS to 20 men and their wives and children. Some of the men are beyond working age. All the public emphasis has been on the people at Wattie Creek. But there are no sharp, distinctions between the communities at Wattie Creek and Wave Hill which would warrant those at Wattie Creek being given preference in an economic project to the exclusion of those at Wave Hill. An unknown factor is how many people might be attracted to move permanently from employment on the surrounding cattle properties to Wattie Creek if a cattle project for the Aboriginal people were started there, ft is quite fanciful to think that a cattle property of 500 square miles in that country could support an Aboriginal community at Wattie Creek at a reasonable standard of living. Government measures for Aboriginals are sometimes criticised as demoralising hand-outs. Yet the people at Wattie Creek have been living almost entirely on handouts. A cattle property of 500 square miles would not eliminate this. Another possibility of economic activity which has been mentioned is contract cattle mustering teams. A team employing, say, 25 people would need 200 horses requiring 20 square miles of land. Capital investment is estimated at about $42,000 with an operational budget each year of about $63,000, based on an average return to the participants of $2,000 each, or less than they earn now as employees on cattle stations. The Government is not opposed to such a possibility, but the facts are that it is most unlikely that sufficient work would be available. The industry in this area is relying more on subdivisional fencing and there is less large mustering required. Most larger stations in the district have their own plant and employ enough staff or recruit the extra people required. It is in any case not really in accordance with the facts to represent the people at Wattie Creek as a vigorous group with capacity and determination, needing only land and finance to prosper by their own efforts. I do not want to seem critical, but they have not made great efforts on their own behalf. A concrete brick hut built by a party of supporters from Melbourne earlier this year was unoccupied when I went there in July. A second partly built hut had had no work done on it after the working party left. We see Press references to an orchard area and a market garden. I know from previous visits that there has been very little activity of this kind. There is now a small garden on the creek bank about half way to Wave Hill settlement. It is however a family size vegetable plot rather than a market garden, and it is the work of one family only. The houses being built by the Government at Wave Hill have been severely criticised, as to location and purposes. They are not being built as an inducement to the people at Wattie Creek to move. They are available for application by people in the area, including those at the Wave Hill settlement as well as people of Wattie Creek. Their location was largely determined by the position of a road through to Western Australia to be built in the next few years. They are suitably located to form the nucleus of a small township, with employment opportunities associated with services to travellers. It is said that in building the houses at Wave Hill the Government rejected the tribal attachment of the Gurindji people to the Wattie Creek site, which is referred to as the place of their dreaming'. The best information available is that the Wattie Creek area has no more special traditional significance than the Wave Hill area in general including the commonage area on which the new township is being established. In any case it is not correct to describe the group at -Wattie Creek as 'the Gurindji'. Not all of the people at Wattie Creek are of the Gurindji tribe. Nol all the Gurindji are at Wattie Creek. As stated above, numbers fluctuate from time to time but generally there are more Gurindji people at Wave Hill- centre and the Wave Hill station than there are at Wattie Creek. There is an area of tribal significance at Seal Gorge which is about 10 miles front Wattie Creek. As part of a programme to delineate sites of special significance and protect them under the relevant. Northern Territory legislation, I have instructed that this area should be delineated. The lessee has agreed to surrender it so that it can be protected under the relevant legislation. My belief is that the Wattie Creek issue has attracted a great deal of support from people who feel, quite genuinely, that a great injustice has been done to the Aboriginal people by dispossession of their forebears when Australia was settled from Europe, and there is great attraction in proposals to recognise so-called traditional land rights, or to set up a compensation fund. I certainly do not defend all of the treatment of Aboriginals in our past history. But as compensation, I would rather see measures taken which are related to the best future we can see for the Aboriginal people. Measures of this kind by governments have been gaining momentum over the last 20 years, both by direct action and by increasing assistance to church missionary bodies which were endeavouring in a practical way to make up for past neglect long before there was any widespread interest and concern in the community generally. This is the positive side of Aboriginal advancement. Very little is heard of it. There is plenty of public attention directed to the negative side. In a sense this serves a purpose by drawing attention to what still remains to be done. We ought, however, also to look at what is being done and the real progress that is being made. Progress should be looked at against the reality that where social and economic progress is involved time is required, not only on the side of the capacity of the Government to expand its efforts and programmes but also and perhaps more importantly on the side of giving the people the time to adjust to change and time for the educational and training programmes to have their effect. We would all like to make up overnight for past neglect, and eliminate The Aboriginal problem*. In real life it does not happen that way. Not every Aboriginal person wants to make the sustained effort involved in responding to the opportunities now open to them. Indeed I have been struck by the agreement among those with long experience of social work amongst Aboriginals in the Northern Territory that strains are being imposed because the people are being expected to change too quickly. What can be done and what is being done is to ensure that the range of opportunities is extended and that more and more assistance and encouragement and support is made available to the people to take advantage of those opportunities. Let me now mention briefly some of the achievements in Aboriginal welfare in the Northern Territory. There has been a major expansion of educational facilities for Aboriginal children. In the last 5 years enrolments in primary schools have risen from 3,200 to 4,100. More than 90 per cent of the children of primary school age are now attending school regularly. Problems of moving populations and remoteness have been met by the imaginative solution of using caravans for schoolrooms, for accommodation for the school teacher and for ablution and laundry facilities. Post-primary education was commenced in 1965. There are now 600 pupils enrolled including 140 at Kormilda College which includes transitional courses to prepare Aboriginal pupils for secondary work in the normal community schools. The number of aborigines in secondary schools has risen from 7 in 1967 to 63 in 1970. The training of Aboriginal teaching assistants has been upgraded considerably and there is now a 2-year course. In the last 2 years the change has been made on settlements and missions from a 'cash and kind' basis to a full cash payment for those participating in the work training scheme. Total expenditures on Aboriginal welfare in the Northern Territory have risen from S6.7m in 1965-66 to an estimated SI 5.7m in 1970-71. Award wages for Aboriginals in the pastoral industry are now an established fact. Communities on settlements and missions are being encouraged to do more for themselves. In most places they now have their own council and also their own incorporated association or cooperative society which runs the store and organises community activities. These stores are substantial businesses, often with quite high turnovers with the profits going to general community purposes. Aboriginals are sharing in development projects on reserves in 2 ways. I pay tribute to the special efforts made by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Ltd in its manganese project at Groote Eylandt in providing employment opportunities and special training which have produced good results there. Programmes for similar training and employment opportunities in the operational phase of the Gove project are being developed by the operating company. Already at the Yirrkala Mission the Gove mining project has enabled an expansion of market gardening and the establishment of a brickworks, plant nursery, and a laundry operated by the Aboriginal people. A prawn processing factory on Groote Eylandt has very successfully employed up to 36 Aboriginal women, a party of whom made a visit to Perth for a holiday under arrangements made by the factory owners. The employment of women in industry in this way represents a significant change in outlook by the Aboriginal community concerned. The second way in which Aboriginals benefit from these enterprises is through the Aborigines Benefits Trust Fund. AH royalties and rents from these projects are paid to the Trust Fund. Following the amendments to the legislation agreed to by Parliament last year, an advisory committee with a majority of Aboriginal members was set up to advise the Minister on the expenditure of these moneys. This committee has operated very successfully and the contribution to its deliberations of the Aboriginal members has been outstanding. Grants and loans totalling $354,200 have been approved on the recommendation of the committee and these have gone to such varied purposes as fishing project at Umbakumba, assistance of mineral prospecting in the Docker River area, establishment of a kiosk and other tourist attractions at Stand ley Chasm and grants to the Yirrkala and Maningrida communities for the construction of council houses with the people also contributing substantially through voluntary labour. Funds available in the Trust Fund will increase markedly over the next few years with the expansion of manganese production at Groote Eylandt and the commencement of bauxite mining at Gove. All of these many and varied measures have the ultimate objective of helping people equip themselves to stand on their own feet in the wider community so that they can take advantage of the opportunities it offers. Some will go on the land, and there is provision to assist them with capital for viable propositions; they are eligible for leases under the normal laws and leases can now be granted to Aboriginals of land in Aboriginal reserves. Some will go into other occupations including trades and, in time, the professions. Let us help those of them whose future is on the land gain access to land, but under the system that applies to everyone in the community. Let us intensify efforts to help others whose future is not on the land to take advantage of the opportunities which the Australian community offers in their chosen field. Let us not, by recognising so-called tribal land claims, encourage groups and families to attach themselves more firmly to isolated and inadequate plots of land, so that those whose future by inclination and aptitude ought to be away from the land are impeded and hindered in realising the best that they can achieve in a single Australian community. Let us rather concentrate on making equality of opportunity in a single Australian community a reality for the Aboriginal people. This Budget debate, like all debates of this kind, produces a stream of economic pronouncements, heart-wringing stories of hardship in most areas of Government spending, and oratorical cures for the many ills as seen by expert and layman alike. The Budget is seen as the cornerstone of the financial and economic policy of the Australian nation and total financial expenditure has to be made against the background of the state of the Australian economy. High public expenditure, added to an economy already suffering from over-employment, heavy demands on services and materials, increases inflationary pressures. This leads further to insufferable rising costs of production for our export earning industries and hardship for people on fixed incomes. There is one area of activity that adds to the problem of cost increases that the Australian public should begin to count, and that is industrial activity. There is no doubt that there has been a step-up in the number of strikes and industrial stoppages for all sorts of reasons in recent months. The costs of these continued stoppages, in loss of production and man hours at work, must now be astronomical. Very often the stoppage is accompanied by an increased demand for wages which is sometimes given without any increase in productivity. The end result of such action is for any real benefit to the workers to be frittered away, and the continuing rise in costs of production placing severe strains on the farming industries. Australia has been going through a period of industrial anarchy lately, unequalled in years. I suggest that if the honourable member for Dawson is sincere in his wish to stop costs rising he should bring pressure to bear on his colleagues in the Labor Party with a view to asking **Mr Hawke** not to cause industrial stoppages across the nation. In the March quarter of last year, when **Mr Monk** was President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions there were about 490 stoppages but the figure has increased to 643 in the March quarter this year since **Mr Hawke** . became President. I suggest to the honourable member for Dawson that industrial stoppages are the greatest single factor causing rising costs throughout the community. The ACTU leaders, with the support of honourable members opposite, are doing as much to damage the rural industries by forcing costs up as are drought and production problems. This is doubly dangerous to the wool industry, so badly effected by drought and low prices. The Government understands the problems of the people engaged in the industry and will assist in the short term with $30m for emergency relief. This, of course, falls short of the desired assistance, but as the Treasurer **(Mr Bury)** said, the Government is examining debt restructuring as a long term means of assisting the industry. This, along with the necessary marketing reforms, will be a positive step in the rehabilitation of the great wool industry, still so vital to vast areas of Australia and to the economy as a whole. 1 have been staggered at the course of the debate so far as primary' industries are concerned. The Leader of the Opposition **(Mr Whitlam)** spent I hour and 4 minutes addressing himself to the Budget and dismissed the rural industries in less than 1 minute. Nowhere through the debate has there been any practical solution offered by the Opposition to the problems of the farming industries; rather, a mass of generalisations that fail to recognise the realities of our world, along with such extravagant claims for more Government expenditure in Other fields that can only lead to further inflation. The unreality of believing that trade opportunities through preferences can be so blithely exchanged from the United Kingdom to other countries shows the naivete of the Opposition. The suggestion ignores the fact that Britain remains the only market for some of our biggest industries. Such an approach will bring no solace to the dairy industry, the dried fruits industry, or the sugar or wheat industries. Tt also ignores the positive work being done by the Australian Meat Board, the Australian Wheat Board and other selling agents who are expanding markets in other areas throughout the world, and the industries themselves for the great endeavours they are applying to diversification of products. The fact is that the continual talk of depression in the rural industries is causing a loss of confidence by banks and commerce houses resulting in a depreciation of values of properties and thus causing greater financial problems for rural people in general. The Government has a positive approach to these questions, as can be seen by the real measures taken or to be taken in the near future. These include guarantees of 34c a pound for 222.000 tons of butter; $62m for the wool industry in this Budget; a guaranteed price for 200 million bushels of wheat sold overseas and for domestic sales: preferred bank interest rates; and subsidies on fertilisers at a cost of $56m. The list is endless. The Opposition has not told this Parliament of one positive step it has to assist the rural industries. 1 rather suspect that it has only platitudes and generalisations to proffer. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: -- Tell the truth. {: .speaker-009OD} ##### Mr NIXON: -- During his speech the honourable member for Dawson quoted what he said was the policy of the Australian Labor Party. I can recall a speech he made not long ago about the wheat industry. He threatened that the Labor Party would look at the guaranteed first payments by the Reserve Bank of Australia to the wheat industry. That is how sincere the honourable member is when talking about the wheat industry. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: -- I did nothing of the sort. {: .speaker-009OD} ##### Mr NIXON: -- Yes, you did. In his speech the honourable member for Dawson challenged the Government about its dairy policy. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: -- Where did I say that? {: .speaker-009OD} ##### Mr NIXON: -- I want to inform the honourable member for Dawson that the dairy policy of this Government is of great help to the industry. I referred to it a moment ago. Our policy guarantees the sale of 222,000 tons of butter at 34c a lb. This represents a subsidy of $46m. The dairy farmers are aware of this and they appreciate it. I doubt whether the honourable member for Dawson understands, the policy. So far as the speech by the Leader of the Opposition is concerned, one can only say this: In the main it is selective in approach, in criticism and example. It carries with it the innuendo that if the Leader of the Opposition were in power the Budget would be radical and different. 1 think it would be different - it would be more expensive and inflationary, as can be realised from hearing the supporters behind him. It would be socialistic, as will be realised by a single reading of ALP policy. 1 have to confess that the ALP policy changes from year to year. One cannot always be sure what it is. As for its policy on rural industry, I have known the honourable member for Dawson to have 3 wool policies in his hand at the one time. The ALP policy would cramp the initiative of the Australian people by introduction of restrictive capital gains tax. It would lead to centralisation of authority by a Labor government and the destruction of the States and. the Federal system. I ask the House to reject the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition and support the Budget. {: #subdebate-28-0-s5 .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr DALY:
Grayndler -- I support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr Whitlam)** which is in these terms: >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*. That is a challenge to this Government to face the Australian people. Let them pass judgment on the Budget, which this Government says is a good one. If the Government is so proud of our prosperity and the contents of this Budget, why not let the Australian people decide? Some honourable members on the Government side of the chamber, those few who bothered to speak in this debate - and they were extremely rare - attacked the social welfare measures in the Budget quite outspokenly. The honourable member for Evans **(Dr Mackay)** said that there was not near enough for the poor and needy. There is an opportanity available now for Government supporters who think along those lines to face the Australian people on the issue. If honourable members on the Government side think that the Australian Labor Party cannot win an election then why not give it a go? This is the opportunity that they say they have been waiting for. The Labor Party invites them to accept the challenge, particularly in the Hume electorate. We know that the honourable member for Hume **(Mr Pettitt)** will be cast into political limbo the minute an election is held, be it next year or next week. I congratulate Government supporters for their presentation of the Government's case for this Budget. They did it in avery simple way: They did not talk about it at all. My comment is that if one is a Government supporter then the less said about this Budget the better. Everyone, from one end of this country to another - from the country towns of the outback to the great cities of Australia has condemned this Government openly and through the Press for its complete failure to meet every need of the Australian people in this document which has been presented to us as a budget. I do not blame honourable members opposite for dodging around this Budget. No-one who is sane and honest could defend it, and that is giving the Liberals plenty of scope. That is why today the Minister for the Interior warbled in his speech. It was not until the last couple of minutes of his speech that we realised he was not making a statement on Aboriginal affairs or something else, so far divorced was he from the issues in the Budget. What does the Budget contain? This Budget certainly favours the wealthy and discards the poor. The Budget is a sleight of hand trick. The Government gives you something with one hand and takes it back with the other. The Sydney 'Sun* asked: What will people get?' The people will get income tax reductions, certain increases in pensions, some repatriation benefits, some sickness benefits and something for sheltered workshops. There is also a little for the Aboriginals, increased university scholarships and some assistance for wool growers. The 'Sun' then asked what people will give back. The price of petrol has gone up by a couple of cents. A tax has been imposed on wine. If you drink water you are all right. Companies are putting in a little more but not too much because they are friends of the Government. Also, there have been increases in the cost of radio licences, tobacco, telephones, postage and telegrams. When we look at this list we find that the Government gives out §23 lm to the taxpayer and takes back $239m. This is generosity deluxe. No wonder honourable members opposite do not want to discuss this aspect of the Budget. A couple of Liberals who appeared on a television programme the other night said: 'Yes, but we did not take back too much, did we?' What is the difference? The Government took back $8m more than it gave, indicating that the Budget is a sleight of hand trick. That is why the Budget has been condemned everywhere. Even soft drinks have been taxed. Never mind about pensioners having a beer or a cigarette; if they drink Shelley's cordials this Government will take a bit out of the glass of the poor old pensioner by increasing the sales tax on soft drinks. This is the Government that said it was doing everything for the nation. Let us have a look at what the Government promised when it came to office, particularly in the field of social welfare. The Governor-General, who was speaking for the Government, in his opening speech to Parliament in March 1968 said: >My Government will review the field of social welfare with the object of assisting those in most need while at the same time not discouraging thrift, self-help and self-reliance. They will certainly want plenty of self-help and self-reliance under this Government. The Prime Minister **(Mr Gorton)** has said that the Government wants to see that the old and sick have enough to live on at least in a simple and frugal way. I congratulate the Prime Minister of Australia for that statement. There is no doubt about pensioners being able to live on 50c a week in a simple frugal way. They now know that the Prime Minister ha« carried out his great social reform. The frugal way in which pensioners are forced to exist today is an indication of the complete contempt in which honourable members opposite hold this section of society. Let us have a look at what has happened to pensioners in this great age of affluence. How often do we hear members of the Australian Country Party and the Liberal Party tell us that there are a couple of million motor cars in Australia, that everyone has a television set or that radios are everywhere? They say there is prosperity from one end of the land to the other. They tell us that this is a society of affluence - a society of prosperity. Yet the Government has brought down a Budget which gives 50c a week to a pensioner. I wonder how the Government worked out this figure? What brains there must be in the Ministry to work out such an amount. I wonder how they got down to 50c? We can imagine how members of the Cabinet congregated around the Cabinet table to determine that pensioners should receive 50c a week. The Government says that a single pensioner in this great age of affluence will receive $ 15.50 a week. What a magnificent amount. If he is really poor and does not have other income of $26 a week the Government will give him another $2 to make up the amount to $.17.50 a week. This is what a pensioner has to live on in this age of affluence when the average wage is about $75 a week. Of course, if you happen to commit the sin of being married this Government says that you deserve to be penalised. A married couple receives less than a single pensioner. A single pensioner receives $15.50 and a married pensioner receives $13.75. This is the discrimination that exists in this section of society. The Australian Labor Party believes that there should be a standard rate pension and that equitable payments should be made for those in deserving circumstances, according to a predetermined scale. When the Treasurer **(Mr Bury)** made his Budget Speech he did not smile. One might have thought he did smile at times but I believe it was a snarl. The Treasurer said that an extra 60c a week would be paid for war orphans. These are the kids whose fathers have been killed in war. As I have said, pensioners will receive an extra 50c a week. This represents 7c a day which is barely the cost of a newspaper to read about the increased cost of living the next day. A pensioner would not be able to afford to buy a Sunday paper with this increase. He would have no chance of getting the evening paper because he could not afford to do so. Of course, he might get a packet of cigarettes every week out of this increase. When we go a little further along the line we find that this increase will not be back-dated as were the salaries of judges. The increased pension will be paid in October or November. The Government's decisions when framing the Budget are arrived at by the simple old Liberal method of tweedledee tweedledum - -is it an election year or is it not? The Government gives $1 in an election year and 50c. in an off year. This is how matters are determined under this Government. There is no method, no justice and no respect for the aged or the sick. This is the new approach promised by the Government in days gone by. Of course, I have long ago given away the former fiery rebel who is now emancipated on the front bench. I refer to the Minister for Social Services **(Mr Wentworth).** So far as I can see his great days are gone. The roaring lion of days gone by is now a worn out old tom cat. On 21st March the honourable member for Evans made a speech on social welfare. It nearly made me sick when I listened to him because this is what he had to say: >I have been recently investigating personally the plight of various groups in my electorate in the suburbs of Drummoyne, Five Dock and Ashfield. What I have seen in some cases - and I make no apology for saying it - has often made me feel physically sick, morally indignant and deeply determined to see the nation face its responsibility. What has the honourable member done? The honourable member made a speech on the Budget in this House yesterday. He did not justify the 50c rise in pensions. However, he said he would not vote against the Budget because he could not join the Labor Party under any circumstances. To start with, we would not have him under any circumstances. But to get an additional amount of increase for these deserving people the honourable member is not prepared to support the amendment that the Leader of the Opposition has moved on behalf of the Labor Party in this Parlia ment. The increase that has been granted to pensioners does not even match the 5 per cent increase in the cost of living in the last 12 months. Pensioners today are second class citizens. Pensioners protested and marched to this Parliament on the eve of the Budget being introduced. The Government was not prepared to allow subversive people like these come to the Parliament so it sent photographers out to photograph these poor old aged people, trembling with their hands waving and holding up grim banners asking for sustenance from this Government. The Minister for the Interior sent his best photographers out because it was felt that these people might be subversive. The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation wanted photographs of these sinister people who were protesting against the meagre increase in pensions. These people were photographed in their misery as they protested for additional pensions outside of Parliament. I want to see the day when photographs are taken on the wheat growers and the wool growers lined up outside the front of the Parliament being addressed by the Deputy Prime Minister **(Mr McEwen),** the Minister for the Interior and the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr Anthony).** I want to see members of ASIO photographing these subversive elements in the Country Party and the rural industries. I want to see photographs taken of wheat growers and others, just as photographs were taken of the poor old pensioners seeking sustenance. I suggest to honourable members opposite that this will be a very interesting day. I want to ask the Parliament whether it really considers that 50c is enough? Let honourable members on the other side get up and justify their contention if they believe that 50c is enough. I want to make a few comparisons. Let us have a look at other sections of the community to see how they are treated. Recently the Labor Party opposed an increase in judge's salaries by the small amount of $6,000 per annum. Of course, these men were struggling. Before this increase was granted one judge was getting only $23,000 a year and the Chief Justice could not exist on $30,000. Yet, the Parliament gave them an increase of $115 a week or $17.10 a day. In addition they were given substantial travel concessions. So judges received an increase of $115 a week or $17 a day and the pensioner, under this Budget, has received the equivalent of the cost of a newspaper or 7c a day. What a scandalous and shocking state of affairs. Let us consider the tax deductions proposed in the Budget. A person on $30,000 a year will receive a deduction of $69 a year or approximately $1.50 a week, while the pensioner will get 50c a week. The man on a weekly wage of $.160 will receive a tax deduction of $247 a year or $5 a week. This is discrimination of the worst kind against the most deserving section of the community. As 1 glanced through the Budget papers I noticed the provision of a special payment of $27,000 to Mie widow of a deceased judge. I do not want to reflect on those concerned, but why $27,000 for the widow of a judge when, at the same time, 50c a week only is given to the age, invalid or widow pensioner? The other payments proposed in the Budget are to be backdated in most instances, but there is no similar justice for pensioners. They have to wait until the Budget is passed. If we compare the position of judges who are receiving $30,000 a year, $520 a week or $74 a day with pensioners who are expected to live on $15.50 a week the position cries out to high heaven. The Government, which has brought about this situation, should be defeated on the floor of the Parliament and should face the people on its policy. I wonder whether most Australians realise that today more than 700,000 fellow Australians are receiving the age pension and that 3 out of 4 of them have no source of income other than the pension. Half of them do not own their own homes and 1 in 5 is the victim of acute poverty. These are grim figures in a country that boasts of its prosperity, yet this Government gives 50c a week extra to that section of society which is the most deserving and which is unable to help itself at a time when the rest of Australia seems to enjoy a measure of prosperity. The honourable member for Evans spoke about the means test. In 1949 the Liberal Party came into power in Australia and it made 2 pledges which we should never forget. It said it would put value back into the £1. When it failed it changed the £1 into the $1 to get away from its promise of 1949. In addition to that, it promised that it would introduce into Australia by 1952 a superannuation scheme for endorsement by the Australian people, lt is 21 years since it came into power and we are still waiting for that scheme. On the other side of the picture, what has happened? A reduction in income tax is proposed. This will apply, on a diminishing percentage, to incomes ranging up to $32,000 a year. What about those huge companies, the profits of which have been announced - like Mount Isa Mines Ltd with $55m? The Government proposes to add 2.5c in the dollar to the rates on taxable incomes of companies. But those companies will get other concessions that are not available to other sections of society. The water spout which has been provided in Canberra to celebrate Captain Cook's discovery of Australia costs $32,000 a year to maintain, yet the Government would not give the pensioners a week s pay to celebrate that event. The Government would rather pay to have water spouting into the anr. lt is disgraceful. Those companies which have been cited in this Parliament as having huge funds, resources and profits could well afford to pay more taxation in order that the Government could meet its commitments to the aged and sick. There are a couple of other matters at which I. want to look. We constantly hear Government members talking about respect for law and order. Of course when the Labor Party is riding high they have to get some issue on which to attack us. They talk about the Communists, strikes or something like that. Now they are talking about law and order. You, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** know that those who have the least respect for law and order in Australia are those who sit on the Government benches. The Labor Party is the essence of dignity and decorum in this House. Constantly honourable members opposite are called to order because they heed not the rule of law. Yet they are trying to insist on respect for law and order for other people. Why should not the workers strike when their wages are eaten up by inflation? Why should not **Mr Hawke** and others tell the workers to use their only weapon - their right to withhold labour - in a crisis? The real reason for strikes today is that inflation is eating up the earnings of the workers, and strikes are an indication of their distrust of this Government and their desire for a change. There is need for real social justice for pensioners and workers in industry. Workers strike to bring home to the Government the realisation that something must be done. Let us look at honourable members opposite. I am intrigued by the Country Party, which is a remarkable body of men. They are supposed to represent primary producers but I will bet that if we checked their addresses we would find that most of them were Kings Cross farmers. Let us consider the wool industry. The honourable member for Dawson **(Dr Patterson)** continually gets under the skin of Country Party members because they know that he not only won a seat which was misrepresented by the Country Party in days gone by but he has made it one of the greatest Labor seats in Australia because he is a man who talks and works for country people in a way that country people understand. Let us look, too. at the Liberal Party. When the ban was imposed on the export of merino rams we were told by members of the Country Party that they acted on the advice of the Australian Wool Industry Conference. But now they oppose the single marketing authority which ;s recommended by the Australian Wool Industry Conference, and they have given way to the Liberal Party on rural policy. I say this more in sorrow than in anger. As we walk around the passages of Parliament House we hear members of the Country Party whispering about these dreadful sinister Liberals and saying how they are undermining the Country Party. Yet they surrender to the Liberals on rural policy which is supposed to be the basis of Country Party representation. Rarely in the history of the Parliament has there been seen such a display of political cowardice and hypocrisy as that exhibited by members of the Country Party. For 2 months the Country Party had been preaching the need for a single wool marketing authority. The members of that Party always talk about it outside the Parliament because they cannot be challenged there. In the Parliament they are as docile and mute as rabbits suffering from myxomatosis. They follow the leadership of the Liberal Party whose policy has been to sabotage the single marketing authority. Labor policy is clear. Labor favours a single marketing authority for wool in Australia, If members of the Country Party had any principle and if they really believed in helping the wool growers they would buck the Liberal Party and move a motion in this House in support of the policy which they should support. We would welcome the opportunity and give them leave to do so but, as usual, the roaring lions of the Country Party electorates are reduced to a shivering rump when the real test is applied in the Parliament. These are the people who are supposed to represent country people. As I say, they whisper in the passages but, at the same time, they abrogate their responsibilities in the Parliament. Seeing that honourable members opposite are trying to accuse the Labor Party of not observing law and order, why should not the general public be reminded of the disunity that exists in the Government's ranks? Everybody knows that the former Treasurer - one of the best we had had - was sacked because he ran against the Prime Minister for leadership of his Party. The story is that he is on the way out now and that he will not be around for very long. Despite his great ability as Treasurer he now has to wander around the United Nations because the Prime Minister does not want him near him in this Parliament. Who will ever forget that notable occasion in the Parliament not long ago when the retired rebels of the Liberal Party rose and said they would defeat the Ministry? We saw the Leader of the House **(Mr Snedden)** running up and down like a decapitated fowl trying to pull them into line. We saw the Prime Minister almost crying to the Deputy Prime Minister for assistance to save the Government. We saw Press headlines: 'McEwen Speaks Out: New Demands for the Coalition'. He sways the Government. He picked the Prime Minister. He would not have **Mr McMahon** until, of course, he had Hobson's choice and decided that the Prime Minister was better than the rest that were offering. Every time we read the newspapers we see evidence of disunity in the Government Parties. One headline read: 'The Treasurer Sacked'. What would the headlines say if something like that happened on our side of the Parliament? Another headline read: **Mr Gorton's** Mushroom Club'. We all know the chief spore. Yet another headline read: 'McEwen Demands One More Seat to Country Party in Cabinet'. This is the united Party! Does it not grieve honourable members to see, if I might coin a phrase, this once great Party in this dreadful position? Another headline read: 'Decision Day on the Prime Minister - McEwen Puts New Demands'. No wonder primary industry is going to wrack and ruin. The Deputy Prime Minister spends all his time demanding things from the Liberal Party. Every time we look around there is a revolt in the Liberal ranks. But let us hear what the Deputy. Prime Minister thinks of the Prime Minister. I have here a journal containing a report of that famous episode here when it was thought that the Liberal Party rebels might bring about the defeat of the Government. It states under the heading: 'Gorton in Rage' that the Minister for Trade and Industry said: >I'd rather negotiate 10 trade treaties than deal wilh that man. Must they nol be a happy band around the table? Must they not be happy as they sip their Scotch and soda? The article then states: >McEwen abused. So the Prime Minister does not sit around listening to him all the time. This is the disunited rabble we are told is supposed to be in charge of the government of this country. I have here dozens and dozens of such references. I could fill Hansard with them. The Government of the day is a riddled and discontented section of the Parliament. Honourable members know this as well as I do. It grieves me, having been here a long time, to see the dissension and the political intrigue and sordid scheming on that side of the Parliament, the bitterness between members, the hatred between the Liberal Party and the Country Party and the differing policies on everything from primary production to social services. The Country Party, for instance, has always been in favour of low wages and is an anti-social services party. The Liberal Party is trying to meet the Country Party half way and is falling over backwards in the process. In addition we have the Government rebels. Take, for example, the honourable member for Lilley **(Mr Kevin Cairns)** from Queensland. My heavens, if any man was disgusted with the Government, the hon ourable member for Lilley must have been, because he said that even in the lowly position of Deputy Government Whip be could not serve under this man'. Let us be honest. One could not get much lower than being Deputy Whip on that side of the House. It is no wonder that the Government wants some law and order. But why do honourable members opposite not look in their own backyard first. Why do they not choose as a leader someone who will keep law and order in the Party, because we are grieved here when we see these events in the light of day. This is a great country that wants leadership and that wants a government that knows what to do. But how can anyone provide this leadership when he does not know from where a knife will come as he is standing at the table to answer a question, lt is noticeable that the Prime Minister does not come into the House much. He cannot see who is sitting behind him: that is the real truth of the matter. These are the people who are criticising the Labor Party, and it is because of the way that they are running the country that the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr Whitiam)** moved his amendment to the Budget. Inevitably the Government must face the electors. What I am saying today in this Parliament about the shortcomings of the Government and the disunity that exists in the Government is known from one end of Australia to the other by the people. I wonder how long this Parliament can tolerate a small section of aging gentlemen like the gentlemen of the Country Party dominating the Parliament in this age of affluence and prosperity and in this atomic age. For how long are we to have the tail wagging the dog? The Leader of the Opposition moved his amendment because he believes it is time that an end was called to this Government and time that it faced the Australian electorate. It is not my intention to proceed further. Much more could be said in this debate, but I say to the Australian people that on the pensions scheme the voice of Labor is clear. We think that the 50c increase is miserable and contemptible. If for no other reason the Government deserves to be condemned, lt is incapable of giving effect to any policies because of the disunity that exists within its ranks. I think the Prime Minister is ashamed of the Budget, because he did not even bother to speak on it Let me say that I congratulate him, because if anything would have wrecked him it would have been a speech supporting a Budget like this. I would say that the former Treasurer must be a happy man today because, if I may use an expression just' in passing, he has made a donkey out of the new Treasurer by showing how far behind the previous Budget this Budget is. Australia is a great country, but the people are demanding attention and primary industry is going to the wall because the policies that the Government has implemented in relation to primary industry up to this stage have been the product of 20 years of Country Party thinking. Every cocky and every grazier is going broke today because of the policies that have been foisted on the Parliament by the Country Party. The disunity, dissension, hatred and intrigue - things so foreign to the Labor Party - that exist in the Liberal Party are also having a detrimental effect on the country. **Mr Speaker,I** am certain that if you were on the floor of the House you would cross the floor to support this side of the Parliament on its amendment. I hope that in the interests of all Australians the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition will be carried and that this Government will face the electorate. Let the people judge, and let me prophesy that there is no doubt what will happen if there is an election. Labor will be overwhelmingly swept onto the Government benches to give real leadership to this country. {: #subdebate-28-0-s6 .speaker-GH4} ##### Mr HUNT:
Gwydir -- **Mr Speaker,** as a member of the Australian Country Party, I claim to have been misrepresented. {: #subdebate-28-0-s7 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Does the honourable member wish to make a personal explanation? {: .speaker-GH4} ##### Mr HUNT: -- Yes.I claim to have been sadly misrepresented by the honourable member for Grayndler. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: -- I take a point of order. The honourable member for Grayndler did not even mention the honourable' member for Gwydir. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honourable member for Dawson will resume his seat. {: .speaker-GH4} ##### Mr HUNT: -- I claim to have been misrepresented on 2 counts. The first is that the honourable member for Grayndler said that no members of the Country Party had ever spoken inside this House in support of a single marketing authority for wool. On 2 occasions I have spoken in support of such an authority. Secondly, I do not happen to be one of the aged members of the Country Party. Indeed, I would be 30 years younger than the honourable member for Grayndler. {: #subdebate-28-0-s8 .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN: -- I rise on a point of order. In relation to the second point taken by the honourable member for Gwydir, it is a matter of opinion whether he is aged or not. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The point of order has no substance. {: .speaker-GH4} ##### Mr HUNT: -- I am very sad indeed that the Budget and such important matters have been treated in such a jocular way by the honourable member for Grayndler. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honourable member cannot debate the question. If he does I will have to ask him to resume his seat. Question put: >That the words proposed to be omitied **(Mr Whitlam's** amendment) stand part ofthe question. The House divided. (Mr Speaker - Hon. Sir William Aston) AYES: 56 NOES: 49 Majority. *.* . . 7 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Question put: That the Bill be now read a second time. The House divided. (Mr Speaker - Hon. Sir William Aston) AYES: 56 NOES: 50 Majority . . , . 6 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. In Committee Second Schedule. Progress reported. Sitting suspended from 5.55 to 8 p.m. {: .page-start } page 980 {:#debate-29} ### AUSTRALIA'S EXTERNAL AID {:#subdebate-29-0} #### Ministerial Statement {: #subdebate-29-0-s0 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMAHON:
Minister for External Affairs · Lowe · LP -- by leave - **Mr Speaker,** the House will be aware that this year's Budget includes estimates for nearly $1 84m for economic aid to less developed countries and territories for 1970-71. This total includes $126.1m for Papua and New Guinea and some $57.9m for other bilateral and multilateral aid. Our total aid is estimated to increase by 11 per cent this financial year. In fact, it will increase by a little more because of the increased aid that we intend to give to Cambodia. It has been said here before that in relative terms Australia ranks third in the volume of official aid provided to the developing areas. In referring to official aid I have in mind official economic assistance to developing countries provided directly from the Budget as external aid, as distinct from private capital movements. Without being critical of othersI think it should besaid that Australian aid appropriations mean actual performance. This is not always the case with some other Western donors,It is certainly not the case with the Soviet Union and the other Communist countries, whose aid announcements are ludicrously short of the actual transfer of resources, short by more than 50 per cent. The bald facts of our aid appropriation are set out in the Budget and in material which my Department has published. The present estimates should be seen against the background of past performances. Leaving Papua and New Guinea aside, the assistance provided under our bilateral and multilateral programmes has increased from $29,383,000 in1964-65 to $50,842,000 in 1969-70, an increase of over 70 per cent in actual performance over the past 5 years. The steady rate of growth over this period has, for example, included substantially increased aid to Indonesia - which is now the major recipient in our international bilateral programme - and contributions since 1966 to the Asian Development Bank, an institution which will have important consequences for the economic development of developing countries in the Asian region. Australia's aid is high-quality aid, not only because of its grant terms but also because of the kind of development projects we have been undertaking. **Major projects** to develop basic infrantstructure have been undertaken in such fields as road and bridge construction, port development, dams and provision of water supplies, and telecommunication and aviation facilities. These are the hard jobs of development, not simply commercially angled credits and loans which not only add to debt problems but often add little to long term development in the recipient country. Before commenting on the underlying principles of our official bilateral and multilateral aid programmes, I want to tell the House that the Government has taken a decision to offer Cambodia aid to the value of $2m in 1970-71 - that is an addition of $900,000 to the present estimate of $l.lm. The aid will supplement the special aid grant of $500,000 announced on 23rd June and bilateral economic aid of $600,000 provided in this year's budget. The exact composition of the additional aid will be decided upon after the fullest consultation with the Cambodian Government. The aid will be for logistic support items of equipment, dual purpose items and if necessary arms. Inquiries made in connection with Australia's first gift indicate that Australia is in a position to supply, with a minimum of delay, trucks, river craft, communications equipment and construction material. The bilateral economic aid of $600,000 consists of expenditure on the Prek Thnot Dam project, installation of water pumps for Phnom Penh and training awards. The first special aid instalment of $500,000 consisted of 50 landrovers, which were handed over to the Cambodian Government on 4th August, and 120 radio sets. Thirty of the sets were delivered in mid-August and the remainder will be shipped progressively inthe latter part of this month and in October. Procurement is proceeding of equipment to *upgrade* the signal from Radio Phnom Penh; shipment of the equipment is expected to take place in late September. Other items under current consideration are 30 single side-band 100 watt transceivers and radio-telephone links between Phnom Penh and Battambang in the north and Phnom Penh and Kompong Som in the south of Cambodia. The Cambodian Government attaches great importance to the provision of additional aid. The decision to increase our contribution has been made in this knowledge and in pursuance of our policy of aiding South East Asian nations to resist Communist aggression. In recent months Communist activity has increased in the countryside but the Cambodian Government has shown resilience and a firm determination to resist it. In deciding to increase its help to Cambodia the Australian Government is acting in concert with other nations which want to preserve the independence and integrity of the Cambodian people. The Australian aid will be designed by its nature, timeliness and compatability to contribute effectively to Cambodia's capacity to survive. Now I want to talk briefly about the meaning of aid, why we give it, what it is supposed to achieve, and to touch on its form and to whom it is given. What is Aid? In recent years there has been a spate of international discussion about aid. Those discussions have been about aid or assistance including the provision of finance and goods and services provided by governments; as well private flows such as private investments and private export credits are included. Some of these elements, such as private investment, have been traditional features of international transactions. However attention is increasingly focused on the aid or assistance provided by governments themselves. When we talk of aid, either Australian or provided by some other country, we should keep in mind that the concept of aid involves some concession - a gift, of course, or a loan with a very low rate of interest will qualify. But there must be grave doubts about counting as aid such assistance as short term loans with high rates of interest. These distinctions are becoming of increasing importance to an understanding of the actual contribution made to the development of the recipient country and the value of the assistance given by the country providing the assistance. Why give Aid? There are many reasons why developed countries transfer resources by way of aid to others. I believe it is increasingly accepted by Australians that we have an obligation to assist the less developed nations. Motives are of many kinds. Some are better in value terms than others. In our own case we can single out two motives. Predominantly, Australian aid is given for moral or humanitarian reasons. The second reason is our own national interest. We cannot measure the value of any moral and humanitarian expenditure in money terms nor do we want to measure our aid in this way. The other reason is more tangible. It is this: Aid does promote Australia's national interest. By this I mean it enhances our interest in a peaceful international and geographical environment. Our geographical environment is undoubtedly Pacific and Asian. Two decades ago, my distinguished predecessor, **Sir Percy** Spender, in a statement prophetic of a far reaching development in Australia's foreign policy, said in this House: >No nation can escape its geography. Even though our cultural ties have been and will remain predominantly with Europe ... we live side by side with the countries of South and South East Asia. This statement is even more true today - now that we have greater and increasing opportunities to influence the course of events in our environment. What are the Objectives of Aid? The answer to this question is I think pretty clear. Aid is intended to foster development. I do not believe that aid can buy' allies. Nor can we expect aid to guarantee stability. In assessing the contribution to development we recognise that aid is at best a supplement. We do not expect miracles. We cannot close the gap in living standards between the advanced and the less developed countries. Clearly therefore the goals we set must be reasonable and must be capable of being attained. The aid we give to assist development can supplement a country's limited capital resources, and the supply of its technical skills. But it is only one of the elements in the process of development. Nor is development necessarily a painless process. But if aid donors do not help, the consequences can well be the failure of the economic policies of governments in the less developed countries and such failure means continuing poverty. It may also lead to political adventurism. Aid can assist by providing materal help. It can help train some of the men. Too often the process of development involves changes of the foundations on which the building stands - quite often it involves changes in the basic values of society. {:#subdebate-29-1} #### Guiding Principles This brief analysis of the rationale and objectives of aid suggests certain guiding principles for our policy. {: type="1" start="1"} 0. GEOGRAPHICAL CONCENTRATION First, our aid should be concentrated. It should be concentrated in the area of direct consequence to us - in Asia and the Pacific. Significantly too this is the area of greatest need and it is the area of direct interest to us. This concentration is accepted internationally by others. Some S50m, or about 90 per cent of our bilateral and multilateral aid provision of $57.9m for 1970-71 will be spent in Asia. The Budget Estimates provide an increase of 14 per cent in the Colombo Plan vote and on this occasion a very significant increase in the Estimates for the South Pacific Aid Programme. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. PRIMARY AIM As I have said - our primary aim is to assist with the economic development of other countries. We do not want recipients to tell us of the everlasting gratitude and friendship for Australia. We do not use aid as a substitute for trade promotion. This is not to say, as a secondary consideration, that we are insensitive to the trade implications of our assistance programme. Our aid should always maintain the primary characteristic of being humanitarian and moral. Nonetheless our aid has had the important side effect of facilitating business contacts with our neighbours. This has been especially so with the programme of assistance to Indonesia - Devisa Kredit or DK aid. It has enabled Asians to see not only that we want to be friendly and helpful neighbours but that we have the skills and resources which can contribute to the stability of the region. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. PRIORITIES As far as practicable priorities arc estab lished by the recipient government. We do not try to force the receipients to accept projects or commodities which they do not want, nor do we send them goods simply because they are surplus to our own requirements. We work jointly with the receipient governments in the selection of students for study in Australia. All this means, I believe, that Australia is not using its aid programmes as a means of influencing the domestic policies of Asian countries. It may be tempting, for example, for outside 'experts' to propose that aid be linked to requests, say, to introduce land reform or to change the taxation structure. The Government's policy is not designed to use aid as a means of political or other pressure. {: type="1" start="4"} 0. FORM OF AID The type of aid varies from country to country. As there is no single cause of under-development' there can be no single solution. In most cases the requirement is for a balanced programme of assistance. Food aid, in some cases, is effective since it meets the first priority of any government - the need to provide enough food for the sustenance of its people. But food aid, like all forms of aid, is determined by the needs of the recipient, not by the need to dispose of surplus products. In some cases technical assistance forms the bulk of the Government's programme, in others it is projects to improve the economic infrastructure, while, in special cases, balance of payments assistance has first priority. Our projects are many and varied. In Indonesia major projects currently in progress include the provision of water supply facilities to Bogor. And we have done a survey for a similar scheme at Den Pasar. In Thailand major projects include the Chao Phya project of research into double cropping of rice and development of agricultural techniques suitable for the area. And the House knows we have been active in road construction in Thailand. We are now working on the Lomsak-Chumpae area. In South Vietnam water supply projects at Vung Tau, Saigon, Can Tho and Bien Hoa have occupied a significant part of a diverse and balanced programme. When discussing the principles of aid it is well worth remembering that our aid programme finances nearly 200 Australian experts each year serving in the developing countries, and 2,700 students study in Australia under the aid programme. A much larger number study here privately at some significant cost to us which is not included in our aid estimates. New Directions in Aid Policy From modest beginnings 20 years ago with a heavy emphasis on food aid and only a limited number of projects, we now have a sophisticated and multifeatured programme, and we are constantly seeking new and better initiatives and directions. {: type="1" start="1"} 0. INDONESIA- THREE-YEAR PLANNING An innovation this year was the Government's decision to programme aid to Indonesia on a 3 year basis. This followed an earlier innovation in aid to Indonesia to provide part of our aid through the Bonus Export, now the Devisa Kredit, system. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. UNIVERSITIES AID AND CO-OPERATION SCHEME Last year we instituted the AustralianAsian University Aid and Co-operation Scheme. This is designed to set up a framework of co-operation between Australian universities and universities in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. In a sense this initiative is an experiment in 'subcontracting' a small part of the aid programme. We think the universities can make a unique contribution to success in ways developed within the universities themselves. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. LINK WITH PRIVATE INVESTMENT Private investment is another example of sub-contracting, I acknowledge that to developing countries private investment may well be as beneficial as or even more beneficial than official aid. We look at proposals for co-ordinating official aid with investment by Australian private enterprises. As an example we are now examining a request from the Indonesian Government to rehabilitate the port of Tjilatjap, where a number of Australian firms are considering investment. Programmes of this kind provide a 'package deal' of capital, know-how and business skills which often earn or save foreign exchange. Australian private capital inflows to- South East Asia are now still quite small'- ;$7m or $8m a year. In time there is little doubt that they will considerably increase. If the aid programme can act as a catalyst to this investment, this would be a very desirable secondary effect. {: type="1" start="4"} 0. MULTILATERAL INSTITUTIONS I have suggested 2 ways in which there may be scope for broadening the base for our aid. A third area where this can happen is with the. multilateral institutions, for example the World Bank and its off-shoots, the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank. The pledges which the Treasurer has recently announced to the Special Funds of the Asian Development Bank and the third replenishment of the International Development Association mark important aspects of Australia's policy. These multilateral institutions are becoming increasingly well equipped to play a more active role. We have supported this trend and in particular look forward to the Asian Development Bank playing a greater role in the development of the region. The multilateral institutions are an important way of promoting co-operation among donors. We attach great importance too, to the work of the OECD Development Assistance Committee which operates quietly but effectively in Paris. {:#subdebate-29-2} #### Conclusion To sum up I think that we have an effective programme. A programme which is contributing to international development in the area of immediate importance to us. It is a flexible programme. It draws upon the help of a large number of Australians, in government, in the universities and in the business world. We acknowledge the significant contribution which our voluntary organisations and other groups interested in aid make to the less developed countries. I welcome the role of the Australian Council for Overseas Aid. In the statement I mentioned earlier, **Sir Percy** Spender said: >It is not to be expected that the Colombo Plan will achieve spectacular results in a short time. The problems of economic development are still with us today. But solution has become more urgent, the consequences of failure greater. Advances in technology and in our understanding have laid the foundation for more effective aid policies and for greater co-operation between all countries. The 1970s- designated by the United Nations as the Second Development Decade - provide the opportunity for the rich countries collectively to do more and provide the imagination on which our future patterns of development and progress can be based. Australia will not stand back from this challenge. {: #subdebate-29-2-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM:
Werriwa -- by leaveEarlier this week I indicated to the Minister for External Affairs **(Mr McMahon)** that I would give leave for him to make this statement on overseas aid at 8 o'clock tonight on the usual terms, that is, that I received a copy of it 2 hours beforehand. I did. But at 7.50 tonight I was given an amended version containing *li* pages on Cambodia. This eleventh hour passage is circumscribed and circumspect because presumably otherwise it could not have secured the Cabinet's approval. If there is to be a debate on Cambodia it is remarka-- bie that the Minister has not secured it on the notice which he gave on 8th May and which is still on the notice paper. It will be remembered that he gave it on the eve of his departure for the Djakarta Conference. He indicated the line he proposed to take at that Conference. The line did not prevail. We would have supported it because it had previously been moved as an amendment by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr Barnard)** and defeated on a vote by the Minister and his colleagues. On this occasion there is no need for me to say of Cambodia any more than that Australia can best assist that country by helping to end the hostilities into which she was plunged this year and by talcing no further part in the hostilities which Australia has for 54 years striven to prolong in Vietnam. This is the second statement the Foreign Minister has made this year on Australian externa] aid programmes. If this indicates that in his new portfolio he is taking a special interest in this tremendously important aspect of Australia's relations with her neighbours, then he is to be congratulated. If the reports are true that he resisted pressure from the Prime Minister **(Mr Gorton)** and the new Treasurer **(Mr Bury)** to cut overseas aid spending, he is also to be congratulated. However his achievement has to be kept in perspective. An examination of the Budget papers shows how modest Australia's contribution really is. The Minister has only managed to restore the yearly rate of increase of our total spending to the level at which it stood before the present Prime Minister came to office. Since .1968 the rate of increase has been lower than at any time for a decade. One has to go back to 1961-62 - the year of Australia's worst economic recession since the depression - to find a comparable low rate of increase. In that year overseas aid rose 10 per cent on the previous year. In all subsequent years until the present Prime Minister came in, the growth rate was never lower than 12 per cent and averaged about 13 per cent. Within the first year of the Gorton Government it slumped to an increase of a mere 6.9 per cent and last year it was only 10.7 per cent. Even now under the new Foreign Minister it is estimated to rise this year by only 11 per cent. This hardly indicates any sense of urgency. There is another perspective - the comparison of our contribution with that of other countries. The Government is willing to be satisfied with the figures given by the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. This list expresses development assistance as a percentage of the gross national product and places Australia third with a contribution of 0.56 per cent after France and Portugal. However, this figure includes expenditure in Papua and New Guinea, lt is our colonial spending which places us so high on the list. The same applies to France and Portugal. I think it perfectly proper that our aid to Papua and New Guinea should be regarded as overseas aid. lt represents an acceptance of the fact that New Guinea is another country. 1 look forward to the day when all matters relating to New Guinea will be the responsibility of the Department of External Affairs. Nonetheless, it is quite misleading to suggest that our spending in New Guinea is comparable in kind or consequences with the atd that we give to the rest of our neighbours. Our spending in New Guinea is certainly no one way affair. It is no more to the benefit of the indigenous inhabitants of New Guinea than it is to the resident expatriates there. Were we to exclude our contribution to New Guinea, our overseas aid programme would be of the order of 9.2 per cent of the gross national product and that would place us thirteenth on the Development Assistance Committee table, not third. Further, in his statement tonight the Minister acknowledged that private capital could be as effective and useful as official capital. When the percentage of national income of both official and private resources is examined, it will be seen that we contribute less than most other countries of the DAC and less private capital than any other. In an answer the Foreign Minister gave me on 9th September last year, when he was Treasurer, he told me that Australia contributed only 0.14 per cent of its national income as private flows. There is yet a third perspective in which our programme should be placed, even if we allow that the New Guinea programme is properly classed as overseas aid. The New Guinea spending accounts for two-thirds of our aid. Thus we reserve two-thirds of our spending for 2 million people while the other one-third is spread over a region between East Pakistan and China inhabited by at least 280 million people, and those among the most deprived and potentially most turbulent countries in the world. And this is the most important perspective of all - the perspective of our situation and their situation. We are the only developed country in this region. We are the only developed country all of whose neighbours are infinitely poorer. In no region of the world is contiguity associated with so sharp a contrast. Our position is altogether different from that of the Western developed countries: We are on the periphery of Asia. Our nearest neighbours are among the most populous and the least developed countries. For Australia economic assistance cannot be merely a charity. It cannot be considered merely as a humanitarian enterprise. This should bulk large in our consideration; but nonetheless self-interest itself demands that we regard aid to our neighbours as a top priority. We have to start from the assumption that the economic development of the SouthEast Asian countries is essential to our own security interests. In the future it will be important to our commercial interests. So on these grounds alone there is an unarguable case for Australia to set the pace in development assistance operations in our region. This will involve greatly extending our economic assistance. It means deeper involvement in the problems of developing countries. I have been a little disturbed by the tone of some comments on the Budget. There have been several letters in newspapers and statements made over the radio contrasting the derisory increase in pensions with the allotment for overseas aid. It has been suggested that in some way our own citizens have been deprived in order to aid foreign citizens. One could hardly imagine a more short-sighted attitude. As I said in my own speech on the Budget, the fact is that if, say, Indonesia were to collapse we would be asked to find billions more for defence. As I have said, the clearest view of our own interests, quite apart from obligations of common humanity, determine the priority which we should give to overseas aid and demand that that priority should be a high one indeed. The countries of South East Asia are not only Australia's neighbours; they are among the countries in the most pressing need of assistance. As I have said, the 9 South East Asian countries to our north between East Pakistan and China have a total population of 280 million. Over 260 million of these people have per capita incomes of less than SUS200 a year. The United States per capita income in 1967 was $US4,060. Australia's per capita income in 1969-70 was SUS2.715. One hundred and fifty million of our neighbours belong to the group in the direst economic distress in the world; they are part of that group whose per capita income is not more than SUS100 a year. Now in the perspective of these facts, let us look at Australia's contribution. To this area, to these people, Australia is committing in the current financial year development assistance worth approximately $42m. This is our share of more than $ 1,000m assistance the area will receive from all Western countries. Yet we are a neighbour. Our assistance to Indonesia will be in the order of Si 8m. Indonesia, our nearest and most populous but most deprived neighbour, will be receiving this year $534m from the 10 nations which make up the Inter-governmental Group on Indonesia Consortium. The Netherlands' contribution alone of $34m is almost twice that from Australia. True enough, the Netherlands has historic and commercial links with Indonesia, but she is 15,000 miles away from the region. We are part of it. Our military expenditure in South East Asia is much higher than what we are prepared to contribute to the region's economic development. The cost of our military involvement in Vietnam alone in 1969-70 was more than $42m. If to this figure, which by no means covers the entire cost of our forces in Vietnam, we add the cost of military involvement in Malaysia and Singapore, the total figure on conservative estimates would be about $100m, or more than double our economic aid programme for the current financial year. This is very much a policy of swords before ploughshares. It is unfortunately true that we know very little about the impact of such assistance as we do provide. We do not know much about the effectiveness of our programme. We do not know whether what we spend is spent to the best effect. We do not have a clear view of what we can achieve or what we hope to achieve. Our aid is scarcely worthy of the name of a programme. It has been applied haphazardly. Those who administer it have not been given high status within the Department hitherto. Australia would be the appropriate place for an Institute of Development Studies. It would indicate our proper concern with this question. It would indicate Australia's recognition that no country in the world had a greater interest in assuring the expansion and success of development programmes both by example and by precept. The basic aim of such an institute would be to initiate studies and research in order to stimulate economic development in the developing countries of Asia and maximise the effectiveness of the various forms of aid. Such an institute could provide research and training facilities for academics, officials employed on aid programmes, and postgraduate students from aid recipient countries in Asia as well as specialists from outside the region. If she were to undertake these imaginative policies Australia could be a leader in the field, a fitting role for an understanding neighbour. Tonight the Foreign Minister asserted rather complacently that Australia's contribution of 0.6 per cent of gross national product to overseas aid approached very nearly the 0.7 per cent recommended in the Pearson Report on International Development. In fact the Minister gave only a very partial and imperfect account of the Pearson Report recommendations. It recommended that each developed country should increase its resource transfers to developing countries to a minimum of 1 per cent as rapidly as possible and in no case later than 1975. Further, it recommended that national plans for reaching this target should be submitted for publication to the Chairman of the Development Assistance Committee by 1st January 1971. I trust the Australian Government will not seek to neglect making such a plan and excuse itself on the grounds that we have already nearly reached the target recommended by the Pearson Report. The Japanese Government has decided that Japan will work towards devoting 1 per cent of her enormous gross national product to economic aid by 1975. There is no indication that the Australian Government is thinking remotely along these lines. I acknowledge that the Minister has attempted to reverse the slowing down of the growth rate of our contribution in the first 2 Gorton budgets. He is attempting to restore the position to what it was before the present Prime Minister came to office. But this is only the status quo ante, and does not represent a determined attack on the question. It does not represent an adequate response to the very grievous plight of our neighbours. It does not represent a recognition not only of our obligations but also our very deep self-interest in easing their situation. {: .page-start } page 987 {:#debate-30} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-30-0} #### DAYS AND HOURS OF MEETING {: #subdebate-30-0-s0 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr SNEDDEN:
Minister for Labour and National Service · Bruce · LP -- I move: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. That standing order 40 be omitted with a view to inserting the following standing order in place thereof: {: type="1" start="4"} 0. Unless otherwise ordered, the House shall meet for the despatch of business - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. in the first sitting week after any nonsitting period extending beyond a week on - Tuesday at two o'clock p.m. Wednesday at two o'clock p.m. Thursday at ten o'clock a.m. and Friday at ten o'clock a.m.; {: type="a" start="b"} 0. in the second week on - Monday at two o'clock p.m. Tuesday at ten o'clock a.m. Wednesday at two o'clock p.m. and Thursday at ten o'clock a.m. From the termination of the last sitting in the second sitting week, the House shall stand adjourned until the second Tuesday after that termination. The three-weekly cycle will then be repeated. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. That the standing order come into operation on 13 October 1970. I am introducing these motions, I suppose, in the sense of being the servant of the House and these motions are the recommendations of the Standing Orders Committee. The Parliament discussed 3 matters and approved them in principle either last week or the week before. The 3 things they approved in principle were the 3-week cycle of sittings, reduced speaking times and a reduced quorum. The 3 matters before the House tonight will give effect to each of those 3 things. I remind the House that it was the will of the Government Parties and of the Opposition Party that there should be a free vote on these 3 matters which I have enumerated. Last week I circulated a memorandum to all members. The purpose of that memorandum was to identify lo honourable members the 3 particular aspects which may be discussed. They were to substitute a 10.30 a.m. start for a 10 o'clock start - and this is a matter for the House to determine - a 2.30 p.m. start for a 1 p.m. start, and a Tuesday afternoon start for a Tuesday morning start on the second week. I circulated another memorandum to all members earlier this week in which 1 pointed out that 1 had had discussions with the Clerks of the House and they had brought to my attention the fact that although 1 had identified the 3 areas in which the House would want to take decisions, because the Standing Orders required motions to be in a technically acceptable form and also to protect the rights of members it was desirable to work out the terms of the motions which would be moved to give effect to each of these 3 principles. I then circulated 5 forms of motion. 1 want to point out that if the motions are moved the Chair is obliged to accept them; and if the Chair accepts the motions, this may prevent the moving of a motion, except by suspending the Standing Orders and a variety of other things, which would affect the earlier amendments that may be wanted by honourable members. Therefore I circulated these forms of motion with the suggestion that if any honourable members wanted to move them then they ought to move them in the order in which they appear on the memorandum. Today, **Mr Speaker.** 1 had the opportunity to send around a further memorandum which contains extracts of a letter you addressed to me. This deals with the question of whether it should be a 10 a.m. or a 10.30 a.m. start when there are morning starts or a 2 p.m. or a 2.30 p.m. start when there are afternoon starts. Those are the points which I think I ought to make. In order to make sure that everything is clear in the minds of all honourable members I will reiterate. The points of principle that need to be determined by the House are, essentially, the starting times. The starting times can be either 10 a.m. or 10.30 a.m. when we commence in the morning and 2 p.m. or 2.30 p.m. when we commence in the afternoon. If any honourable members would prefer a 10.30 a.m. start in the morning or a 2.30 p.m. start in the afternoon, the terms of the motions which they would move are contained in the memorandum I circulated. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- Do we have copies of that memorandum? {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr SNEDDEN: -- It has been circulated. **Mr Speaker,** I want to make the point, as 1 did at the outset, that I moved the motion in accordance with the terms of the report of the Standing Committee in the capacity of the servant of the House. There may be some honourable members who think 1 am not often the servant of the House but on this occasion I assure them that I am doing it in that form. Because 1 moved the motion in that character I want to make it perfectly clear to honourable members that, although I moved the motions for a 10 a.m. start on the mornings on which we commence and the 2 p.m. start on the afternoons when we commence, 1 do not agree with them. If amendments are moved which would provide for a 10.30 a.m. start and a 2.30 p.m. start I would support them. I moved the motion in the form that the Standing Orders Committee reported in order to have the report of the Standing Orders Committee before the House. **Mr Speaker,** the best way for me to explain why 1 support a 10.30 a.m. start or a 2.30 p.m. start is to read the extract from your letter to me which I circulated today, lt states: >The irreducible time required for the preparation of material for the meeting of the House, having in mind that with night sittings officers have as little as six hours' sleep, would impose a tremendous strain if the House were to meet al 10 a.m. As the pattern of the programme for a sitting day may not become clear until I p.m or later, a meeting of the House at 2 p.m. imposes a like pressure and problem. > >Commencing times of (0.30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m. are considered reasonable even although on those days on which the House meets at 2.30 p.m. officers of the Table Office in particular are required to work through the lunch hour and take lunch on the run.' That discloses reasons why the departments servicing the Parliament, if I may use that term, would prefer the later start. To my mind there is another equally important reason so far as the afternoon commencing time is concerned. 1 accept the arguments advanced by you, **Mr Speaker,** and the service departments for a 10.30 a.m. start. As for the afternoon, a 2 p.m. rather than a 2.30 p.m. start would make it terribly difficult for the great number of committees which meet during the lunch hour. The public may not be aware - certainly honourable members are aware of it - that almost every honourable member in this House is serving on a number of committees. Most of them spend at least half of the meal hours at committee meetings. If the period for lunch is only 1 hour it really will frustrate the activities of committees. For that reason I very strongly support the 2.30 p.m. start. I also support a 10.30 a.m. start. Although I am not as committed to the 10.30 a.m. start I would vote for it. Although I moved the motion for a 10 a.m. start and for a 2 p.m. start I hope amendments are moved and I state now that I will support them. I come to the next point I want to make clear. The third issue of principle relates to the second Tuesday of the 2 weeks sitting. The Standing Orders Committee report recommends that on that day we commence the sitting in the morning. Whether it be at 10 a.m. or 10.30 a.m. depends upon the will of the House. But, **Mr Speaker,** I hope that there will be an amendment moved which will provide that on the Tuesday of the second week the commencement will be in the afternoon rather than in the morning. If an amendment is moved along those lines I will support it. My reason is that we do have a number of statutory and joint select committees - in addition there are meetings of the Party organisations - and Tuesday morning is an important morning traditionally. If we do not have the capacity for the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, the Joint Committee of Public Accounts, the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee and such other select committees as are appointed by the will of the House to sit on Tuesday mornings this will make a very big difference to the method in which we conduct our business in committee form. Therefore I will support the amendment if it is moved. The next point I come to is the one about which I think the greatest controversy is likely to emerge. I have argued for the 10.30 a.m. start rather than 10 a.m. and for the 2.30 p.m. start rather than 2 p.m. The Standing Orders Committee report recommends a finishing time of 10.30 p.m. It so happens, **Mr Speaker,** that this is not contained in my motion because the finishing time does not relate to the Standing Orders. The finishing time is determined by a sessional order. The sessional order is for the automatic adjournment to be put by you at 11 p.m. I would like to continue that 11 p.m. finish. If the House opted for a 2 p.m. start I would accept that the automatic adjournment should be put at 10.30 p.m. But if the House opts for a 2.30 p.m. start then I think we should sit through to 1 1 p.m. In reality I think this ought not to be seen as an issue for a 2 p.m. start and a 10.30 p.m. finish. It should be seen in reality as a 2.30 p.m. start and an 11 p.m. finish. The business of the House is conducted in a traditional form and this provides for question time. Recently we have seen the introduction of quite a considerable number of petitions. These take time. Also, statements are made by Ministers and very often members of the Opposition wish to respond to those statements. Periodically members of the Opposition take it into their heads that they ought to pursue some initiative on a political level, and this takes time. I think it is fair to say that the net result is that we have available to us about 4 hours a day for Government business after we take account of all these other things. A half hour is a very significant ratio to the time that is available to us. Therefore I am now arguing not merely as a member of this House but as a member charged with the responsibilities of putting the business through the House. In discharging that responsibility I find a very real situation, which is rather a dilemma, in that every member of this House finds that on some issues he thinks it is very important to him that he should express his view in the debate. I think he ought to have that opportunity so far as it is possible for this to be done. If the times of sittings of this House are cut down difficulties will be created. {: .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr Cope: -- Gordon Bryant agrees with you on that. {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr SNEDDEN: -- Thank you. In my view the problems that we have in this House are often problems of temper. Sometimes they are well founded and sometimes they are not well founded. But whenever we have these problems they almost invariably relate to the period of time which is allowed for a debate to continue. I am stating my view not exclusively as Leader of the House, but as Leader of the House and as a member of this House: I believe that we really ought to think of the hours as 2 p.m. to 10.30 p.m. or 2.30 p.m. to 11 p.m., and for reasons 1 have already given I think it should be a 2.30 p.m. start and therefore an 1 1 p.m. finish. A final point that I should make is that honourable gentlemen will have seen that my motion, which 1 have circulated, does not provide for the ending times. The reason 1 have not included these times is that they are not incorporated in the Standing Orders. They are contained in the sessional orders. The sessional order which controls the conclusion of a sitting day at the moment is that at II o'clock **Mr Speaker** puts the adjournment motion. This has been agreed to. I am bound to say that if it is the will of the Parliament that the ending time should be 10.30 we will have to give consideration to what we do about the sessional order. I go no further than to say that we would need to give consideration to the sessional order. I think that I have put the issues. I would hope, **Mr Speaker,** having regard to the fact that we have already decided these arrangements in principle, that we may expect that honourable members would like the whole matter concluded this evening. {: .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: -- What is the motion that the Minister has proposed? {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr SNEDDEN: -- 1 draw the honourable member's attention to today's Notice Paper. He will see that Notice No. 5 is the matter we are dealing with at the moment. We have yet to come to Notice No. 6 which deals with specific times for debates. Notice No. 5 deals with commencement times. {: #subdebate-30-0-s1 .speaker-JO8} ##### Mr BARNARD:
Deputy Leader of the Opposition · Bass [8.55J - The Leader of the House **(Mr Snedden)** has put a proposition before the House which relates to the recommendations of the Standing Orders Committee. He has properly pointed out that in all of these issues the respective parties have determined that there should be a free vote. Therefore on the matters now before us. which relate to the days and hours of sittings, members will no doubt determine their own attitudes and if they believe amendments should be moved, they will be moved accordingly. Putting my own proposition, as all honourable members are entitled to do in debating the issues before the House, I want to make it quite clear that I support the recommendations of the Standing Orders Committee. The Standing Orders Committee of the Parliament deliberated on these matters over a long period. The Parliament now has before it the unanimous recommendation of the Committee in relation to sitting Jays and the hours of sitting. The Leader of the House has indicated that while he is prepared to put this proposition before the Parliament - and he has done so - he has made it perfectly clear that he disagrees on 2 issues. Firstly, he disagrees with the actual commencement time of sittings. The Minister believes that instead of commencing at 2 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday as the Standing Orders Committee recommended, the House should commence at 2.30 p.m. Secondly, the Minister said that he believes that in the second week of sitting the House should commence at 2.30 p.m. on Monday instead of 2 p.m. and that on Tuesday it should commence at 2 p.m. instead of at 10 a.m. as proposed by the Committee. T he Leader of the House has indicated that if amendments are moved along these lines he will support them. I say again that the parties have decided that every honourable member should have the opportunity to express his opinion about when the House should meet. The days of the sittings have already been determined but the times at which the House will meet are being discussed now. Honourable members will have an opportunity to express their opinion in this respect. I believe that the determination of the Standing Orders Committee that in the first week the House will sit on Tuesday at 2 p.m. and conclude at 10.30 p.m. is a very sensible one. The Leader of the House has suggested that the conclusion time of 10.30 p.m. should be extended until 1 1 p.m. I have very strong views on this point. The point has been made in this House in recent weeks that a move - a determined move and I believe a sensible move - ought to be made to reduce and even to eliminate the late hours at which this House sits. This is one of the reasons why I indicated to the Government only last week that the Opposition would move an amendment that when the adjournment was automatically moved at 11 o'clock the Speaker should leave the Chair at midnight. The Leader of the House agreed to accept this proposition. Therefore, at that stage we did not pursue the amendment that the Opposition had foreshadowed to the effect that the adjournment would take place at 10.30 and that the Speaker would leave the Chair at midnight. We accepted the proposition of the Leader of the House that the motion to adjourn should be moved at 11 o'clock and the Speaker leave the Chair at midnight. Most members would believe that we should sit longer hours in the daylight and that the House should adjourn as early as possible at night. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- At 10 o'clock. {: .speaker-JO8} ##### Mr BARNARD: -- I do not disagree with that suggestion. I am merely supporting the recommendation of the Standing Orders Committee that the question should be put at 10.30 p.m. and that the House should rise no later than midnight. If the honourable member for Wills moves an amendment that the adjournment should be moved at 10 p.m. I hope there will be a corresponding amendment that the Speaker leaves the chair at 11 p.m. This would suit my purposes. I am not prepared to accept the proposition of the Leader of the House that the adjournment should be moved at 11 p.m. or that the recommendation that the adjournment should be moved at 10.30 p.m. be extended beyond 10.30 p.m. Most honourable members believe that we ought to cut down on the hours during which members sit in the Parliament at night. This is a move that has been sought by members for a long time. The recommendation of the Standing Orders Committee is, at least, a move in that direction. That Committee's recommendation is that the House adjourn at 10.30 p.m. I want to make my position perfectly clear. I cannot support any amendment that may be moved, or the proposition of the Leader of the House, that the automatic adjournment should take place at 1 1 p.m. The second point I want to make relates to the hours at which the Parliament should commence sitting. I refer to the first week of the sittings. The recommendation of the Standing Orders Committee is that the House meet at 2 p.m. on Tuesday and adjourn at 10.30 p.m.; on Wednesday it meet at 2 p.m. and adjourn at 10.30 p.m.; on Thursday it meet at 10 a.m. and adjourn at 10.30 p.m.; and on Friday it meet at 10 a.m. and adjourn at 4 p.m. The Leader of the House has indicated that it is the recommendation of the Standing Orders Committee that in the second week the House would meet on Monday at 2 p.m. and adjourn at 10.30 p.m. and on Tuesday it would meet of 10 a.m. and adjourn at 10.30 p.m. The Leader of the House has suggested that rather than meet at 10 a.m. on Tuesday it should meet at 2 p.m. His reason for making this suggestion is that a number of standing committees normally meet on a Tuesday morning. The Leader of the House should understand that if the recommendations of the Standing Orders Committee are accepted the Parliament will be sitting for 4 days in each week and not 3 days and that in both weeks 2 mornings will be available just as there are under existing arrangements. At present the House meets at 2.30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. If we accept the recommendations of the Standing Orders Committee 2 mornings each week will be available during which parties can have their normal Party meetings and standing committees can meet, so no alteration is necessary. I find it difficult to follow the reasoning of the Leader of the House on this question. Two clear mornings would be available each week under the new arrangements. {: .speaker-KYS} ##### Mr Reynolds: -- What are they? {: .speaker-JO8} ##### Mr BARNARD: -- In the first week we would meet at 2 p.m. on the Tuesday so that morning would be available. On the Wednesday we would meet at 2 p.m. and that morning would be available. In the second week we would meet at 2 p.m. on the Monday with that morning available and on the Wednesday we would meet at 2 p.m. and Wednesday morning would be available. In these circumstances the same arrangements would apply under the new Standing Orders as apply now. I support the recommendations of the Standing Orders Committee. If those recommendations are adopted the House will adjourn at a reasonable hour each night and members will not be subjected to late hours as they have been in the past. We will be able to have debates without our discussions continuing into the early hours of the morning. I support the recommendations in relation to sitting days and sitting times as recommended by the Standing Orders Committee. {: #subdebate-30-0-s2 .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr WENTWORTH:
MackellarMinister for Social Services · LP -- As honourable members know, my own feeling is that these hours have to be such as would leave a reasonable time for Government business and, at the same time, meet the convenience of honourable members and be practicable in view of the mechanics of the House and of its staff. In paragraph 8 of its report the Standing Orders Committee left open the question of sitting over meal hours. I am strongly in favour of sitting over a meal hour once, and only once, a day. I am, however, assured on the advice of officers to whom this has been suggested that under present arrangements and with the present staff this would cause mechanical difficulties which they would find it almost impossible to overcome. There are questions of accommodation for Hansard, and other similar matters. I remain a supporter of the proposition that we should meet over one meal hour a day andI believe that it is possible for this House to make arrangements conformable to that. However we have to look at the principle of having our routine of such a nature that it can be worked with our existing facilities. I think every honourable member would agree with me on 2 propositions. The first is that the individual member of the staff of this House should be given a fair go. Nobody would want Hansard, the Clerks or any other servant of this House to have to work unreasonable hours. The second proposition which,I hope, would get unanimous agreement, is that this House should be able to arrange its servants in such a way as to meet the needs of its own deliberations, because we are a House of some importance in the life of Australia. We should be able to arrange our staff and their accommodation in such a way as to meet the real and proper needs of this House which should be overriding. We have to reconcile these 2 propositions - fairness to the individual members of the staff and meeting the proper requirements of this House. Having talked to the staff I am convinced of 2 things: Firstly, as matters stand at the moment we could not sit over meal hours without doing violence to the convenience of members of the staff, secondly, I am equally convinced that if we make proper forward arrangements it will be possible in the future to sit over meal hours without doing violence to the convenience of the staff. For those reasons I would not press for a formal motion at this stage, butI am certain that it wilt come. I am certain that when we look at this in the near future - perhaps later this year or early next year - it will be possible for us to think of the necessary routine arrangements and it will be possible to make a further amendment to allow us to sit over meal hours in a way which will give to this House the utmost effectiveness and which at the same time will allow our staff to have reasonable individual lives of service. It will also be possible to accommodate the staff and to provide the other facilities which are needed.I remain, for the reasons that honourable members well know - and I will not weary the House by traversing them again - entirely convinced of the desirability of sitting over a meal hour once a day, butI am also, I am afraid, persuaded that at the present this is not practicable. But that does not mean that I will not be pressing this in the future. As I understand it, investigations are at present under way to see in what manner the staff and the accommodation can be adapted to a change. When these arrangements have been worked out and are seen to be practicable it will be for the House to decide to bring that change into operation at the first moment when it is really practicable to do so. I remain convinced as I said of the desirability of sitting over a meal hour. I am not prepared at the moment to press it formally only for the reasonsI have given. {: .speaker-JM9} ##### Mr Armitage: -- Would you support it in principle? {: .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr WENTWORTH: -- Yes. {: #subdebate-30-0-s3 .speaker-JNG} ##### Dr CASS:
Maribyrnong **- Mr Speaker,** I ask for leave to move all the amendments that the Leader of the House **(Mr Snedden)** has circulated. {: #subdebate-30-0-s4 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Is leave granted? {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- Which amendments? {: .speaker-JNG} ##### Dr CASS: -- Those which were circulated by the Leader of the House to change 2 o'clock to half past two and 10 o'clock to half past ten. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The honourable member for Maribyrnong is asking leave of the House to move en bloc the amendments which have been proposed by the Leader of the House to standing order 40. Is leave granted? {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden: -- Leave is granted on this side. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- There being no objection, leave is granted. {: .speaker-JNG} ##### Dr CASS: -- I think that both the Leader of the House and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr Barnard)** dragged into the debate a multi-coloured herring, blue on the one side and red on the other, no doubt. To me it was irrelevant for them to discuss the time of the adjournment because I understand that that is something decided at the beginning of each session. So I do not intend to discuss that. I think the House will be able to make up its own mind as the occasion arises. We are now discussing the times at which the House should start each day. In view of the communication you made, **Mr Speaker,** to the Leader of the House, I think that the arguments that the Leader of the House put up and the suggestions which he said he hopes someone would take up - and I am taking them up - are reasonable. I feel there is much more to the positive functioning of this House than being in this chamber listening to and making speeches. A lot of constructive work must go on outside this chamber - meetings of committees of the Parliament, meetings of the Parties and Party committee meetings as well. These can only take place in the very short time we have at our disposal between morning and afternoon sittings or in the mornings when we are in Canberra and the House is not sitting. I personally think that these meetings are crucial to the proper functioning of this House and intelligent debate in this House. For those reasons I shall move the amendment. I think all the reasons have been traversed, so I will not continue any longer. I move: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. That paragraph (a) of proposed standing order 40 be amended by omitting 'two o'clock p.m.' (wherever occurring) and inserting 'half past two o'clock p.m.'. 1. That paragraph (a) of' proposed standing order 40 be amended by omitting 'ten o'clock am.' (wherever occurring) and inserting 'half past ten o'clock a.m.'. 2. That paragraph (b) of proposed standing order 40 be amended by omitting 'Monday at two o'clock p.m.' and inserting 'Monday at half-past two o'clock p.m.'. 3. That paragraph (b) of proposed standing order 40 be amended by omitting 'Tuesday at ten o'clock a.m.' and inserting Tuesday at half past two o'clock, p.m.' (or 'two o'clock p.m.' if amendments (1) and (3) above not made). 4. That paragraph (b) of proposed standing order 40 be amended by omitting 'Wednesday at two o'clock p.m. and Thursday at ten o'clock a.m.' and inserting 'Wednesday at half past two o'clock p.m. and Thursday at half past ten o'clock a.m.'. {: #subdebate-30-0-s5 .speaker-KWR} ##### Mr TURNER:
Bradfield -- I am not quite sure how this debate is being conducted. I assume that in speaking now I must say all that I have to say on the multifarious matters before the House on this motion. On the question of meeting at 10.30 rather than at 10 and meeting at 2.30 instead of 2, I agree to the later hours as indicated by the Leader of the House **(Mr Snedden)** and as moved by the honourable member for Maribyrnong **(Dr Cass).** But one thing sticks in my gizzard a little bit. The reason why I say that is that **Mr Speaker** has circulated a note pointing out the difficulties that' the clerks will have in servicing the House if we have the earlier sitting time, that is, 10 o'clock instead of 10.30 and 2 o'clock instead of 2.30. The thing that does, in that vulgar expression, stick in my gizzard is this sentence in **Mr Speaker's** note: >As the pattern of the programme for a sitting day may not become clear until 1 p.m. or later, a meeting of the House at 2 p.m. imposes a like pressure and problem. I have myself complained in various places and on many occasions about the lack of organisation that leaves members in the dark about what is to be the pattern of debate. The fact that the clerks will not know at 1 o'clock what is to be the pattern of debate if the House is to meet at 2 o'clock is, of course, as deplorable as I have always said. But despite this, if the muddles of the leadership of the House may result in the. killing of the clerks I would wish to preserve their lives. For this reason they should not be the victims of government muddle. I recall a saying that people who join the Army are muddled about by experts, but since I have come here I have discovered that there are others who arc better at it than the Army ever was. But let that pass. The Minister for Social Services **(Mr Wentworth)** has raised the matter of sitting over the dinner period. I want to look at 2 or 3 matters relating to this. Firstly, he referred to the mechanics of it. We have not had this in detail, but I presume it would mean we would not all go to eat between, say, 1 o'clock and 2 o'clock, or between 1 o'clock and 2.30; we would have to go at 12 o'clock, at 1 o'clock or at 1.30. We would have to have a running meal with several sittings if we were to do this. This involves all sorts of mechanical problems. 1 am not so much concerned about the mechanics of it. No doubt in the course of time, with such wit and ingenuity as the Leader of the House, the Government and the clerks have, these tremendous problems of mechanics can be solved. 1 am more concerned about 2 other matters. I think it was the late Edmund Burke who was referred to as the dinner bell of the House of Commons. His oratory was splendid if it was read but, heard, it was a bit like some of the lectures we have in this House. I am afraid that there are so many .dinner bells here, including myself, that the House would be almost always empty on the occasions when they spoke. The stomach speaks louder than words. If the proposal to sit over the dinner period were adopted we would have the spectacle of **Mr Speaker** sitting in the chair, Hansard sitting at the other end of the table, one honourable member making a speech and an otherwise utterly empty House. There are some people who speak better to several people or even to a crowd than they would to Hansard, however important Hansard may be, and, of course, to **Mr Speaker.** I do not know where the Press would be at meal time on these occasions. Again, the stomach might speak louder than the eloquence of members who are addressing the House. To come to a fine point, the House would be empty and deserted. It would look like a Parliament that did not care, that did not matter, that had no significance. Anybody looking at it from the gallery would say: 'If this is Parliament, heaven help the country.' And how right they would be. The appearance of the Parliament would betoken something that would not matter. I know very well that there are many occasions here, apart from dinner bells, when the House does not look like the great assembly of the nation. But this would be the ultimate in the degradation of Parliament, to all appearances at least. So this is my first point. My second point is even more important. During the dinner hour the radio puts on news programmes and other important and interesting matters for the public at large, and it is quite inconceivable that the radio or the public would tolerate having that period occupied by the broadcasting of parliamentary debates. Would this matter? There is not great eloquence in this House. It may be that the public would welcome the surcease of their sorrow. But what is the importance of the radio to Parliament? Let me illustrate this very simply and, if I may say so, very dramatically. I recall very well a debate on certain allegations that were made by responsible persons about what happened in the Voyager' the ship that honourable members will remember sank off Jervis Bay after a collision. There were 3 members in this House who had the courage to get up finally after the matter had been taken to the Government, to the Prime Minister of the day, to the Minister for the Navy, I think, and the Attorney-General. After the matter had been taken to them for redress and when nothing was done, the matter was raised in the Government party room, and still nothing was done. Only when at long last a most loyal member of the Government parties - much more loyal than I would ever hope or wish to be - mentioned the matter here was it brought into the House. He was supported by 2 other honourable members. What happened? Because it went out from this place it came back in a tidal wave against the Government. I will say this without fear of contradiction: If this had been left to the House to remedy, if it had been left to the Government and the Government parties to remedy, there would have been no justice done. There would have been no inquiry. The Government would have had almost the full support on its side of the House. Three members might have voted against k and the Opposition would have made what capital it could out of the situation, but there would have been no remedy and no justice. The only thing that brought about justice in this case was that this went out to the public and it went out to the Press, and it came back in a tidal wave that overwhelmed the Prime Minister of the day. He was forced - not by the members on the Government side of the House, not by the Opposition, not by the Parliament but by public opinion outside - to institute an inquiry which proved amply to justify what had happened. Here was a matter that shrieked for inquiry and for justice and nothing was done about it here. What was said here in the end by 3 people forced the Prime Minister of the day to take action, although he would have had the full support of his Party in taking no action. How important is it then that what is said in this place should go out from this place and come back to this place? But it is proposed that, we should sit over the dinner period when Hansard is in the place because it has to be, when **Mr Speaker** is in the Chair because he has to be, when perhaps there is not another member in the House, when to anybody looking on the Parliament appears to matter not one jot, and when the effectiveness of any speech that is made is completely lost because it does not get out and come back against the Government or to compel the Government to take action. So apart from the mechanics of this thing, 1 am utterly opposed to this sitting over the dinner hour. We are told about the House of Commons. Yes, with over 600 members ruling, as it has until lately, not only a large population in the United Kingdom but an empire, they need the dinner hour. They need all the time they can get. But this Parliament sits less - fewer days, fewer weeks - than the House of Commons, than the Mouse of Commons in Canada, than the Parliament in New Zealand. It cannot be said that we have to sit over the dinner hour because there are not enough weeks in the year. We have ample time. We do not have the problem that, the House of Commons has. There is one other thing I want to say, too as, presumbaly, I must say all T want to say in this one speech, 1 want to say a word about the adjournment of the House. The Leader of the House has referred to this matter. True, it is the subject of a sessional order but the Leader of the House has referred to this already and he has referred to starting times. Those who are concerned, as we are now, with starting times may be pardoned if they regard the finishing time as relevant also to the starting time. So we come to the adjournment. At 1 1 o'clock the Speaker at present must move the motion for the adjournment and then, as often as not by arrangement, the House nevertheless sits on well after 1 1 o'clock. This should stop because honourable members are not fit when they get too little sleep to deliberate. Perhaps they ure not meant to deliberate. Perhaps they are not meant to have their minds fit for debate. But 1 will pass over that horrible suspicion and attribute it rather to lack of organisation - not intentional but just a muddle. Apart from this 11 o'clock performance, I come to those adjournment debates when, on the motion that the House do now adjourn, honourable members may address themselves to whatever they feel to be important for their electorate or the public at large, no matter what it may be. The proposal - indeed I think it is incorporated in the sessional orders already - is that this should cut off automatically at midnight. Never mind what happens, never mind how important the debate which is proceeding; it should be cut of automatically at midnight. I do not speak about this because I happened to be a victim of it the other night, although that really illustrates the point I want to make. For 15 years I. was for my sins a member of the State Parliament of New South Wales at a time when it was ruled by a Labor Government. I do not want to introduce any party spirit into this. I merely mention this by way of indicating that this is what happens when governments are in office for a long time. It can be a Labor government; it can be a Liberal government: i do not mind. I am speaking about a principle and an institution. At that time the adjournment debate began automatically at 20 minutes past 10 and terminated at half past 10. No matter what happened, that was the position. The only matters that could be raised were those which related to a member's own electorate and were specific and were urgent; that is all. Apart from that motions of importance - or urgency as they were called - had to be voted urgent by the House. This meant that the Government never found that anything was urgent. Sydney could have been burning but the Parliament was debating the Goat and Dog Act. That is the importance of the opportunities to deal with matters, to have that latitude that we have here on the motion for the adjournment. I believe that that debate should go on for as long as the House feels that it ought usefully to continue; that it ought to be cut off not automatically at midnight, nor automatically at any time; if it starts at 1 1 o'clock let it run as long as it should. This is a matter of judgment for the Leader of the House. No doubt in conference directly - or because he understands his thoughts - with the Deputy Leader of the Opposition it should be cut off at an appropriate time. It may go until half past 11; it may go until a quarter to 12; it may go until 12 o'clock; it may go until 1 o'clock; it may go until 2 o'clock. But this depends entirely on what is going forward. I would not be one who would wish to see the adjournment debate cut off at any stated time, as has been done under the sessional order. I said this in another place, where sometimes it matters and sometimes it does not, and I say it again: This is a great mistake and it will be found to be a great mistake as time goes on. The Opposition will find it so while it is in opposition, and if the Government Parties find themselves in opposition they will find it so, too. I am not being one-eyed about this. It may be that the debate ought to continue because the Government speakers wish to go on. It may be that it ought to continue because the Opposition ought to be heard on whatever the matter may be. The final thing I wish to say is this: We are dealing with the Standing Orders. These are our rules. They are very important. We must have them. They must be written down. But this place will not function effectively unless a spirit of cooperation exists. Certainly, the House of Commons with its membership of over 600 would, grind to a halt unless arrangements were made behind the Chair. Bills should be ready for presentation here. What we see time and again is that important Bills are introduced late in the session - in the last week or the last fortnight of the session - and then we sit until 1 o'clock, 2 o'clock or 3 o'clock in the morning debating them. This is partly because the Bills are simply not ready and partly because no co-operation has taken place behind the Chair between the spokesmen from both sides of the House on sitting arrangements and no co-operation has existed to ensure that proper time is agreed upon for the more important debates. It is the Government's fault if its important Bills are not ready. It is the fault of the spokesmen for the Opposition and for the Government if they do not agree to an orderly debate so that important matters receive the time that they ought to receive and so that unimportant matters are dealt with expeditiously and are cleared out of the way. **Mr Speaker,** that is all that I wish to say. {: #subdebate-30-0-s6 .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr DALY:
Grayndler **- Mr Speaker,** I have listened with interest to the honourable member for Bradfield **(Mr Turner)** who constantly gives forth on what are very important matters associated with the conduct of the Parliament. However, in the course of his speech, he mentioned the lack of information regarding the business to be presented to the Parliament and the failure to inform members of the programme of business in sufficient time to allow them ample opportunity for discussion and preparation in respect of those matters. But I think the honourable member is a little unfair to blame the Leader of the House, whoever he may be, for that state of affairs. The fault lies in the Standing Orders. Standing order 107 provides: >A Member may propose to the Speaker that a definite matter of public importance be submitted to the House for discussion. The Member proposing the matter shall present to the Speaker at least one hour before the time fixed for the meeting of the House a written statement of the matter proposed to be discussed; and if the Speaker determines that it is in order, he shall read it to the House. The proposed discussion must be supported by eight Members, including the proposer, rising in their places as indicating approval. The Speaker shall then call upon the Member who had proposed the matter to speak. {: .speaker-KWR} ##### Mr Turner: -- Well, amend the Standing Orders. {: .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr DALY: -- The point I make is this: You, **Mr Speaker,** are notified of what is to be raised for discussion as a matter of public importance. You then transmit it to the Leader of the House. Consequently, he may not know of it until some time after you are notified. In your case, as you are a very active aDd agile Speaker, no doubt you would get the information to him in a few minutes. But other persons holding the office of Speaker may take half an hour to three quarters of an hour to pass on that information. The situation could arise that the Leader of the House might not know what was to be before the House until a quarter of an hour or 10 minutes before the time the House assembled. If the honourable member for Bradfield desires to alter this practice, the Standing Orders should be amended to provide that the information required should be presented to **Mr Speaker** 2 hours or 3 hours before the meeting of the House. But let us face the facts of life. One of the axioms of politics is that one seizes and takes advantage of one's opportunities. Surprise is a very important element. Oppositions do not wish to let Governments know what they are to do some 2 days or some 2 hours before they take certain action. A requirement of I hour's notice concerning discussions of matters of public importance seems not unreasonable because the element of surprise is important. Therefore, J think it is a little unfair to blame the Leader of the House, be he Liberal or Labor, for this state of affairs. If the honourable member for Bradfield desires to alter that state of affairs, the Standing Orders must be amended accordingly. He may wish to go further. I see no reason why the Opposition should tell the Government what it is going to do a couple of hours before the House assembles. I think that this is part of parliamentary procedure. We know that, in the case of the present Government, if we told it 3 hours before the House assembled what we intended to do, the Government would whip up one of those phoney replies that it always whips up to our argument. The more time the Government has to do that, the better the phoney reply probably will be. The point that I make is this: The Leader of the House cannot necessarily be blamed for this state of affairs. Rather does the fault lie with the Standing Orders. With all this talk about the Parliament sitting in daylight hours, I do not know why the Government does not introduce daylight saving into the Australian Capital Territory. If we are to sit longer in daylight hours, such a move might well solve a number of the problems of the Parliament. Some of the populace perhaps would be in favour of that move too. **Mr Speaker,** I wish to refer now to a rather strange alliance which J have formed. I am a bil with the Minister for Social Services **(Mr Wentworth)** on the submissions that he has made to the Parliament. ] think that this would be one of the best unity tickers that we have had in the Parliament for a long time. I regret to say that my colleagues must think - quite rightly so, f think - that I am somewhat suspect. In that respect, I am a little with them. 1 pay this tribute to the Minister for Social Services. Like the honourable member for Bradfield, he always has been closely interested in improving the methods of debate and other matters associated with the condust of the Parliament. Tonight I say quite seriously that I read with interest the submission that he sent on 28th August 1970 to all honourable members. In bis submission, the Minister outlined his proposals for the conduct of the business of this Parliament. As honourable members will see in the document, the Minister proposes that the House should assemble each day, except the one Friday sitting in each 2-week period, at 2.30 p.m., and should continue to sit through the normal suspension hours until (0 p.m. on all sitting days except Friday when the time of adjournment would be 4 p.m. The total number of sitting hours would be 58 compared with 57i hours under the >proposals put forward by the Standing Orders Committee. The sitting hours enunciated by the Minister for Social Services not only provide for an additional half an hour each 2 weeks but also give to every member of this Parliament the opportunity to participate in the various committees with which he is associated on each morning of the week except Friday. These are very reasonable sitting hours. J have seen the British House of Commons sit through the meal periods. I. believe the same procedure applies in the Congress of the United States of America. With due respect to the honourable member for Bradfield, I see no reason why we could not prepare at this stage to adopt this proposal.I know that staff matters enter into the consideration. The question of dining room hours, etc., arises. But these matters could be dealt with over a period. We do not expect these new arrangements to be introduced tomorrow week. Perhaps something could be arranged by next year. I will go a little further than the Minister has gone. The United States Congress sits for 6 hours straight - from 12 noon until 6 p.m.. Why should not this Parliament sit from 1 p.m.? Most members could benefit from dieting a little. If they did not wish to eat at 12 noon, they need not eat at all. This would allow the Parliament an additional hour's sitting each day. In that Way, in a 2-week sitting, 62 hours instead of 58 hours would be available. I see no reason why that plan could not be adopted. Also, I would amend the proposals made by the Minister for Social Services regarding the calling of quorums. I do not think that quorums should be called between the hours of 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Such a rule would allow for the better working of this Parliament and would allow members more time for committee purposes. It would facilitate the business of the Parliament in every way. As a union man, I do not wish to have anybody work in what ought to be his or her meal break. What would this mean? It would mean that we would need more Hansard reporters, and more people to work in the dining room, and that more people generally would work in Parliament House. This is all to the good. The more people employed, the better it is. But the need for additional staff is no excuse why these proposals, which would benefit the working of the Parliament, should not be adopted. {: .speaker-KWR} ##### Mr Turner: -- What are all these committees? Tell us about them. {: .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr DALY: -- The honourable member for Bradfield asks about committees. The Parliamentary Labor Party has 12 or 13 committees. Considerable difficulty is experienced in getting the members of those committees together in an afternoon when Parliament is sitting. It would be convenient if those committees could sit without fear of interruption each morning of the week with the exception of Friday. It would be nice for a member of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs or, of any other committee to know that he would not need to dash away from a meeting as he might be required to do when the Parliament was in session. If the submission made by the Minister for Social Services does nothing else, it does allow more natural time for parliamentary debate and it does allow honourable members more time to concentrate on committe work which can be constantly interrupted if members are required to dash away from a sitting to answer the call of the quorum bells. The Standing Orders would need to be amended to provide that no quorum could be called during the hours when the House normally suspended for meal break purposes. That, I think, is reasonable. Most people outside probably think that 'quorum' is the name of a race horse. It would not make much difference to the populace at large. It is an expression, a procedure, that you, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** and I know but which the people outside do not know. I do not think that the Minister's proposals would work unless the opportunity to call quorums during normal suspension times for meals was abolished. If this were done, and the House sat through those suspension times, a tremendous improvement would be achieved and the Parliament would get through a lot more business. I am one who thinks that the feeling of the House should be tested on this matter. I propose to move the Minister's proposals as sent to us in his letter. This proves that my association with him on this issue is almost complete. I hope only that the Minister will vote for his proposals when the question is put to the Parliament. Therefore, I formally move: {: type="1" start="4"} 0. Unless otherwise ordered, meeting times of the House shall be as follows - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - 2.30 pm. Friday- 10.30 a.m. and, subject to these Standing Orders, each sitting shall continue without interruption until the Adjournment, unless the House otherwise decides. 40a. Between the hours of 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. and between the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. the following special provisions shall apply - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. If, on the call for a quorum, no quorum be obtained, the sitting shall be suspended until the first occurring of 2 p.m. or 8 p.m. and any time set down for the commencement of the Adjournment debate that day shall be postponed by the length of time of such suspension. 1. Upon the putting of any question, any member may require the adjournment of the Debate, and in such case die next Business of the Day shall be called on forthwith, and the adjourned Vote shall be taken as soon as convenient after the first occurring of 2 p.m or 8 p.m., and the adjourned Debate, if not already concluded, shall then be resumed. 2. The Chair may, if it thinks fit, adjourn the sitting until the fir,t occurring of 2 p.m. or 8 p.m. 40b. The Speaker may make arrangements for the recording of short-term pairs, applying for the single day between the hours of 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. or 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. I do not say this in any facetious way, but I think it would be a decided improvement on the methods adopted today and would allow time for discussions and allied matters. **Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr** Lucock)Order! I suggest to the honourable member for Grayndler that he cannot move a further amendment. There is already an amendment before the House moved by the honourable member for Maribyrnong. Until the House decides on that amendment there cannot be a further amendment moved to the question. Am 1 right in assuming that the Minister to whom the honourable member for Grayndler was referring was the Minister for Social Services and not the Leader of the House? {: .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr DALY: -- Yes. Being a patient citizen, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** T am prepared to wait until the other amendment is disposed of. I say formally that I think the proposals of the Minister are very sound and worth the consideration of the House. They are not party political matters in any way. I hope that honourable members will vote on the amendment as they think fit because the question of whether we should transform our proceedings along the lines suggested by the Minister is worthy of testing by the House. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- **Mr Deputy Speaker,** is il posible to move a motion about procedure? We seem to have 8 or 9 questions before the House. 1 was going to move that each of those questions be debated separately. Why can we not debate each day in turn and deal with it. **Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr** Lucock)Order! The position at the moment is that by leave 5 amendments have been moved together to the original question before the House. Until the House decides on those amendments no further amendment can be moved. **Mr** FAIRBAIRN (Farrer) [9.42 J - I shall not detain the House very long, but I want to support one of the amendments moved by the honourable member for Maribyrnong **(Dr Cass),** namely, his fourth amendment which proposes that instead of meeting on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. we should meet on Tuesdays at 2.30 p.m. I say this because I am Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee which now meets on every Tuesday morning when the House is meeting. The Committee has looked at possible alternatives. Quite frankly, I cannot see any alternative. The Committee is not permitted to meet while the House is sitting, lt would be very difficult for us to meet regularly even switching to a 3-week cycle, that is, meeting for 2 weeks and rising for I week instead of the present system under which we meet for 3 weeks and rise for a week. Under the new procedure the Foreign Affairs Committee would be meeting for only 2 weeks out of 3 instead of 3 weeks out of 4. I believe that this time should bc made available to the Committee. The Foreign Affairs Committee is not the only Committee affected. The Public Works Committee of which the honourable member for Wakefield **(Mr Kelly)** is Chairman, and the Public Accounts Committee of which the honourable member for Cook **(Mr Dobie)** is Chairman, would also be affected. I believe it is important that these joint parliamentary committees, which are some of the most important committees of the House, should have this opportunity of meeting. So I hope that everyone will support the amendment which will enable us to continue to meet every Tuesday when the House is meeting. The honourable member for Grayndler **(Mr Daly)** said that he found himself in a unity ticket with the Minister for Social Services **(Mr Wentwortb).** I find myself also with a strange bed-fellow, because I believe that the honourable member for Wills **(Mr Bryant)** supports the amendment. 1 believe that it is important that the House should vote for the amendment to enable these important committees to meet and have ample time to meet. The Foreign Affairs Committee is addressed by distinguished diplomats and. by experts in foreign affairs generally. This is of enormous importance to us and to the House. The Foreign Affairs Committee alone comprises 22 members, which is nearly one-fifth of the members of the House. I hope that honourable members will carry the amendment. {: #subdebate-30-0-s7 .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr Les Johnson:
HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I was not going to speak in this debate, but I find myself intrigued by the remarks of the honourable member for Grayndler **(Mr Daly).** For that matter, I find myself attracted very much to the Minister for Social Services **(Mr Wentworth).** This is the first time that he has had any great fascination for me. One thing that has always had an appeal for me is the characteristic of regularity, which I think is very conducive to good health. In that regard, since there are 2 schedules of time involved, I would refer to those which were first mooted by the Minister for Social Services as the WC proposals. That would possibly simplify the case that I want to make. First of all, 1 see in the Committee's recommendations a great deal of thought and contemplation, and I pay tribute to the very assiduous work that it has done. I cannot help but feel that the product of its efforts results, from the standpoint of starting times at least, in what one could describe as a pakapu ticket. In 8 sitting days the proposed starting times run something like this: 2 p.m., 2 p.m., 10 a.m., 10 a.m., 2 p.m., 10. a.m., 2 p.m., 10 a.m. I know the undoubted calibre of honourable members in this place but I strongly doubt whether even they will know when the starting times will be. I have very grave doubts about the capacity of the public to know about the regular sitting hours of the Parliament. From the standpoint of regular habits I think - and this is my own point of view - that the first mistake was made when we jettisoned the regular day which, hitherto, we have been able to spend in our electorates. I have a strong eccentricity about this matter. The constituents ought to know when a member will be available on a regular basis, except for the exceptional eventuality when he is overseas or is serving on a standing committee or something of that kind. I know that many of my colleagues have said for years that they have been available in their electorates every Monday. The breaking of this regular habit will be a backward step. I am not at all convinced by the arguments of the honourable member for Bradfield **(Mr Turner)** that the proposition that members should sit through the dinner break is disadvantageous or disastrous. When all is said and done, it is the practice of honourable members now to stagger the morning tea and supper periods. They go out without very much inconvenience to the House. A rationalised and unofficial approach is made to this kind of thing. From my brief experience of the House of Commons at Westminster I know that the same kind of thing happens there. It does not present any problem. The question of staff has been raised. Staff anywhere are entitled to consideration. Nevertheless, I believe that we should take the fundamental view that the staff and all the ramifications of Parliament must revolve around the best interests of the members of Parliament. I suppose there would be many people who would be anxious to join the staff of this establishment. I support a policy of full employment. I would not mind seeing additional clerks and Hansard reporters, and even waiters and cooks, if it resulted in the better functioning of Parliament. If it is going to give the people a better Parliament I do not think there will be much quibbling about it from the public. The honourable member for Grayndler advocated a situation which I strongly uphold and to which I have referred as the WC proposals. These represent the characteristic of regularity. They would mean that for every day in the 8 successive days we would sit at 2 p.m. except for the Friday when we would sit at 10.30 a.m. After all, we would be leaving at 4 p.m. on that day anyway. In my view the outstanding virtues of this proposal are that we would be able to spend time regularly in consideration of our constituents' problems, in receiving deputations and engaging in research. We all concede that it is time the Parliament went beyond the cliche level of debate and talked more authoritatively about the things which make this country tick. It is pretty simple to talk about the net product of all our endeavours but we need to talk about the causes which make things happen. We need time for research. We need time to receive deputations and constituents and attend to their needs. More importantly, we need time for our committee activities. I am a typical member of this Parliament and today was a typical day. I was involved in 2 meetings of the Public Works Committee, a meeting of the Publications Committee, a meeting of my Party's Aboriginal Affairs Committee and a short time ago a meeting of my Party's Welfare Committee was scheduled. If there is any factor which causes this House to be empty and which gives the public an unsatisfactory impression and this Parliament a bad image it is the committee system which is making heavy inroads on our sitting time. 1 think the honourable member for Bradfield may be conceding the point I am making. We see hordes of honourable members going up the stairs and down the stairs and sitting in large numbers in committee rooms. The public comes along, other honourable members' constituents and mine, and how many times have we heard someone say: 'J was appalled to see the House empty. Where were they?' They were looking after their constituents' work. They were doing their research work and they were involved in this committee work which is intensifying all the *time.* That is the factor which more than anything else is bringing this Parliament into disrepute. If we set aside a regular period every morning to engage in these activities I think it would be found that the public would see honourable members in their numbers in the House because they would not be diverted by these other responsibilities. I strongly commend the proposals which are to be moved in the form of an amendment by the honourable member for Grayndler and which I understand were initiated by the Minister for Social Services. I believe we will get regularity into our affairs here if we adopt them. 1 believe the public will be tremendously advantaged by seeing a sensible application to the affairs of the Parliament. More importantly, we will all have time to rationalise our work properly, including the committee work and the other matters with which we are concerned. {: #subdebate-30-0-s8 .speaker-KCU} ##### Mr DRURY:
Ryan -- I speak in this debate as a member of the Standing Orders Committee which gave a lot of consideration to many of the mailers under discussion. I realised there would possibly be amendments suggested. The last meeting of the Standing Orders Committee was held on 10th June, nearly 3 months ago. Since that time honourable members have had the advantage of talking to one another here during this Budget session and I think some of us have realised that we need a greater degree of flexibility than we thought was necessary 3 months ago. For that reason I go along with the view expressed tonight by the Leader of the House **(Mr Snedden),** based on an extract from a letter he received from **Mr Speaker** concerning the hig strain which would be placed on the officers of the House should there be an early start. 1 need not read it again as it has already been read a couple of times during the course of the debate tonight. I am one of those who are prepared to be flexible and I hope, reasonable and I think this Parliament should aim at achieving a greater degree of economy and efficiency. I do not think there would be any disagreement on those points. Having regard to the information imparted to the House by **Mr Speaker** through the Leader of the House, I feel that the starting time should be changed from 2 p.m. to 2.30 p.m. and in the case of morning sittings from 10 a.m. to 10.30 a.m. in order not to place any greater strain than is necessary on the administrative officers of the Parliament without whom - I cannot stress this too much - the Parliament simply could not function. It is all very well for some honourable member opposite to say that he feels (he first and paramount interests are those of honourable members. We could not function as a Parliament without 'the several hundred people who are associated wilh the running of the Parliament and who cannot speak for themselves as we can in this chamber. Therefore it is up to us as members to take them into consideration and reflect on how these decisions might affect them. It is very easy to make a decision thai we will meet at 10 a.m. and leave aside the realisation that this is placing perhaps an undue strain on senior officers who have had only 5 or 6 hours sleep the night before. I am against this early start for this human reason.'! believe it also bears on the efficiency of the Parliament. I also wish to say something about the very thoughtful memorandum which was circulated by the Minister for Social Services **(Mr Wentworth).** I know he appreciates all the difficulties involved but I do not agree with him that this is something which could be introduced within a matter of months or perhaps a year. I would go along with him on the basis that in all probability at some future time this Parliament will find itself in a position to sit during the dinner break from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., assuming the dinner break is still the same when that time comes. During the last few days I have made it my business to discuss with the heads of various departments in this Parliament just how they and their staffs would be affected if the Parliament were to decide to sit through the dinner break. I will be as brief as I can because I know there are other honourable members who wish to speak on this,. but I think it is important to go a little further than other honourable members have gone tonight. The administrative staff would need to be increased by approximately 30 per cent to enable this House to sit through meal breaks and accomplish the amount of work we visualise we should be doing in a sitting day. I leave out of account the question of increased cost and the question of overtime. I do not take them into account under any of these headings. In connection with the Hansard staff, the Principal Parliamentary Reporter told me he would need an increase of 30 per cent in this staff and an equivalent increase in accommodation. The plain fact is that in this building we do not have any extra accommodation for an increased Hansard staff, even if an increase in the staff were capable of achievement. I understand it is not. Trained reporters are just not available to be recruited to the Hansard staff. I feel it is a false analysis at this point of time to compare the working of this Parliament with that of Westminster. I wish to quote one or two figures in respect of the Hansard situation. At Westminster there is a minimum of IS reporters always available; 9 reporters are available for this House. I repeat that it is no good thinking in terms of adding to the staff unless we have accommodation for them. I understand the present Hansard reporters hardly ever get a full meal break to themselves. J believe this is wrong. We should see to it as members of this House that the staff gets its full entitlement in relation to meal breaks and all other considerations. As I understand it, at the present time the pressures are so great upon the reporters we do have on our Hansard staff that they very frequently have to use a good part of their meal break in correcting proofs and doing other work, especially since the introduction of the daily Hansard. This is a matter involving a great deal of intense high pressure work on the part of the reporters. Other people such as the Government Printer and his staff also are affected by the daily Hansard. There are a great many people who have to be considered quite apart from the members of this House. I agree that there should be facilities for committees to meet. I am flexible as to when they should meet. I believe adequate time and opportunity must be made available to all the committees - the Government members' committees, the Opposition committees, the joint statutory committees, the standing committees and the select committees. We would all agree that they are a most important and integral part of the parliamentary machine. I am speaking of the difficulties involved in sitting through meal breaks. I come back to the matter of the refreshment rooms, having dealt with the position of Hansard. I am informed that the situation in the refreshment rooms is that there would be very little difficulty in relation to the lunch, break if it were decided now or at some future time to sit through the lunch hour, but there would be very serious difficulties in relation to sitting through the normal dinner adjournment from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. I am told by those in charge of the refreshment rooms that it would be necessary to extend meal times. We normally eat between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. and then do committee work between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. I understand that if the Parliament decided to sit during the meal hours from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. this would mean greatly increased overtime and great difficulties in connection with staff, because a number of the waitresses are married women. It is believed that many of them would not be prepared to stay on for the necessary extra time for members to have their meals up to 8 o'clock. It might even be 8.30 p.m. before they were able to get away and return home. At the present time a big percentage of the dining room staff return home at about 7.30 p.m. That is only a very short glimpse at some of the mechanical difficulties and the human and personal problems that would be aggravated if the Parliament at this stage were to decide to sit through the dinner adjournment. We do not want to contemplate the loss of any of our staff. I am told that it is difficult enough to recruit suitable and competent staff for the refreshment rooms, for Hansard and for administrative purposes. Let us not make any decision at this point of time that we are going to be sorry about later. I have endeavoured to cover, as briefly as I can, the situation that would apply - as I have been able to discover it - if we were to make a decision in favour of sitting through meal breaks at this juncture. Therefore, I am personally opposed at this stage to sitting through meal breaks. I think that there are other aspects, too, in relation to sitting through meal breaks that perhaps would have to be considered when the time came, such as the question of some matter suddenly blowing up. It is all very well to say that there would be **Mr Speaker** in the Chair, the Hansard reporter, the Minister in charge of the Bill before the House and the people on boy sides of the chamber who are speaking in the debate. But as I see it there would need to be a great deal of organisation, and I would hope that we would hasten slowly in respect of such a major change as has been put to us by the Minister for Social Services. My final point is in relation to the finishing time at night and here again I think we are all pretty much of the same mind. We dc not want to sit later than we have to, but at the same time I think it is necessary to realise that there are occasions when some very important matter comes up in the adjournment debate when members do want to speak and use this occasion to express views on a particular problem, and the time to speak about it is when it is current. It might be something that needs to be discussed that very night. Therefore I think that by arrangement with the Leader of the House there needs to be a degree of flexibility in relation to the actual time of the rising of the House. 1 am not hard and fast in my views on this. I am reminded in this discussion of the old saying that he who never changes any of his opinions never corrects any of his mistakes. I am not ashamed to say that during the last 3 months, having thought about this quite a lot and having discussed these points with other members and with senior staff officers of this Parliament [ have slightly changed my views on certain aspects and I have endeavoured to put them to the House tonight. {: #subdebate-30-0-s9 .speaker-9F4} ##### Mr Donald Cameron:
GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND · LP -- In following the honourable member for Ryan **(Mr Drury)** in the debate tonight I must say that having heard the honourable member for Grayndler **(Mr Daly)** support the Minister for Social" Services **(Mr Wentworth)** I know instinctively that there is something wrong. I wonder how the electors of Grayndler would feel if they knew that their local member was here tonight advocating that the Hansard reporters, the Clerks of the House and all the attendants in the corridors should be placed in a position where they would have no meal break. The great union leader of the past is advocating a system whereby we do not even have meals. We heard the honourable member for Hughes **(Mr Les Johnson)** here tonight making a great plea for regularity yet he also advocates a system whereby we sit through meal breaks. I ask honourable members: If we are not to have regular meal hours how in the world can we have any hope of becoming regular? We have heard tonight a most forceful speech in favour of the retention of meal breaks, made by the honourable member for Bradfield **(Mr Turner)** who was ably supported by the honourable member for Ryan. I wonder what those members who advocate this change think this Parliament is coming to and what they think the members who come here each week are coming to, because as far as I am concerned I do not come here just to speak to a Hansard reporter and an attendant outside the door. {: .speaker-AV4} ##### Mr Hurford: -- That is all you do normally. {: .speaker-9F4} ##### Mr Donald Cameron:
GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND · LP -- At least the honourable member for Adelaide is listening tonight. I hope he listens a lot more carefully because he might learn. The point is that when members speak in this Parliament, even though at times the House is only a quarter full, I think they are entitled to expect more of an audience than just some reporter who happens to miss his meal hour like the honourable member who has been rostered to speak. The average person thinks that this is just a gas house where people say a lot of hot words without any meaning. 1 believe that if the public were to come here between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., between 12 noon and 1 p.m., or between I p.m. and 2 p.m. - whatever hours it is advocated we should sit through - they would be even more dismayed when they looked down from the galleries and saw just the honourable member for Grayndler and the Minister for Social Services speaking to each other through the public address system, because this is not what the Parliament is meant to be. I believe that some of those members who are advocating this change are themselves striking a blow against what the institution of Parliament stands for. At most times I do not go all the way with the honourable member for Bradfield, but on this business of upholding the dignity of the Parliament I am with him all the way. I have a book here written by Edgar Holt titled 'Politics Is People' and the part I wish to quote refers specifically to the late right honourable William Morris Hughes. On page 19 it states: >His mind was so much the master that it dominated, decade after decade, a tiny frame and a body tormented by dyspepsia. Early days of struggle and the stark battle to eat ruined his digestion. Thereafter he ate to live. Food was never a delight. There were times when he went for days without being able to take more than a morsel. 1 know that the honourable member for Grayndler could possibly go for a long time without taking more than a morsel. However there are a number of honourable members who desire to maintain civilised eating habits. They do not wish to work in an institution - perhaps the only institution in this nation other than power stations or gas stations - that keeps going for 24 hours a day. The new proposal is that we reduce the times allowed for speeches. I think this is a good thing. There has been a further amendment along those lines. We have seen the Treasurer **(Mr Bury)** and the honourable member for Melbourne Ports **(Mr Crean),** representing the Opposition, make great speeches lasting 30 or 40 minutes to an enthralled crowd in the Parliament. If some of those speeches were reduced more speeches could be made. We have seen honourable members, such as the honourable member for Grayndler, watching the clock, knowing that by speaking for 30 minutes they can frustrate the Government. They are not prepared to cut 1 minute from their time because they want to hold the Government to a tight schedule. A reduction in the time allowed for members to speak will, in the long term, lend itself to better speeches being made. Speeches of quality will be made and we will have more time to do many other things. The main point of my argument tonight relates to the sitting hours. Like many other honourable members present 1 travel from further away than Sydney or Melbourne to attend the parliamentary sittings. As far as I am concerned, this business of racing home on Friday night and then jumping back on to a plane on Monday morning or Tuesday morning, as happens now, is just so silly that it is absolutely incredible. The Parliament has voted for a change in the days of sitting. Let us not lose sight of what honourable members have advocated. It has been advocated that we sit on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and then Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday so that members who have to travel to far away places can remain in Canberra, catch up with their committee work and make a better use of the 8 or 10 days out of every 3 weeks in which we sit. Under the present system some honourable members spend as much as 8 hours up in the air trying to return to their homes. All of us know of the silly situation in winter time in Canberra. Our great fathers suggested that Canberra should be the place for the capital city. However, fogs hang over this city for many hours and we go round and round in Electra aircraft waiting for a break in the fog in order to land. I can assure honourable members that I have better ways of spending my life than going round and round in an aeroplane while strapped in a seat. If I am to do anything in this Parliament then I must have my feet on the ground, as they are now. I have to be in this chamber, working in my office or working on a committee. If we have to be here for the weekends then surely it is sensible to change the sitting from Monday afternoons and sit on Monday mornings. Otherwise why are we going to stay here over the weekends? Of course I am referring only to those honourable members who come from places further distant than Sydney or Melbourne. Do we have to sit here waiting for those who live nearby to make their way, gently and quietly, back to the national capital after spending their weekend at home, at Bondi or Queenscliff beaches? Perhaps the Minister for Immigration **(Mr Lynch),** who comes from somewhere in the Melbourne area, might even spend his weekends by the side of a swimming pool. If I am to be here in Canberra at the weekends then I want this place to get cracking again early on the Monday morning. I am not going to sit here and wait for those honourable members to make their way back to Parliament. I am sure, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** that I have the support of the majority of honourable members who are thinkers, who put aside selfish motives and who think principally of the benefits to the Parliament. I also am a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Tuesday mornings should be left free so that committees can sit. The Leader of the House, the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr Snedden),** took notice of the suggestion about leaving Tuesday mornings free and foreshadowed that as an amendment. I suggest that honourable members throw the suggested arrangements out. Let us look at things in perspective. We do not want to tie ourselves for the next couple of years to a parliamentary system which we will regret within 2 months. Let us use this occasion when we have an individual vote to good advantage. I urge honourable members to throw aside Party loyalty and the idea of getting indigestion as a result of sitting through meal hours. The suggestion of sitting during meal hours is the one thing more than any other which would lead to the destruction of the image of this Parliament in the eyes of the people. {: #subdebate-30-0-s10 .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL:
Mallee -- The Minister for Social Services **(Mr Wentworth)** has suggested that the Parliament sit during meal hours. He did add that he did not believe that this was a practical suggestion at the moment but that it would be a good idea in the future. The House is now debating this idea. Why I do not know. It is not the subject of the debate although a lot has been said about it. I am against that idea. It appears now that we are to reduce the size of a quorum. If we do this the result will be the same as when we sit late at night and have a running supper. Honourable members have seen what happens on those occasions. This House is then practically empty because honourable members move out quickly at meal times. This House has to decide whether committees will sit or the Parliament will sit. Committees might sit while the Parliament is sitting but honourable members have to decide which is the most important. There is no doubt that the sitting of the House is the most important. I do not believe that committees should sit while this House is in session other than on special occasions, such as happens when the Parliamentary Committee on Public Works has to sit with permission by the House. I have said it before and I will say it again - when this House is sitting it is the most important place in Australia. I now want to refer to the meeting times. I do not suppose that half an hour one way or the other matters very much. I am not greatly concerned about this. However, this new scheme was brought forward with the idea that honourable members would remain in Canberra at weekends. I have not yet heard any honourable member say that he will remain here at weekends but perhaps there will be some. The Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr Snedden)** is trying to interject so I ask him whether he will remain here. I really do not want him to answer because I could not get answers from everybody and it would not be fair. We have to look at this matter without political bias. The main point I want to deal with relates to the time we finish at night. There should be an automatic suspension at, say, 12 midnight. I do not think this should be flexible and I think there should be a definite time when the motion for the adjournment is put. I am not speaking for the benefit of this Government or for any other government but for the House. Unless the finishing time is definite the Minister in charge of the House can close the debate when he wishes. He will close it if the debate is going against the Government. If the debate favours the Government he will allow it to go on and on. This is what happens now and it would not matter whether it was the coalition parties in office or the Australian Labor Party. I believe we should allow a reasonable time for the adjournment debate, as we do now. At present we finish at 12 midnight. AH honourable members know what time the House finishes. If the debate is closed they cannot put forward the matters they wish to raise, and we cannot help that. But what has ever come out of the adjournment debates? This is the question. The point is that such debates are either a victory for the Opposition or for the Government, but there is no great benefit to the nation. After all, nothing is moved or seconded and no legislation results. Honourable members have to come into the House at another time and put definite propositions. 1 want to sum up my argument. 1 am absolutely against sitting during meal hours. I think this would be wrong. As for the sitting hours, I do not think half an hour one way or the other makes any difference. As for the motion for the adjournment of the House, I think this should be moved at a certain time and the length of the debate defined, lt should not be left to anybody to cut the debate short or to permit it to go on longer so as to gain political advantage. This should not happen. 1 voted against the new sitting arrangements but after taking everything into consideration 1 believe they may be satisfactory. The real point was that members would stay in Canberra at weekends. It was said that they would then attend to their committees. It was suggested that this would be done even on Saturdays. I do not believe this. I think the people of Australia insist that there must be a reasonable number of people in this chamber of the Parliament. After all, many things are done here which are either in their interest or against their interest. Therefore the government of this country, whether the Opposition becomes the government or the present Government continues for another 20 years, must give a fair deal to the population of the Commonwealth. Suspension of Standing Orders {: #subdebate-30-0-s11 .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr BRYANT:
Wills -- I move: >That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the question of hours of sitting being discussed for each day separately. I put before the House a simple procedural question so that we can at least talk about each day in succession and talk about the hour on which we are to commence that day. I believe we cannot arrive at any possible solution to this problem unless we do that. For simple people we want simple procedures. We will not get anywhere if we are to discuss 3 amendments on the hours of meeting in the 8 days of a 3 week cycle and another amendment proposed from the other side of the House on another question, together with the question of meal hours. If this course is followed we would have II or 12 questions before the House at one time and we will end up talking till 3 o'clock in the morning about closing at 10 p.m. Therefore, I have put forward my motion and I hope that someone will second it so that we can take this discussion day by day. {: .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr Cope: -- I second the motion and refuse to speak later. {: #subdebate-30-0-s12 .speaker-KIH} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock: -- Order! 1 might remind honourable members that there is I standing order which they have not even contemplated changing. {: #subdebate-30-0-s13 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr SNEDDEN:
Minister for Labour and National Service · Bruce · LP -- I think the House has discussed this matter fairly broadly. Everyone knows what is in his mind. I think the time has come for us to take a vote on this issue. I have gathered from the voices around the chamber that the general consensus is that we should have a vote now. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- ls the Leader of the House speaking to the motion I placed before the House? {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr SNEDDEN: -- Yes, I am. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- It does not sound like it. {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr SNEDDEN: -- It may not, but what I am putting before the House will become clear. I moved a motion in relation to the report of the Standing Orders Committee, to which an amendment has been moved by the honourable member for Maribyrnong **(Dr Cass).** That amendment is to omit certain words in my motion with the view to inserting other words. I would suggest when you put the question, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** 'that the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the question,' honourable members who want the starting times set out in the Standing Orders Committee's report, namely 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., should vote 'yes' - that the words stand. I hope this is clear to the House. If honourable members do not want a 10 a.m. and a 2 p.m. start they should vote no'. If the vote of 'no' is carried then the House can apply standing order 167 which provides that when there is a complicated question the matter can be separated. If it is the will of the House we can consider each of these 5 questions separately. I do not think that we will want a division on those questions because they are interrelated. For those reasons I oppose the motion proposed by the honourable member for Wills **(Mr Bryant).** I understand the terms in which he put his motion. I realise he was trying to get to the issue. But the issue is much simpler in the way I have put it. I therefore oppose the motion. I hope having made my view clear that the honourable member for Wills will, with the leave of the House, withdraw his motion. I think the time has come for a vote on this issue. {: .speaker-KKB} ##### Mr Jess: -- I rise on a point of order. I think the Leader of the House has been most proficient and courteous in explaining exactly what we are voting on because I think there are a few honourable members who were not too sure of what is involved. But what is the situation in regard to honourable members who have not heard what has taken place and who come in to vote? They will not have a clue. {: #subdebate-30-0-s14 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Order! There is no point of order. **Mr** SNEDDEN (Bruce- Minister for Labour and National Service) - by leave - The honourable member for Grayndler **(Mr Daly)** has indicated that he is in favour of the House sitting over the meal hours. Many honourable members have said that they are not in favour of sitting during meal hours. The point is that this issue is not before the Chair at the moment. I would not want the votes of honourable members to be complicated because of this issue. I will take this proposal to the Standing Orders Committee. I am sure I am speaking for the Standing Orders Committee when I say that it will investigate the ramifications of the proposal and report on it. The appropriate time to consider the matter will be after the Standing Orders Committee's report has been circulated. While I have the indulgence of the House, I would ask the honourable member for Wills to withdraw his motion so that we do not have to worry about voting on it but will be able to get on with the business of voting on the main issue. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- 1 rise to seek your ruling, **Mr Deputy Speaker.** Standing order 166 states that the House or Committee may order a complicated question to be divided. Is it necessary to move a motion to that effect or will you rule that it will be done in that way? How will you ensure that each step is taken separately and that all honourable members are aware of what is happening? {: .speaker-KIH} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock: -- After the vote of the House on the original motion that the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the question the House can decide whether it wishes the parts of the question to be considered separately or as a group. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- Do I have the permission of my seconder to withdraw my motion? {: .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr Cope: -- Yes. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- Then I ask for leave to withdraw it. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Leave is granted to the honourable member for Wills to withdraw his motion. Motion - by leave - withdrawn. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -The immediate question before the Chair is that the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the question. The words proposed to be omitted are those of the original motion by the Leader of the House in regard to the report of the Standing Orders Committee. {: .speaker-KJU} ##### Mr Jarman: -- I rise to a point of order, **Mr Deputy Speaker.** Is the gag being moved on this debate? Several honourable members have stood in their places to speak to the motion. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -The honourable member for Wills moved a motion for the suspension of the Standing Orders, which was seconded by the honourable member for Sydney. He has now withdrawn his motion. The House is now back to the original motion. If the honourable member for Deakin wishes to speak to it he may do so. {: #subdebate-30-0-s15 .speaker-KJU} ##### Mr JARMAN:
Deakin -- Thank you, **Mr Deputy Speaker.** 1 was not clear on the situation. I find myself very much in agreement with the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr Barnard)** on this matter. Although 1 am not in agreement with what the honourable member for Wills **(Mr Bryant)** just proposed, I am in agreement with the remarks which he has made previously about the adjournment of the House at an earlier hour. I. find that I have been in agreement with him on several occasions recently, particularly with his views on Cambodia. It seems as though he has seen the light at last. I oppose the amendment which was moved by the honourable member for Maribyrnong **(Dr Cass)** and support the recommendations of the Standing Orders Committee. 1 do so because I understood that the object of this whole exercise was to endeavour to obtain the adjournment of the House at an earlier hour in the evening so that it is not sitting into the early hours of the morning. I feel that if the amendment moved by the honourable member for Maribyrnong is carried nothing will be achieved because we will still be sitting late into the night. I believe it is ridiculous to do so. lt is not conducive to good business. I do not think that the House should sit any later than 10.30 p.m. 1 think I am in agreement with the views of the honourable member for Wills on this point. I am not suggesting that the hours of sitting should be reduced. I would support extending the hours of sitting provided that the extension was at the beginning of the day and not at the end. I would support extending the sessions over longer periods, but I do not support sitting here into the small hours of the morning. If it is considered practical and reasonable for the rest of the working population of Australia to start work at 9 a.m. I cannot see why it is not practical for politicians. The Leader of the House **(Mr Snedden)** talked about tradition, lt is probably time we started to think about breaking with tradition. I know that there are conservatives on both sides of the House who would like to stick to the same hours. If we pass the amendment moved by the honourable member for Maribyrnong we will be back to square 1 and will still be sitting into the early hours. I know that it has been said that earlier meeting times will not work. Members have asked: When will Ministers do their work? When will committees meet? How will the staff prepare the paper work in advance? As the Deputy Leader of the Opposition pointed out quite properly, the Monday morning of the second week would be a time when standing committees could meet. This would be acceptable to those members from distant States who would be in Canberra over the weekend. They would not want to be waiting about, as the honourable member (or Griffith **(Mr Donald Cameron)** said, on a Monday morning waiting for the House to sit. Ministers do their work while the House is sitting. Usually there is only one Minister on duty in the House at a time. At the moment there are 2, but the remainder are usually in their offices doing the work they have to do. Party committees could continue to meet during meal hours, because I understand that the proposal to sit over the meal hours is not likely to be carried. The most crucial point in our consideration, and a reason for opposing the amendment, was contained in the letter circulated by the Leader of the House tonight. It was an extract from a letter by the Speaker to him. That extract contained the words: >Having in mind that with night sittings officers have as little as 6 hours sleep . . . That goes for members too. The Speaker of this House has pointed out what happens under the present system, and it would continue under the proposal of the honourable member for Maribyrnong. If we pass the amendment moved by the honourable member for Maribyrnong we will be no better off than we have been in the past. Members of the staffs of the House and honourable members will continue to have as little as 6 hours sleep or less at night. I thought that the whole purpose of this exercise was to avoid that, but if the amendment is carried it will not improve the present position. I oppose the amendment for that reason. I prefer to go along with the recommendations of the Standing Orders Committee. I was surprised to hear the honourable member for Ryan **(Mr Drury)** say that perhaps the Standing Orders Committee did not consider hte position fully enough. I should have imagined that we, as members, would have expected the Committee to consider it fully and for these considerations to be reflected in the report it has presented. I oppose the amendment of the honourable member for Maribyrnong and will vote for the recommendations of the Standing Orders Committee. Question (by **Dr Solomon)** proposed: >That the question be now put. {: .speaker-9F4} ##### Mr Donald Cameron:
GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND · LP -- **Mr Deputy Speaker,** I rise on a point of order. Will you tell me which way I must vote to enable me to move later that the Monday sitting be commenced early in the morning? **Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Order!** There is no substance to the point of order. The honourable member will have a chance to deal with that at a later stage. Question resolved in the affirmative. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The question is: >That the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the question. I point out to the House that those who are in favour of the amendment moved by the honourable member for Maribyrnong **(Dr Cass)** will vote 'No' on this question and that those who are in favour of the report of the Standing Orders Committee, to which the amendment was moved, will vote 'Aye'. (The bells having been rung.) {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Honourable members in favour of the10 o'clock and 2 o'clock starting times should be on the right of the Chair; honourable members in favour of the 2.30 o'clock and a 10.30 o'clock starting times should be on the left of the Chair. {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden: -- I raise a point of order.I suggest to the Chair that it use its discretion to declare that the 'Noes' have the vote rather than go through the process of appointing tellers and counting. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The discretion of the Chair is limited because, if honourable members desire a division, a division must be held. {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden: -- I ask the indulgence of the Chair. Would the Chair ask the House whether it requires a division on this matter? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Is a division required? {: .speaker-JO8} ##### Mr Barnard: -- No. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- I declare the question resolved in the negative. {: .speaker-KIH} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock: -- The question before the Chair now is, That the words proposed to be inserted be so inserted'. {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden: -- When you speak of the words before the House, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** those are the words of the 5 separate amendments which the honourable member for Maribyrnong moved by leave. Amendment No. 1 relates to a starting time of either 2 p.m. or 2.30 p.m. Amendment No. 2 relates to a starting time of 10 a.m. or 10.30 a.m. Amendment No. 3 refers to the starting time on Monday as being either 2 p.m. or 2.30 p.m. In other words, the issue we have just voted on virtually determines the first 3 amendments. I suggest that those 3 amendments could be put forthwith, because they are inherently the same. Amendment No. 5 is exactly the same as the first 3, and that could be put at the same time as the first 3. Then we could have a vote on amendment No. 4 to determine whether we will commence in the morning or the afternoon of the Tuesday in the second week. {: .speaker-KIH} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock: -The honourable member for Griffith wishes to propose an amendment to amendment No. 3. In the circumstances perhaps I could put the first 2 amendments together. Is it the wish of the House to follow the suggestion of the Leader of the House and to take amendments Nos 1 and 2 together? There being no objection, that course will be followed. Amendments Nos 1 and 2 agreed to. {: .speaker-KIH} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock: -- The question in relation to paragraph 3 now is: >That the words proposed to be inserted be so inserted. {: #subdebate-30-0-s16 .speaker-9F4} ##### Mr Donald Cameron:
GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND · LP -- I move: I made my explanation earlier. **Mr SNEDDEN** (Bruce- Minister for oppose the motion. The commencing time on the Monday of the second week should in my view be 2.30p.m. in accordance with the other matters that have been decided. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: -- Who seconded the motion? {: .speaker-9F4} ##### Mr Donald Cameron:
GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND · LP -- I think it has been seconded. {: .speaker-KIH} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock: -- Is there a seconder? {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- I second it. Motion (by **Mr Snedden)** agreed to: >That the question be now put. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The question now before the House is: >That the words proposed to be omitted stand part of **Dr Cass's** amendment (3). This is opposing the amendment moved by the honourable member for Griffith. Question resolved in the affirmative. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The question now is: >That the words proposed to be inserted by amendment (3) be so inserted. Question resolved in the affirmative. {: .speaker-KIH} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock: -- Is it the wish of the House to take amendments Nos 4 and 5 together? There being no objection, this course will be followed. {: .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr Charles Jones: -- Do we sit at 10.30 a.m. or 2.30 p.m. on the second Tuesday? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The honourable member will read that in Hansard tomorrow. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The question is: >That the words proposed to be inserted by amendments (4) and (5) be so inserted. Question resolved in the affirmative. Original question, as amended, resolved in the affirmative. {: .page-start } page 1010 {:#debate-31} ### TIME LIMITS FOR DEBATES AND SPEECHES {: #debate-31-s0 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr SNEDDEN:
Minister for Labour and National Service · Bruce · LP -- I move: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. That standing order 91 be amended us recommended in the Report of the Standing Orders Committee brought up on 18th August 1970. 1. That the amended standing order come into operation on 13 th October 1970. In the memorandum which was circulated to all honourable members on Friday, I think it was, of last week, in the first column 1 set out standing order 91 which states the time limits for speeches as at present contained in the Standing Orders. In the second column I set out the times for speeches as proposed by the Standing Orders Committee. I set out in the third column the proposed times which I expected would be moved tonight, because I had been told by one or two honourable members that they proposed to move this motion. I thought for the convenience of honourable members that they should have the 3 proposals before them. I would suggest to the House that really there is not much occasion for debate on these issues because there are 3 proposals there. I would hope that what will follow is that the proposed amendment to my motion will be moved and that we will then have a vote on it very shortly afterwards. If I could shortly summarise it, the Standing Orders Committee generally has taken 5 minutes off the proposed speaking times. The amendment which will be moved will propose, generally speaking, to take off 10 or 15 minutes. Because this is something which will be abundantly clear to all honourable members when they see it, I will make no further comment. I expect that the motion will be moved and then I expect honourable members will want to vote on it fairly quickly. {: #debate-31-s1 .speaker-KU8} ##### Dr SOLOMON:
Denison -- I move: 1 wish as far as possible to retain the spirit of this amendment and I will try to be very brief. Because the amendment might appear to be a radical proposal I think a few brief *words* of explanation are in order, lt was made clear on a similar sort of motion some week or two ago that a committee of honourable members from both sides of this House has been meeting informally because of their interest in the procedures of the House and their interest in trying to develop a more efficient means of operation It so happened that the Standing Orders Committee was meeting at the same time and had been meeting before that. It brought down a finding at roughly the same time as this committee arrived at a finding. I wish to make it clear that I am not speaking only for myself but also for about 10 people who are mostly new members in this House but not entirely so. Honourable members will be very much aware that we recently decided that we will be sitting longer than we have been, except for the immediate interim period that we are just about to put behind us. In that sense we are not attempting to curtail the speaking opportunities of honourable members of the House. It has been suggested that any proposal to reduce the individual speaking times may be curtailing the role of the backbencher. All I can say is that this group of backbenchers which I represent- largely new members - does not in fact see that to be so. It is perfectly clear to those of us who have not been here for very long that there are some honourable members in this House, who for good reasons or otherwise, feel it essential to take up the full time available for a speech, irrespective of whether they have anything to say. While it is true to say that anybody can protract an argument for an indefinite period, I think the view generally held by the people for whom I now speak is that very few of the speeches in this chamber benefit by extending beyond 20 minutes. It is on this basis that we believe that the now proposed 40 minute speech should be reduced to 30 minutes and the now proposed 25 minute speech should be reduced to 20 minutes. That is the general proposition. Honourable members have the details in front of them. I would like to suggest only this, that if honourable members who have been used to having 30 or 45 minutes fear that they will be deprived possibly of being able to impress their electors or the public at large, I can only suggest that in my view their psychology is awry. Very few people can, without break or without the use of illustrations, lecture to an audience and hold its attention unless they are very much gifted - much more so that most are here - in dialectics. They will find that a diminishing return sets in after about 20 minutes. While it is true that the occasional speech in this place may reach heights which should project it beyond 30 minutes or even 40 minutes, I believe that this rarely happens. My final point is that 1 do not think we should try to pull the wool over the eyes of members. If honourable members are interested in the quality of their speeches and if, as was suggested during the debate on a motion earlier tonight, people are interested, whether they are listening to the debate during meal hours or at any other time, they should recognise that a vote in favour of shorter speeches will in fact be a vote for better preparation of speeches, if they want them to be effective. In other words, if a member has to put a point in 20 minutes instead of 30 minutes or 40 minutes, he will have to put it more succinctly. That is my proposition and I hope that I have made it clear to honourable members. I believe that the Parliament will benefit from having shorter speaking times and, thereby, a greater possible frequency of speaking. {: #debate-31-s2 .speaker-KKB} ##### Mr JESS:
La Trobe -- Unfortunately I was gagged by one of my colleagues during the debate on the last motion. If it is to be the purpose of private members in future to gag debates then I may use the same device. I disagree entirely with the honourable member for Denison **(Dr Solomon)** and with others who share his views. I shall give one illustration only. I refer to the debate on the Estimates. Formerly each member was entitled to speak for15 minutes on the estimates of each department, but it is now suggested that we should have 10 minutes only. In the Defence estimates we have the Department of Defence, the Department of the Navy, the Department of the Army, the Department of Air, the Department of Supply and auxiliary services. If our time limit is reduced from 15 minutes to 10 minutes we will have less than 2 minutes for each of the Service departments on which we spend millions of dollars. Is it suggested that 2 minutes is adequate for each of these departments? Quite frankly I think that some of the suggestions I have heard here tonight would make most magnificent comedies if they were developed by P. G. Wodehouse or Joan Butler. Further, I suggest that if the time spent over the last several days on debating how to run this House had been spent on important legislation we would have saved many more hours than we will save under the present proposal. {: .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr Les Johnson:
HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Sit down. {: .speaker-KKB} ##### Mr JESS: -- That remark is indicative of the attitude of the Opposition. Do not honourable members opposite know what it is proposed that they shall give away? Do they not realise what effect it will have on them if an issue does arise? Let me take a point about the adjournment with an automatic cut-off at 12 o'clock. One day there may be an issue that the Opposition cannot bring on during the day and may wish to raise as an issue of importance at night. Opposition members who support the present proposition would be selling out that right. At present we have an ineffective Opposition and honourable members opposite are making sure that they continue to be ineffective. But the day could come when supporters of the present Government are in Opposition. Some of the new members should realise that they are proposing to give away their opportunities as private members and as representatives of the people. I think that the debate tonight has been a farce. I agree with the views of the honourable member for Bradfield **(Mr Turner)** in this respect. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: -- **Mr Deputy Speaker,** may I have your indulgence to ask a question? Is what the honourable member for La Trobe said correct, that we will have 10 minutes only to debate the estimates of each department? {: .speaker-KKB} ##### Mr JESS: -- Yes, the estimates of each department. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: -- Ten minutes for the estimates of the Department of Trade and Industry and 10 minutes each for the Department of Primary Industry and the Department of Customs and Excise? {: .speaker-KKB} ##### Mr JESS: -- Yes, and in the Defence estimates we would have to deal with 5 departments. {: #debate-31-s3 .speaker-KIH} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock: -- I call the honourable member for Bradfield. {: #debate-31-s4 .speaker-KWR} ##### Mr TURNER:
Bradfield **- Mr Deputy Speaker,** I wish to refer to the recommendation of the-- {: #debate-31-s5 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order! It being 11 o'clock, in accordance with the order of the House of 26 August, I propose the question: >That the House do now adjourn. Those of that opinion say aye; to the contrary no; I think the noes have it. {: .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr Charles Jones: -- The ayes have it {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden: -- The noes have it. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order! Is a division required? {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr SNEDDEN: **- Mr Deputy Speaker,** this is not Government business. It is the business of the House. We have progressed a long way tonight on this matter. I have no wish to keep the House here to consider this matter if it is the will of the House on a free vote matter to rise now and to resume the debate tomorrow. But, as we have progressed so far, I think that we really ought to continue. We are within a short distance of finishing this matter. I think that it would be best to continue now while the matter is before us. I have no wish to keep honourable members here any longer. My expectation is that, if honourable members keep their speeches short, there is no reason why we could not get the whole matter done within half an hour. {: .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr Charles Jones: -- **Mr Deputy Speaker-** {: .speaker-KIH} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock: -- Order!I think that it might be as well, to keep this matter strictly within the Standing Orders as I think we have, for the honourable member for Newcastle to ask for leave to speak. {: .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr Charles Jones: -I ask for leave to make a brief statement. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Is leave granted? There being no objection leave is granted. {: #debate-31-s6 .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr CHARLES JONES:
Newcastle **- Mr Deputy Speaker,** on this point of the sitting time, it is obvious that a considerable number of members are confused on the position. {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden: -- We arc dealing with speaking time, not sitting time. {: .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr CHARLES JONES: -- I beg the pardon of the House. It is obvious that a number of members are confused on the length of time to be available for members to speak. Honourable members should have sufficient time to examine the subject. Most important of all, the longer we take to debate this subject of the length of time members are to be permitted to speak, the less time will be available for the adjournment debate. I know that 2 hours ago, 6 names were on **Mr Speaker's** list of members who wish to speak on the adjournment motion tonight. If each of those members took up his allotted 10 minutes, 60 minutes debating time would be involved. The hour available normally for the adjournment debate will be gone before 12 o'clock when **Mr Speaker** will vacate the Chair. I am opposed to this debate continuing further now. It should be taken up from this point tomorrow in the time which is set aside for debate. The time for debate on the adjournment motion should not be interfered with. {: .speaker-KWR} ##### Mr Turner: -- May I also have leave to make a brief statement similar to that which has been made but to put in the opposite way the argument that- {: .speaker-KIH} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock: -- Order! The honourable member for Bradfield will resume his seat for a moment. Let me explain the position. I put the question: 'That the House do now adjourn'. I, said: 'Those of that opinion say Aye: to the contrary No; I think the noes have it. It was said: 'The ayes have it'. I asked: 'Is a division required?' At that stage, the Leader of the House rose. Feeling that he was to make an explanation which might have led to a division not being required,I allowed the Leader of the House to speak. The question therefore at this moment - and I will put it a second time - is: >That the House do now adjourn. Those of that opinion say aye; to the contrary no;I, think the noes have it {: .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr Charles Jones: -- The ayes have it. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- This is the point: Is a division required? {: .speaker-KWR} ##### Mr Turner: -- **Mr Deputy Speaker-** {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- I call the honourable member for Bradfield. {: .speaker-KWR} ##### Mr Turner: -- **Mr Deputy Speaker,** the noes have it.I call for a division. {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden: -- **Mr Deputy Speaker,** there seems to be some confusion. I think the way to resolve the confusion is for you to put the question that the House do now adjourn. I will agree to the House now adjourning. We will sit tomorrow and this subject will take the time of the House tomorrow. {: .speaker-KIH} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock: -- The question is: That the House do now adjourn. {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden: -- A division is required. {: .speaker-KUX} ##### Mr Stewart: -- If there is a division on the question that the House do now adjourn and the question is resolved in the affirmative there can be no adjournment debate. It will be over and done with. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The House has one decision to make at the moment and that is on the question that the House do now adjourn. A division has been called for. Ring the bells. (The bells having been rung.) {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- I point out to honourable members that the question before the House is that the House do now adjourn. If this question is negatived then the House will continue afterwards with the debate on the report of the Standing Orders Committee. The ayes will pass to the right of the chair and the noes to the left. I appoint the honourable members for Mallee and Wills tellers for the ayes and the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister for Trade and Industry, tellers for the noes. {: .speaker-KH5} ##### Mr Gorton: -- **Mr Deputy Speaker,** it is clear that there is a large majority of members voting no. It will save me an awful lot of work if you declare the question resolved in the negative. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Is it the decision of the House that the noes have it? I declare the question resolved in the negative. {: #debate-31-s7 .speaker-KWR} ##### Mr TURNER:
Bradfield -- In general terms the report of the Standing Orders Committee recommended cutting down the maximum length of speeches by 5 minutes. The amendment moved by the honourable member for Denison **(Dr Solomon)** seeks to cut them down by a further 5 minutes, making a total reduction of 10 minutes. The whole thrust - to use a popular word - of these so-called reforms is to cut down the time of speeches, to sit through the dinner hour so that we may occupy less time at other periods of the day, to cut down the number required for a quorum - to cut down in all directions. One might suppose, therefore, that this Parliament was very short of time and that this was the essence of these so-called reforms. That is true of the House of Commons with its 600 members and the vast amount of business it has to do; but it has no relation whatever to this Parliament, which sits for fewer weeks in the year and for fewer days by far than the House of Commons at Westminster, the House of Commons in Canada or even the Parliament in New Zealand. Why should we have this frantic attempt to save time? That is the last thing with which we ought to be concerned. We have plenty of time for deliberation. The whole thrust of these socalled reforms is to cut down time. Why should that happen now? It is a matter of common knowledge that only yesterday the Government parties decided that they would have nothing to do with proposals put forward by **Mr Speaker** for the establishment of standing committees of this House. So the whole argument that we must cut down time in all directions to enable committees to meet is plainly nonsense. Only yesterday the Government parties, which have a majority in this place, decided quite flatly that they would have nothing to do with standing committees. We are told that there are a lot of Party committees to be held. So there are. It has been said that justice must not only be done but it must be seen to be done. It is equally important that Parliament should not only do its work but that it should be seen to be doing its work. If everybody is to creep into some hole and say: 'We are having a Party committee meeting', nobody would know whether it is working or not. This so-called reform that has characterised all these proposals has been no reform at all. I want to finish with a quotation, if my memory serves me, about the time when the Executive really took over finally, and for centuries, in Rome. My recollection is that Gibbon said that Augustus was conscious that mankind is governed by names and that if he respectfully assured the people that they still possessed their ancient freedoms they would submit to slavery. Mankind is governed by names. We have been told that these proposals are reforms. The whole intent and thrust of these reforms is to cut down in every direction the deliberations of this House. I will have nothing to do with the amendment moved by the honourable member for Denison who, very significantly and symbolically, was the man who moved the gag earlier in this debate, ls this a matter of small importance and just a matter of the convenience of members of the House? Is it just a little machinery matter? This is something which may stand in this Parliament for years and years. What honourable members do tonight - we were about to adjourn because it was so unimportant - will probaly affect the quality of this Parliament and the quality of its deliberations for years to come. This is not an unimportant matter and the whole thrust of these so-called reforms flies right in the face of the very meaning of the word reform. We are governed by names. We should look at the realities that lie beneath these so-called reforms. {: #debate-31-s8 .speaker-KFO} ##### Mr FOSTER:
Sturt -! want to deal with a matter which was raised by the honourable member for La Trobe **(Mr Jess).** The situation is that each year on an Appropriation Bill or on a tariff Bill honourable members have limited time in which to make their remarks. According to the document that is now before us it is suggested that the time be cut from 15 minutes to 10 minutes. The honourable member for Denison **(Dr Solomon)** spoke the other day in this House in the debate on the Budget and he took up his full allocation of 30 minutes, but in terms of the value of his speech he might as well have spoken for 5 seconds. The fact is that this Committee has recommended that 10 minutes be allowed for each honourable member. This amendment provides that the time be cut by an additional 5 minutes. {: .speaker-JNG} ##### Dr Cass: -- No, that is not right. {: .speaker-KFO} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- In that case we should have some clarity on this, because that is the way I see it. I do not want to come back here in a week or so and find out that this is what was in fact carried. {: .speaker-JNG} ##### Dr Cass: -- That is not so. {: .speaker-KFO} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- lt will mean a reduction of the time allowed. If we are going to have committees set up all over the place and we are not prepared to face up to the proper concept of a parliamentary committee then 1 do not know where we will finish up. What I am trying to get at - perhaps in a roundabout way - is that we are either in this place or we are not. I think there is a great deal of merit in what was brought on previously in regard to allocating a free morning to deal with government departments and so on at a time when they are open for business, lt must be remembered that a limitation can be placed on debates by cutting down the number of speakers. Honourable members are crying out to cut down on this and on that. This would enable other honourable members who wish to speak in these debates to be afforded additional opportunities to take part in debates. However, nowhere in any of these documents before us is there any such guarantee. We can still be defeated by the procedures of the House and the Standing Orders. I oppose this amendment in its entirety. From what I have heard in this chamber tonight. I think it would be a retrograde step to agree to such a proposal. {: #debate-31-s9 .speaker-KVM} ##### Mr STREET:
Corangamite -- It is true that the proposed amendment of the honourable member for Denison **(Dr** Solomon) would cut down the time allowed for debates. I do not agree that this approach is a denigration of Parliament. I think that there are obvious advantages to be gained in being able to speak more often. I find it quite extraordinary that certain honourable members seem to equate the time spent in a speech with the quality of its content. I feel that there is very little to recommend this attitude. However the honourable member for La Trobe **(Mr Jess)** brought up a matter about which 1 want to deal with specifically, and that is the question of the time for consideration of the Defence Estimates, those for the Department of Supply and the Service departments. They are 5 very important departments. Under the old system honourable members were permitted to speak for 15 minutes. As the honourable member for La Trobe pointed out should this amendment be agreed to honourable members will have only 10 minutes. I agree with the honourable member for La Trobe that 15 minutes was insufficient to debate 5 very important departmental estimates. But surely if we reduce that time to 10 minutes this will give the opportunity to divide those 5 departments. 1 suggest for the consideration of the Leader of the House **(Mr Snedden)** that a suitable division might be 'Defence and Supply' under one heading of the Estimates and the 3 Service departments under another heading. The honourable member for La Trobe told me he would be happy if he could be guaranteed being able to speak twice for 10 minutes each time as opposed to one speech of 15 minutes to deal with all 5 items. In reducing the time for the Estimates debate to 10 minutes we would have an opportunity to split up the departments in a better fashion. The honourable member for Dawson **(Dr Patterson)** mentioned the difficulty of dealing with trade, customs and excise and primary industry all under the one heading. T would like to see trade and customs and excise taken together under one heading and primary industry under another. I do not think the reduction to 10 minutes is automatically a disadvantage. I think that properly used this reduction could result in a far better subdivision of our Estimates debate. I put forward that suggestion for consideration by the Leader of the House. **Dr CASS** (Maribymong) (11.21]- It seems there is a considerable misconception about the nature of the proposed amendments. There are 2 sets of proposals before the House, one set by the Standing Orders Committee and another proposed by the honourable member for Denison **(Dr Solomon).** Quite specifically his proposals, with which I agree, shorten times of debate from 40 minutes to 30 minutes for gentlemen on the front bench on both sides of the House, but not to the humble backbenchers. We don't get periods like that. He then proposes for humble backbenchers that times of 25 minutes be cut to 20 minutes. In the amendment we are not proposing any cuts in times other than the ones listed, that is, from 40 to 30 minutes and from 25 to 20 minutes. The proposals some honourable members are arguing about is the one put by the Standing Orders Committee. I hope that is clear. All I am interested in arguing about are the proposals which the honourable member for Denison **(Dr Solomon)** has put. These are listed on the paper the Leader of the House **(Mr Snedden)** circulated and deal with cutting times generally from 40 minutes to 30 minutes or from 25 minutes to 20 minutes. In essence this has nothing to do with the total times of debate because that is not specified in any way in the Standing Orders. I would say, whether this is passed or not, the total time for debate is always at the discretion of the Government Parties. It is irrelevant to the amendments about which we are talking. The effect of these amendments will firstly ensure that a lot of the long speeches that go on for 45 minutes are cut to 30 minutes. I would dispute any suggestion that most of the speeches that go for 45 minutes are worth listening to for all that time. Any worthwhile speech by any honourable member on the front bench on either side can well be made in 30 minutes. I also feel that for backbenchers like myself 20 minutes is time enough for most of the occasions when I wish to speak on these items. I have observed - and I am prepared to include myself as being guilty with other honourable members - that the major point can be made in the first 5 minutes and the rest of the time is padding. I disagree with the way the honourable member for Bradfield **(Mr Turner)** has interpreted the proposals. What we are proposing increases the opportunity for more members to say more because they will have more occasions on which to speak. Honourable members should not fall for the red herring that we are cutting down time. We are not cutting down the total time. In all the amendments we have adopted, we have not cut down the total time of sitting at all. {: .speaker-KWR} ##### Mr Turner: -- Theoretically, there will be more speeches and they will all be short. {: #debate-31-s10 .speaker-JNG} ##### Dr CASS: -- It is always up to the House. It has to decide. I insist that what this amendment will do is force us all to make our points properly, more succinctly and without so much padding. In my view it will at least enable more backbenchers to state their case. For this reason I believe that the amendment moved by the honourable member for Denison should be supported. {: #debate-31-s11 .speaker-GH4} ##### Mr HUNT:
Gwydir -- I start by saying that brevity is the soul of wit. Therefore, I support the honourable member for Maribyrnong **(Dr Cass).** I believe that unless a member of this House can establish his argument from the back bench in 20 minutes he is not equipped to be a member of this House. I believe that a lot of time is wasted in this place by speakers trying to acquit themselves by talking out their allotted time. I consider that this amendment will give more members a chance to participate in a debate in a specified time. I support the amendment moved by the honourable member for Denison **(Dr Solomon).** {: #debate-31-s12 .speaker-KFB} ##### Mr FITZPATRICK:
Darling -- I support the amendment moved by the honourable member for Denison **(Dr Solomon).** I do so for a different reason from the one mentioned by the honourable member for Bradfield **(Mr Turner)** when he said that the honourable member for Denison was in favour of the use of the gag. I am very much opposed to the use of the gag. As a matter of fact, it is one of the reasons why I have risen to my feet. It appears to me that many people in this House, once they have had their say, do not worry very much about anybody else. I believe that the questions of sitting cycles, sitting hours and times for each speaker are closely related. When the question of changing the sittings from a 4-week cycle to a 3-week cycle was being debated last week, many honourable members were kind enough to mention the problems of the member for Darling. I am very grateful for that. If I have to stay here on Friday night, it is Sunday morning before I can get home. But I am quite prepared to accept these things. When 1 stood for the job 1 realised that this was a part of it. But I am more concerned to ensure that during the sittings of this House I am given the same opportunity as anyone else to put my views before honourable members. I believe that in this regard J have reason to complain because I consider that up to this stage I have not had that opportunity, ft appears to me that some of the very capable speakers are also very long-winded. The honourable member for Bradfield mentioned the honourable member for Grayndler **(Mr Daly).** He said that the honourable member for Grayndler always looked at the clock and used up his full time. At least we can say that the honourable member for Grayndler is amusing and that he does keep honourable members awake. But many other honourable members go over the same point time and time again. Honourable members were very selfrighteous when discussing the sitting cycles. They said that the change was being made for legitimate reasons; that they wanted to get back to their electorates and they wanted to serve the people they represent. I hope that tonight they will be just as self-righteous and will show some consideration for the people who are not getting a fair go here. I wish to draw the attention of the House to some of the problems I have had. The night 1 stood up to make my maiden speech, I was told that the debate was closed. I had to get up during the adjournment debate and therefore I had 10 minutes instead of 25 minutes in which to speak. The next time I tried to speak was during a debate on the drought problem which was raised in this House as a matter of public importance. There was a drought in my electorate. I had been out in my electorate and discussed this problem and I think I had some knowledge of it. But here again we saw the same longwinded speakers taking up the time of the House. I am only using that word because the other word I should use in its place will not come to me. But these honourable members certainly took their time and I was denied the right to put the case of the people of my electorate. The next occasion concerned the matter of 4 weeks annua] leave. Here again 1 think I have probably bad as much experience in this sphere as anyone in the House but I was again denied the right to put before the Parliament the case for 4 weeks leave. I do not think this is in the best interests of this Government or of Australia. I think that at times honourable members have over-played their right to speak at length and I think that this current move is a step in the right direction. I ask honourable members tonight to think of some of the back bench members who are not getting a chance to speak in this House. I can assure honourable members that if they give me the opportunity to speak I will not abuse it because like the honourable member on the Government side who spoke previously I am not speaking to get my name in Hansard. All I want to do is to get an opportunity to put the case of the people I represent. **Mr JARMAN** (Deakin) [11.321-1, too, will be brief but I would like to congratulate the honourable member for Darling **(Mr Fitzpatrick)** on what he has just said. 1 think there are many of us in this House who have been in a similar position. We have spent perhaps a whole weekend doing research and preparing a speech only to be told that we cannot go on. I think one has only to look at the recent debate on the Budget to appreciate the position. There are 65 members on this side of the House; 35 of them were able to speak and 30 were not. I do not know whether they all wanted to speak, but had they wanted to do so they would not have had the opportunity. I was one of those who was not able to speak. There are other honourable members in this House who can waffle on, taking their full time and selfishly preventing others from putting their views on the Budget. They are always the same people. One has only to come into this House and look at the empty benches to see how much honourable members are interested in what these people say. At one time I walked into the House and only the honourable member for North Sydney **(Mr Graham)** was sitting on the Government side and only 1 member was sitting on the Opposition side. {: .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr Cope: -- Two. {: #debate-31-s13 .speaker-KJU} ##### Mr JARMAN: -- We will not quibble about that, but the point is that what has been said by the honourable member for Denison **(Dr Solomon),** the honourable member for Darling and the honourable member for Corangamite **(Mr Street)** is true. People can say what they really want to say concisely in 20 minutes or, at the most, 25 minutes. I will not quibble about that either. But I do think that, in the interests of those honourable members who are put off all the time and prevented from speaking, the time for speeches should be cut down. In all the times I have spoken in this House I have never once taken my full time. I am pretty sure that that is a correct statement. But there are other honourable members in this House who continue right to the end of their allotted time, even if it means preventing other people from speaking. 1 was rather inclined to go along with a point that was raised by the honourable member for La Trobe **(Mr Jess).** He said that, if the time allotted to a member during the discussion of the Estimates was cut down to 10 minutes, on an item such as the defence estimates in which Defence, the Navy, the Army and Air Force are grouped everything a member had to say would be crowded into 10 minutes. I am informed by the Leader of the House **(Mr Snedden)** that these groupings could be separated. So that point may not be a valid one in the future. I do not want to say any more. I think it is important to remember that out of 65 honourable members on this side of the House 35 spoke on the Budget and 30 were prevented from speaking, although other honourable members could waffle on. I have no doubt that the position was the same on the Opposition side. {: #debate-31-s14 .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr BRYANT:
Wills -- I speak as a member of the Standing Orders Committee which examined this matter thoroughly. I was opposed to any reduction in the length of speeches. I do not care how long-winded any honourable member is. He is sent here to represent up to 100,000 people. If it takes him a long time to get his points across, I am prepared to stay here and listen. I believe that is my duty and the duty of all honourable members. I am not stricken to the heart by all those honourable members who think that they can get their points across with remarkable clarity and brevity. There are many subjects on which that is impossible. Let us consider the question that has been placed before us by the honourable member for Denison **(Dr Solomon).** One point is that discussion of a definite matter of urgent public importance shall be restricted to 10 minutes for the proposer. Is that right? I regret my confusion. There aTe so many documents floating about that probably every other honourable member is confused about these matters. On the question of debating time perhaps a change is required in respect of the Budget. Perhaps there is no case for 65 members to speak in succession, although that is the only way in which all honourable members can have their views recorded on the Budget, the major financial document for the year. As to the debate on the Estimates, it does not matter what we say about cutting down speaking times. Unless the Leader of the House **(Mr Snedden)** has changed his spots very rapidly in the last week, he will try to guillotine the Estimates through to suit some other timetable. Do not kid yourselves. Just because the time for speeches is reduced it does not follow that there will be greater opportunities to speak. I believe that every honourable member ought to examine this matter very thoroughly. I agree with the honourable member for Bradfield **(Mr Turner).** In the last few weeks we have heard nothing but suggestions to reduce the hours of meeting, to reduce the quorum and to reduce this and that. Some honourable members have said: 'We are tired of listening to people?' Why come to Parliament? I believe that honourable members ought to examine the whole procedure very carefully before they vote for the amendment. I hope they will not vote for it. If we are to consider particular debates, such as the debate on the Budget, at the same time the whole process of the House ought to be examined. I suggest that members take hold of the Standing Orders and examine them thoroughly. They are the instrument of executive government and are not designed to allow all of us to speak. I have voted consistently against the gag, no matter against whom it was being applied. Tonight we allowed the gag to be applied for the benefit of the honourable member for Denison. I want to rebuke him as mildly as 1 can. I believe his action in moving the gag was against the whole spirit of this discussion. Some honourable members opposite have been weeping about lack of opportunities to speak, but when did they ever vote against the gag? If honourable members wish to apply themselves to this matter, in all conscience they should consider the whole process of the House and apply the principles of equality and the right to speak to each one of us, whether in Opposition or on the Treasury bench. We ought to examine very carefully any suggestions placed before us either to reduce times of speaking, opportunities to speak or days of meeting. We are now beset with troubles that flow from the fact that we hardly met for 5 months after the last election. On that point I have heard hardly a peep out of any honourable member opposite. {: #debate-31-s15 .speaker-KUX} ##### Mr STEWART:
Lang -- I am against the proposals of the Standing Orders Committee and the honourable member for Denison **(Dr Solomon).** It is a rare occasion in this Parliament when we discuss matters such as the 'Voyager' disaster, after a royal commission has been held. In such cases there are great quantities of evidence to be looked over. The proposal involves the taking away from the member leading in the debate on the Government side or on the Opposition side of an opportunity to cull the evidence and to use the time of the House in order to bring it to the attention of honourable members. {: .speaker-AV4} ##### Mr Hurford: -- What about moving an extension of time? {: .speaker-KUX} ##### Mr STEWART: -- It seems to me that some of the new members in this place have been sent here by the Lord Almighty himself in order to tie up all the loose ends he has left. After they have been here a little longer they will find that he has left a great number of loose ends. An honourable member is entitled to only one extension of time. So that some new members who suffer from verbal diarrhoea may have an opportunity to speak on every subject on which they wish to speak, they want to curtail the processes of the Parliament. They want to do away with the opportunity that should be avail able on every occasion. Honourable members might rarely make use of this provision but time should be available on every occasion. Every honourable member, from the lowest backbencher to the Prime Minister, should be able to come into this chamber and espouse the story that he wants to put forward. He may want to do this in order to achieve a personal ambition. He may want to talk on this issue, that issue, some other issue or every issue that comes up. Some honourable members are trying to do away with the very reason for the founding of this Parliament. It was founded to give people the opportunity for freedom of speech. I am against a reduction in the times allocated for speeches. I am one of those who rarely speak in this House. Like the honourable member for Deakin **(Mr Jarman)** I rarely use all the time available to me. Since I have been a member of this Parliament there have been occasions when an honourable member who has spoken for 45 minutes has been granted an extension of time. This was because the matter under discussion was so important. Honourable members who advocate this proposal should forget their personalities. They should forget the fact that they have not been able to make a speech every day since they have been members. They have only been members since 25th November last year. They should think of this as an institution that must be upheld. Opportunities must exist for members to talk. If opportunities are not available then we might as well not come here. We might as well close this chamber and have all our arguments in the committee rooms. This is the Parliament of the nation and members are sent here to represent the people. Before the new members are here much longer we will find that a lot of them will hardly want to talk at all. If we look through the list of new members we will find that some of them spend very little time in this chamber. Some of them have missed more time in this chamber than I have missed in 17 years. We would find also that a number of the new members have spoken more often in this Parliament than many of the members who have been here for a long time. Yet it is the newer members who are complaining about people speaking for too long. If we added up the time that new members have spoken we would find that they have had greater opportunities of speaking than have a great number of the members who have been in this place for years. I put it to you, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** that it is most important that honourable members should not be curtailed in speaking. Only one emergency may arise in the life of a Parliament about which a member wants to speak and he should be able to exercise that right without any curtailment of time. The amendment moved by the honourable member for Denison is aimed at reducing the allotted speaking time of 45 minutes to 30 minutes in one fell swoop. He also wants to reduce the time limit of 30 minutes for back benchers to 20 minutes. This point has not been considered mainly because of the lack of experience of the group of about 10 honourable members who met informally. The opportunities to speak should be available and we should have unlimited time. If new members want to do anything about this then let them insult the member who speaks for too long. Let them walk up to him and say: 'Stewart, you are talking for too long. Sit down.' They should take that course rather than attempt to cut down the speaking time permitted under the Standing Orders. If honourable members think that I am talking for too long they should tell me. If they do not want to tell me inside this House then they should do so outside. I bet there are not too many honourable members who are game enough to do it to me or to anybody else yet they will complain behind a man's back. They will say that the honourable member for Angas **(Mr Giles)** talks too long and that so and so talks too long. They will never go to the honourable member concerned and speak to him. I say that we should not take away the rights that we have. I am opposed to the recommendation of the Standing Orders Committee and I am also opposed to the recommendation of the honourable member for Denison. {: #debate-31-s16 .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL:
Mallee -- The honourable member for Lang **(Mr Stewart)** suggests that honourable members should walk up to the speaker and tell him that he has been talking too long. This would not be allowed in this chamber. Those are Rafferty's rules. We cannot allow this sort of thing in the National Parliament. He is saying that someone may want a long time to speak. Perhaps this will happen once in 12 months or once in 6 months. Does the honourable member mean that to try to comply with this proposal a lot of honourable members will be prevented from speaking at all? I listened very attentively to the honourable member for Darling **(Mr Fitzpatrick).** He spoke words of wisdom. The point is that if this amendment is carried the very opposite will happen to what the honourable member for Lang claimed will happen for the simple reason that more members will get the opportunity to speak. If a member cannot state his case fully in 20 minutes he can at least put the salient points and people will know where he stands. I will vote for reducing the time alloted for speeches to allow more members to come in. 1 do not agree with the honourable member for Lang that it is the new members who feel that they do not get an opportunity to speak. Some older members may feel that way too. He spoke of bis 17 years in the Parliament. I remember when he first came into this place. He wanted to speak then and he still wants to speak now and again. I want to see as many members as possible get the opportunity to speak, and with that objective in view I will vote for a reduction in the time allotted for speeches in order to give all members the opportunity at some stage to say what they want to say on behalf of the constituents they represent. {: #debate-31-s17 .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr COPE:
Sydney -- I agree with the points raised by the honourable member for La Trobe **(Mr Jess),** the honourable member for Deakin **(Mr Jarman)** and the honourable member for Darling **(Mr Fitzpatrick)** in regard to the restriction on many members in this place who wish to speak. I was one of those who wanted to take part in the Budget debate but because of the large number of members now on the Opposition side, compared with the number in past years, I could not get in. I want to take part in the debate on the Estimates. I would be willing to support the recommendations that have been brought down by the Committee except those relating to the debate on the Estimates. I do not believe that the time allotted to members should be reduced by 5 minutes. I understand that the proposal will not apply to the Estimates for this year but that it will apply to the Estimates for next year. In that case I should like an assurance that the time will not be reduced from15 minutes to 10 minutes. If the amendment now before the House is carried - I shall support it - I should like this matter to be reviewed before we deal with the Estimates in 1971. I do not think that anyone, including my own Whip, could complain about what I have tried to do to assist my colleagues. 1 have often reduced the time that I have been allotted to allow someone else to speak, even on Grievance Day, but it has not always happened in my case that some of my colleagues have stood down or reduced their time to allow me to get into a debate. I want to make it clear that any honourable member who thinks that he will be able to speak twice on the Estimates is only dreaming because he will be allowed to speak only once. It is of no use pulling your own leg and believing that you will be allowed to speak twice. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -It happens sometimes. {: .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr COPE: -- Sometimes, but not very often having regard to the state of the parties at present. I emphasise the point that a lot of members who could not take part in the Budget debate may want to speak in the debate on the Estimates. In my opinion they would be entitled to speak for 15 minutes. I again ask for an assurance that if the Committee's recommendations are accepted in relation to the Estimates debate - I think that they should be - this matter will be reviewed before the Estimates for1971 are presented to us. {: #debate-31-s18 .speaker-KYS} ##### Mr REYNOLDS:
Barton -- I shall be brief. I support the amendment moved by the honourable member for Denison **(Dr Solomon).** As many honourable members know, I served in the Parliament for about 8 years and then I was out for 3 years. On my return I noticed a tremendous change in the constitution of the Parliament. Not only are the Government and Opposition parties more evenly divided, but also the membership of the House is generally younger and, if I may say so with respect, more articulate. More people want to speak now than at any time when I was in the Parliament before. I can well understand the frustration of many honourable members who have an urgency to speak but who are debarred from doing so. The other impression I have as one who listened outside the Parliament for 3 years is that on many occasions the Parliament suffers from rather tedious repetition and from lengthy speeches which cause the listener to turn his radio off. I am sure that if speeches made in the House were reduced in the way that has been suggested there would be much more variety, many more points of view would be presented, there would be a much greater interest in this chamber, and a much greater attendance would be attracted. As a member of the Opposition I am not worried that we might lose the opportunity to put our case. I think that we will be able to put our case even more effectively by presenting more points of view. Supporters of the Government will be able to do likewise. Therefore, for all these reasons - to obviate the current lengthy and tedious speeches that we sometimes get; to create more variety; to present more points of view; to be democratic in the way we suggest; and to give each honourable member representing his constituents a much better opportunity to present his and their views in this House - I think the amendment ought to be carried. {: .speaker-KIH} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock: -- The question is that the amendment moved by the honourable member for Denison, which proposes that the speaking times be reduced further than as recommended by the Standing Orders Committee, be agreed to. I think I should say that it excludes the speaking times on the Estimate debate. The ayes will pass to the right of the Chair and the noes to the left. I appoint the Prime Minister and the honourable member for Mallee tellers for the ayes and the honourable member for Wilmot and the honourable member for Lilley tellers for the noes. {: .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr Charles Jones: -- **Mr Deputy Speaker,** will you please explain to honourable members just what motion or amendment they are voting on? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The amendment which honourable members are voting on is the amendment proposed by the honourable member for Denison, which seeks to reduce the times set out on the sheet. Does the honourable member for Newcastle want me to read it out? {: .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr Charles Jones: -- 1 know what I am voting on. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -I am referring to the sheet circulated by the honourable member for Denison. The amendment would reduce the times further than the proposal of the Standing Orders Committee. {: .speaker-NH4} ##### Mr Keating: -- **Mr Deputy Speaker,** what is the situation in relation to the Estimates debate? Is it agreed that the proposal is that the time limit remain at 15 minutes? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -The only motion which the House is voting on at the moment is the amendment moved by the honourable member for Denison, not the proposals of the Standing Orders Committee. Question put: >That the amendment (Or Solomon's) be agreed to. The House divided. (Mr Deputy Speaker - Mr P. E. Lucock) AYES: 53 NOES: 39 Majority 14 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Original question as amended resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 1.2.3 a.m. (Friday) {: .page-start } page 1023 {:#debate-32} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS UPON NOTICE The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated: {:#subdebate-32-0} #### Australian Navy: Aircraft Noise (Question No. 1502) {: #subdebate-32-0-s0 .speaker-009DB} ##### Mr Morrison:
ST GEORGE, NEW SOUTH WALES asked the Minister for the Navy, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Did recommendation No. 14 of the Interim Report from the House of Representatives Select Committee on Aircraft Noise presented in June 1970 recommend that the Air Co-ordinating Committee examine the feasibility of re-allocating air space to facilitate the re-routing of flight paths to minimise noise over residential areas. 1. If so, what steps (a) have been taken, and (b) are intended to be taken by his Department to implement this recommendation. {: #subdebate-32-0-s1 .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr Killen:
Minister for the Navy · MORETON, QUEENSLAND · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 1. (a) Local procedures have been introduced at the RAN Air Station Nowra, to re-route Skyhawk aircraft so that they do not fly over Nowra or Bomaderry, (b) Other measures will be the subject of discussion in the Air Co-ordinating Committee, on which the Department of the Navy is represented. {:#subdebate-32-1} #### Naval Reserve (Question No. 1577) {: #subdebate-32-1-s0 .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr Les Johnson:
HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP asked the Minister for the Navy, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that in 1968 his predecessor announced proposals for the unification of the Naval Reserves. 1. Has there been undue delay in having the new regulations prepared by the AttorneyGeneral's Department? 2. In view of anomalies in the existing regulations and the need to maintain the Naval Reserve as an efficient organisation, will he take steps to expedite the drafting of these new regulations. {: #subdebate-32-1-s1 .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr Killen:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. The announcement was made on 4th December 1968. 1. Instructions for the drafting ot the necessary regulations were sent to the Parliamentary Counsel in March 1969 and variations to these were sent in September 1969. Owing to the pressures of other urgent drafting, including, in particular, regulations providing for increases in rates of pay and allowances for the Naval Forces, the regulations have not yet beeen drafted. 2. Drafting priorities for regulations relating to the Navy are being reviewed to see whether drafting of the particular regulations can be expedited. {:#subdebate-32-2} #### Royal Australian Air Force: Allowances (Question No. 389) {: #subdebate-32-2-s0 .speaker-JO8} ##### Mr Barnard: asked the Minister representing the Minister for Air, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What allowances are payable to members of the Royal Australian Air Force. 1. In what circumstances is each allowance payable. 2. What was the amount of each allowance in: (a) 1945, (b) 1951, (c) 1961 and (d) 1970. {: #subdebate-32-2-s1 .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr Killen:
LP -- The Minister for Air has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question: >Allowances are payable to members of the Royal Australian Air Force for varying reasons and may be generally divided into two categories - > >allowances applicable to members serving within Australia or the External Territories of the Commonwealth; and > >allowances applicable to members serving outside Australia. > >Some of the allowances are common to both situations e.g. uniform allowance, marriage/ separation/provision allowance etc., and for purposes of convenience these types of allowances have been included in the comments covered under the within Australia situation. > >Speaking, firstly of the allowances payable only to members serving outside Australia or the External Territories of the Commonwealth, these allowances are provided to allow a member to maintain his Australian standard of living. Included in the numerous overseas allowances are such allowances as living and child allowances, outfit allowance, rent allowance, entertainment allowance, representation allowance etc., but due to the variations in rates and conditions which may apply within a country, between countries and according to the particular circumstances of the member concerned, it will be appreciated that this is not an appropriate time to include the specific details. An added reason, is the frequency with which these allowances change as a result of alignment with the Public Service allowances and conditions > >The circumstances in which the allowances are payable in relation to members serving within Australia or the External Territories of the Commonwealth and including those allowances common to service both inside and outside Australia are set out below, together with the rates payable in the years 1945, 1951, 1961 and 1970: > >Uniform Allowance - This allowance is payable to a member (other than an airman apprentice) of the Permanent Air Force for the maintenance ot his personal clothing and necessaries. An airman apprentice is entitled to free replacement of personal clothing (including uniform) and necessaries according to authorised scales of free replacement. Marriage/Separation/ Provision Allowance - These allowances are payable in normal circumstances to married members who maintain a home for the family, provided the member allots a prescribed minimum daily amount. There are various circumstances in which the normal situation does not apply because of desertion, annulments etc., and this can involve a reduction or cessation of marriage allowance and in some circumstances can have an effect on separation or provision allowance according to the domestic situation. Taken in isolation these allowances are applicable in the following circumstances. {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Marriage Allowance - This allowance is payable to a member - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. who is married, is not separated from his wife and maintains his wife; 1. who is widowed, or deserted by his wife, and maintains his children; or 2. who is separated or divorced from his wife, or whose marriage has been annulled, and who has the custody of and maintains his children. In 1945 an allowance called Dependants Allowance was payable and varied according to the number of dependants the member suppported. {: type="a" start="b"} 0. Separation Allowance - This allowance is payable to a member who is in receipt of marriage allowance and by reason of his air-force duty, is required to live away from home. {: type="a" start="c"} 0. Provision Allowance - This allowance is payable to a member who is in receipt of marriage allowance and for any period of seventy-two consecutive hours or more, lives out at home and is not supplied with rations or single quarters. Provision allowance is also payable to a member in receipt of marriage allowance, where rations and single quarters are not available to the member at his unit and the member - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. is a widower or is deserted by or is separated or divorced from his wife or has had bis marriage annulled; and 1. has children in his custody for whom he does not maintain a home but for whom he bears financial responsibility. Living Out Allowance - This allowance is payable to a member who is not qualified to receive marriage allowance or is qualified to receive marriage allowance but not separation or provision allowance in respect of any period of 72 consecutive hours or more for which single quarters are not available to him at his unit or for which he is on leave of absence with pay. Living out allowance is payable in the foregoing circumstances as follows - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. In the case of a member not in receipt of Marriage Allowance - {: type="a" start="b"} 0. In the case of a member who is qualified to receive marriage allowance but not separation or provision allowance - living out allowance is payable at a rate equal to the difference between marriage allowance payable to him and an amount equivalent to the full rate of marriage and provision/separation allowances or the daily rate of living out allowance payable to a member not qualified to receive marriage allowance (rates as stated above), whichever is the lesser. Living Out Away From Home Allowance - This allowance is payable to a member to whom marriage and separation allowances are payable and who is required to live way from home for service reasons, for any period of 72 consecutive hours or more for which rations and single quarters are not available to him at his unit. Where a member is entitled to a removal at public expense of his family, furniture and effects to the locality of his permanent posting, but does not avail himself of that entitlement, reasons such as those set out below may be regarded as being required to live away from home for service reasons - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. illness of a member of his family or comparable compassionate reason; 1. lack of suitable accommodation in the area to which posted; 2. reasons associated with secondary or tertiary education of the member's children; or 3. a requirement for the member to maintain a family home for children of working age who are not self-supporting or for handicapped children. Ration Allowance - This allowance is payable to a member who is not qualified to receive marriage allowance or is qualified to receive marriage allowance but not separation or provision allowance and for a period of 72. consecutive hours or more receives single quarters but not rations at his unit or is granted permission to obtain his meals away from his unit. Ration allowance is also payable to a member who is in receipt of marriage and separation allowances and for a period of 72 consecutive hours or more lives in at his unit but is not rationed. Ration allowance is payable in the foregoing circumstances as follows - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Member not qualified to receive marriage allowance- {: type="a" start="b"} 0. Member is in receipt of marriage and separation allowances - {: type="a" start="c"} 0. Member is qualified to receive marriage allowance but not separation or provision allowance - ration allowance is payable at a rate equal to the difference between the daily rate of marriage allowance payable to him and an amount equivalent to the full rate of marriage and separation/provision allowances or the daily rate of living out allowance payable to a member not qualified to receive marriage allowance (see living out allowance rate at sub-para (a)), whichever is the lesser. Lodging Allowance - This allowance is payable to a member to whom marriage and separation allowances are payable for any period of 72 consecutive hours or more for which rations but not single quarters are available to him at his unit. Retention of Lodging Allowance - This allowance is payable to a member who is not rationed or quartered at his normal place of duty and who incurs continuing expenditure for rent while absent from his normal place of duty. The allowance is payable in respect of the period the member is absent or 30 consecutive days, whichever is the lesser. The rate of payment is the same rate as the payments made by him for the retention of his lodgings or at a rate equivalent to 2/3 of the rate of living out away from home allowance, ration allowance or lodging allowance, as the case may be, whichever is the lesser. Meal Allowance - This allowance is payable where a member - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. is required to travel away from his normal place of duty but not overnight and meals are not provided at public expense; or 1. is required to remain on duty at his normal place of duty and a meal is not provided at public expense, a meal allowance is payable subject to his incurring expense in the purchase of a meal. {: type="a" start="c"} 0. Member Remains on Duty at Normal Place of Duty Special Midday Meal Allowance - A member who, while serving at a unit in a capital city at which messing facilities are not provided from public funds and who cannot be provided with a midday meal at public expense may be paid a special midday meal allowance for the purchase of a light midday meal available in the vicinity of the place of duty (eg., Departmental Canteen or Service Mess), at a rule determined by the appropriate authority in each locality. The current rate for personnel serving at Department of Air has been determined at 40c. Mileage Allowance - Mileage allowance is paid to a member who has received approval to use his motor vehicle in the course of bis duties or when public transport is not available. The schedules below show the amount payable per mile in respect of the horsepower and/or type of vehicle used. Child Education Allowance- In 1958 Child Education was introduced to enable a member's child to continue his or her secondary education in a particular locality or school system in those cases where removal of the child to the locality of the member's posting would involve serious interruption to the child's schooling. In 1961 the rale payable to members posted in Australia was £80 per annum and £250 per annum for members posted overseas. These rates have since been amended and the present allowance applied to children of a member irrespective of whether he is posted overseas or within Australia and in addition the amount of allowance payable depends on whether the child is attending school as a day or boarding student. 1970 Day Students- $625 per annum Boarding Sudents - $1,205 per annum Language Bounty - This bounty is payable to a member who attains an approved standard of proficiency in an approved language or languages. It was first introduced in 1961 and provided for the payment of an amount of £50 per annum for proficiency in one and £100 per annum for proficiency in two languages. Since then the payment of the bounty for proficiency in one of the prescribed languages, has been varied, the extent of the payment being dependent on the member's level of attainment in the language except French where maximum proficiency is required. board a marine craft which is employed on sea service in open waters, i.e., time spent in port and away from port. Rate of allowance - 1961 - 2/6 per day or 1/3 per day Rate of allowance - 1970 - 18c per day or 32c per day Flying Pay - Flying pay is paid at the undermentioned rates to an officer of the general duties branch or technical branch of the rank of group captain or lower rank who is liable, qualified, medically fit and available at all times for flying as a member of an aircrew: Airmen Aircrew received flying pay in the form of a higher rate of active pay as distinct from a separate allowance. See later for Flying Instructional Pay, Flight Pay, Flight Pay and Addition and Flying Instruction Pay, Flying Pay and Flight Pay. Disturbance Allowance - This allowance was introduced in 1949 and is provided as compensation for accelerated depreciation of furniture and effects and other intangible costs arising out of the removal, where the removal is at public expense: Rates: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Where a married member occupies furnished accommodation at locality of his new posting: {: type="a" start="b"} 0. Where a married member occupies unfurnished accommodation in the locality of his posting and his furniture and effects are removed to such premises at public expense: {: type="a" start="c"} 0. Other than a married member who has been granted a removal at public expense: Bar Steward's Allowance - Bar Steward's allowance is payable to members mustered as Stewards who are required by Commanding Officers to perform continuous duty as Bar Stewards. Payment of the allowance commenced on 27th November 1964 at the rate of 2s 8d per day. Rate of Allowance, 1970 - 27c per day. Area Allowance - Area or district allowance is payable to a member to compensate for disadvantages or hardship incurred by residence in a locality owing to its isolation, the severity of ils climate or the cost of living in that locality. District allowance localities are classified in accordance with the degree in which the disadvantages exist, the maximum allowance now payable being for Grade Bli. Special rates of allowance apply to Maralinga and Woomera which do not come under the above classifications. The rates of area allowance payable at these localities are as follows: Territory Allowance is payable in addition to district allowance to members posted to the New Guinea area. Payment of the allowance began in 1963 and the rates for 1970 are as follows: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Unmarried Member - $50 per annum. 1. Married Unaccompanied Member - $210 per annum. 2. Married Accompanied Member - $170 per annum plus the amount by which the lesser of (a) the rent paid by the member or (b) 15 per cent rental application to the member's rank and grouping, exceeds $100 per annum; provided that the allowance calculated in accordance with this formula does not result in payment of less than $210 per annum. Travelling Allowance- Travelling Allowance is paid to a member who is absent overnight from his normal place of duty for duty in another locality. The rate of allowance is dependent on: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Rank; 1. Locality of temporary duty; 2. Whether member 'lives in' or 'lives out' in the locality of temporary duty; 3. Duration of absence from his normal place of duty. The rates after 21 days are generally based on actual costs plus other small elements which vary according to marital status. The rates payable to the member after completing 21 days of temporary duty are based on the actual costs plus the following amounts: Diving Allowance is payable to a diver in respect of the time during which he is under water or compression in the course of a diving operation, at the rate specified in the following table: Parachutist's Allowance was introduced in 1952 for payment to qualified members employed as instructors in parachute training and to members undergoing such training. The rates payable in 1961 and 1970 are as shown hereunder: Temporary Accommodation Allowance is designed to afford some financial assistance to a member who is obliged to meet the higher cost of unsuitable accommodation while he is seeking a home for himself and his family in the new locality following a removal at public expense. Where a member and his family occupy hotel or boarding house accommodation, the amount of temporary accommodation allowance payable is the amount expended by the member less an amount representing the sum of normal rental applicable to his rank and grouping plus normal costs for food. Where a member and his family occupy furnished premises, the amount of temporary accommodation allowance payable is the amount by which the rental being paid exceeds his normal rental, provided that the maximum allowance payable does not exceed the amounts shown hereunder: Flight Pay - Flight Payis paid to a member who is not entitled to receive flying pay for the period of bis appointment as a member of a crew of a helicopter or aircraft at the following rates: Additional to Flying Instructional Pay - Flying instructional pay, flying pay or flight pay payable to a member may be increased by an amount of $0.15 per day in respect of the cost of premiums payable by that member in respect of insurance on his own life. Increased allowances for flying pay, flying instructional pay and flight pay has been approved with effect from 2nd July 1970 subject to amendment of appropriate Air Force Regulations. Action is being taken to obtain the necessary statutory cover as soon as possible. Apprentices' Laundry Allowance - A special allowance is payable to apprentices to meet expenses incurred for laundry and other services and toilet requisites, at the following rates: {:#subdebate-32-3} #### Herbicides (Question No.1375) {: #subdebate-32-3-s0 .speaker-KFU} ##### Dr Gun: asked the Minister for Health, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Can the herbicides 245-T und 24-D be bought over the counter in nurseries and gardenshops throughout Australia. 1. Is he able to state whether the sale of these substances has recently been banned in Canada and the United States. 2. Has he investigated reports that these substances, which are used as defoliants in South Vietnam, have teratogenic effects. 3. If so, what is the outcome of these investigations. {: #subdebate-32-3-s1 .speaker-KFH} ##### Dr Forbes:
Minister for Health · BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 1. On15th April 1970, the United Slates Authorities announced the suspension of registration of 2,4,5-T formulations for use around the home, on food crops grown for direct human consumption, and in aquatic areas. The notice of suspension issued on 20th April 1970 required immediate cessation of interstate movement of the suspended products, the registrants being requested to stop the sale of the suspended products to the public and to recall the products on dealers' premises. Similar restrictions were introduced by the Canadian Authorities on 14th May 1970. 2. Yes. There have been reports from the United States of the occurrence of teratogenic effects in animal experimentation involving high dosage administration of 2,4,ST and certain 2,4D esters. 3. Legislation concerning the use of pesticides is the responsibility of the individual States and Territories of Australia. The National Health and Medical Research Council at its Seventieth Session in April 1970made the following statement: Council considered recent reports of teratogenic abnormalities in mice and rats following administration of large oral doses of the weedicide 2,4,5T. This substance is included in Section III of the Recommended Tolerances for residues of Pesticides and Agricultural Chemicals in Foods as published at Appendix VI to the Report of the Sixty-eighth Session of Council. No residues have been detected and none is permitted in or upon food. Council considered that the scientific evidence available required verification because the work done did not specifically incriminate 2,4,ST as a toxicological hazard to humans. Until this information is available Council recommended: {: type="i" start="i"} 0. the use of 2,4,5T in areas where water contamination could occur should not be permitted; 1. all persons exposed to 2,4,5T in its manufacture and use should use special precautions, such as protective clothing, to ensure that skin absorption did not occur; 2. until further evidence is available, special precautions should be taken to avoid exposure of women, particularly those in the child-bearing age group to 2,4,5T.' Pesticides in use in Australia are kept under a continuing review by the National Health and Medical Research Council. Peru: Disaster Relief (Question No. 1394) {: #subdebate-32-3-s2 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice: >Can he say what is the (a) nature and (b) amount of assistance which other governments have given to Peru following the disaster of 31st May 1970. {: #subdebate-32-3-s3 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >The latest information available to my Department is that the following cash contributions have been made to the fund established after the disaster in Peru on 31st May 1970: In addition to cash contributions many governments have made contributions in kind. The following summary does not include details of aircraft made available by some countries: {:#subdebate-32-4} #### Education: Sponsored Overseas Students (Question No. 1400) {: #subdebate-32-4-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice: >How many students is the Commonwealth sponsoring this year and what amount did it spend in fees for sponsored students in the last year for which figures are available at (a) universities, (b) colleges of advanced education, (c) teachers' colleges, (d) technical colleges and (e) other educational institutions under the (i) Commonwealth Co-operation in Education Scheme, (ii) the Colombo Plan, (iii) Special Commonwealth African Assistance Plan, (iv) Australian International Awards Scheme, (v) South Pacific Aid Programme and (vi) South East Asia Treaty Organisation. {: #subdebate-32-4-s1 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >In the current financial year it is estimated that the following number of overseas students will be sponsored by the Commonwealth in Australia: The Commonwealth meets the cost of all compulsory fees of educational institutions in Australia in respect of all students sponsored by the Commonwealth. It is not possible to inform the honourable member of the amounts spent separately on fees at (a) universities, (b) colleges of advanced education, (c) teachers' colleges, (d) technical colleges and (e) other educational institutions. During the year ending 30th June 1970 the Commonwealth did, however, pay the following amounts in fees under the various schemes: Vietnam: Civil Aid (Question No.1401) {: #subdebate-32-4-s2 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice: >What changes in the (a) nature and (b) extent of civil economic and social assistance to South Vietnam have occurred since his predecessor's answer to me on 26th August 1969. (Hansard, page 715). {: #subdebate-32-4-s3 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >Details of economic and social assistance to Vietnam are shown in the following publications which are available through the Parliamentary Library; 'Economic and Social Aid to Vietnam', a report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Vietnam for the period up to 31st December 1969, about economic, technical and cultural assistance from all foreign sources; the operations Report of the United States' Agency for International Development for financial year 1970 and the Programme and Project Data of the Agency for International Development presented to Congress for financial year 1971. > >A summary of the aid programmes of major donors in 1969 and 1970 follows: > >Australia: Australian economic assistance to Vietnam in 1969-70 was $A2.032m, mostly in the form of contributions to economic development projects. The total also includes the cost of Australian medical teams and the training of Vietnamese in Australia. > >United States: Total economic assistance provided by the United States in fiscal year 1970 (1969-70) has been estimated to total $US5 14.2m, excluding the Military Assistance Programme. The Commercial Import Programme has been estimated to cost $US220m, the Project Programme $US132m and the Food for Peace (PL 480) programme$US106m. > >Canada: In 1969 Canada provided technical assistance and funds for several medical and educational centres and training for Vietnamese students. A housing project for refugee families was completed in 1969 and financial assistance given to refugees. > >France: In 1969 French assistance concentrated on educational projects, including the assignment of 430 personnel to Vietnamese schools and other educational institutions. France also provided technical assistance in the form of advisers, equipment and training. > >Germany: The West German government's aid in 1969 concentrated on construction of a hospital at Danang. The Government subsidises several private organisations which mostly provide expert assistance. In 1969 approximately 148 German experts were in Vietnam. > >Japan: In 1969 Japan pledged $US5m for economic and technical assistance, the major component being repairs costing $US3m to a hydroelectric plant. > >Korea: In 1969 South Korea pledged assistance worth $3.4m, the main project being a medical centre costing $US2.45m. Declaration by the Representative of the United States of America' (Question No. 1490) {: #subdebate-32-4-s4 .speaker-009DB} ##### Mr Morrison: asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Does the document entitled 'Declaration by the Representative of the United States of America' July 1954 reprinted on page 17 of the Department of External Affairs 'Select Documents on International Affairs No. 1' of 1964, purport to be the full text of the Declaration by the Representative of the United States of America. 1. If noi, will he make available the full text and state why the presentation contained in the Select Document referred to does not indicate that it is an abridged version. {: #subdebate-32-4-s5 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. and (2) The document referred to is the full text of the Declaration by the Representative of the United States of America. It is not, however, and does not purport to be, the full text of the United States Representative's statement, in which the Declaration itself was incorporated. This statement is available in the Parliamentary Library, in the United States Department of State Bulletin, Volume 31, July-December 1954, p. 162. Medical Benefits Plan - Increased Payments by Contributors (Question No. 1431) {: #subdebate-32-4-s6 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for Health, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How much more is it estimated that contributors will pay to registered medical benefits organisations in the first 12 months operation of the National Health Act 1970 than in the previous 12 months. 1. Will he provide an answer before the debate on the estimates for his Department. {: #subdebate-32-4-s7 .speaker-KFH} ##### Dr Forbes:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >The increase in contributions payable by contributors to registered medical benefits organisations in respect of the new Medical Benefits Plan introduced ' as from 1 July 1970, is estimated at $20.4 million for the first 12 months. HMAS Parramatta (Question No. 1418) {: #subdebate-32-4-s8 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for Navy, upon notice: >How much did it cost and how long did it take to repair: > >HMAS Parramatta and > >The Manly ferry which collided on 28lh February 19707 {: #subdebate-32-4-s9 .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr Killen:
LP -- The answers to the question by the Leader of the Opposition are as follows: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. It cost (10,432 to repair HMAS Parramatta and the repairs took 13 days. 1. Particulars of repair costs of the ferry Bellubera, and the time taken for such repairs are not available to the Department of the Navy at this stage.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 3 September 1970, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.